The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chatterbox, 1906, by Various

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Title: Chatterbox, 1906

Author: Various

Editor: J. Erskine Clarke

Release Date: January 15, 2008 [EBook #24324]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Copyright, 1878, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1879, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1880, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1881, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1882, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1883, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1884, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1885, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1886, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1887, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1888, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1889, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1890, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1891, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1892, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1893, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1894, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1895, by Estes & Lauriat.
Copyright, 1896, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1897, by Estes & Lauriat.Copyright, 1898, by Dana Estes & Co.
Copyright, 1899, by Dana Estes & Co.Copyright, 1900, by Dana Estes & Co.Copyright, 1901, by Dana Estes & Co.
Copyright, 1902, by Dana Estes & Co.Copyright, 1903, by Dana Estes & Co.Copyright, 1904, by Dana Estes & Co.
Copyright, 1905, by Dana Estes & Co.Copyright, 1906, by Dana Estes & Co.
Close on His Heels Close on His Heels
About the Ash250
About Topiaries99
A Brave Answer43
A Brave Lad309
A Chinese Solomon15
A Generous Act99
A Gentle Donkey378, 390, 398, 402, 410
A Good Comrade159
A Hasty Judgment375
A Humorous Punishment70
A Hundred Years Ago15, 54, 84, 107, 155, 179, 211, 250, 282, 307, 347
A Modern Wizard394
An Artful Jack162
An Eastern Puzzle355
Anecdotes,6, 30, 34, 43, 51, 66, 147, 179, 190, 218, 227, 235, 323, 341, 355, 371, 378, 382, 395, 407
An Intruder269
A Pincushion Factory91
Apples or Thistles?267
A Seasonable Answer11
A Silent Reproof331
A Story of the Unforeseen190
'As You Please'277
A Turkey's Costly Diet302
'A Will of Her Own'279
A Wonderful Weighing Machine203
Barnacles and Geese238
Catching Birds under Water323
Caught by a Tree218
Chinese Physic182
Clothed in Chatterbox348
Conquered by Love214
Conscience and the China Figures178
Crébillon and the Rat291
Crocodiles in Central Africa75
Crowded Out403
Curious Granaries292
Cutting It Down278
Elephants attacking a Granary46
Ethel's Golden Offering22
Eva's Kitten333
Faithful to Duty.83
Famous Roses326
Feathered Friendship53
Flowers and Colours262
Flowers of the Night118
Fred's New World62
Forgetful Fanny26
Gas-light Insect-hunting395
Glimpses of Hedgehog Life141
Graham's Last Practical Joke162
Grey-skin's Adventures221
Hare versus Pheasant214
Haydn's Drum34
His Master's Hat15
How Gordon Kept Shop238
How the Arabs Bake their Bread357
How to Obtain Food139
Huge Birds403
In Harvard Museum350
Iron-smelting in India285
Jock's Collie351
Long Lived83
Long Tom's Gratitude13
Marvels of Man's Making2, 42, 78, 126, 148, 187, 218, 243, 282, 316, 405
Mary's Reward77
May Day175
Movable Roofs253
'Mr. Harold'349
Muriel's First Patient327
Not Afraid407
Not Guilty251
Old Oxford Castle230
Old Sarum342
Olive and the Bees109
One Thing at a Time175
Peeps into Nature's Nurseries11, 37, 59, 75, 100, 131, 134, 164, 203, 235, 275, 299, 339, 371
Ping-Kwe's Downfall303
Plants with Signs347
Ploughing in Syria315
Puzzlers for Wise Heads15, 51, 75, 115, 147, 179, 214, 286, 323, 371, 395
Round the Camp-fire19, 26, 34, 66, 82, 98, 130, 154, 194, 205, 226, 258, 338, 354, 386
Saved by a Gipsy243
Sir Ralph Abercromby174
Sowing and Reaping118, 123
Spider Runners382
Stories from Africa30, 46, 58, 90 106, 138, 170, 210, 242, 266, 290, 330, 362
Strange Nesting-places324
Tabby's Ghost389
Taking It Literally132
Teaching Him a Lesson410
Telegraph Wires in Central Africa164
The Arbalist, or Crossbow212
The Barberry147
The Brave Countess379
The Broken Promise365
The Captain's Pudding258
The Count and the Dove254
The Cow-waggon363
The Dead Watch115
The Duck-billed Platypus181
The Duke's Ruse299
The First Tea159
The Force of Labour390
The Giant of the Treasure Caves6, 10, 22, 30, 38, 47, 50, 63, 70, 74, 87, 94, 102, 110, 114, 123, 134, 142, 146, 157, 166, 172, 182, 186, 198, 202, 214, 222, 230, 234, 246, 254, 262, 270, 274, 286, 294, 298, 310, 314, 322, 334, 342, 346, 358, 367, 370, 382
The Groaning Tree of Baddesley235
The Honest Sailor122
The Hoof-mark on the Wall171
The Kestrel's Eggs196
The King of Persia396
The Ladybird and the Caterpillar306
The Last Time3
The Leopard's Looking-glass380
The Little Old Woman373
Themistocles and the Greek Generals331
The Misunderstood Poets286
The Moles and the Mountain54
The Multiplication Table26
The Music of the Nations21, 51, 69, 115, 147, 172, 195, 229, 261, 292, 324, 380
The New Zealand Glow-worm334
The Penguin277
The Picture-cleaners139
The Policeman's Joke301
The Prairie Dog61
The Ptarmigan and Pine Marten66
The Reward of a Genius142, 151
The Riddle of the Year155
The Rosemont Grotto and the Petchaburg Caverns396
The Self-heal267
The Sensible Hare374
The Shadoofs and Draw-wheels of Egypt43
The Sloth93
The Soldier of Antigonus291
The Story of Rock-salt302
The Sugar Maple294
The Symbols of Japan214
The Timid Mouse348
The Trials of Leckinski306, 319
The Union Jack348
The Way to Command62
The Yak125
Think This Out222
'Those Horrid Boys'207
Too Much for the Whistle54
To the Rescue!261
True Happiness310
Umbrella Treason18
Union is Strength189
Well Repaid355
Where there's a Will there's a Way387
Wild Animals in Captivity18


A Butterfly's Wing207
A Mermaid's Song182
A Studious Elf234
A Tale of Bremen101
A Thoughtless Daisy351
Cloud Pictures374
Fairy Pictures163
Fire Pictures258
For the Little Ones159
Going to Bed126
Little Things62
Little Workers190
Looking Up and Looking Down299
Lying Awake at Night115
Made Beautiful379
Mr. and Mrs. Brown's Journey in the Family Coach406
My Dreams147
My Garden291
Night and Day396
No Harm Meant6
Santa Claus358
Santa Claus's Postman171
Stop Thief!227
The Almond and the Raisin83
The Bee54
The Daisy75
The Disappointed Hen26
The Disobedient Mouse213
The Fairies' Night363
The Fairy Queen's Gift34
The Fountain319
The Glow-worm195
The Grumbling Rose276
The Little Blind Linnet254
The Moon-ship70
The Mysterious Visitor139
The Night before My Birthday94
The Pedlar407
The Princess has Come286
The Shepherd Moon131
The Singers Yet To Be218
The Singing Bird402
The String of Pearls384
The Undecided Travellers43
The Wrong Wind18
Time Flies257
Two Little Drops of Rain326



Close on His Heels,Frontispiece
The Boy Doctor,facing p. 64
A Fight to a Finish,facing p. 128
Opportunity Makes the Thief,facing p. 192
'Chorus, Please!'facing p. 256
Tent Pegging,facing p. 320
A Brave Lad309
A Chatterbox Costume348
A Clay Grain Storehouse293
A Contest with the Longbow213
A Cow Waggon Encamped and on the March364
'All went well at first'392
'A Madi village being removed'253
An Arab Bakery357
'A native lay at the foot of a tree'129
'A terrible sight met their view'289
'A wren built its nest in the pocket'325
'By waters still in sweet spring-time'388
'Charlie Eccles half lay, half sat upon the ground'97
'Colonel Smith emptied the glass'361
'Concealment was impossible'137
Crossbow and Arrows used for Sport213
Egyptian 'Sakiveh'44
Egyptian 'Shadoof'44
'Fast Asleep!'301
'Father, is that my present?'377
'Give me back my money'356
Grain Huts293
'He finished by backing hard into the small wooden gate'400
'He handed John an official paper'180
'He has a winning tongue'408
'He placed a sovereign on the counter'121
'He placed the "drum" on a chair, and practised diligently'33
'He ran out just as he was'84
'Here is a nice little bit of work for you, my lad'268
'He sat silent, waiting for the reply'265
'He seized one of the ladders'85
'He staggered forward and reached the landing'240
'He swung himself off the ground'329
'He was chaired all round Covent Garden'156
'He was greeted by a jet of water'152
'His shoulder caught me as he passed'153
'Hold hard there!'197
'I held a long stick for him to hook on'93
'In his despair he clenched his fist'4
Iron-smelting in India285
'I say that he is a French spy!'305
'Is the bird alive or dead?'277
'I struck furiously at the brute'385
'I struggled up'260
'It became necessary to descend the shaft'41
'It is only the masterful calf269
'It's Captain Halliard!'393
'I was received with joy'205
'I will come with you at once'365
'Just then a man on horseback appeared'25
'King Louis leaped fully armed into the sea'29
'Let me have a doll to play with'208
'Lieutenant Fegan led a gallant resistance'241
Loading a Military Crossbow212
'Mag raised her shrill note of warning'53
'Managed to upset a wooden watch-house'108
'Mother, this chair was full of gold pieces!'56
'Mr. Merry was just leaving the house'389
Muriel's First Patient328
'My partner being the lamp-post'337
'No room for Jealousy'404
'One at a time, they found themselves pinioned'105
'One of the largest pounded upon the wall with his tusks'45
Peeps into Nature's Nurseries (Illustrations to),12, 37, 60, 76, 76, 100, 101, 132, 164, 165, 204, 236, 237, 276, 300, 340, 341, 372
'Piggy lifted the heavy lid to feed upon the cheese'141
'Please, sir, will you—would you buy a pincushion?'92
Ploughing in Syria316
Plymouth Breakwater188
Prairie Dogs61
'Scores of angry bees came buzzing round her'109
'See! A Matabele!'193
'Set to the hardest and most menial work'57
'She was floating away in the midst of the stream'280
'Some one is lost in the snow, and Lassie knows it'373
'Soon the two little mischief-makers were busy at
work on the pictures'140
'Stalked while I myself stalked the water-buck'36
'Stepping down from the vase and crowding round Hugh's bed'177
'Stop thief!'228
'The African beauty was greatly taken with Lander'209
'The bear would eat and drink in a truly dignified fashion'249
The Birmingham Water-works317
'The carpenter took off his coat'281
The Cooking Lesson77
'The crowd drew him along in triumph'308
'The dog darted after the bat'16
'The dog gave the horse the turnip'160
'The dog took kindly to her foster-children'17
The Duck-billed Platypus181
The Egg Poacher65
The first Passenger to cross the Brooklyn Bridge1
The first Railway Journey in England80
The Forth Bridge245
The Giant of the Treasure Caves (Illustrations to),8, 9, 24, 32, 40, 48, 49, 64, 72, 73, 88, 96, 104, 112, 113, 124, 136, 144, 145, 157, 168, 173, 184, 185, 200, 201, 216, 224, 232, 233, 248, 256, 264, 272, 273, 288, 296, 297, 312, 313, 321, 336, 344, 345, 360, 368, 369, 384
The Great Eastern149
'The great work was soon accomplished'120
'The head of a snake thrust out close to him'169
'The kitten at once began lapping'333
'The lad emptied the pail over his employer'133
'The luckless fugitives were dragged forth'89
The Manchester Ship Canal284
'The most wily and cunning black pig that ever made his escape'192
'The motor came to a standstill'401
The Music of the Nations (Illustrations to),21, 52, 69, 116, 148, 172, 196, 229, 261, 292, 324, 380
'Then came the difficult task of bringing down the little lad'13
The Nile Dam at Assuan220
'The pike seized the stoat'161
'The precious picnic-basket rolling down the turf'376
'The promise of a thousand songs'217
'There, still on the boulder, was Collie, barking'352
'The thing exploded in the air'225
'The third time he collapsed, and was pulled back353
The Union Jack348
'The weight of the two birds had the desired effect'189
The Words of Command117
'They began to examine the damaged axle'332
'They were passing a field of ripe corn'409
'They were playing with me as though I were a big mouse'68
'This is a present which your uncle has sent you'397
'Three yelping, delighted dogs'28
'Throw your bad temper overboard'304
'Tim pressed up the lid with his head'412
Victoria Falls128
'"Watch him!" said Douglas'252
'What a feast I had!'221
'What did the strange beast mean by gazing at him?'381
'What do they want with me?'320
'"What is the matter?" I asked him'81
'Who's that that dares to serve me so?'5
'Why don't you take off your hat to me?'176
'Why not start, a round of story-telling?'20
'"You have found me out," said the captain'257


[Pg 2]

The First Passenger Across the Brooklyn Bridge. The First Passenger Across the Brooklyn Bridge.



HEN two large cities stand opposite to one another on the banks of a river, it is not likely they can do very well without a bridge to connect them. Yet the citizens of New York and Brooklyn were obliged to manage as best they could for a good many years before they had their bridge. There were many difficulties in the way. For one thing, the river is very broad; for another, the tall-masted ships ply up and down so frequently that it would never do to build anything which would obstruct their passage; and to overcome these difficulties would mean the expenditure of a vast sum of money. But the folk who earned their daily bread in New York and lived in Brooklyn grew thoroughly tired of spending chilly hours in foggy weather on the river-side piers, waiting for the ferry-boat to come and take them across, and at last they began an agitation which resulted in the Brooklyn Bridge.

The engineer who made the first design was Mr. John A. Raebling; but he did not live to see it carried into effect; for one summer day in 1869, when selecting the spot at which the great work should be begun, he met with an accident which caused his death a few days later. His son, Mr. Washington Raebling, then took the lead. Plans were carefully drawn and submitted to the Government, who, after much consideration, ordered that the bridge should be five feet higher and five feet wider. This apparently slight change added about 172,800l. to the cost of building, for little changes in big things mean more than big changes in little ones. The original cost was to be 10,800,000 dollars, or about 2,160,000l.; but in the end it amounted to nearly 3,100,000l.

Before we talk of the trouble and labour, let us look for a moment at the great things the engineers have accomplished.

The Brooklyn bridge is five thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine feet long and eighty-five feet wide. The huge cables that support it stretch like the strands of a monster spider-web from the tops of two towers, each two hundred and seventy-six feet high and standing one thousand five hundred and ninety-five feet apart. The above is the length of the central span; the two other spans, from the land to the towers, are each nine hundred and thirty feet long in addition. The roadway, one hundred and thirty-five feet above the river, is divided into five parts. The two outside ones are for vehicles, the middle one for foot passengers, and the remaining two for cable trams. The footway is eight feet higher than the others, so that an uninterrupted view is gained from it. The four cables supporting this heavy structure are anchored at both ends in blocks of masonry weighing sixty thousand tons each; so that there is little fear of their being dragged from their moorings. The bridge was opened amid a blaze of fireworks on May 24th, 1883.

On May 7th, 1870, the tower on the riverside at Brooklyn was begun, and completed just five years later; its companion on the opposite side was a year behind it. The foundations of these great towers lie in solid rock seventy-eight feet below the high-tide line on the New York side, and only a little less on the Brooklyn side.

The towers once completed, the task of laying the cables across from summit to summit engaged the thoughts of the engineers. This was no ordinary case of swinging a steel rope across a river, for the gigantic size and weight of the cables made it impossible to use ordinary means. First of all it would be necessary to make a communication from tower to tower. To accomplish this, one end of a coiled steel rope was carried to the top of the Brooklyn tower and passed over until it dangled into the river beneath. Here a steamboat dragged it across the river to the foot of the New York tower, where it was hauled up, and having been passed over the top, was carried down to the masonry anchorage already mentioned. Here it was wound round a revolving drum or pulley, and started back again to Brooklyn in the same manner, thus forming an endless band along which material could be carried by revolving the pulley at either end.

Though this rope was three-quarters of an inch in thickness, it was almost invisible to the people on the river, two hundred and seventy-six feet below. Yet it was the first 'stitch' in the great web, and thousands of eyes were turned towards it on August 25th, 1876, when the very first passenger crossed along it from shore to shore. This passenger was Mr. Farrington, one of the engineers. He wished to encourage his men by a good example, for over that terrible gulf it would soon be necessary for many of them to go. His seat was a small piece of board such as we use for a swing in a playground, and it was attached to the wire by four short ropes. The perilous journey took more than twenty minutes, and the people below watched almost breathlessly as the slender thread swayed up and down with the weight of the traveller. To their eyes it appeared at times as if he was soaring through the air unsupported, so thin was the line by which he hung.

And now the weaving of the cables began, and this was perhaps the most remarkable undertaking in the construction of the great bridge. To the endless band by which Mr. Farrington had crossed, there was fixed what is called a 'carrier.' This was to grip the end of the first wire (as the eye of the needle takes the thread); bear it across the river over the tops of the lofty towers; 'stitch' it to the New York shore (or anchorage) and bring it back again.

And that is what it did. This new wire (only one-eight of an inch thick—thinner, that is, than the first wire, on which Mr. Farrington had crossed) was two hundred miles long, and it had to perform the journey many hundred times before the first 'skein' was complete. Thus you will see that a single 'skein' stretched from shore to shore, consisting of nearly three hundred separate threads. These were bound tightly together at frequent intervals, and when a bunch of nineteen of them had been made, the first cable was ready for completion. But this was a matter of great difficulty. You will easily understand that it was necessary for every wire to do its share in bearing the weight of the bridge. Therefore, they must all be at an equal strain from tower to tower. Now you know that on a sunny day a bar of steel is longer than it is on a cloudy day, for the metal expands with heat. Consequently, when the sun came out to see what they were doing at Brooklyn, the wires upon which it shone became longer than those in the shadow behind them. Of course, in a short distance this would not be noticeable, but it made such a difference in the work we are describing, that the strength of the cable would have been greatly lessened had the strands been bound together in the sunshine, while some of the wires were slack, and some were tight. Even the wind interfered sadly; but by choosing dull, still days, when all the wires were subjected to the same temperature, they were at last successfully bound together.

Notwithstanding the perilous nature of this cable-weaving, it was attended by only one serious accident, and that was when one of the 'skeins' broke loose from the New York shore, and, leaping like the lash of a giant whip over the tower top, plunged into the river below. It narrowly missed the ferry-boats and other craft.

The effect of the temperature on such vast quantities of metal is shown in many ways. By shortening and lengthening the cables, it heightens and lowers the bridge, which is consequently slightly higher above the river in winter than it is in summer. At the tower-tops the cables rest on huge iron saddles, which are placed upon forty steel rollers, so that the cables may move more freely in expanding and contracting. Again, the bridge itself is not made in one piece, but is severed half-way across and provided with a sliding joint, so that all shall act obediently to the dictates of the ever-changing weather.

Thus you see there is more in building a bridge than appears to those who do not remember that a knowledge of nature's laws must guide the architect's hand when he is drawing his plans, and govern the engineer's tools when he is carrying those plans into effect.

John Lea.


'You might do it for me, just this once, Barton,' said Lopes in a tone of anxiety not often heard from a schoolboy. 'Your father is a rich man, and you can always get all the money you want from him, and if you will only lend me this, I will never borrow from you again. Do ask for the money at once!'

Barton looked much perplexed at this appeal, but he answered firmly: 'I can't do it, old fellow! I have given my word to my father never to be mixed[Pg 3] up in any betting transaction, and I cannot ask him for money to go to a bookmaker.'

'Then I'm ruined!' said Lopes, passionately, 'and much you care, though you and I have been chums together ever since we first entered the school!' and in his despair he clenched his fist and seemed almost as if he were going to strike his friend.

Barton put up his arm to shield himself as he said in a low voice, 'Look out, Lopes; don't shout so! we don't want all the kids to know about this matter;' for just at this moment a trio of merry lads came round the corner of the Fives Court, whooping and shouting at the top of their voices. 'Come to the garden; we shall be quiet there, and can talk over matters, and see what can be done;' and Barton closed the book he had been studying and led the way to the nut-walk which was sacred to the Sixth Form.

Lopes followed gloomily. 'It's no good talking, if you won't help me,' he said as they reached the quiet path.

'But I want to help you,' said Barton, 'and I think I see a way out of this scrape.'

'Oh, do you?' said Lopes eagerly. 'If only I could pay off this man and have done with him, I would never bet again. I see now what a silly fool I have been. Tell me your plan, Barton.'

'Go and tell Mr. Arundel all about it. I don't believe bookmakers have any right to tempt boys like us to lay money on horses, and—— '

'Mr. Arundel! one of the masters! He would go and tell the Head straight off, and I should be expelled,' said Lopes bitterly. 'I thought you had some better plan than that!'

'Mr. Arundel is a gentleman,' said Barton quietly, 'and what you tell him in confidence will go no further, you may be sure of that; I believe he could help you.'

'I wish I could think so,' sighed Lopes. 'I can think of nothing, and settle to nothing with this debt on my mind.'

'Go to Mr. Arundel,' urged Barton. 'I know you will not regret it.'

'Well, I will,' at last said Lopes. 'I will go at once before my courage fails me.'

'I will come with you,' said Barton, taking his friend's arm.

'You are a good chap, Barton; you don't desert a fellow when he is down!' said Lopes gratefully. 'I wish I had taken your advice at first, and thrown the bookmaker's letter on the fire.'

There is no space here to tell of all Mr. Arundel said and did to help Lopes out of his ugly betting scrape. Though the master did not fail to show Lopes how wrongly he had acted, he had a real pity for the boy who had been so tempted by the bookmaker's letter, and he determined to let that gentleman know what he knew of him.

So a very strong letter was sent off by Mr. Arundel, telling the man that unless he released the schoolboy from all his so-called debts, he would have him publicly shown up and prosecuted for dealing with a minor.[Pg 4]

"In his despair he clenched his fist."

By return of post came the desired release from the bookmaker, and Mr. Arundel handed it to the boy with a pleasant smile. 'You are free, Lopes; you will hear no more of this man, I can promise you, and you must promise me never to bet again.'

'I will—I do, sir! and thank you most deeply,' said Lopes earnestly. If this had reached my[Pg 5] father's ears, it would have broken his heart. Oh, thank you so very much! You do not know how miserable I have been.'

Lopes kept his word, and that bet was his last one. He had learnt that honesty and straightforwardness get rid of any difficulties.[Pg 6]

"'Who's that that dares to serve me so?'"



WO puppies with good-natured hearts, but clumsy little toes,
Were feeling rather sleepy, so they settled for a doze;
But underneath the very ledge on which they chanced to be,
A large and stately pussy cat was basking dreamily.

A short half-hour had hardly passed, when one pup made a stir,
And stretching out a lazy paw, just touched the tabby's fur;
'Twas nothing but an accident, yet, oh! the angry wail!
The flashing in the tabby's eye, the lashing of her tail!

'Who's that that dares to serve me so?' she cried with arching back.
'I'll teach you puppies how to make an unprovoked attack!'
One puppy started to his feet with terror in his eyes,
The other said, as soon as pluck had overcome surprise:

'I'm really very sorry, ma'am, but honestly declare
I hadn't any notion that a pussy cat was there.'
But just like those who look for wrong in every one they see,
She left the spot, nor deigned to take the pup's apology.


The Spartan King Agis was asked shortly before a battle: 'How many soldiers can you bring into the field?'

'As many as will suffice to rout the enemy!' was the Spartan's curt reply.


By Mrs. Mulliken.


'You don't think they will come to any harm?' said the young governess.

When Miss Leigh spoke in that plaintive tone, Lady Coke knew that she was tired out with the noise and wilfulness of her young pupils, and that a 'row,' as Alan called it, was likely to follow.

'No,' said Lady Coke, smiling; 'they are accustomed to the management of the boat, and Thomas shall go with them. He knows the coast well, and is a first-class boatman.'

Her nephew, Colonel De Bohun, laughed. 'He is A.1. at his oar, but very deficient as a gardener,' he said. 'Your kindness in keeping him, my dear aunt, is a marvel to us all.'

'His mother is very poor,' returned Lady Coke, with a sigh. 'I wish he were a better son to her. He is her great trouble, I fear.'

'And yet you are not afraid to trust the children with him,' murmured Miss Leigh, in surprise.

'He is quite to be trusted on the water!' replied Lady Coke, with some decision. 'Children must have something to do to carry off their extra energy, and—— '

'"A boy is the most difficult to manage of all wild beasts!" So, at all events, an old writer tells us,' said the Colonel, with a smile. 'I am afraid, Miss Leigh, you find the girls are not much better. You ought to be glad to get rid of our noisy pack of youngsters for an hour or two.'

'Oh, if you are not afraid,' began Miss Leigh, in an injured tone.

She considered that her anxiety on behalf of her pupils was not being properly appreciated, and felt hurt. But further conversation was cut short by the boisterous rush of four children round the corner of the shubbery.

'Thomas can come!' shouted the eldest boy, who was racing ahead of the noisy party. 'I just managed to catch him as he was sneaking off up the Wilderness.'

'What?' exclaimed the Colonel, surprised.

'Sneaking off!' repeated Lady Coke. 'Alan, what a way of speaking! What do you mean?'

'He ran away as soon as he saw we wanted him,' said Georgie. 'He tried to hide in the bushes, and I am sure he did not want us to see him.'

'He was sneaking off. We could all tell that,' added Marjorie, a tall, handsome girl of thirteen. 'But what does it matter? If he can come with us now, it is no business of ours what he was doing.'

Meanwhile, Estelle, a small, slender child of eleven, who looked much younger, was clinging to her great-aunt's hand, and murmuring continually, 'Are we going, Auntie? I do so want to go on the sea!'

'Here is Thomas,' said Colonel De Bohun, as the young gardener came towards the group, with a sulky expression on his red face.

'I want you to take the children out in the boat, Thomas,' said Lady Coke. 'I hope you are not particularly busy this afternoon?'

'I am at your service, my lady,' he replied. 'I will get—— '

'I will help you!' cried Alan, eagerly. 'We will have the boat ready in a jiffy.'

With an awkward touch of his cap, Thomas moved off, his sulky face revealing the wrath which was surging within. But no one was looking at him, nor was a second thought given to Alan's laughing assertion that he had been seen 'sneaking off up the Wilderness.' The wild joy of the children, and the many cautions as to their behaviour when on the water, which their elders impressed upon them, together with the preparations for the trip, made them all forget Thomas's queer manner. They were destined, however, before long, to remember it for many a day.

Colonel De Bohun made Alan fetch some cushions, that the boat might be made more comfortable for his cousin and his sister, and Lady Coke, drawing Marjorie aside, begged her to look well after Estelle, who was not so used to boating as she and her brothers were, and might endanger the safety of the young party by some sudden movement. Marjorie was to remember how easily a boat was upset.

Estelle had never till now lived near the sea-coast. Her life had been spent in the Highlands of Scotland, at her father's old castle, Lynwood Keep. Her uncle, Colonel De Bohun, had often begged the Earl of Lynwood to allow her to spend her holidays with her cousins, but the Earl could not bear to part with his little girl even for so short a time. Instead, he gladly welcomed the little cousins to Lynwood Keep, where Estelle was allowed to do everything she desired for their pleasure and entertainment.

The great sorrow of his life, the loss of his young wife when Estelle was five years old, had changed him completely. From being a cheerful, open-hearted, open-handed man, he had become silent and reserved, seldom seeing anybody, and keeping aloof even from his brother's children when they paid their yearly visit to Estelle, and the delights of her Highland home.

To only one person did he unbend. Estelle had become all in all to him. He felt he could not do enough for her. He must be both father and mother to the little motherless child, and to him she must look for everything. Except when she was at her lessons, he loved to have her with him, and wherever he went, on visits to his tenants, or walking over the property, she was always his little shadow, as well known and beloved as he. In the evenings they would sit together, talking over their uneventful day, or recalling that memory of wife and mother which was so sacred and so tender to them both, and which Lord Lynwood desired should never fade from his little girl's mind.

Such a life was by no means a healthy one for Estelle, as Lord Lynwood's aunt, Lady Coke, discovered during her visits to Lynwood Keep. She noticed how sensitive and excitable Estelle was growing. If Lord Lynwood came down in the morning looking worn and depressed, Estelle would watch him for a few minutes, and unconsciously put on the same look. Slipping her hand into his, and gazing up into his face with sympathetic eyes, she only increased his gloom; Lady Coke saw it, and felt sorry for them both. Any other child would have been spoilt by the indulgence which gratified every wish, but Estelle's gentleness and her great desire to be to her father all that her mother had been, prevented her from being either selfish or naughty.

She was not a strong child, and the accounts of her health and spirits which her governess, Mademoiselle Vadevant, gave Lady Coke, did not satisfy that dear old lady. She did not like to hear that Estelle was apt to cry on the slightest excuse; that she had no energy, no appetite; that she was listless in her play, never happy except when with her father, and soon grew tired with the least exertion. Every breath of wind appeared to give her a cold, and she slept badly. Lady Coke said little, but she thought deeply about all she heard and saw.

A few weeks after this visit of Lady Coke's, Lord Lynwood, to his great surprise, received a letter from a very influential quarter; his past services to the State were spoken of in the most flattering manner, and he was urged to accept office again. An appointment to the Court of Austria was offered to him in terms which made refusal[Pg 7] almost impossible. Lady Coke was delighted when he showed her the letter, and warmly begged him not to throw away what had been offered to him in such a kindly spirit. She did not betray her own handiwork in the offer.

'It is the best thing that could have happened!' she exclaimed, smiling and pleased. 'The very best thing for you and Estelle.'

'Best for the child?' he repeated, blankly.

'Yes, even for Estelle,' replied his aunt, with decision. 'She ought to have many things which you cannot give her, with all your love; her mother would have understood. She must live in a warmer, sunnier climate. She ought to have the companionship of other children; some one to play with, and some one to work with as well as play.'

'Ah!' said the Earl, feeling as if a trap had been sprung upon him. 'And where is she to have all this?'

'Let her live with me,' replied Lady Coke, smiling. 'Her cousins are quite close, and she will be with them every day. I am sure you will soon see how greatly this plan will benefit the dear child, and will not grudge what will do her good.'

'I should not mind so much leaving her if she were with you,' admitted the Earl, after a long pause. 'But are you sure it will not be too much for you, dear aunt, to have so young a child with you always? Will she not tire you?'

'You little know how young I am still,' she interrupted with a merry laugh. 'I love the child, and you could not give me greater pleasure than by leaving her with me.'

The more the plan was talked over the more pleasant and possible it became, and when the Earl saw Estelle's delight on hearing that she was to share in Marjorie's lessons, and have her cousins to play with every day, he became reconciled to the parting with his little girl.

But when the day came for saying good-bye he almost repented. Estelle cried and clung to him till Lady Coke and Mademoiselle had great trouble in getting her away. They hurried her up to her room, where Mademoiselle gave her brilliant descriptions of how busy her father was going to be, and how happy she would be in his absence with her cousins. She would grow up to be a comfort to him, and must do all she could that he might not be disappointed in her on his return.

Then came the bustle of preparation for her own journey, and the excitement of her arrival at the Moat House. All three cousins were there to greet her, and she was welcomed with so many kisses, and such a chorus of delight, that for the moment everything else was forgotten. Each of the cousins had his or her favourite pet, or particular spot in the garden to show her, and Estelle felt herself at home at once.

Lady Coke's plan had worked well. The joy of the children, their perfect contentment when together, and Estelle's improved health and spirits were proof enough. The gardens of the two houses, which joined, the woods, the rocks, the sea, were more than enough to keep them all happy and occupied; and to Estelle was added the keen pleasure of an only child to whom everything was new.

(Continued on page 10.)[Pg 8]

"Thomas moved off."

[Pg 9]

"Marjorie distinctly saw a man's figure."

[Pg 10]


(Continued from page 7.)

An afternoon to be spent in rowing along that grand coast, in scrambling among the rocks, or visiting the numerous caves, was to Estelle the height of delight. As the boat pushed off from the sandy beach, and Thomas swung himself into the stern, she gazed about her in silent but deep enjoyment.

The sea was as smooth as glass. The sun shone clear and hot. The white sails of distant boats dotted the horizon. Beautiful as was the sea itself, however, her whole attention was given to the frowning cliffs which towered up in great headlands and boulders. Hovering about every ledge, or over the surface of the water, were white-winged gulls, diving or preening their feathers in the warm sunshine. Masses of jagged rocks stretched far out from land, making a wide sweep necessary in order to get round the Point. Steering was Marjorie's special duty, and long practice had made her very skilful in avoiding dangerous spots, and tacking against cross-currents. She it was, too, who begged Estelle not to jump about in the boat, and so imperil the lives of the party by her delight in the new world about her.

'Ripping, isn't it?' said Alan, joining in Marjorie's laugh at their little cousin's restlessness.

'Oh, it's lovely!' cried Estelle, eagerly. 'But, look, Alan! What is that dark patch in the cliff?'

'Oh, that isn't anything!' he returned. 'You will soon see a far bigger hole in the cliff than that. There are heaps of caves about here; some quite shallow like that one; others very deep and high and dark, and some—— '

'Some to which we have never been able to find the way,' interrupted Marjorie, as Alan hesitated. 'I know there used to be—— '

'Thomas,' said Alan, also interrupting, as he looked over his shoulder at the man behind him, 'do you know the way from the cliff into the Smuggler's Bay?'

'What makes you think that, sir?' asked the man, sullenly.

'You were a fisherman once, weren't you? At all events you went out with the fishing fleet as a boy,' said Marjorie, 'and Aunt Betty says you know the coast better than anybody.'

'And did you smuggle once?' demanded Georgie, looking up from the preparation of a bent pin for some attempts at fishing.

Thomas gave a hoarse laugh. 'What I know, I know,' he said, mysteriously. 'It isn't fit, and my lady would not like it, if I was to tell you all I know.'

'That means you know a great deal,' exclaimed Alan, triumphantly. 'Now I am sure of what I only guessed before. There is a way down, and I will find it out somehow without you telling me a word.'

Thomas's face reddened with anger at his meaning being caught up so quickly, but before he could reply Marjorie broke in.

'Tell me when to turn in,' she said, as they left the shelter of the headland, and the cool briny air fanned their cheeks.

The water was rougher, and the little boat danced upon the swell as they rounded the outlying rocks. Estelle was on the look-out for dangers, but Marjorie understood her business too well, and they glided along without even grazing a single jagged point. The gulls, startled from their perch on the heights by the approach of the boat, rose, flapping and shrieking. It seemed as if hundreds were circling about the rocks, only to settle down again as the little skiff drew away from them into the bay.

Estelle's quick eyes saw the great gap in the cliffs as they came nearer to the shore. It was forty or fifty feet above the beach, and from it a small stream of water flowed in a thin shower.

'That is the place Alan spoke of,' said Marjorie, as her cousin pointed to it. 'There are all sorts of stories about it, but I don't believe anybody knows much. Some say there used to be a passage to it from our old ruined summer-house, and smugglers were hauled up, and their treasure too, and nobody could find out what became of them.'

'It seems a tremendous height,' said Estelle, in a tone of awe.

'It was only used at high tide,' said Alan. 'There were the caves down below when the water was out. But here we are,' he added, as Thomas ran the boat up the beach. 'Come along, and I will show you the only cave worth looking at.'

The children were out of the boat in a moment, Georgie alone remaining behind the others to 'lend a hand,' as he called it, though hindering rather than helping Thomas to pull the boat out of reach of the tide.

'I can't think, Alan,' said Marjorie, when they had gone some way up the beach, 'how you could give yourself away to Thomas so.'

'What do you mean?' asked Alan, flushing, and inclined to be angry.

'About the path, of course. If there is one, and if he really believes that you intend to hunt for it, he is as likely as not to put all the hindrances he can in your way.'

'Why should he?'

'I don't know, but there was something in his face that made me think he had some secret, and a reason for keeping it. Let us make our own discoveries without—— '

'You will have just about a hour, perhaps a little less, before we must start back again, Miss,' said the voice of Thomas behind them.

Alan and Marjorie turned quickly. How much had he heard? He had evidently followed them, and Alan could not believe that it was merely to give a piece of quite unnecessary information, for they were within calling distance anywhere in that small bay.

'Are you not going to stay with us all the time?' he exclaimed, in a tone that showed a little annoyance.

'No, sir,' returned the man, with a wily smile, which somehow increased Alan's anger. 'I thought I would sit inside the cave a bit. It's hot in the sun.'

It sounded reasonable enough, and there was nothing to say against his doing as he wished, but both the elder children somehow distrusted him.

They were at the entrance of the cave by this time, and their attention was drawn away from the gardener by Estelle's fear of the gloomy shadows which loomed upon them as they entered. There was not much to see, and before long they came upon masses of broken rock and stones, up which Alan insisted on dragging Estelle, while Marjorie helped Georgie. At the top the cave narrowed into little more than a moderate-sized passage, but here it was so dark that progress was not easy. Estelle became frightened, and Georgie begged for a return to daylight. But this did not suit Alan at all.

'Stop a bit,' he said, striking a match. 'You sit here, you two, while Marjorie and I light up.'

He brought a piece of magnesium wire out of his pocket, and for a few moments the dazzling flame lighted up the cave till every corner stood out clear. Georgie was delighted, and Estelle wished it could always remain alight. Marjorie laughed at the remark, but the laugh died away in her throat the next moment; as the second bit of wire was flaming she distinctly saw a man's figure disappear behind a rock. A sudden terror seized upon her, making her feel she could not remain a moment longer in the cave. She had not seen enough to be certain whether it was Thomas or not, and the uncertainty startled her.

'We've been here long enough, Alan,' she said, hurriedly.

'Do try and give us some light while I get Georgie down the slope. Can you manage for yourself, Estelle?'

'What's the matter?' whispered Alan, as they reached the entrance to the cave once more. 'You know I have been round every bit of those rocks at the end of the cave,' he went on, after hearing all that Marjorie had to tell him, 'and not an opening did I find. I am sure Father had every passage closed, and unless Thomas has discovered where they were, and reopened them, what you saw must have been fancy. What could Thomas want here? There is no smuggling now.'

Meantime, Estelle and Georgie, glad to get once more into the daylight, were racing each other over the sands and into the numerous clefts in the cliffs, with shouts of laughter. Suddenly Estelle stopped, panting.

'It tires me so to run,' she said, with a little laugh of shame at her weakness. 'Shall we get the spades out of the boat and dig instead?'

Georgie readily agreed, and saying he would fetch them, set off down the slope. Estelle threw herself down on the soft sand, intending to rest till Georgie returned. All was very quiet and still in the bay; the gentle lapping of the waves as the tide rose was the only sound. As she glanced round her at the gulls and then towards the cave, where Alan and Marjorie still lingered, she became aware that the tide was coming in, and that Thomas was nowhere visible. She was always timid, and a real terror seized her now. With a frightened glance to see how near the boat was to the water, she sprang[Pg 11] up and rushed over to where her cousins were standing.

'Alan! Marjorie!' she cried. 'See how high the sea is getting! Isn't it time to go back? Where is Thomas?'

In another minute that question was exciting all the children. They called to him, they searched the caves as well as it was possible for them to do, but Thomas was not to be found, nor was there any answer to their shouts.

(Continued on page 22.)


A seasonable answer was given by the minister Cyneas to the ambitious Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, when that great conqueror began to speak of his designs (B.C. 280).

'Well,' said Cyneas, 'when thou has vanquished the Romans, what wilt thou then do?'

'I will then,' said Pyrrhus, 'sail over to Sicily.'

'And what wilt thou do when that is won?'

'Then we will subdue Africa.'

'Well, when that is effected, what wilt thou then do?' asked Cyneas.

'Why, then,' said Pyrrhus, 'we will sit down and spend the rest of our time merrily and contentedly.'

'And what hinders thee,' said Cyneas, 'that without all this labour and peril thou canst not now do so beforehand?'



How is it that people as a rule have such a dislike for frogs? Many people, even those who live in the country, credit them with the power of spitting poison, and even those who do not share this belief, regard them as creatures to be shunned. Perhaps this short outline of the life-history of these poor creatures, so unjustly 'sent to Coventry,' may gain for them at least a favourable hearing. Frogs make most charming pets, and I am never without a few on my study table. From their lives these facts are taken.

Let us begin from the very beginning—the hatching out of the eggs. Frogs' eggs and birds' eggs are really not so unlike as they seem at first sight, for though the frog's eggs have no shell, yet, just as in the bird's egg, there are two essential parts to be distinguished—the formative material out of which the young frog grows and the yolk on which the growing animal feeds. By the untrained eye nothing more can be seen in the frog's egg than a small black ball enclosed within a clear jelly-like substance. At the time the egg is laid this outer jelly is hardly noticeable, but it soon swells up, and thus forms a soft, elastic covering to the growing frog, effectually protecting it from injury. This black ball, by the way, answers to the yellow yolk of the hen's egg: it differs from the yellow yolk in that it is colourless internally, and black externally. The black outside coat apparently serves to attract the heat of the sun,[Pg 12] and thereby to bring about the hatching process, which the hen does by the warmth of her own body.

Fig. 1.—A to G: Stages in the growth of the Tadpole, greatly magnified.

These eggs are furthermore remarkable in that they are laid, not one by one, as a hen lays, but in thousands, and in water, forming an enormous speckled mass. Take a portion of such a mass and watch it. Day by day you will see the black spot gradually assume a distinct shape (fig. 1, A): a little later a head and tail can be made out.

Fig. 2.—Mouth of Tadpole,
greatly magnified.
Fig. 3.—Gill of Tadpole,
greatly magnified.

In a few hours more little black buds grow out on each side of the head, and these soon become branched. They are the future gills. At this time you will notice slight movements within this glassy cradle; and soon after this the young frog, or tadpole, as we must call him now, escapes; that is to say, as soon as he leaves his cradle he becomes a tadpole. At first he does nothing but hang on to bits of weed, or the broken remains of the covering of the egg, by a sticky substance formed by a special pair of suckers placed just behind the mouth, as shown in our illustration (fig. 2).

Soon signs of life become apparent in the shape of a slow curving of the body from side to side. In a very short time, however, these movements increase so rapidly that the tail can hardly be seen, and at last, in one of these violent wriggles he finds himself actually swimming! During all this time he has swallowed no food, but has lived on the remains of the egg within him; swallowing, indeed, has been out of the question, for as yet his mouth is sealed! But now, at last, the little jaws are unlocked, and he begins to eat ravenously, at first delicate green weed, and later, flesh, when it is to be had. I give my tadpoles small pieces of beef, but in the ditches where they swarm, animal matter is to be had in plenty as a rule.

The mouth at this time is a very different structure from that which is found in the adult frog: it is fringed by a pair of broad fleshy lips armed with rows of tiny horny teeth—a curious place for teeth; the mouth itself is furnished with a pair of teeth—also horny—resembling the beak of a parrot.

Fig. 4.—Tadpole, showing breathing-tube,

During this time these tiny little creatures bear a really close resemblance to the young of many fish. In both young fishes and tadpoles, for some time after leaving the egg, breathing is done by means of very delicate branching gills, standing out on each side of the head. One of these branches, highly magnified, is shown in fig. 3; at C (fig. 1) the gills are shown in their natural position. If you can manage to place a tadpole at this stage under the microscope, you will see the blood, in the shape of little oval discs, coursing through the blood-vessels of these gills. These breathing organs, however, are a source of danger, for they are easily injured, so that, in the tadpole, as in the fish, they are soon replaced by gills enclosed within a little chamber on each side of the head. Breathing now takes place by drawing water in at the mouth, passing it through the chambers and over the gills, and expelling it through a small hole which opens in the form of a short tube on the left side of the neck (shown in fig. 4), if a neck can be distinguished in an animal where the head passes insensibly into the body! But yet another change in the breathing apparatus takes place. During the time that the gills are being changed, a pair of lungs are being developed, and the first hint that they are growing is given by the frequent journeys to the top of the water for the purpose of sucking in air.

(Concluded on page 37.)


[Pg 13]

"Then came the difficult task of bringing down the little lad."

'You are a silly, you are; fancy wasting a brand-new shilling on a circus kid!'

'Nonsense!' was the elder boy's answer; 'first you nearly get run over by dragging her away from the horse's hoofs, and then you go and give her all your pocket-money—I've no patience with you.'[Pg 14]

Secretly, Dick Chilcote admired the plucky action, but he was too proud to say so. But Phil, knowing nothing of this, looked very downcast.

The two lads were standing in the road which overlooked the meadow where 'Bagster's World-renowned Circus' had put up its huge tent, the place having a fascination for them.

'Those sort of people,' went on Dick, who was a bit too fond of hearing his own voice, 'have no gratitude.'

'Haven't they, young master?' said a voice in their ears.

It was Tom Venner—otherwise known as 'Long Tom, the Stilt-walker'—who spoke.

'It strikes me they have, only they never get a chance of being quits. Look here, youngster'—this to Phil—'it was my little girl you saved, and one day, if ever I get a chance, I will show you that Long Tom is not ungrateful.'

Phil grew rosy, and more nervous than ever.

'What's your name, I'd like to know?' went on the man.

'Phil Chilcote,' answered the little lad. 'And what's yours, please?'

'Tom Venner, at your service,' was the reply. 'And now I must be off; but I shan't forget you.'

Shortly after this, the dinner-hour being near, the two boys wended their way homewards.

The night which followed this incident was exceptionally wild and stormy, and, for the first time within memory of living man, the whole of the lower part of the village of Radwell was flooded by the tide. The wild rush of waters had swept away the sea-wall as though it had been a mere plaything, and widespread destruction was the result.

It was a terrible night for man and beast, and Tom Venner, as he drove his caravan along the lonely road towards the adjoining town, found it a very difficult matter to make headway in the teeth of the warring elements.

Presently the clouds cleared away from the face of the moon, and then it was that a strange scene met the man's eyes. All the land to the right of him was one wide area of waters, upon which boats were making their way towards a higher level of land. Curiosity prompted him to drive nearer, and presently the sound of voices showed that one boat-load had reached dry land in safety. By the time Tom Venner was on the spot, a second craft had also come in.

'You have got Phil with you, of course,' he heard a man say. It was Mr. Chilcote who spoke, a strange ring of anxiety in his voice.

'No,' was the startled answer of a lady who was hushing a baby to sleep. 'Oh, Maurice, you don't mean to say you left him behind!'

'What!' ejaculated the man, hoarsely. 'Nurse said that he was with you. What shall we do?'

Well might Mr. Chilcote's heart fail, for his home was flooded all round, and in danger of collapsing altogether.

The mother of the little lad gave a cry of bitter distress, a cry which went to Tom's very heart. 'My Phil! my little Phil!' was all she moaned.

'Do you mean to say it's little Phil Chilcote in danger?' shouted Tom, his mind reverting to the only 'Phil' he knew.

'Yes,' was the reply from several voices.

'Then I will save him if mortal man can,' was the plucky response.

'But his window is out of reach, and the stairs are under water by this time,' said the poor mother, despairingly.

Then a brilliant thought struck Tom, and he told it at once to Mr. Chilcote. The result was that in a few moments Tom, with his stilts on either side of him, was being rowed by trusty oarsmen, one of whom was Mr. Chilcote himself, to the Manor House.

'That's the window, my man,' said Mr. Chilcote, when they reached the house; 'do you think you can manage it?'

'Aye, aye, sir,' was the reply. 'Don't you fear!'

But it was a more difficult task than even Tom Venner expected. However, his stilts were soon in working order, and whilst the watchers held their breath for fear, the man accomplished his task. Smashing a pane of glass, he roused the little sleeper, who, owing to the terrible mistake of a well-nigh distraught maid, had been left alone in the Manor House.

A frightened cry came from poor Phil's lips at the sound of the breaking glass. In a few words, however, the man calmed his fears, and explained what had happened. In another moment, little Phil was out of bed, and the window was unfastened by his trembling fingers.

'Have you got a bit of cord handy?' asked Tom Venner of the child.

'Yes; nurse's box-cord is here,' was the reply; 'I use it for my reins.'

'Oh, well, that will do—give it me, quick.'

Tom steadied himself on his stilts as firmly as he could, and then came the difficult task of bringing down the little lad. How he did it Tom could scarcely tell you himself, but certain it is that a few minutes later Phil was safe in his father's arms.

'I say, I am awfully sorry I talked all that rot about—about ingratitude, you know.' So said Dick Chilcote, looking with shamed eyes into Tom Venner's face.

'All right, young master, don't bother your head about that,' was the reply; 'it was a little mistake, that is all.'

Dick was too moved to answer, his ready speech having entirely failed him.

'As for mistakes,' went on Tom, as—the adventure being over—he prepared to mount his caravan, 'I have made plenty of them, and I shall be making another if I don't hurry up after the boss. Good-night to you, my lad.'

'Good-night,' echoed Mr. Chilcote; 'you will be hearing from me, my good friend, in the course of a day or two.'

And so Tom did—a letter which made him open his eyes to their widest extent. Not only did the envelope contain a letter of heartfelt thanks, but a good large cheque.


Foo Chow, a Pekin magistrate, once showed great wisdom and ingenuity in detecting a thief. A man was brought before him charged with stealing a small but very valuable jewelled table. The prisoner denied the charge. He said that he was weak and feeble with long illness. For that reason it was impossible for him to have carried off a piece of furniture.

The judge listened very gravely to his story. After hearing of the poor man's misfortunes, he professed great sorrow and sympathy for the sufferer.

'Go home and get cured,' said he kindly; 'and as you are poor, take with you that bag of cash'—heavy Chinese coins—'as a gift from this court.'

The prisoner bowed, quickly threw the heavy bag over his shoulder, and departed, while every one wondered. But he had hardly got outside the door of the court, when he was arrested. The judge remarked that if he could easily carry off a heavy sack of money, he would have no difficulty in stealing a light table.

H. B. S.


1.—Narrative Arithmograph.

5 raised the 6-7-4-3-2-11-13 and looked out. The 1-2-5-8-3-2-5-13 was about to start. '2-8-5-6-11-9,' 5 cried, '3-4-5-2-8 and 10-12-11-8 lie before me. 4-2-5-8 13-12-10 lady at my shabby 6-12-2-3 2 13-2-10-5-12-13's eyes follow me. 11-13 this 6-7-4-3 8-9-10-11-13 letter my instructions are written; armed with 11-10 5 2-1 9 happy 1-2-13.'

C. J. B.

[Answer on page 51.]


True Tales of the Year 1806.


Just a hundred years ago the well-known poem, 'The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast,' was published, and we reproduce it here because it is not always easy to get a copy of it nowadays, and some of our readers may never have seen it. The author, William Roscoe, was a noted historian and critic, and he wrote these verses to amuse his little son, Robert, who is supposed to be telling how he saw the wonderful ball. The lines about little Robert, however, were not in the poem as it was when it first appeared, and other alterations were made here and there. The poem soon became famous, and a great many imitations of it were written. It came to the notice, too, of King George and Queen Caroline, and they had it set to music to amuse the little Princess Mary.


OME, take up your hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly's ball and the Grasshopper's feast:
The trumpeter Gad-fly has summoned the crew,
And the revels are now only waiting for you.
So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His many companions came forth in a throng,
And on the smooth grass, by the side of a wood,
[Pg 15]Beneath a broad oak, which for ages had stood,
Saw the children of earth and the tenants of air
To an evening's amusement together repair.
And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his friend, on his back;
And there was the Gnat, and the Dragon-fly too,
And all their relations, green, orange, and blue.
And then came the Moth, with her plumage of down,
And the Hornet, in jacket of yellow and brown;
Who with him the Wasp, his companion, did bring,
But they promised that evening to lay by their sting.
Then the shy little Dormouse peeped out of his hole,
And led to the feast his blind cousin, the Mole;
And the Snail, with her horns peeping out of her shell,
Came, fatigued with the distance, the length of an ell.
A mushroom the table; and on it was spread
A water-dock leaf, which their table-d'hôte made.
The viands were various, to each of their taste,
And the Bee brought the honey to sweeten the feast.
Then close on his haunches, so solemn and wise,
The Frog from a corner looked up to the skies;
And the Sparrow, well pleased such diversions to see,
Mounted high overhead, and looked down from a tree.
Then out came the Spider, with finger so fine,
To show his dexterity on the tight line.
From one branch to another his cobwebs he slung,
Then quick as an arrow he darted along.
But just in the middle, oh, shocking to tell!
From his rope in an instant poor Harlequin fell.
Yet he touched not the ground, but with talons outspread,
Hung suspended in air at the end of a thread.
Then the Grasshopper came with a jerk and a spring;
Very long was his leg, though but short was his wing;
He took but three leaps, and was soon out of sight,
Then chirped his own praises the rest of the night.
With steps most majestic the Snail did advance,
And he promised the gazers a minuet to dance;
But they all laughed so loud that he drew in his head,
And went in his own little chamber to bed.
Then as evening gave way to the shadows of night,
Their watchman, the Glow-worm, came out with his light:
So home let us hasten, while yet we can see,
For no watchman is waiting for you or for me.
So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His many companions returned in a throng.


Not long ago, a fine collie dog was running happily after an omnibus, on the top of which his master was seated. Every now and then the man turned round to encourage the dog, and at last, as he did this, a gust of wind blew off his hat, which went careering down the road by the side of the omnibus. Quick as thought, the dog darted after the hat, chased it and 'rounded it up,' as if it were a stray lamb or sheep, and by the time his master had descended from the top of the omnibus to get his lost property, the dog was waiting for him, wagging his tail, with the hat safely in his mouth.[Pg 16]

"The dog darted after the hat."

[Pg 17]

"The dog took kindly to her foster-children."

[Pg 18]


Notwithstanding all the care which is now bestowed upon wild animals in our zoological gardens and menageries, nearly all of them suffer a little in some way or other by confinement. When we think of the great difference which exists between the surroundings natural to a free wild animal, and those of even the best zoological gardens, we cannot but be surprised that so many animals from all parts of the world can be kept alive and in good condition in a climate so changeable as ours. Every effort is made by the keepers to copy as far as possible the natural conditions to which each animal is accustomed.

It was usual, for instance, to deprive all the flesh-eating animals of one of the greatest travelling menageries of food during one day in each week. It was found by experience that the animals were healthier when they suffered periods of fasting like this, than they were when they were fed regularly every day without a break. The explanation of this was very simple. These animals, when they were living wild in the jungles, forests, deserts, or ice-fields, obtained all their food by hunting. When game was scarce or difficult to catch, they were compelled to go hungry; and this occurred so often as to be a natural condition to which they were well accustomed. When, therefore, they were placed in cages, and were fed as regularly, though not as frequently as human beings, their health was more or less impaired.

Animals in confinement often undergo slight changes even when no alteration in their appearance or falling-off in health is noticeable. Many of them, for instance, rarely have young ones, and even when they have, the young are seldom as healthy and robust as if born in a wild state. The keepers have frequently the utmost difficulty in rearing animals which are born in menageries and zoological gardens. Yet if these animals were born in their own countries and under natural conditions, they would grow up healthy and strong, without receiving any more care than a kitten receives from its mother.

An incident which occurred in the Zoo not long ago affords a striking illustration of these facts. A wolf had an ordinary family of eight young ones. The keepers, probably thinking that these were too many for the captive wolf to bring up alone, divided the family. Four of them were left with their mother, and four of them were placed in charge of a collie. The dog took kindly to her foster-children, and reared them successfully with her own. This was only what the keepers expected. But when they placed the young ones together again, and compared the collie's family with the wolf's family, they were surprised to find that the four which had been nurtured by the collie were stronger and better animals than their four brothers and sisters. The best explanation of this result is that the collie was living a healthy natural life, while the wolf, though to all appearance quite well, was not enjoying the full vigour which results from a free and active life.

W. A. Atkinson.


Some little time ago, there was what the newspapers described as 'unrest' in the West African colony of Lagos; telegrams were dispatched between that country and Great Britain, governors and deputy-governors were interviewed, and it was with difficulty that a native war was averted. The cause of all this commotion was an umbrella!

Now, in our country, as we all know, an umbrella is looked upon as a harmless possession—but not so in West Africa. There, amongst most of the native tribes, the umbrella is regarded as an emblem of royalty, and its possession is strictly confined to the chief or king of the tribe.

Therefore the indignation was intense on the part of one of these kings, when he found an inferior chief setting up an umbrella of his own. The king at once took a journey to Lagos, to lodge a formal complaint of the chief's treasonable conduct with the British Governor.

An African king's umbrella is a very elaborate affair, and it often costs large sums of money. Most of the umbrellas for Ashanti and the Gold Coast are made in London, and are of gigantic size, some of them when open measuring ten feet across.

The coverings of these umbrellas are of coloured silk—the brighter the better, with very deep fringes. The largest umbrellas are carried over the heads of chiefs, by bearers, while other bearers steady the umbrella by cords attached to the uppermost parts.

One state umbrella had for its apex a silver eagle standing on two silver cannons, whilst another umbrella had a gold hen on the top, the hen being surrounded by numerous chickens, to represent the chief and his tribe.

A cheap umbrella for a small chief can be had for ten pounds, but such state umbrellas as we have described are not to be had for less than sixty or even seventy guineas.




BREEZE from the South made the rose-bushes quiver,
And what did the South Wind say?
'I met with an accident, crossing the river,
The ice-covered river, to-day.

''Twas frozen; and yesterday morning the skaters
Were there in no end of a crowd,
While Timothy Tubb in his scarf and his gaiters
Was looking uncommonly proud.

'So, early this morning, on reaching the river,
I looked at its surface and cried:
If Tim, on that ice, can show skating so clever,
Now why shouldn't I have a slide?

'But though I'm so light (oh, the thought makes me shiver),
Crack! Bang! And from shore unto shore
The water jumped out; I was half in the river,
And don't mean to slide any more.

'Yet—isn't it strange?—in the coldest of winters
Tim Tubb can go skating with glee;
While bang! goes the ice, and it cracks into splinters
'Neath the foot of a South Wind like me.'


By Harold Ericson.


On a splendid night in the cool of the year, three men sat out in the Veldt in South Africa, talking and laughing over their camp fire. A few Kaffir drivers and huntsmen were similarly engaged at a second fire at some little distance. The light of the burning wood revealed fitfully the shape of the great waggon in the background, and the sound of munching behind it told of the presence of the team of oxen which had dragged it northwards from Bulawayo. Later on, when they trekked up into the lion-zone, the district in which lions and other dangerous beasts might be expected to visit them by night, if the way were left open for them, it would be necessary to encircle their camp with a ring of thorn-bushes or some other obstacles; but at present the party was only on the way to the hunting grounds, and it was still safe to run the risks of lions.

The three men were all English, or at least British, and all fairly young. Their names were Captain the Honourable Edward Vandeleur, Bobby Oakfield, an Indian civilian on a year's furlough, and Ralph Denison, a rich young man with nothing to do except to indulge his love of sport, whether fox-hunting, salmon-fishing, grouse-driving, or, as now, big-game shooting in any part of the world where large beasts were to be found.

Vandeleur, commonly known as Teddy, seemed to be the chief speaker this night; he was, at the moment of our introduction to the party, explaining a suggestion which he had just made to his friends. This is what he said:—

'We are likely to have longish watches over our camp fires, and perhaps we may get a bit tired of conversation night after night, with nothing much to talk about; now why not start a round of story-telling, each to spin a yarn in turn, one every evening, unless we should happen to feel more inclined for a talk, in which case we miss a day. Anybody who can't think of a tale must pay a fine of a shilling, the winner to take the total at the end.'

'Yes, but who is the winner?' asked Oakfield, laughing, 'The one who tells the best yarns?'

'Oh, no! who would be judge? The one who has had to pay the fewest fines takes the prize,' Denison said with a laugh.

'Good old Teddy!' he cried, 'he has a large collection of yarns all ready up his sleeve, Bobby, and he wants our shillings! Well, you shall have them willingly, old chap, if you keep us amused! Start at once—go on!'

'Why not draw lots for first yarn?' suggested Bobby, and the others fell in with the suggestion.

So lots were drawn, and it fell to Bobby himself to entertain the company.

'Start away at once, old chap. I'm tired of talking,[Pg 19] and longing for a nap,' laughed Denison. 'If he makes it too long, Teddy, have we the right to ask him to finish it "in our next?" He might go on all night.'

'Certainly, any story may be split; if any fellow can entertain us for two nights on end, why, so much the better!'

'Off you go then, Bobby,' said Denison—"once upon a time"—fire ahead!'

Bobby Oakfield sat silent for a few minutes.

'I believe you are inventing,' said the irrepressible Ralph: 'is that allowed, Mr. President?'

'Real experiences, as far as possible!' Vandeleur decided.

'Oh, it's real all right,' said Bobby; 'I was wondering whether to tell you first of a wolf adventure or a little meeting with a bear I once had—think I'll begin with the bear.'

This is the story of my first bear (began Bobby); the first I ever went out to hunt, I mean, though as a matter of fact he had more right to call me 'his first man,' than I to dub him 'my first bear,' for I fancy he was nearer getting me than I him. Which of us was most frightened, I hardly care to say! He must have been terribly alarmed if he suffered more than I did!

It was during one of my visits to Russia, and the season was early autumn. I was staying with a cousin, who was either part or sole proprietor, I forget which, of a big 'shoot,' some twenty miles out of town; and one day he received a letter which we both thought rather funny. It was from the head-keeper of the shooting club, and read something like this:—

'Most merciful lord' (my cousin was not a lord, but that's a detail; he would have made a very good one, I dare say), 'if your lordship's heart contains pity for humble fellow-creatures who are in distress, listen and be merciful. A bear has appeared here and is eating the uncut corn of the peasants. We have tried him with the usual methods, but they have proved useless. Come down and save us, merciful, for the appetite of the beast is very large; there is room in him for the whole of our harvest, therefore come quickly.'

'What are the usual methods?' I asked my cousin, and he replied with a laugh that probably the man meant that the elders of the village had pronounced a curse against the animal, or perhaps the guaharka of the district, the 'wise woman,' had woven a spell, for these pagan customs survive even in Christian Russia.

'I'm afraid I'm too busy to go just at present,' said my cousin; 'I suppose you could not take on the business for me, could you?'

Well, I had not the slightest objection; indeed, I was delighted with the prospect.

'What am I to do?' I asked; 'hide myself in the standing corn and ambush him?'

'Leave it to old Michael, the keeper.' said my cousin. 'I will wire that you're coming to-morrow, I can telegraph within three miles of the lodge, and the message will be sent on.'

So my preparations were hurried forward, and I was ready and anxious to be off early on the following day.[Pg 20]

"'Why not start a round of story-telling?'"

'Be kind to my dogs,' said my cousin; 'there are three of them there, red setters, beauties—Michael keeps them for me; have them into the room and pet them a bit, if you don't mind, for they have a dullish time down there, and I like them to see English folk now and then—it does them good!'

(Concluded on page 26.)[Pg 21]



IVE hundred years before the birth of Christ, Confucius declared that 'Music gives finish to the character, which has first been established by its rules of proficiency.' Moreover, he said, 'Wouldst thou know if a people be well governed, and if its manners be good or bad, examine the music it practises.'

When we reflect that the speaker was the most famous sage of the Chinese, to whom temples are built in every town of the vast empire of China, and to whose memory the Emperor himself offers homage twice a year at the Imperial College in Pekin, we may understand what weight his opinions have carried in his own country.

Long before his time, however, music had been studied there as a science. It was imported by the first invaders of the Celestial Empire, who hailed from the borders of the Caspian Sea. The Yellow Emperor, or Huang Ti, who reigned two thousand seven hundred years before the Christian era, established a fixed base note from which musical instruments were to be measured, much as in the modern musical system we take a key-note and found our chords and scales upon it. The connection between musical and State affairs was so business-like in those days that the precedence of the various classes was fixed according to the musical grade: F, the base note of the oldest known scale, represented the Emperor; G, the Prime Minister; A, the loyal subjects, and so on.

The "Tse King."
The "Ou" and playing stick.

Five hundred years later another Emperor, of a practical turn of mind, ordered that music should follow the sense of the words, and be simple and free from affectation, and he appointed a censor to see that his instructions were carried out. The latter, 'Couci' by name, declared that when he played upon his 'king,' the animals ranged themselves before him spell-bound by his melody.

[Pg 22]

We hear elsewhere of another ancient musician of China, whose music was 'so sweet that the very stars drew near to listen.' Later on in the history of the world we find this idea of the effects of music on animals and stars entertained both in Greece and India. The attention of the starry bodies can only be regarded as a beautiful myth, but the writer of this paper personally tested the animal love of music some years ago, when surrounded by a formidable herd of wild cattle in the Rocky Mountains.

The instrument known as 'king,' from which Couci drew such delightful sounds, is of very ancient date, and is made of a stone called 'yu,' which is of many colours, and looks like marble, being probably a form of agate intermixed with iron. The wonderful clearness and purity of the tone are supposed to result from long exposure to the sun and air.

'Yu' is most valuable when of whey colour; then light blue, dark yellow, orange, dark red, and pale green follow in order of merit. In all the colours it is essential that the stones be free from streaks or flaws of any kind. One of the chief attractions of the 'king' is that it always retains its pitch, not being influenced by cold, heat, damp, or dryness.

In construction the 'king' consists of sixteen stones hung in two rows of eight in an ornamental frame. Nowadays these stones are cut in oblong shape of varying thickness, tuned by slicing narrow shavings off the back and ends; but in former days they were fashioned like fishes, animals, or other quaint devices. The art of making 'kings' was lost for many centuries, but about 32 B.C. a specimen was fished up from the bottom of a pond which served as a model, and now every temple of importance has its 'king,' just as every church with us has its organ of some kind or other.

A smaller instrument of the same kind is also used in religious ceremonies, the 'the king,' made of one large block of 'yu,' suspended from an upright. It is played like the real 'king,' by being struck with a special stick or plectrum, and the tone, though less varied than that of the larger instrument, is equally deep and full.

Another curious Chinese instrument is the 'ou,' which is made of wood, and fashioned like a crouching tiger. It is hollow, and along its back run metal teeth, which are played with a small stick or brush. The 'ou' stands on a hollow pedestal, also of wood, which serves as a sounding board and increases the tone.

Helena Heath.


'Granny,' said Ethel Day, one Sunday, 'there was a lady in our seat at church that I never saw before. She was not very grandly dressed, but she must have been as rich—as rich as the king.'

'Why do you think so, Ethel?' asked Granny, smiling at the child's eagerness.

'Because, when the plate was passed to her—for the collection, you know—she put in a piece of gold money—real gold, I am sure it was. Oh! I should like to be rich enough to give as much as that.'

Granny was silent for a minute or two; she seemed to be thinking of something pleasant. 'I know of a golden offering that my little Ethel could make, if she were willing,' she said presently.

'Tell me what it is then, Granny: I shall be sure to be willing,' cried Ethel.

'The money the lady gave,' went on Granny, 'was for the poor sick people in the hospital. Look out of the window, Ethel, and you will see another kind of gold—a kind not counted so precious, perhaps, but really quite as beautiful.'

Ethel looked out: she only saw the flowers in her own garden. Lovely autumn flowers they were, for Ethel's father was a gardener, and he often gave his little daughter choice roots, or cuttings, for her plot of ground. But Ethel was accustomed to the sight of her flowers: dear as they were to her, and yellow as gold though they might be, Granny surely did not mean to compare them with the lady's half-sovereign.

That was Granny's meaning, however. 'There is a sick woman in the village,' she told Ethel, 'who cannot go to the hospital. She is so ill that, although she may live many years, she can never be cured, and so they cannot take her in. Because her illness has lasted so long, people have almost forgotten to be kind to her. I have been thinking, Ethel, that if you could spare a bunch of your flowers for poor Mary Ansell, it would be a real golden offering.'

It was Ethel's turn to be quiet now; her flowers were her most cherished possessions, and to pick a good bunch for Mary Ansell would make her little garden look bare and shabby. Granny knew that; she knew that Ethel's flowers would, in their way, be quite as costly a gift as the lady's golden coin.

But she was not much surprised, on the following morning, to find the best and brightest of the blossoms gone, and when next she went to see Mary Ansell, the poor woman still had the flowers in a jug by her bedside.

'You cannot think how it cheered me up,' said the invalid. 'That dear little girl, with her bright face, and the posy in her hands, was like a sunbeam coming in. She did me as much good as a mint of money.'

'Ah!' thought Granny, who knew how much real self-sacrifice must have been in the gift, 'I felt sure that Ethel too could make a golden offering.'

C. J. Blake.


(Continued from page 11.)

'What will become of us if Thomas has gone away?' asked Estelle. 'Does the sea cover the beach very quickly? Will there be time for him to come back, or can we get away without him?'

'No, no,' cried Georgie, clinging to Marjorie; 'we can't go in the boat without Thomas! We shall all be drowned. Oh, I don't want to be—— '

'Shut up!' exclaimed Alan, impatiently. 'We are not drowned yet, and we are not going to be. You are frightening Estelle with your noise. It is all right, Estelle. Don't you be afraid. I can get the boat back all right with Marjorie's help if Thomas is not here in time. But there is no danger for an hour yet.'

'All the same, we had better find Thomas,' said Marjorie.

Neither she nor Alan had any serious belief in there being much mystery about Thomas's movements. They liked to imagine themselves in romantic positions, and were fond of weaving stories about any little event that attracted them. But the gardener's sudden disappearance, together with what Marjorie had seen in the cave, did seem strange.

'There's only one way of finding him,' remarked Alan, after he and Marjorie had stared at each other in silence for some moments. 'You see, he is nowhere in the cave. Now, what do you think has become of him?'

'Do you mean he has found a way up the cliff?' she asked, slowly, with what Alan called 'the pondering look' in her eyes. 'I wonder if he wanted to go into the woods when you saw him in the Wilderness, and if—if he has managed to get there now?'

'I never thought of that,' exclaimed Alan.

'If he has,' went on Marjorie, while Estelle and Georgie watched Alan anxiously, 'what do you mean by "only one way of finding him?"'

'Well,' returned Alan, hesitating as if his mind were not quite made up, 'we know of no path up, so there is nothing for it except to climb the cliff. I am sure I can do it, and who knows what I may find out?'

This proposal did not meet with favour from anybody. Marjorie declared it was impossible, and too dangerous to try—the cliff was far too steep. Alan and she could manage the boat quite well on a calm day. It would be less of a risk.

Estelle suggested they should go as far into the cave as possible—for Alan had told her that the end of it was above high-water mark—and remain there till the tide went down. It would certainly be very horrid, but it was better than going alone in the boat, or Alan trying to climb those terrible cliffs.

All her cousins laughed.

'It will be hours and hours before the tide is low again,' said Alan. 'Everybody would think we had come to grief, and there would be a pretty to-do. Aunt Betty would be wild, fancying you were lost. No, that will not do. It must be the cliff, and nothing but the cliff.'

Without waiting for further discussion, he went slowly along the beach, examining the great wall of rock. The other children followed, frightened into silence by his determined face and the dangers of the attempt. To Estelle there appeared to be no foothold possible in all that broad, dark surface; but Alan's keen eyes were not long in discovering a part which he might attack with some hope of success.

Pulling off his coat and tightening his belt, he took firm hold of the only projecting piece of rock he could find, and drew himself up to the first narrow ledge. There he paused to look back triumphantly, but such a row of anxious faces were staring up at him that he called out, impatiently, 'Now, do go and play. I am all right, and it is a jolly good thing to have a place to stand upon. Don't look at me all the time. You will make me nervous, and there will be an accident.'[Pg 23]

But it was impossible for the other children to turn their eyes away as he crept up and up, hoisting himself by strength of arm in one place, seeking a foothold in another. Sometimes it appeared as if he were hanging literally by his fingers, and the lookers-on shuddered in terror lest he should fall. At other places he seemed to move along with more ease, and then they feared he would become careless.

It was well for Alan that his head was so steady, and that he did not attempt to glance down from the height he had already reached. Not for a moment would he dwell on the dangers of the ascent. Rather, he took a delight in matching himself against the stern rocks. With all his courage, however, it sometimes seemed to him as if his difficulties would never end. Three times he nearly as possible fell. The strength and fitness he had acquired in athletic sports and gymnasium at school stood him in good stead now.

Fortunately for him the ascent became far easier as soon as he got above high-water mark. The face of the precipice grew more and more uneven, offering greater support to his hands and feet, and by-and-by he was able to assist himself by the tufts of grass.

'He has reached the bushes!' cried Estelle, at last, with a cry of relief. 'He will be all right now, won't he?'

'Yes,' replied Marjorie, her voice still tremulous.

'And how's he coming down again?' asked Georgie, his fears by no means gone. 'And what are we to do if he doesn't come?'

Georgie and Estelle were gazing at Marjorie as if her words and her calm alone prevented them from breaking down. If she gave way to fear, what effect might it not have upon them? It was her duty to encourage and raise the spirits of the younger ones, and put aside her own misgivings. With an effort she forced herself to speak in cheerful tones.

'It is useless to think about it,' she said, 'and the best thing we can do is to amuse ourselves till it is time to go. Look, the boat ought to be pulled up higher. Let us see if we can manage it between us.'

Meantime Alan had reached the coastguard path which ran along the edge of the cliff. No one being in sight, he determined to take the narrow track which lay through a wooded hollow. It was part of the Moat House property, and he desired to see whether he and Marjorie had been correct in their guess that it was to this wood that Thomas had wished to come when he was seen in the Wilderness.

Scrambling over the queer stone stile, he descended the rugged pathway, where the thick brushwood and high trees shut out sky and sunlight. As he advanced the track became narrower and more mossy, while here and there the ground was broken by rocks. Now and again high mounds of earth, mossy and green, rose on either side, and the wood grew denser. He was uneasy, and half wished he had kept to the edge of the cliff, where the way was clear, for he seemed to have left the world behind him. There was something uncanny in the dead silence, and he quite startled when a rabbit jumped across his path into a hole. But the next moment, boy-like, he wished he had had the dogs with him that he might give chase.

(Continued on page 30.)[Pg 24]

"Alan paused to look back." "Alan paused to look back."

[Pg 25]

"Just then a man on horseback appeared." "Just then a man on horseback appeared."

[Pg 26]


'Now I will tie you to the garden gate, and pretend I have put my horse in the stable,' Fanny said to her little brother Dick, with whom she had been playing horses until she was hot and tired.

Her mother had gone to the market town, and would not be home until the evening, and so Fanny was left in charge of her brother.

Dick thought it was rather interesting to be tied up in a stable, and so he was quite happy when Fanny said that she wanted to run down the road to see her friend, Dora Barnes, for a few minutes.

At first Dick pretended to eat oats out of a manger; then he thought he would lie down and sleep. But that was dull, so he got up and pranced and kicked with impatience; and presently the time began to drag more and more slowly, and he wondered when Fanny would come back again.

'These knots are so tight, I cannot undo them, and I am so tired of playing at being a horse tied up in a stable,' he said sadly to himself.

After a time he gave up trying to pretend, but curled himself up and fell fast asleep. And still his sister did not come; but somebody else did.

In the meantime, Fanny had found her friend, and had heard the splendid news that a circus was just going to pass through the village.

This was enough to drive everything else out of Fanny's head. The two little girls started off to see the fun, and poor Dick was quite forgotten.

There were ladies riding in golden cars, and little piebald ponies, and an elephant, and all kinds of marvellous sights. Fanny and Dora followed the procession to the field in which the tent was to be put up, and it was growing late before they thought of setting out for home.

Then there suddenly came into Fanny's mind the remembrance of the little boy she had left fastened to the gate.

'I forgot all about him,' she said to Dora. 'I do hope he is all right.'

But when they reached the cottage, no Dick was to be seen!

'Perhaps he managed to untie the cords, and is in the house,' Dora suggested.

They hunted high and low, but no Dick was to be found, and Fanny burst into tears.

'Oh, Dora,' she cried, 'perhaps the circus people have been here and stolen him! You know they do steal little boys sometimes, and make them walk on tight-ropes. And they may be unkind to Dick. Oh! what shall I do?'

At this moment a man on horseback came down the lane, and there, riding in front of him, was Dick!

Fanny thought her worst fears were realised. The man must be a circus rider, and how could she hope to rescue her brother if the man chose to turn and gallop away!

She rushed to meet them. 'Oh, please, sir, don't carry Dick away!' she cried. 'He is so little, and he is too fat ever to learn to dance on a tight-rope!'

'Why, I am bringing him home,' the man said; 'and what have I to do with tight-ropes?'

Then Fanny recognised the gentleman as a friend of the Squire's, who was staying with him at the Hall.

'I beg your pardon, sir; I thought the circus people had stolen him,' she stammered.

'They have stolen a little girl's wits, I think,' said the gentleman, smiling. 'I found Dick all alone and very forlorn, so I took him for a ride, and am now bringing him back to see if there is any one here to take care of him. Are you the sister who was left in charge?'

'I forgot all about him,' Fanny confessed, blushing and hanging her head, 'and I was so frightened when I came home and did not find him here.'

'Well, look after your little brother better another time,' the gentleman said, as he lifted Dick down and rode away.

And forgetful Fanny remembered this lesson, and tried not to be so thoughtless again.

M. H.



H' what a terrible mistake!'
Cried Mrs. Brahma Hen;
'I'd set my heart on yellow chicks,
And these are black again!'

She ran at once to Dr. Goose,
'What can I do?' cried she.
'My charge for giving good advice
Is fifteen worms,' quoth he.

It was such hot work catching them,
It nearly made her faint:
And fifteen worms'-worth of advice
Was 'Buy some yellow paint!'

A. Katherine Parkes.


A village schoolmaster in Germany one day did something at which the parents of one of his pupils foolishly took offence. On the following morning, the angry mother of the lad entered the schoolroom during lesson-time, and began to scold and rate the master. He knew what was coming, and, as she began, called out, in a tone of command, 'Children, the multiplication table!'

At once the whole school began to repeat the table in chorus. The woman stormed and raged, while the scholars only shouted the harder, and the master quietly laughed to himself. Speechless with anger and surprise, the woman at last went away, and the teacher was left master of the field of battle.

H. B. S.



(Concluded from page 20.)

The hunting lodge proved a delightfully comfortable place, and old Michael was a splendid game-keeper. He seemed disappointed that my cousin had not come, for apparently he regarded Jack with great confidence. To me, however, he was very courteous and polite, and I think he did his best to hide his disappointment.

The bear was a big one, he said; he damaged as much corn as he ate, and since his inside was 'as large as a barn' (so Michael said), the unfortunate peasants were in great trouble with regard to their crops.

By this time I had learned enough Russian to keep up a simple conversation, in which of course grammar had no part whatever; I could make myself understood if my companion happened to be a person of sense, and this old Michael was. To my inquiry as to how the bear and I were to become acquainted, he replied that he had made all arrangements.

'There is flesh placed in an open space in the forest which he crosses sometimes,' Michael said; 'his tracks pass over it several times. When it is dusk I shall guide you to the place, and you shall climb a tree and pass the night in it; at early dawn he will come and eat, and then you will shoot.'

I liked the plan; it was something quite new—rather a chilly experience, perhaps, but one must put up with a little inconvenience in the pursuit of bears 'with insides like barns'! I would dress warmly.

I remembered Jack's request that I would be kind to his three lovely red setters, Duke, Monarch, and York, and during the rest of the day they were with me, noon, afternoon, and evening. They vied for my special favour; they could not make enough of me. 'It is so delightful to see an English face again,' they told me as plainly as if they could speak 'and we do like you so!' They ate most of my lunch; they walked out in the afternoon with me; they fought one another for my attention; they shared my dinner. We spent a short evening together; I grew dearer to them every moment, and when I said good-night to them, and they were locked up in Michael's stable, their howls were so loud that one might have supposed the greatest possible disaster had overtaken each one of them. I heard them howling and barking very miserably as I walked away with Michael into the forest, and for a mile their distressed voices were audible—really it was very flattering to me, I thought!

Arrived at the spot where Bruin's repast had been laid out, Michael pointed out to me the tree which he had selected as my ambush. It was indeed the only convenient one, standing as it did close to the place where the bear must stop to eat the supper arranged for him. So I climbed up into the branches, old Michael handing up my warm coat and rug, and settled myself as comfortably as possible in a place where a natural couch in the fork of the tree seemed to offer an inviting spot for slumber, while Michael bade me good-night and went off. I heard his footsteps for ten minutes as he tramped away into the darkness and silence of the forest; then these died away, and I was left alone with my thoughts and with the stillness and ghostliness of the night.

Things get a bit on one's nerves under these circumstances, and I felt very far from being sleepy. I started when a gust of wind caused some pine-tree to utter a groan; every rustle of twig upon twig sent the blood to my pulses—was the bear coming? Nevertheless, I did eventually fall asleep[Pg 27] unawares, and it must have been early morning, about two o'clock, when I awoke with a start. A sound had roused me—what was it? I listened: undoubtedly the bear was here and busy over his meal; there was a gobbling and grunting, and the noise of greedy satisfaction. I was not nervous now; my sleep had done me good. If only I could see the brute, to point my rifle at him! I could just distinguish in the darkness a black mass which might be he, but it would be useless to risk a shot. So I waited with what patience I could muster, which was very little, and listened to the gobbling beneath me, and longed for daylight.

And as I sat and listened a new sound suddenly reached my ears—as I was a born Briton there were those wretches, Duke and Monarch and York, still crying for me in Michael's stables, maybe two miles away! How sounds do travel in the silence of night-time; probably a gust of wind from that direction had brought me this tale of their devotion to their new friend! Well, if so, they must be a terrible nuisance to the village, thought I, if this has been going on all night!

I continued to listen, and the yelping barks of the dogs came with marvellous distinctness to my ears, indeed, the sound seemed to grow more distinct. Was the wind rising? the tree-tops against the skyline seemed to be quiet enough. Surely the brutes—but no! they had been securely shut up in Michael's stable....

The bear appeared to be listening also; there was gobbling and a pause; more gobbling and another pause—oh! if he should grow nervous and bolt before I could get in a shot! A great change came over my feelings towards those dogs. I had thought them charming animals last night; now, as I listened to their yelping—it was growing more distinct, not a doubt of it!—I began to hate them bitterly. They were loose and were following my track through the forest! The splendid opportunity of scoring my first bear was trembling in the balance! The sounds came nearer and nearer. I tried to point my rifle at the dark opaque mass below me, but it was useless.

Then suddenly came a crisis. The bear had been gobbling less and listening more—did he mean to bolt? If he moved, I should risk a shot. Of a sudden there was a moan, a snarl, a shuffle; he had taken fright, he was off!

Wildly I raised my rifle, I tried to catch a glimpse of him—oh, for a ray of light! But for the life of me I could not distinguish even his big body; I could have wept for anger, for in another instant my opportunity would have gone.

Then came one of the few shocks, really bad ones, from which I have suffered during a fairly peaceful life; in one instant and without the slightest warning I became aware that the great brute was climbing my tree! My tongue was paralysed with horror, I could not even shout; I endeavoured to point my gun downwards, but the barrel caught against a bough; I gasped, attempting to shriek. I heard his panting breath close beneath me; then I felt that his claws had caught the end of my long fur coat, and all the pent-up horror I felt found vent at last in a shriek of anguish.[Pg 28]

"Three yelping, delighted dogs."

Apparently this caused Bruin quite as much terror as he had caused me, for he fell back to the ground like a stone, and since his claws were attached to my coat, I fell with him. For one horrible moment we rolled together on the ground—I remember the animal smell of the brute to this day—and then he was gone! and coming in his place three yelping, delighted dogs were jumping about on me. I'm afraid I called those setters names which they must have thought very rude; I kicked at them and abused them; gradually they realised that I was not quite the nice fellow they had thought me.

