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Title: A Chautauqua Idyl
Author: Hill, Grace Livingston
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.

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D Lothrop Company
Franklin and Hawley Streets

Copyright, 1887,
D. Lothrop Company.



I have read Miss Livingston’s little idyl with much pleasure. I
cannot but think that if the older and more sedate members of the
Chautauquan circles will read it, they will find that there are grains
of profit in it; hidden grains, perhaps, but none the worse for being
hidden at the first, if they only discover them. Miss Livingston has
herself evidently understood the spirit of the movement in which the
Chautauquan reading circles are engaged. That is more than can be said
of everybody who expresses an opinion upon them. It is because she
expresses no opinion, but rather tells, very simply, the story of the
working out of the plan, that I am glad you are going to publish her
little poem: for poem it is, excepting that it is not in verse or in

                              Believe me,
                                    Very truly yours,
                                         EDWARD EVERETT HALE.


DOWN in a rocky pasture, on the edge of a wood, ran a little brook,
tinkle, tinkle, over the bright pebbles of its bed. Close to the
water’s edge grew delicate ferns, and higher up the mossy bank nestled
violets, blue and white and yellow.

Later in the fall the rocky pasture would glow with golden-rod and
brilliant sumach, and ripe milk-weed pods would burst and fill the
golden autumn sunshine with fleecy clouds. But now the nodding
buttercups and smiling daisies held sway, with here and there a tall
mullein standing sentinel.

It was a lovely place: off in the distance one could see the shimmering
lake, to whose loving embrace the brook was forever hastening, framed
by beautiful wooded hills, with a hazy purple mountain back of all.

But the day was not lovely. The clouds came down to the earth as near
as they dared, scowling ominously. It was clear they had been drinking
deeply. A sticky, misty rain filled the air, and the earth looked
sad, very sad.


The violets had put on their gossamers and drawn the hoods up over
their heads, the ferns looked sadly drabbled, and the buttercups and
daisies on the opposite bank, didn’t even lean across to speak to
their neighbors, but drew their yellow caps and white bonnets further
over their faces, drooped their heads and wished for the rain to be
over. The wild roses that grew on a bush near the bank hid under their
leaves. The ferns went to sleep; even the trees leaned disconsolately
over the brook and wished for the long, rainy afternoon to be over,
while little tired wet birds in their branches never stirred, nor even
spoke to each other, but stood hour after hour on one foot, with their
shoulders hunched up, and one eye shut.

       *       *       *       *       *

At last a little white violet broke the damp stillness.

“O dear!” she sighed, “this is so tiresome, I wish we could do
something nice. Won’t some one please talk a little?”


No one spoke, and some of the older ferns even scowled at her, but
little violet was not to be put down. She turned her hooded face on
a tall pink bachelor button growing by her side.

This same pink button was a new-comer among them. He had been brought,
a little brown seed, by a fat robin, early in the spring, and dropped
down close by this sweet violet.

“Mr. Button,” she said, “you have been a great traveller. Won’t you
tell us some of your experiences?”

“Yes, yes; tell, tell, tell,” babbled the brook.

The warm wind clapped him on the shoulder, and shook him gently,
crying,—“Tell them, old fellow, and I’ll fan them a bit while you do

“Tell, tell,” chirped the birds overhead.

“O yes!” chorused the buttercups and daisies.

The little birds opened one eye and perked their heads in a listening
attitude, and all the violets put their gossamer hoods behind their
ears so that they might hear better.

[Illustration: “AND WHAT IS CHAUTAUQUA?”]

“Well, I might tell you about Chautauqua,” said pink bachelor

“And what is Chautauqua?” questioned a saucy little fish who had
stopped on his way to the lake to listen.

“Chautauqua is a place, my young friend, a beautiful place, where
I spent last summer with my family,” said the bachelor in a very
patronizing tone.

“Oh! you don’t say so,” said the naughty little fish with a grimace,
and sped on his way to the lake, to laugh with all the other fishes at
the queer new word.

“Go on, go on, go on,” sang the brook.

“We lived in a garden by a house just outside the gates,” began

“What gates?” interrupted the eager daisies.

“Why, the gates of the grounds.”

“What grounds?”

“Why, the grounds of Chautauqua.”

“But who is Chautauqua?” asked the puzzled violets.

“Don’t you know? Chautauqua is a beautiful place in the woods, shut
in from the world by a high fence all around it, with locked gates.
It is on the shore of a lovely lake. Many people come there every
year, and they have meetings, and they sing beautiful songs about
birds and flowers and sky and water and God and angels and dear little
babies and stars. Men come there from all over this world, and stand
up and talk high, grand thoughts, and the people listen and wave their
handkerchiefs till it looks like an orchard full of cherry trees in

“They have lovely singers—ladies who sing alone as sweet as birds, and
they have great grand choruses of song besides, by hundreds of voices.
And they have instruments to play on,—organs and pianos, and violins
and harps.”

“How beautiful,” murmured the flowers.

“Tell us more,” said the brook; “tell us more, more, more,—tell, tell,

“More, more,” said the wind.

