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Title: St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V,  August, 1878, No 10. - Scribner's Illustrated
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V,  August, 1878, No 10. - Scribner's Illustrated" ***

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ST. NICHOLAS.

  Vol. V.      AUGUST, 1878.      No. 10.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]



KING CHEESE.

(_A Story of the Paris Exhibition of 1867._)

BY J. T. TROWBRIDGE.


  Where many a cloud-wreathed mountain blanches
    Eternally in the blue abyss,
  And tosses its torrents and avalanches
    Thundering from cliff and precipice,
    There is the lovely land of the Swiss,--
  Land of lakes and of icy seas,
          Of chamois and chalets,
          And beautiful valleys,
  Musical boxes, watches, and cheese.

  Picturesque, with its landscapes green and cool,
  Sleek cattle standing in shadow or pool,
  And dairy-maids bearing pail and stool,--
  That is the quaint little town of Nulle.

  There, one day, in the old town-hall,
  Gathered the worthy burghers all,
          Great and small,
          Short and tall,
  At the burgomaster's call.

  The stout and fat, the lean and lame,
    From house and shop, and dairy and pasture,
  In queer old costumes, up they came,
    Obedient to the burgomaster.

  He made a speech--"Fellow-citizens: There is
          To be, as you know,
          A wonderful show,
  A Universal Fair, at Paris;
  Where every country its product carries,
  Whatever most beautiful, useful, or rare is,
          To please and surprise,
          And perhaps win a prize.
          Now here is the question
  Which craves your counsel and suggestion--
          With you it lies:
          So, after wise
  And careful consideration of it,
  Say, what shall _we_ send for our honor and profit?"

  Some said this thing, some said that;
  Then up rose a burgher, ruddy and fat,
  Rounder and redder than all the rest,
  With a nose like a rose, and an asthmatic chest;
          And says he, with a wheeze,
          Like the buzzing of bees:
          "I propose, if you please,
          That we send 'em a _cheese_."

          Then a lithe little man
          Took the floor, and began,
  In a high, squeaky voice: "I approve of the plan;
          But I wish to amend
          What's proposed by my friend:
  A BIG CHEESE, I think, is the thing we should send."

          Then up jumped a third,
          To put in a word,
  And amend the amendment they had just heard;
  "A ROYAL BIG CHEESE" was the phrase he preferred.

          The question was moved,
          Discussed and approved,
  And the vote was unanimous, that it behooved
  Their ancient, venerable corporation,
  To send such a cheese as should honor the nation.
  So ended the solemn convocation;
  And, after due deliberation,
  The burgomaster made proclamation,
  Inviting people of every station,
  Each according to his vocation,
  With patriotic emulation
  To join in a general jubilation,
  And get up a cheese for the grand occasion.
  Then shortly began the preparation.

[Illustration: "PEASANT GIRLS BRINGING THE MILK."]

  One morning was heard a mighty clamoring,
  With sounds of sawing and planing and hammering.
  The painters, forsaking their easels and pallets,
    Came to look on, or assist in the labor;
  The joiners were there with their chisels and mallets;
    Trades of all grades, every man with his neighbor;
          The carpenters, coopers,
          And stout iron-hoopers,
  Erecting a press for the thing to be done in,
  A tub big enough to put ton after ton in,
  And gutters for rivers of liquid to run in.
  March was the month the work was begun in,--
  If that could be work they saw nothing but fun in;
  'Twas finished in April, and long before May
  Everything was prepared for the curd and the
  whey.

          Then the bells were set ringing--
          The milking began;
  All over the land went the dairy-maids singing;
          Boy and man,
          Cart, pail, and can,
  And peasant girls, each in her pretty dress,
  From highway and by-way all round, came bringing,
  Morning and evening, the milk to the press.
  Then it took seven wise-heads together to guess
  Just how much rennet, no more and no less,
  Should be added, to curdle and thicken the mess.

  So, having been properly warmed and stirred,
  The cheese was set; and now, at a word,
  Ten strong men fell to cutting the curd.
          Some whey was reheated;
          The cutting repeated;
  Each part of the process most carefully treated,
  For fear they might find, when the whole was completed,
  Their plan had by some mischance been defeated.

  Now the weavers come bringing the web they were spinning,
  A cloth for the curd, of the stoutest of linen.
          The ten men attack it,
          And tumble and pack it
  Within the vast vat in its dripping gray jacket;
  And the press is set going with clatter and racket.
  The great screw descends, as the long levers play,
  And the curd, like some crushed living creature, gives way;
          It sighs in its troubles--
          The pressure redoubles!
            It mutters and sputters,
          And hisses and bubbles,
            While down the deep gutters,
  From every pore spirted, rush torrents of whey.

  The cheese was pressed, and turned, and cured;
  And so was made, as I am assured,
  The rich-odored, great-girdled Emperor
  Of all the cheeses that ever were.

  Then, everything ready, what should they have else,
  In starting His Majesty on his travels,
  But a great procession up and down
  Through the streets of the quaint old town?

          So they made
          A grand parade,
  With marching train-band, guild, and trade:
  The burgomaster in robes arrayed,
  Gold chain, and mace, and gay cockade,
  Great keys carried, and flags displayed,
  Pompous marshal and spruce young aide,
  Carriage and foot and cavalcade;
  While big drums thundered and trumpets brayed,
  And all the bands of the canton played;
  The fountain spouted lemonade,
  Children drank of the bright cascade;
  Spectators of every rank and grade,
  The young and merry, the grave and staid,
  Alike with cheers the show surveyed,
  From street and window and balustrade,--
  Ladies in jewels and brocade,
  Gray old grandam, and peasant maid
  With cap, short skirt, and dangling braid;
  And youngsters shouted, and horses neighed,
  And all the curs in concert bayed:
  'T was thus with pomp and masquerade,
  On a broad triumphal chariot laid,
  Beneath a canopy's moving shade,
  By eight cream-colored steeds conveyed,
  To the ringing of bells and cannonade,
  King Cheese his royal progress made.

  So to the Paris Exposition,
  His Majesty went on his famous mission.

[Illustration: "SO THEY MADE A GRAND PARADE."]

            At the great French Fair!
  Everything under the sun is there,
  Whatever is made by the hand of man:
  Silks from China and Hindostan,
  Grotesque bronzes from Japan;
  Products of Iceland, Ireland, Scotland,
  Lapland, Finland, I know not what land--
  North land, south land, cold land, hot land,--
          From Liberia,
          From Siberia,--
  Every fabric and invention,
  From every country you can mention:
  From Algeria and Sardinia;
  From Ohio and Virginia;
  Egypt, Siam, Palestine;
  Lands of the palm-tree, lands of the pine;
  Lands of tobacco, cotton, and rice,
  Of iron, of ivory, and of spice,
  Of gold and silver and diamond,--
  From the farthest land, and the land beyond.

  And everybody is there to see:
    From Mexico and Mozambique;
  Spaniard, Yankee, Heathen Chinee;
    Modern Roman and modern Greek;
         Frenchman and Prussian,
         Turk and Russian,
  Foes that have been, or foes to be:
         Through miles on miles
         Of spacious aisles,
  'Mid the wealth of the world in gorgeous piles,
  Loiter and flutter the endless files!

  Encircled all day by a wondering throng,
  That gathers early and lingers long,
  Behold where glows, in his golden rind,
  The marvel the burghers of Nulle designed!
  There chatters the cheery _bourgeoisie_;
  And children are lifted high to see;
  And "Will it go up in the sky to-night?"
    Asks little ma'm'selle, in the arms of her mother,--
  "Rise over the houses and give us light?
  Is this where it sets when it goes out of sight?"
    For she takes King Cheese for his elder brother!


  But now it is night, and the crowds have departed;
  The vast dim halls are still and deserted;
  Only the ghost-like watchmen go,
  Through shimmer and shadow, to and fro;
         While the moon in the sky,
         With his half-shut eye,
  Peers smilingly in at his rival below.

  At this mysterious hour, what is it
  That comes to pay the Fair a visit?
          The gates are all barred,
          With a faithful guard
  Without and within; and yet 'tis clear
  Somebody--or something--is entering here!

[Illustration: "ENCIRCLED ALL DAY BY A WONDERING THRONG."]

  There is a Paris underground,
      Where dwells another nation;
  Where neither lawyer nor priest is found,
      Nor money nor taxation;
  And scarce a glimmer, and scarce a sound
  Reaches those solitudes profound,
  But silence and darkness close it round,--
      A horrible habitation!
  Its streets are the sewers, where rats abound;
  Where swarms, unstifled, unstarved, undrowned,
      Their ravenous population.

  Underground Paris has heard of the Fair;
  And up from the river, from alley and square,
  To the wonderful palace the rats repair;
  And one old forager, grizzled and spare,--
  The wisest to plan and the boldest to dare,
  To smell out a prize or to find out a snare,--
  In some dark corner, beneath some stair
  (I never learned how, and I never knew where),
  Has gnawed his way into the grand affair;
  First one rat, and then a pair,
  And now a dozen or more are there.
  They caper and scamper, and blink and stare,
  While the drowsy watchman nods in his chair.
  But little a hungry rat will care
  For the loveliest lacquered or inlaid ware,
  Jewels most precious, or stuffs most rare;--
  There's a marvelous smell of cheese in the air!
  They all make a rush for the delicate fare;
  But the shrewd old fellow squeaks out, "Beware!
  'T is a prize indeed, but I say, forbear!
  For cats may catch us and men may scare,
  And a well-set trap is a rat's despair;
  But if we are wise, and would have our share
  With perfect safety to hide and hair,
  Now listen, and we will our plans prepare."

  The watchman rouses, the rats are gone;
  On a thousand windows gleams the dawn;
          And now once more
          Through every door,
  With hustle and bustle, the great crowds pour;
  And nobody hears a soft little sound,
  As of sawing or gnawing, somewhere underground.

  At length, the judges, going their round,
  Awarding the prizes, enter the hall,
  Where, amid cheeses big and small,
  Reposes the sovereign of them all.
  They put their tape round it, and tap it and bore it;
          And bowing before it,
          As if to adore it,
  Like worshipers of the sun, they stand,--
          Slice in hand,
          Pleased and bland,
  While their bosoms glow and their hearts expand.
          They smell and they taste;
          And, the rind replaced,
  The foremost, smacking his lips, says: "Messieurs!
  Of all fine cheeses at market or fair,--
  Holland or Rochefort, Stilton or Cheshire,
          Neufchâtel, Milanese,--
          There never was cheese,
          I am free to declare,
          That at all could compare
          With this great Gruyère!"

  In short, so exceedingly well it pleases,
  They award it a prize over all the cheeses.

[Illustration: "FIRST, ONE RAT."]

  That prize is the pride of the whole Swiss nation;
  And the town of Nulle, in its exultation,
  Without a dissenting voice, decrees
  To the poor of Paris a gift of the cheese.
  Paris, in grateful recognition
  Of this munificence, sends a commission--
  Four stately officials, of high position--
  To take King Cheese from the Exhibition,
  And, in behalf of the poor, to thank,
    With speeches and toasts, the Swiss for their gift.
  The speeches they made, the toasts they drank;
    Eight Normandy horses, strong and swift,
          At the entrance wait
          For the golden freight;
    And all the porters are there to lift,
  Prepared for a long and a strong embrace,
  In moving His Greatness a little space.
  They strain at the signal, each man in his place:
  "Heave, ho!"--when, lo! as light as a feather,
    Down tumbles, down crumbles, the King of the Cheeses,
  With seven men, all in a heap together!
    Up scramble the porters, with laughter and sneezes;
    While sudden, mighty amazement seizes
  The high officials, until they find
          A curious bore
          In the platform floor,
  And another to match in the nether rind,--
    Just one big rat-hole, and no more;
  By which, as it seemed, had ventured in
    One rat, at first, and a hundred had followed,
  And feasted, and left--to the vast chagrin
  Of the worthy burghers of Nulle--as thin
    And shabby a shell as ever was hollowed;
          Now nothing but just
          A crushed-in crust,
  A cart-load of scraps and a pungent dust!

  So the newspapers say; but though they call
    King Cheese a hoax, he was hardly that.
  And the poor he fed, as you see, after all;
    For who is so poor as a Paris rat?

[Illustration: "DOWN TUMBLES, DOWN CRUMBLES, THE KING OF THE
CHEESES."]



RODS FOR FIVE.

BY SARAH WINTER KELLOGG.


Not birch-rods; fishing-rods. They were going fishing, these five young
people, of whom I shall treat "under four heads," as the ministers
say,--1, names; 2, ages; 3, appearance; 4, their connection.

1. Their names were John and Elsie Singletree, Puss Leek, Luke Lord, and
Jacob Isaac; the last had no surname.

2. John was fifteen and a few months past; Elsie was thirteen and many
months past; Puss Leek was fourteen to a day; Luke Lord crowded John so
closely, there was small room for superior age to claim precedence, or
for the shelter which inferior age makes on certain occasions; Jacob
Isaac was "thutteen, gwyne on fou'teen."

3. John Singletree was a dark-eyed, sharp-eyed, wiry, briery boy. Elsie,
of the same name, was much like him, being a dark-eyed, sharp-eyed,
wiry, briery girl. Her father used to call her Sweet-brier and
Sweet-pickle, because, he said, she was sweet but sharp. Puss Leek had
long, heavy, blonde hair, that hung almost to her knees when it was
free, which it seldom was, for Puss braided it every morning, the first
thing,--not loosely, to give it a fat look, hinting of its luxuriance,
but just as hard as she could, quite to Elsie's annoyance, who used to
say, resentfully, "You're so afraid that somebody'll think that you are
vain of your hair." Puss's ears were over large for perfect beauty, and
her eyes a trifle too deeply set; but I've half a mind to say that she
was a beauty, in spite of these, for, after all, the ears had a generous
look, in harmony with the frank, open face, and the shadowed eye was
the softest, sweetest blue eye I ever saw. She had been called Puss when
a baby, because of her nestling, kitten-like way, and the odd name clung
to her. Luke Lord was homely; but he didn't care a bit. He was so jolly
and good-natured that everybody liked him, and he liked everybody, and
so was happy. He had light hair, very light for fifteen years, and a
peculiar teetering gait, which was not unmanly, however. It made people
laugh at him, but he didn't care a bit. Jacob Isaac was a "cullud
pusson," as he would have said, protesting against the word "negro."
"Nigger," he used to say, "is de mos' untolerbulis word neber did year."
It was the word he applied to whatever moved his anger or contempt. It
was his descriptive epithet for the old hen that flew at him for
abducting her traipsing chicken; for the spotted pig that led him that
hour's chase; for the goat that butted, and the cow that hooked; and for
gray Selim when he stood on his hind legs and let Jacob Isaac over the
sleek haunches.

But to return to No. 4. John and Elsie Singletree were brother and
sister. Puss Leek was Elsie's boarding-school friend, and her guest.
Luke Lord was a neighboring boy invited to join the fishing-party, to
honor Puss Leek's birthday, and to help John protect the girls. Jacob
Isaac was hired to "g'long" as general waiter, to do things that none of
the others wanted to do--to do the drudgery while they did the
frolicking.

They were all on horseback,--John riding beside Puss Leek, protecting
her; Luke riding beside Elsie, and protecting her; Jacob Isaac riding
beside his shadow, and protecting the lunch-basket, carried on the
pommel of his saddle.

"I keep thinking about the 'snack,'" said Puss Leek's protector, before
they had made a mile of their journey.

"What do you think about it?" asked the protected.

"I keep thinking how good it'll taste. Aunt Calline makes mighty good
pound-cake. I do love pound-cake!"

"_Like_ it, you mean, John," said his sister Elsie, looking back over
her shoulder.

"I _don't_ mean like," said John. "If there is anything I love better
than father and mother, brother and sister, it's pound-cake."

"But there isn't anything," said Puss.

"My kingdom for a slice!" said John, with a tragic air. "I don't believe
I can stand it to wait till lunch-time."

"Why, it hasn't been a half-hour since you ate breakfast. Are you
hungry?" Elsie said.

"No, I'm not hungry; I'm _ha'nted_." John pronounced the word with a
flatness unwritable. "The pound-cake ha'nts me; the fried chicken
ha'nts me; the citron ha'nts me. I see 'em!" John glared at the vacant
air as though he saw an apparition. "I taste 'em! I smell 'em! I feel
moved to call on him" (here Jacob Isaac was indicated by a backward
glance and movement) "to yield the _wittles_ or his life. Look here!" he
added, suddenly reining-up his horse and speaking in dead earnest,
"let's eat the snack now. Halt!" he cried to the advance couple, "we're
going to eat."

"Going to eat?" cried Elsie. "You're not in earnest?"

"Yes, I am. I can't rest. The cake and things ha'nt me."

"Well, do for pity's sake eat something, and get done with it," Elsie
said.

"But you must wait for me," John persisted. "I'll have to spread the
things out on the grass. I keep thinking how good they'll taste eaten
off the grass. There's where the ha'ntin' comes in."

"Did you ever hear anything so ridiculous?" said Elsie to the others.
"But I suppose we had better humor him; he wont give us any rest till we
do; he's so persistent. When he gets headed one way, he's like a pig."
Elsie began to pull at the bridle to bring her horse alongside a stump.
"Puss and I can get some flowers during the repast."

"I call this a most peculiar proceeding," said her protector, leaping
from his horse, and hastening to help her to "'light."

Jacob Isaac gladly relinquished the lunch-basket, which had begun to
make his arm ache, and soon John had the "ha'nting things" spread. Then
he sat down Turk-like to eating; the others stood around, amused
spectators, while chicken, beaten biscuits, strawberry tart, pound-cake
disappeared as though they enjoyed being eaten.

"I believe I'm getting 'ha'nted,' too," said Luke Lord, whose mouth
began to water,--the things seemed to taste so good to John.

"Good for you!" John said, cordially. "Come along! Help yourself to a
chicken-wing."

"Why, Luke, you aint going to eating!" Elsie said.

"Yes, I am; John's made me hungry."

"Me, too," said Jacob Isaac.

"Of course, you're hungry," said John. "Come along! Hold your two
hands."

"Let's go look for sweet-Williams and blue-flags," Puss proposed to
Elsie.

"No; if we go away, the boys will eat everything up. Just look at them!
Did ever you see such eatists? You boys, stop eating all the lunch."

"Aint you girls getting 'ha'nted?'" Luke asked. "If you don't come soon,
there wont be left for you."

"I believe that's so," said Puss confidentially to Elsie. "I reckon
we'll have to take our share now, or not at all. We've got to eat in
self-defense."

And so it came about that those five ridiculous children sat there, less
than a mile on their journey, and less than an hour from their
breakfast, and ate, ate, ate, till there was nothing of their lunch left
except a half biscuit and a chicken neck. John, fertile in invention,
proposed that they should go back home and get something more for
dinner; but Puss said everybody would laugh at them, and Elsie thought
they wouldn't be able to eat anything more that day, and, if they should
be hungry, they could have a fish-fry.

"Aint no use totin' this yere basekit 'long no mawr," Jacob Isaac
suggested. "I'll leave it hang in this yere sass'fras saplin'." When it
was intimated that it would be needed for the remainder of the lunch, he
said there wasn't any "'mainder." "What's lef' needn't pester you-all;
I'll jis eat it."

Arrived at the water, the boys baited the hooks, at which the girls gave
little shrieks, and hid their eyes, demanding to know of the boys how
they would like to be treated as they were treating the worms.

"The poor creatures!" said Puss.

"So helpless!" added Elsie, peeping through her fingers at the boys.
"Aren't the hooks ready yet?"

"Yours is," and Luke delivered a rod into her hands.

"And here's yours, Puss," John said. "Drop it in."

Soon there were five rods extended over the water, and five corks were
floating which might have told of robbed molasses-jugs and vinegar-jugs,
and five young people were laughing, and talking nonsense by the---- How
is nonsense estimated? Everybody kept asking everybody else if he had
had a bite, and everybody was guilty of giving false alarms. As for
Elsie, she shrieked out, "A bite!" at every provocation,--whenever the
current bore unusually against her line, when the floating hook dragged
bottom or encountered a twig.

"Jupiter!" said John, growing impatient at the idle drifting of his
cork. "I can't stand this, Elsie. You girls stop talking. You chatter
like magpies; you scare the fish. Girls oughtn't ever to go fishing."

Jacob Isaac snickered, and remarked _sotto voce_: "He talks hisse'f maw
'n the res' of the ladies."

Elsie did not heed John's attack. Her eye was riveted on her bobbing
cork; her cheeks were glowing with excitement; her heart was beating
wildly. There was a pulling at her line.

"Keep quiet!" she called. "I've got a bite."

"You would have, if I could get at your arm," said John, who didn't
believe she had a bite.

"I have, truly," she said, excitedly. "Look!"

All came tramping, crowding about her.

"I feel him pull," she said, eagerly.

"Well, get him out," said Luke.

"Shall I pull him or jerk him?" Elsie was nearly breathless.

"If I knew about his size, I could tell you," said Luke. "If he's big,
give him a dignified pull; if he's a little chap, jerk him; no business
to be little."

"Oh! I'm afraid it will hurt him," said Puss.

"Out with him!" said Luke.

"I'm afraid the line will break," said Elsie, all in a quiver.

"No, it wont," said John.

"The rod might snap," said Elsie.

"Here, let me take the rod," John proposed.

"No, no; I'm going to catch the fish myself," Elsie said, in vehement
protest.

"Then jerk, sharp and strong," her brother said.

Elsie made ready; steadied her eager brain; planted her feet firmly;
braced her muscles by her will; and then, with a shriek, threw up her
rod, "as high as the sky," Puss said. There was a fleeting vision of a
dripping white-bellied fish going skyward; and then a faint thud was
heard.

"She's thrown it a half-mile, or less, in the bushes," said Luke.

"And there's her hook in the top of that tree," said John. "What gumps
girls are when you take them out-of-doors!"

All went into the bushes to look for the astonished fish. They looked,
and looked, and looked; listened for its beating and flopping against
the ground.

After a while, Luke said he thought it must be one of the climbing fish
described by Agassiz, and that it had gone up a tree.

"I mos' found it twice't; but it was a frog an' a lizar', 'stead uv the
fish," said Jacob Isaac.

To this day, it remains a mystery where Elsie's fish went to.

Jacob Isaac climbed the tree to rescue Elsie's hook and line, while the
other boys went down the stream to find a cat-fish hole that they had
heard of.

"Don't pull at the line that way," Puss said to the thrasher in the
tree-top; "you'll break it. There, the hook is caught on that twig. You
must go out on the limb and unhitch it."

"Lim' hangs over the watto," Jacob Isaac said; but he crawled out on it,
and reached for the hook.

Then Elsie shrieked, for crashing through the branches came Jacob Isaac,
and splashed back-foremost into the water. Then there was confusion.
Jacob called to the girls to help him; they called to the boys to help;
the boys, ignorant of the accident, shouted back that they were going on
to where they could have quiet, and went tramping away. Then Elsie tried
to tell Jacob Isaac how to swim, while Puss Leek darted off to where the
horses were tethered. She mounted the one she had ridden--a gentle
thing, aged eighteen. Then she came crashing through the bushes and
brush, clucking and jerking the bridle, dashed down the bank, and
plunged into the stream.

[Illustration: "HE KNELT ON THE BANK TO FIX HIS BAIT."]

Elsie held her breath at the sight. The water rose to the flanks, but
Puss kept her head steady, sat her saddle coolly, and, when Jacob Isaac
appeared, put out a resolute hand, and got hold of his
jacket,--speaking, meanwhile, a soothing word to the horse, which was
now drinking. She got the boy's head above water.

"I'll hold on to you; and you must hold on to the stirrup and to the
horse's mane," she said.

Jacob Isaac, without a word, got hold as directed. Puss held on with a
good grip, as she had promised, and the careful old horse pawed through
the water to the bank--only a few yards distant, by the way.

"Thankee, Miss Puss," is what Jacob Isaac said, as he stretched himself
on a log to dry.

"Puss, you're a hero," is what Elsie said, adding immediately: "Those
hateful boys! Great protectors they are!"

John had found up-stream a deep hole in the shade of some large trees.
Just above it the creek tumbled and foamed over a rocky bed. John said
to Luke: "It just empties the fish in here by the basketfuls. All we've
got to do is to empty 'em out,"--and he knelt on the bank to fix his
bait.

But Luke was not satisfied. "You'll never catch any fish there," said
he. "The current's too swift." And off went he, to look for a likelier
place.

Yet neither of the boys had better luck than when with the girls, and
both soon went back to them. When Elsie's vivid account of the rescue
had been given, the boys stared at Puss with a new interest, as though
she had undergone some transformation in their brief absence.

Then somebody suggested that they must hurry up and catch something for
dinner. So all five dropped hooks into the water, everybody pledged to
silence, Fishing was now business; it meant dinner or no dinner.

For some moments, the fishers sat or stood in statuesque silence, eyes
on the corks. Then Jacob Isaac showed signs of excitement.

"I's got a fish, show's yer bawn," he called, dancing about on the bank.

"Let me see it," John challenged.

"Aint pulled it out yit," said Jacob Isaac, jumping and capering.

"What's the matter with you? What are you cavorting about in that style
for?" John asked.

"Playin' 'im!" answered Jacob Isaac, running backward and forward, and
every other way.

"Is that the way they play a fish?" Elsie said, gazing. "I never knew
before how they did it."

She went over to where the jubilant fisherman was yet skipping about,
and asked if she might play the fish a while.

"Law, Miss Elsie! he'd pull yo' overboa'd! Yo' couldn't hol' 'im no maw
'n nuffin. He's mighty strong; stronges' fish ever did see."

But Elsie teased till Jacob Isaac gave the rod into her hand, when she
danced forward and back, chassé-ed, and executed other figures of a
quadrille, till Puss Leek came up to play the fish. She wasn't so much
like a katydid as Elsie, or so much like a wired jumping-jack as Jacob
Isaac. She played the fish so awkwardly that John came up and took the
rod from her hand. He had no sooner felt the pull at the line than he
began to laugh and "pshaw! pshaw!" and said that all in that party were
gumps and geese, except himself and Luke.

"You wouldn't except Luke," Elsie interrupted, "if he wasn't a big boy.
You'd call him a gump and a goose, if he was a girl."

"If he was a girl, he would be a gump and a goose," said this saucy
John. "This fish," he continued, "which you've been playing, is a piece
of brush. Oh! how you did play it! This is the way that Jacob Isaac
played it." John jumped and danced and hopped and strutted and plunged,
till everybody was screaming with laughter. "And this is the way that
Elsie played it." He got hold of his coat-skirts after the manner of an
affected girl with her dress; then he hugged the rod to his bosom, and
capered, flitted, pranced. Then, having reproduced Puss Leek's
"playing," he said, grandly: "I shall now proceed to land this monster
of the deep."

"He made a great show of getting ready, and then pulled, pulled, pulled,
pulled,--when out and up there came, not the brush everybody was
expecting, but a fine, beautiful fish.

You ought to have heard, then, the cheers of those surprised boys and
girls! Jacob Isaac danced, turned somersaults, walked on his hands, and
for one supreme half-second stood on his head.

"Looks like he was playing a whale or a sea-serpent," said Luke, between
his bursts of laughter.

"You're all playing a fool that you've caught," said John, who had
joined in the laugh against himself, "and you've a right to."

[Illustration: JOHN AND HIS VELOCIPEDE.

