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Title: Elsie and Her Namesakes
Author: Finley, Martha
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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ELSIE AND HER NAMESAKES



_A LIST OF THE ELSIE BOOKS_

       By

 MARTHA FINLEY


  ELSIE DINSMORE
  ELSIE'S HOLIDAYS AT ROSELANDS
  ELSIE'S GIRLHOOD
  ELSIE'S WOMANHOOD
  ELSIE'S MOTHERHOOD
  ELSIE'S CHILDREN
  ELSIE'S WIDOWHOOD
  GRANDMOTHER ELSIE
  ELSIE'S NEW RELATIONS
  ELSIE AT NANTUCKET
  THE TWO ELSIES
  ELSIE'S KITH AND KIN
  ELSIE'S FRIENDS AT WOODBURN
  CHRISTMAS WITH GRANDMA ELSIE
  ELSIE AND THE RAYMONDS
  ELSIE YACHTING WITH THE RAYMONDS
  ELSIE'S VACATION
  ELSIE AT VIAMEDE
  ELSIE AT ION
  ELSIE AT THE WORLD'S FAIR
  ELSIE'S JOURNEY ON INLAND WATERS
  ELSIE AT HOME
  ELSIE ON THE HUDSON
  ELSIE IN THE SOUTH
  ELSIE'S YOUNG FOLKS
  ELSIE'S WINTER TRIP
  ELSIE AND HER LOVED ONES
  ELSIE AND HER NAMESAKES



 ELSIE AND HER NAMESAKES

           BY

      MARTHA FINLEY


 [Illustration]


       NEW YORK
 DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY
      Publishers



     Copyright, 1905
 By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

 _Published October, 1905_



CHAPTER I


Things were going on blithely at Woodburn, everybody deeply interested
in the preparations for the approaching wedding, as were all the
relatives and connections on the neighboring estates and those on more
southern plantations. Woodburn seemed a centre of attraction; relatives
and friends were constantly coming and going, many consultations were
held as to suitable gifts, especially for Grace and Harold. There was
great interest shown by all in the preparation of the trousseau, and
Alma and one or two assistants were very busy over it.

There were many shopping expeditions, in which Grace sometimes shared,
though rather against Harold's wishes, so fearful was he that she
might take cold or suffer from over-exertion. He had long been her
careful physician, but now was not only that, but also her promised
husband and ardent lover. And to please him Grace left the greater part
of the shopping to the other members of the family, and made some of
her selections by samples brought by them or the mails.

In the meantime, plans for the wedding and the honeymoon were
discussed. Some one spoke of a trip to the North, but Harold vetoed
that promptly. "It was too late in the season now for Grace to try
that. He must take her to a warmer climate."

"Then let us all go to Viamede for the winter," suggested his mother.
"Would not that suit you, Gracie dear?"

"Yes, indeed, Grandma Elsie; I think there is no sweeter spot upon
earth," was the pleased response.

"Then that is where we will go," Harold said with a happy laugh, "and
I hope our mother and other dear ones will either accompany or follow
us."

"Oh, I like that plan," exclaimed Violet, "but I think few of us will
be quite ready to leave our homes here by the time the bridal party
starts."

"Then suppose you go in relays," suggested Chester.

"Why not say we, instead of you, Brother Chester," laughed Elsie
Raymond. "I'm sure grandma included you in her invitation."

"Certainly," said Grandma Elsie, giving Chester one of her sweet
smiles. "May I not count you and Lucilla among my grandchildren?"

"Indeed, I am delighted to have you do so, and proud to be able to
claim real blood relationship," returned Chester. "And but for the
claims of business, I should be glad to accept your kind invitation.
Those, however, will not permit it."

There were exclamations of regret from several of those present,
Grandma Elsie among them.

"But Sister Lu can go, can't she?" asked Elsie Raymond.

"Go and leave my husband!" exclaimed Lucilla in mock indignation. "Who
could suspect me of being so unfeeling a wife?"

"Oh, no, Lu dear, I didn't mean that," Elsie hastened to say. "I know
you and Brother Chester are very fond of each other, but so are you and
papa; and all the rest of us love you dearly; and we won't any of us
like to do without you, even for a few weeks. Oh Brother Chester, can't
you get somebody else to manage your business while you go along with
us?"

"No, little sister; and seeing my wife does not want to leave me, I am
not willing to do without her, either."

"And you are quite right about it, Chester," said the captain, sighing
slightly and giving his eldest daughter a look of warm, fatherly
affection; "much as I shall certainly miss her even for the few weeks
of our separation, I must concede that she is right in putting your
claim to her companionship first."

"And I know it's right when you say so, papa; so I'll try to be
content," said Elsie cheerfully. "But you and Baby Mary will go with
us, won't you, Eva?"

"And leave Lu alone all day while Chester is away at his office? Oh,
I couldn't think of doing that! And, besides, I think home is the
best place for baby and me for the present," returned Evelyn, gazing
lovingly down at the cooing babe upon her knee.

"Oh, thank you, Eva," cried Lucilla, clapping her hands in delight;
"the thought of having you and baby left half reconciles me to seeing
the others go, leaving me behind; only--oh, father," with a pathetic
look at him and a quiver of pain in her voice, "what shall I--what can
I do without you?"

At that he stepped to her side and laid his hand tenderly on her head.

"We will comfort ourselves with the thought that the parting will be
for but a brief season, daughter dear," he said in moved tones; "and
with the prospect of the joyful reunion in store for us all in the
spring."

"And you will help me with frequent letters, papa dear, won't you?" she
asked, trying to speak lightly and cheerfully.

"I think there will be a daily bulletin, perhaps more than one--at
least with Eva's share counted in," the captain replied with an
affectionate look at his daughter-in-law and her babe.

"Oh, I hope so, father; and of course Lu will share with me the
pleasure of mine," responded Evelyn with a bright, glad look up into
his eyes.

"And though Viamede is ever so delightful, I think we will all soon be
in haste to get home to see our dear little baby," Elsie exclaimed,
hurrying to Eva's side to pet and fondle the little one.

"Yes; we will all sadly miss both her and her mother," said Violet.

"Indeed we will," added her mother, "and I sincerely wish we could take
her and all the Sunnyside folk with us. We will hope to do so the next
time we go to Viamede."

This was an afternoon chat in the library, where they had gathered for
the time, some few of the cousins with them, and little, feeble Ned
asleep on a couch.

"Go to Viamede? When will we go?" he asked feebly, rousing just in time
to catch his grandmother's concluding words.

"We hope to do so in the afternoon of the wedding day, carrying my pet
patient along," replied Harold, taking the small, white hand in his and
patting it affectionately.

"Papa and mamma, too?" queried Ned, rather anxiously.

"We are going in your papa's yacht, and they are to follow us in a few
days by rail, join us on the Florida coast; and from there we expect to
go on together to Viamede."

"Oh, that's nice--but--oh, what can I do without papa and mamma? Will
you and Gracie take care of me?"

"Some of the time, I think, but your grandma still more; and your
sister Elsie, and some of the cousins who will be with us, will help
entertain you."

"And with all those you can do without papa and mamma for a few days,
can't you, sonny boy?" queried Violet, leaning over him and patting his
cheek caressingly.

"Yes, mamma; I love my dear grandma and uncle and Sister Elsie--the
cousins, too--but I'll miss you and papa."

"Then you must try to be patient and happy thinking it will be only a
few days before we may hope to be together again," returned his mother,
repeating her caresses.

"And show yourself a manly little man of whom we can all be proud as
well as fond," added his father, standing by his side, smoothing his
hair and looking down smilingly into his face.

"I'll try, papa," responded the little fellow, "and I do believe we
will have a nice time if--if I can keep on getting well."

"We will hope for that, and you will have your good doctor with you.
And you must keep up your spirits with the thought that we expect to be
all together again in a few days."

Grandma Elsie had been taking part in some of the business visits to
the neighboring city, but now she decided to leave all that to the
younger ladies and devote herself to the entertainment of Ned, Elsie
and any other of the young people of the family connection who might
care to share with them in listening to the interesting facts and
stories which she would relate for Ned's enjoyment and instruction.
She presently announced this determination, which was gladly received
by all the children present, and asked if any of them could suggest a
subject for to-morrow's discourse. Elsie responded with an eager look
of delight and entreaty.

"Well, dear child, what is it?" asked her grandma.

"Something about Washington, grandma, beginning with what he did when
he was a very young man. I'd like to hear all you can tell us about
Braddock's defeat."

"Then that shall be our subject to-morrow, if all my audience should be
pleased to have it so," was the kindly reply; to which several young
voices responded with expressions of pleasure in the prospect.



CHAPTER II


The next day Grandma Elsie, true to her promise, remained with the
children at Woodburn, while the younger ladies went on their shopping
expedition to the city. Ned had been carried down to the library,
and lay there on a sofa, his pale face bright with expectation; for
he dearly loved grandma's stories, especially now when it seemed too
great an exertion to hold a book and read for himself; his sister Elsie
was there, too, and so were several of the young cousins from Ion and
Fairview, who had come riding in on their bicycles, full of joyful
expectation, for grandma's stories were to them a great delight.

They gathered about her, and she began.

"I am going to tell you of our Washington and some of his deeds and
experiences. He has been called the Father of his Country. Some one
once gave the toast, 'Washington: Providence left him childless that
his country might call him father.'"

"Had he never any children at all, grandma?" asked Ned.

"None of his very own; only some step-children. He married a widow who
had some by a former husband.

"Washington was very young when he left school and began life as a
surveyor. At sixteen he was public surveyor of Culpeper County, and he
continued there at that work for three years. Then, at nineteen, he
was made adjutant-general, with the rank of major, in one of the four
military districts into which Virginia was divided.

"In 1753 Great Britain instructed her governors of the American
colonies to serve notice on the French that their forts built on
western lands claimed by the English were an encroachment on her
colonies; and if the French resisted, they were instructed to use force
to drive them away.

"Washington was then twenty-one--a tall, grave, handsome young man,
and one with the talents and information required; he had courage,
experience in the woods, knowledge about forts and tact with savages.
The governor offered the dangerous and difficult mission to him, and he
accepted it.

"This was in the summer. In October the governor resolved to enlarge
his army to ten companies of one hundred men each, and no officer in
that Virginia regiment was to rank higher than captain. Indignant at
that, Washington resigned and left the army.

"The next February Braddock came from England with two regiments of
troops, supplies and artillery. He landed in Virginia, and Washington
sent him a congratulatory letter. Shortly afterward Braddock
invited him to become his aide-de-camp, and he willingly accepted
the invitation. He joined Braddock at Frederickstown, feeling much
displeased that the army should pass through Maryland instead of
Virginia.

"Braddock--proud Englishman--despised all colonials except Franklin and
Washington, but from the beginning he was pleased with them."

"Colonial, grandma?" said Ned, inquiringly.

"Yes, dear; you must remember that at that time there were no United
States of America; instead, just thirteen colonies subject to Great
Britain, and all on or near the Atlantic coast. Our country has grown
very much since then."

"And in more ways than one, hasn't it, grandma?" remarked Elsie Raymond
with a look of joy and pride.

"Yes, dear; it is many times as large, as wealthy and full of comforts
and conveniences. Indeed, I think we may safely say that we are the
richest and most powerful nation in the world. God has been wonderfully
good to us, and to Him be all the glory and the praise.

"In the days I am telling you of there were no railroads, and the
rough mountain roads would be very difficult to cross with the heavy
artillery and baggage. Therefore, Washington urged a forward movement
with a small but chosen band and only such artillery and light stores
as were absolutely necessary.

"Washington went with the rear division, riding in a covered wagon,
for he had been quite sick with fever and pains in his head, and was
not yet able to sit a horse. He overtook the advance division at the
mouth of the Youghiogheny River, fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne, and
the next morning, though still very weak in body, attended Braddock
on horseback. The ground was very steep on the north side of the
Monongahela, which made it necessary to ford the river twice and march
a part of the way on the south side. About noon they were within ten
miles of Fort Duquesne. It was here they crossed to the north side,
and their road lay through a level plain, at the north end of which
a gradual ascent began, leading to hills of some height, and then
through an uneven country covered with trees. Three hundred men, under
Colonel Gage, marched first, then came another party of two hundred,
then Braddock with the main body, artillery and baggage.

"All had crossed the river, and the advance body was going cheerfully
up the hill, on each side of which was a ravine eight or ten feet deep,
covered with trees and long grass. General Braddock had not employed
any scouts. He despised Indians, colonists and their irregular kind
of warfare. A hundred friendly Indians had joined him on the march,
but he treated them so coldly, in spite of all Washington could say in
their favor, that they had all gone away. They came again on the very
night before this dress parade between the ravines, and again offered
their assistance; but in spite of all Washington could say in favor of
employing them, the general refused to do so."

"And were the French and their Indians hiding in those ravines,
grandma?" asked Ned.

"Yes," she replied; "that was just what they were doing, and after
the first British division had got well into the field between the
ravines, without seeing or hearing an enemy, they suddenly received a
volley of musket-balls in their faces. As one of the soldiers afterward
said, they could only tell where the enemy were by the smoke of their
muskets. But the British at once returned a fire that killed the French
commander, and was so heavy that the Indians thought it came from
artillery, and were about to retreat when Dumas, who was in command now
that his superior officer was killed, rallied them and sent them, under
French officers, to attack the right flank while he held the front.

"The British now received another rain of bullets, and the wood rang
with the savage yells of the Indians, but they could see only smoke,
except when now and then an Indian ventured from behind a tree to take
a scalp. The Virginians, used to the Indian's way of fighting, dropped
on the ground or rushed behind trees, and the British regulars tried
to imitate them. Braddock, just then reaching the scene, was furious
at that. Riding about the field, he forced his men, both British and
Virginians, back into the ranks, just where the enemy could get full
sight of them and shoot them down the more readily."

"Why, grandma, what did he do that for?" asked Ned.

"It seems he wanted them to keep rank just because he considered that
the regular thing to do."

"Stupid old fellow!" exclaimed one of the other young listeners.

"Yes; he does not seem to have been very bright in that particular
line," assented Mrs. Travilla, "but he was very brave; four horses
were shot under him, and he mounted a fifth. All his aides were shot
down but one--our Washington; though hardly well enough to sit in his
saddle, he rode about the field delivering Braddock's orders to the
troops, so making himself a conspicuous target for the enemy, who fired
at him again and again, but could not kill him--did not even succeed in
wounding him, though two horses were shot under him, and he sprang upon
a third and went fearlessly on with his work."

"But he was not wounded. I remember reading that," said Elsie. "Surely,
grandma, God took care of him, that he might after a while become the
Father of his Country."

"Yes, God protected him, and that made it impossible for the foe to
destroy him."

"But they killed Braddock, didn't they?" asked Ned.

"I don't know," replied Mrs. Travilla, "that Braddock was fatally
wounded at that time, but I have seen an account of his fatal wounding,
which may or not be true. It is thought that among the Americans who
were in the fight were two of the name of Fausett--brothers--Thomas
and Joseph. Thomas is said to have been a man of gigantic frame and
of uncivilized, half savage propensities. It is said that he spent
most of his life in the mountains, living as a hermit on the game
that he killed. In the battle we are talking of he saw his brother
behind a tree, saw Braddock ride up to him in a passion and strike him
down with his sword. Tom Fausett drew up his rifle instantly and shot
Braddock through the lungs, partly in revenge for the outrage upon his
brother and partly, as he always declared, to get the general out of
the way that he might sacrifice no more of the lives of the British and
Americans."

"Why, grandma, did he want his own men killed?" asked Ned.

"No; but he was foolish, obstinate and determined to have his own way.
Those who appointed him commander of that force made a great mistake.
He was a good tactician, but proud, prejudiced and conceited. Talking
with Benjamin Franklin, who was then postmaster-general, he said,
'After taking Fort Duquesne, I am to proceed to Niagara, and having
taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow time, and I suppose
it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain me above three or four days;
and then I can see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.'
Franklin thought the plan excellent if he could take his fine troops
safely to Fort Duquesne, but told him there might be danger from Indian
ambuscades; the savages, shooting unexpectedly from their places of
concealment in the woods, might destroy his army in detail. Braddock
thought that an absurd idea, and replied that the Indians might be
formidable enemies to raw American troops, but it was impossible they
should make an impression upon the King's regular and disciplined
troops. And, as I have already told you, that was the idea he acted
upon in the fight, which is always spoken of as 'Braddock's defeat.' He
insisted that his men should be formed in regular platoons; they fired
by platoons--at the rocks, into the bushes and ravines, and so killed
not enemies only, but many Americans--as many as fifty by one volley."

"Oh, how dreadful!" cried Elsie; "killing their own comrades instead of
the enemies they were fighting."

"Grandma, did Tom Fausett's shot kill Braddock at once?" asked Ned.

"No; it was on the 9th of July he was shot, and he died on the evening
of the 13th. It was on that day the remnant of his army went into
camp at the Great Meadows. In the evening, after the fight, Braddock
exclaimed, 'Who would have thought it?'

"Then he remained silent until a few minutes before he died, when he
said, 'We should better know how to deal with them another time.' They
buried him before daybreak in the road and levelled his grave with
the ground, lest the Indians should find and mutilate his body. The
chaplain had been wounded, and Washington read the burial service."

"At the Great Meadows, grandma?" asked Elsie.

"About a mile from Fort Necessity," replied Mrs. Travilla. "I have read
that on the 17th the sick and wounded reached Fort Cumberland, and the
next day Washington wrote to a friend that since his arrival there he
had heard a circumstantial account of his own death and dying speech,
and now he was taking the earliest opportunity of contradicting the
first, and of giving the assurance that he had not yet composed the
latter."

"Well, I hope he got the praise he deserved from somebody," said Elsie.

"Yes, he did," replied her grandma. "An eloquent and accomplished
preacher, Rev. Samuel Davies, who a few years later became president of
Princeton College, in a sermon to one of the companies organized after
Braddock's defeat, after praising the zeal and courage of the Virginia
troops, added: 'As a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to
the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but
hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some
important service to his country.'"

"And doesn't it seem that that was what God preserved him for,
grandma?" exclaimed Elsie, her eyes shining with pleasure.

"It does, indeed; God was very good to us in giving us such a leader
for such a time as that of our hard struggle for the freedom which has
made us the great and powerful nation that we now are."

"And we are not the only people that think very highly of Washington,"
remarked one of the cousins in a tone which was half assertive, half
inquiring.

"No, indeed," replied Mrs. Travilla; "one English historian has said
that Washington's place in the history of mankind is without a fellow,
and Lord Brougham said more than once, 'It will be the duty of the
historian in all ages to let no occasion pass of commemorating this
illustrious man; and until time shall be no more will a test of the
progress which our race has made in wisdom and virtue be derived from
the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington.'"

"That's high praise, grandma, isn't it?" said Eric Leland; "and I think
our Washington deserved every word of it."

"As I do," she replied; "he was just, generous, disinterested--spending
so many of the best years of his life in fighting for the freedom of
his country, and that without a cent of pay--wise, fearless, heroic,
self-sacrificing; he feared God, believed in Christ, was a man of
prayer, fully acknowledging divine aid and direction in all that he
attempted and all he accomplished. He was a wonderful man, a God-given
leader to us in a time when such an one was sorely needed."

"When was the war quite over, grandma?" asked Ned.

"The treaty of peace was signed in Paris on the 20th of January, 1783,"
replied Mrs. Travilla. "News did not then fly nearly so fast as it
does now, and it was not till the 17th of the following April that
Washington received the proclamation of peace by our Congress. On the
19th of April, the anniversary of the shedding of the first blood of
the war, at Lexington, eight years before, the cessation was proclaimed
at the head of every regiment of the army. That was by Washington's
general orders, in which he added, 'The chaplains of the several
brigades will render thanks to Almighty God for all His mercies,
particularly for His overruling the wrath of man to His own glory, and
causing the rage of war to cease among the nations.'"



CHAPTER III


Noticing now that weak little Ned began to look weary and sleepy, Mrs.
Travilla bade the other children go out and amuse themselves a while
wherever they liked about the house and grounds; so they quietly left
the room.

"Please don't go away, grandma. Please stay beside me while I take my
nap," murmured the little fellow, opening his eyes to look up at her,
then closing them again.

"No, darling, I won't," she said soothingly. "I have a book and am
going to sit here beside you and read while you sleep."

Elsie and the others refreshed themselves with some lively sport upon
the lawn; then the young guests, thinking it time to return to their
homes, mounted their bicycles and departed, leaving Elsie sitting in
the veranda, whiling away the time with a bit of fancy work while
waiting and watching for the return of father and mother and the other
loved ones from their city shopping.

Meantime, she was thinking how very much she would like to give her
dear sister Grace a handsome wedding present, and regretting that she
had not expected the wedding to come so soon and saved her pocket money
for that purpose. She had not wasted it, but had been more liberal in
gifts to some others and spent more in self-indulgences than now seemed
to have been at all necessary.

But these regretful meditations were at length interrupted by the
carriage turning in at the great gates and coming swiftly up the
driveway.

"Oh, I am so glad you have come back at last, papa, mamma, and all the
rest of you dear folks," she exclaimed, hastening to meet them as they
alighted and came up the veranda steps. "I suppose you have bought ever
so many beautiful things."

"Yes, so we have," replied her mother.

"Many more than were at all necessary," laughed Grace. "If this sort of
kindness killed, I am afraid I should not live very long."

"But it does not, and you look very rosy and well for you," laughed
Elsie as Grace reached her side, put an arm about her and gave her a
kiss.

"Yes, she has stood the ordeal very well so far," remarked Dr. Harold,
giving his affianced a very lover-like glance and smile.

"I am ever so glad of that," said Elsie. "And oh, I do want to see all
those pretty things! Mayn't they be carried into the library, mamma?
Grandma and Ned will want to see them, and they are in there."

"Yes," replied Violet, leading the way, "and we will all go in there
and examine them together. I hear Ned talking, so there is no danger of
waking him out of a nap."

All followed her lead, a servant, bearing the heavier packages,
bringing up the rear. All enjoyed examining the purchases--rich silks,
laces, ribbons and jewelry--and some minutes were spent in lively chat
over them and about other pretty things seen in the city stores.

Then Grace was summoned to the sewing room to inspect the work going on
there. Violet went with her, and Harold hastened away to see a patient,
the captain and Elsie following him as far as the veranda, he seating
himself and drawing her to his knee to pet and fondle her, as was his
wont when they happened to be alone together.

"Well, darling little daughter," he said, "I hope you have had a
pleasant time at home with grandma and Ned and cousins while papa and
mamma were away?"

"Yes, sir; grandma was telling us about Washington and Braddock's
defeat, and it was very interesting. So the time passed very
pleasantly. Papa, what beautiful things you and mamma and the rest
brought home from the city! I wish"--she paused, blushing and hanging
her head.

"Well, dear child, speak out and tell papa what you want," he said
encouragingly.

"I was just wishing I could buy a handsome wedding gift for dear
Sister Grace; but I did not think she was going to be married so soon,
and--and my pocket money is almost all gone."

"Well, never mind," he said with a smile and patting her cheek. "I have
been considering an increase of pocket money for you and Ned just at
this time. I shall give each of you $50 to-morrow, to do with exactly
as you please--buy for yourselves or for others or save up for some
future time."

"Oh, papa, thank you, thank you!" she cried joyously. "And now can you
tell me what to buy for Sister Grace?"

"We will consult mamma about that," he said, "and perhaps she will go
with us into the city to-morrow to make the purchase."

"Ah, Elsie wanting to do some shopping, too?" asked Violet's pleasant
voice as she stepped out from the hall door to the veranda and came
quickly toward them. "No"--to her husband--"do not get up; I will take
a seat by your side," suiting the action to the word.

"Yes, mamma," answered the little girl; "surely I ought to give
a wedding present to Sister Grace; and papa is going to give me
money--$50--to buy it with."

"Oh, that is nice," said Violet. "Levis, my dear, you are certainly the
best of fathers, as well as of husbands."

"According to my very partial wife," he returned with a pleased little
laugh.

"And this one of your daughters, too, papa," said Elsie.

"As well as all the kith and kin who know him well," added Violet.
"What do you think of buying with that large sum of money, Elsie?"

"I want your advice about that, mamma."

"I believe Grace feels very rich now--in silks, satins, laces,
jewelry"--Violet responded in a musing tone. "Ah, well of that last
few ladies can have too much. A ring, a bracelet, would hardly come
amiss."

"No, mamma, I do not believe they would; and they would be becoming to
sister's beautiful hands and arms. I wonder if Ned would not like to
buy one or the other for her with his $50."

"Let us go to the library now and consult him about it," said the
captain, setting Elsie down and rising to his feet as he spoke.

"The best plan, I think," said Violet. "He is sure to want to spend
your gift to him in something for Grace."

They found Ned still awake and pleased at their coming.

"You may be newsteller and questioner, Elsie," said their father, and
she told in hurried, joyous fashion what he had promised, and what she
thought of buying for Grace with her $50, concluding with the query,
"What will you do with your fifty, Ned?"

"I do not know. I cannot go to the stores to find anything," he sighed
disconsolately.

"But you can trust mamma and the rest of us to select something for
you," suggested his father in tender tones.

"Oh, I guess that will do," responded Ned more cheerfully; "and be sure
that I want it to be something handsome, if it costs every cent of the
$50."

So that matter was settled, and the next morning the captain, Violet
and Elsie drove into the city, visited the best jewelry store, and
selected a beautiful ring and bracelet. Elsie was so charmed with them
that she seemed hardly able to think of anything else on the homeward
drive.

"I hope Ned will be pleased with the bracelet," she said; "but if he
would rather have the ring for his gift to Gracie, he may, and I will
give the bracelet."

"That is right, daughter," said the captain. "I think they are both
beautiful, and they cost very nearly the same."

They found Ned awake and full of eager expectation. He heard the
carriage wheels on the driveway, and cried out, "There they are,
grandma, and oh, how I wish I could run out to the veranda to meet
them!"

"Never mind about that, sonny boy; they will be in here directly," was
the kind response, and the next minute Elsie came running in, holding
up two little parcels.

"We have bought them, Ned," she cried. "They are just lovely, and you
may open the packages and take your choice which to have for your gift
to Sister Grace," and she put them in his hands as she spoke.

He looked delighted, hastily tore open the larger package, and cried
out, "Oh, I will take this for mine. It is the prettiest bracelet I
ever saw!"

"But the ring is every bit as beautiful," said Elsie, "and I do not
care in the least which you give and which will be my present to
Gracie."

"And since you do not care in the least, it won't matter who gives
which," laughed their mother.

"And that makes it easy for you both," said the captain, drawing up a
chair to the side of the couch for his wife, then seating himself by
her side.

"What do you think of them, mother?" turning to Grandma Elsie.

"That they are both beautiful," she replied. "Grace is sure to be
greatly pleased with them. Ah, here she comes!" as the young girl came
tripping in, followed by Harold.

"Oh, Gracie, here are our wedding gifts to you--Elsie's and mine. Come
look at them," cried Ned, raising himself to a sitting posture in his
excitement.

"Oh, they are lovely, lovely!" she responded, taking them from his
hands, turning them about in hers and gazing upon them delightedly.
"But," she added in a regretful tone, "I am afraid you have both spent
far too much on me."

"Not at all, daughter; they were bought with both your mamma's and my
full approval," said the captain. "What do you think of them, Harold?"
as he, too, seemed to be giving the trinkets a critical examination.

"I entirely agree in the opinion Grace has just expressed," he replied.
"They are quite worthy of the admiration of us all. Must have cost a
pretty penny, I should say."

"But not too much for gifts to our dear sister Grace," said Elsie.

"No, no; I quite agree with you in that opinion," replied Harold, with
a smile and a look of ardent love and admiration at the sweet face of
his betrothed.

"Put them on, Gracie, and let us see how they will look on your pretty
hand and arm," pleaded Ned, and she complied.

"Ah, they fit nicely," she said with a pleased little laugh; then
took them off and replaced them in their boxes, adding, "but are too
handsome and costly to wear just now. They should be shown first along
with the other Christmas and wedding gifts."

