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Title: A New Story Book for Children
Author: Fern, Fanny
Language: English
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[Illustration: LITTLE EFFIE.—Page 305.]

                             NEW STORY BOOK
                             FOR CHILDREN.


                              FANNY FERN.

                               NEW YORK:
                    MASON BROTHERS, 7 MERCER STREET;
                        BOSTON: MASON & HAMLIN;
                  PHILADELPHIA: J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

       Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by

                             MASON BROTHERS,

 In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                      Southern District of New York.

       JOHN F. TROW,
     50 Green Street.

                               THIS BOOK


                        AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED


                           =“Little Effie.”=


                A STORY ABOUT MYSELF,                 7

                GRANDPAPA’S BALD HEAD,               27

                JOHN BROWN,                          32

                THE PLOUGHBOY POET,                  56

                OLD HICKORY,                         68

                THE DEAF AND DUMB FRENCH BOY,        76

                THE THREE GIFTED SISTERS,            82

                THE KIND WORD,                      103

                THE CORSICAN AND THE CREOLE,        106

                TWO QUARRELSOME OLD MEN,            128

                THE LITTLE PRINCES,                 131

                OLD DOCTOR JOHNSON,                 146

                THE LITTLE LORD,                    157

                THE POLICEMAN,                      165

                LITTLE ADRIAN,                      173

                THE PEDDLER’S SON,                  186

                JEMMY LAWTON,                       193

                HOW A GREAT LORD EDUCATED HIS SON,  200

                THE BOY WALTER SCOTT,               206

                AUNT MAGGIE,                        224

                A FUNERAL I SAW,                    231

                WATCHES,                            234

                OLD ZACHARIAH,                      239

                LITTLE GERTRUDE,                    244

                THE FAITHFUL DOG,                   249

                A QUESTION ANSWERED,                258

                THE NURSE’S DAY OUT,                262

                SWEET SIXTEEN,                      266

                SITTING FOR MY PORTRAIT,            268

                ABOUT A JOURNEY I TOOK,             270

                WHEN I WAS YOUNG,                   283

                A NURSERY THOUGHT,                  287

                THE USE OF GRANDMOTHERS,            289

                THE INVENTOR OF THE LOCOMOTIVE,     291

                TO MY LITTLE FRIENDS,               303

                BABY EFFIE,                         305

                         A STORY ABOUT MYSELF.

Nobody could be more astonished than I, to find myself famous. I never
dreamed of it, when I sat in a small room, at the top of the house where
I lodged, scribbling over a sheet of coarse foolscap with _noms de
plume_, out of which I was to choose one for my first article—which
article I never thought of preserving, any more than the succeeding
ones, supposing my meagre pecuniary remuneration the only reward I was
to hope for. I think the reason I selected the name “Fern,” was because,
when a child, and walking with my mother in the country, she always used
to pluck a leaf of it, to place in her bosom, for its sweet odor; and
that gloomy morning, when I almost despaired of earning bread for my
children, I had been thinking of her, and wishing she were living, that
I might lay my head upon her bosom and tell her all my sorrows; and then
memory carried me back, I scarce knew how, to those childish days, when
I ran before her in the woods, to pluck the sweet fern she loved; and
then I said to myself, my name shall be “Fanny Fern”—little dreaming
anybody would ever know or care anything about it.

I loved my mother;—everybody did. She had the kindest heart and sweetest
voice in the world; and if there was any person in the circle of her
acquaintance who was particularly disagreeable to her, for that person
would she be sure to do a service, the first opportunity.

In a spare room in our house was an old armchair, and in it lay a large
Bible. I often used to see my mother go into that room, sighing as she
closed the door; and, young as I was, I had learned to watch for her
coming out; for the sweet, calm, holy look her features wore, fascinated
me like a spell. _Now_ I know how it was! now, that the baptism of a
woman’s lot has been mine also; and often, when blinded by the waves of
trouble which have dashed over my head, have I thought of the open Bible
in the old armchair, its pages wet with tears, which no human eye saw
fall, wiped away by no human hand, but precious in _His_ eyes as the
seed of the husbandman, from which He garners the golden harvest

Thus my mother was unselfish—ever with a gentle word for all; thus she
looked upon life’s trials, as does the long-absent traveler upon the
wayside discomforts of the journey, when the beacon light gleams from
the window of the dear old home in sight. Thank God! she has reached it;
and yet—and yet—the weary hours of desolation, my heart has ached for
her human voice; in which I have sat with folded hands, while memory
upbraided me with her patience, her fortitude, her Christ-like
forbearance, her sweet, unmurmuring acceptance of the thorns in her
life-path, for His sake, who wore the thorny crown.

Weeping, I remembered her gentle touch upon my arm, as I gave way to
some impetuous burst of feeling, at the defection of some playmate, or
friend, on whose unswerving friendship my childish heart had rested as
on a rock. I saw her eyes, pitiful, imploring, sometimes tearful; for
well she saw, as a mother’s prophet-eyes alone may see, her child’s
future. She knew the passionate nature, that would be lacerated and
probed to the quick, ere the Healer came with His heavenly balm. She
knew that love’s silken cord could guide me, where the voice of severity
never could drive; and so she let my hot, angry tears fall, and when the
storm was spent, upon the dark cloud she painted the bow of promise, and
_to those only_ “_who overcome_,” she told me, was “given to eat of the
tree of life.” Alas! and alas! that her child should be a child still!

If there is any poetry in my nature, from my mother I inherited it. She
had the most intense enjoyment of the beauty of nature. From the
lowliest field-blossom, to the most gorgeous sunset, nothing escaped her
observant eye. I well remember, before the dark days came upon me, a
visit I received from her in my lovely country home. It was one of those
beautiful mornings when the smile of God seems to irradiate every living
thing; to rest on the hilltops, to linger in the valleys, to sweeten the
herbage for the unconscious cattle, and exhilarate even the
bright-winged insects who flutter in the sunbeams; a morning in which
simply to live were a blessing, for which humanity could find no
adequate voice of thanks.

From out the dusty, noisy city, my mother had come to enjoy it. I had
just placed my sleeping babe in its cradle, when I heard her footstep
upon the nursery stairs. Stooping to kiss its rosy cheek, she seated
herself at my window. The bright-winged orioles were darting through the
green foliage, the grass waved in the meadow, starting up the little
ground-bird to make its short, quick, circling flights; the contented
cattle were browsing in the fields, or bowing their meek heads to the
little brook, to drink; brown farmhouses nestled peacefully under the
overshadowing trees, and far off in the distance stretched the hills,
piled up against the clear blue sky, over which the fleecy clouds sailed
leisurely, as if they too enjoyed all this wealth of beauty. My mother
sat at the window, the soft summer wind gently lifting the brown curls
from her temples;—then slowly—musically, as she laid her hand upon mine,
while her whole face glowed, as did that of Moses when he came down from
the mount, she said, “O Lord! how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast
thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches. Who coverest
thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens
like a curtain: who walkest upon the wings of the wind. Every beast of
the forest is thine; and the cattle upon a thousand hills. The world is
thine, and the fullness thereof. I will sing praise unto God while I
have my being.” When my mother ceased to speak, and relapsed again into
silence, seemingly unconscious of my presence, I did not disturb her;
for I knew that her soul was face to face with Him who hears the
voiceless prayer, and needs not the bended knee.

My mother was eminently social, and particularly fond of the society of
young people; so much so, indeed, that my young companions were always
disappointed when she was absent from our little gatherings. Her
winning, motherly ways, her warm welcome, her appreciation and
toleration of exuberant young life, was as delightful as rare. I will
not speak of the broken-hearted whom she drew to her bosom, of the needy
to whom she ministered, of the thousand little rills of benevolence with
which she fertilized so many hearts and homes; they are written, not in
a perishable book of remembrance like mine, but in one which shall
endure when the earth shall be rolled up like a scroll.

Had my mother’s time not been so constantly engrossed by a
fast-increasing family, had she found time for literary pursuits, I am
confident she would have distinguished herself. Her hurried letters,
written with one foot upon the cradle, give ample evidence of this. She
_talked poetry unconsciously_! The many gifted men to whom her
hospitality was extended, and who were her warm personal friends, know

A part of every year my mother spent in the country. One summer, while I
was yet a child, we were located in a very lovely spot near Boston.
Connected with the church where my mother worshiped, was a female prayer
meeting, held alternately at the houses of its different members. One
warm summer afternoon, my mother passed through the garden where I was
playing, and asked me if I would like to go too. I said yes, because I
liked to walk with my mother anywhere; so we sauntered along the grassy
path under the trees, till we came to a small, wooden house, half hidden
by a tall hedge of lilacs. Then my mother led me through the low
doorway, and up a pair of clean wooden stairs, into an old-fashioned
raftered chamber, through whose open window the bees were humming in and
out, and the scent of flowers, and song of birds, came pleasantly enough
to my childish senses. Taking off my sunbonnet, and brushing back my
curls, she seated me on a low stool at her feet, while one of the old
ladies commenced reading the Bible aloud. All this time I was looking
around curiously, as a child will, at the old-fashioned paper on the
walls, with its pink shepherdesses and green dogs; at the old-fashioned
fireplace, with its pitcher of asparagus branches, dotted with little
red berries; at the high-post bedstead, with its rainbow-colored
patchwork quilt, of all conceivable shapes and sizes; at its
high-backed, stiff-looking chairs, with straw seats; at its china parrot
on the mantel, and its framed sampler on the wall, with the inevitable
tombstone and weeping willow, and afflicted female, handkerchief in

After the tremulous old lady had done reading, they asked my mother to
pray. I knelt with the rest; gradually my thoughts wandered from the
china parrot, and patchwork quilt and sampler, to the words my mother
was speaking. Her voice was low, and sweet, and pleading, as if God was
very near, instead of on the “great, white throne,” far away from human
reach, where so many good people are fond of placing Him. It seemed to
me as if her head were lying, like the beloved John’s, upon His bosom;
and He were not too great, or good, or wise, to listen well pleased to
her full heart’s outpourings. Of course, these thoughts did not then,
even to myself, find voice as now, but that was my vague, unexpressed
feeling. Every musical word fell distinctly on my ear; and I listened as
one listens to the sweet, soothing murmurs of a brook, in the fragrant
summer time. I had loved my mother before; now I _revered_ her; and it
was with a new, delicious feeling I slid my hand within hers, as we
passed through the low doorway, and back by the pleasant, grassy paths,
to our home. How little she knew what was passing under the little
sunbonnet at her side, or how near heaven she had brought me, in that
old, raftered chamber.

I have spoken of my mother’s patience and forbearance. One scene I well
remember. It occurred in our little sitting room at home. My mother had
entered, with her usual soft step and pleasant tones, and addressed some
question to me concerning the lesson I was learning, when a person
entered, upon whom she had every claim for love, the deepest and
strongest. To some pleasant remark of hers, this individual returned an
answer so rude, so brutal, so stinging, that every drop of blood in my
body seemed to congeal as the murderous syllables fell. I looked at my
mother; the warm blood rushed to her temples, the smile faded from her
face; then her eyes filled with tears, and bowing her head low upon her
breast, with a meek, touching grace I shall never forget, she glided
voiceless from the room. I did not follow her, but I knew where she had
gone, as well as if I had done so. When I next saw her, save that her
voice had an added sweetness, no trace of the poisoned arrow, so
ruthlessly aimed at her peace, remained.

I have said my mother was hospitable; but her hospitality was not
extended, like that of many, only to those who could give an equivalent
in their pleasant society. One guest, who was quite the reverse of this,
often received from her the kindest attention, not gratefully, not even
pleasantly, for he was churlish to a degree. Vexed that she should thus
waste her sweetness where it was so unappreciated, I one day expressed
as much to my mother, adding, “that nobody liked him.” “Hush!” said she;
“that is the very reason why I should be the more kind to him. He has a
large family, and trouble and care have made him reserved and silent; he
may thank me and yet not say so; besides, I do not do it for thanks,”
she continued, cramming his carpet bag with her usual Lady Bountiful
assiduity. The cup of cold water in the name of the Master, to the
lowliest disciple, she never forgot.

To all these sweet womanly traits in my mother, was added a sound,
practical judgment. On one occasion, while visiting me, a law paper was
sent for my wifely signature. Without looking at it, for I hated, and to
this day hate, anything of a business nature, I dipped my pen in the
inkstand to append it. “Stay! child,” said my mother, arresting my hand,
“do you know what that paper is about?” “Not I!” was my laughing reply;
“but my husband sent it, and on his broad shoulders be the
responsibility!” “That is wrong,” said she, gravely; “you should never
sign any paper without a full understanding of its contents.” It seemed
to me then that she was over-scrupulous, particularly as I knew she had
the same implicit confidence in my husband that I had. I had reason
afterward to see the wisdom of her caution.

My mother came to me one day, after rambling over my house with a
motherly eye to my housekeeping—she who was such a perfect
housekeeper—and held up to me a roll of bank bills, which she found
lying loose upon my toilet-table. “Oh, they were safe enough!” said I;
“my servants I know to be honest!” “That may be,” was her answer; “but
don’t you know that you should never place temptation in their way?”

Foremost among my mother’s warm, personal friends, was Dr. Payson. For
many years before the removal of our family from Portland, he was her
pastor, and afterward, whenever he visited Boston, our house was
emphatically his _home_; my mother welcoming his coming, and sitting
spiritually at his feet, as did Mary of old her Christguest. Let me
explain how I first came to love him. When I was a little girl, I used
to be told by some who visited at our house, that if I was not a good
girl, and did not love God, I should go to hell. Now hell seemed, as far
as I could make it out from what they said, a place where people were
burned forever for their sins on earth—burned, without being consumed,
for millions and millions of years; and after that and so on, through a
long _eternity_—a word I did not then, and do not now, comprehend. Well,
I used to think about all this; sometimes as I went to school; sometimes
as I lay awake in my little bed at night, and sometimes when I woke
earlier than anybody else in the morning; and sometimes on Sunday, when
I, now and then, caught the word “hell” in the minister’s sermon. I
don’t know how it was, but it never frightened me. I think it was
because I could not then, any more than I can now, believe it. The idea
of loving anybody because I should be punished if I did not, seemed to
freeze up the very fountain of love which I felt bubbling up in my
heart, and I turned away from it with horror. I could not pray or read
my Bible from fear. I did not know what fear was. I did not feel afraid
of death, as my playmates did. When they told me to love God, I said
that I did love Him. They did not believe me, because I did not like to
talk about myself, or have others talk to me about myself; not that I
was ashamed, but that it seemed to me, if I did so, that I should cease
to feel. Sometimes, when they persisted in questioning and doubting me,
I would get troubled, and run away, or hide. I did not like to “say my
prayers,” as it is called; and at set times, morning and evening, and
get on my knees to do it. I liked to have my prayer rise up out of my
heart, and pass over my lips, without moving them to speech; and that
wherever I happened to be, in the street, or in company, or wherever and
whenever God’s goodness came into my mind, as it did often; for turn
which way I would, I could see that his careful footprints had been
before me, and his fingers busy, in making what I was sure then, and am
sure now, none but a _God_ could make. I did not understand a word of my
catechism, though I said it like a parrot, because our minister told me
to. “Election,” “Predestination,” and “Foreordaining,” seemed to me very
long words, that meant very little; and the more they were “explained”
to me, the more misty they grew, and have continued to do so ever since;
and I don’t like to hear them talked about.

The God _my eyes_ see, is not a tyrant, driving his creatures to heaven
through fear of hell; he accepts no love that comes to him over that
compulsory road. He pities us with an infinite pity, even when we turn
away from Him; and the mistaken wretch who has done this through a long
life, and worn out the patience of every earthly friend, never wears His
out, is never forsaken by Him; his fellow men may hunt him to the
world’s end, and drive him to despair, and still the God _I_ see, holds
out his imploring hands, and says, “Come to me!” and even at the last
moment, when he has spent a long life in wasting and perverting every
faculty of his soul, the God I see does not pursue him vengefully, or
even frown upon him, but ever that small, soft whisper, “Come to me!”
floats by him on the sweet air, is written on the warm sunbeam, which
refreshes him all the same as if he had never forgotten to utter his
thanks for it. Now, if this man dies, and turns away at the last from
all this wonderful love, what more terrible “hell” can there be, than to
remember that he has done so? that he has never made the slightest
return for it, or ever recognized it? that no living creature was ever
made better, or purer, or wiser, or happier, that he lived in the world?
but that, on the contrary, he has helped them to destroy themselves as
he has done himself? What “flames” could scorch like these thoughts? And
that, in my opinion, _is_ hell, and all the hell there is. It is just
such a hell as wicked men have a foretaste of in this world, when they
stop long enough to listen to that heavenly monitor conscience, which
they try so hard to stifle. It is just such a hell as the wayward son
feels, who runs away from the love and kindness of home, and returns to
find only the graves of those who would have died for him.

But I am wandering a long way from what I was to tell you about—Dr.

I was dressing my doll one day, when my mother called me to come to her.
I knew that some visitor had just come, for I heard the bell ring, and
then a trunk drop heavily in the entry. I thought very likely it was a
minister, for my mother always had a plate and a bed for them, and it
made no difference, as I have told you, in her kindness, whether the
minister was a big doctor of divinity, or a poor country clergyman,
unknown beyond the small village where he preached. Well, as I told you,
my mother called me; and it _was_ a minister who had come, and he had
gone up to his room with a bad nervous headache, brought on by traveling
in the heat and dust; and I was to go up, so my mother said, and bathe
his head with a preparation she gave me; very gently, and very quietly,
as he reclined in the big easy chair. I did not want to go; I did not
like ministers as well as my mother did; and I often used to run out one
door, as they came in at another; and I was often obliged to come back,
with a very red face, and shake hands with them. I did not like to hear
them say to me, that “my heart was as hard as a rock,” and that “if I
did not get it changed, I should go to hell.” My heart did not seem hard
to me; I loved everybody and everything _then_; and I loved God too, in
my own way, though not in the way they seemed to want me to, because I
should go to hell if I did not; this thought made my heart grow hard in
a minute—made me “feel ugly,” as children say; and that’s why I ran away
from the ministers who kept telling me what a “wicked” child I was.

So you may be sure, when I heard what my mother said, I took the bottle
she put in my hand, which I was to use in bathing the minister’s
forehead, very unwillingly, and went very slowly up stairs to my task.
My mother had been there before me, and closed the blinds, and given him
a footstool for his weary feet; and there he sat, looking very pale,
with his eyes closed, and his head laid back in the easy chair. He did
not look at all like the other ministers I was so afraid of; and I
cannot tell you why, as I tip-toed up to his chair, and moistened my
fingers to bathe his heated forehead, and pushed back the dark locks
from it, that I thought of the pictures I had sometimes seen of our
Saviour, which looked to me so very sweet and lovely. He did not speak,
or open his eyes, as my fingers moved over his temples; but I knew that
it gave him relief, because he soon sank into a gentle slumber, and his
head drooped a little on one shoulder.

I cannot tell why I did not then go out of the room—I, who disliked
ministers so much—when I might easily have done so; but instead, I sat
down on a low seat near him, and watched his face, as if there were some
spell in it, which forbade me to go; and I felt so quiet and happy while
I sat there, and dreaded lest some one should call me away. By and by he
stirred, and passing his hand slowly over his forehead, opened his eyes;
they were dark and soft as a woman’s. Holding out his hand to me, with a
smile which I have never forgotten to this day, he said, as he drew me
to his side, and laid his hand upon my head, “The Lord bless you! my
child;” then he seated me upon his knee; but he said not a word to me
about “hell,” or my being “wicked,” but closing his eyes again, he began
telling me the story of the Saviour’s crucifixion. Now, I had heard it
many times before, I had read it myself in the Bible, when I was told to
do so, and yet, that day, in that quiet, darkened room, with that gentle
hand upon my shoulder, I heard it for the first time. For the first time
my tears fell, and my heart went out to the pure, patient sufferer on
Calvary. When the story was finished, in those low, sweet tones, I did
not speak. Placing his hand upon my head, he said, again, “The Lord
bless you! my child;” and so I passed out with his loving benediction,
and closing the door, listened still on the other side, as though only
_there_ I could learn to be good.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Many, many long years after this, when I was a grown woman, I visited my
birthplace, Portland, from which my mother removed when I was six weeks
old. I wandered up and down the streets of that lovely, leafy city, and
tried to find the church where good Dr. Payson used to preach. Then,
too, I wanted to see the house where I was born—the house where he laid
hands of blessing on my baby forehead, when it was purple with what they
thought was “the death-agony.” But where it was that the little,
flickering life began, I could not find out; for my mother had then gone
to the “better land.” Ah! who but God can comfort like a mother? who but
God can so forgive? How many times I have shut my eyes, that I might
recall her face—her blue, loving eyes, her soft, brown, curling hair;
and how many times, when in great trouble, I have said, “Mother!
mother!” as if she _must_ hear and comfort her child.

[Illustration: GRANDPA’S BALD HEAD—Page 27.]

                         GRANDPAPA’S BALD HEAD.

“Shall I have a bald head, grandfather, when I am eighty?” asked little
Kitty; “and will it shine, and be smooth, like yours?” “Your head don’t
look much like it now, little puss!” said the old man, lifting the
silky, yellow curls; “and that puts me in mind that I’ve a story to tell
you—a ‘real, true story;’ and all about grandpa, too.

“When grandpa was little, like you, he didn’t live in a city like this,
where the houses all touch one another, and it is as much as ever one
can get a glimpse of the sky, because they are so tall. He lived in a
little log house, ’way off in the forest, and there was no other log
house in sight for a great many miles. There were no carriages to be
seen there, or fine ladies, or fine gentlemen; but there were plenty of
squirrels darting up and down the trees, and running off to their hiding
places; and there were more little birds than I could count hopping over
the ground, and singing in the branches overhead; and there were plenty
of pretty wild flowers, peeping out here and there, in quiet,
out-of-the-way little places, and little patches of bright green moss,
so soft and thick, that they looked just like velvet cushions, for
little fairies to sit on; and there was a red and white cow, who gave us
plenty of good milk for breakfast and supper; and some funny little
pigs, with black, twinkling bead eyes, and very short tails, who went
scampering about just where they liked, and munching acorns.

“The log house was very rough outside, but my mother had planted blue
and white morning glories, and bright yellow nasturtiums, all around it,
and they climbed quite up to the little roof, and hung their blossoms
about it, so that, had it not been for the funny old chimney, peeping
out of the top, you might have thought it a little bower, like the one
down in your mother’s garden yonder. Sometimes my mother took me on her
knee at sunset, and sat in the doorway, to watch the little birds and
squirrels as they went to bed, and sometimes I sat by her side in the
grass, while she milked the old red and white cow. Sometimes I watched
my father as he chopped wood. I liked to see the great ax come down in
his strong hand, and I liked to see the splinters of wood fly about.
Often he would cry out, ‘Not so near, Dan! not so near, boy; or some
fine day I’ll be chopping your head off!’ At this, my mother would come
running out of the house, and catching me up under her arm, set me down
in the doorway, after she had placed a board across, to prevent my
clambering out again. But one day my mother had gone out, far into the
forest, to look for the old red and white cow, who had strayed away; so
I was left alone with my father. I was very glad of that; because he was
so busy chopping and piling up his wood, that he hadn’t much time to say
‘What are you at, Dan?’ as my mother did, who seemed to me to have eyes
in the back of her head, whenever I wanted to be mischievous. So, at
first I sat quite still on the doorstep, as my mother told me, watching
my father’s ax as it gleamed in the sun, and then came down with a crash
in the wood. By and by I got tired of this, and crept a little nearer;
and as my father did not notice it, I hitched on a little farther and
then a little farther, so that I could see better. Then I got quite
close up, and just as my father raised the ax to strike, I stooped my
head to pick up a splinter of wood from the log he was chopping. The
next moment I found myself fastened down tight to the log, and heard my
father groan out, as if he were dreadfully hurt. Then he caught me up in
his arms, kissed my face, and held it up to the light, while his own was
as white as if he were dead; for there, on the log, on the edge of the
ax, lay one of my long yellow curls, and I was not killed at all, nor
even scratched; and here,” said the old man, taking a paper from his
pocketbook, and drawing out a bright, golden curl, “here is the lock
that the ax cut off, instead of grandpa’s head; it don’t look as if it
ever grew on this bald, shiny pate, does it? See, it is just the color
of yours, Kitty; grandpa keeps it in his pocketbook, and whenever he
feels troubled and worried about anything, he looks at it, and says,
Well, God took care of me _then_, and I won’t believe that he will
forget me _now_.” Little Kitty took the curl in her hand, and looked at
it very steadily awhile. Presently she looked up at her grandpa and
said, “Did your mother whip you when she came back, for getting off the
doorstep?” “No,” said grandpa, laughing, “I think she forgot to do that.
I remember she gave me a great deal of milk that night for my supper,
and kissed me, and cried a great deal, when she tied on my nightgown and
put me into bed.”

                              JOHN BROWN.

            “John Brown’s body lies mouldering in the grave,
                      His soul is marching on!”

You have all heard that song, sung at the piano at home, whistled in the
street, and shouted by the soldiers as they went off to the war; well,
shouldn’t you like to have me tell you what sort of a _child_ John Brown

[Illustration: JOHN BROWN.—page 32.]

Little boys who live in cities, and wear velvet coats, and hats with
plumes in them, and have long, silky curls, just like a little girl’s,
hanging over their shoulders to their belts, and drag along through the
streets holding on to a nurse’s hand, when they are seven or eight years
old, and are more afraid of a little mud on their boots or on their
velvet coats than anything else; who have more rocking horses, and
whips, and humming tops, and velocipedes, and guns, and swords, and
marbles, and Noah’s arks, and bat and balls, than they know what to do
with, can hardly imagine how a little boy in the country, with none of
these things, and with nobody to amuse him, or to tell him how to amuse
himself, could possibly be happy or contented. I am going to tell you
about John Brown, who was another kind of boy. He had never seen a city,
or wore a hat on his head. He jumped out of bed himself without any
nurse, and ran out of doors barefoot into the grass, eating a bit of
bread for breakfast, or anything that came handy. There were no houses
about, for he lived in a little hut, in the wilderness, with nothing but
trees, and wild beasts, and Indians. He was only five years old when his
father took him and his mother in an old ox cart, and went ’way off in
the forest to live. As I told you, he had no toys; and he used, though
such a little fellow, to help drive the cows home; and now and then he
would ride a horse, without any saddle, to water. Sometimes he would
watch his father kill rattlesnakes—great big fellows, too, such as you
have shuddered to look at, even through a glass case in the Museum; and
he learned not to be afraid of them, too. At first he trembled a little
at a live Indian, when he met him in the woods, and was more afraid
still of his rifle; but very soon he became used to them, and liked to
hang about and see what they did; and after a while he learned some of
their queer talk himself, so that they could understand each other very
well. I suppose he got along with the Indians much better than his
father, who stammered very badly, and is said never to have spoken plain
at all, except when he was praying. Wasn’t that very strange? Johnny’s
father used to dress deerskins; and Johnny learned it so well by
watching him, that he could at any time dress the skin of a squirrel, or
a raccoon, or a cat, or a dog. He learned, too, to make whiplashes of
leather, and sometimes he would manage to get pennies for them, which
made him feel very grand, just as if he kept shop. When he was about six
years old, a poor Indian boy gave him a marble—the first he had ever
seen. It was bright yellow, and Johnny thought it was splendid, and kept
it carefully a long while, turning it over, and holding it up to the
light, and rolling it on the floor of his father’s hut. One unlucky day,
Johnny lost the yellow marble. I dare say you will laugh when I tell you
that it took years to cure him of mourning for that marble; and that he
used to have long fits of crying about it. But you must remember that it
was the only toy he ever had, and that there were no shops about there
where he could get more. One day, after the loss of the marble, he
caught a little squirrel. It bit Johnny badly while he was catching it.
However, Johnny held on to him, for he was not a kind of boy to let a
thing go, after he had once made up his mind to have it; and so the
squirrel made the best of it, particularly when he found he had lost his
bushy tail in the fight, and he let Johnny tame him, and feed him, and
he would climb up on Johnny’s shoulder, and look at him with his little
bright eye, and then scamper down again over the grass, and then back
again, and perch on Johnny’s hand, so that he was just as dear to him as
your little brother is to you; or the good little boy next door, who
plays with you in your father’s yard, and never once vexes you. One day
Johnny and his squirrel went into the woods to play; and while Johnny
was busy picking up sticks, the squirrel wandered away and got lost; and
for a year or two after that, the poor boy mourned for his little pet,
looking at all the squirrels he could see, for his own little bob-tailed
squirrel, because no other squirrel would do but that one he had tamed
and loved. But he never found him; and, between you and me, perhaps it
was just as well for the squirrel. I dare say he is cracking nuts quite
happily in some snug tree, and scampering about with his little baby
squirrels, and has quite forgot Johnny and his lost tail.

What Johnny liked above all things, was to be sent off by his father a
great way though the wilderness, with droves of cattle; and when he was
only twelve years old, he used to go with them more than a hundred
miles. What do you think of that? He was quite proud of it himself, and
nobody could have affronted him more than to offer to help him at such
times. He was more like a little Indian than anything else; he could
hear so quickly any sound a long way off; and he declared that he had
often smelled the frying of doughnuts at five miles’ distance. Pretty
good nose, hadn’t he?

When Johnny was eight years old, his mother died. Ah! you may be sure
that the loss of the yellow marble, and the bob-tailed squirrel, was
nothing to this. He cried and mourned for her, as he wandered through
the woods, or drove cattle for his father, and I suppose sometimes,
though he loved his father, that when he came within sight of the little
hut, he would rather have lain on the ground all night, than to have
gone into it, and missed her pleasant “Well, Johnny, is that you, dear?”
Well, he got along as well as he could, and grew a hardy, tough lad in
the open-air work his father gave him to do.

Some time after this, when away some hundred miles from home with a
drove of cattle, he stopped at an inn with a landlord who had a very
bright little slave boy, just Johnny’s age. This little slave boy’s
master made a great pet of Johnny, and brought him to the table with his
best company, and repeated all his smart sayings, and asked them if they
did not think it wonderful, that a boy of his age could drive so many
cattle safely one hundred miles from home? And, of course, they petted
Johnny too, and praised him, and thought he was quite a wonder. I
suppose Johnny would have felt very nice about it, had it not been that
the little slave boy, who was just his age, and as bright a little boy
as Johnny, was beaten before his very eyes by his master, with an iron
shovel, or anything that came handy; and while Johnny was fed with
everything good, this little fellow was half starved, and half frozen
with cold, on account of his thin clothing. Johnny could not forget
that; he had never seen anything like it before; when he went to his
comfortable bed, it troubled him; when he ate good food, it seemed to
choke him; when he put on warm clothes, he felt ashamed to be warm,
while the little slave boy was shivering; and Johnny felt worse, because
he was only about ten years old, and couldn’t do anything to help him;
but as he was going home through the woods, he said, aloud, as if he
were telling it to “Our Father, who art in Heaven,” “When I grow bigger,
I’ll fight for the slaves; and I’ll fight for the slaves wherever I see
them, so long as I live.” For all this, Johnny was such a bashful boy,
that about this time, when a lady to whom he was sent on an errand gave
him a piece of bread and butter, he did not dare to tell her he didn’t
eat butter, but as soon as he got out of the house he ran for a long
distance, till he was out of sight, and then threw it away.

About this time a friend of Johnny’s, who owned some good books, offered
to lend him some to read, for he knew how to read, although he had been
to school but little. He liked history very much, and became so
interested in these books, that he wanted to know all the people who had
studied and read books too, and who could tell him about the world, and
things which had happened in it, and how everything came about; and this
desire for learning gave him a dislike to foolish talk and foolish
people; and whenever he heard any sensible talk go on, as he traveled
off with his cattle, he just pricked up his ears, and stored it away in
his little head, to think of when he got home. You have no idea how much
he picked up and how much he educated himself in that way. It would
shame many boys who go to good schools, only to turn out lazy, stupid

When Johnny was fifteen, his father put him at the head of his currier
and tanner establishment. Here Johnny had a large company of men and
boys to look after. Now, _men_ don’t like much to have a _boy_ order
them to do this or that, even though they are working for that boy’s
father; but Johnny was so bright and knowing, and pleasant, that you
will not be surprised to hear that they got along nicely together.
Instead of quarreling with him, the men used to praise him for being so
smart; so that, though he was very bashful when he began business, by
the time he was twenty, he began to think he really _was_ a smart
fellow, sure enough. But that was natural, you know; and I only think it
was a wonder he was not quite spoiled by so much praise, and so much
power, when he was so young. His young brother used to make fun of him
and call him “King Johnny,” because he spoke in such a decided way to
the workmen, when he wanted anything done; but Johnny went about his
business and let him talk. He had his hands full cooking his own
dinners, and learning arithmetic, and surveying, and I don’t know what
else besides; for he was not a fellow who could even be idle a minute,
you may be sure of that. The world was too full of things he wanted to
know, and he was in too great a hurry to get at them.