1.--HE GETS A GOOD START,

2.--HAS A FINE RUN DOWN-HILL,

3.--AND COMES TO A SUDDEN STOP.]



HOW TO TRAVEL.

BY SUSAN ANNA BROWN.


This article does not refer to the journey to Europe, toward which
almost all young people are looking. When the opportunity for foreign
travel comes, there are plenty of guide-books and letters from abroad
which will tell you just what to take with you, and what you ought to do
in every situation. This is for short, every-day trips, which people
take without much thought; but as there is a right and a wrong way of
doing even little things, young folks may as well take care that they
receive and give the most pleasure possible in a short journey, and
then, when the trip across the ocean comes, they will not be annoying
themselves and others by continual mistakes.

As packing a trunk is usually the first preparation for a trip, we will
begin with that.

It is a very good way to collect what is most important before you
begin, so that you may not leave out any necessary article. Think over
what you will be likely to need; for a little care before you start may
save you a great deal of inconvenience in the end. Be sure, before you
begin, that your trunk is in good order, and that you have the key. And
when you shut it for the last time, do not leave the straps sticking out
upon the outside. Put your heavy things at the bottom, packing them
tightly, so that they will not rattle about when the trunk is reversed.
Put the small articles in the tray. Anything which will be likely to be
scratched or defaced by rubbing, should be wrapped in a handkerchief and
laid among soft things. If you must carry anything breakable, do it up
carefully, and put it in the center of the trunk, packing clothing
closely about it. Bottles should have the corks tied in with strong
twine. Put them near articles which cannot be injured by the contents,
if a breakage occurs. Tack on your trunk a card with your permanent
address. As this card is to be consulted only if the trunk is lost, it
is not necessary to be constantly changing it. Take in the
traveling-bag, pins and a needle and thread, so that, in case of any
accident to your clothes, they can be repaired without troubling any one
else. A postal-card and a pencil and paper take up but little room, and
may be very convenient. The best way to carry your lunch is in a
pasteboard box, which can be thrown away after you have disposed of the
contents.

Put your money in an inner pocket, reserving in your purse only what you
will be likely to need on the way, so that you may be able to press your
way through a crowd without fear of pickpockets. Your purse should also
contain your name and address.

Try to be ready, so that you will not be hurried at the last moment; and
this does not mean that it is necessary to be at the station a long time
before the train leaves. To be punctual does not mean to be _too early_,
but to be just early enough.

Try to find out, before you start, what train and car you ought to take,
and have your trunk properly checked. Put the check in some safe place,
but first look at the number, so that you may identify the check if lost
by you and found by others. Have your ticket where you can easily get
it, and need not be obliged to appear, when the conductor comes, as if
it was a perfect surprise to you that he should ask for it.

Of course, you have a right to the best seat which is vacant, and, if
there is plenty of room, you can put your bundles beside or opposite
you; but remember that you have only paid for one seat, and be ready at
once to make room for another passenger, if necessary, without acting as
though you were conferring a favor.

If you have several packages, and wish to put any of them in the rack
over your head, you will be less likely to forget them, if you put all
together, than you will if you keep a part in your hand.

If you _must_ read in the cars, never in any circumstances take a book
that has not fair, clear type; and stop reading at the earliest approach
of twilight. If, as you read, you hold your ticket, or some other plain
piece of paper, under the line you are reading, sliding it down as you
proceed, you will find that you can read almost as rapidly, and with
much less injury to your eyes. A newspaper is the worst reading you can
have, as the print is usually indistinct, and it is impossible to hold
it still.

You may not care to read in the cars when in motion, but it is
convenient to have a book with you, in case the train should be delayed.

If your friends accompany you to the station, be careful that your last
words are not too personal or too loud. Young people are apt to overlook
this, and thus sometimes make themselves ridiculous before the other
passengers by joking and laughing in a way which might be perfectly
proper at home, but which before a company of strangers is not in good
taste.

If you meet acquaintances, do not call out their names so distinctly as
to introduce them to the other passengers, as it is never pleasant for
people to have the attention of strangers called to them in that way. If
you are alone, do not be too ready to make acquaintances. Reply politely
to any civil remark or offer of assistance, but do not allow yourself to
be drawn into conversation, unless it is with some one of whose
trustworthiness you are reasonably sure, and even then do not forget
that you are talking to a perfect stranger.

If you cannot have everything just as you prefer, remember that you are
in a public conveyance, and that the other passengers have as much right
to their way as you have to yours. If you find that your open window
annoys your neighbor, do not refuse to shut it; and if the case is
reversed, do not complain, unless you are really afraid of taking cold,
and cannot conveniently change your seat. Above all things, do not get
into a dispute about it, like the two women, one of whom declared that
she should die if the window was open, and the other responded that she
should stifle if it was shut, until one of the passengers requested the
conductor to open it a while and kill one, and then shut it and kill the
other, that the rest might have peace.

There are few situations where the disposition is more thoroughly shown
than it is in traveling. A long journey is considered by some people to
be a perfect test of the temper. There are many ways in which an
unselfish person will find an opportunity to be obliging. It is
surprising to see how people who consider themselves kind and polite
members of society can sometimes forget all their good manners in the
cars, showing a perfect disregard of the comfort--and even the
rights--of others, which would banish them from decent society if shown
elsewhere.

To return to particular directions: Do not entertain those who are
traveling with you by constant complaints of the dust or the heat or the
cold. The others are probably as much annoyed by these things as you
are, and fault-finding will only make them the more unpleasant to all.
Be careful what you say about those near you, as a thoughtless remark to
a friend in too loud a tone may cause a real heartache. Many a weary
mother has been pained by hearing complaints of a fretful child, whose
crying most probably distresses her more than any one else. Instead of
saying, "Why will people travel with babies?" remember that it is
sometimes unavoidable, and do not disfigure your face by a frown at the
disturbance, but try to do what you can to make the journey pleasant for
those around you, at least by a serene and cheerful face. A person who
really wishes to be helpful to others, will find plenty of opportunities
to "lend a hand" without becoming conspicuous in any way.

Do not ask too many questions of other passengers. Keep your eyes and
ears open, and you will know as much as the rest do. If you wish to
inquire about anything, let it be of the conductor, whose business it is
to answer you, and do not detain him unnecessarily. Remember what he
tells you, that you may not be like the woman Gail Hamilton describes,
who asked the conductor the same question every time he came around, as
if she thought he had undergone a moral change during his absence, and
might answer her more truthfully.

If you get out of the car at any station on your way, be sure to observe
which car it was, and which train, so that you need not go about
inquiring where you belong when you wish to return to your seat.

A large proportion of the accidents which happen every year are caused
by carelessness. Young people are afraid of seeming timid and anxious,
and will sometimes, in avoiding this, risk their lives very foolishly.
They step from the train before it has fairly stopped, or put their
heads out of the window when the car is in motion, or rest the elbow on
the sill of an open window in such a way that a passing train may cause
serious, if not fatal, injury. Sometimes they pass carelessly from one
car to another when the train is still, forgetting that it may start at
any moment and throw them off their balance. Many similar exposures can
be avoided by a little care and thought.

These are very plain, simple rules, which it may be supposed are already
known to every one; but a little observation will show that they are not
always put in practice.

A great deal has been left unsaid here on the advantages and pleasures
of travel; but, without a knowledge of the simple details we have given,
one will be sure to miss much of the culture and enjoyment which might
otherwise be gained by it.

[Illustration: AN EXCITING RIDE.]



THE SWALLOWS.

BY DORA READ GOODALE.


  Dear birds that greet us with the spring,
    That fly along the sunny blue,
  That hover round your last year's nests,
    Or cut the shining heavens thro',
  That skim along the meadow grass,
    Among the flowers sweet and fair,
  That croon upon the pointed roof,
    Or, quiv'ring, balance in the air;
  Ye heralds of the summer days,
    As quick ye dart across the lea,
  Tho' other birds be fairer, yet
    The dearest of all birds are ye.

  Dear as the messengers of spring
    Before the buds have opened wide,
  Dear when our other birds are here,
    Dear in the burning summertide;
  But when the lonely autumn wind
    About the flying forest grieves,
  In vain we look for you, and find--
    Your empty nests beneath the eaves.



UNDER THE LILACS

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.

CHAPTER XVIII.

BOWS AND ARROWS.


If Sancho's abduction made a stir, one may easily imagine with what
warmth and interest he was welcomed back when his wrongs and wanderings
were known. For several days he held regular levees, that curious boys
and sympathizing girls might see and pity the changed and curtailed dog.
Sancho behaved with dignified affability, and sat upon his mat in the
coach-house pensively eying his guests, and patiently submitting to
their caresses; while Ben and Thorny took turns to tell the few tragical
facts which were not shrouded in the deepest mystery. If the interesting
sufferer could only have spoken, what thrilling adventures and
hair-breadth escapes he might have related. But, alas! he was dumb, and
the secrets of that memorable month never were revealed.

The lame paw soon healed, the dingy color slowly yielded to many
washings, the woolly coat began to knot up into little curls, a new
collar handsomely marked made him a respectable dog, and Sancho was
himself again. But it was evident that his sufferings were not
forgotten; his once sweet temper was a trifle soured, and, with a few
exceptions, he had lost his faith in mankind. Before, he had been the
most benevolent and hospitable of dogs; now, he eyed all strangers
suspiciously, and the sight of a shabby man made him growl and bristle
up, as if the memory of his wrongs still burned hotly within him.

Fortunately, his gratitude was stronger than his resentment, and he
never seemed to forget that he owed his life to Betty,--running to meet
her whenever she appeared, instantly obeying her commands, and suffering
no one to molest her when he walked watchfully beside her, with her hand
upon his neck, as they had walked out of the almost fatal back-yard
together, faithful friends forever.

Miss Celia called them little Una and her lion, and read the pretty
story to the children when they wondered what she meant. Ben, with great
pains, taught the dog to spell "Betty," and surprised her with a display
of this new accomplishment, which gratified her so much that she was
never tired of seeing Sanch paw the five red letters into place, then
come and lay his nose in her hand, as if he added: "That's the name of
my dear mistress."

Of course Bab was glad to have everything pleasant and friendly again,
but in a little dark corner of her heart there was a drop of envy, and a
desperate desire to do something which would make every one in her small
world like and praise her as they did Betty. Trying to be as good and
gentle did not satisfy her; she must _do_ something brave or surprising,
and no chance for distinguishing herself in that way seemed likely to
appear. Betty was as fond as ever, and the boys were very kind to her;
but she felt that they both liked "little Betcinda," as they called her,
best, because she found Sanch, and never seemed to know that she had
done anything brave in defending him against all odds. Bab did not tell
any one how she felt, but endeavored to be amiable while waiting for her
chance to come, and when it did arrive made the most of it, though there
was nothing heroic to add a charm.

Miss Celia's arm had been doing very well, but it would, of course, be
useless for some time longer. Finding that the afternoon readings amused
herself as much as they did the children, she kept them up, and brought
out all her old favorites, enjoying a double pleasure in seeing that her
young audience relished them as much as she did when a child; for to all
but Thorny they were brand new. Out of one of these stories came much
amusement for all, and satisfaction for one of the party.

"Celia, did you bring our old bows?" asked her brother, eagerly, as she
put down the book from which she had been reading Miss Edgeworth's
capital story of "Waste not Want not; or, Two Strings to your Bow."

"Yes, I brought all the playthings we left stored away in uncle's garret
when we went abroad. The bows are in the long box where you found the
mallets, fishing-rods and bats. The old quivers and a few arrows are
there also, I believe. What is the idea now?" asked Miss Celia in her
turn, as Thorny bounced up in a great hurry.

"I'm going to teach Ben to shoot. Grand fun this hot weather, and by and
by we'll have an archery meeting, and you can give us a prize. Come on,
Ben. I've got plenty of whip-cord to rig up the bows, and then we'll
show the ladies some first-class shooting."

"_I_ can't; never had a decent bow in my life. The little gilt one I
used to wave round when I was a Coopid wasn't worth a cent to go,"
answered Ben, feeling as if that painted "prodigy" must have been a very
distant connection of the respectable young person now walking off
arm-in-arm with the lord of the manor.

"Practice is all you want. I used to be a capital shot, but I don't
believe I could hit anything but a barn-door now," answered Thorny,
encouragingly.

As the boys vanished, with much tramping of boots and banging of doors,
Bab observed, in the young-ladyish tone she was apt to use when she
composed her active little mind and body to the feminine task of
needlework:

"We used to make bows of whalebone when we were little girls, but we are
too old to play so now."

"I'd like to, but Bab wont, 'cause she's most 'leven years old," said
honest Betty, placidly rubbing her needle in the "ruster," as she called
the family emery-bag.

"Grown people enjoy archery, as bow and arrow shooting is called,
especially in England. I was reading about it the other day, and saw a
picture of Queen Victoria with her bow, so you needn't be ashamed of it,
Bab," said Miss Celia, rummaging among the books and papers in her sofa
corner to find the magazine she wanted, thinking a new play would be as
good for the girls as for the big boys.

"A queen, just think!" and Betty looked much impressed by the fact, as
well as uplifted by the knowledge that her friend did not agree in
thinking her silly because she preferred playing with a harmless
home-made toy to firing stones or snapping a pop-gun.

"In old times, bows and arrows were used to fight great battles with,
and we read how the English archers shot so well that the air was dark
with arrows, and many men were killed."

"So did the Indians have 'em, and I've got some stone
arrow-heads,--found 'em by the river, in the dirt!" cried Bab, waking
up, for battles interested her more than queens.

"While you finish your stints I'll tell you a little story about the
Indians," said Miss Celia, lying back on her cushions, while the needles
began to go again, for the prospect of a story could not be resisted.

"A century or more ago, in a small settlement on the banks of the
Connecticut,--which means the Long River of Pines,--there lived a little
girl called Matty Kilburn. On a hill stood the fort where the people ran
for protection in any danger, for the country was new and wild, and more
than once the Indians had come down the river in their canoes and burned
the houses, killed men, and carried away women and children. Matty
lived alone with her father, but felt quite safe in the log-house, for
he was never far away. One afternoon, as the farmers were all busy in
their fields, the bell rang suddenly,--a sign that there was danger
near,--and, dropping their rakes or axes, the men hurried to their
houses to save wives and babies, and such few treasures as they could.
Mr. Kilburn caught up his gun with one hand and his little girl with the
other, and ran as fast as he could toward the fort. But before he could
reach it he heard a yell, and saw the red men coming up from the river.
Then he knew it would be in vain to try to get in, so he looked about
for a safe place to hide Matty till he could come for her. He was a
brave man, and could fight, so he had no thought of hiding while his
neighbors needed help; but the dear little daughter must be cared for
first.

In the corner of the lonely pasture which they dared not cross, stood a
big hollow elm, and there the farmer hastily hid Matty, dropping her
down into the dim nook, round the mouth of which young shoots had grown,
so that no one would have suspected any hole was there.

'Lie still, child, till I come; say your prayers and wait for father,'
said the man, as he parted the leaves for a last glance at the small,
frightened face looking up at him.

'Come soon,' whispered Matty, and tried to smile bravely, as a stout
settler's girl should.

"Mr. Kilburn went away, and was taken prisoner in the fight, carried off,
and for years no one knew if he was alive or dead. People missed Matty,
but supposed she was with her father, and never expected to see her
again. A great while afterward the poor man came back, having escaped
and made his way through the wilderness to his old home. His first
question was for Matty, but no one had seen her; and when he told where
he had left her, they shook their heads as if they thought he was crazy.
But they went to look, that he might be satisfied; and he was; for there
they found some little bones, some faded bits of cloth, and two rusty
silver buckles marked with Matty's name in what had once been her shoes.
An Indian arrow lay there, too, showing why she had never cried for
help, but waited patiently so long for father to come and find her."

If Miss Celia expected to see the last bit of hem done when her story
ended, she was disappointed; for not a dozen stitches had been taken.
Betty was using her crash-towel for a handkerchief, and Bab's lay on the
ground as she listened with snapping eyes to the little tragedy.

"Is it true?" asked Betty, hoping to find relief in being told that it
was not.

"Yes; I have seen the tree, and the mound where the fort was, and the
rusty buckles in an old farm-house where other Kilburns live, near the
spot where it all happened," answered Miss Celia, looking out the
picture of Victoria to console her auditors.

"We'll play that in the old apple-tree. Betty can scrooch down, and I'll
be the father, and put leaves on her, and then I'll be a great Injun and
fire at her. I can make arrows, and it will be fun, wont it?" cried Bab,
charmed with the new drama in which she could act the leading parts.

"No, it wont! I don't like to go in a cobwebby hole, and have you play
kill me. I'll make a nice fort of hay, and be all safe, and you can put
Dinah down there for Matty. I don't love her any more, now her last eye
has tumbled out, and you may shoot her just as much as you like."

Before Bab could agree to this satisfactory arrangement, Thorny
appeared, singing, as he aimed at a fat robin, whose red waistcoat
looked rather warm and winterish that August day:

  "So he took up his bow,
    And he feathered his arrow,
  And said: 'I will shoot
    This little cock-sparrow.'"

"But he didn't," chirped the robin, flying away, with a contemptuous
flirt of his rusty-black tail.

"That is exactly what you must promise _not_ to do, boys. Fire away at
your targets as much as you like, but do not harm any living creature,"
said Miss Celia, as Ben followed armed and equipped with her own
long-unused accouterments.

"Of course we wont if you say so; but, with a little practice, I _could_
bring down a bird as well as that fellow you read to me about with his
woodpeckers and larks and herons," answered Thorny, who had much enjoyed
the article, while his sister lamented over the destruction of the
innocent birds.

"You'd do well to borrow the Squire's old stuffed owl for a target;
there would be some chance of your hitting him, he is so big," said his
sister, who always made fun of the boy when he began to brag.

Thorny's only reply was to send his arrow straight up so far out of
sight that it was a long while coming down again to stick quivering in
the ground near by, whence Sancho brought it in his mouth, evidently
highly approving of a game in which he could join.

"Not bad for a beginning. Now, Ben, fire away."

But Ben's experience with bows was small, and, in spite of his
praiseworthy efforts to imitate his great exemplar, the arrow only
turned a feeble sort of somersault, and descended perilously near Bab's
uplifted nose.

"If you endanger other people's life and liberty in your pursuit of
happiness, I shall have to confiscate your arms, boys. Take the orchard
for your archery ground; that is safe, and we can see you as we sit
here. I wish I had two hands, so that I could paint you a fine, gay
target," and Miss Celia looked regretfully at the injured arm, which as
yet was of little use.

"I wish you could shoot, too; you used to beat all the girls, and I was
proud of you," answered Thorny, with the air of a fond elder brother;
though, at the time he alluded to, he was about twelve, and hardly up to
his sister's shoulder.

"Thank you. I shall be happy to give my place to Bab and Betty if you
will make them some bows and arrows; they could not use those long
ones."

The young gentlemen did not take the hint as quickly as Miss Celia hoped
they would; in fact, both looked rather blank at the suggestion, as boys
generally do when it is proposed that girls--especially small
ones--shall join in any game they are playing.

"P'r'aps it would be too much trouble," began Betty, in her winning
little voice.

"I can make my own," declared Bab, with an independent toss of the head.

"Not a bit; I'll make you the jolliest small bow that ever was,
Betcinda," Thorny hastened to say, softened by the appealing glance of
the little maid.

"You can use mine, Bab; you've got such a strong fist, I guess you could
pull it," added Ben, remembering that it would not be amiss to have a
comrade who shot worse than he did, for he felt very inferior to Thorny
in many ways, and, being used to praise, had missed it very much since
he retired to private life.

"I will be umpire, and brighten up the silver arrow I sometimes pin my
hair with, for a prize, unless we can find something better," proposed
Miss Celia, glad to see that question settled, and every prospect of the
new play being a pleasant amusement for the hot weather.

It was astonishing how soon archery became the fashion in that town, for
the boys discussed it enthusiastically all that evening, formed the
"William Tell Club" next day, with Bab and Betty as honorary members,
and, before the week was out, nearly every lad was seen, like young
Norval, "With bended bow and quiver full of arrows," shooting away, with
a charming disregard of the safety of their fellow-citizens. Banished by
the authorities to secluded spots, the members of the club set up their
targets and practiced indefatigably, especially Ben, who soon discovered
that his early gymnastics had given him a sinewy arm and a true eye;
and, taking Sanch into partnership as picker-up, he got more shots out
of an hour than those who had to run to and fro.

[Illustration: MATTY KILBURN AND HER FATHER AT THE TREE.]

Thorny easily recovered much of his former skill, but his strength had
not fully returned, and he soon grew tired. Bab, on the contrary, threw
herself into the contest heart and soul, and tugged away at the new bow
Miss Celia gave her, for Ben's was too heavy. No other girls were
admitted, so the outsiders got up a club of their own, and called it
"The Victoria," the name being suggested by the magazine article, which
went the rounds as general guide and reference-book. Bab and Betty
belonged to this club also, and duly reported the doings of the boys,
with whom they had a right to shoot if they chose, but soon waived the
right, plainly seeing that their absence would be regarded in the light
of a favor.

The archery fever raged as fiercely as the baseball epidemic had done
before it, and not only did the magazine circulate freely, but Miss
Edgeworth's story, which was eagerly read, and so much admired that the
girls at once mounted green ribbons, and the boys kept yards of
whip-cord in their pockets, like the provident Benjamin of the tale.

Every one enjoyed the new play very much, and something grew out of it
which was a lasting pleasure to many, long after the bows and arrows
were forgotten. Seeing how glad the children were to get a new story,
Miss Celia was moved to send a box of books--old and new--to the town
library, which was but scantily supplied, as country libraries are apt
to be. This donation produced a good effect; for other people hunted up
all the volumes they could spare for the same purpose, and the dusty
shelves in the little room behind the post-office filled up amazingly.
Coming in vacation time they were hailed with delight, and ancient books
of travel, as well as modern tales, were feasted upon by happy young
folks, with plenty of time to enjoy them in peace.

The success of her first attempt at being a public benefactor pleased
Miss Celia very much, and suggested other ways in which she might serve
the quiet town, where she seemed to feel that work was waiting for her
to do. She said little to any one but the friend over the sea, yet
various plans were made then that blossomed beautifully by and by.



CHAPTER XIX.

SPEAKING PIECES.


The first of September came all too soon, and school began. Among the
boys and girls who went trooping up to the "East Corner knowledge-box,"
as they called it, was our friend Ben, with a pile of neat books under
his arm. He felt very strange, and decidedly shy; but put on a bold
face, and let nobody guess that, though nearly thirteen, he had never
been to school before. Miss Celia had told his story to Teacher, and
she, being a kind little woman, with young brothers of her own, made
things as easy for him as she could. In reading and writing he did very
well, and proudly took his place among lads of his own age; but when it
came to arithmetic and geography, he had to go down a long way, and
begin almost at the beginning, in spite of Thorny's efforts to "tool him
along fast." It mortified him sadly, but there was no help for it; and
in some of the classes he had dear little Betty to condole with him when
he failed, and smile contentedly when he got above her, as he soon began
to do,--for she was not a quick child, and plodded through First Parts
long after sister Bab was flourishing away among girls much older than
herself.

Fortunately, Ben was a short boy and a clever one, so he did not look
out of place among the ten and eleven year olders, and fell upon his
lessons with the same resolution with which he used to take a new leap,
or practice patiently till he could touch his heels with his head. That
sort of exercise had given him a strong, elastic little body; this kind
was to train his mind, and make its faculties as useful, quick and sure,
as the obedient muscles, nerves and eye, which kept him safe where
others would have broken their necks. He knew this, and found much
consolation in the fact that, though mental arithmetic was a hopeless
task, he _could_ turn a dozen somersaults, and come up as steady as a
judge. When the boys laughed at him for saying that China was in Africa,
he routed them entirely by his superior knowledge of the animals
belonging to that wild country; and when "First class in reading" was
called, he marched up with the proud consciousness that the shortest boy
in it did better than tall Moses Towne or fat Sam Kitteridge.

Teacher praised him all she honestly could, and corrected his many
blunders so quietly that he soon ceased to be a deep, distressful red
during recitation, and tugged away so manfully that no one could help
respecting him for his efforts, and trying to make light of his
failures. So the first hard week went by, and though the boy's heart had
sunk many a time at the prospect of a protracted wrestle with his own
ignorance, he made up his mind to win, and went at it again on the
Monday with fresh zeal, all the better and braver for a good, cheery
talk with Miss Celia in the Sunday evening twilight.

He did not tell her one of his greatest trials, however, because he
thought she could not help him there. Some of the children rather looked
down upon him, called him "tramp" and "beggar," twitted him with having
been a circus boy, and lived in a tent like a gypsy. They did not mean
to be cruel, but did it for the sake of teasing, never stopping to think
how much such sport can make a fellow-creature suffer. Being a plucky
fellow, Ben pretended not to mind; but he did feel it keenly, because
he wanted to start afresh, and be like other boys. He was not ashamed of
the old life, but finding those around him disapproved of it, he was
glad to let it be forgotten,--even by himself,--for his latest
recollections were not happy ones, and present comforts made past
hardships seem harder than before.

He said nothing of this to Miss Celia, but she found it out, and liked
him all the better for keeping some of his small worries to himself. Bab
and Betty came over on Monday afternoon full of indignation at some
boyish insult Sam had put upon Ben, and finding them too full of it to
enjoy the reading, Miss Celia asked what the matter was. Then both
little girls burst out in a rapid succession of broken exclamations
which did not give a very clear idea of the difficulty:

"Sam didn't like it because Ben jumped farther than he did----"

"And he said Ben ought to be in the poor-house."

"And Ben said _he_ ought to be in a pig-pen."

"So he had!--such a greedy thing, bringing lovely big apples and not
giving any one a single bite!"

"Then he was mad, and we all laughed, and he said, 'Want to fight?'"

"And Ben said, 'No, thanky, not much fun in pounding a feather-bed.'"

"Oh, he was _awfully_ mad then and chased Ben up the big maple."

"He's there now, for Sam wont let him come down till he takes it all
back."

"Ben wont, and I do believe he'll have to stay up all night," said
Betty, distressfully.

"He wont care, and we'll have fun firing up his supper. Nut-cakes and
cheese will go splendidly; and may be baked pears wouldn't get smashed,
he's such a good catch," added Bab, decidedly relishing the prospect.

"If he does not come by tea-time we will go and look after him. It seems
to me I have heard something about Sam's troubling him before, haven't
I?" asked Miss Celia, ready to defend her protégé against all unfair
persecution.

"Yes'm, Sam and Mose are always plaguing Ben. They are big boys and we
can't make them stop. I wont let the girls do it, and the little boys
don't dare to, since Teacher spoke to them," answered Bab.

"Why does not Teacher speak to the big ones?"

"Ben wont tell of them or let us. He says he'll fight his own battles
and hates tell-tales. I guess his wont like to have us tell you, but I
don't care, for it _is_ too bad," and Betty looked ready to cry over her
friend's tribulations.

"I'm glad you did, for I will attend to it and stop this sort of
thing," said Miss Celia, after the children had told some of the
tormenting speeches which had tried poor Ben.

Just then, Thorny appeared, looking much amused, and the little girls
both called out in a breath: "Did you see Ben and get him down?"

"He got himself down in the neatest way you can imagine," and Thorny
laughed at the recollection.