"Such a long time to wait," sighed Ned disconsolately.

"Not so very, Neddie boy," returned Grandma Elsie in a cheery tone;
"this is Friday, and Christmas comes next week on Wednesday."

"Oh, I am glad it is so near! But, oh, dear," he added with a sigh, "it
won't be so delightful as it has been other years, because I cannot go
out of doors and run and play as I have on other Christmas days."

"No; but do not fret, my little son; you shall have a good time in the
house," said his father.

"Oh, yes, papa, and will we have a Christmas tree? I am not too old for
that, am I?"

"No, not at all; and I doubt if you ever will be," returned his father,
smoothing his hair and smiling down into his face.

"Oh, Sister Grace, will your dresses be done by that time?" asked
Elsie.

"Hardly, I think," smiled Grace; "but it will be another week before we
sail away in our _Dolphin_; and if they are not all finished then they
can be sent after us to Viamede."

"I suppose, grandma, you will be wanting us all at Ion for Christmas,"
said Ned. "Uncle Harold, do you think I will be well enough to go?"

"No, my boy; but we can have a fine Christmas here in your own home,"
replied his uncle in kindly tones.

"Oh, yes, of course we can. There is no place better than home, anyhow;
at least, not if grandma and you, uncle, are here with us."

"Just what I think," said Elsie; "and you will be here, won't you,
grandma and uncle?"

"Part of the time," replied Mrs. Travilla; "and I think it likely that
most of your other relatives will make a call on you some time during
the day."

"And you will stay with us between this time and that, and tell us your
nice true stories, won't you, grandma?" entreated Ned.

"I have planned to be here a part of almost every day until we go on
board the _Dolphin_, Neddie dear," she said, smiling kindly on him as
she spoke.

"And you will, too, won't you, uncle?" queried the little fellow, with
an entreating look up into Harold's face.

"Yes; I intend to give my little patient all the care he needs from his
uncle doctor," was the pleasant-toned reply.

"Thank you, sir; that is good; I am glad I have such a kind uncle
that knows how to treat sick folks," returned Ned, closing his eyes,
composing himself for a nap, and adding, "I am tired and sleepy now.
Please everybody excuse me if I do not keep awake to enjoy your
company."

An hour later the little boy awoke, looking and feeling stronger and
better than he had at any time since the beginning of his illness; and
he continued to gain as the days passed on, listening with pleasure
while his grandma and others tried to entertain him with stories,
and now and then joining in some quiet little game that called for no
exertion of strength.

At last it was Christmas eve, and he and Elsie went early to bed and
to sleep after hanging up their stockings for Santa Claus to fill.
They knew there was to be a Christmas tree, but the sight of it was to
be deferred till the next morning, because after his night's rest Ned
would be better able to enjoy it.

Over at Sunnyside Evelyn sat beside the crib of her sleeping babe, busy
with her needle, fashioning a dainty robe for the darling, when Lucilla
stole softly in, came to her side, and speaking in an undertone, not to
disturb the little sleeper, said:

"Chester and I are going over to Woodburn to help in the trimming of
the Christmas tree, and should be happy to have your company. Will you
go along?"

"Thank you, Lu; I should like to but for leaving baby, and I won't
disturb her, taking her up to carry her along, she is sleeping so
sweetly."

"You are quite right; it would be a shame to rouse her out of that
sweet sleep. The darling; how lovely she is!" responded Lucilla,
leaning over the crib and feasting her eyes with a long, tender gaze
into the innocent little face. "But could not you trust her to the care
of her nurse for a half hour or so?"

"Thank you, but I think I am more needed here than there just now.
There will be a good many to join in the fun of trimming the tree--good
fun, too, it will be, I know."

"Yes; and you have already sent over your and Max's lovely gifts. Well,
good-by, sister dear. You will be missed, but no one will blame you for
staying beside your darling."

Eva was missed and her absence regretted, but the work of trimming the
tree went merrily on, the captain, Violet, Harold, Grace, Chester and
Lucilla all taking part in the work, while visiting relatives came
pouring in, bringing both Christmas and wedding gifts. There was a
merry time, and Grace seemed almost overwhelmed by the multitude of
rare and beautiful presents, some of them very costly, bestowed upon
her. There were laces, jewelry, gold and silver tableware, several
handsome pictures for her walls, pretty toilet sets, books; and from
Harold's mother and Grace's father certificates of valuable stock,
which would add largely to the income of the young couple.

The tree was a particularly large and handsome one when brought in, and
made a grand appearance, indeed, at the conclusion of the work of its
trimmers.

There were many expressions of gleeful admiration, then all were
invited to the dining-room and feasted with cakes and ices.

"Dearest, I fear this has been almost too much for you," Harold said
in a low aside to his betrothed when the last of the guests had bidden
adieu and departed. "I hope excitement is not going to keep you awake."

"I will try not to allow it to do so," she returned in the same low
key, and smiling up into his eyes. "I hope to show myself to-morrow a
patient to be proud of."

"As you are to-night, love, and always," returned Harold gallantly,
taking her hand and carrying it to his lips.

"In the estimation of my very partial lover doctor," laughed Grace.

"Ah, yes; and in that of many others. The lover is craving a
tête-à-tête with his best beloved, but the doctor knows she should at
once retire to her couch of rest. Good-night, darling. Only a week now
till I can claim you for my very own."

"Good-night, my best and dearest of physicians; I will follow your
prescription, as has been my wont in the past," returned Grace, gently
withdrawing her hand from his grasp, then gliding into the hall and
up the stairway, while Harold passed out to the veranda, where the
captain and Violet, arm in arm, were pacing to and fro, chatting cosily
of what they had been doing and were still to do to make the morrow
a specially happy day to their children and servants. They paused in
their walk at sight of Harold.

"You are not going to leave us to-night?" they asked.

"Yes; I have a patient to visit, and must hasten, for it is growing
late."

"Well, come in as early as you can to-morrow," said Violet, and the
captain seconded the invitation warmly.

"You may be sure I will do that," laughed Harold, "for both the
enjoyment of your society and the good of my patients here. Au revoir."

"Dear fellow!" exclaimed Violet, looking after him as he moved with his
firm, elastic tread down the driveway and through the great gates into
the road beyond; "he is worth his weight in gold, both as brother and
physician, I think."

"And I am pretty much of the same opinion," smiled the captain. "Now
shall we go upstairs and oversee the doings of Santa Claus with those
stockings?"

"Yes; for I presume the youthful owners of the stockings are already
safe from disturbance in the Land of Nod. Will Grace hang her stocking
up, do you think?"

"Hardly, I suppose; but we might steal a march upon the darling after
she, too, has reached that Land of Nod."

They had passed up the stairway while they talked, and were now near
the door of Grace's sitting-room, and hearing their voices, though
their tones were rather subdued for fear of waking the children, she
opened it and came smilingly out.

"Ah, papa and mamma, I presume you are about to personate old Santa
Claus, and I should like to help a little," she laughed, holding up to
view a string of coral beads and a pretty purse of her own knitting.

"Ah," said her father, "those will give pleasure, I know. The children
will be well satisfied with those articles of Santa Claus's selection.
Ah, this reminds me of the first Christmas in this house, and the
delight of my two daughters--Lu and Grace--over the treasures they
found in their stockings. Suppose you hang up yours to-night in memory
of that time."

"Oh, father dear, I, having already had so many, many gifts far beyond
my deserts, should feel ashamed to be seeking more," Grace replied with
a look of ardent, filial love up into his face.

"But do you think you could be wrong or foolish in following your
father's advice?" was Violet's smiling query.

"Not if it be given seriously and in earnest, mamma," returned Grace,
giving her father a look of loving inquiry.

"You may as well take it in earnest, daughter mine," he answered,
drawing her to his side, putting an arm about her and giving her a fond
caress; "should you find nothing in it of more worth than a paper of
sugar plums, you will have lost nothing by the experiment. But go on
now with your preparations for bed, and do not let anxiety concerning
the filling of the stocking keep you awake."

"Thank you, my dearest and best of fathers. I shall do my best to obey
your kind order. Good-night to you and mamma," she said, retreating
into her room and closing her door. She did not fasten it, though, and
laughingly hung up her stocking before getting into bed.

She was quite weary from the unusual exertion of the day and evening,
and spite of excitement, had presently fallen into profound slumber;
nor did she wake till broad daylight. Then the first thing her eye fell
upon was the evidently well-filled stocking. With a light laugh she
sprang out of bed, seized the stocking, crept back into bed and began
an excited examination.

There were fruits and candies, then a paper parcel labelled "A little
Christmas gift from papa." Hastily opening it, she found a handsome
new portemonnaie well filled with bank notes and change.

"My dear father!" she murmured to herself low and feelingly; "was there
ever such another! And mamma, too," as she picked up a pretty knitted
purse, between the meshes of which shone some bright pieces of gold and
silver. "But it is Christmas morning; no doubt everybody else in the
house is up, and so must I be," she added half aloud, and suiting the
action to the word.

She was looking very sweet and fair in a pretty morning gown when, a
few minutes later, her father came in, took her in his arms and wished
her "A merry, happy Christmas, to be followed by the happiest of New
Years."

"Thank you, dear, dearest papa," she said, returning his caresses. "I
feel sure it will be a happy year, because I am not to be parted from
you--except for a few days till you join us on the coast of Florida."

"Yes, daughter dear, Providence permitting, we shall follow you there
very shortly after you reach its shores. Now we will go down to
breakfast, which is ready and waiting for us, and after that and family
worship children and servants are to see the Christmas tree and receive
their gifts."

That programme was carried out, the last act producing much mirth and
jollity, amid which Harold joined them. He came full of good cheer,
exchanged Christmas greetings, and gave an amusing account of Christmas
doings and the effect of the Christmas tree at Ion.

He and Grace had exchanged some trifling gifts by means of the
Christmas tree, but now he drew her aside and added to the ornaments
she wore a beautiful diamond pin.

"Oh, thank you!" she said, with a pleased little laugh. "I have a
surprise for you, but this lovely brooch quite casts it into the shade."

As she spoke she drew from her pocket a tiny box and put it into his
hand. He opened it and found a diamond stud.

"Ah, what a beauty!" he exclaimed in tones of pleased surprise. "Thank
you, my darling; thank you a thousand times. It is valuable in itself
and still more valuable as the gift of my best beloved of earthly dear
ones."

"I am very glad you like my little gift," she returned, smiling up
into his eyes, "though it compares but poorly with this lovely and
costly one you have given me. Oh, but it is a beauty! I must show it to
father, mamma and the rest."

"Show us what?" asked Violet, overhearing the last few words, and
turning toward the speaker.

"This, that your good, generous brother has just added to my already
rich store of Christmas gifts," replied Grace, joyously displaying her
new treasure.

"Oh, what a beauty!" cried Violet. "I am glad, Harold, that you show
such good taste and generosity to the dear girl you are stealing from
us."

"I object to that last clause of your speech," returned her brother
with mock gravity. "It will be no theft, since her father has made it a
gift, in generous gratitude for my small services to your small son."

"Oh, true enough," laughed Violet, "and our saved son is worth more
than any quantity of such jewelry," she added in moved tones, putting
an arm around Ned, who had stolen to her side in an effort to see what
had caused her pleased exclamation.

"Oh, what a beautiful pin, Gracie!" he exclaimed. "Did you buy it for
her, uncle?"

"Yes, on purpose for her," replied Harold, smiling down at the little
fellow. "You do not think it too fine for her, do you?"

"No, no; oh, no! nothing could be too fine for our dear, sweet,
beautiful Gracie."

"Just what papa thinks," the captain said, joining the little group.
"Ah," glancing through the window, "here come our Sunnyside folks to
spend the day with us."

Visits from other relatives followed somewhat later, and some who had
not been heard from the day before brought additions to the store of
wedding and Christmas gifts. Ned was not forgotten or neglected, and in
spite of having to remain at home and within doors, passed a very happy
day.



CHAPTER IV


That Christmas week was a busy and cheery one to our Woodburn folk
and their near and dear ones on the neighboring estates. The Fairview
family were expecting to spend the rest of the winter at Viamede;
Cousin Ronald and his Annis had accepted a cordial invitation to do
likewise, and Grandma Elsie's brother and his family from the Oaks
would also pay her a visit there, the duration of which was not
settled, as that would depend upon how well Horace's affairs at home
should be carried on without his presence and supervision. His little
daughter Elsie was to make one of the party on the yacht, but the
others would go by rail, as that would not necessitate so early a start
from home. The _Dolphin_ was being put in readiness for her trip, and
the overseeing of that business occupied quite a portion of Captain
Raymond's time during that week.

Grace made a lovely bride, surrounded by all her own and Harold's kith
and kin. The ceremony took place at noon; a grand dinner followed; then
wedding attire was exchanged for a pretty and becoming travelling suit,
carriages conveyed bride, groom, his mother and their young charges to
the _Dolphin_, and presently the southward journey was fairly begun.

It had been rather hard for Ned to part from "papa and mamma" for even
a few days, though with dear grandma and uncle left to him, sister and
cousins also, and wearied with that grief and the exciting scenes of
the day, he was soon ready to take to his berth and fall asleep.

The others found it too cool for comfort on the deck, but very pleasant
in the well-warmed and lighted saloon. They sat and chatted there for
some little time; then retired to their staterooms for the night.

The morning found Ned refreshed and strengthened, the rest in fine
health and spirits. They made a cheerful, merry little company about
the breakfast table, afterward took some exercise on the deck, then
gathered about Grandma Elsie in the saloon and pleaded for one of her
"lovely stories."

"Well, dears, what shall I tell of?" she asked with her own sweet
smile. "Something more of our Washington or of others of our
Presidents?"

"Oh, tell us about the time of our Civil War and the pictures Nast
drew then," cried Elsie excitedly. "I saw something about him and his
drawings the other day, and I should like to know more of him and his
wonderful work. Was he an American, grandma?"

"No, my dear; he was born in the military barracks of Landau, a little
fortified town of Germany, and came to this country at the age of six.
He and his sister were brought here by their mother. The husband and
father was then on a French man-of-war; afterward he enlisted on an
American vessel, and he did not join his family until Thomas, his son,
was ten years old, and mother and children had been four years in this
country. A comrade of his told them he was coming, and the news made a
great excitement in the family.

"The mother sent Thomas to buy a cake with which to welcome his
father. As he was coming home with that he was passed by a closed cab.
It suddenly stopped, a man sprang out, caught him up and put him in
the cab, then got in himself. For an instant Thomas was frightened,
thinking he was kidnapped. Then he found he was in his father's arms,
and was full of joy; but he was troubled when he saw that between them
they had crushed the cake. He thought his mother would be greatly
disappointed by that. But she was so glad to see her husband that she
did not seem to mind it--the damage to the cake; nor did the children,
being so delighted to see their father and the many presents he had
brought them from distant places, and to listen to all he had to tell
about his travels.

"Thomas was a short, stout, moon-faced lad. He attended a German school
for a short time after his father came home, but he was constantly
drawing pictures. His teacher would say to him, 'Go finish your
picture, Nast; you will never learn to read.' Often he would draw a
file of soldiers or a pair of prize fighters; sometimes things he
remembered from his life in Landau--as a little girl with her pet lamb
or old Santa Claus with his pack.

"In 1860 he went to England, where he still made drawings. Every
steamer brought letters from him and papers to the New York _News_.
From England he went, that same year, to Italy to join Garibaldi."

"Who was Garibaldi, grandma, and what did Nast want to join him for?"
asked Ned.

"To help him to get Italy free," replied Mrs. Travilla. "But I will
not tell the story of Garibaldi now--some other time, perhaps. The
war was not very long, and Nast stayed until it was over. In November
of that same year he said 'Good-by' to his friends in Italy. Then he
visited Rome, Florence and Genoa. Late in December he reached Landau,
his native city. The old place had not changed, except that to him it
looked much smaller than it had before. He went on through Germany,
visiting art galleries and cathedrals. But he grew tired of it all and
wanted to get home. He crossed the channel to England, and there heard
talk of the brewing of war in this country, now his own land. He stayed
a few days in London, then sailed for the United States, which he
reached on February 1st, 1861. He had been gone a year, and now arrived
in New York with only a dollar and a half in his pocket."

"Oh, how little after such long, hard work!" exclaimed Elsie Raymond.

"Yes," said Mrs. Travilla; "but he was brave and industrious and went
on working as before. Mr. Lincoln had been elected to the Presidency
the November before, and in March Nast went on to Washington to see his
inauguration."

A portfolio lay on the table beside which Mrs. Travilla now sat, and
she took it up and opened it, saying, "I have some articles in this
which I have been saving for years past, among them some things about
Nast--some of his own writing; for I have taken an interest in him
ever since the time of our Civil War. Listen to this, written of that
time when Lincoln was about to be inaugurated. Nast had been ordered
by his paper--the News of New York--to go on to Washington to see the
inaugural ceremony. Stopping in Philadelphia, he was near Lincoln
during the celebrated speech and flag-raising at Independence Hall,
and afterward heard the address Lincoln made from the balcony of the
Continental Hotel.

"At Washington Nast stopped at the Willard Hotel, which was Lincoln's
headquarters. A feeling of shuddering horror, such as a bad dream
sometimes gives us, came over him there. The men who had sworn that
'Abe Lincoln' should not take his seat were not gone. Now I will read
you what he says about that time."

The children sat very still, listening attentively--Elsie Raymond with
almost breathless interest--while her grandmother read.

"'It seemed to me that the shadow of death was everywhere. I had
endless visions of black funeral parades accompanied by mournful music.
It was as if the whole city were mined, and I know now that it was
figuratively true. A single yell of defiance would have inflamed a mob.
A shot would have started a conflict. In my room at the Willard Hotel I
was trying to work. I picked up my pencils and laid them down as many
as a dozen times. I got up at last and walked the floor. Presently in
the rooms next mine other men were walking; I could hear them in the
silence. My head was beginning to throb, and I sat down and pressed my
hands to my temples. Then all at once, in the Ebbett House, across the
way, a window was flung up and a man stepped out on the balcony. The
footsteps about me ceased. Everybody had heard the man and was waiting
breathlessly to see what he would do. Suddenly, in a rich, powerful
voice he began to sing "The Star Spangled Banner." The result was
extraordinary. Windows were thrown up. Crowds gathered on the streets.
A multitude of voices joined the song. When it was over the street rang
with cheers. The men in the rooms next mine joined me in the corridor.
The hotel came to life. Guests wept and flung their arms about one
another. Dissension and threats were silenced. It seemed to me, and I
believe to all of us, that Washington had been saved by the inspiration
of an unknown man with a voice to sing that grand old song of songs.'"

"Who was that man, grandma?" asked Ned.

"I can't tell you that, Neddie," she replied. "I think it has never
been known who he was."

"Is there some more story about Nast and his pictures?" he asked.

"Yes; he made a great many more pictures. One, on the first page of the
Christmas _Harper_, was called 'Santa Claus.' It showed him dressed in
the Stars and Stripes, distributing presents in the military camp. In
the same paper was another called 'Christmas Eve.' It had two parts:
one, in a large wreath, was a picture of the soldier's family at home;
and in another wreath was the soldier by the camp-fire, looking at a
picture of his wife and children. Letters came from all parts of the
Union with thanks for that picture. A colonel wrote that it reached him
on Christmas Eve; that he unfolded it by the light of his camp-fire and
wept over it. 'It was only a picture,' he said, 'but I couldn't help
it.'"

"I don't wonder," sighed Elsie softly, "for how he must have wanted to
be at home with his wife and children."

Harold and Grace, who had been taking their morning exercise upon the
deck, returned to the saloon and joined the group of listeners just in
time to hear their mother's story of Nast's Christmas pictures.

"Nast certainly did a great deal for the Union cause," said Harold. "Do
you remember, mother, what Grant said of him when asked, 'Who is the
greatest single figure in civil life developed by the Civil War?'"

"Yes. He answered without hesitation, 'Thomas Nast. He did as much
as any one man to bring the war to an end.' And many of the Northern
generals and statesmen held the same opinion."

"Yes, mother; and all lovers of the Union certainly owe him a debt of
gratitude."

"Now, children, shall I tell you something about Lincoln?" she asked.
There was an eager assent, and she went on. "He was a noble, unselfish,
Christian man; came to the Presidency in a dark and stormy time; did
all in his power to avert civil war without allowing the destruction
of the Union, denying the right of any State or number of States to go
out of the Union. But the rebellious States would not listen, declared
themselves out of the Union, began seizing government property, firing
upon those who had it in charge, and Lincoln was compelled to call out
troops for its defence.

"But I shall not go over the whole sad story now. After four years,
when it was all over, every loyal heart was full of joy and Lincoln's
praise was on every tongue. They felt that he had saved his country and
theirs, and that at the expense of great suffering to himself. But only
a few days later he was fatally shot by a bad fellow, an actor named
John Wilkes Booth."

"One of the Confederates, grandma?" asked Ned.

"I think not," she replied. "It is said that his controlling motive for
the dreadful deed was insane conceit. That for weeks beforehand he
had declared his purpose to do something that would make his name ring
round the world."

"As it has," remarked Harold; "but in such a way as I should think no
sane man would desire for his."

"And did they hang him?" asked Ned.

"No," replied his uncle; "the awful crime was so sudden and unexpected
that for several minutes the audience did not comprehend what had been
done, and the assassin escaped for the time. He ran out, leaped upon a
saddled horse kept waiting for him and galloped away into the country.
He rode into Maryland, from there into Virginia, and took refuge in a
barn. He was pursued, cavalry surrounded the barn, and called upon him
and his companion to surrender. The other man did, but Booth refused
and offered to fight the captain and all his men; then they set the
barn on fire, and one of them, against orders, shot Booth in the neck.
That shot made him helpless. He was carried out, laid on the grass,
and after four hours of intense agony he died."

"That was a sad, sad time," sighed Mrs. Travilla. "The whole North was
in mourning for Lincoln, and even the South soon saw that it had lost
its truest and best friend; and there was a movement of sympathy for
our nation in its great loss throughout the world."

"Yes, mother," said Harold; "and time only increases the esteem of the
world for that great and good man."



CHAPTER V


The next day, after some healthful exercise upon the deck, the children
returned to the saloon, and gathering about Grandma Elsie, begged for
another story.

"Something historical?" she asked with her pleasant smile.

"Yes, grandma, if you please," replied Elsie. "I liked your story
of Marion so much, and should be glad to hear about some other
Revolutionary soldier who helped to drive away the British."

"Well, if you would all like that, I will tell you of Sergeant Jasper
and his brave doings."

The other children gave an eager assent, and Mrs. Travilla began.

"History tells us that William Jasper was born in South Carolina
in 1750. That would make him about twenty-six years old when the
Revolutionary War began. He was patriotic, and at once enlisted as a
sergeant in the Second South Carolina Regiment.

"In June, 1776, a British fleet appeared off Charleston bar, and
several hundred land troops took possession of Long Island, separated
from Sullivan's--on which was our Fort Sullivan--only by a narrow
creek. At half-past ten o'clock on the morning of the 28th of June the
British ships anchored in front of our Fort Sullivan, which instantly
poured a heavy fire upon them.

"But I shall not go into a detailed account of the battle, which,
Lossing tells us, was one of the severest during the whole war,
redounded to the military glory of the Americans, greatly increased the
patriotic strength at the South, and was regarded by the British as
very disastrous; for the loss of life on their ships was frightful.

"But I must tell you of a daring feat performed by Sergeant Jasper. At
the beginning of the action, the flag-staff of our fort was cut away by
a ball from a British ship, and the Crescent flag of South Carolina,
that waved opposite the Union flag upon the western bastion, fell
outside upon the beach. Jasper leaped the parapet, walked the length
of the fort, picked up the flag, fastened it upon a sponge staff, and
in the sight of the whole British fleet, whose iron hail was pouring
upon the fortress, he fixed the flag firmly upon the bastion. Then he
climbed up to the parapet and leaped, unhurt, within the fort, three
cheers greeting him as he did so."

"Oh, how brave he was!" cried Ned. "I hope they gave him a reward for
it."

"Yes," said his grandma, "the governor, on the day after the battle,
visited the fort, and rewarded Jasper with the gift of his own small
sword, a handsome one which hung by his side, and thanked him in the
name of his country. He also offered him a lieutenant's commission; but
the young hero declined it, saying, 'I am not fit to keep officers'
company; I am but a sergeant.'

"He seems to have had no educational advantages, as he could neither
read nor write."

"Oh, what a pity!" exclaimed several young voices.

"Yes, it was," sighed Mrs. Travilla. "I hope you are thankful, my
dears, for your superior advantages.

"I have read that Jasper was given a roving commission, and choosing
six men from the regiment to go with him, he went here and there, and
often returned with prisoners before his general knew of his absence.

"Jasper had a brother who had joined the British, but he loved him
so dearly that he ventured into the British garrison to see him. The
brother was greatly alarmed at sight of him, lest he should be seized
and hung as an American spy, his name being well known to many of the
British officers. But Jasper said, 'Don't trouble yourself; I am no
longer an American soldier.'

"'Thank God for that, William!' exclaimed the brother, giving him a
hearty shake of the hand; 'and now only say the word, my boy, and here
is a commission for you, with regimentals and gold to boot, to fight
for his Majesty, King George.'

"But Jasper shook his head, saying that though there seemed but little
encouragement to fight for his country, he could not fight against her.
He stayed two or three days with his brother, hearing and seeing all
that he could, then bade good-by and returned to the American camp by a
circuitous route, and told General Lincoln all that he had seen."

"Grandma," said Ned thoughtfully, "it seems to me he did not tell the
truth when he said he was not an American soldier. Was it right for him
to say that?"

"I think not, Ned; but I suppose he thought it was, as he meant by it
to help his country's cause. But remember, my dears, it is never right
to do evil even that good may come.

"But to go on with my story. Jasper soon went again to the English
garrison, this time taking with him his particular friend, Sergeant
Newton, a young man of great strength and courage. Jasper's brother
received them very cordially, and they remained several days at the
British fort without causing the least alarm.

"On the morning of the third day the brother said to them, 'I have
bad news to tell you.' 'Aye, what is it?' asked William. His brother
replied that ten or a dozen prisoners had been brought in that
morning, as deserters from Savannah; that they were to be sent there
immediately, and from all he could learn, it would be likely to go hard
with them, as it seemed they had all taken the King's bounty."

"What does that mean, grandma?" asked Ned.

"That they had agreed to remain British subjects instead of fighting
for their country; and for that the British were to protect them
against the Americans. But it seems they had changed their minds and
gone over to the cause of their country.

"Jasper asked to see the poor fellows, and his brother took him and
Newton to the spot where the poor fellows were, handcuffed, and sitting
or lying upon the ground. With them was a young woman, wife of one of
the prisoners, sitting on the ground opposite to her husband, with her
little boy leaning on her lap. Her dress showed that she was poor, and
her coal-black hair spread in long, neglected tresses on her neck and
bosom. Sometimes she would sit silent, like a statue of grief, her eyes
fixed upon the ground; then she would start convulsively, lift her eyes
and gaze on her husband's face with as sad a look as if she already saw
him struggling in the halter, herself a widow and her child an orphan.
The child was evidently distressed by his mother's anguish, and weeping
with her.

"Jasper and Newton felt keenly for them in their misery. They silently
walked away into a neighboring wood, tears in the eyes of both. Jasper
presently spoke. 'Newton,' he said, 'my days have been but few, but I
believe their course is nearly finished.' Newton asked why he thought
so, and he answered, because he felt that he must rescue those poor
prisoners or die with them, otherwise the remembrance of that poor
woman and her child would haunt him to his grave.

"'That is exactly what I feel, too,' replied Newton, 'and here is my
hand and heart to stand by you, my brave friend, to the last drop.
Thank God, a man can die but once, and why should we fear to leave this
life in the way of our duty?'

"Then the two embraced each other and at once set about making the
necessary arrangements for carrying out their desperate resolution."

"Oh, how brave and kind they were!" exclaimed Elsie Raymond. "I am
proud of them as my countrymen."

"As we all may be," said her grandma, then went on with her story.

