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Title: Mr. Sweet Potatoes and Other Stories
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MR. SWEET POTATOES AND OTHER STORIES

Illustrated



[Illustration]

The Werner Company
New York    Akron, Ohio     Chicago
1899

Copyright, 1899,
By
The Werner Company

[Illustration]



[Illustration: BREAKING THE CALVES.]



MR. SWEET POTATOES.


Our milkman has a very odd name,--translated into English it is "Sweet
Potatoes." His Chinese neighbors call him "Old Father Sweet Potatoes."

Some persons think him a good man; others say that he is a very bad
one. Just how that is I do not know--his business brings him great
temptation.

He is accused of putting water into the milk. He himself says, that he
only does it when he has not enough milk to supply all his customers;
then he does not know what else he _can_ do. When we engaged him to
bring milk to us we took him into our yard and showed him that we had
a well of our own.

The Chinese in their own country do not make any use of milk or
butter. They have a perfect horror of cheese, and in this part of
China, perhaps, not more than one man in a hundred will taste of
beef. Only a few cows and bullocks are kept, and these are needed to
plough the fields and turn the rude machinery of the sugar mills.

I suppose "Father Sweet Potatoes" had never thought of such a thing
as owning a cow, until foreign ships began to come to his part of
the country. Of course the ships brought foreign men and women, and
these all wanted beef to eat--sometimes the Chinese, wishing to speak
contemptuously of them, would call them "beef-eating foreigners,"--and
they also wanted milk for their cooking and for their children.

So Mr. Sweet Potatoes bought some cows, hoping to make some money in
the milk business. They all had long ropes laced about their horns or
threaded through their noses, and he got some little children to hold
the ropes and guide the cows in search of food; for there are no grass
fields in this part of the country, and all the pastures the cows have
are the little green places on the rocky hills and the grassy patches
along the brooks; and the children sit by and watch them while they
graze, for there are no fences, and, left to themselves, the cows
might stray into the rice fields or wander away into places where they
would be stolen.

Strange to say, we have our best milk when the winter has almost
killed the grass, or when the weather is too stormy for the cows to
go out; for then they are fed with the tops of pea-nut plants, either
green, or dried like hay, and up for sale in great bundles. This is
delicious food for the cows, and when they have it then we have good
milk indeed, with a thick, white cream upon it.

[Illustration: THE NATIVE HUMPBACK COW.]

Sometimes they have cut grass to eat, which has been brought from
steep places on the hills to which the cows cannot go. Very poor boys
go out with baskets and knives to gather this grass, and are paid only
three or four cents for the work of a day.

Mr. Sweet Potatoes has two kinds of cows. Some of them are the native
humpback cows, of very small size, very gentle; sometimes red and
sometimes brown, with hair that is smooth and glossy quite down to the
tiny little hoofs, which look far smaller and cleaner than do the feet
of cows in colder climates where they walk out in snow and stand in
frosty barns.

These cows have very small horns, sometimes three or four inches long,
but often mere little white buds coming out from their dark foreheads.
Back of their shoulders they have a small hump, three or four inches
high. And, almost always, Sweet Potatoes' cows have with them a
pretty, little, sprightly calf; for the Chinese believe, or pretend to
believe, that if the calf were taken away the cow would die, and that
it is necessary before milking her to first let the calf have a few
mouthfuls of milk,--poor little calf!

The other cows are very different from these; they are water
buffaloes,--buffaloes not at all like the shaggy bison, but great,
awkward creatures, that in summer like to wade into pools, and, safe
from flies and mosquitos, to stand with only their horns and upturned
faces in sight above the top of the water; or, when there are no
pools, to wander into bogs and half bury themselves in the mud. They
are as large as a big ox, with very round bodies mounted on very slim
legs that have very large knee and ankle joints. They are of the color
of a mouse, or a gray pig, and coarse hairs grow thinly over their
skin, while, in contrast to the humpback-cows, they have two immense,
crescent-shaped horns setting up from their heads, and measuring often
a yard from side to side.

Old Father Sweet Potatoes sells ten pint-bottles full for a silver
dollar,--that is ten cents a pint,--and in summer he brings us a
half-pint in the morning and another half-pint in the afternoon; for
the weather is so hot that the milk of the morning will not remain
sweet until evening, although the moment it is brought to the house it
is boiled and then put in the coolest place we have, which is not a
cellar, for cellars cannot be kept sweet and airy in countries where
there is so much moisture and many insects.

When, in our walks, we meet these cows they often exhibit fear,
especially of foreign ladies and horses, sights with which they are
not familiar. The little humpback cows prance skittishly out of the
paths; but the great buffaloes stand quite still and stare at us,
then throw up their noses and sniff the air in an offended manner that
in turn makes us afraid of them.

[Illustration: THE WATER-BUFFALO.]

At night they are all brought home from their wanderings, and the
ropes by which they are led are tied to stakes driven into the ground;
in winter under a shed, but in summer in the open air. It makes one's
neck ache to see them; for the rope is frequently tied so short that
they cannot hold their heads erect nor move them very freely, but they
do not appear to suffer.

Next to his business the milkman values his daughter, who, when I
first saw her, was a plump, rosy-cheeked child and tended her father's
cows. If you ever saw a doll with a plaster head that had been broken
and then had been mended by having a strip of black silk glued over
the crack, you will know how Mr. Sweet Potatoes' daughter looked.

She wore a piece of black crape bound tightly about her head so that
no one could see her hair. Some persons said that, owing to illness,
she had no hair. If so it must have grown afterwards; for, when she
was older and had left tending the cows, she had it put up on her
head with pins, in a strange fashion that showed she was going to be
married.

Sweet Potatoes had no son and he wished his son-in-law to come and
live with him as if he belonged to him. Among the Chinese this is not
considered so honorable or so genteel, as to have the daughter leave
her home and go and live with her husband's family. It seemed strange
that the son-in-law should consent; for though he was very poor he was
also very proud, and was very particular to have respect shown to him
and in regard to the kinds of work that he was willing to do. I should
never have guessed his foolish reason for being so proud, but some
one told me that it was because his father, now dead, had once held a
small office in the Custom House!



SHETLAND WOMEN


Not far outside the town of Lerwick, on the Shetland Islands there
is a great, black, muddy tract of land called a peat-bog. All about
is utter desolation. There are no huts even to be seen. The town is
concealed by a rounded hill; and when, through some opening between
the bare upheavals, one catches a sight of the North Sea, it, too,
seems deserted by mankind.

The peat, or mixture of roots and peculiar black soil, is dug here in
large quantities; and all about the place are great piles of it, dried
and ready to be burned in the fire-places of the Lerwick people. Peat
takes the place of wood; and in every poor man's hut in Shetland will
it be found burning brightly, and giving out a thin blue smoke.

To prepare peat for market, a great deal of labor is performed. First
come the diggers--men, women and children. Entering upon the deep,
miry bogs they cut the soil up into cakes about a foot long and a few
inches thick, and these they place in high piles to dry. After a few
weeks they come again, and carry the cured fuel away to the town.

It is while carrying these loads that the Shetlanders present a
peculiar spectacle. The men are often very old, infirm and poorly
clothed; and the women are dressed in short-skirted, home-spun gowns,
below which may be seen very red and very broad feet. On their heads
they usually have white caps, nicely ironed, with a fluted ruffle
around the edge. Passing across the breast and over either shoulder
are two strong straps, and these support an immense basket hanging
against the back.

Thus equipped, the brave, stout women, their baskets piled with peat,
tramp off to Lerwick, two miles away, to sell their loads for a few
pennies each. They make many trips a day, always smiling, chatting and
apparently contented. Often a long line may be seen carefully stepping
along over the rough roads, stopping now and then to rest.

[Illustration: SHETLAND WOMEN.]

The homes of these poor peat women are, many of them, simply hovels.
When they wish to build a home, they go out into some fields, usually
far away from other huts, and there they dig a trench about a square
piece of ground. Upon this they build walls to a height of about eight
feet, and fill the crevices with mud and bog. For a roof they gather
refuse sea-wood, and, with this for a support, lay on layer after
layer of straw, mud and stones.

But what homes they seem to us! There is no fire-place, only a hole in
the ground, with a hole in the roof for the smoke to escape through!
No windows, the door serving for both light and entrance! No beds,
only heaps of straw! Sometimes in one small room, often the only one
the house contains, will be seen man, wife, children, dog and hens,
equal occupants, sharing the same rude comforts. Outside the house,
if the owner be moderately well off, may be seen a herd of sheep or
ponies, and a patch of garden surrounded by a wall.

[Illustration: COAST OF SHETLAND]

But there is something a peat woman of Shetland is continually doing
that we have not yet noticed. All have no doubt heard of Shetland
hosiery; of the fine, warm shawls and hoods, and delicate veils that
come from these far northern islands. Now, all the while the poor,
bare-legged woman is carrying her heavy burden of peat, her hands
are never idle. She is knitting, knitting away as fast as her nimble
fingers will allow. In her pocket is the ball of yarn, and as her
needles fly back and forth, she weaves fabrics of such fineness that
the Royal ladies of England wear them; and no traveller visits the
island without loading his trunk with shawls, mittens, stockings, and
other feminine fancies.

Not to know how to knit in Shetland is like not knowing how to read
at home. A little girl is taught the art before she can read; and,
as a result, at every cottage will be found the spinning-wheel and
the needles, while the feminine hands are never idle. It is one great
means of support; and on Regent Street in London will be seen windows
full of soft, white goods marked "Shetland Hosiery."

Who first instructed these far northern people in this delicate art
is not surely known. On Fair Isle, one of the Shetland group, the art
is first said to have been discovered, very many years ago. On that
lonely isle even now, every woman, girl and child knits while working
at any of her various duties.