"Where is Sam?" asked Bab.

"Staring up at the sky to see where Ben has flown to."

"Oh, tell about it!" begged Betty.

"Well, I came along and found Ben treed, and Sam stoning him. I stopped
that at once and told the 'fat boy' to be off. He said he wouldn't till
Ben begged his pardon, and Ben said he wouldn't do it if he stayed up
for a week. I was just preparing to give that rascal a scientific
thrashing when a load of hay came along and Ben dropped on to it so
quietly that Sam, who was trying to bully me, never saw him go. It
tickled me so, I told Sam I guessed I'd let him off that time, and
walked away, leaving him to hunt for Ben and wonder where the dickens he
had vanished to."

The idea of Sam's bewilderment tickled the others as much as Thorny, and
they all had a good laugh over it before Miss Celia asked:

"Where has Ben gone now?"

"Oh, he'll take a little ride and then slip down and race home full of
the fun of it. But I've got to settle Sam. I wont have our Ben hectored
by any one----"

"But yourself," put in his sister, with a sly smile, for Thorny _was_
rather domineering at times.

"He doesn't mind my poking him up now and then, it's good for him, and I
always take his part against other people. Sam is a bully and so is
Mose, and I'll thrash them both if they don't stop."

Anxious to curb her brother's pugnacious propensities, Miss Celia
proposed milder measures, promising to speak to the boys herself if
there was any more trouble.

"I have been thinking that we should have some sort of merry-making for
Ben on his birthday. My plan was a very simple one, but I will enlarge
it and have all the young folks come, and Ben shall be king of the fun.
He needs encouragement in well-doing, for he does try, and now the first
hard part is nearly over I am sure he will get on bravely. If we treat
him with respect and show our regard for him, others will follow our
example, and that will be better than fighting about it."

"So it will! What shall we do to make our party tip-top?" asked Thorny,
falling into the trap at once, for he dearly loved to get up
theatricals, and had not had any for a long time.

"We will plan something splendid, a 'grand combination,' as you used to
call your droll mixtures of tragedy, comedy, melodrama and farce,"
answered his sister, with her head already full of lively plots.

"We'll startle the natives. I don't believe they ever saw a play in all
their lives, hey Bab?"

"I've seen a circus."

"We dress up and do 'Babes in the Wood,'" added Betty, with dignity.

"Pho! that's nothing. I'll show you acting that will make your hair
stand on end, and you shall act too. Bab will be capital for the naughty
girls," began Thorny, excited by the prospect of producing a sensation
on the boards, and always ready to tease the girls.

Before Betty could protest that she did not want her hair to stand up,
or Bab could indignantly decline the rôle offered her, a shrill whistle
was heard, and Miss Celia whispered, with a warning look:

"Hush! Ben is coming, and he must not know anything about this yet."

The next day was Wednesday, and in the afternoon Miss Celia went to hear
the children "speak pieces," though it was very seldom that any of the
busy matrons and elder sisters found time or inclination for these
displays of youthful oratory. Miss Celia and Mrs. Moss were all the
audience on this occasion, but Teacher was both pleased and proud to see
them, and a general rustle went through the school as they came in, all
the girls turning from the visitors to nod at Bab and Betty, who smiled
all over their round faces to see "Ma" sitting up "side of Teacher," and
the boys grinned at Ben, whose heart began to beat fast at the thought
of his dear mistress coming so far to hear him say his piece.

Thorny had recommended Marco Bozzaris, but Ben preferred John Gilpin,
and ran the famous race with much spirit, making excellent time in some
parts and having to be spurred a little in others, but came out all
right, though quite breathless at the end, sitting down amid great
applause, some of which, curiously enough, seemed to come from outside;
which in fact it did, for Thorny was bound to hear but would not come
in, lest his presence should abash one orator at least.

Other pieces followed, all more or less patriotic and warlike, among the
boys; sentimental among the girls. Sam broke down in his attempt to give
one of Webster's great speeches. Little Cy Fay boldly attacked

  "Again to the battle, Achaians!"

and shrieked his way through it in a shrill, small voice, bound to do
honor to the older brother who had trained him, even if he broke a
vessel in the attempt. Billy chose a well-worn piece, but gave it a new
interest by his style of delivery; for his gestures were so spasmodic he
looked as if going into a fit, and he did such astonishing things with
his voice that one never knew whether a howl or a growl would come next.
When

  "The woods against a stormy sky
  Their giant branches tossed;"

Billy's arms went round like the sails of a windmill; the "hymns of
lofty cheer" not only "shook the depths of the desert gloom," but the
small children on their little benches, and the schoolhouse literally
rang "to the anthems of the free!" When "the ocean eagle soared," Billy
appeared to be going bodily up, and the "pines of the forest roared" as
if they had taken lessons of Van Amburgh's biggest lion. "Woman's
fearless eye" was expressed by a wild glare; "manhood's brow, severely
high," by a sudden clutch at the reddish locks falling over the orator's
hot forehead, and a sounding thump on his blue checked bosom told where
"the fiery heart of youth" was located. "What sought they thus afar?" he
asked, in such a natural and inquiring tone, with his eye fixed on Mamie
Peters, that the startled innocent replied, "Dunno," which caused the
speaker to close in haste, devoutly pointing a stubby finger upward at
the last line.

This was considered the gem of the collection, and Billy took his seat
proudly conscious that his native town boasted an orator who, in time,
would utterly eclipse Edward Everett and Wendell Phillips.

Sally Folsom led off with "The Coral Grove," chosen for the express
purpose of making her friend Almira Mullet start and blush, when she
recited the second line of that pleasing poem,

  "Where the purple _mullet_ and gold-fish rove."

One of the older girls gave Wordsworth's "Lost Love" in a pensive tone,
clasping her hands and bringing out the "O" as if a sudden twinge of
toothache seized her when she ended.

  "But she is in her grave, and O,
  The difference to me!"

Bab always chose a funny piece, and on this afternoon set them all
laughing by the spirit with which she spoke the droll poem, "Pussy's
Class," which some of my young readers may have read. The "meou" and the
"sptzzs" were capital, and when the "fond mamma rubbed her nose," the
children shouted, for Miss Bab made a paw of her hand and ended with an
impromptu purr, which was considered the best imitation ever presented
to an appreciative public. Betty bashfully murmured "Little White
Lilly," swaying to and fro as regularly as if in no other way could the
rhymes be ground out of her memory.

[Illustration: "THE OCEAN EAGLE SOARED."]

"That is all, I believe. If either of the ladies would like to say a few
words to the children, I should be pleased to have them," said Teacher,
politely, pausing before she dismissed school with a song.

"Please'm, I'd like to speak my piece," answered Miss Celia, obeying a
sudden impulse; and, stepping forward with her hat in her hand, she made
a pretty courtesy before she recited Mary Howitt's sweet little ballad,
"Mabel on Midsummer Day."

She looked so young and merry, used such simple but expressive gestures,
and spoke in such a clear, soft voice that the children sat as if
spellbound, learning several lessons from this new teacher, whose
performance charmed them from beginning to end, and left a moral which
all could understand and carry away in that last verse:

  "'Tis good to make all duty sweet,
    To be alert and kind;
  'Tis good, like Little Mabel,
    To have a willing mind."

Of course there was an enthusiastic clapping when Miss Celia sat down,
but even while hands applauded, consciences pricked, and undone tasks,
complaining words and sour faces seemed to rise up reproachfully before
many of the children, as well as their own faults of elocution.

"Now we will sing," said Teacher, and a great clearing of throats
ensued, but before a note could be uttered, the half-open door swung
wide, and Sancho, with Ben's hat on, walked in upon his hind legs, and
stood with his paws meekly folded, while a voice from the entry sang
rapidly:

  "Benny had a little dog,
    His fleece was white as snow,
  And everywhere that Benny went
    The dog was sure to go.

  He went into the school one day,
    Which was against the rule;
  It made the children laugh and play
    To see a dog----"

Mischievous Thorny got no further, for a general explosion of laughter
drowned the last words, and Ben's command "Out, you rascal!" sent Sanch
to the right-about in double-quick time.

Miss Celia tried to apologize for her bad brother, and Teacher tried to
assure her that it didn't matter in the least as this was always a merry
time, and Mrs. Moss vainly shook her finger at her naughty daughters;
they as well as the others would have their laugh out, and only
partially sobered down when the bell rang for "Attention." They thought
they were to be dismissed, and repressed their giggles as well as they
could in order to get a good start for a vociferous roar when they got
out. But, to their great surprise, the pretty lady stood up again and
said, in her friendly way:

"I just want to thank you for this pleasant little exhibition, and ask
leave to come again, I also wish to invite you all to my boy's birthday
party on Saturday week. The archery meeting is to be in the afternoon,
and both clubs will be there, I believe. In the evening we are going to
have some fun, when we can laugh as much as we please without breaking
any of the rules. In Ben's name I invite you, and hope you will all
come, for we mean to make this the happiest birthday he ever had."

There were twenty pupils in the room, but the eighty hands and feet made
such a racket at this announcement that an outsider would have thought a
hundred children, at least, must have been at it. Miss Celia was a
general favorite because she nodded to all the girls, called the boys by
their last names, even addressing some of the largest as "Mr.," which
won their hearts at once, so that if she had invited them all to come
and be whipped they would have gone, sure that it was some delightful
joke. With what eagerness they accepted the present invitation one can
easily imagine, though they never guessed why she gave it in that way,
and Ben's face was a sight to see, he was so pleased and proud at the
honor done him that he did not know where to look, and was glad to rush
out with the other boys and vent his emotions in whoops of delight. He
knew that some little plot was being concocted for his birthday, but
never dreamed of anything so grand as asking the whole school, Teacher
and all. The effect of the invitation was seen with comical rapidity,
for the boys became overpowering in their friendly attentions to Ben.
Even Sam, fearing he might be left out, promptly offered the peaceful
olive-branch in the shape of a big apple, warm from his pocket, and Mose
proposed a trade in jack-knives which would be greatly to Ben's
advantage. But Thorny made the noblest sacrifice of all, for he said to
his sister, as they walked home together:

"I'm not going to try for the prize at all. I shoot so much better than
the rest, having had more practice, you know, that it is hardly fair.
Ben and Billy are next best, and about even, for Ben's strong wrist
makes up for Billy's true eye, and both want to win. If I am out of the
way Ben stands a good chance, for the other fellows don't amount to
much."

"Bab does; she shoots nearly as well as Ben, and wants to win even more
than he or Billy. She must have her chance at any rate."

"So she may, but she wont do anything; girls can't, though it's good
exercise and pleases them to try."

"If I had full use of both my arms I'd show you that girls _can_ do a
great deal when they like. Don't be too lofty, young man, for you may
have to come down," laughed Miss Celia, amused by his airs.

"No fear," and Thorny calmly departed to set his targets for Ben's
practice.

"We shall see," and from that moment Miss Celia made Bab her especial
pupil, feeling that a little lesson would be good for Mr. Thorny, who
rather lorded it over the other young people. There was a spice of
mischief in it, for Miss Celia was very young at heart, in spite of her
twenty-four years, and she was bound to see that her side had a fair
chance, believing that girls can do whatever they are willing to strive
patiently and wisely for.

So she kept Bab at work early and late, giving her all the hints and
help she could with only one efficient hand, and Bab was delighted to
think she did well enough to shoot with the club. Her arms ached and her
fingers grew hard with twanging the bow, but she was indefatigable, and
being a strong, tall child of her age, with a great love of all athletic
sports, she got on fast and well, soon learning to send arrow after
arrow with ever increasing accuracy nearer and nearer to the bull's-eye.

The boys took very little notice of her, being much absorbed in their
own affairs, but Betty did for Bab what Sancho did for Ben, and trotted
after arrows till her short legs were sadly tired, though her patience
never gave out. She was so sure Bab would win that she cared nothing
about her own success, practicing little and seldom hitting anything
when she tried.



CHAPTER XX.

BEN'S BIRTHDAY.


A superb display of flags flapped gayly in the breeze on the September
morning when Ben proudly entered his teens. An irruption of bunting
seemed to have broken out all over the old house, for banners of every
shape and size, color and design flew from chimney-top and gable, porch
and gate-way, making the quiet place look as lively as a circus tent,
which was just what Ben most desired and delighted in.

The boys had been up very early to prepare the show, and when it was
ready enjoyed it hugely, for the fresh wind made the pennons cut strange
capers. The winged lion of Venice looked as if trying to fly away home;
the Chinese dragon appeared to brandish his forked tail as he clawed at
the Burmese peacock; the double-headed eagle of Russia pecked at the
Turkey crescent with one beak, while the other seemed to be screaming to
the English royal beast, "Come on and lend a paw." In the hurry of
hoisting, the Siamese elephant got turned upside down, and now danced
gayly on his head, with the stars and stripes waving proudly over him. A
green flag with a yellow harp and sprig of shamrock hung in sight of the
kitchen window, and Katy, the cook, got breakfast to the tune of "St.
Patrick's day in the morning." Sancho's kennel was half hidden under a
rustling paper imitation of the gorgeous Spanish banner, and the scarlet
sun-and-moon flag of Arabia snapped and flaunted from the pole over the
coach-house, as a delicate compliment to Lita, Arabian horses being
considered the finest in the world.

The little girls came out to see, and declared it was the loveliest
sight they ever beheld, while Thorny played "Hail Columbia" on his fife,
and Ben, mounting the gate-post, crowed long and loud like a happy
cockerel who had just reached his majority. He had been surprised and
delighted with the gifts he found in his room on awaking, and guessed
why Miss Celia and Thorny gave him such pretty things, for among them
was a match-box made like a mouse-trap. The doggy buttons and the horsey
whip were treasures indeed, for Miss Celia had not given them when they
first planned to do so, because Sancho's return seemed to be joy and
reward enough for that occasion. But he did not forget to thank Mrs.
Moss for the cake she sent him, nor the girls for the red mittens which
they had secretly and painfully knit. Bab's was long and thin, with a
very pointed thumb, Betty's short and wide, with a stubby thumb, and all
their mother's pulling and pressing could not make them look alike, to
the great affliction of the little knitters. Ben, however, assured them
that he rather preferred odd ones, as then he could always tell which
was right and which left. He put them on immediately and went about
cracking the new whip with an expression of content which was droll to
see, while the children followed after, full of admiration for the hero
of the day.

They were very busy all the morning preparing for the festivities to
come, and as soon as dinner was over every one scrambled into his or her
best clothes as fast as possible, because, although invited to come at
two, impatient boys and girls were seen hovering about the avenue as
early as one.

The first to arrive, however, was an uninvited guest, for just as Bab
and Betty sat down on the porch steps, in their stiff pink calico frocks
and white ruffled aprons, to repose a moment before the party came in,
a rustling was heard among the lilacs and out stepped Alfred Tennyson
Barlow, looking like a small Robin Hood, in a green blouse with a silver
buckle on his broad belt, a feather in his little cap and a bow in his
hand.

"I have come to shoot. I heard about it. My papa told me what arching
meant. Will there be any little cakes? I like them."

With these opening remarks the poet took a seat and calmly awaited a
response. The young ladies, I regret to say, giggled, then remembering
their manners, hastened to inform him that there _would_ be heaps of
cakes, also that Miss Celia would not mind his coming without an
invitation, they were quite sure.

"She asked me to come that day. I have been very busy. I had measles. Do
you have them here?" asked the guest, as if anxious to compare notes on
the sad subject.

"We had ours ever so long ago. What have you been doing besides having
measles?" said Betty, showing a polite interest.

"I had a fight with a bumble-bee."

"Who beat?" demanded Bab.

"I did. I ran away and he couldn't catch me."

"Can you shoot nicely?"

"I hit a cow. She did not mind at all. I guess she thought it was a
fly."

"Did your mother know you were coming?" asked Bab, feeling an interest
in runaways.

"No; she is gone to drive, so I could not ask her."

"It is very wrong to disobey. My Sunday-school book says that children
who are naughty that way never go to heaven," observed virtuous Betty,
in a warning tone.

"I do not wish to go," was the startling reply.

"Why not?" asked Betty, severely.

"They don't have any dirt there. My mamma says so. I am fond of dirt. I
shall stay here where there is plenty of it," and the candid youth began
to grub in the mold with the satisfaction of a genuine boy.

"I am afraid you're a very bad child."

"Oh yes, I am. My papa often says so and he knows all about it," replied
Alfred with an involuntary wriggle suggestive of painful memories. Then,
as if anxious to change the conversation from its somewhat personal
channel, he asked, pointing to a row of grinning heads above the wall,
"Do you shoot at those?"

Bab and Betty looked up quickly and recognized the familiar faces of
their friends peering down at them, like a choice collection of trophies
or targets.

"I should think you'd be ashamed to peek before the party was ready!"
cried Bab, frowning darkly upon the merry young ladies.

"Miss Celia told _us_ to come before two, and be ready to receive folks,
if she wasn't down," added Betty, importantly.

"It is striking two now. Come along, girls," and over scrambled Sally
Folsom, followed by three or four kindred spirits, just as their hostess
appeared.

"You look like Amazons storming a fort," she said, as the girls came up,
each carrying her bow and arrows, while green ribbons flew in every
direction. "How do you do, sir? I have been hoping you would call
again," added Miss Celia, shaking hands with the pretty boy, who
regarded with benign interest the giver of little cakes.

Here a rush of boys took place, and further remarks were cut short, for
every one was in a hurry to begin. So the procession was formed at once,
Miss Celia taking the lead, escorted by Ben in the post of honor, while
the boys and girls paired off behind, arm in arm, bow on shoulder, in
martial array. Thorny and Billy were the band, and marched before,
fifing and drumming "Yankee Doodle" with a vigor which kept feet moving
briskly, made eyes sparkle, and young hearts dance under the gay gowns
and summer jackets. The interesting stranger was elected to bear the
prize, laid out on a red pin-cushion, and did so with great dignity, as
he went beside the standard-bearer, Cy Fay, who bore Ben's choicest
flag, snow white, with a green wreath surrounding a painted bow and
arrow, and with the letters W. T. C. done in red below.

Such a merry march all about the place, out at the Lodge gate, up and
down the avenue, along the winding-paths till they halted in the orchard
where the target stood and seats were placed for the archers, while they
waited for their turns. Various rules and regulations were discussed,
and then the fun began. Miss Celia had insisted that the girls should be
invited to shoot with the boys, and the lads consented without much
concern, whispering to one another with condescending shrugs--"Let 'em
try, if they like, they can't do anything."

There were various trials of skill before the great match came off, and
in these trials the young gentlemen discovered that two at least of the
girls _could_ do something, for Bab and Sally shot better than many of
the boys, and were well rewarded for their exertions by the change which
took place in the faces and conversation of their mates.

"Why, Bab, you do as well as if I'd taught you myself," said Thorny,
much surprised and not altogether pleased at the little girl's skill.

"A lady taught me, and I mean to beat every one of you," answered Bab,
saucily, while her sparkling eyes turned to Miss Celia with a
mischievous twinkle in them.

"Not a bit of it," declared Thorny, stoutly; but he went to Ben and
whispered, "Do your best, old fellow, for sister has taught Bab all the
scientific points, and the little rascal is ahead of Billy."

"She wont get ahead of _me_," said Ben, picking out his best arrow, and
trying the string of his bow with a confident air which re-assured
Thorny, who found it impossible to believe that a girl ever could,
would, or should excel a boy in anything he cared to try.

It really did look as if Bab would beat when the match for the prize
came off, and the children got more and more excited as the six who were
to try for it took turns at the bull's-eye. Thorny was umpire and kept
account of each shot, for the arrow which went nearest the middle would
win. Each had three shots, and very soon the lookers on saw that Ben and
Bab were the best marksmen, and one of them would surely get the silver
arrow.

Sam, who was too lazy to practice, soon gave up the contest, saying, as
Thorny did, "It wouldn't be fair for such a big fellow to try with the
little chaps," which made a laugh, as his want of skill was painfully
evident. But Mose went at it gallantly, and if his eye had been as true
as his arms were strong, the "little chaps" would have trembled. But his
shots were none of them as near as Billy's, and he retired after the
third failure, declaring that it was impossible to shoot against the
wind, though scarcely a breath was stirring.

Sally Folsom was bound to beat Bab, and twanged away in great style; all
in vain, however, as with tall Maria Newcome, the third girl who
attempted the trial. Being a little near-sighted, she had borrowed her
sister's eye-glasses, and thereby lessened her chance of success; for
the pinch on her nose distracted her attention, and not one of her
arrows went beyond the second ring, to her great disappointment. Billy
did very well, but got nervous when his last shot came, and just missed
the bull's-eye by being in a hurry.

Bab and Ben each had one turn more, and as they were about even, that
last arrow would decide the victory. Both had sent a shot into the
bull's-eye, but neither was exactly in the middle; so there was room to
do better, even, and the children crowded round, crying eagerly, "Now,
Ben!" "Now, Bab!" "Hit her up, Ben!" "Beat him, Bab!" while Thorny
looked as anxious as if the fate of the country depended on the success
of his man. Bab's turn came first, and as Miss Celia examined her bow to
see that all was right, the little girl said, with her eyes on her
rival's excited face:

"I want to beat, but Ben will feel _so_ bad, I 'most hope I sha'n't."

"Losing a prize sometimes makes one happier than gaining it. You have
proved that you could do better than most of them, so, if you do not
beat, you may still feel proud," answered Miss Celia, giving back the
bow with a smile that said more than her words.

It seemed to give Bab a new idea, for in a minute all sorts of
recollections, wishes and plans, rushed through her lively little mind,
and she followed a sudden generous impulse as blindly as she often did a
willful one.

"I guess he'll beat," she said, softly, with a quick sparkle of the
eyes, as she stepped to her place and fired without taking her usual
careful aim.

[Illustration: PRACTICING FOR THE MATCH.]

Her shot struck almost as near the center on the right as her last one
had hit on the left, and there was a shout of delight from the girls as
Thorny announced it before he hurried back to Ben, whispering anxiously:

"Steady, old man, steady; you _must_ beat that, or we shall never hear
the last of it."

Ben did not say, "She wont get ahead of me," as he had said at the
first; he set his teeth, threw off his hat, and knitting his brows with
a resolute expression, prepared to take steady aim, though his heart
beat fast, and his thumb trembled as he pressed it on the bow-string.

"I hope you'll beat, I truly do," said Bab, at his elbow; and as if the
breath that framed the generous wish helped it on its way, the arrow
flew straight to the bull's-eye, hitting, apparently, the very spot
where Bab's best shot had left a hole.

"A tie! a tie!" cried the girls, as a general rush took place toward the
target.

"No; Ben's is nearest. Ben's beat! Hooray!" shouted the boys, throwing
up their hats.

There was only a hair's-breadth difference, and Bab could honestly have
disputed the decision; but she did not, though for an instant she could
not help wishing that the cry had been, "Bab's beat! Hurrah!" it sounded
so pleasant. Then she saw Ben's beaming face, Thorny's intense relief,
and caught the look Miss Celia sent her over the heads of the boys, and
decided, with a sudden warm glow all over her little face, that losing a
prize _did_ sometimes make one happier than winning it. Up went her best
hat, and she burst out in a shrill, "Rah, rah, rah!" that sounded very
funny coming all alone after the general clamor had subsided.

"Good for you, Bab! you are an honor to the club, and I'm proud of you,"
said Prince Thorny, with a hearty hand-shake; for, as his man had won,
he could afford to praise the rival who had put him on his mettle though
she _was_ a girl.

Bab was much uplifted by the royal commendation, but a few minutes later
felt pleased as well as proud when Ben, having received the prize, came
to her, as she stood behind a tree sucking her blistered thumb, while
Betty braided up her disheveled locks.

"I think it would be fairer to call it a tie, Bab, for it nearly was,
and I want you to wear this. I wanted the fun of beating, but I don't
care a bit for this girl's thing, and I'd rather see it on you."

As he spoke, Ben offered the rosette of green ribbon which held the
silver arrow, and Bab's eyes brightened as they fell upon the pretty
ornament, for to her "the girl's thing" was almost as good as the
victory.

"Oh no; you must wear it to show who won. Miss Celia wouldn't like it. I
don't mind not getting it; I did better than all the rest, and I guess I
shouldn't like to beat _you_," answered Bab, unconsciously putting into
childish words the sweet generosity which makes so many sisters glad to
see their brothers carry off the prizes of life, while they are content
to know that they have earned them and can do without the praise.

But if Bab was generous, Ben was just; and though he could not explain
the feeling, would not consent to take all the glory without giving his
little friend a share.

"You _must_ wear it; I shall feel real mean if you don't. You worked
harder than I did, and it was only luck my getting this. Do, Bab, to
please me," he persisted, awkwardly trying to fasten the ornament in the
middle of Bab's white apron.

"Then I will. Now do you forgive me for losing Sancho?" asked Bab, with
a wistful look which made Ben say, heartily:

"I did that when he came home."

"And you don't think I'm horrid?"

"Not a bit of it; you are first-rate, and I'll stand by you like a man,
for you are 'most as good as a boy!" cried Ben, anxious to deal
handsomely with his feminine rival, whose skill had raised her immensely
in his opinion.

Feeling that he could not improve that last compliment, Bab was fully
satisfied, and let him leave the prize upon her breast, conscious that
she had some claim to it.

"That is where it should be, and Ben is a true knight, winning the prize
that he may give it to his lady, while he is content with the victory,"
said Miss Celia, laughingly, to Teacher, as the children ran off to join
in the riotous games which soon made the orchard ring.

"He learned that at the circus 'tunnyments,' as he calls them. He is a
nice boy, and I am much interested in him; for he has the two things
that do most toward making a man, patience and courage," answered
Teacher, smiling also as she watched the young knight play leap-frog,
and the honored lady tearing about in a game of tag.

"Bab is a nice child, too," said Miss Celia; "she is as quick as a flash
to catch an idea and carry it out, though very often the ideas are wild
ones. She could have won just now, I fancy, if she had tried, but took
the notion into her head that it was nobler to let Ben win, and so atone
for the trouble she gave him in losing the dog. I saw a very sweet look
on her face just now, and am sure that Ben will never know why he beat."

"She does such things at school sometimes, and I can't bear to spoil her
little atonements, though they are not always needed or very wise,"
answered Teacher. "Not long ago I found that she had been giving her
lunch day after day to a poor child who seldom had any, and when I asked
her why, she said, with tears, 'I used to laugh at Abby, because she had
only crusty, dry bread, and so she wouldn't bring any. I _ought_ to give
her mine and be hungry, it was so mean to make fun of her poorness.'"

"Did you stop the sacrifice?"

"No; I let Bab 'go halves,' and added an extra bit to my own lunch, so I
could make my contribution likewise."

"Come and tell me about Abby's folks, I want to make friends with our
poor people, for soon I shall have a right to help them;" and, putting
her arm in Teacher's, Miss Celia led her away for a quiet chat in the
porch, making her guest's visit a happy holiday by confiding several
plans and asking advice in the friendliest way.

(_To be continued._)

[Illustration]



"HAPPY FIELDS OF SUMMER."

BY LUCY LARCOM.


[Illustration]

  Happy fields of summer, all your airy grasses
  Whispering and bowing when the west wind passes,--
  Happy lark and nestling, hid beneath the mowing,
  Root sweet music in you, to the white clouds growing!

  Happy fields of summer, softly billowed over
  With the feathery red-top and the rosy clover,--
  Happy little children seek your shady places,
  Lark-songs in their bosoms, sunshine on their faces!

