The Project Gutenberg EBook of Stuyvesant, by Jacob Abbott

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Title: Stuyvesant
       A Franconia Story

Author: Jacob Abbott

Release Date: May 12, 2009 [EBook #28776]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by D Alexander and the Online Distributed
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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by

Harper & Brothers,

In the Clerk’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

Copyright, 1881, by Benjamin Vaughan Abbott, Austin
Abbott, Lyman Abbott, and Edward Abbott.



The development of the moral sentiments in the human heart, in early life,—and every thing in fact which relates to the formation of character,—is determined in a far greater degree by sympathy, and by the influence of example, than by formal precepts and didactic instruction. If a boy hears his father speaking kindly to a robin in the spring,—welcoming its coming and offering it food,—there arises at once in his own mind, a feeling of kindness toward the bird, and toward all the animal creation, which is produced by a sort of sympathetic action, a power somewhat similar to what in physical philosophy is called induction. On the other hand, if the father, instead of feeding the bird, goes eagerly for a gun, in order that he may shoot it, the boy will sympathize in that desire, and growing up under such an influence, there will be gradually formed within him, through the mysterious tendency of the youthful heart to vibrate in unison with hearts that are near, a disposition to kill and destroy all helpless beings that come within his power. There is no need of any formal instruction in either case. Of a thousand children brought up under the former of the above-described influences, nearly every one, when he sees a bird, will wish to go and get crumbs to feed it, while in the latter case, nearly every one will just as certainly look for a stone. Thus the growing up in the right atmosphere, rather than the receiving of the right instruction, is the condition which it is most important to secure, in plans for forming the characters of children.

It is in accordance with this philosophy that these stories, though written mainly with a view to their moral influence on the hearts and dispositions of the readers, contain very little formal exhortation and instruction. They present quiet and peaceful pictures of happy domestic life, portraying generally such conduct, and expressing such sentiments and feelings, as it is desirable to exhibit and express in the presence of children.

The books, however, will be found, perhaps, after all, to be useful mainly in entertaining and amusing the youthful readers who may peruse them, as the writing of them has been the amusement and recreation of the author in the intervals of more serious pursuits.


I. The Cavern, 11
II. Boyishness, 30
III. The Plowing, 47
IV. Negotiations, 66
V. Plans for the Squirrel, 85
VI. Difficulty, 96
VII. The Work Shop, 111
VIII. A Discovery, 130
IX. The Accident, 148
X. Good Advice, 165
XI. The Journey Home, 181


The Boys at the MillFrontispiece.  
Going Out the Gate 18
The Cavern 27
The Trap 40
The Hornet’s Nest 57
Oxen Drinking 60
Beechnut’s Advice 89
The Appeal 105
Frink on the Beam 119
Dorothy’s Fire 140
The Doctor’s Visit 163
The Effigy 168
Frink in the Parlor 179
The Departure 190


Franconia, a place among the mountains at the North. The time is summer.


Mrs. Henry, a lady residing at Franconia.

Alphonzo, commonly called Phonny, about nine years old.

Malleville, Phonny’s cousin from New York, seven years old.

Wallace, Malleville’s brother, a college student, visiting Franconia at this season.

Stuyvesant, Wallace’s brother, about nine years old.

Antoine Bianchinette, commonly called Beechnut, a French boy, now about fourteen years old, living at Mrs. Henry’s.

[Pg 11]


Chapter I.

The Cavern.

One pleasant summer morning Alphonzo was amusing himself by swinging on a gate in front of his mother’s house. His cousin Malleville, who was then about eight years old, was sitting upon a stone outside of the gate, by the roadside, in a sort of corner that was formed between the wall and a great tree which was growing there. Malleville was employed in telling her kitten a story.

The kitten was sitting near Malleville, upon a higher stone. Malleville was leaning upon this stone, looking the kitten in the face. The kitten was looking down, but she seemed to be listening very attentively.

“Now, Kitty,” said Malleville, “if you will sit still and hark, I will tell you a story,—a story about a mouse. I read it in a book.[Pg 12] Once there was a mouse, and he was white, and he lived in a cage. No I forgot,—there were three mice. I’ll begin again.

“Once there was a boy, and he had three white mice, and he kept them in a cage.”

Here Malleville’s story was interrupted by Phonny, who suddenly called out:

“Here comes Beechnut, Malleville.”

“I don’t care,” said Malleville, “I’m telling a story to Kitty, and you must not interrupt me.”

Here the kitten jumped down from the stone and ran away.

“Now Phonny!” said Malleville, “see what you have done;—you have made my Kitty go away.”

“I didn’t make her go away,” said Phonny.

“Yes you did,” said Malleville, “you interrupted my story, and that made her go away.”

Phonny laughed aloud at this assertion, though Malleville continued to look very serious. Phonny then repeated that he did not make the kitten go away, and besides, he said, he thought that it was very childish to pretend to tell a story to a kitten.

Malleville said that she did not think it was [Pg 13]childish at all; for her kitten liked to hear stories. Phonny, at this, laughed again, and then Malleville, appearing to be still more displeased, said that she was not any more childish than Phonny himself was.

By this time Beechnut, as Phonny called him, had come up. He was driving a cart. The cart was loaded with wood. The wood consisted of small and dry sticks, which Beechnut had gathered together in the forest.

“Beechnut,” said Phonny, “are you going into the woods again for another load?”

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

“And may I go with you?” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

“And I?” said Malleville.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

Beechnut drove on into the yard, and at length stopped near a great woodpile. Beechnut began to throw off the wood. Phonny climbed up into the cart too, to help Beechnut unload. Malleville sat down upon a log lying near to see.

While they were at work thus, throwing off the wood, Phonny, instead of taking the smallest sticks that came in his way, tried always to get hold of the largest. He had three motives [Pg 14]for doing this, all mingled together. The first was a pleasure in exercising his own strength; the second, a desire to show Malleville that he was no child; and the third, to make a display of his strength to Beechnut.

After a while, when the load had been about half thrown off, Phonny stopped his work, straightened himself up with an air of great self-satisfaction and said,

“Malleville says I am childish; do you think I am, Beechnut?”

“No,” said Malleville, “I did not say so.” She began to be a little frightened at this appeal to Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “you certainly did.”

“No,” said Malleville.

“What did you say?” asked Phonny.

“I said I was not childish myself, any more than you.”

“Well, that is the same thing,” said Phonny.

Malleville was silent. She thought that it was a different thing, but she did not know very well how to explain the difference.

In the mean time Beechnut went on unloading the wood.

“Do you think I am childish at all, Beechnut,” said Phonny.

[Pg 15]

“Why I don’t know,” said Beechnut, doubtfully. “I don’t know how many childish things it is necessary for a boy to do, in order to be considered as childish in character; but I have known you to do two childish things within half an hour.”

Phonny seemed a little surprised and a little confused at this, and after a moment’s pause he said:

“I know what one of them is, I guess.”

“What?” asked Beechnut.

“Swinging on the gate.”

“No,” said Beechnut, “I did not mean that. You have done things a great deal more childish than that.”

“What?” said Phonny.

“The first was,” said Beechnut, “making a dispute with Malleville, by appealing to me to decide whether you were childish.”

“Why I ought to know if I am childish,” said Phonny, “so that if I am, I may correct the fault.”

“I don’t think that that was your motive,” said Beechnut, “in asking. If you had wished to know my opinion in order to correct yourself of the fault, you would have asked me some time privately. I think that your motive [Pg 16]was a wish to get a triumph over Malleville.”

“Oh, Beechnut!” said Phonny.

Although Phonny said Oh Beechnut, he still had a secret conviction that what Beechnut had said was true. He was silent a moment, and then he asked what was the other childishness which Beechnut had seen within half an hour.

“In unloading this wood,” said Beechnut, “you tried to get hold of the biggest sticks, even when they were partly buried under the little ones, and thus worked to great disadvantage. Men take the smaller ones off first, and so clear the way to get at the larger ones. But boys make a great ado in getting hold of the largest ones they can see, by way of showing the by-standers how strong they are.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will throw off the little ones after this.”

So Phonny went to work again, and in throwing off the remainder of the load, he acted in a much more sensible and advantageous manner than he had done before. The cart was soon empty. Beechnut then went into the house and brought out a small chair; this he placed in the middle of the cart, for [Pg 17]Malleville. He also placed a board across the cart in front, in such a manner that the ends of the board rested upon the sides of the cart. The board thus formed a seat for Beechnut and Phonny. Beechnut then gave the reins to Phonny, who had taken his seat upon the board, while he, himself, went to help Malleville in.

He led Malleville up to the cart behind, and putting his hands under her arms, he said “Jump!” Malleville jumped—Beechnut at the same time lifting to help her. She did not however quite get up, and so Beechnut let her down to the ground again.

“Once more,” said Beechnut.

So Malleville tried again. She went a little higher this time than before, but not quite high enough.

“That makes twice,” said Beechnut. “The rule is,

“Try it once, try it twice,
And then once more, and that makes thrice.”

The third time Malleville seemed to be endowed with some new and supernatural strength in her jumping: for she bounded so high that her feet rose almost to a level with the top of the seat, and then, as she came [Pg 18]down gently upon the floor of the cart, Beechnut released his hold upon her, and she walked to her chair and sat down. Beechnut then mounted to his place by the side of Phonny, and the whole party rode away.


After riding along for some distance, Phonny asked Beechnut if he really thought that he was childish.

“Why no,” said Beechnut, “not particularly. You are a little boyish sometimes, and I [Pg 19]suppose that that is to be expected, since you are really a boy. But you are growing older every year, and I see some marks of manliness in you, now and then. How old are you now?”

“I am nine years and five months,” said Phonny. “That is, I am about half-past nine.”

“That is pretty old,” said Beechnut, “but then I suppose I must expect you to be a boy some time longer.”

“Beechnut,” said Phonny, “did you know that my cousin Wallace was coming here pretty soon?”

“Is he?” said Beechnut. “From college?”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “it is his vacation. He is coming here to spend his vacation.”

“I am glad of that,” said Beechnut. “I like to have him here.”

“And my cousin Stuyvesant is coming too,” said Phonny.

“Stuyvesant is my brother,” said Malleville.

“How old is he?” asked Beechnut.

“He is only nine,” said Phonny.

“Then he is not so old as you are,” said Beechnut.

[Pg 20]

“Not quite,” said Phonny.

“And I suppose of course, he will be more of a boy than you,” said Beechnut.

“I don’t know,” said Phonny.

“We shall see,” said Beechnut.

Just then, Phonny heard the sound of wheels behind him. He turned round and saw a wagon coming along the road.

“Here comes a wagon,” said he. “I am going to whip up, so that they shall not go by us.”

“No,” said Beechnut, “turn out to one side of the road, and walk the horse, and let them go by.”

“Why?” asked Phonny.

“I’ll tell you presently,” said Beechnut, “after the wagon has got before us.”

Phonny turned out of the road and let the wagon drive by, and then Beechnut told him that the reason why he was not willing to have him whip up and keep ahead was, that he wanted to use the strength of the horse that day, in hauling wood, and not to waste it in galloping along the road, racing with a wagon.

At length the party reached a place where there was a pair of bars by the roadside, and [Pg 21]a way leading in, to a sort of pasture. Phonny knew that this was where Beechnut was going, and so he turned in. The road was rough, and Malleville had to hold on very carefully to the side of the cart as they went along. Presently the road went into a wood, and after going on some way in this wood, Beechnut directed Phonny to stop, and they all got out.

“Now, Phonny,” said Beechnut, “you can have your choice either to work or play.”

“What do you think that I had better do?” said Phonny.

“Play, I rather think,” said Beechnut.

“I thought you would say work,” said Phonny.

“You had better play, in order to keep Malleville company,” said Beechnut.

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will.”

So while Beechnut went to work to get a new load of wood, Phonny and Malleville went away to play.

There was a precipice of rocks near the place where Beechnut was loading his cart, with a great many large rocks at the foot of it. The top of the precipice was crowned with trees, and there were also a great many bushes and trees growing among the rocks below. It [Pg 22]was a very wild and romantic place, and Phonny and Malleville liked to play there very much indeed.

After a time Phonny called out to Beechnut to inquire whether he had any matches in his pocket. He said that he and Malleville were going to build a fire.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “I have. Come here and I will give you some.”

So Phonny sent Malleville after the matches, while he collected dry wood for a fire. When Malleville returned, she gave Phonny the matches, and told him that Beechnut said that they must make the fire on the rocks somewhere, or in some other safe place, so that it should not spread into the woods.

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will look about and find a good place.”

Accordingly, he began to walk along at the foot of the precipice, examining every recess among the rocks, and all the nooks and corners which seemed to promise well, as places of encampment. Malleville could not quite keep up with him on account of the roughnesses and inequalities of the way.

At last Malleville, who had fallen a little behind, heard Phonny calling to her in tones [Pg 23]of great delight. She hastened on. In a moment she saw Phonny before her just coming out from among the bushes and calling to her,

“Malleville! Malleville! come here quick!—I have found a cavern.”

Malleville went on, and presently she came in view of what Phonny called a cavern. It was a place where two immense fragments of rock leaned over toward each other, so as to form a sort of roof, beneath which was an inclosure which Phonny called a cavern. He might perhaps have more properly called it a grotto. There was a great flat stone at the bottom of the cavern, which made an excellent floor, and there was an open place in the top behind, where Phonny thought that the smoke would go out if he should make a fire.

“There, Malleville,” said Phonny, when she came where she could see the cavern, “that is what I call a discovery. We will play that we are savages, and that we live in a cavern.”

Phonny rolled two large stones into the cavern, and placed them in the back part of it, where he intended to build his fire. These [Pg 24]stones were for andirons. Then he began to bring in logs, and sticks, and branches of trees, such as he found lying upon the ground dead and dry. These he piled up inside of the cavern in a sort of corner, where there was a deep recess or crevice, which was very convenient for holding the wood.

Malleville helped him do all this. When a sufficient supply of wood was gathered, Phonny laid some of it across his stone andirons, and then prepared to light the fire.

He rubbed one of his matches against a dry log, and the match immediately kindled. Phonny looked at the blue flame a moment, and then, as if some sudden thought had struck him, he blew it out again, and said,

“On the whole, I will go and ask Beechnut. We may as well be sure.”

So he ran down from the entrance of the cavern, and thence along by the way that they had come, through the thicket, until he came in sight of Beechnut.

“Beechnut,” said he, calling out very loud, “we have found a cavern;—may we build a fire in it?”

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

Then Phonny went back, and telling Malleville [Pg 25]that Beechnut had said yes, he proceeded to kindle his fire.

It happened that there were two large stones, tolerably square in form, each of them, and flat upon the upper side, which were lying in the cavern in such places as to be very convenient for seats. When the fire began to burn, Phonny sat down upon one of these seats, and gave Malleville the other. The fire blazed up very cheerily, and the smoke and sparks, winding their way up the side of the rock, which formed the back of the cavern, escaped out through the opening at the top in a very satisfactory manner.

“There,” said Phonny, “this is what I call comfortable. If we only now had something to eat, it is all I should want.”

“I’ll tell you what,” said he again, after a moment’s pause, “we will send home by Beechnut, when he goes with his next load, to get us something to eat.”

“Well,” said Malleville, “so we will.”

Beechnut very readily undertook the commission of bringing Phonny and Malleville something to eat. Accordingly, when his cart was loaded he went away, leaving Phonny and Malleville in their cavern. While he was [Pg 26]gone the children employed themselves in bringing flat stones, and making a fireplace by building walls on each side of their fire.

In due time Beechnut returned, bringing with him a large round box, which he said that Mrs. Henry had sent to Phonny and Malleville. It was too heavy for Phonny to lift easily, and so Beechnut drove his cart along until it was nearly opposite the cavern. Then he took the box out of the cart and carried it into the cavern, and laid it down upon Malleville’s seat.

