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Title: Harper's Round Table, December 17, 1895
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harper's Round Table, December 17, 1895" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.

       *       *       *       *       *

PUBLISHED WEEKLY. NEW YORK, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1895. FIVE CENTS A
COPY.

VOL. XVII.--NO. 842. TWO DOLLARS A YEAR.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration]

CHRISTMAS ON MAJUBA STATION.

BY RICHARD BARRY.


December on the Majuba coast, and the day had been the hottest of the
month, as the log-book entry showed.

It was a few minutes past sundown, and the awnings that had covered the
decks of the old steam-frigate _Sumter_ were being taken in to allow a
freer passage for any air that might begin to stir with the nightfall.

The barefooted sailors trod gingerly about, carefully avoiding the
metal-work on the hatch combings and the soft blotches of pitch that had
bubbled up through the deck seams. The only sounds were the chattering
of a large monkey that was swinging himself to and fro in the
heat-slackened shrouds, and the discordant squawking of some tame
parrots on the forecastle.

A group of officers lolled against the after-rail, and three or four
youngsters, a little apart from them, had just finished a whispered
conversation. But for some minutes there had not been a loud word spoken
throughout the ship. There was one thought present in the minds and
hearts of all, from the Captain, ill and half delirious with fever below
in his close sweltering cabin, to Midshipman Bobby Seymour, who had had
a lump in his throat for the past twenty-four hours--one thought, over
and over--home, home, home.

It was the early evening of the night before Christmas. A sagging
wind-sail, that hung down the forward hatchway like a huge empty trouser
leg, swayed a little, and the movement caught the junior Lieutenant's
eye.

"The land breeze! Feel it?" he said, lifting his hand as if to enforce
silence.

Warm, and almost fetid with an indescribable odor, a breath had crept
softly across the water from the low-lying African coast--a breath
redolent of swamps, of strange unhealthy products of the overheated
earth, suggestive of fever that burned into the bones.

"I don't like it," said Bobby Seymour, wriggling his small shoulders. He
spoke in a half whisper. "I wish I was at Irvington with the river all
iced up, the sleigh-bells jingling-jangling everywhere, and--"

"Oh, I say, quit, please, won't you?" interrupted the boy at his elbow.
"It's hard enough to stand things as they are. What wouldn't we all
give--" Then he shut his lips firmly without finishing his sentence.
"Hear that surf!" he added, after a moment's silence.

Borne on the slight air from the eastward came a deep sound like the
booming of a thousand giant drums.

"It doesn't look like any landing to-morrow," remarked Midshipman
Seymour, wisely.

Just then the thin musical notes of a concertina drifted out from the
forecastle.

  "'Be it never so humble, there's no place like home,'"

chanted a voice.

"They have it there too," said Bobby Seymour to himself. "Why shouldn't
they?"

But the song died away almost as soon as it had begun. In fact, it had
been more like a deep-chested musical sigh than anything else.

"I wonder if we couldn't get the Kroomen to sing something jolly for us
to-night?" suggested one of the larger midshipmen.

"I think the old man is too ill to stand much celebrating just now,"
spoke up another. "But I say, Remson, let's see if one of us can't get
ashore to-morrow and get something fresh to eat. I'm sick of this old
hooker, anyhow. Might as well be docked in Portsmouth, for all the good
we're doing here."

This was fact. Watching for slave-traders under such restrictive orders
from the government at Washington as precluded the faintest possibility
of making a capture was far from exciting, and, besides, the goings on
at home had produced a feeling of uneasiness on shipboard, for this was
the troublous winter of '60-1.

It was little wonder that things were doleful on board the old _Sumter_
this particular Christmas eve, and so it passed like the evening of any
other day.

But Bobby Seymour, when he awakened the next morning, gazed up at the
huge deck beams of the steerage, and suddenly remembered something.

He slid out of his hammock and scrambled over to the chest that had his
initials on the lid. He opened it, and dug out a neatly tied package
from a corner. It was addressed to him with his full title, and was
inscribed "Not to be opened until Xmas day."

He crawled over to an open port, and sitting down on the deck, deftly
undid the wrapping. But he paused for a minute before he looked to see
what it contained, and his eyes took on the sightless expression of deep
thoughts far away as he gazed out over the sea.

The sun was flaming above the tree-tops on the distant shore, and the
warm morning breeze fluttered the hair of his tousled curly head.

But Bobby did not see the sun or feel the breeze. He saw a wide stretch
of snow-covered lawn, with the pine branches that lined the driveway
weighted down, and each elm and apple bough all a-sparkle in a case of
ice, and the sleigh bells "jingle-jangling" everywhere. He knew how his
skates looked, hanging up on the nail behind the door, and his
hockey-stick, and his sled. He could smell the hot buckwheat cakes and
hear his little sisters laughing.

"They'd just be taking down their stockings," he said, a quiver coming
to his eyelid.

In truth, Midshipman Bobby Seymour was nothing but a boy, and not a very
tall one. He looked even younger than he really was as he sat there on
the deck hugging his bare knees up to his chin, the still unopened
package held tightly under his arm, and if a tear did roll down his
cheek, and all the way down his neck beneath his collar, it was nothing
to be ashamed of.

"Mr. Seymour," broke in a voice that brought back the heat and the smell
of the ship quite suddenly. "Mr. Jephson wishes to see you on deck as
soon as possible, sir."

Bobby made a dash at his eyes with the back of his hand, and looked up
at the big red-mustached orderly. "Very good; be up there right away,"
he answered.

Then he arose and hurried into his things, only glancing into the
package, and catching sight of two or three letters and some mysterious
objects done up in tissue-paper.

As he came on deck he walked quietly aft and touched his cap. Mr.
Jephson, the executive officer, saw him.

"Ah, Mr. Seymour, merry Christmas!" he remarked, much as if it was the
usual thing to say. "I have some work for your boat's crew, sir. Just
step here a minute."

Bobby hastened to the quarter-deck.

"There, do you see that," said the Lieutenant, pointing towards the dark
green line of coast--"that white thing floating there, a mile or more
from shore?"

"Yes, sir," said Bobby, squinting his little sleepy eyes.

Mr. Jephson picked up his sea-glasses. "In my mind it will help clear up
the meaning of that glare to the westward two nights ago," he said. "I
think it's a bit of wreckage, or an overturned boat that is drifting
in." The Lieutenant spoke slowly as he adjusted the binoculars. Then he
turned, and added, quickly:

"Get your coffee; see that the men get theirs; lower away the cutter;
pick that up or find out what it is, and come back to the ship. You will
be here by breakfast-time."

"Aye, aye, sir," Bobby answered.

All hands were turning out as he entered the steerage, but he heard few
"Merry Christmases," and the coffee tasted bitterer than ever. All at
once an idea seized him, and he thrust the precious package into his
jacket. He could read the letters anyhow as he rowed back to the ship.
In another moment he was stepping through the gangway.

"Don't go too close to the white water, youngster," said one of the
junior officers, who had come on deck, "or you'll be a Robinson Crusoe
before you know it."

"Thank you, sir," replied Bobby, as he hastened down the companion
ladder. He had to make a leap of it into the cutter, where the men were
waiting for him, in no pleasant frame of mind at the prospect of a long
pull so early. In another minute they were heading shorewards. On board
the ship, so used had every one become to the slow rolling, that it was
hard to believe that such a sea was running. But from the boat the
ground-swells seemed great hills, so smooth that an oar left a swirl in
the green water as a paddle might in a mill-pond.

They had rowed some distance, now climbing up slowly, then coasting down
with a rush, before Bobby caught sight of the floating object gleaming
on the top of a great lift of sea a mile nearer the shore; he pointed it
out to the coxswain, and sat down to read his letters.

As he drew the package from his breast he became conscious that it would
not be quite comfortable to open it with twelve pairs of curious eyes
gazing at him, so he brought forth only two of the letters with an
affectation of carelessness, tied up the rest of the little bundle, and
thrust it back into his jacket again.

Sitting there in the stern-sheets of the cutter, with the scorching
African sun overhead, and the "thrim-thrum" of oars in his ears, once
more his thoughts jumped back to the snow and the sleigh-bells as he
opened the first little note. It was written in lead-pencil on very
fancy paper, all posies and forget-me-nots. Nor was it written exactly.
Most of the words were printed in capital letters, the I's carefully
dotted, and the T's laboriously crossed. The lump came into Bobby's
throat as he read it slowly.

     "DEAR BROTHER ROBERT" [it began],--"I made this for you all myself.
     Merry Christmas. I have a kitten and its name is--"

The boat had given such a sickening downward swoop that Bobby looked up
suddenly. Never had he seen such a wave in all his short experience. And
the sensation! It reminded him of the time he was tossed in a blanket at
Annapolis. Yet the water's surface was smooth and oily--not the sound of
a ripple--dead silence.

The men slackened in their stroke as another came on astern and raised
them upwards. When at its summit Bobby looked towards the shore.

Nothing but a succession of green ridges. But suddenly a line of white
like a rip in a great cloth stretched along against the mass of foliage
above the beach. Then down the cutter raced.

Midshipman Seymour felt that the eyes of his crew were all upon him; he
had detected a frightened glance or two, and the bowmen were looking
over their shoulders.

"Steady, there!" he said, crumpling the letters into his pocket as he
stood up. Then his spirits rose. Only a few hundred feet further on
floated the mysterious object, rising in plain sight; it was a heavy
chest, with lettering of some sort on it.

"Oars!" he shouted, and the men rested, glancing uneasily at their
companions on the thwarts. Bobby looked back at the ship.

It scorned incredible that they could have covered that distance in such
a space of time.

"In bow there, with your boat-hooks!" he shouted. But before the men
could get to their feet an expression of horror crossed every face.
Three or four cried out in fear. Once more Bobby turned, and a sick
feeling came all over him.

The coxswain leaned forward. "We're going to catch it, sir," he
whispered, and he made as if to kick off his shoes.

Full half a mile seaward one of the tall waves had broken at its height,
and widening and frothing, it spread out in a mass of glistening
smother. The sight made the little midshipman think of an army of white
horses rising at a great green hedge.

The water around the boat began to clop noisily against the gunwales,
and the wave crests on either hand danced and tottered uneasily. Then,
pitching down into a hollow, the white horses disappeared for an
instant, and nothing could be seen but a green wall in front. But the
charge was coming--nearing; they could hear the roaring of it now.

"Steady, men!" said Bobby. "Coxswain, it's too late to turn her; we'll
have to ride it in." Even to himself his voice sounded strange and deep.
He forgot he was a boy. Was not he responsible? Were not they all
looking to him to bring them safely through? He was an officer.

It was not customary for the regular crew of any ship to make a landing
on this part of the African coast. For this service a tribe of hardy
blacks, Kroomen they were called, provided expert boatmen to any ship on
coast station. They knew how to ride the surf, and the best man-o'-war's
man was but a novice to them. But for the last three days even the
blacks had declared the surf too heavy for safe landing, and now Bobby
and his cutter were going to try it, much against their wills.

As the broken roaring water rushed down upon them the noise drowned even
his thoughts, and as it caught the boat full astern each man held his
breath. But the oars pulling furiously kept the cutter's nose in the
right direction, and catching the impetus, she tore shoreward like a
runaway engine. After the first shock it was exciting. Bobby even forgot
the danger. He noticed the unlucky chest turning over and over in the
foam, and peering ahead he became aware for the first time that they
were nearing the outlet of a small river that debouched into the sea.

The surf was running high up on the beach, and frothing across a bar at
the river's mouth, where a little island made a delta on each side. No
sooner had he noticed this when he saw something else--a score of naked
black figures running up the sand. Now the Majuba tribes are cannibals.
Bobby's heart stood still. To provide a Christmas dinner to a lot of
hungry savages was not a pleasant prospect.

"Pull, port! hold, starboard!" shouted the young commander. The men bent
to their oars, and, wonder of wonders, with a great heave and a twist
the cutter crossed the bar, and shot up on a wave between the green
shelving banks of an unknown river, where a white man's boat had never
been before. Keeping well to the centre of the stream, the cutter at
last reached smooth water, and Bobby found himself standing up, his
knees trembling slightly, and not one hundred yards away a horde of the
evilest-looking wild black men he had ever set his eyes on. Something
had to be done, and to take advantage of their surprise was his first
thought. "Why not sing?" he murmured out loud. They were waiting for
some demonstration, evidently.

But as the rest of this narrative would make a long story in itself, it
is best to let Midshipman Seymour tell it shortly, as he did in the
letter to his sister Dorothy, which he wrote three days later.

     "DEAR LITTLE SIS [it ran]--You will have to write again and tell me
     the name of the kitten, for I have lost your beautiful letter
     before I could finish reading it. And the fine bead-work
     pin-cushion, full of the very sharpest pins, I had to give away,
     and Jack's six-bladed knife, and Nell's fancy-work purse, and
     mother's silk handkerchief, and grandma's silk gloves, and the
     package of rock-candy; in fact, everything you sent me now belongs
     to a great ugly cannibal king whose name is Matagoolah. But all
     this means a story, so I will tell it as quickly as I can. On
     Christmas day I was sent out from the ship with my boat's crew to
     pick up something that was floating in the water. It proved to be a
     chest from the slaver _Nightingale_ that had burned up 'way out to
     sea. As we rowed along we were caught in the surf, and by good luck
     were carried up a little river that no one knew existed. I tell you
     your red-headed brother was very badly frightened when he saw a lot
     of savages standing on the bank. I thought, 'Oh, if grandma could
     only see me now!' The savages were so astonished that they did not
     do anything, and I thought I'd make believe I came to see them on
     purpose.

     "So I signaled out an old fellow who appeared to be a chief, and
     making my very best bow, I began to sing, very solemnly and loudly,
     'Haul the bow-line; well I love my darling,' and the men all joined
     in the chorus. Then I thought of the only presents I had--which
     were yours--and rowing up close, I had four of the crew carry me
     ashore, where I presented everything I had to the chief, singing
     the only thing that came into my head--'Hail Columbia!'--at the top
     of my voice. It was quite funny. When he saw the pin-cushion he was
     so delighted; and as he received one thing after another he began
     to grin and chatter. But the rock-candy! My! when he tasted it I
     was afraid he was going to eat me up for joy! He gave some orders,
     and all of his men threw down their spears and fell flat on their
     faces. So I ordered my crew to come ashore, which they did, pretty
     well frightened.

     "Now what to do I did not know; but looking towards the ship, which
     was some three miles out to sea, I saw a puff of smoke, and I knew
     they were firing one of the big guns as a signal to call back the
     other boats, so I lifted up my hands and waved them; then as the
     report came I bent down low, and all of my men did the same. This
     time the chief himself fell on his knees! But what will you suppose
     I saw also? The big chest that I had started out to get! It was
     rolling up in the surf near the beach. At once I began to make
     motions as if I were hauling something in with a rope, and told
     four of my crew to go fetch the chest from the sea. When they
     plunged in and brought it out the savages looked scared to death.
     And breaking it open, what do you suppose it contained? Why, beads
     and knives and trinkets, a big brass crown--in fact, a complete
     trader's outfit, enough to have bought fifty slaves and more. That
     settled it. The king would have given me the heads of half his
     people.

     "Well, to make it short, we were feasted and treated, and I am
     afraid prayed to for two days. I kept a flag flying from a
     tree-top; the trees are not tall, but I knew they could see it from
     the ship, and yesterday they managed to land three boats with more
     presents for my black friends, and took us off. But I really
     believe that it was your 'Merry Xmas' pin-cushion that saved our
     lives. Make me another, tell me the name of the kitten, and whether
     you are having good coasting; and take lots of love and kisses for
     all.

  "From your loving brother,
  "ROB."

And this is the story of a rather unusual Christmas day, and explains
the reason why Bobby Seymour was given the title of "Envoy Extraordinary
to his Majesty King Matagoolah, Ruler of the Majubas."



THE FREYS' CHRISTMAS PARTY.

BY RUTH McENERY STUART.


There was a great sensation in the old Coppenole house three days before
Christmas.

The Freys, who lived on the third floor, were going to give a Christmas
dinner party, and all the other tenants were invited.

Such a thing had never happened before, and, as Miss Penny told her
canary-birds while she filled their seed-cup, it was "like a clap of
thunder out of a clear sky."

The Frey family, consisting of a widow and her brood of half a dozen
children, were as poor as any of the tenants in the old building, for
wasn't the mother earning a scant living as a beginner in newspaper
work? Didn't the Frey children do every bit of the house-work, not to
mention little outside industries by which the older ones earned small
incomes? Didn't Meg send soft gingerbread to the Christian Woman's
Exchange twice a week, and Ethel find time, with all her studies, to
paint butterflies on Swiss aprons for fairs or fêtes?

Didn't everybody know that Conrad, now but thirteen, was a regular
solicitor for orders for Christmas trees, palmetto palms, and gray moss
from the woods for decorative uses on holiday occasions?

The idea of people in such circumstances as these giving dinner parties!
It was almost incredible, but it was true, for tiny notes of invitation
tied with rose-colored ribbons had been flying over the building all the
afternoon. The Frey twins, Felix and Félicie, both barefoot, had carried
one to each door.

They were written with gold ink on pink paper, and a water-colored
butterfly poised in mid-air somewhere on each one, while at the left
lower end were the mysterious letters "R.S.V.P."

The old Professor who lived in the room next the Frey kitchen got one,
and Miss Penny, who occupied the room beyond. So did Mademoiselle
Guyosa, who made paper flowers, and the mysterious little woman of the
last, worst room in the house--a tiny figure whose face none of her
neighbors had even seen, but who had given her name to the baker and
milkman as "Mamzelle St. John."

And there were others. Madame Coraline, the fortune-teller, who rented
the hall room on the second floor, was perhaps more surprised at her
invitation than any of the rest. No one ever asked her anywhere. Even
the veiled ladies who sometimes visited her darkened chamber always
tiptoed up the steps as if they were half ashamed of going there.

The twins had a time getting her to come to the door to receive the
invitation, and after vainly rapping several times, had finally brought
a parasol and hammered upon the horseshoe tacked upon the door, until at
last it opened just about an inch. And then she was invited.

But indeed it is time to be telling how the party originated.

It had been the habit of the Frey children, since they could remember,
to save up spare coins all the year for a special fund which they called
"Christmas Money."

The old fashion of spending these small amounts in presents for one
another had long ago given place to the better one--more in the
Christmas spirit--of using it to brighten the day for some one less
blessed than themselves.

It is true that on the Christmas before the one of this story they had
broken the rule, or only strained it, perhaps, to buy a little stove for
their mother's room.

But a rule that would not stretch enough to take in such a home need
would be a poor one indeed.

This year they had had numerous schemes, but somehow none had seemed to
appeal to the stockholders in the Christmas firm, and so they had
finally called a meeting on the subject.

It was at this meeting that Meg, fourteen years old, having taken the
floor, said: "Well, it seems to _me_ that the _worst_ kind of a
Christmas must be a lonely one. Just think how nearly all the roomers in
this house spent last Christmas--most of 'em sittin' by their lone
selves in their rooms, and some of 'em just eatin' every-day things! The
Professor hadn't a thing but Bologna-sausage and crackers. _I
know--'cause I peeped._ An' now, whatever you all are goin' to do
with _your_ money, _mine's_ goin' right into this house, to the
roomers--_some way_."

"If we knew what we could do, Meg?" said Ethel.

"If we knew what we could do or _how we could do it_," interrupted
Conrad, "why, I'd give my eighty-five cents in a minute. I'd give it to
the old Professor to have his curls cut."

Conrad was a true-hearted fellow, but he was full of mischief.

"Shame on you, Buddy!" said Meg, who was thoroughly serious. "Can't you
be in earnest for just a minute?"

"I am in earnest, Meg. I think your scheme is bully--if it could be
worked; but the Professor wouldn't take our money any more'n we'd take
his."

"Neither would any of them." This was Ethel's first real objection.

"Who's goin' to offer 'em money?" rejoined Meg.

"I tell you what we _might_ do, maybe," Conrad suggested, dubiously. "We
_might_ buy a lot of fine grub, an' send it in to 'em sort o'
mysteriously. How'd that do?"

"Twouldn't do at all," Meg replied. "The idea! Who'd enjoy the finest
Christmas dinner in the world by his lone self, with nothin' but a
lookin'-glass to look into and holler 'Merry Christmas' to?"

Conrad laughed. "Well, the Professor's little cracked glass wouldn't be
much of a comfort to a hungry fellow. It gives you two mouths!"

Conrad was nothing if not facetious.

"There you are again, Buddy! _Do_ be serious," said Meg. And then she
added, desperately, "The thing _I_ want to do is to _invite_ 'em!"

"Invite! Who? What? When? How? Where?"

Such was the chorus that greeted Meg's astounding proposition.

"Why, I say," she explained, nothing daunted, "let's put all our
Christmas money together and get the very best dinner we can, and invite
all the roomers to come and eat it with us. _Now I've said it!_ And I
ain't foolin', either."

"And we haven't a whole table-cloth to our names, Meg Frey, and you know
it!" It was Ethel who spoke again.

"And what's that got to do with it, Sisty? We ain't goin' to eat the
cloth. Besides, can't we set the dish-mats over the holes? 'Twouldn't be
the first time."