  Happy little children, skies are bright above you,
  Trees bend down to kiss you, breeze and blossom love you;
  And we bless you, playing in the field-paths mazy,
  Swinging with the harebell, dancing with the daisy!

  Happy fields of summer, touched with deeper beauty
  As your tall grain ripens, tell the children duty
  Is as sweet as pleasure;--tell them both are blended
  In the best life-story, well begun and ended!



THE DIGGER-WASPS AT HOME.

BY E. A. E.


July had come again, and brought with it such warm, sultry days that it
almost seemed as if no living creature could stir abroad. Nevertheless,
there was a wonderful deal going on in our garden. Through the air and
over the flower-beds hastened hundreds of little people. Some lived in
the trees and bushes, others in the ground, and all were hard at work.

One morning, especially, there seemed to be something unusual going on;
the buzzing, and humming was fairly deafening.

Whirr-r-r! whirr-r-r! What was that great creature that darted past my
face? And here came another, and another; why, the garden was full of
them!

Big brown-and-yellow wasps these strangers were, and all in a most
desperate hurry. Scores of them were already hard at work digging away
in the firmly packed sand of the path.

As these new-comers seemed to care very little who watched them at their
work, I sat down on an upturned flower-pot in the shade of a friendly
lilac, determined to make their acquaintance.

Hardly had I settled myself before one of the wasps approached. She
seemed searching for something, for she flew rapidly back and forth, now
alighting for a moment--now darting away again. At last she dropped upon
the ground close to me and began to bite the earth with her strong jaws.
When quite a little heap lay before her she pushed it to one side with
her hind feet and then returned to her digging. In five minutes she had
an opening big enough to get into; every time she appeared she backed up
out of it pushing a huge load of sand as big as herself behind her. Soon
all around the hole was a high bank of earth, and she found it necessary
to make a path across it, and push her loads over that. Two hours' hard
work, and the house was finished. It was very simply planned, and had
only one room down at the end of a long, narrow passage. But simple as
it was, this little creature had done more work in the two hours than a
man could do in a day. That is, of course, taking her size into
consideration. And she did not even now stop to rest. Not she! With one
last look into the house, to make sure she was leaving all as it should
be, she flew away. In a moment her strong wings had taken her quite out
of sight but it was not long before she re-appeared. Back and forth she
hastened, at one moment flying through the grape-arbor, at the next
wheeling above the cabbage-bed. All this time the object of her search,
a fat young locust, was quietly sitting on a gate-post, quite
forgetting, as even locusts sometimes will, that he had an enemy in the
world.

A moment later and the wasp's sharp eyes had found him out; and then,
quick as lightning, she darted down upon him, and pierced him with her
sting. When the locust lay perfectly still, the wasp seized him and flew
off. Arrived at her hole, she tumbled him head foremost in at the door,
expecting him, of course, to fall quite to the bottom. But her
calculations had been slightly at fault; the locust was too fat to go
in, and there he stuck with his head and shoulders in the hole and his
body in the air. Here was a dilemma! But my wasp friend was evidently
not one to be overcome by difficulties of this sort. She flew off again,
and this time returned with two other wasps; they crowded round the
hole, and began digging away the earth which pressed close about the
locust. In a short time they seemed satisfied, for they stood up and
pushed at the object of their toils. Slowly he slid down out of sight,
and she who had brought him hurried after. She laid an egg close to him
in her house; then, hurrying up, began to carry back the earth she had
before taken out, and in a short time the door was securely closed. Then
she scraped away, and patted down all the loose earth, till she had made
it quite impossible for any evil-minded creature to find any traces of
her home.

The wasp knew very well that her egg would soon hatch out; that the
little white grub, her chick, would at once begin to feed upon the
locust, which would supply food till the young one was full-grown.

The following morning I again visited the garden, to see how the
home-making progressed. Soon a handsome wasp came running toward my
seat, under the lilac, near which was a newly made hole.

"She knows me! she is no longer afraid!" But no; she stopped short and
raised her long, delicate antennæ, evidently on the lookout for danger.
She could not be the same wasp I had watched yesterday; but how was I to
make sure? They seemed all exactly alike.

I was all this time as motionless as if I had been turned to stone.

She came a step or two nearer, and, at last, quite re-assured, hurried
down into her hole. What a long time she stayed! but, at last, on
watching the opening intently, I saw something coming toward daylight.
It was a great ball of earth, quite filling the hole, that the wasp was
forcing up by her hind legs. With one mighty heave the ball rolled out,
scattering itself in all directions, as it broke apart.

[Illustration: MAKING A HOME.]

I noticed at this time, and afterward, that as the depth of the holes
increased and it took longer journeys to reach the surface, the wasps
always pressed the earth they wished to get rid of into these compact
balls, and so managed to bring up a much greater quantity at once than
would otherwise be possible. The wasp now walked entirely round the
hole, pushing carefully back the loose sand which seemed likely to fall
in again. This done, she was up and away. She was in search now of the
insect near which to lay her egg, but although she came in sight of
several, she could get no nearer.

The inhabitants of our garden were learning how dangerous these new
settlers might be, and kept well out of her way. At last, as she poised
herself high in the air, and rested on her broad, strong wings for an
instant, she spied, far beneath her, a small grasshopper. It was the
work of only a second to pounce upon him, and to lay him out on his back
perfectly insensible.

But now a difficulty arose. How could she, borne down by this heavy
weight, manage to rise into the air? The locust of the day before had
been caught upon a high post, and in order to carry him the wasp had
only to fly down. This was a wholly different case. At last an idea
seemed to occur to her: she jumped astride of the grasshopper, seized
its head with her fore feet, and ran along the ground.

Ha! This was famous; but hard work, nevertheless, and she had often to
let go and rest. She entered the broad path in which her house was, but
somehow she had become bewildered, and mistook a neighbor's hole for her
own. As she dismounted before it, and looked in, the owner angrily
darted out, buzzing in a frightful manner. Our poor friend, much
abashed, proceeded to the next house, and the next, everywhere meeting
with the same reception.

"How stupid of her," I thought, "not to know her own home!" but just
then she saw the entrance, ran swiftly toward it, and in another minute
she and her burden were both safely in-doors.

Presently she came out and again flew off. She had laid her egg close to
the grasshopper, but the amount of provision was not enough, so she had
now gone in search of another insect, with which to fill her larder.

As soon as she was out of sight, a tiny creature flew down into the
hole. She, too, had her egg to lay, and here was just the opportunity.
Inside of the digger-wasp's egg the little ichneumon fly placed another
and a very much smaller one, after which she darted away, just in time
to escape meeting the returning mother, who, coming back laden with a
second grasshopper, placed it close to the first, and set about closing
the door. But all her careful work would be of no avail; no child of
hers would ever come out of this house a perfect full-grown insect like
herself.

This is what happened:

In time the two eggs hatched. The young digger-wasp set to work upon the
grasshopper, and the little ichneumon began to eat the wasp-grub. At
last the young wasp died, and at that moment there flew out from his
body a little fly.

[Illustration: AT THE WRONG HOUSE.]

It rested a minute, then turned and pushed its way through the soft
earth till it reached daylight. It waved its wings gently up and down a
few times, and darted away and out of sight.

The digger-wasps had been living for some weeks in our garden, when,
one afternoon, there came up a fearful thunder-storm. The rain poured
down in torrents. Where had been shortly before neatly kept paths about
our house, we saw now rapid little rivers tearing up sand and gravel as
they raced down-hill, and doing all the damage their short lives would
allow. But all of a sudden the sun burst out from the clouds, the rain
stopped, and the water which had fallen sank into the ground.

I did not waste many minutes in reaching the garden. What a sight met my
eyes! The broad path stretched itself out before me smooth and wet; not
a single hole remained,--all were buried deep under the sand. Instead of
the air being, as was usual, fairly alive with busy, happy creatures,
there was now, here and there, a miserable mud-covered insect clinging
to a leaf, and wearily trying to clean its heavy wings.

What a sad ending to the gay, bright summer!

The next day, however, I found a few survivors hard at work digging
again; but this time every hole was sloping instead of perpendicular.
After much thought, I came to the conclusion that these clever little
creatures had found the way to prevent such another calamity as had
overtaken them the day before. Formerly, the first drops of an unusually
hard shower filled the holes instantly, drowning the inmates. Now, this
could not happen, especially if the openings were placed, as most of
them were, under the shelter of the big grape-leaves which at many
points rested on the edge of the path. This all took place two years
ago; but each summer since then has brought with it some of our old
friends, the digger-wasps.

[Illustration: AFTER THE RAIN-STORM.]



THE EMERGENCY MISTRESS.

(_A Fairy Tale._)

BY FRANK R. STOCKTON.


Jules Vatermann was a wood-cutter, and a very good one. He always had
employment, for he understood his business so well, and was so
industrious and trustworthy, that every one in the neighborhood where he
lived, who wanted wood cut, was glad to get him to do it.

Jules had a very ordinary and commonplace life until he was a
middle-aged man, and then something remarkable happened to him. It
happened on the twenty-fifth of January, in a very cold winter. Jules
was forty-five years old, that year, and he remembered the day of the
month, because in the morning, before he started out to his work, he had
remarked that it was just one month since Christmas.

The day before, Jules had cut down a tall tree, and he had been busy all
the morning sawing it into logs of the proper length and splitting it up
and making a pile of it.

When dinner-time came around, Jules sat down on one of the logs and
opened his basket. He had plenty to eat,--good bread and sausage, and a
bottle of beer, for he was none of your poor wood-cutters.

As he was cutting a sausage, he looked up and saw something coming from
behind his wood-pile.

At first, he thought it was a dog, for it was about the right size for a
small dog, but in a moment he saw it was a little man. He was a little
man indeed, for he was not more than two feet high. He was dressed in
brown clothes and wore a peaked cap, and he must have been pretty old,
for he had a full white beard. Although otherwise warmly clad, he wore
on his feet only shoes and no stockings and came hopping along through
the deep snow as if his feet were very cold.

When he saw this little old man, Jules said never a word. He merely
thought to himself: "This is some sort of a fairy-man."

But the little old person came close to Jules, and drawing up one foot,
as if it was so cold that he could stand on it no longer, he said:

"Please, sir, my feet are almost frozen."

"Oh, ho!" thought Jules, "I know all about that. This is one of the
fairy-folks who come in distress to a person, and if that person is kind
to them, he is made rich and happy; but if he turns them away, he soon
finds himself in all sorts of misery. I shall be very careful." And then
he said aloud: "Well, sir, what can I do for you?"

[Illustration: JULES AND THE LITTLE MAN.]

"That is a strange question," said the dwarf. "If you were to walk by
the side of a deep stream, and were to see a man sinking in the water,
would you stop and ask him what you could do for him?"

"Would you like my stockings?" said Jules, putting down his knife and
sausage, and preparing to pull off one of his boots. "I will let you
have them."

"No, no!" said the other. "They are miles too big for me."

"Will you have my cap or my scarf in which to wrap your feet and warm
them?"

"No, no!" said the dwarf. "I don't put my feet in caps and scarfs."

"Well, tell me what you would like," said Jules. "Shall I make a fire?"

"No, I will not tell you," said the fairy-man. "You have kept me
standing here long enough."

Jules could not see what this had to do with it. He was getting very
anxious. If he were only a quick-witted fellow, so as to think of
exactly the right thing to do, he might make his fortune. But he could
think of nothing more.

"I wish, sir, that you would tell me just what you would like for your
cold feet," said Jules, in an entreating tone, "for I shall be very glad
to give it to you, if it is at all possible."

"If your ax were half as dull as your brain," said the dwarf, "you would
not cut much wood. Good-day!"--and he skipped away behind the wood-pile.

Jules jumped up and looked after him, but he was gone. These
fairy-people have a strange way of disappearing.

Jules was not married and had no home of his own. He lived with a good
couple who had a little house and an only daughter, and that was about
the sum of their possessions. The money Jules paid for his living helped
them a little, and they managed to get along. But they were quite poor.

Jules was not poor. He had no one but himself to support, and he had
laid by a sum of money for himself when he should be too old to work.

But you never saw a man so disappointed as he was that evening as he sat
by the fire after supper.

He had told the family all about his meeting with the dwarf, and
lamented again and again that he had lost such a capital chance of
making his fortune.

"If I only could have thought what it was best to do!" he said, again
and again.

"I know what I should have done," said Selma, the only daughter of the
poor couple, a girl about eleven years old.

"What?" asked Jules, eagerly.

"I should have just snatched the little fellow up, and rubbed his feet
and wrapped them in my shawl until they were warm," said she.

"But he would not have liked that," said Jules. "He was an old man and
very particular."

"I would not care," said Selma; "I wouldn't let such a little fellow
stand suffering in the snow, and I wouldn't care how old he was."

"I hope you'll never meet any of these fairy-people," said Jules. "You'd
drive them out of the country with your roughness, and we might all
whistle for our fortunes."

Selma laughed and said no more about it.

Every day after that, Jules looked for the dwarf-man, but he did not see
him again. Selma looked for him, too, for her curiosity had been much
excited; but as she was not allowed to go to the woods in the winter, of
course she never saw him.

But, at last, summer came; and, one day, as she was walking by a little
stream which ran through the woods, whom should she see, sitting on the
bank, but the dwarf-man! She knew him in an instant, from Jules'
descriptions. He was busily engaged in fishing, but he did not fish like
any one else in the world. He had a short pole, which was floating in
the water, and in his hand he held a string which was fastened to one
end of the pole.

When Selma saw what the old fellow was doing, she burst out laughing.
She knew it was not very polite, but she could not help it.

"What's the matter?" said he, turning quickly toward her.

"I'm sorry I laughed at you, sir," said Selma, "but that's no way to
fish."

"Much you know about it," said the dwarf. "This is the only way to fish.
You let your pole float, with a piece of bait on a hook fastened to the
big end of the pole. Then you fasten a line to the little end. When a
fish bites, you haul in the pole by means of the string."

"Have you caught anything yet?" asked Selma.

"No, not yet," replied the dwarf.

"Well, I'm sure I can fish better than that. Would you mind letting me
try a little while?"

"Not at all--not at all!" said the dwarf, handing the line to Selma. "If
you think you can fish better than I can, do it by all means."

Selma took the line and pulled in the pole. Then she unfastened the hook
and bait which was on the end of the pole, and tied it to the end of the
line, with a little piece of stone for a sinker. She then took up the
pole, threw in the line, and fished like common people. In less than a
minute she had a bite, and, giving a jerk, she drew out a fat little
fish as long as her hand.

"Hurrah!" cried the little old man, giving a skip in the air; and then,
turning away from the stream, he shouted, "Come here!"

Selma turned around to see whom he was calling to, and she perceived
another gnome, who was running toward them. When he came near, she saw
that he was much younger than the fisher-gnome.

"Hello!" cried the old fellow, "I've caught one."

Selma was amazed to hear this. She looked at the old gnome, who was
taking the fish off the hook, as if she were astonished that he could
tell such a falsehood.

"What is this other person's name?" said she to him.

"His name," said the old gnome, looking up, "is Class 60, H."

"Is that all the name he has?" asked Selma, in surprise.

"Yes. And it is a very good name. It shows just who and what he is."

"Well, then, Mr. Class 60, H," said Selma, "that old--person did not
catch the fish. I caught it myself."

"Very good! Very good!" said Class 60, H, laughing and clapping his
hands. "Capital! See here!" said he, addressing the older dwarf, and he
knelt down and whispered something in his ear.

"Certainly," said the old gnome. "That's just what I was thinking of.
Will you mention it to her? I must hurry and show this fish while it is
fresh,"--and, so saying, he walked rapidly away with the little fish,
and the pole and tackle.

"My dear Miss," said Class 60, H, approaching Selma, "would you like to
visit the home of the gnomes,--to call, in fact, on the Queen Dowager of
all the Gnomes?"

"Go down underground, where you live?" asked Selma. "Would it be safe
down there, and when could I get back again?"

"Safe, dear miss? Oh, perfectly so! And the trip will not take you more
than a couple of hours. I assure you that you will be back in plenty of
time for supper. Will you go, if I send a trusty messenger for you? You
may never have another chance to see our country."

Selma thought that this was very probable, and she began to consider the
matter.

As soon as Class 60, H, saw that she was really trying to make up her
mind whether or not to go, he cried out:

"Good! I see you have determined to go. Wait here five minutes and the
messenger will be with you," and then he rushed off as fast as he could
run.

"I didn't say I would go," thought Selma, "but I guess I will."

In a very few minutes, Selma heard a deep voice behind her say: "Well,
are you ready?"

Turning suddenly, she saw, standing close to her, a great black bear!

Frightened dreadfully, she turned to run, but the bear called out:
"Stop! You needn't be frightened. I'm tame."

The surprise of hearing a bear speak overcame poor Selma's terror; she
stopped, and looked around.

"Come back," said the bear; "I will not hurt you in the least. I am sent
to take you to the Queen Dowager of the Gnomes. I don't mind your being
frightened at me. I'm used to it. But I am getting a little tired of
telling folks that I am tame," and he yawned wearily.

"You are to take me?" said Selma, still a little frightened, and very
certain that, if she had known a bear was to be sent for her, she never
would have consented to go.

"Yes," said the bear. "You can get on my back and I will give you a nice
ride. Come on! Don't keep me waiting, please."

There was nothing to be done but to obey, for Selma did not care to have
a dispute with a bear, even if he were tame, and so she got upon his
back, where she had a very comfortable seat, holding fast to his long
hair.

The bear walked slowly but steadily into the very heart of the forest,
among the great trees and the rocks. It was so lonely and solemn here
that Selma felt afraid again.

"Suppose we were to meet with robbers," said she.

"Robbers!" said the bear, with a laugh. "That's good! Robbers, indeed!
You needn't be afraid of robbers. If we were to meet any of them, you
would be the last person they'd ever meet."

"Why?" asked Selma.

"I'd tear 'em all into little bits," said the bear, in a tone which
quite restored Selma's confidence, and made her feel very glad that she
had a bear to depend upon in those lonely woods.

It was not very long before they came to an opening in a bank of earth,
behind a great tree. Into this the bear walked, for it was wide enough,
and so high that Selma did not even have to lower her head, as they
passed in. They were now in a long winding passage, which continually
seemed as if it was just coming to an end, but which turned and twisted,
first one way and then another, and always kept going down and down.
Before long they began to meet gnomes, who very respectfully stepped
aside to let them pass. They now went through several halls and courts,
cut in the earth, and, directly, the bear stopped before a door.

"You get off here," said the bear; and, when Selma had slid off his
back, he rose up on his hind legs and gave a great knock with the iron
knocker on the door. Then he went away.

In a moment, the door opened, and there stood a little old gnome-woman,
dressed in brown, and wearing a lace cap.

"Come in!" she said; and Selma entered the room. "The Queen Dowager will
see you in a few minutes," said the little old woman. "I am her
housekeeper. I'll go and tell her you're here, and, meantime, it would
be well for you to get your answers all ready, so as to lose no time."

Selma was about to ask what answers she meant, but the housekeeper was
gone before she could say a word.

The room was a curious one. There were some little desks and stools in
it, and in the center stood a great brown ball, some six or seven feet
in diameter. While she was looking about at these things, a little door
in the side of the ball opened, and out stepped Class 60, H.

"One thing I didn't tell you," said he, hurriedly. "I was afraid if I
mentioned it you wouldn't come. The Queen Dowager wants a governess for
her grandson, the Gnome Prince. Now, please don't say you can't do it,
for I'm sure you'll suit exactly. The little fellow has had lots of
teachers, but he wants one of a different kind now. This is the
school-room. That ball is the globe where he studies his geography. It's
only the under part of the countries that he has to know about, and so
they are marked out on the inside of the globe. What they want now is a
special teacher, and after having come here, and had the Queen Dowager
notified, it wouldn't do to back out, you know."

"How old is the Prince?" asked Selma.

"About seventy-eight," said the gnome.

"Why, he's an old man," cried Selma.

"Not at all, my dear miss," said Class 60, H. "It takes a long time for
us to get old. The Prince is only a small boy; if he were a human boy,
he would be about five years of age. I don't look old, do I?"

"No," said Selma.

"Well, I'm three hundred and fifty-two, next Monday. And as for Class
20, P,--the old fellow you saw fishing,--he is nine hundred and sixty."

"Well, you are all dreadfully old, and you have very funny names," said
Selma.

"In this part of the world," said the other, "all gnomes, except those
belonging to the nobility and the royal family, are divided into
classes, and lettered. This is much better than having names, for you
know it is very hard to get enough names to go around, so that every one
can have his own. But here comes the housekeeper," and Class 60, H,
retired quickly into the hollow globe.

"Her Majesty will see you," said the housekeeper; and she conducted
Selma into the next room, where, on a little throne, with a high back
and rockers, sat the Queen Dowager. She seemed rather smaller than the
other gnomes, and was very much wrinkled and wore spectacles. She had
white hair, with little curls on each side, and was dressed in brown
silk.

[Illustration: "'ROBBERS!' SAID THE BEAR. 'THAT'S GOOD! ROBBERS,
INDEED!'"]

She looked at Selma over her spectacles.

"This is the applicant?" said she.

"Yes, this is she," said the housekeeper.

"She looks young," remarked the Queen Dowager.

"Very true," said the housekeeper, "but she cannot be any older at
present."

"You are right," said Her Majesty; "we will examine her."

So saying, she took up a paper which lay on the table, and which seemed
to have a lot of items written on it.

"Get ready," said she to the housekeeper, who opened a large blank-book
and made ready to record Selma's answers.

The Queen Dowager read from the paper the first question:

"What are your qualifications?"

Selma, standing there before this little old queen and this little old
housekeeper, was somewhat embarrassed, and a question like this did not
make her feel any more at her ease. She could not think what
qualifications she had. As she did not answer at once, the Queen Dowager
turned to the housekeeper and said:

"Put down, 'Asked, but not given.'"

The housekeeper set that down, and then she jumped up and looked over
the list of questions.

"We must be careful," said she, in a whisper, to the Queen Dowager,
"what we ask her. It won't do to put all the questions to her. Suppose
you try number twenty-eight?"

"All right," said Her Majesty; and, when the housekeeper had sat down
again by her book, she addressed Selma and asked:

"Are you fond of children?"

"Yes, ma'am," said Selma.

"Good!" cried the Queen Dowager; "that is an admirable answer."

And the housekeeper nodded and smiled at Selma, as if she was very much
pleased.

"'Eighty-two' would be a good one to ask next," suggested the
housekeeper.

Her Majesty looked for "Eighty-two," and read it out:

"Do you like pie?"

"Very much, ma'am," said Selma.

"Capital! capital!" said Her Majesty. "That will do. I see no need of
asking her any other questions. Do you?" said she, turning to the
housekeeper.

"None whatever," said the other. "She answered all but one, and that one
she didn't really miss."

"There is no necessity for any further bother," said the Queen Dowager.
"She is engaged."

And then she arose from the throne and left the room.

"Now, my dear girl," said the housekeeper, "I will induct you into your
duties. They are simple."

"But I should like to know," said Selma, "if I'm to stay here all the
time. I can't leave my father and mother----"

"Oh! you wont have to do that," interrupted the housekeeper. "You will
take the Prince home with you."

"Home with me?" exclaimed Selma.

"Yes. It would be impossible for you to teach him properly here. We want
him taught Emergencies--that is, what to do in case of the various
emergencies which may arise. Nothing of the kind ever arises down here.
Everything goes on always in the usual way. But on the surface of the
earth, where he will often go, when he grows up, they are very common,
and you have been selected as a proper person to teach him what to do
when any of them occur to him. By the way, what are your terms?"

"I don't know," said Selma. "Whatever you please."

"That will suit very well,--very well indeed," said the housekeeper. "I
think you are the very person we want."

"Thank you," said Selma; and just then a door opened and the Queen
Dowager put in her head.

"Is she inducted?" she asked.

"Yes," said the housekeeper.

"Then here is the Prince," said the Queen Dowager, entering the room and
leading by the hand a young gnome about a foot high. He had on a ruffled
jacket and trousers, and a little peaked cap. His royal grandmother led
him to Selma.

"You will take him," she said, "for a session of ten months. At the end
of that time we shall expect him to be thoroughly posted in emergencies.
While he is away, he will drop all his royal titles and be known as
Class 81, Q. His parents and I have taken leave of him. Good-bye!"

And she left the room, with her little handkerchief to her eyes.

"Now, then," said the housekeeper, "the sooner you are off, the better.
The bear is waiting."

So saying, she hurried Selma and the Prince through the school-room,
and, when they opened the door, there stood the bear, all ready. Selma
mounted him, and the housekeeper handed up the Prince, first kissing
him good-bye. Then off they started.

The Prince, or, as he must now be called, Class 81, Q, was a very quiet
and somewhat bashful little fellow; and, although Selma talked a good
deal to him, on the way, he did not say much. The bear carried them to
the edge of the woods, and then Selma took the little fellow in her arms
and ran home with him.

It may well be supposed that the appearance of their daughter with the
young gnome in her arms greatly astonished the worthy cottagers, and
they were still more astonished when they heard her story.

"You must do your best, my dear," said her mother, "and this may prove a
very good thing for you, as well as for this little master here."

Selma promised to do as well as she could, and her father said he would
try and think of some good emergencies, so that the little fellow could
be well trained.

Everybody seemed to be highly satisfied, even Class 81, Q, himself, who
sat cross-legged on a wooden chair surveying everything about him; but
when Jules Vatermann came home, he was very much dissatisfied, indeed.

"Confound it!" he said, when he heard the story. "I should have done
all this. That should have been my pupil, and the good luck should have
been mine. The gnome-man came first to me, and, if he had waited a
minute, I should have thought of the right thing to do. I could teach
that youngster far better than you, Selma. What do you know about
emergencies?"

Selma and her parents said nothing. Jules had been quite cross-grained
since the twenty-fifth of January, when he had met the gnome, and they
had learned to pay but little attention to his fault-finding and
complaining.

The little gnome soon became quite at home in the cottage, and grew very
much attached to Selma. He was quiet, but sensible and bright, and knew
a great deal more than most children of five. Selma did not have many
opportunities to educate him in her peculiar branch. Very commonplace
things generally happened in the cottage.

One day, however, the young gnome was playing with the cat, and began to
pull his tail. The cat, not liking this, began to scratch Class 81, Q.
At this, the little fellow cried and yelled, while the cat scratched all
the more fiercely. But Selma, who ran into the room on hearing the
noise, was equal to the emergency. She called out, instantly:

"Let go of his tail!"

The gnome let go, and the cat bounded away.

The lesson of this incident was then carefully impressed on her pupil's
mind by Selma, who now thought that she had at last begun to do her
duty by him.

A day or two after this, Selma was sent by her mother on an errand to
the nearest village. As it would be dark before she returned, she did
not take the little gnome with her. About sunset, when Jules Vatermann
returned from his work, he found the youngster playing by himself in the
kitchen.

Instantly, a wicked thought rushed into the mind of Jules. Snatching up
the young gnome, he ran off with him as fast as he could go. As he ran,
he thought to himself:

"Now is my chance. I know what to do, this time. I'll just keep this
young rascal and make his people pay me a pretty sum for his ransom.
I'll take him to the city, where the gnomes never go, and leave him
there, in safe hands, while I come back and make terms. Good for you, at
last, Jules!"