“It lasts all summer, so the people who can’t come at one time will
come at another, though my cousin said she thought that one day all
the people in the world came at once. There must have been something
very grand to bring so many that day. There were not enough rooms for
visitors to sleep in, and Chautauqua is a large place, the largest I
was ever in. Yes,” reflectively, “I think all the world must have been

The little white violet looked up.

“There was one day last summer when no one came through the pasture,
and no one went by on the road, and all day long we saw not one person.
It must have been that day, and they were all gone to Chautauqua,” she
said softly.

“I shouldn’t wonder at all,” said Bachelor.

Then they all looked sober and still. They were thinking. The idea that
all the people in the world had come together for a day was very great
to them.

At last one spoke:

“How nice it would be if all the flowers in the world could come
together for a day,” said the little violet.

“And all the birds,” chirped a sparrow.

“And all the brooks and lakes and ocean,” laughed the brook.

“And all the trees,” sighed the tall elm.

“Oh! and all the winds. We could make as beautiful music as ever any
organ or piano made.”

“But what is it all for?” asked a bright-eyed daisy.

“To teach the people all about the things that the great God has made,
and show them how to live to please Him, and how to please Him in the
best way,” promptly answered Bachelor.

“There is a great good man at the head of it, and I heard a lady say
that God Himself sent him there to take care of Chautauqua for Him, for
it is all made to praise God. They have schools,—everybody studies, but
it is all about God that they learn,—about the things He made, or how
to praise Him better, and all the talking,—they call it lecturing,—is
to help men to praise and love God more. They have three beautiful

“‘We study the word and works of God.’ ‘Let us keep our Heavenly Father
in our midst,’ and, ‘Never be discouraged.’”

“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,” said the old forest tree.

“It is just what we need,” piped one of the birds. “We don’t praise
God half enough. Here we’ve been sitting and sulking all the afternoon
because it is raining, and never one thankful chirp have we given for
all the yesterdays and yesterdays when it hasn’t rained. We need a
Chautauqua. I declare, I’m ashamed!” And he poured forth such a glad,
thankful song of praise as thrilled the old forest trees through and
through and most effectually waked the napping ferns.


“Yes,” said the listening daisies, when the song was done and the bird
had stopped to rest his throat, “we do need a Chautauqua.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Let’s have a Chautauqua!” cried the brook.

“But how could we,” said the wise-eyed violet, “when we know so little
about it?”

“I will tell you all I know,” said Bachelor graciously. “You see we
lived just outside the gates, and people used often to come and buy my
brothers and sisters. Once a young man came and bought a very large
bunch of them and took them to a young lady in a white dress, and she
wore them everywhere for three or four days—you know our family is
a very long-lived one, and we are something like the camel, in that
we can go a long time without a drink of water—well, she kept them
carefully and took them everywhere she went, and they saw and heard a
great many new things. One evening this young lady sat in a big place
full of people, and an old lady sitting behind her said to another
lady, ‘Just see those pink bachelor buttons! My mother used to have
some just like them growing in her garden, years and years ago, and I
haven’t seen any since.’ The young lady heard her, turned around and
gave her a whole handful of my brothers and sisters. After the meeting
was out, the old lady carried them away with her, but one slipped
out of her hand and fell on the walk, and some one came along in the
darkness and crushed her. Quite early the next morning our neighbor,
Mr. Robin, going to the market for a worm for breakfast, saw her lying
in this sad state, and with great difficulty brought her home to us.
She lived only a day or two longer, but long enough to tell us many of
her experiences.

“After she had faded and gone, our friend Robin went every day to hear
and see what was going on inside the great gates, and every night when
the bells were ringing”—

“What bells?” interrupted an impolite buttercup.

“The night bells for the people to go to sleep by. They rang beautiful
music on bells by the water to put the people to sleep, and in the
morning to wake them, and they had bells to call them to the big place
to praise God, and hear the lectures and singing.”

“Beautiful, beautiful,” murmured the brook.

“And every night,” proceeded the bachelor, “when the bells were ringing
we would wake up and Robin would tell us all about the day inside the
gates. Of course I can’t remember all, but I will tell you all I know.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Perhaps I can help you a little,” spoke out an old fish who had come
up the stream unobserved some time before. “I lived in Lake Chautauqua
myself for some years until my daughter sent for me to come and live
with her in yonder lake.”

They all looked at the old fish with great veneration, and thanked him

“Well, how shall we begin?” said an impatient daisy.

“I should think the first thing to be done is to make a motion that we
have a Chautauqua,” Bachelor said.

Then rose up a tall old fern. “I make a motion to that effect.”

“I second it,” chirped a sparrow.

“All in favor of the motion say ‘aye,’” said Bachelor, in a deep,
important voice.

And then arose such a chorus of “aye’s” as never was heard before in
that grove. The wind blew it, the brook gurgled it, the great forest
trees waved it, all the little flowers filled the air with their
perfumed voices, the far-off lake murmured its assent, the purple
mountain nodded its weary old head, the sun shot triumphantly through
the dark clouds, and all God’s works seemed joining in the “aye aye,
aye,” that echoed from hillside to wood.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A unanimous vote, I think,” said Bachelor, after the excitement had
somewhat subsided.

“The next question is, When shall we have it?”

