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Title: Bolax - Imp or Angel—Which?
Author: Culpeper, Josephine
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bolax - Imp or Angel—Which?" ***

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of the Digital Library@Villanova University
(http://digital.library.villanova.edu/))



[Illustration: _Bolax, Imp or Angel Which?_]

[Illustration: JE SUIS MOI, LE GÉNÈRALE BOOME.

I AM THE GREAT GENERAL BOOME.

[From Fun in Dormitory. page 166.]]



  BOLAX

  IMP OR ANGEL--WHICH?

  BY MRS. JOSEPHINE CULPEPER

  [Illustration]

  JOHN MURPHY COMPANY.

  Baltimore:                   New York:
  200 W. Lombard Street.       70 Fifth Avenue.

  1907.

  _Copyright 1907, by_
  Mrs. Josephine Culpeper

  PRINTED BY JOHN MURPHY COMPANY



_"Bolax: Imp or Angel--Which?" Being favorably criticised by priests of
literary ability, is hereby recommended most heartily by me to all
Catholics._

_As a study in child-life and as a rational object lesson in the
religious and moral training of children, Mrs. Culpeper's book should
become popular and the jolly little Bolax be made welcome in many
households._

  _Faithfully yours in Xt,_

[Illustration: Signature]



     _Dedicated to my best beloved pupils, especially the children of
     the Late Dr. William V. Keating, and those of Joseph R. Carpenter,
     by their old governess._



CONTENTS.


                                                          PAGE.

  CHAPTER I.

  AMY'S COMPANY,                                              1

  CHAPTER II.

  THE WONDERFUL RIDE,                                         9

  CHAPTER III.

  THE PARTY,                                                 19

  CHAPTER IV.

  PLEASANT CONTROVERSY,                                      29

  CHAPTER V.

  THE PICNIC,                                                38

  CHAPTER VI.

  A TALK ABOUT OUR BOYS,                                     52

  CHAPTER VII.

  THE FIGHT,                                                 61

  CHAPTER VIII.

  THE COAL MAN,                                              78

  CHAPTER IX.

  AMY'S TRIP TO THE SEASHORE,                                89

  CHAPTER X.

  CHRISTMAS AND "LITTLE CHRISTMAS," OR KING'S
  DAY,                                                      100

  CHAPTER XI.

  PRACTISING,                                               116

  CHAPTER XII.

  FIRST COMMUNION,                                          130

  CHAPTER XIII.

  UNFORSEEN EVENTS,                                         146

  CHAPTER XIV.

  BOLAX GOES TO COLLEGE,                                    157

  CHAPTER XV.

  LETTER FROM A FRIEND,                                     174

  CHAPTER XVI.

  BOLAX LEAVES COLLEGE FOR VACATION,                        196



ONLY A BOY.


    Only a boy with his noise and fun,
    The veriest mystery under the sun;
    As brimful of mischief and wit and glee
    As ever a human frame can be,
    And as hard to manage as--ah! ah, me!
        'Tis hard to tell,
        Yet we love him well.

    Only a boy, with his fearful tread,
    Who cannot be driven, but must be led;
    Who troubles the neighbors' dogs and cats,
    And tears more clothes, and spoils more hats,
    Loses more tops and kites and bats
        Than would stock a store,
        For a year or more.

    Only a boy, with his wild, strange ways,
    With his idle hours on busy days;
    With his queer remarks and his odd replies,
    Sometimes foolish and sometimes wise,
    Often brilliant for one of his size,
        As a meteor hurl'd,
        From the pleasant world.

    Only a boy, who will be a man
    If Nature goes on with her first great plan--
    If water, or fire, or some fatal snare
    Conspire not to rob us of this our heir,
    Our blessing, our trouble, our rest, our care,
        Our torment, our joy,
        "Our only boy."

                                      --_Anonymous_.



BOLAX IMP OR ANGEL--WHICH?



CHAPTER I.

AMY'S COMPANY


"Come children," said Mrs. Allen, "Mamma wants to take you for a nice
walk."

"Oh, please, dear Mamma, wait awhile! Bolax and I have company!" This
from little Amy, Bo's sister.

Mrs. Allen looked around the room, and saw several chairs placed before
the fire; but seeing no visitors, was about to sit in the large arm
chair.

"Oh, dear Mamma," said Amy, "please do not take that chair! That's for
poor old St. Joseph; he will be here presently."

Turning toward the chair nearest the fire, the child bowed down to the
floor, saying: "Little Jesus I love you! When will St. Joseph be here?"

Then bowing before the next chair: "Blessed Mother, are you comfortable?
Here is a footstool."

Mrs. Allen went into the hall, and was about to close the door, when
Bolax called out: "Oh, Ma dear, please don't shut the door. Here comes
St. Joseph and five beautiful angels."

Mrs. Allen was rather startled at the positive manner in which this was
said, and unconsciously stepped aside, as if really to make way for the
celestial visitors. Then leaving the children to amuse themselves, she
listened to them from an adjoining room. This is what she heard:

Amy--Dear St. Joseph please sit down; blessed angels, I am sorry that I
haven't enough chairs, but you can rest on your beautiful wings.

Bolax--Little Jesus, I'm so glad you've come. Mamma says you are very
powerful, even if you are so little. I want to ask you lots of things.
Do you see these round pieces of tin? Well, won't you please change them
all into dollars, so we can have money for the poor, and sister Amy
won't be crying in the street when she has no money to give all the
blind and the lame people we meet. And dear Jesus, let me whisper--I
want a gun.

Amy--Dear Blessed Mother please make poor Miss Ogden well. I heard her
tell my Mamma she was afraid to die; and she is very sick. She has such
a sad face, and she looks mis'able.

Bolax--Sister, won't you ask lots of things for me? I'm afraid to ask
'cause I was naughty this morning. I dyed pussy's hair with Papa's red
ink.

Amy--No, I won't ask any more favors; Mamma says we must be thankful for
all we get, so let us sing a hymn of thanks.

Here Papa came upstairs calling for his babies. Mrs. Allen not wishing
to disturb the children, beckoned him into her room, hoping he would
listen to the innocent prattle of his little ones. All unconscious of
being observed, the children continued to entertain their heavenly
guests.

Mr. Allen not being a Catholic, was more shocked than edified at what he
thought the hallucination of the children, and spoke rather sternly to
his wife. "All this nonsense comes from your constant talk on subjects
beyond the comprehension of children. Amy is an emotional child; she
will become a dreamer, a spiritualist; it will affect her nervous system
and you will have yourself to blame.

"As for Bolax, I have no fear for him. He'll never be too pious. I'm
willing to----" Here they were startled by a most unearthly yell, and
Master Bo rushed into the room, saying that Amy would not let him play
with her.

"Why won't she?" asked Papa.

"Oh, because I upset St. Joseph; I wanted to take the chairs for a train
of cars."

Papa broke into a fit of laughter, and said: "Bo, Bo, you're the
funniest youngster I ever heard of."

Poor Little Amy came into the room, looking as if ready to cry, telling
her mother she would never again have that boy when her company came.
"Just think, dear Ma, Bo said he liked monkeys better than angels."

The serious face of the little girl caused her mother to wonder if the
child really saw the holy spirits.

Mrs. Allen consoled her little daughter, telling her Bo would be more
thoughtful and better behaved when he should be a few years older.

"Come now," said she, "we will go to see poor little Tommie Hoden. I am
sure from the appearance of the boy, the family must be in very great
distress."

It was a beautiful day. The hyacinths were in bloom, and there were
daffodils, tulips, and forget-me-nots, almost ready to open; the cherry
trees were white with blossoms, and the apple trees covered with buds.
The glad beautiful spring had fully come with its lovely treasures and
everything seemed delighting in the sweet air and sunshine.

Miss Beldon, a neighbor, was digging her flower-beds, and asked where
they were going.

"I want to visit that poor little fellow, Tommy Hoden, who comes here so
often," said Mrs. Allen.

"You're not going to Hoden's," cried Miss Beldon; "why the father is an
awful man!"

"So much the more need of helping him, and that poor neglected boy of
his," answered Mrs. Allen. "Can you tell me exactly where they live?"

"Yes, in a horrid old hut, near Duff Mills. You can't miss it, for it is
the meanest of all those tumble-down shanties. I do wish you wouldn't
go, it won't do any good."

"Our Lord will take care of that," said Mrs. Allen. "I am only going to
do the part of the work He assigns me, and take food to the hungry."

"Well," said Miss Beldon, "I wouldn't go for fifty dollars. The man is
never sober, and he won't like to be interfered with. I shouldn't wonder
if he would shoot at you."

Mrs. Allen laughed, and said anything so tragic was not likely to
happen, and then went to get a basket of food to take to Tommy Hoden.

They set forth on their walk, Bo holding fast to his mother's hand while
Amy loitered on the way, gathering wild flowers. "Do you really, truly
think Tom's father would shoot at us?" asked Bo.

"No, indeed, dear. I hope you are not afraid."

"Well--no--dear Ma, not very afraid;" and the little fellow drew a deep
sigh; "only I--I--hope he won't shoot you, dear Ma."

"Well I am afraid!" said Amy, in a somewhat shamefaced manner.

"Please, Ma dear, let me go back and I will kneel before our Blessed
Lady's picture and pray for the poor man all the time you are away."

"That is very sweet of you, dear. Now Bo, perhaps you had better return
with Amy. I can go alone."

"No; no; I won't go back. I want to take care of my own dear Mamma. I'm
not a bit afraid now."

"Well, dear," said Mrs. Allen, "I will tell you what I want to do for
Tom and his father. I will try to get Tom to go to school every day and
to catechism class on Sundays. I think that would make a better boy of
him. Then I hope to persuade his father to sign the temperance pledge
and go to work."

Bolax understood what his mother meant by this, for Mrs. Allen made a
constant companion of the child; and although only five, she taught him
to recite a piece on Temperance.

The walk to the mills was very pleasant, with the exception of about
half a mile of the distance, just as the road turned off from the
village; here were a number of wretched old buildings, occupied by very
poor and, for the most part, very wicked people.

Somewhat removed from the others stood a hovel more dilapidated, if
possible, than the rest. Towards this Mrs. Allen, still holding Bolax by
the hand, bent her steps, and gently rapped at the door.

No one answered, but something that sounded like the growl of a beast
proceeded from within. After repeating the rap twice or three times,
she pushed the door wider open and walked in. The room upon which it
opened was small and low, and lighted by a single window, over which
hung a thick network of spider webs; the dingy walls were festooned in
like manner; the clay floor was so filthy, that, for a moment, Mrs.
Allen shrunk from stepping upon it.

In a corner of the wretched room sat Tom's father, smoking an old pipe.
He was a rough, bad-looking man with shaggy hair hanging over his face
and bleared eyes that glared at his visitors with no gentle expression.

"What do you want?" he growled.

"Your little boy sometimes comes to our place," answered Mrs. Allen, "so
I thought I would come to see him, and bring him some cakes; children
are so fond of sweets."

"Very kind of you, I'm sure, ma'am, though I don't know why you should
take the trouble," and the glare of his eyes softened a little; "you're
the first woman that's crossed that ere threshold since Molly was
carried out. I ha'n't got no chair."

"Oh, never mind. I did not come to make a long call," said Mrs. Allen.

The lady looked around the wretched room in vain, for a shelf or table
on which to deposit the contents of her basket. At last she saw a
closet, and while placing the articles of food in it, talked to old
Hoden as if he had been the most respectable man in the county.

"Is Tom at home, Mr. Hoden?"

"What d'ye want of him? I never know where he is."

"I heard you ought to be a Catholic," continued Mrs. Allen, "and I
thought you would not object to Tom's coming to my catechism class on
Sunday."

"He ain't got no clothes fit to go; besides I reckon it wouldn't do no
good to send him, for he ain't never seen the inside of a church."

"Well, Mr. Hoden, couldn't you come yourself?"

"It is me, ma'am? I haven't been near a church or priest for twenty-five
years. Poor Molly tried to make me go, but she gave it up as a bad job.
You may try your hand on Tom for all I care."

"I am much obliged to you for giving me leave to try," said Mrs. Allen,
smiling; "I should not have asked Tom to come without your permission,
Mr. Hoden. Good-bye, sir."

The poor wretch seemed dazed, and did not reply to the lady's polite
leave-taking.

After she was gone, he said to himself "I wonder what that one is up to.
I never heard such smooth talk in my life. Well it do make me feel good
to be spoke to like I were a gentleman. I'd give a good bit to know who
sent her here, and why she come."

Ah, poor soul, it was the charity of Jesus Christ that prompted the lady
to go to you; and many a fervent prayer she and her children will say
for your conversion.

"Mamma," said Bolax, on the way home, "that man is not so dreadful bad."

"Why do you think that, dear?"

"Because I saw a picture of the Sacred Heart pasted on the wall inside
the closet; it is all over grease and flyspecks, but you know you told
me Jesus gave a blessing to any house that had a picture of His Sacred
Heart in it."



CHAPTER II.

THE WONDERFUL RIDE.


"Hurrah! Hurrah!" shouted Bolax, "Amy where are you? 'Want to tell you
something fine." Amy was watering her flower-bed, and did not pay much
attention to the little brother who was always having something "fine"
to tell.

"What is it now, Bo dear?" "Oh something real splendid this time."

"Please tell me then," said Amy getting a little impatient.

"You'll be so glad, Amy. Mamma and auntie say they are going to have a
party on the 21st because it is your birthday and St. Aloysius'
birthday."

"Did they? really truly!" exclaimed Amy; and the staid little lady
danced up and down the porch wild with delight at the prospect of a
"really truly" party.

Just then Aunt Lucy came up the steps laden with roses, for it was June,
the month of the beautiful queen of flowers.

Mrs. Allen took particular pains to cultivate with her own hands, all
varieties of red roses, from deep crimson to the brilliant Jacqueminot,
so that she could always have a bouquet to send to the Church every
Sunday and Friday, during the month of the Sacred Heart, besides
keeping her own little altar well supplied.

"Oh, Auntie, dear!" said Amy, "I'm so happy! Bo says I'm to have a
party." "Well, yes, darling; you know you will be seven on the 21st, so
Mamma and I want to make you happy because you have always tried to be a
good obedient little girl."

"Thank you, thank you, auntie," and Amy gave Aunt Lucy a big hug and
kiss.

"May I carry the roses to the Oratory auntie, dear?"

"Yes, Child, but I must go too, for I forgot to light the lamp before
the picture of the Sacred Heart, and it should never be extinguished
during this month."

While arranging the altar Amy began with her usual string of questions,
which were always listened to, and answered, for Mrs. Allen and her
sister never allowed themselves to be "too busy to talk to children."

"Auntie, why do we burn lamps before statues and holy pictures? Mollie
Lane asked me that question when she was in here yesterday, and I did
not know how to explain, then she laughed and said it was so funny to
have artificial light in the day time."

"My dear, we burn lamps and candles on the altar for several reasons,
which it would take too long to tell you just now; when you are older, I
will give you a little book called "Sacramentals," which explains all
about the lights on our altars, the use of holy water, blessed palm, the
crucifix, etc. For the present it suffices to tell any one who questions
you that the lamp in our Oratory is kept burning as a mark of respect
towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and besides it is a pretty ornament."

What a bower of loveliness, peace and rest was the little hall-room
which Mrs. Allen set apart as a "Holy of Holies" for her household. A
subdued light glimmered through the latticed windows, which also
admitted the soft summer air that wafted the fragrance of flowers over
the family, as they knelt at their devotion.

There was time to pray in that house, and although its head was not a
Catholic, he approved of his family living up to all they professed; in
fact he was proud of the little tabernacle in his house, and frequently,
when he had visitors, invited them upstairs to see the Oratory.

While Aunt Lucy and Amy were occupied, Bolax went out to the stable
hoping Pat, the hired man, would talk to him; but Pat had gone to the
village on an errand, then Bo came back to the house and called for his
Mamma. As mother did not respond immediately he screamed as loud as he
could: "Ma, dear! Ma, dear!"

Mrs. Allen opened her door and asked why he spoke in such a disagreeable
tone of voice.

"Well, I have no one to play with," he whined. "I want sister, can't she
come down?"

"Now dearie be a good little man, don't whine, go and amuse yourself;
Amy is at her lessons with Aunt Lucy, and I am writing to Papa. I should
like to be able to tell him you were a good boy."

"Where is Papa now?" asked Bo. "Away off in Kansas, dear."

"There, do not disturb me and I will be with you presently."

Thus left to himself Bo went to his never-failing source of
amusement--swinging on the gate. While enjoying himself, he heard the
rumble of wagon-wheels, and jumped down to see what was coming. It
happened to be the milk boy, Pete Hopkins--"Hello, Pete!" said Bo.
"Hello yourself," said Pete. "Give me a ride," begged Bo. "I don't
mind," said the good-natured fellow and jumping out of his cart, lifted
the child to the seat beside him.

Bolax had often been allowed to ride to the end of the road with Pete,
because Mrs. Allen knew him to be a respectable boy.

When he came to the usual getting-off place, Pete forgot somehow to put
the child down, and, of course, Bo couldn't think, he was too much
interested in a story Pete was telling about his pet goose, that always
followed one of the cows, and came to him to have her head scratched.

Pete did not realize how far he was taking the boy, until the horse
stopped before his own door. "Great Scot!" exclaimed he, "I'll ketch it,
youngster. I didn't mean to carry you all this way."

"But as you are here, I'll show you the calves and my pet goose." Saying
this, Pete lifted Bo out of the cart. The child clapped his hands and
shouted with delight as he caught sight of a flock of sheep feeding in
the meadow next to the barn, then Pete called Nancy, the pet goose, and
Bo laughed at her queer way of waddling from side to side after her
master, and gabbling as if trying to talk to him.

"I want to see your colt now," said Bo, Pete asked him to wait a minute
while he went into the stable to make sure the colt was tied securely,
for the animal was quite unbroken, and children were not to be trusted
near him.

Bo waited a "hundred hours," which was always his manner of computing
time, when in anticipation of pleasure; then spying a nice white pig in
a field nearby, rubbing her back against the fence, he made a dash
towards her, put one leg through the rails just across piggie's back. Up
jumped the pig with the boy astride, whether by accident or design, no
one could tell.

Bo was delighted at the unexpected pleasure of a real piggie-back ride,
and laughed and shouted in his glee.

Pete having fastened the door of the colt's stall, and made sure he
could be safely approached, went out of the stable to call Bolax, but by
this time master harum scarum was off on his prancing steed. For a
moment, Pete stood amazed not knowing what to make of the strange sight,
then finding his voice, called out lustily "Hi! Hi! little fellow, stop!
you'll be killed!" At the same time he could scarcely keep his feet for
laughing.

Two farmhands tried to "head off" the animal, but Bo had caught hold of
her ears to keep himself balanced, and the tighter he held on the wilder
ran poor piggie.

Pete's mother came rushing out, and seeing the dangerous position of the
child began scolding, her harsh voice striking terror into the heart of
unlucky Pete.

"You big stupid. How come you to let that baby do such a fool trick?"

"Don't stand there gaping. Head off the wild critter or she'll get out
on the road."

But the warning came too late, for at that moment down the lane flew the
frightened animal, Bolax boldly clinging to its back.

Mrs. Hopkins, her hair all flying, rushed after him making the echoes
ring with her screams. Pete bewildered, did not know which way to run;
the two hired men and several neighbors joined in the chase.

Finally piggie plunged into a little creek by the roadside and Bo was
dismounted. He got a thorough ducking and a few bruises, but received no
serious injury.

Mrs. Hopkins carried the child into the house, and having changed his
clothes made Pete hitch up the buggy, for, as she said: "I'll take the
little imp to his mother, and tell her never to let him show his nose on
my place again.

"As for you, Pete Hopkins, if ever I ketch you bringing any child on
these premises, you'll be sore for a month."

When Mrs. Allen had written her letter she called Bolax, not finding him
on the lawn, she went into the kitchen, supposing Hetty, the cook, was
entertaining him, for she often had the children in roars of laughter,
with her funny stories about "Brer Rabbit" and the "Pickaninys down
Souf."

But Hetty "hadn't laid an eye on dat boy since breakfus."

Mrs. Allen waited a while longer, then became quite uneasy.

Going to the gate she looked up and down the road.

Miss Beldon saw her and asked if she was looking for Bolax. "Yes," said
Mrs. Allen, "he has been missing for two hours and I am very much
worried about him."

"Well, I saw him get into a wagon right at your gate," said Miss Beldon.
Poor Mrs. Allen began to think of Charlie Ross, and every other
kidnapping story she had ever heard of. Aunt Lucy and Amy shared her
anxiety.

Pat went into the woods to look for him and Hetty took the road to the
village, thinking he might be found in that direction.

Mrs. Allen went to her refuge in all trouble, the Oratory.

There she knelt and implored the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph to help
her find her darling boy; she felt sure the Divine Mother would
sympathize with her, in remembrance of the anxiety she had suffered when
the Holy Child was lost for three days.

It was nearly noon when Mrs. Hopkins' buggy stopped at the gate. Miss
Beldon and Aunt Lucy were overjoyed on seeing the child, Amy ran down
the path to meet him, calling back to Mamma that Bolax had been found.

Mrs. Allen, being a very nervous person became hysterical on hearing the
good news. Aunt Lucy took the boy in her arms, and the usually happy
little face assumed a grave expression when he saw his mother seated on
the piazza with her handkerchief to her eyes.

Mrs. Hopkins told the whole story of the wild ride and begged the
ladies never to trust children with her "Pete," for she said: "I must
tell you he ain't got the sense of a kitten and he is no more use than a
last year's bird's nest with the bottom knocked out."

When Bo saw the state his mother was in, he realized how naughty he had
been to leave home without permission. "Dear Ma," said he, "I'm so
sorry, I didn't mean to stay away. Pete took me by mistake, and I didn't
know I was staying so long."

Mrs. Allen said not a word of reproof to the child, but taking his hand,
led him quietly upstairs to the Oratory, and left him. Bo felt his
mother's silence more keenly than if she had given him a long lecture.

Calling her sister, Mrs. Allen said: "Lucy go to that child, he is in
the Oratory. When he comes out, put him to bed. I must keep away from
him while I am so excited and nervous; I will wait until I shall have
become calm, to reprimand him."

Aunt Lucy went to the door to peep in at Bo; this is the prayer she
heard him say: "Dear little Jesus and Holy Mother, I'm sorry I
frightened my darling mamma. I didn't know I was away such a long time,
but it was such fun, dear Jesus, you would laugh yourself if you had
seen me on that pig."

Aunt Lucy ran away from the door, trying to smother her laughter, and
going to her sister's room told what she had heard.

"Now, sister," she begged, "do forgive our boy this time, there is no
guile in the little soul, and the way he speaks to Our Lord is so sweet,
I cannot have the heart to scold him."

"That is all very well, Lucy, but I fear if I trusted him to you
always, he would be a very spoiled child."

Here a little voice was heard begging mamma to come and see how sorry
her boy was.

Mrs. Allen let the little delinquent off with a mild reproof, and two
hours in bed, which he needed as a rest after his wonderful exertions of
the morning.

Little Amy begged Mamma to allow her to remain with Brother and offered
to tell him a story, but he preferred having her recite a new piece she
had just learned.


CORINNE'S MUSICALE.

BY MARGARET SIDNEY.

    Inside of me says I am naughty,
      But truly, I know I am not;
    For if Brother Joe could see me
      Right in this very spot,
    He'd let me do just as I'm doing,
      I'm very sure; that is, perhaps--
    Oh, dear! however, do big folks
      Hold this thing straight in their laps?

    It slips, an' it slips an it slips,
      You naughty old Banjo, oh, dear!
    Is he coming? then what will he do
      To find me sitting up here!
    Ho, ho, 'twas a mouse--how silly
      And frightened I've actually been;
    For he'd say: "If you hold it quite still
      You may take it, I'm willing, Corinne!"

    I know, so now I'll begin it;
      How does he go "tumty tum ting,"
    And make such beautiful tunes,
      Too lovely for anything?
    I ain't a bit afraid they may hear,
      The house people 'way off below--
    Me playing in Brother Joe's room.
      Still I'd better be careful, you know.

    If they didn't say 'twas amusing.
      I sh'd think 'twas stupid to play,
    To tug at such tiresome strings
      An' make them come over this way;
    But it must be delightful, I'll pull
      A very fine tune at first;
    Now, "tumty-tum twang!"
      It sounds as if something had burst!

    That string must a truly been cracked.
      Don't you s'pose? or moth-eaten p'raps;
    Tisn't pleasant to practice I'm sure,
      But forlorn, when anything flaps
    So I guess I've finished; hark! hark!
      He really is coming--oh, my!
    Now, Banjo, I know Mamma wants me,
      An' so I must bid you good-bye.

"Wasn't she a naughty girl," said Bo, "I wouldn't do that. I never touch
Aunt Lucy's banjo--only sometimes--but I don't break it."

[Illustration]



CHAPTER III.

THE PARTY.


Great preparations were made for Amy's seventh birthday. Uncle Dick, who
was an electrician, sent a number of portable electric lamps to help in
the decorations.

Aunt Lucy proposed having tableaux and pieces for the evening
entertainment, as a welcome home to Papa Allen, who was expected soon to
return from his Western trip.

Amy wanted everything arranged in "sevens," as she expressed it. So she
invited seven girls and seven boys and seven grown up people. There were
to be seven kinds of candy and cakes, etc., and Mamma and Aunt Lucy
worked with all their hearts to make Amy's seventh birthday a
never-to-be-forgotten pleasure.

It was agreed that every eatable which was set on the table for the
children, should be made at home, so Miss Sweetwood, who was an expert
in candy making, came to spend a week, and devoted her time to the
manufacture of all manner of dainty bonbons.

Aunt Lucy and Hetty took charge of the cooking, and the birthday cake
came from their hands a most beautiful, as well as delicious,
confection. There were seven sugar ornaments made like sconces to hold
the candles, the one in the centre resembling a white lily, was for a
blessed candle; Mrs. Allen always managed to smuggle a pious thought
into every act connected with the children.

Two days before the party, Papa Allen arrived, bringing a present for
Amy, which was received with wildest shouts of delight from both
children, but was not so welcome to the grown-up members of the family,
viz.--A goat.

Hetty came to bid a "welcome home" with the rest of the family, but held
up her hands when she saw the new arrival and exclaimed. "Fo' de land's
sake! Massa Allen, you done brought a match for Bolax now, for sure."

Early on the morning of the twenty-first, before anyone else in the
house thought of stirring, Bo's eyes were wide open.

A robin perched on a bough of an apple tree just outside the window, was
singing his merriest, the sun was shining straight into the room and
upon Bo's crib. "Guess that sun woke me up," said he, watching with
delight the bright beams as they glanced and shimmered about the walls
and over the carpet. "When it gets to Mamma's bed it will wake her up
too." "Oh! I'm so tired waiting." Then jumping out of his crib, he ran
over to Amy's bed, and sang out. "One, two, three, four, five, six,
seven. Hurrah! for your birthday, sister." Amy rubbed her eyes, and
having made the sign of the cross, for she never forgot to give her
first thought to God, was ready to join Bolax in hurrahing for the
anticipated pleasures of the day.

First of all, the goat was remembered, and scarcely waiting to dress,
both children ran to play with the new pet.

For a short time Bo allowed Amy to enjoy her present, but soon he began
to tease, and would not let her lead the goat where she pleased.

"It's my own pet!" cried she, "Papa brought it to me." "Well," said Bo,
"you might let me have a lend of it." "Yes, but you take such a long
lend, and you are so cruel," and Amy tried to pull the goat away, but Bo
held on, screaming and getting into a temper.

Papa heard the noise and called out to know the cause of the
disturbance. "Papa," said the gentle little girl, "I am willing to let
Bo have Nanny for a long time, but he won't give me a chance to play
with her at all, and he's tormenting the poor thing, making Don bark at
her, just to see her try to butt."

Aunt Lucy ran out to settle the dispute. Just then the breakfast bell
rang and Nanny was left in peace. After breakfast Mamma recommended the
children not to tire themselves, as the party would begin at four
o'clock in the afternoon, and they must be ready to receive their little
friends and help to amuse them. But nothing would induce Bo to give up
playing with the goat, at dinner time he was still taking "one more lend
of her."

Gentle Amy, who generally gave up to her little brother, could not help
feeling sorry for the unfortunate animal, and begged to have it sent to
the stable.

"Bo, dear," said Aunt Lucy, "do let poor Nanny rest a while, you have
not given her time to eat today." "Why Auntie she's had lots to eat. I
gave her two of my handkerchiefs, and one of Amy's, and she ate them up,
but she seems not to like colored handkerchiefs, for I gave her one of
Hetty's, and she just took a bite, then spit it out."

Hetty happened to come to the pump just as Bo was showing the
handkerchief, and she fairly screamed when she saw it.

"For de land's sake! you Bolax. Look what you been a doin'. Here's my
best Bandanna half chewed up by dat goat." "Well, Hetty, you told me
goats like to eat clothes, and I thought your bandanna would taste good
to Nanny, because it is so pretty, but she didn't like it."

"Oh, you just shut up, you bad boy: you is made up of mischief; you'
bones is full of it. Clar to goodness, I never was so put upon, no time,
no whars."

Bo was very much surprised at Hetty's outburst of anger and looked quite
frightened, he offered to give her all the pennies in his bank to buy a
new bandanna, but she would not be pacified, and still continued to
scold.

"Hetty, dear," said the little culprit, "please don't speak so hard, it
hurts my heart." But angry Hetty continued with: "You certainly is one
of dem. Massa Bo, you'se done so much mischief dis here day, and it's
Miss Amy's birthday too; if I was you I'd go to de Oritey and pray de
good Lord to hold you in, if He kin, just for de rest of dis day. I'se
afraid you g'wine to spile all de fun dis arternoon by some of your fool
tricks."

Bo seeing Hetty was determined to remain angry, ran off to escape
further scolding. When he was gone Aunt Lucy told Hetty she must blame
herself for the loss of her handkerchief, as she had told the child
about the calves and goats feeding on such things. "You see, Hetty, as
yet Bo does not know what an untruth means, and cannot distinguish
between joke and earnest, he firmly believes all that grown up people
tell him, and I have no doubt, thought that he was giving a dainty
morsel to the goat, when he offered her your best bandanna."

"Oh you! Miss Lucy, you always takes up for dat boy."

"Yes, and there's some one else, 'takes up' for him, sometimes, and her
name is Hetty."

At three o'clock Mamma and Aunt Lucy dressed the children. Amy was as
usual in blue and white, for she had been consecrated to the Blessed
Virgin, from the time she was a baby. Her dress for the occasion was
very beautiful, trimmed with soft laces, a present from her Godmother,
and she looked like a little princess, with her long golden curls and
dark eyes.

Bo wore his black velvet kilt, with a large lace collar, and the sweet
little face, peeping out from beneath his crown of curls, might have
been taken for something angelic, if one did not get a glimpse of his
mischievous gray eye.

Promptly at four, the children trooped in; Amy did the honors in a most
charming manner, and Bo amused the boys by showing them his numerous
pets. Games of all kinds were played, and judging from the laughter and
noise, Amy's guests were having what is called "a good time."

Never was there a more glorious twenty-first of June; the sky was so
blue and bright, not the least bit of a cloud was to be seen, the air
was balmy and entirely free from dampness, so the table for the children
was set under the trees on the lawn. A snowy white cloth was spread and
places arranged for fourteen. Before each cover was a pretty box
containing candied fruit, to each box was attached a card with these
words in gilt letters: From Amy to her friends; this was to be carried
home as a souvenir. In the centre of the table the birthday cake stood
on a bank of red and white roses. These bouquets of flowers were placed
between pyramids of ice cream and mounds of toothsome dainties.
Delicious white and red and pink raspberries were served on plates
resembling green leaves.

As the clock struck six, the children were called to take their places
at the table, but just as they were seated, who should walk up the
garden path, but Father Leonard, the dearest friend of the family. Mr.
and Mrs. Allen hastened to greet him: "Well, well," said he, "what is
all this?" Amy ran to welcome her favorite and told him it was her
birthday party. "Now my little daughter," said the good father. "I feel
very much slighted at not receiving an invitation." "Oh!" replied the
little lady, "please do not be offended, but come sit at the head of the
table and ask blessing on my feast." This the good father did most
joyfully, and when the youngsters were seated, every one showed his
appreciation of the good things by the dispatch with which the platters
were cleared. Aunt Lucy's famous drop cakes disappeared in such numbers,
that some of the Mammas began to fear they would have to nurse cases of
indigestion.

At length the time came to cut the birthday cake. The seven candles upon
it had remained lighted during the repast and Mr. Allen put them out
before dividing it; he was just going to extinguish the last one, when
Master Bo jumped on the table, regardless of all propriety, and cried
out, "Oh, Papa, let me blow out the middle candle, that is a blessed one
and I want to breathe the holy smoke."