"But Meg, dearie, you surely are not proposing to invite company to
dine in the kitchen, are you? And who'd cook the dinner, not to mention
buying it?"

"Well, now, listen, Sisty dear. The dinner that's in my mind isn't a
society-column dinner like those Momsy writes about, and those we are
goin' to invite don't wear out much table-linen at home. And they cook
their own dinners, too, most of 'em--exceptin' when they eat 'em in the
French market, with a Chinaman on one side of 'em and an Indian on the
other.

"_I'm_ goin' to cook _ours_, and as for eatin' in the kitchen, why, we
won't need to. Just see how warm it is! The frost hasn't even nipped the
banana leaves over there. And Buddy can pull the table out on the big
back gallery, an' we'll hang papa's old gray soldier blanket for a
portière to keep the Quinettes from lookin' in; and, Sisty, you can
write the invitations an' paint butterflies on 'em."

Ethel's eyes for the first time sparkled with interest, but she kept
silent, and Meg continued:

"An' Buddy'll bring in a lot of gray moss and _latanier_ to dec'rate
with, an'--"

"An' us'll wait on the table!"

"Yes, us'll wait on the table!" cried the twins.

"But," added Felix, in a moment, "you mustn't invite Miss Penny,
Meg,'cause if you do F'lissy an' me'll be thest shore to disgrace the
party a-laughin'. She looks thest ezzac'ly like a canary-bird, an' Buddy
has tooken her off till we thest die a-laughin' every time we see her. I
think she's raised canaries till she's a sort o' half-canary herself.
Don't let's invite her, Sisty."

"And don't you think Miss Penny would enjoy a slice of Christmas turkey
as well as the rest of us, Felix?"

[Illustration: "SHE OUGHT TO EAT CANARY-SEED AND FISH-BONE."]

"No; I fink she ought to eat canary-seed and fish-bone," chirped in
Dorothea.

Dorothea was only five, and this from her was so funny that even Meg
laughed.

"An' Buddy says he knows she sleeps perched on the towel-rack, 'cause
they ain't a sign of a bed in her room."

The three youngest were fairly choking with laughter now. But the older
ones had soon grown quite serious in consulting about all the details of
the matter, and even making out a conditional list of guests.

When they came to the fortune-teller, both Ethel and Conrad hesitated,
but Meg, true to her first impulse, had soon put down opposition by a
single argument.

"It seems to me she's the special one _to_ invite to a Christmas party
like ours," she pleaded. "The lonesomer an' horrider they are, the more
they belong, an' the more they'll enjoy it, too."

"Accordin' to that," said Conrad, "the whole crowd ought to have a dizzy
good time, for they're about as fine a job lot of lonesomes as I ever
struck. And as for beauty! 'Vell, my y'ung vriends, how you was
to-morrow?'" he continued, thrusting his thumbs into his armholes and
strutting in imitation of the old Professor.

Meg was almost out of patience. "Do hush, Buddy!" she protested, "an'
let's talk business. First of all, we have to put it to vote to see
whether we _want_ to have the party or not."

"I ain't a-goin' to give my money to no such a ugly ol' party," cried
Felix. "I want pretty little girls with curls an' wreafs on to my
party."

"An' me, too. I want a organ-grinder to the party that gets my half o'
our seventy cents," echoed Félicie.

Meg was indeed having a hard time of it.

"You see, Conrad"--the use of that name meant reproof from Meg--"you
see, Conrad, this all comes from your makin' fun of everybody. But of
course we can get an organ-grinder if the little ones want him."

Ethel still seemed somewhat doubtful about the whole affair. Ethel was
in the high-school. She had a lofty bridge to her nose. She was fifteen,
and she never left off her final g's as the others did. These are, no
doubt, some of the reasons why she was regarded as a sort of superior
person in the family. If it had not been for the prospect of painting
the cards, and a certain feeling of benevolence in the matter, it would
have been hard for her to agree to the party at all. As it was, her
voice had a note of mild protest as she said:

"It's going to cost a good deal, Meg. How much money have we? Let's
count up. I have a dollar and eighty-five cents."

"And I've got two dollars," said Meg.

"How is it you always save the most? I haven't saved but ninety cents."
Conrad spoke with a little real embarrassment as he laid his little pile
of coins upon the table.

"I reckon it's 'cause I've got a regular plan, Buddy. I save a dime out
of every dollar I get all through the year. It's the best way. And how
much have you ponies got?"

"We've got seventy cents together, an' we been a-whiskerin' in our ears
about it, too. We don't want our money put-ed in the dinner with the
rest. We want to see what we are givin'."

"Well, suppose you buy the fruit. Seventy cents'll get bananas and
oranges enough for the whole party."

"An' us wants to buy 'em ourselfs, too--hey, F'lix?"

"Yes, us wants to buy 'em ourselfs, too."

"And so you shall. And now all in favor of the party hold up right
hands."

All hands went up.

"Contr'ry, no!" Meg continued.

"Contr'ry, no!" echoed the twins.

"Hush! You mustn't say that. That's just what they say at votin's."

"Gee-man-tally! But you girls're awfully mixed," Conrad howled with
laughter. "They don't have any 'contr'ry no's' when they vote by holdin'
up right hands. Besides, Dorothea held up her left hand, for I saw her."

"Which is quite correct, Mr. Smartie, since we all know that Dolly is
left-handed. You meant to vote for the party, didn't you, dearie?" Meg
added, turning to Dorothea.

For answer the little maid only bobbed her head, thrusting both hands
behind her, as if afraid to trust them again.

"But I haven't got but thest a nickel," she ventured, presently. "F'lix
says it'll buy salt."

"Salt!" said Conrad. "Well, I should smile! It would buy salt enough to
pickle the whole party. Why, that little St. Johns woman goes out with a
nickel an' lays in provisions. I've seen her do it."

"Shame on you, Buddy!"

"I'm not jokin', Meg. At least I saw her buy a _quartie's_ worth o'
coffee and _quartie's_ worth o' sugar, an' then ask for lagniappe o'
salt. Ain't that layin' in provisions? She uses a cigar-box for her
pantry, too."

"Well," she protested seriously, "what of it, Conrad? It doesn't take
much for one very little person. Now, then, the party is voted for; but
there's one more thing to be done before it can be really decided. We
must ask Momsy's permission, of course. And that is goin' to be hard,
because I don't want her to know about it. She has to be out reportin'
festivals for the paper clear up to Christmas mornin', and if she knows
about it, she'll worry over it. So I propose to ask her to let us give
her a Christmas surprise, and not tell her what it is."

"And we know just what she'll say," Conrad interrupted; "she'll say, 'If
you older children all agree upon anything, I'm sure it can't be very
far wrong or foolish'--just as she did time we put up the stove in her
room."

"Yes, I can hear her now," said Ethel. "But still we must _let_ her say
it before we do a single thing, because, you know, _she mightn't_. An'
then where'd the party be?"

"It would be scattered around where it was last Christmas--where all the
parties are that don't be," said Conrad. "They must be the ones we are
always put down for, an' that's how we get left; eh, Sisty?"

"Never mind, Buddy; we won't get left as you call it, this time,
anyway--unless, of course, Momsy vetoes it."

"Vetoes what, children?"

They had been so noisy that they had not heard their mother's step on
the creaking stairs.

Mrs. Frey carried her pencil and notes, and she looked tired, but she
smiled indulgently as she repeated, "What am I to veto, dearies--or to
approve?"

"It's a sequet! A Trismas sequel!"

"Yes, an' it's got owanges in it--"

"--An' bananas!"

"Hush, you ponies! And, Dolly, not another word!" Meg had resolutely
taken the floor again.

"Momsy, we've been consulting about our Christmas money, and we've voted
to ask you to let us do something with it, and not tell you a thing
about it, only"--and here she glanced for approval at Ethel and
Conrad--"only we _ought_ to tell you, Momsy dear, that the surprise
isn't for you this time."

And then Mrs. Frey, sweet mother that she was, made just the little
speech they thought she would make, and when they had kissed her, and
all, even to Ethel, who seemed now as enthusiastic as the others, caught
hands and danced around the dinner table, she was glad she had
consented.

It was such a delight to be able to supplement their scant Christmas
prospects with an indulgence giving such pleasure.

"And I'm glad it isn't for me, children," she added, as soon as the
hubbub gave her a hearing, "I'm very glad. You know you strained a point
last year, and I'm sure you did right. My little stove has been a great
comfort. But I am always certain of just as many home-made presents as I
have children, and they are the ones I value. Dolly's lamp-lighters are
not all used up yet, and if she _was_ to give me another bundle this
Christmas I shouldn't feel sorry. But our little Christmas _money_ we
want to send out on some loving mission. And, by-the-way, I have two
dollars which may go with yours if you need it--if it will make some
poor body's bed softer or his dinner better."

"Momsy's guessed!" Felix clapped his hands with delight.

"'Sh! Hush, Felix! Yes, Momsy, it'll do one of those things exactly,"
said Meg. "And now _I_ say we'd better break up this meeting before the
ponies tell the whole business."

"F'lix never telled a thing," chirped Félicie, always ready to defend
her mate. "Did you, F'lixy? Momsy said 'dinner' herself."

"So I did, dear; but who is to get the dinner and why you are going to
send it are things mother doesn't wish to know. And here are my two
dollars. Now off to bed, the whole trundle-bed crowd, for I have a lot
of copy to write to-night. Ethel may bring me a bite, and then sit
beside me and write while I sip my tea and dictate and Meg puts the
chickens to roost. And Conrad will keep quiet over his books. Just one
kiss apiece and a hug for Dolly. Shoo now!"

So the party was decided.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Frey home, although one of the poorest, was one of the happiest in
New Orleans, for it was made up of cheery workers, even little Dorothea
having her daily self-assumed tasks. Miss Dorothea, if you please,
dusted the banisters round the porch every day, straightened the rows of
shoes in mother's closet, folded the daily paper in the rack, and kept
the one rug quite even with the front of the hearth. And this young lady
had, furthermore, her regular income of five cents a week.

Of course her one nickel contributed to the party had been saved only a
few hours, but Dorothea was only five, and the _praline_ woman knew
about her income, and came trudging all the way up the stairs each week
on "pay-day."

Even after the invitations were sent, it seemed to Dolly that the
"party-day" would never come, for there were to be "three sleeps" before
it should arrive.

It was Ethel's idea to send the cards early, so as to forestall any home
preparation among the guests.

But all things come to him who waits--even Christmas. And so at last the
great day arrived.

Nearly all the invited had accepted, and everything was very exciting;
nor was the situation without its difficulties.

Even though she was out every day, it had been so hard to keep every
tell-tale preparation out of Mrs. Frey's sight. But when she had found a
pan of crullers on the top pantry shelf, or heard the muffled
"gobble-gobble" of the turkey shut up in the old flour-barrel, or smelt
invisible bananas and apples, she had been truly none the wiser, but had
only said: "Bless their generous hearts! They are getting up a fine
dinner to send to somebody."

Indeed Mrs. Frey never got an inkling of the whole truth until she
tripped up the stairs a half-hour before dinner on Christmas day, to
find the feast all spread.

The old mahogany table, extended to its full length, stood gorgeous in
decorations of palmetto, moss, and flowers, out upon the deep back
porch, which was converted into a very pretty chamber by the hanging
curtain of gray.

If she had any misgivings about it, she betrayed them by no single word
or look, but there were bright red spots upon her usually pale cheeks as
she passed, smiling, into her room to dash into the dinner dress Ethel
had laid out for her.

To have her poverty-stricken home invaded by a host of strangers was
striking a blow at the most sensitive weakness of this proud woman. And
yet the loving motive which was so plain through it all, showing the
very spirit in her dear children for which she had prayed, was too
sacred a thing to be chilled by even a half-shade of disapproval.

"And who are coming, dear?" she asked of Meg, as soon as she could trust
her voice.

"All the roomers, Momsy, excepting the little hunchback lady and Madame
Coraline."

"Madame Coraline!" Mrs. Frey could not help exclaiming.

"Yes, Momsy. She accepted, and she _even came_, but she went back just
now. She was dressed terribly fine--gold lace and green silk, but it was
old and dowdy; and, Momsy, her cheeks were just as red! I was on the
step-ladder tackin' up the Bethlehem picture, Sisty was standin' on the
high chair hanging up the star, and Buddy's arms were full of gray moss
that he was wrappin' round your chair. But we were just as polite to her
as we could be, and asked her to take a seat. And we all thought she sat
down; but she went, Momsy, and no one saw her go. Buddy says she's a
witch. She left that flower-pot of sweet-basil on the table. I s'pose
she brought it for a present. Do you think that we had better send for
her to come back, Momsy?"

"No, daughter, I think not. No doubt she had her own reasons for going,
and she may come back. And are the rest all coming?"

"Yes'm; but we had a time gettin' Miss Guyosa to come. She says she's a
First Family, an' she never mixes. But I told her so were we, and we
mixed. And then I said that if she'd come she could sit at one end o'
the table and carve the ham, while you'd do the turkey. But she says
Buddy ought to do the turkey. But she's comin'. And, Momsy, the turkey
is a perfect beauty. We put pecans in him. Miss Guyosa gave us the
receipt and the nuts, too. Her cousin sent 'em to her from his
plantation. And did you notice the paper roses in the moss festoons,
Momsy? She made those. She has helped us fix up _a lot_. She made all
the Easter flowers on St. Joseph's altar at the Cathedral, too, and--"

A rap at the floor announcing a first guest sent the little cook
bounding to the kitchen, while Ethel rushed into her mother's room, her
mouth full of pins and her sash on her arm.

She had dressed the three little ones a half-hour ago; and Conrad, who
had also made an early toilet, declared that they had all three walked
round the dinner table thirty-nine times since their appearance in the
"dining-room." When he advanced to do the honors, the small procession
toddling single file behind him, somehow it had not occurred to him that
he might encounter Miss Penny, the canary lady, standing in a dainty old
dress of yellow silk just outside the door, nor, worse still, that she
should bear in her hands a tiny cage containing a pair of young
canaries.

He said afterward that "everything would have passed off all right if it
hadn't been for the twins." Of course he had forgotten that he had
himself been the first one to compare Miss Penny to a canary.

By the time the little black-eyed woman had flitted into the door, and
in a chirpy, birdlike voice wished them a merry Christmas, Felix had
stuffed his entire handkerchief into his mouth. Was it any wonder that
Félicie and Dorothea, seeing this, did actually disgrace the whole party
by convulsions of laughter?

They were soon restored to order, though, by the little yellow-gowned
lady herself, for it took her but half a minute to say that the birds
were a present for the twins--"the two little ones who brought me the
invitation."

Such a present as this is no laughing matter, and, besides, the little
Frey children were at heart polite. And so they had soon forgotten their
mirth in their new joy.

And then other guests were presently coming in, and Mrs. Frey, looking
startlingly fine and pretty in her fresh ruches and new tie, was saying
pleasant things to everybody, while Ethel and Meg, tripping lightly in
and out, brought in the dishes.

As there was no parlor, guests were received in a corner of the
"dining-room." No one was disposed to be formal, and when the old
Professor entered with a little brown paper parcel, which he declared,
after his greetings, to contain his dinner, everybody felt that the
etiquette of the occasion was not to be very strict or in the least
embarrassing.

Of course Mrs. Frey, as hostess, "hoped the Professor would reconsider,
and have a slice of the Christmas turkey"; but when they had presently
all taken their seats at the table, and the eccentric guest had actually
opened his roll of bread and cheese upon his empty plate, over which he
began to pass savory dishes to his neighbors, she politely let him have
his way. Indeed, there was nothing else to do, as he declared, declining
the first course with a wave of his hand, that he had come "yust for the
sake of sociapility."

"I haf seen efery day doze children work und sing so nize togedder yust
like leetle mans und ladies, so I come yust to eggsbress my t'anks for
de compliment, und to make de acquaintance off doze nize y'ung
neighbors." This with a courtly bow to each one of the children
separately. And he added in a moment: "De dinner iss very fine, but for
me one dinner iss like anudder. Doze are all externals."

To which measured and kindly speech Conrad could not help replying, "It
won't be an external to us, Professor, by the time we get through."

"Oho!" exclaimed the old man, delighted with the boy's ready wit. "Dot's
a wery schmart boy you got dhere, Mrs. Vrey."

At which exhibition of broken English the twins, who were waiting on the
table, thought it safe to rush to the kitchen on pretence of changing
plates, while Dorothea, seated at the Professor's left, found it
necessary to bite both lips, and to stare hard at the vinegar-cruet for
fully a second, to keep from laughing. Then, to make sure of her
self-possession, she artfully changed the subject, remarking, dryly,

"My nickel buyed the ice."

This was much funnier than the Professor's speech, judging from the
laughter that followed it. And Miss Dorothea Frey's manners were saved,
which was the important thing.

It would be impossible in this short space to give a full account of
this novel and interesting dinner party, but if any one supposes that
there was a dull moment in it, he is altogether mistaken.

Mrs. Frey and Ethel saw to it that no one was neglected in conversation;
Meg and Conrad looked after the prompt replenishing of plates, though
the alert little waiters, Felix and Félicie, anticipated every want, and
were as sprightly as two crickets, while Dorothea provoked frequent
laughter by a random fire of unexpected remarks, never failing, for
instance, to offer ice-water during every "still minute"; and, indeed,
once that young lady did a thing that might have proved quite terrible
had the old lady Saxony, who sat opposite, been disagreeable or
sensitive.

What Dorothea said was innocent enough--only a single word of two
letters, to begin with.

She had been looking blankly at her opposite neighbor for a full minute,
when she suddenly exclaimed,

"Oh!"

That was all, but it made everybody look, first at Dolly and then across
the table. Whereupon the little maid, seeing her blunder, hastened to
add:

"That's nothin'. My grandma's come out too."

And then, of course, everyone noticed that old lady Saxony held her
dainty hemstitched handkerchief quite over her mouth. Fortunately Mrs.
Saxony's good sense was as great as her appreciation of humor, and her
twinkling eyes, as she shook her finger threateningly at Dorothea, gave
everybody leave to laugh. So "Dolly's terrible break," as Conrad called
it, really went far to making the dinner a success--that is, if
story-telling and laughter and the merry clamor such as distinguish the
gayest of dinner parties the world over count as success.

[Illustration: THE ITALIAN ORGAN-GRINDER ARRIVES.]

It was while the Professor was telling a funny story of his boy life in
Germany that there came a rap at the door, and the children, thinking
only of Madame Coraline, turned their eyes toward the door, only to see
the Italian organ-grinder, whom, in the excitement of the dinner party,
they had forgotten to expect. He was to play for the children to dance
after dinner, and had come a little early--or perhaps dinner was late.

Seeing the situation, the old man began bowing himself out, when the
Professor, winking mysteriously at Mrs. Frey, and gesticulating
animatedly, pointed first to the old Italian and then to Madame
Coraline's vacant chair. Everybody understood, and smiling faces had
already shown approval when Mrs. Frey said, quietly, "Let's put it to
vote. All in favor raise glasses."

Every glass went up. The old Italian understood little English, but the
offer of a seat is a simple pantomime, and he was presently declining
again and again, bowing lower each time, until before he knew it--all
the time refusing--he was in the chair, his plate was filled, and Dolly
was asking him to have ice-water. No guest of the day was more welcome.
None enjoyed his dinner more, judging from the indications. And as to
Meg, the moving spirit in the whole party, she was beside herself with
delight over the unexpected guest.

[Illustration: THE PROFESSOR NOT ONLY SANG BUT DANCED.]

The dinner all through was what Conrad called a "rattlin' success," and
the evening afterward, during which nearly every guest contributed some
entertainment, was one long to be remembered. The Professor not only
sang, but danced. Miss Penny whistled so like a canary that one could
really believe her when she said she always trained her young birds'
voices. Miss Guyosa told charming folk-lore anecdotes, handed down in
her family since the old Spanish days in Louisiana.

The smiling organ-grinder played his engaged twenty-five cents' worth of
tunes over and over again, and when the evening was done persistently
refused to take the money until Felix slipped it into his pocket.

The Frey party will long be remembered in the Coppenole house, and
beyond it, too, for some very pleasant friendships date from this
Christmas dinner. The old Professor was just the man to help Conrad with
his German lessons. It was so easy for Meg to send him a cup of hot
coffee on cold mornings. Mrs. Frey and Miss Guyosa soon found many ties
in common friends of their youth. Indeed, the twins had gotten their
French names from a remote Creole cousin, who proved to be also a
kinswoman to Miss Guyosa. It was such a comfort, when Mrs. Frey was kept
out late at the office, for the children to have Miss Guyosa come and
sit with them, telling stories or reading aloud, and they brought much
brightness into her life too.

Madame Coraline soon moved away, and, indeed, before another Christmas
the Freys had moved too--to a small cottage all their own, sitting in
the midst of a pretty rose garden. Here often come Miss Guyosa and the
Professor, both welcome guests, and Conrad says the Professor makes love
to Miss Guyosa, but it is hard to tell.

One cannot keep up with two people who can tell jokes in four languages,
but the Professor has a way of dropping in as if by accident on the
evenings Miss Guyosa is visiting the Freys, and they do read the same
books--in four languages. There's really no telling.