All the time John was a young man, he never wanted, or wore, fine
clothes, although he was neat and tidy. He ate plain food, and never
touched tobacco, or spirits, or tea, or coffee. He drank milk, or only
water. So, you see, he had a clear head for study and business, and I
don’t think he ever knew the meaning of the word “dyspepsia.” When John
got a letter, he always wrote on the back of it the name of the person
who wrote it, and either “Not answered,” or “Not time to read,” or “No
answer needed.” I tell you this to show you how thoroughly he did
everything he undertook; and so honest was John, that he refused to sell
his customers any leather, until every drop of moisture had been dried
out of it, because the water would make it weigh more, you know, and, of
course, he would get money that did not _really_ belong to him. I think,
had John lived in New York, some of the business men here would have
thought him crazy, or he would have thought them crazy; but, you see,
John couldn’t cheat; not even though he should never be found out in it.
Most young men, when they are of John’s age, think more about their own
affairs than anything else—their own business, their own pleasures,
etc.; whether they will ever be rich men, _how_ rich they will be, and
all that. It was not so with John. He wanted money, ’tis true, but all
this time he had not forgotten the little slave boy, and others like
him, and it was for such as he that he wanted money, that he might help
them away from their masters, and help them to be free by and by. He
married, and had many children of his own, and when these children grew
up, they all felt just as their father did about the slaves. After a
time, John helped eleven slaves to get away to Canada, where they were
quite safe. How glad they must have been! and how they must have loved
John! Somebody asked John how he felt when he got them there? he said
that he was so happy about it, that he was quite ready to die then. But
there was other work for John and his boys to do. There was a place
called Kansas, where John’s boys went to live; but as soon as the people
there found out that John’s boys and himself loved the slaves, they
began to steal their cattle, and burn their fences, and try, in every
possible way, to trouble and bother them. So John’s boys wrote home to
the old man about it, and told him that he must send them some guns and
muskets, to defend their property and their lives with. Well, the old
man didn’t have to stop to think long about that. He told his other
boys, who were living at home with him, about it, and they agreed to
start right off for Kansas, with as many guns and muskets as they could
get. John had no idea of his boys out there being murdered and robbed,
without fighting for them, especially when they were treated so merely
for pitying the poor slaves. When they reached there, John and his four
boys, they each had a short, heavy broadsword strapped to their sides.
Each one had a quantity of firearms and revolvers, and there were poles
standing endwise round the wagon box, with fixed bayonets, pointing
upward. Oh! I can tell you, he was in real earnest about it! Well, they
suffered great hardships there, while fighting for their rights: one of
John’s boys was taken by the enemy, and driven with chains on him, so
far in a hot sun to prison, that he became a maniac; another of his sons
was so injured, that he became a cripple for life; another son was
murdered while quietly walking along the road, and as he lay a corpse on
the ground, one of his brutal enemies discharged a loaded pistol in his
mouth. All this John had to bear, but he only said, “It is very hard;
but my sons have died in a good cause—died for the poor slaves.” Most
people thought, “John has had enough of it now; he will fight no more
about slavery; he has taken the rest of his boys back to his old home in
the mountains, and he will not be in a hurry to have them killed.”

They were mistaken. John was only waiting to whet his sword. He knew how
to wait. One day, the whole country about Harper’s Ferry was in a state
of distraction. The women and children were frightened to death, for
John Brown was down there; and it was said he was going to help all the
slaves he could to get away from their masters; and that his boys were
there to help him, and a great many other men; and that they had guns,
and swords, and pistols in plenty, and meant to fight fiercely, if
anybody tried to hinder them. John chose Harper’s Ferry, because there
were mountains all about it, and he had known every turn in them, and
all their valleys, too, for seventeen years, and in case they were
beaten, he thought it would be a good place for himself and the slaves
to hide in, as well as a good place to fight from. The first night of
John’s attack on the town, he and his men put out all the lights in the
street, and took possession of the armory, where the firearms, you know,
are kept. Then they took three watchmen, and locked them up in the
guardhouse. There must have been friendly black people in the town who
helped them do all this. Some of them cut down the telegraph wires, and
others tore up the railroad track after the train had passed. When it
came daylight, John and his men took prisoner every person who came out
into the streets, and when people said, “Why do you do this? What do you
mean?” John and his men said, “We mean to free the slaves!” One of the
workmen employed at the armory, when he came to work that morning, and
saw an armed guard at the gate, asked of John’s guard, “By what
authority have you taken possession of this building?” “By the authority
of God Almighty!” said he.

Well, one after another, the workmen who came to their work in the
armory that day, were taken prisoners. There was a terrible panic, I can
tell you. John and his five sons were inside the armory grounds, while
others were stationed outside the walls, to hold the town—some at the
bridges, some at one place, some another. When the workmen whom John
took prisoners told him how troubled their wives and children would be
about them, John kindly allowed them to go home, under a guard of his
soldiers, to tell them not to be frightened. John wanted, in doing this,
to make the people understand that the prisoners in his hands should not
be hurt; a brave man, you know, is always a tender-hearted man. Poor
John! he lingered too long about these things. The people whom he
allowed to go in the cars, before he tore up the railroad track, wrote
on little slips of paper terrible accounts of him, and scattered them
through the country as the cars went flying through; so the first thing
he knew, one hundred soldiers came to Harper’s Ferry from Charlestown.
Now, indeed, they had bloody work. John’s men began to get killed, but
not one of them but sold his life as dearly as he could, fighting
fiercely till he could fight no longer. Some lay dying in the street,
some of the corpses floated down the river, some were taken, bleeding
and gasping, to prison. Even after John’s men were dead, his enemies
continued to kick and beat their insensible bodies, and many ran sticks
into their wounds. And now John knew that all that was left him, was to
sell his life as dearly as he could. With one son dead by his side, and
another shot through, he felt the pulse of his dying boy with one hand,
and held his rifle with the other, and told his few men about him to be
firm and calm. He said that his boys came with him to fight of their own
accord, and that they had died in a good cause. Well, the soldiers soon
battered down the building, and got in where John and his men were. An
officer, as soon as he saw John, although he and his men had then done
firing, struck him in the face, and knocked him down. The same officer
repeated the blow several times, and then, when John was lying on the
ground, helpless, another soldier ran his bayonet twice into the old
man’s body, whose face and hair were clotted with blood. Then they
searched his pockets, and took what they wanted, and then carried him,
bleeding, to the guard house, and laid him on the bare floor, without
anything under him. Then the governor hurried down to see him, with
several of his friends, and though the poor old man was writhing in
agony with his wounds, and the blood and the smoke were not yet washed
from his face, for thirty hours they let him lie upon the floor, with
his head propped up on a chair, while they questioned him, and while the
mob insulted him. After that, John was carried off to Charlestown jail,
under a guard of soldiers. The body of John’s son was carried off for
the doctors to cut up. Seven days after this John was dragged from his
bed, and being unable to stand, was supported on each side by an officer
into court, and there laid on a bed, to be tried by the laws of
Virginia, for what he had done. Well, John had a “_Virginia_ trial.”

A trial, you know, is a fair hearing on both sides. John was faint and
bleeding, and unable to stand; they refused to let him have a lawyer to
speak for him, and declared him guilty without hearing at all his side;
although the law declares a man innocent till he is proved _by law_ to
be guilty. Then they told the jailer to shoot him if anybody tried to
help him escape; and this was John’s _trial_. Now, John did not wish to
die with the character of a robber or a murderer, and before they took
him out of court, he lifted his head up from his mattress and told them
that he had not had a fair trial; that he was too sick to talk; that his
money, fifty or sixty dollars in gold, had been taken from him, and that
he could not now pay anybody to do any errands for him; that they ought
to give him time to send for his friends. But it was of no use, because
they had determined _not_ to give him time; so he was brought into court
again on his bed soon after, and sentenced to be hung, _i. e._, if he
did not die first, on Friday, the second day of December; and when the
judge said that John would be hung where everybody would have a chance
to see it, one man jumped up before John and clapped his hands, because
he was so glad that he should see the brave old man die.

Forty-two days in all, John lay in a Charlestown prison. All that time,
sick as he was, no clean clothes were given him, although sixty dollars
of his money were taken from his pocket when he was arrested. All those
forty-two days and nights, he had lain there in the stiff, dirty,
blood-stained garments in which he fell.

Well, John had two Virginia militia companies come out of curiosity to
see him in prison. He treated them civilly, but told the jailer, after
they left, that he did not like being made a monkey show of. Everybody
who loved slavery, was allowed to gape and stare at John as much as they
pleased; but John’s friends, although they were ladies and gentlemen who
had traveled a long distance, found it hard work to get leave to take a
peep at him.

John’s wife wanted to come and see him before he died, and bid him good
by. John told her she would be insulted and badly treated, and she had
better stay at home with the children; and besides, I suppose, John was
afraid it would make it harder for him to die, and leave her and the
girls all alone in the world. But the poor woman could not bear not to
look in the face of her children’s father once more, and at last John
told her she might come. When she got there, the jailer led her into the
cell, but she could not speak to John, nor John to her. She only laid
her head upon his breast, and clasped his neck with her arms.

Then, seeing a heavy chain on John’s ankles, and fearing it might pain
him, she kneeled on the floor and pulled two pair of woolen socks on his
feet. Then John told her what to say to his children at home, and how he
wanted them to live, when he was dead; and that she must pay some money
to some persons for him, whom he named; and then he read her his “will,”
which he had made. And then John and his wife ate their “last supper”
together. Perhaps these words will remind you, as they did me, of
another “Last Supper.” And then the jailer, Captain Anis, told the poor
wife that she must go. And then John said to his wife, “God bless you!
Mary; good by;” and then she went out, and never saw John more, till she
looked upon his dead face.

There were three ropes sent to hang John Brown with; South Carolina sent
one, Missouri one, and Kentucky one. They chose the Kentucky rope,
because it was the stronger, and then it was shown, in public, to the
people. Well, the second day of December, when the old man was to be
strangled, came at last. It was a lovely day, so mild and warm that the
windows of all the houses were open. The scaffold was to be in a field,
half a mile from the jail. At seven in the morning the carpenters came
to fix it. At eight o’clock the soldiers began to come; horsemen,
dressed in scarlet jackets, were placed about the field, and a double
line of sentries farther on; then the State of Virginia, fearing, after
all this, that it would not be safe enough from a feeble, sick old man,
brought a huge brass cannon, so placed and pointed, that if a rescue
were attempted, John might be blown into little atoms in a moment. There
were about five hundred soldiers in the field; and lines of them were
stretched over fifteen miles. There were not many people of the place
there to see John hung, for they dared not leave their slaves alone at
home, for fear of mischief in their absence; for all the poor slaves
knew very well that John was to be hung that day, because he was _their

At eleven o’clock, they brought John out of jail, and put him in the
wagon, to drive him to execution.

As John stepped from out the door of his prison, a black woman, with a
little child in her arms, stood near. He stopped for a moment, stooped
over, and kissed the little black child. Soon after, as he passed along,
another black woman said, “God bless you! old man. I wish I could help
you, but I cannot.” This made the tears come in John’s eyes for the
first time.

By John’s side was seated the undertaker, and on the wagon was a black
coffin, enclosed in a box, because his body was to go to his poor wife
after these Virginians had done with him. Then several companies of
soldiers, mounted on horseback, rode beside the wagon, which was drawn
by two white horses. As they went along, John looked at the lovely Blue
Mountains and the bright sky, and the warm sunshine spread over all, and
said, calmly, “This is a beautiful country; I have not seen it before.”
The jailer, who sat beside him, could hardly say “yes,” he was so
astonished to see John so quiet and smiling, as if he were only taking a
ride on that lovely day. Then the undertaker said to John, “You are more
cheerful than I am, Captain Brown.”

“Yes,” said the old man, “_I ought to be_.”

And now the wagon had come to the field, where stood the gallows, and
all those hundreds of soldiers, and the great brass cannon. The bright
sun shone on the bayonets and muskets of the soldiers and their gay
uniforms, and the lovely Blue Mountains looked very calm and peaceful;
and the soldiers kept very close to old John, for Virginia felt uneasy
till the breath was out of him. Then John got out of the wagon and stood
on the scaffold, and took his hat off for the last time, and laid it
down by his side. Then he thanked the jailer, who had been kind to him;
then they tied his elbows and ankles; then they drew a white cap over
his eyes, and then they put the Kentucky rope around his neck. Then the
sheriff told John to step forward; and John said, “I can’t see; you must
lead me.” Then the sheriff asked John to drop his handkerchief, for a
signal for him to hang him; and John said, “Now I am ready; only don’t
keep me long waiting.”

When John asked his enemies for time for his trial, they wouldn’t let
him have any; now, when he did not want any more time, they kept him
waiting. So they made the old man stand there, blindfolded, full ten
minutes, while they marched the soldiers up and down, and in and out,
just as if they were drilling on parade. Some of the soldiers felt
ashamed of this cruelty to the old man, and muttered between their
teeth, for it was as much as their necks were worth to say it loud,
“Shame! shame!” Then, at last, after the military maneuvers were over,
the rope was cut, and John struggled and strangled and died. Then, you
know, after that, Virginia had to be _very_ sure the old man _was_
really dead; so first the Charlestown doctors went up and poked him
over, and pulled him about; then the military doctors had their turn;
lifting up his arms, and putting their ears a great deal closer to his
breast than they would have cared to do once, to see if he breathed;
then they swung the body this way and that, in the air, for thirty-eight
minutes. Then they lifted the body upon the scaffold, and it fell into a
harmless heap. Then, although all the doctors who had pulled him around
declared that he was dead, still Virginia was so afraid of John, that
she insisted on cutting the dead body’s head off, or making it swallow
some poison, for fear, by some hocus pocus, it might wake up again. But
it didn’t wake—_at least, not in the way they expected_. But there is
fierce fighting down in Virginia to-day; for, though John Brown’s body
lies mouldering in the grave,

                       _His soul is marching on!_

                          THE PLOUGHBOY POET.

Mother Nature does not always, like other mothers, lay her pet children
on downy pillows, and under silken canopies. She seems to delight in
showing that money shall buy everything _but_ brains. At any rate, she
not only opened our poet’s big, lustrous eyes, in a clay cottage, put
roughly together by his father’s own hands, but, shortly after his
birth, she blew it down over his head, and the mother and child were
picked out from among the ruins, and carried to a neighbor’s for safe
keeping—rather a rough welcome to a world which, in its own slow
fashion, after the mold was on his breast, heaped over it honors, which
seemed then such a mockery.

But the poor little baby and his mother, happy in their mutual love,
knew little enough of all this. A good, loving mother she was, Agnes by
name; keeping her house in order with a matron’s pride; chanting old
songs and ballads to her baby-boy, as she glided cheerfully about; not
discouraged when things went wrong on the farm, and the crops failed,
and the table was scantily supplied with food—singing, hoping, trusting,
loving still; a very woman, over whose head cottages _might_ tumble, so
that her _heart_ was but satisfied.

Robert’s father was a good man, who performed each day’s duty as
carefully as though each day brought other reward than that of having
done his duty. It is a brave, strong heart, my dear children, which can
do this. All can labor when success follows; it is disaster, defeat,
difficulties, which prove what a man’s soul is made of. It is just here
that the ranks grow thin in life’s battle—just here that the
faint-hearted perish by the wayside, or desert, like cowards, to the
enemy. William Burns stood manfully to his duty, plodding on, year after
year;—when one plan failed, trying another; never saying, when his day’s
work was done, “Ah! but this is too discouraging! I’ll to the alehouse,
to drown my griefs in strong drink!” Neither did he go home moody and
disconsolate, to drive his children into corners, and bring tears to the
eyes of his toiling wife. But morning and evening the prayer went up,
with unfailing trust in Heaven. Oh! but that was glorious! I love
William Burns! Did he say at night, when so weary, “_Now_, at least,
I’ll rest?” Not he: there were little bright eyes about him, out of
which the eager soul was looking. So he gathered them about his armchair
on those long winter evenings, and read to them, and taught them, and
answered their simple yet deep questions. One of Robert’s sweetest
poems, the Cotter’s Saturday Night, was written about this. Robert’s
father told his children, too, of the history of their country; of
skirmishes, sieges, and battles; old songs and ballads, too, he repeated
to them, charming their young ears. Was not this a lovely home picture?
Oh! how much were these peasant children to be envied above the children
of richer parents, kept in the nursery, in the long intervals when their
parents, forgetful of these sweet duties, were seeking their own
pleasure and amusement. More blessed, surely, is the humblest roof,
round whose evening hearth gather nightly, all its inmates, young and

Nor—poor as they were—did they lack books. Dainties they could forego,
but not books; confusedly thrown about—soiled and thumbed; but—unlike
our gilded, center-table ornaments—well selected, and well read. And so
the years passed on, as does the life of so many human beings, quiet,
but eventful.

Who sneers at “old women”? I should like to trace, for a jeering world,
the influence of that important person in the Burns family. Old Jenny
Wilson! Little she herself knew her power, when, with Robert Burns upon
her knee, she poured into his listening ear her never-ending store of
tales about fairies, and “brownies,” and witches, and giants, and
dragons. So strong was the impression these supernatural stories made
upon the mind of the boy, that he declared that, in later life, he could
never go through a suspicious-looking place, without expecting to see
some unearthly shape appear. Who shall determine how much this withered
old woman had to do with making the boy a poet? And yet, poor humble
soul—that is an idea which seldom enters the mind of his admirers. The
bent figure, with wrinkle-seamed face, gliding noiselessly about your
house, doing odds and ends of household labor, now singing a child to
sleep, now cooking at the kitchen fire, now repairing a garment, or
watching by a sickbed—always on hand, yet never in anybody’s way;
silent, grateful, unobtrusive, yet beloved of Heaven—have you not known

Robert’s mother, the good Agnes, had a voice sweet as her name. The
ballads she sang him were all of a serious cast. She had learned them,
when a girl, from _her_ mother. Oh, these songs! Many a simple hymn,
thus listened to by childhood’s ear, has been that soul’s last utterance
this side the grave. All other childish impressions may have faded away,
but “mother’s hymn” is never forgotten. That strain, heard by none else,
will sometimes come, an unbidden, unwelcome guest; and neither in noise
nor wine can that bearded man drown it—this _mother’s hymn_! Sing on,
sing on, ye patient, toiling mothers! over the cradle—by the fireside.
Angels smile as they listen. The lark whom the cloud covers, is not

The father of Robert Burns did not consider, because he was a poor man,
that it was an excuse for depriving his boys of any advantages of
education within his reach, as many a farmer, similarly situated, and
intent only on gain, has thought it right to do. His good sense, in this
respect, was well rewarded; for Robert’s first teacher said of him, that
“he took such pleasure in learning, and I in teaching, that it was
difficult to say which of the two was most zealous in the business.” It
is such scholars as these who brighten the otherwise _dreary_ lot of the
teacher. Pupils who study, not because they must, and as little as
possible at that, but because they have an appetite for it, and crave
knowledge. Of course, a good teacher endeavors to be equally faithful to
all the pupils who are intrusted to him—the stupid and wayward, as well
as the studious. But there must be to him a peculiar pleasure in
helping, guiding, and watching over a pupil so eager to acquire. The
mother bird, who coaxes her fledglings to the edge of the nest, and, by
circling flights overhead, invites them to follow, understands, of
course, how the little, cowering thing, who sits crouched on a
neighboring twig, may be too indolent, or too timid to go farther; but
she looks with proud delight upon the bold little soarer, who, observing
well her lesson, reaches the top of the tallest tree, and sits, swaying
and singing, upon its topmost branch.

Robert, however, had not always the good luck to have, as in this case,
an intelligent, appreciative teacher. I suppose it is not treason to
admit, even in a child’s book, which, by some, is considered a place for
tremendous fibbing, that a teacher may occasionally err, as well as his
pupil. That teachers have been known to mistake their vocation, when
they have judged themselves qualified, after trying and failing in every
other employment, to fill such a difficult and honorable position.

It seems there was a certain Hugh Rodgers, to whose school Robert was
sent. It was the very bad custom of those times, when pupils of his age
first entered a school, to take the master to a tavern, and treat him to
some liquor. This Robert did, in company with another boy, named Willie,
who entered at the same time. Do you suppose that schoolmaster ever
thought remorsefully about this in after years, when he heard what a
wreck strong drink had made of poor Robert? Well, the boy Willie and
Robert became great friends from that day; often staying at each other’s
houses, and always spending the intervals between morning and afternoon
school, in each other’s company. When the other boys were playing ball,
they would talk together on subjects to improve their minds. Now, as
they _walked_ while they talked, their omitting to play ball was not of
so much consequence as it would otherwise have been—at least, according
to my motto, which is, _chests first, brains afterward_. But to go on.
These disputatious youngsters sharpened their wits on all sorts of
knotty subjects, and also invited several of their companions to join
their debating society—whether to improve them, or to have an audience
to approve their skill, I can’t say; perhaps a little of both.

By and by the master heard of it. He didn’t like it. He had an idea boys
should have no ideas that the master didn’t put into their heads for
them. So one day, when the school was all assembled, he walked up to the
desks of Robert and Willie, and began, very unwisely, to taunt them
about it before all the scholars—something in this style: “So, boys, I
understand that you consider yourselves qualified to decide upon matters
of importance, which wiser heads usually let alone. I trust, from
debating, you won’t come to blows, young gentlemen,” &c., &c. Now, the
boys who had not joined their debating society, set up a laugh, like
little rascals, at the rebuked Robert and Willie. This, of course, as
the teacher should have known, stung them to the quick; and Robert, with
a flushed face, resolved to “speak up” to the master. I find no fault
with his reply, which was this; that both he and Willie rather thought
that he (the master) would be pleased, instead of displeased, at this
effort to improve their minds. At this, Hugh Rodgers laughed
contemptuously, and said he should be glad to know what these mighty
nonsensical discussions might be about. Willie replied that they had a
new subject every day; that he could not recollect all; but that the
question of that day had been, whether is a great general, or
respectable merchant, the more valuable member of society. At this, Hugh
Rodgers laughed more uproariously and provokingly than before, saying,
that it was a very silly question, since there could be no doubt for a
moment about it. “Very well,” said Robert Burns, now thoroughly roused,
“if you think so, I will take any side you please, if you will allow me
to discuss it with you.”

The unfortunate schoolmaster consented. He commenced the argument with a
pompous flourish in favor of the general. Burns took the other side, and
soon had the upper hand of the schoolmaster, who made a very lame reply.
Soon the schoolmaster’s hand was observed to shake, his voice to
tremble, and, in a state of pitiable vexation, he dismissed the school.

Poor man! he understood mathematics better than human nature; and
himself least of all. This was an unfortunate victory, for two reasons.
It was an unnecessary degradation of a man who had his estimable
qualities, and it increased the self-sufficiency of young Burns, who was
born with his arms sufficiently a-kimbo. Alexander-fashion, he soon
sighed for another conquest. His bedfellow, John Nevins, was a great
wrestler. Nothing would do, but he must floor John Nevins. Strutting up
to John, he challenged him to the combat. John soon took that nonsense
out of him, by laying him low. Vanquished, he sprang to his feet, and
challenged him to a discussion. _There he had him!_—John having more
muscle than brain. Burns’s pride was comforted, and he retreated, a
satisfied youth. This is all I know about Robert’s _childhood_.

Silver hairs were now gathering thickly on his good father’s temples, as
he toiled on, to little use, while children grew up fast about his
knees, to be fed, schooled, and clothed by his labor. Robert and his
brother looked sadly on, as his health declined. Robert had little
inclination for his father’s work, and yet, somebody must take his
place; for consumption was even then making rapid and fearful havoc with
his constitution. The good old man ceased from his labors at last, and
went where the weary rest. For a while, Robert strove to fill his
place—strove well, strove earnestly. But the farmer who stops to write
poems over his plough, seldom reaps a harvest to satisfy hungry mouths.
And so, poverty came, instead of potatoes, and Robert Burns, although
the troubled eyes of his wife looked into his, and his little children
were growing up fast about him, and needed a good father, to teach them
how to live in this world, and to earn bread for them till they became
big enough to earn it for themselves, it came about that, instead of
doing this, he drank whisky to help him forget that he ought to keep on
ploughing, if poetry did not bring him bread, and so made poverty a
great deal worse. His wife was very, very sorrowful about it, and his
little children became tired of waiting for him to love them, and care
for them. Perhaps you say, Oh, how _could_ he do so? My dear children,
how can _anybody_ ever do wrong? How can _you_ ever vex your dear
mother, who is so good to you, and go pouting to bed, and never tell her
that you are “sorry”? and still, while you are sleeping, that dear,
good, forgiving mother stoops over your little bed, and kisses your
forehead, and looks to see if you are warm and comfortable, before she
can sleep, the same as if you had been a good child, instead of a bad
one. I hope you will think of this before that good mother dies, and
tell her that you are very sorry for grieving her; and I hope, too, that
Robert Burns, before it was too late, said that he was sorry for
grieving those who loved him, and for wasting his life; but I do not
know about that.

                              OLD HICKORY.

Many a time, I dare say, you have sat on your bench at school, with your
cotton handkerchief spread over your knee, looking at the stern face of
this famous man upon it; every bristling hair upon his head seeming to
say for itself, In the name of the commonwealth, stand and deliver! You
have thought, perhaps, that a man with such a sharp eye and granite face
as that, must be a very terrible person, whose heart was quite left out
when he was made, and whom little children had better run away from. It
is just because this was _not_ true, that I first believed in General
Jackson. A brave man is never a mean one; and it _is_ mean to despise or
bully children and women. I place _children_ first, because every woman
who has ever had one, does so. But to my story. We, who have lived so
peacefully and quietly in the land for which our brave ancestors fought,
do not think as often as we ought of the sufferings and trials through
which they purchased it for us. Until lately, our houses were not burned
down over our heads, or ransacked and robbed, nor our mothers and
sisters insulted before our eyes, nor our fathers and brothers dragged
off as prisoners of war, and kicked and cuffed for sport by the enemy.
All this, Andrew Jackson’s boyish eyes saw. Do you wonder at the fire in
them? One of his earliest recollections was of the meeting house in his
native place turned into a hospital for his wounded, maimed, dying,
brave countrymen; and his own widowed mother, leading him there by the
hand to nurse them, and dress their wounds, and comfort them, as only a
woman with a strong heart and angel touch can. Could the boy stand by
and see all this, and not long for the time when he should grow big, and
stout, and tall, and help fight for his country? Could he help being
impatient, he, the son of this unprotected mother, when one after
another of these poor fellows was brought in, with their fresh, ghastly
wounds, and laid down to die? And when, later, his cousin’s house was
taken by the British, and the furniture was broken in pieces, and his
cousin’s wife was insulted by the officers, and he and his brother were
taken prisoners, and ordered by the officer, with an oath, to clean his
muddy boots; and, because they both refused, were cut and slashed across
the face and head by this bullying, cowardly fellow, Andrew then being
only twelve years old; and then were marched miles and miles away down
South, and not allowed a morsel of food by the way, and forbidden even
to scoop up water from the streams they were fording, to quench their
feverish thirst? Ah! do you wonder now at that stern face? Suppose your
dear mother, whom your dear father, whom you can just remember, loved so
tenderly, was driven across the country with you and your little
brother, from place to place, for safety, in those troublous times, and
subjected to all kinds of hardships, bearing up under it bravely, as
good women will. Suppose that when you and your brother—still boys—were
dragged off as prisoners of war, this dear, brave mother traveled off
alone, and never rested till she managed, by an exchange of prisoners
with the British general, to get her dear boys back again; but wan and
wasted with small pox, and the wounds that they had received from that
big, cowardly British officer, all undressed and uncared for; these
boys, _her_ Andrew, her Robert? Well, as your mother would have nursed
you and your brother through her tears, so Andrew Jackson’s mother
nursed her fatherless boys. But was Andrew a boy to forget either his
mother’s love, or the British? No, indeed! And when, after he became
well, and the whole band went to live in the house of a friend, and
Andrew picked beans, and pulled fodder, and drove cattle, and went to
mill, do you wonder that when he was sent to the blacksmith’s, to get
the farm tools mended, he brought home spears of iron, and all sorts of
odd-looking, rough weapons, that, while waiting for the blacksmith, he
had himself manufactured “to kill the British with”? Do you wonder that
he fastened the blade of a scythe to a pole, and exclaimed, fiercely, as
he cut down the weeds with it, “Oh! if I were only a man, wouldn’t I
sweep off the British with my grass blade?” And he did it, too,
afterward. Let those who call him “fierce, savage, vindictive,” remember
how these sorrows of his childhood were burned in upon his soul;
remember what burning tears must have fallen upon the little bundle
containing all his dead mother’s clothes, she who had struggled and
suffered through the war of the Revolution, and left him an orphan at
fifteen years, with only the memory of her love and his country’s
wrongs. As he stood weeping over that little bundle, friendless,
homeless, and heart-broken, thinking of all she had been to him, and
looking wistfully forward into the dim unknown, he did not see the
future President of the United States, and hear his voice falter as he
said, “I learned that, years ago, from my dear, good mother!” Well might
he remember her then. You ask me if Andrew found no opportunity to get
an education in these troublous times? You may be sure his mother knew
the value of that! and sent her boys, when quite young, to the best
schools she could find in their native place. Schools, in those days,
were not the furnace-heated, mahogany-desked affairs we see now. Pupils
did not carry an extra pair of shoes to put on when they entered, for
fear of soiling the floor. Velvet jackets were not worn by the boys, nor
gold bracelets by the girls. Andrew Jackson’s schoolroom was an old log
house made of pines, the crevices being filled in with clay, which the
boys used to pick out when it came spring, to let in the fresh air. In
this school no French, nor drawing, nor “moral science,” was taught.
Reading, writing, and arithmetic was all. For a gymnasium, there were
the grand old trees, which the freckled, sunburnt, redheaded Andrew was
free to swing upon when school was done; and he went up and down them
like a squirrel. I think he was better at that than at his books, if the
truth must out; however, “learning” did not go before chests in those
days, luckily for us, who enjoy the blessings for which our fathers’
strong arms fought. So Andrew studied some, and leaped, and wrestled,
and jumped more;—was kind to defenceless small boys, but had his fist in
the face of every fellow who made fun of him, or taunted him, or in any
way pushed him to the wall.

Andrew had one very bad habit when a boy, which, I am sorry to say,
followed him all his life. He swore fearfully! An oath, from anybody’s
mouth, is hateful; but from a _child’s_ mouth! I know nothing more
saddening and pitiful. Often, I know, children will use such words,
quite unconscious of their meaning, as they pick them up from those who
have no such excuse for their utterance, till the habit becomes so
fixed, that only in later life, when they pain some person who is
“old-fashioned” enough to reverence the name they use so lightly, do
they become conscious of the extent of this disgusting habit. The idea
of its being “manly” to swear is ridiculous enough; since the lowest,
most brutal ruffian in creation, can, and does, outdo you in this
accomplishment. I think Andrew would have enjoyed his boyish sports
quite as well without these bad words; and he _was_ a splendid fellow
for all athletic exercises. Had he been alive when that game of cricket
was won by the English cricketers, I don’t know what would have
happened; well, it _wouldn’t_ have happened; or had it, the victors
would never have gone home alive to tell of it!

Andrew was a good son to his mother; he was honest, and truthful, and
kind to her always. He never forgot her as long as he lived. He used
often, when President of the United States, to stop in the midst of his
conversation, and say, reverently and proudly, “_That_ I learned from my
good mother!”

One cannot help feeling sad that she should have lived long enough only
to bear the burden and heat of the day, and not share with her boy its
calm repose and reward. And yet, who can believe that a mother and son
so loving are divided, though one crosses alone the dark river before
the other? We have seen, of a fine summer morning, after the sun shone
out, fine gossamer threads, before invisible, floating, yet fixed, in
the air above us. So, when the light of eternity shines on our
life-path, shall these chords of a mother’s love be seen to have
entwined themselves around and about us—leading us in a way we knew not.

Jackson’s life was a strange one. It is for me only now to speak of his
childhood and youth. His relation to our country’s history will not
suffer you to rest satisfied with this. His after-life is better told
than I could tell it you, by a man who is now looking over my shoulder,
and who says, I have just told you a fib. If you read “Parton’s Life of
Andrew Jackson,” however, you will see that I have told the truth.

                     THE DEAF AND DUMB FRENCH BOY.

I was sitting, this morning, at my window, looking at a fine sunrise,
when suddenly I thought, how terrible, were I to become blind! And then
I asked myself, were I to choose between blindness and deafness, how
should I decide? Never to see the dear faces, never to see the blue sky,
or green earth, or delicate flowers;—never to listen to the melody of
birds, or the sweet voices of the trees and streams, or hum of busy
insect-life; or, more dreadful still, never to hear the sweet voices of
those I love;—oh, how could I choose? When we murmur and complain,
surely we forget the blessings of hearing and sight; they are so common,
that we forget to be grateful; so common, that we need to have written
pitying words to the deaf of our own kin, or led the sightless, fully to
understand their sufferings. And yet all the world is not now dark to
the blind, or voiceless to the deaf, thanks to the good people who teach
both these unfortunates. How different was their position once, a long
while ago! Let me tell you about it.