“Oh! right away, of course,” nodded a buttercup. “See! the sun has
come out to help us.”

“But,” objected white Violet, “we can’t. We must invite all the flowers
and birds and brooks and trees all over the world, and they will have
to get ready. It will take the flowers the rest of this summer and all
of next winter to get their dresses made and packed in their brown
travelling seed trunks. I’m sure it would me if I were to go away from
here for the summer, and it is late in the season already. We couldn’t
get word to them all in time.”

“Yes,” said the fish, “and there are the travelling expenses to be
arranged for such a large company. We should have to secure reduced
rates. They always do on Chautauqua Lake.”

“Oh! as to that,” said the wind, “I and the birds would do the
transportation free of charge, and the brook would do all it could, I’m

“Of course, of course,” babbled the brook.

“That is very kind of you indeed,” said Bachelor. “But I should think
that the earliest possible beginning that we could hope to have would
be next spring.”

After much impatient arguing on the part of the buttercups and daisies,
it was finally agreed that the first meeting of their Chautauqua
should be held the following spring.

“It must last all summer,” they said, “because some of us can come
early and some late. There is the golden-rod now, it never can come
till late in the fall.”

“Of course, of course; certainly, certainly,” chattered the brook.

       *       *       *       *       *

“What comes next?” softly asked the wild rose.

“The next thing to do is to appoint a committee to make out the
programme,” remarked the fish.

“Committee! Who is that?” cried a butterfly.

[Illustration: “THERE IS THE GOLDEN-ROD NOW.”]

“Programme! what’s programme?” chirped a sparrow.

“O dear! we need a dictionary,” sighed the roses.

[Illustration: “COMMITTEE! WHO’S THAT?”]

“What’s a dictionary?” asked a little upstart of a fern.

“Silence!” sternly commanded Bachelor. “Will Miss Rose kindly explain
the meaning of dictionary, after which Mr. Fish will proceed to tell
us about programme and committee.”

Little Rose blushed all over her pretty face, and after thinking a
moment, replied,—

“A dictionary is a book that tells what all words mean.”

“Oh!” sighed the wind, “we must have a dictionary.”

Mr. Fish having made a dash up stream after a fly, now resumed his
sedate manner and spoke:

“My friends, a programme says what we will have every day, and a
committee are the ones who make it.”

“Then let’s all be committee,” said the buttercup.

“That’s a very good plan,” said Bachelor. “Now, what shall we have?
They always have a prayer meeting first at Chautauqua.”

“We can all pray,” said the elm. “Let us have a prayer meeting first
every morning to thank the dear God for the new day, and let the rising
sun be the leader.”

“That is good,” said the flowers, and bright rays of light, the sun’s
little children, kissed them tenderly.

“What is next?”

“They have a large choir, and every morning after the prayer meeting
they meet and practise with the great organ and piano and band.”

“We will be the singers,” chorused the birds.

“I will tinkle, tinkle, like a piano,” sang the brook, “tinkle, tinkle,

“I will play the band, for I have very many instruments at my command,
and my friend the thunder will play the organ, while you, dear old
trees, shall be my violins and harps, and every morning we will
practise,” said the wind.

“What do they have next at Chautauqua?” asked a pert blackbird.

“Lectures,” said the fish.

“What are lectures?”

“Talks about things.”


“What things?”

“Oh! evolution and literature and theology and philosophy and art and
poetry and science, and a great many other things.”

The high-sounding words rolled out from that fish’s mouth as if he
actually thought he understood them.

Silence reigned for a few minutes, deep and intense, at last broken by
the white violet:

“We never could have all those, for we don’t know anything about them.
And who could talk about such things? None of us.”

Silence again. They were all thinking earnestly.

“I don t believe it. Not one word,” chattered a saucy squirrel. “That’s
a fish story. As if _you_ could get on dry land and go to lectures.”


“Oh! very well, you needn’t believe it if you don’t want to,” answered
the fish in a hurt tone, “but I heard a man on board the steamer read
the programme, and those are the very words he read.”

“If we only had a dictionary,” again sighed the rose.

“Dictionary, dictionary, dic, dic, dictionary,” murmured the brook,

“A dictionary is absolutely necessary before we can proceed any
further,” said the south wind. “And as I am obliged to travel to New
York this evening, I will search everywhere, and if possible bring one
back with me. Anything can be had in New York. It is getting late,
and I think we had better adjourn to meet again to-morrow. I hope to
be able to return by two o’clock. In the meantime, let us all think
deeply of what we have heard, and if any one can see a way out of our
difficulty, let him tell us then.”

The sunbeams kissed the flowers good-night, the forest trees waved
farewell to the good wind, the brook called, “Good-night! sweet dreams
till to-morrow, to-morrow, to-morrow,” and all the air was soft with
bird vespers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Into the bright sunshine of the next afternoon came the winds and the
eager birds to the place on the bank where the violets grew.


The daisies leaned far over the bank to listen.