When the Frey children are playing on the _banquette_ at their front
gate on sunny afternoons, the old organ-grinder often stops, plays a
free tune or two for them to dance by, smilingly doffs his hat to the
open window above, and passes on.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

FOR KING OR COUNTRY.[1]

A Story of the Revolution.

BY JAMES BARNES.

CHAPTER IX.

THE MESSENGER FROM STATEN ISLAND.

[1] Begun in HARPER'S ROUND TABLE No. 836.


For a long time George lay awake underneath the pier, worrying more and
more about Carter. At last he decided that it was better to take the
brightest view of things, and that there was no use borrowing trouble,
taking all into consideration.

"He may have hailed and I not heard him," he reasoned, sensibly, putting
it out of his mind; and looking out, he saw that the fog had cleared
away, the anchor lights of the fleet shone brightly, and their
reflections flashed in the waters of the bay.

While watching he fell asleep again. But he was soon awakened by
footsteps that literally sounded in his ears. The planks of the pier
were only a few inches above his head, and some sand fell through the
cracks upon him. It had been daylight for two hours or more, and it was
stifling hot in his cramped hiding-place.

The sounds that had aroused him had been made by a party of sailors
coming ashore from some of the boats that were tied to the landing. On
the beach below a number of small craft were drawn up, and some Jack
Tars and a few soldiers were digging in the sand for clams.

"Jupiter, but I'm hungry," murmured the young Yankee soldier, "and as
dry in my throat as a sooty chimney!"

Something that was said above his head rang so well with his thoughts
just then that he made a sudden movement, and almost broke his nose
against a beam.

"What have ye in th' bottle, Jock, my lad? Douse my pipes! but have ye
got into the Admiral's cellar?"

"Nothin' but cold spring water, messmate," was answered, cheerily. "But
I fain 'twere what had once been inside this bit of glass. I'm sick of
the mealy wet they give us on the _Roebuck_."

"Water's water the world over, when it comes to drinkin'," was the
answer. "I wouldn't spoil the thirst I have on me for my morning's grog
for the best spring water in this curst land we've come to."

"Hist! here," said the water-drinker; "I've got something else, me
hearty, that will make your tongue curl. It's a meat pie and a big hunk
of cheese. I prigged it out of the kitchen window up at the big house
yonder."

"Let's off where we can get a taste and smell, messmate. It will be hard
to take with us."

"Stay! here comes the Captain! Hide your prog; we'll come back for it.
Don't be caught red-handed, man!"

George saw the bottle and a bundle wrapped in an old bit of straw
matting thrust under the boards of the pier.

The two men hastened to the float and joined five or six of their
companions, who were waiting there.

Presently a man with a cocked hat came down, walking quickly. He gave a
few curt orders, and the sailors manned one of the boats and pulled for
the first of the outlying vessels.

"Necessity knows no law," said George, reaching out with the boat-hook.

He skilfully rolled the bottle towards him. It had once contained
Madeira. Then he hooked on to the bundle, and soon landed the meat pie
and the cheese. This done, he poked the matting outside in full view.

"Three good meals here," he said, munching away flat on his back. "Now,
how to get out of this."

There were only two plans left--to wait until dark and try to obtain
possession of one of the boats, or go inland and attempt to find a
friend in one of the island farmers. He decided on the former.

It would take too much space to detail the conversations he overheard,
or to tell of the chagrin of the sailor-men when they found out that
some one had unearthed their spoils. They laid the blame on a
landing-party from another vessel, however, and their language was that
generally accredited to pirates; but it seemed to ease their minds in a
measure. While they were declaring in several different languages that
they would catch the thief George smiled in his hole in the sand, and
commenced his mid-day meal.

His range of vision was somewhat constricted on account of his narrow
quarters, but he could see everything plainly that went on seaward.

The sailors and soldiers appeared to crack rough jokes and grumble
rather than carry on coherent intercourse, and so far as news went,
nothing could be gleaned.

About five o'clock in the afternoon George heard something at last that
made him strain every nerve to listen. His heart thumped against his
ribs.

"Pardon me, my Lord," a rich voice spoke, "but to-night would be the
time. Look at yonder clouds. The Yankees would hardly expect us to land
in the face of such threatening weather. 'Twould be a trick worthy of
their own invention."

"There will be a storm, Cornwallis," answered a good-natured drawl. "I
hate to start the ball rolling to the accompaniment of Jove's music, and
I think rain dampens ardor. But it is as my brother says."

"What think you, my Lord Howe?" asked the one addressed as Cornwallis.

"If it storms, land twenty thousand troops. The rebels will not come to
terms--deluded fools! Let's have no more temporizing." This was said in
low firm tones that showed the speaker was accustomed to authority.

"Land it is," replied Cornwallis. "I doubt if they have a sentry posted.
Phoebus Apollo! Look at the front of that black cloud. Hurry, sirs, or
we will not make the ships before it be upon us."

Three gentlemen in silk stockings--for George could see their
well-shaped legs before he caught a glimpse of anything else--walked
down the pier. The sailors lounging about sprang up to attention; a
soldier who had been playing leap-frog with a companion froze stiff with
his hand to his sweltering forehead.

"Out oars! Give way!" and two big barges left the float, Cornwallis in
one, and the two other distinguished figures in the second.

"Lord Howe and his brother, the General, that's who you are," whispered
George. "And you are going to land twenty thousand troops on Long
Island, eh? Oh, if Washington only knew! and I am going to let him into
the secret, gentlemen, if the good Lord will prosper me."

He lay back again and proved for darkness, for his plans were now well
formed.

A few yards up the beach lay a ship's dingy--the smallest boat swung at
her side or stern quarters. Stoutly built and bluff in the bows, it was
made for weather. Extending over the gunwale was a pair of new oars. The
little boat had been hauled up on the sands to be calked and painted.
The job had been finished early in the morning. All day had George cast
covetous eyes at her.

Now as if in answer to his prayer, it had grown dark suddenly, as if the
night had sprung forward some five hours. There was great to do out on
the water.

Signals climbed up and down the halyards. Drums tapped, and on shore
trumpets answered one another, it grew darker and darker, and, be
joyful! the tide was coming in strong, rippling against the pier-head
and creeping up the beach. All of the boats had been called back to the
fleet; but the dingy was left, and George's hopes rose. All his chances
lay in her.

The pier was deserted, and he loosened his limbs from their temporary
grave, and worked his head and shoulders out and looked around. "There
lies the city," he said. At this moment a great seam of fire ran across
the cloud and hurled itself down at the earth. A burst of thunder
followed. This was the bolt that had felled the elm so close to his
friend Carter.

George crawled out and stumbled. He was so stiff that his knees hurt him
when he moved. Now the wind came, and the rain began that wonderful
downpour; the lightning flashed incessantly. George hid alongside the
dingy. He caught momentary glimpses of the nearest ships getting out
stern anchors.

Now was the time for moving. The rain fairly stung him as he stood up
and applied his shoulder to the dingy's bow. He dug his bare toes into
the sand, and the muscles knotted in his arms and back. But the boat
moved not so much as a finger's breadth. Again he took fresh hold, and
strained until his ears pained and the cords of his neck were tense as
bow-strings.

The small boat ploughed backwards, the tide caught the stern; then the
rest of the launching was easy.

Many a sailor in that great fleet could not have done what this
deep-chested boy of sixteen had accomplished by sheer strength.

As the dingy floated, George waded after her, and giving a final push,
tumbled over the side. The current swept him up the shore. Even if seen
by the big sloop-of-war that lay nearest to him, he reasoned that in the
midst of all the bustle on board no one would think of putting after a
drifting boat. He shipped the tiller, and kept well out of sight until
the pitching and tossing told him he was getting into deeper water.

When he raised his head he was surprised to see what a distance he had
travelled, and he thanked the lightning; it enabled him to keep his
course. By stepping one of the oars in the mast-hole he increased his
speed perceptibly.

It was manifest that Lord Howe meant what he said, for now and then he
saw crowded boats running before the gale straight for the Gravesend
beach. Rolling and plunging, the dingy made headway to the north.

       *       *       *       *       *

Washington was holding a conference with his officers in the big room of
the Kenedy House. Lately it had been rumored that Howe was going to up
anchor and make sail for Philadelphia.

The storm raging without at times compelled a pause in the conversation.
It was nearly midnight when a rapid knocking on the door followed the
lull caused by a tremendous thunder-clap.

An officer thrust his head in from the hallway. "Pardon me, your
Excellency," he said, "but there's a well-nigh drowned youth here, who
claims he has come from Staten Island and bears news of importance."

"Show him in at once," said Washington, pushing back from the
map-covered table.

Some of the officers half arose as a bedraggled figure entered.
Barefooted, clad only in his shirt and trousers, with a big smooch of
black paint covering half his face, the messenger drew himself up at
attention.

"Well, sir," said the General, "what have you to tell, my lad?"

"I have just come from the British fleet," was the reply. "They are
landing twenty thousand men on Long Island near Gravesend, your
Excellency."

In a few words he told his story, and great was the excitement. In
obedience to an invitation, the bearer of the tidings had sat down in a
corner of a big sofa. The water dripped from his soaked clothing.

"Here, one of you gentlemen take this brave lad and find him something
warm and dry to wear," spoke the Commander-in-chief, kindly.

One of the aides arose. "I have nothing but a spare uniform," he
remarked, as the two went out into the hall and climbed the stairs to a
little room on the third floor.

In a few minutes they returned, each dressed in the full uniform of a
lieutenant.

Three cannon had fired in quick succession, and as they entered they
roared again from the Battery.

Most of the officers had disappeared. Two were despatched to inform the
Convention at White Plains. But near the door stood one who had
evidently just come in out of the storm. It was John Clarkson,
commanding the Tenth New Jersey Foot--George's own Captain.

Washington was standing; he took a step nearer as the two young men came
into the room. "I have seen you somewhere before, my lad," he said,
"have I not?"

"Yes, General," was the response. "You did me the honor of speaking to
me."

"I remember," said the Commander-in-chief; "your name is Frothingham,
and you have a sister and aunt. Am I not right?"

"Yes, General."

"You are now a sergeant," went on Washington.

"Yes, your Excellency."

"I have in my hand your commission as Lieutenant."

George almost fell, and so overcome was he that he could not reply.

Captain Clarkson hurried up and grasped his hand. "God bless you, my
boy!" he said, much affected.

"I pray you will accept the loan of the uniform," said the young aide.
"There will be no time to get another."

At first George demurred, but his new friend insisted.

"You will honor it," he said, showing his fine teeth in a gracious
smile. "No need of further thanks."

A tall dark man spoke up. "I have a vacancy in my regiment. May I have
this young man to fill it?" he asked.

Washington smiled. "You are hereby assigned to Colonel Hand's regiment
of rifles," he said. "Now, gentlemen, there is work before us on Long
Island."

George, huddled under a canvas tent an hour later, in the clumsy boat
that was ferrying him and some of his brother officers across the East
River, glanced at the lace on his cuffs.

"I never thought of asking his name," he said, out loud. "What a dolt I
am!"

One thing had begun to weigh on his mind increasingly. He had heard no
news of Carter. He breathed a fervent prayer that he would see his
friend again.

The next day was the 23d of August.

When the young Lieutenant crept out of the hay of a small barn early in
the morning--for he had joined his new command the night before through
all the storm--he walked to the brow of a little hill that overlooked
the marshes and meadows in the direction of Gravesend. The branches of
the trees along the hill were filled with men watching intently
something that was going on below. George climbed a short distance up a
small oak.

There they were--the British! It seemed to him thousands upon thousands.
Their red coats gleamed, and occasionally a musket or a sword flashed in
the distance; the different bodies of troops moved like red caterpillars
across the meadow and along the beach. Numbers of boats were drawn up on
the sand; many more were shuttling back and forth to the vessels in the
bay; three large frigates were anchored quite close in shore.

He looked at the men about him. It hardly seemed possible that these
lads, many scarcely older than himself, in gray yarn stockings and
patched coats, would be able to stand for an instant against that brave
array. Oh, if his brother William were only here beside him! and yet he
heaved a sigh of relief, for who could tell what was going to happen?

A bugle sounded, and the men ran back to the clearing and formed in
line. Their faces were pale, and there was little talking. A feeling of
unreality was in George's mind; he could scarcely believe that there was
going to be a battle. As yet he had not heard a death-dealing shot fired
in all his life, and he did not know that it seemed to have a different
sound from that of a gun discharged in practice or in sport.

Soon the regiment was on the move. They drove before them, as they made
their way along the ridge of hills, all the cattle and live-stock that
could be gathered in from the surrounding farms.

Looking back, they could see columns of smoke rising from the direction
of New Utrecht and Gravesend. Some cannon-shots were also heard, and
every heart beat quickly with excitement.

At last they reached the spot where the road crossed the Flatbush
meadows and wound up the valley. It was known as Central Pass. Here
coats were thrown aside, and with spades and improvised picks and
shovels a long redoubt was thrown up along the ridge. For three days
they toiled incessantly, felling trees and making escarpments of
sharpened stakes.

It had rained almost incessantly, and it seemed to George that his new
clothes would never get dry again. He had slept each night upon the
soaked ground, and his hands and feet were sore and blistered.

It was nine o'clock in the morning. The redoubt had been finished, and
the men, after an early parade, were cooking their breakfasts over
little smoky fires in the thickets. Suddenly the booming of two guns was
heard behind them.

For a day or so there had been random shots in front, but what did these
two lone reports mean? The soldiers jumped to their arms. A bugle had
rung clearly and sharply at the bottom of the hill. It was a strange
call it played.

"Steady!" was the word that came down the line. "Keep your fire until
they are close to us. Aim low. Keep cool."

Such were the instructions that were passed along by the officers.
Colonel Hand had stationed himself behind George's company. He was
standing so close that the latter could overhear what passed.

"I know not what those two guns mean," said Colonel Hand to a Major
Chauncey, "but signals of some kind, I judge they must be, from
Sullivan's forces over to the eastward."

But little did he know that it was those two signal-guns that had set on
foot the action, and that the sound had caused a feeling of exultation
to run through the English lines.

Now at the bottom of the hill could be seen moving troops; strange tall
hats extended above the shrubbery, and a line of brilliantly uniformed
soldiers burst out into the meadow. The green coats, the white and red
facings, and the glitter of brass told who they were.

"The Hessians!" exclaimed Major Chauncey. "Steady, lads. We can lick the
Dutchmen."

On they came. The clicking of the locks could be heard along the
redoubt. The men, trembling, but cool under the influence of their
commander, were settling themselves in easy positions for taking aim,
when suddenly a spreading volley was heard in the rear.

What could it mean? Surely there were none of the enemy behind them. Why
should the forces be firing?

"Here, some one climb a tree! Take this glass!" shouted Colonel Hand.

George stepped forward. It was no effort for him to make his way up into
the branches; but he did not need the glass, and his heart stood still.
He could hardly form the words that were upon his lips. What he had seen
was this: Gleams of red flaring here and there along the hill-side
behind them.

"We are surrounded," he shouted down, and slid through the branches with
a crash.

Some of the riflemen were sent back to meet the new forces in the rear,
but by this time the firing had commenced along the line, and the
Hessians were swarming up the hill. So confused now became events that
George could only see what happened close to him, and even of that his
recollections were most vague.

A tall form burst through the bushes, and a great red-bearded face
thrust itself over the redoubt. In an instant the forms seemed to be all
around him. The shouts varied, first in one direction and then another.
He could never forget the horror with which he saw a tall Hessian draw
back his bayonet at a young figure on the ground.

Twigs snapped and crackled all around, the bullets ripped through the
leaves of the trees, and the first thing the young sergeant knew he was
standing breast-high in a thicket, and before him stood a green-coated
foreigner who was breathing hard from the charge through the brush, and
who held at George's throat the point of a bayonet.

Captain Clarkson's company was at the extreme left wing. A little brook
ran down the hollow, and most of the fighting had been at the front and
to the left.

George scarcely noticed the shrieks and cries for mercy and the groans.
His eye was upon the figure standing in front of him, and the blade of
the roughly made sword he carried was grating against the bayonet that
was thrusting at him viciously. Twice he parried, and then his opponent
lunged again. The hilt and the musket came together with a clash.
George lost his footing, tripped over a fallen branch, and fell
backwards; but so great was the force of the lunge the green-coated
soldier had levelled at him that the latter too lost his balance and
pitched forward. Both fell over the bank of the little brook and rolled
down into the shallow water. They were now out of sight of the fighting
and locked in each other's arms. The Hessian snapped with his teeth like
a cornered dog, and with his fingers tried to close about George's
throat. But the boy was strong and wiry, and the man was tired from his
sharp run up the hill. Over and over they went in the sand and pebbles,
the young American silent, but the Hessian grunting and cursing in his
foreign tongue. At last George was on top, and his hand closed about a
large stone. He struck the man a heavy blow between the eyes, and the
latter relaxed his hold. He lay there with his body half in the muddy
waters of the brook.

George looked about him. The firing had now grown less and less, but the
shouts were still heard, and occasionally a bullet whistled through the
trees. Stooping, he picked up his dented sword, and without a glance at
the figure of the senseless German, made his way down the stream. He
crawled under the corner of a rail fence, and lay there in the ferns
trying to get his breath.

It was evident that Colonel Hand's brave forces had been destroyed; the
Americans had been driven back and defeated.

As night came on George moved from his hiding-place, and crawling on his
hands and knees, made his way again to the top of the incline. And now
his experience "playing Injun" at Stanham Mills came into good use. He
knew that the Americans must be to the northward.

Occasionally, as he went through the bushes, he stumbled across the
victims of the Hessians' fury, and, strange to say, again a feeling of
unreality came over him, his mind was so fixed on his own dangerous
position.

Watch-fires were on every side. Once or twice he had, unseen, crawled
across the beat of a British sentry, and in this way he entered the
American lines. In fact, he did not know he was there until he saw the
heavy earth-works, and heard a voice exclaim quite close to him:

"New York is lost, but we can whip them in New Jersey, I can promise
you."

George knew that voice in an instant. He arose from behind the stone
wall along which he had been crawling--for he had long since been in
among the houses. "Colonel Hewes!" he said. "Oh, Colonel Hewes!"

The party gathered about the fire in the road-side started.

"Who's there? Who called me?" inquired the one who had been speaking.

"I, George Frothingham," was the reply.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



THE LITTLE GOOSE'S DREAM.


A little goose eight months old--just old enough to be a very lively
goose, and not of a sufficiently mature age to be a Christmas
goose--stood upon the bank of the old mill-pond, lost in as pensive a
reverie as it is possible for a little goose of ordinary intelligence to
indulge in. She felt very sad and sore in spirit--sad, because the pond
was frozen as stiff as the dignity of a prime minister, and sore,
because she had but a short time before flopped down off the bank for a
swim, only to experience, upon coming in contact with the ice, a shock
that almost snapped her little wish-bone in twain. So the poor little
goose stood upon one foot while she buried the other in her plumage that
she might rub the sore spot. And while she stood in this position she
became drowsy in the Christmas-flavored air, and thrusting her head
beneath her wing fell asleep.

And while she was lost in slumber, she dreamed that she was a little toy
goose in a shop window on a busy thoroughfare. The window was dressed
for the Christmas season, and the poor young goose felt very humble and
out of place in the society of so many toy animals of a superior order.
Instead of being able to waddle about, she was fixed in a stationary
position upon an inclined platform, which worked up and down, after the
manner of an accordion, and created a sound which the maker believed
children would accept as a faithful imitation of the anserine voice. Now
this little toy goose was quite indignant to think that her notes were
so unnatural, for they were really no more like those of a goose than a
locomotive whistle is like a cornet solo. Still, the little goose
determined to make the best of the situation, and it is only fair to say
that her vanity was greatly tickled when she saw the children coming
from school pause at the window and look at her eagerly. A few days
before Christmas the little toy goose felt very sad and lonely when a
fat man with great white whiskers came in and purchased her for some
little boy, for she had become very fond of a toy ostrich, an old
companion in the window, and had always cherished the fond hope that
they might be purchased by the same person. And it almost made her cry
when she was wrapped in a piece of brown paper and thrust into the
darkness of the valise of her purchaser. Out of the store she went, she
knew not where until she was removed from her paper wrapper in a small
country house and set on a nursery mantel-piece, beside the clock, whose
ticking made her so nervous that she couldn't find the rest she so
greatly needed. A cotton lamb and a woollen doll, however, reminded her
of the shop window, and she would probably have felt perfectly happy if
she could only have forgotten her old friend the toy ostrich.
Fortunately, while thinking of the ostrich and the bitter pangs of
enforced separation, the clock stopped, and she fell asleep. In the
morning she was taken with the other Christmas toys (which the fat man
with the white whiskers had left) right into bed by Reginald, who made
her squeak with great delight.

And when he took her into the bath-room she fairly yearned to be in the
tub with him and his tin steamboat.

