The Project Gutenberg EBook of Little Grandmother, by Sophie May

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Title: Little Grandmother

Author: Sophie May

Release Date: May 18, 2008 [EBook #25507]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Edwards, Josephine Paolucci and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Electrotyped and Printed at the Establishment of




(Others in preparation.)



I. George Washington, 9

II. The Sampler, 24

III. The Broken Bridge, 31

IV. The Tithing-man, 44

V. A Witch-talk, 56

VI. A Witch-fright, 67

VII. The Silk Pocket, 83

VIII. Patty's Sunday, 99

IX. Mrs. Chase's Bottle, 110

X. Master Purple, 122

XI. Little Grandfather, 134

XII. The Little Dipper, 144

XIII. Mr. Starbird's Dream, 160

XIV. Spinning, 176

XV. The Brass Kettle, 186

[Pg 9]




I believe I will tell you the story of Grandma Parlin's little childhood, as nearly as possible in the way I have heard her tell it herself to Flyaway Clifford.

Well, then, Grandma Parlin, her face full of wrinkles, lay in bed under a red and green patchwork quilt, with her day-cap on. That is, the one who was going to be Grandma Parlin some time in the far-off future.

She wouldn't have believed it of herself[Pg 10] now if you had told her. You might as well have talked to the four walls. Not that she was deaf: she had ears enough; it was only brains she lacked—being exactly six hours old, and not a day over.

This was more than seventy years ago, little reader, for she was born on New Year's day, 1800,—born in a town we will call Perseverance, among the hills in Maine, in a large, unpainted house, on the corner of two streets, in a bedroom which looked out upon the east.

Her mother, who was, of course, our little Flyaway's great grandmother, lay beside her, with a very happy face.

"Poor little lamb," said she, "you have come into this strange world just as the new century begins; but you haven't the least idea what you are undertaking!—I am going to call this baby Patience," said she[Pg 11] to the nurse; "for if she lives she will have plenty of trouble, and perhaps the name will help her bear it better."

And then the good woman lay silent a long while, and prayed in her heart that the little one might grow up in the fear of the Lord. She had breathed the same wish over her other eight children, and now for this ninth little darling what better prayer could be found?

"She's the sweetest little angel picter," said Siller Noonin, smoothing baby's dot of a nose; "I guess she's going to take after your side of the house, and grow up a regular beauty."

"We won't mind about looks, Priscilla," said Mrs. Lyman, who was remarkably handsome still. "'Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but the woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised.'"[Pg 12]

"Well, well, what a hand Mrs. Lyman is for Scripter," thought Siller, as she bustled to the fireplace, and began to stir the gruel which was boiling on the coals. Then she poured the gruel into a blue bowl, tasting it to make sure it was salted properly. Mrs. Lyman kept her eyes closed all the while, that she might not see it done, for it was not pleasant to know she must use the spoon after Priscilla.

The gruel was swallowed, Mrs. Lyman and the baby were both asleep, and the nurse had taken out her knitting, when she heard some one step into the south entry.

"I wonder who that is," thought Siller; "it's my private opinion it's somebody come to see the new baby."

She knew it was not one of the family, for the older children had all gone to school and taken their dinners, and the two little ones[Pg 13] were spending the day at their aunt Hannah's. Now it was really no particular business of Siller Noonin's who was at the door. Squire Lyman was in the "fore room," and Betsey Gould, "the help," in the kitchen. Siller was not needed to attend to callers; but when she was "out nursing" she always liked to know what was going on in every part of the house, and was often seen wandering about with her knitting in her hands.

As she stole softly out of the bedroom now, not to waken Mrs. Lyman, she heard Mr. Bosworth talking to Squire Lyman, and was just in time to catch the words,—

"The poor General! The doctors couldn't do nothing for him, and he died."

"Not our General?" cried Siller, dropping her knitting-work.[Pg 14]

"Yes, George Washington," replied the visitor, solemnly.

Siller leaned back against the open door, too much excited to notice how the cold air was rushing into the house. "General Washington! When did he die? and what was the matter of him?" gasped she. "Speak low; I wouldn't have Mrs. Lyman get hold of it for the world!"

"He died a Saturday night, the fourteenth of last month, of something like the croup, as near as I can make out," said Mr. Bosworth.

Squire Lyman shook his head sorrowfully, and put another stick of wood on the fire.

"Mrs. Noonin," said he, "will you have the goodness to shut that door?"

Siller shut the door, and walked to the fire with her apron at her eyes. "O dear, O dear, how quick the news has come! Only[Pg 15] a little over a fortnight! Here it is a Wednesday. Where was I a Saturday night a fortnight ago? O, a settin' up with old Mrs. Gould, and little did I think—Why, I never was so beat! Do you suppose the Britishers will come over and go to fighting us again? There never was such a man as General Washington! What shall we do without him?"

Siller's voice was pitched very high, but she herself supposed she was speaking just above her breath. Mr. Bosworth stamped his snowy boots on the husk mat, and was just taking out his silk handkerchief, when Siller, who knew what a frightful noise he always made blowing his nose, seized his arm and whispered,—

"Hush, we're keeping the house still? I don't know as you know we've got sick folks in the bedroom."[Pg 16]

As she spoke there was a sudden sharp tinkle of the tea-bell—Mrs. Lyman's bell—and Priscilla ran back at once to her duty.

"Where have you been?" said Mrs. Lyman, "and what did I hear you say about George Washington?"

There was a fire in the lady's mild, blue eyes, which startled Priscilla.

"You've been dozing off, ma'am," said she, soothingly. "I hadn't been gone more'n a minute; but folks does get the cur'usest notions, dreaming like in the daytime."

"There, that will do," said the sweet-voiced lady, with a keen glance at the nurse's red eyelids; "you mean well, but the plain truth is always safest. You need not try to deceive me, and what is more, you can't do it, Priscilla."

Then the nurse had to tell what she had heard, though it was too sad a story to come[Pg 17] to the sick woman's ears; for every man, woman, and child in the United States loved the good George Washington, and must grieve at the news of his death.

Mrs. Lyman said nothing, but lay quite still, looking out of the window upon the white fields and the bare trees, till the baby began to cry, and Siller came to take it away.

"Bless its little heart," said the nurse, holding it against her tear-wet cheek; "it's born into this world in a poor time, so it is. No wonder it feels bad. Open its eyes and look around. See, Pinky Posy, this is a free country now, and has been for over twenty years; but it's my private opinion it won't stay so long, for the Father of it is dead and gone! O, Mrs. Lyman, what awful times there'll be before this child grows up!"[Pg 18]

"Don't borrow trouble, Priscilla. The world won't stop because one man is dead. It is God's world, and it moves."

"But, Mrs. Lyman, do you think the United States is going to hold together without General Washington?"

"Yes, to be sure I do; and my baby will find it a great deal better place to live in than ever you or I have done; now you mark my words, Priscilla."

All the people of Perseverance considered Mrs. Lyman a very wise woman, and when she said, "Now you mark my words," it was as good as Elder Lovejoy's amen at the end of a sermon. Priscilla wiped her eyes and looked consoled. After what Mrs. Lyman had said, she felt perfectly easy about the United States.

"Well, baby," said she, "who knows but[Pg 19] you'll see great times, after all, in your day and generation?"

And upon that the baby went to sleep quite peacefully, though without ever dreaming of any "great times."

Ah, if Siller could only have guessed what wonderful things that baby was really going to see "in her day and generation!" The good woman had never heard of a railroad car, or a telegraph wire, or a gaslight. How she would have screamed with astonishment if any one had told her that Miss Patience would some time go whizzing through the country without horses, and with nothing to draw the carriage but a puff of smoke! Or that Miss Patience would warm her feet at a hole in the floor (for Siller had no idea of our furnaces). Or that Miss Patience's grandchildren would write letters to her with lightning (for[Pg 20] a telegraph is almost the same thing as that).

But, no; Siller was only thinking about some cracker toast and a cup of tea, and wondering if it was time to set the heel in her stocking. And before she had counted off the stitches, the children came home from school, and she had more than she could do to keep the house still.

Little Moses, two years old, had to see the new baby, and in a fit of indignation almost put her eyes out with his little thumbs; for what right had "um naughty sing" in his red cradle?

But Moses soon found he could not help himself; and as "um naughty sing" did not seem to mean any harm, he gave up with a good grace.

Days, weeks, and months passed on. Siller Noonin went to other houses with her[Pg 21] knitting-work, and Patience cut her teeth on a wooden plate, took the whooping-cough, and by that time it was her turn to give up; for another baby came to the house, and wanted that same red cradle. It was a boy, and his name was Solomon. And after that there was another boy by the name of Benjamin; and Benjamin was the only one who never had to give up, for he was always the youngest. That made eleven children in all: James, John, Rachel, and Dorcas; the twins, Silas and George; and then Mary, Moses, Patience, Solomon, and Benjamin.

There was a great deal to be done in the house, for there were two large farms, with cattle and sheep, and two men who lived at Squire Lyman's and took care of the farms. Milk had to be made into butter and cheese, and wool into blankets and gowns, and there was generally only one girl in the kitchen to[Pg 22] help to do all the work. Her name was Betsey Gould, and she was strong and willing; and Rachel and Dorcas each did her share, and so did even little Mary; but they could not do everything. The dear mother of all had to spin and weave, and bake and brew, and pray every hour in the day for strength and patience to do her whole duty by such a large family.

They were pretty good children, but she did not have so much time to attend to them as mothers have in these days, and they did not always look as tidy or talk as correctly as you do, my dears. You must not expect too much of little folks who lived before the time of railroads, in a little country town where there were no Sabbath schools, and hardly any news-papers.

It is of Patience Lyman, the one who[Pg 23] afterwards became Grandma Parlin, that I shall have most to say. She was usually called Patty, for short (though Patty is really the pet name for Martha instead of Patience), and she was, as nearly as I can find out, very much such a child as Flyaway Clifford—with blue eyes, soft light hair, and little feet that went dancing everywhere.

And now, if you think you know her well enough, perhaps you would like to go to school with her a day or two, about three quarters of a mile away from home.

[Pg 24]



How do you think she was dressed? In a "petticoat and loose gown." The loose gown was a calico jacket that hung about the waist in gathers, and the petticoat was a moreen skirt that came down almost to the ankles. Then her feet—I must confess they were bare. Nearly all the little children in Perseverance went barefooted in summer.

Patty had been longing for an education ever since she was two years old, and at three and a half she was allowed to go to school. All the other children had been[Pg 25] taught the alphabet at home, for Mrs. Lyman was a very considerate woman, and did not think it fair to trouble a teacher with baby-work like that; but this summer she had so much to do, with little Benny in her arms and Solly under her feet, that she was only too glad to have talkative Patty out of the way.

So, just as the stage-horn was blowing, at half past eight one bright June morning, Mary put into the dinner basket an extra saucer pie, sweetened with molasses, and walked the little one off to school. What school was Patty had no idea. She had heard a great deal about the new "mistress," and wondered what sort of a creature she could be. She soon found out. Miss Judkins was merely a fine-looking young lady, with a tortoise-shell comb in[Pg 26] her hair, not quite as large as a small chaise-top. She looked like other people, and Patty was sadly disappointed. There was an hour-glass on the desk full of dripping sand, and Patty wanted to shake it to make the sand go out faster, for she grew very tired of sitting still so long hearing the children read, "Pretty cow, go there and dine." She was afraid to say her letters; but after she had said them, was much prouder than the Speaker of the Senate after he has made a very eloquent speech. She had nothing more to do, and watched the little girls working their samplers. Her sister Mary, not yet eight years old, was making a beautiful one, with a flower-pot in one corner and a tree and birds in the other, and some lines in the middle like these:[Pg 27]


"Be this Miss Mary's care:
Let this her thoughts engage;
Be this the business of her youth,
The comfort of her age."

Patty looked on, and watched Mary's needle going in and out, making little red crooks. She did not know the silk letters, and would not have understood the verse if she had heard it read; but neither did the big sister understand it herself.

"Be this the business of her youth," Mary thought meant the sampler, for really that sampler had been the business of her youth ever since she had learned to hold a needle, and the tree wasn't done yet, and the flowers were flying out of the flower-pot on account of having no stems to stand on. Patty was ashamed because she herself had no canvass with silk pictures on it to carry out to the "mistress." The more she[Pg 28] thought about it, the more restless she grew, till before noon she fell to crying, and said aloud,—

"I want to work a sambler; yes, I do."

Miss Judkins told Mary she had better take her home. Patty felt disgraced, and cried all the way, she did not really know what for. Sometimes she thought it was because the school was such a poor place to go to, and then again she thought it was because she wanted to work a "sambler." When they got home she did not wait till they were fairly in the house, but called out, with a loud voice,—

"O, mamma! She's only a woman! The mistress is only a woman!"

That was all the way she had of telling how cruelly disappointed she felt in the school.

Mrs. Lyman had just put the baby in[Pg 29] the cradle, and was now rocking little Solly, who was crying with a stone bruise in the bottom of his foot. Betsey Gould was washing, Dorcas and Rachael were making dresses, and the dinner must be put on the table. No wonder tired Mrs. Lyman was sorry to see Patty come home crying, or that she laid her pale, tired face against Solly's cheek when Patty whined, "Mayn't I work a sambler?" and said, in a low tone, as if she were breathing a prayer,—

"Let patience have her perfect work."

Patty had often heard her poor, overburdened mother make that same remark, but had never understood it before. Now she thought it meant, "Let my daughter Patience have a sambler to work;" and she cleared the clouds off her little face, and went dancing out to see the new goslings. Mary, who was thoughtful beyond her[Pg 30] years, coaxed Solly into her arms, and soothed him with a little story, so that her mother could go and take up the dinner.

Patty found out next day that she was not to have a sampler; but to console her Mary hemmed a large piece of tow and linen cloth, and told her she might learn to work on it with colored thread. It was a funny looking thing after Patty had scrawled it all over with Greek and Hebrew; but it was a wonderful help to the child's feelings.

She was a great pet at school, and grew quite fond of going; but she tells Flyaway she does not remember much more that happened, after she began that sampler, until the next spring. At that time she was a trifle more than four years old.

[Pg 31]



It was early in April, and the travelling was very bad, for the frost was just coming out of the ground. Mary, Moses, and the twins attended a private school, on the other side of the river, and Patty went with them; but they were all rather tired of her company.

"Mother, we're afraid she'll get lost in one of the holes," said Moses. "Won't you make her stay at home?"

Mrs. Lyman stood before the brick oven, taking out of it some blackened cobs which[Pg 32] had been used for smoking hams, and putting them into a dish of water.

"What are you doing with those cobs?" asked Moses, while Patty caught at her mother's skirts, saying,—

"I won't lose me in a hole, mamma! Mayn't I go to school?"

"I will tell you what I am doing with the cobs, Moses," said Mrs. Lyman; "making pearlash water. I shall soak them a while, and then pour off the water into bottles. Cob-coals make the very best of pearlash."