So, on he hurried, as fast as he could go. The road soon led him into a
wood, and he had to go more slowly. Poor little Class 81, Q, cried and
besought Jules to let him go, but the hard-hearted wood-cutter paid no
attention to his distress.

Suddenly, Jules stopped. He heard something, and then he saw something.
He began to tremble. A great bear was coming along the road, directly
toward him!

What should he do? He could not meet that dreadful creature. He
hesitated but a moment. The bear was now quite near, and, at the first
growl it gave, Jules dropped the young gnome, and turned and ran away at
the top of his speed. The bear started to run after him, not noticing
little Class 81, Q, who was standing in the road; but as he passed the
little fellow, who had never seen any bear except the tame one which
belonged to the gnomes, and who thought this animal was his old friend,
he seized him by the long hair on his legs and began to climb up on his
back.

The bear, feeling some strange creature on him, stopped and looked back.
The moment the young gnome saw the fiery eyes and the glittering teeth
of the beast, he knew that he had made a mistake; this was no tame bear.

The savage beast growled, and, reaching back as far as he could, snapped
at the little fellow on his back, who quickly got over on the other
side. Then the bear reached back on that side, and Class 81, Q, was
obliged to slip over again. The bear became very angry, and turned
around and around in his efforts to get at the young gnome, who was
nearly frightened to death. He could not think what in the world he
should do. He could only remember that, in a great emergency,--but not
quite as bad a one as this,--his teacher had come to his aid with the
counsel, "Let go of his tail." He would gladly let go of the bear's
tail, but the bear had none--at least, none that he could see. So what
was he to do? "Let go of his tail!" cried the poor little fellow, to
himself. "Oh, if he only had a tail!"

Before long, the bear himself began to be frightened. This was something
entirely out of the common run of things. Never before in his life had
he met with a little creature who stuck to him like that. He did not
know what might happen next, and so he ran as hard as he could go toward
his cave. Perhaps his wife, the old mother-bear, might be able to get
this thing off. Away he dashed, and, turning sharply around a corner,
little Class 81, Q, was jolted off, and was glad enough to find himself
on the ground, with the bear running away through the woods.

The little fellow rubbed his knees and elbows, and, finding that he was
not at all hurt, set off to find the cottage of his friend Selma, as
well as he could. He had no idea which way to go, for the bear had
turned around and around so often that he had become quite bewildered.
However, he resolved to trudge along, hoping to meet some one who could
tell him how to go back to Selma.

After a while, the moon rose, and then he could see a little better; but
it was still quite dark in the woods, and he was beginning to be very
tired, when he heard a noise as if some one was talking. He went toward
the voice, and soon saw a man sitting on a rock by the road-side.

When he came nearer, he saw that the man was Jules, who was wailing and
moaning and upbraiding himself.

"Ah me!" said the conscience-stricken wood-cutter, "Ah me! I am a wretch
indeed. I have given myself up into the power of the Evil One. Not only
did I steal that child from his home, and from the good people who have
always befriended me, but I have left him to be devoured by a wild beast
of the forest. Whatever shall I do? Satan himself has got me in his
power, through my own covetousness and greed. How--oh! how--can I ever
get away from him?"

The little gnome had now approached quite close to Jules, and, running
up to him, he said:

"Let go of his tail!"

If the advice was good for him in an emergency, it might be good for
others.

Jules started to his feet and stood staring at the youngster he had
thought devoured.

"Whoever would have supposed," said he, at last, "that a little heathen
midget like that, born underground, like a mole, would ever come to me
and tell me my Christian duty. And he's right, too. Satan would never
have got hold of me if I hadn't been holding to him all these months,
hoping to get some good by it. I'll do it, my boy. I'll let go of his
tail, now and forever." And, without thinking to ask Class 81, Q, how he
got away from the bear, he took him up in his arms and ran home as fast
as he could go.

During the rest of the young gnome's stay with Selma, he had several
other good bits of advice in regard to emergencies, but none that was of
such general application as this counsel to let go of a cat's tail, or
the tail of anything else that was giving him trouble.

At the expiration of the session, the Queen Dowager was charmed with the
improvement in her grandson. Having examined him in regard to his
studies, she felt sure that he was now perfectly able to take care of
himself in any emergency that might occur to him.

On the morning after he left, Selma, when she awoke, saw lying on the
floor the little jacket and trousers of her late pupil. At first, she
thought it was the little fellow himself; but when she jumped up and
took hold of the clothes, she could not move them. They were filled with
gold.

This was the pay for the tuition of Class 81, Q.



CHURNING.

BY SARA KEABLES HUNT.


[Illustration]

  I'm such an unfortunate dog, oh, dear!
  To leave my nap and the sunshine clear,
  And down in the cellar--the cold dark place--
  I must turn my steps and sorrowful face,
      And begin the daily churning.

  To be sure, I've enough to eat, you know,
  And I can rest while the men must mow;
  But oh! how I'd like to hide away
  When I hear them come to the door and say:
      "It's time for the dog to be churning!"

  So here I tread, and the wheel goes round,
  And the dasher comes down with a weary sound;
  But after awhile the butter is done,
  Then off I go to some richer fun
      Than this weary, dreary churning.

  There's a lesson, though, in this work of mine,
  That thou, little one, may'st take to be thine:
  We each have our duties, both great and small,
  And, if we want butter for bread at all,
      Some one must do the churning.

  And then, again, I think that this life,
  With its tread-mill of duties, joy and strife,
  Is like to a churn. Press on! Press on!
  For by and by the work will be done,--
      With no more need of churning.



THE MOON, FROM A FROG'S POINT OF VIEW.

BY FLETA FORRESTER.


Miss Frog sat, in the cool of the evening, under a plantain-leaf, by the
side of her blue and placid lake.

The day had been excessively warm, and so, as she sat, she gracefully
waved, backward and forward, one of her delicate web feet.

It was a beautiful, natural fan, and served, admirably, the purpose
intended.

Around Miss Frog arose the varied warble of other frogs. The little
polliwogs had all been put to bed; and now, came stealing on, the season
for silent thoughts. Always anxious to improve her mind, Miss Frog gazed
about her to find a subject on which to fasten her attention.

She had been once sent to a southern lake to finish her education, and
was really quite superior to ordinary frogs.

"There is no one here, in this mud-hole, to appreciate me," she
regretfully sighed, as two silly frogs passed her leaf, flirting so hard
that neither of them observed her.

She drew around her her shawl of lace, made from the finest cobwebs of
Florida--and sulked.

Just then arose the moon, taking its solitary, silvery way across the
sky.

Her attention was arrested at once.

"How like to a polliwog it is!" she rapturously exclaimed, "save that it
lacks a tail."

"And a glorified polliwog it is, daughter of the water!" croaked a
sudden hoarse voice beside her.

She hopped with fright, and gasped as if about to faint; but calmed
herself again as she recognized the tones of the rough-skinned Sage of
the Frogs, who dwells alone in some remote corner of the lake. He it is
who always sings, "Kerdunk!" when he condescends to sing at all.

This learned hermit, after clearing his throat repeatedly, thus
explained himself:

"There is a legend, connected with our race, that runs in this wise:"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ahem!"

Upon a time, in a certain valley, where once flowed a considerable
stream, the waters suddenly failed and the stream died away.

Upon the unfortunate frogs who dwelt there, in vast numbers, the hot
summer sun shone its fiercest rays unhindered.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Dreadful!" piped Miss Frog.

"Yes, it did!" said the Sage, reproachfully, "and if you wish to hear
this story, you must be careful not to interrupt me again, thoughtless
girl!"

As Miss Frog was very desirous, indeed, of hearing the story, she
remained quiet, and the hermit frog continued:

       *       *       *       *       *

The waters dried away, and hundreds of wretched frogs died on those
scorching fields. Dying fishes gasped with their last breath for a drop
of cool water, and joined their wails to those of our suffering kindred.

At length, one old trout, who had held out to the last, confessed:

"Miserable I! and wicked! _I_ have caused this drouth! And now I have no
power to remedy the evil I have done!"

At this, all of the frogs who were not yet dead gathered around the
tough old trout, and listened to his words.

"That was an evil day," gasped the speckled sinner, "when I poked my
nose out of water to dare a saucy kingfisher, who was mocking the whole
fish tribe in his usual dashing manner. 'Catch me, if you can!' I cried,
darting about at my ease.

"But the bird beguiled me. He made me believe that, if I would only work
a little hole through that dam there, I could descend with the escaping
waters to the stream below, and make my way to the sea, where, as I
heard, the fishes were all kings, and ate nothing but diamonds for
dinner.

[Illustration: "OH-H-H! BOO-HOO-HOO!"]

"I enticed all the trout that I could influence to assist me, and we
wriggled and wriggled our noses into the gravel for a long time,
apparently to no purpose.

"But, at last, a little leak started, and our water dripped away, drop
by drop; but not in sufficient volume to carry us with it.

"When the waters had receded, so as to make the stream very low, back
came that artful kingfisher, to dive for us in the shallow pools.

"And now, what the drouth had not destroyed that tempter has gorged
himself upon.

"'Oh-h-h! Boo-hoo-hoo!'"

The frogs freely forgave him because he cried.

But the problem remained, how was the supply of water to be renewed.

At this juncture, an earnest, meek-eyed polliwog flopped feebly, and
said: "Show me the place where these waters leak away."

Astonished at her manner, the sobbing trout indicated the spot.

[Illustration: THE TADPOLE TO THE RESCUE.]

"Drag me thither by my tail!" exclaimed the heroine, resolutely.

Then the frogs used their last remaining strength to do as she bade
them, and waited, in exhausted surprise, to see what would happen next.

"Good-bye!" wept the brave little polliwog, wriggling with feeling, and
groaning some. "If any of you survive me, tell it to your children that
I laid myself in the breach!"

With these few farewell words she crowded herself into the hole, out of
their sight.

Presently, the stream began to rise and the pools to fill up. The frogs
sat knee-deep in water, and the fishes swam upon their sides.

[Illustration: "IN THE SKY."]

Day by day things improved, and the fishes began to sit up in bed, while
the frogs were heard incessantly blessing the little polliwog. One
night, she appeared to them in the sky, as you see her to-night;
returning nightly, for many nights, to beam at them; growing larger and
brighter at every appearance.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Such," said the Sage, concluding, "is our Legend of the Moon!" And he
leaped into the waves with a resounding plump!

Miss Frog felt so many different sensations at once that she dropped her
lower jaw involuntarily, and sat so, unconscious of aught until awakened
from her reverie by a cricket jumping suddenly into her throat.

Hastily gulping him down, she gathered her shawl about her, and, with a
spring, sprawled graciously toward her wave.



DAB KINZER: A STORY OF A GROWING BOY.

BY WILLIAM O. STODDARD.


CHAPTER IX.

Ham Morris was a thoughtful and kind-hearted fellow, beyond a doubt, and
a valuable friend for a growing boy like Dab Kinzer. It is not
everybody's brother-in-law who would find time, during his wedding trip,
to hunt up even so very pretty a New England village as Grantley, and
inquire into questions of board and lodging and schooling.

Mrs. Myers, to the hospitalities of whose cool and roomy-looking
boarding-house Ham had been commended by Mr. Hart, was so crowded with
"summer boarders," liberally advertised for in the great city, that she
hardly had a corner for Ham and his bride. She was glad enough that she
had made the effort to find one, however, when she learned what was the
nature of the stranger's business. There was a look of undisguised
astonishment on the faces of the regular guests, all around, when they
gathered for the next meal. It happened to be supper, but they all
looked at the table and then at one another; and it was a pity Ham and
Miranda did not understand those glances, or make a longer visit. They
might have learned more about Mrs. Myers if not the Academy. As it was,
they only gained a very high opinion of her cookery and hospitality, as
well as an increase of respect for the "institution of learning," and
for that excellent gentleman, Mr. Hart, with a dim hope that Dabney
Kinzer might enjoy the inestimable advantages offered by Grantley and
Mrs. Myers, and the society of Mr. Hart's two wonderful boys.

Miranda was inclined to stand up for her brother, somewhat, but finally
agreed with Ham that--

"What Dabney needs is schooling and polish, my dear. It'll be good for
him to board in the same house with two such complete young gentlemen."

"Of course, Ham. And then he'll be sure of having plenty to eat. There
was almost too much on the table."

"Not if the boarders had all been boys of Dab's age and appetite. Mrs.
Myers is evidently accustomed to them, I should say."

So she was, indeed, as all the summer boarders were ready to testify at
the next morning's breakfast-table. There was one thing, among others,
that Mrs. Myers failed to tell Mr. and Mrs. Morris. She forgot to say
that the house she lived in, with the outlying farm belonging to it and
nearly all the things in it, were the property of Mr. Joseph Hart,
having cost that gentleman very little more than a sharp lawsuit.
Neither did she say a word about how long or short a time Mr. Hart had
given her to pay him his price for it. All that would have been none of
Ham's business or Miranda's. Still, it might have had its importance.

So it might, if either or both of them could have been at the
breakfast-table of the Hart homestead the morning after Annie Foster's
sudden departure. The table was there with the breakfast things on it,
and husband and wife, one at either end, as usual; but the side-seats
were vacant.

"Where are Joe and Foster, Maria?" asked Mr. Hart.

"Gone on some errand of their own, I think. Something about Annie."

"About Annie! Look here, Maria, if Annie can't take a joke----"

"So I say," began his wife; but just then a loud voice sounded in the
entry, and the two boys came in and took their places at the table. In a
moment more "Fuz" whispered to his brother:

"I'm glad Annie's gone, for one. She was too stiff and steep for any
kind of comfort."

"Boys," said Mr. Hart, observing them, "what have you been up to now?
I'm afraid there wont be much comfort for anybody till you fellows get
back to Grantley."

"Well," replied Joe, "so we didn't have to board at Mother Myers', I
wouldn't care how soon we go."

"Well, your cousin is sure to go, and I'm almost certain of another boy
besides the missionary's son. That'll fill up Mrs. Myers' house, and you
can board somewhere else."

"Hurrah for that!" exclaimed the young gentleman whose name, from that
of his lawyer relative, had been shortened to mere "Fuz." And yet they
were not so bad-looking a pair, as boys go. The elder, Joe,--a loud,
hoarse-voiced, black-eyed boy of seventeen,--was, nevertheless, not much
taller than his younger brother. The latter was as dark in eyes and hair
as Joe, but paler, and with a sidewise glance of his unpleasant eyes,
which suggested a perpetual state of inquiry whether anybody else had
anything he wanted. The two boys were the very sort to play the meanest
kind of practical jokes, and yet there was something of a resemblance
between their mother and her sister, the mother of Ford and Annie
Foster. There's really no accounting for some things, and the two Hart
boys were, as yet, among the unaccountables.

Not one of that whole list of boys, however, inland or on the sea-shore,
had any notion whatever of what things the future was getting ready for
them. Dab Kinzer and Ford Foster, particularly, had no idea that the
world contained such a place as Grantley, or such a landlady as Mrs.
Myers.

As for Dabney, it would hardly be fair to leave him standing there any
longer, with his two strings of fish in his hands, while Ford Foster
volubly narrated the stirring events of the day.

"Are you sure the black boy was not hurt, Ford?" asked his kind-hearted
mother.

"Hurt, mother? Why, he seems to be a kind of fish. They all know him,
and went right past my hook to his all the while."

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Foster, "I forgot. Annie, this is Ford's
friend, Dabney Kinzer, our neighbor."

"Wont you shake hands with me, Mr. Kinzer?" asked Annie, with a
malicious twinkle of fun in her merry blue eyes.

Poor Dabney! He had been in quite a "state of mind" for at least three
minutes; but he would hardly have been his own mother's son if he had
let himself be entirely "posed." Up rose his long right arm with the
heavy string of fish at the end of it, and Annie's fun burst out into a
musical laugh, just as her brother exclaimed:

"There, now, I'd like to see the other boy of your size can do that.
Look here, Dab, where'd you get your training?"

"I mustn't drop the fish, you see," began Dab, but Ford interrupted him
with:

"No, indeed. You've given me half I've got, as it is. Annie, have you
looked at the crabs? You ought to have seen Dick Lee with a lot of 'em
gripping in his hair."

"In his hair?"

"When he was down through the bottom of his boat. They'd have eaten him
up if they'd had a chance. You see he's no shell on him."

"Exactly," said Annie, as Dab lowered his fish. "Well, Dabney, I wish
you would thank your mother for sending my trunk over. Your sisters,
too. I've no doubt we shall be very neighborly."

It was wonderfully pleasant to be called by his first name, and yet it
seemed to bring something into Dabney Kinzer's throat.

"She considers me a boy, and she means I'd better take my fish home,"
was the thought which came to him, and he was right to a fraction. So
the great lump in his throat took a very wayward and boyish form, and
came out as a reply, accompanied by a low bow.

"I will, thank you. Good afternoon, Mrs. Foster. I'll see you to-night,
Ford, about Monday and the yacht. Good afternoon, Annie."

And then he marched out with his fish.

"Mother, did you hear him call me 'Annie?'"

"Yes; and I heard you call him 'Dabney.'"

"But he's only a boy----"

"I don't care!" exclaimed Ford, "he's an odd fellow, but he's a good
one. Did you see how wonderfully strong he is in his arms? I couldn't
lift those fish at arm's length to save my life."

It was quite likely that Dab Kinzer's rowing, and all that sort of
thing, had developed more strength of muscle than even he himself was
aware of; but, for all that, he went home with his very ears tingling,
"Could she have thought me ill-bred or impertinent?" he muttered to
himself.

Thought?

Poor Dab Kinzer! Annie Foster had so much else to think of, just then,
for she was compelled to go over, for Ford's benefit, the whole story of
her tribulations at her uncle's, and the many rudenesses of Joe Hart and
his brother Fuz.

"They ought to be drowned," said Ford.

"In ink," added Annie; "just as they drowned my poor cuffs and collars."


CHAPTER X.

"Look at Dabney Kinzer," whispered Jenny Walters to her mother, in
church, the next morning. "Did you ever see anybody's hair as smooth as
that?"

And smooth it was, certainly; and he looked, all over, as if he had
given all the care in the world to his personal appearance. How was
Annie Foster to guess that he had got himself up so unusually on her
account? She did not guess it; but when she met him at the church door,
after service, she was careful to address him as "Mr. Kinzer," and that
made poor Dabney blush to his very eyes.

"There!" he exclaimed; "I know it."

"Know what?" asked Annie.

"Know what you're thinking."

"Do you, indeed?"

"Yes, you think I'm like the crabs."

"What _do_ you mean?"

[Illustration: GOING THROUGH THE BREAKERS. [SEE PAGE 683.]]

"You think I was green enough till you spoke to me, and now I'm boiled
red in the face."

Annie could not help laughing,--a little, quiet, Sunday morning sort of
a laugh,--but she was beginning to think her brother's friend was not a
bad specimen of a Long Island "country boy." Ford, indeed, had come
home, the previous evening, from a long conference with Dab, brimful of
the proposed yachting cruise, and his father had freely given his
consent, much against the will of Mrs. Foster.

"My dear," said the lawyer, "I feel sure a woman of Mrs. Kinzer's good
sense would not permit her son to go out in that way if she did not feel
safe about him. He's been brought up to it, you know, and so has the
colored boy who is to go with them."

"Yes, mother," argued Ford, "there isn't half the danger there is in
driving around New York in a carriage."

"There might be a storm."

"The horses might run away."

"Or you might upset."

"So might a carriage."

But the end of it all was that Ford was to go, and Annie was more than
half sorry she could not go with him. She said so to Dabney, as soon as
her little laugh was ended, that Sunday morning.

"Some time or other, I'd be glad to have you," replied Dab, "but not
this trip."

"Why not?"

"We mean to go right across the bay and try some fishing."

"Couldn't I fish?"

"Well, no. I don't think you could."

"Why couldn't I?"

"Because,--well, because you'd most likely be too sea-sick by the time
we got there."

Just then a low, clear voice, behind Dabney, quietly remarked: "How
smooth his hair is!" And Dab's face turned red again. Annie Foster heard
it as distinctly as he did, and she walked right away with her mother,
for fear she should laugh again.

"It's my own hair, Jenny Walters," said Dab, almost savagely.

"I should hope it was."

"I should like to know what you go to church for, anyhow?"

"To hear people talk about sailing and fishing. How much do you s'pose a
young lady like Miss Foster cares about small boys?"

"Or little girls either? Not much; but Annie and I mean to have a good
sail before long."

"Annie and I!"

Jenny's pert little nose seemed to turn up more than ever as she walked
away, for she had not beaten her old playfellow quite as badly as usual.
There were several sharp things on the very tip of her tongue, but she
was too much put out and vexed to try to say them just then. As for
Dabney, a "sail" was not so wonderful a thing for him, and that Sunday
was therefore a good deal like all others; but Ford Foster's mind was in
a sort of turmoil all day. In fact, just after tea, that evening, his
father asked him:

"What book is that you are reading, Ford?"

"Captain Cook's 'Voyages.'"

"And the other in your lap?"

"'Robinson Crusoe.'"

"Well, you might have worse books than they are, even for Sunday, that's
a fact, though you ought to have better; but which of them do you and
Dabney Kinzer mean to imitate to-morrow?"

"Crusoe," promptly responded Ford.

"I see. And so you've got Dick Lee to go along as your Man-Friday."

"He's Dab's man, not mine."

"Oh, and you mean to be Crusoe number two? Well, don't get cast away on
too desolate an island, that's all."

Ford slipped into the library and put the books away. It had been
Samantha Kinzer's room, and had plenty of shelves, in addition to the
very elegant "cases" Mr. Foster had brought from the city with him.

The next morning, within half an hour after breakfast, every member of
the two families was down at the landing to see their young sailors make
their start, and they were all compelled to admit that Dab and Dick
seemed to know precisely what they were about. As for Ford, that young
gentleman was wise enough, with all those eyes watching him, not to try
anything he was not sure of, though he explained that "Dab is captain,
Annie, you know. I'm under his orders to-day."

Dick Lee was hardly the wisest fellow in the world, for he added, very
encouragingly: "An' you's doin' tip-top for a green hand, you is."

The wind was blowing right off shore, and did not seem to promise
anything more than a smart breeze. It was easy enough to handle the
little craft in the inlet, and in a marvelously short time she was
dancing out upon the blue waves of the spreading "bay." It was a good
deal more like a land-locked "sound" than any sort of a bay, with that
long, low, narrow sand-island cutting it off from the ocean.

"I don't wonder Ham Morris called her the 'Swallow,'" remarked Ford.
"How she skims! Can you get in under the deck, there, forward? That's
the cabin?"

"Yes, that's the cabin," replied Dab; "but Ham had the door put in with
a slide, water-tight. It's fitted with rubber. We can put our things in
there, but it's too small for anything else."

"What's it made so tight for?"

"Oh, Ham says he's made his yacht a life-boat. Those places at the sides
and under the seats are all air-tight. She might capsize, but she'd
never sink. Don't you see?"

"I see. How it blows!"

"It's a little fresh. How'd you like to be wrecked?"

"Good fun," said Ford. "I got wrecked on the cars the other day."

"On the cars?"

"Why, yes. I forgot to tell you about that."

And then followed a very vivid and graphic description of the sad fate
of the pig and the locomotive. The wonder was how Ford should have
failed to tell it before. No such failure would have been possible if
his head and tongue had not been so wonderfully busy about so many other
things ever since his arrival.

"I'm glad it was I instead of Annie," he said, at length.

"Of course. Didn't you tell me your sister came through all alone?"

"Yes; she ran away from those cousins of mine. Oh, wont I pay them off
when I get to Grantley!"

"Where's that? What did they do?"

The "Swallow" was flying along nicely now, with Dab at the tiller and
Dick Lee tending sail, and Dab could listen with all his ears to Ford
Foster's account of his sister's tribulations.

"Aint they older and bigger than you?" asked Dabney, as Ford closed his
recital. "What can you do with two of 'em?"

"They can't box worth a cent, and I can. Anyhow, I mean to teach them
better manners."

"You can box?"

"Had a splendid teacher."

"Will you show me how, when we get back?"

"We can practice all we choose. I've two pair of gloves."

"Hurrah for that! Ease her, Dick! It's blowing pretty fresh. We'll have
a tough time tacking home against such a breeze as this. May be it'll
change before night."

"Capt'in Dab," calmly remarked Dick, "we's on'y a mile to run."

"Well, what of it?"

"Is you goin' fo' de inlet?"

"Of course. What else can we do? That's what we started for."

"Looks kind o' dirty, dat's all."

So far as Ford could see, both the sky and the water looked clean
enough, but Dick was right about the weather. In fact, if Captain Dabney
Kinzer had been a more experienced and prudent seaman, he would have
kept the "Swallow" inside the bar, that day, at any risk of Ford
Foster's good opinion. As it was, even Dick Lee's keen eyes hardly
comprehended how threatening was the foggy haze that was lying low on
the water, miles and miles away to seaward.

It was magnificently exciting fun, at all events, and the "Swallow"
fully merited all that had been said in her favor. The "mile to run" was
a very short one, and it seemed to Ford Foster that the end of it would
bring them up high and dry on the sandy beach.

The narrow "strait" of the inlet was hardly visible at any considerable
distance. It opened to view, however, as they drew near, and Dab Kinzer
rose higher than ever in his friend's good opinion as the swift little
vessel shot unerringly into the contracted channel.

"Pretty near where we're to try our fishing, aint we?" he asked.

"Just outside, there. Get ready, Dick. Sharp now!"

And then, in another minute, the white sails were down, jib and main,
the "Swallow" was drifting along under "bare poles," and Dick Lee and
Ford were waiting for orders to drop the grapnel.

"Heave!"

Over went the iron.

"Now for some weak-fish. It's about three fathoms, and the tide's near
the turn."

Alas for human calculations! The grapnel caught on the bottom, surely
and firmly; but the moment there came any strain on the seemingly stout
hawser that held it, the latter parted like a thread, and the "Swallow"
was adrift!

"Somebody's done gone cut dat rope!" shouted Dick, as he caught up the
treacherous bit of hemp.

There was an anxious look on Dab's face for a moment, as he shouted:
"Sharp now, boys, or we'll be rolling in the surf in three minutes! Haul
away, Dick! Haul with him, Ford! Up with her! There, that'll give us
headway."

Ford Foster looked out to seaward, even as he hauled his best on the
sail halliards. All along the line of the coast, at distances varying
from a hundred yards or so to nearly a mile, there was an irregular line
of foaming breakers. An awful thing for a boat like the "Swallow" to run
into.

Perhaps; but ten times worse for a larger craft, for the latter would be
shattered on the shoals where the bit of a yacht would find plenty of
water under her, if she did not at the same time find too much _over_
her.

"Can't we go back through the inlet in the bar?" asked Ford.

"Not with this wind in our teeth, and it's getting worse every minute.
No more will it do to try and keep inside the surf."

"What can we do, then?"

"Take the smoothest places and run 'em. The sea isn't very rough
outside. It's our only chance."

Poor Ford Foster's heart sank within him, but he saw a resolute look on
"Captain Kinzer's" face which gave him a little confidence, and he
turned to look at the surf. The only way for the "Swallow" to penetrate
that dangerous barrier of broken water was to "take it nose on," as Dick
Lee expressed it, and that was clearly what Dab Kinzer intended.