"Oh, how I want to swim!" thought the little goose, as she looked at the
dimpled water, and envied the happy steamboat. "But then I must remember
that I am made of pasteboard, and that if I should go into the water it
would surely result in my having my paint washed off, even if I should
not turn into pulp and sink. But some day I shall be a great big goose--
No, I shall not, because I don't grow. I shall always be the same size
and age--"

Here she was interrupted by Reginald's little terrier, who came into the
room and commenced to paw her about playfully on the white pine floor.
He accidentally scratched out one of her eyes, and this made her sadder
than ever, because she could only see what was going on on one side of
her. And what made it worse, her eye could not be restored with glue,
because it had fallen through a knot-hole. A day or two later the little
toy goose was placed upon the dining-room window-sill in such a position
that she could look out on the barn-yard. There she saw geese wandering
around at will as their fancies directed them. And it made her feel that
it was indeed a sorry lot to be a pasteboard, stationary toy goose,
instead of being a real live specimen hatched under fortune's star. She
saw them talking in a most sociable manner, just as little Reginald's
mother and the other members of the church sewing society talked when
that body met in the library down-stairs.

Then the little goose tried to close its eye upon a tragedy without, but
couldn't, because it was not, and never had been, in the enjoyment of
eyelids. So she had to look on while the coachman chased the flock. He
finally caught a large lordly gander, and chopping his head off, started
with him towards the kitchen. The others set up such a cackling as has
never been heard since the geese were instrumental in saving Rome from
the invading Gaul.

And the cackling was so intense that it woke the little goose from her
dream, and she heard all her sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts
flapping their wings and cackling at a great rate. And when she saw
Michael carrying an axe in one hand and a gander in the other towards
the house, her tender soul heaved with emotion, and two tears coursed
down her cheeks like twin pearls as she observed,

"Alas! they have gone and killed poor Uncle William to play the star
part at the Christmas feast!"

  R. K. MUNKITTRICK.



[Illustration]

The Little Giant.

By Thomas Dunn English.

CHAPTER I.


Once upon a time, in the country of the giants, there lived a young man
who was the mock of all his companions because he was somewhat deficient
in the qualities of a first-rate giant. He was very little, being not
seven feet high, while not one of his kinsfolk were less than ten; he
had so little bodily strength that he could scarcely lift an ox; and he
was so slow in his movements that his companions, in derision, called
him Gofaster. Although that was not his name, it clung to him, and he
was never known by any other. He had some merits, however; for he was
not only sensible and full of truthfulness and honor, but so
good-natured and kind-hearted that he was ever ready to do a good turn
to others, and would not harm even the meanest creeping thing.

[Illustration: GOFASTER FALLS IN WITH THE COWARDLY GIANTS.]

It chanced one day that Gofaster fell in with some giants who were great
cowards, but who took advantage of their superior strength to cuff him
and tweak his nose. As he had the heart of a lion, he fought them
lustily. But their numbers and strength were too much for him, and so
they overcame him and beat him severely. Then they carried away his cap,
his jerkin, and his shoes, leaving his head, back, and feet bare, and
his body bruised.

Poor Gofaster, so soon as his tormentors had gone, wandered into the
woodland in no very pleasant frame of mind. Bewailing his unhappy lot,
he came across a wretched hut with a low door, through which he entered
by stooping. He found there no occupants nor sign of human habitation
but a small heap of clothes, which lay upon the earthen floor. Examining
these, he found them to consist of a cap, a jerkin, and a pair of shoes.
They all seemed too small for him, but on trying them on they fitted
admirably.

"They are just what I want," said he, "and it is good fortune to find
them. On second thoughts, however, I shall put them off, for they are
not mine, and I must not, because of my need, rob another."

"You may take them and welcome," said a voice. "I have no use for them
for eleven months, and before that time you can return them to me, as
you will then have other garments to wear."

"But who are you," said Gofaster, "and where are you?"

"I am a Phooka," said the voice, "and my name is Shon. I am condemned to
be invisible for eleven months of the year, and banishment from Wales,
from whence I came, is also my penalty."

"But what was your fault?" asked Gofaster.

"My fault is like yours," said the goblin: "I am naturally too
good-natured. The Phookas, to whom I belong, are not only full of
mischief, but ill-natured in the pranks they play upon men. I am
mischievous also, but never to any one's hurt or serious annoyance.
Hence it is that the King of the Phookas has banished me from Wales for
three years, and my term will not expire for a twelvemonth. He has also
condemned me to be visible for only one month in the year. I have
watched you for months. I am the little old man whom you helped out of a
ditch to your own discomfort. I sympathize with you in your distress,
and, if you take my counsel, will bring you to good fortune."

"That is very kind of you," said Gofaster. "But how?"

"A thousand miles from here, in the far north," replied the Phooka, "in
the city of Huperborea, there reigns a King named Jornet, who has an
only child--a daughter called Amber. The Huperboreans are what you would
call dwarfs, being under five feet in height, with the exception of the
King, who is three inches taller than any of his subjects. He married in
the country of the giants where you live, and his daughter, though much
smaller than her mother, is within two inches of your height. She is
beautiful, intelligent, and affectionate, but no one of the princes
around have sought her hand, because of her height. Her father has been
enraged at this, and declares that the first man coming to his country,
though he be a private gentleman, if taller than she, provided he does
three things for the benefit of the state, shall be her husband and
succeed to the crown. Many have tried, having heard of these conditions,
but have done nothing worthy of the prize; besides, none of them found
favor in the eyes of the Princess Amber, and that is a part of the
conditions. You shall go, and you shall win."

"But how am I to get there, so great a distance? and how am I to support
myself when there? and what am I to do if I were to get there?"

"Listen," said the Phooka. "The clothes you have assumed have magic
powers. The cap is the cap of intellect, and makes you see clearly and
determine correctly. When in doubt, state the case in your own mind;
when you have come to what you should do, the cap will bind itself
tightly to your head. The jerkin is the jerkin of strength. While you
wear it you will have four times the strength of other men. The shoes
are the shoes of endurance. So long as they are on your feet you will be
able to bear any toil without fatigue. As for means to support you,
place your hand in your pocket and draw out a purse which it contains."

Gofaster obeyed, and drew out a small silken purse. "Why, this," he
said, "contains but one coin--a broad gold piece."

"Take out the coin and put it in your pocket." And Gofaster obeyed.

"Why," said the giant, "there is another piece in the purse."

"Do with that as you did with the other." And Gofaster did so.

"Well," said the giant, "there seems to be another still."

"As often as you draw out," said the goblin, "from that inexhaustible
treasury it will be replaced by another. And now I can transport you to
Huperborea. You could not get there without my assistance, for between
that country and this there are hundreds of miles of eternal ice and
snow, with a very short season of growth of stunted herbage, with few
animals that you could kill for support; and those who have tried to
visit this great open sea, which skirts the Huperborea kingdom, have
either been obliged to turn back or have perished miserably. I have the
power to transport you thither. How will you go? Above, below, or
between?"

Gofaster said to himself, "Which shall it be? Shall I go upward or on
the ground--that seems best--or midway?"

When he uttered to himself "midway" the cap clasped itself tightly to
his head, so he answered, "Midway."

The goblin gave a hollow laugh. "The cap has counselled you wisely," he
said. "Had you said above, I should have carried you so high that you
would have almost died of terror before we ended our short journey. Had
you said on the ground, you would have been dragged over rocks and
bushes, so as to get there much hurt, and I would have had no power to
change this. But as you have said midway, you will have a swift and
pleasant journey. Let us depart."

[Illustration: THE JOURNEY TO HUPERBOREA.]

Gofaster felt something take his hand and lead him out of the door. Then
he was drawn upward slightly, and forward, with great speed but no
discomfort. It was noon when they started. They passed over lakes,
rivers, and mountains, the weather changing to somewhat more chilly from
what they had departed; and it seemed as though they must have gone the
whole night through without his knowing it, for when they gently touched
the ground at the end of the journey there appeared to Gofaster the rays
of the morning sun.


CHAPTER II.

The place where the giant alighted was nearly in front of what, in spite
of its two stories, seemed to be a mere hut. It was surrounded by a
well-kept garden.

"I wonder," said Gofaster, aloud, "if I will get shelter here for the
night."

A hollow laugh at his elbow showed that his friend had not departed.
"The days here," said the goblin, "are six months long, and the nights
are just as long as the days. During the day, which has just begun, the
weather is tolerably comfortable, and mid-day is the only summer the
Huperboreans have; the night is intensely cold, but you will be able to
purchase furs to make you comfortable. Tho owner of this house is a man
of fair fortune, but as he lives on the outskirts of the city, apart
somewhat from his fellows, he likes to entertain travellers if he take
the least fancy toward them at sight. Knock, and make your bargain with
him, for you will find there a good place to stay for a while, and its
owner can give you whatever information you require about the King, the
Court, and the people."

Gofaster obeyed the commands of his monitor. He entered the pathway,
and, on arriving at the door, rapped. In a moment or so the door was
opened, and there stood a slender old man, with a face full of wrinkles,
in which appeared a pair of sharp, twinkling eyes.

"I am called Gofaster," said the giant, bowing, "and am on a visit to
this country unattended. I am informed that you occasionally entertain
travellers, and if you could make room for me I should feel under
obligation, and be prepared to compensate you fairly."

[Illustration: "THERE IS NO BEDSTEAD LONG ENOUGH FOR YOU."]

The host looked up and said, "You are one of the giants, and would have
to sleep on the floor, for there is no bedstead long enough for you."

"That would suit me very well," said Gofaster.

"My terms are two lyro a day," said the other, "and my name is Hepsone."

"I am not familiar," said the giant, "with the coin of this country."

"This is a lyro," replied Hepsone, taking from his pocket and displaying
a coin of about the size of a half-dollar.

"I do not have silver," returned the giant, producing a coin from his
pocket. "How many lyros are there in this?"

Hepsone looked at it curiously. "About fifteen, I should say," was his
answer.

"In my country," said the giant, "it would take twenty of such coin as
that you show me to balance this, but I suppose silver is more valuable
here. Your terms are reasonable, and I accept them with thanks."

"Come in, then," said Hepsone, and they entered.

The door opened into a side hall about a foot higher than the giant's
head; for though he had to stoop to enter, when once in he easily stood
upright.

"Pray be seated," said Hepsone; "and as we have an hour left before
breakfast, let us talk a little. May I ask why you came here--on
business or pleasure?"

"On pleasure, I hope," replied Gofaster; "and that I may more readily
secure it I should like to know something about the King, the royal
family, and the nobles of the people. Is your King a good one?"

"As kings go, yes," replied Hepsone. "As his faithful subject, I have no
fault to find with him, nor is there any occasion. He rules as justly as
his Prime-minister, Count Snarlitz, will let him, is very kind-hearted
and anxious for the good of his people, but he generally leaves public
affairs to his ministers, especially in the season of hunting, of which
sport he is very fond. He hunts to-day in the forest a mile beyond, and
if you care to look at him you need only go there after breakfast, and
probably will be able to cross his path. As for the royal family, it is
a very small one. The Queen died five years since, and the King has
declared that he will never again marry. He has only one child, a
daughter, who is distinguished from the ladies of the Court by the fact
that she is nearly as tall as you. She is very lovely, in spite of her
size, and is almost worshipped by the mass of people, who desire to see
her mated in order that the succession may not go to a distant
connection of the King, a man who is hated by all classes. As for the
people, they are like the people everywhere, I suppose. There is a
sprinkling of honest men, another of wise men, as many as both of
rogues, and all the rest are fools."

In the course of the conversation Gofaster learned some facts of
interest. He found that life must be very dreary indeed during the six
months of night the people had, their main light coming from torches
made from split pieces of pine, and all business being suspended not
only during hours of sleep, but in the intervals of meals, until the six
months of day came back. He also learned that the people suffered every
month from a species of water famine. The water was supplied from a
reservoir on a high hill back of the city, which was fed from a large
spring; for a month at a time the spring ceased to flow, the reservoir
was drained dry, and water for domestic purposes of any kind had to be
brought from a distance.

In this reservoir there lived a huge water dragon over fifty feet long
who was called Slander; and no one could get there to examine the cause
of the stoppage on account of the breath of this brute, which breath
poisoned every one who came within reach of it.

After more conversation breakfast was announced, and our traveller found
the meal to be a very good one and well served, though his seat was so
low that as he sat there his knees were on a level with the top of the
table. After breakfast he asked Hepsone how he should manage to purchase
a wardrobe, as he supposed there was no ready-made clothing in the city
beyond which would fit him.

"As for that," said Hepsone, "there need be no trouble. I know a very
worthy tailor who will be glad to make you anything that you desire at
the shortest notice, and though he makes for some of the nobles of the
Court, will be ready, for cash, to do it reasonably. If you say so, I
will send for him at once."

To this Gofaster assented, and said he would go to the forest when the
meal closed, and see if his Majesty and the nobles were there, engaged
in the hunt. "But," he added, "I might meet with some wild beast, and
should like to have a weapon to defend myself."

"As for that," replied Hepsone, "I can serve you there too. I had a
lodger a year since who was here with the hope of marrying the Princess
Amber, but he failed to win her favor or do anything worthy of note. His
money ran out at the last, and in part settlement of his account with me
he left a very valuable sword. As it is too long for any of our people,
I have had it by me ever since. You might gird that upon you, but, if I
may advise you, I would also take that battle-axe you see on the wall,
which you will find a more ready weapon in a close encounter."

Gofaster accepted both these offers, and with sword at his side and
battle-axe in hand, started off in the direction of the forest, which he
soon reached. He wandered there for some time without meeting any one or
anything, until finally he heard the sound of a horn. Making his way in
that direction, he saw a group of men, and among them one who was a
little taller than the others, whom, from that fact, and also because he
was the only one bonneted, he inferred to be the King. He placed himself
beside a huge fir tree, which was almost the sole kind in the forest, in
order to observe more closely; but at that moment the King waved his
hand, and the group, apparently at his order, broke and dispersed in
various directions.

The giant made his way at a respectful distance after the King, who was
attended only by a large hound. The latter was fleet of foot, but as the
strides of the giant were one-half as long again as those of the King,
Gofaster was enabled to keep at the same distance without exertion. For
a half-hour nothing out of the way occurred, nor did the hound seem to
put up any game. At length the animal started, stopped, sniffed the air,
and with a loud bay bounded off, followed quickly by the King, and, in
turn, by Gofaster. As the two latter ran they heard the sound of a
conflict, with a yelp of pain from the dog, and both came suddenly to an
open space, where they found that the animal had encountered a huge
white bear, for whom he was no match, and had speedily been despatched
by his antagonist.

[Illustration]

The King was armed only with a hunting-spear and sword, and the bear,
made furious by the attack of the dog, at once turned upon his human
enemy. The latter, spear in hand, stood firmly; but the bear, with a
sweep of his powerful arm, struck the weapon with such force sidewise as
to shatter the shaft. In an instant more the monarch, who had drawn his
sword, would have been unable to make any serious resistance; but
Gofaster, who had rushed forward, and whose step had not attracted the
attention of the beast, drove his battle-axe with full force into the
skull of the bear, and the huge animal fell dead at the feet of the
King.

King Jornet coolly returned his sword to its scabbard. "Sir Stranger,"
said he, "you have rendered us a service most opportune. Eighteen inches
of cold steel would have no chance against that brute's claws. May I ask
to whom I am indebted for this aid?"

"A mere private gentleman," replied Gofaster, "from the country of the
giants, who is travelling here for pleasure, and who happily strolled
this way this morning. May I ask whom I have had the honor of serving?"

"I am the King," said the latter, "and I should be glad to see you at
Court as early as may suit your convenience, that I may express my
thanks in a more fitting way than I can do now."

"I shall not fail to obey your Majesty's command," said the giant,
bowing.

"And your name?" asked the King.

"Gofaster, your Majesty."

"Well, then, _Count_ Gofaster," said the King, laying emphasis on the
title, "in less than a week we shall expect to see you." The King bowed,
which the giant took to be an expression that he desired him not to be
present when his courtiers came; and as the King applied his horn to his
lips and sounded a few notes, Gofaster returned to the house of Hepsone.

Shortly after his departure the courtiers came in from various
directions, and looked with astonishment at the bear and the dead hound.

"He was killed by a stranger, who came in good time," said the King,
pointing to the dead bear; but he gave no further word of explanation.


CHAPTER III.

On his return to the house of Hepsone, Gofaster found there a crooked
little man, whom his host introduced as Snipper, the tailor. After a
bargain had been made, and as the tailor was measuring his new
customer--which in order to do completely he was obliged to stand on a
stool--Hepsone examined the battle-axe, which the giant had laid aside.

"Why," said he, "the edge of this is nicked in two places, and it is
marked with blood. Did you meet with game?"

"Yes," said the giant, "a white bear, and he lies there in the forest."

"A white bear!" cried the host, in amazement. "Did you have the courage
to face a brute like that?"

"Oh," replied Gofaster, laughing, "I dealt him a coward's blow from
behind; but I take no shame for it, since I would have had no chance had
I faced him."

"I should like to know all about it," said Hepsone, eagerly.

"At some other time, but not now," said the giant, for he reflected that
the King might not wish the adventure recounted without his consent.

After the departure of the tailor the giant took another stroll, in
order to gain an appetite for dinner. This time he made his way up a
hill, whose sides were covered with small evergreen-bushes, from whose
summit he thought he would obtain a good view of the town below. As he
advanced higher the bushes disappeared, and the ground was barren and
destitute of herbage. He then recognized a disagreeable odor, which
increased as he advanced. He feared that he was approaching the abode of
the dragon, but could see no signs of the beast or his habitation. He
came at length to some openings in the ground, which emitted a stench
that seemed strangely familiar.

"Why," said he, "this resembles the gas springs which we have in my
country, which we conduct through pipes to the town, and use it for
purposes of illumination and heat. I must remember this, and take
advantage of it."

Three days later the tailor returned with his new clothes. They fitted
perfectly, and he felt himself ready for the audience.

As he was hesitating whether or not to seek the King, he heard horses'
hoofs without, and, looking through the low window, beheld a group of
gentlemen, each of less than medium height, who were mounted upon
ponies. They were in conversation with his host, and as they spake
loudly, he heard their words.

"We have been seeking through the town," said the spokesman, "for a
foreign gentleman, the Count Gofaster, and not finding him, have come
here with the hope that he might lodge with you."

"There is a gentleman here," said Hepsone, "but I did not know that he
was a Count. Has he done anything wrong?"

"Not that I know of," said the other, laughing; "but his Majesty the
King and her Royal Highness the Princess Amber are desirous of seeing
him, and we are ordered to summon him to Court."

At this Gofaster emerged from the door and confronted the group. "I am
Gofaster," he said, "and the gracious wishes of his Majesty are
commands. I shall have the honor of seeking an audience without delay."

"We have brought a horse for your convenience, Count," said the
spokesman, pointing to a gaudily caparisoned pony about twelve hands
high.

The giant could scarcely suppress a laugh. "I think," said he, dryly,
"that walking would be an easier mode of travelling. With your
permission, I shall accompany you on foot."

[Illustration: GOFASTER ESCORTED TO THE KING'S PALACE.]

The party then set out, and made their way through the town to the royal
palace. Curious crowds lined the narrow streets, and were with
difficulty kept back by the police, so eager were they to see this
gigantic stranger.

"Count," said the monarch, as he received him in the palace, "we have
sent for you because we were impatient to thank you in this public
manner for the service you so promptly rendered to our person, and to
welcome to our Court a nobleman whom we hope to see one of its chiefest
ornaments. Let me present you to Count Snarlitz, our Prime-minister."

Gofaster and Snarlitz bowed to each other, the former with good-humor,
and the latter with a sneer on his lip and a twinkle of ill will in his
eye which the giant did not fail to recognize.

"In faith," said the giant to himself, "I feel this to be an enemy, and
will have to be on guard. He fears that I will be a favorite, and may
interfere with his hold on the King."

The King now descended from his throne, followed by the Princess, to
whom Gofaster was presented. At a signal from the King, Snarlitz and the
others fell back, and the Princess added her thanks in a manner that
showed her appreciation of the service rendered and but half-concealed
admiration for the new-comer.

At command of the King, Gofaster was assigned apartments in the royal
palace, and a week thereafter, the faithful tailor having fully stocked
his wardrobe, he took possession of them.

Before this, however, a banquet was given in his honor, and at this
Count Snarlitz changed his manner in the most marked way, and paid the
giant the most profound deference, indulging in compliments at times so
extreme as to be offensive.

Before the guests had arisen from the board the Prime-minister, in the
course of conversation, said: "If it please your Majesty, I look upon it
as most fortunate that this gallant gentleman is one who is able to
render a most marked service to the state. He is the only one, I think,
who has the courage and the power to face and destroy the powerful
dragon of the reservoir."

"No, no!" said the Princess Amber, instantly; "that is too perilous."

"Nay, daughter," said the King, "let us hear what the Count himself has
to say on the matter."

Gofaster hesitated a moment. His cap, which had already given him such
trusty counsel, had been removed, and he could not replace it in the
King's presence; but his embarrassment was at once relieved. A hollow
laugh at his elbow told him that his invisible friend, the Phooka, was
there, and he heard a voice unheard by the others, which said to him,
"Accept for a week hence."

Then Gofaster arose, and bowing to the King, said, "In a week from this
time, with your Majesty's permission, I shall undertake the adventure."