In France lived a little boy, born of parents who had six deaf and dumb
children, three boys and three girls. It must have been very dull to
them all; but one of them, little Pierre, seemed to feel it most.
Children of his own age would not play with him, they seemed to despise
him; so he trotted round like a little dog, trying to amuse himself with
sticks, and stones, and anything that came in his way; his body grew
tall, like other children’s, but his mind remained a little baby. He
didn’t know whether he had been made, or had made himself. His father
taught him to make prayers by signs, morning and evening. Poor little
fellow! he would get on his knees, and look upward, and make his lips
move, as if he had been speaking; but he did not know there was any God:
he was worshiping the beautiful sky. He took a great fancy to a
particular star, because it was so bright and beautiful; and at one
time, when his mother lay very sick, he used to go out every evening,
and kneeling down, make signs to it, to make her well; but finding that
she did not get any better, he grew very angry, and threw stones at the
star, supposing that it might, after all, be the cause of his deafness,
his mother’s sickness, and all their other troubles. Seeing others move
their lips when speaking, he moved his, hoping the talk would come out;
and sometimes he made noises like an animal. When people told him the
trouble was in his ears, then he took some brandy, poured it into his
ears, and then stopped them up with cotton, as he had seen people do who
had cold in their heads. Pierre desired much to learn to read and write.
He often saw young boys and girls who were going to school, and he
desired to follow them; not that he knew what reading and writing really
were, but from a feeling that there were some privileges and enjoyments
from which he ought not to be shut out. The poor child begged his
father, as well as he knew how, with tears in his eyes, to let him go to
school. His father refused, making signs to him that he was deaf and
dumb, and therefore could never learn anything. Then little Pierre cried
very loud, and taking some books, tried to read them; but he neither
knew the letters nor the words. Then he became angry, and putting his
fingers into his ears, demanded impatiently to have them cured. Then his
father told him again, that there was no help for it; and Pierre was
quite heart-broken. He left his father’s house, and without telling him,
started off alone to school, and going into the schoolhouse, asked the
master, by signs, to teach him to read and write. The schoolmaster (I
think he could not have had any little children of his own) refused him
roughly and drove him away from the school. Then Pierre cried very much;
but you will be glad when I tell you that, although only twelve years
old, he was such a little hero that he wouldn’t give up. He took a pen,
and tried, all alone, to form the writing signs; and that, indeed, was
the best and only thing he could do, and he stuck to it, though
everybody discouraged him.

His father used sometimes to set him to watch the flocks; oftentimes
people, in passing, who found out his condition, gave the boy money. One
day—and it was a great day for poor Pierre—when he was thus watching the
flocks, a gentleman who was passing took a fancy to him, and inviting
him to his house, gave him something to eat and drink. Then the
gentleman went off to Bordeaux, where he lived. Not long after, Pierre’s
father, for some reason or other, moved to Bordeaux; and then this kind
gentleman spoke of Pierre to a learned man of his acquaintance, who was
interested in deaf and dumb persons, and he consented to take Pierre and
try to teach him. Are you not glad? and you will be gladder still, when
I tell you how fast he learned, and how, by his own strong will,
assisted by his kind tutor, he unriveted, one by one, the chains with
which his wits were bound, and casting them aside, stood forth under the
bright star, at which he used to throw stones, and understood now what
it was, and who made it. You may be sure that nobody had to tease little
Pierre to learn _his_ lessons, as some little children have to be teased
to study theirs. No indeed! he felt like jumping and leaping for joy
that he was able to learn; and it seemed to him that there was nothing
left in the world worth fretting about, now that he could learn, like
other children.

That is all I know about little Pierre, but I hope he grew up a _good_
as well as a smart man; don’t you?

                       THE THREE GIFTED SISTERS.

                “Like as a father pitieth his children.”

According to this text, Charlotte Brontë, though no orphan, had no
father. She was born in the little village of Haworth, England. Her
father was a clergyman, and a very curious man, if the stories told of
him are true. I dare say he may have been a good man in his way, but I
don’t fancy his way. I don’t like his burning up some pretty little red
shoes, belonging to his little children, because he did not like the
color. I don’t like his firing off pistols, when he got angry, and
terrifying his little meek wife. I shouldn’t want to hear such a
terrible minister preach, had I gone to his church. Well, never mind
that. His feeble little wife was taken very sick, and the doctor said
she must die; die, and leave those little children to the care of this
father I have spoken of, who seemed to be about as fit for the charge,
as an elephant would be to take care of little humming birds. One touch
of his great paw would crush the life out of them.

[Illustration: LITTLE CHARLOTTE.—Page 82.]

You may be sure the poor dying mother felt badly enough about all this,
as she lay in her bed, growing thinner, and paler, and weaker each day.
She could see the churchyard where she was to be buried from her chamber
window; in fact, one had to pass through it, with its moss-grown
tombstones, to get to the house, which was a very gloomy one at best, as
parsonage houses are too apt to be. I suppose she tried very hard to
feel willing to leave them; but she found she could not do it, if she
saw their dear little faces every day. So they did not go to her
sick-room any more; she could hear the pattering of their tiny feet in
the entry, and their hushed whispers as they passed her door, and so,
pressing her hands tightly over her mother heart, to still its pain, and
leaning on the Crucified, she passed away.

It is very dreadful for a child to lose its mother—much worse, I think,
than to lose a father; because a father, be he ever so good and kind,
_must_ be away from his little ones, and cannot, by any possibility,
understand their little wants and ways as a mother can; and a child’s
heart is such a tender thing to touch; one may mean well, and give it
such exquisite pain, and the poor thing cringes, and shrinks, and has no
words by which it can tell its distress. But suppose the father
understands nothing about a child’s heart. Suppose he thinks to treat it
like a grown person’s, who has been knocked about the world till he
don’t care for anything, who never cries, never laughs, never is glad,
never is sorry, never wants to lay his head on a dear, kind shoulder,
and cry—what then? Suppose that father, instead of taking breakfast,
dinner, and supper with his lonely little children, takes his meals up
in his own room, and leaves them sobbing over theirs, while they try to
swallow the food that tasted so sweet when their dear mother sat at the
head of the table—what then? Suppose it was a bleak, dreary country
where they lived, where no flowers grew, where were no gardens; and
that, when these little children became tired of huddling together, like
a frightened flock of lambs, in their gloomy nursery, where never a
cheerful fire was lighted, or cheerful lamps twinkled when night came
on—suppose they tied on their little bonnets, and, led by the eldest,
who was only seven, went through the damp churchyard, past their
mother’s grave, and out on the bleak, cold hills to walk, without their
father to lead them by the hand, or take them up in his arms when tired,
or speak a kind word, or warm their little chilled hearts or hands in
any way? Suppose day after day went by in this fashion, what sort of
children do you suppose they would become? Healthy, hearty, rosy,
jumping little things, such as God and man love to see, loving play and
frolic, with broad chests and shoulders, and bright eyes and hearts? Not
at all. They never once thought of playing; they hadn’t a toy in the
house; their heads grew big, and their bodies grew little; and they were
as wide awake at night, as if somebody had hired them not to go to
sleep. But their father slept soundly, all the same as if their little
hearts were not like an empty cage, out of which music and beauty has
taken wing forever. Well, _God loved them; that’s a comfort_, and that
thought kept little Charlotte’s heart from sinking, when she tried to be
mother to her younger brothers and sisters; all the while she needed a
mother herself, more than any dictionary could ever tell.

After a while, an aunt came to their house, to take charge of them. I
was glad of that. I hoped she would make them play dolls, and run, and
jump about; I hoped she would make the fires and lamps burn cheerily,
and go round the house shedding brightness from her finger tips, as only
a woman knows how. I hoped she would go out to walk with the little
orphans, and when they came home to supper, sit down with them at the
table, and say funny things to make them laugh; and good things to make
them happy and glad. I hoped she would tie on their little night dresses
with her own hands, and kiss them down on their pillows, and say, God
bless you, my little darlings! It was _such_ a pity she didn’t. I am
sure a _woman_ ought to understand little children better than she
seemed to. But she just shut herself up in her room, the same way their
father did, and took all _her_ meals alone. I have no patience with her.
I wish I had lived near them; they should have eaten and drank with me,
poor little souls! Well, they had a kitchen, and a good old servant,
named Tabby, in it, and, from what I can find out, she was more of a
mother to them, in her rough fashion, than anybody else. I told you
these children had no toys; and, what was worse, they did not want any;
they used to read newspapers and talk politics, just as your father and
his gentleman friends might, in your parlor. As to “Mother Goose,” I am
sure they never heard of her, though they read many books that are
considered much wiser, and which were just as much out of place in a
nursery, as a joint of roast beef would be to set before your little
month-old baby, for its dinner. But how should they know that? Nobody
about them seemed to think that childhood comes but once; or, in fact,
was intended to come at all for them. “Milk for babes” was not the
fashion at Haworth parsonage. Well, time passed on, till their father
concluded to send Charlotte away to school, with her sisters. So they
were put into a little covered cart with their things, and jolted along.
I hope their father kissed them when they went away, but I am not at all
sure of it. I am afraid he was too dignified. It is hard enough for a
child to go away to school with a warm kiss on the lips, and a trunk
full of comfortable clothes, in every stitch of which is woven a
mother’s blessing. It is hard enough for a healthy, romping child, who
is able to ask for what it wants everywhere, and on all occasions, to
leave home, and go a long distance to a strange school, even though it
may have letters often, and plum cakes often, and all sorts of little
love-tokens, which home delights to send to the absent one. But to these
little timid ones, who had never played with children, and were as much
afraid of them as of strange, grown people; who had come up, shy and
awkward and old-fashioned, and were painfully conscious of it, as soon
as it was brought to their notice by contrast with those children, who
had come from their warm firesides like some graceful house-plants, full
of blossoms and verdure—ah! it was very sad for the poor little Brontë
girls. What could they do when they got there, but stand at the window,
and cry, as they looked out upon the snowy landscape? And when the girls
urged them to play ball, and other such healthful games, they had no
heart for it—no physical strength for it, either; they would have been
tumbled over forty times in a minute, by their playmates, like so many
ninepins, with a great, thumping ball. Well, they had a bad time of it,
any way, at this school—bad food, bad air, and exposure. I suppose, too,
their clothes were not warm enough, for the hand was cold that would
have made the warm garment for those bloodless, shrunken limbs. It is
“mother’s” fingers that fit the cloak close to the little neck, so that
through no treacherous crevice the cruel “croup” may creep; it is
“mother’s” fingers that quilt the little winter skirt with the soft,
warm wool, and furnish the thick stocking, and comfortable hood. It is
“mother’s” eye which sees just the thing that is needed to meet all
weathers. We can imagine how they went shivering along, half clad, to
the church on Sunday, where never a fire was lighted; how blue were
their fingers; how cold their little feet! No wonder they grew sick.
Little Maria Brontë, who was delicate under the remains of the whooping
cough, suffered most severely from cold, and want of nourishing food. A
blister was applied to her side for her relief, and the poor, weak
child, happening to linger in bed one morning later than the usual hour
for rising, was harshly dragged in this state into the middle of the
room, and then punished, because she had not strength enough to dress
herself in time to appear with the other scholars. This must have been
very hard to bear. Perhaps you ask, Why didn’t Charlotte Brontë write
home about it? She had two reasons: one was, that both she and her
sisters were most anxious to learn everything that they could learn at
this school; and in the next place, they had been so accustomed to keep
all their childish troubles to themselves, although their hearts were
nearly breaking, that I don’t suppose they once imagined, if they
thought of it, that it would do any good to complain. So they shivered
in the cold, and tried to swallow the bad food that was given them, when
they grew so hungry they could not do without it, until poor little
Maria grew so very bad, that her father had to be sent for. God pitied
the poor child, and took her to heaven, to be with her mother. She died
a few days after reaching home. Charlotte and Emily, the two remaining
sisters, did not long stay in the school after their sister’s death. I
think their father at last woke up to the thought, that _they_ might die
too, and nobody might be left at the old, gloomy parsonage, to send up
his meals, or wait upon him, or read to him, or mend his clothes. So he
brought them home too. I believe all children are fond of being in the
kitchen. They are active, and like to see what is going on; they like to
watch the cooking, and ask questions about it—often, much better than
the cook likes to answer. The little Brontë girls’ cook was named Tabby,
and a funny old woman she was. She was very kind to them, but she would
have her own way, and made them do as she said; still, I have no doubt,
from what I know of her, that she put by many a nice little bit for
their hungry mouths, and told them a great many fairy stories, as they
cuddled round the old kitchen fire, when her work was done; but I think
they had to be very careful not to meddle with anything without leave,
or get in her way, when she was hurried or busy; and that was all right
enough, for the poor old thing must have elbow-room, you know; besides,
it is a good thing for a child to be taught that it may not order about
a good, faithful servant, old enough to be its mother, merely because
she is a servant.

About this time the little girls began to amuse themselves writing
little plays, poetry, and “compositions” for their own amusement. They
had a little “make believe” newspaper, too, for which they and their
brother Patrick used to write, and old Tabby had to speak pretty sharp,
sometimes, to make them go to bed, when they were busy with these
things. I suppose they did not care to go to bed early, for they did not
sleep as healthy, happy children do, the moment their heads touch the
pillow, until a mother’s soft kiss wakes them to a new day of joy; but
no doubt they turned and tossed, and wished it were daylight, and all
their sorrows grew larger and more intolerable to bear in the silent,
dreary night. They who have been in great trouble know this; when the
faintest leaf-whisper, from one tree to another, seems like spirit
voices, torturing one with a language which you try, but _cannot_
understand; when the dear ones who are dead seem so very near, and yet
so very far away; when their faces seem to look out from the darkness,
like a star suddenly appearing from a black cloud, and then again
wrapped in its dusky folds. No wonder the nervous, lonely little Brontës
begged Tabby not to send them to bed.

Charlotte did not stay long at home; her father resolved to send her
away to school again, and her little sister and brother were forced to
do without her.

When persons interest us very much, it is natural to wish to know how
they look.

Well, then, Charlotte Brontë, at the time she went to this school, was a
very homely little girl. One of her schoolmates draws for us this
picture of her, at that time: “I first saw her coming out of a covered
cart, in very old-fashioned clothes, looking very cold, and very
miserable. When she afterward appeared in the schoolroom, her dress was
changed, but just as old-fashioned. She looked like a little old woman,
so short-sighted that she always appeared to be seeking something, and
moving her head from side to side to catch sight of it. She was very shy
and nervous, and spoke with a strong Irish accent. When a book was given
her, she dropped her head over it, till her nose nearly touched it, and
when she was told to hold her head up, up went the book after it, so
that it was not possible to help laughing.” Another schoolmate says,
that the first time she saw Charlotte, she was standing by the
schoolroom window, looking out on the snowy landscape and crying, while
all the rest of the girls were at play. Poor child! no doubt she felt
desolate enough. Fortunately for Charlotte, her teacher, Miss Woolen,
was a lady of intelligent mind and kind heart. She understood the
odd-looking, timid, wise little being before her. She knew that there
was a gem, all but the setting. So she did not overlook the knowledge
stowed away in that little busy brain, because grammar and geography had
found no place there. Then came the question, how to manage this little
sensitive pupil, without keeping back the other girls in the class, who
already understood these branches, though, perhaps, they were far behind
her in others. At first she thought she _must_ put her in the second
class, till, as school girls say, she had “caught up” with the other
girls. But the moment she mentioned it, Charlotte’s mortification and
distress were such, that, like a wise teacher, she saw that if she only
saved her this pain, by allowing her to go into the _first_ class, she
immediately would make up by private study wherein she was deficient;
and so it proved.

One feels as glad at this kindness, as though she were one’s own little
sister. We find her, at this time, not playing with the other romping
girls, but standing in the playground with a book, or looking dreamily
at the scenery. When urged to join them in their sports, she said
No—always pleasantly. Playing ball, and such healthful games, she
probably disliked, as much, perhaps, for lack of bodily strength, as
from any other cause; though that would have come by degrees, had she
only allowed herself to try; it was a great pity she did not. However,
she was always so good-natured and amiable, that she was a favorite with
the girls, although she wouldn’t play with them. Sometimes, with the
natural freedom of their age, they would tell her that she was
“awkward,” or ugly; but this never displeased her, though, I have no
doubt, she felt sorry that they thought so. In the portraits of that
fine face of hers, which I have seen, the term “ugly” seems to be sadly
misapplied. Those might think so, who fancy a pink and white doll-face;
but neither could such see the _moral_ beauty of her daily life, over
that thorny road, every meek, patient step of which was as the Saviour’s
at Gethsemane.

Charlotte remained a year at this school, studying very hard. This was
well, had she also remembered that her fragile body needed equal care
with her mind; for of what use is knowledge if there is no bodily
strength by which we can make it useful to those about us? Charlotte had
no watchful mother, to impress this upon her as a religious duty; to
remind her that she was as responsible for the care of her body, as for
the improvement of her mind. And so her mind kept on expanding, and
threatening to shatter its feeble prison house in pieces. It was a great
pity; but it seems even in England, where so much more attention is paid
than here to “raising” perfect, robust specimens of men and women, such
things do happen. At Miss Woolen’s school, Charlotte formed an agreeable
intimacy with two schoolmates—young ladies of her own age. This was a
great benefit to her, because she had been made so prematurely old in
her feelings, by loneliness and sorrow. One cannot help catching
animation and hope from a bright, joyous, fresh-hearted, breezy
companion, though one is ever so apt to look on the gloomy side of
things. And so it is quite cheering to know that, upon leaving Miss
Woolen’s school, and going back to her father’s dull house, these young
girls exchanged letters and visits with one another. And now, perhaps,
you suppose, that when Charlotte reached home, she sat down and folded
her hands in utter hopelessness, saying, “How awful dull it is here!
there is no use in trying to live in such a desolate old cage of a
place; it is really too bad for a young creature like me to be shut up
here. It is too bad for any girl so fond of reading, writing, and
drawing, to be a mere drudge in this lonesome place!” Perhaps you think
that, as she was a “genius,” she said or thought all this. Not at all;
and I’ll tell you why; because her genius was _genuine_, not sham. It is
only make believe geniuses who think the every-day duties of life
beneath their intellects. I want you to remember that Charlotte Brontë
did not shrink from one of them. She swept, and she dusted, and she made
beds, and she made bread (good, light, wholesome bread, too), and pared
potatoes, and watched the pot boil, and kept everything in as nice order
as if she had no taste for anything but housekeeping. Perhaps you think
then that she folded her hands, and said, “I should think I had done
enough now!” There you are wrong again. She looked from her window into
the little churchyard, where her mother was lying, and said, “Now I must
be a mother to my brothers and sisters!” and she repaired their clothes,
and she taught them; for she had _thoroughly_ learned her own lessons
and all those things she had studied at school. There’s a girl for you!
and all this, when she was so very fond of reading and writing, which
stood to her lonely heart in place of loving friends, for whom she

At length, on account of want of money, it became necessary for some one
of the family to go out into the world to earn it. Who should it be? One
would have naturally supposed the brother, as being a sturdy, healthy
fellow, better able to fight his way than his delicate sisters, who
shrank timidly from the sight of strange faces and strange voices. It
seemed not the thing for _them_ to go out into the wilderness, to make
the path easy for _his_ feet? If so, _which_ of the sisters should do
this? Emily? Anne? or Charlotte? Emily grew homesick to that degree when
away, that her life was in danger, and was obliged to be recalled for
that reason. So, whoever was sent, _she_ must not go; for were there not
two sisters already in the churchyard? Anne was too young. _Charlotte_,
then, was, as usual, to buckle on the armor of duty over her brave
heart, and stagger forth with what strength she might, to face the
world. She was to be a _governess_! Imagine, if you can, the most
torturing situation in which to place such a nature as hers; and the
daily trial of it, could not come up to that included to her in the
little word “governess.” Fortunately, her _first_ experiment was with
Miss Woolen, her old teacher—her scholars being younger sisters of her
own playmates. Whatever she did, she did with her might; therefore, so
zealous was she to make herself useful in her new situation, and so
conscientious in the discharge of duties which a less noble girl would
have dodged, or evaded sufficiently, at least, to make the position
bearable, that we soon hear of the breaking down of her feeble body, so
that she almost became crazy.

She had frightful thoughts and gloomy ideas about religious things;
anxiety about her sister Emily, who, resolving not to burden her father
with her support, had concluded to go forth likewise. Then she was
troubled, too, about the home affairs, which, as the elder sister, she
could not, even at a distance, shake off; and thus, leaving childhood,
which had been but childhood in name to her, we find Charlotte a woman,
brave yet fearful; timid but courageous; the lion’s heart in the humming
bird’s body. I meant only to have told you about her childhood; and yet
you may ask me, was Charlotte never again comfortable, light-hearted,
and happy? Did nobody but her sisters ever love her very dearly? Did
nobody else find out what a good, intelligent, gifted girl she was? Oh
yes, at last! At last came fame and honor to the little, quiet
Charlotte. Great men and great women wanted to know her, because she
wrote so beautifully, or, as they said, was “a genius;” and she had
plenty of complimentary letters and invitations to visit, and all the
publishers wanted to publish her books; and she earned money enough to
put a great many pretty things in the little dull parlor at home, so
that she hardly knew it to be the same room; but, dear me! by that time
all her sisters lay in the little churchyard with her mother; and poor
Charlotte looked about at all these pretty things, and great tears came
into her eyes, as she thought, Oh, _why_ didn’t all my money and my
friends come while _they_ were alive, and could have been made
comfortable and happy by them, so that we could all have lived at home
together, and not been separated, to go away and teach school? _Why?_
Poor Charlotte could not find out that _why_, as she sat in that little
parlor, looking, with tearful eyes, at all the pretty things her money
had bought. Perhaps you ask what her father said now to his good, gifted
daughter. Oh, he sat up alone in his room, and was very proud of her;
but that didn’t warm _her_ heart any, you know. By and by a gentleman
came along and asked her to be his wife. And after a while she said,
Yes, I will. I suppose she thought, I want to be loved, more than
anything in this world. It is very well, perhaps, to be “a genius,” and
to be admired; but my heart aches all the same. Yes, I will be loved;
and then I shall be happy; for, after all, the brightest world is cold
and chilly, without love to warm it. I am glad she was married; because
her husband was good and kind to her, and she began to smile, and look
so bright you would not have known her. She was happier than she had
ever been in all her life. But one day, not long after she was married,
she caught a very bad cold, and everybody saw that she was going to die;
she had suffered very much in her life, and she was not strong enough to
struggle any more. Now, don’t say, “What a pity!” when I tell you that
she really died. It is never a pity, when the loving and the
tender-hearted go where there is no more grieving.

                             THE KIND WORD.

Not many years since, a poor blind man was feeling his way through some
of the public roads to a small town in England, in search of employment,
having only about him a small sum of money, contributed by some friends
of the same trade as himself. Though he could see nothing, he yet felt
the blessed, warm sunshine, and the soft southwest breeze that lifted
his locks so gently, and bore to him the perfume of the early flowers.
This was a joy. On his way a young woman, a foot traveler like himself,
inquired of him if he could tell her whether she was on the right way to
a certain town she wished to reach. Her voice was tremulous. The
kind-hearted blind man said at once to himself, the poor young thing is
desolate and troubled. I will help her. His kindness gave her
confidence, and she told him, as well as she could for her tears, that
she was turned out of her own father’s house by the unkindness of a
mother-in-law, and was then looking out for a situation as house maid in
some respectable family. The blind man was older than she; he knew well
the danger to which her youth exposed her. He immediately found the
young girl a safe place to lodge, and the next day gave himself no rest,
till he had groped his way through the streets of the town, and found a
kind family, who agreed to take her under the shelter of their roof.
Afterward he learned from her, that this act of kindness had saved her
from throwing herself into the river, when the poor creature was nearly
crazy with misery. I tell you this little bit of a story, to show you
that there is nobody in this world so poor or so miserable, that he
cannot help somebody else. Because _kind words_, you know, cost nothing;
and one can certainly always give _them_ to the unfortunate. _Of what
use is a kind word?_ Oh, surely you never were in trouble, or you could
not ask _that_! I believe heaven is full of those whom a kind word has
helped there; and our jails and prison houses here are full of poor
creatures who have gone there for _want_ of a kind word when they were
tempted to do wrong—for want of somebody to say, _Don’t_ do it! for if
nobody else cares for you, God cares for you; and you must care for
yourself, because you are to live forever.

                      THE CORSICAN AND THE CREOLE.

In the lovely island of Martinique, a little girl was born. With her
soft, dark eyes, lithe form, and fairy step, she was beautiful enough to
have been its fairy queen. The livelong day she sang and danced among
the flowers, the soft breeze lifting her locks, and tinting her cheeks
with rose. The servants who had charge of her, as she floated past them
in her light tissue robes, exclaimed, How beautiful she is! She was good
as well as beautiful; she did not abuse her power over them; therefore
they loved as well as admired her. Pity she ever left that pretty island
home, with its birds and flowers! Pity that diamonds should lie heavily
on the brow that looked so fair from under its wild-rose wreath. But in
another island—rugged, rocky, with bandit-infested mountains—a little
boy was born.

His majestic, strong-hearted mother stepped like a Roman matron. One day
this Corsican mother was bending over the little Napoleon as he lay upon
her lap, when an old man came in. Looking at the child’s uncovered back,
he called Madame Letitia’s attention to a mark upon it, which he said
was that of a tree, feeble in its roots, but whose branches should reach
to the heavens. “This child,” said the gray-haired old prophet, “will
one day rule the world.” The beautiful young mother smiled
incredulously, as she looked around their simple room, where little
Napoleon’s brothers and sisters played and studied from day to day,
under her own eye, their hours for refreshment, sleep, and lessons
marked out by her, and never departed from, any more than if it were a
convent, and she its stately but loving lady abbess. “_Rule the world!_”
She looked into the baby’s calm blue eyes, and thought no more of it.
Were they not happy enough? It was a loving mother’s thought, but none
the less heaven-born for that. Rule the world! She took the white,
dimpled baby hand in hers, but never dreamed of “Marengo” or Austerlitz,
and alas!—least of all—St. Helena!

By and by this little boy grew out of his mother’s lap, and began to cry
for a little cannon. When he got it, he collected around him a company
of little Corsican boys, himself the commander—even his baby head never
dreamed of taking any place but the highest—and began to drill them to
fight a battle with another boy company in the town. You may be sure
they all had to step to _his_ tune, even his elder brothers; and as time
went on, it was very soon understood in the family, that what Master
Napoleon said, was pretty likely to be done. His father looked on and
thought very deeply, and, like a wise man, carried his son to a military
school, where his wishes could be gratified, under proper
restraints—where he learned that he who wishes to command must first
learn how to submit. Here, being in his element, he was happy, quiet,
and diligent. Only once his fiery spirit broke out. His quartermaster,
one day, for some fault, condemned him to eat his dinner on his knees,
in the woolen dress of disgrace, at the door of the refectory.
Napoleon’s “sense of honor” was so deeply wounded by this, that he fell
upon the floor in a fit. When the headmaster heard of it, he became very
angry, and said, “What! _punish so severely my best mathematician_!” It
was a good, wholesome lesson for him, though, for all that. He didn’t
die of it! On the contrary, when he went home to Ajaccio, his native
place, to pay a visit in vacation, he gave his orders about the
education of his brothers and sisters as if he were the father of the
family, instead of the second son. We must do him the justice to say,
however, that his advice on these subjects was sensible, and well timed.
Perhaps his mother began to think there was something in the prophecy of
the old man about her son, more than she had dreamed of. We can imagine
her watching the young soldier, as he sat, for hours, under an old oak
tree near the house, dreaming about a future with which he had already
begun to grapple, although about it he could know so little. But
dreaming did not content him. He formed clubs among the young men,
delivered speeches, and, all unconsciously to himself, was working out
the destiny, step by step, foretold on his baby back by the old Corsican
herdsman. His eye had a strange fire in it, his voice a trumpet tone;
and they who listened, bowed to its strange, wild music, they could
scarce tell why. Even then he was no mere ranter; he had studied hard,
studied ceaselessly; the more difficulties he encountered in any branch
of knowledge, the more eager he grew to master them. It is said that at
school he never spent an idle moment; and when he came among his young
companions, they felt this. They knew, when Napoleon opened his mouth,
that he had something to say. It is all very fine for boys to dodge
school duties, and school tasks. Ah! how many of them, in after life,
would give worlds to recall those wasted hours in some great crisis,
when strong, powerful, well-chosen words, from him who knows how to use
them, would place in their hands so mighty a sceptre for the defense of
human rights! Not that this power is never perverted; but we are not to
speak of this now. The habits of intense study, industry, and close
application of the young Napoleon were the solid foundation upon which
the superstructure of his future greatness rested. This concentration of
mind it was that enabled him, in after years, with the rapidity of
lightning, to despatch business over which other military men would have
droned till the precious moment in which action would have been
available, had flown past. Remember this of Napoleon: he was a hard
student in his youth. Whatever he undertook he did _thoroughly_. _He
knew what he knew._

Meantime the lovely young girl of whom we have spoken, all unknown to
the young soldier, was dancing and singing the hours away. One day her
young friends said to her, “Josephine, come with us to Euphemia, the old
mulatto woman, and have your fortune told.” Josephine was not
superstitious, but still she held out her pretty hand to the old witch,
who examined it with great care, and, it is said, told her exactly what
really happened to her in after life. The gay Josephine only laughed and
tossed her bright head, saying, “Who promises so much, only creates
distrust,” and went back to her cottage home, quite unmoved at the
prospect of “becoming the wife of a man who would one day rule the
world.” If you ask me how the old Corsican herdsman, or how the old
mulatto woman in Martinique, knew what should befall Josephine and
Napoleon, I answer, “More than likely, the prophecies, like all rumors,
grew by repetition, and were mainly filled out after these things had
actually happened; because no sensible person ever believes that a human
hand is allowed to draw aside the curtain behind which God has wisely
hidden mysteries so great.” Josephine was young and happy; why should
she wish to be “great”? The old mulatto woman might chatter all day; she
did not chirp one sweet note the less. Unlike Napoleon, she disliked
study. Her mother, Madame Tascher, used to threaten her with a convent
if she did not skip less and study more. “My good and pretty child,” she
would say to her, “your _heart_ is excellent, but your _head_—ah, what a
head! I must send you away from home to France, among companions who,
knowing more than yourself, will show you how ignorant you are.” All
this, Madame said very seriously and coldly, for she saw that it was
high time something was done. Then she left her daughter to think it

To be found fault with, and threatened! That, indeed, was something new
to the petted child. She began crying in good earnest, so that her
servant women came running, to see what was the matter. Not being able,
as usual, to comfort her, they cried too, till the noise reached the
ears of her father, who was very fond of her. Now I am about to tell you
a secret. The truth was, it was not the idea of hard study which
frightened this pretty young lady, when her mother spoke of sending her
to France; but the idea of separation from a little boy-lover about
_ten_ years old, named William K. I don’t wonder you laugh; the idea
_is_ funny; but you must remember that a little Creole girl and boy, are
as old at ten, as a boy and girl of sixteen in our cold climate. Well,
this is all about it. Listen: William’s parents had come to Martinique
to live, in consequence of the misfortunes of the unhappy Prince Edward,
whose banner they followed. Arriving at Martinique, a friendship had
sprung up between the two families, and there Josephine and William had
been promised by their parents to each other, when they should be old
enough. _Now_ you know why the little girl-wife that was to be, cried so
hard at the idea of being sent away from Martinique. Well, the very
first chance my little lady had, she told her dear William what her
mother had threatened to do. Then William ran, crying, to _his_ mother,
about Josephine’s being sent away to France, and teased her to go to
Josephine’s mother, and beg her not to afflict her dear boy William so
cruelly; and that the child had actually fallen sick of a fever in
consequence, raving continually for “Josephine,” and begging his mother
to hide her from every eye, lest he should “lose his little promised
wife.” After a while, what with his mother’s comforting words, he grew
better, and William’s teacher being chosen for Josephine’s teacher, that
young lady suddenly took to study with a vigor which astonished
everybody, except William himself, who had his own reasons for not being
surprised. Suffice it to say, she drew well, learned to play both the
harp and piano, and was making great progress in the English language.
For a time all went on happily and well. But one evil day for Josephine,
William’s father found it necessary to leave Martinique for England,
with his family, to claim some property which had been left him. Now, it
was true that he had to leave on business; but it was also true, that
both the parents of the children had changed their minds about the
marriage of the little lovers. Now, I agree with you that this was very
cruel, after promising them to each other; but the fact was, in plain
black and white, that each loved money and position, better than the
happiness of these young people; however, they did not want a fuss, so
they kept quiet, and said nothing to the children about all that; they
merely separated them; and each was to suppose, after many anxious days
and months, spent in waiting for letters, that the other was forgotten.
It was too bad—I am quite angry about it myself; a promise is a promise,
and just as binding when made to a child, as to a grown person; and
more, too, because children are so trusting, that it is a greater shame
to deceive them. So William went to England with his father, and
Josephine wandered round the beautiful island, carving his name on the
trees, and saying to herself each day, _now_, to-day, I shall
_certainly_ hear from him! Surely, to-morrow, I _shall_ have a letter!
Meantime the beautiful Maria Tascher, Josephine’s elder sister, was
taken very sick. All that love and skill could do for her, was of no
avail. She died. After this, poor Josephine grew more sad than ever. She
never smiled now, or put roses in her hair, or danced with her young
companions; but sighed—oh, such _deep_ sighs for such a young thing—and
grew almost as pale as the dead Maria.