I learnt later that a furious neighbour of Michael's, annoyed by their night-long barking, had opened the stable-door and let them out. But the bear[Pg 29]—alas! I never saw him again; he left the place in sore dudgeon—so that the peasants saved the remains left to put up with certain rude remarks from my cousin Jack. I believe he thought these remarks humorous, but I assure you they were not in the least funny.[Pg 30]

"King Louis leaped fully armed into the sea."



VERY long time ago a wise man said that there was always something new to be found in Africa. The Africa he knew was only that fringe of the dark continent into which the Roman arms had penetrated, but in our days, as in his, there is a charm about the stories from that mysterious land of which we have even now so much to learn. There are the travellers' tales of men who went where no white foot had trodden before them, fighting tales of men who won honour at the sword's point, and tales, just as stirring, of those who carried only the message of peace. The names of Livingstone and Gordon, Mackenzie and Hannington, should be household words in every English home, and there are others less known of whom there are stories worth the hearing.

And our first tale is told by an old French baron, aged eighty years or more, ending his life peacefully on his fair estate in Champagne. No doubt he liked to look back to the stirring days of his youth, and I dare say the young folk who gathered round his hospitable hearth knew the Sire de Joinville for a good story-teller, who could beguile a winter evening with tales of that luckless Crusade in which he bore his part, and of his hero and leader, sovereign, saint, and soldier in one, Louis, the cross-bearing King of France; and, happily for us, before the stories died with the teller, the young Queen, Jeanne of Navarre, prevailed upon him to set down his recollections.

Five and fifty years is a long time to look back upon, but doubtless it seemed but a little while to Jean de Joinville since he gathered his vassals and kindred to follow King Louis to the East. He remembered the farewell banquet, when, standing at the head of his own table, perhaps for the last time, he bade his guests speak if they had any grudge or quarrel against him, and then courteously withdrew that they might say their minds more freely. And then, when they had no fault to find, he rode away at the head of his gallant company, not daring, he tells us, to turn his eyes lest his courage should fail him at the sight of his fair home and the thought of his two bonnie boys. It required courage indeed to set sail in those days, when the travellers knew so little of the lands whither they went, and our Crusader wondered how any man dared trust himself to the ocean with unforgiven sin upon his conscience, not knowing at night where the dawn of day might find him.

But after some delay from contrary winds, and a long wait at Cyprus, the French army landed in Egypt, where the first attack was to be made; King Louis leaped, fully armed, from his galley into the sea in his eagerness to reach the shore. The Saracens fled at first before the invading army, and the city of Damietta was taken almost without a blow. There the Queen, who had followed her husband, as our good Queen Eleanor did a few years later, was left with a sufficient garrison while the army moved onwards up the Nile.

But now the tide of war began to turn. If the valour and devotion of their leaders could have given victory to the Crusaders, they must have carried all before them, but De Joinville himself owned that King Louis was more of a dauntless soldier than a good general. The Saracens harassed the troops with their terrible Greek fire, which, De Joinville says, looked like a fiery flying dragon, and destroyed the wooden defences, to make which the Crusaders had broken up their boats. The King's brother, the Comte d'Artois, was killed in a desperate struggle when fording the Nile. Worst of all, sickness was abroad in the camp, killing more than the swords of the Saracens. Louis himself was stricken, but refused to be removed to more comfortable quarters, with the reply of a true king, 'God helping me, I will suffer with my people.' He mounted his horse for a last desperate attack, the good knight Geoffroi de Sergines riding at his bridle-rein, and, as the King told De Joinville afterwards, cutting down the Saracens who attacked him as a good servant brushes away the flies that annoy his master.

When the King could no longer keep his saddle, the brave Geoffroi carried him into a house inhabited by a good burgher-woman from Paris, and there laid him on the ground with his head on her knee, hardly expecting that he would live to see another sunrise. And here, dying as it seemed, Louis was taken by the Saracens, and his soldiers, on the false report of an order from their leader, laid down their arms.

(Concluded on page 46.)


Charles Kingsley was a very kind-hearted, man, and could not bear to see anything in pain. One Sunday, as he was preaching his sermon in church, he stopped in the middle of it, stooped down, picked up something, and went into the vestry. He soon returned and went on with his sermon. After the service was over, some one asked him why he had stopped in the middle of his sermon. He answered that he had seen a butterfly lying on the floor, and he was afraid that he might tread upon it and kill it; so he picked it up and let it fly out of the vestry window.


(Continued from page 23.)

Alan was just beginning to wonder whether it was not foolish to go on any further inland into the valley—indeed, whether it was any use to hunt for Thomas any longer—when he caught the sound of muffled voices coming from behind a group of trees near which he happened to be passing. The soft moss had prevented his footsteps being heard, and, as he drew closer, he caught the gruff tones of Thomas's voice.

What was Thomas doing down there? To whom could he speaking? There must be something up when two men got away into a lonely wood in order to talk. His curiosity roused, Alan crept closer still to the trees, but the undergrowth prevented his seeing any distance. He was sure, however, that it was Thomas speaking, and he could now distinguish the words, in spite of the muffled tones.

'I don't seem to see how it is to be done,' muttered the gardener, sullenly. 'It's not easy, I tell you.'

'What's the matter, man?' came in a voice with a foreign accent, which Alan did not recognise. 'The thing is possible enough if you choose to do it, and I'm sure I am making it worth your while. It isn't every day as you will get such an offer. Come, don't you be a fool, and throw your chances away.'

'I'm not throwing anything away,' returned Thomas, sulkily. 'But the risk—— '

'Well, what if it is a bit risky? You are well paid for the job. Do it quietly, take them unawares, and the risk will be nothing. But if you are going to be afraid of your own shadow I'm off with my bargain. That's the long and the short of it.'

A rustle made Alan think the speaker was moving away.

'If you cut up rough you will be the loser a great deal more than I,' replied Thomas, coolly. 'This job isn't to my taste, and if I do it, it will be in my own way. I must wait till my chance comes. It shall be done—that is, if it can be done at all—you may depend on it. I'm not going to back out. Don't be afraid. The risk is bigger for me than for you, and I'm not going to be copped—no, not for anybody.'

'Do it in your own way, man. I lay down no laws. All I want is that you get it somehow. We can do nothing without that. Do you understand? It is worth hundreds. I have known £500 and £600 given for a new specimen. And this is the only one of its kind, as yet. Now that you know what we want, we had better separate. We must not be seen together.'

'I'll be getting back to the boat, then,' returned Thomas, in a more cheerful voice.

Peering through the bushes, and listening intently, Alan was nearly caught by the sudden movement of the men towards him. He had just time to slip behind a great pine when Thomas slouched into view. The sturdy figure of a Dutchman followed. Alan could not get a glimpse of his face; he swung away at too rapid a pace, and was lost among the trees.

With lips pressed together, and ears strained, Alan had heard every word. Now he remained motionless, wondering. What did it mean? What could the men want which was worth so much money—hundreds of pounds? Was it hundreds? Could it mean robbery—jewels, plate, money? Thomas, too! Was it possible that Thomas was about to help, and be paid for helping? Alan knew that his mother, Mrs. De Bohun, and his great-aunt, Lady Coke, both possessed very valuable jewels; and his cousin, Sir Leopold Coke, had left some priceless heirlooms in his mother's care at the Moat House. Perhaps Thomas had heard somebody speak of these treasures, and his greed had been excited. He required help in his[Pg 31] enterprise, too; it must be of some difficulty, therefore he had spoken of it to his friend. Together they had planned how the burglary was to be carried out, and were only waiting till Thomas obtained all the information he needed.

Alan thought deeply on the subject, as he slowly followed Thomas. Supposing he decided to do anything, what should it be? First of all, he was not sure that robbery was what was intended. It was quite possible he was on the wrong tack altogether, and if this was the case, how foolish he would look with no evidence to bring forward except this strange offer of 'hundreds' to Thomas! How his father would laugh at him, and even Aunt Betty would smile incredulously! He might be asked uncomfortable questions, and have to tell about the climb up the face of the cliff. No harm had come of it, except frightening the girls, but his father might not regard the feat in that light.

No; on the whole he thought he had better keep his own counsel till something more definite turned up. He would have his weather-eye open, especially on Thomas, but otherwise let things take their usual course. He made up his mind he would not speak of what he had heard even to Marjorie. She might tell Estelle, and then it would be sure to leak out. Girls could never hold their tongues, especially when there were two of them. He had just come to this determination when, to his amazement, Thomas, on whose broad back his eyes had been steadily fixed, disappeared. Where? How? Was the whole thing only a dream? Thomas was certainly in front of him only a moment ago, and now he had suddenly gone with the rapidity of a flash of lightning.

It had required much self-control for Marjorie to put aside her anxiety so entirely as to calm the fears of the two younger ones, and devote herself to their amusement. But she was a girl of strong character, and perhaps nothing so proved it as her quiet and cheerful manner during that trying time of waiting.

She threw herself into the children's play, made fun of all their efforts to pull the boat up the beach, helped with the digging of a huge sand castle, and suggested a rampart of stones to fortify the deep moat round it. Georgie and Estelle were delighted with the windows and doors, the gardens with shells for flowers, the drawbridge, and the paved way through the ramparts. Georgie even proposed to find some sea-anemones to place among the shells as an additional ornament, and Marjorie was in the act of explaining that it would be cruel to pull the poor things off their rocks for such a purpose, when she was cut short by an exclamation from Estelle.

The little girl was toiling up the beach, her hands, holding up her overall laden with stones for the castle. It proved a heavy load for her to carry, and she looked hot and tired. It was purely a labour of love, for the castle was nearly complete, but the idea of keeping the sea out of it as long as possible had taken her fancy. About half-way she was forced to sit down and rest, and as she did so she caught sight of Thomas calmly smoking under the shadow of a great boulder.

(Continued on page 38.)[Pg 32]

"Alan had heard every word."

[Pg 33]

"He placed the 'drum' on a chair, and practised diligently."

[Pg 34]


'What is to be done? Nothing could be more inconvenient. Easter-time, and so much new music to be played!'

Master Frank Haydn, Master of the Orchestra at the parish church of Hamburg, in Southern Germany, all but tore his brown wig in his despair, at hearing of the death of the man who played the kettle-drum in his orchestra.

'I know of no one to take his place at such short notice,' he went on, though there were only his wife and little nephew to hear him.

The nephew, Joseph Haydn by name, had only lately come into the choir-master's family. He was a child of six years old, but had already shown such wonderful musical genius, that his parents had decided to place him with his uncle, where he would have great opportunities for musical study.

The little fellow now looked up from an old music book, for he could read music perfectly, and said timidly, 'I think I could manage the kettle-drum, uncle, if you would just show me a little how it should be played.'

'You, Joseph?' said the choir-master in surprise, as he looked down at the serious little face. 'It is not a violin, you know; if it were you could manage well enough, but you know nothing of kettle-drums.'

'Let me try, Uncle!' pleaded Joseph. Before long he had his wish, and both were in the big room over the church porch where the practices always took place.

Joseph's little fingers seemed to hold the drum-sticks as if to the manner born, and after a short rehearsal of the music to be played on the festival, the old man felt an immense load lifted off his shoulders.

'Capital! capital!' he exclaimed. 'I shall not miss poor Schmidt now; your touch is crisper than his!'

Then the door of the room was locked, and uncle and nephew returned home.

Joseph, however, as Easter drew near, became very anxious, and longed for an opportunity for further practice on the drum. His fingers might not be skilful enough: he could be sure of the notes without practice, but could he handle the sticks properly? He dared not ask his uncle for leave to go into the choir-room, and he had no drum in the house. What could he do? Practise he must, or he would never feel sure of himself.

'I will make a drum!' said the little fellow; 'I have an idea.'

There was a round basket in the out-house. It was generally used for flour, but it happened to be nearly empty now, and Joseph seized on this, as it was the shape of a drum; over it he stretched a clean dishcloth, fastening it as tightly as possible with string.

'It makes a beautiful drum!' he said joyfully, as he beat it with two sticks, and carrying his 'drum' into the parlour, he placed it on a chair, propped the music up in front of him, and practised the fingering diligently and noiselessly for an hour or more, till he felt quite sure of himself.

Alas, for Joseph, however! He had been too absorbed in his drumming to notice the small quantity of flour which had been left in the basket. It was shaken out with each beat of the drum-sticks, and now lay thick on the velvet cover of the chair. Joseph got a whipping for his thoughtlessness, but that was nothing uncommon for children in the eighteenth century, and was soon forgotten.

Easter arrived, and the little fellow played his drum so well, that for many years after he played that instrument in the choir.

'Little Joseph' in after life became a famous musician, and wrote many oratorios, of which the 'Creation' and the 'Seasons' are the most famous. He visited England several times, and was often at the Court of George III. Every one in this country did their best to honour the great musician. He died in 1809 at Vienna, full of years and honours.


A Cambridge Professor once asked one of his friends to lend him a book which he wished to consult. The messenger returned with the following answer: 'I never allow my books to be taken out of my study, but if you like to come there you are welcome to read as long as you please.'

Some days after this, the friend applied to the Professor for the loan of his bellows. Remembering the refusal he had lately met with, he replied: 'I never allow my bellows to be taken out of my room, but if you choose to come there, you are welcome to blow with them as long as you like.'



HE Queen of Fairies passed last night,
The greenwood dancing through;
I watched her from my window-pane,
The round moon saw her too.

Her light wings fluttered airily,
A casket she did hold,
And lo! she scattered strings of pearls,
And shining beads of gold.

At break of day I hurried down,
To gather them with care;
Yet nought I saw but buttercups
And daisies lying there.

So now, I think the buttercups
And daisies in the green
Are jewels from the treasure-store
Of the kind Fairy Queen.


By Harold Ericson.


'Now look here, you fellows,' began Denison, whose turn it was to entertain the company at the camp-fire the next night, 'don't you go laughing at the story I'm going to tell you, and pretending that you don't believe it's true, for that would hurt my feelings, and I might burst into tears, and you wouldn't like to see a strong man weep!'

'Go on,' said Bobby, rudely, 'or perhaps one of us will give the strong man something to weep for!'

Denison eyed the speaker with contempt, but plunged into his tale at once. 'See this mark?' he said, turning up his sleeve and showing a scar upon his forearm, 'and this?' he indicated a mark on his neck; 'Well, you're going to hear how I came by these. Do you know what a Hall-mark is? A lion stamped on good metal; that's it, isn't it? Well, these are Hall-marks: the stamp of a lion; only Stationers' Hall didn't stamp them: the lion made his own mark on me. I've got more of them on my arms and legs.'

It was like this: I was antelope-shooting with a friend not so very far from the spot we are now in, though a bit farther north. My friend, Thomson by name, had been a trifle off colour, and just now was quite on the sick list, so that we had not moved camp for some time, and I spent my days in trying to get a specimen of water-buck for my collection of antelope heads.

One morning, to my joy and excitement, I came upon the spoor of a herd of them, I was alone and some miles from camp; our cleverest Kaffir hunter was on the sick list as well as Thomson, so that as a matter of fact I had been obliged to go alone—a kind of veldt influenza had got hold of the other two, and neither of them felt worth two penn'orth of toffee. I came in sight of my little water-buck family when I had scouted after them for about an hour; they were grazing peacefully in a plateau half a mile away, quite unsuspicious of my presence and evil intentions with regard to them. I was scouting against the wind, of course, and had hopes of getting my shot in—the first I had ever fired at this particular species. I made for a boulder which lay between myself and the herd, and creeping most cautiously and slowly (for I was really keen to succeed), I reached it without alarming the timid animals, which were now scarcely four hundred yards away. Very carefully I raised myself from the snake-like attitude in which I had made my advance, in order to risk a peep over the edge of the rock, for I must lay my exact plan of campaign, so that I might make sure of another couple of hundred yards, which distance gained, I was going to fire my shot.

I had risen from my crouching attitude, and was about half-way to the upright, when all of a sudden the world seemed to come to an end and break up into stars and giddy whirlings, accompanied by sharp pains in the back, flights through space, and terrific thunderous sounds in my very ears. I was conscious of turning a double or triple somersault, of alighting face-down on the long grass, of a heavy weight leaning upon my neck and spine, of pain, stiffness, semi-consciousness, of a continuous noise as though a motor-car lay and throbbed and whirred on the top of me. What had happened?'

I lay and wondered for a few minutes. Had there been a volcanic eruption? Were bits of it lying upon me and pinning me down? Would there be another upheaval in a moment; more steely-blue stars and another flight, and then—the end? If so, I wished it would come quickly and not leave me in suspense, and, oh! if only the horrible whirring[Pg 35] noise at my ear would only stop for a minute. My head ached as though it would burst. I opened my eyes, but could see nothing but the stalks of yellow grass in which my face was buried.

Was I sufficiently alive—had I energy enough to move, to raise my aching head a little way in order to look around a bit? For a few minutes I could not summon sufficient strength to stir a finger; I felt paralysed and utterly bereft of the power to set my muscles working. Gradually, however, I began to feel a little better, the noise at my ear ceased and let peace in; a delightful calm followed, and with it consciousness gradually returned.

I raised my head a few inches; instantly something came in violent contact with the back of my skull, dealing me a stunning blow; at the same time a crash of thunder reverberated at my ear, and again I lay still, conscious only of the horrible whirring sound which had begun again and continued without ceasing. I think I entirely lost consciousness at this point, and lay, it might have been a few minutes, it might have been an hour, lost to every sense of fear, of wonder, of pain.

When I awoke, on regaining consciousness, I still lay upon my face, but my brain felt more capable of coping with the situation. I lay and reflected. Something had happened to me: was it a stroke of paralysis? I moved the muscles of my face: they were all right on both sides. I turned my head slightly first one way and then the other—no, I was not paralysed. I tried to raise myself, but found that some heavy weight upon the small of my back prevented me. That was odd. Could there have been an earthquake, and had some rock rolled over upon me—a most unlikely thing, yet what else could it be? I wriggled my back in order to discover, if I could, the nature of the incubus. Instantly there recommenced that abominable sound, close to my ear, which had so angered me before; now that my brain was once more in working order I was able to listen with understanding. The sound was the growling of some great beast; the weight upon my back could be nothing else than its paw which held me down; I was, in a word, at the mercy of a savage animal, doubtless a lion, for the weight of the paw proved that it could be no smaller beast. I had been knocked down from behind: stalked while I myself stalked the water-buck; I was in the position of a mouse which has been caught by a cat.

My brain remained wonderfully clear, though I expected that my reason would leave me in that moment of terror. It did not. On the contrary, I lay there and thought more keenly and quickly, I believe, than I had ever thought before. How long ago had the brute sprung upon me? Surely an hour, at least, must have passed since I fell, or was it that time passes very slowly in these terrible moments? I counted thirty slowly—well, that was half a minute; nothing happened.

'Why doesn't he eat me?' I wondered. 'There must be a reason for the delay. Is he waiting for his mate?' He certainly was waiting—while I lay and thought, another minute or two had passed.

I longed to screw my head round so that I might at least catch a glimpse of the brute in whose power I lay. I wondered where my rifle was—if[Pg 36] only I could see or reach it! There was a skinning-knife, I knew, in my belt, and the recollection gave me a moment of joy. A knife is not much of a weapon with which to engage a lion in battle, especially if one could not get at it; but where there is a knife there is hope. Something hard was in my right hand—what was it? Why—what—it was my rifle! It might as well, of course, be a hundred miles away at the present moment, for I dared not move a finger to draw it towards me, and my arms were both stretched at full length in front of me; but still, when the fatal moment should arrive it might come in useful, and the thought encouraged and cheered me.

"Stalked while I myself stalked the water-buck."

Meanwhile, was the beast falling asleep? Oh, if only he would, I thought! The idea almost stopped my breathing, so fearful was I lest anything I might do should keep my foe awake! I believe[Pg 37] he did doze a little. The pressure of the great paw upon my back seemed to relax a trifle. I waited what seemed to me a quarter of an hour; then—my heart in my mouth—I tried a tiny little wriggle. In a moment the pressure increased, a roar rent the air, I thought my last moment had arrived and a prayer came to my lips. I felt my left shoulder or upper arm seized. 'Heaven help me!' I muttered aloud—my head swam—I think I fainted for a second. When I recovered consciousness I was being dragged through the long grass.

(Concluded on page 68.)



(Concluded from page 12.)

We come now to the final stages in the life of the tadpole babies. These are indicated by the appearance of a pair of tiny buds on each side of the base of the tail; day by day they grow longer and longer, and finally assume the form of the hind-leg of the adult. But as yet there are no fore-legs. If, however, the little beast be carefully examined, the missing limbs will be found tucked away under the throat, and in a day or so the left arm is thrust through the breathing-hole, to be followed shortly after by the right, which has to rupture the skin to gain its freedom. As soon as this takes place, in a wild state the tadpole comes of age, so to speak, and creeps ashore to assume his new dignity of frog-hood. For a little while longer, however, he carries the evidence of his infancy about with him, in the shape of a short, stumpy tail; but in a very brief space the last remnant of this disappears, and now, save in size, he cannot be distinguished from his parents.

Common Frog, showing tongue in action.

There is a common belief that at a certain time the tail of the tadpole falls off. Nature is not so wasteful. This tail, when it has served its purpose as a swimming organ—that is to say, as soon as the hind legs have developed enough to take up their duties—is gradually absorbed.

And this fact recalls another. It will be remembered that it was pointed out that for some time after leaving the egg no food was taken at the mouth, because there was no mouth, but life was sustained by the reserve of yolk within the body, the remains of the egg, in short. Similarly, we have a second period when no food is taken, and this takes place while the tail is being used up, and the mouth is being transformed. Exactly how this using-up process is effected cannot be easily explained here; but it forms what is known as a reserve store of food. In a similar way, dormice, squirrels, and bears grow very fat before they retire to some snug hole to sleep out the long winter. The gradual waste of the body which goes on during the long sleep is made good by slowly using up the fat which was accumulated during the summer and autumn.

At last, then, the tail of the tadpole disappears, and with this several new features become apparent. These are the new breathing arrangements, a new mouth and system of catching food, and shorter intestines.

About this new breathing. In ourselves this is done by means of our ribs, which alternately rise, increasing the cavity of the chest and the capacity of the lungs, and fall, or rather are pulled down, decreasing the chest cavity, and pressing out the air from the lungs. The frog pumps in air by that curious movement of the throat which the ignorant suppose to be a preparation for poison-spitting. When the throat is depressed the mouth cavity is increased, and air rushes in through the nostrils and fills the chamber. When the floor of his mouth is raised again the cavity is reduced, and the air is forced down the windpipe into the lungs, being[Pg 38] unable to escape through the nostrils, because they are closed by special valves.

The mouth is now toothless, and of great size. The young frog feeds on living prey, which is generally caught by the tongue. For this purpose, the tongue in the frog and toad is fixed to the front of the floor of the mouth, so that the tip of the tongue points backwards towards the throat! In capturing, say a fly, the frog creeps as near his prey as he can manage, and then, with a lightning movement, darts the tongue forward on the unsuspecting victim. The tongue being covered with a sticky substance, the fly adheres to the trap and is drawn in a twinkling into the cavern, from which return is impossible. The working of the tongue may be seen in the illustration.

The shortening of the intestine follows in consequence of the change to more nutritious diet. In the young tadpole it is long and may be seen coiled up like a watch-spring through the skin of the abdomen; in the adult these coils disappear.

Such, then, is the brief outline of the life-history of one of Nature's water babies. We have traced it from the egg to the grown-up form: and here we must stop, though all that is of interest does not end here. I could tell you of the curious way in which the frog changes colour to suit his surroundings; of how he changes his skin; of his wonderful vocal powers, and a hundred other things. But meanwhile, try and discover it for yourselves by keeping a few frogs as pets, starting, as I did, with the spawn taken from a ditch in spring.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.


(Continued from page 31.)


Estelle could scarcely believe her eyes at the sight of Thomas. Her cry made Marjorie and Georgie look round. Thomas there! How was it she had not seen him before? How was it he had not heard their calls to him? Had Alan had his dangerous climb for nothing?

With a sudden rush of anger, Marjorie was about to call to Thomas, when another amazing event stopped her. Alan appeared at the entrance of the cave, and signalling rapidly to her, put his fingers to his lips.

Puzzled and uncertain what he wanted her to do, she remained sitting near the sand castle, telling Georgie to be quiet till Alan could explain. Estelle meanwhile had dropped her stones, and, throwing herself down by her cousin, wanted to know what Alan was doing.

'He will be here in a second,' said Marjorie, trying not to speak impatiently in her anxiety, 'but he evidently does not wish us to look as if we saw him. Let us go on playing as if nothing had happened.'

'But why mayn't we meet Alan?' demanded Georgie, stooping that he might see under his sister's great hat.

'He doesn't want us to. I think he does not like Thomas to know he has not been with us all the time. But it is all guessing, really, for I don't know more than you do,' she added, as she saw both children were about to ply her with questions.

Meantime, Alan, having caught the spirit of the game over which the others were interested, took up the largest stones he could find, and came to join the party. It was more than likely that Thomas would imagine he had been helping with the castle the whole time.

'Well?' said Marjorie, looking up, and at the same time pointing to where she desired the stones to be placed.

They all began to help in arranging them while Alan spoke in low tones of his adventure.

'It is really true, Marjorie, that something is up. I don't understand it yet, and even if I did this is no place to tell you about what I heard. Just keep quiet about my climb, all of you. Do you hear, Georgie?' For his little brother was not good at keeping secrets, and Alan thought this a serious matter.

'Of course I do. I am not deaf.'

'Well, you are not to say a word to anybody, not even to Mother.'

'How did you get down?' asked Estelle, in a whisper.

'On my feet, having no wings,' he laughed. 'How have you all got on? This is a splendid castle. Let us fill the moat with water.'

Marjorie looked up in surprise. A look in Alan's eyes made her glance round, and she saw that Thomas was coming towards them over the sands, to tell them it was time to be going. She saw, too, that Alan did not wish to speak of his climb up the cliff in Thomas's presence.

Estelle and Georgie were the only talkative ones on their return to the boat. Marjorie was fully occupied with the difficulties of steering, and Alan and Thomas in pulling against the incoming tide. Georgie had crammed his pockets with shells, and now brought them out to show Estelle that there were real, live creatures in some of the closed ones. The idea horrified her, and she tried to get him to throw them into the sea.

'No, certainly not!' cried Georgie, with a teasing laugh. 'I shall ask Miss Leigh if we can't have them for tea.'

'To eat?' cried Estelle, shrinking with horror, and springing away from the dirty-looking black shells.

Her violent jump made the boat give a heavy lurch, and she nearly fell overboard.

'Hullo!' cried Alan, while Marjorie pulled her back to her seat, begging her to keep still.

'What's the matter? asked Georgie with a laugh, his eyes dancing with delight at having startled her. 'Why, they are only mussels. Lots of people eat them, and periwinkles too. You shall taste them yourself.'

'Oh, Georgie, do throw them into the sea! They are horrid!' she exclaimed, shuddering. 'I don't like this bay, or the dark cruel rocks, or the waiting for Thomas, with the tide coming in to drown us if he is late! And now those dirty shells—alive and horrid—which you want to eat!'

Georgie laughed with such shouts of merriment that Alan told him to shut up; he would have the boat over if he kicked about in that manner. But his laugh was so infectious that Estelle was forced into joining, especially when, to please her, he threw the shells into the waves as they landed.

The wood, dignified by the name of the Wilderness, led up to the rear of the Moat House. It was of great extent, reaching to the coastguard path on the cliffs, and stretching far across the coast-line. In the midst of it was the old ruined summer-house, in which the children delighted. It was not in the least like a summer-house, nor could anybody give a reason for its name. It was, in fact, all that remained of the ancient rampart which had once surrounded the Moat House. It was fifteen feet high, and was probably the last of many such three-cornered towers. Now the flanking walls had either disappeared altogether, or they had become little moss-covered mounds of stone. Trees and bushwood hid it from view on one side; broken steps went up a second, which led more or less perilously to the top, where a table, some rough wooden seats, and a rustic chair or two showed that it was used by the children, if not by their elders. On the third side, where the ivy had grown thick with age, and stood out from the wall like a tree, was a heavy oak door, clamped with iron and studded with large nails. In front of this spread a soft carpet of ground ivy and moss, just now starred with celandines and morning glories, while the bright, fresh green of the slender birches drooped over it, and cast trembling shadows.

The door had a special attraction for the children. They would often stand and gaze at it, making up long stories of what might be found inside. Each in turn had tried to induce the old gardener, Peet, to open it, but as yet no persuasions or arguments had had any effect upon him. He refused to let them have even one peep.

Great was Estelle's surprise, then, when passing it on their return from the boat, to find it open. She rubbed her eyes, and caught hold of Alan in her excitement, pointing with her other hand towards the little slit. There was an instant rush for the ruin. Alan, taking the lead, made the first attempt to push the door open a little wider, and catch a glimpse of what lay behind it, but he failed. The interior was too dark, and the door too heavy to move without help. Determined not to give in, however, he called the others to his assistance, but to their astonishment, it took the combined strength of the party to push it wide enough to gain even a glimpse of what was inside. It was amazingly weighty; but when at last it did move, it swung back quickly and unexpectedly, nearly knocking the children over. Struggling to their feet again, they gazed at each other in awe, delight, and wonder, till Alan, overcoming his amazement, went forward to inspect their discovery, the others following close at his heels.

Thomas had been left behind with the boat, and would not be up till they had had time to examine the inside to their hearts' content. That is what Alan counted upon, at all events. But he had reckoned without his host.

'I don't think there is much to see,' said Marjorie scornfully. 'It is very dark and dirty, and oh, do look at the snails!'[Pg 39]

'And the mice!' cried Georgie, pointing to one scurrying off under their very noses.

'And the bats!' exclaimed Estelle, with a shudder 'do you see them up there? I wonder if they will come down and fasten in our hair if we go inside and look about?'

'Why should they?' asked Alan, lighting a match he had found in his pocket. 'They are asleep now, and won't wake at anything we do. Now come in, and I will have the lantern lighted in a jiffy. I saw one just close by.'

'I wonder what Aunt Betty or Father would say——,' began Marjorie, but Alan cut her short.

'You are not going to stop outside, surely!' he exclaimed, with surprised indignation. 'We shall never get such a chance again, and there can be no possible harm in it while I am here to take care of you.'

'Auntie would not like it,' said Estelle. 'She particularly told me I wasn't to go in at any time, and I don't think I ought.'

'Aunt Betty trusted us,' added Marjorie, decidedly. 'We can look, but not go in.'

'What rot!' returned Alan, wilfully, not in the best of humours. He had succeeded in lighting the lantern, and now began to insist on Estelle coming with him. 'There is no trust in a locked door,' he said. 'At least the trust is in the door keeping us out; not in us who can't get in. This is a chance in a thousand.'

'I wonder if I might?' said Estelle, looking at Marjorie.

It was a great temptation. It did seem such a pity to lose this opportunity; a chance, as Alan said, which might never occur again: though the children knew they were doing wrong, curiosity began to overcome them.

'I don't think it would be right,' answered Marjorie, with decision. 'We can see all we want from here.'

'I'm sure we can't,' said George, excitedly. 'Look at that dark corner. We don't know what is in there, but there is something, I'm sure.'

'Well, Marjorie,' said Alan, 'if you don't want to come in, don't. But you need not spoil sport for all the rest of us. You and I will go in, Estelle, and Marjorie can keep guard outside.'

'I wish I knew if I might!' cried Estelle, clasping her hands on the top of her head, and dancing up and down in despair. I really and truly believe Auntie only meant I was not to go in alone. Don't you think so, Marjorie?'

'No, I don't,' returned her cousin, quietly.

'What on earth does it matter?' cried Alan, impatiently. 'We are losing all our time and we shall have Peet or somebody down upon us in a minute. Come on, Estelle.'

But love for Aunt Betty still acted as a restraint, and though she put her foot on the threshold, she did not step over.

'I would like to—I would like to,' she exclaimed, torn between her conscience and her wishes, 'if—— '

She broke off, for Georgie was screaming in terror, 'The door—the door! Look at the door!'

(Continued on page 47.)[Pg 40]

"Alan made the first attempt to push the door open."

[Pg 41]

"It became necessary to descend the shaft."

[Pg 42]



F you were bound from England to some town in South Wales, it was very awkward to have to leave your train on the banks of the Severn and make a voyage of more than two miles in a slow ferry-boat before you could take another train on the opposite shore. The Severn tides, too, were so erratic that there was never any knowing when the ferry-boat would be able to start. But that was what people had to put up with forty years ago. So the Great Western Railway Company, in 1871, decided to go under the fickle waters, as they found it so troublesome to go over them. A study of the bottom of the river made it clear that the tunnel they intended to make would have to slope downwards considerably from both ends, running level for a short distance only under the centre of the stream. This was because the waters, though shallow near either bank, are extremely deep in the middle, and to avoid this deeper part, the engineers had to burrow their way to a depth of one hundred and forty-five feet below high-water level at spring tide. The tunnel itself is four and a half miles long.

The work was begun in 1873. The slopes towards the river were made as gradual as possible, and the tunnel started from both ends at once. In order to find out what the soil and stone were like through which they would have to force their way, a shaft or pit, fifteen feet wide and two hundred feet deep, was dug on the western side of the river. From the bottom of this the boring or 'heading' (as the beginning of a tunnel is called) was worked east and west through rock and shale. Gunpowder was exploded in small holes drilled at frequent intervals to shatter this material; and when we remember that the 'heading' was only about six feet high and six feet wide we can imagine how uncomfortable this work must have been. Various kinds of drills have been invented for attacking stone, but the one most usually employed consists of a hard steel collar, round the edge of which black diamonds are fixed. There is no rock that can withstand this drill.

When the human moles, burrowing under the Severn from opposite sides, had got to within one hundred and thirty yards of each other, the drills of those in the western part suddenly broke through into the secret hiding-place of a great spring. The water gushed forth in cascades faster than the pumps could pump it out, and in twenty-four hours the 'heading' was filled with water. This was in October, 1879, and for two months all work was stopped. Then Sir John Hawkshaw was appointed chief engineer. With great difficulty larger pumps were set in action to draw the water out, and when this had been partly accomplished, it became necessary for some one to descend the shaft through thirty feet of water, grope his way for one thousand feet along the tunnel, and close a certain door which had been left open when the workmen fled in panic before the deluge. This door, together with two pipes which ran beneath it, allowed the passage of large quantities of water from under the river, the checking of which would enable the pumps to cope with the rest. A diver named Lambert undertook this task. He required twelve hundred feet of tubing to convey air to his helmet, and as this was more than one man could drag after him, two other divers were called upon to assist. One descended to the bottom of the shaft, while another walked up the 'heading' for five hundred feet, passing Lambert's air-tube along as the latter continued the terrible journey alone. Stumbling in the darkness over the scattered tools which the escaping workmen had thrown down, he arrived at last within a hundred feet of the door—only to find that he had not the strength to drag the air-hose any farther! Floating upwards in the water, it rubbed too hard against the ceiling of the tunnel to be pulled downwards and onwards. Lambert sat down, and, by a supreme effort, pulled it a few feet more. But the task was beyond his strength, and, greatly disappointed, he returned to the bottom of the shaft.

A few days later he tried again. This time no air-hose was used. Strapped on his back he carried a vessel filled with condensed oxygen gas, which he could admit to the helmet in small quantities at will. Groping his way once more along the narrow, water-choked passage, he at last reached the door. Passing through to the other side he felt for the open end of one of the pipes, and turned the screws of its valve. Then, stepping back, he shut the door behind him. All that now remained to be done was to seal the second pipe. This had what is called a sluice valve, and Lambert had been instructed to turn the screw which closed it round and round, until he found he could turn it no farther; when that was done, he would know that it was shut. It took some time, but it was accomplished at last, and the triumphant diver returned to the upper air. He had been absent one hour and eighteen minutes.

Lambert had done well, and all were ready to acknowledge his great courage; but the water, strange to say, remained abundant, and it was only after still further increasing the size of the pumps that it was at last got rid of. Then the secret came out: no one had told Lambert that the sluice valve had a left-handed screw, and that, therefore, to close it he would have to turn it in the opposite direction to the usual one. So all his heroic labour was expended on opening the valve to its fullest extent, and thwarting the purpose for which he had undertaken such a perilous duty.

This spring proved to be the greatest enemy the engineers had. But on one occasion the sea itself made an attack upon them. A tidal wave burst over the Severn's banks one night, and, rushing in a volume five feet high, entered the workmen's cottages, and rose above the beds on which their children were asleep. They were only saved by being lifted on to tables and shelves. Then the great mass of water rolled on, to fall in a huge torrent down the tunnel shaft. At the bottom eighty-three men were at work. They escaped by running up the sloping tunnel and climbing a wooden stage or platform at the far end. The water rose to within eight feet of the tunnel-roof. As soon as the mouth of the shaft could be reached from above, a small boat was lowered, and upon the gloomy subterranean river a party of rescuers rowed in search of the imprisoned men. A huge timber, stretched from side to side of the tunnel, soon barred the boat's progress, and it became necessary to return to the shaft for a saw to cut it in two. This they dropped overboard before accomplishing their purpose, and had to wait while another was obtained. Eventually, however, the men were reached and removed from their terrible prison.

But through danger and difficulty alike, the Severn Tunnel was pushed on with, reaching completion in 1886—fourteen years after its beginning—and was opened for passenger traffic on December 1st, in that year.

John Lea.



HE world is wide,' exclaimed the Goose,
'I think I'd like to travel.'
'And so should I,' the Ass replied,
'I'm tired of loads of gravel.'

'Where shall we go?' inquired Miss Goose;
'Myself, I fancy China.
'Oh, no!' cried Ass; 'in Switzerland
The mountain peaks are finer.'

'A fig for landscapes!' hissed his friend,
'I yearn for fields of paddy;
About my food I must confess
I am a trifle "faddy."'

'They'd make us into food,' cried Ass,
'They'd fry our bones in batter;
I will not walk ten thousand miles
To make a Chinee fatter.'

And as no plan would suit them both,
They have not yet departed,
And I should hear with great surprise
That they had really started.

A. Katherine Parkes.

[Pg 43]


There was sharp fighting between the English and French in the Windward Islands in 1778, when General Meadows conquered St. Lucia, not, however, without himself being severely wounded at the very beginning of the engagement.

The General, though wounded, would not leave the field for a moment, and when the action was over, he visited every wounded officer and man before he would receive the surgeon's attention himself.

His heart was greatly cheered by an answer given to him by a young subaltern, Lieutenant Gomm, of the Forty-sixth Regiment, who, in the heat of action, was wounded in the eye.

'I hope you have not lost your eye, Lieutenant,' said the General.

'I believe I have, sir,' replied Gomm, 'but with the other I shall see you victorious this day.'

The brave young fellow had his wish, and history tells us that the French General 'was driven back with shame and with loss.'


The famous Dr. Watts once said, when suffering from a dangerous illness, 'I thank God that I can sleep quietly to-night without being uneasy as to whether I awake in this world or in the next.'

How many of us can say that our consciences are so untroubled as that?


In the greater part of Egypt rain never falls, and if it were not for the Nile the country would be little better than a desert. But every year, at exactly the same time, near the end of June, the river begins to rise and overflow its banks. For three months it continues to swell and spread, until it floods nearly the whole of the valley in which it flows. It then begins to fall as steadily as it has risen, and retires gradually into its proper channel, leaving the land which it has overflowed covered with fertile mud, which has been brought down from the interior of the continent, where the Nile rises. This rich soil and the annual flooding of the valley by the river have made Egypt one of the most fertile countries in the world.

The Egyptian farmer knows well the advantages which he reaps from the overflowing of the Nile, and he cuts many canals to lead the water to his fields, and builds dams to retain it when the river goes down. But the overflowing of the river, even when helped by canals and dams, is not enough for the proper irrigation of the land, and the Egyptian farmers and field-labourers have to spend much of their time in raising water from the river, or the canals, and distributing it over the fields, especially upon the higher ground, which the annual flood does not reach. Along the banks of the river, especially in Upper Egypt, may be seen great numbers of machines, which are used for raising water from the river into reservoirs, from which it is distributed through the fields.

[Pg 44]

Egyptian "Sakiyeh."

The commonest of these machines is the shadoof. It is a sort of balance, with a weight at one end and a cord and bucket at the other. The arm of the balance rests upon a bar of wood, which is supported by two wooden posts, the whole resembling the horizontal bar of a gymnasium. The posts are about five feet high and two or three feet apart, and they are set up on the top of a bank, close to the edge, so that the end of the arm which bears the bucket may project over the water. This arm is made out of a slender branch of a tree, and is fastened to the horizontal bar by loops of cord. Its thicker end is loaded with a large, round ball of mud, while the other carries a long cord, or even a slender stick, at the end of which is the bucket, or bowl, in which the water is raised. This bucket is not made of iron, but of basketwork, usually covered with leather or cloth. The man who works the shadoof stands near the water's edge, below the slender arm of the balance. He pulls down the cord to which the bucket is attached, until the bucket dips into the water and is filled, while at the same time he raises the lump of mud at the other end of the balance. When the bucket is filled, he lifts it up, and empties it into a little tank higher up in the bank, perhaps at the height of his head. The heavy weight at the other end of the balance aids him a great deal in lifting the bucket, even if it does not quite balance it. When the bank is high, and the water has to be raised some distance, several shadoofs are employed. They are arranged in stages, or steps, one above the other; the second from the bottom takes its water from the reservoir, into which it has been emptied by the first, and the third from the reservoir of the second, and so on. Drawing water with the aid of the shadoof is said to be very hard work, especially in so hot a country as Egypt. The shadoof was used thousands of years ago, just as it is to-day, as we know by the pictures of it which are still to seen painted upon the walls of some of the ruins of ancient Egyptian buildings.

Egyptian "Shadoof." Egyptian "Shadoof."

Another machine used for the same purpose is the sakiyeh, or draw-wheel. It consists of a horizontal axle, with a wheel at each end. One of these wheels overhangs the water of a river, a canal, or a well, and over it there passes a long, hanging loop of cords, to which a number of earthen pots are fastened. As the axle and the wheel go round, the pots on the cords are drawn over the wheel, and made to move in a circle like the buckets of a dredging-machine. The lower end of the loop of pots dips in the water, and each pot, as it passes through the water, is filled. It is then slowly drawn up by the turning wheel, and as it passes over the wheel, and is tilted over, it empties the water into a tank, or spout, and passes on downwards, empty, to the river again to take up a new supply. The wheel at the other end of the axle is connected with a large horizontal wheel, or 'gin,' to which a pair of oxen may be yoked. These animals, walking round and round, turn the large wheel, which, by means of cogs, turns the wheel upon the nearer end of the axle, and so turns the wheel bearing the pots. The machinery is very rough, and squeaks and groans in the loudest manner when it is at work; but it raises a great quantity of water, and is not easily put out of order.

W. A. Atkinson.

[Pg 45]

"One of the largest pounded upon the wall with his tusks."

[Pg 46]


A True Anecdote.

A traveller, who was making a tour in India some years back, tells us that in his wanderings he arrived at a village on the north border of the British dominions; near this stood a granary, in which was stored a large quantity of rice. The people of the place described to him how the granary had been attacked by a party of elephants which had somehow found out that this granary was full of rice.

Early in the morning an elephant appeared at the granary, acting evidently as a scout or spy. When he found that the place was unprotected, he returned to the herd, which was waiting no great distance off. Two men happened to be close by, and they watched the herd approach in almost military order. Getting near the granary, the elephants stopped to examine it.

Its walls were of solid brickwork; the entry was in the centre of the terraced roof, which could only be mounted by a ladder. To climb this was not possible, so they stood to consider. The alarmed spectators speedily climbed a banyan-tree, hiding themselves among its leafy branches, thus being out of view while they could watch the doings of the elephants. These animals surveyed the building all round; its thick walls were formidable, but the strength and sagacity of the elephants defied the obstacles. One of the largest of the herd took up a position at a corner of the granary, and pounded upon the wall with his tusks. When he began to feel tired, another took turn at the work, then another, till several of the bricks gave way.

An opening once made was soon enlarged. Space being made for an elephant to enter, the herd divided into parties of three or four, since only a few could find room inside. When one party had eaten all they could, their place was taken by another. One of the elephants stood at a distance as sentinel. After all had eaten enough, by a shrill noise he gave the signal to retire, and the herd, flourishing their trunks, rushed off to the jungle.



(Concluded from page 30.)

The Sultan demanded the fortresses of Syria as a ransom, but King Louis replied that they were not his to part with, but belonged to the Emperor of Germany, who bore the title of King of Jerusalem. The Sultan threatened him with torture, but only received the calm reply, 'I am your prisoner; you may do what you will with me.'

He had the grievous pain of seeing his followers slain for refusing to abjure their faith, and the worse sorrow of knowing that some among them had yielded; and he readily agreed to pay five hundred thousand pounds as the ransom for his people, the city of Damietta being the price of his own freedom. The Sultan exclaimed in amazement, when the answer was returned, 'Right noble is this Frankish king, who pays such a sum without bargaining. Go, tell him we will lessen it by one-fifth.'

De Joinville was not with his master when he was taken, having been detained by contrary winds in the river; but he had adventures enough of his own.

He had struggled up to the deck of his galley, though grievously sick, to issue his orders, when the boat was boarded by the Saracens. One friendly Turk counselled him to leap on board the enemy's galley and give himself up as a prisoner; and afterwards this Turk saved his life, when the Saracen daggers were at his throat, by passing him off as the King's cousin. He even secured for him the scarlet furred cloak which had been his mother's gift, and under which poor Joinville lay, shivering with fever, and, as he freely owned, with dread of what was to come. Every hour the lives of the prisoners hung in the balance. De Joinville saw one old comrade and follower after another slain and thrown into the river before his eyes. When a grand old Saracen, with a body of armed followers, entered the tent in which they were confined, they thought their executioners had come; but the old man, after solemnly asking them whether they believed indeed in a God Who had risen from the dead, bade them be of good cheer, for such a God would surely not desert the servants who suffered in His cause. So, with their faith and courage strengthened in so strange a way, the Christian prisoners waited until the good news came of the King's treaty.

Even then the peril was not over. The Sultan who had concluded the peace was murdered by his guard, and, in the confusion which followed, the galley to which the prisoners had been removed was boarded by a wild band, with drawn swords. The French nobles, thinking the end had come, fell upon their knees.

But again their lives were spared, and, soon after, De Joinville found himself reunited to his beloved King, who, with scrupulous care, was collecting and paying to the last farthing the sum promised as ransom.

So end De Joinville's crusading adventures, as far as Africa is concerned, though he followed his royal master to Acre before Louis turned his face sadly homeward. When the King set forth, twenty years later, on his second luckless crusade, De Joinville refused to leave his vassals, who, he said, had suffered sorely during his last campaign. He heard from the lips of others how his master died at Tunis, with his thoughts turning longingly still to that Jerusalem which his mortal eyes would never see. But of this De Joinville tells us little, being unwilling, he says, to vouch for the truth of anything that he did not himself see and hear. And he certainly saw and heard enough to leave us a story of fights and escapes as fascinating as any romance, and the portrait of a king, often mistaken, indeed, but always valiant, high-minded, and pure, whose words and deeds his old followers lovingly recorded for the sake of generations yet to come.

Mary H. Debenham.


(Continued from page 39.)

The children had all been so intent on the going in or staying out, that they had not noticed how the door was slowly but surely closing on them. No one had touched it, yet it was moving with great force. Marjorie ran back out of the way with Georgie clinging to her arm. Alan, seizing Estelle's hand, had barely time to stumble over the threshold when a heavy bit of wood was hurled over him, just missing his head, and landing on the threshold he had quitted the moment before. On this the door banged with a great crash. It had fallen just in time to prevent the door shutting. The whole building seemed to shake with the shock of the banging door. Alan turned, to see Thomas, white and staring, behind him. The expression on his face recalled to the boy's mind the conversation in the hollow. For the moment, however, anger prevented any other thoughts.

'It might have killed me!' he exclaimed, angrily. 'What on earth did you do that for?'

'I meant no harm, sir,' returned Thomas, hurriedly. 'The truth is, sir, I—I want to get into that place for a bit. I—I have left something behind. It's most important. The noise may bring Mr. Peet up here, and—and—I must get in afore he comes. What's there was left by—by mistake, sir—only a mistake.'

Thomas spoke in a confused, anxious manner, all the time edging nearer to the door. 'It would have slammed if I hadn't thrown in the bit of wood,' he continued, as he pushed back the door to its widest extent.

Sure as he felt that Thomas was deceiving him, Alan was puzzled how to connect the gardener's anxiety to enter the summer-house with the conversation he had overheard; but that it had some connection he felt certain. What could the man want in that dark, uninviting hole? Had he stolen any valuables and hidden them in there? If so, why did he want information about them when he must know all about where they were to be found? Yet the stranger had told Thomas to obtain information, without which their bargain was useless.

His thoughts were interrupted by the gardeners, who now came running up, headed by Peet. They were amazed to see the four children staring in wonder at the strength displayed by Thomas as he set the massive door open.

'What are you doing with that 'ere door?' shouted the angry head gardener. 'Who opened it? It isn't anybody's business to go nigh it at all.'

'The door nearly slammed on the young ladies and gentlemen,' replied Thomas, sullenly, his tone proving to Alan how keen was his disappointment. 'I just threw the wood in time to stop it.'

'Who opened it?' demanded Peet, sternly, his eyes wandering round the group of children and gardeners.

No one answering, Alan said they had found the door open on their return from boating, and had looked in. 'And if we ever get the chance again[Pg 47] we will go right in,' he added, sulkily, walking away with his head in the air. His disappointment made him forget himself.

'Stop, Master Alan,' returned Peet, whose naturally cross temper was continually bringing him into collision with the children. 'The Colonel and my lady have forbidden all you young ladies and gentlemen to go into the ruin, and you tell me you will get in if you have the chance?'

'Yes, Peet, I do,' replied Alan, haughtily. 'I am not accountable to you for what I do or don't do. You mind your own affairs, and find out who left the door open, or else you will be held responsible.'

Alan marched off, leaving Peet speechless with rage.

'I will speak to the Colonel,' he muttered to himself as the children disappeared in the direction of the house.

No one knew anything about the door, and, in spite of his anger, Peet was obliged to admit he himself must have left it open, since none of the under-gardeners could have got possession of the key. As far as he knew, they had no interest in going in. The ruin was only used by him for a secret purpose of his own of which he had spoken to no one. On one occasion alone had he ever allowed any of his underlings into it. That was on the day he had made Thomas assist him in erecting some woodwork in preparation for a gift he had received from his brother in India, which he desired to keep a profound secret from everybody. Inside the ruin was a recess large enough for his purpose; but it required a good deal of adapting to make it available, and this he could not manage without help. Thomas's action in throwing the piece of wood might or might not be regarded as suspicious, but since he had been out boating with the children, he could not have had anything to do with opening the door. He might desire to get in if his curiosity about the woodwork in the recess had been roused, but was that likely in such a stupid lout as Thomas?

There really appeared to be no one on whom he could visit his wrath. Dismissing the under-gardeners curtly, he was forced to return to his work in a very unenviable frame of mind, suspicious of everybody.

Meantime the children were greatly taken aback by the quarrel between Alan and Peet. The two were always more or less at daggers drawn, but it was seldom that the mutual dislike blazed up into open war.

'I will show Peet a thing or two,' cried Alan with a wilful smile. 'He must learn he can't speak to me like that. He is Aunt Betty's servant, worse luck. If he had been Father's, I'd have been down on him with a vengeance.'

'It is a great pity to quarrel with him,' said Marjorie, though she knew the remark was not a wise one under the circumstances. 'He is an old man, he's seen heaps of trouble, and he's soured. That is what Aunt Betty says. I think it would be nicer—- more like what one would call noblesse oblige—if we let him alone.'

'There's Father!' cried Georgie with a shout. 'We can ask him.'

(Continued on page 50.)[Pg 48]

"'It would have slammed if I hadn't thrown in the bit of wood.'"

[Pg 49]

"Alan intended to make the newts run races."

[Pg 50]


(Continued from page 47.)

Colonel De Bohun, strolling along smoking his cigar, was at once beset by the whole party. He was good-natured and kind-hearted; the children were seldom afraid to take him into their councils. His appearance was always hailed with delight, and confidences and requests of all kinds were poured into his ears. In the holidays especially he was a willing victim, and could be counted on to grant all but the most impossible demands.

'What are you young monkeys plotting now?' he exclaimed as they ran up to him.

'Oh, Father!' cried Marjorie, laughing, 'you can't say we are not reasonable. I heard Mademoiselle telling Miss Leigh so. It was one day when she was out of temper, and we didn't deserve it.'

'Never mind Miss Leigh,' broke in Georgie. 'I hate her name out of the schoolroom.'

'Sh—sh!' said his father. 'I can't allow that. Miss Leigh is to be pitied for having you in the schoolroom.'

'Tell us about the ruined summer-house, Dad,' went on Georgie, eagerly. 'The door was open just now, and we all peeped in. Oh, wasn't Peet angry.'

'Hullo!' remarked the Colonel. 'Whose fault was that?'

'We found it open upon our return from boating,' Marjorie hastened to say.

'I don't like that. It shows great carelessness on the part of somebody. I hope none of you went inside?'

'It wasn't for want of the wish to,' replied Alan; 'but the door nearly banged on the top of us, so we had to scuttle as fast as we could. Peet was very rude about it. It was not our fault that the door was open, but we have every right to go in if it is.'

'No right at all,' answered the Colonel, somewhat sternly. 'The place belongs to the Moat property, and it is Aunt Betty's desire, as well as mine, that none of you children should go in. The building is very old, and every year its condition becomes more and more dangerous. There have been great falls from the roof already. I will not have you there, not any one of you. You may as well know at once that there is a passage from it to some spot—— '

'To the hole in the face of the cliff?' asked Alan, eagerly.

'It can hardly go so far, I fancy. But I am uncertain. I know, however, that a part of it leads to Aunt Betty's cellars.'

'Could we get in through the cellars?' asked Marjorie.

'Aunt Betty may have the door locked, or, perhaps, permanently closed. About that I do not know either.'

They had by this time reached the bridge over the moat, the waters of which reflected the peaceful calm of that beautiful August morning. Before them lay the Moat House, weather-beaten, dark with age, like an old soldier at rest after many battles. The original building—the one which had seen the struggles between the followers of the Red and White Roses—had been small; but succeeding generations of the Coke family had added to it, as necessity arose, with the result that the house—an irregular structure of two stories—extended over a good deal of ground, and represented every style of architecture.


The weather suddenly changed. It had continued fine and hot for several weeks, and there was no sign of any break in the succession of cloudless days. The great heat was bound, however, to end in a thunderstorm. The air became very sultry, and yet there was a sighing among the leaves of the trees.

'There is plenty of rain coming,' said Colonel De Bohun, as he stood by Lady Coke's side, and watched the children going in rather languidly to their tea. 'We want it badly.'

He was right. That night the greatest storm the children had ever heard startled them out of their beds. Georgie took refuge with Marjorie, and even Alan came and sat on her bed, a blanket wrapped round the three of them, because it 'was more comfortable to be all together,' while the thunder crashed overhead, and the vivid lightning lit up the room, in spite of the candles which burnt upon the dressing-table.

All the next day the children had to amuse themselves in the house, and, truth to tell, they were not sorry for one whole day to settle various little matters which had been neglected during the fine weather. One of these was the aquarium. This kept them well employed; but when on the following morning they found the rain still falling, and the heavy, ragged clouds gave no promise of the sky clearing, Georgie's patience gave way.

'What can we do to-day?' he asked, dismally, as he traced the course of the drops on the window-panes with a damp finger. 'I'm tired of this rain. Why can't it stop now?'

'It won't stop just to please you,' said Alan, who was examining the quality of the water in his aquarium.

Georgie turned round angrily, but Marjorie came to the rescue hastily.

'The rain is nothing. We can amuse ourselves just as well in the house. Can't we go over to Aunt Betty's, and play with Estelle, Miss Leigh?'

Georgie gave a bound of delight towards the door, and even Miss Leigh smiled, and got up quickly.

'A capital idea!' she said, rolling up her work. 'Go and put on your macintoshes, and we will run over as quickly as we can. We shall not get wet enough to hurt us.'

Alan, however, was not pleased. He wanted to change the water of his aquarium, and required Marjorie to help him. They had already put fresh water into two compartments, but the third was to have some of the rain, which they were collecting especially for the purpose. The small frogs, sticklebacks, and mud-lampreys were already enjoying themselves, and Alan was determined that the tadpoles and newts should be as happy. The newts were specially disliked by Georgie, and now, to make matters worse, Alan placed two of them on the floor. He intended to make them run races, regardless of the effect of their wet bodies on the carpet.

'They don't do any harm,' he asserted, when Miss Leigh objected; 'not a bit of it. Water never hurts anything.'

'It is very unpleasant to have them on the floor, to say the least,' returned the governess. 'And you know Georgie does not like them.'

'Then he needn't, the baby,' retorted Alan, with a withering glance at his brother.

'I don't mind frogs half so much,' explained Georgie, with a look of disgust at the newts struggling in Alan's grasp.

'What a little silly you are,' said Alan, placing the creatures on the ground, and a tiny red worm in front of them. 'What's the matter with you? Are you afraid they will bite?'

'It's those dreadful legs! And the nasty way they eat.'

'Come, we must go,' said Miss Leigh, with some irritation. 'Come along, Georgie. Marjorie, just see that you and he are well wrapped up, and have goloshes on. The paths will be like rivers.'

But Alan, who had moved to allow the governess to leave the room, objected strongly to Marjorie going with her.

'She's got to stay and help me change the water,' he declared.

Miss Leigh had grown impatient, however; and she insisted on Marjorie accompanying her and Georgie, and swept her out of the schoolroom with them, leaving Alan to overcome his wrath as best he could.

(Continued on page 63.)


Some time ago a soldier at Winchester Barracks went before his colonel for punishment. He was the worst man in the regiment, in spite of his continual imprisonment in the guard-room.

The colonel, who was tired of sentencing the man, said to the sergeant: 'Here he is again. Guard-room, disgrace, solitary confinement—in fact, everything has been tried; but all to no purpose.'

'There is one thing you have not tried,' said the sergeant, 'and that is "forgiveness."'

The colonel had never thought of that, and when the soldier was brought in he asked him what he had to say to the charge.

'Nothing, sir,' was the reply, 'only I am sorry for what I have done!'

Turning a kind and pitiful look on the man, who expected nothing else than that his punishment would be increased with the repetition of his offence, the colonel addressed him, saying: 'Well, we have tried everything with you, and now we are resolved to—forgive you!'

The soldier was struck dumb with amazement, and left the room without a word. The new plan, however, was too much for him; it broke his hardened heart, and he became one of the best soldiers in her Majesty's service.[Pg 51]


2.—Library Puzzle.

British authors may be classed in various ways: some are philosophers, like (a secure fastening, and a vowel) and (a breakfast eatable). Some, again, are poets, like (painful results of a devouring element) and (expressive sounds, and true value). There are essayists like (hardened metal, and a vowel) and (young and tender meat); and others, like (a kind of swallow), who are of less amiable character. These stand side by side with writers of novels, like (some one north of the Tweed, and an upright and crosspiece); or of stories, plays, and verses, like (a precious metal, and a hard worker).

C. J. B.

3.—Buried Cities—English and Foreign.

1. Go to the King's Court and plead there for deliverance.

2. The verdict was 'Not proven.' I ceased to hope for a conviction.

3. The house is good, and the garden very large.

4. Did the voyage tire you? Not an atom; I landed as fresh as when I embarked.

5. Hangings of a rich amber lined the apartment.

6. I acknowledge no superior, be he pope, king, or emperor.

7. Remember, gentlemen of the jury, the advanced age of the prisoner.

C. J. B.

[Answers on page 75.]

Answer to Puzzle on Page 15.


I raised the curtain and looked out. The mail-train was about to start. 'Alicia,' I cried, trial and toil lie before me. Rail not, lady, at my shabby coat; a nation's eyes follow me. In this curt Latin letter my instructions are written; armed with it I am a happy man.



OST Anglo-Indians, after living many years in India, return to their native country with the idea that the music of Hindostan consists of the noisy twanging of stringed instruments, jangling of ankle bells, and banging of drums. Very few have troubled themselves to consider the important part played by music in the lives of the various nations occupying the vast territories between the Himalayas and Cape Comorin.

Foreigners are treated by the natives to noisy performances because they are thought to be lovers of harsh sounds, possibly owing to the prominence of brass instruments in our military bands, the only European music with which[Pg 52] they are familiar. Moreover, we must take into account that the scales and chords, which make the harmonies so pleasant to Western ears, sound just as discordant to Eastern nations as their musical combinations do to ourselves.

The "Bin."

The Vedas, or sacred books of the Brahmins, give very strict directions about the music of the various religious festivals. It is ordered to consist almost always of soft, mild melodies, dying dreamily away, accompanied by the gentle tinkling of cymbals. The Vedic chant, sung by the priests, was written some three thousand years ago, and has still a wonderful effect on the minds of educated Hindus.

In very early times the art of music was reduced to an elaborate system, and the study of it seems to have been general until the first Mohammedan invasion in the eleventh century. From this time the whole country was a scene of war between rival princes, and amid fighting and bloodshed for many centuries the peaceful arts had little chance of flourishing.

The "Kimmori."

Aurungzebe, the last great Mogul emperor, put an end to the Court music, which had probably reached a very low level in his day. It was his custom to assure his people of his safety by showing himself daily to them at a certain window, and some musicians, thinking to arouse his sympathy, brought beneath this window a funeral bier, and set up a doleful wailing. Distracted by the noise, the emperor appeared and demanded what it all meant? 'Melody is dead,' was the dejected reply, 'and we are taking it to the graveyard.' 'Very good,' answered the annoyed ruler; 'make the grave so deep that neither voice nor echo may ever again be heard.' And so Court ceremonials were deprived of music for the future.

The 'bin,' or 'vina,' may be regarded as the national instrument of India. Legend says that it was invented by Nareda, the son of Brahma. In painting and sculpture Nareda is usually represented as playing on this instrument. One of the old Pâli books, written about the time of our Lord's birth, gives a description of the 'vina,' and the carving of the most ancient instruments differs little from that of those made at the present time.

The 'bin' is made of wood, and has seven strings, two of steel, the rest of silver, and these are plucked by the two first fingers of the performer, who wears little metal shields made for the purpose. It is tuned by pegs, and has two gourds suspended below, each usually measuring about fourteen inches across. These, being of irregular shape and gaily coloured, give a very picturesque look to the instrument.

Another favourite instrument is the 'kimmori.' This also derives its sounding powers from gourds, of which three are usually slung from the tube forming the body. It is said by the natives to have been invented by one of the singers of the 'Brahma Loka,' or heaven of the Brahmins. The 'kimmori' is made of a pipe of bamboo or blackwood, with frets or screws, which should be fashioned of the scales of the pangolin, or scaly ant-eater, though more often they are made of bone or metal. It has only two strings, one touching the frets, the other carried above them. The tail-piece is always carved like the breast of a kite, and the instrument is frequently found sculptured on ancient temples and shrines, especially in Mysore, in the south of Hindustan.

In the Old Testament, mention is made of a musical instrument called kimor, which was probably the same as the kimmori, both being of great antiquity, and most likely of Aryan construction.

Helena Heath.[Pg 53]

"Mag raised her shrill note of warning."


A True Story.

Mag was seldom at rest: from morning till night she hopped about, in her smart black-and-white coat—her bright eyes shining, her head a little on one side, and her chatter constantly to be heard.

Those bright, bead-like eyes of hers saw everything that was to be seen; but, of all the creatures that met her view, Mag admired the pheasants most. She thought there never were such fine and noble birds, and she could not tire of looking at them, and noticing how the rich greens and blues and browns of their soft plumage shone in the autumn sunshine.[Pg 54]

She proved her interest once in a remarkable way. The pheasants—several of them—were pecking amongst the bracken, and Mag, perched on an oak bough overhead, was looking round, as was her custom, when her glance fell upon a fox, lurking treacherously amongst the long grass, evidently making ready to spring upon the stately birds.

What was to be done? To cry out would be to draw Master Reynard's attention away from the pheasants to herself; but Mag did not hesitate for a moment. At the risk of her own life she raised her shrill note of warning, and the pheasants, roused to the danger, scuttled away, just in time.

The disappointed fox tried hard to get at the magpie, but her strong wings stood her in good stead, and she, too, managed to reach a place of safety.


Two moles once dwelt together in a hole at the foot of an enormous mountain. They had long lived a quiet life, and now wished to make a noise in the world, so they caused a report to be spread about among the animals that they intended moving the mountain on a certain day. The beasts thought it a wonderful thing that two little moles should move a great mountain, and they never stopped to ask if it was possible or not.

On the day appointed, they came together with one accord to see this extraordinary feat of strength. Not only animals came, but men too, who had provided themselves with sacks, bags, and wheelbarrows to carry away the gold and silver and other precious metals which they fancied were inside the mountain. After waiting some time, the moles came out, and said: 'Dear sirs, the sight of so many of you here to-day does our hearts good. We have lived a very quiet life hitherto, and now desire to make a name in the world. We will, therefore, perform the wonderful task of moving the mountain as we promised; but before it can be accomplished, we shall require you all to bring a large waggon and place the mountain on the top of it ready for starting. Until you have done this, we shall not be able to move the mountain.'

Then the moles retired to their hole to watch the effects of their speech. The animals saw at once that they had been deceived, and they tried to tear down the place, but could not, for the wily moles lived too far under the ground to meet with any hurt.

Moral: Do not be taken in by the vain promises of those who only wish to make a name for themselves.

(From H. Berkeley Score's Original Fables.)


When I was a child about seven years of age, my friends one holiday filled my pockets with half-pence. I went directly to a shop where toys were sold for children, and being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I saw on my way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered him all my money for it. I then came home, and went whistling over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers and sisters and cousins, understanding the bargain which I had made, told me that I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind of what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money, and they laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation. My reflections on the subject gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This little event, however, was afterwards of great use to me, the impression continuing on my mind, so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, 'Do not give too much for the whistle,' and so I saved my money.

From 'Benjamin Franklin's Life.'



LITTLE Bee, one sunny day,
Through garden beds sped on its way;
It went from flower to flower.
As on its busy way it flew,
It entered blossoms white and blue,
And lingered by the bower.

Each lovely blossom with its cup,
Something of sweetness yielded up,
Something of what was good.
There was no flower that I could see
But gave up something to the bee—
Each one did what it could.

As on through life I go each day,
And here and there pursue my way,
Like to that busy bee.
Oh, may I gather what is good,
And find for heart and mind sweet food,
Enriched by all I see!


True Tales of the Year 1806.


On a cold winter's afternoon, in the year 1806, the little crowd that had been attending a sale of furniture at the chief auctioneer's in Wolverhampton was slowly melting away, for the few lots still left to be sold mostly consisted of worn-out saucepans, broken towel-rails, and some shabby chairs, and such-like worthless articles.

Very poor people, however, cannot be too fastidious, and a few buyers still remained who were glad to bid for such things, and amongst these people was a respectable-looking widow, in threadbare mourning, with a boy of about thirteen years old by her side.

'Lot 213!' said the auctioneer, with a yawn; for the excitement of the sale was over, and he did not waste professional jokes except on well-to-do hearers. 'Rosewood armchair, upholstered in best wool damask! Now, then, what offers?'

His assistant meanwhile had hoisted on to the table the very shabbiest chair that had ever occupied so prominent a position! No doubt it might once have been a good piece of furniture, but now the rosewood was so encrusted with dirt that it required much scrutiny to say what the wood really was; and, as for the 'best wool damask,' that must have existed only in the auctioneer's imagination, for the chair looked as if it were upholstered in a ragged, colourless canvas, with the stuffing sticking through in numberless places.

Some of the little audience laughed and jeered as the chair was placed before them, and one man said, derisively, that 'it wasn't worth breaking up for firewood.'

The little widow's eyes, however, brightened, and she whispered to the boy, 'That's the chair I told you of. I saw it yesterday. I could clean it up, and make it comfortable for your grandfather. I can't bear to see him sitting on that hard chair of his, with his rheumatism and all. But I'm afraid it will go for more than I have.' And she clutched the leather bag, with its solitary half-crown, more firmly in her hand.

'It's a big chair,' said the boy; 'but it's all to pieces, mother.'

'I could settle it, if only I get it,' said the widow, anxiously, still looking at the chair.

'Now! What offers?' repeated the auctioneer, looking impatiently round. 'Come, make a bid! A good rosewood chair, upholstered in damask.'

There was silence. No one seemed to want such a wretched piece of furniture, except the widow, who longed for it so earnestly that the power of speech seemed to go from her.

'George,' she gasped, as she pulled her boy's sleeve, 'say you'll give a shilling. I can't make him hear me.'

'A shilling!' shouted out the boy, and the auctioneer turned in his direction at once.

'A shilling for a rosewood chair, upholstered in best damask!' he said, in a voice of scorn. 'And this in the respectable city of Wolverhampton!'

The spectators laughed, but no one bid any further sum, so the auctioneer, who wanted to get home to his supper, banged his hammer on the table, and to her surprise and delight the widow found that the chair was hers.

With her boy's help she got the chair home, and cheered her invalid father by telling him 'his old bones should ache no longer. She would have him in an easy-chair by the following day.'

She was up at daybreak, and immediately after their frugal breakfast she dragged the chair into the yard, and began ripping up the fusty old lining.

'Let me do that, mother. I can rip finely,' said George, taking the knife out of her hand, for there is a certain joy in tearing and cutting that appeals to a boy.

'Very well,' said his mother, 'then I will get a pail of warm water, and we will scrub the rosewood, and get all this black dirt off it; and when that's done I'll begin the upholstering. I'm going to cover[Pg 55] it with my old red cloak. It will be fine and soft for your grandfather, and I don't wear colours now, so that I can spare the cloak. But, first of all, I will put Grandfather in the window-seat, so that he can see all we are doing. It will amuse him; his life is dull enough, poor dear old man.'

She went indoors, and George continued the ripping, enjoying the clouds of dust he raised in the process.

The little woman had just settled her father comfortably on the wooden settle, where he could look out of the window and see all that went on in the yard, when they were startled by a cry from George.

'Mother! Mother! Oh, come!'

'He has cut himself!' said the poor woman, turning deadly pale, as she flew out into the yard.

But George was unhurt, though he looked dazed and half stupefied.

'Look here, Mother,' he said, pointing down to the ground, 'this chair was full of gold pieces. No wonder it was so heavy to drag home!'

'Gold pieces! Oh, no!' she said, shaking her head. 'You must have made a mistake, my boy.'

'Look at them!' said George, stooping down and picking up a handful of guineas from the mass of dust and dirt and horsehair that was strewn on the floor of the yard. 'They're guineas right enough; they came pouring out like water when I got to the middle of the chair.'

'They look like guineas,' said the poor woman, trembling with anxiety. 'Oh, George, if they should be, and if they are rightfully ours, then Father could get to Bath and be cured, and you could be apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, like your poor father before you.'

'They are guineas,' said George, stoutly. 'Let's show them to Grandfather—he will know; and if they are—and I know they are'—he repeated, 'some of the money must be spent on you, Mother; I won't have it all go to apprentice me. If that ever comes off, you must have a new gown and cloak to sign my articles in,' and George got up from the dirty ground and gave his mother a hearty hug.

Grandfather gave his verdict: the guineas were real, and had the effigy of George I. stamped on them, and there were just a hundred of them, all told.

Of course, the news of the widow's lucky find was soon known, and the auctioneer claimed the money, but the clergyman of the parish supported the widow's claim, and though the auctioneer went to law about it, he lost his case and had to pay the costs.

Later on in the year a happy family party went to a solicitor's office to sign George's indentures.

Grandfather was there, erect and well, for the Bath waters had done wonders for him. His widowed daughter hung on his arm in a fine new dress and cloak, and George, looking very important at the thought of being apprenticed to the first cabinet-maker in Wolverhampton, had everything on new from top to toe, and all this was the outcome of the purchase (for a shilling) of 'the old rosewood armchair.'

S. C.[Pg 56]

"'Mother, this chair was full of gold pieces!'"

[Pg 57]

"Set to the hardest and most menial work." "Set to the hardest and most menial work."

[Pg 58]


II.—The Constant Prince.

NE summer's day, nearly five hundred years ago, a queen lay dying in the royal city of Lisbon. She was an English princess, daughter of our own John of Gaunt, bearing the loved name of her grandmother, good Queen Philippa, and she had been a helpful wife to her husband, King Joao of Portugal, and a wise and tender mother to the five lads who stood in bitter sorrow round her death-bed. Even now, as her life ebbed away, she roused herself to speak to them brave words of cheer and counsel, and, calling them close to her, gave to each a sword, bidding them, with her failing breath, to draw the blades only in the cause of truth and right, and in defence of the widow and the orphan.

A good cause it was in which the young princes went forth but a few weeks later. They had one and all refused to receive knighthood for some bloodless achievement at a tournament, and had begged to be allowed to win their spurs by an expedition against the Moorish pirates, who, from their strongholds on the African coast, swept the Mediterranean Sea, and carried off numberless prisoners into cruel bondage. It was in the cause of many a widow and orphan, whose bread-winner toiled in some Moorish seaport, or below the decks of a pirate galley, that the Portuguese princes drew their mother's last gifts on African soil.

So well did they acquit themselves that, after one day of desperate fighting, the city of Ceuta, one of the most valuable of the pirate strongholds, fell into the hands of the three elder lads. Enrique, the third brother, who was not only a gallant fighter, but so skilful a general that our own Henry V. offered him a command in his army, so distinguished himself that his father would have knighted him first, had he not refused to be preferred before his elders.

But, of all the five, there was no more eager Crusader than the youngest, Fernando, who, though a mere child, had been the first to suggest the expedition, and who longed beyond everything to follow in his brothers' footsteps. Eighteen years, however, passed away before another such expedition could be undertaken, and by that time the eldest of the five brothers, Duarte (or Edward), the namesake of his great-uncle, our gallant Black Prince, had succeeded his father as King of Portugal. From him Enrique and Fernando won permission for another attack upon the Moors, and set forth, full of the hope of taking Tangier as they had taken Ceuta. But Fernando's honours were not to be won with the sword. The Portuguese forces found themselves so far outnumbered that the brothers, bitterly disappointed, felt it necessary to retreat. But worse was to come. There was a traitor in the Portuguese camp, who let the enemy know of the princes' movements, and when the starving, weary troops reached the coast at daybreak, they found themselves cut off from their ships.

The Moorish leader, Lyala ben Lyala, agreed to release the army in exchange for the city of Ceuta, Prince Fernando and some of the noblest of his followers remaining as hostages, while news of the disaster and of the terms offered was carried to Lisbon. The royal prisoner and his companions were treated with all honour and courtesy, and assured that their captivity could only be a short one, for the Portuguese King would lose no time in redeeming his gallant brother.

But the Christian prince knew better. The city which had been so gallantly won from the infidel might not be lightly given back. Some say that Fernando himself sent a message to the King at Lisbon, forbidding him to weigh his brother's freedom against the fair prize of their first deed of arms. At any rate, he showed neither surprise nor dismay when the answer was returned that the King of Portugal would pay any sum the Moors could ask for his brother's ransom, but would not part with Ceuta. It must have been heart-breaking work for the King and his brothers to agree with the decision of the Council, that the city must be held at the cost of the freedom of the youngest and best-beloved of their gallant band, even though they knew that Fernando himself would be the first to applaud them. Grief and anxiety must have added to the sickness of which King Duarte died a year later, leaving a child heir and much trouble and confusion behind him. Enrique left camp and court to live in seclusion at Algarve, and there gave himself up to the study of naval science and astronomy. His name is famous yet as 'Prince Henry the Navigator,' and his renown spread over Europe in his lifetime. But, as he planned and sent forth exploring expeditions or studied the stars in his long night watches, the wise prince's heart must have ached many a time at the thought of the younger brother, paying the penalty of their failure among the dark-skinned foe.

For the Moors, who had hoped to hoist the crescent once more over their ancient stronghold, wreaked a bitter vengeance on the man who would not plead for his own freedom.

Fernando and his companions, sons of the noblest families in Portugal, were set to the hardest and most menial work, loaded with chains, and driven to their tasks with blows and threats. But no ill-usage could break the spirit of the prince, or induce him to send home entreaties for the only ransom his captors would accept. The lad who had promised at his dying mother's bedside to fight as become a Christian knight, was to show a higher courage than he had ever needed on the battle-field. He, the noblest born and the least robust of the captives, did his hard tasks with a diligence and patience which won the admiration even of his tormentors.

When the captives were shut at night into the dark and noisome dungeon where they slept, he would gather his companions about him and hearten them with his brave words, calling them brothers and comrades, and only grieving that he had led them to share his own ill-fortune. Complaints and murmurs were shamed into silence by his brave patience, and if ever the self-control of the weary, half-starved captives broke down and they quarrelled among themselves, the angry words were checked by the remembrance that nothing would so grieve the prince. And since

'The courage that bears, and the courage that dares,
Are really one and the same,'

not one of Queen Philippa's sons proved more worthy of his knighthood than the youngest of the five.

The bitterest trial came when Fernando's health, always delicate, gave way altogether under his privations, and he could no longer do the tasks required of him. Even the comfort of his companions' presence was now denied him, and in his wretched cell he lay patiently through the stifling days, counting the hours until the tramp of feet and clank of chains told of the return of his friends from their long day's toil.

Then, if their warder was lenient, there would be a pause by the cell-door, and a moment's breathless waiting lest there should be no answer to their anxious question of how he did, lest the voice, that would still speak words of comfort and cheer through the darkness, should be silent for ever.

But, as the prince grew weaker, his courage and patience moved even his captors to mercy, and his friends were about him when, after seven years of slavery, the brave spirit passed at length into the true freedom.

Thirty years later the body of Fernando was ransomed, in exchange for a Moorish prisoner, and laid in his native land; but his true monument is the city which his long captivity saved for Christendom. The days of such slavery as his are gone by. The galleys of the Moorish pirates no longer sweep the inland sea, and we shall have stories to tell by-and-by of the men who chased them from their strongholds. But Ceuta was won four hundred years earlier, by the swords which our English princess bequeathed to her sons, and was held by the seven years' brave patience of him who so worthily earned the name of 'El Principe Constante,' the Constant Prince.

Mary H. Debenham.



We can never fully understand an animal until we know its life-history, but we can give some sort of an account, at least, of its development from birth to death. With some creatures, as with butterflies, moths, or birds, for example, this is easy enough, but with others this is by no means true. The life-history of the Sole is a case in point; only by the slow accumulation of facts[Pg 59] has this been put together. But the result is most interesting, and without more ado we now proceed to relate it.

The cradle of the young sole, like that of its relatives, the plaice, turbot, and flounder, takes the form of a crystal globe of a jelly-like material, in the centre of which lies a smaller globe containing the germ which will grow into the young fish, a little store of food material, and a small quantity of oil, which seems to keep the whole afloat at the surface of the sea. This is the egg. It differs from the eggs of its relatives, in that the oil which it contains is distributed in the form of tiny drops, instead of being collected in one big drop, as in the turbot's eggs, for instance. The careful mother lays these eggs far out at sea and leaves them; if they were deposited near the land they would drift ashore and be destroyed. And in the illustration (fig. 1, egg) you will see what this water-baby looks like just before he quits his cradle.

In less that a month the little sole has grown enough to enter the world, but he is strangely helpless; a tiny little creature, perfectly transparent, mouthless and finless, so that he must drift helplessly, whithersoever the currents carry him. Though mouthless, he is not hungry, for there remains within him a certain amount of the nourishing yolk, which was stored up for this purpose, in his crystal cradle. This little food reserve is the cause of the rounded swelling on the under surface of the young sole in the illustration (fig. 1, a and b). In this picture you should note, first of all, the curious shape of the head, which is, as yet, only roughly modelled. There is no mouth, and the eye, as yet, is colourless. Along the middle of the back there runs a high fin, transparent as glass, and this is continued round the tail and forwards to the swelling caused by the yolk-bag. Over the whole are scattered a few patches of colour, in the shape of spidery lines and blotches, as yet only just dense enough to attract attention.

At six days old, as you will see (fig, 1, c), he has grown darker, and has developed a mouth and a tiny pair of breast-fins; but beautiful he certainly is not, judged by human standards of beauty. It often happens, however, that the outward mark of ugliness is but the sign of hidden peculiarities of unusual interest. Up to this point this baby sole is very like any other fish-baby; but from now onwards it enters on a most remarkable career. At six days old he shows all the promise of a well-grown fish; that is to say, his body is round and tapering, he has an eye in each side of his head, and both sides of the body are alike in colour—in other words, he is symmetrical.

The beginning of the change (fig. 1, d) is indicated by a disposition of the growing fish to lie on one side—the left—and at the same time the left eye begins to change its position, moving from the side of the head towards the crown of it! In a short time this point is reached, and passed, and not until the left eye has approached its fellow of the right side fairly closely does its progress stop! By this time the habit of lying on one side has become fixed, and the body has taken the characteristic shape of the[Pg 60] sole. Thus, then, what appear to be the upper and under surfaces of the sole, are really the right and left sides, and this can easily be proved by a careful examination of the body, which, if it be placed on edge will be found to have a back or dorsal fin, and a pair of breast fins—one on either side, as in ordinary 'round' fishes.

Fig. 1.—Egg of Sole, and Stages in its Growth. Fig. 1.—Egg of Sole, and Stages in its Growth.

The difference in the colouration of these two sides is a matter to which we must now refer. As everybody knows, the upper side is dark-coloured, while the under side is white. Why is this? Why are not the colours reversed, or why are not both sides coloured? These questions open up a most fascinating study—the use and meaning of the colours of animals. And you will find, when you come to look into the matter, that there is a very close relation between the colour of an animal and the nature of its surroundings. In the case of the sole, the brown upper surface, from its resemblance to the mud and sand at the bottom of the sea, serves to conceal it from the sharp eyes of prowling fishes on the look-out for a meal. A broad expanse of white would at once betray it to the enemy. No colour is developed on the under surface, for it would be a waste of energy to produce colour for a surface that was kept constantly concealed from view.

Fig. 2.—Full-grown Sole. Fig. 2.—Full-grown Sole.

Although, in our picture, all these fish can be seen quite plainly, in real life they are quite hard to find. The young, being well-nigh transparent as glass, are almost invisible as they float in the water; while later, when these wanderings cease, and they settle down to a quiet life, the dark colour forms an equally invisible covering.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.[Pg 61]

Prairie Dogs. Prairie Dogs.


The little animal which is commonly called the prairie dog is not a dog at all, but one of the Marmot family, which is to be found in Europe and Asia, as well as in America. The only reason for calling it a dog is that, when excited, it utters a cry which is very like the barking of a puppy.

This little marmot is rather larger than a good-sized rat, and rather like that animal in general appearance. Its colour is a red-brown, speckled with grey and black hairs above, but whitish-grey below. The tip of its tail is tufted with black hair, which is rather long and bushy.