To his great delight, the giant saw the Princess turn pale at this
announcement, and his heart beat high with hope. But after the banquet
was over, and he had taken his leave, he felt that he had done a rash
thing.

"How shall I be able," he said, "to face, much less to overcome, this
terrible Slander, whose breath is poison to all who confront it."

"Easily enough," said the voice of the Phooka in his ear. "There is a
little herb called truth, which grows in out-of-the-way places, and I
can lead you to it. Mix that with honey, of which the dragon is
extremely fond, and which he can scent at some distance. He will not
detect the mixture, but eat the honey greedily, and the truth in it will
kill him."


CHAPTER IV.

The night before the day he had fixed for the adventure Gofaster went to
the house of Hepsone, where he slept. Before retiring he sent for a pot
of honey, which was brought him.

[Illustration: THE DRAGON MAKES FOR THE POT OF HONEY.]

The next morning, with the honey and a large dish, he went from the hut
of Hepsone in search of the herb called truth. It was soon obtained, for
he who seeks truth earnestly can always find it. Gathering a quantity,
he mixed it thoroughly with the honey; and then, still under the
Phooka's direction, travelled to a spot at no great distance from the
reservoir, where he placed the great dish on the ground, poured into it
the contents of the jar, and retreated to a safe distance, where from a
grove he could observe events. He had not long to wait. He heard a
peculiar sound, which satisfied him that the great beast had scented the
honey and would proceed in search of it. Standing behind a tree, he saw
the animal emerge into an open space, and was struck with something like
fear when he beheld its immense size. This was not unmixed with
admiration. The body of the animal as it appeared approaching through
the trees was covered with glittering scales, which flashed in the
sunlight at every motion. It hurried eagerly to the honey, which it
lapped up with its tongue, after the manner of the dog, until he had
entirely cleaned the dish of its contents, swallowing at the same time
the herb. He stood with what appeared to be an air of satisfaction for
some time, glancing around, so that Gofaster was obliged to hide himself
still more effectually behind the trunk, lest he might be seen.

After a while a noise as of some one beating the earth furiously caused
the giant to peer cautiously from one side of his hiding-place. There he
beheld the dragon making the most terrible contortions, beating the
ground with his long and massive tail, and apparently suffering great
agony. This continued for some time; then the motion of the beast became
weaker, and finally, with a terrific roar, it lay over on its back and
became perfectly motionless.

"It may not be dead," said Gofaster, "and I had better wait."

"Slander is dead!" said the voice of the Phooka. "Truth has killed him.
You may advance without fear and cut off his head."

"Why should I do that?" said the giant.

"Simply as an evidence of your exploit; otherwise your friend Count
Snarlitz might not be convinced. Beware of the Count."

"I have seen enough to make me do that already," replied Gofaster.

"Very good; but you must have friends at Court. There are two parties
there; that of Count Snarlitz is a power just now, but he has a rival in
Count Merit, and you must attach yourself to him."

"But why should I," inquired the giant, "a stranger here, meddle in
Court politics? Is it not safer to stand between both and lean to
neither, and thus get none of the tumble when the seesaw goes up or
down?"

"Did you ever, as a boy, play at seesaw?" asked the Phooka.

"Yes, and generally stood in the centre and balanced myself."

"Then," said the Phooka, "you had all the tumbles and none of the rides.
Make yourself friends with Count Merit."

"I see," replied the giant.

By this time they had reached the dead dragon, and with a few powerful
strokes of his huge sword Gofaster severed the head from the body.
Raising it with ease, through the immense strength conveyed by the
jerkin, the giant proceeded towards the house of Hepsone. The weight he
bore was enormous, but the shoes of endurance played their part well,
and it seemed to him almost as light as a feather.

[Illustration: GOFASTER CARRIES THE DRAGON'S HEAD TO TOWN.]

Before he had gone half a mile he came upon some boys gathering wild
berries, which grew here and there upon the sides of the declivity. They
looked at the head of the beast in wonder, and then scampered to the
town with the news that the dragon had been slain.

By the time Gofaster reached his lodging-place he found it surrounded by
groups of the townsfolk, who had come to verify the truth of the story
told by the boys. Soon there came others and others; by night--that is,
by the night of the giant, for he kept time by his watch, and not by the
sun--the place was surrounded by a crowd, whose shouts rent the air, and
who hailed Gofaster as the great benefactor of the state.

Presently a troop of soldiers having a small wagon came, and on the
vehicle they brought Gofaster placed the head, and bidding adieu to
Hepsone, the giant made his way with it through the crowds that
accompanied and hovered around him until he entered the palace grounds,
where the King and Court, having been apprised of the exploit, waited to
receive the trophy and honor the victor.

There was but one exception to the general rejoicing and
congratulations. Count Snarlitz stood on one side, moody and depressed.
One gentleman advanced from the group and presented his hand to
Gofaster.

"Count," said he, "let me introduce myself. I am Count Merit, and I
congratulate you on the eminent service you have this day rendered the
state."

"I like this man," said the giant to himself, as he took the proffered
hand. Bowing to the King, he glanced timidly at the Princess Amber.

She said nothing, but the expression in her eyes and the color that came
and went in her face made his heart throb with joy.

"Count," said the King, advancing, "for the service you have this day
rendered we are not able to fully compensate you, but we shall create
you Knight Grand Cross of the New Noble Order of the White Bear, which
we have this day established, and call you to our Privy Council. If
there be anything you desire, you have only to name it."

"With my thanks for your Majesty's gracious favor already bestowed, I
have only to ask a private audience, that I may communicate to your
Majesty a matter of importance."

"By all means," said the King. "Accompany me to my private cabinet.
Daughter, we will excuse your attendance."

"If your Majesty please," interposed Gofaster, "there is no reason why
her Royal Highness should not be present. They say a woman cannot keep a
secret, but I have found them to be the most trusty confidantes."

"You must have a sister or a sweetheart," said the Princess Amber.

"Neither, your Royal Highness."

"Then," said the Princess, smiling, "you remember your mother."

"Now," said the King, as the three entered the cabinet, "I am ready to
listen."

Gofaster then spoke of the insufficient means of light during the six
months of night peculiar to the country, and spoke of his discovery of
the gas springs.

"Yes," said the King, "we all know it; it is a great injury in rainy
weather, when the stench is blown into the town, to the annoyance of our
people as well as to ourself. Attempts have been made to fill these
holes up, but everything thrown in is ejected with some force, or, if
very heavy, disappears without making any marked change. If you could
rid us of it you would confer the last of the three great favors of the
state, and then--" With these words he glanced at Princess Amber, who
blushed.

Gofaster now detailed his plan to the King, by which he hoped to conduct
the gas--which was inflammable--safely into the royal palace and through
the town for the purposes of illumination. The King was struck with the
idea, but said it was impracticable on account of the expense. The taxes
were already as high as the people could well bear, and the treasury was
nearly empty.

"But," said Gofaster, "I have ample means, and I propose to do this at
my own expense."

"You shall have our permission, and may make it a monopoly to your own
advantage."

"That I do not desire," replied the giant. "It is enough if I can give
more comfort to your people, and will aid in making your Majesty's reign
still more notable."


CHAPTER V.

Presently there ran a rumor through the town that Count Gofaster, who
had already performed two notable exploits, was engaged in something
which promised to be of great advantage to the people of the capital
city. What that was no one knew besides the King and Princess, but it
was noticed that a number of mechanics, among them a noted boiler-maker,
had been sent for, and visited the apartments of Gofaster in the palace,
whence they emerged with countenances of satisfaction, which proved they
were to be employed on a job they deemed to be profitable; but they had
been forbidden to speak on the matter until the time came.

It was a month before even they learned the nature of the undertaking,
and in the mean while other rumors arose of a different nature. It was
whispered around that the stranger was a foreign prince in disguise, a
son of the King of Giant-land, and that he was merely paving the way to
an attempt to dethrone King Jornet and crown himself instead. Some
believed the story, and some did not. The party of Count Snarlitz were
active in circulating and commenting upon the charge, while the party of
Count Merit ridiculed it and branded it as an absurdity. The people
loved their King, but the mass of them remembered that Gofaster had
saved his Majesty from death, and had destroyed one of the greatest
perils to the state; and the general current of opinion sided with the
party of Count Merit. It was well known too by this time that the
Princess Amber--who was even more beloved than her father--favored the
stranger, who had nothing to gain but almost everything to lose by
sinister conduct. Of this Gofaster would have known nothing, perhaps,
had it not been for his friend the Phooka, who told him of the rumors
and the discussion thereon.

These, he said, were through Count Snarlitz, who would probably make
them the basis of charges later on, leaving no means untried which would
crush this stranger, to whom he had taken an invincible dislike. "Count
Merit," said the Phooka, "well divines the object of this movement and
who has set it on foot, and will use it as a lever to overthrow his
rival and elevate himself to power. You now see the advantage of having
gained a friend in Count Merit. Go on with your present design, and let
these parties in the mean time fight it out. It is enough for you to
face the danger openly when it presents itself."

Gofaster took this advice, and making no sign that he knew of the
intrigues around him, proceeded with his work. Large iron tubes were
brought from time to time to the park around the palace, and to various
points between that and the gas springs, and these were carefully
guarded. Then a troop of laborers, like busy ants, began to delve around
the gas springs, excavating a large circle, and from thence making a
ditch down the hill and through the town so far as the royal palace: a
cross ditch was also made along the principal street.

When the authorities, under the direction of the Minister of the
Interior, prepared to stop this work, they were shown the King's order
investing Gofaster with full power. Count Snarlitz, on learning of this,
waited upon the King, and supposing that his services could not be
dispensed with, complained that a royal order had been issued, contrary
to form, without being attested by him, and tendered his resignation. To
his great surprise and chagrin, the King accepted it, and sent for Count
Merit, whom he commanded to form a ministry.

Though there were no newspapers but one--the _Court Journal_--and this
was seen by but few people, the news of the downfall of the Snarlitz
ministry went from mouth to ear throughout the country. Count Snarlitz
had been so haughty and overbearing that he had few friends among the
common folk; and among the nobles his party speedily diminished when it
was discovered that he had lost the confidence of the King, and that the
Princess Amber was decidedly unfriendly to him. He retired from office,
secretly vowing vengeance on the stranger, and waiting for an
opportunity to gratify his malice.

The people soon forgot all about him in their wonder at the new and
strange work going on under their eyes. They speculated a deal upon it
without learning its object, since none, with the exception of Gofaster,
knew that the gas of the springs could be burned, and if they had would
not have believed that it could be done with safety.

Even when the masons had built a wall around the cavity that had been
made at the springs, and immense columns had been erected around it,
they were still ignorant, and their wonder heightened. It was only when
the boiler-makers had completed a huge tank which filled the cavity, and
connected the pipes therewith--smaller tubes having been laid in the
King's palace, and others connected with the pipes buried in the
streets--that the people became aware of what was to be done.

And now there arose a whisper around which soon deepened into clamor. It
was said that the purpose of Gofaster was to force this deadly gas into
the palace, killing the King and Court, and, by throwing the bulk of it
into the town, so enfeeble the people, as well as the army, that the
place would become a ready prey to a band of giants, who were to come no
one knew how, and whence no one could tell.

The populace fell under the influence of this rumor, scandalously
circulated by the Snarlitz faction, and assembling in large numbers,
marched to the palace, where they demanded the cessation of the
dangerous work and the immediate banishment of Count Gofaster from the
realm. The new Prime-minister had not, however, been idle. Fearing this
uprising, and having been let into this secret by the giant, he had
without noise marched a considerable military force into the park, and
when the rioters entered they were confronted by a body of soldiers
drawn up in line. The mob hesitated, and a mob which hesitates can
easily be diverted from its purpose. It was armed after a fashion, but
had no system or discipline, and stood there fearing to advance or
retreat.

At that moment the King and his daughter suddenly appeared upon the
palace steps. A hoarse roar arose from the multitude, demanding the
banishment, if not the death, of the stranger, who was to destroy them
all.

The King waved his hand for silence, but the alarm of the people seemed
to be intensified by the momentary check; and the clamor increased in
violence. It seemed as though a revolution were imminent, not merely of
the ministry, but one that imperilled the King himself. At that moment
the Princess Amber stepped forward, and the crowd was hushed to silence,
for the Princess was beloved of the common people exceedingly. Her
interest in their needs and sufferings, her many benefactions, and the
well-known fact of her influence with her royal father--all these had at
various times succeeded in lowering the exactions of the
Prime-ministers, and in relieving the people from many abuses that had
crept into the state. She had, therefore, never appeared before them
without exciting admiration.

"Good people," she said, "can you not trust in what I tell you?"

The tide was turned in an instant, and the cry came as if from one man,
"Yes, we can trust you!"

"Then," she said, "hear me. Bad men have abused your confidence. We have
full knowledge of what is doing and why it has been done; it is for the
benefit of all of you; it is to cheer your homes and to make life during
the dreary winter nights not only endurable, but one that you can enjoy.
Continue to trust me, who never have deceived any one. Go home peaceably
and quietly, and with confidence in what I tell you, await a happy
result."

There is nothing so sudden as the reaction of a mob. Smiles succeeded
frowns, the crowd gave loud cheers for the Princess, and then melted
slowly and quietly away. The danger to the throne had passed.


CHAPTER VI.

The work done inside the King's palace was not seen by the multitude,
but they saw large pipes laid in the ditches, the ditches themselves
filled up, and a long row of tubes rising ten or twelve feet in the air,
whose uses they could not divine. But in spite of the diverse rumors
still circulated by the Snarlitz faction, the people cheered themselves
with the reassuring words of the Princess Amber, and patiently awaited
results. This was strengthened by the reports of the workmen who were
employed in the palace, and who averred--though they were bound to
secrecy--that what was to be done would be a great public benefit. Much
speculation was indulged in as to what the secret doings were, but after
a time this faded out; the people minded their own affairs, and only
talked about the matter occasionally when they passed the tall tubes in
the roadway. A guard was placed on the great tank on the hill, and the
public at large were forbidden to visit the spot.

And so time passed on until the six-months day had ended, the sun had
sunk out of sight, and the twilight had deepened into gloom. Then
suddenly bright lights were seen in all the windows of the King's
palace, and there issued forth a number of men bearing lighted torches,
which they applied hurriedly to the tops of the tubes that lined the
roadway down into and along the principal streets of the town.

A steady light was given out by each of these gigantic candles, making
the roadway and street light and cheery, while crowds of people came
from all quarters to enjoy the novel spectacle.

Count Gofaster was the hero of the hour. Even the adherents of Snarlitz
were silenced and forced to admit that the giant had conferred the third
great benefit on the state. The King, in his own brilliantly lighted
hall of audience, thanked him before the assembled nobles of the Court
for the great service he had rendered.

"In due time," said the King, "every street in the town shall be lighted
through this means, and if the six months of night be not bright as day,
they will at least be rendered enjoyable."

It was now the opportunity of Gofaster to demand the fulfilment of the
King's pledge in regard to the man who should confer three benefits on
the state and obtain the favor of the Princess.

But Gofaster dared not speak. To his surprise and sorrow, he found that
the manner of the Princess was not only less cordial, but shy and
reserved, and that she seemed to avoid him. The young giant was not
versed in the ways of womankind, and found discouragement in what should
have given him hope. He had not studied the proverb, "Faint heart never
won fair lady," and reflected much upon his former comparatively low
condition, from which he had only been removed by the favor of the
sovereign, and which did not seem to warrant a close alliance with the
royal family. He became moody, and sank into a kind of hopeless gloom,
under which his health suffered. His friend the Prime-minister saw this,
but did not conjecture the cause; neither, apparently, did the King nor
Princess.

Gofaster withdrew himself as much as possible from the royal presence,
and seemed to have no friend to whom he was willing to confide his
trouble. He even forgot the Phooka, but the latter did not forget him.

As Gofaster was seated in his apartments, ruminating upon his sad fate,
he heard a hollow laugh near him, which he recognized as that of his
invisible guardian.

"Clearly," said the goblin, "all human beings are fools, and Count
Gofaster seems to be about the biggest fool of all."

The giant did not resent the reproach, for the gratitude toward his
benefactor blunted the point of it, if it did not relieve the sting.

"Possibly," he said, in reply. "But why now more than usual?"

"Clearly," answered the other, "because you are breaking your heart
about the love of a young woman who is breaking hers because you do not
make the proper advances. Do you expect a maiden, setting aside her high
rank, to be won without wooing?"

"But I dare not," said Gofaster, despairingly.

"He who dares not is lost," said the Phooka. "I know everything that
goes on through the palace, because I pass everywhere without
observation. The Princess believes you indifferent to her charms, and is
mortified that she has given her heart to one who treats her with
neglect. The whole town is talking of it, and wondering why you do not
embrace the good-fortune in store for you."

A new light broke in upon the giant's mind. "I shall try," he said.

"Try is the best dog in the pack," said the goblin.

Gofaster now plucked up courage and appeared at the audience--which was
given every twenty-four hours--bravely arrayed, and with a cheerful
face. He joined in conversation with the friends whom he had made among
the nobles, and even ventured to address some observations to the
Princess and the ladies of honor around her, the latter of whom received
him with marked pleasure. Bit by bit the conversation in this group
became general, and finally the Princess herself joined in it, throwing
off her reserve. As the two spoke together more freely, the ladies of
honor drew back, as if by tacit agreement, and the Princess and Gofaster
were left together.

"I have not sufficiently congratulated you, Count," said the Princess,
"on your last great achievement."

"Nor have I, your Royal Highness," answered he, "thanked you for the
kindly and effective words you spoke in behalf of my project when its
success seemed doubtful."

"But _I_ never doubted it or you," said the Princess.

"Princess Amber," said the giant. But here he stopped.

"Well, Count?" said the Princess.

"I have been fortunate enough," said he, "to render three times some
service to the state, and might claim some reward for it; but there is
only one reward that I desire, and that depends upon your Royal
Highness."

"Name it," said the Princess. "Speak freely."

"I would be bold enough to ask your father for your hand were I sure it
would meet with approval from you, but I have not had the presumption to
hope."

"He who deserves," said the Princess, blushing, "does not presume," and
she turned away.

Thus encouraged, Gofaster boldly preferred a request to the King that
the royal pledge should be fulfilled. The King smiled good-naturedly,
and saying "A King should never break his word," led him to the Princess
and joined their hands. Then turning to the Court, he said: "We give our
daughter a fitting mate and the kingdom an heir-presumptive on whose
courage and capacity it can rely."

The lords and ladies of the Court congratulated the betrothed couple,
who were shortly after wedded in great state, to the satisfaction of
all.

Some weeks after the marriage, as Prince Gofaster--for he had been
raised to that rank--was passing into his cabinet, he heard the hollow
laugh which betokened the presence of Shon the Phooka. Turning to face
the sound, he saw before him a laughing boy a little over four feet in
height, who wore what seemed to be the jerkin of strength and the shoes
of endurance, shrunk to his own size.

"I have resumed my property," said Shon, "because you have no further
use for them, with the exception of the cap of intellect, which I leave
behind for your use. So long as you have that it will give you what
additional strength and endurance you require. I now leave you. My term
of banishment will end in a week. If my monarch knew what service I had
rendered you I should be banished again; but, fortunately, there is no
stray Phooka here to tattle, and I shall keep my own counsel. Rely upon
the cap of intellect, and your future, though it may be checkered by
losses and crosses, will be a glorious one."

"In what way can I show my gratitude to you?" said Gofaster. "How can I
let you know what I feel?"

"Best," replied the goblin, "by forgetting me in course of time. As days
and years go by all sense of obligation in human creatures grows less,
and I doubt if you will be the sole exception to the rule." Then, with a
hollow laugh, he disappeared.

The Princess Amber succeeded to the throne. How long and how wisely they
ruled the kingdom, and how, when the King died, he was succeeded by his
oldest son--this is all written in the chronicles of Huperborea. I
should be glad to tell all about it, but I have not been able to obtain
a copy of those chronicles. The Phooka has never shown himself to me,
and I have not been able to get him to convey me midway beyond the
barrier of ice and snow which separates Huperborea and its surrounding
kingdoms from the rest of the world; and the reader must be content with
what I have given him and ask for no more.



AN EXTRAVAGANT COSTUME.


There have been dandies and dudes in all ages. A hundred years ago these
were known humorously as "Macaronis," and their dress was wonderful. A
journal published at that time says:

"A few days ago a Macaroni made his appearance in the Assembly Rooms at
Whitehaven in the following dress: A mixed silk coat, pink sattin
waistcoat and breeches, covered with an elegant silver nett; white silk
stockings, with pink clocks; pink sattin shoes and large pearl buckles;
a mushroom-coloured stock, covered with a fine point-lace; his hair
dressed remarkably high, and stuck full of pearl pins."



[Illustration]

THE CHRISTMAS PIE.

BY MRS. DAVID MACLURE.


  It was a merry Christmas Day
    Not many years gone by;
  A day of gifts and songs, my dear--
    Description they defy;
  But some especial features were
    Roast turkey, nuts, and pie--
                Particularly Pie!

  On that bright day, not long ago,
    A little friend of mine
  Had had a merry time, my dear
    (His age, I think, was nine);
  He had a merry time, I say,
    With all that cash could buy--
                Especially with Pie!