There was a hearty laugh at this and Father Leonard enjoyed the joke
more than any one. When he could manage to speak after the hilarity had
subsided he asked: "Bo, why did you want to breathe the holy smoke?"
"Because," answered the boy, "Hetty says the mischief spirit is in me,
and I wanted to smoke it out." Again there was an outburst of laughter,
although only the older folks understood the wit of Bo's remark.

After supper the children prepared for the entertainment. Those who were
to speak or sing went with Aunty Lucy and Miss May to have some last
finishing touches put to their toilet, and make sure they remembered
their pieces.

The end of the piazza had been arranged as a stage. Three large Japanese
screens formed a back ground and an arch of white climbing roses and
honey suckles served instead of a drop curtain. Groups of electric lamps
had been placed so as to have the light fall directly on the little
actors. Chairs and benches for the audience were arranged on the lawn
just opposite the arch. At half past eight o'clock, it was sufficiently
dark to bring out the illumination on the piazza, so the show began.

The first scene represented Amy seated on a chair, which was draped with
gilt paper, festooned with flowers and resembled a veritable golden
throne. From behind the scene came seven children carrying flowers and
singing:

    We come, we come from hill and dell
    To welcome her we love so well.
    We come on wings of silver light,
    For 'tis our Amy's festal night.
    We bring her from our fairy bowers
    Tiny buds and opening flowers,
    In mystic language they all shall tell
    We love our darling Amy well.

Then one of the little girls placed a crown of Lilies of the Valley on
the little queen's head, and the other children laid their flowers at
her feet.

This was a total surprise to Amy, for the children had been told not to
let her know they were learning the song; her sweet face was a study
while she received the homage of her little friends, but she was equal
to the occasion, and rising from her seat made a profound bow and said,
"Thank you! Oh! I thank you so much." After this came a violin solo by
Adolph Lane, which was extremely well rendered. Edith Scot and her
brother danced the "Sailors' Hornpipe" dressed in fancy costume.

Bolax and his chum, Robbie Thornton, spoke Whitcomb Riley's "When the
World Busts Through." Suggested by an earthquake.

    Where's a boy a-goin';
    An' what's he goin' to do,
    And how's he goin' to do it
    When the world busts through?
    Ma says "she can't tell
    What we're comin' to!"
    An' Pop says, "He's jest skeered
    Clean-plum through."

                                   Second Boy.

    Suppose we'd be a playin'
    Out in the street,
    An' the ground 'nd split up
    'Bout forty feet!
    Ma says, "She jest knows
    We 'ud tumble in;"
    An' Pop's says, "Bet you,
    Den you wouldn't grin."

                                    First Boy.

    S'pose we'd jest be pretendin'
    Like we had a show,
    Down in the stable
    Where we mustn't go--
    Ma says, "the earthquake
    Might make it fall;"
    An' Pop says, "more'n like
    Swaller barn an' all."

    Landy! ef we wuz
    Runin' away from school,
    Down in the shady woods
    Where it's all so cool!
    Ma says "a big tree
    Might squash our head;"
    An' Pop says, "chop 'em out
    Both killed-dead."

                                    Both Boys.

    But where is a boy a-goin',
    An' what's he goin' to do,
    An' how's he going' to do it,
    Er the world bust through.

The little fellows recited this with scared faces and such comical
gravity as to keep every one laughing. Amy came next with "Songs of
Seven," by Jean Ingelow.

    There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
      There's no rain left in Heaven,
    I've said my Seven times over and over,
      Seven times one are seven.

    I am old, so old, I can write a letter,
      My birthday lessons are done;
    The lambs play always, they know no better;
      They are only one times one.

    Oh, moon! in the night I've seen you sailing
      And shining so round and low,
    You were bright; ah, bright! but your light is
      Failing, you are nothing now but a bow.

    You moon, have you done something wrong in Heaven
      That God has hidden your face?
    I hope if you have, you will soon be forgiven,
      And shine again in your place.

    Oh, velvet bee, you're a dusty fellow;
      You've powdered your wings with gold;
    Oh, brave Marsh--marigold rich and yellow
      Give me your money to hold.

    And show me your nest with the young ones in it;
      I will not steal them away!
    I am old, you may trust me, Linnet, Linnet,
      I am seven years old today.

This was beautifully rendered and such a very appropriate selection for
a seventh birthday. The entertainment ended, every one prepared to go
home, one and all expressing their delight and declaring it was the most
enjoyable birthday party they had ever witnessed.



CHAPTER IV.

PLEASANT CONTROVERSY.


Mr. Allen sat on the porch smoking, when Mr. Steck, the Lutheran
minister, opened the gate and walked in. Mr. Allen greeted him cordially
and invited him to be seated.

The day was warm, but there was always a breeze on the corner of that
porch, where the odor of the honeysuckle and climbing roses, which gave
shade, made it a most inviting spot to rest.

"Have a segar, Mr. Steck." "Thank you, Mr. Allen, I am glad to see you
at home on a week day, it is so seldom you take a holiday." "Holidays
are not for men with a family to support; you may thank your stars, you
are a bachelor." "That sounds as though you think I have a great share
of leisure time. Well, I acknowledge my duties in this village are not
very onerous, still I find enough to do. By the way, I have just been to
see Miss Ogden. It is wonderful how the poor girl clings to life. As I
left her house, I met Amy and Bolax, the dear children asked so kindly
after the dying girl, but Bo--now don't be offended Mr. Allen, I have
always taken a great interest in that boy having known him from a baby;
he is wonderfully bright, makes such witty remarks," "and does such
tormenting mischief at times," interrupted Mr. Allen. "Well," continued
Mr. Steck, "When I told the children how ill Miss Ogden was, Bo gave me
this medal of St. Benedict, telling me to put it on the poor girl's
neck, and she would be sure to get well. I asked who told him that?
Then Amy looked at me so earnestly and said: 'Oh, Saint Benedict can
cure anybody. You know he was a great doctor when he was on earth, and
he was so good our Lord gave him power to cure people who wear his
medal.' 'Yes, and he cured Nannie,' said Bo, 'see I have the medal on
her yet;' and lifting a daisy chain he showed me the medal on the goat's
neck." "Ha! ha! ha!" laughed Mr. Allen, "that's so like Bolax, he is a
mixture of imp and angel."

"Now my friend," continued Mr. Steck, "allow me to ask you, who have
been brought up an Episcopalian, if you approve of such superstitions? I
did not suppose that educated Romanists entered into ridiculous
practices of this sort; putting faith in--well, I might as well say it:
Idols!" "--Hold on, Mr. Steck, I am not versed in the theology of the
Catholic Church, and do not try to account for a great many little
customs such as my little ones spoke about, but I'll venture to assert
they do not injure the souls or bodies of those who believe in them. My
wife never bothers me about her religion, never enters into controversy,
although I have a notion, that on the sly, she is praying me into it."

"And from what you say," remarked Mr. Steck, "I think her prayers are
being heard. I don't object to the Catholic religion; I think many of
its doctrines are good and sound, but it would be more edifying to the
general run of Christians, if there were not so many superstitious
practices allowed." "Come, now Mr. Steck do not condemn what you do not
understand. I travel a great deal as you know, and often attend
churches of different denominations; but whenever I try to get an
explanation of their various beliefs, one and all answer me somewhat in
this manner: 'Well, I don't believe thus and so;' 'I don't approve of
this or that doctrine,' etc. I never can get any of them to say right
out what they do believe. One point only do they all agree upon and that
is, condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church." Opening a memorandum
book, Mr. Allen took out a paper saying, "here is a hymn which I heard
sung in a Campbellite Sunday School:

    "Come to me my little Children,
    Sing and raise your voices high;
    Sing of Jesus, not of Mary,
    Nor other popish patron saints;
    They can neither save nor help us,
    Nor attend to our Complaints;
    Tell your little popish neighbors
    How to Jesus they may go
    If they wish to get to Heaven,
    They must worship Him alone."

"Very poor verse, but I copied it from one of the Hymn Books. Now, what
can be gained by teaching children such absurdities? If you were
intimately acquainted with Catholic little ones, you would find they
bring Jesus into their daily lives more than do those who are taught to
ridicule them."

"Oh," said Mr. Steck, "I admit there are many ignorant preachers out
West, who think they honor God by abusing the Catholic religion, but you
never hear me or Mr. Patton make use of an uncharitable word in
connection with any one religion."

"Mr. Steck let me tell you that even the children of illiterate parents,
who are practical Catholics, you will find able to answer questions
about their religion, and keep Jesus in their thoughts. Just to give you
an example: yesterday my wife went over to Miss Scrips and found her
tying up a rosebush in the garden, the cook's little boy, about seven
years old, held the branch for her, while doing this, he uttered a cry
of pain, tears came into his eyes, but checking himself, he said: "Oh,
if one thorn hurts so much how dreadful He must have suffered with His
head all covered with thorns. Poor Jesus!"

"Indeed," said Mr. Steck, "that was extraordinary. He must be an
exceptional boy. Such a child will die young, or be a great preacher
some day." "Well, I just tell this one instance," replied Mr. Allen, "to
let you see the impression made on the heart of Catholic children by
constantly keeping before them incidents in the life of Christ.

"Papa! Papa!" was heard in the distance. Mr. Allen got up saying: "That
sounds like Bolax." Going to the gate he saw a crowd of youngsters
following Bo, who was vainly trying to catch the goat. Nan was tearing
down the road with Roy, Buz and Don his pet dogs, in full chase after
her. It was too funny to see Nan turn on the dogs, stand on hind legs
and with a loud Ma-a-a! start off again.

"I wish I were a few years younger," said Mr. Steck, "I'd join in the
chase." Mr. Allen tried to head Nan off, Bo kept yelling--"Papa make the
dogs stop barking, it frightens poor Nan." In going to the rescue, Mr.
Allen left the garden gate open, Nannie rushed in tearing over the
flower beds, to the great dismay of the onlookers, especially Hetty who
had come out to see what the row was about, grumbling to herself: "If
yo' flower beds is spiled, youse got yu' own self to blame, Mr. Allen,
it ain't no sense in havin' so many live creters round de place no how."

Pat came on the scene laughing in his good-natured way and catching the
goat led her off to the stable.

"Don't whip poor Nannie," cried Bolax, "it wasn't her fault, it was the
dogs that made her run through the flowers, but, oh--Pat don't whip them
neither; it was the boys who sicked them on Nan." "I'll not bate any of
them shure," said Pat, "Master Bo, it's yourself is the tender-hearted
spalpeen after all." Mr. Steck patted the boy, who looked ready to cry
and consoled him by promising him a ride on horse-back. "Good-bye, my
little man. Good-bye Mr. Steck," said Mr. Allen, "come again whenever
you want to see a circus."

Papa did not say much about the wreck of his flower beds, seeing the
distress of his little boy. Hetty took him into the kitchen to comfort
him and put on a clean blouse. Mamma, Aunt Lucy and Amy had been out all
the afternoon, so Bolax tried to amuse himself. Looking out of the
window, he saw Buz, Roy and Don hunting something in the strawberry
patch. Off he started to see what they were after. To his surprise, all
three dogs were eating the nice big strawberries; he chased them out,
and going through the fence went into the woods followed by the three
rascals. Bo gathered all sorts of "plunder," as Hetty called his
treasures.

When Aunt Lucy came home, he called to her saying he had such a
beautiful horrible bug to show her. "I know you'll like him, he's a
tremendous big fellow, I put him in your soap dish to save him for you."
On opening the soap dish, however, the "beautiful horrible bug" was
nowhere to be seen, although Aunt Lucy looked carefully in every corner
and crevice for she did not fancy sleeping in a room with such company.

To pacify Bolax for the loss of his treasure Aunt Lucy told him about a
stag-beetle her uncle had as a pet. "Uncle would put a drop of brandy
and water in a spoon, and Mr. Beetle would sip a little, and then dance
about, sometimes he would get quite frolicsome, and behave in such a
funny way, staggering round, going one-sided, try to fly and at last
give it up and go into a sound sleep. When he awoke he would make a
buzzing noise, stretch out a leg or two, then fly as well as ever. Uncle
kept him six months; I don't know how he happened to die, but one
morning he was stiff--we were all so sorry."

Bolax listened, seeming quite interested, but when his aunt stopped
speaking he began to whine: "But I want my beautiful horrible bug, I
just do want him. Papa go upstairs and look for him, I had such trouble
catching him in the woods. He has a red saddle under his black wings,
and big horns, and stiff legs and red eyes. Please find him, Papa; I
want to make a pet of him."

Here Mamma came up on the porch, and hearing about her boy going into
the woods alone, was inclined to scold, as she had strictly forbidden
the children to venture into lonely places without some one to watch
over them. Bolax, then said, Adolph Layne had been with him. "Well,"
said Mamma, "I'm glad to know that--no doubt, we will find your
'beautiful horrible bug' in the morning. It cannot get away as the
windows are all screened. He may have the room to himself and Aunt Lucy
can sleep in the spare room."

Amy spied a Lady bug on the climbing rosebush, she caught it and gave it
to her little brother to comfort him for his loss. Papa told the
children never to harm a Lady bug because they are very useful insects.
"In fact," said he, "I would like to have them on all my vines and
bushes, for they always feed on the plant lice, which infest our
choicest flowers. Indeed, I never could think of a Lady bug as a mere
insect." "Oh!" said Amy, "why can't we call her Lady bird. She has
strong little wings, and really seems like a tiny bird." "Well,"
continued Papa, "when I was very small, I often caught the dear little
things, and firmly believed they understood when I said: 'Lady bug fly
away home.' When one flew from my hand, I followed, watched her going
home and found where she laid her eggs. She always selects a rosebush or
honeysuckle or a hop vine, because they are more likely than others to
have plant lice upon them. Lady bug's eggs are a bright yellow, small,
flat and oval; when they are hatched out, the babies find their food all
ready for them.

"At first, when just out of the egg, is the time the young ones eat
millions of plant lice; after a few weeks good feeding, they get fat,
and round, and casting off their first skin appear in their shining
beauty coats." "Thank you, Papa, dear," said Amy, I always did love
'Lady birds,' but now I shall love them more than ever." "Papa, may I
ask you, do you know anything about snakes?"

"Snakes!" cried Mamma and Aunt Lucy. "Yes, Mamma dear, the poor things
everybody hates them, and no one says a good word about them."

"Ow! ow! help! for de Lord's sake!" It was Hetty's voice coming from the
cellar. All rushed to the rescue, thinking the poor soul might have
fallen. On opening the cellar door, Hetty was seen tumbling up the
stairs, her eyes starting out of her head, scarcely able to articulate.
"Oh, Miss Allen, de debble is arter me. He down dere, I done seed him
plain. Oh! Oh! I'm done frustrated to death!" All tried to pacify the
frightened creature, but it was no use. "I'se done gone dis time. My
heart's pumpin' out of me!" Mr. Allen went to see what could have given
Hetty such a shock, when he too, gave a very undignified yell, as he
caught sight of a big black snake. Bolax ran to him, calling out, "Why
Papa, what is the matter, what made you screech?" "Don't come down
here," called Mr. Allen, "Lucy bring the poker." "Oh, what on earth is
it, brother? A snake! I don't wonder Hetty is scared to death."

"Oh, Papa, dear," called Bolax. "Don't kill him. Tommy Hoden gave him to
me to put in the cellar to catch mice. I thought Hetty would be glad,
but she is such a scare cat."

Mrs. Allen told her sister to give Hetty some valerniate of ammonia to
quiet her nerves, and let her rest for the evening; we will attend to
dinner; stay with her until she is soothed.

"Bolax, come upstairs. What are we to do with you? Positively you must
stop handling reptiles and insects; you will be poisoned some day."

The little fellow listened to all his mother had to say, but seemed
surprised that every one found fault when he expected to be praised.
"Ma, dear," said he, "I didn't mean to frighten anyone. I'm not afraid
of snakes, and Tommy Hoden is a good boy now, since you have him in
Catechism class, and he wanted that snake for himself, but he spared it
just to please Hetty."

"Well, dear, I believe you would not willingly give pain to Hetty, but
you are nearly six years old and it is time you should have some thought
about you, say your prayers and go to bed." Bo's prayer:

Dear Jesus, Bless Hetty and don't let her be such a scare cat. Holy
Mother of Jesus, bless me and don't let me be doing wrong things when I
mean to do right things; help all the poor and the sick, and all the
people in the world and don't let anyone be cruel to animals. Bless
every one in the whole world, Amen. Oh, I forgot, bless Mamma and Papa
and Sister and Auntie, but you know I always have them in my heart.
Amen.



CHAPTER V.

THE PICNIC.


The feast of the Assumption. What a glorious day! Clear and bright, more
like June than August.

Mrs. Allen and Amy went to early Mass. After breakfast Aunt Lucy
proposed taking Bolax to high Mass, as the music was to be unusually
fine. St. James' choir from the city volunteered their services. Mr. Van
Horn sent out a fine organ to replace the squeaky, little melodeon, for
it was the first anniversary of the dedication of the little country
church, and all wanted to have an especially fine service.

Bo promised to be "better than good" while in Church. There was a very
large congregation, the country people coming for miles around to hear
the music and assist at the grand high Mass.

When Aunt Lucy and her charge entered the Church every seat seemed to be
taken. Mrs. Allen's pew was filled with strangers, so dear old Madame
Harte beckoned her to come into her pew.

From the beginning of the service, Bo was in an ecstasy of delight,
except for an occasional tapping of his feet when the music was very
inspiriting, he sat motionless.

Not to impose on the child's patience too long, Madame Harte offered to
take him out during the sermon. "Oh, dear Hartie, is it all over?" said
Bo. "No pet, but the priest is going to give a sermon, and you would be
so tired." "No, I wouldn't, what is a sermon?" said Bo. "Oh, a very long
talk, dear; come out with me," whispered Madame, "and I will bring you
back when the music begins again."

"Will the priest tell stories?" asked Bo, when he got outside. "I like
long talks when the talk is stories."

"Come dear, let us sit under that tree over there and I will tell you a
true story." "Oh, thank you, Hartie dear."

"Once long ago, our dear Lord died and--" "Rose again and went up into
Heaven," said Bo all in one breath. "Mamma tells me that every day at my
prayers."

"Well," continued Mrs. Harte, "after Jesus went up to Heaven His holy
Mother was very lonely, so she prayed and prayed to Jesus to take her up
to Heaven, that she might be with Him forever. Well, one beautiful day,
just like this, Jesus called a company of angels and sent them down to
the earth to bring His blessed Mother up to Him."

"Did the Angels march out of Heaven like soldiers?" asked Bo.

"Yes, dear; they put on their brightest robes, and beautiful clouds of
crimson and gold surrounded them, and then they carried the holy Mother
up, up, until they came to the golden throne where Jesus sat, ready to
welcome her; He placed her beside Him and there she remains happy
forever."

When the organ began the grand music of the Credo, Bo made a dash for
the door, and could scarcely be persuaded to enter the Church quietly.
After he was seated, he listened intently and was apparently very much
interested in the Altar boys.

At length came the "Agnus Dei," which ends, as all have heard, with
"Dona nobis pacem." The music score called for a repetition of the word
"Pacem," somewhat in this manner, "Dona Pacem, Pacem," the basso calling
out "Pacem! Pacem!"

With startling suddenness, Bo exclaimed: "Why are they singing about a
Possum?"

Aunt Lucy caught him by the hand and hurried him to the side door, which
was fortunately near; those who were within hearing, with difficulty
controlled their laughter. "Are you crying, Aunty?" said the funny
youngster, as he saw the flushed face of his aunt. "No, Bo, dear; I came
out because you spoke so loud." "Oh, I forgot; please forgive me; let me
go in again; I'll be so good, but Aunty dear, I didn't know they ever
let possums into Church." Mass was not over, and as it was a holy day of
obligation, Aunt Lucy felt unwilling to leave until the last Gospel. On
reflection, however, she thought it best not to give further distraction
by returning to her seat.

On her way home, she stopped to see a child, who belonged to the
Catechism class, hoping to find him able to join the rest of the
children, who were going to have their annual picnic. The little fellow
had hurt his foot, but his mother said he was now able to walk nicely.

After Mass, Miss Devine and Madame Harte drove over to Allen's to see
about the proposed outing. There they met the ladies Keating, all
discussed Bo's latest exploit and laughed heartily about the Possum.

"Our class has increased so largely this year, I fear we cannot have
room for all the children on my grounds," observed Mrs. Allen. "Suppose
we make it a straw ride," said Miss Keating. "We can give a substantial
lunch, with ice cream and cake for dessert, and a bag of candy to take
home." "Oh, grand! grand!" said Amy, clapping her hands, "and Ma, dear,
I have two children I want to invite; they don't come to the class
because they live so far away; I mean little Johnny Burke, who is lame,
and Dotty, the blind child. I love them because they are afflicted."

"My darling, you shall invite the poor little ones, and I am glad to see
you have such a compassionate heart." "Suppose we hire Johnson's big hay
wagon," said Miss Keating, "it will hold all the children and two grown
folks to look after them."

"That will be just the thing," said Miss Devine, "my contribution shall
be the ice cream and cake." "and mine," said Madame Harte, "the candy."
"I will help with the substantials and let the little things have more
than enough for once in their lives," this from Miss Keating, whose
whole time seemed to be taken up with helping the poor. "We can drive to
Silver Lake woods," she proposed, "that is just six miles away and will
not be too long a ride." After making all arrangements, the ladies took
leave of Mrs. Allen, promising to be on hand on Thursday, August 20th.

The next day was Sunday. At Catechism class Mrs. Allen told the children
of the proposed ride and picnic, which should take place on the next
Thursday; all expressed their delight and you may be sure, thought of
nothing else during the intervening days.

The next morning Bolax was playing with his dogs on the lawn when Tom
Hoden made his appearance; he stood outside the gate, looking wistfully
at Bo. Mrs. Allen called him in and gave him some breakfast. "Did your
father tell you of my visit?" said the lady. Tom answered in his surly
manner: "Yes, the old man said you was to the house, but I don't want to
go to Sunday School, the fellows would call me 'rags,' and I ain't got
no shoes." "That can be easily remedied," said Mrs. Allen, "come here
tomorrow and see what I will have for you."

The poor boy's face brightened up, and making an awkward attempt to
thank the lady, he ran out of the gate.

When Tom presented himself next day, Pat was called upon to give him a
bath and dress him in a good suit of clothes. "Here he is, ma'am," said
Pat, "and ye'd hardly believe it's the same boy."

Tom held up his head and seemed quite happy; so true it is, that be one
ever so poor, a clean, respectable appearance makes one feel at ease
with himself and on better terms with his fellows. "Now Tom, I expect
you to be here on next Thursday morning at nine o'clock." Tom promised
to come and thanked Mrs. Allen.

The appointed day arrived. Long before the wagon came, the children
flocked into the garden. Pat was on the alert lest his flower beds
should suffer.

Miss Keating and Mrs. Allen made all be seated, and to while away the
time sang:

    "Wait for the wagon, wait for the wagon,
    Wait for the wagon and we'll all take a ride.
    We are all good children; our teachers say with pride.
    So now to reward us, they give us all a ride."

The children clapped for this; then Aunt Lucy played on the piano which
could be heard distinctly out on the lawn.

Amy and Aunt Lucy sang:

    "Come where flowers are flinging
      Beauty o'er the meadows gay,
    Where glad birds are singing,
      Free from care the live long day.

    Come where skies are smiling,
      Where the merry fountains play,
    Come, all care beguiling,
      Keep with Nature Holiday.

    Then away to the woods,
      Where wild flowers bloom,
    Where the breezes are laden
      With sweetest perfume.

    With our feet light as fairies,
      And hearts full of glee,
    We will sing with the wild bird
      And roam with the bee,
      Oh, come away, away!"

Mary Dowry called Amy's attention to a charming little girl about six
years old, who smiled through the railing and looked wistfully at the
children. She was dressed in a pink frock, which set off her soft dark
eyes.

Amy went towards her and she said, "Good morning," so sweetly. "I
believe she wants to come with us," said Amy. "Oh, don't let her," cried
Nellie Day, "she's only a Dago."

"Well, I'll give her some candy," said Bolax, "I like nice Dagos," and
going to his mother, he told about the strange child. Mrs. Allen gave
him a large bag of candy which he handed to the little girl.

On receiving it she said, "gracias, gracias." What is she saying "grassy
ice for?" said Nellie Day, "perhaps she wants ice cream." "No" said Aunt
Lucy "she is saying 'Thank you' in Italian. What pretty manners she has.
I think some of our American children might profit by her sweet ways."

"I'm sure she has a nice mother," said Amy. "Let us take her with us."
"I would, willingly dear," said Aunt Lucy, "but her people would think
her lost, and we do not know where to send them word."

Great was the jubilation of the children, and not a little surprise
among the ladies when the wagon appeared festooned with bunting, the
driver carrying a flag, and the horses' heads decked in like manner. It
was so kind of Mr. Johnson to give the decorations. Miss Keating and
Aunt Lucy seated themselves and the children in the straw; then as the
old song says:

    "Snap went the whip, 'round went the wheels,
    Were ever folks more glad."

Old and young joined in the fun and made the welkin ring with their
mirth. Hetty and Pat put the lunch baskets and ice cream into the
dayton, and with Miss Devine, Madame Harte and Mrs. Allen in the large
carry-all followed the procession to Silver Lake woods.

The road strolled leisurely out of the village and then, abruptly left
it behind, and curved about a hillside. Silver Lake woods sat on a hill
slope studded with pine trees; at the foot of the hill could be seen a
most beautiful piece of water glistening in the sunshine. This was the
lake. Life of the forest seemed to enter into the veins of the children
and they ran and capered like wild deer. The horses were unharnessed so
that they might rest.

Pat and Mr. Johnson's man put up swings and hammocks. The Misses Keating
and Aunt Lucy set the children to play games; Hare and Hounds suited the
boys and they raced to hearts' content. The Lake was guarded by Miss
Devine's coachman, John, so that no venturesome lad would put himself in
danger. The girls were easily made happy with quiet games, swings and
hammocks.

To the children, of course, the lunch was the principal feature, so the
ladies spread an immense white cloth on the grass, around which all sat,
and were served to as many chicken and ham sandwiches as they could eat.
Tin cups of delicious milk and lots of sweet buns followed. Then came
the ice cream and cake; by the time this was disposed of, it became
evident the children could hold no more, so Madame Harte's candy was
reserved for the homeward trip.

The men were not forgotten, and were well supplied with a substantial
dinner of cold roast beef, pickles, bread and butter, a dozen of lemons
and a pound of sugar to make lemonade. For, as Hetty, said, "dem dere
fellows ain't goin' to care for soft vittles; dey wants sumpin' dat will
keep dem from gettin' hollow inside." After the feast Pat and the other
men gathered everything up, and packed all into the dayton, then Pat
started for home.

The ladies were rather fatigued after their exertions in amusing and
waiting on the children, so they rested in the hammocks awhile. As for
the little ones, nothing seemed to tire them, they tore around as fresh
and lively as if the day were just beginning. At four o'clock Mrs. Allen
rang a bell to summon all to prepare for home. When the wagon came all
piled in, laughing and shouting in their glee. Amy was most attentive to
her little proteges, waiting on them and attending to all their wants.
Little Dotty kept saying: "Dear Miss Amy, I love you; I thank you, and
I'll always pray for you for giving me such a happy, happy day."

Bolax took little lame Johnny under his care, when the children were
being placed in the wagon, he called out to the driver, "be sure to seat
Johnny on a soft bunch of hay, because his leg is not strong." "Why did
you say that?" said Nellie Day. "You ought to have said, because his is
lame." "No, I just wouldn't say that," said Bo, "it might hurt Johnny's
heart; my Mamma says we must never let lame people know we see their
lameness, and never look at crooked-backed children, because it makes
then feel worse."

When the wagon was ready to start, the driver offered to see all the
children safely to their homes; he said most of them lived near the
quarry, and he would take the pike road, which passed within a few
minutes' walk of it. Johnny and little Dotty he promised to deliver into
the hands of their mothers.

The ladies Keating had ordered their carriage to call for them, and Miss
Devine's "carry-all" held the rest of the party, including Bo and Amy.

This ended one happy day filled with love and kindness, and sweet
charity towards God's poor little ones.


CATECHISM CLASS.

On the Sunday after the picnic, the Catechism class met. All the pupils
were eager to show their appreciation of the happy day their kind
teachers had given them.

The subject of instruction was the Ten Commandments. Mrs. Allen made a
few remarks in simple, plain words, showing the advantages of truth over
falsehood; dwelling particularly on the Seventh and Eighth Commandments,
saying how happy one felt when his conscience told him, he was entirely
free from the mean habit of lying and taking little things which were
the property of others.

After class was dismissed, Tom lingered on the piazza. Mrs. Allen went
to him, and asked him if he wanted to speak to her. "Yes, ma'am;" said
the boy, "I once took a wheelbarrow out of your yard; I am very sorry;
if you will trust me, I'll work out the price of it on your place. I
could help Pat if he'd let me. I'm strong; I'm twelve now." Mrs. Allen
was touched with the evident sincerity of the boy, and thanked God that
the good seed was already bearing fruit. Taking the boy's hand, she told
him our Lord would certainly forgive and bless him since he bravely
acknowledged his fault. "You may come tomorrow and I will give you work
and keep you here until I can get you a permanent situation." Tom
thanked his kind benefactress, promising to return the next day.

As he was passing out the gate Bo hailed him. "You're a good boy now
Tom, so I can walk with you a little way; I am going to give you a pair
of my darling white rats. They're such cute little things; they eat corn
out of my mouth and run all over me." "Thank you, Bo, but I'd better
don't take 'em, our place is full of black rats and they'd be sure to
eat up the white ones." As Tom was speaking, he threw a stone at a bird
that was hopping along the path. "Stop that!" said Bo, "you're getting
bad again; that's a robin. Robins are blessed birds, because when our
Lord was nailed on the Cross, a robin flew near and tried to pull the
thorns out of His dear head, but robin was not strong, so he only could
pull one thorn out, and the blood of poor Jesus got on the bird's
feathers so that is why robin's breast is red." "Is that really so, who
told you?" "My dear Mamma told me, and she knows everything in the
world, so it is true Tom, and if you want my Mamma to love you, you must
be kind to animals and kind to birds especially to robins."

"Well, little fellow, I will try for your sake. You see I never knowed
about nothing, so I done bad acts. Now since I go to Catechism class
I'll try to do good acts."

After leaving Tom, Bolax loitered on the way home, amusing himself with
his dogs; when he went into the house, Hetty called him. "Where you done
been such a long time, boy?" "Oh, I was only down the hill," replied Bo.
"Well, here's me and sister a working while you'se playin'; just you
come, let me wash you' hands and den you kin help us make dese here
cookies." Amy was already busy rolling out dough and cutting cakes, so
Bo was delighted to help. "Hetty, dear," said he, "if I roll this dough
into cannon balls will they bake nice?" "Cannon balls in my oven," said
Hetty, "suppose they go on to bust, what den?" "Oh, they won't bust,
Hetty dear." So Hetty put the cannon balls to bake with the pan full of
cookies and when they were done, she spread a nice white cloth on a
little table near the window in the kitchen, bringing out the crabapple
jelly, which the children always considered a treat. Then she put a
bouquet in the center of the table and a pitcher of creamy milk. This
with the cookies and some peaches made a delightful lunch. Amy
understood why Hetty was particular to set the table so nicely and kept
dancing 'round and talking nonsense.

Mamma and Aunt Lucy had gone out for the day and she wanted to keep Bo
from noticing their absence. After enjoying the feast and feeding their
pets, their friend, Adele, came and took them out in her pretty pony
cart. It was five in the afternoon when the children returned. As soon
as Bolax entered the house, he began his usual refrain: "Ma, dear." As
he received no answer, he suddenly remembered he had not seen his mother
all day. "Why Hetty," said he, "is Mamma not at home?" "No, honey,"
said Hetty, "she's been in town; she'll be home soon now, and she g'wan
to give you a nice present when I tell her what a good boy you done
been. Come now eat yon' supper, so you' Ma will find you in bed when she
comes home."

Bo and Amy sat at the little table where they had had lunch. Hetty gave
them a nice supper and allowed them each to have a doggie beside them,
with a plate to eat from.

After supper they went upstairs to prepare for bed. Buz and Roy
followed. Amy took Bo into the Oratory to say night prayer. Bo began
very piously "Our Father," but just here Buz bit his foot. "Stop that,
Buz, don't you see I'm saying my prayers. Our Father, who art in Heaven.
Buz won't behave." Bo called out laughing, at the same time. "Hetty,"
said Amy, "you had better come up here, Bo's just giggling instead of
saying his prayers." "I comin' up; you dogs git out of dis here Oritey;
it ain't no place for laughin'. Now you better don't be a mockin' of de
Lord, Bo. I tell you somethin' might come arter you some night." But Bo
couldn't stop, he was so full of merriment. "Well, I was saying my
prayers with a humble and contrite heart when Roy came and thumped me in
the back." "Yes," replied Amy, "and you just let him; you had better
stop your nonsense." Hetty tried all her arts to get Bo to bed, at last
she said: "Well, you always wasn't a religion child, anyway. I remember
one time when you was three years old, you' mother was a dressin' you up
in a lovely coat and hat with white plume, she was buttoning of the coat
and you kept wigglin', then she told you to try to be a good boy, else
you' angel wouldn't love you. You said: 'Where is my angel.' 'Right
behind you,' says you' Ma; then you pushed up against the wall and
rubbed you back so hard. I was settin' dere and tried to make you stop.
Your Ma, she say: 'What you doin' you bad boy,' and you answer
'Squashing the angel!' You' Ma couldn't help smilin' and I jest fall
down on de floor with laughin,' We was so taken by surprise."