The south wind came bringing two or three torn sheets of an old

“It is all I could find, and I’ve had hard work to get this,” said he.
“I went in at a window where lay an open dictionary.—I had no idea that
a dictionary was such a very large book.—It was an old one, so I had no
trouble in tearing out these few leaves, as the paper was so tender. I
took them out of the window and hid them in a safe place and went back
for more, but just as I was turning the leaves over to find evolution,
some one came up and shut the window, and I had to crawl out through
the cracks. Well, I have all the ‘P’s’ and some of the ‘T’s’; we can
find theology and poetry.”

“Philosophy, too,” said wise Violet.

“My dear, that is spelled with an ‘f,’” said the kind old wind

“O, no! I am sure you are mistaken. It is ‘p-h-i-l’; look and see if I
am not right.”

The wind slowly turned over the leaves of his meagre dictionary, and,
sure enough, there it was,—“p-h-i-l-o-s-o-p-h-y.”

“Is it there? What does it say?” questioned the eager flowers.

“Philosophy, the love of, or search after, wisdom,” slowly read the

“Oh!” said the flowers, “is that all it is? Why, we know philosophy.”

“I think the forest trees could lecture on philosophy,” said the wind.

“Yes, yes, yes,” they all cried. “The forest trees, for they are very
old and have had longer to search for wisdom than we.”

“Very well; three lectures a week on philosophy, by the old forest
trees; write it down, please,” cried Bachelor.

The secretary, a scarlet-headed woodpecker, carefully carved it on the
trunk of an old tree, and I think you can still find the minutes of
that day written in lines of beauty all over the tree.

“Theology is the next word,” announced the wind, and again turned over
the leaves of their precious dictionary.

“The science of God,” he read. “Science, what is science?” If we only
had the “s’s!”

“I know what it is,” chirped a bird. “I hopped into the schoolhouse
this morning, and a book was open on the desk, and no one was there, so
I hopped up and took a look to see if there was anything in it to help
us. The first words my eye fell on were these,—‘science is knowledge.’
And I didn’t wait for any more, but flew away to sit in a tree and say
it over so that I wouldn’t forget it. Going back a little later to see
if I could get any more words, I found the schoolhouse full of dreadful
boys. As I flew away again, this little piece of paper blew out of the
window, and I brought it, thinking it might be helpful.”

As he finished speaking, he deposited a small fragment of a definition
spelling-book at the foot of the elm tree, and flew up into the
branches again, for he was a bashful bird, and this was a very long
speech for him to make before so many.

“Good, good, good,” cried all the committee.

“To go back to theology,” said the wind. “It is the science of God.
Science is knowledge, therefore theology is knowledge of God. That is a
very great thing. Who is able to lecture on the knowledge of God?”

Silence all. No one dared to volunteer. None felt worthy to do so great
a thing.

Out spoke a shy little wren. “Last night I slept in a notch close over
a church window, and the window was open and there was a meeting of the
people there and the minister read out of the Bible these words:
‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his

[Illustration: FOR HE WAS A BASHFUL BIRD.]

She paused a moment to gather courage, and then said, “Why couldn’t the
heavens teach theology?”


“Bless your heart, little wren, that is the very thing,” cried the
blustering north wind. And all the flowers cried,—“The heavens shall
teach theology!”

The sky bowed its assent and said, “I will do my best to perform the
wonderful work entrusted to me.”

And the happy brook murmured, “Glory, glory, glory! the glory of God.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Now we will see what this bit of paper has for us,” said the wind as
he picked up the paper at the foot of the elm.

“Ah! What have we here? Evolution! Just what we want: ‘evolution, the
act of unfolding or unrolling.’”

He stopped with a thoughtful look.


“Yes, I see. As the young leaves and flowers unfold. The plants must
take full charge of this department, I think. I remember once turning
over the leaves of a fat, dark-gray book, with gilt letters on its
back. It lay on a minister’s window-seat, and it looked interesting,
so I read a few minutes while the minister was out and not using it,
and among other things that I read was this, and it stayed with me ever
since: ‘A lily grows mysteriously. Shaped into beauty by secret and
invisible fingers, the flower develops, we know not how. Every day the
thing is done: it is God.’ You see, my dear,” addressing himself to a
pure white lily that had only that morning unfolded its delicate petals
to the sun, “you see a great many don’t understand how it is done. You
need to tell how God has made you able to unfold.”

“Yes, we will, we can,” they all cried.

“The flowers will speak on Evolution,” wrote down Woodpecker.

“There are three more words spoken by our friend Fish, still

“I know what literature means, Mr. Wind, it is books,” announced a
bright butterfly who had just arrived on the scene.

“Are you sure?” questioned the fish doubtfully.

“Yes; of course I am. I went with a big pinch-bug one day into a great
room full of books, and he said, when he saw the shelves and shelves
full of them, ‘My! what a lot of literature!’”

The committee looked convinced, but now came the question of
books,—Where should they get them? How could they lecture on books,
when they knew nothing about them?

“We must just send word around to all the flowers and birds and trees
and everything, to see who can lecture on books, and we must all keep
our eyes and ears open,” said a buttercup bud.

“We shall have to lay that on the table for the present,” said the wind.

“But we haven’t any table,” chattered a squirrel.

“A well brought-up squirrel should know better than to interrupt. We
shall have to put this aside, then, until we can learn more about
it. In the meantime, let us proceed with the next word on the list,

“I know,” said the brook. “A bit of paper lay upon my bank, miles and
miles away from here, too high up for me to reach, but I could read
it. It said, ‘For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human
knowledge.’ And I have said it over and over all the way here.”