"Shortly after breakfast the next morning the prisoners were sent on
their way to Savannah, guarded by a sergeant and corporal with eight
men."

"Why, that was ten men for our two men to fight!" exclaimed Elsie
Dinsmore.

"But I hope our brave fellows didn't give it up," said Elsie Raymond.

"No," replied her grandma; "Jasper presently took leave of his brother,
and he and Newton started on some pretended errand to the upper
country, but as soon as fairly out of sight of the town they struck
into the woods and hurried after the prisoners and their guard, keeping
out of sight in the bushes and anxiously watching for an opportunity to
strike a blow.

"I think that to most men it would have seemed great folly for two
unarmed men to attempt to strike a blow at ten men carrying loaded
muskets and bayonets. But they were very brave and not willing to
give up their countrymen to the dreadful fate the cruel British had
appointed for them.

"Jasper said to Newton, 'Perhaps the guard may stop at the Spa to
quench their thirst, and we may be able to attack them there.'

"The Spa! What was that, grandma?" asked Ned.

"A famous spring about two miles from Savannah, where travellers often
stopped for a drink of its good water," she replied, then went on with
her story.

"Jasper and Newton hurried on and concealed themselves among the bushes
that grew thickly around the spring. Soon the soldiers and their
prisoners came in sight of it, and the sergeant ordered a halt. That
gave our heroes a little hope, though the odds were fearfully against
them. The corporal, with his guard of four men, led the prisoners to
the spring, while the sergeant, with the other four, grounded their
arms near the road, then brought up the rear. The prisoners, wearied
with their long walk, were permitted to rest themselves on the earth.
Mrs. Jones took her seat opposite her husband, as usual, and her tired
little boy fell asleep on her lap. Two of the corporal's men were
ordered to keep guard and the other two to give the prisoners a drink
out of their canteens. They obeyed, drew near the spring, rested their
muskets against a pine-tree, then dipped up the water, drank, filled
their canteens again and turned to give the prisoners a drink.

"'Now, Newton, is our time,' whispered Jasper. With that they sprang
from their concealment, snatched up the two muskets resting against the
tree, and in an instant shot down the two soldiers who were upon guard.
The other two Englishmen sprang forward and seized their muskets; but
before they could use them Jasper and Newton with clubbed guns levelled
a blow at their heads, broke their skulls, and down they sank, pale and
quivering, without a groan. Then snatching up the muskets, our heroes
flew between the other British soldiers and their arms, grounded near
the road, and ordered them to surrender, which they immediately did.
Then they--our men--snapped the handcuffs off the prisoners and armed
them with muskets."

"Oh, how good!" exclaimed Ned and the little girls who were listening
to Grandma Elsie's story.

"But what did Mrs. Jones do while that fight was going on?" asked Elsie
Dinsmore.

"At the beginning of it she fainted," replied Mrs. Travilla, "and her
little son stood screaming piteously over her. But when she recovered
her senses and saw her husband and his friends freed from their
fetters, she seemed frantic with joy. She sprang to her husband, and,
with her arms about his neck, sobbed out, 'My husband is safe, bless
God, my husband is safe!' Then snatching up her child, she pressed him
to her heart, exclaiming, 'Thank God, my son has a father yet.' Then
kneeling at the feet of Jasper and Newton, she pressed their hands
vehemently, but so full was her heart that all she could say was, 'God
bless you. God Almighty bless you.'"

"Oh, how nice!" exclaimed Ned, clapping his hands in delight.

"Then what did they all do, grandma?" asked Elsie Raymond. "Not go to
Savannah, I suppose, as the British were there?"

"No; they recrossed the Savannah River, taking the arms and regimentals
of the dead, their prisoners, too, and safely joined the American army
at Parisburg, where they were received with great astonishment and joy."

"No wonder there was astonishment," said Elsie, "that two men could
beat ten."

"That was because the two were Americans and the others only
Englishmen," chuckled Ned. "Is there any more story about Jasper,
grandma?"

"Not much," she replied. "He was killed at the siege of Savannah in
1779. Several gallant defenders of the French and American colors had
been shot down; Sergeant Jasper sprang forward, seized the standards
and kept them erect; then he, too, was prostrated by a bullet and fell
into the ditch. He was carried to the camp, and soon died. Jasper's
name is honored in Savannah; they have made that evident by bestowing
it upon one of the city's squares."



CHAPTER VI


It was Sabbath morning, and our little party on the yacht were gathered
about the breakfast table, Dr. Harold having just come down from the
deck, where he had spent the last few minutes.

"What of the weather, Harold?" asked his mother.

"It is cool and cloudy," he said in reply; "rather too cool and damp
for ladies and children to pass much time on deck, I think, mother. I
may gather the men there and read them a sermon, but the rest of you, I
hope, will be content to pass at least most of the day in these lower,
warmer quarters."

"I think we can very contentedly, if mother will lead us in some Bible
lessons," said Grace, with a loving, smiling look at her whom, until of
late, she had been wont to call Grandma Elsie.

"Very willingly, daughter mine," was the sweet-toned, smiling
assent, received by all the children with looks and words of pleased
anticipation.

On leaving the table they had family worship in the saloon, Dr. Harold
leading the service as usual. Then he went upon the deck and the others
gathered about Grandma Elsie.

Then Elsie Raymond, sitting there Bible in hand, exclaimed eagerly,
"Oh, grandma, I am glad of this opportunity to ask you about what I
have been reading here--this miracle of the Lord Jesus feeding so many,
many folks--five thousand men, besides women and children--on only five
loaves and two fishes. It couldn't have been nearly enough, except by
Jesus blessing it and making it more, could it, grandma?"

"No, indeed, Elsie. Five large loaves, such as you are accustomed to
seeing, would hardly be enough to feed fifty such hungry men; and those
five loaves were much smaller than ours--probably little, if any,
larger than our soda crackers; hardly enough to satisfy the appetite of
one hungry boy."

"There were two fishes besides, you know, grandma; but if they were
small ones, a boy could eat them, too."

"Yes; so no wonder the disciples thought it utterly impossible to feed
that great crowd of hungry people, and begged Jesus to send them away
to go into the villages and buy themselves victuals."

"Do you suppose they had any money to buy with, grandma?" asked the
little girl.

"I think it probable that most of them were poor people with little
or no money about them," replied Grandma Elsie. "And even if they had
money, they were too many to find sufficient food in the little nearby
towns. Jesus knew all that; He could see how weary and hungry many,
if not all of them, were, particularly the women and little children.
Jesus pitied and was ready to help them as no one else could, and no
doubt he was glad He had the power. He bade His disciples not to tell
them to depart, but 'Give ye them to eat,' He said; and they replied,
'We have here but five loaves and two fishes;' and Jesus said, 'Bring
them hither to me.' And He said, 'Make the men sit down.' John tells us
there was much grass in the place, and that the men sat down, in number
about five thousand. Then He (Jesus) took the five loaves and the two
fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and brake the loaves, and
gave them to His disciples, and they distributed them among that great
multitude. All ate till they were satisfied; then Jesus said, 'Gather
up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.' John tells us,
'Therefore, they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with
the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above
unto them that had eaten.'"

"It was very, very wonderful, grandma, wasn't it?" exclaimed the little
girl thoughtfully.

"Yes, indeed! a miracle that none but God could work. It proved that
Jesus was divine. You have been reading Matthew's account of this
miracle; now turn to the sixth chapter of Mark, and you will find the
same story told by him. Then in the eighth we will find that he tells
of another time when Jesus had worked a similar miracle--when He fed
four thousand on seven loaves and a few small fishes; and they took up
of the broken meat that was left seven baskets."

"Yes, grandma," said the little girl, turning over the leaves of her
Bible, "and it says after that first time that He departed into a
mountain to pray. But after the second, 'and straightway He entered
into a ship with His disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.'
Where was that, grandma?"

"It was a town on the west coast of the sea of Galilee. Read on now to
the fourteenth verse."

Elsie read, "And the Pharisees came forth and began to question with
Him, seeking of Him a sign from heaven, tempting Him. And He sighed
deeply in His spirit, and said, Why doth this generation seek after
a sign? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto
this generation. And He left them, and entering into the ship, again
departed to the other side."

"Weren't the bad men wanting to do Jesus harm?" asked Ned.

"Yes, they were, indeed," replied his grandma; "they hated Him because
He told them of their sins. 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites: for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that
walk over them are not aware of them.' Then to the people: 'Beware ye
of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.' Again He said
of them: 'In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men.... Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye have taken away
the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were
entering ye hindered.' And as He said these things unto them, the
scribes and Pharisees began to urge Him vehemently, and to provoke Him
to speak of many things; laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch
something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him. They were angry
and wanted to kill Jesus, because He exposed their wickedness. In
another chapter we are told, 'And He went into the temple, and began
to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto
them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made
it a den of thieves.' And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief
priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy
Him, and could not find what they might do; for all the people were
very attentive to hear Him."

"So they went out at night, when the crowds of people who loved Him
were in their homes and asleep, I suppose, the wicked, money-loving
Judas showing them where He was, and led Him away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes," sighed
Elsie Raymond.

"Yes," said her grandma; "and they went through a mock trial, but could
not get their witnesses to agree. And the high priest stood up in the
midst and asked Jesus, saying, 'Answerest thou nothing? What is it
which these witness against thee?' But Jesus made no answer. And the
high priest asked him, 'Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?'
Jesus said, 'I am; and ye shall see the son of man sitting on the right
hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.' Then the high
priest rent his clothes and said, 'What need we any further witnesses?
Ye have heard the blasphemy; what think ye?' And they all condemned
Him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on Him, and to cover
His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophesy: and the
servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands."

"And He could have struck them all dead without a word, couldn't He,
grandma?" asked Ned.

"Indeed He could," she replied; "but in His great love for you and for
me and all His people, He chose to bear it all--all that and all the
awful agony of the death upon the cross, that we might be saved. The
Bible tells us, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be
saved.' The dear Saviour, who died that awful death for us, invites us
all to come to Him and be saved. For God so loved the world that He
gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life. Those are His own words, spoken to
Nicodemus."

"Grandma, couldn't Jesus have hindered those wicked men from treating
Him so? Couldn't He have made them all die that minute if He had chosen
to?" asked Ned.

"Yes, he could; but as I have just told you, He bore it all, and the
awful death on the cross, that we might be saved--we and all who
would give themselves to Him. The Bible says Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures. He took upon Himself our human nature that
He might bear our punishment and save us from eternal death."

"And all His earthly life long He was looking forward to that awful,
agonizing death," sighed Grace in tones tremulous with emotion. "Oh,
how can we help loving Him with all our hearts?"

"And striving to be like Him," added Grandma Elsie--"so unselfish, so
forbearing and forgiving. Think of His loving, cheering, sympathizing
talk with His disciples in that very night in which He was betrayed and
His awful suffering began. Remember, He knew all the agony He was to go
through that very night--in the garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed
in so great an agony that His sweat became as it were great drops of
blood falling down upon the ground. After that the betrayal, arrest,
trial before the Jewish authorities, with all the abuse heaped upon
Him there, then in the morning before Pilate and Herod, the scourging,
the clothing with the purple robe and crown of thorns, the mocking
salutation, 'Hail, King of the Jews,' the smiting of His head with the
reed they had put in His right hand, the mocking bowing of the knees
and spitting upon Him. Then He was led out wearing the purple robe and
crown of thorns, the cry of the chief priests and officers, 'Crucify
Him! Crucify Him! Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!'"

Grandma Elsie paused, her eyes filled with tears, her lips trembling
with emotion.

"Oh, how wonderful it was that Jesus bore it all, when even without a
word He could have made every one of those dreadful persecutors die,"
said Elsie Dinsmore.

"Yes," said her aunt; "His love and compassion for us sinners was
wonderfully great. Oh, how we should love Him, how carefully obey all
His commands! Ah, how sweet it is to belong to Him! 'Since He is mine
and I am His, what can I want beside.'"

"Grandma, I want to belong to Him," said Alie Leland; "how shall I get
to be His, and know that I am?"

"Give yourself to Him, dear child, asking Him to make you just what He
would have you to be. His promise is, 'Him that cometh to me I will in
no wise cast out;' and who shall doubt His own word? And how kind and
forgiving He was! Peter, who had denied Him, then repented with bitter
weeping, seems to have been one of the first to whom He appeared after
His resurrection. You remember, the angel whom the woman found sitting
in the tomb said to them, 'Go tell His disciples and Peter.'"

"And if we are really His disciples we will be forgiven, too, won't we,
grandma?" said Elsie Raymond.

"Yes; we will ask Him to help us to be so, and He will."

"Grandma," said Ned, "wasn't it strange that when Jesus could make
victuals so easily He should say to the disciples, 'Gather up the
fragments that remain, that nothing be lost'?"

"I think it was to teach us all that waste is sinful; that nothing
which could be made useful to us or to any one else should be thrown
away. Let us take the lesson to heart and carefully obey this,
and every teaching of our dear Lord and Master," was the gentle,
sweet-toned reply, the eyes of the speaker shining with love to Him
of whom she spoke, and joy that she was His very own for time and for
eternity.



CHAPTER VII


"Where are we now, uncle? Have we come down to Florida yet?" asked Ned
at the breakfast table.

"Yes; we are now moving along down the east coast of that State,"
replied Dr. Harold; "and now we may as well decide at which and how
many of its ports we will call. Should you enjoy visiting St. Augustine
and Fort Marion again, Elsie?" he queried with a look of amusement at
his niece.

"Oh, no, indeed, uncle!" was the quick, emphatic reply, accompanied
by a little shiver, as if the very name brought some unpleasant
recollection.

"But why not?" asked Elsie Dinsmore with a look of surprise and
curiosity.

"Oh," exclaimed Elsie Raymond, "it's a dreadful place, over three
hundred years old, with dungeons where people used to be tortured
long, long ago, and we seemed to hear one of them saying, 'Here have
I lain for three hundred years with none to pity or help. Oh, 'tis a
weary while! Shall I never, never escape?'"

"But as Cousin Ronald is not with us now we needn't fear a repetition
of that," remarked Dr. Harold reassuringly. "Still, perhaps we may as
well pass St. Augustine by this time, and visit places or things we did
not look at before. Mother, what do you say to seeing something of the
sponging business?"

"That it would be instructive and probably quite interesting," was the
pleased reply.

"Sponging business!" echoed Ned. "What does that mean?"

"The work of gathering sponges and making them ready for the market,"
replied his uncle.

"Oh, I think that would be interesting!" cried the little fellow. "Do
they grow down under the water, and are they nice and clean when they
are brought up, uncle?"

"Not very, Ned," replied Dr. Harold, smiling kindly upon his young
questioner; "but with your grandma's help I think I can give you all
needed information on the subject; and afterward you may be able to see
for yourself."

"Oh, that'll be good! Will you tell me about it, grandma?" asked Ned,
turning excitedly to her.

"Sonny boy, we will have a nice talk about it in the saloon after our
family worship," Mrs. Travilla replied in her usual kindly tone.

"And I am sure we will all be glad to hear whatever you can tell us on
the subject, mother," said Grace. "I know it will be interesting to me,
and a good preparation for the sight of the spongers' work."

The two Elsies and Alie Leland expressed their pleasure in the prospect
of both the information promised by Grandma Elsie and the afterward
sight of the doings of the spongers.

"I think, if it suits you, mother," said Dr. Harold, "we will have
our talk on the sponging subject before our morning exercise upon the
deck. Sitting still for a while will aid the digestion of this hearty
breakfast, and the sun will make the deck a little warmer for us
afterward."

Everybody seemed pleased with that plan, and it was carried out, Dr.
Harold making one of his mother's little audience.

"Haven't you a map of Florida, Harold?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, mother, I have," he replied; "also some pictures that will be
helpful." He hastened to his stateroom and brought them out.

"Ah, these will be quite a help," she said. "Come, children, let us
look at the map first."

Then, as they gathered round the table on which she had laid the map,
"There, on the east coast, near the southern end of the State, you see
Miami, and starting from a point near it a chain of keys, or islands,
begins which extends in the shape of a horn away down into the Gulf of
Mexico, the Dry Tortugas being the westernmost. Sponges are found in
the waters surrounding most of these keys, also between them and the
mainland as far as Cape Sable. This is called 'the key grounds.' Some
few of the people living on the larger islands and spongers from Key
West are the only persons who engage in that work there. In the Gulf
of Mexico, on the west coast, are the 'bay grounds,' which yield the
most. They extend from John's Pass, a few miles north of the entrance
to Tampa Bay, to St. Mark's Lighthouse."

"How far is that, grandma?" asked Ned.

"How far, Harold?" she asked.

"About two hundred miles, mother," he replied.

"There are some few sponges found between Tampa Bay and Cape Sable, but
not enough to make it worth while to take special trips to that point,"
she continued.

"Now, who can tell me whether it is to the vegetable or animal kingdom
sponge belongs?"

"Oh, grandma," laughed Ned, "I'm sure a sponge isn't an animal."

"Are you?" she queried with an amused smile. "Now, little girls, what
are your opinions in regard to the matter?"

"Why, I never thought of a sponge as being either an animal or a
vegetable!" exclaimed Alie Leland. "Which is it, grandma?"

"It belongs to the animal kingdom," was the reply. "I have never seen
it in its natural state, but from what I have read and heard I know
it is a very different looking object from what it becomes in being
prepared for the market. When first brought up from the water it looks
something like a jelly-fish or mass of liver, its entire surface
covered with a thin, slimy skin, usually of a dark color, and having
openings into what we call the holes of the sponge. What we call a
sponge is really only the skeleton of one."

"And men go down into deep water to get them, do they?" queried Ned.

"Do you know how deep the water is on this coast, Harold?" asked his
mother.

"I have been told from ten to fifty feet here in Florida, mother, but
considerably more in the Mediterranean Sea; and the finest grades
are found in the deepest water. Sponges from that sea are said to
be superior in quality to those found in either Florida or the West
Indies."

"Go on, my son, and give us all the information you can," said his
mother as he paused.

"If you wish it, mother," he replied with an affectionate look and
smile. "In the waters of Florida and the West Indies the fishing is
done in flat-bottomed boats called dingies. A tin or wooden pail with
a glass bottom is used to help locate the sponges by lowering it into
the water and looking down through it. When that has been done, they
are brought up by means of a pole some thirty feet long, with a sharp,
curved, double hook, with which they, the sponges, are detached and
drawn up to the surface. Having gotten a boatload, it is laid out to
decompose in a kraal on the beach, where it is washed by the sea. At
that time the odor is very unpleasant. When they have been in the kraal
about a week they are beaten out with a short, heavy stick, which
removes most of the slime and animal matter still remaining in them,
and where the black scum still adheres they are scraped with a knife.
The sponges are next squeezed out right thoroughly with the hands, then
taken to the shore and strung on pieces of coarse twine about six feet
long, and then they are ready for sale by auction."

"What is a kraal, uncle?" asked Ned.

"It is a pen, generally about ten feet square, built of wattled stakes,
and is placed in shallow water near some key or island," replied Dr.
Harold. "Here is a picture of one," he added, taking it from the table
and holding it out so that all could see.

It was gazed upon with interest. Then several other pictures were
shown, examined and commented upon interestedly--one or two spongers at
work on the water, one of them with the long, hooked pole, the other
gazing through the bucket with the glass bottom.

Another picture was of the sponge yard at Key West, showing the sponges
drying. There were pictures of sponge auctions, too, and of a boat
bringing sponges to the wharf at Key West.

"And can we see all these things when we get there--to Key West, I
mean?" asked Ned, adding, "I think it would be a good deal better--more
interesting--to look at them than only at their pictures."

"I hope to give you that pleasure, Neddie boy," replied his uncle,
smiling on him and patting his cheek. "We will very likely have to wait
a day or two at Key West for your father and mother and the rest who
are to join us there and pass with us through the Gulf of Mexico on the
way to Viamede."

"Is there a town there, uncle?" asked Elsie.

"Yes; a well-built one, with wide streets crossing at right angles, and
having churches, schools and a fine Marine Hospital belonging to the
United States."

"Hotels, too, I suppose," remarked Elsie Dinsmore, "but we won't care
for them, having this delightful yacht to stay in."

"No; and in it we can sail about and see the originals of the pictures
we have been looking at. Large quantities of sponges, turtles and fish
are sent out from Key West to our Atlantic cities. But wrecking is the
principal business of the place."

"Why, what does that mean, uncle?" asked Ned.

"You know what we mean when we say a vessel has been wrecked, don't
you?" his uncle asked in reply. "Well, about forty-five or fifty
vessels are wrecked in the course of a year near Key West, and the
people of that island help to save the cargoes, doing so in a way to
benefit the owners as well as themselves. I am told they derive an
annual profit of about two hundred thousand dollars."

"It (Key West) is considered an important military station, is it not?"
asked Grace.

"Yes; being the key to the Florida Pass and the Gulf of Mexico,"
replied Harold. "It has a large and safe harbor, which will admit
vessels drawing twenty-two feet of water; and Fort Taylor, which
defends it, is a powerful work."

"Oh, I for one expect to have a good time there!" exclaimed his cousin
Elsie; "we can visit the town and the fort to see what they are like,
then come back to this yacht and have a good time here while waiting
for the rest of our party."

"Yes, I think we can," assented Dr. Harold. "And now suppose we all
wrap up and go on deck for a little healthful exercise."

They did so, and all greatly enjoyed their promenade, though Ned soon
grew weary enough to be glad to go below again and lie down for a
little nap. Grandma and sister went with him, the other children soon
followed, and Grace and her husband were left alone together, a state
of things by no means disagreeable to either. It was still very early
in their honeymoon, and dearly as they loved their mother and the
little folks so nearly related to them, they were glad now and then to
be left quite to themselves--Harold that he might pet and caress his
heart's idol unobserved, and Grace that she might receive and return
such tokens of ardent affection unabashed by the thought of indifferent
or amused spectators of the scene.

But at length they began taking note of the progress that they were
making toward their destination, and Grace asked:

"How soon do you think we will reach Key West?"

"We are nearing it now," replied Harold, "and will anchor in the harbor
to-night, I think."

"Oh, I am glad to hear that!" exclaimed Grace. "And how soon do you
think father and his party will join us?"

"Doubtless in a few days we shall see them. They will come down by rail
to Cedar Keys, from there by steamer to Key West."

"And they will want to stay a few days to see the sponge auctions,
sponge yard and so forth; and after that we will have the rest of
our pleasant journey in the yacht to Viamede, mother's beautiful and
delightful Southern home."

"To me it is both beautiful and delightful," returned Harold, smiling
fondly upon her, "and I am very glad that it is to my little wife also."

"Oh, she's not so very little!" exclaimed Grace with an amused and
happy laugh, drawing herself up to her full height as she spoke.

"Yet rather small compared to your tall, broad-shouldered husband,"
returned Harold, accompanying his words with a very loverlike caress.

    "Now, Rory, leave off, sir;
      You'll hug me no more;
    That is eight times to-day
      That you've kissed me before,"

sang Grace, ending with a merry laugh.

    "Then here goes another on that to make sure,
    For there's luck in odd numbers says Rory O'More."

rejoined Harold in laughing reply, and suiting the action to the word.

The _Dolphin_ entered the harbor of Key West early that evening and
anchored near the shore. All her passengers were on deck, eager to take
a bird's-eye view of the place, expecting to do more than that in the
morning.

"I suppose we will all go ashore directly, or at least pretty soon
after breakfast, won't we, Harold?" asked Elsie Dinsmore.

"Hardly all of us, Cousin Elsie," replied Harold, giving Ned a
regretful glance as he spoke; "the exertion would be too great for my
young patient's strength, and surely some one of us should stay here in
our yacht with him."

"And his grandmother is the very one to do that," quickly responded
Mrs. Elsie Travilla.

"But, mother, you should not be deprived of the sight of this town of
Key West," remonstrated Harold, and Ned's sisters, Grace and Elsie,
each promptly offered to stay and take care of their little invalid
brother. "Very good and kind of you both," remarked Harold with a
pleased smile, "but now I think of it, we are likely to lie in this
port for some days, and that being the case, can divide forces and make
two trips to the town, some going to-day, others to-morrow."

"That entirely obviates the difficulty," said his mother. "I will be
caretaker of my little grandson to-day, and perhaps some one else may
be to-morrow."

A sailor had been sent ashore to inquire for mail and telegrams, and
now approached our party with several letters and a telegram, that last
directed to Dr. Harold, who took and promptly opened it.

"Ah ha!" he said with a pleased smile; "the rest of our party will be
here with us soon--to-night or to-morrow, I think."

"Oh, that's good!" cried Ned joyously; "how glad I'll be to see dear
papa and mamma! With them here I sha'n't care at all for not being able
to go on shore."

Everybody else seemed to share his delight at the prospect of the
expected addition to their company, and talked merrily of what they
hoped to do and see in the next few days.

"I wish you could go ashore with the rest of us, Neddie dear," said his
sister in a regretful tone, taking his hand in hers and giving it an
affectionate squeeze. "You poor little brother, it does seem hard that
you have to miss so many of the pleasures the rest of us have."

"It's good of you to feel so for me, Elsie dear," he replied, returning
the squeeze and smiling up into her face, "but I don't mind it a bit if
I can have grandma or mamma or papa with me; they're so kind and tell
me such nice stories; and I can have a rest or a nap whenever I want
it."



CHAPTER VIII


The departure of the bridal party from Woodburn was soon followed by
that of the guests, till all were gone but those from Sunnyside. They
were entreated to linger, and assured there was nothing to hurry them
away from their father's house.

"I can't bear to have you go yet," said Violet entreatingly. "You are
the only ones of my husband's children left to us, and the house will
seem desolate enough to him and me till we, too, can start for Viamede.
Besides, you are none of you going there with us, so we want to see all
we can of you now and here."

"We do, indeed," said the captain; "and especially of you, Max, as
there is no knowing how long it may be before Uncle Sam will let us
have you with us again."

"True, father, and I don't want to lose a minute of the time I may have
with you," returned Max feelingly, "or with the other dear ones--wife,
child, sister and brother," he added, glancing from one to another.

"No; and we all want to be together while we can; it is so sad to
have to part even for a time," sighed Lucilla, turning a regretfully
affectionate look upon one and another, especially her father, her eyes
filling as they met the tenderly loving expression in his.

"Yes, parting is hard," he said with forced cheerfulness; "but we will
console ourselves with the thought that it is not likely to be for very
long. We seem to be in that respect an unusually happy family."

"True, and I think our wedding party has been an entire success," said
Violet in her usual sprightly tones; "nothing went wrong, and our
darling Grace made the loveliest of brides."

There was a word of cordial assent to that from all present except Baby
Mary, who had fallen asleep in her mother's arms.

"How long may you stay with us this time, Max?" asked Chester.

"I must leave next Tuesday morning," was the reply. "May I trust you to
take good care of my wife and daughter while they are left alone with
you and Sister Lu?"

"Certainly; I intend to do the very best I can for them," returned
Chester with the air of one making a very solemn promise. "I hope you
are willing to trust me, Sister Eva?" turning to her.

"Perfectly," she said with a pleasant little laugh. "And Lu and I will
try to take good care of Baby Mary's Uncle Chester."

"Ah, it seems it is worth my while to claim to be that," he laughed.

"My dear," said Violet, addressing the captain, "don't you think we can
make our arrangements to leave for Viamede by next Tuesday morning?"

"Yes; I think we can if you wish to go then," he replied; "and by so
doing we should probably reach Key West only a day or two later than
our party on the _Dolphin_."

"Which would be very pleasant for our dear ones, especially Elsie and
Ned."

"And how glad they will be to see papa and mamma," remarked Lucilla,
unable to repress a sigh as she spoke.

"Daughter dear, I am sorry, indeed, that you, Chester, Eva and Max
are not all to be of our party," her father said, regarding her with
a loving, regretful look; "but cheer up with the thought that the
separation is not likely to be a very long one. We may hope to be all
together again in a few months; and I hope with Ned quite restored to
wonted health and strength."