How queer that seems to us! Why didn't Mrs. Lyman send to the store and buy soda? Because in those days there was no such thing as soda.

"But as for Patience," said she, "I really don't see, Moses, how I can have her stay at home this week. Rachel is weaving,[Pg 33] Dorcas is spinning, and the baby is cutting a tooth. Just now my hands are more than full, my son."

Patty was delighted to hear that. It never once occurred to her to feel ashamed of being such a trial to everybody. Dorcas tied her hood, pinned her yellow blanket over her little shoulders, kissed her good by, and off she trotted between Mary and Moses, full of triumph and self-importance.

There was only a half-day's school on Saturday, and as the children were going home that noon, George said,—

"I call this rather slow getting ahead. Patty creeps like a snail."

"Because her feet are so small," said kind-hearted Mary.

"They are twice as big as common with mud, I am sure," returned George; whereupon[Pg 34] Silas laughed; for whatever either of the twins said, the other twin thought it very bright indeed.

"There, don't plague her, Georgie," said Mary, "Moses and I have got as much as we can do to get her home. I tell you my arms ache pulling!"

As she spoke a frightful noise was heard,—not thunder, it was too prolonged for that; it was a deep, sullen roar, heard above the wail of the wind like the boom of Niagara Falls. Very soon the children saw for themselves what it meant. The ice was going out!

There was always more or less excitement to these little folks,—and, indeed, to the grown folks too,—in the going out of the ice, for it usually went at a time when you were least expecting it.

This was a glorious sight! The ice was[Pg 35] very thick and strong, and the freshet was hurling it down stream with great force. The blocks were white with a crust of snow on top, but they were as blue at heart as a bed of violets, and tumbled and crowded one another like an immense company of living things. The tide was sending them in between great heaps of logs, and the logs were trying to crush them to pieces, while they themselves rushed headlong at terrible speed. The sun came out of a cloud, and shone on the ice and logs in their mad dance. Then the white blocks quivered and sparkled like diamonds, and the twins cried out together, "How splendid!"

"Pretty! pretty!" chimed in little Patty, falling face downwards into a mud puddle.

"Well, that's pretty works," said Moses,[Pg 36] picking her up, and partially cleansing her with his gingham pocket-handkerchief.

"Hallo, there!" shouted Mr. Griggs, the toll-gatherer, appearing at the door of his small house with both arms above his head. "Children, children, stop! Don't you come anigh the bridge for your lives!"

"Oh, it's going off! its going off!" cried the five Lymans in concert.

They forgot to admire any longer the magnificent sight. The ice might be glorious in its beauty; but, alas, it was terrible in its strength!

How could they get home? That was the question. They could see their father's house in the distance; but how and when were they to reach it? It might as well have been up in the moon.

"They can't come after us," wailed Mary, wringing her hands; "'twill be days and[Pg 37] days before they can put a boat into this river."

"What shall we do?" groaned Moses; "we can't sleep on the ground."

"With nothing to eat," added George, who remembered the brick-red Indian pudding they were to have had for dinner.

"Don't be scared, children; go ahead," said Dr. Hilton, from the bank.

"What! Would you have 'em risk their lives?" said the timid toll-gatherer. "Look at them blocks crowding up against the piers! Hear what a thunder they make! And the logs swimming down in booms! You step into our house, children, and my wife and the neighbors, we'll contrive to stow you away somewheres."

Crowds of people were collecting on the bank watching the ice go out.

"Well, you are in a pretty fix, children,"[Pg 38] said one of the men. "How did your folks happen to let you come?"

The Lymans stood dumb and transfixed.

"Hurry! Why don't you step lively?" said Dr. Hilton, and two or three other men.

"Stay where you are, children," cried Mr. Chase and Dr. Potter from the other bank.

"If we could only see father!" said one of the twins. Brave as they both thought themselves, the roaring torrent appalled them.

Suddenly there was a shout from the other end of the bridge as loud and shrill as a fog-bell:—

"Children, come home! George! Silas! Mary? Be quick?"

It was Squire Lyman's voice.

"What shall we do?" cried Mary, running round and round.[Pg 39]

"'Twon't do to risk it, neighbor Lyman," screamed the toll-gatherer.

"Children, run! there is time," answered the father, hoarsely.

It was Mary who called back again, "Yes, father, we'll come."

For the twins did not seem to feel clear what to do. "He knows," thought she. "What father tells us to do must be right."

She stepped firmly upon the shaking bridge. For an instant Moses hesitated, then followed with Patty; and after him came the twins, with their teeth firmly set.

"Quick! quick!" screamed Squire Lyman. "Run for your lives!"

"Run! run!" echoed the people on both banks; but Mr. Griggs's tongue clove to the roof of his mouth.

The roaring torrent and the high wind together were rocking the bridge like a[Pg 40] cradle. If it had not been for Patty! All the rest could run. It seemed as if the mud on the child's shoes had turned to lead. She hung, crying and struggling, a dead weight between Moses and Mary, who pulled her forward, without letting her little toddling feet touch the ground.

The small procession of five, how eagerly everybody watched it! The poor toll-gatherer, if he had had the courage, would have run after the children, and snatched them back from their doom. Every looker-on was anxious; yet all the anxiety of the multitude could not equal the agonizing suspense in that one father's heart. He thought he knew the strength of the piers; he thought he could tell how long they would stand against the ice; but what if he had made a mistake?

The children did not get on quite as fast[Pg 41] as he had expected. Every moment seemed an age, for they were running for their lives!

It was over at last, the bridge was crossed, the children were safe!

The toll-gatherer, and the other people on the bank, set up a shout; but Squire Lyman could not speak. He seized Dr. Potter by the shoulder, and sank back against him, almost fainting.

"Papa! O, papa!" cried Patty, whose little heart scarcely beat any faster than usual, in spite of all the fuss she had made, "I couldn't help but laugh!"

This little speech, so babyish and "Patty-like," brought Squire Lyman to himself, and he hugged the silly creature as if she stood for the whole five children.

"Father, it was a tough one, I tell you," said Silas.[Pg 42]

"O, father," said Moses, "if you knew how we trembled! With that baby to pull over, too!"

"I'll tell you what I thought," said Mary, catching her breath. "I though my father knew more than the toll-gatherer, and all the other men. But anyway, if he didn't know, I'd have done what he said."

"Bravo for my Polly," said Squire Lyman, wiping his eyes.

Just half an hour after this, when they were all safe at home, the bridge was snapped in two, and went reeling down stream. Squire Lyman closed his eyes and shuddered. Of course no one could help thinking what might have happened if the children had been a little later; and everybody fell to kissing Patty, for that had long been a family habit when any[Pg 43] feeling came up which was too strong or too deep to be expressed.

The next day, in Mrs. Lyman's Sunday evening talk with the children, she told them the trust Mary had shown in her father, when he asked her to cross the bridge, was just the feeling we should have towards our heavenly Father, who is all-wise, and can never make mistakes; and then she gave them this verse to learn:—

"Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust."

Patty forgot the verse very soon; but Mary remembered it as long as she lived.

[Pg 44]



One summer's day, two years or so after this, Moses was half sick with a "run-round" on his finger, and consented to go up in the spinning-chamber and play with Patty: he never played with girls when he was well. Dorcas was at the little flax-wheel spinning linen, and Patty was in a corner under the eaves, with her rag babies spread out before her,—quite a family of them. The oldest granddaughter was down with brain fever, and she wanted Moses to bleed her. Moses did it with great skill. When he practiced medicine, he pursued the same course Dr. Potter did, their family physician; he bled and "cupped" Patty's dolls, and gave them strong doses of calomel and "jalap."


[Pg 45]

"Dorcas," said Dr. Moses, looking up, with his jackknife in the air, "what's a witch?"

"A witch? Why, we call Patty a little witch sometimes when she tangles the flax and tries to spin."

"O, I never!" exclaimed Patty, "only just once I—"

"No, no; I mean a real witch," pursued Moses. "You know what I mean. Betsey Gould's mother puts Bible leaves under the churn to keep 'em out of the butter."

"Bible leaves!" said Dorcas. "How did Mrs. Gould's Bible happen to be torn?"

"I don't know; but she puts horseshoes top o' the door, too," added Moses; "you know she does, Dorcas, and lots of other[Pg 46] folks do it. What sort of things are witches? And what makes father and mother laugh about 'em, when other folks are so afraid?"

"Because father and mother are wiser than most of the people in this little town. Perhaps I ought not to say it, Moses, but it's the truth."

It was the truth, and Moses knew it very well. He was only talking to amuse himself, and to hear what Dorcas would say. You must remember this was more than sixty years ago, and Perseverance was a poor little struggling town, shut in among the hills, where the stage came only twice a week, and there were only two news-papers, and not very good schools. The most intelligent families, such as the Lymans, Potters, and Chases, laughed at the idea of witches, but there were some people who believed in them, and that very night[Pg 47] little Patty was to have her head filled with strange stories.

You remember Siller Noonin, who was at Squire Lyman's when Patty was born? She was a widow, with not much of a home of her own, and was always going about from house to house nursing sick people, and doing little odds and ends of work. To-day she had dropped in at Squire Lyman's to ask if Mrs. Lyman had any more knitting for her to do. In the nicely sanded sitting-room, or "fore-room," as most of the people called it, sat Dr. Hilton, leaning back upon the settle, trotting his foot. He called himself a doctor, though I suppose he did not know much more about the human system than little Doctor Moses, up in the spinning-chamber. When old ladies were not very well, he advised them to take "brandy and cloves, and snakeroot and cinnamon;"[Pg 48] and sometimes, if they happened to feel better after it, they thought Dr. Hilton knew a great deal.

"You are just the person—ah, I wanted to see," said Dr. Hilton to Priscilla; "I've been all round looking you up."

"Now that's strange, for I was on my way to your house," said Siller, putting her hand to her side. "I don't feel well right here, and I didn't know but you could tell me of some good bitters to take."

Dr. Hilton felt Siller's pulse, looked at her tongue, and then said, with a wise roll of the eye, which almost set Rachel to laughing, "I would advise you, ma'am—ah, to get a quart—ah, of good brandy, and steep some cloves in it, and some—ah,—some—ah,—"

"Snakeroot and cinnamon," chimed in Rachel, looking up from her sewing with a very innocent face.[Pg 49]

Now that was exactly what the Doctor was going to say, only he was trying to say it very slowly, so that it would sound like something remarkable, and he did not like to have the words taken out of his mouth. No doctor would have liked it.

"Well, well, young woman," said he rising from the settle in a rage, "if you understand medicine better than I do, miss, I'll give up my patients to you, and you may take charge of 'em."

"Beg pardon, sir," said Rachel; "I only wanted to help you. You seemed to have forgotten part of your bitters."

It was very rude of Rachel to make sport of the Doctor, even though he was only a quack; and her mother told her afterwards she was surprised to see she was no more of a lady.[Pg 50]

"Mark my words, Rachel," said Mrs. Lyman, "those who are careless about other people's feelings will have very few friends."

Rachel blushed under her mother's glance, and secretly wished she were as careful of her words as her sweet sister Dorcas.

But I was going to tell you that Dr. Hilton had been looking for Priscilla, because he wished her to go and keep his house a few days while his wife was gone on a visit. Siller told Mrs. Lyman she was always very lonesome there, because there were no children in the house and begged that "the two small girls" might go and stay with her till she got a little used to it,—one night would do.

Mrs. Lyman very seldom allowed Mary or Patience to be gone over night; but to oblige Priscilla, who was always such a good[Pg 51] friend of the children in all their little sicknesses, she consented.

"I shall take them with me to prayer meeting in the evening," said Siller.

"Very well," replied Mrs. Lyman.

The little girls had never visited at Dr. Hilton's before, and were glad to go, but Patty did not know how much it would cost her. The house was very nice, and the white sand on the parlor floor was traced in patterns of roses and buds as fine as a velvet carpet. On the door-stone, at the east side of the house, stood an iron kettle, with flaming red flowers growing in it, as bright as those on Mary's sampler. Mary said it seemed as if the kettle had been taken off the stove and set out there to cool.

After a nice supper of hot biscuits, honey, cheese, and spice-cake, they all started for[Pg 52] prayer meeting, locking the house behind them; for Dr. Hilton had business in the next town, and was to be gone all night.

Patty was not in the habit of sitting remarkably still, even at church on the Sabbath; and as for a prayer meeting in a school-house, she had never attended one before, and the very idea of it amused her to begin with. It was so funny to see grown people in those seats where the children sat in the daytime! Patty almost wondered if the minister would not call them out in the floor to recite. The services were long, and grew very dull. To pass away the time, she kept sliding off the back seat, which was much too high for her, and bouncing back again, twisting her head around to see who was there, or peeping through her fingers at a little boy, who peeped back again.[Pg 53]

Mary whispered to her to sit still, and Siller Noonin shook her head; but Patty did not consider Mary worth minding, and had no particular respect for Siller. Finally, just at the close of a long prayer, she happened to spy Daddy Wiggins, who was sleeping with his mouth open, and the sight was too much for Patty: she giggled out-right. It was a very faint laugh, hardly louder than the chirp of a cricket; but it reached the sharp ears of Deacon Turner, the tithing-man,—the same one who sat in church watching to see if the children behaved well, and he called right out in meeting, in a dreadful voice,—

"Patience Lyman!"

If he had fired a gun at her head it would not have startled her more. It was the first time she had ever been spoken to in public, and she sank back in Mary's arms, feeling[Pg 54] that all was over with her. Other little girls had had their names called out, but they were generally those whose parents did not take proper care of them,—rude children, and not the sort with whom Patty associated.

O, what would her mother say? Was there any place where she could go and hide? Sally Potter would never speak to her again, and Linda Chase would think she was a heathen child.

She didn't care whether she ever had any new clothes to wear or not; what difference would it make to anybody that lived out in the barn? And that was where she meant to live all the rest of her days,—in one of the haymows.

Kind sister Mary kept her arm round the sobbing child, and comforted her, as well as she could, by little hugs. The meeting was[Pg 55] soon over, and Patty was relieved to find that she had the use of her feet. So crushed as she had been by this terrible blow, she had hardly supposed she should be able to walk.

[Pg 56]



"It was real mean and hateful of Deacon Turner," says Mary, as they went back to Dr. Hilton's. "You didn't giggle any, hardly, and he knew you didn't mean to. I'll tell father, and he won't like it one bit."

Patty choked back a sob. This was a new way of looking at things, and made them seem a little less dreadful. Perhaps she wouldn't stay in the barn forever; possibly not more than a year or two.

"Deacon Turner is a very ha'sh man," said Siller; "but if he'd stopped to think twice, he wouldn't have spoken out so to[Pg 57] one of you children; for you see your father is about the best friend he's got. He likes to keep on the right side of Squire Lyman, and he must have spoke out before he thought."