The prairie dog lives out on the vast, treeless prairies of North America, where immense numbers of them congregate together, and make what are called dog-villages, or towns. The marmots burrow in the ground like rabbits, and sometimes the country is undermined with their burrows for a space of several miles. Each marmot, as it builds its burrow, throws out the loosened earth into a little hillock by the mouth of its burrow, and when it has nothing better to do it sits upon the top of its mound, and watches what is going on. At the sight of a stranger, or an enemy, the marmots, sitting on their mounds, begin to bark and chatter, jerking up their little tails with every effort until they feel that they are hardly safe any longer; then they drop into their holes, and, turning round, pop out their heads to watch a little longer. If the intruder comes too near, however, they withdraw altogether, and seek safety in the depths of the burrows. But they are very inquisitive, and if they are not harmed they soon put out their heads again to see what is taking place. Hunters who have walked through a dog-village, hoping to get a shot at one of the little householders, have been amused to see them scamper indoors as they approached, and come out again as soon as they had passed. All around, within the range of a gun, there was not a marmot to be seen, but at a safe distance there were hundreds, or even thousands, on the watch.

The opening of a marmot's burrow is four or five inches in width, and the passage runs downwards in a sloping direction for several feet. It then makes a sharp turn, and continues horizontally for some distance further, till it turns slightly upwards. The marmot's nest is made at the extreme end of the burrow, and there can be little doubt that the last upward turn of the burrow is meant to keep the nest dry, when, after a heavy storm, rain-water flows into the mouth of the passage. The burrows are generally within a few feet of each other, and as the ground above them gives way under pressure, they are often a source of great danger to travellers upon horseback. The horses' feet slip, and there is great risk of their spraining or breaking a limb. For this[Pg 62] reason parties of travellers often have to go several miles out of their way, in order to get round a prairie dogs' village.

Prairie dogs live upon grass, and near their burrows the grass is cropped quite short by their flat, chisel-shaped teeth. In one respect they are very strong, for it takes a very serious injury to kill them, and they quickly recover from small ones. They have one or two enemies, the worst of which is probably the rattlesnake, which often takes up its residence in their holes. But, notwithstanding their enemies, the marmots increase in numbers very quickly, and soon over-run a favourable district. In winter they hibernate like our squirrels, passing several months underground in a kind of slow and nearly motionless existence. The sleep enables the animal to live on, after its grass-food is exhausted in autumn, until the crop grows again in spring.


In the year 1852, Gordon got his commission in the Royal Engineers. Two years later, he volunteered to go out to the Crimea, and came in for his full share of the terrible sufferings and privations of the ensuing winter.

One day, it is said, he came upon a corporal and a sapper, engaged in a hot dispute. The corporal wanted the sapper to stand up exposed on the ramparts, while he handed him up some baskets from below. Gordon at once sprang up to the parapet, told the corporal to follow, and planted the baskets, under the fire of the Russian gunners. Then, turning to the corporal, he said, 'Never order a man to do anything that you are afraid to do yourself.'

H. B. S.



HE seed set in the garden
Becomes a lovely flower,
It opens in the sunlight
Or twines about the bower;
It beareth tender blossoms,
In beauty it is drest,
And though at last its grace is past,
How many it hath blest!

The tiny little acorn
Becomes an oak at last,
And children swing upon its boughs
When many years are past.
Though now it looks so mighty,
And branches hath so tall,
Ah, yet we know, ere it did grow,
It was an acorn small.

As flowers grow up from tiny seeds,
As oaks from acorns spring,
E'en so from kindly words and deeds
Grows many a lovely thing.
They still the angry passions,
They break the stubborn will,
And earth so sweet, where these do meet,
Becomes yet sweeter still.


Fred Miller was feeling very dull and rather sorry for himself. He stood by the garden gate and wished he had a brother or sister to play with, as other boys and girls had. He even wished that the holidays would come to an end and that he might go to school again: for in the holidays the children from school went away into the country or to stay with friends—all, except Fred; somehow there was never a chance for him to go.

He was an only child, but his father and mother had many cares, and could not spare time to amuse their boy, or spend money in pleasing him. 'You must play in the garden and not run about the streets,' Mr. Miller would say when he went off to his day's work: perhaps he did not quite know how tired a boy might grow of being in the same little plot of ground all day and every day.

Fred was thankful when there were errands to be done; it was better to fetch flour or potatoes from the shop than to play by himself. But the errands were soon over, leaving him face to face with the old question, 'What shall I do?'

'Fred,' called Mrs. Marshall, one day—she lived in the next house to Mr. Miller's—'can your mother spare you to go to the library for me?'

Now it happened that Fred had never been to the library, for his own people did not care for reading, so he was eager to take Mrs. Marshall's book, and he listened carefully to the instructions that were given him, and repeated to himself all the way the title of the book he was to try to get in exchange.

Books had hitherto meant nothing but lessons to Fred, and he was not more keen upon those than most other boys; but when he saw the rows of volumes on the library shelves, and was told by the clerk in charge to go and find the one he wanted, he woke up to the knowledge that they might mean something more.

He opened one, at random; it was full of pictures. He began to read; it was about strange places and people: about the dense forests and great rivers of some far-off land, and the wonderful creatures—birds, beasts and fishes—to be found there.

The clock struck twelve—it was a good thing for Fred that the sound was loud enough to startle him—he put back the volume of travels with a sigh of regret, found, with some trouble, the book Mrs. Marshall wanted, and ran all the way home to make up for lost time.

Though he would have been too shy to talk about them, his mind was full of the wonders of which he had been reading. 'I never knew there were such things; it's like—it's like having a new world to look at! I wish I could read some more; but perhaps Mrs. Marshall won't ever ask me to go again,' he thought.

Mrs. Marshall, however, did more than that. 'Why don't you get your mother to let you have a library ticket, Fred?' she asked, when Fred, flushed and breathless after his run, presented himself before her.

'Me! Why, I couldn't, Mrs. Marshall; I'm not grown up,' said the little boy, wistfully.

'Oh, that doesn't matter in the least,' Mrs. Marshall assured him. 'Come now, Fred,' she added, 'I owe you a good turn; I'll do my best to get you a ticket.'

Mrs. Marshall was as good as her word, and Fred, the proud possessor of a ticket of his own, was soon a regular visitor to the library. He had come to the end of his dull days, for, as the poet truly says:

'Books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good,'

and Fred had found it out.

C. J. B.


(Continued from page 51.)

The close bond which united the families of the Moat House and Begbie Hall, and the daily intercourse, had thrown the two governesses much together. Happily for both, their acquaintance had grown into friendship and affection. Not only did they meet during the walks taken with their pupils, but Estelle shared with her cousins in Miss Leigh's lessons in arithmetic and English subjects, while Marjorie and Georgie, and Miss Leigh herself, received instruction in French, Italian, music and drawing from Mademoiselle Vadevant.

When, therefore, Marjorie had proposed to spend the remainder of the rainy day with Estelle, Miss Leigh hailed the suggestion with pleasure. She would have Mademoiselle's companionship, while the children amused themselves in their own way. She splashed through the mud and wet, laughing and happy, with Georgie dancing along by her side, and hardly noticed that Marjorie did not join in her mirth. Marjorie was uneasy; she thought Miss Leigh was unkind not to allow her to wait for Alan. What was the sense of hurrying her off when Alan wanted her?

It was some time before Alan overcame his pride enough to follow, and then he plodded rather sulkily through the slush. Passing by the ruined summer-house he paused to look at it, the vague mystery making it always an object of interest. He wished Peet had been a more genial man: it might then have been possible to get him to show the inside of that gloomy place. But he was very surly, and the secret must be found out in some other way.

As he stood gazing, a slight stir among the bushes attracted his attention. Slipping behind a corner of the buttress, he waited, somewhat sheltered from the dripping rain by the overhanging ivy. He had not long to stand shivering there. A hurried whisper caught his ear.

'What's that? Did you hear a sound?'

'I thought I did, but it seems quiet now. Come along this way. It's more—— '

The voices died away, and after some slight rustling all grew still again. Alan, now beginning to feel that the mystery, whatever it was, appeared to be deepening, and that he must decide what he meant to do quickly, was on the point of quitting his shelter, when another sound arrested his movement. A rough grating, the swing of the heavy door of the summer-house, and Peet stepped into sight. He[Pg 63] stopped to close the door carefully, and lock it before he walked away.

'Wonders will never cease,' thought Alan, amazed. 'Is that old curmudgeon in the business, too? He's the last man I should have imagined would mix himself up with a man like Thomas.'

Having no reason to expect further developments Alan set off at a run, so as to get out of the rain as speedily as possible. He was pretty wet, and what he had just seen and heard had made him forget the annoyances of the morning. His good temper was quite restored, though his thoughts were busy and perplexed. He almost made up his mind to consult somebody, and if he did, why not Aunt Betty, who never let out secrets? It was worth thinking about, even if he did not make up his mind to do it at once. At the same time he must not let things go too far.

Running down the path, vaulting the little gate leading into the shrubberies, and dashing down a back way almost dark with the thick laurel-bushes overhead, he soon reached what was known as the postern door. Entering a low passage, narrow and dimly lighted from some invisible opening, he pursued his way along various twists and turns of the old house, with now and again a few stairs up, till he finally came upon a crimson-baize door, opening on a long panelled corridor. The first two or three rooms were unoccupied, the remainder were devoted to the use of Estelle and her governess. In the schoolroom the whole party were assembled, the children waiting with more or less impatience for his arrival.

'You have been a long time!' cried Marjorie, while his cousin jumped up from the table, to clear away the round game they had been playing.

The governesses having retired to Mademoiselle's study, the children started off on their usual rainy-day amusement, hide-and-seek. They never tired of rushing about through the old passages and rooms, and often came upon strange discoveries. Things hidden away for years and forgotten, doors which had remained unopened, or perhaps even had been mistaken for a part of the wainscot for generations. These discoveries were somewhat awe-inspiring, and the game not unfrequently became what the children called 'Treasure-hunting.' They generally managed to keep together on such occasions; it was too uncanny to be alone in those ghostly apartments.

As a rule Georgie was not allowed to join in these weird expeditions. He was too young, and his conduct could not be depended upon. He might choose to be frightened and scream just at the wrong moment, or he would obstinately refuse to go into dark, shuttered rooms, where the smell of rats and dust seemed to strike them in the face, so stifling was it. Hide-and-seek could not be comfortably played with him, either. He could not run fast enough, nor did he like being left behind, and any sudden clutch from behind a door nearly terrified him out of his life. So, much to his disgust, he was forced to remain with the governesses, or go down to Aunt Betty, if she would let him sit with her. He liked that best, as she never minded what mess he made, or how untidily his toys were scattered about.

(Continued on page 70.)[Pg 64]

"Peet stopped to lock the door." "Peet stopped to lock the door."

[Pg 65]

[Pg 66]

The Egg Poacher. The Egg Poacher.


Every one must have observed how many animals escape notice by the similarity of their colours to those of the ground upon which they lie, or of the foliage in which they hide. It is not easy to see rabbits, at dusk, as they sit quietly nibbling the grass upon their sandy warrens. It is difficult, at times, to distinguish a toad from a piece of broken bark or a dead leaf. Moths and butterflies frequently escape pursuit by hiding among twigs and flowers which resemble them in colour. And it is almost impossible to see a shrimp upon the sand of the sea-shore, or a little sandy-coloured fish at the bottom of a sea-side pool. We can hardly doubt that the colours of these animals serve them as a very useful protection. They are all naturally helpless creatures, and their safety depends almost entirely upon their escaping the notice of their enemies.

The examples just given are familiar to us all. But there are few better illustrations of this curious fact than that afforded by the Ptarmigan, a bird which is found in the northern parts of Europe and America, including the north of Scotland. It is a game bird, nearly related to the grouse, the partridge, and even to our domestic fowls, and it is protected, like the other game birds, by Acts of Parliament, which render those who shoot it, during certain months of the year, liable to a fine. The ptarmigan frequents wild, mountainous districts, and builds its nest upon the open hillsides, among the coarse grass and mossy rocks. The nest is a little cluster of twigs and grass, and in it the ptarmigan lays ten or a dozen reddish eggs spotted with brown, which are not easily distinguishable from the twigs and grass among which they lie. The summer plumage of the bird itself is a brown tortoiseshell, so similar in colour to the ground upon which it makes its nest that it is very difficult to see.

In winter-time, however, when the hillsides are covered with snow, the ptarmigan would be easily discovered, if it retained its summer dress. But, upon the approach of colder weather, the bird changes its plumage, and takes on a winter robe of pure white, which makes it just as difficult to detect amidst the snow, as it was in summer when it nested among the grass and stones. With the return of warmer weather it resumes its darker colour. The bird moults, in fact, twice and sometimes thrice in the year. It is impossible to tell the exact cause of these changes, but it is quite certain that they help to protect the bird from its enemies. The change from its winter plumage to its summer one is sometimes delayed for some little time after the winter snows have disappeared, and it has been noticed, in Norway and Sweden, that large numbers of ptarmigan are killed at this time, when their white feathers make them so conspicuous.

The enemies of the ptarmigan are the larger birds of prey, and animals of the weasel kind. One of the largest of the latter is the pine marten, which is still found in remote and uninhabited parts of our country. It is a fierce and active animal, ever on the look-out for game and eggs. It is, in fact, a great poacher, and for this reason it has been practically exterminated by gamekeepers, in all the districts where game is carefully preserved. In other countries the marten is hunted for its skin, the fur of which is scarcely less valuable than that of the sable. It is found in all the northern countries, especially in North America.


Commodore Anson, while his ship, the Centurion, was engaged in close combat with a Spanish man-of-war, was told by a sailor that the Centurion was on fire near the powder magazine.

'Well,' said the Commodore quietly, 'go and help to put it out.'

H. S. B.



(Concluded from page 37.)

My brain recovered its power after a moment or two, and I began to reflect, though, I own, my reflections were somewhat interfered with by the rough treatment to which I was being subjected; for the great brute in whose jaws I lay dragged me without ceremony over stones, roots, scrub, hard knife-like grass, and other obstacles. I felt my clothes tear here, there, and everywhere; I was being gradually torn and bumped into a jelly—still, I reflected, where was I being taken to, and why? Why not eaten at once?

The latter question was easily answered. The lion had had his dinner already, or her dinner—it might, of course, be a lioness—I had as yet had no opportunity of seeing the beast; if so, she might be the mother of a family of cubs, and if so again, I might be destined for their dinner, mamma having already dined.

This was a pleasant reflection! I might have to deal with half-a-dozen lions of various sizes, instead of only one large one. There was very little doubt that I was doomed, in any case; yet my brain had never worked more clearly than at this moment, and I employed it as I went bumping along, in trying to devise some means of escape, poor though the prospect might be. My gun was still in my hand, and determined that no amount of rough travelling should cause me to let it go. A moment might come when I should find an opportunity to turn it somehow in the direction of the lion, and I should keep my wits about me mainly to that end.

We had travelled, I suppose, about a quarter of a mile, and I wish I could convey to you fellows the extreme discomfort of it. Can you imagine it? One's head flopping and wobbling and knocking up against whatever happened to be in the way; one's legs following suit; one's body strained, twisted, scratched, bruised, pounded—really, though I see you fellows laughing at this very moment, and should like to kick you for it if I were not too comfortable to move, I would not wish even such ruffians as you two to suffer such torture.

Suddenly the beast laid me down—tired, perhaps, with dragging eleven stone over rough country. She stood over me for a minute as though listening, one paw on my right shoulder, which prevented me from using my arm, which might otherwise have been employed to advantage during this interval.

Then suddenly she lifted up her voice—it was a lioness, I now saw, not a male lion—and set the air vibrating with a series of roars so loud that they might surely, I thought, be heard at Buluwayo, if not at Capetown. Never in my life had the drums of my ears been so ill-treated. For half a minute without a pause she thundered thus.

Well, she ended. The roars became less loud—less frequent—they thinned down into half-moaning noises something like the end of a donkey's bray, and lastly they stopped altogether, or rather faded into growling or purring sounds. Then she released my shoulder and stood a yard or two from me, gazing into the distance—you know how lions at the Zoo look when the whisper has gone round that it is feeding-time, and every lion and tiger begins to stare into the far-away, over the heads of the spectators.

A few moments passed during which I slowly drew my rifle towards me until I had it close to my side; and now—following one another—came two terrible shocks.

The first was the discovery that my rifle was bent at the grip and that the barrel was damaged in places. It was out of the question to dream of attempting to fire a bullet through it: there was no clear passage for the missile: the rifle would burst in my hands if I attempted it.

The second shock was of a different nature. Hearing a scuffle and the sound of snarlings and whinings, I glanced upwards, and beheld a pretty, though a very alarming spectacle. Four lion cubs, about the size of dogs, came frisking and bounding out of the long grass, evidently in obedience to their mother's summons. At the same moment I became aware of a more awful presence. A full-grown male lion, a magnificent beast, was standing watching me, his tail twitching, his nostrils moving, his legs setting themselves as though for a spring. I had not heard him arrive, I did not know from what direction he had appeared; I simply knew that he was there, and I may tell you that the sight of him gave me a shock, though I had had my fill of terrors already.

I could think of no way out of the horrible position; I was in despair. In my agony I reverted to instinct, I did what a child would have done—I yelled for all I was worth. I called upon Thomson, who was a couple of miles away, at least, and who could not, of course, hear me in any case; I called upon Thomson for the love of all he held precious to come and help me.

Instantly the four cubs disappeared in the long grass, The lioness also bounded away; only the mighty lion remained. He gazed at me and roared, but did not venture to approach. 'I don't quite like the look of you,' he seemed to say; 'I believe that's a fire-stick in your hand; I'll see if I can't frighten you into fits by roaring.'

Then he had his innings at roaring, and I give you my word that if his wife's lungs were pretty good, his own absolutely left them far behind. So terrific was the noise that my whole being seemed paralysed, and I believe I eventually fainted, for, remembering[Pg 67] nothing of the events which led up to it, I awoke to find myself the plaything of four lion-cubs.

The little rascals were positively—I wish you fellows wouldn't grin, for I assure you this is a true story!—they were positively playing with me as though I were a big mouse. If only one had been in the mood to be amused, their antics would have seemed really funny. The little beggars would stalk me, crouching and approaching for all the world like a kitten about to make a pounce upon a cork, or some other plaything; then they would make a sudden rush, stand on their hind legs for an instant, touching me hurriedly with their paws, and scamper home to their mother, or behind some rock or tuft of grass, from which they would presently emerge to creep towards me once more; and so the whole play would begin again.

They never once hurt me or scratched me, or did me the slightest injury. I concluded that the father had already fed the little brutes, and that I was to be respited for an hour or two, perhaps half a day. This was satisfactory in a fashion, but just imagine the suspense!

Her majesty the lioness, however, was not pleased, it appears, with the behaviour of her children. She roared once or twice.

'You are meant to eat it,' she seemed to say, 'you foolish little things, not play with it. Here, come along and taste, it's good food. Stick your little teeth into it—look here.'

She approached me and rolled me over once or twice as a cat might play with a mouse. 'Look for a soft place and then bite,' she continued. 'I'll show you the way.'

'No you don't!' thought I, desperate now and careless of consequences. I fumbled for my skinning-knife, and made a dig at her majesty, but only succeeded in scratching her about the shoulder. She gave a roar of alarm, however, and bounded away into cover. The four cubs disappeared instantly.

From somewhere in the long grass, where she hid unseen with her cubs, the lioness now began to growl or moan, complaining, I had no doubt, that I had bitten her and that it was obviously the duty of her lord and master to see that such a venomous creature as myself was rendered harmless before her precious darlings came near it again.

'Go in and finish him off,' she said. 'He might hurt one of them. He has bitten me.'

Apparently her complaint told. His majesty began to grow restless. He stood up. He had lain down at full length to watch the children play, but now he rose up and began to work himself into a rage. His tail lashed his sides, and his jaws moved incessantly; he showed his teeth and growled savagely and roared. I knew enough about lions to be aware that as long as his tail worked from side to side I was safe; once it began to move vertically up and down, the moment had arrived when he would charge. I rose to my knees, then to my feet, and watched him. He gathered his feet as though to spring; he roared; his eyes flashed green fire; his tail ceased to work laterally; it rose straight up over his back and fell again. He was moving; he would charge. I screamed, turned to fly—and fainted.[Pg 68]

"They were playing with me as though I were a big mouse." "They were playing with me as though I were a big mouse."

When I recovered, Thomson was kneeling at my side, explaining that he had heard a lion roaring, and wondered whether I was in trouble. He had started out in search of me, and presently, uncertain where to look for me, providentially heard my first scream. He had hastened in the direction of my call for help, and, as it seemed, arrived just in time.

'Have they gone?' I gasped. 'Where are the lions?'

'How many were there?' he laughed. 'There's one, anyway!'

It was his majesty, dead as a stone. What became of his royal consort and her cubs I know not; we may meet them one of these days.[Pg 69]



HE Taus, or Peacock, also called Esrar or Mohur, according to the language of the tribe which uses it, is met with chiefly in Upper India, and is a favourite instrument of the Nautch musicians.

It is always made in the form of a peacock, supporting on its back a long, narrow stringed instrument. The body and neck of the bird is usually carved and coloured, and is further adorned with natural plumage, sometimes neck feathers being used, sometimes those of the tail, and often both. There is a very fine specimen of the Taus in the British Museum, in the gallery where boats, weapons, and curious articles of native arts and crafts are exhibited.

The Taus, or Peacock. The Taus, or Peacock.

The Nautch people are found all over India, and are a striking instance of the survival of native customs in the East, and although Europeans see little more of them than an occasional party of singers and dancers, great numbers of the profession exist.

In native national life the Nautch play a large part, and legend has a great deal to say about them. In their way these performers have a strong religious element, and dancers, whether Hindoo or Mohommedan, never begin their performances without touching forehead and eyes with the strings of bells hung round their ankles, and saying a short prayer.

The Yotl. The Yotl.
The Pungi or Jinagooi. The Pungi or Jinagooi.

Tying on the bells for the first time is quite a solemn function, as it implies adopting for ever the career of a Nautch dancer, from which no withdrawal is possible.

A popular Hindoo story called 'Chandra's Vengeance,' tells of a youth who, hearing from a long distance the music of the Nautch, is irresistibly drawn towards it. After twelve days' journey he approaches the camp of the mysterious people, and there a beautiful girl dances up to him and throws a garland of flowers around him. At once a spell is woven, which is completed by a charmed drink, with the result that he forgets friends, family and country, and enters for ever into the Nautch community. Another legend tells of a Rajah, who was so enchanted with the weird music of the wandering people, that he followed it from country to country, forgetful of wife, child, and kingdom, his whole interest being taken up in beating the drum at performances. In time his baby boy grew into manhood, and set himself to seek his father, and restore him to his throne. After endless journeyings and adventures he at last found his royal parent, ragged but picturesque, taking part in a Nautch festival, and after much difficulty persuaded him to return home. There the wisest physicians exerted their skill to restore his memory of his former position, and their efforts being successful, he re-ascended the throne of his ancestors, and reigned many years, his wanderings with the Nautch people fading from his mind entirely.

The same kind of little bells which are hung round the ankles of the Nautch dancers are used for more practical purposes by Indian post-runners, who tie[Pg 70] them in strings to the end of poles; thus the bells, being kept in constant motion, announce the coming of the news carrier. At the same time they serve to scare away wild beasts when the runner is passing through lonely forests or jungles where danger lurks in the quivering grasses.

In ancient days the Aztecs and Teztucans of Central America were wont to hang clusters of similar tiny bells outside temples and towers, which, as they were swayed by the wind, kept up a musical sound. One of these, found in Mexico, may be seen in the British Museum; it bears the name of Yotl. The actual bells, which are nearly round, are very similar to the Schellen, or horsebells, used in Northern Europe when driving sledges over the silent snow.

The Pungi or Jinagooi is used by jugglers and snake-charmers all over India. A bottle-shaped gourd is the chief feature in its construction and forms the centre and mouthpiece. Two pipes of cane are cut to form reeds and inserted into the large end of the gourd; one, pierced with finger-holes, takes the melody; it is accompanied by the other, which always sounds the key-note, and produces a curious droning sound not unlike that of the bagpipes.

Helena Heath.


In Stow's History of London, the following singular extract is given:—

'Nicholas Wilford, an alderman, having neglected to have his cloak, which he ought to use in the procession, lined with fur, it is adjudged by the Court of Aldermen that the Lord Mayor and Aldermen shall all breakfast with him. This penalty is awarded as a punishment for his meanness.'



SHIP of the moon, good-bye, good-bye!
Where, where do you sail away,
Through miles and miles of stormy sky,
By cloudland cape and bay?
O ship of the moon, beware, beware,
Of many and many a danger there!

See! white foam breaks along the reef!
The angry tempests blow;
The cloud-waves beat the cloudland cliff
Like gusts of drifting snow.
O ship of the moon, beware, beware,
There's many a danger lurking there!

She's near the rocks! She's sinking now!
The light is growing dim.
Wild billows leap her silver prow
On the horizon's rim.
And louder still the tempest blows;
The shadows darker fall;
Into the cloud-world depths she goes—
Mast, rudder, sails and all,
Wrecked in the ocean of the sky:
Ship of the moon, good-bye! good-bye!


(Continued from page 63.)

As soon as Georgie was disposed of, the other children set off racing each other about, up and down the old disused part of the house, the empty passages echoing to the sound of their fun and laughter.

'Alan,' said Marjorie, when, breathless and somewhat tired, the three explorers had reached a small turret room into which was shining a ray of sunshine from a rift in the clouds—'I wonder if you would laugh if I told you something.'

Estelle had climbed on a chair and was leaning out of the narrow window, with a longing for the fresh, sweet air outside; Alan was tapping all the panelling to see if any discoveries were lying in wait for him.

'Why should I laugh?' he returned, in a preoccupied voice.

'Please don't, then. I really and truly saw some men creeping round the tower!'

'No!' cried Alan, startled into interest at once.

'Yes, I did. You know there is no reason for anybody to go there. It's never used, and the shrubs are only trimmed once a year, because Auntie doesn't like people about there often.'

'You didn't see who it was?'

'No; I only saw their backs. They were stooping, as if to hide themselves.'

'Did they wear dark, long cloaks?' asked Estelle, suddenly, turning round from the window.

'Yes, with dark caps.'

'Then I have just seen them go under the tower, with a bag and a basket.'

Alan looked from one to the other in silence. Should he speak? Did he dare to trust them? It seemed time to act, but what was he to do without more knowledge than he possessed at present? Was it not possible to gain it—now, even? The men were below somewhere, doing something. They had probably taken advantage of the rain, and the consequent absence of the family and gardeners from the grounds. No one would dream of being out on such a day, and the prospect from the windows was too uninviting to fear many watchers. Alan felt sure this was the way the men had reasoned; and it was clearly his policy to keep them in ignorance of their nearness to the party of children, and yet to manage somehow to watch their movements. If only the girls could help him! He thought he could depend on Marjorie. But Estelle was quite different—nervous and imaginative. Alan knew this, but he could not ask her to leave him and Marjorie to track these men; nor could he propose to her to come with them—the danger of betrayal was too great. Of course, she might keep quiet; but then, again, she might not.

'I tell you what,' he said at length, looking at the two girls, who were watching him anxiously, 'you two had better stay here, and I will go down and have a look round. If I don't come back soon—say in five or ten minutes—don't wait for me, but go down and amuse yourselves. I will be back as soon as I can.'

'Let me go with you,' said Marjorie, earnestly. 'Two are better than one, and you know you can trust me.'

He had expected this, but before he could reply, Estelle broke in with, 'And can't you trust me, too, Alan?'

'The fact is,' he answered, somewhat in doubt how to act, 'I don't know what we shall see; or what will happen if we are seen. It is most important we should not betray ourselves; and in order to manage this, we must keep very, very quiet. Whatever happens, there must be no noise, not even a whisper. Suppose you were frightened, what would you do, Estelle? Don't you think you had better go to the schoolroom, and wait for us? Marjorie can go with you if you like, but, as she says, two are better than one.'

Tears came into Estelle's eyes, but she said, with a good deal of resolution in her gentle voice, 'If you wish, I will go to Aunt Betty. Georgie is with her. I don't want to be in your way. But though I'm not as brave as Marjorie, I can keep quiet, and I—I think you could trust me not to scream or make a noise. If I feel inclined to, I will creep away.'

'All right,' replied Alan. He was fond of his little cousin, and could not bear to see her distressed. 'Come along, then; only remember this, there must be no talking, no moving about, and you must do what I tell you directly without any questions. Will you both promise?'

This little matter settled, the three children set off on their way clown the narrow spiral staircase, at the bottom of which Alan, who led the way, stopped in order to assist the girls over some rotten boards. The whole passage required careful walking, to avoid dangerous holes, and thin, dry-rotting boards.

The lower they went the darker it grew, and the more cautiously they had to tread, till at last they came to such a gloomy region that seeing their footsteps became impossible. Yet they dared not light a match. They must almost have reached the cellars when Alan felt he had come against a door, and whispered to the others to stop. Feeling about with his fingers he encountered a latch, and in another moment the light was shining in on them through a slit-like groove in the thick walls. The stairs still went down, down, much to their disappointment, but no thought of giving up occurred to any of them. They followed each other noiselessly, Estelle the last of the three, when suddenly, just as they had reached a sort of circular stone hall, they heard the grating sound of a door being forced open on rusty hinges. In an instant Alan had drawn the girls back into the shadow of the winding stairs, where they could all remain without betraying their presence. Estelle, being the farthest back, could see nothing, for which she was duly thankful; but Marjorie and Alan sat as still as mice, their eyes on the opening door.

Two men were seen to enter, and, after closing the door, they proceeded to light a lantern. They evidently felt quite safe here, for they did not even[Pg 71] lower their voices. A bag of tools was laid on the floor, and now came the moment of danger. Uncertain which of the doors round the stone hall was the one they wanted, they began a tour of inspection, turning the brilliant light of the lantern on each as they came to it. Alan saw that they must pass the foot of the staircase, and that they would certainly bring the lantern to bear on it. This would reveal Marjorie and himself sitting there. With a touch, he drew Marjorie's attention to the danger, and, in an instant, Estelle was made aware of the necessity of going higher up in order that the others might slip out of sight. It was an anxious moment, however, for what if the men took it into their heads to mount the stairs?

Alan listened with strained ears, but, as far as he could make out, they were intent on finding some mark which indicated the door they were in search of. He was comforting himself with this when he saw, by the sudden light on the wall, that the lantern was turned on the stairs.

'Sure it is down here?' said a gruff voice in a surly tone, 'It's no use our going on a wild-goose chase. We are below ground here, and it's not unlikely the door is above-stairs, more on a level with the house.'

'We have not been round them all down here yet,' came the reply in the voice of Thomas. 'I don't know the door any better than you, but we can look till we find it.'

'And if it isn't down here, why we will just go up. I suppose there's no danger of folks coming down the stairs and spying on us?'

'Bless you, it isn't every one has the courage to come here at all. It is haunted, they say; but I don't believe in that sort of ghosts. Come along, and let's finish the hall first.'

With that they moved away, and the stairs were again in deep shadow. Alan indicated to Marjorie that she was to stay where she was. He himself resumed his old seat lower down, whence he could view all that took place.

Slowly and cautiously the men continued their investigations, but apparently with no success. The doors were all precisely alike, all of solid oak, and heavily studded with great nails. The locks looked as if they would take hours—perhaps days—to pick, and to attempt to open them in any other way appeared to be hopeless. After some angry discussion, it was at length determined to mount the stairs and try to find the door they wanted. Alan was on his feet at once, ready to dart out of sight as soon as needful, when suddenly there was a hideous baying and barking at the door by which the men had entered, and almost before the children were aware of what had happened, the two men were flying up the stairs in the hope of avoiding pursuit. The dogs had been let loose, and were on the track of the invaders.

In a panic Alan fled up the stairs, the two girls before him, only just so far ahead as to keep out of sight, aided happily by the darkness, for the lantern had been put out.

How long they could keep ahead had yet to be seen.

(Continued on page 74.)[Pg 72]

"The men began a tour of inspection." "The men began a tour of inspection."

[Pg 73]

[Pg 74]

"Marjorie was bending over Estelle." "Marjorie was bending over Estelle."


(Continued from page 71.)


The three children fled upstairs. The terror which lent wings to their feet grew into a panic as they flew. Perhaps the one who felt it most was Estelle. Her imagination pictured all sorts of terrible things. She was sure that the dogs, in their fury, would not recognise them, and that they would be torn to pieces. Marjorie, though her heart beat quickly, kept her senses under control, and even showed coolness enough to whisper back: 'Give them some place to escape to, Alan; they will follow us if you don't.'

The wisdom of this advice was soon shown. Acting upon it, Alan flung open the door of a room he knew to be unfurnished and empty. It did not delay him a second of time, but it gave him a courage which surprised himself. Slackening his pace so as just to keep out of sight, he stopped now and again to take a glance behind him: he was determined to see what the two men intended to do. Meantime, the door into the cellars had been forced, men and dogs tumbling over each other as the lock gave way to the united strength of the party outside. The children could hear the bay of the hounds as they bounded towards the stairs. The two girls fled on in breathless haste, but Alan had no fears that the dogs would not recognise him. Besides, he was intent on the actions of Thomas and his friend.

The howls of the dogs acted like magic on the two men. They rushed up the stairs, without a single glance behind. The danger was too pressing to allow any delay for making plans of escape. The door Alan had thrown open seemed to them the way to safety; the cheerful light of day, which shone through the begrimed windows, gave a friendly look to the empty room. Alan saw them rush in, close the door softly, and the sound of the faint creak of a rusty bolt assured him the men were safe for a time at least. He had not much leisure to think what he meant to do next, however. The hounds were up the staircase in full cry. Barely had he time to reach a door into a passage, which the girls had left open for him, when one of the dogs flung himself against it with a howl of rage; then stopping a moment to sniff about, and probably discovering that it had missed the scent of the enemy to follow that of a friend, it turned with a fierce bark, and Alan could hear it rushing down the stairs again.

Not till then did Alan perceive, as he turned in his excitement to call to his sister, that she was bending over the figure of Estelle. The little girl had fallen in a heap half-way down the long passage.

'Hullo!' he cried, startled. 'What's the matter?'

'I can't think,' returned Marjorie, looking round with a white face of alarm. 'She is so dreadfully still, and she doesn't seem to hear what I say.'

'Perhaps she's fainted,' said Alan, doubtfully. 'I told you it was rubbish her coming with us; she can't stand anything.'

'But what are we to do? She may be dead.' Tears were in Marjorie's eyes, and she trembled like a leaf.

'I'll go and call somebody,' said Alan, surprised at her terror.

Feeling it would be foolish to detain him, Marjorie said no more, but continued her efforts to wake Estelle. She rubbed her hands, stroked the hair off her face, and raised her in her arms in order to make her more comfortable. But, alas! nothing had the least effect on the unconscious child.

'She ought not to have come with us,' said Marjorie, half aloud, as she kissed her cousin's forehead tenderly. 'She isn't as tough as we are, and, oh! I do hope the fright hasn't killed her! Estelle! Estelle dear! Do wake up. There is no danger now. We are quite safe here; we are indeed, if only you would believe it.'

But there was no sign of consciousness; not a word she said was heard.

'I wish I had some water,' sighed Marjorie. 'I am sure a little cold water would make her wake, and refresh her. I know it always woke me when Alan put the cold sponge on my face, on those horrid winter mornings when he would go out early into the snow.'

Her cousin's fainting-fit, and the dread of what it might mean, had driven all recollection of the men and dogs, and their own escape, clean out of her head. Her only fear was that little, delicate, nervous Estelle might have been killed by all that had happened. Could she be dead? She was so terribly limp and still. Oh, if there were only something she could do! Anything would be better than sitting waiting for somebody to come. Yet the thought of leaving her cousin never so much as occurred to her. She bent over her again, and began rubbing the soft little hands with greater energy, till the sound of hastening footsteps gladdened her heart.

'A whole lot of them are coming,' Alan called out as he ran up the passage. 'Father, and Aunt Betty, and Mademoiselle, and the whole lot of them. Is she any better? I say, is she insensible still?' His face became alarmed and grave. 'What a fool I was to let her come with us!'

There was no time for lamentations, however. Colonel De Bohun and Mademoiselle were running towards them, followed by Aunt Betty herself, looking pale and anxious. There was no lack of helping, loving hands now to carry the unconscious little girl to where she could receive every attention. Colonel De Bohun lifted her in his arms, and Aunt Betty, finding that cold water and strong smelling salts had no effect, desired that she should be taken to her own room and the doctor sent for.

'Come with me,' said Alan, when he and Marjorie were left alone. 'It's no use crying. I'm awfully cut up too, but I do believe it isn't anything more than a faint. Estelle will be all right, you see. It is hard luck her fainting like that, for we had got out of the scrape jolly well. Don't you think so?'

'Oh, yes!' returned Marjorie, still feeling rather shaky with the fright she had had about her cousin. 'If only Estelle had not fainted, it would have been very exciting and jolly fun.'

'So it was! You come along to the turret, and let's talk this over. I've a heap to tell you, but'—and he gazed earnestly into her face—'you will promise you won't say a word till I give you leave?'

Marjorie promised, and the brother and sister betook themselves to the little turret chamber. There was an ancient oak settle at one end of the dingy little room, which had a horsehair cushion, rather worn and threadbare, but still comfortable.

(Continued on page 87.)



AM only a poor little Daisy,' it said,
'Not tall like the Lily, nor like the Rose red;
'Mid the flowers of the wealthy I never am seen,
I have only to blossom each day on the green.

'The Violet has fragrance, the Rose and the Pink;
The Primrose is sweet by the river's green brink;
The gold of the Cowslip is bright on the sea—
All these have a sweetness not granted to me.'

But into the meadows a child strayed one day,
She passed by the Lily and Rose on the way;
Nor gathered the Primrose, the Violet blue,
But went to the field where the small Daisy grew.

And all through the hours of that bright sunny day,
Where the sweet Daisy blossomed she lingered to play;
And the Daisy was glad when, at even's soft fall,
She said that its blossom was sweetest of all.



My first is very rapid; my second is a beautiful tree; and my whole is used for cement.

C. J. B.

[Answer on page 115.]

Answers to Puzzles on Page 51.

2.—Locke.          Wordsworth.        Swift.
Bacon.          Steele.            Scott.
Burns.          Lamb.              Goldsmith.

3.—1. Hereford.    3. Denver.        6. Pekin.
2. Venice.      4. Milan.        7. Bergen.
5. Berlin.


Crocodiles are very plentiful on the shores of the vast lakes of Central Africa, and the English people living in those parts do not seem to mind them much. One lady wrote home a few weeks ago: 'We went for a swim in Lake Nyasa yesterday. The water was beautifully blue and warm. We took three of our native school-girls to drive away the crocodiles.'

One of the crew of the mission steamer, Chauncy Maples, lately found eighty-seven crocodile eggs in a hole on the beach near Likoma; the mother, after laying them, had covered them all over with sand, and then had gone away and left the eggs to be hatched by the hot sun. The man took some of the eggs and soon was able to announce, proudly, that he had 'sixteen little crocodiles on board, all healthy and snappy!'

On landing at a mission station some days later, five of these little crocodiles were sent up in a paraffin tin to be inspected by the mission ladies, who pronounced them to be 'charming little beasts.'[Pg 75]



We meet people now and then who tell us that, in these scientific days, all the poetry and mystery of Nature is being destroyed. This is not only untrue, but stupid. All that science has done is to substitute truth for legend, and truth is generally more beautiful and wonderful than fiction. Those who will turn to the great Book of Nature humbly, and with an open mind, will learn nothing but what is helpful and good to know.

The story which I am now about to relate is full of strangeness, far more so than our forebears ever suspected. Thus, in many parts of rural England even to-day, if you ask old grey-beards where eels come from, they will tell you that they grow out of the hair dropped from the tails of horses which come to drink at the horse-pond. After long soaking these hairs, they say, become endowed with life, and turn to worms known as 'hair-eels,' because they are so thin. In course of time they grow into fully developed eels!—and this was solemnly believed, even by educated people, throughout the length and breadth of the land, until a few years ago.

The true story is not easy to tell, because it had to be put together bit by bit. Thus it began in a suspicion of the truth. So long ago as 1864 a guess was made that certain curious, very rare, and extremely fragile fishes were really young eels, in spite of the fact that they did not in the least resemble eels such as we know; and so the matter rested till 1896, when the guess was confirmed. The little creatures of which we speak are almost transparent, very flat from side to side; they have ridiculously tiny heads, and no fins, except a fringe running from the middle of the back, round the tail, and forwards to the middle of the under surface of the body. They are so transparent that the spine and blood-vessels can be plainly seen against the light. Their strange history was discovered by some scientific men in Italy, who found that sometimes mighty currents boil up from the depths of the Straits of Messina, bringing with them samples of the strange inhabitants of those dark waters, and among these were hundreds of our little fish. Many of these were quite unhurt, and being placed in an aquarium, throve wonderfully; wonderfully in a double sense, for it was found that as they grew older so they grew smaller and smaller. But as they shrank in size, so they became less transparent and more round. At last this topsy-turvy growth came to an end, and they started growing bigger again, and lo! as the days sped on, these strange water-babies slowly revealed themselves: they were young eels! More than this, they proved to be nothing less than 'elvers'—long esteemed the daintiest of dishes by those who prize delicate food.

Thus ends Chapter I. of our story. Chapter II. is scarcely less interesting. The deep sea is the eel's nursery; not deep sea in the ordinary sense, but so deep that no light penetrates. Here, in the stillness and darkness that exceeds that of the darkest night, these little children of Neptune pass their earliest days. By the time they have reached the elver stage,[Pg 76] they have made their way, guided only by instinct, from the deep sea to the surface, and thence to the mouths of rivers; these they ascend in millions, and in their endeavour to get into fresh water, they have to overcome obstacles such as would deter most boys and girls. They climb vertical walls and flood-gates, and even leave the water and wriggle their way overland at night amid the dewy grass till they come to water again. Such migrations have long been known as 'Eel-fairs,' and fishermen at this time take them by the ton. In 1886, for example, more than three tons were taken from the Gloucester district. Now, it takes upwards of fourteen thousand baby eels to weigh a pound; how many eels are there in three tons? There is a sum for you! Those that escape grow up to furnish the 'eel-pies' and stewed eels which some people find so toothsome. In 1885 the annual consumption of eels was estimated to be at least one thousand six hundred and fifty tons, with a total value of 130,000l.

Eels. Eels.
Stages in Growth of young Eel. Stages in Growth of young Eel.

This story would not be complete without Chapter III. This concerns the eel's parents, and it is not without a note of sadness. After living several years in the security of the nice warm mud at the bottom of our quiet streams, they suddenly become seized with the desire to make their way to the sea—a journey full of danger, and full of mystery, for since their ascent as tiny elvers, they have lived apart from the great world of the ocean, and all that it contains. Now they set out, and fishermen, knowing well the time of this journey, spread nets along the route into which thousands rush. Other fish prey on them, and as soon as they reach salt water their enemies increase a hundredfold. Only a remnant reach their destination, and then, after having laid their eggs, fall into a deep sleep from which there is no awakening.

Eel Traps. Eel Traps.

Surely this story is more wonderful than all the yarns of former days, be they ever so old. Truth is stranger than fiction, and much more beautiful.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.[Pg 77]

The Cooking Lesson. The Cooking Lesson.


'Mary, we want to ask a favour.'

'And what is that, Miss May?'

'We want to learn how to cook. Mother said perhaps if we were very good, you would give us a lesson.'

So said little May, the youngest of the Trevor tribe of boys and girls, who were now at home for the holidays.

'Well, if the mistress is willing, I am,' replied the good-natured cook. 'Do the young gentlemen want to learn, too?'

The two boys shook their heads. 'No, no,' cried Guy, the elder; 'too many cooks spoil the broth!'

Mary soon set the girls to work, with the utmost patience and good-humour, giving her lesson meanwhile. The boys, in spite of the laughing remarks which they occasionally made, were immensely interested; as for the girls, they threw themselves[Pg 78] into their task with such a zest that Mary declared, in time, they would all make first-rate cooks.

'I don't believe any one but you, Mary, would have such patience,' said Ellen, one of the maids, as she passed through the kitchen.

'Oh, Mary will have her reward one day,' laughed Elsie; 'you see if she doesn't, Ellen.'

But little did Elsie think, as she said these words, of what Mary's reward would be.

No one looking into the cook's sunny face would dream that she had any sorrow hidden in her heart; but it was so. Her dearly loved and only brother had gone away to sea, many years before, and from that day to this Mary had never heard a word of him. But so unselfish was she, that she would not allow her trouble to shadow any one else around her.

In the afternoon the girls wended their way to the neat little cottage-home where dwelt Mrs. Jones and her children. She was the widow of a sailor, and so poor that but for Mrs. Trevor's kindness she would often have been in great straits. Her face looked quite bright as she welcomed her visitors, and showed them into the back room where she had been sitting at needlework.

'We have brought you some pastry of our own making,' said Elsie, 'and some other things besides.'

'Then it's very, very kind of you, Miss,' was the grateful reply. 'I am well off just now, for I have a lodger for a few days, who pays me wonderfully well. He is a sailor man—a captain, I believe—and he says he once knew my husband. The children are in with him now,' went on the woman; 'he has taken a wonderful fancy to them all.'

Then said little May, who did not know what bashfulness was, 'I wish I might go and see him, too. I should so like to know if he has ever seen the island where Robinson Crusoe was wrecked.'

A peal of laughter greeted May's remark, but nevertheless her request was granted.

Five minutes later she was chatting to the 'sailor man' as if she had known him all her life.

'What do you think we have been doing this morning?' said little May, after busily talking about a host of other things.

'I'm sure I don't know, little Missie,' replied the man.

'You would never guess, I am sure—we have been making pastry!'

'Pastry! have you, indeed?' said the pleasant-faced man, with a smile; 'well, now, that's a thing I could never make.'

'We couldn't have done it by ourselves; Mary helped us, you see,' said truthful May.

'And who is Mary, little Missie, if I may ask?'

'Mary is our cook,' replied the child; 'she is so kind and good-natured. Her real name is Mary Greymore, and—— '

To May's surprise the sailor started to his feet.

'What!' cried he. 'Greymore, did you say?'

'Yes,' said May, looking startled. 'What's the matter, sailor man?'

'Nothing is the matter,' was the reply, given in a voice deep with feeling; 'only, if what you say is true, I have found the sister I have been looking for these many months past.'

Mary's joy at seeing her long-lost brother again was almost beyond words; as for the Trevor family, they were scarcely less excited than she.

It was found that James Greymore had been such a wanderer that none of his sister's letters had ever reached him, and, as Mary herself had long left her native village, the two had been quite out of touch with one another.

'It is all through that lesson in pastry-making,' said Kitty, 'that Mary found her brother. May, very likely, but for that, wouldn't have spoken of Mary at all.'

'Then I was right,' laughed Elsie. 'I said Mary would have her reward, and so she has, and well she deserves it, too.'

M. I. H.



N the middle of the eighteenth century, the Duke of Bridgewater, with the aid of a great engineer named James Brindley, had increased the prosperity of Manchester and Liverpool by constructing a canal to convey merchandise cheaply and easily between them. Enterprising people, seeing the great advantage of the canal, wished to follow this good example, and increase the means of carrying goods from one place to another, if not by canals, by better roads than England possessed at the time.

In different parts of the country it had been found that horses could drag heavier loads if the wheels of the cart were allowed to run on rails made of wood or iron. The knowledge of this fact led certain men connected with the coal-mines of Darlington, in Durham, to propose the building of a tram-line between their town and that of Stockton-on-Tees. But when Mr. Edward Pease, who was the leader in the enterprise, sought to collect money to bear the cost, not twenty people in Stockton would give him their support. The idea of making a metal road over twelve miles of country seemed only matter for laughter, and Mr. Pease was told that he ought not to expect sensible people to spend their money on such a scheme. So Mr. Pease did without the 'sensible people.'

Application for leave to lay the line was made to Parliament, but was refused, the principal opponent being the Duke of Cleveland, who said that the proposed line would go too near one of his fox-covers, and frighten the foxes away. The application, however, was renewed, and was reluctantly granted at last.

In the meantime a young man had called on Mr. Pease to offer his services, and the initial at the head of this article shows his portrait. The young man's name was George Stephenson. He had had some experience, he said, in the laying of railways, and Mr. Pease was so impressed with his honest manner that, in the end, he engaged him on the great undertaking.

George Stephenson was full of suggestions. He pointed out the kind of rails that ought to be used: cast-iron rails were the cheapest, he said, but they could not be relied on, as they often snapped when a heavy load passed over them; and, though he himself was a maker of cast-iron metals, he recommended that another kind, called 'malleable,' should be used. Malleable metal is much tougher than ordinary cast, because, after being poured into the moulds, it is only allowed to cool very slowly, and is not exposed to the air until quite cold. But as the expense of using malleable rails only would be very great, Mr. Pease and his friends decided to use both kinds of rails.

Another of George Stephenson's suggestions was more than even Mr. Pease could seriously entertain. In a private conversation the young man strongly urged that locomotives should be used to drag the coal-trucks instead of horses!

'If you will only come to Killingworth,' said he, 'I will show you an engine I made and have been driving in the colliery yard for more than ten years. It is forty times as strong as a horse, and cheaper in the end.'

Mr. Pease kindly promised that he would accept this invitation some day, but nothing had been said about locomotives in the Act of Parliament, and for the time being things must go on as they were.

The first rail was laid on May 23rd, 1822, and the whole twelve miles of line were ready for traffic, on September 27th, 1825. Three years doing twelve miles! That does not seem very fast, but we must remember that there were rivers to be spanned, and hills to be cut through, and valleys to be crossed by high embankments. And George Stephenson had progressed very much more than twelve miles in these three years. He had taken Mr. Pease to Killingworth, and shown him his engine; he had convinced him it would travel even faster than a horse, and drag a heavier load behind it; and he had won a promise that the railroad between Darlington and Stockton should be opened with a locomotive driven by steam, though he was made to understand that it was only an experiment, and no one really expected it to succeed.

On September 27th, therefore, in 1825, crowds of people streamed along the country roads in the direction of Brusselton, nine miles from Darlington, to see the beginning of this strange experiment. Some were interested, most were inclined to laugh, and many had come with the secret hope of seeing this 'ridiculous engine' blown into a thousand pieces.

At the bottom of a slope the monster stood, puffing and hissing with impatience to show these unbelieving people how mistaken they were. It was a strange-looking machine, quite unlike any of the giants that we know. A large boiler lay full length between four ornamental iron wheels. Out of the front end of the boiler rose a tall and ugly stove-pipe, while over the boiler was a confused collection of rods and levers communicating with the crank of the big wheels. It was called the[Pg 79] 'Locomotion.' George Stephenson stood ready to drive it as soon as the trucks, which a stationary engine was lowering down the slope by means of a wire rope, had been attached to it. In the first of these trucks came the Directors of the Railway Company and their friends, followed by twenty-one trucks (all open to the sky, like ordinary goods-trucks), loaded with various passengers, and finally six more waggons of coal. Such was the first train. A man on horseback, carrying a flag, having taken up his position in front of the 'Locomotion' to head the procession, the starting word was given, and with a hiss of steam, half drowned in the shouting of the crowd, the first railway journey ever made in England was begun.

The man on horseback probably stepped aside before Stockton was reached, for, to the astonishment of everybody, George Stephenson's engine insisted now and then on travelling at the giddy speed of twelve miles an hour, though it was sufficiently modest to do most of the distance at a slower rate. Many trains have travelled since at over seventy miles an hour, and a good many in England do long distances every day at an average speed of well over fifty miles an hour.

When the train steamed into Stockton the number of passengers had greatly increased; they had seized hold of passing carriages, and secured a foothold as best they could.

After that the 'Locomotion' had a distinguished career. Twenty years later it had the honour of opening the railway from Middlesborough to Redcar, and to-day it stands in state on a pedestal in the Bank Top Station at Darlington.

When Parliament gave permission for Mr. Pease's railway, it was ordered that any one should have the use of it who liked to pay for the privilege. Consequently there were soon large numbers who were glad to avail themselves of the opportunity. Carriers fitted suitable wheels to their carts, and drove their horses up and down it, while stage-coach owners offered travellers an easy and comfortable journey on the smooth metals. When we remember that it was only a single line, with side openings every quarter of a mile, we can easily understand that there were frequent quarrels when two vehicles met half-way. Sometimes one of the opponents would be a puffing engine, and if it happened to be dragging a load of coal, back it had to go until the siding was reached, that the plodding horse might pass. To us such a state of things is hard to imagine, but the railway and it possibilities were not thoroughly understood at first. Even George Stephenson did not think it would be very suitable for passenger traffic.

At last the confusion was put an end to by the Company taking entire command of the line, and turning the quarrelsome competitors off it. Then prosperity came.

The twelve miles of railway laid down by George Stevenson has grown to over twenty thousand miles, making about two hundred and fifty miles every year for eighty years. It is pleasant to know that both Mr. Pease and his engineer lived to see more than their greatest dreams realised.

John Lea.[Pg 80]

The first Railway Journey in England. The first Railway Journey in England.

[Pg 81]

[Pg 82]

"'What is the matter?' I asked him." "'What is the matter?' I asked him."


By Harold Ericson.


TIGER is my subject to-night,' said Ralph Denison, when his turn came round again, 'since you said you liked my adventure among the lion-whelps. I don't know exactly why, but I would always rather deal with a lion than with a tiger; he seems somehow to appeal to me, as a fellow-sportsman, more than a tiger does.'

'Hear, hear,' Vandeleur chimed in; 'I quite agree.'

'Though, mind you,' Ralph continued, 'I think the tiger is quite as plucky, taking him all round.'

'As a rule, yes,' said Vandeleur; 'but I have known lions attack a human camp at night, and I don't fancy any tiger would do that, so long as there was a fire burning.'

'Nor a lion either,' laughed Ralph.

'Excuse me, I have known them do it,' said Vandeleur; 'and I will tell you about it one of these evenings.'

'Get on with your story, Ralph,' growled Bobby; 'arguments are against the rules.'

Ralph laughed, and proceeded.

I was in India at the time (he said), and stationed at Fuzzanpore, pretty dull and longing for a change or some sort of excitement to relieve the monotony of my work, when a letter came from a great friend of mine, Charlie Eccles, who sent me an invitation which made my mouth water.

'I'm going on a month's leave,' Charlie wrote, 'shooting; the sport will be mostly snipe and other small game, but there's a chance of tigers. Now, I know you are a busy man—— '

Bobby laughed rudely when Ralph quoted these words. 'I say, Ralph, your friend couldn't really have written that,' he said. 'You a busy man! I can't imagine you ever doing any work!'

Ralph looked offended. 'I should like you to be aware,' he observed, with much majesty, 'that before my uncle left me the income which I now enjoy, I worked very hard indeed as a tea-planter.'

'Sorry,' laughed Bobby—'my mistake. You don't look like a chap who has been overworked; does he, Vandeleur?'

Ralph ignored the jest, and continued his quotation. 'I know you are a busy man,' he repeated, 'but if you could spare the time, and would join me, we should have a rare old time. Start next Friday, and be at Malabad, where I shall meet you, on Monday. Bring as many cartridges as you can lay hands upon, for we shall have plenty of snipe and partridge, whether we come across big game or no.' Charlie then gave me a list of the dâk bungalows at which he might be found at certain dates, in case I should not be able to start upon the day indicated. I meant to start on the Friday as he had suggested, but some of our native workmen went wrong—there was a kind of little mutiny—and I was delayed nearly a week, assisting my partner to arrange matters. When this had been satisfactorily settled, I collected my sporting traps and started, making for the bungalow at which Charlie had intended to put up on the sixth day of his trip.

When I reached my destination, which was a dâk bungalow, or little house built by the Government for the accommodation of Britishers travelling by road between towns which are too far apart to be reached within the day's journey, I found Charlie Eccles was not yet at home. The two servants left in charge at the bungalow reported that he had gone tiger-hunting, a 'bad' tiger having been reported in the district, by which was meant a man-eater—a beast which had killed and eaten a native postman and others, and which Charlie, on his arrival, had been implored to destroy.

The native shikaris or hunters were absent with my friend, I therefore did the best thing possible under the circumstances—I ordered my lunch, and sat down to enjoy it.

It was very hot, and I think I had fallen asleep over the cup of coffee which the servant set before me after my meal, when I was awakened by a sudden uproar from outside, and, starting up, I went out to see what was happening. Down the road I saw several straggling natives—every one of them was running, and every one of them was shouting or crying or blubbering, or what not.

I walked towards them; as yet I had not thought of possible disaster. I met the first man, apparently a beater, for he carried a kind of native drum for striking in the jungle when the tiger is to be moved, and set afoot for the benefit of the sportsman. 'What is the matter?' I asked him. 'What are you and these other fellows howling for?'

The man salaamed, and assumed an expression of the greatest misery. 'The sahib!' he exclaimed; 'the poor sahib—the bad tiger. Alas! how terrible are the misfortunes that happen in the world!'

'Which sahib? is it Sahib Eccles you speak of? What has happened? Stop blubbering, fool, and tell me plainly!'

'He is eaten, sahib—killed and eaten; here comes the chief shikari with the sahib's own rifle—let him tell you.'

The shikari came flying down the road; he saw me and stopped, salaaming very low. 'Benefactor of the people!' he exclaimed. 'Protector of the poor! there has been a calamity, sahib; though you have come too late, I thank the gods that you are here—you can at least find and slay the accursed beast. Oh, miserable man that I am! My good master, Sahib Eccles! so young and so brave, and to die in the teeth of such a beast! oh, woe! woe!'

My heart stood still. Did I dream, or were these men really telling me the dreadful news that poor Charlie had been killed by a tiger?

I could scarcely speak, but I contrived to return to the verandah of the bungalow and to sink upon a chair. The shikari had followed me to the house, lamenting aloud.

'Stop!' I said, angrily. 'Now tell me plainly what has happened.'

The man began his tale. It was to have been a battue, he explained. Natives had come overnight, hearing that a sahib had arrived. They reported that a bad tiger had lived for a month in the jungle, close to the village. It had already killed and eaten three persons, besides destroying many bullocks belonging to the people. 'Unless the sahib comes to our assistance and kills the beast, we are lost—we and our children!' they told him. The Sahib Eccles had been delighted to hear of the tiger; it was just what he most wanted. 'Are there beaters to be had?' he asked. Fifty beaters were found in the surrounding district, but the reputation of the tiger was so bad that all the men and women were very nervous, and the sahib had laughed when told about them, and had said that he did not think they would be of much use if they were so frightened before they went into the jungle.

Nevertheless, the Sahib Eccles chose a tree for himself in a place where he could see well in many directions, and climbed up into the branches, and the beaters were placed at a distance around the place where the tiger was supposed to be lying. The beat began; that is, the natives shouted and banged their drums, and smote the trees with sticks, and produced horrible sounds from many different kinds of instruments; but, almost as soon as the noises began, the tiger suddenly uttered a single, terrible roar, and (said the shikari) nearly all the beaters immediately left for home. The beat ended, there were no more weird noises, and silence fell upon the jungle.

'I was with the Sahib Eccles in his tree,' said the shikari; 'and, first the sahib was very angry indeed, and then he laughed.

'"We shall do no good up here," he said, "for the tiger will not move unless he is driven." He had killed a bullock in the night, and was lazy with much food. "Dare you enter the jungle with me, shikari? You heard where the beast roared—there or thereabouts we know his position. Shall we make an attempt to move him, you and I?"

'There were one or two beaters close at hand. They had not dared to run away because they were in full view of the sahib and of me. "These men shall help us," said the sahib, "if they dare; they shall walk behind us and shout."

'"We will try, sahib," I replied; "but he is a dangerous beast and very crafty."

'"I have two rifles," the sahib said, laughing, "and they are also dangerous beasts."

'So we two climbed down from the tree and spoke to the beaters, who then followed us into the jungle, keeping well behind us. They must not shout, we told them, until told to do so, when we came close to the place where the tiger had roared.

'Then we moved slowly and cautiously into the jungle, looking this way and that, the sahib walking in front and I a few yards behind; and, behold, we had scarcely walked for two minutes when suddenly came three loud noises, almost simultaneously—first a terrible roar from the tiger, then the report of the sahib's rifle, then a shriek from the sahib himself and—— '[Pg 83]

The shikari placed his hands before his eyes as though to shut out some horrible picture, and groaned aloud.

(Concluded on page 98.)


In certain parts of the African desert, where it is too hot for any plants to grow, the ground is in places thickly covered with white snails.

In 1858, a naturalist travelling through this region collected some of the shells from a spot on which it was believed no rain had fallen for five years. These snails' shells were packed away and left untouched until the year 1862, when the naturalist, at home once more, unpacked his shells and placed them in a basin of water to be cleaned. To his amazement, a quantity of healthy living snails were found on the following morning crawling all over his study table!

S. C.



WAS an Almond and a Raisin
In a dish all silver bright,
A Raisin dusky purple,
And an Almond creamy white.

Said the Raisin to the Almond,
'I was once as full of wine
As a dewdrop is of sunlight,
And a glossy skin was mine.'

Said the Almond to the Raisin,
'And I've a tale to tell—
I was born inside a flower,
And I lived within a shell.'

Said the Raisin to the Almond,
'We are both from Southern lands,
And we came once more together,
Having fallen in English hands.

'Don't you think we ought to marry?
I am sure 'twould be as well,
Though I have lost my juices
And you have lost your shell.'

Said the Almond to the Raisin,
'It is my dearest wish.'

That is why you always find them
Side by side within the dish.

F. W. H.


A gatekeeper on one of the German railways kept a goat, and one day, when his wife was ill, he went himself to milk it. But it would not allow him to come near it, as it had not been accustomed to any one but its mistress. At last he determined to put on his wife's clothes, and this plan succeeded admirably. But he had not time to take off his disguise before he heard a train[Pg 84] approaching. He ran out at once, just as he was, and opened the gate, but his appearance caused the passengers to think that he was mad. The case was reported, and an inquiry was made, but on the truth being known, the gatekeeper was praised for his faithful discharge of duty.

H. B. S.

"He ran out just as he was." "He ran out just as he was."


True Tales of the Year 1806.


The long sea voyage was over at last, and the Expedition which had set sail from England[Pg 85] in the previous autumn cast anchor in the bay outside Buenos Ayres on the 26th of May, 1806.

"He seized one of the ladders." "He seized one of the ladders."

This city, the capture of which was the object of the Expedition, lay very dimly outlined in the western horizon, for the sea was too shallow to allow the larger vessels to approach within six or seven miles of the shore, and even when the troops had landed, three miles or more of a perfectly flat plain would have to be traversed before they could arrive at the city itself.[Pg 86]

'Will the Spaniards fight, do you think?' asked Gerald Anstey, a young ensign of marines, as he stood on the deck of H.M.S. Narcissus, and strained his eyes towards the direction of Buenos Ayres.

'I expect so,' answered a brother-officer who was by his side. 'But hallo, Anstey! here is the General's orderly—what is up, I wonder?'

A trim private advanced towards Anstey, and said respectfully: 'The General wishes to see you in his cabin, sir.'

'The General! To see me!' ejaculated Anstey, turning to his friend in utter amazement. 'What can he want with me?'

'To consult you as to the best manner of landing the troops, perhaps,' laughed his friend, for Anstey was the youngest ensign in the regiment. 'But you had better make haste and present yourself, for Sir Popham Horne is not the man to be kept waiting.'

Anstey hurried away. On entering the General's cabin he saluted, and then waited to receive the orders of his commanding officer.

'Mr. Anstey,' said the General, looking up, 'I have sent for you, as junior officer, as I wish you, immediately on landing, to proceed to the Governor of Buenos Ayres and give him these dispatches, proposing to him the unconditional surrender of the town, as I am anxious to prevent useless shedding of blood. You will take a corporal and two men with you as guard, and of course a flag of truce, and I hope you may be successful in your mission.'

'I will do my best, sir,' said Anstey, quietly. Then the General returned to his map, and the young man left the cabin.

Meanwhile, the preparations for landing were being rapidly proceeded with, and some twenty-four hours later men and guns were all safely landed on the sandy shore, and all eager to march towards the city. First of all, however, they had to wait for the return of Anstey, and hear whether his terms had been accepted by the Spanish Governor. Towards sunset the young ensign came back, and great was the excitement among the whole force on hearing that the Governor had refused the terms offered by the British General, and that the march towards Buenos Ayres was to begin at dawn on the following day.

It seemed as if this march would present no great difficulty either to men or guns, as the plain to be traversed was an immense flat, green meadow, which promised an easy road for the cannon. But the 'green meadow,' which proved so satisfactory at first, became softer and looser as they got further inland, and finally it ended in a treacherous bog, which threatened to engulf both men and guns; and to make matters worse, the enemy, entrenched behind some trees at the little village of Reduction, a mile or so away, now opened fire on our troops, as they struggled to get across the morass.

It was soon evident that progress in that direction was an impossibility, and very reluctantly the General gave the order to retreat. But it was almost as impossible to retreat as to advance, for the ground, trodden by the feet of so many men and horses, was now but pulpy mud, in which the gun-carriages sank to their axles.

A British force, however, is not easily discouraged, and the men of all ranks worked with almost super-human energy, till at last the whole army had once more a footing on firm ground.

The General had been invaluable at this crisis; he was here, there, and everywhere where the difficulties were greatest, and was one of the last men to leave the morass, having insisted on seeing all the force safely over. He was then riding alongside the rearguard when his horse staggered, recovered itself for a moment, and then sank with the General heavily into the morass.

'All right! all right!' he called out cheerily to an officer who ran to his assistance; 'I am not hurt in the least.' The next minute, however, he called out in a very different voice, 'Help! help! I am sinking!'

It was indeed true! He had fallen on to a bad patch of marsh. The morass seemed now to be rapidly changing into a quicksand, in which the General and his horse who had gone to his assistance were gradually sinking.

Other men were about to rush in, when they were stopped by the loud tones of Anstey. 'Stop! stop!' he cried energetically. 'You can do no good rushing in like that, you will only get engulfed yourselves. I know these bogs—I have lived in Ireland.'

As he spoke he had seized one of the ladders which were fortunately carried with the force in case they should be wanted for scaling, and holding this out across the oozy patch, he let the General support himself by it for a moment. Then he laid the ladder flat, and crept along it till he reached the still sinking man: he caught him by the arm at once, and started to haul him out. Anstey's strength was well known in the regiment, and perhaps he was the only man who could have dragged out the General by sheer force of arm, but he did it somehow, and the cheers of the men simply rent the air as they saw their loved commander safe once more.

'Thank you, my lad,' said the General simply, as soon as he was on the ladder; 'you saved me from an ugly death. I shall not forget you.'

Nor did he. Later in the day Buenos Ayres was captured, with but slight loss to the British. Four thousand Spanish cavalry fled away inland, leaving the artillery and all the treasures of the city to be the spoil of the army, and that same evening Anstey was once more summoned before the General, and told that to him would be entrusted the honour of conducting to London the precious stones and jewels and the other treasures found in the city coffers.

On September 20th of the same year a strange procession might have been seen passing along Pall Mall to the Bank of England. First of all came eight waggons loaded with gold and precious stones, each waggon being preceded by a Jack Tar carrying a flag with the word 'Treasure' on it. Then came the field-pieces and the Spanish colours captured at Buenos Ayres, and last of all rode Gerald Anstey—the proud guardian of these valuable trophies.

The jewels, stones, and boxes, containing over a million dollars, were deposited at the Bank of England, and the colours and field-pieces were taken to the Tower of London, where those interested in such matters may still see them.

History, however, compels us to state that the capture of Buenos Ayres was but a short-lived triumph, as it was wrested from us in the following year.


(Continued from page 75.)

Having secured the turret door to prevent interruption, Alan drew Marjorie to the settle, and began the story of his adventure in the wood: how he had discovered the secret passage from the cliff into the great cave; how he had lingered that very morning near the old ruined summer-house, and heard Thomas and the other man talking; and how he had seen Peet leave the ruin.

'Now it comes to this,' he wound up. 'Thomas is up to some fishy thing or other, bribed by a greater villain than himself. The question is, what is he up to? Can you guess?'

'If it was burglary,' said Marjorie, sagely, 'what could they possibly want in the ruined summer-house? I have never been into it, but I can't fancy anything of value can be kept there.'

'Yet those two men were hunting just now for the cellar door that led to it.'

'So they were.'

Marjorie sat silent, thinking the problem out. Alan did not interrupt her, so great was his faith in his sister. She often hit on the right clue when they were puzzled over things, and he felt that, even if she could not do so in the present case, it would be a great comfort to be able to talk over each new discovery with her, and have her help when he needed it.

'One thing struck me,' said Marjorie at last. 'When there was that fuss about the summer-house door being open, do you remember how anxious Thomas was to get in? Did you see what a cross look he had all the time Peet was speaking? It was just as if he hated Peet. I wonder if he wants to do him some injury?'

'Hu-um,' pondered Alan, taking in the new idea slowly; 'no one can like that surly old Peet, but doing him an injury is another thing. I expect you have the right end of the thread, but what is it going to lead to? Has Peet anything valuable in the ruin? And if he has—and it seems as if he must have—how can I find out what it is, or where it is? I dislike him, in spite of Aunt Betty calling him a rough diamond; but of course I wouldn't see him robbed or cheated.'

'I should think not, nor anybody else either. But what do you think we ought to do? Why not tell Father about it, and ask him to keep the secret till something turns up? He would find out at once what Peet has in the summer-house.'

But Alan, always inclined to be rather selfish and wilful, thought this would spoil the fun of discovering it themselves, and would not listen to the proposal for an instant.

'We will make a thorough examination of the ruin outside first,' he began; 'that is, as soon as this weather will let us. The whole place will be dripping for a day or two, but I don't mind that.'

A sudden outburst of barks and yelps, accompanied by a clamour of voices, came up from below.[Pg 87] Running to the window, they caught sight of the cause of the shouts and howls. The dogs were being led back to their kennels, and as they were in a savage mood, the men were persuading or forcing them on. To the amazement of the brother and sister, Thomas was with the party, apparently as completely at home as if he had never fled from the hounds.

'I say!' exclaimed Alan; 'I wonder how he managed that?'

'I know,' said Marjorie; 'he probably told them he was running after the other man, but could not catch him. You see the other one isn't there. I expect it was the only way of preventing the servants and dogs going into the room where they took refuge.'

And this is exactly what had occurred. Alan, much impressed with this version of the affair, sprang up, declaring he must go down and hear how it was that the dogs were loose, and had got upon the man's track.

Off he rushed, leaving Marjorie to go downstairs and see how Estelle was. She found Miss Leigh had been looking for her for a long time, and was not in the best of tempers in consequence. Estelle was better, but the doctor desired she should be kept in bed for the remainder of that day, and not run about much for a day or two. No one could understand the cause of the fainting fit, and Marjorie was called upon to explain what they had been doing. They had been playing in the passages, she said, and were on the tower stairs when the dogs burst in. Estelle was frightened, and had rushed into the corridor, and when Marjorie and Alan followed her, she was found lying on the floor. It all sounded very simple. But Marjorie felt very mean and uneasy about the concealment; she felt that it was as bad as telling a lie, and only her promise to Alan, rashly given, kept her from disclosing everything.

'The whole business is most mysterious,' said Colonel De Bohun, in a tone of annoyance. 'How it came about that there was a strange man—a tramp, I suppose—wandering so near the house, I cannot imagine. Thomas saw him, and so did James, most luckily; and Thomas was wise enough to give chase at once, but the rascal seems to have escaped him. He was a nimble sort of a fellow, James says, and it seems that the moment the grooms got wind of it, they let the dogs loose. Lucky none of them were hurt.'

'So this was the way Thomas managed!' thought Marjorie. 'What a sharp fellow he is! Oh, if Father only knew!'

'Has the man gone?' asked Lady Coke, anxiously.

'I should think so. We can't find him, at all events. He knows all the men are on the alert, so I think you are safe, I will remain here if you are nervous.'

It was considered better that he should remain, Lady Coke being old and very frail in spite of her activity and energy of character. Miss Leigh was to take the children home, and explain all that had occurred to Mrs. De Bohun, who was laid up with a cold.

(Continued on page 94.)[Pg 88]

"Alan began the story of his adventure." "Alan began the story of his adventure."

[Pg 89]

[Pg 90]

"The luckless fugitives were dragged forth." "The luckless fugitives were dragged forth."



'Captive among the Moors.' These words used once to account for many a sad gap in the families of southern Europe. We, in these days, can hardly realise the dread in which those pirate vessels were held for hundreds of years, and we find it difficult to believe that not a century ago Christian captives were wearing out their lives in suffering and exile, and the bitterness of hope deferred, in the Moorish stronghold of Algiers.

And it seemed specially hard when a company of Spanish soldiers, who had done great things in the sea fight at Lepanto, were attacked on their homeward journey and carried captive by the very infidels they had so lately conquered.

Arrived at the port of Algiers, the prisoners were awarded to different masters, the poorer ones, from whose friends there was little hope of ransom, being set to the hardest tasks and often cruelly ill-treated, while those of higher rank had an easier service, unless, indeed, the captors considered that the report of their sufferings might bring money to redeem them. The only means of escape from slavery was to embrace the Mohammedan religion, and the renegades who denied their faith often became the most cruel persecutors of their countrymen.

There were two brothers among these Spanish soldiers, sons of a poor though well-born gentleman of Alcara. The younger of these was to make his name, Miguel de Cervantes, famous throughout the world. He had distinguished himself in the wars, and had lost the use of his left hand 'for the greater glory of the right,' as he was wont to say in his joking fashion. But a letter from his great leader, Don John of Austria, which was found about him, convinced his captors that he was a person of importance, and his ransom was fixed at a sum which he knew his father could never pay. After a while, however, his family, by tremendous efforts, scraped together a sum sufficient for the redemption of one brother, and Roderigo, the elder, returned to Spain, Miguel remaining to endure five years' captivity which would have broken any spirit less gallant than his.

The captives dwelt in cells opening upon an oblong courtyard; they were all Christians, and they had at least the comfort of their own services held in one of the little chambers, which was set apart as a church. 'How good it is in this place to say "Our Father which art in Heaven,"' Cervantes makes a little captive boy say in the drama in which he afterwards describes his life in Algiers, and we can see there how the suffering of the children went to the heart of the gallant soldier, who encouraged many a tempted little one to hold firm to his faith. And now and then a strange sight would be seen in the prisoners' quarters, nothing less than a play in rhyme acted by some of the captives, and stage-managed (as we should call it) by Cervantes, who had invented this device to turn the thoughts of his companions for a little while from the miseries of their lot.

But this high-spirited prisoner was not content with merely enlivening his own and his friends' captivity—day and night that active brain of his was plotting escape. One attempt to get away by land failed at once, but with him a failure only meant a fresh start, and he was soon at work again with those bold enough to join him. A slave named Juan, gardener to Hassan Pasha, the Viceroy of Algiers, was induced to contrive a hiding-place in his master's grounds where any of the captives who could contrive to escape so far might conceal themselves until the arrival of a friendly boat on the coast. A cave was hollowed out, all unsuspected by the owner of the garden, large enough to contain fourteen men, and thither one after another of the Christian slaves contrived to make his way. From February to September fugitives were hiding there, fed by stealth by the contrivance of Cervantes, who succeeded in sending information to some of the vessels visiting the port either with merchandise or to treat for the ransom of prisoners.

All had been carefully arranged for the escape, the hour was almost come, when some one proved false: the story leaked out. The prisoners in Hassan's garden, so near, as they believed, to the end of their long waiting, were startled by footsteps and voices breaking the stillness of the warm African night; lights flashed at the mouth of the cave, and with shouts of triumph and threats of horrible penalties the luckless fugitives were dragged forth. But one man stood forward in front of the trembling, despairing group.

'I am the author of the scheme,' cried Cervantes, 'I devised it, I carried it out; on me be the blame; take me before Hassan.'

So before Hassan the intrepid soldier was dragged, heavily manacled and with a halter about his neck. He faced the Viceroy, who was a renegade and a bloodthirsty tyrant, with the same cool, smiling courage with which in the Gulf of Lepanto he had faced the Turkish guns. Once more he repeated his statement that the whole scheme was his; his comrades had but followed his lead, and the penalty was due to him alone.

Why Hassan spared his life it would be hard to say. Scores of men in his position had died by the most cruel tortures for a less offence, while he was only threatened, and kept for a while in chains. Possibly Hassan felt that such a man must surely be ransomed sooner or later, and spared him in hopes of gain. He is said to have remarked, 'If I could keep hold of that maimed Spaniard, I should be sure of my slaves, my ships, and my whole city.'

Nor was he much mistaken, for Cervantes, while the chains were still upon his limbs, was busy with new plots. One more attempt at escape failed through treachery, and the indomitable prisoner conceived a yet more daring project, and contrived to appeal to the King of Spain, begging for armed help, and promising a revolt of the whole slave population. The thing might well have been carried out, for there were something like twenty thousand Christian captives in Algiers, but, alas! King Philip was too busy quarrelling with his neighbours in Portugal to win himself the honour of crushing the pirate city which was the scourge of all Christendom.

And then at last arrived in Algiers Father Juan Gil, a good monk, whose work it was to collect and carry to Africa the ransom money for some of the captives, and with him he brought three hundred ducats, scraped together with sore pains and privations by the mother and sister of Cervantes, to purchase his freedom. Hassan, however, would have none of such a paltry sum; even when it was increased to five hundred he demanded double the amount, and as his viceroyalty in Algiers was just over, he declared his intention of taking the Spanish slave with him to Constantinople.

So good Father Juan, feeling that it was now or never, went from one to another of the merchants trading along the coast, and, begging and borrowing right and left, made up the required sum. On the very day fixed for the Viceroy's departure, the good Father bore the ransom in triumph to Hassan, and Miguel de Cervantes was a free man. He carried back with him to Spain the love and gratitude of many a fellow-sufferer, and I think that much of the kindly humour, the hopeful courage and patience with other people's follies, which has made the author of Don Quixote the friend of the whole world, must have been learned in the hard school of his Moorish captivity.

Mary H. Debenham.


May and Ada were thinking. That is how they would have described their long fit of silence one Saturday afternoon. They were alone in the room which did duty for dining-room, schoolroom, and everything else; but they were quite used to being left to themselves. Mother and Jane had always lots to do, and the little girls were often troubled about this, and talked of the time when they would be able to help.

'May, I have thought,' cried Ada, suddenly.

'Have you?' said May, slowly. 'I haven't. But you're always quicker than I am, Ada.'

'Well, I have thought. I am sure Grannie and Grandfather would come and live with us always if Mother had more money.'

'Oh! I know that part,' cried her sister. 'That's what we started to think about.'

'Don't be in such a hurry,' said Ada, reprovingly. 'We want to get the money. Well, you know the dear little pincushions we made for Aunt Ellen's bazaar, and how she said they were sold directly?'

'Of course I do, but—— '

'Well, let's make lots of them, and go out and sell them. I know we shall have to make lots and lots, but they won't take long to sell, and then we shall have plenty of money for Mother. Perhaps she would get another Jane, too, then she wouldn't have so much to do. Well?' and Ada stopped, a little breathlessly, and waited for her sister to say something.

'It sounds quite splendid,' said May; 'but do you think that Mother would like us to sell for ourselves? The bazaar seems different.'

'But we mustn't tell her,' cried Ada. 'The surprise will be the best part. Think how pleased she will be! She's always glad when we do something[Pg 91] for her when she doesn't expect it. I am sure it is the very thing. I was thinking hard for ever such a long time, but nothing else would do. We are too small to go out and work to get money—— '

'And Mother couldn't spare us,' cried May. 'Besides, you forget our lessons.'

'And we do not knit very well yet. At least we could never finish a sock unless Mother helped us, and then she would know. But, May, hadn't you thought at all?'

'I am afraid I hadn't, and I did try so hard. But that doesn't matter,' said May, who was accustomed to follow her younger sister's lead. 'Let's start making directly, Ada. Have we any bits of silk left?'

'Plenty; and I've got some cards cut. We can get one or two done before tea.' And the two little girls were soon as silent over their work as they had been over their 'thinking.'

For the next few weeks they were continually to be seen cutting circles out of old postcards, covering them with silks, and sewing them together. Mother teased them sometimes about their 'Pincushion Factory,' but she was glad to see them happy and busy, especially as spring was coming in 'like a lion,' with day after day of gales and storms, which made walks impossible. Jane was rather inquisitive about their doings, and a little hurt at not knowing their secret. She was accustomed to be told all about their 'thinking,' and to have a share in all the wonderful plans that Ada invented and May followed; but neither of the sisters would explain why so many pocket pincushions were wanted all at once. 'It isn't another bazaar,' said Jane, to herself, 'or Mistress would have told me. It's just some new fad Miss Ada's got hold of. I dare say it's all right. They are as good as gold, those two, and the pincushions can mean no harm.'

'Three dozen exactly,' said Ada, one bright Saturday morning, 'and every colour that any one could want. We shall make a lot of money! We must begin selling them to-day, May.'

'Must we?' said May, rather dubiously. Somehow that part of the business did not quite please her. She had been glad that the stock took so long to accumulate, and that the business of selling did not begin at once.

'Yes, indeed. We're going to the baker's for Mother this morning. She said we might, because Jane's too busy. So we will take some out with us. Aunt Ellen got sixpence each for hers at the bazaar.'

'But can we?' said May. 'Let's ask threepence. They are very small, you know. How many will your pocket hold, Ada?'

Two little girls left Grove Villa an hour later. They were neatly dressed in dark blue, with a bright red ribbon round their sailor-hats, and there was a spot of bright colour on each of the four cheeks, telling of the excitement in the little minds. Ada was eager to begin, but May almost hoped that no likely buyers would be met with.

'Shall we ask the baker?' she whispered, as they drew near his shop.

'No, I don't think so,' said Ada, uncertainly. 'I don't quite know, but I don't believe that a baker wants pocket pincushions. I would rather ask some[Pg 92] one who doesn't know us. Gentlemen are best because they have waistcoat pockets to slip them into.'

"'Please, sir, will you—would you buy a pincushion?'" "'Please, sir, will you—would you buy a pincushion?'"

But there are not many gentlemen to be seen in a London suburb in the morning on Saturday, or any other week-day, and the sisters had walked farther down the High Road than they imagined before a likely buyer came in sight.[Pg 93]

'There's a gentleman,' said May, in a very shaky voice. 'You ask him, Ada—you.'

'Please, sir, will you—would you buy a pincushion?' stammered Ada. The pincushion factory was all very well, but the selling part did not seem so pleasant, now that she had come to the point.

'And what should I want with a pincushion?' said some one far above their heads, so gruffly that Ada longed to run away, and May, somehow, found that tears were very near.

'And what may you be doing here alone with your pincushions?' went on this terrible voice; but it was not so gruff this time. There was something in it which they thought they had heard before. Looking up, who should it be but their father's Irish friend, Mr. O'Brien, whom they were trying to capture for their first customer!

'Oh!' cried Ada, 'it's you!' and the whole story came tumbling out in such a confused way that Mr. O'Brien had nearly taken them back to Grove Villa before he quite understood it.

Mother, too, was very much puzzled. 'No, I don't say it was naughty, my dears, but you had better not have surprises out of doors again,' she said. 'But what made you think of it at all, Ada?'

'But Grannie and Grandfather could live here if they wanted to, only the country is better for them,' she explained, when the little girls had told her the reason of their 'factory.' 'Yes, you do hear me say we can't afford things, but they are things we don't really need. You always have all you want, don't you? Don't worry your little heads about money, then, and promise me one thing—never to go a step farther than I send you when you go out alone! You might have been lost if Mr. O'Brien hadn't met you!'