"Oh, I hope so," she said. "Dear little fellow! His Sister Lu is very
fond of him. And, father, you will write frequently to me?"

"Every day if you will do the same by me," he answered with a smile.
"And in addition to that we can have telegrams and 'phone messages.
So that the separation, will not be so bad as it was in the days when
I was in Uncle Sam's naval service. Now I think I'll go to the 'phone
and ask if cousins Ronald and Annis can be ready to start on Tuesday
morning."

He did so, and the answer was in the affirmative. Everybody was glad,
for those cousins were esteemed good company by one and all, and Ned
was known to be always greatly entertained by Cousin Ronald's use of
his ventriloquial powers.

"The fun he will make for our Neddie boy will do the little chap a
world of good, no doubt," said Max with satisfaction.

"Surely it will," said Lucilla; "and I am so glad that Dr. Harold still
has him in his charge, for certainly Harold is a skilful physician,
even though related to us," she added with a little laugh.

"Yes," said her father; "I am glad he is to be with us, and that our
dear ones here will still have the services of his brother Herbert
and Dr. Arthur Conly, both equally skilful in the practice of their
profession. Don't let them neglect you, daughter," he added earnestly.
"Don't fail to summon them promptly, Chester, should any one of you be
at all ill."

"Rest assured I will not, sir," returned Chester with prompt decision.
"Trust me to do my very best for the health and happiness of the two
dear ladies left in my charge; the little newcomer also."

"Thank you, Brother Chester," said Max. "It is a great comfort to me
that I can leave my dear ones in your care."

"It seems hard to give our dear ones into the care of others," sighed
Violet. "It was hard for us to part with our darling Neddie for even
a few days, but mamma and Harold can and will take better care of him
than we could, and we hope to join them very soon."

"Yes," said the captain; "and when we start we may hope to overtake
them in somewhat less than two days."

"Yes, father," responded Max; "and what a blessing it is that
travelling is so much speedier work than it used to be even not so very
many years ago."

"And that messages can be sent and received so promptly by telegraph
and 'phone," responded the captain. "It seems to bring distant parts
of the world much nearer than they used to be, so that temporary
separations by land or sea are not now the sore trials they were in
former days."

"Eva and I feel it a great comfort," said Max, turning to his wife and
child with a tender smile, "as in case I were needed here I might be so
easily summoned and come promptly, even at the risk of having to resign
from the navy," he added in a half jesting tone.

"Ah, Max, the possibility of tempting you to so rash an act as that
would certainly make me hesitate to summon you, except in a case of the
direst necessity," said Eva in tones tremulous with emotion.

"But we will hope that no such necessity may ever arise," remarked
Captain Raymond in a cheery tone. "By the way, let us take another look
at Grace's bridal gifts. Many of them are well worth close scrutiny."

"Yes, indeed," said Violet; "and I must see them carefully packed away
to-day or to-morrow."

"Oh, let us help you with it to-day, Mamma Vi," said Lucilla.

"Thank you, I will," replied Violet.

Examining, chatting over and the packing away of the numerous bridal
gifts occupied the greater part of the afternoon; an early tea
followed, and soon after that the Sunnyside folk returned to their
homes, thinking it not well to have the baby out any later than that in
cold weather.

For the next few days Violet and the captain felt it lonely enough
without the dear ones aboard the _Dolphin_, but busied themselves with
preparations for following them, and in the meantime greatly enjoyed
their daily intercourse with their near and loved neighbors, his older
children and the baby granddaughter.

So the time passed, and to most of them it seemed but a little
while before Tuesday morning dawned. Good-bys were then said; Max
went his way northward and the others of the captain's party took a
southward-bound train of cars, which carried them to Cedar Keys, on
the western Florida coast. From there they went down by steamer to
Key West. As we have seen, the captain had sent a telegram ahead, and
their arrival was a glad event, but not a surprise to the _Dolphin's_
passengers. Ned's joy was very great. He had been happy with grandma,
uncle and sisters, but papa and mamma were even more to him than were
they, so that their coming seemed to quicken his recovery. Several
days were spent at that port, that all might have abundant opportunity
to see all on both land and water that they cared to see. Ned had no
desire to visit the sponge yards or auctions, but some sponges were
brought on board the _Dolphin_, and he was rather startled for a moment
when, on picking one up, a scream as of pain and anger seemed to come
from it. "Don't, you naughty boy; just let me alone!"

"Oh," cried Ned, dropping it hastily, "I didn't know you were alive.
But don't be scared; I'll not hurt you."

Then noticing a quizzical look in his father's eye, and catching the
sound of a half-smothered laugh from his sister and some of the others,
he suddenly comprehended how it happened that the sponge seemed so
alive and able to speak in good, plain English.

"Oh, I know; it was Cousin Ronald making the thing talk; for it can't
be that it's alive after being pulled up out of the water and scraped
and cleaned and all that."

"Silly boy! Dead folks can't talk, but I can," the sponge seemed to
reply, speaking in a sneering tone.

"No," laughed Ned; "but Cousin Ronald isn't dead, if you are. Besides,
I don't believe you could talk when you were alive."

"Huh! Much you know about it. Some silly little folks think they know a
great deal more than they do."

Ned seemed highly amused. "Oh, it's good fun, Cousin Ronald, so please
keep on," he begged, looking up into the kindly face of the old
gentleman.

"Well, now," Mr. Lilburn exclaimed, as if much surprised, "I don't live
in that bit of sponge."

"No," laughed Ned; "it's much too little for anybody to live in; but I
think your voice can get in it, and it's real fun to hear it talk, so
please make it say something more."

"I used to live on the rocks away down under the water," the sponge
seemed to say; "that was my home, and I wanted to stay there, but a
cruel man came down, pulled me off, and brought me up, and I've had an
awful time ever since; they shook me and scraped me and squeezed me so
hard and long that now I'm more dead than alive."

"Oh, it's too bad!" exclaimed Ned. "I think they might have let you
live on in your own home. Maybe we might send you back to it, if you
were alive; but it's no use now if you are dead."

"Well, Neddie boy, don't you think Mr. Sponge has talked enough now?"
asked Cousin Ronald in his own natural voice. "I am really afraid our
good friends here must be tired of the very sound of his voice."

"Perhaps they are," replied Ned; "and I'm afraid you are tired making
him talk. But it has been good fun, and I am very much obliged to you
for it, Cousin Ronald."

"You are very welcome," replied Mr. Lilburn; "and I am very glad to be
able to give a bit of amusement to a young cousin who has been so ill."

"Thank you, sir; you are ever so kind," returned Ned in grateful tones.

All this happened on deck, late in the afternoon, and Dr. Harold now
said he thought it time for his little patient to be taken down into
the saloon, as the air was growing quite cool.

"Oh uncle, I don't want to go down yet, leaving all this good company,"
exclaimed Ned imploringly.

"But you don't want to get worse, do you?" asked Harold in kindly tones.

"And mother will go with you," said Violet, rising and taking his hand
in hers.

"Father, too; and he'll carry you down," added the captain, taking the
little fellow in his arms and hastening toward the stairway leading to
the cabin of the vessel. Violet followed close behind them, and Dr.
Harold and Grace brought up the rear; Grandma Elsie, the younger Elsies
and Alie Leland following them also, Annis and Cousin Ronald, too, so
that in a few minutes the _Dolphin's_ passengers had all deserted the
deck for the saloon.

Then presently came the call to supper, and all gathered about a table
well furnished with wholesome, satisfying food and drink.

Grace sat at her father's right hand, between him and her husband, and
as he carved the fowl and filled the plates, he every now and then gave
her a pleased, scrutinizing, smiling glance.

"You are looking bright and well, daughter," he said at length. "Your
honeymoon seems to agree with you, though it is perhaps rather early to
judge of that."

"It has been very delightful so far, papa," she returned with a smiling
glance first at him and then up into Harold's face; "it could hardly
be otherwise in such a vessel and in such company--with a dear mother,
a good doctor, a kind husband--indeed, everything heart could wish,
except the dear ones left behind--my dear father, mamma and sisters Lu
and Eva; not to mention darling Baby Mary. And now," she concluded,
"since two of the dearest ones, and Cousin Ronald and Annis have
joined us, I am full of content, of joy, and very, very happy."

"Yes, Gracie, it's ever so nice to have them all here--particularly
papa and mamma," remarked Ned, with a sigh of content; "and I hope
Cousin Ronald is going to make lots of fun for us."

"But maybe Dr. Harold won't approve of so much fun for his young
patient," suggested a voice that seemed to come from somewhere in Ned's
rear.

"Oh, who are you now?" queried the little fellow, turning half round in
his chair to look behind him.

"Somebody that knows a thing or two," replied the same voice, now
apparently coming from a distant part of the room.

"Oh, you do, do you?" laughed Ned. "Well, I think I begin to know who
you are," he added, turning a half-convinced, half-inquiring look upon
Cousin Ronald.

"Ha! ha! Some little boys think themselves very wise, even when they
don't understand a matter at all," returned the voice of the invisible
speaker.

"But I do, though," returned Ned; "I know Cousin Ronald and a thing or
two about what he can do. But it's fun, anyhow; it seems so real, even
if I do know he's doing it."

"And you think I'm your Cousin Ronald, do you? Do I look like that
old gent?" asked the voice, seeming to come from within an adjoining
stateroom.

"Old gent isn't a nice name to give a real gentleman like our Cousin
Ronald," retorted Ned in a tone of disgust, which caused a laugh of
amusement from most of those about the table.

"There, my son, that will do now; let us see you finish your supper
quietly," said Captain Raymond, and Ned obeyed.



CHAPTER IX


The next morning the weather was such as made the _Dolphin's_ saloon
a more attractive place to her passengers than was her deck; so there
they all gathered and sat chatting cosily together till at length the
children began asking Grandma Elsie for another of her interesting
historical stories.

"I think it is Captain Raymond's turn to be narrator now," she said
with a smiling glance at him, "and I feel inclined to be one of the
audience."

"And I am inclined to be a listener to a story from you, mother," he
returned pleasantly; "or if you are unwilling to entertain us in that
way this morning, perhaps Cousin Ronald may feel inclined to do so."

"Thanks for the invitation, captain, but I would vastly prefer the rôle
of listener," was Mr. Lilburn's response to that, and after a moment's
silent consideration the captain said: "As we are now passing through
the Gulf of Mexico, some distance south of the States of Alabama and
Mississippi, I suppose a few passages from their history may prove
interesting and instructive to at least the younger members of my
audience. Shall I give them?"

The query seemed addressed to the children, and was promptly replied to
by a chorus of expressions of pleasure in the prospect; for all there
knew the captain to be an interesting narrator of historical events.

"I shall begin with Alabama, just now the nearer of the two States,"
he said. "The word Alabama signifies 'Here we rest.' It is an Indian
expression. Fernando de Soto was the first white man who ever entered
the State. That was in 1540. His coming displeased the Indians who
lived there and considered the country their own, therefore they
opposed his progress in several battles. He found them more civilized
than in other sections of America which he visited. Just above the
confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers they had a place called
Maubila, consisting of eighty handsome houses, each large enough to
contain a thousand men. Round about them was a high wall, made of
immense trunks of trees set deep in the ground and close together,
strengthened with cross-timbers and interwoven with large vines.

"De Soto and his men entered the town, and were presently treacherously
attacked by ten thousand of the Indians. The Spaniards resisted the
attack, and a battle ensued which lasted nine hours, and resulted in
the destruction of the town and the killing of six thousand Indians.
The Spaniards, too, suffered terribly, lost eighty men, forty-five
horses and all their baggage and camp equipage."

"So it was very bad for both armies, wasn't it, papa?" said Ned.

"Yes, it was, indeed," replied his father, "but the Spaniards were the
ones most to blame. This country belonged to the Indians; what right
had the Spaniards to come here and try to take it from them? Surely,
none at all. What presumption it was in the sovereigns of Europe to
give to whomsoever they pleased great tracts of land in America to
which they themselves had no real right.

"But to go back to my story. The Indians were desperate, and fought the
invaders, contesting every rood of the ground from the hour of their
landing. And naturally, whenever a Spaniard fell into their hands,
they returned cruelty for cruelty; and the Spaniards were very, very
cruel to men, women and children; but De Soto grew tired of having the
cruelty of his men returned upon them, therefore he invited a powerful
Creek chief to meet him for a friendly talk. But the chief scorned the
invitation, called the white men by the names they deserved, and gave
them warning that he would never cease making war upon them as long as
one of their hated race remained in the country. And both he and his
followers carried out their threat, resorting to ambush and stealthy
surprises, killing scores, whose heads they chopped off and carried on
the ends of poles.

"But some of this you have been told before in our talks over the
history of Florida.

"De Soto crossed Northern Georgia and Northeastern Alabama to Maubila,
where they had that terrific fight of which I have just told you. The
following winter was a severe one, passed by the Spaniards in the
country of the Chickasaws, around the tributaries of the Yazoo. In the
spring a furious engagement took place with the Chickasaws, in which
the Spaniards came near being annihilated. In April the forlorn remnant
began again tramping through the wilderness, blindly groping for the
land where De Soto had been told he would find great quantities of gold.

"In the month of May, 1541, De Soto and his men reached the bank of the
Mississippi River, above the mouth of the St. Francis. The men stood a
long time, gazing upon it with awe and admiration, for it is one of the
mightiest rivers of the world, and they were the first Europeans to see
it at any distance above its mouth."

"And did they stop there, papa?" asked Ned.

"No, my son; they were not yet ready to give up their search for gold
and for the Pacific Ocean, which they believed was now not far away."

"Didn't know much about geography, did they?" laughed Ned.

"No; scarcely anything of that of this continent," replied his father;
"but perhaps my little son is not much wiser now in regard to what was
then the condition of what is now this great country of ours. Can you
tell him, Grace, what it was at that time?"

"In 1540, papa? A wilderness peopled only by savages and wild beasts.
It was not until 1620 that the pilgrims came to Massachusetts. The
first settlement in Maryland was not made until 1631. Virginia's first
settlers came in 1607. But the French Huguenots planted a colony in
South Carolina as early as May, 1562, twenty years later than De Soto's
visit to Alabama. Georgia was the last settled of the thirteen original
colonies."

"And those thirteen colonies were all there was of our country at the
time of the Revolutionary War, weren't they?" asked Elsie Dinsmore.

"Yes," replied the captain; "thirteen colonies at the beginning of that
war, thirteen States before it ended.

"But to go back to the story of Alabama. It seems to have been left to
the Indians until the spring of 1682, when Robert Cavalier de la Salle
descended the Mississippi to its mouth, named the country Louisiana,
and took possession of it in the name of the King of France. All the
Mississippi valley was then claimed by France, but in 1763 she ceded
it to England. West Florida, from 1764 to 1781, included quite a good
deal of the present territory of Alabama and Mississippi. In May of
1779 Spain declared war against Great Britain, and the next March the
Spanish governor of Louisiana captured Mobile. In 1783 Great Britain
ceded to the United States all territory east of the Mississippi,
except Florida, which she ceded back to Spain.

"Alabama was at that time almost entirely in the occupation of the
Indians. There was a garrison of Spanish troops at Mobile, one at St.
Stephen's, on the Tombigbee, and there were trading posts at different
points in the South and West. And now the United States bought the
whole country west of what is now Georgia to the Mississippi, and in
1817 made it the Mississippi Territory. Fort Stoddard was built near
the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee. During the War of 1812
with Great Britain there was a great deal of fighting with the Indians
of Alabama. The Creeks were the principal tribe, and in 1812 they
were stirred up to war by Tecumseh, the celebrated Shawnee warrior.
In August they attacked Fort Mimms; the garrison made a desperate
resistance, but were overcome, and out of three hundred men, women and
children, only seventeen survived the massacre.

"This aroused the adjoining States to action. Generals Jackson,
Claiborn, Floyd and Coffee entered the Indian country and defeated the
Indians at Talladega, where two hundred and ninety of their warriors
were slain. In the same month (November) General Floyd attacked the
Creeks on their sacred ground, at Autossee. Four hundred of their
houses were burned and two hundred of their warriors killed, among
whom were the kings of Autossee and Tallahassee. The last stand of the
Creeks was at Horseshoe Bend, where the Indians fought desperately, but
were defeated with the loss of nearly six hundred men. The remaining
warriors submitted, and in 1814 a treaty of peace was made, and the
remainder of the Creeks have removed beyond the Mississippi.

"After that people poured in from Georgia, the two Carolinas,
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The State grew rapidly in wealth
and population, so that in 1860 it was the fourth of the South in
importance and the second in the amount of cotton produced."

"It was a slave State, wasn't it, papa, and one that seceded in the
time of the Civil War?" asked Elsie Raymond.

"Yes; on the 11th of January, 1861, the State seceded from the Union
and joined the Southern Confederacy. A sad thing for her, for a
great deal of the desperate fighting took place within her borders.
The losses in the upper counties were immense, and raiding parties
frequently desolated the central ones. Forts Gaines and Morgan,
defending the entrance to Mobile Bay, were besieged and taken by the
United States forces in 1865, and in the same year the victory of
Mobile Bay, the severest naval battle of the war, was won by the
national forces under Admiral Farragut."

"But the folks there are not rebs any more, I suppose," remarked Ned in
a tone of inquiry.

"No, my son," replied the captain. "I believe the most, if not all, of
them are good Union people, now proud and fond of this great country,
the United States of America."



CHAPTER X


"Your story of Alabama was very interesting, I think, papa," said Elsie
Raymond, "and if you are not too tired, won't you now tell us about
Mississippi?"

"Yes," replied the captain. "I have told you about De Soto and his men
coming there in 1540. At that time what is now the territory of that
State was divided between the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Natchez Indians.
It was more than a hundred years afterward, in 1681, that La Salle
descended the Mississippi River from the Illinois country to the Gulf
of Mexico; and in 1700 Iberville, the French governor of Louisiana,
planted a colony on Ship Island, on the gulf coast. That settlement
was afterward removed to Biloxi, on the mainland. Bienville, another
governor of Louisiana, established a post on the Mississippi River,
and called it Fort Rosalie. That was in 1761, and now the city of
Natchez occupies that spot. A few years later, in 1729, the Natchez
Indians, growing alarmed at the increasing power of the French,
resolved to exterminate them. On the 28th of November of that year
they attacked the settlement of Fort Rosalie and killed the garrison
and settlers--seven hundred persons. When that terrible news reached
New Orleans, Bienville resolved to retaliate upon the murderers. The
Chickasaws were enemies of the Natchez; he applied to them for help,
and they furnished him with sixteen thousand warriors. With them and
his own troops Bienville besieged the Natchez in their fort, but they
escaped in the night and fled west of the Mississippi. The French
followed and forced them to surrender, then took them to New Orleans,
sent them to the island of St. Domingo, and sold them as slaves."

"All of them, papa?" asked Ned.

"Nearly all, I believe," replied his father; "they were but a small
nation, and very little was heard of them after that. The Chickasaws
were a large and powerful tribe living in the fertile region of the
upper Tombigbee; the French knew that they had incited the Natchez
against them, and now Bienville resolved to attack them. In 1736 he
sailed from New Orleans to Mobile with a strong force of French troops
and twelve hundred Choctaw warriors. From Mobile he ascended the
Tombigbee River in boats for five hundred miles, to the southeastern
border of the present county of Pontotoc. The Chickasaw fort was a
powerful stronghold about twenty-five miles from that point.

"Bienville took measures to secure his boats, then advanced against the
enemy. He made a determined assault on their fort, but was repulsed
with the loss of one hundred men, which so discouraged him that he
dismissed the Choctaws with presents, threw his cannon into the
Tombigbee, re-embarked in his boats, floated down the river to Mobile,
and from there returned to New Orleans.

"He had expected to have the co-operation of a force of French and
Indians from Canada, commanded by D'Artaguette, the pride and flower
of the French at the North, and some Indians from Canada, assisted
by the Illinois chief Chicago, from the shore of Lake Michigan. All
these came down the river unobserved to the last Chickasaw bluff.
From there they penetrated into the heart of the country. They
encamped near the appointed place of rendezvous with the force of
Bienville, and there waited for some time for intelligence from him.
It did not come, and the Indian allies of D'Artaguette became so
impatient for war and plunder that they could not be restrained, and
at length he (D'Artaguette) consented to lead them to the attack. He
drove the Chickasaws from two of their fortified villages, but was
severely wounded in his attack on the third. Then the Indians fled
precipitately, leaving their wounded commander weltering in his blood.
Vincennes, his lieutenant, and their spiritual guide and friend, the
Jesuit Senate, refused to fly, and shared the captivity of their
gallant leader."

"And did the Indians kill them, papa?" asked Ned.

"No, not then; hoping to receive a great ransom for them from
Bienville, who was then advancing into their country, they treated them
with great care and attention; but when he retreated they gave up the
hope of getting anything for their prisoners, therefore put them to a
horrible death, burning them over a slow fire, leaving only one alive
to tell of the dreadful fate to their countrymen."

"Oh, how dreadful!" sighed Elsie Raymond. "I'm thankful we did not live
in those times and places."

"Yes, so am I," said her father. "God has been very good to us to give
us our lives in this good land, and these good times. It is years
now since the Indians were driven out of Alabama and Mississippi.
They and Florida passed into the hands of the English in 1763. In
1783 the country north of the thirty-first parallel was included
within the limits of the United States. According to the charter
of Georgia, its territory extended to the Mississippi, but in 1795
the legislature of that State sold to the general government that
part which now constitutes the States of Alabama and Mississippi. In
1798 the Territory of Mississippi was organized, and on the 10th of
December, 1817, it was admitted into the Union as a State. On the 9th
of January, 1861, the State seceded from the Union and joined the
Southern Confederacy. And some dreadful battles were fought there in
our Civil War--those of Iuka and Corinth, Jackson, Champion Hills and
other places. That war caused an immense destruction of property. The
State was subject to military rule until the close of the year 1869,
when it was readmitted into the Union."

The captain paused, seeming to consider his story of the settlement of
the State of Mississippi completed; but Grandma Elsie presently asked:
"Isn't there something more of interest in the story of the Natchez
which you could tell us, captain?"

"Perhaps so, mother," he replied. "It was a remarkable tribe, more
civilized than any other of the original inhabitants of these States.
Their religion was something like that of the fire-worshippers of
Persia. They called their chiefs 'suns' and their king the 'Great Sun.'
A perpetual fire was kept burning by the ministering priest in the
principal temple, and he also offered sacrifices of the first fruits
of the chase; and in extreme cases, when they deemed their deity angry
with them, they offered sacrifices of their infant children to appease
his wrath. When Iberville was there, one of the temples was struck by
lightning and set on fire. The keeper of the fane begged the squaws to
throw their little ones into the fire to appease the angry god, and
four little ones were so sacrificed before the French could persuade
them to desist from the horrid rite. The 'Great Sun,' as they called
their king, had given Iberville a hearty welcome to his dominions,
paying him a visit in person. He was borne to Iberville's quarters
on the shoulders of some of his men, and attended by a great retinue
of his people. A treaty of friendship was made, and the French given
permission to build a fort and establish a trading-post among the
Indians--things that, however, were not done for many years. A few
stragglers at that time took up their abode among the Natchez, but it
was not until 1716 that any regular settlement was made; then Fort
Rosalie was erected at that spot on the bank of the Mississippi where
the city of Natchez now stands.

"Well, as I have told you, Grand or Great Sun, the chief of the
Natchez, was at first the friend of the whites; but one man, by his
overbearing behavior, brought destruction on the whole colony. The
home of the Great Sun was a beautiful village called the White Apple.
It was spread over a space of nearly three miles, and stood about
twelve miles south of the fort, near the mouth of Second Creek, and
three miles east of the Mississippi. M. D. Chopart, the commandant
of the fort, was so cruel and overbearing, so unjust to the Indians,
that he commanded the Great Sun to leave the village of his ancestors
because he, M. D. Chopart, wanted the grounds for his own purposes. Of
course the Great Sun was not willing, but Chopart was deaf to all his
entreaties, which led the Natchez to form a plot to rid their country
of these oppressors.

"Before the attempt to carry it out, a young Indian girl, who loved
the Sieur de Mace, ensign of the garrison, told him with tears that
her nation intended to massacre the French. He was astonished, and
questioned her closely. She gave him simple answers, shedding tears
as she spoke, and he was convinced that she was telling him only the
truth. So he at once repeated it to Chopart, but he immediately had
the young man arrested for giving a false alarm.

"But the fatal day came--November 29, 1729. Early in the morning Great
Sun, with a few chosen warriors, all well armed with knives and other
concealed weapons, went to Fort Rosalie. Only a short time before the
company had sent up a large supply of powder and lead, also provisions
for the fort. The Indians had brought corn and poultry to barter for
ammunition, saying they wanted it for a great hunt they were preparing
for, and the garrison, believing their story, were thrown off their
guard, and allowed a number of the Indians to come into their fort,
while others were distributed about the company's warehouse. Then,
after a little, the Great Sun gave a signal, and the Indians at once
drew out their weapons and began a furious massacre of the garrison and
all who were in or near the warehouse. And the same bloody work was
carried on in the houses of the settlers outside of the fort.

"It was at nine o'clock in the morning the dreadful slaughter began,
and before noon the whole male population of that French colony--seven
hundred souls--were sleeping the sleep of death. The women and children
were kept as prisoners, and the slaves that they might be of use as
servants. Also two mechanics, a tailor and a carpenter, were permitted
to live, that they might be of use to their captors. Chopart was one
of the first killed--by a common Indian, as the chiefs so despised him
that they disdained to soil their hands with his blood.

"The Great Sun sat in the company's warehouse while the massacre was
going on, smoking his pipe unconcernedly while his warriors were
piling up the heads of the murdered Frenchmen in a pyramid at his
feet, Chopart's head at its top, above all those of his officers and
soldiers. As soon as the Great Sun had been told by his Indians that
all the Frenchmen were dead, he bade them begin their pillage. They
then made the negro slaves bring out the plunder for distribution,
except the powder and military stores, which were kept for public use
in future emergencies."

"And did they bury all those seven hundred folks that they killed,
papa?" asked Ned.

"No," replied his father; "they left them lying strewed about in every
place where they had struck them down to death, dancing over their
mangled bodies with horrid yells in their drunken revelry; then they
left them there unburied, a prey for hungry dogs and vultures. And all
the dwellings in all the settlements they burned to ashes."

"Didn't anybody at all get away from them, uncle?" asked Alie Leland.

"Nobody who was in the buildings at the time of the massacre," replied
the captain; "but two soldiers who happened to be then in the woods
escaped and carried the dreadful tidings to New Orleans."

"I'm glad they didn't go back to the fort and get caught by those
savage Indians," said Elsie Dinsmore. "But how did they know that the
Indians were there and doing such dreadful deeds?"

"By hearing the deafening yells of the savages and seeing the smoke
going up from the burning buildings. Those things told them what was
going on, and they hid themselves until they could get a boat or canoe
in which to go down the river to New Orleans, which they reached in a
few days; and there, as I have said, they told the sad story of the
awful happening at the colony on the St. Catherine."

"Were there any other colonies that the Indians destroyed in that part
of our country, papa?" asked his daughter Elsie.

"Yes; one on the Yazoo, near Fort St. Peter, and those on the Washita,
at Sicily Island, and near the present town of Monroe. It was a sad
time for every settlement in the province."

"When the news of this terrible disaster reached New Orleans, the
French began a war of extermination against the Natchez. They drove
them across the Mississippi, and finally scattered and extirpated them.
The Great Sun and his principal war chiefs were taken, shipped to St.
Domingo and sold as slaves. Some of the poor wretches were treated with
barbaric cruelty--four of the men and two of the women were publicly
burned to death at New Orleans. Some Tonica Indians brought down a
Natchez woman, whom they had found in the woods, and were allowed to
burn her to death on a platform erected near the levee, the whole
population looking on while she was consumed by the flames. She bore
all that torture with wonderful fortitude, not shedding a tear, but
upbraiding her torturers with their want of skill, flinging at them
every opprobrious epithet she could think of."

"How very brave and stoical she must have been, poor thing!" remarked
Grace. "But, papa, have not the Natchez always been considered
superior to other tribes in refinement, intelligence and bravery?"