It is very strange, but Josephine could talk much more freely with her
father than she could with her mother. So, when he questioned her one
day as to her unhappiness, she told him all. Now, Monsieur Tascher loved
his daughter after a fashion, but, as I told you, he loved money better;
and what do you think was his answer to the poor girl, who was so
broken-hearted about her lover, and so sad without the company of her
dear, dead sister? Why, he told her, that now that her sister was dead,
she (Josephine) must marry the gentleman whom her sister was engaged to
marry, had she lived. Monsieur Beauharnais was his name. Then the little
Creole cried till her eyes were half blind. In vain she told him that
she had promised William to marry none but him. Her father replied, that
in marrying M. Beauharnais, she would make the best match in Martinique,
but, as to William, he would never be a rich man. Josephine still kept
on crying. At last he told her a wicked fib: that since William had gone
to England, he had quite forgotten her. He did _not_ tell her, though,
that Josephine’s mother had in her possession twenty letters, which he
had written to his dear little wife, and which they had purposely kept
from her. Well, Josephine was spirited as well as loving, and when her
father told her that William had forgotten her, she said to herself, It
is very true; he has never written me one line. Then she shook the tears
from her beautiful eyes, as the rough wind shakes the dew-drops from the
rose, and holding up her flushed face to the bright sunlight, said,
proudly, “Marry me to whom you like; I will obey.” For all that, she
walked more than ever under the trees where they used to sit, and never
once did she carve the name of M. Beauharnais on her favorite trees.

Now, Josephine had an aunt in Paris named Madame Renardin, who was
constantly writing to Madame Tascher to come to Paris with Josephine,
that the marriage might more easily be brought about. But Madame Tascher
was very fond of her own beautiful island, and replied to Madame
Renardin, Ah, it is very easy to make Paris look fine, when I am two
thousand leagues away from it; no, no! I will not come to Paris; but
Monsieur Tascher and I will send Josephine there to be married. This
they did not tell Josephine, however. There was no need. She knew what
was going on. She was too keen-sighted not to understand what all the
long talks meant, between her father and mother. In an agony of grief at
the idea of leaving the place where she and William had been so happy,
to go among strangers and marry a man whom she had never even seen, she
threw herself at her mother’s feet, and using the only argument which
she thought would avail her, cried, “Oh, mamma, save me! save _Maria’s
sister_!” At the mention of her lost and _favorite_ daughter,
Josephine’s mother fainted. Josephine’s father turned upon his daughter,
and frowning as he pointed to her insensible mother, said, “Has, then,
_her_ precious life ceased to be dear to you?” Poor Josephine said no
more. From that moment she resigned herself to her fate.

Short work was made of the preparations for the voyage to France;
Josephine, meantime, walking for the last time under the trees, each one
of which had some happy story to tell—each one of which seemed to her
like a dear friend, from whom it were almost impossible to part. Now,
the day came when the ship was to set sail. A large number of islanders
had gathered upon the beach to wave hands and see her off. She had taken
leave of her father and mother, and stepped on board the ship. Suddenly,
a luminous meteor appeared in the heavens overhead, and by the aid of a
telescope which the captain handed her, Josephine examined it. Then the
captain told her, in great triumph, that “_she_ was the cause of it!
she—the future empress of France!” Then Josephine, for the first time,
remembered the prophecy of the old mulatto woman, who had told the
captain of it, and this was why the old sea-dog was in such glee at his
good fortune in having the illustrious little empress that was to be, on
board _his_ ship. This phosphoric flame, called “St. Elmo’s fire,” was
considered a good omen, and, at the time of their leaving, seemed to
form a sort of wreath around the ship. But everybody seemed more
interested in it than the poor, homesick Josephine, who could think only
of the home she was leaving, and the unknown home to which she was
going. The voyage proved very rough, and once they were in great danger;
but the mulatto woman had promised them a “through ticket,” and, of
course, they _went_ through, right side up! A young Creole named Lucy
accompanied Josephine, who was at this time only fifteen years old. You
will laugh when I tell you that the future empress carried her doll with
her, and that both she and Lucy used to play with them on the voyage.
But you will stop laughing when I tell you that when Lucy turned her
back, poor little Josephine used to talk to her doll about “William.”
Poor child! When her foot touched the coast of France, her woman’s life
began. The web was woven round her, and struggling was of no avail.

Madame Renardin bore away her beautiful niece in triumph to her own
house, to show her to the rich husband they had selected for her. No
more doll-playing for her; no more rose wreaths; but, instead, diamonds,
and fashion, and frivolity, and an aching heart. Did “William” never
come? Ah, yes; he came to Paris, spite of them all, to see his
Josephine. He called at her Aunt Renardin’s, but of this they never told
her. He continued, however, to write her a letter, in which he begged
her to tell him why she had neglected him, which was conveyed to her by
a servant, who was immediately dismissed for giving it to her. Then, for
the first time, Josephine knew that William had been true to her, that
he loved her still! But she had given her promise to her parents, and
resolutely refused to see him. Poor Josephine! In her sixteenth year,
she married, to please her friends, her dead sister’s lover, Monsieur
Beauharnais. The marriage proved an unhappy one, through no fault of
little Josephine’s, who most carefully endeavored to please the husband
thus forced upon her.

Meanwhile the young Bonaparte was making rapid strides toward the
fulfillment of the old Corsican herdsman’s prediction. On the death of
Josephine’s husband, she really became, as you all know, the wife of the
future emperor of France. How devotedly she performed her wifely duties
to the great conqueror, you all know, and how cruelly the ambitious
emperor set this noble woman aside, for the insipid little German
princess who was the mother of his much-coveted child, the Duc de
Reichstadt. In St. Helena, Bonaparte had plenty of time to think of his
injustice toward the good, brave Josephine, who, forgetting all the
misery he had caused her, would even then have lightened, by her
presence, the dreary exile from which his baby-faced German wife had
fled affrighted, back to the luxury of her father’s court. But death
stepped in, and snatched from the selfish Bonaparte this great
consolation of his last dreary hours. With _his_ name on her lips, and
her eyes fixed on his picture, which hung opposite her couch, she left
all France weeping over her grave. You ask, what of the child—the little
duke, whose birth this noble woman unselfishly rejoiced over, because
_it made Napoleon so happy_? Ah! it is of him I would now tell you. This
little duke, the child of so many hopes, did he, after all, sit upon the
throne of France? God is just. We shall see.

The Emperor of Austria was the little duke’s maternal grandfather. It
was to his palace the little, pale child was taken. It was the wish of
this grandfather, who, notwithstanding all the stories told to the
contrary, dearly loved the boy, to make a German prince of him. If it
should prove that, as he grew up, he had a fondness for military life,
he should follow it; still, he was to be kept away from agitating
Frenchmen as much as possible, for reasons you will very well
understand. The child was delicate, as I told you, and his grandfather
petted him, and had the doctor to him, and, between you and me, I dare
say that last might have been the reason he did not grow stronger. But,
notwithstanding the pink spot on his pale cheek, he had the fiery spirit
of his father, the great Napoleon. Oh! how he hated to be physicked, and
how he pined to grow strong, that he might dash over the ground on a
fiery horse, with staring eyes, big nostrils, and pawing hoofs, who
would go straight through a cannon if he bade him, and come out at the
other end, without losing a hair of his tail. But the more the poor
fellow wanted to make a soldier of himself, the feebler he seemed to
grow, till he could hardly sit upright on the horse, at the side of
which might always be found his kind old grandfather, when not called
away by his duties, saying kind things to his grandson, and trying to
keep up his spirits. You ask, Where was his mother, Maria Louisa? Ah!
you may well ask _that_. She was anywhere but where she ought to be; she
could not be a good woman, even for the sake of her sick boy, in whose
face she might have seen death written, had she stopped flirting long
enough to take one good look at him. She was a miserable, bad woman, and
if the little duke had any good qualities, she took no pains to
encourage them. It was well he had a good, kind grandfather to love him,
poor, fatherless child! The French people did not relish having
Napoleon’s son at an Austrian court. Not they. They disliked Maria
Louisa, the young duke’s mother, who never said such gracious, graceful
things, as did the kind, whole-souled Josephine, who brought them all at
her feet with one of her beautiful, sunny smiles. Maria Louisa was quite
another thing, with her skim-milk face, as rigid when they saluted her,
as if they hadn’t a drop of generous blood in their bodies. They needn’t
have fretted lest the little duke should grow up like his mother, if he
grew up at all; for I can tell you that all Austria could not get the
Napoleonic fire out of his veins, nor, alas! poor fellow! disease
either. All his thoughts were about his father. He knew not only every
detail of his battles and campaigns, but all the peculiarities of his
marshals and generals. “Oh!” said he, speaking of Waterloo, “I have
often wondered my father did not follow my uncle, and perish at the head
of his guards; what a magnificent close would that have been to his
brilliant life. Ah! those perfidious English! why could they not have
treated him as I know he would have treated their great Wellington, had
the fortune of war thrown him into my father’s hands.” He was
passionately fond of reading everything he could lay his hands on,
pertaining to his father. He had, somehow or other, accumulated a
perfect library of biographies concerning him. To Prince Metternich he
once said, “The object of my life should be, to make myself worthy of my
distinguished father; I hope to reach this point, and appropriate to
myself his high qualities; taking care, however,” added he, with great
good sense, “_to avoid the rocks upon which he split_.” Afterward he
said, “How I hate this miserable, sickly body, which thus sinks under my
will!” As he said this, there was a gleam of the eye, and compression of
the lip, truly Napoleonic.

On the eighteenth of June, 1831, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel,
and took command of the Hungarian regiment when in garrison at Vienna.
An immense crowd gathered to witness the spectacle; but alas! every eye
saw with what difficulty the poor young duke—fighting disease—sat upon
his horse. So evident was his great weakness, spite of his unquenchable
determination, that Dr. Margate, his physician, said to him, after he
had gone through his drill with the soldiers, “Monseigneur, I desire you
to remember that you have a will of iron in a body of glass; if you
persist in this exercise, it will kill you.” The next day, the doctor
considered it his duty to tell his grandfather the same thing. The
frightened old emperor, turning to his beloved grandson, said, “You have
heard what the doctor says; you must do this no more, but go directly to
my summer palace at Schönbrunn, and take care of your health.” The
disappointed duke bowed respectfully to his grandfather; but as he
raised his head, he glanced angrily at the doctor, saying, “It is _you_,
then, sir, who have put me under arrest!” A few weeks after this he was
attacked with quick consumption. He grew weaker and weaker, as he was
wheeled about the beautiful gardens of Schönbrunn, and he knew himself
that he must soon die; his chief anxiety seemed now to be, _whether he
should be able to know his father in the other world_. Poor Napoleon!
how he had coveted the love of this son! How eagerly that unhappy exile
at St. Helena had looked forward to it, and yet he was never to enjoy
it; was not the unhappy Josephine avenged? And not only in that! _Her_
grandson now sits upon the throne, to obtain an heir to which, the
unhappy woman was thrust aside, for the foolish, weak daughter of the
house of Hapsburg; while _her_ child, of whom I have been telling you,
has long since lain in his bronze coffin, under the church of the
Capuchins, among the buried majesties of Austria.

                        TWO QUARRELSOME OLD MEN.

I saw such an unpleasing sight to-day! Two old, gray-headed men, their
lips white with passion, clenching their fists in each other’s faces,
and calling each other all the disagreeable names they could think of;
while the bystanders looked on, laughed, took sides, and encouraged them
to fight, for their own amusement. I could not laugh. I felt more like
crying. These old men, with one foot in the grave, who seemed to have
outlived everything but their own bad passions—it was a pitiable
spectacle! Ah! said I, to myself, as I walked away, I am afraid there
are two mothers somewhere (may be they are not alive now), who have been
sadly to blame; or those respectable-looking old men would not be here,
degrading themselves by a brawling street fight. I think, when they were
little boys, that “I will!” and “I won’t!” must have been intimate
friends of theirs (and very bad company they are, too). I think these
fighting old gentlemen were allowed, when they were boys, to come and go
when and where they liked, and to lie abed till ten o’clock in the
morning, till breakfast was all cold, and then stamp and kick till they
got a hot one. I think, when they neglected to get their lessons, and
were, very properly, reproved for it, at school, that their mamma
thought it was dreadful bad treatment, and took them away; and I think
that, when she sent them to another school, they often played truant;
and then told the teacher that they had been sick. I think they were
stuffed with pies, and cake, and candy, and I think they called upon
poor, tired servant girls to brush and black their shoes, when they
should have learned to do it themselves. I think, when their sisters
asked them to go of any little errand, they roughly replied, “Do it
yourself!” I think, when their mothers said, “John (or Thomas) go to the
grocer’s for me, that’s a good boy!” that they replied, “How much’ll you
give me if I go?” and then, I think, when their mother gave them a
three-cent piece, that they pouted, and said that they wouldn’t go,
without they could have sixpence. That is the way such gray-haired old
men as I saw fighting in the street to-day, are made.

                          THE LITTLE PRINCES.

“As happy as a king—as happy as a queen!” Ah! what thoughtless words are
these! The tall pine rocks to and fro, and struggles with the fierce
winds and storms; one by one, its beautiful green branches are torn off,
and in an unexpected moment comes the terrible lightning flash,
scorching its very heart, and leaving it but a blackened cinder. All the
time the little flower at its feet sleeps, secure in its sweetness, its
very lowliness its surest safeguard and protection. Do you never think
of this when you envy the rich and the great? Perhaps you are poor, and
meanly clad, and poorly fed; and it seems to you that God is not good
and just, to make such a difference between you and another child of
your own age, who seems to be born only to have everything it wants, and
to rule over others? Have you never, when walking in the field, spied
upon some rocky height, a gaudy flower, which you imagined to be
sweet-scented and beautiful? Have you never torn your clothes, and
sprained your limbs, and nearly put your eyes out with briers, to get
it, only to find it, when obtained, nauseous, and full of thorns? Have
you never chased the brilliant butterfly over the meadows, till your
breath gave out, only to hold in your rash hand, after the eager, weary
chase, but a handful of glittering dust?

Well, just like this is human greatness, seen at a distance—just so
unsatisfactory its possession. Now, I suppose, you sometimes sit down
and dream with your eyes open, what you would like to be when you grow
up. I know I did, when I was a child. I don’t remember that I ever
wished to be great or celebrated; I never cared for that, and I care for
it now less than ever; but I wanted to be loved, oh! so much—so much! I
forgot that they whom I loved might die, or change, and so, you see, my
house, built upon the sand, was as likely to tumble over as they who
desire greatness. But I used to hear my little companions say, Oh, if I
were a prince or a princess! and I suppose children now-a-days wish the
same wishes as then; for childhood is childhood, while it lasts, all the
world over, with its blue skies, and rosy clouds, and angel dreams—never
seeing the dark cloud in the distance; never hearing the low, muttered
thunder, or seeing the brief lightning flash. And oh! it is well that it
is so, else the little bud would not dare to unfold its bright leaves;
but would close them tightly round its little, fragrant heart, and
shrivel up in its green inclosure, and drop from the stem, before the
world had praised God for the gift of its sweetness.

Perhaps you think princes and princesses are happy? Let me tell you the
story of two little princes.

They had lived in a great deal of splendor in a beautiful palace—had
plenty of rich clothes, plenty of toys, plenty of little ponies in the
stable to ride, plenty of servants to wait on them, and to do whatever
they wished; and I suppose the poor little things thought it would
always be so. But kings have enemies as well as friends, and so had
their father; and these enemies grew more numerous, and wished that the
father of these little princes were dead; and after a while they
succeeded in having things their own way, and the king was sentenced to
have his head cut off. Ah! it was not well to be a little prince then!
for little princes, if they live long enough, will one day be kings, you
know, unless they are put out of the way; and so these bad men thought.
Therefore, when their father was led out to be beheaded, these cruel
wretches forced the little princes to see it done, and then took their
father’s blood, and sprinkled it upon their bright, fair locks, and upon
their little garments. And then they took them, although they had
committed no crime, unless it was a crime to be the children of this
king whom they hated, and put them in prison. This was bad enough; but
they did worse than that. They shut them each up in a separate cage,
made very broad at the top, but narrowed down to a point at the bottom,
so that the little prisoners could neither stand straight, nor sit, nor
lie down; and then they fastened them in. The elder of these little boys
was but eight years old, and the other only six. Just fancy it! The only
comfort they had, was to put their arms through the bars of their cages,
and hold each other by the hand.

“We cannot live this way long,” said little Frank, the younger, as the
tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Would papa like to see you cry?” asked Henri. “Do you not see,” said
the courageous child, “that they treat us like men of whom they are
afraid; let us not, then, act like babies.”

So little Frank dried his tears, as his brother bade him; and they
talked about the beautiful palace they used to live in, and the
fountains, and the groves, and the gardens; and tried to imagine
themselves back there, and so to forget their troubles; but, after all,
it was dreary work.

One day, a little mouse peeped out of its hole in the lonely dungeon. I
dare say you have often run away from a mouse, or else wanted to have it
killed, or taken away; but then you were never shut up in a dungeon,
with nobody to care for you, else you would feel as these little
prisoners did, and have been glad to see even a friendly mouse. At first
the mouse was afraid, and ran back to its hole at sight of the little
princes. They called and called, and coaxed it to come back, for they
were very weary of their cages, and of having nothing to do, day after
day. Besides, their cramped limbs ached badly, and it was hard work to
bear pain of body as well as pain of mind, and have no one to say, I am
sorry for you, dear child. At last the little children thought of
throwing out a few crumbs of their prison bread. The little hungry mouse
understood that, and ventured out, and by and by, after a few days, he
would climb up into their cages, and eat from their hands.

When the wicked wretches who put them there heard of this, and found out
how patiently and sweetly these dear children bore their trials, and
that their little innocent heads drooped every night in peaceful
slumber, they were very angry; so they resolved to try other means of
tormenting them. So they called the executioner, and ordered him to go
to their dungeon once a week, and draw out one tooth from each of them.
Just think of that! You have had a tooth taken out, I dare say, but your
mother, or father, or sister was by your side, and holding your hand,
and pitying you with all their might, and wishing they could bear the
pain for you, and that gave you courage. And then it was soon over, and
only for once; and the bad toothache from which it delivered you was,
after all, worse to bear. But the little princes had no toothache; they
had a bad heartache, but trusting in God, they were trying to be
patient, and love even a little mouse, since they were denied everything
else. Oh! how mean and cowardly that great, big, strong man—that
executioner—must have felt, when he went in to torment two such little

When he told them what he had come for, the youngest boy commenced
crying, and the elder brother said to the executioner, “I beg you not to
draw out a tooth from Frank; you see how weak he is, and how ill!”

Then the executioner, hard as he was, shed tears; still he knew that he
must carry back two teeth, or have his own head cut off; and so told the

“Well, then,” said the elder brother, the brave Henri, “take out two
from my mouth, instead of one from my brother’s; I am strong, but the
slightest pain will kill him.” For a long time the two boys struggled
which should suffer for the other, until a messenger was sent, to know
why the executioner did not return—why he delayed. Then he advanced to
the cage, and drew a tooth from Henri, and was going toward Francis,
when Henri cried out, “No, no; take the other from my mouth; don’t touch
Francis!” and the executioner carried back two teeth; but they were both
from the mouth of the brave Henri. Every week he went back to the
dungeon, and every week did this heroic boy lose two teeth, one for
himself one for his brother; but alas! his bodily strength began to
fail, though his little lion heart was strong as ever. His limbs no
longer sustained him; he doubled up in the bottom of the cage, and tried
to put out his hand to his little brother.

“Frank,” said he, “I am dying; but perhaps, some time, you may get out;
if you should, and you should find our mother, oh, tell her how I love
her, just as I am about to die. Good by, Frank! give some crumbs every
day to our little mouse for me, won’t you, Frank?” and the next moment,
before Frank could answer him—so stupefied was the child with grief—the
brave Henri was dead, and nobody was in the dungeon but Frank and the
little mouse.

Nobody, did I say? Ah! God was there. Why he permitted all this
suffering, neither you nor I know; but I hope we shall know one of these
days. The angels are always learning such things in heaven. It puzzles
me often now, when I think about them, and sometimes I get impatient,
and wish God would tell me right off why he permits this, when he could
so easily prevent it; and then I think of the many, many times, in which
I have shed impatient tears at my own troubles, and then time has passed
on, and I have seen, even in this world, with my dim, earthly eyes, how
much better it was that those very things should have happened which
grieved me so. But with our bright, heavenly eyes, in the broad, clear
light of eternity, how easily, dear children, shall we untwist these
tangled threads of life, which seem to mock our efforts here. We can
wait, for, just as sure as that God reigns, it is all right.

Dear me! I suppose you are very impatient to know what became of poor
Frank, when he was left alone? Well, soon after Henri died, the wretches
who imprisoned the two innocent children died also; and then Frank was
taken from his dungeon, and set at liberty. Oh! how glad he must have
been to see the blue sky, and the green fields, and the sweet flowers,
and, better than all, to find his dear mother.

What a sorrowful story he had to tell her! and how many times they wept,
to think of poor Henri, and how the mother wept at night, over little
Frank, while he was sleeping, whose dungeon tortures had made him a
cripple for life. Ah! it is not well to be a little prince.

Let me tell you another story, of a child who was born of a noble family
in France. His father and grandfather were both great generals; they had
been in many battles, and were considered very brave men; but war is
such a terrible, terrible thing, is it not? husbands, fathers, and
brothers falling to the ground, like grass before the mower’s scythe;
but in those days war was not spoken of in this way. Dead men were
thought no more of than dead sheep; unless, indeed, it might be some
great commander or general. As if a soul wasn’t a soul, no matter
whether it lodged in the body of a common soldier or his officer. As if
a common soldier’s relatives would not grieve at his loss as much as the
relatives of his commanding officer for him. As if sorrow did not sit
down in the hovel, as well as in the hall. As if an orphan were not an
orphan, and a widow a widow, in every rank of life. But, as I tell you,
people did not think this way when this lad lived, of whom I am about to
tell you. It was all glory and epaulettes. Little Paul had guns and
swords, and flags and drums, put into his hands almost as soon as he was
born, by his father and grandfather, who wished to train him up for a
great hero. When he was a _very_ good boy, his reward was to play battle
with his grandfather, with a set of pasteboard soldiers, to teach him
how to manage the enemy in difficult positions; and all this boy’s
dreams, by day and night, were of such things. When he was only ten
years old, his father was commanded to join the army, for there was to
be a great battle, a _real_ battle. So he told his wife, who cried very
much, that he was going to leave her, perhaps for ever; and then he took
his little boy in his arms, to bid him good by. Paul did not cry, but he
looked his father in the face very steadily, and said, “Papa, I must go
too. I must fight by your side in that battle!” This pleased his father
and grandfather very much; and his mother began to be frightened, for
fear that they would really consent to the child’s going; and sure
enough they did, and little Paul was half beside himself with joy, that
he was to take part, with real swords and real men, in a real battle.
Perhaps you say, Oh, of course, his father took care that he should not
be in any danger, and made everything easy for him. Not at all, as you
shall hear; for little Paul insisted, as soon as he joined the army,
that no favor should be shown him because he was so young, and because
he had been born of a noble family, and brought up tenderly; he insisted
upon sharing all the fatigue and danger, and felt quite insulted, if any
of the old men in the army seemed to fear for him, or not think him
capable of his duty. He wanted to do just as the common soldiers did;
sleep on the bare ground, and eat of their common food. A week after he
had joined the army, he had proved himself so brave, that they made him
ensign, and gave him the colors to carry. Perhaps you say, Of course,
his father did that! No; the whole regiment were quite proud of him, and
said that the little fellow deserved it. You must not think that he
forgot his mother, who was so anxious about her boy. He wrote her a
little letter, which was a funny mixture of childishness and manliness,
telling her that he had a wound in his right arm from the enemy, who
wished to seize his pretty flag. “That would have been fine, indeed!”
wrote little Paul, “when I had just had it given me to defend!” Then he
tells her, that his new hat was spoilt, but that he can get another, and
that once he fell off his horse, when the enemy rushed at them, but soon
was up again, firing his pistols after them. Three months the child was
there, in the army, and often suffered much from cold and other causes;
but he never complained; and when not engaged in fighting, used to laugh
as merrily as any other child of ten years old, and at as trifling

But at last came a day, which was to decide the battle, one way or
another. On the morning of that day, Paul’s father took him in his arms,
and said, “Give me a kiss, Paul; for we may never meet again.” Paul gave
him two—one for his mother—and then they separated. Little Paul was
stationed away from his father, at a post which he was not to leave
without permission from a superior officer.

The battle went on; the dead and dying strewed the ground. Little Paul
saw his brave companions falling all around him. Still the child stood
at his post, until a ball fractured his leg; then, in his agony, he
said, what all children say in their pain, “Mother!” fainting as he said
it. Some time after, a soldier flying from the field, saw a child lying
beneath his horse. All the army knew Paul, and loved him; so the soldier
forgot all about his own danger, and stopped to pick up poor little Paul
from the dead soldiers around him, and put him on his shoulders, to
carry him to the camp. Several times the enemy stopped him; but he had
only to point to the wounded child—for everybody had heard of “Little
Paul,”—and they let him pass.

When he got to the camp, little Paul came to his senses; and then they
told him that it would be necessary to cut off his leg.

“Better that, than my head!” said Paul; “but stop!” said he, as a
thought struck him; “it may kill me, may it not?” The doctor bowed his
head; he could not say yes, he felt so sorry for him.

“Give me, then, half an hour first, and let me write to my mother!” said
Paul; and with great agony he wrote tremblingly a few lines to her whose
thoughts were always of her boy.

After this he said, “Now I am ready!” His father stood by, holding his
little hand, and whispering, “Courage, my child! courage!”

Little Paul smiled and answered, “Oh, I have plenty—more than any of
you!” but as he said it, the smile faded, and a deadly pallor overspread
his face.

“Oh, papa, I am dying!” said Paul.

You have seen a cloud-shadow flit over a sunny meadow.

“Oh, papa, I am dying!”

Little Paul never spoke again, and the smile faded from his face, and
the small hand grew cold in the father’s grasp. Ah! poor little brave
Paul! He did not think of this when he and his grandfather played
battle, with wooden soldiers, evening after evening, on the study table,
in their pleasant chateau in France. I think it was a great shame ever
to take little Paul from there; don’t you?

                          OLD DOCTOR JOHNSON,

The man who wrote the big dictionary. It makes my head ache to think of
it; but Dr. Johnson’s head and mine are about as much alike as a pea and
a pumpkin, so there’s no use in talking about that. He lived through it,
and made himself famous by it, as well as by many other things he said
and did. It always comforts me to think that these literary giants,
after all, had to begin life as we all did—in a cradle; the doctor was a
baby once, like the rest of us; ate candy, I suppose, and cried for his
mammy, although he grew up into such a shaggy lion, that his roar
frightened timid folks half out of their wits. But, like other big
animals, who sniff gently when little bits of creatures run past, as
much as to say, I _could_ munch you up, were you worth the trouble, so
the doctor, in his solemn grandeur, let ladies frisk round him unharmed;
and liked it, too! But I am outrunning my story; let us go back to his

The first thing we hear of him is, his being perched on his father’s
shoulder, at church, when he was only three years old, _looking_
earnestly—for he couldn’t have understood what was said—at a famous
minister who preached in those days. Somebody asked his father, why he
brought such a little baby into such a crowd? His answer was, that he
could not keep him at home, and that he would have stayed forever in
church, contentedly, looking at the minister. He was not the first
little Samuel who went early to the temple, as you know, if you have
read your Bible. It would be worth something to know what kept him so
bewitched there, on his father’s shoulder, and what the little creature
was really thinking about. Perhaps the clergyman had a very loving look
in his face; and a baby’s eyes are quick to see that. Or, perhaps he had
a sweet, lullaby voice, which charmed that little ear, like sweet music.
Or, perhaps, being tired of seeing the same things over and over again
at home, that sea of faces, in the crowded church, had a strange
fascination for him; but we might go on perhaps-ing forever, since
nobody can tell us the truth about it.

By and by, getting down from his father’s shoulder, he went to school.
One day, the servant sent to bring him home, not arriving in time, he
started to return by himself, although he was so very near-sighted that
he was obliged to get down on his hands and knees, and take a view of
the crossing, before venturing over. His good, careful schoolmistress,
fearing that he might miss his way, or fall, or be run over, followed
him at a distance, to see that no harm came to him. Master Samuel,
happening to turn round, saw this, to his great displeasure. Immediately
he commenced beating her, in a furious rage, as fast as his little hands
could fly, for what he considered an insult to his future beard. Imagine
the little, insane, red-faced pigmy, and the placid schoolma’am! I
wonder, did he ever think of it, when he grew up; when he made war with
that sharp tongue of his, instead of his fists. I do not consider this
an improvement on his juvenile style of warfare; inasmuch as bruised
flesh heals quicker than a bruised spirit, and there are words that hurt
worse than the most stunning blow. However, there was this excuse for
his life-long irritability, in the fact that, from childhood, he was a
victim to that dreadful disease, the scrofula, which disfigured his
face, and nearly destroyed the sight of one eye. His _heart_ was good
and kind, as you will see.

Samuel was quite remarkable for his wonderful memory. When he was a
little fellow in petticoats, and had learned to read, his mother, one
morning, placed the prayer book in his hands, and pointing to the
“collect” for the day, said, “Sam, you must get this by heart!” Leaving
him to study it, she shut the door, and went up stairs. By the time she
had reached the second floor, she heard him following her. “What’s the
matter?” asked she. “I can say it,” Sam replied. His mother did not
believe him; still, she took the book, and bade him begin; and, sure
enough, he said it off like a minister, although he could not possibly
have had time to read it over more than twice. They tell another story
of him: that when three years old, he happened to tread on a little
duckling, the eleventh of a brood, and killed it, whereupon he wrote the
following epitaph:

                “Here lies good Master Duck,
                  Whom Samuel Johnson trod on;
                If it had lived, it had been good luck,
                  For then we’d had an odd one.”

Pretty well, for three years old. Sam, however, declared, when he grew
older, that his _father_ wrote it, and tried to pass it off for his.
That amiable fib, if it _was_ such, was hardly worth while, as there
needed no proof of the child’s cleverness.

I told you how much he was troubled with scrofula. There was a
superstition in those days, that if any one afflicted by this disease
could be touched by the royal hand of a king, a cure would speedily
follow. Many persons, who had a great reputation for wisdom, were
foolish enough to believe this. Sam’s mother, therefore, may be excused,
for what, in other circumstances, would have been called “a woman’s
whim.” At any rate, up to London she went with little Sam. Queen Anne
was king then, if you’ll pardon an Irish-ism; and Sam’s childish
recollection of her was a solemn lady in diamonds, with a long, black
hood. Did she cure him? Of course not; though his kind mother, I’ve no
doubt, always felt better satisfied with herself for having tried it.
Sam still continued to go to school, however, and one old lady to whom
he went, had such an affection for him, that, years after, when he was a
young man, just about to enter college, she came to bid him good by,
bringing with her a big, motherly piece of gingerbread, as a token of
her affection, adding that “he was the best scholar she ever had.” Sam
didn’t make fun of it behind her back, as would many young men; he had
sense enough to understand the great compliment conveyed in that piece
of cake.

The Latin and other masters who succeeded the old lady, did not admire
young Sam as much as she did; instead of “gingerbread,” he got
tremendous whippings, one of the masters saying, benevolently, while he
“laid it on,” “And this I do, to save you from the gallows.” I myself
have more faith in the gingerbread than in the whipping system, which, I
believe, has as often driven boys _to_ the gallows, as “from” it. But it
seems Samuel owed them no grudge; for being asked, later in life, how he
came to have such an accurate knowledge of Latin, replied, “My master
whipt me very well;” and all his life long, he _in_sisted and
_per_sisted, that _only by the rod_ was learning ever introduced into a
boy’s head. Still, to my eye, “birches” look best in the woods. I can’t
help thinking that the gentle sway of the old lady would have carried
him safe through his Latin too, had she but known enough to teach it.

In all schools, the boy who knows the most, rules the rest. So it was
with Sam; who, if he helped them into difficulty with his roguish
pranks, helped them also with their lessons, when they came to a
standstill for want of his quick comprehension. They all looked up to
him with great deference, and so far did this carry them, that they
carried him! actually and really. Three boys used to call at his
lodgings every morning, as humble attendants, to bear him to school.
One, in the middle, stooped, while he sat on his back; while one on each
side supported him; and thus the great, lazy Sam was borne along in

There is one thing which I believe to be true of the childhood and youth
of all persons distinguished for true knowledge. It is this: they never
rest satisfied with ignorance on any point, which, by any possibility,
can be explained or made clear. It was so with Samuel; also, he never
forgot what he thus heard, or had read. I know well that a young person
who is “inquisitive” is much more troublesome than one who never thinks,
and only rests satisfied with just what is put into the ear, and desires
no more; and parents and teachers, too, are too apt to silence the
inquisitive mind with “don’t ask questions!” or “don’t be so
troublesome!” or, if they answer, do it in a careless, lazy way, that
only surrounds the questioner with new difficulty, instead of helping
him out of it; never reflecting that it is by this _self-educating
process_ that the child arrives at the _best half_ of what he will ever
know. Don’t misunderstand me; don’t think I mean that a child, or a
young person, is impertinently to interrupt the conversation of his
elders, and clamor for an immediate answer. I don’t mean so, any more
than I think it right to snub him back into ignorance with that
harrowing “little pitcher” proverb, which used to make me tear my hair
out, at being forced to “be seen,” while I was not allowed “to be

It is my private belief, spite of my admiration of the great Sam, that
he was physically—lazy. Riding boy-back to school gave me the first
glimmering of it. Afterward, the fact that his favorite, indeed, only
diversion in winter was, being drawn on the ice by a barefooted boy, who
pulled him along by a garter fixed around him—no easy job for the
shivering barefooter, as Sam was not only “great” intellectually, but
physically. His defective sight prevented him from enjoying the common
sports of boys, if this is any excuse for what would seem to be a piece
of selfishness on his part. Perhaps to his inability for active sports,
we may ascribe his appetite for romances in his leisure hours—a practice
which he afterward deeply regretted, because, as he declared, it
unsettled his mind, and stood very much in the way of his decision upon
any profession in life.