"Well, Hetty," said Amy, "that's the reason Bolax is bad, because people
laugh at him." "Oh, I wouldn't say that now," said Bo, "I'm near six,
and I do love my angel; the laughing is all gone now; I can say my
prayers." So Bo said his prayers respectfully and went to bed.

A little after midnight, he ran into his mother's room. "Oh, Mamma,
dear, did you hear it? Oh, it is awful, and I did say my prayers."

Out in the entry Hetty was heard saying: "For de Lord sake! Oh, Miss
Allen, dere it is again."

Mrs. Allen and the whole household heard a most unearthly shriek, but
immediately remembered it was the new fire alarm. After quieting the
little boy and making Hetty understand what it was, Mrs. Allen looked
out of the window, and saw that a large house on the top of a high hill
was ablaze; as it was only a frame building it was soon destroyed, for
the firemen could not reach it.

After the disturbance was over and all were going back to bed, Bo put
his arm around his mother's neck, and said: "I guess I had better stay
with you Mamma, dear; you might get afraid again."



CHAPTER VI.

A TALK ABOUT OUR BOYS.


Mrs. Carpenter, who was President of the Christian Mothers' Society,
delivered a most entertaining lecture on "Our Boys." A subject in which
every mother is always deeply interested.


OUR BOYS.

It is an acknowledged fact that many a boy who has had the advantage of
good training at home and at school, fails to avail himself of his
opportunities and grows up careless in dress and language, and, while
not absolutely vicious yet, looking leniently upon much that his parents
and friends regard as reprehensible.

Among the various causes that lead to such physical, mental and moral
laxity, none is more potent than companionship with dirty, idle or
immoral boys. Many a lad spends hours with comrades whom he despises, at
first, then excuses, and finally associates with on terms of close
intimacy.

We all desire that our sons should keep good company, and we cannot and
should not deprive them of outdoor companionship with boys of their own
age. What we most desire is that they themselves should choose their
comrades among honest, studious, manly boys, and avoid the society of
the mean, idle and vicious; yet at the same time they should treat all
with the courtesy due from one human being to another.

We can scarcely understand the character of our boy's companions by his
own description of them; since like the rest of humanity our boys regard
their favorites with eyes that see only their good qualities, forgetting
the coarse language, the vulgar jest, the cruel trick, the truant
playing: "He is such a jolly fellow, plays such a good game."

Although we may notice occasionally that our boy is coarse in speech or
manifests an unusual spirit of rebellion at school regulations still we
do not often associate these effects with "such a good fellow always
ready for fun." But if we occasionally saw this "good fellow" then
indeed the cause would not be far to seek. Our boy himself would feel
ashamed of his acquaintance, if he saw him in the home circle; he would
suddenly discover that his friend was not ashamed that his hands were
dirty, that he "talked to mother" with his hat on.

These boys of ours are apt to be very chivalrous about "mother," and
then they learn not to care about companions of whom they are ashamed.

I once heard a mother say to her son, "Harry, I wonder at you to be seen
on the street with that Murray boy. Why he is dressed like a beggar."

Now, I too, had seen Harry and the "Murray boy," and while the boy's
clothes were old, they were whole and clean too, and I knew him to be an
upright manly lad, more so indeed than Harry was ever likely to be with
such training.

Provided a boy is truthful, clean and careful in his language we should
not let the pecuniary circumstances of his family enter into
consideration; for our desire is to build up a noble manhood in our
boys, and how despicable is that man who esteems his friends according
to the length of their purses. There is only one way of judging our
boy's companions, and that is by knowing them ourselves. This we can do
by encouraging him to invite his friends to visit him not always
formally, but now and then, as it may happen. We can pleasantly welcome
them, but let us be careful not to entertain them too much, for there is
nothing a boy hates more than to have a "fuss" made over him.

An occasional taffy pulling is not an expensive luxury and a little hot
water removes all traces from the kitchen, to which it should be
limited. Some time when it is convenient, let us tell our boy to invite
some of his friends to spend the evening, and use the best china and the
preserves and cake he likes the best.

Do not say, "It is only those boys." Let him feel that his guests are
well treated, and he will be the more anxious to have friends worthy of
the treatment they receive.

I think that the clownish behavior of boys arises from the only-a-boy
treatment they experience; feeling slighted they instinctively resent
it, by being as disagreeable as possible.

Nor is it necessary that one's house should be turned into a barn for
boys to carouse in. On the contrary, our boy should always tell mother
when he wishes to invite a friend, or, if he knows that his friends are
coming; not as a rigid rule, but as a courtesy due a lady in her own
house; no matter whether the home consists of one room or twenty, the
mother is always the hostess, and she can train her son into a well-bred
man, or allow him, even though well educated to grow up a boor.

Many men owe their success in life to their observance of the minor
courtesies in which they were trained by a good mother. These habits and
that of correct speech should be insisted upon by every refined mother.
There is another, and to me the most important point in the education of
our boys, I refer to their religious training. Merely sending them to a
short service on Sunday, will never impress boys with the respect they
should have for God, and if they are not taught love and reverence for
their Heavenly Father, they will disregard the authority of their
parents and in after life, defy the laws of the land.

Above all things see to your boy's religious training, see that he does
not associate with people who make flippant remarks about sacred things.
Give a little time in the evening to conversations with your children.
As I speak, one little mother comes to my mind, she always made it a
duty to sit with her boys and talk over the incidents of the day, she
inquired what new ideas they had received, etc.; they laughed and
chatted together, "Ma dear" had their entire confidence. This mother
warned her sons against vice, showing them the horrid pitfalls of sin.

Judicious advice coming from a loving mother will keep boys from sins,
the memory of which even when repented of, would haunt them forever.

After Mrs. Carpenter's address she introduced Mrs. Blondell, who gave
her thoughts on the duties of mothers towards their children.

We often hear severe criticisms on the manners of young people of the
present day and contrast them unfavorably with the manners of a
generation ago. No doubt much of this criticism is warranted. The great
mass of young people of today are lacking in deference, courtesy and
respect. But the fathers and mothers who complain of these faults rarely
question themselves if they are not wholly or in part to blame for the
bad manners of their offspring.

I have known parents who sit at table or in the home circle, and in the
presence of their children freely criticise or comment on the conduct of
their neighbors or friends, permitting their children to tell all they
have seen or heard in a neighbor's house.

Such parents must not be disappointed if those children grow up with the
habit of gossiping and commenting just as freely on themselves. Now
there is no one thing more destructive of good manners than the
gossiping and tale-bearing habit.

If urbanity were persistently taught and practiced in the home there
would not be so much to learn, and especially to unlearn with regard to
intercourse with the world at large.

People would not then have two manners, one to use in public and one in
private. There would be less self-consciousness and less affectation,
for these arise from trying to do a thing of which we are uncertain, to
assume a manner which we have imperfectly acquired.

Sometimes one meets with children who seem to lack the idea of truth,
then it must be developed, and great exactness is demanded of the
mother in every statement.

In describing a garden with five trees, say _five_, not five or six or
several. Go to extremes in accuracy of detail, for the sake of giving
the child the habit of telling only the exact truth.

If a promise has been made to such a child there is more than ordinary
necessity for keeping it to the letter.

Some time ago I heard of a gentleman who promised his little son that he
should be present at the building of a stone wall, while the boy was
absent the wall was built. Coming home he was greatly disappointed.
"Papa you promised I should see it." "So I did my child." And the father
ordered the wall to be torn down and rebuilt. Being expostulated with
regarding the expense and time which he could ill afford, he replied: "I
had rather spend many times the amount than have my son feel that I
would be knowingly false to my word, or that it mattered little if a
promise was broken."

Though truth and faithfulness might have been taught and the wall
remained, because all accidents of life are not under our control, no
one can doubt the impression made upon that boy's mind.

A mother speaking to me about two of her children said that they tell
her most wonderful stories of school life and play time. She hears them
quietly and says: "That is very interesting; now, how much did you see
and hear, and how much do you think you saw and heard." They stop,
think, and sift out the actual from the imaginative, sometimes
correcting each other. One day the little boy said: "I really thought,
Mamma, it was all so, but I guess only this part was."

Much license is commonly allowed in order to tell a "good story," and
many a child thus unconsciously gains a light conception of the value of
truth, or they think their elders are privileged to use prevarications.
I will give an illustration of this.

One day a group of ladies seated on the porch of a hotel were
entertaining each other, among them was one notorious for her habit of
exaggeration. We were all listening to one of this lady's "good stories"
when her eldest little girl, a child of seven, came towards us, leading
her small sister of four. Going up to her mother the child said in a
most serious tone of voice: "Mamma, Elsie told a lie. You said it was
naughty for little girls to tell lies; they must wait until they are big
ladies; musn't they?"

The laugh that followed was joined in by the mother, who seemed quite
unconscious of the reproof contained in the innocent speech of her
little child.

Another point to which I would call your attention is showing
partiality; sometimes severely reproving a fault in one child, which you
would pass over in a favorite. Children feel this keenly while childhood
lasts, and sometimes resent it when they grow up. I have here a little
piece which I am sure will appeal to you.

The lady who wrote it evidently understands child-nature.


SOLILOQUY BY MISS ETHEL M. KELLY.

    Now I lay me down to sleep--
      Don't want to sleep; I want to think,
    I didn't mean to spill that ink;
      I only meant to softly creep
    Under the desk and be a bear--
      'Taint 'bout the spanking that I care.

    'F she'd only let me 'splain an' tell
      Just how it was an accident,
    An' that I never truly meant
      An' never saw it till it fell.
    I feel a whole lot worse nor her;
      I'm sorry; an' I said I were.

    I s'pose if I'd just cried a lot,
      An' choked all up like sister does,
    An' acted sadder than I wuz,
      An' sobbed about the "naughty spot."
    She'd said, "He shan't be whipped, he shan't."
      An kissed me--but, somehow I can't.

    But I don't think it's fair a bit
      That when she talks an' talks at you,
    An' you wait patiently till she's through,
      An' start to tell your side of it,
    She says, "Now that'll do my son;
      I've heard enough, 'fore you've begun."

    If I should die before I wake--
      Maybe I ain't got any soul;
    Maybe there's only just a hole
      Where't ought to be--there's such an ache
    Down there somewhere! She seemed to think
      That I just loved to spill that ink.

Dear Christian mothers, permit me, a very, very old member of your
society, to offer this advice. Be on the alert always to give good
example to your children. Remember you are teaching them spiritual
truths or errors from the day of their birth. You cannot help it, if
you would. Your daily conduct tells its own story influencing for or
against your beliefs.

If you are a consistent Christian, your life before your child is
teaching him to believe in the Christ whose example you follow. If you
are not practicing what you profess no amount of teaching will bring
your children to respect your beliefs.

Let us take for our model dear Mater Admirabilis, and as near as
possible imitate that divine Mother, making for ourselves a charmed
existence by blotting out as far as possible the disagreeables of life;
they will come, but they will only grow larger when we remember them,
and constant thought of acts of meanness makes us more familiar with
them. Obliterate every unworthy thought from your heart and soul, then
your children will retain only sweet memories of their mother.



CHAPTER VII.

THE FIGHT.


"What's all the noise about down there?" asked Aunt Lucy.

"Dem youngsters is fighten over de puppies, better come down here, Miss
Lucy."

Bo was screaming, Amy scolding, and Jess barking and whining. Aunt Lucy
hurried down stairs to see what could cause such a commotion.

When she made her appearance at the head of the cellar stairs Amy was
pulling at her brother, and Bo, doubled up, was holding one of the
puppies in a tight embrace at the risk of ending its existence.

"Stop, immediately!" commanded their aunt. "Children, I am ashamed of
you."

"Well, that bad boy is tormenting the poor dog."

"Put the puppy down, Bo."

"Here, Aunty, you stoop down with it, Jess will jump in my face if I go
near her nest. I only wanted to love the little thing, and Jess would
not have made such a fuss if Amy didn't put her up to it."

"I have a good mind to deprive you both of your ride this afternoon as a
punishment for your silly conduct. Go upstairs and let me hear no more
quarreling."

After Aunt Lucy and Amy had gone, Bo went into the kitchen to get
Hetty's sympathy, she was always willing to listen to her boy, although
she was provoked sometimes by his mischievous tricks.

"Hetty, dear, don't you think Amy is an antiquated monkey?"

"Oh, honey, don't call sister names."

"Yes, I will; 'Monkey' is too good for her, I wish I knew of the
horriblest animal ever was, I'd call Amy after it."

"Now be a good boy, don't fight no more, and--"

"Yes, I will fight; sister is so wicked; she's just a Mannypochia
cobra."

"Oh, law! Massa Bo, that's a awful name. What kind of a animal is it?"

"Well, it's something like a big snake, only fifty times bigger, and it
hisses and cracks your bones and--"

"What you gwan do when you go to confession; you got to tell the names
you call, and you ain't gwan to 'member dat big word."

"Oh, I'll remember; I'll just say 'Father, my sister was so dreadful,
she most broke my bones, so I called her the name of a snake that breaks
bones.'"

Hetty laughed, and asked Bo if he was "most ready for his first
confessin," telling him he "better don't have too many bad things to
tell on other people; Father gwan to tell you: 'Say child you come to
tell you' own sins; I don't want to hear what you' sister done did.'"

"But," insisted Bo, "the priest will listen when I tell him how Amy
fights over the puppies."

"Better don't, 'cause if you do, Father gwan give you two penances, one
for your sins, and another for Amy's sins."


BOLAX'S FIRST CONFESSION.

Bolax having passed his ninth birthday, his mother thought it time he
should make his first confession. Although well instructed and prepared
for the great event, he had a dread of going to confession.

It was September 8th, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; Mrs. Allen
called her boy and told him she had decided on taking him to see a
Jesuit priest. Bolax was delighted with the trip to town, but when he
got near the church he wanted to run away.

"Oh Mamma, dear," cried he, "I'll go some other time."

Notwithstanding his resistance, his mother compelled him to enter the
church. As soon as the child caught sight of the imposing interior, with
its Altars, statues and pictures, he seemed suddenly overcome with awe,
his whole manner changed, and dropping on his knees, he whispered:

"Oh, Mamma, this is a very holy place! Oh, I can feel God right near
me!"

One of the Fathers came down the aisle and entered the confessional;
Bolax followed him without any compulsion, and seemed thoroughly
impressed with the sanctity of the act he was about to perform.

There happened to be no other penitents, so the good Father came out of
the box and spoke to the boy.

"So this is your first confession," said he. "Well, my child, God bless
you, and keep your soul ever as pure as it is today."

Then turning to the mother, he spoke about the boy, saying:

"I am greatly interested in my little penitent, and I want him to write
to me every two weeks, giving me a report of his conduct."

Bolax promised to write.

After thanking the priest for his kind interest, and helping her boy
with his Thanksgiving, Mrs. Allen left the church. Bolax skipped down
the steps, and I fear the good people who were at their devotions, must
have been very much startled at the loud "Cock-a-doodel-do" given by Bo,
as he reached the pavement.

"For goodness sake stop!" cried his mother. "Can't you behave?"

"No, Mamma; I'm too happy. I feel as if I could fly. Confession isn't a
bit hard; I'd like to go every day."

BOLAX'S FIRST LETTER.

_Dear Rev. Father_:

Ever since I went to confession, everybody says I'm worse.

I let my dog out of the cellar, and he most chewed up my sister's dog.
Roy, is my dog's name; Trix, is my sister's dog. Roy caught on to Trix,
and such howling and yelping never was heard. Sister was so afraid, she
hid inside the wardrobe, and every minute she would put out her head and
yell:

"Oh, my poor Trix!"

Mamma and the cook tried to separate the dogs. Mamma caught hold of
Roy's tail, and Hetty caught on to Trix's tail, and both pulled, but
still the dogs wouldn't stop fighting. Then I got a stick to whack them,
and I broke Mamma's glasses by accident.

At last Hetty threw a bucket of water on them; that stopped the fight.
Hetty says she's 'done flustered to death.' Sister says I'm the
awfulest boy in the world.

I haven't done anything bad today, yet.

  Your little friend,

       BOLAX.

THE REV. FATHER'S ANSWER.

  ST. FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE.

  _Dear Little Friend_:

Even though everyone should say that you have been "worse" than you had
been before making your confession, I know that our Lord will excuse you
because you acknowledge your faults.

You see, all expected you would be better after confession, and they are
much disappointed, because they have not yet seen any improvement.

What a scrape you got into, by letting your dog out of the cellar, and
how cruel it was to have poor Trix "chewed up." You were shocked, I am
sure, when you found you had hit your mother. Now, how did all this come
about? Just because you did not ask permission to let your dog out of
the cellar. If you had acted under obedience, you would have avoided all
the trouble. Now, this is the lesson to take from your fault.

Do not act without permission, and always obey promptly and cheerfully,
then you will be happy; your parents will be happy and Our Dear Lord
will bless you.

Hoping to see you soon, my dear little boy, I am your friend in Christ,

       ALOYSIUS ROCOFORT, S. J.


SECOND LETTER.

  _Dear Rev. Father_:

Since my third confession, everyone says I am showing improvement. Papa
says it is your letters that make me good. Mamma says it is the grace of
God given through confession.

Hetty says, "I do believe dat boy done got religion for sure."

Everybody believes in my conversion, excepting Sister Amy; she says the
badness couldn't go so sudden; it is still there. Trix's ear is sore
yet; that is the reason she is cross.

Indeed, Father, I feel good. I obey better; I have only to be called
three times in the morning, and I don't forget things when I am sent on
errands, and I even study without growling.

Dear Father, would you like a pair of white rats? They are lovely pets
and run all over me; they eat corn off the top of my head and nibble my
ears. If you want them, I will put them in a wire cage and carry them
into town the next time I go to see you.

  Your loving little friend,

       BOLAX ALLEN.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ST. FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE.

  _My Dear Little Friend_:

How rejoiced I am to learn by your last report that you are giving
satisfaction to Mamma and Papa, and learning to obey; the greatest of
all virtues "obedience," preserves us from falling into other sins.

Sister will come round soon, just let her see you are in earnest, and
surprise her by persevering in your good resolutions.

I thank you for the kind offer to give me your pets, but I fear the good
brother who has charge of my room would object to rats--white or
black--so I must decline your present with many thanks, dear child.

Come to see me next Wednesday, I will be home from 2 to 6 P. M.

  God bless you,

       ALOYSIUS ROCOFORT, S. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ST FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE.

  _Dear Little Friend_:

What a pity I was not at home when you called. I wished to see you to
find out how you had been doing since I last met you. I hope you went to
confession to one of the other priests that day.

After Holy Communion, which you are too young to receive as yet, there
is no better means to aid you in doing right than a complete and humble
declaration of all that you have done amiss.

It is a good thing to say your prayers in the morning, even though you
have to be reminded by your mother. I wish you had interest enough
yourself to say them without being reminded.

  Always your friend,

       A. ROCOFORT, S. J.


A VERY GREAT LOSS.

"Aunt Lucy," said Bolax one day. "I had a very important paper, and I
cannot find it. I took such pains to write it because it was to go to
Father Rocofort. Did you see it? You would know it was important because
it was written without blots."

"Indeed, child, I did not see it, ask Hetty; she cleaned your room this
morning."

"Hetty, Hetty," called Bo, "did you see a long narrow strip of paper
about a yard long, with writing on it?"

"Yes, I done see a paper like dat; it was on the floor of you' room when
I go clean it, and the puppy was a chewing of it. I done took it and put
it under a book on your desk."

"Oh Hetty, why, oh, why did you let puppy chew up my paper? It had my
sins on it."

"For de Lawd sake. Bolax! you' sins! Den I guess de poor little dog done
pizened by dis time. I ain't seed him since he et up dem sins, three
hours ago. I guess I'll find him lying dead somewheres."

"Hetty, you stop making fun of me; I'm in real earnest. Sins are things
people only tell to the priest, or to their mothers, and I don't want
mine to be blowing round for every one to see them."

After a great search, the paper was found and Bo inclosed it in a letter
ready to send Father Rocofort. When his mother read the contents, she
explained that he could not make a confession in that manner.

"Confession must be made on bended knees."

"Well, then Ma, dear, I can't go to town this week, as I have such a
cold. I'm so sorry; Father will think I'm getting bad again."

  ST. FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE.

  _Dear Little Friend:_

Your letter of last week has not come to hand, so without waiting for
it, I feel I ought to tell you the second thought that came to my mind
when I read the letter which did reach me.

You may remember you said these words: "I did not disobey this week,
because I was sick."

Now my thought was just this: From what this boy says it would appear
that if he were in good health, he would have disobeyed. As disobedience
is a sin; a great evil because displeasing to God. What a blessing it is
to be sick, if one is thereby prevented from doing anything that is
offensive to God.

You are perhaps too young to know that all things that come from God are
good in themselves, since God, who sends them, is good.

Did you ever think that sickness, poverty, hunger, cold, sorrow and
suffering could be good? Perhaps not. It is hard for a small boy to see
that what he does not like, can be good. But if God likes a thing, it
must be good, and if God dislikes a thing, it must be bad.

Please try to understand all this, and you will become a good boy and a
good man.

  Your friend in Christ,

       ALOYSIUS ROCOFORT, S. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

  September 1st.

  _Dear Rev. Father_:

I wish you would be so kind as to pray I may be sent to a Catholic
school, there is none in our town for boys, but maybe I could get to St.
Thomas' College, if they would only take me.

Mamma and Papa thank you so much for writing to me. Indeed it is kind,
and it must take up your time. I shall always keep your letters; I love
them.

Papa says it is wonderful that the President of a college would bother
writing to a little boy.

  Your loving little friend,

       B. ALLEN.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ST. FRANCIS XAVIER COLLEGE.

  _My Dear Little Friend_:

Having been very busy during the week, I have not been able to make an
earlier reply to your little biography of the week. One or two thoughts
that came to my mind as I read your words is, I think, worth putting on
paper.

You seemed to think it remarkable that a man of my age, education and
busy life should trouble himself about a little boy. Now I thought you a
strange little boy for that, and for this reason. You are a Christian,
believing and knowing that Christ died for you; gave His heart's blood
for your eternal happiness.

Knowing this as I do, and meditating on the life and work of Christ, and
striving so hard to imitate him; do you think it strange that I should
take an interest in you, when you allow me? It would be indeed strange
if I did not wish to see you grow up a good docile, obedient, kind and
high-principled boy, and a brave, true, upright, high-souled man, and do
all in my power, as far as you will allow to bring about such a result.

God wants that, your parents hope it; you yourself would like it, if you
could get it by wishing, or if it did not cost you any trouble. But it
does cost trouble, though it is worth a thousand troubles.

  Your friend in Christ,

       ALOYSIUS ROCOFORT, S. J.

P. S.--I will indeed pray that you may be admitted into St. Thomas',
although in your case, with such a mother to guide you, the public
school might be tolerated.


BOLAX DESERVES A WHIPPING.

"Another unsatisfactory report," exclaimed Papa Allen, as he held an
open letter in his hand. "This is the fourth since the opening of school
in September, and now it is only the first Week of October. Spelling,
30; Arithmetic, 20. Professor too, sends complaints of your music
lesson; then you have neglected your rabbits."

At this Bo jumped up and ran out to the rabbit-hutch. Yelling with all
his might for Hetty: "Oh, my rabbits; my rabbits are gone."

"When did you feed them last," asked his father, who was looking out of
a window. Bo thought a moment, then remembered he had not seen them for
several days.

"But where have they gone, Hetty dear?"

"Done turned into air; what you spect dey gwan do when dey has nothing
to eat but air."

Then Hetty laughed, and Bo went back to the dining room.

"Excuse me for leaving you, Papa, I am so worried. Indeed, indeed, I
didn't mean to forget my pets."

"My son, we allow you to have pets to teach you the lesson of
responsibility, which means to keep in mind any duty you have to
perform. You do not mean to be cruel, but you are. I have saved many of
your pets from hunger and thirst; now I shall do so no longer, neither
shall the servants. Your rabbits have been given to Flossy Day, who will
always attend to them, because she is a thoughtful, kind little girl.

"On all points you are at fault--lessons, music and pets; all alike
forgotten, if there is no improvement, you will be punished for your
delinquencies."

Unfortunately at the end of the next week, the report was worse than
ever, and Papa was shocked and expressed himself in very severe
language. Bolax showed an unusual spirit of insubordination and temper
on being reproved, and his father whipped him. The boy was heart-broken;
it was the first time a stroke had been laid upon him in his life. His
mother did not approve of corporal punishment, but, of course, would not
interfere in what her husband thought to be his duty.

Poor Bo felt degraded and went to hide. His mother knocked at his
bedroom door, but he would not open it.

"No one loves me any more!" sobbed the poor child. "If Aunt Lucy had
been home I would not have been whipped."

Amy went into the room and putting her arms around her brother's neck,
told him she would give him her pony "Ben Bolt," for his very own. "Oh,
Sister, I thank you, but nothing can take the pain out of my heart."

"I know darling, but Papa is just as pained as you. He said just now, he
had rather cut off his hand than hurt you, but you know you would not
listen to anything and kept going wild. I tell you what I will do the
next time you deserve a whipping; I will stand and take it for you." "I
wouldn't let you, dear, sweet Sister; no indeed, but I'll never deserve
one again."

"Good night and here's Ma dear, to kiss you."

In the morning Hetty went up to Bo's room to call him for breakfast; his
mother had let him sleep late because she was attending to her husband,
who had to take an early train for New York.

"Come down here honey," Hetty called again, "Come see the nice fish I'se
got for you." Bo went into the dining room and begged the kind creature
to sit with him. "You're my best friend, Hetty, dear." "Indeed, I'se
your friend. Eat up de fish; it's good, and don't bother lookin' at it."

"Oh, I'm just dissecting it." "What's dat?" "Seeing what's inside of it.
Hetty, dear, do you know fishes have spinal cords?" "Cords! land sakes!
where dey done keep dem?"

"Oh, up their backs, of course. Here, see this bone, I break it and here
is a string that makes the fish move." "Oh, Massa Bo, where you done
learn all dis?"

"I heard the A class saying their physiology, and I asked Mamma, and she
said we had just such a cord in our backbone." Here Mamma came into the
room. "Law bless us, Miss Allen dat chile ought never be whipped for
learnin'. He knows lots more now than some men."

Mrs. Allen sat down and explained to the children the different parts of
the fish.

This led to an interesting talk. Amy asked if shellfish were stupid,
because people often say: "As dumb as a clam."

"Not all dear, there is the beautiful Nautilus; the little mariner and
really our first navigator."

Then the mother told of the sea nettle, the razorfish, the cuttlefish,
that throws a black fluid out of its body, which darkens the water, and
when pursued by an enemy escapes by this means. It is a very useful
fish; long ago the Romans used that black fluid for ink.

Bo was so interested, he forgot his trouble, and no one noticed it was
past school time.

"I'se just glad," said Hetty; "you children come play dat funny song
about de Hoo Doo man, and say dat piece what tells what de school bell
talks when it rings."

"Really my son, I am sorry you missed school this morning. It will put
another bad point on your next report." "Ma, dear, I'm tired of that old
school; it's a girls' school, anyhow. I'm the only Catholic there, and
every now and then some one says something ugly about my religion. Of
course, I have to fight boys that do it, but I must bear it when girls
tell me I adore idols. If you send me to St. Thomas' I'll study hard."


WHAT THE SCHOOL BELL SAYS.

    It is wonderful what unlike things
    The school bell says to boys when it rings.
    For instance the sluggard who drags along
    On his way to school, hears this sort of song:

                Oh, suz hum!
                Why did I come?
                Study 'till four--
                Books are a bore!
                Oh, how I wish
                I could run off and fish!
                See! there's the brook
                Here's line and hook.
                Hurry up--eh?
                What's that you say?
                Oh--hum--ho!
                Suppose I must go,
                Study 'till four,
                Books are a bore.

    Then the boy who loves to be faithful and true,
    Who does what his parents think best he should do,
    Comes bravely along with satchel and book,
    The wind in his whistle, the sun in his look.
    And these are the thoughts that well up like a song,
    As he hears the old bell with its faithful ding dong:

                Cling, clang, cling--
                I'm so glad I could sing!
                Heaven so blue,
                Duty to do!
                Birds in the air,
                Everything fair,
                Even a boy
                Finds study a joy!
                When my work is done
                I'm ready for fun,
                Keener my play
                For tasks of the day,
                Cling clang, cling.
                I' so glad I can sing.

    These are the songs which the two boys heard,
    When the school bell was singing word for word.
    Which do you think was the truer song?
    Which do you hear as you're trudging along?
    Don't be a laggard--far better I say!
    To work while you work, and play when you play.

                                       --_By J. Bucham_.

"Why so serious Amy," said her mother; "you look as if you were deeply
reflecting."

I have just been thinking of those "wonders of the sea" you tell about.

"Ma, dear, how much you do know; you can tell something of every bird
and beast and insect. I wonder if I ever shall know as much?"

"My child, you know much more of this delightful kind of study than I
did at your age. Until you were four years old my information on such
subjects was very limited."

"And why did you study, mother, dear?"

"I had a strong incentive; I studied because I loved you."

Bolax pressed close to his mother's side. "Oh, Ma, dear! I will study
too because I love you."

When Mr. Allen returned in the evening, Bo went to the gate to meet him,
and threw his arms around his father's neck, asking to be forgiven and
promising to be a good boy in the future. Mr. Allen clasped the dear
child to his heart wondering if he had made a mistake in his manner of
chastising a boy with such a loving disposition.

That night the good mother told of Bo's desire to change schools.

"That's just what I intended proposing; I had a conversation with old
Mathews, who has brought up seven sons. He thinks from what I told him
of our son, a change would be just what he requires at present."

A few days after this, Mrs. Allen took Bo up to the College and begged
the President to admit him.

"He is entirely below the age, Madame," remarked the President, "we have
no pupils under twelve years of age;" however, he allowed himself to be
persuaded and acceded to the lady's request on condition that the boy
should have a special tutor, which would cost an extra fee.

To this Mrs. Allen gladly agreed, as the child wanted three months of
being ten years old and a private teacher was just what he needed.

Bo was delighted to go up to St. Thomas', especially as it meant daily
rides on the train.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE COAL MAN.


Whistling and with a roll of music under his arm, Bolax turned out of
his way to go the woods. "It's Saturday," thought he, "and Professor was
pleased with my lesson, so I'll just take a holiday." As he was turning
off the bridge he heard some one say: "Well, young man, where are you
bound for?" Looking up he saw Mr. O'Donnel, the coal man. "Where are you
taking such a big load?" said Bolax. "Oh, about three miles out on the
White Road." "That's the most beautiful road in the country; please let
me go with you."

"You seem to know a great deal about roads." "Oh, yes; I often take long
rambles with Papa when he is at home; he is so fond of wild flowers. So
is Mamma; she calls the woods 'God's own garden,' and while there is a
wild flower to be had, from the arbutus and hepatica in early Spring to
the golden rod in the autumn, we gather them for our little Chapel. My
Papa knows the name of every flower and shrub and tree that grows in the
United States, and never tires telling me about them."

"Well," said Mr. O'Donnel, "I'll let you come along with me if you can
climb up; you're a mighty knowing sort of little chap, and I like to
hear you talk."

The day was an ideal one. A clear sky, a bright October sun and a
pleasant breeze all combined to make Bolax enjoy his drive, although one
would suppose he felt anything but comfortable perched on the hard seat
of a coal cart.

The road stretched out for nearly a mile, white as its name indicated,
and as well cared for as if it were the driveway into a gentleman's
private demesne. On each side, it was bordered by immense sycamore
trees; their beautiful branches meeting overhead, and their smooth
shining trunk resembling pillars in the aisle of some grand Cathedral.

"This," said Mr. O'Donnel, "reminds me of roads I saw in the North of
France, only there you would be sure to see an altar or a cross erected
by the pious people, many a time I saw men, women and children kneeling
before these shrines." "Are you a Catholic?" asked Bolax. "Indeed, and I
am, thank God. Are you?" said Mr. O'Donnel. "Of course, I am," answered
Bolax, with a rising inflection as though he felt injured at anyone
questioning his religious belief. "Can't you see in my face I'm a
Catholic; you ought to hear me stand up for my religion. I knocked the
stuffing out of Reddy Smith last week for saying the priest walked
pigeon-toed." "Ha! Ha!" laughed Mr. O'Donnel, "more power to you, my
little man, always stand up for your faith and respect the priests;
there's nothing like keeping faithful to your religion; it will be a
great comfort to you all through life. I remember what a comfort it was
to me when I came near dying on the battlefield in South Africa." "Oh!"
exclaimed Bolax "you don't mean to say you were in Africa?"