"Yes," he replied; "it is said that no other tribe has left so proud a
memorial of their courage, independent spirit and contempt of death in
defence of their rights and liberties. The scattered remnants of the
tribe sought an asylum among the Chickasaws and other tribes who were
hostile to the French; but since that time the individuality of the
Natchez tribe has been swallowed up among others with whom they were
incorporated. In refinement and intelligence they were equal, if not
superior, to any other tribe north of Mexico. In courage and stratagem
they were inferior to none. Their form was noble and commanding, their
persons were straight and athletic, their stature seldom under six
feet. Their countenances indicated more intelligence than is commonly
found in savages. Some few individuals of the Natchez tribe were to be
found in the town of Natchez as late as the year 1782, more than half a
century after the Natchez massacre."



CHAPTER XI


"Well, well, well! I should think you youngsters might be ashamed to
keep that poor captain talking and telling stories so long, just for
your amusement," remarked a strange voice, coming apparently from the
half open doorway of a nearby stateroom. "Can't you let him have a
little rest now?"

"Of course," replied Ned. "He tells splendid stories, and we like to
listen to them; but we don't want him to go on if he feels tired, for
he is our own dear, kind, good papa, whom we love ever so much."

"Huh!" returned the voice; "actions speak louder than words. So don't
coax for any more stories now. Have a good game of romps instead."

"The rest can do that," said Ned; "but uncle doctor wouldn't be likely
to let me romp very much."

"And you think you have to obey him, do you?"

"Of course, if I want him to cure me; and I'm very sure you would think
me a naughty boy if I didn't."

"If you didn't want to be cured?"

"No; if I didn't mind my uncle doctor."

"I thought he was your brother; he's married to your sister, isn't he?"

"Yes," laughed Ned; "and that makes him my brother; but he's my
mother's own brother, and that makes him my uncle. So he's both uncle
and brother, and that makes him a very near relation indeed."

"So it does, my little fellow, and you would better mind all he says,
even if he is a young doctor that doesn't know quite all the old
doctors do."

"He knows a great deal," cried Ned indignantly; "lots more, I guess,
than some of the other doctors that think they are very smart and know
everything."

"Well, you needn't get mad about it," returned the voice. "I like Dr.
Harold Travilla, and when I get sick I expect to send for him."

"But who are you?" asked Ned. "Why don't you come out of that stateroom
and show yourself?"

"Perhaps I might if I got a polite invitation," replied the voice.

Ned was silent for a moment, first looking steadily toward the door
from which the voice had seemed to come, then turning a scrutinizing,
questioning gaze upon Cousin Ronald.

The others in the room were all watching the two and listening as if
much entertained by the talk between them.

"I just know it's you, Cousin Ronald, making fun for us all," the
little boy remarked at length; "and that's very kind in you, for fun is
right good for folks, isn't it, Uncle Harold?"

"Yes, I think so," replied the doctor; "'laugh and grow fat' is an old
saying. So I hope the fun will prove beneficial to my young patient."

"I hope so," said the captain, "and now suppose you young folks rest
yourselves with some sort of games."

"I think we would all better wrap up and try a little exercise upon the
deck first, and after that have some games," said Harold, and everybody
promptly followed his advice.

When they had had their exercise and played a few games, dinner was
served. After that they again gathered in the saloon, and presently the
young folks asked for another of the captain's interesting stories of
the States.

"Well, my dears, about which State do you wish to hear now?" he asked.

"I believe we all want Louisiana, papa," replied his daughter Elsie.
"We know the story of the battle of New Orleans under General
Jackson--that grand victory--and pretty much all that went on in the
time of the Civil War, I believe; but I don't remember that you have
ever given us any of the early history of that State."

"Well, I shall try to do so now," her father said in reply, and after a
moment's silent thought he began.

"Louisiana is the central Gulf State of the United States, and has
the Gulf of Mexico for its southern boundary; the Sabine River and
Texas form the western boundary, and on the east is the Mississippi
River, separating it from the State of that name, which is the northern
boundary of that part of Louisiana east of the river. The part west of
that river is bounded on the north by Arkansas.

"That part of what is now our country was not taken by the whites from
the Indians so early as the more northern and eastern parts. History
tells us that Robert Cavalier de la Salle descended the Mississippi
to its mouth in April, 1682, named the country Louisiana, and took
possession of it in the name of the King of France. In 1699 Iberville
tried to form a settlement along the lower part of the river, but
succeeded only in forming the colony of Biloxi, in what is now the
State of Mississippi. In 1712, Louis XIV. of France named the region
for himself, and granted it to a wealthy capitalist named Antony
Crozat, giving him exclusive trading rights in Louisiana for ten
years. In about half that time Crozat gave back the grant to the King,
complaining that he had not been properly supported by the authorities,
and had suffered such losses in trying to settle the province as almost
to ruin him.

"In the same year a man named John Law got the King to give him a
charter for a bank and for a Mississippi company, and to grant the
province to them. For a time he carried out his scheme so successfully
that the stock of the bank went up to six hundred times its par value;
but it finally exploded and ruined every one concerned in it.

"It had, however, accomplished the settlement of New Orleans. In 1760
a war was begun between England and France, in which the former
took Canada from the latter. Then a good many Canadians emigrated to
Louisiana, and settled in that part of it west of the Mississippi. In
1762 France ceded her possessions in Louisiana west of the Mississippi
to Spain, and the country east of that river to England. New Orleans
was soon taken possession of by the Spanish authorities, who proved
themselves so cruel and oppressive that the French settlers were filled
with dismay. The Spaniards still held that province at the time of
the American Revolution, and near the close of that war the Spanish
governor of New Orleans captured the British garrison at Baton Rouge."

"I suppose that was hardly because he wanted to help us," laughed Elsie
Dinsmore.

"No," smiled the captain; "I rather think he wanted to help himself.
The navigation of the Mississippi River was opened to all nations
by the treaty of 1783, but the New Orleans Spaniards completely
neutralized it by seizing all merchandise brought to that city in any
but Spanish ships. In 1800 Spain ceded Louisiana back to France, but it
suited Napoleon, then emperor of that country, to keep the transfer a
secret until 1803, when he sent out Laussat as prefect of the colony,
who informed the people that they were given back to France, which news
filled them with joy.

"Jefferson was then our President, and on learning these facts, he
directed Robert Livingston, the American Minister at Paris, to insist
upon the free navigation of the Mississippi, and to negotiate for the
acquisition of New Orleans itself and the surrounding territory. Mr.
Monroe was appointed with full powers to assist him in the negotiation.

"Bonaparte acted promptly. He saw that the English wanted Louisiana
and the Mississippi River, and was determined that they should not
have them. They had twenty vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, and he saw
that they might easily take Louisiana, and to deprive them of all
prospect of that, he was inclined to cede it to the United States.
He (Bonaparte) speedily decided to sell to the United States not
New Orleans only, but the whole of Louisiana, and did so. On the
30th of April, 1803, the treaty was signed. Our country was to pay
$15,000,000 for the colony, be indemnified for some illegal captures,
and the vessels of France and Spain, with their merchandise, were to
be admitted into all the ports of Louisiana free of duty for twelve
years. Bonaparte stipulated in favor of Louisiana that as soon as
possible it should be incorporated into the Union and its inhabitants
enjoy the same rights, privileges and immunities as other citizens of
the United States; and the third article of the treaty, securing these
benefits to them, was drawn up by Bonaparte himself and presented to
the plenipotentiaries with the request that they would make it known to
the people of Louisiana that the French regretted to part with them,
and had stipulated for all the advantages they could desire; and that
in giving them up France had secured them the greatest of all; for in
becoming independent they would prosper as they never could have done
under any European government. But he bade them, while enjoying the
privileges of liberty, ever to remember that they were French, and
preserve for their mother country the affection which a common origin
inspires.

"This was a most important transaction, and its completion gave equal
satisfaction to both parties. Livingston said, 'I consider that from
this day the United States takes rank with the first powers of Europe,
and she is entirely escaped from the power of England;' and Bonaparte
said, 'By this cession of territory I have secured the power of the
United States, and given to England a maritime rival who at some future
time will humble her pride.'

"And that seems like a prophecy which came true, when one thinks of
Jackson's victory on the 8th of January, 1815," remarked Grandma Elsie.

"Yes," assented the captain; "that was a signal overthrow to British
troops on the plains of Louisiana."

"Yes; I remember that was a great victory for our United States
troops," said Elsie Dinsmore. "But who of our folks took possession now
that it was bought from the French, and just when did they do it?"

"It was on the 20th of December of that same year," replied the
captain, "that General Wilkinson and Governor Claiborne, who were
jointly commissioned to take possession of the country for the United
States, entered New Orleans at the head of the American troops. The
French governor gave up his command, and the tri-colored flag of France
gave place to the star-spangled banner."

"Oh, that was good," said Elsie Dinsmore; "and was Louisiana made a
State at once, captain?"

"No," he replied; "it was erected into a Territory by Congress in
1804. In 1810 the Spanish post at Baton Rouge was seized by the United
States forces under General Wilkinson and the territory connected with
it added to Louisiana, which in 1812 was admitted into the Union as a
State."

"But, papa, was what is now the State of Louisiana all we bought from
France by that treaty of 1803?" asked Grace.

"No, by no means," replied the captain. "The territory purchased by
that treaty is now occupied by the States of Louisiana, Arkansas,
Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, Dakota, Colorado,
Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington."

"My, what a big purchase it was!" cried Ned. "But how did France get so
much?"

"No doubt she just helped herself," laughed his sister. "The State went
out of the Union in the time of the Civil War, didn't it, papa?"

"Yes; on the 26th of January, 1861, but was readmitted into the Union
on the 25th of June, 1868."



CHAPTER XII


"These stories of the States have been very interesting to me,
captain," remarked Mr. Lilburn, breaking a little pause which had
followed the conclusion of the brief sketch just given of the early
history of Louisiana.

"I feel flattered that my crude efforts in that line should be so
highly appreciated," returned the captain, with a gratified smile as he
spoke, then added, "And now, if you feel like making a return in kind,
Cousin Ronald, suppose you give us a page or two of Scottish history,
than which I think there is hardly anything more interesting."

"I acknowledge that it is very interesting to me, a native of that
land, though now feeling myself a full-fledged American, but how is it
with these younger folk?" returned Mr. Lilburn, glancing inquiringly
around upon the ladies and children.

It was Grandma Elsie who answered in tones of pleased anticipation,
"Indeed, cousin, I should be delighted; for to me the history of that
grandfather land of mine is only secondary in interest to that of this,
my dear native land, largely peopled by the descendants of those who
struggled so bravely for civil and religious liberty in Scotland."

"Ah, cousin mine, I am glad to ken that you care for that auld
fatherland o' yours and mine," returned the old gentleman, smiling
affectionately upon her. "There are many passages in her history
that are interesting and heart stirring to the pride and love of the
descendants of the actors in the same. But to what particular passages
in her history shall I call your attention now?"

The query seemed addressed to all present, and Elsie Dinsmore answered
quickly and earnestly, "Oh, tell us all you can about that beautiful,
unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. I suppose you must have seen all the
palaces and castles she ever lived in there in Scotland?"

"Yes, my bonny bairn, I have, and regard them with great interest
because of her one-time occupation of them. Linlithgow Castle is now
only a picturesque old ruin, yet one may stand in the very room, now
roofless, to be sure, where Queen Mary was born. The walls of that
castle were very thick and strong, but not then deemed strong enough to
protect the royal infant, born on the 7th of December, 1542. There was
rejoicing at her birth, but it would have been greater had she been a
lad instead of a lass. Her father, then on his deathbed, exclaimed when
he heard the news, 'Woe to the crown of Scotland; it came with a lass
and it will go with a lass.'

"Her sex was a disappointment to Scottish hearts, yet still they
loved her, and would do all in their power to protect and defend her,
especially from the English King, Henry VIII., with whom they were
then at war, and who was doing all in his power to get possession of
the little princess, purposing in time to marry her to his son, and so
unite the two kingdoms under one crown."

"Why, that would have been a fine way to put a stop to the fighting
between the two kingdoms, I should think," said Elsie Dinsmore.

"Perhaps, if he had offered good terms, but those he did offer were
so harsh that Scotland's Parliament rejected them, and for greater
security both Mary and her mother were taken from Linlithgow to
Stirling Castle, a grand fortress atop of a lofty hill above the
beautiful valley of Monteith. It seemed a safe place for the bonny baby
queen, but some wicked, treacherous men formed a plot to carry her off
to England; but it failed because her guardians were so very cautious
as never to admit more than one person at a time to see her.

"So many dangers threatening her, it was thought best to crown her
queen as soon as possible, and when she was nine months old she was
one Sunday morning taken from her nursery to the chapel of the castle.
There one of her nobles held her on the throne and spoke for her the
words she should have spoken had she been old enough. Then the Cardinal
held the crown over her head, and for a moment clasped her tiny fingers
about the scepter, and buckled the sword of state around her waist.
Then every peer and prelate present, one after another, knelt before
her, held his right hand above her baby head, and swore to defend her
with his life. But alas, alas! few o' them proved faithful to their
oath.

"A strange life lay before that little babe. She was perhaps six years
of age when taken to France as a safer place for her than Scotland.
She was married early in life to the young King Francis II., but in
seventeen months his death made her a widow. She left France for her
own land, and arrived at Leith in August, 1561, doubtless little
dreaming the sad fate in store for her in the British Isles," sighed
the kind-hearted old gentleman, then for a moment he seemed lost in
thought.

"Can you tell us in what town and castle she made her home?" asked
Elsie Dinsmore.

"Holyrood Castle in Edinburgh," replied Mr. Lilburn. "It was in the
chapel of that castle she was married to her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord
Darnley, in July, 1565. She was then about twenty-three years of age."

"Did she love him, Cousin Ronald?" asked Elsie Raymond.

"No doubt of it, lassie, for she had plenty of other offers; it really
seemed as though every royal bachelor and widower wanted her for a
wife. And small wonder, for she was very sweet and beautiful.

"She called Darnley the handsomest man she had ever seen; doubtless it
was his good looks she fell in love with, but a few weeks of wifehood
with him showed her that his character was far less admirable than
his looks; he was vain, selfish, ungrateful, took all her favors as
a matter of course and asked for more. Soon after their marriage the
English ambassador wrote of them, 'The Queen doth everything in her
power to oblige Darnley, but Darnley does not do the least thing to
oblige her.' She had a few weeks of happiness during their wedding
journey through the interior of Scotland, but soon after that Darnley
began treating her with brutal unkindness. At a public banquet, only
four months after their marriage, he began to drink to excess, urging
his guests to do the same. Queen Mary tried quietly to check him, but
he turned upon her with such vulgar violence that she left the room in
tears. And he was so insolent to the Court in general that he was soon
almost universally detested."

"And I should hardly think it was possible for poor Queen Mary to go on
loving him," said Elsie Dinsmore.

"Nor should I," said Mr. Lilburn; "for certainly he was very different
from what she had believed him to be when she married him. And, poor
lady, she greatly needed the right sort of husband to protect and help
her, for the nobles who surrounded her were treacherous, unprincipled
men, ready to commit any crime that would enable them to govern
Scotland to suit themselves, by making the sovereign a mere cipher in
their hands. I presume you all know something of the brutal murder of
Rizzio?"

"Yes, sir, I believe we do; but please tell us the whole story about
it," said Elsie Raymond.

"He was a singer in the chapel of Holyrood Castle, had a voice of
wonderful power and sweetness, which so pleased the Queen that she made
him leader of the singing in her chapel services. He was a homely man,
but a clever linguist, faithful and prudent, and Queen Mary made him
her private secretary. The treacherous lords wanted to get rid of him
because he was not one of them, yet had so great influence with the
Queen; they determined to murder him, and that on the pretence that
the Queen was so fond of him as to make Darnley jealous. It was all a
pretence, just to trump up a reason for murdering Rizzio.

"One evening in March, 1566, Queen Mary was in her library at supper,
with three friends as her guests--a lady, a gentleman and Rizzio. She
did not know that her Lord Chancellor Morton had, just after dusk,
led a body of armed men into the courtyard of this, her Holyrood
Castle. Some of these men had hidden themselves in Darnley's room,
just underneath these apartments of hers, and a winding staircase led
up from them. Suddenly Darnley, who had come up this private stairway,
entered the room, sat down in a vacant chair beside her, put his arm
around her waist and gave her an affectionate kiss.

"It was a Judas kiss, for at the same time the murderers whom he was
assisting had stolen softly into the Queen's bedroom, and now they
crowded through the doorway into her presence. She was alarmed, and at
once demanded the reason for their intrusion.

"They said they meant no harm to her, only to the villain near her.

"Rizzio understood, and said to her, 'Madam, I am lost!' 'Fear not,'
she answered, 'the King will never suffer you to be slain in my
presence, nor can he forget your many faithful services.'

"The words seemed to touch Darnley's heart and make him unwilling to
perform his part in the wicked work, and Ruthven exclaimed fiercely,
'Sir, look to your wife and sovereign.'

"At that Darnley forced Mary into a chair and held her there so tightly
that she could not rise, while one of the ruffians presented a pistol
to her side and swore a horrible oath that he would shoot her dead if
she resisted.

"'Fire,' she replied, 'if you have no respect for my life,' and her
husband pushed away the weapon.

"But now others of the murderous crowd were in the room, lighting
it up with the glare of torches, and Rizzio, clinging to the Queen's
dress, begged piteously, 'Save my life, madam! Save my life for God's
dear sake!'

"But she could not. The assassins rushed upon him, overturning the
table with its lights and dishes. Queen Mary fainted, and Rizzio was
dragged out into a narrow passageway and stabbed again and again
until his shrieks were hushed in death. There is still a stain upon
Holyrood's floor said to have been caused by his blood."

"And what about Queen Mary? Did they hurt her, Cousin Ronald?" asked
Ned, much interested in the story.

"When she came out of her faint, poor lady! those lawless nobles,
wicked murderers, told her she was their prisoner, then set a guard at
her door, and left her to spend the night in anxiety, horror and fear."

"Oh, how wicked and cruel they were!" exclaimed Elsie Raymond. "I hope
they got punished for it somehow!"

"It looks as though Darnley did," said Mr. Lilburn, "for in a little
less than a year after the murder of Rizzio he, having gone with a few
friends to a private house, was in the night blown up with gunpowder;
and only about two months afterward Queen Mary married the Earl of
Bothwell. That disgusted her best subjects, so that they made her a
prisoner and forced her to abdicate in favor of her son, James VI.

"Queen Mary escaped from her prison, collected a large army, and fought
for the recovery of her crown and throne, but was defeated, then fled
to England. But Queen Elizabeth, though her cousin, was very jealous of
her, kept her imprisoned for many years, then had her beheaded."

"Had she any right to do that?" asked Elsie Dinsmore in indignant tones.

"No," replied Mr. Lilburn; "none but the might that is said to make
right. Queen Mary was in her power, with none to defend her. Queen
Mary, when on trial, said to her judges, 'I am a Queen, subject to
none but God. Him do I call to witness that I am innocent of all the
charges brought against me. And recollect, my lords, the theatre of the
world is wider than the realm of England.'"

"And did they kill her, Cousin Ronald?" asked Ned.

"Yes; they beheaded her in Fotheringay Castle. It is said that every
one was impressed by the melancholy sweetness of her face and the
remains of her rare beauty as she drew near the spot where her life was
to be ended. Her executioners knelt down and asked her forgiveness for
what they were about to do, and she replied, 'I forgive you and all
the world with all my heart.' Then turning to the women who attended
her, she said, 'Pray do not weep. Believe me, I am happy to leave the
world. Tell my son that I thought of him in my last moments, and that I
sincerely hope his life may be happier than mine.'

"Then there was a dreadful silence as she knelt down and laid her head
upon the block. In another minute the chief executioner held it up in
his hand, saying, 'So perish all the enemies of Queen Elizabeth.'"

"What a shame!" cried Ned. "I hope the time came when Queen Elizabeth
had to have her head chopped off."

"No," replied Mr. Lilburn; "but hers was not a happy death. She seems
to have been almost crazed with grief and remorse over the death of
Essex, threw herself on the floor, and lay there, refusing food and
medicine for several days and nights, till death came to end the
sorrowful scene."

"Then, perhaps, she suffered more than Queen Mary did in her dying
time, as I certainly think she deserved to," said Elsie Dinsmore.

"Yes, I think she did," responded Mr. Lilburn; "it seems very possible
that her cruel, unjust treatment of her cousin, Queen Mary, may have
helped to burden her conscience and increase her remorse till she felt
that life was a burden too heavy to bear."

"Do you think she really wanted to die, and was courting death, Cousin
Ronald?" asked Grandma Elsie.

"Her refusal of food and medicine looks like it," he replied; "yet
one can hardly suppose that death would be anything but a terror to
one whose character was so far from Christian. Her public conduct was
worthy of the highest encomium, but not so with her private life. Yet I
wadna wish to sit in judgment on her at this late day."



CHAPTER XIII


The next day was the Sabbath, the weather clear and mild enough for
all, passengers and crew, to gather upon the deck for a short service
of prayer, singing of hymns and a sermon read by the captain. After
that there was an hour of Bible study in the saloon, Mr. Lilburn
leading by request of the others.

Turning over the leaves of his Bible, "Suppose we take for our subject
the Confessing of Christ before Men," he said. "Here in Romans we read,
'The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is,
the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy
mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath
raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him
shall not be ashamed.'

"What a burning desire Paul had for the salvation of souls. He said,
'Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that
they might be saved.' And if we are Christians we will be often in
prayer and often making effort for the salvation of souls. Let us ask
ourselves if it is indeed so with us. And let us strive to make it so,
earnestly doing all in our power to win souls to Christ, telling them
of the great love wherewith He has loved us, bleeding and dying that we
might live; and that all we have to do is simply to come, to believe,
to take this offered salvation. 'Whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved.' We have only to call upon His name with
real desire for His help, and in an instant He is with us, offering us
full and free salvation, purchased for us by His suffering and death,
so that we may have it without money and without price. Now, friends,
please read in turn texts bearing upon this great subject."

Then Grandma Elsie read, "'For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to
condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved.'"

Then Grace, "'Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every
one that believeth.'"

Then the captain, "'Knowing that a man is not justified by the works
of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed
in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
and not by the works of the law; for by the law shall no flesh be
justified.'"

Then Violet, "'By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should
boast.'"

Harold was the next, "'God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to
obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,'" he read, and that closed
the lesson, the younger ones seeming to have nothing ready; then
presently came the summons to the dinner table.

"Aren't we getting pretty near to Louisiana, papa?" asked Ned at the
breakfast table the next morning.

"Near enough for a distant view of its shore," was the smiling reply.

"Oh, I'm glad! Are we going to stop at New Orleans, papa?"

"No; we will not go up to that city this time, but travel directly to
Viamede by the shortest route."

"Oh, I am glad of that, for I just long for a sight of our beautiful
Viamede; and I think I shall get well there right fast," laughed Ned.

"Maybe so, if you are careful to obey your doctor," said Harold,
smiling kindly upon the little fellow.

"It will be ever so nice to get there," exclaimed Elsie Raymond.
"Grandma, you were so kind to invite us all."

"Not kinder to you than to myself, since to have you all there
makes the place twice as enjoyable and attractive to me," was the
pleasant-toned reply.

"Will the friends and relatives about there be expecting us, mother?"
asked Grace.

"I think they will, as they were written to that we expected to arrive
just about the time we are now likely to reach there."

"I think we shall," said the captain; and they did, to find the
expectant relatives gathered at the wharf ready to give them a joyful
greeting; for dearly they all loved Viamede's sweet mistress, and
they also cherished a warm affection for those who accompanied her,
especially her son Harold and his bride. The congratulations to them
were warm, especially those of Dr. Percival, who felt that he owed his
life to God's blessing upon Harold's wise and kind treatment during the
severe illness caused by that sad fall from his horse many months ago.

And now he and his Maud had a treasure which they were very proud to
show to Grandma Elsie and all the others--a lovely baby girl, another
Elsie. And Dr. and Mrs. Johnson had still another to show, exhibiting
it with much parental pride, speaking of it as still another namesake
for their dearly loved cousin, Mrs. Elsie Travilla.

She was much moved. "I am greatly honored," she said; "so many naming
their darlings for me. I have brought two with me--Elsie Dinsmore and
Elsie Raymond; there is one--Elsie Keith--at the Parsonage; one at
Magnolia Hall--Elsie Embury; and now these two dear babies, making six
here in all. Yes, and in my more Northern home neighborhood there is
my eldest daughter, named for me by her father, and there are several
others, the children of friends who have honored me in the same way. I
certainly am greatly honored. But, dear Dick and Rob, will it not make
confusion to have two of the same name at Torriswood?"

"Oh, I think not, cousin," laughed Dick; "ours can be Elsie P. and
Rob's Elsie J."

"And, oh, Cousin Elsie, if only they get your sweet disposition along
with the name," exclaimed Maud, "they will have reason to thank us for
giving it to them."

"As I certainly do my father and mother," said little Elsie Keith,
standing near and listening with interest to the talk about the name
she bore. "They have often told me I must try to be like the dear lady
relation whose name I bear."

"Dear child, may you succeed in greatly improving upon your pattern,"
Mrs. Travilla responded, smiling upon the little girl, gently smoothing
her hair and giving her a kiss.

But now came the summons to the dinner table. By the written orders of
Viamede's mistress, sent weeks before, a fine, abundant, luxurious
meal had been made ready for the occasion, and soon all were seated
about the hospitable board regaling themselves upon all the luxuries to
be had in that part of the country at that time of the year.

They ate with appetites, at the same time enjoying "the feast of reason
and the flow of soul."

The children had a table to themselves, that they might chatter to
their hearts' content without disturbing the older folk, and they fully
appreciated the privilege.

"Oh, Elsie Raymond!" exclaimed Mildred Keith, the eldest of the
children from the Parsonage, "I haven't seen your tee-tee. Didn't you
bring it along?"

"No," replied Elsie; "Ned's couldn't be brought because he was not well
enough to care for it on the _Dolphin_, and wouldn't have felt willing
to leave it to other folks to be troubled with; so it had to be left at
home, and as we didn't want to part them, I left mine too."

"Oh, that was good and kind in you," was Mildred's answering remark.

"So we won't have the tee-tees to make fun for us with Cousin Ronald's
help," said another of the cousins. "But I know he can make fun even
without the little monkeys."

"And he's always so very kind about making fun for us," said another.
"He's a dear old gentleman! I'm as fond of him as if he was a near
relation."

"And you had a wedding at your house just a little while ago," said
another. "I like both Cousin Harold and Cousin Grace, and it seems nice
that they are married to each other."

"But does Cousin Violet like it? I heard the folks say it would make
her mother to her brother."

"Yes; but, besides, it makes mamma and Sister Grace sisters; so Gracie
can say mamma or sister, just as she pleases; but I don't believe it
will make a bit of difference in their love for each other."

"No; I don't believe it will, or make her, your mother, and Dr. Harold
feel at all differently toward each other. I dare say they will all
feel and act toward each other about as they did before the wedding."

"I'm sorry your sisters Lu and Eva didn't come this time and bring that
little Mary. Why didn't they and Chester come?"

"Chester couldn't well leave his business, Sister Lu didn't want to
leave him, and Eva thought home was better for Baby Mary," Elsie
Raymond said in reply. "It seemed hard to leave them behind, but papa
said it couldn't be helped. Oh, I wish you could all see Baby Mary! She
is such a dear, pretty little thing."

But all the talk was not going on at the children's table; the grown
folks were doing their full share, and that with evident enjoyment.

"We understood, Cousin Elsie," said Dr. Percival, "that the cousins
from the Oaks and Fairview were to be here."

"Yes, and I think they will be in a few days, coming by rail. They were
not quite ready to start when we were, nor would the yacht have held us
all. And we may hope for another carousal when they do get here," she
added with a merry look and musical laugh.

"Ah, that's a pleasant prospect, if we are to be invited to take part
in it," laughed the doctor.

