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Title: The Adventures of Jimmy Brown
Author: Alden, W. L. (William Livingston)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Book Cover]



[Illustration: UNEXPECTED RESULTS OF JIMMY'S EFFORTS TO TRAP PIGS.
[_Page_ 182]]



The

Adventures of Jimmy Brown

_WRITTEN BY HIMSELF_

AND EDITED

By W. L. ALDEN

ILLUSTRATED

[Illustration]

NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

1902



Copyright, 1885, by _Harper & Brothers_.

_All rights reserved._



CONTENTS


                              PAGE
  MR. MARTIN'S GAME              5
  MR. MARTIN'S SCALP            10
  A PRIVATE CIRCUS              14
  BURGLARS                      20
  MR. MARTIN'S EYE              24
  PLAYING CIRCUS                28
  MR. MARTIN'S LEG              35
  OUR CONCERT                   40
  OUR BABY                      46
  OUR SNOW MAN                  50
  ART                           57
  AN AWFUL SCENE                63
  SCREW-HEADS                   67
  MY MONKEY                     71
  THE END OF MY MONKEY          77
  THE OLD, OLD STORY            83
  BEE-HUNTING                   89
  PROMPT OBEDIENCE              93
  OUR ICE-CREAM                 97
  MY PIG                       103
  GOING TO BE A PIRATE         107
  RATS AND MICE                111
  HUNTING THE RHINOCEROS       117
  DOWN CELLAR                  124
  OUR BABY AGAIN               131
  STUDYING WASPS               135
  A TERRIBLE MISTAKE           139
  OUR BULL-FIGHT               143
  OUR BALLOON                  150
  OUR NEW WALK                 156
  A STEAM CHAIR                162
  ANIMALS                      168
  A PLEASING EXPERIMENT        174
  TRAPS                        180
  AN ACCIDENT                  184
  A PILLOW FIGHT               190
  SUE'S WEDDING                196
  OUR NEW DOG                  203
  LIGHTNING                    209
  MY CAMERA                    215
  FRECKLES                     222
  SANTA CLAUS                  228



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                    PAGE
  _Unexpected Results of Jimmy's Efforts to Trap Pigs_      Frontispiece
  _"Oh, my!"_                                                         17
  _The Trapeze Performance_                                           31
  _There was the Awfullest Fight you ever Saw_                        43
  _We Built the biggest Snow Man I ever Heard Of_                     53
  _The Moment they saw the Baby they said the most Dreadful Things_   59
  _Screw-heads_                                                   68, 69
  _My Monkey_                                                      72-76
  _The End of my Monkey_                                           78-82
  _Wasn't there a Circus in that Dining-room!_                        85
  _Sue's Ice-cream Party_                                             99
  _Sue had Opened the Box_                                           113
  _Then he Fell into the Hot-bed, and Broke all the Glass_           119
  _They Thought they were both Burglars_                             127
  _He went Twenty Feet right up into the Air_                        147
  _Presently it went Slowly Up_                                      153
  _Prying the Boys Out_                                              159
  _It had Shut Up like a Jack-knife_                                 165
  _"We've been Playing we were Pigs, Ma"_                            171
  _He Lit right on the Man's Head_                                   177
  _He Pinched just as Hard as he could Pinch_                        187
  _I never was so Frightened in my Life_                             193
  _She gave an awful Shriek and Fainted Away_                        199
  _How that Dog did Pull!_                                           205
  _We Hurried into the Room_                                         211
  _I did Get a Beautiful Picture_                                    219
  _Mother and Sue made a Dreadful Fuss_                              225
  _They got Harry out all Safe_                                      233



THE

ADVENTURES OF JIMMY BROWN.



MR. MARTIN'S GAME.


What if he is a great deal older than I am! that doesn't give him any
right to rumple my hair, does it? I'm willing to respect old age, of
course, but I want my hair respected too.

But rumpling hair isn't enough for Mr. Martin; he must call me "Bub,"
and "Sonny." I might stand "Sonny," but I won't stand being called "Bub"
by any living man--not if I can help it. I've told him three or four
times "My name isn't 'Bub,' Mr. Martin. My name's Jim, or Jimmy," but he
would just grin in an exhausperating kind of way, and keep on calling me
"Bub."

My sister Sue doesn't like him any better than I do. He comes to see her
about twice a week, and I've heard her say, "Goodness me there's that
tiresome old bachelor again." But she treats him just as polite as she
does anybody; and when he brings her candy, she says, "Oh Mr. Martin you
are _too_ good." There's a great deal of make-believe about girls, I
think.

Now that I've mentioned candy, I will say that he might pass it around,
but he never thinks of such a thing. Mr. Travers, who is the best of all
Sue's young men, always brings candy with him, and gives me a lot. Then
he generally gives me a quarter to go to the post-office for him,
because he forgot to go, and expects something very important. It takes
an hour to go to the post-office and back, but I'd do anything for such
a nice man.

One night--it was Mr. Travers's regular night--Mr. Martin came, and
wasn't Sue mad! She knew Mr. Travers would come in about half an hour,
and she always made it a rule to keep her young men separate.

She sent down word that she was busy, and would be down-stairs after a
while. Would Mr. Martin please sit down and wait. So he sat down on the
front piazza and waited.

I was sitting on the grass, practising mumble-te-peg a little, and
by-and-by Mr. Martin says, "Well, Bub, what are you doing?"

"Playing a game," says I. "Want to learn it?"

"Well, I don't care if I do," says he. So he came out and sat on the
grass, and I showed him how to play.

Just then Mr. Travers arrived, and Sue came down, and was awfully glad
to see both her friends. "But what in the world are you doing?" she says
to Mr. Martin. When she heard that he was learning the game, she said,
"How interesting do play one game."

Mr. Martin finally said he would. So we played a game, and I let him
beat me very easy. He laughed lit to kill himself when I drew the peg,
and said it was the best game he ever played.

"Is there any game you play any better than this, Sonny?" said he, in
his most irragravating style.

"Let's have another game," said I. "Only you must promise to draw the
peg fair, if I beat you."

"All right," said he. "I'll draw the peg if you beat me, Bub."

O, he felt so sure he was a first-class player. I don't like a conceited
man, no matter if he is only a boy.

You can just imagine how quick I beat him. Why, I went right through to
"both ears" without stopping, and the first time I threw the knife over
my head it stuck in the ground.

I cut a beautiful peg out of hard wood--one of those sharp, slender pegs
that will go through anything but a stone. I drove it in clear out of
sight, and Mr. Martin, says he, "Why, Sonny, nobody couldn't possibly
draw that peg."

"I've drawn worse pegs than that," said I. "You've got to clear away the
earth with your chin and front teeth, and then you can draw it."

"That is nonsense," said Mr. Martin, growing red in the face.

"This is a fair and square game," says I, "and you gave your word to
draw the peg if I beat you."

"I do hope Mr. Martin will play fair," said Sue. "It would be too bad to
cheat a little boy."

So Mr. Martin got down and tried it, but he didn't like it one bit. "See
here, Jimmy," said he, "I'll give you half a dollar, and we'll consider
the peg drawn."

"That is bribery and corruption," said I. "Mr. Martin, I can't be
bribed, and didn't think you'd try to hire me to let you break your
promise."

When he saw I wouldn't let up on him, he got down again and went to
work.

It was the best fun I ever knew. I just rolled on the ground and laughed
till I cried. Sue and Mr. Travers didn't roll, but they laughed till Sue
got up and ran into the house, where I could hear her screaming on the
front-parlor sofa, and mother crying out, "My darling child where does
it hurt you won't you have the doctor Jane do bring the camphor."

Mr. Martin gnawed away at the earth, and used swear-words to himself,
and was perfectly raging. After a while he got the peg, and then he got
up with his face about the color of a flower-pot, and put on his hat and
went out of the front gate rubbing his face with his handkerchief, and
never so much as saying good-night. He didn't come near the house again
for two weeks.

Mr. Travers gave me a half-dollar to go to the post-office to make up
for the one I had refused, and told me that I had displayed roaming
virtue, though I don't know exactly what he meant.

He looked over this story, and corrected the spelling for me, only it is
to be a secret that he helped me. I'd do almost anything for him, and
I'm going to ask Sue to marry him just to please me.



MR. MARTIN'S SCALP.


After that game of mumble-te-peg that me and Mr. Martin played, he did
not come to our house for two weeks. Mr. Travers said perhaps the earth
he had to gnaw while he was drawing the peg had struck to his insides
and made him sick, but I knew it couldn't be that. I've drawn pegs that
were drove into every kind of earth, and it never hurt me. Earth is
healthy, unless it is lime; and don't you ever let anybody drive a peg
into lime. If you were to swallow the least bit of lime, and then drink
some water, it would burn a hole through you just as quick as anything.
There was once a boy who found some lime in the closet, and thought it
was sugar, and of course he didn't like the taste of it. So he drank
some water to take the taste out of his mouth, and pretty soon his
mother said, "I smell something burning goodness gracious the house is
on fire." But the boy he gave a dreadful scream, and said, "Ma, it's
me!" and the smoke curled up out of his pockets and around his neck, and
he burned up and died. I know this is true, because Tom McGinnis went
to school with him, and told me about it.

Mr. Martin came to see Susan last night for the first time since we had
our game; and I wish he had never come back, for he got me into an awful
scrape. This was the way it happened. I was playing Indian in the yard.
I had a wooden tomahawk and a wooden scalping-knife and a bownarrow. I
was dressed up in father's old coat turned inside out, and had six
chicken feathers in my hair. I was playing I was Green Thunder, the
Delaware chief, and was hunting for pale-faces in the yard. It was just
after supper, and I was having a real nice time, when Mr. Travers came,
and he said, "Jimmy, what are you up to now?" So I told him I was Green
Thunder, and was on the war-path. Said he, "Jimmy, I think I saw Mr.
Martin on his way here. Do you think you would mind scalping him?" I
said I wouldn't scalp him for nothing, for that would be cruelty; but if
Mr. Travers was sure that Mr. Martin was the enemy of the red man, then
Green Thunder's heart would ache for revenge, and I would scalp him with
pleasure. Mr. Travers said that Mr. Martin was a notorious enemy and
oppressor of the Indians, and he gave me ten cents, and said that as
soon as Mr. Martin should come and be sitting comfortably on the piazza,
I was to give the warwhoop and scalp him.

Well, in a few minutes Mr. Martin came, and he and Mr. Travers and Susan
sat on the piazza, and talked as if they were all so pleased to see each
other, which was the highest-pocracy in the world. After a while Mr.
Martin saw me, and said, "How silly boys are! that boy makes believe
he's an Indian, and he knows he's only a little nuisance." Now this made
me mad, and I thought I would give him a good scare, just to teach him
not to call names if a fellow does beat him in a fair game. So I began
to steal softly up the piazza steps, and to get around behind him. When
I had got about six feet from him I gave a warwhoop, and jumped at him.
I caught hold of his scalp-lock with one hand, and drew my wooden
scalping-knife around his head with the other.

I never got such a fright in my whole life. The knife was that dull that
it wouldn't have cut butter; but, true as I sit here, Mr. Martin's whole
scalp came right off in my hand. I thought I had killed him, and I
dropped his scalp, and said, "For mercy's sake! I didn't go to do it,
and I'm awfully sorry." But he just caught up his scalp, stuffed it in
his pocket, and jammed his hat on his head, and walked off, saying to
Susan, "I didn't come here to be insulted by a little wretch that
deserves the gallows."

Mr. Travers and Susan never said a word until he had gone, and then they
laughed until the noise brought father out to ask what was the matter.
When he heard what had happened, instead of laughing, he looked very
angry, said that "Mr. Martin was a worthy man. My son, you may come
up-stairs with me."

If you've ever been a boy, you know what happened up-stairs, and I
needn't say any more on a very painful subject. I didn't mind it so
much, for I thought Mr. Martin would die, and then I would be hung, and
put in jail; but before she went to bed Susan came and whispered through
the door that it was all right; that Mr. Martin was made that way, so he
could be taken apart easy, and that I hadn't hurt him. I shall have to
stay in my room all day to-day, and eat bread and water; and what I say
is that if men are made with scalps that may come off any minute if a
boy just touches them, it isn't fair to blame the boy.



A PRIVATE CIRCUS.


There's going to be a circus here, and I'm going to it; that is, if
father will let me. Some people think it's wrong to go to a circus, but
I don't. Mr. Travers says that the mind of man and boy requires circuses
in moderation, and that the wicked boys in Sunday-school books who steal
their employers' money to buy circus tickets wouldn't steal it if their
employers, or their fathers or uncles, would give them circus tickets
once in a while. I'm sure I wouldn't want to go to a circus every night
in the week. All I should want would be to go two or three evenings, and
Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. There was once a boy who was awfully
fond of going to the circus, and his employer, who was a very good man,
said he'd cure him. So he said to the boy, "Thomas, my son, I'm going to
hire you to go to the circus every night. I'll pay you three dollars a
week, and give you your board and lodging, if you'll go every night
except Sunday; but if you don't go, then you won't get any board and
lodging or any money." And the boy said, "Oh, you can just bet I'll go!"
and he thought everything was lovely; but after two weeks he got so
sick of the circus that he would have given anything to be let to stay
away. Finally he got so wretched that he deceived his good employer, and
stole money from him to buy school-books with, and ran away and went to
school. The older he grew the more he looked back with horror upon that
awful period when he went to the circus every night. Mr. Travers says it
finally had such an effect upon him that he worked hard all day and read
books all night just to keep it out of his mind. The result was that
before he knew it he became a very learned and a very rich man. Of
course it was very wrong for the boy to steal money to stay away from
the circus with, but the story teaches us that if we go to the circus
too much, we shall get tired of it, which is a very solemn thing.

We had a private circus at our house last night--at least that's what
father called it, and he seemed to enjoy it. It happened in this way. I
went into the back parlor one evening, because I wanted to see Mr.
Travers. He and Sue always sit there. It was growing quite dark when I
went in, and going towards the sofa, I happened to walk against a
rocking-chair that was rocking all by itself, which, come to think of
it, was an awfully curious thing, and I'm going to ask somebody about
it. I didn't mind walking into the chair, for it didn't hurt me much,
only I knocked it over, and it hit Sue, and she said, "Oh my get me
something quick!" and then fainted away. Mr. Travers was dreadfully
frightened, and said, "Run, Jimmy, and get the cologne, or the bay-rum,
or something." So I ran up to Sue's room, and felt round in the dark for
her bottle of cologne that she always keeps on her bureau. I found a
bottle after a minute or two, and ran down and gave it to Mr. Travers,
and he bathed Sue's face as well as he could in the dark, and she came
to and said, "Goodness gracious do you want to put my eyes out?"

[Illustration: "OH, MY!"]

Just then the front-door bell rang, and Mr. Bradford (our new minister)
and his wife and three daughters and his son came in. Sue jumped up and
ran into the front parlor to light the gas, and Mr. Travers came to help
her. They just got it lit when the visitors came in, and father and
mother came down-stairs to meet them. Mr. Bradford looked as if he had
seen a ghost, and his wife and daughters said, "Oh my!" and father said,
"What on earth!" and mother just burst out laughing, and said, "Susan,
you and Mr. Travers seem to have had an accident with the ink-stand."

You never saw such a sight as those poor young people were. I had made a
mistake, and brought down a bottle of liquid blacking. Mr. Travers had
put it all over Sue's face, so that she was jet black, all but a little
of one cheek and the end of her nose; and then he had rubbed his
hands on his own face until he was like an Ethiopian leopard, only he
could change his spots if he used soap enough.

You couldn't have any idea how angry Sue was with me--just as if it was
my fault, when all I did was to go up-stairs for her, and get a bottle
to bring her to with; and it would have been all right if she hadn't
left the blacking-bottle on her bureau; and I don't call that tidy, if
she is a girl. Mr. Travers wasn't a bit angry; but he came up to my room
and washed his face, and laughed all the time. And Sue got awfully angry
with him, and said she would never speak to him again after disgracing
her in that heartless way. So he went home, and I could hear him
laughing all the way down the street, and Mr. Bradford and his folks
thought that he and Sue had been having a minstrel show, and mother
thinks they'll never come to the house again.

As for father, he was almost as much amused as Mr. Travers, and he said
it served Sue right, and he wasn't going to punish the boy to please
her. I'm going to try to have another circus some day, though this one
was all an accident, and of course I was dreadfully sorry about it.



BURGLARS.


Some people are afraid of burglars. Girls are awfully afraid of them.
When they think there's a burglar in the house, they pull the clothes
over their heads and scream "Murder father Jimmy there's a man in the
house call the police fire!" just as if that would do any good. What you
ought to do if there is a burglar is to get up and shoot him with a
double-barrelled gun and then tie him and send the servant out to tell
the police that if they will call after breakfast you will have
something ready for them that will please them. I shouldn't be a bit
frightened if I woke up and found a strange man in my room. I should
just pretend that I was asleep and keep watching him and when he went to
climb out of the window and got half way out I'd jump up and shut the
window down on him and tie his legs. But you can't expect girls to have
any courage, or to know what to do when anything happens.

We had been talking about burglars one day last week just before I went
to bed, and I thought I would put my bownarrow where it would be handy
if a robber did come. It is a nice strong bow, and I had about thirty
arrows with sharp points in the end about half an inch long, that I made
out of some big black pins that Susan had in her pin-cushion. My room is
in the third story, just over Sue's room, and the window comes right
down on the floor, so that you can lie on the floor and put your head
out. I couldn't go to sleep that night very well, though I ate about a
quart of chestnuts after I went to bed and I've heard mother say that if
you eat a little something delicate late at night it will make you go to
sleep.

A long while after everybody had gone to bed I heard two men talking in
a low tone under the window, and I jumped up to see what was the matter.
Two dreadful ruffians were standing under Sue's window, and talking so
low that it was a wonder I could hear anything.

One of them had something that looked like a tremendous big squash, with
a long neck, and the other had something that looked like a short
crowbar. It didn't take me long to understand what they were going to
do. The man with the crowbar was intending to dig a hole in the
foundation of the house and then the other man would put the big squash
which was full of dynamighty in the hole and light a slow-match and run
away and blow the house to pieces. So I thought the best thing would be
to shoot them before they could do their dreadful work.

I got my bownarrow and laid down on the floor and took a good aim at one
of the burglars. I hit him in the leg, and he said, "Ow! ow! I've run a
thorn mornamile into my leg."

Then I gave the other fellow an arrow, and he said, "My goodness this
place is full of thorns, there's one in my leg too."

Then they moved back a little and I began to shoot as fast as ever I
could. I hit them every time, and they were frightened to death. The
fellow with the thing like a squash dropped it on the ground and the
other fellow jumped on it just as I hit him in the cheek and smashed it
all to pieces. You can just believe that they did not stay in our yard
very long. They started for the front gate on a run, yelling "Ow! ow!"
and I am sorry to say using the worst kind of swear-words. The noise
woke up father and he lit the gas and I saw the two wretches in the
street picking the arrows out of each other but they ran off as soon as
they saw the light.

Father says that they were not burglars at all, but were only two idiots
that had come to serenade Sue; but when I asked him what serenading was
he said it was far worse than burglary, so I know the men were the worst
kind of robbers. I found a broken guitar in the yard the next morning,
and there wasn't anything in it that would explode, but it would have
been very easy for the robbers to have filled it with something that
would have blown the house to atoms. I suppose they preferred to put it
in a guitar so that if they met anybody nobody would suspect anything.

Neither mother nor Sue showed any gratitude to me for saving their
lives, though father did say that for once that boy had showed a little
sense.

When Mr. Travers came that evening and I told him about it he said,
"Jimmy! there's such a thing as being just a little too smart."

I don't know what he meant, but I suppose he was a little cross, for he
had hurt himself some way--he wouldn't tell me how--and had
court-plaster on his cheek and on his hands and walked as if his legs
were stiff. Still, if a man doesn't feel well he needn't be rude.



MR. MARTIN'S EYE.


I've made up my mind to one thing, and that is, I'll never have anything
to do with Mr. Martin again. He ought to be ashamed of himself, going
around and getting boys into scrapes, just because he's put together so
miserably. Sue says she believes it's mucilage, and I think she's right.
If he couldn't afford to get himself made like other people, why don't
he stay at home? His father and mother must have been awfully ashamed of
him. Why, he's liable to fall apart at any time, Mr. Travers says, and
some of these days he'll have to be swept up off the floor and carried
home in three or four baskets.

There was a ghost one time who used to go around, up-stairs and
down-stairs, in an old castle, carrying his head in his hand, and
stopping in front of everybody he met, but never saying a word. This
frightened all the people dreadfully, and they couldn't get a servant to
stay in the house unless she had the policeman to sit up in the kitchen
with her all night. One day a young doctor came to stay at the castle,
and said he didn't believe in ghosts, and that nobody ever saw a ghost,
unless they had been making beasts of themselves with mince-pie and
wedding-cake. So the old lord of the castle he smiled very savage, and
said, "You'll believe in ghosts before you've been in this castle
twenty-four hours, and don't you forget it." Well, that very night the
ghost came into the young doctor's room and woke him up. The doctor
looked at him, and said, "Ah, I perceive: painful case of imputation of
the neck. Want it cured, old boy?" The ghost nodded; though how he could
nod when his head was off I don't know. Then the doctor got up and got a
thread and needle, and sewed the ghost's head on, and pushed him gently
out of the door, and told him never to show himself again. Nobody ever
saw that ghost again, for the doctor had sewed his head on wrong side
first, and he couldn't walk without running into the furniture, and of
course he felt too much ashamed to show himself. This doctor was Mr.
Travers's own grandfather, and Mr. Travers knows the story is true.

But I meant to tell you about the last time Mr. Martin came to our
house. It was a week after I had scalped him; but I don't believe he
would ever have come if father hadn't gone to see him, and urged him to
overlook the rudeness of that unfortunate and thoughtless boy. When he
did come, he was as smiling as anything; and he shook hands with me,
and said, "Never mind, Bub, only don't do it again."

By-and-by, when Mr. Martin and Sue and Mr. Travers were sitting on the
piazza, and I was playing with my new base-ball in the yard, Mr. Martin
called out, "Pitch it over here; give us a catch." So I tossed it over
gently, and he pitched it back again, and said why didn't I throw it
like a man, and not toss it like a girl. So I just sent him a swift
ball--a regular daisy-cutter. I knew he couldn't catch it, but I
expected he would dodge. He did try to dodge, but it hit him along-side
of one eye, and knocked it out. You may think I am exaggelying, but I'm
not. I saw that eye fly up against the side of the house, and then roll
down the front steps to the front walk, where it stopped, and winked at
me.