At the age of twenty, Samuel’s disease took the form of an overpowering
melancholy, which, I am sorry to say, never wholly left him during his
life. In every possible way the poor fellow struggled against it, by
study, by reading, by going into company, by sitting up late at night,
till he was sure of losing himself in sleep. This melancholy took the
form of great fear of death. He could not bear to hear the word “death”
mentioned in his presence. I think, however, it was “_dying_” he feared,
_not_ “_death_.” I think he feared physical pain and suffering, not
another state of existence; for all his ideas of _that_ were pleasant
and happy, like those of a child going home to its parent, whom, though
he may have sinned against, he tenderly loves, and constantly implores
forgiveness from. A more kind-hearted man than Samuel Johnson never
lived, with all his bluntness, which, after all, is much preferable to
the smooth tongue which rolls deceit, like a sweet morsel, in honeyed
words. He had also this noble trait: he was quick to ask forgiveness
where his blunt words had wounded. He did not think either his dignity
or his manliness compromised by confessing himself in the wrong. I want
you to notice this particularly; because small, narrow minds think it
“mean and poor-spirited” to do this, even when convinced that they are
wrong. This blunt, rough, ordinary-looking, ill-dressed old man (for he
lived, after all, to be an old man), had a kingly heart. I could tell
you many instances of his kindness to the poor and unfortunate; of his
devoted love for his wife, who died many years before him, and whose
memory he sacredly and lovingly cherished. He numbered among his friends
many great and talented people, who were attracted to him by the good
qualities I have named, as, also, by his brilliant and intellectual
conversation. Royalty, too, paid him special honor; and in his latter
days, when money was not so plenty as it should have been in the pocket
of a man to whom the world owes so much, the highest people in the land
most assiduously endeavored to make his descent to the grave easy, by
travel, change of scene, and more comfortable accommodations than he
could otherwise have had. Rough as Dr. Johnson was reputed to be, he was
a great favorite with ladies. No dandy could outdo him in a neat,
graceful compliment to them, and no insect could sting sharper than he
either, if they disgusted him with their nonsense and folly. Nice,
honest, sham-hating old man! I am glad that the Saviour he loved, smiled
so lovingly on him at the last, that he fearlessly crossed the dark
waves he had dreaded, to lay that weary head upon His bosom.

                            THE LITTLE LORD.

Everybody has heard of Lord Byron. The world says, he had a very bad
temper; and the world says his mother had a very bad temper, too. For
once the world was right; but when I tell you that Byron’s mother, when
a pretty, warm-hearted girl, married a man she dearly loved, and found
out, after marriage, that it was her money, not herself, that he loved,
and that, while spending this extravagantly, he was at the same time
mean enough to ill-treat and abuse her, I think we should inquire how
sweet-tempered we could have been under such circumstances, before we
call _her_ hard names. I believe this is the way God judges us, and that
he always takes into account, as man does not, the circumstances by
which we have been surrounded for good or evil. It is easy for anybody
to be amiable, when there is nothing to thwart or annoy.

Well, as I have said, poor Mrs. Byron had a weary life of it; and little
George, hearing his mother say violent words, when her misery pressed
hard upon her, learned to say them, too; and set his handsome lips
together, till he looked like a little fiend; and tore his frocks to
tatters when things did not suit him; and later, when he was too old for
this, he used to turn so deadly pale with speechless rage, that one
would almost rather have encountered the violent words of his childhood.

A mother who cannot, or does not, control herself, cannot, of course,
control her child; so that there was presented at their home that most
pitiable of all sights, mother and child always contending for the

I should tell you that this handsome boy was born with a deformed foot,
which prevented him from exercising, like other children; and that he
suffered not only from this restraint, but from the painful, and, as it
proved, useless remedies, that were resorted to for his cure. An active,
restless, lame boy! Cannot you see that this must have been hard to
bear? But when I add that his own mother, in her angry fits, used to
taunt him with his lameness, till the mere mention of his twisted foot,
or even a glance at it, nearly drove him crazy, I am sure you cannot but
pity him. And so this personal defect, which she might have soothed and
loved him into feeling it a happiness to bear, because it should
naturally have called out the fullness of a mother’s pitying heart,
became to him, through her mismanagement, like a nest of scorpions, to
lash into fury his worst passions. This was very dreadful. _I_ try to
remember it, and _you_ must, when you read the bitter, bad words of his
manhood, which stand over against his name, and, alas! will always
stand; for the hand is cold and powerless now, which should have dashed
them out; the eyes are closed now, from which the tear of repentance
should fall to wash them away; the voice is forever hushed, which should
say, beware! to the young feet, which he would lure with flowers, only
to be bitten by serpents.

And yet, it is beautiful to know, that his unhappy childhood, which,
like a blighting mildew, overspread all his future life, had not power
_quite_ to extinguish the angel in him. Thus we hear that, when sent
away to an English school, he interfered, notwithstanding his lameness,
between a big boy and a little one, whom the former was severely
punishing. Unable to fight in defence of the poor little fellow, upon
whom the torturing blows were descending, Byron stood boldly up before
his persecutor, and begged, with crimson cheeks and tearful eyes, that
he might, at least, “take half the blows that were intended for the
little boy.” I think you will agree with me that this was very brave and
magnanimous. I have another little anecdote of the same kind to tell
you. Not long after this, a little boy came to the school, who had just
recovered from a severe illness, which had left him very lame. Byron,
seeing a bigger boy threatening him, took him one side, and said, “Don’t
be troubled; if he abuses you, tell me, and I’ll thrash him if I can,”
and he afterward did it.

Unfortunately for Byron, he became a lord, while he was yet a schoolboy.
I say unfortunately, because, had he been a poor boy, I think it might
have made a man of him. His mother, delighted at his being a lord, took
every opportunity to make him as proud as a little peacock, by telling
him of how much consequence it would make him in the eyes of the world;
as if being a lord was of any account if he did nothing but strut about
to parade his title, and enjoy the mean pleasure of forcing those who
were “beneath him” (by so much as that they lacked a coat of arms) to
make gracious way for him. Imagine this little schoolboy, so puffed up
with that idea of his mother, that the first time he was called by his
title in school, he actually burst into tears—from sheer delight! One
can’t smile at it, for it was the sowing of a poisonous seed, which
should spring up into a “tree,” under whose shadows should die the sweet
flowers of kindness and generosity which, I have already told you, were
springing up in the child’s heart. Such grand airs did “my lord” put on,
that the boys used to nickname him “_the baron_.” You will not be
surprised to hear, that this foolish pride of rank grew with his youth,
and strengthened with his strength, so that, when he became a man (could
he be said to be one, when under the dominion of such a childish
feeling?) he would have his coat of arms put on his bed-curtains, and
everywhere else where it could possibly be placed; and upon one
occasion, when his title was omitted, he flew into the most absurd
paroxysm of rage. Petty and pitiful, was it not?

It is a dreadful thing when a child is unable to respect and reverence a
parent. There are such cases; this was one. Byron’s mother sometimes
came to school to see him. On one occasion, being displeased with
something she met there, she burst into a furious passion with the
teacher. When one of Byron’s schoolmates, with more simplicity than
politeness, said to him, “George, your mother is a fool,” “I know it!”
was the boy’s gloomy reply. This seems to me the saddest thing that ever
fell from a child’s lip. Still, it is due to him to say, that with this
knowledge bitterly burned in upon his soul, he never failed in _outward_
attention to her wishes, or in letters during his absence, informing her
carefully of all that most nearly concerned him; although for the sweet,
holy name of “mother,” he substituted “Madam,” or “Dear Madam.” Unhappy
mother! unhappy son! So much that was naturally kind in both, each
loving the other, and yet, in each, the active elements of perpetual
discord. Each yearning for affection with the intensity of strong
natures, and yet perpetually a great gulf between them, over which their
outstretched hands might never meet!

I wish I could tell you that this unhappy child grew up a happy, and,
what is better, a good man. But neither was true. His fine poetical
talent was not used to bless, or soothe, or instruct his fellow beings.
His powers of pleasing were exerted for unworthy purposes, and wasted
upon unworthy objects—and the miseries which his unbridled temper and
extravagance brought upon him in after years, he neither accepted as his
just punishment, nor strove, in a manly way, to atone for, and retrieve.
Lord Byron has been called “a great man.” I do not think him such. The
“greatness” which lacks moral courage to meet the ills of life, which
only makes them an excuse for wallowing in wickedness, must of necessity
be a spurious greatness. It is put to shame by the quiet heroism of
thousands of women, many of whom can neither read, write, nor spell, who
toil on by thousands all over our land, facing misery, poverty,
wretchedness in every form, with trust in God unwavering to the last
moment of life. That’s what I call “greatness.” One would think, that
the more a man knew, the better should he be able to hold the fiery
horses of his passions with a master hand—to keep them subservient by a
strong bit and bridle. Else, of what use is his intellect? He might as
well be a mere animal; better, too, by far, because for the animal there
is no remorseful future. He is but a pitiable specimen of manhood, who
has resolution enough in a land of plenty to endure the keen pangs of
hunger day by day, lest eating should spoil the outline of his handsome
face and form, and yet is powerless to control passions which,
scorpion-like, will sting him, long after his perishable body has
crumbled into dust.

[Illustration: THE POLICEMAN.—Page 165.]

                             THE POLICEMAN.

I heard a little boy say, the other day, “When I grow up, I mean to be a
policeman!” He liked the bright star on the policeman’s breast, and the
big club in his hand. He thought it would be “fun” to sound his whistle,
when he spied a fellow getting a ride for nothing on the steps of an
omnibus, and to see him running off as fast as he could, for fear of a
crack from the driver’s long whip. He thought it would be nice to walk
up and down, and scare the little beggar girls, who were teasing for
“one penny, please,” from the ladies on the sunshiny side of the street,
as they came out of the shops. But he _didn’t_ think, how many policemen
have kissed their little boys and girls, when they left at night, and
been killed before these little ones woke in the morning, by some
robber, or murderer, whom they had to catch in the night. He didn’t
think how many wretched, drunken men and women they have to drag through
the streets, to the station houses, every day, and how many shocking
fights they have to see and take part in. He didn’t think how forlorn it
must be to pace up and down of a cold, dismal night, that other people
might lie snug and safe in their warm beds, till morning. He didn’t
think how sick a policeman might get of misery, and poverty, and
wretchedness, and how glad he was sometimes to walk into a nice, clean
neighborhood, where people had enough to eat, and drink, and wear, and
live clean and comfortable. You see, Johnny was only nine years old, and
didn’t know about all these things. It was his birthday, that very day
that he said, “I want to be a policeman,” and he had beautiful presents,
and a little sugared plumcake, made on purpose for him by his
grandmother; and he was to have a little party in the evening, and ice
cream and cake to eat; and they were to play blind man’s buff, and all
go to the circus in the evening, to see the horses, who flew round so
fast that you could hardly tell what color they were. Well, that very
day the policeman he was looking at, and envying, had seen a dreadful
sight. As he was going round on his “beat,” through one of the narrow
streets in New York, he heard a little girl, who was just nine years old
that very day like Johnny, crying piteously. He went into the room where
the noise came from, and saw, not a birthday party, of warmly-dressed
little children, and a bright fire, and pretty pictures on the walls,
and such beautiful roses on the pretty carpet, that one almost hated to
step on them. No, indeed! The floor was bare, and so were the walls;
there was no bed in the room, no chairs, no tables; but on the floor lay
a dead woman, and over her stood her own little girl, named Katy, only
nine years old that very day, crying, as I told you, as if her little
heart would break. In her hand was a basket of cold victuals, that her
mother had sent her out alone to beg; and there lay her mother, _dead!_
and now little Katy was all alone in the great city, with no friend to
whom she could tell her troubles, and no money even to buy a coffin for
her dead mother. No wonder she cried. The policeman asked the little
girl how long her mother had been dead; and when she could stop sobbing,
she told him, that her mother told Katy, in the morning, to go beg some
food, and that she had to be gone a long while, before she could get
any; and when she came back, she found her mother lying so still on the
floor; and that she called “Mother!” and she didn’t speak; and that,
when she touched her, she was so cold, she knew she must be dead; and
then poor little Katy trembled, because she didn’t know what was to
become of her, or whether the policeman would take her away from her
mother; for, while her body lay there on the floor with her, the poor
little girl felt as though her mother was still with her. But the
policeman didn’t speak, for he was looking round the room, and presently
he found a bottle; there was nothing in it _now_, but there _had_ been
some rum in it; and now you know why it was the room had no fire and no
furniture, and how a mother could stay at home, and send her poor little
girl out alone in a great city to beg. Katy didn’t say a word. I suppose
she, too, knew that her mother used to get drunk; but she didn’t want to
talk about it. She only knew that her mother was all the friend she had,
bad or good, and that she lay there _dead_, and would never say “Katy”
any more; and so she began to cry again, as if her heart would break.
Well, the policeman had a little girl of his own, and he felt very sorry
for her; so he didn’t take her to the “station house,” where all sorts
of drunken people are carried, but he took her to his own home, and
asked his kind-hearted wife, to whom he told Katy’s story, to give her
some warm breakfast, and keep her till he came back again. At first Katy
didn’t want to stay there, warm and pleasant as it was. She would rather
have sat on the bare floor, beside her dead mother; but the sorrows of
most little children are soon forgotten by them; and when little Katy
looked round again at the clean, bright, warm room, and had eaten a nice
little bit of beefsteak, and some bread, and drank a cup of warm milk,
she began to feel a great deal better. Nanny, the policeman’s little
girl, had a beautiful doll, which she let Katy hold in her own hands.
This pleased Katy very much; she had often seen dolls in the shop
windows, but she never thought to have one in her own hand all her life.
Well, little Nanny gave her leave to take off the dolly’s dress, and put
it to bed; and Katy was so bright and happy, when the policeman came
back, that he hardly knew she was the same little Katy; but at the sight
of him, tears came into her eyes, she gave the dolly back to Nanny, and
sobbed out, “I want to see my mother.”

Then the policeman’s wife wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron,
and turned away to the window; for she thought, Oh, how dreadful it
would be, if _my_ little, curly-headed Nanny were as friendless as this
poor little girl. And then she and the policeman whispered together at
the window a long while, and Katy heard the policeman say, “But it will
be so much trouble for you, Mary, and, you know, I can hardly earn
enough now to eat and to wear for you and me and Nanny!” but his wife
only cried the more, and said, “Poor little thing! suppose it were our
own little Nanny, John!” and then they whispered together again; and
then the policeman patted his wife on the shoulder, and took up his hat
and his big club, and went out; and then his wife got some warm water,
and some soap, and washed Katy’s face, and hands, and neck, and combed
her bright, brown hair smooth and nice, and put on one of Nanny’s little
dresses, and told her, while she was doing it, that she was going to be
Nanny’s little sister now, and always live there with them, and have
plenty to eat, and never go shivering out in the streets, to beg cold
victuals any more; but still little Katy sobbed out, every now and then,
“I want to see my mother.” Poor little girl! she forgot that her mother
was very unkind to her sometimes; that she used to drink rum, and beat
her when she came home, if she did not beg cold victuals enough, or
bring some pennies; she forgot all this; and every time she thought of
her, it was only as lying on the floor, cold and _dead_; and the great
big lump came up again in her throat, and she wanted to go back to the
old, dreadful room, and look at her dear, dead mother once more. But
Katy’s mother was not there, though she did not know it; they had
carried her away and buried her out of sight; but they didn’t tell Katy
that, till she became used to living with them, for fear it would make
her little heart ache so bad; but by and by, when her little thin cheeks
had grown round and rosy, like Nanny’s, and when she began to run about
the house and play “Puss in the Corner” with Nanny, then they told her.
And, do you know, after a while, it seemed to little Katy that she had
_always_ lived with the good policeman and his wife, and that the
dreadful, desolate room, and the cold victuals, and the ragged clothes,
were only a bad dream, and not real at all. It just seemed to her as
though Nanny were _really_ her little _own_ sister, when they slept in
the same bed at night, and laid their rosy cheeks on the same pillow. By
and by the policeman’s wife was taken very sick, and then she found out
what a good heart the little beggar girl had; for Katy ran up stairs and
down for her, and gave her the doctor’s medicine; and sat by her bed,
and bathed her hot forehead, and repaid her for all her care; and, after
many years, when the policeman’s wife died, and Katy was married, and
had a home of her own, she took poor, motherless Nanny there, and gave
her a nice little room all by herself, and a table to put her dear
mother’s workbox on, and very pretty pictures on the wall; and when
Nanny said, with wet eyes, “How good you are to me, Katy!” she said,
“Ah! I haven’t forgotten who took me in when _I_ had no mother, and fed
and clothed me!”

                             LITTLE ADRIAN.

I wonder if you like pictures as well as I do? I dare say your father
may have hung some on his parlor, or study, or chamber walls, and
perhaps you have often sat alone in those rooms, looking at them and
thinking. They were pleasant company for you—you liked the shapely trees
and contented cattle, the beautiful clouds, and the grass that you could
almost see waving, as the fragrant breeze swept by. You thought,
perhaps, how well the artist must have studied nature, and with what a
loving eye, thus successfully to create it; and you imagined, perhaps,
that his heart was as tranquil and unruffled, while at his work, as the
clear lake you saw in his picture. I remember thinking so, when I was a
child, and wishing I, too, were an artist, that, when the storm raged
without, and the chill rain came slanting down, I could still create
sunny skies, and blooming, fadeless flowers. I did not know then, what I
know now, how painfully many artists struggle up to notice from poverty
and obscurity; what a sad history those pictures, could they only speak,
might tell of sleepless nights and hungry days, and fireless hearths
(for it is adversity that brings out the strength of our natures). I did
not think of the wealth and fame which come so often only to the filming
eye and palsied hand of age, and then to be left at the grave’s brink. I
did not know, what I know now, that they who have genius in any
department of art, stand upon a dizzy pinnacle, what with those who,
unable to reach the same elevation themselves, and who would fain throw
or pull them down, and what with the danger that they themselves should
lose sight of the thorny path by which they reached it, and, satisfied
with human applause, never think that upon every gift, every talent,
should be written “Holiness to the Lord.” I did not reflect that by so
much as talent increases influence, by so much it places in the hands of
its possessor the means of improving and benefiting, as well as amusing
and delighting, those for whom this short life is but the porch to the
temple whose splendors they whose garments are washed white, alone shall
surely see. And how beautiful, how fitting it is, that at His feet who
bestowed the gift of genius, its fruit should be laid.

No; these thoughts came with after years, when I went out into the
world; but now, I never look at a beautiful picture or statue, or read
an interesting book, that I do not think of these things; and when I
read of an artist who, with great powers, paints pictures which harm the
looker on, and influence him to evil—for pictures, though tongueless,
have eloquent voices; when I read of a great artist, who can command any
price, how large soever, for anything he may choose to paint, yet often
wanting a meal of victuals, not because he gave it to the poor, but
because he swallowed it all in the wine cup, and only rouses himself to
work when he wants more, oh! then I feel sorrier than I can tell you;
for genius is not an every-day gift, and life is short enough to learn
our lessons for eternity, without pulling the minute hands of time

It is pleasant to see artists and men of talent honored by kings and
princes. I once heard a story of the Emperor Maximilian and the painter
Albert Durer, which pleased me very much. Durer was painting on a wall
of the palace one day, in presence of the emperor and his courtiers. He
was a small man, and being unable to reach sufficiently high to complete
the upper part of one of the figures he was painting, he looked around
for something to raise him higher. The emperor, noticing this, ordered
one of the gentlemen present to hand him a stool. The courtier was very
angry at this; he considered the artist beneath him, and so he handed it
to him in a very ungracious manner, muttering as he did so.

The emperor heard him, and turning sharply round, made him this proper
and noble answer: “Sir, I can make a noble out of a peasant any day, but
I cannot form an ignoramus into a man of genius like Durer.” I think the
pompous courtier must have blushed a little at this, or, if he did not,
so much the worse for him.

There was once a little boy, named Adrian. His mother was a poor
peasant, and little Adrian used to sit on the floor with a pencil and
paper in his hand, to keep him out of mischief. By and by his mother,
seeing him very busy with his drawing, peeped over his shoulder, and lo!
there, upon the paper, were beautiful birds and flowers, and all sorts
of pretty things, which the little rogue had drawn; for he did not know,
any more than his mother, that he was an artist. Still, his mother
thought them very pretty—what mother wouldn’t, had they been ever so
ugly?—and it occurred to her that she could copy in needlework those
pretty pictures, on the caps and neckerchiefs she was in the habit of
embroidering, to sell to the peasant women who came to market. One day,
while little Adrian sat in the shop where his mother sold her
needlework, an artist happened to pass, and, stopping at the window,
watched through the glass the little Adrian as he drew the patterns.
After a while he went in, and asked the boy if he would not like to
become an artist. “Oh, yes!” he almost screamed out; “better than
anything in this world, if my mother is only willing!” The poor woman
was glad enough of the offer, and little Adrian went home with his
master as happy—not “as a king,” for that’s a lying phrase—but as happy
as a little robin of a bright spring morning.

Oh, how diligently he worked, and how fast he learned what was taught
him! His master had no need to rap him over the knuckles with “Come,
come, what are you thinking about?” not at all; he scarcely lifted his
eyes from his work, so eager was he. His master had other pupils, but he
took Adrian away from them, and shut him up in a little attic in the top
of the house, to draw. The other scholars didn’t like this, for Adrian
was very good company, and they all liked him; besides, they did not see
the reason why he should be shut up there, and they felt curious to find
it out. So one day, when the master was out, they stole softly up to the
attic, and peeping through a window, saw the poor little prisoner
painting very beautiful pictures for his jailer, who used to sell them,
and pocket the money for himself.

It was very lucky that they found him, for he had become very thin and
emaciated, what with hard work and poor food. The boys told Adrian that
he was a great artist, though he did not know it, and that he might earn
a great deal of money; and they offered, if he could draw some pictures
slily, to sell them for him when his master did not know it, and get him
some pocket money, for his own use. The hungry little boy artist was
delighted at this, and soon found means to do it; but his cruel master
and his wife soon found it out, and put a stop to it, by watching him so
closely that it was quite impossible. Then the poor child grew thinner
and thinner, until one of the boys contrived a plan for him to escape;
in the daytime he wandered in the back streets, and at night he curled
himself up in the organ loft of one of the churches, and all the time he
was turning over plans in his bewildered head for the future. One day,
while he was thus situated, he met a person who had once seen him at his
master’s house. “Why,” said he to Adrian, looking pityingly at his thin
figure, “have you left your master’s roof?” The child began to cry, for
he was quite worn out, and besides, was overcome by the kind manner of
his questioner, so different from that of his old master. So he very
honestly told him the truth, and why he had run away. His pale face, his
sobs, and his wretched clothes were so many proofs of the truth of his
story, and the gentleman said, “If you will agree to return to your
master, I will talk to him, and see that he treats you better in
future.” While all this was going on, his old master Hals had hunted
everywhere for him, for he could ill afford to part with so valuable a
pupil. One would suppose that this thought, if no better one, would have
made Hals treat him better; but, after all, avarice is very
short-sighted, though it is said to be so keen.

Well, of course, he was overjoyed to get Adrian back, caressed him, and
gave him a new suit of clothes, and all that, so that the innocent,
trusting child really believed all that he said was gospel truth, and
commenced painting again, with so much industry and so well, that his
master got larger prices than ever for his little drawings. Still, the
miserly Hals never gave Adrian any of it, and so Adrian made up his mind
that, as fair promises would neither feed nor clothe him, he would run
away again. This time he planned better, for he ran so far his master
couldn’t find him—way off into another city, and took refuge with an
innkeeper, who liked artists, because his own son was one, though, like
many other children, nobody thought him famous but his own father. He
soon grew cheerful, and fat, and merry, under kind treatment; it is a
blessed thing, is it not? that youth is so elastic—that it is always
ready, after a disappointment, to begin again with fresh courage. For a
while, Adrian kept steadily at his work, and to his delight and
astonishment, they brought him higher prices than ever, though no one
knew who the artist was. One day he came panting home to his friend the
innkeeper in a great state of excitement. His pockets were full of
gold—he could scarcely believe it was not all a dream. He emptied it all
out on the bed, and then jumped into the middle of it, that he might, as
he said, know how it felt for once “to roll in wealth.” Well, we can
pardon him that. None but they who have been kicked and cuffed round the
world, and had a crust of bread thrown grudgingly at them, can
understand the full deliciousness of independence, especially when that
independence is the result of their own honest labor. Adrian had a right
to wave his hat in the air; and, had I been there, I would have helped
him hurra! and when we had finished, I would have said, “Now you have
felt how uncomfortable a thing poverty is—don’t squander that money
foolishly, because it was quickly earned; put it away safely, where it
may do you and others good, and keep on working.” But, I am sorry to
tell you that Adrian did neither. He gathered up all his money, left the
house, and did not return for more than a week. On his return, his
friend the innkeeper asked him what he had done with his money. “All
gone!” said the foolish fellow; “I’ve not a bit left.” And that is the
way he went on—first a fit of work, then a fit of wasteful dissipation.
He earned a great deal, and spent more than he earned; so that he who
might have been so free and independent, was constantly obliged to be
running away from those to whom he owed money. Was it not a pity? On one
of these occasions, he forgot to provide himself with what is called a
passport, _i. e._, permission from the government to pass from one city
to another; and because he had not this permission, they supposed him to
be a spy, and threw him into prison. Confined in the same prison was a
certain duke, to whom he told his pitiful story, assuring him that he
was no spy, but only an artist who had come to that city to follow his
profession. Of course, the duke did not know whether he was fibbing or
not; he had only the artist’s own word for it. Adrian saw this, so he
said, “Bring me painting materials, and I’ll soon prove to you that what
I say is true.” The duke, having a friend in the city who was a great
artist, had a mind to try him. So he got his friend to procure Adrian,
the suspected spy, the materials he desired. Just below the windows of
his cell, a group of soldiers were assembled, playing cards. This scene
Adrian painted, and so well, that every man’s figure was a complete
portrait in itself. The duke was delighted, and sent for his friend the
artist, to see what his opinion might be. The moment he saw it, he
exclaimed, “It must be Adrian Brauwer’s; no other artist could paint
with such force and beauty!” and immediately offered a high price for
it. But the duke would not part with it. It was painted under singular
circumstances, and was, besides, a very beautiful picture. He
immediately interested himself with the governor to get Adrian out of
prison, which he succeeded in doing, and then, being liberated himself,
he took Adrian home to his own house, gave him new suits of clothes, and
tried to keep him from wasting his talents and time, and throwing
himself away on bad companions. You will be sorry to know that it was
quite useless; sorry to know that his bad passions had become, from
indulgence, his tyrants, so that he was no longer his own master, but
theirs; sorry to know that he ran away from the house of his benefactor,
sold the very clothes he gave him, mixed with all sorts of bad people in
loathsome places, till finally, destitute and diseased, he was carried
to one of the public hospitals, where, unknown by any who had admired
his talents, and pitied his follies, he died miserably, at the early age
of thirty-two, and was buried in a cemetery among the paupers. When the
duke, his benefactor, heard of this, he shed tears at the melancholy end
of a life which might have been so useful, so honored, and so honorable.
He ordered the corpse to be taken up from its pauper grave, gave it a
funeral in a church, and designed a monument for the erring man, which
last, however, was never accomplished, as he died himself soon after.

It is pleasant to turn from so sad a story to that of other artists, who
labored on, though steeped to the very lips in poverty, for loving wives
and children, who, in turn, did all in their power to lighten the
artists’ toil. Living lives full of love, and without reproach, creating
beauty when everything around them was miserably shabby and
forlorn—everything but the love and patient endurance which can make out
of the dreariest earthly home a heaven.

                           THE PEDDLER’S SON.

I am only a poor boy, what can I do? what can I ever be, but just what I
am? ignorant, uneducated, insignificant? Stop, no creature of God is
insignificant; that is impossible, because you are to live forever.
Fettered and cramped in this life you may be; but this life is not all,
nor is it impossible even here for you to take your place with the wise
and the honorable of this world. You look about you, and shake your head
doubtfully. Your father and mother are good and kind to you, as far as
they can be. But they never read; they know nothing, care for nothing,
save that they are to work day by day till they die, merely to get bread
enough to keep them alive. But your _mind_ is hungry; you want something
for _that_. Bread and meat for your body don’t suffice you; you know
there is something better. How shall you find it? who will help you to
it? And you look about and around you, and reach out your arms, as if to
implore some invisible power to come to your aid. Do you know how many
whose names are loved, honored, and cherished by thousands, began life
just so? Do you know what might there is in the little words “I will”?

Let me tell you a story.

In a poor hut in Germany lived a lad. This hut had only one room, with a
fireplace in it, and no stairs. Instead, a ladder in it went up to the
roof. Besides the lad of whom I have spoken, there was the usual supply
of a poor man’s children.

The principal support of the family was a cow, and the principal
employment of Komer, the name of my hero, was to collect, in the spring,
the sedges which had been thrown up by the waters, to make litter for
the cow. After the meadows had become green, he passed the long summer
days in watching her, sometimes alone, and sometimes in company with
other boys. He also brought dry wood to burn, and helped glean in
harvest time; and when the autumn winds shook the trees roughly, he
gathered acorns, and sold them to those who kept geese. When he grew
larger, he helped his father, who was a peddler, to carry his bundles
from hut to hut. There was a small school, too, where Komer learned to
read and write, but that was all he learned there.

One evening (Komer never forgot that evening) he was sitting at a table
with his parents. A small lamp was burning upon it, and his father, who
had just come home with his peddler’s pack, was talking to his mother
about his business. The old peddler loved smoking, and had brought home
with him a packet of tobacco, the wrapper of which lay upon the table.
On it was the picture of a horse.

Little Komer idly took up the picture. This is very good, thought he; I
wonder if I could draw one like it, if I should try? Who knows but I
might? Little Komer looked at his father; he was very busy talking; so
he took pen, ink, and a piece of paper, and shyly began. When he had
finished, he looked at it; it seemed to him very perfect, and his little
heart swelled with a new, strange delight. Then Komer showed it to his
parents—one can’t be happy alone—and they praised and admired it, more
because Komer did it, than anything else. By and by Komer went to bed;
it was dark, but still he saw his horse—he couldn’t sleep for thinking
of it; he tossed and turned, and longed for daylight, that he might
_really_ see it with his bodily eyes again; for he was not quite sure,
after all, but that he was dreaming. Morning came; it was no dream—there
was the horse; but Komer was never again the same Komer. All that day he
was excited, restless, and the next, and the next; how was he to become
a _real_ painter? Near his father’s hut lived a potter, who had some
outlines, as models for painting his plates and dishes. Little Komer
went to him, and begged the loan of these outlines for a little while.
Then he made a blank book, and very carefully copied them into it with
pen and ink. The people in the huts round thought it quite wonderful,
and they were handed about, till, at last, they came to a man who was a
sort of “mayor” of the place where Komer lived. He was so pleased and
astonished, that he sent for the boy, made him presents, praised his
drawings, and asked him if he would like to be a painter.

Like it? of course, Komer nearly jumped out of his skin for joy. Like to
go to a great city to a master painter, and learn how to be one himself?
Of course, he could not find his tongue to tell all the joy that filled
his heart. There was no need—his glowing face was enough. The gentleman
said he would talk of it to his parents. Now, his parents never heard of
any kind of painting, save doors and houses; therefore, when the
gentleman asked them, they answered that it was a very dangerous trade;
for houses in cities were sometimes seven stories high, and Komer might
break his legs or neck. And so Komer did not go to the city, but kept on
watching the old cow.

But for all that, this gentleman, and others to whom he showed Komer’s
drawing, did not forget him or them, but kept on talking about the
wonderful child; and, what was more to their credit, tried to help him.
They sent for him to take lessons with _their_ children in French,
Latin, and music. That he need not be ashamed to come among them, they
gave him better clothing, and the gentleman who first saw him brought
him to eat with his family, at his own table.

Little Komer did not think—as you do—that it was a hardship to study;
not he. He flew at his books with a will; and till he was sixteen, never
spent an idle moment in lesson hours. After this, he did some copying
for a gentleman, besides other writing, in order to earn money. Then,
for the first time, he went to a great city, and gazed on splendid
paintings, till he was nearly beside himself with rapture. Now, indeed,
nothing could stop him. He made the acquaintance of a young artist, and
commenced immediately; weeping, that he was not permitted to do so, when
he first had the offer; so hard did he work—so absorbed was he with this
one idea—that he grew sick; his hands began to tremble, like those of a
palsied old man, and he could no longer hold a pencil. Now, indeed, he
must rest, if he would not die; but he was too active to lie upon the
shelf and be quite idle; if he could not draw, he would read. He took up
a volume of poems. Why could not _he_ write? He, _Komer_? Why not? He
seized his pen; he wrote poem after poem; they were copied, praised, and
set to music!

