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Title: Wonder Stories of Travel
Author: Ingersoll, Ernest, Brown, E. E. (Emma Elizabeth), McCormick, Eliot, Ker, David
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 "Wonder Stories of Travel" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
text is surrounded by _underscores_.]


[Illustration: “I ACTUALLY FELL ASLEEP.”]



WONDER STORIES

OF

TRAVEL

    BY

    ELIOT McCORMICK, ERNEST INGERSOLL,
    E. E. BROWN, DAVID KER,
    AND OTHERS


    Illustrated


    BOSTON
    D. LOTHROP AND COMPANY
    32 FRANKLIN STREET



    Copyright, 1886,
    by
    D. LOTHROP & COMPANY.



TRANSCRIBER CREATED LIST OF CONTENTS


A BOY’S RACE WITH GENERAL GRANT AT EPHESUS
INDIAN CHILDREN AND THEIR PETS
RIGA IN THE CHIMNEY
SEEING THE POPE
A LESSON IN ITALIAN
FEEDING GHOSTS IN CHINA
THE CHILDREN OF THE KOPPENBERG
A DAY AT THE BUTTS
TINY FEET OF CHINESE LADIES
SHETLAND PONIES
MR. SWEET POTATOES
SHETLAND WOMEN
MARDI GRAS IN NICE
ON THE FARM IN WINTER
A CHINAMAN’S QUEUE
MEXICAN WATER-CARRIERS
A VERY QUEER HOUSE
IN BELGIUM
JOE THE CHIMPANZEE
MARKET DAY AT PAU
IL SANTISSIMO BAMBINO
CHILDREN UNDER THE SNOW
THE JEWELLED TOMB
A NIGHT WITH PAUL BOYTON
BOY-DIVERS IN THE RED SEA
ST. BOTOLPH’S TOWN
SOME QUEER AMERICANS
THE BOY KING OF EGYPT
A CHILD IN FLORENCE
CHEERFUL WORDS



A BOY’S RACE WITH GENERAL GRANT AT EPHESUS.


THE Turkish battery ashore thundered a royal salute to General Grant as
the _Vandalia_ which bore him from port to port in the Mediterranean
steamed up to her anchorage in the harbor of Smyrna. Thirty great
iron-clads followed in quick succession; men-of-war crowded the harbor.
They had been ordered into Turkish waters on account of the war then
raging between Turkey and Russia. From ship and shore thousands of
spectators watched the _Vandalia’s_ approach with eager interest, and
from the foremast of every vessel and the flagstaffs of the city the
American flag waved the General a glad and hearty welcome.

No one in all the city was more pleased at his arrival than Fred
Martin, the son of an American merchant resident in Smyrna. He stood
with the crowd upon the quay cheering enthusiastically.

Fred had sailed with his mother from New York when he was but three
years old, and his memories of his native land were consequently vague
and fanciful. His playmates were the little Greek and Armenian boys of
his neighborhood, and the few English children belonging to the British
consulate. He had told his comrades, in glowing words, the history
of General Grant. Fred was very precocious, and had learned several
languages. In his play with the Greek boys he had learned to speak
Greek, and in the same pleasant way the Armenian boys had taught him
their language. Besides, in the streets and bazaars he had picked up
Turkish and Arabic enough to converse quite easily with the merchants
speaking those languages. So great was Fred’s proficiency that at home
he went by the name of “the little polyglot.”

The boys shouted and cheered till they found that General Grant would
not come ashore that day, and gradually they departed for their homes.
We will leave General Grant to receive the official courtesies of
the authorities of the city and the admirals and captains of the fleet,
and proceed with Master Fred.

[Illustration: WHERE THE PONY CAME FROM.]

Fred was the owner of a beautiful little Arabian horse, which made
him the envy of every boy of his acquaintance. This horse was the
Christmas gift of his father. Christmas eve he had been secretly led
to Mr. Martin’s stable, that in the morning Fred might receive a
happy surprise. Early Christmas morning Fred was sent to the stable
on some trifling errand, and what was his astonishment to see a new
horse quietly munching his breakfast. His delight knew no bounds when
he found a blue ribbon tied around the pony’s neck (for Fred at once
called him a pony), to which was attached a card, on which was written:

“Fred Martin. From his affectionate father, Christmas, 1877.”

The pony had been purchased from an Arab. This Arab with his little
family had wandered far from his own country, and at length had
settled in the environs of Smyrna. Through sickness and poverty he
was compelled to part with his beautiful horse, his children crying
bitterly, and fondly caressing him, as he was led away from the tent.

Mr. Martin’s conscience almost smote him as he witnessed this poor
family’s grief; but the Arab motioned to him to hasten away, signifying
that the children would soon forget their sorrow.

The pony, as he was called, was of the purest Arabian blood. He was
so gentle that Fred’s little sisters ran into his stall and played
without hesitation around his feet. Yet he had all the metal and fire
of his royal race. In color he was milk-white, and his neck arched
like the curve of an ivory bow. His head was small and elegant; so
perfect, indeed, that an artist had taken it as a model for a handsome
ideal Arabian in a fine picture he was painting. The pony’s ears were
satin-like, and responded to the slightest impression with a quick,
tremulous movement that betokened the keenest intelligence. His eyes
beamed with affection and loyalty. Ladies delighted to run their
fingers through his soft, silken hair; and they loved to pet him as he
held his nose to them to be stroked, as they would a beautiful child.

Fred had read the lives of Alexander the Great and Sir Walter Scott.
He had been charmed by the allusions to their fondness for riding
and hunting in their boyhood days, and he emulated them in many a
gallop and chase among the hills surrounding the city. Many a hare
and partridge had he run down and shot, and brought home in triumph
hanging to the pommel of his saddle. Many a time he had startled the
shepherds and frightened their sheep by dashing upon them around some
sharp curve, for which misdemeanor he had to put spurs to the pony to
escape the shepherds’ wrath. Besides, he had ridden to many places
which travellers go thousands of miles to see. He could point out the
different layers in the walls of the old castle overlooking the city,
which was first built by Alexander the Great, and last by the Saracens.
He could guide travellers to the beautiful ruins of an ancient temple
erected to Homer; and several times he had ridden into the very cave
where many scholars believe the great poet Homer at one time lived.
These excursions were attended by many dangers, but somehow Fred came
out of them unharmed.

After General Grant had been several days in Smyrna, Fred was
overjoyed at receiving an invitation to accompany him on a grand
excursion to the ruined city of Ephesus, lying fifty miles from Smyrna.
His father told him that he might take the pony with him, as several
freight-cars were to be filled with horses and donkeys for the use
of the party. The Pasha—the governor of that district of Turkey—had
arranged for this excursion as his greatest compliment to General
Grant. He chartered a large train; ordered a mounted body-guard of
Turkish officers to proceed to Ephesus, and a regiment of troops to
receive the General at the depot with military honors. The party needed
a strong military escort, for at Ephesus there are robbers who live
in caves, and watch for distinguished visitors, whom they sometimes
capture, and demand a heavy ransom for their release.

Fred galloped early to the depot. He kept the pony quiet amid the
general confusion, with extreme difficulty. The donkey drivers were
mercilessly pounding the donkeys, and yelling at them, to get them into
the car; the grooms were struggling with the restive horses; dogs were
yelping; the soldiers were going through their exercises, and there
was a bewildering medley of unpleasant sounds.

By much persistence Fred got the pony into a car with a fine gray
horse and a snow-white mule sent from the Pasha’s stables for General
and Mrs. Grant. Fred was almost wonder-struck at the sight of these
beautiful animals. The horse was dressed in gorgeous housings. The
saddle was heavily embroidered and plated with gold; even the buckles
and rings were of gold, and a rich gold filigree work covered the
bridle and portions of the reins and girths. Fred had heard of the
richness of Oriental accoutrements, but he was not prepared for such
magnificence as this. The mule was not dressed so regally, but being
regarded a sacred animal by the Pasha, a queen could not have desired a
greater compliment than was offered Mrs. Grant in the sending of this
mule for her use.

When the General arrived, all things were ready, and the train swept
out into an enchanting valley. Past Turkish villages it ran, the little
Turkish boys, like many boys in more civilized countries, giving it
a vigorous salute with pebbles as it hurried on. Often it passed
trains of camels making their tedious way to bordering countries, and
occasionally a hunter and his dogs would seem to start out of a jungle
or hill-side, as if on purpose to delight Master Fred.

In an hour’s time the train thundered over the river Cayster and
shot into the depot at Ayasolook. Instantly all was confusion again.
The horses and donkeys were hustled out of the cars. The horses were
arranged in cavalry line, and the donkeys were drawn up in the rear.
General Grant gave the signal to mount, and the men of the party
instantly vaulted into the saddle. The white mule had been behaving
strangely for an animal of his reputation, and Mrs. Grant was advised
not to undertake to ride him. She wisely listened to advice, for the
mule turned out on this particular occasion to be very careless with
his heels, and to have a very abrupt way of stopping, which obliged his
rider to travel on a short distance alone. Mrs. Grant had been so well
acquainted with mules in the West that she had in fact no confidence
even in a sacred mule. By some means she with the other ladies got the
smallest and most tired-looking donkeys. Now they put spurs to their
horses, leaving the donkeys with their unfortunate riders far behind.

For a moment only they stop to look at the few pieces of glittering
marble which are all that remain of the snowy blocks and columns of the
once glorious temple of Diana. They decide to skirt the plain lying
between Ayasolook and Ephesus, by riding along an ancient breakwater;
they pause for an instant to listen to the rustle of the long grass
against the wall where once was heard the ebb and flow of the sea. Up
they climb among a whole cluster of temples, stopping only to look at
the face of a shattered statue, or at a beautiful carved hand extended
almost beseechingly from a heap of rubbish. The horses stumble through
public squares, regaining solid footing for an instant on some broad
pedestal of a once world-renowned monument. Now Fred’s pony flounders
in the basin of an old fountain, into which he has been forced to leap.
The ruins seem to rise up in waves, and they are obliged to dismount
and lead their horses up to the great theatre, where they halt for rest
and lunch.

Fred tied the pony to the foot of a prostrate Apollo and slipped away
to explore this great building for himself. He climbed to the top of
the hill, on the side of which the theatre was built, and looked in
wonder upon the stage far below. This great interior contained seats
for 50,000 people. Fred fancied he could almost hear the thunder of
applause from distant ages, like the far-away roar of the sea. He now
clambered down to look at the foundations of the building. The great
pillars and arches stood as firmly as the day on which they were
completed. St. Paul had looked upon the same grand architecture that he
now beheld.

As he looked he began to stir the earth carelessly with his
whip-handle. Suddenly he brought a curious object to the surface,
which he picked up and carefully examined. With his knife he dug away
the erosion, and saw by the glitter underneath that the object was of
gold. In other places something which he could not cut resisted his
knife. It now occurred to him that he had found a bracelet, and he
hastened to the company with his treasure. An antiquarian in the party,
upon close examination, found that Fred had unearthed what had been a
very costly bracelet. It was of rare design, and set all around with
precious stones; doubtless it had glittered many times upon the fair
arm of some ancient performer. All were delighted at Fred’s discovery,
and felt that this little _souvenir_ in itself would make the day
memorable. In a short time they had visited the market-place, the
stadium—a building which held 76,000 people—the odeon, or music hall,
and the cave of the Seven Sleepers, and were ready to start back.

As several conjectured, on their return General Grant proposed a grand
race. Lying between them and the depot was a smooth plain three miles
in extent. On the further side a leaning column could be seen, which
was at once selected as the reaching-post. A Turkish officer was chosen
umpire and sent on in advance. General Grant had noticed Fred’s pony
many times during the day, and was greatly pleased with his exquisite
beauty. He thought it possible that the pony might be the sharpest
competitor his own elegant, high-spirited gray would have in the race,
and he beckoned Fred to take a position at his side. The starting-point
was to be an immense sarcophagus, in which a noble Greek had once been
buried, but which now, from some cause, lay upturned on the edge of the
plain. At this place ten superbly mounted horsemen drew up in line,
with General Grant and Fred on the right.

The English consul gave the signal for starting.

Fred shook the reins upon the pony’s neck, and he bounded forward as
gracefully as a deer. The pony instinctively prepared himself for
the race. Both horses were of princely pedigree and showed their
blood in the sylph-like ease with which they moved. Fred knew that in
horsemanship the odds must be greatly in favor of General Grant. How
Fred admired him as he sat upon the gray, every inch the general; and
he felt almost alarmed at the thought of contesting the race with such
a splendid horseman! But he quickly made up his mind to compete for the
honors as sharply as he could. His light weight he knew to be in his
favor, and he had all confidence in the pony’s speed and courage; even
then he could feel him tremble under his growing excitement.

[Illustration: NEITHER THE GENERAL NOR FRED SEEMED TO GAIN AN INCH!]

They all had made an even start, and for many rods had kept together;
but now Fred and the General began to push ahead. The pony’s silken
tail brushed the shoulder of the foremost horse, while his handsome
mane tossed against the bridle-rein of his antagonist.

It was a fine sight to see these two beautiful horses settle down for
the remaining two-mile run. The movement of each was perfect. There
was no convulsive effort, no waste of energy. They glided onward as
smoothly as the flight of birds. Nose to nose, neck to neck, shoulder
to shoulder they flew. Neither the General nor Fred seemed to gain an
inch, and neither seemed to care whether the other won or not. Patches
of meadow grass brilliant with wild flowers, pieces of rich sculpture,
a thousand rare objects that once shone in beautiful houses or more
beautiful temples, lay scattered along their course; but they were
unnoticed in the glorious speed.

But a half-mile remains, and each horse is making his best time. The
sun lights up horses and riders, so that they seem like phantoms
sweeping over the plain. Now with a bound they cross a wide ditch, the
General’s horse distancing the pony by several feet. The pony clings
to him like a shadow. One touch of the spur upon his hot flank, and he
recovers his lost ground. Never was there so close a race before! Now
it is whip and spur, words of command and words of encouragement, and
the horses seem scarcely to touch the ground. Now the General leads,
now Fred. The goal is reached!

The umpire did not decide.

Fred told the Greek boy that night that he won it. If you are anxious
to know who did win, ask the General.



INDIAN CHILDREN AND THEIR PETS.


MANY people suppose that the Indian children have no dolls or pets.

This is a mistake. The Indian baby, or pappoose, is provided by its
squaw-mother with a sort of doll from its earliest infancy.

The baby itself is tied to a board which is covered with buckskins
and fanciful bindings, or with bright-colored cloth ornamented with
bead-work and tinsel. This baby-board, which is carriage and cradle in
one, looks like the toe of a large slipper, and has a piece of wood
bent across the head to protect its little copper-colored occupant
from being struck by anything. Just as her convenience may prompt, the
squaw hangs her pappoose, thus cradled, on her back while walking,
or in a tree when working about the tent, or on the saddle pommel
as represented in the picture. From the protecting headboard hangs
suspended the doll composed of feathers, beads and red cloth, perhaps
representing an Indian warrior. The little pappoose looks at this
dangling image all day long, and this monotonous endeavor often causes
a horrible squint from which the little Indian never recovers.

[Illustration: LITTLE INDIAN GIRLS AND THEIR “PAPPOOSES.”]

The squaw-mothers sometimes make miniature pappooses, bound to
cradle-boards in fancy covering, like their own, for the older children
to play with; but it is a still commoner sight to see the girls
carrying a puppy in a little blanket over their shoulders. It seems
strange that they should make of their pets what is considered the
greatest delicacy, puppy-stew, which is the chief dish of a feast given
in commemoration of a child having become a certain age.

The little Indians also make pets of crows. A little girl will often
daily carry about with her a wicker basket filled with baby crows just
as they are taken from the nest by her brother. Beside her an old dog
will often be wiled along, dragging her puppies in a similar net or
basket stretched across transverse poles.

[Illustration: LITTLE INDIAN GIRLS AND THEIR PETS.]

The Indian boys have pet colts to ride; and they make pets of young
eagles, which they put on a sort of stand with a string attached to one
leg to prevent the birds from flying away.

The boys also early learn to use the bow and arrows, and are often
occupied in driving blackbirds and cowbirds from the growing maize.

[Illustration: AN “INDIAN MEAL.”]

Corn is the only vegetable cultivated by the Indian, and the Chippewas,
who are semi-civilized, grind their corn into a sort of coarse samp
by pounding it in a mortar with a wooden pestle. They also roast the
ears, and dry it for winter use. Great groups of children will sit with
a squaw (perhaps mending moccasins) to help them at their work and
preserve order, on high platforms the whole day, overlooking the
corn-fields, so as to drive away the birds as they alight in flocks.
Picture No. 3 represents a group at a little “Indian meal,” which plays
both ways—as it is Indian meal they are feasting on. The lodges, or
tepees, in the background are peculiar to the Chippewa tribe, being
made of birch bark wrapped around poles.

[Illustration: INDIAN BABY AND DOLL.]

The older boys amuse themselves by different games while tending the
horses, one of which is represented. First they spread upon the ground
a buffalo hide on which they kneel facing each other. Then one takes
a little stick and passes it from one hand to the other, first behind
and then before, while the other boy guesses which hand it is in. He
is entitled to three guesses. The first, if right, counts him three;
the second, two; and the third, one. If he misses altogether, he loses
according to the number put up for stake. The one guessing designates
his guess by hitting his right or left shoulder, according to the hand
he thinks his opponent holds it in.

This, like all other Indian games, is made interesting by the stakes,
which generally consist of some ornament, or some service to be
rendered.

[Illustration: “WHICH, RIGHT OR LEFT?”]



RIGA IN THE CHIMNEY.


HOW did Riga get into the chimney?

Well, if the truth must be told, it was not merely a chimney, but the
window; and not a window only, but the front door; and not only the
front door, but the staircase. It was, in fact, so much of all four,
that it was but slightly like any one of them. Things were altogether
upside-down in this house. Instead of being built on the ground like
all reasonable houses, it was under it; and although it had but one
place to come in at, and but one fire to cook at, so many people lived
inside of it in tents of their own that it was in reality a village;
and yet again, it was a village where you had only to lift the skin
wall of your one-roomed dwelling to get into your neighbor’s.

The land was Kamschatka, and Riga was a small boy of that cold
country. He had been outside to get some milk from the deer, and had
come to the hole that formed the entrance, and taken the first step
down on the notched pole that was to land him in the fire if he didn’t
take a good leap over when he got to the bottom.

It was already dark. Above him one of the dogs—there were twenty or
thirty in all—got a smell of the milk, or a smell of a pot on the fire;
and as he sniffed greedily through chimney (we might as well call it
that), he lost his balance and came tumbling head and heels over Riga
with a prodigious racket and howling into the village below. Riga, who
was fat, thought he was going too; but he clung to the notched pole
till he had his senses again, and then he clung the tighter because of
something else.

At the foot of the pole burned a fire of moss which gave much heat,
little light, and more smoke than anything else; this smoke hung
duskily around the chimney, and went out lazily as it happened to feel
inclined. Riga’s entrance had been covered by the dog’s fall, the smoke
and dust hid him effectually, and something stopped him from coming
down. It was a little whisper which, although addressed to a person
close by the whisperer’s side, scaled the pole for the benefit of
Riga’s curious ears.

“Hush! some one came in.”

“You are mistaken, for no one comes down.”

“Some one is listening, then.”

“Lopka, you suspect everything. Who would stop up there, and why? and
who would know there was anything to listen to?”

Riga was listening, however; and although his position was most
uncomfortable, his curiosity was so excited by hearing a conversation
which was not intended for any one to hear, that he bent his ears more
eagerly than ever, and was as silent as a snowflake.

“When can it be done?” whispered Lopka shrilly.

“When all are asleep.”

“We may be asleep too.”

“Trust me for that.”

“Can we get out without rousing the sleepers? Do you think the herd
will be quiet?”

“We have no one to fear but the curious Riga; that boy always has one
ear open.”

“That is so;” thought Riga in the chimney, “and now I see the wisdom of
it.” He gave a movement of satisfaction, and some of the milk splashed
hissing down into the fire.

“What is that, Svorovitch?” asked Lopka.

“I have often heard that sound in the fire,” was the reply, “and my
father says if it is a saint’s day, the saint weeps for some wrong
done.”

At this moment the thick pungent smoke tickled Riga’s nose, and he gave
vent to three good hearty sneezes. The two boys below jumped to their
feet and ran away.

“There is still more, and it may be learned by listening,” murmured
Riga as he went down. “I am not a saint, but I will do more than weep
if any wrong is about to be done.”

It was the winter time; the cold was intense. If you should put your
uncovered face out of doors, the eyelashes would freeze to your cheeks.
The weather was so fierce, the clouds so threatening, that but few
of the men had ventured out; such as had, rode up swiftly on their
sledges at nightfall, set the deer free among the herd, and gathered
round the fire to sleep, or talk over the adventures of the day.

Among other things, this bitterest night of all, they returned to the
conversation of several preceding nights, about two Englishmen with
their guide, belated by the snows of an early winter. These travellers
had pressed on towards a port on the coast, thinking to winter there
comfortably until some ship would sail for San Francisco; but reports
had now reached the tribe of a fatal accident to one of the reindeer;
and wise Lodovin shook his head. He was seventy years old, and knew
everything.

“There was a spot,” he said, “near the Kamschatkan shore, a hut
underground constructed from a wrecked vessel by some sailors. All
guides know of this place. There was fuel there, and they would not
freeze; but they could have had no provisions worth speaking of, and
either they must die of starvation, or go on and perish in the coming
storm upon the toondra.”

This had been repeated each night since Lodovin had heard of the dead
deer; but his listeners were willing to receive an observation many
times for want of fresher.

Usually Riga sat long in the midst of the circle; but to-night he
withdrew early to his particular home, a small enclosure a few feet
square, where the whole family slept, lighted by a bit of moss floating
in oil. He had seen Lopka enter the next room; and the fear of missing
him brought him early to lie on his own floor where he could peep
beneath the edge of the skin. Later, when everything was quiet, the
same anxiety made him crawl out and take up his old place on the
notched pole, where he clung silent and immovable, but listening and
looking intently, every sense merged into his sense of curiosity.

Ah, woe to Riga in the chimney! two quiet figures suddenly came
straight to the pole, and one began to mount. To mount? Yes; and seeing
Riga, to seize him by the foot and sternly bid him be silent and go out.

In spite of his sturdy saintship, the surprised Riga was frightened to
death by the knife in Svorovitch’s hand; and not daring to disobey, he
tremblingly did as he was told.