I turned, and ran out of the gate and down the street as hard as ever I
could. I made up my mind that Mr. Martin was spoiled forever, and that
the only thing for me to do was to make straight for the Spanish Main
and be a pirate. I had often thought I would be a pirate, but now there
was no help for it; for a boy that had knocked out a gentleman's eye
could never be let to live in a Christian country. After a while I
stopped to rest, and then I remembered that I wanted to take some
provisions in a bundle, and a big knife to kill wolves. So I went back
as soon as it was dark, and stole round to the back of the house, so I
could get in the window and find the carving-knife and some cake. I was
just getting in the window, when somebody put their arms around me, and
said, "Dear little soul! was he almost frightened to death?" It was Sue,
and I told her that I was going to be a pirate and wanted the
carving-knife and some cake and she mustn't tell father and was Mr.
Martin dead yet? So she told me that Mr. Martin's eye wasn't injured at
all, and that he had put it in again, and gone home; and nobody would
hurt me, and I needn't be a pirate if I didn't want to be.

It's perfectly dreadful for a man to be made like Mr. Martin, and I'll
never come near him again. Sue says that he won't come back to the
house, and if he does she'll send him away with something--I forget what
it was--in his ear. Father hasn't heard about the eye yet, but if he
does hear about it, there will be a dreadful scene, for he bought a new
rattan cane yesterday. There ought to be a law to punish men that sell
rattan canes to fathers, unless they haven't any children.



PLAYING CIRCUS.


The circus came through our town three weeks ago, and me and Tom
McGinnis went to it. We didn't go together, for I went with father, and
Tom helped the circus men water their horses, and they let him in for
nothing. Father said that circuses were dreadfully demoralizing, unless
they were mixed with wild animals, and that the reason why he took me to
this particular circus was that there were elephants in it, and the
elephant is a Scripture animal, Jimmy, and it cannot help but improve
your mind to see him. I agreed with father. If my mind had to be
improved, I thought going to the circus would be a good way to do it.

We had just an elegant time. I rode on the elephant, but it wasn't much
fun for they wouldn't let me drive him. The trapeze was better than
anything else, though the Central African Chariot Races and the Queen of
the Arena, who rode on one foot, were gorgeous. The trapeze performances
were done by the Patagonian Brothers, and you'd think every minute they
were going to break their necks. Father said it was a most revolting
sight and do sit down and keep still Jimmy or I can't see what's going
on. I think father had a pretty good time, and improved his mind a good
deal, for he was just as nice as he could be, and gave me a whole pint
of pea-nuts.

Mr. Travers says that the Patagonian Brothers live on their trapezes,
and never come down to the ground except when a performance is going to
begin. They hook their legs around it at night, and sleep hanging with
their heads down, just like the bats, and they take their meals and
study their lessons sitting on the bar, without anything to lean
against. I don't believe it; for how could they get their food brought
up to them? and it's ridiculous to suppose that they have to study
lessons. It grieves me very much to say so, but I am beginning to think
that Mr. Travers doesn't always tell the truth. What did he mean by
telling Sue the other night that he loved cats, and that her cat was
perfectly beautiful, and then when she went into the other room he slung
the cat out of the window, clear over into the asparagus bed, and said
get out you brute? We cannot be too careful about always telling the
truth, and never doing anything wrong.

Tom and I talked about the circus all the next day, and we agreed we'd
have a circus of our own, and travel all over the country, and make
heaps of money. We said we wouldn't let any of the other boys belong to
it, but we would do everything ourselves, except the elephants. So we
began to practise in Mr. McGinnis's barn every afternoon after school. I
was the Queen of the Arena, and dressed up in one of Sue's skirts, and
won't she be mad when she finds that I cut the bottom off of it!--only I
certainly meant to get her a new one with the very first money I made. I
wore an old umbrella under the skirt, which made it stick out
beautifully, and I know I should have looked splendid standing on Mr.
McGinnis's old horse, only he was so slippery that I couldn't stand on
him without falling off and sticking all the umbrella ribs into me.

Tom and I were the Madagascar Brothers, and we were going to do
everything that the Patagonian Brothers did. We practised standing on
each other's head hours at a time, and I did it pretty well, only Tom he
slipped once when he was standing on my head, and sat down on it so hard
that I don't much believe that my hair will ever grow any more.

The barn floor was most too hard to practise on, so last Saturday Tom
said we'd go into the parlor, where there was a soft carpet, and we'd
put some pillows on the floor besides. All Tom's folks had gone out, and
there wasn't anybody in the house except the girl in the kitchen. So we
went into the parlor, and put about a dozen pillows and a feather-bed on
the floor. It was elegant fun turning somersaults backward from the
top of the table; but I say it ought to be spelled summersets, though
Sue says the other way is right.

We tried balancing things on our feet while we laid on our backs on the
floor. Tom balanced the musical box for ever so long before it fell; but
I don't think it was hurt much, for nothing except two or three little
wheels were smashed. And I balanced the water-pitcher, and I shouldn't
have broken it if Tom hadn't spoken to me at the wrong minute.

[Illustration: THE TRAPEZE PERFORMANCE.]

We were getting tired, when I thought how nice it would be to do the
trapeze performance on the chandeliers. There was one in the front
parlor and one in the back parlor, and I meant to swing on one of them,
and let go and catch the other. I swung beautifully on the front parlor
chandelier, when, just as I was going to let go of it, down it came with
an awful crash, and that parlor was just filled with broken glass, and
the gas began to smell dreadfully.

As it was about supper-time, and Tom's folks were expected home, I
thought I would say good-bye to Tom, and not practise any more that day.
So we shut the parlor doors, and I went home, wondering what would
become of Tom, and whether I had done altogether right in practising
with him in his parlor. There was an awful smell of gas in the house
that night, and when Mr. McGinnis opened the parlor door he found what
was the matter. He found the cat too. She was lying on the floor, just
as dead as she could be.

I'm going to see Mr. McGinnis to-day and tell him I broke the
chandelier. I suppose he will tell father, and then I shall wish that
everybody had never been born; but I did break that chandelier, though I
didn't mean to, and I've got to tell about it.



MR. MARTIN'S LEG.


I had a dreadful time after that accident with Mr. Martin's eye. He
wrote a letter to father and said that "the conduct of that atrocious
young ruffian was such," and that he hoped he would never have a son
like me. As soon as father said, "My son I want to see you up-stairs
bring me my new rattan cane," I knew what was going to happen. I will
draw some veils over the terrible scene, and will only say that for the
next week I did not feel able to hold a pen unless I stood up all the
time.

Last week I got a beautiful dog. Father had gone away for a few days and
I heard mother say that she wished she had a nice little dog to stay in
the house and drive robbers away. The very next day a lovely dog that
didn't belong to anybody came into our yard and I made a dog-house for
him out of a barrel, and got some beefsteak out of the closet for him,
and got a cat for him to chase, and made him comfortable. He is part
bull-dog, and his ears and tail are gone and he hasn't but one eye and
he's lame in one of his hind-legs and the hair has been scalded off part
of him, and he's just lovely. If you saw him after a cat you'd say he
was a perfect beauty. Mother won't let me bring him into the house, and
says she never saw such a horrid brute, but women haven't any taste
about dogs anyway.

His name is Sitting Bull, though most of the time when he isn't chasing
cats he's lying down. He knows pretty near everything. Some dogs know
more than folks. Mr. Travers had a dog once that knew Chinese. Every
time that dog heard a man speak Chinese he would lie down and howl and
then he would get up and bite the man. You might talk English or French
or Latin or German to him and he wouldn't pay any attention to it, but
just say three words in Chinese and he'd take a piece out of you. Mr.
Travers says that once when he was a puppy a Chinaman tried to catch him
for a stew; so whenever he heard anybody speak Chinese he remembered
that time and went and bit the man to let him know that he didn't
approve of the way Chinamen treated puppies. The dog never made a
mistake but once. A man came to the house who had lost his pilate and
couldn't speak plain, and the dog thought he was speaking Chinese and so
he had his regular fit and bit the man worse than he had ever bit
anybody before.

Sitting Bull don't know Chinese, but Mr. Travers says he's a "specialist
in cats," which means that he knows the whole science of cats. The very
first night I let him loose he chased a cat up the pear-tree and he sat
under that tree and danced around it and howled all night. The neighbors
next door threw most all their things at him but they couldn't
discourage him. I had to tie him up after breakfast and let the cat get
down and run away before I let him loose again, or he'd have barked all
summer.

The only trouble with him is that he can't see very well and keeps
running against things. If he starts to run out of the gate he is just
as likely to run head first into the fence, and when he chases a cat
round a corner he will sometimes mistake a stick of wood, or the
lawn-mower for the cat and try to shake it to death. This was the way he
came to get me into trouble with Mr. Martin.

He hadn't been at our house for so long (Mr. Martin I mean) that we all
thought he never would come again. Father sometimes said that his friend
Martin had been driven out of the house because my conduct was such and
he expected I would separate him from all his friends. Of course I was
sorry that father felt bad about it, but if I was his age I would have
friends that were made more substantial than Mr. Martin is.

Night before last I was out in the back yard with Sitting Bull looking
for a stray cat that sometimes comes around the house after dark and
steals the strawberries and takes the apples out of the cellar. At least
I suppose it is this particular cat that steals the apples, for the
cook says a cat does it and we haven't any private cat of our own. After
a while I saw the cat coming along by the side of the fence, looking
wicked enough to steal anything and to tell stories about it afterwards.
I was sitting on the ground holding Sitting Bull's head in my lap and
telling him that I did wish he'd take to rat-hunting like Tom McGinnis's
terrier, but no sooner had I seen the cat and whispered to Sitting Bull
that she was in sight than he jumped up and went for her.

He chased her along the fence into the front yard where she made a dive
under the front piazza. Sitting Bull came round the corner of the house
just flying, and I close after him. It happened that Mr. Martin was at
that identicular moment going up the steps of the piazza, and Sitting
Bull mistaking one of his legs for the cat jumped for it and had it in
his teeth before I could say a word.

When that dog once gets hold of a thing there is no use in reasoning
with him, for he won't listen to anything. Mr. Martin howled and said,
"Take him off my gracious the dog's mad" and I said, "Come here sir.
Good dog. Leave him alone" but Sitting Bull hung on to the leg as if he
was deaf and Mr. Martin hung on to the railing of the piazza and made
twice as much noise as the dog. I didn't know whether I'd better run for
the doctor or the police, but after shaking the leg for about a minute
Sitting Bull gave it an awful pull and pulled it off just at the knee
joint. When I saw the dog rushing round the yard with the leg in his
mouth I ran into the house and told Sue and begged her to cut a hole in
the wall and hide me behind the plastering where the police couldn't
find me. When she went down to help Mr. Martin she saw him just going
out of the yard on a wheelbarrow with a man wheeling him on a broad
grin.

If he ever comes to this house again I'm going to run away. It turns out
that his leg was made of cork and I suppose the rest of him is either
cork or glass. Some day he'll drop apart on our piazza then the whole
blame will be put on me.



OUR CONCERT.


There is one good thing about Sue, if she is a girl: she is real
charitable, and is all the time getting people to give money to
missionaries and things. She collected mornahundred dollars from ever so
many people last year, and sent it to a society, and her name was in all
the papers as "Miss Susan Brown," the young lady that gave a hundred
dollars to a noble cause and may others go and do likewise.

About a month ago she began to get up a concert for a noble object. I
forget what the object was, for Sue didn't make up her mind about it
until a day or two before the concert; but whatever it was, it didn't
get much money.

Sue was to sing in the concert, and Mr. Travers was to sing, and father
was to read something, and the Sunday-school was to sing, and the brass
band was to play lots of things. Mr. Travers was real good about it, and
attended to engaging the brass band, and getting the tickets printed.

We've got a first-rate band. You just ought to hear it once. I'm going
to join it some day, and play on the drum; that is, if they don't find
out about the mistake I made with the music.

When Mr. Travers went to see the leader of the band to settle what music
was to be played at the concert he let me go with him. The man was
awfully polite, and he showed Mr. Travers great stacks of music for him
to select from. After a while he proposed to go and see a man somewheres
who played in the band, and they left me to wait until they came back.

I had nothing to do, so I looked at the music. The notes were all made
with a pen and ink, and pretty bad they were. I should have been ashamed
if I had made them. Just to prove that I could have done it better than
the man who did do it, I took a pen and ink and tried it. I made
beautiful notes, and as a great many of the pieces of music weren't half
full of notes, I just filled in the places where there weren't any
notes. I don't know how long Mr. Travers and the leader of the band were
gone, but I was so busy that I did not miss them, and when I heard them
coming I sat up as quiet as possible, and never said anything about what
I had done, because we never should praise ourselves or seem to be proud
of our own work.

Now I solemnly say that I never meant to do any harm. All I meant to do
was to improve the music that the man who wrote it had been too lazy to
finish. Why, in some of those pieces of music there were places three or
four inches long without a single note, and you can't tell me that was
right. But I sometimes think there is no use in trying to help people as
I tried to help our brass band. People are never grateful, and they
always manage to blame a boy, no matter how good he is. I shall try,
however, not to give way to these feelings, but to keep on doing right
no matter what happens.

The next night we had the concert, or at any rate we tried to have it.
The Town-hall was full of people, and Sue said it did seem hard that so
much money as the people had paid to come to the concert should all have
to go to charity when she really needed a new seal-skin coat. The
performance was to begin with a song by Sue, and the band was to play
just like a piano while she was singing. The song was all about being so
weary and longing so hard to die, and Sue was singing it like anything,
when all of a sudden the man with the big drum hit it a most awful bang,
and nearly frightened everybody to death.

People laughed out loud, and Sue could hardly go on with her song. But
she took a fresh start, and got along pretty well till the big drum
broke out again, and the man hammered away at it till the leader went
and took his drum-stick away from him. The people just howled and
yelled, and Sue burst out crying and went right off the stage and
longed to die in real earnest.

[Illustration: THERE WAS THE AWFULLEST FIGHT YOU EVER SAW.]

When things got a little bit quiet, and the man who played the drum had
made it up with the leader, the band began to play something on its own
account. It began all right, but it didn't finish the way it was meant
to finish. First one player and then another would blow a loud note in
the wrong place, and the leader would hammer on his music-stand, and the
people would laugh themselves 'most sick. After a while the band came to
a place where the trombones seemed to get crazy, and the leader just
jumped up and knocked the trombone-player down with a big horn that he
snatched from another man. Then somebody hit the leader with a cornet
and knocked him into the big drum, and there was the awfullest fight you
ever saw till somebody turned out the gas.

There wasn't any more concert that night, and the people all got their
money back, and now Mr. Travers and the leader of the band have offered
a reward for "the person who maliciously altered the music"--that's what
the notice says. But I wasn't malicious, and I do hope nobody will find
out I did it, though I mean to tell father about it as soon as he gets
over having his nose pretty near broke by trying to interfere between
the trombone-player and the man with the French horn.



OUR BABY.


Mr. Martin has gone away. He's gone to Europe or Hartford or some such
place. Anyway I hope we'll never see him again. The expressman says that
part of him went in the stage and part of him was sent in a box by
express, but I don't know whether it is true or not.

I never could see the use of babies. We have one at our house that
belongs to mother and she thinks everything of it. I can't see anything
wonderful about it. All it can do is to cry and pull hair and kick. It
hasn't half the sense of my dog, and it can't even chase a cat. Mother
and Sue wouldn't have a dog in the house, but they are always going on
about the baby and saying "ain't it perfectly sweet!" Why, I wouldn't
change Sitting Bull for a dozen babies, or at least I wouldn't change
him if I had him. After the time he bit Mr. Martin's leg father said
"that brute sha'n't stay here another day." I don't know what became of
him, but the next morning he was gone and I have never seen him since. I
have had great sorrows though people think I'm only a boy.

The worst thing about a baby is that you're expected to take care of him
and then you get scolded afterwards. Folks say, "Here, Jimmy! just hold
the baby a minute, that's a good boy," and then as soon as you have got
it they say, "Don't do that my goodness gracious the boy will kill the
child hold it up straight you good-for-nothing little wretch." It is
pretty hard to do your best and then be scolded for it, but that's the
way boys are treated. Perhaps after I'm dead folks will wish they had
done differently.

Last Saturday mother and Sue went out to make calls and told me to stay
home and take care of the baby. There was a base-ball match but what did
they care? They didn't want to go to it and so it made no difference
whether I went to it or not. They said they would be gone only a little
while, and that if the baby waked up I was to play with it and keep it
from crying and be sure you don't let it swallow any pins. Of course I
had to do it. The baby was sound asleep when they went out, so I left it
just for a few minutes while I went to see if there was any pie in the
pantry. If I was a woman I wouldn't be so dreadfully suspicious as to
keep everything locked up. When I got back up-stairs again the baby was
awake and was howling like he was full of pins; so I gave him the first
thing that came handy to keep him quiet. It happened to be a bottle of
French polish with a sponge in it on the end of a wire that Sue uses to
black her shoes, because girls are too lazy to use a regular
blacking-brush.

The baby stopped crying as soon as I gave him the bottle and I sat down
to read. The next time I looked at him he'd got out the sponge and about
half his face was jet-black. This was a nice fix, for I knew nothing
could get the black off his face, and when mother came home she would
say the baby was spoiled and I had done it.

Now I think an all black baby is ever so much more stylish than an all
white baby, and when I saw the baby was part black I made up my mind
that if I blacked it all over it would be worth more than it ever had
been and perhaps mother would be ever so much pleased. So I hurried up
and gave it a good coat of black. You should have seen how that baby
shined! The polish dried just as soon as it was put on, and I had just
time to get the baby dressed again when mother and Sue came in.

I wouldn't lower myself to repeat their unkind language. When you've
been called a murdering little villain and an unnatural son it will
wrinkle in your heart for ages. After what they said to me I didn't even
seem to mind about father but went up-stairs with him almost as if I was
going to church or something that wouldn't hurt much.

The baby is beautiful and shiny, though the doctor says it will wear off
in a few years. Nobody shows any gratitude for all the trouble I took,
and I can tell you it isn't easy to black a baby without getting it into
his eyes and hair. I sometimes think that it is hardly worth while to
live in this cold and unfeeling world.



OUR SNOW MAN.


I do love snow. There isn't anything except a bull-terrier that is as
beautiful as snow. Mr. Travers says that seven hundred men once wrote a
poem called "Beautiful Snow," and that even then, though they were all
big strong men, they couldn't find words enough to tell how beautiful it
was.

There are some people who like snow, and some who don't. It's very
curious, but that's the way it is about almost everything. There are the
Eskimos who live up North where there isn't anything but snow, and where
there are no schools nor any errands, and they haven't anything to do
but to go fishing and skating and hunting, and sliding down hill all
day. Well, the Eskimos don't like it, for people who have been there and
seen them say they are dreadfully dissatisfied. A nice set the Eskimos
must be! I wonder what would satisfy them. I don't suppose it's any use
trying to find out, for father says there's no limit to the
unreasonableness of some people.

We ought always to be satisfied and contented with our condition and
the things we have. I'm always contented when I have what I want, though
of course nobody can expect a person to be contented when things don't
satisfy him. Sue is real contented, too, for she's got the greatest
amount of new clothes, and she's going to be married very soon. I think
it's about time she was, and most everybody else thinks so too, for I've
heard them say so; and they've said so more than ever since we made the
snow man.

[Illustration: WE BUILT THE BIGGEST SNOW MAN I EVER HEARD OF.]

You see, it was the day before Christmas, and there had been a beautiful
snow-storm. All of us boys were sliding down hill, when somebody said,
"Let's make a snow man." Everybody seemed to think the idea was a good
one, and we made up our minds to build the biggest snow man that ever
was, just for Christmas. The snow was about a foot thick, and just hard
enough to cut into slabs; so we got a shovel and went to work. We built
the biggest snow man I ever heard of. We made him hollow, and Tom
McGinnis stood inside of him and helped build while the rest of us
worked on the outside. Just as fast as we got a slab of snow in the
right place we poured water on it so that it would freeze right away. We
made the outside of the man about three feet thick, and he was so tall
that Tom McGinnis had to keep climbing up inside of him to help build.

Tom came near getting into a dreadful scrape, for we forgot to leave a
hole for him to get out of, and when the man was done, and frozen as
hard as a rock, Tom found that he was shut up as tight as if he was in
prison. Didn't he howl, though, and beg us to let him out! I told him
that he would be very foolish not to stay in the man all night, for he
would be as warm as the Eskimos are in their snow huts, and there would
be such fun when people couldn't find him anywhere. But Tom wasn't
satisfied; he began to talk some silly nonsense about wanting his
supper. The idea of anybody talking about such a little thing as supper
when they had such a chance to make a big stir as that. Tom always was
an obstinate sort of fellow, and he would insist upon coming out, so we
got a hatchet and chopped a hole in the back of the man and let him out.

The snow man was quite handsome, and we made him have a long beak, like
a bird, so that people would be astonished when they saw him. It was
that beak that made me think about the Egyptian gods that had heads like
hawks and other birds and animals, and must have frightened people
dreadfully when they suddenly met them near graveyards or in lonesome
roads.

One of those Egyptian gods was made of stone, and was about as high as
the top of a house. He was called Memnon, and every morning at sunrise
he used to sing out with a loud voice, just as the steam-whistle at
Mr. Thompson's mill blows every morning at sunrise to wake people up.
The Egyptians thought that Memnon was something wonderful, but it has
been found out, since the Egyptians died, that a priest used to hide
himself somewhere inside of Memnon, and made all the noise.

Looking at the snow man and thinking about the Egyptian gods, I thought
it wouldn't be a bad idea to hide inside of him and say things whenever
people went by. It would be a new way of celebrating Christmas, too.
They would be awfully astonished to hear a snow man talk. I might even
make him sing a carol, and then he'd be a sort of Christian Memnon, and
nobody would think I had anything to do with it.

That evening when the moon got up--it was a beautiful moonlight night--I
slipped out quietly and went up to the hill where the snow man was, and
hid inside of him. I knew Mr. Travers and Sue were out sleigh-riding,
and they hadn't asked me to go, though there was lots of room, and I
meant to say something to them when they drove by the snow man that
would make Sue wish she had been a little more considerate.