Phonny opened it, and he found that it contained a variety of stores. There were four potatoes and four apples, each rolled up in a separate paper. There were also two crackers. These crackers were in a tin mug, just big enough to hold them, one on the top of the other. The mug, Phonny said, was for them to drink from, and as there was a spring by the side of the cavern they had plenty of water.

“One cracker is for me,” said Phonny, “and the other for you, Malleville. I mean to split my cracker in two, and toast the halves.”

At the bottom of the box there was half a pie.

[Pg 27]


[Pg 28]

Beechnut stopped to see what the box contained, and then he went away to his work again. As he went away, he told the children that Mrs. Henry said that they need not come home to dinner that day, unless they chose to do so,—but might make their dinner, if they pleased, in the cavern, from what she had sent them in the box.

The children were very much pleased with this plan. They remained in the cavern a long time. They roasted their potatoes in the fire, and their apples in front of it. They toasted their crackers and warmed their pie, by placing them against a stone between the andirons; and they got water, whenever they were thirsty, in the dipper from the spring.

At length, about the middle of the afternoon, when their interest in the cavern was beginning to decline, their thoughts were suddenly turned away from it altogether, by the news which Beechnut announced to them on his return from the house, after his eighth load, that Wallace had arrived.

“And has my brother Stuyvesant come too?” asked Malleville.

“I suppose so,” said Beechnut, “there was a boy with him, about as large as Phonny, but I did not hear what his name was.”

[Pg 29]

“Oh, it is he! it is he!” said Malleville, clapping her hands.

Phonny and Malleville mounted upon the top of the load as soon as Beechnut got it ready, and rode home. They ran into the house, while Beechnut went to unload his wood. Just as Beechnut was ready to go out of the yard again with his empty cart, Phonny came out.

“Cousin Wallace has really come,” said Phonny.

“Ah!” said Beechnut, “and what does he have to say?”

“Why, he says,” replied Phonny, “that he is going to make a man of me.”

“Is he?” said Beechnut. “Well, I hope he will take proper time for it. I have no great opinion of the plan of making men out of boys before their time.”

So saying, Beechnut drove away, and Phonny went in.

[Pg 30]

Chapter II.


Two or three days after Wallace arrived at Franconia, he and Phonny formed a plan to go and take a ride on horseback. They invited Stuyvesant to go with them, but Stuyvesant said that Beechnut was going to plow that day, and had promised to teach him to drive oxen. He said that he should like better to learn to drive oxen than to take a ride on horseback.

There was another reason which influenced Stuyvesant in making this decision, and that was, that he had observed that there were only two horses in the stable, and although he knew that Beechnut could easily obtain another from some of the neighbors, still he thought that this would make some trouble, and he was always very considerate about making trouble. This was rather remarkable in Stuyvesant, for he was a city boy, and city boys are apt to be very inconsiderate.

[Pg 31]

So Wallace and Phonny concluded to go by themselves. They mounted their horses and rode together out through the great gate.

“Now,” said Phonny, when they were fairly on the way, “we will have a good time. This is just what I like. I would rather have a good ride on horseback than any thing else. I wish that they would let me go alone sometimes.”

“Won’t they?” asked Wallace.

“No, not very often,” said Phonny.

“Do you know what the reason is?” asked Wallace.

“I suppose because they think that I am not old enough,” replied Phonny, “but I am.”

“I don’t think that that is the reason,” said Wallace. “Stuyvesant is not quite so old as you are, and yet I shall let him go and ride alone whenever he pleases.”

“What is the reason then?” asked Phonny.

“Because you are not man enough I suppose,” said Wallace. “You might be more manly, without being any older, and then people would put more trust in you, and you would have a great many more pleasures.”

Phonny was rather surprised to hear his cousin Wallace speak thus. He had thought [Pg 32]that he was manly—very manly; but it was evident that his cousin considered him boyish.

“I do not know,” continued Wallace, “but that you are as manly as other boys of your years.”

“Except Stuyvesant,” said Phonny.

“Yes, except Stuyvesant,” said Wallace, “I think that he is rather remarkable. I do not think that you are very boyish,—but you are growing up quite fast and you are getting to be pretty large. It is time for you to begin to evince some degree of the carefulness, and considerateness, and sense of responsibility, that belong to men.

“There are two kinds of boyishness,” continued Wallace. “One kind is very harmless.”

“What kind is that?” asked Phonny.

“Why if a boy continues,” said Wallace, “when he is quite old, to take pleasure in amusements which generally please only young children, that is boyishness of a harmless kind. For example, suppose we should see a boy, eighteen years old, playing marbles a great deal, we should say that he was boyish. So if you were to have a rattle or any other such little toy for a plaything, and [Pg 33]should spend a great deal of time in playing with it, we should say that it was very boyish or childish. Still that kind of boyishness does little harm, and we should not probably do any thing about it, but should leave you to outgrow it in your own time.”

“What kind of boyishness do you mean then, that is not harmless?” asked Phonny.

“I mean that kind of want of consideration, by which boys when young, are always getting themselves and others into difficulty and trouble, for the sake of some present and momentary pleasure. They see the pleasure and they grasp at it. They do not see the consequences, and so they neglect them. The result is, they get into difficulty and do mischief. Other people lose confidence in them, and so they have to be restricted and watched, and subjected to limits and bounds, when if they were a little more considerate and manly, they might enjoy a much greater liberty, and many more pleasures.”

“I don’t think that I do so,” said Phonny.

“No,” rejoined Wallace, “I don’t think that you do; that is I don’t think that you do so more than other boys of your age. But to show you exactly what I mean, I will give [Pg 34]you some cases. Perhaps they are true and perhaps they are imaginary. It makes no difference which they are.

“Once there was a boy,” continued Wallace, “who came down early one winter morning, and after warming himself a moment by the sitting-room fire, he went out in the kitchen. It happened to be ironing day, and the girl was engaged in ironing at a great table by the kitchen fire. We will call the girl’s name Dorothy.

“The boy seeing Dorothy at this work, wished to iron something, himself. So Dorothy gave him a flat-iron and also something to iron.”

“What was it that she gave him to iron?” said Phonny.

“A towel,” said Wallace.

“Well,” said Phonny, “go on.”

“The boy took the flat-iron and went to work,” continued Wallace. “Presently, however, he thought he would go out into the shed and see if the snow had blown in, during the night. He found that it had, and so he stopped to play with the drift a few minutes. At last he came back into the kitchen, and he found, when he came in, that Dorothy [Pg 35]had finished ironing his towel and had put it away. He began to complain of her for doing this, and then, in order to punish her, as he said, he took two of her flat-irons and ran off with them, and put them into the snow drift.”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “that was me. But then I only did it for fun.”

“Was the fun for yourself or for Dorothy?” asked Wallace.

“Why, for me,” said Phonny.

“And it made only trouble for Dorothy,” said Wallace.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “I suppose it did.”

“That is the kind of boyishness I mean,” said Wallace, “getting fun for yourself at other people’s expense; and so making them dislike you, and feel sorry when they see you coming, and glad when you go away.”

Phonny was silent. He saw the folly of such a course of proceeding, and had nothing to say.

“There is another case,” said Wallace. “Once I knew a boy, and his name was—I’ll call him Johnny.”

“What was his other name?” asked Phonny.

[Pg 36]

“No matter for that, now,” said Wallace. “He went out into the barn, and he wanted something to do, and so the boy who lived there, gave him a certain corner to take charge of, and keep in order.”

“What was that boy’s name?” asked Phonny.

“Why, I will call him Hazelnut,” said Wallace.

“Ah!” exclaimed Phonny, “now I know you are going to tell some story about me and Beechnut.” Here Phonny threw back his head and laughed aloud. He repeated the words Johnny and Hazelnut, and then laughed again, until he made the woods ring with his merriment.

Wallace smiled, and went on with his story.

“Hazelnut gave him the charge of a corner of the barn where some harnesses were kept, and Johnny’s duty was to keep them in order there. One day Hazelnut came home and found that Johnny had taken out the long reins from the harness, and had fastened them to the branches of two trees in the back yard, to make a swing, and then he had loaded the swing with so many children, as to break it down.”

[Pg 37]

“Yes,” said Phonny, “that was me too; but I did not think that the reins would break.”

“I know it,” said Wallace. “You did not think. That is the nature of the kind of boyishness that I am speaking of. The boy does not think. Men, generally, before they do any new or unusual thing, stop to consider what the results and consequences of it are going to be; but boys go on headlong, and find out what the consequences are when they come.”

While Wallace and Phonny had been conversing thus, they had been riding through a wood which extended along a mountain glen. Just at this time they came to a place where a cart path branched off from the main road, toward the right. Phonny proposed to go into this path to see where it would lead. Wallace had no objection to this plan, and so they turned their horses and went in.

The cart path led them by a winding way through the woods for a short distance, along a little dell, and then it descended into a ravine, at the bottom of which there was a foaming torrent tumbling over a very rocky bed. The path by this time became quite a [Pg 38]road, though it was a very wild and stony road. It kept near the bank of the brook, continually ascending, until at last it turned suddenly away from the brook, and went up diagonally upon the side of a hill. There were openings in the woods on the lower side of the road, through which Wallace got occasional glimpses of the distant valleys. Wallace was very much interested in these prospects, but Phonny’s attention was wholly occupied as he went along, in looking over all the logs, and rocks, and hollow trees, in search of squirrels.

At last, at a certain turn of the road, the riders came suddenly upon a pair of bars which appeared before them,—directly across the road.

“Well,” said Wallace, “here we are, what shall we do now?”

“It is nothing but a pair of bars,” said Phonny. “I can jump off and take them down.”

“No,” said Wallace, “I think we may as well turn about here, and go back. We have come far enough on this road.”

Just then Phonny pointed off under the trees of the forest, upon one side, and said in a very eager voice,

[Pg 39]

“See there!”

“What is it?” said Wallace.

“A trap,” said Phonny. “It is a squirrel trap! and it is sprung! There’s a squirrel in it, I’ve no doubt. Let me get off and see.”

“Well,” said Wallace, “give me the bridle of your horse.”

So Phonny threw the bridle over his horse’s head and gave it to Wallace. He then dismounted—sliding down the side of the horse safely to the ground.

As soon as he found himself safely down, he threw his riding-stick upon the grass, and ran off toward the trap.

The trap was placed upon a small stone by the side of a larger one. It was in a very snug and sheltered place, almost out of view. In fact it probably would not have been observed by any ordinary passer-by.

Phonny ran up to the trap, and took hold of it. He lifted it up very cautiously. He shook it as well as he could, and then listened. He thought that he could hear or feel some slight motion within. He became very much excited.

He put the trap down upon the high rock, [Pg 40]and began opening up the lid a little, very gently.


The trap was of the kind called by the boys a box-trap. It is in the form of a box, and the back part runs up high, to a point. The lid of the box has a string fastened to it, which string is carried up, over the high point, and thence down, and is fastened to an apparatus connected with the spindle.

The spindle is a slender rod of wood which [Pg 41]passes through the end of the box into the interior. About half of the spindle is within the box and half without. There is a small notch in the outer part of the spindle, and another in the end of the box, a short distance above the spindle. There is a small bar of wood, with both ends sharpened, and made of such a length as just to reach from the notch in the end of the box, to the notch in the spindle. This bar is the apparatus to which the end of the string is fastened, as before described.

When the trap is to be set, the bar is fitted to the notches in such a manner as to catch in them, and then the weight of the lid, being sustained by the string, the lid is held up so that the squirrel can go in. The front of the box is attached to the lid, and rises with it, so that when the lid is raised a little the squirrel can creep directly in. The bait, which is generally a part of an ear of corn, is fastened to the end of the spindle, which is within the trap. The squirrel sees the bait, and creeps in to get it. He begins to nibble upon the corn. The ear is tied so firmly to the spindle that he can not get it away. In gnawing upon it to get off the corn, he finally [Pg 42]disengages the end of the spindle from the bar, by working the lower end of the bar out of its notch; this lets the string up, and of course the lid comes down, and the squirrel is shut in, a captive.

When the lid first comes down, it makes so loud a noise as to terrify the poor captive very much. He runs this way and that, around the interior of the box, wondering what has happened, and why he can not get out as he came in. He has no more appetite for the corn, but is in great distress at his sudden and unaccountable captivity.

After trying in vain on all sides to escape, by forcing his way, and finding that the box is too strong for him in every part, he finally concludes to gnaw out. He accordingly selects the part of the box where there is the widest crack, and where consequently the brightest light shines through. He selects this place, partly because he supposes that the box is thinnest there, and partly because he likes to work in the light.[A]

There was a squirrel in the trap which [Pg 43]Phonny had found. It was a large and handsome gray squirrel. He had been taken that morning. About an hour after the trap sprung upon him, he had begun to gnaw out, and he had got about half through the boards in the corner when Phonny found him. When Phonny shook the trap the squirrel clung to the bottom of it by his claws, so that Phonny did not shake him about much.

When Phonny had put the trap upon the great stone, he thought that he would lift up the lid a little way, and peep in. This is a very dangerous operation, for a squirrel will squeeze out through a very small aperture, and many a boy has lost a squirrel by the very means that he was taking to decide whether he had got one.

Phonny was aware of this danger, and so he was very careful. He raised the lid but very little, and looked under with the utmost caution. He saw two little round and very brilliant eyes peeping out at him.

“Yes, Wallace,” said he. “Yes, yes, here he is. I see his eyes.”

Wallace sat very composedly upon his horse, holding Phonny’s bridle, while Phonny was uttering these exclamations, without appearing [Pg 44]to share the enthusiasm which Phonny felt, at all.

“He is here, Wallace,” said Phonny. “He is, truly.”

“I do not doubt it,” said Wallace, “but what are we to do about it?”

“Why—why—what would you do?” asked Phonny.

“I suppose that the best thing that we could do,” said Wallace, “is to ride along.”

“And leave the squirrel?” said Phonny, in a tone of surprise.

“Yes,” said Wallace. “I don’t see any thing else that we can do.”

“Why, he will gnaw out,” said Phonny. “He will gnaw out in half an hour. He has gnawed half through the board already. Espy ought to have tinned his trap.” So saying, Phonny stooped down and peeped into the trap again, through the crack under the lid.

“Who is Espy?” asked Wallace.

“Espy Ransom,” said Phonny. “He lives down by the mill. He is always setting traps for squirrels. I suppose that this road goes down to the mill, and that he came up here and set his trap. But it won’t do to leave the [Pg 45]squirrel here,” continued Phonny, looking at Wallace in a very earnest manner. “It never will do in the world.”

“What shall we do, then?” asked Wallace.

“Couldn’t we carry him down to Espy?” said Phonny.

“I don’t think that we have any right to carry him away. It is not our squirrel, and it may be that it is not Espy’s.”

Phonny seemed perplexed. After a moment’s pause he added, “Couldn’t we go down and tell Espy that there is a squirrel in his trap?”

“Yes,” said Wallace, “that we can do.”

Phonny stooped down and peeped into the trap again.

“The rogue,” said he. “The moment that I am gone, he will go to gnawing again, I suppose, and so get out and run away. What a little fool he is.”

“Do you think he is a fool for trying to gnaw out of that trap?” asked Wallace.

“Why no,”—said Phonny, “but I wish he wouldn’t do it. We will go down quick and tell Espy.”

So Phonny came back to the place where [Pg 46]Wallace had remained in the road, holding the horses. Phonny let down the bars, and Wallace went through with the horses. Phonny immediately put the bars up again, took the bridle of his own horse from Wallace’s hands, threw it up over the horse’s head, and then by the help of a large log which lay by the side of the road, he mounted. He did all this in a hurried manner, and ended with saying:

“Now, Cousin Wallace, let’s push on. I don’t think it’s more than half a mile to the mill.”