"Did you fight the Boers? I've heard so much about them, and Mamma and
Papa took sides with them, and we all felt so sorry for the poor
people."

"And so did I and every Irish soldier; in fact, I deserted the English
ranks, and with many others tried to help the brave Boers. They are good
people. I could tell you stories that would fill a book about them, and
they are religious according to what they know of religion. After the
disaster at Colesburg, the Boers helped to bury the British dead; they
prayed and sang hymns over the graves, and some of the leaders made
impressive speeches, expressing their horror of the war, regretting the
losses on both sides, and making supplication to the Heavenly Father
that the war would soon end. Oh, it is fine Catholics they would make,
but strange to say, I never heard of a Catholic missionary being among
them."

"When I'm a man," said Bolax, striking his knees to emphasize his words,
"I'll be a priest and go among those good people and teach them the true
faith." "God bless your innocent heart. I wonder if you'll remember your
ride with the coal man when you are a priest; your Ma may scold when she
knows of it."

"My mother teaches me to respect all respectable people, and I am sure
you are very respectable, because you are a good Catholic."

"Thank you for an out and out little gentleman," said Mr. O'Donnel, "and
God prosper you and your good mother. Here we are at our journey's end;
suppose you get down at the gate, my little man, and run up to the house
and ask to have the cellar window opened for me; it will save time. Here
is the ticket; you might get it signed. This is Carpenter Mansion."

Bolax ran off glad to oblige his friend and show his appreciation of the
ride.

It happened that Miss Devine had called for Amy, after Bolax left the
house that morning and they were just now paying a visit to this family.
Amy had never seen the beautiful place, and was delighted to become
acquainted with the young ladies, and one little girl of her own age.
While they were entertaining their company the maid called Mrs.
Carpenter to say the key of the coal cellar was not to be found. Going
into the kitchen, the lady saw a handsome little boy with frowsy golden
curls encircling his head like a wreath and a very smutty face, who, hat
in hand presented the ticket to be signed and asked to have the cellar
window opened; after saying this the boy bowed. Mrs. Carpenter was quite
astonished at such gentlemanly manners, and smiling and patting the boy
on the head she asked his name. "Bolax," said he, with another bow.
"What an odd name," said Mrs. Carpenter, and going to the door, she saw
that the coal-man was of respectable appearance, and apparently above
his present occupation. Thinking to please him, she complimented him on
the good manners of his little boy. "Yes, ma'am," said Mr. O'Donnel, "he
is a good sort of little chap, every one likes him." Miss Nellie, one of
the young ladies, came into the kitchen to look after the caramels,
which were cooling on the window sill. Bolax stood at the door; Miss
Nellie offered him some candy, but he excused himself, saying: "Thank
you; I like caramels, but my hands are not fit to eat with." "Oh,
indeed; well since you are such a polite little boy, I want you to have
some candy."

Ellen gave him a towel and soap and water. Bolax gladly made himself
clean so as to enjoy the caramels. Miss Nellie went back to the parlor
and gave a description of the coal-man's son, with such extraordinary
good manners; Sam and Charlie, her brothers rushed out to get a look at
the little chap and have some fun with him.

As soon as they sighted Bolax with his face half washed, his mouth all
sticky; they laughed and made his acquaintance immediately. "Fine candy?
isn't it," said Sam. "You bet," said Bo, "haven't had any for a good
while, 'cause I wouldn't practice." Miss Devine heard Bo's voice, and
listening for a moment said, "Let me see that boy." On going to the
kitchen door she made an exclamation which brought all the ladies on the
scene. Then she laughed heartily, all caught the infection of her mirth,
although they did not exactly understand why she was so amused. Amy,
however, soon enlightened them, when, with a severe frown, she
reproached Bolax for his appearance.

"Why, who is he?" asked Mrs. Carpenter. "Oh," said Miss Devine still
laughing, "he is my little friend Bolax, Amy's brother. Don't be angry,
Amy." "I can't help being angry! It is too disgraceful; just look at his
clothes, and the smear on his face."

Bolax looked crest-fallen and took out his pocket handkerchief to wipe
off the smear, but only succeeded in adding two more black streaks, for,
without his perceiving it, the handkerchief was filled with coal dust.

Sam and Charley while bursting with laughter tried to console the boy,
inviting him to look at their Pony. Bo forgot his sister's displeasure
while with the boys, and began to talk about his pets, his school, etc.

"Where do you to go school?" asked Charlie. "I have just been up at St.
Thomas' for two weeks; they didn't want to take me because I'm not old
enough, but Mamma begged the President, so he admitted me."

"Do you like the fellows up there?" said Sam.

"Yes, pretty well, but my Mamma was mistaken when she said they were all
gentlemen; they don't bow and take off their hats when a priest speaks
to them. And yesterday Father Clement was playing marbles 'for keeps'
with some boys, and he picked up an agate, and what do you think, one of
the boys snatched it and caught hold of Father Clement's arm, and he
wasn't struck dead!" "Struck dead!" exclaimed Sam. "What do you mean?"
"Why my Mamma told me a priest was more holy than the 'Ark of the
Covenant,' and once long ago, two men were struck dead just for putting
their hands on the Ark. So I thought for sure, a boy that snatched a
marble from a holy priest ought to be struck dead, but he wasn't." Sam
and Charlie were inclined to laugh at this story, but restrained
themselves, on seeing the awed expression on the little boy's face,
showing that he innocently believed disrespect towards a priest should
be punished with death.

"Well," said Sam, assuming a serious air, "perhaps our Lord forgave the
boy this time, that in future he may learn to be more respectful."

"The lawn of the College," continued Bolax "is kept so smooth and green;
they have signs all around, 'Keep off the Grass,' but the boys pay no
attention and actually walk on the nice lawn, when the poor Brothers
have such work to keep it nice. I went behind a big fellow that was on
the grass and I pushed him off, and asked him if he didn't see the
sign." "What did he say to you?" laughed the boys. "Oh, he called me a
fusty kid, and said, 'I'd get my eye teeth cut after awhile, if I stayed
long enough at College.' But, Ma says I cut my eye teeth when I was two
years old." "Is that so? Let me see," said Sam, opening Bo's mouth.
"Yes, I really believe you have."

"Are the priests kind to you?"

"You bet they are. Why there's one, oh, he is so beautiful, but the poor
dear is lame. He stays in his room most of the time. Day before
yesterday he asked me to come up to see him, and he showed me pictures,
and told me a story of a soldier--and, oh, I just know he is an angel,
because he has a closet full of guns."

Such a reason for being considered an angel struck the boys as so funny,
that they laughed outright. Sam patted the little fellow on the head,
and gave him a boy's greatest compliment: "You certainly are a jolly
good fellow, Bolax."

By this time the coal had been deposited in the cellar, so Bolax wanted
to go away. "Oh, come in," said Sam, "and say Good-bye, but first let me
wipe your face; there is just a speck of black on the end of your nose."
Bo was very thankful to be made somewhat presentable and entered the
parlor, taking leave of the ladies in a most dignified manner, which
ill-assorted with his begrimed appearance.

"You're not going to ride home on the coal cart?" said Miss Devine.

"I'm not fit to get into your carriage," said Bo.

"Never mind, come with me; we'll excuse you this time."

"But I must say 'good-bye' to Mr. O'Donnel, and get my roll of music; it
is on the seat of the cart and might get lost." Amy was ready to cry at
Bo's escapade, but the young ladies and their brothers enjoyed the joke
immensely. As the carriage drove away the boys called out: "Come again
little coal-man; you're a regular brick."

Bolax was delighted to hear this and turning to Amy, said: "Now, Miss
Stuck-Up, the Carpenters like me even if I do ride with the coal man,
and I know Mamma will say it don't matter if my clothes are dirty, so I
keep my soul clean." "My darling little brother," said Amy, throwing her
arms around Bo's neck, "forgive me if I have hurt your feelings. Your
family knows how clean your soul is, but strangers only judge by outward
appearances." "Dear Amy," said Miss Devine, "don't take things so to
heart." Then in a lower voice, "for my part, I would not give our little
flutterbudget, with his innocent mischief, for all the daintily-dressed
boys in the country."

When the carriage stopped at their gate, the children bid "au revoir" to
Miss Devine; then she recommended Amy not to say much about Bo's
adventure.

Aunt Lucy was standing on the porch. Bo did not wait to be questioned,
but began immediately to give an account of his day, for he had been
away since luncheon. "Oh, Aunt Lucy, Mr. O'Donnel is such a kind man!
he has a mouth like a frog, and I always observe that men with mouths
like frogs are kind to children."

"Indeed," said Aunt Lucy laughing, "I never noticed that. I have no
doubt your friend, Mr. O'Donnel meant kindly in allowing you to ride
with him, but he did not think of the danger there was for a stumpy
little fellow, with short legs, perched so high. If the cart had lurched
you might have fallen under the horses' feet and been killed. So dear
child, never try that again."

"Well, Aunty, I won't, but may I talk to Mr. O'Donnel? his heart would
be hurt if I passed him without speaking." "Of course, dear; you may
speak to the good man. Never willfully hurt the feelings of anyone."

January 15, winter began in "dead earnest," as the boys say, although no
one expected a blizzard, but by 2 P.M. the roads were impassable.

The wind blew a terrible gale--no one could venture out, and the four
day scholars were obliged to stay at the College all night.

The President telephoned to Mrs. Allen, not to worry; that Bo should be
well cared for, and could remain with him until the roads were cleared,
if it took a week. Mrs. Allen thanked the good priest and hoped her boy
would give no trouble.

The novelty of going to bed in a dormitory pleased Bolax, and the
Prefect in charge gave him a night robe; then tucked him in bed as
deftly as if he had been a woman, for the good man had a tender spot in
his heart for all children.

Everything being quiet--the gas was lowered and the Prefect retired for
the night. Suddenly Bolax gave a scream, "two rats! Two rats, two rats!"
cried he. In a second of time the whole dormitory was astir.

The Prefect hearing the commotion rushed upstairs and was greeted with:
"Rats! Mr. Royal, Rats!" There were sixteen boys in the room; so you can
imagine how such an unusual chorus sounded.

"Rats!" said Mr. Royal; "where did they come from?"

"There were two in a large trap in the lavatory," said Harry Dunn, "but
how did they escape?" "Did any of you touch that trap?" asked the
Prefect.

"Yes, sir;" answered Bo, "I did. I felt sorry for the poor things; I
was just looking at them when the door of the trap opened somehow, and
out they jumped, one struck my face as I leaned over."

"My dear boy," said Mr. Royal, "you ought not to have gone near the
trap, suppose that rat had bitten you."

"Well now, all that is to be done is to catch them." A dozen voices
expressed their owners' willingness to go on the hunt, but Mr. Royal
preferred calling up one of the men.

In a few minutes, Alex, the gardener, came into the dormitory with
"Happy Hooligan" and "Vixen," two Scotch terriers. All the doors were
shut, and the hunt began; the rats did not keep together, but ran in
different directions. As Alex would plunge under a bed, broom in hand,
some one would scream out: "Oh, here he is, up at this end."

The boys calling to the dogs, set them wild, so they did not know which
way to run. Such laughter! It appeared to be great fun for the
youngsters, just because it was silence hour.

At last the beasts were killed, and order was once more restored. Mr.
Royal requested strict silence.

"I won't stay to watch you; I know you will all obey, so I trust to your
honor." And all did obey, for they loved and respected Mr. Royal, who
always appealed to their honor.

The next morning the whole college heard of Bo's rats, and had a good
laugh at the description of the hunt.

Bolax made great strides in his studies under the kind care of his
tutor, Father Anthony, and his reports delighted his father and mother.
At Easter he received a beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart, as a
prize for Catechism.



CHAPTER IX.

AMY'S TRIP TO THE SEASHORE.


For seven long weeks Amy had been under the doctor's care, suffering
from Chorea; she had grown thin and pale, and her mother was beginning
to worry over her condition.

"What do you think, Lucy, of sending Amy to Atlantic City?" she asked
one day when they were consulting what had best be done for the child.

"Dear sister, I feel sure the salt air is the best tonic for nervous
trouble. I will take Amy down, but you know it is impossible for me to
stay away for any length of time, as I have an important engagement for
the summer."

"Well, I shall write to the Convent of the Sacred Heart, begging them to
receive our invalid for a few weeks."

Mother Evans, who was Mrs. Allen's particular friend, answered the
letter, saying she would gladly care for the little girl, and that she
could be sent down as soon as convenient.

When Amy heard of the proposed trip, she was delighted, then upon
reflection, expressed herself as being afraid to meet so many strange
girls, but when she saw a nice little trunk packed with every article of
clothing, suitable for a sojourn by the sea, she was anxious to begin
the journey.

When all was ready, Mr. Allen decided that they should take a very early
train, so as to arrive in a strange town in full time to be at their
destination before dark.

Bo heard the sound of wheels, and looking out saw the pony chaise at the
door, Amy gave her mother a fervent good-bye kiss, then all got into the
chaise. Bo sprang on the seat, seized the reins, and was soon driving
quickly down the road. They were not long in reaching the station. Amy
was interested in watching the important business of procuring tickets
and seeing her pretty trunk labeled; she wondered if she would be as
well equipped as the other girls in the convent, but she need not have
wondered, as there are so many little girls and boys, whose treasures
bear ample evidence of Mother's loving hands. Those little touches of
motherhood, hardly noticed by those whom they are so tenderly lavished
upon, seldom, if ever valued until after those dear hands have been
removed to another sphere, whence, perhaps, they may be sometimes
allowed to come, unseen by mortal eye to bear the loved ones up, whilst
these may be longing wearily for that sweet "Touch of a vanished hand,
and the sound of a voice that is still."

It was a delightful place to visit, that convent by the sea, and many a
pleasant hour Amy spent watching the waves come in on the white sands
and break over her bare feet. Sometimes she donned her bathing suit, and
paddled in the water with the other children, one of the Nuns always
watching over them.

It seemed nothing short of a miracle how quickly the child recuperated.
At the end of six weeks she had so far recovered that her mother, who
had come to visit her, thought to take her home, but Mother Evans
recommended a stay of sometime longer, so it ended in a visit of twelve
happy, joyful weeks.

The kind Nuns became very much attached to Amy, and she to them, and
dear Mother Evans began her preparation for First Holy Communion.

August was nearing its end when Mrs. Allen paid another visit to
Atlantic City, this time, to bring her little girl home. She took board
in a cottage near the convent, wishing to enjoy a few days of sea air.

One day when seated on the beach, both mother and daughter silently
watched the waves as they came in gentle ripples almost to their feet.
Amy awoke from her reverie, exclaiming: "Oh, it is so beautiful!" She
had been reading of the early explorers of our country, the
self-sacrificing missionaries who crossed this same boundless ocean,
which now lay so calm before them. Amy went on musingly, as if talking
to herself, such a softness had come into her voice--her eyes took a
dreamy far-off look, as though it were fresh in her mind--the story of
the gallant De Soto and his brave company of six hundred men, the flower
of Spanish chivalry, leaving the sunny slopes of his native Estramadura,
sailing across these unknown seas, and landing upon these western
shores; day after day pressing on through pathless wilds, on towards the
sunset, in pursuit of that fabled El Dorado in which they thoroughly
believed. And then that sad death upon the banks of the river which his
eyes first of all Europeans had beheld--the sorrowing band who resolved
to hide his body in the waters--the little skiff, in the gloom of the
soft summer night, pushing silently out from the shadowy shore, with
oars muffled and voices hushed, for fear of the savage arrows hidden
among the dark vines--the dull sound as they dropped the body in
mid-river, and the sweet, sad music as the priest sang low the requiem
of the departed chief--the first requiem that had ever sounded upon
those solitary shores, where the waves have for four hundred years
chanted their long dirge over the man whose prowess first gave them to
the world.

There was, too, the grand old Ponce de Leon, who saw one Easter morning,
a land rise out of the Western Sea--a land lovely in all its luxuriant
vegetation of a Southern spring, with breath and beauty of flowers. What
better name could the romantic hidalgo devise than "Florida," and where
more fitly than here could he search for that wonderous fountain of
perpetual youth?

Ah, brave old Spanish Cavalier. Did no soft wind wafted gently from afar
over the flowery sunset land, whisper to you that, instead of youth and
life perennial you should find, under the magnolia shade--a grave?

A hundred wordless dreams went flitting through Amy's mind. I say
wordless; for who shall say how we think; by what subtile art a thousand
pictures pass swiftly on before one's fancy, all so lovely and beyond
the power of language--I mean our language to describe.

For this reason it is, I suppose, that when a great poet speaks, all the
dumb world recognizes what he unfolds. It is for us to feel, for him to
paint.

Amy was a very serious girl for her twelve years, constant association
with her mother and aunt had given her a taste for books which some
might think dull for one so young, but she was always a dreamy child,
from the time she used to lie in her baby crib and watch the round moon
plowing through the feathery clouds, to this moment when she looks up at
the blue sky spanning the boundless ocean.

When Amy and her mother returned to the convent they found that dear
Mother Evans had been called to New York. Mrs. Allen made a hasty
preparation so as to return home on the same train, happy in being able
to avail herself of her dear friend's company on the journey. Amy bade
good-bye to all the household, thanking the Nuns for their kindness
during her sojourn amongst them.


BO'S SUMMER ADVENTURES.

Bo too, spent a pleasant summer, he and several of his chums often went
fishing, or hunting for wild flowers and curious stones, going into
swampy places for specimens of plants, and sometimes coming home, as
Hetty said, "Looking worse than Italian tramps."

One day Walter Rhue and Ned Thornton came to spend the day, Bo begged
Hetty for a basket of luncheon, and off they went to have a day of it in
the woods. It was the last week of August, rather warm, and after such a
long tramp, they wanted to find a cool place for their picnic.

They reached a brook, which was usually so low that it could be crossed
on some stepping stones. But today it was much swollen, owing to a heavy
shower, which had fallen the preceding night, the water was three feet
deep, and rushed angrily over the stepping stones.

Walter and Ned took up poles, and rolling up their pants, were about to
pick their way through the noisy current, but Bolax stopped them, and
said: "Look here, fellows, I'll show you how to cross a brook."

"You show me," retorted Ned, "I guess I can beat you at that business
any time."

"I guess you can't," rejoined Bo, "just wait a minute and see how I do
it."

He then stepped upon an old log on the bank of the brook, and grasping
the drooping branches of a large tree, which grew on the opposite side,
prepared to swing himself across. He pulled the branch as far toward
himself as possible, and then leaped forward, shouting in boastful
tones: "This is the way to cross a----"

Alas! For Bo and his boasting. The branch broke and his weight tore it
from the tree, so, instead of swinging across, he fell with a tremendous
splash into the water.

Walter and Ned burst into a fit of laughter, so uncontrollable, that
they almost fell from the stones on which they stood. As soon as they
could speak, Ned cried: "I say Bo, you had better take out a patent for
your new way of crossing brooks."

But Bo was not prepared to enjoy his friend's joke. He was seated in the
brook, with the water almost up to his chin. Seeing him so still, Walter
went to the edge of the water, as near to him as possible and said:

"Bo you are rather in a wet place; why don't you come out of it?"

Bo then scrambled out, the water dripping from his clothes. Walter,
with all his fun, was not without some thoughtfulness, and fearing lest
Bolax's wetting might injure his health, urged him to hurry home to
change his clothes.

"No, I'll sit in the sun and dry myself," replied Bo in a surly tone.

Ned tried to persuade him to run home, but he got angry with both boys.

"Bolax, you're a snapping turtle today, and I'll leave you to recover
your good temper."

"I don't care; you may both go to the moon, if you like."

"Oh, very well, Mr. President, of the Patent Brook Crossing Company,"
said Walter with a provoking laugh.

"You shut up, or I'll throw you in the brook."

Bo did not usually show such temper, but his ducking had given him a
chill, and made him nervous. Ned, the peace-maker, then remarked that it
was silly for friends to quarrel.

"Let us make up and get you home, Bo, or Hetty will never give us
another lunch for a picnic."

When Master Bo got home, he tried to sneak up to his room, but his
mother caught him on the stairs, such a sight as he was! mud, slime,
weeds clinging to his soaking clothes.

Hetty raised her hands, horrified at the condition of her favorite.

"Whar yous done ben? you is getten' dreadful. Dat's de second big scrape
yous been in since you' sister been away."

"Why, Hetty!" exclaimed Mrs. Allen. "What else has Bo been doing? I
hope you are not keeping things from your mother, my son. I fear
something is very wrong with you. Did you get to confession last week?"

"Mamma, I was going, but Father Clement was so cross to a fellow, who
did a couple of mortal sins, and the fellow said he got pitched out of
the box, so I got afraid."

Ma--Did the boy tell you what the sins were?

Bo--I asked him, but he looked at me with such a face, and called me a
"greeny."

Ma--Oh, you should not have asked him.

Bo--Well, I just wanted to know if his sins were like mine. I couldn't
dare to go to confession, if he got put out for only two mortal sins, I
would catch it, for I have committed such a pile of them.

Ma--Merciful goodness, child! When did you commit the sins? I was sure
you told me all your thoughts and actions of each day.

Bo--I do pretty much, Ma, dear, but you see I have not been having many
talks with you at night for a long time. You let me say my prayers
alone.

Ma--My darling, I have been attending to poor, sick Papa, but I am sorry
if my negligence has caused you to be careless about your conscience. Do
tell me what sins you have committed.

Bo--Well, you know that night I came home late? I did not actually tell
a lie, but I twisted the truth. Ma, dear, if I tell you all about that
day, promise you won't get angry--Father Clement says anger is a mortal
sin.

Ma--Never mind that, I take care of my own conscience, just tell me
about that day.

Bo--Well, then, I went up to St. Thomas' as you know, after luncheon,
while waiting for the train to come home, a freight car passed and
slowed up. I heard a fellow say, "Hello," I said "Hello," too, and when
I looked up at him, I saw he was a friend of mine.

Ma--A friend of yours!

Bo--Yes, Ma, dear, I often see that fellow when I am waiting at the
station; his name is Warner. He let me on his train several times.

Ma--Oh, my son! how could you be so disobedient! Getting on trains when
you know I have strictly forbidden it.

Bo--I know it was an awful mortal sin, and I came near being made to
repent of it all my life. One of the college boys had made me mad, that
was the reason I started for home. When I got to the station, Warner was
standing on his train, he said: "Hello! are you the little kid that
helped me stoke the fire last fall?" I said I wasn't a kid now; I was
ten years old. "That's so," said he, "come to look at you, you're round
as a barrel, but you ain't growed taller." Then I told him to shut up,
and he said: "Oh, don't get mad, just step inside the caboose, I'll give
you a ride to Dorton, and you can walk back home." I got into the
caboose, and Warner laughed and talked, and I never felt the time going
until we came to a standstill and I found myself at Lockfaren.

Ma--Great goodness, Bolax, it is a wonder you were not killed! Oh, how
could you be so wicked, and who helped you home?

Bo--I never thought of the wickedness until I saw where I was. Warner
laughed at me, and said I was big and fat enough to walk home. Then I
said to myself, "ha! ha! old fellow, now you're in a fix. I can never
walk twenty miles." Lockfaren is only a flag station, there was no
light--not a house to be seen, only the thick woods all around. My heart
stood still with fear. When I found myself stranded in that lonely
place, I knelt down and made an act of contrition for all my sins, then
I begged our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph to help me. I expected some
wild beast would come out of the woods and kill me, for wild cats have
been seen in that neighborhood. Suddenly it came to my mind to pray to
the Angel Guardian, for the Engineer on the next passenger train that
would pass, to make a stop. Oh, how I prayed! even more fervently than
when I am sick, and you know how wonderfully I can pray then. Well,
after a long wait in the pitch dark, for it was cloudy, and not even a
star to be seen, I heard the welcome sound of a whistle, a bell rang,
and I knew a train was coming. Sure enough it did come and stopped. The
conductor and three men got out, each with a lantern, began examining
the wheels; I jumped on the car, and when the conductor came in, I
walked up to him and told the whole story. He listened and said: "Well,
little man, it seems we stopped in direct answer to your prayer. Just as
we reached Lockfaren, the Engineer warned me that the Wheels were
grating as if there was a 'Hot box.' When we examined them, nothing was
wrong." I thanked the Conductor and told him my name and where he could
see my father to get the fare, but the kind man said he was only too
glad to have rescued me. "I have a little boy of my own, so my heart
warms to all boys, and I firmly believe kind Providence watches over
them; in your case the stopping of the train seems almost a miracle in
answer to your earnest prayer."

Ma--Why did you not tell me all this before?

Bo--Oh, dear Ma! I did not want to worry you. Papa was sick and Amy and
Aunt Lucy away from home. It's no use scolding me now, it happened two
months ago.

Ma--I know it happened two months ago, but dear, you should never hide
anything from your mother. That good conductor should have been seen by
your father, and thanked for his kindness, if not substantially
rewarded.

Bo--Well, here is his card; I wish you or Papa would write to him and
pay my fare. Kiss me, darling mother, and forgive me, and pray that I
may never commit a mortal sin again.



CHAPTER X.

CHRISTMAS AND "LITTLE CHRISTMAS" OR KING'S DAY.


Christmas Eve had come and the children were at last asleep, dreaming of
the pleasures in store for them on the morrow. Mrs. Allen and her sister
sat by the fire completing a handsome smoking robe for Mr. Allen.

The clock struck twelve, in soft, silvery chimes as the robe was folded
and tied on the tree.

Miss Lucy drew aside the curtain to look out upon the night. The snow
had ceased falling, and now lay in feathery drifts on the silent village
like a pure white veil, tracing graceful patterns among the dark trees
on the hill-side, While the stars above had the brilliancy of extreme
cold.

"Hark! What was that?" said Mrs. Allen. "Surely not our bell at
midnight? Let us call Dick; I'm afraid to open the door."

Mr. Dick and Hetty came running down and turned on the electric light.
To the astonishment of all, on the porch stood a young woman with an
infant in her arms. Mrs. Allen brought her in, asking no questions, for
the poor creature was speechless with cold. Lucy took the baby, it
opened its eyes and smiled, seeming very comfortable. Hetty gave the
woman a hot drink, and Mrs. Allen took off her wet shoes and clothing,
and gave her a warm foot-bath, then she was wrapped in a blanket and
made to lie down on the sofa before the fire. The poor soul was so
exhausted she fell into a profound sleep.

The good people then began to realize what they were doing, to ask
themselves how the woman could have selected their house for a shelter.
"Oh, let us thank our Lord," said Mrs. Allen. "He has given us the
privilege of harboring the harborless." "Mrs. Allen," remarked Hetty,
"dis is just like dat verse you done teached Miss Amy: 'To shelter de
Holy wanderers on dat blessed Christmas night.' Don't you know, at fust,
I thought it was the Holy Virgin and little Jesus. Well, I say it's for
luck dat baby's come to dis house."

"Lucy," said Mrs. Allen, "you had better go to bed; that you may be able
to get up in the morning to take the children to Mass. It is absolutely
necessary one of us should remain home to care for our unexpected
guests."

At five o'clock in the morning, Pat came into the kitchen to say the
sleigh was ready if the folks were going to early Mass. "Turn your back
and shut you' eyes," called out Hetty. Pat, supposing she had a
Christmas gift for him, did as he was bid.

"Is you' eyes tight shut, Pat?" "Faith and they couldn't be tighter, but
hurry up, the folks'll be wantin' the sleigh in a minute." Hetty took
the sleeping babe and laid it in the old man's arms, then told him to
look. Pat stared in utter surprise, his eyes and mouth wide open. Hetty
stood laughing at his discomfiture, when he could speak, he exclaimed:
"Holy saints! where did this come from?"

"De Christ-child sent it twelve o'clock last night." "May the Lord
bless us," said Pat, "but it's a quare thing entirely yees are telling
me. Here, take the darlint; I must be gettin' off or we'll be late for
Mass."

Mrs. Allen called the children before five o'clock, bidding them hurry
downstairs, as she had a surprise for them. Hetty carried the babe into
the library and laid it on the table under the electric light, its eyes
were open, but it lay perfectly still.

As the children caught sight of the little figure they were transfixed
with astonishment. Amy made the sign of the cross; for the moment she
thought only of the Infant Jesus, then examining closer, she saw it was
a real live baby. "Of course," said she, "I might have known the Infant
Jesus would not come to us, we are not holy enough." Bolax kissed the
little thing, saying "Isn't it a dear! Mamma, are you going to keep it?"

"Come, now," called Aunt Lucy, "we must not be late for Mass; when we
get home we will hear all about the wonderful baby." On the way to
church, Aunty explained how it came that the poor mother was in the
house, and no doubt would be able to tell why she sought shelter under
their roof.

"Well," exclaimed Pat, "may God bless yees all for the most warm-hearted
family I ever met. None of yees will ever be in want of a roof to cover
you, for surely the dear Infant Jesus will not forget your many great
acts of Charity."

At seven o'clock Hetty took some breakfast up to the woman, and brought
her baby to be nursed. She seemed greatly refreshed and said she was
able to get up. "Don't you stir, honey," said Hetty, "unless you is
real able, if you is, Mrs. Allen wants to see you in de library." Having
dressed herself and attended to her baby's wants, Hetty took her
downstairs.

Mrs. Allen asked the woman's name and questioned as to the reason for
selecting this house in which to take refuge.

"Indeed, ma'am, I'll tell you how it was, but first let me thank you;
sure it's no wonder the station-man spoke so highly of your charity."
"Say nothing about that; I only wish I had it in my power to do more."
"Well," continued the woman, "my name is Mary Ryan. My husband was
killed a month ago; he fell off a scaffolding while painting a house. I
stayed with his people after his death, but they soon let me see I
wasn't welcome, so I went to an intelligence office to look for a place.
The man made me pay him a dollar, then he gave me the address of a Mrs.
Clarkson out here near the station. He said they especially wanted a
woman with a child because such are willing to stay in the country.

"I paid my fare out and got here at three o'clock, it was daylight then,
and I hunted high and low for Mrs. Clarkson, but no one had ever heard
of such a person. I didn't know where to go, so I remained in the
station as it was snowing hard. The watchman was so kind. He gave me a
sandwich and asked me if I had nowhere to stop for the night. I told him
just how it was with me. He said: 'A friend of mine just happens to be
outside with his sleigh and I'll tell him to take you where you'll be
well treated.'

"I didn't know but what it was a lodging house he was taking me to;
when he came to your gate he just put me on the boardwalk and told me to
go up to the door."

"Well, Mary, you are welcome, poor child; we will do what we can for
you. Have you a valise?" "Yes, ma'am; the man at the station has care of
it." "I will send our man for it as soon as the sleigh comes back." "Oh,
God bless you ma'am!" "Don't say any more, dear; your name is Mary; you
and your child were in need of shelter, like the divine Mother Mary. I
consider it a privilege to be allowed to share the comforts our Lord has
given me with any one in need."

"Go to Hetty now, she will take care of you. I know of just a place that
will suit you, and in a few days when the roads are somewhat better, I
will take you there."

In the excitement about the baby, the children forgot to look at their
presents early in the day, but after Mass all were eager to see what old
Santa had brought them. Amy received several gifts she had been longing
for. Bolax got what he prized more than anything, viz:--a whole set of
Father Finn's books.

The Christmas dinner was indeed a mirthful one. All the love gifts, as
Mrs. Allen called those that were made expressly for each member of the
family, had been placed on the tree behind the ornaments. Mr. Allen
entered into the spirit of the evening, saying he would act the wizard's
part, and by means of long wand detached the various treasures from the
tree and gave them to their owners, whose names they bore.

Great was the delight of the children, when after a hard tussle to
detach a large bundle, down it came on Mr. Allen's head. It proved to be
a beautiful smoking robe, which had been made and embroidered by Mrs.
Allen, Lucy and little Amy.

The good man was so charmed that he declared he would not use his wand
again until he had full five minutes to admire it. Amy received a lovely
pair of bed-room slippers, the work of Aunt Lucy; Mrs. Allen, a sofa
cushion made by her sister in New York; Aunt Lucy, a blue silk waist,
embroidered in white roses. Uncle Dick, a smoking cap, made by Mrs.
Allen; Bolax, a pair of silk and woolen mitts, knit by Aunt Lucy. Bo
gave Hetty a work box, which he made with his tools, and Amy, a
needlebook, on which she had embroidered, "Hetty, dear." Pat too,
received a little "love gift," but both faithful domestics had had a
substantial present from the "Master."

Mr. Allen put on his robe and cap to please the children, strutting up
and down the library floor, saying he was sure he resembled a Chinese
Mandarin in his gorgeous robe. Now let us end the day with some of your
spirited Yule-tide airs: "Strike the Harp" and "With Glory Lit the
Midnight Air." Every one sang with hearty good will to the accompaniment
of piano and violin.