Presently I heard bells and looked out and saw a sleigh coming up the
hill. I was sure it was Mr. Travers and Sue; so I made ready for them.
The sleigh came up the hill very slow, and when it was nearly opposite
to me I said, in a solemn voice, "Susan, you ought to have been married
long ago." You see, I knew that would please Mr. Travers; and it was
true, too.

She gave a shriek, and said, "Oh, what's that?"

"We'll soon see," said a man's voice that didn't sound a bit like Mr.
Travers's. "There's somebody round here that's spoiling for a
thrashing."

The man came right up to the snow man, and saw my legs through the hole,
and got hold of one of them and began to pull. I didn't know it, but the
boys had undermined the snow man on one side, and as soon as the man
began to pull, over went the snow man and me right into the sleigh, and
the woman screamed again, and the horse ran away and pitched us out,
and--

But I don't want to tell the rest of it, only father said that I must be
taught not to insult respectable ladies like Miss Susan White, who is
fifty years old, by telling them it is time they were married.



ART.


Our town has been very lively this winter. First we had two circuses,
and then we had the small-pox, and now we've got a course of lectures. A
course of lectures is six men, and you can go to sleep while they're
talking, if you want to, and you'd better do it unless they are
missionaries with real idols or a magic lantern. I always go to sleep
before the lectures are through, but I heard a good deal of one of them
that was all about art.

Art is almost as useful as history or arithmetic, and we ought all to
learn it, so that we can make beautiful things and elevate our minds.
Art is done with mud in the first place. The art man takes a large chunk
of mud and squeezes it until it is like a beautiful man or woman, or
wild bull, and then he takes a marble gravestone and cuts it with a
chisel until it is exactly like the piece of mud. If you want a solid
photograph of yourself made out of marble, the art man covers your face
with mud, and when it gets hard he takes it off, and the inside of it is
just like a mould, so that he can fill it full of melted marble which
will be an exact photograph of you as soon as it gets cool.

This is what one of the men who belong to the course of lectures told
us. He said he would have shown us exactly how to do art, and would have
made a beautiful portrait of a friend of his, named Vee Nuss, right on
the stage before our eyes, only he couldn't get the right kind of mud. I
believed him then, but I don't believe him now. A man who will contrive
to get an innocent boy into a terrible scrape isn't above telling what
isn't true. He could have got mud if he'd wanted it, for there was
mornamillion tons of it in the street, and it's my belief that he
couldn't have made anything beautiful if he'd had mud a foot deep on the
stage.

As I said, I believed everything the man said, and when the lecture was
over, and father said, "I do hope Jimmy you've got some benefit from the
lecture this time" and Sue said, "A great deal of benefit that boy will
ever get unless he gets it with a good big switch don't I wish I was his
father O! I'd let him know," I made up my mind that I would do some art
the very next day, and show people that I could get lots of benefit if I
wanted to.

I have spoken about our baby a good many times. It's no good to anybody,
and I call it a failure. It's a year and three months old now, and it
can't talk or walk, and as for reading or writing, you might as well
expect it to play base-ball. I always knew how to read and write, and
there must be something the matter with this baby, or it would know
more.

Last Monday mother and Sue went out to make calls, and left me to take
care of the baby. They had done that before, and the baby had got me
into a scrape, so I didn't want to be exposed to its temptations; but
the more I begged them not to leave me, the more they would do it, and
mother said, "I know you'll stay and be a good boy while we go and make
those horrid calls," and Sue said, "I'd better or I'd get what I
wouldn't like."

After they'd gone I tried to think what I could do to please them, and
make everybody around me better and happier. After a while I thought
that it would be just the thing to do some art and make a marble
photograph of the baby, for that would show everybody that I had got
some benefit from the lectures, and the photograph of the baby would
delight mother and Sue.

I took mother's fruit-basket and filled it with mud out of the back
yard. It was nice thick mud, and it would stay in any shape that you
squeezed it into, so that it was just the thing to do art with. I laid
the baby on its back on the bed, and covered its face all over with the
mud about two inches thick. A fellow who didn't know anything about art
might have killed the baby, for if you cover a baby's mouth and nose
with mud it can't breathe, which is very unhealthy, but I left its nose
so it could breathe, and intended to put an extra piece of mud over that
part of the mould after it was dry. Of course the baby howled all it
could, and it would have kicked dreadfully, only I fastened its arms and
legs with a shawl-strap so that it couldn't do itself any harm.

[Illustration: THE MOMENT THEY SAW THE BABY THEY SAID THE MOST DREADFUL
THINGS.]

The mud wasn't half dry when mother and Sue and father came in, for he
met them at the front gate. They all came up-stairs, and the moment they
saw the baby they said the most dreadful things to me without waiting
for me to explain. I did manage to explain a little through the closet
door while father was looking for his rattan cane, but it didn't do the
least good.

I don't want to hear any more about art or to see any more lectures.
There is nothing so ungrateful as people, and if I did do what wasn't
just what people wanted, they might have remembered that I meant well,
and only wanted to please them and elevate their minds.



AN AWFUL SCENE.


I have the same old, old story to tell. My conduct has been such
again--at any rate, that's what father says; and I've had to go
up-stairs with him, and I needn't explain what that means. It seems very
hard, for I'd tried to do my very best, and I'd heard Sue say, "That boy
hasn't misbehaved for two days good gracious I wonder what can be the
matter with him." There's a fatal litty about it, I'm sure. Poor father!
I must give him an awful lot of trouble, and I know he's had to get two
new bamboo canes this winter just because I've done so wrong, though I
never meant to do it.

It happened on account of coasting. We've got a magnificent hill. The
road runs straight down the middle of it, and all you have to do is to
keep on the road. There's a fence on one side, and if you run into it
something has got to break. John Kruger, who is a stupid sort of a
fellow, ran into it last week head-first, and smashed three pickets, and
everybody said it was a mercy he hit it with his head, or he might have
broken some of his bones and hurt himself. There isn't any fence on the
other side, but if you run off the road on that side you'll go down the
side of a hill that's steeper than the roof of the Episcopal church, and
about a mile long, with a brook full of stones down at the bottom.

The other night Mr. Travers said-- But I forgot to say that Mr. Martin
is back again, and coming to our house worse than ever. He was there,
and Mr. Travers and Sue, all sitting in the parlor, where I was
behaving, and trying to make things pleasant, when Mr. Travers said,
"It's a bright moonlight night let's all go out and coast." Sue said,
"Oh that would be lovely Jimmy get your sled." I didn't encourage them,
and I told father so, but he wouldn't admit that Mr. Travers or Sue or
Mr. Martin or anybody could do anything wrong. What I said was, "I don't
want to go coasting. It's cold and I don't feel very well, and I think
we ought all to go to bed early so we can wake up real sweet and
good-tempered." But Sue just said, "Don't you preach Jimmy if you're
lazy just say so and Mr. Travers will take us out." Then Mr. Martin he
must put in and say, "Perhaps the boy's afraid don't tease him he ought
to be in bed anyhow." Now I wasn't going to stand this, so I said, "Come
on. I wanted to go all the time, but I thought it would be best for old
people to stay at home, and that's why I didn't encourage you." So I got
out my double-ripper, and we all went out on the hill and started down.

I sat in front to steer, and Sue sat right behind me, and Mr. Travers
sat behind her to hold her on, and Mr. Martin sat behind him. We went
splendidly, only the dry snow flew so that I couldn't see anything, and
that's why we got off the road and on to the side hill before I knew it.

The hill was just one glare of ice, and the minute we struck the ice the
sled started away like a hurricane. I had just time to hear Mr. Martin
say, "Boy mind what you're about or I'll get off," when she struck
something--I don't know what--and everybody was pitched into the air,
and began sliding on the ice without anything to help them, except me. I
caught on a bare piece of rock, and stopped myself. I could see Sue
sitting up straight, and sliding like a streak of lightning, and crying,
"Jimmy father Charles Mr. Martin O my help me." Mr. Travers was on his
stomach, about a rod behind her, and gaining a little on her, and Mr.
Martin was on his back, coming down head-first, and beating them both.
All of a sudden he began to go to pieces. Part of him would slide off
one way, and then another part would try its luck by itself. I can tell
you it was an awful and surreptitious sight. They all reached the bottom
after a while, and when I saw they were not killed, I tried it myself,
and landed all right. Sue was sitting still, and mourning, and saying,
"My goodness gracious I shall never be able to walk again my comb is
broken and that boy isn't fit to live." Mr. Travers wasn't hurt very
much, and he fixed himself all right with some pins I gave him, and his
handkerchief; but his overcoat looked as if he'd stolen it from a
scarecrow. When he had comforted Sue a little (and I must say some
people are perfectly sickening the way they go on), he and I collected
Mr. Martin--all except his teeth--and helped put him together, only I
got his leg on wrong side first, and then we helped him home.

This was why father said that my conduct was such, and that his friend
Martin didn't seem to be able to come into his house without being
insulted and injured by me. I never insulted him. It isn't my fault if
he can't slide down a hill without coming apart. However, I've had my
last suffering on account of him. The next time he comes apart where I
am I shall not wait to be punished for it, but shall start straight for
the North-pole, and if I discover it the British government will pay me
mornamillion dollars. I'm able to sit down this morning, but my spirits
are crushed, and I shall never enjoy life any more.



SCREW-HEADS.


I'm in an awful situation that a boy by the name of Bellew got me into.
He is one of the boys that writes stories and makes pictures for
HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, and I think people ought to know what kind of a
boy he is. A little while ago he had a story in the YOUNG PEOPLE about
imitation screw-heads, and how he used to make them, and what fun he had
pasting them on his aunt's bureau. I thought it was a very nice story,
and I got some tin-foil and made a whole lot of screw-heads, and last
Saturday I thought I'd have some fun with them.

Father has a dreadfully ugly old chair in his study, that General
Washington brought over with him in the _Mayflower_, and Mr. Travers
says it is stiffer and uglier than any of the Pilgrim fathers. But
father thinks everything of that chair, and never lets anybody sit in it
except the minister. I took a piece of soap, just as that Bellew used
to, and if his name is Billy why don't he learn how to spell it that's
what I'd like to know, and made what looked like a tremendous crack in
the chair. Then I pasted the screw-heads on the chair, and it looked
exactly as if somebody had broken it and tried to mend it.

[Illustration]

I couldn't help laughing all day when I thought how astonished father
would be when he saw his chair all full of screws, and how he would
laugh when he found out it was all a joke. As soon as he came home I
asked him to please come into the study, and showed him the chair and
said "Father I cannot tell a lie I did it but I won't do it any more."

[Illustration]

Father looked as if he had seen some disgusting ghosts, and I was really
frightened, so I hurried up and said, "It's all right father, it's only
a joke look here they all come off," and rubbed off the screw-heads and
the soap with my handkerchief, and expected to see him burst out
laughing, just as Bellew's aunt used to burst, but instead of laughing
he said, "My son this trifling with sacred things must be stopped," with
which remark he took off his slipper, and then-- But I haven't the heart
to say what he did. Mr. Travers has made some pictures about it, and
perhaps people will understand what I have suffered.

I think that boy Bellew ought to be punished for getting people into
scrapes. I'd just like to have him come out behind our barn with me for
a few minutes. That is, I would, only I never expect to take any
interest in anything any more. My heart is broken and a new chocolate
cigar that was in my pocket during the awful scene.

I've got an elegant wasps' nest with young wasps in it that will hatch
out in the spring, and I'll change it for a bull-terrier or a shot-gun
or a rattlesnake in a cage that rattles good with any boy that will send
me one.



MY MONKEY.


There never was such luck. I've always thought that I'd rather have a
monkey than be a million heir. There is nothing that could be half so
splendid as a real live monkey, but of course I knew that I never could
have one until I should grow up and go to sea and bring home monkeys and
parrots and shawls to mother just as sailors always do. But I've
actually got a monkey and if you don't believe it just look at these
pictures of him that Mr. Travers made for me.

It was Mr. Travers that got the monkey for me. One day there came a
woman with an organ and a monkey into our yard.

She was an Italian, but she could speak a sort of English and she said
that the "murderin' spalpeen of a monkey was just wearing the life of
her out." So says Mr. Travers "What will you take for him?" and says she
"It's five dollars I'd be after selling him for, and may good-luck go
wid ye!"

[Illustration]

What did Mr. Travers do but give her the money and hand the monkey to
me, saying, "Here, Jimmy! take him and be happy." Wasn't I just happy
though?

Jocko--that's the monkey's name--is the loveliest monkey that ever
lived. I hadn't had him an hour when he got out of my arms and was on
the supper-table before I could get him. The table was all set and
Bridget was just going to ring the bell, but the monkey didn't wait for
her.

[Illustration]

To see him eating the chicken salad was just wonderful. He finished the
whole dish in about two minutes, and was washing it down with the oil
out of the salad-bottle when I caught him. Mother was awfully good about
it and only said, "Poor little beast he must be half starved Susan how
much he reminds me of your brother." A good mother is as good a thing as
a boy deserves, no matter how good he is.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The salad someway did not seem to agree with Jocko for he was dreadfully
sick that night. You should have seen how limp he was, just like a girl
that has fainted away and her young man is trying to lift her up. Mother
doctored him. She gave him castor-oil as if he was her own son, and
wrapped him up in a blanket and put a mustard plaster on his stomach and
soaked the end of his tail in warm water. He was all right the next day
and was real grateful. I know he was grateful because he showed it by
trying to do good to others, at any rate to the cat. Our cat wouldn't
speak to him at first, but he coaxed her with milk, just as he had seen
me do and finally caught her. It must have been dreadfully aggravoking
to the cat, for instead of letting her have the milk he insisted that
she was sick and must have medicine. So he took Bridget's bottle of
hair-oil and a big spoon and gave the cat such a dose. When I caught him
and made him let the cat go there were about six table-spoonfuls of oil
missing. Mr. Travers said it was a good thing for it would improve the
cat's voice and make her yowl smoother, and that he had felt for a long
time that she needed to be oiled. Mother said that the monkey was cruel
and it was a shame but I know that he meant to be kind. He knew the oil
mother gave him had done him good, and he wanted to do the cat good. I
know just how he felt, for I've been blamed many a time for trying to do
good, and I can tell you it always hurt my feelings.

[Illustration]

The monkey was in the kitchen while Bridget was getting dinner yesterday
and he watched her broil the steak as if he was meaning to learn to cook
and help her in her work, he's that kind and thoughtful. The cat was
out-doors, but two of her kittens were in the kitchen, and they were not
old enough to be afraid of the monkey. When dinner was served Bridget
went up-stairs and by-and-by mother says "What's that dreadful smell
sure's you're alive Susan the baby has fallen into the fire." Everybody
jumped up and ran up-stairs, all but me, for I knew Jocko was in the
kitchen and I was afraid it was he that was burning. When I got into the
kitchen there was that lovely monkey broiling one of the kittens on the
gridiron just as he had seen Bridget broil the steak. The kitten's fur
was singeing and she was mewing, and the other kitten was sitting up on
the floor licking her chops and enjoying it and Jocko was on his
hind-legs as solemn and busy as an owl. I snatched the gridiron away
from him and took the kitten off before she was burned any except her
fur, and when mother and Susan came down-stairs they couldn't understand
what it was that had been burning.

This is all the monkey has done since I got him day before yesterday.
Father has been away for a week but is coming back in a few days, and
won't he be delighted when he finds a monkey in the house?



THE END OF MY MONKEY.


I haven't any monkey now, and I don't care what becomes of me. His loss
was an awful blow, and I never expect to recover from it. I am a crushed
boy, and when the grown folks find what their conduct has done to me,
they will wish they had done differently.

[Illustration]

It was on a Tuesday that I got the monkey, and by Thursday everybody
began to treat him coldly. It began with my littlest sister. Jocko took
her doll away, and climbed up to the top of the door with it, where he
sat and pulled it to pieces, and tried its clothes on, only they
wouldn't fit him, while sister, who is nothing but a little girl, stood
and howled as if she was being killed. This made mother begin to dislike
the monkey, and she said that if his conduct was such, he couldn't stay
in her house. I call this unkind, for the monkey was invited into the
house, and I've been told we must bear with visitors.

[Illustration]

A little while afterwards, while mother was talking to Susan on the
front piazza, she heard the sewing-machine up-stairs, and said, "Well I
never that cook has the impudence to be sewing on my machine without
ever asking leave." So she ran up-stairs, and found that Jocko was
working the machine like mad. He'd taken Sue's gown and father's black
coat and a lot of stockings, and shoved them all under the needle, and
was sewing them all together. Mother boxed his ears and then she and Sue
sat down and worked all the morning trying to unsew the things with the
scissors.

They had to give it up after a while, and the things are sewed together
yet, like a man and wife, which no man can put asunder. All this made my
mother more cool towards the monkey than ever, and I heard her call him
a nasty little beast.

[Illustration]

The next day was Sunday, and as Sue was sitting in the hall waiting for
mother to go to church with her, Jocko gets up on her chair, and pulls
the feathers out of her bonnet. He thought he was doing right, for he
had seen the cook pulling the feathers off of the chickens, but Sue
called him dreadful names, and either she or that monkey would leave the
house.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Father came home early Monday, and seemed quite pleased with the monkey.
He said it was an interesting study, and he told Susan that he hoped
that she would be contented with fewer beaux, now that there was a
monkey constantly in the house. In a little while father caught Jocko
lathering himself with the mucilage brush, and with a kitchen knife all
ready to shave himself. He just laughed at the monkey, and told me to
take good care of him, and not let him hurt himself. Of course I was
dreadfully pleased to find that father liked Jocko, and I knew it was
because he was a man, and had more sense than girls. But I was only
deceiving myself and leaning on a broken weed. That very evening when
father went into his study after supper he found Jocko on his desk. He
had torn all his papers to pieces, except a splendid new map, and that
he was covering with ink, and making believe that he was writing a
President's Message about the Panama Canal. Father was just raging. He
took Jocko by the scruff of the neck, locked him in the closet, and sent
him away by express the next morning to a man in the city, with orders
to sell him.

The expressman afterwards told Mr. Travers that the monkey pretty
nearly killed everybody on the train, for he got hold of the signal-cord
and pulled it, and the engineer thought it was the conductor, and
stopped the train, and another train just behind it came within an inch
of running into it and smashing it to pieces. Jocko did the same thing
three times before they found out what was the matter, and tied him up
so that he couldn't reach the cord. Oh, he was just beautiful! But I
shall never see him again, and Mr. Travers says that it's all right, and
that I'm monkey enough for one house. That's because Sue has been saying
things against the monkey to him; but never mind.

First my dog went, and now my monkey has gone. It seems as if
everything that is beautiful must disappear. Very likely I shall go
next, and when I am gone, let them find the dog and the monkey, and bury
us together.

[Illustration]



THE OLD, OLD STORY.


We've had a most awful time in our house. There have been ever so many
robberies in town, and everybody has been almost afraid to go to bed.

The robbers broke into old Dr. Smith's house one night. Dr. Smith is one
of those doctors that don't give any medicine except cold water, and he
heard the robbers, and came down-stairs in his nigown, with a big
umbrella in his hand, and said, "If you don't leave this minute, I'll
shoot you." And the robbers they said, "Oh no! that umbrella isn't
loaded" and they took him and tied his hands and feet, and put a
mustard-plaster over his mouth, so that he couldn't yell, and then they
filled the wash-tub with water, and made him sit down in it, and told
him that now he'd know how it was himself, and went away and left him,
and he nearly froze to death before morning.

Father wasn't a bit afraid of the robbers, but he said he'd fix
something so that he would wake up if they got in the house. So he put a
coal-scuttle full of coal about half-way up the stairs, and tied a
string across the upper hall just at the head of the stairs. He said
that if a robber tried to come up-stairs he would upset the
coal-scuttle, and make a tremendous noise, and that if he did happen not
to upset it, he would certainly fall over the string at the top of the
stairs. He told us that if we heard the coal-scuttle go off in the
night, Sue and mother and I were to open the windows and scream, while
he got up and shot the robber.

The first night, after father had fixed everything nicely for the
robbers, he went to bed, and then mother told him that she had forgotten
to lock the back door. So father he said, "Why can't women sometimes
remember something," and he got up and started to go down-stairs in the
dark. He forgot all about the string, and fell over it with an awful
crash, and then began to fall down-stairs. When he got half-way down he
met the coal-scuttle, and that went down the rest of the way with him,
and you never in your life heard anything like the noise the two of them
made. We opened our windows, and cried murder and fire and thieves, and
some men that were going by rushed in and picked father up, and would
have taken him off to jail, he was that dreadfully black, if I hadn't
told them who he was.

But this was not the awful time that I mentioned when I began to write,
and if I don't begin to tell you about it, I sha'n't have any room left
on my paper. Mother gave a dinner-party last Thursday. There were ten
ladies and twelve gentlemen, and one of them was that dreadful Mr.
Martin with the cork leg, and other improvements, as Mr. Travers calls
them. Mother told me not to let her see me in the dining-room, or she'd
let me know; and I meant to mind, only I forgot, and went into the
dining-room, just to look at the table, a few minutes before dinner.

I was looking at the raw oysters, when Jane--that's the girl that waits
on the table--said, "Run, Master Jimmy; here's your mother coming." Now
I hadn't time enough to run, so I just dived under the table, and
thought I'd stay there for a minute or two, until mother went out of the
room again.

It wasn't only mother that came in, but the whole company, and they sat
down to dinner without giving me any chance to get out. I tell you, it
was a dreadful situation. I had only room enough to sit still, and
nearly every time I moved I hit somebody's foot. Once I tried to turn
around, and while I was doing it I hit my head against the table so hard
that I thought I had upset something, and was sure that people would
know I was there. But fortunately everybody thought that somebody else
had joggled, so I escaped for that time.

It was awfully tiresome waiting for those people to get through dinner.
It seemed as if they could never eat enough, and when they were not
eating, they were all talking at once. It taught me a lesson against
gluttony, and nobody will ever find me sitting for hours and hours at
the dinner-table. Finally I made up my mind that I must have some
amusement, and as Mr. Martin's cork-leg was close by me, I thought I
would have some fun with that.

There was a big darning-needle in my pocket, that I kept there in case I
should want to use it for anything. I happened to think that Mr. Martin
couldn't feel anything that was done to his cork-leg, and that it would
be great fun to drive the darning-needle into it, and leave the end
sticking out, so that people who didn't know that his leg was cork would
see it, and think that he was suffering dreadfully, only he didn't know
it. So I got out the needle, and jammed it into his leg with both hands,
so that it would go in good and deep.