There were places of comparative smoothness, here and there, in the
foaming and plunging line, but they were bad enough, at the best, and
would have been a great deal worse but for that stiff breeze off shore.

Bows foremost, full sail, rising like a cork on the long, strong
billows, which would have rolled her over and over if she had not been
really so skillfully handled,--once or twice pitching dangerously, and
shipping water enough to wet her brave young mariners to the skin, and
call for vigorous baling afterward,--the "Swallow" battled gallantly
with her danger for a few minutes, and then Dab Kinzer shouted:

"Hurrah, boys! We're out at sea!"

"Dat's so," said Dick.

"So it is," remarked Ford, a little gloomily; "but how will we ever get
ashore again?"

"Well," replied Dab, "if it doesn't come on to blow too hard, we'll run
right on down the coast. If the wind lulled, or whopped around a little,
we'd find our way in, easy enough, long before night. We might have a
tough time beating home across the bay. Anyhow, we're safe enough now."

"How about fishing?"

"Guess we wont bother 'em much, but you might try for a blue fish.
Sometimes they're capital fun, right along here."


CHAPTER XI.

There's no telling how many anxious people there may have been in that
region, after tea-time that evening, but of two or three circles we may
be reasonably sure. Good Mrs. Foster could not endure to stay at home,
and her husband and Annie were very willing to go over to the Kinzers'
with her, and listen to the encouraging talk of Dabney's stout-hearted
and sensible mother.

"O, Mrs. Kinzer, do you think they are in any danger?"

"I hope not. I don't see why they need be, unless they try to return
across the bay against this wind."

"But don't you think they'll try? Do you mean they wont be home
to-night?" exclaimed Mr. Foster, himself.

"I sincerely hope not," said the widow, calmly. "I should hardly feel
like trusting Dabney out in the boat again if he should do so foolish a
thing."

"But where can he stay?"

"At anchor, somewhere, or on the island. Almost anywhere but tacking on
the bay. He'd be really safer out at sea than trying to get home."

"Out at sea!"

There was something dreadful in the very idea of it, and Annie Foster
turned pale enough when she thought of the gay little yacht, and her
brother out on the broad Atlantic in it, with no better crew than Dab
Kinzer and Dick Lee. Samantha and her sisters were hardly as steady
about it as their mother, but they were careful to conceal their
misgivings from their neighbors, which was very kindly, indeed, in the
circumstances.

There was little use in trying to think or talk of anything else besides
the boys, however, with the sound of the "high wind" in the trees out by
the road-side, and a very anxious circle was that, up to the late hour
at which the members of it separated for the night.

But there were other troubled hearts in that vicinity. Old Bill Lee
himself had been out fishing, all day, with very poor luck; but he
forgot all about that when he learned that Dick and his young white
friends had not returned. He even pulled back to the mouth of the inlet,
to see if the gathering darkness would yield him any signs of his boy.
He did not know it; but, while he was gone, Dick's mother, after
discussing her anxieties with some of her dark-skinned neighbors, half
weepingly unlocked her one "clothes-press," and took out the suit which
had been the pride of her absent son. She had never admired them half as
much before, but they seemed to need a red neck-tie to set them off; and
so the gorgeous result of Dick's fishing and trading came out of its
hiding-place, and was arranged on the white coverlet of her own bed with
the rest of his best garments.

"Jus' de t'ing for a handsome young feller like Dick," she muttered to
herself:

"Wot for'd an ole woman like me want to put on any sech fool finery.
He's de bestest boy in de worl', he is. Dat is, onless dar aint not'in'
happened to 'im."

But if the folks on shore were uneasy about the "Swallow" and her crew,
how was it with the latter themselves, as the darkness closed around
them, out there upon the tossing water?

Very cool, indeed, had been Captain Dab Kinzer, and he had encouraged
the others to go on with their blue-fishing, even when it was pretty
tough work to keep the "Swallow" from "scudding." He was anxious not to
get too far from shore, for there was no telling what sort of weather
might be coming. It was curious, too, what very remarkable luck they
had, or rather, Ford and Dick; for Dab would not leave the tiller a
moment. Splendid fellows were those blue-fish, and work it was to pull
in the heaviest of them. That's just the sort of weather they bite best
in; but it is not often such young fishermen venture to take advantage
of it. Only the stanchest and best-seasoned old salts of Montauk or New
London would have felt altogether at home, that afternoon, in the
"Swallow."

"Don't fish any more," said Dabney, at last. "You've caught ten times as
many as we ever thought of catching. Whoppers, too, some of 'em."

"Biggest fishing ever I did," remarked Ford, as if that meant a great
deal.

"Or mos' anybody else out dis yer way," added Dick. "I isn't 'shamed to
show dem fish anywhar."

"No more I aint," said Dab; "but you're getting too tired, and so am I.
We must have a good hearty lunch, and put the "Swallow" before the wind
for a while. I daren't risk any more of these cross-seas. We might get
pitched over any minute."

"Dat's so," said Dick. "And I's awful hungry."

The "Swallow" was well enough provisioned, not to speak of the
blue-fish, and there was water enough on board for several days, if they
should happen to need it; but there was very little danger of that,
unless the wind should continue to be altogether against them.

It was blowing hard when the boys finished their dinner, but no harder
than it had already blown, several times, that day, and the "Swallow"
seemed to be putting forth her very best qualities as a "sea-boat." No
immediate danger, apparently; but there was one "symptom" which Dab
discerned, as he glanced around the horizon, which gave him more
anxiety than either the stiff breeze or the rough sea.

The coming darkness?

No; for stars and light-houses can be seen at night, and steering is
easy enough by them.

A fog is the darkest thing at sea, whether by night or day, and Dabney
saw signs of one coming. Rain might come with it, but that would be of
small account.

"Boys," said Dabney, "do you know we're out of sight of land at last?"

"Oh no, we're not," replied Ford, confidently; "look yonder."

"That isn't land, Ford; that's only a fog-bank, and we shall be all in
the dark in ten minutes. The wind is changing, too, and I hardly know
where we are."

"Look at your compass."

"That tells me the wind is changing a little, and it's going down; but I
wouldn't dare to run toward the shore in a fog and in the night."

"Why not?"

"Why? Don't you remember those breakers? Would you like to be blown
through them, and not see where you were going?"

"No," said Ford. "I rather guess I wouldn't."

"Jest you let Capt'in Kinzer handle dis yer boat," almost crustily,
interposed Dick Lee. "He's de on'y feller on board dat un'erstands
nagivation."

"Shouldn't wonder if you're right," said Ford, good humoredly. "At all
events I sha'n't interfere. But, Dab, what do you mean to do?"

"Swing a lantern at the mast-head and sail right along. You and Dick get
a nap, by and by, if you can. I wont try to sleep till daylight."

"Sleep! Catch me sleeping!"

"You must, and so must Dick, when the time comes. Wont do to get all
worn out together. Who'd handle the boat?"

Ford's respect for Dabney Kinzer was growing, hourly. Here was this
overgrown gawk of a green country boy, just out of his roundabouts, who
had never spent more than a day at a time in the great city, and never
lived in any kind of a boarding-house: in fact, here was a fellow who
had had no advantages whatever, coming out as a sort of a hero. Even
Ford did not quite understand it, Dab was so quiet and matter-of-course
about it all; and as for the youngster himself, he had no idea that he
was behaving any better than any other boy could, should and would have
behaved, in those very peculiar circumstances.

At all events, however, the gay and buoyant little "Swallow," with her
signal-lantern swinging at her mast-head, was soon dancing away through
the deepening darkness and the fog, and her steady young commander was
congratulating himself that there seemed to be a good deal less of wind
and sea, even if more of mist.

"I couldn't expect everything to suit me," he said to himself. "And now
I hope we sha'n't run down anybody. Hullo! Isn't that a red light,
though the haze, yonder?"


CHAPTER XII.

There was yet another "gathering" of human beings on the wind-swept
surface of the Atlantic, that evening, to whose minds it had come with
no small degree of anxiety. Not, perhaps, as great as that of the three
families over there on the shore of the bay, or even of the boys,
tossing along in their bubble of a yacht; but the officers, and not a
few of the passengers and crew, of the great, iron-builded ocean
steamer, were anything but easy in their minds.

Had they no pilot on board? To be sure they had, but they had, somehow,
seemed to bring that fog along with them, and the captain had a
half-defined suspicion that neither he nor the pilot knew exactly where
they were. That is a bad condition for a great ship to be in, and that,
too, so near a coast which requires good seamanship and skillful
pilotage in the best of weather. Not that the captain would have
confessed his doubt to the pilot, or the pilot to the captain, and that
was where the real danger lay. If they could only have permitted
themselves to speak of their possible peril, it would probably have
disappeared.

The steamer was French and her captain a French naval officer, and very
likely he and the pilot did not understand each other any too well. That
speed should be lessened, under the circumstances, was a matter of
course; but not to have gone on at all would have been even wiser. Not
to speak of the shore they were nearing, they might be sure they were
not the only craft steaming or sailing over those busy waters, and
vessels have sometimes run against one another in a fog as thick as
that. Something could be done in that direction, and lanterns with
bright colors were freely swung out; but the fog was likely to diminish
their usefulness, somewhat. None of the passengers were in a mood to go
to bed, with the end of their voyage so near, and they seemed, one and
all, disposed to discuss the fog. All but one, and he a boy.

A boy of about Dab Kinzer's age, slender and delicate looking, with
curly, light-brown hair, blue eyes, and a complexion which would have
been fair but for the traces it bore of a hotter sun than that of either
France or America. He seemed to be all alone, and to be feeling very
lonely, that night; and he was leaning over the rail, peering out into
the mist, humming to himself a sweet, wild air, in a strange, musical
tone.

Very strange. Very musical. Perhaps no such words had ever before gone
out over the waves of that part of the Atlantic; for Frank Harley was a
missionary's son, "going home to be educated," and the sweet, low-voiced
song was a Hindustanee hymn which his mother had taught him in far-away
India.

Suddenly the hymn was cut short by the hoarse voice of the look-out, as
it announced: "A white light, close aboard, on the windward bow."

And that was rapidly followed by even hoarser hails, replied to by a
voice which was clear and strong enough but not hoarse at all. The next
moment something, which was either a white sail or a ghost, came
slipping along through the fog, and then the conversation did not
require to be shouted any longer. Frank could even hear one person say
to another, out there in the mist: "Aint it a big thing, Ford, that you
know French. I mean to study it as soon as we get home."

"It's as easy as eating. Shall I tell 'em we've got some fish?"

"Of course. Sell 'em the whole cargo."

"Sell them? Why not make them a present?"

"We may need the money to get home with. They're a splendid lot. Enough
for the whole cabin full."

"Dat's a fack. Capt'in Dab Kinzer's de man for me, he is."

"How much then?"

"Twenty-five dollars for the lot. They're worth it. 'Specially if we
lose Ham's boat."

Dab's philosophy was a little out of gear, but a perfect rattle of
questions and answers followed, in French, and, somewhat to Frank
Harley's astonishment, the bargain was promptly concluded.

How were they to get the fish on board? Nothing easier, since the little
"Swallow" could run along so nicely under the stern of the great
steamer, while a large basket was swung out at the end of a long,
slender spar, with a pulley to lower and raise it. Even the boys from
Long Island were astonished at the number and size of the prime, freshly
caught blue-fish to which they were treating the passengers of the
"Prudhomme," and the basket had to come and go again and again.

The steamer's steward, on his part, avowed that he had never before met
so honest a lot of Yankee fishermen. Perhaps not; for high prices and
short weight are apt to go together where "luxuries" are selling. The
pay itself was handed out in the same basket which went for the fish.

The wind was not nearly as high as it had been, and the sea had for some
time been going down.

Twenty minutes later, Frank Harley heard, for he understood French very
well:

"Hallo, the boat! What are you following us for?"

"Oh, we wont run you down. Don't be alarmed. We've lost our way out
here, and we're going to follow you in. Hope you know where you are."

And then there was a cackle of surprise and laughter among the steamer's
officers, in which Frank and some of the passengers joined, and the
saucy little "fishing-boat" came steadily on in the wake of her gigantic
guide.

"This is grand for us," remarked Dab Kinzer to Ford, as he kept his eyes
on the after-lantern of the "Prudhomme." "They pay all our pilot fees."

"But they're going to New York."

"So are we, if to-morrow doesn't come out clear and with a good wind to
go home by."

"It's better than crossing the Atlantic in the dark, anyhow. But what a
price we got for those fish!"

"They're ready to pay well for such things at the end of the voyage,"
said Dab. "I expected they'd try and beat us down a peg. They generally
do. We only got about fair market price, after all, only we got rid of
our whole catch at one sale."

Hour followed hour, and the "Swallow" followed the steamer, and the fog
followed them both so densely that sometimes even Dick Lee's keen eyes
could with difficulty make out the "Prudhomme's" light. And now Ford
Foster ventured to take a bit of a nap, so sure did he feel that all the
danger was over, and that "Captain Kinzer" was equal to what Dick Lee
called the "nagivation" of that yacht. How long he had slept he could
not have guessed, but he was suddenly awakened by a great cry from out
the mist beyond them, and the loud exclamation of Dab Kinzer, still at
the tiller:

"I believe she's run ashore!"

It was a loud cry, indeed, and there was good reason for it. Well for
all on board the great French steamship that she was running no faster
at the time, and that there was no hurricane of a gale to make things
worse for her. Pilot and captain had both together missed their
reckoning,--neither of them could ever afterward tell how,--and there
they were stuck fast in the sand, with the noise of breakers ahead of
them and the dense fog all around.

Frank Harley peered anxiously over the rail again, but he could not have
complained that he was "wrecked in sight of shore;" for the steamer was
anything but a wreck yet, and there was no such thing as a shore in
sight.

"It's an hour to sunrise," said Dab to Ford, after the latter had
managed to comprehend the situation. "We may as well run further in and
see what we can see."

It must have been aggravating to the people on the steamer to see that
cockle-shell of a yacht dancing safely along over the shoal on which
their "leviathan" had struck, and to hear Ford Foster sing out: "If we'd
known you meant to run in here, we'd have followed some other pilot."

"They're in no danger at all," said Dab. "If their own boats don't take
'em all ashore, the coast-wreckers will."

"The Government life-savers, I s'pose you mean?"

"Yes, they're all along here, everywhere. Hark! there goes the distress
gun. Bang away! It sounds a good deal more mad than scared."

So it did, and so they really were--captain, pilot, passengers and all.

"Captain Kinzer" found that he could safely run in for a couple of
hundred yards or so; but there were signs of surf beyond, and he had no
anchor to hold on by. His only course was to tack back and forth, as
carefully as possible, and wait for daylight, as the French sailors were
doing, with what patience they could command.

In less than half an hour, however, a pair of long, graceful,
buoyant-looking life-boats, manned each by an officer and eight rowers,
came shooting through the mist, in response to the repeated summons of
the steamer's cannon.

"It's all right now," said Dab. "I knew they wouldn't be long in coming.
Let's find where we are."

That was easy enough. The steamer had gone ashore on a sand-bar a
quarter of a mile from the beach and a short distance from Seabright, on
the Jersey coast; and there was no probability of any worse harm coming
to her than the delay in her voyage, and the cost of pulling her out
from the sandy bed into which she had so blindly thrust herself. The
passengers would, most likely, be taken ashore with their baggage, and
sent to the city overland.

"In fact," said Ford Foster, "a sand-bar isn't as bad for a steamer as a
pig is for a locomotive."

"The train you was wrecked in," said Dab, "was running fast. Perhaps the
pig was. Now, the sand-bar was standing still, and the steamer was going
slow. My! what a crash there'd have been, if she'd been running ten or
twelve knots an hour with a heavy sea on."

By daylight there were plenty of other craft around, including yachts
and sail-boats from Long Branch, and "all along shore," and the Long
Island boys treated the occupants of these as if they had sent for them
and were glad to see them.

"Seems to me, your're inclined to be inquisitive, Dab," said Ford, as
his friend peered sharply into and around one craft after another, but
just then Dabney sung out:

"Hullo, Jersey, what are you doing with two grapnels? Is that boat of
yours balky?"

"Mind your eye, youngster. They're both mine, I reckon."

"You might sell me one cheap," continued Dab, "considering how you got
'em. Give you ten cents for the big one."

Ford thought he understood the matter, and said nothing; but the "Jersey
wrecker" had "picked up" those two anchors, one time and another, and
had no objection at all to talking "trade."

"Ten cents! Let you have it for fifty dollars."

"Is it gold, or only silver gilt?"

"Pure gold, my boy, but seein' it's you, I'll say ten dollars."

"Take your pay in clams?"

"Oh, hush, I haint no time to gabble. Mebbe I'll git a job here, 'round
this yer wreck. If you want the grapn'l, what'll you gimme?"

"Five dollars, gold, take it or leave it," said Dab, as he pulled out a
coin from the pay he had taken for his blue-fish.

In three minutes more the "Swallow" was furnished with a much larger and
better anchor than the one she had lost the day before, and Dick Lee
exclaimed:

"It jes' takes Capt'in Kinzer!"

For some minutes before this, as the light grew clearer and the fog
lifted a little, Frank Harley had been watching them from the rail of
the "Prudhomme" and wondering if all the fisher-boys in America dressed
as well as these two.

"Hullo, you!" was the greeting which now came to his ears. "Go ashore in
my boat?"

"Not till I have eaten some of your fish for breakfast," replied Frank.
"What's your name?"

"Captain Dabney Kinzer, of 'most anywhere on Long Island. What's yours?"

"Frank Harley, of Rangoon."

"I declare!" almost shouted Ford Foster, "if you're not the chap my
sister Annie told me of. You're going to Albany, to my uncle, Joe
Hart's, aren't you?"

"Yes, to Mr. Hart's, and then to Grantley, to school."

"That's it. Well, you just come along with us, then. Get your kit out of
your state-room. We can send over to the city for the rest of your
baggage after it gets in."

"Along with you, where?"

"To my father's house, instead of ashore among those wreckers and
hotel-people. The captain'll tell you it's all right."

It was a trifle irregular, no doubt, but there was the "Prudhomme"
ashore, and all "landing rules" were a little out of joint by reason of
that circumstance. The "Swallow" lay at anchor while Frank got his
breakfast, and such of his baggage as was not "stowed away," and,
meantime, Captain Kinzer and his "crew" made a very deep hole in their
own supplies, for their night of danger and excitement had made them
wonderfully hungry.

"Do you mean to sail home?" asked Ford, in some astonishment.

"Why not? If we could do it in the night and in a storm, we surely can
in a day of such splendid weather as is coming. The wind's all right
too, what there is of it."

[Illustration: THE WELCOME ON THE BEACH.]


CHAPTER XIII.

The wind was indeed "all right," but even Dab forgot, for the moment,
that the "Swallow" would go further and faster before a gale than she
was likely to with the comparatively mild southerly breeze which was
blowing. He was by no means likely to get home by dinner-time. As for
danger, there would be absolutely none, unless the weather should again
become stormy, which was not at all probable at that season. And so,
with genuine boyish confidence in boys, after some further conversation
over the rail, Frank Harley went on board the "Swallow" as a passenger,
and the gay little craft slipped lightly away from the neighborhood of
the very forlorn-looking stranded steamer.

"They'll have her off in less'n a week," said Ford to Frank. "My
father'll know just what to do about your baggage, and so forth."

There were endless questions to be asked and answered on both sides, but
at last Dab yawned a very sleepy yawn and said: "Ford, you've had your
nap. Wake up Dick there, and let him take his turn at the tiller. The
sea's as smooth as a lake, and I believe I'll go to sleep for an hour or
so. You and Frank keep watch while Dick steers."

Whatever Dab said was "orders," now, on board the "Swallow," and Ford's
only reply was: "If you haven't earned a good nap, then nobody has."

In five minutes more the patient and skillful young "captain" was
sleeping like a top.

"Look at him," said Ford Foster to Frank Harley. "I don't know what he's
made of. He's been at that tiller for twenty-three hours, by the watch,
in all sorts of weather, and never budged."

"They don't make that kind of boy in India," replied Frank.

"He's de best feller you ebber seen," added Dick Lee. "I's jes' proud of
'im, I is."

Smoothly and swiftly and safely the "Swallow" was bearing her precious
cargo across the summer sea, but the morning had brought no comfort to
the two homes at the head of the inlet, or the cabin in the village. Old
Bill Lee was out in the best boat he could borrow, by early daylight,
and more than one of his sympathizing neighbors followed him a little
later. There was no doubt at all that a thorough search would be made of
the bay and the island, and so Mr. Foster wisely remained at home to
comfort his wife and daughter.

"That sort of boy," mourned Annie, "is always getting into some kind of
mischief."

"Annie," exclaimed her mother, "Ford is a good boy, and he does not run
into mischief."

"I didn't mean Ford; I meant that Dabney Kinzer. I wish we'd never seen
him, or his sail-boat either."

"Annie," said her father, reprovingly, "if we live by the water, Ford
_will_ go out on it, and he'd better do so in good company. Wait a
while."

Summer days are long, but some of them are a good deal longer than
others, and that was one of the longest any of those people had ever
known. For once, even dinner was more than half neglected in the Kinzer
family circle. At the Fosters' it was forgotten almost altogether. Long
as the day was, and so dreary, in spite of all the bright, warm
sunshine, there was no help for it; the hours would not hurry, and the
wanderers would not return. Tea-time came at last, and with it the
Fosters all came over to Mrs. Kinzer's again, to take tea and to tell
her of several fishermen who had returned from the bay without having
discovered a sign of the "Swallow" or its crew.

Stout-hearted Mrs. Kinzer talked bravely and encouragingly,
nevertheless, and did not seem to abate an ounce of her confidence in
her son. It seemed as if, in leaving off his roundabouts, Dabney must
have suddenly grown a great many "sizes" in his mother's estimation.
Perhaps that was because he did not leave them off too soon.

There they sat, the two mothers and the rest, looking gloomy enough,
while, over there in her bit of a brown house in the village, Mrs. Lee
sat in very much the same frame of mind, trying to relieve her feelings
by smoothing imaginary wrinkles out of her boy's best clothes, and
planning for him any number of bright red neck-ties, if he would only
come back to wear them.

The neighbors were becoming more than a little interested and even
excited about the matter; but what was there to be done?

Telegrams had been sent to other points on the coast, and all the
fishermen notified. It was really one of those puzzling cases where even
the most neighborly can do no better than "wait a while."

Still, there were nearly a dozen people, of all sorts, including Bill
Lee, lingering around the "landing" as late as eight o'clock, when some
one of them suddenly exclaimed:

"There's a light, coming in."

And others followed with: "And a boat under it." "Ham's boat carried a
light." "I'll bet it's her." "No, it isn't." "Hold on and see."

There was not long to "hold on," for in three minutes more the "Swallow"
swept gracefully in with the tide, and the voice of Dab Kinzer shouted
merrily: "Home again! Here we are!"

Such a ringing volley of cheers answered him! It was heard and
understood away there in the parlor of the Morris house, and brought
every soul of that anxious circle right up standing.

"Must be it's Dab!" exclaimed Mrs. Kinzer.

"Oh, mother," said Annie, "is Ford safe?"

"They wouldn't cheer like that, my dear, if anything had happened,"
remarked Mr. Foster, but, in spite of his coolness, the city lawyer
forgot to put his hat on, as he dashed out of the front gate, and down
the road toward the landing.

Then came one of those times that it takes a whole orchestra and a
gallery of paintings to tell anything about, for Mrs. Lee as well as her
husband was at the beach, and within a minute after "Captain Kinzer" and
his crew had landed, poor Dick was being hugged and scolded within an
inch of his life, and the other two boys found themselves in the midst
of a tumult of embraces and cheers.

Frank Harley's turn came soon, moreover, for Ford Foster found his
balance, and introduced the "passenger from India" to his father.

"Frank Harley!" exclaimed Mr. Foster, "I've heard of you, certainly, but
how did you--boys, I don't understand----"

"Oh, father, it's all right! We took Frank off the French steamer after
she ran ashore."

"Ran ashore?"

"Yes; down the Jersey coast. We got in company with her in the fog,
after the storm. That was yesterday evening."

"Down the Jersey coast! Do you mean you've been out at sea?"

"Yes, father; and I'd go again, with Dab Kinzer for captain. Do you
know, father, he never left the rudder of the 'Swallow' from the moment
we started until seven o'clock this morning?"

"You owe him your lives!" almost shouted Mr. Foster; and Ford added,
"Indeed, we do."

It was Dab's own mother's arms that had been around him from the instant
he made his appearance, and Samantha and Keziah and Pamela had had to
be content with a kiss or so apiece; but dear old Mrs. Foster stopped
smoothing Ford's hair and forehead, just then, and gave Dab a right
motherly hug, as if she could not express herself in any other way.

As for Annie Foster, her face was suspiciously red at the moment, but
she walked right up to Dab, after her mother released him, and said:

"Captain Kinzer, I've been saying dreadful things about you, but I beg
pardon."

"I'll be entirely satisfied, Miss Annie," returned Dabney, "if you'll
ask somebody to get us something to eat."

"Eat!" exclaimed Mrs. Kinzer, "Why, the poor fellows! Of course they're
hungry."

Of course they were, every one; and the supper-table, after all, was the
best place in the world to hear the particulars of their wonderful
cruise.

Meantime, Dick Lee was led home to a capital supper of his own, and as
soon as that was over he was rigged out in his Sunday clothes,--red silk
neck-tie and all,--and invited to tell the story of his adventures to a
roomful of admiring neighbors.

He told it well, modestly ascribing pretty much everything to Dab
Kinzer; but there was no reason, in anything he said, for one of his
father's friends to ask, next morning:

"Bill Lee, does you mean for to say as dem boys run down de French
steamah in dat ar' boat?"

"Not dat, not zackly."

"'Cause, if you does, I jes' want to say I's been down a-lookin' at her,
and she aint even snubbed her bowsprit."

(_To be continued._)



GERTY.

BY MARGARET W. HAMILTON.


Ugh! How cold it was!--sleet driving in your face, wind whistling about
your ears, cold penetrating everywhere! "A regular nipper," thought Dick
Kelsey, standing in a door-way, kicking his feet in toeless boots to
warm them, and blowing his chilled fingers, for in the pockets of his
ragged trousers the keen air had stiffened them. He was revolving a
weighty question in his mind. Which should he do,--go down to "Ma'am
Vesey's" and get one of her hot mutton pies, or stray a little farther
up the alley, where an old sailor kept a little coffee-house for the
benefit of newsboys and boot-blacks such as he? Should it be coffee or
mutton pie?

"I'll toss up for it!" said Dick, finally; and, fumbling in his pockets,
the copper was produced ready for the test.

Just then, his attention was suddenly diverted. Close to him sounded a
voice, weak and not very melodious, but bravely singing:

  "There is a happy land
    Far, far away,
  Where saints in glory stand
    Bright, bright as day!"

Dick listened in silence till the last little quaver had died away, and
then said: "Whew! That was purty, anyhow. Where is the piper, I wonder!"
He looked about for the musician, but could see no one. He was the only
person in the alley.

Again the song began, and this time he traced the voice to the house
against which he had been leaning. The window was just at his right, and
through one of the broken panes came the notes. Dick's modesty was not a
burden to him, so it was the work of only a moment to put his face to
the hole in the window and take a view.

A small room, not very nice to see, was what he saw; then, as his eye
became used to the dim light, he espied on a low bed in the corner a
little girl gazing at him with a pair of big black eyes.