[Pg 47]

Chapter III.

The Plowing.

While Wallace and Phonny were taking their ride, as described in the last chapter, Stuyvesant and Beechnut were plowing.

Beechnut told Stuyvesant that he was ready to yoke up, as he called it, as soon as the horses had gone.

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “I will come. I have got to go up to my room a minute first.”

So Stuyvesant went up to his room, feeling in his pockets as he ascended the stairs, to find the keys of his trunk. When he reached his room, he kneeled down before his trunk and unlocked it.

He raised the lid and began to take out the things. He took them out very carefully, and laid them in order upon a table which was near the trunk. There were clothes of various kinds, some books, and several parcels, put up neatly in paper. Stuyvesant stopped at one of these parcels, which seemed to be of an [Pg 48]irregular shape, and began to feel of what it contained through the paper.

“What is this?” said he to himself. “I wonder what it can be. Oh, I remember now, it is my watch-compass.”

What Stuyvesant called his watch-compass, was a small pocket-compass made in the form of a watch. It was in a very pretty brass case, about as large as a lady’s watch, and it had a little handle at the side, to fasten a watch-ribbon to. Stuyvesant’s uncle had given him this compass a great many years before. Stuyvesant had kept it very carefully in his drawer at home, intending when he should go into the country to take it with him, supposing that it would be useful to him in the woods. His sister had given him a black ribbon to fasten to the handle. The ribbon was long enough to go round Stuyvesant’s neck, while the compass was in his waistcoat pocket.

Stuyvesant untied the string, which was around the paper that contained his compass, and took it off. He then wound up this string into a neat sort of coil, somewhat in the manner in which fishing-lines are put up when for sale in shops. He put this coil of twine, together with the paper, upon the table. He [Pg 49]looked at the compass a moment to see which was north in his chamber, and then putting the compass itself in his pocket, he passed the ribbon round his neck, and afterward went on taking the things out of his trunk.

When he came pretty near to the bottom of his trunk, he said to himself,

“Ah! here it is.”

At the same moment he took out a garment, which seemed to be a sort of frock. It was made of brown linen. He laid it aside upon a chair, and then began to put the things back into his trunk again. He laid them all in very carefully, each in its own place. When all were in, he shut down the lid of the trunk, locked it, and put the key in his pocket. Then he took the frock from the chair, and opening it, put it on.

It was made somewhat like a cartman’s frock. Stuyvesant had had it made by the seamstress at his mother’s house, in New York, before he came away. He was a very neat and tidy boy about his dress, and always felt uncomfortable if his clothes were soiled or torn. He concluded, therefore, that if he had a good, strong, serviceable frock to put on [Pg 50]over his other clothes, it would be very convenient for him at Franconia.

As soon as his frock was on, he hastened down stairs and went out to the barn in search of Beechnut. He found him yoking up the cattle.

“Why, Stuyvesant,” said Beechnut, when he saw him, “that is a capital frock that you have got. How much did it cost?”

“I don’t know,” said Stuyvesant; “Mary made it for me.”

“Who is Mary?” asked Beechnut.

“She is the seamstress,” said Stuyvesant. “She lives at our house in New York.”

“Do you have a seamstress there all the time?” said Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant.

“And her name is Mary,” said Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant.

“Well, I wish she would take it into her head to make me such a frock as that,” said Beechnut.

During this conversation, Beechnut had been busily employed in yoking up the oxen. Stuyvesant looked on, watching the operations carefully, in order to see how the work of yoking up was done. He wished to see [Pg 51]whether the process was such that he could learn to yoke up oxen himself; or whether any thing that was required was beyond his strength.

“Can boys yoke up cattle?” said Stuyvesant at length.

“It takes a pretty stout boy,” said Beechnut.

“Could a boy as stout as I am do it?” asked Stuyvesant.

“It would be rather hard work for you,” said Beechnut, “the yoke is pretty heavy.”

The yoke was indeed quite heavy, and it was necessary to lift it—one end at a time—over the necks of the oxen. Stuyvesant observed that the oxen were fastened to the yoke, by means of bows shaped like the letter U. These bows were passed up under the necks of the oxen. The ends of them came up through the yokes and were fastened there by little pegs, which Beechnut called keys. There was a ring in the middle of the yoke on the under side to fasten the chain to, by which the cattle were to draw.

When the oxen were yoked, Beechnut drove them to the corner of the yard, where there was a drag with a plow upon it. Beechnut put an axe also upon the drag.

[Pg 52]

“What do you want an axe for,” asked Stuyvesant, “in going to plow?”

“We always take an axe,” said Beechnut, “when we go away to work. We are pretty sure to want it for something or other.”

Beechnut then gave Stuyvesant a goad stick, and told him that he might drive. Stuyvesant had observed very attentively what Beechnut had done in driving, and the gestures which he had made, and the calls which he had used, in speaking to the oxen, and though he had never attempted to drive such a team before, he succeeded quite well. His success, however, was partly owing to the sagacity of the oxen, who knew very well where they were to go and what they were to do.

At length, after passing through one or two pairs of bars, they came to the field.

“Which is the easiest,” said Stuyvesant, “to drive the team or hold the plow?”

“That depends,” said Beechnut, “upon whether your capacity consists most in your strength or your skill.”

“Why so?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Because,” said Beechnut, “it requires more skill to drive, than to hold the plow, and [Pg 53]more strength to hold the plow, than to drive. I think, therefore, that you had better drive, for as between you and I, it is I that have the most strength, and you that have the most skill.”

Stuyvesant laughed.

“Why you ought to have the most skill,” said Beechnut—“coming from such a great city.”

Beechnut took the plow off from the drag, and laid the drag on one side. He then attached the cattle to the plow. They were standing, when they did this, in the middle of one side of the field.

“Now,” said Beechnut, “we are going first straight through the middle of the field. Do you see that elm-tree, the other side of the fence?”

“I see a large tree,” said Stuyvesant.

“It is an elm,” said Beechnut.

“There is a great bird upon the top of it,” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “it is a crow. Now you must keep the oxen headed directly for that tree. Go as straight as you can, and I shall try to keep the plow straight behind you. The thing is to make a straight furrow.”

[Pg 54]

When all was ready, Stuyvesant gave the word to his oxen to move on, and they began to draw. Stuyvesant went on, keeping his eye alternately upon the oxen and upon the tree. He had some curiosity to look round and see how Beechnut was getting along with the furrow, but he recollected that his business was to drive, and so he gave his whole attention to his driving, in order that he might go as straight as possible across the field.

The crow flew away when he had got half across the field. He had a strong desire to know where she was going to fly to, but he did not look round to follow her in her flight. He went steadily on attending to his driving.

When he was about two thirds across the field, he saw a stump at a short distance before him, with a small hornet’s nest upon one side of it. His course would lead him, he saw, very near this nest. His first impulse was to stop the oxen and tell Beechnut about the hornet’s nest. He did in fact hesitate a moment, but he was instantly reassured by hearing Beechnut call out to him from behind, saying,

[Pg 55]

“Never mind the hornet’s nest, Stuyvesant. Drive the oxen right on. I don’t think the hornets will sting them.”

Stuyvesant perceived by this, that Beechnut thought only of the oxen, when he saw a hornet’s nest, and he concluded to follow his example in this respect. So he drove steadily on.

When they got to the end of the field the oxen stopped. Beechnut and Stuyvesant then looked round to see the furrow. It was very respectably straight.

“You have done very well,” said he, “and you will find it easier now, for one of the oxen will walk in the furrow, and that will guide him.”

So Stuyvesant brought the team around and then went back, one of the oxen in returning walking in the furrow which had been made before. In this manner they went back to the place from which they had first started.

“There,” said Beechnut, “now we have got our work well laid out. But before we plow any more, we must destroy that hornet’s nest, or else when we come to plow by that stump, the hornets will sting the oxen. I’ll [Pg 56]go and get some straw. You may stay here and watch the oxen while I am gone.”

In a short time Beechnut came back, bringing his arms full of hay. He walked directly toward that part of the field where the hornet’s nest was, calling Stuyvesant to follow him. Stuyvesant did so. When he got near to the stump, he put the hay down upon the ground. He then advanced cautiously to the stump with a part of the hay in his arms This hay he put down at the foot of the stump, directly under the hornet’s nest, extending a portion of it outward so as to form a sort of train. He then went back and took up the remaining portion of the hay and held it in his hands.

“Now, Stuyvesant,” said Beechnut, “light a match and set fire to the train.”

Beechnut had previously given Stuyvesant a small paper containing a number of matches.

“How shall I light it?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Rub it upon a stone,” said Beechnut. “Find one that has been lying in the sun,” continued Beechnut, “and then the match will catch quicker, because the stone will be warm and dry.”

So Stuyvesant lighted a match by rubbing [Pg 57]it upon a smooth stone which was lying upon the ground near by. He then cautiously approached the end of the train and set it on fire.


Beechnut then came up immediately with the hay that he had in his hands, and placed it over and around the hornet’s nest, so as to envelop it entirely. He and Stuyvesant then retreated together to a safe distance, and there stood to watch the result.

A very dense white smoke immediately began [Pg 58]to come up through the hay. Presently the flame burst out, and in a few minutes the whole mass of the hay was in a bright blaze. Stuyvesant looked very earnestly to see if he could see any hornets, but he could not. At last, however, when the fire was burnt nearly down, he saw two. They were flying about the stump, apparently in great perplexity and distress. Stuyvesant pitied them, but as he did not see what he could do to help them, he told them that he thought they had better go and find some more hornets and build another nest somewhere. Then he and Beechnut went back to the plow.

Stuyvesant had quite a desire to try and hold the plow, after he had been driving the team about an hour, but he thought it was best not to ask. In fact he knew himself that it was best for him to learn one thing at a time. So he went on with his driving.

When it was about a quarter before twelve, Beechnut said that it was time to go in. So he unhooked the chain from the yoke, and leaving the plow, the drag, the axe and the chain in the field, he let the oxen go. They immediately ran off into a copse of trees and bushes, which bordered the road on one side.

[Pg 59]

“Why, Beechnut!” said Stuyvesant, “the oxen are running away.”

“No,” said Beechnut, “they are only going down to drink. There is a brook down there where they go to drink when they are at work in this field.”

Oxen appear to possess mental qualifications of a certain kind in a very high degree. They are especially remarkable for their sagacity in finding good places to drink in the fields and pastures where they feed or are employed at work, and for their good memory in recollecting where they are. An ox may be kept away from a particular field or pasture quite a long time, and yet know exactly where to go to find water to drink when he is admitted to it again.

Stuyvesant looked at the oxen as they went down the path, and then proposed to follow them.

“Let us go and see,” said he.

[Pg 60]


So he and Beechnut walked along after the oxen. They found a narrow, but very pretty road, or rather path, overhung with trees and bushes, which led down to the water. The road terminated at a broad and shallow place in the stream, where the sand was yellow and [Pg 61]the water very clear. The oxen went out into the water, and then put their heads down to drink. Presently they stopped, first one and then the other, and stood a moment considering whether they wanted any more. Finding that they did not, they turned round in the water, and then came slowly out to the land. They walked up the bank, and finally emerging from the wood at the place where they had entered it, they went toward home.

When they reached the house the cattle went straight through the yard, toward the barn. Beechnut and Stuyvesant followed them. Beechnut was going to get them some hay. Stuyvesant went in with Beechnut and stood below on the barn floor, while Beechnut went up the ladder to pitch the hay down.

During all the time that Beechnut and Stuyvesant had been coming up from the field, conversation had been going on between them, about various subjects connected with farming. Stuyvesant asked Beechnut if Phonny could drive oxen pretty well.

Pretty well,” said Beechnut.

“Does he like to drive?” asked Stuyvesant.

[Pg 62]

“He likes to begin to drive,” said Beechnut.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Why, when there is any driving to be done,” replied Beechnut, “he thinks that he shall like it, and he wants to take a goad stick and begin. But he very soon gets tired of it, and goes away. You seem to have more perseverance. In fact, you seem to have a great deal of perseverance, which I think is very strange, considering that you are a city boy.”

Stuyvesant laughed.

“City boys,” continued Beechnut, “I have always heard said, are good for nothing at all.”

“But you said, a little while ago,” replied Stuyvesant, “that city boys had a great deal of skill.”

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “they are bright enough, but they have generally no steadiness or perseverance. They go from one thing to another, following the whim of the moment. The reason of that is, that living in cities, they are brought up without having any thing to do.”

[Pg 63]

“They can go of errands,” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “they can go of errands, but there are not many errands to be done, so they are brought up in idleness. Country boys, on the other hand, generally have a great deal to do. They have to go for the cows, and catch the horses, and drive oxen, and a thousand other things, and so they are brought up in industry.”

“Is Phonny brought up in industry?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Hardly,” said Beechnut. “In fact he is scarcely old enough yet to do much work.”

“He is as old as I am,” said Stuyvesant.

“True,” said Beechnut, “but he does not seem to have as much discretion. Do you see that long shed out there, projecting from the barn?”

This was said just at the time when Beechnut and Stuyvesant were passing through the gate which led into the yard, and the barns and sheds were just coming into view.

“The one with that square hole by the side of the door?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “that was Phonny’s hen house. He bought some hens, and was [Pg 64]going to be a great poulterer. He was going to have I don’t know how many eggs and chickens,—but finally he got tired of his brood, and neglected them, and at last wanted to sell them to me. I bought them day before yesterday.”

“How many hens are there?” asked Stuyvesant.

“About a dozen,” said Beechnut. “I gave him a dollar and a half for the whole stock. I looked into his hen-house when I bought him out, and found it all in sad condition. I have not had time to put it in order yet.”

“I will put it in order,” said Stuyvesant.

“Will you?” said Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant, “and I should like to buy the hens of you, if I were only going to stay here long enough.”

“I don’t think it is worth while for you to buy them,” said Beechnut, “but I should like to have you take charge of them. I would pay you by giving you a share of the eggs.”

“What could I do with the eggs?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Why you could sell them, or give them away, just as you pleased. You might give [Pg 65]them to Mrs. Henry, or sell them to her, or sell them to me. If you will take the whole care of them while you are here, I will give you one third of the eggs, after all expenses are paid.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Stuyvesant.

“Why, if we have to buy any grain, for instance, to give the hens, we must sell eggs enough first to pay for the grain, and after that, you shall have one third of the eggs that are left.”

Stuyvesant was much pleased with this proposal, and was just about to say that he accepted it, when his attention was suddenly turned away from the subject, by hearing a loud call from Phonny, who just then came running round a corner, with a box-trap under his arm, shouting out,

“Stuyvesant! Stuyvesant! Look here! I’ve got a gray squirrel;—a beautiful, large gray squirrel.”

[Pg 66]

Chapter IV.


It is necessary in this chapter to return to Phonny and Wallace, in order to explain how Phonny succeeded in getting his squirrel.

He was quite in haste, as he went on after leaving the squirrel, in order to get down to the mill where Espy lived, before the squirrel should have gnawed out. The road, he was quite confident, led to the mill.

“I should like to buy the squirrel, if Espy will sell him,” said Phonny.

“Do you think that your mother would be willing?” asked Wallace.

“Why yes,” said Phonny, “certainly. What objection could she have?”

“None, only the trouble that it would occasion her,” replied Wallace.

“Oh, it would not make her any trouble,” said Phonny. “I should take care of it myself.”

“It would not make her much trouble, I [Pg 67]know,” said Wallace, “if you were only considerate and careful. As it is I think it may make her a great deal.”

“No,” said Phonny, “I don’t think that it will make her any trouble at all.”

“Where shall you keep your squirrel?” asked Wallace.

“In a cage, in the back room,” said Phonny, promptly.