[Illustration: WASN'T THERE A CIRCUS IN THAT DINING-ROOM!]

Mr. Martin gave a yell that made my hair run cold, and sprang up, and
nearly upset the table, and fell over his chair backward, and wasn't
there a circus in that dining-room! I had made a mistake about the leg,
and run the needle into his real one.

I was dragged out from under the table, and-- But I needn't say what
happened to me after that. It was "the old, old story," as Sue says when
she sings a foolish song about getting up at five o'clock in the
morning--as if she'd ever been awake at that time in her whole life!



BEE-HUNTING.


The more I see of this world the hollower I find everybody. I don't mean
that people haven't got their insides in them, but they are so
dreadfully ungrateful. No matter how kind and thoughtful any one may be,
they never give him any credit for it. They will pretend to love you and
call you "Dear Jimmy what a fine manly boy come here and kiss me," and
then half an hour afterwards they'll say "Where's that little wretch let
me just get hold of him O! I'll let him know." Deceit and ingratitude
are the monster vices of the age and they are rolling over our beloved
land like the flood. (I got part of that elegant language from the
temperance lecturer last week, but I improved it a good deal.)

There is Aunt Eliza. The uncle that belonged to her died two years ago,
and she's awfully rich. She comes to see us sometimes with Harry--that's
her boy, a little fellow six years old--and you ought to see how mother
and Sue wait on her and how pleasant father is when she's in the room.
Now she always said that she loved me like her own son. She'd say to
father, "How I envy you that noble boy what a comfort he must be to
you," and father would say "Yes he has some charming qualities" and look
as if he hadn't laid onto me with his cane that very morning and told me
that my conduct was such. You'll hardly believe that just because I did
the very best I could and saved her precious Harry from an apple grave,
Aunt Eliza says I'm a young Cain and knows I'll come to the gallows.

She came to see us last Friday, and on Saturday I was going bee-hunting.
I read all about it in a book. You take an axe and go out-doors and
follow a bee, and after a while the bee takes you to a hollow tree full
of honey and you cut the tree down and carry the honey home in thirty
pails and sell it for ever so much. I and Tom McGinnis were going and
Aunt Eliza says "O take Harry with you the dear child would enjoy it so
much." Of course no fellow that's twelve years old wants a little chap
like that tagging after him but mother spoke up and said that I'd be
delighted to take Harry, and so I couldn't help myself.

We stopped in the wood-shed and borrowed father's axe and then we found
a bee. The bee wouldn't fly on before us in a straight line but kept
lighting on everything, and once he lit on Tom's hand and stung him
good. However we chased the bee lively and by-and-by he started for his
tree and we ran after him. We had just got to the old dead apple-tree
in the pasture when we lost the bee and we all agreed that his nest must
be in the tree. It's an awfully big old tree, and it's all rotted away
on one side so that it stands as if it was ready to fall over any
minute.

Nothing would satisfy Harry but to climb that tree. We told him he'd
better let a bigger fellow do it but he wouldn't listen to reason. So we
gave him a boost and he climbed up to where the tree forked and then he
stood up and began to say something when he disappeared. We thought he
had fallen out of the tree and we ran round to the other side to pick
him up but he wasn't there. Tom said it was witches but I knew he must
be somewhere so I climbed up the tree and looked.

He had slipped down into the hollow of the tree and was wedged in tight.
I could just reach his hair but it was so short that I couldn't get a
good hold so as to pull him out. Wasn't he scared though! He howled and
said "O take me out I shall die," and Tom wanted to run for the doctor.

I told Harry to be patient and I'd get him out. So I slid down the tree
and told Tom that the only thing to do was to cut the tree down and then
open it and take Harry out. It was such a rotten tree I knew it would
come down easy. So we took turns chopping, and the fellow who wasn't
chopping kept encouraging Harry by telling him that the tree was 'most
ready to fall. After working an hour the tree began to stagger and
presently down she came with an awful crush and burst into a million
pieces.

Tom and I said Hurray! and then we poked round in the dust till we found
Harry. He was all over red dust and was almost choked, but he was
awfully mad. Just because some of his ribs were broke--so the doctor
said--he forget all Tom and I had done for him. I shouldn't have minded
that much, because you don't expect much from little boys, but I did
think his mother would have been grateful when we brought him home and
told her what we had done. Then I found what all her professions were
worth. She called father and told him that I and the other miscurrent
had murdered her boy. Tom was so frightened at the awful name she called
him that he ran home, and father told me I could come right up-stairs
with him.

They couldn't have treated me worse if I'd let Harry stay in the tree
and starve to death. I almost wish I had done it. It does seem as if the
more good a boy does the more the grown folks pitch into him. The moment
Sue is married to Mr. Travers I mean to go and live with him. He never
scolds, and always says that Susan's brother is as dear to him as his
own, though he hasn't got any.



PROMPT OBEDIENCE.


I haven't been able to write anything for some time. I don't mean that
there has been anything the matter with my fingers so that I couldn't
hold a pen, but I haven't had the heart to write of my troubles.
Besides, I have been locked up for a whole week in the spare bedroom on
bread and water, and just a little hash or something like that, except
when Sue used to smuggle in cake and pie and such things, and I haven't
had any penanink. I was going to write a novel while I was locked up by
pricking my finger and writing in blood with a pin on my shirt; but you
can't write hardly anything that way, and I don't believe all those
stories of conspirators who wrote dreadful promises to do all sorts of
things in their blood. Before I could write two little words my finger
stopped bleeding, and I wasn't going to keep on pricking myself every
few minutes; besides, it won't do to use all your blood up that way.
There was once a boy who cut himself awful in the leg with a knife, and
he bled to death for five or six hours, and when he got through he
wasn't any thicker than a newspaper, and rattled when his friends picked
him up just like the morning paper does when father turns it inside out.
Mr. Travers told me about him, and said this was a warning against
bleeding to death.

Of course you'll say I must have been doing something dreadfully wrong,
but I don't think I have; and even if I had, I'll leave it to anybody if
Aunt Eliza isn't enough to provoke a whole company of saints. The truth
is, I got into trouble this time just through obeying promptly as soon
as I was spoken to. I'd like to know if that was anything wrong. Oh, I'm
not a bit sulky, and I am always ready to admit I've done wrong when I
really have; but this time I tried to do my very best and obey my dear
mother promptly, and the consequence was that I was shut up for a week,
besides other things too painful to mention. This world is a fleeting
show, as our minister says, and I sometimes feel that it isn't worth the
price of admission.

Aunt Eliza is one of those women that always know everything, and know
that nobody else knows anything, particularly us men. She was visiting
us, and finding fault with everybody, and constantly saying that men
were a nuisance in a house and why didn't mother make father mend chairs
and whitewash the ceiling and what do you let that great lazy boy waste
all his time for? There was a little spot in the roof where it leaked
when it rained, and Aunt Eliza said to father, "Why don't you have
energy enough to get up on the roof and see where that leak is I would
if I was a man thank goodness I ain't." So father said, "You'd better do
it yourself, Eliza." And she said, "I will this very day."

So after breakfast Aunt Eliza asked me to show her where the scuttle
was. We always kept it open for fresh air, except when it rained, and
she crawled up through it and got on the roof. Just then mother called
me, and said it was going to rain, and I must close the scuttle. I began
to tell her that Aunt Eliza was on the roof, but she wouldn't listen,
and said, "Do as I tell you this instant without any words why can't you
obey promptly?" So I obeyed as prompt as I could, and shut the scuttle
and fastened it, and then went down-stairs, and looked out to see the
shower come up.

It was a tremendous shower, and it struck us in about ten minutes; and
didn't it pour! The wind blew, and it lightened and thundered every
minute, and the street looked just like a river. I got tired of looking
at it after a while, and sat down to read, and in about an hour, when it
was beginning to rain a little easier, mother came where I was, and
said, "I wonder where sister Eliza is do you know, Jimmy?" And I said I
supposed she was on the roof, for I left her there when I fastened the
scuttle just before it began to rain.

Nothing was done to me until after they had got two men to bring Aunt
Eliza down and wring the water out of her, and the doctor had come, and
she had been put to bed, and the house was quiet again. By that time
father had come home, and when he heard what had happened-- But, there!
it is over now, and let us say no more about it. Aunt Eliza is as well
as ever, but nobody has said a word to me about prompt obedience since
the thunder-shower.



OUR ICE-CREAM.


After that trouble with Aunt Eliza--the time she stayed up on the roof
and was rained on--I had no misfortunes for nearly a week. Aunt Eliza
went home as soon as she was well dried, and father said that he was
glad she was gone, for she talked so much all the time that he couldn't
hear himself think, though I don't believe he ever did hear himself
think. I tried it once. I sat down where it was real still, and thought
just as regular and steady as I could; but I couldn't hear the least
sound. I suppose our brains are so well oiled that they don't creak at
all when we use them. However, Mr. Travers told me of a boy he knew when
he was a boy. His name was Ananias G. Smith, and he would run round all
day without any hat on, and his hair cut very short, and the sun kept
beating on his head all day, and gradually his brains dried so that
whenever he tried to think, they would rattle and creak like a
wheelbarrow-wheel when it hasn't any grease on it. Of course his parents
felt dreadfully, for he couldn't go to school without disturbing
everybody as soon as he began to think about his lessons, and he
couldn't stay home and think without keeping the baby awake.

As I was saying, there was pretty nearly a whole week that I kept out of
trouble; but it didn't last. Boys are born to fly upward like the sparks
that trouble, and yesterday I was "up to mischief again," as Sue said,
though I never had the least idea of doing any mischief. How should an
innocent boy, who might easily have been an orphan had things happened
in that way, know all about cooking and chemistry and such, I should
like to know.

It was really Sue's fault. Nothing would do but she must give a party,
and of course she must have ice-cream. Now the ice-cream that our
cake-shop man makes isn't good enough for her, so she got father to buy
an ice-cream freezer, and said she would make the ice-cream herself. I
was to help her, and she sent me to the store to order some salt. I
asked her what she wanted of salt, and she said that you couldn't freeze
ice-cream without plenty of salt, and that it was almost as necessary as
ice.

I went to the store and ordered the salt, and then had a game or two of
ball with the boys, and didn't get home till late in the afternoon.
There was Sue freezing the ice-cream, and suffering dreadfully, so she
said. She had to go and dress right away, and told me to keep turning
the ice-cream freezer till it froze and don't run off and leave me to
do everything again you good-for-nothing boy I wonder how you can do it.

I turned that freezer for ever so long, but nothing would freeze; so I
made up my mind that it wanted more salt. I didn't want to disturb
anybody, so I quietly went into the kitchen and got the salt-cellar, and
emptied it into the ice-cream. It began to freeze right away; but I
tasted it, and it was awfully salt, so I got the jug of golden sirup and
poured about a pint into the ice-cream, and when it was done it was a
beautiful straw-color.

[Illustration: SUE'S ICE-CREAM PARTY.]

But there was an awful scene when the party tried to eat that ice-cream.
Sue handed it round, and said to everybody, "This is my ice-cream, and
you must be sure to like it." The first one she gave it to was Dr.
Porter. He is dreadfully fond of ice-cream, and he smiled such a big
smile, and said he was sure it was delightful, and took a whole
spoonful. Then he jumped up as if something had bit him, and went out of
the door in two jumps, and we didn't see him again. Then three more men
tasted their ice-cream, and jumped up, and ran after the doctor, and two
girls said, "Oh my!" and held their handkerchiefs over their faces, and
turned just as pale. And then everybody else put their ice-cream down on
the table, and said thank you they guessed they wouldn't take any. The
party was regularly spoiled, and when I tasted the ice-cream I didn't
wonder. It was worse than the best kind of strong medicine.

Sue was in a dreadful state of mind, and when the party had gone
home--all but one man, who lay under the apple-tree all night and
groaned like he was dying, only we thought it was cats--she made me tell
her all about the salt and the golden sirup. She wouldn't believe that I
had tried to do my best, and didn't mean any harm. Father took her part,
and said I ought to eat some of the ice-cream, since I made it; but I
said I'd rather go up-stairs with him. So I went.

Some of these days people will begin to understand that they are just
wasting and throwing away a boy who always tries to do his best, and
perhaps they'll be sorry when it is too late.



MY PIG.


I don't say that I didn't do wrong, but what I do say is that I meant to
do right. But that don't make any difference. It never does. I try to do
my very best, and then something happens, and I am blamed for it. When I
think what a disappointing world this is, full of bamboo-canes and all
sorts of switches, I feel ready to leave it.

It was Sue's fault in the beginning; that is, if it hadn't been for her
it wouldn't have happened. One Sunday she and I were sitting in the
front parlor, and she was looking out of the window and watching for Mr.
Travers; only she said she wasn't, and that she was just looking to see
if it was going to rain, and solemnizing her thoughts. I had just asked
her how old she was, and couldn't Mr. Travers have been her father if he
had married mother, when she said, "Dear me how tiresome that boy is do
take a book and read for gracious sake." I said, "What book?" So she
gets up and gives me the _Observer_, and says, "There's a beautiful
story about a good boy and a pig do read it and keep still if you know
how and I hope it will do you some good."

Well, I read the story. It told all about a good boy whose name was
James, and his father was poor, and so he kept a pig that cost him
twenty-five cents, and when it grew up he sold it for thirty dollars,
and he brought the money to his father and said, "Here father! take this
O how happy I am to help you when you're old and not good for much," and
his father burst into tears, but I don't know what for. I wouldn't burst
into tears much if anybody gave me thirty dollars; and said, "Bless you
my noble boy you and your sweet pig have saved me from a watery grave,"
or something like that.

It was a real good story, and it made me feel like being likewise. So I
resolved that I would get a little new pig for twenty-five cents, and
keep it till it grew up, and then surprise father with twenty-nine
dollars, and keep one for myself as a reward for my good conduct. Only I
made up my mind not to let anybody know about it till after the pig
should be grown up, and then how the family would be delighted with my
"thoughtful and generous act!" for that's what the paper said James's
act was.

The next day I went to Farmer Smith, and got him to give me a little pig
for nothing, only I agreed to help him weed his garden all summer. It
was a beautiful pig, about as big as our baby, only it was a deal
prettier, and its tail was elegant. I wrapped it up in an old shawl, and
watched my chance and got it up into my room, which is on the third
story. Then I took my trunk and emptied it, and bored some holes in it
for air, and put the pig in it.

I had the best fun that ever was, all that day and the next day, taking
care of that dear little pig. I gave him one of my coats for a bed, and
fed him on milk, and took him out of the trunk every little while for
exercise. Nobody goes into my room very often, except the girl to make
the bed, and when she came I shut up the trunk, and she never suspected
anything. I got a whole coal-scuttleful of the very best mud, and put it
in the corner of the room for him to play in, and when I heard Bridget
coming, I meant to throw the bedquilt over it, so she wouldn't suspect
anything.

After I had him two days I heard mother say, "Seems to me I hear very
queer noises every now and then up-stairs." I knew what the matter was,
but I never said anything, and I felt so happy when I thought what a
good boy I was to raise a pig for my dear father.

Bridget went up to my room about eight o'clock one evening, just before
I was going to bed, to take up my clean clothes. We were all sitting in
the dining-room, when we heard her holler as if she was being murdered.
We all ran out to see what was the matter, and were half-way up the
stairs when the pig came down and upset the whole family, and piled them
up on the top of himself at the foot of the stairs, and before we got up
Bridget came down and fell over us, and said she had just opened the
young masther's thrunk and out jumps the ould Satan himself and she must
see the priest or she would be a dead woman.

You wouldn't believe that, though I told them that I was raising the pig
to sell it and give the money to father, they all said that they had
never heard of such an abandoned and peremptory boy, and father said,
"Come up-stairs with me and I'll see if I can't teach you that this
house isn't a pig-pen." I don't know what became of the pig, for he
broke the parlor window and ran away, and nobody ever heard of him
again.

I'd like to see that boy James. I don't care how big he is. I'd show him
that he can't go on setting good examples to innocent boys without
suffering as he deserves to suffer.



GOING TO BE A PIRATE.


I don't know if you are acquainted with Tom McGinnis. Everybody knows
his father, for he's been in Congress, though he is a poor man, and
sells hay and potatoes, and I heard father say that Mr. McGinnis is the
most remarkable man in the country. Well, Tom is Mr. McGinnis's boy, and
he's about my age, and thinks he's tremendously smart; and I used to
think so too, but now I don't think quite so much of him. He and I went
away to be pirates the other day, and I found out that he will never do
for a pirate.

You see, we had both got into difficulties. It wasn't my fault, I am
sure, but it's such a painful subject that I won't describe it. I will
merely say that after it was all over, I went to see Tom to tell him
that it was no use to put shingles under your coat, for how is that
going to do your legs any good, and I tried it because Tom advised me
to. I found that he had just had a painful scene with his father on
account of apples; and I must say it served him right, for he had no
business to touch them without permission. So I said, "Look here, Tom,
what's the use of our staying at home and being laid onto with switches
and our best actions misunderstood and our noblest and holiest emotions
held up to ridicule?" That's what I heard a young man say to Sue one
day, but it was so beautiful that I said it to Tom myself.

"Oh, go 'way," said Tom.

"That's what I say," said I. "Let's go away and be pirates. There's a
brook that runs through Deacon Sammis's woods, and it stands to reason
that it must run into the Spanish Main, where all the pirates are. Let's
run away, and chop down a tree, and make a canoe, and sail down the
brook till we get to the Spanish Main, and then we can capture a
schooner, and be regular pirates."

"Hurrah!" says Tom. "We'll do it. Let's run away to-night. I'll take
father's hatchet, and the carving-knife, and some provisions, and meet
you back of our barn at ten o'clock."

"I'll be there," said I. "Only, if we're going to be pirates, let's be
strictly honest. Don't take anything belonging to your father. I've got
a hatchet, and a silver knife with my name on it, and I'll save my
supper and take it with me."

So that night I watched my chance, and dropped my supper into my
handkerchief, and stuffed it into my pocket. When ten o'clock came, I
tied up my clothes in a bundle, and took my hatchet and the silver
knife and some matches, and slipped out the back door, and met Tom. He
had nothing with him but his supper and a backgammon board and a bag of
marbles. We went straight for the woods, and after we'd selected a big
tree to cut down, we ate our supper. Just then the moon went under a
cloud, and it grew awfully dark. We couldn't see very well how to chop
the tree, and after Tom had cut his fingers, we put off cutting down the
tree till morning, and resolved to build a fire. We got a lot of
fire-wood, but I dropped the matches, and when we found them again they
were so damp that they wouldn't light.

All at once the wind began to blow, and made a dreadful moaning in the
woods. Tom said it was bears, and that though he wanted to be a pirate,
he hadn't calculated on having any bears. Then he said it was cold, and
so it was, but I told him that it would be warm enough when we got to
the Spanish Main, and that pirates ought not to mind a little cold.

Pretty soon it began to rain, and then Tom began to cry. It just poured
down, and the way our teeth chattered was terrible. By-and-by Tom jumped
up, and said he wasn't going to be eaten up by bears and get an awful
cold, and he started on a run for home. Of course I wasn't going to be a
pirate all alone, for there wouldn't be any fun in that, so I started
after him. He must have been dreadfully frightened, for he ran as fast
as he could, and as I was in a hurry, I tried to catch up with him. If
he hadn't tripped over a root, and I hadn't tripped over him, I don't
believe I could have caught him. When I fell on him, you ought to have
heard him yell. He thought I was a bear, but any sensible pirate would
have known I wasn't.

Tom left me at his front gate, and said he had made up his mind he
wouldn't be a pirate, and that it would be a great deal more fun to be a
plumber and melt lead. I went home, and as the house was locked up, I
had to ring the front-door bell. Father came to the door himself, and
when he saw me, he said, "Jimmy, what in the world does this mean?" So I
told him that Tom and me had started for the Spanish Main to be pirates,
but Tom had changed his mind, and that I thought I'd change mine too.

Father had me put to bed, and hot bottles and things put in the bed with
me, and before I went to sleep, he came and said, "Good-night, Jimmy.
We'll try and have more fun at home, so that there won't be any
necessity of your being a pirate." And I said, "Dear father, I'd a good
deal rather stay with you, and I'll never be a pirate without your
permission."

This is why I say that Tom McGinnis will never make a good pirate. He's
too much afraid of getting wet.



RATS AND MICE.


It's queer that girls are so dreadfully afraid of rats and mice. Men are
never afraid of them, and I shouldn't mind if there were mornamillion
mice in my bedroom every night.

Mr. Travers told Sue and me a terrible story one day about a woman that
was walking through a lonely field, when she suddenly saw a field-mouse
right in front of her. She was a brave woman; so after she had said, "Oh
my! save me, somebody!" she determined to save herself if she could, for
there was nobody within miles of her. There was a tree not very far off,
and she had just time to climb up the tree and seat herself in the
branches, when the mouse reached its foot. There that animal stayed for
six days and nights, squeaking in a way that made the woman's blood run
cold, and waiting for her to come down. On the seventh day, when she was
nearly exhausted, a man with a gun came along, and shot the mouse, and
saved her life. I don't believe this story, and I told Mr. Travers so;
for a woman couldn't climb a tree, and even if she could, what would
hinder the mouse from climbing after her?

Sue has a new young man, who comes every Monday and Wednesday night. One
day he said, "Jimmy, if you'll get me a lock of your sister's hair, I'll
give you a nice dog." I told him he was awfully kind, but I didn't think
it would be honest for me to take Sue's best hair, but that I'd try to
get him some of her every-day hair. And he said, "What on earth do you
mean, Jimmy?" And I said that Sue had got some new back hair a little
while ago, for I was with her when she bought it, and I knew she
wouldn't like me to take any of that. So he said it was no matter, and
he'd give me the dog anyway.

I told Sue afterwards all about it, just to show her how honest I was,
and instead of telling me I was a good boy, she said, "Oh you little
torment g'way and never let me see you again," and threw herself down on
the sofa and howled dreadfully, and mother came and said, "Jimmy, if you
want to kill your dear sister, you can just keep on doing as you do."
Such is the gratitude of grown-up folks.

Mr. Withers--that's the new young man--brought the dog, as he said he
would. He's a beautiful Scotch terrier, and he said he would kill rats
like anything, and was two years old, and had had the distemper; that
is, Mr. Withers said the dog would kill rats, and of course Mr.
Withers himself never had the distemper.