He was speedily followed by Lopka and Svorovitch. Holding him well, and
forcing him to assist them, the youths fastened to a sled three of the
best and fleetest deer of the herd, which Riga very well knew did not
belong to them. That done, they paid no attention to his entreaties,
but taking him with them in the sled, the long, steady pace of the deer
soon left their home behind them.

Riga now began to cry and beg them to spare his life. “You are going
to cut my throat and bury me in the toondra,” he said. “You had better
not, or I will do you some harm as soon as I am a saint.”

Svorovitch burst into a loud laugh. “Cut your throat!” he said; “child,
the tempest and the cold may kill you, but we shan’t. No, you might be
safe this minute if we could have trusted you to go back and be quiet.
But we know you would have waked the whole tribe to ask questions of
what we were about, and they would have followed us.”

From what Lopka and Svorovitch spoke of after this, Riga learned they
were bound on a journey to some distant point and were racing to reach
it against the storm. Further than that he learned nothing, for he
was too sleepy now to be inquisitive and, carefully sheltered by his
companions, he soon lost all consciousness of even his own fat little
person.

An Arctic winter storm on the great toondra—do you know what that
means? Fancy three of the worst snow-storms that ever you have seen,
taking place at one and the same time, the fierce, icy bitter wind
roaring and sweeping with terrible force across an endless plain,
the air blinding, sight impossible, and you will know why Lopka and
Svorovitch, and even Riga, gazed often and anxiously at the clouds
throughout the following day. With eyes and ears always on the alert,
and well on the alert at that, our little saint thought he heard now
and then strange sounds of great distant winds nearing them, and at
last he began to discover, as he peered upwards, the thick look in the
air that tells that snow is on the way.

“The wind is rising,” said Riga. “You ought to take me home;” but
though he wished to cry, he kept his tears back bravely. Suddenly he
cried out, “The storm!”

And it was the storm, the great Arctic storm, coming all at once,
blinding and thick, borne on the wind, and sweeping over the ground as
if it never meant to stop or rest there.

“We can go no further,” cried Svorovitch. “We, too, shall be lost!”

“Don’t despair, little brother,” said Lopka, but at the same time
turning away his face.

Here the alert little Riga lifted his fat face to tell them that he had
for some time heard the ocean, and that just as the snow appeared he
had seen a volcano in the ground: perhaps from these signs they could
tell where they were.

The roaring of the tempest was so terrible that it was now impossible
to distinguish the sound of the waves; but when Riga was questioned as
to his volcano, and could only answer that he had seen smoke coming
directly from the ground in a certain direction, Svorovitch exclaimed
aloud, and springing out of the sledge ran a few feet from them.
Following the sound of his voice, Riga and Lopka found him on his knees
with his head bent above a black pipe setting a little above the earth.

“They are here,” he cried, “it is the place! They answer me.”

In a few moments the figure of a man appeared in the storm, seized
upon them, and leading them a few steps further, descended by a
slanting passage into a snug little under-ground cabin, free of smoke
and passably light, where the boys found themselves face to face with
the two English travellers. Their mutual explanations, though given
with some difficulty, showed how the guide had stolen off with the
remaining deer and left them to their fate, and that that morning they
had eaten the last of their provisions; and how the adventurous Lopka
and Svorovitch, pitying their condition, had determined to set out and
save them at any risk. Riga comprehended what was not explained to the
Englishmen—that it was undertaken in secret, for neither of the boys
yet owned deer of their own, and had no hope of being successful in
borrowing such as they needed. After all, he had not guessed rightly in
the chimney, and he felt that there is something more to know of people
than what one finds out by eavesdropping. Things half heard often look
wrong: when the whole is seen they may turn out nobly right.

The gratitude of the travellers to the brave young Kamschatkans was
great; and although the food they had brought was only dried fish,
and some fat of the whale, it was the best they had, and a heartier
and happier supper was seldom eaten. The storm continued throughout
that night; but clearing off the next morning, the party were able to
start on their return journey to the village. The deer, who know their
masters, and will seldom desert the place where they are, were ready to
return, and carried them back at a pace which, although not as fleet
as that of a horse, was more unflagging and reliable. Welcome from all
parties greeted their arrival, no harsh words met them; the parents
were only too glad to have their brave boys safe again, the owners of
the deer too happy that their property was restored unhurt. Only the
wise Lodovin shook his head.

“If the boys begin like that,” said he, “what do you suppose the men
will do? Take care how you praise those who respect no man’s property!”
For Lodovin owned one of the deer which the boys had borrowed. As for
fat little Riga, he had gained so much glory (you must remember it was
he who had discovered the smoke-pipe) by hanging in the chimney, that
it became his favorite position, to the everlasting danger of the limbs
of the tribe and his own head, and also to the great confusion of such
unwary beings as weekly told secrets about the village fire.

[Illustration: THE POPE’S GUARD.]



SEEING THE POPE.


IT is only the young people of America who, in this age of the world,
have not been to Europe; therefore to them and for them I have written
down, in journal form, a few incidents of travel; among them, a
brief account of an evening spent with La Baronessa Von Stein, and a
presentation to the Pope.

_Wednesday._ This evening we have spent, by invitation, with the
Baroness Von Stein, widow of Baron Von Stein of Germany. The Baroness,
a German by birth, passed much of her youth in Poland. Skilled as a
horsewoman, she often joined her father in rural pastimes, shooting,
hunting etc. Being perfectly well, and of great mind, she acquired,
as do all the noble women of Europe, a thorough knowledge of the
ancient classics in their originals; also a familiarity with nearly
every spoken language of the Old and New World. Well comparing with
Margaret, Queen of Navarre in fluency of tongue, she readily changes
from Italian to French, from French to Spanish quotes from Buckle,
Draper, etc., in English, is quite at home on German philosophy,
notwithstanding her devotion to the Catholic Church. A singularly
attractive old lady is she now; rather masculine in manner, exceedingly
so, in mind; a fine painter in oil to whom the Pope has sat, in person,
for his portrait. We have seen the likeness. It is pronounced perfect.
She is very anxious for us to see his Holiness, and we certainly
shall not leave Rome without so doing. The Baroness has an autograph
note from Pio Nono, which is a rare possession. This she displayed
with far more pride than was apparent upon showing her own handiwork.
When the Holy Father sat to her, in order to get the true expression,
conversation was necessary and she repeated, with much satisfaction,
snatches therefrom, which were of the brightest nature. However learned
_he_ may be, in the Baroness Von Stein he meets no inferior.

As we entered her room, she was smoking: she begged pardon, but
continued the performance.

The cigar was a cigar, no cigarette, no white-coated article, but a
long, large, brown Havana, such as gentlemen in our own country use.

“You will find no difficulty,” said she, between her whiffs, “in
seeing ‘Il Papa,’ and then you will say how good is his picture.”

During a part of our interview, there was present a sister of a
“Secretaris Generalissimo to the Pope,” who told us the manner in which
the Popeship will be filled—she talked only in Italian, but I give a
literal translation. “The new Pope is approved by the present Pio Nono.
His name is written upon paper by the present Pope and sealed. The
document is seen by no one, till after the death of ‘Il Papa,’ when it
is opened, as a will, by the proper power. Unlike a will, it can not be
disputed.”

Pio Nono certainly had his election in a far different way, according
to the statements of the Roman Exiles of that day.

As the life of his Majesty hangs upon eternity, the matter of a
successor will soon be decided. “Antonelli gone, where will it fall!”
said I, but at once perceived that I was trespassing and the subject
was speedily changed.

We left the Baronessa, intent upon one thing, viz., a presentation to
the Pope, as soon as practical. Our Consul being no longer accredited
to this power, but to Victor Emanuel, we must apply elsewhere.

_Thursday._ Started early this morning, from my residence corner
of Bocca di Leone and Bia di Lapa (doubtful protectors), for the
American College and Father Chatard, in order to get a “permit” to
the Monday Reception at the Vatican. On my way (and those who know
Rome as well as we do will know how much on the way) I took, as I do
upon all occasions, the Roman and Trajan forums, always walking when
practicable; by the above means, I am likely to become very familiar
with these beautiful views. They are so fascinating that I can not
begin any day’s work without taking these first. The Trajan is my
favorite. It may not be uninteresting to mention here that, on my
circuitous stroll to the said College, I saw, and halted the better to
see, one of those picturesque groups of Contadini and Contadine who
frequent the towns of Italy. There were, first the parents, dressed in
the fantastic garb of their class of peasantry, i. e., the mother with
the long double pads, one scarlet and one white, hanging over her head
and neck, while the father wore a gay slouched hat; then three girls,
severally garbed in short pink dress, blue apron embroidered with every
conceivable color, simple and combined, yellow handkerchief thrown over
the chest, long earrings, heavy braids, bare-footed or in fancifully
knit shoes.

[Illustration: ROMAN CONTADINA.]

Two boys in equally remarkable attire, and a baby that looked like a
butterfly, completed the domestic circle. They did not seem to mind my
gaze. The father continued his smoking, the mother her knitting, the
girls their hooking, the boys their listless lounging, and the baby its
play in the dust. There was a charm in the scene. One sight however
(to be sure mine was an extended opportunity) is sufficient. A few
steps beyond this gathering, I found photographs colored to represent
these vagrants, and at one store pictures of the very individuals—I
purchased specimens to take to America, a novelty the other side of the
Atlantic.

After an hour or two, I reached the American College, was met by the
students who very politely directed me to the Concièrge, and my name
was taken to the learned Father. The students all wore the long robe,
though speaking English.

Being a Quaker by birth, therefore educated to respect every man’s
religion, and to believe that every man respects mine, nevertheless I
felt misgivings incumbent upon the meeting of extremes. I was ushered
into a large drawing-room and was examining the pictures, which
generally tell the character of the owner, when Mr. Chatard entered.
As he asked me to be seated, I thought, as some one has expressed
it before me, “the whole world over, there are but two kinds of
people,—‘man and woman.’”

The youth of this college may thank their stars that America has given
them one of her most learned and worthy sons, though the sect to which
his mother once belonged must deplore his loss.

In conversation with this Reverend gentleman, I obtained the
requirements necessary to an introduction to the Pope, and was a
little surprised that he should question my willingness to conform to
the same. It was however, explained. He had been much embarrassed by
the demeanor of some of the American women. Seeking the privilege of
meeting the Pope in his own palace, where common courtesy and etiquette
naturally demand a deference to the Lord of the Manor, yet these
ladies, having previously guaranteed a compliance with the laws of
ceremony, after gaining admission refused to obey them.

Seeing the Pope was not, to me, a religious service and is not
generally so considered.

My only fear was that my plain manners in their brusqueness, would have
the appearance of “omission.”

But the requirements are simple. Bending the knee, as a physical
performance, was a source of anxiety. I at once called to mind the
great difficulty which, as a young girl, I had in the play:

    “If I _had_ as many wives
    As the stars in the skies,” etc.

Notwithstanding the person who had to kneel in the game had a large
cushion to throw before her to receive the fall, I always shook the
house from the foundations when I went down. I can hear the pendants
now, of a chandelier in a certain frame house in my native town ring
out my weight, as I flung the cushion in front of a boy that knew “he
was not the one,” and took to my knees. True, the Vatican is not
shaky in its underpinnings, and faithful practice upon the floor of my
apartment in Bocca di Leone, I thought, would be productive of some
good. Quickly running through this train of reflection, and finally
trusting that the gathering would not be disturbed by any marked
awkwardness, I returned home to await the tidings.

_Monday Evening._ Have seen Pio Nono—have committed no enormity.

According to directions, in black dress, black veil, _à la_ Spanish
lady, ungloved hands (what an appearance at a Presidential reception!)
we were attired. Took a carriage for the Vatican. Before we left home
the padrona viewed us, pronounced us all right, and earnestly sought
the privilege of selecting a coach for us. She had an eye to style. Is
it possible that she did not give us credit for the same “strength,”
and we traveling Americans? It is to be confessed that the horses were
less like donkeys than otherwise might have been. Trying the knee the
last thing before leaving the house, there was certainly reason for
encouragement, though still a lingering humility.

Our ride was subdued, but we reached St. Peter’s, passed through the
elegant halls of the Pope’s Palace, surpassed only by those of the
Pitti at Florence in their gold and fresco, and were ushered into the
reception room of Pio Nono.

This apartment, long and narrow, seemed more like a corridor than a
hall. Its beauties are described in various guide books, so that “they
who read can see.”

We were the only Protestants. The other ladies were laden with
magnificent rosaries, pictures, toys, ribbons, etc., for the Holy
Father’s blessing. Even I purchased one of the first, viz., a rosary,
to undergo the same ceremony, as a gift to a much-loved servant girl at
home.

We sat here many minutes in quiet (inwardly longing to try the fall.)
At length the Pope was led in. We forgot our trials. A countenance so
benign, beaming with goodness, spread a cheer throughout the assembly.
We took the floor naturally and involuntarily. Except in dress, he
might have been any old patriarch. The white robe, long and plain, gave
him rather the appearance of a matriarch.

It chanced that his Holiness passed first up the right side of the
hall. We sat _vis à vis_, so that we had the benefit of all that he
said before we came in turn. While addressing the right, who continue
on their knees, the left rise. As he turns to the latter they again
kneel, whereas those opposite change from this posture to the standing.

The Pope talked now in French, now in Italian, mostly in the former.
As he approached our party, we were introduced merely as Americans,
but our religion was stamped upon our brows. Turning kindly to my
young daughter, who wore, as an ornament, a chain and cross, he said,
as if quite sure of the fact, “_You_ can wear your cross outside,
as an adornment; I am obliged to wear mine inside as a cross;”
whereupon, with a smile, he drew this emblem from his wide ribbon
sash, showing her a most elegant massive cross of gold and diamonds,
probably the most valuable one in the world. As he replaced this mark
of his devotion, his countenance expressing a recognition of our
Protestantism, perhaps a pity for our future, placing his hand upon
our heads, he passed on. The blessing of a good old man, whatever his
faith, can injure no one, and may not be without its efficacy, even
though it rest upon a disciple of George Fox.

I shall never cease to be glad that I have seen Pio Nono.



A LESSON IN ITALIAN.


“DO you speak English?”

“_Non, Signora!_”

“Do you speak any other language than Italian?”

“_Non, Signora!_”

“Then you are the person I desire as guide!”

The above dialogue took place near the Amphitheatre of Verona. The
Italian, standing awaiting employment, was an old man, bright and
active. The American, who addressed him was an elderly woman, who had
studied the languages of Europe nearly half a century. She had just
arrived in Verona. Leaving the younger members of her party she had
strolled off alone, the better, as she said, to air her lore. One must
be alone to succeed with a foreign tongue; an audience of one’s own
countrymen is particularly distracting if not embarrassing.

Following her leader into the Amphitheatre she sat where, ages ago,
the Royalty had done, and commenced audible reflections to this effect:

“Did scenes such as took place here have a charm for court ladies,
ladies educated as were the Zenobias and the Julias of those days?”

She had no idea that her language could be understood, but the guide
vociferated as if angry:

“People of those days were great, strong, just!”

She felt that she was answered, but nevertheless was practicing her
Italian.

The Amphitheatre of Verona, being in a state of preservation, is a
good introduction to the Coliseum at Rome. The old man, my guide, was
present at the Congress of 1822, when twenty-two thousand persons were
seated within its walls. The Chariot Entrance is pointed out, also
that through which the culprits came; and the gate which held back the
hungry animal longing for his prize. These oft told tales were recited
by the guide, as are the speeches of Daniel Webster by the American
school-boy, learned and rehearsed many times, till the traveler, having
exhausted her own vocabulary as applied to this show, seemed ready to
depart.

“Cathedrals,” proposed the conductor as a matter of course. Cathedrals
consequently obtained.

In one of these of the time of Charlemagne, the guide seized with a
religious zeal, begged his companion to be seated while he joined in
the services. She could not conscientiously interfere with his soul’s
instincts, therefore consented to rest awhile.

The performances seemed exceedingly tedious, as the monotone of the
priest was relieved only by the click of the collections. But the
old man was very devout, never allowing the box to pass without his
contribution. Magnanimous spirit! How many of our home churches would
give twice and thrice without wincing?

Growing rather anxious to leave these premises, the Protestant tried to
hurry the brother-at-prayer by a motion towards the door.

“Will Madame condescend a ten minutes longer? A collection for a
deceased infant is next.”

Madame did condescend. The coin was deposited. After this emotional
act the twain left the church, the guide very gay and lively, the lady
rather moved to compassion. Suppose her companion _were_ steeped in
ignorance, how beautiful his faith!

“Was the little child a relative, or were its parents his friends?”

“Oh, no! he had never heard of it in life, but only a hard heart would
keep one so young and alone in the shades.” Here he wiped a tear.

The guide turned, quickly melting into the smile again, remarking: “The
Tombs of the Scaligers.”

These monuments are indeed worth seeing, especially that of the last
of this great family. This Scaliger, to outdo his ancestry had spent
many years laboring with his own hands upon the marble which was to
mark his resting-place. The devices were his own; no other person was
employed in the hewing, the cutting, even in the erection of this showy
memorial. Its maker died satisfied with the result of his lifetime, a
work for ages to succeed.

The oldest of this name rests under a comparatively simple canopy.
During the First Napoleon’s time this tomb was opened that a cast might
be made of the head, there being no authentic representation extant;
and by order of the Emperor, the bust was placed in the Louvre at
Paris, and sketches of this wonderfully fine head sold for great sums.

“The house of the Capulets,” said the old man.

Standing beneath the balcony on the very spot where stood poor Romeo
(or Charlotte Cushman as well), quite absorbed in the few lines
of Shakspeare that floated in her mind, the lady was aroused from
her revery by the guide, who, pointing at the almost obliterated
coat-of-arms, said ambitiously:

“_Chapeau, capello, Inglese!_”

At the same time he crushed his head-gear, till his face was quite
covered.

“Hat!” shrieked she, judging that one who can not speak English must be
deaf to this tongue though in proper condition to hear his native. If
there is any letter that an Italian cannot pronounce, it is the “h.”
His attempts were many and fruitless. At length, violently coughing
out the aspirate, he added with great gusto the “at” and was satisfied
though exhausted. His next effort was “how;” his next “head,” and
finally “woman.” If there is any letter after “h” that the Italian can
_not_ get, it is our “w” and lo! his choice of first steps in English,
“hat, head, how and woman.”

Passing through the market-places which are gorgeous in the distance,
but whose goods when inspected are very common, they were met by many
beggars. To those dressed in a peculiar garb the guide invariably gave,
at no time to those in any other suit. He always reached the mite with
a smile, good soul that he was!

Overlooking the lovely Adige they stood upon the great bridge, when it
suddenly occurred to madame that the humble individual beside her might
be giving her more time than customary, even as he had freely given to
God’s “poor in other respects.”

Feeling satisfied with her day’s work and knowing her way to the hotel,
she commenced the process of bidding him adieu—in more common parlance,
“getting clear of him.”

“I am indeed obliged to you,” began she. “I have learned so much Ital—”

Here she was interrupted by the sage Mentor.

“If madame is so well pleased with my services, as she has taught me
much English (the hypocrite,) I shall take but _twelve lire_.”

“_Twelve lire!_” she quietly repeated after him, while her astonishment
was mingling with rage within, so as to render her voice almost
inaudible.

“Five _lire should_ be your demand,” she humbly ventured at last.

“Madame is quite right, but she forgets her three worships in the
Cathedral and the many who partook of her bounty in the market!”

“Three worships,” thought she with a perplexed air, “and bounties in
the market!”

As if reading her mind, he explained by means of gestures that the
contributions made in the church were charged to her, (probably with
added interest by the time the account reached her;) also the coins
given to the various mendicants in their walks.

Alas! A Quaker by parentage, educated to pay no clergy in her own
Protestant land, had here been playing into the hands of the foreign
devotee! She nevertheless submitted with a grace, trusting that the
next edition of Ollendorff will change its sentence of:

“Has he the hammer of the good blacksmith or the waistcoat of the
handsome joiner,” etc., into

“Has she the shrewdness of the saintly guide or the mask of the beggar
in the market-place?” She has neither the shrewdness of the saintly
guide, neither the mask of the beggar; she has a meagre purse and a
“_thorough lesson in Italian_.”



FEEDING GHOSTS IN CHINA.


THE carpenter who has been making our new book-case says he wants to go
to his home for a few days—some work is awaiting him there; the Chinese
writer says _he_ wishes to go—there is a message to be sent in the
direction of his village, he can carry it, and, being at leisure, can
spend a few days with his family; our house boy says _he_, also, must
go—his “muddar” has been sick, is now “more better,” and he must go and
see her.

And so the carpenter and the writer have gone, and the boy is going;
but it seems so strange, their all asking to go at the same time, that
I suspect that at least part of them had some untold reason for it,
and, when I remind myself that it is now the last of August, that it is
the time of the full moon, and that last night our Chinese neighbors
were going about out of doors carrying bowls of boiled rice, and that
in front of the houses in the street near by were little fires with
those thin, filmy ash-flakes that remain from burned paper scattered
about them, I feel sure that I have guessed the reason, and that it is
a wish to celebrate at their own homes the Festival of Burning Clothes,
and the Friendless Ghost’s Feast.

The Chinese think that persons after they are dead need the same things
as when they are alive, and that if they are not supplied with them
they can revenge themselves upon people in this world, bringing them
ill-health or bad luck in business. This being the case, of course
people try to keep the ghosts of their relations in as comfortable and
quiet a state as they can.

If a father should die, his friends, while he remained unburied, would
every day put a dish of rice and, perhaps, a basin of water, by his
coffin, so that his ghost might eat and wash. Afterwards, they would
at times carry food and drink to his grave, or place it before the
wooden tablet, which, to honor him, would be set up in his house. To
supply him with clothes and money, or anything else he might need, like
a house, a boat or a chair, paper imitations of these things would be
made and burned, after which it would be thought the ghost could make
use of them. Fifteen days at this season of the year are considered the
most lucky time for making these offerings. Large quantities of clothes
and other paper articles are then sold, and there is a great burning of
them all over the country.

[Illustration: A TABLET.]

Besides these well-to-do family ghosts, there is another class of whom
people are dreadfully afraid. These are the spirits of very wicked men,
and of childless persons who have left nobody behind them in this world
to care for them. They are supposed to be wandering about in a most
forlorn condition and to be able to do a great deal of mischief. To put
them in good humor, and to induce them to keep out of the way of the
living, a Feast is made for them every summer.