Patty drew a long breath. She began to think the Deacon was the one to blame, and she hadn't done any thing so very bad after all, and wouldn't live in the barn more than a day or two, if she did as long as that.

She was glad she was not going home to-night to be seen by any of the family, especially Rachel. By the time they reached Dr. Hilton's she was quite calm, and when Siller asked her if she would like some pancakes for breakfast, she danced, and said, "O, yes, ma'am," in her natural voice.

But, as Siller said, they were all rather[Pg 58] stirred up, and wouldn't be in a hurry about going to bed. Perhaps the blackberry tea they had drunk at supper time was too strong for Siller's nerves; at any rate, she felt so wide awake that she chose to sit up knitting, with Patty in her lap, and did not perceive that both the children were growing sleepy.

It was a lovely evening, and the bright moon sailing across the blue sky set the simple woman to thinking,—not of the great and good God of whom she had been hearing this evening, but, I am ashamed to say, of witches!

"I'm glad I've got company," said she, nodding to Mary, "for there's kind of a creeping feeling goes over me such shiny nights as this. It's just the time for Goody Knowles to be out on a broomstick."

"Why, Siller Noonin," exclaimed Mary,[Pg 59] "you don't believe in such foolishness as that! I never knew you did before!"

Siller did not answer, for she suddenly remembered that Mrs. Lyman was very particular as to what was said before her children.

"Tell me, Siller; you don't suppose witches go flying round when the moon shines?" asked Mary, curling her lip.

"That's what folks say, child."

"Well, I do declare, Siller, I thought you had more sense."

Mrs. Noonin's black eyes sparkled with anger.

"That's free kind of talk for a little girl that's some related to Sir William Phips; that used to be Governor of this Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said she.

"I never heard of Mr. Phips."

"Well, that's nothing strange. He died[Pg 60] over a hundred years ago; but he didn't make fun of witches, I can tell you. He had 'em chained up so they couldn't hurt folks."

"Hurt folks?" said little Patty.

"Yes; you know witches have a way of taking various shapes, such as cats and dogs, and all sorts of creeturs, and going about doing mischief," said Siller, with a solemn click of her knitting-needles.

Mary's nose went farther up in the air. She had heard plenty about the Salem Witchcraft, and knew the stories were all as silly as silly can be.

"Didn't you never hear tell of that Joan of Arc over there to Salem?" went on Siller, who knew no more about history than a baby.

"We've heard of Noah's ark," put in Patty.[Pg 61]

"Well, Joan was a witch, and took the shape of a man, and marched at the head of an army, all so grand; but she got found out, and they burnt her up. It was fifty years ago or more."

"Beg your pardon, Siller; but it was almost four hundred years ago," said Mary; "and it wasn't in this country either, 'twas in France. Mother told me all about it; she read it in a book of history."

Siller looked extremely mortified, and picked up a stitch without speaking.

"And besides that," said Mary, "Joan of Arc was a beautiful young girl, and not a witch. I know some of the people called her so; but mother says they were very foolish and wicked."

"Well, I ain't a going to dispute your mother in her opinion of witches; she knows twice to my once about books; but[Pg 62] that ain't saying she knows everything, Polly Lyman," returned Siller, laying down her knitting in her excitement; "and 'twill take more'n your mother to beat me out of my seven senses, when I've seen witches with my own naked eyes, and heard 'em a talking to their gray cats."

"Where? O, where?" cried little Patty.

All the "witch" Siller had ever seen was an Englishwoman by the name of Knowles, and the most she ever heard her say to her cat was "Poor pussy." But Siller did not like to be laughed at by a little girl like Polly Lyman; so she tried to make it appear that she really knew some remarkable things.

"Well," said Mary, "I don't see why a gray cat is any worse to talk to than a white one: why is it? Mrs. Knowles asked my mother if it was having a gray cat that[Pg 63] made folks call her a witch.—Siller, Mrs. Knowles wasn't the woman you meant, when you said you'd seen a witch?"

"Perhaps so—perhaps not. But what did your mother say when Mrs. Knowles asked her that question?"

"Why, mother laughed, and told Mrs. Knowles not to part with her gray cat, if it was good to catch mice."

"Yes, yes. I know your mother don't believe any of these things that's going; but either Goody Knowles is a witch, or else I am," said Siller, her tongue fairly running away with her.

"Why, Siller Noonin, what makes you think so?"

"Well, for one thing, she can't shed but three tears, and them out of her left eye," said Siller; "that I know to be a fact, for I've watched her, and it's a sure sign.[Pg 64] Then Daddy Wiggins, he weighed her once against the church Bible, and she was the lightest, and that's another sure sign. Moreover, he tried her on the Lord's Prayer, and she couldn't go through it straight to save her life. Did you ever mind Goody Knowles's face, how it's covered with moles?"

"Do you mean those little brown things," cried Patty, "with hair in the middle? I've seen 'em lots of times; on her chin, too."

"Yes, dear. Well, Polly, there never was a witch that didn't have moles and warts."

"But what does Mrs. Knowles do that's bad?" says Mary, laughing a little, but growing very much interested.

"Well, she has been known to bewitch cattle, as perhaps you may have heard. Last spring Daddy Wiggins's cows crept[Pg 65] up the scaffold,—a thing cows never did afore."

"O, but my father laughed about that. He said he guessed if Mr. Wiggins's cows had had hay enough, they wouldn't have gone out after some more; they'd have staid in the stalls."

"It will do very well for your father to talk," returned Siller, who was growing more and more excited. "Of course Goody Knowles wouldn't bewitch any of his creeturs; it's only her enemies she injures. And that makes me think, children, that it's kind of curious for us to be sitting here talking about her. She may be up on the ridge-pole of the house,—she or one of her imps,—a hearing every word we say."

"O, dear! O, dear!" cried Patty, curling her head under Siller's cape.[Pg 66]

"Nonsense, child. I was only in fun," said the thoughtless Siller, beginning to feel ashamed of herself, for she had not intended to talk in this way to the children; "don't lets think any more about it."

And with that she hurried the little girls off to bed; but by this time their eyes were pretty wide open, as you may suppose.

[Pg 67]



Patty had forgotten all about her deep mortification, and never even thought of Deacon Turner, the tithing-man.

"Hark!" whispered she to Mary, "don't you hear 'em walking on the roof of the house?"

"Hear what?" said Mary, sternly.

"Those things Siller calls creeturs—on broomsticks," returned Patty.

"Nonsense; go to sleep, child."

Mary was too well instructed to be really afraid of witches; still she lay awake an hour or two thinking over what Siller had[Pg 68] said, and hearing her cough drearily in the next chamber. Little Patty was sleeping sweetly, but Mary's nerves were quivering, she did not know why, and

"All things were full of horror and affright,
And dreadful even the silence of the night."

As she lay wishing herself safe at home in her own bed, there was a sudden noise outside her window,—the sound of heavy footsteps. Who could be walking there at that time of night? If it was a man, he must want to steal. Mary did not for a moment fancy it might be a woman, or a "creetur" on a broomstick,—she was too sensible for that; but you will not wonder that, as she heard the footsteps come nearer and nearer, her heart almost stopped beating from fright. Siller had not coughed for some time, and was very likely asleep. If so, there was no time to be lost.[Pg 69]

Mary sprang out of bed, and ran down stairs, whispering, "Fire! Murder! Thieves!"

That wakened Patty, who ran after her, clutching at her night-dress, and crying out, "A fief! A fief!"

For she had lost a front tooth the day before, and could not say "thief."

It was a wonder they both did not fall headlong, going at such speed.

Siller was in the kitchen, standing in the middle of the floor, with a red cloak on, staring straight before her, with a white, scared look.

"Hush, children, for mercy's sake!" she whispered, putting her handkerchief over Patty's mouth, "we're in a terrible fix! It's either thieves or murderers, or else it's witches. Yes, Polly Lyman, witches!"[Pg 70]

"I don't hear the steps now," said Mary. "O, yes I do, too; yes I do, too."

By that time there was a loud knocking.

"It must be witches; thieves wouldn't knock," whispered Siller, tearing her back hair. "Hear 'em rattle that door! That was what it meant when I saw that black cat, just before sundown, worritting the doctor's dog. I thought then it was an imp."

The door continued to rattle, and the children's teeth to chatter; also Siller's, all she had left in her head.

"O, if we had a silver bullet," said she, "that would clear 'em out."

Poor little Patty! You may guess at the state of her mind when I tell you she was speechless! For almost the first time in her life she was too frightened to scream.

The knocking grew louder and louder;[Pg 71] and Siller, seeing that something must be done, and she was the only one to do it, began to behave like a woman.

"Stop shaking so, children," said she, with a sudden show of courage. "Keep a stiff upper lip! I've got an idea! It may be flesh and blood thieves come after the doctor's chany tea-cups!"

"O, throw them out the window," gasped Mary.

"No, Polly; not while I'm a live woman," replied Siller, who really had some sense when she could forget her fear of hobgoblins. "Into the hampshire, both of you, and let me button you in."

The "hampshire" was a large cupboard, the lower part of which was half filled with boxes and buckets; but the children contrived to squeeze themselves into it.

"It isn't fair, though," said Mary, putting[Pg 72] her head out. "I ought to help you, Siller. Give me the shovel and tongs, and I will."

Siller only answered by buttoning the hampshire door.

Patty, feeling safer, screamed "Fief!" once more; and Mary gave her a shaking, which caused the child to bite her tongue; after which Mary hugged and kissed her with the deepest remorse.

Who knew how long either of them had to live? What if the man should break down the kitchen door and get into the house? He was knocking harder than ever, and had been calling out several times,—

"Let me in! Why don't you let me in?"

"There, I do declare, that sounds like Dr. Hilton," whispered Mary to Patty.

And sure enough, next moment the voice of Siller was heard exclaiming, in the utmost surprise,[Pg 73]

"Bless me, doctor, you don't mean to say that's you!"

It was the most welcome sound that the little prisoners in the "hampshire" could possibly have heard. And the laugh, gruff and cracked, which came from the doctor's throat, as soon as he got fairly into the house, was sweeter than the song of a nightingale.

"Let us out! Let us out!" cried they, knocking to be let out as hard as the doctor had knocked to be let in, for Mary was beating the door with a bucket of sugar and Patty with a pewter porringer. But Siller was "all of a fluster," and it was the doctor himself who opened the hampshire doors after the little girls had almost pounded them down.

They were both ashamed to be caught in their night-dresses, and ran up stairs as[Pg 74] fast as they could go, but on the way overheard the doctor reproving Siller for giving "those innocent little children such a scare." He was not a wise man, by any means, but he had good common sense.

"It is lucky my wife don't believe in witches," said he, "for I'm as likely to come home late at night as any way, and she'd be in hot water half her time."

Next morning the children were very glad to go home, and Mary, though she would hardly have said so to any one, could not help thinking she should never like Siller Noonin quite so well after this as she had done before.

They were climbing the fence to run across the fields, when some one said,—

"Patience Lyman!"

It was Deacon Turner, the tithing-man; but his voice was very mild this morning,[Pg 75] and he did not look like the same man Patty had seen at prayer meeting. His face was almost smiling, and he had a double red rose in his hand.

"Good morning, little ladies," said he, giving the rose to Patty, who blushed as red as the rose herself, and hung her head in bashful shame.

"Thank you, sir," she stammered.

"I can't bring myself to believe you meant to disturb the meetin' last night," said the deacon, taking her unwilling little hand.

"No, O, no!" replied Patty, with dripping eyes.

"It was in the school-'us, but then the school-'us is just as sacred as the meetin'-'us, when it's used for religious purposes. I'm afeared, Patience, you forgot you went there to hold communion 'long of His saints. I'm[Pg 76] afeared your mind warn't in a fit state to receive much benefit from the occasion."

Patty felt extremely uncomfortable. Good Deacon Turner seldom took the least notice of children—having none of his own, and no nieces or nephews;—and when he did try to talk to little folks, he always made a sad piece of work of it. He did not know how to put himself in sympathy with them, and could not remember how he used to feel when he was young.

"We shall always be glad to see you at the regular Wednesday evenin' prayer meetin'," said he, "or to the prayer meetin's in the school-'us; but you must remember it ain't like a meetin' for seckler pupposes, Patience,—it's for prayer, and praise, and the singing of psalms; and you should conduct yourself in a circumspect and becoming manner, as is fittin' for the house of worship;[Pg 77] and remember and feel that it's a privilege for you to be there."

This was about the way the deacon talked to Patty, and of course she did not understand one word of it. She tells Flyaway Clifford and Dotty Dimple that grown people in old times almost always talked "too old," and children were afraid of them.

"Yes, my child," added the deacon, "you should realize that it is a precious privilege, and feel to say with the Psalmist,—

"'I joyed when to the house of God,
Go up, they said to me;
Jerusalem, within thy walls,
Our feet shall standing be.'"

Patty was crying by this time very loud, and there was a certain babyish sound in her wail which suddenly reminded Deacon Turner that he was talking to a little girl, and not to a young woman.[Pg 78]

"There, there, now, don't cry," said he, patting her head, for her sun-bonnet had fallen back on her neck, "you didn't mean to make fun of religion; I'm sartin sure of that."

"No, I di-idn't, or if I did, I di-idn't mean to," almost howled Patty.

A grim smile overspread the deacon's face. The idea of an infant like that making fun of religion!

"Somehow I was thinkin' you was an older child than what you be," said he, rubbing her silky hair as roughly as a plough would go through a bed of flowers. The action almost drove Patty wild, but the good man meant it most kindly.

"Let's see, I suppose you know your letters now?" added he, going to the other extreme, and talking to her as if she were very young indeed. "And, of course, your[Pg 79] mother, who is a godly woman, has you say your catechism. Do you remember, my dear, who made you?"

The question caused Patty to raise her tearful eyes in astonishment. Did he think a girl six and a half years old didn't know that?

"Yes, sir," said she, meekly; "God made me."

"Right, my dear; that's well said. You're not such a bad child after all, and seem to have considerable sense. Here is a dollar for you, my little woman, and tell your mother I know she's bringing you up in the way you should go, and I hope when you are old you'll not depart from it."

Patty stared at the dollar through her tears, and it seemed to stare back again with a face almost as big as a full moon.

"O, thank you, sir," said she, with a deep courtesy.[Pg 80]

Never in her life had she owned a whole silver dollar before. How it danced and shone! She held it tight, for it did not seem to be real, and she was afraid it would melt or fly away before she could get it home.

"Mother, O mother," cried she, "see this live dollar! Deacon Turner gave it to me for remembering who made me!"

"Why, child, what do you mean?"

"She means just what she says, mother," said Mary. "Deacon Turner spoke to her in prayer meeting last night—"

"Why, Patience!"

"And he was sorry for it, mother, just as Siller thought he'd be; and so he wanted to give her something to make up, I suppose; but should you have thought he'd have given her that dollar?"