“Ah! the flowers shall give us poetry,” said the good old wind.

Bachelor bowed his head and said, “We will try.”

“Try, try, try,” chattered the brook.

“Art is next, I believe,” said Bachelor.

“Yes, art,” said a squirrel.

“Art is making pictures,” said the moss.

“Then the sunset must paint them, for there are no pictures made like
those of the sunset,” said the wind.

The sun hastened to mix his paint, and in answer to the request that
he would be professor of art, painted one of the most glorious sunset
scenes that mortal eye has ever looked upon. Rapidly he dashed on the
color, delicate greens and blues blending with the sea-shell pink, and
glowing with deep crimson and gold, till the assembled committee fairly
held their breaths with delight. The crimson and gold and purple in
the west were beginning to fade and mix with soft greys and tender
yellows, before the committee thought of returning to their work.

“What a lot of time we have wasted,” said the oldest squirrel;
“to-morrow is Sunday, and of course we can’t work then, and now it is
time to go home.”

“Not wasted, dear squirrel,” said White Violet, “not wasted when we
were looking at God’s beautiful sunset.”

Bachelor looked down at her in all her sweetness and purity, and some
of the flowers say that later when he went to bid her good-night—under
the shadow of a fern—he kissed her.

“To-morrow being Sunday reminds me that we have not made any
arrangements for our Sunday sermons. They always have great sermons
at Chautauqua, and I have often heard the passengers on the steamer
scolding because the boats did not run on Sunday, for they said the
great men always kept their best thoughts for sermons.” This from the

They all paused. “We can’t any of us preach sermons, what shall we do?”
questioned a fern.

“I’m sure I don’t know; we might each of us go to church and listen to
a sermon and preach it over again,” said a thoughtful bird.

“But we couldn’t remember it all, and by next summer we would have
forgotten it entirely,” said one more cautious.

“Well, we must go,” said the wind. “Monday we will consider these
subjects. To-morrow is God’s day, and we must go immediately, for it is
getting dark.”

And so they all rested on the Sabbath day, and praised the great God,
and never a wee violet, nor even a chattering chipmunk, allowed his
thoughts to wander off to the great programme for the next summer, but
gave their thoughts to holy things.

       *       *       *       *       *

The busy Monday’s work was all done up, and the committee gathered
again, waiting for the work to go on, when there came flying in great
haste, a little bluebird, and, breathless, stopped on a branch to rest
a moment ere he tried to speak.

“What is the matter?” they all cried.

“Were you afraid you would be late? You ought not to risk your health;
it is not good to get so out of breath,” said a motherly old robin.


“Oh! I have such good news to tell you,” cried the little bird as
soon as he could speak. “I sat on a bough this morning, close to a
window where sat an old lady, who was reading aloud to a sick man, so
I stopped to listen. These are the words she read,—‘Sermons in stones,
books in running brooks.’ I didn’t hear any more, but came right away
to study that. I was so glad I had found something to help us. Two
things in one.”

They all looked very much amazed.

“Why, we didn’t think we could do anything!” cried the stones, “and
here we can do one of the best things there is to be done. Thank the
dear God for that. We will preach sermons full of God and his works,
for we have seen a great many ages, and their story is locked up in us.”

“And the brook shall tell us of books,” said the old wind. “There is
good in everything, and we shall try not to feel discouraged the next
time we are in a difficulty.”


“Books in running brooks,” said the brook. “Books, books, books. And I
too can praise Him.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“This morning,” said a sober-looking bird, “a small girl just under my
nest in the orchard, was saying something over and over to herself, and
I listened; and these were the words that she said:

    The ocean looketh up to heaven as ’twere a living thing,
    The homage of its waves is given in ceaseless worshipping.
    They kneel upon the sloping sand, as bends the human knee,
    A beautiful and tireless band, the priesthood of the sea,
    They pour the glittering treasures out which in the deep have birth,
    And chant their awful hymns about the watching-hills of earth.

“If the ocean is so good and grand as that he ought to do something at
our Chautauqua. Couldn’t he? God must love him very much, he worships
him so much.”

“Yes,” said the elm tree. “I have heard that a great man once said,
‘God, God, God walks on thy watery rim.’”

“Wonderful, glorious,” murmured the flowers.

“They tell stories at Chautauqua—pretty stories about things and
people; and I have heard that Ocean has a wonderful story. We might
send word to ask if he will tell it,” suggested Bachelor.

“I fear he cannot leave home,” said the wind, “but we might try him.”

So it was agreed that the woodpecker should write a beautiful letter,
earnestly inviting him to take part in the grand new movement for the
coming summer. The brook agreed to carry the daintily-carved missive to
the lake, and the lake to the river, and the river would carry it to
the sea.

Bachelor spoke next: “They have a School of Languages at Chautauqua,
could we have one?”

“I have thought of that,” said the fish, “but who could teach it?”

“That is the trouble,” said Bachelor, slowly shaking his head.

