The Project Gutenberg EBook of Rollo's Museum, by Jacob Abbott

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Title: Rollo's Museum

Author: Jacob Abbott

Release Date: May 20, 2008 [EBook #25548]

Language: English

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839,

By T. H. Carter,

In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.



Henry made a sudden plunge after him. Page 119. Henry made a sudden plunge after him. Page 119.



[Pg 9]



It happened one summer, when Rollo was between seven and eight years of age, that there was a vacation at the school which he was attending at that time. The vacation commenced in the latter part of August, and was to continue for four or five weeks. Rollo had studied pretty hard at school, and he complained that his eyes ached sometimes.

The day before the vacation commenced, his father became somewhat uneasy about his eyes; and so he took him to a physician, to see what should be done for them. The physician asked Rollo a good many questions, all of which Rollo endeavored to answer as correctly as he could.

At length, the physician told Rollo’s father [Pg 10]that all he needed was to let his eyes rest. “I think he had better not use them at all,” said he, “for reading or writing, for several weeks; and not to be out much in the hot sun.”

Rollo felt very much rejoiced at hearing this prescription, though still he looked very sober; for he felt somewhat awed and restrained by being in the doctor’s office. There were a good many large books, in cases upon one side of the room; and strange, uncouth-looking pictures hanging up, which, so far as Rollo could see, did not look like any thing at all. Then there was an electric machine upon a stand in one corner, which he was afraid might in some way “shock” him; and some frightful-looking surgical instruments in a little case, which was open upon the table in the middle of the room.

In fact, Rollo was very glad to escape safely out of the doctor’s office; and he was, if possible, still more rejoiced that he had so light and easy a prescription. He had thought that, perhaps, the doctor would put something on his eyes, and bandage them up, so that he could not see at all; or else [Pg 11]give him some black and bitter medicines to take every night and morning.

Instead of that, he said to himself, as he came out at the door, “I have only got to keep from studying, and that will be capital. I can play all the time. True, I can’t read any story books; but, then, I am willing to give the story books up, if I don’t have to study.”

Rollo had usually been obliged to read, or study, or write a little, even in vacations; for his mother said that boys could not be happy to play all the time. Rollo, however, thought that she was mistaken in this. It is true that she had sometimes allowed him to try the experiment for a day or two, and in such cases he had always, somehow or other, failed of having a pleasant time. But then he himself always attributed the failure to some particular difficulty or source of trouble, which happened to come up then, but which would not be likely to occur again.

In fact, in this opinion Rollo was partly correct. For it was true that each day, when he failed of enjoying himself, there was some peculiar reason for it, and exactly [Pg 12]that reason would not be likely to exist another day. But then the difficulty with playing, or attempting to amuse one’s self all the time, is, that it produces such a state of mind, that almost any thing becomes a source of uneasiness or dissatisfaction; and something or other is likely to occur, or there will be something or other wanting, which makes the time pass very heavily along.

It is so with men as well as boys. Men sometimes are so situated that they have nothing to do but to try to amuse themselves. But these men are generally a very unhappy class. The poorest laborer, who toils all day at the hardest labor, is happier than they.

So that the physician’s prescription was, in reality, a far more disagreeable one than Rollo had imagined.

When Rollo reached home, he told his mother that he was not to have any thing more to do with books for a month.

“And you look as if you were glad of it,” said she, with a smile.

“Yes, mother, I am,” said Rollo, “rather glad.”

[Pg 13]

“And what do you expect to do with yourself all that time?” said she.

“O, I don’t know,” said Rollo. “Perhaps I shall help Jonas, a part of the time, about his work.”

“That will be a very good plan for a part of the time,” said his mother; “though he is doing pretty hard work just now.”

“What is he doing?”

“He is digging a little canal in the marsh, beyond the brook, to drain off the water.”

“O, I can dig,” said Rollo, “and I mean to go now and help him.”

This was about the middle of the forenoon; and Rollo, taking a piece of bread for a luncheon, and a little tin dipper, to get some water with, to drink, out of the brook, walked along towards the great gate which led to the lane behind his father’s house. It was a pleasant, green lane, and there were rows of raspberry-bushes on each side of it, along by the fences. Some years before, there had been no raspberries near the house; but one autumn, when Jonas had a good deal of ploughing to do down the lane, he ploughed up the ground by the fences in this lane, making one furrow every time he [Pg 14]went up and down to his other work. Then in the spring he ploughed it again, and by this time the turf had rotted, and so the land had become mellow. Then Jonas went away with the wagon, one afternoon, about two miles, to a place where the raspberries were very abundant, and dug up a large number of them, and set them out along this lane, on both sides of it; and so, in a year or two, there was a great abundance of raspberries very near the house.

Rollo stopped to eat some raspberries as he walked along. He thought they would do exceedingly well with his bread, to give a little variety to his luncheon. After he had eaten as many as he wanted, he thought he would gather his dipper full for Jonas, as he was busy at work, and could not have time to gather any for himself.

He got his dipper full very quick, for the raspberries were thick and large. He thought it was an excellent plan for Jonas to plant the raspberry-bushes there; but then he thought it was a great deal of trouble to bring them all from so great a distance.

“I wonder,” said he to himself, as he sat upon a log, thinking of the subject, “why it [Pg 15]would not have been just as well to plant raspberries themselves, instead of setting out the bushes. The raspberries must be the seeds. I mean to take some of these big ones, and try. I dare say they’ll grow.”

But then he reflected that the spring was planting time, and he knew very well that raspberries would not keep till spring; and so he determined to ask Jonas about it. He accordingly rose up from the log, and walked along, carrying his dipper, very carefully, in his hand.

At length, he reached the brook. There was a rude bridge over it made of two logs, placed side by side, and short boards nailed across them for a foot-way. It was only wide enough for persons to walk across. The cattle and teams always went across through the water, at a shallow place, just below the bridge.

Rollo lay down upon the bridge, and looked into the water. There were some skippers and some whirlabouts upon the water. The skippers were long-legged insects, shaped somewhat like a cricket; and they stood tiptoe upon the surface of the water. Rollo wondered how they could keep up. Their [Pg 16]feet did not sink into the water at all, and every now and then they would give a sort of leap, and away they would shoot over the surface, as if it had been ice. Rollo reached his hand down and tried to catch one, to examine his feet; but he could not succeed. They were too nimble for him. He thought that, if he could only catch one, and have an opportunity to examine his feet, he could see how it was that he could stand so upon the water. Rollo was considering whether it was possible or not, that Jonas might make something, like the skippers’ feet, for him, to put upon his feet, so that he might walk on the water, when suddenly he heard a bubbling sound in the brook, near the shore. He looked there, and saw some bubbles of air coming up out of the bottom, and rising to the top of the water. He thought this was very singular. It was not strange that the air should come up through the water to the top, for air is much lighter than water; the wonder was, how the air could ever get down there.

From wondering at this extraordinary phenomenon, Rollo began to wonder at [Pg 17]another quite different question; that is, where all the water in the brook could come from. He looked at a little cascade just above the bridge, where the water rushed through a narrow place between two rocks, and watched it a few minutes, wondering that it should continue running so all the time, forever; and surprised also that he had never wondered at it before.

He looked into the clear, transparent current, which poured steadily down between the rocks, and said to himself,

“Strange! There it runs and runs, all the time—all day, and all night; all summer, and all winter; all this year, and all last year, and every year. Where can all the water come from?”

Then he thought that he should like to follow the brook up, and find where it came from; but he concluded that it must be a great way to go, through bushes, and rocks, and marshes; and he saw at once that the expedition was out of the question for him.

Just then he heard another gurgling in the water near him, and, looking down, he saw more bubbles coming up to the surface, very near where they had come up before. [Pg 18]Rollo thought he would get a stick, and see if he could not poke up the mud, and find out what there was down there, to make such a bubbling. He thought that perhaps it might be some sort of animal blowing.

He went off of the bridge, therefore, and began to look about for a stick. He had just found one, when all at once he heard a noise in the bushes. He looked up suddenly, not knowing what was coming, but in a moment saw Jonas walking along towards him.

“Ah, Jonas,” said Rollo, “are you going home?”

“Yes,” said Jonas, “unless you will go for me.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “what do you want me to get?”

“I want some fire, to burn up some brush. You can bring out the lantern.”

“Very well,” said Rollo, “I will go; only I wish you would tell me where these bubbles come from out of the bottom of the brook.”

“What bubbles?” said Jonas.

So Rollo took his stick, and pushed the end of it down into the mud, and that made more bubbles come up.

[Pg 19]

“They are bubbles of air,” said Jonas.

“But how comes the air down there,” said Rollo, “under the water?”

“I don’t know,” said Jonas; “and besides I must not stay and talk here; I must go back to my work. I will talk to you about it when you come back.” So Jonas returned to his work, and Rollo went to the house again after the lantern.

When he came back to the brook, he found that he could not make any more bubbles come up; but instead of that, his attention was attracted by some curiously colored pebbles near the shore. He put his hand down into the water, and took up two or three of them. He thought they were beautiful. Then he took his dipper, which had, all this time, been lying forgotten by the side of a log, on the shore, and walked along—the dipper full of raspberries in one hand, the lantern in the other, and his bright and beautiful pebbles in his pocket.

Rollo followed the path along the banks of the brook under the trees, until at length he came out to the open ground where Jonas was at work. There was a broad meadow, or rather marsh, which extended back to [Pg 20]some distance from the brook, and beyond it the land rose to a hill. Just at the foot of this high land, at the side of the marsh farthest from the brook, was a pool of water, which had been standing there all summer, and was half full of green slime. Jonas had been at work, cutting a canal, or drain, from the bank of the brook back to this pool, in order to let the water off. The last time that Rollo had seen the marsh, it had been very wet, so wet that it was impossible for him to walk over it; it was then full of green moss, and sedgy grass, and black mire, with tufts of flags, brakes, and cranberry-bushes, here and there all over it. If any person stepped upon it, he would immediately sink in, except in some places, where the surface was firm enough to bear one up, and there the ground quivered and fluctuated under the tread, for some distance around, showing that it was all soft below.

When Rollo came out in view of the marsh, he saw Jonas at work away off in the middle of it, not very far from the pool. So he called out to him in a very loud voice,


[Pg 21]

Jonas, who had been stooping down at his work, rose up at hearing this call, and replied to Rollo.

Rollo asked him how he should get across to him.

“O, walk right along,” said Jonas; “the ground is pretty dry now. Go up a little farther, and you will find my canal, and then you can follow it directly along.”

So Rollo walked on a little farther, and found the canal where it opened into the brook. He then began slowly and cautiously to walk along the side of the canal, into the marsh; and he was surprised to find how firm and dry the land was. He thought it was owing to Jonas’s canal.

“Jonas,” said he, as he came up to where Jonas was at work, “this is an excellent canal; it has made the land almost dry already.”

“O, no,” said Jonas, “my canal has not done any good yet.”

“What makes the bog so dry, then?” said Rollo.

“O, it has been drying all summer, and draining off into the brook.”

[Pg 22]

“Draining off into the brook?” repeated Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas.

“But there is not any drain,” said Rollo; “at least there has not been, until you began to make your canal.”

“But the water soaks off slowly through the ground, and oozes out under the banks of the brook.”

“Does it?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas; “and the only use of my canal is to make it run off faster.”

“Ah! now I know,” said Rollo, half talking to himself.

“Know what?” asked Jonas.

“Why, where all the water of the brook comes from; at least, where some of it comes from.”

“How?” said Jonas. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Why, I could not think where all the water came from, to keep the brook running so fast all the time. But now I know that some of it has been coming all the time from this bog. Does it all come from bogs?”

[Pg 23-4]

“Yes, from bogs, and hills, and springs,[Pg 25] and from the soakings of all the land it comes through, from where it first begins.”

“Where does it first begin?” said Rollo.

“O, it begins in some bog or other, perhaps; just a little dribbling stream oozing out from among roots and mire, and it continually grows as it runs.”

“Is that the way?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas, “that is the way.”

During all this time Rollo had been standing with his lantern and his dipper in his hands, while Jonas had continued his digging. Rollo now put the lantern down, and handed the dipper to Jonas, telling him that he had brought him some raspberries.

Jonas seemed quite pleased with his raspberries. While he was eating them, Rollo asked him if a raspberry was a seed.

“No,” said Jonas. “The whole raspberry is not, the seeds are in the raspberry. They are very small. When you eat a raspberry, you can feel the little seeds, by biting them with your teeth.”

Rollo determined to pick some seeds out, and see how they looked; but Jonas told him that the way to get them out was to wash them out in water.

[Pg 26]

“Take some of these raspberries,” said he, “in the dipper to the brook, and pour in some water over them. Then take a stick and jam the raspberries all up, and stir them about, and then pour off the water, but keep the seeds in. Next, pour in some more water, and wash the seeds over again, and so on, until the seeds are all separated from the pulp, and left clean.”

“Is that the way they get raspberry seeds?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas, “I believe so. I never tried it myself; but I have heard them say that that is the way they do with raspberries, and strawberries, and all such fruits.”

Rollo immediately went and washed out some seeds as Jonas had directed, and when he came back he spread them out upon a piece of birch bark to dry. While they were there, Jonas let him kindle the pile of brush wood, which he had been intending to burn. It had been lying all summer, and had got very dry. In the mean time, Jonas continued digging his canal, and was gradually approaching the pool of water. When he had got pretty near the pool, he stopped digging the canal, and went to the pool itself. [Pg 27]He rolled a pretty large log into the edge of it, for him to stand upon; and with his hoe he dug a trench, beginning as far in the pool as he could reach with his hoe, while standing upon his log, and working gradually out towards where he had left digging the canal. The bottom of the pool was very soft and slimy; but he contrived to get a pretty deep and wide trench out quite to the margin, and a little beyond.

“Now,” said he to Rollo, “I am going to dig the canal up to the end of this trench, and then the water will all run very freely.”

There was now a narrow neck of land between the end of the canal and the beginning of the trench; and as Jonas went on digging the canal along, this neck grew narrower and narrower. Rollo began to be impatient to see the water run. He wanted Jonas to let him hoe a little passage, so as to let it begin to run a little.

“No,” said Jonas.

“Why not?” said Rollo.

“There are two good reasons,” he replied. “The first is, it will spoil my work, and the second is, it will spoil your play.”

[Pg 28]

“What do you mean by that?” said Rollo.

“Why, if I let the water run a little now, it will flood me here, where I am digging, and make all muddy; and I cannot finish my canal so easily; so it will spoil my work. Then, besides, we want to see the water run in a torrent; but if I let you dig a little trench along across the neck, so as to let it off by degrees, you will not take half as much pleasure in seeing it run, as you will to wait until it is all ready. So it will spoil your play.”

Rollo did not reply to this, and Jonas went on digging.

“Well,” said Rollo, after a short pause, “I wish, Jonas, you would tell me how the bubbles of air get down into the mud, at the bottom of the brook.”

“I don’t know,” said Jonas.

“It seems to me it is very extraordinary,” said Rollo.

“It is somewhat extraordinary. I have thought of another extraordinary phenomenon somewhat like it.”

“What is that?” said Rollo.

[Pg 29]

“The rain,” replied Jonas.

“The rain?” said Rollo; “how?”

“Why, the rain,” replied Jonas, “is water coming down out of the air; and the bubbles are air coming up out of the water.”

“Then it is exactly the opposite of it,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas.

“But you said it was like it.”

“Well, and so it is,” Jonas replied.

“Like it, and yet exactly opposite to it! Jonas, that is impossible.”

“Why, yes,” said Jonas, “the air gets down into the water, and you wonder how it can, when it is so much lighter than water. So water gets up into the air, and I wonder how it can, when it is so much heavier. So that the difficulty is just about the same.”

“No,” said Rollo, “it is just about opposite.”

“Very well,” said Jonas. Jonas never would dispute. Whenever any body said any thing that he did not think was correct, he would sometimes try to explain it; but then, if they persisted, he would generally say “Very well,” and that would prevent all dispute. This is an excellent way to prevent [Pg 30]disputes, or to end them when they are begun.

While Jonas was digging slowly along through the neck of land, Rollo was rambling about among the bushes, and at length Jonas heard a sudden scream from him. Jonas looked up, and saw Rollo scrambling away from a little thicket, and then presently stopping to look back, apparently frightened.

“What now, Rollo?” said Jonas.

“Here is a great hornets’ nest,” said Rollo.

Jonas laid down his spade, and went to where Rollo was. Rollo pointed to a little bush, where Jonas saw, hanging to a bough, not far from the ground, a small hornets’ nest, about as big as a common snow-ball, and as round. Jonas walked slowly up towards it, watching it very attentively, as he advanced.

“O Jonas! Jonas!” exclaimed Rollo, “you’d better be careful. Jonas! Jonas! you’ll get stung.”

Jonas paid no attention to what Rollo was saying, but still kept moving slowly on towards the bush. When he got pretty near, he took his knife out of his pocket, and advancing one step more, he took hold of the [Pg 31]end of the branch with one hand, and cut it off close to the tree, with the other. Rollo, in the mean time, had run backwards several steps to avoid the danger; still, however, keeping his eyes fixed upon Jonas.

Jonas brought the nest out of the thicket.

“Jonas!” said Rollo, in a tone of strong remonstrance, “you are crazy.”

“There are no hornets in it,” said Jonas, quietly.

He brought out the nest, and held it so that he and Rollo could see it.

“The hornets have made it of brown paper,” said he.

“Brown paper,” said Rollo. “Where do they get the brown paper?”

“O, they make the brown paper too.”

“Ho!” said Rollo; “hornets can’t make paper.”

“Think not?” said Jonas. Jonas was always careful not to contradict, even when he supposed that Rollo was mistaken.

Rollo said he was sure that hornets could not make paper. Then Jonas took off a little shred from the hornets’ nest, and compared it with some brown paper which he had in his pocket; and he explained to Rollo [Pg 32]that the hornets’ nest was made of little fibres adhering to each other, just as the fibres of the paper did.