Of course I wanted to see the dog kill rats, so I took him to a rat-hole
in the kitchen, but he barked at it so loud that no rat would think of
coming out. If you want to catch rats, you mustn't begin by barking and
scratching at rat-holes, but you must sit down and kind of wink with one
eye and lay for them, just as cats do. I told Mr. Withers that the dog
couldn't catch any rats, and he said he would bring me some in a box,
and I could let them out, and the dog would kill every single one of
them.

The next evening Sue sent me down to the milliner's to bring her new
bonnet home, and don't you be long about it either you idle worthless
boy. Well, I went to the milliner's shop, but the bonnet wasn't done
yet; and as I passed Mr. Withers's office, he said, "Come here, Jimmy;
I've got those rats for you." He gave me a wooden box like a tea-chest,
and told me there were a dozen rats in it, and I'd better have the dog
kill them at once, or else they'd gnaw out before morning.

When I got home, Sue met me at the door, and said, "Give me that bandbox
this instant you've been mornanour about it." I tried to tell her that
it wasn't her box; but she wouldn't listen, and just snatched it and
went into the parlor, where there were three other young ladies who had
come to see her, and slammed the door; but the dog slipped in with her.

In about a minute I heard the most awful yells that anybody ever heard.
It sounded as if all the furniture in the parlor was being smashed into
kindling wood, and the dog kept barking like mad. The next minute a girl
came flying out of the front window, and another girl jumped right on
her before she had time to get out of the way, and they never stopped
crying, "Help murder let me out oh my!"

[Illustration: SUE HAD OPENED THE BOX.]

I knew, of course, that Sue had opened the box and let the rats out, and
though I wanted ever so much to know if the dog had killed them all, I
thought she would like it better if I went back to the milliner's and
waited a few hours for the bonnet.

I brought it home about nine o'clock; but Sue had gone to bed, and the
servant had just swept up the parlor, and piled the pieces of furniture
on the piazza. Father won't be home till next week, and perhaps by that
time Sue will get over it. I wish I did know if the dog killed all those
rats, and how long it took him.



HUNTING THE RHINOCEROS.


We ought always to be useful, and do good to everybody. I used to think
that we ought always to improve our minds, and I think so some now,
though I have got into dreadful difficulties all through improving my
mind. But I am not going to be discouraged. I tried to be useful the
other day, and do good to the heathen in distant lands, and you wouldn't
believe what trouble it made. There are some people who would never do
good again if they had got into the trouble that I got into; but the
proverb says that if at first you don't succeed, cry, cry again; and
there was lots of crying, I can tell you, over our rhinoceros, that we
thought was going to do so much good.

It all happened because Aunt Eliza was staying at our house. She had a
Sunday-school one afternoon, and Tom McGinnis and I were the scholars,
and she told us about a boy that got up a panorama about the _Pilgrim's
Progress_ all by himself, and let people see it for ten cents apiece,
and made ten dollars, and sent it to the missionaries, and they took it
and educated mornahundred little heathens with it, and how nice it
would be if you dear boys would go and do likewise and now we'll sing
"Hold the Fort."

Well, Tom and I thought about it, and we said we'd get up a menagerie,
and we'd take turns playing animals, and we'd let folks see it for ten
cents apiece, and make a lot of money, and do ever so much good.

We got a book full of pictures of animals, and we made skins out of
cloth to go all over us, so that we'd look just like animals when we had
them on. We had a lion's and a tiger's and a bear's and a rhinoceros's
skin, besides a whole lot of others. As fast as we got the skins made,
we hung them up in a corner of the barn where nobody would see them. The
way we made them was to show the pictures to mother and to Aunt Eliza,
and they did the cutting out and the sewing, and Sue she painted the
stripes on the tiger, and the fancy touches on the other animals.

Our rhinoceros was the best animal we had. The rhinoceros is a lovely
animal when he's alive. He is almost as big as an elephant, and he has a
skin that is so thick that you can't shoot a bullet through it unless
you hit it in a place that is a little softer than the other places. He
has a horn on the end of his nose, and he can toss a tiger with it till
the tiger feels sick, and says he won't play any more. The rhinoceros
lives in Africa, and he would toss 'most all the natives if it wasn't
that they fasten an India-rubber ball on the end of his horn, so that
when he tries to toss anybody, the horn doesn't hurt, and after a while
the rhinoceros gets discouraged, and says, "Oh, well, what's the good
anyhow?" and goes away into the forest. At least this is what Mr.
Travers says, but I don't believe it; for the rhinoceros wouldn't stand
still and let the natives put an India-rubber ball on his horn, and they
wouldn't want to waste India-rubber balls that way when they could play
lawn-tennis with them.

Last Saturday afternoon we had our first grand consolidated exhibition
of the greatest menagerie on earth. We had two rows of chairs in the
back yard, and all our folks and all Tom's folks came, and we took in a
dollar and sixty cents at the door, which was the back gate.

I was a bear, first of all, and growled so natural that everybody said
it was really frightful. Then it was Tom's turn to be an animal, and he
was to be the raging rhinoceros of Central Africa. I helped dress him in
the barn, and when he was dressed he looked beautiful.

The rhinoceros's skin went all over him, and was tied together so that
he couldn't get out of it without help. His horn was made of wood
painted white, and his eyes were two agates. Of course he couldn't see
through them, but they looked natural, and as I was to lead him, he
didn't need to see.

[Illustration: THEN HE FELL INTO THE HOT-BED, AND BROKE ALL THE GLASS.]

I had just got him outside the barn, and had begun to say, "Ladies and
gentlemen, this is the raging rhinoceros," when he gave the most awful
yell you ever heard, and got up on his hind-legs, and began to rush
around as if he was crazy. He rushed against Aunt Eliza, and upset her
all over the McGinnis girls, and then he banged up against the
water-barrel, and upset that, and then he fell into the hot-bed, and
broke all the glass. You never saw such an awful sight. The rhinoceros
kept yelling all the time, only nobody could understand what he said,
and pulling at his head with his fore-paws, and jumping up and down, and
smashing everything in his way, and I went after him just as if I was a
Central African hunting a rhinoceros.

I was almost frightened, and as for the folks, they ran into the house,
all except Aunt Eliza, who had to be carried in. I kept as close behind
the rhinoceros as I could, begging him to be quiet, and tell me what was
the matter. After a while he lay down on the ground, and I cut the
strings of his skin, so that he could get his head out and talk.

He said he was 'most dead. The wasps had built a nest in one of his
hind-legs as it was hanging in the barn, and they had stung him until
they got tired. He said he'd never have anything more to do with the
menagerie, and went home with his mother, and my mother said I must
give him all the money, because he had suffered so much.

But, as I said, I won't be discouraged, and will try to do good, and be
useful to others the next time I see a fair chance.



DOWN CELLAR.


We have had a dreadful time at our house, and I have done very wrong.
Oh, I always admit it when I've done wrong. There's nothing meaner than
to pretend that you haven't done wrong when everybody knows you have. I
didn't mean anything by it, though, and Sue ought to have stood by me,
when I did it all on her account, and just because I pitied her, if she
was my own sister, and it was more her fault, I really think, than it
was mine.

Mr. Withers is Sue's new young man, as I have told you already. He comes
to see her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, and Mr. Travers
comes all the other evenings, and Mr. Martin is liable to come any time,
and generally does--that is, if he doesn't have the rheumatism. Though
he hasn't but one real leg, he has twice as much rheumatism as father,
with all his legs, and there is something very queer about it; and if I
was he, I'd get a leg of something better than cork, and perhaps he'd
have less pain in it.

It all happened last Tuesday night. Just as it was getting dark, and
Sue was expecting Mr. Travers every minute, who should come in but Mr.
Martin! Now Mr. Martin is such an old acquaintance, and father thinks so
much of him, that Sue had to ask him in, though she didn't want him to
meet Mr. Travers. So when she heard somebody open the front gate, she
said, "Oh, Mr. Martin I'm so thirsty and the servant has gone out, and
you know just where the milk is for you went down cellar to get some the
last time you were here do you think you would mind getting some for
me?" Mr. Martin had often gone down cellar to help himself to milk, and
I don't see what makes him so fond of it, so he said, "Certainly with
great pleasure," and started down the cellar stairs.

It wasn't Mr. Travers, but Mr. Withers, who had come on the wrong night.
He had not much more than got into the parlor when Sue came rushing out
to me, for I was swinging in the hammock on the front piazza, and said,
"My goodness gracious Jimmy what shall I do here's Mr. Withers and Mr.
Travers will be here in a few minutes and there's Mr. Martin down cellar
and I feel as if I should fly what shall I do?"

I was real sorry for her, and thought I'd help her, for girls are not
like us. They never know what to do when they are in a scrape, and they
are full of absence of mind when they ought to have lots of presence of
mind. So I said: "I'll fix it for you, Sue. Just leave it all to me.
You stay here and meet Mr. Travers, who is just coming around the
corner, and I'll manage Mr. Withers." Sue said, "You darling little
fellow there don't muss my hair;" and I went in, and said to Mr.
Withers, in an awfully mysterious way, "Mr. Withers, I hear a noise in
the cellar. Don't tell Sue, for she's dreadfully nervous. Won't you go
down and see what it is?" Of course I knew it was Mr. Martin who was
making the noise, though I didn't say so.

"Oh, it's nothing but rats, Jimmy," said he, "or else the cat, or maybe
it's the cook."

"No, it isn't," said I. "If I was you, I'd go and see into it. Sue
thinks you're awfully brave."

Well, after a little more talk, Mr. Withers said he'd go, and I showed
him the cellar-door, and got him started down-stairs, and then I locked
the door, and went back to the hammock, and Sue and Mr. Travers they sat
in the front parlor.

Pretty soon I heard a heavy crash down cellar; as if something heavy had
dropped, and then there was such a yelling and howling, just as if the
cellar was full of murderers. Mr. Travers jumped up, and was starting
for the cellar, when Sue fainted away, and hung tight to him, and
wouldn't let him go.

I stayed in the hammock, and wouldn't have left it if father hadn't
come down-stairs, but when I saw him going down cellar, I went after him
to see what could possibly be the matter.

[Illustration: THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE BOTH BURGLARS.]

Father had a candle in one hand and a big club in another. You ought to
have been there to see Mr. Martin and Mr. Withers. One of them had run
against the other in the dark, and they thought they were both burglars.
So they got hold of each other, and fell over the milk-pans and upset
the soap-barrel, and then rolled round the cellar floor, holding on to
each other, and yelling help murder thieves, and when we found them,
they were both in the ash-bin, and the ashes were choking them.

Father would have pounded them with the club if I hadn't told him who
they were. He was awfully astonished, and though he wouldn't say
anything to hurt Mr. Martin's feelings, he didn't seem to care much for
mine or Mr. Withers's, and when Mr. Travers finally came down, father
told him that he was a nice young man, and that the whole house might
have been murdered by burglars while he was enjoying himself in the
front parlor.

Mr. Martin went home after he got a little of the milk and soap and
ashes and things off of him, but he was too angry to speak. Mr. Withers
said he would never enter the house again, and Mr. Travers didn't even
wait to speak to Sue, he was in such a rage with Mr. Withers. After
they were all gone, Sue told father that it was all my fault, and father
said he would attend to my case in the morning: only, when the morning
came, he told me not to do it again, and that was all.

I admit that I did do wrong, but I didn't mean it, and my only desire
was to help my dear sister. You won't catch me helping her again very
soon.



OUR BABY AGAIN.


After this, don't say anything more to me about babies. There's nothing
more spiteful and militious than a baby. Our baby got me into an awful
scrape once--the time I blacked it. But I don't blame it so much that
time, because, after all, it was partly my fault; but now it has gone
and done one of the meanest things a baby ever did, and came very near
ruining me.

It has been a long time since mother and Sue said they would never trust
me to take care of the baby again, but the other day they wanted awfully
to go to a funeral. It was a funeral of one of their best friends, and
there was to be lots of flowers, and they expected to see lots of
people, and they said they would try me once more. They were going to be
gone about two hours, and I was to take care of the baby till they came
home again. Of course I said I would do my best, and so I did; only when
a boy does try to do his best, he is sure to get himself into trouble.
How many a time and oft have I found this to be true! Ah! this is indeed
a hard and hollow world. The last thing Sue said when she went out of
the door was, "Now be a good boy if you play any of your tricks I'll let
you know." I wish Mr. Travers would marry her, and take her to China. I
don't believe in sisters, anyway.

They hadn't been gone ten minutes when the baby woke up and cried, and I
knew it did it on purpose. Now I had once read in an old magazine that
if you put molasses on a baby's fingers, and give it a feather to play
with, it will try to pick that feather off, and amuse itself, and keep
quiet for ever so long. I resolved to try it; so I went straight
down-stairs and brought up the big molasses jug out of the cellar. Then
I made a little hole in one of mother's pillows, and pulled out a good
handful of feathers. The baby stopped crying as soon as it saw what I
was at, and so led me on, just on purpose to get me into trouble.

Well, I put a little molasses on the baby's hands, and put the feathers
in its lap, and told it to be good and play real pretty. The baby began
to play with the feathers, just as the magazine said it would, so I
thought I would let it enjoy itself while I went up to my room to read a
little while.

That baby never made a sound for ever so long, and I was thinking how
pleased mother and Sue would be to find out a new plan for keeping it
quiet. I just let it enjoy itself till about ten minutes before the time
when they were to get back from the funeral, and then I went down to
mother's room to look after the "little innocent," as Sue calls it. Much
innocence there is about that baby!

I never saw such a awful spectacle. The baby had got hold of the
molasses jug, which held mornagallon, and had upset it and rolled all
over in it. The feathers had stuck to it so close that you couldn't
hardly see its face, and its head looked just like a chicken's head. You
wouldn't believe how that molasses had spread over the carpet. It seemed
as if about half the room was covered with it. And there sat that
wretched "little innocent" laughing to think how I'd catch it when the
folks came home.

Now wasn't it my duty to wash that baby, and get the feathers and
molasses off it? Any sensible person would say that it was. I tried to
wash it in the wash-basin, but the feathers kept sticking on again as
fast as I got them off. So I took it to the bath-tub and turned the
water on, and held the baby right under the stream. The feathers were
gradually getting rinsed away, and the molasses was coming off
beautifully, when something happened.

The water made a good deal of noise, and I was standing with my back to
the bath-room door, so that I did not hear anybody come in. The first
thing I knew Sue snatched the baby away, and gave me such a box over the
ear. Then she screamed out, "Ma! come here this wicked boy is drowning
the baby O you little wretch won't you catch it for this." Mother came
running up-stairs, and they carried the baby into mother's room to dry
it.

You should have heard what they said when Sue slipped and sat down in
the middle of the molasses, and cried out that her best dress was
ruined, and mother saw what a state the carpet was in! I wouldn't repeat
their language for worlds. It was personal, that's what it was, and I've
been told fifty times never to make personal remarks. I should not have
condescended to notice it if mother hadn't begun to cry; and of course I
went and said I was awfully sorry, and that I meant it all for the best,
and wouldn't have hurt the baby for anything, and begged her to forgive
me and not cry any more.

When father came home they told him all about it. I knew very well they
would, and I just lined myself with shingles so as to be good and ready.
But he only said, "My son, I have decided to try milder measures with
you. I think you are punished enough when you reflect that you have made
your mother cry."

That was all, and I tell you I'd rather a hundred times have had him
say, "My son, come up-stairs with me." And now if you don't admit that
nothing could be meaner than the way that baby acted, I shall really be
surprised and shocked.



STUDYING WASPS.


We had a lecture at our place the other day, because our people wanted
to get even with the people of the next town, who had had a returned
missionary with a whole lot of idols the week before. The lecture was
all about wasps and beetles and such, and the lecturer had a magic
lantern and a microscope, and everything that was adapted to improve and
vitrify the infant mind, as our minister said when he introduced him. I
believe the lecturer was a wicked, bad man, who came to our place on
purpose to get me into trouble. Else why did he urge the boys to study
wasps, and tell us how to collect wasps' nests without getting stung?
The grown-up people thought it was all right, however, and Mr. Travers
said to me, "Listen to what the gentleman says, Jimmy, and improve your
mind with wasps."

Well, I thought I would do as I was told, especially as I knew of a
tremendous big wasps' nest under the eaves of our barn. I got a ladder
and a lantern the very night after the lecture, and prepared to study
wasps. The lecturer said that the way to do was to wait till the wasps
go to bed, and then to creep up to their nest with a piece of thin paper
all covered with wet mucilage, and to clap it right over the door of the
nest. Of course the wasps can't get out when they wake up in the
morning, and you can take the nest and hang it up in your room; and
after two or three days, when you open the nest and let the wasps out,
and feed them with powdered sugar, they'll be so tame and grateful that
they'll never think of stinging you, and you can study them all day
long, and learn lots of useful lessons. Now is it probable that any real
good man would put a boy up to any such nonsense as this? It's my belief
that the lecturer was hired by somebody to come and entice all our boys
to get themselves stung.

As I was saying, I got a ladder and a lantern, and a piece of paper
covered with mucilage, and after dark I climbed up to the wasps' nest,
and stopped up the door, and then brought the nest down in my hand. I
was going to carry it up to my room, but just then mother called me; so
I put the nest under the seat of our carriage, and went into the house,
where I was put to bed for having taken the lantern out to the barn; and
the next morning I forgot all about the nest.

I forgot it because I was invited to go on a picnic with Mr. Travers and
my sister Sue and a whole lot of people, and any fellow would have
forgot it if he had been in my place. Mr. Travers borrowed father's
carriage, and he and Sue were to sit on the back seat, and Mr. Travers's
aunt, who is pretty old and cross, was to sit on the front seat with Dr.
Jones, the new minister, and I was to sit with the driver. We all
started about nine o'clock, and a big basket of provisions was crowded
into the carriage between everybody's feet.

We hadn't gone mornamile when Mr. Travers cries out: "My good gracious!
Sue, I've run an awful pin into my leg. Why can't you girls be more
careful about pins?" Sue replied that she hadn't any pins where they
could run into anybody, and was going to say something more, when she
screamed as if she was killed, and began to jump up and down and shake
herself. Just then Dr. Jones jumped about two feet straight into the
air, and said, "Oh my!" and Miss Travers took to screaming, "Fire!
murder! help!" and slapping herself in a way that was quite awful. I
began to think they were all going crazy, when all of a sudden I
remembered the wasps' nest.

Somehow the wasps had got out of the nest, and were exploring all over
the carriage. The driver stopped the horses to see what was the matter,
and turned pale with fright when he saw Dr. Jones catch the basket of
provisions and throw it out of the carriage, and then jump straight
into it. Then Mr. Travers and his aunt and Sue all came flying out
together, and were all mixed up with Dr. Jones and the provisions on the
side of the road. They didn't stop long, however, for the wasps were
looking for them; so they got up and rushed for the river, and went into
it as if they were going to drown themselves--only it wasn't more than
two feet deep.

George--he's the driver--was beginning to ask, "Is thishyer some
swimmin' match that's goin' on?" when a wasp hit him on the neck, and
another hit me on the cheek. We left that carriage in a hurry, and I
never stopped till I got to my room and rolled myself up in the
bedclothes. All the wasps followed me, so that Mr. Travers and Sue and
the rest of them were left in peace, and might have gone to the picnic,
only they felt as if they must come home for arnica, and, besides, the
horses had run away, though they were caught afterwards, and didn't
break anything.

This was all because that lecturer advised me to study wasps. I followed
his directions, and it wasn't my fault that the wasps began to study Mr.
Travers and his aunt, and Sue and Dr. Jones, and me and George. But
father, when he was told about it, said that my "conduct was such," and
the only thing that saved me was that my legs were stung all over, and
father said he didn't have the heart to do any more to them with a
switch.



A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.


I have been in the back bedroom up-stairs all the afternoon, and I am
expecting father every minute. It was just after one o'clock when he
told me to come up-stairs with him, and just then Mr. Thompson came to
get him to go down town with him, and father said I'd have to excuse him
for a little while and don't you go out of that room till I come back.
So I excused him, and he hasn't come back yet; but I've opened one of
the pillows and stuffed my clothes full of feathers, and I don't care
much how soon he comes back now.

It's an awful feeling to be waiting up-stairs for your father, and to
know that you have done wrong, though you really didn't mean to do so
much wrong as you have done. I am willing to own that nobody ought to
take anybody's clothes when he's in swimming, but anyhow they began it
first, and I thought just as much as could be that the clothes were
theirs.

The real boys that are to blame are Joe Wilson and Amzi Willetts. A week
ago Saturday Tom McGinnis and I went in swimming down at the island.
It's a beautiful place. The island is all full of bushes, and on one
side the water is deep, where the big boys go in, and on the other it is
shallow, where we fellows that can't swim very much where the water is
more than two feet deep go in. While Tom and I were swimming, Joe and
Amzi came and stole our clothes, and put them in their boat, and carried
them clear across the deep part of the river. We saw them do it, and we
had an awful time to get the clothes back, and I think it was just as
mean.

Tom and I said we'd get even with them, and I know it was wrong, because
it was a revengeful feeling, but anyhow we said we'd do it; and I don't
think revenge is so very bad when you don't hurt a fellow, and wouldn't
hurt him for anything, and just want to play him a trick that is pretty
nearly almost quite innocent. But I don't say we did right, and when
I've done wrong I'm always ready to say so.

Well, Tom and I watched, and last Saturday we saw Joe and Amzi go down
to the island, and go in swimming on the shallow side; so we waded
across and sneaked down among the bushes, and after a while we saw two
piles of clothes. So we picked them up and ran away with them. The boys
saw us, and made a terrible noise; but we sung out that they'd know now
how it felt to have your clothes carried off, and we waded back across
the river, and carried the clothes up to Amzi's house, and hid them in
his barn, and thought that we'd got even with Joe and Amzi, and taught
them a lesson which would do them a great deal of good, and would make
them good and useful men.

This was in the morning about noon, and when I had my dinner I thought
I'd go and see how the boys liked swimming, and offer to bring back
their clothes if they'd promise to be good friends. I never was more
astonished in my life than I was to find that they were nowhere near the
island. I was beginning to be afraid they'd been drowned, when I heard
some men calling me, and I found Squire Meredith and Amzi Willetts's
father, who is a deacon, hiding among the bushes. They told me that some
villains had stolen their clothes while they were in swimming, and
they'd give me fifty cents if I'd go up to their houses and get their
wives to give me some clothes to bring down to them.