“I know,” said a little bird. “I went to church last night and heard
the Bible read, and it said, ‘Day unto day uttereth speech, and night
unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where
their voice is not heard.’ I think the day and the night could teach
the School of Languages.”

“The day and the night, the day and the night,” said the brook.

“Yes,” said the oldest tree of all, “the day and the night know all

       *       *       *       *       *

“We must have a Missionary Day and a Temperance Day,” said the wise old

“What is a Temperance Day?” asked a young squirrel, who was not yet
very well acquainted with the questions of the day.

“My dear,” said his mother, “there are some bad people in the world who
make vile stuff and give it to people to drink, and it makes them sick
and cross; then they do not please God, and there are some good people
who are trying to keep the bad people from making it, and the others
from drinking it; they are called Temperance.”

“Oh!” said the squirrel, “but why do the folks drink it? I should think
they’d know better.”

“So should I, but they don’t. Why, my dear, I must tell you of
something that happened to me once. I lived in a tree at a summer
resort, that year, and just under my bough was a window; a young man
roomed there for a few days, and every morning he would come to the
window with a black bottle in his hand, and pour out some dark stuff
and mix sugar and water with it, and drink it as if he thought it was
very good. I watched him for several mornings, and one morning the bell
rang while he was drinking, and he left the glass on the window-sill,
and went to breakfast. I hopped down to see what it was, and it smelled
good, so I tasted it. I liked the taste pretty well, so I drank all
there was left. Then I started home, but, will you believe it? I could
not walk straight, and very soon I could hardly stand up. I tried to
climb up a tree, but fell off the first bough, and there I lay for a
long, long time. When I awoke I had such a terrible pain in my head!
All that day I suffered, and didn’t get over my bad feelings for
several days. I tell this as a warning to you, that you may never be
tempted to touch anything to drink but water, my dear.”

“You must tell that story, Mrs. Squirrel,” said Bachelor. “And we will
call it a story of intemperance, by one of its victims.”

“I will, with all my heart, if it will do any one any good,” she

“Yes, we must have a Temperance Day and all make a speech on drinking
cold water,” said the fish.

“And dew,” said the violet.

“I have always drank water, and never anything else, and I think one
could scarcely find an older or a healthier tree than I am,” said the

“That is true,” said the fish.

“Cold water, cold water, cold water,” babbled the brook.

“Yes, we can all speak on Temperance Day; we will have a great
platform meeting. That is what they call it at Chautauqua when a great
many speak about one thing. I heard a man telling his little girl about
it on the boat,” said the fish.

And the woodpecker wrote it down.

“What was that other you said?” asked a sharp little chipmunk.

“Missionary Day,” said the fish.

“And what is that?”

“Why, there are home missions and foreign missions,” said the fish.
“And they talk about them both. I think they have a day for each, or
maybe two or three. Missions are doing good to some one, but I don’t
exactly see the difference between home and foreign missions.”

“Why, that is plain to me,” said Bachelor. “Home missions is when some
one does something kind to you, and foreign missions is when you do
something kind to some one else.”

“Of course; why didn’t I think of that before?” said the fish.

“One day last year I was very hungry,” said a robin, “very hungry and
cold. I had come on too early in the season. There came a cold snap,
and the ground was frozen. I could find nothing at all to eat. I was
almost frozen myself, and had begun to fear that my friends would
come on to find me starved to death instead of getting ready for them
as they expected. But a little girl saw me and threw some crumbs out
of the window. I went and ate them, and every day as long as the cold
weather lasted she threw me crumbs—such good ones too—some of them
cake; and she gave me silk ravelings to make my nest of. I think that
was a home mission, don’t you?”

“Yes, my dear, it was,” said Bachelor.

“You might tell that as one thing,” said the wind.

“I will,” said Birdie.

Said a daisy, “When I was very thirsty, one day, and the clouds sent
down no good rain, the dear brook jumped up high here, and splashed on
me so I could drink, and I think that was a home mission.”

“Yes, yes,” said the elm, “it was.”

“I know a story I could tell,” said the ferns.

“And I,” said the elm; “one of many years ago, when I was but a little

“I know a home mission story too,” said White Violet.

“And I,” said the brook. “Once I was almost all dried up and could
hardly reach the lake, and a dear lovely spring burst up and helped
me along until the dry season was over.”

[Illustration: “YES, YES,” SAID THE ELM, “IT WAS.”]

“And I, and I,” chorused a thousand voices.

“But what about foreign missions?” said the fish.

“I sang a beautiful song to a sad old lady in a window, this morning,”
said a mocking-bird.

“That’s foreign missions,” said the chipmunk.

“Some naughty boys hid another boy’s hat yesterday, and I found it for
him and blew it to his feet,” said the wind.

“I sent a bunch of buds to a sick girl, this morning,” said the
rose-bush with a blush.

“I think we shall have no lack of foreign missions,” remarked Bachelor.

       *       *       *       *       *

“But what can _we_ do?” asked an old gray squirrel. “We can’t preach,
nor teach. We can run errands and carry messages, but that isn’t much.”

“You might be on the commissary department,” said the wind.

“What’s that?” they all asked.

“Things to eat. We shall need a great many, and you could all lay in a
stock of nuts, enough to last all summer, for a great many.”