The yarn with which the Shetland goods are made is spun from the wool
of the sheep we see roaming about the fields. In almost every cottage
may be seen the veritable old-fashioned wheel; and the busy girl at
the treadle sends the great wheel flying, and spins out the long
skeins, which serve to make baby pretty hood or grandma a warm shawl.



MARDI GRAS IN NICE.


Have you ever happened in Nice at Carnival?

On a bright June morning, which my calendar called February twelfth,
Rull and I tripped lightly down through the old olive orchards to the
station, and billeted ourselves for Nice.

Long before we reached Nice Rull's hands tingled; for there lay a
beautiful line of snow, miles away, on the _north_ side of the Alps,
and the poor fellow hadn't been as near a snow-ball as that for the
winter. But I had only to say "_confetti!_" and his eyes danced at the
vision of the parti-colored hailstorm to come.

Now hasten with us at once to the _Promenade du Cours_, up and down
which the procession is to pass.

First, however, I shall buy for you each a little blue gauze mask;
for you cannot even peep at Carnival unmasked. And if any of you can
wear linen dusters with hoods attached, all the better. Don't leave a
square inch of skin unprotected, I warn you.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS," IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

Besides the little masks, you may buy, each of you, a whole bushel of
these "sugar-plums," and have them sent to our balcony. Also for each
a little tin scoop fastened on a flexible handle, which you are to
fill with _confetti_ but on no account to pull--at least, not yet.

The crowds are gathering. Pretty peasant girls in their holiday
attire of bright petticoats, laced bodices, and white frilled caps;
stray dominoes; richly dressed ladies with mask in hand; carriages so
decorated with flowers as to be artistically hidden--even the wheels
covered with batiste--blue, pink, purple, green or buff. Even the
sidewalk, as we pass, is fringed with chairs at a franc each.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS" IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

The "_Cours_" is gay with suspended banners, bright with festooned
balconies and merry faces. Sidewalks and street are filled with
people; but the horses have the right of way, and the people are fined
if they are run over.

Let us hasten to our balcony, for here passes a band of musicians, in
scarlet and gold, to open the procession.

Just in time we take our seats, and lo! before us rolls a huge car.

It is "the theatre"--an open car of puppets--but the puppets are
_men_; all attached to cords held in the hand of the giant, who sits
in imposing state above them on the top of the car which is on a level
with the third story balconies.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS," IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

The giant lifts his hand and the puppets whirl and jump. But alas! his
head is too high. His hat is swept off by the hanging festoons, and
the giant must ride bare-headed, in danger of sunstroke.

Next behind the car moves in military order a regiment of mounted
grasshoppers. Their sleek, shining bodies of green satin, their gauzy
wings and antennæ, snub noses and big eyes, are all absolutely perfect
to the eye; but--they are of the size of men.

You lower your mask to see more clearly, you are lost in wonder at the
perfect illusion, your mouth is wide open with "Ohs!" and "Ahs!" when
_pop! pop!_ slings a shower of _confetti_, and the little hailstones
seem to cut off your ears and rush sifting down your neck.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS" IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

For, while you were watching the grasshoppers, a low open carriage,
concealed under a pink and white cover, has stopped under our windows.
Four merry masqueraders, cloaked and hooded in hue to match, have
a bushel of _confetti_ between them, and are piled with nosegays.
We slink behind our masks, we pull the handles of our _confetti_
scoops--then the battle begins and waxes fierce.

But they are crowded on; for behind them, in irresistible stateliness,
moves on the Sun and Moon. Then come the Seasons: Winter represented
by a band of Russians, fur-covered from top to toe, dragging a
Siberian sledge. Summer is recognized by a car-load of choicest
flowers, whose fragrance reaches us as they pass.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS," IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

Here rolls a huge wine cask which fills half the wide street; there
moves a pine cone, six feet high, to the eye perfectly like the cones,
six inches in length, which we use daily to light our olive-wood fire.

Then a procession of giant tulips--stalk, calyx, petals, all complete.
They also silently move on.

Next a huge pot, with a cat climbing its side, her paw just thrust
beneath the lid. Ha! it suddenly flies off. Does the cat enter? We
cannot see through the crowd. A colossal stump follows, trailing with
mosses and vines. Upon it a bird's nest filled with young, their
mouths wide open for food; wonderful, because the artistic skill is so
perfect that, although so immense, they seem living and not unnatural.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS," IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

Then a car of Arctic bears champing to and fro in the heat, poor
things, as well they may; for this is a cloudless sky and an Italian
sun. Look carefully at them and tell me, are they not true bears?

But ah! _sling! sling!_ two handfuls of _confetti_ sting your eyes
back into place again, and dash the bears out of sight. Isn't it
delightfully unbearable? You shout at the folly of having forgotten
_confetti_, and then resolve to watch your chance at the next poor
foot-pad.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS" IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

Here passes a man with two faces. His arms are neatly folded before,
also behind. You cannot tell which is the real front, until, suddenly,
a horse trots up and nearly touches noses, while the man moves on
undisturbed. You meant to give that man a dash, but you forgot, he was
so queer.

Ah! here comes a carriage of pretty girls. Down pours the shot from
the balcony above. It rains on you like hail. It runs in rills down
your back. You hold your recovered ears, and add your tone to the
rippling, rippling laughter that flows on in silvery tide.

[Illustration: "PROMENADE DU COURS" IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

Not one boisterous shout, not one impatient exclamation the whole
livelong day; only everywhere the sound of childish glee. How good to
see even old careworn faces lighted up with mirth!

Here goes an ostrich with a monkey on his back, then a man with a
whole suit of clothes neatly fitted out of Journals.

But--look! look! there towers a huge car. Nay, it is a basket--a
vegetable basket! but its sides are as high as our balcony. On its
corners stand white carrots with their green waving tops upward.
Around the edges are piled a variety of garden beauties.

But, wonderful to see, in the centre rises a mammoth cabbage. Its
large-veined petals are as perfect as any you ever saw in your garden,
but their tips reach above the third balcony. Upon these veined petals
climb gorgeous butterflies, whose wings slowly shut and open while
they sip. As the mammoth passes, the outer petals slowly droop, and
snails are seen clinging within, while gayly-hued butterflies creep
into view.

Now the carriages mingle gayly in the procession. Here is one with
young lads, their faces protected with gauze masks, which laughably
show shut red lips without, and two red lines of lips and white
glittering teeth within. The battle of _confetti_ waxes hot. Merry
faces fill all balconies and windows. Many a beauty drops her mask
for an instant like ourselves to peer more eagerly at the wonderful
procession, but at her peril. On the instant _dash! dash!_ flies the
_confetti_, slung with force enough from the little scoops to sting
sharply.

War is the fiercest yonder where there is such a handsome family
(Americans we are sure), father, mother and daughter.

Here goes a carriage decorated with United States flags; all its
occupants cloaked and hooded in gray linen, the carriage covered
likewise. They stop beneath the balcony, and _sling! sling! sling!_ in
wildest combat until crowded on.

Up and down the procession sweeps. Up one side the wide "_Cours_" and
down the other; the space within filled with the merry surging crowd,
under the feet of the horses it would seem. But no matter. Horses and
men and women and children bear a charmed life to-day.

Now and then a policeman pounces on the boys, who are gathering up the
heaps of _confetti_ from the dirt to sell again; but this is the only
suggestion of law and order behind the gay confusion.

Here rolls a carriage trimmed with red and white. Within are a pair of
scarlet dominoes, who peer mysteriously at you.

But look again at what moves on. A car longer than any yet seen.

It is a grotto. Within its cool recesses bask immense lizards. Some
slowly climb its sides, then, in search of prey, thrust out their long
tongues. In shining coat, in color, in movement, you would avow them
to be lizards, truly. But how huge!

Behind the lizards pass again the mounted grasshoppers, our favorites
of all, for their wonderfully perfect form and dainty beauty. And lo!
they bear, to our delight, a silken banner, token of the prize.

For, pets, do you read between the lines and understand that this
wonderful procession was the result of truly artistic skill?--that to
imitate perfectly to the eye, to represent exactly in motion all these
living creatures, and yet conceal within a boy or man who invisibly
moved them, required all the delicacy of perception and nicety of
workmanship of French eyes and fingers? Think you that your little
fingers and bright eyes will ever attain so much.

Besides, all this was also a great outlay of thousands of francs.
For Nice aroused herself to excel in Carnival, and offered large
prizes--one of five thousand francs, another of four, another of
three--for the most perfect representations.

Nowhere in Italy was there anything to compare with Nice. And I doubt
if you would see again in Carnival what would so perfectly delight
your young eyes, or so quicken your perception of artistic skill.

We look at our watches. Two hours yet; but we long to taste the fun on
foot. So we fling our last _confetti_, fill hair and button-holes and
hands with our sweet nosegays of geranium, sweet alyssum, mignonette
and pansies--mementoes of the fight,--then descend to the sidewalk to
press our way along the crowded court.

More and more to see! and, last of all, Carnival tossed and tumbled in
effigy until his death by drowning or burning.

But we must be early at the station. Early, indeed! Peppered and
pelted all the way, tweaked and shot at; but ever and always with
_only_ the harmless _confetti_ and soft nosegays.

Sure that we are the first to leave, sure that no others are there
before us, we pass into the outer baggage-room. Fifty more are there
pressed hard against the closed door.

The crowd swells; hundreds are behind us; we can scarcely keep our
feet. Yet what a good-natured crowd! The hour for the train to leave
passes. By and by the closed door opens a crack; a gilt-banded arm is
thrust through and _one_ person taken out, and the solemn door closed
again.