That night when the family sought their pillows, all felt that they had
passed a very happy and holy Christmas.


JANUARY SIXTH.

Bolax ran into the library covered with snow, his two dogs with him
making a pretty mess on the rugs. Mamma called out: "Look at the
condition of your boots, child." Hetty happened to be on hand with the
broom. "Dat's easy cleaned up," said she. "Bo don't think sometimes, but
his heart is in de right place after all," which "after all" was known
to refer to a spirit of fun and a tendency to mischief such as most
lively boys possess.

"Does anyone remember that tomorrow is my birthday?" exclaimed Bolax.
"Whew," echoed Uncle Dick, "is that a fact? What will be the number of
your years tomorrow?" "Eleven. Hetty has made me a splendid cake, but
I'm not to have a party because Papa is not well." "Oh, but you're going
to have your chums," observed Amy. "Yes, our jolly seven will be here,
and Hetty says that enormous cake must be eaten at one sitting." "You
have made a mistake, brother, that very large cake is for the crippled
children in St. Luke's Hospital; there are eighteen of them in the ward
and we are to take it there ourselves and divide it." "That's so, I had
almost forgotten about the poor children. We had better go there early
in the morning and have the afternoon for our company."

"Children," said Uncle Dick, "Would you like to hear the story of the
first time a cake was cut on King's Day?" "Yes, yes, let us have it
please," exclaimed both at once.


UNCLE DICK'S STORY.

The three Wise men, Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspard, were kings, living
in countries widely separated; yet each one saw a wonderful brilliant
star, such as had never before appeared, and a heavenly messenger told
them to follow this star, that it would lead them to a new-born king,
who was to be greater than all the rulers of the earth. So the wise men
or Magi set out bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which
they were to give to the wonderful child, whose star they had seen in
the "East."

They had traveled such a long time and were tired sitting on their
camels, so they came to a halt near a dense forest. It had been raining
for several hours and now the sound of distant thunder and the fury of
the wind warned them to seek shelter for the night. Their followers took
refuge in a cave and refused to go a step further; so the kings were
compelled to continue their journey alone. After walking for a long time
almost famished with cold and wet to the skin, they came to a little
village and determined to ask hospitality at the first house they saw.
This house, or I should say hut, was situated at the entrance of the
forest, and belonged to a poor woodcutter named Japhet.

The kings knocked very loudly, Japhet and his wife opened the door,
wondering who could want them at such a late hour. Our distinguished
travelers begged a shelter from the storm and some food. The woodcutter
was startled when he saw such grand people, and hesitated about letting
them into his cabin, big Melchior, however, settled the question by
pushing back the door, then all entered.

"Now," said Gaspard, "do give us some supper and a place to rest, we
will pay well." "Alas! honored, Sirs," answered Japhet. "I have but one
bed, and as for supper, we have nothing to offer but black bread and
water. But, we will do the best we can to make you comfortable for the
night."

So the tired out kings sat down and were glad enough to eat of the black
bread, and satisfy their thirst with water. Japhet then made a big fire
and the kings having dried their clothes, laid themselves upon the clean
straw bed, which the good wife had made for them.

When morning light shone through the chinks of the cabin wall, the kings
arose and prepared to continue their journey. Balthazar, who was the
most generous, said: "My good people I want to give you something in
return for your hospitality." "Oh, never mind," said Japhet. "The little
we had, we gave with a good heart, but we did not expect anything in
return." At the same time the poor fellow held out his hand.

"I have no money," explained Balthazar, "but I will leave you a
souvenir, which will be of infinitely more value." Saying this, he
searched in his pocket, drew out a little flute, and presented it to
Japhet, who received it with a look of disappointment on his face.

"You see," continued Balthazar, "if you make a wish while playing a
tune, it will be immediately granted. Take the flute; do not abuse its
gifts, and above all never refuse a shelter or food to the poor
wayfarer."

As soon as the three kings had left the hut, Japhet said to his wife:
"Well, it seems to me, such rich-looking people could have given us
something better than a toy, nevertheless I will try its power; should
not wonder though, if those fine gentlemen were not mocking us when they
gave such a fool's present."

"Oh, try it just once," said his wife. Japhet then played a lively tune,
at the same time wishing for a venison steak and some white bread. Great
was the astonishment and delight of the poor people when they saw on
their table all they had asked for.

When Japhet was certain of the power of the flute he did not stop at
necessities, as you may well believe, he asked for all sorts of things;
indeed he kept the flute going from morning until night.

He got new clothes for himself and his wife; had the best of food to
eat, and, as all he had to do was to wish for a thing to have it, he
became the richest man in the country. He fluted for a magnificent
palace, which took the place of his poor cabin; again he fluted and the
palace was filled with fine furniture, pictures, statuary and luxuries
of all descriptions.

When everything was complete he gave a grand dinner, inviting all the
rich people of the neighborhood. Every invitation was accepted, for no
one remembered the poor woodcutter, who was now the mighty Lord
Flutandget.

In the dining hall the table was set with the finest service of gold,
and cut glass reflected the light from hundreds of perfumed lamps. A
band of musicians sat behind a bower of exquisite flowers, playing soft,
sweet tunes.

When all was ready, the guests sat down to a feast, the like of which
had never been seen in the whole Kingdom. Lord Flutandget was in the
height of his glory, and looked as proud as if he owned the whole world.

His wife sat beside him, feeling very ill at ease in her stiff silk, and
scarcely able to move her hands for the rings, with which her fingers
were laden.

So that the feast should not be disturbed, the lackeys had been ordered
to keep all intruders off the place. Besides this, my Lord Flutandget
had two fierce dogs chained on either side of the gate to keep off
beggars.

The guests and their host gave themselves up to the full enjoyment of
the feast. All were loud in their praises of My Lord and his Lady,
complimenting them on their lavish entertainment, wishing them long
continuance of health, prosperity, etc.

Well, this very evening the three Kings happened to be returning to
their own country, after having paid homage to the Infant Christ. When
they came near the village by the forest, they saw a splendid castle
where formerly stood the woodcutter's hut.

"Ah, ha!" said Gaspard to Balthazar, "I should not be surprised if our
old friend has not made bad use of your little flute. I wonder if he has
kept his promise, and is kind to the poor, now that he is so rich."

"Well, let us try him," said Balthazar. So disguising themselves as
beggars, they went to the gate of the castle, asking for a little food.
The porter bade them "begone," but as they insisted on being allowed to
enter, the servants made such a clamor, that Lord Flutandget put his
head out of the window to see what was the trouble. Seeing the beggars,
he ordered the dogs to be set on them, so the poor Kings were obliged to
fly in a very unkingly manner.

"I told you so," said Gaspard, whom one of the dogs had caught by the
shins. "I'll fix him," said the giant, Melchior. "I'll make him feel the
vengeance of the three Kings."

In the meantime the guests continued to feast. Dessert had just been
served; my Lord Flutandget held in his hand a broad silver knife, with
which he was about to cut an enormous cake, each guest was to have had a
slice to take home. Just then the noise of carriage wheels was heard; my
Lord Flutandget looked towards the window, and seeing a grand carriage
drawn by six white horses, he supposed it was some of the high and
mighty guests he had invited, so he went himself to meet them.

The three Kings entered in regal attire, crowns on their heads and
clothed in purple and precious stones. Flutandget recognized his guests
of the hut, but put on a bold front and begged them to take a seat at
his table.

"Thank you," said Balthazar, coldly. "We cannot eat with a man who
oppresses the poor and sets the dogs on them." "I compliment you on the
way you keep your promise," said Melchior, the Giant King, and his voice
sounded deep and severe.

"Ah, you set your dogs on beggars," said Gaspard, who still felt an ache
in his shins. "You often play on your flute, I see. Oh, wait a while;
I'll give you a tune that you have not yet heard," and taking from his
pocket a little flute, just like the one that had been given to Japhet,
he blew a terrible blast which caused all the glasses on the table to
split. Again he put the flute to his lips, all the lights went out and
the guests rushed from the castle, trampling over each other in their
haste to get away. At the third sound of the flute, the palace
disappeared, and the woodcutter found himself alone sitting on the ruins
of his hut, he and his wife clothed in rags.

"Oh, what shall we do?" said the poor woman.

"Never mind," said Japhet, "I still have the flute." But search as he
would, the talisman could not be found; it had disappeared with the
three Kings.

Ever since this happened, it is customary to have a large cake on
"King's Day," January 6. It is filled with small silver coins and a
slice is given to visitors, or to any poor person who comes to ask an
alms.

"I like that story," said Amy, "although it is not in the Bible."

"Well, dear, you may imagine the Kings met with many adventures on their
long journey, and the occurrences I relate might have happened as likely
as those we read of in 'Ben Hur.' Stories of this kind can do no
possible harm, and after reading them, children's curiosity is excited,
they want to know more, so they become interested in Bible history."

This reminds me of a visit I paid to a lawyer in Chicago, and what
happened to him for his lack of knowledge of Bible stories.

A friend of mine, who is a very successful lawyer, in the course of
conversation one day, declared he believed the time had come when
lawyers should know a few things besides law. The Bible, for instance.

"That is a very worthy thought," said I.

"I don't claim to be any better or worse than the next person," went on
the lawyer, "but I believe a good knowledge of the Scriptures would
benefit a man of my calling professionally."

"And spiritually," I suggested.

"I dare say it would. I had a case in one of those downtown justice
shops. It went to a jury trial, and the bailiff hauled in half a dozen
of those professional hoboes, that are always hanging around such
places, on the chance of making a couple of dollars by sitting on a
jury."

"I put up two witnesses to prove my case, and one repeated and
corroborated the evidence of the other in every particular. The lawyers
on the other side argued that this exact agreement of my witnesses at
every point made their testimony unreliable. He said no two men could
possibly give the same account of what they had seen, not even men of
sound and undoubted rectitude. He said that even the Bible proved this,
and then he told the story of Jonah and the whale."

"How did Jonah come into the case?" I asked.

"Just this way, my opponent said the Bible contained two versions of the
story, one by St. Matthew, and the other by St. Mark. St. Matthew's
account was that Jonah made the entire voyage inside the whale, while
St. Mark declared that Jonah came out occasionally and sat on the
whale's back to get a breath of fresh air."

"Dear me," said the presiding judge. "That version of the voyage of
Jonah sounds strange to me. I suppose you can give chapter and verse for
it. If you can, I wish you would."

"He can do no such thing, your Honor," said I. "There is no account in
the Bible that tells of Jonah riding on the whale's back."

My opponent glanced from one to the other of us contemptuously, and then
looked significantly at the jury.

"Gentlemen of the jury," he said solemnly. "I am not addressing my
remarks to this Honorable Court, nor to the learned gentleman on the
opposite side of this case, whose lamentable ignorance regarding one of
the most familiar Scriptural narrations, I sincerely deplore."

"In drawing a parallel between the suspiciously coinciding character of
the evidence here given by two witnesses, who apparently have compared
notes with extreme care, and the discrepancies shown in the statements
of two great inspired writers, I am directing my remarks to intelligent,
upright men, who study their Bibles, and who have the great truths of
Scripture at their finger ends."

"You should have seen how that bench of hoboes nodded complacently as
that audacious lawyer insulted the Court and me. The upshot of the whole
business was that I lost my case, and all through not knowing what St.
Matthew and St. Mark wrote about Jonah."

I could scarcely keep from laughing while my friend was telling the
story, but at this point, I broke out in a prolonged fit of merriment.

"What amuses you so much?" said my friend.

When I could control myself sufficiently to speak, I told him neither
St. Matthew nor St. Mark ever wrote that story. It was written thousands
of years before they were born. Jonah and the whale story belongs to the
Old Testament.

"You don't say! Well, I'll be switched!" exclaimed my friend. "My only
consolation," continued he, "is that the Judge didn't know any more than
I did."

"That's a good story, Uncle Dick, but if your lawyer had a mother like
mine when he was a boy, he never would have made such a ridiculous
mistake about Jonah."

"Come, children," called Aunt Lucy, "it's past bed time."

"Good-night, Uncle. Good-night Grandpa Mischief."



CHAPTER XI.

PRACTISING.


Ma--Bolax you are wasting your time, don't stop, you have not practised
long enough.

Bolax--Look at the clock, Ma, dear. It was bright sunlight when I began,
and now the shades of night are falling.

Ma--That's very poetical, but you must continue practising.

Bolax--Oh, you are the provokingest mother I ever saw; I'll not love you
a bit after a while, if you keep on making me practise.

Ma--Go on with your lesson, especially that piece for the concert.

Bolax--Bang, bang, oh, how I wish the man who invented pianos was dead.

Ma--Well, he is dead.

Bolax--Then I wish all the professors were dead.

Ma--A great many of them are. Go on with your work.

Bolax--Oh, Ma, dear, can't you let up on a fellow, if you don't, indeed,
indeed, I'll be dead too!

Ma--That has no effect upon me, Bo, I make you practise for your own
good. I take the trouble to sit here and worry over you, when I might be
upstairs resting.

Bolax--But Ma, dear, how do other boys manage? Their mothers don't
bother to make them learn music.

Ma--Perhaps those boys don't need the urging you do.

By this time the patient mother began to show signs of nervousness, and
Bo, who really loved his "Ma dear" began to play with a will, but having
the spirit of mischief strong in him, put some funny words to the tune
he was playing.

Bolax--Oh, twenty thousand rats and forty thousand cats, they all
screamed and yelled in sharps and flats!

Suddenly turning round on the stool, he said, "Ma, dear, just let me
tell you a dream I had, while I'm resting my fingers."

Ma--Well, only for two minutes.

Bolax--Last night you made me practise so much and old Professor was so
dreadful at lesson, that I dreamed I went to the piano, and all the keys
turned to Brownies, they looked more like Goblins, and began to dance up
and down, they played jig music. It was fine. I gave them "On the
Meadow" and "Sounds from the Forest," and they played the two pieces
right off.

Ma--Now dear, give just one-half hour more to your lesson and I'll let
you have all day tomorrow free, it's the beginning of the Christmas
holidays, and the cold is so intense I shouldn't be surprised if the
skating and sliding would be fine.

Thus spurred on, Bo surprised himself, and the half hour was more than
passed when his mother called him to come upstairs, but he was in the
middle of a piece and waited to finish it.

Bolax continued playing softly, then called out--"Ma, dear! I wonder if
we will have an adventure this year like last Christmas." "Not very
likely, my dear; fortunately there are not many placed in the position
poor Mary Ryan was that night. I have invited her to come to the
Sunday-school entertainment, and her little Joe is to represent the
infant Jesus in the tableaux of the crib."

"Oh, that will be splendid. Hurrah!" shouted Bo.

December 23 was a glorious winter day. The sun shone brilliantly, no
wind, and the thermometer low enough to keep the skating pond in good
condition, the ice and snow on the hills crisp and slippery for
coasting. All day long was heard the jingle of sleigh bells and the
shouts of merry children enjoying themselves, rang through the air.

Elmer Mullen, who was a boy of sixteen, had formed a great friendship
for Bo. He was quite a good musician and seemed attracted towards the
little boy because of his musical talent.

Whenever there was any especial fun on hand, Elmer always called for Bo
to join him. There were seven boys who always went together--Elmer
Mullen, John Montgomery, Joe Davis, Tom Nolan, Walter Rhue and Bolax.
Elmer and John had been prospecting for a hill to make a toboggan slide.
They found one very high, but rather steep, it was about a mile from the
village. This was just what suited them for they wanted to keep away
from the rough crowd.

On the very top of this hill was a small shanty built the previous
summer by the men who had been cutting down trees.

"Say boys," said Elmer, "let us play we are the monks of St. Bernard."

"But we haven't even one St. Bernard dog," said John.

"Yes, we have," replied Archie. "Joe Davis has a tremendous fellow, he
rolls in the snow, and dug out a chicken that had been buried in a
drift, and brought it into the kitchen without hurting it." "Let us have
him by all means," said Elmer. "We will call the hut our monastery and
pretend this hill is the top of Mount Blanc; we'll send our dogs to find
people who are lost in the snow."

"I can bring our Don," said Bolax. "He's most as big as a St. Bernard,
but where will we get people to rescue?"

"Let me see," reflected Elmer. "I am the oldest; I'll be the Abbott, you
boys will be the brothers; you must all obey the Abbott."--"Obey!"
exclaimed Bo. "Oh, that's no fun, we're always having to do that. I want
to whoop and holler; let us be snowed-up Indians and make the shanty our
Teepee."

"Well," said Elmer, "this afternoon we seven boys will meet. Bring the
dogs and sleds, then we'll decide which it shall be--Monks or Indians."

After dinner the seven chums climbed Mount Blanc. Elmer told the boys
Mount Blanc was one of the highest mountains in Europe, about 10,000
feet above the level of the sea. "Great goodness!" exclaimed Bolax. "No
one could ever climb such a height! Oh, Elmer let us be Esquimos."
Saying this Joe Davis and Bo began a series of gyrations accompanied by
war-whoops, and getting on their sleds, pitched down the hillside into
an unexpected drift. Nothing could be seen of them but the soles of
their shoes.

Elmer and the other boys set to work immediately to rescue the Indians.
With the help of Don and Bosco both were gotten out after very hard
digging with boards, for they dared not wait to go to find shovels, lest
the boys would suffocate. When our brave Indians were delivered from
their perilous position, it took vigorous rubbing to bring them to their
senses.

Elmer then proposed placing them on the sleds and taking them home. On
the way they stopped at a farmhouse and the good woman gave them some
hot lemonade, with a generous supply of sugar, the boys found it
delicious and were loud in their expressions of gratitude, for the hot
drink entirely revived our Esquimos.

Passing along the road to the village they saw some grown folks in
Houston's meadow sledding, and shouting as if they were boys again. Joe
Davis' papa was among them, so he ran to join in the fun, not a whit the
worse for his snow bath.

Elmer suddenly remembered that Professor had appointed that night for
the rehearsal. "Oh, yes!" said Bo. "By the way, it's to be at our house
and I had forgotten all about it. Mamma has invited some of the
neighbors to spend the evening and act as audience, so that the timid
ones will get used to playing before strangers. Here we are. The gate is
open and there's a sleigh at the barn, I shouldn't wonder if Professor
had come already. Elmer, do hurry back; don't dress as if it were the
real concert."

When Bolax went into the library, Papa and Professor were chatting
pleasantly, seated before a roaring fire with its yule log, reminding
one of the "Merry Christmas" cheer of olden times. "Hello, my boy!" said
Professor, reminding Bo that he had promised to distinguish himself and
hoping he had practised so well as to be sure of all his pieces. "Marie
Love is my prima donna and I want you to be leading man."

After tea the young ladies and children who were to take part in the
concert came into the house laughing and shaking the snow from their
clothes, all enjoyed the cheerful fire, and when comfortably warm the
music began, as Professor did not wish to keep late hours on a snowy
night.

Elmer gave a selection from the "Carnival of Venice" on the violin.
Every one complimented him, but Bo was loud in praise of his favorite
chum.

"What do you expect to do with yourself, Elmer, after you leave school?"
asked Mr. Allen.

"Well, I hope to be a priest, I expect to enter the seminary next
September."

"Hurrah!" exclaimed Bolax. "Now I know why you wanted to play Monks
instead of Indians." This caused the whole adventure of the afternoon
to be recounted. Professor laughed heartily at the exploit of the
Indians, but begged Bo to keep out of danger until after the concert. "I
don't want your head or hands to be lacking that night. Now, ladies and
gentlemen, if you are ready we will begin. The first on the program is:

  1. Lorita Grand Concert Waltz        _Holst_
      Master Allen and Miss Love.

  2. Mazurka Tzigane                 _Lichner_
      Miss Amy Allen.

  3. Violin Solo,
      Bessie Donati.

  4. Narcissus                    _I. Leybach_
      Miss Louis Harrison.

  5. Oration on Music.
      Elmer Mullen.


ORATION ON MUSIC.

The pleasure derived from music arises from its exciting agreeable
sensations, and creating pleasing mental images and emotions. Apart from
words, it expresses passion and sentiment; joined to words it becomes a
beautiful illustration of language. From the earliest ages of the world
music was held in high esteem, and in Egypt and Greece was considered an
essential part of the religion of these ancient nations. God's greatest
gift for man's pleasure is the hearing of sweet sounds. He gives us
music in songs of the birds and there is such a variety of these aeriel
musicians. In Paraguay, South America, is a bird called the "bell." When
traveling through the forest one hears it at early morning, at mid-day
and in the evening. So wonderfully like a bell is the note of this bird
that on hearing its clear ring at regular intervals, one would suppose
he were listening to the Angelus-bell from the tower of some church or
monastery.

Music must be loved to be studied profitably. Each new step taken in the
right direction develops power and suggests possibilities to the loving
student.

Music is useful in all occupations of life. How often have we not heard
of missionaries converting savage tribes by telling them the truths of
religion in song.

The physician can bring music with his practice and calm a nervous
patient by playing a soft, soothing air, which sometimes has more effect
than medicine.

Music is not only a body healer, it is also a mind regulator. Inward
activities are called up, and become new powers within the breasts, for,
remember emotion nerves for action.

The most stupid horse that goes up hill to the sound of bells, the
timidest soldier that marches to battle with fife and drum, the most
delicate girl who spins around tireless in the dance, the poorest
laborer who sings at his work, any of them will prove that music rouses
and sustains emotion.

Painting, sculpture and other arts which men spend years and years
acquiring are useful for this world only, but music they can take with
them to Heaven.

O, music! thou language of the Gods, how shall I find words wherewith to
sound thy praises. Thou art the soother of sorrows, earth is happy under
thy influence, and Heaven would be deprived of half its glory without
thee!

This was very much applauded, and Colonel O'Brien called out "well done,
Father Mullen, you'll be giving us fine sermons in a few years."

Next number is:

   6. Charge of the Uhlans                   _Carl Bohm_
        Mr. Clement Lowery.

   7. Menuette l'Antique                       _Gobbart_
        Miss Nora O'Brien.

   8. Ivy Leaves                             _H. Leston_
        Flossie Holloway.

   9. L'Hirondelle                             _Leybach_
        Master Bo Allen.

  10. Overture to Barbier de Seville           _Rossini_
        Professor Rinaldi and Miss Marie Love.

  11. Les Rameaux
        John Kenan.

  12. Song--"The Bells that Ring for me"       _Rinaldi_
        Miss Charlotte Verier.

  13. Marche Triumphale                         _Mozart_
        Miss Amy and Bolax Allen.

This ended the rehearsal. Professor than spoke a few words thanking the
audience for their evident appreciation of his pupils' efforts.

Colonel O'Brien, who seemed to be spokesman for the rest of the company,
said: "Professor, it is we who should thank you. I can honestly say I am
surprised at the proficiency of your pupils; either they have
extraordinary talent or you are a wonderfully successful master. Now let
us give three cheers for Professor and wish him health, happiness and
great success for the coming year." The cheers were given with a hearty
ring, for the dear gentleman was highly esteemed by every one.

"Professor," said Elmer. "Bolax knows a fine piece, I think it ought to
be on the program." "Well, Elmer, not this time; I fear we have kept our
audience too long for such a stormy night."

"Oh, no, no!" called out several of the ladies. "Come, Bo let us hear
your oration."

"Oh, bother! It is not an oration; it's just a funny piece about a
newsboy, who got into a church and is astonished at all he hears and
sees."


THE NEWSBOY'S SOLILOQUY ON HEARING A BOY SING IN CHURCH.

BY THOMAS KELLEY, OF OMAHA.

    Well, ye see, I'd sold my papers,
    Every bloomin' blessed one,
    And was strollin' round the corner.
    Just a prospectin' for fun,
    I was loafin' by the railin'
    Of that church you see right there,
    With its crosses and its towers,
    Kind of settin' off the square,
    And I got a sort of lonesome,
    For the gang, they weren't around,
    When I heard a noise of music,
    Seemed like comin' from the ground.
    It was nothin' but some singin',
    But it sounded mighty fine,
    Course, I ain't no judge of them things,
    An' it's no affair o' mine.
    Then it seemed to kind o' weaken,
    And I didn't hear it plain,
    Till the band struck up a whoopin'
    An' heerd it all again.
    Well there seemed to be a show there,
    That I thought I'd like to see,
    An' there was so many a goin'
    I jest says--I'll bet it's free.
    So I looks around the corner,
    An' I makes a careful search,
    For I knew the kids'd guy me,
    If they heerd I'd been to Church.
    Well, there warn't a soul a-lookin',
    So I up an' walks right in,
    An' I sat down in a corner,
    While they finished up their hymn.
    Well, sir! blow me if I ever
    Was so taken aback!
    There was marchin' up the aisle
    A gang of kids in white an' black.
    They was singin' just like angels,
    An' they looked so slick and nice,
    I wondered where they got 'em--
    Were they always kept on ice?
    An' they wore a long black cloak, sir;
    Comin' to their very feet,
    An' an overall of white stuff,
    Just like what's in a sheet.
    Then some men came on behind them,
    Singing loudly as they came,
    But although the kids was weaker,
    They got there all the same.
    Then behind the whole percession,
    Came two men, most all in white,
    An' they wore some fancy biziness,
    An' they looked jest out o' sight,
    But they didn't do no singin',
    Just kept still an' looked ahead,
    An' says I'll bet they're runnin'
    All the show, that's what I said.
    Then they all got up in front there,
    An' the music sounded grand,
    But to save my neck I couldn't,
    Get a sight, sir, of the band.
    I could hear it as distinctly,
    So I guessed it must be near,
    But I saw no men, nor nothin',
    An' I thought it very queer.
    Well, a man was standin' near me,
    An' I touched him with my hand,
    Then he looked around and saw me,
    An' sez I: "Say, where's the band?"
    Then he looked at me a grinin',
    Just as tho' I'd made a joke,
    That 'ere look he gave me,
    Made me sorry that I'd spoke.
    Then he says: "Why, that's the organ;
    All those pipes you see up there,
    One man plays it with his fingers,
    An' another pumps the air."
    Here the music stopped so sudden,
    That I most forgot myself,
    An' I heerd some man a talkin'
    From a book laid on a shelf.
    Then they all got up and read some,
    First the man, then the crowd,
    After that they knelt down softly,
    An' I seed their heads were bowed.
    So I bowed my head down too, sir;
    An' listens to every word,
    But I didn't understand them,
    Every time they said, "Good Lord!"
    Well they kept that up some longer,
    Till a plate came down the aisle,
    An' some people dropped in money,
    Some others dropped a smile.
    I suppose they'd come on passes,
    For they were allowed to stay,
    So I gave them my four pennies,
    It was all I had that day.
    Then a kid got up in front there,
    With a paper in his hand,
    All the rest was sittin' quiet,
    An' the man tuned up the band.
    Well, that kid began a singin'
    Till I thought my heart 'ud break,
    For my throat was full of choking,
    An' my hands began to shake.
    Well, I never seen no angels,
    An' their songs I never heard,
    But I'll bet that there's no angel,
    Beats that kid--for he's a bird.
    He was lookin' like a picture,
    With his robes of white and black,
    An' I felt my tears a comin',
    For I couldn't keep 'em back;
    An' I wondered if he always
    Was as good as he looked there,
    Singin' all about the angels,
    Angels ever bright an' fair,
    Well thinks I, guess it's easy,
    To be good and sing so sweet,
    But you know it's kind o' different,
    Sellin' papers on the street.
    When the kid got thro' his singin'
    I got up an' made a sneak,
    An' I went outside the church there,
    An' I swear I couldn't speak.
    Then I ran across the gang, sir;
    They was hangin' round for me,
    But some how I didn't want 'em,
    An' just why, I couldn't see.
    So I said I couldn't join 'em
    Cos I had another date,
    An' I went on walking homeward,
    Like a kid without a mate.
    An' I sneaked in just as quiet,
    An' I lay down on my bed
    Till I slept an' got a dreamin'
    'Bout the angels overhead.
    An' they wore such shinin' garments,
    An' they sang so sweet and fine,
    An' the one right in the middle
    Was that singin' kid of mine.
    Now I kinder want to know, sir--
    So I'm askin', you see--
    If them kids can all be angels,
    Is there any show for me?

Bo was applauded "to the echo," and Professor said that piece should be
recited at the May Concert. Just before leaving, every guest had to take
a cup of cocoa, as Hetty said. "You all jest drink it up, it will put a
web of flannel round you' heart, an' keep out the cold dis freezin'
night."

Elmer and the boys started a college song--"Good Night and Good-Bye
'Till We Meet Again."



CHAPTER XII.

FIRST COMMUNION.


After school closed Mrs. Allen had a serious conversation with her son
on the subject of First Holy Communion. "You are now past eleven, dear
child, and I want you and Amy to devote the whole vacation to immediate
preparation for your First Communion. Sister Amy is thirteen, but owing
to her infirmity, has been deprived of that favor until now. I have made
arrangements with the Sisters of Mercy to take you for the next six
weeks, that you may be under special instruction and away from
mischievous pranks and scrapes like those of last summer, when in
company with the village boys."

"But Ma, dear, six weeks! Will I have to be silent and pray all that
time?"

"No, no, my son; there are a few nice boys in the Convent who will
remain all summer, so you will not be without recreation. Indeed, you
will have plenty of fun, for the Sisters play ball with the boys."

Amy came into the room while her mother was speaking.

"I have just been telling Bolax of what we propose doing by way of
preparation for that most important event of our lives, viz: the First
reception of our dear Lord in Holy Communion."

"You both know your catechism perfectly, and I am sure understand all
you have studied. I know you firmly believe all the sacred truths
contained in the Gospels and Teachings of the Catholic Church. For the
past three years our talks on the subject have been many and earnest.
You know how kind our dear Lord was while here on earth, how he fed five
thousand people in the wilderness. Well, He is just as loving and kind
now, and gives us His precious Body and Blood to nourish and comfort our
souls. So, dear children, let all your thoughts, words and actions from
this day be offered up as a preparation for that greatest of all events
of your life, your First Holy Communion."

[Illustration: AMY.]

"We will give up all reading, except books that lead our thoughts to
holy things, not necessarily dull or uninteresting because they are
holy. You know how delighted you were with 'Fabiola,' 'Faber's Tales of
the Angels,' 'Babies Who Died for Christ,' 'The Little Spouse of the
Blessed Sacrament.'"

"I should like to read 'Fabiola' again Ma, dear," said Amy. "I always
feel--I don't know exactly how to describe my feelings after reading
such a book as 'Fabiola'--happy, calm, a longing to have been one of the
first Christians to have loved our dear Lord as did little St. Agnes."

"And I," said Bo, "wouldn't I enjoy going round with the big soldier
Quadratus, and tearing down the Emperor's edicts against the Christians.
Oh, wouldn't I play tricks on those mean old Pagans; I tell you I'd make
them skiddoo."

"Mamma," said Amy, pointing to a painting of Ecce Homo, "I do so love
that sad face; sometimes when I sit here and look at it intently, the
eyes seem to open. Once I was so sure of it, I got Hetty to take the
picture down. Oh, I feel so sorry for our dear Lord, especially his
crown of thorns. Why, oh why, couldn't they have taken it off while he
was carrying the cross. He must have struck His sacred head against the
cross as he staggered under its heavy weight up that awful road to
Calvary," and the gentle, tender-hearted girl sobbed aloud.

Bolax, at this, jumped up, dashing a book against the wall and kicking
his chair, he exclaimed: "Oh, if I had been there I would have gotten a
crowd of boys and thrown stones at those awful executioners! Surely lots
of boys must have known and followed Jesus--what cowards they were! You
don't hear of any one offering to help Him; every one was afraid except
brave, glorious St. Veronica."

"My dear impetuous boy, I am comforted to know you think of and feel for
our suffering Savior."

"What you would have done had you been present at the awful scene on the
road to Calvary, do now, by making sacrifices of your own will,
suffering something for the love of Jesus."

"You must not compare the American boy with the boys of those long ago
times; the Roman soldiers who were driving Jesus were naturally cruel
and rejoiced in having a victim on which to exercise their cruelty. They
would have exterminated even a crowd of men had they dared to interfere,
and boys would have been crushed to death instantly. Mercy was an
unknown virtue to the people of those days."

"Mamma," said Amy, "thinking of my general Confession, I feel I must
ask your advice on one subject; is it a sin to pray for animals?"

"Oh, Ma, dear," interrupted Bolax, "I want to ask about that too."

"Elmer Mullen laughed at me when I told him I always prayed for poor
horses, dogs and cats that I saw badly treated. Sometimes I beg men and
boys to cease their cruelties; often I fight those that won't stop
tormenting animals, then when all fails I just pray for the poor things.
And Ma, dear, while I think of it, did you ever see a nanny goat faint?"

Serious little Amy burst out laughing at the odd question, and Bo's
earnest expression of countenance when asking it.

"It's nothing to laugh at, Sister. I'll tell you how it happened. Tom
Burk and Dan Donavan were trying to make their goat pull them in a
little wagon, but she was not able; they beat her and she fell over and
shut her eyes. I stooped over her and rubbed her head. Then a man came,
and after a long wait she came to, and he ordered the boys to take poor
Nanny into the stable."