"Ah, Dick, you surely know that is of course," she returned with a look
that said more than her words. "A family party here without you in it
would hardly be worthy of that name to me."

"Ah, cousin, you are indeed kind to say and to feel so, for I don't
seem to myself to deserve to be so estimated by you. I am really worth
but little except as a physician; and Harold here can outdo me in that
line," he added, giving Harold a warmly affectionate look and smile.

"I must beg leave to differ as to that, Cousin Dick," returned Harold
brightly. "I know of no physician to whom I would sooner trust the life
of any ailing dear one than to yourself."

"Thanks; that is certainly a very strong endorsement you give me,"
laughed Dick, coloring with pleasure.

"And I can give you the same," said his half brother and partner, Dr.
Johnson. "We seem to be a family of remarkably good physicians, if we
do say it ourselves," he added with a hearty laugh.

"I don't think you need; you may safely trust to other folks doing it,"
remarked Captain Raymond pleasantly.

"But don't expect any of us to get sick in order to give you fellows a
chance to show your skill," observed Mr. Dinsmore gravely.

"Oh, no, uncle; we can find plenty of patients among the constant
dwellers in this region; so you may feel quite safe from our
experimenting upon you--unless you get up an accident that will call
for our aid," said Dick.

"I assure you I have no idea of doing that, even to help my nephews and
grandson to plenty of employment to keep them out of mischief," laughed
Mr. Dinsmore.

"And you needn't, grandpa, so far as I am concerned," said Harold, with
a humorous look and smile. "This is Grace's and my honeymoon, you know,
and we are entitled to a full holiday."

"So you are, and I shall do nothing to interfere with it," returned Mr.
Dinsmore with assumed gravity, but a twinkle of fun in his eye.

"Are Chester and Lu coming with the other party, uncle?" asked Maud.

"No; I understand that Chester has too much business calling for his
attention, and that Lu, like the good, affectionate wife that she is,
could not be persuaded to leave him; and Eva remains at home for their
sake and that of her baby."

And so the talk went on till all the courses of the grand dinner had
been served and heartily partaken of.

Then all, old and young, gathered in the drawing-room and spent a
pleasant hour in friendly chat. After that cordial good-nights were
exchanged, accompanied with plans and promises in regard to future
intentions, and one after another the relatives and guests departed for
their own homes.

Little, feeble Ned had already been taken to his nest for the night,
but the other children were now permitted a brief sojourn upon the
front veranda, made delightful by the sweet scent of the orange
blossoms upon the trees and the many lovely flowers adorning the
moonlighted lawn, that light giving them also a charming view of the
more distant landscape.



CHAPTER XIV


It was a bright, cheerful party that gathered about the Viamede
breakfast table the next morning.

"Southern air seems to agree finely with my young patient thus far,"
remarked Dr. Harold, looking smilingly at Ned, who was partaking of the
good fare provided with an appetite such as he had not shown before
since the beginning of his illness.

"Yes, uncle doctor, I'm hungry this morning, and everything tastes
good," laughed Ned. "But Viamede victuals always were ever so nice."

"And home victuals poor and tasteless?" queried the lad's mother,
feigning a look of grieved surprise.

"Oh, no, mamma; home victuals are good--very good--when one is well, so
as to have a good appetite," returned Ned reassuringly.

"Very true, son," said his father; "and you used to show full
appreciation of them. So mamma need not feel hurt that you so greatly
enjoy your present fare."

"And p'raps his good appetite will make the little chap strong enough
for a row on the bayou a bit arter gittin' done his breakfast," said a
rough voice, seemingly coming from an open doorway into the outer hall.

"Now, who are you talking that way about me?" queried Ned, turning half
way round in his chair in an effort to catch sight of the speaker.

"Who am I? Somebody that knows a thing or two 'bout boys an' what they
can do, an' what they like; an' I guess you're not much different from
other fellows o' your age an' sect. Be ye now?"

"No, I guess not," laughed Ned. "I don't belong to any sect, though.
But I suppose you mean sex. I'm of the male kind."

"Oh, you are. Then I s'pose you're brave enough to venture a row on
the bayou without fear o' bein' drowned?"

"Yes, indeed, with all these grown-up folks along to take care of me,"
laughed Ned. Then looking across the table at Mr. Lilburn, "Now that
was just you talking, Cousin Ronald, wasn't it?"

"Why, Neddie boy, do you think that is the kind of English I speak?"
queried Mr. Lilburn in a hurt tone, as if he felt insulted by such a
suspicion in regard to his knowledge and use of the English tongue.

"No, Cousin Ronald, I didn't mean any harm; but haven't you different
kinds of voices for different times and occasions?" returned Ned. "And
weren't you kindly trying to make a bit of fun for me?"

"Ah, little chap, you seem to be good at guessing," laughed Mr.
Lilburn; "a bit of a Yankee, aren't you?"

"No, sir; I'm a whole one," cried Ned, echoing the laugh. "But, papa,"
turning to his father, "can't we get in a boat and have a row on the
bayou?"

"Well, Ned, I suppose that might be possible," was the smiling
rejoinder. "Suppose we take a vote on the question. All in favor of the
proposition say aye."

At that there was a simultaneous aye from the voice of each one at the
table.

Then Grandma Elsie said, "I think it would be enjoyable, but probably
the cousins may be coming in to make their party calls before we get
back."

"I think not, mamma, if we start early and do not go too far," said
Violet; "and we can leave word with the servants that our absence will
be short, so that any one who comes will be encouraged to wait a bit."

"I should think they well might," smilingly added Mrs. Lilburn, "seeing
what a delightful place they would have to wait in, and plenty of
interesting reading matter at hand."

"Yes, I think we really might venture it," said Dr. Harold,
"especially as the little jaunt will probably be for the health of all
taking part in it."

So it was decided upon, and the plan carried out shortly after leaving
the table.

Every one, especially the younger folk, seemed delighted with the idea
and eager for the start. Ned was well wrapped up under the supervision
of his mother and uncle, and seated in a part of the boat where there
could not be any danger for him of even a slight wetting.

All found it a delightful trip, and returned refreshed and
strengthened, the younger ones full of mirth and jollity.

It so happened that they were just in time to greet an arrival of
cousins from Magnolia Hall and the Parsonage, presently followed by
those from Torriswood. Cordial greetings were exchanged and an hour
or two spent in pleasant intercourse, in which plans were laid for
excursions here and there through the lovely surrounding country and
entertainments at one and another of their homes.

"Don't wait for the coming of the rest of your party of relatives,"
said Dr. Percival. "We will look forward to the pleasure of having you
all again, with that agreeable addition to the company."

"Thank you, Dick," returned Grandma Elsie with her own sweet smile, "we
can hardly have more than would be agreeable of these lovely excursions
or the delightful visits to the hospitable homes of our kith and kin
in this region. And the oftener any or all of you visit us here at
Viamede, the better."

"And please understand that we all echo in our hearts the sentiments
just expressed by our mother," supplemented Violet in her sprightly way.

"Yes," laughed the captain; "I can vouch for the correctness of my
wife's strange and strong assertion."

"And I," added Harold, "join with my brother physician in recommending
for the health, as well as present enjoyment of us all, the taking of
an unlimited number of these delightful excursions by land and water."

"Now let's follow that good prescription," laughed Elsie Dinsmore, and
the other young people received the suggestion with clapping of hands
and words of most decided approval.

A merry, enjoyable fortnight followed before the expected increase
in their numbers, during which Cousin Ronald often entertained them
with exhibitions of his skill as a ventriloquist. It did not mystify
and puzzle them as it had done when they first made his acquaintance,
but, nevertheless, was the exciting cause of much mirth and hilarity.
Especially when there happened to be some neighbor present who was
ignorant of the old gentleman's peculiar talent; and that often made
the call of such casual acquaintances the more desirable and welcome.
The relatives from Magnolia Hall, Torriswood and the Parsonage were
often visitors at Viamede, sitting with its family on the veranda in
the afternoons and evenings, and quite frequently callers, more or less
intimate, would be there with them; and if Mr. Lilburn felt in the mood
or was urged by one or more of the young folks of the family to try his
skill, he would kindly do so.

Early one evening, when the gathering was larger than usual, Ned crept
to Cousin Ronald's side and whispered in his ear an urgent request for
a bit of the fun he alone could make. "Perhaps, sonny boy, if an idea
comes to me," replied the old gentleman in the same low key. "Go back
now to your mother and be quiet and easy for your health's sake."

Ned obeyed, and leaning on his mother's lap, with her arm around him,
listened eagerly for he hardly knew exactly what.

Presently a voice was heard, seemingly coming from a clump of bushes
not far away, "Ladies and gentlemen, young folks too, what good times
you're having! While I'm but a poor fellow, wandering and homeless in a
strange land, no roof to cover me, no bed to sleep in, and nothing to
eat. Ah, woe's me! What can I do but lie down and die?"

"No, you needn't," called out Ned. "Go round to the kitchen and ask
politely for something to eat, and you'll get it."

"I don't believe they'd give me a bite. I'm not a beggar, either,
an' to take to that trade wad be worse nor dying an honest, upright,
self-supporting man."

"Why, who is it, and what does he want?" queried one of Viamede's
visitors in tones of surprise and disgust.

"Let's go down and see; give him some money, if he'll take it, to buy
himself some supper and pay for a night's lodging," said another guest,
jumping up and moving toward the veranda steps.

"Tell him we will give him something to eat--send it out there to him,
if he wishes," said Grandma Elsie, speaking very soberly, though she
felt pretty certain they would find no one there.

The lads hurried down to the bushes that seemed to hide the stranger,
and Ned clapped his hands in ecstasy over the idea that they had been
so easily and completely duped.

"They'll be greatly surprised and disappointed," said Elsie Dinsmore,
"and it's almost too bad, for they seem very kind-hearted and ready to
help one in distress."

The other young folks were laughing in an amused way.

"And it was just you, Cousin Ronald, wasn't it?" asked Elsie Raymond.

"Why, what a strange idea!" exclaimed the old gentleman. "I haven't
been down there on the lawn for hours."

"But maybe your voice has," laughed Elsie.

"Oh, here they come to tell us about it," exclaimed Alie Leland, as the
lads were seen hurrying back in a very excited way.

"There's nobody there!" cried one. "We searched all about and couldn't
find a soul."

"No, indeed, we couldn't, and it's very mysterious, I think," added the
other.

"Looks as if he'd run off before you got there," said Ned.

"He couldn't. There wasn't time," panted the foremost lad as they came
up the steps of the veranda.

"Well, then, it's his own fault if he misses getting something to eat,"
said Ned, trying hard to keep from laughing.

"Strange how blind some folks are," remarked the same strange voice,
seeming now close to the veranda, and followed by a profound sigh.

"Why, there he is again, and nearer than before!" cried one of the
lads who had been trying to find him, and both peered eagerly over the
railing; but to their evident astonishment, could see no one.

"Dear me, where in the world is he?" exclaimed again the boy who had
first spoken. "His voice sounded even nearer than before and yet he's
nowhere to be seen."

"Oh, let's look under the veranda," suggested the other. "Perhaps he
may have crept in there."

"Oh, yes, if Mrs. Travilla is willing," returned his companion.

"I have no objection," she said pleasantly, and they proceeded to look,
but soon announced that there was no one to be found there.

"And it certainly isn't worth your while to take such trouble to find
so good for naught a scamp," returned Mr. Lilburn in his natural voice.
"I wadna try it any more, lads."

"Ha, ha, ha. I knew you couldn't find me!" laughed the invisible
speaker, the voice this time apparently coming from the roof of the
veranda.

"Well," cried Ned, "how in the world did he get up there? What a famous
climber he must be!"

At that the mystified stranger boys hurried down the veranda steps
again and some little distance down the path leading across the grounds
from the front of the dwelling, turned there and stood looking up at
the veranda's roof.

"Why, there's nothing and nobody there!" they exclaimed breathlessly as
they hurried back again.

"It certainly is a most mysterious thing," panted one. "How a fellow
could be so close by and then disappear so suddenly and completely I
can't imagine."

"Well, well, lads, such a slippery ne'er-do-weel isna worth worrying
about," said Mr. Lilburn. "And we needna trouble oursel's if he goes
hungry."

"But I should be sorry indeed to have any of my guests do that," said
Grandma Elsie as just at that moment servants appeared carrying silver
salvers laden with fruit and cakes.

That seemed a welcome interruption to even the sorely puzzled stranger
boys, and when that feasting was over the captain called for music, and
his wife, going to the piano, played "Yankee Doodle" with variations,
then "Star-Spangled Banner," in the singing of which all joined
heartily. Just as the last strain died away the strange voice was heard
again from the far end of the veranda.

"That's a grand old song. Just the kind for every American to sing,
whether he's rich or poor."

"Oh, there he is again!" cried the stranger lads, springing to their
feet and looking eagerly in the direction of the sounds.

"But just as invisible as ever," gasped one. "How on earth does he
manage to disappear so quickly?"

At that there was a half-suppressed titter among the young folks of
the house, while Mr. Lilburn said in his own natural tones, "Tut, tut,
young fellows; I'd pay no attention to him. He isn't worth minding."

"No, indeed," said Dr. Harold, "he isn't, and wouldn't attempt to harm
any one of us, even if he wanted to, as we are so many and he but one."

"No," said the voice, "I'm not worth minding, not at all dangerous,
for I wouldn't hurt anybody if I wanted to, and wouldn't dare do it if
I had sic a wicked inclination."

"Well, sir, it's very, very queer how you can be so plainly heard and
not seen at all," remarked one of the puzzled young fellows. Then
pulling out his watch, "But it's high time for me to go home now."

"For me, too," said his companion, and bidding good-night to their
hostess and the company, they went away together.

"Good! They didn't find out anything," chuckled Ned when they were
beyond hearing.

Then began plans for the next day's outing, and conjectures as to when
they might look for the expected addition to this Viamede party from
their more northern homes. That was brought about in a few days, and
added pleasure to their picnics, excursions and family gatherings at
Torriswood, Magnolia Hall, the Parsonage and Viamede itself.



CHAPTER XV


To Lucilla it seemed hard to part for some months, just after the
wedding, from her darling sister Grace, from Elsie and Ned also, to say
nothing of Harold and his lovely mother; and for the fortnight or more
that elapsed before the other company left she clung very closely to
her father and Max, not neglecting Violet either. But when they also
were gone she gave herself more unreservedly to Eva and Baby Mary,
enjoying them keenly through the day while business claimed Chester's
attention, then him in the evenings and early mornings until he must
hie away to his office in Uniontown.

During the time that elapsed between the departure of the first and
second party of relatives and friends to the South there was an almost
daily exchange of visits with the Oaks and Fairview families, those at
Ion also, and it was a joy to know that they--the Ion people--were not
to flit with the others, and that the Roseland and Beechwood friends
had planned to remain at home through the winter also; and particularly
that Drs. Arthur Conly and Herbert Travilla were evidently intending
to do likewise, except as they travelled about the adjacent country in
the practice of their profession. And the Ion family--Edward Travilla,
his wife and children--having visited Viamede only the year before,
were expecting to spend their winter at their own home; and Zoe, with
kind-hearted concern for Evelyn and Lucilla, made frequent little
visits to Sunnyside, which she urgently invited them to return; and
they did so when there were no other more important calls upon their
time and the weather was suitable for little Mary to be taken out; for
to both mother and aunt she seemed too dear and precious to be left
behind.

Then there was the pleasant task of the daily correspondence with their
nearest and dearest of absent relatives and friends--Eva with her
husband, father-in-law and Violet, Lucilla with her father, brother and
sister. How delightful it was to get their letters. How eagerly they
both watched for the coming of the daily mail.

Lucilla sadly missed her morning strolls with her father about the
grounds; yet not so much as she might have done at another season of
the year, for it was often too cold and stormy for such rambles even
had he been there; and she would console herself with writing to him
what she might have said with her tongue had he been there to listen
to her loving, daughterly confidences and expressions of affection.
And she could seek his wise counsels and receive them in his answering
epistle. So she strove to be patient and content, rejoicing in the glad
hope that the separation was to be for but a few short months.

"And," she would say to herself, "how much better off I am than poor,
dear Eva, my husband coming home every night, while hers is to be gone
for weeks or months."

Eva sorely missed her absent husband, but the darling baby daughter was
a great joy and comfort.

So passed January, February and March, and with the coming in of April
Eva and Lucilla rejoiced in the thought that in a few weeks the dear
ones now at Viamede would be returning to their more northern homes, as
were the Ion folks, the kith and kin, or those left in charge, at the
Oaks, Fairview, Beechwood, Roselands, the Laurels and Riverside.

Dr. Arthur Conly and his Marian, strongly attached to each other,
and almost idolizing their baby boy, were an ideally happy pair, and
Roselands had grown even more lovely than it was in earlier days. As
they were about to leave the breakfast table one fair April morning a
ring from the telephone bell summoned the doctor to make a prompt call
at Sunnyside.

He replied that he would be there as soon as possible, which would be
in a few minutes, his gig being already at the door. Turning about, he
found his wife close at his side.

"I must set off at once for Sunnyside," he said; "Lucilla is ill. Will
you go along?"

"Yes, indeed. She has been such a dear, kind friend to me that I love
her as if she were my own sister. And we can safely trust our darling
Ronald for an hour or two to the care of his nurse."

"With perfect safety. She is his devoted slave," laughed the doctor.

So the two set off at once on their errand of mercy and loving kindness.

They found Chester at home, Dr. Herbert Travilla already there, Lucilla
in bed, suffering but patient, Zoe from Ion and Ella from Beechwood
already there to do what they could for her, and Eva passing in and
out, anxious to do all in her power, yet not willing to neglect Baby
Mary.

An hour or two later a baby boy was gently laid down by Lucilla's side.

"Your son, dearest," Chester said in rapturous tones; "the little Levis
Raymond we have been hoping for."

"Oh, how glad I am!" she cried. "My father's first grandson, and
bearing his name. Baby dear, you shall be your mother's Ray of
Sunshine. Oh, how I want to show you to my father, your grandfather."

"There, love," Chester said, giving her a kiss of ardent affection,
"that will do; don't talk any more now, lest you wear yourself out."

"That is good advice, Cousin Lu, and I hope you will follow it," said
Dr. Conly. "You must take care of yourself now for the sake of your
husband and son."

"I will," she answered; "but, oh, Chester, send father word as soon as
you can."

"Dearest," he said with a happy laugh, "I have already done so. Before
leaving us he charged me not to delay a moment to let him know if you
were taken ill; to send word promptly, and I have obeyed."

"And he will soon be here to see this, his first grandson! I am so glad
I could give him one," she exclaimed in tones of delight.

"As I am," responded Chester. "But, love, don't talk any more just now,
but try for a nap such as the tiny newcomer seems to be taking."

"I will, if only to please and satisfy you, my dear husband," she
returned with a happy little laugh, and almost instantly passed into
the land of dreams, while Chester softly withdrew from the room,
leaving her in the charge of a skilful, trustworthy nurse.

He found Eva with her baby and Marian and the doctors on the front
veranda.

"You are looking very happy, Chester," laughed Dr. Herbert; "almost as
if you had fallen into a fortune since I came here this morning."

"Pretty much as I feel," returned Chester, his countenance telling
more of joy and thankfulness than his tongue. "Lu has fallen into a
comfortable sleep," he went on. "The little newcomer seems to be as
welcome to her as to me."

"And I think my wife and I can fully appreciate her and your joy over
him," said Dr. Conly, exchanging an affectionate, smiling glance with
his Marian.

"The 'phone has already carried the news to all our relatives in this
neighborhood and brought pleased and congratulatory replies," said
Herbert; "and you 'phoned her father, did you not, Chester?"

"Yes," replied Chester; "and there, no doubt, comes his response," he
added, as the ringing of his telephone bell was heard at that moment,
"so now we may learn how he feels about it," and he hastened to the
instrument, the others following, all eager to learn what the message
from the absent dear ones might be.

The captain's own breathed of thankfulness and ardent parental love for
his dear daughter, who, he hoped, would soon be well and strong. He was
glad to have a grandson, and appreciated the naming of the child for
him.

"A most kind, affectionate message," remarked Chester, with a sigh of
satisfaction as he turned from the instrument to Eva and the others.
"Lu will be pleased when I tell her what her father says. How she does
love and cling to him! I am glad, indeed, that we may hope to see him
and all the party here again in a few weeks."

"So am I," said Dr. Conly; "and in the meantime we will do our best to
bring Lu safely on to her usual robust health and strength."

"And to have her son in like flourishing condition," added Dr. Herbert
with genial look and smile directed to the father of the little lad.



CHAPTER XVI


Captain Raymond was sitting alone in the library at Viamede, busily
engaged in examining and answering letters received by that morning's
mail when the telephone brought him Chester's message in regard to
Lucilla--her illness and the birth of their little son. It was news
of deepest interest and importance to the loving, anxious father. He
answered at once, then went out into the grounds to seek his wife, who,
with Elsie and Ned, had remained at home while the rest of their party
and neighbor friends had gone off on various excursions by land or
water.

Ned was not yet strong enough to be continually on the go, and his
parents and sister had elected to stay at home with him on this
occasion. Violet was now sitting under the orange-trees with a child
on each side, who were listening with keen interest to a story which
she was reading to them. She paused at the sound of her husband's
footsteps, and looking up into his face laughingly exclaimed, "Why, how
happy you look, my dear! Have you good news?"

"Yes, love," he replied. "I have a grandson; and mother and child seem
to be doing well."

"Oh, papa! a grandson. Why, whose baby is it? Another for Eva?" queried
Elsie in great excitement.

"No; it is your sister Lu who is the mother this time, and Chester is
its father."

"Oh, a dear little boy! I wish we were there to see him," cried Ned.

"I hope to take you there in a few weeks," returned his father with a
pleased smile. "We won't delay much longer, for I should really like a
sight of the little fellow myself."

"As I certainly should," said Violet. "Dear Lu! I have no doubt she
is very happy over it. And they have named him for you, haven't they,
Levis?"

"Yes, my dear; for me, his only living grandsire," returned the
captain, tone and accompanying smile both showing the pleasure he felt
in being thus affectionately remembered by both parents of the little
one.

"Yes, so you are; and I should have been exceedingly surprised had they
given the child any other name; for Lu loves you with all her heart,
and Chester seems to feel quite as if you were his own father."

"I believe that is so," returned the captain, his tone and countenance
expressing satisfaction. "I am fortunate as concerns sons-in-law,
except in the mixture of relationship in the gaining of the last, and
that seems to work well enough thus far."

"I think it does, and it has ceased to trouble me," said Violet. "But
this news makes me feel like hurrying home to Woodburn, and I am sure
will have that effect upon Grace when she hears it."

"I dare say," assented the captain; "and I think we need not linger
here longer than another fortnight."

"I am so glad," cried Grace when she heard the news. "Lu wanted to give
you your first grandson, and now she has got her wish."

"I fully appreciate the affection which prompted the wish, and am
glad, especially for her sake, that it has been granted," returned the
captain with a look that said even more than the words.

"As I am," said Dr. Harold; "especially as I know that it was Chester's
wish as much as hers."

The Torriswood folk had come in with the Travillas, and now expressed
their gratification at the news.

"A little nephew for us," exclaimed Maud. "And I am glad for Chester as
well as Lu, as it seems he wanted it; but I'm glad our baby is a girl
that we could name for dear Cousin Elsie," giving a warmly loving look
to Grandma Elsie as she spoke.

"As I am," said her husband, adding, "and I only hope that a close
resemblance in both looks and character may accompany the name."

"As I do in regard to my little darling," said Sidney and Dr. Johnson,
speaking simultaneously; then they laughed, and Sidney added, "I shall
write to the happy parents, offering my warm congratulations."

"And I shall do likewise," said Maud, "telling them I am glad I am aunt
to the wonderful little chap."

"And I shall write to Lu that she may consider me both his cousin and
his grandma," laughed Violet.

"Oh, mamma," exclaimed her daughter Elsie, "you know I don't like to
have you called a grandma. It sounds as if you were old, and you are
not at all old."

"Well, dear child, you needn't mind. It won't make me a day older,"
laughed Violet.

"Nor me, although it would seem to make me a great-grandmother," added
Grandma Elsie pleasantly.

"While no one would suspect you from your looks of being even a
grandmother," remarked the captain gallantly.

"No," said Dr. Percival; "I have seen many much younger women who
looked a great deal older."

"Oh, Dick, Dick, Cousin Dick, don't turn flatterer," she laughed,
though looking not at all displeased. "Though I am not very sorry to
hear such flattering remarks, as they are evidently pleasing to my
children."

"Indeed they are," said Violet; "all the more so because we see that
they are perfectly truthful."

"Well, it is high time that we busy doctors and proposed letter writers
were going home," said Dr. Percival, rising to take leave.

"Yes," said Maud, following his example, "especially as Elsie P. and
Elsie J. must be wanting their mothers by this time."

"So we are off for Torriswood," said Sidney. "Good-by, dear friends
and relatives, till next time. We hope to have this call returned
this evening or to-morrow morning," and with that the four took their
departure.

"And I must write at once to dear Lu a letter of warm congratulation,"
said Grace, following her father into the library, and being herself
followed by Dr. Harold, announcing his intention to do likewise.

They were all letters which, when received by Lucilla, seemed to her
very sweet and refreshing, her father's even more so than either of the
other two. But before they reached her she and Chester had had several
messages from him by telegram or telephone. And all these were shared
with Evelyn, Lucilla's constant, loved companion and dear sister.
Most of them also by the nearby friends and relatives, whose love
and sympathy were shown by almost daily calls and hours of pleasant
intercourse.

No one came oftener or showed more sympathy and kindness than Zoe, Mrs.
Edward Travilla.

"I am glad for you, Lu, that your baby is a boy, since that was what
you wanted," she remarked to Lucilla one day; "but for my part, if I
have another child I hope it may be a girl, so that I can name it for
mamma. She is and has always been such a dear, kind mother to me."

"Yes, she is certainly one of the dearest and sweetest of women,"
responded Lucilla heartily; "but there are so many Elsies that it
really seems a little confusing. I believe I should rather like to have
one myself if that were not the case," she added laughingly, "for I do
dearly love Grandma Elsie, as I have been used to calling her. My, what
a mixed-up set we are becoming! For, as you know, she is mother now to
my sister Grace."

"Who, to my delight, is my sister now, since she is the wife of my
husband's brother," returned Zoe exultingly.

"And mine, since I am the wife of her brother," laughed Evelyn. "Oh, we
are a mixed-up set, but perhaps none the less happy and well off for
that."

"No, I think not," said Zoe.

"And I am quite sure of it," said Lucilla; "and as my husband is a
distant relative of yours, Zoe, you and I can claim kin, can't we?"

"Yes, and we will. We will call ourselves cousins from this time
forward."

"And as my Aunt Elsie, Grandma Elsie's oldest daughter, is sister to
your husband, can't you and I claim kin, Zoe?" asked Evelyn.

"Certainly," promptly replied Zoe; "we will consider ourselves cousins
now."

"So we will; it is a very comfortable way to settle matters," laughed
Evelyn. "We have been calling you Aunt Zoe, but you are too young for
that, and we have been growing up to you in age."

"So you have. Well, how soon do you expect our kith and kin to come
from Viamede to their more northern homes?"

"Father says in two or three weeks," replied Lucilla, "and I hope I
shall be allowed to sit up by that time. Oh, you don't know how I long
to show him my little Ray of Sunshine!" she added, gently patting the
sleeping babe by her side. "Oh, both Chester and I want very much to
have him resemble his grandfather, my dear father, in looks, character
and everything."

"As I hope and believe he will," said Zoe in tones of sympathy and
encouragement.



CHAPTER XVII


At Viamede, Chester's daily message by 'phone or telegraph was eagerly
awaited and greatly rejoiced over, as it reported steady improvement in
Lucilla's health, constant gaining in strength, and the new baby also
in most flourishing condition. All wanted to see him; no one more than
Grace, who felt that the child of her beloved only own sister must and
would be very near and dear to her, while to the others he was fully as
near and dear as darling Baby Mary.