'Indeed we will not, Mother darling!' cried the two in one breath.

'And I think,' said May, soberly, 'we will tell Jane or somebody about our next surprise, and then we shall know whether it is all right.'

E. S. S.


"I held  a long stick for him to hook on." "I held a long stick for him to hook on."

Waterton, the famous naturalist, has told us concerning his doings with a sloth when he was going through a forest near the River Essequibo. He says: 'I saw a large sloth on the ground upon the bank. How he had got there nobody could tell. My Indian said he had never surprised a sloth in such a situation before. He could hardly have come there to drink, for both above and below the place the branches of the trees touched the water, and[Pg 94] afforded him an easy and safe access to it. Be this as it may, though the trees were not above twenty yards from him, he could not make his way through the sand in time to escape before we landed. As soon as we came up to him, he threw himself on his back, and defended himself with his legs.

'"Come, poor fellow," said I to him, "if thou hast got into a hobble to-day, thou shalt not suffer for it. I will take no advantage of thee in misfortune. The forest is large enough both for thee and me to rove in. Go thy way alive and enjoy thyself in the wilds; it is probable thou wilt never have another interview with man, so fare thee well!"

'After this I took up a long stick which was lying there, held it for him to hook on, and then conveyed him to a high and stately tree. He ascended with wonderful rapidity, and in about a minute he was almost at the top. He now went off in a side direction, and caught hold of the branch of a neighbouring tree; next he went towards the heart of the forest. I stood looking on, amazed at his singular mode of progress. I was going to add that I never saw a sloth take to his heels in such earnest, but the expression will not do, for the sloth has no heels.'

The Indians of Guiana declare that the sloth travels chiefly when the wind blows. During calm weather the animal is still, but if a breeze rises, the branches of the trees generally become interwoven, and he can pursue his journey safely from branch to branch. Should a wind blow, as it often does, after ten o'clock in the morning till sunset, a sloth will manage a good distance without resting.

Seldom, unless perhaps by accident, is a sloth seen upon the ground. There its movements do seem laborious and painful. Its home is amongst trees, and its favourite position not on, but under, the branches. Off the trees it obtains the various insects which are its food, and escapes the danger of being seized by most beasts of prey. When the sloth is at rest under a branch, it has been noticed to make a sort of purring sound, expressing pleasure, though at times one is heard uttering a plaintive shriek, possibly telling of discontent.

The head of the sloth is small and round. It is well clothed with shaggy hair, and the fore-legs are long and strong. While quite young, the little sloth is carried about by its mother.



HE longest night—so people say—
Follows the short December day;
And if by hours you count the night,
Then surely what they say is right.

But years, and years, and years ago,
When I was very young, you know,
The longest night, I'm bound to say,
Followed the shortest month's last day.

That night I always lay awake,
And longed to see the morning break,
And sunshine through the window burst,
For I was born on March the First.

I heard the big clock—stiff and stark—
Sedately ticking in the dark,
And when I murmured: 'Hurry, do!'
It made reply by chiming 'Two.'

And on from hour to hour it seemed
I dozed, I waked, I thought and dreamed
Of pleasures mine—an endless sum—
If March the First would ever come.

And yet the morning's earliest peep
Would always find me fast asleep:
So fast asleep that at my door
They called and called me o'er and o'er.

So, since that time I've learned, my dear,
The longest night in all the year
Is that on which we lie awake,
Impatient for the dawn to break.


(Continued from page 87.)


'Where's Estelle?' cried Alan, bursting into the schoolroom at the Moat House a few days later. 'I'm so sorry, Mademoiselle, for startling you like that, but I thought Estelle was sure to be here.'

'She has gone to the Bridge House,' answered Mademoiselle, with an indulgent smile.

She was quite prepared for any amount of interruption and noise during the holidays, since Alan always brought a lively, breezy air with him, in his delight at being home again, and free from school work.

'Estelle is taking some grapes and roses to Dick Peet,' continued Mademoiselle. 'He seemed very weak and poorly when we passed yesterday, and she has so wanted to do something for him. He's a sad wreck, poor fellow!'

'Poor chap! It's hard lines on him. I will cut down and catch Estelle before she leaves the Bridge House.'

He was off, and Mademoiselle heard his fleet steps in the corridor a moment. Then she saw him going at full speed down the drive, so brimming over with health and spirits, so keen in the enjoyment of life and activity, with a future before him so rose-coloured and fortunate, that she could not but contrast him with that poor broken specimen of humanity, Richard Peet, the gardener's son. A contrast to him, indeed, were the children as they stood together in the little garden at the Bridge House. Dick, seated in his armchair, was looking at them in his peaceful, half-sleepy way. A handsome fellow he must have been in the days of health and prosperity. Even now, though he was paralysed in brain as well as in limbs, there was a wonderful expression of goodness and patience in his worn face.

'Are you well to-day?' asked little Georgie, putting his hand on the invalid's knee, and looking up into his face with his blue eyes full of childish sympathy.

Dick smiled. Getting better every day,' replied he, in the indistinct accents of the partially paralysed.

Estelle was arranging her flowers on the little table at his side, and Marjorie had gone to speak to Mrs. Peet.

The house was close to the old drawbridge, and its garden sloped down to the waters of the moat. Shining like silver in the bright sunshine, the waterlilies were resting on their broad leaves, and two swans were sailing in stately beauty. The summer sun had banished all signs of the thunderstorm, and Dick's chair had been placed near the elms overhanging the water. It was a pretty, well-kept garden, and a very old-world house, with a deep porch, overgrown with honeysuckle and clematis—a home not to be despised by any one. The rooms were of good size and well furnished, and everything had been done which could make Dick happy and comfortable in his misfortune.

'Better!' said Mrs. Peet, who came down the lawn with Marjorie, and had heard Dick's reply to Georgie's question, 'It's not the sort of getting better that we understand. He is a bit weaker, if anything. Perhaps 'tis the heat tries him. My poor Dick!' she went on, putting her apron to her eyes, 'he will never be better in this world, that's what I says, though it does make his father angry.'

'Is he angry?' said Estelle. 'Why?

'He thinks it is hard on us, is poor Dick's illness. It is hard! But it seems to me we have much to be thankful for, specially in my lady's goodness to us in our affliction.'

'I think it's worse for Dick than for any one else,' declared Alan, who had joined the group; he could not imagine a more terrible life than the one of utter helplessness to which Dick was condemned.

'So it is,' returned Mrs. Peet, with a heavy sigh, as she gazed at her son with tears in her eyes, 'and he is so patient! Why, you never so much as hear a grumble, nor a fret! Now, what do you think his great wish is—what he is always wanting, miss?'

'If it is anything we can do—— ' began Marjorie.

'That it isn't, miss, nor nobody else. He wants some news of the man what done him the mischief. Dick's that soft. And—and, well, he is an angel. His father don't understand it, but Dick has really forgiven that man. He's downright anxious to hear how that rascal's been getting on.'

'Why should he care about that?' said Alan, who knew very little of Dick's story.

'He's afraid that the man thinks he's killed him, and that perhaps he's made wickeder than he was before,' answered Mrs. Peet, shaking her head. 'He said he'd die satisfied if he could hear that the fellow had repented.'

'Perhaps he will some day,' said Estelle, looking with pity at Dick's face.

''Tisn't likely, Miss. We shall never be likely to meet Dick's enemy; don't you believe it! But it pleases him to think he will, so I don't gainsay him.'[Pg 95]

'I shall hope he will,' returned Estelle, as her cousins made a move to go back to the gardens.

The children were to have tea on the lawn with Lady Coke, and they could see preparations even now being made for it. They did not often have such a treat: Lady Coke, sweet and loving as she always was to her great-nephews and nieces, was too old and delicate to indulge in their companionship for very long at a time. The children were on their quietest behaviour with her, but the little voices tired her unconsciously, and she would not spare herself while they were with her.

Lord Lynwood, Estelle's father, and Colonel De Bohun were brothers and nephews to Lady Coke, while Mrs. De Bohun was the niece of Sir Horace Coke, Lady Coke's husband, who had died many years ago. This close relationship on both sides, and the nearness of the two properties, made the two households almost like one. Colonel and Mrs. De Bohun were deeply attached to their aunt, and glad to take counsel with her in the bringing up of their children. Lady Coke, in her turn, was very dependent upon them for companionship, her own sons being away on foreign service.

A merry party the children made. The laughter and chatter were as free and happy as Aunt Betty loved to hear it. The adventure in the tower appeared to interest them more than anything else, and very wild were the guesses as to what the man could have wanted. But when Aunt Betty ventured to express some admiration for Thomas' bravery, to her astonishment she was met by silence on the part of the two greatest talkers, Alan and Marjorie. The latter almost at once turned the subject by asking how Aunt Betty supposed the man managed to escape. Aunt Betty had no ideas to suggest. Alan frowned at Marjorie, but she went on quite serenely.

'Do you know, Auntie, what the summer-house contains? Peet keeps the place locked up as if he had something of value there. I wish you would let us go and see. Father says it is dangerous because of the falling of stones from the roof, but if it is safe for Peet, and the stones don't crash down on his head, why should they on ours?'

'I think it would be a good lesson if they did knock him over for once,' said Alan, grimly.

'I know he is trying at times,' said Lady Coke, in her soft, gentle voice, 'but he is a sterling old man all the same, and it is a pity you cannot let him alone.'

'He won't let us alone, Aunt Betty,' said Alan, 'and he is cheeky too. I suppose we do worry him a bit,' he added, as recollections came to him of the havoc made with the tidy paths, or the injury to shrubs when hunting for lost balls after games of tennis.

'We went to see Dick just now,' said Estelle, 'and oh, Auntie, what a dreadful thing it seems that he should have become like that! Mrs. Peet told us a little about him, and how good he is.'

'Perhaps,' answered Lady Coke, 'you would all feel more kindly towards Peet if I were to tell you how sadly he has suffered. Almost as much as his son, only in another way.'

(Continued on page 102.)[Pg 96]

"'Are you well to-day?' asked Georgie." "'Are you well to-day?' asked Georgie."

[Pg 97]

[Pg 98]

"Charlie Eccles half lay, half sat upon the ground." "Charlie Eccles half lay, half sat upon the ground."



(Concluded from page 83.)

'I waited a moment (continued Denison) in order to give the shikari time to recover himself. I can tell you that I was not feeling at that moment much more cheerful than the poor fellow himself, who had evidently witnessed some terrible calamity to my poor friend, Charlie Eccles. I waited on tenterhooks; then I could bear the suspense no longer.'

'Did the tiger then spring upon the Sahib and kill him?' I faltered. 'Where is the Sahib's body?'

'Alas!' said the shikari, 'who can tell! Listen, Protector of the Poor. The Sahib Eccles shrieked, for the great yellow beast—may he lead a life of pain!—sprang upon him, as you say. The Sahib's bullet had struck but not killed him. He bore the Sahib to the earth, and lay for a moment upon him, the Sahib crying out once and twice again. With the Sahib's second gun I fired into the body of the beast, but whether I hit him or not I cannot say, for all was confusion and dust and terror, and also there was the fear lest the bullet should strike the Sahib. Then, in a moment, the tiger had disappeared, and the Sahib also. There was none to see, for these other men, the beaters, had quickly taken flight at the sound of the roar of the tiger, and, as for me, I must confess that, for a moment, after shooting at the beast, I turned my back upon the animal, fearing lest he should now fall upon me. When I looked again—it was but a few seconds later—both tiger and Sahib had, as I say, disappeared; therefore I made no doubt that the savage brute seized the Sahib Eccles and carried him into the jungle. Alas! there is no doubt that he is dead. This is an evil tiger, an eater of men. There is no hope that the poor Sahib is still alive.'

I listened to the shikari's narrative in speechless horror. It was difficult to realise that he had spoken of Charlie Eccles, my old school friend; that this tale he had just told me was of Charlie's death; and that his death had happened within an hour or so, and might have been prevented if I had arrived but a single day, or even half a day, earlier.

'Shikari, this is a dreadful tale you have told me,' I groaned. 'If you have told me the truth, and not lied in order to hide your own cowardice, the Sahib Eccles is probably dead. This, however, must be ascertained immediately, and his body must be found and brought in. You will guide me at once to the spot, and we shall follow upon the tiger's tracks.'

'Into the jungle, Sahib!' exclaimed the shikari. 'Upon the track of a wounded tiger! Then we are lost men, both of us.'

'At any rate, if you are a coward, and dare not help me to seek your master, you shall at least show me where he was seized, and I will go alone.'

The shikari, though evidently a nervous man, was no coward. He pulled himself together.

'I will go with the Sahib,' he said. 'It shall not be spoken of me that there was a thing of which I was afraid. The Sahib will allow me to carry this second rifle of the Sahib Eccles?'

'Of course. You have answered well, shikari; it shall be said that you are a brave man. Take the rifle and come, for this is a matter that cannot wait.'

So we set out for the place where poor Eccles had lost his life, some two or three miles from the bungalow, and my heart was heavy as lead as I tramped along with the shikari at my side, recalling many scenes in which old Charlie had been my companion at school and at Oxford and in after-life. I scarcely thought of the extreme danger of the enterprise upon which the shikari and I were now engaged, my mind being otherwise occupied; but when we came near the place, and the native, looking frightened and positively trembling as he spoke, whispered that here, within twenty-five yards, was the spot where the tiger had sprung upon the Sahib, I suddenly realised that we were about to meet a crisis in our lives.

'Have your rifle ready,' I whispered back, 'and look all ways at once. If you see the tiger, fire at the same instant.'

We reached the spot where the scuffle had taken place. The grass was trampled and broken, and there were marks of a struggle. A yard or two further on lay Charlie's helmet, with puggaree attached, and a scrap of his clothing fluttered in the midst of a thorny bush, through which, I suppose, he had been dragged. The jungle became denser at this point with every step forward, and we advanced inch by inch, very slowly, very cautiously, feeling that we carried our lives in our hands, for a wounded tiger lying hid in the cover, with so much energy left in him as this beast presumably still possessed, since he had carried Charlie's body away with him, is one of the most dangerous things that a man can face. I need not tell you fellows that, however, both of you being experienced hunters. Probably, being wounded, the tiger would not travel far. Of course, there was only the shikari's word for it that he was wounded; but, in any case, being burdened with the body of a twelve-stone man, he would not go further than he need. So we crept slowly forward.

It, was a gruesome experience. To tell the truth, I was almost more afraid that I should suddenly come upon the body of poor Eccles lying across our pathway, than of hearing the terrible roar of the wounded tiger and seeing him crouch to spring upon us. Expecting him, as I did, at every second, it would be hard if I could not get in my shot before he could get in his spring.

The track was easily followed. A great beast cannot drag another large creature through grass and plants of all kinds without leaving behind pretty evident signs of his passing. We had gone forward—creeping almost as noiselessly as snakes—some quarter of a mile, scarcely more, when suddenly the most astonishing thing happened that ever I experienced.

Not fifty yards from the place in which we then stood, as it happened, listening for any sound which might reveal the whereabouts of the tiger, a shot suddenly rang out, instantly followed by a kind of sound, half roar, half moan; then came the noise of a scuffle, the crashing of twigs, a few gasping coughs—then silence.

'Shikari,' I cried aloud, scarcely knowing in my excitement what I said, 'it is the Sahib! Come!' I dashed forward. 'Charlie—Charlie Eccles!' I yelled, 'is it you? I am Ralph!'

A feeble cheer replied to my shout. The next moment a remarkable spectacle opened itself out before us.

Charlie Eccles half lay, half sat upon the ground—pale, tattered, but smiling; a few feet away lay upon its side the body of an enormous tiger. I sprang forward. 'Don't touch me, old chap,' said Charlie, 'I feel as if I was broken all over!'—then he fainted.

Well, except a couple of broken ribs and some nasty gashes and scratches, there was nothing seriously the matter, and with the help of a litter and half-a-dozen natives summoned by the shikari, we got him home to the bungalow without further damage. There he told me his story. The tiger had been wounded, but not seriously, by his first shot. The shikari fired and missed. Then the beast had seized him by the shoulder, which was lacerated, and had dragged him to this place. Charlie had clung to his rifle, and upon reaching the spot where we had found him, the tiger laid him down and rested. Fortunately the pain of his wound had rendered the brute disinclined to eat. He stood over him for nearly half an hour, listening, licking his wound, and growling. Charlie lay still as death, for he knew that if he moved a finger he would be slain that instant. After half an hour the brute left him and lay a few yards away, but in such a position that Charlie could not fire a fatal shot; he therefore waited in hopes that he would change his attitude. The tiger lay and attended to his wound for a full hour or more, and Eccles waited patiently.

At last—just before we arrived—the tiger shifted, presenting his side and shoulder, and Charlie, pointing his rifle with the utmost care, for he knew his life depended upon the shot, pulled trigger.

'I think,' Ralph concluded, 'that evening in the Dâk Bungalow was about the happiest I ever spent. The doctor had been summoned from the camp at Bandapore and had pronounced Charlie Eccles to be progressing excellently. You may imagine how happy I must have felt after my fears. You may imagine, also, what a hero Charlie was among the natives after his exploit. Of course my friend the shikari, in telling them the story, made out that the chief honours were his, but he was good enough to admit that the Sahib behaved also like a brave man, and probably his hearers, knowing each other's little ways, distributed the honours pretty fairly.'

[Pg 99]


What is a topiary? If you have never been in one, you may have seen one represented by some artist who draws scenes that show us gardens or shrubberies of bygone days. Perhaps you may at least have been in some old-fashioned garden, which had one or more trees of odd shapes, into which they had been cut and trained years ago. When a number of such trees are growing together, the place is called a topiary, and lately people who can afford the money have been contriving topiaries in some parts of their grounds. Gardeners who understand how to make trees resemble the human figure, or different animals, or other objects, can usually get plenty of employment.

We read about sculptured hedges as far back as the times of the Tudors; it was chiefly the yew hedge that people cut and shaped into odd figures. But it was not till the Dutch gardeners came over in the reign of William III., that it became the practice to give curious shapes to trees and shrubs scattered over gardens, or brought together into a topiary. Various trees were used, but chiefly yew and box.

The Dutch were fond of making figures out of trees, and so were the Italians. At Savona, a traveller tells us that he saw a group representing the flight of Joseph into Egypt, formed of variegated holly, box, myrtle, laurel, and cypress. The poet Pope alluded to the Duke who owned the splendid estate of Canons, as a nobleman who had

'Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees,'

and he remarks that he was shown, in greenery, Adam, Eve, and the serpent, but the figures were damaged somewhat. All such figures need attention to keep them in order. There are many about England that are of good age, and may last some years yet; though, of course, these trees may be injured by wind or heavy rain. Shrubs and trees are formed into curious shapes by the help of wires, and much trimming or twisting of the shoots is needed at first. A young tree, therefore, representing a peacock, or some other bird, will cost four or five pounds, and specimens that are larger may be worth many times that amount. Figures of men, horses, bears, dogs, and various animals, including dragons, are to be seen, as well as letters of the alphabet, triangles, or other inanimate objects, some trees being cleverly made to look like jugs, bottles, and bowls. Occasionally, a singular change has been made in a tree; thus, what was a boy with a rake, by a little alteration becomes a soldier carrying a rifle.

When taking a country stroll, we may sometimes come upon a specimen of a tree-sculptor's art in a wayside cottage garden, perhaps two hundred years old. One of the finest topiaries in England is in the grounds of Levens Hall, Westmoreland, and the Earl of Harrington has a notable one at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire.


The sons of a great landowner were permitted by their father to associate with the poor boys in the neighbourhood. One day, when they had to return home to dinner, a lad who was playing with them said he would wait till they returned.

'There is no dinner for me at home,' said the poor boy.

'Come with us, then,' said the others.[Pg 100]

The boy refused, and when they asked him if he had any money to buy a dinner, he answered 'No.'

When the boys got home the eldest of them said to his father, 'Father, what was the price of the silver buckles you gave me yesterday?'

'Five shillings,' was the reply.

'Then please give me the money, and I will give you the buckles again.'

This was done accordingly, and the father, inquiring privately, found that the money was given to the lad who had no dinner.



Fig. 1.—Young Crab: first stage. Fig. 1.—Young Crab:
first stage.

HE more we study the living creatures around us the more wonderful they become; and in many ways this is especially true of what we may call the little people of the lower world. Most of us regard the crab as a creature good to eat, or, in the case of some of the smaller kinds, as something to be hunted for in rock-pools at the seaside; but only a very few appear to know anything of the crab in its infancy.

Fig. 2.—Young Crab: second stage. Fig. 2.—Young Crab: second stage.

What we may call the childhood of the crab makes a really curious story. Boys and girls, until they are quite grown up, are, as a rule at any rate, carefully nursed and shielded from the hardships of life; but with the young crab it is otherwise. From the moment of its birth it is called upon to enter life's battle alone; of brothers and sisters, mother and father and home, it knows nothing. And such a tiny little mite it is, too, needing a microscope to see it. Stranger still, at this early period of life it is not the least bit like a crab; for a crab, as most of us know it, is a creature with a shell broader than it is long, and long legs, and a pair of pincers which can give a most painful nip to unguarded fingers. As a youngster, however, he presents a very different appearance, as may be seen in fig. 1. That is what he looks like just after leaving the egg—a creature with a huge eye, a big round body, and a long, slender tail—a sort of compromise between a crab and a lobster, but without the familiar legs and pincers.

Fig. 3.—Last stage of Crab's Infancy: back view. Fig. 3.—Last stage of Crab's Infancy: back view.
 Fig. 4.—Side view of Fig. 3. Fig. 4.—Side view of Fig. 3.

A little later he assumes a form which is certainly fantastic, for from the top of the shell (as you will see in fig. 2) there grows out a long, curved spine, while the legs have taken a shape suggesting jointed paint-brushes. Later still the eyes grow out from the head and are supported on short stalks, the legs and pincers appear, and lastly the long tail curls up, till at last it grows into a curious three-cornered shield and is carried tucked away under the body. As soon as this takes place he becomes at once the crab with which we are familiar, and changes no more except in size.

The strange flap hinged to the hinder edge of the body of the adult crab, and held close to its under surface, really answers to the long body of the lobster. To make this clear, look at the series of figures 3 to 6: fig. 3 shows the back view of the last stage of the crab's infancy, and fig. 4 a side view of the same, where you will note that the tail is already beginning to curl up. In fig. 5 you have the under side of the full-grown crab with all that remains of the hinder part of the body and the tail in the position in which it is carried during life, and in fig. 6 the upper side with the tail showing as if it were unfolded. If you compare figs. 5 and 6 with fig. 7 (a lobster), you can see that the hinder part of the body of the crab, with the tail unfolded, really does answer to that portion of the body of the lobster which lies behind the last pair of legs.

Fig. 5.—Full-grown Crab, under side, showing tail curled
up. Fig. 5.—Full-grown Crab, under side, showing tail curled up.
Fig. 6.—Full-grown Crab, upper side, with tail unfolded. Fig. 6.—Full-grown Crab, upper side, with tail unfolded.

But there are some relatives of the crab which come into the world still earlier, and these in the early stages have a still more un-crab-like shape which is known as the nauplius stage of growth.

The crab, on leaving the egg, enters the world not in the form of a Nauplius, but as a 'Zoea,' as it is called; this is shown in figs. 1 and 2. By the time the stage shown in figs. 3 and 4 is reached, he has attained the dignity of what is known among scientific men as the megalopa stage. What a nauplius looks like you will see in fig. 8.

Fig. 7.—Lobster. Fig. 7.—Lobster.

[Pg 101]

Fig. 8.—Nauplius. Fig. 8.—Nauplius.
Fig. 9.—Swimming Foot of Crayfish, with the young ones
attached. Fig. 9.—Swimming Foot of Crayfish, with the young ones attached.

This curious order of things is true, however, only of salt-water members of the crab-tribe. With certain near relatives of the crabs and lobsters which have taken up their residence in fresh water, a different order of things prevails, for here we find some trace of maternal care. Thus, in the fresh-water crayfish the young not only leave the egg in a much more advanced stage, but they are carefully carried about by the mother, until they have learned to shift for themselves, which they do in a very few days. During this time they cling to the swimming legs of the parent by means of their pincers. When all is quiet they drop off one by one, and crawl about to gather experience and food. But at the least sign of danger the mother appears to give some note of warning, and in a moment they have scuttled back, and fastened hold of her skirts, so to speak; then, if need be, she hurries off to a place of safety. At this time these little crayfish are very tiny indeed; but to get an idea of what they look like, and how they hold on, look at fig. 9, which gives a picture of the swimming foot of a mother crayfish, and two of her youngsters hanging on to it.

It would seem that this great care is necessary, because in the swift-running streams where these creatures generally live, their young, if uncared for during their early days, would be swept away by the tide and carried out to sea, where they would speedily die.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.



REMEN was a growing city, but its ruler, hard and proud,
Insolent in power and riches, all his humble subjects cowed,
Till one day a bold man pleaded to the Count on bended knee:
[Pg 102]'Sire, for just a little season set my toiling brethren free!
Let them leave awhile their labour, let them roam the country fair,
Quit the close and crowded city for a breath of purer air;
Or, perchance, their faithful service you will graciously repay,
And a piece of ground assign them from your gardens vast and gay?'

Frowned the Count, and answered, mocking: 'Not a little do you ask!
Well! your prayer shall find a champion, and I'll set him just one task:
He shall march from dawn to sunset, pacing my fair gardens round;
All his footsteps can encircle shall be then the people's ground.'

Morning came, the folk assembled, full of hopefulness and glee,
But their eager eyes no other than the Count himself can see.
Stay! there standeth one beside him, Hans the cripple, small and weak!
'This is he,' the Count cries, scoffing, 'who shall give you what you seek.
Fly! Hans, fly! Around my pleasaunce speed as quickly as you may!'
And the cripple, smiling bravely, starts forthwith upon his way.

All that day, from morn to even, Hans the cripple did his best,
Walking on without cessation, pausing not for food or rest.
Miracle both Count and people deemed the prowess he displayed,
And the tyrant scowled in anger as he saw the progress made.
Faint and weary, for his brethren Hans toiled on till eventide,
Then, amid the people's cheering, knelt, and breathed a prayer, and died.

Feudal days are gone for ever, but in Bremen's ancient town
Tell they still of Hans the hero, who for them his life laid down.


(Continued from page 95.)

The children were all eager to hear the story, and a sad one it was. They had become accustomed to see Dick half asleep in his armchair in the garden, or before the fire at the Bridge House. They knew him to be almost helpless, for it was only with assistance he could move, even on his crutches. They had thought very little about his condition, however, except for that feeling of pity which even a child experiences in the presence of suffering. Mrs. Peet's words had roused their interest in her son, and Lady Coke saw an opportunity for deepening the impression she had made. It would be good in many ways for these young people to hear that sad story. It had its lessons, and these she trusted would sink into their young minds; they might make it more possible to feel patient and to show more consideration for Peet, whose irritable temper, she was forced to admit, was very trying to their high spirits.

Dick, the only child of Peet and his wife, had been a fine handsome lad, with an unusual amount of brains, and with, what is still better, a wonderful capacity for really hard work. He had won all the prizes that he could possibly compete for in the little school at Lynwood, as well as most of the honours in the cricket and football field, for he was quite as good at games as at books. Peet was at that time, and had been ever since his youth, a gardener on the Earl of Lynwood's estate—Lynwood Keep, in Scotland. He had risen through steady work to be head gardener and bailiff. On finding himself possessed of sufficient means to take a wife and settle down, he had married an old love of his, a Cornish girl from the village of Newlyn, and had carried her off to the home he had so proudly prepared for her. A very happy couple they had been, and the birth of Dick had added a still greater happiness to their already bright life. Peet's temper had not then become what the sore trials and disappointments of his later life had made it. He was contented and prosperous, and the clouds which afterwards darkened his existence had not so much as sent the tiniest little messenger before them to tell of their coming.

As Dick grew older, and showed of what true, strong metal he was made, his parents' pride in him became greater than they could quite conceal. A certain amount of envy and ill-will was the natural result. Dick himself was not in the least conceited. None knew so well as he how hard it was to restrain a naturally hasty temper, to give up the games he loved for the work he did not, to labour as thoroughly at the subjects he disliked or took no interest in as at those he liked. But he had grit enough to determine he would not thus lose the battle of life in the beginning of it, and step by step the habit of overcoming difficulties prevailed.

He rose steadily and surely over the heads of his school-fellows, gaining prize after prize, until there was nothing more to win either in places or rewards.

Having by this time laid by enough to enable him to retire from work, Peet allowed himself to be persuaded by his brother-in-law to take a small cottage at Newlyn. This brother-in-law, captain of a merchant vessel, offered at the same time to give his clever nephew a berth on board his own ship, a barque trading between England and Australia. It would be a good opening for the lad, and offered him a fair prospect of advancement in life, should he choose to stick to the sea afterwards as a profession. If not, no harm would be done. On the contrary, Dick would have passed through some experiences which could not fail to be useful to him, whatever line he might prefer to follow later on.

Much to Lord Lynwood's regret, therefore, Peet resolved to take the advice thus offered him, and, resigning his post at Lynwood, took his family to Newlyn. Delighted as Dick was at the bright future opening before him, he was as sad at parting with his old friends and companions as they were at losing the most brilliant scholar and athlete the school had ever known. His warm-hearted, unaffected manner had made him a general favourite, in spite of the fact that his ability had not failed to arouse envy and dislike in some.

Dick took to the sea like a duck to water. He set himself to learn his work and become 'handy' with a zeal that soon made him a smart sailor. He managed, also, in spite of all he had to do, to carry on his own education by reading whenever he could. There were other apprentices besides himself on board, and he was treated with exactly the same discipline as they, no favouritism being shown or desired. He preferred to share like the others, and there was nothing in his behaviour, or in the treatment he received, which could have led any stranger to suppose he was the skipper's nephew. Nevertheless, his talents soon became evident. He was always the one to whom a difficult job could be safely trusted; and this came out more clearly when he went up for his second mate's certificate, which he gained with so much ease as to raise some jealousy among his fellow-apprentices. This was increased when it became known that Dick had been offered a berth as fourth officer in a well-known line of steamers.

His usual success followed him in his new career. Hard work, an even temper, and the well-kept resolution to educate himself by steady reading were good preparations for his next examination for a first mate's certificate, for which he went up at the earliest possible opportunity. But, alas! the cloud had already risen in the hitherto sunny skies of his life. He passed the examination with his usual success. The certificate was duly signed, and, happy that he could carry it down to his parents, he looked out the train to Penzance. Finding that he had an hour or so to spare, he went to an inn to snatch a meal before he started off on his long journey.

He had partaken of many a meal in that same inn. It was close to the Board of Trade offices, and he had met many another merchant sailor in the same dingy rooms, and had discussed the prospects of the service with them gladly. As he entered it on that day, happy and cheerful, with his future looking brilliant and rosy before him, he little imagined how near was the end of all his hopes. Such a small thing had turned the tide! Only that fatal decision to go to the inn to which he had been so often before, and pass the time till his train started! Others were taking their lunch there, but the number was smaller than usual; perhaps it was yet early for the rush. Dick sat at a side-table, reading over his certificate as he ate his modest meal.

So far all is clear. After this the account became so confused and contradictory that the actual truth was never known. After a good deal of sifting, the following facts were accepted as the best version of what must have taken place. According to the landlord's tale, most of the guests had left, Dick and another sailor being either the sole remaining men in the room, or nearly so. They were lunching[Pg 103] at the same table, and were apparently good friends. He did not remember that there were any others. He and the waiters happened to be in the pantry for a few minutes; he was sure it was not longer, when they were startled by the sound of a fall, followed by the loud bang of the outer door. On rushing in to find out the cause of the disturbance, they found Dick lying insensible on the floor, with a severe wound on the back of the head, evidently inflicted by the heavy knobbed stick discovered near him. There was no clue as to what had given rise to the quarrel. The wounded man's certificate being on his plate, and open, as if it had just been read, it was imagined that a sudden fit of rage and jealousy must have led his companion to the terrible deed.

The police and the doctor were at once sent for. A thorough search was made for the culprit, but, as no one specially remembered him, he made good his escape. From that day no trace of him was ever discovered, and the whole affair gradually dropped out of recollection.

Meantime, Dick was taken to the nearest hospital, where for a long time his life was despaired of. Having found the address of his parents, the hospital authorities telegraphed for them, and they were allowed to be with him as much as possible. As may be imagined, grief and terror filled their hearts when the telegram reached them. There was no time to dwell on their sorrow, for Dick's condition took up all their thoughts. The report of the doctors filled them with even deeper grief and anxiety. They declared it would have been better for the poor fellow if he had been killed outright. The blow had been so severe that the brain and spine were both injured. Even if he lived for years, he would never again walk; in all probability, he would never again understand or speak properly.

Dick did get better, however, and, as soon as he was fit, was taken down to Newlyn. Every care and attention were given him with the hope of proving that the doctors were mistaken. But, alas! in vain. It was a long, expensive illness. The little home, so full of comfort and happiness, the pride of Peet's heart—full, as it was too, of Dick's strange and beautiful things, relics of his voyages—all had to go: sold to meet the bills of the doctors, and to buy things which were needed for the invalid. Brought to a very low ebb by this terrible affliction, and not knowing where all the money was to come from to pay the demands made upon him—too proud to ask help from even his own brother—Peet resolved to go back to work again. He applied to his old master, Lord Lynwood; there being no vacancies at Lynwood, however, the Earl wrote to his aunt, Lady Coke, whose head gardener had died but a short time before, and who, he knew, was looking out for a capable man to replace him.

Such a berth as he found at the Moat House Peet might have searched the world in vain to discover. Lady Coke's sympathy was at once roused on hearing of his sorrows, and from her he accepted kindnesses which would have been an offence from anybody else.

(Continued on page 110.)[Pg 104]

"Dick lying insensible upon the floor." "Dick lying insensible upon the floor."

[Pg 105]

"One at a time, they found themselves pinioned." "One at a time, they found themselves pinioned."

[Pg 106]



NCE more our tale begins in the city of Lisbon, but now it is on a summer day in the year 1497, when the banks of the Tagus were thronged with those who had come to give God-speed to the gallant captain Vasco da Gama, sailing to-morrow for 'the Indies.'

This was the age of great sailors and discoverers. Ten years before, Bartolomeo Diaz had rounded the southern point of Africa. 'The Stormy Cape' he called it; the 'Cape of Good Hope,' as his rejoicing countrymen would have it, when he came home with the news. A few years later, Columbus, sailing westward, set up the flag of Spain upon the shores of a new world. And now Manoel, the young King of Portugal, was all on fire to finish what Diaz had begun, and to earn for his country the glory of finding the way round the Cape to India, the mysterious land of which such wonderful tales were told. He could have found no fitter man for the work than the captain who knelt to-day in the little church above the river to pray for success in his perilous undertaking. Absolutely fearless, quick-witted, and prompt in action, delighting in danger and adventure, and indomitable in perseverance, Vasco da Gama was a brave leader of men, and he had himself chosen two companions after his own heart, who were to command the other two ships—his brother, Paolo da Gama, and his friend, Nicolo Coello. On his knees the captain received from King Manoel the cross-marked flag on which he swore fidelity to his sovereign, and then, followed by the cheers and good wishes of all Lisbon, the good ships set sail.

Near the Canary Isles they met with such heavy weather that, for a week, Vasco's ship, the San Raphael, was parted from the other two, and his friends had nearly given him up for lost. The ship reappeared, however, battered but safe, and the expedition waited for awhile to repair in the Bay of St. Helena.

It was November when they sailed southward again, and now the Cape of Storms began to prove worthy of its name. Such terrible tempests fell upon the three ships, as they struggled along, with much ado to keep within sight of each other, that the hearts of the crew failed them altogether. The question began to be asked among them whether the report of Diaz had after all been well founded, whether the sea passage really existed, or whether the land which bounded the eastern horizon did not go on for ever and ever until the very world's end. But when the crew of the San Raphael begged their captain to abandon the hopeless attempt, his reply was that of the captain in the song—

'"Now I've come so far,
I'm not going back," says he.'

By word and example he encouraged the whole crew, now laughing at their fears, now turning their thoughts to the triumphant return with glory for their country, himself sharing the hardest work, and, doubtless, making it quite clear that any man who failed him at the pinch would find scant mercy at his hands. And, at last, the wind dropped. The land was no longer on the eastward, the Cape of Storms had been doubled, and from the decks of the three vessels went up the sounds of praise and thanksgiving that the 'passage perilous' was accomplished.

But the crew of the San Raphael needed yet another lesson to make them into such a band as their captain needed for his great adventure. According to the strange custom of that age, Vasco had on board several convicts, who had been released from prison, where they lay under sentence of death, that he might employ them upon any service of danger for which he was unwilling to risk his better men. A band of criminals who had broken their country's laws and were not likely to be troubled with scruples, must have been a rather dangerous element among a somewhat disaffected crew; and, as the ship sailed northward and again met with rough weather, the convicts on board the San Raphael, seeing their opportunity, began to plot treason against the captain. One after another of the crew was won over to a plan which promised a speedy end to the weary, dangerous voyage, and the ringleaders found means to communicate with their friends on board the other two ships, so that all was arranged for a general mutiny.

But there was one member of the expedition, perhaps the smallest and least important person on board, to whom it was given to save the whole undertaking from destruction. One of the conspirators on board the ship San Miguel, had a little brother, who had been kindly treated by the captain, Nicolo Coello, and loved him with a boy's hero-worship of a brave man who had been good to him. Perhaps the conspirators thought the lad too insignificant to be dangerous; at any rate, he knew the details of the plot and told the captain of what was planned.

Coello's one thought was how to save his friend and leader. It was too rough for him to board the San Raphael; the warning must be shouted above the noise of winds and waves, and yet it must be for Da Gama's ear alone. His only hope was in his friend's quickness of wit, and in the perfect understanding between them. So, from the deck of his own vessel, he shouted to the San Raphael that his men were all for abandoning the expedition, and that he was constrained to agree with them and to pray the captain to give the word for returning. How the brave Coello must have hated to give, even in stratagem, such craven counsel, and how carefully he must have chosen words that might carry the double meaning to his friend.

Coello need not have feared: Da Gama knew his brave colleague too well to imagine that he was really thinking of retreat. Possibly he already suspected something amiss; at any rate, he knew which of his men he could trust, and, with their aid, he discovered the names of the ringleaders. Then, calling the crew together on deck, he announced to them that, acting upon the advice of his friend, the captain of the San Miguel, he had decided to give up the expedition and return to Portugal.

'But,' he continued, 'that I may not appear as a traitor before the King, I will myself draw up an account of what we have undergone, and those of most repute among you shall sign it, that all may see that you hold with me in my judgment.'

The mariners agreed readily, and Da Gama, having prepared his statement, sent for the chief men among the crew to his cabin to sign it, managing to include among them the most dangerous of the conspirators. All unsuspecting, down they went, leaving their companions to wonder what had made the captain change his mind. Then came a summons from below, more signatures were wanted, and down to the cabin went another band of picked men.

As they crossed the threshold, one at a time, they found themselves pinioned, and, staring round them in dismay, saw their fellow-mutineers in irons, guarded by the loyal members of the crew. At Da Gama's order all were marshalled on deck, and stood, sullen and powerless, before the captain.

'Where are your instruments?' he asked sternly of the pilot, who was among the prisoners.

Then, as the man pointed to them with his chained hands, he flung them into the sea.

'You will use them no more,' he said; 'henceforth I will myself be pilot to my own ship. If God sees us worthy He will guide us to our destination, but be sure that I will never return alive to Portugal with my purpose unfulfilled.'

That day's work made Vasco da Gama master once for all of the men who sailed with him. He spared the lives of the conspirators after a captivity long enough to teach them an enduring lesson, so winning their allegiance by mercy as well as severity.

And we may like to remember that a famous colony of our own was first sighted by Europeans on the Christmas Day of that year, 1497, and was given its Christmas name, Natal (the 'birthday' place) by the great Portuguese captain who, in those southern waters,

'Did win a gallant name,
And ruled the stormy sea.'

Mary H. Debenham.


True Tales of the Year 1806.


A hundred years ago the streets of London were very insufficiently guarded. Of police, as we now understand the word, there were none, but at night the public buildings and principal thoroughfares were handed over to the care of aged and decrepit men, called 'Charlies,' who, being too old to work by day, were supposed to be able to take charge of the streets by night![Pg 107]

These 'Charlies' were furnished with staves and lanterns, which were often violently wrenched from them, for it was then a fashionable amusement of wild young men of the upper classes to 'go on the ran-dan,' as it was called—that is, to run up and down the ill-lighted streets, knocking down first one old Charlie and then another, and carrying off the staff and lantern as trophies. A young fellow who managed to upset a wooden watch-house, with a poor old man inside, was very proud of himself indeed, though, maybe, the old 'Charlie' was meanwhile being almost suffocated to death with the watch-house on the top of him.

Besides 'guarding' the streets, these old watchmen had to announce each hour as it struck, and to give the news of the weather; thus: 'Past one o'clock and a windy morning!' Once, when many Londoners were expecting an earthquake, which had been prophesied for that day, some jesters, returning from a noisy tavern-meeting, frightened the householders by calling out, as they passed along the streets, 'Past twelve o'clock, and a fine earthquake!'

It is needless to say that robbery and ill-doings of all kinds were of nightly occurrence, and no decent person was in the streets of the City after dusk except by necessity, for neither life nor property was safe from the ruffians who then roamed about.

So things went on until the time came when Mr. John Sewell, a bookseller, was appointed Constable for the Ward of Cornhill. He was a very energetic man, who had long been ashamed of the state of the City streets, and he determined, now that he was in office, to try and introduce some reforms. The first thing he decided upon was to serve as constable in person, instead of providing substitutes, which had been always done by former Head Constables.

His friends were shocked at the idea of a respectable bookseller acting as a common constable, but Mr. Sewell was not to be moved from his purpose, assuring them 'that the office of Constable was of too much importance to be executed by every one.'

He first of all put a stop altogether to the wooden watch-houses which were wheeled out every night, and placed against the Bank and other public buildings, and, instead, converted the back room of his shop into a guard-room. Here he and many of his friends would keep watch, when his turn for service came round, which was every fourth night, and they would go the rounds of his ward, seeing that every man was in his proper place. Mr. Sewell so arranged his men that every house in his ward was passed by one of them four times in the hour, and he would constantly pay surprise visits to be sure that all were attentive to their duties.

The public executions were his next care, for hangings were in that day, alas! of weekly occurrence. Instead of the ribald scenes and unseemly jokes which accompanied the progress of the unfortunate wretches to Tyburn, Mr. Sewell insisted that a solemn decency should now mark these processions. He had his watchmen dressed in long cloaks, with crape on their hats, which he provided at his own expense; and then, as they marched slowly, two[Pg 108] and two, he himself led the procession from Newgate Prison to Holborn Bars, where his authority ended.

"Managed to upset a wooden watch-house." "Managed to upset a wooden watch-house."

It is also interesting, in these days of naval volunteers, to find that Mr. Sewell started a 'Proposal for a Marine Voluntary Association for Manning the Ancient and Natural Defences of Old England.'

Altogether, this old Cornhill bookseller was a wonderful man, and might have lived in this day instead of a hundred years ago.[Pg 109]

"Scores of angry bees came buzzing round her." "Scores of angry bees came buzzing round her."


'I mean to make a study of bees!' said Olive, in an important manner, as she looked up from a big book on natural history which she had been reading for the last ten minutes. 'Listen to this, Charlie,' she went on, addressing her elder brother, who was arranging his fishing tackle; 'it says here, "To such as have leisure, and are desirous of amusement, we know of no study which promises a greater degree of satisfaction." I have plenty of leisure these holidays, and I mean to be like Hüber, and study bees, and find out wonderful things about them. He was blind, you know, and as I am not[Pg 110] blind, I ought to find out a lot more than he did!' Olive finished up, complacently.

Charlie, however, far from being impressed with this speech, only burst out laughing. 'You are conceited!' he exclaimed; 'to think that you, at twelve years of age, are going to beat Hüber, who spent a life-time in studying bees! However, there is no doubt you will learn something from them, and by the time you have been well stung you will be able to describe some of their habits,' and he laughed again.

'I shall not be stung,' said Olive calmly; 'bees are wonderfully intelligent little creatures'—here she was again quoting from the big book—'and they will understand that I have no wish to hurt them, but am only studying their ways.'

'And one of their ways is to sting inquisitive folk,' said Charlie. 'Let me advise you to have Mary's blue-bag handy—the thing she uses on washing-days, you know. Nothing like it for the sting of an angry bee!' and picking up his fishing-rod, Charlie walked away to the river.

It was the first summer that Olive had spent in the country, and all its sights and scenes were new to her. So now, rejoicing in the freedom of being able to roam about without her hat or jacket, she ran lightly out of the low French window of the sitting-room, and down the path towards a large clump of lemon-coloured foxgloves.

'The bees were in and out of these foxgloves yesterday,' she said, as she stooped over the bed. 'Ah, yes! here is one—buried quite deep in the flower. I must have that bee,' and taking out her handkerchief, she threw it over the flower, and caught the bee in its folds, carrying it in triumph towards the hives, which stood on a shelf under a sunny wall by the high garden gate.

'Now then, dear bee,' said Olive, loosing the bee with all the calmness of ignorance, 'here is your hive; let me see you go in with your load of honey.'

Bees, however, are not creatures to be trifled with, and this one did not mean to go to its hive with its honey-bags only half full. Instead, it turned fiercely on Olive and stung her sharply on the hand.

'Oh! oh! it hurts!' she screamed, and hurrying away, she accidentally upset the straw cover of a hive. Instantly, scores of angry bees came buzzing round her, and Olive ran as she had never run before. But she did not escape without several severe stings, and she was all but fainting with pain and terror when she at last reached the kitchen door and slammed it behind her.

Fortunately, Mary was there, and at once applied the blue-bag, which eased the pain of the stings greatly.

'I only wanted to study the bees,' sobbed Olive, 'and I never meant to offend them, and make them sting me.'

'You had better study obedience, Miss, and leave the bees alone,' said Mary curtly. 'I told you only yesterday to keep away from the hives. If you want to study bees, get the old bee-master to tell you how to set about it.'

Some weeks later, Olive had an opportunity of watching the bee-master when he removed the honey from the hives. He did not get stung, though the bees were all round him, and Olive could not help admiring the fearless way he went to work.

Charlie was right. Olive did learn something from the bees, and one of her lessons was humility. She did not again think she knew all about a subject after reading of the wonderful discoveries of men who had given a life-time to it.



EFORE the dustman comes to me
As in my bed I lie,
All sorts of curious things I see
Up in my nursery high.

I see the little curly flames
Jump upwards from the fire;
I think they must be playing games,
They never seem to tire.

And now and then one leaps so high
That all the ceiling glows:
Quite suddenly it seems to die—
I wonder where it goes.

Sometimes out in the street I hear
The tinkle of a bell,
It's first far off, and then quite near;
It's passing, I can tell;

And then I see a narrow line
Of light quite slowly crawl
Across the ceiling, till its shine
Stops as it meets the wall.

I wonder how it comes, and why,
And where it was before,
And where it's gone to now, when I
Can't see it any more.

Perhaps I'll meet them in my dream,
Those curly flames so odd,
And see the little narrow gleam
Light up the Land of Nod.


(Continued from page 103.)


'Have they ever found the man who injured Dick?' asked Alan, as Lady Coke's story came to an end.

'No,' replied Lady Coke sadly, 'never. Not a trace of him ever came to light. Shall I tell you why—or perhaps one of the chief reasons why—the search was discontinued? It is the grandest part of poor Dick's story,' continued Aunt Betty, putting down her knitting and looking earnestly at the children's interested faces. 'Dick alone knew who did the cruel deed. During the delirium of illness his nurses were keenly attentive to every word he uttered, hoping he would mention the name of his assailant. But no! All through the dangerous fever, and all through the suffering, he never gave the smallest hint as to who the man was, or what the quarrel (if there had been one) was about. On recovering his senses he made his father and mother understand, in the halting speech which was all he could manage, that he wished to keep the name of the man a secret; that, should he have mentioned it during his fever, he begged they would respect his desire, and not permit the name to escape them. 'Give him a chance,' he said. He always feared that the knowledge of what he had done might some day drive the man to desperation, and make him become more wicked through horror at his own action.'

'Don't his father and mother know even now who did it?' asked Georgie, with wide-open eyes of wonder.

'No, as Dick never told them, they will not press him to do so against his will.'

'I could have understood it,' said Alan, 'if the man had fought him fairly, face to face. But to set on him unawares! That's what the scoundrel seems to have done!'

'Yet Dick forgives him!' replied his aunt, gently.

'I don't think,' said Marjorie, 'that Dick is quite right all the same. It is fair enough that Dick should forgive injuries to himself if he chooses, but it is hardly just to his father and mother not to have that man punished as he ought to be.'

'I can't see how it would help Peet even if the man were caught' said Estelle, thoughtfully. 'If he is a sailor, he would not have enough money to pay any of Dick's doctor's bills. I thought sailors were so poor, Aunty?'

'They generally are, dear, and most probably this man was. We know nothing about him, however, nor what it was that led to the terrible thing he did. Let us hope, as Dick does, that the unhappy fellow has repented.'

'Then he would have to come back to say so,' said Alan.

'I don't know that. First, he may think he has killed Dick, and be afraid to show himself. Or he may not be able to find Dick now that Peet has left Cornwall, without betraying why he was inquiring for him. A deeply repentant man would give himself up to justice, certainly; that is, one would think so. But we know absolutely nothing to help us in our judgment of him, and can but hope and pray for him as Dick does.'

Lady Coke was silent for some moments, then, with a smile, she said: 'Now we have talked enough. Go and have your play, my dears.'

'I like what you said, Aunt Betty,' said Alan, as they all got up, and prepared to set off on their games; 'and I, for one, mean to try to follow Dick's example, and be as good as he is.'

The story of Dick's misfortune had greatly excited the sympathy of the children. Alan and the two girls allowed Peet's caustic remarks to pass without reply. They even tried to avoid annoying him by a too free use of the lawns and shrubberies. Georgie, whose youthful fancy had soared to greater heights of pity and sympathy, had at once glorified Peet into a hero, and, to the wonder of the gardener, would stand staring at him with respectful ad[Pg 111]miration. One day, unfortunately, his feelings carried him so far as to make him offer to help his former enemy in some work in the hothouses, over which Peet appeared to be very busy.

'There's no way for you to help me,' was the gardener's surly answer, 'except by taking yourself off, Master Georgie. Children ought not to be about when there's serious work going on.'

Peet's hero-stage passed away on the spot. Georgie was deeply hurt, and came to the decision that Aunt Betty had been taken in. Peet was not at all the person she thought him. He was nothing but a very disagreeable, rude old man, and he wished that his aunt would 'send him away.'

Nevertheless, Peet had improved. It was not all imagination on the part of the children. Lady Coke had sent for him after her talk with the young people, and the result of the interview was good for all parties. Peet's chief reason for soreness, as regarded the three children from Begbie Hall, was that they made as much use of the grounds of the Moat House as they did of the gardens of Begbie Hall. Estelle's arrival appeared to him to make the state of things worse, since she was the excuse for the whole party to tear about his neatly kept lawns, and climb his trees, instead of confining themselves to those of Begbie Hall, and worrying their own gardeners. He had not dared to express as much as this to Lady Coke, but she was too quick not to discover the true cause of his discontent, though she only alluded to it by saying she desired all the children should play together, whether in her grounds or elsewhere. Kind as she was, Peet understood that he had a mistress who must be obeyed. He was devotedly attached to her, and grateful for her goodness to him and his. This, perhaps, more than anything, made him exercise self-control. He was more than ever careful in hiding the key of the ruin, and would not allow even the other gardeners to enter it on any excuse whatever.

Another reason for the calm which prevailed was, perhaps, that Marjorie and Alan were fully occupied in trying to discover why Thomas was making so much effort to get into the ruined summer-house. It seemed a delightful thing to be mixed up in a mystery, and each hoped to have a share in solving it. Such a puzzle made constant private talks necessary, in order to think out a clue. Estelle took an almost painful interest in their conjectures, but shrank from all part in their wanderings round the ruin, or down to the cliff walk. Alan had shown Marjorie where the secret entrance to the cave was, and called it the Smugglers' Hole, for want of a better name. Together they had penetrated to the foot of the slippery, broken steps. Each had carried a bicycle lamp to make their footsteps clear, and great was the rejoicing when they finally arrived at the sandy beach of the bay.

But the young, active spirits were too restless to remain long there, where nothing was to be gained by lingering. The cave itself was more full of interest than the beach, and they devoted the remainder of the afternoon to hunting about among the crevices and chasms, and peeping into gaps and fissures till they almost forgot the time.

(Continued on page 114.)[Pg 112]

"'Children ought not to be about when there's serious work going on.'" "'Children ought not to be about when there's serious work going on.'"

[Pg 113]

"The daylight was streaming through a great opening." "The daylight was streaming through a great opening."

[Pg 114]


(Continued from page 111.)

When at last Alan and Marjorie had turned their steps homeward from the cave, and had climbed the greater number of the rough steps, they came quite unexpectedly upon a most important discovery—one which, without their lamps, would have entirely escaped their attention.

They had reached a sort of landing, when Alan, looking keenly at the rocks, suddenly perceived a narrow opening, almost entirely concealed behind a projecting spur of limestone. Calling to Marjorie, who was in advance of him, and already some way up the last flight of steps, he held his lamp high, and examined the gap till she joined him.

'There is something more than a mere attempt at a cave here,' he said. 'We must see what it is.'

'It's very late,' hesitated Marjorie, doubtfully. 'If we are asked where we have been, what shall we say? All our secrets will come out, and then good-bye to all fun.'

'Oh, this won't take us long,' returned Alan, who did not intend to give up investigations just as he appeared to be on the verge of scoring the greatest success of the day.

As it turned out, it was fortunate indeed that the quest was not given up, for something happened only a few days later which made their discoveries of the utmost importance.

The narrow cleft led them, after some winding, into a comparatively wide passage, into which the daylight was streaming through a great opening to the right. In some excitement they ran to look out, and found, to their delight, that they were standing at the hole in the cliff which they had seen from the beach in Smugglers' Bay. Sure enough, there was the stream of water flowing at their side which made the thin cascade.

'I do believe we are in the passage which leads to the ruined summer-house!' cried Marjorie, breathlessly.

Alan was for trying it at once, but here Marjorie's counsels did prevail. She pointed out how low the sun was, and that probably they were very late for the schoolroom tea already.

'Right you are,' said Alan, looking longingly up and down the passage and walls, which stretched away into deep but—to him—alluring gloom. 'We will come again to-morrow. We must slip away directly after breakfast; and mind we don't let anybody see or follow us. It will be a feather in our caps if we can get into the ruined summer-house without troubling old Peet for the key.'

'But,' said Marjorie, after a long pause, during which she was thinking deeply, 'what if Thomas knows of this way in?'

'He can't,' returned Alan, 'or he would have been before, and got all he wanted.'

'Then,' replied Marjorie, after another pause for thought, 'you may be sure there is some reason: something that prevents his going up the passage, and will prevent our going too. Thomas is sure to be up to all dodges.'

This idea was so distasteful to Alan that he required a good deal of persuasion before he gave up his determination to explore further. Marjorie did persuade him, nevertheless, but next morning he could not refrain from reproaches for having yielded to her. It turned out that Colonel De Bohun had some business to do in the neighbouring town of Matherton, and told Alan at breakfast that he was to go and see if Estelle would like a ride. He intended to take the three elder children with him.

'What a nuisance!' exclaimed Alan, as he and Marjorie stood a moment on the doorstep before he started off on his father's mission. 'Why should father have ordered the horses just to-day? We can't make an excuse either, for we are all supposed to be keen on riding. If only the horses could go dead lame for an hour or two!'

Marjorie sympathised, but there was no help for it. More provoking still, there appeared to be things for the children to do for the next two or three days. A large garden party for young people, given by Mrs. De Bohun, took up most of one day, the children being required to help in the preparations for the entertainment of their guests. A picnic with friends, to a distant ruin by the sea, fully filled another day, and it was not till these and a tennis party for children at Lord Gallway's were over, that a free afternoon left the brother and sister at liberty to carry out their plans.

They had intended to set off immediately after breakfast, but an exciting rumour had come that a strange vessel was to be seen hanging about in rather a suspicious way. The coastguard had been on the look-out, but the result of his investigations being as yet unknown, the Colonel asked the children if they would like to accompany him to the cliffs. The proposal was hailed with delight. The whole morning passed only too quickly in talking to the coastguard on duty, peeping through his telescope, and staring at the vessel. The sailor gave it as his opinion that it was a French boat, though something in the rig made him not quite positive. It cruised about in a queer manner, 'just as if she was on the watch for something,' as the man said. However, towards mid-day she drew out into the offing, and they saw her sails slowly disappearing below the horizon.

The excitement of this incident only died down in the children's minds when, after lunch, they started off for the Wilderness. Alan and Marjorie had other ideas concerning the ship, and were determined to watch for its return. There would be plenty of time for that after their search in the cave was over. Meantime it was certain that neither Estelle nor Georgie must be allowed to accompany them. Happily for all parties, Estelle had promised to read a new fairy story to Georgie, and had settled to go to the top of the ruined summer-house for the purpose.

The air was fresher there, and the shade of the trees seemed cooler than anywhere else on that hot August day. Estelle sat lazily comfortable on some rugs, her back against the coping, while Georgie stretched himself at full length on the iron seat close to her. Here Alan and Marjorie left them, feeling sure that Georgie would be asleep in the twinkling of an eye. They begged him, nevertheless, to keep that eye, as long as it was open, on Bootles, the fox-terrier. Georgie gave a lazy assent, without troubling himself to keep either eye on the dog. Estelle was quite as capable of attending to such matters as he. Accordingly, she it was who drew the dog to lie down near her, keeping a hand on his collar till Alan and Marjorie were out of sight. Alas! they little knew what would be the result of her care.

(Continued on page 123.)



Substitute Roman figures for the Arabic numerals, and transpose the letters. The initials will give a woman's name.

1.—300.A T S R A U A.
2.—560.R E A N E A.
3.—100.B E G R R N O A O.
4.—50.Y 0 E N.
5.—1050.R T A I E.
6.—500.A N I I.
7.—1500.N N Y R O A.
8.—2000.E T E.

C. J. B.

[Answer on page 147.]

Answer to Puzzle on Page 75.



In the eighteenth century, when watches were less common in country districts than they are now, a Highland soldier gained one as part of his share in some plunder after a great battle. The watch was going well and ticking merrily when he received it; but naturally, at the end of a day or so it ran down and stopped, because he knew nothing of how to wind it.

The man had never seen a watch before, much less possessed one, and he was greatly alarmed at this sudden silence. But he determined to do as well as he could with the treasure that had fallen to his share, and so offered it to a comrade in exchange for some really far less valuable article of jewellery. His friend, not being so ignorant, was curious to know why he parted with it so cheaply.

'Why,' said the other, with a proud look, as though he had got the better of the bargain, 'why do I want to get rid of it? Because it died last night!'[Pg 115]



OOD morning Mr. Sun!' Jack said,
As by the blind he stood;
'All night I lay awake in bed
And thought you'd gone for good.
The white moon kept me company
From ten o'clock till two:
Then in the darkest hour of night,
Behind the hill she slipped from sight
To go and look for you.

'I thought and thought of lots of things
As in my bed I lay;
The whole long list of English kings
From Alfred till to-day.
I thought of bats and bicycles,
Of stilts, and tops that hum,
Then turning to the window-pane,
I thought of you, and sighed again:
"Whenever will he come!"

'The house was still as still could be,
But on the stair-case near,
The big clock seemed to talk to me
In whispers hard to hear.
"He's coming! Tick! He's coming soon!"
I thought I heard it say:
"Look, look toward the window-blind,—
Tick-tock, tick-tock—and you shall find
The darkness growing grey."

'But as it spoke, a gurgle low
Towards me seemed to float,
As though the poor old clock, you know,
Had something in its throat.
And then it chuckled: "All is right,"
And loudly chimed with glee:
"Oh, what's the time? Oh, tell me, do!"
I cried, and counted one and two,
And then I counted three.

'But after that I fell asleep,—
At least, I think I did,—
For soon the sun began to peep
Beneath a sleepy lid.
Then bright and brighter grew the ray,
And o'er my bedroom cast
A glow that chased the gloom away
From every corner where it lay,
And morn had come at last.'



Of all the so-called musical instruments of the world, that known as the Juruparis, used by the Indians of the Rio Negro, seems to involve most misery to humanity in general. To women and girls the very sight of it means death in some form[Pg 116] or other, usually by poison, and boys are strictly forbidden to see it until grown to manhood, and then only after a most severe preliminary course of fasting.

The Juruparis is kept concealed in the bed of some stream far away in the gloomy forest, and wherever that river may wander, or however brightly its waters may sparkle in the sunny glades, no mortal who values his life may cool his parching lips with its freshness, or bathe his aching limbs in its clear depths. Only for solemn festivals is the Juruparis brought out by night and blown outside the place of meeting, and it is restored to its forest home immediately afterwards.

The word Juruparis means 'demon,' and it is supposed that its mysteries date back to some pre-historic Indian tradition, as various tribes inhabiting the vast forests round the Amazon district practise weird ceremonies in honour of the demons.

The Juruparis in casing. The Juruparis in casing.

In form the Juruparis is a slender tube from four to five feet long, made from strips of palm wood. Close to the mouth is an oblong hole, and when the instrument is to be used a piece of curved Uaruma or Arrowroot wood is inserted into the opening, which is then nearly closed with wet clay.

When not in use, the Juruparis is wrapped in a great-coat made of strips of the tough bark of the Jebaru-tree, which are wound round and round the sacred instrument and held in place by a rough framework of wood. In the museum at Kew Gardens a Juruparis in its outer casing may be seen. In ancient days the Indians of the American continent seem to have been more clever at making musical instruments than of recent years.

The Aztecs held pipes and flutes in great respect, and they were played at all religious ceremonies. At the great yearly festival of Tezcatlepoca, who was always represented as a handsome youth, a young man was sacrificed to the god, and a chief condition of the selection was that the selected person should be a really fine flute-player, presumably so that he might amuse Tezcatlepoca in another world. As the victim ascended the high mound on which the sacrificial altar stood, facing the rising sun, it was his duty to break a flute on every step.

Mexican Whistle. The Hinen.

The whistle shown in the illustration is made of burnt clay and painted. Instruments were shaped like all kinds of grotesque animals, birds, fish, and so on. Some have finger-holes, enabling the pitch to be altered and give different tones, others have a little ball of clay set loosely in a hollow place, so that when the air is set in motion a shrill whistling sound is emitted.

Whistling with the mouth, by the way, is strongly disapproved by the Arabs, who call it 'El Sifr,' and say that Satan must have touched any one before he can whistle, and that it takes forty days to purify the mouth which has so defiled itself. The Burmese were, up to a very late date, ignorant of the art, and expressed great astonishment when an American whistled an air, exclaiming that 'he made music with his mouth.' The natives of Tonga Islands, in Polynesia, consider whistling most disrespectful to their gods, and even in European countries it is objected to at certain times. In Northern Germany peasants say that whistling in the evening makes the angels weep, and in Iceland the feeling is so strong that even swinging a stick or whip, which may make the air whistle, is supposed to have an evil effect.

Mexican Whistle. Mexican Whistle.

The curious little instruments called by the Chinese 'Hinen' are of very ancient construction. They are made of baked clay with five finger-holes, three in front and two behind. They are wind instruments blown by the mouth and tuned in what is called the Pentatonic scale, which sounds much as the scale of C Major would if F and B were omitted.

Helena Heath.[Pg 117]

[Pg 118]


People often speak of flowers going to sleep at night, and it is perfectly true that many of them do close up their petals when it is dark. Some, indeed, sleep very early—our British wild plant, the goat's beard, is also called 'Jack go to bed at noon,' because the tops close about mid-day. We have other plants, such as the daisy and the dandelion, which shut their flowers early in the evening. But numerous are the blossoms that are open all night, both wild and garden kinds, affording food to night-flying insects. Then, again, we have flowers which are usually closed by daylight, but open after sunset, and which we should call 'flowers of the night.' Most of these are garden species, though there are a few wild ones. Often we are drawn to them by a fragrance which is wafted upon the evening air.

Perhaps the best known of all, a flower which seems to be at home even in a city garden, is the evening primrose, an American plant, which does not belong to the family of the true primroses. But the flowers have a primrose tint, and they are slightly fragrant, opening usually about six or seven in the evening, though an occasional bud may expand during the day. The flower has little hooks upon what is called the calyx, and when the petals open they burst the hooks with a snapping noise. One of the garden varieties has snow-white flowers. Another name for the plant is 'evening star.'

The most splendid of all the flowers of darkness is the cereus, the blossoms of which begin to open at seven or eight o'clock in the evening, and are fully out when midnight comes. Before daylight arrives the flowers have generally decayed, so rapid is their progress. So huge are these that they quite surpass the largest blooms found on the sun-flower, being nearly three feet in circumference. The outer portion is dark brown; the inner shades range from yellow to a pure white. When a dozen or so happen to expand at the same time the effect is startling. They also give out a fine scent.

One of these plants of the night caused such wonder when it arrived in England, that folks called it the 'marvel of Peru.' It is not at all uncommon now amongst the choice garden plants of other lands. The flowers are of several colours and open when the sun has set; the most conspicuous kind has long, dull, white flowers, which have a scent like the orange blossom or the heliotrope. One kind, however, opens earlier in the afternoon, and so that is known as the 'four-o'clock flower.' They are plants fond of warmth, but they do well out of doors during a hot summer.

One of the jessamines is named the night-flower, because it opens towards evening; and that grand species of lily called the Victoria Regina comes amongst the flowers that prefer night to-day.

We have in Britain a family of wild plants named the 'catch-flies.' They do not catch flies or other insects by their flowers, as some plants can, but they take them by the stems, which are sticky, and insects coming against these are entangled. The Latin name of Silena arose from an old legend that it belonged first to a young man whom the goddess Minerva employed to catch flies for her owls. She found him one day idling about, and in her anger turned him into a plant which should be always catching flies. Yorkshire has a night-flowering plant of this kind, with pale flowers and a forked stem. Then there is the white or evening campion of our hedgerows, which opens generally in the twilight, sending forth a perfume. Another, rather rarer, is the 'dame's rocket,' also a night flower. Yet another well-known evening flower in gardens is the tobacco plant, which has a white flower and a very strong, sweet scent.


The day had really been very sultry, and it was not to be wondered at that Miss Allan had not explained the lesson quite so clearly as she generally did. The children, too, had been troubled by the heat, and let their attention wander, so that a few of them went home with very vague ideas about spring-time and harvest, sowing and reaping, planting and watering. Ella and Willie Hope especially had their heads full of ideas which would have greatly surprised any farmer had he heard them.

'Dead things become alive in the earth,' said Ella.

'Little things grow big underground,' declared Willie.

One thing turns into many if we bury it,' continued Ella.

They walked on in silence for some time, then Ella's face began to shine. 'Just think, Willie,' exclaimed she, eagerly, 'if I bury my doll, it may turn into a real baby.'

'Yes,' assented the boy, 'and if I bury my box of tin soldiers, before long I shall have a regiment of strong men to fight the Russians with.'

'And—who knows?—if Mother were to give us her purse, we might make a whole tree of sovereigns grow! How happy Mother would be if she could have money without Father tiring himself so much to gain it!'

A moment's pause to enjoy the thought of such happiness, and then Willie remarked, a little doubtfully, 'Ella, don't you think that if it were so easy to make live soldiers and trees of gold grow up, people would have thought of it before now? I don't understand why nobody has ever tried.'

Ella wrinkled her brow, and looked very serious indeed. The remark was not to be slighted, and yet she felt quite sure that no real objection could be made to the conclusion at which they had arrived. Indeed, her brow soon cleared again, and, turning to her brother with a triumphant air, she exclaimed, 'Now I know! Of course, if we have ideas that other people never think of, it means we are geniuses! Most people never think of the plainest things till some genius has done so, and then it all seems so easy. I remember what Miss Allan said when she told us the story of Christopher Columbus. Any one could have taken a ship and sailed away to Africa—— '

'America,' murmured Willie, timidly.

'Well, America, then; it's all the same,' went on Ella, with an impatient shrug of her shoulder. 'But nobody did. There were no geniuses except Columbus, and he thought, "People are stupid not to go to America, but I will show them the way." What did he go for, Willie? Do you remember?'

'Cousin Jack said he went to find the egg conjurors play with, but I think he was joking.'

'Well, anyhow, he was a genius, and that's why we read about him in our school-books. Wouldn't it be fun, Willie, if children were to read about us at school?'

Willie looked doubtful. 'I don't think they'd like us,' he answered. 'People in school-books are often not nice.'

'Well, it doesn't matter much,' said Ella.

Then the children went home in silence with all their wonderful plans dancing wildly in their brains. What grand things they would do, what a marvellous garden they would have, and how every one would try to discover their secret! They were rather old for such fancies; but they had not begun lessons very early in their lives, owing to both being in rather weak health.

Unhappily there was no one at home to whom they could tell their plans. Mother was away, Father was too busy to listen to all the stories of his children, and their elder sister, Mary, had laughed at them too often to be taken into their confidence. But, after, all, they concluded it was better so. Their secret would remain a real, real secret, and so, at the right moment, all the world, even the world of home, would be struck with surprise!

That night nothing could be done; they had too many lessons to learn, too many toys to put away, too many tiresome questions about school to answer. Besides, there were so many important things to think about before beginning the great work. In what ground, for example, would it be best to plant the soldiers, and was not the season too far advanced? It would be such a pity if any stupid mistake should spoil their beautiful plan, for then nobody would believe they were geniuses.

'I tell you what,' said Ella next morning, 'we must begin with only one thing. Let us try your soldiers first. If they grow well, then I will plant my doll. If she turns into another doll, then we will tell Mother, and she will give us her money to sow. How many soldiers have you, Willie?'

'Only one boxful,' answered Willie, sadly. 'Perhaps we had better sow our pennies first, and then, when the tree of sovereigns comes up, we can buy whole regiments of soldiers.'

But Ella shook her head. 'No,' said she, seriously. 'You forget that the Japanese are losing a lot of men at the front. Father said so this morning, and they must not be kept waiting for two harvests. You have sixpence, I have twopence; with that let us buy all the soldiers we can, and plant them at once; then they may reach Port—Port Alfred—in time.'

'Port Arthur, Father said.' murmured Willie, timidly, feeling, however, that Ella was decidedly a genius. Yet he had still an objection to make. 'The soldiers should be Japanese,' said he. 'When I asked Father why our soldiers did not help the Japanese, he answered that we were at peace with the Russians, and the army dared not go without the[Pg 119] permission of the Government. So, even if the soldiers grew, they would have to stay in England. Perhaps it would be better to send the boxes there to the Japanese. They could put the soldiers into the ground and use them as soon as they come up.'

'No, stupid!' exclaimed Ella, rudely. 'You'd give our secret away if you did that. Besides, if you planted a turnip in a cabbage-field, that does not make it a cabbage. The men would be English just the same. Instead, we can buy a box of Japs and paint those you have, so that no one will ever think they are English soldiers. Mind you plant them with all their arms, so that they may grow up all ready for the war.'

'And, Ella, what do you think?' asked Willie, a little hesitatingly; 'should I plant one of my ships too, so that they may sail away at once?'

'Do!' replied Ella, enthusiastically. And Willie felt his spirits return.

That evening, in the twilight, the roses were awakened from their dreams by the sound of children's voices, and by strange movements at their roots. If ever roses were indignant, I am sure these were so then. What! Their sweet, fragrant, dewy earth invaded by rough soldiers! The soil around their roots violently scraped away to make room for Willie's ship! What did the fair flowers know of war and the Far East? How could they guess that Ella was a genius? The Wind, it is true, told them many things he saw in his wanderings, but he did not care to talk about violence and bloodshed to things so sweet.

But the children did not hear the roses' sighs, and did not try to explain. Had they done so, perhaps they would have heard some murmured words, 'Sow seeds of peace! sow seeds of peace!' The moon saw the children and smiled, thinking perhaps that they ought to have been born in her land. Anyhow, the great work was soon accomplished, and the children stole back to their room full of hope and excitement.

A sudden thought made Ella tremble as she ran along the passage, 'Oh, Willie!' she exclaimed, catching him by the arm, 'if the soldiers come up little by little, they will be seen by everybody, and if they spring up all at once, they will frighten every one. Fancy the garden full of armed men, and nobody knowing where they come from!'

'They are sure to grow up, all at once,' replied Willie, after a moment's reflection. 'Just like mushrooms, you know. They are men toys, not baby toys, so they must spring up men. But they will frighten everybody; what shall we do, Ella?'

Poor Ella! Even her busy brain was puzzled for a moment. But, of course, being a genius, she found a solution even to that difficulty, and Willie was obliged to admire her more than ever.

'Let's write a letter to the General,' suggested she a little while before they went to bed, 'and ask him to go away quietly, without frightening any one. If we bury the letter beside the soldiers, as soon as they become alive they will find it, and read it. We can ask him to come secretly into our room and salute us before he goes.'

(Concluded on page 122.)[Pg 120]

"The great work was soon accomplished." "The great work was soon accomplished."

[Pg 121]

"He placed a sovereign on the counter." "He placed a sovereign on the counter."

[Pg 122]


Many years ago, a young sailor entered a shop in Glasgow, to make a purchase. As he was about to leave, he placed a letter upon a counter near the window, and was sticking a postage stamp upon it, when he clumsily knocked his elbow against the window and broke one of its panes. The poor fellow was much confused when he saw the damage which he had done. He had no money to pay for a new pane, as he had spent his few last coppers in preparing this letter for his mother. He apologised to the shopkeeper as best he could, and promised to pay for the broken square when he returned from his next voyage. The shopkeeper accepted his promise, though he may very well have doubted whether he would ever see the sailor again.

Months and years passed by, and the shopkeeper forgot all about the sailor and the broken square of glass. One day, however, a seaman came into the shop, and looking the shopkeeper full in the face said, 'Do you know me?'

The shopkeeper replied that he did not.

'Well, I am the lad who broke that square,' said the seaman, pointing to the window. 'I have been to China and the Indies since then, but I have not forgotten my debt. Here is the money.'

He placed a sovereign on the counter, and having received the change which was due to him, went out of the shop with the light heart and cheerful face of a man who has got rid of a heavy 'obligation.'


(Concluded from page 119.)

Willie was startled by the roll of drums, and a sharp call of 'To arms!' He sat up hastily in his bed, and returned the salute of the Japanese General standing at the foot of his bed. 'Sire,' said the gallant soldier bravely, 'the moment has come. Our country expects that every man this day will do his duty. We depart with your permission, and when we have taken the Czar prisoner, we shall bring him to you in chains.'

Another roll of drums and the room was filled with soldiers, all of whom greeted Willie with profound respect. They waved their swords in the air, and with a loud 'Hurrah!' which sounded very English indeed, they whirled rapidly out of the room, leaving the little boy quite dazed.

The roll of drums and the blowing of trumpets continued, and Willie thought he heard the sound of cannon, but he was quite unable to leave his bed, something seeming to hold him there. So, with those warlike sounds in his ears, he fell asleep again, and only woke up when Ella rushed into his room all flushed and excited, holding in her hand a tin soldier, like those they had buried the night before. 'Oh. Willie!' she exclaimed, 'wasn't it dreadful? However did those horrid Russians find their way here? I'm quite sure we didn't bury any of them in the garden. What a dreadful battle! And how strange that only you and I should know anything about it! But the Japanese won! This morning I found this soldier on the ground, but he is quite a toy again, and has not a single wound. I'm afraid he's a coward!'

'I don't understand, Ella,' said Willie, quite dumbfounded. 'I didn't see any battle. The General came to salute me before leaving for Japan—for where the war is, I mean—but the troops left quite quietly. Oh, no! I remember now, I did hear the sound of cannon, but somehow I fell asleep. Anyhow, I am sure—quite sure—that I saw no battle. Tell me about it, do!'

Ella looked at him indignantly. 'I hate boys who don't tell the truth,' exclaimed she indignantly. 'As if you hadn't fought yourself last night! Why, you killed a Russian as easily as if he had been a fly!'

'Where is he?' asked Willie, half convinced. 'I really don't remember, but I'd like to see him.' Then, hesitatingly, 'Is he really dead, Ella?'

'I know nothing about him,' answered she, quite snappishly. 'The Japs are very ungrateful and have gone away without a word, and there is not a sign of them, either in the house or in the garden.'

'We told them to go away quietly,' said Willie; 'perhaps they will telegraph from Port Arthur. Do tell me about the battle.'

'Nonsense!' replied she, pettishly. 'You saw the battle as well as I did. Be quick and come into the garden, and you'll see that the soldiers are no longer under the bushes.'

It was quite true. The earth bore signs of having been moved, and neither soldiers nor ship were to be seen.

'Then it is quite true,' murmured Willie, awe-struck, 'and the army has gone to the Japanese. But I really can't remember about the battle. Ella, how do you think the Russian soldiers came here?'

'That's why I'm so cross,' confessed Ella. 'Of course, there must have been another genius at school, who likes the Russians, and who wanted them to win. So he, too, buried a box of soldiers, and when they became alive, they met ours. Anyhow, ours won. Isn't it funny that there's no sign of the battle?'

'Shall we try again with your doll?' asked Willie.

'No,' replied Ella, decidedly. 'If some one else has had the same idea I don't care to have anything more to do with it.'

Some days later, while the children were at breakfast, their father read of a great Japanese victory. The two young ones looked up proudly, then triumphantly told their strange story to their father. He listened with a quiet smile, and gently remarked, 'Did you give any of your soldiers to Tim Jones, or a ship like the one you buried?'

'No, never,' they replied, surprised at the question.

'Well,' continued he, 'I saw him playing with some very like them, to-day; and I have been told he was seen on the garden wall the very night Ella dreamt of the battle.'

Poor Willie! Poor Ella! They were quite astonished to hear such an explanation of the mystery, and rather sad. But their father, talking to them kindly and wisely, comforted them, and explained that nothing made by the hands of man can grow in the earth, but only things produced by Providence in the earth itself, from living seeds fallen from living plants. He led them into the garden and showed them the plants and the roots, and explained how from the living seeds spring up the living plants. He showed them, too, the dead trunks and dry branches, and explained how from them nothing could ever spring any more.

'Well, I'm glad I didn't kill the Russian,' confessed Willie. 'And it did seem all too easy as we had thought of it. I suppose the battle and all that was only a dream.'

'But I believed we were geniuses,' owned Ella, with a little blush; and then Father laughed. Oh, how he laughed!


(Continued from page 115.)


Georgie listened to Estelle's reading till the low murmur, blending with the drowsy hum of the insects, the occasional twitter of a bird, and the warm fragrance of the pines, lulled him to sleep. Estelle read on till the story was finished; then sat gazing up into the green foliage above her. She was thinking that she was not unlike the girl in the story; her father was away, her mother was dead, and though she lived among those who loved her, would any such terrible things befall her as had happened to the heroine of the tale? Her thoughts wandered to the father in that far-off land, and the mother who had died when she was too young to remember her, but whose sweet face and sweeter memory would always be sacred to the little girl she had left behind her. She could almost hear herself say, as once in the days long, long ago—

'Do you like the name of Estelle, father? It sounds very French, but it was mother's.'

'It is the sweetest name on earth to me, my darling. Be what your mother was, as sweet, as loving, as unselfish, and you will be worthy of her name.'

Had there really been a voice speaking to her? Estelle sat up, listening. Her heart beat, though she smiled that the fancy should have come. Her father was so far away. She longed to be with him again; but she had plenty to do to learn all he desired, before he came back, and after that the happy days at Lynwood could begin again. Suddenly, the grating of the door into the ruin startled her. Bootles sat up and snuffed the air, moved uneasily, and got up to stretch himself. Then he lazily stalked away to the steps, flopping down them as if too weary to walk properly. At the bottom, however, he suddenly roused himself. A cat was creeping stealthily across the open glade. Estelle saw it too, and sprang up in her nervous dislike to seeing creatures hunted. But Bootles had at once given chase. He could be heard yelping as he bounded after the animal, till both disappeared in the deep undergrowth. For a time the sound of the pursuit grew[Pg 123] more and more distant, then it came doubling back, and Estelle, with dismay, saw the cat rush across the glade, and into the summer-house. In another moment Bootles had followed. Terrified lest the dog should be shut in, and heedless of her own danger, she ran down the steps and into the forbidden room, in the vain hope of catching the dog, and rescuing him before the door closed.

No one was near to see what happened. In her fear she ran on without looking where she was going. Round and round, dodging from this corner to that, flew the cat, the dog after it; presently they both plunged into the black cavernous place Georgie had seen. Feeling her way with both hands, Estelle ran after them, calling to Bootles. The light behind was growing fainter, the way before her was shrouded in the darkness of night. Frightened at last, she stopped, and at that moment there was a crash which shook the whole building. With a terror, which made her cold and sick, she realised that the terrible door had shut. She was imprisoned, and no one knew it!

Meantime, Alan and Marjorie had set off with the intention of going straight to the Smuggler's Hole, and on into the cave passage. But, passing through the wilderness, close to the rear of the rampart, which here jutted out to some distance beyond the ruined summer-house, they both fancied they heard sounds in the brushwood. It turned out to be only a stray cat, but it had the effect of diverting them from their purpose for a time, since the animal seemed scared. Alan decided it was running away from something, and as a bird also flew past at the moment, he determined to make investigations.

Followed by Marjorie, he clambered down into a sort of dry ditch, the remains of the old moat. Though overgrown with ivy and brambles, it would be easier walking than forcing his way through the dense underwood, and they would make far less noise. Without even a whispered word, the brother and sister crept cautiously along, coming at length to an open, but small glen. Up to this point they had had no difficulty; but here the ditch was closed by a stout hedge, made still stronger by faggots and barbed wire. This was unexpected, for there appeared to be no reason for such a protection, and Alan and Marjorie sat on the bank to consider what that hedge was intended to conceal. The mossy glen was behind them, and all around was the deep silence of the woods. In front towered the grey, crumbling walls of the ancient rampart. Their low voices scarcely broke the stillness; they were afraid of something, they knew not what. A stir was in the air, and yet they could not be said to hear anything distinctly. It was more a feeling than a sound.

'You stay here,' whispered Alan at last, rising as he spoke. 'I will just go and have a look round. If I can, I will let you know what is behind that hedge, but if anything turns up, and I am not back immediately, you will be safe here. No, don't come with me. It would make too much noise.'

"Round and round flew the cat, the dog after it." "Round and round flew the cat, the dog after it."

With that he crawled away, leaving Marjorie to wait and listen anxiously. For a long time, or so it seemed to her, she could only hear the faint move[Pg 124]ment made by Alan as he parted the bushes, and crept away. Even that soon died away, and the same deep silence settled on everything. It was very hot; the air was so still that it seemed hotter in the ditch than in the open, but she dared not stir. Alan must be able to find her, if he required her. She sat and listened with ears strained to catch every sound. How long she had waited she did not[Pg 125] know, when a sound of snapping twigs and running feet came from the near neighbourhood of the hedge. Springing to her feet, she caught a glimpse of two men forcing their way with all their strength through the entanglement of sturdy brushwood and trees, which surrounded that portion of the ruin. One of these men was a stranger; the other, to her amazement, was Thomas.

She did not know what to do. Should she follow, or was it better to wait till Alan shouted to her? Time went on. The sounds died away in the distance, and all was quiet again. Alan had not called, and there were no signs of where he was.