“It is the same article,” he said, “and made of the same materials; only they manufacture it in a different way. So I don’t see why it is not proper to call it paper.”

I don’t think it is paper,” said Rollo; “nothing is paper but what men make.”

“Very well,” said Jonas, “we won’t dispute about the name.”

So Jonas returned to his work, and Rollo said that he meant to carry the hornets’ nest home, and show it to Nathan. He accordingly laid it down by the side of his fire, near the dipper and the raspberry seeds.

In a short time, Jonas reduced the neck of ground, where he was digging, to a very narrow wall, and he called Rollo to come and see him let out the water. He took the shovel, and he told Rollo to take the hoe, so that, as soon as he should break down this wall, they could both be at work, digging out the passage way, so as to get it cleared as soon as possible.

He accordingly began, and soon made a breach, through which the water rushed [Pg 33]with considerable force into the canal, and then wandered along rapidly towards the outlet into the brook. Rollo pulled away with his hoe, hauling out mud, moss, grass, and water, up upon the bank where he stood; and Jonas also kept at work clearing the passage with the spade. In a short time they had got a fine, free course for the water, and then they stood still, one on each side of the bank, watching the torrent as it poured through.

At length, the water in the pool began to subside gradually, and then it did not run so fast through the canal; and pretty soon after this, Jonas said he thought it was time for them to go home to dinner. So Rollo put up his raspberry seeds in a paper, and put them into his pocket, and carried his hornets’ nest in his hand. Jonas took the dipper and the lantern, and thus the boys walked along together.

[Pg 34]


As Rollo and Jonas walked along towards home, Rollo told Jonas that he thought he had been very successful in collecting curiosities that day.

“Why, what curiosities have you got besides your hornets’ nest?” asked Jonas.

“Why, there are my raspberry seeds,” said Rollo; “I think they are a curiosity; and besides that, I have got some very beautiful, bright pebbles in my pocket.”

“Let us see them,” said Jonas.

So Rollo put his hand into his pocket, and drew forth several pebbles; but they were by no means as beautiful as he had imagined. They looked rough and dull.

“They were very bright, when I got them,” said Rollo.

“That is because they were wet,” said Jonas. “Pebbles always look brightest and most beautiful when they are in their own proper place, in the brook; and that is the [Pg 35]reason why I think it is generally best to leave them there.”

Rollo looked at his faded pebbles with an air of disappointment. He asked Jonas if there was no way of keeping them bright all the time.

“I think it probable that they might be oiled, and the oil would not dry.”

“Ho!” said Rollo, “I should not like to have them oiled.”

“Nor I,” said Jonas; “I should rather leave them in the brook.”

“But is not there any other way?”

“They might be varnished,” said Jonas. “That would bring out the colors; and the varnish would dry, so that you could handle them.”

“That would do,” said Rollo, “if I only had some varnish.”

“But the best way is to polish them,” said Jonas.

“How is that done?” asked Rollo.

“O, it is very hard to do,” replied Jonas. “They grind them on stones, and then they polish them on polishing wheels.”

“I wish I could do it,” said Rollo.

“It is not worth while to take so much [Pg 36]pains with any of your curiosities,” said Jonas, “because you very soon get tired of them, and throw them away.”

“O, no,” said Rollo, “I never throw them away.”

“You leave them lying about the house and yard, then, and so other people throw them away.”

Rollo knew that this was true, and so he did not contradict Jonas.

“It’s not of much use to collect curiosities,” said Jonas, “unless you have a museum.”

“A museum?” said Rollo.

“Yes, that is a cabinet to put them in, and keep them safe. Then, when you have done looking at them yourself, you put them away safely; and, after a time, you get a great many collected, and you take pleasure in looking them over from time to time, and showing them to other boys that come to see you.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I should like to have a museum.”

“O, you could not keep one,” said Jonas.

“Why not?” said Rollo.

“You have not patience and perseverance [Pg 37]enough. You would be very much pleased with it for a day or two; but then you would get interested in other plays, and let your museum all get into disorder.”

Rollo was silent. He knew that what Jonas said was true.

“I don’t know but that your cousin Lucy might keep a museum,” said Jonas; “she is more careful than you are.”

“And cousin James could help us find the curiosities,” said Rollo.

“So he could,” said Jonas. “I think it might be a very good plan.”

“But what shall we have for our cabinet to put them in?” said Rollo.

“Why, sometimes they have something like a book-case,” replied Jonas, “with shelves and glass doors. Then the curiosities are all put upon the shelves, and you can see them through the glass doors. But this can only be done with very valuable curiosities.”

“Why?” asked Rollo.

“Because such a case, with glass doors, costs a good deal of money; and it is not worth while to pay so much money only to keep common things, such as your pebble stones.”

[Pg 38]

“But we have got such a book-case, already made; it is in mother’s chamber,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas; “but it is full of books. Sometimes they keep a museum in the drawers of a bureau; but that is not a very good plan.”

“Why not?” said Rollo.

“Because, when you open and shut the drawers, it joggles the curiosities about.”

“Does it?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” replied Jonas. “But there is one thing you can do—I did not think of it before. There is a good large box in the barn, and I can put some shelves into it, and make the cover into a door; and if you want to collect a museum, you can do it in that. You can keep it out in the play room, and so it will not trouble any body in the house.”

Jonas meant, by the play room, a pretty large room, in the barn, made originally for a sort of granary, but which the children were accustomed to use for a play room.

Rollo was very much pleased with this plan. He determined to collect a museum, and to put his hornets’ nest in it for the first thing. As soon as he got home, as he found [Pg 39]that dinner was not quite ready, he and Jonas went out into the barn to look at the box. It was a large box, which had been made to pack up a bureau in, so that the bureau should not get injured in the wagon which it was brought home in. As it happened, the box was smooth inside and out, and the cover of it was made of two boards, which Jonas had taken off carefully, when he took the bureau out, and had then tacked them on again; thinking that he might perhaps want it some time or other,—box, covers, and all.

Now it happened, as it generally does to persons who take care of things, that the article which Jonas thus preserved, came into use exactly. The box, he said, would be just the thing. He showed Rollo how he could place it so that it would make a convenient sort of cabinet.

“I can put it upon its end,” said he, “and then I can put on the two cover boards with hinges,—one pair of hinges on each side; then the covers will make little doors, and it will open like a book case, only it will not be quite so elegant.”

“I think it will be very elegant indeed,” [Pg 40]said Rollo; “and you can make it for us this afternoon.”

“No,” said Jonas; “not this afternoon.”

“Why not?” said Rollo.

“O, I must attend to my work in the meadow.”

“O, no,” said Rollo. “I mean to ask my father to let you make it this afternoon.”

“No; I’d rather you wouldn’t,” said Jonas.

“Why not?” asked Rollo. “I know he will let you.”

“Yes, I suppose he would let me, if you were to ask him; but that would spoil the museum.”

“Spoil it?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas. “The way to spoil any pleasure is to neglect duty for the sake of it. Work first, and play afterwards. That’s the rule.”

“Well, but, Jonas, we want to begin our museum this afternoon.”

“Very well,” said Jonas; “you may begin collecting your curiosities, you know; and you can put them all in a safe place, and have them all ready to put in when I get the case made.”

[Pg 41]

Rollo did not quite like this plan; but he knew that Jonas was always firm when it was a question of right and wrong, and so he said no more; only, after a moment’s pause, he asked Jonas when he would make the cabinet.

“The first rainy day,” replied Jonas.

“Then I hope it will rain to-morrow,” said Rollo; and he went out of the barn to see if it was not cloudy. But the sun shone bright, and the sky was clear and serene.

While Rollo was looking up at the sky, trying to find some appearance of rain, he heard a chaise coming, and looking out into the road, he saw that his cousin James was in it.

“Ah,” said he to himself, “there comes cousin James! Now I will have a frolic with him, by means of my hornets’ nest.”

So Rollo ran into the garden, and slyly fixed his hornets’ nest up in a lilac bush; and then ran out to the front of the house to find his cousin. But his cousin was nowhere to be found. The chaise was at the door, the horse being fastened to a post; but [Pg 42]nobody was near it. So Rollo went into the house to see if he could find James.

They told him in the house that James had gone through the house into the yard, in pursuit of Rollo.

Rollo then ran out again, and at length found James, and after talking with him a minute, he said,

“Come, James, let us go into the garden.”

So they walked along towards the garden, Rollo telling James, by the way, about the canal which Jonas had made that day. At length, when they reached the lilac bush, Rollo looked up, and started in pretended fright, saying,

“O James! look there!”

“O!” exclaimed James; “it is a hornets’ nest.”

“So ’tis,” said Rollo; “run! run!”

James and Rollo started off at these words, and away they ran down the alley, Rollo convulsed with laughter at the success of his stratagem. At length they stopped.

“Now, how shall we get back?” said James. For the lilac, upon which Rollo had put the hornets’ nest, was close to the garden gate.

[Pg 43]

“I am not afraid to go,” said Rollo.

So Rollo walked along boldly; James following slowly and with a timid air, remonstrating with Rollo for his temerity.

“Rollo!” said he, “Rollo! take care. You had better not go.”

But what was his surprise and astonishment at seeing Rollo go deliberately up to the bush, and take down the twig that had the hornets’ nest attached to it, and hold it out towards him!

“I put it up there,” said Rollo. “There are no hornets in it.”

Still, James was somewhat afraid. He knew of course, now, that there could be no hornets in it; but, still, the association of the idea of danger was so strong with the sight of a hornets’ nest, that he could not feel quite easy. At length, however, he came up near to it, and examined it attentively.

“What made you frighten me so, Rollo?” said he.

“O, only for fun,” said Rollo.

“But you deceived me,” said James; “and I don’t think that that was right. It is never right to deceive.”

“O, I only did it for fun,” said Rollo.

[Pg 44]

James insisted upon it that it was wrong, and Rollo that it was not wrong; and finally they concluded to leave it to Jonas. So they both went to him, and told him the story.

“Wasn’t it wrong?” asked James.

“It wasn’t—was it?” said Rollo.

“It was deception,” added James.

“But it was only in fun,” said Rollo.

“One or the other of you must be to blame,” said Jonas.

“How?” asked Rollo.

“Why, James seems displeased with you for frightening him so; and now, either you must have done wrong, and given him just cause for his displeasure, or else, if you did right, then his displeasure is unreasonable, and so it is ill humor.”

The boys did not answer.

“So that the question is, Did Rollo do wrong? or, Is James out of humor?”

“Why, I think deception is always wrong,” said James.

“Did you ever play blind-man’s-buff?” asked Jonas.

“Yes,” replied James.

“And did you ever go and squeak in a [Pg 45]corner, and then creep away, to make the blind man think you were there, and so go groping after you?”

“Why, yes,” said James; “but that is not deception.”

“Why, don’t you try to make the blind man think you are in the corner, when, in fact, you have gone?”

“Yes,” said James.

“And is not that trying to deceive him?”

“Yes—” said James, hesitating, “but,—I think that that is a very different thing.”

“How is it different?” said Jonas.

It is probable that James would have found some difficulty in answering this question; but, in fact, he did not have the opportunity to try, for, just then, he heard some one calling him, and he and Rollo went into the house. They wanted him to go, and so he got into the chaise and rode away, promising to come and see Rollo in the afternoon, if he could get permission. Soon after this, Rollo sat down, with the rest of the family, to dinner. He determined to commence in earnest the work of collecting curiosities that afternoon.

[Pg 46]


James came to play with Rollo that afternoon, and Rollo explained to him his plan of collecting a museum of curiosities. James was very much interested in it indeed, and he said that he had some shells and some Guinea peas at home, which he would put into it.

Rollo went to show him the box out of which Jonas was going to make the cabinet the first rainy day. Then the boys went out again to see if there were yet any signs of a storm. But they looked in vain. There were no clouds to be seen, except here and there a few of those white, fleecy tufts floating in the heavens, which indicate fair weather rather than rain.

The boys played together in the yard for some time. Among other things, they amused themselves by collecting some flowers, and pressing them in a book. Suddenly James said,

[Pg 47]

“O Rollo, let us go and get some blue-bells to press; they will be beautiful.”

“Where?” said Rollo.

“Among the rocks by the road, beyond the bridge,” said James. “There are plenty of them among those rocks.”

The place which James referred to, was a rocky precipice by the road side, about a quarter of a mile from the house; just at the entrance of a small village. Rollo approved of the proposal, and he went in and asked his mother’s permission to go.

She consented, and Rollo, when he came back through the kitchen, said to Dorothy, who was sitting at the window, sewing,

“Dorothy, we are going to get some blue-bells to press.”

“Ah!” said Dorothy. “Where are you going for them?”

“O, out by the bridge,” said Rollo, as he passed on to go out at the door.

“O Rollo!” said she, calling out to him suddenly, as if she recollected something; “stop a minute.”

So Rollo came back to hear what she had to say.

“You are going pretty near the village.”

[Pg 48]

“Yes,” said Rollo.

“And could you be so kind as to do an errand for me?”

“Yes,” said Rollo; “what is it?”

Then Dorothy went to her work-table, and began to open it, saying all the time,

“I want you to get some medicine for Sarah, for she is sick.”

Sarah was a friend of Dorothy’s, who lived at another house, not far from Rollo’s; and Rollo used sometimes to see her at his father’s, when she came over to see Dorothy. She was in very feeble health, and now wanted some medicines. Dorothy had been over at the house where she lived that day, and had found that the doctor had left her a prescription; but she had nobody to send for it, and she was not quite able to go herself. So Dorothy told her that if she would let her have the money, she would ask Rollo or Jonas to go.

So Sarah gave her a dollar bill, and in order to keep it safe, she put it in a little morocco wallet, and tied it up securely with a string. This wallet was what Dorothy was looking for, in her work-table. She took it out, and untied the string. She [Pg 49]opened the wallet, and showed Rollo the money in one of the pockets, and a small piece of white paper, upon which was written the names of the medicines which the doctor wished Sarah to take. Such a writing is called a prescription.

Rollo looked at the prescription to see what sort of medicines it was that he was to get, but he could not read it. The words were short and strange, and had periods at the end of them,—which Rollo told Dorothy was wrong, as periods ought to be only at the end of a sentence. Then there were strange characters and marks at the ends of the lines; and Rollo, after examining it attentively, said he could not read a word of it, and he did not believe that the apothecary could. However, he said he was willing to take it to him, and let him try.

He accordingly put the prescription back again carefully into the wallet, and Dorothy tied it up. Then he put it into his pocket, and went out to James. He found James waiting by the gate, and they both walked along together.

He and James had each a book to put their blue-bells in. They walked along, [Pg 50]talking about their flowers, until at length they reached the bridge. Just beyond it was the rocky precipice, with shrubs and evergreens growing upon the shelves and in the crevices, and spaces between the rocks. It towered up pretty high above the road, and the declivity extended also down to the brook below the bridge, forming one side of the deep ravine across which the bridge was built. There was a very large, old hemlock-tree growing upon a small piece of level ground between the ravine and the higher part of the precipice. Under this hemlock-tree was a large, smooth, flat stone, where the boys used very often to come and sit, when they came to play among these rocks.

[Pg 51-2]

The boys rambled about among the rocks, sometimes down in the ravine and near the brook, and sometimes very high up among the rocks. They were both pretty good climbers, and there were no very dangerous places, for there were no high, perpendicular precipices. They found blue-bells in abundance, and several other flowers. They also found a variety of brakes, of different forms and colors. They determined to gather as many flowers as they could, and then go[Pg 53]down to the hemlock-tree, and there look them over, and select those best to be pressed; and then put them carefully into their books there. Then they could carry them home safely; they would, in fact, be in press all the way.

After rambling and climbing about for half an hour, the boys went down to the flat rock, under the hemlock, with large bunches of plants and flowers in their hands. Here they sat another half hour, looking over their specimens, and putting them into their books. At length, Rollo picked up a singular-looking thing, which was lying down by the side of the stone under the tree. It was about as big as his thumb, and somewhat pointed at the ends. It was black, and rather glossy, and the surface was marked regularly with little ridges. James could not imagine what it was; but Rollo told him that he thought it must be a hemlock-seed. The truth was, that it was a great chrysalis, though Rollo did not find it out till long afterwards.

“A hemlock-seed!” said James.

“Yes,” said Rollo; “I have seen the cones which grow on fir-trees, and they are a good deal like this.”

[Pg 54]“But they are not so handsome,” said James.

“I know it,” said Rollo; “they are not so handsome. This is the most beautiful one I ever saw.”

“We can plant it,” said James, “next spring.”

“Yes,” said Rollo; “and then we can have a great hemlock-tree near our house.”

“But we shall have to wait a great many years,” said James.

“O, no, not a great many,” said Rollo. “It is such a great seed, I think it would grow pretty fast.”

But James did not like the idea of planting it very well. He proposed that they should keep it, for a curiosity, in their museum. Rollo insisted, at first, upon planting it; but at length, reflecting that it was not then the right season to plant it, he concluded to put it into the museum, with his raspberry-seeds, until the next spring, and to plant it then.

So Rollo put the hemlock-seed into his pocket, and he and James took their books under their arms, with a great many flowers and plants carefully placed between the leaves, and walked along towards the village. [Pg 55]When they arrived at the apothecary’s, Rollo put his book down upon the counter, and then took the wallet from his pocket, and untied the string, and took the prescription out, and handed it to the apothecary. The apothecary was talking with another man, at the time; but he took the prescription, and Rollo watched his countenance to see how perplexed and puzzled he would look, when he tried to read it. Instead, however, of appearing perplexed and puzzled, the apothecary only glanced his eye over it, and laid it down upon the counter, and immediately began to look upon his shelves to find the articles.

“That’s strange!” said Rollo to himself. “He reads it as easily as I should a guide board.”

While the apothecary was weighing out his medicines, Rollo was very much interested in looking at the little pair of scales in which he weighed them. Rollo never had seen so small a pair of scales. The weights, too, were small, square weights of brass, with little figures stamped upon them. He asked the apothecary what such scales as those would cost. He answered that they were [Pg 56]of various prices, from one dollar to five. Rollo thought that that was too much for him to give; but while he was thinking whether his father would probably be willing to let him have a dollar to buy a pair with, James said that he wished he had such a pair of scales.