  He went to bed that Christmas night,
    And closed his weary eye;
  And what occurred thereafter, dear,
    Was traceable to pie,
  Though turkey had a share indeed,
    Which no one can deny--
                But not compared with Pie!

  At midnight's still uncanny hour,
    Lo! perched on each bedpost,
  Appeared a long-necked turkey hen--
    A pale, plucked, pimply ghost--
  And sat and ogled him the while,
    With wicked, leering eye,
                Ejaculating "Pie!"

  And there they sat through all the night,
    Except that once each chime
  They played at leap-frog on the bed,
    And chanted all the time
  A very melancholy song,
    In tones pitched harsh and high:
                "O give, O give me Pie!"

  At early dawn my youthful friend
    Sprang from his bed in flight,
  To find the phantoms of his dreams
    Had vanished with the night.
  Said he: "Good Christmas cheer is fine,
    But Wisdom's voice doth cry:
                Pray draw the line at Pie!"

  So, dear young friends, a word to you
    Right at this Christmas Eve:
  Use caution with your appetite,
    Or cause may come to grieve.
  Remember, _Indigestion_, dear,
    Few stomachs can defy,
                And draw the line at Pie.



THE MAGIC STOCKING.

A BIT OF CHRISTMAS MERRIMENT IN ONE ACT.


_CHARACTERS_:

  SANTA CLAUS, _a jolly old elf_.
  MARY, _mother's little woman, aged thirteen_.
  NAN, _a stout champion of_ Santa Claus, _aged eight_.
  LUCY, _a wee darling of three years_.
  TOMMY, _a scoffer at_ Santa Claus, _aged eleven_.

     TIME.--_The night before Christmas._

     Scene.--_A cosy nursery with low-turned lights and bright fire. The
     curtain rises, showing the children grouped around the fire,
     little_ Lucy _in night-gown and tiny night-cap, cuddled with_ Mary
     _in the big arm-chair_. Nan _is seated on a low stool_, Tommy _is
     stretched at full length on the rug. They are making preparations
     to hang up their stockings_.


_Nan_. Now let's begin at the beginning and sing it all over again.

_Mary_ (_caressingly_). But Lucy is so sleepy.

_Lucy_ (_drowsily_). Lucy isn't sleepy. Lucy wants to wait for Santa
Claus.

_Tommy_ (_contemptuously_). Santa Claus!

_Mary_ (_reproachfully_). Oh, Tommy!

_Nan_ (_tying on her night-cap_). You start it, Mary.

     [They all sing.]

  "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
  In hopes that old Santa Claus soon would be there.
  The children were nestled all--"

_Tommy_. Oh, but you know there isn't any such person as Santa Claus.

_Mary_ (_very reproachfully_). Oh, Tommy!

_Nan_. Now, Tommy, you just stop.

_Tommy_. But there isn't, and you know it. It's just our fath--

_Nan_. Of course there's a Santa Claus.

_Lucy_ (_sleepily_). Dear old Santa Claus! He'll come down the chimney
pretty soon, won't he, Mary?

_Mary_. Yes, darling. You'll hear the tinkle of his jolly little
sleigh-bells, and then up he'll fly with his eight tiny reindeer.

     [Sings.]

  "To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
  Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.
  And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
  The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
  As I drew in my head and was turning around
  Down the chimney old Santa Claus came with a bound!"

_Nan_ (_triumphantly_). There, Mr. Tommy, do you hear what it says?

_Tommy_. I don't care what it says. That's just a baby story. Santa
Claus! Shoot Santa Claus!

_Nan_. You'll catch it when he does come!

_Lucy_ (_confidently_). He's coming pretty soon, I guess.

_Tommy_. I ain't afraid of any Santa Claus. No reindeer could go flying
over house-tops. Now, I leave it to you, could they? Deers and cows and
horses and that kind of animals ain't made to fly. 'Tain't reasonable.
Santa Claus! I tell you there ain't any. There never was and never will
be. He's just a big, old--

_Nan_. Delicious, delightful--

_Tommy_. Deceitful, de-mol-al-iz-ing Fraud!

_Lucy_ (_sleepily_). Dear old Santa Claus! When he comes I'll just give
him a great big hug (_nodding_). I love good old Santa Claus. We love
him (_dreamily_), don't we, Nannie? but Tommy says--Tommy he says--

_Mary_ (_soothingly_). Never mind what Tommy says, darling.

     [Sings softly.]

  "He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
  And filled all the stockings--"

_Tommy_. That's a likely story!

_Nan_. He won't put much in your stocking, Tommy Franklin.

_Mary_ (_softly_). 'Sh! Lucy's sound asleep, little sweetheart.

_Nan_. You've hung up the biggest stocking of any of us. What did you
hang up your stocking for if there isn't any Santa Claus?

_Tommy_ (_with pretended indifference_). Oh, just out of habit, I
s'pose. Just 'cause I always have. And I know well enough who'll fill
it. It isn't any old humbug of a Santa Claus.

     [_While they have been talking and singing the children have hung
     their stockings in a row on the mantel._ Tommy's _being a
     conspicuously large and long one. A faint tinkle of sleigh-bells is
     now heard. It comes nearer and nearer, and finally stops. The
     children listen intently_.]

_Nan_ (_in an excited whisper_). I believe he's come!

_Mary_. Oh, hark!

_Tommy_. I tell you, Santa Claus is a great big humbug.

     [_A loud jingling of bells is heard, and a great stamping of feet
     at the door._ Lucy _wakes and rubs her eyes_. Tommy _tries to look
     unconcerned_. Nan, _half frightened, draws closer to_ Mary, _and,
     as the last word drops from_ Tommy's _lips_, Santa Claus _enters
     with a bound. The children make inarticulate exclamations of
     rapture and delight, and watch the movements of_ Santa Claus _with
     wide-open eyes_. Santa Claus, _after depositing his pack on the
     floor, proceeds to the business of filling the stockings_.]

_Santa Claus_ (_chuckling to himself_). Well, well, well! Here's a nice
row of stockings--a nice row of dear children's stockings! And here are
the blessed children themselves waiting patiently till I don't know what
o'clock at night, just to catch a glimpse of old Santa. That's the way
with the darlings. They know who loves them. They know--oh yes,
yes!--they know old Santa.

_Lucy_ (_slipping from_ Mary's _lap and timidly approaching_ Santa
Claus). I love you more than a bushel, dear Santa Claus.

_Santa Claus_ (_taking her upon his knee_). Bless her heart, of course
she does. And she may sit on old Santa's knee and watch him while he
fills her own cunning stocking. Here it is, the little one at the end of
the row. Now let me see (_scratches his head reflectively_)--let me see.
Ah, yes! here's a tiny gold ring, that shall go into the toe. And here's
a little pink tea-set and a lovely, lovely dolly, and a carriage for her
to ride in. That must go outside, it is such a wee stocking. I declare,
here's another dolly--a jolly sailor-boy, and a dainty box of
sweets--all for the sweet baby that loves Santa Claus.

_Nan_ (_in an undertone_). Now, what do you think, Mr. Tommy?

_Tommy_ (_in a loud whisper_). Humbug!

_Girls_. For shame!

_Santa Claus_ (_putting_ Lucy _gently back into_ Mary's _arms_). Now for
the next one! Ah, yes! Here's another little ring, with a blue set, for
a girl with blue eyes--

_Nan_ (_rapturously_). That's me.

_Santa Claus_. And here goes a silver bracelet and a jolly bottle of
mignonette and (_searching his pack_)--and--let me see--a copy of
_Old-fashioned Girl_--

_Nan_. Just what I was wishing for!

_Santa Claus_. And a box of sweets--it won't do to forget that--and a
funny puzzle for a clever little head to solve, and a mysterious
package--she'll find what's in it in the morning. (_Chuckles to
himself_)

_Nan_. Now it's yours, Mary dear.

_Santa Claus_ (_taking_ Mary's _stocking_). Now for the next one. No
time to lose. This is a busy night for St. Nick. 'Way down in the very
tip-toe shall go this bright little watch, to tick away the happy
minutes of the New Year for mother's own little woman.

_Nan_. You hear that, Tommy.

_Tommy_. Don't you believe it.

_Santa Claus_. This work-basket must go outside with the books. And now
for the next. Well, this is a big one.

_Tommy_ (_in an undertone_). I borrowed it of cook--the longest and
biggest she had.

_Santa Claus_ (_deliberately regarding_ Tommy's _stocking_). Is it
possible there is a greedy child here?

_Nan_. Now, Tommy, aren't you ashamed of yourself.

_Santa Claus_ (_reflectively_). A greedy child. I hope not, I hope not.
Well, we'll see. We'll soon see (_searching his pack_). Here is a
splendid pair of skates for a good boy--

_Tommy_ (_gleefully_). That's me.

_Santa Claus_. And here's a box of chess-men, and a-- Why, upon my word!
upon my word! when has this happened before? (Santa Claus _pauses in his
work, showing every evidence of great astonishment, for as he undertakes
to put the gifts into_ Tommy's _stocking, they behave in a most contrary
and unaccountable way. They drop to the floor, and the stocking seems to
refuse to take them_. Santa Claus _makes several efforts to insert the
gifts in the stocking, but without success_.) Well, well, I haven't had
an experience like this for many a long year. What will Mrs. Santa Claus
say, when I go back to the North Pole and tell her I found a contrary
stocking. A contrary stocking, which means but one thing--that the child
who hung it does not believe in Santa Claus. (_Sadly._) Oh dear, what a
pity! what a pity! Well, if I must, I must. (_Searches his pack._) It is
many a year since I have had any use for these things. I did hope I
should never have to take them out again. (_Draws from the depth of his
pack a broad leather strap, a large slipper, and other articles
mentioned later. He meets with no difficulty as he drops them one by one
into_ Tommy's _big stocking_.) There! (_Thrusting in the strap._) If he
don't know the use of that, I suppose his father will have to teach him,
and this (_holding up the slipper before putting it into the stocking_),
no doubt his mother will know what it is for. Oh dear! oh dear!
(_Shaking his head sorrowfully._) This is too bad! too bad! It will
spoil my Christmas completely. No box of goodies for this stocking-- It
wouldn't do--no, it wouldn't do at all. I'll have to put in this package
of smarty pepper candy, to make the boy's tongue tingle that says Santa
Claus is a Humbug.

_Nan_. What did I tell you?

_Lucy_. Poor Tommy.

_Santa Claus_. And here is a tin horn (_tries it_) without any blow in
it. My good horns are for good boys to toot in my honor on Christmas
day. Now a book--here is one--a nice Spelling Book, full of all the hard
words that were ever invented, and not a picture in it. And here is
another--a book on Good Manners--it is for the boy to study who says
that Santa Claus is a Fraud.

_Tommy_. Boo-hoo! boo-hoo! boo-hoo! boo-hoo! I didn't mean it! Oh, I
didn't mean it at all! I was just a-fooling. Boo-hoo! Oh, dear!
Boo-hoo-o-o-o!

_Lucy_ (_putting her arms around his neck_). Oh, poor, poor Tommy! I'll
give you my nice candy. Don't cry, Tommy.

_Tommy_. Boo-hoo! I didn't mean it. I won't do so again. I'll stand by
you forever. Indeed I will, Mr. Santa Claus, if you'll only forgive my
badness. (Tommy _kneels and clasps the knees of_ Santa Claus
_imploringly_.) Oh, please forgive me, and I'll never, never doubt you
again, dear, good Santa Claus!

_Mary_ (_entreatingly_). Dear Santa Claus, please forgive him.

_Nan_. He don't deserve it, but please try him.

_Lucy_. Santa Claus, please love Tommy again.

_Santa Claus_ (_heartily_). Well, well, well! I want to forgive him
badly enough, and for your sakes I will. But, mind you this, Tommy, my
lad, I must have your true allegiance from this time forth.

_Tommy_. Oh, good Santa Claus, I promise it truly, truly! Honor bright!
Hope to die!

_Santa Claus_. I believe you, my lad. There, there. Give me your hand. I
want to be good friends with every child in the whole happy world on the
glad Christmas day. Now, we'll try again. (_He draws out the strap,
etc., from_ Tommy's _stocking, and deftly inserts in their places
skates, books, etc._) Ah, the magic stocking opens to receive gifts for
a loyal child. Here go the skates, and the boys' own _Swiss Family
Robinson_. (_Searches his pack._) Aha, this tool-chest evidently belongs
here, and this big horn, with a jolly toot in it (_tries it_), and, ah,
yes, a whole menagerie of candy pigs and elephants and monkeys, and not
a pepper drop in the lot. (Tommy _looks on in delight, and the children
hug each other gleefully_.) Now, bless your sweet hearts, I must be
going. Here I am, delaying as if there were not hundreds of stockings to
be filled before daylight. (_Kisses little_ Lucy.) Good-night, my
precious one. Good-night, my darlings, and a merry, merry Christmas to
you all!

     [Santa Claus _gathers up his pack, straps it upon his shoulders,
     and departs_.]

[Song, with soft accompaniment of sleigh-bells.]

          Hurrah for the merry Christmas-time,
              And the jolly Christmas cheer,
          And the reindeer sleigh when it comes this way,
              And brings old Santa Claus dear.
                    Hurrah and hurrah!
  For the merry Christmas-time, and the happy Christmas cheer!

                    Hurrah and hurrah!
                For our Santa Claus so dear!

[Softly.]

                    Hurrah and hurrah!
  For the merry Christmas-time, and the happy Christmas cheer!

                    Hurrah and hurrah!
                For our Santa Claus so dear!

CURTAIN.



THE IMP OF THE TELEPHONE.

BY JOHN KENDRICK BANGS.

VII.--THE POETRY BOOK, AND THE END.


The Imp then arranged the wires so that the Poetry Book could recite
itself to Jimmieboy, after which he went back to his office to see who
it was that had been ringing the bell.

"My first poem," said a soft silvery voice from the top shelf, towards
which Jimmieboy immediately directed his attention--"my first poem is a
perfect gem. I have never seen anything anywhere that could by any
possibility be finer than it is, unless it be in my new book, which
contains millions of better ones. It is called, 'To a Street Lamp,' and
goes this way:

  "You seem quite plain, old Lamp, to men,
    Yet 'twould be hard to say
  What we should do without you when
    Night follows on the day;

  "And while your lumination seems
    Much less than that of sun,
  I truly think but for your beams
    We would be much undone.

  "And who knows, Lamp, but to some wight,
    Too small for me to see,
  You are just such a wondrous sight
    As old Sol is to me!"

"Isn't that simply lovely?" said the soft silvery voice when the poem
was completed.

"Yes; but I don't think it's very funny," said Jimmieboy. "I like to
laugh, you know, and I couldn't laugh at that."

"Oh!" said the silvery voice, with a slight tinge of disappointment in
it. "You want fun, do you? Well, how do you like this? I think it is the
funniest thing ever written, except others by the same author:

  "There was an old man in New York
  Who thought he'd been changed to a stork;
    He stood on one limb
    'Til his eyesight grew dim,
  And used his left foot for a fork."

"That's the kind," said Jimmieboy, enthusiastically. "I could listen to
a million of that sort of poems."

"I'd be very glad to tell you a million of them," returned the voice,
"but I don't believe there's electricity enough for me to do it under
twenty-five minutes, and as we only have five left, I'm going to recite
my lines on 'A Sulphur Match.'

  "The flame you make, O Sulphur Match!
  When your big head I chance to scratch,

  "Appears so small most people deem
  You lilliputian, as you seem.

  "And yet the force that in you lies
  Can fight with brilliance all the skies.

  "There's strength enough in you to send
  Great cities burning to their end;

  "So that we have a hint in you
  Of what the smallest thing can do."

"Don't you like that?" queried the voice, anxiously. "I do hope you do,
because I am especially proud of that. The word lilliputian is a
tremendous word for a poet of my size, and to think that I was able,
alone and unassisted, to lift it bodily out of the vocabulary into the
poem makes me feel very, very proud of myself, and agree with my mother
that I am the greatest poet that ever lived."

"Well, if you want me to, I'll like it," said Jimmieboy, who was in an
accommodating mood. "I'll take your word for it that it is a tremendous
poem, but if you think of repeating it over again to me, don't do it.
Let me have another comic poem."

"All right," said Pixyweevil--for it was he that spoke through the book.
"You are very kind to like my poem just to please me. Tell me anything
in the world you want a poem about, and I'll let you have the poem."

"Really?" cried Jimmieboy, delighted to meet with so talented a person
as Pixyweevil. "Well--let me see--I'd like a poem about my garden rake."

"Certainly. Here it is:

  "I had a little garden rake
    With seven handsome teeth,
  It followed me o'er fern and brake,
    O'er meadow-land and heath.

  "And though at it I'd often scowl,
    And treat it far from right,
  My garden rake would never growl,
    Nor use its teeth to bite."

"Elegant!" ejaculated Jimmieboy. "Say it again."

"Oh no! we haven't time for that. Besides, I've forgotten it. What else
shall I recite about?" queried Pixyweevil.

"I don't know; I can't make up my mind," said Jimmieboy.

"Oh dear me! that's awful easy," returned Pixyweevil. "I can do that
with my eyes shut. Here she goes:

  "Shall I become a lawyer great,
    A captain of a yacht,
  A man who deals in real estate,
    A doctor, or a what?
      Ah me! Oh ho!
      _I_ do not know.
    I can't make up my mind.

  "I have a penny. Shall I buy
    An apple or a tart?
  A bit of toffee or a pie,
    A cat-boat or a cart?
      Ah me! Oh ho!
      I do not know.
    I can't make up my mind."

"Splendid!" cried Jimmieboy.

"That's harder--much harder," said Pixyweevil, "but I'll try. How is
this:

  "I bought one day, in Winnipeg,
  A truly wondrous heavy egg;
  And when my homeward course was run
  I showed it to my little son.
      'Dear me!' said he,
        When he did see,
          'I think that hen did
                  Splen-did-ly!'

  "I saw a bird--'twas reddish-brown--
  One day while in a country town,
  Which sang, 'Oh, Johnny, Get Your Gun';
  And when I told my little son,
      In tones of glee
        Said he, 'Dear me!
          I think that wren did
                Splen-did-ly!"

"That's the best I can do with splendid," said Pixyweevil.

"Well, it's all you can do now, anyhow," came a voice from the doorway,
which Jimmieboy immediately recognized as the Imp's; "for Jimmieboy's
mamma has just telephoned that she wants him to come home right away."

"It was very nice, Mr. Pixyweevil," said Jimmieboy, as he rose to
depart. "And I am very much obliged."

"Thank you," returned Pixyweevil. "You are very polite, and exceedingly
truthful. I believe myself that, as that 'Splendid' poem might say, if
it had time,

  "I've truly ended
    Splen-did-ly."

And then Jimmieboy and the Imp passed out of the library back through
the music and cookery room. The Imp unlocked the door, and, fixing the
wires, sent Jimmieboy sliding down to the back hall, whence he had
originally entered the little telephone closet.

[Illustration: "HULLO!" SAID HIS PAPA. "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?"]

"Hullo!" said his papa. "Where have you been?"

"Having a good time," said Jimmieboy.

"And what have you done with the key of my cigar-box?"

"Oh, I forgot," said Jimmieboy. "I left it in the telephone door."

"What a queer place to leave it," said his papa. "Let me have it,
please, for I want to smoke."

And Jimmieboy went to get it, and, sure enough, there it was in the
little box, and it unlocked it, too; but when his father came to open
the door and look inside, the Imp had disappeared.

THE END.



[Illustration: INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORT]


The final game of the Long Island League was played on Thanksgiving day
at Eastern Park, between Poly Prep, and the Brooklyn High-School.
Although Pratt Institute had won the League championship, and both the
contesting elevens had been defeated by St. Paul's, the interest taken
by Brooklyn football enthusiasts in the rivalry of these two teams was
sufficient to draw a larger crowd to Eastern Park than has been seen
there at a football game since Yale played Princeton in 1890. Over 7000
people paid admission to witness this interscholastic contest. The game
resulted in a victory for the High-School--16-12. The defensive work of
both teams was weak, and when once one of the elevens secured the ball,
they were pretty sure of carrying it down the field for a touch-down,
unless they lost it on a fumble. The cause for this weakness in
defensive play is no doubt due to the fact that it is the hardest kind
of work to get a scrub team for the first eleven of either school to
practise against. St. Paul's is about the only school in the Long Island
League that can boast of a regularly organized second eleven. At the
other schools no one seems to care about going on the field unless he is
reasonably sure of securing a position on the first team.

In the first half, High-School scored ten points and Poly Prep. six. The
work of both teams in this half was of about an even order; neither
kicked, apparently feeling that the only hope for success was to cling
to the possession of the ball. This was a mistake on Poly Prep.'s part,
for in Mason, their full-back, they have a punter whose superior is not
to be found on any school team of the Long Island League. In the second
half, Poly Prep. took a brace, and although High-School scored again,
they never gave up hope of success. The Prep. team scored chiefly
because of the plunges through the line of Mason and Bresze, who carried
the ball for repeated gains through tackle and guard, while Richards
went around the end a number of times. These men did the best offensive
work of the day for their side. Robeson at quarter did well, and seemed
to have gotten rid of that nervousness which characterized his play
earlier in the season. His passing was clean and accurate, and he used
good generalship in giving signals. Bresze's tackling was low and hard,
and at breaking up interference he proved himself most valuable. The
best defence was put up by Boorum at centre, and by Norton and Hoover,
his guards. Only one gain was made through them.