For several years past, this feast has been given in an open plot of
ground just outside our yard and under our sitting-room windows, so
that I have often seen it, though I am obliged to say I have never
spied any ghosts coming to eat of it.

[Illustration: THE GHOSTS’ TABLE.]

Every year the ceremonies are the same. Early in the day four tall
poles are planted in the ground about a dozen feet apart, and so placed
as to mark a square; about twenty feet from the ground a wooden floor
is built between the poles. A few men who stand upon this platform
direct everything. Usually, one or two of them seem to be priests;
once, I recognized the leader as an expert juggler whose tricks I
had witnessed only a short time before. A part of the Feast has been
made ready beforehand and is at once arranged on the platform. At two
corners are placed ornamented cones, six or eight feet high, which, I
suppose, it is expected will appear to the ghosts to be solid cakes,
but which are, in reality, only bamboo frames, thinly plastered over
with a mixture of flour and sugar; besides these are green oranges,
other fresh fruits, and articles of different kinds. Soon, offerings of
food begin to come in from the neighborhood, and are drawn up by ropes
to the platform; these are, mostly, baskets of boiled rice, and have
a bit of wood holding a red paper stuck in the middle of the rice. I
suppose the giver’s name is upon the paper, and after the Feast the
baskets seem to be restored to the persons who brought them; the rice
can then be taken away, and eaten at home.

[Illustration: A GHOST’S MEAL.]

At length, the platform is well laden with food, which remains exposed
in the sun and wind for several hours, during which time a great noise
is kept up with gongs and other musical instruments, partly, I suppose,
like a dinner bell to call the ghosts, and partly to amuse the men and
boys who gather in an interested crowd around the platform.

Late in the afternoon the head men begin to distribute the Feast. The
baskets of food are carefully lowered; the cakes are broken up, and the
pieces, with the oranges and other fruits, are flung hither and thither
among the crowd, who scramble merrily after them, sometimes half a
dozen rushing after the same fragment, and now and then a man trying
to clamber up the poles to secure a portion before it falls. When the
stage is cleared the crowd disperses, and the Ghosts’ Feast is ended.

In this region the people are very poor, but in a large and rich
community this festivity would be kept with splendor even, and with
much cost.

Last year, a part of the wooden frame-work fell, and one man was
injured. I think this may make the old ground seem unlucky to the
Chinese, and lead them to seek a new place for this year’s Feast.

Let us hope that they will do so, for to have a set of the most wicked
and unhappy ghosts asked to dinner under one’s windows, is not, after
all, so amusing as it is noisy and sadly foolish.



THE CHILDREN OF THE KOPPENBERG.


FROM Hanover to Hameln is a good twenty-five mile walk, with a mountain
at the end: to go over which, however, shortens the journey by several
miles.

In the case of Tom Osgood and Fred Taylor, who reached the foot of the
mountain towards the close of what had been to them a long and weary
day, the one—that is, Tom—concluded to go around the mountain, while
Fred chose the shorter if rougher path over the top. Why the boys
should have taken this long and tiresome tramp when a railroad runs the
whole way in sight of the road which they travelled, or why they should
not have walked to Hildesheim, or Minden, or Nienburg, or any other of
the equally unattractive places within the same distance from Hanover,
I am sure I do not know. If they had, though—and for that matter if
one of them had not chosen to climb the Koppenberg rather than go
around it—this story would most likely have never been written.

For my own part I am very glad they did it; and Fred Taylor as long
as he lives will never cease to be glad that he was the one to take
the mountain path, though with the pleasure—as indeed is the case with
nearly all our best pleasures—there will always come a little sudden
thrill of pain.

Why the mountain was called the Koppenberg does not concern this story
at all. It is quite enough to know that it was a pretty tough mountain
to climb and that before Fred was a quarter of the way up he began to
be sorry he had not taken the longer route with Tom. It was too late
now however to turn back; and besides unless he made good time Tom
would beat him in the race, which considering the greater distance Tom
had to travel would be humiliating in the extreme. So putting a little
extra steam in his legs, and whistling a tune his quick ear had picked
up on the way, he trudged on, up the steep road, through the terraced
vineyards, past an old ruin here and a herdsman’s hut there, until
finally the road lost itself in a path and went winding up into the
woods which covered the mountain for more than half the distance from
its top.

[Illustration: THE PIPER SOUNDED ONE SHARP NOTE.]

It was late in the afternoon; but in Hanover on the 26th of June the
sun does not set until nearly half-past eight, so that Fred had no fear
of being overtaken by the dark.

For some time Fred had not heard a sound but his own whistle. Indeed
now that he was fairly in the solitude of the woods he did not expect
to hear or meet any one, and he was accordingly startled when suddenly
out of the deeper woods came a sound that seemed to be another whistle
answering his own.

Fred stopped and listened.

Was it a whistle? or were they the notes of a flute?

At any rate it could be nothing dangerous. Highwaymen and banditti do
not usually whistle or play musical instruments, and Fred felt that it
would be perfectly safe to push on. As he drew nearer, the tones became
louder and with them were mixed what were unmistakably the voices of
children. Fred, with increasing curiosity, hastened his steps; and in
another moment a sight that was as odd as it was pretty met his eyes.

Yes, they were children—as many as a hundred of them, Fred
thought—funny little old-fashioned German children; the girls
with long flaxen braids and dresses that might have been their
grandmothers’, and the boys with garments so extraordinary that Fred,
who thought he could never be astonished by what a German boy might
have on, was fairly lost in surprise.

But more odd than all the rest was the musician himself—a tall, thin,
smooth-faced man, with blue eyes and scanty hair and an astonishing
cloak, half of yellow and half of red, that reached from his shoulders
to his heels. He was playing, on what seemed to be a flageolet, a brisk
enlivening tune, and was lightly beating time with his feet.

Fred looked on in amazement. “It must be a Sunday-school picnic,”
he said to himself at last, “only I never heard of such a thing in
Germany, and what a queer-looking man for a superintendent.”

If it were a Sunday-school picnic it was a very remarkable one. There
were no grown-up people at all but the one man, and the children seemed
to be having no end of a good time. There were two little girls, it is
true, standing quietly and soberly not far from Fred, but all of the
others were either dancing or playing some lively game.

Fred could not help wondering why the two were left out; and going up
to them he asked in his politest manner and best German: “Why aren’t
you dancing and why do you look so sad when everybody else is so happy?”

The little things looked up curiously. They were pretty, Fred thought,
but not so pretty as another and older girl who came out of the crowd
just then and overheard Fred’s question.

“They’ve been sad all day,” she answered in a pretty, motherly way;
“their little brothers were left behind and they can’t enjoy it because
their brothers aren’t enjoying it too.”

“Mine was lame,” said one of the little girls sadly.

“And mine was dumb,” said the other.

“Oh come!” said Fred, “you’d better go in and have a dance. It will be
getting dark before long and you’ll have to go home and then you can
tell your little brothers all about it.”

The little children seemed puzzled and a grave look came on the elder
girl’s face.

“It is never dark,” she said. “It is always light here.”

It seemed indeed to be lighter than before. Where it had come from,
Fred could not tell, but all the forest was lit up with a strange warm
glow. There were beautiful flowers too growing at his feet and birds
singing in the air that Fred had not noticed before.

“Won’t you come and dance?” the girl went on.

Fred was very fond of dancing, and it was hard to refrain, especially
since the music was now fairly exhilarating; but he was very tired
and had still before him a tedious climb. Under the circumstances he
would rather rest himself by talking to this pretty sweet-voiced German
girl—if she would only stay.

“Well, to tell the truth,” he said apologetically, “I’ve walked from
Hanover to-day and I’m rather tired. But I’d like awfully to talk to
you. Can’t you stay away from them for a few minutes? You aren’t a
teacher, are you?”

“A teacher?” inquiringly.

“Yes. Isn’t it a Sunday-school?”

“I don’t think I understand.”

Fred thought his German must be at fault.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said, “‘_Sontags-schule_,’ that’s what they
call it in New York. I’ve seen it on the German churches.”

“New York? what is that?”

Fred gazed in greater astonishment.

“Now you don’t mean to say you don’t know where New York is?”

The girl shook her head in a dreamy, abstracted way.

“I have heard of Hameln,” she said, “and Hanover, and Jerusalem where
the Holy Sepulchre is. It was there the Count Rudolph went to war
against the Turks. But he never came back. Do you know,” eagerly,
“whether the Christians have taken Jerusalem?”

“My gracious!” exclaimed Fred below his breath, “it must be a lunatic
asylum!” Then aloud: “Why there hasn’t been a war in Jerusalem for five
hundred years—not since the crusades.”

She passed her hand across her forehead in a bewildered way.

“I don’t know,” she said, “it seems as though I had forgotten. Perhaps
it’s because I don’t talk. I’m the eldest, and all the others dance and
play games, and the _Piper_, he plays all the time and so I don’t have
anybody to talk to at all.”

Fred was now quite confirmed in his new idea; and yet the girl was so
pretty and gentle that he could not bear to think of her being out of
her mind.

“Why don’t you go back,” he asked kindly, “if you’re unhappy? Was it
Hameln you came from?”

She shook her head.

“It was so long ago,” she said, “I can’t recollect.”

“Well, it couldn’t have been much over fourteen years. I’m only fifteen
myself. Perhaps I’d ought to have introduced myself. I’m Fred Taylor,
of New York and I’m studying German at Hanover. It’s purer there, you
know, than it is most anywhere else.”

Fred was uncertain how much she understood. Her own language, he had
noticed, was very simple, and when he used an unaccustomed word her
forehead would contract as though she could not follow him. Her next
words, though, showed that she had understood his introduction.

“I am Gretchen Haffelfinger,” she said simply; “and you must not think
I am not happy, because I am. The _Piper_ is very kind to us.”

“And do you live up here all the time?”

Her forehead contracted again.

“What is time?” she asked.

This was a problem that Fred wasn’t prepared to solve and he discreetly
changed the form of his question.

“Do you live near here?”

The girl’s look turned toward a long glade in the forest, through which
Fred fancied he could see a lofty castle with battlemented walls and
windows that gleamed in the strange, rich glow.

“Is that the asylum?” he cried.

“I don’t think I understand,” wistfully.

What was there she did understand? Fred’s heart warmed compassionately
toward the simple-minded child, while a sudden thought came into his
head. Once back in her own place—if Hameln were her own place—might not
the familiar scenes bring back her scattered wits? Of the difficulties
in the way he did not think.

“Say, Gretchen!” he whispered, eagerly, “wouldn’t you like to go back
with me to Hameln?”

A sudden light gleamed in the soft eyes and her breath came and went
quickly as she moved a step nearer and looked beseechingly into his
face. Fred will always insist that if they had started at that moment
she would have gotten off. He reached forward, and for one instant
her warm little hand lay in his. But before he could fairly grasp it,
the _Piper_ had sounded one clear, sharp note; the fingers that he so
nearly held drew themselves away; the blue eyes which had been fixed on
his, turned with a troubled look to the _Piper_; the slight form moved
back, at first a single step, then slowly retreated from Fred’s side,
while the children, attracted by the same call, came running from all
directions and formed in a double column behind their curiously dressed
leader. In another moment the whole procession was in motion. Fred
counted them mechanically as they filed by. Without Gretchen, who still
delayed, or the _Piper_, there were just one hundred and twenty-nine.

What a weird intoxicating march it was! The children, for their part,
laughed and sang; the _Piper_ played as though he, too, were insane;
and even Fred could scarcely resist the impulse to join in. If he did
not get away he felt that he should be carried off by the music in
spite of himself. But he would make at least one more effort to save
his little friend.

“Gretchen!” he cried, holding out his hands.

She smiled, half sadly, and shook her head.

“Gretchen!” he cried once more, “come!”

There was no answer. The music had suddenly stopped, the _Piper_ with
the children had vanished; and, while Fred looked, the little maiden
with the soft eyes and tender wistful smile faded out of his sight.
The glow had gone, too, with the birds and the flowers; there was no
longer any battlemented castle in the distance: it was the shade of
the forest, and Fred was all alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tom Osgood meanwhile had trudged his scarcely less weary way along
the road around the foot of the mountain, and about seven o’clock had
reached the city gate. Not that there was any gate—that had been gone
for generations—but there was an old stone archway overgrown with ivy,
in and out of which the birds fluttered and under which Tom had to walk
to enter the city. Just before reaching it, he stopped for a moment and
looked down into the river that flowed swiftly below the city walls.
The sight struck a chord of recollection.

“What was it I used to read about this place?” he asked himself. “Seems
to me it was in a piece I spoke once at school.”

He waited a minute, but memory made no response. Then picking up his
satchel he pushed on into the town.

To his surprise, when he had reached the hotel where they had agreed
to meet, Fred was not there nor had anything been heard of him. The
_Portier_ assured Tom that the road was perfectly plain and nothing
could have happened; but this did not altogether relieve him and it
was with a good deal of anxiety, having ordered supper, that he sat
down to wait. His suspense, however, did not last long. In fifteen
minutes the door opened and Fred came in.

That something had happened, Tom guessed at once. There was a strange
look of excitement on Fred’s face, and his step was more active,
Tom thought, than a boy’s ought to be who had just walked over the
Koppenberg.

“Feel my pulse, won’t you, Tom?” he cried nervously, throwing down his
satchel, “and see if I’ve got a fever. Did I seem out of my head when
I left you? Did I talk wild, Tom? Did you ever hear of insanity in my
family? Really and truly, Tom, I don’t know whether I’m crazy or not.”

Tom was gazing at his friend in speechless astonishment.

“What in the world’s got into you?” he gasped.

“It didn’t get into me. I got into it; and it was a lunatic asylum
as near as I could make out. Only the keeper looked like a clown in
a circus and the rest were all children. I tried to get one of them
away, Tom”—Fred’s voice broke a little—“but just then the whole thing
vanished, just like people do in a dream, you know. I don’t know where
she went. I could see the spot where she stood, but she wasn’t there—”

“Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?” interrupted Tom.

“Dreaming!” indignantly. “Do I generally dream in daylight? Would I
stop to dream when I was in such a hurry to get here ahead of you? and
besides, Tom, I can whistle the march the man played. Just listen.”

Fred was a good whistler and never had to hear a tune more than
once to remember it perfectly. Now his excitement lent strength and
clearness to his notes so that any one might have taken them for those
of the _Piper_ himself. So loud and clear were they indeed that the
_Portier_ was drawn by them from his desk, the _Ober-kellner_ from the
dining-room, the Director from the office, and most of the guests from
the reading and smoking rooms. In fact, before Fred was through he had
quite an audience, most of whom, he noticed, had a puzzled, inquiring
look on their faces as though something about the whistle or the tune
were out of the way. What the look meant he did not have to wait long
to find out.

“You whistle very well, sir,” the Director remarked, almost before Fred
was fairly through; “but perhaps you are not aware that that tune is
forbidden in Hameln.”

Fred was surprised, and a little frightened.

“Why,” he stammered, “I only learned it to-day.”

“Not from any one in Hameln?”

“No, I don’t suppose it was. He was on the other side of the mountain.”

The Director shook his head sagaciously.

“It is not allowed in Hameln,” he repeated; “I wouldn’t whistle it
again if I were you.”

“But why not?” demanded Fred. “Why can’t a man whistle what he likes?”

“For the same reason,” gravely, “that it is forbidden to play music of
any kind in the _Bungenstrasse_.”

Fred stared.

“What is the _Bungenstrasse_?” he asked; “and why may not one play in
it?”

“Do not the young _herren_ know the story?”

The young _herren_ did not know the story, or if they did had forgotten
it.

“Is there a story?” cried Tom. “Tell it to us, won’t you, Herr
Director?”

The Director bowed gravely.

“Probably the young _herren_ will recall it, for one of their English
poets has written about it. It happened nearly six hundred years ago
that the town of Hameln was overrun with rats—”

That was enough. Tom had found his clue.

“Of course I’ve read it!” he cried. “That was what I’ve been trying to
remember all day:

    “‘Hamelin town’s in Brunswick,
      By famous Hanover city;
    The River Weser, deep and wide,
    Washes its wall on the southern side’—

Don’t you recollect, Fred? They couldn’t get rid of them, and one
day an old fellow came into town and offered to pipe them out for a
thousand dollars or whatever it was, and they took him up. But when he
had done it, and the rats were all drowned in the river, they wouldn’t
stick to the bargain, and so he struck up his pipe again, and this time
all the children followed him—why, what’s the matter, Fred?”

“The young gentleman is ill,” exclaimed the _Portier_, and would have
rushed off for a doctor, had not Fred interfered.

“No! no!” impatiently, “I’m not sick, Tom; but don’t you see? Is it
so?” turning to the Director, “Is that the story?”

The Director nodded. He was flattered by their interest, and besides
nothing that an American did ever surprised him.

“Evidently the young gentleman has read it,” he said. “All the children
in town followed him as far as the mountain side, and then, when their
fathers and mothers thought they could go no further, the mountain
opened and they were all swallowed up—all, that is, but one little boy
who was dumb, and another who was lame. This was the street they went
down. On the _Rattenfangerhauser_ opposite is a tablet commemorating
the event; and ever since that time there has been no music played
in the _Bungenstrasse_. Even if a bridal procession goes through the
street the music must not play. And the tune which you were whistling
was the tune the Piper played. It was scored at the time by the
_Kapellmeister_, and every one in Hameln knows it, just as one knows
the _Wacht am Rhein_; but no one may play it, or whistle it, or sing
it on the streets. Of course, if the young gentleman had known it was
forbidden he would not have whistled it.”

“Of course not,” said Fred, abstractedly. “Where is the house with the
inscription on it? Can we see it?”

“Certainly,” said the Director. “It is not yet too dark. The house is
yonder on the corner of the _Osterstrasse_.”

By this time Tom was burning with curiosity, and longing for a chance
to speak with Fred alone.

“Come along,” he cried, “let’s go over to the old place and look at it.”

Fred was not unwilling, and tired and hungry though they were, both
boys rushed out of the hall across the Platz. The hotel people
interchanged smiles and shrugs, the _Ober-kellner_ went back to the
dining-room, the _Portier_ to his desk, the Director to his office and
the guests to their rooms. “Americans!” one said to the other, quite as
though that dismissed the subject.

In the few minutes which it took to cross the square, Fred gave his
friend all the particulars of the story which in his excitement he had
not before supplied, and for lack of which Tom had not been able until
now to obtain a clear idea of what had happened. “Then your idea is,”
he said soberly, when Fred had finished, “that those were the children
who were lost?”

Fred nodded gravely. “I suppose they must have been,” he said.

“And that the man was the Pied Piper of Hameln?”

Fred nodded as before. By this time they were in front of the house
and had discovered the inscription, which was written in queer old
characters, once gilded, but now so weather beaten as to be scarcely
legible.

“What in the world does it say?” asked Tom.

[Illustration: THE RAT-CATCHER’S HOUSE.]

Fred scanned it as closely as he could in the fading light.

“It’s hard to tell,” he said. “Part of it is Latin and part German; but
it’s badly spelled, and there is some of it that must be Dutch. As near
as I can make out it reads like this:

“_Anno 1284 am dage Johannis et Pauli war der 26 Junii dorch einen
Piper mit allerei farve bekledet gewesen 130 Kinder verledet binnen
Hameln gebon to Calvarie, bi den Koppen verloren!_”

“What gibberish!” Tom exclaimed. “Do you suppose you can translate it?”

Fred looked uncertain; but began word by word, as one construes a Latin
lesson in school.

“_Anno_ 1284, in the year 1284, _am dage Johannis et Pauli_, on the
day of St. John and St. Paul, _war der 26 Junii_, which was the 26th
of June—this very day, Tom—a piper with _allerlei farve bekledet_—that
must be parti-colored clothes—led 130 children born in Hameln by the
Koppenberg to Calvary. That means to their death I suppose.”

Tom nodded, and for a minute the boys looked at one another without
speaking.

“Well, what are you going to do about it?” asked Tom at length.

With another look at the tablet Fred turned towards the hotel.

“There’s nothing to be done about it,” he said. “I don’t think I had
better tell anybody here.”

Tom deliberated a minute.

“No, I don’t think you had,” he said. “It happened five hundred and
ninety-five years ago: there aren’t any of their relatives alive, and
nobody would believe you anyhow. Besides, they seemed to be having a
good time, didn’t they?”

Fred’s thoughtful gaze was turned down the street toward the mountain,
where so many years ago the little feet had pattered to their grave.

But _was_ it to their grave?

He wondered if instead of dying they had not lived all that time,
and whether any one else had ever seen them besides himself. He was
so absorbed indeed that he did not hear Tom’s question until it was
repeated.

“Oh, did you speak?” he asked. “Yes, I suppose they were. She said so.”

“Well, I’m glad of that. I always felt sorry for the poor little
beggars and wondered if they got out of the other side of the hill.
It’s a great relief, Fred, to think of their having a good time. The
Piper couldn’t have been a bad sort of fellow. As it turned out, Fred,
you might say as the little lame boy—it must have been his sister, by
the way, you spoke to—did in the poem:

    ‘The music stopped and I stood still,
    And found myself outside the hill,
    Left alone against my will,
    To go now limping as before,
    And never hear of that country more.’”

Fred drew a long breath of relief as he brought his thoughts back from
the mountain.

“Well,” he said, “I’m glad I know who they were. I couldn’t bear to
think of their being lunatics. And if Gretchen and the two little girls
had been as happy as all the rest, I should have thought—”

“What would you have thought?”

Fred hesitated an instant.

“That I was getting a little glimpse into heaven. But then, it couldn’t
be that, you know.”

Tom shook his head wisely.

“Oh, no,” he said; “of course it couldn’t be that.”



A DAY AT THE BUTTS.


IT was the fourth day of August, more than a hundred years ago, and
the whole road between London and the little village of Harrow was
thronged with people. It was hot and dusty enough that summer morning,
but nobody seemed to mind in the eager scramble for the best seats; and
it was not long before the little green knoll, just at the west of the
London road, seemed fairly alive with spectators.

It was a lovely spot—this well-known Butts of Harrow—with its crown of
tall forest trees waving like so many banners, and its tiers of grassy
seats terracing the slope. From time immemorial it had been the scene
of annual contests in archery, and there was not a boy in Harrow School
who did not look forward all the year to this fourth day of August.

When John Lyon founded the school it was made a condition of entrance,
that every pupil should be furnished with the proper implements of
archery; and among the school ordinances drawn up in the year 1592
there was one to the effect that every child should, at all times, be
allowed bow-shafts, bow-strings, and a bracer.

No wonder the men of those days were tall, and straight, and strong!