“Have you got a cage?” asked Wallace.

“No,” said Phonny, “but I can make one.”

“I think that in making a cage,” replied Wallace, “you would have to give other people a great deal of trouble. You would be inquiring all about the house, for tools, and boards, and wire,—that is unless you keep your tools and materials for such kind of work, in better order than boys usually do.”

Phonny was silent. His thoughts reverted to a certain room in one of the out-buildings, which he called his shop, and used for that purpose, and which was, as he well knew, at this time in a state of great confusion.

“Then,” continued Wallace, “you will leave the doors open, going and coming, to see your squirrel, and to feed him.”

[Pg 68]

“No,” said Phonny, “I am very sure that I shall not leave the doors open.”

“And then,” continued Wallace, “after a time you will get a little tired of your squirrel, and will forget to feed him, and so your mother or somebody in the house, must have the care of reminding you of it.”

“Oh, no,” said Phonny, “I should not forget to feed him, I am sure.”

“Did not you forget to feed your hens?” asked Wallace.

“Why—yes,” said Phonny, hesitatingly, “but that is a different thing.”

“Then, besides,” said Wallace, “you will have to go and beg some money of your mother to buy the squirrel with. For I suppose you have not saved any of your own, from your allowance. It is very seldom that boys of your age have self-control enough to lay up any money.”

As Wallace said these words Phonny, who had been riding along, with the bridle and his little riding stick both in his right hand, now shifted them into his left, and then putting his right hand into his left vest pocket, he drew out a little wallet. He then extended his hand with the wallet in it to Wallace saying,

[Pg 69]

“Look in there.”

Wallace took the wallet, opened it as he rode along, and found that there was a quarter of a dollar in one of the pockets.

“Is that your money?” said Wallace.

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“Then you are not near as much of a boy as I thought you were. To be able to save money, so as to have a stock on hand for any unexpected emergency, is one of the greatest proofs of manliness. I had no idea that you were so much of a man.”

Phonny laughed. At first Wallace supposed that this laugh only expressed the pleasure which Phonny felt at having deserved these praises, but as he gave back the wallet into Phonny’s hands, he perceived a very mysterious expression upon his countenance.

“That’s the money,” said Phonny, “that my mother just gave me for my next fortnight’s allowance.”

“Then you have had no opportunity to spend it at all?”

“No,” said Phonny.

Phonny thought that he was sinking himself in his cousin’s estimation by this avowal, [Pg 70]but he was in fact raising himself very much by evincing so much honesty.

“He is not willing to receive commendation that he knows he does not deserve,” thought Wallace to himself. “That is a good sign. That is a great deal better trait of character than to be able to lay up money.”

Wallace thought this to himself as he rode along. He did not, however, express the thought, but went on a minute or two in silence. At length he said,

“So, then, you have got money enough to buy the squirrel?”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “if a quarter is enough.”

“It is enough,” said Wallace, “I have no doubt. So that one difficulty is disposed of. As to the second difficulty,” he continued, “that is, troubling the family about making the cage, we can dispose of that very easily, too, for I can help you about that myself. What shall we do about the third, leaving the doors open and making a noise when you go back and forth to feed him?”

“Oh, I will promise not to do that,” said Phonny.

[Pg 71]

“Promise!” repeated Wallace, in a tone of incredulity.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “I’ll promise, positively.”

“Is it safe to rely on boys’ promises about here?” said Wallace. “They would not be considered very good security in Wall Street, in New York.”

“I don’t know,” said Phonny; “I always keep my promises.”

“Are you willing to agree, that if you make any noise or disturbance in the family with your squirrel, that he is to be forfeited?”

“Forfeited!” said Phonny, “how do you mean?”

“Why, given up to me, to dispose of as I please,” said Wallace.

“And what should you do with him?” asked Phonny.

“I don’t know,” said Wallace. “I should dispose of him in some way, so that he should not be the means of any more trouble. Perhaps I should give him away; perhaps I should open the cage and let him run.”

“Then I think you ought to pay me what I gave for him,” said Phonny.

“No,” said Wallace, “because I don’t take [Pg 72]him for any advantage to myself, but only to prevent your allowing him to make trouble. If you make noise and disturbance with him, it is your fault, and you lose the squirrel as the penalty for it. If you do your duty and make no trouble with him, then he would not be forfeited.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I agree to that. But perhaps you will say that I make a disturbance with him when I don’t.”

“We will have an umpire, then,” said Wallace.

“What is an umpire?” asked Phonny.

“Somebody to decide when there is a dispute,” replied Wallace. “Who shall be the umpire?”

“Beechnut,” said Phonny.

“Agreed,” said Wallace.

“And now there is one point more,” he continued, “and that is, perhaps you will neglect to feed him, and then we shall be uncomfortable, for fear that the squirrel is suffering.”

“No,” said Phonny, shaking his head; “I shall certainly feed him every day, and sometimes twice a day.”

“Are you willing to agree to forfeit him, if you fail to feed him?”

[Pg 73]

“Why—I don’t know,” said Phonny. “But I certainly shall feed him, I know I shall.”

“Then there will be no harm in agreeing to forfeit him if you fail,” rejoined Wallace; “for if you certainly do feed him, then your agreement to forfeit him will be a dead letter.”

“But I might accidentally omit to feed him some one day,” said Phonny. “I might be sick, or I might be gone away, and I might ask Stuyvesant to feed him, and he forget it, and then I should lose my squirrel entirely.”

“No,” said Wallace, “you are not to forfeit him except for neglect. It must be a real and inexcusable neglect on your part, Beechnut being judge.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I agree to it.”

“And I will give you three warnings,” said Wallace, “both for making trouble and disturbance with your squirrel, and for neglecting to feed him. After the third warning, he is forfeited, and I am to do what I please with him.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I agree to it.”

A short time after this conversation, the road in which Wallace and Phonny were riding emerged from the wood, and there [Pg 74]was opened before them the prospect of a wide and beautiful valley. A short distance before them down the valley, there was a stream with a mill. By the side of the mill, under some large spreading elms, was a red house, which Phonny said was the one where Espy lived.

They rode on rapidly, intending to go to the house and inquire for Espy. Just before reaching the place, however, Phonny’s attention was arrested by his seeing some boys fishing on the bank of the stream, just below the mill. It was at a place where the road lay along the bank of the stream, at a little distance from it. The stream was very broad at this place, and the water quite deep and clear. The ground was smooth and green between the road and the water, and there were large trees on the bank overshadowing the shore, so that it was a very pleasant place.[B]

There were two boys standing upon the bank in one place fishing. Two other boys were near the water at a little distance, trying to make a dog jump in, by throwing in sticks and stones.

Just as Wallace and Phonny came along, [Pg 75]one of the boys who was fishing, called out in a loud and authoritative tone to one of those who were trying to make the dog jump in, saying,

“Hey-e-e, there! Oliver, don’t throw sticks into the water; you scare away all the fish.”

“Ned!” said Phonny, calling out to the boy who was fishing.

The boy looked round, without, however, moving his fishing-pole.

“Is Espy down there anywhere?” said Phonny.

Here the boy turned his head again toward the water, without directly answering Phonny, though he called out at the same time in an audible voice,


In answer apparently to his call, a boy came suddenly out of a little thicket which was near the water, just below where Ned was fishing, and asked Ned what he wanted.

“There’s a fellow out here in the road,” said Ned, “calling for you.”

Hearing this, the boy came out of the thicket entirely, and scrambled up the bank. He stood at the top of the bank, looking toward Wallace and Phonny, but did not advance. [Pg 76]His hand was extended toward a branch of the tree which he had taken hold of to help him in climbing up the bank. He continued to keep hold of this tree, showing by his attitude that he did not mean to come any farther.

He was in fact a little awed at the sight of Wallace, who was a stranger to him. He did not know whether he was wanted for any good purpose, or was going to be called to account for some of his misdeeds.

“Come here a minute,” said Phonny.

Espy did not move.

“Is that your trap up in the woods?” asked Phonny.

“Yes,” said Espy.

“There is a squirrel in it,” rejoined Phonny, “and I want to buy him.”

Hearing this, the boys who had been playing with the dog began to move up toward Wallace and Phonny. Espy himself taking his hand down from the tree, came forward a few steps. Wallace and Phonny too advanced a little with their horses toward the stream, and thus the whole party came nearer together.

“There is a squirrel in your trap,” repeated [Pg 77]Phonny, “if he has not gnawed out;—and I want to buy him. What will you sell him for?”

“What kind of a squirrel is it?” asked Espy.

“I don’t know,” said Phonny. “I couldn’t see any thing but his eyes.”

“If it’s a gray squirrel,” said Espy, “he is worth a quarter. If it’s a red squirrel you may have him for four pence—

“Or for nothing at all,” continued Espy, after a moment’s pause, “just as you please.”

Wallace laughed.

“What will you sell him for just as he is,” asked Wallace, “and we take the risk of his being red or gray?”

“Don’t you know which it is?” asked Espy.

“No,” said Wallace, “I do not. I did not go near the cage, and Phonny did not open it. He says he could only see his eyes.”

“And his nose,” said Phonny, “I saw his nose,—but I don’t know at all, what kind of a squirrel it is.”

“You may have him for eighteen cents,” said Espy.

[Pg 78]

“But perhaps he has gnawed out,” said Phonny. “He was gnawing out as fast as he could when we saw him.”

“Why, if he has gnawed out,” said Espy, “you will not have anything to pay, of course; because then you won’t get him.

“Or,” continued Espy, “you may have him for ten cents, and you take the risk of his gnawing out. You give me ten cents now, and you may have him if he is there, red or gray. If he is not there, I keep the ten cents, and you get nothing.”

“Well,” said Phonny. “Would you, Wallace?”

“I don’t know,” said Wallace. “You must decide. There is considerable risk. I can’t judge.”

“I have not got any ten cents,” said Phonny—“only a quarter of a dollar.”

“Oh, I can pay,” said Wallace, “and then you can pay me some other time.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I believe I will take him.”

“You must lend me the trap,” said Phonny, again addressing Espy,—“to carry the squirrel home in, and I will bring it back here some day.”

[Pg 79]

“Well,” said Espy.

So Wallace took a ten cent piece from his pocket, and gave it to Espy, and then he and Phonny rode away.

“Now,” said Phonny, “we must go ahead.”

They rode on rapidly for some time. At length, on ascending a hill, they were obliged to slacken their pace a little.

“If it should prove to be a gray squirrel,” said Phonny, “what a capital bargain I shall have made. A squirrel worth a quarter of a dollar, for ten cents.”

“I don’t see why a gray squirrel is so much more valuable than a red one,” said Wallace. “Is gray considered prettier than red?”

“Oh, it is not his color,” said Phonny, “it is the shape and size. The gray squirrels are a great deal larger, and then, they have a beautiful bushy tail, that lays all the time over their back, and curls up at the end, like a plume. The red squirrels are very small.”

“Besides,” continued Phonny, “they are not red exactly. They are a kind of reddish brown, so that they are not very pretty, even in color. I am afraid that my squirrel will be a red one.”

[Pg 80]

“I am afraid so, too,” said Wallace.

“The red squirrels are altogether the most common,” said Phonny.

“There are the bars,” said Wallace, “now we shall soon see.”

They had arrived in fact, at the bars. Phonny jumped off his horse and gave Wallace the bridle, and then went to take down the bars. As soon as he had got them down, he left Wallace to go through with the horses, at his leisure, and he himself ran off toward the rock where he had left the trap, to see what sort of a squirrel he had.

Wallace went through the bars in a deliberate manner, as it was in fact necessary to do in conducting two horses, and then dismounted, intending to put the bars up. He had just got off his horse when he saw Phonny coming from the direction of the place where the trap had been left, with a countenance expressive of great surprise and concern.

“Wallace,” exclaimed Phonny, “the squirrel has gone, trap and all.”

“Has it?” said Wallace.

“Yes,” said Phonny; “I left it on that rock, and it is gone.”

So saying Phonny ran to the place and put [Pg 81]his foot upon the rock, looking up to Wallace, and added,

“There is the very identical spot where I put it, and now it is gone.”

Wallace seemed at a loss what to think.

“Somebody must have taken him away,” said he.

“Hark!” said Phonny.

Wallace and Phonny listened. They heard the voices of some boys in the woods.

“There they are now,” said Phonny.

“Mount the horse,” said Wallace, “and we will go and see.”

Phonny mounted his horse as expeditiously as possible, and he and Wallace rode off through the woods in the direction of the voices. They followed a path which led down a sort of glen, and after riding a short distance they saw the boys before them, standing in a little open space among the trees. The boys had stopped to see who was coming.

There were three boys, one large and two small. The large boy had the trap under his arm.

“Halloa!” said Phonny, calling out aloud to the boys, “stop carrying off that trap.”

The boys did not answer.

[Pg 82]

“I have bought that squirrel,” said Phonny, “you must give him to me.”

“No,” said the great boy; “it belongs to Espy, and I am going to keep it for him.”

“Hush,” said Wallace, in a low tone to Phonny; “I will speak to him.”

Then calling out aloud again, he said, “We have just been down to Espy’s and have bought the squirrel, and have now come to take him home.”

The boy did not move from the place where he stood, and he showed very plainly by his countenance and his manner, that he did not mean to give the squirrel up. Presently they heard him mutter to the small boys,

“I don’t believe they have bought him, and they shan’t have him.”

“Let us go down and take the squirrel away from them,” said Phonny, in a low tone to Wallace; “I don’t believe they will give him up, unless we do.”

“We can not do that,” said Wallace. “We might take the trap away, perhaps, but they would first open the trap and let the squirrel go.”

“What shall we do, then?” asked Phonny.

Wallace did not answer this question, directly, [Pg 83]but called out again to the boy who held the trap, saying,

“We found the squirrel here in the woods, and then went down to tell Espy, and we bought the squirrel of him. But we can’t carry him home very well on horseback, at least till we get out of the woods, because the road is so steep and rough. Now if you will carry him down the road for us, till we get out of the woods, I will give you six cents.”

“Well,” said the boy, “I will.”

He immediately began to come toward Wallace and Phonny, so as to go back with them into the road which they were to take. Wallace and Phonny led the way, and he followed. As soon as he came within convenient distance for talking, Phonny asked him what sort of a squirrel it was.

“A gray squirrel,” said he. “The prettiest gray squirrel that ever I saw.”

Phonny was very much elated at hearing this intelligence, and wanted to get off his horse at once, and take a peep at the squirrel; but Wallace advised him to do no such thing. In due time the whole party got out of the woods. Wallace gave the boy his six cents, and the boy handed the trap up to [Pg 84]Phonny. Phonny held it upon the pommel of the saddle, directly before him. He found that the squirrel had gnawed through the board so as to get his nose out, but he could not gnaw any more, now that the box was all the time in motion. So he gave it up in despair, and remained crouched down in a corner of the trap during the remainder of the ride, wondering all the time what the people outside were doing with him.

“You managed that boy finely,” said Phonny. “He is one of the worst boys in town.”

“It is generally best,” said Wallace, “in dealing with people, to contrive some way to make it for their interest to do what you want, rather than to quarrel with them about it.”

For the rest of the way, Phonny rode on without meeting with any difficulty, and arrived at home, with his squirrel all safe, just at the time when Beechnut and Stuyvesant were talking about the poultry.

[Pg 85]

Chapter V.

Plans for the Squirrel.

As soon as Phonny had told Stuyvesant about his squirrel and had lifted up the lid of the trap a little, so as to allow him to peep in and see, he said that he was going in to show the squirrel to the people in the house, and especially to Malleville. He accordingly hurried away with the box under his arm. Stuyvesant went back toward the barn.