[Illustration: BERKELEY _VS._ PRATT.

Full-back "bucking" the line.]

For the High-School, Laner, the Captain, and Lambert did the best work.
The latter's offence was strong, and his good runs around the ends were
in a large measure responsible for High-School's victory. This team was
strong at the ends and back of the line, in this having some advantage
over their opponents. In no game that I have seen this season has there
been so little kicking; High-School did not kick at all, and Poly Prep.
only once. This was when Mason punted for a 35-yard gain into
High-School territory, Laner missing the catch, and letting the ball go
to Poly Prep. on the 30-yard line. This should have encouraged the Poly
Prep. Captain to play more of a kicking game, but he was apparently
blind to his advantage. Both elevens were weak at tackle, and most of
the plays were shoved through here on both sides.

[Illustration: BERKELEY _VS._ ST. PAUL'S.

Holding in the rush-line.]

The Long Island football season has not been so successful this year as
might have been desired. It made a bad start and ended up weakly. Bryant
and Stratton's decided at the beginning of the season not to put a team
in the field. Adelphi, after being defeated 66-0 by Pratt Institute,
disbanded her eleven, and forfeited the remaining games scheduled. A
little later the Latin School followed suit. The latter had played but
one game with High-School, in which they did good work, although the
score was 18-0 against them. This wholesale resignation left only four
teams in the League: St. Paul's, Pratt Institute, Poly Prep., and
High-School. The reason given by Bryant and Stratton's for withdrawing
from the League was that so little interest was taken in football that
it was impossible to organize an eleven. I think the additional reason
of bad management on the part of the Athletic Committee might well be
added to this. At Adelphi one player was hurt early in the season,
whereupon the parents of five of the best players in school took it upon
themselves to prohibit their sons from taking any further part in the
game. Another reason given by the Adelphians is that their men were so
light that it was useless to attempt to pit them against the heavier
teams of the League.

The Latin School eleven was unfortunate in having some of its best
players laid up at the start. This seemed to discourage the men, and
some of them announced openly that they intended to play Poly Prep., but
would forfeit to St. Paul's and Pratt Institute, because they were not
heavy enough to play against such teams. Later in the season they did,
in fact, play Poly Prep., and were defeated 20-10. This business of
forfeiting games for one reason or another is a very bad thing. The
League ought to have some rule to penalize such conduct, or every season
will see the same kind of fizzle that this year has exhibited. Any team
that feels it cannot win in Brooklyn decides apparently that the noblest
course of action is to forfeit at once. This is not sportsmanlike, and
very little thought on the part of athletic leaders across the river
ought to show them what a serious mistake they make by encouraging or
allowing any such conduct on the part of the Captains or Managers of
football teams.

[Illustration: BERKELEY _VS._ ST. PAUL'S.

Formation for tandem play.]

When the season opened, St. Paul's School was looked upon as a probable
winner of the championship, but after the eleven had played several
games it became apparent that the men lost heart in an uphill contest.
In the game against Berkeley, however, they belied this reputation by
playing a beautiful uphill game. High-School and Poly Prep. are now
tied for third place, in spite of the fact that the former was
victorious in the Thanksgiving-day game. The League will undoubtedly
give to the Latin School the game that her eleven played against the
High-School, which the latter won 18-0, and in which there was that
peculiar agreement between the Captains to which I referred some weeks
ago.

The results of the games played in the Long Island Interscholastic
Football League this fall, are as follows:

  Pratt Institute, 18--High-School, 0.
  Pratt Institute, 66--Adelphi, 0.
  Pratt Institute, 26--St. Paul's, 0.
  Pratt Institute, 24--Poly Prep., 4.
  St. Paul's, 36--Poly Prep., 0.
  St. Paul's, 18--High-School, 0.
  High-School, 18--Latin School, 0.
  High-School, 16--Poly Prep., 12.
  Poly Prep., 20--Latin School, 10.

Adelphi forfeited to all except Pratt Institute; and Bryant and
Stratton's forfeited to everybody. The Latin School forfeited to Pratt
Institute and to St. Paul's. Poly Prep. was the only team to score
against Pratt Institute.

Matters of importance have been occupying the New York Inter-scholastic
Athletic Association's attention for the past two weeks. These matters
are of importance not only to students of the New York schools
immediately interested in the questions in dispute, but also to all
readers of this Department who favor cleanliness and honesty in school
sport. Space will not allow me to go very fully into the questions that
came up for decision at the two meetings of the N.Y.I.S.A.A., recently
held here and fully discussed in the daily papers; but I shall try to
touch broadly enough upon the principles involved to make the resulting
lesson of service even to those who may not be familiar with the details
of the two cases. The N.Y.I.S.A.A. this fall found that it had two
difficult matters to settle. One of them was a charge brought by the
rector of Trinity School against the head-master of Barnard School,
accusing him of calling upon and personally asking a member of Trinity
School to leave that institution and to accept a free scholarship at
Barnard. The purpose of this inducement was said to be that Barnard
wished thus to add to the strength of her football team. At the meeting
of the committee intrusted with the task of deciding whether or no these
charges were justified, Barnard School was represented by a lawyer, two
teachers, and a stenographer, and doubtless with a very strong defense,
because the committee after a protracted session decided to dismiss the
complaint. The second question that the Arbitration Committee had to
pass upon was the protest against Ehrich, of Harvard School, filed last
spring by De La Salle.

The Ehrich matter is already familiar to readers of this Department, for
I touched upon it at the time the protest was made in June. It will be
remembered that in the game for the championship of the New York League
in baseball, Ehrich caught for Harvard in spite of the fact that De La
Salle claimed he had no right to play, having been a student at the
College of the City of New York. Harvard School won that game, and as a
result the pennant was subsequently awarded to them. At the recent
meeting of the Arbitration Committee to decide the question of fraud on
the part of Harvard, this school claimed that the association had
already legally awarded the championship, and that therefore no further
action could be taken. De La Salle, on the other hand, contended that
they had protested Ehrich before the final game of last year, and showed
that he was ineligible to the Harvard team because of having been
enrolled the previous autumn in the Freshman class of a college.

According to the constitution of the N.Y.I.S.A.A. any violation of the
rules is fraud. There is a rule which says that no one having attended a
college may thereafter play upon a school team. De La Salle therefore
charged Harvard School with being guilty of fraud, and tried to have the
question settled last spring. Three attempts were made to have the
protest decided. The first time there was no quorum present; at the
second meeting the Condon delegates left the room, refusing to pass on
any question of fraud; at the third meeting, on June 19th, the
championship was awarded to the Harvard School; but from all I hear, the
voting was carried on in a most questionable and peculiar manner. I hope
there is no truth in the report that clerks from the drug-store located
in the building were brought in as delegates, to make a quorum, and
voted as such.

When the question came up before the Arbitration Committee last week, De
La Salle claimed that, according to the constitution, charges of fraud
must be referred not to the Executive Committee of the I.S.A.A., but to
an Arbitration Committee, which is an entirely different body. De La
Salle also asserted that their delegates had never been notified of the
meeting at which the championship was awarded, and that even had they
been notified they could not have been present because their school
closed a week before. After a long debate Harvard School was found
guilty by the Arbitration Committee of violating the constitution and,
consequently, guilty of fraud.

The penalty for fraud is expulsion from the Association. Harvard now
cries that it has been unfairly treated, and the principal of the school
has stated in the newspapers that he will withdraw his school from the
Association. This, of course, he cannot do, because Harvard has charges
pending against her, and under these conditions resignation is out of
the question. The action of the Arbitration Committee in thus stamping
out the least semblance of professionalism in the Association cannot be
too highly commended. Last year the N.Y.I.S.A.A. was run almost entirely
by a few schools, and there was a great howl against "ring politics"
from certain quarters. The outsiders formed themselves into a "reform
party," and early this fall selected the men they chose to have
represent them in the Executive Committee of the Association, nominated
these men, and elected the entire ticket. It is to be hoped that this
"reform party" will stick to its determination to keep scholastic
athletics in New York clean and honest, and absolutely free from even
the slightest rumor or suspicion of professional tendencies.

If the managers of New York school athletics cannot do this, if they
cannot keep the professional spirit out of sport, they had better
disband their elevens and their nines, rather than make sport a farce
and a masquerade for dishonesty. A commendable step in the
"house-cleaning" now going forward is the revision of the constitution.

The most interesting, most scientific, and most important game of the
Boston season was that played Thanksgiving morning between Boston Latin
and English High Schools, before three thousand spectators. English High
pulled out the game, and thus won the championship with a clean score
of victories. The Latin School played desperately, realizing that to win
the game meant to tie English High for the championship.

After an exchange of kicks at the start, English High took the ball at
the centre of the field, and worked it over the line for the only score
of the game, without losing it. It was brilliant, hard, irresistible
playing that did it, and it won the game. It was the best football that
has been seen in the League this season. The only thing to be compared
to it is the game that Boston Latin played from that moment until time
was called. Latin forced the playing, after that fatal touch-down, until
the end. English High was on the defence throughout. But that defence
was so good that Latin, with an attack far better than it has ever shown
before, was unable to score. Three or four times Latin carried the ball
to the five-yard line of their opponents, only to be held for downs, and
see the ball kicked safely down the field. The play on both sides was of
the surest and most satisfactory order. There were no flukes to regret,
no incompetent officials to turn the result of the game.

There was almost no fumbling or poor tackling. Every five yards that was
gained was earned by straight, hard-played football. Every time four
downs were called it was because of superior defence. The football that
was played in this game would be a credit to any college team, and many
a 'varsity player could learn a lesson of sand from these boys.

Whittemore of the English High-School, and Maguire of the Latin, were
stars even in this group. Each one played football every minute of the
game. In offence or defence, not an error was made by either. Not far
behind them comes Callahan, English High's centre. In spite of two
recently sprained ankles, he played a most aggressive game, repeatedly
getting out and stopping end and tackle plays. It was his hole-making,
too, in this game, as heretofore, that made Ellsworth such a brilliant
line-bucker. Besides Callahan and Whittemore, Ashley and Eaton were most
valuable to English High. Ashley got around the end in a way that must
have surprised him. As a ground-gainer, Eaton, the guard, was not as
successful as usual, but he did an immense amount of work on defence.
Purtell, his side partner, played a steady, sure game.

For the Latin school, Maguire's work was far ahead of any one's else. He
was their surest ground-gainer and their surest tackler. McLachlan, who
is the tallest man in the League, played the best end in the game. He is
a hard man to put out, and is a great interferer. Daly, at quarter, had
a brainy day, and ran the team faultlessly. Nagle, at guard, quit even
with Eaton, and time and again helped Teevens, the full-back, through
the line.

Man for man, the teams were evenly matched. In the matter of sand
neither side can claim any superiority. English High can rest assured
that the championship was never more gloriously won. Boston Latin need
feel no chagrin because their opponents played a game just one whit
better than their own.

Two other great games were played Thanksgiving morning, one between
Cambridge Manual and Cambridge High and Latin, the other between Boston
English High and Boston Latin. The first-named game was played on a
soggy, slippery field, which did not allow of much good football. It was
intensely interesting and exciting, however, and resulted in a tie. In
the first half it looked like High-School's game; but in the second
Manual had everything her own way. It would be unfair to say that it was
a poor exhibition in so far as playing football was concerned, for the
miserable field was responsible for that. The backs never got started
well, and the punters could not stand firmly enough to do good kicking,
and anything but the most elementary plays was impossible.

High and Latin had a much better defence than Manual; there was but one
weak spot in the line, but that--left tackle--was worked repeatedly for
big gains. Cambridge played a new man at left end, Warnock, and he gives
promise of doing great work next year. Warren, at guard, and Saul, at
quarter, played their usual reliable defence, and Beardsell, at end,
played a most brilliant game. He followed the ball wonderfully. Nine
times out of ten, when the ball was fumbled, it was Beardsell who fell
on it. For Manual, Moore, at centre, played the most aggressive game.
White excelled among the backs, keeping his feet remarkably well in the
mud.

This game was to decide which team would finish last in the race; but it
failed to do so, as each of these schools now has four defeats and one
tie on its record. The question of last place must be decided, however,
in order to give Somerville High, who won the junior championship, a
chance to enter the senior league next year.

  THE GRADUATE.



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[Illustration: Royal Baking Powder]



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[Illustration: BICYCLING]

     The Editor will be pleased to answer any question on the subject.
     Our maps and tours contain much valuable data kindly supplied from
     the official maps and road-books of the League of American
     Wheelmen. Recognizing the value of the work being done by the
     L. A. W. the Editor will be pleased to furnish subscribers with
     membership blanks and information so far as possible.


[Illustration: Copyright, 1895, by Harper & Brothers.]

The excellent roads and pleasant mingling of inland and coast scenery
make the cycling trip to Nantasket and the shore one of the most
enjoyable in the vicinity of Boston. The rendezvous is at Copley Square
in front of the new Public Library. Start northward through Dartmouth
Street, turn to the left onto Commonwealth Avenue, a finely macadamized
street, and follow the same until you reach Charlesgate Street, West;
here bear to the left, and cross the bridge over the Boston and Albany
tracks; this will bring the rider into the Fenway Parks, a part of the
great Metropolitan Park System. After leaving the bridge at the first
fork of the roads keep to the right, and shortly afterward to the right
again, thus following the main Boulevard to Brookline Avenue. There turn
to the left, and in a few rods to the right again. For some distance
after passing this point there are a few easy hills and moderate coasts,
the road winding in and out between picturesque hills and through
beautiful woodlands.

On coming in sight of Jamaica Pond turn to the left, and take the next
road to the right, passing the pond on the right hand, and taking the
main driveway in Jamaica Park. At this last turn, the rider passes on
the right a building so peculiar as to attract more than usual
attention; it is the Holland House, which was bought after the close of
the exposition in Chicago, and transported to its present site. After
passing the small pond on the left of Pond Street turn to the left, and
at the first fork of the roads keep to the left, and take the next road
to the right, which runs along the northern boundary of the Arnold
Arboretum (place of trees) with the Adams Nervine Asylum and
Agricultural College on the right. Keep now to the direct road, which
winds a little, crosses the tracks of the New York and New Haven
Railroad, and skirts Franklin Park on the south, bearing here the name
of Morton Street.

From the beginning of our ride up to the end of Franklin Park all the
roadway is of the best macadamized construction with smooth and
perfectly preserved surface. The rider gets a comprehensive view of the
Fenway Parks, Jamaica Park, and a glimpse of the Arnold Arboretum, and
Franklin Park, immediately to the south of which is Forest Hills
Cemetery, with the Blue Hills of Milton in the distance.

On leaving Franklin Park keep the direct road on Morton Street to Milton
Lower Mills. On reaching Sanford Street turn to the left, and at the
next corner to the right, past the Library Building; then bear to the
left on to Dorchester Avenue and across the bridge over Neponset River,
by the Milton Station on Adams Street, which we follow directly to East
Milton Station.

Just after leaving the river there is a stiff climb up Milton Hill, at
the summit of which there is a fine panoramic view of the country
through which we have passed, and of the region through which we are to
ride. We now have a good dirt road with some clay here and there, with
down grade and excellent coasts. Keep on Adams Street into Quincy, with
a sharp turn to the right after crossing the tracks of the Old Colony
Railroad, which brings us to Hancock Street, and there we turn to the
left at Washington Street, and follow the street railway track over
Quincy Point across the bridge into North Weymouth. Follow Bridge
Street, keep to the left at fountain into North Weymouth village, and
then to the left by Weymouth draw-bridge to Hingham. Bear to the left at
Hingham Station, crossing the bridge past the boat-house, and follow
Summer Street, which joins Rockland Street, a direct way to Nantasket,
where at the Post-office the road branches. The road to the left from
the Post-office takes one to Nantasket Beach. Distance of round trip
forty-nine miles.



[Illustration: THE CAMERA CLUB]

     Any questions in regard to photograph matters will be willingly
     answered by the Editor of this column, and we should be glad to
     hear from any of our club who can make helpful suggestions.

PAPERS FOR BEGINNERS, No. 17.

INDEXING AND STORING NEGATIVES.


To save time, trouble, and vexation of spirit one should have his
negatives in such order that he can put his hand on the very one he
wants at a minute's notice, and unless one forms the habit of indexing
and storing his negatives as fast as they are made, his photographic
affairs are sure to get into a hopeless tangle.

The easiest and most convenient way which the editor has found for
storing negatives is to have a cupboard partitioned off into
pigeon-holes large enough to hold 25 negatives each. The pigeon-holes
should be 3-1/2 inches in width and 6 inches in height, in which can be
conveniently stored 25 4x5 or 5x8 negatives. The negatives are first
placed in strong manila envelopes which can be bought of any dealer in
photographic supplies at from 25c. to 35c. a 100, according to size.
These envelopes are marked on the outside--No. ----, Name ----, Notes
----. Place the negative in the envelope, and in the proper places write
the name and number of the picture, and under the heading "Notes" write
anything about the picture which you wish to remember in regard to the
making, printing, etc., and also the date of taking. Copy the numbers
and names of the pictures in a blank-book which will be the negative
catalogue. Write nothing in the book but the numbers and names of the
negatives. All notes should be made on the envelope containing the
negative.

On the edge of each pigeon-hole should be marked the number of negatives
which it contains, thus: "1 to 25," "26 to 50," "51 to 75," etc. Such a
method of storing one's negatives makes the finding of any one an easy
matter.

Some amateurs classify their negatives, putting landscapes, interiors,
groups, etc., by themselves, but it is really more simple to number and
name them in the order in which they are made, and make a supplementary
classified list. Have the general list, and then, as one makes a
landscape and wishes to have the names of the landscapes, add it to the
classified list in this way: Landscapes--View on Hudson, No. 11. Mall,
Central Park, No. 14. A Mountain Road, No. 23, or whatever name and
number the negatives may be which comprise your landscapes. Place the
figure studies by themselves in a classified list, but make the general
list as directed. One remembers almost by instinct the number of a
negative he has once placed in his collection.

If one has not a convenient cupboard a wooden soap box fitted with
pigeon-holes, which can be done by any ingenious boy or girl, answers
every purpose. The box should be fastened to the wall, a tape tied to
the negative catalogue, and the tape fastened to the side of the box;
then the two will never become separated.

     SIR KNIGHT HOWELLS FRECHETTE, No. 55 James St., Ottawa, Canada,
     wishes some member living in Washington to exchange a view of the
     Capitol for one of the Parliament buildings with him, or, if
     preferred, will send any view round Ottawa. He also asks if the
     editor would advise the use of combined bath with solio paper. The
     combined bath is generally preferred, and if used according to
     directions the results are very satisfactory.



ILL-TEMPERED BABIES

are not desirable in any home. Insufficient nourishment produces ill
temper. Guard against fretful children by feeding nutritious and
digestible food. The Gail Borden Eagle Brand Condensed Milk is the most
successful of all infant foods.--[_Adv._]



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[Illustration]

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Games

For Boys and Girls.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Innocence Abroad," "Waterloo," "Chivalry," "Yankee Doodle."

ASK FOR THEM.



CHATTERBOX

THE KING OF JUVENILES.

No book has ever been made for young people which compares in value, or
has had one-tenth the sale of this great annual. =Millions of copies have
been sold.= The new volume for 1895-6 is just ready, and has over 200
large and entirely new pictures, several new stories, (each a book in
itself), and hundreds of short stories, anecdotes, etc. The best Xmas
present possible for boys and girls of all ages. Order from your
bookseller or of us.

ESTES & LAURIAT, Publishers, Boston.



Postage Stamps, &c.



[Illustration]

STAMPS!

800 fine mixed Victoria, Cape of G. H., India, Japan, etc., with fine
Stamp Album, only 10c. New 80-p. Price-list free. _Agents wanted_ at 50%
commission. STANDARD STAMP CO., 4 Nicholson Place, St. Louis, Mo. Old
U. S. and Confederate Stamps bought.



[Illustration]

100 all dif. Venezuela, Bolivia, etc., only 10c.; 200 all dif. Hayti,
Hawaii, etc., only 50c. Ag'ts w't'd at 50% com. List FREE! =C. A.
Stegmann=, 5941 Cote Brilliante Ave., St. Louis, Mo



TUNIS

Set of Tunis to every one applying for approval sheets. PENN STAMP CO.,
WIND GAP, PA.



FOREIGN STAMPS ON APPROVAL. References required; agents wanted at 50%
com. Lists free.

CHAS. B. RAUB, New London, Conn.



25

Varieties U. S. Adhesive Stamps sent on receipt of ten cents.

CALEDONIA STAMP CO., Northampton, Mass.



FINE APPROVAL SHEETS. Agents wanted at 50% com. P. S. Chapman, Box 151,
Bridgeport, Ct.



STAMPS! 100 all dif. Barbados, etc. Only 10c. Ag'ts w't'd at 50% com.
List free. L. DOVER & CO., 1469 Hodiamont, St. Louis, Mo.