So, one by one, we ooze through, pass the turnstile in the passage
under surveillance of the keen-eyed officer, and are admitted into the
saloon, which is also locked.

We sink down into a seat nearest _the_ one of two doors which instinct
tells us is to be opened. Again we wait an hour till the last panting
victim is passed through the stile.

Then, O! it is not our door which unlocks and opens but the other. We
rush for a compartment; but no! all appear filled, so we step to an
official and state our case.

He conducts us on, on, nearly to the end of the train, over stones and
timbers; but, at last, bestows us out of that crowd in a compartment
with but three persons. Soon we leave, only two hours later than the
time advertised.

For in France, little pets, the trains wait for the people. The people
are locked in till all is ready; then follows a rush like a grand game
of "puss, puss in the corner!" and almost always there is some poor
puss who cannot get in.

Guess how many bushels of _confetti_ rattled on the floor of our
chamber that night!



ON THE FARM IN WINTER.


The life of a boy in winter on the old-fashioned New England farm
seems to me one of the best of the right kinds of life for a healthy
lad, provided his tastes have not been spoiled by wrong reading,
or by some misleading glimpse of a city by gas-light. It certainly
abounds with the blood and muscle-making sports for which the city
physiologists so anxiously strive to substitute rinks and gymnasiums.

But I rather pity a young fellow who gets his only sleigh rides by
paying a dollar an hour to the livery-stable, and who must do his
skating within limits on artificial ice. He never gets even a taste of
such primitive fun as two boys I know had last winter. The sleigh was
at the wagon-maker's shop for repairs when the first heavy snow fell,
and they harnessed Dobbin to an old boat, and had an uproarious ride
up hill and down dale, with glorious bumps and jolts.

I rather pity a fellow, too, who eats grocer's apples, and
confectioner's nuts, and baker's cream cakes, who never knows the fun
of going down cellar to the apple bins to fill his pockets for school,
and who owns no right in a pile of butternuts on the garret floor. I
am sorry for a boy that knows nothing of the manly freedom of trowsers
tucked in boots, hands and feet both cased in home-knit mittens and
home-knit socks--I cannot believe his blood is as red, or can possibly
flow so deep and strong in his sidewalk sort of life, as the young
fellows who chop wood and ply the snow-shovel, and turn out _en masse_
with snow-ploughs after a long storm--the sound of the future strength
of the land is in the sturdy stamp of their snowy boots at the door as
they come in from their hearty work. I am not writing of country boys
that want to be clerks,--they are spoiled for fun anyhow,--but of the
boys that expect, if they expect anything in particular, to stay on
the farm and own it themselves some day.

This stinging cold morning the boys at the schoolhouse door are not
discussing the play-bills of the _Globe_ or the _Museum_, but how the
river froze last night, turning the long quiet surface to blue-black
ice, as smooth as a looking-glass. Now what skating! what grand
noonings, what glorious evenings! No rink or frog-pond, where one no
sooner gets under headway than he must turn about, but miles and miles
of curving reaches leading him forward between rustling sedges, till
he sees the white caps of the open lake dancing before him.

Presently the snow comes and puts an end to the sport; for sweeping
miles and miles of ice is out of the question. After the snow, a thaw;
and then the jolly snow-balling. There is not enough of a thaw to take
the snow off; only enough to make it just sufficiently sloppy and soft
for the freeze-up that follows to give it a crust almost as hard and
smooth as the ice lately covered up.

Then such coasting! Just think of dragging your sled of a moonlight
night up a mile of easy tramping to the foot of the mountain, whence
you come down again, now fast, now slow, now "like a streak" down
a sharp incline, now running over a even-rail fence buried in the
glittering drifts, and bringing up at last at a neighbor's door, or at
the back side of your own barnyard!

It is great fun, too, to slide on the drifts with "slews" or
"jump-ers." These are made sometimes of one, sometimes of two
barrel-staves, and are sure to give you many a jolly bump and
wintersault.

There is fun to be had _in_ the drifts too, digging caves or
under-snow houses, wherein you may build a fire without the least
danger. Here you can be Esquimaux, and your whole tribe sally forth
from the igloë and attack a terrible white bear, if one of the party
will kindly consent to be a bear for awhile. You can make him white
enough by pelting him with snow, and he will _bear_ enough before he
is finally killed.

[Illustration: THE IMPROVISED SLEIGH.]

There is fun, too, and of no mean order, to be got out of the regular
farm duties. Not much, perhaps, out of bringing in the wood, or
feeding the pigs, or turning the fanning-mill; but foddering the
sheep and calves, which, very likely, are pets, takes the boys to the
hay-mow, where odors of summer linger in the herds-grass, and the
daisy and clover-tops are almost as green and white and yellow and
purple as when they fell before the scythe.

What a place is this elastic floor for a "wrestle or a summersault!"
and then, who "da's't" climb to the big beam, into the neighborhood
of the empty swallows nests and dusty cobwebs, and take the flying
jump therefrom to the mow? Here, too, are hens' nests to be found,
with frost-cracked eggs to carry in rats, and larger prey, also to be
hunted when the hay is so nearly spent that the fork sticks into the
loose boards at the bottom of the hay.

But of all things which the farmer's boy is wanted to do, and wants
to do, there is nothing such clear fun as the breaking of a yoke of
calves. First, the little yoke is to be got on to the pair somehow and
a rope made fast to the "nigh" one's head, that is, the calf on the
left side, where the driver goes. Then comes bawling and hauling and
pushing, and often too much beating, until the little cattle are made
to understand that "Gee" means turn to the right, and "Haw" means turn
to the left, and that "Whoa" means stop, and "Back" means, of them
all, just what is said.

Every command is roared and shouted; for an idea seems to prevail
that oxen, big and little, are deaf as adders, and can never be made
to hear except at the top of the voice. In a still, winter day, you
may hear a grown-up ox-teamster roaring at his patient beasts two
miles away; and a calf-breaker not half his size may be heard more
than half as far. Then, on some frosty Saturday, when the little
nubby-horned fellows have learned their lessons, they are hitched to
a sled, and made to haul light loads, a little wood, or some of the
boys,--the driver still holding to the rope, and flourishing his whip
as grand as a drum-major.

Once in a while the little oxen of the future take matters into their
own hoofs and make a strike for freedom, upsetting the sled and
scattering its load, and dragging their driver headlong through the
snow.

But they have to submit at last; and three or four years hence, you
would never think from their solemn looks and sober pace that they
ever had thought of such rebellious freaks. They were the boy's
calves, but father's oxen.

Halter-breaking a colt is almost as good as breaking steers, only
there is no sled-riding to be had in this.

[Illustration: UPON THE HAY-MOW.]

Till lately, the young fellow has had the freedom of the fields,
digging in the first snows for a part of his living, and with his
rough life has grown as shaggy-coated as a Shetland pony, with as
many burrs stuck in his short foretop as it will hold; for if there
is an overlooked burdock on all the farm, every one of the horse kind
running at large will find it, and each get more than his share of
burrs matted and twisted into his foretop and mane.

Now, he is waxed and driven into a shed or stable, and fooled or
forced to put his head into a long, stout, rope halter. Then he is got
into the clear, open meadow, and his first lesson begins. The boys all
lay hold of the rope at a safe distance from the astonished pupil,
and pull steadily upon him. Just now he would rather go any way than
straight ahead, and holds back with all his might, looking, with all
his legs braced forward, his neck stretched to its utmost, and his
head on a line with it, like a stubborn little donkey who has lost
something in ears, but nothing in willfulness, and gained a little
in tail. At last he yields a little to the uncomfortable strain, and
takes a few reluctant steps forward, then rears and plunges and
throws himself, and is drawn struggling headlong through the snow,
until he tires of such rough usage and flounders to his feet.

Then he repeats his bracing tactics, the boys bracing as stoutly
against him, till he suddenly gives way and they go tumbling all in a
heap.

If the boys tire out before the colt gives up, there are other days
coming, and sooner or later he submits; and in part compensation for
not having his own way, he has a warm stall in the barn, and eats from
a manger, just like a big horse, and is petted and fondled, and grows
to be great friends with his young masters--at last to be "father's
horse," instead of "our colt."

But by and by the long winter--this play-day of the year for the
farm-boy--comes to an end, to make way for spring--spring which brings
to him work out of all reasonable proportion to the amount of play, at
least so the farm-boy is likely to think.



[Illustration]

A CHINAMAN'S QUEUE.


Everyone knows that a Chinaman wears his hair in a queue, but not
everyone knows why he does so. A Chinaman's queue is not a mere oddity
or variety; it is, to him, a very serious thing; losing it, he would
almost sell his respectability, and history tells of more than one
time when it has been a matter of life and death.

[Illustration]

In many of their customs the people of China follow their forefathers
of more than a thousand years ago, but queues may be called a new
fashion, having only been worn about two hundred and fifty years.

In very old times, the Chinese wore their long hair put up in a
peculiar manner upon the tops of their heads, and called themselves
"The Black-Haired Race;" but about the time that the Pilgrims landed
at Plymouth, in the year 1627, the Tartars, who had come down from
Manchuria, and, after long wars, had conquered China, which they have
governed ever since, made a law that all the Chinese, to show that
they had been conquered, should take down their top-knots, and wear
their hair as the Tartars did, in a hanging braid; and they threatened
to kill all who would not do it.

Of course the Chinese were greatly distressed by this; but, as it was
better to have a tail than to be without a head, they submitted in the
end, making the best of what they could not help.