"My dear, kind boy, we will have to make you President of the
'Prevention of Cruelty Society.' Several people have told me what a
little champion you have shown yourself on many occasions."

"Well," said Amy, "I cannot fight to prevent cruelty, but all my life I
have prayed for that intention. When I pray for a poor over-laden horse
or a homeless, starved dog, I always say, 'Dear God, you made these
creatures, surely you cannot be angry if I ask you to have pity on
them.'"

Mrs. Allen put her head down on the table to hide her emotion, but the
children thought it was because she was shocked at what they had told
her about the prayers. Amy put both her hands on her mother's arm,
saying: "Ma dear, oh, I hope it was not a mortal sin! And just to think
I never confessed it! I never thought it was a sin at all."

Here Mrs. Allen raised her head, tears were in her eyes. Bolax put his
arms around her neck, saying: "Dear, dear Ma, is it really so bad a sin
as to cause you to weep?"

"My darlings, bless your dear compassionate hearts. I must plead guilty
of the very same sin. Without ever letting any one know it, since my
childhood I have prayed that the cruel driver might have mercy on his
poor horse; that the starving animals might be helped in some way. I
prayed that a mercy stroke might be given the dying horses on the
battlefield; that the God of Compassion would have pity on the thousands
of sheep and cattle who perish miserably on the unsheltered plains. Oh,
surely our prayers are not lost! Many saints were renowned for their
love of the brute creation; dear St. Francis of Assisi called them his
little brothers and sisters. So let us hope our dear Lord will not be
offended for what we have done in a spirit of pity and love for His dumb
creatures."


CRY OF THE LITTLE BROTHERS.

E. M. BARBY.

    We are the little brothers, homeless in cold and heat,
    Four-footed little beggars, roaming the city street,
    Snatching a bone from the gutter, creepin' thro' alleys drear,
    Stoned and sworn at and beaten, our hearts consumed with fear.
    You pride yourselves on the beauty of your city fair and free,
    Yet we are dying by thousands in coverts you never see.
    You boast of your mental progress, of your libraries, schools and
      halls,
    But we who are dumb denounce you as we crouch beneath their walls.
    You sit in your tinseled playhouse, and weep o'er a mimic wrong,
    Our woes are the woes of the voiceless; our griefs are unheeded in
      song.
    You say that the same God made us. When before His throne you come,
    Shall you clear yourselves in His presence
    On the plea that He made us dumb?
    Are your hearts too hard to listen to a starving kitten's cries,
    Or too gay for the patient pleading in a dog's beseeching eyes?
    Behold us, your little brothers, starving, beaten, oppressed--
    Stretch out a hand to help us that we may have food and rest.
    Too long have we roamed neglected, too long have we sickened with fear,
    The mercy you hope and pray for, you can grant us now and here.


BOLAX GOES TO THE CONVENT OF ST. IMELDA.

On July sixth Mrs. Allen took her son to the Convent, where Reverend
Mother Gertrude received them cordially, and placed Bolax under the care
of Sister Joseph, who was to be his special instructress for Holy
Communion.

For a few days he felt homesick, but soon got over it. The good Sisters
had always some work or play to occupy their pupils, so that time never
seemed long or lonely to the boys.

As the school was only eight miles from Midville, some one went down
every week and all the household sent letters to our boy. Reverend
Mother gave Mrs. Allen an invitation to spend the three days of the
retreat in the Convent with her children, as Amy's health would not
permit her to remain away from her mother's care.


CONVENT OF ST. IMELDA.

_Dearest Mother and all at Home_: You will be glad to know that I am
well and happy. My First Holy Communion is always in my mind, and I am
doing all I can to prepare for the great day. I went to Confession to
the Chaplain Father Drumgool, and I will make my General Confession in
one week's time.

Please come down to see me as soon as you get this, I want to see you
particularly, bring Sister Amy, I want Mother Gertrude and the Sisters
to see her. I make two visits to the Blessed Sacrament every day, and
beg our Lord to make me worthy to receive Him.

  Your loving son,

       BOLAX.

       *       *       *       *       *

  JULY 18TH.

_My Beloved Son_: Yours just received, and oh how it gladdens my heart
to know you are contented.

I dream of you every night, and my heart longs for you, but I know it is
best for your soul to be with the blessed Sisters. The longer you are in
such a heavenly place, the less you will feel like leaving it. I look
back at my Convent days as the happiest of my life.

Papa has felt less pain in his arm for the last few days, so your
prayers are being heard already. God bless you, darling, and make you a
good and sincere Catholic.

       MAMMA.

Offer all your actions, even your play, as so many prayers that your
First Communion may be a very holy one. Sister sends her dearest love;
pray that she may be able to make her retreat with you at the Convent.

  Your loving,

       MOTHER.

       *       *       *       *       *

  HOME, JULY 26TH.

_My Dear Little Nephew_: Your mother was so glad to see something
belonging to you that she actually kissed the bundle of your soiled
clothes. Oh, dear child! I wonder if you ever will repay that mother for
her adoring love of you. All she asks in return is, that you will always
be a fervent Catholic all the days of your life. Don't disappoint her.

Several of the boys were here asking for you, but we did not explain why
you were away, as they would not understand about First Holy Communion.
Elmer came and was so glad to hear of you being in the Convent.

Amy and I will be down to see you in a day or two. I will then tell all
the news, so this letter will have to be short.

  Your loving Aunt,

       LUCY ALLEN.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dear Little Master_: Wherever you be, do stop for a moment and listen
to me, while here on this paper I try to relate how sad we dogs are; not
knowing your fate. "Mamma Fan" says you're dead, that she ought to know,
for all her three puppies told her so.

They miss the big giant who came every day to love them and squeeze them
while she was away.

Tot went to your room and snuffed all around, then he cried very loud,
for all that he found was just an old shoe, torn inside and out. Oh!
said he, now I know Bolax's whereabout, those "Goblins" have caught him,
cause he wouldn't "watch out."

  Your lovingest dog,

       DON.

       *       *       *       *       *

_My Honey Boy_: You' old Hetty miss you night and day. Law! de howse
done got so still, even de dogs notis it.

Ef I say you' name dey looks all round, and den dey whynes when they
kant find you.

I'se hopen you is goin' to get relijon enuff to last you de rest of you'
life. Pat sends love, he kant rite, so he axed me to rite dat for him.

You is prayen for me, I no, bekose dat pane I had in my bak and my nee,
is done gone.

God bless you, dis is from you' own old

       HETTY.

       *       *       *       *       *

  AUGUST 8TH.

_Soul of My Heart_: Your conduct yesterday showed wonderful improvement.

I noticed your patience on two occasions, then your willingness to go
without the candy although I could see you wanted it.

All this shows you are learning the Catholic spirit of mortification,
or, as you will better understand it; giving up what is most pleasing to
us, and bearing with little privations. You are now I hope doing all
this with good will, as a preparation for your First Holy Communion.

Our Lord will notice each act of self-abnegation made for His sake.

How like Heaven that Convent is. Often in dreams I am in my old Convent
singing the hymns, walking in the May procession, but most glorious of
all were the First Communion days. The hymn for that day comes back to
me now and thrills my heart.

    O saint Autel qu'environent les Anges!
    Qu' avec transport, aujourd 'hui je te vois,
    Ici mon Dieu l'objet de mes louanges,
    Vient dans mon coeur, pour la première fois.

O darling; how I would love to shield you from all the trials of the
world. O offer myself to our Lord as a victim; to do with me what He
will, send me any cross or trial, no matter how hard to bear, if only He
receives my children among His chosen ones and secures their eternal
salvation.

Be very attentive to all the instructions you receive, and do all in
your power to make a perfect preparation for the great grace you will
receive.

O my beloved! in after years, when troubled with worldly cares, it will
be a consolation to look back on these days of holiness and peace.
Thoughts of them will come upon you, long after the heart that dictates
these words of love shall have ceased to throb, and the hand that pens
them shall be--dust.

       MAMMA.

       *       *       *       *       *

  ST. XAVIER'S COLLEGE.

_Dear Little Friend_: I congratulate you sincerely on your happy
privilege of receiving our Lord. It is a good thing on this occasion to
make good resolutions, but you must not rest satisfied with making them,
you must turn all the energy of your will to keeping them exactly as you
made them.

It is not right to pledge one's word to God, and afterwards take no
pains to carry out the promise. If you promised a boy of your own age
something and then neglected your word, the boy would despise you.

It is much worse to treat God with neglect. I do hope that after your
First Holy Communion you will strive hard to overcome your defects, to
correct the faults that your Mother notices in you.

That you will endeavor to give the greatest satisfaction to your parents
is our Lord's wish, and mine. They have labored so much for you,
suffered so much; your mother especially, they have had so much trouble
with you when you were a helpless infant, that it would be the greatest
ingratitude now, when you are able, not to seek to give them pleasure
and comfort.

Another reason for paying the closest attention to what your parents say
is that they are your best friends, all they want from you is for your
good; so if you are docile and obedient you will become a good man, and
not one that we should be ashamed of in after life.

Say your prayers every evening, renew your good resolutions every
morning, and promise to obey in everything, and I am sure you will
become a good man.

  Your friend in Christ,

       ALOYSIUS ROCOFORT, S. J.

       *       *       *       *       *

  MARQUETTE COLLEGE, AUGUST 14TH.

  Master Bolax Allen.

_My Dear Little Friend_: Your letter has given me a great deal of
pleasure. At first I could not think who was writing; then I remembered
you are the boy who wished I might live a hundred years. So this is the
eve of your First Holy Communion!

Well dear, you have my best prayers that your heart may be adorned with
all the virtues that will make it worthy of so great a grace.

You write a nice letter, just the kind Claude used to write. I hope you
will love your religion and hate sin as did little Claude Lightfoot.

  Your friend in Christ,

       F. J. FINN, S. J.

On August 12th the children's Retreat opened, Mrs. Allen and Amy took
the train in the morning so as to arrive at St. Imelda's before noon.
Their first visit was to the Chapel, then Sister Joseph conducted them
over the house and grounds. Bolax insisted on showing the "Most
beautiful cows in the world," as he termed the well-kept Convent herd.

The Retreat opened at four in the afternoon, with Rosary and Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament.

The order of exercises were Holy Mass at half past six. Then breakfast.
A walk in the grounds; spiritual reading, Stations of the Cross, not the
prayers in books, but some story told at each station, then an act of
contrition, and a prayer for the holy souls.

After dinner Bo was asked to help Sister Martha to weed the garden and
gather vegetables, so that he might join work to prayer. He was
delighted to think he could be of use, but, of course, the dear sister
only wanted to give him occupation, that he might not feel the silence
of the retreat too monotonous.

Amy made many visits to the Blessed Sacrament, indeed she would have
remained hours in the Chapel if allowed. Mrs. Allen read interesting and
instructive spiritual books, especially one by Père Bordalou on the
"Last Supper." This she read every day, because she was anxious that it
should be deeply engraven on her children's minds and hearts.

After the evening meal some of the Sisters would sit with the family
under the trees in the garden, or walk about the beautiful grounds. One
day Amy pointed to a bed of lilies of the valley, saying: "Sister, when
I die I want to be buried under those lilies." "My darling," exclaimed
her mother, startled by the earnest manner of the child, "don't talk of
dying, what would I ever do without my little daughter. Oh, no, my
precious, our Lord will surely spare you to help me, besides you know,
you are your father's guardian angel. I depend on your prayers,
particularly for his conversion."

Lucy and Mr. Allen were anxious to be present at the ceremony on the
fifteenth of August, but there was no hotel in the vicinity of the
Convent and no train could be had from Midville at so early an hour.

Mother Gertrude said, Miss Lucy could come to the Convent, then she went
to see one of her friends, a Mrs. O'Donnell, who lived a short walk from
the Convent gate; this lady gladly offered to receive Mr. Allen for the
night, so both father and aunt had the pleasure of being present at the
ceremony in the morning.

The Feast of the Assumption was celebrated with unusual splendor at St.
Imelda's. Five little girls renewed their First Communion, dressed in
white and wearing wreaths and veils. Amy's costume was very plain, but
spotlessly white and new; her mother did not approve of dressing
children in finery for so sacred a function, lest thoughts of their
outward appearance should divert their mind from the holy act they were
about to perform.

Mr. Allen and kind Mrs. Donald were at the Chapel door just as the
Angelus bell was ringing; they were ushered into a seat by one of the
Sisters. At ten minutes of six the organ played a grand prelude and all
the Sisters and children sang: "Jesus, My Love, is Mine Today."

It was a most impressive scene; the soft, solemn music, the devout
attention of the children, even the little boys so still and
respectful.

Mr. Allen had never before witnessed such devout Worship.

When the time came to approach the altar, Reverend Mother led the
children to the communion rail, while the choir sang soft and low, "Come
Into My Heart, Dear Jesus, Come."

Little Amy looked so white and seemed to tremble.

The priest stood with the Sacred Host in his hands; slowly and with
evident emotion, repeating the "Domine non sum dignus."

The children then returned to their seats with hands joined and eyes
cast down; Amy's cheeks, which had been so pale were now delicately
colored. There was such a transformation. It seemed that a smile from
heaven played around her lips, to give them angelic grace.

After Mass the children were clasped in their parents' arms, and all the
sisters and friends congratulated them on their happiness.

In taking leave Mr. Allen thanked the Reverend Mother most heartily for
her kindness to his family and expressed himself as being "almost
conquered."

Mrs. Allen remained with her children for the afternoon services, which
were: The renovation of the Baptismal vows, Benediction of the Blessed
Sacrament and a short sermon.


THE CHAPLAIN'S ADDRESS TO THE FIRST COMMUNICANTS.

Dear children I do not intend speaking to you of Faith. I am sure yours
is firm and sincere. I come only to remind you of your promises made to
our blessed Lord this morning, to ask you to fill your hearts to
overflowing with love. Love for our merciful Jesus in all stages of His
life and death, but particularly love for Him in the divine Sacrament.

Love makes all things easy! so dear children, never tire asking the
Blessed Mother of Jesus to give you of the love which filled her heart,
that yours may ever be adorned with the virtues which will make it a fit
abiding place for your merciful and sweet Saviour.

Love for Jesus will give you patience to bear with the contradictions
and crosses you meet with; even little children have crosses. They may
be reprimanded for a fault which another committed; bear the reproof
patiently for the love of Jesus; a companion may be harsh and unjust
towards you, be glad that you have something to suffer for love of
Jesus. A bouquet of sacrifices to offer at the end of each day, will be
more acceptable than if it were the most exquisite flowers culled from
your gardens.

Dearest children come as often as you can to the Holy Table, don't be
afraid--don't think of your unworthiness, no one ever was entirely
worthy of Holy Communion, except the Blessed Mother of Jesus.

Come! I say, eat this heavenly bread that you may be strong to resist
all temptations, that you may learn to love our Lord devotedly on earth,
so as to be prepared for an eternity of love in Heaven.



CHAPTER XIII.

UNFORSEEN EVENTS.


After all the exercises had been performed, Mrs. Allen and the children
bade farewell to the Sisters, and Reverend Mother gave them a pressing
invitation to visit the Convent often.

When our friends reached Midville Station, Papa Allen was waiting for
them with the carriage, which soon brought them to "Home, Sweet Home,"
as Bo sung out, when he saw Aunt Lucy, Uncle Dick and Hetty standing at
the gate.

Bo hugged every one, including Don, when that, too demonstrative beast
gave him a chance to notice any one but his own dogship.

Uncle Dick declared he never again would complain of noise for "the
house has been like a desert without our harum-scarum."

Amy and her brother kept together as much as possible during the
remainder of the summer. The pony chaise was in demand every afternoon,
and the children always invited a few of their friends to enjoy a drive
with them.

One day Mrs. Allen filled a basket with roses, which she gave to Amy,
saying: "I wonder if you and Bolax wouldn't like to take these up to
Grandma Barton." Allie Thornton, who was present, asked: "Is she your
real Grandma?" "Oh, no," answered Amy; "she is a poor old lady, nearly
blind, to whom Mamma sends things; we love to go to see her." "Let me
carry the basket to the chaise; it feels quite heavy," remarked Estelle.

"Very likely Mamma has placed a pot of jelly under the flowers," said
Amy. "My mother says that when we bestow a gift we make it doubly
acceptable by giving it in a graceful manner. This old lady has no
relatives to look after her, she has a son, but she does not know where
he is. Mamma says it is pitiful to hear the poor soul talk of that son,
how she prays for him and hopes he will come back to her before she
becomes entirely helpless." "I just hope God will punish that son!"
exclaimed Bo. "Father Anthony says anyone who is cruel to his parents
will have no luck in this world and be everlastingly punished in the
next." "Dear brother, don't hope evil for any one, rather let us pray
that the heartless son may be inspired to think of his dear old mother
and return to her." Just here a bend of the road brought them upon a
little cottage of the romantic order, overgrown with woodbine, in which
Grandma had a room. The dear old lady greeted the children heartily,
thanking them for the flowers. "Take seats, my dears; oh, not there
child, that is Velvet Ear's chair," and Bolax sprang aside just in time
to save himself from sitting upon a tiny skye-terrier.

"Are you well this morning?" asked Amy. "Oh, very well, dear," answered
Grandma.

After a few more pleasant remarks the children bid good-bye, then
getting into the cart drove leisurely along the road.

Suddenly there was a thunder-clap, and a dark cloud appeared where the
sun had shone a moment before.

"Drive as fast as you can, Brother; I fear we will be drenched!" while
she was speaking, the rain poured down. Bo knowing how easily his sister
took cold, divested himself of his jacket and put it around her. "Ben
Bolt" seemed to take in the situation and got up a speed he had never
before shown. When they reached home all were soaked. Estelle laughed
about her plight, but Bo hurried his sister into the house, where his
mother and aunt soon had her in a warm bath, then to bed with a cup of
hot lemonade, hoping thus to ward off the consequences of such a severe
drenching.

In a few days Amy began to cough. Dr. Carroll looked serious when asked
if the cough would last long.

In ten days the child grew rapidly worse, and Mrs. Allen sent for her
husband, who was on one of his Western trips. He came home to find his
little daughter so ill, that her life was almost despaired of. Bravely
the doctors fought against the dread disease which they feared would end
fatally, although they managed to ward off the danger for a time.

The Sisters came up from the Convent to see the dear child and try to
console her father and mother.

We will have all our children and sisters pray if it be God's will to
spare your beloved one.


AMY'S DEATH.

It is a sweet October morning, a tender mist, gray in the distance,
rose-colored and golden where the rays of light strike it more directly,
envelopes the landscape; the trees are decked in holiday attire--green,
russet, orange and scarlet.

On a couch placed near the window reclines the meek patient sufferer.
Aunt Lucy stands near, Hetty kneels beside her "baby" with a cup of beef
tea trying to coax her to swallow a few spoonfuls.

"Hetty, dear, don't force me, I am not hungry." "My blessed angel do
take just a few drops for your old Hetty."

Amy heeded not, her thoughts were far away. "Auntie," she remarked,
"isn't that woods like a piece of Heaven? See how the trees glisten as
the sun shines on their waving branches. How glorious Heaven must be
when earth is so filled with beauty."

Aunt Lucy looked into the ethereal face, and unbidden tears coursed down
her cheeks.

Hetty stooped over the wan little hand, and kissing it, hastened from
the room, her heart bursting with grief. In the kitchen she met old Pat,
his head bowed and his whole bearing showing the depth of his grief for
what all now saw was inevitable.

"Hetty," said he in a hoarse whisper, "is she going?" "Oh, Pat, I feel
dis is de last day we will have our angel child. Dey done telephoned for
Dr. Carroll, he will be here directly."

At two o'clock the doctor told the assembled household, that but a few
hours of life remained for the dear one.

At three o'clock death with "solemn steps and slow," is steadily
approaching. Now her voice, which before has been scarcely above a
whisper, becomes strong again, as is frequently the case in the dying,
and she tries to sing in the old sweet way: "Jesus, Jesus, Dearest
Lord."

It seems as though the angels were present, Heaven so fills the room.

After a moment's rest she turned her eyes on the weeping company, and
said: "Don't weep for me, rather rejoice that I will soon be with Our
Dear Lord and His Blessed Mother. Mamma, dear, say that beautiful prayer
that ends with--'Merciful Jesus have mercy on me.'"

"Mamma, dear, you will come to me in Heaven. There will be no parting,
we will walk together through the golden streets, and through the
beautiful gardens forever. Come, kiss me now, darling mother!"

Then she addressed Mr. Allen, who stood with great tear-drops rolling
down his face, his heart broken with sorrow.

"Dear Papa, how I love you! You have been such a loving father to me and
Brother, so good to dear Mamma--Forgive my having tried your patience so
often."

"Heart's dearest," answered her father, "you have never caused me a
moment of trouble in all your life."

"Darling Papa you will come to me when Our Lord calls you. I know you
love Him. Father Leonard will show you the true way to reach Heaven; O
promise me you will follow it."

"My angel child," responded the father, "I solemnly promise." His sobs
choked his utterance, but kneeling and taking his child's hand he kissed
it fervently.

Exhausted by her efforts, she lay silent awhile, then turning to Bolax,
she said: "Dear little Brother, never forget the promises you made to
Our Lord the day of your First Holy Communion. Oh, serve Him faithfully
that you may meet me in Paradise.

"Dearest Aunt Lucy, I thank you for all your years of kindness and love;
oh, I know you will be there to rejoice with me.

"And Hetty dear! let me kiss the hand that nursed and tended me so
faithfully."

Hetty's grief was becoming uncontrollable, so she hastened from the room
lest she should unnerve the rest of the family.

Poor old Pat was not forgotten, when called to bid farewell, he managed
to control himself while he knelt asking the dear child's blessing.

Here Reverend Father Leonard entered the room. Mrs. Allen lit the
candles on the little altar at the foot of the bed; all withdrew for a
few moments leaving Amy alone with the Priest.

When the Father was ready to administer the Holy Viaticum, every one
returned to the room, each bearing a lighted candle, knelt in prayer.
After receiving Our Dear Lord, the child's face became radiant; a
heavenly smile lit up her countenance, she murmured: "Jesus, precious
Jesus; how I love Thee! and yet--how unworthy I am!" Here she held out
her hands as if beckoning to some one. "O my beloved! take me to
Thyself! Jes--" The lips ceased their utterance with the sweet name half
spoken. One long-drawn sigh and another angel was added to the
innumerable company of the Blessed. The days that followed Amy's death
were to the household painful in the extreme.

Mr. Allen was overwhelmed with grief. It was useless to try to speak to
him; for two days he shut himself in his room and the Doctor could
scarcely persuade him to take nourishment.

Mrs. Allen was resigned to God's will, although her heart was crushed
with sorrow.

Kind neighbors came offering condolence, indeed the family had the
sympathy of the whole village.

Reverend Mother Gertrude sent a letter by two of her Sisters reminding
Mrs. Allen of Amy's desire to be buried under the Bed of Lilies.

"We are sure now," said the Sisters, "the dear child had a presentment
of her approaching departure from this world, so Reverend Mother begs
you will have the funeral from our Chapel and let the dear one rest
under the Lilies of the Valley."

Reverend Father Leonard was consulted as to the advisability of
accepting Mother Gertrude's gracious offer; Mrs. Allen feared her pastor
might wish the funeral to take place in the parish church. "On the
contrary," said the good priest, "I think no resting place could be more
fitting for such a child than a grave where the rays of the Sanctuary
Lamp shine out upon it through the Church windows. I shall go to St.
Imelda's and ask to be allowed to celebrate the Mass, which must be what
we call the 'Mass of the Angels.'"

The funeral was announced for Thursday morning, carriages were to leave
the house at half-past eight, so as to reach the Convent in time for the
services at half-past nine. The Chapel was draped in white, all the
flowers and ornaments on the altar and the vestments were white.

[Illustration: AUNT LUCY.]

Professor Renaldi's pupils, who were in the same class as Amy, presented
a beautiful harp of white rosebuds, with the word "Love" formed of
Forget-Me-Nots woven across the strings.

The Chapel could scarcely contain the number of people who came to pay a
last tribute of love to the dear child.

The gates of the Sanctuary were left open and the casket placed in front
of the altar as near the rail as possible.

During the Mass the music was almost joyous. Reverend Mother ordered
this expressly so that the bereaved parents might be soothed in their
grief.

Six little girls dressed in white walked beside the casket as it was
borne to the grave, and now our dear, our beloved one sleeps under the
Lilies, emblematic of her own pure soul.


FUNERAL SERMON.

Dear Friends, I need not tell you who is she over whom we weep today.
You well remember little Amy, who only a few months ago knelt at this
altar to receive Our Lord for the first time.

Like St. Imelda her heart and soul were absorbed in love for Jesus in
the Blessed Sacrament. On the night of the day Amy made her First
Communion, her mother heard her crying and sobbing in her bed. When
asked what could cause such grief, she answered: "O, Mother, this was
the happiest day of my life, and I grieve because it is ended."

This child was especially loved by God. Graceful in form, lovely in
feature, and in innocence of heart an angel, she seemed like some
bright heavenly spirit lent for a time to the world to light up God's
love in it.

There was about Amy a spiritual refinement--a looking forward to the
things that are to come, a sweetly sad yearning towards Jesus, the
object of her young heart's pure love.

Our Lord was jealous of the possession of so pure a soul, and before its
loveliness might be tarnished by any fault incident to human frailty, he
called her from earth to place her near His Sacred Heart for eternity.

Amy's whole life seemed to tend to one point, namely to love God above
all things and in all things; she knew that without God's love man is
not fulfilling his destiny, he is astray on a pathless waste--a ship on
a storm-tossed sea, without helm and without hope.

Will you ask me how the dear one died? Think how she lived. A happy holy
death closed a happy innocent life.

It was my sad duty to attend her during her last illness. I have seen
many persons die, but among them all, Amy shone out pre-eminently for
her resignation to God's will.

She was often heard praying in subdued tones, when intense pain assailed
her: "O Holy Mother of Jesus, help me to bear my sufferings with
patience, in union with those your Divine Son endured for me when dying
on the cross."

Raising his hands and eyes to Heaven, the Priest prayed:

"Dear Angel child! we look up to you on this bright day, crowned in
Heaven with a fadeless crown, pray for those you have left behind to
mourn. If earth has lost an angel, Heaven has gained one. If we have
been deprived of a dear affectionate daughter and sister, we have gained
a blessed intercessor before God's Holy Throne in the glory of
Paradise."

       *       *       *       *       *

After the funeral Mr. Allen started for a business trip to St. Louis.
The Doctor said it was best he should go rather than remain where
everything reminded him of the beloved one and gave him a heart-pang.

Winter passed quietly, when Christmas came it was celebrated as a
peaceful holy day; every one tried to be cheerful, but there was a minor
in the carol--a spray of Cypress twining 'mid the holly wreaths.

On the first day of March a quiet wedding took place in the family, when
dear Aunt Lucy became the wife of our beloved Doctor Carroll, to the
great delight of Bolax and all the family, especially Hetty, "who always
knowed dat weddin' done had to be."

Mrs. Allen begged that the "Honey-moon" trip should not be prolonged, as
she could not spare her sister, so in three weeks' time the bride and
groom returned to reside permanently in the old homestead.

One day in April, Bolax surprised every one by returning from school
early in the morning, having been ordered home on account of scarlet
fever, which had suddenly broken out at St. Thomas'.

Later in the day the President telephoned to Mrs. Allen telling her
that there were fifteen cases in the house, the disease having been
brought in by a day pupil. "It will necessitate our closing the classes
for the season, and will entail a serious loss to the College."

So Bolax had to study as best he could at home with the assistance of
Mamma and Uncle Carroll.



CHAPTER XIV.

BOLAX GOES TO COLLEGE.


For several winters Mr. Allen had suffered from severe grippe colds,
each year his system seemed less able to resist the attacks, so Dr.
Carroll prescribed a winter in Florida, saying that it was an absolute
necessity both for his health and as a complete rest from business, to
which he had been a slave.

Mrs. Allen and the whole family held a consultation as to what should be
done with Bolax while they were in Florida.

"I want to board at St. Thomas', Papa; the boys have such fun, I know
I'd have a good time there; I was the youngest day scholar last year and
all the seniors liked me."

"My dear child," said his father, "if fun be all your aim in boarding at
a college, you can have all you want of that at home at less cost. I
fear there is too much of your 'fun' going on in our colleges and very
little solid education."

"That's just what I've been thinking," observed Mrs. Allen, "and I've
made up my mind to send Bolax to my uncle, who is President of the
College at L'Islet, Canada; that is, my dear, if you don't object."

"I do most emphatically object to having my son go so far from home."

"But," argued Mrs. Allen, "the boy will be better cared for under the
patronage of a relative than he would be in the most expensive of our
Colleges here. My uncle has frequently written to me, telling of the
excellent methods and strict discipline of his school, which he has
placed under the care of Christian Brothers."

As they were speaking, Dr. Carroll and Lucy came into the room.

"What would you advise about our boy, Doctor?" asked Mr. Allen.

"On what subject?" said the Doctor.

"We are thinking of placing Bolax at college, and his mother wants to
send him to her uncle in Canada."

"Canada is very far away," objected Aunt Lucy, "why not let him remain
with us, as we are to live in your house during your absence."

"Now, Lucy, you ought to think it high time that a boy nearly thirteen
years of age should be above coddling," remarked the Doctor, "that is
what you and Hetty have done all his life and it is time to stop it. The
boy is not working up to his ability here. Composition and music are the
only branches in which he receives a high average, these require little
or no exertion on his part, but in all other studies his average is low.
I really feel a change would benefit him, we might make the trial,
should it prove unsatisfactory, it will be easy to take him home again."

After debating for and against the Canadian project, Mr. Allen was at
last persuaded to give his consent, and preparations were made for Bo's
trip to Canada. Boy-like he was elated at the idea of traveling,
especially when he heard he was to undertake the journey alone. When he
told his companions about it, they opened their eyes in amazement,
and some of their mothers wondered how such a harum-scarum could be
trusted so far on the trains.

[Illustration: BOLAX WHEN HE WENT TO COLLEGE.]

"Mamma, can't I give a farewell spread for my chums?" "Yes, dear; have
them all here on Friday evening. I will get up a nice supper, and Uncle
Carroll will show his magic lantern with moving pictures." "Oh, bully
for you Ma, dear." "Bully! What did I say about slang, my child?" "Oh,
Ma, dear, all the fellows at St. Thomas' use those words, you've got to
have something to say when you are pleased, or mad, or surprised--one
dear old priest up there says 'Thunder and mud!' when a boy gives a
particularly stupid answer at a recitation."

"Oh, well, my son, that is just a funny expression. I don't mind your
adopting it, since as you say, you must have some 'expressions.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

The last evening at home had come. Bo's trunk was packed and the family
had assembled in the dining room to have a nice old-fashioned supper.
Their boy was going away, but the grand harmony of the evening was not
destroyed. Uncle Carroll sang merry songs, Aunt Lucy played on her
guitar, Bolax gave his best pieces on the piano, in fact, they had a
regular concert.

Somehow, Bolax felt that he had never loved his parents as he did now;
he thought his mother's face so matronly, yet so gentle, was the
sweetest face he ever saw. He bid "good-night" quite bravely, but found
it hard to suppress his sobs as he clung to his mother's neck, for our
light-hearted boy was tender and loving as a girl.

Early next morning the house was astir. Hetty packed a basket of lunch
filled with everything she knew the boy liked. Farewells were spoken,
the carriage drove up and Mr. Allen accompanied his son to New York,
where he placed him on the train bound for Quebec.

  L'ISLET, P. Q., CANADA, September 15th.

_My Dear Papa_: I hope you are well, and that business will soon steer
towards prosperity. When you left me in the car, I had to wait about
three minutes, then I felt the train start.

As it gained speed, we darted through about fifty little tunnels, and
between stone walls.

When we got into Connecticut, we passed a series of little bays, which I
afterwards found out were the inlets of the sound. We made our first
stop at Meriden, where a crowd of New England girls got on the train;
they wore neat golf suits and carried golf sticks. I thought how nice
Cousin Madge would look in such clothes. None of them were pretty, but
all were as neat as new pins. All along the railroad was to be seen
"ads" of pills, bicycles, soap and sarsaparilla.

As we pulled into Hartford, we passed the Pope Manufacturing Company,
but it does not resemble the fine pictures they have in their "ads."

I only got out of the seat you put me into once, and that was to get a
drink. When I got into Springfield, that baggage man was nowhere to be
found, neither was the conductor, so I gave the brakeman the cigars you
left for them.

The brakeman then took me to the conductor of the Pullman car; this
fellow looked the image of me, only taller, and he greeted me heartily
when he found that I was to be in his charge.

I bought sandwiches here, and it's lucky I did, as the roast chicken
Mamma put up for me, only did for one meal; it was so good, I couldn't
stop eating once I began it.