(Continued on page 134.)


Yaks. Yaks.

The Yak, or grunting Ox, as it is sometimes called from the peculiar grunt which it makes, is a native of the high table-lands of the interior of Asia, to the north of India—'the roof of the world,' as the country is often called. It is a large animal of the ox kind, with a massive head and front, and it is covered entirely with long hair which reaches almost down to its hoofs. It has large, wide-spreading horns, ending in sharp points, and its shoulders are high and almost humped. Its long tail, unlike the tail of the ox, the buffalo, and the bison, is covered with long, silky hair, reaching to the ground. When the animal is killed, this tail is often mounted in an ivory or metal handle, and used by Indian princes as a fly-whisk. The yak's colour is usually black or a very dark brown, but sometimes it is white, and the hair on its shoulders hangs thick and long, like the mane of a lion.

In Thibet the yak is, perhaps, the most useful animal to be found in the country. It is hardy and strong, and thrives upon the short grass growing in the sheltered valleys of the lofty Himalaya and Kuen Luen mountains, at a height where the air is too cold and the ground too rugged and bare for most animals, especially domesticated ones. Though horses and sheep are domesticated by the Thibetans, the yak in many respects replaces them both, besides serving the uses of oxen or cows in other places. Large herds of yaks are driven from place to place by the wandering Thibetans, who pitch their black tents where there is pasturage for their flocks. These people live very largely upon the milk of their yaks, and upon the butter which they make from it. They have a great liking for tea, which comes from China in the form of blocks or bricks, which they[Pg 126] break up as they require them. When the tea is boiling in the kettle, they put in large quantities of milk and butter, and even salt, and though the mixture is one which would be very disagreeable to a European, it is enjoyed by the Thibetans, and is no doubt made much more nourishing by the addition of the nutritious milk and butter. The flesh of the yak is considered to be excellent food, and is eaten by those Thibetans who can afford to do so. But a small wandering tribe cannot often kill a yak or a sheep for food, because they cannot eat the whole of the flesh while it is fresh, and thus a portion is wasted.

The long hair of the yak, like the wool of goats and sheep, is suitable for spinning into thread and weaving into cloth. The Thibetans spin large quantities of yak's wool, and some of it they weave, but much of the weaving is done by the Chinese, who sell the cloth back to the Thibetans. Of this cloth the Thibetans make not only their clothes, but also the large tents under which so many of them live. As the wool is not washed, bleached, or prepared in any way before it is spun and woven, the cloth retains the natural greasiness of the wool, which renders it quite water-proof, and thus makes it an excellent material for tents. Even the ropes which sustain the tents are made of yak's wool. The skin, too, of the yak, when prepared in the native way, makes a very good soft leather.

The yak is also used as a beast of burden. In Ladakh it is harnessed to carts, and made to draw ploughs, but in other places it is usually loaded with packs. In Thibet a clumsy wooden pack-saddle is laid upon the yak's back, and the packs are fastened upon each side of it. Though at times restless, the yak is very sure-footed and plodding, and does a fair amount of work considering the nature of the country. An English traveller, who once drove a pair of loaded yaks in Thibet, noticed that they showed a great reluctance to go any way but their own. By-and-by he found that they were selecting the way, which, although it was considered to be a high road, was only marked here and there by a few footprints. So long as he allowed the yaks to go their own way, they went on willingly, and the traveller soon discovered that it was best to leave them alone and simply follow them. Once or twice when he had lost the track, the yaks led him back to it.

Not only are yaks used for draught and for carrying loads, but they are also ridden, a special saddle being then used. Along the roads between Pekin and Lhassa, a yak will carry its rider twenty miles a day, it is said, or it will carry a load ten miles. Much quicker journeys may be made, however, by taking fresh yaks at certain posts or stages. In this way the traveller already referred to was able to ride one hundred and seventy-five miles in five days, the two longest days' journeys being forty-five and forty-two miles respectively.



S up the stairs to bed I go,
A tiger chases me;
He's somewhere in the dark, I know,
Although I cannot see.

From step to step I quickly jump,
But oh, how slow I seem!
And I can feel my heart go 'Thump!
It nearly makes me scream.

The tiger can go faster, much,
He gains at every stride;
He's sure to get me in his clutch—
He's almost at my side!

I dare not give a look behind,
I fear his savage glare;
His cruel teeth I hear him grind,
A-tingle goes my hair!

At last I reach the landing wide—
I'm at the nursery door;
I shut it tight, and, safe inside,
I pant upon the floor.

But Mother often laughs at me
For getting such a scare;
And, somehow, when she goes to see,
The tiger's never there!



F a railway train could travel over a rainbow, it would hardly have been necessary to build a bridge over the Zambesi River at the Victoria Falls, for during seven months of the year a rainbow can always be seen there; but about the end of August the fairy architects take it down, and do not come to build it again until the beginning of February. The rainbow is made by the sunlight shining on the dancing drops of spray that leap from the waterfall while the river is in flood. But when, after the end of August, the flood subsides, the spray subsides too, and the lovely rainbow fades from sight until the rainy season has returned.

This mighty river collects its waters over a space of a million square miles, but on its way to the sea is met by many difficulties. The greatest of these occurs near Kazungula, on the borders of Rhodesia, and is known by the natives as the 'place of the sounding smoke.' David Livingstone, who, fifty years ago, was the first white man to see it, called it the Victoria Falls, and has told the world how he crept to the edge of the awful abyss and peered over in the vain effort to see the bottom through that roaring, blinding cloud of 'sounding smoke.' Long, long ages ago a terrible earthquake occurred at this spot, and from shore to shore of the Zambesi (which is here more than a mile wide) a huge crack, one hundred yards across, suddenly opened. Into this the river disappears with a mighty thunder, as though to lose itself in the centre of the earth. Four hundred feet down the bottom of the chasm is reached, and, beating themselves against the opposite wall, the waters struggle to find an outlet, throwing up in their fury white clouds of spray, which rise to a height of one thousand two hundred feet, and can be seen for a distance of ten miles.

Near the eastern end of the mile-long crack, there is an opening in the form of a narrow gorge one hundred yards wide, twisting and twining in the most erratic manner for more than twenty miles to the southward. And through this, imprisoned by rocky cliffs four hundred feet high, the boiling Zambesi struggles on its way to the sea. On the lip of the cataract, as though carried to the edge by the flowing waters, hang green wooded isles, glittering with the ever-falling spray and waving light fronds of fern and palm, in the cool airs that are constantly being driven by the falls from the depths below them. It is a spot of great beauty, and it is no wonder that many people expressed regret when they learned that the railway was fast approaching, and would leap across the gorge through which the waters escape. But after all, in a scene of such magnitude, we may hope that the railway will show no more than a scratch in the wide sea-sands.

The spot chosen for the bridge is some four hundred yards below the falls, and, owing to the sudden bends in the channel, the merest glimpse only can be caught of the falling water.

Sir Charles Metcalf, engineer of the Rhodesian Railway Company, having surveyed the place, made a design for the bridge, and a firm of engineers in Darlington, England, undertook to build it. In the meantime, the railway at Buluwayo, three hundred miles away, had been continued to the edge of the gorge in readiness to convey the material.

It was decided that the bridge should be in the form of an arch made of steel girders, the central span being five hundred feet. The work was begun in October, 1904. First a pair of 'shear legs' was erected on the southern side opposite the place where the railway from Buluwayo ended. This is a mechanical contrivance of the nature of a crane, capable of being raised and lowered, and is formed of two or more poles standing some yards apart at their feet, but joined together at their heads, to support a revolving pulley. To save the loss of time and great inconvenience of crossing the river above the falls, it became necessary to find some means of spanning this narrow gorge before beginning to build the bridge. This was accomplished by firing a sky-rocket from the northern cliff-top with a length of light string attached. To the end of the string a slightly stouter cord was tied; then a strong rope, and finally a wire cable two inches thick. Thus, that which could not be done all at once, was done by degrees. The wire cable, being passed over the pulley on the shear legs, was fastened on the other side of the gorge to the top of a steel tower, thirty-six feet high.

From this thin aerial railway hung the 'cage' in which the workmen would cross and recross, and do a great deal of the bridge-building work, being[Pg 127] raised and lowered to the required position by the shear legs. Some feet above the two-inch rope ran an electric wire with a motor engine which propelled the car backwards and forwards. Thus we may almost say that the first conveyance across the Zambesi was an electric tram. And the passengers (particularly on the first journey) were not pleased with the trip. They shrank with pardonable terror when they found themselves suspended over that awful gulf by a slender cord that swayed against the sky. But use soon changed all this.

The bridge was begun from both sides at once. In the rocky sides of the cliffs excavations were made to receive the four upright columns from which the arch would spring. On beds of concrete poured into these excavations was bolted an iron plate upon which the foot of the 'post' would hinge, so as to allow movement when the iron girders expanded or contracted with the change of temperature. The 'posts' are one hundred and five feet tall, and the arch which springs from their feet rises to a height of ninety feet at the centre. As the two ends grew towards each other across the abyss, it was found that the weight would require support before the girders met in the middle. To build a scaffolding would of course have been impossible; so the following means were adopted. Into the rocky ground on both sides of the river, two holes were bored, each thirty feet deep and thirty feet apart, their bottom ends being connected by another boring. A strong wire rope was then threaded down one hole and up through the other, to be carried over the cliff-top and passed under the bridge-end as it hung in mid-air. As the weight increased the ropes were added to, while, as a further precaution, the ground between the two holes was loaded with five thousand tons of railway irons. The wire ropes successfully played their parts until April 1st, 1905, but when the central girder was ready to take its place, it was found to be an inch and a quarter too long. It had expanded in the heat; but after a night's cooling it contracted to the right size, and was successfully inserted.

One of the principal difficulties in the erection of this bridge has been the trouble of getting the material to the spot. From Darlington to the Victoria Falls is eight thousand miles of ocean, bush, and desert, and sometimes long delay was caused by the railway being washed away by floods. But once there was interruption from another cause. Many of the English workmen were unable to stop on account of the climate, and they were constantly drenched by the spray, until in many cases natives had to be employed in their stead. These natives were housed in a little settlement of nicely built huts, lighted by electricity. One day, however, the electric wires caused a fire which destroyed the entire[Pg 128] 'town' with astonishing rapidity.

Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls.

The bridge was opened in August, 1905, on the occasion of the visit of the British Association. The roadway over it is thirty feet wide, affording room for a double set of rails, and the panting trains have already begun to cross its web-like span, gliding into sight from the cliff-top on one side, only to disappear the next moment on the other in a green wilderness of ferns and tropic flowers.[Pg 129]


[Pg 130]


By Harold Ericson.


It was now Vandeleur's turn to tell his camp-fire story, and he looked so long and so dreamily into the embers before he began that Denison laughed and said, 'Don't go to sleep, old chap, before you begin!'

Vandeleur laughed also, good-naturedly.

I'm not a bit sleepy (he said) but when I think of Umkopo, one of the best and most faithful friends I ever possessed, it makes me thoughtful. Umkopo, as the name suggests, had something to do with the Zulus or Matabeles. His was an extraordinary career, and I may have more to tell you about him in another yarn; but for the present I will merely tell you this, that, though he looked scarcely more like a 'nigger' than any of us three, yet, as a matter of fact, I never for some time really doubted that he was a young Matabele, simply because it never occurred to me to doubt it under the circumstances. He was a boy of about seventeen when I first met him—a straight, well-made chap of about Bobby's size and weight, black-haired and dark-skinned, but not so dark as the ordinary run of Mashonaland natives, about as dark, let us say, as you and I are at the end of a shooting trip somewhere in the equatorial regions.

Well, I was off some years ago upon a rhinoceros-hunting trip and at the moment in actual pursuit of a huge beast of greyish tint, a rare colour; this was an animal who had given me the slip many times, and I was most anxious to secure him. I was encamped somewhere within the district which he had chosen as his home, but for a week or two I had not been able to hit upon his tracks.

Now this was during the time of the first Matabele war, and I was, as a matter of fact, within the war-zone. I joined in the fighting a month or two later, finding that men were wanted on the British side, but at this time I was only hunting.

One day, prowling about the jungle with a Kaffir to carry my cartridges and a spare rifle, I suddenly came upon an unexpected sight.

A young man, apparently a native, lay by a pool of water at the foot of a tree, breathing, as it seemed to me, his last breath. He moaned a little when he saw us approaching, and made a feeble effort to rise and reach the club which lay at his side.

Finding that he was not going to be attacked, he gave up the effort, and lay breathing heavily.

'He is ill,' said I to the Kaffir; 'ask him whether he is in pain, and what ails him.'

The Kaffir knew something of the Bantu-Matabele dialect, and spoke to the man, who replied in gasps.

'He say,' the Kaffir reported, 'want food; drank bad water, poisoned by Matabeles; better now, but want eat.'

This was a need which was easily supplied. I had plenty of food with me, biscuits and tinned tongue, which I had brought for my lunch. I gave him this, and something to drink. He ate and drank greedily, which nearly choked him. He looked gratefully at me, and I placed him in a sitting posture with his back to a tree, and gave him a couple of prunes, which were evidently a novelty to him, and afforded him great delight.

The Kaffir, who rejoiced in the name of Billy, conversed with the young fellow from time to time, and suddenly Billy burst out laughing; a piece of rude behaviour which greatly shocked him the next moment, for he placed his hand over his mouth and looked very ashamed of himself.

'What is it, Billy?' I asked him.

'He say his people call him "White Witch,"' said Billy. 'He say, "I t'ink I white man like your master."'

Billy again burst out laughing, and again stifled the laugh in shocked surprise at his own rudeness.

I gazed at the sick youth with new curiosity and interest. I examined his features: there was nothing of the low-caste negro type about him, that was clear; but then it often happens that a Zulu or a Matabele is born with features which resemble those of a higher type of humanity.

'Ask him why they call him "White Witch,"' said I.

After a long talk with our new friend, Billy apparently gave up the attempt to solve this mystery.

'No understand,' he told me; 'he talk nonsense—much nonsense; not tell any truth.'

'What's his name?' I next asked.

'Umkopo,' said Billy. 'Dat not white man name—dat Matabele name.'

Billy looked so disgusted, and was clearly so displeased that a nigger should put forward a claim to white man's blood, that I decided to worry the sick man no more at present with questions—at least, he should answer only one more.

'How came he here? ask him,' said I.

'He been see Lobengula at Bulawayo,' said Billy. 'Lobengula chase him away into the jungle because he say bad words.'

'What kind of bad words?' I asked, in some surprise.

'Bad words: he say Lobengula not fight white people; white people eat him up.'

Umkopo, then, thought I, was like one of the prophets, who prophesied evil things which were unwelcome to the king.

'Lobengula chase him into jungle; much men run after him. Umkopo hide, drink bad water, nearly die, then no food.'

It was clear that the poor lad could not be left where he was in his present weak state; he must return with us to camp, which was two or three miles away at the edge of this jungle.

But Umkopo, though he did his best to rise to his feet, and walk with us when invited to do so, proved far too weak. He almost fell in attempting to stand up, and was obliged to cling to the tree-trunk in order to prevent himself from sudden collapse.

'We shall have to carry him, Billy,' said I. 'Collect poles and branches, and we will make a litter for the poor chap.'

Billy was evidently gravely displeased to be asked to do so much for a mere Matabele: he collected materials with his nose in air. 'Who going to carry nigger?' he asked.

And when I replied that, naturally—there being no one else—he and I would do so, I thought Billy would have a fit.

Nevertheless, the Kaffir was obliged to swallow his feelings, for, when I had finished the litter, I took up Umkopo in my arms—I am fairly strong, as you know—and laid him in it, and bade the disgusted Billy catch hold of one end while I took the other.

As for Umkopo himself, he looked very gratefully in my face, but he did not seem in the least overpowered by the fact that a white man was condescending to act as bearer to him. This circumstance seemed to weigh much more heavily upon Billy than upon him; but then Billy was influenced by the feeling of disgust that he, should be called upon to take so much trouble for the sake of a mere native.

We got Umkopo back to camp in safety, Billy making a great show of weariness; and here I had a comfortable couch made for the invalid within the zareeba. He lay at his ease for a day or two, living upon antelope flesh and the best of everything, and even drinking, at my special request, several doses of a tonic which I had brought with me, in case of sickness. The faces he made over it were something too weird to describe.

Under this treatment Umkopo soon picked up strength, and we became great friends, he and I. I endeavoured to teach him a few English words, and one day—to my great astonishment and interest—he rattled off a sentence which I had not taught him, but which was certainly a species of English. It sounded like this: 'Whenima gooboy nannagiv mejam on Sundays.'

It was an obvious attempt to say, 'When I'm a good boy, Nanna gives me jam on Sundays'—a sentence which not only told a tale of its own, but also gave a fellow a pretty wide field 'to think in.'

After this discovery, I began to take a very great and special interest in Umkopo, and taught him all the English I could. He was with me for a fortnight, and grew much attached to me. He was, of course, a bit of a savage, but there was something very attractive about him, and I grew both fond of and interested in him. This interest and fondness for a nigger greatly offended Billy, my chief Kaffir. None of my Kaffirs liked Umkopo, for all were jealous of him, I suppose; but Billy was particularly bitter against him, and once or twice I was obliged to reprimand him severely.

This uncomfortable state of affairs ended in a kind of tragedy, and I will just tell you of this and of its upshot before passing on to the rhinoceros adventure, which is the real part of this yarn.

(Concluded on page 154.)


LOVE to wait till the red sun hides,
When from the dusk the Shepherd Moon glides;
And by twos and threes around him peep
His flock of little white starry sheep.

All night they ramble so far and high,
Their pasture wide is the dark blue sky;
Then the Shepherd Moon goes on his way,
And leads them back to the folds of Day.
[Pg 131]



Most readers of Chatterbox must have seen the fresh-water mussel in its native element. Let those who have not, search in the shallow water of the nearest river or brook till they are successful. When the stream is clear you may often see them lying on the bottom; in deeper water, you may catch them if you go out armed with a big, long-handled rake; plunge this into the water, drag it along the bottom, and carefully haul up the entangled mud and weed. Sooner or later your search should be rewarded. I have caught hundreds this way. Some of them were not more than an inch and a half long, and when placed in a glass jar were so transparent, that I could watch the beating of the heart through the shell. Indeed, I have two such little beauties before me, on my study table, as I write. One has partly buried himself in the mud, the other is lying on the surface. But, when full-grown, this transparency passes away, and they attain a perfectly huge size—six inches long at any rate!

Once upon a time, no doubt, the ancestors of these creatures lived in the sea; then they migrated to the rivers, creeping farther and farther up into fresh water, till at last their descendants have got so used to this element that they can live only in fresh water. Now, when animals gradually change their mode of life in this way, they at the same time undergo a great many structural and constitutional changes—some slight, some profound—and among these the most important are changes in the provision for the young. There is, as you know, a constant migration going on among the more active animals between the sea and the river, which is entirely on account of the needs of the young. Thus, salmon leave the sea yearly and undertake perilous journeys up the rivers, solely that they may lay their eggs there: while eels, on the other hand, as we have seen, are impelled by instinct to pursue exactly the opposite course, and to brave all dangers, that they may provide a nursery for their young in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Let us apply this to the fresh-water mussels. The ancestors of these very helpless creatures lived, I have remarked, in the sea; and we may be pretty certain that their eggs are hatched out into what we call larvae, or imperfectly developed animals, precisely similar to the young, or larvae, of the marine mussel of our seas. Now, this larva has the form of a tiny little creature covered with 'swimming' hairs. By the constant waving motions of these hairs, the little body is driven through the water, till at last, reaching a favourable spot, or tired out, they settle down at the bottom of the sea and turn into mussels, This free-and-easy life is all very well for the salt-water mussels, with the great wide sea to roam in; but such freedom in rivers would by no means be safe, because, though mussels swim, they are, by reason of their small size, quite unable to force their way against strong currents. Thus, on the outgoing tide, they would be swept off to sea, and would die even before this was reached—as soon, indeed, as the water became really salt. So, to prevent such a[Pg 132] disaster, the fresh-water mussel carefully nurses her young between her gills, till they are old enough to help themselves. You will be surprised when I tell you the strange device they have come to adopt, so soon as they are cast adrift, whereby they may complete their days of infancy. Shielded throughout the winter months, they are turned adrift on the first warm day of Spring, a troop of very lively youngsters indeed. Each is encased in a very wonderful shell (S in the figure in the top left-hand corner of the illustration), quite unlike that of their parents, being triangular in shape, and armed with a pair of pointed teeth (T). By means of powerful muscles this shell is made to open and shut with great rapidity, and thus the body of the little creature is quickly driven through the water in a series of spasmodic jumps. Then comes a period of rest, obtained by using the long thread or 'byssus' (B) as a float, this thread being thrown out along the surface of the water. Then the hunt for a host begins again. On and on they go, till one after another—'curiouser and curiouser!'—seizes hold of a fish by means of its hooks. Having caught hold tight, each clings like grim death, and as a result of the irritation set up in the poor fish's skin, swelling follows and soon grows up all round the young mussel, and makes him a prisoner. But this is just what he wants. Snugly tucked away in his living cradle he slowly assumes his adult shape, and at last bursts his prison and falls to the bottom!

Fresh-water Mussels. Fresh-water Mussels.

There is yet another reason for this very strange and somewhat cruel procedure. The love of self, among the lower animals, is so strong that parents always drive away their young so soon as they become capable of feeding, and fending for themselves; because, if they did not adopt stern measures of this sort, famine and disease would be the result, owing to overcrowding. On the whole, this banishment is not so hard as it looks, the young having no sentiment for the place of their birth, and being probably more capable of migrating than the parents. But the method adopted by the fresh-water mussel is wasteful and dangerous; wasteful, because thousands and thousands of young ones necessarily die every year, through failing to catch their fish; and dangerous, because those who succeed are liable to contract the habit of being a parasite, and this, as always, leads to degradation and ruin. Finally, whenever young animals have to depend on other creatures to provide them with a lodging during some part of their growth, many more thousands have to be hatched than is the case where the young are dependent on themselves entirely, for it must always happen that the necessary hosts are hard to catch, and the young die in countless thousands, being unable to succeed in their search.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.


All orders to native servants in India must be very carefully and exactly given, for a black servant takes care to obey to the very letter. An Englishman once took with him a native lad as a[Pg 133] servant when going on a boating journey. There were no such chances of washing on board the boat as one enjoys at home in a house. Accordingly, a bucket was dipped into the river, and it served as a washing-basin. One day the boy was told to bring some water, and in doing so happened to spill a good deal over his master's feet.

"The lad emptied the pail over his employer." "The lad emptied the pail over his employer."

'You clumsy fellow!' cried his master, angrily,[Pg 134] 'why don't you throw it all over me?'—of course not using the words in their literal sense.

'Yes, sahib!' said the lad, and, to his master's astonishment, he took up the pail, and emptied it over his employer!



The articles in Chatterbox under this heading have aroused great interest, and doubtless many readers would like to know more about these fascinating subjects than there is room for in the columns of Chatterbox. Mr. Pycraft, the author of these articles, is a well-know authority on Natural History, and is constantly engaged in research at the wonderful Natural History Museum at South Kensington, a place which many Chatterbox readers probably know well; and he has very generously undertaken to give any further information, or answer questions, if readers of Chatterbox like to write to him personally about the matter. Letters should be addressed to—

W. P. Pycraft, Esq.,
c/o The Editor of Chatterbox,
3 Paternoster Buildings, E.C.

Readers of Chatterbox will probably be glad of this chance of obtaining information direct from a first-rate authority.


(Continued from page 125.)

It so happened that Alan had seen and heard everything. On leaving Marjorie, he had succeeded in getting round the hedge, only to find that it extended to another part of the rampart, and was strongly fortified with barbed wire the whole way. It enclosed a portion of ground completely cleared of trees and brushwood, thus enabling the sun to shine upon the old walls unhindered by foliage. The grey, crumbling stones seemed to spread its heat, and the grass at their base seemed withered and brown. Alan's curiosity was aroused, and he determined to climb the nearest tree. It was the only way to discover what the plot of ground contained, and whether there were any reasons for all the care which appeared to have been taken to give it the full benefit of the hot summer sunshine.

Having selected a young oak which he considered might suit his purpose, Alan began to climb. He had made but little way when the sound of some body moving softly within the enclosure arrested his attention. He paused, clinging to the trunk and listening anxiously. Presently the movement ceased, and he wondered whether he had been heard. He could not remain where he was, however. That would mean certain discovery. He must either drop to the ground and get away, or stick to his original purpose and trust to the foliage to conceal him. Deciding on the latter plan, he crept slowly up till he reached the first branch strong enough to support his weight. Here a bitter disappointment awaited him. His labour had been in vain. Not a glimpse of the fenced-in ground would the dense summer foliage allow him. He was afraid to change his position lest he should be heard, and could only lie prone upon the bough, listening.

He had not long to wait.

A low murmur; a stir, as if some one was attempting to get through the hedge. 'Can't do it,' came a whisper. 'Give me a leg up, and I will manage it that way. Got the rope with you?'

Alan strained his ears for the answer, but none came. The men—there were evidently two—were moving as quietly as possible, assisting each other, and the result of their efforts soon became visible. Thomas's head appeared above the hedge, his hand caught hold of a branch, and the next moment he was close to Alan's tree. A minute later and his companion joined him. Lucky indeed it was for Alan that the leaves screened him so effectually, and that he was so securely placed that no movement was required to maintain his position. The faintest rustle would have betrayed him.

Thomas was holding a box in his hands, which he carried with the greatest care. No time was wasted in talking. Their sole anxiety seemed to be to get through the brushwood as quickly and noiselessly as possible. Alan watched them as they sped along in the direction of the Smuggler's Hole, in the woody hollow. He had no doubt whatever as to their destination, and only waited till they were beyond earshot to jump down and follow them. In his excitement, he forgot that Marjorie was waiting for him.

Something had been stolen, and he alone could trace the thieves. It mattered not whether it were jewels, or silver, or the merest trifle. He meant to recover it: quietly, if he could; if not, then he must fight for it. It must be of value, however. Had not Thomas received a handsome offer for purloining it?

With beating heart, and quick but stealthy step, he followed the two men, love of adventure spurring him on and blinding him to the real dangers of the pursuit. He was pleased, too, that his enjoyment was not wholly selfish: he would be of real service to some person—he would not care even if it were to Peet himself. It was quite possible it was Peet. He made such a fuss about the ruined summer-house, and was so rigid about keeping the door shut, that no doubt he did have something he valued there. It would be fun if Alan were to recover Peet's lost property for him.

As Alan sped along, he tried to make up some plan for securing the box and escaping with it. He knew neither man would hesitate to sacrifice him in their efforts to get it back, and they were not likely to stick at a trifle if he gave them trouble. He was quite alone; a boy against two men. Still, the thought of giving up the pursuit never occurred to him.

'It must be mind versus matter,' he thought, as he chuckled at the idea of outwitting Thomas.

It was not difficult to creep after the men down the rocky steps of the Smuggler's Hole, though they appeared dark after the brilliant sunshine. He was thankful, however, that he had been over the ground before with Marjorie, and had a pretty correct notion of the whereabouts of the dangerous places.

By the time he had reached the cave, the men were sitting on the rocks at the highest part, the tide being still too high for them to go very far down the cave. It was well for Alan that he had their light to guide him, for he could not venture on one for himself. Indeed, he had to keep on the darkest side, close to the wall, for fear of being seen. The men, he was glad to perceive, had so little suspicion that they were being watched that they never even turned their heads or lowered their voices. The box had been placed upon a flat rock just behind them for safety. To get near it was now Alan's aim.

The faint sound of the receding tide and the voices of the two men alone broke the stillness. The slightest noise would be heard therefore, the rolling of a pebble, a slip on the green, slimy seaweed. As he gradually crept nearer with the utmost caution, Alan listened to the talk of the men.

'I'm not sure this was the best way to come,' said the one Alan took to be a foreigner. 'We shall be hindered by the tide. How much longer shall we have to sit here?'

'About a hour, or perhaps a hour and a half,' returned Thomas. 'And when we are on the beach, what do you mean to do? We can't get away without a boat, anyhow.'

'I have made my arrangements. Jean Marie Fargis is up in these parts. He has fished now and again in English waters, and run before the wind at the first sign of danger. I knew the cut of his rig the other day when he was cruising round about.'

'Fishing?' said Thomas, incredulously.

'Well, he calls it so, and really I don't know myself what he is after. He will get into trouble one of these days with the coastguard people, I tell him. But that's nothing to us. I saw him, and went out to him, and he's to take us off if he can.'

'And supposing he can't?'

'Then we must get to Tyre-cum-Widcombe somehow, and slip down to the nearest port. If you had been a little quicker in your part of the business, we should have got off more easily, for he was waiting for us a bit higher up the coast, where there were fewer eyes to see.'

'I couldn't get the key,' returned Thomas in an aggrieved tone. 'It took me some time before I could find out where it was. I had to watch Peet close, and at last, thinks I, I'll climb the oak in the garden of his house, and see if I could catch him putting it away. I could see right into his windows, and it wasn't long before I saw all I wanted to, and had the key safe.'

'But, man, there's the passage you told me about. It's close by, isn't it?'

'I tried that way once,' said Thomas, with an unmirthful laugh. 'I'm not going to try it again in[Pg 135] a hurry, not I. Why, I couldn't 'a been half-way down—no, nor yet a quarter—when a big stone came right down on me shoulder and knocks me flat. Mother did wonder why I couldn't move my arm without pain for quite a long time. I crawled back the way I had come. Master Peet was always saying the roof wasn't safe, but I didn't believe him. But I have had enough of it now. I preferred finding the key, even if it was slower.'

There was a pause. The faint ripple of the tide was followed by the hiss of the water as it surged round the rocks and fell back. Not daring to move in the silence, Alan stood still.

'The game's worth the candle, I suppose?' said Thomas, presently.

'I should just think so!' returned his companion, his voice growing hard. 'I have not had time or light to examine the box, but I trusted you to see that it contained all we wanted. Of course, if it does not—— '

'I put in all I could see,' began Thomas, sullenly.

'Then we have a great prize—the only specimen known, and we shall see our money back for that. As to the rest, why—until I can examine things for myself, I can't tell you anything. I should like to get off before the loss is discovered, and—well, how safe are we here? I should not wish to be caught like a rat in a trap while we are waiting for the tide to go down.'

'We're as safe here as anywhere,' returned Thomas, in the same sullen tone. 'Now, tell me,' he continued, with some irritation in his voice, 'have you got to pay that boat and the crew out of our profits in this business?'

His companion gave a low chuckle of amusement.

'There is not much that Jean Marie Fargis will not do for me, my friend.'

'That's the skipper, I suppose?'

'It is. He got into an ugly scrape not many years ago, and people have not forgotten it. I pulled him out of it, and started him in another walk of life. He is not like to forget, even if I would let him. So he's useful, you see.'

'I see. All the same, I expect this business will cost a pretty penny if Fargis is afraid of you.'

'You will get your pay, never fear.'

'But if the coastguard sees him fishing in British waters?'

'Then his orders are—cut and run. He can meet us at Havre or Cherbourg.'

'That's where he come from, is it?'

'No, it isn't. They are some of his places of call in his fishing trade. He lives at Tout-Petit—quite a small place, further south. Go there, man, if ever you find it wise to disappear, and mention my name to Fargis. He will see you are all right till you can look round. By-the-by, I hear the Earl's daughter that lives here is an heiress. Is that so? Hullo! what's that?'

Both men sprang up at the noise, and crept cautiously forward to listen. It had sounded like a stifled cry, and a splash, but so faint that in the stillness which followed they thought themselves mistaken. Their movement give Alan his chance.

(Continued on page 142.)[Pg 136]

"'Give me a leg up.'" "'Give me a leg up.'"

[Pg 137]

"Concealment was impossible." "Concealment was impossible."

[Pg 138]



We have had two stories of cruel captivity among the Moors of North Africa, and back in the fifteenth—even in the sixteenth—century, such things seem easy to believe. The hard thing to realise is that, not a hundred years ago, in days which our own grandparents might almost remember, Christian captives were still toiling under the whips of their Moorish taskmasters in the port of Algiers, with the prospect of torture and death before them if they tried to escape and failed. But the cup of Moorish cruelty and evil-doing was very nearly full, the day of retribution was drawing near, and to England fell the honour of striking the first blow.

It was in the spring of the year 1816, when the great cloud which had overhung all Europe had been dispersed by the battle of Waterloo, that the English Admiral, Lord Exmouth, appeared before the port of Algiers, and, in the name of his nation, sent in a demand for the abolition of Christian slavery and the cession of the Ionian Islands. The Turks have always been skilful in putting off the day of submission, and the reply was that the Dey must communicate with his lord, the Sultan of Turkey, before he could make a definite answer. Those unpleasant visitors, the English gunboats, were thus got rid of for three months; but, unfortunately for him, the Dey had not learnt wisdom from the warning. On the Ascension Day following, the crews of a Neapolitan fishing fleet landed at Bona, on the north coast of Africa, to join in the festival service. The pirates of Algiers swooped down upon the defenceless fishermen, and massacred numbers of them on the spot without any provocation. Then, as if to show that the act was one of open defiance, they trampled on and insulted the British flag, and imprisoned the English Vice-Consul.

The news set England aflame, the story of the Bona massacres was told from mouth to mouth, the sufferings of the Christian captives were described in burning words in the House of Commons, and soon the news reached the proud Citadel of the Sea that Lord Exmouth was once more upon his way.

It must have been anxious work for the European consuls in Algiers, knowing that the tyrant, driven to bay, was likely enough to vent his wrath upon those in his power. The English Consul was a married man, with children too to consider, and he determined, if possible, to get his wife and little ones out of the evil place before harm befell them. An English vessel, the Prometheus, was in the harbour, and, though the Dey had forbidden the Consul and his family to leave the city, the Captain of the Prometheus had a scheme for conveying them safely on board. He himself landed on the pretext of conferring with the Dey, and, when he returned to his ship, the Consul's wife and little daughter, disguised as sailors, left the city under his charge. But there was another member of the family who was less easily disposed of, namely, the baby, a very unlikely passenger for a man-of-war's boat, and certain to be detected by the Moorish guard, who watched the crew re-embark.

With many misgivings and in grievous anxiety, the Consul's wife had been induced to leave the little one behind her, the Captain assuring her that he would be on shore again on the following day, and that he had concocted a plan for bringing the baby back with him.

So the boat of the Prometheus put in again on the morrow, watched, doubtless, with eager eyes by the anxious mother and daughter on board the vessel. The little one was drugged into a heavy sleep, and laid at the bottom of a big basket, with vegetables skilfully piled above him. One of the British sailors took the precious burden, and the Consul strolled in front of it towards the harbour. There was nothing remarkable in the sailors wishing for a few fresh vegetables to vary the ship's fare, or in the English Consul seeing his countrymen to their boat. But the Moorish guard had grown suspicious, as men are likely to do who know that their lives will certainly pay for any lack of vigilance. And so the sharp eyes that watched the English tars preparing to embark noticed some rather unusual movements amongst the cabbages that were being carried so carefully; and when a dismal howl arose from under the green stuff and a little arm disturbed the vegetables, concealment was impossible. The basket and its contents were seized by the guard and carried before the Dey, and the Consul and the sailors from the Prometheus were arrested and imprisoned.

It was terrible news, indeed, which reached the poor mother, waiting on board for her husband and child. Life in Algiers must have taught her, only too well, the lengths to which Moorish cruelty could go, and the tyrant who had defied the English nation was not likely to be deterred by fear of consequences from avenging himself on his prisoner. The very approach of the English ships might mean the sword or the bow-string, or a yet more horrible death by torture. Some comfort the poor lady received next day, when her baby was sent her, alive and well. Even the cruelty of the Dey of Algiers had stopped short of hurting the child; but the Consul, heavily ironed, was in the tyrant's dungeon, awaiting, with many another luckless captive, the sentence from which the English Admiral might be too late to save them. And, meanwhile, Lord Exmouth, who had been joined at Gibralter by a Dutch squadron, arrived before the Citadel of the sea, and sent in his demand for immediate release of all Christian prisoners. The Admiral had made his arrangements with the utmost care, and, when the time allowed for answer passed without any reply, he boldly sent his flag-ship, the Queen Charlotte, straight for the strong fort at the end of the pier which guarded the harbour. As the troops flocked to the walls to watch the advance of the fleet, the Admiral himself shouted and signed to them to retire under cover, while he anchored right before the enemy's guns. The fort fired first; then a broadside from the Queen Charlotte crashed with terrible effect into its walls.

Lord Exmouth had come there with the intention of doing his work thoroughly: and very thoroughly he did it, for eight long hours of that hot August day. When darkness fell, the famous forts, built by the hands of thousands of luckless captives, were a mass of ruins. The arsenal, the storehouses, and the fleet in the harbour had been utterly destroyed. With the dawn, a boat, bearing the flag of truce, carried the Admiral's terms to the beaten city. Every captive was to be immediately surrendered, Christian slavery to be abolished, all ransoms paid during the past year to be restored, and the Consul and sailors delivered unhurt, and with due compensation. Three guns were to be fired in token that all demands had been conceded, otherwise the bombardment would re-commence.

Three hours passed, slow hours indeed to those waiting at the harbour's mouth. Then across the water came the boom of three guns, the knell of the old reign of tyranny and cruelty, the message of joy and release to many an anxious heart. The prison doors were opened; the English Consul and his fellow-prisoners, half expecting to be led to execution, found themselves restored to those they loved. Hundreds of Christian slaves, many of them too dazed and bewildered by the sudden change to realise their freedom, thronged the rescuing ships, gazing back upon the shattered fortifications which their hands had helped to build. And fervent indeed must have been the thanksgivings which, by Lord Exmouth's order, went up from the decks of the English ships, for the success of the 'conflict between his Majesty's fleet, and the enemies of mankind.'

Mary H. Debenham.



HO'S that slamming the garden door?
I have heard it three times three!
And though to the window I run to look,
He's hiding away from me.
The tree-tops laugh in the windy sky,
And the maker-of-mischief, hovering nigh,
Is hiding away from me.

Who's that rattling the window-pane?
I have heard it three times three!
Yet every time I glance that way
There's nothing at all to see.
But the leaf of a rose bush blown about,
While the culprit true, with a noisy shout,
Is hiding away from me.

Who's that whistling and calling loud
Over my chimney high?
'Tis the maker-of-mischief I cannot see
Abroad in the blue, blue sky.
Hark! he is shaking the window-pane!
Now he is up in the clouds again,
Sweeping the blue, blue sky.

Oh, slam as you will my garden door,
And whistle your blithest lay;
I love your company, though unseen,
Dear maker-of-mischief gay.
I love to see your clouds go by,
And the tree-tops waving against the sky,
Oh, wind of the wild March day!
[Pg 139]


When Napoleon the First was a student at the Military College of Brienne, the examiners asked him the following question:—

'Supposing you were in a besieged town, on the verge of starvation, how would you obtain food?'

'From the enemy!' was the prompt answer of the future Emperor.


'Oh, dear! I do wish Mother and Father were back again. It is horrid to be without them,' exclaimed Sydney.

'Just horrid!' echoed Ella.

'They will be so pleased with you when they do come,' observed Millie, their elder sister, sarcastically.

'Oh!' said Syd, cheerfully, 'they know we can't be like dolls in a shop-window. And we have really been good these days, haven't we, Ella?'

'Rather!' agreed she, emphatically.

'You were pulling each other's hair half an hour ago,' went on Millie, and, longing to finish her story in peace, she rose, frowning, and left the room, saying, 'The nicest game to play at would be that of being quiet, good children, instead of troublesome little monkeys. I wonder you never try it.'

The two, left alone, looked at each other, and burst into a merry laugh. 'What a funny game!' exclaimed Sydney. 'Shall we try it?'

'I don't know how to,' answered Ella gravely.

It did present some difficulty, almost as much, indeed, as being really good, and the children silently reflected for some moments.

'We must sit perfectly still with folded hands, looking as stiff as pokers,' said Syd at last.

'But sometimes good children can do nice things,' observed Ella, gravely.

'I wonder what?' said Syd, doubtfully.

'Well!—Well! sometimes, for instance, they give pleasant surprises.'

'Ella, you're a brick!' exclaimed her brother admiringly. 'That's a splendid idea! Now let's think what surprise we can prepare for Father and Mother when they arrive this evening.'

'Let's tidy the nursery,' proposed Ella.

'Too great a surprise,' Millie would have observed, had she been there to hear. 'Too stupid,' exclaimed Sydney instead. 'Anybody can do that.'

'Let's learn a bit of poetry to recite when they come.'

'What nonsense!'

'Let's pretend to be other people's children, and when Father and Mother are sorry, let's tell them it's not true.' This was a great stretch of imagination for Ella, but Syd shook his head. 'They would never believe it,' said he. Then there was silence for a moment, and light came.

'I've got it! I've got it!' shouted Syd, starting up excitedly. 'Let's brighten up those old pictures in the gallery for them. We have time to paint at least two of them before dark. Dingy old things! One of them is older than our great-great-great-grandmother, and she's never been touched, I believe.[Pg 140] It's a shame to neglect old people like that. Hurry up, Ella. Get out the paints; the oil ones.'

"Soon the two little mischief-makers were busy at work on
the pictures." "Soon the two little mischief-makers were busy at work on the pictures."

The girl eagerly obeyed, and soon the two little mischief-makers were busy at work on the old family pictures. They could not understand the value or the beauty of the mellow browns and dark colours of the portraits, and they only acted with the intention of giving their parents a pleasant surprise. But they[Pg 141] forgot that it is possible to do much harm through heedlessness and ignorant haste as well as wilfully.

But how happy they were! 'The old lady, now she's got some pink in her checks, and wears such a lovely sky-blue gown, is almost as nice as mother when she's going to a party,' said Ella, admiringly, 'but I am not pleased with the gentleman yet. Can't we make him smarter, Syd?'

'Let's cut a button-hole in the picture, and stick a nice carnation in his coat. Be quick, Ella.'

There could be no doubt about the surprise. Never were parents more taken aback than Ella's and Syd's, when they saw the wonderful transformation made in their ancestors. Mother gasped some inarticulate words, but Father simply remained speechless and aghast, for several of the valuable old pictures were badly damaged, and the children's heedless behaviour meant a serious loss to him.

'Surprises are not pleasant things at all,' sobbed Ella, shortly afterwards, in bed.

'That beastly game!' growled Syd, hiding his face in the pillow, ashamed of the tears he could not restrain. 'I knew nothing nice could come of it. It's just like Millie to let us get into a scrape.'

Perhaps he was unjust, but Millie was not particularly happy either. It was tiresome to have to look after wild children, and much more amusing to read; but now the story-book was locked away, and Mother did not seem to think that Millie had even played at being good. So that this 'pleasant surprise' had only one good result, and that was not the one which was expected. All three children learnt that it was much better to be good than simply to play at it.

"Piggy lifted the heavy lid to feed upon the cheese," "Piggy lifted the heavy lid to feed upon the cheese,"


A boy who was on a visit to the country once said to me, 'I do so want to find a hedgehog; please tell me where to look for one.' All I could reply was, 'It is not very easy to find a hedgehog. The likeliest place to pop upon one is near some hedgerow; you know he is called hedgehog, or hedgepig. But he much prefers darkness to light, and takes excursions after sunset.'

It may be remarked that hedgehogs must be somewhere in the daytime; this is true, but the difficulty is to discover their hiding-place, which is usually a hole or a thick clump of herbage. A search in the dark with a lantern has been tried, and has been successful, but not often; still, those who know how, manage to secure these animals, for they are to be bought in the London streets. People buy them to keep indoors, as killers of blackbeetles, or perhaps they are turned out to destroy garden insects. Somebody who has had them in his garden remarks that it is no easy task to find them, even though you know every corner, for they have such artful ways.

There are some people who think hedgehogs may do harm amongst garden plants, turning up roots occasionally in their hunts after insects, perhaps even nibbling young shoots; and this is quite possible. Piggy is of a greedy nature, certainly, and if he has the range of a kitchen swarming with blackbeetles, he will feed on them until he makes himself ill. Odd, too, are the noises he produces when he is 'on the warpath.' The sounds come partly from himself, but also partly from things he clatters against during his wanderings. One night, a gentleman who had a[Pg 142] hedgehog heard a very peculiar noise in his kitchen; he went to see what it was, and found that the animal had stormed a cheese-dish. It had lifted the heavy lid to feast upon the cheese inside, making the cover rattle on the edge of the dish. We should not, perhaps, fancy a hedgehog capable of gymnastic feats, but it is an animal with rather a liking for a wall-climb, and has been known to mount one that was nine feet high, aided by creepers on the wall. Another has been noticed to climb an ordinary wall, laying hold of little projections. Upon a search for a missing hedgehog, he was found at the bottom of the stairs, having made a nest under the stair-carpet. Another time, the same hedgehog travelled up to a bedroom, and kept still all day; some one went to bed early, but woke suddenly on hearing a noise, and, jumping out of bed, stepped on the animal's back. In a home, Piggy usually becomes amiable, and will shut up his spines to be stroked.


Dismay and indignation were expressed most obviously on the faces of the group of boys wending their way homewards.

'I'd like to know what "Simmy" expects us to do?' said Crowther, moodily. (Had he heard the remark, Dr. Simpson-Martyn—irreverently nicknamed 'Simmy'—would probably have 'expected' two hundred lines the next morning, for disrespect.)

'Learn crochet and fancy work,' suggested Harvey, helpfully.

'Form an "anti-games" league,' said another.

'Or promote a debating society where your humour and intelligence might be displayed,' added Howard.

'If you chaps would use that brilliance in trying to find a way out of this hole, we might arrive at something definite,' said Crowther, returning to his grievance. '"Substitute some athletic pursuit involving less danger to the general public: something more conducive to the preserving of law and order,"' he quoted, bitterly, with a clever imitation of the fussy little Doctor's pompous manner. 'Fancy giving up hare-and-hounds for some "pursuit" like croquet, or ping-pong,' and Crowther's scowl deepened.

'It was jolly hard that we should be throwing down the scent just as old Simmy's trap drove along. I wonder he isn't ashamed to own an animal, supposed to be a horse, that is frightened at the sight of a few fragments of paper.'

'I suppose he would have no objection to our continuing the pursuit of our favourite pastime, providing no "element of danger," such as paper, was introduced?'

Britt, the common corruption of Leslie's nickname of 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' spoke with the drawl that usually meant the origination of some new scheme.

'What's the idea?' asked Harvey, coming briefly to the point.

'It is only in the region of the town that Doctor Simpson-Martyn has forbidden us to scatter the dangerous element, is it not?' Britt asked, very calmly, ignoring his questioner. Then he ducked just in time to avoid a well-aimed book.

'Oh, dry up, Britt, and come to the point,' exclaimed the irritated Harvey, but Crowthar nodded in answer to Britt's remark.

'Well, why not make a chalk mark, or something of that kind, on the pavement or walls, as long as we are in the town, and use the paper when we are out of bounds? Of course, it won't be so exciting, and not half such sport, but it is better than nothing, seems to me.'

The group considered thoughtfully.

'It seems a pretty tame idea,' said Harvey, without enthusiasm.

Britt was not in the least disturbed by this cold reception. 'Suggest a better one,' he rejoined, promptly; but Harvey's ideas did not seem to be numerous.

Crowther's brow had cleared. He had great faith in Britt's schemes: they were almost always successful.

'Can any one suggest anything better?' he asked, but the challenge was unanswered.

'Then we will try your dodge, Britt,' said Crowther, decisively, and before parting, the boys laid all their plans accordingly.

The following day was fixed for the run, and promptly at two o'clock the hare and hounds assembled. A good deal of chaff was directed by those who had come to see the start at the bulky lump of chalk that formed part of the scent, but Britt's good-humour was endless. His confidence in the use of the chalk was fully justified, for the chase proved one of the season's most exciting outings, having a spice of originality in addition to its pleasure, and Britt's ingenuity was rewarded by a good hearty cheer from the hounds who had followed him so closely.

(Concluded on page 151.)


(Continued from page 135.)

Without allowing himself to hesitate a second, Alan sprang, as he hoped, noiselessly forward, seized the box, which was far lighter than he had imagined it would be, and ran towards the steps to the Smuggler's Hole. Unfortunately for him, the loose stones rattled and scattered under his flying feet, and the men were after him. For a time he managed to keep well ahead, though he could feel he was not increasing the distance between himself and his pursuers. He had excellent training, a natural fleetness of foot, and a light wiry build in his favour; but the enemy had longer legs, and a perfect acquaintance with the cave and steps. It was too dark for recognition, and neither of the men was likely to be very scrupulous should they succeed in catching him.

Up the steps dashed Alan, his breath coming in gasps, and the real difficulties of his enterprise dawning on him for the first time. It had been begun in a spirit of amusement, but it bid fair to end in something very different. But Alan would not drop the precious box. It was a matter of honour now to save it at all costs. What it contained he could not imagine, and he had no time for thinking. He could already hear the panting of the man who had followed closest on his tracks; he was even struck by one of the flying pebbles sent whirling away by his heavy feet. He himself was getting spent. The steps were surely steeper than they had ever been before. He had thought nothing of them the other day, when he and Marjorie were here exploring! Could it have been only the other day? It seemed ages ago. Now he was trying vainly to struggle up to level ground, to the friendly shelter of the Wilderness, and home.

He had come to the turn, and in his relief that the greater part of the steps had been scaled, he sprang forward with renewed hope. The momentary carelessness cost him dear. He stumbled and fell. The box was shot out of his hand by a blow from a projecting angle, and as he spun along the rocky ground, he suddenly felt himself falling, falling, till he came a heavy thud on a soft, sandy floor.

He lay still for a while to collect his senses. Then the keen sting of disappointment prevented him from realising his position. The box was gone! All his labour had been thrown away! Whatever it contained was at the mercy of the men. They had no one to prevent their carrying it off beyond hope of saving. Oh, what a fool he had been! And he had been priding himself on keeping ahead of them!

He could not get over his anger.

He was not badly hurt, however, and it was time to see where his folly had landed him. The prospect was not cheering. He was lying in a 'round hole,' as he called it afterwards, with a sandy bottom, while all around him the mighty rocks towered to immense heights. A strip of sky was just visible, and a star or two glimmered in the blue. He knew that stars could be seen sometimes, even in daylight, from great depths, but the remembrance of this was by no means comforting. Was he, then, at the bottom of a deep, narrow shaft? If so, how was he to get out again? Not a soul, except perhaps Thomas, knew of its existence, and Thomas was not in the least likely to betray his knowledge. In all probability, too, the men had fled with his box, and would be heard of no more, since they were now aware that their doings were known to at least one person.

For some moments Alan felt appalled as he glanced again at the height of his prison walls. The full force of his position came over him.

'Marjorie will give the alarm,' he thought, dismally, 'but they will never know where to look for me. If I'm to get out, it must be by my own efforts.'

He felt very unequal to the task of climbing those grim precipices, frowning so blackly down on him; but the daylight would soon be on the wane, and no time could be lost in vain regrets. Rousing himself, he got up, but found he had not escaped without some severe bruises, which would prove serious drawbacks to an awkward climb. It was miraculous[Pg 143] that he had not met with worse injuries from so great a fall; only the soft sand and the smoothness of the walls had saved him. But this same smoothness was the chief hindrance to his escape. There was not a loophole of any sort or kind by which he could raise himself—not a twig or ledge to give him a hold. With increasing anxiety he scanned the walls still more closely, but, even though his eyes had become accustomed to the gloom, it was too dark to make out a single projecting edge, or the minutest crevice which could raise his hopes of escape. In despair, and with a sickening sense of dread, he sank down again on the sand. If Thomas had wished to put him out of the way, he could not have done so more completely, thought the boy, with bitterness.


As time went on and Alan did not return, Marjorie stood up to listen, wondering what she ought to do. Should she wait, or go at once in search of him? Before she had made up her mind, however, her hesitation was brought to an end by a violent bang—a sound she knew only too well. Springing up the bank, she made her way as rapidly as the brushwood allowed to the ruin, remembering with dismay that Estelle and Georgie had been on the roof. When she got there, no one was to be seen. Georgie had gone away, very deeply hurt that Estelle should have left him in his sleep, from which he had been startled by the crash of the closing door. It was some time before Marjorie found him—safe, though resentful—sitting on a heap of swept-up leaves in the carriage-drive, talking to one of the gardeners.

She was in too great a hurry to listen to her little brother's complaints, and only stopped a moment to ask where Estelle was.

'Gone home, I suppose,' returned Georgie, not in the most gentle of voices. 'Didn't I tell you she was nowhere to be seen when I woke up?'

'If it was anybody else but Estelle, I should be afraid of her being shut into the ruin, as the door must have been open; but she never disobeys. So it's all right, and I must rush after Alan.'

Off she went at the top of her speed. She could get to the Smugglers' Hole more quickly if she ran round by the path to the cliffs. Without reasoning over it, she understood instinctively that the men would go there, and Alan after them. With the fleetness of a lapwing, she flew along the path through the Wilderness, and reached the cliff as the first flush of sunset was beginning to crimson the western sky. Like a ghostly ship, the vessel they had seen that morning glided across the red rippling path of light, the tapering masts dark against the evening glow, while above it white gulls were winging in circles. So beautiful was the scene that she paused, and, as she gazed, she saw a tiny boat leave the ship's side and draw towards the shore. For the moment Alan was forgotten. Watching the little dinghy, her mind became full of the idea suggested by her brother. Was Thomas really going to carry his stolen goods beyond seas?

(Continued on page 146.)[Pg 144]

"Alan seized the box, and ran." "Alan seized the box, and ran."

[Pg 145]

"She let the dog lead her into the blackness." "She let the dog lead her into the blackness."

[Pg 146]


(Continued from page 143.)

With the thought that Thomas might put to sea, a multitude of questions came to Marjorie's mind. How had he managed to let the ship's crew know? Was its presence there due to Thomas at all? Who was the man with him? Was he a man who could have a ship when he wanted it, or was he a member of the crew? Alan said that he talked English perfectly, but with a slightly foreign accent. Perhaps the man was a Frenchman. The coastguard had considered the ship was French, with a rig altered since she was built. That would account for its coming to the help of Thomas, and no doubt the dinghy was to fetch the two men. She wondered if it was her duty to tell the coastguard all that she and Alan suspected. 'Perhaps he would only laugh at me,' she thought.

If the coastguard had been in sight she might yet have done so, but there appeared to be no one on the cliffs except herself. The pathway along the edge was quite deserted, and it was a mile or more to the signal station. Moreover, she had no hat; it had been taken off for coolness and left in the ditch, forgotten in her fright at the closing door.

The temptation to watch the little boat was too great to be resisted. If Thomas and his friend should return in it to the ship, what a grand piece of news to tell Alan! There was just a chance he might see it for himself, and she would only get a pinch for stale news; but she hoped otherwise.

Meantime the dinghy drew nearer, and to her practised eye it became evident that the men did not know the coast, for they rowed first one way and then another without finding the entrance to the Bay; they seemed afraid of submerged rocks, which might be quite covered even at the half-tide. They crept in, nevertheless, and Marjorie, for a time, lost sight of them. She crawled closer to the edge of the cliff, but she knew her position to be dangerous if she attempted to get over the light railing which had been put up on account of the crumbling condition of the edge. Further to the right the rail ceased, and the ground became a steep slope to the sea, but trees and low shrubs prevented so good a view as she had at present. There was nothing for it, therefore, but to wait.

Comforting herself with assurances that Alan was far better able to take care of himself than she was, she climbed to the top of the railing, and sat watching the strange ship. Suddenly she noticed that every stitch of canvas was being run up, and a moment later signal flags flew out at the masthead. In great excitement, she glanced down at the surging water below her, and sure enough the little boat was shooting into view, and rowing rapidly away towards the ship. In her efforts to discover what it all meant she almost forgot to look for Thomas in the boat, but when she remembered to count the men, she was disappointed to find exactly the same number that there had been at first.

Greatly puzzled, she gazed at the retreating dinghy. What had been its business, and why had the signal flown out so suddenly? Marjorie hated to be puzzled over things. 'There can be but one explanation,' she thought, 'and that is, Thomas has been too late to catch the boat, and they could not wait for him. It serves him right.' She hoped he would now be caught red-handed. The sun had sunk low in the horizon by the time the dinghy reached the vessel, and nothing could be more beautiful than the slowly sailing ship moving across the great ball of fire. It looked like a fairy craft as it sank out of sight.

Marjorie sprang to her feet. 'How late it is!' she thought, with dismay. 'I wonder where Alan is? He will be in a jolly rage when he finds I'm nowhere to be found; and all for nothing too!'

She ran lightly down the hollow, the wood looking dark and gloomy in the fading light. Fearing she might miss the way into the Smuggler's Hole, she walked more cautiously as the shadows deepened; it was fortunate she did. She had hardly gone ten yards before she heard voices so near that there was barely time to sink down behind the bushes before Thomas and his friend passed along the path towards the cliff.

'Well, what do you make of it?' she heard Thomas say in a sullen tone. 'If it was a bargain, why didn't the fellow stop?'

'That's what Fargis has to answer to me for,' returned his companion, angrily. 'Cutting away like that for no reason at all that I can see, and leaving us—— '

The voices died away, and Marjorie smiled to think how nearly she had guessed right. They had missed the boat. Now she would really have some news for Alan. She resumed her way, though the silence was not encouraging. She ought to meet Alan if he was still on the track of the men. What could he be doing if he was not? It took some careful peering into dark places to discover the entrance to the Smuggler's Hole, and even then the blackness of the steps made her hesitate. Could she get down without a ray of light? Not lacking in courage, however, she ventured to feel her way to the bottom of the first flight. There the dangers of the descent began, and she dared not proceed.

Deep silence reigned. As she stood listening, she did not know for what, she suddenly heard a faint patter of paws, and the next moment, with a whining yelp, a dog jumped up to her and careered round her feet. A touch showed her it was Bootles—Bootles, distressed and eager; now whining, now pulling at her dress, as if he wanted something very badly. Her thoughts flew at once to Alan. Perhaps those horrid men had injured him. In haste she tied a handkerchief to the dog's collar, and let him lead her into the blackness till he halted, sniffing and barking, having attained the object of his desires.

'Alan! Alan!' she called, in terror of what she might hear, yet resolved to find out why the dog was so restless.

The rocks seemed to send back echoes of her voice, and aroused fears lest Thomas might hear and return. Nevertheless she stood still and listened intently; even the dog kept quiet. Was there an answer? She could not quite make out. She must call again, though it required a great effort to do so. There was no mistake this time.


Muffled, scarcely audible as it was, the voice was no echo. It appeared to come from the ground, but the dog's pulls and barks confused her. She was afraid to advance, and little imagined how near she was already to the unprotected edge of the rocky shaft down which Alan had fallen. She had seen it during their explorations, but had quite forgotten its existence. Nevertheless, she stooped to listen, and the dog crouched at her side.

(Continued on page 157.)


6.—Geographical Letter.

Dear (a town in South Australia),—This morning, being up betimes, and having had an early (town in the West of England) and breakfast, I take the opportunity of writing to you. Yesterday, my uncle (a city of Michigan, U.S.) and his daughter (a city of Italy) came to see us. Two slight accidents marred their visit: to begin with, my cousin fell upon the (an Ayrshire village), and afterwards, while we were out driving, a (town in Staffordshire) caused the horse to slip. We were then obliged to walk, but the way was rough, and presently a stream barred all progress. However, we discovered an (town near Coalbrookdale) which enabled us to go (town in Cheshire). After eating an (river of South Africa) and a (decayed seaport in Kent) apiece, we felt refreshed, and went on until we came to a tall (parish in East London). Here we sat (county in Ireland), and uncle amused us by (town in Berkshire). The rest I will tell you later; till then believe me,—Your affectionate friend, (An Australian colony) (a market town in Herefordshire).

C. J. B.

[Answer on page 179.]

Answer To Puzzle on Page 115.


1.C aractacus.
2.A lexander.
3.R oger Bacon.
4.O lney.
5.L atimer.
6.I ndia.
7.N ormandy.
8.E mmet.


The Barberry is an ornamental shrub, on account of its graceful yellow blossoms and its bright scarlet berries. The fruit is often prescribed by village doctors for the jaundice, but from its sourness it is seldom eaten uncooked. It makes excellent jelly, and is much used in the manufacture of sugar-plums. The roots and bark yield a yellow dye. Cattle and sheep eat the leaves, and the flowers are attractive to insects.

The barberry formerly grew wild, in great quantities, in our English hedgerows, but it has been extirpated from a belief that it injures the growth of corn. It is said that the leaves are frequently infested by a tiny fungus, similar to one which attacks wheat: this is easily dispersed by the wind, and propagatad amongst the corn, causing it much injury.

The barberry seems to be widely distributed: it is found in America, and in most European countries, especially on the shores of the Danube.[Pg 147]


Y dreams are just like little birds
Which in a cage I keep,
To set them free when bed-time comes,
And I fall fast asleep.

Oh! they are such a pretty sight!
The tiny ones are red,
And in their blue and golden clouds
They flutter round my bed.

They tell me of those wonder things
Which I have never seen;
And to and fro they swiftly dart
As bright as moonlight sheen.

They sing to me so sweet and low,
These dreams I fain would keep—
Then softly crooning, fly away,
When I awake from sleep.


It will be quite time enough to talk about the faults and failings of absent friends when we have assured ourselves that we have none of our own of which to speak.



National character comes out in a curious way in the music of the people, and the whistling of the children as they pass along the streets of China and Japan shows a marked difference between the races. The proud, shy Chinese wants nothing to satisfy his ears but the weird melodies of his own land, whilst to the cosmopolitan Japanese the songs of the world are welcome, and the newest jingle of Paris or London or New York mingles with the airs of Italian or German Opera. Japanese ears are curiously true in catching up airs, and they can imitate with great fidelity.

The national music of Japan finds a place in its mythology, and its origin is ascribed to the Goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu by name. She, thinking herself affronted by her fellow divinities, betook herself to a cavern in the mountains, and declined to come out. Finding the world gloomy without her warmth and radiance, the gods tried every possible form of inducement to make her emerge; but without success, until some original genius hit upon the happy idea of musical sounds, which so enchanted the angry goddess that indignation gave place to curiosity, and she came out to listen, when gods and men once more revelled in her brightness.

Learned Japanese have recently declared Hindostan to have been the cradle of their national music, whereas it was formerly supposed to have been brought from China; certainly both instruments and the[Pg 148] music played on them are much alike in these two countries.

In both countries blind men take a large share in performances. They form unions, much after the fashion of our Trades Unions and Benefit Clubs, and have officers to look after the general interests as well as to see that each member receives a fair amount of support. The chief is a very important person, and has great power over his inferiors. Every member of the Guild is bound to work at some trade beside music, and to turn over all his earnings to the Treasurer.

The Sho. The Sho.
The Kou. The Kou.

Like music itself, this Japanese method of providing for the blind has a mythological origin. Teki, a favourite prince, was killed in battle, it is said, whilst fighting Joritomo, the Japanese god of war. His general was taken prisoner at the same time, and his captor treated him so well and kindly that, unwilling to seem ungrateful, and yet unable to endure the sight of the hand which had killed his beloved master, he put out his own eyes, and presented them to Joritomo, who, delighted with such courage and affection, set him at liberty. We, having heard and read both of the magnificent bravery of the Japanese soldiers in the late war as well as of their noble and humane treatment of their prisoners, may see in this story a proof that these virtues are hereditary and instinctive in the race. Returning to his own province the blind general sought for new worlds to conquer. He turned musician, and gathered a large following of persons similarly afflicted, finally forming them into a Society of Blind Musicians, and giving it the name of 'Teki,' his dead master.

The instrument called Sho is blown with the mouth, and corresponds to the Chinese Cheng or Mouth Organ. The pipes are made of wood, with reed mouthpieces, and the notes are made by stopping the holes with the fingers. In some ways the construction is like that of a harmonium, but it is much more troublesome to play, and the performer, having to use his own breath to make the sounds, cannot sing at the same time. Unlike a harmonium also, it is difficult to keep in tune, and Miss Bird, a well-known traveller, tells of a concert at which the performer was obliged to be continually warming his instrument at a brazier of coals placed near. Some years ago a Japanese Commission was appointed to consider which of the national instruments were most suitable for use in schools; it rejected the Sho because its manufacture was troublesome and its tuning even worse.

Kou is the Chinese word for drum, of which many kinds are used in China, Japan, and Burmah. Eastern drums differ from those of Europe in having their heads nailed on, not kept movable as ours are for tuning purposes. The body is usually made of sandalwood, cedar, or mulberry wood, or else of baked clay. They are used for many purposes: on State occasions, to tell the hour during the night, to scare away evil spirits as well as to invite visits from good spirits, and to play the 'Amens' at the end of verses in the Confucian services. Tiny drums are also carried by pedlars when hawking their wares. Etiquette insists that on any occasion when the Emperor is present all drums must be muffled by being rolled in folds of cloth.

Helena Heath.



ARD tasks bravely done, are never wholly done in vain; but sometimes they have been carried out too soon. This was the case in the building of the Great Eastern steamship. Fifty years ago there was no place in the shipping world large enough to accommodate her properly, and Mr. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who spent hard years of toil planning her construction, was nearly half a century ahead of his fellow-men. Time has proved that his ideas were correct.

The monster ship was first thought of by him about the year 1852, for it was then that he laid his schemes before the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, and explained to them why large ships would be more profitable than small.

'When sending a vessel from London to Calcutta,' said he, 'she will go much more cheaply if she does not have to stop on the way to take in coal. Now, I propose to build ships capable of carrying enough coal to take them round the world; or at any rate to Calcutta and back.'[Pg 149]

The Great Eastern The Great Eastern

[Pg 150]

He also made it clear that there is not so much risk with a large ship as with a small, for damage which would be enough to sink the latter would have but little effect upon the former. Mr. Brunel had already proved his skill in designing iron ships, for even at the time of which we are speaking, the Great Western was steaming between England and America, and the Great Britain had been upon the rocks on the Irish coast, suffering little damage by the collision.

His plan was to build the hull with a double skin, leaving a space of some feet between them, so that if the outside one was burst through, the water failed to get past the inner coat.

The Directors of the Company agreed with his views, and in December, 1853, work upon the Great Eastern was begun.

At Millwall, in the Isle of Dogs, in the shipyard of Messrs. Scott Russell & Co., the foundations were laid, and in a very little time, people passing up and down the river Thames were attracted by the first signs of the building of the 'big ship.' Up from the river's edge, for a distance of 330 feet, ran the two sloping 'ways' or slides, and across these were laid the cradles in which the huge baby was to lie. Each of the 'ways' was 120 feet broad, and they were separated by a distance of some 200 feet. Owing to the size of the proposed ship, it was found impossible to build her, as is usually done, with her stern toward the water. Mr. Brunel feared that it would not be safe to launch her in such a position; he decided therefore to plan the erection parallel with the stream, so that he might lower her gently into the water sideways.

Nothing that had been done before in the way of ship-building could be taken as a guide, for the increase in size made difficulties that no one had yet had to encounter. Little did those who only 'looked on' realise the thought and trouble which this new enterprise meant. Again and again the engineer had to alter his measurements, as fresh considerations arose. Among other things he was obliged to take into account the depth of the water at low tide in the river Hooghly, at Calcutta; for if the Great Eastern was built so as to sink too low in the water when fully loaded, she would never be able to enter the port of the capital of India at all.

But at last all the measurements were decided upon. The ship would be 693 feet long, 83 feet broad, and 58 feet from keel to upper deck; weighing altogether 13,000 tons. With room in its iron shell for 5000 people, the Great Eastern would be a floating town, containing more inhabitants than many flourishing communities in England. The frame, or skeleton, consisted of 'bulkheads,' or huge webs of iron stretching for 400 feet lengthwise of the ship, and crossed by similar bulkheads from side to side, placed at intervals of about 20 feet. These formed a strong framework on which to fasten the walls of the ship. There were no openings between the compartments formed by the bulkheads, except on a level with the first deck; so that if water did, by any misfortune, burst through from the bottom, it would not flood the whole ship.

The hull was completed at the end of the summer of 1857, and was ready for receiving the engines for driving the screw and the two enormous paddlewheels. The latter were between 50 and 60 feet in diameter. Then came the preparations for the launching; and little had the engineer guessed that in the short space of 240 feet, which separated his ship from the main stream of the Thames, would lie the greatest difficulties of all. The 'ways' sloped at a gradient of one foot in twelve, and had iron surfaces. The day before the launch was to take place, these were well greased. Chains were stretched from the stern and the bow to barges in the river while hydraulic jacks, for pushing the huge body from the land side, were anchored firmly to the ground. A careful estimate of how much strength would be required had been made, and additional precautions were taken to prevent the ship sliding too swiftly when once set in motion.

All arrangements being then considered complete, it was decided to attempt the launch on the 3rd of November. On that day, against Mr. Brunel's wishes, vast crowds of sightseers pushed their way into the yard, and even intruded themselves between him and his workmen, so that the signals he wished to make could not be seen. However, at about noon, the Great Eastern began to move on its journey to the river. It slipped a short distance and then stopped. The men on the barges, seeing the monster sliding towards them, deserted their posts in terror. Had they known that nearly three months were to elapse before the ship would be induced to reach the water, they would hardly have given way to such panic.

The unruly crowd went home disappointed on that November day, and Mr. Brunel's troubles were increased by the receipt of large numbers of letters advising him what to do. They mainly came from people who were quite ignorant of mechanical laws. The engineer knew that strength must prevail at last, but though he used all he could obtain at the moment, the ship only moved an inch or two at a time. At last, at the time of his greatest perplexity, Robert Stephenson visited him at Millwall, and gave kindly encouragement as well as aid. He provided greater power than Mr. Brunel had yet been able to obtain, and on January 31st, 1858, the huge vessel imperceptibly slipped the last few inches into the Thames.

But it seems sad to have to say that the Great Eastern was nearly as much trouble on the water as she had been on the land. Her designer never lived to see her face the storm and wave. Anxiety had undermined his health, and he died on September 15th, 1859, as she steered into Weymouth on her first trial journey.

The world was not ready for such big ships, and though she made several voyages to New York (where she was greeted with the flutter of flags and the welcome of cannon), the Great Eastern did not earn her wages.

After a curious existence of thirty years, during which period she changed her masters many times, doing good service, in 1865, by laying the Atlantic cable, she was sold to be broken up as little more than old iron.

Our steamships now are built even larger than Mr. Brunel's vessel, though in a slightly different way. But we have better means of constructing them, and docks large enough for their accommodation.

One of the largest ships yet launched was built for the Cunard Company a short time ago. It is 760 feet long, and 87 feet broad, and is nearly thirty times heavier than the Britannia—the Company's first ship to cross the Atlantic sixty-five years ago. Her saloons and dining-halls are fit apartments for a palace, and are built in a hull measuring sixty feet from keel to upper deck. Still larger vessels are in course of construction.

The poor Great Eastern—the leviathan of other days—has been eclipsed; but whatever admiration we may feel for the new, it must not be allowed to diminish the honour that is due to the old.


(Concluded from page 142.)

Britt ran home that evening full of excitement and satisfaction. His cap was thrown carelessly on one side as the lad rushed into the sitting-room, and he looked disappointed at finding a maid preparing the supper-table as the only occupant.

'Where's Mother? Hasn't she come home yet, Mary?' he asked.

'Yes, Master Rupert, your mother got back this afternoon, but she was no sooner in than Miss Aleyn sent for her to go in there, and she hasn't come back yet. She sent a note for you, though; it's on the mantel-shelf, there.'

Britt took the envelope. 'It's jolly rough on a fellow to have his mother taken away when he hasn't seen her for a week,' he grumbled, as he opened it.

'My dear boy,' the letter ran, 'I am so sorry not to be with you this evening. Unfortunately Miss Aleyn has got one of her particularly fidgety nervous attacks, and I don't like to leave her. She found a cross chalked on the gate-post this afternoon, and imagines it is a burglar's mark! She won't listen to reason, and absolutely refuses to come home with me, so the house is now being barricaded in preparation for the attack Miss Aleyn confidently expects.'

Rupert read the letter through twice before its meaning dawned on him. Miss Aleyn, an elderly and very eccentric maiden lady, was their near neighbour, and a friend of his mother's. Her hobby was curio-collecting, and she lived in perpetual dread of having her treasures stolen. In fact, judging by the energy and ingenuity she displayed in hunting for them, one might well imagine the old lady was desirous of making a collection of burglars, although so far no success had attended her efforts. She was an ardent admirer of Sherlock Holmes; to her, as to the famous detective, every unfamiliar sign or unusual incident meant a clue to some crime or burglary. Remembering this trait of Miss Aleyn's, Britt suddenly realised how full of meaning must have appeared the hasty scrawl he had left on Miss Aleyn s gate-post for the hounds' guidance that afternoon. He startled the maid-[Pg 151]servant by a peal of laughter that echoed through the small house.

'I'll be back directly,' he exclaimed abruptly, as soon as he could speak, seizing his cap, and rushing from the house. The prospect of explaining matters for Miss Aleyn's benefit was no pleasant one. The old lady had a small opinion of boys, and never hesitated to speak her mind, as Britt had already been made aware, but he was anxious to have his mother home once more and eager to tell her of the afternoon's pleasure. Arriving at the picturesque detached cottage which was his destination, Britt noticed that the place appeared totally deserted. His vigorous hammering at both front and kitchen doors was without effect, and Britt began to wonder whether Mrs. Leslie had persuaded terror-stricken Miss Aleyn to accompany her home. As a final resource he lifted the flap of the letterbox and stooped down to it, meaning to shout through; but he met with an unwelcome surprise. He was greeted by a jet of water from a well-directed squirt aimed through the opening. He gave himself a disgusted shake, and ruefully tried to stop the trickling down his neck with a handkerchief; then cautiously advancing once more, and placing his lips to the keyhole, he shouted: 'It's me, Mother!—let me in!'

The sentence, brief and ungrammatical, served its purpose. Mrs. Leslie's voice could be heard inside: 'It's only Rupert, Miss Aleyn. May he come in for a moment?'

Indistinct murmurs answered the question, and Britt added a further appeal: 'I've got something important to tell Miss Aleyn.'

This was more to the point, and Rupert, with secret amusement and enjoyment, heard sounds as of heavy furniture being removed and bolts and bars drawn back. A small space was made in the doorway and the boy slipped through. For a moment he paused, bewildered. In the hall was such a collection of furniture that there was but a few clear yards' space. A sideboard, several chairs, a music-stool, and two fenders had evidently been piled up to barricade the door. A frightened maid held the garden squirt, a pail of water by her side, and in the background stood Miss Aleyn, poker in hand, with a grim expression that boded ill for any intruder. Mrs. Leslie regarded her son with some alarm.

Fervently wishing himself in any region away from this one, Britt blurted out abruptly the reason of his errand. It took Miss Aleyn some time to understand his meaning, but when she did, Britt bitterly regretted his wonderful invention. The old lady's tongue was caustic, and her language eloquent, and this occasion was not one to be lost. For a truly bad quarter of an hour she instilled into poor Britt a sense of his folly and faults, and finally demanded his services in replacing the disordered furniture.

For reasons best known to himself, this unexpected development of his scheme was never revealed by Britt to the other boys. He did not encourage a repetition of the game, nor show any pleasure in its success. As a rule, when new ideas are sought after by Dr. Simpson-Martyn's pupils, Britt now follows Brer Rabbit's excellent example: he lies low and says nothing.[Pg 152]

"He was greeted by a jet of water." "He was greeted by a jet of water."

[Pg 153]

"His shoulder caught me as he passed." "His shoulder caught me as he passed."

[Pg 154]



(Concluded from page 131.)

The tragedy (continued Vandeleur) took place after the rhinoceros adventure, but shall be told before it.

After a fortnight Umkopo was quite himself again, and began to go about with me on my hunting expeditions into the veldt. At the end of a month something happened which suddenly ended our relations for the time being. One day, as I sat at dinner, I heard shoutings outside the camp, and the sounds of quarrelling among the native attendants. Presently a man was brought into the zareeba, apparently unconscious; four men carried him, and a fifth—Umkopo—followed the procession, looking dark and forbidding; evidently in the worst of humours.

The wounded man was Billy, and the other four Kaffirs brought his unconscious form and laid him close to me, every man speaking at the same time, endeavouring to explain what had happened.

It seemed that Billy had somehow offended Umkopo, who had straightway fallen upon him with his knob-kerri.

I dismissed the Kaffirs, bidding them attend to Billy, and beckoned Umkopo up to me. He and I had learned to understand one another wonderfully well during the month of our acquaintance. I showed him that I was gravely displeased with him, and this evidently was more than he could bear. Doubtless his uncivilised, untutored mind could not understand why I should be vexed because he had avenged an insult. At any rate poor Umkopo was sadly distressed. He left me looking miserable. He would eat no dinner. Presently, after moping in a corner of the zareeba for a quarter of an hour or so, he went out into the veldt. I watched him walk off into the jungle.

Well, he never returned, and when I next saw him it was at an important moment, which shall be the text of my next yarn. Meanwhile, let me begin and finish my rhinoceros adventure, in which—some three weeks after his arrival—Umkopo played a very notable and important part.

We had begun to despair of that 'rhino.' We had hunted in every direction within a radius of fifteen miles or more of the camp, and though we had once or twice come across his spoor in wet places—which proved that he still haunted the neighbourhood—we could never hit upon the beast. Either he was very shy, or we were very unfortunate.

But one day we three were out after antelope, for the larder required replenishing. The Kaffir Billy carried my second rifle and a large bag of cartridges. Umkopo, who had proved himself a splendid hunter, and who could follow the track of a herd of antelope like a jackal, had taken upon himself the leadership of the party. He walked in front, I was at his shoulder, and Billy walked behind.

Suddenly, while crossing a patch of thin jungle, Umkopo stopped and half-turning towards me, placed his finger on his lip. 'What is it?' I whispered; 'have you sighted the herd?' Umkopo pointed to a sandy spot at his feet. I could discern a track of sorts, but the footmark of the animal was much blurred in the soft sand; I could see that it was not antelope-spoor, and that was all. Umkopo made a mysterious sign over his forehead. For a moment I wondered what in the world he meant; then it occurred to me that he wished to represent a horn.

'Rhinoceros?' I whispered, using the Kaffir word.

Umkopo gravely nodded his head, and moved forward upon the track. For a few yards he followed it, but the jungle here was very dry and difficult for tracking; he soon lost the spoor.

'We must separate,' said I; 'I will go to the right, Umkopo to the left.' Umkopo nodded, and we separated, Billy following me.

Scarcely had we started, one to right, the other to left, when with bewildering suddenness a huge creature charged straight at me from out of a dense clump of brushwood, so suddenly and unexpectedly that my heart seemed to leap into my mouth, and for a moment I felt unable to move from the spot to which I seemed rooted. This was not the case with the Kaffir Billy, who instantly vanished (taking, of course, my spare rifle with him) 'into thin air.'

I recovered my presence of mind just in time to leap aside at the critical instant; that is, I avoided the huge lowered head armed with its great, business-like horn.

But though I avoided instant destruction by moving out of the direct line of his headlong rush, his shoulder caught me as he passed and sent me head over heels, stiff and bruised and knocked half senseless.

The rifle flew from my hands, and for the moment I could not see it. I crept, however, with wonderful swiftness behind a small scrub-bush, and lay an instant with half-closed eyes, trying to recover my full senses, but sufficiently conscious to be aware that I must make no sound if I valued my life.

The rhinoceros had charged on meanwhile, his impetus carrying him thirty yards beyond the spot where he brushed against me in passing. I could see that he had now turned and stood listening and watching, his two wicked little eyes moving this way and that.

Would he see me?

I could now make out the barrel of my rifle lying in a patch of thin grass. The sun had caught the polished steel and caused it to glint brightly. As for me, I dared not breathe, much less move out of my cover in order to secure my weapon.

So matters remained for a full minute; the rhino standing listening, the rifle lying inaccessible to me, though but five yards away; Umkopo invisible, doubtless hiding somewhere like myself; the Kaffir, as usual in moments of danger, goodness only knew where, and my spare rifle with him.

Suddenly, to my horror, I saw Umkopo deliberately step out from behind a prickly pear, in full view of the rhino, which, of course, instantly charged him.

Umkopo vanished, and our friend the rhino galloped at steam-engine pace right through the bush, behind which he seemed to disappear. This, I felt, was intended by Umkopo as an opportunity for me to recover my rifle, and I stepped quickly out from my hiding-place and leaped towards it; I seized it, and looked round.

By all that was horrible, the great beast had heard me, and with marvellous rapidity had wheeled and was already almost upon me! Well, I have never done anything so quickly in all my life as at that moment. I simply flung myself, in a kind of flying leap, back into my thorn-bush, cleared it, and lay down on the other side.

In a quarter of a second the rhino had passed like a flash of substantial lightning through the bush and beyond, galloping almost over me as I lay, and almost kicking me with his hind leg. I twisted myself round to the other side of the bush while his impetus carried him forward, and by the time I was able to peer out at him, he was already twenty-five yards away, and facing once more in my direction.

I pointed my rifle very carefully, and was about to pull trigger, when the rascal saw me, and instantly he was again in motion. I fired, but without proper aim, and though my bullet struck him in the chest it did not stop him.

He was now scarcely fifteen yards from me, and I almost gave myself up for lost. I was about to pull trigger a second time, when suddenly there darted between me and the charging brute a human form—Umkopo.

The rhino swerved from his course to follow him, and just missed him as he turned, Umkopo dodging like a hare; and, turning again, the beast was in a moment in full pursuit.

Umkopo swerved and dodged, but the rhino, bulky, ponderous, awkward-looking beast as he was, followed his movements with great rapidity, gaining upon him, instead of losing ground at each swerve and turn.

Umkopo's intention was plain: in the first place to deflect the beast's charge when I was in danger, and, that accomplished, to lead him past my ambush in order that I might have the opportunity of a flank shot.

The whole thing occupied but sixty seconds or less. They passed my thorn-bush, Umkopo leading by five yards, and I fired twice at the brute's shoulder as he hurtled by. At the same instant Umkopo tripped and fell. The rhino fell also, apparently right over him, but in an instant Umkopo rose from beneath him, unhurt. The rhino was dead.

Never was a thing better managed; never was a clearer case of the risking of the life of a man to save another's.

'Umkopo, you're a brick,' said I heartily, 'you saved my life, lad, and I'm grateful!' I gave him my hand, and Umkopo took it laughing, though he did not seem to know what to do with it or to understand what I had said.

Soon after this, Umkopo left the camp in anger, as I have told you, and I did not see him again for a year or two. One of these evenings I will tell you about our next meeting, which was at a critical moment of my life.

Carlyle says, 'Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one rascal less in the world.'[Pg 155]


A certain father has twice six sons; these sons have thirty daughters a-piece, partly coloured, having one cheek white and the other black, who never see each other's face, nor live above twenty-four hours.

This riddle, which is a very easy one to guess, is said to be by Cleobulus, one of the seven wise men of Greece, who lived about five hundred and seventy years before the birth of Christ.


True Tales of the Year 1806.


'Now greeting, hooting, and abuse
To each man's party prove of use,
And mud and stones and waving hats
And broken heads and long-dead cats
Are offerings made to help the cause
Of Order, Government, and Laws.'

The Election Day.

People living under the quiet rule of the present-day election laws can have but little idea of the bribery and turmoil and licence of every sort that always accompanied a parliamentary election a hundred years ago.