Phonny hastened along to the house. From the yard he went into a shed through a great door. He walked along the platform in the shed, and at the end of the platform he went up three steps, to a door leading into the back kitchen. He passed through this back kitchen into the front kitchen, hurrying forward as he went, and leaving all the doors open.

Dorothy was at work at a table ironing.

“Dorothy,” said Phonny, “I’ve got a squirrel—a beautiful squirrel. If I had time I would stop and show him to you.”

[Pg 86]

“I wish you had time to shut the doors,” said Dorothy.

“In a minute,” said Phonny, “I am coming back in a minute, and then I will.”

So saying Phonny went into a sort of hall or entry which passed through the house, and which had doors in it leading to the principal rooms. There was a staircase here. Phonny supposed that Malleville was up in his mother’s chamber. So he stood at the foot of the stairs and began to call her with a loud voice.

“Malleville!” said he, “Malleville! Where are you? Come and see my squirrel.”

Presently a door opened above, and Phonny heard some one stepping out.

“Malleville,” said Phonny, “is that you?”

“No,” said a voice above, “it is Wallace. I have come to give you your first warning.”

“Why, I only wanted to show my squirrel to Malleville,” said Phonny.

“You are making a great disturbance,” said Wallace, “and besides, though I don’t know any thing about it, I presume that you came in a noisy manner through the kitchen and left all the doors open there.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will be still.”

[Pg 87]

So Phonny turned round and went away on tiptoe. When he got into the kitchen, he first shut the doors, and then carried the trap to Dorothy, and let her peep through the hole which the squirrel had gnawed and see the squirrel inside.

“Do you see him?” asked Phonny.

“I see the tip of his tail,” said Dorothy, “curling over. The whole squirrel is there somewhere, I’ve no doubt.”

Phonny then went out again to find Stuyvesant. He was careful to walk softly and to shut all the doors after him.

He found Stuyvesant and Beechnut in the barn. Beechnut was raking up the loose hay which had been pitched down upon the barn floor, and Stuyvesant was standing beside him.

“Beechnut,” said Phonny, “just look at my squirrel. You can peep through this little hole where he was trying to gnaw out.”

Phonny held the trap up and Beechnut peeped through the hole.

“Yes,” said he, “I see the top of his head His name is Frink.”

“Frink?” repeated Phonny, “how do you know?”

[Pg 88]

“I think that must be his name,” said Beechnut. “If you don’t believe it, try and see if you can make him answer to any other name. If you can I’ll give it up.”

“Nonsense, Beechnut,” said Phonny. “That is only some of your fun. But Frink will be a very good name for him, nevertheless. Only I was going to call him Bunny.”

“I don’t think his name is Bunny,” said Beechnut. “I knew Bunny. He was a squirrel that belonged to Rodolphus. He got away and ran off into the woods, but I don’t think that this is the same one.”

“I’ll call him Frink,” said Phonny. “But what would you do with him if you were in my place?”

“Me?” said Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“Well, I think,” said Beechnut, stopping his work a moment, and leaning on his rake, and drawing a long breath, as if what he was about to say was the result of very anxious deliberation, “I think that on the whole, if that squirrel were mine, I should put two large baskets up in the barn-chamber, and send him into the woods this fall to get beechnuts, [Pg 89]and hazelnuts, and fill the baskets. One basket for beechnuts and one for hazelnuts, and I would give him a month to fill them.”


“Nonsense, Beechnut,” said Phonny, “you are only making fun. If I were to let him go off into the woods, he never would come back again.”

“Why, do you suppose,” said Beechnut, “that he would rather be running about in the woods than to live in that trap?”

[Pg 90]

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“Then,” said Beechnut, “you must make him a beautiful cage, and have it so convenient and comfortable for him, that he shall like it better than he does the woods. That would not be difficult, one would suppose, because he has nothing but holes in the ground and old hollow logs in the woods.”

“I know that,” said Phonny; “but then I don’t think he would like any house that I could make him, so well as he does the old logs.”

“Then I don’t know what you will do,” said Beechnut, “to make him contented.”

So saying Beechnut went away, leaving Phonny and Stuyvesant together. They talked a few minutes about the squirrel, and then began to walk along toward the house.

As they walked along, they heard the bell ring for dinner.

“There,” said Phonny, “there is the dinner-bell, what shall we do now? Where shall I put my squirrel while we are in at dinner?”

“Haven’t you got some sort of cage to put him in?” said Stuyvesant.

“No,” said Phonny, “I was going to make [Pg 91]one after dinner in my shop. I have got a shop, did you know it?”

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant, “Beechnut told me.”

“Only my tools are rather dull,” added Phonny. “But I think I can make a cage with them.”

“You might put the trap in the shop, on the bench,” said Stuyvesant, “till after dinner, and then make your cage.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “so I will.”

So the two boys went into the shop. The room was indeed in great confusion. The floor was covered with chips and shavings. The tools were lying in disorder on the bench. There was a saw-horse in the middle of the room, tumbled over upon one side, because one of the legs was out. The handle was out of the hatchet, and one of the claws of the hammer was broken.

While Stuyvesant was surveying this scene of disorder, Phonny advanced to the bench, and pushing away the tools from one corner of it, he put the trap down.

“There!” said he, “he will be safe there till after dinner.”

[Pg 92]

“Only,” said Stuyvesant, “he may finish gnawing out.”

“I will stop him up,” said Phonny.

So saying he took the foreplane, which is a tool formed of a steel cutter, set in a pretty long and heavy block of wood, and placed it directly before the hole in the trap. “There!” said he, “now if he does gnaw the hole big enough, he can’t get out, for he can’t push the plane away.”

“Perhaps he will be hungry,” said Stuyvesant.

“No,” said Phonny, “for there was half an ear of corn tied to the spindle for bait, and he has not eaten but a very little of it yet, I can see by peeping in.”

“Then, perhaps, he will be thirsty,” said Stuyvesant.

“I will give him something to drink,” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

The boys turned and saw Beechnut standing at the door of the shop, looking at them. He continued,

“His name is Frink,
And so I think,
I’d give him a little water to drink.”

[Pg 93]

So saying, Beechnut went away. Phonny took up an old tin cover which lay upon a shelf behind the bench, and which had once belonged to a tin box. The box was lost, but Phonny had kept the cover to put nails in. He now poured the nails out upon the bench, and went out to the pump to fill the cover with water.

In a minute or two he came back, walking carefully, so as not to spill the water. He raised the lid of the trap a little, very cautiously, and then pushed the cover in underneath it, in such a manner that about half of it was inside the trap.

“There! That’s what I call complete. Now he can have a drink when he pleases, and we will go in to dinner.”

At the dinner table, Phonny and Stuyvesant sat upon one side of the table, and Malleville sat on the other side, opposite to them. Mrs. Henry sat at the head, and Wallace opposite to her, at the foot of the table. The dinner consisted that day, of roast chickens, and after it, an apple pudding.

Wallace carved the chickens, and when all had been helped, Phonny began to talk about the squirrel.

[Pg 94]

“I suppose you consider it as boyishness in me, Cousin Wallace, to like to have a squirrel,” said he.

“It is a very harmless kind of boyishness, at any rate,” replied Wallace.

“Then you have no objection to it,” said Phonny.

“None at all,” said Wallace. “In one sense it is boyishness, for it is boys, and not men, that take pleasure in possessing useless animals.”

“Useless!” said Phonny, “do you call a gray squirrel useless?”

“He is not useful in the sense in which the animals of a farm-yard are useful,” said Wallace. “He gives pleasure perhaps, but cows, sheep, and hens, are a source of profit. Boys don’t care much about profit; but like any kind of animals, if they are pretty, or cunning in their motions and actions.”

“I like gray squirrels,” said Phonny, “very much indeed, if it is boyishness.”

“It is a very harmless kind of boyishness at all events,” replied Wallace. “It is not like some other kinds of boyishness, such as I told you about the other day.”

“Well, Cousin Wallace,” said Phonny, [Pg 95]“what would you do, if you were in my case, for a cage?”

“I would take some kind of box, without any top to it,” replied Wallace, “and lay it down upon its side, and then make a front to it of wires.”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “that will be an excellent plan. But how can I make the front of wires?”

“I will come and show you,” said Wallace, “when you get the box all ready. You must look about and find a box, and carry it into the shop. Is your shop in order?”

“No,” said Phonny, “not exactly; but I can put it in order in a few minutes.”

“Very well,” said Wallace. “Put your shop all in order, and get the box, and then come and call me.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will.”

[Pg 96]

Chapter VI.


After dinner, Stuyvesant told Phonny that he should be glad to help him about his cage, were it not that he was engaged to go with Beechnut that afternoon, to plow. Phonny was very sorry to hear this. In fact he had a great mind to go himself, and help plow, and so put off making his cage until the next day. It is very probable that he would have decided upon this plan, but while he was hesitating about it, Beechnut came to tell Stuyvesant that he should not be able to finish the plowing that day, for he was obliged to go away. Then Stuyvesant said that he would help Phonny. So they went together into the shop.

They found the squirrel safe. Phonny examined the water very attentively, to see whether Frink had been drinking any of it. He was very confident that the water had diminished quite sensibly. Stuyvesant could not tell whether it had diminished or not.

[Pg 97]

“And now,” said Phonny, “the first thing is to put the shop in order.”

So saying, he took the plane away from before the trap, and looked at the hole to see whether Frink had gnawed it any bigger. He had not. Phonny then carried the trap to the back side of the shop and put it upon a great chopping-block which stood there. He did this for the purpose of having the bench clear, so as to put the tools in order upon it.

“I am glad that you are going to put this shop in order,” said Stuyvesant,—“that is, if you will let me use it afterward.”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “I will let you use it. But what should you want to make in it?”

“Why, Beechnut has given me charge of the hen-house,” said Stuyvesant, “and I am to have one third of the eggs.”

Here Phonny stopped suddenly in his work and looked up to Stuyvesant as if surprised.

“What, my hen-house!” said he.

“The one that you used to have,” said Stuyvesant. “He said that you sold it to him.”

“So I did,” said Phonny, thoughtfully. As he said this, he laid down his saw, which he had just taken to hang upon a nail where it belonged, and ran off out of the shop.

[Pg 98]

He was in pursuit of Beechnut. He found him harnessing a horse into a wagon.

“Beechnut,” said he, “have you given Stuyvesant the charge of my hen-house?”

“I have offered it to him,” said Beechnut, “but he has not told me yet whether he accepted the offer or not.”

“You are going to let him have half the eggs if he takes care of the house and the hens?” inquired Phonny.

“One third of them,” said Beechnut.

“I did not know that you would do that,” said Phonny. “If I had known that you would be willing to let it out in that way, I should have wanted it myself.”

“I am not certain that it would be safe to let it to you,” said Beechnut.

“Why not?” asked Phonny.

“I am not sure that you would be persevering and faithful in taking care of the hens.”

“Why should not I as well as Stuyvesant?” asked Phonny. “Stuyvesant is not so old as I am.”

“He may have more steadiness and perseverance, for all that,” said Beechnut.

“I think you might let me have it as well as him,” said Phonny.

[Pg 99]

“Very well,” said Beechnut, “either of you. It shall go to the one who has the first claim.”

“You say he did not accept your offer of it to him?”

“No,” said Beechnut, “I believe he did not.”

“Then I agree to accept it now,” said Phonny, “and that gives me the first claim.”

Beechnut did not answer to this proposal, but went on harnessing the horse. When the horse was all ready, he gathered up the reins and stood a moment, just before getting into the wagon, in a thoughtful attitude.

“Well now, Phonny,” said he, “here is a great law question to be settled, whether you or Stuyvesant has the best right to the contract. Go and ask Stuyvesant to come to the shop-door.”

So Beechnut got into the wagon and drove out of the shed, and along the yard, until he came to the shop-door, and there he stopped. Phonny and Stuyvesant were standing in front of the door.

“Stuyvesant,” said Beechnut, “here is a perplexing case. Phonny wants to have the care of the hen-house on the same terms I [Pg 100]offered it to you. You did not tell me whether you would take it or not.”

“No,” said Stuyvesant, “I was going to tell you that I would take it, but if Phonny wants it, I am willing to give it up to him.”

“And you, Phonny,” said Beechnut, “are willing, I suppose, if Stuyvesant wants it, to give it up to him?”

“Why—yes,” said Phonny. In saying this, however, Phonny seemed to speak quite reluctantly and doubtfully.

“That’s right,” said Beechnut. “Each of you is willing to give up to the other. But now before we can tell on which side the giving up is to be, we must first decide on which side the right is. So that you see we have got the quarrel into a very pretty shape now. The question is, which of you can have the pleasure and privilege of giving up to the other, instead of which shall be compelled to give up against his will. So you see it is now a very pleasant sort of a quarrel.”

“No,” said Phonny, “it is not any such thing. A quarrel is not pleasant, ever.”

“Oh, yes,” said Beechnut, “one of the greatest pleasures of life is to quarrel. We [Pg 101]can not possibly get along, without quarrels. The only thing that we can do is to get them in as good shape as possible.”

“Have you got a pencil and paper in your shop?” continued Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“Bring them out to me.”

Phonny brought out a pencil and a small piece of paper, and held them up to Beechnut in the wagon.

“Now boys,” said Beechnut, “are you willing to submit this case to Mr. Wallace, for his decision?”

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“I am too,” said Stuyvesant.

“Then I’ll write a statement of it,” said Beechnut.

Beechnut accordingly placed the paper upon the seat of the wagon beside him, and began to write. In a few minutes he held up the paper and read as follows:

“A. has a certain contract which he is willing to offer to either B. or C. whichever has the prior right to it. He first offered it to B. but before B. accepted the offer C. made application for it. C. immediately accepted the [Pg 102]offer, before A. decided upon B.’s application. Now the question is whose claim is best, in respect simply of priority,—the one to whom it was first offered, or the one who first signified his willingness to accept of it.”

“There,” said Beechnut, “there is a simple statement of the case.”

“I don’t understand it very well,” said Phonny.

“Don’t you?” said Beechnut; “then I’ll read it again.”

So Beechnut began again.

“A. has a certain contract——”

Here Beechnut paused and looked up at the boys.

“A. means Beechnut,” said Stuyvesant.

“Then why don’t you say Beechnut?” said Phonny.

“And the contract,” continued Stuyvesant, “is the agreement about the hens.”

“Which he is willing to offer,” continued Beechnut, “to either B. or C.”

“That is, either to you or me,” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “I understand so far. But what is that about priority.”

[Pg 103]

“Priority,” said Beechnut, “means precedence in respect to time.”

“That is harder to understand than priority,” said Phonny.

“The question is,” continued Beechnut, “which must be considered as first in order of time, the one who had the offer first, or the one who accepted first.”

“The one who accepted first,” said Phonny.

“You are not to decide the question,” said Beechnut. “I was only explaining to you what the question is. You must carry the paper to Mr. Wallace and get his opinion.”

“But Beechnut,” said Phonny, “why don’t you tell him all about it, just as it was, instead of making up such a story about A. B. and C. and priority.”

“Why, when we refer a case to an umpire for decision,” said Beechnut, “it is always best, when we can, to state the principle of the question in general terms, so that he can decide it in the abstract, without knowing who the real parties are, and how they are to be affected by his decision. Here’s Mr. Wallace now, who would not like very well to decide in favor of his brother and against you, even if he thought that his brother was [Pg 104]in the right. But by not letting him know any thing but the general principle he can decide just as he thinks, without fear that you would think him partial.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will carry him the paper.”

“You must only give him the paper,” said Beechnut, “and not tell him any thing about the case yourself.”

“No,” said Phonny, “I will not.”

“For if you do,” continued Beechnut, “he will know who the parties are, and then he will not like to decide the question.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will not tell him.”

“Let Stuyvesant go with you,” said Beechnut.

“Well,” said Phonny.