The people of southern China held out longest against the queue, and,
in one district, men were hired to wear it. Even now, dwelling among
the hills, are a few men belonging to a very old and wild tribe, whose
pride it is that they have never worn hanging hair; while the Amoy
men, who were the very last to yield to the Tartars, wear a turban to
hide the shaven head, and the detested tail; but some persons think
that the nation in general have come to like the new style better
that the old; others think that they would gladly go back to the old
way, if they could.

A few years ago there was a great rebellion in China. A part of the
Chinese rebelled against the Tartars, and all the rebels put up their
hair in the old Chinese fashion; and, because they did not shave their
heads, they went by the name of the "Long-Haired Robbers." When any of
their soldiers met a man with a queue they knew that he was loyal to
the Tartar government, and they would kill him, or cut off his queue,
or do what they liked with him; and, on the other hand, the life of
a "Long-Haired Robber" was not safe for a moment if he fell into the
hands of the government troops. At length, after many, many millions
of people were killed, queues carried the day, and the rebels were
conquered.

I have heard that thieves sometimes have their queues cut off for a
punishment, and, now and then, I suppose, a person's hair must fall
off after illness, but, in these cases, it would grow again.

There are two classes of men in China who never wear queues--the
Buddhist priests, who shave their heads all over, and who can be known
by the color of their gowns, and their queer hats, and the Tauists,
who, as a sign of their priesthood, wear their hair in a kind of twist
on the back of their heads. With these few exceptions, every Chinaman
has a queue, from the young child whose short hairs are pinched up,
sometimes on the crown of the head, and sometimes on the sides of it,
and braided with threads of red silk into a tight little tail a few
inches long, so stiff that it stands straight out from the head, up to
the almost bald old man, whose straggling gray hairs are tied into a
thin wisp at the back of his neck.

The Chinese have usually a good quantity of hair, coarse, perfectly
straight, and jetty black, except, in a few cases, where, from
illness, the color is rusty black. They have hardly any beard, but
some of them--though not often before they are grandfathers, and more
than forty years old--wear a much-admired moustache. Accustomed to
black locks and smooth faces, they look curiously on the full beards
of the men, and the yellow curls of the children, of our fairer race,
or, as they style us, "The Red-Headed Foreigners."

The Chinese shave the whole head, except a round patch on the crown,
about as large as a breakfast saucer. On this they let the hair grow,
and it is combed back and down, and tied firmly with a string, at
the middle of the bottom of the patch. It is then divided into three
strands and braided. If a man is very poor, he simply has a plat, the
length of his hair, fastened at the end with a cotton string; but the
Chinese have a good deal of pride about their hair, and, if they can
afford it, like to have the queue handsomely made. Often tresses of
false hair are added to it, for making which the hairs that fall out
are carefully saved. Of course, the hair is thinner at the end than at
the top, and to keep the braid of more even size, and to increase its
length, long bunches of black silk cord are gradually woven into it.

Queues vary in length, but grown men often wear them hanging nearly
to their shoes, the upper part of the braid being of hair, and the
lower part of black silk cord, which is tied in a tassel at the end.
In southern China, children's queues are made bright and jaunty with
crimson silk.

For mourning white cord is used, and for half mourning blue. Also,
persons in mourning do not have their heads shaven for a certain
length of time. When the emperor dies, nobody in China is expected to
be shaven for one hundred days.

Commonly, tidy, well-to-do people have their heads shaven every few
days, and, as no one could easily shave the top of his own head,
everybody employs a barber. Of course there are a great many barbers,
and, with all the millions of people in China, they have a large
business.

Besides the shops, many barbers have little movable stands containing
all their tools, and they may often be seen plying their art by the
wayside, or at the houses of their customers. The barber has a basin
of hot water, a towel, and an awkward kind of razor; and when he has
shaven and washed the head, and braided the hair of a man, he ends up
all by patting him, with both hands, upon the back and shoulders, in
a way which, to him, is truly delightful. For all this, his charge is
not more than six cents, and a poor man would pay still less.

To make his queue thicker, sometimes a Chinaman wishes to grow more
hair, and the barber will leave his head unshaven for, perhaps, a
quarter of an inch all round the old circle of hair. When the new
hair is an inch or two long, being very stiff, it stands up in a
fringe--like a kind of black halo--all round his head, looking very
comically, and annoying the Chinaman very much, until it is long
enough to be put into the braid.

When a man is at work, he finds his queue very much in his way, and
he binds it about his head, or winds it up in a ball behind, where
he sometimes fastens it with a small wooden comb; but, in his own
country, on all occasions of form and dress, he wears it hanging, and
it would not be polite to do otherwise.

As it would take a long time to dry it, he dislikes to wet it, and, if
rain comes on, hastens to roll it up and cover it.

Sometimes beggars, to make themselves look very wretched, do not dress
their hair for a long time, and it becomes so frizzed and matted that
hardly anything could be done to it, but to cut most of it off.

When a culprit is arrested in China, the officer takes hold of his
queue and leads him to prison by it, often treating him very cruelly.

Little girls, as well as little boys, have their heads shaven when
they are about a month old. This is done before an idol, with a good
deal of parade. Young girls also wear their hair in queues, but as
when older their heads are not shaven like those of the boys, a larger
quantity of hair is drawn back into the braid, making it much heavier.
When married their hair is put up in the fashion of the women of the
district where they live, but married women never wear their hair
braided.

One who has lived long in China does not like to see a thin, uneven
queue, tied with a cotton string; it has a slovenly, poverty-stricken
air; while a thick, glossy braid, with a heavy bunch of silk in the
end of it, looks tidy and prosperous; and a neat plat of silvery hair
betokens comfortable old age.



MEXICAN WATER-CARRIERS


A Mexican water-carrier is always an oddly, dressed fellow. He looks
something like the man some one met "one misty, moisty morning," who
was all clothed in leather. He has a leather cap, jacket and trousers,
the last reaching only to his knees, and held aside with bright
buttons of silver, so as to show the white cotton drawers beneath.
Down the front of his jacket, too, and around the rim of his cap, are
bright buttons. Fastened at his side is a leather wallet holding his
money. On his feet are leather sandals. Over his head are two stout
leather straps, holding two jugs of earthernware, one resting on his
back and the other hanging in front.

[Illustration: ALWAYS ON A LITTLE INDIAN TROT.]

He begins work early in the morning. If you go into any of the public
squares in the city of Mexico, you will then see a great many of
them all seated around the stone basin and busy preparing for the
day's work. They reach far over the edge and, dipping up the water,
fill their large jug. Throwing that on their backs they reach down
once more and fill the smaller one, and then trot off and visit the
different houses of the city, and sell the families what water they
want.

You would say, perhaps, it was a heavy load to carry by the head and
neck, but the carrier does not seem to mind it, for he is very strong,
and the jugs just balance each other. It is said an Englishman was
once told of this balance, and, to see if it were so, he waited until
a carrier came along and then, with his cane, broke one of the jugs.
Alas! down came the man, jugs and all; his balance surely was gone.

Water has to be brought about in this manner because none runs into
the houses by lead pipes, as with us. It all comes from near the old
castle of Chapultepec, three or four miles from the city.

It runs over great stone aqueducts, built by Cortes, and when it
reaches the public square falls into the stone basins of the city. So,
you see, it makes these carriers almost like our milkmen, only they
do not come with a fine horse and carriage, and do not make nearly as
much money. They only get a few cents each day. How hard they work,
too! Busy from morn till eve, always earnest, hardly ever smiling,
always on a little Indian trot, they go about from house to house, and
then, when the day's work is over, what a life they lead!

They have no home to go to, either; they live in the streets, sleep in
the gutter or on the cathedral stone steps, and often, I fear, get so
befogged on "pulque," the national drink, that they care not whether
they have a home and good bed or not.

Think what a miserable existence, not knowing how to read, dressing
as those before them did three hundred years ago, and doing nothing
but carrying water about the city. Every day they will go into the
great cathedral and say their prayers. They put their jugs down beside
them, clasp their hands, raise their eyes to the image of their patron
saint, and mumble their requests or their thanks, and then, taking
a last look at the gold candlesticks and rich ornaments, will hurry
away, and continue their hard, uninteresting daily labors.



A VERY QUEER HOUSE.


There are few pleasanter places in summer than the great square of
Et-Meidaun at Constantinople. The tall gray pointed monument in the
middle, like a sentry watching over the whole place, the white houses
along either side, the polished pavement, the high white walls and
rounded domes, and tall slender towers and cool shadowy gateways of
the Turkish mosques together with the bright blue sky overhead and
the bright blue sea in the distance below, make a very pretty picture
indeed.

The different people, too, that go past us are quite a show in
themselves. Now, it is a Turkish soldier in blue frock and red cap--a
fine tall fellow, but rather thin and pale, as if he did not always
get enough to eat; now, a tall, dark, grave-looking American, with
a high funnel-shaped hat, and a long black frock right down to his
feet. There comes a big, jolly-looking English sailor, rolling himself
along with his hands in his pockets and his hat on one side. There
goes a Russian with a broad flat face and thick yellow beard. That
tall handsome man in the laced jacket and black velvet trousers, who
is looking after him so fiercely, is a Circassian, who was fighting
against the Russians among the mountains of the Caucasus not many
years ago. And behind him is an Arab water-carrier, with limbs bare to
the knee and a huge skin bag full of water on his back.

But the strangest sight of all is still to come.

Halting to look around I suddenly espy a pair of yellow Turkish
slippers, a good deal worn, lying at the foot of a huge tree which
stands alone in the midst of the open space. They are not flung
carelessly down, either, as if their owner had thrown them away, but
placed neatly side by side; just as an orderly old gentleman might put
_his_ slippers beside the fire before going out. And, stranger still,
although at least half a dozen bare-footed Turks (who might think even
an old shoe worth picking up) have passed by and seen them, not one
of them has ventured to disturb them in any way.