To begin with, every possible stratagem was resorted to to prevent the electors from coming to the poll; those electors, for instance, who had to travel by sea to record their votes, not infrequently found themselves landed—by a heavily-bribed captain—at some port in Norway or Holland, or anywhere, so long as it was far enough off to prevent the elector from making his way back in time for the election.

Those were the days of heavy drinking, many men of all ranks looking upon drunkenness as no disgrace, and it was no uncommon event for a body of electors to be 'treated' to such an extent that they were not in a state to know what happened to them, and they would then be locked up and kept out of the way in a cellar or out-house till the voting-time was past.

But even when people got safely to the hustings (as the polling-place was called), the rioting and horse-play of every sort that was allowed on these occasions was very great, and often resulted in serious injuries and even loss of life.

A notable scene of this sort took place in 1806, when Charles James Fox was elected member for Westminster.

After the High Bailiff had declared Fox duly elected, a chair was brought in which the new member was to be carried by his enthusiastic supporters. This chair, of course previously prepared, was covered with crimson damask, with a great deal of gilding, and a laurel wreath over the member's head. On this uncomfortable but splendid seat, Mr. Fox was chaired all round Covent Garden, amidst the cheers of his friends.

Then began the usual practice of pulling down the hustings—the crowd throwing themselves upon the platform and demolishing it from the foundations.

With so many inexperienced and excited workmen an accident was only to be expected, and it[Pg 156] came. Very soon the roof of the hustings fell with a tremendous crash, and though a good number of people managed to spring aside just in time to save themselves, others were not so fortunate. Above twenty people were buried amongst the beams and scaffolding, and it was some hours before all were extricated.

"He was chaired all round Covent Garden." "He was chaired all round Covent Garden."

There were however no fatal cases, though some broken limbs and cut faces bore witness to the rough scenes of an election in 1806.

[Pg 157]

"Marjorie almost ran into Miss Leigh." "Marjorie almost ran into Miss Leigh."


(Continued from page 147.)

'Get help,' Marjorie heard in faint accents. It was Alan's voice which recalled the shaft to her mind, and sent a thrill of terror through her. With scarcely power to reply, she had to pull herself together before she could summon up resolution to move. The bottom of the steps was not far off; she had only to turn round to mount them again, and once in the open air she was safe. How she[Pg 158] stumbled up she never knew; but as soon as the evening air blew in her face she felt as if a load had been lifted from her heart. Ordering Bootles to keep guard, she flew up the path to the cliff, reproaching herself for her long delay there that afternoon. It would take some time to reach home, and then she must find her father, and get men and a rope. She did not know if Alan were hurt; but, in any case, his position was terrible. How had he got there? Was this also the work of Thomas? Tears were streaming from her eyes as she reached the cliff, and ran along the path to the entrance of the Wilderness. The sun had set, but the sky was still glowing, tinting with its warm colours the long, level clouds. The foreign vessel had disappeared, and as she flew along the cliff-path, she glanced hastily towards the spot where she had last seen it. Suddenly the heavy boom of a gun rent the air. Frightened at the sound, she paused a moment, and saw the white smoke curling slowly away into the evening haze, as the dark hull of a gunboat came into sight rounding the rocky promontory.

There was no time, however, to think what it all meant. It was wrong to have delayed even for an instant. Alan must be rescued before he went mad with the horrors of that shaft—that dreadful darkness! Through the Wilderness she ran at the top of her speed, and she was flying across the lawn when she almost ran into Miss Leigh by a sudden encounter round the shrubbery walk.

'Where have you been?' cried the governess, angry and excited at the absence of her pupil from the schoolroom tea, and still more at her reckless manner of running. 'You might have hurt me very seriously, Marjorie. How dare you——

But Marjorie, with a wave of her hand, had gone. There was no time for reproaches; they could very well keep for a more convenient season. Colonel De Bohun was in his dressing-room, preparing for dinner, when she rushed in without even a preliminary knock, and poured out her story with an urgent plea for haste. He quickly resumed his coat, and Marjorie had the satisfaction of seeing him take the work of rescue in hand at once. A couple of grooms were soon following them across the lawn, Marjorie leading, and as they went Miss Leigh wondered what new mischief the children had been up to.

The rescue party had not gone far before they met Estelle's nurse looking anxious and 'flustered.' No one could reply to her question concerning the little girl, but Colonel De Bohun sent her on to Miss Leigh. It was possible the child might have remained in the schoolroom, and had tea with Georgie. Marjorie knew better. The Colonel wondered at her sober face and her silence. He had no suspicion how wrong things were.

The Smuggler's Hole and the steps to the caves were a revelation to him. He looked grave when he found the entrance had been discovered. Both entrances had been carefully blocked up for many years, and he hoped the secret of their existence had been forgotten. He had not explored that part of Sir Leopold Coke's property since he was a young man, and he was not pleased to find that his children had shown more inquisitive interest in these dangerous places. There was no time for asking how they made their discoveries. Their energies must be devoted to the rescue of Alan. Alan, they found, when they let a rope down, weak and shaken as he was, could yet tie the rope round his waist, and steady himself as he was drawn up the shaft. He got better as soon as he began to walk, but the Colonel thought it best to put off all questions till the morning.

Bootles, after Alan's rescue, left the passage most unwillingly. His behaviour was inexplicable. He kept running backwards and forwards in the strangest manner. Marjorie wondered what was the matter with him, and the Colonel impatiently called him to heel.

'One would imagine something was wrong,' he exclaimed, annoyed by the dog's whines.

Marjorie related what had happened in the cave.

Scarcely had she spoken when James, Lady Coke's butler, stepped out of the shrubbery path—

'My lady has sent me for Lady Estelle, sir,' he said.


The shadows of evening were deepening into night before any alarm about Estelle had been felt at the Moat House. The weather being fine and clear, it was scarcely dark even at eight o'clock. The moon, now just past the full, almost turned night into day. Lady Coke had felt no uneasiness, therefore, when seven o'clock came. She imagined Estelle had been invited to spend the evening at Begbie Hall. Hitherto, however, whenever the cousins wanted her to remain, a message had been sent, in order to spare Aunt Betty any anxiety. But no such message had been received, and the clock having struck eight, then nine, without the little girl appearing, she grew anxious. Mademoiselle Vadevant was also becoming fidgety, though she strove to hide it.

'It is time for Estelle to be in bed,' remarked Lady Coke, at last. 'I am surprised that Mrs. De Bohun has kept her so late. Has Nurse gone for her?'

'Oui, madame; more than an hour ago.'

'Nine o'clock is very late for young children to be up. Will you kindly ring the bell? I will send James to bring her back without further delay.'

Mademoiselle offered to go herself, but Lady Coke insisted on dispatching James. He was her factotum, in whom she had greater faith than in any member of her household. His calm manner, which nobody had ever seen ruffled, suited her and she felt quite safe when a matter was in his hands. If Estelle needed any protection—which was not likely in their own grounds—he would be the right person to send. Having given her orders, Lady Coke felt more comfortable, each moment expecting to hear Estelle's merry voice. She sat listening unconsciously. Time, however, slipped on without bringing either James or Nurse. When, finally, ten o'clock struck, she stood up, pale but determined.

'Mademoiselle,' she said, her voice as low as ever, though her anxiety could be detected in its quiver, 'will you please send me my maid, with my garden-hat and cloak? I am going to Begbie Hall myself. You will kindly accompany me. Something must be strangely wrong.'

At that moment the sound of a man's step on the gravel under the windows made her pause, listening eagerly for the child's light tread. The steps came up the verandah, and Colonel De Bohun appeared in the open casement. Without a moment's delay he went up to his aunt, putting an arm tenderly round her. One glance at his pale face was sufficient.

'Godfrey, what is it?'

She was trembling, so that without support she could not have stood.

'Sit down, dear Aunt, and let me tell you,' he said, with more calmness than he felt.

He greatly dreaded the effect of his communication. Though she was always cheerful, active, and upright, he could not forget that she was old, and that any shock might be disastrous to her.

'Tell me,' she said, looking up into his face.

'We all imagined Estelle to be with you till her nurse came to fetch her. I was out when she came. The fact is, we had rather a fright about Alan. He had fallen down a hole in the rocks, and we were obliged to go to his rescue. He was got out with some difficulty, and on our way home we came across James, who told us of your anxiety about Estelle. Neither Marjorie nor Alan had seen her since they had left her reading to Georgie on the roof of the ruin. Marjorie, who had heard the door bang, found no one there when she reached the place, and the door was closed. Fearing something wrong, I sent James off at once for Peet, in order to see if the poor child had been accidentally locked into the forbidden room.'

'Yes?' whispered Lady Coke.

She looked so weak and shaken that the Colonel made her sit down in her armchair before he would go on with the story.

(Continued on page 166.)

[Pg 159]


Some people used to find fault with Dr. Johnson because, they said, he was greedy in eating and drinking. He would often take twelve or fourteen cups of tea at a meal. This seems a good deal, but we must remember that in his time teacups were small, and the fashion was to hand them round only half-filled. There is a story that one lady, when the Doctor was taking tea in her parlour, rudely refused to pour him out any more after he had had about a dozen cups, and he, quite as rudely, retorted that her tea was really not worth drinking.

This China drink, as it was called at first, did not for some time become the popular beverage it is now, mainly owing to its high price. It seems that at first tea was taken without milk. An old book of 1657 states that the English were encouraged to take tea, because it was recommended by doctors in France, Italy, and other countries of Europe, so that evidently other nations had tea-drinkers before England. In September 1660, Samuel Pepys notes that he had his first cup of tea, or 'dish,' as it was called. Many people called the plant 'tay,' in the eighteenth century, and that name is heard occasionally even now. The early price varied from four sovereigns, to twice the sum, for a single pound; afterwards the price was lowered, and the quantity brought over increased. At the end of the reign of Charles II. only five thousand pounds were imported annually; by 1700, the number had become twenty-one thousand, and in 1721, over a million pounds.


HE rich men have their gardens,
With blossoms rare and sweet,
Where lilies bloom, and roses
And honeysuckles meet;
And flowers that are the choicest
Within their grounds are seen,
I only have the blossoms
That grow upon the green.
But I think God made the daisies,
That are so fair to see,
Just for the little children—
The little ones like me.

The nobles have their paintings
That hang upon the walls,
Of wealthy lords and ladies,
And vales and waterfalls,
And soldiers out at battle,
And sailors on the deep;
I only look on fields and lanes.
And flowers that wake and sleep,
But I think God made the fields and hills,
And the bright blue sky I see
As pictures for the children—
The little ones like me.


Founded on Fact.

The owner of a vegetable-garden one day noticed that a basket which had just been filled with new turnips became suddenly emptier. He questioned the gardener, who likewise could not understand the matter, and proposed, as a certain means of discovering the thief, that they should hide themselves behind a hedge which was near. This was done. After some minutes they saw the house-dog go straight to the basket, take a turnip in his mouth, and then make his way to the stable. Dogs do not eat raw turnips; our watchers therefore followed the thief, and discovered that the horse, his stable mate, was also concerned in the affair.

Wagging his tail, the dog gave the horse the turnip, and the horse, of course, did not require much pressing. The gardener angrily seized his knobbed stick in order to chastise the dog, but his master held him back. The turnips went on disappearing in exactly the same way, and the scene repeated itself until the supply was exhausted.

The dog had long made this horse his favourite, while he seemed to consider a second horse which was in the same stable not worthy of a glance, much less a turnip.[Pg 160]

"The dog gave the horse the turnip." "The dog gave the horse the turnip."

[Pg 161]

"The pike seized the wretched stoat." "The pike seized the wretched stoat."

[Pg 162]


Some True Anecdotes.

Along the river Wey, which flows through Hampshire and Surrey, there is much wild scenery still, though some parts have been altered of late years. Many small streamlets, bogs and marshes, ponds and pools, are delightful to the lover of Nature, no less than to the sportsman. Boys with nets chase big dragon-flies, fat-bodied moths, and swift butterflies, and men with guns watch for birds, large or small, which are numerous. The young birds are also in danger from foxes, who leave the woodland to hunt by the waterside.

The fish draw many anglers to the river, for the pools and streams have plenty of fish, not only the small and common kinds, but the trout, which is eagerly followed to its haunts. Besides trout, the ferocious pike or jack is not uncommon, good specimens being taken by various baits, for a jack is not particular what it eats. When cooked, it is a fish generally liked, though it seldom comes into the shops for sale. It is rather a handsome fish, being marked with green and bright yellow.

A clever jack will do much to obtain a choice morsel. Roaming along the banks of the Wey, a man came upon what had once been a good house, in front of which stood a row of fine yews. It was fast going to ruin, and, indeed, only a few rooms were occupied. While he was examining it, the occupier, who knew him slightly, asked him to come in and have some mead, made from his own honey. After talking a little while, the host began to tell him his troubles about his young ducks. They went out for water excursions, as young ducks must, but his wife did not let them stop out late, because of the foxes; but on the way home, some of them had lately disappeared mysteriously. He offered to show the spot, and took his visitor there. The little ducks crossed a broad piece of open water to get upon a sloping board just as they reached the place; down into the stream they went, sometimes two at once. The visitor asked his guide whether he had seen any jack. He said that there were plenty, and that he had caught several; but there was one big fellow he had noticed which would not take the bait offered.

'That is the offender!' cried the man; 'he swims up the stream, picks up a fish here and there till the tiny little ducklings, which are a delicacy to him, are on the water. If there is one the right size to suit him, he has it; if not, he goes back to other food. Afterwards he returns to deep water, but is here again in the evening when the ducks come home.'

What was to be done was the next question. How could this artful jack be caught, if he was too dainty to take ordinary bait? Then they thought of a capital plan. They got a long, straight pole, and fastened to it a strong bit of pike-line. A dead wood-mouse was obtained and secured to the line, and at the proper time gently floated over the place where the ducklings had vanished. The plan answered capitally. Mr. Jack came, seized the mouse, and was hauled out of the water, and no more ducklings were lost.

Another instance of a jack's greed was told in one of the newspapers. A shepherd was passing an ornamental lake one day, when his dog started a stoat, which ran out from some bushes near the water. The stoat, being pursued, at last actually jumped into the lake, and swam away. The shepherd was still watching it, as it swam bravely on, when suddenly the nose of a large pike shot out of the water close by, and the fish was seen making straight for the animal. In a few moments it had seized the wretched stoat, and though the latter struggled hard for its life, all was in vain. The jack forced the animal beneath the water, and neither were seen again.


Graham was a very good sort of chap, and everybody liked him except when he was playing practical jokes. It is all very well to score off another fellow occasionally, but when it comes to making him howl in school, and get sent up for a private interview with the Doctor, it is going a bit too far.

Three times in one week the master of the Lower Fourth had had to send some one up, and each time it was Graham's fault. The third time the Doctor himself happened to be in the room, and I noticed that, though he actually caned me, it was Graham that he looked at most.

Some of us say that the Doctor has eyes in the back of his head, because he sees so many things that he is not expected to see, and I was sure that day that he had an eye on Graham.

After the third caning, we had a committee meeting in my study, and decided that something must be done. Wilson wanted to drop Graham into the pond, and Rupertson suggested that two chaps should hold him down while the three who had been caned through his jokes gave him a good thrashing; but Shepherd, the smallest boy in the Fourth, hit on the best idea, and that was to pay him back in his own coin.

Shepherd had heard him planning with another boy in his dormitory to dress up as a ghost that very night, and come into ours, and scare us into fits, and we determined that the most scared chap should be Graham himself.

We had all been in bed about a quarter of an hour when there was a rustling sound at the door, and in glided a figure that might have made us creep if we had not been prepared for it. It had a great head, with glaring, fiery eyes, which made one feel a little uncomfortable, even though we knew it was only a turnip. Its body did not show, but only great shining bones, which Graham had painted on his pyjamas with phosphorus, just as Shepherd had told us he meant to do.

We kept dead silence till he got to the middle of the room, and then Shepherd gave the most horrible groan I ever heard. He imitated a real one splendidly; it finished with a kind of choke.

That was our signal, and we all sprang up and crowded round his bed.

'You have done it now!' cried Rupertson in a terrified voice.

'He's not bad!' gasped the 'ghost.'

'Yes, he is,' replied Rupertson. 'See how white he looks!'

'Who is it?' groaned Graham.

'Sergeant,' said Rupertson.

'No, it is Wilson,' said another voice.

'No, it is not, it is Cranbourne,' said a third; but all the time we never allowed Graham to get anywhere near the bed, so as to look close.

'He can't be hurt,' repeated Graham. He had thrown down the turnip, and though we could not see his face, we guessed from his voice that he was as badly scared as we had meant him to be.

'Perhaps he could be brought round by artificial respiration,' suggested Shepherd. 'One of you fellows fetch up Smith quickly. He understands that sort of thing.'

Graham did not wait for the suggestion to be made twice. He ran, and, as we heard afterwards, he burst into the study where Smith, the Captain of the House, and, it so happened, the Doctor himself, were having a talk.

'He is dying!' screamed Graham. 'Come quickly and try and save him.'

'Who is dying?' cried the Doctor in amazement.

'Wilson, or Sergeant, or Cranbourne,' gasped Graham.

So they both followed Graham upstairs as fast as they could go—only to find our dormitory perfectly still and quiet, and every one in it apparently fast asleep.

'Wilson! Sergeant! Cranbourne! where are you?' called out the Doctor.

'Here, sir,' answered each boy sleepily, sitting up in bed as if suddenly awakened.

'Is anything the matter with you?' inquired the Doctor.

'Nothing, sir,' they each replied in a surprised voice.

'What is the meaning of this, Graham?' asked the Doctor, sternly.

'I—I don't know sir!' stammered Graham.

'You bring us up here,' continued the Doctor, 'by declaring that three of your schoolfellows are dying, and I find them all perfectly well and sound asleep.'

Graham said nothing, but wriggled wretchedly from one leg to another, hoping that the Doctor would not notice the painted stripes on his pyjamas or the turnip-head, which was peeping out from under one of the beds.

'Perhaps you will also explain what brings you into this dormitory at all?'

But Graham did not attempt any further explanations, and the Doctor went on: 'I have known for some time, Graham, that you were a little too fond of playing practical jokes, but if you are going to try them on the masters, you will soon find that you are carrying things too far. Smith, is there a cane handy you could lend me?'

We all felt rather sorry for Graham during the next few minutes. It is not pleasant to interview[Pg 163] the Doctor when he is feeling very angry. Not that I think he really suspected Graham of playing a practical joke on him, for he must have seen how thoroughly scared he was when he burst into the study. But the fact was that he had been looking out for an opportunity of teaching Graham a lesson for some time, and when it came, he made use of it without asking too many questions.

Anyhow, that was the last practical joke Graham ever played.


AY dawns cold: upon the pane
Artists are at work again,

Tracing ferns and fragile leaves,
Birds that nest beneath the eaves,

Tiny scenes of Fairy-land,
Just to help us understand

All about the fairy men,
Who in summer haunt our glen.

Every morn's a picture-book,
If you will but rise and look!


The animal kingdom in British East Africa looks upon the two thousand one hundred and ninety miles of telegraph wire, strung throughout that region, as a novelty to be made use of. A number of creatures are trying to adapt the wires to their own special purposes, and so the routine of the telegraph business is more or less crowded with incidents of an unusual character. The monkeys are simply incorrigible. Many of them have been shot and thousands frightened; but they cannot get over the idea that the wires are put there for them to swing upon. They have ceased to pay much attention to the locomotive, and even the shrieks of the whistle are not permitted to interfere much with their athletic performances in mid-air.

Three wires are strung on the same line of poles for five hundred and eighty-four miles between the Indian Ocean and Victoria Nyanza, where the monkeys give very complicated performances. In one place they have even succeeded in twisting the wires together.

The giraffe is also a source of annoyance. He sometimes applies sufficient force to the bracket on which the wire is fastened to twist it round, causing it to foul other wires. The hippopotamus is also a nuisance, because he uses the poles for rubbing-posts and sometimes knocks them over.

These creatures, however, do not steal the wire. When the copper wire was stretched north-east from Victoria Nyanza, through the Usoga country, the natives cut out considerable lengths of it, and at one time about forty miles of wire were carried away and never recovered. Passing caravans also found that they could help themselves along the way by[Pg 164] cutting the wire and using it in the barter trade. The temptation was great and not always resisted, for wire would buy anything the natives had to sell. But after a great deal of energy this wire-stealing has been stamped out, and it is to be hoped it may be a thing of the past.



There are probably not many of my readers who cannot tell a starfish or a sea-urchin at sight, that is to say, a grown-up starfish or urchin; but to distinguish between them, or even to recognise them at all, in the days of their infancy is a very different matter. Indeed, only those who devote their lives to the study of these creatures are able to do this, and the facts which their labours have brought to light are curious indeed, though so complex that it would be impossible to describe them here in full detail.

Fig. 1.—Young Starfish. Fig. 1.—Young Starfish.

An outline, however, of what we may call the story of the starfish can be told readily enough, and without in any way losing aught either of its importance or its interest.

Fig. 2.—Young Starfish, second stage. Fig. 2.—Young Starfish, second stage.
Fig. 3.—Young Starfish, third stage. Fig. 3.—Young Starfish, third stage.

Briefly, among the starfish people—and including also the sea-urchins and sea-cucumbers, the curious brittle-stars and feather-stars—parental care is the exception, and not the rule. Having cast their eggs adrift upon the sea, the mothers of the families leave the rest to nature. Let us follow the history of one of these eggs. No sooner is it adrift than it begins a very remarkable career. Starting at first as a tiny ball, it divides next into two precisely similar balls, and since these divide again and again in like manner, we have in a few hours a mass of little balls, intimately connected with one another, and resembling a mulberry in appearance, enclosing a hollow space. (Fig. 1.)

This stage reached, the end of the first chapter in the life of the starfish is closed. He has grown so far, it should be noticed, without eating; but for further progress food is necessary. Now, this food cannot be taken in without a mouth and some sort of stomach. These are formed by the simple device of tucking in one side of the ball, just as one might push in one side of an indiarubber ball; the rim of the hollow thus formed becomes the mouth, and the hollow into which it leads is the stomach, while within the space lying between the outer wall and that portion of the wall which is pushed in—which corresponds to the inside of the indiarubber ball—the body that is to be begins to be formed. To grasp this thoroughly, first of all take such a rubber ball as I have described, and push in one side. Compare it with the illustration (fig. 2).

Soon after the formation of the mouth, our growing starfish develops his first organs of locomotion. Now, these are neither arms nor legs, but take the form of short hair-like growths, endowed with the power of rapid waving motion, whereby the body is propelled through the water. These are to be seen in the picture of one of these little creatures, shown for clearness sake as if cut in half. (Fig. 3.)

Fig. 4.—Nearly full-grown Starfish. Fig. 4.—Nearly full-grown Starfish.

A little later our young starfish has assumed a new shape. Here there is a large mouth and stomach, while the swimming hairs have all been cast off except a few arranged in the form of two bands; and, later still, the creature takes the extraordinary form shown in fig. 4. Swimming by the motion of waving hairs is now a thing of the past; instead, long arms have been developed, which perform this work much more effectually, and these arms are supported by a hard, chalky skeleton. Soon another little pushing in of the body takes place, and, lo, out of this grows the body of the starfish that is to be! (as is the middle of fig. 4). In about forty-five days from the beginning of this eventful history, the feet and body appear sticking out of the body, whose growth we have been watching; and, in a very short time after, this chalky skeleton is destroyed, and the rest of this infantile body cast away, leaving the fully formed starfish with an entirely new skeleton! Thus, then, wonder of wonders, this curious creature possesses during its lifetime[Pg 165] two distinct skeletons!

Fig. 5.—Young Sea-urchin. Fig. 5.—Young Sea-urchin.
Fig. 6.-Young Rosy Feather-star. Fig. 6.-Young Rosy Feather-star.
Fig. 7.—Rosy Feather-star. Fig. 7.—Rosy Feather-star.

The sea-urchin and sea-cucumber undergo similar changes. (See fig. 5.) So also does the beautiful rosy feather-star, but with certain modifications too interesting to be passed over. In what we call its larval body, or its period of childhood, the body takes the form of a cylinder, as you see in the picture, with a little tuft of swimming hairs at the bottom, and bands of the same round the body (fig. 6.) Within this body, as in the starfish, a new body is gradually formed. Then, as you see in the picture, the inside of the egg-shaped body takes the form of a long stalk of stony plate, surmounted by a number of square plates pierced with holes, and these last only are destined to survive in the body of the adult. Soon after this stage is reached, the swimming body comes to rest, because the stalked body which it contains has reached its full development, and takes over the threads of life. As a consequence, the barrel-shaped swimming body, now useless, is thrown off, much as a caterpillar throws off its skin, leaving the newly fashioned body, shaped like a filbert-nut, but rounder, fixed by its stalk to the ground. In a very little while, however, it puts forth a number of beautiful moving arms. It is now a sea-lily! And now follows another change. Breaking away from the traditions of its tribe—the sea-lilies—it cuts itself off from the stalk, and grows in its place a number of short finger-like processes, and lo! from a sea-lily it becomes the rosy feather-star! (What this looks like you can see in fig. 7.) Once more it is able to swim, and this is done by waving movements of the long arms. When desirous of rest, it drops to the bottom of the sea, and clutches hold of some bit of rock or branch of seaweed by means of the bunch of 'fingers' below the body, which we have just described.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.


The Lees were a clever family; all their friends said so. Tom was good at games, and had carried off several prizes at the school sports; Percy was a first-class reciter; Emma sang, and played the piano; whilst Alice drew very well, and had a larger collection of picture post-cards than any other girl she knew.[Pg 166]

Rosie, however, the youngest, was not in any way remarkable: 'Indeed, you would hardly think her one of us—she is so unlike the rest,' Alice would say, with a slighting glance at the little sister who never did anything particular; only worked and helped, and was at everybody's beck and call.

Rosie was used to being made of small account, and did not mind it much. When a rich aunt of the Lees announced her intention of coming to pay them a visit, and then perhaps choosing one of the young people to be her companion during a long stay in London, it did not for a moment occur to the little girl that she could be the favoured one. She listened without jealousy to the chorus of brothers and sisters, planning what they should do in the event of being chosen.

'I would go to a cricket match at Lord's,' said Tom. 'And I,' said Emma, 'to some of the best concerts.' Alice had fixed her heart on seeing the picture galleries, and Percy was resolved to hear some great speakers. Each of them thought it very likely that he, or she, would be Aunt Mary's choice.

Aunt Mary, when she came, kept her own counsel. She was kind to all her nephews and nieces, but did not single out one more than another. It was not until the last day of her stay arrived that she said to their mother, 'If you will let me have Rosie for a companion, my dear, I shall be only too glad to take her to town, and give her a really pleasant time.'

Rosie's surprise, and her disappointment for the sake of her brothers and sisters, silenced the rest: when they could speak, it was to ask each other what their aunt could possibly see in her. If they had overheard a talk between Mrs. Lee and Aunt Mary, later in the day, they might have understood.

'Your other young people are charming,' said Aunt Mary, 'so bright and clever; but they are a little—just a little—too apt to be wrapped up in themselves and their own pursuits. If Rosie goes with me, I shall have some one who will think of me too, for the child does not seem to know what selfishness is.'


Some old customs die out very slowly, and even in the neighbourhood of go-ahead London there are many districts where the waits still go round a few days before Christmas. But the waits do not treat you with music for love—they come for payment afterwards.

Why were these Christmas serenaders called waits? About that matter, we find that opinions differ. One old author says that the waits we have now, represent the musical watchmen, who were well known in many towns during the Middle Ages. They sounded a watch at night, after the inhabitants of the town had gone to bed, and then some of them marched about the streets to prevent disturbances and robberies—in fact, acted rather like our modern policemen. 'Wait' it is supposed means 'watch,' and they had to be in attendance upon judges or magistrates; at the courts of many of the kings, too, there were the waits who attended upon royalty, and who had to perform on their instruments, if music was wanted, by day or night. Another idea was, that the waits who are connected with Christmas season are meant to be a sort of rude imitation of the angelic host, who sang in the fields at Bethlehem at the birth of Christ. This would seem to men in the Middle Ages a very natural way of illustrating the sacred story.

The old Romans are also said to have had a kind of waits, who were called Spondaulæ; it was their business to attend upon the priests in the temples of Jupiter. They sang a poem, accompanied by some wind instrument, while incense was being burnt, or a sacrifice offered.


(Continued from page 159.)

'Directly Peet appeared with the key,' continued Colonel De Bohun, 'we made a thorough search, and I do not think there was a nook or corner we did not examine, even to a considerable distance down the passage. There was, however, no trace of Estelle. We found in the inner room that the window had been broken, and a rope was still hanging from it. That window is not more than three feet from the floor of the room; but, as you know, the drop from it into the moat must be at least twenty feet. Whether the child managed to scramble out by means of the rope, or whether she was carried out, I don't know. Peet insists that Thomas has had a hand in the matter. A very valuable orchid, which he had been cultivating in that inner room, has disappeared, and Peet feels sure that Thomas has stolen it.'

Colonel De Bohun began to tell Lady Coke of the attempts made by Thomas and another man to enter the ruined summer-house, as witnessed by Alan and Marjorie, and of Alan's adventure in the cave, but she had become so faint that he was alarmed. Mademoiselle ran off to fetch a glass of water, while he did his best to soothe her. She begged, however, for further details.

Very unwillingly, he went on to tell her how they had dug for a couple of hours in the effort to penetrate the mass of stones and earth which the bang of the door had shaken down from the roof. It was extremely dangerous work, and he had not dared to urge the men to go on with it, after their efforts revealed no trace of the child. They had also entered the passage from its cliff end, under the guidance of Alan, but had not been able to proceed far, the fall of the roof making it almost as perilous as from the summer-house end.

'There is one strange thing about this unfortunate business,' he continued, 'which we cannot explain. The dog, Bootles, that had been with Estelle, was found in the wood, just at the entrance to the passage. He appeared to be in great distress, and anxious that we should follow him to the beach.'

'And did you go there?'

'Yes, but we found nothing to help us in our search. He ran about, snuffing and moaning, and it was only with some trouble we got him to come away with us.'

'Search till you find the child, Godfrey,' urged Lady Coke, taking the water which Mademoiselle had now brought to her. 'I shall know no peace till she is restored to me. My little girl! Confided to me at her dead mother's wish! How have I fulfilled my trust?'

Her distress exhausted her so much that Colonel De Bohun was rejoiced to see his wife enter the room, saying she intended to remain the night with her aunt. The Colonel almost carried his aunt upstairs, promising that the search should not be given up as long as the faintest hope of tracing the child remained.

Thomas, for whom a hunt was at once started, had disappeared, and with him the stranger. No one had seen them; but gradually a rumour got about that a boat was missing from among the many on the beach of Tyre-cum-Widcombe, and it was whispered that no one knew the coast better than the young gardener.

Thomas was just such a person as Lady Coke had described to the children when she told them the story of Dick. Little bluntings of conscience had begun his downward career—temptation not at once resisted—then the gradual yielding as the bribe became more dazzling. And this was how it happened.

The Moat House was celebrated for its orchid-houses. In no part of his work did Peet take so deep an interest as in the care of these beautiful and curious plants. But keen as was his pride and delight in them, it was fully shared by his mistress, Lady Coke. She visited the hothouses constantly, frequently bringing her guests to enjoy the sight of the flowers in full blossom.

Peet had a brother in India, who belonged to the Woods and Forests Department, and now and again he had received roots and seeds from him of some more than commonly beautiful plants found in the wilds of the jungle. Sometimes the attempt to grow these had proved a failure; but some had richly rewarded the effort. The pleasure taken in the cultivation of the flowers, and the value of many of them, was pretty well known to all the under-gardeners, Thomas among them.

It appeared that Peet had lately received a small parcel from India, which had been packed with even more care than usual. Being busy he had not had time to examine it till his work was done, when, as he smoked dreamily in his armchair, he suddenly remembered the little bundle he had put away in his room. Mrs. Peet was with Dick, who always went to bed early, and the old gardener was glad to seize the opportunity to examine his treasure alone. On removing the outer covering, and opening the box, he discovered a bulb carefully wrapped in cotton fibre, and under it was a closely written sheet of paper. It was a note from his brother, relating how he had come across the most curious plant of the orchid tribe he had ever yet seen. It was not a profuse grower, and he had only succeeded in finding one or two specimens, in the crevices of rocks at the entrance to a cavern. This cavern was half-way up a mountain, and in a cooler climate than most of the plants he had sent previously. After giving certain particulars as to soil and habits, he added: 'Its value should be great, as I believe it to be a new variety—a cave orchid—an unknown species as far as I know.'[Pg 167]

Peet examined the bulb, and sat pondering with the letter in his hand. He was feeling drowsy after his day's work in the heat of August, and it was in a half-dream that he pictured to himself the scene his brother described. In the same dreamy way he regretted that no cave answering to the conditions was available in which he could experiment with the new plant. Still pondering, he must have fallen asleep, for the next thing he heard was the voice of his wife, saying, as she laughingly shook him by the shoulder, 'Why, Father, whatever is the matter?'

He looked up sleepily.

'You're calling out about that there ruined summer-house, and the inside room, and a plant, as if the whole thing was to be shouted from the house-tops. A secret, too, for you cry, "Now, don't you be telling my lady. It's quite a new thing." What does it all mean, anyhow?'

Peet growled, but roused himself, confessing he had been dreaming. No more was said, but the dream had started ideas at which he smiled even to himself, and carried out, half ashamed of his queer fancies. He would keep the plant a secret; it should be cultivated in the inner room of the ruin, the broad south window of which would provide all the warmth necessary. He would also carry out his dream by making the orchid a gift to Lady Coke. Had she not been an angel of goodness to him and his? What more beautiful an offering could he make in return for all she had done? Poor Peet! it was his way of proving his gratitude.

The very care with which he guarded his secret had roused the curiosity of Thomas, and he had spoken of it contemptuously to a friend, a gardener on a neighbouring estate. It so happened that at that very moment the man had with him a Dutchman, who had come on business to England, and had run down to pay a visit to his friend. When Thomas turned to go, this man offered to accompany him a little way. He soon found out all that Thomas could tell him about the new plant, which certainly was not much. Thomas was encouraged, however, to discover all he could, and promises of a rich reward were held out if the plant proved to be as rare as Thomas imagined. The man, being a dealer in bulbs, was fully aware of the probable value of such a discovery, and took pains to enlarge on the huge prices paid for new specimens. Thomas, as a boy, had read The Orchid Hunters, and was not wholly ignorant of the vast sums spent in sending men out to various parts of the world, especially India and South America, to seek for new treasures in these beautiful plants. He listened, therefore, with eagerness, but at the same time assured himself he did not intend to steal the plant. He would only discover all he could, especially where it was to be found, which the Dutchman told him was the most important point.

It had indeed been 'here a little, there a little;' so little that Thomas had considered it was not worth thinking about. A bit of information that was all. Yet it had led to the theft of what he knew to be of great value, and to the loss of his kind mistress's little ward. It might well be said, 'How great a matter a little fire kindleth!'

(Continued on page 172.)[Pg 168]

"Peet looked up sleepily." "Peet looked up sleepily."

[Pg 169]

"The head of a snake thrust out close to him." "The head of a snake thrust out close to him."

[Pg 170]



HE bombardment of Algiers not only broke the power of the pirate nation, but gave to England a prestige which extended far beyond the dominions of the Dey; and three Britons who, a few years after Lord Exmouth's campaign, started from Tripoli on an expedition into the wilds of West Africa, found the fame of their countrymen stand them in good stead. Two out of the three, Major Denham and Lieutenant Clapperton, R.N., had won their laurels already in the great war with France, and, being but little over thirty, were by no means disposed to settle down quietly on half-pay. These two, and their companion, Dr. Audney, had felt that strange summons which comes to one man and another in every age and nation, the call into the unknown, into the mysterious places where none of their race have ever trod. And if they did not expect to meet men with heads growing below their shoulders, such as the mediæval travellers looked for, yet the heart of Africa might hold marvels almost as strange. Seventeen years before, Mungo Park, the great Scottish explorer, who set forth for the last time to follow the course of the river Niger, had passed away into the silence of the unknown land. It was hoped that this new expedition might succeed in recovering his papers and journal.

The party started from Tripoli early in December. Their journey at first was quite a triumphal progress; the English dress and speech were honoured everywhere, and the strangers treated with the reverence due to the representatives of the great unknown king whose sailors had conquered Algiers. Many were the questions asked about the mighty monarch, and we may be sure that the magnificence of the mysterious 'Sultan George' (King George III. of England) lost nothing in the description his subjects gave of him. There were delays, however, owing to the bad faith of the Sultan of Tripoli, and it was not till February that the expedition reached the city of Kouka, the capital of Bornu. Strange indeed is the description of this wealthy city, where the Sultan sat to receive his visitors behind the bars of a golden cage, and where corpulence was looked upon as so necessary a part of a fine figure that the young dandies of the calvary regiments padded themselves out to the proper size, if they had the misfortune to be naturally thin.

The travellers had plenty of time to study the peculiarities of the place, being detained there some time, first from want of camels for the journey, and then by Dr. Audney's serious illness. Major Denham, growing weary of inaction, and hearing that the Sultan of Kouka was planning an attack upon a neighbouring tribe, begged leave to accompany the expedition. The Sultan, who was very much impressed by the importance of the English visitors, and by the idea of the pains and penalties that might follow if any harm came to them, refused for some time to let him go, and it was not until the last moment before the departure of the expedition that the Major wrung from him permission to be of the party. In fact, it was rather a doubtful proceeding for a member of a peaceful mission, and Major Denham freely owns in his journal that the attack was unjustifiable and did not deserve to succeed. However, neither he nor any of his personal attendants took part in the fighting, and the opportunity of seeing the country and the native methods of warfare, together with the chance of an adventure, were too attractive to be missed; and certainly, so far as excitement was concerned, the daring Englishman got enough and to spare before he rejoined his friends at Kouka.

The attacking party found the enemy stronger than they had expected, and their advance on the position they hoped to storm was met by storms of poisonous arrows, which scattered their cavalry in hopeless disorder. Major Denham found himself obliged to turn his horse's head with the rest, and fly before the foe, who followed with yells of vengeance, and fresh flights of the deadly arrows.

Denham's horse was wounded and fell with him, then, maddened by fright and pain, struggled up, unseating his rider, and dashed away into the bush, leaving the Major surrounded by the enemy. He received two spear-wounds, mercifully not poisoned, was instantly stripped of most of his clothes by his captors, and gave himself up for lost. But the novel garments so delighted the natives that they left the late wearer while they wrangled over the spoils.

Denham, wounded as he was, determined on a dash for safety, slipped into the bushes, and ran as fast as he could, the thorns of the tropical plants tearing his defenceless feet as he went. A river, flowing between high banks, barred his way, and he had seized a bough to swing himself down when a new peril appeared—the head of a snake, one of the most deadly of African serpents, thrust out close to him from among the dense foliage! Either the horror-stricken fugitive lost his hold, or his involuntary recoil broke the bough to which he clung; at any rate he fell headlong into the stream below him. The shock of the cold plunge brought back his failing senses, and he struck out boldly for the opposite bank, reaching it in safety, though almost at the end of his powers. He had distanced his pursuers for the time being, but his position, as he dragged himself ashore, was terrible enough to have daunted even his brave spirit. He was alone in the enemy's country, wounded, without food or weapons, and night coming on—the night of tropical Africa, when the reign of wild-beast life begins. His first thought was to find some tree, into which he could climb and put himself out of reach of prowling leopards; then the remembrance of his late narrow escape recalled the fact that there were dangers in the branches as horrible as any on the ground; and while he hesitated, it seemed as if the question were to be decided for him, for suddenly upon his ears came the gallop of horse's hoofs, and an armed band bore down upon him.

For a moment Major Denham thought all was over, for he was past further flight and had no weapon. Then, as one of the new-comers dashed up to him, he recognised, with relief and thanks, the negro servant of the Sultan's chief officer. They were his friends, flying in disorder indeed, but mounted and armed, and able, in some sort, to protect their guest. There was no time to be lost. The Englishman, draped in classical fashion in an exceedingly dirty blanket, was helped on to the bare-backed horse ridden by the negro, and the flight continued with all possible speed. It was a terrible journey, with constantly diminishing numbers, for men and horses, wounded by poisoned arrows, dropped and died on the way.

Denham learned later on that a consultation was held over him, while he lay sleeping from sheer exhaustion during a short halt, in which some of the party urged that it was folly to hamper the flight by the burden of a man who would probably die. One man, however, spoke up stoutly for the unconscious foreigner, vowing that one who had been preserved through so much must be fated to be saved. To him Major Denham owed it that, after infinite danger, pain and fatigue, he arrived, with the remnants of the army, at Kouka, and lived to set foot again, two years later, on English shores, there to delight the stay-at-homes with such a traveller's tale as has rarely been equalled, even from the mysterious land of the 'ever new.'


WAS Santa Claus's Postman!
I heard him singing low
Among the trees beyond the hill,
And through the valley dark and still,
Where frozen rushes grow.
And cosy 'neath my counterpane
I listened as he sang,
While miles, and miles, and miles away
I heard him cross the marshes grey,
Till close to where I snugly lay,
His changing carol sang.
I heard him slam the garden gate
As o'er the lawn he crossed,
Till, half in fright, I raised my head
To hear how through the grove he sped;
Then far away, and farther still,
By vale and wood and moor and hill,
His noisy song was lost.
Upon the pillow, soft and white,
I nestled down once more,
To think about this Postman, who
Goes singing all the dark world through,
And beats a noisy, wild tattoo
On every winter door.
And when again with joy I saw
The frosty sunshine glow,
I quickly drew the blind aside,
And through the frosty window spied
The letters he had scattered wide
[Pg 171]In drifts of dazzling snow.
The leafless trees stood mute and still
By snowy field and lawn;
Each twig was graced with whiteness new,
And everything that met the view
Showed how the Storm, the Postman true.
Had done his work and—gone.


A German Legend.

If you visit the Castle of Nuremberg, in South Germany, you are certain to be shown a mark, said to be that of a horse's hoof, on the top of the outer wall; and the following story will be told to you, to account for its presence.

Some four hundred years ago there was constant war between the Count of Gailingen and the citizens of Nuremberg, and, after numerous encounters, the Count had at last the misfortune to fall into the hands of his enemies, and was at once imprisoned in one of the gloomy dungeons of Nuremberg Castle.

This was bad enough, but worse was to follow, for, on the meeting of the magistrates, the young Count was sentenced to be beheaded, and the sentence was to be carried out on the following day.

First of all, however, according to an old Nuremberg custom, the condemned man was allowed to have a last request granted—whatever that request might be.

'Let me.' said the Count, 'once more mount my faithful charger, and ride him round the courtyard of the castle.'

No sooner said than done! The beautiful black steed, that had so often carried his master to victory, was saddled, and horse and master met once more under the open sky.

The Count patted the horse's arched neck, and leapt into the saddle; the horse began to prance and kick up his heels, as he had been taught to do. This made such a dust that the attendants were glad to shelter themselves in the guard-room.

'Let the Count enjoy himself; it is his last chance,' said his jailers. 'Our walls are too high for escape, and we can take things easily.'

So they troubled themselves but little over either horse or rider, and the Count felt that now or never was his chance.

The walls were very high, and beyond them was a wide ditch, so that his jailers were right in thinking escape impossible. Yet 'impossible' is an unknown word to some men, and the Count was one of these.

He bent down caressingly over his horse's mane, and whispered some words in his ear. Whether the good beast really understood or not cannot be said, but the next minute there was a rapid gallop across the courtyard. The Count dug his spurs deeply into the sides of his steed, and the latter, with a supreme effort, bounded up, and reached the wide brim of the castle wall. An instant's pause, and he had leaped the wide ditch, and in a few seconds more both horse and rider were out of reach of all pursuers.

This story must be true, say the Nuremberg people, for there stands the print of the horseshoe on the wall to this day![Pg 172]



LL the world over, tradition tells of harp-shaped instruments, usually played by mysterious harpists in the cool depths of river or ocean. In Scandinavian lore, Odin, under the name of Nikarr, was wont to play on a harp in his home beneath the sea, and from time to time allowed one or more of his spirits to rise through the waters and teach mortals the strains of another world.

According to Finnish mythology, a god invented the five-stringed harp called 'Kantele,' which was for many centuries the national instrument of Finland. His materials were simple—the bones of a pike, with teeth of the same for tuning pegs, and hair from the tail of a spirited horse for strings. Alas! that harp fell into the sea and was swept away, and so the inventive god set to work to make another, this time of birchwood with pegs of oak, strung with the silky hair of a very young girl. This completed, he sat down to play, with magical results. Wild beasts became tame, birds flocked from the air, fishes from the sea, to hear the wonderful sounds; brooks paused on their way and winds held their breath to listen. Women began to cry, then men followed their example, and at last the god himself wept, and his tears fell into the sea, changing on their way to beautiful pearls.

The Burmese Soung. The Burmese Soung.

According to Greek mythology, Hermes made a lyre, which is a kind of harp, out of the shell of a tortoise, and on a vase in the Museum at Munich is a figure of Polyhymnia playing a harp with thirteen strings, of the form which was used in Assyria.

The harp (the Soung) shown in the illustration is a favourite Burmese instrument, and is chiefly used to accompany the voice: it is always played by young men. It also has thirteen strings, made of silk, and is tuned by the strings being pushed up or down on the handle. It would sound strange to our ears, as the Burmese scale is differently constructed from ours. Every learner of music knows, or ought to know, that our scale has the semi-tones between the third and fourth, and the seventh and eighth notes, which gives a smooth progression satisfactory to our ears; but the Burmese scale places the semi-tones between the second and third and the fifth and sixth, which is quite different and to us has not nearly such a pleasant effect. The Soung is held with the handle resting on the left arm of the performer, who touches the strings with his right hand.

The Arpa. The Arpa.

The Arpa or drum of Oceana is made of wood, and imitates the head and jaws of a crocodile, with a handle for carrying purposes. The head is covered with snake-skin, which sometimes gives it an unpleasantly real appearance. It is used by the natives of New Guinea, especially by those dwelling around the Gulf of Papua.

Helena Heath.


(Continued from page 167.)

The mysterious loss of their cousin Estelle plunged the three children into the deepest grief. Alan's sole consolation was that he was allowed to be of the search-party as soon as he was well enough. Marjorie had not this consolation. Georgie had some dim idea of creeping away all by himself to search all their haunts on the common, or in the woods round St. Cecilia's Well; but a timely remembrance of how stern his father could be prevented him. Finally, the thought of Aunt Betty, and how sorry she would be if he disobeyed orders and went wandering all about the country alone, made him give up the desire. But it seemed very hard to be obliged do so.

"It seemed as if the whole roof must be coming down." "It seemed as if the whole roof must be coming down."

Marjorie was overwhelmed with grief, and shut herself up in her room that she might be alone, since she could not talk to her mother. Lady Coke being seriously ill, Mrs. De Bohun was unable to leave her[Pg 173] for more than a few minutes now and then. It was a terrible time for them all, especially as day after day passed and no clue came to guide the searchers. Colonel De Bohun was constantly stirring up the police, or riding about the country, with Alan at his side, trying to gather some information. Nor were he and Alan alone in the search. The whole neighbourhood, rich and poor alike, were on the alert, in[Pg 174] doing all in their power to help, though their efforts were fruitless. On hearing all that Alan had to tell, many believed that Estelle must have been crushed under the falling stones; or else, should she have succeeded in getting through the passage, she must have fallen into the sea, and have been swept away by the tide.

Colonel De Bohun consequently consulted the sailors at the coastguard station. The officer, who was a personal friend, said that the tide had been quite deep enough at the hour mentioned to have swept the little girl away, and the currents were very strong in and around the bay. The evening had been memorable to him, for a French fishing vessel had been daring enough to ply its nets in English waters—that is, within the three-mile limit—and he had sent the news to one of the revenue gunboats. The stranger had, however, been so cleverly handled that it had got away in time, and no chase had been made.

Meantime the Earl of Lynwood had to be informed. No one was surprised when a telegram was received telling them that he had started for home, and would be with them as quickly as train and boat could bring him. This news depressed the children even more. It seemed to them that all hope of finding Estelle must have been given up before so serious a step as sending for their uncle had to be taken. But this their father denied. He comforted them with hopes that their uncle might think of fresh measures which might be more successful in discovering some trace of their cousin.

Lord Lynwood's arrival certainly caused the search to be renewed with vigour; but, alas! as time went on, hope dwindled, and there was scarcely a person who believed the little girl to be alive. Lord Lynwood was almost the only person who refused to give up the search. It was quite possible, he said, that she had been carried off by Thomas or his companion, in spite of Alan's not seeing her with them.

Clinging to the idea, the Earl sent for detectives and put the matter into their hands. They had means for carrying out their researches at home and abroad, which must, he considered, lead to obtaining some information sooner or later.

Meanwhile, the Earl lingered on at the Moat House as long as his leave of absence allowed, hoping to see his aunt become a little stronger, and to give her what comfort he could by his presence. Her patient trust in Him Who could bring good out of evil was a great consolation to the saddened father in the sorrow that had fallen upon him.


While all her relations were mourning for her; while Aunt Betty was lying at death's door, stricken down by anxiety and sorrow; while Lord Lynwood scarcely dared look on the faces of his brother's children because they reminded him of his own lost darling—where was Estelle?

It was now more than a month since she had been missing, and no news had been received.

Without one moment's thought for her own safety, without any remembrance of Lady Coke's desires—nay, positive orders—she had plunged into the ruined summer-house after Bootles. Darting down the dark passage, in eager chase of the cat, the dog was deaf to her cries to him to come back. Hardly knowing what she was doing, she followed him. The passage grew darker and darker, and she could not even see the faint light from the open door. A fall over a heap of stones first made her realise she had better return, since no one knew where the passage led. She did not like to leave the dog, but, nevertheless, she hesitated a moment to call again to him before retracing her steps. She was surprised and horrified to find that her shout had the effect of bringing down some loose stones and earth on her head. It frightened her sufficiently to make her set off in earnest towards the door.

'I shall tell Georgie I have been down the passage, and that it is dreadful, and not at all interesting,' she thought, as she felt her way with a hand on the wall.

A glimmer of light, as she turned the corner, comforted her, and she stopped a moment to call gently to the dog, afraid to raise her voice too high for fear of the falling roof. Scarcely had she paused, however, when a great crash came, followed by a long mingled sound of many stones and much earth falling. It seemed as if the whole roof must be coming down. A shower of damp soil descended upon her head, and one clod larger than the rest knocked her over. Happily she was more stunned and frightened than hurt. The glimmer of light had disappeared, and she began to realise that the door must have shut. Terrible as her position was, the full horror of it did not dawn upon her at first.

Shaking herself free from the clinging mould, she got up, very much inclined to cry, till a wet nose thrust into her hand startled her. Bootles was not happy; his whines and the trembling way he pressed close to her added to her alarm.

Taking him into her arms she hugged him, while he tried to lick her face. He was some comfort after all, and his presence gave her courage.

'Oh, if I had only remembered what Auntie said, and not come here,' she sobbed, hiding her face on the dog's back. 'We must try, but I don't believe we shall ever get out of this dreadful place! Oh, I do wish I could tell Auntie I am sorry! I did not stop to think that it was wrong to follow you, poor Bootles.'

The thought that she was shut into the ruin was very terrifying, and after a little effort to move, which resulted in a fall over a mound, she sank upon the damp ground, sobbing in despair. Bootles, as if he understood, struggled free and whined. It was too dark for her to see his efforts to show her a way out of the mass of fallen rubbish.

(Continued on page 182.)


In the battle of Alexandria, Sir Ralph Abercromby was mortally wounded. He was carried on board a man-of-war in a litter, and a soldier's blanket was put under his head as a cushion, so that he might lie more easily. The ready-made pillow was a great comfort to him, and he asked what it was.

'A soldier's blanket, sir,' was the answer.

'Whose blanket?' he asked, raising himself on his elbow.

'Only one of the men's.'

'Which of the men does it belong to?' he asked again.

'To Duncan Roy of the 42nd.'

'Then see that Duncan Roy gets his blanket this very night.'


A long time ago a great many strange things used to happen on May Day. It used to be the jolliest day in the year; boys and girls used to be very happy looking forward to it, and as the day drew near, very busy in getting ready for the festival that took place.

I expect you have all heard of the May Queen. The prettiest little girl in the village was chosen 'Queen' by her companions. She was crowned with flowers, and sat on a throne in an arbour, while all the other children used to treat her just as if she were a real queen. In the evening they used to have a Maypole dance, while the little queen sat and watched them.

Another May custom was the Maypole. Other countries besides England have them. If you went to France, Holland, or Austria, you would see them there even now—much prettier than the English ones. The French ones are sometimes painted, and they have garlands round the top arranged on hoops, from which hang little golden balls. In Holland the Maypoles are quite different: they have a big flower-pot on top with a tree inside it; round the tree flags are arranged. The pole itself is painted blue and white. But the funniest Maypole of all is found in Austria. There is a flag at the top, and then a big bunch of green leaves and flowers, then more flags, and after that figures of little men and women and animals in wood nailed on to the pole so as to look as if they were climbing up it. Sometimes there is a stag nailed on, with a pack of dogs after it, all in wood.

In England, on the morning of May Day, the boys and girls used to get up very early and go into the fields, where they picked flowers and green branches from the trees and hedges. These they brought back to the village, and made into wreaths to trim the Maypole. When the pole was quite ready, the biggest boys fixed it in the ground. There were long garlands hanging from it, and each boy and girl took one and danced round. The dance was called the Maypole dance, and it had proper steps of its own, just like any other dance.

Those of you who live in London may have seen a funny-looking man walking about on May Day wrapped up in a bush, with flags and paper flowers on him, and making a noise with drums. If you ask who he is, you will be told that he is a chimney-sweep, called 'Jack-in-the-Green.' All chimney-sweeps used to keep May Day, and some do so still, and there is a story told to explain the custom.[Pg 175]

A long time ago, little boys used to be sent up the chimneys to clean them. It was very dangerous, and they were often killed at their task. Of course, it was not easy to get little boys to be chimney-sweeps, and so wicked men used to steal little children from their homes for the purpose.

There once lived in London a very rich man, who had one little son, whom he loved very much. One day the child was missing, and nobody could find him, though a search was made everywhere, until at last his parents gave up all hope of ever seeing him again. Two years afterwards it happened that while the chimneys of the house were being swept, one of the servants went into the lady's room and found a little boy, all black with soot, lying on the clean white bed; he was fast asleep. She left him there and told her mistress. The lady came and looked at the boy, and, in spite of the soot and the dirty clothes, she recognised her little son, whom she had lost so long ago. A man had stolen him and made him become a little sweep; the boy was so young that the sweep fancied that after two years he would quite have forgotten his father and mother and home, and that it was quite safe to send him to the house when he was all black with soot.

So the little boy was sent down the chimney, for in those days they were cleaned from the top. When he got into the room, which was his mother's bedroom, he looked about and seemed to remember it. Then he knew that he was very cold and tired and hungry, and he went and lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep, till his mother woke him.

That is said to be the reason why the chimney-sweeps kept May Day—in remembrance of the boy who was stolen. But Jacks-in-the-Green are not often seen now, and that horrible way of sweeping the chimneys has disappeared.

If you do not see Jack-in-the-Green on May Day, you are sure to see the cart-horses all decked out in braid and ribbon of different colours; and if you live in London, you ought to go and see the procession of carts, which look very grand indeed, being decorated even more than the horses.


A great landowner was remarkable for the pompousness of his manner. He was one day riding leisurely through a small village, when he happened to meet a rough-looking farmer's lad, who was pulling a calf along with both hands, by means of a rope attached to its neck. When the boy saw him approaching, he stood still, and, opening both eyes and mouth, stared him full in his face.

'Do you know me, boy?' asked the great man.

'Yes sir,' answered the boy.

'Then what is my name?' he asked.

'Why, you are Lord X——,' was the reply.

'Then why don't you take off your hat to me?' said Lord X——, pompously.

The rustic, still tugging at the rope, replied, 'So I. will, sir, if you will hold the calf!'[Pg 176]

"'Why don't you take off your hat to me?'" "'Why don't you take off your hat to me?'"

[Pg 177]

"Stepping down from the vase and crowding round Hugh's
 ed." "Stepping down from the vase and crowding round Hugh's ed."

[Pg 178]


NLY that morning, Mother had said she was proud of her boy, and Hugh had felt he deserved her praise. He was very rarely naughty, and he loved to see his mother's face light up with joy, when she heard how pleased his teacher was with him. But, somehow, since the morning, all had changed. Mother had gone to town, and Hugh was wandering about the garden, looking miserable. 'I didn't mean to break it,' he kept muttering. 'Mother was so fond of that vase, with all those pretty china figures round it. It was stupid of that tall one to break its head in the fall. It is simply because it doesn't feel anything. If it could feel as I do, it would have taken more care—- spiteful thing!'

Hugh was not really so silly as you may imagine from this speech, and I am sure he felt half inclined to laugh at himself even then; but you see, he knew that he did not deserve his mother's praise any longer. Not that she ever gave too much importance to the fact of his having broken something, though she disliked carelessness and reproved him for it; and she certainly would be vexed at his having damaged the dainty porcelain vase. But you see there was something more. Hugh was not allowed to go into the library without special permission, and during mother's absence he had gone, just to look at a book of butterflies which Father had shown him one day. In pulling the book down, he had let another book fall on to the precious vase. Now the headless china shepherd was turned round so as to be on the shady side of the vase, and the head was in Hugh's pocket. And oh! how heavy it seemed, and what horrid lumps Hugh felt in his throat, and what a queer feeling at his heart! His conscience, you see, was very tender, and though he had been naughty, he was not really a naughty boy.

Well! a strange thing happened then. Father came home and went straight to the library. A few minutes later Hugh heard his father calling, 'Hugh! Hugh! Are you there? Please come here!'

Hugh went at once, pale and trembling, as he knew punishment inflicted by Father would probably be severe. 'My boy,' said Mr. Grey, as he opened the door, 'creep under that bookcase and see whether you can find the head of that china figure I have broken. I knocked against the vase, not knowing that its place had been changed. I did not hear the head fall, but it must have rolled away. If we find it at once, we will mend the figure, for Mother will be sorry to see it damaged. Now, don't look so dazed, boy. Hurry up and find the head.'

What an opportunity for Hugh to own up! But he did not take it.

Instead of undeceiving Father, 'Mother's brave boy,' of whom she was so proud, crawled under the bookcase, and in a moment the china head was in his father's hand. 'That's right,' said Mr. Grey, gladly. 'It's not broken badly. I will mend it nicely, and then ask Mother if she can see the place where it has been mended.'

Still Hugh said never a word.

At last, Hugh had fallen asleep. But his conscience was not asleep. Always wakeful, it was without doubt she who called into her service the figures on the vase, giving them, for the moment, life. There they were, stepping down from the vase and crowding round Hugh's bed, not with their usual smiles, but with frowns and threatening gestures.

'Shall I remain a headless trunk?' asked the damaged youth, indignantly; and Hugh was so terrified he did not even find it strange that the figure should talk without a tongue, and that though his father had mended it, it still had no head. 'He keeps mine in his pocket. Cut off his and give it me.'

'Why not?' asked the other figures, growing bigger and bigger as they drew nearer Hugh.

'Or turn him into a china shepherd and put him into my place,' continued the figure.

'Why not?' asked again the other figures. But one, a girl crowned with flowers, who on the vase had looked so sweet, began to pout, and exclaimed, 'No, please, I don't want a little coward near me. A boy who wants his mother's smiles and praise and love without deserving them at all! No, indeed.'

Hugh, who, just before, had been horrified at the idea of being turned into a china figure, was now distressed at not being thought fit even for that!

'Of course,' continued the girl, sarcastically, 'it was his father who knocked the head off. Of course, nobody will ever suspect that it was Hugh. Why should he tell? Why should he be punished? He is his mother's dear, brave, good boy. But don't let him come near us, though he is so fine outside.'

'Mother's dear, good, brave, darling boy!' giggled all the figures. 'Mother's loyal, courageous son!' And Hugh's shame knew no bounds.

'Don't, please,' he begged, humbly, in vain trying to restrain a sob. 'I don't mind being punished now. I will tell Mother I am not good. Please—please go away!'

'Yes! yes! we will go away,' answered they, still giggling. 'Why should we trouble about you? What does it matter, after all, if you grow up a careless, disobedient, untruthful boy? It's really not worth while troubling to punish you.'

'Of course,' went on the girl. 'Find your head, shepherd lad, and let's go.'

'Listen!' said one of the stately dames. 'Let's give a bit of good advice to his mother. Let us ask her to allow the boy to do as he likes. Why should she think so much of correcting his faults? He doesn't care to let her see him as he really is.'

'A capital idea!' exclaimed all the others.

'It's not!' exclaimed Hugh, jumping up in his bed. 'You shan't go! You shan't go! And my mother won't listen to you. I will throw my pillow at you and break you all, if you say that again. My mother shall punish me when I'm naughty.'

He did throw his pillow, and the figures vanished. In an instant he was wide awake, and wondering where the figures had gone: and then he knew that it was all a dream, and that his Conscience had been using the figures for her purpose. They had done her work well. The boy slipped quietly into Mother's room, and I think you can guess what happened there. I know that Mother is still proud of her little boy, because she still sees him just as he is.


7.—Anagrams (Eatables).

1.I am a corn.
2.Area, Vic
3.Esau, Turk, R.A.
4.Blew, rash, Tib.
5.Cool car, cheat me.

C. J. B.

[Answers on page 214.]

6.—Key to Geographical Letter on page 147.

Dear Adelaide,—This morning, being up betimes, and having had an early Bath and breakfast, I take the opportunity of writing to you. Yesterday, my Uncle Adrian and his daughter Florence came to see us. Two slight accidents marred their visit: to begin with, my cousin fell upon the Stair, and afterwards, while we were out driving, a Stone caused the horse to slip. We were then obliged to walk, but the way was rough, and presently a stream barred all progress. However, we discovered an Iron bridge, which enabled us to go Over. After eating an Orange and a Sandwich apiece, we felt refreshed, and went on until we came to a tall Poplar. Here we sat Down, and uncle amused us by Reading. The rest I will tell you later; till then believe me,—Your affectionate friend, Victoria Ross.


A fisherman, rowing along the Bay of Fundy shore, in Nova Scotia, noticed what he took to be a very large lump of tallow floating on the water. He picked it up, took it home, and presented it to his wife. She was busily engaged in a local industry, the making of soft soap, and used the 'tallow' for it. The find, however, failed to behave as tallow should, and the fisherman was reproached by his wife for interfering and spoiling the soap. In a fit of disgust he threw the remainder of the supposed tallow away.

He talked the matter over at the country store, and it was suggested that his tallow was possibly the very valuable substance known as ambergris. The man went home in haste, and managed to collect six pounds, all that remained of the large quantity he brought home! The local chemist identified it as ambergris, and showed the astonished fisherman the price list, where it was quoted at thirty dollars an ounce. His dismay can be imagined when he learned that, through his ignorance, he had literally thrown away a fortune.

Ambergris is a secretion formed in the intestines of the sperm whale. It is of a dull grey colour, and resembles tallow, excepting in the odour, which is sweet and strong.

Ross Frame.[Pg 179]


True Tales of the Year 1806.


APE Colony in 1806 was a very different country from the Cape Colony about which, of late years, we have heard so much. It was then a quiet, sleepy place under Dutch rule, having been given up to Holland by the British, after the Peace of Amiens, in 1801. There were a few farms, sparsely scattered over the country, and farmed in a most slovenly manner by the Boers, or rather by their Hottentot slaves, for a true Boer then thought work of any sort beneath him.

One of these farms, however, bore a great contrast to the rest; it was about seventy miles from Capetown, and was known as the 'Garden Farm,' from the rare fact of its possessing a well-stocked garden and a large orchard of peach and apricot trees, all fenced in with a stout wooden railing to keep off the pigs and cattle that were allowed to root and rummage around the other homesteads at their own sweet will. The owner of this farm was an Englishman, named John Colton: but he was a naturalised burgher and married to a Dutch wife, so that every one—perhaps even Colton himself—had long forgotten that he had not been born and bred in his adopted country.

The year 1806 was, however, to change all this. Great Britain was at war with France, and as the Cape was then the great highway to India, it was felt that Capetown must be secured at all costs, for it was too important a place to be allowed to fall into the hands of Buonaparte.

So a British force of some five thousand men, under Sir David Baird, was at once sent out, and on a sultry January day was marching from Leopard's Bay, over scrub and veldt, towards Capetown.

All this, however, was undreamt of by honest John Colton as he sat with his wife on the verandah of his house, watching the antics of a puppy that was playing with the children in front of them.

Suddenly the man's quick ears caught the sound of horses' hoofs in the distance. He strained his eyes across the veldt, and, after a minute or two, could make out a man riding at utmost speed.

'There's something amiss somewhere,' he told his wife; 'maybe some one is injured, and he is coming here for help.' For accidents from wild beasts were common in those days, and John had a certain fame as a binder-up of broken limbs.

Now the rider had come up to the farm, but though he drew up, he did not dismount. 'You are to be in Capetown market-place, with horse and gun, by sunset on Thursday,' he said as he handed John an official blue paper. 'The British have[Pg 180] landed, and General Janssens is summoning all the burghers. There will be a big fight, but we shall drive the red-coats into the sea.'

"He handed John an official paper." "He handed John an official paper."

The man could not stop for a meal, though he was glad of the refreshment which Mrs. Colton handed to him in the saddle; and then he rode away as quickly as he had come, leaving Colton almost dazed by the news.[Pg 181]

'The British have landed!' he repeated, looking at his blue paper, 'and I am to go to Capetown to fight them!'

'Oh, Jan!' said his wife, 'don't let those red-coats shoot you!'

John did not answer. He took down his gun from the wall and looked gloomily down the barrel; then he threw it on the table, and, looking at his wife, said sternly, 'I cannot fight against my own countrymen, and I do not wish to fight against yours.'

'But you are a burgher, Jan,' said his wife, timidly, 'and all the burghers are summoned.'

I shall go,' said John, shortly. 'I shall give myself up, but I cannot fight against my own people.'

'Don't go, Jan,' urged his wife. 'Hide yourself in the mountains, they will never find you there—and I will manage the farm till things are quiet again, and you can come back.'

'That would be acting as a coward, and I am no coward,' said the man. 'I must go to Capetown, but what may be done to me there I cannot say. It is a puzzling piece of business! I never thought to see the British here again.'

'They will put you in prison for life—or perhaps shoot you,' sobbed his wife. 'Jan! Jan! for love of me stay away!'

But John shook his head, and went on with his preparations for the long seventy-mile ride to the town. It was a great struggle, for he loved his home, and knew that very likely he might never see it again; but he felt he was doing right, and John was not a man to go against his conscience.

It was, however, a melancholy ride, and John felt more down-hearted than ever before in his life as he entered the market square of Capetown. Here all was in confusion, burghers were galloping hither and thither, and every one seemed too busy and excited to notice Colton as he rode wearily towards the Field Cornet's quarters to give himself up.

At last one man called out as he passed, 'A bad business this, friend! I little thought to see the red-coats in Capetown in my lifetime.'

'What has happened?' asked Colton, eagerly dismounting from his horse.

'Our burghers have had a battle with the British, but the red-coats outnumbered them, and General Janssens has retired to Lawry's Pass. Folks say he will have to make terms at once, or the guns will open on the town. Anyway, all fighting is at an end for the moment.'

John Colton said nothing, though in his heart he was almost singing for joy at this unexpected ending of his difficulties. In a few hours it was known that Capetown had surrendered to the British, and on January 8th, 1806, the 'red-coats' marched in, and John cantered back to his farm, where he lived hereafter in peace under the British flag.


The Duck-Billed Platypus. The Duck-Billed Platypus.

So far as we know at present, the platypus duck-mole, or water-mole, is the strangest of all animals. Its home is in Australia, but, owing to the progress of civilisation, it appears likely to die out before long, for many of its haunts have been disturbed by the advancing white man.[Pg 182]

When the first specimens reached England, dried, the creature puzzled the naturalists, who were almost inclined to think it was not genuine. The animal is about twenty inches long, covered with thick soft fur, which is brown on the back, and white below. The curious muzzle is lengthened and flattened, much resembling the beak of a duck; its edges are hard, and at the back part of the mouth are four teeth. But it cannot grasp anything very firmly with the bill, which shows that its food must be of a soft nature. The feet of the platypus are five-toed and webbed, being, like the rest of the body, suited for an aquatic life. Another singular fact is that the animal has a spur on each hind leg. This spur is connected with a gland, which resembles those of serpents, and may contain poison. Certainly it appears as if this spur is a sort of weapon, though the animal is of peaceful habits.

Before sleeping, the platypus curls round to keep itself warm, and brings the flattened tail over the back. It is very particular about the fur, which is kept smooth and clean by means of the beak, and is also brushed with the feet. Much of the animal's time is passed in diving and swimming, the food being mostly water insects, or such as are to be found on the banks of streams. The platypus is an excellent digger, and forms deep burrows or tunnels, the opening being hidden by the herbage of the bank. At the bottom there is generally a nest, carefully lined by the animal with grass and leaves. There the young ones are brought up by the parents.

J. R. S. C.


ALY woe, waly woe,
My song is of a mermaid, O!
A tearful little mermaid, who
Dwells deep below the ocean blue,
Sighing many a sad heigho,
And singing songs of 'waly.'

Waly woe, waly woe,
She was not always weeping, 0!
Until she sadly fell in love
With one who sailed the seas above
While she was sporting down below.
Not singing songs of 'waly.'

Waly woe, waly woe,
He was a handsome Prince, and O!
She watched him when the stars were seen
A-twinkling blue and gold and green,
And other pretty colours—so
Began her songs of 'waly.'

Waly woe, waly woe,
Lack-a-day, a-deary O!
For blighted love. But 'tis a fault
To make the sea so very salt
With bitter tears that still do flow
While she is singing 'waly.'

Reed Moorhouse.


The Chinese are a clever people, very clever indeed, and in some things they must be acknowledged to show more wisdom than the nations of the West; but they are decidedly peculiar in their way of treating the sick. Progress is not the rule with the Chinese, and, while medical art or skill is quite different now in England from what it was, the Chinese have made hardly any improvement. Matters come rather hard on the Chinese doctors, for we are told that sometimes they are punished if a patient dies, or when he does not seem to be getting better. This certainly is unfair to a doctor, for he cannot cure everything. With accidents, of course, much may depend upon how the doctor acts, and it is generally agreed that the Chinese are bad surgeons, so that in an emergency it would be better to trust to nature than be treated by a Chinese doctor, if other help was not to be had. We cannot wonder, therefore, that some of them refuse to visit sick people, if it is likely there will be danger in the case. Chinese books tell us that their system of medicine is exceedingly old, in fact, nearly as old as the monarchy, and it is attributed to a husbandman, whose name was Shin-nung. He studied what plants were the best food for the body, and what would cure it when 'out of sorts.' By him, or by some one soon after him, a list was prepared of the different complaints, and the proper medicine for each, with the dose to be given, so that any one can start upon being a doctor if he follows the instruction given. But should he try giving medicine on a plan of his own, he is likely to get into trouble.

The fees are mostly small, and the large cities have what we call dispensaries, where the poor are treated free. Still, there are a great many doctors in China; some are settled in one place, but hosts of them travel about, offering to the people quack physic. Boluses or large pills are favourite medicines, so big that sometimes persons are nearly choked in swallowing them. Much of the liquid medicine given is thick, and most nauseous to take; but usually the Chinese drink their potions without any sign of disgust. There are, however, various aromatics and perfumes prescribed, which the patients do not have to swallow; they have only to sniff them, or inhale their vapour. Dried and powdered bones of many animals are taken as physic; thus, the bones of a tiger are believed to give strength and courage. An elephant's tusk will furnish medicine for several complaints. Of the vegetables used, none is more highly esteemed than the ginseng root.


(Continued from page 174.)

At length, worn out and with a violent headache, Estelle tried to collect her senses. Something must be done. No one could help her. If she was ever to get out of this terrible passage, it must be by her own exertions. There must be a way—yes surely! The hole in the cliff suddenly occurred to her and almost at the same instant she thought of the two men in the cellar. Her spirits revived as she remembered that there was an entrance to the ruin through her aunt's cellars. Once there, she could bang on the door till she was heard.

Springing up with renewed hope, she proceeded to grope her way in what she fancied might be the proper direction. She had lost her bearings, she feared, when she was knocked down, but it would not be difficult to find them again. The fallen mass was, as far as she could recollect, behind her, and she had only to go ahead to make her way to the cellar. If only she could be sure she was in the right passage! Alas! a few steps brought her up against a barrier, which no efforts at feeling or climbing seemed able to pass. A wall of earth met her everywhere.

A great terror seized her. Had the crash completely blocked the passage on all sides? Was she a prisoner without hope of escape? Trembling so that she could scarcely walk, she called the dog to her, and, holding him by the collar, began to feel all round the walls of her prison. Bootles, not approving of this plan, pulled vigorously in an opposite direction, and, obeying his lead, she was relieved to find herself able to get along fairly well, without many falls over stones or mounds. The first horror of her position passed away.

Releasing the dog, she struggled bravely on, imagining every moment she would come up against some door.

'We shall get there soon,' she cried cheerfully to Bootles, who was trotting at her side, uttering an occasional whine.

He gave a bark on being addressed, and sprang up to her, but it appeared to her he was uneasy. Had she made a mistake? It was no great distance to the cellars; but she had been toiling along for an immense time, and was getting very tired after her numerous falls and bruises. The terror she had felt at first began to creep over her again, but she would not let herself give way to it. Struggling blindly on in the total darkness, she was suddenly startled by the sound of running water. Very soon she was floundering in a stream which bubbled round her feet, while all about her was a sound of faint trickling. Moreover, she had not gone on many steps before another fall sent her headlong into a pool, from which she scrambled to her feet soaking wet. With a terrified cry, she sought in vain for the friendly wall, but could not find it. Chilled to the bone, shivering, and hopelessly bewildered, she dared not move another step for fear of unknown consequences. Every breath was now a sob, as wearied, aching all over, terrified, she stood still, afraid to stir.

'Bootles! Bootles!' she cried, stooping to feel if he were anywhere near.

Instead of a caress, or even a whine, she heard his feet pattering about for some seconds, as if he were sniffing out their position. A moment later, a thud showed he had either jumped or fallen down somewhere. Fearing he had deserted her, and that she was now absolutely alone, her self-control gave way. She began to scream with all her might. He did[Pg 183] not return, nor was there any answer to her cries. Instead, the air seemed full of loud shouts, which gradually died away as she ceased to scream. Listening to them, her excited state made her imagine they were the mocking chorus of invisible creatures, who were flocking round her. Oh, if she could only move! If she could dare to run away!

'Bootles! Bootles!' she cried, her voice broken by sobs; 'where are you? Oh, do come back!'

' ... come back!' echoed the voices.

' ... come back!' repeated the fainter chorus behind.

It was plainly of no use to call. The dog had vanished. The voices only mocked her. She was very tired, too, and her throat ached so that her voice was hoarse and almost gone. She felt she must either move on or sit down; standing any longer was impossible. Her knees were trembling, but she felt her steps carefully as she moved forward a few paces, with the hope of coming upon a piece of dry ground. Suddenly she found herself turning round a corner; before her lay a passage which sloped steeply down to a faint light, sparkling far below her. Half wild with hope and terror, she ran still further, the rocks opening out as she went.

Into her dazzled eyes came the great crimson blaze of the setting sun, making a fiery path on the waters. She was going at full speed down the sharp incline, terror lending wings to her feet. Before she realised her danger, she was at the opening in the cliff, and, unable to stop herself, had fallen into the sea. A faint scream, a splash, and the waves closed over her.

The tide, still high, covered the lower rocks: the strong current carried her over them out to sea within a very few minutes, though, alas! not without serious injury from jagged points against which she was whirled in her passage.

Cruising about, waiting for some sign of the two men whom they had orders to bring off, the French sailors were not far from the bay. Among them was the smartest of their crew, an Englishman, whose keen sight very little ever escaped. Just as the signal for their return was flown, his attention was caught by something being swept past the boat by the strong current. In spite of much opposition he insisted on looking more closely at the object, and seized it with a boat-hook just as it was again sinking out of sight. To the amazement of the crew, the bundle proved to be a little girl, whom Jack took into his strong arms, and would have carried ashore had he been allowed his own way. But this was a point beyond even his power to enforce. For one thing they were sure the child was dead, the little face looked so wan. Secondly, if they were caught by the English gunboat it would mean heavy fines, and the men had no notion of throwing away good money in that manner.

Jack had, therefore, to do the best he could for his little waif, and take her back with him to the ship. He did not know who she was, nor whence she came, and as she needed immediate attention, it was perhaps as well he did so.

(Continued on page 186.)[Pg 184]

"He seized the object just as it was again sinking." "He seized the object just as it was again sinking."

[Pg 185]

"A strange face was bending over her." "A strange face was bending over her."

[Pg 186]


(Continued from page 183.)


'Asleep still? Is there any hope, Mother?'

'Sh! The doctor thinks she will wake about four o'clock, and I am on the watch to give nourishment as soon as she can take it.'

'I asked the doctor what he thought, and he says, if the poor little thing comes to herself and speaks collectedly, why, there's every hope of her getting on fair and bright. But it all depends on that.'

'I am that anxious I don't know what to expect, and I don't care to look one way or the other. But we must not be talking so close to her, or she will be waking before her time. You stir up the fire, Jack, and just see that the soup isn't too warm for her to drink, and I will watch here quiet a bit. It will be hard to lose her after such long weeks of nursing.'

Jack went away to do as he was bid, in the silent manner of one experienced in sick nursing; as well as in many another work to which the 'handy man' is so often called during a life spent at sea. Mrs. Wright, seating herself on a chair close to the little bed, took up her work, and soon nothing was heard in the room but the click of the rapid knitting-needles.

Jack, having put the soup where it would keep just warm, slipped out of the room, letting the curtain at its entrance fall behind him. The sun was touching the white bedclothes with a lingering ray. Passing softly away, it left the room in shade which felt pleasant after the hot day.

The sick child moved. Just a faint motion of the head, a trembling of the eyelids, and a sigh. Mrs. Wright stopped her work to look. Estelle stirred again, slightly.

How long she had slept she did not know. She felt warm and comfortable, but not in the least inclined to get up. It seemed to be morning, too, for the light appeared quite bright. How weak she was! It was an effort to open her eyes. Not even to save her life could she have raised herself. Somebody came to her and put something in her mouth with a spoon, but she was too tired to see who it was; so, without trying to think, she dropped asleep once more.

When she awoke again she felt stronger, and, hearing a movement, opened her eyes. A strange face was bending over her; a sweet face, though old, wrinkled, and weather-beaten. Estelle stared at it in amazement. A poor woman, evidently, but clean and tidy in her coarse blue serge dress and white apron. A black lace cap almost concealed her grey hair, and in her hands was a great bundle of knitting. Seeing the child was awake she hastily put this down, and brought some broth from a little saucepan over the fire.

'Now, my dearie, you just swallow this,' she said, 'and we shall have you about in no time.'

So gently and cheerily did she speak that Estelle smiled, and made an effort to lift her head to take the soup, which smelt most delicious.

'We have not come to that yet, my dear,' said the old woman, smiling. 'But it will come! it will come! You will be running about as blithe and strong as ever, please God, in a week or two. But there's no hurry. Lie still and rest now. You'll get up all the better for it.'

Putting her arm round the child, she held the cup to her lips with the skill born of long practice in nursing.

'What! every drop?' she cried, as she arranged Estelle comfortably on her pillows. 'That's something like, and better than you have done for a very long time. Do you know that? If you go on as well as this, we shall have you up in no time.'

'Where am I?' whispered the child; then wondered at the faint, far-away sound of her own voice.

'With those who will care for you till you are well again,' returned the old woman, smiling encouragingly, and smoothing the closely cropped head tenderly.

All Estelle's lovely curly locks had been cut off. Her thin face looked thinner than ever.

'Have I been ill?'

'Indeed you have. But you're getting better every day. Now, you must not talk any more. Try to sleep.'

When Estelle next awoke it seemed to be night. A candle, shaded by an open book, was burning in one corner of a low room, a fire of logs smouldered on the hearthstone, and in the light they gave she could see the woman asleep in an old-fashioned armchair, which had head-rests on each side of its upright back. She looked very tired, Estelle thought. There were deep shadows on her face, and the flickering firelight gave it a very sad expression. Estelle wondered why she did not go to bed instead of sitting up in a chair, wrapped in a blanket. Her eyes wandered from the woman, round the room. She could not imagine where she was. Never in her life had she seen such a room. It was very low, the black ceiling making it appear even lower than it actually was. The window was merely a square hole, without curtain or blind. The furniture was scanty—indeed, she could see nothing but a cupboard and a table with a basin and jug on it. The walls were black and grey, like rock, and a thick curtain hung over what might be the door.

Staring at this curtain in puzzled astonishment, Estelle saw it move and sway. A man entered the room with the noiseless tread of a sailor. He was so very tall, with shoulders so broad, that he seemed to till the little room; his head almost touched the ceiling. A neatly trimmed sailor's beard of dark hair gave him a fierce aspect, but he did not appear to be really fierce, for he bent very tenderly over the sleeping woman without rousing her. Estelle watched him with great curiosity. What did he want there? To her dismay, he soon turned round, and, approaching the bed, looked down at her. Seeing she was awake, he put his finger to his lips for silence; then slipping away in the same noiseless fashion, he quickly brought her some warm milk, which he gave her most deftly.

'Poor Mother's quite worn out,' he whispered. 'We will let her have her sleep out. Do you want anything more? Shall I move you?'

Estelle smiled, but shook her head. She thought he would leave the room when he found there was no more to be done, but he lay down at full length before the fire, after putting on an extra log or two. Once more silence reigned, and Estelle fell asleep.

But though she was able to rouse herself a little now and then, she lay for the greater part of the day in a dreamy state, often dropping asleep, and having to be coaxed to take the necessary nourishment. Very white and frail she looked, as if it would not take much of a puff to blow her away. Nevertheless, each day brought an increase of appetite and strength, and each day she grew fonder of her careful, tender nurse, as well as of Mrs. Wright's giant son. As Estelle grew stronger, she began to notice how the two loved each other with no ordinary love. 'Her Jack' was everything to his mother; yet Estelle, listening in the dreamy, half-conscious way produced by extreme weakness, was sure she heard a sigh sometimes when Mrs. Wright was speaking of him. Jack's manner, too, often made Estelle think he had hurt his mother in some way, and was trying his best to make up to her for it by love and devotion.

(Continued on page 198.)



HROUGH Mr. John Rennie, the builder of London Bridge, was the chief designer and engineer of the Plymouth Breakwater, the waves of the English Channel gave him great assistance; and unlike other workmen, they asked for no pay. We shall see presently how they worked. In 1806, the Lords of the Admiralty made up their minds, for good and all, that something must be done to make the splendid harbour of Plymouth Sound a safer place of refuge in case of storm. Mr. John Rennie and another engineer, named Whidbey, were asked to go to Plymouth and look at the Sound, and then say what they thought should be done.

The authorities took five years to make up their minds. But Rennie persistently called attention to the map of Plymouth Sound.