“So do I,” said Rollo; “then we could play keep store. We could have our store out in the play room, and weigh things.”

“So we could,” said James. “We could put a long board upon two barrels for a counter.”

“O, you must make your scales, boys,” said the apothecary.

“How can we make them?” said Rollo.

“Why, you can get a good, stout knitting-needle for a beam. Tie a silk thread around the middle of it to hold it up by, and slip it along until you get it so that the needle will exactly balance. Then for scales, you must cut out two round pieces of thin pasteboard. Then take three threads for each scale, and run them through the pasteboard, near the edge, and at equal distances from each other. You must tie knots at the lower ends of the threads to keep them from drawing through. [Pg 57]Then you must gather the other ends of the threads together, about half a foot from the pasteboard, and tie them to the ends of the knitting-needle, one on each side; and that will make a very respectable pair of scales for you.”

“But what shall we do for weights?” asked Rollo.

“O, weights!—yes, you must have some weights. You must make them of lead. I will show you how.”

So the apothecary took a small piece of sheet lead, rather thin, and cut off a little square of it. He then put it into one of his scale balances, and put a thin, square weight of brass, similar to it, into the other scale. The lead weight was a little too heavy. He then clipped off a very little with his scissors. This made it about right. Then, with the point of his scissors, he scratched a figure 1 upon it. “There,” said he, “boys, there is a standard for you.”

“What is a standard?” said Rollo, taking up the weight.

“Why, it is a weight made exactly correct, for you to keep, and make yours by. It is a one-grain weight. I will give you [Pg 58]some sheet lead, and when you get home and have made your scales, you can cut off another piece, and weigh it by that, and so you will have two one-grain weights. Then you can put those two into one scale, and a piece of lead as big as both of them into the other scale, and when you have made it exactly as heavy as both of the others, you must mark a figure 2 upon it, and then you will have a two-grain weight. In the same way you can make a five-grain weight, and a ten-grain weight, and a pennyweight.”

“What is a pennyweight?” said Rollo.

“It is a weight as heavy as twenty-four grains.”

“The pennyweight will be very big, then,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said the apothecary; “but you can take a little strip of lead like a ribbon, and then roll it up, when you have made it just heavy enough, and then it will not take up much room. So you can make another roll for two pennyweights, and another for five pennyweights, and another for ten pennyweights.”

[Pg 59]

“And another for twenty pennyweights,” said James.

“Yes; only twenty pennyweights make an ounce. So you will call that an ounce weight. But you cannot weigh more than an ounce, I should think, in your knitting-needle scales.”

By this time the apothecary had put up the medicines, and he gave them to Rollo. There was a middle-sized parcel, and a very small parcel, and small, round box. Rollo put them all into the pocket of his pantaloons. Then he opened his wallet, and took out the bill, and gave it to the apothecary. The apothecary handed him the change. It was half a dollar, and one small piece of silver besides. Rollo put the change back into the wallet, and tied it up just as it had been before, and then crowded the wallet back into his pocket, by the side of the parcels which the apothecary had given him.

[Pg 60]


That evening, when Rollo’s father came home, he went out at the door leading to the garden yard, and looked into the yard to see if Rollo was there. He was not to be seen.

His father then took the bell which always hung in the entry, and began to ring it at the door. This bell was the one that was rung for breakfast, dinner, and supper; and when Rollo was out, they generally called him in, by ringing it at the door.

While Rollo’s father was ringing the bell, Dorothy opened the door which led from the kitchen into the entry, and said to Rollo’s father,

“Are you ringing for Rollo, sir?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“He has gone to the village,” said Dorothy. “He has gone back to look for a pocket-book, which he dropped, coming home, or else left at the apothecary’s.”

[Pg 61]

“A pocket-book?” said his father, with surprise.

“Yes, sir,” said Dorothy. “He went to get some medicine for Sarah, and, when he came home, the pocket-book was missing.”

“Was there any money in it?” said he.

“Yes, sir,” replied Dorothy.

“How much?”

“I don’t know, sir, how much.”

Rollo’s father then put the bell back into its place, and walked again into the parlor. He was afraid that there was a good deal of money in the pocket-book, and that it was all lost.

He, however, went on attending to his own business, until by and by he heard Rollo’s voice in the kitchen. He called him in. Rollo and James came in together.

“Have you found the pocket-book?” asked Mr. Holiday.

“No, sir,” said Rollo; “I have looked all along the road, and inquired at the apothecary’s; but I can’t find any thing of it.”

“Well, now, I want you to tell me the whole story; and especially, if you have done wrong about it, in any way, don’t attempt to smooth and gloss it over, but tell [Pg 62]me that part more plainly and distinctly and fully than any other.”

“Well, sir,” said Rollo, with a very serious air, “I will.

“We went to the apothecary’s to get some medicines for Sarah. When I was there, I put the change in the wallet, and put the wallet in this pocket.”

“It was a wallet, then,” said his father.

“Yes,” replied Rollo, “a wallet, or a small pocket-book. I suppose now, that it would have been better to have put it in some other pocket; because that was pretty full. So in that, I suppose, I did wrong. Then James and I came home, only we did not walk along directly; we played about a little from one side of the road to the other, and then we went under the great hemlock-tree, to see if we could not find another hemlock-seed.”

“Another hemlock-seed?” said his father.

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo; “I suppose it is a hemlock-seed.”

“What was it? a sort of a cone?”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo; “with ridges upon it.”

Now it is true that pines, firs, and other evergreens bear a sort of cone, which contains [Pg 63]their seed; and Rollo’s father thought, from Rollo’s description, that it was one of these cones which Rollo had found. In fact, the cone was somewhat similar in shape, though, if he had shown it to his father, he would have known immediately that it was a very different thing. Rollo put his hand into his pocket to show the supposed hemlock-seed to his father, but it was not there. He had left it out in the play room.

“Very well,” said his father, “I don’t know that I ever saw the cone of the hemlock; but, very probably, this is one of them. But go on, about the pocket-book.”

“Well, sir,—when we got home, I took out the medicines, but the pocket-book was nowhere to be found; and I have been back with James, and we have looked all along the road, and under the hemlock-tree, and we have inquired at the apothecary’s; but we cannot find it any where.”

“How much money was there in the wallet?” said his father.

“Half a dollar, and a little more,” said Rollo.

Rollo’s father felt somewhat relieved at finding that the loss was, after all, not very [Pg 64]large. He placed confidence in Rollo’s account of the facts, and having thus ascertained how the case stood, he began to consider what was to be done.

“It is a case of bailment,” said he to Rollo, “and the question is, whether you are liable.”

“A case of what?” said Rollo.

“Bailment,” said his father. “When one person intrusts another with his property for any purpose, it is called bailing it to him. The wallet and the money were bailed to you. The law relating to such transactions is called the law of bailment. And the question is, whether, according to the law of bailment, you ought to pay for this loss.”

Rollo seemed surprised at such a serious and legal view of the subject being taken; he waited, however, to hear what more his father had to say.

“I don’t suppose,” continued his father, “that Sarah will commence an action against you; but law is generally justice, and to know what we ought to do in cases like this, it is generally best to inquire what the law requires us to do.”

“Well, sir,” said Rollo, “and how is it?”

[Pg 65]

“Why, you see,” said his father, “there are various kinds of bailments. A thing may be bailed to you for your benefit; as, for instance, if James were to lend you his knife, the knife would be a bailment to you for your benefit. But if he were to ask you to carry his knife somewhere to be mended, and you should take it, then it would be a bailment to you for his benefit.”

“Well, sir, I took the wallet for Sarah’s benefit, not mine,” said Rollo.

“The law requires,” continued his father, “that you should take greater care of any thing, if it is bailed to you for your benefit, than it does if it is for the benefit of the bailor. For instance, if you were to borrow James’s knife for your own benefit, and were to lose it, even without any special carelessness, you ought to get him another; for it was solely for your advantage, that you took it, and so it ought to be at your risk. But if he asked you to take the knife to get it mended for his benefit; then, if you accidentally lose it, without any particular carelessness, you ought not to pay for it; for it was placed in your hands for his advantage, and so it ought to be at his risk.”

[Pg 66]

“Well,” said Rollo, “the wallet was given to me for Sarah’s advantage, not mine; and so I ought not to pay for it.”

“That depends upon whether it was lost through gross carelessness, or not. For when any thing is bailed to you for the benefit of the owner, if it is lost or injured through gross carelessness, then the law makes you liable. As, for instance, suppose you take James’s knife to get it mended, and on your way you throw it over the fence among the grass, and then cannot find it, you ought to pay for it; for you were bound to take good ordinary care of it.”

“Well, sir,” said Rollo.

“Well,” repeated his father, “now as this property was bailed to you solely for the advantage of the bailor, the question whether you ought to pay for the loss of it, depends on whether you was grossly careless, or not. If you took good ordinary care, and it was lost by accident, then you are not liable.”

“Well, father, I think it was accident; I do, truly.”

“I rather think so myself,” said his father, with a smile, “and I am inclined to think that you are not responsible. If any body [Pg 67]asks a boy like you to carry money for them, gratuitously, then they take themselves the ordinary risks of such a conveyance, and I think that, on the whole, this accident comes within the ordinary risks. There was not such gross carelessness as to make you liable. But then I am very sorry to have Sarah lose her money.”

“So am I,” said Rollo. “And the wallet is gone too.”

“How good a wallet was it?” asked his father.

“O, pretty good; only it was considerably worn.”

“Haven’t you got one that is pretty much the same, that you don’t care a great deal about?”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo; “it is in my desk. I had as lief that she would have it as not.”

“Very well,” said his father; “you give her your wallet, and I will replace the money.”

So Rollo went to his desk, and soon came back, bringing his little wallet. He unfastened its steel clasp, and opened the wallet, and took out some little pictures which he had treasured up there, and some small [Pg 68]pieces of white paper, which he said were marks. They were to put into his books to keep the place, when he was reading. He had got quite a quantity of them all prepared for use. When Rollo had got his wallet ready, his father took out half a dollar from his pocket, and also another small silver coin, about as large as Rollo said the one was, which was lost; and then sent Rollo to carry it to Dorothy.

In a few minutes, Rollo came back with the money in his hand, and said,

“She won’t take it. She said I must bring it back. It was as much as I could do to get her to take the wallet.”

“But she must take it,” replied his father. “You carry it to her again, and tell her she has nothing to do with the business. The money is for Sarah, and she must not refuse it, but take it and give it to her the first opportunity.”

So Rollo carried the money again to Dorothy. She received it this time, and put it in the wallet, and then deposited both in a safe place in her work-table. Then Rollo came back to his father to ask him a little more about bailments.

[Pg 69]

“Father,” said Rollo, when he came back, “if James should give me his knife, or any thing, for my own, would that be a bailment?”

“No,” said his father. “A bailment is only where property is intrusted to another, for a certain purpose, to be returned again to the possession of the owner, when the purpose is accomplished. For instance, when Jonas is sawing wood with my saw, the saw is a bailment from me to him; it remains my property; but he is to use it for a specific purpose, and then return it to my possession.”

“He does not bring it back to you,” said Rollo.

“No, but he hangs it up in its place in my shed, which is putting it again in my possession. And so all the things which Dorothy uses in the kitchen are bailments.”

“And if she breaks them, must she pay for them?”

“No, not unless she is grossly careless. If she exercises good ordinary care, such as prudent persons exercise about their own things, then she is not liable, because she is using them mainly for my benefit, and of [Pg 70]course it must be at my risk. But if Sarah should come and borrow a pitcher to carry some milk home in, and should let it fall and break it by the way, even if it was not gross carelessness, she ought to pay for it; that is, the person that sent her ought to pay for it, for it was bailed to her for her benefit alone; and therefore it was at her risk.”

“I should not think you would make her pay for it,” said Rollo.

“No, I certainly should not. I am only telling what I should have a right to do if I chose.

“Sometimes a thing is bailed to a person,” continued Rollo’s father, “for the benefit of both persons, the bailor and the bailee.”

“The bailee?” said James.

“Yes, the bailee is the person the thing is bailed to. For instance, if I leave my watch at the watchmaker’s to be mended, and I am going to pay him for it, in that case you see it is for his advantage and mine too.”

“And then, if it is lost, must he pay for it?”

“Yes; unless he takes good care of it. If it is for his benefit alone, then he must [Pg 71]take special care of it, or else he is liable for the loss of it. If it is for my benefit alone, then he must take ordinary care of it. For instance, suppose I had a very superior repeater watch, which the watchmaker should come and borrow of me, in order to see the construction of it. Then suppose I should leave another watch of mine,—a lever,—at his shop to be repaired. Suppose also I should have a third watch, a lady’s watch, which I had just bought somewhere, and I should ask him to be kind enough to keep it for me, a day or two, till my watch was done. These would be three different kinds of bailments. The repeater would be bailed to him for his benefit; the lever for his and mine jointly, and the lady’s watch for my benefit alone.

“Now, you see,” continued Rollo’s father, “that if these watches should get lost or injured in any way, the question whether the watchmaker would have to pay for them or not, would depend upon the degree of care it would have required to save them. For instance, if he locked them all up with special care, and particularly the repeater, and then the building were struck with [Pg 72]lightning and the watches all destroyed, he would not have to pay for any of them; for this would be an inevitable accident, which all his care could not guard against. It would have been as likely to have happened to my repeater, if I had kept it at home.

“But suppose now he should hang all three watches up at his window, and a boy in the street should accidentally throw a stone and hit the window, so that the stone should go through the glass and break one of the watches. Now, if the repeater was the one that was hit, I should think the man would be bound to pay for it: because he was bound to take very special care of that, as it was borrowed for his benefit alone. But if it was the lady’s watch, which he had taken only as an accommodation to me, then he would not be obliged to pay; for, by hanging it up with his other watches, he took ordinary care of it, and that was all that he was obliged to take.”

“I should think,” said James, “that the boy would have to pay, if he broke the watches.”

“Yes,” said Rollo’s father; “but we have nothing to do with the boy now, we are only [Pg 73]considering the liabilities of the watchmaker.”

“And if it had been the lever that was broken,” asked Rollo, “what then?”

“Why, as to the lever,” said his father, “he was bound to take good care of it,—something more than mere ordinary care; and I don’t know whether the law would consider hanging watches up at a window as good care or not. It would depend upon that, I suppose. But the watches might be lost in another way. Suppose the watchmaker had sent the repeater home to me, and then, at night, had put the lever and the lady’s watch into a small trunk with his other watches, and carried them to his house, as watchmakers do sometimes. Now suppose that, when he got home, he put the trunk of watches down in a corner of the room; and suppose that there was a leak in the roof of his house, so that the water could come in sometimes when it rained. In the night there comes up a shower, and the water gets into the trunk, and rusts and spoils the watches. Now I think it probable that he would not have to pay for the lady’s watch, for he took ordinary care of that,—that [Pg 74]is, the same care that he was accustomed to take of his own watches. But he might have to pay for the other; for he was bound to take good care of that one, as it was partly for his benefit that it was bailed to him; and putting them where they were at all exposed to be wet, would be considered, I suppose, as not taking good care of them.”

“And so he would not have to pay for the lady’s watch, in any case,” said Rollo.

“Yes, he would, if he did not take ordinary care of it; that is, if he was grossly negligent. For instance, if he should take all the rest of his watches home, and leave that in his shop upon the counter, where I had laid it down, and somebody should come in the night and steal it, then, perhaps he would be liable.”

By this time, Rollo’s father began to think that his law lecture had been long enough for such young students, and so he said that he would not tell them any more about it then. “But now,” said he, in conclusion, “I want you to remember what I have said, and practise according to it. Boys bail things to one another very often, and a great many disputes arise among them, because [Pg 75]they don’t understand the law of bailment. It applies to boys as well as men. It is founded on principles of justice and common sense, and, of course, what is just and equitable among men, is just and equitable among boys.

“You must remember that whenever any thing belonging to one boy is intrusted to another in any way, if it is for the benefit of the bailee, if any accident happens to it, he must make it good; unless it was some inevitable accident, which could not have been prevented by the utmost care. If it is for the benefit of the bailor, that is, the boy who intrusts it, then he can’t require the other to pay for it, unless he was grossly negligent. And if it was for the common benefit of both, then if the bailee takes what may be called good care of it, he is not liable to pay; if he does not take good care, he is.”

Here ended the lecture on the law of bailment. James soon after went home, and Rollo in due time went to bed. The next morning, when he got up and began to dress himself, he thought one of the legs of his pantaloons felt somewhat heavy. He put [Pg 76]his hand down to ascertain what was there, and he felt something at the bottom, between the cloth and the lining. It was Sarah’s pocket-book. When Rollo put it into his pocket, as he thought, he in reality slipped it inside of the lining, and it worked itself down to the bottom, as he was playing about. He pulled it out, and then, after he had dressed himself, he ran very joyfully to his father, to show it to him. His father was very glad that it was found, and told Rollo to carry it to Dorothy. Dorothy was very glad, too, for she was very sorry to have Rollo lose his own wallet, or his father lose his money. So she gave him back his wallet, and he replaced it in his desk where it was before, after giving his father back his money.

[Pg 77]


Rollo explained his plan of collecting a museum of curiosities to his cousins Lucy and James, and to his sister Mary, who was a good deal older than he was. He also informed Henry, a playmate of his, who lived not a great way from his father’s house. All the children took a great deal of interest in the scheme, and promised to help him collect the curiosities.

At length, after a few days, Rollo, to his great joy, observed one evening signs of an approaching storm. The wind sighed through the trees, and thick, hazy clouds spread themselves over the sky.

“Don’t you think it is going to rain?” said Rollo to his father, as he came in to tea.

“I don’t know,” said his father. “Which way is the wind?”

“I’ll go and see,” said Rollo.