But hark! The church clock down in the village is striking the
appointed hour. A little figure, clad in red satin from head to foot,
darts out from the thicket of trees below, and now a procession of
twelve boys, some in white, some in red, and some in green satin, take
their places in the open ring that has been left for the competitors.
All the little archers have sashes and caps of bright-colored
silk, and, looking down from the green knoll, the whole scene is a
kaleidoscope of color.

A silver arrow—the victor’s prize—glitters temptingly in the sunlight;
and a tall lad, who stands among the waiting twelve, bends eagerly
forward to examine it.

“Just look at Percival!” whispers one little archer to his neighbor.
“He’s bound to get that arrow, isn’t he?”

“Pooh! who cares for the arrow?” responds the other, disdainfully.
“It’s nothing but a plaything, anyway! What I think about is winning
the game, not the arrow!”

“Yes; but you see it’s different with Percival!” said the first
speaker. “His three older brothers, three years in succession, won
the arrows while they were here at the Harrow School, and the father
says that Percival must win the fourth for the one empty corner in the
drawing-room, or he shall be ashamed to call him his son!”

Just here the boys were interrupted in their talk, for the target
was ready, and, at a signal, the contest began. At first, one shot
after another fell quite outside the third circle that surrounded
the bull’s-eye, then came a shaft that glanced just to one side of
the inner circle; but at last, after many fruitless attempts, the
bull’s-eye was fairly pierced, and the feat was greeted with a gay
concert from the French horns.

Now, it so happened—at least this is one of the traditions of
Harrow—that the name of this last boy was “Love,” and when his arrow
touched the bulls-eye a number of his school-fellows shouted high above
the horns:

“_Omnia vincit Amor!_”

“Not so!” said another boy who stood close by. “_Nos non cedamus
Amori!_” And, carefully adjusting his shaft, he shot it into the
bull’s-eye a whole inch nearer the centre than his rival.

But each boy among the twelve competitors must have his own trial shot
twelve times repeated, before the final award can be given. Meanwhile a
careful tally is kept, and not until the one hundred and forty-fourth
arrow springs from its bow is the victor’s name announced:

“Thomas Reginald Percival.”

That first victory seems to have given a magic impulse to his bow, for
all twelve of his arrows have pierced the charmed inner circle of the
target; and now, at the head of an excited procession of boys, he is
borne triumphantly from the Butts to the village. One little fellow
in white satin runs far ahead, waving the silver arrow with many
flourishes; and, when the school-buildings of Harrow are reached, a
grand reception is given to all the neighboring country-folk.

Young Percival, with bright eyes and flushed cheeks, is the hero of the
evening. There are games and dancing, and all sorts of merry-making
until the “wee sma” hours, but the victorious boy can think of nothing
save the coveted arrow he has won. That empty corner no longer
troubles his excited brain.

He has ably vindicated his right to the old family name, and
henceforward, the father can point with pride to four trophies, won by
his four sons at the famous Butts of Harrow.

That was in 1766. In 1771 the annual shootings at Harrow were
abolished; for Dr. Heath, who was then head-master of the school,
thought they interfered with the boys’ studies. The silver arrow
prepared for the following year, 1772, was never used, but is still
preserved at Harrow as a relic of the past. In the school-library may
be seen one of the archer’s elaborate suits, which is nearly a hundred
years old; and the fourth of August, though no longer an exciting
day at the Butts, is still kept as a holiday at Harrow School, and
commemorated with appropriate speeches.



TINY FEET OF CHINESE LADIES.


JUST imagine the foot of a full grown lady but five inches in length!
Yet even this is large, and in highly aristocratic families four inches
is the standard.

This queer custom of compressing the feet of Chinese girls is of very
ancient date, and in our day is almost universal—only nuns, slaves,
boat-women, and others who are obliged to perform out-door drudgery,
being exempt. As to the origin of the custom, the Chinese themselves
are not agreed. Many suppose that it is a fashion intended to draw a
line between the higher and lower classes. Others say that its object
was to keep _ladies_ within doors, where they would not be subjected,
like common market or boat-women, to the gaze of the other sex; and
some boldly declare that to cripple them was known to be the only way
by which women could be kept at home, and rendered of use working for
their husbands or fathers, instead of spending their time in gadding
and gossip. Some of the most reliable native historians state that the
custom began during the reign of Take, somewhere about the year 1123,
with a whim of the last Empress of the Shang dynasty.

The time for putting on the first bandages varies in different
families. In some, the process is commenced when the baby is only a few
weeks old, others defer the ceremony for a year or two but all begin
before the little one has reached the age of four years.

No iron or wooden shoe is used, as some travelers have stated; but a
strip of cotton cloth, some three inches wide, and about six feet long,
is wound around the toes, over the instep, and then behind the heel,
after which it is brought back again over the foot and drawn so tightly
around the toes as to press them into a point—all except the first and
second having been previously doubled under the sole.

These bandages are never removed, except for purposes of cleanliness,
perhaps once a month; and they are replaced as quickly as possible,
each time being drawn tighter, until the instep bends into a bow and
the ball of the foot is forced against the heel.

The stockings are made of white cotton or silk. The dainty little
shoes are of silk, richly embroidered and often beautifully adorned
with tiny pearls or rubies. The soles are of white satin, quilted, and
stiffened with a lining of pasteboard. The heels are very high and
pointed, and the white satin that entirely covers them, as well as the
upturned toes, presents a pretty contrast to the blue or crimson silk
uppers.

White satin seems to us an odd material for shoe soles; but they are
intended only for carpeted floors.

When one of these tiny satin-soled slippers is cast off as “worn out,”
it has probably never for a single time come in contact with _terra
firma_; and probably the wearer, when robed in the white slippers for
her last sleep, has not from her infancy had one gleeful romp out-doors.

This compression produces, during all the years of childhood, the most
excruciating pain, followed at length by a sort of numbness. I never
saw one of these compressed feet entirely without covering, but I saw
enough when the outer bandages had been removed to excite both pity and
disgust; and a lady who had seen the bare foot of one of their greatest
belles told me that she had never even conceived of a spectacle so
shockingly revolting as this tiny foot when divested of all that could
hide its deformity. Although the young lady was full grown, the sole
of her foot was but three and three-quarters inches in length. The
great toe formed a point that was bent upwards and backwards, while the
heel, of natural size, seemed by contrast disproportionately large.

Chinese ladies of rank are seldom seen abroad unless in closely
curtained Sedan-chairs; but we used occasionally to meet those of the
middle class making short excursions in the immediate vicinity of their
homes. Their attempts at walking were pitiable in the extreme, as they
hobbled along, leaning on an umbrella, or the shoulder of a servant,
for support, or with hands outstretched against the houses as they
passed, endeavoring to keep their balance.



SHETLAND PONIES.


FAR north from Scotland, and but seldom visited by southern travelers
are the Shetland Islands. From these rock-bound, treeless islands
come the Shetland ponies that we so often see at the circus, or
pulling little phaetons patiently along. A Shetland pony is almost a
child’s first desire, unless, perhaps, it may be to own a monkey. To
have a pony to ride, or to drive, and especially a _real_ Shetland,
long-haired, short-legged pony is a dream of perfect happiness, indeed.

But have the readers of this little sketch ever thought about the home
of these ponies? If you never have, then take a map of the British
Isles, and in the far North you will see the small group of islands
called the Shetlands, and from there the first ponies came; and to-day
they are raised there in great numbers.

[Illustration]

Shetland is a very different country than many see. There are no green
fields and trees, and the children living there hardly believe it when
you tell them that in England or Scotland there are green lanes, and
that birds build nests among green leaves. All the birds they see,
hover about the great, rocky cliffs, and build nests in the crevices
of rocks, perhaps a thousand feet above the sea. All their fields are
covered with black peat or brown heather; and instead of houses of wood
to live in, they only have huts made of stone with a roof of straw,
mud and refuse wood. In some of the houses there are no windows, only
one room, and a low door. Then there is no chimney to let the smoke
out, but only a small hole in the roof. Of course these huts are for
the very poor people living out among the hills of Shetland, and away
from the coast. But near the sea, on the shores of some secluded bay,
are quite good towns, such as Lerwick and Scolloway. These towns have
little stone houses with very pointed roofs and deep-set windows,
that almost seem to rest in the water itself, they are built so near
it. Then the streets are very narrow, and have been paved with great
stones. You can almost touch either side of the street it is so narrow.

Now the people of the Shetland Islands are very quiet, orderly and
industrious. They live by many means. Some of them have shops in the
towns, where they sell groceries, and dress-goods and cured meats.
Others live by catching fish to send south. Some let themselves down
by ropes over the edge of a great high cliff, and gather the eggs of
birds. Then the women knit shawls and hoods and veils and socks, and
so gain a few pennies to buy food with. But there is yet another class
of people who have to make a living, and this class raise ponies and
sheep, to send to England and even to America. And before we speak or
describe carefully the making of shawls and gathering of eggs, we will
imagine ourselves in the town of Lerwick and all ready for a start to
Noss Island, where a man lives who has a large herd of real Shetland
ponies.

[Illustration: SHETLAND PONIES.]

I remember the morning perfectly. The bay was all dotted with the
white sails of the fishing boats. The town was all awake carrying
dried fish to the boats at anchor, and on the corners of the streets
were gathered women and young girls selling potatoes they had just
brought in from the distant field. We took a row boat, and rowed across
Bressay Sound to Bressay Island, and then walking across it, and after
looking back at the town and out at sea, we came to a small strait,
and had to hire another boat to take us across the water to Noss
Island. This island is not very large, but has more green grass than
any other of the Shetland group. One end of it almost buries itself
in the sea, and then it gradually rises higher and higher, until the
opposite end rises a thousand feet right up from the sea. There is
only one house on the island, and in that lives the keeper of the
ponies and his two children. I wish you could have seen these children
when they saw us coming in the boat. They hardly ever leave the island
themselves, and so when any strangers come to see their ponies, how
happy it makes them! They were very pretty and bright children, too.
They had light hair and bright blue eyes, and cheeks as red as roses.
Running down with them, was their pet dog, who seemed just as glad as
any of the rest to see strangers. The house the man lived in was very
lonely-looking to us. It was built of stone, and then painted white,
and stood on a little knoll overlooking the blue waters of the cold
North Sea.

After a short rest we walked out to explore the island and see the
ponies. Here was their home and we should see them here in their real
life. As we walked along, we came to a part of the island where it
was rather sandy, and there found such a nest of rabbits. We almost
stumbled into their holes, there were so many of them when we came upon
them. There must have been fully a hundred nibbling the short grass, or
standing up to see who was coming to disturb them. The keeper said they
were a great nuisance to the island, they undermined it so.

But a sight that interested us more than that of the rabbits was the
great herd of ponies we saw before us.

There must have been fully two hundred of the shaggy-maned little
fellows. Some were eating, some biting one another, some running as
though having a race, and others stood still looking at us. When we
came nearer the whole herd pricked up their ears, gave little snorts of
anger, and galloped away as fast as their short legs could carry them.

The keeper told us that when one wishes a pony, to ride or sell, he
must take the one he keeps near his house, mount him, and then riding
out to the herd, lassoo one at a time until you obtain all you wish. In
winter the ponies of Noss Island have rather a hard time of it. Though
there is not much snow on the island, still the winds often blow very
fiercely, and poor pony has no warm barn to go to. Sometimes the keeper
builds a wall about a square piece of ground, and pony can go into the
enclosure and so be somewhat sheltered. But usually he must face the
wind and storm, no matter what the weather.

Among the ponies we saw on our visit, were some little wee fellows,
hardly larger than Newfoundland dogs. When we saw them scampering about
so free from care, we couldn’t help wondering how long it would be
before they would be carrying some little lady up and down Rotten Row,
or about New York Central Park. The case is not unlikely, for a great
many of them each year are sent away from their island home to England.

But a pony in the Shetland Islands, even, has often hard work to
perform. If a poor person is possessed of a pony, then, indeed, he
feels rich. Now on certain days in the week, there are market days at
Lerwick. From all about come the people bringing things to sell. Some
walk to the town, some sail, and others come riding on their ponies.
Just inside of Lerwick is a narrow path leading over the hills. I have
often seen, coming along this narrow way, a long line of ponies and
women. And such a curious appearance they present! The ponies seem
only legs. They have no bridle, only a cord about the neck, and each
follows the one in front. You can’t make them go at the side of one
another. On either side of each one are two immense saddle-bags filled
with peat, or potatoes; on his back are piled other goods, and even his
neck has a cloth or other saddle-bags strapped, so that seen from a
short distance it seems just as though the bags had legs, and poor pony
seems buried out of sight. Sometimes, too, if there is room to keep
seated, his mistress, with shoeless feet, and short dress and white
cap, seats herself in great state, and away goes pony, bags and woman,
off to Lerwick. Sometimes, when on these pilgrimages, pony will watch
his chance, and if his mistress should be absent, will dart away down
the steep hill-side, to nibble a bite of something good he has seen;
and then when the mistress sees him such a pounding as pony gets as she
leads him back to his proper place! But he only looks meek and will no
doubt do the same thing again when he gets the chance.

Shetland ponies are very sure-footed. They will walk along the very
edge of a high cliff, and before putting a foot down will carefully
feel if the ground is firm or not. Some of them are driven by their
riders down steep passes where one misstep would send both rider and
pony down to the depths below. Ponies of Shetland, too, are not always
very well behaved. Near our cottage was an old lady’s garden, filled
with cabbages. One day her pony walked into it, and enjoyed himself
feasting on forbidden fruit. We never asked him, but should imagine
the beating he received when discovered would help him to digest his
stolen dinner. Then a Shetland pony on his native heath is extremely
wilful. If they dislike a rider they will spare no pains to unseat him.
I rode one once who expended a great deal of unnecessary strength in
this manner. He would sit down suddenly and rise up more so. He would
bite, shake himself and roll over, if allowed. As he was almost small
enough to be carried by his rider, these antics were more amusing than
dangerous.

And so the ponies of the Shetland Islands live and wait for masters in
the South. In the cold winter of fog and rain, when there is almost no
day, or in the summer time, when the sun does not set, they run wild
about the Noss, take burdens to Lerwick, or carry the stranger over the
bogs and dreary hills.



MR. SWEET POTATOES.


OUR milkman has a very odd name,—translated into English it is “Sweet
Potatoes.” His Chinese neighbors call him “Old Father Sweet Potatoes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE NATIVE HUMPBACK COW.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE WATER-BUFFALO.]

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

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

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

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



SHETLAND WOMEN.


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

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

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

[Illustration: COAST OF SHETLAND]

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

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

[Illustration: SHETLAND WOMEN.]

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

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

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

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

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

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



MARDI GRAS IN NICE.


HAVE you ever happened in Nice at Carnival?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: “PROMENADE DU COURS” IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: “PROMENADE DU COURS” IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: “PROMENADE DU COURS” IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

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

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

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

[Illustration: “PROMENADE DU COURS” IN CARNIVAL TIME.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



ON THE FARM IN WINTER.


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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE IMPROVISED SLEIGH.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: UPON THE HAY-MOW.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: BREAKING THE CALVES.]

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

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

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



[Illustration]

A CHINAMAN’S QUEUE.


[Illustration]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



MEXICAN WATER-CARRIERS.


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

[Illustration: ALWAYS ON A LITTLE INDIAN TROT.]

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

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

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

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

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

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



A VERY QUEER HOUSE.


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

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

But the strangest sight of all is still to come.

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

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

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

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

“That’s just it!” chuckles the Greek. “It covers a _hollow_, sure
enough—look here, Effendi!”

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

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

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

“_Does_ he live here, then?”

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

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

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



IN BELGIUM.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



JOE THE CHIMPANZEE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: JOE READS “_The Times_.”]

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

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

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

[Illustration: JOE TRIES HIS APPLE.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



MARKET DAY AT PAU.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: A PEASANT WOMAN.]

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: OX-TEAM.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How much do you want for this chicken?”

“Three francs.”

“Keep your chicken for somebody see. I’ll go to another.”

“Stay! What will you give for it?”

“Two francs.”

“Get along with you!”

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

“Stand off there! I’m here first.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



IL SANTISSIMO BAMBINO.


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

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

[Illustration: THE BAMBINO. Page 205.]

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

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

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

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

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

We went to see it last Christmas.

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

[Illustration: THE EQUIPAGE OF THE BAMBINO.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: FAMILY OF ROMAN BEGGARS.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Servants of great houses,” remarked a lady behind me.

“They used to come themselves,” answered another.

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

[Illustration]



CHILDREN UNDER THE SNOW.


FAR away up in the north, on the shores of that great frozen ocean
lying beyond Europe and Asia, you may sometimes catch sight (as I
did once) of a huge, gray, pointed thing, standing all alone in the
midst of the snowy plain, just like an immense pear with the stalk
upward. I should have been puzzled had I not seen a thin curl of smoke
creeping from the top of it; but _that_ let me into the secret. This
queer-looking thing was a Samoiede tent!

The tent of a Samoiede is almost as simple an affair as that of an
Arab. All you have to do is to plant a dozen long poles in the ground,
slanted so as to let their tops meet; cover this framework with
reindeer skins, leaving a hole at the top to let out the smoke; pile
the snow high up around the lower part to keep off the wind—the “house”
is complete.

But, outlandish as it looks, this little burrow is worth something in a
real Russian frost, which freezes the very breath on one’s moustache;
so I go right up to the _door_, (which is simply a thick skin hanging
over a hole in the side,) lift it, and step in.

The inside is certainly warm enough—rather too warm, in fact, being
almost as hot and choky as a bake-house. There is a fire burning in
the middle, the smoke going anywhere and everywhere; and beside it
sat three things, (one can hardly call them human figures) one a deal
larger than the other two.

There being no light but the glare of the fire, it is not easy for me
to see where I am going; and the first thing I do is to stumble over
something which seems like a skin bag, unusually full. But it is not—it
is a _child_, wrapped or rather tied up in a huge cloak of deer-skin,
and rolling about the floor like a ball.

In these out-of-the-way places, where a man may go for days without
seeing a human face except his own, people call upon each other without
waiting to be introduced; and my sudden entrance does not seem to
disturb my new friends in the least. They greet me cordially enough,
and bid me welcome in Russian, which most of the Samoiedes speak a
little; and, seating myself on a chest, I look about me.

As my eyes get used to the half-light, I see that the group by the
fire consists of a woman and two little girls, muffled in skins from
head to foot. Papa is away somewhere with his sledge and his reindeer,
leaving mamma to mind the house and take care of the children. Funny
little things they are, with great round heads, and dark-brown skins,
and small, restless black eyes, and faces as flat as if somebody had
sat down upon them; but, queer as they look, they have learned to make
themselves useful already, for they are hard at work stitching their
own clothes. They are not a bit shy, and in another minute I have them
scrambling up into my lap, and wondering at the ticking of my watch,
which I take out to show them, while they clap their hands and shout
“_Pai, pai!_” which is their word for “good.”

The tent is not a very large one, but every inch of its space has
certainly been made the most of. The floor is carpeted with thick
sheets of gray felt, and littered with chests, sacks, baskets, bark
shoes, and bits of harness; while hanging from the tent poles, or
thrust into the folds of the skins that cover them, are a perfect
museum of things of every sort—caps, pouches, fish-spears, knives,
hatchets, whips—and last, but certainly not least, the face of a baby,
which has been thrust into a kind of pocket in the skin, like a knife
into the sheath. I stoop to stroke the little brown face, while the
round eyes stare wonderingly at me out of the folds of the skin.

Meanwhile the lady of the house (or rather tent) hospitable like all
Samoiedes, hastens to set before me some black bread mixed with bark,
and a lump of terrifically strong cheese, made of reindeer milk.

The reindeer supplies the Samoiedes with plenty of other things beside
cheese; indeed, almost everything that they have got comes from _it_ in
some form or other. They eat reindeer meat, they drink reindeer milk;
their fish-spears are tipped with reindeer horn; their clothes, and the
very tents in which they live, are made of reindeer skin; the needles
wherewith they stitch them are of reindeer bone, and the thread of
reindeer sinew; and when they wish to move from place to place, it is
the reindeer that draws them along—the Samoiede would be as badly off
without his reindeer, as the Arab without his camel.



THE JEWELLED TOMB.


WOULD the youthful readers of this volume like to hear about the most
beautiful tomb in the world?

It is in the city of Agra in India, on the other side of the globe.
When Boston children are eating their lunch or playing in the sunshine
at noon-recess, it is midnight in India. It is so hot there that if
anyone happened to be awake, he would probably be fanning himself and
looking out of the window up at the stars which are bigger and brighter
than in New England, or down at the gardens where hundreds of great
fireflies dart and whirl as if it were Fourth of July without the noise.

The Jewelled Tomb was built about the time when your
great-great-grandfathers first came to Plymouth. You know how cold and
bleak they found it—the winds were stinging, the earth covered with
ice and snow, storms were on the sea and savages on the shore. The
Pilgrims made no grand tombs there; they dared not even pile up leaves
to mark their graves as the robins did over the Babes in the Wood, but
buried their dead in wheat-fields to be hid by the waving grain. They
feared the Indians, watching to murder and scalp them, would come at
night, count the graves and learn how few were left alive. SHAH-Jehan,
the Mogul Emperor, built the Jewelled Tomb. His name means King of the
World, because he ruled over so many people. Jewels were like the sand
of the sea to him, he owned so many. The Koh-i-noor, “the mountain of
light,” was his, and there is but one larger diamond in the world. The
Brahmins say that the owner of the Koh-i-noor will always be ruler of
India.

Shah Jehan’s soldiers and slaves could not be counted, and there seemed
no end of his cities and palaces. One of the oldest establishments in
his dominion was a hospital for sick monkeys, where kind nurses took
care of the little mimics, cured or made them comfortable, while they
jabbered and screeched to their hearts’ content, snatched the medicine
or choice fruits from their keepers, and plagued each other like
wizened spoilt children. But the great Mogul did not care so much for
the health of his subjects—he had so many it did not seem worth while.

He was very fond of elephant fights, and used to sit in a balcony
overlooking the space between his palace and the river Jumna to watch
them. Sometimes a maddened elephant had to be driven by fireworks into
the river and drowned to prevent its trampling to death the whole
crowd which had no balcony to see from. So many riders were killed in
the sport, that one would often kiss his wife and children, saying,
“Good-by, you may never see me again—I am going to amuse the Emperor—we
have an elephant fight to-day.” Shah-Jehan enjoyed this spectacle
whether his subjects were killed or not. His balcony was hung with rich
Persian silks. Diamonds and riches shone in his turban and sparkled on
his breast. Every time he moved, his jewels threw rainbows over the
crowd and often into the eyes of the combatants.