My Greek companion notices my surprise, and gives a knowing grin, like
a man who has just asked you a riddle which he is sure you will never
guess.

"Aha, Effendi! Don't you think he must have been a careless fellow who
left his slippers there? See anything odd about this tree?"

"Nothing but that piece of board on it which I suppose covers a
hollow."

"That's just it!" chuckles the Greek. "It covers a _hollow_, sure
enough--look here, Effendi!"

He taps thrice upon the "piece of board," which suddenly swings back
like a door, disclosing to my astonished eyes, in the dark hollow, the
long blue robe, white turban, and flowing beard of an old Turk.

"Peace be with you!" says the old gentleman in a deep hoarse voice,
nodding to my companion, whom he seems to know.

"With you be peace," answers the Greek. "You didn't expect that, did
you, Effendi? It's not every day that you find a man living inside a
tree?"

"_Does_ he live here, then?"

"To be sure he does. Didn't you see his slippers at the door? Nobody
would touch the slippers for any money. They all know old Selim. He
has a snug house, after all; and don't pay _rent_ either!"

In truth, the little place is snug enough, and certainly holds a good
deal for its size. On one side is an earthen water-jar, on the other a
huge blanket-like cloak, which probably represents Mr. Selim's whole
stock of bedding. A copper stew-pan is fixed to a spike driven into
the wood, while just above it a small iron funnel, neatly fitted into
a knot-hole of the trunk, does duty as a chimney. Around the sides of
the hollow hang a long pipe, a tobacco-pouch, a leathern wallet, and
some other articles, all bearing marks of long service; while to crown
all, my guide shows me, triumphantly, just outside the door, a wooden
shelf with several pots of flowers--a garden that just matches the
house.

Having given us this sight of his house-keeping, the old gentleman
(who has been standing like a statue during the whole inspection)
silently holds out his hand. I drop into it a double piastre (ten
cents) and take my leave, reflecting that if it is good to be content
with little this old hermit is certainly a bit of a hero in his way.



IN BELGIUM.


After rolling and tossing for twenty-four hours upon the German Ocean,
the sight of land should be hailed with a spirit of thankfulness. But
of all inhospitable shores, those of the Belgian coast, in the month
of November, must carry the palm. The waters, gray and rough, dash
upon a sandy beach for miles and miles, showing no signs of life, if
we except an occasional wind-mill in action. Row after row of poplar
trees form a partial back-ground. Somewhat stripped of their leaves,
they have the appearance of so many gray pillars holding up the sky.

As the low-built towns with their red houses rise to view, and the
dikes present themselves, if this be the first introduction into
Continental Europe, the foreignness stands out in bold relief. But
as you ascend the river the villages are more interesting and
indications of life more frequent. Long before reaching the pier at
Antwerp, its towers salute the travellers, and the gratitude becomes
apparent on each and every visage.

Our little windows in the above-mentioned city overlooked its
prettiest park, in the centre of which stands the statue of Rubens.
At the right, yet full in view, stands the Cathedral of Notre
Dame, famous for its ninety-nine bells (why not one more?) and the
masterpieces of the great artist of Antwerp.

Of these paintings, the "Assumption," which has within a comparatively
short time been restored, is truly beautiful, the countenances
of the several figures wearing a pure expression, which is not a
characteristic of the Rubens face in general. The fame of the others
is perhaps yet greater than that of the "Assumption," and everywhere
in our own country are engravings and photographs of the same, on
exhibition or in private collections. Before these the lover of art
lingers to study, and studying continues to linger. For me, alas!
these _chef d'oeuvres_, "The Ascent to the Cross" and the "The
Descent from the Cross," have no attractions.

The music of the bells at sunset repays one, not only for the tumble
of the German Sea, but for the voyage across the Atlantic, especially
in the autumn, when the twilights are so short that the Mall is
lightest as the sun goes down. This music singularly contrasts
with the noise made by the footfall of the peasants. This numerous
class, hurrying home at dusk, take the park as their shorter course.
The click-clack of the hundreds of wooden shoes of all sizes and
intensities, rapidly "getting by," is something that can never be
imagined. As these articles of apparel are seldom of a snug fit in the
region of the heel, there is a peculiar introduction to each grand
step. The quantity and quality of this noise are astonishing; the
novelty, a charm.

There is one sound, however, which is sensibly wanting among the
lower class of Belgians. It may never have been in the experience of
others, but it could not be entirely my own imagination--I missed
the human voice in the groups of peasantry. The uneducated of other
countries have at least a common "mongrel tongue" to some extent, but
the individual vocabulary of this class is certainly very limited,
which is a check to prolonged conversation. This feature was to me
a cause satisfactory for the stillness of the streets, thronged as
they sometimes are, and may be the reason that the foot-fall is so
impressive, with its wooden encumbrances.

Next to the shoe, the attraction was the harnessed dogs and the young
girls drawing burdens.

When a woman was seen wheeling a cart or trundling a barrow, it was
just to conclude that she was in the interest of her own gain, and we
could pass on. When the dogs, the old and despised of their kind, were
leisurely carrying their wagon of vegetables, provided the driver was
kind, it was rather a foreign sight than a painful one. Often these
dogs lie down in the harness--the latter not being very elaborate--and
do not seem unwilling to rise to the occasion. When it happened, as
often it did, during our short sojourn in Belgium, that we saw girls,
the young and bright and strong, bearing these burdens, frequently
sharing the harness with the aforesaid animals, the American heart
rebelled. If they were rough, hoydenish girls, romping all day long,
filling their carts with sand for the fun and having a boy-companion
as a play-driver, we should even then think, do they _never_ go to
school?

But they were not of this class! They were the quiet and obedient,
generally tidy in appearance, calmly accepting their lot in life
through ignorance. I never saw a boy thus disgraced; not that I feel
less glad for "him," but the more sad for "her."

When walking one day, having lost my way, I met one of these teams.
There were connected with it two young girls, about fifteen years of
age--one harnessed and drawing the load, the other having the charge
of the cargo, which, from its too great abundance, required constant
diligence. I inquired of them the direction to the hotel.

Without altering a muscle, they continued their gaze (we had begun
the stare from afar). So listless was it that they seemed like pet
animals, who look at one confidingly, except in the case of the latter
there will be "wink of recognition." No attempt was made to reply.
After I turned, they kept their eyes upon the space which I had
occupied, as if I had merely been an obstruction to their sunshine. A
person, not far from them, answered my inquiries, adding, with a nod
towards the "little workers," "they only talk mongrel."

This woman, short and chubby, forcibly reminded me of somebody or
something in the past. After a brief reflection, behold the solution:

Before toys had become so elaborate in our own country, there
occasionally found their way from Holland images of pewter,
representing the dairy-maids of that part of Europe. They were far
different from the pewter-pieces of the present day, being thicker and
less destructible. The one that came into my possession, the delight
of my heart, wore the short, full dress and sun-bonnet, with arms
akimbo. The one, ah me! that would have been my choice was purchased
by a class-mate, she having at that time, and I presume at this time,
twice my amount of funds. The price of this precious bit was two cents.

The latter figure, unlike mine, had the pail poised upon the head.
It was probably a true likeness of the renowned maid that counted
the chickens in advance, thereby showing the people of her country
to have been "born calculators." I think the little body that showed
me the way to my lodgings descended in a direct line from this old
mathematical stock, and was a little proud of her origin. Her language
was a mixture of Dutch, French, and, for all I know, several dead
languages, _but_--and I have her own authority for it--not a mongrel
tongue. Out of gratitude to one who led me to my home, I should speak
well of this woman, as of the proverbial bridge, so am quite willing
to accept her statement and allow her a "pure dialect."



JOE THE CHIMPANZEE.


When in England I was very much interested in the monkeys at the
Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park, London. There were hundreds of all
kinds and sizes, from the gigantic orang-outang to tiny creatures not
much bigger than a large rat.

These monkeys had a spacious glass house, heated by steam; and as a
tropical temperature was always maintained, tall palms and luxurious
vines grew so vigorously within its walls that I have no doubt the
quaint inmates supposed themselves in their native haunts.

They chattered and scolded each other, wildly chased stray little dogs
and kittens, and really seemed to know so much that I half believed
an old keeper, who told me the only reason they did not talk, was
because they could make themselves well enough understood without.

Many funny stories I heard of their sagacity. One I recall of a nurse
who shook a naughty little boy in the presence of some of the mother
monkeys, whereupon all the old monkeys began shaking all the young
ones until it seemed as if their poor little heads would drop off.

But, interested in all the singular inhabitants of the house, I grew
attached to Joe, the young chimpanzee who had been brought a baby
from the coast of Guinea the winter before. He had a little room on
the sunny side of the monkey house, with a stove, table, chairs and a
couple of beds arranged like the berths in the state room of an ocean
steamer. Besides he had a man all to himself, to wait upon him; and it
was no wonder the other monkeys were jealous of his superior quarters
and the deference paid him; for while Joe was not handsome he was
worth more money than all the others put together.

He was worth this great sum because he belonged to the most
intelligent and interesting species of the monkey family, and only one
or two of his kinsfolk had ever been seen in Europe, while the only
one the Zoological Society had ever owned, had died of lung fever
before he had inhabited his comfortable quarters many months.

Joe was about as tall as an average boy of eight or ten years. He wore
a thick cloth roundabout, and a low flat trencher cap such as the
Oxford students delight in.

One day I walked to the door of his room and knocked. The keeper said
"Come in," and as I did so Joe walked erect over the floor to me,
pulled off his cap with his left hand, and put out his right to shake
mine. When I said "It is a fine morning," he bowed briskly; but when I
added, "Are you pretty well, Joe?" he shook his head and looked very
sober. The keeper explained: "Joe had a cold, and that made him very
low spirited."