He went out and looked at the vane [Pg 78]which Jonas had placed upon the top of the barn.

When he came in, he told his father that the wind was east. Then his father said he thought it would rain, and Rollo clapped his hands with delight.

And it did rain. The next morning, when Rollo awoke, he heard the storm driving against the window of his chamber. After breakfast, he took an umbrella, and went out into the barn, and found Jonas already at work upon the cabinet. In the course of the morning he finished it. He put three good shelves into it, which, together with the bottom of the box, made four shelves. He also put the two covers on, with hinges, so as to make doors of them; and put a little hasp upon the doors, outside, to fasten them with. He then put it up in one corner of the play room, all ready for the curiosities. Rollo put in his hornets’ nest, his pebble stones, and his hemlock-seed, as he called it; and then went to the barn door, and began to be as eager to have it clear up, as he had been before to have it rain. He wanted to go out and collect some more curiosities.

After a time it did clear up, and Rollo [Pg 79]obtained his mother’s leave to go and ask all the children who were going to have a share in the museum, to come one afternoon and begin to collect the curiosities. They all came—Lucy, James, and Henry. And when Rollo saw them all collected in the garden yard, with baskets in their hands all ready to go forth after curiosities, he capered about full of anticipations of delight.

“Now,” said Henry, “let us go down to the hemlock-tree.”

“No,” said Rollo, “it will be better to go to the brook, where I found the pebbles.”

“But I want to go and see if I can’t find another hemlock-seed,” said Henry.

Rollo was, however, very unwilling to go that way, and yet Henry insisted upon it. Lucy listened to the dispute with a countenance expressive of distress and anxiety. First, she proposed to Rollo to yield to Henry, and then to Henry to yield to Rollo; but in vain. Henry said that Rollo ought to let him decide, because he was the oldest; and Rollo said that he himself ought to decide, because it was his museum. They were both wrong. Neither ought to have insisted upon having his own way so strenuously. [Pg 80]At length, after quite a long and unpleasant altercation, Lucy proposed that they should draw lots for it. The boys consented.

“I’ll tell you a better plan than that,” said a voice above them. They looked up, and saw Mary sitting at the window of the chamber. She had been reading, but, on hearing this dispute, she had closed her book, and now interposed to do what she could to aid in settling it.

When Rollo heard his sister Mary’s voice, he felt a little ashamed of his pertinacity. Lucy asked Mary what the plan was.

“Why,” said she, “in all expeditions where there are several children, it is very desirable to have a regent.”

“A regent?” said Lucy.

“Yes,” said Mary, “a commander, to take the lead, and decide the thousand little questions which are likely to occur. Unless there is somebody to decide them, there will be endless disputes.”

“Well,” said Henry, “I’ll be regent.”

“No,” said Mary, “you must choose one. I’ll tell you how. You must choose the regent by ballot. Lilac leaves make good [Pg 81]ballots. Each one of you must consider who you think will be best for regent,—that is, who will have the most discretion and judgment, to decide wisely, and at the same time be mild and gentle, and amiable in manner, so as to be a pleasant commander. Of course, no one must vote for himself.”

“But I don’t understand,” said Rollo. “What are the lilac leaves for?”

“For ballots; that is, for you to write your votes upon. You can write on the under side of a lilac leaf with the point of a pin.”

“Can we?” said Lucy, with a look of curiosity and pleasure.

“Yes,” said Mary, “you need not write the whole name. You can write the first letter—that will be enough. R. stands for Rollo, L. for Lucy, H. for Henry, J. for James, and N. for Nathan.”

“Ho!” said Rollo, “Nathan won’t do for a regent.”

“Perhaps not,” said Mary; “each one of you must vote for the one you think best. Now get your lilac leaves, and I will drop you down some pins.”

The children ran off very eagerly to get [Pg 82]the leaves, and then came back, and Mary dropped down four pins. They each took one, and, with the point of it, wrote a letter upon the back of the leaf. Then Mary asked Nathan to carry around his cap, and let them all drop their leaves into it, and then bring them up to her, and she would see who was chosen.

So Nathan, highly pleased with his office, collected the votes in his cap, and brought them up to his sister Mary. She looked them over as she sat at the window, the children all looking up from below, eagerly awaiting the result. At length, Mary told them that there were four leaves in Nathan’s cap, and that three of them had the letter L upon it. “So,” said she, “you see you have chosen Lucy for regent.”

“Yes, I voted for Lucy,” said Rollo. “I thought she would be the best.”

“And so did I,” said James and Henry.

Lucy looked down, and felt a little embarrassed at finding herself raised so suddenly to the dignity of regent; and she asked Mary what she was to do.

“O, walk along with them just as you would if you had not been chosen; only you [Pg 83]will decide all the questions that come up, such as where you shall go, and how long you shall stay in the different places. The others may give you their opinions, if you ask them; but they must let you decide, and they must all submit to your decisions.”

“Well, come,” said Lucy; “we’ll go down the lane first.” So she took hold of Thanny’s hand, and walked along, the other children following. They passed through the great gate, and soon disappeared from Mary’s view.

They were gone two or three hours. At length, when the sun had nearly gone down, Mary heard voices in the front of the house. She left her back window, and went around to a front window to see. She found them returning, and all talking together with the greatest volubility. They had their baskets full of various commodities, and large bouquets of flowers and plants in their hands. They did not see Mary at the window, and as they all seemed to be good-natured and satisfied with their afternoon’s work, Mary did not speak to them; and so they passed along into the yard undisturbed. They proceeded immediately to the cabinet in the play room, [Pg 84]and then began to take out their treasures from their baskets, and pockets, and handkerchiefs, and to spread them out upon the floor, and upon the bench. In a short time, the floor was covered with specimens of plants and minerals, with shells, and pebbles, and little papers of sand, and nuts, and birds’ nests which they had found deserted, and all sorts of wonders. The room was filled with the sound of their voices; questions, calls to one another, expressions of delight, exclamations of surprise, or of disappointment or pleasure. It was all,—“James, you are treading on my flowers!” “O Lucy, Lucy, see my toadstool!” “O, now my prettiest shell is broken!” “Move away a little, Rollo—I have not got room for all my pebbles”—“Where’s my silk worm? now where’s my silk worm?” “O Henry, give me some of your birch bark, do,”—and a hundred other similar ejaculations, all uttered together.

They soon began, one and another, to put their curiosities into the cabinet,—and then it was, as the old phrase is, confusion worse confounded. Lucy had some discretion and forbearance, and kept a little back, looking, however, uneasy and distressed, and attempting [Pg 85]in vain to get an opportunity to put some of her things in. The boys crowded around the cabinet, each attempting to put his own curiosities into the most conspicuous places, and arranging them over and over again, according as each one’s whims or fancies varied.

“O dear me,” said Rollo, “I wish you would not keep moving these pebbles away, Henry.”

“Why, you put them too far this way,” said Henry; “I want my shells to go here.”

“No,” replied Rollo, “put your shells down on the next shelf. James! James! take care; don’t touch that birds’ nest.”

“Yes, I want room for my silver stone,” said James. He had found a shining stone, which he called a silver stone. And thus they disputed, and talked loudly and vociferously, and contradicted, interrupted, pushed, and crowded each other. Still, they were all good-natured; that is, they were not angry; the difficulty only arose from their eagerness and their numbers,—and their disorganization.

“O dear me,” said Rollo, at length, “I [Pg 86]wish we had a regent again; we got along very well, while Lucy was a regent. Let me be regent now. Come, Henry and James, let me be regent, and I will direct, and then we shall have order again.”

“Well,” said James.

“No,” said Henry, “you have not been elected. You can’t be regent, unless you are chosen regularly.”

Lucy said nothing, but stood behind the others in despair.

“Well, then, let Lucy be regent; she was chosen.”

“But I was only chosen regent for the walk,” said Lucy.

“O never mind,” said Rollo, “let her be regent now.”

But Henry was not disposed to submit to any doubtful authority. He kept at work putting things in, in the way that pleased him most, without any regard to Rollo’s proposal for prolonging Lucy’s authority. As Henry did not acquiesce in this proposed measure, Rollo and James seemed to think it was useless for them to do so, and so they went much as they had begun, until they [Pg 87]had pretty well filled up Jonas’s cabinet with a perfect medley of specimens, the worthy and the worthless all together. They were at length interrupted by the sound of the bell, calling Rollo in to tea; Henry then went home, and James, Lucy, and Rollo went into the house.

[Pg 88]


James and Lucy staid and took tea with Rollo that evening; and, during tea time, Rollo’s father and mother were talking, and the boys were all still. At last, just before they had finished their supper, Rollo’s father asked them how they had got along collecting curiosities.

“O, we had a very good time,” said Rollo, “till we came to put our curiosities away; and then we should have had a good time if the boys had not pushed so, and made such a noise.”

“What made them do so?” asked his mother.

“I don’t know, unless it was because we did not have any regent.”

“Any what?” said his father.

“Any regent,” said Rollo. “We had Lucy for a regent while we were walking, and then we got along very well; but she [Pg 89]would not be regent any longer, when we got home.”

Rollo’s father and mother scarcely knew what to make of this; for they had never heard before of a regent in children’s plays. But as they looked towards Mary, and observed that she was smiling, they at once understood that it was one of her plans. Rollo’s father said he thought it was an excellent idea.

“But why did not you have a regent when you were putting your things away, just as you had before?” he asked.

“Why, Lucy said she was only chosen for the walk.”

“And so she would not serve any longer?”

“No, sir.”

“That was right, Lucy. Never attempt to command without a commission.

“But, Rollo,” added his father, “I should think it would be best for you to have some sort of organization, if you are going to attempt to do any thing in company. Men never think that they can accomplish any thing in company, without organization; and I should certainly think that children would not be able to.”

[Pg 90]

“Organization?” said Rollo; “what is that?”

“Why, some plan for investing some persons with authority. There must always be authority to decide little questions without debate, and for getting the opinions of all, on great questions, regularly.

“If a number of men,” he continued, “were going to form a cabinet of curiosities, they would form a society. They would choose one to be president, and one to be secretary, and one to be cabinet keeper.”

“What does the president do?” asked Lucy.

“The president decides who shall speak, when several want to speak at the same time; and so he prevents all confusion. Nobody must speak without his leave.”

“Do they have to ask him?” said Rollo.

“Yes, in fact, they ask him, though not formally in words. They ask him by rising. In large meetings among men, whoever wants to speak, stands up, and then the president calls their name, and that is giving him permission to speak. If more than one stand up at a time, then he calls the name [Pg 91]of one of them, and he has leave to speak, and the other must sit down.”

“Which one does he call?” asked Rollo.

“The one whom he happens to notice first. He must be careful not to call his friends more than he does other persons. He must be impartial. Then, besides, the president puts the question.”

“Puts the question?” asked Rollo; “what is putting the question?”

“Why, after all has been said about the plan that they want to say, the president asks all that are in favor of it, to hold up their hands; and he counts them. Then he asks all that are against it to hold up their hands. He counts these too. And it is decided according to the number of votes.”

“Is that the way they do?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” replied his father, “that is the way that men do; but boys all talk together, and dispute. If some want to play ball, and some want to play horses, they all talk together, and dispute; it is all,—‘I say we will,’ and ‘I say we won’t,’—and those that make the most noise get the victory.”

“The men’s way is the best,” said Rollo.

[Pg 92]

“I think so myself,” replied his father.

“And what does the secretary do?” asked Mary.

“The secretary keeps the record. He writes an account of every meeting.”

“Does he write all that every body says?” asked Rollo.

“No,” said his father, “only the decisions.”

“Well,” said Rollo, with a tone of satisfaction, “and the cabinet keeper keeps the cabinet, I suppose.”

“Yes,” said his father, “and so all disputings about where the things are to be placed in the cabinet, are avoided; for he decides the whole. He must be a person of judgment and skill.”

“Jonas would be a good cabinet keeper for us,” said Rollo.

“I think you had better form a regular society, Rollo,” said Mary.

“Well,” said Rollo, “will you belong to it?”

“Yes,” said Mary.

“And we can choose our officers by lilac ballots,” said James.

“We’ll have the first meeting to-morrow [Pg 93]afternoon,” said Rollo. “I will go in the morning, and ask Henry to come,—if mother will let me.”

His mother did let him, and the next afternoon the children all collected in the yard, intending to form their society, and proceed regularly. Mary promised to meet with them, and help them make their arrangements. They were to meet in the play room.

Before the time of the meeting, Mary went in, and, with Rollo’s help, made some seats of boards, not far from the cabinet, so that all the members of the society might sit down. The children played about in the yard, some gathering lilac leaves for ballots, and some talking about the curiosities they meant to collect, until, at length, Mary came down and told them it was time to go and have their meeting. She had a great many little papers in one hand, and some pencils in the other. James asked her what she was going to do with those papers. She said they were for ballots.

“O, we have been getting lilac leaves for ballots,” said Lucy.

[Pg 94]

“Papers are better,” said Mary, “when there is a good deal of balloting to be done.”

Then the children threw down the lilac leaves they had gathered, and followed Mary into the play room. They all came around the cabinet, and began to open it and talk about the curiosities. But Mary told them that, if they were going to have a society, they must not touch the cabinet until they had appointed a cabinet keeper—they ought all to go and sit down.

So they went and sat down.

“And now you must not talk at all, until the president is chosen,” said Mary. “You must all write upon these papers the name of the person you think best for president, and then bring them to me. You see,” she continued, as she distributed the papers around, to the other children, “that I am acting as president just now, until we get one chosen. That is the way men do. I asked father about it. He said that the oldest person, or one of the oldest, generally took charge of the proceedings, until a chairman was chosen.”

“A chairman?” said Rollo.

[Pg 95-6]

[Pg 97]

“Yes, or president; sometimes they call him a chairman.”

So the children took their papers, and began to prepare for writing their ballots.

“What shall we put our papers on, cousin Mary, to write?” said Lucy.

“O, you must write on the seat by the side of you,—or on this book; here is a book for one.”

“I can write on my cap,” said James; and he placed his cap upon his knees, and began to use that for a desk. One of the children took the book, and others leaned over to one side, and put their papers upon the seat, and prepared to write there. Some began to write very soon. Others looked around mysteriously, considering which one of the company would make the best president. Henry stood up by the great work bench, and made that his writing-desk; keeping a sharp look-out all the time lest Rollo should see what he should write. And thus the children prepared their votes for president.

When the votes were all ready, the children brought them all together to Mary, [Pg 98]who put them on the corner of the great bench near which she was standing; and the children all came up around them, to see who was chosen.

But Mary gently put her hand over the votes, and told them that that was not the way to count votes. “You must all go and sit down again,” she said, “and appoint some one to count them; and then he or she must come alone, and look them over and tell you who is chosen.”

“Well,” said the children; and so they went back to their seats.

“I propose that Henry count them,” said Mary.

“Well,” said the children.

“No, let James,” said Rollo.

“That is not right, Rollo,” said Mary, “because it is of very little consequence who counts the votes, and in societies the best way is to let things that are of little consequence go according to the first proposal. That saves time.”

So Henry came up, and began to look over the votes.

“They are all for Mary but one, and that is for Lucy,” said Henry.

[Pg 99]

“Then cousin Mary is president,” said James, clapping his hands.

“Yes,” said Mary, “it seems you have chosen me president; and I will be president for a time, until I think that some of the rest of you have learned how to preside, and then I shall resign, and leave you to manage your society yourselves. Now you must write the votes for secretary.” So Mary took her seat in the chair which she had provided for the president, and which, until this time, had been empty.

So the children began to write votes again, and as fast as they had written them they brought them to Mary, and dropped them in her lap. As soon as each one had put in his vote, he went back and took his seat. When the votes were all in, Mary looked them over, and said,

“There are two votes for Lucy, and one for Rollo, and one for Henry.”

“Then Lucy is chosen secretary,” said James.

“No,” said Mary, “because she has only half. The person that is chosen must have more than half of all the votes. Lucy has two, and there are two scattering.”

[Pg 100]

“Scattering!” said Rollo, looking somewhat puzzled.

“Yes; that is, for other persons.”

“What shall we do, then?” said Rollo.

“Why, you must vote again.”

So the children wrote votes again, and brought them in to the president. She smiled as she looked them over. Then she said,

“Now there is a tie.”

“A tie, Mary!” said Rollo; “what is a tie?”

“Why, there are two votes for Rollo, and two for Lucy; that makes it exactly balanced, and they call that a tie.”

“And now what shall we do with the tie?” said Rollo.

“Why, you must vote again.”

Just as the children were preparing to vote again, they heard a noise of footsteps at the door, and, looking up, they saw Nathan coming in. He had his little straw hat upon his head, and his whip in his hand. He was playing market-man, and wanted to know if they wished to buy any potatoes.

The children all laughed. Mary said, [Pg 101]“No, Thanny, this is a society; come, don’t you want to belong to the society?”

“Yes,” said Nathan; and down went his whip upon the floor, and he came trotting along towards Mary. Mary told him to sit down upon the seat next to Rollo.

Nathan took his seat, and began to look around with an air of great curiosity, wondering what they were going to do; and by this time the votes were ready. Mary looked them over and counted them, and then said that they were just as they were before, two for Rollo, and two for Lucy.

“What shall we do now?” said Rollo.

“We must vote again,” said James.

“That won’t do any good,” said Henry.

“There’s Thanny,” said Lucy; “let him vote.”

“Well,” said Mary, “and that will break the tie.”

“O, Thanny can’t vote,” said Rollo; “he can’t write a word.”

“He can vote without writing,” said Mary. “Thanny, come here. Which do you think will make the best secretary, Rollo, or Lucy?”

[Pg 102]

“Why—Lucy,” said Thanny, after some hesitation.

“Lucy, he says; so Lucy is chosen,” said Mary. “Now, Lucy, you must be secretary; but I forgot to bring out some paper.”

Rollo looked a little disappointed. He had hoped to have been secretary himself. So when Nathan came back to his seat, he began to punch him a little, good-naturedly, with his thumb, saying, “Me—why didn’t you say me, Thanny? Hey, Thanny! Why did not you say me?”