'If you build a long stone pier out from either shore so as to break the force of the waves,' said he, 'you will interfere with the free flow of the currents from the river-mouths, and cause them to drop the sand and soil, which they are ever carrying out to sea, until the harbour-mouth is choked by them. The harbour has been formed into its present shape by the free actions of current and tide, and if these be altered by artificial means, the shape and safety will be destroyed.' Then he went on to explain that the proper thing to do was to build a wall in the Sound itself, without letting it touch the land at either end. The tides, thus only slightly confined between the shores and wall-ends (but[Pg 187] allowed to run in their old accustomed channels), would keep their channels free. The Lords of the Admiralty thought it all over, and on the 22nd June, 1811, issued an order for the work to begin.

Then no more time was lost. Down to Plymouth went the engineer and his staff again. They searched for a quarry to dig the stone from, and found it at Oreston, in the north-east corner of the Sound. In March, 1812, crowbar and gunpowder began to be busy there. Meanwhile, on the water of the Sound, two and a half miles south of Plymouth Town, a number of buoys were moored in two parallel lines, extending over a distance of one thousand two hundred yards, east and west. They marked the place where the great barrier was to be built, and their anchors partly lay on a reef of dangerous, submerged rocks, and partly in deep water. By the time they were safely fixed, the first shiploads of stone were ready. But ten of the ships were not like other ships. All along the deck and all down the middle of the lower part of the vessel, ran lines of rails, and on these were small trucks each carrying one large stone. The stones varied in weight from half a ton to ten tons and more. They were rough-hewn from the quarry, for as Rennie was going to let the sea build the wall, it was better that the stones should be irregular in shape. Each ship, being loaded, sailed to the line of the buoys, and, safely moored to one of them, proceeded to unload. This was done by wheeling the trucks, one after another, to an opening in the stern, where the truck was tilted on one end and the huge stone toppled into the water. The process of unloading took each ship about three-quarters of an hour. There were forty-five other ships, each capable of carrying some fifty tons of small stones and rubble. These latter cargoes were shot into the water in much the manner that ordinary ballast is unloaded.

The first large stone, marking the beginning of Plymouth Breakwater, went gurgling to the bottom of the Sound on August 12th, 1812, amid the flutter of flags and the booming of cannon. It was the Prince Regent's birthday, and Lord Keith, commander of the Channel Fleet, came to witness the beginning of the great task. The stone fell on a spot called the Shovel Rock, near the centre of the lines of buoys, and was very soon covered by rubble from the next ship. Then the procession was kept up with such diligence that by the end of the following March, the top of the pile peeped above the water at low tide—forty-three thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine tons had been dropped! Bit by bit this point of new land grew longer and longer, until it became possible for workmen to disembark upon it, and when a storm broke in March, 1814, a number of ships were glad to seek its shelter, among them being the famous warship, Queen Charlotte. So satisfactory was the protection it even then afforded, that the engineers decided to raise it higher than was originally intended, not stopping until two feet above high water was reached; thus rendering the water between it and Plymouth calm enough for small vessels.

When making his survey, Rennie had come to the conclusion that the slope of his great bank of stones, where it faced the open sea, should be at an angle of five feet to one. That is, in climbing from the bed[Pg 188] of the sea, it should rise one foot in every length of five. But others did not agree with him, and the slope was made three feet to one, until the waves themselves took up the argument, and proved that John Rennie was right. In 1817, they broke over the bank in such a storm that large quantities of stone on the seaward side were swept over the top, and littered down the opposite side. When the gale was over, examination proved that the sea-slope was five to one. Yet for seven years more this curious dispute was kept up, and not until 1824, when Rennie had been dead for three years, did the sea at last have its way, and convince those in authority that it (and Rennie) knew what the proper slope should be. On[Pg 189] November 23rd, 1824, so fierce was the storm that it hurled several thousands of tons of ponderous stones from one side of the Breakwater to the other. That was the final word, and the Breakwater stands to-day as the sea ordered it.

Plymouth Breakwater. Plymouth Breakwater.

When this huge pile of loose stones and rubble more than a mile long, rising from a broad base at the bottom of the sea, had been formed into a close mass by the action of the waves, a coating of masonry was laid over them. At either end, east and west, the great wall bends slightly for a short distance northward, and is finished in a circular platform of solid masonry. At the west end stands a handsome lighthouse; at the east, a beacon, and between these and the shore are the two entrances to the harbour—one a quarter of a mile wide, and the other three-quarters. The width of the wall at the top is forty-five feet, but at the bottom it is three hundred and sixty feet, and weighs nearly four million tons. Surely it would be a boisterous sea that would carry this away. Its total cost was about one million five hundred thousand pounds, and it was finished in 1848.

Before the lighthouse was built, it became necessary to warn vessels of the position of the new sea-wall, and for more than twenty years a lightship burned a signal there. This was the state of affairs when that terrible storm of 1824 swept up the Sound, and among the wrecks it caused was one of an unusual character. A small vessel, laden with cork, was nearing the mouth of the Sound, when she was suddenly struck by a violent gust of wind and turned completely over. The captain, a boy, and two passengers were the only ones below at the time, and these, finding the water rushing in, sought refuge in the ship's coal-hole, which, owing to the reversed position of the hull, was now above them instead of below. In total darkness, and lapped by the encroaching water, they floated thus for six hours. In the early morning they struck against the west point of the Breakwater, heeled over it and drifted toward the lightship. Those on board the latter, little thinking that the wreck had life on it, pushed the hull away with poles, and, caught by the tide, it soon drifted from sight. Three hours later it appeared again. The return tide had washed it back, and a little later a larger wave than usual carried it on to the rough stones of the unfinished Breakwater, where it held fast. The water receded, and the four unhappy voyagers crept out on to the rocks, to be rescued half an hour later by a pilot boat. Such was one of the unexpected services rendered by the Breakwater at Plymouth; but its expected benefits, worthily accomplished, have been too numerous to record.

John Lea

"The weight of the two birds had the desired effect." "The weight of the two birds had the desired effect."


A True Anecdote.

A water-hen, seeing a pheasant feed out of one of those mechanical boxes which open when the bird stands on the rail in front of the box, went and stood in the same place, as soon as the pheasant quitted it. Finding that its weight was[Pg 190] not sufficient to raise the lid of the box, it kept jumping upon the rail to try to open it. It could net succeed in lifting the lid sufficiently high, and so the clever bird went away, and returned with another bird of its own species. The weight of the two had the desired effect, and they both enjoyed the reward of their sagacity.


SAW a little flake of snow
Fall down towards the land;
'Twas such a tender little thing,
It rested on my hand.
But after, when I went abroad,
And looked on field and hill,
The snow had covered everything,
And all the land was still.

I saw a little daisy-bud
Peep upwards through the green;
It was a tiny little flower,
And yet it promised spring.
And when the summer days had come,
The little blossoms fair
Had made a carpet red and white
That covered everywhere.

A child—it is a little thing,
How weak its hands! how small!
What tiny footsteps it doth take,
How soon 'twill slip and fall!
Yet all the wonders of the world.
The towers and castles fair,
Were thought and planned and built by men,
Who once small children were.


An anecdote is told of one of the sons of the German Emperor which shows that the faults of youth are common to all ranks, and that princes, no less than ordinary boys, require to be trained in the way they should go.

This little prince was a great favourite, and his winning ways made him very popular. It was always his delight to receive the military salute when he passed through the palace gates, and for this reason he looked forward to his daily walk with his tutor.

But in the nursery he was inclined to be unruly, and there was at one time great trouble in making him take his morning bath. One day, to his surprise, when he rebelled he was allowed to go without it, and he thought he had certainly gained the upper hand.

Later in the morning, when he passed the sentinel, the usual salute was not given. He stormed and raged, but no notice was taken. At luncheon, the little prince, with tears of wrath, complained of the insult which had been offered him, fully expecting the immediate punishment of the sentinel.

But the Emperor only shook his head. 'What else could you expect' he said. 'Surely you did not imagine that the guard would salute a dirty boy?'

After this there was no more trouble about the morning tubs.


'It's no good, Baker, the thing we must decide is whether Billy or Pottles will give us the most lines; for we shall get them from one or the other, and that's certain.'

'Bosh! there's another two days yet before we must have the books back, and, at any rate, I know where Billy has put them.'

'What's the good of that? We are not allowed in the school buildings except in work-hours, and then, if his study is not locked, it's because Billy himself is inside it. If you could get him out without locking the door, in the lunch-hour, there would be some use in all your ideas.'

'If I could make him put his head out of the window, that would do quite as well,' said Baker, meditatively. 'The books are on the cupboard just inside the door.'

Paynton laughed. 'It would take an awful uproar in the quad to wake Billy, and if we are creating an uproar, how are we to fetch the books out? It is all your fault. Whatever made you say Billy's window was the window of our class-room?'

'Well, I thought it was.'

'You shouldn't think, you should be sure. If only we'd thrown in anything but the algebra books it would have been all right; but Pottles promised to teach us a lesson next time we came to class without them, and you know what that means.'

'Shut up, Paynton—I've got an idea.'

'I hope it's a better one than throwing books in at wrong windows,' said his friend, and the two boys went along together still arguing busily.

Baker and Paynton were the despair of Mr. Potter, the master of the Lower Fourth, rudely called Pottles behind his back; and even Mr. Wilson, the somewhat absent-minded Head Master, nicknamed Billy by his irreverent scholars, was beginning to wonder whether it would not be better to suggest to the parents to try whether sending them to a fresh school would have any effect on them. It was useless to cane them, it was useless to give them 'lines.' They took their punishment as the natural part of a day's work that was otherwise devoted to 'scoring off' the masters and avoiding the pursuit of knowledge. On this occasion Mr. Wilson had by no means forgotten that he had ordered the two boys to come to his study to claim the books that they had thrown in there by mistake, but he was rather glad that they did not arrive at once, as he wanted to think of some fresh means of impressing them.

The following morning when the upper school began its lunch interval, the lower was being drilled in the 'quad,' round three sides of which ran the school buildings. On the fourth was an iron railing with the big school-gates in the middle, and at one of the windows appeared Baker and Paynton as soon as the bell rang. At the next window Mr. Wilson's back was visible as he wrote at his study table.

'Right, left; right, left!' drilled the sergeant, and the small boys marked time steadily. But his instructions were suddenly cut short, for something charged through the gates behind him and stretched the unfortunate man flat on his back. By the time he had raised himself again to a sitting posture and had begun to wonder what could have happened, he found that the orderly lines had disappeared, and that the whole of the lower school, headed by a rough-looking farm-boy with a piece of broken rope in his hand, was engaged in chasing the most wily and cunning black pig that ever made his escape. He dodged and doubled turned and twisted, charged down the small boys and avoided the large ones, till the whole 'quad' resounded with cries of 'Catch on to his tail!' 'Don't let him pass you!' 'There he goes!' and the windows began to fill with interested spectators. At last Mr. Wilson himself threw open his own window to see what was happening.

A few minutes later Baker and Paynton sauntered into the 'quad' and joined in the chase, which was ended, eventually by the pig being driven into a corner, so as to allow the farm-boy to refasten the rope.

By that time Mr. Wilson had also descended, and was inquiring sternly into the meaning of the pig's presence in his school-yard.

'Well, it's this way,' drawled the boy stolidly, 'it's no use trying to keep this pig shut up, and a pig that isn't shut up puts on no fat, so Farmer Jones says to me on Monday, "Bill, that pig's no good; take him into market on Thursday and see what you can get for him," and just as he was passing your gate he broke his rope and in he bolted.'

'Well, another time see that he breaks his rope somewhere else,' said the Head Master.

'He won't have another chance of breaking ropes with me,' said the boy as he touched his hat and turned away. Then he caught sight of Baker on the outskirts of the crowd.

'Oh, there you be, Master Baker,' he said with a grin;' if so be as you could give me that sixpence now it would save me another walk into town.'

'Why does Master Baker owe you sixpence?' inquired Mr. Wilson with interest.

'Oh! he lives next door to Jones's, he does, and he says to me yesterday when we was talking together, "Bill, if you do a job for me, I'll give you sixpence," and I've done it and I want my money.'

'The job in question being to drive that pig into the school-yard?' said the Head Master sharply.

'I said I'd say nothing about it and I won't,' answered the boy stolidly.

Mr. Wilson eyed Baker with an air of meditation that took in everything from the guilty expression on his face to the algebra book under his arm.

'Give the boy his money, Baker,' he said, 'and I should like to see you and Paynton in the study after afternoon school.'[Pg 191]

'You won't catch me following any more of your precious plans,' said Paynton, as, having paid the sixpence, the two boys hurried back to their class-room.

When they entered the Head Master's study in the afternoon, a surprise awaited them. Tea, accompanied by the most delicious cakes, was prepared on the corner table, and Mr. Wilson talked to them and pressed the good things upon them as if there were no such thing as a cane in the cupboard behind the door. Under these strange new circumstances, their awkwardness wore off, and they were soon talking to their Head Master in a manner that surprised themselves.

It was not until tea was over that Mr. Wilson mentioned either the pig or the algebra books, and then he did it in such a friendly way that he astonished them more than ever.

'Well, now, about the pig this morning,' he began, 'suppose you arranged the whole business in order to make me look out of the window, and give you an opportunity of regaining the algebra books which you thought I had forgotten?'

'Yes, sir,' said Baker, feebly.

'And I expect it was something to do with you two boys that the school fire-brigade was summoned out by a false alarm last week, and that no one could go into your class-room without the most frightful attacks of coughing, one day in the week before.'

Baker nodded, but said nothing. He was wondering why he had ever considered the Head Master absent-minded. Even Mr. Potter had not connected him with either of these two exciting events.

'Well, these things all show a very high power of organization. You evidently possess the abilities which, well trained and properly disciplined, would be capable of manoeuvring an army, or at any rate, of carrying their owners to a high rank in the Service.'

The boys stared in astonishment. They had never worried themselves as to the particular nature of their abilities, but the idea of leading armies appealed to them.

'I see that both your names are down for Sandhurst,' went on Mr. Wilson; 'but unless you can get through the classes much faster than you have done as yet, there is not the smallest chance of your being ready for the examination. With really hard work, you might still get into the Army Class at the proper time, and I must leave it to you to decide whether you consider it worth while to do so or not. You can think it over, boys. Good-bye for the present,' and Baker and Paynton found that the dreaded interview with the Head Master was over, and that he had given them a great deal to think about.

The result of their meditations may be summed up in the remark Paynton made to Baker as they went into school next morning.

'I almost wish Billy had caned us,' he said in a regretful voice. 'It will be all right to end up as celebrated generals, but it will be jolly slow in school if we're not going to have any more larks.'[Pg 192]

"The most wily and cunning black pig that ever made his escape." "The most wily and cunning black pig that ever made his escape."

[Pg 193]


"'See! A Matabele!'" "'See! A Matabele!'"

[Pg 194]


By Harold Ericson.


'Look here, Teddy,' said Rolf Denison, addressing Vandeleur, whose turn had come round again for a yarn, 'You promised to tell us more about young what's-his-name, the Matabele boy who was half English, or something of the sort, and said he was a White Witch; you left him disappearing into the jungle, offended, and promised you would tell us about him reappearing "at a critical moment." I want to hear about that critical moment.'

'So do I,' Bobby chimed in; 'I was rather interested in that chap—what was his name—Um something—— '

'Umkopo,' Vandeleur laughed. 'All right, here goes, then, for my yarn; I fancy you'd be still more interested in Umkopo if you knew as much about him as I do; I didn't know then, mind you, when all this happened, nor did Umkopo himself; maybe I will make that into a yarn too, one day.'

Well, it was just at the beginning of the first Matabele war that I first came across Umkopo, and it was not until the middle of the second war—the rising in Mashonaland—that we met again. I was out hunting again when the new troubles broke out, and finding myself not far from Bulawayo when the rumour of war reached me, I made all haste to reach the town before I should be cut off by one of the large bands or impis of natives at that time prowling about in search of defenceless foreigners in outlying farms.

I was about thirty miles from Bulawayo, when a couple of Kaffirs, flying south, came across us and gave us news. The Mashona boys were 'up' everywhere, full of fight and full of mischief; already many farms had been attacked, and though the alarm had been sent east and west, and south and north, yet there were many of the new settlers in great danger, and—so far as human probability went—all or most of those who were not safely in Bulawayo would be cut off and murdered, and their homes pillaged and burned.

'You are as good as dead already,' they cheerfully informed us, 'unless you can somehow get safely into the town, and that is very unlikely indeed, because the Matabele are all round it, preventing people leaving or arriving.'

Of course this was said in Kaffir English, and certainly our informants looked frightened enough to warrant the truth of their news.

'Aren't they doing anything at Bulawayo to help the outlying farms?' I asked. 'Surely the towns people are not leaving them all to be murdered in cold blood?'

'They expect to be attacked themselves—the town is going to be besieged,' said the frightened Kaffirs; 'they are fortifying themselves and forming an army, but they are sure to be killed, every one of them.'

This sounded cheerful, indeed. Of course, so far as Bulawayo and its population were concerned the news was only partially true. Bulawayo, as probably you will remember, behaved most excellently; it not only defended its own women and children from attack, but contrived to send out parties of rescue to many of those known to be exposed to danger in outlying parts of the country, saving numbers of British men, women and children, who would have otherwise perished.

The Kaffirs continued their flight southward, and I found myself suddenly called upon to make a very important decision.

Twenty miles away, northward and eastward, lay the farm of a man who had offered me hospitality quite lately. This was Gadsby, a man of some thirty-five years, married and with three small children. His partner, Thomson, lived with him. In all probability these two men, Mrs. Gadsby, and the three little ones—dear little people, two girls of six and five, and a boy of about seven—were all, at this moment, in deadly danger. Surely the least I could do would be to hasten to their assistance; what with my two rifles, a few Kaffirs to keep watch and so forth, and my humble self to help with the shooting I might be of the greatest service—possibly even turn the scale against their enemies.

If I were to decide to take this course instead of making for Bulawayo, I should, of course, run the risk of encountering an impi of natives on the warpath, and I should then have my work cut out to come safely through the danger. But, on the other hand, the journey to Bulawayo was beset with equal risks, and Bulawayo was farther from this spot than the farm.

Naturally, there was in reality only one course open to a self-respecting man, and I decided at once that I would go to the Gadsbys.

I thought it right, however, to explain the matter to my Kaffirs; for it was clear to me that the news had greatly alarmed them, and some of them might prefer to go southward out of the danger-zone.

Three of the five decided to take this course; two—much to their credit—decided to stand by me; one was the driver of my ox-waggon; the other my chief hunter, a man who called himself Dicky Brown, a far better fellow than the Kaffir Billy who figured in the rhinoceros adventure, and who did not then greatly distinguish himself.

So we three set our faces towards Gadsby's farm, and we had not travelled five miles before trouble began.

We had stopped at the bank of a small river in order to search for a ford, when, sitting on a rock, awaiting the return of the Kaffir I had sent to prospect around, I heard a peculiar sound: a kind of rhythmical tramp as of many feet working together, walking quickly or trotting, accompanied by curious noises as of grunting, groaning, coughing, and so on.

'Matabeles—an impi!' said the Kaffir Dicky, his dusky skin looking an unwholesome ash-colour with terror.

Probably they had struck our trail and were in pursuit; it was a bad business at the best!

Well, there was not much time for preparation—five or ten minutes, perhaps, which we spent in fortifying ourselves as far as possible. That is, we placed the waggon along the river-bank in order to protect ourselves against an attack in the rear. We got the oxen tethered behind the waggon, and so we awaited developments.

The impi was now in full view, the whole five hundred or so of warriors trotting over the ground in step, going at a business-like pace—something like seven or eight miles an hour, the usual speed of a Matabele 'regiment' on the warpath.

Two hundred yards or so from us they pulled up, and one or two indunas or officers came forward. The Kaffirs were able to converse with the men, at any rate to understand their demands, and it appeared that I was summoned to give up my oxen, my stock of provisions, and my rifles and ammunition. When I should have done so to their satisfaction, I should be permitted to proceed to Bulawayo.

'To get my throat cut long before I got near the town!' said I. 'Tell them if they want my property they had better come and take it.'

This reply evidently did not please our friends, who returned to their main force looking wicked, and muttering I don't know what threats. Then I saw the entire impi spread itself out in a kind of semi-circle as though in preparation for attack; but instead of attacking us at once, as I expected, the men all sat down and ate the provisions they had brought with them. Doubtless it was their dinner-time and they saw no reason why they should not refresh themselves. We were caught all right—they had us in their power and they knew it. It was the delay that saved our lives, of course; for if they had 'rushed' us then and there, nothing in the world would have saved us from destruction.

We employed our time in attempting to strengthen our defences; that is, we brought stones from the river and built up a kind of little wall underneath the waggon so that at least no one should attack us from below; as for ourselves we got into the waggon, and I was busy teaching Dicky how to load my Winchester quickly, when the second Kaffir uttered an exclamation:—

'See—see!' he cried. 'See, master, a Matabele coming over the water!'

I looked up. Sure enough a 'nigger' was swimming the river, which was deep just at this place and about thirty yards in width.

I was about to raise my rifle to shoot the fellow, for at first sight it appeared to be an attack in the rear; but something about the man caused me to look closer; I seemed to know the face, which, though dark, was not quite so dusky as the usual complexion of the Mashona fellows, neither was the type of face that of the Matabeles.

I set down my rifle and waited until he should land. It had occurred to me that this might be Umkopo. A moment or two later he climbed ashore—it was Umkopo, sure enough.

'Umkopo!' I hailed him—'it is you!' I saw the youth stand and gaze at me. He was taller now than two years ago, and he wore—in spite of his soaking condition at this moment—an air of much dignity. He had on a Norfolk coat and trousers of obviously English make, though they were none that I had given him. Moreover, when he spoke to me in English, though he was by no means proficient in our language, yet he certainly spoke it much better than when I last saw him.[Pg 195]

'Come up here and speak to me,' I said. 'Why are you there?'

Urnkopo laughed. He pointed in a dignified way towards the Matabele impi in the distance. 'I am here,' he said, 'because these fools are here. If I was not here you would die.'

(Continued on page 205.)


T lights its little lamp each night
Upon the leaf or ground,
And sheds abroad its tiny light,
Till day again comes round.
Though it is but a tiny spark,
It makes the darkness seem less dark.

So gentle deeds of kindness done,
By little hands like mine,
And kind words spoken one by one
Like to the glow-worm shine;
They shed abroad a tender light,
And make earth's brightness seem more bright.



From very early times the inhabitants of our islands were skilled in the use of the harp. In Ireland the harp was called Clarsach, and in Wales, Telyn; in both countries it was the national instrument. Perhaps the oldest Irish harp known is that said to have been used by King Brian Boru. The story goes that his son left his native country for Rome, taking with him his father's harp and crown. These he presented to the Pope, hoping to induce him to grant his forgiveness for a murder he had committed. Whether he won forgiveness we do not know; but it is certain that a very old Irish harp remained at the Vatican until the reign of our Henry VIII., when the Pope sent it to England. Finally, after passing through various hands, it attained its rest in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. The instrument is about three feet high, and broad and strongly made, which no doubt accounts for its long existence.

One of the oldest and most beautiful of Scotch harps is known as Queen Mary's harp. The carving is still very fine; in former times it was also adorned with the portrait of the Queen of Scots, and with the arms of Scotland set in gold with jewels; but during the rebellion of 1745 the latter ornaments vanished. The harp is only thirty-one inches high by eighteen inches wide, and was played resting on the left knee of the performer, leaning against the left shoulder; the upper strings were played by the left hand. These harps were strung with brass or steel wire, and plucked with the finger-nails, which were kept long on purpose. Queen Mary took her harp for a tour in the Highlands, and while there gave it to a lady who, by marriage, passed it over to its present owners, the Stewarts of Galguse.

[Pg 196]

Harp of Brian Boru.
Harp of Mary Queen of Scots.
Harp of Brian Boru.Harp of Mary Queen of Scots.
Silver Prize Harp. Silver Prize Harp.

No amount of repression and misery during the ceaseless rebellions against their English masters seems to have affected the Welsh love for their national instrument. In the year 1568, Queen Elizabeth herself brought her mind to bear upon the matter, and ordered a congress of bards to be held at Caerwys. Here the really good players received degrees and rewards, whilst the indifferent performers were invited to seek some other honest profession; failing this they were liable to be apprehended and punished as rogues and vagabonds. From this meeting the Eistedfodd seems to have arisen, though after awhile Welsh music suffered an eclipse, only reappearing in force during the nineteenth century. The chief prize for many years of the musical contests was a model of a harp in silver, about six inches high, and beautifully executed.

England also had its harpists, and we all remember that King Alfred visited the camp of Guthram and delighted him with his music. Chaucer, in his Prologue to the 'Canterbury Tales,' speaks of one who played a sort of harp so well that when he sang,

'His eyes twinkled in his head aright,
As do the stars upon a frosty night.'

Helena Heath.


ALPH NORTON was home on leave from the Britannia, and it was not easy to find a sufficient outlet for his energies in the quiet neighbourhood where he lived. So when his sister Marjorie told him that she wanted a kestrel's egg for her collection, he explored a wood not far away, and discovered a nest which would give him a good piece of climbing.

'Don't take more than one—or two, at the most,' Marjorie said. 'I can't bear to make the birds[Pg 197] miserable, but I don't think they can mind losing one egg out of a whole batch.'

It was a lovely spring morning and Ralph stood at the foot of the tall fir and looked up at the nest, which was built on a branch quite near the top.[Pg 198]

'It is a stiff climb,' he thought, 'and it's a good thing I am not heavy, or that branch would never bear me.'

But he was not a Britannia cadet for nothing, and the harder the climb the better fun he would think it, so up he scrambled.

A few minutes later a game-keeper came along, and stopped when he got near the fir-tree.

"'Hold hard there!'" "'Hold hard there!'"

'I will just put a charge of shot into that hawk's nest,' he said to himself. 'Hawks do too much damage. I may catch the bird sitting there, and at any rate I can smash the eggs.'

He raised his gun to take aim when a piercing yell seemed to come from the sky. He lowered it hastily, and it was fortunate the shock did not make him discharge it.

'Hold hard there!' came a shrill voice from the direction of the nest. 'If you don't look out, you will bring down a bigger bird than you reckon for.'

The kestrel at this moment flew swiftly away, and the keeper was so perturbed he missed his opportunity of bringing her down.

'Oh, it's you, is it, Master Ralph?' he shouted. 'I declare I never can tell what prank you will be up to next. You do frighten a man most out of his wits.'

'And what about me?' Ralph retorted. 'I have had about as much of a scare as I want. It was hard-enough work getting up, without seeing the ugly muzzle of a gun pointed at me. And a jolly good thing I did see it, or you might have been had up for manslaughter.'

'Well, I like that!' muttered the game-keeper. 'I wonder who is about his proper business—that daring young scamp, or a harmless man like myself?'

But he knew from experience he did not often get the better of Ralph in a war of words.

'As you are up there, sir,' he called, 'you might take all the eggs, and then I need not waste my shot.'

'Right you are!' was the answer; but Ralph found there were seven, and he thought of Marjorie's injunctions.

'I will leave a couple,' he decided, and even then he hardly saw how he could get the others safely down. Two could be carried in his mouth in the orthodox fashion, and the other three must take their chance in his pocket; not much of a chance though, considering the scramble before him.

However, he was soon on the ground beside the keeper, displaying his treasures.

'A good set too,' he said, 'from rusty red to one almost white. But you did give me a turn with that old gun.'

'I'm sure, sir, I am thankful enough I didn't fire it off, but I should have been doing no more than my duty, and that's more than you can say, seeing that this wood is strictly preserved.'

Ralph laughed, and they sauntered off together, and the kestrel sailed back to her despoiled nest. If only she had known it, she had reason to be grateful to Ralph, for if he had not been in the act of robbing the nest, she might have been shot herself, and at any rate her eggs would have been destroyed. As it was she had in time two little downy fledglings to console her, and this fact was a comfort to Marjorie, though perhaps Ralph thought more of the fun of the little adventure than of the bird's feelings.


(Continued from page 187.)

Having seen Mrs. Wright and her son about her from the earliest moment of consciousness, and after the first feeling of strangeness in her surroundings had worn off, Estelle took everything quite naturally, as if she had never known any other life. With the experience of the child's terrible illness to frighten her, Mrs. Wright dared not perplex her mind with questions, or attempt to rouse her memory. Till she had strength to think and realise under what altered conditions she was living, the child had better be treated with simple love and care. Being naturally healthy, Estelle soon began to gain in strength steadily. The headaches from which she suffered gradually grew less distressing, and as soon as she was able to sit up, she was carried in Jack's strong arms into another room, and laid upon a great soft couch.

Estelle looked about her with a growing wonder and delight. She was in the queerest and quaintest room she had ever seen. It appeared to be a little of everything: a sitting-room and a kitchen and a cave. There was a big fireplace, in which huge logs of wood were burning on the floor, partly supported by iron dogs; the floor of the room was of sand, with a rug here and there. The ceiling and walls were of rock, the light being admitted through an opening at a great height above the ground. Very large, high, airy, and beautifully clean, it was yet very marvellous. A long dresser covered with plates and jugs stood against the end wall; an old-fashioned oak settle occupied one side of the fireplace, and the couch on which she lay the other side, thus forming a sort of cosy encampment in the great cave. A big round table stood in the centre, decorated with a bowl of wild flowers, in honour of Estelle, arranged by Jack's deft fingers. A number of books, some work, and a few photographs were scattered about on this table, for no meals were ever served on it. Another and smaller table close to the settle was used for this purpose, in front of the wall on which all the brass and copper pans were hanging in shining rows.

Curious and wonderful relics of a seafaring life were visible everywhere: from Japanese cabinets to nautilus shells; from flying fish to the sargasso weed in bottle; from the wedding dress of a Solomon Islander to the exquisite models of the ships he had sailed in, executed by Jack's skilful fingers. He had also rigged up shelves, or made cupboards into which to put his curiosities; and every addition of his handiwork increased the air of quaint comfort in the room.

Estelle was never tired of asking questions about all she saw, and Jack never showed any weariness in answering them, and showing her his treasures. He would tell her long stories of his sea-life, and describe many a curious scene and object he had seen in the wild islands he had visited. But in all his tales Jack never said a word that Lady Coke would not have liked; and there always seemed some good in every person he had met, even the roughest and toughest. Estelle delighted in his stories. They served to beguile many an hour of weakness and weariness. When, however, even these did not please her, Jack would carry her round the room, and point out various little things she had not noticed. He would tell her how he had found them, or he would take down one of his ships, and show her how to rig them, while he taught her the names of the spars and ropes. As she grew stronger, Estelle would read aloud to Jack and his mother, while the latter knitted her jerseys and sea-stockings for sale, and Jack made or mended sails and fishing-nets, or carved little trifles for Estelle with the view of teaching her. She was an apt pupil, enjoying these lessons and showing much ambition to out-rival her master. Thus her strange life and surroundings occupied her thoughts fully, and very seldom did she appear confused by any chance word recalling a forgotten memory. Mrs. Wright, watching her carefully, would not as yet risk any suggestions. The child appeared to be quite happy and contented, and evidently loved the friends who had shown her so much kindness. That was enough for the present.

'Such pretty ways as she has!' said the good woman one day. The little girl having fallen asleep on her couch, she covered her carefully with a rug. 'One would think she had known us all her life, she's that fond of us.'

'I shall be sorry enough when she goes,' returned Jack, in a hushed voice. 'So will you be. You haven't been nursing her for so long, and loving and caring for her as none knows better how to do, without feeling as if she was a bit like a child of your own. Oh, I know you, Mother! She's a little lady and no mistake; but come what may, neither you nor I will ever look upon her quite as we do on other people, nor she on us—I'll be bound. That's Jack Wright's opinion, right or wrong,' he wound up, laughing noiselessly.

Mrs. Wright smiled. It was evident she agreed with him, having just as soft a spot in her heart for the little waif as he had.

'I'm sorry in one way,' went on Jack, sitting down on the settle and lighting his pipe; 'sorry we can't find the little Missie's friends. But somehow I can't be properly sorry either. It is funny how one has a double sort of feeling about it. I'd be really anxious about her if she was taken away from us before she was well, and I'd miss her pretty eyes and her "Thank you, Jack!"'

Mrs. Wright was bending over the fire, cooking their mid-day meal of Scotch broth, and apple dumplings, while keeping a watchful eye upon a dainty dish of fish for the child. She smiled at her son, but a little sigh escaped her also as she shook her head.

'I won't be saying that you did not take trouble enough to find her people,' she remarked. 'I should love to keep her here, but it makes me all the more grieved for her friends. It's hard on them to lose a[Pg 199] dear little girl like that. I suppose your skipper had such a fright with that gunboat that he will not be likely to take another trip to English shores?'

'We only got off by the skin of our teeth as it was,' replied Jack, with a grin at the recollection. 'After all, the Frenchman owed his escape to an Englishman being at the helm. He looked pretty grim about it. He has no taste for fines, but it's a jolly sight worse when they have to be paid into British pockets. He never had quite such a narrow shave as this one, and I fancy he will not be in a hurry to cruise in that direction again.'

'What will you do, then?'

'Wait. There's nothing else for it. I have no money, and I don't know where the child came from, nor how far she floated. I don't know the coast, nor anybody living about there. The child will be able to help us by-and-by.'

'What were you saying about me, Jack?' asked Estelle, waking up just in time to hear the last few words.

'"Ask no questions and you'll hear—" You know how that proverb ends, Missie,' laughed Jack, getting up to place a chair for her at the table. 'Here's dinner ready, and Mother only waiting for you.'

Mrs. Wright was indeed in the act of carrying the steaming dishes as Estelle went to her seat. She was so much stronger that she could manage to sit through a meal, supported by cushions and the arms of her chair. Jack told her he had a great treat in store for her, provided she ate a good dinner. Watching her face as he spoke, with its varying colour and delicate outline, Mrs. Wright felt anxious.

'I fear whether it isn't a risk, Jack?' she said.

'Not a bit, Mother. It's a lovely day—calm as a mill-pond, and will do you good as well as the little lady.'

'For half an hour only, then,' said Mrs. Wright, still doubtful of the wisdom of Jack's proposal.

'What is it? Oh, do tell me!' cried Estelle, flushing and paling with eagerness.

'Perhaps, if you eat a good dinner, I will take you out,' returned Jack, smiling. 'Now, if you want to hear any more, you will finish that plateful of fish.'

'Am I going out for a walk? Oh, how lovely! You will come too, dear Goody?' Estelle had learnt to call Mrs. Wright by this pet name.

'Well, you see, we have all to wait till that plate of yours is clear,' answered the old woman, laughing.

Estelle laughed also, and set to work. Her appetite had scarcely begun to be keen as yet, and Jack and his mother agreed that a little fresh air and sunshine might be good for her, if it could be managed without fatigue. Estelle was persuaded to eat all that was expected of her, and promised to lie still upon the couch till Mrs. Wright had cleared the table. Then, while Jack went out to make his preparations, his mother put on her bonnet, and collected some cushions and rugs.

(Continued on page 202.)[Pg 200]

"Jack told her he had a great treat in store for her." "Jack told her he had a great treat in store for her."

[Pg 201]

"Jack sprang out with Estelle in his arms." "Jack sprang out with Estelle in his arms."

[Pg 202]


(Continued from page 199.)

It was not very long before Jack returned to tell them all was ready, and to laugh at Estelle's eager face and sparkling eyes.

'I don't want you to tell me what it is,' she cried. 'It will be a real surprise. I love surprises!'

Jack called her a 'contrairy' young lady, who wanted to know every thing one moment and nothing the next. Mrs. Wright, in a wonderful black bonnet, appeared at that instant, her arms full of warm things. Estelle sprang to her feet in delight, scarcely able to stand still a second to have her hat put on, and the big cloak wrapped round her slender little figure.

'Gently, gently, dear,' said Mrs. Wright, as the child bounded towards the door the moment she was released.

Jack laughed. 'That will never do,' he said; 'you must walk before you can run, Missie.'

As long as she went out, she did not care about the manner of her going, and willingly allowed Jack to lift her in his strong arms. Mrs. Wright opened the door at the end of the kitchen, and Estelle found herself on a terrace, where some high shrubs hid the view beyond, and a few flowers had been planted wherever there was soil enough for them. A steep path led down the cliff till they came to a wider place, whence there were two routes—one which Jack pursued, narrow and rough; the other, broader and paved here and there with cobble stones, in order to keep the earth from being washed down the hill.

'That's the way to Tout-Petit, our little fishing village,' said Jack. 'You may walk miles before you will see anything half so pretty. But oh, the dirt!'

'Everything is thrown out into the middle of the street,' added Mrs. Wright, making a face as if the remembrance of certain sights was not pleasant. 'It takes a good heavy rain to wash them places clean. Oh!' as a stone rolled under her feet. 'I do believe, Jack, this path gets worse and worse.'

'I wish I could carry you, dear Goody!' said Estelle, smiling at her over Jack's shoulder, and brimming over with a happiness which made her long to impart some of it to others.

'Or that I could carry you both at once,' laughed Jack. 'Mother is an independent body, Missie, and many's the time I'm obliged to take the law into my own hands, when it's a matter of helping her for her good. She does not like to be done good to against her will.'

'And Jack takes after his mother if that's her character,' retorted Mrs. Wright, laughing.

'Then you would not wish him to be different,' said Estelle, with a look of affection at Mrs. Wright.

'Yes, she would!' exclaimed Jack. 'I've got some ugly faults, and she'd rather see me without them: wouldn't you, Mother?'

'Have you faults?' asked Estelle, in such an incredulous tone that both her listeners laughed.

'He's getting the better of them by degrees,' answered Mrs. Wright, suddenly becoming grave, as if some thought troubled her.

They had now reached the end of the path, and, turning round by a group of pine-trees which grew at the foot of the hill, came out upon the sandy beach. Oh, what a sight for the enchanted eyes of the little girl who had been a close prisoner for so long!

The sun was shining in a sky flecked with soft, fleecy clouds. Before them was the rippling, dancing sea. Far in the hazy distance the grey smoke of a passing steamer could be seen, while white-winged boats or brown-sailed fishing smacks dotted the wide bay. Estelle's eyes were full of tears as she uttered exclamations of delight and surprise.

'How lovely! How lovely! Are we going to sit on the beach?'

'Better than that, Missie,' replied Jack, marching down the pebbly slope with long, easy strides. 'Don't you see the skiff down there on the sands? It's a trip in her you will have, where you will get fresh air, with nothing to tire you.'

'Dear Jack! How delicious! Are you not very happy, Goody?'

'I am if you are, dearie. But if you go and get excited, you will have to come back. It will never do to have you ill again.'

Declaring she was not excited, only happy, Estelle clung to Jack as to a tower of strength against any return. He laughed.

'Obey orders, little Missie,' he said; 'be happy, but keep quiet. There's no call to tire yourself.'

'Why, you silly Jack, you are carrying me! How can I get tired?'

The boat had been drawn up on the beach, and Jack now put Estelle into it, making her a comfortable nest among the cushions and rugs, and erecting the umbrella over her head. Then, assisting Mrs. Wright to a seat near her, he ran the boat into the water, springing in as it slid off. With a 'long, long pull and a strong, strong pull' he rowed them out of the shadow of the rocks into the open sea. There he ran up the sail, while Estelle lay quite still in an ecstasy of pleasure. It was one of those golden moments which are seldom forgotten in a lifetime, when mere living and breathing are a delight; when the tongue is silent, because the eyes and thoughts are full of the beauty of the light, and the colour of trees, sea, rocks, and sky! With anxiety Mrs. Wright watched her little charge, as, speechless with delight in the sunlight and sweet air, she lay drinking in health with every breath. But Mrs. Wright was no longer young, and believed in moderation in all things, especially first things. She insisted that the sail should be a short one. Jack, therefore, put back at the end of the allotted time, in spite of Estelle's imploring eyes. She gazed at him as he lowered the sail, and took up his oars, till he almost fancied there were tears in her eyes.

'I did so want to go on!' she sighed. 'It may rain another day, and it is so long since I have seen the sun.'

Mrs. Wright shook her head, however, as one who is deaf to appeal.

'No more to-day, dear,' she said. 'If it is fine to-morrow you shall go again—that is, if you are none the worse for what you have done to-day.'

Jack, who could not bear to see his 'little Missie' distressed, assured her it would be fine to-morrow, and probably for some time longer. April would soon be upon them, and the time for the singing of birds begin. That meant fine weather.

'He ought to know,' added Mrs. Wright; 'it is a sailor's business to understand the sky.'

The words appeared to rouse some train of thought. After gazing earnestly at Jack's smiling face, Estelle knitted her brows, as if puzzled, saying, with some hesitation, 'A sailor? Yes, I know a sailor—now, where did I see him? He had something about him. Oh, what was it? You must remember, Goody. Will you tell me?'

'I have known a good many sailors, dear, in my time, being the wife and mother of sailors; and this one,' putting an affectionate hand on Jack's knee, 'is the biggest of them all.'

But Estelle was not diverted from puzzling over where she had seen the sailor she wanted to remember, whose name and circumstances she was conscious had something especial about them.

'I can't recollect!' she exclaimed, putting her hand to her head. 'Somebody said something, and we were sorry—what could it have been?'

'Don't try to remember, dear. It does not matter. As likely as not it was only a story somebody told you,' urged Mrs. Wright, alarmed at the flush and distress this first effort to recall anything in the past had produced.

'Here we are!' cried Jack, cheerfully pulling round into the bay, and running the little boat as high as possible up the shelving beach.

The tide coming in fast had already covered the sands, and was roaring on the pebbles. Holding the painter of the boat in one hand, Jack sprang out with Estelle in his arms, and, after putting her down on the dry shingle, proceeded to haul the little craft sufficiently high out of the water to enable his mother to land.

'Sit still, Missie,' he called to Estelle, 'and I will carry you up in a jiffy.'

(Continued on page 214.)


The Bank of England has in use a machine so delicately adjusted that it can give the accurate weight of a speck of dust, whilst the same machine will also weigh metal up to four hundred pounds. A postage stamp placed on this scale will swing an indicator on a semi-circle a space of six inches.



You will find—many of you have found already—that the longer you pursue the study of Natural History the more fascinating it seems to become. Now, a part of this fascination is certainly to be traced to the fact that the unsuspected is always happening; and this, too, happens even to those who have studied nature's ways long enough to know that[Pg 203] what we call the 'rules of nature' are always subject to exceptions. That is to say, we know that it would be wrong to suppose that, after we have traced out the life-history of any particular creature, we have the key to the life-history of all its near relatives.

For example, you will remember that not long ago we described the complicated history of the starfish, sea-urchins, and sea-cucumbers. Strange and different as were the changes which these creatures passed through when young, we agreed that they were all cast by their parents adrift into the great world while yet so tiny as to require a microscope to see them; and each mother sent forth her young in this defenceless state by the thousand, so that, as a natural consequence, perhaps not more than a dozen of each family survived. But there is one species of sea-urchin which appears to assume some sort of responsibility and tender care for her young ones. This is the Hemiaster sea-urchin. She lays but a few eggs, and these she jealously guards in a number of pouches on her back. Here they hatch, and in due time become young sea-urchins (fig. 2). One of the starfish, again, carries its young on its back under a wonderful tent stretched across the tips of specially constructed spines; and, in order that water may constantly reach her family, the roof of this tent is pierced with holes! Even the unsightly sea-cucumber, or sea-slug, is not to be outdone. In what are known as the 'plated' sea-slugs—so called from the overlapping stony plate borne on the back—the young are housed in a nursery on the back of the mother, the plate referred to serving as a roof (see fig. 1). In another of the sea-slugs the young cling to the skin of the mother until they are big enough to shift for themselves.

In all these cases, you will notice, the extraordinary forms taken by their unprotected relatives during early life are dispensed with. The reason of this is clear after a moment's reflection. The peculiar shapes which we described earlier are so many special devices designed to aid the young in gaining a living until their full-grown shape has been developed. But when these are specially sheltered in nurseries, they have nothing to do but grow, for their food is brought to them.

The higher we search in the scale of animal life, the more numerous and striking become the instances of the love and care shown by parents for their children. Among the fishes and the frogs and toads, for example, there are such wonderful instances of this that we must deal with each of these groups separately.

When we come to birds and mammals, we find it hard indeed to select instances, because, with but few exceptions, these creatures are most exemplary parents. Let us take, by way of example, one or two cases among the mammals.

The ponderous hippopotamus carries her young one on her back when swimming, to save it from the jaws of the hungry crocodile. Some of the opossum family are remarkable for devotion to their young: one species, for example, though considerably smaller than a cat, cheerfully carries her large family about on her back, though each of them is as large as a full-grown rat! They maintain themselves in perfect safety, while the mother climbs[Pg 204] about the trees, by twisting their long tails around hers, which is purposely turned forward over her back after the fashion shown in our illustration (fig. 4). Bats, again, undertake what almost seem impossible burdens, for the mother, though she has to obtain all her food when on the wing, refuses to leave her young one, as would seem but natural, in some place of safety, but carries it with her wherever she goes. The little mite clings tightly to the soft fur of the under side of the body (fig. 5). In some cases as many as four baby bats are carried in this way at a time!

Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 1.—Sea-slug, with young.Fig. 2.—Sea-urchin, with young.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 3.—Australian Bear, with young one.Fig. 4.—Opossum, with young.
Fig. 5.—Bat, resting, with young. Fig. 5.—Bat, resting, with young.

The curious Koala, or native 'bear' of Australia, carries her young on her back (fig. 3), and apparently without serious inconvenience, though she has to make her way about the topmost boughs of the giant gum-trees. Finally, we must refer to the kangaroo, which carries its young in a special pouch, too well known to need description here. The point to which we would direct attention is the burden which all these animals are willing to bear for the sake of their young ones.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.

[Pg 205]

"I was received with joy." "I was received with joy."



(Continued from page 195.)

I looked at Umkopo in astonishment. What did he mean by that, die? Did he think that by his presence with us we should gain so much in strength that we should now beat off the enemy?

Umkopo laughed again. 'You shall see,' he said'; I am the White Witch; that which I say will be obeyed.'[Pg 206]

manner of Umkopo, though his words sounded no better than conceited nonsense.

'Do you mean to go among them?' I asked; 'I warn you, Umkopo, it is a dangerous thing to do. They may kill you.'

'Kill me—these children?' he said, with scorn; 'you shall see.'

He strode straight away, with these words, towards the Matabele hosts.

'Stop, Umkopo,' I cried after him; 'you are unarmed—take a rifle, at least, or a pistol.'

'Give me a pistol,' said he, stopping a moment to think; 'a lion may show his teeth when a hyena yelps, that is no shame.'

I gave him a loaded revolver. 'What do you mean to do or say?' I asked.

'I will say "go away," and they will go,' he laughed; 'I will say "dare not threaten those who are of my race—I am the White Witch."'

'But if they refuse to obey?' I asked.

Umkopo gave me a glance brimful of haughty contempt. 'You speak foolishness,' he said. With which he strode away towards the Matabele fellows.

Well, I watched him with some interest and anxiety, as you will readily believe. The Kaffirs, too, watched him in fear and trembling.

'I have heard of the White Witch,' Dicky muttered. 'The Matabeles are like his children, so men say.'

Umkopo went among the indunas who squatted in front of the regiment and sat down with them. We could see that there was excitement among the black warriors when he was seen and recognised. We could even catch occasional exclamations, when loudly uttered. These mostly consisted of the one word, Umkopo. Men seemed to be going from group to group conveying the news that the White Witch had appeared.

The indunas and their visitor rose to their feet, presently, having, I suppose, concluded their arguments, but one man seemed still to be engaged in heated conversation with Umkopo. Suddenly a shot rang out, and the man fell.

With one accord the Matabele hosts sprang to their feet; they gazed for a moment at Umkopo, who seemed to give some order in raised tones, his arms outstretched. Almost instantly the entire regiment turned their faces and began to depart. First they walked, then ambled, then gradually they formed into lines and trotted in their former rhythmical fashion. In five minutes all were out of sight, Umkopo alone being left upon the field of battle—he and the dead induna.

Umkopo returned slowly towards my waggon; his dignity—'side' would be a more exact description—was indescribable; at any other moment it would have been actually amusing, but at this crisis I had no room for any feeling excepting one of deep gratitude, mingled with amazement. The lad had certainly saved us from immediate destruction—how in the world had he done it?

I met him and we shook hands. 'Umkopo, you are a wonderful fellow,' I said, most sincerely; 'how did you do it?—what did you say?—what is the meaning of it?'

'The meaning?' he repeated. 'The meaning is that I am Umkopo; let him disobey me who dares. There are few of the Matabeles who dare. One there was; I knew him before, the induna Gongula: he was jealous of Umkopo; he dared not once, not twice, only to speak in my face—see where he lies; the rest have gone; they will not return.'

'But why do they obey—what is your power over them?' I asked, in genuine surprise; 'I do not understand.'

'Bah!' he said, 'what matters? You are alive and not dead; that is better than to understand. I am the White Witch—it is enough!'

'No, it is not enough,' said I. 'You have saved our lives, Umkopo; you have saved mine a second time to-day; how shall I repay you?'

'Bah! we are friends, that is enough. Where do you go? To your death, that is certain, unless I know in time.'

'I go to Gadsby's farm—a day's journey north and west,' said I. 'Is the country clear between?'

'It is clear to-day. I know Gadsby's farm. It will be attacked presently, like others. If he has not yet gone when you get up there, tell him not to go until Umkopo comes. I cannot be everywhere. Where I am, they dare not touch the men of my race.'

'Have you now discovered for certain that you are English?' I asked.

'Since we met I have learned many things,' he said. Then, before I knew that he meant to leave us, he was in the river and half-way across.

Before long he disappeared in the jungle, which grew almost to the water's edge on the far side of the river.

We lost no further time, but found a shallow place, crossed the river, and trekked onward towards Gadsby's as quickly as possible. We reached the farm before dusk.

Here we found that the Gadsbys had had warning of the danger, and had conveyed the news to farms to right and left of their own. Within the house were assembled Gadsby and his family, his partner, two young bachelors, Morrison by name, from an adjacent property, twelve miles away, and a second family of children, with their parents, from a farm still further away from Bulawayo. They had thrown themselves into Gadsby's large house for mutual protection.

I was received with joy. My rifles and ammunition would be of the greatest service, for Gadsby and his brave companions fully intended to defend the house, and even had hopes of doing so successfully, until relief should arrive from Bulawayo, which, they were sanguine, would come in good time.

This being the case, an extra man, well armed and a pretty fair shot (spare my blushes) was a distinct acquisition.

I found every man in the place busily engaged, some in cutting down and removing everything within two hundred yards of the house which could serve the Matabeles for cover. Others were busy boarding up the windows, and some Kaffirs were saturating the lower portion of the house with a hose, in order that any attempt to set fire to it might be frustrated.

(Concluded on page 226.)


BROTHER, do tell me,' a little ant said,
'What was it went flying just over my head?
'Twas caught in the sunbeam that pierces the yew;
Its colours were crimson, black, orange and blue.
It looked like a flag that the fairies might fly
If leading an army from here to the sky.
And out of the shadow it came from the lane
To flit through the light into shadow again.
O brother! dear brother! what could it have been?
Such colours, such beauty, I seldom have seen.
Look! there in the distance it flutters once more,
Now right and now left by the summer-house door.'
And like one bewitched he set off at a bound,
Though jungles of grasses grew thickly around.

'Heed not,' cried the other, 'so simple a thing;
'Tis nothing on earth but a butterfly's wing.
They flit through the garden all hours of the day,
They turn to each bud in a purposeless way,
And many a time have they halted to see
What fun could be made of my neighbours and me.
But who cares for them?  On their way let them go.
When the summer has passed they have nothing to show,
While one of our efforts more profit will bring
Than ten thousand strokes of a butterfly's wing.
Come! back to our work.'
And without more ado
He dug 'neath the soil where an artichoke grew.

The little ant followed, and though I must say
He worked in a rather preoccupied way,
He owned that to duty 'twas better to cling
Than follow the flight of a butterfly's wing.


ORA and Nellie were on a visit to their grandfather, and, as Nellie said, they might be having a lovely time if it were not for 'those horrid boys.'

'I wish Grandfather would not ask us all at the same time,' sighed Nellie. 'It quite spoils our fun.'

But Grandfather thought it was a good thing for the cousins to meet, though Tom and Frank were a few years older than Dora and Nellie. The two little girls would have thoroughly enjoyed their yearly visit to Grandfather's, if it had not been for Tom and Frank's unmerciful teasing. They could never play a peaceful game together without the dread of being discovered; but this particular afternoon they had taken their dolls to a new hiding-place, an old loft full of hay.[Pg 207]

'Anyway, the boys won't dare to tease us much after what Grandfather said this morning,' Dora remarked.

'No, they would be miserable if they couldn't go to the circus, said Nellie. 'I'm very glad Grandfather heard them. Now he knows what they are like, and Tom will have to be more careful.'

'Doesn't Arabella look lovely? said Dora, who had just dressed her best doll in new clothes.

'Make haste, Nellie, we shall have to go and get ready ourselves very soon.'

Just at that moment the boys' voices were heard in the stable below, and the children stared at each other, dismayed.

'Come on, Frank, let's climb the ladder—I've never been up here before,' and Dora scarcely had time to bury Arabella under a handful of hay before Tom's head appeared.

'Hullo! here are the girls with their silly dolls. Let me have a doll to play with,' and he caught hold of one roughly.

'You had better leave them alone, Tom, if you don't want to get into any more rows,' Frank said, and the little girls begged them to go away.

'This is a jolly place! Come on, Frank, I will bury you in the hay,' and Tom snatched up an armful.

But there was something in the hay he had picked up. Dora gave a loud cry as she saw her beautiful Arabella flung into the air and through the trapdoor opening into the stable below. In her haste to get down and pick up her poor doll, she herself slipped and fell on the hard floor. By the time Nellie and the boys had scrambled down, she was weeping bitterly, not over her own hurts, but over Arabella's smashed face, and she took no notice of Tom when he declared again and again how sorry he was. Of course it had been an accident, but Dora felt too angry and too miserable to forgive him at once.

'Now then, what's all this fuss about? Have you broken that doll, boys?'

It was Grandfather's voice, and he looked very angry as he took in the scene.

No one answered. 'Well, of course,' Grandfather said, 'you boys cannot go to the circus this afternoon, after this. Don't cry over your doll any more, Dora, but run and get ready, and I will buy you a new one.'

But Dora had stopped crying already, and had caught sight of Frank's disappointed face. Now was her moment of revenge; should she take it? She had to decide quickly.

'Please, Grandfather,' she said,'it was an accident. Tom did not mean to do it, and I have quite forgiven him.'

'Oh, in that case, perhaps he may go to the circus,' said Grandfather, relenting; he was much too kind-hearted to wish to leave any one at home.

So they all went to the circus, and had a splendid time. The girls forgot their broken dolls, but Tom did not forget Dora's generosity, and he made up his mind to give up teasing them. Indeed, from that day they were all good friends, and Dora and Nellie agreed, when they went home, that their cousins were very nice boys, after all.[Pg 208]

"'Let me have a doll to play with.'" "'Let me have a doll to play with.'"

[Pg 209]

"The African beauty was greatly taken with Lauder." "The African beauty was greatly taken with Lauder."

[Pg 210]



We have mentioned the two companions who accompanied Major Denham to Kouka, and were left there while he made his campaign with the Sultan's army. But Lieutenant, afterwards Captain, Hugh Clapperton is far too delightful and interesting a person to be dismissed with so little notice. Before he joined Major Denham he had managed to get into his thirty-four years adventures enough to fill a volume, and after returning with the Major to England and contributing his part to the story of the expedition, we find him starting again, six months later, with Captain Pearce and Dr. Morrison as his companions, from Badagry, on the Bight of Benin, on the West Coast of Africa. But the deadly climate soon diminished the little party. It was only three weeks before Clapperton had to read the burial service over the graves of his two comrades, and found himself left to carry on their work, with his young servant, Richard Lauder, as his only companion.

But Clapperton was not the man to turn back from any task to which he had set his hand, and in Lauder he had a colleague ready to follow him through thick and thin. The two were as unlike in appearance as they could well be: Clapperton was six feet high and broad in proportion, a strong, genial, simple-hearted sailor, with a love of fun which must have helped him through many a dark day; and Lauder was small and slim, less robust, and probably less light-hearted than his master, but with a passion for change and adventure which had drawn him from his Cornish home, against the advice of friends and kindred, to volunteer for the expedition. And in Captain Clapperton he found a hero to match with any of those whose stories had delighted his boyhood. It is from him that we have the history of their journey together, and every page is full of loving admiration for the master whose courage no danger or suffering could daunt, and who was yet full of thought and consideration for his companion, carrying him on his back across the rivers when he was too weak to ford them on foot, and writing continually to cheer him when obliged to leave him behind to rest and recover. There are records of hair-breadth escapes, of suffering and homesickness and parting, as in most stories of African travel, but this tale has to do with laughter instead of tears.

The travellers halted for some time at a place called Wow-Wow, where the King, Mohammed, was friendly to them. There lived there a certain widow named Lyuma, or 'Honey,' very rich, and, according to Wow-Wow taste very handsome, though her portly figure, her hair dyed blue, and hands stained red and yellow, and the crimson teeth which gave the finishing touch, might not have been admired in England.

This great lady soon made friendly overtures to the two Englishmen, calling every day at the hut they occupied, arrayed in gorgeous garments of striped silk, and glistening with beads and ornaments. Great was the amusement of the jovial Captain when he discovered that the African beauty was greatly taken with Lauder, and most unmercifully did he chaff them both as he sat, puffing at his pipe, at the hut door, much to the confusion of the shy young Cornishman and the delight of the lady, Lyuma, who took all his remarks seriously. Poor Lauder at last got so alarmed that he called upon her, and solemnly informed her that he could not make up his mind to an African wife.

The beautiful Lyuma, however, was not at all disconcerted, but at once turned her attentions from Richard to his master, whom she tried to dazzle by the magnificence of her jewels and the number of her slaves. The Captain, fairly punished for his teasing, decided to pay a short visit to the neighbouring King of Boussa, whom he wished to conciliate, and left Lauder at Wow-Wow in charge of his luggage. But no sooner did Lyuma hear of his departure than she set off in pursuit, splendidly arrayed in red, with scarlet morocco leather boots, and attended by a body of slaves, who cheered the way by discordant music. She looked in before starting to bid good-bye to Lauder, who may well have laughed at this turning of the tables upon his master.

But the affair soon took a more serious turn, for King Mohammed, summoning Lauder to his presence, sternly informed him that his master and the lady Lyuma were plotting rebellion, and that he himself and the Captain's luggage would be detained at the King's pleasure. Richard found remonstrances and explanations of no avail; and, feeling that Clapperton must be warned of the King's suspicions, he managed to escape from his guards and hastened with all speed to Boussa. Here he was met by the news that the Captain had already started on his return journey by another route, still followed by the admiring Lyuma. The King and Queen of Boussa received Lauder with the greatest kindness; indeed, the Queen was so much touched by his pleasant manners and weak look (for he had but just recovered from fever), that she asked anxiously whether his mother were living, and sighed when he answered 'No,' because he had no one to watch and wait for him in far-away England. And when the weary young Englishman, in spite of desperate efforts to be polite, dropped asleep in the royal presence, the sovereigns, with courtesy which would have done honour to a more civilised Court, quietly withdrew, sending him a message that he must stay long with them and rest well.

But Lauder was anxious to rejoin his master, and, hurrying back to Wow-Wow, reached it just as Clapperton, who had outdistanced his fair pursuer, arrived there himself. The gallant Captain, hearing of his loss of favour, took the bull by the horns and went at once to the King. He quite disarmed that angry monarch by his frank greeting and assurances that he had not seen such a handsome face since his departure as that of the sovereign of Wow-Wow; but Mohammed, to make all sure, refused to allow the Captain to proceed on his travels until Lyuma was safely under supervision. So that the lady, when she arrived, found herself obliged to submit to the royal authority and stay quietly at home, while the Captain and Lauder, by no means sorry to escape, bade farewell to Mohammed, and left the poor beauty to find a husband among the gentlemen of Wow-Wow.

We might end the story there, with a laugh over poor Lyuma's disappointment, for the rest of the tale that Lauder has to tell is sad.

For weeks the two explorers were delayed by tribal wars, and the long inaction in the deadly climate broke down even Clapperton's hopeful spirit. When they sat together in the evenings at the door of their hut, and Lauder sang the old Scottish songs that had been familiar to his master as a child, the foreboding seems to have fallen upon the Captain that he would never tread his native hills again. He fell ill of the sickness that had claimed so many victims, and gave his papers and instructions, with business-like calmness, to his 'dear boy,' as he called the young servant, who tended him with the devotion of a son. The man who had before bidden Lauder never to forget his prayers knew where to turn for help when his own splendid strength and energy could avail him no more. But sorely desolate Richard Lauder must have felt, when he laid the British flag over the body of him who had been master and comrade in one, and, with broken voice, read the Burial Service, with its words of faith and hope, over the lonely grave.

He himself returned safely to England, and has left us the portrait of the man he served, the portrait of a brave, kindly Christian gentleman, one of the most gallant of the army of pioneers who have heard the 'everlasting whisper' which calls men into unknown lands.


True Tales of the Year 1806.


N the 10th of September, 1806, died Charles James Fox, a man of such talents that perhaps his age did not produce his equal. He was born in 1749, and was the second son of Lord Holland, who spoilt his child by letting him have his own way in everything. At nine years of age, Charles was in the habit of reading his father's dispatches, Lord Holland being then a Secretary of State; and one day Charles crumpled up the dispatch, saying calmly, 'Too feeble!' and threw the paper into the fire. Lord Holland, far from rebuking him, merely re-wrote the dispatch.

Perhaps no child ever received so bad an education from his father as did Charles James Fox. The result was that Charles grew up into a most confirmed gamester, losing immense sums at cards and on the turf.

He was always extreme in all he undertook. As[Pg 211] a young man at college, he walked fifty-six miles in one day for a wager, and, when in Ireland, swam twice round the Devil's Punch-bowl, at Killarney. In dress, too, he was always noticeable—at first as a great dandy and a member of the famous 'Maccaroni' clique, who wore red-heeled shoes, carried muffs, and seemed only to live to make themselves talked about; and later on—in the days when he sympathised with the Republican movement in France—Fox affected great simplicity in dress, and at last became such a sloven that he did not even wear clean shirts.

But these were but the foibles of genius, for, notwithstanding all his fast life and many vices, Fox was hardly surpassed as a scholar, an orator, and a linguist; and, as a politician, Pitt himself—a life-long rival—frankly admitted that 'Fox was a magician, who laid a spell upon his hearers as long as the words issued from his lips.'

Once, in 1793, Burke was passionately addressing the House of Commons on the necessity of placing foreigners, who were then flocking into our country from France, under strict police supervision. It was the time of the French Revolution, and Fox, though regretting the crimes then committed, was yet in favour of the Republican Government for that country, as offering greater freedom, and was very firm against declaring war with France.

Burke, however, went on to declare that these foreigners would soon infect Great Britain with their revolutionary ideas, and (hoping to produce a startling effect) he finally drew a dagger from his bosom, and flung it on the floor of the House, saying: 'That is what you are to expect from an alliance with France!'

For a moment the House was startled, but Fox, with a readiness that never failed him, turned towards his opponent with a mocking smile, and, pointing to the dagger, said jestingly: 'The Honourable Member has given us the knife; will he kindly favour us with the fork?'

The House burst into peals of laughter, and the incident, which Burke meant to be so solemn, ended in making him a laughing-stock.

Perhaps the last years of Fox were his best years; he settled down and married, living very happily with his wife, and taking great delight in gardening.

On the death of Pitt, Fox was chosen a member of the 'Ministry of all the Talents,' but he did not survive his great rival by many months. He was a dying man when he made his last supreme effort to address the House on the suppression of the Slave Trade.

'If,' said the dying statesman, 'if this Bill becomes law, and I had done that, and that only, I could retire from public life with comfort, feeling I had done my duty.' He was never again able to leave his room, but his friends did not realise that his end was so near.

One nobleman called on him, and said he was making up a party for Christmas, and hoped he might have the honour of including Fox amongst his guests. 'It will be a new scene, sir, and I think you will approve,' he said, persuasively.

'I shall indeed be in a new scene by Christmas,' said Fox, quietly, and then he went on, 'My lord,[Pg 212] what do you think of the immortality of the soul?'

The nobleman hardly knew what answer to make, and Fox continued, calmly: 'I shall know by next Christmas.'

A few days later he was dead, and, after a most imposing funeral, his body was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, but eighteen inches from the spot where, but a few months before, had been laid the body of his great rival, Pitt.


MONGST the weapons used in early English times, there was hardly one so deadly and effectual as the crossbow. It is not familiar to us now, being different from the ordinary bow and arrow, which we still see sometimes. It gets its name because it has the appearance of a cross, and is a very interesting old weapon, for with its trigger and spring it led to the invention of the musket.

Loading a Military Crossbow. Loading a Military Crossbow.
Crossbow and Arrows used for Sport. Crossbow and Arrows used for Sport.

The Normans used the crossbow, and had also a sort of machine, not unlike it, that threw out showers of arrows, or even stones.

Another name for the crossbow was 'arbalist,' and its arrows were called quarils, or bolts. These were made of various sorts of wood; about a dozen trees were used for the purpose, but ash-wood was thought to be the best. Generally the arrows had a tip of iron, shaped like a pyramid, pointed, though for shooting at birds the top was sometimes blunt, so that a bird might be struck down without being badly wounded. One old writer says that a great difference between the long-bow and the crossbow was, that success did not depend upon who pulled the lock—a child might do this as well as a man—but with the long-bow strength was everything. In fact, during the Tudor times, the kings specially encouraged the archers to practise shooting with the long-bow, and people were even forbidden to keep crossbows. The crossbow, however, when it had reached perfection, carried much further than the ordinary long-bow.

The crossbow is said to have been invented in Italy, but it seems that the Saxons had this bow, though it was not used much until long after, when the Normans came over. According to an old tradition, it was by a bolt from a crossbow that King Harold received a fatal wound at the Battle of[Pg 213] Hastings, For some reason or other crossbows were condemned by a Council in 1139, and Christians were forbidden to use them, but during the wars with the Saracens they were again made serviceable, by command of King Richard I. Strange to say, Richard himself was killed, we are told, by a bolt shot from the ramparts of the Castle of Chaluz, which he was besieging.

A Contest with the Longbow. A Contest with the Longbow.

The pay of a crossbowman in the reign of Edward II. was sixpence a day, probably equal to three or four shillings of our money. There are old houses in England where crossbows are still to be seen; one among them is said to have been Robin Hood's. During England's wars with France the bow was an important weapon. At the famous Battle of Cressy the English had about three thousand archers, mostly armed with long-bows; the French had arbalists, or crossbows, and, on the whole, they were less successful, as, again, at Agincourt. During the reign of Elizabeth, however, the crossbow was once more popular, owing to an improved kind being invented in Holland. It then became the chief weapon of the Artillery Company of London, which still exists.


MOTHER,' cried a little mouse,
Hurrying down the cellar stairs,
'As I was coming through the house
I met the kitten unawares.

'And as I passed she called to me:
"Come back! come back! I've much to tell.
And most delighted I shall be
If your mamma would come as well."

'So mother, let us hurry, do!
To keep her waiting would be rude:
And asking me, as well as you,
I think was very kind and good.'

But mother mouse with terror cried—
Her eyes were round, her cheeks were pale,
And leaping to her baby's side
She held him by the paw and tail.

'No, no!' said she; 'you must not go!
You should not trust a kitten's word.
Her claws are sharp: she is our foe—
[Pg 214]The direful foe of mouse and bird.'

But when an hour had passed away,
The baby mouse said soft and low:
'I wonder what she had to say?
I'll just creep out and ask her now.'

And heedless of his mother's call,
In self-opinion sadly vain,
He met the kitten in the hall—
And never more came back again.


A soldier in the American army was the terror of his company. He was disobedient, quarrelsome, and vicious. As a result he was often punished, but there was no reformation. In due time a captain from another regiment was placed in command of that company, and was informed of the bad character of this soldier. Very soon the man broke out, was arrested, and brought before the captain. He looked at him for a moment, and, speaking to the sergeant, said, 'Let him go to his quarters.'

'Shall I keep him under guard?' inquired the sergeant.

'Oh, no,' said the captain, quietly.

That evening the captain called his sergeant, and said: 'Go down to Blank's quarters and tell him to come up to my tent; I wish to see him.'

'Shall I bring him up under guard?' asked the sergeant.

'No,' said the captain. 'Just tell him to come.'

In due time the soldier stood inside the captain's tent, cap in hand.

'Take a seat,' said the captain.

The soldier obeyed, but all the time looked defiance. The captain inquired of his home and his relations, and then said: 'I have heard all about you, and thought I would like to see you privately, and talk with you. You have been punished often—most times, no doubt, justly, but perhaps sometimes unjustly. But I see in you the making of a first-class soldier—just the kind of a man that I would like to have a whole company of. Now, if you will obey orders, and behave as a soldier should, and as I know you can, I promise on my honour as a soldier that I will be your friend, and stand by you. I do not want you to destroy yourself.'

With that the soldier's chin began to quiver, and the tears trickled down his cheeks, and he said: 'Captain, you are the first man to speak a kind word to me in two years, and for your sake I will do it.'

'Give me your hand on that, my brave fellow,' said the captain. 'I will trust you.'

And from that day on there was not a better soldier in the army.


The Imperial House of Japan owns three symbols which are carried before the Emperor on all state occasions. These symbols are the Mirror, the Crystal, and the Sword, and each has its own significance. The mirror signifies 'know thyself;' 'be pure and shine,' is the message of the crystal; whilst the sword is a reminder to 'be sharp.'


Two friends while driving past a field of young grain observed a number of pheasants together, a couple of the male birds being engaged in a fight. A little way off they also saw a fine hare, which seemed to be an interested spectator of the battle.

The hare, to the astonishment of the spectators, began to hop towards the pheasants, and when a few yards off, charged them full with fore feet and head. One of the cocks sneaked off, but the other tackled the hare, and for a few seconds fought gamely, flying up and striking at the hare's head with beak and spur, the hare in return butting with his head. The fur, however, proved too much for the feather, and in the long run the pheasant had to retreat in an exhausted condition.

That the cock pheasants should have a sparring match is nothing unusual, but that the hare should interfere in the quarrel is not easily to be explained. Can any readers of Chatterbox who live in the country explain this strange scene?


8.—Geographical Arithmorem.

British Isles.

1.—50, tears, e, 100.A Warwickshire market town.
2.—100, war, 1000, 50, bee, 50.A South London parliamentary borough.
3.—500, run, in, fee, 1000, 50.A city of Fife.
4.—100, no, 500, tears.A town in Yorkshire.
5.—500, u, yes, r, 50.A town in Gloucestershire, near the Cotswold Hills.
6.—1000, 500, 50, 500, 10, I see.A county in England.

C. J. B.

[Answers on page 254.]

Answer to Puzzle on Page 179.

7.—1. Macaroni.
 2. Caviare.
 3. Sauerkraut.
 4. Welsh rabbit.
 5. Chocolate cream.


(Continued from page 203.)

Looking back before passing through the gap in the scrub, Jack saw his mother was toiling very slowly up the shingle, as if the rolling stones and steep incline were a little too much for her rheumatic limbs. It gave him a pang to think how much better she had managed this same ascent before the severe nursing of the past three months.

'I must get back and help her,' he said to Estelle. 'The climb is a bit stiff for her now; so you won't mind if I just run up and put you down in the kitchen as quickly as possible?'

Estelle begged to be allowed to walk up, but of this he would not hear. His long legs soon brought them to the cave-door, where, unwinding the child from the folds of the rugs, he threw the cushions down, telling her to lie on the couch and rest. Then he ran off to his mother's assistance. More tired than she could have thought possible after her taste of fresh air, Estelle waited anxiously for Mrs. Wright and Jack, fearing some accident; but before long she heard their voices. Presently Jack appeared with his mother in his arms.

'I never thought he could do it. I am so heavy now,' said Mrs. Wright, half laughing, half crying, 'But he wouldn't take "no." It might not be a word in the dictionary for aught he cared. Was there ever the likes of him?' she added, looking up proudly into the strong face of her son. 'And he does not seem a bit puffed or blowed by the weight of me, does he, dearie?'

Jack, however, had disappeared to attend to his boat. Estelle thought she had never seen any one so strong in all her life, or so good or so nice. Mrs. Wright said but little more, however, and as usual ended her praises with a sigh.

'Why do you do that?' asked Estelle, wondering how she could sigh after Jack's kindness had pleased her so much.

'What did I do, dearie?' demanded Mrs. Wright, sitting down on the settle, and removing her huge black bonnet to fan herself with it.

'You always sigh when you speak of poor Jack! He is so good and kind. Is he going to die?' she asked, distressed.

'Heaven forbid!' cried Mrs. Wright, aghast. 'Why, what are you thinking of, child? My Jack die!'

'Why are you always so sad about him if he is not going to die?'

Mrs. Wright was unusually moved. Instead of answering, she hastily collected all the walking things, and carried them off to her room. Much astonished, as well as conscious that she had asked an unwise question, which must have sounded like prying, Estelle, in distress, ran into the bedroom.

Mrs. Wright was on her knees at the bedside, sobbing as she murmured her prayers for her 'dear boy.'

Horrified and startled, Estelle slipped away again without disturbing her, taking refuge among the cushions of the couch. Here she cried hysterically till she suddenly found herself lifted bodily up in Jack's powerful arms.

'Worn out, little Missie?' he asked, softly. 'It was too long for a first trip.'

'No, it is not that, you dear, kind Jack!' she sobbed. 'But I have made Mrs. Wright angry with me, and I didn't mean to—indeed, I didn't.'

'Angry!' returned Jack, surprised. 'Mother has not been angry for years, that I know of. I can't just believe that, Missie. Let's come and see what it's all about.'

'Oh, no!' cried Estelle, shocked at the idea. 'She is crying, and saying her prayers, and they are all for you.'

Jack's face flushed suddenly into a deep red.

'Oh!' he said in a peculiar tone. Estelle thought it sounded as if he were too sorry for words. He did not again offer to take her to his mother.

'I am sorry. I did not know I should hurt her, or I would never have asked her—— ' cried Estelle,[Pg 215] looking up in surprise and dismay at the change in his face.

Putting her down, Jack arranged her couch more comfortably. She had tossed all the cushions into a heap in her agitation, and while replacing them he said quietly: 'You have made a mistake, Missie. Mother is not angry with you. She is sorry for me; I have not been what I ought, after all her love and good training. I will go to her now, and she will soon be all right. Poor Mother!' he ended, with a sigh like his mother's.

Before he had time, however, to get to the bedroom, Mrs. Wright appeared, and returned his look of anxiety by stretching up to give him a kiss. Estelle was glad to see how loving was the meeting. Neither said a word on the subject of their trouble. The understanding between them was too complete. Mrs. Wright put her arms round Estelle, and kissing her affectionately, said, 'Forgive me, dearie; I am tired and a little upset. It is so long since I have been out, and walked up that steep path, that it seems to have knocked me over. We will just have a cup of tea, and that will make us all bright and cheerful again.'

Estelle began to speak, but her old friend would not allow her to finish her sentence. The subject was over, and she bustled about preparing the meal, and chatting about the sea and the French sea-folk. Jack had left the room, and did not appear again till Estelle was in bed. Then she heard him say, as he wished his mother good-night, 'The past is past, and can't be undone. The future is in our hands, and it won't be my fault if I don't do my best to redeem it. Perhaps some day atonement may be possible.'

Being half asleep Estelle did not catch the reply. Tired out with the afternoon's expedition and the excitement following it, she slept more soundly than she had done since her illness. Morning found her more lively and vigorous than usual, and with a better colour in her face. The cloud her unfortunate question had occasioned appeared to have cleared off. Perhaps Jack was more quiet, as if some of his joyousness had gone; but no one but sensitive Estelle would have noticed anything amiss. Mrs. Wright was as cheerful as ever, as kind and careful towards her little girl, and even more tenderly loving to Jack.

The day was bright and clear, the weather spring-like, as Jack had promised. Taking advantage of it was the best medicine and tonic that Estelle could have. The trips in the boat became longer, and very soon there was even a talk of a walk in the village, which Estelle much wished to see.

This desire was greatly increased when one afternoon, on returning from their boating, she found 'la mère Bricolin,' as she was called, sitting with Mrs. Wright. Madame Bricolin was housekeeper to M. le Curé, and held herself a little above the fisher-folk, rarely stopping to gossip with them. But Mrs. Wright was different—as different as Jack was from the men with whom he went out to ply the nets.

'What do you say, dearie?' cried Mrs Wright, as Estelle entered the room. 'Here's Mère Bricolin telling me the great fair is to come off next week.'

(Continued on page 222.)[Pg 216]

"She found 'la mère Bricolin' sitting with Mrs. Wright." "She found 'la mère Bricolin' sitting with Mrs. Wright."

[Pg 217]

"The promise of a thousand songs." "The promise of a thousand songs."

[Pg 218]


H, touch them not, the loving toil
Of wild birds fair; he surely wrongs
Both Heaven and earth who seeks to spoil
The promise of a thousand songs.

Think! in these fragile caskets lie
The unborn singers who will give
Day-long their sweetest harmony
From dawn until the quiet eve—

The choristers, whose morning praise
Is one glad psalm of hope and joy,
Long, long before their heads upraise
Each sleeping, dreamy girl and boy.

Grey larks, how often I have heard
You singing in the golden noon,
Until my heart within me stirred
To thank you for your music's boon.

Yet sweeter still than all the rest,
The last clear hymn at eventide,
When, dropping to each well-hid nest,
You gaze to where the sun has died.

Faced to the splendid purple West,
You pour full-throated forth a lay,
Giving to God and man your best,
As come the shadows soft and grey.

So touch it not, this present home
Of future singers: pass along—
They'll soon, from out the sky's great dome,
Repay your gentleness with song.


A natural history student was one afternoon, during a prolonged drought, hunting for ferns in a dense wood. Towards evening, it grew suddenly dark, and a few drops of rain gave warning that a storm was coming. At that moment, the student's eye fell upon a big, hollow tree-trunk on the ground.

Striking a match, the man peered within, and saw, as he thought, a convenient place of shelter. With feet foremost and arms pressed closely to his side, he wormed himself into the log.

Presently the rain came down in torrents, and the student congratulated himself on having found so snug a shelter.

Fatigued with his long tramp, he fell asleep. How long he slept he did not know, but by-and-by he was awakened by a sharp pain in his head, and a feeling of cramp in his whole body. The rain was still falling, the darkness was intense. The bodily discomfort was, of course, due to the man's cramped position; the pain in his head was caused by a continual drip of water from above on to his forehead.

He drew his head back out of the way of the drops, and, in spite of his uncomfortable position, actually fell asleep again! But the next time he awoke, the pain in his head was intolerable. It seemed impossible to get out of reach of those maddening drops, and 'wherever they fell,' says the student, 'they seemed like a sharp iron boring into the skull.'

But the worst was yet to come. When the poor fellow tried to crawl out of the log, he was unable to do so! The opening by which he had so foolishly entered had been only just large enough to admit his body, and the wood, shrunken by the long drought, had in the rain swelled to such an extent that he was now caught, as he says, 'like a rat in a trap.'

Throughout the night the wretched victim shrieked, struggled, pushed, kicked, and wriggled in vain. He could not raise his hands to tear at the wood.

Happily, he was discovered the next morning through the good services of a sagacious dog, which led a search-party to the spot.

Even then, however, his sufferings were not at an end. Before he could get out of his prison, it was found necessary to cut away a part of the log with an axe.


Count Ensenberg, who was formerly the Hessian Ambassador in Paris, was a collector of autographs, and there was one page of his autograph book of which he was specially proud.

This page contained the writing of three celebrated men—Guizot, Thiers, and Bismarck. Guizot had written: 'During a long life I have learned to forgive much and forget nothing.' Thiers, for many years Guizot's most bitter political opponent, wrote under this: 'A little forgetfullness is a great help to reconciliation.' Some years later Bismarck closed the page with the words: 'For my part, I have seen it best to forget much, and to let others forgive me.'



HE waters of the River Nile have been put into harness and made manageable for the benefit of Egypt. The mighty stream, swelling to a flood and overflowing once a year, was wont to bring fertility, in its own way, to the fields on either bank. But too soon these refreshing waters sank away, and too soon the short harvest was followed by a period of drought. It was a case of having more than enough water at one season and not enough at another, and it was plain to see that if the supply could only be regulated, the bare, parched plains of Egypt would have abundant crops more than once a year.

The best way to accomplish this would be to get control of the flood waters, and to keep some of them back in a huge reservoir, until the rain-regions, from which they came, began to stop supplies, and the river sank to its usual size. Then the gates of the reservoir could be opened, and the pent-up flood be allowed to gush forth again to refresh the thirsty fields.

In 1898 the performance of this task was undertaken by the engineering firm of John Aird & Co.,[1] at a cost of two million pounds, and in May of that year the scene of operations was chosen, four miles south of the town of Assuan. Here it was proposed to erect a dam, or barrier, right across the Nile. It would stand on the crest of a cataract and would be one mile and a quarter long. But as the river at flood-time carries down large quantities of rich deposit which is extremely beneficial to the soil on which it settles, it would never do to erect any obstruction to check this in its flow. Therefore this Nile dam must be a barrier capable of letting the river pass until its treasure was safely delivered in Egypt. Then the waters must be checked and the great reservoir filled. This could only be done by means of a number of sliding doors in the dam, which could be opened and closed at will.

The first examination of the cataract seemed to show that it flowed over sound, hard rock, and no difficulty was expected in finding a good, firm foundation. But when, to keep the water back while the work was in progress, sand-banks and temporary dams were built across the four channels through which the river flows to the cataract in the spring, it was found that the granite of the river-bed was 'rotten,' and in many places it was necessary to dig down thirty feet, before solid rock could be found. This was a sad surprise, for it seemed impossible to start building at such a depth, and carry the masonry to a sufficient height before the Nile in flood would come roaring down to Assuan. It was a race with time; and if the engineers failed to win, their temporary dams would be washed away, and would have to be built again next year before the great barrier could be gone on with. Already the Nile had more than once laughed at these temporary banks of sand and stone, and had broken through them and leapt upon its course as though jeering at human power. So persistent had been its attacks that the engineers almost despaired of finding anything heavy enough to hold its own in the opening which the water had made. At last two large railway waggons were filled with stones in wire cages, securely tied into the waggons with steel ropes. These, weighing altogether fifty tons, were pushed along a pair of rails on the top of the 'sudd' (or thick growth of weeds and flotsam) till they fell with a tremendous splash into the opening. Then the Nile was beaten. It could not move such a weight, and the masons worked on in peace—three hundred and fifty-three of them, night and day. Fortunately, too, the builders were encouraged by telegraphic reports received from stations farther up the river to the effect that the waters showed no signs of rising. The flood, in fact, proved unusually late that year, and by the time it came, the dam at Assuan was raised sufficiently high to be independent of the temporary 'sudds.' For three months work[Pg 219] was suspended while the water roared through and over the stonework, but at the end of that time work progressed more rapidly than ever.