10 RARE STAMPS FREE.

Send 2c. stamp.

F. E. THORP, Norwich, N. Y.



[Illustration: THE PUDDING STICK]

     This Department is conducted in the interest of Girls and Young
     Women, and the Editor will be pleased to answer any question on the
     subject so far as possible. Correspondents should address Editor.


I am so pleased, Katharine and Eleanor, to hear that you are going away
on a week's visit--one to the city, and one to the country--and that you
are both anticipating a very pleasant time. The date, I understand, is
not yet absolutely fixed, but the visit is to be made before long, and
you would like to know what to take with you in the way of clothes, and
to have all the hints I can give about making such a visit successfully.

Well, we will begin at the beginning. When the note of invitation from
your friend arrives, the first thing to do is to answer it, setting the
day and the train when she may expect you. She probably mentioned the
first in her invitation, and inclosed a time-table so that you might
select your train. Having decided on this, keep your engagement. Do not
allow a slight inconvenience, or an invitation elsewhere, or a caprice,
to let you change your plan. Go when you are expected, and stay as long
as you are asked to stay. An invitation usually mentions whether your
friend would like you to come for a week, or ten days, or a fortnight,
or it may read thus: "Please give us the great pleasure of a visit from
you. Come on Friday afternoon and stay until Tuesday," or on "Monday,
and help us celebrate Louise's birthday, which occurs on Tuesday; we
will hope to keep you with us until Friday." It is very much pleasanter
to know for how long you are invited than to have it left uncertain; but
when no time is mentioned, one takes it for granted that a week will
cover the period of the visit.

By all means, when you can do this easily, take a small trunk for your
wardrobe for a week. If not a trunk, then take a large dress-suit case,
or one of those handy bags called telescopes, which may be stretched out
or compressed as occasion demands. You must not forget that in some
places expressage is difficult, though this is probably not the case in
any town or village near a railroad. There are localities in our country
where luggage is difficult of transportation, and trunks have to wait on
the chance of a neighborly lift, but this is understood by those who
travel there, and they arrange accordingly. A small trunk gives a girl a
chance to carry several pretty waists and skirts, and to dress with
greater variety while at her friend's house. But one may pack a great
many things in her brother's suit-case.

A girl will find her pretty travelling dress, which at this season is of
rough cloth, dark brown or blue by preference, with a thick jacket and a
neat little hat, suitable for walking, driving, and sight-seeing while
away from home. She must be sure that her boots and gloves are in dainty
order, without missing buttons, and, if she chooses, a fur collar or boa
and a muff may complete her out-door costume. For use in company,
afternoon teas, evenings, little gatherings of friends at dinner, or any
fête to which she is invited, a pretty waist of silk or chiffon and a
skirt of silk or fine wool will be appropriate. In packing waists use
plenty of soft white tissue-paper, so that they will come out uninjured
at the journey's end. Your mother will provide you with a simple evening
gown, if she thinks it needful, and a girl never looks sweeter than in
simple white muslin or in a white gown of some sort. With the white gown
must be white shoes, and house gowns of all kinds need dainty foot-gear.

Now, pray forgive me, but when going on a visit never omit your
night-gowns, changes of underclothing, stockings and handkerchiefs in
abundance. A lady is never unprovided with enough of these essentials.
Take your own comb and brush, your tooth-powder, tooth-brush, cold
cream, and all the little toilet accessories which you like to have at
home. Supply yourself with pins, the common kind and the sheath kind,
and have your needle and thread in case of a rent to be mended. Also
carry note-paper, stamps, and envelopes, so that you may write to the
home people often.

[Illustration]



An Appeal for a School-house.


Come, dear readers of the Table--Ladies, Knights, Patrons, and their
friends--let us make possible the laying of the corner-stone of Good
Will School next spring. The task is not a difficult one. It can be
accomplished in this way:

Get one subscriber to HARPER'S ROUND TABLE. Remit the $2 for it for one
year. Attach the accompanying Coupon. Say in your letter that you wish
the 50 cents turned into the Fund. And the thing is done. The Fund is
complete. The corner-stone will be laid. The boys will have an
industrial school-house. The Order will have performed a grand, a
chivalrous deed.

At this holiday-time every person who reads these lines has it within
his or her power to build this school-house. Because, if _you_ get the
one subscriber, the house will be built. If you do not, it will not--not
now. All depends on you.

Go out and ask your friends about it. Ask them to help you get the
subscriber. Your parents and teachers will help you. Ask them to do so.
Set your heart on getting this one subscriber. Go to a Sunday-school or
church committee, a day school, some well-to-do man or woman who has
young persons in the household. Ask the well-to-do neighbor. Relate the
merits of the paper, and show a sample copy and Prospectus. We furnish
them free. Ask us to do so.

But do more than this. Relate the story of Good Will. Tell the person
whom you are asking to subscribe why you want the subscription, and why
you want it now. Tell him or her that Good Will Farm, while in Maine,
takes boys from any part of the country, and is therefore not a local,
but a national enterprise. Say that it is a house for an industrial
school that the Order is to build. The Farm is in good hands, and the
school itself will be well conducted. Our task is only to put up the
building, not to conduct the school. Say that during the last few
years--two or three--more than 700 poor boys have applied for admission
to Good Will, and had to be refused it for lack of room. These boys were
deserving. Say further that if you get the subscription the school will
be built, and, by turning a house now used for the school into a
dwelling, more boys can be taken--boys of five, six, and seven years of
age, who are now homeless, may be given homes, school advantages, and a
chance to become useful Christian men.

During the next two weeks will _you_ get this subscription? Talk it
up--and get it. The appeal is not made to the Order. It is made to
_you_. If you do not wish to cut out the coupon, make a pen one nearly
like it, ask us for duplicates, or send on the subscription without a
coupon, simply saying that you got it to help the school, and that you
want 50 cents of the $2 given to the Fund. Be sure to give the
subscription address, and your own name for the Honor Roll.

Come on, dear friends, let us build this school-house.

     THIS COUPON

     Will be received by the publishers of HARPER'S ROUND TABLE as

     [Illustration]

     when accompanied by an order for a NEW subscription to HARPER'S
     ROUND TABLE and One Dollar and Fifty Cents. The intent of this
     Coupon is to pay you for inducing another person, _not now a
     subscriber_, to subscribe for HARPER'S ROUND TABLE for one year.
     This Coupon has nothing whatever to do with your own subscription;
     that is, with the copy you expect to read next year, it matters not
     in whose name it be ordered, and will not be accepted as payment
     for any part of it. It is good for its face in the hands of any
     person who performs the work indicated, whether said person is a
     subscriber or not. HARPER & BROTHERS.

       *       *       *       *       *

More about Garter-snakes.

     Some weeks ago I noticed an inquiry by Vincent V. M. Beede whether
     or not there is a distinct variety of garter-snake living near or
     in the water. In reply to this I will say that I think there is.
     Last spring when trying to catch some tadpoles in a small pond, I
     saw a large snake swim towards me. Like Sir Vincent, I at first
     took it to be a water-adder, but on looking at it a second time I
     saw that it was a large, dull-colored garter-snake. A few days
     after I was at another pool in the woods and saw at the edge of the
     water a similar snake, which was wriggling about in a peculiar way.
     I watched it closely, and saw that it was catching and swallowing
     tadpoles.

     From these observations I am inclined to think that there is a
     separate variety of garter-snake. Both snakes were very large and
     less brilliantly striped than any I had seen before. Can any one
     tell me more on the subject? I should like to see and talk with Sir
     Vincent. Does he attend the E. O. High-school? I would like some
     correspondents.

  EVELYN G. MITCHELL, R.T.F.
  EAST ORANGE.

Sir Vincent, who is one of our most popular Table contributors, attends
the Centenary Institute at Hackettstown.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Pretty Experiment.

     The natural colors of a leaf may be easily transferred to paper.
     Take a leaf of a tree or shrub, place over it a small piece of
     white linen soaked in spirits of nitre, and insert between the
     leaves of a heavy book with a sheet of paper to receive the
     impression. Lay the book aside for a few days. The leaf will be
     found devoid of color, which will have been transferred to the
     paper in all the original beauty of tint and outline of leaf.

  WILBUR E. CLAYBERGER, R.T.K.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Virgil Version.

     In the ROUND TABLE for October 29th Sir Knight Alfred G. Baker
     asked about a line from Virgil, "The Poles Resound." The ancients
     believed that the earth was flat, and that the sky revolved round
     it. On one side of the sky was the north star, and on the other
     another star. Therefore the line is translated by, "The sky," not
     the earth, "resounds with heavy thunders."

  C. F. WHEELER.



[Illustration: STAMPS]

     This Department is conducted in the interest of stamp and coin
     collectors, and the Editor will be pleased to answer any question
     on these subjects so far as possible. Correspondents should address
     Editor Stamp Department.


So many inquiries come to me regarding value of coins, that I shall give
lists of the prices _asked by dealers_ for U. S. coins. These lists will
not be reprinted. Collectors will therefore preserve the Numbers
containing the same. The prices as quoted are for coins in "fair"
condition. For coins in "good," "very good," "fine," and "very fine"
condition much larger prices are asked. To begin with the lowest.

HALF-CENTS.--1796, $12; 1797, lettered edge 1802, $2.50 each; 1793, 1795
lettered edge, $1.50 each; all the others from 10c. to 50c. each.

CENTS.--1787, two varieties, 20c., 50c.; 1793, six varieties, $3.50, $5,
$8, and upward; 1794, 50c.; 1795, two varieties, 50c., $1; 1796, three
varieties, 50c., 75c., $2; 1797, four varieties, 25c., 50c., 75c., $1;
1799 over 98, $7.50; 1799, perfect date, $10; 1801, United, $1; 1804,
$4; 1809, $1; 1839 over 36, $3; 1851 over 81, $2; the balance from 5c.
to 75c. each, mostly 5c.

SMALL CENTS.--1856, flying eagle, $4. All the others, 5c. or 10c. each.

TWO CENTS.--1873, $1.75. All the others 10c. each.

THREE CENTS (NICKEL).--1877, proofs only, $2.50. All the others 10c. or
15c.

FIVE CENTS (NICKEL).--1877, proofs only, $2.50. All the others 10c. or
15c.

THREE CENTS (SILVER)--From 1863 to 1873 inclusive, 75c. to $1 each. All
the others 10c. each.

FIVE CENTS (SILVER).--1802, $250; 1805, $7.50; 1860, no arrow, $5; 1794,
1801, 1846, $2.50 each; 1795, 1796, 1797, 1800, 1803, $1 to $2 each. The
others from 10c. to 30c. each.

DIMES.--1804, $25; 1796 to 1803, inclusive, and 1822, from $2 to $3
each; 1809, 1846, $1 each. The others from 15c. to 50c. each.

TWENTY CENTS.--1875, 40c.; 1876, 50c.; 1877, 1878, $3 each.

     M. R. GAUSE.--The four coins are common, and worth face value only.
     You failed to give your address.

     M. HALE.--The 1839 cent struck over 1836 is sold by dealers at $3.
     The regular 1839 has no premium. The other coins are sold at 10c.
     each.

     MRS. A. M. R.--I cannot give addresses of dealers in this column.
     Ordinary current stamps have little value. Ten million of the
     present 2c. red are used every day.

     CORPORAL P. CONN.--Dealers ask from 15c. to 40c. according to
     condition.

     A. L. CHURCHMAN.--Dealers ask 5c.

     R. HITCHENS.--Dealers do not pay premiums at present on any
     Columbians except the dollar values.

     Z. C. FRICK.--Dealers ask 5c. each for the coins mentioned.

     DUBUQUE, IOWA.--(No name signed to inquiry).--The 1795 dollar,
     lettered edge, is worth $3.50. The other coins about twice face
     value. Confederate paper money, as a rule, has no value. U.S.
     fractional currency in good fresh condition is worth twice face. If
     dirty or crumpled it has no premium value.

     J. HALL.--Yes. Stamps catalogued at $2 each, or over, are disposed
     of to best advantage by auction. Common stamps catalogued from 1c.
     to 50c. each, do not as a rule bring anything like their value at
     auction.

     L. RICHARDSON.--Dealers charge $50 for the 1852 dollar. If yours is
     in good condition, a dealer might buy it for $25 or $30. If the
     date is not clear, or the coin is badly worn, it is not worth so
     much.

  PHILATUS.



[Illustration]

Copyright, 1885, by The Procter & Gamble Co., Cin'ti.

Every lot of Ivory Soap is carefully analyzed, and comparisons are made
with analyses of the popular castile and toilet soaps. Ivory Soap
contains less of impurities, less of free alkali and more real soap than
any of them; that is why it can be used without injury to the rose leaf
skin of the baby, to the sheerest of linens or to the daintiest of
laces.



PRINTING OUTFIT 10c.

[Illustration]

[Illustration: G. A. R. 25c.]

[Illustration: Brownies 10c.]

For printing cards, marking linen, books, etc. Contains everything shown
in cut. Type, Tweezers, Holder, Indelible Ink, Ink Pad, etc. Thoroughly
practical for business or household use and a most instructive
amusement. Sent with catalogue illustrating over 1000 Tricks and
Novelties, for 10c. in stamps to pay postage and packing on outfit and
catalogue. Same outfit with figures 15c. Large outfit for printing two
lines 25c.

=Brownie Rubber Stamps=--A set of 6 grotesque little people with ink pad;
price, postpaid, 10c.

G. A. R. series Rubber Stamps, 12 characters. Makes all kinds of
Battles, Encampments and other military pictures, 25c. postpaid. Address

ROBERT H. INGERSOLL & BRO.

Dep't No. 62. 65 Cortlandt St., New York.



[Illustration]

Highest Award

WORLD'S FAIR.

SKATES

CATALOGUE FREE.

BARNEY & BERRY, Springfield, Mass.



BREAKFAST--SUPPER.

EPPS'S

GRATEFUL--COMFORTING.

COCOA

BOILING WATER OR MILK.



OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

OF THE AWARD ON

=GILLOTT'S PENS= at the CHICAGO EXPOSITION.

=AWARD:= "For excellence of steel used in their manufacture, it being fine
grained and elastic; superior workmanship, especially shown by the
careful grinding which leaves the pens free from defects. The tempering
is excellent and the action of the finished pens perfect."

  Approved: JOHN BOYD THACHER,
              _Chairman Exec. Com. on Awards_



Ancient Indian Relics

Stone tomahawk dug from mound, arrow heads, flint spears, beads, and
other relics sent postpaid for $2. Valuable collection for sale from
Ohio mounds. Write for description.

F. I. BROWN, Hayden Block, Columbus, O.



NEW PLAYS

READINGS, RECITATIONS,

CATALOGUES FREE!!!

DE WITT, ROSE ST., N. Y.



GEO. F. CRANE,

90 Nassau St.,

NEW YORK,

will pay cash for collections or scarce stamps.



HOOPING-COUGH

CROUP.

Roche's Herbal Embrocation.

The celebrated and effectual English Cure without internal medicine.
Proprietors, W. EDWARD & SON. London, England.

E. Fougera & Co., 30 North William St., N.Y.


BAKER sells recitations and PLAYS

23 Winter St., Boston

CATALOGUES FREE.



CARDS

The FINEST SAMPLE BOOK of Gold Beveled Edge, Hidden Name, Silk Fringe,
Envelope and Calling Cards ever offerer for a 2 cent Stamp. These are
GENUINE CARDS, NOT TRASH.

UNION CARD CO., COLUMBUS, OHIO.



[Illustration]



Harper's

Round Table

for 1895

Volume XVI. With 1096 Pages, and about 750 Illustrations. 4to, Cloth,
Ornamental, $3.50.

     A literal mine of instruction and entertainment.... The young
     person who receives this beautiful book as a Christmas gift is an
     enviable person indeed.--_Examiner_, N. Y.

     There is nothing, we imagine, that the young reader would be likely
     to prize more.--_N. Y. Sun_.

     A truly royal volume for the youthful reading appetite.--_Boston
     Courier_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Harper & Brothers, Publishers, N. Y.



[Illustration: REHEARSING FOR THE CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME.

THE BEAR (_at rehearsal_). "SEE HERE, DOROTHY, WHEN I BEGIN TO DEVOUR
YOU IN THE CHRISTMAS PERFORMANCE, YOU OUGHT TO BE AWFUL SCART, INSTEAD
OF GIGGLING."

DOROTHY. "BUT YOU MAKE ME GIGGLE, YOUR WHISKERS TICKLE ME SO."]



A WREATH OF CHRISTMAS SMILES.

BY CODDLES AND TODDLES.


C. (1 A.M.). "Is it raining out, Tod?"

T. "Raining! No; it's snowing hard."

C. "I don't think Santa Claus will come, then, 'cause papa said he uses
_reindeers_ only to pull his sleigh."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (2 A.M.). "Cod, I wonder why Santa Claus only comes at night!"

C. "I guess it's because he doesn't want to make his _presents_ known."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (3 A.M.). "Say, Tod, wake up! I thought you said you were not going
to sleep till Santa Claus came."

T. "I didn't go to sleep. I only forgot I was awake."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (4 A.M.). "Santa Claus is so long in coming, I think he's mistaken us
for somebody he's left presents with."

C. "Probably he's had a _misgiving_, and left them with somebody else."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (5 A.M.). "Tod, did you hear that crash?"

T. "No; what was it?"

C. "The day breaking through the window."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (6 A.M.). "I wonder what time it is, Cod?"

C. "Don't know; it's so cold, I guess the clock's frozen."

T. "Ha! ha! don't you know a clock has a running spring, and that never
freezes?"

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (7 A.M.). "I wonder where Santa Claus learned to come down chimneys?"

T. "That's easy. He took lessons off that camel that went through the
eye of a needle."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (8 A.M.). "Look here, Cod, you shouldn't have eaten all little
Ethel's buckwheat cakes like that. Mamma's awful angry."

C. "Well, I only did what papa told me, and that was to always take her
part."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (9 A.M.). "Papa, did Santa Claus ever go to school?"

Papa. "I guess so."

T. "I don't think he had to study hard, 'cause he was a _gifted_ scholar
before he went."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (10 A.M.). "I wonder why Santa Claus gave me this rocking-horse?"

C. "What is the matter with the horse?"

T. "Why, you know all horses have to be broken before they are ridden,
and if I break this one, I don't see how I can use him."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (11 A.M.). "I am going to have lots of fights with the bicycle Santa
Claus gave me."

T. "What's wrong about it?"

C. "Oh, I'll have to give it a blowing up every now and then."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (12 M., _in a whisper_). "Cod, that turkey looks fine, doesn't it?
Ain't you afraid that when he goes to the next world he'll haunt you?"

C. "No. Turkeys have their _necks twirled_ in this."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (1 P.M.). "Say, Tod, this plum-pudding reminds me of a river with a
dam in it."

T. "Why?"

C. "Oh, because the currants are all stemmed."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (2 P.M.). "Cod, mamma said she is sorry she bought the Christmas
turkey for dinner."

C. "Did she?"

T. "Yes; mamma said we developed into such fine _turkey gobblers_ that
we might have been used instead."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (3 P.M.). "Papa, Dan couldn't pull this sleigh if he didn't have
legs, could he?"

Papa. "No, of course not."

C. "Everything that runs has to have legs."

T. "Oh no, they don't. The runners of this sleigh haven't any legs."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (4 P.M.). "Did you ever see any peddlers in the Park, papa? Cod says
there's lots of them."

Papa. "I never noticed any."

C. "Oh yes, papa! there are scores of bicycle-pedallers here every day."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (5 P.M.). "Did you know even old Father Time made us a Christmas gift
of an hour to-day."

T. "What hour is that, Tod?"

C. "Why, the _present_ one."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (6 P.M.). "You'd better look out for those turkey patties, Tod.
They're dangerous, and might go off."

C. "What's the matter with them?"

T. "They're full of _fowl in pieces_."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (7 P.M.). "Do you know why Santa Claus is like the weather to-day?"

T. "No."

C. "Because he was _dew_ this morning and is _mist_ to-night."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (8 P.M.) "Cod, look! that Christmas tree is so heavily loaded with
presents I'm afraid it will sink through the floor."

C. "Papa will start the candles on it in a minute, and then it will grow
much lighter."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (9 P.M.). "That little girl over there borrowed a face to come to our
party to-night."

T. "What makes you think that?"

C. "I heard mamma say she had her father's eyes and her mother's nose
and chin."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (10 P.M.). "We've taken pains to eat so many good things to-day, I
guess we'll have to do without to-morrow."

C. "Oh, we'll get something to-morrow for our pains."

       *       *       *       *       *

C. (11 P.M.). "Mamma, Time takes wings on Christmas day like butterflies
on hot cakes. Can't you stop the clock for an hour?"

Mamma. "Why don't you ask papa?"

C. "'Cause you told me time stops for no man."

       *       *       *       *       *

T. (12 M.). "Good-night, papa; we're tucked in all right."

Papa. "Now, boys, go to sleep."

C. "We're going to. Uncle Jack said there'd be a big war in us when the
turkey and plum-pudding discovered each other, and so we're going to
rest before the fight."





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