Just then, Mary asked Rollo to go into the house and get a sheet of paper for the secretary; and when he came back, Lucy asked her what she should write. Mary gave her the necessary directions, and then Lucy went to the bench, and standing there, near the president’s chair, she went on writing the record, while the rest of the society proceeded with their business. The next thing was to choose a cabinet keeper.

“You may prepare your votes for cabinet keeper.”

“I think Jonas would be the best cabinet keeper,” said Henry; “he made the cabinet.”

[Pg 103]

“O, Jonas does not belong to the society,” said Rollo.

“But we can let him in,” said Lucy.

“No, he can’t belong to the society,” said Rollo; “he has too much work to do.”

The fact was, that Rollo wanted to be cabinet keeper himself, and so he was opposed to any arrangement which would be likely to result in the election of Jonas. But Mary said that it was not necessary that any one should be a member of the society, in order to be chosen cabinet keeper. She said he might be chosen, if the children thought best, even if he was not a member. “But then,” said she, “you must consider all the circumstances, and vote for the one who, you honestly think, will take the best care of the curiosities, and arrange them best.”

The children then wrote their ballots, and brought them to Mary. Mary asked Lucy to count them. Lucy said she had not written her vote herself yet.

“Well, write it quick then,” said Mary.

“But I can’t think,” said Lucy, “whether I had better vote for Jonas or Rollo.”

“Well,” said Mary, “you have only to [Pg 104]consider whether it will be best for the museum to be in Jonas’s hands, or in Rollo’s.”

“But I have been thinking,” said Lucy, “that it is all Rollo‘s plan, and his museum; and that he ought to be cabinet keeper, if he wants to be.”

“There is something in that,” said Mary; “though generally, in choosing officers, we ought to act for the good of the society, not for the good of the officers.”

“But it is my cabinet,” said Rollo; “Jonas made it for me.”

“That may be,” said Mary; “that is, it may have been yours at the beginning; but when you invite us all to come and form a society, you give up your claim to it, and it comes to belong to the society; at any rate, the right to manage it belongs to the society, and we must do what will be best for the whole.”

Rollo did not look very much pleased at these remarks of his sister’s; but Lucy immediately wrote her vote, and put it with the others. She then examined and counted them, and immediately afterwards, she said [Pg 105]there were three votes for Jonas, and one for Rollo. So Jonas was chosen. The children did not know who wrote the vote which was given for Rollo; but the fact was, he wrote it himself. He wanted to be cabinet keeper very much indeed.

[Pg 106]


Rollo was sadly disappointed at not being chosen cabinet keeper. Older and wiser persons than he have often been greatly vexed from similar causes. When the society meeting was ended, Mary told Lucy that she must tell Jonas that they had chosen him cabinet keeper, for she was secretary, and it was the secretary’s duty to do that. Mary then went into the house. The children gathered around the cabinet, and began to look at the things which had been put in the day before. Rollo undertook to arrange one of the shelves differently from what it had been; but Henry told him he must not touch the things, for Jonas was cabinet keeper, and nobody but the cabinet keeper had any right to touch the things.

“O, I am only going to change them a little,” said Rollo.

“But you have no right to touch them at all,” said Henry, pushing Rollo back a little.

[Pg 107]

“Yes, I have,” said Rollo, standing stiffly, and resisting Henry’s push. “It’s my cabinet, and I have a right to do what I please with it.”

“No, it is not your cabinet,” said Henry; “it belongs to the society.”

“No, it doesn’t,” said Rollo.

“It does,” said Henry.

Rollo was wrong—and, in fact, Henry was wrong. In disputes, it almost always happens that both boys are wrong. Lucy stood by, looking distressed. She was very sorry to have any disputing about the cabinet.

“O, never mind, Henry,” said she; “let him move them. Jonas will put them all right afterwards.”

“No,” said Rollo, “I am going to keep the cabinet myself.”

This was not at all like Rollo, to be so unreasonable and angry. But Henry’s roughness had irritated and vexed him, and that, in connection with his own determination to keep the charge of his cabinet, had got him into a very wrong state of mind.

Lucy did not know what to do. She walked slowly along to the door, and after [Pg 108]standing there a moment, while Rollo was at work upon the cabinet, she said,

“O, here comes Jonas, now.”

James and Henry ran to the door, and, as they saw Jonas walking up the lane, they ran towards him, followed by Lucy, and they all began eagerly to tell him about the society, and about his having been chosen cabinet keeper. Lucy came up to them before they had finished their account; and as they had all turned round when they met Jonas, they came walking along together towards the house. James and Henry talked very fast and eagerly. They told Jonas about the society, and about their having chosen Mary president, and Lucy secretary, and him cabinet keeper. When they had finished their account, Lucy added, in a desponding tone,

“Only Rollo says he means to be cabinet keeper.”

“Does he?” said Jonas.

“Yes,” replied Henry. “He says you made the cabinet for him, and he will have it.”

“O, well,” said Jonas, “let him be cabinet [Pg 109]keeper; he will make a very good cabinet keeper.”

“No,” said James, “we want you to be cabinet keeper. We chose you.”

They saw Rollo at the door of the barn, looking at them, but not very good-naturedly. When they came up, Lucy said,

“Come, Rollo, let Jonas be cabinet keeper; that’s a good boy.”

“No,” said Rollo, “it’s my cabinet, and I mean to keep it myself.”

“Then we won’t help you get the curiosities,” said Henry.

“I don’t care,” said Rollo.

“And we won’t have any society,” added James,—thinking that that threat would compel Rollo to give up.

But Rollo only said,

“I don’t care; I don’t want any society. I can make a museum myself.”

There is no doubt, but that many of the readers of this book will wonder that Rollo should have acted in this manner. And yet they themselves act in just such a way when they allow themselves to get out of temper. It is very dangerous to allow ourselves to become vexed and angry. We then do and [Pg 110]say the most unreasonable things, without being aware, ourselves, of their unreasonableness and folly. Rollo himself did not know how his conduct appeared to the other children, and how it sunk him in their good opinion.

Rollo would have had a miserable time in attempting to make a collection of curiosities alone. He would very soon have got tired of it, and have abandoned the plan altogether. It happened, however, that some circumstances occurred to prevent the consequences that his ill humor and obstinacy came so near occasioning.

Henry and James, finding that Rollo would not give up the cabinet to Jonas’s care, considered the plan of the society abandoned, and went to play in the yard. Lucy went into the house to find her cousin Mary. Rollo remained at the cabinet for some time, but he found it very dull amusement to work there alone; besides, he heard the other boys’ voices out in the yard, and before long he began to feel a strong desire to go and see what they were doing. He accordingly went to the door of the barn. He saw that Henry and James had got a log [Pg 111]of wood out, and had placed a board across it, for a see-saw. Rollo slowly walked along towards them.

Henry saw him gradually approaching, and so he whispered, or rather spoke in a low tone to James, saying,

“Here comes Rollo, James; don’t let’s let him get on our see-saw.”

But James felt in more of a forgiving mood than Henry. He did not like quarrelling, and he knew very well that peace-makers must be prepared to yield and forbear, even if they had not been themselves in the wrong. So he said,

“O, yes, Henry, let him have a ride. He may get on my end.

“Rollo,” he added, calling to Rollo, as he came up, “do you want to see-saw? You may have my end.”

Rollo did not quite expect this gentle treatment, and it made him feel a little ashamed. He, however, took James’s place, but he did not feel quite easy there. He knew it was a place that he did not deserve. Pretty soon he proposed that they should all go after raspberries down the lane.

[Pg 112]

“Well,” said Henry, “and I’ll go and get my dipper.”

“Your dipper?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Henry, “I brought a dipper.”

Henry then went to a wood pile which was lying in the yard, and, looking behind it, among the logs, he drew out a small tin dipper, and showed it to Rollo.

“O, I wish I had a dipper to carry!” said Rollo. “It is better than a basket.”

Rollo went into the house, and presently returned bringing two small baskets.

“One for me?” said James, interrogatively, holding out his hand.

“Yes,” said Rollo.

“Give me the other,” said Henry, “and you shall have my dipper.”

“Well,” said Rollo.

I should rather have a basket,” said James.

“No,” said Rollo, “I think a dipper is better. I can get some drink with it, if we come to any brook.”

“But you must give me some drink out of the dipper, if I want any,” said Henry—

“Well,” said Rollo, “I will.”

[Pg 113]

“Though I can drink without a dipper,” said Henry.

“How?” said Rollo.

“O, I can get a piece of elder, and punch out the pith, and that will make a hollow reed; and I can draw up the water through that into my mouth.”

By this time, Rollo and Henry had exchanged the basket and the dipper, and they were all walking along together. Rollo told the boys of several other reasons why he would rather have the dipper on such an expedition; but Henry preferred the basket, and so all were satisfied.

They went on down the lane. The berries were very thick. The boys ate a great many, and they filled their baskets, and the dipper besides. When they reached the bottom of the lane, Rollo proposed that they should go on, through the woods, to the brook. They liked the plan. They accordingly hid their baskets under the fence, heaping full of raspberries. Rollo said that he should take his dipper with him, so as to get a drink at the brook.

“But you can’t use it to get a drink,” said Henry; “it is full of raspberries.”

[Pg 114]

Rollo had not thought of this difficulty. He walked slowly along, with the other boys, a few minutes, looking somewhat foolish; but in a moment he said he meant to eat his raspberries up, and then his dipper would be empty when he should get to the brook.

So he began to eat them. The other boys wanted some of them, and he gave them some, on condition that they should help him fill up his dipper again, when they returned up the lane on their way home. They assented to this condition, and so the boys walked along, eating the raspberries together, in great harmony.

They rambled about in the woods, for some time, meeting with various adventures, until they reached the brook. Neither of the boys were thirsty, not even Rollo; but still he took a drink from the brook, for the sake of using the dipper. He then amused himself, for some time, in trying to scoop up skippers and roundabouts, but without much success. The skippers and roundabouts have both been mentioned before. The latter were a sort of bugs, which had a remarkable power of whirling round and round [Pg 115]with the greatest rapidity, upon the surface of the water. While Rollo was endeavoring to entrap some of these animals, the other boys were picking up pebbles, or gathering flowers, until at length their attention was suddenly arrested by a loud and long exclamation of surprise and pleasure from Rollo.

“What?” said Henry and James, looking towards Rollo.

They saw that he was standing at the edge of the water, gazing eagerly into his dipper.

“What is it?” said the boys, running towards him.

“I have caught a little fish,” said Rollo.

True enough, Rollo had caught a little fish. It was very small, and, as it had been swimming about there, Rollo had, probably more by accident than skill, got him into his dipper, and there he was safely imprisoned.

“O, what a splendid little fellow!” said Henry, crowding his head in between Rollo’s and James’s, over the dipper. “See his fins!”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “It is a trout,—a little trout.”

“See his eyes!” said James. “How he [Pg 116]swims about! What are you going to do with him, Rollo?”

“O, I shall carry him home, and keep him.”

“O, you can’t keep him,” said James; “you have not got any pond.”

“Never mind,” said Rollo, “I can keep him in a bowl in the house.”

“What shall you give him to eat?” said James.

“Eat! fishes never eat; they only drink. I shall give him fresh water every day, and that will keep him alive.”

“They do eat, too,” said James. “They eat bait off of the hooks when we fish for them.”

Rollo had forgotten this fact when he said that fishes never ate; and, having nothing to say in reply to it, now, he was silent, and only looked at his fish.

“O, I wish I had a fish!” said Henry. “If I had kept my dipper, now, I might have had one.”

“I don’t believe you could have caught one,” said Rollo.

“Yes, I could; and I believe I will take my dipper, after all, and catch me a fish.”

[Pg 117]

“No,” said Rollo, “you lent me the dipper, and I lent you my basket instead; and now I must keep it till we get home.”

“No,” said Henry, “it is my dipper, and I only lent it to you; and I have a right to it whenever I want it. So you must give it to me.”

But Rollo was very far from being convinced that he ought to give back the dipper then. He had borrowed it, he said, for the whole expedition, and he had a right to keep it till he got home. Besides, he had a fish in it, and there was nothing that he could do with him, if Henry took away the dipper.

But Henry said he did not think of catching a little fish in his dipper, when he lent it to Rollo. If he had, he should not have lent it to him. He only lent it to him to get raspberries in. But Rollo insisted that he had lent it to him for the whole expedition, and to put any thing in it he pleased.

After some time spent in this discussion, Rollo finally yielded. He was, in fact, somewhat ashamed of the part he had taken in the former difficulty, and had secretly resolved to be more good-natured and yielding [Pg 118]in future. So he gave the dipper back to Henry.

Before he did this, however, Henry said that he would be very careful not to lose Rollo’s fish.

“I will only dip the dipper in again,” said he, “very carefully, to catch another fish, without letting yours get out. Then we can carry both to your house, and put yours in the bowl; and then I can carry mine home in the dipper.”

So Rollo gave the dipper back to Henry, though very reluctantly.

Henry carried it carefully down to the bank of the brook. He stood upon a little sloping shore of sand and pebbles, and began to watch for the little minnows which were swimming about in the deep places. He immersed his dipper partially in the water, being very careful not to plunge it in entirely, lest Rollo’s fish should escape. Whenever he made an attempt, however, to catch a fish, he was obliged to plunge it in; but he did it very quick, so as not to give the prisoner, already taken, time to escape.

At last, a fish, larger than any he had seen, [Pg 119]came moving slowly along, out from a deep place under a large log, which lay imbedded in the bank. Henry made a sudden plunge after him. He drew up his dipper again, confident that he had caught him; but, on looking into the dipper, no fish was to be seen. The bird in the hand, and the bird in the bush, were both gone.

The boys tried for a long time, in vain, to catch another fish. Rollo was sadly disappointed at the loss of the one he had caught, but there was now no help for it; and so they all slowly returned home together.

[Pg 120]


As the boys were slowly coming up the lane, towards the house, they saw Mary and Lucy in the garden. They went round into the garden to see what they were doing.

They found them seated upon a bench in a pleasant part of the garden; it was the same bench were Rollo had once undertaken to establish a hive of bees. Mary was teaching Lucy how to draw pictures upon lilac leaves, and other leaves which they gathered, here and there, in the garden.

The boys came up and asked to see what the girls were doing. The girls did not say to them, as girls sometimes do in such cases, ‘It is none of your concern,—you go off out of the garden, we don’t want you here.’ They very politely showed them their leaf sketches,—and the boys, at the same time, with equal politeness, offered them some of their raspberries. In the course of the conversation, [Pg 121]as they sat and stood there, Rollo said to his sister,

“Henry lost my fish, Mary, and ought he not to pay me?”

“Your fish?” asked Mary.

“Yes,” said Rollo, “I caught a fish in a dipper.”

“And how came Henry to have it?”

“O, I let him have it, to catch another. He made me.”

Henry had some secret feeling that he had not done quite right in the transaction, though he did not know exactly how he had done wrong. He did not make any reply to Rollo’s charge, but stood back, looking somewhat confused.

“Ought he not to pay me?” repeated Rollo.

“It seems to be a case of bailment,” said Mary.

“O yes,” said Rollo, who now recollected his father’s conversation on that subject some days before.

“And so, you know, the question,” continued Mary, “whether he ought to pay or not, depends upon circumstances.”

“Well,” said Rollo, who began to recall [Pg 122]to mind the principles which his father had laid down upon the subject, “it was for his benefit, not mine, and so he ought to pay.”

All this conversation about bailment, and about its being for his benefit, not Rollo’s, was entirely unintelligible to Henry, who had never studied the law of bailment at all. He looked first at Mary, and then at Rollo, and finally said,

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

So Mary explained to him what her father had said. She told him, first, that whenever one boy intrusted his property of any kind to the hands of another boy, it was a bailment; and that the question whether the one who took the thing ought to pay for it, if it was lost, depended upon the degree of care he took of it, considered in connection with the question, whether the bailment was for the benefit of the bailor, or the bailee.

“What is bailor and the bailee?” said Henry.

“Why, Rollo bailed you his fish,” said Mary. “Rollo was bailor, and you bailee.”

“No,” said Henry, “he only gave me back my dipper, and the fish was in it.”

Mary asked for an explanation of this, [Pg 123]and the boys related all the circumstances. Mary said it was an intricate case.

“I don’t understand it exactly,” said Mary. “You returned him his property which you had borrowed, and at the same time put into his hands some property of your own. I don’t know whether it ought to be considered as only giving him back his dipper, or bailing him the fish.”

“I did not want the fish,” said Henry.

“No,” said Mary. “It is a knotty case. Let us go and ask father about it.”

“O, I don’t want to go,” said Henry.

“Yes, I would,” said Mary. “I’ll be your lawyer, and manage your side of the question for you; and we will get a regular decision.”

“Well,” said Henry, reluctantly. And all the children followed Mary and Lucy towards the house.

They found Rollo’s father in his room, examining some maps and plans which were spread out upon the table before him. When he saw the children coming in, he asked Mary, who was foremost, what they wanted. She said they had a law question, which they wanted him to decide.

[Pg 124]

“A law question?” said he.

“Yes,” she replied; “a case of bailment.”

“O, very well; walk in,” said he.

There was a sofa at one side of the room, and he seated the children all there, while he drew up his arm-chair directly before them. He then told them to proceed. Rollo first told the whole story, closing his statement by saying,

“And so I let him have my fish; and that was a bailment, and it was not for my benefit, but his, and so he ought to have taken very especial care of it. But he did not, and lost it, and so he ought to pay.”

“But we maintain,” said Mary, “that the fish was not bailed to Henry at all. Rollo only gave him back the dipper, and, though the fish was in it, still the fish did not do Henry any good, and so it was not for his benefit.”

“It seems to be rather an intricate case,” said her father, smiling.

Henry looked rather sober and anxious. The proceedings seemed to him to be a very serious business.