Phonny accordingly took the paper and went into the house with Stuyvesant. He led the way up into his cousin Wallace’s room. He found Wallace seated at his table in his alcove, where he usually studied. The curtains were both up, which was the signal that Phonny might go and speak to him.

Phonny and Stuyvesant accordingly walked up to the table, and Wallace asked them if they wished to speak to him.

[Pg 105]


Phonny handed him the paper.

“There,” said he, “is a case for you to decide.”

Wallace took the paper and read it. He said nothing, but seemed for a moment to be thinking on the subject, and then he took his pen and wrote several lines under the question. Phonny supposed that he was writing his answer.

After his writing was finished, Wallace [Pg 106]folded up the paper, and told Phonny that he must not read it until he had given it to Beechnut.

“How did you know that it was from Beechnut?” said Phonny.

“I knew by the handwriting,” said Wallace. “Besides, I knew that there was nobody else here who would have referred such a question to me, in such a scientific way.”

So Phonny took the paper and carried it down to Beechnut.

Beechnut opened it, and read aloud as follows:

My judgment is, that it would depend upon whether B. had a reasonable time to consider and decide upon the offer, before C. came forward. In all cases of making an offer, it is implied that reasonable time is allowed to consider it.

“The question is, then, boys,” said Beechnut, “whether Stuyvesant had had a reasonable time to consider my offer, before Phonny came forward. What do you think about that, Phonny?”

“Why, yes,” said Phonny, “he had an hour.”

[Pg 107]

Stuyvesant said nothing.

“I will think about that while I am riding,” said Beechnut, “and tell you what I conclude upon it when I return. Perhaps we shall have to refer that question to Mr. Wallace, too.”

So Beechnut drove away, and the boys went back into the shop. Here they resumed their work of putting the tools in order, and while doing so, they continued their conversation about the question of priority.

I think,” said Phonny, “that you had abundance of time to consider whether you would accept the offer.”

“We might leave that question to Wallace, too,” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “let’s go now and ask him.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “I am willing.”

“Only,” said Phonny, “we must not tell him what the question is about.”

“No,” said Stuyvesant.

So the boys went together up to Wallace’s room. They found him in his alcove as before. They advanced to the table, and Wallace looked up to them to hear what they had to say.

[Pg 108]

“B. had an hour to consider of his offer,” said Phonny, “don’t you think that that was enough?”

Phonny was very indiscreet, indeed, in asking the question in that form, for it showed at once that whatever might be the subject of the discussion, he was not himself the person represented by B. It was now no longer possible for Wallace to look at the question purely in its abstract character.

“Now I know,” said Wallace, “which is B., and of course you may as well tell me all about it.”

Phonny looked at Stuyvesant with an expression of surprise and concern upon his countenance.

“No matter,” said Stuyvesant, “let us tell him the whole story.”

Phonny accordingly explained to Wallace, that the contract related to the care of the hen-house and the hens,—that it was first offered to Stuyvesant, that Stuyvesant did not accept it for an hour or two, and that in the course of that time he, Phonny, had himself applied for it. He concluded by asking Wallace if he did not think that an hour was a reasonable time.

[Pg 109]

“The question,” said Wallace, “how much it is necessary to allow for a reasonable time, depends upon the nature of the subject that the offer relates to. If two persons were writing at a table, and one of them were to offer the other six wafers in exchange for a steel pen, five minutes, or even one minute, might be a reasonable time to allow him for decision. On the other hand, in buying a house, two or three days would not be more than would be reasonable. Now, I think in such a case as this, any person who should receive such an offer as Beechnut made, ought to have time enough to consider the whole subject fairly. He would wish to see the hen-house, to examine its condition, to consider how long it would take him to put it in order, and how much trouble the care of the hens would make him afterward. He would also want to know how many eggs he was likely to receive, and to consider whether these would be return enough for all his trouble. Now, it does not seem to me, that one hour, coming too just when Stuyvesant was called away to dinner, could be considered a reasonable time. He ought to have a fair opportunity when the offer is once made to him, to consider it and decide [Pg 110]understandingly, whether he would accept it or not.”

“Well,” said Phonny, with a sigh, “I suppose I must give it up.”

So he and Stuyvesant walked back to the shop together.

[Pg 111]

Chapter VII.

The Work Shop.

When the boys entered the shop door, the first thing for Phonny to do, was to look and see if his trap was safe. It was safe. It remained standing upon the horse-block where he had placed it.

“And now,” said Phonny, “the question is, where I am to find a box for a cage. I must go and look about.”

“And I must go and look at my hen-house,” said Stuyvesant.

Phonny proposed that Stuyvesant should go with him to find a box, and then help him make a cage, and after that, he would go, he said, and help Stuyvesant about the repairs of the hen-house.

“I must go and look at the hen-house first,” said Stuyvesant. “I can do that, while you are finding the box, and then I will help you.”

“Well,” said Phonny. “But—on the whole, [Pg 112]I will go with you to look at it, and then you can go with me to find the box.”

So the boys walked along toward the hen-house together.

When they came to the place, they went in, and Stuyvesant proceeded to examine the premises very thoroughly. There were two doors of admission. One was a large one, for men and boys to go in at. The other was a very small one, a square hole in fact, rather than a door, and was intended for the hens.

This small opening had once been fitted with a sort of lid, which was attached by leather hinges on its upper edge to a wooden bar or cleat nailed to the side of the house, just over the square hole. This lid formed, of course, a sort of door, opening outward and upward. When up, it could be fastened in that position, by means of a wooden button. The button and the bar of wood remained in its place, but the door was gone.

“Where is the door?” asked Stuyvesant, after he had examined all this very carefully.

“Why, I took it off,” said Phonny, “to make a little stool of. I wanted a square board just about that size.”

[Pg 113]

“And did you make a stool?” asked Stuyvesant.

“No,” said Phonny. “I found that I could not bore the holes for the legs. I tried to bore a hole, but I split the board.”

“Then I must find another piece of board, somewhere,” said Stuyvesant.

Stuyvesant next turned his attention to the great door. He swung it to and fro, to see if the hinges were in order. They were. Next he shut it, but he found there was nothing to keep it shut.

“There used to be a button,” said Phonny.

“Where is the button now?” asked Stuyvesant.

“I don’t know,” said he. “Let me see;—it must be about here somewhere.”

So saying, Phonny began to look around upon the ground. There was some litter upon the ground, formed of sticks, straws, &c., and Phonny began to poke this litter about with his foot.

“I saw it lying down here somewhere, once,” said he, “but I can’t find it now.”

“Why didn’t you pick it up and put it away in some safe place?” said Stuyvesant, “or get it put on?”

[Pg 114]

“Why, I don’t know,” said Phonny. “You see we don’t want to shut up the hens much in the summer.”

“No,” replied Stuyvesant; “but it is a great deal better to have the doors all in order.”

“Why is it better?” asked Phonny.

“It is more satisfactory,” said Stuyvesant.

“Satisfactory!” repeated Phonny. “Hoh!”

Stuyvesant went into the hen-house. Phonny followed him in.

It was a small room, with a loft upon one side of it. The floor was covered with sticks, straw and litter. In one corner was a barrel, three quarters filled with hay. There were two or three bars overhead for the hens to roost upon. Stuyvesant looked around upon all these objects for a few minutes in silence, and then pointing up to the loft, he asked,

“What is up there?”

“That is the loft,” replied Phonny. “There is nothing up there.”

“How do you get up to see?” asked Stuyvesant.

“I can’t get up, except when Beechnut is here to boost me,” said Phonny.

“I mean to make a ladder,” said Stuyvesant.

[Pg 115]

“Hoh!” said Phonny, “you can’t make a ladder.”

“I will try, at any rate,” said Stuyvesant. Then after a short pause and a little more looking around, he added,

“Well, I am ready now to go and help you find your box. I see what I have got to do here.”

“What is it?” asked Phonny.

“I have got a small door to make, and a button for the large door, and a ladder to get up to the loft. Then I have got to clear the hen-house all out, and put it in order. What is in this barrel?”

“That is where the hens lay sometimes,” said Phonny, “when they don’t lay in the barn.”

So saying, Phonny walked into the corner where the barrel stood, and there he found three eggs in the nest.

“Three eggs,” said he. “I think Dorothy has not been out here to-day. That is the beginning of your profits. You can take two of them; we have to leave one for the nest-egg.”

Phonny proposed that Stuyvesant should carry the eggs in, and give them to Dorothy; [Pg 116]but he said he would not do it then. He would leave them where they were for the present, and go and look for the box. Stuyvesant was intending to look, at the same time, for the materials necessary for his door, his ladder, and his button.

Phonny, accordingly, led the way, and Stuyvesant followed, into various apartments in the barns and sheds, where lumber was stored, or where it might be expected to be found. There were several boxes in these places, but some were too large, and others too small, and one, which seemed about right in respect to size, was made of rough boards, and so Phonny thought that it would not do.

At last he found some boxes under a corn-barn, one of which he thought would do very well. It was about two feet long, when laid down upon its side, and one foot wide and high. The open part was to be closed by a wire front which was yet to be made.

“Now,” said Phonny, “help me to get the box to the shop, and then Wallace is coming down to help me make it into a cage.”

So Phonny and Stuyvesant, working together, got the box into the shop. The bench had been cleared off, so that there was a good [Pg 117]space there to put the box upon. Phonny and Stuyvesant placed it there, and then Phonny went to the trap to see if his squirrel was safe.

“Now, Frink,” said he, “we are going to make you a beautiful cage. Wait a little longer, and then we will let you out of that dark trap.”

Phonny said this as he passed across the floor toward the horse-block. As soon however as he came near to the trap, he suddenly called out to Stuyvesant,

“Why, Stuyvesant, see how big this hole is.”

He referred to the hole which the squirrel had begun to gnaw. Somehow or other the opening had grown very large. Phonny stooped down with his hands upon his knees and peeped into the trap.

The squirrel was gone.

“He’s gone!” said Phonny. “He’s gone!” So saying he lifted up the lid gradually, and then holding out the empty trap to Stuyvesant, he exclaimed again in a tone of despair,—“He’s gone!”

“He gnawed out,” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Phonny.

[Pg 118]

There were two windows in Phonny’s shop. One was over the work bench and was an ordinary window, formed with sashes. The other was merely a large square hole with a sort of lid or shutter opening upward and outward, like the small door of the hen-house. Phonny used to call this his shutter window. It was the place where he was accustomed to throw out his shavings.

Of course there was no glass in this window, and nothing to keep out the wind and rain when it was open. In stormy weather, therefore, it was always kept shut. The shavings which Phonny threw out here formed a little pile outside, and after accumulating for some time, Phonny used to carry them away and burn them.

As Phonny stood showing the empty cage to Stuyvesant, his back was turned toward this window, but Stuyvesant was facing it. Happening at that instant to glance upward, behold, there was the squirrel, perched at his ease upon a beam which passed along just over the window.

Stuyvesant did not say a word, but pointed to the place. Phonny looked up and saw the squirrel.

[Pg 119]


“Oo—oo—oo!—” said Phonny.

“Shut the window,” he exclaimed. “Let us shut the window quick,” he added impatiently; and then creeping softly up to the place, he took hold of the prop which held the shutter up, and gently drawing it in, he let the shutter down into its place.

“Shut the other window,” said Phonny. “Climb up on the bench, Stivy, and shut the other window as quick as you can.”

[Pg 120]

Stuyvesant clambered up upon the bench and shut down the sash of the window.

“Now for the door,” said Phonny; and he ran to the door and shut it, looking round as he went, toward the squirrel. As soon as he got the door shut he seemed relieved.

“There,” said he, “we have got him safe. The only thing now is to catch him.”

Here followed quite a long consultation between the two boys, in respect to the course which it was now best to pursue. Phonny’s first plan was to put the trap upon the table and then for him and Stuyvesant to drive the squirrel into it. Stuyvesant however thought that that would be a very difficult operation.

“If the squirrel were a horse,” said he, “and the trap a barn, we might possibly get him in; but as it is, I don’t believe the thing can be done.”

Phonny next proposed to chase the squirrel round the shop until they caught him. Stuyvesant objected to this too.

“We should frighten him,” said he, “and make him very wild; and besides we might hurt him dreadfully in catching and holding him. Very likely we should pull his tail off.”

After considerable consultation, the boys [Pg 121]concluded to let the squirrel remain for a time at liberty in the shop, taking care to keep the door and windows shut. They thought that by this means he would become accustomed to see them working about, and would grow tame; perhaps so tame that by-and-by, Phonny might catch him in his hand.

“And then, besides,” said Phonny, “we can set the trap for him here to-night, when we go away, and perhaps he will go into it, and get caught so before morning.”

“Then we mustn’t feed him any this afternoon,” said Stuyvesant. “He won’t go into the trap to-night, unless he is hungry.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “we won’t feed him. I will leave him to himself, and let him do what he pleases, and I’ll go to work and make my cage.”

Phonny’s plan for his cage was this. Stuyvesant helped him form it. He was to take some wire, a coil of which he found hanging up in the shed, and cut it into lengths suitable for the bars of his cage. Then he was going to bore a row of holes in the top of his box, near the front edge, with a small gimlet. These holes were to be about half an inch apart, and to be in a line about half an inch [Pg 122]from the front edge of the top of the box. The wires were to be passed down through these holes, and then in the bottom of the box, at the points where the ends of those wires would come, respectively, he was to bore other holes, partly through the board, to serve as sockets to receive the lower ends of the wires.

This plan being all agreed upon, Phonny climbed up upon the bench, with his gimlet in his hand, and taking his seat upon the box, was beginning to bore the holes.

“Stop,” said Stuyvesant, “you ought to draw a line and mark off the places first.”

“Oh no,” said Phonny, “I can guess near enough.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “though I don’t think that guessing is a good way.”

Phonny thought that it would take a great while to draw a line and measure off the distances, and so he went on with his boring, looking up, however, continually from his work, to watch the squirrel.

“And now,” said Stuyvesant, “I will begin my work.”

Stuyvesant accordingly went out, taking great care, as he opened and shut the door, not to let the squirrel escape. Presently he [Pg 123]returned, bringing his materials. There was a short board for the small door, two long strips for the sides of the ladder, and another long strip, which was to be sawed up into lengths for the cross-bars.

Stuyvesant began first with his door. He went out to the hen-house, carrying with him an instrument called a square, on which feet and inches were marked. With this he measured the hole which his door was to cover, and then making proper allowance for the extension of the door, laterally, beyond the hole, he determined on the length to which he would saw off his board. He determined on the breadth in the same way.

He then went to the shop and sawed off the board to the proper length, and then, with the hatchet and plane, he trimmed it to the proper breadth. Next he made two hinges of leather, and nailed them on in their places, upon the upper side of the board. He then carried his work out to the hen-house, and nailed the ends of the hinges to the cross-bar provided for them. When this was all done, he turned the lid up and fastened it into its place.

Then, standing up, he surveyed his work with a look of satisfaction, and said,

[Pg 124]


He returned to the shop again. When he came to the door he opened it a very little way, and paused, calling out to Phonny, to know if the squirrel was anywhere near.

“No,” said Phonny, “come in.”

So he went in. The squirrel had run along the beams to the back part of the shop, and was nibbling about there among some blocks of wood.

“I have a great mind to feed him,” said Phonny. “He is hungry.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant.

So Phonny took the ear of corn out of the trap, and breaking it into two or three pieces he carried the parts into the back part of the shop, and put them at different places on the beams. Then he crept back to his work again.

Stuyvesant went to work making his button. He selected a proper piece of wood, sawed it off of the proper length, and then shaped it into the form of a button by means of a chisel, working, in doing this, at the bench. As soon as this operation was completed, he took a large gimlet and bored a hole through the center of the button. He [Pg 125]measured very carefully to find the exact center of the button, before he began to bore.