So cleverly had matters been arranged that no delay was caused by having to wait for materials. The granite was quarried in the neighbourhood, but was no more prompt in arriving at the scene of action than the coal and cement that came all the way from England. During the time of construction no less than twenty-eight thousand tons of coal were burned in the engine fires; and seventy-five thousand tons of cement were mixed to bind the granite blocks together, or to be formed into smooth slabs for facing the sluice-ways. In the long wall thus erected, which is seventy feet high in places (the bed of the river being so uneven) there are one hundred and eighty gateways or sluices, each nearly seven feet wide and twenty-three feet deep—except a few which are just half that depth. These openings are arranged on different levels, the bottom row being sixty feet below the surface of the water when the reservoir is full. They are all contained in a length of four thousand six hundred feet, the rest (one thousand eight hundred feet) of the dam being solid masonry. The sluice-ways are closed by iron gates which work vertically in grooves of steel, and can be raised or lowered from the top of the dam—a roadway sixteen feet wide. That these huge iron curtains may be lifted more easily, one hundred and thirty of them are fitted with rollers, and whatever the pressure of water, they rise and fall with great smoothness.

Five years were allowed for the accomplishment of this great task, but by diligence and promptness, John Aird & Co. were ready to pack up their tools and come away a whole year sooner than was expected. His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught went to Assuan, in December, 1902, and declared the great dam fit to begin its important duties.

The Nile Dam at Assuan. The Nile Dam at Assuan.

And this is how those duties are performed. Early in July each year, every sluice is opened to its widest, the iron doors being lifted as high as they will go. The Nile at that time is seen to be rapidly rising, and nothing must obstruct its passage. For five whole months it is allowed to rush in growing volume on its course. By that time, the rich deposit, of which we have spoken, has all passed through the sluices, and the time has arrived for checking the clearer and less turbulent water by which it is followed. The first gates are lowered early in December, being of course those in the lowest part of the dam. These are followed by fifty more on a higher level; and so on until all the sluices are carefully closed, with the exception of some which are left open for surplus water to pass through. The reservoir is not full until the end of February, and thus takes three months to collect its waters. But so vast is its extent, that the stoppage is said to affect the river one hundred and forty miles farther south. The water thus held back is not allowed to escape until May, when it is most wanted in the fields below the dam; and it is, of course, all gone by the beginning of July, when the sluices are gaping wide again to let the new floods pass. It need hardly be said that the order just described varies a great deal[Pg 220] according to the moods of the river. The dam must be regulated to those changing moods, or the benefits it gives could not be relied upon. Thus from the fickle stream a constant blessing is drawn, and year after year, with the shifting seasons, those stately gates will rise and fall; the river channel will always have its water, so long as the gates last, and there will be corn in Egypt.

[Pg 221]

"What a feast I had!" "What a feast I had!"


But for an undue affection on my part for fruit of all kinds, you would probably never have heard my story; for I might possibly have been free, and the happiest lives, they say, are those which have no history.

What happy times we had in that far-away land[Pg 222] over the seas—the gambols and the pranks we played! I was always fond of freedom, in fact I loved it beyond anything, and it was this that first led me into misfortune.

I disobeyed my good old mother, by going beyond the bounds appointed, and through this I was brought into captivity. An elephant-hunter caught me, almost before I knew where I was, and then, good-bye to freedom!

I was shipped on board a huge vessel. What a voyage it was to be sure! I trumpeted for hours in misery. Once I felt certain I was going to the bottom, but my fears were unfounded, for we reached England in perfect safety, none the worse for our stormy experiences. Shortly after landing, I was dispatched to my new home.

I should not have minded so much if I had been sent to the Zoo, for I hear some of the elephants there have fine times and are treated like royalty. But I was bought by a circus company. Fancy, taking me to a common thing like a circus! At first I moped; who would not, under such trying circumstances? By degrees, however, I got used to my surroundings, and learned to do all sorts of clever things. I was young and teachable, so they said. I could stand on a tub, sit at a table and dine, ring the bell for the waiter to come and clear away, after which I would eat my dessert with the air of a gentleman.

In fact, I was 'The Children's Delight,' 'The Elephant Extraordinary,' and 'The Marvel of the World.' That is what they said on the circus-bills! I used to feel proud, at times, of all the praise which was bestowed upon me, and gave myself airs. You see, it is not everybody who is 'The Marvel of the World.'

However, praise alone did not satisfy me for very long. Freedom was what I wanted, and one day, to my delight, freedom was what I managed to get.

And didn't I enjoy myself!

Never mind how I accomplished it; let me say simply that I eluded my keeper and got into a sort of forest (I suppose it was a country wood), and there I stayed all night, laughing in my trunk to think what a panic the circus company would be in. If only I could have made my way to some seaport town, and have been shipped off home again, I would gladly have endured the roughest voyage to be once more in my own dear native land.

Towards morning I got weary of my loneliness, and hungry too, I must admit. Feeling a bit more courageous than when I first escaped, I decided to take a walk, and I found my way into an adjoining town. Here it was, alas! that I came to grief.

I met a baker's boy on the road with a basket of rolls. I gobbled up every one, and so partly satisfied my hunger.

The boy was dreadfully scared. Had I not been so busy with my breakfast, I should have been quite anxious about him. For a few seconds he stood open-mouthed with fear; then he flew like the wind. What for, I did not know, for I had no intention of doing him any harm. All I wanted was his rolls.

Of course, after having appeased my hunger, I ought to have made my way back to the woods again. I realise this now.

But I saw, not far off, a greengrocer's shop, and the things there displayed were enough to tempt any one's appetite, I simply could not resist them. I broke the window, and upset the fruit over the pavement. What a feast I had to be sure! The people in the shop were afraid to interrupt me, so I had it all to myself. Two basketsful I demolished, and was prepared to attack a third, when suddenly, to my horror, I was caught.

My keeper, with two or three other men, who were helping in the search, happened to see me in the middle of my feast, and then—well, here I am, again in captivity.

I said I liked fruit. Yes, but that is a thing of the past, now.

I have pretty well settled down again to my life as 'The Children's Delight,' and 'The Elephant Extraordinary,' although at times I still yearn for the freedom of the forest. But this one lesson I have learnt—that if you cannot get the things you want, the wisest plan is to make the very best of the things you have.


An Arabian proverb, which contains a lot of meaning very closely packed, runs as follows: 'Who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is foolish; shun him. Who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is humble; teach him. Who knows, but knows not that he knows, is asleep; wake him. Who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise: follow him.'


(Continued from page 215.)


La Mère Bricolin had a thin, brown, deeply lined face, but she herself was stout, and did credit to M. le Curé's table. Her coarse blue serge dress, white apron, and snowy, close-fitting cap, gave her a well-to-do appearance. Indeed, as housekeeper to M. le Curé, she was far better off than in the days when her husband earned a scanty livelihood as a fisherman in one of the smaller smacks of the cod-fishing fleet. Like so many other widows of the little village, she had lost him in one of the great storms off the coast of Iceland, and had to go out to service in order to support herself and her only son. The boy had grown up to follow his father's trade, and she lived in constant dread of hearing bad news of him. She was always one among the first to hasten to the cliff where all the women assembled to catch the first glimpse of the returning boats. Then there would be the rush to the tiny harbour, each woman's heart aching with anxiety to see if her dear ones had returned to her safe and sound. So Mère Bricolin's mind was never at peace, though she was not dependent now on another's earnings, and had no intention of being a drag on her son.

Her sunken black eyes had much humour and kindliness, despite the anxiety and shrewdness which was so apparent in them. She loved a gossip, too, with such a neighbour as Mrs. Wright; and as they both had similar anxieties when the boats were delayed by stress of weather, or when a flag was noticed at half-mast, it was no wonder that Mère Bricolin did not appear to mind the steep ascent to Mrs. Wright's dwelling. There was another reason for her activity. Was it not she who suggested that Mrs. Wright should live in that very place? She had not intended that the cave should be their permanent abode, and it was not her fault that Jack and his mother continued to live there; but she had suggested it on their arrival, and was flattered that they preferred it to any other place in the village.

Mère Bricolin gazed in amazement at Estelle. She had been disappointed, not to say a little hurt, in her secret heart when Mrs. Wright refused to allow her to help in the nursing of the little waif, nor even to see her, on the ground that the doctor had forbidden any visitors to the sick-room. By no word had Mrs. Wright let out her suspicions as to the rank of the little girl. Mère Bricolin expected, therefore, to see a child much like the other children in the village. Every one in Tout-Petit knew the story of the rescue. Every woman admired the tall, handsome English sailor, whose determination and good nursing had saved the little stranger's life at sea; but they would never have said so. Was he not a foreigner? Was there not some cause, hidden, but certain as the nose on the face, that a clever seaman like him must have something in the background which kept him from a far better position than that of a common sailor?

But Jack and his mother lived such simple lives, and Jack was such a first-class 'hand,' that any prejudices which might have cropped up died a natural death, and he never lacked employment.

'Look at our two old gossips!' he laughed, as he saw Mère Bricolin comfortably seated on the broad settle near the fire. He often wondered how they found so much to talk about, these two old dames.

Mère Bricolin's surprise as Estelle took off her wraps brought another smile to his face. He felt proud of his little flotsam from the sea when the Frenchwoman said, 'And this, M. le Marin, is the little Mademoiselle you picked up! The sea has its pearls, my friend.'

Estelle was touched. To her own surprise, as well as that of her friends, she understood and answered in French as well as any little Parisian. How she learnt it she was still unable to say, but she had not spoken French with her former nurses and governess from Paris in vain. It was a relief to all parties that she was not shut out from the conversation. The chief pleasure to good Mrs. Wright was, however, that the purity of the accent and diction proved she was of gentle training, at all events. She smiled and nodded approvingly.

'Will you tell me about the fair?' said the little girl, seating herself on the settle by Mère Bricolin's side.

The old dame nodded, her black eyes twinkling. Estelle's blue ones grew rounder and rounder as she[Pg 223] heard of the wonders of the sword-swallowers, the celebrated fleas which could drive a coach, of elephants that fired guns, of the great circus of horses; and—dearest of all to the peasant heart—the dancing at the Fontaine des Eaux; dancing which was to begin on the eve of the fête, and to be continued on the night itself till break of day.

'And will you dance, Mademoiselle?' asked Mère Bricolin, smiling. 'There will be plenty of people ready—— '

'Never!' exclaimed Jack, shortly. The very idea annoyed him.

'I hope to see it all,' said Estelle, eagerly. 'But I'm not strong enough to dance. I would rather look on.'

'You are right, Mademoiselle. You would not care to dance either. Our lads are good, but they are rough. But it is a pretty sight even to me, who am old, and must be ready to leave this world whenever it shall please Heaven. But M. le Curé says it is not wrong, M. Jack. All these things are for our ease and pleasure, and the next day we work again.'

'I dare say you are right, Madame,' returned Jack. 'There's no doubt that people enjoy themselves. My mother and I intend our little guest to do the same.'

'Have you taken her to see the Treasure Caves?'

'Not yet.'

'They call M. le Marin the Giant of the Treasure Caves because he discovered them,' smiled Mère Bricolin, rising to go.

Mrs. Wright pressed tea upon her, but she said she must be back before M. le Curé came home from visiting the sick. He, too, was old, and never remembered to eat when he was tired, unless she reminded him. Jack accompanied her down the slope, while Estelle hindered rather than helped Mrs. Wright to lay the tea. She was wild with delight at the prospect of seeing a real fête. Then, suddenly remembering some such event in a dim, uncertain way, she paused painfully, saying, 'Have I ever seen one before, Goody? Where am I? In France? Have I been here before? How is it I can speak French?'

'It doesn't matter whether you have been here before or not,' returned Mrs. Wright, glancing uneasily at the flushed face. 'One fair mayn't be like another, and all you have got to do is to enjoy it. It will not be Jack's fault or mine if you don't.'

The sailor's return made a diversion, and as they took their places at the table, he proposed, if little Missie were not too tired, to take her to see the caves. Child-like, Estelle was only too delighted. Tired! She had only been in the boat, and had been carried up the steep path on her return. No, she was not a bit tired.

Mrs. Wright was glad she should go. It was still early in the afternoon, and some hours of daylight remained. She thought the little expedition would amuse the child, and occupy her mind. Jack would see that she was none the worse for it. He was going out all night trawling, and might be busy for some days to come. It would be a pity not to let Estelle have this little pleasure while he was there to look after her.

(Continued on page 230.)[Pg 224]

[Pg 225]

"'Will you tell me about the fair?'" "'Will you tell me about the fair?'"

[Pg 226]

"The thing exploded in the air." "The thing exploded in the air."



(Concluded from page 206.)

Those Matabele fellows (said Vandeleur, continuing his yarn on the following evening) did not allow the grass to grow under their feet. That very evening as we all sat at supper, the children having gone to bed, an assegai suddenly flew just over Mrs. Gadsby's head, and struck quivering in the wall behind her.

Now we had only left a square foot or so of window unboarded, for purposes of light, so that some fellow must have come very close to the house before throwing his weapon. Yet a trustworthy Kaffir had been put upon sentry-go outside to report any sound of approaching Matabeles. Evidently the man cannot have heard this native approach; we supposed he must have been at the other side of the house, but we afterwards discovered that the poor fellow lay killed with another assegai through him.

At sight of the spear quivering in the wooden wall, Gadsby's face went suddenly white, either with anger, or with the shock of his wife's narrow escape.

'They have come already—every man to his place at once—out with the lamp, Morrison. Thompson, run up and light the flare on top of the house: ladies into their rooms, please!'

Away went men and women to their places, the light was put out, a shutter was placed over the unboarded portion of the window, and for a few minutes there was silence within and without.

I went upstairs to my pre-arranged station, and stood at my loop-hole. My rifle and cartridges were all placed ready to my hand. The night was very dark, and it was impossible to see more than a yard or two in front of one's nose. But Gadsby had manufactured a fine oil bath, full of bits of floating wick, and when Thomson set this alight on the roof, a brilliant glare was shed around the house to the distance of fully fifty yards.

The movement surprised a score or so of Matabeles, who had approached very softly in the darkness—a kind of advance-guard, I suppose, sent to reconnoitre and report to the main body. For the moment the sudden light revealed their presence; they started to run like hares, hoping to reach the safety of the darkness before our 'fire-sticks' should speak. I am afraid very few of that advance-guard lived to reach the impi which was awaiting the information they were sent forward to gather and bring back; for a volley from half-a-dozen loop-holes made havoc of the runners, and doubtless those few who escaped had a terrible tale to tell of the destruction that awaited the unwary attackers of our hornets' nest.

This first surprise gained us several hours of respite. I suppose the enemy had not expected that we should be so well equipped for resistance. They had hoped to effect a surprise; to catch us unsuspecting and unprepared; to destroy us at discretion, and then loot and eat and drink and burn and demolish.

Gadsby was delighted with our success, 'I only wish they would come again,' he said, 'while the flare lasts; it may just hold out till dawn. Unfortunately there's no more oil for to-morrow night!'

'Then we must drive them away by daylight!' said Morrison, who was a sanguine youth, and as brave as a lion.

'Ah! if only they attack by daylight!' laughed Gadsby, 'but I doubt whether they will be such fools, now they have learnt that we can sting, and mean to sting!'

The flare-light did not last until daylight, however; it grew fainter and fainter, and at length burnt out between two and three o'clock.

This was a great disaster, as we were soon to find out, for it was but a few minutes after the last flicker had died away, and left the night looking all the blacker after the bright light to which our eyes had become accustomed, when we all distinctly heard the approaching of many feet. Apparently the impi was about to attack us in force.

Each man was at his position in a moment; Gadsby came round inspecting.

'I don't like this much, Vandeleur,' he said to me. 'How on earth are we going to stop their rushes in the dark? We can only shoot on the chance.'

'I fancy they will try and burn the house,' I replied. 'You will have to be ready with those dynamite cartridges, and drop one or two among them if they come too close.'

The cartridges referred to were used by Gadsby and his partner for blasting rocks upon the estate; there were signs of gold here and there on the land, and they were in the habit of making frequent investigations, believing that there was a fortune for them on the farm if only they could hit upon it.

'Yes,' replied Gadsby, 'I have them already. I think we had better not fire at them until they are within a few yards of the house; we may then catch a glimpse of them, and a volley may turn them.'

'They are the wrong colour for seeing in the dark,' I said, with a laugh.

There suddenly arose a fearful yell of hundreds of voices, seemingly quite close to the house, and Gadsby rushed quickly away to his station.

I looked out of my loop-hole, but it was still too dark to see anything further than ten yards or so from my eyes. I could hear the Matabeles running towards us, shouting and yelling furiously; the sound did not appear to be more than a very few yards away. Suddenly a black mass seemed to loom almost before my eyes. At the same moment, I suppose, the other defenders caught sight of the approaching natives, for as I pulled my own trigger, I heard the crack of several other rifles from different parts of the house, and with it the cry of frightened children awakened thus rudely from their slumbers.

It was an exciting moment. The yells redoubled at the sound of our fire, but seemed to die down a moment later, and the black mass came no closer. We could not see the result of our shooting, but we continued to pour into the scarcely visible masses of the enemy a fire which must surely have had deadly effect.

Suddenly the dark mass, which we had dimly seen, vanished. I heard a shout from Gadsby upstairs: 'We have beaten them off—good boys all!' he cried. 'But let no man leave his post—they may be back in a minute.'

They were back in a minute or two, but did not stay long within sight. Again we peppered them, and forced them back into the darkness which lay beyond our vision.

And a third time the plucky fellows charged, only to be stopped once more—half-a-dozen repeating rifles, fired as quickly as the trigger can be pulled, are capable of great things in an emergency. After this third attempt the Matabeles did not appear for half-an-hour. Had they finally retired? It seemed to be almost too good to be true!

Gadsby came round. 'Don't leave your station, Vandeleur,' he said. 'We have done wonders, but we must not be too confident or run any risks. We must watch the night out and see broad daylight in before we can consider ourselves at all safe.'

As though to belie any idea of safety, a voice suddenly came from Thomson upstairs: 'Gadsby,' he shouted, 'come up! I think I see a group of fellows coming along.'

Upstairs ran Gadsby like a streak of lightning. No one, however, could see anything, and it was decided that Thomson must have been mistaken.

But suddenly there was a tremendous scare. Morrison, at the back of the house, gave a shout and fired his rifle twice. At the same moment a glare of light shot up into the air. A Matabele fellow had crept right up to the house in the darkness and was endeavouring to set fire to the place with a bundle of dry grass. He was so close under the house that Morrison, from his loophole, could not get at him.

'Bring a dynamite cartridge,' shouted Morrison.

Gadsby brought a cartridge and lighted the fuse; then he dropped it out of the window, which he opened for a second in order to do so. It fell, presumably, close to the Matabele, who was busy over his fire; he would find it difficult, we know, to get the house to burn, for it had been well soaked with water. We ran more risk from the cartridge than from his efforts, for in exploding it might easily damage the wooden wall of the house. Then a startling and unexpected thing happened. I can only suppose that the Matabele fellow had seen dynamite cartridges in use at some mine in the district, and was acquainted with their properties, for the rascal suddenly seized our bomb and threw it up at the window. He was just in time, for the thing exploded in the air a few inches from the side of the house, making a large hole.

With wonderful speed and activity two Matabeles swarmed up to the breach, their assegais in their mouths, and their savage faces appeared almost as quickly as it was realised that a hole had been made. They were quickly shot, and the hole was instantly boarded over, but the incident was alarming, because it showed that the enemy were capable of effecting surprises upon us which might prove dangerous as time went on.

No more attacks were made before morning, and we were all at breakfast, well pleased with ourselves[Pg 227] for having got through the night in safety, when some one came and told me that a 'funny-looking chap was asking for me outside.'

He was Umkopo, of course. Of course, too, his errand was striking and unusual.

'Tell Mr. Gadsby,' said he,'that the Matabeles are poisoning his water supply—with my eyes I saw it. You must leave the farm and go to Bulawayo—the farmhouse will be looted and burned, but you shall reach Bulawayo in safety; I say it.'

Well, Umkopo was first laughed at; then his story was partly believed; lastly he was fully believed, and the plan suggested by him was adopted, which was to march to Bulawayo, armed and ready, under his protection.

And under his protection the whole party actually walked and rode past the entire impi. within one hundred yards of the grim, scowling fellows, and not an assegai was thrown, not a word uttered.

What was more, we all reached Bulawayo in perfect safety, passing through throngs of the enemy under Umkopo's guardianship: through thousands of terrible fellows who would have cut us to pieces, without doubt, but for the haughty announcement by the White Witch, that we were 'his friends!'

I shall have more to tell you about Umkopo one day, if you like to hear it, Vandeleur ended. 'Meanwhile, good-night all, for if you are half as sleepy as I am, you must be glad that I have done for to-day.'


It is told of Dr. Thorold that he was once asked to give away the prizes at a school belonging to the London School Board.

In the course of his opening address, he gravely asked the children, 'Which was the largest island in the world, before Australia was discovered?'

When the youngsters gave it up, he told them, in the same grave way, which made them laugh all the more, 'Why, Australia, of course; it was there all the time!'


"Stop Thief!" "Stop Thief!"

UT yesterday he came, a small
And lively pup—his cheerful face
So innocent, that one and all
Believed him best of all his race.

He crept beneath a chair—'to sleep,'
I thought; 'poor tired little love,'
Quoth I, and quickly stooped to peep—
And caught him chewing up my glove!

Since then he's worried all our mats,
Upset the milk and smashed a cup;
He's chased for miles one neighbour's cats,
And nearly killed another's pup.

Three stockings and a pair of mits
He dragged through all the muddy street;
Besides a muff that lies in bits—
[Pg 228]Except the parts I saw him eat.

And now the butcher has been down
To say our puppy is a thief,
Who visited his shop in town,
And ran off with a joint of beef.

Yet here he sits and wags his tail,
With goodness written on his face—
A little dog that could not fail
To be the best of all his race.



WONDER if it has ever occurred to any of the readers of Chatterbox that the bagpipes of the Highland glen, and the mighty organ which peals through a Cathedral aisle, are one and the same instrument? When they are reduced to their simplest elements of wind-chest, pipes and reeds, there is practically no difference between the two.

The Bagpipe in its varying forms may be described as a portable organ, whether blown by the mouth of the performer or by a pair of bellows. The instrument is very ancient.

A curious old gem has been preserved, bearing the device of Apollo carrying a lyre in his arms and a bagpipe slung across his back, which takes that instrument right back to the days of ancient Greece.

Powerful bagpipes are used amongst the mountain tribes of Hindustan, and travellers meet with them both in China and Persia. The ancient Romans patronised this instrument largely, and the Emperor Nero was a skilled performer.

Old Ornamental Bagpipe. Old Ornamental Bagpipe.

A celebrated Italian story-teller of the thirteenth century mentions that in his time the bagpipe was quite a fashionable instrument. Chaucer and Spenser both allude to it, and the former says, in Henry IV., that Falstaff was 'as melancholy as a lover's lute, or drone of a bagpipe.'

It is usually supposed that the bagpipe was brought from the East by the Crusaders; it was reckoned as a court instrument in the time of Edward the Second. In France, it was popular in polite society, up to the end of the thirteenth century, when it was gradually banished to the lower classes, and chiefly played by blind beggars. Two curious old pictures exist of that date, representing bagpipe-players, one on stilts, the other playing for a girl who is dancing on his shoulders.

In the seventeenth century, Louis the Fourteenth of France, casting about for new amusements for his favourites, rescued the bagpipe, or, as the French[Pg 229] called it, the 'cornemeuse,' from its low surroundings, and introduced it into his Arcadian festivities. We may picture a dignified Marquis and Marquise, as Watteau has painted them, in the fantastic garb of shepherds and shepherdesses, frolicking to the music of the bagpipes, in the forest glades of Versailles or Fontainebleau.

Old Irish Bagpipe. Old Irish Bagpipe.

The great bagpipe of the Highlands is inspiriting in war, and was first used in battle in the early part of the fifteenth century. Up to that date, warriors depended for inspiration on the war-songs of the Bards, but doubtless the piercing tones of the bagpipes carried further, and were more thrilling.

One of the amusements of a Scotch tour nowadays is to watch the pipers playing and dancing on the quays where the steamers touch. Their gay tartan attire and quaint instruments, with their gaudy bags and fringes, make a bright note of colour, and, judging by the money collected, bagpiping must be a fairly profitable employment.

The Irish bagpipe is a much more complete instrument than the Scotch, although it is steadily dying out. In the latter, only one of the pipes has notes. This one is termed the 'Chanter,' the other pipes (known as 'Drones') having only one fixed sound, and causing the curious droning sound which accompanies the melody, whether lament or merry dance, played on the 'chanter.' In the Irish form, the drone-pipes also have notes, ensuring much more variety; indeed, this instrument is capable, in good hands, of great sweetness and delicacy of tone. It is blown by bellows instead of the mouth, which probably prevents jerkiness and makes the sound steadier.

A peculiar bagpipe is used in Sardinia, called the 'Lanedda,' in which the unfortunate player is obliged to make use of three mouthpieces at the same time. It is not surprising to hear that the performance is exhausting, and that the players often die early deaths.

The 'Musette' was a softer form of bagpipes, and many of the great musicians have included in their 'Suites,' or collections of dances, special music for the instrument bearing this name. Such music had a lulling, dreamy tone, and greatly depended for effect on a clever use of the drone-pipes. Musettes were often of most elaborate construction, the covers of the windbags being of plush or velvet, richly embroidered in needlework, whilst the pipes and mouthpieces are inlaid with ivory, ebony, and silver.

Helena Heath.[Pg 230]


Old books describe clearly where Oxford Castle stood. It was close to St. George's Church, and not far from a water-mill; the stream that turned this mill flowed past the town, supplying water to the big moat which surrounded the castle, and which was crossed by a strong bridge. The most ancient form of the crest or coat-of-arms of Oxford shows a castle, a winding stream, and a bridge. There is a curious drawing of the castle, made by Ralph Agas, in 1538, during the reign of Henry VIII., though some people think he has put the round tower, or keep, in the wrong place. This keep is the last part of Oxford Castle to be left standing; the rest has gone.

It is difficult to find out when Oxford Castle was first built. It is certain that it dates from the time of the Saxons. There is a tradition that King Offa built the original castle, which would mean some date in the eighth century, and the great King Alfred was probably often at Oxford, staying at the castle. In the collections of Saxon coins, round in Oxford, there are some coins of his time. Then the son of Canute was crowned at Oxford, and lived for a while at the castle, but he reigned only four years. About 1791, the remains of old walls were found, immensely thick, with some remarkable wells. These walls were thought to be Saxon. Thus we pass on till the Normans conquered England, when there is proof that this castle was rebuilt by one Robert d'Oiley. The Conqueror divided the possessions of the Saxons freely among those who came over with him, and this man had Oxford Castle given to him. He rebuilt it in 1071, keeping, perhaps, some of the old fabric. In the year 1141, the Empress Maud, who had escaped from Devizes on a funeral bier, covered up as if dead, reached Oxford, and there she was again besieged. It seemed likely the castle would be taken, and she would be seized by her enemies, but we are told that she managed to escape again. Accompanied by three knights, she got out of Oxford to a place of safety.

At some date in the reign of Henry III., Oxford Castle had its walls strengthened, and the round tower was rebuilt. It was then, probably, that the towers were made along the embattled walls, and especially one of those peculiar towers called a barbican, contrived so as to give an outlook on approaching foes. These barbicans had a device by which hot water or stones could be flung down upon any enemy who succeeded in passing the bridge. King Charles I. was often a visitor to Oxford Castle, and after the wars between Parliament and King were over, some other changes were made in the defences of the castle. After the Revolution, it was allowed to decay gradually.


(Continued from page 223.)

As soon as tea was over, they started for the Treasure Caves, Estelle dancing along in front of the tall sailor, eager for the mysteries she was about to see in those gloomy-looking caves she had so often passed on her way to the boat. But Jack told her those she had seen were mere shallow affairs, not worth looking at. The Treasure Caves were at some little distance beyond the cliff which jutted out into the sea, but they could reach them at low water through an archway made by the waves in the rocks.

The cliffs near their home were not too steep to be covered by short grass, dotted with sea-pinks and stocks, with a shrub, here and there, of sea-holly. A solitary pine-tree now and again, and the little cluster at the end of the path, proved that this part of the bay was far above high-water mark. But the headland reached a greater height, and rose from the sea. Estelle found, on passing through the archway, that the coast-line beyond swept round in a grand curve, and the yellow sands stretched for miles.

The village was on the other side of the little bay. Where she now stood there was no sign of any habitation. The high, steep cliffs of the headland sloped gradually away in the distance, till the country could be seen green and fertile in the sunshine.

The opening to the caves lay in a narrow ravine. A great pool of water stretched from wall to wall, but Jack took Estelle in his arms, and made his way to the cave on upstanding bits of rock. Estelle thought it very dangerous, but it was very charming.

They found themselves in a vast vaulted place, from the roof of which there was a continual dripping sound. Dark as the rock was, bright patches of colour shone out here and there, almost like splashes of gaudy paint. Lighting a bit of candle he had in his pocket, Jack showed Estelle that they were not little dried cherries and green olives, as one might suppose, but sea-anemones.

Sea-anemones? Where had she heard of them before? Somebody wanted her to have some? But who?

'Come this way, Missie,' said Jack, interrupting her confused thoughts. 'Take care how you tread. It's slippery, I can tell you.'

Indeed it was, and very careful steering was necessary. The little girl clung nervously to her companion's hand, as they made their way through wet sand, over rocks covered with green seaweed and slime, and gravel lying under a thin stream of water. Jack appeared to be quite indifferent to all these inconveniences. Careful to lift Estelle over the worst places, he was utterly regardless of his own dripping condition.

At the further end they entered a smaller cave, quite dry, except for a little rivulet gurgling through it. So clean and white was the sand, so sweet and fresh the air from the great hole in the roof, whence the light came streaming in, that Estelle danced about in the merry fashion of her days at the Moat House. Jack watched her, smiling, and when she sat down quite tired, he dropped on the sand beside her, and told her of the great storms that drove the mighty waves into these caverns, and of the strange things they carried in with them—how ships were wrecked on the cruel rocks, and how he had once sheltered ten or twelve persons in this very cave, and others in the Hospice de la Providence, till the storm went down.

'Are these caves called——?' asked Estelle.

'The Treasure Caves. They are almost forgotten now, because the sea is so rough in these parts that folk seldom venture here. The tide, too, comes up quickly, and might cut them off, particularly if they don't know their way about. At full tide you could not see the entrance to that outer cave—the one we came into first—for it is below water.'

Estelle looked up in an alarmed manner, but he told her he was well acquainted with rocks and tides and currents, and would not be the one to run her into any risks.

'But, Jack,' said Estelle, gazing wonderingly at him, 'don't these great dark rocks and caves make you feel frightened and lonely sometimes, and perhaps unhappy too?'

'Why should they, Missie? I am used to the sea, and so is Mother. I don't think we could bear to be out of the sound of it.'

'Are you sorry you are not at sea now? Is it that which makes you look so unhappy sometimes?'

'It is, and it isn't; if you can understand what I mean.'

'No, I can't. You have such a dear mother, and such a nice home; why do you want to leave them?'

'I don't want to leave them, even if I could,' said Jack, sadly. 'But there are other things one can't tell little ladies about.'

Such a look of pain and sorrow crossed his face as he spoke, that Estelle instinctively turned away her eyes. She began taking up handfuls of sand to let it run through her fingers.

'Jack,' she remarked, presently, 'I think yours must be a very sad secret, for do you remember how I heard dear Goody crying as she was kneeling? She said, "Jack, my poor boy! Lord, have mercy upon him!" Then, sometimes at night, when she thinks I am asleep, she sighs so heavily, especially when she is saying her prayers.'

On hearing this, Jack suddenly threw himself at full length on the sand, burying his face on his arms. Much startled, Estelle gazed at him in wonder and sympathy. What had upset him so greatly? Why did Goody sigh over him? It was a bewildering puzzle to her, who knew Jack to be the kindest fellow in the world. She could not bear to see him so grieved. It was her fault. Why had she said a word which could hurt him?

'Oh, Jack!' she cried, putting her hand on his shoulder, her voice full of self-reproach, 'I ought not to have told you. I am so sorry! Do forgive me, dear, kind Jack. I wish I could do something for you, Jack—I do wish I could. But for Goody's nursing and care and all your kindness, I should have died.'

'So you would, Missie,' he said, sitting up and drawing the back of his hand across his eyes. He sat for some moments in silence, his eyes on the sands, then rising to his feet, he murmured:' After all, it is a life for a life.'

'What did you say?' asked Estelle, mystified.

He made no answer. He could not tell her that if one person had already lost his life through his means he had saved another's life, which, but for[Pg 231] him, must have perished. He was not at all clear himself on the merits of the case; neither was it one to discuss with a child.

'Come and see the last of these caves,' he said, rousing himself. 'It is called the Mermaid's Cave, perhaps because it is the prettiest of them all. It has an echo you may like to hear.'

A very narrow passage connected the Cave of the Silver Sand with the Mermaid's Cave, and a pool of water filled it which reached to Jack's knees. Before entering it, Jack lighted a candle-end he had brought in his pocket, and put it into Estelle's hand.

'Hold it up high as we go along,' he said. 'I shall have to carry you; the water is too deep for you to wade through, but the cave is worth seeing as we step into it.'

And so it was. Estelle uttered a cry of delight as its beauties broke upon her. The roof was white with stalactites of the strangest and weirdest shapes, which reflected the light of the candle from their wet surfaces. A stream of water was flowing silently down one side of the sandy floor and into the pool they had crossed, which Jack told her was called the 'Rift.'

'I'll show you one of the wonders of this cave,' he said, as he drew her to one side. 'Now listen.'

In a clear, rich voice he sang a few notes, and in a moment a burst of harmony broke out, full and grand as the organ in a cathedral. The sweet tones echoed among the stalactites, lingering as if loth to die.

Estelle gasped. She had never heard anything like it. 'Again, again!' she whispered.

Once more the sailor's rich voice rang through the silent caves, and once more the echoes took up the chord in a flood of melody which, surged over their heads as the little girl and the sailor stood motionless, listening till the last tones trembled into silence. Even then they did not speak for some moments.

'I could listen to it for ever,' said Estelle, drawing a deep breath.

'We must not stay for any more now,' replied Jack. 'The tide will soon be on the turn, so we must move to the tune of homeward bound. We may be late—the tide will not be.'

'Will you sing to me some day?' begged the little girl, as she was carried through the Rift into the Cave of the Silver Sand. 'You have such a good voice.'

'That's as may be, Missie. I haven't much heart for singing now, though I used to be a grand one at it before—— '

He stopped, and they went on in silence.

'Dear Jack,' said Estelle, earnestly, as they came out of the gorge on to the beach, 'when I am quite big and old, you will let me help you to be happy again, won't you? Perhaps I shall be able to put all your unhappiness away then, and Goody's too.

Jack shook his head with a sigh.

'There are some things which can never be done away with,' he said, sadly. 'We cannot undo them, and their consequences will last as long as we live. Happy for us if they don't drag us down for ever. But thank you all the same, little Missie, for it's your kind heart that makes you wish it.'

(Continued on page 234.)[Pg 232]

"Jack took Estelle in his arms and made his way to the cave." "Jack took Estelle in his arms and made his way to the cave."

[Pg 233]

"'Don't go—don't go!'" "'Don't go—don't go!'"

[Pg 234]


(Continued from page 231.)


'Goody,' said Estelle, as they sat round the blazing logs, 'why did Madame Bricolin call Jack the Giant of the Hospice de la Providence? I don't think it half so nice a name as the Giant of the Treasure Caves. There is something romantic, like a fairy story, in a treasure cave. Don't you think so, Jack?'

The sailor was standing up to separate the nets he was about to mend. They lay in a tangled heap at his feet, and it looked to Estelle as if he would never have room enough to spread them out, large as the kitchen was. Yet he must do so if he wanted to find the torn places. No such difficulty presented itself to Jack's mind, however. He laughed as he drew himself up to his full height of six feet seven inches.

'I haven't read many fairy stories, Missie,' he said; 'but treasure caves, such as ours, don't figure in them, I fancy. Our treasure is mostly smugglers' stuff. Some day I will take you to see them, and some of them will astonish you.'

'Oh, yes. Do take me. I love caves. I know of some—— ' She stopped, hesitating. 'I am sure I do—but where? Did we go to some once?'

'Only those we went to to-day.'

'And they are the treasure caves?'

'Yes; but the real thing is below, where you have not yet grown strong enough to go.'

Little did he guess under what circumstances he would show her that mysterious cave, the entrance to which was his secret.

'But,' went on Estelle, 'you have not told me why Madame Bricolin calls you a giant—— '

'I suppose,' answered his mother, with a glance of pride at her tall son, 'anybody would call him a big man. Even in England he would not be thought small.' Mrs. Wright laughed. 'And in France, where the men are mostly short—no height at all, to speak of—why, he is a mighty man! So Mère Bricolin calls him a giant.'

'He is a giant,' said Estelle, looking at Jack, admiringly. 'But why of the Hospice de la Providence?'

'Because we live in the Hospice, dearie. It does seem more natural to call a man by the house he lives in.'

'Was this ever a hospital?' exclaimed Estelle, in surprise. She did not like the idea at all.

'It was some years ago,' said Jack, his foot in the twine, his needle ready to begin work. 'You wouldn't think it, would you? It is a vast deal more cosy and comfortable now than it ever was then.'

'How sick people were ever got up here I can't imagine,' observed Mrs. Wright, knitting vigorously. 'I know I'm never too ready to trudge up and down that steep path, and I'm a deal better than many of them poor folk were.'

'A bit lazy, eh, Mother?' replied Jack, smiling. 'We were glad enough of this shelter when we first came.'

'So we were, my son,' said Mrs. Wright, heartily; 'and I for one am not grumbling over what should be a blessing. You and I am very happy here, and it's solid, which some of the houses in Tout-Petit are not. We can't have our roof blown off,' she added with a laugh.

'There wasn't a decent house to be had then, nor is there-now,' went on Jack. 'The empty ones were all tumbling to pieces, and in such a state of dirt that when the landlord offered this to Mother we jumped at it. It is damp, year in year out. We always have fires burning in the rooms we use. But what of that? It is cheerful, and we must have some draw-back wherever we are. But, Missie, this is only a very, very small part of the old Hospice, just the driest corner. The caves and passages run the whole length of our terrace, and all the shrubs and flowers you see were planted to cheer up the sick people.'

'Yes,' said Mrs. Wright, 'they used to sit on this terrace, as well as take their exercise here. You have seen how sunny and bright it is. But it is very different in the rooms they lived in. They are very gloomy, damp, and get no sun at all. They have no windows, and only a glimmer of light comes through the door.'

'And that was all the air they got, too,' added Jack. 'You shall come and see them one day, if you like, Missie. It isn't cheerful, but it is interesting. For more than twenty years these places have never been used at all, so we had no difficulty in getting the landlord to let us make changes. It just suited us, and we were allowed to do as we liked. So, you see, we have windows and doors; we have a fireplace in each of the rooms we inhabit, and shafts to the top of the cliff, which act as chimneys. So we are pretty comfortable, on the whole.'

'But,' said Estelle, drawing nearer to Mrs. Wright, 'isn't it dreadful to have those long, gloomy places so near you? Did any of those poor sick people die, and are they buried here, too?'

'They are not buried here,' replied Mrs. Wright. 'Why should they be? There's the churchyard in the village. But the new hospital is in a far healthier place than this, and better for everybody.'

This conversation made a deeper impression upon Estelle than even the Treasure Caves had done. She was very silent, and all Jack's efforts to rouse her met with but little success.

'You are going out to fish to-night?' she asked, her eyes wide open with a nameless terror.

They had risen from the supper-table. Mrs. Wright washed up and put away the china, and Jack had gone to prepare for the night's work. His appearance in his oilskins seem to put the finishing touch to the child's misery. He was going away all night. She and Goody would be quite alone—quite alone, with all those dreadful rooms where the sick and dying had lived; those gloomy, chill, sunless abodes for the suffering. Her mind, sensitive and imaginative, shrank with horror from the picture presented to her by her active brain.

'Don't go!—don't go!' she cried, clinging to the sailor's arm, as he stooped to gather his nets and other necessaries together.

He looked at her in astonishment. She was trembling from head to foot, while she clasped and unclasped her hands on his arm.

'My dearie, my dearie, what is it?' cried Goody, as surprised as was her son. She was frightened at the excitement the little girl displayed. 'Nothing shall hurt you, dearie. Jack is going only for one night. He will be back in the morning.'

'No, no, he must not go!' almost screamed Estelle, beside herself with despair because he did not at once yield to her entreaties. 'He can't leave us all alone.'

'She will be ill again,' sighed Mrs. Wright, her kind old face puckered with anxiety. 'What has terrified her so?'

'Missie,' said Jack, firmly, 'nothing can be done while you go on like that. Be quiet, or you will be ill. Don't you hear what the mother says? She will be with you all night, and what more do you want?'

He unloosed her fingers from his arm, and, holding her hands, told her she must be calm before they could listen to a word she said. He would not even let his mother caress her, fearing the child would be still more unnerved by any display of tenderness at this juncture. Mrs. Wright, however, hurried off to fetch some cordial in which she had firm belief, and which she felt sure would restore Estelle after her fright.

(Continued on page 246.)


N Fairy-land, long years ago,
There lived a tiny Elf,
Who studied hard from morn till eve,
Just to amuse himself.

His copy-books he never soiled—
I know it for a fact—
Nor was he ever known, to do
A single naughty act.

And if there came to him a chance
Of fishing in the pool,
He'd shake his head and say, 'No, thanks;
I'd rather be in school.'

The 'tuck-shop' he could freely pass,
With ne'er a backward look,
Because his little eyes were glued
Upon his lesson-book.

But if my tale seems strange to you,
I'd have you understand
An Elf like this is seldom found,
Except in Fairy-land.


Gilpin, who wrote a pleasant book on forest scenery, especially about the New Forest, tells his readers the curious story of the groaning tree at Baddesley, one of the small villages. Under the influence of the wind, trees often creak, or crack, and they may sometimes whistle, but 'groaning' is very unusual, and hence the surprise this tree caused[Pg 235] many years ago. Very likely, if there was such a tree anywhere now, the railway would run excursion trains for people to visit it. Even at that time many persons came from long distances to hear this natural marvel.

The tree was discovered by a cottager, whose wife was ill in bed. She was much frightened by a peculiar moaning sound that seemed to come from some one in dreadful pain; and she asked her husband what it was. He told her that he thought the noise arose from the stags in the forest, but the neighbours also heard it, and found that it came from an elm-tree, young and apparently vigorous, at the end of the cottage garden. The villagers were greatly alarmed. Several naturalists came to see the tree, but they could not explain the noise. News of this strange tree spread, and many people travelled a long way to hear it. Some members of the Royal Family, who were staying on the coast not far off, paid it a visit. A little book was actually written about the groaning tree.

Some people said the noise came from the twisting of the roots, and others that there was water or air in the wood of the tree which could not get free. The noise seemed to come from the roots, and people fancied it groaned least when the weather was wet, and made most noise in dry weather. This went on for nearly two years, until at last a meddlesome gentleman took an opportunity to bore a hole in the trunk. The result was that the elm ceased to groan. It was then decided to take the tree up by the roots and examine it; but nothing has ever been discovered to account for the noise.


Thirteen men once agreed to meet at a fixed place and at a certain hour. At the appointed hour they all appeared except one. He was five minutes late. When he arrived, one of the others said, 'You have caused us to lose an hour.'

Looking at his watch, the man who was late said: 'No, only five minutes.'

The other replied: 'There are twelve of us waiting on you, and twelve times five minutes make sixty minutes. So we have lost an hour.'



Nature is full of surprises, and the greatest of these almost always arise out of the most commonplace looking objects. No more striking instance of this can be found than that furnished by the story of the Jelly-fish. Most, if not all, of my readers have met with this creature, either in the shape of a lifeless lump of clear jelly lying on the sand by the sea-shore, or gracefully swimming in the summer sea, a thing of beauty indeed, yet not to be treated too familiarly. If it could but speak, what a strange tale it would have to tell! But Nature has imposed silence on most of her children, which is after all a good thing for us, for[Pg 236] this very silence makes us anxious to discover for ourselves the wondrous lessons which she has to teach, whereby we learn that these humbler creatures, like ourselves, find the world a stern reality, to be faced bravely: and the sooner we realise this the better and more useful lives we ourselves shall lead.

Fig. 1.—Some "Animal-Trees."
Pennaria Coraline.Lobster-horn Coraline.Eight-footed Jelly-fish.Podded Coraline.

But to our story. You must allow me to tell this in my own way, which I shall do by asking you to go to the nearest pond, get a bottle full of water and weeds, and stand it in the light for an hour or so. Then look carefully on the side of the bottle next the light for some tiny little creatures about half an inch long, with slender stalked bodies, attached by one end to the glass, and provided at the other by long, very delicate, slowly-moving arms: you must seek, in short, for a creature such as that shown in the picture as if seen under the microscope, sticking to a piece of weed (fig. 2). At the top end of the stalk is the mouth, and if you watch carefully you may be fortunate enough to see the long arms catch a water-flea, and carry it towards the mouth. This creature is known as the hydra. In some cases you will see two or even three of these creatures all attached to the same stalk, and if you watch every day, you will at last find that sooner or later this partnership is dissolved, so that the branched hydra has split up into a number of separate individuals—just as many as there were branches.

Hydra Fig. 2.

Now, the fresh-water hydra has some very near relatives which live in the sea, and these fashion their lives on very different lines. In the first place, they, like the hydra, start as single individuals, but sooner or later develop little buds which grow out into arm-bearing creatures exactly like themselves; but these, instead of breaking off as in the hydra, remain fixed and themselves produce branches, which again branch, and so on, until, as you will readily see, in a very short time a colony of animals is produced which bears a remarkable resemblance to a little tree! Such for example as you will see in fig. 4, growing upside down!

You will have noticed that the fresh-water hydra had a wonderfully elastic body, so that when frightened, as by a tap on the bottle, it suddenly pulls itself down into a mere speck of jelly (fig. 2). This feat its sea-dwelling cousins cannot perform, since, frail as they are, some support became necessary when they took to the tree-like habit of growth, and this support is found by encasing the whole body and its branches in an outer coat of a horny, transparent character, with a hole at the top of each branch expanded to form a cup to guard the long arms. So then, when alarmed, all they can do is to draw down the arms into the cup. In the illustration (fig. 5) you will see a branch of one of these colonies as it appears when highly magnified. Some of the animals you will note are fully expanded, while others have partly withdrawn themselves into their cups, which are here very small, though in some species they are quite large. A little closer study of this magnified portion of a branch will show you, here and there, little bud-like bodies like unopened flower buds, attached by a short stalk. One of these you will notice is more developed, and resembles a tree ('jelly-fish,' in fig. 5). If you could only watch it in the living colony you would find that one fine day it broke off from its stalk, and sailed away—jelly-fish, such as you see in fig. 3.

Jelly-fish after leaving the Colony Fig. 3

Probably all of you have found the empty shells of these wonderful animal-trees dozens and dozens of times on the beach, and many of you will find them in your collections of sea-weeds brought home as treasures to remind you of the summer holidays. The so-called sea-fir is all that is left of such a colony: the little tree-like tufts which you doubtless found attached to rocks and stones represent other forms. Of course, some of your sea-weeds are really what they appear to be—that is to say, they are true plants; but those of which I speak now, though they have a superficial resemblance to plants, are really animals. In fig. 1 you will see some of the commoner forms of these strange animals as they appear in life.

These colonies furnish us with an interesting illustration of the division of labour, for, as you see,[Pg 237] they are formed of two very distinct kinds of individuals. The most numerous of these, those with the long arms, have to capture and digest the food for the whole community, including the little buds and bell-like individuals, for they are mouthless. Their life of work begins, however, after they blossom into jelly-fish, and they have a very important duty to perform. With the great wide sea for a playground, they wander for a time at will, warmed by the glorious sun, feeding on the delicious meats to be found at the surface, for which their humble sisters at home must stretch their arms in vain. And so they wander, far from the place which gave them birth, growing bigger and stronger, finally fulfilling the task which they were sent out to perform—the production of eggs from which new colonies are to be started. These eggs grow into a little slipper-shaped creature which swims by means of the rapid waving motion of hair-like elastic rods which cover the whole body. At last, tired out, it settles down, grows into an animal resembling its cousins of the fresh water, and then starts branching out to form a colony like that from which it started.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Hydra Colony. Fig. 4.Branch of Hydra Colony Highly Magnified Fig. 5.

This device of fixed and stay-at-home workers and wandering egg-layers is of the greatest use to the species, as a little reflection will show. If the eggs dropped to the ground and hatched all around the parent colony the neighbourhood would soon become like some human cities—overcrowded, and overcrowding means starvation and disease; but by sending off individuals specially charged with the founding of new colonies on new territory, all these troubles are avoided.

W. P. Pycraft, F.Z.S., A.L.S.


'Now' is the syllable ticking from the clock of Time. 'Now' is the watchword of the wise. 'Now' is on the banner of the prudent. Whenever anything presents itself to us in the shape of work, whether mental or bodily, we should do it with all our might, remembering that 'now' is the only time for us. It is a sorry way to get through the world by putting off till to-morrow, saying, 'Then' I will do it. 'Now' is ours; 'Then' we may never have.[Pg 238]


When General Gordon first went to the Soudan, he found that the native chiefs knew nothing about money or its use. All the European traders who had visited the country up to that time had paid the chiefs with a handful of beads, or a few pieces of calico, for any work which they had done, and the chiefs prized the beads and calico far more than copper or silver coins.

Now, General Gordon was not quite satisfied to do merely as other people had done. He thought it was time these grown-up children learned to buy and sell with the help of money. But, as the people themselves wanted none of his money, he was puzzled how to teach them the use of it.

At length he hit upon a rather clever plan. He made a number of little piles or lots of beads, wire, and other things which they valued, and which they usually received as the pay for their labours. But, when pay day arrived, he gave to each man a small coin, equal to an English penny in value. When each man had received his pay, General Gordon, playing at keeping shop, offered to exchange one of his piles of beads or wire for each coin. The men soon saw what was wanted, and thus learned the use of money. Then Gordon put before them other things of greater value, and told them how many coins he would take for each. When the men saw what things were to be bought by saving up a few coins, they refused to buy any more beads. 'No,' they said, 'we will keep the money till we get more, and can buy more expensive things.'


Probably the readers of Chatterbox, when they have been along the sea-shore as the tide was running out, have noticed a spar, or some other fragment of wood, which the waves threw up, dotted over with a number of odd-looking shells. This cluster was most likely made up of barnacles, of some sort or other—in fact, a family party.

Some people think barnacles resemble crabs more than they do fishes; they go through changes, and while young possess no shells. After they have grown to be of some size, they leave the parent barnacles, and swim off, to start colonies elsewhere. The larva has twelve legs or arms, large compound eyes, and suckers enabling it to cling firmly. When of full growth, the barnacle's grip is so strong that it is very difficult to pull it from its hold. Some of the South American barnacles are sought after as a delicacy, having the flavour of a nice crab. One kind of barnacle is shaped rather like an acorn.

The soft part of the common species of barnacle, which occurs along our coast, rather resembles a small bird, and hence arose a curious fancy or fable, some centuries ago. It was believed by many persons whose common sense might have taught them better, that the barnacle was transformed into a bird by a sort of miracle, and the particulars were recorded exactly. People said they had seen it themselves, and others declared they had touched little birds which were found inside shells. Some described larger ones, but, whether large or small, they called them all barnacle geese, probably because they were plump, and tempting to eat, if they could be caught at the proper time.

One of the strangest things in this old story about shells producing geese was, that several writers described the shells as growing upon the branches of live trees near water. This would be convenient for the newly hatched geese, because when they were hatched, they could drop into the water beneath, and swim about. A picture exists, drawn by an old artist, showing the birds hanging by their beaks, just ready to fall, the wings small and not opened out. Of course, barnacles and similar creatures are not found on trees away from the ocean.

Gerard, who wrote a famous book on plants, called the Herbal, was a good observer, and yet he believed in the barnacle geese. People living on the coast of Lancashire told him all about them. Upon old and decayed timbers, so he writes, are found shells like mussels, but whitish and sharp-pointed; the inside of them is soft, like silk lace, but by degrees this takes the form of a bird, which when grown is larger than a duck, and smaller than a goose. 'Those who have seen such birds,' he adds, 'tell me they are black and white, spotted as magpies are, with a black bill and legs.' According to others, the barnacle geese could both run and fly. Whatever were the birds they saw, or fancied they saw, it is certain they were not hatched in the way described.


Do you remember learning to count? I dare say not. But I am pretty sure you learnt to count on your fingers, or perhaps you were given bright counters or shells to use instead.

Savages learn to count in just the same ways; most of them use their fingers, and so they learn to count by tens as we do, and some of them give their numbers very funny names. The Indians on the Orinoco call five 'one hand' and ten 'two hands.' But they use their feet as well and call fifteen 'whole foot,' 'sixteen,' 'one to the other foot,' and twenty 'one man.' This plan becomes very complicated with higher figures, for twenty-one is 'one to the hand of the next man.'

The African savages count in much the same way. The Zulu for six, is 'tatisitupa,' which means 'taking the thumb,' that is, the man who is counting has used the five fingers of one hand, and is beginning to use the second hand, starting at the thumb.

Some races use the joints of the finger instead of the fingers themselves, and they are very badly off, for they can only count up to three.

Some Australian tribes count thus—one, two, two-one, two-two, and can go no further. Other races have only three words, 'one,' 'two,' 'a great many.'

But savages sometimes use other things for counting than fingers or joints. Our own word 'calculate' means 'working with pebbles.' One African tribe calls forty 'ogodze,' which means 'string,' because they use cowrie-shells strung together by forties for counting. Their name for hundred is 'yha,' which means 'heap'—that is, a heap of cowries.


Billikins' father was a soldier, and Billikins' father had to go to war.

Billikins wondered why Mother looked so worn and sad, and why Daddy hugged and kissed him very much, one night, as he was going to bed; and why Father's face felt wet. The next morning, when he came to breakfast, no Father was there—only Mother, with tear-swollen eyes, who tried to smile at Billikins, and could not. He felt in his tender little heart that something was wrong, and so he just climbed on Mother's lap, and put both his arms round her neck. Mother pressed him tightly to her heart.

'Oh, little Billikins!' she said. 'Father's little Billikins!'

'Where's Father?' asked Billikins.

Mother began to cry bitterly. 'Father has gone away for a long, long time,' she said, as soon as she could speak.

'Has he gone to the war?' asked Billikins, in an awed voice.

'Yes, dear, to the war. It is very wrong of me to be so silly. I'm a soldier's wife, and I ought not to grudge my husband to his country. And remember, Billikins, you are a soldier's son—always remember that. You must never run away from a danger; you must face it. A soldier's son must be a brave man.'

'I shall not forget, Mother,' said Billikins.

Mother set him gently on the ground, dried her eyes, and began to bustle about.

'And a soldier's wife must be brave, too,' she said to herself.

For many, many weeks after that Billikins and his mother were very anxious, though Billikins tried his best to be cheerful, and not let Mother see that he felt sad. News came to them—sometimes, good news, and then Mother brightened.

At last, one happy day, they heard that the war was over.

'Father will be home soon,' said Billikins, joyfully.

'Yes, dear, thank Heaven, very soon now,' said Mother, and kissed him fervently.

As the time passed Mother grew more and more cheerful. The ship that was bringing Father home would soon be due.

'Billikins, do you think you can stay here alone, dear, while I go out and do a bit of shopping?' Mother asked one evening, and Billikins answered, 'Yes, Mother; I will be good while you are gone.'

Mother put on her bonnet and cape, took a basket, and sallied forth. Left alone, Billikins sat at the window, and gazed out at the busy street. There was a great deal of noise going on overhead. The Jones children, who lived in the 'flat' above, were always rather noisy. Billikins had seen Mrs. Jones go out with a basket some time ago, so he knew that they were all alone. Suddenly there was a great crash, a sound of breaking glass, and then wild screams of distress, which seemed to come from upstairs.

Billikins rushed out.[Pg 239]

Two Jones children were flying wildly downstairs, while a third followed more slowly, crying and sobbing.

'What is the matter?' asked Billikins.

'Oh, oh, we have upset the lamp!' sobbed little Lizzie Jones. 'The rooms is on fire, it's all ablaze! What shall I do? What shall I do? I am so frightened!'

'Where's the baby?' gasped Billikins. He knew there was a Jones baby—a new and tiny one.

'Oh, I don't know! I don't know!' sobbed Lizzie. 'In the cradle, I think.'

Billikins simply tore upstairs. A great puff of smoke came out on the landing from the Jones's door, and nearly choked him. For an instant he hesitated; then he seemed to hear his mother's voice——

'Remember, Billikins, you are a soldier's son; you must never run away from danger, always face it.'

He rushed across the room, half-blinded by smoke, feeling the flames scorch him, he reached the cradle. The baby was in it. Already the flames were beginning to lick the sides. With a strong effort he lifted the baby, feeling the flames scorch his arms as he did so. Oh, the heat and the smoke that were stifling him! Would he ever reach the door? He staggered, and nearly fell.

'A soldier's son, a soldier's son,' seemed to ring in his ears. He staggered forward and reached the landing, to be caught in the arms of a splendid man in a brass helmet. And then all grew dark, and he knew no more.

When he woke he was lying on a strange bed, in a strange place; his head was bandaged all over the top, and his arms were all bandaged, too. He felt very weak.

'Where—am—I?' he said, feebly, and some one, in a white cap and a large white apron, came to the bedside and bent over him. 'Where—is—Mother?' said Billikins. 'And—who—are—you?'

'Mother will be here soon, and I am Nurse Katherine,' said a sweet voice, and a soft, cool hand was laid on Billikins' forehead.

He smiled gratefully, and then from sheer exhaustion he fell asleep.

When he woke again Mother was sitting by the bed, talking to Nurse Katherine.

'Yes, going on nicely,' he heard Nurse say. And—and—who was that sitting by the other side of the bed? A tall, bearded figure——

'Father!' cried Billikins, joyfully.

'My brave, brave boy!' said Father, and his voice was not quite steady. 'My own son! To think how nearly I lost him!'

Then remembrance came to Billikins. 'The baby?' he managed to say.

'The baby is safe, darling,' said Mother, from her side of the bed. 'Thanks to my brave little Billikins, who risked his life to go and fetch it.'

Billikins smiled feebly.

'I—was not—brave,' he said; 'I—only remembered—what you told me, that—I was—a—soldier's son.'

And he was so tired that he only wondered faintly why Father made a funny sound in his throat, as if he were choking, and why Nurse Katherine wiped her eyes.[Pg 240]

"He staggered forward and reached the landing." "He staggered forward and reached the landing."

[Pg 241]

"Lieutenant Fegan led a gallant resistance." "Lieutenant Fegan led a gallant resistance."

[Pg 242]



LEAVE the work with you,' said Livingstone in the Senate House at Cambridge, after speaking in burning words of the needs of Africa. He went back himself to the land from which he returned only to his grave in Westminster Abbey, and around the slab in the nave which bears his name, we read his words to those who should take up the work he left them: 'May Heaven's rich blessing come down on every one, American, English, Turk, who will help to heal this open sore of the world.'

The 'open sore' was the traffic carried on in those days, without let or hindrance, in the great slave-market of Zanzibar. The crowds of men, women, and children who were paraded up and down, examined, and bargained for, and then taken across to the clove plantations in Pemba, or kept as domestic slaves in Zanzibar, were brought from the interior by the Arabs, the great slave-dealers of East Africa. Sometimes a native village had been attacked and set on fire, some of the inhabitants shot down among their blazing huts, and the rest carried off. Sometimes the Arabs would settle for some time in a neighbourhood for elephant-hunting, and, when they had secured as much ivory as they required, would stir up a quarrel between two villages and offer their powerful aid to one side or the other, on condition of receiving all the prisoners in payment. Then came the horrible journey to the coast. The luckless slaves were yoked in gangs, often with their necks fastened into forked sticks. The sick or feeble, unable to keep up with the rest, were either killed or left to the mercy of wild beasts. Babies, whose mothers were hindered by their weight, were flung aside upon the terrible track. Those who reached the coast alive were packed in the hold of a slave-dhow, and, after enduring untold miseries upon the voyage, were sold in the market of Zanzibar. No wonder that the sight of such things as these roused the loving heart of Livingstone to a white heat of indignation, and sent him home to infect his countrymen with his own anger.

For some time the conscience of Christian Europe had been awakening to the duty of putting an end to these horrors, and, as in the case of the pirates of Algiers, it was England who first played the part of policeman. Early in 1873, Sir Bartle Frere was sent to Zanzibar to confer with the Sultan, Seyid Barghash, on the suppression of the slave-trade, and, a few months later, he was followed by six English men-of-war, reinforced by two French and one American ship. The effect of these nine good arguments for reform was that, on June 6th, 1873, a treaty was signed, by which the slave-traffic was abolished and the Zanzibar market closed for ever.

For years after that, however, the Arab dealers managed from time to time to evade the law, and to ship their cargo of miserable human beings, kidnapped from their homes on the mainland, from Zanzibar and Pemba. Therefore, there was plenty of work for the officers and men of H.M.S. London, appointed to watch the coast for slavers, and with authority to search suspected vessels. Many were the exciting chases and triumphant rescues made by the English sailors; many, too, the disappointments when the dhow proved to be empty, the slaves having been hastily smuggled on shore and hidden among the undergrowth till the search was over. As a rule the Arabs, though expert in tricks and shifts, did not offer armed resistance, but now and again they showed fight, and the rescue of their captives cost the life of more than one brave Englishman.

In 1881 the gallant Captain Brownrigg was killed in a struggle with an Arab slaver, owing chiefly to his own punctilious respect for the French flag under which the dhow was sailing. Not wishing to begin hostilities, he came alongside the Arab without arming his men, who were powerless to make any resistance when boarded by the enemy. The Captain, who wore his sword, kept up a gallant fight single-handed, even killing one man with his telescope before he fell at last bleeding from twenty wounds.

Six years later a pinnace from H.M.S. Turquoise, with Lieutenant Fegan in command, was watching the creeks and bays running up into the coast of Pemba Island. At daybreak one May morning, a dhow was seen making for an opening known as Fungal Gap, and the dinghy, or small boat, with three men, was sent to hail her. The dhow replied by a volley, and, as Lieutenant Fegan turned his nine-pounder gun upon her, she left the small boat and bore down upon the pinnace. The Arab crew numbered twenty desperate men armed with swords and rifles; the Englishmen were ten, of whom three were in the dinghy, but Lieutenant Fegan, shouting to his lads to stand firm, led a gallant resistance to the fierce, dark-faced men who sprang upon the deck as the two boats crashed together. Two men he shot down, and ran another through with his cutlass before he received a severe wound, disabling his sword-arm. Only the timely help of a sailor, who cut down his opponent, saved him from being killed outright. The dhow, finding the pinnace a tougher vessel than she had anticipated, tried to escape, but the English, though four of their number were wounded, at once gave chase, and were presently reinforced by the men in the dinghy.

Some of the Pemba Arabs, hearing the shots, came down to the shore and fired upon the pinnace, but the gallant vessel held on to her prize until the dhow foundered at last in shallow water and capsized, the crew jumping into the sea and trying to save themselves by swimming. Their well-wishers on the shore were soon dispersed by the English fire, and those of the crew who were not utterly disabled by their wounds, turned to the task of rescuing the living cargo of the dhow. The wretched slaves, crowded together in the hold and terrified by the firing, saw the kindly faces of the English sailors looking down upon them, and learnt by degrees that they were safe and among friends.

It was ten days before a doctor could be had to attend to the wounded; one man died, but the gallant fight had won freedom for fifty-two slaves, and in many cases not only freedom, but teaching and training such as they would never have had but for their short, bitter experience of captivity and the rescue that had ended it. The Universities' Mission was the direct result of Livingstone's appeal to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; it offered to take charge of slave children released in Zanzibar, and in the girls' school at Mbweni, the Boys' Home at Kilmani, and the College for elder lads at Kiungani, a new generation was growing up of children saved from degradation and misery for a happy, useful Christian life.

And the most striking sign of the change that has been worked, is the scene which now meets the eye of the visitor to Zanzibar when he seeks the site of the old slave-market. The ground was bought by a member of the Universities' Mission, and upon the spot once given over to injustice and cruelty arose the stately Cathedral of Zanzibar: a church full of memories, where Bishop Steere was master-builder, watching over the mixing of the mortar and the laying of the stones, studying brick-making in England that he might put it into practice in East Africa. It was he who suggested the material for the roof—pounded coral, of which the island of Zanzibar actually consists, mixed with Portland cement and forming a solid arch across the church.

'It is supported by charms until the opening day,' said the Arabs; 'then it will fall and crush the Christians.' But the roof of Zanzibar Cathedral stands sure and firm after twenty-six years, and on the opening day, Christmas 1879, the hymns, 'Hark, the herald angels sing,' and 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night,' were sung in the native tongue on the spot where men had bought and sold their brethren, and as the 'up-and-down music' of chiming bells greets the traveller from the Cathedral tower, it will bring to his mind many a brave name among clergy, teachers, sailors and statesmen who took their part in 'healing the open sore of the world.'

Mary H. Debenham.


The late Archduke Joseph of Austria was fond of telling a story of how he bad been saved from disaster by a gipsy soldier.

It happened during the war with Prussia, in 1866, when the camp was pitched near a Bohemian village. A little before dawn the Duke was awakened by the sentry's challenge, 'Halt! who goes there?' and directly afterwards an adjutant came in to say that a gipsy was outside, and insisting on speaking to him in private.

The gipsy was a soldier, and on his being admitted, the Archduke asked him what he had to say.

'The enemy is stealing on us, and wishes to surprise us,' was the man's answer.

'But the outposts have seen nothing suspicious,' said the Archduke.[Pg 243]

'No, your Highness,' said the gipsy, 'because the enemy is still far off; but he will soon be here, and then we are undone.'

'Well! but how do you know this?'

'Will your Highness step to the window?' said the soldier respectfully. 'Do you see the number of birds flying out of the woods to the south?'

'I see them—but what then?' said the Duke.

'What then?' repeated the gipsy, looking full at the Archduke; 'do not birds sleep at night as well as men? They would not be on the wing if there was peace in the forest. The enemy is certainly coming through the woods, and that is what has scared the birds.'

So the Archduke gave orders to strengthen the outposts and to rouse the camp, and when the foe arrived, they found—not a sleeping camp, as they had expected, but an enemy well prepared to give them a warm welcome.

The camp had been saved by the intelligence of the gipsy soldier.


ALM and still the waves are lapping,
Silvered by the moon's pale light,
As the noble ship glides onward
In the silence of the night;
While the exile, home returning,
Dreaming of his heart's desire,
Starts from slumber, rudely wakened
By the dreadful cry of 'Fire!'

In the smoke and din and turmoil,
There the captain takes his stand;
'First the women and the children,'
Clearly rings his stern command.
Boats are manned, and strong arms rowing,
Bring them safely to the shore,
Where kind hands are stretched to greet them,
Safe from danger, home once more!

 "Fire!" "Fire!"



HE mouth of the Forth has very nearly bitten Scotland in two, and anybody who wishes to travel from Edinburgh to Dunfermline would have to go a long way round if they objected to crossing the river. Formerly a great many people did object to this, because they knew that, although the voyage was only about a short mile, the great billows from the North Sea would meet them before it was over, and give them a very unpleasant time. So everybody who had anything to do with the Forth was willing that it should be spanned by a reliable bridge, and plans for carrying this into effect were frequently[Pg 244] proposed. Indeed, arrangements were almost completed in 1879 for building a huge suspension bridge from shore to shore. The drawings were made, the estimates prepared, and the spades and trowels even beginning to work on the foundations, when, one sad December night, a terrible gale arose. All through the hours of darkness it roared and shrieked across the British Isles, working havoc upon sea and land, but, when morning came at last, few were prepared for the appalling catastrophe it had caused. Sweeping up the Firth of Tay, it had torn away a portion of the great railway bridge that crossed the inlet, and hurled it into the water. A train was passing over at the time, and plunged into the abyss with all its passengers. The terrible event shook public confidence, and we might almost say that the gale of that December night caught all the drawings and papers connected with the proposed suspension bridge over the Forth, and swept them from public favour.

Immediately afterwards, Sir John Fowler and Mr. Benjamin Baker (both celebrated engineers) came forward with an alternative plan of which no one could doubt the strength. It may perhaps be described as an arch-suspension bridge, because the design includes the strength of both styles; but engineers themselves call it a cantilever bridge.

Building the Bridge.The Forth Bridge at the Present Day.Train crossing the Bridge.

Work was begun in earnest in June, 1883, and the first passenger train crossed from shore to shore in March, 1890. At the place chosen for its erection, the river is one mile and one hundred and fifty yards wide. Nearly in the middle of the stream there is a rocky island called Inchgarvie, and on this the great striding giant would have to plant one of its[Pg 245] ponderous feet. But Inchgarvie was private property, and trespassers were likely to be prosecuted. So the stepping-stone for the giant to place its foot upon could not be laid there until the island had been bought and paid for. This being done, a huge caisson, similar to those which we have seen sunk under the piers of Brooklyn Bridge, was floated out to the island, and there lowered on to the rock under[Pg 246] water, and firmly bedded. It was followed by three others, forming, as it were, the four corners of an oblong, which is two hundred and seventy feet long and one hundred and twenty wide. Eight more caissons were built, four for each side of the river, and these were sunk on to beds of firm clay, some of them being as much as seventy feet below the surface of the water. On each caisson a stone pier was built to take the iron columns of the main structure, and thus we see the bridge was to cross the mile-wide river in three strides. Starting from the southern shore at Queensferry, the first group of four stepping-stones lie six hundred and eighty feet away. Then comes a leap of one thousand seven hundred feet to the four on the island of Inchgarvie, followed by a similar bound to the four near the northern bank, and then a half-stride again of six hundred and eighty feet to land.

The three sets of caissons once being in their places, and the stone piers built on top of them, people at last began to see the beginning of the Forth Bridge. From each of the four piers in each group there slowly rose a huge steel tubular column, twelve feet in diameter, each pair leaning inwards, so that though at their bottoms they stood one hundred and twenty feet away from the pair on the opposite side (that being the width of the base of the bridge), the head of both pairs were only separated by a distance of thirty-three feet. This was done to afford greater resistance to the wind. Each group of four columns forms what are called the towers, and rises to a height of three hundred and thirty feet. They are firmly braced together by tie-girders and cross tubes nearly as large as themselves. They were erected section by section, rivets and hammers being used instead of trowel and mortar. Scarcely were their summits united when, from their feet, there began to spring on either side the great tubes forming the lower part of the arch. In the cantilever construction, the bridge grows right and left from its piers at the same moment, because balance must be maintained. As the lower arched tubes just mentioned stretched further over the water, sloping girders started downward from the tower top to meet them, and they were soon connected by lighter cross-ties. Tubes were used for the arch because they are best suited to bear the compression strain caused by a train passing over the bridge. The girder form was chosen to stretch downward from the tower top because it is better able to bear the tension or pulling strain. They together form what is called a cantilever; if you lay the letter V on its side, the open end will represent roughly the place where the arch and girders start from the tower. Thus we see how the two strengths of suspension—cable and arch are combined in the Forth Bridge.

When the sets of cantilevers from the grouped piers had grown out toward one another till they were separated by only three hundred and fifty feet, the gap was spanned by a connecting girder, the joints between it and the cantilever being sufficiently loose to allow of the expansion and contraction of the great bridge with the changes of temperature.

The two 'skeleton towers' on the north and south sides of the river are not so wide as the one on Inchgarvie, because their shoreward cantilevers are supported on strong stone buttresses, whereas the Inchgarvie cantilevers are both stretched out to the connecting girders only. The broader base helps to prevent the bridge see-sawing when a heavy train goes over it, and it is further assisted by the landward ends of the other two cantilevers being heavily loaded. This prevents them 'tipping up' when the train has crossed the first tower on its way across the river.

It is easy to understand that such a mighty work was not accomplished without great danger, and it is surely a wonder that the knowledge of this danger did not make the workmen careful. Yet frequent accidents occurred entirely through their indifference to peril.

On one occasion a company of riveters were working on a platform which was being slowly raised to the summit of one of those lofty towers. Suddenly the winch at the top, by which they were being hoisted, refused to act, and instead of looking down to ascertain the cause, the men continued to force the handle of the winch round till the toothed wheel broke. Down went the platform with its gang of workers, crashing from girder to girder, and striking other men headlong into the air, to be killed or wounded among the network of girders far below. This terrible accident caused the death of three people. A constant source of mishap was the thoughtless dropping of tools from great heights, and no appeals would induce the men to lay their implements down instead of throwing them from them as soon as done with. The authorities themselves did all they could to preserve the health of their men. Warm clothing was supplied to them, and even warm food and shelter were to be found on the summits of those windy towers, and out on the ends of the cantilevers over the icy river. Portable stoves in small kitchens were built in the most precarious positions, and a man could dine there as comfortably on a stormy day as in his own home.

Those who are fond of figures will be interested to learn that this enormous structure weighs fifty-one thousand tons, and is held together by nearly seven million rivets. It cost three million pounds, almost enough, one would think, to cast the stepping stones on which it rests in solid gold.


(Continued from page 235.)

On her return, Mrs. Wright found Estelle calmer; still very shaky, and with tears but half dried, but ready to listen to reason. Jack was assuring her there was nothing to be afraid of: that nothing could or would happen to her in his absence. The cavern passages and chambers were absolutely empty, and securely shut up by doors and iron gates. It was foolish to be so frightened about mere fancies.

Mrs. Wright gave her some of the cordial, and said she had better come to bed. She would soon forget her terrors in a sound, healthy sleep, and in the morning Goody would take her down to watch the boats come in, and Jack along with them. She should see all the beautiful fish they brought, and choose what she liked for their supper.

Estelle made no reply. She stood leaning against Goody, but her eyes were fixed with the same terror on Jack, as when he gathered up his things, and prepared to start.

'You are really going?' she began, her voice quivering, and the tears welling up again.

'Hush, my dear,' said Mrs. Wright, holding her tight in her motherly arms. 'I'll take right good care of you.'

'That she will,' said Jack, heartily.

Embracing his mother, and with a touch of his hand on Estelle's head, he smiled down into her tearful eyes, and was gone.

Great indeed was the blank he left behind him! Knowing from sad experience the perils of the toilers of the sea, Mrs. Wright never saw her son depart without anxiety and dread; and to-night, as if to make matters worse, the rain was coming down heavily, and the sighing of the wind was not promising. But it did no good to stop and think, and there was plenty to do.

'Come, dear,' she said, choking down the lump in her throat, 'it won't do to sit down and mope. That's not the way to bear our sorrows. You must think your fears are nothing to matter, with me here to defend you. Come along to bed now. That's the first thing to think about.'

Estelle obeyed, only begging Goody not to leave her.

Nevertheless, the evening's excitement left its trace. Estelle tossed about some time before she could get any sleep, and when at last she fell into a feverish doze, her dreams were distressing. She was back again in the long passage of the ruined summer-house. Behind her was the closed door, all around her fell the earth and stones from the roof, while the continual drip of water filled her ears. She was quite alone—every one had forgotten her—no, no! she heard footsteps running. The bay of mastiffs came near; they were on the track of two men, of Thomas (though she could not remember his name); and she was in front, her feet too heavy to run, the way too long and dark for any hope of escape. She heard the ripple of the sea; and then she was in a boat, and saw herself falling, falling—the cruel water swallowing her up.

She sat up with a stifled scream.

Mrs. Wright, who was sound asleep, woke with a start, and hastening to her, made her lie down, soothing her, and assuring her it was only a nightmare.

Again Estelle sank into a sleep. She was in a large library, the room was surrounded by book-shelves, the backs of the books glistened in the ruddy firelight. All around spoke of luxury and comfort. She was sitting on the hearthrug, her head against the knee of—whom? A gentleman was stroking her hair, and she heard him say, 'It is the sweetest name on earth to me, my darling.' What name? She was sure he pronounced it, but no sound seemed to come from his lips. Weeping, she entreated, oh, if she could only hear that name![Pg 247] It was her own. She felt sure of that, but she could not tell what it was. She looked up to ask again, but the gentleman was gone. There was a sweet old lady sitting in an armchair, surrounded by four children. They had been having tea on the lawn. Before them was a wide stretch of green grass ending at the lily-pond; yellow and white blossoms dotted the calm water, and swans were pluming their wings in the summer sun. The lady was telling the children a story—something sad, something that contained a great lesson, and Estelle tried with all her might to hear what that story was. It seemed quite natural that she should be there; the old lady and the children appeared to be connected with her in some close way. She tried to touch the lady to ask her name, but she could not.

A sense of misery overcame her. She appealed in vain to be heard, but the old lady went on with her story, and the four children listened very gravely and sadly. Throwing herself back upon the grass, she sobbed till a voice said, 'Come, come, Missie, don't take on like that.' The lady, the children, the garden had gone, and she was in a strange place, surrounded by dirty people, men, women, and children, and still more dirty stalls of toys and sweets. Jack held her hand, and pointed out a big flaring painting on the front of a marquee, but as she looked a face peeped out from between the canvas curtains, and, terrified, she clung to Jack's hand, for it was the face of the man after whom the mastiffs had been running. He grinned recognition at her, he nodded, and, coming out of the marquee, advanced towards her.

Trembling with terror, Estelle awoke. Daylight was struggling through the window, Mrs. Wright was beginning to move about, and Estelle herself was safe and sound in her own little bed.

'Your bath will be ready in a couple of minutes, dear.'

Estelle made no answer. Hastening to her, Mrs. Wright was much disturbed to see the condition she was in. There was no getting up that day. The horrors of her dreams had exhausted her, and she lay white and wan, scarcely opening her eyes. She was able neither to talk nor to eat, only wanting to lie still, and see her dear Goody close to her.

Coming home at noon, Jack was horrified to hear the news.

'We forget how young she is, and talk too much of these caves and such things,' he said.

Towards evening, however, Estelle became better. The sense of safety, now that Jack had returned, was comforting. She would not think of that long row of empty chambers in the cliff which had once been full of the sick and dying.

A good sleep that night restored her. She was able not only to get up as usual, but accepted Jack's offer to take her with him when he went to do the marketing for his mother. The change of scene, he thought, would do her good; so would the walk in the fresh air and sunshine. Accompanying them the whole length of the terrace, Mrs. Wright stood smiling and nodding as they looked up at her at every turn of the path, till the trees hid her from their sight.

(Continued on page 254.)[Pg 248]

On the Way to the Market. On the Way to the Market.

[Pg 249]

"The bear would eat and drink in a truly dignified fashion." "The bear would eat and drink in a truly dignified fashion."

[Pg 250]


True Tales of the Year 1806.


The chief attraction of the Royal Circus, London, in the year 1806, was the clever performances of a young black bear belonging to one of the clowns—Mr. Bradbury. This bear was so tame that it had travelled from Liverpool to London with its master on the top of the coach, and had made great friends with its fellow-travellers.

After the bear had gone through its performances at the circus, its master used to reward it by taking the docile beast to a coffee-house, and here it would sit amongst the company with a tall hat on its head, and eat and drink in a truly dignified fashion.

This bear was never muzzled, for it was so gentle that the children of the neighbourhood would fearlessly romp and play with it, and it was so devoted to its master that it would follow him about like a dog.

There came a day, however, when Mr. Bradbury was suddenly summoned to Manchester, and during his absence he left the bear in charge of a man who promised to take good care of it. This promise he did not keep. The poor animal was shamefully neglected, and kept so short of food that hunger drove it at last to desperation, and one night, breaking loose from its chain, it made its way into a yard and killed a dog.

The piteous howls of the dog aroused the neighbourhood and brought several people to the spot. The first was one of the carpenters of the circus; the bear instantly pounced on him, but the man, with a sudden wrench, shook himself free,—leaving his coat behind him, however. The bear next attacked a goat, and then, seeing a boy of about thirteen amongst the crowd (for boys a hundred years ago were always foremost in a crowd, as they are to-day) the infuriated animal pursued him, overtook him, and fastened upon him from behind, with its two paws on his shoulders; and before a spectator with a gun managed to shoot the bear, the poor lad was almost scalped.

He was at once taken off to the hospital, and, in time, recovered from his injuries; but when Mr. Bradbury returned from Manchester, all that was left of his pet was the shaggy skin and a large supply of pots of bear's grease in a neighbouring hairdresser's window.


Some of our well-known trees have a long and curious history belonging to them: the Oak, Elder, and Willow are good examples, but perhaps the Ash excels all others in its remarkable history. It is a tree often found growing on a ridge or hill by itself, and therefore exposed to storms, which it withstands wonderfully. Though in former days it was held to be a sacred or lucky tree, people believed that it attracted the lightning—no doubt a solitary ash has been sometimes struck. The wood is valuable for its toughness; it seldom splinters, and will bear a greater weight than the wood of most other trees. In the olden time, the Romans made from it spears and ploughs, and the Greeks also used it for several purposes. Hop-poles are chiefly manufactured from ash saplings in England; tables and pails of ash are also fairly common.

In some years much harm is done to ash-trees by a caterpillar which bores into the wood; when full-grown, the insect turns into a handsomely spotted moth, which is called the Leopard, from its markings. To Eastern folk the ash was a notable tree, because of a legend that it was the first tree under which Adam, the father of mankind, sat. Our northern ancestors also thought much of this tree, because it would thrive in exposed places, where few others could make progress. An old woodcut shows women working along the fields, while their babies or young children were hanging in baskets upon the branches of an ash. The reason for this was that the tree had the fame of keeping off snakes, and also of protecting persons from witches. About the thorpes and granges of the old Anglo-Saxons the ash was common, the tree being sacred and a favourite. Even now we see many a group of knotted ash-trees on Hampshire hills and Devonshire moors.

About some parts of the West of England they burn ash foggots at Christmas, to keep in memory, it is said, a cold winter when King Alfred and his soldiers were marching through the country and had to warm themselves by fires of ash-wood.

Some people used to wear the flowers of the ash, commonly called 'kegs,' in their hats or coats, owing to a belief that they kept away diseases, and a medicine was prepared from them by the old herbalists. Evelyn, who lived in the seventeenth century, says that some people pickled them for salad. Search used to be made upon the twigs for a double leaf, for if one was discovered it was supposed to bring good luck to the finder. Sometimes, when a child had a painful illness, people split a pollard ash down the middle, the two parts were held back, the child was passed through the opening, and then the tree was tied up again. Ash-trees that have been cut in this way to get a cure are still to be seen here and there about the country. There are also noticeable shrew-trees, as they are called, in which a hole had been cut to receive a shrew mouse, owing to an old notion that, by being hidden there, this little animal cured the sick cows.

'If the oak is out before the ash,
'Twill be a summer of wet and splash;
But if the ash is before the oak,
'Twill be a summer of fire and smoke.'

The summer of 1903, for instance, was certainly one of 'wet and splash,' with little of the heat implied by the 'fire and smoke;' but was the oak first, then, to put forth new leaves? It is said that the two trees leafed at nearly the same time, both being backward owing to the cold spring. But there is another version of the rhyme which gives the last three words as 'souse and soak.'

Reading is the cheapest of all amusements, and the most lasting.


'Douglas, I want you.'

Douglas jumped up obediently from the kitchen floor, where he was bathing a wound in his terrier's side. He followed his father into the study, and Bully the terrier followed at his heels.

A red-faced man stood in the door, and Douglas guessed what was wrong.

'That's him,' almost shouted the visitor. Bully crept closer to Douglas' side, and bared two teeth, for it was to him the farmer alluded.

'It wasn't,' said Douglas, and his face grew as red as if it were he who was accused of some crime. 'He has been with me all the time. He has not touched anything of yours.'

'He knows, you