When I got on the train, it was made up of one baggage, two day and
three sleeping coaches, but when I awoke in the morning, or really in
the night, to my surprise I found that we had changed from the middle to
the end of the train. Now, for the incidents of the night. About 9.30 P.
M. I got Billy, the porter, to make up my berth and I went to sleep
after a hard tussle with the rough sheets and blanket. At one o'clock, I
was dreaming of home and of mother, as the song says, when all of a
sudden I heard our village fire whistle blow--I jumped out of bed, and
then found to my disappointment that I was five hundred miles from home
in a Pullman sleeper that had bumped into something, and every one was
making a racket enough to wake the dead. We got another engine after
twenty minutes solo, and continued our journey through the high
mountains of Vermont. I dozed again and when I awoke, daylight was just
peeping out from the east; the frost was on every blade of grass and on
every rail and tie; the trees seemed to draw the steam from the engine
with their leaves, and then it became a thin veil of frost; thus while
standing on the back platform at 4.50 A. M., I could see our route for
miles and miles, winding and meandering through the forests of the Pine
Tree State.

We passed beautiful lakes by the half dozen, flew over high trestle
bridges, that look as if scarcely able to bear the weight of the train.
I saw cow-protectors at several crossings, these when the cow tries to
cross the rails, split its hoof and she has to "back."

When we reached Sherbrook, I amused myself standing on the back
platform, pretending I was "Bryan" and posing for the admiration of a
crowd of boys who were at the station. When we were starting again,
there was a bump and a crash; I looked out, but all I could see was a
smashed tool box and tools scattered in every direction.

The porter was in the baggage car when they opened trunks, he told the
Inspector I was going to school and to let my trunks pass, which he did.

As we neared the end of our journey, I was the only passenger in the
Pullman car, so the conductor and the brakeman took me into a little
station to get breakfast. My, but it was good! It was composed of tender
beefsteak, fine coffee, the kind only French people know how to make,
potatoes, bread and butter. I handed the waiter fifty cents, which was
the price, and cheap at that, to my surprise, he gave me back a quarter.
It appears the little French conductor told the proprietor I was his
brother, then he shook hands with me, and if I hadn't laughed, he might
have believed the conductor and given me back the other quarter.

When the train started again, the Frenchman, who had charge of me,
called me "old boy" (he didn't mean the devil, of course), and he asked
me if I wanted to ride on the engine, I accepted his offer and rode a
hundred miles on it.

I arrived safely at Levis (as my telegram stated) after passing under
several long snow sheds.

The train pulled up slowly and I had a splendid view of the grand old
fort of Quebec. It reminds me of the pictures I see of the rock of
Gibraltar, only that it has a wall with holes in it for cannon. I passed
out into snow sheds again, which brought me to L'Islet, where a
Christian Brother met me with a team; he got my trunk, which had
faithfully followed me all the way. We then started for the College,
which is about two miles from the station.

My studies so far are English, Latin, French, Commercial Arithmetic,
"The Duties of a Christian Towards God." This is a book used as a
reader. Our pleasures at this season are football (played with feet
only), baseball, tennis, and those games I mentioned in my letter to
Mamma.

I have had only one fight, and I was brave, as you told me to be, so I
licked the fellow. I have made ten good friends and two enemies, but the
enemies are big "Nits," they can hit hard, but don't know how to
"guard."

I am glad Dr. Carroll gave me boxing lessons last winter; they will be
useful to me now.

I go to Mass every morning. Tell this to Mamma. Give my love to the
following friends:

Professor Rinaldi, Mrs. Carpenter and family, especially Mr. Charlie and
Sam; Hetty and Pat, all the seven boys who were my chums--Elmer Mullen,
and the Priests at St. Thomas' College, Colonel O'Brian, Darling Mamma,
Aunt Lucy, Uncles Dick and Carroll, and all the friends I have left in
dear old Midville.

Excuse writing; I have spent two hours on this letter and I'm dead tired
of it.

  Your loving son,

       BOLAX ALLEN.

Answer to Bolax's first letter:

  SEPTEMBER.

_My Dear Son_: Your letter is most interesting, those of our friends who
do not know that composition is your forte, were inclined to believe it
was the production of your teachers. Mr. Thornton published it in his
journal, of which I send you a copy. He predicts you will be an editor
some day. I tell you this to encourage you; praise is due to him who
honestly deserves it.

But, dear, we know composition requires no effort on your part. Now try
to excel in what does require effort, your chirography and arithmetic,
for instance. There is an old Latin proverb which says, "Patient
industry is worth more than lazy talent," meaning that your talent and
ability will amount to nothing if you do not work.

Mamma and Aunt Lucy are sending such long letters, so you won't mind if
mine is short. God bless you, my dear son.

  Your affectionate,

       FATHER.

       *       *       *       *       *

  L'ISLET, P. Q., September.

_Dearly Beloved Home Folks_: I have passed the examination and have not
been placed in the highest class. That old arithmetic is the cause.
Then, I know almost nothing about Latin or French, but I mean to work in
earnest.

Mamma, I did not hear you say your uncle was a priest. He has been
pastor of the church for thirty years. His hair is white as snow and he
always wears a long black robe belted at the waist, with large beads at
his side. When walking out, his head is covered with a wide-brimmed hat.
I think he looks like the priest in Longfellow's Evangeline. He is very
kind to me and says I look exactly as you did when a child.

There are two funerals here each month; every window in the Church is
draped in black on these occasions, and all the ornaments on the altar
covered with mourning. But, Ma, dear! you should hear the "Chanteurs"
that sing at the Mass for the dead. They are four old men with cracked
voices. The first time I heard them, it was so awful that I really
thought their shouting and squeaking was done purposely to scare away
the devil from the corpse.

On Sundays the College boys sing in the choir; if I only could read
Latin, I could serve Mass and sing too. Latin is used more than French
in saying prayers.

The College grounds slope down to the St. Lawrence, the river is very
wide and beautiful, islands dot its surface. We have three large
rowboats and a sailing yacht. I am well pleased with everything so far,
except the "grub." I miss Hetty's cooking, but I don't starve and am
just as fat as ever.

With all the love of my heart and soul, I am,

  Forever yours,

       BOLAX ALLEN.


FUN IN THE DORMITORIES.

George Fulton, an "American boy," as they designated those who had come
from the "States," was always talking of the fun he had when at boarding
school near home. One day he called together six friends whom he could
trust: "Say you French fellows; you're too tame," said George. "You
ought to see the fun we had in the dormitories at the school I went to
in the 'States.' Tonight the Brothers hold a special council, they will
meet in the Chapel, which being on the other side of the Campus, will
prevent their hearing us if we have a little 'Shindig' in our
dormitory." "What's a 'Shindig,'" asked Leonce de Vean. "Something you
knock de shins?" "Ha, ha, you little French Crapeaud. I forgot you kids
don't understand English slang, but you'll see what it is tonight."

As he was entering the Study Hall, Bolax saw Harrison and laughingly
told him there was to be an awful "lark" in the dormitory. "We're going
to have no end of fun." "Are you?" said Harrison. "Well if it gets
amusing, come to my room and tell me, and I'll go down and look on."

It was Brother Isadore's night on duty. He walked slowly up and down the
range of the dormitories until every boy seemed ready to get into bed,
then he put out all the candles (there was no gas to be had and the
Brothers would not trust coal-oil lamps to boys). So long as they were
under surveillance, the boys observed the utmost quiet and decorum. All
continued in order until Brother Isadore passed out through the
lavatory, one of the boys following him as a scout, had seen the last
glimmer of his hand-lamp disappear around the corner at the foot of the
staircase, and heard the library door close behind him.

After that, as Brother Director was obliged to preside at the Council,
the boys knew they were safe from disturbance, and the occupants of the
large dormitory were the first to stir.

"Now for some fun," said George, starting up, and by the way of
initiative, pitching his pillow at Bolax's head.

"I'll pay you for that when I'm ready," said Bo, laughing, "but let us
light a few candles first; however, it's bright moonlight, maybe we had
better not light up, some one outside might notice our illumination."

Several fellows from the dormitory came on the scene with their sconces
lit, these they placed so as not to show through the windows. Then the
boys began all sorts of amusements, some in their night shirts, others
with their trousers slipped on. Leapfrog was the prevalent game for the
time, but at last Henry de la Tour suggested theatricals, and they were
agreed on.

"But we're making a regular knock-me-down shindig," said Fulton,
"somebody must keep guard."

"Oh, old Brother Isadore is safe enough in the Chapel; no fear of
disturbing him if we were dancing Jim Crow," answered Bolax.

However it was considered safest to put some one at the top of the
stairs in case of an unexpected diversion in that direction, and little
Leonce consented to go first. He had only to leave the lavatory door
open and stand at the top of the staircase, then he commanded for a
great distance the only avenue in which danger was expected.

If any Brother's lamp appeared in the hall, the boys had full three
minutes' warning and a single loudly whispered "cache-cache" would cause
them to "lay low," so that by the time of their adversary's arrival they
would, of course, be all fast asleep in bed, some snoring in an alarming
manner.

So at the top of the stairs stood little Leonce shoeless and shivering
in his night shirt, but keenly entering into the fun.

Meanwhile the rest were getting up a representation of the "Grande
Duchesse" pushing the beds together for a stage and dressing up the
actors in the most fantastic apparel. Fulton took the part of the Grande
Duchess and sang "Voici le sabre de mon père, Tu vas le mettre a ton
coté," etc. All joined in the chorus as loud as they dared.

Bolax made a famous "General Boome," because he was so stout; his
costume consisted of his night shirt, with a red woolen scarf around his
waist; on his head was a crimson silk handkerchief, which was very stiff
and stood up in a point. His cheeks were covered with corked whiskers
and mustaches. He sang:

    Piff, Paff, Pouf,
    Rut-a-pat-a poom,
    Je suis moi le Génèrale Boome!
    I am the great General Boome!

while he strutted up and down the aisle with a dust brush for a sword.

"I say," said Leonce, "it is very cold standin' here, won't some one
relieve guard?" After waiting a few minutes longer, he felt sure there
was no danger, and therefore ran up to Harrison's room.

"What's up," asked Harrison. "Oh, we've been having leap-frog and 'La
Grande Duchesse.' I'm keeping 'guard,' but it's so cold, I thought I'd
run up to your study."

"Little traitor, we'll shoot you for a deserting sentinel."

"There's no danger of being caught; besides, the fellows are making less
row now."

"Well, let us go down. I want to see the fun, too."

Fulton, as Grande Duchesse, was draped artistically in a sheet, which
trailed behind him, while a blue scarf decked his fair head. Placing
himself in an attitude of intensely affected melodrama he was singing:

    Je T'ai Sur Mon Coeur, etc.
    I have thee near my heart.

Suddenly his foot caught in his long trail and landed him on his back.
This scene tickled the audience immensely, and was greeted with shouts
of laughter. "Cache-cache!" shouted Leonce and took a flying leap into
his bed.

Instantly there was a bolt in different directions; the candles dashed
out, the beds pushed aside, and the dormitories at once plunged in
profound silence, only broken by heavy breathing of the sleepers, when
in strode Brother Director.

He stood for a moment to survey the scene. Every boy was in bed, but the
extraordinary way in which the bed clothes were huddled about, told an
unmistakable tale.

As the Brother for a moment crossed over to the lavatory, he heard some
one move. "Who's there?" said he. It was Harrison trying to sneak back
to his room; seeing he was caught, he came before his angry master.
"Harrison, is it? I am not surprised, go to your room, I will settle
with you tomorrow."

Passing again into the large dormitory, Brother heard nothing but the
deep snores of Fulton, and instantly fixed on him as the chief culprit.
"Fulton."

No reply, but steady music from that Worthy's bed. "Fulton!" he called
still louder and more sternly; "you sleep soundly, sir, too soundly, get
up directly," and he laid his hand on the boy's arm.

"Allez-vous en, ce n'est pas encore temps de se lever." [Get away from
here, it's not time to get up.]

"You speak very good French when you're asleep, but the shamming will
only increase your punishment." The wiley Fulton stretched himself
lazily, gave a great yawn, and then awoke with such an admirably feigned
start at seeing Brother Director, that Bolax who had been peeping from
over the bed clothes, burst into an irresistible explosion of laughter.
The Brother swung round on his heel. "What! Allen! get out of bed, sir,
this instant." Bolax forgetful of his disguise sheepishly obeyed, but
when he stood on the floor, he looked so odd in his crimson girdle and
corked cheeks, with the light of Brother's lamp shining on him, that the
scene became overpoweringly ludicrous to Fulton, who now in his turn was
convulsed with a storm of laughter faintly echoed from other beds.

"Très bien mes amis," (very well, my friends!) was Brother Director's
sarcastic remark, for he was now thoroughly angry, "you will hear from
me tomorrow." He then walked away with a heavy step.

Next morning, Mass was no sooner over than the boys were summoned to the
Study Hall. Brother Director began with: "I have a few words to say to
you.

"I find there was the utmost disorder in the dormitories last night.
Candles were lighted at forbidden hours, and the noise was so great that
it was heard through the whole building. I am grieved to see you cannot
be left alone even for a few hours without taking advantage of my
absence, and that some of the older boys, far from using their influence
to prevent those infractions of discipline, seem inclined to join in
them themselves, forgetting their position in school and abetting the
follies of children. You, Mr. Harrison, shall be deprived of a privilege
which you have abused, as a punishment for your conduct last night, you
will give up your private study until the end of the term.

"Fulton as the ringleader ought to be caned, but as this is his first
year, I will give him instead three days in the Cachot.

"Allen and the other little fellows who were led by him, shall be
deprived of recreation for one week. Now, boys, just let me ask you if
you have not enough legitimate pleasures without resorting to such
fooleries as that of last night?

"In our schools the Brothers make it a practice to enter into all
amusements with our pupils. This summer Fulton and the other American
boys saw how we went rowing with you, we join in your football games, we
even play marbles with the little fellows, but how would a Christian
Brother look dressed up as Master Allen was last night?" Here there was
a perceptible smile on Brother Director's face, which gave license for a
general titter from those who had seen the costume of "General Boome."
"Now we, as Christian Brothers, are bound to teach all who come under
our jurisdiction to be Christian gentlemen, and we use our best
endeavors to that end.

"We want all to be happy with us, no boy must remain in this College who
considers he is treated unjustly or harshly, but we will not allow our
rules to be broken or our authority set aside on any consideration.

"Now you may all go to breakfast."

After breakfast Honoré Bernier and several of the French boys
congratulated the "Americans" on getting off with so slight a
punishment. You may thank your stars it is Brother Benedict, who is
Director, he is so lenient; if you had been here in Brother John's time
you would all have gotten a dose of Extract of Rattan.

  OCTOBER 31ST.

_Dear Mother_: Our whole dormitory got into a scrape for "cutting up
shines" when we should have been asleep. I did not realize how foolish
it was to take fun out of time, until Monsieur Le Curé gave me advice on
the matter.

I promised him I would keep all the rules in the future and try for the
medal. I have started in, and although I find it hard work to keep from
mischief, I manage to save my fun for recreation hour.

I have joined the Society of St. Aloysius; that means great watchfulness
over myself to keep from offending God in the least manner.

Darling Mother, I hope you will have reason some day to be proud of your
loving son,

       B. ALLEN.



CHAPTER XV.

LETTER FROM A FRIEND.


  PALM BEACH, November 1st.

_Dear Master Bolax_: When you receive this letter you will say who is
this lady? I never knew her, so I must introduce myself. I am a very old
friend of your mother's; we were schoolmates. When you were a tiny baby
I saw you and held you in my arms, since then I have been traveling in
Europe and did not see your dear mother until we met down here. We often
walk out together, and talk of old times, but Mamma's chief topic of
conversation is her "boy." You are the core of your mother's heart, and
she so hopes to be able to say as you grow older, "This is my blessed
boy, is he not noble? I am so proud of him," and you will feel all the
nobleness of your nature grow greater, for any boy who can write such
sweet, tender letters has the Christ Child in his heart and cannot go
far wrong; only you let the little Pixie, a very tormenting spirit, sit
on your shoulder at times, and that is the trouble; just you work him
off and keep him off; his name is "Lack of Application," and he whispers
in your right ear, "don't study hard, let's have some fun; you'll get on
somehow."

Then "Lack of Application" has a little sister, who is just as
mischievous, her name is: "Procrastination," with these two little Elves
so close, and keeping them as constant companions is the cause of all
our trouble. If you will whisper to the dear Christ Child to drive them
off, and help you to put the cobbles of determination in their place,
you will find your pathway full of sunshine.

The Brothers, your instructors, do not mean to be severe, but are trying
to help you drive away these two spirits with whom you have struck up
such a great friendship.

Now, my dear boy, you have great talent; study that you may be one of
the _great men_ and you will find those you think are "hard" upon you
are your best friends and helpers.

For your mother's sake, who loves you better than her life, make
_pleasure your_ friend _for_ your hours of leisure, but let Brain, Heart
and Hands work during working hours. Seek all the knowledge that you now
have the chance of obtaining for the more you know of French, Music,
Mathematics and general knowledge, the greater are your chances of
success.

I think I hear you say: "Why did this lady write to me? She don't know
me." Oh, yes, she does, from your letters, and your mother's description
of you.

I love boys. I have had one of my own; I know all about their funny
tricks. I used to wish I had been a boy myself.

Once when a little girl, I kicked and yelled for an hour because I was
not permitted to climb a chestnut tree, and set traps for rabbits and
play shinney with the boys. Now don't you think I know something, having
gone through all this.

I think a letter from you to me would be a fine thing. We might have a
tilt or two with the pen and brain, if not with the sword and lance.

As your dear mother tells me you have a loving, kind heart. I send you a
portion of the love I give her and ask you to call me,

       AUNT ANNA EUHLER.

       *       *       *       *       *

  L'ISLET, P. Q., December 8th.

_Darling Mother_: Your sweet letter was received yesterday and my heart
beat with joy on seeing it.

Brother will let me have all the books and papers you can send. I would
like to renew my subscription to Harper's Young People. I have read all
dear Father Finn's books over again, and enjoyed them as I did the first
time. I know you are under great expense on account of Papa's illness,
so do not exert yourself trying to send me Christmas money, if it
becomes necessary I will do without going anywhere or getting anything.

There will be a few boys here to stay over Christmas and New Year, so I
will have a little fun, although not as much as if I went to Quebec, St.
Anne, St. Eugene's, Cape St. Ignac or Trois Pistolets.

Brother Director has told the Brother who cooks to clean the butter for
me, he will put it in water and mash it, thus withdrawing the salty
taste and black particles.

I now have a book called "Horsfield's Method of Learning French
Language," and I think it will help me very much. It has the French on
top and the English underneath, as:

  Il est fou, etc.,
  He is fool.

It also has conversation, as:

  Vous avez des cheveuz rouge,
  You have the hairs red.

Don't you wish I could write as well as the fellow who addressed this
envelope? The strongest boy in the school is Adolph Bernier, and he is
one of my best friends. If he had the nerve of Dr. Carroll he could lick
the world.

His muscle is almost three times as large as Doctor's, and his legs
about eighteen inches round.

The wind howls around here, and the snow is above the fences. We walk on
it with snow shoes.

My love to Papa. Could you send me some alligator's eggs?

  Your loving son,

       BOLAX.

       *       *       *       *       *

  PALM BEACH, December.

_My Noble, Generous Boy_: Your letter touched Papa to the heart, but
there will be no necessity for your making such a sacrifice.

It would grieve me to have my child so far away from home, without the
means for having a pleasant Christmas. Uncle wrote to say he would
attend to your holiday pleasures, and Papa now sends ten dollars.

We laughed so heartily at your description of how the butter was washed
for your benefit.

Dearie, do you remember the stories old Colonel O'Brien used to tell us
of his campaign during the Civil War? How once he was nearly
forty-eight hours without food, and was glad to eat an old piece of
ham-fat, which he saw a darkey throw out on the grass as he rode past?

Colonel told us it was the spirit of self-control he had learned while
at College that enabled him to bear hunger, cold, privations of all
kinds, while in the army. Of course, the food is not expected to be as
dainty as at home, but it is always wholesome; no Catholic College would
give bad food to the children entrusted to its care. I tried to get the
alligator's eggs, but the darkies tell me that it is a hard matter to
find them; one old fellow told me: "Dem ugly beasteses loves dere young
like de dogs and cats do, dey hide dere eggs and watches round when de
time comes for de little ones to be hatched out; you don't better be
near at dat time hunten' eggs or young ones, de mudder would snap you up
in half a minute."

I have some curious shells which I will give you when I see you; they
would only be destroyed among so many boys, if I sent them.

Pray for Papa, not forgetting your loving mother.

P. S.--You ask me to describe Palm Beach, so I send the advertising
pamphlet. The description given therein is a perfect pen-picture of the
place, much better than I can give. I am Papa's amanuensis and he has so
many business letters to send I have little time for other writing, with
love,

       MAMMA.

       *       *       *       *       *

  DECEMBER 29.

_Bien Chère Maman_: Such a happy Christmas as I have had. At midnight I
was awakened by the Parish Church bells chiming the Adeste Fidelis.

The Midnight Mass was celebrated in the College Chapel, because the snow
is so deep, Monsieur Le Curé had announced to the Congregation that the
grand High Mass would be at 6 A. M. in the Parish Church.

I assisted at the Mass in the Chapel. It was my first Midnight Mass, and
I felt awed by the solemn ceremony.

The grand High Mass was sung by four gentlemen from Quebec. Brother
would not let me get up for it, but I attended Vespers in the evening;
they had the same choir as at the morning service, with a band of music.

At nine o'clock we were invited to breakfast in the Brothers' dining
room. At each "cover" was a box of bonbons from Brother Director and our
letters from home.

Dear Ma! I was so surprised I cried. I opened your dear letter first,
really I don't know how to thank you and dear Papa.

Aunt Lucy and Uncle Carroll sent me ten dollars, Uncle Dick, five. I
feel as rich as a millionaire, with my twenty-five dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

  JANUARY 20.

_Dear Mamma and Papa_: As I was writing the above, Monsieur Le Curé sent
for me to go with him to Quebec. You may be sure I jumped at the offer.

We put up at the Sulpician Seminary. We went to see several beautiful
churches.

Notre Dame de Victoire, built in the time of Louis XIV as a votive
offering in thanksgiving for a victory gained over the English.

The very same flags and trophys captured then are still preserved in
this church.

We saw the ice palace, on the summit of a hill, it was illuminated by
electricity, and reminded me of Aladin's Castle in the fairy tale.

No one was allowed to go into it, but you could look in at the windows
and doors, and see the wax figures dressed in fancy costumes.

You should have heard the joy bells, and the booming of the cannon from
the citadel ushering in the New Year.

There was no discordant clang, no ear-splitting fog horns as in New
York, but most of the churches having chimes, made an inspiriting
melody.

The Basilica played the Te Deum, Adeste Fidelis, and the National
Anthem.

We had midnight Mass in the Seminary, and no one went to bed until near
morning.

I must tell you about a little girl we met in the street. She was
carrying a doll in her arms when she slipped and fell; the doll was
broken to pieces, the poor little thing knelt on the pavement and looked
sadly at it, then bursting into tears and raising her eyes to heaven,
she cried out: "Sainte Vièrge mon seul enfant est mort!" (Holy Virgin,
my only child is dead!)

It went to my heart to see her, so I picked her up, and tried to comfort
her; I took her to the nearest shop and bought another "child," when I
placed it in her hands, her eyes fairly danced with delight. "Oh,
mesieu! I tank yo! No English speak."

Monsieur Le Curé gave her his blessing. As she was leaving the store she
took up the broken doll, we asked her what she wanted with the old,
broken thing. "Ah, mesieu, one does not throw away dead children; they
must be buried."

The people here are so full of faith; you will see well-dressed
gentlemen and ladies stop to say the Angelus in the street if they hear
the bell ring.

I pray our dear Lord, that you, Papa, and all I love may have a happy
New Year.

  Your affectionate son,

       B. ALLEN.

After Christmas holidays it was difficult for the boys to settle down to
study. The good Brothers, who had not forgotten their own boy-life,
understood this and did not draw the reins of discipline very tight for
the first few days.

Brother Director made a very pleasant and sensible address to the
juniors on the duty and benefits of being diligent in study. At the
close of his "talk," as he termed it, he said:

"And now boys, I have something to offer you by the way of spurring your
diligence. Three beautiful silver medals have been placed in my hands by
three gentlemen living in Quebec. These medals are for your competition.
If they were intended as rewards, I would not be a party to their
bestowal. I want my pupils to feel that hard, honest study carries its
own reward with it. Study puts you in possession of knowledge, which is
power, strength, influence and pleasure.

"These are rewards to satisfy any virtuous boy without the addition of
gifts. Boys of your age lag a little sometimes, and perhaps need
something tangible to help them on. I hope these medals will keep you
all up to your mettle, and that although only three of you can win them,
all will prove yourselves worthy of them. One is for keeping the rules
of the College. One for Composition--English or French. One for him who
shall pass the best examination in all branches of study.

"You are now dismissed until tomorrow morning, when I shall expect you
to be ready to begin work in earnest."

The boys set up a grand huzza for Brother Director, and then dividing
into groups were soon scattered over the grounds or seated under the
sugar maple trees.

All the boys made determined resolutions to win the prize. Bolax was
especially anxious, because his father had objected to his coming to
Canada, and he wanted to show that his mother's choice of a College was
a success.


LETTER TO PAPA.

_Dear Papa_: Now I am in another scrape. The fellow that took things
from the table has been found out; I can't imagine how. But he declares
I told Brother Isadore on him. I said it wasn't true. He got red in the
face and called me a hypocrite; said I pretended to be a saint because I
go to Holy Communion every week. Papa, I never pretended to be a saint.
It isn't agreeable to have people think you're worse than you really
are.

  Your loving son,

       B. ALLEN.


PAPA'S ANSWER.

_My Dear Son_: How is a boy to become a manly man if he has everything
and everyone about him "agreeable." I did not send you to College just
for the French and Latin merely. I could teach you those languages, and
in fact, all your other lessons if I chose. I send you that you may get
some knocks, and bruises; that you may learn to bear annoyances with
patience and manliness.

As long as you live in this world you will meet with people who will
misunderstand and misjudge you. But what of that? You have and always
will have, if you deserve it, friends who appreciate and love you, who
will make the best of your good qualities and the least of your bad
ones. Above all, you can have the friendship of God by faithfully
keeping His Commandments.

  Your affectionate

       FATHER.


LE GOURMAND.

For some weeks since the boys returned after Christmas holidays, Brother
Julien, who had charge of the dormitories, complained of finding scraps
of cake, apple cores, etc., hidden behind the water tank in the
lavatory; no one could tell who placed them there. Fulton and Allen
knew, but would not inform, although both were very often disturbed by
hearing Hyacinth Laforge munching apples in the bed next them.

One morning Brother Director came into the Refectory looking very stern.
"I will thank the young gentlemen as they pass from the room to turn
their pockets inside out," was the bland invitation that filled
everybody with amusement or consternation, as the case might be.

There was a good deal of laughing and joking, as the boys filed out of
the room and a great display of knives, pencil, bits of string, etc.

At last the guilty one took his turn. Out came apples, crumbs of cake,
nuts, a little of everything.

"So it seems we have a thief among us!" Brother Director spoke in a very
severe tone of voice.

"I didn't suppose you would begrudge me an apple or two," said the boy,
throwing the contents of his pocket defiantly on the table.

"Nor do I. If you had come to me or to the Brother Procurator, and said:
'I am a greedy fellow; I want to eat all I can hold at the table, and
have something to fall back on between times,' you would have been amply
provided. But what is that bulging out under your jacket? Open it
immediately." Hyacinth slowly and with a dogged air, unbuttoned his
vest, when, to the astonishment of the Brother, and the great amusement
of the boys, out came a whole pie.

Such a laugh as followed! Brother Isadore, who was standing near,
touched the pie, and finding it was still warm, asked when he had
managed to capture it. The cook answered the question by coming on the
scene, saying: "That boy ran through my kitchen a minute ago, shouldn't
wonder if he had taken something, he's always sneaking round."

"Here Brother, here's his plunder," said the Director, "Ce n'est bon que
pour les poules maintenant!" (It is only fit for the chickens now),
answered the cook, who was very much provoked.

After the laughter had subsided, Hyacinth received a severe and
mortifying reproof.

Brother Director said: "Since eating seems to be your chief aim in life,
and to save you from stealing, your bed shall be moved into the little
clothes room and a plate of cakes and apples placed so that you can
munch all night if you wish, without disturbing the rest of the
dormitory." The boys passed out laughing. It is needless to add that the
apples and cakes were beside the greedy one, every night until he was
sick of the sight and smell.


FRENCH LETTER.

Mrs. Allen was very anxious that her son should write a letter in
French, so to please her he sent the following:

  COLLEGE DE L'ISLET, Janvier 7.

_Bien Chère Maman_: Votre card de postal etait recu hier et je l'ai lu
avec beaucoup de playsir.

Je suis toujour content a recevoir vos lettres, parceque vous est mon
premier amour, je vous aime plus que tout dans le monde et dans le ciel
exceptey le bon Dieu et la sainte Vierge.

S'il vous play, envoyer moi de l'argent pour achetey du sucre blanc. Je
n'aime pas le sucre brune.

Comme ceci est mon premier lettre en français, si vous play ne fait pas
le _fun_ a mes fautes.

Je suis avec tout l'amour de mon coeur votre fils.

       B. ALLEN.

TRANSLATION OF LETTER.

_My Dear Mamma_: Your postal card was received yesterday and I read it
with much pleasure.

I am always so glad to receive your letters, because you are my first
love, my own dearest mother!

I love you more than anything in this world or in Heaven, except the
good God and the Holy Virgin.

If you please, send me some money. I want to buy some white sugar, as I
don't like the brown sugar they give here.

As this is my first French letter if you please don't make fun over my
faults.

I am with all the love of my heart,

  Your son,

       B. ALLEN.

       *       *       *       *       *

  PALM BEACH, FLA., January.

_My Very Dear Child_: Papa and I are much pleased with your effort at
French letter-writing, you spell as the words are pronounced, but you
will soon learn to correct that. Don't forget accents. They are as
important as letters in writing French. I enclose two dollars for the
sugar.

Papa is improving in health and spirits in this delightful climate. I am
writing at an open window, with the odor of roses and Jessamine wafting
into my room.

Dearest make good use of your time. Papa is particularly anxious about
your arithmetic, and you know that's your weak point. We are so pleased
with the "gold certificate," it proves you are doing your best. Pardon
the brevity of this letter, Papa is waiting for me to go and watch the
alligators sporting in the water, but we won't let them get a bite at
us.

  Your loving mother,

       M. ALLEN.

P. S.--I should not have said "sporting," for alligators are sluggish
beasts, but often may be seen in the mud in clusters, a tail-switching,
or a head raised, on the watch for prey.

       *       *       *       *       *

  L'ISLET, January 15.

_Bien Chère Mère_: I have just received a Christmas gift from that old
lady we always called "Madame." You know she never would say my name,
always calling me "Bon Homme."

The following verse is written on the fly-leaf of the book she sent.
Don't you think it cute?

    Sans que je te nomme,
    Mon petit "Bon Homme,"
    Je m' adresse au ciel;
    Et je te souhaite
    Une belle fête,
    Un heureux Noel,
    Un coeur pur et sage,
    Voilà le présage,
    D'un bonheur reël.

       MADAME.

Avec beaucoup d' amour je suis votre fils.

       B. ALLEN.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bien Chère Mère_: Vous me demandez encore une autre lettre en français!
Whew! How am I to manage it? Why on earth do they have male and female
verbs, and adjectives, and spell the participles differently at every
turn. It's no use, I'll never do it! Brother Director tells me I read
well, talk well, pronounce well, that ought to be enough.

Hier j'aidé le frère Pascal, qui est le cuisiniere de porte le bois dans
la cuisine, without thinking, j'ai laisser tomber les morceau de bois
dans un chaudron de soup.

Le bon frère didn't get mad, he just said: "Tu a fais ton mieux mon
petit, voici des pommes en payment de votre ouvrage." I didn't consider
it work, it was just play.

J'ai achete' des raquettes (snow shoes) we have a fine skating rink, and
we play hockey every day.

I had to buy new moccasins, mine were all cut after a long walk over a
rough road. I have a new Cache-nez (muffler) and a surtout; et un
casquette Canadian, which covers toute ma tete et mes oreilles, leaving
only my eyes and nose free, so I don't feel the cold, although the
thermometer is always below zero.

       *       *       *       *       *

  March 5th.

_Dear Papa and Mamma_: It is now three weeks since I wrote the above. I
have been in the infirmary, but don't be alarmed; I'm all right now. The
way it was, the boys dared me to climb a telegraph pole covered with
ice. As I had once climbed a greased pole, I thought I could manage this
one. I succeeded somehow, though I had a hard tussle to accomplish the
feat.