He had a plan of making a trellis over this balcony. The grapes were to
be amethysts, the leaves emeralds, and the stalks pure gold. But one
morning the head goldsmith came to him, saying: “May it please your
Majesty, your trellis will take all the emeralds and amethysts in the
world.”

For once in his life Shah-Jehan gave up his whim and only one bunch of
grapes was ever finished.

This monarch loved power and splendor, but more than all he loved his
wife Moomtazee. She was the niece of the famous Noor Mahal, and was
called the most beautiful woman in the world, and was good as she was
beautiful. “Light of the World,” “Pearl of Women,” “Crown of Delight,”
were some of the names her husband gave her. For hours he would sit by
her side in his palace garden, on seats made soft by cashmere shawls,
finer than any that ever crossed the ocean. They listened to the murmur
of the river; they watched the pink lilies, as large as christening
cups, that floated on its waves. Great leaves and wonderful flowers,
such as we see only in conservatories, bent their heads beneath the
spray of the fountains. There are few singing birds in that land, but
from musicians, hidden behind the trees, came melodies which mingled
with the sound of rippling waters.

All this was real, and not a story from the Arabian Nights.

One evening when the glow-worms had lit their lamps under every bush,
the Mogul and his Empress were in the garden. Their eldest daughter,
best beloved of his children because she most resembled her mother,
was playing at their feet.

“Dearest Queen,” exclaimed Shah-Jehan, “here are some flowers that I
have just plucked. How happy should I be if you could not die! You
are lovely as these roses, and I fear some day you will fade as they
do. Allah allows a little worm to destroy a shawl that it has taken a
life-time to make—if some unseen enemy should take your life, there
would be nothing left me but a kingdom whose sun had set.”

The Queen replied: “I will never leave this earth as long as Allah will
let me stay.”

“Jehanara,” she continued to her daughter, “if the Angel of Death
should take me from your father, comfort and watch over him, and be all
that your mother is to the great and good Emperor.”

“Promise, my lord,” she said, “if I should die, never to marry again;
and place a tomb over my grave, grand as a palace, and beautiful as
these flowers covered with diamond dew, that the whole world may know
how the greatest of earthly monarchs loved his Moomtazee Mahal.”

“I promise,” said her husband, with trembling voice, “if you should
leave me, no one shall ever fill your place, and the world has never
seen so grand a monument as I will raise over the loveliest of women.”

Soon after the Queen became ill. The Emperor was distracted when she
said to him, “Remember my two requests; now I must leave you.”

All the doctors and wise men in the Kingdom were summoned, but they
were so afraid their heads would be cut off, they did not know what to
do; they suggested so many things that of course the poor Queen stood
very little chance. All the love and power of her husband could not
save her any more than if she had been the wife of her meanest slave.

She died—the palace was dumb with grief. No official dared to speak
to the Emperor and tell him of his loss. Jehanara put her arms softly
around her father’s neck and sobbed into his ear, “The Light of the
World has gone out.”

The funeral was scarcely over, when Shah-Jehan began to build the tomb
of his wife.

In our country when we think of a monument, it is a granite shaft or
a marble block; we place it in a cemetery, and plant vines and trees
around it. In commemoration of many great and good men we sometimes
build a high monument—like that on Bunker Hill—where we can climb to
the top and look over the country, telling each other how grand the
nation has become because of the patriots beneath us who gave their
lives for our liberty.

But in India, diamonds are dug out of the earth, precious stones
filtered from streams, and pearls fished from the seas. Every thought
of nature is a jewel, and glitters in the sunshine. The beetles are
living gems; the orange lizards that peep from under the stones show
neck-laces of brilliants. It is the land of peacocks, whose gorgeous
eyes repeat in the sunlight all the wonders under ground. No goldsmith
can make such dazzling colors as the butterflies carry through the air.
So when the Emperor would build a mausoleum to the Pearl of Women, he
adorned it with the most splendid gems that ever shone even in that
Land of Jewels.

Shah-Jehan had been collecting precious stones all his life; but though
he already had a greater number than any one else in the world, he
ransacked all countries for more and finer gems to adorn his work.

He brought the most skillful architects from France and Italy. The
chief of them was Austin de Bordeaux, named the Jewel-handed.

Seeds planted in the garden round the edifice grew to be tall trees,
and children who had watched the levelling of the great platform became
middle-aged men and women before the dome was finished. Twenty thousand
workmen went home every night, year after year, always telling their
families how particular the Emperor was that every stone should be
placed right, till at last they grew grey-headed—for it took twenty-two
years of hard work to build the tomb.

I cannot tell you how many millions it cost—there are so many different
estimates given—it were as easy to tell the majorities on election
night. But all agree that it cost an enormous sum.

Nothing interested Shah-Jehan but this tomb of his beautiful wife. It
stood on the river Jumna in a garden two-thirds as large as Boston
Common, and was surrounded by a red sand-stone wall high as the roof of
most houses. The Emperor used to sit in one of the arcades on the inner
side of this wall and watch the progress of the building. Careless of
the terraced garden with its paths of variegated marble and its eighty
fountains throwing diamonds into the air, regardless of the two mosques
where Mussulmen go to pray, his eye was always fastened upon the
dazzling structure which rose above all and gleamed like a mountain of
snow against the blue sky.

At length the Taje Mahal, the “Crown of Edifices,” was completed. Let
us visit it. On the side opposite the river we pass the wall through
the grand red gate-way. It seems to be ornamented with garlands, but
looking closer you observe that what we mistook for flowers are texts
from the Koran, the Bible of the Mahommedans. These texts are inlaid
in the stone, arranged in graceful lines, and illuminated with colored
marbles.

Passing through the garden, an avenue of Italian cypresses shuts us
in like a pall, while a voice from the attendant comes out of the
darkness, saying: “Close your eyes for a moment; you will not die, but
you shall see Heaven.” Emerging from between the trees, we mount to
the platform which is raised eighteen feet above the highest garden
terrace, and is a square of over three hundred feet, glittering and
polished as ice. At each corner and separate from the main building
rises a tall slender minaret, through whose open carving appears
the circular stairs leading to the top. In the midst we behold the
octagonal mausoleum, surmounted by four small cupolas around the
central dome, which towers as high as Bunker Hill monument.

Where we stand above the world, everything beneath our feet and
around us is made of white marble. There is no tinge of color on
the four minarets, but within them the central pile is covered with
delicate traceries that look like flowering vines. They are verses
from the Koran; every letter is black marble inlaid in the white, and
ornamented with jasper, agate, cornelian and lapis-lazuli. When we are
told that the whole sacred book is written in this way upon the Taje
Mahal, we understand why the work took twenty years.

There is an entrance north, south, east and west. Crossing the
threshold of either, we see that the vast interior is divided into
several apartments. Beneath each of the four small domes is a separate
enclosure. Under the central dome an octagonal space is shut in by
colonades roofed with arches. High above you, in the very centre of
this great dome, flashes a golden ornament like a constellation of
stars. The floor, the walls, the columns, the ceiling, all are of
glistening white marble. About seventy-five feet from the floor a
carved trellis-work around the base of the dome lights the place, and
shows the whole interior to be a mosaic of texts. They are made of
black letters; not straight like those in a printed book, but twisted
like the tendrils of a vine; and in this central and more sacred
chamber, precious stones of every color gleam and sparkle around the
words as if from a thorny stem gay flowers had sprung on every side.
The buds and leaves look so natural as to deceive the eye. You wonder
if the whole building has been decorated for a victory; if those are
garlands of evergreens and flowers that cross the arches, drip over
the freizes, interlace each other and almost wave in the breeze—and if
they are for a Christmas festival?

The great Mogul placed them on these walls, and they are enduring as
his love.

You seem to look at banks of snow overspread with wreaths of flowers
which the sun, streaming through the high trellised windows, transforms
into foaming cataracts falling from the sky, while braided rainbows
flash and dance on their waves.

On the floor, under the dome, is an octagonal screen, higher than a
tall man, and made of marble as delicately wrought as a veil of lace.
It is bordered with lilies, tulips and roses, made of precious stones.
Within this screen, beneath the centre of the dome, is a slab of marble
six feet in length.

The poor mother covers her darling’s grave with flowers—all she can
give; they fade, and she still keeps fresh tokens there. The flowers
the great Mogul placed on the grave of his Queen were made of the
most costly jewels. The finest rubies that he had searched the world
to procure, glowed in a rose near the head, close by an emerald lotus
leaf covered with diamond spray. Texts from the Koran, always in
black letters, form an inlaid back ground of thorns for the flowers.
Mahometans believe these texts make the grave more sacred, and are a
charm to preserve it from injury. On the end of the slab next the door
are conspicuous the words, “Deliver us from the tribe of unbelievers.”

No royal lady’s brooch was ever of more delicate workmanship than this
casket of jewels. It glitters in the marble hall like a clustre of
diamonds on a robe of white satin. Sparks of light dart on the screen,
kindle the tracery into fire; tongues of flame speak on the floor;
points of vivid light live all over the building and transfigure it
into glory.

In a vault below this great hall, and just under the precious slab,
Queen Moomtazee is buried. A lamp is always burning over her tomb, and
a priest, whose white beard falls below his waist, chants from the
Koran. A strange echo repeats his voice back and forth in the church
above, till it seems to linger in the lofty dome, where an invisible
choir whisper his words before they take flight to Heaven.

Shah-Jehan never married again. The tomb for his wife so occupied his
thoughts that he did not know that the greatest empire in the world was
slipping away from him. The Princess Jehanara kept her promise to her
mother. Father and daughter daily laid fresh flowers on the jewelled
slab in the Taje Mahal, and the starry roses watched the frail, living
ones close their eyes and droop, while their own petals never faded.

The kingly mourner was dethroned by his crafty, cruel son, Aurengzebe,
who became Emperor, and imprisoned his father in the very palace
from which he used to watch the elephant fights. He had no solace
in confinement but his faithful daughter. Every day he looked with
infinite longing at the minarets of the mausoleum. He could see the
dome which rose high above the grave of his Queen, but he could never
lay a flower there. For eight years he could see the outside of his
master-piece of architecture, but never again did his eyes behold the
jewelled grave, which is the central thought, the heart of the Taje
Mahal.

The Moguls no longer rule in the East. The Koh-i-noor, the ransom of a
royal captive, belongs to Queen Victoria—the Empress of India.

The different conquerors of that country have destroyed many a marble
palace, burnt many a beautiful city; but all of them, even the furious
Sepoys, have left unharmed the Taje Mahal—the jewelled wonder, and it
stands to-day in its perfect glory—the monument raised by the love of
an Eastern despot to his beautiful wife.



A NIGHT WITH PAUL BOYTON.


“TELL me, what was the oddest experience you ever had?” said a friend
of mine one day, upon the cars going West.

I had been “spinning yarns” to him, as the sailors say, for the last
hundred miles of our journey, concerning a variety of queer happenings
met with in the life of a journalistic Free-lance during the past ten
years.

“Well, now, that’s a hard question to answer,” said I: “give me five
minutes to think. Let’s see—did I ever tell you about my cruise with
Paul Boyton?”

Paul Boyton is the man, you know, with the rubber life-saving rig; has
rescued lots of people from drowning; floated down most of the rivers
of Europe and a good many in this country. My night’s trip with him
was about the strangest adventure that I could recall.

I first met Boyton at one of the towns upon the St. John’s river in
Florida. We were having a game of billiards together, when some whim
prompted me to say:

“Mr. Boyton, I’d like to take a cruise with you sometime.”

To my surprise, and perhaps not exactly to my liking, he at once
assented.

“Why, that’s easily done. I always have a spare suit along. We can go
to-morrow, if you like.”

Several of my acquaintances were within hearing, and I saw they would
have a laugh at my expense if I backed down; so I responded with equal
promptitude:

“All right, just count me in; but say, I don’t want to leave from here.
The whole town will be down at the wharf watching me floating about
like a sick turtle. That would never do.”

[Illustration: PAUL BOYTON.]

“Oh,” said the jolly captain, “I’ll fix that. You shall have a paddle,
and when you are tired I’ll tow you; besides, we will start after
dark if you want to; we can go down with the tide. It will be running
out at a lively rate about then.”

Now I had no notion I would be taken up so suddenly by Captain Boyton;
and although I did my best to look happy at the prospect, I am afraid
it was a sorry effort.

A man in Texas described to me, once, his feelings after engaging to
fight a duel; and I suppose that my sensations and reflections were,
during the succeeding twenty-four hours, not unlike his. I lay in bed
that night and thought of the watery couch that had been chosen for my
next resting-place.

It was a long, very long night, full of forebodings and regrets. In the
morning the clerk of the hotel kindly inquired if I wished my effects
sent home by express, or detained until my friends could arrive “for
the body;” the folks at the breakfast-table rallied me about it; and
some of my acquaintances made bets that I would back out. When I went
down the main street it seemed as though every one was pointing a
finger at me, with a look that said plainly:

“That’s the fellow that’s going to commit suicide to-night!”

It was about half-past six in the evening when we emerged from a
building close beside the water, the captain leading, and his victim,
as he humorously called me, following close behind, escorted by a
single lantern and a group of friends. The lantern cast a gloomy ray
out upon the black surface of the river, and gave the two principal
figures in their rubber disguises the aspect of some fabled amphibious
monsters.

The suits were made in two parts, joined at the waist by a round iron
band, over which the rubber-cloth was so well secured as to be quite
water-tight. The head was covered by a hood, concealing all but the
eyes, mouth, and nose. In the back of the head-piece there was an
air-chamber, which, when filled, gave the voyager a very comfortable
pillow. Along the sides were two more large air-chambers, and still a
couple below, to support the legs.

[Illustration: SEEING THEM OFF.]

Just as soon as we were in, or rather _upon_, the water, all sense of
trepidation vanished. As the tide drifted us away from the noisy group
upon the wharf and into the darkness, I was able to wave my paddle
and reply to their repartee right heartily. I felt quite happy at the
novelty of the thing; but wait—one of the boys shouts:

“Look out as you pass the point. I saw a big ‘’gator’ there yesterday.
Keep towards the middle!”

_Alligators!_ I hadn’t, in all my wild forebodings, taken them into
consideration. A _creepy_ sensation pervaded my back and travelled down
to my toes. “What if—oh! I wish he hadn’t shouted that,” thought I.

“Well, at any rate the captain’s ahead; they’ll get him first, and
maybe I’ll have a chance while they are lunching from him!” So I turned
around and remarked casually:

“I guess, Cap. you had better keep a little ahead. You know the way
better than I do!”

But somehow the captain had disappeared. I shouted, and paddled rapidly
in the direction I supposed him to be. No answer!

“I believe the alligators have got him already,” thought I; and you
should have seen the way that paddle went through the water, driving
me back toward the distant wharf where the lantern still twinkled. My
foot encountered something.

Oh, _horrors_! what a yell I gave! You can wager that brief second will
never be forgotten. No, sir! But it was only a stray log; and just then
the captain’s merry laugh resounded over the water close at hand, as he
came floating toward me, delighted with the success of his trick; and
he began to sing a song of his own composing, improvising the music and
splashing his paddle in time to his melody:

    “I’ll take my sleep on the rolling deep,
    Your downy couch let others keep;
    My paddle true will guide me through,
    My life-garb is better than any canoe;—
    Whoop! hurrah! yes, than any canoe!”

The echoes of the refrain died away among the woods of the far opposite
shore, startling a brood of wild fowl from their rest in the sedge of
the bayou.

Now the captain turned and said, “Let’s give ’em a rocket!”

[Illustration: “LET’S GIVE THEM A ROCKET.”]

I have forgotten to tell you that the captain had in tow a miniature
craft, which he fondly called _Baby Mine_. It was made of tin, and was
altogether a miraculous sort of boat, as I soon discovered, for it held
all sorts of things one might want for comfort upon or _in_ the water.

_Baby Mine_ was entirely decked in, having a tin “hatch,” into which
the captain put his hand and produced a small lamp, which was fitted
to a groove in the bows. This was lighted by means of matches, and a
rocket next appeared. The latter was fixed in an upright position upon
_Baby Mine_. The captain held the boat with one hand and touched off
the rocket with the other.

WHIZ-Z-Z-Z-Z!

And away it sped into the black sky above, and then:

_Bang!_

A myriad of tiny sparkles flew outward and then fell slowly, streaking
the sky for a moment with a rainbow of fire. We could see in the pallid
light the group that still lingered upon the wharf, half a mile away.

“Now,” said Boyton, “let’s have a little stage effect.”

So he took from the interior of _Baby Mine_ a tin saucer and a wooden
float, as well as some powder in a small bottle. He poured a little of
the latter upon the dish and set it upon the float. A match was applied
to a short fuse. As soon as ignited, the powder cast a brilliant lurid
glow over the wavelets, and we seemed to be floating in a literal sea
of blood. In the midst of this—shall I ever forget that ludicrous
sight?—was the captain, grimacing out of his hood like some horrid
satyr, and wagging his two black paws like a great pair of ears. I
can’t do the subject justice. Perhaps you may have dreamed of some such
personage after taking a late and too hearty supper.

All of this time the captain had been standing upright in the water,
head and shoulders out, looking as firm as though he was upon the
bottom, although I knew the river must be at least forty feet deep
where we were.

“Now you must learn how to stand,” said he; and after a few failures I
was able to take an upright position or lie down at will.

The tide had soon carried us beyond the point and its fabled
alligators, at which the captain laughed with contempt.

“Look at this knife,” cried he. “I’ve killed _sharks_ with this, and
wouldn’t be afraid to try it on an alligator.” He produced a long,
peculiar Turkish blade from his belt, and made a lunge at an imaginary
saurian.

The moon had now cleared the low-hanging mists of the night, and we
could see our course fairly well. Ahead of us we noticed a second
point, and oh, listen! out of its reeds there came the sound of
some heavy body, and something black moved from the shore. It made
an ominous splashing as it came towards us. Even the brave captain,
forgetful of his knife and boast, eyed it dubiously. I shook all over;
the water seemed to have suddenly become as cold as ice. Just then the
captain’s cheerful laugh came like music to my ears.

“That isn’t an alligator;” he whispered, “it’s a darkey in a dug-out.
Keep quiet, and we’ll have some fun.”

The captain quickly and silently produced his pan and red fire. We
floated like logs on the water until the boatman had almost reached
us, and then a sudden and unaccountable blaze sprang out of the waters
before his horrified gaze, while two undoubted demons emerged and waved
their arms towards him with horrid groans.

It was enough—far more than enough. With a screech of terror the black
man sprang from his boat and struck out for shore, uttering dismal
entreaties to “good Mister Debbil” not to “ketch him yet,” with every
plunge; and despite our calls, he broke through the reeds, clambered up
the bank, and was soon lost to hearing in the dense forest.

Sometimes, when I think of it, I wonder if that chap is running yet;
but I guess he brought up somewhere, for we heard soon afterwards that
there was a great gathering of the negroes, and that one of their
speakers had seen a couple of monsters rising out of the waters of the
St. John’s, commanding him to tell the people the world was coming to
an end.

[Illustration: SUDDEN AND UNACCOUNTABLE.]

“Now that was rather lively, hey?” mused the captain; “but I’m sorry
we scared him so. I wonder what’s in his boat? We’re pirates now, to
all intents and purposes, and may as well take our plunder. A bag of
potatoes—no, oranges, just what I wanted. No wonder he ran so—he’s been
into one of the groves over there. I wonder if it’s stealing to steal
from a thief? Let’s have some supper. I nearly forgot about supper.”

A loose plank was taken from the dug-out, and out of the wonderful
depths of _Baby Mine_ emerged the following items:

    A quart bottle of cold coffee,
    A can of condensed milk,
    Some loaf-sugar,
    A tin box of cheese,
    Four biscuits,
    A pot of marmalade,
    Some chipped beef,
    A half-dozen boiled eggs,
    Pickles, pepper and salt,
    Spoons,
    Knives,
    Tin cups,
    Etc.

“The company will please sit down, and excuse the holes in the cloth,
and not put their elbows on the table,” said the jolly captain, as he
held the coffee over the lamp while I ‘set’ the table.

“Now, here we go! What an appetite I’ve got! Don’t lean back in your
chair, my boy, one of the legs is gone; you might upset. I wish that
chap had stayed. He might have taken tea with us, at least. Halloo!
I’ve struck bottom. We’re right in shore. I guess the tide’s about
ebb!” and so the merry fellow rattled on, taking a look at his watch,
which hung upon some peg in the cabin of _Baby Mine_.

What a surpassingly beautiful place we had drifted into! A cove,
surrounded upon three sides by great water oaks that bent their long
arms down towards the tide, draped in sad but rich festoons of gray
Spanish moss. The pale forms of dead cypress trees, swathed in wild
grape-vines, leaned over, and fragrant magnolia branches mingled their
dark and glossy leaves through all the fairy tracery of branch and
palm, displayed like dark embroidery against the moonlit heavens. How I
wished the boys could be there to see us now!

[Illustration: TAKING TEA WITH CAPTAIN BOYTON.]

It was altogether the queerest supper I ever swallowed. From the
still well-stored depths of the tin boat the captain produced a
cigar-case, and presently we reclined at ease upon our aqueous couch,
waiting for the tide to run in again. What tales the captain told that
night, as we lay there! what recitals of his adventures in other lands;
of receptions by monarchs; of his famous voyage down the terrible and
mysterious Tagus; of the queer people he met in the Spanish provinces;
of his feats in Russia—why! I could fill a book with them.

About two o’clock we found ourselves drifting out into the river again,
and were soon making good headway towards home. For an hour we paddled
side by side, but my unaccustomed arms began to fail, and then the
captain unwound a blue-fish line from a reel and tied it to my foot, so
he towed me along; and released from the need of action, I lay upon my
snug air-pillow and watched the waning moon.

Just as the early tints began to paint the eastern sky, foretelling the
coming of sunrise (will you believe me?), I actually fell asleep.

When I aroused myself it was quite light and we were passing the last
point; and there, upon a log, lay stretched out my friend’s alligator,
gazing sleepily at us, but never deigning to move.

I wonder if he realized what a dainty meal he might have had!



BOY-DIVERS IN THE RED SEA.


“HERE we are at last, Mr. Ker,” says the captain, as we cast anchor off
the coast of Arabia, a little after sunset, about two-thirds down the
Red Sea. “It’s too dark to make out much to-night, but you’ll see a
rare sight when you come on deck to-morrow morning.”