They would have returned home immediately but for the fact that Dr.
Harold and his brother physicians considered it safer for both Grace
and Ned to remain in the warmer climate until some day late in May.

The older Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore and the Oaks and Fairview families went
home somewhat earlier, travelling by rail, but Mr. and Mrs. Lilburn
accepted an invitation to return in the _Dolphin_, as did Grandma
Elsie; and, of course, Grace and Harold were to be passengers in her,
making with Violet, her two children, and the captain himself quite a
party--much the same party that had come in her.

During these weeks of waiting they continued their pleasant little
excursions by land and water and their sociable evening parties on the
veranda, or out under the trees, generally enlivened by exhibitions of
Cousin Ronald's ventriloquial skill, or made interesting by a bit of
history or some sort of story told by Captain Raymond.

On Sunday mornings they all attended church and heard a sermon by their
pastor, the Rev. Cyril Keith, and in the afternoon the colored people
were invited to assemble on the lawn, when the captain would give them
a brief and plain discourse about the dear Lord Jesus and His dying
love, making the way of salvation very clear and plain. They would
have prayer, too, and the singing of gospel hymns, the colored people
joining in with fervor and in many cases rich melody, having beautiful
voices.

In the evening the captain would catechise his own children, and there
would be religious conversation and the singing of hymns. They were
sweet, peaceful, improving Sabbaths, enjoyable at the time and pleasant
to look back upon. It was on a lovely morning in the latter part of
May that they left beautiful Viamede and sailed away for their more
northern homes, going with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, for who
could leave Viamede or part with the dear relatives in that region
without regret? Or who could fail to rejoice in the prospect of soon
seeing the sweet homes for which they were now bound and the tenderly
loved ones there?

Harold was very happy in the consciousness of being able to take both
Grace and Ned back to their home in almost perfect health, and very
careful was he to watch against any exposure for them to wind or
weather that might result in the renewal of any of their ailments. When
the weather was bright, clear and not too cold he encouraged them to be
on the deck in the bracing air, but in cloudy or damp weather insisted
on their remaining below in saloon or stateroom.

At such times Grandma Elsie, Cousin Ronald or the captain would be
called upon to provide entertainment, and one or another was sure to
comply.

"Papa," said Elsie Raymond on one of these occasions, "I should like it
very much if you would give us a little history of Texas."

"If I should attempt to give you all its history it would be a very
long story," he said with a smile; "but I shall give a brief outline
and try to make it interesting, for I want you to have some knowledge
of the early history of each of our States.

"A colony of Frenchmen were the first whites who settled in Texas. They
were led by La Salle. He meant to found a colony near the mouth of the
Mississippi, but by mistake entered Matagorda Bay, went five or six
miles up the Lavaca, and there built Fort St. Louis. That was about the
year 1686. In the spring of the next year he was murdered by his men.
They had been quarrelling and killing each other, and when the Indians
heard of the death of La Salle they attacked the fort and killed all
the men left but four, whom they carried into captivity. Some two
years later a Spanish expedition sailed into Matagorda Bay, intending
to drive away the French, but found they were gone and their fort
destroyed. A few years afterward several settlements were made in that
State--what is now that State--by the Spaniards, but soon abandoned
because of Indian hostilities.

"It seems that both the Spaniards and French considered the province
their own, though it did not really belong to either of them, for
the Indians were the rightful owners. In 1712, Louis XIV. of France
granted it to Crozat, the man to whom he had granted Louisiana. That
so alarmed the Spaniards in Mexico that they promptly made numerous
settlements in Texas, thinking in that way to secure the province for
themselves. The French tried to expel them, but did not succeed.

"Some years later four hundred families were sent by the Spanish
Government from the Canary Isles to Texas, and joined there by others
from Mexico. These founded the city of San Antonio.

"For some time the Indians of Texas and Louisiana were very
troublesome, but in 1732 the Spaniards defeated them in a great battle,
and so quieted them for some years.

"You know our Revolutionary War began in 1775. Spain declared war
against England in 1779 and carried on active hostilities against the
British on the Mississippi. Then a prosperous trade was carried on
between the Spanish settlement of Natchez, in Mississippi, and the
interior of Texas, and became the means of making that province known
to the Americans.

"After the United States came into possession of Louisiana, a treaty
between them and Spain fixed the Sabine River as the eastern boundary
of Texas upon the gulf. West of that river was a tract called the
Neutral Ground, occupied by bands of outlaws and desperate men, who
lived by robbery and plunder. The Spanish authorities had tried to
expel them, but could not. Our government sent a force against them and
drove them away, but they came back and went on with their robberies.

"About that time a civil war was raging in Mexico, and that favored
the plans of a man who wanted to conquer Texas to the Rio Grande and
establish a republican government. There was a good deal of fighting
and much slaughter of both Americans and Spaniards, the latter being
victors in the end; but I shall not go into particulars at this time,
but leave you young people to read the whole sad story when you are
older. For years it was fighting, wounding, killing, the Mexicans
murdering many Americans in cold blood after they had surrendered as
prisoners of war. But at last the independence of Texas was secured.
And after a little she asked to be annexed to the United States, which
request was finally granted. By a joint resolution of Congress she was
annexed to the Union on February 28, 1845."

"She seceded in the time of the Civil War, did she not, papa?" asked
Grace.

"Yes," he replied; "but was readmitted into the Union in March, 1870."

"Texas is a very big State, isn't it, papa?" asked Elsie.

"Yes, the largest of all our States," he replied; "and it has every
variety of surface--plain, mountain, hill and desert. Its coast is
lined with a chain of low islands, forming a series of bays, lagoons
and sounds. There are a number of rivers, several of them very long;
1800 miles is the length of the Rio Grande, which is the largest of
them. It forms the southwestern boundary. There is a salt lake near it,
from which large quantities of salt are taken every year."

"The climate is warm, is it not, papa?" asked Grace.

"Yes," he said; "it claims to be called the Italy of America. It has
a delightful, unwavering summer sea breeze and the nights are always
cool enough to make a blanket acceptable, even when the day has been
oppressively hot. But now that surely is enough of that one State for
to-day."

"Yes, papa, and many thanks to you for giving us so interesting an
account," said Grace. Elsie and Ned added their thanks, then Elsie took
up a book, and Ned went to his berth for a nap.



CHAPTER XVIII


Grandma Elsie, Violet and Grace were all sewing on some delicate pink
silk material, trimming it with bows of ribbon of the same color and
duchess lace. Young Elsie presently drew near and asked what they were
making.

"Guess," laughed her mother. "What does it look like?"

"As if it might be going to be a baby afghan," ventured the little
girl. "Oh, is it one for Sister Lu's new baby?"

"It is," returned her mother; "you must indeed be a bit of a Yankee to
guess so well."

"I believe I am, as papa says he is one," replied Elsie. "I hope it
will be as pretty as the one you made for Baby Mary's carriage. Oh, are
you going to give little Ray a carriage, too?"

"Yes, indeed; we must do all for him that we did for his little cousin."

"But you use different colors, so that they will always know which is
which, don't you, mamma?"

"Yes, for that reason and because of the different complexions of the
two children. Mary is fair, golden haired and has blue eyes, while Ray
has his mother's dark eyes and hair."

"Oh, yes, and I think it's nice that they differ in that way, and
really suppose one is just about as pretty as the other. Anyhow, I
expect to think so, because I'm aunt to both of them."

"That's right," laughed her mother; "be as impartial as you can."

"Mary we know to be a dear little thing, whom no one with any heart
could help loving," said Grandma Elsie, "and I am pretty certain we
will find Ray equally lovable."

"And isn't he some relation to you, grandma?" asked Elsie.

"Yes, through his father, who is a Dinsmore--a cousin of mine.
Lucilla's married name is the same as was my maiden name."

"And Lu is my sister, and that makes me aunt to the dear little fellow,
just as I am to Brother Max's little daughter. I think it's nice to be
aunt to such dear babies."

From that time on Elsie watched with great interest the work of getting
the little coach quite ready for its intended baby owner, which was
entirely completed before the _Dolphin_ reached the dock at Uniontown.
Meantime, great preparations for the coming of her passengers had been
going on at Woodburn, Ion, the Laurels, Riverside, Fairview, Roselands,
Sunnyside and Beechwood. Nearly all the relatives from those places met
them on the landing, ready to convey them to their homes, or wherever
they might want to go. But that was to Woodburn for all, the captain
told them, great preparations having been made there, by his orders
sent on some days previously, for a grand welcoming feast.

The Woodburn and Sunnyside carriages were in waiting, were entered as
soon as the glad greetings had been exchanged, and all went on their
way rejoicing.

Lucilla, now quite able to be up and about, was there in the library,
with her babe sleeping in a crib by her side. She would stay there, she
told Eva, who, with her baby, sat there with her; that she would want
her father to come to her there and see her and Ray alone before she
should meet the others. "I want a private interview first, if only for
five minutes," she said. "Then I shall be ready and glad to see the
others."

"I shall see that it is as you wish, dear sister," said Evelyn, and she
kept her word. The captain met her and Baby Mary as he stepped upon
the veranda, gave a warm embrace to each, then sent a hurried glance
around, evidently in search of Lucilla.

"Sister Lu wants to see you alone first, father, and show you her baby
boy--your first grandson--with no one else to look on," Evelyn said
with a smile. "She is in the library waiting for you."

"Ah, yes, that is well," he said, and hastened there while the others
were still engaged in the exchange of greetings.

As he entered Lucilla started to her feet with a glad cry, "Oh, father,
father, my own dear father!"

He caught her in his arms and held her fast, caressing her with
exceeding tenderness.

"My darling, my own dear, dear child. God be thanked that I come home
to find you here, restored to usual health and strength."

"And you, father? You are well?" she asked, looking lovingly into his
eyes.

"Quite well, daughter mine," he answered with another tender caress,
"and if I were not, the sight of this dear child of mine would be
almost enough to make me so."

"And the sight of your new grandchild, your first grandson, might help
the cure, might it not?" she answered with a proud, joyful glance
directed at the tiny sleeper in the crib.

"Ah, what a darling!" her father said, releasing her and leaning over
the crib. "His grandfather's heart has wide room in it for him. He is a
beautiful babe in his grandsire's eyes, a dear one to his grandfather's
heart. I feel very rich with two lovely grandchildren."

"May I come in?" asked Violet's voice at the door.

"Oh, yes, indeed, Mamma Vi," answered Lucilla in joyous tones. "How
glad I am to have you at home again," she added as they exchanged a
hearty embrace. "Now come and look at my baby boy, my little Ray of
Sunshine, from Sunnyside," she added with a gleeful laugh.

Violet's expressed admiration was quite equal to the mother's wishes.
"Oh, he is a lovely little fellow!" she exclaimed, leaning over the
crib as his grandfather had done; "and it's so fortunate that it is a
boy, so that now we have both granddaughter and grandson."

Just then Grace's voice at the door asked, "May I come in?"

"Indeed you may!" cried Lucilla, running to meet her with delighted
look and outstretched arms. "Oh, Gracie dear, how I have been longing
for you, to see your dear face and show you my new treasure, my son and
your nephew. Come and look at him."

The words were accompanied by an ardent embrace each to the other, then
Lucilla drew Grace to the side of the crib, the captain and Violet
making room for her there, and bending over it she exclaimed, "Oh, Lu,
what a darling, beautiful little fellow! As pretty, as lovely and sweet
looking as Max and Eva's little Mary, whom we all love so dearly."

Just then other voices were heard at the door, asking permission to
enter, familiar voices--those of Dr. Harold, Elsie and Ned--and it
being granted, the children rushed in, the doctor following with the
baby carriage that had been trimmed on board the _Dolphin_.

"A gift for that young gentleman from his loving grandsire, Mrs.
Dinsmore," he announced with a graceful bow to Lucilla.

"Oh," she cried, clapping her hands in delight, "what a beauty! Thank
you, father dear, and you, too, Mamma Vi, and Sister Grace, for the
beautiful work is yours, I know. Oh, how good and kind you all are to
me and my baby boy!" She was gloating over the pretty little vehicle
and its adornment as she spoke. "What lovely lace and ribbons, the
colors exactly such as will show off to the best advantage my baby
boy's complexion, hair and eyes. It is a delightful surprise, for I was
not expecting anything of the kind."

"I am very glad it pleases you, my dear daughter," her father said,
with his own kind smile, and laying a hand affectionately upon her
shoulder.

"As I am," said Violet; "and I want you to know that mamma helped
largely with the work of trimming the little coach. Your baby boy is
related to her, she says."

"Yes, and I am glad to know it," smiled Lucilla; "and glad that my
marriage gives me some small claim to relationship to her. No one could
have a right to claim it to a better, lovelier, dearer person."

"That is true, daughter," the captain said with emotion.

At that moment Chester came in with a pleased and cordial welcome to
the returned travellers, and presently all went out together to join
the others--returned travellers, dear relatives and welcome guests.

To Grandma Elsie Lucilla gave the warmest of greetings and thanks for
her share in trimming the lovely little coach for her baby boy.

"You are very welcome, my dear; it was a labor of love," was the
gentle-spoken, smiling response.

There were hearty greetings, loving caresses, merry jests and happy
laughter. No one was weary, for voyaging in Captain Raymond's
well-conditioned, well-furnished yacht was no strain upon the physical
nature; his late passengers were, therefore, in prime condition, as
were the other guests, coming from luxurious homes and not weary and
worn with toil beyond their strength.

But soon came the call to the hospitable board, laden with all the
luxuries of the land and season, to which they brought good, healthful
appetites and where were enjoyed also to the full the pleasures of
social intercourse between those nearly related and of similar views
and temperament. And that last went on after they had left the table
for parlors and porches.

But at length the guests began to bid adieu until all had departed
except the Sunnyside folk, who still sat on the veranda with the
immediate Woodburn family. The babies were both awake now, each resting
on its mother's lap or in her arms.

"I feel very rich with two such grandchildren," observed the captain,
glancing with a happy smile from one to the other.

"As we do, though they are not our grandchildren," laughed Chester.
"Don't we, Lu and Eva?"

Both ladies replied in the affirmative, each looking down with intense,
joyful affection upon her little one.

"I should think you might, because they are both so pretty, sweet and
good," remarked their young aunt Elsie.

"Of course they are, and I'm glad to be their uncle," said Ned.

"As I am to be yours," said Dr. Harold, drawing him to a seat upon his
knee. "Are you glad to be at home again?"

"Yes, sir; and glad that you are to live here in our house now, instead
of taking Gracie away from us to some other place."

"I should be sorry, indeed, to take her away from you and the rest of
the family here, and I don't think I shall ever carry her off very far
from you and the others who love her so dearly," replied Harold; "but
you wouldn't mind my going, if I left her behind with you, would you?"

"Why of course I should, uncle doctor. I might get sick again and
perhaps die if I hadn't you to cure me."

"Oh, that needn't follow while you have your other uncles--my brother
Herbert and Dr. Arthur Conly. Either of them would be as likely to
succeed in curing you as I."

"By the blessing of God upon their efforts," said the captain. "But
without that no one could succeed."

"Most true, sir, and I did not mean to ignore that undeniable and
important fact," said Dr. Harold. "I never use a remedy without craving
His blessing upon it, and I desire to give to Him all the glory and the
praise."

"Yes, we know you do, brother dear," said Violet, "and that is why we
are so ready to trust our dear ones to your care when they are ill."

"And please understand that I was not doubting that or your knowledge
or skill," added Captain Raymond with most cordial look and tone.

Just then a colored man was seen coming up the driveway with two little
monkeys in his arms.

"Oh," cried the children in delighted chorus, "there are our tee-tees.
Ajax has brought them from Ion." And they ran to meet him, holding out
their arms to their pets.

"Yaas, little massa and missus, I'se brung um, an' I reckon dey's glad
to come," returned Ajax, loosening his hold, when the little fellows
sprang from his arms to those of their young master and mistress, who
at once carried them up into the veranda and exhibited them with great
pride and pleasure, while the captain stepped down to the side of Ajax
and rewarded him liberally for the service done; thanking him, too, and
bidding him carry warm thanks to those who had cared for the little
animals and returned them in prime condition.

"We are so glad to get them back, the dear, funny little fellows,"
remarked Elsie to Lucilla and Evelyn; "and they will make fun for our
little nephew and niece when they are old enough to understand and
enjoy it."

"Thank you, Elsie dear," returned Eva with her own sweet smile.

"You are very kind, Sister Elsie, to begin so soon to think of
amusement for our babies," laughed Lucilla, "and I hope you and Ned may
be able to keep your monkeys alive and well till they are old enough to
enjoy them."

"Yes, indeed, I hope so," responded Elsie. "I want both Mary and Ray to
have lots of fun when they are old enough for it."

"Yes," said Dr. Harold, "I am always in favor of timely, innocent fun
as a great promoter of health."

"Yes," said Lucilla, "'laugh and grow fat' is an old adage, and we'll
try to have our babies do it, won't we, Eva?"

"I certainly intend to do all I can to make my darling bit lassie both
healthy and happy," returned Evelyn, looking down with a tender,
loving smile at the little one on her knee. "But fun and frolic need
not fill up all the time. There is a quiet kind of happiness that would
be better as a steady diet, I think, than constant frolic and fun. I
hope she will be a contented little body, for there is much truth and
wisdom in that other old adage, 'Contentment is better than wealth.'"

Both Violet and the captain expressed warm approval of her sentiments,
as did Lucilla, Chester and Dr. Harold also.

"But I'd like to have some fun now with our tee-tees," said Ned,
stroking and patting his as he held it in his arms. "I wish we had Max
or Cousin Ronald here to make them talk."

"I'd wish so, too, if it would do any good," said Elsie.

"No," laughed Lucilla, "it wouldn't, and I am reminded of the old
saying, 'If wishes were horses, then beggars might ride.'"

"As you two are so glad to get your tee-tees back again, don't you
feel sorry for Lily and Laurie, that they had to part with them?" asked
Violet.

"Yes, mamma," replied Ned, "I do; but they have had them a good while."

"I'm sorry for them," Elsie said in a regretful tone, "and I wish we
could buy them tee-tees or something else that they'd like just as
well."

"Perhaps we can," said their father. "We will think about it."

"Oh, papa, I'm glad to hear you say that," she said in joyous tones,
"for I do feel sorry for them."

"And so do I," said Ned; "sorry enough to give all the pocket money I
have now to buy them something nice."



CHAPTER XIX


At Ion was now gathered as pleasant a family party as that now in
session at Woodburn. Grandma Elsie was there with her father and his
wife, her son Edward with Zoe, his wife, and their two children, the
twins Laurie and Lily, Ion being their home. Herbert and Walter were
also present, and all the Fairview folk; for Mrs. Elsie Leland wanted
a chat on family affairs and relatives with her mother, whom, until
to-day, she had not seen for several weeks; such a chat as they could
not well take in the larger company of relatives and friends whose
society they had just been enjoying at Woodburn. And Mr. Leland and his
little daughters had naturally accompanied the wife and mother, knowing
that they were always welcome guests at Ion.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves, the older ones in a quiet,
cheerful way, the younger ones, gathered in a separate group at the
farther end of the veranda, with a good deal of fun and frolic until
Ajax was seen coming round the corner of the house with the two little
tee-tees in his arms and passing down the driveway in the direction of
the front entrance to the grounds.

"Ajax, what are you doing with those little monkeys? Where are you
taking them?" cried Lily, hurrying down the steps and running after him.

"Ober to Woodburn, where dey b'long, Miss Lily," he answered, pausing
in his walk and turning toward her.

"Oh, I wish you wouldn't. I was most in hopes they'd let us keep them.
They are such funny little fellows, I don't like to give them up."

"But I'se tole to take 'em dar, an' I'se got to do it," replied Ajax in
a regretful tone. "I'll fetch 'em back hyar ef de Woodburn folks 'low
me to."

"But they won't. They'll be sure to keep them if they're there," sobbed
the little girl, tears rolling down her cheeks.

But even as she spoke a hand was laid gently on her shoulder, and her
father's voice said in kindest tones, "Don't cry, daughter dear. We
must let the tee-tees go home to their owners, but you and Laurie shall
have other pets in place of them. I have a pretty Maltese kitten bought
for you and a fine dog for your brother. Come back to the veranda and
these new pets shall be brought out."

"Oh, papa, how nice! Thank you ever so much!" cried Lily, brushing away
her tears and putting her hand in his to be led back to the veranda,
where the new pets were speedily produced, to the evident delight of
the young owners and the admiration of their guests.

And when Ajax returned with Captain Raymond's kindly expressed thanks,
Lily's grief seemed fully assuaged.

The older people, who had paused in their more important conversation
to observe what was going on among the children, now resumed it,
Grandma Elsie asking Walter of his engagements during the past winter.
He replied that he had been busy with his studies, but had found some
time for missionary work, especially on the Sabbath, among the poor and
degraded, particularly foreigners of the lower class.

"And, mother," he added, "I have quite decided that I want to go into
the ministry. I want to be a missionary to the poor and needy, the
ignorant and helpless."

"My dear son," she replied with emotion, "how glad I am to hear it! I
want you to be a winner of souls, a helper of the helpless, in this,
your own land, or in some other; preferably this, because you will be
nearer to me and I can see you oftener."

"Yes, mother," he returned, "and I think I could hardly find a better
field than among the mountains of Kentucky or Tennessee."

"No, I don't believe you could," said his grandfather approvingly.
"Those mountaineers are our own people, destitute as regards both
temporal and spiritual things, and have a prior claim to that of
those in heathen lands; and love for our land and nation should draw
us strongly to their aid, even if we did not care for their eternal
salvation."

Others in the little company gave expression to similar views and
feelings, then they discussed ways and means of helping the work
already going on among those mountaineers, and there was a general
expression of intention to do more for that corner of the Lord's
vineyard than they had ever yet done.

"And by way of carrying out our intentions, suppose we take up a
collection now," suggested Edward Travilla.

"I doubt if that would be our wisest course if we want to give
liberally," remarked his sister Elsie, "for I presume no one has much
in hand at this moment."

"So I dare say our motto just now would better be a lazy one, 'Not
to-day, we'll do it to-morrow," laughed Zoe.

"Yes; let us appoint a collector for to-morrow," said her husband. "I
propose Walter for the job. All in favor say 'aye.'" An invitation
which all immediately accepted.

"I am quite willing," he said, "and shall include Woodburn folks and
maybe some of the other nearby relatives in my list of hoped-for
and tried-for subscribers. I expect to beg in good season to-morrow
morning. So please all be ready for prompt compliance with my
solicitation."

Then Mr. Dinsmore suggested that it might be well now to have the
evening family devotions ere the young folks grew too weary and sleepy
to enjoy a share in them, and in response all were called within doors
and the service held.

About the same time similar services were going on at Woodburn, after
which the Sunnyside folk bade good-night and sought their own homes,
Chester drawing Ray in his new coach and a servant doing a like service
for Baby Mary, her devoted mother walking close by the side of the
dainty little vehicle.

The next morning Chester set off for his place of business at his usual
hour, and just as he disappeared down the road, Lucilla, still standing
upon the veranda, saw, to her delight, her father approaching from
Woodburn.

"Oh, father," she cried, "I am so glad to see you."

"Are you?" he said, coming up the steps and taking her in his arms for
a tender caress; "well, daughter dear, the joy is mutual. How is my
little grandson this morning?"

"Well, I believe, father, but still asleep. Won't you come in and have
a cup of coffee?"

He accepted the invitation, and they chatted together while she
finished her breakfast, Chester's hurried departure having called her
away from the table a trifle too soon.

The nurse girl brought Ray in, ready washed and dressed for the day,
just as they finished their meal.

"Give him to me," said the captain, and taking him in his arms, carried
him out to the veranda, Lucilla following.

It was a warm morning, and they sat down there side by side.

"To his grandfather he seems a lovely little darling," the captain
said, caressing the child as he spoke. "Lucilla, my daughter, I hope
you will prove a good, kind, patient, faithful mother, bringing him up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

"Oh, father," she replied in tones tremulous with emotion, "I want to
do so, but--oh, you know what a bad natural temper I have, and I very
much fear that I shall not always be patient with him, dearly as I love
him."

"Watch and pray, daughter dear; ask the Lord daily, hourly for
strength, grace, wisdom according to your need. God is the hearer and
answerer of prayer. He says, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble; I
will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me.' Trust in Him, and He will
deliver you from the power of the tempter and your own evil nature."

"I will, father; I do," she said; "and it helps and comforts me to know
that you pray for me; especially remembering that gracious, precious
promise of our Lord, 'If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching
anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father
which is in heaven.'"

"Yes, it is indeed a gracious, precious promise, and can never fail,"
he said. "But now I must go, daughter. Do you and Eva come over to
Woodburn again to-day as early as may suit your convenience," he added,
putting the child into her arms and giving to each a good-by caress.

Shortly after breakfast at Ion that morning Walter walked over to
Fairview and called upon the Lelands for their contributions for the
benefit of the Kentucky and Tennessee mountaineers. All, father and
mother to youngest child, gave liberally in proportion to their ability.

"Oh, I am delighted!" exclaimed Walter. "I think I shall go on and
present the cause to all the kith and kin in this neighborhood."

"Do," said his sister; "there won't be one who will not give according
to his or her ability. And when through with this, brother dear, come
here and pay us as long a visit as you can."

"Thank you, I think I shall, especially if you get mother to be here at
the same time; but I don't want to miss a minute of her society."

"Which you cannot love better than I do," returned his sister, with a
look that said more than her words, "and as she is decidedly fond of us
both, I think she will not refuse to accompany you here at my earnest
request, or to stay as long as you do."

"No, indeed; I am very sure she won't. I am going back now to Ion, and
mother will go with me in the gig to drive round to the home of each of
our relatives and near connections in this neighborhood, and ask them
to give what they can or like to give to this good object. We will take
Woodburn last, and get either Harold or the captain to put the money in
the right shape--a check, I suppose--and mail it so that it will reach
the spot as soon as possible."

With that Walter bade good-by and hastened to carry out his programme,
which he, with his mother's help, did successfully, every one solicited
by them giving liberally to the good cause, and the captain attending
promptly to the dispatch of the funds.



CHAPTER XX


That May day ended in a lovely evening, warm enough to make outside air
the most agreeable, so directly after an early tea the Woodburn family
gathered upon the veranda, where they were presently joined by the
Sunnyside folk, babies and all, who received the warmest of welcomes,
though they had been absent from the older home but a few hours.

Naturally the first topic of conversation related to that day's visit
from Grandma Elsie and Walter and its main object--the appeal for
help to the good work going on among the mountaineers of Kentucky and
Tennessee.

"I am glad we were given the opportunity to help it," remarked the
captain. "It has set me to thinking of the pioneers and early settlers
of that section of our land. Among them Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton."

"Oh, papa, please tell us about them!" exclaimed Elsie.

"Some time, daughter," he answered pleasantly; "but the rest of this
little company may not care to hear the old stories repeated just now."

At that there was a unanimous expression of desire to do so, and he
presently began.

"Simon Kenton's lifetime took in both our wars with England, as he
was born in 1755 and lived until April, 1836. Virginia was his native
State, but his father was Irish and his mother Scotch. They were poor,
and Simon received but little education. At the age of sixteen he had
a fight with another young fellow named William Veach about a love
affair. He thought he had killed Veach, so fled over the Alleghanies.
There he called himself Simon Butler. He formed friendships with
traders and hunters, among them Simon Girty."

"Girty, that cruel, cruel wretch!" cried Elsie. "How could anybody want
to have him for a friend?"

"He was a bad, cruel man," replied her father, "but perhaps never had
any good teaching. His father had died and his mother married again,
and they were all taken prisoners by the Indians and his step-father
burned at the stake when Simon Girty was but five years old. It was
three years before he was released, and I do not know that he ever had
any education. Many cruel deeds are told of him, but he was really a
good friend to Simon Kenton, and once saved him from being burned at
the stake by the Indians.

"But to go back, Kenton was soon persuaded by a young man named Yager,
who had been taken by the Western Indians when a child, and spent a
good many years among them, to go with him to a land called by the
Indians Kan-tuc-kee, which he described as a most delightful place.