I said I didn't want the fifty cents, but I'd go and try to find some
clothes for them. I meant to go straight up to Amzi's barn and to bring
the clothes back, but on the way I met Amzi with the clothes in a basket
bringing them down to the island, and he said, "Somebody's goin' to be
arrested for stealing father's and Squire Meredith's clothes. I saw the
fellows that stole 'em, and I'm going to tell." You see, Tom and I had
taken the wrong clothes, and Squire Meredith and Deacon Willetts, who
had been in swimming on the deep side of the island, had been about two
hours trying to play they were Zulus, and didn't need to wear any
clothes, only they found it pretty hard work.

Deacon Willetts came straight to our house, and told father that his
unhappy son--that's what he called me, and wasn't I unhappy, though--had
stolen his clothes and Squire Meredith's; but for the sake of our family
he wouldn't say very much about it, only if father thought best to spare
the rods and spoil a child, he wouldn't be able to regard him as a man
and a brother. So father called me and asked me if I had taken Deacon
Willetts's clothes, and when I said yes, and was going to explain how it
happened, he said that my conduct was such, and that I was bringing his
gray hairs down, only I wouldn't hurt them for fifty million dollars,
and I've often heard him say he hadn't a gray hair in his head.

And now I'm waiting up-stairs for the awful moment to arrive. I deserve
it, for they say that Squire Meredith and Deacon Willetts are mornhalf
eaten up by mosquitoes, and are confined to the house with salt and
water, and crying out all the time that they can't stand it. I hope the
feathers will work, but if they don't, no matter. I think I shall be a
missionary, and do good to the heathen. I think I hear father coming in
the front gate now, so I must close.



OUR BULL-FIGHT.


I'm going to stop improving my mind. It gets me into trouble all the
time. Grown-up folks can improve their minds without doing any harm, for
nobody ever tells them that their conduct is such, and that there isn't
the least excuse in the world for them; but just as sure as a boy tries
to improve his mind, especially with animals, he gets into dreadful
difficulties.

There was a man came to our town to lecture a while ago. He had been a
great traveller, and knew all about Rome and Niagara Falls and the North
Pole, and such places, and father said, "Now, Jimmy, here's an
opportunity for you to learn something and improve your mind go and take
your mother and do take an interest in something besides games."

Well, I went to the lecture. The man told all about the Australian
savages and their boomerangs. He showed us a boomerang, which is a stick
with two legs, and an Australian will throw it at a man, and it will go
and hit him, and come back of its own accord. Then he told us about the
way the Zulus throw their assegais--that's the right way to spell
it--and spear an Englishman that is mornten rods away from them. Then he
showed a long string with a heavy lead ball on each end, and said the
South Americans would throw it at a wild horse, and it would wind around
the horse's legs, and tie itself into a bow-knot, and then the South
Americans would catch the horse. But the best of all was the account of
a bull-fight which he saw in Spain, with the Queen sitting on a throne,
and giving a crown of evergreens to the chief bull-fighter. He said that
bull-fighting was awfully cruel, and that he told us about it so that we
might be thankful that we are so much better than those dreadful Spanish
people, who will watch a bull-fight all day, and think it real fun.

The next day I told Mr. Travers about the boomerang, and he said it was
all true. Once there was an Australian savage in a circus, and he got
angry, and he threw his boomerang at a man who was in the third story of
a hotel. The boomerang went down one street and up another, and into the
hotel door, and up-stairs, and knocked the man on the head, and came
back the same way right into the Australian savage's hand.

I was so anxious to show father that I had listened to the lecture that
I made a boomerang just like the one the lecturer had. When it was done,
I went out into the back yard, and slung it at a cat on the roof of our
house. It never touched the cat, but it went right through the
dining-room window, and gave Mr. Travers an awful blow in the eye,
besides hitting Sue on the nose. It stopped right there in the
dining-room, and never came back to me at all, and I don't believe a
word the lecturer said about it. I don't feel courage to tell what
father said about it.

Then I tried to catch Mr. Thompson's dog, that lives next door to us,
with two lead balls tied on the ends of a long string. I didn't hit the
dog any more than I did the cat, but I didn't do any harm except to Mrs.
Thompson's cook, and she ought to be thankful that it was only her arm,
for the doctor said that if the balls had hit her on the head they would
have broken it, and the consequences might have been serious.

It was a good while before I could find anything to make an assegai out
of; but after hunting all over the house, I came across a lovely piece
of bamboo about ten feet long, and just as light as a feather. Then I
got a big knife-blade that hadn't any handle to it, and that had been
lying in father's tool-chest for ever so long, and fastened it on the
end of the bamboo. You wouldn't believe how splendidly I could throw
that assegai, only the wind would take it, and you couldn't tell when
you threw it where it would bring up. I don't see how the Zulus ever
manage to hit an Englishman; but Mr. Travers says that the Englishmen
are all so made that you can't very well miss them. And then perhaps
the Zulus, when they want to hit them, aim at something else. One day I
was practising with the assegai at our barn-door, making believe that it
was an Englishman, when Mr. Carruthers, the butcher, drove by, and the
assegai came down and went through his foot, and pinned it to the wagon.
But he didn't see me, and I guess he got it out after a while, though I
never saw it again.

But what the lecturer taught us about bull-fights was worse than
anything else. Tom McGinnis's father has a terrible bull in the pasture,
and Tom and I agreed that we'd have a bull-fight, only, of course, we
wouldn't hurt the bull. All we wanted to do was to show our parents how
much we had learned about the geography and habits of the Spaniards.

Tom McGinnis's sister Jane, who is twelve years old, and thinks she
knows everything, said she'd be the Queen of Spain, and give Tom and me
evergreen wreaths. I got an old red curtain out of the dining-room, and
divided it with Tom, so that we could wave it in the bull's face. When a
bull runs after a bull-fighter, the other bull-fighter just waves his
red rag, and the bull goes for him and lets the first bull-fighter
escape. The lecturer said that there wasn't any danger so long as one
fellow would always wave a red rag when the bull ran after the other
fellow.

Pretty nearly all the school came down to the pasture to see our
bull-fight. The Queen of Spain sat on the fence, because there wasn't
any other throne, and the rest of the fellows and girls stood behind the
fence. The bull was pretty savage; but Tom and I had our red rags, and
we weren't afraid of him.

As soon as we went into the pasture the bull came for me, with his head
down, and bellowing as if he was out of his mind. Tom rushed up and
waved his red rag, and the bull stopped running after me, and went after
Tom, just as the lecturer said he would.

[Illustration: HE WENT TWENTY FEET RIGHT UP INTO THE AIR.]

I know I ought to have waved my red rag, so as to rescue Tom, but I was
so interested that I forgot all about it, and the bull caught up with
Tom. I should think he went twenty feet right up into the air, and as he
came down he hit the Queen of Spain, and knocked her about six feet
right against Mr. McGinnis, who had come down to the pasture to stop the
fight.

The doctor says they'll all get well, though Tom's legs are all broke,
and his sister's shoulder is out of joint, and Mr. McGinnis has got to
get a new set of teeth. Father didn't do a thing to me--that is, with
anything--but he talked to me till I made up my mind that I'd never try
to learn anything from a lecturer again, not even if he lectures about
Indians and scalping-knives.



OUR BALLOON.


I've made up my mind that half the trouble boys get into is the fault of
the grown-up folks that are always wanting them to improve their minds.

I never improved my mind yet without suffering for it. There was the
time I improved it studying wasps, just as the man who lectured about
wasps and elephants and other insects told me to. If it hadn't been for
that man I never should have thought of studying wasps.

One time our school-teacher told me that I ought to improve my mind by
reading history, so I borrowed the history of _Blackbeard the Pirate_,
and improved my mind for three or four hours every day. After a while
father said, "Bring that book to me, Jimmy, and let's see what you're
reading," and when he saw it, instead of praising me, he-- But what's
the use of remembering our misfortunes? Still, if I was grown up, I
wouldn't get boys into difficulty by telling them to do all sorts of
things.

There was a Professor came to our house the other day. A Professor is a
kind of man who wears spectacles up on the top of his head and takes
snuff and doesn't talk English very plain. I believe Professors come
from somewhere near Germany, and I wish this one had stayed in his own
country. They live mostly on cabbage and such, and Mr. Travers says they
are dreadfully fierce, and that when they are not at war with other
people, they fight among themselves, and go on in the most dreadful way.

This Professor that came to see father didn't look a bit fierce, but Mr.
Travers says that was just his deceitful way, and that if we had had a
valuable old bone or a queer kind of shell in the house, the Professor
would have got up in the night, and stolen it and killed us all in our
beds; but Sue said it was a shame, and that the Professor was a lovely
old gentleman, and there wasn't the least harm in his kissing her.

Well, the Professor was talking after dinner to father about balloons,
and when he saw I was listening, he pretended to be awfully kind, and
told me how to make a fire-balloon, and how he'd often made them and
sent them up in the air; and then he told about a man who went up on
horseback with his horse tied to a balloon; and father said, "Now listen
to the Professor, Jimmy, and improve your mind while you've got a
chance."

The next day Tom McGinnis and I made a balloon just as the Professor had
told me to. It was made out of tissue-paper, and it had a sponge soaked
full of alcohol, and when you set the alcohol on fire the tumefaction of
the air would send the balloon mornamile high. We made it out in the
barn, and thought we'd try it before we said anything to the folks about
it, and then surprise them by showing them what a beautiful balloon we
had, and how we'd improved our minds. Just as it was all ready, Sue's
cat came into the barn, and I remembered the horse that had been tied to
a balloon, and told Tom we'd see if the balloon would take the cat up
with it.

[Illustration: PRESENTLY IT WENT SLOWLY UP.]

So we tied her with a whole lot of things so she would hang under the
balloon without being hurt a bit, and then we took the balloon into the
yard to try it. After the alcohol had burned a little while the balloon
got full of air, and presently it went slowly up. There wasn't a bit of
wind, and when it had gone up about twice as high as the house it stood
still.

You ought to have seen how that cat howled; but she was nothing compared
with Sue when she came out and saw her beloved beast. She screamed to me
to bring her that cat this instant you good-for-nothing cruel little
wretch won't you catch it when father comes home.

Now I'd like to know how I could reach a cat that was a hundred feet up
in the air, but that's all the reasonableness that girls have.

The balloon didn't stay up very long. It began to come slowly down, and
when it struck the ground, the way that cat started on a run for the
barn, and tried to get underneath it with the balloon all on fire behind
her, was something frightful to see. By the time I could get to her and
cut her loose, a lot of hay took fire and began to blaze, and Tom ran
for the fire-engine, crying out "Fire!" with all his might.

The firemen happened to be at the engine-house, though they're generally
all over town, and nobody can find them when there is a fire. They
brought the engine into our yard in about ten minutes, and just as Sue
and the cook and I had put the fire out. But that didn't prevent the
firemen from working with heroic bravery, as our newspaper afterwards
said. They knocked in our dining-room windows with axes, and poured
about a thousand hogsheads of water into the room before we could make
them understand that the fire was down by the barn, and had been put out
before they came.

This was all the Professor's fault, and it has taught me a lesson. The
next time anybody wants me to improve my mind I'll tell him he ought to
be ashamed of himself.



OUR NEW WALK.


For once I have done right. I always used to think that if I stuck to
it, and tried to do what was right, I would hit it some day; but at last
I pretty nearly gave up all hope, and was beginning to believe that no
matter what I did, some of the grown-up folks would tell me that my
conduct was such. But I have done a real useful thing that was just what
father wanted, and he has said that he would overlook it this time.
Perhaps you think that this was not very encouraging to a boy; but if
you had been told to come up-stairs with me my son as often as I have
been, just because you had tried to do right, and hadn't exactly managed
to suit people, you would be very glad to hear your father say that for
once he would overlook it.

Did you ever play you were a ghost? I don't think much of ghosts, and
wouldn't be a bit afraid if I was to see one. There was once a ghost
that used to frighten people dreadfully by hanging himself to a hook in
the wall. He was one of those tall white ghosts, and they are the very
worst kind there is. This one used to come into the spare bedroom of
the house where he lived before he was dead, and after walking round the
room, and making as if he was in dreadfully low spirits, he would take a
rope out of his pocket, and hang himself to a clothes-hook just opposite
the bed, and the person who was in the bed would faint away with fright,
and pull the bedclothes over his head, and be in the most dreadful agony
until morning, when he would get up, and people would say, "Why how
dreadful you look your hair is all gray and you are whiternany sheet."
One time a man came to stay at the house who wasn't afraid of anything,
and he said, "I'll fix that ghost of yours; I'm a terror on wooden
wheels when any ghosts are around, I am." So he was put to sleep in the
room, and before he went to bed he loosened the hook, so that it would
come down very easy, and then he sat up in bed and read till twelve
o'clock. Just when the clock struck, the ghost came in and walked up and
down as usual, and finally got out his rope and hung himself; but as
soon as he kicked away the chair he stood on when he hung himself, down
came the hook, and the ghost fell all in a heap on the floor, and
sprained his ankle, and got up and limped away, dreadfully ashamed, and
nobody ever saw him again.

Father has been having the front garden walk fixed with an askfelt
pavement. Askfelt is something like molasses, only four times as sticky
when it is new. After a while it grows real hard, only ours hasn't
grown very hard yet. I watched the men put it down, and father said, "Be
careful and don't step on it until it gets hard or you'll stick fast in
it and can't ever get out again. I'd like to see half a dozen meddlesome
boys stuck in it and serve them right." As soon as I heard dear father
mention what he'd like, I determined that he should have his wish, for
there is nothing that is more delightful to a good boy than to please
his father.

That afternoon I mentioned to two or three boys that I knew were pretty
bad boys that our melons were ripe, and that father was going to pick
them in a day or two. The melon patch is at the back of the house, and
after dark I dressed myself in one of mother's gowns, and hid in the
wood-shed. About eleven o'clock I heard a noise, and looked out, and
there were six boys coming in the back gate, and going for the melon
patch. I waited till they were just ready to begin, and then I came out
and said, in a hollow and protuberant voice, "Beware!"

They dropped the melons, and started to run, but they couldn't get to
the back gate without passing close to me, and I knew they wouldn't try
that. So they started to run round the house to the front gate, and I
ran after them. When they reached the new front walk, they seemed to
stop all of a sudden, and two or three of them fell down.

[Illustration: PRYING THE BOYS OUT.]

I didn't wait to hear what they had to say, but went quietly back, and
got into the house through the kitchen-window, and went up-stairs to my
room. I could hear them whispering, and now and then one or two of them
would cry a little; but I thought it wouldn't be honorable to listen to
them, so I went to sleep.

In the morning there were five boys stuck in the askfelt, and frightened
'most to death. I got up early, and called father, and told him that
there seemed to be something the matter with his new walk. When he came
out and saw five boys caught in the pavement, and an extra pair of shoes
that belonged to another boy who had wriggled out of them and gone away
and left them, he was the most astonished man you ever saw. I told him
how I had caught the boys stealing melons, and had played I was a ghost
and frightened them away, and he said that if I'd help the coachman pry
the boys out, he would overlook it. So he sat upon the piazza and
overlooked the coachman and me while we pried the boys out, and they
came out awfully hard, and the askfelt is full of pieces of trousers and
things. I don't believe it will ever be a handsome walk; but whenever
father looks at it he will think what a good boy I have been, which will
give him more pleasure than a hundred new askfelt walks.



A STEAM CHAIR.


I don't like Mr. Travers as much as I did. Of course I know he's a very
nice man, and he's going to be my brother when he marries Sue, and he
used to bring me candy sometimes, but he isn't what he used to be.

One time--that was last summer--he was always dreadfully anxious to hear
from the Post-office, and whenever he came to see Sue, and he and she
and I would be sitting on the front piazza, he would say, "Jimmy, I
think there must be a letter for me; I'll give you ten cents if you'll
go down to the Post-office;" and then Sue would say, "Don't run, Jimmy;
you'll get heart disease if you do;" and I'd walk 'way down to the
Post-office, which is pretty near half a mile from our house. But now he
doesn't seem to care anything about his letters; and he and Sue sit in
the back parlor, and mother says I mustn't go in and disturb them; and I
don't get any more ten cents.

I've learned that it won't do to fix your affections on human beings,
for even the best of men won't keep on giving you ten cents forever. And
it wasn't fair for Mr. Travers to get angry with me the other night,
when it was all an accident--at least 'most all of it; and I don't think
it's manly for a man to stand by and see a sister shake a fellow that
isn't half her size, and especially when he never supposed that anything
was going to happen to her even if it did break.

When Aunt Eliza came to our house the last time, she brought a steam
chair: that's what she called it, though there wasn't any steam about
it. She brought it from Europe with her, and it was the queerest sort of
chair, that would all fold up, and had a kind of footstool to it, so
that you put your legs out and just lie down in it. Well, one day it got
broken. The back of the seat fell down, and shut Aunt Eliza up in the
chair so she couldn't get out, and didn't she just howl till somebody
came and helped her! She was so angry that she said she never wanted to
see that chair again, and you may have it if you want it Jimmy for you
are a good boy sometimes when you want to be.

So I took the chair and mended it. The folks laughed at me, and said I
couldn't mend it to save my life; but I got some nails and some
mucilage, and mended it elegantly. Then mother let me get some varnish,
and I varnished the chair, and when it was done it looked so nice that
Sue said we'd keep it in the back parlor. Now I'm never allowed to sit
in the back parlor, so what good would my chair do me? But Sue said,
"Stuff and nonsense that boy's indulged now till he can't rest." So they
put my chair in the back parlor, just as if I'd been mending it on
purpose for Mr. Travers. I didn't say anything more about it; but after
it was in the back parlor I took out one or two screws that I thought
were not needed to hold it together, and used them for a boat that I was
making.

That night Mr. Travers came as usual, and after he had talked to mother
awhile about the weather, and he and father had agreed that it was a
shame that other folks hadn't given more money to the Michigan
sufferers, and that they weren't quite sure that the sufferers were a
worthy object, and that a good deal of harm was done by giving away
money to all sorts of people, Sue said,

"Perhaps we had better go into the back parlor; it is cooler there, and
we won't disturb father, who wants to think about something."

So she and Mr. Travers went into the back parlor, and shut the door, and
talked very loud at first about a whole lot of things, and then quieted
down, as they always did.

I was in the front parlor, reading "Robinson Crusoe," and wishing I
could go and do likewise--like Crusoe, I mean; for I wouldn't go and sit
quietly in a back parlor with a girl, like Mr. Travers, not if you were
to pay me for it. I can't see what some fellows see in Sue. I'm sure
if Mr. Martin or Mr. Travers had her pull their hair once the way she
pulls mine sometimes, they wouldn't trust themselves alone with her very
soon.

All at once we heard a dreadful crash in the back parlor, and Mr.
Travers said Good something very loud, and Sue shrieked as if she had a
needle run into her. Father and mother and I and the cook and the
chambermaid all rushed to see what was the matter.

[Illustration: IT HAD SHUT UP LIKE A JACK-KNIFE.]

The chair that I had mended, and that Sue had taken away from me, had
broken down while Mr. Travers was sitting in it, and it had shut up like
a jack-knife, and caught him so he couldn't get out. It had caught Sue
too, who must have run to help him, or she never would have been in that
fix, with Mr. Travers holding her by the waist, and her arm wedged in so
she couldn't pull it away.

Father managed to get them loose, and then Sue caught me and shook me
till I could hear my teeth rattle, and then she ran up-stairs and locked
herself up; and Mr. Travers never offered to help me, but only said,
"I'll settle with you some day, young man," and then he went home. But
father sat down on the sofa and laughed, and said to mother,

"I guess Sue would have done better if she'd have let the boy keep his
chair."



ANIMALS.


I should like to be an animal. Not an insect, of course, nor a snake,
but a nice kind of animal, like an elephant or a dog with a good master.

Animals are awfully intelligent, but they haven't any souls. There was
once an elephant in a circus, and one day a boy said to him, "Want a
lump of sugar, old fellow?" The elephant he nodded, and felt real
grateful, for elephants are very fond of lump-sugar, which is what they
live on in their native forests. But the boy put a cigar instead of a
lump of sugar in his mouth.

The sagacious animal, instead of eating up the cigar or trying to smoke
it and making himself dreadfully sick, took it and carried it across the
circus to a man who kept a candy and cigar stand, and made signs that
he'd sell the cigar for twelve lumps of sugar. The man gave the elephant
the sugar and took the cigar, and then the intelligent animal sat down
on his hind-legs and laughed at the boy who had tried to play a joke on
him, until the boy felt that much ashamed that he went right home and
went to bed.

In the days when there were fairies--only I don't believe there ever
were any fairies, and Mr. Travers says they were rubbish--boys were
frequently changed into animals. There was once a boy who did something
that made a wicked fairy angry, and she changed him into a cat, and
thought she had punished him dreadfully. But the boy after he was a cat
used to come and get on her back fence and yowl as if he was ten or
twelve cats all night long, and she couldn't get a wink of sleep, and
fell into a fever, and had to take lots of castor-oil and dreadful
medicines.

So she sent for the boy who was a cat, you understand, and said she'd
change him back again. But he said, "Oh no; I'd much rather be a cat,
for I'm so fond of singing on the back fence." And the end of it was
that she had to give him a tremendous pile of money before he'd consent
to be changed back into a boy again.

Boys can play being animals, and it's great fun, only the other boys who
don't play they are animals get punished for it, and I say it's unjust,
especially as I never meant any harm at all, and was doing my very best
to amuse the children.

This is the way it happened. Aunt Sarah came to see us the other day,
and brought her three boys with her. I don't think you ever heard of
Aunt Sarah, and I wish I never had. She's one of father's sisters, and
he thinks a great deal more of her than I would if she was my sister,
and I don't think it's much credit to anybody to be a sister anyway. The
boys are twins, that is, two of them are, and they are all about three
or four years old.

Well, one day just before Christmas, when it was almost as warm
out-doors as it is in summer, Aunt Sarah said,

"Jimmy, I want you to take the dear children out and amuse them a few
hours. I know you're so fond of your dear little cousins and what a fine
manly boy you are!" So I took them out, though I didn't want to waste my
time with little children, for we are responsible for wasting time, and
ought to use every minute to improve ourselves.