Now Komer turned his attention to writing books. Gifted men were proud
of his friendship; he could talk with them on any subject. His four and
twentieth year found him famous. The old cow, were she living, which was
doubtful, must take care of herself; he had “browsing” of his own to do.
I hope he kept that horse he copied from the tobacco paper. I hope he
made a drawing of the old hut where he was born; and the peddler, with
his pipe, and his pack, and the green meadows where he used to dream
away the lonely summer days, while old Brindle switched the flies, and
winked lazily at the patches of blue sky, as she lay under the broad
tree shadows. I hope he did not forget his old mother, if she was
ignorant; because she knew enough to love him, and perhaps, had she not
praised that horse, because her little Komer drew it, he might have
tended cows all his life; who knows?

                             JEMMY LAWTON.

School was out! “Hurra!” screamed all the boys, and up went their caps
in the air, as they all commenced trying the strength of their limbs and
trowsers, some by climbing up trees, some over fences, some by
leap-frog, some by bat and ball; and thus they all separated, and went
their different ways home, and Jemmy Lawton went his, too. It was not
with so light a step as his schoolfellows; and when the last boy was out
of sight, he drew a deep sigh, and crowding his cap down over his eyes,
and looking carefully about him in every direction, as if to reassure
himself that not one boy lingered to keep him company, moved on. He was
an honest boy; he had no thought of stealing anything on the way—it was
not that; he was not afraid of “the master,” for he was always at the
head of his class, and seemed more anxious to understand his lessons
than any boy in school. He was not afraid any big boy would thrash him,
nor was he lying in wait for any smaller boy to thrash. No, Jemmy was no
such coward. On he moved, with leaden feet, past the old, familiar
spots; past the grocer’s, with his peanuts, and oranges, and cocoanuts,
and nicely potted flowers, that he hoped would attract the housewives
who came to buy his sugar and tea; past the baker’s, with his tempting
pies and tarts, and piles of sugared cakes, and heaps of candy; past the
toy shop, and the tinman’s, and the shoe store: he had read all their
signs till they were as familiar to him as his own name, and now he had
turned the last corner of the street in which was his own house. _Now_
it was that the child turned pale, and set his white teeth together, and
drew his breath hard. His house was a very pretty one, with a nice
little garden spot in front, in which were fragrant flowers, for his
mother was very fond of them—almost as fond as she was of Jemmy.

He had a kind mother, then? Yes; but do you see that crowd of boys, like
a little black swarm, round the pretty white gate before his house? You
cannot see what they are looking at so earnestly inside the fence, but
you can hear their shouts and laughter, and so, alas! does Jemmy. His
face is not white now—it is as red as the daisies in his mother’s
garden, and his eyes flash like the raindrops on the daisies’ bosoms,
that the bright sun is now shining upon. Alas! when will there be
sunshine in Jemmy’s house?

“Ah, there’s Jim now,” said a rude boy, loud enough for Jemmy to hear.
“Here’s your drunken father, Jim.”

“Stand away! go home! off with you all!” shouted Jemmy, in a harsh,
fierce voice, that contrasted strangely with his slight figure, and
sweet, infantile face; “off with you!” and he walked into the centre of
the group, where, crouched upon the ground, was a man, vainly trying, on
his hands and knees—for he could not stand—to reach the door to get in;
his nice broadcloth coat was covered with dirt; his hat was crushed in;
bits of straw and grass were sticking in his thick, black hair; his eyes
were red, and he did not even see his own little boy, who was crimson
with shame as he stood over him, and vainly tried to help him to his
feet. “Off with you!” shouted Jemmy again to the boys, who laughed as
his father fell against him, almost knocking him over; “off with you, I
say!” bringing his little foot to the ground with a stamp that made them
all start; then, rushing up to the door, he rang the bell violently, and
turned his head away, to conceal the tears that would no longer be kept
back. A woman came to the door—it was Jemmy’s mother, and together they
helped in the drunken husband and father.

No wonder Jemmy dreaded going home from school! It was not the first
time, nor the second, nor the third, that he had helped his father in at
the area door when he was too drunk to find his way up the front steps
to his own house; and sometimes Jemmy, only that he thought of his
mother, would have wished himself dead. It was so terrible—the brutal
laugh and jests of those cruel boys. Oh! I hope you never do such mean
things. I have known children who taunted their playmates and
schoolfellows with such troubles when they were angry with them, or
sometimes, as in this case, for mere sport. It is a sign of a base,
mean, cruel nature, and the boy or girl who would remind any child of
their acquaintance of a disagreeable thing of this kind, which is hard
enough to hear at best, and twit and taunt them with it, or pain them by
noticing it in any way, is a boy or a girl to be shunned and avoided.
Nero, the tyrant, who roasted people for his amusement, must have been
such a boy. I am sorry to say I have known little girls equally
malicious and wicked—bad women they will surely grow up, if not broken
of such mean cruelty before they are women.

A drunkard is a drunkard all the same, whether he gets drunk on bad rum
or champagne; whether he takes his senses away at the club house, or
low, corner grocery: he comes to the gutter just as surely in the end.
It made no difference to little Jemmy that his father got drunk on rich
old wine, and sipped it from cut glasses in a handsome apartment; his
mother was just as heart-broken, and her children just as miserable as
they could be. Dollar after dollar the man was swallowing; and Jemmy
might well study hard, and be at the head of his class, for he would
need all he could earn to coin into bread and butter, by the time he got
old enough to keep his mother and little brothers and sisters. And
Jemmy’s father _used_ to be so kind—that memory came often to the child,
to make him patient under his trouble, to help him to excuse him for the
wrong he was doing both himself and them. “He was so kind _once_!” Jemmy
would sob out in his little bed at night. “I remember——,” and then he
would beguile himself by remembering the walks and rides he used to take
with him—the Christmas presents—how pleased father was to hear his
lessons well recited—and now! Oh, nobody who has not dropped from such a
height of happiness down to that dreadful “now” can tell how bruised the
poor heart may be by the fall! God help little Jemmy and all like him,
who have sorrows all the greater that they must bear the burden alone;
that they are _unspeakable_ sorrows, save to Him who will never taunt us
with their heavy burden, or turn to us a careless ear.

You may be sure that when Jemmy grew up he never drank. Long before the
beard grew on his soft, white chin, his father’s bloated face was hidden
under a tombstone; and when, in after years, young men of his own age
locked arms, or clapping each other on the shoulder, as they passed some
gilded saloon, said to one another and to him, “Come in and take a
drink,” you may be sure that the smile died away on Jemmy’s face, and he
saw—not the bright lights in the saloon window, nor the gay, laughing
throng inside—but instead, a form crouching like a beast at his feet,
dirt-besmeared, with bloodshot eyes—creeping, crawling, like a loathsome
reptile, who has no soul to save—for whom there is no Heaven, no
glorious future after death—nothing but annihilation. Ah, no; Jemmy
could not “take a drink”—his very soul sickened when they asked him.


                          A CHAPTER FOR BOYS.

Did you ever hear of Lord Chesterfield? I dare say you have; if not, you
very likely will, before you are much older. He wrote some letters to a
son of his, which have become famous, telling how to eat, and drink, and
walk, and talk politely; how to dress, how to carve, how to dance, how
to write letters; how to enter a room, how to go out of it; how to smile
at people whom he disliked; what books to read, what sort of people to
visit, and to choose for his friends. Every now and then I used to hear
of this book, and hear some person say, in speaking of another person,
“He has very fine manners—he is quite Chesterfieldian;” which seemed to
mean very great praise. Now, I have no boys—more’s the pity; but still,
I thought, I will read this Lord Chesterfield’s book, and see how _he_
thinks a boy should be brought up, because I have my own notions on that
subject, as well as his lordship, although I have had no occasion to
practice them; and I think good manners are by no means to be despised,
though they are not at all the most important part of a boy’s education.

Well, there was just the mistake _I_ think this gentleman made about his
son, whom he drilled in these things like a little soldier; it was the
outside only that he was most careful about polishing and adorning. It
was to get a high place in this short-lived world that he was to make
his best bow, wear his hat and coat gracefully, and study Latin, and
talk French and Italian. It was to secure the notice of great, and
powerful, and fashionable people, that he was to cultivate his taste and
talents, and improve his person; not to do good, not to benefit in any
way his fellow creatures by the great influence all this would give him
to do good, but _solely to benefit himself_, and to hear it said that he
was a perfect gentleman, which, by the way, would have been untrue, had
he done all this and done no more, because no man acting from such
selfish motives _can_ be a perfect gentleman, though, to careless eyes,
he may appear so. Then this Lord Chesterfield told his son never to get
angry with anybody, not because anger was wrong, and debased the soul of
him who indulged it, but because it was not good policy to make an enemy
even of the meanest person, who might some day be able either to help or
to injure one. Then he advised him to speak very respectfully of God and
religious things, because it was considered “decorous” to do so, and
because it gave a man influence, not because it is base and ungrateful
to receive all the good things God showers down upon us at every moment,
while we little Lilliputians are, practically, at least, denying His
very existence, and doing all we can to blot and deface and mar His
image in our souls, and helping others to do the same; not because He
who loves and pities us so tenderly waits month after month, year after
year, with patience unspeakable, to see us turn to Him with a loving,
penitent “Our Father;” not for this, but because it was “respectable” to
be religious. It is quite pitiful to read this gentleman’s letters to
his son, and see, while he appeared to love him so fondly, how entirely
he was educating him for this world, with not a thought beyond, for
those ages upon ages which that immortal spirit must travel through in
joy or pain, just as he prepared for it here. It is pitiful that he
never said one word to the boy about using his talents and influence for
lightening the burdens which were so heavily weighing down his less
favored fellow mortals, but everything was to begin and end in himself;
that _he_ was to shine in public and private; that _he_ was to be
admired, not for his goodness of heart, but, like the peacock, for his
fine plumage—like the bird, for his sweet voice.

Well, the boy was to travel and see the world, and everything in it
worth seeing, but by no means to associate with any but “fashionable
people;” as if he _could_ see all that was “worth seeing,” in such an
artificial atmosphere; as if fashionable people were “the world;” as if
God’s purest, and brightest, and best, did not shine out like diamonds
from dirt-heaps; as if _that_ was the way to read human nature, which
the boy was told to study so perfectly that he could play upon the
chords of human feeling and human passion, as does a skillful musician
upon his favorite instrument. No; as well might he judge of a book by
looking at its gilt binding. He was to talk to women, who, his father
told him, “were only grown up children.” I wonder had he a mother? I
wonder had she whispered a prayer over his cradle? I wonder had she
never gone without sleep and rest, that his little head might be
pillowed softly? I always ask these questions when men speak
disrespectfully of women; well, he was to talk to women, and be good
friends with, and flatter them, because, foolish and silly as they were,
they had, after all, influence in the world, and might “make or mar his
fortune;” there you see it is again _the everlasting I_, at the top and
bottom of everything.

Now, you will naturally inquire how this paragon turned out, when he
became a man; whether this boy, educated with so much care, and at so
much expense, repaid it all;—you will naturally suppose, that with such
advantages of education and society, he overtopped all his fellows. His
father’s ambition was to see him in Parliament, which answers in
England, you know, to our American Congress—except that there is no
head-breaking allowed in that honorable body. Our hero had now grown to
man’s stature; he wore a coat any tailor might be proud of; made a bow
equal to a dancing master; and could tell fibs so politely that even his
father was delighted. So far, so good. Now he was to put the crown on it
all, by making his first speech in Parliament; he who had the dictionary
at his tongue’s end, and the rules of etiquette at his finger ends; who
had been drilled in rhetoric, and oratory, and diplomacy, and in all the
steps considered necessary by his father to make a great public man.
Well—he got up—and stuttered—and stammered—and hemmed—and ha-ha-d—and
made a most disgraceful failure. Do you suppose he would have done it,
had his whole soul been on fire with some grand, God-like project for
helping his fellow creatures? _Never!_ But his whole thoughts were
centered in himself; what sort of figure he cut—what impression he
should make; what this—that—and the other great person was thinking of
him. Of course he came down like a collapsed balloon, as all men do who
have no higher standard than the approbation of human beings.

Oh, I tell you what it is; you may cram a man’s _head_ as full as you
please, if you neglect his _heart_, he will be, after all, like a Dead
Sea apple—and yield you only—_ashes_.

[Illustration: THE BOY WALTER SCOTT.—Page 206]

                         THE BOY WALTER SCOTT.

A weakly child sent to his grandfather’s, for change of air! Nothing
extraordinary in that. It has happened to many children, of whom the
world never even heard that they were born. Grandfather’s house! It is
the child’s paradise. He has only to cry for what he wants, to obtain
it. Grandpa quite forgets the wholesome authority he exercised with the
_parents_ of his little grandchild, and how well they were made “to
mind;” and he will always find some excuse, when they say to him while
he is spoiling their boy, “Grandpa, you never allowed _us_ to do thus,
and so.” He only shakes his silver head, and kisses the noisy rogue. He
is old, and it may seem to him the least troublesome way to manage; or,
being so near the grave, _love_ may seem to the poor old man the most
precious thing while he stays here; and he will long have slept his last
sleep, before that pretty but willful boy will know enough to love him
better for restraining him. And so old grandpa, wanting all the love he
can get, from everybody, before his heart grows cold forever, _won’t
see_ the child’s little tricks, or, if he does, but says, “Ah, well,
he’s only a child!” or, “He don’t feel well to-day!” or, “We must not be
too hard upon him, till he gets older and wiser.” Then it is really very
difficult for grandpa, or anybody else, to manage a _sick_ child. One
cannot tell what is obstinacy and what disease. One fears to be harsh
and cruel to a little crippled thing; the pale face appeals so
irresistibly to a kind heart; and “What if he should die?” is apt to
decide all doubts in the child’s favor. And then, a child almost
unbearably irritable, the first years of its life, grows sweet-tempered,
docile, and affectionate, with returning health. But I have rambled a
long way from my story—of lame little Walter Scott, who was sent to his
grandfather, to “Sandy Knowe,” for change of air, in charge of his
nurse. Now, this nursemaid had a lover, whom she had been obliged to
leave behind when she went with the sick child. This made her cross;
from that she began to hate the poor sick boy; and from that, to
entertain thoughts of killing him with a pair of scissors, that she
might get back again to her lover. Luckily, this was discovered, and she
was sent off; Grandpa Scott, of course, pitying the boy all the more on
account of the danger he had been in. Of course, he asked everybody what
was good for his grandson’s complaint. One person recommended that a
sheep should be killed, and the child immediately wrapped in its warm
skin. This was done; and behold little Walter lying on the floor, in his
woolly covering, and Grandpa Scott sitting there coaxing him to crawl
round, and exercise his little lame leg. There was his Grandma Scott,
too, in her elbow chair, looking on. Now and then a visitor would drop
in—some old military man, to see grandpa; and the two would sit and talk
about “the American Revolution,” then going on. These stories made
little Walter’s eyes shine, for under the lamb’s woolly skin there beat
a little lion heart; and then this little three-year-old boy crawled
nearer and nearer the chairs where the old men were sitting, and
devoured every word they said. All children like stories that are
wonderful and marvelous, but perhaps little Walter would never have been
such a beautiful story writer when he grew up, had he not lain there in
his lamb skin, in the little parlor at Sandy Knowe, listening to those
old men’s stories. People don’t think of these things when they talk
before children, who look so unconscious of what is going on.

Besides his good grandparents, Walter had a very kind aunt, by the name
of Janet, who liked children, and was fond of telling Walter stories,
and teaching him to repeat little ballads. Of one of these in
particular, he was very fond; and when he lay sprawling on the floor, he
used to say it over to himself. It seems that among his grandpa’s
friends was one of those persons who have no love for, and, of course,
no patience with, children. This person had a very long face, very thin
legs, and a very narrow chest; so I suppose we must forgive him. Did you
ever know a fat, broad-chested man or woman to hate children? I never
did. Well, when little Walter lay there under foot, amusing himself with
his favorite ballad, this long-legged man would frown, and turning to
his grandpa, say, “One may as well speak in the mouth of a cannon as
where that child is!” It is so unnatural a thing to dislike children,
that I prefer to believe, when persons do so, that it is because they
are sick and nervous. However, little Walter did not bear this gentleman
any ill-will for it; because, long afterward, when he heard that he was
sick and dying, he went to see him, and they took a kind farewell of
each other.

It seems that Walter’s sickness did not sour his disposition; an old
woman by the name of Tibby, at Sandy Knowe, says that “he was a
sweet-tempered little bairn, and a darling with all the house.” The
shepherds delighted to carry him on their backs among the crags, and he
soon learned to know every sheep and lamb in the flock, by the mark put
on their heads. Best of all, he liked an old man, who had the
superintendence of all the flocks, who was called “the cow-bailie;” when
Walter saw him in the morning, he never would be satisfied until he had
been put astride his shoulder and carried to the crags, to keep him
company while he watched his flocks. After a while, he became weary of
this, as children will; then the nice old man blew a particular note on
his whistle, to let the maid servant know that she was to come up and
carry him down the crags to his grandpa, in the little cozy parlor.
Many—many—many years after this, when Walter was an old man, he went
back to see those crags, and this is what he said: “Oh, how I used to
love the sheep and lambs when I rolled round here upon the grass; I have
never forgotten the feeling—no, not till this day!”

Once, when little Walter was up on the crags, the people in the house
where he lived forgot him. A thunder storm came up. Suddenly his Aunt
Janet remembered that he was there, and ran up, much frightened, to
bring him home. There she found him, lying comfortably on his back, the
sharp, forked lightning playing overhead, and little Walter clapping his
hands and crying, “Bonny! bonny!” at every flash. Walter’s grandpa,
finding that he was fond of riding on the old cow-bailie’s shoulder,
bought him a cunning little Shetland pony, hardly as large as a
Newfoundland dog; in fact, he was so small that he used to walk into the
parlor like a dog, and feed from the child’s hand. He did not think then
that one day he should have a little grandchild lame like himself, and
that he should buy _him_ just such a little pony, and name it like
that—“Marion;”—but so it was.

Walter was a great reader. He read to his aunt, read to himself, and
read to his mother. One day he was reading to his mother an account of a
shipwreck, and became very much excited; lifting his hands and eyes, and
saying, “There’s the mast gone! crash! now they’ll all perish!” While he
was reading, a lady had come in to see his mother. After he had
recovered a little from his agitation, he turned to the lady-visitor
with a politeness quite remarkable in a child of only six years, and
said, “This is too melancholy! had I not better read you something more
amusing?” The lady thought, as well she might, that if she wanted to be
“amused” she had better make him talk; so she said, knowing he had been
reading Milton, “How did you like Milton, Walter?” “I think,” said he,
“that it is very strange that Adam, who had just come newly into the
world, should know everything. I suppose, though, it must be only the
poet’s fancy.” “You forget,” said the lady, “that God created Adam quite
perfect.” Walter reflected a moment, seemed satisfied, and yielded the
point. When his Aunt Janet took him up to bed that night, he said,
“Auntie, I like that lady; I think she is a virtuoso like myself.” “Dear
Walter!” exclaimed Aunt Jenny, opening wide her eyes, “what _is_ a
virtuoso?” “Why, aunt, it is one who wishes, and _will_ know,
everything.” Of course, you may believe that his Aunt Jenny tucked him
up that night in the full belief that he would never live to grow up.
Luckily for us all, she was mistaken.

Are you tired hearing stories about him? Because I have another one I
want to tell you, though I dare say, if you are reading this book of
mine aloud to your mother, she has said to herself fifty times (and I
like her fifty times better for saying it), “Pooh! our Ben, or our Sam,
or our Harry, said a great many wonderful things, quite as wonderful as
these, as I could show, if ‘a mother’ ever had a minute’s time to write
and tell the world of it.” I’ve no doubt of it, my dear madam; I shall
certainly die in the belief that children say about all there is worth
listening to in this world; but to proceed with my story. One day, when
Walter was sitting at the gate with an attendant, a woe-begone old
beggar came up, and asked for charity. After he had received it, the
attendant said, “Walter, how thankful should you be, that you are not
obliged to beg your bread in that way.” Walter looked up wistfully, as
if he did not comprehend; then replied, “Homer was a beggar.” “How do
you know?” asked the attendant. “Why, don’t you remember?

           “‘Seven Roman cities strove for Homer dead,
           Through which the living Homer begged his bread.’”

How lucky that Walter was not kept in the city! I think nothing could
have made him well but taking him just where he was taken; out on the
crags, where the fresh wind blew, and the grass was so sweet, and
everything about him tempted him to crawl on a _little_ farther, and
then a _little_ farther; a tuft of moss, or a curious stone, or some
little thing which he wished to take in his own hand, and examine more
closely. Oh, I am quite sure he must have died in the city; his poor
lame leg would have shrunk more and more, for want of exercise; for a
carpet ever so soft, can never be like that which God has spread for the
bare feet of the poorest country child. But you must not suppose, all
this while, that he learned nothing save that which the sky, and the
crags, and the sheep taught him. Aunt Janet used to give him lessons
when he was well enough, and as he could bear them. Ah! it is well that
there are some good women who never marry. Else, what would so many sick
children do, for patient, careful, good, loving nurses? How many of them
have been coaxed by such round the most dangerous point of childhood,
where medicine was nothing, and good nursing _everything_, to the
astonishment of all who prophesied an early death. Such women have their
reward, for these little ones become almost as dear to them as if in
name—as well as in self-forgetting love—they were mothers. God bless
them all! as the silver threads gleam amid their tresses. They will not
be lonely in Heaven.

Children are full of funny whims; though I think, if we follow them but
carefully, we shall, oftener than not, find good reason for them. Walter
had a dislike almost amounting to terror of a _statue_. Very likely, he
might first have seen one by a dim light, which, to his startled vision,
gave it a ghostly look. It might have been so, though I don’t know that
it was. When his Uncle Robert, who was very fond of him, found this out,
he did not laugh at him, or scold him, but he took him, whenever it was
possible, to see fine statues; and he soon learned, not only to conquer
his dislike, but to admire their beauty exceedingly.

By and by his friends thought it was time he went to school, he was
growing so much stronger, though not well of his lameness; in fact, I
believe that all his after life he walked with a stick. So to school he
went, I dare say, with many misgivings; I dare say he wondered whether
the boys would make fun of his lameness. I dare say he wondered what he
should do with himself while they were running, and leaping, and playing
all sorts of rough-and-tumble plays out of doors, and out of school
hours. I dare say he dreaded, as do all children, the first day at a new
school. I dare say he wondered whether the education he had picked up by
bits, as his lame leg would let him, would pass muster at a big boys’
school; or whether he would be called “a dunce,” as well as “lame.” I
don’t know that he thought any of these thoughts, but I shouldn’t wonder
if he had. I suppose his grandpa, and his Uncle Robert, and his Aunt
Janet all felt anxious, too; but, as it turned out, there was no great
occasion for it, for he seemed quite well able, after he got there, to
manage his own little affairs. In the first place, knowing that he
couldn’t “rough it” much in the playground, and not liking, of course,
to be left in a corner alone, he commenced telling such wonderful tales
and stories, that the boys were glad to crowd round him and listen; and
they were worth listening to; else the boys wouldn’t have staid, I can
tell you. How they _would_ have stared, had they then been told that
this lame fellow was destined to set the whole world by the ears by the
stories he should write. Ah! you don’t know, you boys, what famous men
you may be sharing your apples and cake with in the playground. You
don’t know what a big man you may become _yourself_, only by being _his_
boyhood’s friend. How his future biographer will hunt you out, and
catechise you about the color of his eyes, and hair, and the shape of
his finger nails, and what he said, and did, and ate, and drank, and
what he did like, and what he didn’t like; and it is very well you don’t
know all this, because it would spoil your present fun and freedom; and
it is very well “the master” don’t know “a genius” when he is boxing his
ears, because they might _grow very long_ for the need of such

Well, like other boys, Master Walter was sometimes at the top, and
sometimes at the bottom of his class. On one occasion he made a sudden
leap to the top. The master asked the boys “Is _with_ ever a
substantive?” All were silent, until the question reached Walter, nearly
at the bottom of the class, who instantly replied by quoting from the
book of Judges, “And Sampson said unto Delilah, ‘If they bind me with
seven green _withs_ that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and as
another man.’” Pretty keen! wasn’t it? The other boys twiddled their
thumbs, and looked foolish, and he went to the top. I don’t believe his
mother thought, when she read him the Bible, of his laying that text on
the shelf of his memory, to be brought forth in that queer way. But a
smart answer does not stand a boy in the place of hard study, as you may
have found out if you ever tried it; so Master Walter found himself at
the bottom of the class again one fine day. This didn’t suit the young
man, and what suited him less was the fact that the boy who was at the
head seemed to mean to stay there, too. Day after day passed, and nobody
could get his place. Walter pondered deeply how he should manage. He
looked sharply at him, to see if he could not accomplish by stratagem
what he could not gain fairly. At length he observed that when a
question was asked this—_at-the-top boy_—he always fumbled with his
fingers at a particular button on the lower part of his waistcoat. _If
Walter could only succeed in cutting off that button!_ He watched his
chance—knife in hand. When that top boy was again questioned, he felt,
as usual, for the friendly button. It was gone! He looked down for it;
it was no more to be seen than to be felt. He stuttered—he stammered—he
missed his lesson; and that wretched, roguish Walter took his place. But
I can tell you he didn’t feel happy about it; for he says he never
passed him but his heart smote him for it, though the top boy never knew
who stole his _lesson button_. Scott says he often promised himself to
make some amends for the boyish injury he did him; but he never did.
Scott also says that when this boy grew a young man, he became a
drunkard, and died early. That was a pity, though I don’t think it was
on account of that button; do you? Still, Scott always wished all the
more that he had not been unkind to the poor, unfortunate fellow.

You will be glad to know that Walter continued to grow stronger and
stronger, so that his limb, though it disfigured, did not disable him.
He had not been taunted with it in his childhood, like poor Byron, till
he imagined everybody who looked at him thought of nothing else. He had
been very, very kindly cared for, and tenderly nursed. Pity Byron was
not, though I think he _never_ would have been half the man Scott was;
but then, I’m “_only a woman_,” and you needn’t mind what _I_ say. Well,
when Walter grew to be a fine young man, he was very fond of strolling
off to see beautiful scenery, and when he once began these journeys, he
never knew how fast time was passing, how far he had gone, and when and
where to stop. Not knowing how to draw pictures of the places he visited
with his pencil (he did not know then how beautifully his pen would do
it some day), he resolved to cut a branch of a tree from every place
which particularly pleased him, and label it with the name of the spot
where it grew, and afterward have a set of chess men made out of the
wood, as he was then very fond of this game, which, by the way, with a
courtesy to Paul Morphy, I think a very stupid game; though perhaps this
is because I never could sit still long enough to learn how to play it.
This idea of Walter’s was a very pretty one, though he never carried it
into execution. He never played chess after boyhood—saying that it was a
sad “waste of brains;” and he might have added, a sad waste of backbone;
at least for “Young America,” who has few enough outdoor sports now, to
keep his breastbone and his backbone from clinging together.

Walter’s mother was very anxious he should learn music; but he declares
he had neither voice nor ear for it. He says that, when the attempt was
made to instruct him, and the music teacher came to give him lessons, a
lady who lived in their neighborhood sent in “to beg that the children
in that house might not all be flogged at the same hour, because,
though, doubtless, they all deserved it, the noise they made was really

Walter’s mother appears to have been a very intelligent, kind-hearted,
well-educated woman. Not educated according to our standard, exactly;
since, at the age of eighty, when sitting down, she never touched the
back of her chair any more than if the eye of the schoolmistress was
then upon her, who used to force pupils “to sit upright.” She died
before Walter came to be the “great unknown” whom everybody was
wondering about. But, after all, what matters it, so far as she was
concerned? since it is _love_, not greatness, for which a mother’s heart
hungers; and Walter loved his mother.

After her death, among her papers was found a weak, boyish scrawl, with
penciled marks still visible, of a translation in verse from Horace and
Virgil, by “her dear boy Walter.” I said, just now, what mattered it to
_her_ that he was famous? little, truly, so that he loved her; and yet,
for _him_, for any one, to whom the world’s praises have come, ah, it is
of the loved dead that they _then_ think?

With all his glory, with all his troop of friends, seen and unseen, I
doubt if he was ever so happy as when lying at _her_ feet, wrapped in
the warm sheepskin, in the little sunny parlor at Sandy Knowe. When you
read his books—and it is a great thing to say that children _may_ read
them—you will remember all these little stories I have been telling you
about his childhood; and that, when he came to die, full of age and
honors, _this_ is what he said to his son, as he stood by his bedside:
“My dear, be a good man: be virtuous, be religious—be a _good_ man.
_Nothing else will give you any real comfort when you come to lie

                              AUNT MAGGIE.

Maggie More—that was her name; people who knew her well called her Aunt
Maggie; this did not displease her; she was a sociable little body,
quite willing to befriend anybody who felt the need of an aunt, or whom
the world had used hardly. Maggie was not rich as we use the word, but
she was rich in good health, in good temper, and a certain faculty of
making the best of everything that happened. The little shop she kept
would have made a Broadway storekeeper laugh. Well, let him laugh; he
could afford to do it, if he never made a dishonest penny oftener than
Aunt Maggie. _She_ never told a poor soul who had scraped a few
shillings together to buy a calico dress, that “it would wash,” (meaning
that it would wash _out_.) _Her_ yardstick never had a way of slipping,
so that six yards and a half measured, when you got it home, but six
yards. She never gave crossed sixpences and shillings to children who
were sent to buy tape and needles; and so, as I told you, Aunt Maggie
did not get rich as fast as they who do such things; but Maggie had read
in a Book which the people I speak of seldom open, because, when they
do, it is sure to prick their consciences—Aunt Maggie had read in that
book, that “they who make haste to be rich shall not be innocent,” and
she believed it. She had not yet outgrown the Bible; it did not lie on
her little deal table merely to gather dust, or that the minister might
see it when he called once a year. She did not think that, though the
Bible was well enough for those who lived at the time it was written, it
could teach her nothing at this day; she did not think it a proof of
courage or of a superior understanding to make light of its blessed
teachings. No, no, Aunt Maggie knew better; she had seen too many in her
lifetime, who had talked that way when everything went well with them,
sink down in despair when the waves of trouble dashed over them, and she
had seen too many whom that blessed book had buoyed up through billows
of trouble that rolled mountain high, not to cling to the Bible. No, no;
Aunt Maggie was an old woman, but she was not yet old enough to let go
her Heavenly Father’s hand, and try to walk alone. She knew how surely
she should stumble and fall if she did.

Nor did Aunt Maggie’s religion consist merely in reading her Bible and
going to church; when she read on its pages, “Visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction,” she did it.

“What is the matter, Aunt Maggie?” asked a bronzed sea captain, who had
rolled into her little shop to buy a new watch ribbon. “This is the
first time I ever saw you look as if there was a squall ahead. Got any
watch ribbons, Aunt Maggie?—none of your flimsy things for an old
sea-dog like me. Give us something that will stand a twitch or
two—that’s it—take your pay—(throwing her his purse)—and mind you take
enough—there’s nobody else wants it now”—and the old captain drew a long

“The Lord does,” answered Aunt Maggie, folding her arms on the counter,
and looking earnestly in the captain’s face.

“What do you mean by that, hey? Has some Bible society run a-foul of
you? Want a church built, to shut out everybody who don’t believe as you
do, eh, Aunt Maggie?” and the old captain stowed away a bit of tobacco
in his cheek, with a knowing look.

“It’s just here,” said Aunt Maggie—“the poor ye have always with you;
that was said a great many thousand years ago, but it is just as true

“I don’t know who should know, Aunt, better than you,” said the captain;
“you who are always helping them. Go on.”

“Well, there’s a poor young creature who lies dead a stone’s throw from
here, an English girl, whose husband brought her to this country, and
then left her to take care of herself. I was with her all last night,
and this morning she laid her little babe in my arms, and I promised to
care for it when she was gone. Poor thing! she had her senses but a few
minutes to tell me anything. Her parents, it seems, disinherited her for
marrying her husband. She would not tell their name. She had pawned, one
by one, every article in her possession, for money; and now, there’s the
babe. God helping me, she shall be taken care of as I promised, but you
know it’s little I have—and the mother must have decent burial.”

“English—did you say she was?” asked the captain.

“Aye—English,” said Aunt Maggie—“fair-haired and blue-eyed—the pride of
some home. Oh! how little they, who must have loved her once, think how
cold and desolate she lies now. It is well,” said Aunt Maggie, “that
_God_ can forgive—when earthly parents turn away.”

“You don’t know what it is, Aunt Maggie,” said the captain, striding
across the floor, “to have the child you loved better than your heart’s
blood, leave your arms for a stranger’s, whom she has known mayhap but a

“It must be bitter,” said Aunt Maggie, “and yet, year after year, we
turn our backs upon Him who has done more for us than any earthly parent
can. If He still feeds us, cares for us, forgives us, what are _we_

“True—true!” said the old captain, dashing his hand across his eyes;
“this girl is English, you say?”

“Yes; and as you are English too, I thought mayhap you’d like to help a
countrywoman; I am going to see to the babe now,” said Aunt Maggie;
“mayhap you’d like to see it too?”

“Aye—aye,” replied the captain.