"They two, with a third young man named Strader, set off in high
spirits, expecting to find a paradise. But they wandered through the
wilderness for weeks hoping to find the promised land, but without
success. Then they tried hunting and trapping for nearly two years.
But being discovered by the Indians, they had to abandon those hunting
grounds and try elsewhere; but to tell of it all would make too long a
story.

"In 1778 Kenton joined Daniel Boone in his expedition against the
Indian town on Paint Creek. On his return from that he was sent by
Colonel Bowman, with two companions, to make observations upon the
Indian towns on Little Miami, the colonel considering the idea of an
expedition against them. Kenton reached the spot in safety, and if he
had attended only to what he was sent to do he might have succeeded
well and been very useful to the settlers in Kentucky, but before
leaving the towns he stole a number of the Indians' horses.

"The Indians missed their horses early the next morning, found the
trail of those who had taken them, and at once pursued after them.
Kenton and his companions soon heard the cries of the Indians in their
rear and knew they were being pursued, so saw the necessity of riding
for their lives, which they did, dashing through the woods at a furious
rate, with the hue and cry of the Indians after them ringing in their
ears; but suddenly they came to an impenetrable swamp.

"There they paused a few moments, listening for the sounds of pursuit;
but hearing none, they started on again, skirted the swamp for some
distance, hoping to be able to cross it, but finding they could not,
they dashed on in a straight line for the Ohio. For forty-eight hours
they continued their furious speed, halting only once or twice for a
few minutes to eat a little, and reached the Ohio in safety. But there
they had to pause and consider what to do, for the river was high and
rough and the jaded horses could not be induced to try to swim it. The
men might yet have escaped if they had only abandoned the horses; but
that Kenton could not make up his mind to do. He and his companions
consulted over the matter, and feeling sure that they were as much
as twelve hours in advance of their Indian pursuers, they decided to
conceal the horses in the nearby ravine and themselves in an adjoining
wood, hoping that by sunset the high wind would abate and the river
become quiet enough for them to cross safely with the animals.

"But when the waited-for time came the wind was higher and the water
rougher than ever. Still they stayed where they were through the night.
The next morning was mild, and they heard no sound of pursuing Indians,
so they again tried to urge the horses over the river. But the animals
seemed to remember its condition on the previous day, and could not be
induced to go into it at all.

"It was quite a drove of horses they had stolen, but now they found
they must abandon all but the three they could mount; so that they did,
and started down the river, with the intention to keep the Ohio and
Indiana side till they should arrive opposite Louisville.

"But they had waited too long, and even now were slow in carrying out
their intention. They had not gone more than a hundred yards on their
horses when they heard a loud halloo, coming apparently from the spot
they had just left. They could not escape; were quickly surrounded by
their pursuers, one of Kenton's companions killed, the other, effecting
his escape while Kenton was taken prisoner, falling a victim to his
love of horses."

"I suppose he deserved it, as he had stolen the horses," remarked Elsie.

"Yes," replied her father, "he had no more right to steal from the
Indians than from white people, and his sin found him out."

"Did they kill him, papa?" asked Ned.

"No; they kicked and cuffed him as much as they cared to, then made
him lie down upon his back and stretch his arms to their full length,
passed a stout stick across his breast and fastened his wrists to each
extremity of it by thongs of buffalo-hide. Then they drove stakes into
the ground near his feet and fastened them in the same way. After that
they tied a halter round his neck and fastened it to a sapling growing
near. Lastly they passed a strong rope under his body, wound it several
times round his arms at the elbows, so lashing them to the stick which
lay across his breast, and to which his wrists were fastened; all this
in a manner that was peculiarly painful. He could not move at all,
either feet, arms or head, and was kept in that position till the
next morning. Then, as they wanted to go back to the spot from which
they had come, they unfastened him, put him on the back of a wild,
unbroken colt, one of those he had stolen, lashed him by the feet to
it and tied his hands behind him. And so he was driven into the cruel
captivity, a captivity which has been spoken of as being as singular
and remarkable in other respects as any in the whole history of Indian
warfare upon this continent.

"Kenton refused with strange infatuation to adopt proper measures for
his safety while he might have done so. With strange obstinacy he
remained on the Ohio shore until flight became useless. He was often
at one hour tantalized with a prospect of safety and the next plunged
into the deepest despair. Eight times he had to run the gauntlet, three
times he was tied to a stake and thought himself about to suffer a
terrible death. Any sentence passed upon him by one council, whether
to give him mercy or death, would presently be reversed by another.
Whenever Providence raised up a friend in his favor, some enemy
immediately followed, unexpectedly interposed and turned his glimpse
of sunshine into deeper darkness than ever. For three weeks he was in
that manner see-sawing between life and death."

"And did they kill him at last, papa?" asked Ned.

"No," replied the captain. "An Indian agent of the name of Drewyer, who
was anxious to gain intelligence for the British commander at Detroit
in regard to the strength and condition of the settlements in Kentucky,
got Kenton free from the Indians just as for the fourth time they were
about to bind him to a stake and burn him. He (Drewyer) did not get
anything of importance out of Kenton, who was three weeks later sent a
prisoner to Detroit, from which place he made his escape in about eight
months; then he went back to Kentucky. He was very brave, a valuable
scout, a hardy woodsman, a good Indian fighter. He performed many
daring feats as the friend and companion of Daniel Boone, once saving
his life in a conflict with the Indians."

"Had not Logan something to do with Kenton's rescue by that Canadian
trader Drewyer?" asked Harold, who had been listening with interest to
the captain's story.

"Yes," was the reply; "Logan, the Mingo chief. At Detroit Kenton was
held as a prisoner of war, and there he worked for the garrison at half
pay, till he was aided by a trader's wife to escape. That was in July,
1779. He commanded a battalion of Kentucky volunteers as major under
General Anthony Wayne in 1793-94, became brigadier-general of Ohio
militia in 1805, and fought at the battle of the Thames in 1813."

"I hope his country rewarded his great services as it ought," remarked
Grace in tones of inquiry.

"Ah!" replied her father, "I am sorry to say that in his old age he was
reduced to poverty, the immense tracts of land which he possessed being
lost through the invasion of settlers and his ignorance of law.

"In 1824 he went to Frankfort to petition the legislature of Kentucky
to release the claim of the State upon some mountain land owned by
him. He was in tattered garments, and his appearance excited ridicule,
but on being recognized by General Thomas Fletcher, he was taken to
the capitol, seated in the speaker's chair, and introduced to a large
assembly as the second great adventurer of the West. His lands were
released and a pension of $240 was procured for him from Congress.

"He died near the spot where, fifty-eight years before, he had escaped
death at the hands of the Indians. Kenton County, Kentucky, was named
in his honor.

"Now let me read you a passage from a book I was examining the other
day, in which there is an interesting account of Kenton's appearance
and manner in his old age," said the captain. "It is in the library,
and I shall be back with it in a moment."

Several of the younger ones in the little company at once offered to do
the errand for him, but thanking them, and saying that he could find
it more readily than they, he went in, and soon returned with the book
in his hand. Then he read aloud, "'Kenton's form, even under the weight
of seventy-nine years, is striking, and must have been a model of
manly strength and agility. His eye is blue, mild and yet penetrating
in its glance. The forehead projects very much at the eyebrows, which
are well defined, and then recedes, and is neither very high nor very
broad. His hair, which in active life was light, is now quite gray;
his nose is straight, and his mouth before he lost his teeth must have
been expressive and handsome. I observed that he had yet one tooth,
which, in connection with his character and manner of conversation,
was continually reminding me of Leatherstocking. The whole face is
remarkably expressive, not of turbulence or excitement, but rather of
rumination and self-possession. Simplicity, frankness, honesty and
strict regard to truth appeared to be the prominent traits of his
character. In giving an answer to a question which my friend asked him,
I was particularly struck with his truthfulness and simplicity. The
question was, whether the account of his life, given in the "Sketches
of Western Adventure" was true or not. "Well, I'll tell you," said
he, "not true. The book says that when Blackfish, the Injun warrior,
asked me, when they had taken me prisoner, if Colonel Boone sent me to
steal their horses, I said 'No, sir.'" Here he looked indignant and
rose from his chair. "I tell you I never said 'sir' to an Injun in my
life; I scarcely ever say it to a white man." Here Mrs. Kenton, who
was engaged in some domestic occupation at the table, turned round and
remarked that when they were last in Kentucky some one gave her the
book to read to her husband, and that when she came to that part he
would not let her read any further. "And I tell you," continued he, "I
was never tied to a stake in my life to be burned. They had me painted
black when I saw Girty, but not tied to a stake." We are inclined to
think, notwithstanding this, that the statement in the Sketches of his
being three times tied to the stake is correct, for the author of that
interesting work had before him a manuscript account of the pioneer's
life, which had been dictated by Mr. Kenton to a gentleman of Kentucky
a number of years before, when he had no motive to exaggerate and his
memory was comparatively unimpaired. But he is now beyond the reach of
earthly toil, or trouble, or suffering. His old age was as exemplary as
his youth and manhood had been active and useful. And though his last
years were clouded by poverty, and his eyes closed in a miserable cabin
to the light of life, yet shall he occupy a bright page in our border
history and his name soon open to the light of fame.'"

A slight pause followed the conclusion of the captain's reading of
the sketch of the life of Kenton, then Grace said earnestly, "Thank
you, father, for giving us so extended an account of Kenton's life
and services to our country. He deserved the kindly and grateful
remembrance of his countrymen."

"So I think," said Harold, "and that he will never be forgotten. Poor
fellow! I am sorry indeed that he was robbed of his lands, and so spent
his old age and died in poverty."



CHAPTER XXI


The next day was the Sabbath, the first since the return of our friends
from Viamede. They attended, as usual, the morning services of the
sanctuary, and in the afternoon gathered upon the veranda at Woodburn
for the private, conversational study of some scriptural theme.

"What is to be our lesson for to-day, captain?" queried Mr. Lilburn
when they had seated themselves, each with Bible in hand.

"I have thought of the sacrificial shedding of blood," was the reply.
"Here in Hebrews 9:22, 'And almost all things are by the law purged
with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.' The blood
of sacrifices was typical of the atoning blood of Christ. Paul tells
us, 'Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood
He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption for us.... So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of
many.' Now let us read in turn texts bearing upon this great subject.
Violet, my dear, will you begin?"

"Yes," she replied. "Matthew, Mark and Luke each tell us of Jesus'
words in giving His disciples the cup of wine at His last supper on
earth; He said to them, 'This is my blood of the new testament, which
is shed for many for the remission of sins.'"

It was now Harold's turn, and he read: "'Then Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my
flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him
up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink
indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me,
and I in him.'"

It was now Grace's turn, and she read: "'Take heed, therefore, unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made ye overseers to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased
with His own blood.'"

Then Elsie read: "'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of
sins that are past through the forbearance of God.'"

Then Ned: "'Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall
be saved from wrath through Him.'"

Grandma Elsie, sitting next, now read from Ephesians: "'But now in
Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood
of Christ.... In whom we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.'"

Then Lucilla: "'Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His
blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the
ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying
of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through
the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God?'"

Then Chester read: "'Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which
He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say His flesh,
of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood
of the covenant, wherewith He was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?'"

Evelyn, sitting next, then read: "'Unto Him that loved us and washed us
from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto
God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.'"

Then Mrs. Annis Lilburn, sitting next, read: "'And they sung a new
song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals
thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood
out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.'"

Walter sat next, and he read: "'These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb.'"

Then Mr. Lilburn, next and last, read: "'And they overcame him by the
blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.' The one there
spoken of as overcome is, as doubtless you all know, Satan, spoken of
in this chapter of Revelation as the accuser of our brethren, accusing
them before God day and night; but by the blood of the Lamb of God, and
only by that, could they or any one overcome him."

"'Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we,
being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes
ye were healed,'" quoted Grandma Elsie in low, moved tones. "Oh, how
can we help loving Him with all our hearts and serving Him with all our
powers?"

"'For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but
quickened by the Spirit,'" quoted the captain, then added: "'The blood
of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth us from all sin.'"

Lucilla followed: "'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He
loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.'"

Evelyn followed: "'Ye know that He was manifested to take away our
sins; and in Him is no sin.... He is the propitiation for our sins; and
not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.'"

"'And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be
the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the
Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God,'" quoted Violet with
feeling, then she started a hymn, in which all joined with fervor:

    "Come, let us sing of Jesus,
      While hearts and accents blend;
    Come, let us sing of Jesus,
      The sinner's only Friend;
    His holy soul rejoices,
      Amid the choirs above,
    To hear our youthful voices
      Exulting in His love.

    "We love to sing of Jesus,
      Who wept our path along;
    We love to sing of Jesus,
      The tempted and the strong;
    None who besought His healing
      He passed unheeded by,
    And still retains His feeling
      For us above the sky.

    "We love to sing of Jesus,
      Who died our souls to save;
    We love to sing of Jesus,
      Triumphant o'er the grave;
    And in our hour of danger
      We'll trust His love alone
    Who once slept in a manger,
      And now sits on the throne.

    "Then let us sing of Jesus
      While yet on earth we stay,
    And hope to sing of Jesus
      Throughout eternal day;
    For those who here confess Him
      He will in heaven confess,
    And faithful hearts that bless Him
      He will forever bless."

That hymn finished, Grandma Elsie started another beautiful one, in
which all joined:

    "I love to tell the story
      Of unseen things above,
    Of Jesus and His glory,
      Of Jesus and His love.
    I love to tell the story,
      Because I knew it's true;
    It satisfies my longings
      As nothing else can do.

    CHORUS:

    "I love to tell the story,
      'Twill be my theme in glory,
    To tell the old, old story,
      Of Jesus and His love.

    "I love to tell the story;
      More wonderful it seems
    Than all the golden fancies
      Of all our golden dreams.
    I love to tell the story,
      It did so much for me;
    And that is just the reason
      I tell it now to thee.

    "I love to tell the story;
      'Tis pleasant to repeat
    What seems, each time I tell it,
      More wonderfully sweet.
    I love to tell the story,
      For some have never heard
    The message of salvation
      From God's own holy word.

    "I love to tell the story;
      For those who know it best
    Seem hungering and thirsting
      To hear it like the rest.
    And when, in scenes of glory,
      I sing the new, new song,
    Twill be the old, old story
      That I have loved so long."

Several prayers followed the singing of the hymns, and then the meeting
closed with the singing of the Doxology, in which all, old and young,
took part.



CHAPTER XXII


That week, the first after the return of the _Dolphin_, bringing the
last instalment of visitors to Viamede, was filled with family parties,
given in the daytime for the sake of the little ones, who in each case
were quite as welcome guests as the older folk. But the weather was
growing warm, and the doctors advised a speedy flitting northward.

"To go speedily will be best for you all, especially my Grace, Ned and
the little ones, Mary and Ray," said Dr. Harold, addressing the usual
family party gathered for the evening upon the veranda at Woodburn.

"So I think," said the captain; "and as on like occasions in the past,
the _Dolphin_ is at the service of you all; can be made fully ready in
a day."

"And Crag Cottage will be ready and glad to accommodate you all as
soon as the _Dolphin_ can carry you there," added Evelyn in pleasant,
playful tones.

"Oh, thank you, Eva," cried several voices, Lucilla adding: "There is
no place I should prefer to that." Then turning to her husband, "You
can go too, can't you, Chester?"

"Perhaps for a brief sojourn; then leave my wife and son there for
a longer time, going for them when fall weather shall have made it
safe for them to come home again," he replied in cheerful tones. Then
turning to Dr. Harold: "I hope," he added, "that you are intending
to spend the summer there, keeping guard over our family treasures
committed to your care?"

"I have planned doing so, provided Cousin Arthur and my brother Herbert
will undertake the care of all our patients in this neighborhood, of
which I have no doubt," was the ready reply. "Then I must take charge
in the fall, giving them a vacation in their turn."

"Yes, I am very sure you will do right and generously by them,"
remarked Grace, giving him a look of love and confidence.

"Oh, I am glad to think of being on our good _Dolphin_ again and then
at dear, sweet Crag Cottage," cried Ned, clapping his hands in delight.
"Oh, papa, can't we have a voyage out in the ocean, too?"

"Perhaps so," said his father. "I see nothing to prevent, if all my
passengers desire it. However, we can decide that question after going
aboard the yacht."

"Yes, and I feel pretty sure we will all be in favor of a little trip
far enough toward the east side of the ocean to be at least for a few
hours out of sight of land on this side," laughed Lucilla.

"And how soon shall we start?" asked Chester.

"The yacht can be ready by the day after to-morrow," said the captain;
"and if all the passengers are ready, we will start in the evening of
that day."

Violet, Evelyn and Lucilla all replied at once that they could be ready
almost at a moment's notice, having for weeks past been looking forward
to this flitting and preparing for it.

"And, father," added Evelyn, "I should like to have Cousins Ronald and
Annis Lilburn as my guests for the summer. Can you not invite them now
through the 'phone, and ask how soon they can be ready, if willing to
go?"

"I can," he replied in a pleased tone, and went at once to the
instrument.

Their answer was that they would be delighted to go, and would be ready
by the time mentioned for the starting of the vessel.

Captain Raymond then 'phoned to Ion, told of the proposed starting of
the _Dolphin_ for a northern trip, to end finally at Crag Cottage on
the Hudson, and gave a warm invitation from Evelyn to Grandma Elsie
and Walter to join the party and be her guests for the summer, if they
should care to stay so long.

A gratified acceptance, with an assurance that they would be ready
in season, came in reply, and all the Woodburn company were jubilant
over the prospect of the pleasant trip and the enjoyable summer at Crag
Cottage likely to follow.

Captain Raymond kept his promise to have the _Dolphin_ ready in good
season, and all the passengers were aboard when the anchor was lifted
early in the evening of the appointed day. The weather was fine, and
they found the deck a delightful place for promenading or sitting
at ease on the comfortable seats provided. There was much cheerful
chat, sometimes mirthful, sometimes serious; there were jests and
badinage, fun and frolic, especially among the children, with Cousin
Ronald to help it on, and there was music--first songs, afterward
hymns of praise, repetitions of passages of Scripture and prayers of
thankfulness and petitions for God's protecting care. Then the little
ones were sent to their nests for the night, and somewhat later the
older ones retired to theirs.

Lucilla's idea of an eastward trip till out of sight of land was
carried out to her satisfaction and amusement, then the _Dolphin_
turned, passed through Long Island Sound and up the Hudson River to
Crag Cottage, which they reached in safety and all in good health.

There, as always before, they had a pleasant, restful time, often
enlivened by the fun Cousin Ronald's talent could make, and after a
while varied by trips here and there in the yacht. Chester spent a few
days there, then returned home with the understanding that he would
probably be with them again before the season was over. He was missed,
but with Mr. Lilburn, Captain Raymond, Dr. Harold and Walter Travilla
still left, the ladies and children were not without protectors and
helpers of the stronger sex.

And in a few days a glad surprise was given them all, Evelyn in
especial, by the unexpected arrival of Max. He had obtained a furlough
and could be with them for some weeks.

"Now I think with two ventriloquists here we shall have some fun,"
exclaimed Ned shortly after his brother's arrival.

"Ah, Ned, Ned, is that all you care about in seeing your only brother?"
queried Max in tones of heartfelt disappointment and an expression of
deep despondency.

"Oh, no, no, indeed!" cried Ned. "I'm ever so glad to have you here,
Maxie, if you never do any ventriloquism at all. Please believe me."

"Well, I suppose I must, since I know you have been trained up to speak
the truth," returned Max, brightening a little, "and I hope the company
of your only brother may afford you some slight enjoyment, even should
there be no practice of ventriloquism."

"Yes, brother, you may be sure of it," replied Ned, striving to
suppress a slight sigh.

"And your brother must be allowed a good, enjoyable time with his wife,
little daughter and new little nephew before we trouble him to attend
to anything else," remarked Violet in an amused tone.

"And in the meantime the rest of us can, perhaps, be depended upon to
entertain your young laddie, Cousin Violet," said Mr. Lilburn, with a
kindly, amused look at Ned.

"I see that, as usual, you have the _Dolphin_ lying here at your dock,
father," said Max, "and I suppose that you all take occasional trips in
her."

"Yes, son, and I think you will not object to accompanying us in that,
will you?"

"Oh, no, sir; no, indeed; I shall be very glad to do so, as babies and
all can be made as comfortable there as anywhere on land."

"By the way," said Dr. Harold, "a lady patient was telling me the other
day of a visit she had paid to the village of Catskill, interested in
it because of having seen Joseph Jefferson playing 'Rip Van Winkle,'
and that has given me a desire to see the place."

"So you shall," said the captain; "the _Dolphin_ can readily be
persuaded to make that trip, and I presume none of our party would
object to going there in her."

He sent a smiling glance around as he spoke, and it was responded to by
smiles and exclamations of pleasure in the prospect.

"I don't know anything about Rip Van Winkle," said Elsie, turning
toward her father. "Is it a story, papa, and will you tell me about it?"

"Yes, daughter," he replied; "it is a story and only a story; not
fact at all, but seeming so real as played by Jefferson that very
many people were and are greatly interested in it. Rip Van Winkle is
represented as an ignorant, good-natured man, made and kept poor by
love of liquor, which so soured his wife against him that she drove him
out of the house. Once it was at night and in a terrible thunder storm.
He goes into a steep and rocky clove in the Kaatskill Mountains, and
meets with some queer, silent people, who give him drinks of liquor
that put him to sleep, and he does not wake again for twenty years,
and in that time he had changed from a comparatively young man to a
feeble, old one with white hair and a long white beard. In the meantime
his wife, thinking him dead, had married the man--Derrick by name--who
had stolen his house and land. She had done it in order to keep herself
and little daughter from starvation, and he was now trying to force
little Meenie, Rip's daughter, to marry his nephew, Cookles, though she
did not want him, as she loved another, young Hendrick, who was her
playmate when they were children, but is now a sailor and away on his
vessel--has been gone five years--but now he comes back just in time to
put a stop to the mischief Derrick and his nephew, Cookles, are trying
to do to Meenie and Gretchen in order to get full possession of the
house and land. He and Rip are able to prove that those, the house and
land, are not his and never were.

"So the story ends well; the scamps are defeated, and the rightful
owners are happy in regaining the property and being restored to each
other," concluded the captain.

"Thank you, papa," said Elsie; "it was a nice story, because it ended
well."

"And wouldn't you like to see the place where all that is said to have
happened?" asked Dr. Harold.

"Yes, indeed," she answered; and after a little more chat on the
subject, it was decided that they would visit the village of Catskill
the next day and see the very spot where all these strange events were
supposed to have taken place.

"The scenery about there is said to be very fine, is it not?" asked Mr.
Lilburn.

"It is," replied Captain Raymond; "and I think we who are strong enough
to climb steep ascents will be well repaid for the effort. Our best
plan will be to leave the yacht for a hotel, as in order to see all
that is worth seeing we must spend some days in the vicinity."

"Yes," said Dr. Harold; "and the ladies and babies and our not very
strong little Ned will need to stay in the village while we stronger
ones climb about the cliffs."

"I think you are right in that," assented his mother. "By the way," she
continued, "do you think, gentlemen, that it was quite correct for the
author of the play to bring in Hudson and some of his men as taking
part in causing Rip's long nap? From the accounts given of his life and
death, it would seem that he was set adrift by his sailors considerably
more to the north, and perished in the sea."

"That is so, mother," returned the captain; "but it is about as true as
the story of Rip's long nap."

"And that couldn't be true," remarked Elsie wisely, "for nobody could
live half as long as that without eating anything, could they, Uncle
Harold?"

"No, certainly not," replied her uncle, smiling at the very idea. "No
one but a very ignorant person could be made to believe the story
true."

"Still, we can enjoy looking at the scenes of the supposed
occurrences," remarked Captain Raymond. "Shall we go to-morrow?"

Every one seemed in favor of that proposition, and the next morning,
the weather being favorable and the yacht in excellent condition, they
started upon their trip shortly after breakfast.

Comfortable accommodations were found in the hotel at Catskill, and
the ladies seemed well satisfied with what they could see and enjoy in
going about the valley while the stronger members of the party should
climb the steep cliffs and explore all the places where Rip was said to
have wandered, and especially the spot where his very long sleep was
supposed to have been taken.

The beautiful scenery of that region was greatly enjoyed by all, male
and female, old and young, so all agreed in prolonging their visit to
the stay of several days. Then they boarded the yacht and started for
their Crag Cottage home again.

Max was very fond of his baby daughter, and when they were all
comfortably established aboard the yacht he took her in his arms to pet
and fondle her; but as he did so he was startled for an instant by a
joyous exclamation that seemed to come from her lips, "Oh, papa, I love
you, and am so glad you are here with mamma and me again." But glancing
at Cousin Ronald, Max laughed and replied: "Are you, daughter? Well, I
hope the time will never come when you will be other than very glad to
see your father."

"Ah, that's the first talking she has done in quite a while," laughed
her mother.

"Oh, was it you who made her do it, Brother Max?" asked Ned excitedly.

"No," replied Max; "I was as much surprised at the moment as anybody
else. But isn't it natural that the joy of seeing her long absent
father should loosen her tongue?"

"I guess it is more natural that Cousin Ronald should do it," laughed
Ned. "He could, I know, and I suspect that he did."

"Do you plead guilty, Cousin Ronald?" queried Evelyn, giving him a look
of amusement.

"Well, now, you should not be too curious, Cousin Eva," was the
non-committal reply.

"Is she too curious?" asked Ned. "Don't you think, Cousin Ronald, that
it's all right for her to want to know what has made little Mary talk
so well to-night?"

"Of course it is," little Mary seemed to say. "And I hope to talk a
good deal while my papa is with us."

"Yes, I hope you will," said Ned. "I think he'll help you about it.
Don't you wish you'd been climbing those mountains along with him?"

"No, Uncle Ned; it was nicer to be with mamma in the village."

Ned laughed at that, and turning to the other baby, asked: "How was it
with you, Ray? Didn't you want to go along with the big folks?"

"No; you ain't one of the big folks, are you?" Ray seemed to reply; and
Ned colored, as there was a general laugh from those present.

"A good deal bigger and older than you are," was his rather ungracious
rejoinder.

"Don't be vexed with my baby boy, little brother," said Lucilla; "you
know he didn't say that of himself. Somebody put the words into his
mouth, or, to speak more literally, caused them to seem to come from
his tongue, though he does not know how to talk at all."

"Oh, yes, I know, and I'm not vexed with him now," said Ned. "I
oughtn't be, as I'm his uncle and want him to be fond of me, as I hope
he will be when he's old enough to know about such things."

"Yes, Ned, you may be sure he will," said Max. "You and I are going to
try to be such nice, good uncles that he will be proud to own us as
such."

"And I shall try to be such a grandfather that he and Baby Mary will be
proud to own me as theirs," said the captain.

"It will be strange, indeed, if they are not, father," said Lucilla.

"Yes, indeed! I am very proud of being your daughter, papa, as I think
the others are," said Grace; "and I am sure Max and Ned are proud of
being your sons."

"Indeed we are," said Max.

"I know I am," laughed Ned. "So now I guess we are all pleased with
each other and are going home to Crag Cottage quite happy."

Everybody laughed at that, and all reached their temporary home in
excellent spirits. It was a lovely and enjoyable one, situated on
a charming part of the Hudson River's western bank, the house most
comfortable and convenient, the grounds tastefully laid out and kept in
excellent order. Max and Eva had reason to be proud and fond of their
country seat. They and most of their guests remained there for some
weeks until Max's furlough expired and fall weather rendered the return
to their warmer Southern homes desirable. And the homeward journey in
the _Dolphin_ was a most agreeable winding up of their summer trip to
the North.


 THE END


       *       *       *       *       *


 TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


 Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

 Italic text is denoted by _underscores_

 p134 "which she ceded back to spain." replaced
 with "which she ceded back to Spain."

 p278 "yet shall be occupy a bright page in our border" replaced
 with "yet shall he occupy a bright page in our border"





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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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