When the button was finished, Stuyvesant looked in Phonny’s nail-box to find a large screw, and when he had found one, he took the screw-driver and went out to the hen-house and screwed the button on. When the screw was driven home to its place, Stuyvesant shut the door and buttoned it. Then standing before it with his screw-driver in his hand, he surveyed his work with another look of satisfaction, and said,

“There! there are two good jobs done.”

He then opened and shut his two doors, both the large and the small one, to see once more whether they worked well. They did work perfectly well, so he turned away and went back toward the shop again, saying,

“Now for the ladder.”

He went back to the shop and entered cautiously as before. He found that Phonny had bored quite a number of holes, and was now engaged in cutting his wire into lengths. He used for this purpose a pair of cutting-plyers, as they are called, an instrument formed much like a pair of nippers. The instrument [Pg 126]was made expressly for cutting off wire.

Stuyvesant came to the place where Phonny was at work, and stood near him a few minutes looking on. He perceived that the holes were not in a straight line, nor were they equidistant from each other. He, however, said nothing about it, but soon went to his own work again.

He took the piece of wood which he had selected to make his cross-bars of, and began to consider how many cross-bars he could make from it.

“What is that piece of wood for?” asked Phonny.

“It is for the cross-bars of my ladder,” said Stuyvesant.

“The cross-bars of a ladder ought to be round,” said Phonny. “They always make them round. In fact they call them rounds.”

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant, “I know they do, but I can’t make rounds very well. And besides if I could, I could not make the holes in the side-pieces to put them into. So I am going to make them square, and nail them right on.”

“Hoh!” said Phonny, “that is no way to [Pg 127]make a ladder. You can bore the holes easily enough. Here. I’ll show you how. I’ve got an auger.”

So saying, Phonny jumped down from the bench and went and climbed up upon the chopping-block to get down an auger. Phonny had two augers, and they both hung over the block. He took down one and began very eagerly to bore a hole into the side of the chopping-block. He bored in a little way, and then, in attempting to draw the auger out, to clear the hole of chips, the handle came off, leaving the auger itself fast in the hole.

“Ah! this auger is broken,” said Phonny, “I forgot that. I could bore a hole if the auger was not broken.”

“Never mind,” said Stuyvesant, “I don’t think I could make a ladder very well in that way, and don’t like to undertake any thing that I can’t accomplish. So I will make it my way.”

Stuyvesant went out to the hen-house, and measured the height of the loft. He found it to be seven feet. He concluded to have his ladder eight feet long, and to have six cross-bars, one foot apart, the upper and lower cross-bars to be one foot from the ends of the ladder. [Pg 128]The cross-bars themselves being about two inches wide each, the breadth of the whole six would be just one foot. This Stuyvesant calculated would make just the eight feet.

Stuyvesant then went back to the shop. He found that the pieces which he had chosen for the sides of the ladder were just about eight feet long.

Phonny came to him while he was measuring, to see what he was going to do.

“How wide are you going to have your ladder?” said he.

“I don’t know,” said Stuyvesant. “I am going to have it as wide as I can.”

So saying, Stuyvesant took down the piece which he had intended for the cross-bars.

“I am going to divide this into six equal parts,” said he, “because I must have six bars.”

So Stuyvesant began to measure. The piece of wood, he found, was eight feet long,—the same as the side pieces of the ladder.

“And now, how are you going to divide it?” said Phonny.

“Why, eight feet,” said Stuyvesant, “make ninety-six inches. I must divide that by six.”

[Pg 129]

So he took a pencil from his pocket and wrote down the figures 96 upon a board; he divided the number by 6.

“It will go 16 times,” said he. “I can have 16 inches for each cross bar.”

Stuyvesant then measured off sixteen inches, and made a mark, then he measured off sixteen inches more, and made another mark. In the same manner, he proceeded until he had divided the whole piece into portions of sixteen inches each. He then took a saw and sawed the piece off at every place where he had marked.

“There,” said he, “there are my cross-bars!”

“What good cross-bars,” said Phonny. “That was an excellent way to make them.”

[Pg 130]

Chapter VIII.

A Discovery.

While the boys were at work in this manner, Stuyvesant making his ladder, and Phonny his cage, they suddenly heard some one opening the door. Wallace came in. Phonny called out to him to shut the door as quick as possible. Wallace did so, while Phonny, in explanation of the urgency of his injunction in respect to the door, pointed up to the squirrel, which was then creeping along, apparently quite at his ease, upon one of the beams in the back part of the shop.

“Why, Bunny,” said Wallace.

“His name is not Bunny,” said Phonny. “His name is Frink.”

“Frink,” repeated Wallace. “Who invented that name?”

“I don’t know,” replied Phonny, “only Beechnut said that his name was Frink. See the cage I am making for him.”

Wallace came up and looked at the cage. [Pg 131]He stood a moment surveying it in silence. Then he turned toward Stuyvesant.

“And what is Stuyvesant doing?” said he.

“He is making a ladder.”

“What is it for, Stuyvesant?” said Wallace.

“Why, it is to go upon the loft, in the hen-house,” said Phonny, “though I don’t see what good it will do, to go up there.”

“So it is settled, that you are going to have the hen-house,” said Wallace, looking toward Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant.

Here there was another long pause. Wallace was looking at the ladder. He observed how carefully Stuyvesant was making it. He saw that the cross-bars were all exactly of a length, and he knew that they must have been pretty accurately measured. While Wallace was looking on, Stuyvesant was measuring off the distances upon the side pieces of the ladder, so as to have the steps of equal length. Wallace observed that he did this all very carefully.

Wallace then looked back to Phonny’s work. He saw that Phonny was guessing his way [Pg 132]along. The holes were not equidistant from each other, and then they were not at the same distance from the edge of the board. As he had advanced along the line, he had drawn gradually nearer and nearer to the edge, and, what was a still greater difficulty, the holes in the lower board, which was to form the bottom of the cage, since their places too had been guessed at, did not correspond with those above, so that the wires, when they came to be put in, inclined some this way, and some that. In some places the wires came very near together, and in others the spaces between them were so wide, that Wallace thought that the squirrel, if by any chance he should ever get put into the cage, would be very likely to squeeze his way out.

Then, besides, Phonny had not measured his wires in respect to length, but had cut them off of various lengths, taking care however not to have any of them too short. The result was that the ends of the wires projected to various distances above the board, presenting a ragged and unworkmanlike appearance.

Wallace was silent while he was looking at these things. He was thinking of the difference between the two boys. The train of [Pg 133]thought which was passing through his mind was somewhat as follows.

Stuyvesant is younger than Phonny, and he was brought up in a city, and yet he seems a great deal more of a man; which is very strange. In the first place he takes a great deal more interest in the hens, which are useful and productive animals, than he does in the squirrel, which is a mere plaything. Then he plans his work carefully, considers how much he can probably accomplish himself, and undertakes no more. He plans, he calculates, he measures, and then proceeds steadily and perseveringly till he finishes.

In the midst of these reflections, Wallace was called away by Phonny, as follows.

“Cousin Wallace, I wish you would finish my cage for me. I am tired of boring all these holes, and besides I can’t bore them straight.”

Wallace looked at the work a moment in uncertainty. He did not like to throw away his own time in finishing an undertaking so clumsily begun, and on the other hand, he did not like very well to refuse to help Phonny out of his difficulties. He finally concluded to undertake the work. So he took the [Pg 134]cage down from the bench and put it upon the floor; he borrowed the iron square and the compasses from Stuyvesant; he ruled a line along the top of the box at the right distance from the edge, and marked off places for the holes, half an inch apart, along this line, pricking in, at the places for the holes, deep, with one of the points of the compass. When this had all been done he went on boring the holes.

Stuyvesant was now ready to nail the cross-bars to the side pieces of the ladder. He asked Phonny where he kept his nails. Phonny showed him a box where there was a great quantity of nails of all sizes, some crooked and some straight, some whole and some broken, and all mixed up in confusion with a mass of old iron, such as rings, parts of hinges, old locks and fragments of keys. Stuyvesant selected from this mass a nail, of the size that he thought was proper, and then went to his ladder to apply it, to see whether it would do.

“It is too large,” said Phonny.

“No,” said Stuyvesant, “it is just right. I want the nail to go through and come out on the other side, so that I can clinch it.”

“You can’t clinch such nails as these,” [Pg 135]said Phonny. “They are cut nails, and they will break off if you try to clinch them.”

“But I shall soften them first,” said Stuyvesant.

“Soften them!” said Phonny, “how can you do that?”

“By putting them in the fire,” said Stuyvesant.

“He can’t soften them, can he, Wallace?” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Wallace, “he can soften them so that they will clinch.”

This was true. What are called cut-nails, are made by machinery. They are cut from flat-bars or plates of iron, almost red-hot, by a massive and ponderous engine carried by water. At the same instant that the nail is cut off from the end of the plate by the cutting part of the engine, the end of it is flattened into a head by another part, which comes up suddenly and compresses the iron at that end with prodigious force. The nail is then dropped, and it falls down, all hot, into a box made to receive it below.

The prodigious pressure to which the hot iron is subjected in the process of making cut-nails, seems as it were to press the particles [Pg 136]of iron closer together, and make the metal more compact and hard. The consequence is, that such nails are very stiff, and if bent much, they break off. This is no disadvantage, provided that the wood to be nailed is such that the nail is to be driven straight into the substance of it to its whole length. In fact, this hardness and stiffness is an advantage, for, in consequence of these properties, the nail is less likely to bend under the hammer.

When, however, the nailing to be done is of such a kind that it becomes necessary that the nail should pass through the wood so as to come out upon the other side, to be clinched there, the stiffness of the iron in a cut-nail constitutes a serious difficulty; for the end of the nail where it comes through, instead of bending over and sinking into the wood, as it ought to do, at first refuses to bend at all, and then when the workman attempts to force it to bond by dint of heavier blows with the hammer, it breaks off entirely.

To remedy this difficulty, it is found best to heat nails intended for clinching before driving them. By heating the iron red hot, the metal seems to expand to its original condition [Pg 137]of ductile iron, and it loses the extreme hardness and stiffness which was given to it by the force and compression of the nail-making machine.

Stuyvesant had seen a carpenter in New York heating some nails on one occasion, and he had asked him the reason. He, therefore, understood the whole process, and his plan was now, after selecting his nails, to go and heat them red-hot in the kitchen-fire.

He made a little calculation first in respect to the number of nails that he should want. There were six cross-bars. These bars were to be nailed at both ends. This would make twelve nailings. Stuyvesant concluded that he would have four nails at each nailing, and multiplying twelve by four, he found that forty-eight was the number of the nails that he should require. To be sure to have enough, he counted out fifty-two. Some might break, and perhaps some would be lost in the fire.

Phonny felt a considerable degree of interest in Stuyvesant’s plan of softening the nails, and so he left Wallace to go on boring the holes, while he went with Stuyvesant into the house.

“You never can get so many nails out of [Pg 138]the fire in the world,” said Phonny. “They will be lost in the ashes.”

“I shall put them on the shovel,” said Stuyvesant.

When they got into the kitchen, Stuyvesant went to Dorothy, who was still ironing at a table near the window, and asked her if he might use her shovel and her fire to heat some nails.

“Certainly,” said Dorothy. “I will go and move the flat-irons out of the way for you.”

Stuyvesant was always very particular whenever he went into the kitchen, to treat Dorothy with great respect. He regarded the kitchen as Dorothy’s peculiar and proper dominion, and would have considered it very rude and wrong to have been noisy in it, or to take possession of, and use without her leave, the things which were under her charge there. Dorothy observed this, and was very much pleased with it, and as might naturally be expected, she was always glad to have Stuyvesant come into the kitchen, and do any thing that he pleased there.

There was a large forestick lying across the andirons, with a burning bed of coals below. [Pg 139]Directly in front of these coals was a row of flat-irons. Stuyvesant put his nails upon a long-handled shovel, and Dorothy moved away one of the flat-irons, so that he could put the shovel, with the nails upon it, in among the burning coals.

“Now,” said he, “it will take some time for them to get hot, and I will go and clear out the floor of the hen-house in the meanwhile.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I will help you.”

“Only,” said Stuyvesant, turning to Dorothy, “will you look at the nails when you take up your irons, and if you see that they get red-hot, take the shovel out from the coals and set it down somewhere on the hearth to cool?”

“Yes,” said Dorothy, “but what are you going to heat the nails for?”

“To take the stiffness out of them,” said Stuyvesant.

“To take the stiffness out?” replied Dorothy. “What do you wish to do that for?”

“So that I can clinch them,” replied Stuyvesant, “and I should like to have you take them off the fire as soon as you see that they are red-hot.”

[Pg 140]


“Yes,” said Dorothy, “I will.”

So Phonny and Stuyvesant went away, while Dorothy resumed her ironing.

They got a wheel-barrow and a rake, and went out to the hen-house. They raked the floor all over, drawing out the old straw, sticks, &c., to the door. They then with a fork pitched this rubbish into the wheel-barrow, and wheeled it out, and made a heap of it in a clear place at some distance from the buildings, [Pg 141]intending to set it on fire. There were four wheel-barrow loads of it in all.

They then went into the barn and brought out a quantity of hay, and sprinkled it all over the floor of the hen-house, which made the apartment look extremely neat and comfortable. They then brought out another fork-full of hay and pitched it up upon the loft.

“There!” said Stuyvesant, “now when we have got our ladder done, we will climb up and spread it about.”

“Hark!” said Phonny.

“What is that?” said Stuyvesant.

“It sounded like a hen clucking. I wonder if it is possible that there is a hen up there.”

“We will see,” said Stuyvesant, “when we get our ladder done.”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “we must go and finish our ladder; and the nails—it is time to go and get the nails or they will be all burnt up.”

The boys accordingly went back to the kitchen. They found that Dorothy had taken the nails away from the fire, and they were now almost cool. Stuyvesant slid them off [Pg 142]from the shovel upon a small board, which he had brought in for that purpose, and then they went back to the shop.

They found that Wallace had gone. He had finished boring the holes, and now all that Phonny had to do, was to cut off the wires and put them in. He had, however, now become so much interested in the operation of making the ladder, that he concluded to put off finishing the cage until the ladder was done. Besides, he was in a hurry to see whether there really was a hen up there on the loft.

So he helped Stuyvesant nail his ladder. Stuyvesant got a small gimlet to bore holes for the nails. Phonny thought that this was not necessary. He said they could drive the nails without boring. Stuyvesant said that there were three objections to this: first, they might not go straight, secondly, they might split the wood, and thirdly, they would cause the wood to break out, as he called it, where they came through on the other side.

As soon as he had bored one hole he put a nail into it, and drove it almost through, but not quite through, as he said it might prove that he should wish to alter it. He [Pg 143]then went to the other end of the same cross-bar, bored a hole there, and put a nail in, driving it as far as he had driven the first one. This was the topmost cross-bar of the ladder, and it was held securely in its place by the two nails. Stuyvesant then took the bottom cross-bar and secured that in the same way. Then he put on the other bars one at a time, until his ladder was complete in form, only the cross-bars were not yet fully nailed. He and Phonny looked at it carefully, to see if all was right, and Stuyvesant, taking it up from the floor, placed it against the wall of the shop.

“Let me climb up on it,” said Phonny.

“Not now,” said Stuyvesant,—“wait till it is finished.”

Stuyvesant then proceeded to drive the nails home, and clinch them. The clinching was done, by putting an axe under the part of the ladder where a nail was coming through, and then driving. The point of the nail when it reached the axe, was deflected and turned, and bending round entered the wood again, on the back side, and so clinched the nail firmly. Thus the other holes were bored, and the other nails put in, and at length the ladder was completed.