Mrs. Lyman was grieved to learn that[Pg 81] Patty had been so restless and so irreverent, and called her into the bedroom to talk with her about it.

"My little girl is old enough to begin to think," said she.

"Yes, mother," said Patty, laying the silver dollar against her cheek, "I do think."

"But, Patience, you knew the people had met in that school-house to talk about God; you should have listened to what they were saying."

"But, mamma, the words were too big; I can't understand such big words."

"Well, then, my daughter, you certainly could have sat still, and let other people listen."

Patty hung her head.

"Has a child any right to go where good people are worshipping God, and behave so badly as to disturb them?"[Pg 82]

"No, mamma."

Patty was crying again, and almost thought the barn would be the best place for her to live in. Even her "live dollar" could not console her when her mother spoke in such a tone as that.

"I'll never make any more disturbment, mamma," said she, in a broken-hearted tone.

"I hope you'll remember it," said Mrs. Lyman, taking the child's two hands in hers, and pressing them earnestly.

Patty was afraid she was about to deprive her of the precious dollar; but Mrs. Lyman did not do it; she thought Patty would remember without such a hard punishment as that.

[Pg 83]



When Mrs. Lyman heard what a fright the children had had at Dr. Hilton's she was much displeased, and forbade Siller Noonin ever to talk to them again about witches. Siller confessed she had done wrong, and "hoped Mrs. Lyman wouldn't lay it up against her."

Patty said,—

"Poh, she couldn't scare me! I flied on a broomstick my own self, and I tumbled off. 'Course Mrs. Knowles can't do it; big folks like her!"

At the same time Patty did not like to[Pg 84] see Mrs. Knowles come to the house. It wasn't likely she had ever "flied on a broomstick;" but when Mrs. Lyman walked out with the good woman, as she sometimes did, Patty was uneasy till she got home again. Nobody suspected the little girl of such foolishness, and she never told of it till years after, when she was a tall young lady, and did not mind being laughed at for her childish ideas.

But perhaps you would like to know what became of her live dollar. She did not know what to do with so much money, and talked about it first to one and then to another.

"Moses," said she, "which would you ravver do, have me have a hundred cents, and you have ninety-nine cents, or me have ninety-nine cents, and you have a hundred?"[Pg 85]

Moses appeared to think hard for a moment, and then said,—

"Well, I guess I'd rather you'd have the hundred."

"O, would you?" cried Patty, kissing him gratefully.

"Yes," said Moses; "for if I had the most, you'd be teasing me for the odd cent."

The dollar burnt Patty's fingers. Some days she thought she would give it to the heathen, and other days she wondered if it would be wrong to spend it for candy. Sometimes she meant to buy a pair of silver shoe-buckles for her darling Moses, and then again a vandyke for her darling Mary. In short, she could not decide what to do with such a vast sum of money.

One day there came to the house a beggar girl, a little image of dirt and rags. She told a pitiful story about a dead mother and[Pg 86] a drunken father, and nobody could know that it was quite untrue, and her mother was alive, and waiting for her two miles away.

Patty was so much interested in the little girl's story, that she almost wanted to give her the silver dollar on the spot, but not quite. She ran into the bedroom to ask her mother what it was best to do.

"Why, I thought I fastened that door," cried John, flourishing a paint-brush in her face. "Scamper, or you'll get some paint on your gown."

Patty scampered, but not before she had stained her dress.

"Where is mother?" asked she of Dorcas.

"In the parlor; but don't go in there, child, for the doctor's wife is making a call, and Mrs. Chase, too."

Patty did not wait for Dorcas to finish the sentence, but rushed into the parlor, out[Pg 87] of breath. I am afraid she was rather glad to let the doctor's wife know she had some money, and thought of giving it away. Patty was not a bold child, but there were times when she did like to show off.

"O, mother, mother!" cried she, without stopping to look at the ladies. "Let me have my silver dollar this minute! 'Cause there's a poor little—"

"My child," said Mrs. Lyman, in a tone which checked Patty, and made her blush to the roots of her yellow hair.

"Pray, let her finish her story," said the doctor's wife, drawing the little one to her side; "it's something worth hearing, I know."

"It's a little girl," replied Patty, casting down her eyes, "and her mother is dead and her father is drunk."

Patty supposed he lay all the while with[Pg 88] his hat on, for she had once seen a man curled up in a heap by the roadside, and had heard John say he was drunk.

"How very sad!" said Mrs. Potter.

Mrs. Chase looked sorry.

"Do you say the mother is dead?" said she.

"Yes'm; the man killed her to death with a jug, and then she died," replied Patty, solemnly.

"Where is the child? Something must be done about it at once," said Mrs. Potter, a very kind lady, but apt to speak without much thought. "O, Patty, dear, I am glad you have such a good heart. It is beautiful to see little children remembering the words of our Saviour, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Patty's eyes shone with delight. It seemed to her that she was a little Lady Bountiful, going about the world taking[Pg 89] care of the poor. She crept closer to Mrs. Potter's side.

"I haven't but just one silver dollar," said she, in a low voice; "but I'd ravver give it to the little girl than keep it myself, I would!"

"Bless your dear little soul," said the doctor's wife, kissing Patty; but Mrs. Chase said nothing; and all at once it occurred to the child that perhaps Mrs. Chase had heard of her being spoken to in meeting, and that was why she did not praise her. Dreadful thought! It frightened Patty so that she covered up her face till both the ladies had gone away, for they did not stay much longer.

After the door was closed upon them, Mrs. Lyman said—,

"Here is your silver dollar, Patty, in my pocket."[Pg 90]

Patty fancied that her mother's voice was rather cold. She had expected a few words of praise, or at least a kiss and a smile.

"But think a minute, Patience. Are you sure you want to give it away?"

Patty put her fingers in her mouth, and eyed the dollar longingly. How large, and round, and bright it looked!

"I thought I heard you speak yesterday of buying Dorcas a vandyke,—or was it Mary?—and the day before of getting some shoe-buckles for Moses," added Mrs. Lyman, in the same quiet tones. "And only this morning your mind was running on a jockey for yourself. Whatever you please, dear. Take time to think."

"O, I'd ravver have a jockey. I forgot that—a white one."

"And what will become of the poor little girl?"[Pg 91]

"O, I guess Dorcas will give her some remmernants to eat, and folks all around will see to her, you know."

"My child, my child, you don't think as you did when those ladies were here. Do you remember your last Sunday's verse, and what I said about it then?"

Mrs. Lyman's voice was very grave.

Patty repeated the verse,—

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

She knew very well what it meant.

"Doing alms before women is just the same as doing 'em before men," thought Patty.

She had been making pretty speeches just for the sake of being praised, and she didn't[Pg 92] care so very much about the beggar girl after all.

"I am going out to see that poor child for myself," said Mrs. Lyman, putting down the black silk pocket she was making; and Patty followed, with her money clasped close to her bosom.

But by that time the dirty-faced little creature had gone away.

"She told wrong stories," said Dorcas; "she said, in the first place, her mother was dead, and afterwards that her mother was sick."

"Naughty thing! I'm glad I didn't give her my silver dollar!" exclaimed Patty; though she dared not look up, for fear of meeting her mamma's eyes.

"Where have you been, child, to get so stained with paint?" said Rachel, who always saw things before any one else[Pg 93] did. "Come here, and let me sponge your gown with spirits of turpentine."

"Strange I shouldn't have noticed that," said Mrs. Lyman. "I hope Mrs. Potter didn't spoil her crape shawl when she put her arm round you, Patience."

Patty dropped her eyes with shame, to think how pleased Mrs. Potter had been with her just for nothing at all.

"Spirits turpletine?" said she, making believe she had never heard the word before. "Spirits turpletine? That isn't angels, Rachel? Then what makes you call 'em spirits?"

Rachel knew the child was talking for the sake of changing the subject, and she would not answer such a foolish question.

"Stand still, you little try-patience," said she, "or I shall never get off the paint."[Pg 94]

Mrs. Lyman went back to finish her pocket. Ladies in those days wore them under their dresses, tied about their waists. Mrs. Lyman's was a very pretty one, of quilted black silk, and when it was done, Patty put her dollar in it, and jingled it beside a gold piece of her mother's.

"Which is worth the most, mamma?" said she, "your dollar or my dollar?"

"Mine is worth just twenty times as much as yours."

"Well, I'm glad that naughty girl hasn't got either of 'em," thought Patty. "I'm sorry I made believe good; but I want my dollar, and here 'tis, all safe."

Safe! Before night Patty's dollar was gone, and her mother's gold piece with it,—pocket, and all. It went that very afternoon; but nobody knew it till Mrs. Lyman was getting ready to go to the store two[Pg 95] days afterwards, and wanted her pocket to put on.

When she came into the kitchen and said it was not in her bureau drawer, and when Rachel, who always did the hunting, had looked everywhere and could not find it, then there was crying in that house, you may be sure. Patty said at once the beggar girl had taken the pocket.

"But how could she?" said Dorcas. "She was out of sight and hearing before mother began to quilt it."

"Well, then she came back in the night," sobbed Patty.

"I dare say Snippet has put it out of place," said big brother James.

"Yes, Patty is a great hand to lose things," said Rachel.

"No, no, no; that niggeramus girl came[Pg 96] and took it; came in the night," persisted Patty.

"Patience!" said her mother, reprovingly; and then Patty had to stop.

She mourned only for the silver dollar. She would have mourned for the gold piece too, if she had known that her mother intended to buy fall clothes with it for the little girls. It was as well Patty did not know this, for she had as much already as she could bear.

Priscilla Noonin came over that afternoon with her knitting. "It was midsummer, and the hay was down," and there were two men helping get it into the barn. One of the men was tall and well formed, but the other, Israel Crossman, was so short as to be almost a dwarf. He had yellow and white hair, was a little lame, and his hands were covered with warts. After supper he[Pg 97] sat a few minutes on the top of the fence whittling a stick. As Siller Noonin stood knitting at the window she saw him, and shook her head.

"Somehow or 'nother," said she, "I don't like the looks of that man, and never did. It's my private opinion, Mrs. Lyman, that either he stole your pocket or I did."

"Be careful," whispered Mrs. Lyman, "he will hear you."

He might have heard, or might not; but he soon got off the fence and limped away.

"Israel bears a good character," said Mrs. Lyman; "I will not suspect him, unless I see better reason than I have ever seen yet."

The loss of the silk pocket continued to be a great mystery. Everybody hunted for it from garret to cellar; but summer passed, and it did not come.

Patty's grief wore away by degrees; still[Pg 98] she never heard the word "pocket" or the word "dollar" without a pang. And every time she saw Mrs. Chase or Mrs. Potter, she could not help wondering if her money didn't fly away just to punish her for trying to "show off" before them? At any rate, she would never, never "show off" again.

[Pg 99]



But we must give up hunting for a little while: Sunday has come. Let us forget that "live dollar" (perhaps it's a dead dollar now), and go to church with Patty.

When she was "dressed for meeting," she went into the nicely sanded parlor and stood alone before the looking-glass a minute or two to admire herself. Look at her! She had on a blue cambric frock, and a blue cambric jockey, or hat, turned up a little at the sides, and tied under the chin with a blue ribbon; and on her little brown hands were a pair of white cotton gloves. Don't laugh,[Pg 100] little city folks! This was all very fine, sixty years ago, in a backwoods town. But look at her feet, and you must laugh! Her shoes were of the finest red broadcloth, and Mrs. Lyman had made them herself out of pieces of her own cloak and some soft leather left in the house by Mr. Piper, the shoemaker. He went from family to family, making shoes; but he could not make all that were needed in town, so this was not the first time Mrs. Lyman had tried her hand at the business. She used a pretty last and real shoemaker's thread, and Mr. Piper said she was "a dabster at it; no wonder her husband was well off when he had such a smart wife."

For, strange as it may seem to you, Squire Lyman was "well off,"—that is, he had one of the best farms in the county, and more money than any one else in Perseverance,[Pg 101] except Mr. Chase and Dr. Potter; those two men were much wealthier than he was.

All the Lymans walked to church except the squire and his wife and the two little boys; they went in the chaise. Dr. Potter rode horseback, with a great show of silk stockings. His wife was propped up behind him on a pillion. She was a graceful rider, but of course she had to put one arm around the doctor to keep from falling off. This would be an odd sight now to you or me, but Patty was so used to seeing ladies riding on pillions that she thought nothing about it. She looked down at her red shoes twinkling in and out of the green grass, and might have been perfectly happy, only the soles wouldn't squeak.

"Patty! Patty!" called sister Mary, "come back here and walk with me."[Pg 102]

Patty did not know till then that she was hopping. She went and took Mary's hand, and walked soberly along, thinking.

"I hope Deacon Turner didn't see me. I guess he's 'way ahead of us. I want to run and swing my arms; but I won't, because it is God's holy day."

On the way they overtook Sally Potter, whose jockey was dented and faded; and Patty said, "Good morning, Sally," with quite an air. But when Linda Chase came along, and her new red bosom-pin shone out in the sun, Patty's heart died within her.

"S'pose Linda don't know some folks don't like to see little girls wear bosom-pins," thought she.

When they reached the meeting-house Mrs. Potter was just alighting upon a horse-block. "Good morning, Linda," said she; "and how do you do, Patty, my dear?"[Pg 103]

"H'm! She didn't say 'Linda, my dear.' Guess she don't like bosom-pins," thought Patty; and her silly heart danced up again.

"O, but I know why Mrs. Chase says 'Patty, my dear;' it's because I—well, she s'poses I gave that dollar to the girl that her father was drunk."

And I am glad to say Patty blushed.

The meeting-house was an unpainted building with two doors. As they walked in at the left door, their feet made a loud sound on the floor, which was without a carpet. There were galleries on each side of the house, and indeed the pulpit was in a gallery, up, up, ever so high, with a sounding-board over the preacher's head. Right in the middle of the church was a box stove, but you could see that it was not half large enough to heat the house. Of course there was no fire in it now, for it was midsummer;[Pg 104] but in the winter ladies had to carry foot-stoves full of live coals to keep their feet warm in their pews.

Squire Lyman's pew was very near the pulpit, and was always pretty well filled. Like the rest of the great square boxes,—for that was what they looked like,—the seat was so high that Patty's scarlet shoes dangled in the air ever so far from the floor.

At precisely ten o'clock, Elder Lovejoy walked feebly up the aisle, and climbed the pulpit stairs. Patty watched him, as if he had been one of Jacob's angels ascending the ladder. He was a tall, thin man, with a fair complexion and long features. He wore a large turned-down collar and a white neckerchief, stuffed round the throat with what was called a pudding, and the ends of the neckerchief were so very long that they[Pg 105] hung half way down his vest. Everybody loved Elder Lovejoy, for he was very good; but Patty thought him more than human. He seemed to her very far off, and sacred, like King Solomon or King David; and if he had worn a crown, she would have considered it very appropriate.