Joe was listening attentively; and when the man finished, he shivered
and drew up the collar of his jacket round his hairy throat, as if to
confirm the statement.

I gave him an apple, which he looked at a moment, then opened the
door of the oven of his stove, and put it in out of sight. Seeming to
understand that the fire was low, he pulled a basket from under the
lower berth and took some bits of wood from it to the stove. Then the
keeper handed him a match, and he lighted a fire as cleverly as any
Yankee boy I ever saw.

"Show the lady how you read _The Times_, Joe," said the keeper.

[Illustration: JOE READS "_The Times_."]

Joe drew up a chair, tilted it back a little, spread his legs apart,
opened the sheet, turned it until he found the page he wanted, then
settled himself into the exact position of the comfortable English
gentleman who supposes _The Times_ is printed for his exclusive use.
It was impossible to help laughing, and the sly twinkle in his narrow
eye assured us Joe himself knew how funny it was.

Quite a crowd had gathered at the open door of his room, and as he
noticed it, he put his hand in his pocket drew out the one eye-glass
Englishman so particularly affect, and put it to his eye looking as
weakly wise as Lord Dundreary himself. After a little he grew tired of
so many spectators, left his chair and quietly shut the door in their
faces.

Looking about as if he would do something more for our amusement, he
remembered his apple in the stove oven. Running there he took hold of
the door, but suddenly drew back, for it was hot. He laughed a little
at his discomfiture which he took in good part, stood thinking a
moment, then used his pocket-handkerchief as deftly as a dainty lady
would to accomplish his purpose. But if the door was hot, the apple,
Joe logically reasoned, must be hotter; so he ventured not to touch it
before opening his knife. Wondering what he was going to do, I found
him sticking the blade into the apple and bringing it out in triumph.
The keeper gave him a plate, and after letting the apple cool a little
he offered it to us. We courteously declined, but the servant tasted,
explaining that Joe did not like to eat anything alone. Then Joe
followed, but did not like the flavor, and being asked if it was sour,
he nodded. We were told that he, in common with the other monkeys,
liked oranges and bananas better than any other fruits.

[Illustration: JOE TRIES HIS APPLE.]

Yet he kept tasting a little of the apple from a spoon while the
keeper told us how the sailors who hoped to capture his mother only
succeeded in bringing him off alive after they had killed her. They
had hard work to keep him alive on board ship, but found a warm nook
for him by the galley fire. He was in fair health when they landed, so
they obtained the large price offered by the Zoological Gardens; but
in spite of the most devoted care, he seemed to languish in his new
home.

"Do you love me, Joe?" the man ended his story with. Joe nodded,
smiled, and put his head lovingly on the other's shoulder.

As we left that day, Joe took his hat, cane, and heavy wrap, and
escorted us to the great door of the monkey house, shaking our hands
as we bade him good-bye.

Another time when I called he was taking tea, using milk and sugar
and handling cup and saucer as if he had been familiar with them from
his earliest days. He motioned us to take chairs. We did so and he
jumped up, found cups for us, and then passed a plate of biscuits,
laughing with glee as we took one. I have taken tea with many curious
individuals, but never expect to be so honored again as to be invited
by a chimpanzee.

Noticing his hand was feverish, I found his pulse was 130. I said
"What is the matter of him?"

"Consumption is what kills all of them," the man answered, low, just
as if talking before a human invalid.

From that day Joe failed rapidly, and one morning under the head of
"Great Loss," _The Times_ announced that he died at midnight.

I went down at once to see the keeper whose grief I knew would be keen.

He told me how for days, Joe could only be persuaded to take food by
seeing him eat and hearing him praise it, how he made him sleep in his
berth by his side, and when death came, held his hand through all the
last struggle.

The man's voice was actually choked with sobs as he said, "It don't
seem right, indeed it don't, not to have a funeral for him! He ought
to have had it."

I never heard Joe had any funeral, but I did hear that he was stuffed,
and looks more like a big boy than when he was alive.



MARKET DAY AT PAU.


If you don't know where Pau is, do as I did when I first heard of
it,--look it up on some large map of France.

Down in the southeast corner, at the mouth of the Adour river, you
will see the city from which the bayonet is said to have received its
name; and if you move your finger along about an inch due east from
Bayonne you will be likely to pass it directly under Pau.

It is the capital of one of the finest departments of France, the
Basses-Pyrenees; and its mild, equable climate and charming scenery
have made it, for the last thirty years, a favorite winter resort for
invalids and pleasure-seekers.

As the capital of the old province of Béarn, and as the seat of the
ancient royal castle where flourished the Gastons and Marguerites,
and where Henri IV. of France was born, Pau has many interesting
historical associations, upon which, however, we must resolutely turn
our backs if we mean to go to market this morning.

Monday is always market-day at Pau, and then it is that the country
comes bodily in and takes possession of the town. At five o'clock in
the morning the rumbling of cart-wheels and the clatter of sabots
down in the cold gray streets announce the approach of a rustic army
from the villages round about. On they come from every quarter all
through the forenoon, and if we walk out anywhere--say to the Alléés
de Morlaäs, where we can sit on one of the benches under the trees and
gaze now and then at the distant snowy Pyrenees,--we shall see the
endless stream of market-people.

The men wear round woolen caps without visors, called the _béret_; a
short frock, usually of some coarse cotton material, which is gathered
so much about the neck as not to improve their stumpy figures; and
huge wooden shoes that rattle and thump along the pavements, bringing
with them on rainy days an incredible quantity of country mud.

The most noticeable feature in the dress of the women is the bright
foulard handkerchief that serves instead of hat or bonnet. It is
arranged according to the taste and age of the wearer, and is capable
of producing a wide range of effects.

[Illustration: A PEASANT WOMAN.]

The guide-book assures us that the _paysannes_ walk barefoot on the
country roads; but, upon approaching the town, they cover their
wayworn feet with the cherished shoes and stockings that have thus
been spared from wear and tear.

On a cold spring morning we saw a company of women descending a
hill at Lourdes with enormous bundles of wood on their heads. As we
were pitying the bare feet that went toiling down the steep way, we
suddenly spied their shoes dangling from the fagots where they had
considerately placed them, to be out of harm.

The strength of these little peasant women is wonderful. They walk
off with grand strides, carrying heavy burdens on their heads, and
sometimes knitting as they go. Many of the young girls are very
pretty; but exposure and hard work soon change the fresh tint and the
graceful outlines to a brown wrinkled visage and a gaunt ungainly
figure.

Sitting here, we are attracted by a jaunty young creature tripping
along with a large, round, shallow basket of salad, or _choux de
Bruxelles_, on her head, carelessly steadying it with one hand, while
in the other she carries a pair of chickens or a basket of eggs. But
how can we see a pinched-looking woman tugging along under a big
bag of potatoes, or breaking stones on the road, without feeling
tired ourselves and sad? And neither the sadness nor the weariness
is lightened upon seeing, as we invariably do, that when a woman is
working with a man he generously gives her the heaviest end of the
load.

[Illustration: OX-TEAM.]

The wood is brought in on clumsy carts, generally two-wheeled and
often covered. The oxen and cows that draw these carts have their
bodies draped with coarse linen covers, and across their heads is a
strip of sheep-skin, which is worn with the shaggy side out and the
skinny side in. M. Taine tells us in his book on the Pyrenees that
he saw the heads of the cattle protected by thread nets and ferns,
which, I trust is their usual summer coiffure; for in a country where,
in winter, gentlemen carry parasols and wear large white streamers
depending from their hats, to protect the head and back of the neck
from the too ardent rays of the sun, even the "patient ox" might
complain of the unfitness of a head-dress of sheep skin.

The driver of the ox-team is armed with a long stick, at the end of
which is an iron goad. This he uses either in guiding the cattle,
which is done by going in advance of them and stretching the stick
backward with a queer, stiff gesture, or in pricking and prodding the
poor creatures till they hardly know which way to turn. The cattle,
which are mostly of a light brown color, are very large and fine; but
it seems strange to us to see cows wearing the yoke.

But, O! the donkey! The wise, the tough, the musical, the
irresistible, the universal donkey! How shall I ever give you an
idea of what he becomes to an appreciative mind that has daily
opportunities of studying his "tricks and manners!"

Fancy one of these long-eared, solemn-eyed gentry, scarcely larger
than a good-sized Newfoundland dog jogging along with a double pannier
bulging at his sides and a fat market-woman on his back.

[Illustration: "ONE OF THESE LONG-EARED, SOLEMN-EYED GENTRY."]

But the disproportion between the size of the beast and that of his
burden, and his gravity and circumspection, is scarcely funnier
here than when he is placed before a two-wheeled cart, a story and
a half higher than himself, and containing a man, a woman, a boy,
and a pig; sometimes cabbages and chickens, often two or three
inexperienced calves. And in the afternoon, when market is over, I
have often seen six or seven women huddled into one of these primitive
chariots, each provided with the inevitable stocking her tongue and
her knitting-needles keeping time as the cart goes tilting along over
the famous roads of the Basses-Pyrénées. The gay handkerchiefs of
the women, the purple, blue and gray stockings with their flashing
needles, and the huge brown loaves of bread sure to be protruding in
various quarters, made these groups, returning from market, most
picturesquely striking.

Coming in from the _Alléés de Morlaäs_ we find, as we approach the
_Place des Eçoles_, an animated scene. The broad sidewalk is lined
with rows of women selling vegetables, fruit, flowers, poultry and
eggs. The haggling of the buyers and the gibing of the venders, though
carried on in _patois_ unintelligible to us, are expressed in tones
and accompanied by gestures that translate them quite effectively;
especially as not a market-day passes without a long recital from our
Catherine, illustrating the greed of the peasants and her own superior
finesse.