“Why, surely!” they cried, and all that fall such a hurrying and
scurrying from bough to bough there was as never was seen before. They
worked very hard, storing up nuts, and the people came near not getting
any at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

It must have been about a week from the time they sent their letter to
Old Ocean, that one afternoon as they were assembled, waiting for the
decision of a certain little committee, which had been sent over behind
a stone to decide who should be the leader of the choir, that up the
stream came a weary little fish.

He was unlike any fish that had ever been seen in that brook, and
caused a great deal of remark among the flowers before he was within
hearing distance.

He came wearily, as though he had travelled a long distance, but as he
drew nearer, the old fish exclaimed, “There comes a salt-water fish!
perhaps he has a message from the ocean.”

Then the little company were all attention.

Nearer and nearer he came, and stopped before the old fish with a low
bow, inquiring whether this was the Chautauqua Committee.


On being told that it was, he laid a bit of delicate sea-weed, a
pearly shell, and a beautiful stem of coral upon the bank, and said: “I
have a message from Old Ocean for you. He sends you greetings and many
good wishes for the success of your plan, and regrets deeply that he
cannot be with you next summer; but he is old, very old, and he has so
much to do that he cannot leave even for a day or two. If he should,
the world would be upside down. There would be no rain in the brooks,
the lakes would dry up, and the crops and the people all would die.”

“O dear! and we should die too,” said the flowers.

“Yes, you would die, too,” said the salt-water fish.

“He has a great many other things besides to take care of; there
are the great ships to carry from shore to shore, and there is the

“What is telegraph?” interrupted that saucy little squirrel who had no
regard even for a stranger’s presence.

“Telegraph is a big rope that people send letters to their friends on.
It is under the water in the ocean, and the letters travel so fast that
we have never yet been able to see them, though we have watched night
and day.”

“Wonderful, strange,” they all murmured.

“Old Ocean says,” proceeded the messenger, “that he cannot give you all
of his story, as it would be too long, but that he sends some of it
written on this shell, and in this coral and in this bit of sea-weed.
In the shell is a drop of pure salt water that if carefully examined
will tell you many more wonderful things.”

They all thanked the fish kindly for coming so far to bring them these
treasures, and begged him to stay and rest, but he declined, saying he
had a family at home and must hasten, so he turned to go.

“Stay!” cried Bachelor. “Wouldn’t you be willing to come next summer
and give us a lecture on the telegraph?”

The fish laughed.

“Bless you!” said he, “I couldn’t do that. I don’t know enough about
it myself. Ask the lightning. He is the head manager, and will give
you all the lectures you want. Good-by! the sun is getting low, and I
must be off.” And he sped away, leaving the woodpecker writing down
“telegraph” and “lightning” on one corner of his memoranda.

And now the committee returned, having decided, by unanimous vote,
that the mocking-bird should be the leader of the choir, as he could
sing any part, and so help along the weak ones whenever he could see
the need of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a pause after the committee had been told all that had
happened during their absence, broken at last by Bachelor.

“I’ve been thinking,” said he, “that it might be as well for us to have
a reply to Ingersoll.”

“What is that?” they asked, for they were getting used to strange
things, and did not seem so surprised at the new word.

“Ingersoll is a man that says there is no God, and he has written a
great many things to prove it,” said Bachelor gravely.

The other poor little flowers were too much shocked to say anything,
and they all looked at one another dumbly.

“Is he blind?” asked a bird.

“He must know better,” asserted a fern. “No one could possibly believe
such a thing.”

“I don’t know whether he is blind, but I think not,” said Bachelor.
“They say he has made a great many other people believe as he does
because he talks so beautifully.”

“How dreadful!” said the flowers, in a sad voice.

“They had a man at Chautauqua who answered all he said and proved that
it was untrue, but every one did not hear him. I think we ought to have
a day to answer Ingersoll,” again said Bachelor.

“Yes, we must,” said the north wind; “and we will all prove there _is_
a God. No one could have made me but God.” And he blew and blew until
the flowers crouched down almost afraid at his fierceness.

When all was quiet again, out hopped a dignified-looking bird. “My
friends,” said he, “my wife and I went to church last night, and they
sang a beautiful hymn that has long been one of my favorites. I told my
wife to listen hard, and this morning, with my help, she was able to
sing it. I think it would help on this subject if we were to sing it
for you now.”

“Sing, sing, sing,” said the brook.


The meek little wife at her husband’s word stepped out, and together
they sang this wonderful hymn:

    The spacious firmament on high,
    With all the blue ethereal sky,
    The spangled heavens, a shining frame,
    Their great original proclaim;
    The unwearied sun, from day to day,
    Does his Creator’s power display,
    And publishes to every land
    The work of an Almighty hand.

    Soon as the evening shades prevail,
    The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
    And nightly to the listening earth
    Repeats the story of her birth:
    While all the stars that round her burn,
    And all the planets in their turn,
    Confirm the tidings as they roll,
    And spread the truth from pole to pole.

    What though, in solemn silence, all
    Move round the dark, terrestrial ball?
    What though no _real_ voice or sound
    Amid their radiant orbs be found?
    In _reason’s_ ear they all rejoice,
    And utter forth a glorious voice,
    Forever singing as they shine,
    The hand that made us is divine.