The boys wanted to see the pigs that belong to Mr. Taylor, who lives
next door, so I took them through a hole in the fence, and they looked
at the pigs, and one of them said,

"Oh my how sweet they are and how I would like to be a little pig and
never be washed and have lots of swill!"

So I said, "Why don't you play you are pigs, and crawl round and grunt?
It's just as easy, and I'll look at you."

You see, I thought I ought to amuse them, and that this would be a nice
way to teach them to amuse themselves.

Well, they got down on all fours and ran round and grunted, until they
began to get tired of it, and then wanted to know what else pigs could
do, so I told them that pigs generally rolled in the mud, and the more
mud a pig could get on himself the happier he would be, and that
there was a mud puddle in our back yard that would make a pig cry like a
child with delight.

The boys went straight to that mud puddle, and they rolled in the mud
until there wasn't an inch of them that wasn't covered with mud so thick
that you would have to get a crowbar to pry it off.

[Illustration: "WE'VE BEEN PLAYING WE WERE PIGS, MA."]

Just then Aunt Sarah came to the door and called them, and when she saw
them she said, "Good gracious what on earth have you been doing?" and
Tommy, that's the oldest boy, said,

"We've been playing we were pigs ma and it's real fun and wasn't Jimmy
good to show us how?"

I think they had to boil the boys in hot water before they could get the
mud off, and their clothes have all got to be sent to the poor people
out West whose things were all lost in the great floods. If you'll
believe it, I never got the least bit of thanks for showing the boys how
to amuse themselves, but Aunt Sarah said that I'd get something when
father came home, and she wasn't mistaken. I'd rather not mention what
it was that I got, but I got it mostly on the legs, and I think bamboo
canes ought not to be sold to fathers any more than poison.

I was going to tell why I should like to be an animal; but as it is
getting late, I must close.



A PLEASING EXPERIMENT.


Every time I try to improve my mind with science I resolve that I will
never do it again, and then I always go and do it. Science is so
dreadfully tempting that you can hardly resist it. Mr. Travers says that
if anybody once gets into the habit of being a scientific person there
is little hope that he will ever reform, and he says he has known good
men who became habitual astronomers, and actually took to prophesying
weather, all because they yielded to the temptation to look through
telescopes, and to make figures on the black-board with chalk.

I was reading a lovely book the other day. It was all about balloons and
parachutes. A parachute is a thing that you fall out of a balloon with.
It is something like an open umbrella, only nobody ever borrows it. If
you hold a parachute over your head and drop out of a balloon, it will
hold you up so that you will come down to the ground so gently that you
won't be hurt the least bit.

I told Tom McGinnis about it, and we said we would make a parachute, and
jump out of the second-story window with it. It is easy enough to make
one, for all you have to do is to get a big umbrella and open it wide,
and hold on to the handle. Last Saturday afternoon Tom came over to my
house, and we got ready to try what the book said was "a pleasing
scientific experiment."

We didn't have the least doubt that the book told the truth. But Tom
didn't want to be the first to jump out of the window--neither did
I--and we thought we'd give Sue's kitten a chance to try a parachute,
and see how she liked it. Sue had an umbrella that was made of silk, and
was just the thing to suit the kitten. I knew Sue wouldn't mind lending
the umbrella, and as she was out making calls, and I couldn't ask her
permission, I borrowed the umbrella and the kitten, and meant to tell
her all about it as soon as she came home. We tied the kitten fast to
the handle of the umbrella, so as not to hurt her, and then dropped her
out of the window. The wind was blowing tremendously hard, which I
supposed was a good thing, for it is the air that holds up a parachute,
and of course the more wind there is, the more air there is, and the
better the parachute will stay up.

The minute we dropped the cat and the umbrella out of the window, the
wind took them and blew them clear over the back fence into Deacon
Smedley's pasture before they struck the ground. This was all right
enough, but the parachute didn't stop after it struck the ground. It
started across the country about as fast as a horse could run, hitting
the ground every few minutes, and then bouncing up into the air and
coming down again, and the kitten kept clawing at everything, and
yowling as if she was being killed. By the time Tom and I could get
down-stairs the umbrella was about a quarter of a mile off. We chased it
till we couldn't run any longer, but we couldn't catch it, and the last
we saw of the umbrella and the cat they were making splendid time
towards the river, and I'm very much afraid they were both drowned.

Tom and I came home again, and when we got a little rested we said we
would take the big umbrella and try the pleasing scientific experiment;
at least I said that Tom ought to try it, for we had proved that a
little silk umbrella would let a kitten down to the ground without
hurting her, and of course a great big umbrella would hold Tom up all
right. I didn't care to try it myself, because Tom was visiting me, and
we ought always to give up our own pleasures in order to make our
visitors happy.

After a while Tom said he would do it, and when everything was ready he
sat on the window-ledge, with his legs hanging out, and when the wind
blew hard he jumped.

[Illustration: HE LIT RIGHT ON THE HAN'S HEAD.]

It is my opinion, now that the thing is all over, that the umbrella
wasn't large enough, and that if Tom had struck the ground he would
have been hurt. He went down awfully fast, but by good-luck the grocer's
man was just coming out of the kitchen-door as Tom came down, and he lit
right on the man's head. It is wonderful how lucky some people are, for
the grocer's man might have been hurt if he hadn't happened to have a
bushel basket half full of eggs with him, and as he and Tom both fell
into the eggs, neither of them was hurt.

They were just getting out from among the eggs when Sue came in with
some of the ribs of her umbrella that somebody had fished out of the
river and given to her. There didn't seem to be any kitten left, for Sue
didn't know anything about it, but father and Mr. McGinnis came in a few
minutes afterwards, and I had to explain the whole thing to them.

This is the last "pleasing scientific experiment" I shall ever try. I
don't think science is at all nice, and, besides, I am awfully sorry
about the kitten.



TRAPS.


A boy ought always to stand up for his sister, and protect her from
everybody, and do everything to make her happy, for she can only be his
sister once, and he would be so awfully sorry if she died and then he
remembered that his conduct towards her had sometimes been such.

Mr. Withers doesn't come to our house any more. One night Sue saw him
coming up the garden-walk, and father said, "There's the other one
coming, Susan; isn't this Travers's evening?" and then Sue said, "I do
wish somebody would protect me from him he is that stupid don't I wish I
need never lay eyes on him again."

I made up my mind that nobody should bother my sister while she had a
brother to protect her. So the next time I saw Mr. Withers I spoke to
him kindly and firmly--that's the way grown-up people speak when they
say something dreadfully unpleasant--and told him what Sue had said
about him, and that he ought not to bother her any more. Mr. Withers
didn't thank me and say that he knew I was trying to do him good, which
was what he ought to have said, but he looked as if he wanted to hurt
somebody, and walked off without saying a word to me, and I don't think
he was polite about it.

He has never been at our house since. When I told Sue how I had
protected her she was so overcome with gratitude that she couldn't
speak, and just motioned me with a book to go out of her room and leave
her to feel thankful about it by herself. The book very nearly hit me on
the head, but it wouldn't have hurt much if it had.

Mr. Travers was delighted about it, and told me that I had acted like a
man, and that he shouldn't forget it. The next day he brought me a
beautiful book all about traps. It told how to make mornahundred
different kinds of traps that would catch everything, and it was one of
the best books I ever saw.

Our next-door neighbor, Mr. Schofield, keeps pigs, only he don't keep
them enough, for they run all around. They come into our garden and eat
up everything, and father said he would give almost anything to get rid
of them.

Now one of the traps that my book told about was just the thing to catch
pigs with. It was made out of a young tree and a rope. You bend the tree
down and fasten the rope to it so as to make a slippernoose, and when
the pig walks into the slippernoose the tree flies up and jerks him into
the air.

I thought that I couldn't please father better than to make some traps
and catch some pigs; so I got a rope, and got two Irishmen that were
fixing the front walk to bend down two trees for me and hold them while
I made the traps. This was just before supper, and I expected that the
pigs would come early the next morning and get caught.

It was bright moonlight that evening, and Mr. Travers and Sue said the
house was so dreadfully hot that they would go and take a walk. They
hadn't been out of the house but a few minutes when we heard an awful
shriek from Sue, and we all rushed out to see what was the matter.

Mr. Travers had walked into a trap, and was swinging by one leg, with
his head about six feet from the ground. Nobody knew him at first except
me, for when a person is upside down he doesn't look natural; but I knew
what was the matter, and told father that it would take two men to bend
down the tree and get Mr. Travers loose. So they told me to run and get
Mr. Schofield to come and help, and they got the step-ladder so that Sue
could sit on the top of it and hold Mr. Travers's head.

I was so excited that I forgot all about the other trap, and, besides,
Sue had said things to me that hurt my feelings, and that prevented me
from thinking to tell Mr. Schofield not to get himself caught. He ran
ahead of me, because he was so anxious to help, and the first thing I
knew there came an awful yell from him, and up he went into the air,
and hung there by both legs, which I suppose was easier than the way Mr.
Travers hung.

Then everybody went at me in the most dreadful way, except Sue, who was
holding Mr. Travers's head. They said the most unkind things to me, and
sent me into the house. I heard afterwards that father got Mr.
Schofield's boy to climb up and cut Mr. Travers and Mr. Schofield loose,
and they fell on the gravel, but it didn't hurt them much, only Mr.
Schofield broke some of his teeth, and says he is going to bring a
lawsuit against father. Mr. Travers was just as good as he could be. He
only laughed the next time he saw me, and he begged them not to punish
me, because it was his fault that I ever came to know about that kind of
trap.

Mr. Travers is the nicest man that ever lived, except father, and when
he marries Sue I shall go and live with him, though I haven't told him
yet, for I want to keep it as a pleasant surprise for him.



AN ACCIDENT.


Aunt Eliza never comes to our house without getting me into
difficulties. I don't really think she means to do it, but it gets
itself done just the same. She was at our house last week, and though I
meant to behave in the most exemplifying manner, I happened by accident
to do something which she said ought to fill me with remorse for the
rest of my days.

Remorse is a dreadful thing to have. Some people have it so bad that
they never get over it. There was once a ghost who suffered dreadfully
from remorse. He was a tall white ghost, with a large cotton umbrella.
He haunted a house where he used to walk up and down, carrying his
umbrella and looking awfully solemn. People used to wonder what he
wanted of an umbrella, but they never asked him, because they always
shrieked and fainted away when they saw the ghost, and when they were
brought to cried, "Save me take it away take it away."

One time a boy came to the house to spend Christmas. He was just a
terror, was this boy. He had been a District Telegraph Messenger boy,
and he wasn't afraid of anything. The folks told him about the ghost,
but he said he didn't care for any living ghost, and had just as soon
see him as not.

That night the boy woke up, and saw the ghost standing in his bedroom,
and he said, "Thishyer is nice conduct, coming into a gentleman's room
without knocking. What do you want, anyway?"

The ghost replied in the most respectful way that he wanted to find the
owner of the umbrella. "I stole that umbrella when I was alive," he
said, "and I am filled with remorse."

"I should think you would be," said the boy, "for it is the worst old
cotton umbrella I ever saw."

"If I can only find the owner and give it back to him," continued the
ghost, "I can get a little rest; but I've been looking for him for
ninety years, and I can't find him."

"Serves you right," said the boy, "for not sending for a messenger.
You're in luck to meet me. Gimme the umbrella, and I'll give it back to
the owner."

"Bless you," said the ghost, handing the umbrella to the boy; "you have
saved me. Now I will go away and rest," and he turned to go out of the
door, when the boy said,

"See here; it's fifty cents for taking an umbrella home, and I've got to
be paid in advance."

"But I haven't got any money," said the ghost.

"Can't help that," said the boy. "You give me fifty cents, or else take
your umbrella back again. We don't do any work in our office for
nothing."

Well, the end of it all was that the ghost left the umbrella with the
boy, and the next night he came back with the money, though where he got
it nobody will ever know. The boy kept the money, and threw the umbrella
away, for he was a real bad boy, and only made believe that he was going
to find the owner, and the ghost was never seen again.

But I haven't told about the trouble with Aunt Eliza yet. The day she
came to our house mother bought a lot of live crabs from a man, and put
them in a pail in the kitchen. Tom McGinnis was spending the day with
me, and I said to him what fun it would be to have crab races, such as
we used to have down at the sea-shore last summer. He said wouldn't it,
though; so each of us took three crabs, and went up-stairs into the
spare bedroom, where we could be sure of not being disturbed. We had a
splendid time with the crabs, and I won more than half the races. All of
a sudden I heard mother calling me, and Tom and I just dropped the crabs
into an empty work-basket, and pushed it under the sofa out of sight,
and then went down-stairs.

I meant to get the crabs and take them back to the kitchen again, but
I forgot all about it, for Aunt Eliza came just after mother had called
me, and everybody was busy talking to her. Of course she was put into
the spare room, and as she was very tired, she said she'd lie down on
the sofa until dinner-time and take her hair down.

[Illustration: HE PINCHED JUST AS HARD AS HE COULD PINCH.]

About an hour afterwards we heard the most dreadful cries from Aunt
Eliza's room, and everybody rushed up-stairs, because they thought she
must certainly be dead. Mother opened the door, and we all went in. Aunt
Eliza was standing in the middle of the floor, and jumping up and down,
and crying and shrieking at the top of her voice. One crab was hanging
on to one of her fingers, and he pinched just as hard as he could pinch,
and there were two more hanging on to the ends of her hair. You see, the
crabs had got out of the work-basket, and some of them had climbed up
the sofa while Aunt Eliza was asleep.

Of course they said it was all my fault, and perhaps it was. But I'd
like to know if it's a fair thing to leave crabs where they can tempt a
fellow, and then to be severe with him when he forgets to put them back.
However, I forgive everybody, especially Aunt Eliza, who really doesn't
mean any harm.



A PILLOW FIGHT.


We've been staying at the sea-shore for a week, and having a beautiful
time. I love the sea-shore, only it would be a great deal nicer if there
wasn't any sea; then you wouldn't have to go in bathing. I don't like to
go in bathing, for you get so awfully wet, and the water chokes you.
Then there are ticks on the sea-shore in the grass. A tick is an insect
that begins and bites you, and never stops till you're all ettup, and
then you die, and the tick keeps on growing bigger all the time.

There was once a boy and a tick got on him and bit him, and kept on
biting for three or four days, and it ettup the boy till the tick was
almost as big as the boy had been, and the boy wasn't any bigger than a
marble, and he died, and his folks felt dreadfully about it. I never saw
a tick, but I know that there are lots of them on the sea-shore, and
that's reason enough not to like it.

We stayed at a boarding-house while we were at the sea-shore. A
boarding-house is a place where they give you pure country air and a few
vegetables and a little meat, and I say give me a jail where they feed
you if they do keep you shut up in the dark. There were a good many
people in our boarding-house, and I slept up-stairs on the third story
with three other boys, and there were two more boys on the second story,
and that's the way all the trouble happened.

There is nothing that is better fun than a pillow fight; that is, when
you're home and have got your own pillows, and know they're not loaded,
as Mr. Travers says. He was real good about it, too, and I sha'n't
forget it, for 'most any man would have been awfully mad, but he just
made as if he didn't care, only Sue went on about it as if I was the
worst boy that ever lived.

You see, we four boys on the third story thought it would be fun to have
a pillow fight with the two boys on the second story. We waited till
everybody had gone to bed, and then we took our pillows and went out
into the hall just as quiet as could be, only Charley Thompson he fell
over a trunk in the hall and made a tremendous noise. One of the
boarders opened his door and said who's there, but we didn't answer, and
presently he said "I suppose it's that cat people ought to be ashamed of
themselves to keep such animals," and shut his door again.

After a little while Charley was able to walk, though his legs were
dreadfully rough where he'd scraped them against the trunk. So we crept
down-stairs and went into the boys' room, and began to pound them with
the pillows.

They knew what was the matter, and jumped right up and got their
pillows, and went at us so fierce that they drove us out into the hall.
Of course this made a good deal of noise, for we knocked over the
wash-stand in the room, and upset a lot of lamps that were on the table
in the hall, and every time I hit one of the boys he would say "Ouch!"
so loud that anybody that was awake could hear him. We fought all over
the hall, and as we began to get excited we made so much noise that Mr.
Travers got up and came out to make us keep quiet.

It was pretty dark in the hall, and though I knew Mr. Travers, I thought
he couldn't tell me from the other boys, and I thought I would just give
him one good whack on the head, and then we'd all run up-stairs. He
wouldn't know who hit him, and, besides, who ever heard of a fellow
being hurt with a pillow?

So I stood close up by the wall till he came near me, and then I gave
him a splendid bang over the head. It sounded as if you had hit a fellow
with a club, and Mr. Travers dropped to the floor with an awful crash,
and never spoke a word.

[Illustration: I NEVER WAS SO FRIGHTENED IN MY LIFE.]

I never was so frightened in my life, for I thought Mr. Travers was
killed. I called murder help fire, and every body ran out of their
rooms, and fell over trunks, and there was the most awful time you ever
dreamed of. At last somebody got a lamp, and somebody else got some
water and picked Mr. Travers up and carried him into his room, and then
he came to and said, "Where am I Susan what is the matter O now I know."

He was all right, only he had a big bump on one side of his head, and he
said that it was all an accident, and that he wouldn't have Sue scold
me, and that it served him right for not remembering that boarding-house
pillows are apt to be loaded.

The next morning he made me bring him my pillow, and then he found out
how it came to hurt him. All the chicken bones, and the gravel-stones,
and the chunks of wood that were in the pillow had got down into one end
of it while we were having the fight, and when I hit Mr. Travers they
happened to strike him on his head where it was thin, and knocked him
senseless. Nobody can tell how glad I am that he wasn't killed, and it's
a warning to me never to have pillow fights except with pillows that I
know are not loaded with chicken bones and things.

I forgot to say that after that night my mother and all the boys'
mothers took all the pillows away from us, for they said they were too
dangerous to be left where boys could get at them.



SUE'S WEDDING.


Sue ought to have been married a long while ago. That's what everybody
says who knows her. She has been engaged to Mr. Travers for three years,
and has had to refuse lots of offers to go to the circus with other
young men. I have wanted her to get married, so that I could go and live
with her and Mr. Travers. When I think that if it hadn't been for a
mistake I made she would have been married yesterday, I find it
dreadfully hard to be resigned. But we ought always to be resigned to
everything when we can't help it.

Before I go any further I must tell about my printing-press. It belonged
to Tom McGinnis, but he got tired of it and sold it to me real cheap. He
was going to write to the YOUNG PEOPLE's Post-office Box and offer to
exchange it for a bicycle, a St. Bernard dog, and twelve good books, but
he finally let me have it for a dollar and a half.

It prints beautifully, and I have printed cards for ever so many people,
and made three dollars and seventy cents already. I thought it would be
nice to be able to print circus bills in case Tom and I should ever have
another circus, so I sent to the city and bought some type mornaninch
high, and some beautiful yellow paper.

Last week it was finally agreed that Sue and Mr. Travers should be
married without waiting any longer. You should have seen what a state of
mind she and mother were in. They did nothing but buy new clothes, and
sew, and talk about the wedding all day long. Sue was determined to be
married in church, and to have six bridesmaids and six bridegrooms, and
flowers and music and things till you couldn't rest. The only thing that
troubled her was making up her mind who to invite. Mother wanted her to
invite Mr. and Mrs. McFadden and the seven McFadden girls, but Sue said
they had insulted her, and she couldn't bear the idea of asking the
McFadden tribe. Everybody agreed that old Mr. Wilkinson, who once came
to a party at our house with one boot and one slipper, couldn't be
invited; but it was decided that every one else that was on good terms
with our family should have an invitation.

Sue counted up all the people she meant to invite, and there was nearly
three hundred of them. You would hardly believe it, but she told me that
I must carry around all the invitations and deliver them myself. Of
course I couldn't do this without neglecting my studies and losing
time, which is always precious, so I thought of a plan which would save
Sue the trouble of directing three hundred invitations and save me from
wasting time in delivering them.

I got to work with my printing-press, and printed a dozen splendid big
bills about the wedding. When they were printed I cut a lot of small
pictures of animals and ladies riding on horses out of some old circus
bills and pasted them on the wedding bills. They were perfectly
gorgeous, and you could see them four or five rods off. When they were
all done I made some paste in a tin pail, and went out after dark and
pasted them in good places all over the village. I put one on Mr.
Wilkinson's front-door, and one on the fence opposite the McFaddens'
house, so they would be sure to see it.

[Illustration: SHE GAVE AN AWFUL SHRIEK AND FAINTED AWAY.]

The next afternoon father came into the house looking very stern, and
carrying one of the wedding bills in his hand. He handed it to Sue and
said, "Susan, what does this mean? These bills are pasted all over the
village, and there are crowds of people reading them." Sue read the
bill, and then she gave an awful shriek, and fainted away, and I hurried
down to the post-office to see if the mail had come in. This is what was
on the wedding bills, and I am sure it was spelled all right:

  Miss Susan Brown announces that she will marry

  Mr. James Travers

  at the Church next Thursday at half past seven, sharp.

  All the Friends of the Family

  With the exception of

  the McFadden tribe and old Mr. Wilkinson

  are invited.

  Come early and bring

  Lots of Flowers.

Now what was there to find fault with in that? It was printed
beautifully, and every word was spelled right, with the exception of the
name of the church, and I didn't put that in because I wasn't quite sure
how to spell it. The bill saved Sue all the trouble of sending out
invitations, and it said everything that anybody could want to know
about the wedding. Any other girl but Sue would have been pleased, and
would have thanked me for all my trouble, but she was as angry as if I
had done something real bad. Mr. Travers was almost as angry as Sue, and
it was the first time he was ever angry with me. I am afraid now that he
won't let me ever come and live with him. He hasn't said a word about my
coming since the wedding bills were put up. As for the wedding, it has
been put off, and Sue says she will go to New York to be married, for
she would perfectly die if she were to have a wedding at home after
that boy's dreadful conduct. What is worse, I am to be sent away to
boarding-school, and all because I made a mistake in printing the
wedding bills without first asking Sue how she would like to have them
printed.



OUR NEW DOG.


I've had another dog. That makes three dogs that I've had, and I haven't
been allowed to keep any of them. Grown-up folks don't seem to care how
much a boy wants society. Perhaps if they were better acquainted with
dogs they'd understand boys better than they do.

About a month ago there were lots of burglars in our town, and father
said he believed he'd have to get a dog. Mr. Withers told father he'd
get a dog for him, and the next day he brought the most beautiful
Siberian blood-hound you ever saw.