However, Rollo’s father spoke to him in a very kind and good-humored tone, so that, [Pg 125]before long, he began to feel at his ease. After hearing a full statement of the case, and all the arguments which the children had to offer on one side or the other, Rollo’s father began to give his decision, as follows:—

“I think that Rollo’s giving Henry the dipper, with the fish in it, was clearly a bailment of the fish; that is, it was an intrusting of his property to Henry’s care. It is clear also that Henry took pretty good care of it. He tried to avoid losing it. He took as much care of it, perhaps, as he would have done of a fish of his own. Still, he did not take very extraordinary or special care of it. The loss was not owing to inevitable accident. If the bailment was for Rollo’s benefit, the care he took was sufficient to save him from being liable; but, if it was for his own benefit, then all he did was at his own risk; and the loss ought to be his loss, and he ought to pay for it.”

“But I don’t see,” said Mary, “that he was to blame in either case.”

“O, no,” said his father; “he was not to blame for losing the fish, perhaps. That is not the point in these cases. It is not a [Pg 126]question of who is to blame, but who ought to bear a loss, for which perhaps nobody is to blame.

“And you see,” he continued, “that it is reasonable that the loss should be borne by the person who was to have derived benefit from the risk. If the risk was run for Henry’s benefit, then he ought to bear the loss; which he would do by making Rollo compensation. If the risk was run for Rollo’s benefit, then Rollo ought to bear the loss himself.”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo; “and it certainly was for Henry’s benefit, for he was trying to catch another fish for himself,—not for me. I had no advantage in it.”

“That is not so certain,” replied his father. “It depends altogether upon the question, who had a right to the dipper at that time. If Henry had a right to the dipper, then he might have even poured out the water, fish and all; or he might have kept the fish in, to accommodate Rollo. On the other hand, if Rollo had a right to the dipper then, and he let Henry have it, as a favor to him, then, in that case, the bailment was for Henry’s benefit.”

[Pg 127]

“Well, sir,” said Henry, “I had a right to the dipper, for it was mine; and so it was for his benefit, and I ought not to pay.”

“No, sir,” said Rollo; “he had let me have it, and I let him have my basket.”

“I only lent it to him,” said Henry.

“But you lent it to me for the whole walk,” said Rollo, turning round to Henry.

“You must only speak to me,” said his father. “In all debates and arguments, always speak to the one who is presiding.”

“Well, sir,” said Rollo, turning back to his father, again, “he lent it to me for the whole walk, and so I don’t think he had any right to take it back again.”

“That is coming to the point exactly,” said his father. “It all depends upon that,—whether Henry had a right to reclaim his dipper at that time, after only lending it to Rollo. And that, you see, is another bailment case. Henry bailed Rollo the dipper. This shows the truth of what I said before, that a great many of the disputes among boys arise from cases of bailment. This seems to be a sort of doubled and twisted case. And it all hinges on the question whether Henry or Rollo had the right to the [Pg 128]dipper at the time when Henry took it. For, as I have already explained, if Henry had a right to it, then his keeping Rollo’s fish in it was for Rollo’s advantage, and Rollo ought to bear the loss. But if Rollo had a right to keep the dipper longer, then he bailed the fish to him, in order to be able to let him have the dipper, for he could not let him have the one without the other; and so it was for Henry’s benefit; and, as the loss was not from inevitable accident, Henry ought to bear it.”

“Well, sir, and now please to tell us,” said Mary, “who had the right to the dipper.”

“Rollo,” said her father.

“Rollo!” exclaimed several voices.

“Yes,” replied Rollo’s father. “There is a principle in the law of bailment which I did not explain to you the other day. It is this: Whenever a person bails a thing to another person, for a particular purpose, and receives a compensation for it, the bailor has no right to take it back again from the bailee, until a fair opportunity has been allowed to accomplish that purpose. For instance, if I go and hire a horse of a man to make a journey, I have a right to keep the horse [Pg 129]until the journey is ended. If the owner of the horse meets me on the road, fifty miles from home, it is not reasonable, you see, that he should have the right to take the horse away from me there, on the ground that it is his horse, and that he has a right to him wherever he finds him. So, if one boy lends another his knife to make a whistle with, he ought not to take it away again, when the boy has got his whistle half done, and so make him lose all his labor.”

“Why, it seems to me he ought to give it back to him,” said Rollo, “if it is his knife, whenever he wants it.”

“Yes,” replied his father, “he ought to give it up, no doubt, if the owner claims it; and yet perhaps the owner might do wrong in claiming it. Though I am not certain, after all, how it is in case a thing is lent gratuitously.”

“What is gratuitously?” said Rollo.

“Why, for nothing; without any pay. Perhaps the bailor has a right to claim his property again, at any time, if it is bailed gratuitously, though I am not certain. I will ask some lawyer when I have an opportunity. But when a thing is let for pay, or [Pg 130]bailed on contract in any way, I am sure the bailor ought to leave it in the hands of the bailee, until the purpose is accomplished; or, at least, until there has been a fair opportunity to accomplish it.

“Wherefore I decide that, as Henry intended to let Rollo have the dipper for the whole expedition, and as he took Rollo’s basket, and Rollo agreed to let him have some drink, as conditions, therefore, he ought not to have reclaimed the dipper. Since he did reclaim it, Rollo did perfectly right to give it up, fish and all; and as he did so, it was a bailment for the benefit of the bailee, that is, Henry. And of course it was at his risk, and, in strict justice, Rollo has a right to claim compensation for the loss of his fish. But then I should hope he won’t insist upon it.”

“Well, sir,” said Rollo, “I don’t care much about it now.”

“You see, Henry,” continued Rollo’s father, “I haven’t been talking about this all this time on account of the value of the fish, but to have you understand some of the principles you ought to regard, when any [Pg 131]other’s property is in your possession. So, now, you may all go.”

“Well, uncle,” said James, as the children rose from their seats, “haven’t you got some great box that we can have for our cabinet?”

“Your cabinet?” asked his uncle.

“Yes, sir, we want to make a museum.”

“Why, Rollo has got a cabinet. Jonas made him one.”

“Yes, sir; but he wants his for himself, and we want one for our society.”

“You may have mine, now,” said Rollo; “I am not going to have one alone. I have concluded to let you have mine. Come.”

So Rollo moved on, as if he wished to go. In fact, he had an instinctive feeling that his conduct in respect to the cabinet and the society would not bear examination, and he wanted to go.

But his father, afraid that Rollo had been doing some injustice to his playmates, stopped the children and inquired into the case. The children told him that they had formed a society, and had elected Jonas cabinet keeper; and that Rollo had afterwards said he meant to be cabinet keeper himself, [Pg 132]and so would not let the society have his cabinet to keep their curiosities in.

“And did he first agree that the society might have it?”

“No, sir,” said Rollo, decidedly; “I did not agree to any thing about it.” He thought that this would exonerate him from all blame.

“Was not there a tacit agreement?” asked his father.

“A tacit agreement!” repeated Rollo. He did not know what a tacit agreement was.

“Yes,” said his father, “tacit means silent; a tacit or implied agreement is one which is made without being formally expressed in words. If it is only understood by both parties, it is just as binding as if it were fully expressed. For instance, if I go into a bookstore, and ask the bookseller to put me up certain books, and take them and carry them home, and then he charges them to me in his books, I must pay for them: for, though I did not say any thing about paying for them, yet my actions constituted an implied agreement to pay. By going in and getting them, under those circumstances, [Pg 133]I, in fact, tacitly promise that I will pay for them when the bookseller sends in his bill. A very large portion of the agreements made among men are tacit agreements.”

The children all listened very attentively, and they understood very well what Rollo’s father was saying. Rollo was considering whether there had been a tacit agreement that the society should have the cabinet; but he did not speak.

“Now, Rollo, did you consent to the formation of the society?”

“Yes, sir,” said Henry, eagerly; “he asked us all to form the society.”

“And was it the understanding that the museum was to be kept in the cabinet that Jonas made?”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo, rather faintly.

“Then, it seems to me that there was a tacit agreement on your part, that if the children would form the society and help you make the collection, you would submit to whatever arrangements they might make about the officers and the charge of the cabinet. You, in fact, bailed the cabinet to the society.”

[Pg 134]

“Yes, sir,” said the children.

“And as the bailment was for your advantage, as well as theirs, you ought not to have taken possession of the property again, until a fair opportunity had been afforded to accomplish the purpose of the bailment, that is, the collection of a cabinet by the society. So, you see, you fell into the same fault in respect to the society, that Henry did in regard to you in the case of the dipper.”

The children were silent; but they all perceived the justice of what Rollo’s father had said.

“And the society have a claim upon you, Rollo, for compensation for the disappointment and trouble you have caused them by taking away the cabinet.”

Rollo looked rather serious.

“O, we don’t care about it,” said Lucy.

“Well,” said his father, “if the society release their claim upon you, as you did yours upon Henry, very well. I hope, at all events, you will all go on pleasantly after this.”

The children then went out, and Rollo, followed by the other boys, went to find Jonas, to tell him he might be cabinet keeper. [Pg 135]They tried to tell Jonas the whole story, and about Rollo’s giving the fish to Henry, and its being a bailment. But they could not make Jonas understand it very well. He said he did not know any thing about bailment, except bailing out boats—he had never heard of bailing fishes.

[Pg 136]


Jonas accepted the office of cabinet keeper. He inquired particularly of the children about the meeting of the society, and, as they stated to him the facts, he perceived that Rollo had been a good deal disappointed at not having been chosen to any office. Jonas was sorry himself that Rollo could not have had some special charge, as it was his plan at the beginning, and the others had only joined it at his invitation. When he observed, also, how good-naturedly Rollo acquiesced,—for he did at last acquiesce very good-naturedly indeed,—he was the more sorry; and so he proposed to Rollo that he should be assistant cabinet keeper.

“I shall want an assistant,” said Jonas, “for I have not time to attend to the business much; I can give you directions, and then you can arrange the curiosities [Pg 137]accordingly; and you can help me when I am at work there.”

Rollo liked this plan very much; and so Jonas said that he might act as assistant cabinet keeper until the next meeting of the society, and then he would propose to them to choose him regularly. He told Mary of this plan, and she liked it very much indeed.

The children had various plans for collecting curiosities. They had meetings of the society once a week, when they all came into the play room, bringing in with them the articles which they had found or prepared. These articles were there exhibited and admired by all the members, and then were put upon the great work-bench, under the care of the assistant cabinet keeper. They remained there until Jonas had time to look them over, and determine how to arrange them. Then he and Rollo put them up in the cabinet, in good order.

Mary did not collect many articles herself; but she used to tell the children what they could get or prepare. They made some very pretty collections of dried plants at her suggestion. [Pg 138]They would come to her, as she sat in the house at her work, and there she would explain to them, in detail, what to do; and then they would go away and do it, bringing their work to her frequently as they went on. In respect to collections of plants, she told them that botanists generally pressed them, and then fastened them into great books, between the leaves, arranged according to the kinds.

“But you,” said she, “don’t know enough of plants to arrange them in that way,—and, besides, it would be too great an undertaking for you to attempt to prepare a large collection. But you might make a small collection, and select and arrange the flowers in it according to their beauty.”

Lucy said she should like to do this very much, and so Mary recommended to her to go and get as many flowers as she could find, and press them between the leaves of some old book which would not be injured by them. Lucy did so. She was a week or two in getting them ready. Then she brought them to Mary. Mary looked them over, and said that many of them were very [Pg 139]pretty indeed, and that she could make a very fine collection from them.

“Now,” said she, “you must have a book to keep them in.”

So Mary went and got two sheets of large, light-colored wrapping paper, and folded them again and again, until the leaves were of the right size. Then she cut the edges.

“Now,” said Mary, “I must make some false leaves.”

“False leaves!” said Lucy; “what are they?”

“O, you shall see,” replied Mary.

She then cut one of the leaves which she had made into narrow strips, and put these strips between the true leaves at the back, where they were folded, in such a manner, that, when she sewed the book, the false leaves would be sewed in with the true. But the false leaves, being narrow strips, only made the back thicker. They did not extend out into the body of the book between the leaves; but Mary showed Lucy that when she came to put in her flowers between the true leaves, it would make the body of the book as thick as the back. They would [Pg 140]make it thicker, were it not for these false leaves.

“Yes,” said Lucy, “I have seen false leaves in scrap books, made to paste pictures in. I always thought that they made the leaves whole, first, and then cut them out.”

“No,” said Mary, “that would be a great waste of paper. It is very easy to make them by sewing in narrow strips.”

Mary then asked Lucy to sit up at the table, and select some of her prettiest flowers,—some large, and some small,—enough to fill up one page of her book; and then to arrange them on the page in such a way as to produce the best effect; and Lucy did so. Then she gummed each one down upon the page, by touching the under side, here and there, with some gum arabic, dissolved in water, but made very thick. When she had done one page, she turned the leaf over very carefully, and laid a book upon it, and then proceeded to make selections of flowers for the second page. In this manner she went on through the book, and it made a very beautiful book indeed. Mary put a [Pg 141]cover and a title-page to it; and on the title-page, she wrote the title, thus:—







When it was all ready, it was presented to the society, and put into the cabinet, where it was long known by the name of “Lucy’s Collection.” She wrote the name of each plant under it, as fast as she could find out the names; and, whenever visitors came to see the museum, she would ask them the name of any of the flowers in her collection which she did not know, and then wrote the name down. Thus, after a time, nearly all the names were entered; and so, whenever the children found any flower which they did not know, they would sometimes go and look over Lucy’s collection, [Pg 142]and there perhaps they would find the very flower with its name under it.

This museum lasted several years; and the next spring, Rollo made his collection of flowers, which was larger than Lucy’s. Mary helped him about it. At first, he was going to have it in a larger book; but Mary thought it would be better to have all the books of a size, and then they would lie together very compactly, in a pile; which would not be the case if they had several books of different sizes. She said if any one wanted to make a larger collection, he had better have several volumes. Rollo made volume after volume, until at last his collection consisted of six.

There was one collection of leaves; Henry made it. His object was to see how many different-shaped leaves he could get. He did not regard the little differences which exist between the leaves of the same tree, but only the essential differences of shape; such as between the leaf of the oak and of the maple. Two or three pages were devoted to leaves of forest-trees, and they looked very beautiful indeed. Leaves, being naturally flat, can be pressed very easily, and they [Pg 143]generally preserve their colors pretty well. One page was devoted to the leaves of evergreens, such as the pine, fir, spruce, hemlock; and they made a singular appearance, they were so small and slender. A little sprig of pine leaves was put in the centre, and the others around. Then there were the leaves of fruit-trees and plants, such as the apple, pear, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, currant, gooseberry, &c., arranged by themselves; and there were half a dozen pages devoted to bright-colored leaves, gathered in the autumn, after the frost had come. These pages looked very splendidly. The names of the plants to which all these leaves belonged were written under them, and also the name given by botanists to indicate the particular shape of the leaf; these names the children found in books of botany. Such, for instance, as serrated, which means notched all around the edge with teeth like a saw, like the strawberry leaf; and cordate, which means shaped like a heart, as the lilac leaf is, and many others.

There was also a collection of brakes that Rollo made, which the children liked to look over very much. There is a great variety [Pg 144]in the forms of brakes, or ferns, and yet they are all regular and beautiful, and are so flat that they are easily pressed and preserved. But of all the botanical collections which were formed and deposited in this museum, one of the prettiest was a little collection of petals, which Rollo’s mother made. Petals are the colored leaves of flowers,—those which form the flower itself. Sometimes the flower cannot be pressed very well whole, and yet, if you take off one of its petals, you find that that will press very easily, and preserve its color finely. So Rollo’s mother, every day, when she saw a flower, would put one of the leaves into a book, and after a time she had a large collection,—red, and white, and blue, and yellow, and brown, in fact, of almost every color. Then she made a little book of white paper, because she thought the colors and forms of these delicate petals would appear to better advantage on a smooth, white ground. She then made a selection from all which she had preserved, and arranged them upon the pages of her little book, so as to bring a great variety both of form and color upon a page; and yet forms and colors so [Pg 145]selected that all that was upon one page should be in keeping and harmony.

But it was not merely the botanical collections in the museum which interested the children. They had some philosophical apparatus. There was what the boys called a sucker, which consisted of a round piece of sole leather, about as big as a dollar, with a string put through the middle, and a stop-knot in the end of it, to keep the string from coming entirely through; then, when the leather was wet, the boys could just pat it down upon a smooth stone, and then lift the stone by the string; the sucker appearing to stick to the stone very closely. Rollo did not understand how the sucker could lift so well; his father said it was by the pressure of the atmosphere, but in a way that Rollo was not old enough to understand.

Then there was what the boys called a circular saw, made of a flat, circular piece of lead, as large as the top of a tea cup. Jonas had hammered it out of a bullet. There were saw-teeth cut all around the circumference, and two holes bored through the lead, at a little distance from the centre, one on each side. There was a string passed [Pg 146]through these holes, and then the ends were tied together; and to put the circular saw in motion, this string was held over the two hands, as the string is held when you first begin to play cat’s-cradle. Then, by a peculiar motion, this saw could be made to whirl very swiftly, by pulling the two hands apart, and then letting them come together again,—the string twisting and untwisting alternately, all the time. There were various other articles of apparatus for performing philosophical experiments; such as a prism, a magnet, pipes for blowing soap bubbles, a syringe, or squirt-gun, as the boys called it, made of a reed, which may be said to be a philosophical instrument.

Jonas made a collection of specimens of wood, which was, on the whole, very curious, as well as somewhat useful. As he was at work sawing wood from day to day, he laid aside small specimens of the different kinds; as oak, maple, beech, ash, fir, cedar, &c. He generally chose small, round pieces, about as large round as a boy’s arm, and sawed off a short piece about three inches long. This he split into quarters, and reserved one quarter for his specimen, throwing the others [Pg 147]away. This quarter had, of course, three sides; one was covered with bark, and the other two were the split sides. As fast as Jonas got these specimens split out in this manner, he put them in the barn, upon a shelf, near the bench; and then, one day, he took them one by one, and planed one of the split sides of each, and then smoothed it perfectly with sand paper.