The worthy captain’s mention of “coming on deck” is doubtless from
force of habit, for neither he nor I have been anywhere _but_ on deck
for more than a week, except perhaps to look for something which we
have left below. Most of my time is spent in the rigging, where what
little wind there is may generally be met with; and our table-cloth
is spread on the “after-hatch,” while our arrangements for going to
bed consist merely of throwing a blanket on the deck, and stretching
ourselves upon it, undisturbed save by an occasional scamper of two or
three frolicsome rats over our faces.

When I awake the next morning, I find the captain’s promise amply made
good. The sun is just rising, and under its golden splendor the broad
blue sea stretches westward as far as eye can reach, every ripple
tipped with living fire. On the other side extends a sea of another
kind—the gray, unending level of the great Arabian desert, melting
dimly into the warm dreamy sky. In front, the low white wall of a
Turkish fort stands out like an ivory carving against the hot brassy
yellow of the sand-hills that line the shore; while all around it are
the little cabins of mud-plastered wickerwork that compose the Arab
village, looking very much like hampers left behind by some monster
picnic. Here and there, through the light green of the shallower water
along the shore, a flash of dazzling white, keen and narrow as the edge
of a sword, marks the presence of the dangerous coral-reefs among which
we have been picking our way for the last three days, with the chance
of running aground at any moment.

“You were right, captain,” say I, as the burly skipper rises and
stretches his brawny arms, like a bear awaking from its winter nap.
“This is a sight worth seeing, indeed.”

“Ah, _this_ ain’t what I meant,” chuckles the captain; “the best o’ the
show’s to come yet. Look over yonder—there, just ’twixt the reef and
the shore. D’ye see anything in the water?”

“Well, I think I see something swimming—sharks, I suppose.”

“Sharks, eh? Well, _land_-sharks you might call ’em, p’raps. Take my
glass and try again.”

The first look through the glass works a startling change. In a moment
the swarm of round black spots which I have ignorantly taken for the
backs of sharks, are turned into _faces_—the faces of Arab children,
and (as I perceive with no little amazement) of very young children
too, some of the smallest being apparently not more than five or six
years old! Our vessel is certainly not less than a mile from the shore,
and the water, shallow as it is, is deep enough at any point to drown
the very tallest of these adventurous little “water-babies;” yet they
are evidently making for the ship, and that, too, at a speed that will
soon bring them alongside of her.

“Are they really coming all this way out without resting?” ask I.

“Bless you, that’s nothing to an Arab!” laughs the captain; “these
little darkies are as much at home in the water as on land. I’ve heard
folks talk a good deal of the way the South Sea Islanders can swim; but
I’ve seen as good swimming here as ever I saw there.”

And now, as the Lilliputian swimmers draw nearer, we begin to hear
their shrill cries and elfish laughter; and now they are close enough
for their little brown faces, and glittering teeth, and beady black
eyes, to be easily distinguished; and now one final stroke of their
lean sinewy arms carries them alongside, and the blue water swarms with
tiny figures, looking up and waving their hands so eagerly that one
might almost expect to hear them call out, “Shine, boss?” and see them
produce a brush and a pot of blacking. But instead of that, there is a
universal chorus of “_Piastre, Howadji!_” (a penny, my lord!)

“Chuck ’em a copper, and you’ll see something good!” says the captain.

I rummage the few remaining pockets of my tattered white jacket, and at
last unearth a Turkish piastre (5 cts.) which I toss into the water.
Instantly the smooth bright surface is dappled with a forest of tiny
brown toes, all turning upward at once, and down plunge the boy-divers,
their supple limbs glancing through the clear water like a shoal of
fish.

By this time nearly all the crew are looking over the side, and
encouraging the swimmers with lusty shouts; for, used as Jack is to all
sorts of queer spectacles, this is one of which he seems never to tire.

“There’s one of ’em got it!”

“No, he ain’t!”

“Yes, he has—I see him a-comin’ up with it!”

“And there’s the others a-tryin’ to take it from him—hold tight, Sambo!”

Sure enough, the successful diver is surrounded by three or four
piratical comrades, who are doing their best to snatch away the
hard-won coin; but he sticks to it like a man, and as he reaches the
surface, holds it up to us triumphantly, and then pops it into his
mouth—the only pocket he has got.

But this is a sad mistake on his part. In a moment a crafty companion
swims up behind him, and tickles him under the chin. As his mouth
opens, out drops the coin into his assailant’s hand, from whom it is
instantly snatched by some one else; and a regular bear-fight ensues in
the water, which splashes up all around them like a fountain-jet, while
their shouts and laughter make the air ring.

“Aren’t they afraid of sharks?” ask I of the captain, who has just
increased the confusion tenfold by throwing another copper into the
very midst of the screaming throng.

“Not they—they make too much row for any shark to come near _them_.
Sharks are mighty easy scared, for all they’re so savage. You’ll never
catch ’em coming too near a steamer when she’s goin’—the flappin’ of
the screw frightens ’em away. See, there’s two of ’em comin’ along now,
and you’ll just see how much the boys’ll care for ’em.”

And, indeed, the sudden uprising of those gaunt black fins, piercing
the smooth water as with an unexpected stab, seems to produce no effect
whatever upon these fearless urchins, who paddle about as unconcerned
the sharks themselves have other business to attend to. A shoal of
flying-fish come driving past, glistening like rainbows in the dazzling
sunshine as they leap out of the water and fall back again. Instantly
one of the “sea-lawyers” dashes at the rear of the column, while the
other, wheeling around its front, heads back the fugitives into his
comrade’s open jaws; and in this way the two partners contrive to make
a very respectable “haul.”

But at this moment the garrison-boat is seen putting off from the
shore, with one of the Pasha’s officers in the stern-sheets. At
sight of the well-known official flag, our water-babies scatter like
wild-fowl, and the next moment all the little black heads are seen
bobbing over the shining ripples on their way back to the shore.



ST. BOTOLPH’S TOWN.


LONG time ago, there were in England, as well as in many other
countries, certain pious men and women who, for their eminent wisdom,
charitable works, or lives of purity and usefulness, came to be called
Saints.

Among these was a Saxon monk, the Abbot of Ikanho, St. Botolph by name,
who lived about the middle of the seventh century.

Botolph belonged to a noble English family. After having been educated
at one of the religious houses in what was then called Belgic Gaul,
he came back to England, and begged of King Ethelmund a barren spot
on which to build a monastery; and here, on the Witham River, near
the eastern coast of England, in what is now called Lincolnshire, he
built his priory, and founded a town to which was given the name, St.
Botolph’s Town.

Here is what an unknown poet says of it in Longfellow’s _Poems of
Places_:

    “St. Botolph’s Town!—Hither across the plains
     And fens of Lincolnshire, in garb austere,
     There came a Saxon monk, and founded here
     A priory, pillaged by marauding Danes,
     So that thereof no vestige now remains;
     Only a name, that spoken loud and clear,
     And echoed in another hemisphere,
     Survives the sculptured walls and painted panes.
     St. Botolph’s Town!—Far over leagues of land
     And leagues of sea looks forth its noble tower,
     And far around the chiming bells are heard.”

Now as the English people have a queer way of shortening names, as the
years go on, that reminds one of the riddle:

    “Little Nan Etticoat has a white petticoat
              And a red nose.
     The longer she stands the shorter she grows.”

In process of time old St. Botolph’s Town became reduced to simply
_Boston_.[A]

So now you see that that “echo in another hemisphere” of St. Botolph’s
Town is, of course, the name of our own Boston, so called by its early
English settlers in memory of the English Boston they had left behind
them; though, as those of you who have read Higginson’s History know,
it had at first borne the name of Trimountain, because of its three
hills; its Indian name having been Mushauwomuck, shortened, English
fashion, to Shawmut. Boston school-boys, never forget that the original
Indian name meant Free-country, or Free-land!

The name Botolph means “_Boat-help_;” and so, in those old times St.
Botolph came to be deemed the patron saint of mariners; and as both
Bostons are commercial cities by the sea, it is eminently appropriate
that they should bear the old Boat-helper’s name. Perhaps, too, that is
why “Simon Kempthorn, Mariner,” in Longfellow’s _New England Tragedy_
of _John Endicott_, cries out, when a fire is kindled in Boston’s
Market Place, in the year 1656, to burn the religious books of the
persecuted Quakers:

                          “Rain, rain, rain,
    Bones of St. Botolph, and put out this fire!”

(Would not that quotation make a capital motto for a Boston Fire
Company!)

The English Boston has a high church-tower, one of the most beautiful
in England,

    “The loftiest tower of Britain’s isle,
      In valley or on steep.”

It resembles the tower of Antwerp Cathedral, and is crowned by a
beautiful octagonal lantern, that can be seen forty miles off. It
serves, therefore, as a landmark for seamen.

Another poet in _Poems of Places_ says:

        “Beneath that lordly tower
      A simple chapel stands,
    In days long gone it caught the sound
      Of Cotton’s earnest tongue.”

For the Reverend John Cotton, one of Boston’s earliest ministers, came
from Boston, England; and it is of him that “Norton” says, in the
_Tragedy of John Endicott_:

    “The lantern of St. Botolph’s ceased to burn
     When from the portals of that church he came
     To be a burning and a shining light
     Here in the wilderness.”

And now I have to tell you of what seems to me a pleasing and
surprising coincidence:

In the Catholic calendar each saint has his special day; thus, you know
we have St. Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 14th, when you send the pretty
valentines; St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, when our Irish citizens
march in processions, “wearing of the green;” St. John’s Day, June
24th, when the Canadians among us make wreaths and garlands of the
fresh young maple-leaves, because the maple is the Canadian emblem. Now
it so happens that St. Botolph’s Day is, of all days in the year for
the American Boston’s patron saint—what do you think? _The Seventeenth
of June!_

That Seventeenth of June, when Boston puts on her very best gala dress,
when the bells all ring, and the Fire Companies form into processions,
and the Military march, and the orators make speeches, and the children
sing, and the great organ makes grand patriotic music, and the stars
and stripes are flung to the “Boston east-winds,” and the holiday is a
jolly day!

Now do not you agree with me that we have found a delightful triple
coincidence, in that Boston’s great holiday is Bunker Hill Day; and
Bunker Hill Day is the Seventeenth of June; and the Seventeenth of June
is old St. Botolph’s Day?

FOOTNOTE:

[A] St. Botolph’s Bridge in Huntingdonshire is now called Bottle-Bride!



SOME QUEER AMERICANS.


THE queerest people in this country, I fancy, live down in the southern
part of the Blue Ridge where that magnificent range of mountains passes
through the northern parts of both Carolinas and of Georgia. Even their
houses are small and queer, and all their tools and machinery of the
most primitive description.

The farm-houses through the mountains are made of logs, and, as the
weather is not usually very cold, the chinking of mud and chips between
the logs is very likely to fall out and be only half replaced, so that
in the storms of winter, they must be comfortless abodes; but, as I
said, the cold comes mainly in the shape of sudden storms after which
there is a warm spell. You remember, that when the stranger asked Kit,
the famous “Arkansas Traveller,” why he didn’t patch the hole in his
roof, he answered “that it had been so all-fired rainy he couldn’t.”

“But why don’t you now that it doesn’t rain?”

“Because now it don’t leak!” cried Kit triumphantly, and went on with
his fiddling.

Well, that is a very good example of the spirit which builds these
houses and tries to keep them—not in repair exactly, but at least
upright. I am speaking of the ordinary farm-houses in the mountains.
Now and then you will see more snug and pretentious ones, but not
often even among men who own several hundred acres of land and a large
number of cows, horses and sheep. Sometimes they build two log huts
pretty close together, and roof over the space between, making an open
hall-way or store-shed, where saddles, and dried fruit are hung, and
where all sorts of things are placed out of the rain or sun. In nearly
every case, too, the roof of the front side of the house is continued
out into a broad shed, where benches are placed, and half the household
work is done I have often seen the loom upon which they wove their
homespun clothes filling up half the space in this broad porch, and
shaded by masses of morning glory, Virginia creeper or columbine. A
low log house with one of these long-roofed porches reminds one of a
man with a slouched hat pulled down over his eyes.

Whether the house is large or small; such as I have described or better
than that; you will be sure to see the chimney wholly on the outside.
It stands at the end of the house, and is a huge pile of stone set
in mortar or perhaps only a conglomerate of sticks and stones and
mud, half as wide as the house itself at the base, and then narrowing
somewhat to the summit six or eight feet above the gable. The great
summer house of Mr. John C. Calhoun, the famous senator who died about
twenty years ago, has two of these big outside chimneys made of brick;
and this mansion was considered a very grand one in its day.

[Illustration: “SWEET HOME” IN THE MOUNTAINS.]

If you should go inside—and the women and children are very hospitable
to strangers—you would find little evidence of what we in the north
call comfort. There will be one large room, serving as sitting-room,
dining-room and kitchen, nearly one whole side of which will be given
up to the vast fireplace which is hollowed into the broad chimney.
On the opposite side from the fire, perhaps, will be a little bedroom
partitioned off, but often not, and the only other room in the house
will be the rough boarded attic overhead, reached by a ladder. Lathing
and plastering are hardly known outside the few villages, and carpets
are still more rare. A bedstead or two, some splint-bottomed home-made
chairs, as straight-backed and uncomfortable as possible, a rough table
and some benches complete the furniture. Stoves are not yet known to
the mountaineers. They cling to the old-fashioned way of cooking at the
open fireplace, hanging the iron pot in which they boil their food over
the fire upon a swinging iron arm fixed in the side of the chimney and
called a “crane;” or if they want to roast a spare-rib of beef or pork,
hanging that by a hook upon the crane, and steadily turning it round
until it is evenly done.

Another favorite dish is the hoe-cake or corn-dodger, which is a
batter-cake of corn-meal baked before the open fire, or in the bottom
of the iron pot. Wheat flour is almost unknown in some of these
mountain districts, cornmeal and sorghum molasses wholly taking its
place. The mills where it is ground are the most picturesque and
seemingly useless affairs. Every mile or so through these rough hills
there comes tumbling down a clear and rapid stream, so that water-power
is plenty enough for each man to have his own mill, and most of them
are essentially home-made. I saw one over near the sources of the
Chestatee which from the outside looked far more like a heap of old
drifted logs than anything else. The man who ran it built the whole
affair himself, with only an axe, a saw and a two-inch auger for tools.
The entire running-gear was wooden, yet this mill had stood many years
and ground all the corn of the neighborhood. Such machinery is slow and
weak of course, but the people who use it have plenty of time. They
can’t understand the hurry and anxiety to save time which characterize
their more thrifty neighbors who live _in_ the world instead of
alongside of it.

[Illustration: AN INTERIOR.]

A boy who was not born in the mountains, and was used to livelier
motions, took some corn to one of these Georgia mills to be ground not
long ago, succeeded in waking the miller up, getting the wheel in
motion and his grist in the hopper. Then, expecting a long delay, he
wandered off. But when he came back his meal was not half ready and he
became impatient.

“My chickens—and thar ain’t but two of ’em either—would eat meal
faster’n yer mill’ll grind it!”

“How long could they keep it up?” asked the miller.

“Until they starved to death,” replied the smart boy.

This is the only boy, however, whom I ever heard complain of the
slowness of life there, for none of them are accustomed to anything
faster, except when they are on horseback. Then the young chaps make
the road fly from under them, and ride their fine horses with great
spirit. On horseback is the usual method of travel, indeed, for the
roads over the mountains are exceedingly rough, and to many farms there
is hardly any road at all for wheels.

One day we were riding gayly along on a couple of the excellent
saddle-horses that are so common among these hills, when we came to the
banks of the Etowah river. There was no bridge, and the road led right
down to the low banks, and through the amber-clear water we could see
the tracks of the wagons which had crossed before us. I had heard of
the Etowah many times as one of the most beautiful rivers of Georgia,
and I am glad to pass the reputation along. I remembered, also, that
in place of the beads of wood, soapstone and various sorts of shell
which are dug up as the remains of some Indian girl’s necklace, or red
man’s earring, on the banks of this river beads of pure gold had been
found. The Indians here were rich—they had golden ornaments instead of
shell-wampum; but their gold proved their ruin, for the poor Cherokees
were driven away as soon as their wealth was discovered and white
men hastened to wash the sands of this troubled river. But I did not
set out to describe the gold mines, but only to show why the Etowah
particularly interested me, and why I was glad to find it equal to its
praise.

[Illustration: GRIST-MILL ON THE CHESTATEE.]

However, I was not given much time for quiet delight. On the bank, by
the side of the road, sat two lank and rough-looking Georgians with
scowls on their faces. As we trotted near they rose up and came to meet
us, while one sung out:

“Say, mister, can’t yer set weuns acrost tha’? Weem ben waitin’ hyar I
reckon about two hours, and them lazy fellars”—pointing over to where
half a dozen men lay stretched out in the sun, smoking, with a small
boat drawn up on the beach—“wouldn’t pay no ’tention to our yellin’.
Just let go o’ your stirrup will you?”

Evidently he did not propose to lose this chance, for before I could
move my foot he had pulled away the stirrup, seized the cantle of the
saddle and swung himself behind me, astride my surprised horse. The
other man did the same thing by my friend, and there we were, captured
by the long arms that reached easily all round our waists, and had
several inches to spare.

“Get up,” my passenger shouted, digging his heels into my nag’s flanks
in a way that started him into the water with a very sudden splash,
and on we went. The river was pretty deep in the middle, but we picked
up our feet and got safely across to where the smokers grinned at the
trouble their lazy discourtesy had forced upon us, as at a good joke.
Then my man skipped off to the ground, and sliding his hand into a
ragged pocket, asked with a whine:

“What do you charge?”

I doubt if he had a penny about him, for he seemed greatly relieved
when I very quickly assured him he was welcome to his ferriage.

“Do you know who those fellows were?” asked my companion, as we
cantered up the gravelly hill; “my man told me that they were both
preachers.”

“Preachers!” I said. “I took them for moonshiners at the very least.”

[Illustration: A LIFT OVER THE FORD.]

But now and then a vehicle so strange as to bring a laugh upon the
faces of even the neighbors will come down from the backwoods. The
cart will have only two large heavy wheels, and these alone of all its
parts will be shop-made. The massive axle-tree, and pole or shafts and
the rough box were made at home—perhaps wholly chopped out with an axe
and fastened together with wooden pins. You must not expect to see a
horse or a span of horses drawing this odd, unpainted cart—if the owner
has horses, he probably considers them worthy of the saddle only—but
oxen, or an ox and cow, or only one of either sex; I heard, indeed, of
one case where a cow and a donkey were hitched up together, but that
was certainly extraordinary. A single cow in the traces makes the
funniest picture, I think. The harness will be partly leather, partly
rope, perhaps eked out with twisted bark, and from the horns a single
thin rope goes back to the driver, who can thus keep his beast awake
by frequent jerks. Sometimes when the mountaineer and his wife go to
market they place a couple of splint chairs in the cart to sit on, like
a small edition of the celebrated Florida “gondola,” but as a rule
there is no seat—to make one permanently would be altogether too much
trouble,—and the man and his family all huddle together in the bottom
of the jolting box.

[Illustration: A MOUNTAIN CONVEYANCE.]

Until lately these mountain people made nearly all the clothes they
wore. They had hand-looms which they built themselves, and it was the
occupation of the women at all spare moments to spin the flax or the
wool, to dye the yarn and weave the cloth. These looms are just the
same rough picturesque old machines that used to be seen all over the
country before the Revolution, but which now exist only in some out of
the way corners, like this Blue Ridge region. Before the year’s weaving
begins the whole house presents a gay appearance, for from every peg
and place where they can be hung depend brightly colored hanks of yarn
ready for the loom.

The ordinary dress of the men now is this tough homespun dyed butternut
color; nearly all the bed-linen and under-clothing, also, of the
mountain people, is still made by them. But the women’s calico dresses
are bought at the village store and made after very wonderful patterns.
The only head dress is the universal Shaker sun-bonnet. On Sundays,
however, if some travelling preacher happens along and holds service
in the tumble down meeting-house at the four corners, you will see
black store clothes of ancient make, while the gayest of ribbons and
flaunting feathers bedeck the red-cheeked and happy-hearted lassies.
But this happens only once in four weeks or so, for the neighborhoods
are too thinly settled and poor to support a steady minister.

[Illustration: A MOUNTAIN LASS.]

Though so far behind the times in all that seems civilized and
comfortable, though so ignorant of what is going on in the great world
outside of their blue, beautiful mountains, and so utterly unlearned,
these mountain people are warm-hearted, generous, independent in
thought and faithful to a friend. They know that they are strong of
frame, and have a profound contempt for those who live outside in the
lowlands, even for those who live anywhere in towns, of the ways of
which they know and care nothing at all. What is a man good for, they
wonder, who can’t ride a wild colt, or follow easily the trail of a
wolf, or even track a bee to its tree? Even the women regard the men of
the lower country as effeminate. A hunting party from South Carolina
were up at Mt. Jonah one day, when they found themselves being greatly
laughed at by a young woman there, who proposed to take the largest of
them on her shoulders and then run a foot-race; she said she could beat
them all, thus weighted. On another occasion this same girl was seen
coming out of a gorge with a rifle in her hand, her sleeves rolled up
and her arms covered with blood. Upon being questioned she carelessly
replied that she’d “killed a bar jest beyant the Terapin!”

Their ignorance of town ways has been the source of much amusement to
city people when occasionally some of the mountain folks stray down
to Atlanta or Greenville. There never were any rustics so rural, I
believe. It is laughable merely to look at them. What would excite our
respect for its strength and honesty on some wild hill-top, only makes
them doubly ridiculous in the city’s strange streets. A good story has
come down from the old days before railroads, on this point.

A large party of “Hard-shell Baptists” from the Blue Ridge went down
to Augusta, in wagons, one August, to buy supplies. While there, one
of the brethren lost his head through drinking a glass of brandy which
had been mixed with ice and sugar until it was very delicious. On his
return home he was dealt with by the church. He freely acknowledged
the fault, but said that he had been deceived by the “sweetnin’.” The
church council thereupon forgave him easily the wrong of being drunk,
but expelled him for the lie he told about having _ice_ in his tumbler,
in midsummer, when everybody knew it was colder upon the mountains than
down at Augusta, yet there was no ice!