"I say, there! Was it you pipin' away so fine?" began Dick, without the
slightest embarrassment.

"If you mean, was I a-singin'?--I was," answered the child from the bed,
not seeming at all surprised at this sudden intrusion upon her privacy.

"I say, who are you, anyhow?"

"I'm Gerty, and I stay here all the day while mother is away washing;
and she locks the door so no one can't get in," explained the girl.

"My eye!" was Dick's return. "And what are you in bed for?"

"Oh, I have a pain in my back, an' I lie down most of the time," replied
Gerty in the most cheerful manner possible, as if a pain in the back
were the one desirable thing, while Dick withdrew his head to ponder
over this new experience.

A girl locked in a room like that, lying in bed with pain most of the
time, with nothing to do, yet cheerful and bright--this was something
he could not understand. All at once his face brightened. Back went his
eyes to the window.

"I say, got anything to eat in there?"

"Oh yes, some crackers; and to-night maybe mother'll buy some milk."

"Pooh!" said Dick, with scorn. "Crackers and milk! Did you ever eat a
mutton pie?"

"A mutton pie," repeated Gerty, slowly. "No, I guess not."

"Oh, they're bully! Hot from Ma'am Vesey's! Tip-top! Wait a minute,"--a
needless caution, for Gerty could not possibly have done anything else.

Away ran Dick down the alley and around the corner, halting breathless
before Ma'am Vesey.

"Gi'e me one, quick!" he cried. "Hot, too. No, I wont eat it; put it in
some paper." The old woman had offered him one from the oven.

"Seems to me we're gettin' mighty fine," she said; for Dick was an old
customer, and never before had he waited for a pie to be wrapped up.

"Never you mind, old lady," was his good-natured, if somewhat
disrespectful, reply; and, dropping some pennies, he seized his treasure
and was off again.

Gerty's eager fingers soon held the pie, which Dick dexterously tossed
on the bed, and Dick's eyes fairly shone as he watched the half-starved
little one swallow the dainty in rapid mouthfuls.

"Oh, I never in all my life tasted anything half so good! Don't you want
some?" questioned the child, whose enjoyment was so keen she feared it
hardly could be right.

"No, indeed!"--this with hearty emphasis. "I've had 'em. I'm goin' now,"
he added, reluctantly, "but I'll come back again 'fore long."

"Oh, do!" said Gerty, "an' I'll sing you some more of 'Happy Land,' if
you want me; and I know another song, too. I learned them up to the
horspital when I was there. You see, I was peddlin' matches and
shoe-strings, and it was 'most dark and awful slippery, and the horses
hit me afore I knowed it; and then they picked me up, and I didn't know
nothin', and couldn't tell where I lived, and so they took me to the
horspital; and the next day I told 'em where mother was, and she came.
But the doctors said I had better stay, and p'r'aps they could help me.
But they couldn't, you know, cos the pain in my back was too bad. And
mother, she washes, and I watch the daylight, and wait for night, and
sing; and when the pain aint too bad, the day don't seem so very long."

"My eye!" was all Dick could say, as he beat a hasty retreat, rubbing
the much appealed-to member with a corner of his ragged coat.

"Well, them's hard lines, anyhow," he soliloquized, as he went to the
printing-office. "An' she's chipper, too. Game as anything," he went on
to himself. "Now, I'm just goin' to keep my eye on that little un, and
some o' my spare coppers'll help her, I guess."

How he worked that night! His papers fairly flew, he sold them so fast;
and when, under a friendly street-lamp, he counted his gains, a
prolonged whistle was his first comment.

"More'n any night this week," he pondered. "Did me good to go 'thout the
pie. Gerty'll have an orange to-morrow."

So, next morning, when the last journal had been sold, a fruit-stand was
grandly patronized.

"The biggest, best orange you got, and never mind what it costs." Then
but a few moments to reach Gerty's alley, and Gerty's window.

Yes, there she was, just the same as yesterday, and the pinched face
grew bright when she saw her new friend peering at her.

"Oh! you're come, are you?" joyfully. "Mother said you wouldn't, when I
told her, but I said you would. She wouldn't leave the door unlocked,
cos she didn't know nothing about you; but she said, if you came to-day,
you could come back to-night when she was home, and come in."

"Oh, may I?" said Dick, rather gruffly; for he hardly liked the idea of
meeting strangers.

"Yes," went on Gerty; "I'll sing lots, if you want; and mother'll be
glad to see you, too."

"All right; mebbe I'll come. And say, here's suthin for ye," and the
orange shot through the window.

"Oh, my!" she gasped, "how nice! Is it really for me?" And Dick
answered, "Yes, eat it now."

Half his pleasure was in watching her eager relish of the fruit; and as
Gerty needed no second bidding, the orange rapidly disappeared, she
pausing now and again to look across gratefully at Dick and utter
indistinct expressions of delight.

"Now shall I sing?" she asked, when the last delicious mouthful was
fairly swallowed; for she was anxious to make some return for the
pleasure he had given her.

"All right," responded Dick, "I'm ready."

So the thin little voice began again the old refrain; Gerty singing with
honest fervor, Dick listening in rapt attention. Following "Happy Land"
came "I want to be an angel," "Little drops of water," etc.; and when
full justice had been done to these well-worn tunes, Dick suggested a
change.

"Don't you sing 'Mulligan Guards'?" he questioned, at the close of one
of the hymns.

"No," said Gerty, perplexed. "They didn't sing that up to the
horspital."

"Oh, mebbe they don't sing it to the horspital; but I've heard 'em sing
it bully to the circus. I say," he went on suddenly, "was you ever
there--to the circus, I mean?"

"No," said Gerty, eagerly. "What do they do?"

"Oh, it's beautiful!" was Dick's answer. "All bright, you know, and
warm, and the wimmin is dressed awful fine, and the men, too; and the
horses prance around; and they have music and tumbling, and--oh, lots of
things!"

"My! and you've been there?"

"Oh yes, I've been!" Then, as he watched her sparkling eyes, "Look here,
I'll take you. I could carry you, you know, and we'd go early, and I'd
put you up against a post, and----Don't you want to go?"

"Want to go?" she repeated with rapture. "Oh, it's too good to be true!
I was scared just a-thinkin' of it. Oh, if mother'd let me an' I could!
Wouldn't I be too heavy? Mother says I'm light as a feather,--and I
wouldn't weigh more'n I could help," she added, wistfully.

"Never you mind," was Dick's hearty reply. "I'll come to-night and see
the old lady,--your mother, I mean,--and we'll go next week, if she'll
let you."

So it was decided; and when Dick said "good-bye," and ran off, Gerty
settled back with a sigh, half of delight and half of anxiety, lest her
wild, wonderful hope should never be fulfilled.

But Dick came that night, and Gerty's mother, when she saw Dick's
honest, earnest face, and her little girl's eager, pleading eyes, gave
consent.

The next Monday night was fixed upon, and this was Thursday. "Four
days," counted Gerty on her fingers; and oh, they seemed so long! But
even four days _will_ crawl away, and Monday night came at last. By
seven o'clock, Dick appeared, his face clean and shining, radiant with
delight.

Gerty was dressed in the one dress owned by her mother beside her
working one, and the shrunken little figure looked pathetically absurd
in its ample proportions. It was much too long for her, of course, but
her mother pinned up the skirt. Good old Peggotty Winters, the
apple-woman, who lived in the back room, had lent her warm shawl for the
occasion, and the little French hair-dresser on the top floor had loaned
a knitted hood which had quite an elegant effect. So Gerty considered
herself dressed in a style befitting the event; and if she and Dick were
satisfied, no one else need criticise.

"Pooh!" was Dick's comment as he lifted her in his arms. "Like a baby,
aint you?"

"Oh, I'm so glad you don't think I'm heavy! It's the first time I ever
was glad to be thin," sighed Gerty, clinging around his neck.

Then away they went, out through alleys and across side-streets to the
main artery of travel, where Dick threaded his way slowly through
throngs of gay people. At length, after what seemed miles to Gerty, they
halted in front of a brilliantly lighted building, and in another
moment were in the dazzling entrance-way.

On went Dick slowly, patiently, with his burden, down the aisle, as near
to the front as possible, and--they were there!

Gerty was carefully set down in a corner place, and her shawl opened a
little to serve as a pillow; and then she began to look about her,
gazing with awe-struck curiosity at the great arena and the mysterious
doors.

After a while the house seemed full, the musicians came out and took
their places, the gas suddenly blazed more brightly, and the band struck
up a gay popular air. Gerty felt as if she must scream with delight and
expectation.

Presently, the music stopped, there was a bustle of preparation, a bell
tinkled, and the great doors slowly swung open. Gerty saw beautiful
ladies, all bright and glittering with spangles, and handsome horses in
gorgeous trappings, and great strong men in tights, all the wonders and
sights of the circus, and the funny jokes and antics of the clown and
pantaloon. And Gerty had never known anything half so fine; and there
was riding and jumping and tumbling, and all manner of fun, until the
doors shut again.

"Wasn't it lovely?" whispered Gerty. "Is that all?"

"Not half," said Dick; and Gerty leaned back to think it all over and
watch for the repetition. But the next scene was different; there came
an immense elephant, some little white poodle-dogs, and some mules, and
everybody clapped hands and laughed, and was delighted. At last, the
climax of ecstasy was reached,--a beautiful procession of all the gayly
dressed and glittering performers, with their wonderful steeds, the wise
old elephant, the queer little poodles, and the fun-provoking mules; and
the band struck up some stirring music, and Gerty was dumb with
admiration. But in another minute the arena was empty, the heavy doors
had shut out all the life and magnificence, the band was hushed, the
lights were dimmed, and Dick told her it was over.

Carefully he folded her in the shawl again, and once more the cold night
air blew in her face. Not a word could she say all the way home, but
when she sank in her mother's arms it was with the whisper, "I've seen
'Happy Land';" and Dick felt, somehow, as if no other comment were
needed.

And the winter days went on, Dick's faithful service and devotion never
ceasing. The window was mended, but Dick had a key to the door, and
spent many an hour with the sufferer. As spring approached, the two
watchers noted a change in the girl. She was weaker, and her pain
constant; and when Dick carried her out to the park in the April
sunshine, he was shocked to find her weight almost nothing in his arms.

Yes, Gerty was dying, slowly but surely; and Dick grew exceeding
sorrowful. By and by, she even could not be carried out-of-doors, but
lay all day on her little couch. Then Dick brought flowers and fruit,
and talked gayly of the next winter, when, said he, "We'll go every week
to the circus, Gerty."

[Illustration: AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CIRCUS.]

"No, Dick," said the child, quietly, "I shall never go there again. But
oh! 't'll be suthin better!"--at which Dick rushed off hastily, and soon
after got into a quarrel with a fellow newsboy who had hinted that his
eyes were red. Anon he was back with some fresh gift, only to struggle
again with the choking grief.

And then came the end--quietly, peacefully. Near the close of a July
day, when the setting sun glorified every corner of the room, Gerty left
her pain, and, with a farewell sigh, was at rest.

"Oh, Gerty!" sobbed Dick, "don't forget me!"

Ah, Dick, you are held in everlasting remembrance, and more than one
angel is glad at thoughts of you, in the "Happy Land!"



THE CROW THAT THE CROW CROWED.

BY S. CONANT FOSTER.


          "Ho! ho!"
          Said the crow:
  "So I'm not s'posed to know
    Where the rye and the wheat
  And the corn kernels grow--
          Oh! no,
          Ho! ho!

          "He! he!
          Farmer Lee,
  When I fly from my tree,
    Just you see where the tops
  Of the corn-ears will be
          Watch me!
          He! he!"

          Switch-swirch,
          With a lurch,
  Flopped the bird from his perch
    As he spread out his wings
  And set forth on his search--
          His search--
          Switch-swirch.

          Click!-bang!--
          How it rang,
  How the small bullet sang
    As it sped through the air--
  And the crow, with a pang,
          Went spang--
          Chi-bang.

  THE TAIL FEATHERS.

          Now know,
          That to crow
  Often brings one to woe;
    Which the lines up above
  Have been put there to show,
          And so,
          Don't crow.



THE LONDON MILK-WOMAN.

BY ALEXANDER WAINWRIGHT.


Very sturdy in form and honest in face is the London milk-woman shown in
our picture. She has broad English features, smoothly parted hair, and a
nice white frill running round her old-fashioned, curtained bonnet. Her
boots are strong, and her dress is warm--the petticoats cut short to
prevent them from draggling in the mud. A wooden yoke fits to her
shoulders, which are almost as broad as a man's, and from the yoke hang
her cans, filled with milk and cream, the little ones being hooked to
the larger ones.

The London day has opened on a storm, and the snow lies thick on the
area railings, the lamp-posts and the roofs; but the morning is not too
cold or stormy for her. Oh, no! the mornings never are. It may rain, or
blow, or snow the hardest that ever was known, no inclemency of weather
keeps her from her morning round, and in the dull cold of London frosts
and the yellow obscurity of London fogs, she appears in the streets,
uttering her familiar cry, "Me-oh! me-oh!" which is her way of calling
milk.

Pretty kitchen-maids come up the area steps with their pitchers to meet
her, and detain her with much gossip. The one in the picture, whose arms
are comfortably folded under her white apron, may be telling her that
the mistress's baby is sick, and that the doctor despairs of its life.
She may even be saying to her: "The only thing it can swallow, poor
little dear, is a little milk and arrowroot, and the doctor says unless
it can have this it must die." A great deal of the London milk is
adulterated, and, perhaps, this honest-looking milk-woman knows that
water has been added to hers. May be, she has babies of her own, and
then her heart must be sore when she realizes that the little sick one
upstairs may perish through her employer's greed for undue profits.

[Illustration: AT THE AREA GATE.]

To-morrow, she may find the blinds drawn close down at that house, and
the maid-of-all-work red-eyed and tearful; then she will turn away,
bitterly feeling the pressure of her yoke on her shoulders, although,
from her looks, she herself appears to be incapable of dishonesty; she
is, and more than that, kindly, cheery, and industrious. Her cans are
polished to the brilliancy of burnished silver, and betoken the most
scrupulous cleanliness. Many breakfast-tables depend upon her for that
rich cream which emits a delicious flavor from her cans, in the sharp
morning air. "Me-oh! me-oh!" We turn over in bed when we hear her, and
know that it is time to get up.



[Illustration]

ALICE'S SUPPER.


  Far down in the valley the wheat grows deep,
  And the reapers are making the cradles sweep;
  And this is the song that I hear them sing,
  While cheery and loud their voices ring:
  "'Tis the finest wheat that ever did grow,
  And it is for Alice's supper--ho! ho!"

  [Illustration]

  Far down by the river the old mill stands,
  And the miller is rubbing his dusty old hands;
  And these are the words of the miller's lay,
  As he watches the mill-stones grinding away:
  "'Tis the finest flour that money can buy,
  And it is for Alice's supper--hi! hi!"

[Illustration]

  Down-stairs in the kitchen the fire doth glow,
  And cook is a-kneading the soft white dough;
  And this is the song she is singing to-day,
  As merry and busy she's working away:
  "'T is the finest dough whether near or afar,
  And it is for Alice's supper--ha! ha!"

[Illustration]

  To the nursery now comes mother, at last,--
  And what in her hand is she bringing so fast?
  'T is a plateful of something, all yellow and white,
  And she sings as she comes, with her smile so bright:
  "'T is the best bread and butter I ever did see,
  And it is for Alice's supper--he! he!"



[Illustration]

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT.


"Warm!" you say?

Don't mention it, but take it good-naturedly.

And, now, let's be quiet and have a talk about


HEARING FLIES WALK.

"Ho, ho; nobody can do that!"

But anybody _can_ do that,--with a microphone.

"And what's a microphone?"

Why, it's a machine by which very low sounds, that don't seem to be
sounds at all, may be made to grow so loud and clear that you can easily
hear them. If any of you come across one of these things, my dears, just
take it to some quiet green spot, and coax it to let you hear the grass
grow.

There's one feature of the microphone that is likely to be troublesome;
it makes loud noises sound hundreds of times louder. Something must be
done, therefore, to prevent the use of these machines on any Fourth of
July. That would be what nobody could stand, I should think.


A CRAB THAT MOWS GRASS.

Isn't this dreadful? In India--a long way off, I'm glad to say--there is
a kind of crab that eats the juicy stalks of grass, rice, and other
plants. He snips off the stalks with his sharp pincers, and, when he has
made a big enough sheaf, sidles off home with it to his burrow in the
ground, to feast upon it.

Ugh! I hope I shall never hear the cruel click of his pincers anywhere
near me!


WASHERWOMEN IN TUBS.

Over here, as I've heard, the clothes to be washed are put in tubs, and
the washerwomen or washermen stand outside at work. But I'm told that in
some parts of Europe the washerwomen themselves get into the tubs. They
do this to keep their feet dry. The tubs or barrels are empty, and are
set along the river banks in the water, and each washerwoman stands in
her tub and washes the clothes in the river, pounding, and soaping, and
rinsing them, on a board, without changing her position.


MICE IN A PIANO.


       Chicago, Ill.

     DEAR JACK: I have long wished to tell you of a little incident that
     occurred in our family.

     About a year ago we bought an upright grand piano, and after we had
     had it a few months we noticed that one of the keys would stay down
     when touched, unless struck very quickly and lightly, and the next
     day another acted in the same way. That evening, after the boys had
     gone to bed, father and myself were sitting by the grate fire, when
     we thought we heard a nibbling in the corner of the room where the
     piano stood. I exclaimed, "Do you think it possible a mouse can be
     in the piano?" "Oh no!" he said; "it is probably behind it." We
     moved the piano, and found a little of the carpet gnawed, and a few
     nut-shells. Then we examined the piano inside, as far as possible,
     but found no traces there. I played a noisy tune, to frighten the
     mouse away, and we thought no more about it.

     Two or three days after, more of the keys stayed down, and I said,
     "That piano must be fixed." The tuner came, and the children all
     stood around him, with curious eyes, as he took the instrument
     apart. Presently I heard a great shout. What do you think? In one
     corner, on the key-board, where every touch of the keys must have
     jarred it, was a mouse's nest, with five young ones in it! Those
     mice must have been fond of music! The mother mouse sprang out and
     escaped; but the nest and the little ones were destroyed.

     Well, what do you suppose the nest was made of? Bits of felt and
     soft leather from the hammers and pedal; and the mouse had gnawed
     in two most of the strips of leather that pull back the hammers!
     So, when the piano had been fixed, there was a pretty heavy bill
     for repairs.--Very truly yours,

       P. L. S.


RATTLE-BOXES.

You'd hardly believe how old-fashioned rattle-boxes are,--those noisy
things that babies love to shake. Why, they are almost as old-fashioned
as some of the very first babies would look nowadays. A few very ancient
writers mention these toys, but, instead of calling them, simply,
"rattle-boxes," they refer to them as "symbols of eternal agitation,
which is necessary to life!"

Deacon Green says that this high-sounding saying may have been wise for
its times, when the sleepy young world needed shaking, perhaps, to get
it awake and keep it lively. "But, in these days," he adds, "the boot is
on the other leg. People are a little too go-ahead, if anything, and try
to do too much in too short time. Real rest, and plenty of it, is just
as necessary to life as agitation can be."

Remember this, my chicks, all through vacation; but don't mistake
laziness for rest.


A MOTHER WITH TWO MILLION CHILDREN.

No, not the old woman who lived in a shoe,--though old parties of the
kind I mean have been found with their houses fixed to old rubber
high-boots,--but a quiet old mother, who never utters a word, and whose
house is all door-way, as I'm told. Every year she opens the door and
turns two million wee bairns upon the world.

Away they rush, the door snaps shut behind them, and they can never come
back any more! They don't seem to mind that very much, however, for they
go dancing away in countless armies, without ever jostling, or meeting,
or even touching one another.

And how large a ball-room do you suppose a troop of them would need?
One drop of water is large enough for thousands upon thousands of them
to sport in!

The mother is the oyster, and her children are the little oysters, and a
curious family they must be, if all this is true, as I'm led to believe.


A CHINESE FLOATING VILLAGE.

The Little Schoolma'am wishes you a good and lively vacation, and sends
you a picture of a Chinese Floating Village,--a cool and pleasant kind
of village to live in through the summer, I've no doubt, with plashing
water, and fresh breezes, all about you. She goes on to say:

"In China, where there are about four hundred and fifty millions of
people, not only the land, but also much of the water, is covered with
towns and streets; and, although the Chinese are more than eleven times
as numerous as the people of the United States, their country is not
half as large as ours,--even leaving Alaska out of the count. So that
China is pretty well crowded.

[Illustration: A CHINESE FLOATING VILLAGE.]

"In the picture, the little boats belong to poor people, but the big
ones, called 'junks,' belong to folks who are better off. Sometimes
junks are used by rich people for traveling, and then they are built
almost as roomy, and fitted up quite as comfortably, as the homes on
shore.

"There are no railroads in China worth mentioning, so traveling has to
be done by highroad, or by river and canal; and, as this last, though
easy, is a very slow way, it is a good thing when, like the snail, a
traveler can take his house with him."


INFORMATION WANTED.

       Providence, R. I.

     Jack-in-the-Pulpit: SIR: I write to ask if any of your little birds
     ever crossed the Equator; and, when just above it, whereabouts in
     the sky did they look for the sun at noon?

     If you will answer this you will oblige me very much, as I have
     been wondering for about a month past.

     Don't think this foolish.

       EDWIN S. THOMPSON.

None of my feathered friends ever told me about this; but, perhaps, some
of you smart chicks who have just passed good examinations can answer
Edwin's question. If so, I'd be glad to hear from you; especially if
you'd let me know, also, what kind of a thing the equator _is_, and by
what marks or signs a bird or anybody might make sure he had pitched
upon it?


A BIRD THAT SEWS.

       Sandy Spring, Md.

     DEAR JACK: Have you ever heard of a bird that sews? Perhaps you
     have, and some of your chicks have not. He is not much larger than
     the humming-bird, and looks like a ball of yellow worsted flying
     through the air. For his nest he chooses two leaves on the outside
     of a tree, and these he sews firmly together, except at the
     entrance, using a fiber for thread, and his long, sharp bill as a
     needle. When this is done, he puts in some down plucked from his
     breast, and his snug home is complete. He is sometimes called the
     "tailor-bird."--Your friend,

       M. B. T.


A BEE "SOLD."

Talk about the instinct of animals! I'm sure my little friends the bees
are as bright as any, yet I heard, the other day, a strange thing about
one. There was a flower-like sea-anemone, near the top of a little pool
of water, when a bee came buzzing along and alighted on the pretty
thing, no doubt mistaking it for a blossom. That anemone was an animal,
and had no honey. Now, where was the instinct of that bee? That's what I
want to know.



THE LETTER-BOX.

  West Roxbury, Mass.

Dear St. Nicholas: I saw in your June number, in the "Letter-Box," an
account of a turtle; so I thought I would tell you about "Gopher Jimmy."
My uncle brought him from Florida. He is a gopher, and different from
the common kind of turtle. His back is yellow, with black ridges on it.
His feet are yellow and scaly. Gophers burrow in the ground; and, when
full grown, a man cannot pull one out of its burrow, and a child can
ride easily on its back. I feed mine on clover. He likes to bask in the
sun. My uncle named him "Gopher Jimmy." When full grown, they can move
with a weight of 200 pounds. Jimmy is a young one.--Your devoted reader,

  FRANCIS H. ALLEN.


  Baltimore, Md

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Perhaps the other readers of your magazine have heard
of "Tyrian purple," a dye which once sold in the shops of ancient Rome
for its own weight in silver. Well, after a while, the way to make this
dye was forgotten,--probably because those who had the secret died
without telling it to others. And now I want to let you know what I have
learned lately, in reading, about how the secret was found again, after
hundreds of years.

A French naturalist, named Lacazo Duthiers, was on board a ship, when,
one day, he saw a sailor marking his clothes and the sails of the ship
with a sharp-pointed stick, which, every now and then, he dipped into a
little shell held in his other hand. At first, the lines were only a
faint yellow in color; but, after being a few minutes in the sun, they
became greenish, then violet, and last of all, a bright, beautiful
purple, the exact shade called by the ancients "Tyrian purple"--a color
that never fades by washing, or exposure to heat or damp, but ever grows
brighter and clearer! The naturalist was rejoiced, and after trial found
that he really had discovered again the long-lost secret. He felt well
repaid for keeping his eyes open. The little shell was the "wide-mouthed
purpura," as some call it, some three inches long, found in the
Mediterranean Sea, and on the coasts of France, Ireland and Great
Britain. My book says that the difficulty of obtaining and preserving
these shells must always render "Tyrian purple" a rare and expensive
color.

I remember, too, that the Babylonians thought "Tyrian purple" too sacred
for the use of mortals, so they used it only in the dress of their
idols. Romulus, king of Rome, adopted it as the regal color, and the
Roman emperors forbade any besides themselves to wear it, on penalty of
death.--Yours truly, F. R. F.


The boys and girls who solved the poetical charade printed on page 639
of the July number, must have noticed that it is an unusually good one,
and we are sure that all our readers will admire the charade, after
comparing it with its solution, which we publish upon page 704 of this
number.


  Alexandria, Ohio.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I should like to know who would succeed to the throne
in case of Queen Victoria's and her eldest son's deaths. My brother and
I sold hickory-nuts and onions to get the St. Nicholas last fall. We
have taken it ever since it was published. I am ten years old.

  WILLIE CASTLE.


Prince Albert Victor, the Prince of Wales's eldest son, if then alive,
would succeed to the English throne after Queen Victoria, in case of the
previous death of her eldest son,--the Prince of Wales. A general answer
to this question will be found in the "Letter-Box" for May, 1877 (Vol.
IV., page 509), in a reply to an inquiry from "Julia."


  Brunswick, Maine.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: It has occurred to me that some of my St. Nicholas
friends may like to know what I have learned from ancient books about
the constellation Ursa Major, or the Dipper, which, in St. Nicholas for
January, 1877 (vol. iv., p. 168), Professor Proctor has likened to a
monkey climbing a pole. It is about the other title of this
constellation, "Great Bear." I need not describe the group itself, for
that has been done already by Professor Proctor in ST. NICHOLAS for
December, 1876.

Sailors, in very ancient times, were without compasses and charts, and
when voyaging guided themselves by studying the situations and motions
of the heavenly bodies. They saw that most of the stars passed up from
the horizon and rose toward the zenith, the point right over head, and
then dropped westward to hide themselves beyond the earth. After a time
they noted some stars which never set, but every night, in fair weather,
were seen at that side where the sun never appears, or, in other words,
were seen at their left side, when their faces were toward the sunrise.
They did not long hesitate how to use these stars. And when, during foul
weather, the sailors were tossed to and fro, these same constant stars,
that again appeared after the storm, indicated to them their true
position, and, as it were, _spoke to them_. This caused them to give
more exact study to the constellations in that same part of the heavens.
None appeared more remarkable than that among which they reckoned seven
of the brightest stars, taking up a large space. Some who watched this
star-group, as it seemed to turn around in the sky, named it the
"Wheel," or "Chariot." The Phoenician pilots called it, sometimes,
"Parrosis," the Indicator, the Rule, or "Callisto," the Deliverance, the
Safety of Sailors. But it was more commonly named "Doubé," signifying
the "speaking constellation," or the "constellation which gives advice."
Now, the word "Doubé" signified also to the Phoenicians a "she-bear,"
and the Greeks are supposed to have received and used the word in its
wrong sense, and to have passed it down to us without correction. This
explanation seems plausible to me; and now, whenever I see the
star-group we call the "Dipper," I think how gladly it was hailed by
poor storm-tossed sailors upon the narrow seas, in the early ages,
before the "lily of the needle pointed to the pole."--Yours truly,

  R. A. S.


DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: The flowers are all in bloom; it looks so pretty.
Here is a little piece of poetry:

  Lieutenant G----
  Was lost in the sea,
  He was found in the foam,
  But he was carried home
  To his wife,
  Who was the joy of his life,
  His lovely brunette,
  His idolized pet.
  She went to a ball,
  And this is all.