Rollo, who was standing by at the time, asked him why he did not plane them all around.

“O, because,” said Jonas, “they are for specimens, and so we want them to show the bark on one side, and the wood on the other side, in its natural state; and the third side is enough to show its appearance when it is manufactured.”

“Manufactured!” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Jonas; “planed and varnished, as it is when it is made into furniture.”

“Are you going to varnish the sides that you plane?”

Jonas said he was; and he did so. He planed one side, and one end. He varnished the planed side, and pasted a neat little label on the planed end. On the label he wrote [Pg 148]the name of the wood, and some very brief account of its qualities and uses, when he knew what they were. For instance, on the end of the specimen of walnut, was written in a very close but plain hand—

Walnut, very tough and hard. Used for handles.

After Jonas had got as many specimens as he could, from the wood pile, he used to cut others in the woods, when he happened to be there, of kinds which are not commonly cut for fuel. In this way he got, after a time, more than twenty different kinds, and when they were all neatly varnished and labelled, it made a very curious collection; and it was very useful, too, sometimes; for whenever the boys found any kind of a tree in the woods which they did not know, all they had to do, was to cut a branch of it off, and bring it to the museum, and compare it with Jonas’s specimens. In this way, before long, they learned the names of nearly all the trees which grew in the woods about there.

There was a curious circumstance which happened in respect to Rollo’s hemlock-seed. It has already been said that this supposed [Pg 149]hemlock-seed was really a chrysalis. Now, a chrysalis is that form which all caterpillars assume, before they change into butterflies; and the animal remains within, generally for some time, in a dormant state;—all the time, however, making a slow progress towards its development. Now, Rollo’s great chrysalis remained in a conspicuous position, upon the middle shelf in the cabinet, for some weeks. Rollo always insisted, when he showed it to visitors, that it was a hemlock-seed. Jonas said he knew it was not; and he did not believe it was any kind of seed. But then he confessed that he did not know what it was, and Rollo considered that he had his father’s authority for believing it to be a hemlock-seed, because his father had said he thought it might be so, judging however only by Rollo’s description, without having seen it at all. Rollo always asserted very confidently that it was a hemlock-seed, and that he was going to plant it the next spring.

In the mean time, the humble caterpillar within, unconscious of the conspicuous position to which he had been elevated, and the distinguished marks of attention he received [Pg 150]from many visitors, went slowly on in his progress towards a new stage of being. When the time was fully come, he very coolly gnawed a hole in one end of his glossy shell, and laboriously pushed himself through, his broad and beautiful wings folded up compactly by his side. When he was fairly liberated, he stood for two hours perfectly silent and motionless upon the shelf, while his wings gradually expanded, and assumed their proper form and dimensions. It was rather dark, for the doors were closed; and yet sufficient light came through the crevices of Jonas’s cabinet, to enable him to see the various objects around him, though he took very little notice of them. It was a strange thing for him to be shut up in such a place, with no green trees, or grass, or flowers around; but having never turned into a butterfly before, he did not know that there was any thing unusual in his situation.

He began, however, in the course of six hours, to feel decidedly hungry; so he thought he would creep along in search of something to eat. He tried his proboscis upon one curiosity after another, in vain. The magnet, the sucker, pebbles, shells, books, every [Pg 151]thing was hard, dry and tasteless; and at length, discouraged and in despair, he clambered up upon Jonas’s specimen of maple, poised his broad, black, leopard-like wings over his back, and hung his head in mute despair. He would have given all his newborn glories for one single supper from the leaf which he used to feed upon when he was a worm.

It was just about this time, that Rollo, Lucy, and Jonas happened to come together to the cabinet, to put in some new curiosity which they had found. As soon as Rollo opened the doors, he perceived the hole in the end of the chrysalis, which lay directly before him. He seized it hastily.

“There now,” said he, in a tone of sad disappointment, “somebody has been boring a hole in my hemlock-seed!”

He took up the empty shell, and looked at the hole.

“Why, Jonas,” said he, “how light it is!”

Jonas took the chrysalis, weighed it in his hand, looked into the hole, and then said, quickly,

[Pg 152]

“It is a chrysalis, I verily believe; and that is where the butterfly came out.”

“What!” said Rollo, in a tone of utter amazement.

“That hole is where a butterfly came out,” said Jonas, “I have no doubt;—and if we look about here a little, we shall find him.”

They immediately began to look about; and the butterfly, as if he understood their conversation, and perceived the necessity of a movement on his part, just at that instant, expanded his wings, and floated off through the air into the middle of the room, towards the bright sunshine which came in at the door. He alighted upon the edge of a barrel, which stood there. Rollo was after him in a moment, with his cap in the air. The butterfly, however, was too hungry to wait. He was again upon the wing. He soared away across the yard, towards the garden, and disappeared over the tops of the trees. Rollo and Lucy looked for him for some time among the plants and flowers, but in vain.

“Never mind,” said Jonas, when they [Pg 153]returned. “The butterfly had rather be free; but he has left you the chrysalis shell, and that, notwithstanding the hole, is a greater curiosity now, than it was before.”

[Pg 154]


Rollo’s father and mother were very much pleased with the children’s plan of collecting a cabinet. They often went out, at Rollo’s request, to look at the curiosities.

One evening, about sunset, when they were walking in the garden, Rollo proposed that, before they went into the house, they should go out and look at the museum. They accordingly walked along, Rollo and Mary taking hold of hands before, and their father and mother walking arm in arm after them. Nathan was behind, riding a stick for a horse, and blowing a trumpet which Rollo had made for him out of the stem of a pumpkin vine.

“I am a trooper,” said Nathan to himself, “blowing a bugle.” Then he would whip his horse, sound his trumpet, and gallop along.

When they reached the door of the barn [Pg 155]which led into the place where their museum was kept, Rollo turned round and said sharply,

“Thanny, be quiet! Don’t make such a noise.”

“Speak pleasantly, Rollo,” said Mary.

“Well, Thanny,” said Rollo, taking hold of his arm, and gently turning him away from the door, “go and blow your bugle somewhere else, because we want to see our curiosities.”

Thanny made no reply; but, being spoken to pleasantly, he turned around and went galloping off, and seeing the cat upon the fence, he ran up and began trumpeting at her to frighten her away.

In the mean time, Rollo’s father and mother looked over the curiosities, as they had done many a time before. Rollo explained the wonders, and his parents looked and listened with great satisfaction, though they had been called upon to admire the same things for the same reasons, twenty times before.

“But, Rollo,” said his father, at length, “it appears to me that your cabinet has not increased much, lately.”

[Pg 156]

“Why, father, we can’t find any more curiosities. I wish we could go to some new place.”

“What new place can we go to?” said he.

“I don’t know,” said Rollo; “some place where there are some curiosities.”

“We might go to the sea-shore, and get some shells,” said Mary.

“So we could,” said her father; “that would give you a fine addition.”

“Well, father,” said Rollo, looking up very eagerly, “I wish you would let us go.”

“I will think of it,” said his father.

Rollo knew that when his father said this, he meant as he said, and that he would really think of it;—and consequently that he himself ought not to say any thing more about it. He accordingly soon began to talk to Mary about other things, and by and by they went into the house.

The next day, Rollo’s father told him that they had concluded to make a party to go to the sea-shore. There was a shore and a beach about twelve miles from where they lived, and he said that they were going the next day in the carryall. Rollo’s father and mother, with Mary and her cousin Lucy, [Pg 157]were to ride in the carryall, and Rollo and Jonas in the wagon behind.

“We want cousin Lucy to go with us,” said Mr. Holiday, in explaining the plan, “and so there will not be quite room for us all in the carryall. Besides, we shall want Jonas’s help, probably, in the expedition, and then the wagon will be a good thing to bring back our treasures in.”

“O father,” said Rollo, “we shall not get more than a carryall full.”

“No, I suppose not,” said his father; “but the wagon will be better to bring stones, and sand, and shells. You must put baskets in behind, to pack them in.”

The next afternoon, all was in readiness at the appointed hour. The carryall was at the door, waiting to receive its portion of the party, and the wagon was fastened to a post behind. Jonas stood at the head of the carryall horse, to hold him still while the people should be getting in. Rollo was near the wagon horse.

“Shall I unfasten him, Jonas?”

You can’t unfasten him,” said he.

“O yes, I can, if you will only let me try.”

[Pg 158]

Rollo approached the horse, and cautiously reached out his hands to unhook the chain from the ring at the horse’s mouth, standing a good way back, and leaning forward on tiptoe, as if he thought the horse would bite him.

“What are you afraid of, Rollo?” said Jonas.

“Nothing,” said Rollo; “only I can’t reach very well.”

“Stand up nearer.”

“But perhaps he might bite me.”

“Poh! he never bites,” said Jonas. “There is only one danger to guard against, in unfastening such a horse as that.”

“What danger?” said Rollo.

“Danger that he may step and tread on your foot.”

Rollo looked down at his feet, and began to consider this danger; but just then his father and mother came out, followed by the two girls, and took their seats in the carryall. Jonas then came to the wagon, and, after helping Rollo in, he got in himself, and away the whole party went, very happily.

After riding for some time, Rollo’s mother, upon looking back towards the wagon, saw [Pg 159]that Rollo was making signs as if he wanted them to stop. She told Mr. Holiday, and he accordingly stopped his horse, and waited until the wagon came up. Rollo had a plan to propose.

“Father,” said he, “I wish you would let Jonas come into the carryall and drive you and mother, and let Mary and cousin Lucy come and ride with me.”

“But who will drive?” said his father.

“I’ll drive,” replied Rollo.

“O no,” said his mother, “he can’t drive; he will overturn the wagon.”

“Why, mother, I can drive,” said Rollo. “I have been driving some time.”

“I rather think there will be no danger,” said Mr. Holiday to his wife, turning towards her as she sat upon the back seat. “The road is pretty level and retired, and he will keep close along behind the carryall.”

Rollo’s mother looked rather doubtfully, and yet she could not help feeling a certain degree of pleasure at thinking that Rollo was old enough to drive alone. She accordingly consented, and the change was at once made. Rollo’s father and mother sat on the back seat of the carryall, and [Pg 160]Jonas before, to drive them; while Rollo, Mary, and Lucy took possession of the wagon.

Rollo drove very well. He kept near the carryall, and was so attentive to his business as a driver, and so successful in avoiding stones and jolts, and in turning out for the various vehicles they met upon the road, that his father let him drive so all the rest of the way.

They gradually approached the sea-shore. The country grew wild and hilly, and great ledges of rocks were seen in the fields and by the road side. At length, upon the summit of a long ascent, the broad sea burst into view, stretching along the horizon before them, smooth and glassy, with here and there a small white sail almost motionless in the distance. Below them was a long, sandy beach. The surf was breaking against it. A swell of the sea, of the whole length of the beach, would rise and advance, growing higher and more distinct as it approached, and then it would break over upon the shore in one long line of foam, white and beautiful, and gracefully curved to adapt itself to the curvature of the shore. [Pg 161]At the extremities of the beach, points and promontories of ragged rocks extended out into the water, white with the breakers which foamed and struggled around them. From the whole there arose a continued and solemn roar, like the sound of a great waterfall.

Mr. Holiday stopped his horse by the side of the road, and Rollo, when he reached the place, stopped also.

“Here we are,” said Rollo. “That’s the sea.”

“Where’s the beach?” said Lucy.

Mary was silent.

“Come,” said Rollo, “let’s drive on.”

“O no,” said Mary, “wait here a few minutes.”

“Jonas, what are you waiting for?” said Rollo.

“I wished him to stop here a few minutes,” said Rollo’s father, “to let us look at the prospect.”

Rollo said no more, though he could not understand what his father was waiting for. They all sat still, looking at the view, and saying very little; Rollo was impatient and restless. In a short time, however, Jonas [Pg 162]drove on, and Rollo followed him. They went down into a sort of valley, where they lost sight of the water again, and then, after winding around for some time among the rocks and sand hills, they came at length to a high ridge of pebble stones, which ran along the shore; and surmounting this, they found the white beach spread out close before them, while a long line of wave was just curling over and dashing into foam upon the sand. They fastened the horses to some heavy pieces of timber, the remains of a wreck, which lay up high upon the sand.

“O, what a wide beach!” said Rollo. The truth is, that when he saw the beach from the hill, it looked like a mere line of sand, extending along the shore. But now he found it was a broad and smooth area, gently descending towards the water. It was firm, so that the children could run about upon it. Rollo went down pretty near to the water’s edge, and amused himself by watching the surf. Each wave would recede after it broke, and run off, leaving a broad piece of the beach dry; until, in a moment more, another wave would [Pg 163]come curling on, and break over the retreating water of the former; and then it would rush up the sand, in a broad and rapid stream, all along the shore, almost to Rollo’s feet.

Rollo asked his father to let him take off his shoes and stockings; and he did so. Rollo put each stocking into its shoe, to keep them dry, and then laid them down upon the sand beyond the reach of the waves. Then he would watch the waves, and whenever the water retreated, he would follow it down until he met the new wave coming curling up at him, when he would turn and run, the wave after him, to the shore; and when the wave broke, it would throw the water all around his feet.

Lucy and Mary walked along the other shore at a greater distance, looking for shells. They found a great many. Rollo could hear their exclamations of delight at every new shell they found, and they were continually calling upon him to come and get some too; but he was too much occupied with the surf.

At length, Rollo’s attention was excited by hearing Lucy call out,

[Pg 164]

“O Mary, Mary! I have found a piece of sponge.”

Rollo turned around to look. He had just run up from the water, and was standing beyond the reach of the surf, though the water which each wave, as it broke, sent up upon the shore, played around his feet.

“How big is it?” said Rollo,

“About as big as my finger.”

“Ho!” said Rollo; “that is not very big.”

Just at this instant, a wave larger than usual burst just behind Rollo, and it sent up a torrent of water all around him, which rose almost up to his knees. Rollo was frightened. He started to run; but so much water confused and embarrassed him. He staggered.

“Stand still, Rollo,” said his father.

Rollo then stood still; but by this time the water was receding, and his eyes fell upon his two shoes, which had been taken up by the wave, and were now running rapidly down from the shore, each loaded with its stocking. Rollo ran to seize them, and had just time to get them before the [Pg 165]next wave advanced and was ready to dash over them. He ran up upon the sand, and put his shoes several yards from the highest place that the water had come to.

“There,” said he, looking back at the waves, “now get my shoes if you can!” The waves said nothing, but went on breaking and then retreating, just as before.

Rollo then went to where Mary and Lucy were, and began to collect shells. They found quite a number of different kinds, all along the shore. Some were large and coarse,—broken and worn by the water. Some were so thin and delicate that he had to wrap them up carefully in a paper, and put them into his waistcoat pocket, in order to get them home safely. The children found several other curiosities besides shells. They collected pebbles, and specimens of sand, of different colors. Mary found an old iron spike, perhaps part of a vessel, with the sand and gravel concreted around it. It looked like stone growing upon iron. Rollo also found a small piece of wood, battered and worn by the long-continued action of the waves, and he thought it was very curious indeed. In [Pg 166]fine, the children filled their baskets with wonders, and, after about three quarters of an hour, they set out on their return home. When Rollo went to get his shoes, he found the water almost up to them. If he had staid away a little longer, they would have been washed away again. The truth was, the tide was rising.

[Pg 167]


As the party slowly rode away from the beach, Rollo’s mother asked if it was too late to go to the cliffs. There was a splendid prospect from the cliffs. They were rocky precipices overhanging the sea, at the extremity of a point of land, about a mile from the beach where they had been. The two girls wanted to go very much; but Rollo did not care so much about it. He was in haste to get home and arrange his curiosities.

His father, however, after looking at his watch, said that he thought there would be time to go. So he turned his horse’s head in the right direction, and they went to the cliffs.

The precipices were very high, and the swell of the sea dashed and roared against them at their foot; and yet the water looked very smooth at a little distance from [Pg 168]the land. Rollo wondered why there should be waves along the beach and against the rocks, when there were none out in the open sea.

“I should think, father,” said he, “that it would be calmer near the shore, and more windy out upon the water.”

“It is,” said his father.

“Then, why are not the waves bigger?”

“They are full as big.”

“Why, father,” said Rollo, “there are no waves at all out from the land.”

“You can’t see them very well,” said his father, “because we look down upon them. When we are upon a mountain, the small hills below almost disappear. Besides, the waves out in the open sea, in such a still time as this, are in the form of broad swells; but these swells are broken when they roll against the shore, and so this makes the surf.”

“I mean to look over and see,” said Rollo, and he walked cautiously along towards the precipice.

“O Rollo,” exclaimed Mary, “don’t go so near!”

[Pg 169]

“Why, there is no danger,” said Rollo.

“Rollo! Rollo!” exclaimed Mary again, as Rollo went nearer and nearer.

His father had turned away, just as he had finished what he said above, and so had not observed what Rollo was doing. In fact, he did not go near enough to the brink to be in any danger, though Mary was afraid to have him so near.

His mother, hearing Mary’s call, turned to see what was the matter, and she, too, felt afraid at seeing Rollo so near. She called him to come away; but Rollo told her that he was not near enough to fall.

“But I had rather that you would come away,” said his mother; and she looked very anxious and uneasy, and began to hurry along towards him.

“You see that large island off to the right,” said Rollo’s father, directing her attention in the right quarter.

“Yes, I see it—Rollo!”

“Well, that is George’s Island. There is a rock lying just about south of it.”

“Yes,” said Rollo’s mother, “I believe I see it,” beckoning at the same time to Rollo.

Her mind was evidently occupied with [Pg 170]watching Rollo. She looked first at the rock and island, where Mr. Holiday was pointing, and then back at Rollo, until at length Mr. Holiday, perceiving that her mind was disturbed by Rollo’s motions, said to him,

“Rollo, keep outside of us.”

“Outside, father!” said Rollo; “how do you mean?”

“Why, farther back from the brink than we are.”