But little by little this old, charmingly ignorant and simple mountain
people, are being modernized by the running of railways past, if not
through, their mountains, and the increased number of visitors that go
to see their bold crags and lovely valleys. The old men and women still
cling to their old ways. “’Pars like ’twould take a power to change
me,” one dear old lady said to me. But the boys and girls are getting
more “peart,” are anxious to learn and see, and are not afraid of a
little change. When the Piedmont Air Line proposed to put a branch back
into the hills toward the gold diggings around Dahlonega, I heard a
mountain family discussing it. The daughter and pride of the household,
a gushing damsel of seventeen, put in her opinion:

“Uncle Jim saays if he was to see one of them railroads a cummin’ he’d
leave the world and take a saplin’. Dad saays he’d just lie right down
flat on the yearth. But I want ’em to come. I’d just set right down on
a basket of cohn turned ovah, and clap my hands. I ain’t afraid.”

Then she caught me making a note, as she thought, and instantly begged
me to stop.

“Some of these yere folks are right foolish,” she said, half ashamed,
“and maybe you’ll make a heap of fun outen ’em; but you must brush
’em up a powerful lot. You musn’t give ’em too much of their nat’l
appearance.”

Well, I hope I haven’t!



THE BOY KING OF EGYPT.


YOU have all heard of Rameses the Great, whose noble presence looms up
from the black night of ages, majestic, gracious, clear cut, and real
almost as the monarchs of to-day.

Rameses mei Amoun, as his people delighted to call him, meaning Rameses
beloved of Ammon, the great god of Egypt, was born more than three
thousand years ago, in Thebes, the capital of the kingdom. His father
was a pharaoh, Seti I., and his mother was the queen Livea. Old Greek
historians tell marvellous stories concerning his birth. They claim
that one of the gods announced to Seti in a dream that the tiny babe
should become the sovereign of the whole earth. It is clear that the
ambition of the father prompted him to do all in his power to secure
the fulfilment of this prophecy.

With a royal liberality, he ordered that all of the male children of
the realm born on the same day with the crown prince should be brought
to the palace. Here nurses were provided, and they were reared with
and educated like the young prince in all respects. The king believed
that a company of fellow students and playmates from childhood would
be bound to him in manhood by the ties of affection, the best and
strongest of all. They were “skilled in all the learning of the
Egyptians,” and also trained to feats of bodily skill, strength and
endurance. Thus they grew up a brave company of hardy young warriors,
well fitted to obey and to command.

The stone pictures of Rameses on the monuments show that he was
regarded as a king even in infancy, and received the homage of the
people in his cradle. There are sculptures of him as a mere infant,
with the finger to the mouth, and yet wearing the “pshent,” or double
crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. Others are in child’s dress and with
the braided sidelock of hair, but having the Uræus, or Asp, the symbol
of royalty, above his head. These may be seen at the museum of the
Louvre in Paris.

The inscriptions give us an address of his subjects to him after he
had succeeded to the throne: “When you were yet a very little child,
wearing the braided hair, no monument was made without you. You
commanded armies when you were ten years old.”

Seti, his father, died when he was but fifteen years old, and after
the customary seventy days of mourning for the king had passed and his
splendid tomb was sacredly sealed, Rameses II. became the boy king of
the mighty land of the Nile.

The first public acts of his reign show a knowledge of human nature
beyond his years. He appointed his young companions the generals of his
armies; he distributed among them lands and large gifts, and by every
means sought to strengthen the bands of their loyalty to himself. For
the people at large he forgave all fines and penalties, and opened the
doors of all the crowded prisons. In this way he secured the loving
faithfulness of his subjects at home, and of the great armies he was
to lead in long victorious marches through an enemy’s country. Does
it not read like a romance, that some of his boldest expeditions and
bravest conquests were accomplished while he was still under twenty
years of age? Is he not a veritable boy king? Herodotus tells us that
after Ethiopia and all the nations of Asia were subdued, he passed
into Europe and conquered a few wild tribes of barbarians. After each
victory he erected _stelæ_, or tablets, inscribed with his name and
that of his country. Herodotus saw three of these tablets, and they
have been found by travellers in our day. Two of them are in Palestine.
Each is the figure colossal of a warrior, carved on a solid wall of
rock, standing with spear in one hand and bow in the other. On the
breast is the inscription, “It is I who have conquered this country
by the strength of my arm.” All of his victories are also recorded
on the stone walls of temples, with marvellous detail. The painted
sculpture shows the wealth of tribute he exacted: gold, ivory, ebony,
and timber for building his ships of war, the droves of dusky captives
running before his royal chariot, and the gods bestowing honors and
blessing on their well-beloved son. No monarch of earth has left a more
imperishable record on the pages of history than Rameses the Great.
He was the Sesostris of the Greeks, their greatest hero. He was the
pharaoh whose reign was the golden age of power and splendor in Egypt.
He was one of the long line who so cruelly oppressed the Israelites.
Many of the magnificent monuments of his reign were builded entirely by
subjugated peoples who were prisoners of war. This fact is carefully
noted on tablets, and among them the “bricks without straw” of the
captive Hebrews are largely represented. He is said to be the father of
the princess who found the Jewish infant in his frail cradle of reeds.
If this be true it was at his imperial court that Moses became “skilled
in all the learning of the Egyptians.” The splendid achievements of his
reign attest their wonderful knowledge of the arts and sciences.

On a _stelæ_, or tablet, deciphered jointly by distinguished English
and French orientalists, is a detailed account of the boring of
an artesian well by the special decree of Rameses. An embassage,
consisting of the chief dignitaries of a distant province, arrived at
the court and begged an audience with the king. They petitioned for a
spring to supply water to the slaves and animals employed in bringing
gold from a far region over a parched desert road, and who they said
were dying of thirst on the long journey. His majesty graciously had
compassion on these his humble subjects, and in obedience to his royal
mandate, water rose to the height of twenty feet on the road to Okan.
The exact height was decreed by his own lips, and the dry and thirsty
land was refreshed. The great canal from the Nile to the Red Sea—one
of the triumphant successes of our own century—was first accomplished
by the engineers of Rameses mei Amoun. The great temple palaces of
Luxor and Karnak, the wonderful rock-hewn temples at Aboo Simbel and
the Rameseum—or Memnonium, as it has been wrongly called—are among the
stupendous monuments of his reign, the latter being his splendid tomb.
Its walls are covered with painted sculptures telling the wonders of
his life. Chief among these is an episode in one of his battles with
the Khetas, a powerful enemy, which commemorates the great personal
bravery of the king. It is a favorite subject of the sculptures of his
time. It is twice given in the Rameseum and appears again three times
in the principal temples that perpetuate the glories of his long reign
of sixty-eight years.

He is represented in his chariot, furiously driven by his master of the
horse into the midst of the foe, and although surrounded by the archers
of the hostile ranks, he is dealing death with each arrow that flies
from his strong bow, while he seems to bear a charmed life. The picture
story of this dashing, reckless courage is curiously confirmed by a
papyrus or Egyptian book in the British museum. This is an historical
poem commemorating the battle, and written at the time by a court poet
named Penta-ur. It was held in high honor by his countrymen, and was
deemed worthy of a place on one of the walls of the temple palace of
Karnak, where it is graven entire. It says, “Six times the king pierced
his way into the army of the vile Khetas, six times did he enter their
midst.... When my master of horse saw that I remained surrounded by
many chariots he faltered and his heart gave way for fear; a mighty
terror seized his limbs, and he cried, ‘My good master, generous king,
halt in thy course and let us save the breath of our lives. What can
we do, O Rameses mei Amoun, my good master?’ And thus did his majesty
reply: ‘Have courage! strengthen thy heart, oh my comrade!... Ammon
would not be a god did he not make glorious my countenance in the
presence of the countless legions of the foe.’”

The portrait statues of Rameses are innumerable, from the delicately
carved statuette to the huge fragments of the Colossus of the Rameseum,
which was thirteen yards in height. It would seem that his majestic
figure and gracious face can never be forgotten by the race of men.

There are sphinxes of rose-colored granite with the body of a lion and
the noble head of Rameses. This combination, so familiar in Egypt,
typified the union of physical and intellectual strength by the lion
and the man. The far-famed sitting statues in front of the “Speos,” or
excavated rock temple at Aboo Simbel, are the most tremendous of these
portraits. Nothing even in Egypt compares with these stone giants for
grandeur and power. Their measureless, voiceless, eternal strength
oppresses the beholder with a sense of utter insignificance in their
mighty presence. In the great halls which pierce the solid mass of
the mountain, gigantic standing figures, with folded arms and the
calm, placid face of Rameses, seem to uphold the everlasting hills.
In another temple he is found seated between two of the gods of the
land as their equal in the triad. In the rock temples of Aboo Simbel
we find one of those strangely beautiful “touches of nature” that
“make the world akin.” By the side of the greater one, guarded by its
gigantic wardens, there is another and smaller one, called the “Speos
of Athor,” the goddess of love and beauty, and the “Grotto of Purity.”
It was built by Rameses for the sole use of his royal wife, called
“Nofre-ari,” “the good companion.” The other temples of the country
preserve the records of many kings. The one at Aboo Simbel is sacred to
the glory and greatness of Rameses mei Amoun. It is by this one, then,
that he builded the chapel for his queen. On the wonderful front wall
of the Portico are portrait statues of the royal lady and her children,
and over them the legend, “Rameses, to the royal spouse, Nofre-ari,
whom _he loved_.” The adamantine stone has safely brought down to us
the tender grace of this dedication.

Travellers tell us that every detail of ornament in the grottoes, the
pillars and their flower-like capitals, the sculpture and frescoes,
are all in some way connected with the beloved wife. As a token of her
grateful recognition of this knightly devotion, there is on the inner
wall of the chapel, after the cartouche of Rameses, this answering
legend: “His royal spouse, who loves him, Nofre-ari, the great mother,
has constructed this resting-place in the grotto of purity.” Ampère, a
French traveller, tells us this in his letters from Egypt, and adds,
“The queen is charming, and no one wearies of meeting her likeness
everywhere, and which Pharaoh never wearies of repeating.” Are not they
beautiful, these records of an imperishable love? They cause the dim
dusky ages that separate us from the time of Rameses to vanish, and
we seem to feel the heart-throbs of the man beneath the strange royal
robes of the Egyptian king.

In the great ruin of the Rameseum, which a French scholar calls “an
historical museum” of the reign of Rameses, near the colossus of
himself was one nearly as large of his mother, Livea, with a triple
crown, showing that she was the daughter, wife and mother of a king. In
the same place were two statues of his mother and daughter, bequeathed
to the world together, as they were associated in the love of the
pharaoh.

In another temple, where huge caryatides of himself supported the pylon
or entrance tower, were the statues of his fourteen daughters. Their
names have come down to us, but do not sound very musical to our modern
ears. By their crowns we know that five of them became queens. In all
of the sculptures of his battles and marches, he is accompanied by some
of his twenty-three sons. Their names are given, and they are known as
princes by the royal dress, and by the braided and jewelled lock of
hair which they wore during the lifetime of the king their father. By
all of these touching records of the home affections we know that the
wonderful baby king and boy warrior was in his manhood a tender, loving
son, husband and father; and this knowledge adds a purer, brighter
lustre even to his splendid fame.

That he reigned sixty-eight years is a fact so fully confirmed by data
that it may be accepted as truth. Until the death of his eldest son,
Sha-em-Jom, the crown prince, beloved by the people and dearest to his
father’s heart, the history of these long years is one undimmed by
misfortune. This occurred thirteen years before his own death.

From this time the monuments give only hints of the frequent deaths of
his children and of the feebleness and blindness of his last years. But
it is not strange that, after eighty years of his stirring life as king
and conqueror, the common lot of all should overtake even the great
Rameses.

It is a pleasant finish to the old story to know that one daughter of
his winter years comforted him with tender, filial love till the last
of earth, and he went to his magnificent completed tomb full of years
and honors. No mortal ever reached a dizzier height of fame. After
more than three thousand years, in a far land unknown to his time and
among a race then undreamed of, his placid, majestic face is familiar
to every student. One of our most ambitious young artists could find
no worthier subject for his canvas, in the last salon, than a portrait
of Rameses II. Very recently I saw in our “fair city by the sea,” the
Thebes of our country, a magnificent mansion, the library of which
was an old Egyptian hall reproduced. It abounded in lotus flowers,
obelisks, sphinxes, winged globes and sacred bulls. Over the warm-hued
mantel, like the red porphyry of the Nile country, was a richly framed
portrait of heroic size. The gracious face, so calm and strong, the
straight features, dark beard and royal head-dress of Egypt, proclaimed
a strange fact. Rameses the Great, patron of libraries and learning
1400 B. C., is chosen as the guardian genius of a library in our young
western capital after three thousand two hundred and seventy-seven
years.

I must stop before you all grow gray and wrinkled with groping so far
back through the long night of ages past. But you will not soon forget
the story of the boy king of Egypt.



A CHILD IN FLORENCE.


CHAPTER I.

WE lived in that same Casa Guidi from whose windows Elizabeth Barrett
Browning’s poet-eyes saw what she afterward put into glowing verse.
Casa Guidi is a great pile of graystone, a pile of many windows which
give upon the Via Maggio and a little piazza, as the squares in
Florence are called. Consequently it is lighter and brighter than are
many of the houses in Florence, where the streets are narrow and the
houses lofty.

According to almost universal custom, Casa Guidi was divided into half
a dozen different apartments, occupied by as many families. Ours was
on the second floor, on the side of the house overlooking the piazza
on which stood the church of San Felice. The pleasantest room in our
apartment, as I thought, was a room in which I passed many hours of
an ailing childhood; a room which I christened “The Gallery,” because
it was long and narrow, and was hung with many cheerful pictures. It
opened into a little boudoir at one end, and into the _salon_ at the
other. The walls of gallery and boudoir were frescoed gayly with fruits
and flowers and birds.

Here the sun streamed in all through the long, mild, Florentine
winters; here I would lie on my couch, and count the roses on the
walls, and the birds, and the apricots, and listen to the cries in
the streets; and, if a procession went by, hurry to the window and
watch it pass, and stay at the window until I was tired, when I would
totter back to my couch, and my day dreams, and my drawing, and my
verse-making, and my attempts at studying.

I was fired with artist-ambitions at the age of ten; and what wonder,
surrounded as I was by artists living and dead, and by their immortal
works. It seemed to me then that one _must_ put all one’s impressions
of sight and form into shape. But I did not develop well. Noses proved
a stumbling-block, which I never overcame, to my attaining to eminence
in figure-sketching.

The picture that I admired most in those days was one of Judith holding
up the gory head of Holofernes, in the Pitti Gallery of Paintings.
I was seized with a longing to copy it, on my return from my first
visit to the Gallery. I seated myself, one evening, before a sheet
of drawing-paper, and I tried and tried; but the nose of Holofernes
was too much for me. All that I could accomplish was something that
resembled an enlarged interrogation mark, and recalled Chinese art,
as illustrated on fans. I was disappointed, disgusted—but, above all,
surprised: it was my first intimation that “to do” is not “as easy as
’tis to know what ’twere good to do.”

In the midst of my futile efforts, a broad-shouldered, bearded man was
announced, who having shaken hands with the grown-ups, came and seated
himself beside the little girl, and her paint-box and pencils and
care-worn face.

“O Mr. Hart,” I cried, “do make this nose for me!”

Whereupon he made it, giving me many valuable suggestions, meanwhile,
as to the effect produced by judicious shading. Still, I was
discouraged. It was borne in upon me that this was not _my_ branch of
art.

“Mr. Hart,” I said, “I think I would like to make noses _your_ way.”

[Illustration: PALACE IN FLORENCE.]

“Would you? Then you shall. Come to my studio to-morrow, and you shall
have some clay and a board, and try what you can do.”

So the next day I insisted upon availing myself of this invitation. Mr.
Hart was then elaborating his machine for taking portraits in marble,
in his studio in the upper part of the city. He had always several
busts on hand, excellent likenesses. His workmen would be employed in
cutting out the marble, while he molded his original thought out of the
plastic clay. There has always been a fascination to me in statuary.
Mr. Ruskin tells us that form appealed to the old Greeks more forcibly
than color. That was in the youth of the race; possibly, the first
stage of art-development is an appreciation of form; in my case, I have
not passed into the maturer stage yet. The rounded proportions, curves,
and reality of a statue appeal to me as no painting ever did.

Nevertheless, I made no greater progress in molding than in sketching.
I made my hands very sticky; I used up several pounds of clay; then I
relinquished my hopes of becoming a sculptor. I found it more to my
taste to follow Mr. Hart around the rooms, to chatter with the workmen,
to ask innumerable questions about the “Invention.”

It has been suggested that it was to this invention of Mr. Hart’s that
Mrs. Browning referred when she wrote of—

    “Just a shadow on a wall,”

from which could be taken—

            “The measure of a man,
    Which is the measure of an angel, saith
    The apostle.”

Mr. Hart wore the apron and the cap that sculptors affect, as a
protection from the fine, white dust that the marble sheds: generally,
too, an ancient dressing-gown. Costumes in Bohemia, the native land of
artists, are apt to be unconventional.

[Illustration: MICHAEL ANGELO.]

It was a most wondrous thing to me to watch the brown clay take shapes
and beauty under the sculptor’s touch. I can still see him fashioning
a wreath of grape-leaves round a Bacchante’s head; the leaves would
grow beneath his hand, in all the details of tendrils, stems, veinings.
It seemed to me he must be so happy, to live in this world of his
own creating. I hope that he was happy, the kindly man; he had the
patience and the enthusiasm of the genuine artist,—a patience that had
enabled him to surmount serious obstacles before he reached his present
position. Like Powers and Rheinhart, he began life as a stone
cutter. I wonder what dreams of beauty those three men saw imprisoned
in the unhewn stone, to which they longed to give shape, before Fate
smiled on them, and put them in the way of doing the best that in them
lay!

In spite of the fact that neither Painting nor Sculpture proved
propitious, a great reverence and love of Art was born in me at this
time. Possibly a love and reverence all the more intense, because Art
became to me, individually, an unattainable thing. I remember passing
many hours, at this period, in what would certainly have been durance
vile, had I not been fired with a lofty ambition. Mr. Edwin White was
sketching in a picture which called for two figures—an old man and
a child. The old man was easily obtained, a beautiful professional
model of advanced years; but the child was not so readily found. I was
filled with secret joy when it was suggested to me that _I_ should be
the required model. I was enchanted when the permission was given me
to perform this important service. This was before the time of the
long illness to which I referred in the beginning of this paper. The
spending every morning for a week or so in Mr. White’s studio implied
the being excused from French verbs and Italian translations. What
a happy life, I thought, to be a model! I envied the beautiful old
patriarch with whom I was associated in this picture. Kneeling beside
him, as I was instructed to do, I thought what bliss it would be to be
associated with him always, and to go about with him from studio to
studio, posing for pictures.

There must be an inspiration for artists in the very air of Florence.
The beautiful city is filled with memorials of the past, painted
and carved by the masters passed away. I suppose that artists are
constantly aroused to the wish to do great things by the sight of what
these others have accomplished. Then, too, the history of the past,
the religion of the past, are such realities in Florence. The artist
feels called upon to interpret them, not as dead fancies, but as facts.
The mythology of the Greeks and Romans meets one at every turn. I, for
one, was as intimately acquainted with the family history of Venus, of
Ceres, of Pallas, of Persephone, as with that of Queen Elizabeth, of
Catherine de Medici, of Henrietta Maria. Nay, I was more intimate with
the delightful elder set.

[Illustration: POSING]

The heathen gods reigned sylvanly in the Boboli Gardens, and it was
there that I formed a most intimate personal acquaintance with them.
The Boboli Gardens are the gardens of the Pitti Palace, an immense,
unlovely pile, the memorial of the ambition of the Marquis Pitti,
who reared it. He had vowed that he would build a palace large enough
to hold in its court-yard the palace of his hated rival, the Marquis
Strozzi. He was as good as his word; but in carrying out his designs he
ruined his fortune. The vast palace, when completed, passed out of his
hands into those of the Medici, then the Dukes of Florence. Afterwards
it became the residence of the foreign rulers of Florence. When I
remember the city, Austrian soldiers guarded the great gateway of the
Pitti, and marched up and down the court-yards; and the showy white
uniforms of Austrian officers were conspicuous in the ante-chambers and
guard-rooms.

But behind the great palace, the fair Boboli Gardens spread away. There
was a statue of Ceres crowning a terrace, up to which climbed other
terraces—an amphitheatre of terraces, in truth, from a fish-pond in
the centre—which commanded the city through which the Arno flowed.
Many a sunny day have we children—my sisters and I—sat at the base of
this statue and gossiped about Ceres, beautiful Mother Nature, and
her daughter, who was stolen from her by the Dark King. Further down,
on a lower slope, was a statue of Pallas, with her calm, resolute
face, her helmet, her spear, her owl. I remember that Millie and Eva
and I were especially fond of this Pallas. I used to wonder why it
was that men should ever have been votaries of Venus rather than of
her. I have ceased to wonder at this, since then; but in those days I
especially criticized a statue of Venus, after the well-known Venus of
Canova, which impressed me as insipid. This statue stood hard by the
severe majesty of Pallas, white against a background of oleanders and
laurestines.

Then there was a second fish-pond, in the centre of which was an
orange-island, about which tritons and mermen and mermaids were
disposed. I can see their good-humored, gay—nay, some of them were even
_leering_—faces, still. Soulless creatures these, we were well aware,
and so were sorry for them. The immortal gods, of course, we credited
with souls; but these—with the wood-nymphs, and bacchantes, and satyrs,
that we were apt to come upon all through the garden,—these we classed
as only on a level a trifle higher than that of the trees, and brooks,
into which some of them had been transformed in the course of the
vicissitudes of their careers.

Perhaps it is because the spirit of the old religion so took possession
of me in that Italian garden, that to this day the woods, and the
dells, and the rocks, seem to me to be the embodied forms of living
creatures. A Daphne waves her arms from the laurel-tree; a Clytie
forever turns to her sun-lover, in the sunflower.

[Illustration]


CHAPTER II.

THE two public picture galleries of Florence—the Pitti and the
Uffizi—are on either side of the Arno. They are connected by a covered
way, which runs along over the roofs of houses, and crosses the
jewelers’ bridge, so called because upon it are built the shops of
all the jewelers in town,—or so it would seem at first sight. At all
events, here are nothing but jewelers’ shops; small shops, such as I
imagine the shops of the middle ages to have been. But in the narrow
windows, and in the unostentatious show-cases, are displayed most
exquisite workmanship in Florentine mosaic, in turquoise, in malakite,
exquisite as to the quality of the mosaic and the character of the
designs in which the earrings, brooches, bracelets, were made up. As a
rule, however, the gold-work was inferior, and the settings were very
apt to come apart, and the pins to break and bend, after a very short
wear.