After a long prayer, during which all the people stood up, Elder Lovejoy read a long, long psalm, and the people rose again to hear it sung. They turned their backs to the pulpit, and faced the singers.

But there was a great surprise to-day. A strange sound mingled with the voices singing; it was the sound of a bass-viol. The people looked at one another in surprise, and some with frowns on their faces. Never had an instrument of music of any sort been brought into that little church before; and now it was Deacon Turner's brother, the[Pg 106] blacksmith, who had ventured to come there with a fiddle!

Good Elder Lovejoy opened his eyes, and wiped his spectacles, and thought something must be done about it; they could not have "dance music" in that holy place. Deacon Turner and a great many others thought just so too; and at noon they talked to the wicked blacksmith, and put a stop to his fiddle.

But nothing of this was done in church time. Elder Lovejoy preached a very long sermon, in a painfully sing-song tone; but Patty thought it was exactly right; and when she heard a minister preach without the sing-song, she knew it must be wrong. She could not understand the sermon, but she stretched up her little neck towards the pulpit till it ached, thinking,—

"Well, mamma says I must sit still, and[Pg 107] let other people listen. I won't make any disturbment."

Mrs. Lyman looked at her little daughter with an approving smile, and Deacon Turner, that dreadful tithing-man up in the gallery, thought his lecture had done that "flighty little creetur" a great deal of good—or else it was his dollar, he did not know which.

Patty sat still for a whole hour and more, counting the brass nails in the pews, and the panes of glass in the windows, and keeping her eyes away from Daddy Wiggins, who always made her want to laugh. At last the sermon was over, and the people had just time enough to go to their homes for a cold dinner before afternoon service, which began at one o'clock.

Sunday did seem like a long day to little folks; and do you wonder? They had no Sabbath school or Sabbath school books;[Pg 108] and the only part of the day which seemed to be made for them was the evening. At that time they had to say their catechisms,—those who had not said them the night before.

Did you ever see a Westminster Catechism, with its queer little pictures? Then you can have no idea how it looks. After supper Mrs. Lyman called the children into her bedroom, shut the door, and had them repeat their lessons, beginning with the question, "Who was the first man?"

Patty supposed the Catechism was as holy as the Bible, and thought the rhyme,—

"Zaccheus he
Did climb a tree,
His Lord to see,"

was fine poetry, of course, and she never dreamed of laughing at the picture of dried-up[Pg 109] little Zaccheus standing on the top of a currant-bush.

Little Solly could answer almost all the questions, and sometimes baby Benny, who sat in his mamma's lap, would try to do it too. They all enjoyed these Sunday evenings in "mother's bedroom," for Mrs. Lyman had a very pleasant way of talking with her children, and telling interesting Bible stories.

The lesson this evening was on the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." When Patty understood what it meant, she said promptly, "Well, mamma, I don't do it."

For she was thinking,—

"What you s'pose I want of Linda Chase's bosom-pin? I wouldn't be seen wearing it!"

[Pg 110]



You see Patty knew as much about her own little heart as she did about Choctaw.

One Wednesday morning, early in September, Mrs. Lyman stood before the kneading trough, with both arms in dough as far as the elbows. In the farthest corner of the kitchen sat little Patty, pounding mustard-seed in a mortar.

"Mamma," said she, "Linda Chase has got a calico gown that'll stand alone."

"I've heard you tell of that before," said Mrs. Lyman, taking out a quantity of dough with both hands, putting it on a cabbage-leaf,[Pg 111] and patting it into shape like a large ball of butter. A cabbage-leaf was as good as "a skillet," she thought, for a loaf of brown bread.

"Did you ever see a gown stand all alone, mother? Linda says hers does."

"Poh, it don't!" said Moses. "I know better."

"Then hers told a lie!" exclaimed little Solly. "George Wash'ton never told a lie."

"Linda tells the truth," said Patty; "now, mamma, why don't my gowns stand alone?"

"I want to be like George Wash'ton," put in Solly again, pounding with the rolling-pin, "and papa's got a hatchet; but we don't have no cherry trees. I can't be like George Wash'ton."

"O, what a noise! Stop it!" said Moses, tickling little Solly under the arms.[Pg 112]

"Mamma, I wish I was as rich as Linda," said Patty, raising her voice above the din.

A look of pain came into Mrs. Lyman's eyes. It was not alone the children's racket that disturbed her. She sighed, and turned round to open the door of the brick oven. The oven had been heated long ago, and Dorcas had taken out the coals. It was just the time to put in the brown bread, and Mrs. Lyman set the cabbage-leaf loaves on the wooden bread-shovel, and pushed them in as far as they would go.

After this was done she began to mix pie-crust; but not a word had she to say about the gown that would stand alone.

"Now, Patience, you may clean the mortar nicely, and pound me some cinnamon."

Patty thought her mother could not know how her little arm ached. Linda Chase didn't have to pound things; her mother[Pg 113] thought she was too small. Linda's father had a gold watch with a chain to it, and Linda's big brother drove two horses, and looked very fine, not at all like George and Silas. Patty would not have thought of the difference, only she had heard Betsy Gould say that Fred Chase would "turn up his nose at the twins' striped shirts."

"Mamma," said she, beginning again in that teasing tone so trying to mothers, "I have to eat bread and milk and bean porridge, and Linda don't. She has nice things all the time."

"Patience," said Mrs. Lyman, wearily, "I cannot listen to idle complaints. Solomon, put down that porringer and go ask Betsey to wash your face."

"But, mamma," said Patty, "why can't I have things like Linda Chase?"

"My little girl must try to be happy in[Pg 114] the state in which God has placed her," said Mrs. Lyman, trimming a pie round the edges.

"But I don't live in a state," said Patty, dropping a tear into the cinnamon; "I live in the District of Maine; and I want a gown that'll stand alo-ne!"

"It's half past eight,
And I can't afford to wait,"

sang Moses from the south entry.

This was a piece of poetry which always aroused Patty. Up she sprang, and put on her cape-bonnet to start for school at Mrs. Merrill's, just round the corner.

"Daughter," said Mrs. Lyman, in a low voice, as she was going out, "you have a happier home than poor Linda Chase. Don't cry for things that little girl has, because, my dear, it is wicked."

"A happier home than poor Linda Chase!"[Pg 115]

Patty was amazed, and did not know what her mother meant; but when she got to school there was Linda in a dimity loose-gown, and Linda said,—

"My mother wants you to come and stay all night with me, if your mother's willing."

So Patty went home at noon to ask. Mrs. Lyman never liked to have Patty gone over night; but the child pleaded so hard that she gave her consent, only Patty must take her knitting-work, and musn't ask to wear her Sunday clothes.

When she went home with Linda she found Mrs. Chase sitting by the parlor window very grandly dressed. She kissed Patty, without once looking at Patty's gingham loose-gown; but her eyes were quite red, as if she had been crying.

"I like to have you come to see Linda,"[Pg 116] said she, "for Linda has no little sister, and she feels rather lonesome."

Then the children went up stairs to see the wonderful calico gown which cost "four and sixpence" a yard, and almost stood alone (that was all Linda had ever said it could do).

Mr. Chase and Fred were both away from home; and Patty was glad, for Mr. Chase was so very polite and stiff, and Fred always talked to her as if she was a baby. She did not like to go to see Linda when either of them was there.

Mrs. Chase took both the little girls in her lap, and seemed to enjoy hearing their childish prattle. Patty glanced at the gay rings on the lady's fingers, and at the pictures on the walls, and wondered why it wasn't a happy home, and what made Mrs. Chase's eyes so red. Then all at once she[Pg 117] remembered what Siller Noonin had said: "O, yes, Mrs. Chase has everything heart can wish, except a bottle to put her tears in."

Patty did not see why a handkerchief wasn't just as good; but she could not help looking at Linda's mother with some curiosity. If she really had a strong preference for crying into a bottle, why didn't her rich husband buy her a bottle, a glass one, beautifully shaped, with gold flowers on it, and let her cry into it just as much as she pleased? He was rich, and he ought to.

When they went to bed in the beautiful chamber that had such pretty furniture, Mrs. Chase kissed them good night, but not in a happy way, like Patty's mother.

"What makes your ma look so?" said Patty; "has she got the side-ache?"

"No, I guess not," replied little Linda;[Pg 118] "but she says she feels bad round the heart."

"My ma don't," returned Patty, thoughtfully. "I never heard her say so."

That was the last Patty knew, till ever so long afterwards, right in the middle of a dream, she heard a great noise. It was a sound of scuffling, and something being dragged up stairs. She saw the glimmer of lights, and heard somebody's voice—she thought it was Mr. Chase's—say, "Look out for his head, George."

"What is it?" whispered Patty. "O, what is it?"

Linda covered her face with the sheet, and whispered, trembling all over,—

"I guess Freddy's sick."

"No, no, no," cried Patty; "hear how loud he talks!"

"O, but he's very sick," repeated Linda.[Pg 119]

They heard him in the next chamber, kicking against the wall, and saying dreadful words, such as Patty had never heard before—words which made her shiver all over as if she was cold.

"Is it 'cause he is sick?" said she to Linda.

Linda thought it was.

Next morning, bright and early, Patty had to run home to help Moses turn out the cows; there were nine of them, and it took two, besides the dog Towler, to get them to pasture. She told her mother what she had heard in the night, and her mother looked very sober; but Rachel spoke up quickly,—

"I'll tell you, Patty, what makes Fred Chase have such sick turns; he drinks too much brandy."

"Yes," said big brother John; "that fellow[Pg 120] keeps a bottle in his room the whole time."

"Is it his mamma's bottle?" asked Patty; for it flashed over her all at once that perhaps that was the reason Mrs. Chase didn't have a bottle to cry into, because Fred kept it up in his room—full of brandy.

Nobody knew what she meant by asking "if it was his mamma's bottle;" so no one answered; but Mrs. Lyman said,—

"You see, Patty, it can't be very pleasant at Linda's house, even if she does have calico dresses that stand alone."

"It don't quite stand alone, mamma."

"And I hope you won't cry again, my daughter, for pretty things like hers."

"No, I won't mamma.—Is that why Linda's mother 'feels bad round her heart,' 'cause Freddy drinks out of the bottle?"[Pg 121]

"Yes, dear, it makes Mrs. Chase very unhappy."

"Then I'm sorry, and I won't ever cry to have things like Linda any more."

"That is right, my child; that's right!—Now, darling, run and help Moses turn out the cows."

[Pg 122]



I think it was the next winter after this that Patty had that dreadful time in school. If she had known what was coming, she would not have been in such a hurry for her shoes. Mr. Piper came in the fall, after he had got his farm work done, to "shoe-make" for the Lymans, beginning with the oldest and going down to the youngest; and he was so long getting to Patty that she couldn't wait, and started for school the first day in a pair of Moses's boots.

O, dear; but such a school as it was. Timothy Purple was the worst teacher that[Pg 123] ever came to Perseverance. He was very cruel, but he was cowardly too; for he punished the helpless little children and let the large ones go free. I have no patience with him when I think of it!

The first day of school he marched about the room, pretending to look for a nail in the wall to hang the naughtiest scholar on, whether it was a boy or a girl. Patty was so frightened that her milk-teeth chattered. You little folks who go to pleasant, orderly schools, and receive no heavier punishment than black marks in a book, can't have much idea how she suffered.

She expected every day after this to see a rope come out of Mr. Purple's pocket, and was sure if he hung anybody it would be Patty Lyman. Mr. Purple soon found she was afraid of him, and it gratified him,[Pg 124] because he was just the sort of man to like to see little ones tremble before him.

"I tell you what," said Moses, indignantly, "he's all the time picking upon Patty."

And so he was. He often shook her shoulders, twitched her flying hair, or boxed her pretty little ears. Not that he disliked Patty, by any means. I suppose a cat does not dislike a mouse, but only torments it for the sake of seeing it quiver.

Moses was picked upon too; but he did not make much complaint, for the "other fellows" of his age were served in the same way.

As for poor little browbeaten Patty, she went home crying almost every night, and her tender mother was sometimes on the point of saying to her,—

"Dear child, you shall not go another day."[Pg 125]

But she did not say it, for good Mrs. Lyman could not bear to make a disturbance. She knew if she should take Patty out of school, other parents would take their children out too; for nobody was at all satisfied with Mr. Purple, and a great many people said they wished the committee had force enough to turn him away.

But there was a storm in the air which nobody dreamed of.

The sun rose one morning just as usual, and Patty started for school at half past eight with the rest of the children. You would have pitied her if you had been there. The tears were dripping from her seven years old eyes like a hail shower. It was very cold, but she didn't mind that much, for she had a yellow blanket round her head and shoulders, and over those boots of Moses's were drawn a pair of big[Pg 126] gray stockings, which turned up and flopped at the toes. And it wasn't that ridiculous goosequill in her hair which made her cry either, though I am sure it must have hurt. No; it was the thought of the master, that dreadful man with the ferule and the birch sticks.

Her mother stood at the door with a saucer pie in her hand. She knew there was nothing Patty liked better.

"Here, Patience," said she, in a tone of motherly pity, "here's a pie for you. Don't you think now you can go without crying?"

Patience brightened at that, and put the bunch of comfort into Moses's dinner pail, along with some doughnuts as big as her arm, and some brown bread and sausages.

It was a long way to the school-house, and by the time the children got there their feet were numb. There was a great roaring fire[Pg 127] in the enormous fireplace; but it did Patty no good, for this was one of the master's "whipping days," and he strode the brick hearth like a savage warrior. Where was the little boy or girl brave enough to say, "Master, may I go to the fire?"

Poor Patty took out her Ladies' Accidence, and turned over the leaves. It was a little book, and the title sounds as if it was full of stories; but you must not think Patty would have carried a story book to school!

No; this was a Grammar. In our times little girls scarcely seven years old are not made to study such hard things, for their teachers are wise enough to know it is of no use. Patty was as good a scholar as any in school for her age. Her letters had been boxed into her ears very young by Miss Judkins, and now she could read in[Pg 128] Webster's Third Part as fast as a squirrel can run up a tree; but as for grammar, you could put all she knew into a doll's thimble. She could not tell a noun from a verb, nor could Linda Chase or Sally Potter, if you stood right over them, all three, with three birch switches. They all knew long strings of words, though, like this:—

"A noun is the name of anything that exists, or that we have any notion of."

She liked to rattle that off—Patty did—or her little nimble tongue, her head keeping time to the words.

I wish you had heard her, and seen her too, or that I could give you any idea of Mr. Purple's school.

Stop a minute. Shut your eyes, and think you are in Perseverance.—There, do you see that man in a blue swallow-tail coat? This is the master. His head runs up to a[Pg 129] peak, like an old-fashioned sugar loaf, and blazes like a maple tree in the fall of the year. He stands by his desk making a quill pen, and looking about him with sharp glances, that seem to cut right and left. Patty almost thinks his head is made of eyes, like the head of a fly; and she is sure he has a pair in the pockets of his swallow-tail coat.