The first night we had him we chained him up in the yard, and the
neighbors threw things at him all night. Nobody in our house got a wink
of sleep, for the dog never stopped barking except just long enough to
yell when something hit him. There was mornascuttleful of big lumps of
coal in the yard in the morning, besides seven old boots, two chunks of
wood, and a bushel of broken crockery.

Father said that the house was the proper place for the dog at night; so
the next night we left him in the front hall. He didn't bark any all
night, but he got tired of staying in the front hall, and wandered all
over the house. I suppose he felt lonesome, for he came into my room,
and got on to the bed, and nearly suffocated me. I woke up dreaming that
I was in a melon patch, and had to eat three hundred green watermelons
or be sent to jail, and it was a great comfort when I woke up and found
it was only the dog. He knocked the water-pitcher over with his tail in
the morning, and then thought he saw a cat under my bed, and made such
an awful noise that father came up, and told me I ought to be ashamed to
disturb the whole family so early in the morning. After that the dog was
locked up in the kitchen at night, and father had to come down early and
let him out, because the cook didn't dare to go into the kitchen.

We let him run loose in the yard in the daytime, until he had an
accident with Mr. Martin. We'd all been out to take tea and spend the
evening with the Wilkinsons, and when we got home about nine o'clock,
there was Mr. Martin standing on the piazza, with the dog holding on to
his cork-leg. Mr. Martin had come to the house to make a call at about
seven o'clock, and as soon as he stepped on the piazza the dog caught
him by the leg without saying a word. Every once in a while the dog
would let go just long enough to spit out a few pieces of cork and take
a fresh hold, but Mr. Martin didn't dare to stir for fear he would
take hold of the other leg, which of course would have hurt more than
the cork one. Mr. Martin was a good deal tired and discouraged, and
couldn't be made to understand that the dog thought he was a burglar,
and tried to do his duty, as we should all try to do.

The way I came to lose the dog was this: Aunt Eliza came to see us last
week, and brought her little boy Harry, who once went bee-hunting with
me. Harry, as I told you, is six years old, and he isn't so bad as he
might be considering his age. The second day after they came, Harry and
I were in Tom McGinnis's yard, when Tom said he knew where there was a
woodchuck down in the pasture, and suppose we go and hunt him. So I told
Harry to go home and get the dog, and bring him down to the pasture
where Tom said the woodchuck lived. I told him to untie the dog--for we
had kept him tied up since his accident with Mr. Martin--and to keep
tight hold of the rope, so that the dog couldn't get away from him.
Harry said he'd tie the rope around his waist, and then the dog couldn't
possibly pull it away from him, and Tom and I both said it was a good
plan.

[Illustration: HOW THAT DOG DID PULL!]

Well, we waited for that boy and the dog till six o'clock, and they
never came. When I got home everybody wanted to know what had become of
Harry. He was gone and the dog was gone, and nobody knew where they
were, and Aunt Eliza was crying, and said she knew that horrid dog had
eaten her boy up. Father and I and Mr. Travers had to go and hunt for
Harry. We hunted all over the town, and at last a man told us that he
had seen a boy and a dog going on a run across Deacon Smith's
corn-field. So we went through the corn-field and found their track, for
they had broken down the corn just as if a wagon had driven through it.
When we came to the fence on the other side of the field we found Harry
on one side of the fence and the dog on the other. Harry had tied the
dog's rope round his waist, and couldn't untie it again, and the dog had
run away with him. When they came to the fence the dog had squeezed
through a hole that was too small for Harry, and wouldn't come back
again. So they were both caught in a trap. How that dog did pull! Harry
was almost cut in two, for the dog kept pulling at the rope all the time
with all his might.

When we got home Aunt Eliza said that either she or that brute must
leave, and father gave the dog away to the butcher. He was the most
elegant dog I ever had, and I don't suppose I shall ever have another.



LIGHTNING.


Mr. Franklin was one of the greatest men that ever lived. He could carry
a loaf of bread in each hand and eat another, all at the same time, and
he could invent anything that anybody wanted, without hurting himself or
cutting his fingers. His greatest invention was lightning, and he
invented it with a kite. He made a kite with sticks made out of
telegraph wire, and sent it up in a thunder-storm till it reached where
the lightning is. The lightning ran down the string, and Franklin
collected it in a bottle, and sold it for ever so much money. So he got
very rich after a while, and could buy the most beautiful and expensive
kites that any fellow ever had.

I read about Mr. Franklin in a book that father gave me. He said I was
reading too many stories, and just you take this book and read it
through carefully and I hope it will do you some good anyway it will
keep you out of mischief.

I thought that it would please father if I should get some lightning
just as Franklin did. I told Tom McGinnis about it, and he said he
would help if I would give him half of all I made by selling the
lightning. I wouldn't do this, of course, but finally Tom said he'd help
me anyhow, and trust me to pay him a fair price; so we went to work.

We made a tremendously big kite, and the first time there came a
thunder-storm we put it up; but the paper got wet, and it came down
before it got up to the lightning. So we made another, and covered it
with white cloth that used to be one of Mrs. McGinnis's sheets, only Tom
said he knew she didn't want it any more.

We sent up this kite the next time there was a thunder-storm, and tied
the string to the second-story window where the blinds hook on, and let
the end of the string hang down into a bottle. It only thundered once or
twice, but the lightning ran down the string pretty fast, and filled the
bottle half full.

It looked like water, only it was a little green, and when it stopped
running into the bottle we took the lightning down-stairs to try it. I
gave a little of it to the cat to drink, but it didn't hurt her a bit,
and she just purred. At last Tom said he didn't believe it would hurt
anything; so he tasted some of it, but it didn't hurt him at all.

The trouble was that the lightning was too weak to do any harm. The
thunder-shower had been such a little one that it didn't have any
strong lightning in it; so we threw away what was in the bottle, and
agreed to try to get some good strong lightning whenever we could get a
chance.

It didn't rain for a long time after that, and I nearly forgot all about
Franklin and lightning, until one day I heard Mr. Travers read in the
newspaper about a man who was found lying dead on the road with a bottle
of Jersey lightning, and that, of course, explains what was the matter
with him my dear Susan. I understood more about it than Susan did, for
she does not know anything about Franklin being a girl, though I will
admit it isn't her fault. You see, the cork must have come out of the
man's bottle, and the lightning had leaked out and burned him to death.

The very next day we had a tremendous thunder-shower, and I told Tom
that now was the time to get some lightning that would be stronger than
anything they could make in New Jersey. So we got the kite up, and got
ourselves soaked through with water. We tied it to the window-ledge just
as we did the first time, and put the end of the string in a tin pail,
so that we could collect more lightning than one bottle would hold. It
was so cold standing by the window in our wet clothes that we thought
we'd go to my room and change them.

[Illustration: WE HURRIED INTO THE ROOM.]

All at once there was the most awful flash of lightning and the most
tremendous clap of thunder that was ever heard. Father and mother and
Sue were down-stairs, and they rushed up-stairs crying the darling boy
is killed. That meant me. But I wasn't killed, neither was Tom, and we
hurried into the room where we were collecting lightning to see what was
the matter. There we found the tin pail knocked into splinters and the
lightning spilled all over the floor. It had set fire to the carpet, and
burned a hole right through the floor into the kitchen, and pretty much
broke up the whole kitchen stove.

Father cut the kite-string and let the kite go, and told me that it was
as much as my life was worth to send up a kite in a thunder-storm. You
see, so much lightning will come down the string that it will kill
anybody that stands near it. I know this is true, because father says
so, but I'd like to know how Franklin managed. I forgot to say that
father wasn't a bit pleased.



MY CAMERA.


I had a birthday last week. When I woke up in the morning I found right
by the side of my bed a mahogany box, with a round hole on one side of
it and a ground-glass door on the other side. I thought it was a new
kind of rat-trap; and so I got out of bed and got a piece of cheese, and
set the trap in the garret, which is about half full of rats. But it
turned out that the box wasn't a rat-trap. Mr. Travers gave it to me,
and when he came to dinner he explained that it was a camera for taking
photographs, and that it would improve my mind tremendously if I would
learn to use it.

I soon found out that there isn't anything much better than a camera,
except, of course, a big dog, which I can't have, because mother says a
dog tracks dirt all over the house, and father says a dog is dangerous,
and Sue says a dog jumps all over you and tears your dresses a great
good-for-nothing ugly beast. It's very hard to be kept apart from dogs;
but our parents always know what is best for us, though we may not see
it at the time; and I don't believe father really knows how it feels
when your trousers are thin and you haven't any boots on, so it stings
your legs every time.

But I was going to write about the camera. You take photographs with the
camera--people and things. There's a lens on one end of it, and when you
point it at anything, you see a picture of it upside down on the little
glass door at the back of the camera. Then you put a dry plate, which is
a piece of glass with chemicals on it, in the camera, and then you take
it out and put it in some more chemicals, the right name of which is a
developer, and then you see a picture on the dry plate, only it is right
side up, and not like the one on the ground-glass door.

It's the best fun in the world taking pictures; and I can't see that it
improves your mind a bit--at least not enough to worry you. You have to
practise a great deal before you can take a picture, and everybody who
knows anything about it tells you to do something different. There are
five men in our town who take photographs, and each one tells me to use
a different kind of dry plate and a different kind of developer, and
that all the other men may mean well, and they hope they do, but people
ought not to tell a boy to use bad plates and poor developers; and don't
you pay any attention to them, Jimmy, but do as I tell you.

I've got so now that I make beautiful pictures. I took a photograph of
Sue the other day, and another of old Deacon Brewster, and you can tell
which is which just as easy as anything, if you look at them in the
right way, and remember that Deacon Brewster, being a man, is smoking a
pipe, and that, of course, a picture of Sue wouldn't have a pipe in it.
Sue don't like to have me take pictures, but that's because she is a
girl, and girls haven't the kind of minds that can understand art. Mr.
McGinnis--Tom's father--don't like my camera either; but that's because
he is near-sighted, and thought it was a gun when I pointed it at him,
and he yelled, "Don't shoot, for mercy's sake!" and went out of our
front yard and over the fence in lessenasecond. When he found out what
it was he said he never dreamed of being frightened, but had business
down-town, and he didn't think boys ought to be trusted with such
things, anyway.

I made a great discovery last week. You know I said that when you look
through the camera at anything you see it upside down on the ground
glass. This doesn't look right, and unless you stand on your head when
you take a photograph, which is very hard work, you can't help feeling
that the picture is all wrong. I was going to take a photograph of a big
engraving that belongs to father, when I thought of turning it upside
down. This made it look all right on the ground glass. This is my
discovery; and if men who take photographs could only get the people
they photograph to stand on their heads, they would get beautiful
pictures. Mr. Travers says that I ought to get a patent for this
discovery, but so far it has only got me into trouble.

Saturday afternoon everybody was out of the house except me and the baby
and the nurse, and she was down in the kitchen, and the baby was asleep.
So I thought I would take a picture of the baby. Of course it wouldn't
sit still for me; so I thought of the way the Indians strap their babies
to a flat board, which keeps them from getting round-shouldered, and is
very convenient besides. I got a nice flat piece of board and tied the
baby to it, and put him on a table, and leaned him up against the wall.
Then I remembered my discovery, and just stood the baby on his head so
as to get a good picture of him.

[Illustration: I DID GET A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE.]

I did get a beautiful picture. At least I am sure it would have been if
I hadn't been interrupted while I was developing it. I forgot to put the
baby right side up, and in about ten minutes mother came in and found
it, and then she came up into my room and interrupted me. Father came
home a little later and interrupted me some more. So the picture was
spoiled, and so was father's new rattan. Of course I deserved it for
forgetting the baby; but it didn't hurt it any to stand on its head a
little while, for babies haven't any brains like boys and grown-up
people, and, besides, it's the solemn truth that I meant to turn the
baby right side up, only I forgot it.



FRECKLES.


After the time I tried to photograph the baby, my camera was taken away
from me and locked up for ever so long. Sue said I wasn't to be trusted
with it and it would go off some day when you think it isn't loaded and
hurt somebody worse than you hurt the baby you good-for-nothing little
nuisance.

Father kept the camera locked up for about a month, and said when I see
some real reformation in you James you shall have it back again. But I
shall never have it back again now, and if I did, it wouldn't be of any
use, for I'm never to be allowed to have any more chemicals. Father is
going to give the camera to the missionaries, so that they can
photograph heathen and things, and all the chemicals I had have been
thrown away, just because I made a mistake in using them. I don't say it
didn't serve me right, but I can't help wishing that father would change
his mind.

I have never said much about my other sister, Lizzie, because she is
nothing but a girl. She is twelve years old, and of course she plays
with dolls, and doesn't know enough to play base-ball or do anything
really useful. She scarcely ever gets me into scrapes, though, and
that's where Sue might follow her example. However, it was Lizzie who
got me into the scrape about my chemicals, though she didn't mean to,
poor girl.

One night Mr. Travers came to tea, and everybody was talking about
freckles. Mr. Travers said that they were real fashionable, and that all
the ladies were trying to get them. I am sure I don't see why. I've
mornamillion freckles, and I'd be glad to let anybody have them who
would agree to take them away. Sue said she thought freckles were
perfectly lovely, and it's a good thing she thinks so, for she has about
as many as she can use; and Lizzie said she'd give anything if she only
had a few nice freckles on her cheeks.

Mother asked what made freckles, and Mr. Travers said the sun made them
just as it makes photographs. "Jimmy will understand it," said Mr.
Travers. "He knows how the sun makes a picture when it shines on a
photograph plate, and all his freckles were made just in the same way.
Without the sun there wouldn't be any freckles."

This sounded reasonable, but then Mr. Travers forgot all about
chemicals. As I said, the last time I wrote, chemicals is something in a
bottle like medicine, and you have to put it on a photograph plate so as
to make the picture that the sun has made show itself. Now if chemicals
will do this with a photograph plate, it ought to do it with a girl's
cheek. You take a girl and let the sun shine on her cheek, and put
chemicals on her, and it ought to bring out splendid freckles.

I'm very fond of Lizzie, though she is a girl, because she minds her own
business, and don't meddle with my things and get me into scrapes. I'd
have given her all my freckles if I could, as soon as I knew she wanted
them, and as soon as Mr. Travers said that freckles were made just like
photographs, I made up my mind I would make some for her. So I told her
she should have the best freckles in town if she'd come up to my room
the next morning, and let me expose her to the sun and then put
chemicals on her.

Lizzie has confidence in me, which is one of her best qualities, and
shows that she is a good girl. She was so pleased when I promised to
make freckles for her; and as soon as the sun got up high enough to
shine into my window she came up to my room all ready to be freckled.

I exposed her to the sun for six seconds. I only exposed my photograph
plates three seconds, but I thought that Lizzie might not be quite as
sensitive, and so I exposed her longer. Then I took her into the dark
closet where I kept the chemicals, and poured chemicals on her cheeks. I
made her hold her handkerchief on her face so that the chemicals
couldn't get into her eyes and run down her neck, for she wanted
freckles only on her cheeks.

I watched her very carefully, but the freckles didn't come out. I put
more chemicals on her, and rubbed it in with a cloth; but it was no use,
the freckles wouldn't come. I don't know what the reason was. Perhaps I
hadn't exposed her long enough, or perhaps the chemicals was weak.
Anyway, not a single freckle could I make.

[Illustration: MOTHER AND SUE MADE A DREADFUL FUSS.]

So after a while I gave it up, and told her it was no use, and she could
go and wash her face. She cried a little because she was disappointed,
but she cried more afterwards. You see, the chemicals made her cheek
almost black, and she couldn't wash it off. Mother and Sue made a
dreadful fuss about it, and sent for the doctor, who said he thought it
would wear off in a year or so, and wouldn't kill the child or do her
very much harm.

This is the reason why they took my chemicals away, and promised to give
my camera to the missionaries. All I meant was to please Lizzie, and I
never knew the chemicals would turn her black. But it isn't the first
time I have tried to be kind and have been made to suffer for it.



SANTA CLAUS.


The other day I was at Tom McGinnis's house, and he had some company. He
was a big boy, and something like a cousin of Tom's. Would you believe
it, that fellow said there wasn't any Santa Claus?

Now that boy distinctly did tell--but I won't mention it. We should
never reveal the wickedness of other people, and ought always to be
thankful that we are worse than anybody else. Otherwise we should be
like the Pharisee, and he was very bad. I knew for certain that it was a
fib Tom McGinnis's cousin told. But all the same, the more I thought
about it the more I got worried.

If there is a Santa Claus--and of course there is--how could he get up
on the top of the house, so he could come down the chimney, unless he
carried a big ladder with him; and if he did this, how could he carry
presents enough to fill mornahundred stockings? And then how could he
help getting the things all over soot from the chimney, and how does he
manage when the chimney is all full of smoke and fire, as it always is
at Christmas! But then, as the preacher says, he may be supernatural--I
had to look that word up in the dictionary.

The story Tom McGinnis's cousin told kept on worrying me, and finally I
began to think how perfectly awful it would be if there was any truth in
it. How the children would feel! There's going to be no end of children
at our house this Christmas, and Aunt Eliza and her two small boys are
here already. I heard mother and Aunt Eliza talking about Christmas the
other day, and they agreed that all the children should sleep on cot
bedsteads in the back parlor, so that they could open their stockings
together, and mother said, "You know, Eliza, there's a big fireplace in
that room, and the children can hang their stockings around the
chimney."

Now I know I did wrong, but it was only because I did not want the
children to be disappointed. We should always do to others and so on,
and I know I should have been grateful if anybody had tried to get up a
Santa Claus for me in case of the real one being out of repair. Neither
do I blame mother, though if she hadn't spoken about the fireplace in
the way she did, it would never have happened. But I do think that they
ought to have made a little allowance for me, since I was only trying to
help make the Christmas business successful.

It all happened yesterday. Tom McGinnis had come to see me, and all the
folks had gone out to ride except Aunt Eliza's little boy Harry. We were
talking about Christmas, and I was telling Tom how all the children were
to sleep in the back parlor, and how there was a chimney there that was
just the thing for Santa Claus. We went and looked at the chimney, and
then I said to Tom what fun it would be to dress up and come down the
chimney and pretend to be Santa Claus, and how it would amuse the
children, and how pleased the grown-up folks would be, for they are
always wanting us to amuse them.

Tom agreed with me that it would be splendid fun, and said we ought to
practise coming down the chimney, so that we could do it easily on
Christmas-eve. He said he thought I ought to do it, because it was our
house; but I said no, he was a visitor, and it would be mean and selfish
in me to deprive him of any pleasure. But Tom wouldn't do it. He said
that he wasn't feeling very well, and that he didn't like to take
liberties with our chimney, and, besides, he was afraid that he was so
big that he wouldn't fit the chimney. Then we thought of Harry, and
agreed that he was just the right size. Of course Harry said he'd do it
when we asked him, for he isn't afraid of anything, and is so proud to
be allowed to play with Tom and me that he would do anything we asked
him to do.

Well, Harry took off his coat and shoes, and we all went up to the roof,
and Tom and I boosted Harry till he got on the top of the chimney and
put his legs in it and slid down. He went down like a flash, for he
didn't know enough to brace himself the way the chimney-sweeps do. Tom
and I we hurried down to the back parlor to meet him; but he had not
arrived yet, though the fireplace was full of ashes and soot.

We supposed he had stopped on the way to rest; but after a while we
thought we heard a noise, like somebody calling, that was a great way
off. We went up on the roof, thinking Harry might have climbed back up
the chimney, but he wasn't there. When we got on the top of the chimney
we could hear him plain enough. He was crying and yelling for help, for
he was stuck about half-way down the chimney, and couldn't get either up
or down.

We talked it over for some time, and decided that the best thing to do
was to get a rope and let it down to him, and pull him out. So I got the
clothes-line and let it down, but Harry's arms were jammed close to his
sides, so he couldn't get hold of it. Tom said we ought to make a
slippernoose, catch it over Harry's head, and pull him out that way, but
I knew that Harry wasn't very strong, and I was afraid if we did that he
might come apart.

Then I proposed that we should get a long pole and push Harry down the
rest of the chimney, but after hunting all over the yard we couldn't
find a pole that was long enough, so we had to give that plan up. All
this time Harry was crying in the most discontented way, although we
were doing all we could for him. That's the way with little boys. They
never have any gratitude, and are always discontented.

As we couldn't poke Harry down, Tom said let's try to poke him up. So we
told Harry to be patient and considerate, and we went down-stairs again,
and took the longest pole we could find and pushed it up the chimney.
Bushels of soot came down, and flew over everything, but we couldn't
reach Harry with the pole. By this time we began to feel discouraged. We
were awfully sorry for Harry, because, if we couldn't get him out before
the folks came home, Tom and I would be in a dreadful scrape.

Then I thought that if we were to build a little fire the draught might
draw Harry out. Tom thought it was an excellent plan. So I started a
fire, but it didn't loosen Harry a bit, and when we went on the roof to
meet him we heard him crying louder than ever, and saying that something
was on fire in the chimney and was choking him. I knew what to do,
though Tom didn't, and, to tell the truth, he was terribly frightened.

We ran down and got two pails of water, and poured them down the
chimney. That put the fire out, but you would hardly believe that Harry
was more unreasonable than ever, and said we were trying to drown him.
There is no comfort in wearing yourself out in trying to please little
boys. You can't satisfy them, no matter how much trouble you take, and
for my part I am tired of trying to please Harry, and shall let him
amuse himself the rest of the time he is at our house.

[Illustration: THEY GOT HARRY OUT ALL SAFE.]

We had tried every plan we could think of to get Harry out of the
chimney, but none of them succeeded. Tom said that if we were to pour a
whole lot of oil down the chimney it would make it so slippery that
Harry would slide right down into the back parlor, but I wouldn't do it,
because I knew the oil would spoil Harry's clothes, and that would make
Aunt Eliza angry. All of a sudden I heard a carriage stop at our gate,
and there were the grown folks, who had come home earlier than I had
supposed they would. Tom said that he thought he would go home before
his own folks began to get uneasy about him, so he went out of the back
gate, and left me to explain things. They had to send for some men to
come and cut a hole through the wall. But they got Harry out all safe;
and after they found that he wasn't a bit hurt, instead of thanking me
for all Tom and I had done for him, they seemed to think that I
deserved the worst punishment I ever had, and I got it.

I shall never make another attempt to amuse children on Christmas-eve.

THE END





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