On they went, to the end of the long street—past grog shops, and pawn
shops, and mock-auction shops, and second-hand furniture shops, and
rickety old tenement houses, where ragged clothes flapped, and broken
windows were stuffed with paper; where dogs barked and parrots
screamed—for many of these poor people, who can scarcely keep
themselves, keep these pets,—past young girls, homeless and shameless,
alas!—past young men, old, not in years, but in sin—past little
children, who only knew God’s blessed name to blaspheme it. At last Aunt
Maggie turned down an alley, dark, narrow, and dingy, and entering one
of the low doors, began to ascend the creaky stairs, that seemed
swarming with children, of all sorts and sizes, dwarfed in the cradle by
disease and neglect. When Aunt Maggie reached the top flight, she
stopped before a door, through which came the faint wailing of a little
babe, and the low lullaby of a woman’s voice. Upon the bed, opposite the
door, lay the dead woman, with a sheet thrown over her face.

“Would you like to see her?” asked Aunt Maggie, turning to the captain.
“’Tis a sweet face.”

“Yes—no,” answered the captain, turning away, and then advancing again
toward the bed.

“Mary! Mary!” he cried, as the pale upturned face lay uncovered before
him: “_my_ Mary _here_!” and he threw his arms around the neck of the
dead girl, and trembled like the strong tree before the tempest blast.

“_His_ Mary!” murmured Aunt Maggie, taking the motherless babe from the
old woman’s arms; “_his_ Mary—then this is his grandchild. Didn’t I say
that the Lord would provide for the helpless?”

Yes, “_his_ Mary!” Death hides all faults. We only remember the goodness
of those upon whose marble faces our tears fall fast; and so the old
captain took his little grandchild to his heart, and Aunt Maggie left
her little shop and became its nurse. And not till many years after,
when the little babe had grown to be a tall girl, did Aunt Maggie tell
her the story that I have been telling you.

                            A FUNERAL I SAW.

I have been to a funeral to-day. It was in a church;—I had to pass
through a garden to reach it;—the warm rain was dropping gently on the
shrubs and early flowers, and inside warm tears were falling; for before
the chancel lay a coffin, and in it was a fair young wife and mother,
pale and sweet as the white flowers that lay upon the coffin-lid. Near
it was her husband, and beside him were her aged parents, bowed down
with grief that she who they thought would close their fading eyes,
should fade first. In a house opposite the church, were the dead
mother’s babe, only a few days old, and two other little ones, just old
enough to prattle unconsciously as they went from room to room, “Mamma
has gone away.” I knew, though they did not, how day after day would
pass, and these little girls, who had always seen mamma _come back
again_, after she had “gone away,” would stand at the window, looking
this way and that, with their little bright faces, and listening for her
light footstep; and my heart ached and my eyes filled as I thought how
every day, as they grew older, they would need her care and feel her
loss the more; for it is only in part that a father, even the kindest,
can fill a watchful mother’s place;—he, whose business must be out of
doors and away; how can he know how weary the little feet get wandering
up and down, with no mamma’s lap to climb upon; how weary the little
hands,—putting down one thing, and taking up another, with no mamma to
nod smilingly and say, “I see”—or “it is very pretty, dear;” how
homesick the little rifled heart feels, though it scarce knows why; how
tasteless the pretty cup of milk mamma used to hold to the rosy lips;
how empty parlor and nursery, chamber and hall? How much less gentle is
nurse’s touch than hers; how much sooner she wearies of answering little
curious questions, and getting bits of string and toys for restless
fingers to play with; how much longer seems the time now, before papa
comes home to dinner and tea,—poor papa—who, with an iron hand, crushes
down his own great sorrow and tries and fails to speak to them in _her_
soft, sweet, winning way; and tries and fails to soothe their little
insect griefs, though he would die to save them a heart-pang.

All this I thought of as I looked at these two little curly-headed girls
and their baby sister; and I said to myself, I do not know why God took
away their young mother, whose work just seemed begun, and left the aged
grand parents who were waiting to go. Why he made that house desolate
and silent, once so musical. Why he turned those tender lambs out from
that soft, warm fold. With all my thinking I could not find that out;
but I am just as sure, as if I could, that He did it in love, not in
anger; I am just as sure as if I were in Heaven this minute, that it was
best and right; though they, and you, and I, must wait till we get there
to know the how and why.


Every urchin has had the little gilt toy-watch that is always at
half-past seven o’clock. Who should attempt to convince its happy
possessor that it did not keep good time, or it was not the exact
counterpart “of father’s,” would be trespassing upon the good old
proverb, that where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise. Next to
this comes the silver watch, which “goes;” _really_ goes; and which is
susceptible of being wound up by its short-jacketed owner, on his way to
school, to drive some non-watch-possessing boy to the verge of
distraction. The manner in which this watch is alternately set forward
and allowed to run down at the caprice of its owner, is known only to
anxious parents, whose entreaties in favor of a more systematic mode of
treatment, and whose threats of taking it away, go into one ear only to
go out at the other. Then there is the Ladies’ Lilliputian watch; the
dear little mite, perhaps set around with diamonds. This dear little
mite, so pretty to look at, with its curious chatelaine of little
trinkets, dangling at the belt. Time would fail to tell how often it is
unnecessarily inspected in omnibuses, cars, and ferry-boats; in shops,
and places of amusement, and on the public promenade; and how dainty
looks the jeweled forefinger of the owner, as the obedient lid obeys the
touch on the spring. All this is interesting till it gets to be an old
story; till all its owner’s lady-friends have commented approbatively or
despairingly upon it as the case may be. Then, it is occasionally left
on the sofa, or piano, or mantel, over night, instead of nestling in its
soft-cushioned box in the drawer, as at first; or it is dropped on the
hearth, or it is left hanging for days in the watch-pocket of some one
of the many dresses in the closet, until a speedy visit to the
watchmaker’s seems essential to its restoration to activity.

The watchmaker smiles as he examines it; he has seen “ladies’ watches”
many a time, and oft. He understands without explanation why it don’t
“keep as good time as my husband’s,” or “my brother Tom’s watch;” he
keeps his gravity when he is asked if hanging it up, or wearing it, is
most conducive to its health, or if it can possibly be that its
galloping one time and standing still at others is owing to a defect in
the machinery. He smiles blandly; advises leaving it on a short visit;
has the hands pointed right, and the case polished up with chamois-skin
and rouge; and restores it to its dainty owner, always with the proper
charge for its board and lodging, with a suppressed grin.

Next comes the “presentation watch,” which is often seen on exhibition
at the show-windows of Topaz and Brothers; a massive showy affair,
bought by some public person, _to give to himself_, or herself, through
this flattering medium. The uninitiated stand gaping, gazing, wondering
and coveting, through the glass windows, as they read the laudatory
inscription. Bless ’em, they will be wiser, if they live long enough.

Then there is Papa’s watch, which was “never known to go wrong,” no more
than its owner; oh no! Other clocks, other watches may point where and
as they like; _his_ is the only infallible. Biddy, the cook, may quote
the kitchen clock till she is black in the face to bear her out in
serving the family meals at just such a moment; her retort of, “and sure
didn’t the masther set the kitchen clock his own self,” avails her
nothing, while _that_ oracular watch is five minutes ahead of it.

Then there is grandpa’s lumbering, great, old-fashioned, silver watch;
with a great big cornelian seal hanging to the silver chain; grandpa
laughs to scorn all the flibbertigibbet inventions of modern days; he
tells how _that_ watch was worn by his brave grandsire at the battle of
Bunker Hill; yes, sir; and shows a place where a bullet _should_ have
spoiled it, if it didn’t; so narrow was the escape. Grandpa has left
that watch in his will to his favorite grandson; and never dreams, poor
old man, that he will very likely use it to pay off some foolish debt,
one of these degenerate days.

Lastly, there is the matron’s solid, sensible, gold watch; worn for use,
not show, on a simple black cord about the neck; unless when it hangs
over the toilet-table while she is changing her dress. Examine it
closely, and you will see numerous little indentations in the case. Not
for worlds would she have them removed, by any jeweler who ever polished
a diamond. Sometimes she sits in her nursery, with that watch in her
hand, passing her finger slowly over those indentations, while warm
tears drop over them; for little Johnny—whose little frocks lie folded
away, and may never more be worn—little Johnny made those places, with
the pained teeth which caused at last the cruel death-spasms. How many
times she has sat with him on her knee, holding that watch between his
lips, and hearing the grit of those two little front teeth upon it. She
remembers the very morning she first discovered that those little pearly
treasures had found their way through the swollen flesh; and she
remembers how papa was called, and the watch put between the coral lips,
that he too might hear the wonderful sound; and she remembers how baby
laughed; and how rosy his cheeks were, that morning; and how they both
kissed him; and how——but dear, dear! the tick of that watch is the only
music in the nursery now.

                             OLD ZACHARIAH.

Did you ever see Zachariah Tubbs? No, of course you haven’t; he was not
a man you’d be likely to notice; you, who take off your hat so killingly
to a dainty French bonnet; you who make way for old Lorenzo Dives, the
fat, wealthy old whited sepulchre of a banker; of course you never saw
Tubbs. Tubbs didn’t belong to “your set.” Tubbs was a hale old man who
believed carriages were for sick folks, and legs were to walk with.
Tubbs never ran away with another man’s wife, nor got drunk, nor cheated
his neighbor. How should _you_ know Tubbs?

Sunday after Sunday his shiny bald head came into church, with its
fringe of snow-white hair; the ruddy hue of his cheek deepening and
deepening as he grew older. There he was in his place, forenoon and
afternoon, singing as only those sing, who have learned to say lovingly
and filially “Our Father;” he, and the children God had given him,—a
good round dozen—girls and boys,—half and half—“not one too many,” as
the old man said every time a new name was registered in the Family
Bible; Sally’s and Mary’s and Jenny’s and Helen’s; Tommy’s, Charley’s,
Billy’s, and Sammy’s; all of them free to chop up the piano for kindling
wood if they chose, and that perhaps was the reason they _didn’t_
choose. I don’t think the old man ever thought of the phrase “family
government;” but for all that he had a way of laying his hand on little
heads, that was as soothing as the “hop” pillows, which country ladies
use to hurry up their naps with. One after another the girls grew up to
maidenhood and womanhood, and one after another married, and left the
old homestead for houses of their own; throwing their arms round the
neck of the good old man as they went, but still, with a world of love
and pride in the tearful glance which rested the next minute on the
husband they had chosen. Ah me—! one after another they all came back,
doubled and trebled, to lay their heads again under the old roof-tree,
where they could never know again the lightsome, care-free dreams of

Not a complaint, not a reproach for their misfortunes (for such things
_have_ been) from the silver-haired old patriarch. He, smiling, blessed
them all the same, rising up and sitting down, going out and coming
in—they and theirs; that they were poor and desolate built up no
separating wall between him and them. A few more chairs at the hearth—a
few more loaves on the table—that was all. There was enough and to spare
in that father’s house, for their tastes were simple, and the morning
and evening prayer went up on as strong wings of faith as if no cloud
had settled on the fair, matronly faces about him.

The boys? oh, yes, the boys; well, they outgrew jackets, and went into
longtailed coats and “stores.” Business fought shy of them. I suppose,
because they were too honest to cheat; but the old man said, “Never
mind; try again, boys; there’s always a place for you here, when things
go awry.” And things did go awry; and one after another the boys came
home too, till they could “turn round again.” Never a wrinkle more on
the smooth white forehead of Zachariah—never a smile less on his placid
face; no frownings and fidgetings and pshawings when little feet
pattered loudly in parlor and hall; some on his shoulders, some on his
knees, some at his feet; _still_, “not one too many,” and each, as he
said, worth a thousand dollars apiece; and Heaven knows they cost him
that, first and last; but he was not a man to remember it, as he sat in
their midst, with his spectacles on his nose and his Bible on his knee,
reading all the precious promises garnered there, for just such as he.
“It is all right,” he said at the altar; “It is all right,” he said over
the coffin; “It is all right,” he said, when he folded his worse than
widowed daughters to his warm, fatherly heart.

Ah! laugh at this good old man’s Bible if you like; I know it is the
fashion; it is considered smart and knowing, and all that, to put out
the sun, and try to grope through the world by one’s own little
glimmering taper. Wait a bit—till your feet stumble on the dark
mountains; till the great cry of your agony goes up to that God, whom,
loading you with blessings, you yet reject and disown; like the willful
son, who, in the lordly pride of new-fledged manhood, turns
contemptuously from the mother who will never cease to love him; and
yet—and yet—_his first great sorrow finds him with his head on her

                            LITTLE GERTRUDE.

And so you are “sorry it is Sunday.” That is a pity. I would like to
make Sunday the pleasantest day of the whole week to you. I should not
require you to sit still with your hands folded. I could not do that
myself, so I am sure I should not expect it of a restless little child.
I should not make you read all day, because I should know you would get
too weary to understand what you were reading; I should be almost sure,
when my eye was off you, or my back turned, that you would pull a string
out of your pocket to play with, or tie your handkerchief up in knots,
or fall asleep. I should expect if I did so that you would say, “I am
sorry Sunday has come.” I know that a great many very good people think
very differently from me about these things; but I can’t help thinking,
when I hear their children say, “I am sorry Sunday has come,” that _I_
am more right than _they_. Let me tell you a story:

Gertrude’s father was dead. He loved Gertrude better than anything in
the world except Gertrude’s mother. He was never weary of her—never too
tired with business to kiss her when he came home. On Sunday he took her
on his knee, and told her how cunning little Moses looked in his little
cradle in the bulrushes, where his mother had placed him, hoping that
the king’s daughter would take him for her own baby, and so keep him
from being killed like the other little Hebrew babies; and then Gertrude
would ask him all sorts of questions about it, and clap her little hands
when the king’s daughter did take him and chose his own dear mother
(though she did not know her to be his mother) to be his nurse. And then
Gertrude would wonder how this nurse could possibly keep from telling
little Moses, when he got big enough to understand her, that she _was_
his own mother; and then she would say, “Oh, papa, I know they _did_
have nice times when nobody was by to see the poor Hebrew mother kiss
her own baby.”

Well—when they had done talking about that, Gertrude’s father would tell
her of the Syrian maid who cured the sick prophet; and the story of
Daniel, and the story of the ravens who fed Elijah; and then by and by
the bells would ring for church, and Gertrude would take hold of her
father’s hand and walk along with him past the beautiful fields, where
the tall grass waved, and the little ground-bird built her nest, and
down the winding grassy road, under the shady oaks, and elms, and
maples, round whose trunks the sweet brier and wild grape climbed, and
then Gertrude would stop to pick the wild roses; and her Papa did not
tell her it was “wicked” or wrong to gather flowers on Sunday, but he
would tell her to bring him a clover blossom, or a daisy, or a rose, and
show her how different they were one from the other in shape, color and
perfume, and yet how beautiful was each; and then he would show her the
dew-drops strung upon the blades of grass glistening in the sunlight;
and the contented cattle, their tired necks relieved from the heavy
yoke, lying in the shade, thanking God for Sunday _by enjoying it_,
teaching us a dumb lesson, which we should do well to learn, always
keeping in mind that we have souls, while they have not. Well—then
Gertrude and her Papa went into church. Gertrude liked the singing very
much; her Papa sung beside her, and sometimes after looking cautiously
round, for she was a timid little thing, she would sing softly too, her
little finger moving along the line of the hymn they were singing.
Gertrude did not understand all the sermon, her Papa did not expect that
she would, but he always took her to church half a day, because the
minister never forgot that little children had souls, and always had
something to say to them in every sermon. After church, when Gertrude
skipped along home like a little kid, by his side, her father did not
think it a sin, or say “sh—sh”—when she gave a merry little laugh
because God had made the world so fair and given her so much love and
happiness that she could not possibly keep it all pent up in her little
heart; not he—he patted her pure uplifted forehead, and the world seemed
very fair to him too, and Sunday very blessed.

Gertrude’s father has blessed Sabbaths still—but not on earth; and
little Gertrude, with her warm trusting heart, has passed from his
pleasant smile, and sheltering arms, over the threshold of a strange,
cold home. Sunday comes and goes to little Gertrude, but oh how
wearily! They who have the care of her think that God is pleased with
long faces, and so Gertrude is placed in a chair after breakfast
Sunday morning, and forbidden to stir till the bell rings for church;
she may not step out on the piazza to see God smile on the green
earth; she may not enjoy the blue sky, or bright flowers, which he has
spread out to make the Sabbath “a delight;” she must fix her eyes on a
book, and read—read—read—till her brain reels, and then she goes to
church morning—afternoon—evening—till at last _she_ too has learned to
say, “I am so sorry ’tis Sunday.”

[Illustration: THE FAITHFUL DOG.—Page 249.]

                           THE FAITHFUL DOG.

We all know that animals have no souls, and yet it is sometimes hard to
believe it, when they give, as they often do, such proofs of
intelligence. I am very sure that I have been as much attached to a dog
or a horse, which has been my constant companion, as I have to human
beings. And, after all, who more human than they? what beautiful
examples they have set us of constancy, of patience, and of kindness to
those who have injured them.

Listen, while I tell you a story of a dog belonging to an English
nobleman. The farmers in the neighborhood of this gentleman complained
to him that the dog frightened their flocks; and one of them finding a
dead lamb, one day, brought it in his arms to the nobleman, accusing the
dog of the murder. The nobleman had no proof that his dog killed the
lamb; but, as he was just about starting upon a long journey, and not
wishing either to take the dog with him, or leave him behind to the
angry farmers, he said to his servant, pointing to the dog, who lay upon
the carpet, “Take that dog, after I have gone, and give him away to
somebody at a distance, that these farmers may not be finding fault with
him, and troubling me when I come back.” He then left the room. The dog,
who understood, at least, the tones of his master’s voice, and the
glance of his eye, if nothing else, waited till he heard his footsteps
die away, and then immediately took leave of the house, and all it
contained, and started off by himself. In the evening, the nobleman, not
seeing the dog about as usual, asked his servant if he had disposed of
him. The servant said he had not, and spent an hour to no purpose, in
searching for him. All the servants were questioned, but none knew
anything of the dog; and they, together with the nobleman, came to the
conclusion, that the angry farmer who had imagined that he had killed
his lamb, had killed him out of revenge.

About a year after this, the nobleman, who was journeying with his
servant in Scotland, being overtaken by a storm, took shelter in a very
poor inn, quite away from the main road. As the storm kept increasing,
he concluded to stay all night. The landlord and his wife looked
strangely at each other, when he told them this, and the maid servant
who spread the cloth for his supper seemed quite disconcerted. “She is
evidently not accustomed to wait upon lords,” said the nobleman to his
servant, “and is awkward and embarrassed, you see, in consequence.”

He ate with a good appetite the plain fare that she set before him, and
was still seated at the table, when the door was pushed open and in
came—a dog—_his_ dog,—the very dog he thought had been killed by the
farmer. “Good heavens!” he exclaimed to his servant, “my dear old dog;”
and he stretched out his hand to pat him. But the dog, after looking
long and earnestly at his master, shrank away from him, and took the
first opportunity to go out of the room; but still took his station on
the outside, as if watching for something. Of the dog’s history, the
nobleman learned from the hostler, that he had followed some travelers
there, and being very foot-sore and weary, remained there when they went
away, and had been there ever since; “and,” added the hostler, “he is as
harmless a dog as ever lived.” By and by the nobleman went up to his
chamber; when he got to the top of the stairs, the dog sprang before
him, with a fierce growl, and planted himself between his old master and
the door, as if to prevent his entrance. The nobleman patted him,
calling him by the kind old names he used to like, and the dog licked
his hand, as if to say, “oh yes, I remember them all;” but still he
stood before the door to prevent his master from going inside.

Then the dog, still looking at his master, moved in advance a few paces,
would go down one stair, then run back, and tug at his master’s clothes
with the greatest violence; then rub his face fondly against his
master’s side, and whine and coax, trembling all the while with
agitation and excitement.

“One would suppose, by the behavior of my dog, that there was something
wrong about this house,” said the nobleman to his servant.

The servant looked anxious, but only said, “I wish we had not come here,
your honor.”

“There is no help for it now,” said his master; “the storm is perfectly
furious, so I’ll make the best of it and go to bed. We have pistols, if
there’s mischief brewing; you sleep, I suppose, in the little room near

During this conversation, the dog seemed very uneasy, and when the
servant left the room he ran to the door, looking back, as if hoping his
master would go too; and when he advanced a few steps, he jumped up and
down as if beside himself with joy; but, upon finding that he only did
it to close the chamber door, he hung his head, and looked as
disconsolate as he had just before looked delighted.

His master could not help observing all this, but he felt determined not
to give way to his fears. The dog chose a particular part of the room to
lie down in, and no entreaties could get him away from that spot. So the
nobleman got into bed, and after listening awhile, and hearing nothing
but the storm, and being wearied with his journey, fell asleep.

He did not sleep long, for the dog kept pacing about the chamber,
sometimes coming close to the bed-curtains, and sometimes whining
piteously, and seeming not at all comforted even when his master’s hand
patted him so kindly. Again his master fell asleep; but he was soon
roused by his faithful four-footed watchman, whom he heard scratching
violently at the closet-door, and gnashing his teeth, and growling
furiously. His master jumped out of bed and listened; the storm had
ceased, so that he heard distinctly every noise. The dog was still
trying to force a passage into the closet with his paws, and not being
able to do so, attempted with his strong teeth to gnaw at it

There is no doubt the mischief, whatever it may be, is in that closet,
thought the nobleman; yet it was impossible to open it, because, after
forcing the lock, it was found secured on the inside.

A slight rapping was now heard at the chamber door, and the servant
whispered through the key-hole—“For mercy’s sake, my lord, let me in.”
The nobleman, taking his pistols in his hand, went to the door and
opened it.

“I have never closed my eyes,” said the servant; “all seems quiet up
stairs and down, but why does that dog keep up such a furious barking?”

“That’s just what I mean to know,” replied his master, bursting in the
closet door. The moment the dog saw that, in he rushed with his master
and the servant; but unfortunately, just then the candle went out, so
that they could see nothing, though they heard a rustling noise at the
farther end of the closet, and the nobleman thought best to fire off one
of his pistols, by way of alarm; as he did so, the dog uttered a
piercing cry, and then a low groan.

“It is not possible I have killed my brave dog my noble defender!” said
the nobleman mournfully. He started for a light, and met the landlord
coming with one in his hand, which he snatched from him without
answering any of his questions; the landlord followed; and giving one
glance at the closet, exclaimed to his attendants, who were behind him,
“It is all over.”

Well, without horrifying you with particulars, the amount of the matter
was, that a door led from that closet out into the stable yard; that
through that door, up into the closet, and then into the chamber, the
bad landlord had entered, and killed a traveler for his money, just
before the nobleman arrived. He had then hurriedly thrust the bloody
body into a sack and thrown it into that closet, intending when the
nobleman went to sleep to take it away, and then murder him also. But
the dog was too keen for him. It made no difference to the dog, that the
master, whose life he wished to save, had once turned him, a petted
favorite, out of doors. The dog remembered not that he had injured him,
but that he was still his master, and was once kind to him, and by every
sign, _except_ speech, had he entreated him not to sleep in that room.

The wounded dog, after the discovery, licked his master’s hand, as if to
say, “I have saved your life, now I am willing to die.”

You can imagine the feelings of his master as he afterward bound up his
wounds, and when the innkeeper and his accomplices were handed over to
justice, how tenderly he carried the dog in his arms till he reached his
home; how the nobleman’s wife and children hugged and petted him, and
made a soft bed for his wounded limb; and how the tears came into their
eyes, whenever they thought how generously he had taken his revenge for
being turned out of doors. Ah, it will not do for us to call those
“_brutes_” whose daily lives put ours to shame!

One thing more, how surely the Eye that never sleeps, brings hidden
wickedness to justice! and what humble agents, as in this case, are
sometimes employed to do it, and how often those wretches who plan a
murder or robbery with such wonderful skill, yet after all, overlook
some little thread which they have left behind, which the law seizes
hold of, and winds round their throats. Ah! it is only _in seeming_ that
sin prospers.

                          A QUESTION ANSWERED.


Does she? Then I must be very careful what I say. I have had many
letters from little girls, whose bright eyes I never shall see, begging
me to say this, that, or the other thing, in print, that their mammas
may see it, and so grant them the favors they desire. Now I don’t like
to come between a mother and her own little girl. I should not allow any
one to do that to me. I think I know more about my little girl than any
one else can possibly know. I watch her closely, I know all her faults
and all her good points, and I think I understand how to deal justly
with both, though I may be mistaken. I have never “forbidden her to read
tales or stories,” as you say your mother has you, because I think
children should be allowed to read them at proper times, when they are
good and innocent, no matter how “startling” and “wonderful” they may
be. Studying is dry work, though necessary, and most schools, as now
conducted, inexpressibly tedious to a restless, active child; and after
school hours are over, and a good dinner has been eaten, and a brisk run
has been taken out of doors for exercise, I think it does a child good
to read a nice, bright story. I often bring storybooks to my little
girl, and when I find any interesting anecdote in a big book I am
reading, I turn down the leaf, that she may read it too, and we often
talk it over, and sometimes she thinks very differently from me about
it, and then I like to get at her reasons for doing so; and often she
will use a big word to express herself that I doubt she knows the
meaning of, although she has used it quite correctly, and when I say,
“Now, what does that big word mean?” she says, “Oh, I can’t tell you,
_but I know it fits in there_;” and so it does. Now I think this makes
home pleasant for her, and I always fancy she is more willing to go back
to her books and her lessons after it.

Now perhaps it is _your_ fault that your mother has denied you “tales
and stories.” It may be that you not only neglect your lessons
altogether for them, but your home duties also—for even little girls can
and ought to help their mothers at home in a thousand ways. Suppose you
try getting your lessons, and doing whatever she wishes at home and at
school, and then see if she is not willing you should read good,
innocent stories. I think she would be, for every mother knows that
_her_ household duties go on much more smoothly and pleasantly if she
occasionally takes a walk, or visits a friend, or reads a pleasant book,
and surely this must be true of a little girl, after sitting many hours
in a schoolroom, repeating words which often convey no ideas to her
mind, sometimes because the teacher only makes it more misty when he
tries to explain it; mamma, perhaps, thinking it is the teacher’s
business, and the teacher thinking it is mamma’s fault, when the child
complains to either; sometimes because the little brain is so
overtasked, that its owner settles down into listless discouragement;
sometimes because the air of the schoolroom is so bad as to stupefy both
teacher and scholar. I often wish that when teachers see their pupils’
cheeks flush, and their heads droop, they would stop study, and read
some interesting book aloud for half an hour. I am very sure that their
scholars would study all the better after it. I don’t think a good story
at proper times hurts any girl or boy. Childhood craves it, and, _I_
think, should have it, and I hope many good men and women will continue
to keep up the supply for them, and I hope that no little child, because
I say this, will be so foolish as to think that eating cake _all_ the
time is better than to live on bread, and eat cake _occasionally_, for
it is labor, after all, that sweetens amusement, when we feel and know
that we have earned it. You know you can’t play all your life. You can’t
read storybooks always. One of these days you must be an earnest woman,
take care of your own house, tend your own little baby, who will look
straight into your eyes and believe everything _you_ tell it, right or
wrong, as if God himself were speaking. This is very sweet, but it is
very solemn too; you must prepare for this, and one way is _never to
neglect duty for pleasure_. Labor first—amusement afterward.

                          THE NURSE’S DAY OUT.

We all know that “nobody is to blame” when a railroad accident occurs.
The same is true of waking up a baby. Mothers know what delicate
management is often required to lull baby to sleep. How many tunes have
sometimes to be hummed, how many walkings up and down the floor, how
many trottings, how many rockings, how many feedings, before this
desirable event comes off. At last the little lids give promise of
drooping, the little waxen paws fall helpless, the little kicking toes
are quiescent, mamma draws a breath of relief, as she pushes her hair
off her heated face, and baby looks as if nothing on earth could ever
disturb its serenity. Won’t there? Tramp, tramp, tramp, comes the baby’s
papa up stairs with a pair of creaking boots. Mamma rushes to the
nursery door, with warning forefinger on her lips and an imploring
“John, dear, the baby! it is the nurse’s day out—pray don’t wake her
up.” “John, dear,” true to his sex, creaks on, and argues this wise, “My
dear, I’ve often noticed that it isn’t _that_ kind of noise that ever
wakes baby.” Of course, mamma is too much of a woman not to know that a
_man is never mistaken_ even with regard to a subject he knows nothing
about; but it strikes her that sometimes strategy is a good thing; so
the next day she places his slippers below stairs in a very conspicuous
and tempting position, trusting that his tired feet may naturally seek
that relief. I say _naturally_, because she knows that he would as soon
thrust his feet into two pots of boiling water as put them in those
slippers, if he thought the idea came from a _female_ mind, so naturally
does the male creature hedge about his godlike dignity. Well, the baby
is quieted and patted down again; when in comes its aunty, and begins to
brush the lint off her dress with a stiff scraping sound. To a
remonstrance she replies, “Just as if _that_ noise could wake up baby;”
and while she yet speaks, up go the little fat hands in the air, and the
eyelids struggle to unclose, and mamma begins humming again “Yankee
Doodle” or “Old Hundred,” saucy or sacerdotal, no matter which, it is
all the same to Morpheus. This accomplished she creeps on tiptoe away
from the bed, congratulating herself that _now_ certainly she can get a
breathing spell and time to change her morning dress. Just then “dear
John” appears again, and wants something; a bit of string, or a bottle,
maybe, but whatever it is, he is sure it is on the top shelf in the
closet of that room; and though he is not going to use it immediately,
he wants it _found_ immediately because—he _wants_ it! and because,
though “impatient woman can never wait an instant for anything,” man is
very like her in that respect, though he don’t see it. So the search is
instituted, and down tumbles one thing and then another off the shelves,
rattling and rustling and bumping, and finally it is discovered that
“the pesky thing” isn’t there, but is down in the kitchen cupboard; this
piece of information dear John conveys to his wife in a shrill “sissing”
whisper, “because a whisper,” he says, how loud soever, “never yet woke
up a baby!”

Just then the large violet eyes unclose and the little mouth dimples
into a pretty smile of recognition, and “dear John,” whose attention is
called to it, exclaims, peeping into the crib, “Well now, who’d have
thought it?” and creaks off down stairs after his bottle or ball of
string as calm as a philosopher; and then asks his wife at dinner “if
she has mended that lining in his coat-sleeve that he spoke about at
breakfast time.”

                             SWEET SIXTEEN.

Poetically, it is very well. Practically, I object to it. Has it ever “a
decent dress,” although the family seamstress works from morning till
night of every day in the year, taking in and letting out, lengthening
and shortening, narrowing here and widening there? The very first day a
new dress is worn, don’t “sweet sixteen” tear it, and that in a most
conspicuous place, and in the most zig-zag manner? _Could_ she “help
it,” when there is always a protruding nail or splinter lying in wait
purposely for her, which by no foresight of hers could be walked round,
or avoided? Don’t the clouds always seem to know when she has on a new
bonnet, and the mud when she wears new gaiters? And when she wants her
umbrella at school, isn’t “the nasty thing” always at home, and when she
needs it at home, is it not always perversely at school? Don’t “sweet
sixteen,” when she takes a notion to sit down and sew, always locate
herself by the side of the bed, which she sticks full of needles, and
going her way straightway forgetteth, till roused by the shrieks of
punctured sufferers? Don’t “sweet sixteen” always leave the street door
open, and the gas in her room burning at high pressure all night? Does
she ever own a boot-lacing, or a pin, or a collar, although purchases of
these articles are made for her continually, if not oftener? Isn’t her
elder sister always your “favorite,” and was she ever known to like her
breakfast, dinner or supper, or prefer wholesome food to sweet and
dyspeptic messes? Is she ever ready to go to bed of a night, or get up
of a morning? Don’t she always insist on wearing high heels to her
boots, which are constantly putting her feet where her head should be?
Don’t she always, though consulted as to the hues and make of her
garments, fret at the superior color and fit of those of Adelina
Seraphina Elgitha Smith’s? And finally, although she has everything she
wants, or thinks she wants, isn’t everything, and everybody, “_real
mean, and so there!_”

                        SITTING FOR MY PORTRAIT.

The other day I was riding in an omnibus, when it got too full by one
little girl, whom I offered to take on my lap, as the mother had her
arms full of parcels. She sat for a moment on my knee with her finger in
her mouth, and head turned shyly away. Then she made up her little mind
to look round in my face, and see whether or no she would continue to
stay with me. I declare that I awaited that scrutiny as bashfully as
ever a timid lover did his maiden’s answer. I actually felt the blood
rushing up to my cheek, as the clear blue eyes looked searchingly into
mine, as if God himself were asking, “Lovest thou me?”

Then the little thing turned her head away again, but not till she had
given me a warm, bright smile, by which I knew that her heart knew no
fear of me. I did not speak, because we understood each other; I waited
as one waits near a bush upon which a little humming bird has
alighted—fearful lest a breath should disturb it. By and by she gave a
careless glance out the omnibus window, and says—by way of encouraging
me—“There’s horses out there.”

“Yes,” said I.

She waited a few minutes longer—then finding me still apparently
bashful—she says—

“There’s shops out there.”

“Yes,” said I again.

Then she waited another while—and then turning her cunning little face
full upon me as if determined to _make_ me speak, she says—

“_Ain’t_ there many _peoples_ out there?”

Now you may laugh—but that child’s favorable verdict, after looking at
me so intently, gave me more pleasure than I know how to tell you; had
she jumped down off my lap—I shouldn’t have dared to face my
looking-glass that day, lest some hateful passion, born of the world’s
strife, had written its satanic “Get thee behind me,” on my face.

                        ABOUT A JOURNEY I TOOK.