So Rollo walked reluctantly back until he was at about the same distance from the brink with his father, and then began to take up some little stones, and throw them over. His father and mother went on talking, though Rollo’s stones disturbed them a little. At length, Rollo came and stood near his father to hear what he was saying about a large ship which was just coming into view behind the island.

As he stood there, he kept pressing forward to get as near to the brink as he could, without actually going before his father and mother. She instinctively put out her hand to hold him back, and was evidently so uneasy, that Mr. Holiday looked to see [Pg 171]what was the matter. Rollo had pressed forward so as to be a very little in advance of his father, though it was only very little indeed.

“Rollo,” said his father, “go and sit in the carryall until we come.”

Rollo looked up surprised, and was just going to ask what for. But he perceived at once that he was in advance of his parents, and that he had consequently disobeyed his father’s orders. He went away rather sullenly.

“I was not more than an inch in advance of where they were,” said he to himself; “and, besides, it was far enough from the brink. I don’t see why I need be sent away.”

However, he knew that he must obey, and he went and took his seat in the carryall. It was turned away from the sea, and he had nothing before him but the inland prospect.

“What dismal-looking rocks and hills!” said he to himself. They had appeared wild and picturesque when he first came in view of them, but now they had a very gloomy expression. He who is dissatisfied [Pg 172]with himself, is generally dissatisfied with all around him.

Rollo waited until he was tired, and then he had to wait some time longer. At length his father and mother appeared, and Rollo jumped out, and asked his father if he might ride in the wagon, and drive the girls again.

“No,” replied his father, “I have made another arrangement. Jonas,” he continued, “you may get into the wagon, and drive on alone.”

Rollo’s father then helped Mrs. Holiday and Mary into the back seat, while he put Lucy and Rollo on before, and he took a seat between them. When they had rode on a little way, he said,

“I was very sorry to have to send you away, Rollo.”

“Why, father, I was not more than an inch before you.”

“That’s true,” said his father.

“And I don’t think I was in any danger.”

“I don’t think you were myself,” said his father.

“Then, why did you send me back?”

[Pg 173]

“For two reasons. First, you disobeyed me.”

“But I don’t think I came before you more than an inch.”

“Nor I,” said his father; “very likely it was not more than half an inch.”

“And was that enough to do any harm?”

“It was enough to constitute disobedience. I told you to keep back, outside of us, and by coming up even as near as we were, you showed a disposition not to obey.”

“But I forgot,” said Rollo. “I did not observe that I was so near.”

“But when I give you a direction like that, it is your duty to observe.”

Rollo was silent. After a short pause, he added,

“Well, father, you said that there were two reasons why you sent me away.”

“Yes, the other was that you were spoiling all the pleasure of the party. You kept Mary and mother continually uneasy and anxious.”

“But I don’t think I went into any danger.”

“Perhaps not; that is not what I charge [Pg 174]you with. I did not send you away for going into danger, but for making other persons anxious and uneasy.”

“But, father, if there was not any danger, why need they be uneasy?”

“Do you suppose that persons are never made uneasy and anxious, except by actual danger?”

“Why—I don’t know, sir.”

“If you observe persons carefully, you will see that they are.”

“Then they must be unreasonable,” said Rollo.

“Not altogether,” said his father. “If you were lying down upon the ground, and I were to come up to you with an axe, and make believe cut your head off, it would make you very uneasy, though there would be really no danger.”

“But this is very different,” said Rollo. “That would have been as if I had made believe push mother off.”

“That would have been more like it, I confess. But I only meant to show you that it does not always require real danger, to make any one uneasy and anxious. When we see persons in situations which strongly [Pg 175]suggest the idea of danger to our minds, it makes us uneasy, though we may know that there is no actual danger in the case. Thus it is painful to most persons to see a carpenter upon a very lofty spire, or to go very near a precipice, or see any body else go, even when there is a strong railing; and so in all other cases. Therefore, our rule ought always to be, when we are in company with others, not only not to go into actual danger, but not to go so near as strongly to bring up the idea to their minds, and thus distress them.”

“I never thought of that before,” said Rollo.

“No, I presume not. And I had not time to explain it to you when we were upon the cliffs, and so I simply directed you to keep back of us. That would have prevented all trouble, if you had only obeyed.”

Rollo was silent and thoughtful. He was sorry that he had disobeyed.

“However,” continued his father, “I am very glad I have had this opportunity to explain this subject to you. Now, I want [Pg 176]you to remember, after this, that the best way, in all such cases, is to consider, not what the actual danger is, but what the feelings and fears of those who are with you may be. It is not your own safety, but the comfort of others, that you have to look out for.”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo, “I will.”

“Once there were two young men,” continued his father, “taking a ride in chaises. Each had his sister with him. They came to an old bridge that was somewhat decayed, and it led across a very deep ravine which looked very frightful, though in reality the bridge was perfectly strong and safe. Now, when the first chaise came near, the girl who was in it cried out,

“‘O brother, what a bridge! O, I must get out and walk over it. I don’t dare to ride over such a bridge.’

“‘Poh, nonsense!’ said Henry. Her brother’s name was Henry. ‘The bridge is strong enough for a four-ox team. I have been over it a dozen times.’ So he drove on. His sister looked very much terrified when they came upon the bridge, but they went over safely.

[Pg 177]

“‘There,’ said Henry, when they had got over, ‘I told you it was safe.’

“When the other chaise came down, the young lady said the same thing to her brother, whose name was Charles. She said she was afraid to ride over.

“‘Very well,’ said Charles. ‘The bridge is safe enough, but I think, perhaps, it may be pleasanter for you to walk over. It will rest you to walk a little, and besides, you can stop to look at the pleasant prospect, up and down the river, from the middle of the bridge.’

“So his sister got out, and he drove the chaise over carefully, while she walked behind. Now, which do you think took the best course, Charles or Henry?”

“I—don’t know,” said Rollo.

“The way to determine,” said his father, “is to apply the Savior’s rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’”

“Well, I think,” said Rollo, “that I should rather get out and walk.”

“I am sure I should,” said Lucy.

The whole party, after this, got safely [Pg 178]home, though it was too late, that night, to arrange their curiosities. They, however, looked them all over the next day, and they made a very large and valuable addition to their cabinet. The specimens of sand of different colors they arranged in little, square, pasteboard boxes, which Mary made, covering them neatly with blue paper upon the outside, and with white paper within.

[Pg 179]


The summer and autumn passed away, and the winter came on. Rollo was having a new great-coat made. He had grown too big for the old one, and so his mother had laid it aside, waiting for Nathan to grow up to it.

When Rollo’s coat was done, he went out to show it to Jonas. It was thick and warm, with large cuffs, and there was a good warm collar to come up about his ears.

“And see,” said Rollo, throwing the coat back, and slipping one of his arms out, “see how easy it comes off and on!”

“Yes,” said Jonas, “and that is a great convenience in a great-coat. It is a very fine great-coat, indeed. I think, with that on, you will be able to make your stand against all three of the Northmen.”

“All three of the Northmen!” repeated Rollo. “Who are the Northmen?”

“Don’t you know who the three famous [Pg 180]Northmen are,” said Jonas, “who do so much mischief?”

“No,” said Rollo, “I never heard of them before.”

“Well,” said Jonas, “I will tell you some time, but now I must go away with the cart.”

Jonas had been harnessing the horse into the cart, in the yard, while Rollo had been talking with him, and now was about ready to go away. Rollo determined to ask his mother to let him go with him.

“Where are you going, Jonas?” said he.

“Down into the woods,” said Jonas.

“Wait a minute for me.”

So away Rollo ran to ask his mother. She said, yes; and he accordingly came out and took his seat, by the side of Jonas, upon a board which was placed across the cart, from one side to the other.

Jonas was going down into the woods to bring up a load of wood which he had obtained from the trimmings of the trees. It was a cold, frosty morning, and the winter was near; and Jonas wished to get the wood in before the snow should come and cover it up. Rollo was so much interested in driving [Pg 181]the cart down, and then in loading it with wood, that he forgot to ask Jonas about the three famous Northmen.

About a month after this, there were a few very cold mornings. The ice froze very hard in a tub of water before the pump, and Jonas had to cut a hole in it with the axe, for the horse to drink.

Rollo saw him through the kitchen window, and he opened the door and ran out a moment to see him. Jonas was cutting away very carefully all around the sides of the tub, so as to get the whole mass of ice out together. Rollo stood looking on, shivering. He had no hat on, and only slippers upon his feet. He stood leaning a little forward, his arms hanging off from his sides as if they were driven off by electric repulsion.

“A’n’t you cold?” said Rollo to Jonas.

“No,” said Jonas, “not at all.”

“I am; and I can’t stay out here any longer, I am so cold.”

“You are not prepared for it; that is the difficulty. Go and put on your boots, and your cap, and your mittens, and button up your jacket, and come out here and go to work with me, and you won’t be cold.”

[Pg 182]

Rollo ran in and got his boots; and after warming them by the kitchen fire, he put them on. He also buttoned his jacket up to his chin, and drew on his mittens, and put on his cap. He then went out again to find Jonas.

He found him in the barn, pitching down hay.

“Now,” said Rollo, as he came up the stairs, “what shall I do?”

“Ah, you have come out to work, have you?” said Jonas. “Well, take this pitchfork, and mount up upon the loft there, and pitch me down some hay.”

Rollo found it very hard to get up upon the loft. There were only some pegs, driven into a post, to climb up by. However, with Jonas’s help, he got up, and then clambered over upon the hay; and Jonas threw the pitchfork up after him.

“Now work moderately,” said Jonas, “and I’ll insure that the Northmen can’t touch you.”

“O, there!” said Rollo, “you have never told me about the Northmen.”

“Well,” said Jonas, “I will tell you now, when you come down.”

[Pg 183]

After pitching the hay down a little while, Rollo descended, though it was not necessary for Jonas to help him, for he jumped down upon the heap of hay which he had made. They then went together, attending to Jonas’s work about the barn, while Rollo stopped occasionally to look out the open door or window, where the sun was shining in very pleasantly. Rollo began to think it was a warm, pleasant morning.

“There is one of the Northmen,” said Jonas, “that you are somewhat acquainted with already.”

“What is his name?” said Rollo.

“Captain Jack Frost,” replied Jonas.

“O, yes,” said Rollo, with a smile, “I have heard of that gentleman before.”

“Yes,” said Jonas, “he is pretty well known. He is a great mischief-maker. He lives in an ice castle at the North, and in the fall of the year he comes creeping along in the still nights, and early in the mornings. He builds bridges over the ponds, and brooks, and plants little gardens of hoar frost; and where he sees a stone in the ground, he stamps his foot upon it, and crowds it down a little way. Then it is his great delight to [Pg 184]go about pinching boys’ toes and noses. He is a sly rogue.”

“And who are the other Northmen?” said Rollo.

“The next is General Boreas,” said Jonas.

“General Boreas!” repeated Rollo; “and who is he?”

“O! he is a terrible fellow,” replied Jonas. “He comes roaring and thundering along the tops of the forests at midnight, in snowstorms and hail. He buries up the whole country, he breaks down the trees, and sometimes unroofs the houses. Then, if he finds any poor traveller out, he whistles and roars about his ears, and tries to frighten him; and he throws snow into his face, and heaps it up all about him in order to bury him up if he can.

“Then, besides,” continued Jonas, “the old stormer has another way of making mischief. After he has got the valleys and streams covered and filled with ice and snow, he brings on a tempest of wind and rain, and fills the land with torrents, which raise the streams, and tear up the ice, and carry it down in vast, broken, and jamming blocks, which break down the bridges, and carry [Pg 185]away dams, and spread all over the meadows, frightening a good many families out of their beds at midnight.”

“Is that the way that General Boreas acts?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” replied Jonas, “that’s the way.”

“And who is the third Northman?” said Rollo.

“His name is Old Zero,” replied Jonas. “He is more than threescore years and ten, a great deal; his head is hoary, and his beard is long and gray. He creeps softly along after General Boreas has worked himself out of breath, and gone away. He curtains over all the windows with frost work in the night. He likes the night, when it is calm and still, and the stars are shining bright and cold all over the sky. And he kills more people than Boreas does.”

“Kills them?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” replied Jonas. “He makes no blustering, but he stings bitterly, and the poor traveller has his ears, and hands, and feet frozen before he knows what a cruel enemy is around him. Captain Jack Frost you may laugh at,—but as to Old Zero, you had better beware of him.”

[Pg 186]

Rollo laughed a good deal at Jonas’s account of the three Northmen, and Jonas told him that they sometimes made some splendid curiosities, which would be beautiful for a shelf in his museum, if they would only keep.

“What are the curiosities?” said Rollo.

“O, all kinds of stars, and spangles, and snow-flakes, of a great many beautiful forms,—and icicles, and frost work. But they will not keep very long, unless you make a cabinet expressly for them.”

I can’t make a cabinet,” said Rollo.

“O, yes, you can,—a frost-cabinet,” said Jonas.

“How?” asked Rollo.

“Why, you must go down near the brook, in the middle of the winter, and make a little room of snow. Then you must get a large piece of thin, clear ice from a still place in the brook, and fix it in for a window. You must also get some sheets of white ice, or snow crust, for shelves, and put your frost curiosities upon them. If you make it in a cold place, they will keep for some time.”

“I will make a frost museum,” said Rollo. [Pg 187]“I mean to go down to-day and look out a place.”

“Yes,” said Jonas, “and you can keep it a secret until it is done, and then take your father and mother down to see it, and surprise them.”

“Yes,” said Rollo, clapping his hands, “so I will.”



Rollo at Work, Rollo at School,
Rollo at Play, Rollo’s Vacation,
Rollo Learning to Read, Rollo Learning to Talk.


The publishers request the attention of the friends of the young to this popular series of books, which have been pronounced, by competent and judicious persons, the best works for children published, not even excepting the best English writers. Mr. Abbott’s style is peculiarly interesting to children, being natural and simple, and portraying the trials and temptations of childhood, just as they occur in every day life, and giving them clear and distinct ideas of the right and wrong in their actions.

From the Christian Examiner.

As a whole, they make the most important series of juvenile books that have appeared, to our knowledge, since Miss Edgeworth. They are very unlike those, and yet they resemble them in some prominent features; especially in making it their chief object to be pleasing, and thus gently and imperceptibly opening a way for instruction to the mind and morals, without obtruding or forcing it in the least. For this the books before us are remarkable. They are entertaining throughout. The interest never flags, and yet there is no seeming attempt to sustain it. There is little continuous story, and no plot or romance, or grown-up folly, such as fills half of the young novels now made for children. Here is a little boy, who is first induced to learn to talk; and in order to do this, he is made to see objects for himself, and think about them, and ask questions. Next he is taught to read; to effect this, he is candidly told that learning to read is not play, but work, and at first dry and hard work. It soon becomes easy, however, because it is undertaken in earnest, and then it becomes pleasant; and parents may take a hint from this, when they are afraid to allow letters and learning to wear any form but that of playthings and pastime to their children. In the third volume, Rollo is at work; in the fourth, at play; and the morals of both play and work are as easily and pleasantly insinuated as we have often seen. There is constant occupation in both, and constant natural opportunities of learning the duty and the advantage of feeling and doing right, and thus seeing the evil of feeling and doing wrong; for Mr. Abbott fully carries out, in these books, the great principle which we rejoice to see advanced in the Preface to one of them, namely, “that it is generally better, in dealing with children, to allure them to what is right by agreeable pictures of it, than to attempt to drive them to it by repulsive delineations of what is wrong.” The fifth volume presents Rollo at School, and the last his vacation. They keep up the interest, and advance in maturity of thought and illustration, as the boy advances.

From the Mother’s Magazine, edited by Mrs. Whittlesey.

Mr. Abbott possesses, in a very high degree, the faculty of awakening the interest of children. His writings have that absolute requisite for securing permanent popularity—truth to nature. His boys and girls talk and act like boys and girls, not like miniature men and women.

There are a thousand minute touches in his descriptions, which are evidently drawn from the life, and which betoken a habit of close and accurate observation of the ways and manners of children. In reading his books, you hardly believe that it is not your own little Charles or Henry, whose doings and sayings he is reporting. It is this truth and freshness in minute touches that constitutes picturesqueness in writing; a quality which renders Miss Edgeworth and Mr. Abbott attractive not only to little readers, but to some older persons that we know. We have spoken of these books as interesting; we can also recommend them as adapted to be exceedingly useful—and for the very same reason. Instead of general exhortations to certain things, and dehortations from others, children here find vivid pictures of the very faults they are to strive against, and are shown how to strive—of the good habits they are to acquire, and how they may be acquired. Parents will find them a valuable aid in the instruction and amendment of their children.

In Press,





WEEKS, JORDAN, & CO. are engaged in publishing books for young persons, in the preparing of which particular attention will be given to furnishing reading which shall combine rational and innocent recreation with good moral influence. Those published are,

CHARLES HARTLAND, or The Village Missionary.
By the author of “The House I live in.” A work full of incident,
illustrating Christian principles in the young by example.

Thomas Bingley, author of “Stories about Dogs,” &c.
With five engravings.

LITTLE DOVE, by Krummacher, and LITTLE DOWNY,
or The Field Mouse.

THE WARNING. By Mrs. Follen. New Edition.

HAPPY DAYS. By the author of “Happy Valley.”


---- IN VERSE.



VICTIMS OF GAMING, or Passages from the Diary of
an American Physician.



ALNOMUC, or The Golden Rule; A Tale of the Sea.
18 engravings.

TEACHER’S PRESENT. With a copperplate.

OLD IRONSIDE. By the author of “Alnomuc.” 24 engravings.





[A] See Frontispiece.


1. Minor changes have been made to correct usage of punctuation; otherwise, every effort has been made to ensure that this etext is faithful to the original book.

2. The original Table of Contents incorrectly listed the first chapter as beginning on page 11; this has been corrected to reflect the first page as page 9.

3. The footnote in the first chapter refers the reader to the Frontispiece; in fact, the Frontispiece refers to an event in seventh chapter. The Transcriber believes that the footnote should read "See page 23."

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