"How much do you want for this chicken?"

"Three francs."

"Keep your chicken for somebody see. I'll go to another."

"Stay! What will you give for it?"

"Two francs."

"Get along with you!"

As Catherine eyes the chicken which she secretly admires and openly
abuses, another cook comes up and lays her hand on its comely breast.
It is a decisive moment, but Catherine is equal to the emergency.

"Stand off there! I'm here first."

Then, with a secret resolve that her _demoiselles_ shall dine on that
little plump _poulet_, she offers fifty sous and carries off the
prize. To see her enter our _salon_ bearing a waiter on which are a
dozen fine rosy apples and two large russet pears, with the question,
"Guess how much I paid for all?" written in every line of her shrewd
old face, is something worth coming to Europe for. To make a sharp
bargain, to cook a good dinner, and never to waste anything, these are
the aims of her life and the themes of her discourse.

Our snug _appartement_ is opposite the _Place des Eçoles_, where the
wood and cattle are sold; and the first peep in the morning gives us
a picture, lively enough and foreign enough to make us look and look
again many times during the day, till late in the afternoon when the
_Place_ is nearly bare; and the aspect of the few patient but rather
dejected-looking peasants whose wood has not yet found purchasers
almost tempts us to run over and buy a load or two, just for the
pleasure of sending the poor creatures home with lighter hearts and
heavier pockets. What would Catherine say to that, I wonder?

Besides the interest which we feel in the various natural hangers-on
of the wood-carts (and each one has from two to five of both sexes
and all sizes), we get no small amusement from their patrons, who
represent all sorts of townspeople, from the fat old woman of the
green grocery and sausage-shop over the way, who peddles with easy
affability among the market-people, to the lordly young Englishman
who dashes on to the _Place_ with the air of a conquering hero, and
loftily indicates with his riding-whip the load that has the honor to
meet his approval.

[Illustration: "THE FAVORITE WAY OF TRANSPORTING A PIG."]

Troops of frisky calves are scattered about, and groups of blue
blouses and red _bérets_ are earnestly discussing the merits of
the unsuspecting innocents. More rarely a fine cow, or a yoke of
oxen, attracts a circle of connoisseurs; then the _patois_ becomes
more fluent, and the gestures more animated, and the fists of the
interested parties are seen flourishing unpleasantly near the
disdainful noses of the critics.

The prolonged and penetrating squeal of that pig in the _Rue des
Cultivateurs_ reminds me that this interesting animal figures largely
in the scenes of market-day. Pork being an important article of
peasant diet, Mr. Piggy is always abroad on Monday and contributes
largely to the general éclat.

The favorite way of transporting a moderate sized pig is to put him
about the neck, holding his hind feet with one hand and his forefeet
with the other. This method, though attended with some disadvantages,
such as the proximity of the squeal to the ear of the carrier, is, on
the whole, less worrying than that of tying a string to one of the
hind legs of his Porkship, this giving him a chance to pull his way
with more or less effect, while the peasant is frantically jerking in
the opposite direction.

Not infrequently a pig gets a ride home from market in the cart of
his new owner. Then, true to his nature and principles, he resists
the honor accorded him with the whole might of his legs and lungs; so
that, with a man at his hind legs, a woman at his left ear, and a boy
at his right fore leg, he is with difficulty assisted to his coach
and is held there, en route, by that "eternal vigilance" which is, in
more senses than one, "the price of liberty."

[Illustration: "A GRAY-HAIRED SPINNER WITH HER ANCIENT
DISTAFF."]

On the _Rue Porte Neuve_ and near the _Halle Neuve_, in the centre of
the town, the venders of agricultural implements, kitchen hardware,
locks and keys, second-hand books, handkerchiefs, collars, cuffs,
hats, bracelets, rings, baskets, brooms, bottles, mouse-traps, and
other miscellaneous articles, display their goods, and a sudden shower
makes bad work in this busy community.

By the _Halle Neuve_ is the fruit and vegetable market also, and
farther on, in the _Rue de la Préfecture_, we suddenly come upon a
hollow square inclosed on three sides by ancient looking buildings,
one of which is the _Nieille Halle_; and here are fish, poultry and
game, and the queerest-looking market-people in the whole town, it
seems to me.

There is a flower market on the _Place Royal_, and you will see the
Spanish women there, with their foulards and trinkets, to catch a few
sous from the rustics.

We cannot confine our interest to the market-folk, however, for
everybody is more or less picturesque in this strange land, and we are
never tired of saying, "See here," and "See there." Sometimes it is a
gray-haired spinner with her ancient distaff that attracts our notice,
as she sits in a sunny door-way or totters along the sidewalk; and
then there are the antics of these foreign children! Béarnais boys are
as fond of standing on their heads as their American brethren are, but
their large and heavy _sabots_ are a great inconvenience.

Just look at those wooden shoes ranged along the sidewalk over there,
while the owners thereof are flourishing their emancipated heels in
fine style.

These are some of the sights of a market-day at Pau; but how can you
ever get a notion of the sounds? For when we add to the market-day
hub-bub the various every-day street cries that mingle with it we have
a strange orchestra.

[Illustration: "AS FOND OF STANDING ON THEIR HEADS AS THEIR
AMERICAN BRETHREN."]

There are the charcoal men, who begin on a high key and drop with
an almost impossible interval to a prolonged, nasal, twanging note;
the old clo' men, whose _patois_ for rags sounds so exactly like my
companion's name that she is sure they are after the dresses she is
economically wearing out at Pau; the chimney-sweeps; the _jonchée_
women, who sell cream cheese, rolled in what looks like onion-tops;
the roasted chestnut women, whose shrill "Tookow!" (_patois_ for
"_Tout chaud_") suggests piping-hot chestnuts in bursting shells; and
the crockery and earthen men, who push their wares before them in long
shallow box-carts, and give, in a sustained recitative, the whole
catalogue of delf and pottery.

In the afternoon when the noise and stir are subsiding, we hear a few
notes, often repeated, from what I should like to call a shepherd's
pipe; only the instrument in question is not in the least like one,
but resembles more one of those little musical toys with a row of
holes cut along one side, upon which our children at home are so fond
of performing. However, our shepherd contrives to produce a pastoral
effect with his simple strain, and we favor the illusion of the pipe
by only listening to him, while we look at his pretty goats with long,
silky black hair. He leads them through the town twice a day, and
at the sound of his call those who wish goat's milk send out their
glasses and get it warm from a goat milked at the door. As his last
faint notes die out in the distance the rosy light fades from the
peaks of the Pyrenees; the sun has set, and market-day is over.



IL SANTISSIMO BAMBINO.


On the Capitoline Hill, in Rome, stands a church, twelve
hundred years old, called Ara Coeli. It is unpromising in its
outward appearance, but is rich in marbles and mosaics within.

The most precious possession of this ancient church however, is a
wooden doll called Il Santissimo Bambino--The Most Holy Infant. It is
dressed like an Italian baby, and an Italian baby is dressed like a
mummy. We often see them in their mothers' arms, so swathed that they
can no more move than a bundle without any baby inside of it. Their
little legs must ache for the freedom of kicking. The dress of _the_
Bambino is very different from that of _a_ bambino after all, for it
is cloth of silver, and it sparkles all over with jewels which have
been presented to it, and it wears a golden crown upon its head.

This is the history of this remarkable doll, as devout Roman
Catholics believe. You must judge for yourselves how much of it is
truth and how much fable.

They say this image of the infant Saviour was carved from olive-wood
which grew upon the Mount of Olives, by a monk who lived in Palestine;
and, as he had no means of painting it with sufficient beauty, his
prayers prevailed upon St. Luke to come down from Heaven and color
it for him. Then he sent it to Rome to be present at the Christmas
festival. It was shipwrecked on the way, but finally came safely to
land, and was received with great reverence by the Franciscan monks,
who placed it in a shrine at Ara Coeli. It was soon found to have
miraculous power to heal the sick, and was so often sent for to visit
them, that, at one time, it received more fees than any physician in
Rome. It has its own carriage in which it rides abroad, and its own
attendants who guard it with the utmost care.

One woman was so selfish as to think it would be a capital thing if
she could get possession of this wonder-working image for herself and
her friends.

[Illustration: THE BAMBINO.]

"She had another doll prepared of the same size and appearance as the
'Santissimo,' and having feigned sickness and obtained permission to
have it left with her, she dressed the false image in its clothes,
and sent it back to Ara Coeli. The fraud was not discovered till
night, when the Franciscan monks were awakened by the most furious
ringing of bells and by thundering knocks at the west door of the
church, and, hastening thither, could see nothing but a wee, naked,
pink foot peeping in from under the door; but when they opened the
door, without stood the little naked figure of the true Bambino of Ara
Coeli, shivering in the wind and rain. So the false baby was sent
back in disgrace, and the real baby restored to its home, never to be
trusted away alone any more."

This marvelous escape is duly recorded in the Sacristy of the church
where the Bambino safely dwells under lock and key all the year,
except the time from Christmas to Epiphany, when it comes out to
receive the homage of the people.

We went to see it last Christmas.

As I told you, the church stands on one of the Seven Hills of the
Eternal City; it is approached by a flight of stone steps as wide as
the building itself and as high as the hill. There were many beggars
on these steps; some old and blind, others young and bright-eyed.
Beside the beggars, there were people with tiny images of the Baby in
the Manger, toy sheep, and pictures of the Bambino for sale.