The boys cheered and made such a racket, one of the Brothers came out,
in my hurry to descend I fell when within a few feet of the ground, and
broke my ankle. Dr. Dion, a fine surgeon, set it, and placed my foot in
plaster-of-paris. Brother Director wrote to Aunt Lucy and Dr. Carroll,
but not to Papa or you, as it was no use to worry you. I have had the
best of care, the Brother Infirmarian was a doctor out in the world and
knows all about nursing.

I am fed on "sugar and spice and everything nice."

Monsieur Le Curé sits with me every day. I could walk now if they would
let me.

I am not losing my lessons, but keep up as near as possible with the
classes.

Brother Director hears me the lessons. Brother Paul (the Infirmarian)
does not speak a word of English, so that will help my French. Give my
love to dear Papa and to Aunt Euhler. I will write her a letter soon,
her last about the tame alligator was enjoyed by the whole College. She
says you all eat alligator's tails, that the meat is like chicken. I
wish you could send one up here, I'd like to taste it. Now don't worry,
I'll soon be as well as ever.

J'ai l'honneur de me dire, avec une parfaite affection, Votre
fils--Ahem!

       BOLAX.

       *       *       *       *       *

  EASTER SUNDAY.

_Bien Cher Papa et Chère Maman_: I still continue strong and well, and
pray that you and dear Papa are in good health. I have really tried hard
to study and keep the rules of the College. With this I send another
"Gold Certificate," which shows I have given satisfaction.

I long so to see you as the time approaches for vacation.

I go to Holy Communion every Sunday and First Friday, but you needn't
think I am going to be a Christian Brother, or a Priest. I would be
afraid I might get tired and cut up didoes like that Monk we read of in
Ivanhoe.

  Always votre fils,

       BOLAX.

P. S.--The Monk's name was Friar Tuck. I remember Uncle Dick telling
about him.

    "Hurrah, Hurrah! for vacation's coming,
    And the weeks of Jubilee!"


AWARDING PRIZES.

The weeks rolled on in spite of the oft-repeated saying among students,
"Vacation will never come." The examinations began on June 15th; quite a
number of patrons attended. Bolax stood the test of examination finely,
all things considered, but his former lack of application showed itself
in several things, particularly arithmetic.

In addition to the three medals given by the gentlemen, a prize had been
offered for the best declamation. All prizes were to be awarded at the
closing exercises on Commencement Day.

The large exhibition hall was crowded on that afternoon, which was a
regular fete for the people of L'Islet. Great pains had been taken to
dress the hall, its walls were festooned with evergreens, and the
spacious platform gay with flags.

The boys were dressed in white pants and blue jackets. Everything that
skill and taste, combined with economy, could suggest, had been done to
make the place attractive, and the occasion pleasant.

"What uncouth creatures boys are!" observed one young lady to a bevy of
misses seated near her. "Look, there isn't one in that crowd sitting
gracefully, they all act as if their hands were in their way." "You
don't mean to say my brother is ungraceful, do you?" asked Julie
Bernier.

"Oh, I'm not referring to the collegiate class; they certainly are
gentlemen, but the juniors."

"I think," remarked Anaise Latour, "Young Allen, one of the American
boys, is very graceful, and he has such a pleasant expression of face."

"Oh, he's too fat to be graceful," retorted Julie Bernier.

A general titter followed this remark. Before the girls were ready to
renew their criticisms, the call bell rang. Brother Director announced
that the exercises would open with an address by Monsieur Le Curé.

After the address came the spirited hymn, "Nous Sommes Les Soldats de la
Foi" (We are the Soldiers of the Faith), played by the College band, and
sung by all the boys.

Next on the program came the declamations by the juniors, of course,
most of the pieces were given in French, as few among the audience
understood English.

George Fulton came first, with a comic Piece, taking off "Stump
Speaking." This elicited much applause, because of the excellent
mimicry of the speaker.

Bolax Allen gave Joaquin Miller's "Columbus." As he imitated the
Admiral's "Sail on! Sail on! Sail on and on!" he thrilled the audience
with the power of his voice. One could almost fancy they saw Columbus as
he paced his deck on the eventful night before he sighted land.

Mr. H. Bernier and Mr. L. Harrison entered into a comic debate as to the
superior merits of their respective nations. Bernier for the French,
Harrison for the English. The young gentlemen seemed so in earnest, got
into a dispute and spoke in such angry tones, that every one expected to
see them resort to fisticuffs. At a point when they appeared to be in a
rage against each other, old Farmer Tourier happened to come into the
hall, and being struck with what he thought the disgraceful conduct of
the boys, jumped on the stage to separate them.

"Have you no respect for Monsieur Le Curé and the Brothers?" he demanded
in a loud voice.

Monsieur Le Curé and the other gentlemen on the platform were so
convulsed with laughter, it was some minutes before any one interfered.
The audience fairly shouted and clapped, it was a regular pandemonium.

At last one of the Brothers went up to poor old Tourier and whispered to
him. You should have seen his crestfallen appearance when he found he
had been making a laughing stock of himself.

Poor old fellow, all summer the villagers laughed whenever they met him,
as his wife said:

"On a bien ri ce jour là, et tout le monde rit-encore!" (People laughed
that day, and they laugh yet.)

Brother Director appointed a committee to decide on the merits of the
declaimers and to award the prize. When these gentlemen arrived at a
decision, Brother awarded the medals.

After a brief address by Monsieur Le Curé, in which he showed that the
highest reward of study is not a medal or prize of any kind, but the
mental growth and power which comes from it to the student.

"Still," he added, "a prize is not to be despised, because it symbolizes
the diligence, obedience and perseverance of the winners. Hence, my
boys, I wish you ever to set a higher value on the character which wins,
than the prize which is won.

"The committee of examinations have unanimously awarded the silver medal
for general excellence in all studies to Louis Tascherau." Here cheers
were given for Louis.

"The silver medal for the best composition is awarded to Bolax Allen."
Cheers were heartily given for Bolax, and the young ladies in the
audience could not say this boy was not able to make a most graceful
bow.

"The committee on declamation found it very difficult to decide between
the speakers. There was but a shade of difference in favor of Fulton, so
he received the medal." George was loudly applauded, for he was a jolly
fellow, liked by the whole school, masters and scholars, although
inclined to make fun out of time.

To his utter astonishment, Bolax heard his name called again, this time
to receive a medal for strictly keeping the rules of the College, and
giving good example by his upright conduct on all occasions.

Huzzas three times repeated showed that he had won the good will of his
companions.

As Monsieur Le Curé placed the medal around Bo's neck, he whispered. "I
wish your worthy parents were here to see your triumph."

After the juniors had received their rewards, the young collegians were
introduced by Brother Director.

Some of them spoke on learned topics, rather above the comprehension of
many in the audience, but evidently highly appreciated by the priests
and other gentlemen seated on the platform.

Mr. Brenier received the gold cross, the highest reward given to a
graduate. T. Harrison and H. de Villiers received gold medals for
excellence in all studies.

Honoré gave the Valedictory, dressed in a long black gown and doctor's
cap, he looked very handsome and proved himself a fine orator. He was
interrupted by frequent bursts of applause. At last came one tumultuous
and prolonged, that proclaimed the conclusion of his oration.

The exercises being ended, the band struck up, and all sang the vacation
song:

    Quel plaisir nous allous partir
    Les vacances vont commencer!

When the music had ceased, the students with their parents and friends,
were invited to partake of a simple collation. You may be sure they had
a merry time over the cake and ice cream.

After the boys left, the College was so quiet, the halls and rooms so
empty that Bolax and Fulton were overpowered with loneliness. They were
the only scholars who had to remain. Harrison, the other "American" boy,
had gone to his uncle in Montreal to spend his vacation.

Bolax expected soon to hear from his parents, who were on their way to
Canada, and Fulton was invited to spend a few weeks with his chum, de
Villiers, at the pretty village of "Trois Pistolets."

On the morning of the fourth day of vacation, Brother Julien took the
boys out for a sail on the St. Lawrence. He brought a hamper of good
things for luncheon, and fishing tackle to give them employment.

They were very lucky and filled a basket with fine trout, but just as
they were preparing to return the wind changed, and the boat was
becalmed.

They had made up their minds to pass the night on the water, when
fortunately, a strong north wind filled the sails, and they steered for
home.

It was after dark when they got to the pier, where they found Brother
Director and a crowd of villagers on their knees praying "La bonne St.
Anne," to protect the boat with its precious cargo.



CHAPTER XVI.

BOLAX LEAVES COLLEGE FOR VACATION.


The following morning Monsieur Le Curé took both boys to the Falls of
Montmorency; when they returned home in the evening they found a letter
from Mrs. Allen, telling her son of her safe arrival in Quebec and
requesting him to come to the Frontenac Hotel.

Bolax was overjoyed, and so excited, he could not pack his trunk, so
Brother Isadore did it for him; he took all his belongings, except his
books, which he gave in charge of the Brothers, because he expected to
return to College in the Fall.

Fulton had a very suspicious moisture in his eyes, as he shook hands
with his merry chum, and Bolax hated to leave him alone, but consoled
himself with the thought that his friend would soon visit de Villiers,
at Trois Pistolets.

Monsieur Le Curé, and all the Brothers embraced "le cher enfant." "Au
revoir" was said, then the carriage drove to the station, where Bo took
the train for Quebec.

Such a happy reunion of parents and son. Mr. Allen was surprised to see
his whilom, fat boy so tall and shapely and in such splendid health,
notwithstanding the "grub" he ate at College.

"Mamma," said he, "I wonder how the Frontenac menu will agree with this
young gentleman?" "Indeed," answered Mamma, "I fear not so well as
L'Islet bill of fare." Good-natured Bo did not mind being teased, but
when seated at the table, his appetite showed that the Frontenac menu
was quite to his taste.

Bolax felt he knew quite a little about Quebec from his visit at
Christmas, so he offered to conduct his father and mother to the
principal churches and places of interest in the environs of the city.

They visited the monuments of General Montcalm and General Montgomery,
the brave French and English Generals, who were killed at the assault on
Quebec, 1775.

Mr. Allen, being an Englishman by birth, took great pleasure in
examining the men-of-war belonging to the navy, and one afternoon
climbed up to the Citadel to see the Fort, and chat with the soldiers.
Mrs. Allen was not able to walk up such a height, so she was carried,
seated on a chair strapped to a man's back.

Captain Wentworth, one of the officers, made himself very agreeable,
took them into the Fort, explained to Bolax how the cannons were fired
off, and told of many interesting events relating to the history of
Canada from the time of the English invasion, etc.

Mrs. Allen reminded her husband that it was growing late, and although
they were being so pleasantly entertained, she thought it time to take
leave. Then Mr. Allen presented his card and thanked the officer for his
kind courtesy. With the military salute, Captain Wentworth bowed, and
conducting them down the steep descent, wished them "bon voyage."

A week was spent in Quebec, making purchases and getting a new outfit
for Bolax, who had outgrown all his clothing. Mr. Allen proposed going
to one of the beautiful suburbs to give his boy an "outing."

"If I had my choice," said Bo, "I would like to spend the whole summer
at Montmorency Falls; when I was there last week with Monsieur Le Curé,
we dined at a small hotel, kept by friends of his; everything was so
comfortable and clean. There were three boys, who met us, as we were
leaving, they had fishing rods over their shoulders, their pants stuck
into their boots and looked as if they had had a jolly day of it. When
Monsieur Le Curé introduced me, he called them his 'old friends.' They
invited me to stay with them a week, but I told them I expected to be
sent for by my parents."

"Well, my boy, I would prefer a place of that kind where you can have
all the fun you want, and I a quiet time; we have had too much society
at Palm Beach."

So all agreed to go to Montmorency, especially as it was at a convenient
distance from L'Islet and Quebec. During the seven weeks of their visit,
Bolax made himself very agreeable to every one, and became a general
favorite especially among the boys and girls, because he was an adapt in
all games and always ready for fun.

Among the boarders was an invalid, who spent most of his time seated in
a corner of the piazza. Mr. Allen often entertained him, and Bolax would
leave his companions to talk to him because he looked "so lonely." His
name was "Cartier;" he prided himself on being a direct descendant of
the famous Jacques Cartier, one of the first explorers of Canada.

One day in speaking to Mr. Allen, the old gentleman praised Bolax for
the thoughtful kindness he had shown him on all occasions, at the same
time remarking it was a pity the boy should have been given such an odd
name.

"I admit it is an odd name," answered Mr. Allen, "and I doubt if any one
ever owned it before." "Well," said Monsieur Cartier, "it suits Bolax
for he certainly is an odd boy--a remarkable mixture of king's fool and
profound philosopher."

       *       *       *       *       *

The nineteenth of July, St. Anne's Day, was to be celebrated with great
pomp and ceremony in the Basilica, at Beaupré. Bolax wanted to join the
Pilgrimage going from L'Islet, but his mother and father preferred
visiting the shrine when there would be less of a crowd.

On the twenty-second of August, our friends put on their traveling array
once more, the note of preparation was struck, the destination this time
being St. Anne de Beaupré. When all was ready for their departure, they
took leave of the pleasant company at Montmorency, but their hostess,
Madame Coteau, would not hear of an "Adieu;" it must be an "Au revoir,"
said the kind woman. "You must stop on your way back."

"That's true," agreed Mr. Allen, "we will be obliged to pass this way on
our road to L'Islet, suppose we leave our trunks and take only handbags.
We won't need anything more for the ten days we propose remaining at
Beaupré."

"Justement! I'm glad you thought of that. Now we are sure of your
return." All bid a warm-hearted "good-bye," too warm for Mr. Allen, who
being an Englishman, could not appreciate the French custom of men
embracing, but he submitted with grace, when dear old Monsieur Cartier
put his arms around his neck and wished him a fervent "God bless you."

Arrived at Beaupré, our friends made their first visit to the Basilica.
They were just in time for Benediction, not wishing to disturb the
congregation they knelt at the door, but the Beadle (an imposing
personage in red cassock and bearing a staff) came and invited them into
a pew.

After Benediction several men and women knelt before the shrine of St.
Anne; one mother held up a child in her arms, imploring its cure, she
prayed aloud: "Oh! bonne Ste. Anne guerissez mon enfant, je vous suplie,
au non de Jesus à qui rien n'est impossible." (Oh, Blessed St. Anne cure
my child, I beg of you, in the name of Jesus, to whom nothing is
impossible.)

Mr. Allen looked on, then turning to his wife, whispered: "There was a
time when I would have considered this rank superstition, but now I am
greatly edified, for I see the faith and devotion of people is fervent
and sincere."

When they left the Church, Mr. Allen surprised his wife and son by
telling them that his chief desire now was to make a retreat and prepare
for Baptism. Mrs. Allen was so overjoyed, she rushed back into the
Church, threw herself on her knees and thanked our Lord. Bolax and his
father followed and all knelt in prayers of gratitude for so great a
favor.

A few paces from the Basilica stood Hotel Orleans, to which they had
been recommended by Monsieur Cartier; having secured rooms, they went
out for a walk. They climbed a hill from which they saw a beautiful
panorama of white sails and verdant islands set like jewels on the bosom
of the St. Lawrence.

The next morning after Mass, Mr. Allen went to the Monastery and asked
the Abbot to allow him to begin his retreat. The good Priest was
delighted to receive him and found on examining his neophyte that he was
very well informed on religious matters and firmly believed in all the
truths of the Catholic religion.

When Mr. Allen entered on his retreat, he requested that no one should
visit him. His wife and son willingly agreed to make the sacrifice of
being separated from him for a time, so that their beloved one might
give all his attention to preparing for the most important events of his
life, viz: The reception of Baptism and Holy Communion.

Bolax accompanied his mother to all the chapels and shrines in the
neighborhood. They went up the Holy Stairs on their knees, at the top
was a figure of Pilate, and one of Christ standing, both life-size. In
other Chapels were representations of the different stages of our Lord's
passion; all the figures were life-size and so realistic as to startle
one, who came upon them unawares. In a tiny room with barred windows,
resembling a prison, Bolax came upon the statue of Christ as He is being
crowned with thorns. The God-man sits with His Garments torn from His
limbs, which are covered with wounds; streams of blood flow from the
divine face; a soldier is in the act of spitting on Him, another driving
the thorns into the sacred head. On seeing this, the boy burst into
tears, he felt as though he was really in the presence of his suffering
Redeemer. Knowing the effect such a pitiful sight would have on his
mother, he went with her everywhere, carefully avoiding the distressing
image.

One day while watching the sailboats landing the pilgrims, Bo heard his
name called, looking around he saw Leon Casgrainie, his mother and
sister, from L'Islet; they were so glad to meet again. Bo introduced his
mother. Madame Casgrainie embraced Mrs. Allen as if she had been an old
friend, for these Canadians are so full of hearty friendliness. In a few
days the ladies were almost on intimate terms.

The day appointed for Mr. Allen's reception into the Church was August
thirty-first. Madame Casgrainie expressed a wish to be present, so Mrs.
Allen invited her and the children to the ceremony, which was to take
place at the seven o'clock Mass, in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

The altar was a blaze of light; tiny electric lamps of all colors were
placed in every available position, and full-blown roses shed sweet
perfume over all.

The Abbot celebrated Mass. Just before the Offertory, he read the
prayers admitting a catechumen to Holy Baptism. Mr. Allen bowed his head
in all humility while the Priest poured upon him the saving water which
made him a child of God and heir to Heaven. Immediately after this the
Abbot placed a white cope over the newly baptized, emblematic of the
purity with which his soul was adorned by this most Holy Sacrament.

After the Priest's Communion, Mr. Allen mounted the altar steps, still
wearing the white robe and received our Lord for the first time. At the
"Domine non sum dignus," the tears rolled down his cheeks; he was so
overcome with the sanctity of the act, so full of faith and love for
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Mrs. Allen and Bo also went to Holy
Communion. After Mass, Mr. Allen asked that his wife and son be admitted
to see him. I have no words to describe the ecstasy of delight that
thrilled their hearts when congratulating the beloved one. Mr. Allen
pressed them both to his heart in silence. When he could speak, he said:
"I feel our Angel child is rejoicing with us on this, the happiest day
of my life." The good Abbot came to bid farewell, and shed tears of joy
while bestowing the Papal Benediction on the family.

A few days after the events related, our friends were compelled to leave
the holy place and take their departure for L'Islet; Madame Casgrainie
offered to take them on her steam yacht, and begged them to accept the
hospitality of her house during their stay in the village. Mr. Allen
thanked the amiable lady, but told of his promise to return to
Montmorency. "That can be easily arranged," said Mrs. Allen. "We are not
in need of our trunks; after our visit to L'Islet we can keep our
engagement with our friends at Montmorency and send Bo's baggage to him
by express."

The next morning the yacht steamed out of the harbor bearing away a
jolly party, young and old were full of merriment, so true it is that a
clean conscience makes a happy heart. The mid-day bells were chiming the
Angelus as they landed at the pier, where Monsieur Le Curé and Brother
Director gave them a warm welcome to L'Islet. The good, old gentleman
insisted on having his niece and her family dine at the Parsonage every
day, for, said he, "I must see all I can of you, my children, it may be
my last opportunity." Bolax conducted his father and mother through the
College; they were perfectly satisfied with all the arrangements, and
thanked the good Brothers for the interest they had shown in their son.

Madame Casgrainie proved herself a most entertaining hostess, she was
lavish in her attention to her guests and made their visit to her a
never-to-be-forgotten pleasure.

On September 8th, the whole family went on an excursion to Isle St.
Roch. This is a charming spot. On the island is a ledge of rocks, and
seemingly carved on the stones can be seen the footprints of a man and
those of a dog; they extend the length of half a mile and are then lost
in a maze of tangled brushwood. The pious people of the place believe
that St. Roch, the great hunter, came here long ago and left his
footprints and those of his faithful dog. The ladies and girls roamed
over the island gathering blue berries, and the boys caught a basket of
fine fish. While they were resting, after a substantial luncheon, a
shrill sound floated down from high overhead. Gazing up, Bolax traced
aloft against the blue sky, the V-shaped phalanx, pointed southward of
the wild goose--the swift Canadian bird by its own instinct following
after summer heat.

"Ma, dear," said the boy, "I fear that is the signal for your departure;
the frosts come soon after the passage of those big birds, and Papa will
not be able to bear our cold winds. But, oh, how I shall miss you!" "My
darling, my heart will be very empty without you, but your father and I
make the sacrifice of leaving you because we are sure you are under the
best of care, both for your temporal and spiritual interests."

Madame Casgrainie and her daughter comforted Bolax, promising to have
him at their house as often as the Brothers would permit. "After all,
Bo," said Leon, "you are better off than most boys, even if you are a
thousand miles from home; you have your uncle, Monsieur Le Curé, so
cheer up and let us have a race on this hard beach. Whoever wins shall
have the biggest peach in the basket." (Peaches are a rarety in Quebec,
and its environs and are very costly.)

That evening Mr. Allen had a long talk with his son. He gave sound
advice on several points, notably the following: "Let conscience be your
king, and never attempt to weaken or to deviate from its commands. It is
God's merciful messenger within you to testify of Himself, to warn you
of danger, and point the right. Beware of trifling with conscience or of
weakening its force. You can do so, but when you have silenced it, you
will be left like a man, who, on a dark night, in a strange country
extinguishes his lantern.

"There are three words which perhaps every school boy has written as a
text-hand exercise, but which few lay to heart while they are following
the copy. They are these: 'Sin causes sorrow.' A mighty truth; would
that every boy would so learn it that the suffering which sin inevitably
brings with it might be escaped.

"Be truthful in the slightest matters; never allow yourself to
exaggerate. Have your mind occupied always with something good, pure,
useful. Remember the old saying, 'A vacant mind is the devil's
workshop.' Beware of the slightest propensity to evil, no pleasure
derived from sense can be compared with the tranquil joy which springs
from a pure heart.

"Let me tell you, my dear child, boyhood with all its little griefs and
troubles, is the most joyous time of life; its very spring time when
everything is fresh and beautiful. I did not appreciate it when I was a
boy, but now I sometimes sigh for it. If boys who are longing for the
time to come when they may be men could only know what a man's life and
work mean, they would pray to be kept at school all their lives.

"I wish I could gain the ear of all the boys in the world, I would say
to them affectionately, in the language of the Holy Apostle St. Paul. Be
strong; shun anything and everything that has a tendency to weaken your
mental and moral life.

"For you, my beloved son, I now say: Be strong in the grace you will
obtain by constantly and devoutly approaching the Sacraments. If the
love of God is the motive power of your life, you will grow from a
noble boy into a noble man."

Father, mother and son sat together late into the night; then kneeling
in devout prayer they retired to rest.

At seven o'clock on Wednesday morning, Monsieur Le Curé sent his
carriage to take his niece and her husband to the station. Madame
Casgrainie and Mrs. Allen bade each other a tearful farewell.

When on the train, Bolax bravely suppressed his emotion, so that the
parting should not be too painful for his parents; then Monsieur Le Curé
invited him to spend the night at his house, hoping to comfort him. In
the morning, our brave boy entered the College, where he found that
several of his classmates had returned. Fulton, Adolph and Tardeef gave
him a hearty greeting; soon they were exchanging droll stories and
making each other laugh at their adventures during vacation. On the
whole, Bolax's second year opened with pleasant prospects and under more
promising auspices than that which had preceded it.

Here we must leave our hero, asking the readers who are interested in
his story to pray that his future life may prove all that his parents
are trying to make it, viz: Pure, honest and noble in every sense of the
word.

END.



Author's Notes


Transcriber's Note: These comments are not part of the original printed
text of the book; they are excerpted from notes hand-written by the
author in Villanova University's copy.

"This book will tell you how my children were carefully trained in their
religion--It is true to life. I kept a diary of all my children's
saying and doings and from this wrote the book."

"The odd name comes from the boy's father calling him bow-legs because
as a baby he walked crooked. The boy caught the sound as 'Bolax' and was
so called until quite a big boy."



Historical Notes


Transcriber's Note: These notes were hand-written in Villanova
University's copy of the book by a librarian. They are not part of the
original printed text.

In 1892-93 the son of Mrs. Josephine Culpeper, Osmond J., attended
classes at Villanova, to which reference is made in her pages.

Mrs. C---- lives at Wayne, Pa.; it was from thence that the little "Bolax"
was sent to St. Thomas of Villanova, to which he refers in his letter
(p. 70). Allusions too on pp. 71, 72, 75, 82-86, 88, 97, 155-57, 159,
163.



Transcriber's Notes:


Apparent misspellings in dialogue have been retained on the assumption
that they are intentional.

This book has many problems with quotation marks and dialogue. These
have been corrected where practical, but some unusual formatting
remains. In some cases, best guesses have been made as to the correct
placement of missing punctuation--some situations are ambiguous.

ONLY A BOY (before page 1), changed "rob use" to "rob us."

Page 1, added missing chapter title.

Page 3, added missing open quote before "As for Bolax."

Page 4, added missing quotes to separate "said Miss Beldon, " from the
surrounding quotation; also added missing quote before "only
I--I--hope."

Page 5, added missing close quotes to second and third paragraphs;
changed "undersood" to "understood" in "Bolax understood what his mother
meant by this."

Page 6, changed single quote to double quote after "I ha'n't got no
chair."

Page 7, changed "catchism" to "catechism" in "Tom's coming to my
catechism class on Sunday." Also changed "would'nt" to "wouldn't."

Page 8, changed "flyspects" to "flyspecks."

Page 9, changed period to question mark in "What is it now, Bo dear?"

Page 10, changed "extinuguished" to "extinguished" in "should never be
extinguished."

Page 11, removed extraneous quote from "Ma, dear!" Ma, dear!"

Page 13, changed "quiet" to "quite" in "the animal was quite unbroken."

Page 14, added open quotes before "As for you, Pete Hopkins" and
"Pickaninys down Souf."

Page 15, added several missing quotes.

Page 18, added missing open quote before "tumty-tum twang!"

Page 20, added missing close quote after "Hurrah! for your birthday,
sister."

Page 22, changed "did'nt" to "didn't" and added missing period after
"goats feeding on such things."

Page 23, changed "tropped" to "trooped" and "princes" to "princess" and
removed stray quote after "and there's some one else,"

Page 24, changed "some of the Mamma's" to "some of the Mammas."

Page 25, added missing quote after "smoke it out."

Page 26, added missing quote after "Clean-plum through."

Page 27, changed "Bout to 'Bout.

Page 28, changed "you're money" to "your money."

Page 29, changed "acknownledge" to "acknowledge" and fixed numerous
quotation errors.

Page 30, attempted to make sense of more muddled quotation marks, adding
missing quotes and changing double quotes to single quotes to clarify
dialogue within dialogue.

Page 32, added missing close quote after "That sounds like Bolax."

Page 33, added missing close quote after "sicked them on Nan."

Page 35, fixed numerous quote problems.

Page 36, added many missing quotation marks.

Page 37, changed "Cathechism" to "Catechism" and added missing close
quote after "say your prayers and go to bed."

Page 38, changed "Asumption" to "Assumption."

Page 39, added missing close quote after "Once long ago, our dear Lord
died and--" and changed "beauitful" to "beautiful."

Page 40, added some missing quotes.

Page 44, added missing quotes to offset "cried Nellie Day" and "said
Aunt Lucy" from surrounding text.

Page 46, changed "getting'" to "gettin'" and added missing quote before
"No, I just wouldn't say that."

Page 50, deleted unnecessary quote before "Our Father, who art in
Heaven" and added missing quote after "giggling instead of saying his
prayers." Changed "nonsnse" to "nonsense."

Page 51, changed single quote to double quote after "taken by surprise"
and added quotes to offset "said Bo."

Page 53, changed "scarcly" to "scarcely."

Page 57, added missing quote after "if a promise was broken."

Page 58, changed question mark to period in ""Mamma, Elsie told a lie."

Page 59, added missing quote after "He shan't be whipped, he shan't" and
moved quote from after "son" to after "begun."

Page 62, added missing quote after "it hisses and cracks your bones
and--"

Page 63, added missing quote after "giving me a report of his conduct."

Page 71, added missing quote after "your rabbits."

Page 73, added missing quotes around "If Aunt Lucy had been home I would
not have been whipped." Added missing close and open quotes before "I
wouldn't let you."

Page 74, fixed numerous quotation-related errors. Changed "Nautlius" to
"Nautilus."

Page 75, added missing quote after "I'll study hard." Changed "broook"
to "brook."

Page 77, added missing quotes around "we have no pupils under twelve
years of age;" and around the paragraph beginning "That's just what I
intended proposing."

Page 78, added several missing quotes.

Page 79, added missing end quote after "before these shrines" and
missing open quote before "you don't mean to say;" offset "laughed Mr.
O'Donnel" by adding missing quotes; changed "demense" to "demesne."

Page 80, removed comma from "my little, man."

Page 81, fixed several quotation issues near bottom of page.

Page 83, changed single quote to double quote after "he wasn't struck
dead!" and added missing quote before "is kept so smooth and green."

Page 84, added missing quotes after "he didn't see the sign." and "if I
stayed long enough at College." Changed single quote to double quote
after "Are the priests kind to you?"

Page 85, added missing quote after "might get lost."

Page 87, added missing quotes after "two rats!" and before "where did
they come from?" and around "Well now, all that is to be done is to
catch them." Removed unnecessary quote after "I did."

Page 89, added missing quote after "sending Amy to Atlantic City?"

Page 98, changed double quotes to single quotes around "Hot box."

Page 101, fixed quotes surrounding "To shelter de Holy wanderers on dat
blessed Christmas night."

Page 102, added missing quote after "we are not holy enough."

Page 103, added single quotes around 'A friend of mine just happens to
be outside with his sleigh and I'll tell him to take you where you'll be
well treated.'

Page 106, removed extraneous quote after "Eleven."

Page 108, added missing close quote after "wayfarer."

Page 110, changed "entertaiment" to "entertainment."

Page 111, added missing open quote before "I'll make him feel the
vengeance."

Page 115, added missing quotes around paragraph beginning "That's a good
story."

Page 116, removed several unnecessary quotation marks.

Page 119, changed "meet (bring" to "meet. Bring" (simplest, least
disruptive way of resolving a mismatched parenthesis).

Page 125, removed unnecessary open quote at start of poem; changed
"singing'" to "singin';" changed "its" to "it's;" added missing close
quote after "all he hears and sees."

Page 126, changed "singing'" to "singin'" and "there" to "they're."
Removed unnecessary quote after "although'."

Page 127, changed "bright an fair" to "bright an' fair."

Page 131, changed "wildnerness" to "wilderness."

Page 132, changed "Cavalry" to "Calvary" and corrected spacing on last
line.

Page 133, changed double quotes to single quotes around "Prevention of
Cruelty Society" and added missing nested close single quote on last
line of page.

Page 136, changed "loving,son" to "loving son."

Page 139, removed stray quote before "May procession."

Page 140, changed "Collge" to "College."

Page 147, added missing close quote after "everlastingly punished in the
next."

Page 150, changed "darlng" to "darling." Added missing quote after first
reference to Fabiola.

Page 151, added missing open quotes to first two full paragraphs.

Page 152, fixed quotes around "Mass of the Angels."

Page 155, removed stray quote before "minor."

Page 157, fixed close quote after "But,"

Page 159, removed stray quote after "Bully!" and added missing quote
after "good-night."

Page 161, changed "could'nt" to "couldn't" and "birth" to "berth."

Page 164, changed "fort" to "forte."

Page 167, changed "scones" to "sconces."

Page 169, changed "sius" to "suis" and "Couer" to "Coeur."

Page 170, changed "Whose" to "Who's" and added missing open quote before
"you sleep soundly, sir."

Page 171, deleted unnecessary quote after "term."

Page 172, removed unnecessary quotes after "night?" and "consideration"
and added some missing quotes in the second full paragraph.

Page 174, added open quote before "don't study hard."

Page 175, changed "knoweledge" to "knowledge."

Page 177, changed "hearily" to "heartily."

Page 181, changed "competiton" to "competition."

Page 182, added missing quotes to first two full paragraphs.

Page 184, corrected quotes in last full paragraph on page.

Page 185, added missing close quote after "the rest of the dormitory."
Changed "S il yous play" to "S'il vous play."

Page 187, changed "francais" to "français."

Page 188, changed "ciusiniere" to "cuisiniere."

Page 189, changed "Carorll" to "Carroll."

Page 190, removed stray quote after "vacation's coming,"

Page 191, added missing open quote before "Young Allen."

Page 192, added missing close quote after "the Brothers?"

Page 193, added several missing quotes.

Page 196, added missing quote after "L'Islet bill of fare."

Page 197, changed "his-ory" to "history."

Page 198, changed double to single quotes around "old friends."

Page 199, added missing quote at end of page.

Page 200, added missing quotes around "Justement! I'm glad you thought
of that. Now we are sure of your return." and after "fervent and
sincere."

Page 201, changed "arrangments" to "arrangements."

Page 203, added missing close quotes after "the happiest day of my life"
and "send Bo's baggage to him by express."

Page 205, added missing close quote after "the biggest peach in the
basket."

Page 206, added missing open quotes on several paragraphs.





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