Sauntering across this bridge, one passes, on his way to the Uffizi,
various shops in narrow streets, where the silks of Florentine
manufacture are displayed. Such pretty silks, dear girls, and so cheap!
For a mere song you may go dressed like the butterflies, in Florence,
clad in bright, sheeny raiment, spun by native worms out of native
mulberry leaves. Equally cheap are the cameos, and the coral, that are
brought here from neighboring Naples, and the turquoises, imported
directly from the Eastern market, and the mosaics, inlaid of precious
stones in Florence herself.

So we come out upon the Piazza, or Square, of the Uffizi. The Uffizi
Palace itself is of irregular form, and inclosed by _loggiae_, or
covered colonnades. In front of the palace stands the David of Michael
Angelo, in its strong beauty. Michael Angelo said of this that “the
only test for a statue is the light of a public square.” To this test
the David has been subjected for over three hundred years, and still,
in the searching light of day, stand revealed the courage and the faith
and the strength of the young man who went forth to do battle with the
giant, “In the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of
Israel.” And who shall say to how many of us Michael Angelo does not
preach, across the centuries, a sermon in stone, as we stand before
his David?—as we recall what Giants of Doubt, of Passion, of Pride, we,
too, are called upon to battle with in our day?

In a square portico, or _loggia_, giving upon the Piazza, is a statue
of Perseus, another slayer of monsters, or, rather, a slayer of
monsters in another realm. It was this Perseus to whom Pallas gave a
mirror-shield of burnished brass, whom Mercury armed with an adamantine
scythe, giving him also wings on his feet. It was this Perseus who slew
the Gorgon Princess Medusa. In the statue, the fatal head of Medusa,
with its stony stare, is held aloft by the warrior, who is trampling
upon the headless trunk. This head had, in death as in life, the power
of turning many men to stone, and was thus made use of by Perseus
against other enemies of his. The subject of the stony-eyed Gorgon
possessed, apparently, a curious fascination for artists. There is a
famous head painted on wood by Leonardo da Vinci, besides this statue
by Benvenuto Cellini, in the Uffizi.

How, as a child, I used to puzzle over the strange fable in both statue
and picture! But, since then, I have had experience of Gorgon natures
in real life; natures that chilled and repressed, stupefied all with
whom they came in contact; and I wonder less at the fable, and I pass
the word on to you, that you may know, when unsympathetic surroundings
chill your heart and blunt your feelings, and subdue your better self,
that you are being haunted by Da Vinci’s very Medusa, by Gellini’s very
Medusa, snaky locks, fixed eyes, impassive deadness.

Into the great Uffizi Palace: up the wide marble stairway, into the
long gallery that opens into the immense suite of rooms hung with
pictures; the gallery hung with pictures, too, and set with statues.

How I wish I could make you see with my eyes! How I wish I could be
to you something more than a mere traveler, telling what _I_ have
seen! That long corridor, windows on one side, statues and pictures
on the other, always seems to me like a nursery for love of art. At
the far end are the quaint pictures of Giotto and Cimabue. Then the
reverent, religious paintings of Fra Angelico. Oh, those sweet-faced,
golden-haired angels! Oh, the glimpse into the land seen by faith,
inhabited by shining ones! Oh, the radiance of those pictures! The gold
back-grounds, the bright faces, the happy effect of them! The artists
_believed_ them with all their souls, as Ruskin has said; so they
painted pictures which recall the refrain of Bernard de Cluny’s Rhyme
of the Celestial Country. Presently pictures by Perugino, Raphael’s
master, and—quite at the other end of the gallery—the portrait of
Raphael, painted by himself. This picture is on an easel, and stands
apart. Are you familiar with Raphael’s beautiful, calm, _young_ face?
It is a face which has passed into a proverb for beauty and serenity.
A velvet cap is pushed off the pure brow; the hair is long and waving;
the eyes are large and dark and abstracted. I always stood before this
picture as before a shrine.

All the way down the gallery are statues and busts. There are the
Roman emperors, far more familiar to me through their counterfeit
presentments than through the pages of history. Augustus, Diocletian,
Trajan: to us girls they were studies in hair-dressing, if in nothing
else. Some of them with flowing locks, some with close, short curls,
some with hair parted in the middle and laid in long, smooth curls,
like a woman. Of such was Heliogabulus, and of such was Vitellius.

One morning—soon after we came to Florence—we started off upon a
quest—through the Uffizi—Millie, Eva and I, and our elders. The object
of our quest was no less a goddess than she called of the Medici.

[Illustration: RAPHAEL.]

I remember that we wandered down the long gallery I have described,
and through room after room. It was the fancy of our mamma, and the
uncle who was taking care of us all, to find their way about for
themselves. For instance: if we had been told that a certain picture,
by a certain master, was to be found in a certain palace, we roamed in
and out around the other pictures until _the_ picture _revealed itself_
to us. It was surprising how seldom we were deceived in this method
of ours. We would pass by dozens of pictures by inferior artists,
completely unmoved; then, suddenly, a thrilling vision of beauty would
glow upon us, and we would acknowledge ourselves to be in a royal
presence-chamber.

Such a presence-chamber is the Tribune in the Uffizi palace. We came
upon many marble Venuses before we arrived in this Tribune, a large,
octagon room, with a domed ceiling, blue, flecked with gold stars; but
we passed them all by—until finally we entered the reverent stillness
which is kept about the Venus of Venuses. We recognized her at once.
There she stood, in that silent room, the light subdued to a judicious
mellowness—beautiful with the fresh, smiling beauty of perpetual youth;
beautiful with the same beauty that gladdened the heart of the Greek
artist who carved her, hundreds of years ago; so many hundreds of years
that the marble has in consequence, the rich cream-color of old ivory.

In this same Tribune hangs the portrait of a beautiful young woman,
called the Fornarina. Of her only this is known, that she was the
beloved of Raphael, and that she was the daughter of a baker in
Rome. Fornarina means little bakeress, or, perhaps _we_ should say,
baker-girl. But _this_ Fornarina might be a princess. An “ox-eyed Juno”
princess, dark and glowing, with a serene composure about her that one
remembers as her most striking characteristic.

Raphael’s lady-love. Millie and I knew more about her than was ever
written in books. Not reliable gossip—gossip of our own invention, but
gossip that delighted our hearts.

Other pictures by Raphael hang here, too. How distinctly I recall them.
How vivid are all the works of this great painter! The critics say that
one who excelled in so many things, excelled also in _expression_. Yes.
It is this which gives to his pictures the distinctness of photographs
from life. They are dramatic. They take you at once into the spirit
of the scene represented. They are full of soul, and herein lies the
great difference between Raphael’s works and those of other schools,
the Venetian, for instance. The painters of Venice aimed at effects of
color; Raphael used color only in order to express a loftier thought.

Are you tired of the Uffizi? Come with me, for a few minutes, before
we go, into the Hall of Niobe. Words fail me to relate with what
mingled emotions of sympathy, distress and delight we children used
to haunt this hall, and examine each sculptured form in turn. The
story goes that Niobe incurred the displeasure of Diana and Apollo,
who wreaked their vengeance upon the mother by killing her fourteen
children. At the head of the hall stands Niobe, convulsed with grief,
vainly imploring the angry brother and sister to show compassion, and
at the same time protecting the youngest child, who is clinging to her.
But we feel that both intercession and protection will be in vain. On
the other side of the hall are her sons and daughters. Some already
pierced with arrows, stiff in death; some in the attitude of flight,
some staggering to the ground. It is an easy matter for the imagination
to picture the supreme moment when, bereft of all her children, the
mother’s heart breaks, and she is turned to stone. The legend relates
that that stone wept tears. Nor was it a difficult matter for me to
take this on faith. What is more, many is the time I have planted
myself before the very marble Niobe in the Uffizi, firmly expecting to
see the tears flow down her cheeks.

[Illustration: LA FORNARINA OF THE UFFIZI, AT FLORENCE.]

So we come out upon the streets of Florence again. Fair Florence, the
narrow Arno dividing her, the purple Appennines shutting her in the
Arno’s fertile valley. Flower-women stop us on the streets, and offer
us flowers. Flower-women who are not as pretty as they are wont to be
at fancy-dress parties; they are apt to be heavy and middle-aged, in
fact, one of them, the handsomest of the band, has a scar on her face,
and a tinge of romance attached to her name. It is whispered about
that her lover’s dagger inflicted the scar, in a fit of jealousy. Once
I myself saw a look flash into her eyes, when something was said to
offend her by a passer-by on the street, which suggested the idea that
she might have used her dagger in return. It was the look of a tiger
aroused. And after that I never quite lost sight of the smothered fire
in those black eyes of hers.

I used to wonder why I saw so few pretty faces in Florence. Moreover,
how lovely the American ladies always looked in contrast with the
swarthy, heavy Tuscan women. As a rule, that is. Of course, there were
plain Americans and handsome Tuscans; but our countrywomen certainly
bear off the palm for delicacy of feature and coloring. Still, the
Tuscan peasant-girls make a fine show, with their broad flats of
Leghorn straw; and when they are married they are invariably adorned
with strings of Roman pearls about their necks. So many rows of pearls
counts for so much worldly wealth.

I stroll on, stopping to look in at the picture stores, or coming to an
enraptured pause before a cellar-way piled up with rare and fragrant
flowers, such as one sees seldom out of Florence—the City of Flowers.


CHAPTER III.

ONE summer we lived in a villa a short distance outside the gates
of Florence. For Florence had gates in those days, and was a walled
city, kept by Austrian sentinels. That was the time of the Austrian
occupation. Since then, Solferino and Magenta have been fought, and the
treaty of Villa-franca has been signed, and now, “Italy’s one, from
mountain to sea!”—

    “King Victor has Italy’s crown on his head,
    And his flag takes all heaven with its white, green and red.”

But then the Florentines bowed their necks under a hated foreign yoke,
scowling when they dared at a retreating “maledetto Tedesco” (cursed
German).

The phrase “white, green and red” recalls to me the fire-balloons we
used to send up from our villa garden, on the summer nights of long
ago. We had, for our Italian tutor, an enthusiastic patriot, who had
fought in the Italian ranks in ’48, and who was looking forward to
shouldering a musket soon again. It afforded him intense gratification
to send the national colors floating out over Florence. Our villa was
built on a hill-side, commanding a fine view of the Val d’Arno, and
of the City of Flowers herself, domed, campaniled, spired. The longer
the voyages made by our balloons, the higher rose the spirits of our
Signor Vicenzo. He regarded these airy nothings, made by his own hands,
of tissue paper and alcohol, as omens of good or ill to his beloved
country.

I suppose he was a fair type of his countrymen, intensely dramatic,
with a native facility of expression. One notices this facility
of expression among all classes. The Italians have an eloquent
sign-language of their own, in which they are as proficient as in
the language of spoken words. It is charming to see two neighbors
communicating with each other across the street, without uttering
a syllable, by the means of animated gestures. It seems a natural
sequence that they should be a people of artists.

Such long rambles as my sisters and I and our maid Assunta took,
starting from the villa! Assunta was the daughter of a neighboring
countryman of the better sort, who cultivated a grape vineyard and an
olive field, besides keeping a dairy. We had a way of happening by in
the evening in time for a glass of warm milk. Assunta’s mother supplied
our table with milk and butter daily, moreover; butter made into tiny
pats and done up daintily in grape leaves, never salted, by the way;
milk put up in flasks cased in straw, such as are also used for the
native wine. Was it the unfailing appetite of childhood, or was that
milk and butter really superior to any I have ever tasted since? What
charming breakfasts recur to me! _Semele_, as we called our baker’s
rolls; a golden circle of butter on its own leaf; great figs bursting
with juicy sweetness; milk.

How good those figs used to taste for lunch, too, when we would pay a
few _crazis_ for the privilege of helping ourselves to them off the
fig-trees in some _podere_ (orchard, vineyard), inclosed in its own
stone wall, on which scarlet poppies waved in the golden sunlight,
beneath the blue, blue skies. Am I waxing descriptive and dull?
Well, dear girls, I wish you could have shared those days with me.
Roaming about those hill-sides, my sisters and I peopled them with the
creatures of our own imaginations, as well as those of other people’s
imaginations, to say nothing of veritable historical characters. We
read and re-read Roger’s _Italy_. Do you know that enchanting book? Can
you say by heart, as Millie, Eva and I could, “Ginevra,” and “Luigi,”
and “The Brides of Venice”? I wonder if I should like that poetry
now? I _loved_ it then. Also, I date my knowledge of Byron to that
same epoch. We children devoured the descriptions in “Childe Harold,”
and absorbed “The Two Foscari,” which otherwise we would perhaps have
never read. Byron was the poet of our fathers and mothers; but in these
early days dramatic and narrative poetry was more intelligible than the
mysticism of Tennyson and the Brownings, so enchanting to me now.

One evening, some friends who occupied a neighboring villa invited
mamma to be present at the reading of a manuscript poem by an American
poet, Buchanan Read. I was permitted to go, too, and was fully alive to
the dignity of the occasion. Mr. Read was making a reputation rapidly;
there was no telling what might be in store for him. The generous
hand of brother artists in Florence all cheered him on his way, and
accorded to him precisely that kind of sympathetic encouragement which
his peculiar nature required. The group of interested, friendly faces
in the _salon_ at Villa Allori rises up before me as I write, on the
evening when Mr. Read, occupying a central position, read aloud, in his
charming, trained voice.

I remember that, in the pauses of the reading, Mr. Powers, who was
present, amused one or two children about him by drawing odd little
caricatures on a stray bit of note paper, which is, by the way, still
in my possession. Doubtless Mr. Powers’ reputation rests upon his
statues, not his caricatures; yet these particular ones have an immense
value for me, dashed off with a twinkle in the artist’s beautiful dark
eyes.

There was also present on this occasion a beautiful young lady, for
whom Mr. Read had just written some birthday verses, which he read to
us, after having completed the reading of the larger manuscript. Those
birthday verses have haunted me ever since, and this, although I cannot
recall a word of the more ambitious poem.

Mr. Powers had lived for so many years in Florence that he was by
right of that, if by no other right, the patriarch of the American
colony there. He and his large family were most intensely American,
in spite of their long expatriation. His was emphatically an American
_home_, as completely so as though the Arno and the Appenines had been,
instead, the Mississippi and the Alleghanies. This was no doubt due
to the fact that Mrs. Powers was preëminently an American wife and
mother, large-hearted and warm-hearted. She never forgot the household
traditions of her youth. She baked mince-pies and pumpkin-pies
at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and dispensed these bounties to her
countrymen with a lavish hand. Then, too, the Powers lived in a
_house_, and not in an _apartment_, or, as we say, on a flat. The
children ran up and down-stairs, and in and out their own yard, which
lay between the dwelling-house and the studio, just as American
children do. And in this genial, wholesome home an artist grew up in
the second generation. A son of Mr. Powers is now making name and fame
for himself in his father’s profession.

[Illustration: GOING TO THE PARTY.]

It has been said that the beautiful face of the eldest daughter of this
family is suggested in her father’s “Greek Slave.” I looked up to her
then with the respect which a child feels for an elder girl, “a young
lady in society.” I can appreciate now and admire, even more than I did
then, the extreme simplicity and unconsciousness which so well accorded
with her grand, classic beauty. She was the good fairy at a Christmas
Tree Festival, to which all the American girls and boys in Florence
were bidden, on the twenty-fifth of December. We were all presented
with most exquisitely made _bonbonnieres_, chiefly of home manufacture.
We were feasted on doughnuts which brought tears to some of our eyes;
dear American doughnuts, that _might_ have been fried in the land
of the free. We had French candy _ad libitum_; but there was also on
exhibition a pound or so of genuine American stick candy, such as we
see by the bushel in this country, and which had been brought over from
the United States by a friend recently arrived, at Mrs. Powers’ special
request. We examined this stick candy with patriotic enthusiasm. We ate
little bits of it, and thought it infinitely better than our candied
fruits and chocolate creams. Doubtless this little incident here
recalled will account for the fact that I always associate peppermint
stick candy with the flag of the Union. It is an unfortunate caprice
of mind; but, nevertheless, the national stripes always rise before me
when I see these red and white sticks.

I am inclined to the belief that exiles make the best patriots. We
American children stood up fiercely for our own native land, whenever
the question as to national superiority arose between ourselves and
English, French, or Italian children,—especially the English. With
these we fought the Revolutionary war all over again, hotly, if
injudiciously. And I am confident that we had a personal and individual
sense of superiority over them. No doubt we were endowed, even at that
early age, with the proverbial national conceit. Some one had told
me that every American was a sovereign, and that I was consequently a
princess in my own right. This became a conviction with me, and greatly
increased my self-importance. How glorious to be the citizen of a
country of such magnificent gifts of citizenship!

[Illustration: AT THE PARTY.]

But to return to Mr. Powers. His statue of California was on exhibition
at this time. This is, to my mind, the most noble and impressive of
his works. The strong, resolute face, of classic outlines, and of the
sterner type of beauty, bears a distinct resemblance to the sculptor’s
second daughter, although by no means a portrait. It has been told me
that one of the fathers of our American church, traveling in Italy,
suggested an important alteration in this statue. California originally
carried in her hand a bar, supposed to represent a bar of solid gold.
The idea occurred to the bishop that were this smooth bar—which might
mean anything—made to represent a nugget of gold in the rough, the
point of the story would be far more effectively told; and on this idea
the bishop spoke. The sculptor was impressed directly, and with all
the unaffected simplicity of real genius he thanked his critic for the
hint. California now displays her symbolic nugget; and, moreover, about
her head is designed a fillet of bits of ore in the rough.

The America of Powers is another impressive and beautiful female form.
A vision of the sculptor comes before my eyes, standing in front of
this statue, and talking it over with a party of visitors. Such a
beautiful, simple-mannered man—with his mild dark eyes and serene face!
He wore the usual blouse and linen apron, and the cap of the sculptor.
He held his chisel in his hand as he conversed. Some of his audience
did not agree with him in the peculiar political views he held. But Mr.
Powers would not argue, and what need? Had he not preached his sermon
in stone, and eloquently?



CHEERFUL WORDS.[B]


    In the whole range of English literature we can call
    to mind the works of no single author to which the
    title, “Cheerful Words,” can more properly apply than
    to those of George Macdonald. It exactly expresses
    the element which permeates everything from his pen,
    whether sermon, essay, story or poem—an element which
    strengthens while it cheers, which instills new light
    and life into the doubting or discouraged soul, and
    incites it to fresh effort.

    In the volume before us the editor has brought
    together, with a careful and judicious hand, some of
    the choicest passages from Macdonald’s works, written
    in various keys and upon various subjects, but all
    marked by healthy sentiment and sunshiny feeling. In
    quoting what a late critic has said of the “electrical
    consciousness” which characterizes his writings, the
    editor remarks: “The breadth and manliness of tone and
    sentiment, the deep perceptions of human nature, the
    originality, fancy and pathos, the fresh, out-of-door
    atmosphere everywhere apparent; above all, the earnest,
    wholesome, but always unobtrusive religious teaching
    that underlies all his writings, give to the works
    of George Macdonald a certain magnetic power that is
    indescribable.” And in the selections here made that
    power is singularly apparent. By turns they touch the
    heart, fire the imagination, moisten the eyes, arouse
    the sympathies, and bring into active exercise the
    better feelings and instincts of mind and heart.

    The introduction to the volume is from the pen of James
    T. Fields, a personal friend and ardent admirer of the
    author. He regards Macdonald as a master of his art,
    and believes in holding up for admiration those like
    him, who have borne witness to the eternal beauty and
    cheerful capabilities of the universe around us, and
    who are lovingly reminding us, whenever they write, of
    the “holiness of helpfulness.”

FOOTNOTE:

[B] Cheerful Words. By George Macdonald. Introduction by James T.
Fields, and Biography by Emma E. Brown. Spare Minute Series. Boston D.
Lothrop & Co. Price $1.00.



WRITINGS’ OF ELLA FARMAN,

EDITOR OF WIDE AWAKE.


Ella Farman teaches art no less than letters; and what is more than
both stimulates a pure imagination and wholesome thinking. In her work
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the average child in the average school.—_New York Tribune._

The authoress, Ella Farman, whose skilful editorial management of “Wide
Awake” all acquainted with that publication must admire, shows that her
great capacity to amuse and instruct our growing youth can take a wider
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    MRS. HURD’S NIECE. Illustrated. 12mo.              1.50
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    A WHITE HAND. Illustrated. 12mo.                   1.50

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Lothrop’s Historical Library.

    =AMERICAN PEOPLE.=                         By Arthur Gilman, M. A.
    =INDIA.=                                   By Fannie Roper Feudge.
    =EGYPT.=                            By Mrs. Clara Erskine Clement.
    =CHINA.=                                     By Robert K. Douglas.
    =SPAIN.=                          By Prof. James Herbert Harrison.
    =SWITZERLAND.=                    By Miss Harriet D. S. MacKenzie.
    =JAPAN, and its Leading Men.=                   By Charles Lanman.
    =ALASKA: The Sitkan Archipelago.=       By Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore.

Other volumes in preparation

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    =D. LOTHROP & CO., Publishers,=
                Franklin and Hawley Streets, Boston.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.


_SEEING THE POPE:_

“Generalissmoi” changed to “Generalissimo” (Generalissimo to the Pope)

“Bacca” changed to “Bocca” (corner of Bocca di Leone)

“underpinnngs” changed to “underpinnings” (shaky in its underpinnings)


_THE CHILDREN OF THE KOPPENBERG:_

“Mindem” changed to “Minden” (to Hildesheim, or Minden, or Nienburg)


_SHETLAND PONIES:_

“mistess” changed to “mistress” (when the mistress sees)


_MARKET DAY AT PAU:_

“Pyrenees” changed to “Pyrénées” (of France, the Basses-Pyrénées)


_IL SANTISSIMO BAMBINO:_

“Tiberias” changed to “Tiberius” (steps where Tiberius Gracchus)

“loñg” changed to “long” (that for a long time, annually)


_THE JEWELLED TOMB:_

“Kohi-noor” changed to “Koh-i-noor” (owner of the Koh-i-noor)


_THE BOY KING OF EGYPT:_

“Urœus” changed to “Uræus” (having the Uræus, or Asp)

“momuments” changed to “monuments” (time the monuments give)





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