When we went into the church, we found one of the chapels fitted up
like a tableau. The chapels are something like large alcoves along
the sides of a church. Each is consecrated to some saint, and often
belongs to some particular family who have their weddings and funerals
there.

It was in the second chapel on the left that we found the scene
represented. The Virgin Mary was dressed in a bright blue silk,
adorned with various jewels. In her lap lay the Bambino, about the
size of a baby six weeks old. I do not believe St. Luke painted its
face, for it was not half so well done as most of the wooden dolls we
see. An artificial mule had his nose close to the baby's head. Joseph
sat near, and in front the shepherds were kneeling. All these people
were of life-size, made of wood, and dressed in real clothes. Beyond
them was to be seen a pretty landscape--sheep, covered with real wool,
a girl with a pitcher on her head coming down a path to a sparkling
fountain of _glass_. In the distance was the town of Bethlehem. In
mid-air hovered an angel, hung by a wire in his back from the ceiling.
On pasteboard screens, above the Virgin and Child were painted a crowd
of cherubs looking down, and in their midst God the Father--whom
no one hath seen nor can see--was represented in the likeness of a
venerable man, spreading his hands in blessing over the group below.

[Illustration: THE EQUIPAGE OF THE BAMBINO.]

A great many little children were coming with the older people to look
at all this, and talking, in their pretty Italian tongue, about the
"Bambino."

Epiphany, as perhaps you know, is the day kept in memory of the visit
of the Wise Men where the Star in the East guided to our Saviour's
cradle. On that day, Il Santissimo Bambino was to be carried with all
ceremony back to the Sacristy; so we went to see that.

We were glad to find the Blessed Virgin had two nice silk dresses;
she had changed from blue to red, and the Bambino was standing on her
knee. The Shepherds had gone, and the Wise Men had come, all very
gorgeous in flowered brocade and cloth of gold, with crowns on their
heads, and pages to hold their trains.

It was yet an hour or two before the "Procession of the Bambino" would
proceed; so we went out of the side door of the church to stray about
the Capitoline Hill in the meanwhile.

We went down the steps where Tiberias Gracchus, the friend of the
people, was killed, some two thousand years ago. That brought us into
a small square called Piazza di Campidoglio. It is surrounded on three
sides by public buildings, and in front has a grand stairway leading
down to the street. It was in this very spot that Brutus made his
famous speech after the assassination of Julius Cæsar. We crossed the
square, went up some steps and through an archway.

A company of little Romans were playing soldier there, and the small
drum-major made the walls of the capitol resound with his rattling
music. That reminds me to tell you that Santa Claus does not visit
Italy; but an old woman, named Navona, comes instead. She may be his
wife, for aught I know; in fact, it seems quite likely, for she has a
way, just like his, of coming down the chimney, bringing gifts for the
good children and switches for the naughty. These must have been very
good little boys, for every one of them seemed to have a new sword or
gun. Probably Navona has to keep the house while Santa Claus is away
about his Christmas business, and that is the reason she does not
reach her small people here until the night before Epiphany, the 6th
of January.

We went down a lane of poor houses, dodging the clothes which hung
drying over our heads, and came to a large green gate in the high
stone wall of a garden. We knocked, but no one answered. Presently a
black-eyed little boy came running to us, glad to earn two or three
sous by going to call the _custode_. While we wait for him to do so,
I must tell you why we wished to go through this green door. You
have read, either in Latin or English, the story of Tarpæia, the
Roman maiden, who consented to show the Latin soldiers the way into
the citadel if they would give her what they wore on their left arms,
meaning their bracelets, and then the grim joke they played after she
had done her part, by throwing upon her their shields, which were also
"what they wore on their left arms."

It was to see the Tarpæian rock, where she led her country's enemies
up, and where, later, traitors were hurled down, that we wished to
go through the gate. Presently the keeper came, a rosy young woman,
leading a little girl, who was feeling very rich over a new dolly she
was dangling by its arm.

We were admitted to a small garden, where pretty pink roses were in
blossom, and the oranges were hanging on the trees, though the icicles
were fringing the fountain not far away. On the edge of the garden,
along the brow of the cliff, runs a thick wall of brown stone; we
leaned over it and looked down the steep rock which one assaulting
party after another tried, in old times, to scale.

It was on this side that the Gauls were trying to reach the citadel at
the time the geese saved the city. Do you know that for a long time,
annually, a dog was crucified on the capitol, and a goose carried in
triumph, because, on that occasion, the dogs failed to give the alarm
and the geese did it!

We looked down on the roofs and into the courts of poor houses which
have huddled close about the foot of the hill, but beyond them we
could look down into the Forum, where Virginia was stabbed, where
Horatius hung up the spoil of the Curiatii, where the body of Julius
Cæsar was burned, where the head of Cicero was cruelly exposed on the
very rostrum where had often been seen the triumph of his eloquence.
Opposite to us stood the Palatine Hill, a mass of crumbling palaces;
a little farther off rose the mighty wall of the Coliseum, where the
gladiators used to fight, and where so many Christian martyrs were
thrown to the wild beasts while tens of thousands of their fellow-men,
more cruel than lions, looked on, for sport.

Just at the roots of the Capitoline, close by, though out of sight,
was the Mamertine Prison, where St. Paul, of whom the world was not
worthy, was once shut up in the dismal darkness of the dungeon.

[Illustration: FAMILY OF ROMAN BEGGARS.]

As we went from the garden back to the Piazza di Campidoglio, we
saw something unusual was going on in the palace on the left of the
capital. In the door stood a guard in resplendent array of crimson
and gold lace. Looking through the arched entrance, we could see in
the inner court an open carriage with driver and footman in livery of
bright scarlet. Something of a crowd was gathering in the corridors.
We stopped to learn what it was all about. An Italian woman answered,
"La Principessa Margarita!" and an English lady close by explained
that the Princess Margaret, wife of the crown prince, had come to
distribute prizes to the children of the public schools. Only invited
guests could be present, but the people were waiting to see her come
down. So we joined the people and waited also.

It was a long time and a pretty cold one. A brass band in the court
cheered our spirits now and then. The fine span of the princess looked
rather excited, at first, by the trumpets so close to their ears,
but they stood their ground bravely. If one of the scarlet footmen
tightened a buckle, it raised our hopes that his mistress was coming;
the other put a fresh cigar in his mouth, and they sank.

Meantime the guard in the gold-laced crimson coat and yellow silk
stockings paced up and down. At length there was a messenger from
above; the royal carriage drove under the arch close to us. There
was a rustle, and down came the princely lady, dressed in purple
velvet, with mauve feathers in her hat, a white veil drawn over her
face, and a large bouquet in her white-gloved hand--rather pretty,
and very graceful. Before entering her carriage, she turned to shake
hands with the ladies and gentlemen who had accompanied her. She
was very complaisant, bowing low to them, and they still lower to
her. Then she bowed graciously to the crowd right and left, and they
responded gratefully. She smiled upon them, high and low, but there
was a look in her face, as it passed close to me, as if she was tired
of smiling for the public. She seated herself in the carriage; the
lady-in-waiting took her place beside her, the gentleman-in-waiting
threw over them the carriage-robe of white ermine lined with light
blue velvet and stepped in himself.

Then the equipage rolled off, the scarlet footmen getting up behind as
it started. This princess is very good and kind, greatly beloved by
the people, and, as there is no queen, she is the first lady in the
kingdom. Her husband first and her little son next are heirs to the
crown.

This show being over, we hastened back to the church, fearing we had
missed the Bambino in our pursuit of the princess. But we were in good
time. On the side of the church opposite the tableau was a small,
temporary platform. Little boys and girls were placed upon this, one
after the other, to speak short pieces or recite verses about the
Infant Christ. It was a kind of Sunday-school concert in Italian. The
language is very sweet in a child's mouth. There were a great many
bright, black-eyed children in the church, and most of them seemed to
have brought their Christmas presents along with them, as if to show
them to the Bambino.

There were ragged men in the crowd, and monks, and country-women with
handkerchiefs tied over their heads for bonnets. One of them who stood
near me had her first finger covered with rings up to the last joint.
That is their great ambition in the way of dress.

At length the organ ceased playing, and the notes of a military band
were heard. Then we saw a banner moving slowly down one of the aisles,
followed by a train of lighted tapers. Over the heads of the people
we could only see the banner and the lights; they passed down and
paused to take the Bambino. Then they marched slowly all around the
church--people falling on their knees as they passed by.

Out at the front door they went, and that sacred image was held high
aloft, so that all the people on the great stairway and in the square
below might get a sight of it, and be blessed. Then up the middle of
the church they came, to the high altar. This was our chance to see
them perfectly.

First the banner with the image of the Virgin on it was borne by
a young priest dressed in a long black robe and a white short gown
trimmed with lace; next came a long procession of men in ordinary
dress, carrying long and large wax candles, which they had a
disagreeable habit of dripping as they went along.

"Servants of great houses," remarked a lady behind me.

"They used to come themselves," answered another.

Then followed Franciscan monks in their brown copes, each with a
knotted rope for a girdle, and sandals only on his bare feet. After
these came the band of musicians, all little boys; and now approached,
with measured tread, three priests in rich robes of white brocade,
enriched with silver. The middle one, a tall, venerable-looking man,
with hoary hair and solemn countenance, held erect in his hands the
sacred dolly. As it passed, believers dropped upon their knees.
When he reached the high altar, he reverently kissed its feet, and
delivered it to its custodian to be carried to the Sacristy!

[Illustration]



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_For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of the
advertised price._

THE WERNER COMPANY, Publishers,--Akron, O.



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

The original book had no page numbers.

The oe-ligatures have been converted to "oe."





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