I have a little sister named Henrietta, but we call her "Wackie,"
because when she cries she goes "Wackie, wackie, wackie!" I remain, your
constant reader,

  ROWENA T. EWING.


  Camp Grant, A. T.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little army boy. The other day my papa went
down to Mexico, and I went with him. The first day I rode fifty-seven
miles on a mule; the next day, thirty-five miles; and the third day,
forty miles. If you know any boy East, eleven years of age, who can do
that, tell me his name. Lots of Indians out here.

  PAUL COMPTON.


Here is an account of how four enterprising girls from an inland
district spent ten summer days by themselves at the sea-side.


FOUR "INLAND" GIRLS BY THE SEA.

For boys there are all sorts of real camping-out, fishing and hunting
parties, and it's almost enough to set their sisters wild with envy.
Nevertheless, "we girls"--four of us--succeeded one year in having a
deal of holiday enjoyment all by ourselves out of the old sea. This is
how we did it, what sort of place it was, and how we lived:

We engaged a room in a cottage close to the sea, not fifty miles from
Boston. We paid one dollar per day for a medium-sized chamber, with the
privilege of parlor, dining-room, kitchen, kitchen utensils, and china.
Our cottage had fine sea-views from three sides, and roomy balconies all
around, where the salt breezes came up fresh and strong. We had a large
closet for our one trunk, not a Saratoga and not full of finery, for we
had run away from work, company, fashion. We spent whole days in
Balmoral and calico redingotes.

We took with us a few pounds of Graham flour, some fresh eggs, pickles,
tumbler of jelly, plenty of delicately corned beef,--boiled and
pressed,--salt and pepper and French mustard; some tea and coffee and
condensed milk. Fresh vegetables, milk and fruits, could be obtained
from neighbors; and fun it was to be one's own milkmaid and market
merchant; but still more fun to play gypsy and forage for light
driftwood for firing. Then, at a pinch, there were a baker and a
fish-man within easy reach.

The place was quiet, and nobody disturbed us, by day or by night; and it
was delightful to go to sleep, lulled by the music of the waves and
pleasant breeze.

We took turns presiding over the meals of the day, and none but the
day's caterer had any thought or care about that day's bill of fare.

The oldest of our party was "Aunty True," one of the real folks, and a
confirmed Grahamite. The next in age was Helen Chapman, the head and
front of the quartette; a good botanist and geologist, and acquainted
with all manner of things that live in the sea, and from her we had
delightful object lessons fresh from Nature. Next came I, and then Jo,
the youngest of us, a girl of fifteen, ready to run wild on the least
excuse. She was fairly quelled and awe-struck, however, at her first
sight of the sea. "You'll never get me to go into that!" she exclaimed,
fairly shuddering. Yet that very day she was enjoying, bare-foot, the
cool, soft sand, and playing with the foamy wavelets as the tide came
in. But she screamed like an Indian if but invited to plunge beneath the
curling surf. There was every day fresh fun in the water,--we frolicked
like fishes in their own element. And what ludicrous sights we enjoyed
watching the bathers who came from the hotels and
boarding-houses,--whole family parties, big and little!

Our party had fine weather, for in our ten days there was only a half
day of cloud and rain; but it would have been a fresh delight to see the
ocean in a storm.

The last of our pleasures was watching the sun rise out of the sea, a
crimson streak, growing into the great red sun!

  C. N. EFF.


  Charleston, S. C.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to tell the boys and girls how to make a
pretty little ornament. You take a shell, and bore two holes in each
side, then run a piece of ribbon in each hole with a bow on the top, and
it has a very pretty effect. It can hold knickknacks, or a plant; but if
you want it for a plant, you must bore a hole in the bottom for
drainage.--Your friend,

  CARMEN BALAGUER.


E. M.--George Washington's wife was called "Lady" Washington out of
respect for her husband's high position as President, at a time when
titles of courtesy were sometimes given to people not of noble rank who
were in authority. The title has always clung to Martha Washington,
partly from custom, and partly also from the great reverence of all
Americans for General Washington and his wife.

Florence Wilcox, M. B., Isabelle Roorbach, and Lillie M. Sutphen sent
answers to E. M.'s question.


  Baltimore, Md.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I would like to tell you my experience with wild
mice. Some time ago I spent the summer in the Sierra Nevada range. Our
family had a little cabin right in the woods, built of single boards.
One day our servant went to her valise, which had been left slightly
open; to her surprise, she found, neatly packed away, in one corner, a
small quantity of bird-seed; she at once accused a young friend, who was
staying with us, of having put it there for fun; but the accused pleaded
"not guilty," and the matter began to look mysterious. One day my papa
took down a pair of heavy mining boots, which were hung from the
rafters; he went to put his foot in, and found he couldn't; then he
turned the boot upside down. A lot of bird-seed ran out! The mystery
thickened. Another time a little dish of uncooked rice was left in the
kitchen overnight. The next morning the rice had disappeared. Then we
began to suspect mice, and hunted for the rice. It was three or four
days before we found it, in a box containing sewing materials, on the
top shelf of a cupboard. Then we took the same rice and put it in with
some broken bits of cracker, and tied a string to one of the pieces.
Papa left all on the kitchen floor. It had disappeared the next day,
except the bit with the string; this the wise little mice had not
touched. That night we heard pattering all over the house. Next day we
began to hunt for the rice again; but it was only just before we left
the cabin that we found it. It was in the tray of a trunk; and the end
of the matter was, that the poor mice had all their trouble for nothing.

I am a little girl just nine and a half, and have every number of ST.
NICHOLAS, and have them all bound, and love it dearly.--Yours truly,

  LIZETTE A. FISHER.


A correspondent sends us the following description of what she calls the
"Island of Juan Fernandez," near Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most attractive places for out-door amusement, just outside
of Paris, is a spot fitted out to be a counterpart of the Island of Juan
Fernandez, described by Daniel de Foe in his story of Robinson Crusoe.

After leaving the railroad depot, you enter an omnibus on which are
painted the words "Robinson Crusoe." This leaves you at an arch-way
bearing the curious inscription: "A mimic island of Juan Fernandez, the
abode of Robinson Crusoe, dear to the heart of childhood, and a
reminder of our days of innocence." You pass under this with high hope,
and are not disappointed.

Inside, you find a kind of gypsy camp. Groups of open "summer-houses,"
built of bark, unhewn wood, and moss, are clustered here and there. Some
stand on the earth, others are in grottoes or by shady rocks, and some
are even among the branches of the great trees. All these houses are
meant for resting-places while you are being served with such delicacies
as pleasure-seekers from Paris are wont to require. In each of those
huts, which are in the trees, stands a waiter who draws up the luncheon,
the creams, or ices, in a kind of bucket, which has been filled by
another waiter below. All is done deftly and silently, and you are as
little disturbed as was Elijah by the ravens who waited on him.

The trees in which these houses are built are large old forest-trees,
each strong enough in the fork to hold safely the foundation of a small
cottage; and the winding stairs by which you get up into the tree are
hidden by a leafy drapery of ivy, which covers the trunk also, and hangs
in fluttering festoons from limb to limb.

From one of these comfortable perches you look down upon a lively scene
of foliage, flowers, greensward, gay costumes and frolicking children.
The view is wide, and has many features that would be strange to "dear
old Robinson Crusoe." His cabin is multiplied into a hamlet, and his
hermit life is gone. But you still recognize the place as a modernized
portrait of the island of De Foe's wonderful book. And, as if to furnish
you with a fresh piece of evidence, yonder appears Robinson Crusoe
himself, in his coat of skins, and bearing his musket and huge umbrella.

Instead of Man Friday, Will Atkins, and the rest, you see donkeys
carrying laughing children and led by queer-looking old women. And you
heave a little sigh when you think: "How few of these French boys and
girls really know old Crusoe and his adventures! To them this charming
place has nothing whatever to do with running away to sea, shipwrecks,
cannibals, mutinies, and such things. It is nothing but a new kind of
pleasure-ground to them."

However, everybody feels at home here, and so everybody is happy; for,
after all, looking for happiness is much like the old woman's search for
her spectacles, which all the time are just above her nose.

O dear delightful island, how glad we were to chance upon you right here
in gay, care-free Paris! And what an enchanted day we spent amid your
thousand delights and thronging memories!

  C. V. N. C. U.


HERE are two welcome little letters received some time ago from a boy
and girl in Europe:

  Nice, France.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am in Europe now, in Nice. I have seen a great deal
already. Nice is a nice place. And it is the only city in the world that
one may call "Nice" always. I can talk French now a little, enough to be
understood. I go to the "Promenade des Anglais" by the sea every
morning, and I like it very much. Nice is situated in the south-eastern
part of France, very near Italy. It once did belong to Italy. It was
given to Napoleon III. as a reward for helping the late king of Italy,
Victor Emanuel II., to the throne of Sardinia. I get the ST. NICHOLAS
sent from home, and like the stories very much.--Your loving subscriber,

  CHARLES JASTRON.
  (Age 12.)


  Nice, France.

DARLING ST. NICHOLAS: I am a little girl seven years old, and I live in
Nice. I enjoy myself very much here, and have a great deal of fun. I
have nothing to do. I like it here very much. There are a great many
mountains here, but now I do not know any more to write.--Your loving
reader,

  NELLIE JASTRON.


  Pittsburgh, Penn.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have never written to you before, but I have
thought about it several times. I live in the east end of the city. I
like your magazine very much, and always read it through. I had a
dispute to-day with a boy friend of mine. It was about the gypsies, who
camp near our place every year. He said that not all people who lived
that way were gypsies; but that only those who were descended from the
Egyptians were so named. I did not agree with him, because, in the first
place, I do not think that they are descended from the Egyptians, and,
in the second place, I think that all people who live in that way are
called gypsies, no matter what country they come from. I must now
close.--Your constant reader,

  FRANK WARD.


  New York, N. Y.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Did you know that we once had musical watchmen in
this country? Less than fifty years ago, it was quite usual in
Pennsylvania for the watchmen to sing the passing hours during the
night. I suppose the custom was brought over by the Germans, who settled
in the Keystone State. I fancy it must have been sleepy work for the
poor watchman, calling the quiet hours, and adding, as he always did,
his little weather report; at least, he invented a very drowsy,
sing-song sort of tune for it.

In these days of telegraphing, and other scientific improvements, we
should think it a very uncertain, and rather stupid, way to judge of the
weather, to say it was "past ten o'clock on a starry evening," or "a
cloudy evening," or "a frosty morning." Now, we have only to pick up the
morning paper, and consult "Old Probabilities," who nearly always
forecasts truly. But in those times there were no telegraph wires
running the length and breadth of the land, and no Signal Service,
either, so that the regular cry of the watchman may have been held in
high esteem; and, perhaps, the sleepy folk would raise an ear from the
pillow to hear the "probabilities" for the coming day, and lie down
again to arrange business or pleasure accordingly.

A hundred years ago the people of Philadelphia were startled by a
famous cry of a watchman at dead of night, making every one who heard it
wild with joy. It was just after the battle of Yorktown, the last of the
Revolution, when Lord Cornwallis and his army surrendered to Washington.
The bearer of the news of victory, entering Philadelphia, stopped an old
watchman to ask the way to the State House, where Congress was in
session, waiting for news from the army. As soon as the watchman heard
the glad tidings, he started off on his rounds, singing out to his
monotonous tune the remarkable words--

  "Past four o'clock, Cornwallis is taken!"

Up flew the windows on all sides, and every ear was strained to catch
the joyful sound. The old bell sent forth a glad peal, houses were
thrown open and illuminated, and the streets were filled with happy
people congratulating one another, paying visits, and drinking toasts;
so that, could but one thousand of the seven thousand British soldiers
captured that day by Washington have entered the city that night, they
might have taken it without a struggle.--Yours very truly,

  E. A. S.


  St. James House, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: A few days ago my brother and I had a little bazaar
which I should like to tell you about. We had been collecting and making
things for a good long time, so we had nearly forty, most of which we
made ourselves, but some were given to us by friends. I copied some of
the things out of "A Hundred Christmas Presents," in ST. NICHOLAS for
November, 1877. They were very pretty, especially the little
wheelbarrow. We had a little refreshment stall with sweets,
ginger-snaps, etc., and they sold more quickly than anything. We got £1,
1s., a guinea, which we sent to an orphan institution in London.

I like your magazine very much, I do not know which part is the
best.--Yours truly,

  M. Y. GIBSON.


  Bay Shore, Long Island.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I lived in Germany over four years, so I know
something about it. I should like to tell you about rafts on the Elbe.

They are of several kinds. Some are of boards all ready to be sold,
others of round timber, just cut; another kind is of squared logs, and a
fourth of both logs and boards. As the Elbe is not a rapid river, the
unaided progress of a raft is very slow. So each man on it has a pole
with an iron point on one end, while the other end fits to the shoulder;
and the men pole along most of the time. To each end of the raft there
are fastened three or four oars about twenty feet long; and with these
they steer. The Elbe is so shallow that in the summer time boys walk
through it; but in the spring the snow melting in the mountains at the
river's source (Bohemia) makes freshets which carry off animals, boards,
planks and sometimes houses. Under the arch-ways of the bridge at
Dresden during these freshets, there are suspended large nets, two
corners of each of which are fastened to the railing of the bridge, the
lower side is heavily weighted and dropped, and so the net catches
anything which comes down the stream.--Yours respectfully,

  FRANK BERGH TAYLOR.


DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I wish that you would tell me how to make skeleton
leaves. I have seen some done just lovely, and so I think that I should
like to try--even if I don't succeed--to make some myself. I am going to
the country this summer to stay quite a long time, and so I shall have a
chance to get a great many different kinds of leaves.--Your constant
reader,

  IRENE C. W.

    Irene's question is answered in Volume III. of ST. NICHOLAS, pages
    115 and 116,--the number for December, 1875.


THE VOYAGES AND ADVENTURES OF VASCO DA GAMA. By George M. Towle. Eight
Full-page Illustrations. Published by Lee & Shepard, Boston. In 294
pages of clear type this book gives a cleverly condensed account of the
most interesting events in the life of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese
navigator who first found the way from Europe to India around the Cape
of Good Hope. His daring nobility of character and true and exciting
adventures are presented in such a way as to delight boys and girls, and
yet the romance that cannot be taken from the story is not allowed to
interfere with historical truth. As the first of a series entitled
"Heroes of History," this volume makes a good start in a pleasant and
fruitful field.



THE RIDDLE-BOX.


DOUBLE ACROSTIC.

The initials and finals name a flower. 1. A fruit. 2. A Shakspearean
character. 3. A neck of land. 4. A spice.

  ISOLA.


NUMERICAL ENIGMA.

  It was 1 2 3  4 5 6 7 8 to the teacher's 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 me to go
  home early, that I escaped the shower.

  C. D.


PICTORIAL TRANSPOSITION PUZZLES.

Find for each picture a word, or words, that will correctly describe it,
and then transpose the letters of the descriptive word so as to form
another word, which will answer to the definition given below the
picture.

  B.

[Illustration: 1. Aromatic kernels of a much used kind.]

[Illustration: 2. Sovereigns.]


DIAMOND PUZZLE.

1. In martin, not in curlew. 2. A rather showy bird. 3. A very showy
bird. 4. An Oriental animal. 5. In sparrow.

  C. O.


SQUARE-WORD.

1. A wading-bird. 2. A talking-bird. 3. To turn aside. 4. Steadiness of
courage, or fortitude. 5. To go in.

  R. K. D.



SHAKSPEAREAN REBUS.

[Illustration: A three-line quotation from one of Shakspeare's plays.]


GEOGRAPHICAL DOUBLE ACROSTIC.

The initials name a large country of Asia, and the finals a country of
Europe renowned for its climate.

1. A country of South America. 2. An ancient name for a narrow strait in
South-eastern Europe. 3. A British possession in Asia. 4. A kingdom of
Northern Hindostan. 5. A North American mountain system.

  SEDGWICK.


METAGRAM.

I am a word, with meanings many; To plunge, is just as good as any. With
new head, I'm a piece of money; With other head, I'm "sweet as honey."
Another still, I'm a projection; One more, I sever all connection.
Another change, I'm the teeth to stick in; Another still, I plague your
chicken. One more new head, and I'm to taste; One more, and I discharge
with haste.

  I. W. H.


VERY EASY HIDDEN FURNITURE.

(FOR LITTLE FOLKS.)

1. May got a tablet for her Christmas. 2. My father walks so fast! 3.
Such air as we breathe in our school-room is hurtful. 4. My brother's
tools are always out of place. 5. What? not going to the party to-night?
6. Vic! Ribbons are out of place on school-girls. 7. _What_ spool-cotton
is the best to use? 8. Boys, stop that racket! 9. Lily made skips going
along to school every day.

  C. I. J.


DOUBLE CROSS-WORD ENIGMA.

  1. In shelf, but not in seat;
  2. In food, but not in meat;
  3. In slow, but not in fast;
  4. In model, but not in cast;
  5. In hovel, but not in hut;
  6. In almonds, but not in nut.

  Read this aright, and you will find
  Two Yankee poets will come to mind.

  I. E.


TRANSPOSITIONS.

In each of the following sentences, fill the first blank, or set of
blanks, with an appropriate word, or set of words, the letters of which
may be transposed to fill the remaining blanks, as often as these blanks
occur.

Thus, in No. 1, the first blank may be appropriately filled with the
word "warned." The letters of this word, when transposed once, give
"warden" for the second blank, and, transposed again, "wander" for the
third.

1. Though ---- before setting forth, the church ---- lost his way and
continued to ---- helplessly for some time.

2. If a ----, or even a ---- had ---- at will through that well-kept
----, the plants would have been in great ----.

3. If ---- grow in the Levantine island of ----, at least ----and ----
are to be found there. This was told me as a ---- fact.

4. Neither a precious stone such as a ----, nor a ---- ---- of pealed
willow, nor even a ---- of the sweet-pea vine, is of much account to an
animal so savage as the ----. W.


PROVERB REBUS.

[Illustration]


CHARADE.

  Within my first, by no breeze stirred,
  My second, mirrored, saw my third,
  And plucked it, juicy, ripe and red,
  From a stray branch just overhead.

  A town in India, owned by France,
  My whole, might well enrich romance.

  J. P. B.


HOUR-GLASS PUZZLE.

Central, read downward, an implement formerly used in war and the chase.
Horizontals: 1. To sing in solemn measure. 2. Mineral produce. 3. In
administrator. 4. A part of a toothed wheel. 5. An arbor.

  C. H. S.


CONTRACTIONS.

1. Curtail a color, and leave the forehead. 2. Curtail a joiner's tool,
and leave a plot or draught. 3. Curtail a machine tool, and leave an
article used in house-building. 4. Curtail a shrub, and leave warmth. 5.
Curtail another shrub, and leave fog. 6. Curtail an ornament, and leave
a fruit. 7. Curtail a badge of dignity or power, and leave a bird. 8.
Curtail a thrust, and leave an organ of the human body. 9. Curtail a
number, and leave a building for defense.

  I. A.


WORD-SYNCOPATIONS.

In each of the following sentences, remove one of the defined words from
the other, and leave a complete word.

1. Take always from a young hare, and leave to allow. 2. Take a tree
from random cutting, and leave to throw. 3. Take part of the eye from
cuttings, and leave what children often say the kettle does. 4. Take a
sty from a workman in wood, and leave a carrier. 5. Take a favorite from
floor-coverings, and leave vehicles.

  CYRIL DEANE.



ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN JULY NUMBER.

DIAMOND REMAINDERS.--1. Dry. 2. Elope. 3. Drovers. 4. Spend. 5. Try.
Remaining diamond: 1. R. 2. Lop. 3. Rover. 4. Pen. 5. R.

A CONCEALED BILL-OF-FARE.--1. Tea. 2. Beef. 3. Butter. 4. Ham. 5. Egg.
6. Meat. 7. Pie. 8. Fish. 9. Shad. 10. Salad. 11. Peas. 12. Hash.

EASY "ANNIVERSARY" PUZZLES.--Three anniversaries: 1. Fourth of July; J
is a fourth part of the word "July." 2. First of May; M is the first
letter of the word "May." 3. Holidays; hollied A's.

GEOGRAPHICAL SINGLE ACROSTIC.--Liverpool 1. Liffey. 2. Irrawaddy. 3.
Vienne. 4. Euphrates. 5. Rhone. 6. Po. 7. Oder. 8. Ohio. 9. Lena.

EASY HIDDEN LATIN PROVERB.--Tempus fugit: (Time flies.) Totem pushed:
Orfugito.

DROP-LETTER PUZZLE.--"Make hay while the sun shines."

SQUARE-WORD.--1. Bread. 2. Rumor. 3. Emery. 4. Aorta. 5. Dryad.

ANAGRAM DOUBLE-DIAMOND AND INCLOSED DOUBLE WORD-SQUARE.--Diamond,
across: 1, R; 2, hat; 3, mated; 4, pen; 5, S. Word-square, downward: 1,
Hap; 2, ate; 3, ten.

EASY BEHEADINGS.--1. Y-awning. 2. G-ape. 3. W-ant. 4. C-rate. 5.
S-crape. 6. P-lace. 7. L-oaf. 8. S-hocks. 9. S-pin. 10. B-lot. 11.
B-ranch. 12. S-lack.

SHAKSPEAREAN ENIGMA.--Rosalind.

PICTORIAL PUZZLE.--Patience: Pan, pence, ape, can, cane, cent, ice,
pint, tin, ten, tie, net, pie, tea, cat, cape.

NUMERICAL PUZZLE.--Belle's letters; _Belles-lettres._

CHARADE.--Harpsichord: Harp, sigh, chord.

SYNCOPATIONS.--1. Pilaster, plaster, paster, pater. 2. Harem, harm, ham.
3. Clamp, clap, cap.

ACROSTIC.--Mignonette. 1. MaN. 2. IcE. 3. GnaT. 4. NuT. 5. OdE.

DOUBLE, REVERSED ACROSTIC.--

  D--i--D
  E--k--E
  E--v--E
  D--eifie--D

ENIGMA.--Hans Christian Andersen. 1. Shasta. 2. Chin. 3. Reins. 4. Red.
5. Nan.

EASY ENIGMA.--Tennis: Sin, net.

BIOGRAPHICAL DOUBLE ACROSTIC.--Abraham Lincoln. 1. AdmiraL. 2. BandittI.
3. RobiN. 4. ArC. 5. HerO. 6. AnviL. 7. MarteN.

HOUR-GLASS PUZZLE.--Chamois. 1. DisCern, 2. ScHah. 3. DAn. 4. M. 5. FOe.
6. PaIns. 7. VasSals.

REVERSALS.--1. Flow, wolf. 2. Draw, ward. 3. Gulp, plug, 4. Laud, dual.
5. Leer, reel.


ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN THE JUNE NUMBER were received, before June 18,
from "Allie," Milly E. Adams, Maude Adams, George J. Fiske, Jeanie A.
Christie, "Fannie," Edward Vultee, "Aimée," Estella Lohmeyer, Bertha
Keferstein, Willie B. Deas, "Winnie," "Vulcan," "St. Nicholas Club,"
Chas. Carhart, "Patrolman Gilhooley," Harry Price, Frankie Price, M. W.
C., "Prebo," "Cozy Club," E. S. G., M. H. G., "Lillian," Gertrude H.,
Bessie G., Georgie B., Adèle F. Freeman, Nessie E. Stevens, Minnie
Thiebaud, Eleanor P. Hughes, Ella Blanke, Kittie Blanke, "Bessie and her
Cousin," Alice Robinson, C. S. King, Wm. H. McGee, Adèle G. D., E. F.
T., Nettie Kabrick, Debe D. Moore, Neils E. Hansen, Isabel Lauck, "O.
K.," Alfred Terry Barnes, Florence Wilcox, Francis H. Earp, Imogene M.
Wood, Horace F. W., Rowen S. McClure, Julia Crofton, "The P. L. C.," S.
Norris Knapp, "K. Y. Z.," "Nameless," W. C. Eichelberger, John Cress,
Daisy Briggs, Romeo Friganzi De Plonzies De Flon, G. P. Dravo, Marshall
B. Clarke, Mary L. Fenimore, Bessie H. Jones, Samuel Hoyt Brady, Edith
McKeever, R. Townsend McKeever, Annie L. Volkmar, E. Gilchrist, H. B.
Ayers, S. A. Gregory, Virgie Gregory, "Caprice," Lewis G. Davis, Charles
Fritts, Frances Hunter, Ray T. French, Nellie Zimmerman, Kittie Tuers,
Etta Taylor, Guardie Kimball, Lulu Loomis, W. A. Ricker, Florence R.
Swain, Nellie Baker, Gracie Van Wagenen, Rosie Van Wagenen, C. B.
Murray, Gertrude Cheever, Albert T. Emery, Florence Van Rensselaer,
"Hard and Tough," Nellie Emerson, Hans Oehme, Paul Oehme, C. N.
Cogswell, Louisa Blake, W. H. Patten, Clara F. Allen, Caroline Howard,
Helen Jackson, Ethel S. Mason, Helen S. Rodenstein, Harry Durand,
Charles H. Stout, Sarah Duffield, Constance Grand-Pierre, "Prince
Arthur," Madeleine Boniville, K. Beddle, Georgine C. Schnitzspahn, Mamie
Robbins, C. L. S. Tingley, A. M. Holz, "Black Prince," J. R. Garfield,
Anna E. Mathewson, "Adrienne," Grace A. Smith, M. H. Bradley, Gladys H.
Wilkinson, and "John Gilpin."

THE LABYRINTH PUZZLE was solved by Esther L. Fiske, "Aimée," Estella
Lohmeyer, Bertha Keferstein, "Vulcan," "Patrolman Gilhooley," Chas. H.
Stout, M. W. C., "Cozy Club," R. M., Nessie E. Stevens, Minnie Thiebaud,
Eleanor P. Hughes, Ella Blanke, Kittie Blanke, "Bessie and her Cousin,"
Adèle G. D., Horace F. W., S. Norris Knapp, W. C. Eichelberger, John
Cress, Romeo Friganzi De Plonzies De Flon, Samuel Hoyt Brady, Eddie K.
Earle, R. Townsend McKeever, Nettie F. Mack, "Caprice," C. Maud Olney,
Frances Hunter, Charles Fritts, Harvey E. Mason, Lulu B. Monroe, Nellie
Baker, Nellie Emerson, Caroline Howard, "Diaconos," Sarah Duffield,
Constance Grand-Pierre, William T. Gray, K. Beddle, Georgine C.
Schnitzspahn, Gladys H. Wilkinson, and H. Martin Vail.





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