But it is a great mistake. He does not see a twentieth part of the mischief that is going on; and what he does see he dares not take much notice of, for he is mortally afraid of the large boys.

There is a great noise in the room of shuffling feet and buzzing lips, but he pretends not to hear it.

Up very near the back seat sits Mary Lyman, or Polly, as almost everybody calls her, with a blue woolen cape over her[Pg 130] shoulders, called a vandyke, and her hair pulled and tied, and doubled and twisted, and then a goosequill shot through it like a skewer.

Behind her, in the very back seat of all, sits Dorcas, the prettiest girl in town, with a pale, sweet face, and a wide double frill in the neck of her dress.

Patty's future husband, William Parlin, is just across the aisle. He is fourteen years old, and you may be sure has never thought yet of marrying Patty.

The twins, Silas and George, sit together, pretending to do sums on a slate; but, I am sorry to say, they are really making pictures of the master. George says "his forehead sneaks away from his face," and on the slate he is made to look like an idiot. But the color of his hair cannot be painted with a white slate pencil.[Pg 131]

"I expect every day I shall scream out 'Fire!'" whispered Silas! "Mr. Purple's a-fire!"

In the floor stands brother Moses, with a split shingle astride his nose, after the fashion of a modern clothes-pin. So much for eating beechnuts in school, and peeling them for the little girls; but he and Ozem Wiggins nod at each other wisely behind Mr. Purple's back, as much as to say, they know what the reason is they have to be punished; it is because they are only nine years old; if they were in their teens the master wouldn't dare! Ozem has not peeled beechnuts, but he has "called names," and has to hold out a hard-wood poker at arm's length. If he should curve his elbow in the least, it would get a rap from the master's ferule.

"Class in Columbian Orator," says Mr.[Pg 132] Purple, "take your places out in the floor."

A dozen of the large boys and girls march forth, their shoes all squeaking as if some of the goosequills had got into the soles.


You would not understand that, but they know it means, "Make your manners;" and the girls obey by quick little courtesies, and the boys by stiff little bows.

Most of them say "natur" and "creetur," though duly corrected, and Charley Noonin, Siller's nephew, says "wooled" for "would."

Next comes a class in the Art of Reading. The twins are in that.

Then Webster's Third Part, and unhappy little Patty steps out, almost crying with chilblains, and has to be shaken because she doesn't stand still.

After that some poor little souls try to[Pg 133] spell out the story of "Thrifty and Unthrifty" in Webster's shingle-covered spelling-book.

"Class in Morse's Geography.—Little lady in that front seat, be car-ful! Come out here, Patty Lyman, and stand up by the fireplace. No crying."

It is almost a daily habit with Master Purple to call Patty into the floor while the geography class recites, and afterwards to give her a small whipping, for no other reason in the world than that she cannot stand still. William Parlin, who is a manly, large-hearted boy, pities the poor little thing, and sometimes darkly hints that he is not going to look on much longer and see her abused.

[Pg 134]



But let us hear the geography class.

The pupils stay in their seats to recite, while the master walks the floor and switches his boots. There is such a fearful uproar to-day that he has to raise his voice as if he were speaking a ship in a storm.

"What two rivers unite to form the Ohio?"

"A pint of clover seed and a bushel of Timothy," replies William Parlin, in a low voice.

"Right," returns Mr. Purple, who has not heard a word, but never contradicts William[Pg 135] because his father is on the committee.—"Next: Soil of Kentucky?"

"Flat-boats and flat-irons," replies one of the twins, just loud enough to set the boys laughing three seats before and behind him.

"Very well, ver-y well.—Less laughing.—What is the capital? Speak up distinctly."

"Capital punishment," responds the other twin, cracking an acorn.

"Correct.—Next may answer, a little louder: Where is Frankfort?"

And that was the way the lesson went. There had been a great deal more noise than usual, and Mr. Purple was almost distracted, for he saw the large boys were "in league," and he dared not call them to account.

Meanwhile active little Patty, who thought[Pg 136] she was standing perfectly still, studying that dreadful Ladies' Accidence, had really been spinning about on one foot; and just then she darted forward to tear a bit of shining bark from a white birch stick in the "ears" of the fireplace.

"Master," cried out a mean-spirited boy on the front bench, "Patty's pickin' gum off that ar log; I seed her."

Master Purple strode quickly across the room. He had been longing for a whole hour to give somebody a terrible whipping; and here was a good opportunity.

Of course it was the unmanly little tell-tale he was going to punish?

No, indeed; it was Patty. He seized upon the bewildered little creature with the greatest fury.

"Patty Lyman, what do you mean, young woman? Haven't I laid down a rule, and[Pg 137] how dare you disobey? It was only yesterday I feruled Ozen Wiggins for chewing gum."

"I didn't," wailed Patty.

"What? Do you contradict me? We'll see about that! Hold out your hand, you naughty, wicked child!"

The tone was so fierce, and the clutch on her shoulder hurt her so much, that poor Patty screamed fearfully.

"Hold out your hand!" repeated the master.

Patty gave him her slender baby-palm, poor little creature! while Dorcas and Mary, up in the back seats, both drew in their breaths with a shudder.

Down came the hard-wood ferule, whizzing through the air like a thing of life. No time then to tell Mr. Purple she couldn't have picked gum off a hard-wood stick if[Pg 138] she had tried; he wouldn't have believed her, and wouldn't have listened, no matter what she said.

One! two! three! Patty had never been struck like this before. The twins looked at each other, and almost rose from their seats. Indignation flashed from thirty pairs of eyes, but the master was too excited to see it.

Four! five! six! Patty's little figure bent like a broken reed, when there was a shuffling of boots in the aisle, and a voice shouted,

"Stop that, sir!"

It was William Parlin's voice. He had sent it on ahead of him, and was following after it as fast as he could.

"Let that child alone, Master Purple."


[Pg 139]

Master Purple was so utterly surprised and confounded that he stood stock still, with his ferule high in the air.

In another minute William was at his side.

"Do you mean to let go that little girl's hand, sir?"

Master Purple stood and glared.

"She's taken her last ruling, sir. I won't look on and see such small children abused, sir. If the committee can't make a fuss about it, I will."

You might have heard a pin drop. The whole school held its breath in surprise. Master Purple, not knowing what he did, dropped Patty's hand, and the sobbing child tried to go to her seat; but, blinded with tears, and pain and fright, she mistook the way, and staggered along to the fireplace.

"Poor little thing, don't cry!" said William,[Pg 140] lowering his voice to the gentlest tone; and taking her in his arms he carried her up to the back seat, and set her in Dorcas's lap.

It was an action which Patty never forgot. From that moment she loved dear William Parlin with all her little heart.

"O, William, do be careful," said Dorcas; for by that time Master Purple had come to his senses, and was rushing towards William, brandishing that heavy ruler.

But William was too quick for him. Before Master Purple could reach the back seat, the boy ran across the benches between the heads of the frightened children, and seizing the monstrous tongs, tossed them like a feather, exclaiming,

"Stand off, sir!"

What could Mr. Purple do? He was angry enough to tear William in pieces;[Pg 141] but it was not so easy to get at a boy who was armed with a pair of tongs.

"How dare you?" he cried, choking with rage; "how dare you, young man? Are the boys in this school willing to look on and see their teacher insulted?"

The boys did seem to be willing. Mr. Purple glanced about the room, hoping some one would come to his aid; but no one came. They were all against him, and full of admiration for William, though none of them would have dared to take William's place.

The little boys liked the excitement, but the little girls thought this was the end of the world, and began to cry.

"Is this the treatment I am to receive from my school?" exclaimed Master Purple, in despair.

The like had never been heard of in the[Pg 142] town of Perseverance that a school should rise against its teacher.

"I am going straight to your father to inform him of your conduct," he stammered, his face white with wrath.

And seizing his hat, he rushed out of the house, without stopping for his cloak.

I will not try to describe the uproar which followed. I will only say that William Parlin was afterwards reproved by his father for his rash conduct, but not so severely as some people thought he should have been. Mr. Purple's red head was never seen in that school-house again. Another teacher came to take his place, who was a Christian gentleman, and treated the little children like human beings.

No one was more glad of the change than Patty Lyman. The new master came to town before her tender palm was quite[Pg 143] healed from the cruel blows; and she was the first to see him. But the meeting happened in such a queer way, that I shall have to tell you about it.

[Pg 144]



"Well, mother," said Squire Lyman, one afternoon, "the new teacher has got along, and by the looks of him I don't believe he is the man to abuse our little girl. Patty, dear, open the cellar door for papa."

Mr. Lyman's arms were full of hemlock, which he had brought home from the woods. Betsy liked it for brooms, and he and his hired men always got quantities of it when they were hauling the winter's wood from the wood lot.

"Yes, I know the Starbird family very well," replied Mrs. Lyman; "that is, I used[Pg 145] to know this young man's mother, and I presume he is quite different from Mr. Purple."

Mrs. Lyman was sitting before the kitchen fire with the great family Bible in her lap; but, instead of reading it, she was winding round it some white soft wicking.

"Why, mamma, mamma, what are you doing?" exclaimed Patty. "How can papa read to-night with the Bible all tied up?"

"I shan't hurt the good book, my dear." And as Mrs. Lyman spoke she cut the wicking in two with the shears, and as it fell apart it let out the precious volume just as good as ever. Then she took from the table some slender sticks, and put on each stick twelve pieces of wicking, giving each piece a little twist with her fingers.

"O, now I know," said Moses, who was watching too; "you're a goin' to make candles—going[Pg 146] to dip those strings in a kettle of something hot. Yes, I know."

"Yes, and there's the kettle," said Patty.

Mrs. Lyman was very late this year about her candles. She dipped them once a year, and always in the afternoon and evening, because there was so much, so very much going on in that kitchen in the morning.

"Now, please, mamma," said Patty, "let me help."

Mrs. Lyman tipped two chairs face downward towards the floor,—"Like folks trying to creep," said Patty,—and laid two long sticks from one chair to the other, making a very good fence. Next she set the candle rods across the fence, more than a hundred of them in straight rows.

"James," called she, going to the door; and while James was coming she laid a large[Pg 147] plank on the floor right under the candle rods.

"That's to catch the drippings," said the learned Moses; and he was right.

Squire Lyman and James came in and lifted the heavy brass kettle from the crane, and placed it on a board just in front of the brick hearth, not far from the creeping chairs; and then Mrs. Lyman sat down to dip candles.

In the first place, when she put the pieces of wicking into the kettle of hot tallow and took them out again, they looked like greasy strings, and nothing else. One after another she dipped them in and drew them out, dipped them in and drew them out, and set them carefully back in their places across the fence.

Patty and Moses looked on with great Interest.[Pg 148]

"How slow they are!" said Moses. "I've kept count, and you've dipped more'n a hundred sticks, and you haven't made one candle yet."

"Rome wasn't built in a day," said Mrs. Lyman, going back to the very beginning, and dipping the first row over again.

"I don't know what Rome is," said Patty.

"Well, I wouldn't fuss with those strings," observed Moses; "why, this makes twice, and they're no bigger round yet than slate pencils."

"I'd let 'em alone," said Patty, "and not try."

"Moses, you might as well run off and see if father wants you," said Mrs. Lyman; "and, Patience, I know Dorcas would like some cloves pounded."

In about an hour Patty was back again. The candles had grown, but only a very[Pg 149] little. They were no larger yet than lead pencils. And there sat Mrs. Lyman with a steady, sober look on her face, as if she had made up her mind to wait and let them take their time to grow.

"What slow candles!" cried Patty.

"Patience, dear," said Mrs. Lyman, smiling.

"There, mamma, you said Patience, but you didn't mean me; you meant the good kind of patience."

"Yes, I meant the patience that works and waits. Now go and wash some potatoes for to-morrow's breakfast, and then you may come again and look."

"When Patty came the second time, she exclaimed, with delight,

"O, mamma, they're as big round as candy! Wish 'twas candy; wouldn't I eat?"

Mrs. Lyman began again at the first row.[Pg 150]

"Why, mamma Lyman, true's you live I can begin to see 'em grow!"

"You are right," said her mother. "People don't work and wait, all for nothing, daughter."

"Yankee Doodle came to town," sang Patty, dancing the time to the tune, as if she did not hear her mother's words. But she did hear them, and was putting them away in her memory, along with a thousand other things which had been said to her, and which she had not seemed to hear at the time.

I wish Mrs. Lyman could have known this, for she sometimes thought it was of no use to talk to Patty. I wish she could have known that years afterwards the dancing child would be comforted in many a trouble by these cheery words, "People don't work and wait for nothing, daughter." For you see it all came back to Patty when[Pg 151] she was a woman. She saw a picture of her good mother dipping candles, with a steady, sober look on her face; and that picture always did her good.

I wonder if the little folks, even in these days, don't hear and heed more than they appear to? If so, their mammas ought to believe it, and take courage.

"Mother, why do you pour hot water into that kettle? Won't water put out candles?"

"Perhaps not; perhaps it will make the tallow rise to the top," said Mrs. Lyman, laughing.

"O, so it does. Isn't it such fun to dip candles? They grow as fast as you can wink. Mayn't I dip, please, mamma?"

"Who was it," replied Mrs. Lyman, with a quiet smile, "that said, 'I'd let 'em alone, and not try?'"[Pg 152]

"O, but, mamma, that was when they didn't grow, you know."

"Well, dear, I'll let you dip in a rod by and by; I can't stop now."

Patty waited, but the "by and by" did not come. Mrs. Lyman seemed to have forgotten her promise; and about eight o'clock had to leave the candles a few minutes to give Dorcas some advice about the fitting of a dress. Dorcas was to take her mother's place; but just as she started for the kitchen, there was an outcry from Mary, who had cut her finger, and wanted it bound up.

"It's my by-and-by now," thought little Patty.

There was not a soul in the kitchen to attend to those candles. Deary me, and the tallow growing so cold! Wasn't it Patty's duty to help?[Pg 153]

Of course it was; and seating her little self with much dignity in the chair from which her mother had just risen, and propping her feet on the round, she took up the business where it was left off. It seemed the easiest thing in the world to flash those round white candles into the kettle and out again; but they were a great deal heavier than she had supposed. After she had dipped two or three rods her arm felt very tired. How could mamma do it so fast, without stopping one bit?

A bright thought seized Patty, as bright as all those dozen-dozen candles burning in a row.

"Guess I'll dip 'em slow; then there'll be more tallow stick on."

Strange mamma hadn't thought of that herself; but mammas can't think of everything, they have so much to do. Patty[Pg 154] swayed a rod full of candles from side to side in the kettle, not perceiving that they were melting to their heart's cores. When she took them out they dripped great tears, and as she held them up, wondering why they hadn't grown any, the kitchen door opened, and some one walked in.