When they had finished, the whole congregation bowed their heads.

“Yes,” they said, “every day we will show forth the greatness of God
who made us, and that bad man will see and hear and believe, and the
people will not be led away from God any more.”

“We will make that our great aim, to show forth the glory of God,” they
all cried together.

       *       *       *       *       *

So the little workers planned, and sent their messengers far and wide,
over land and sea, and made out their programme; and the lecturers
spent days and days preparing their manuscript,—for aught I know they
are at it yet.

The flowers all have received their invitations to come, and some were
so eager to be off that they packed their brown seed trunks and coaxed
the wind to carry them immediately, that they might be early on the

Next spring when the snow is gone and the trees are putting forth their
leaves, and all looks tender and beautiful, you will see the birds
flying back and forth, very busy, carrying travellers and messages; the
squirrels will go chattering to their store-houses to see that all is
right, and to air the rooms a little; the birds will build many nests,
more than they need, and you will wonder why, and will never know
that they are summer nests for rent, else you might like to rent one


The wind, too, will be busy, so busy that he will hardly have time to
dry your clothes that hang out among the apple blossoms.

You don’t know what it all means?


[Illustration: Wake up quite early every morning and listen. Be
patient, and one morning, just as the first pink glow of the rising sun
tinges the east, you will hear a watching tree call out,—]


    The year’s at the spring,
    And the day’s at the morn;
    Morning’s at seven;
    The hillside’s dew pearled;
    The lark’s on the wing;
    The snail’s on the thorn;
    God’s in his heaven—
    All’s right with the world.]

And then all the lily-bells will chime out the call to prayer, the
great red sun will come up and lead, and the little Chautauqua will

You will hear the sweet notes of praise from the bird choir, and
prayers will rise from the flowers like sweet incense; you will see and
hear it all, but will you remember that it is all to show forth the
glory of God?


Let the school of home be a good one. Let reading be such as to
quicken the mind for better reading still; for the school at home is

       *       *       *       *       *

The baby is to be read to. What shall mother and sister and father and
brother read to the baby?

BABYLAND. Babyland rhymes and jingles; great big letters and little
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they red or yellow? That depends on mother’s house-plants. Baby sees in
the picture what she sees in the home and out of the window.

BABYLAND, mother’s monthly picture-and-jingle primer for baby’s
diversion, and baby’s mother-help; 50 cents a year.

       *       *       *       *       *

What, when baby begins to read for herself? OUR LITTLE MEN AND WOMEN is
made to go on with. BABYLAND forms the reading habit. Think of a baby
with the reading habit! After a little she picks up the letters and
wants to know what they mean. The jingles are jingles still; but the
tales that lie under the jingles begin to ask questions.

What do Jack and Jill go up the hill after water for? Isn’t water down
hill? Baby is outgrowing BABYLAND.

No more nonsense. There is fun enough in sense. The world is full
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       *       *       *       *       *

Then comes THE PANSY with stories of child-life, travel at home and
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Pansy the editor; THE PANSY the magazine. There are thousands and
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There are thousands and thousands more who will be glad to know.

A dollar a year for THE PANSY.

       *       *       *       *       *

The reading habit is now pretty well established; not only the reading
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Now comes WIDE AWAKE, vigorous, hearty, not to say heavy. No, it isn’t
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       *       *       *       *       *

Specimen copies of all the Lothrop magazines for fifteen cents; any one
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Address D. Lothrop Company, Boston.

You little know what help there is in books for the average housewife.

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    Domestic Problems. By Mrs. A. M. Diaz. $1. D. Lothrop
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We have touched on only one subject. The author treats of many.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dr. Buckley the brilliant and versatile editor of the _Christian
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       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Grant Allen, who knows almost as much as anybody, has been making
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    Common Sense Science. By Grant Allen. 318 pages. $1.50.
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By no means a list of new-found facts; but the bearings of them on
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       *       *       *       *       *

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       *       *       *       *       *

It takes a learned man to write an easy book on almost any subject.

Arthur Gilman, of the College for Women, at Cambridge, known as the
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    A. 129 pages. 60 cents. D. Lothrop Company, Boston.

An unconscious beginning of what may grow to be philology, if one’s
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       *       *       *       *       *

Elizabeth P. Peabody at the age of eighty-four years has made a book
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       *       *       *       *       *

The wife of Frémont, the Pathfinder of forty years ago and almost
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    Souvenirs of My Time. By Jessie Benton Frémont. 393
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       *       *       *       *       *

The literary editor of the _Nation_ gathers together nearly a hundred
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    Bedside Poetry, a Parents’ Assistant in Moral
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       *       *       *       *       *

Readers of poetry are almost as scarce as poetry—Have you noticed how
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       *       *       *       *       *

Ginx’s Baby, a burlesque book of most serious purpose, made a stir
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    Evolution of Dodd. By William Hawley Smith. 153 pages.
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       *       *       *       *       *

Questions such as practical boys and girls are asking their mothers all
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    Household Notes and Queries, A Family Reference-Book.
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It is handy to have such a book on the shelf, and handier yet to have
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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s note:

Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

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that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.