When I was a little girl, I disliked traveling, above all things; the
very idea of going away from the chimney-corner, gave me a homesick
feeling at once. I would rather have stayed all alone in the house, than
ridden off with the merriest party that ever wore traveling dresses. I
had a kind of cat-liking for my corner, and as I always had plenty to
think about, I was never troubled at being left alone. Now, that I have
girls of my own, I like “my corner” better than ever, but I have changed
about traveling, which I like very much in pleasant company. By
“traveling” I don’t mean going round the country with heaps of dresses
in big trunks, and parading up and down on the piazza of a hotel, to
show them off. Not at all. I mean that I like to take as few changes of
garments as I can possibly get along with, and putting on some very
plain dress, which it will not fret me to have trod on, and rained on,
and powdered with dust, with a nice book or two in my trunk, in case of
a rainy day, start off to see what beautiful things nature has hidden
away for those of her children who love to search them out. In this way,
I started last summer to make the trip of the Northern lakes. That was
something new for me. I had seen Niagara, and the Catskills, and been to
Saratoga, Lake George, and all the places where people usually go in the
summer months; now I wanted something entirely different. I found it in
Toronto; and the difference, I am sorry to say, did not please me. The
city wore to me a very dilapidated and tumble-down air; the houses, with
scarcely an exception, looked streaked and shabby; pigs ran loose about
the streets, and over the plank sidewalks. Now and then I saw a handsome
private carriage, or a large hotel-looking house; but the high walls
about the grounds looked forbidding, gloomy and unsocial; not a peep was
to be had of the pretty flowers behind, if indeed there were any. In
that it seemed to me a very desolate kind of place; and the mammoth
hotel where we stayed, with its immensely high, wide halls, echoing back
the footsteps of the few travelers who walked through them, to their
large, dreary, immense rooms, seemed to make me still gloomier. For all
that, the people whom I met in the street had fine broad chests, and a
healthy color in their faces, and looked out of their clear bright eyes
as if life were a pleasant thing to them; as I doubt not it is. Still, I
would rather not live in Toronto; and after spending two days in it, I
was very willing to get into the cars, and rush through the backwoods
country, on my way to Detroit. Such splendid trees as I saw in those
backwoods! I could only think of the “cedars of Lebanon,” tall,
straight, green columns of foliage, that looked as if they had grown,
and would continue to grow hundreds of years. Nestled under them, were
now and then rude log huts. In the doorway stood the stately mother with
her bronzed face, and clinging to her skirts, rosy little barefooted
children, rugged as the wild vine that twisted its arms round the huge
trees before their door.

Near by, stood their father, the woodman, resting on his ax, to look at
the cars, as the shrieking whistle sent the cattle bounding through the
clearing, and the train disappeared, leaving only a wreath of smoke
behind. And so on, for miles and miles through that bright day, we never
wearied of gazing till the sun went down. Once I caught a glimpse of a
tiny log hut, the low roof festooned with morning glories—pink, blue,
and white. I cannot tell you what a look of refinement it gave the
little place, or how pretty a little, curly, golden-haired girl, in a
red frock, and milk-white feet, looked, standing in the doorway. Some
gentle heart beat there, in the lone wilderness, I knew by those morning
glories. The pretty picture has often come up before me; and I have
wished I were an artist, that I might show you the lovely lights and
shadows of that leafy backwoods home. When we reached the pretty city of
Detroit, it was so dark we could only dimly see it. We were very tired,
too, having ridden in the cars from early morning till nearly nine in
the evening. So we gazed sleepily out the carriage windows, as we were
being rattled through the streets to the hotel, now and then seeing a
church-spire, now a garden, now a brilliantly lighted row of stores, now
a large square, and passing groups of men, women, and children, of whom
we knew no more than of the man in the moon, and who had eaten their
breakfasts, dinners and suppers, and had been born, vaccinated,
baptized, and married, all the same as if they did not know we were in
existence. It is a strange feeling, this coming into a strange place,
and at night, and wondering what daylight will have to show to us the
next morning, as we sleepily close the bedroom shutters, and lie down in
that strange bed.

The familiar picture, your eyes have opened upon so many mornings, does
not hang on _that_ wall; it is hundreds of miles away. Joseph and his
brethren, or Henry Clay, or the Madonna, or the Benicia Boy, may be
there; but you don’t feel acquainted with them, and feel a strange
delicacy about washing, and combing your hair, in their company.
Breakfast, however, above all things! especially when you have not dared
to eat heartily the night before. So we got ready, and, having satisfied
ourselves, took a carriage to see Detroit. I liked it very much; the
people were wide awake, and not content with tumble-down old
institutions. New handsome buildings were being put up, besides many
that were already finished. The streets were clean, and prettily set off
by little garden-patches, with flowers, trees and vines about the
houses. There was selling and buying too, and a thorough go-ahead air,
in the place, as if this world was not yet finished by any manner of
means, as they seemed to think in Toronto. Our coachman was very
intelligent and civil, so I catechized him to my heart’s content as to
who lived here, and who lived there, and what this church steeple
believed, and who worshiped in the other; or why General Cass, being
such a big man, didn’t live in a bigger house, and where all the nice
peaches came from, about the streets, and where I could find some nice
crackers to nibble, when I went off in the steamboat that afternoon, and
where were the bookstores, and how much we were to pay for asking so
many questions!

Exchanging our carriage for a steamboat, or “propeller” as they called
it, we bade good by to Detroit, and glided away up to Lake St. Clair; to
the head of Lake Superior. Eleven days we were on the water, more than
long enough to cross the ocean to Old England. I was very fearful I
should not prove a good sailor, particularly as I was told, before
starting, that the lakes sometimes had a touch of old Ocean’s roughness.
My fear was lost in delight as our boat plowed its way along so gently,
day after day, and I sat on deck, the fresh wind blowing over my face,
looking down upon the bright foam-track of the vessel, or upon the
pretty sea-gulls which with untiring wing followed us hundreds of miles,
now and then dipping their snowy breasts in the blue waves, or riding
securely on their foaming tops. Sometimes little tiny brown birds flew
upon the deck of the vessel, as if glad to see human faces, in their
trackless homes. Winter begins very early up on these lakes; so while it
was still sweltering weather in New York, we were not surprised to see
the gay autumn leaves hung out, like signal flags, here and there on the
shore, warning us not to stay too long, where the cold winds lashed the
waves so furiously, or without a word of warning locked them up in icy
fetters without asking leave of any steamboat. It was hard to believe
it, even in sight of the pretty autumn leaves, so soft was the wind, so
blue was the sea and sky, so gently were we rocked and cradled. Now and
then an Indian, a _real live Indian_, in a real Indian canoe, would pass
us with a blanket for a sail, shouting us a rough welcome in his own
way, as he passed. Now and then a little speck, just on the edge of the
water where it seemed to meet the sky, would gradually grow larger and
larger till it turned out to be another boat, and with a burst of music,
from the band on board, they too would pass away, and leave us silent as
before. Now, where the lake grew narrow, we saw little huts, dotted in
and out along the line of shore. There life and death with its solemn
mysteries went on, just as it does in your home or mine. Now and then we
stopped at what the captain called “a landing,” for wood or coal or
freight for the boat. Then the people who lived there flocked down to
see us, and to buy melons of us, which were a great treat, where nothing
but pines and potatoes would grow. Then we would leap over the gangway
to the wharf, and scamper up into the town, to take the exercise we
needed after being lazy so long, and then “all hands on board!” and away
we glided again; the strange friendly faces on the pier smiling as we
passed away.

Oh, it was lovely! I never wanted to leave the boat; I wanted you, and
every body else, who enjoy such things, to come there and float on those
blue waters, with me forever.

Oh, had you only been there beside me on one of many heavenly evenings,
you would never, never have forgotten it! The red sun sank slowly into
the blue waves, on one side of us, while the moon rose majestically out
of the water, on the other; and before us the beautiful island of “The
Great Spirit” was set like an emerald in the sapphire sea. Then, when
all this glory passed away into the darkness, and I sat marveling if
Heaven with “its golden streets and gates of pearl,” _could_ be fairer,
up flashed “the Aurora” in long quivering lines of light, rose-color and
silver, till earth and sea and sky were all ablaze with glory!

My heart beat quick, I held my breath, as though some great being were
sweeping past, whose glorious silken robe I would, but dare not, bow my
lips to press.

Now I must tell you, that I went into an Indian wigwam, where the door
was a blanket; where the bedstead was made of twigs and branches; where
a big brown woman was stirring something, witch-fashion, in a boiling
pot over the fire; where copper-colored children, with diamond eyes, and
long, black, snaky locks, were squatted in the sun, outside the wigwam,
while the square-cheeked men caught fish in the little canoes, from the
sparkling “rapids,” that seemed just going to wash away their
bird’s-nest looking huts. As to the “romantic Indian maid” we read
about, I am sorry to tell you that she wears a hoop! for I saw it with
my own eyes. However, she seemed so proud and well pleased with her
first attempts at the genteel, that I wouldn’t smile, as I felt like

I didn’t ask her how she managed to get in and out of their little
egg-shell boats with that hoop, or through the small aperture that
served for a door to the wigwam. Perhaps she dropped it off on the
outside when she wanted to go into her queer house—who knows? I might
say I should have liked her better without it, on that bright morning,
as she stood there by the blue Sault River, with her glossy black hair
blowing about her bright eyes. Eleven days in all we were on these
beautiful lakes; more than long enough to go to Europe, which I hope
some day to see. _One night too long_ we were on the water before we
reached Chicago. And what a night that was, of fog and rain and thunder
and lightning. So vivid was the lightning that no one would have been
surprised at any moment had it struck the vessel. Every peal of thunder
seemed as if it thumped us directly on the head. The steamer tipped and
rolled, and the rain beat into the cabin windows and dripped on the bed,
and deluged the floor. The military company whom we took on board a few
hours before, hushed their songs and jests, and watched with us for the
daylight that was to ensure the safety of all on board. It came at last;
and we breathed freely as we stepped safely on shore. How little we
thought, as we shook hands with the merry captain, and I promised “to
take another trip on his nice boat next summer,” that the very next
night he would be shipwrecked on those waters!

Ah! the poor captain! My eyes fill, my heart aches, as if I had known
him years, instead of those few bright fairy days. Poor Captain Jack
Wilson, with his handsome, sunshiny face, cheery voice, and manly ways!
How little I thought there would be no “next summer” for him, when he so
kindly helped me up on the “hurricane deck,” and into the cosy little
“pilothouse” to look about; who was always sending me word to come
“forward” or “aft,” because he knew I so much enjoyed seeing all
beautiful things; who was all goodness, all kindness, and yet, after we
left him that morning, found a grave in that cruel surf!

The afternoon of the day we said our last good by to him on the Chicago
pier, we had taken a carriage to drive round the city, and reined up at
the draw, for a boat to pass through. It was the “Lady Elgin” going
forth to meet her doom! We kissed our hands gaily to her, in the bright
sunshine, and that night as we slept safely in our beds at the hotel,
that brave heart, with a little wailing babe pressed to it, had only a
treacherous raft between him and eternity. The poor, poor captain! It
was _so_ hard to give him up! As his strong arm sustained the helpless
in that fearful night, may God support his own gentle ones in this their
direst need.

This was indeed a gloomy ending to our lovely lake trip. We saw many
things to interest us on our return to New York through Cleveland and
Pittsburgh, but, as you may suppose, we were not very gay; every now and
then, when we saw anything beautiful, we would say to each other, “The
_poor_ captain!” You know there are some people whom it is so hard to
“make dead;” and he was one of these. So strong, so sunshiny, so full of
life! How blessed to know all this bright intelligence cannot be
extinguished like a taper; else, how sad, my dear children, would life
be to us.

                           WHEN I WAS YOUNG.

Not one girl in ten, now-a-days, knows how to sew. “’Twas not so in my
time,” as the old ladies say, with an ominous shake of the head. No; in
my school-days proper attention was given to rivers, bays, capes,
islands, and cities in the forenoon—interspersed with, “I love, thou
lovest, he, she, or it loves;” then, at the child’s hungry
hour—(twelve)—we were dismissed to roast beef and apple dumplings. At
three we marched back with a comfortable dinner under our aprons—with
cool heads, rosy cheeks, and a thimble in our pockets; and never a book
did we see all the blessed afternoon. I see her—the schoolma’am (angels
see her now), with her benevolent face, and ample bosom—your
flat-chested woman never should keep school, she has no room for the
milk of human kindness; I see her sitting on that old cane-bottomed
chair, going through the useless ceremony of counting noses, to see if
there were any truants; and of course there never were from choice, for
our teacher never forgot that she was once a child herself. I see her
calling one after another to take from her hand a collar, or wristbands,
or shirt-bosom to stitch, or some button-holes to make;—good old soul!
and then, when we were all seated, she drew from her pocket some
interesting book and read it aloud to us—not disdaining to laugh at the
funny places, and allowing us to do the same—hearing, well pleased, all
our childish remarks, and answering patiently all our questions
concerning the story, or travels, or poetry she was reading, while our
willing fingers grew still more nimble; and every child uttered an
involuntary “Oh!” when the sun slanted into the west window, telling us
that afternoon school was over.

Ah, those were the days!

I bless that schoolmistress every time I darn a stocking or make or mend
a garment; and I am glad for her own sake that she is not alive now, to
see the ologies and isms that are thumped into children’s heads, to the
exclusion of things better suited to their age, and which all the French
and Italian that ever was mispronounced by fashion, can never take the
place of in practical life. Yes—girls _then_ knew how to sew. Where will
you find a schoolgirl who does it neatly, now? who does not hate a
needle, and most clumsily wields it when compelled to? and not by her
own fault, poor thing! though her future husband may not be as ready as
I to shield her with this excuse. Modern mothers never seem to think of
this. Male teachers, with buttonless shirts on their own backs, seem to
ignore it. No place for the needle _in_ school, and no time, on account
of long lessons, out. Where is a modern girl to learn this all-important
branch of education, I want to know? A fig for your worsted work, your
distorted cats, and rabbits, and cows! Give me the girl who can put a
shirt together, or the feminine of a shirt either—which, by the way, I
could never see the impropriety of mentioning, any more than its male,
though I am not going to make any old maid scream by saying “chemise”—of
course not!

I am concerned for the rising generation; spinally in the first place,
stitch-ically in the second. All the stitches they know of now are in
their sides, poor things! I should like every schoolhouse to have a
playground, where the pupils could stay when they were not in
school—which should be almost never, until ventilation, recesses, and
school hours are better regulated—in fact, till the whole system is
tipped over, and buried fathoms under ground, and only spoken of as the
tortures of the Inquisition are spoken of—with shuddering horror—as
remnants of darkness and barbarism. I don’t want children to be burned
up, but I don’t care how many badly conducted schoolhouses burn down. I
consider every instance a special interposition of Providence; and even
if some of the children _are_ burned—horrible as that is—is it not a
quicker mode of death than that they are daily put through, poor,
tortured things?

                           A NURSERY THOUGHT.

Do you ever think how much work a little child does in a day? How from
sunrise to sunset, the little feet patter round—to us—so aimlessly.
Climbing up here, kneeling down there, running to another place, but
never _still_. Twisting and turning, and rolling and reaching, and
doubling, as if testing every bone and muscle for their future uses. It
is very curious to watch it. One who does so may well understand the
deep breathing of the rosy little sleeper, as with one arm tossed over
its curly head, it prepares for the next day’s gymnastics. Tireless
through the day, till that time comes, as the maternal love which so
patiently accommodates itself hour after hour to its thousand wants and
caprices, real or fancied.

A busy creature is a little child. To be looked upon with awe as well as
delight, as its clear eye looks trustingly into faces that to God and
man have essayed to wear a mask. As it sits down in its little chair to
ponder precociously over the white lie you thought it “funny” to tell
it. As, rising and leaning on your knee, it says, thoughtfully, in a
tone which should provoke a tear, not a smile—“I don’t believe it.” A
lovely and yet a fearful thing is that little child.

                        THE USE OF GRANDMOTHERS.

A little boy, who had spilled a pitcher of milk, stood crying, in view
of a whipping, over the wreck. A little playmate stepped up to him and
said, condolingly:—Why, Bobby, haven’t you got a _grandmother_?

Who of us cannot remember this family mediator, always ready with an
excuse for broken china, or torn clothes, or tardy lessons, or little
white fibs? Who was it had always on hand the convenient stomach-ache,
or headache, or toothache, to work on parental tenderness? Whose
consoling stick of candy, or paper of sugar plums, or seed-cake, never
gave out; and who always kept strings to play horse with, and could
improvise riding whips and tiny kites, and dress rag-babies, and tell
stories between daylight and dark to an indefinable amount to ward off
the dreaded go-to-bed hour?

Who staid at home, none so happy, with the children while papa and mamma
“went pleasuring?” Who straightened out the little waxen limbs for the
coffin when papa and mamma were blind with tears? Who gathered up the
little useless robes and shoes and toys, and hid them away from
torturing sight till heaven’s own balm was poured into those aching
hearts? “Haven’t you got a grandmother?” Alas! if only our grown up
follies and faults might always find as merciful judgment, how many whom
harshness and severity have driven to despair and crime, were now to be
found useful and happy members of society!


Did you ever ride in an old-fashioned stage coach? cramped in your back,
cramped in your legs, with a “crick” in your neck, while you were packed
in, and strapped in so closely that it was next to impossible to move a
toe or a finger? Was the day hot and dusty, and had the tired horses
hill after hill to crawl and climb up? Was some fellow-passenger’s knee
boring a hole in your back, and did you bump, and thump, and bob about,
hour after hour, unable to sleep, and too weary almost to live, till,
when you drew up at last to some little country tavern, before which
Lafayette or Washington hung creaking on a sign, with John Smith’s Hotel
underneath, you didn’t care whether you ever got out or not; whether you
ever ate, or drank, or laughed again; whether your trunk was safe, or
lost on the road, miles back? Well, if you have not experienced all
this, perhaps your father or mother, or uncle, or aunt have; and they
will tell you that is one of the slow methods in which people used to
travel before railroads and cars were invented. Ah, but, you say, stages
were safer than railroad cars! Were they? They never tipped over, I
suppose, or rolled over a precipice of a dark night, or had defective
wheels, or drunken drivers, or balky horses, or any thing of that sort.
And if anybody was very sick, or dying, at a distance, they might not
have been buried weeks, I suppose, before one could reach them.

Well, people after a while thought they might travel faster than this,
and quite as safely, too.

George Stephenson, the great Railway Engineer, was one of the first who
thought this, and worked hard, and long, to make it possible. I want to
tell you about him, because it seems to me quite beautiful that a poor,
uneducated boy, as he was, should have brought so great a thing to pass.
I rejoice in it, because I love to think that in our country our most
useful and best men have, many of them, been very poor and humble when
young; and because I want every boy who reads this to feel encouraged to
try what _he_ too can do, instead of folding his hands and saying, “oh,
what’s the use? I was born poor, and I shall die poor; I’m ignorant, and
I shall die ignorant. Who cares what becomes of _me_?” I tell you _I_
care for one, and if nobody cared, you ought to care _yourself_. It is
very certain, if you _don’t_ care yourself, that nobody can do much for
you. Well, George Stephenson was the son of a poor collier, in England.
He was the second of six children, for whom their father and mother
worked hard to find bread and butter. Little George lived like other
working people’s children: played about the doors, went bird’s nesting
now and then, or of errands to the village; and as he grew bigger,
carried his father’s dinner to him when at work; or helped nurse his
brothers and sisters at home; for in a poor man’s house, you know, every
little hand and foot must do something in the way of helping. As to
school, none of them thought of such a thing; it was as much as they
could do to keep a roof over their heads, and something to eat and
drink. Dewley Burn was the name of the place where the one-roomed
cottage stood, in which George was born; and near which his father was
employed, to tend the engine-fire near the coalpit. Robert Stephenson,
George’s father, was a kind-hearted, pleasant man. You may know that,
because all the young people of an evening used to go and sit round his
engine-fire while he told stories to them; sometimes about Sinbad the
Sailor; sometimes about Robinson Crusoe, and often something which he
himself “made up” to please them. Of course “Bob’s engine-fire” was a
great place. No stoop of a village tavern on “muster day” was ever more
glorious to happy urchins. You can almost see the picture; the bright
fire blazing, and rows of bright eyes glistening in its light, some
black, some blue, some gray; curly locks and straight locks, slender
lads, and fat lads; some with chins on their palms, and elbows on their
knees, some flat on their backs or sides, on the ground; and all
believing every word of Bob’s, as you now do storybooks, which they
would have given their ears to get hold of, though I have my doubts, if
they are better, after all, than were “Bob’s stories.” Now you are not
to think because George’s father worked as a collier, that he had no
love for beautiful things. On the contrary, he used to take nice long,
breezy summer walks, whenever he got a chance, with his little son. And
when George had grown up to be a man, and long after his good father’s
white head was under the sod, George used to speak often of his lifting
him up to look into a black-bird’s nest, and of the delight and wonder
with which he gazed at the little peeping creatures for the first time.
I dare say your father and mother can tell you some such little thing
which _they_ remember about their childhood’s home, which stands out in
their memory now, from the mist of years, like a lovely picture, sunny
and glowing and untouched by time.

These are blessed memories to keep the heart green. They are like the
little swaying wild flower that the dusty traveler sometimes finds in a
rock crevice, breathing out its sweetness all the same as if it were not
hemmed in by flinty walls and bars; more beautiful than the most
gorgeous garden flowers, which every passer by has gazed at, and
handled, because to God and ourselves it is sacred. These childish
memories! they are the first round of the ladder by which our
world-weary feet shall climb to heaven, after those who have rocked our

Near Dewley Burn lived a widow, named Grace Ainslie, who kept a number
of cows that used to nibble the grass along the woods. A boy was needed
to watch them, and keep them from being run over by the coal wagons, or
straying into the neighboring fields. To this boy’s duty was added that
of barring the gates at night, after the coal wagons had passed through.
George applied for this place, and to his great joy he got it, at two
pence a day. It was easy work to loll about on the fresh green grass,
and watch the lazy cows as they nibbled, or stretched themselves under
the trees, chewing and winking, hour after hour. George had plenty of
time to look for birds’ nests and make whistles out of sticks and
straws, and build little mills in the water streams. But if you watched
the boy, you would see that, best of all, when he and his friend Tom got
together, he liked to build clay engines. The clay they found in the
bogs, and of the hemlock which grew about, they made their steam pipes.
I dare say some solemn wise head might have passed that way, and sighed
that these boys were “wasting their time” playing in the mud; not
remembering that children in their “foolish play,” by their little
failures and successes in experimenting, sometimes educate themselves
better than any book-read man in the land could do it; at least, at
_that_ age. Then it was a blessed thing that the child’s work lay _out
of doors_, and not in a stifling close factory, or shop. That his limbs
got strong and his cheek brown and sunburnt, and his eye bright as a
young eagle’s. Every day now added to his growth, and of course to his
employment; though scarcely big enough to stride, he led the horses when
plowing, and when he was able to hoe turnips and do such farm work, he
was very much delighted at his increased wages of fourpence a day. When
he was thirteen, he made a sun-dial for his father’s cottage. You may be
sure his father was very proud of that. His little head had been busy,
you see, when he lay on the grass watching the cows. By and by George
got eighteen pence a day, and at last the wish of his heart, in being
taken as an assistant to his father in feeding the engine fire. George
was very much afraid, he was such a little fellow, that he should be
thought too young for the work, and when the overseer of the colliery
went the rounds, to see if everything was done right, George used to
hide himself, for fear he would think him too small a boy to earn his
wages. Some lads as fond as he was of bird’s-nesting, and such
amusements, would not have been in such a hurry to make themselves
useful; but George’s parents worked hard, and he loved them; he knew
that white hairs were creeping among those brown locks of his mother’s,
and that his good, merry father would not always be able to tend the
engine fire; and so though his tame black-bird, who made the cottage her
home in winter, flying in and out, and roosting on the head of his bed,
and disappearing in the spring and summer, in the woods, to pair and to
rear its young, and then coming back again in winter to live with
George; although his bird was a very pretty pet, and his tame rabbits
were a great pleasure, too, yet little as he was, he was anxious to
shoulder his share of the burden that was pressing so heavily on his
parents. Ever since, too, that he had modeled that little clay engine in
the bog, he had determined to be an engineer, and the first step to this
was to be an assistant fireman. Imagine, then, his delight when, at
fourteen years, he got the post at the wages of a shilling a day.

George’s home was one small room, crowded with three low-posted beds, in
which father and mother, four sons, and two daughters slept. This one
room was, of course, parlor, kitchen and sleeping-room, all in one. This
cottage was furnished by the Duke who employed these people; he being
also their landlord. Now I would be willing if I ever made bets, to bet
you something handsome, that this Duke had a liveried servant behind his
chair at home, and a table loaded with dainties, and silver and cut
glass, and more wines in his castle than he knew how to use; and horses
and hounds, and carriages and pictures, and statues, and conservatories
and hot houses, and all that; and yet, that he was not one half as happy
as the Stephensons in that little cottage with one room. Aching heads
are apt to go with dainty food, and weak limbs with soft beds. When a
poor man has a friend, he generally knows that he is loved for
_himself_; when a rich man has one, he is never sure how much his riches
have to do with his friendship. Many a rich man has sighed for the days
when he used to run barefoot; and many a jeweled lady for the day when
the little brook was her looking-glass. Things are more equal in this
life, after all, than grumblers are apt to imagine. Well, to go back to
George, all the time he was feeding that fire, he had his eyes open,
watching everything about the engine; nothing escaped his notice; I have
no doubt his father watched him, with an honest pride shining out of his
eyes. It must have been very pleasant for the two to work together, and
help each other; for George was growing strong and big, and used to try
to make himself stronger by lifting heavy weights. When he was
seventeen, he was made a “flagman.” That was a station as watchman above
his father, as the flagman holds a higher rank than the fireman, and
receives higher wages. No doubt good old Robert was as delighted as
George could be at this promotion. We can imagine, too, how his mother
and sisters, as they worked industriously to keep the little one room
cottage tidy and comfortable, sang cheerfully as they worked, when they
thought of their good strong brother. It is a flagman’s duty, when the
engine is out of order, to call on the chief engineer to set it right.
George had rarely need to do this. The engine was a perfect pet with
him. He understood every part of it; he took it to pieces and cleaned it
himself, and learned so well how it worked, and what it needed, that
nobody could instruct him anything about it. It is said that all the
important improvements of steam-engines have been made, not by learned
literary men, but by plain laborers.

Everything that George undertook, howsoever small the matter might be,
he determined to understand perfectly, and to do well and thoroughly.
When George _said_ that he knew he could do a thing, all his friends
knew it was no idle boast. So you will not be astonished when I tell you
that he went on studying and improving till he became a famous man; so
famous that he received calls from abroad, asking his advice as “a
constructing engineer” about building bridges and railways, and all such
things. I guess he never thought of _that_, when he was building bridges
of mud with his play-fellows. Little children, you see, are not _always_
“wasting their time” when they are playing quietly by themselves. No,
indeed. I guess he didn’t think then that he should build a two-mile
bridge across the St. Lawrence in connection with the Grand Trunk
Canadian Railway, which should be so much admired and praised for its
_taste_ as well as skill; or, when he slept in the little cottage with
only one room in it, that he should one day become “a Member of
Parliament;” or that when he died, he should be buried in state at
Westminster Abbey, where all the famous, great men were buried, and that
immense crowds of people should go to his funeral, and be so sorry that
a man who was so useful to his country should die, when he was only
fifty-six years old. But so it was. I think George made good use of
those fifty-six years; don’t you?

                         TO MY LITTLE FRIENDS.

I want to say a few words to the _little children_ who write me such
nice letters.

Some of you live in and about New York, some at a great distance from
it. I should be very glad, had I time, to write each of you a long
letter—indeed, many long letters; but how is this possible, if I “make
some more books for you,” as you all request me to do? One cannot write
a book as fast as one can read it through; perhaps you do not think of
that. Besides, I write every week for the New York _Ledger_. Then I have
a great many other calls upon my time, of which you know nothing. Like
your own mamma, I have children. They sometimes say, “Oh, do throw away
that tiresome pen, and talk to us.” And then I say, “Yes, presently.”
But still I have to keep on writing. Then, you know, if I only used my
head, and never my feet, my head would not last long. I must exercise a
great deal every day, else I should fly up the chimney, or through the
roof, like a witch. But for all that I don’t forget one little girl or
boy who ever wrote to me; and although I cannot answer, it always
pleases me to hear from you. I want you all to believe this, and write
me whenever you feel like it.

                              BABY EFFIE.

Do you see this little baby? Her name is Effie, and her young mother is
dead. Well, partly on that account, and partly because she is just the
loveliest, and brightest, and sweetest baby that ever was born, she
rules every one in the house. How? why, by one smile or cunning little
trick, she can make them all go and come, fetch and carry, rise and sit
down, all the same as if they had no will but hers. For instance, you
may say, now at such a time I will go to such a place; but if that baby
catches sight of you going out, and makes up a little grieved mouth
because you are going, unless you could coax her to forget it, with a
piece of the moon, or some such wonderful thing, you would very likely
stay at home with her. If you say your side aches, and really, Effie
grows so fat on her good sweet milk, that you must let nurse carry her
more, even if she _does_ whimper a little; and you may really _mean_ to
do it; but oh, why has she such a dear little red mouth, and such a
distracting way of fixing her lips, and such a pleading look in her soft
eyes, and such a musical little coax to make believe talk, unless it be
that her dimpled feet shall always be on your obedient neck? You can’t
look at her as if she were only a rag baby. And very likely you’d get
thinking, too, that nobody could tie her bonnet, or cloak, save
yourself, or button her little red boots right; so that no fold of her
mite of a stocking should double under her ridiculous little toes.

Perhaps you think it is a very simple thing to wash and dress little
Effie. That shows how little you know. Now listen. That baby has four
distinct little chins that you must watch your chance to wash between
her frantic little crying-spells; then she has as many little rolls of
fat on the back of the neck, that have to be searched out, and bathed;
and all the time you are doing this you have to be talking little baby
talk to her, to make her believe you are only playing, instead of
washing her. Then baby won’t have her ears or nose meddled with; and if
you interfere with her toes, she won’t put up with it a minute; and it
takes two people to open her chubby little fists when it is time to wash
them. Then you haven’t the least idea of the job it is to get one of her
stiff little vexed arms out of her cambric sleeve; or how many times she
kicks while you are tying on her tiny red shoe. Then she is just as mad
as can be when you lay her over on her stomach to tie the strings of her
frock; and she is still more mad if you lay her on her back. And
besides, she can stiffen herself out, when she likes, so that “all the
king’s men” couldn’t make her sit down, and at another time she will
curl herself up in a circle, so that neither they nor anybody else could
straighten her out; then you had better just count the garments that
have to be got off and on before this washing and dressing business is
done; and then every now and then you have to stop to see that she is
not choking or strangling; or that you have not put any of her funny
little legs or arms out of joint, or hurt her bobbing little head. Now,
I hope you understand what a delicate job it is. But when the last
string is tied, and little Effie comes out of this daily misery into
scarlet-lipped, diamond-eyed peace, looking fresh and sweet as a
rosebud, and dropping off to sleep in your arms, with quivering white
eyelids and pretty murmurings of the little half-smiling lips, while the
perfect little fat waxen hands lie idly by her side, ah—then you should
see her!

You would understand then, how hard it is to keep from spoiling her; not
by loving her too much; _that_ never hurt anybody; but by giving her
everything she wants, whether it is best for her or not, just because it
is so heart-breaking to see the tears on her cheeks. _That_ would never
do, you know, not even for little motherless Effie; for how is she ever
to become good, if she can get everything she wants by crying for it?
She can’t understand that now, but by and by she will; and then those
who have care of her _must_ learn to say _no_, no matter how pretty and
coaxing she is, if she should want a hammer and a watch to play with;
yes, even though she should cry about it.

Nobody can tell whether Effie is loveliest sleeping or waking. Poor
little dear; when she is asleep she often makes the motion of nursing
with her lips, just as if her mother were living, instead of dead, and
she were lying on her warm breast. And then, too, she often smiles till
little dimples come in her cheeks, and her lips part, and show her four
little white teeth, which have troubled her so much in coming, and which
look so like little pearls. And sometimes in her sleep she kicks her
little fat leg, with its pretty white foot, and pink toes, out on the
coverlet, just as if she were fixing herself for a pretty picture that
some artist might paint her. And when she wakes, she puts her little
cheek up against yours to be loved and kissed, and—but dear me, you will
think I am quite a fool, if I go on this way; and I shouldn’t wonder;
for it really _is_ true that I am never tired of telling dear little
Effie’s perfections all the same as if she were the only lovely baby
that was ever born; although every house holds half a dozen, more or
less; still perhaps you might as well not say to _me_ that any of them
can begin to compare with little Effie.

But really, after all, I can’t stop till I tell you how much that child
knows. I am not certain that it would do to tell state secrets before
her; for though she can’t talk, and though she sits on the floor,
playing with her toys, I sometimes feel, when she drops them, and looks
up with her sweet, earnest little face, as if she had lived another life
somewhere, and her grown-up-soul had come back and crept into that
little baby’s body. Sometimes, when I look at her, I wish, oh! so much,
that I could always keep all sorrow, and all suffering from her, and
make her whole life happy; but this cannot be. Besides, I know, that He
who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, will surely care for little
motherless Effie.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors and variations in
 2. Retained archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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