Who it was Patty could not see, for her face was turned away; but what if it should be brother James, and he should call out,

"Well, Snippet, up to mischief, hey?"

The very thought of such a speech frightened her so that she set her row of candles across the chairs in great haste, hitting them against another row, where they stuck fast.

"Good evening, miss," said a strange voice.

Patty turned her head, and there, instead of James, stood a handsome young gentleman[Pg 155] she had never seen before. She knew at once it must be the new teacher.

The first thing she did was to seize a row of candles, hit or miss, and dashed them into the kettle.

"Beg pardon. I'm afraid I've come to the wrong door," said the stranger, bowing very low, and trying his best not to smile.

"O, no, sir; yes, sir; thank you," replied bewildered Patty, almost plunging head first into the kettle. But instead of that she suddenly straightened up, and popped in another row of candles.

Mr. Starbird was so amused by the little creature's quick and kitten-like motions that he stood still and watched her. He thought he had never seen so funny a sight before.

"He smiles just as cheerfully," mused Miss Patty, with an airy toss of the head. "Guess he thinks I'm smart! Guess he[Pg 156] thinks he'll put me in the C'lumby Norter [Columbian Orator] first thing he does! Big girl like this, sitting up so straight, working like a woman!"

With that she rocked forward, and nearly lost her balance; but no harm was done; she only pushed the kettle half way off the board.

The gentleman thought it was about time to interfere, and let some of the family know what the child was doing.

"Will you please point the way to the parlor, little miss?" said he, with a bewitching smile.

Patty slid from her seat, and, in her confusion, was aiming straight for the cellar door, when, alas! alas! one of her feet got caught in the rounds of the chair, and she tumbled out headlong. In trying to save herself, she put forth both hands, and struck[Pg 157] against the kettle, which was already tipsy, and of course turned over.

It was a critical moment. Mr. Starbird saw the kettle coming, and had the presence of mind to spring the other way. A flood of hot water and tallow was pouring over the floor, and little Patty screaming lustily.

Mr. Starbird thought she was scalding to death, and instead of taking care of himself, turned about to save her. But before he could reach her, she had darted through the bar-room door and disappeared—without so much as a blotch of tallow on her shoes.

Gallant Mr. Starbird did not get off so well. His foot slipped on the oily floor, and down he fell. Before he could get up the whole household had come to the rescue, Rachel and John bringing tin dippers, and Mrs. Lyman a mop; but Dorcas a roll of[Pg 158] linen, for she knew the stranger must be scalded.

He tried to make the best of it, poor man; and while Dorcas was doing up both his blistered hands, he smiled on her almost as "cheerfully" as he had smiled on the little candle-dipper. He found it very pleasant to look at Dorcas. Everybody liked to look at her. She had a rare, sweet face, as delicate as a white snowdrop just touched with pink, and she did know how to do up sore fingers beautifully; she had practised it on every one of the children.

Patty was so sorry and ashamed that she crept to bed in the dark, and cried herself to sleep.

The next morning that unpainted kitchen floor was a sight to behold, and Rachel said[Pg 159] she did not think it would ever come clean again.

"See what I found in the kettle," said she.

Two rows of little withered candles, all worn out, and crooked besides.

"Did I do that too?" said Patty.

"I should think you did. What mischief will you be up to next?" said Rachel, sharply.

"But, but, mamma said I might dip."

"Why, yes, so I did," said the much-enduring mother, suddenly remembering her own words. "Well, well, Rachel, we won't be too hard on Patience. I'll warrant she'll never try this caper again."

[Pg 160]



Mr. Starbird began the school with his hands in mittens; but for all that he governed the big boys without the least effort. His blisters were so troublesome that he had to go to Squire Lyman's every day to have them done up, and in that way Patty grew very well acquainted with him. Before spring the whole family felt as if they had always known him, and Mrs. Lyman called him Frank, because she and his mother had been "girls together." Dorcas did not call him Frank, but they were remarkably good friends.[Pg 161]

After the winter school was done, Mr. Starbird still staid at Perseverance, studying law with Mr. Chase, and boarding at Squire Lyman's. He was a very funny man, always saying and doing strange things; and that brings me round at last to Patty's dollar.

One evening Patty was so tired with picking up chips that she went and threw herself into her mother's arms, saying, "Why don't the boys stick the axe clear through the wood, mamma; then there wouldn't be chips to bother folks."

For a wonder Mrs. Lyman was sitting down without any work in her hands, and could stop to stroke Patty's hair and kiss her "lips like snips of scarlet," which made the little girl happier than anything else in the world. Mr. Starbird sat in a large armchair, holding a skein of yarn for Dorcas,[Pg 162] who sat in a small rocking-chair, winding it.

"Mrs. Lyman," said Mr. Starbird, "do you believe in dreams?"

"Indeed, I do not," replied Mrs. Lyman. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, I don't believe in them myself any more than you do, Mrs. Lyman. But I did have such a very singular dream last night!"

"Do tell us what it was," said Dorcas.

"Certainly, if you like," said Mr. Starbird; "but I—but I don't know about it; is it best to speak of such things before Patty?"

"Yes, you must, Mr. Starbird," cried Patty, springing up eagerly. "I won't tell anybody, long's I live."

Mr. Starbird laughed.

"Well, in the first place, Mrs. Lyman, let[Pg 163] me ask you if you lost any money ever so long ago?"

"Yes, I lost a twenty-dollar gold piece last summer."

"Yes; and me, too. I had a silver dollar, 'n' I lost it," cried Patty.

"How strange!" said Mr. Starbird. "So my dream does have some sense in it. Excuse me, Mrs. Lyman; but will you tell me where you kept the money?"

"In my black silk pocket; but the pocket went too."

"And I suppose you have hunted everywhere for it."

"Of course we have," said Dorcas. "I guess you'd think so, Mr. Starbird; why, we've turned this house upside down."

"To be sure. Well, I'd like to ask another question, Mrs. Lyman. Did you ever think that woman that is about here so[Pg 164] much—Siller Noonin, I believe they call her—could have taken the money?"

"O, no, indeed, Francis; we consider Priscilla an honest woman."

"That was not what I meant to say, Mrs. Lyman. What I was going to ask was this: Wasn't there a funny old man here at the time you lost the money? and didn't Siller Noonin say that either he stole the money or she did?"

Mrs. Lyman looked surprised.

"Yes; there was a little old man at the house in haying-time, and I believe Priscilla did say she thought—"

"Yes, mother," broke in Dorcas; "and he was sitting out on the fence when she said it, and we were afraid he heard; but how did you know that, Mr. Starbird? It didn't come to you in your dream?"

"Ah, Miss Dorcas, you are beginning to[Pg 165] be curious; but when I go on to tell you more, you will open your eyes wider yet. I never saw that little old man, Mrs. Lyman, and never heard you speak of him; but I dreamed I was husking corn in your barn, and a man about as tall as your Mary—"

Just then Mary, and Moses, and George, and Silas, and John, and Rachel came into the room, followed by William Parlin; and Mr. Starbird had to begin at the beginning and tell as far as this all over again.

"A man as tall, perhaps, as Mary, with hair the color of pumpkin and milk, limped up to me—"

"Why, mother, why, Rachel, his hair was all yellow and white," said Moses.

"Well, so I said," pursued Mr. Starbird. "And there were red rings round his eyes, and he had a turn-up nose, and hands all covered with warts."[Pg 166]

"Mr. Starbird, you must have seen Israel Crossman," said Mrs. Lyman, who had stopped rocking in her surprise.

"Israel Crossman! That was the very name he spoke as he limped into the barn. I declare, Mrs. Lyman, this is growing more and more mysterious; but I never saw Israel Crossman; I give you my word."

"How very strange!" said Dorcas; "but do make haste and finish, for I am getting all of a tremble."

"Me, too," cried Patty, clinging close to her mother's neck.

"Well, the old man sidled along to me, and said he,—

"'I'm Isr'el Crossman; and look here: me and Squire Lyman's two hired men and (I've forgotten the other name) got in hay into this ere barn last summer. Squire Lyman's folks used me well; but there's[Pg 167] one thing that's laid heavy on my mind. Mrs. Lyman lost a gold piece while I was here—'"

"Yes, and me a silver dollar," cried Patty.

"'And it distressed me bad,' said Israel, 'for Siller Noonin up and said that either she stole it, or I did. But it's come to me lately,' said Israel, 'what must have 'come of that money! I never took it; bless you, I never stole a pin! But I see that little Patty to play out in the barn with one of her rag babies.'"

"O, I never," exclaimed Patty.

"Don't interrupt," whispered one of the twins, deeply interested.

"You know I am only telling a silly dream, my dear," said Mr. Starbird. "This little man said he saw Patty playing on the scaffold before the hay was got into the[Pg 168] barn, and she had something round her doll's neck that looked like a pocket. He didn't know any more than that; but he 'sort of mistrusted' that she might have left the doll on the scaffold, and the men might have pitched hay right on top of it."

"Sure enough," exclaimed Dorcas, with a nervous laugh; "who knows but she did?"

"Have you lost a doll, Patty?" asked William Parlin.

"No; I never."

"O, she doesn't know when she loses dolls," said Rachel; "she always keeps more than a dozen or so on hand."

"Well, I was going to say," continued Mr. Starbird, "you could easily find out whether there was any meaning to my dream. If there is a doll up there on the scaffold, the hay is getting so low you could scrape round and find it."[Pg 169]

"That's so," cried the twins.

"Not that it's really worth while, either," added Mr. Starbird; "for, as I said, it was only—"

"But there isn't the least harm in going out to see," said Mary and the twins, and William Parlin, all in a breath, as they started on a run for the barn. Patty slipped down from her mother's arms and followed.

"Me! Me! Let me go first," she cried. And before any one else could do it, her swift little feet were mounting the ladder, and next minute tripping over the scaffold.

"O, look! O, catch! Here it is! Here is my dolly all up in the corner, and here's a pocket round her neck!"

Dorcas, who was always rather nervous, sat on the barn floor and laughed and cried herself into such a state that Mr. Starbird[Pg 170] had to give her his arm to help her back to the house.

There was a great time, you may be sure, when Patty shook the pocket before everybody's eyes, and James rang the twenty-dollar piece on the brick hearth to make sure it was good gold. Dorcas was so excited that pink spots came in both her cheeks, and even James did not know what to think. Betsey Gould started right off to Dr. Potter's, where Siller Noonin happened to be, to tell Siller the story. Dorcas kept having little spasms of laughing and crying, and the whole household had rather a frightened look; for it was the most marvellous dream they ever heard of.

"Well, mother, what do you think now of dreams?" said Moses. "Guess you'll have to give it up."

Mrs. Lyman had been in her bedroom to[Pg 171] put the gold piece into her drawer, and she now came back and took up her stocking-basket, as if nothing had happened.

"I will tell you to-morrow what I think of dreams, Moses.—Hush, Patty, I am afraid we shall be sorry you found your dollar, if it makes you so noisy."

Mr. Starbird went up to the table where Mrs. Lyman sat, pretending to be looking for the shears, but really to get a peep at the lady's eyes. At any rate, he did not go away till he had made her look at him, and then they both smiled, and Mrs. Lyman said, in a very low voice,—

"Francis, you have kept up the joke long enough."

Frank nodded and went back to the settle.

"James," said he, "you are the wise one of the family; I wish you would tell me how you account for my dream."[Pg 172]

"Can't account for it," said James, shaking his head; "don't pretend to."

"Well, then, if you can't," returned Mr. Starbird, looking very innocent, "perhaps you can tell me what day of the month it is?"

There was a general uproar then.

"Have you been making fools of us, Frank Starbird?" cried James and Rachel, seizing him, one by the hair, the other by the ears.

"April Fools! April Fools!" exclaimed all the children together,—all except Dorcas.

"It's the best fool I ever heard of," said William Parlin; "but how did you do it, sir?"

"Yes, explain yourself," said James and Rachel. "Was mother in the secret?"[Pg 173]

"No; but Dorcas was. Let go my hair, James, and I'll speak.—Fact is, I happened to find that rag baby out there on the scaffold this afternoon with that pocket on its neck, and so I dreamed a dream to suit myself."

"Yes," said Dorcas; "and I told him just how Israel Crossman looked, and all about Siller Noonin, and didn't he say it off like a book?"

"Wasn't it a dream, then?" asked little Patty.

"No, dear; it was only nonsense."

"Well, then, I didn't put my dolly out there,—did I?"

"Yes, of course you did," said her mother; "only you have forgotten it."

But Patty looked puzzled. She could not recollect that ever so long ago, the day the[Pg 174] beggar girl came to the house, she had cured Polly Dolly Adaline's sore throat with her mother's quilted pocket, and then had carried the sick dolly out to the barn, "so she could get well faster where there wasn't any noise."

No, Patty could not recollect this, and the whole thing was a mystery to her.

"Children," said Mrs. Lyman, looking up from her stockings, as soon as there was a chance to speak, "I have one word to say on this subject: whenever you hear of signs and wonders, don't believe in them till you've sifted them to the bottom. And when you've done that, mark my words, you'll find there's no more substance to them than there is to Francis Starbird's April Fool Dream."

"True," said Rachel and James; and then,[Pg 175] as half a dozen of the younger ones had gone out, they had a quiet talk, five or six of them, round the fire, and Patty went to sleep sitting on Mr. Starbird's knee.

[Pg 176]



So Patty had her dollar back; and now what to do with it was the question. She thought of a great many things to buy, but always grew tired of them before she had fairly made up her mind.

At last she went to her mother, and said, "Mamma, I'm only a little girl, and don't know much; won't you please tell me what to get?"

"Do you really wish me to decide for you, my dear? And will you be satisfied with my choice?"

"Yes, mamma, I truly will be satisfied.[Pg 177] But—but—you don't want to give my dollar to the heathens—do you? It's all clear silver, and I s'pect coppers just as good for those heathens, mamma."

"What makes you think copper is just as good, my child?"

"Because that's what people put into the box; and when they put any silver in, it's in little bits of pieces. I don't s'pect the heathens know the difference."

Mrs. Lyman smiled, though at the same time she was sorry to think how selfish people are, and how little they are willing to give away.

"Let me ask you a question, dear. How would you like to have me carry this dollar to Mrs. Chase and Mrs. Potter, and tell them my little girl sent it for them to give to some poor child?"

Patty looked up in surprise.[Pg 178]

"If you are going to give it to a poor child, mamma, can't you do it 'thout telling folks?"

"Yes, I could. I didn't know, though, but you'd like to have Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Chase hear of it."

A pink blush crept over Patty's face, and away up to the top of her forehead.

"O, mamma, I don't! I don't!"

"Well, I believe you, my dear. You have seen a little of the folly of trying to show off. And that reminds me—Yes, I have a very good idea; and when your papa goes to Augusta next week, I will send your dollar, and have him buy you something you can always keep."

Patty liked the sound of that, and when her father came home from Augusta with a little round trunk in his hands, she could hardly wait for him to get into the house.[Pg 179] He had brought her a little red Bible, with clasp covers. It was the first whole Bible she had ever owned. She was much pleased, and has kept the little book all these years, though its beauty is quite gone by this time. It is very precious to her, because these words are on one of the fly-leaves in her dear mother's own writing: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

Time passed on, and on, and on. Patty's wrists grew so strong that she was trusted to milk a small red cow, though she must still have been quite a little girl, for she could not remember which was the cow's right side, and had to mark her bag with a piece of chalk. Very soon she had two cows to milk, just as Mary and Moses had; and Moses, who was an early bird, used to[Pg 180] wake her from a sound sleep by calling out, "Come, come, Patty! Dr. Chase's cows are out! Mary and I have milked! Up, up, Patty! Why don't you start?"

Patty thought it was very hard to be called so early in the morning. What did she care for Dr. Chase's cows? She was tired of hearing Moses talk about them. Poor little creature! She always ran down stairs, rubbing her eyes, and her mother comforted her by saying,—

"Never mind it. After you have milked your cows and turned them out, you may go to bed again, my dear, and have another nap."

Patty always thought she would do it; but after the work was done, she was no longer sleepy, and did not wish to go to bed.

When she was ten years old, she learned[Pg 181] to spin cotton. Her mother first carded it into rolls, and then Patty "roped" it, and spun it on a wheel; but the spindle was so high up that she was obliged to have a board to walk back and forth upon. She liked it as well as any other work, for she had a "knack" at spinning; but the older she grew, the less time she had for play. Her mother, though very kind to her children, did not seem to think it made much difference whether they played or not. She never praised Patty; but once the little girl overheard her telling some ladies that her youngest daughter was a "natural worker," and "the smartest child she had." Of course that pleased Patty very much, and afterwards she was brisker than ever.

Her stint was three skeins of cotton a day; and sometimes, when she was spinning it, Linda Chase would come up in the[Pg 182] chamber and look on. Linda could not draw a thread without pulling the cotton all to pieces, and it amazed her to see Patty's spindle whirl so fast; for it went at a wonderful rate, especially when any one was looking on.

"I'm spinning warp for my new gown," said Patty; "and Rachel is going to weave it."

"What color will it be?"

"Blue and copperas, in little checks," replied Patty.

Linda knew what copperas color was,—it was a dull yellow.

"'Twill only be for me to go to school in," explained Patty. "I shall have it for my not-very-best. By and by I'm going to learn how to spin linen on that little flax-wheel, and Rachel will weave me some table-cloths,[Pg 183] and sheets, and pillow-cases, just as she does for Dorcas. Guess why she weaves them for Dorcas."

"I'm sure I can't guess. Because she wants to, I suppose."

"Look here—it's a secret. Dorcas is going to be married by and by, and that is the reason Mr. Starbird comes here on that white-faced horse. He doesn't come to see the rest of us; he comes to see Dorcas."

Patty stopped her wheel in her eagerness.

"Yes; and you know, when I was a little speck of a girl, I spilled some hot tallow over, and burnt his hand; and he says that is the reason he is going to marry Dorcas."

"What! because you burnt his hand?"

"Yes. I don't see why that made him[Pg 184] like Dorcas," said Patty, reflectively; "but that's what he said. And then I shall have eight brothers; won't it be nice?"

"Does Betsey Potter know?"

"Yes. I told her."

"Well, I should have thought you might have told me first," said Linda, pouting. "I don't like it very well to have you tell me last."

"O, I told Betsey first because she came first. I never heard of it myself till this morning," said Patty, innocently.

She was never known to keep a secret twenty-four hours.

The idea of a wedding in the family was perfectly delightful to the little girl, and after this she used to watch for Mr. Starbird every third week, just as regularly as Dorcas did, and was almost as much pleased[Pg 185] when she saw him coming on his white-faced horse.

It was so nice to think of having more brothers; for as yet poor Patty had only seven!

[Pg 186]



There was a great time that year preparing for Thanksgiving. It seemed as if the tall clock had never ticked so fast before, nor the full moon smiled down from the top of it with such a jolly face.

"It's going to be what you may call a sort of a double Thanksgiving," said Moses.

"Why?" asked Patty. "Because there'll be double turkeys and double puddings?"

"No, Patty Lyman! Don't you remember what's going to happen before dinner?"

"O, you mean the wedding! I knew that ever so long ago."[Pg 187]

Patty had heard of it the day before.

"Equal to Fourth of July and training-day put together," remarked Moses, snatching a handful of raisins out of the bowl Mary held in her lap.

"Yes," said Patty, leaving off her spice-pounding long enough to clap her hands; "it's splendid!"

"I don't see how you can say so," said the thoughtful Mary, "when our dear sister Dorcas is going 'way off, and never'll live at home any more!"

"Yes, I know it," responded Patty, looking as serious as she could, for Mary was wiping her eyes on her apron. "It's dreadful! O, how bad I feel!"

The kitchen was so full you could hardly turn around. Everybody was there but Dorcas, and she was finishing off her wedding-dress. Mrs. Lyman was stuffing two[Pg 188] large turkeys; Betsey was making brown bread; Moses chopping mince-meat; and those who had nothing else to do were talking. Aunt Hannah was there, helping Rachel make the wedding-cake; but the trouble was with aunt Hannah that she couldn't come without bringing her baby; and there he was, rolling about the floor like a soft bundle of yellow flannel—a nice, fat baby, with a ruffled cap on his head. He was named Job, after his father, who had borne that name through a long life, and been very patient about it.

"Now, Patty," said Rachel, "I see you've stopped pounding cloves, and I wish you'd take care of this baby; he is rolling up towards the molasses jug, and will tip it over next thing he does."

Patty had only stopped pounding for half a minute. It seemed to her that her right[Pg 189] hand always had a mortar-pestle in it. She ran now to get some playthings for Job—a string of earthen-ware beads, and a pewter plate to hold them when he should break the string; and a squash-shell, filled with peas,—just as good as a rattle, let me tell you. Then she sat on the floor, making baby-talk with the little creature, who has since that been somebody's grandfather.

Patty always meant well, and now she was really able to help a great deal. At ten years old she was quite a tall girl, though what the country-folks called rather "slim." Her dress was made of thick cotton and woollen goods, all rough with little knobs,—the same Rachel had woven in "blue and copperas checks."

Patty soon tired of amusing Job. She wanted to do something of more importance.

"I should think I might chop mince-meat[Pg 190] instead of you, Moses. There, now, you're getting it so fine 'twill be poison."

Aunt Hannah heard that and laughed.

"That child takes everything in earnest," said she. "I told Moses if he got the mince-meat too fine, 'twould be poisonous; but I never saw any mince-meat that was too fine—did you, Rachel?"

"Mary," said Mrs. Lyman, "if you please, you may poke up the coals now. George, you'll have to move round, and let her get to the oven."

"I'll attend to it myself," said George, rising from his chair, at one end of the big fireplace, and stirring the glowing coals in the brick oven with the hard-wood "poking-stick."

"Now, if you'll all keep still," said James, "I'll read you something from the newspaper."[Pg 191]

Moses dropped his chopping-knife, Mary looked frightened, and Patty stopped shaking the squash-shell. They knew it would never do to make a noise while James was reading.

"My son, my son," pleaded Mrs. Lyman, turning round from her turkey, and shaking her darning-needle at him, "you wouldn't try to read in all this confusion? Wait till we get a little over our hurry. Go to the end-cupboard, and fetch me a couple of good, stout strings; I want these turkeys all ready to tie on the nails."

She was going to roast them before the fire. That was the way they cooked turkeys in old times.

"And, Betsey," said Mrs. Lyman, "you may as well go to work on the doughnuts. Make half a bushel or more."

"What about the riz bread?" said Betsey.[Pg 192]

"I should think a dozen loaves would be enough," replied Mrs. Lyman, who was now beginning to make a suet pudding.

You see they meant to have plenty of food, for beside their own large family, they expected twenty or thirty guests to dinner day after to-morrow.

"O, mother!" exclaimed Mary, "I'm afraid you're not making that pudding thick enough. Siller Noonin says the pudding-stick ought to stand alone."

"Priscilla is thinking of the old Connecticut Blue Laws about mush," replied Mrs. Lyman, smiling; "we don't mind the blue laws up here in Maine. And this isn't mush, either; it's suet pudding.—Solomon, my son, you may go into the shed-chamber, and bring me a bag of hops; we must have some beer starting."

Betsey swung the frying-kettle on the[Pg 193] crane, and had just turned away, when the baby crept up, and tipped over sick George's basin of pussy-willow and cider, which was steeping in one corner of the fireplace. There was no harm done, only Job lost his patience, and cried, and for five minutes there was a perfect Bedlam of baby-screams, chopping-knives, and mortar-pestles, and in the midst of it, the sound of the hired men winnowing grain in the barn.

But there could hardly be too much noise for Patty. I presume she was never happier in her life than on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving; but Wednesday came, and it rained in torrents.

"Will they be married if it doesn't clear off?" said she.

"You do ask the funniest questions," replied Rachel. "Just as if Mr. Starbird[Pg 194] would stay away from his own wedding on account of the weather!"

It rained all night; but Thursday morning the sun came rushing through the clouds, his face all aglow with smiles, and put an end to such dismal business. Patty looked out of the window, and watched the clouds scampering away to hide, and whispered in her heart to the little birds that were left in the maple trees,—

"How kind God is to give us a good wedding-day!"

About ten o'clock the guests began to come, and among the first was Mr. Starbird. Patty had never seen him look so fine as he did when he stood up with her dear sister Dorcas to be married. He wore a blue coat, and a beautiful ruffled shirt, and his shoe-buckles—so Moses said—were of solid silver. Why he needed gloves[Pg 195] in the house, Patty could not imagine; but there they were on his hands,—white kids at that.

Dorcas was quite as fine as the bridegroom. She had no veil, but her high-topped comb sat on her head like a crown, and there was a wonderfully rich stomacher of embroidered lace in the neck of her dress. Such a dress! It shimmered in the sun like a dove's wings, for it was of changeable silk, the costliest affair, Patty thought, that a bride ever wore. It was fastened at the back like a little girl's frock, and the waist was no longer than the waist of a baby's slip.

Patty took great pride in looking at her beautiful sister, from the top of her shell comb to the tips of her white slippers, which were just the size of Patty's own.

The ceremony was as long as a common[Pg 196] sermon; and it would have been longer yet, if Elder Lovejoy had been there to perform it. He was sick, and this man, who came in his place, did not speak in a sing-song tone; Patty was not sure it was quite right to do without that. He was young and diffident. Patty knew he trembled, for she could see his coat-flaps shake; and she can see them shake now, every time she thinks of the wedding.

There is something else she can see; and, as I don't believe you ever heard of such a thing, I must tell you.

After the dinner of turkeys, roast beef, mince pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, plum and suet pudding, doughnuts, cheese, and every other good thing you can think of, the children went into the back room for a frolic. There were aunt Hannah's three oldest girls, and uncle Joshua's four big[Pg 197] boys, William Parlin and his sister Love, and a few more.

While they were there, just beginning a game of blindfold, the bride came out in her travelling-dress, with her young husband, to say good by. Mary fell to crying, the twins had tears in their eyes, and it would have been a very sober time, if Rachel had not called out, in her brisk way,—

"All step round to the sides of the room, and let me have the middle!"

People always minded Rachel; so she had the floor at once, though no one could think what she meant to do, when she brought along a big brass kettle, the very one in which Patty had dipped those unfortunate candles, and set it upon a board, in the middle of the floor.

"Now, my friends," said she, courtesying, "you all know I am the oldest daughter,[Pg 198] and it isn't fair that my younger sister should be married before I am; do you think it is?"

"No, no; not at all," said uncle Joshua's four boys, laughing.

"And I don't see," added Rachel, with another courtesy,—"I don't see how Mr. Starbird happened to make such a strange mistake as to choose Dorcas instead of me!"

"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Starbird, bowing very low, "I never'll do so again."

"But since the deed is done," said Rachel, "and cannot be undone, I shall be obliged to dance in the brass kettle. That's what ladies do whose younger sisters are married first."

Then, with quite a sober face, she mounted a wooden cricket, stepped into the kettle, and began to dance.

There was not room to take many steps;[Pg 199] but she balanced herself very gracefully, and sung, keeping time with her feet.

Rachel was one of the brightest, wittiest young ladies in Perseverance, and this performance of hers amused the bride and bridegroom, and everybody else but little Patty. Patty took it all in earnest. She had never heard before of the funny ceremony of dancing in a brass kettle, and wondered if it had anything to do with those candles of hers.

"Mr. Starbird likes Dorcas better than he does Rachel," thought the little girl, "and that was why he asked her to marry him. I should think Rachel might know that! She says he made a mistake; but he didn't! If Rachel feels so bad, I shouldn't think she would tell of it. Poor Mr. Starbird! He'll be so sorry! and Dorcas will be so sorry! O, I wish Rachel hadn't told—"[Pg 200]

"Why, Patty, what makes you look so sober?" asked William Parlin. "You look as if Master Purple had been feruling you."

But Patty was ashamed to let any one know the trouble in her mind; and after the bride and bridegroom had gone, she ran away by herself to cry; and that is all she remembers of the wedding.

"Is it really grandma Parlin you have been writing about?" says Prudy.

"It doesn't seem much like it; for here she sits, with her cap and spectacles on, knitting a stocking. Please take off your cap, grandma, so we can think how you looked when you were a little girl."

Mrs. Parlin took it off, but it didn't make any difference, for her hair was grayer still without the lace.

"That isn't the way, children," said aunt[Pg 201] Madge; "you'll have to imagine how she looked; or, as Fly would say, you must make believe. Touch her hair with gold. There, see how it shines! Take off those spectacles; smooth out the wrinkles; make her face as soft as a rose-leaf, as soft as your face, Fly; dwindle her figure down, down, till she looks about ten years old. Now do you see her? Isn't she pretty? How the sparkles come and go in her eyes! Wouldn't you like to have a romp with her in the new-mown hay? For she hasn't any more rheumatism in her back than a butterfly. Her feet are dancing this minute in pink kid slippers with rosettes on them as big as poppies, and she wears a white muslinet gown, with a pink calico petticoat. Wasn't that the way she was dressed at the wedding, father Parlin?"

"How should I know?" replies grandpa.[Pg 202] "I don't remember what she had on; but she was the spryest, prettiest little girl in town; and she hasn't a child—no, nor a grandchild either—that begins to be equal to her."

"Except Flyaway," cries Prudy; "you forget that Flyaway is just like her!"

This is not a bad place to leave our friends. I did intend to tell about another member of the circle; but I believe I will not, for I may put him into another story; that is, if you would like to hear about William Parlin,—I wonder if you would?—in a book we will call "Little Grandfather."

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