[Pg 144]

Just as the boys were ready to carry it out, the door opened, and Beechnut came in.

Beechnut looked round at all that the boys had been doing, with great interest. He examined the ladder particularly, and said that it was made in a very workmanlike manner. Phonny showed Beechnut his cage too, though he said that he had pretty much concluded not to finish it that afternoon.

“I don’t see why you need finish it at all,” said Beechnut. “You have got a very good cage already for your squirrel.”

“What cage?” asked Phonny.

“This shop. It is a great deal better cage for him than that box,—I think, and I have no doubt that he thinks so too.”

“He would gnaw out of this shop,” said Phonny.

“Not any more easily than he would gnaw out of the box,” said Beechnut.

Phonny turned to his box and looked at the smooth surface of the pine which formed the interior. He perceived that Frink could gnaw through anywhere, easily, in an hour.

“I did not think of that,” said Phonny “I must line it with tin.”

He began to picture to his mind, the process [Pg 145]of putting his arm into the box and nailing tin there, where there was no room to work a hammer, and sighed.

“Well,” said he, “I’ll let him have the whole shop, to-night, and now we will go out and try the ladder.”

The whole party accordingly went to the hen-house. Beechnut examined the small door that Stuyvesant had made, and the button of the large door, while Stuyvesant was planting the ladder. Phonny was eager to go up first; Stuyvesant followed him.

Phonny mounted upon the floor of the loft, and immediately afterward began to exclaim,

“Oo—oo—Stivy,—here is old Gipsy, on a nest, and I verily believe that she is setting; I could not think what had become of old Gipsy.”

Just at this time, Beechnut’s head appeared coming up the ladder. He called upon the boys to come back, away from the hen, while he went up to see. She was upon a nest there, squatted down very low, and with her wings spread wide as if trying to cover a great nest full of eggs.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “she is setting, I have no doubt; and as she has been missing [Pg 146]a long time, I presume the chickens are about coming out.”

“Hark!” said Beechnut.

The boys listened, and they heard a faint peeping sound under the hen.

Beechnut looked toward the boys and smiled.

Phonny was in an ecstacy of delight. Stuyvesant was much more quiet, but he seemed equally pleased. Beechnut said that he thought that they had better go away and leave the hen to herself, and that probably she would come off the nest, with her brood, that evening or the next morning.

“But stop,” said Beechnut, as he was going down the ladder. “It is important to ascertain whether they are eggs or chickens under the hen. For if they are eggs they are one third your property, and if they are chickens, they are all mine.”

“However,” he resumed, after a moment’s pause, “I think we will call them eggs to-day. I presume they were all eggs when we made the bargain. To-morrow we will get them all down, and you, Phonny, may make a pretty little coop for them in some sunny corner in the yard.”

[Pg 147]

Phonny had by this time become so much interested in the poultry, that he proposed to Stuyvesant to let him have half the care of them, and offered to give Stuyvesant half of his squirrel in return. Stuyvesant said that he did not care about the squirrel, but that he would give him a share of the hen-house contract for half the shop.

Phonny gladly agreed to this, and so the boys determined that the first thing for the next day should be, to put the shop and the tools all in complete order, and the next, to make the prettiest hen-coop they could contrive, in a corner of the yard. This they did, and Beechnut got the hen and the chickens down and put them into it. The brood was very large, there being twelve chickens in it, and they were all very pretty chickens indeed.

[Pg 148]

Chapter IX.

The Accident.

About a week after the occurrences related in the last chapter, Mrs. Henry was sitting one morning at her window, at work. It was a large and beautiful window, opening out upon a piazza.

The window came down nearly to the floor, so that when it was open one could walk directly out. There was a sort of step, however, which it was necessary to go over.

Mrs. Henry had a little table at the window, and she was busy at her work. There was a basket on the floor by her side. Malleville was sitting upon the step. She had quite a number of green leaves in her lap, which she had gathered in the yard. She said that she was going to put them into a book and press them.

Just then she heard Phonny’s voice around a corner, calling to her.

[Pg 149]

“Malleville! Malleville!” said the voice, calling loudly.

Malleville hastily gathered up her leaves, and called out, “What, Phonny? I’m coming.”

Before she got ready to go, however, Phonny appeared upon the piazza.

“Malleville,” said he, “come and see our chickens.”

“Well,” said Malleville, “I will come.”

“And mother, I wish you would come out and see them, too,” said Phonny.

“I have seen them once,” said his mother, “only two or three days ago.”

“But, mother, they are a great deal larger now,” replied Phonny. “I wish you could come and see them. You don’t know how large they have grown.”

“Very well,” said Mrs. Henry, “I will come.”

So she laid aside her work, and stepping out into the piazza, she followed Phonny and Malleville around the corner of the house. Phonny walked fast, with long strides, Malleville skipped along by his side, while Mrs. Henry came on after them at her leisure.

They all gathered round the coop, which had been made in a sunny corner of the yard. [Pg 150]It was a very pretty coop indeed. It was formed by a box, turned bottom upward to form a shelter for the hen when she chose to retire to it, and a little yard with a paling around it made by bars, to prevent the chickens from straying away. Phonny said that there was a good, comfortable nest in under the box, and he was going to lift up the box and let Mrs. Henry see the nest, but Stuyvesant recommended to him not to do so, as it would frighten the hen.

There was an opening in the side of the box, which served as a door for the hen to go in and out at. At the time of Mrs. Henry’s visit, the hen was out in the yard walking about. She appeared to be a little anxious at seeing so unusual a company of visitors at her lodgings, and at first thought it probable that they might have come to take some of her chickens away. But when she found that they stood quietly by, and did not disturb her, she became quiet again, and began to scratch upon the ground to find something for the chickens to eat.

Seeing this, Phonny ran off to bring some food for them, and presently returned with a saucer full of what he called pudding. It [Pg 151]consisted of meal and water stirred up together. He threw out some of this upon the ground within the yard, and the hen, calling the chickens to the place, scattered the pudding about with her bill for the chickens to eat.

The boys then wished to have Mrs. Henry go to the shop. She, accordingly, went with them. They opened the shop-door very carefully to keep Frink from getting out. When they were all safely in and the door was shut, they began to look about the room to find the squirrel. “There he is,” said Phonny, pointing to the beam over the shutter-window.

So saying he went to the place, and putting up his hand, took the squirrel and brought him to his mother.

“Why, how tame he is!” said Mrs. Henry.

“Yes,” said Phonny, “Stuyvesant and I tamed him. He runs all about the shop. And we have got a house for him to sleep in. Come and see his house.”

So saying, Phonny led his mother and Malleville to the back side of the shop, where, upon a shelf, there stood a small box, with a hole in the side of it, much like the one which had been made for the hen, only not so large.

“He goes in there to sleep,” said Phonny. [Pg 152]“We always feed him in there too, so as to make him like the place.”

As Phonny said this, he put the squirrel down upon the beam before the door of his house.

“Now you will see him go in,” said he.

Frink crept into his hole, and then turning round within the box, he put his head out a little way, and after looking at Mrs. Henry a moment with one eye, he winked in a very cunning manner.

There was a small paper tacked up with little nails on the side of the squirrel’s house, near the door.

“What is this?” said Mrs. Henry.

“Oh! that’s his poetry,” said Phonny, “you must read it.”

So Mrs. Henry, standing up near, read aloud as follows:—

My name is Frink,
And unless you think,
To give me plenty to eat and drink,
You’ll find me running away
Some day;
I shall tip you a wink,
Then slyly slink,
Out through some secret cranny or chink,
And hie for the woods, away,

[Pg 153]

Mrs. Henry laughed heartily at this production. She asked who wrote it.

“Why, we found it here one morning,” said Phonny. “Stuyvesant says that he thinks Beechnut wrote it.”

“But Beechnut,” added Malleville, “says that he believes that Frink wrote it himself.”

“Oh no,” said Stuyvesant, “he did not say exactly that.”

“What did he say?” asked Mrs. Henry.

“Why, he said,” replied Stuyvesant, “that as there was a pen and ink in the shop, and hammer and nails, and as the paper was found nailed up early one morning, when nobody had slept in the shop the night before but Frink, if it did not turn out that Frink himself wrote the lines, he should never believe in any squirrel’s writing poetry as long as he lived.”

Mrs. Henry laughed at this, and she then began to look about the shop to see the tools and the arrangements which had been made by the boys for their work.

She found the premises in excellent order. The floor was neat, the tools were all in their proper places, and every thing seemed well arranged.

[Pg 154]

“I suppose the tools are dull, however,” said Mrs. Henry, “as boys’ tools generally are.”

“No,” said Phonny, “they are all sharp. We have sharpened them every one.”

“How did you do it?” asked Mrs. Henry.

“Why, we turned the grindstone for Beechnut while he ground his axes, and then he held our tools for us to sharpen them. We could not hold them ourselves very well.”

“We are going to keep them sharp,” continued Phonny,—“as sharp as razors. Won’t we, Stivy?”

“We are going to try it,” said Stuyvesant.

Phonny took up the plane to show his mother how sharp it was.

“Yes,” said she; “I like that tool too, very much—it is so safe.”

The plane is a very safe tool, indeed, for the cutting part, which consists of a plate of iron, faced with steel for an edge, is almost embedded in the wood. It is made in fact on purpose to take off a thin shaving only, from a board, and it would be impossible to make a deep cut into any thing with it.

Phonny then showed his mother his chisels. He had four chisels of different sizes. They were very sharp.

[Pg 155]

“It seems to me that a chisel is not so safe a tool as a plane,” said Mrs. Henry.

“Why not, mother?” asked Phonny.

“Why you might be holding a piece of wood with your fingers, and then in trying to cut it with the chisel, the chisel might slip and cut your fingers.”

“Oh no, mother,” said Phonny, “there is no danger.”

Boys always say there is no danger.

Phonny next showed his gimlets, and his augers, and his bits and bit-stocks. A bit is a kind of borer which is turned round and round by means of a machine called a bit-stock.

Phonny took the bit-stock and a bit and was going to bore a hole in the side of the bench, by way of showing his mother how the tool was used.

“Stop,” said Stuyvesant, “I would not bore into the work bench. I will get a piece of board.”

So he pulled out a small piece of board from under the work bench and Phonny bored into that.

Mrs. Henry next came to the chopping block. The hatchet was lying upon the block.

[Pg 156]

“I am rather sorry to see that you have got a hatchet,” said Mrs. Henry.

“Why, mother?” asked Phonny.

“Because I think it is a dangerous tool. I think it is a very dangerous tool indeed.”

“Oh no, mother,” said Phonny, “there is no danger.”

“You might be holding a piece of wood in your hand,” said Mrs. Henry, “and then in trying to chop it with your hatchet, hit your hand instead of the wood. There is great danger when you strike a blow with a sharp instrument.”

“Oh no, mother,” said Phonny. “There is not any danger. I have had my hatchet a long time and I never have cut myself but once.”

“That shows that there is some danger,” said his mother. “Besides I knew a boy who was cutting with a hatchet, and it came down through the board that he was cutting, and struck the boy himself, in the knee, and wounded him very badly.”

“But I shall be very careful,” said Phonny. “I know I shall not cut myself with it.”

“I wish,” said his mother, “that you would let me have the hatchet to carry in the house and keep it till you grow older.”

[Pg 157]

“Oh no, mother,” said Phonny, “we could not get along at all without the hatchet, unless we had an axe, and that would be more dangerous still. But we will be very careful with it.”

Mrs. Henry did not appear satisfied with these promises, but she did not urge Phonny any longer to give the hatchet to her. She walked along, seeming, however, not at all at her ease. Phonny showed her his stock of boards and blocks, among which last, was one which he said was to be made into a boat. After looking around at all these things, Mrs. Henry and Malleville went away. Phonny and Stuyvesant remained in the shop.

“I would let her have the hatchet,” said Stuyvesant.

“I don’t think there is any danger,” said Phonny.

“Nor I,” said Stuyvesant.

“Then why would not you keep the hatchet here?” asked Phonny.

“Because, Aunt Henry does not feel easy about it,” said Stuyvesant. “It is not right for us to make her feel uncomfortable.”

“But then what shall we do when we want to sharpen stakes?” asked Phonny.

[Pg 158]

“I don’t know,” said Stuyvesant,—thinking. “Perhaps we might burn them sharp in the kitchen fire.”

“Hoh!” said Phonny, “that would not do at all.”

“It would be better than to make Aunt Henry feel anxious,” said Stuyvesant.

“But I don’t think she feels anxious,” said Phonny. “She will forget all about it pretty soon. However, if you think it is best, I will carry my hatchet in and give it to her. We can get along very well with the draw shave.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “I do think it is best; and now I am going to finish mending the wheel-barrow.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “and I will go and carry the hatchet in to my mother.”

Phonny accordingly took the hatchet and went sauntering slowly along out of the shop.

In a few minutes, Stuyvesant heard an outcry in the yard. It sounded like a cry of pain and terror, from Phonny. Stuyvesant threw down his work, and ran out to see what was the matter.

He found Phonny by the woodpile, where [Pg 159]he had stopped a moment to chop a stick with his hatchet, and had cut himself. He was down upon the ground, clasping his foot with his hands, and crying out as if in great pain.

“Oh, Stuyvesant,” said he. “I have cut my foot. Oh, I have cut my foot, most dreadfully.”

“Let me see,” said Stuyvesant, and he came to the place. Phonny raised his hands a little, from his foot, so as to let Stuyvesant see, but continued crying, with pain and terror.

“Oh dear me!” said he. “What shall I do?—Oh dear me!”

Stuyvesant looked. All that he could see, however, was a gaping wound in Phonny’s boot, just over the ankle, and something bloody beneath.

“I don’t think it is cut much,” said Stuyvesant. “Let us go right into the house.”

Phonny rose, and leaning upon Stuyvesant’s shoulder, he began to hobble along toward the house, uttering continued cries and lamentations by the way.

“I would not cry,” said Stuyvesant. “I would bear it like a hero.”

[Pg 160]

In obedience to this counsel, Phonny abated somewhat the noise that he was making, though he still continued his exclamations and moanings. Dorothy came to the door to find out what was the matter.

Dorothy was not much alarmed. In fact the more noise a child made when hurt, the less concerned Dorothy always was about it. She knew that when people were dangerously wounded, they were generally still.

“What’s the matter?” said Dorothy.

“He has cut his foot,” said Stuyvesant.

“Let me see,” said she. So she looked down at Phonny’s ankle.

“I guess he has cut his boot more than his foot,” said she. “Let’s pull off his boot.”

“Oh dear me!” said Phonny. “Oh, go and call my mother. Oh dear me!”

Dorothy began to pull off Phonny’s boot, while Stuyvesant went to call Phonny’s mother. Mrs. Henry was very much alarmed, when she heard that Phonny had cut himself. She hurried out to him, and seemed to be in great distress and anxiety. She kneeled down before him, while Dorothy held him in her lap, and examined the foot. The cut was a pretty bad one, just above the ankle.

[Pg 161]

“It is a very bad place for a cut,” said she. “Bring me some water.”

“I’ll get some,” said Stuyvesant.

So Stuyvesant went and got a bowl from a shelf in the kitchen, and poured some water into it, and brought it to Mrs. Henry. Mrs. Henry bathed the wound with the water, and then closing it up as completely as possible, and putting a piece of sticking-plaster across to keep the parts in place, she bound the ankle up with a bandage.

By this time Phonny had become quiet. His mother, when she had finished bandaging the ankle, brought another stocking and put it on, to keep the bandage in its place.

“There!” said she, “that will do. Now the first thing is to get him into the other room.”

So Dorothy carried Phonny in, and laid him down upon the sofa in the great sitting-room.

That evening when Beechnut went to the village to get the letters at the post-office, he stopped at the doctor’s on his way, to ask the doctor to call that evening or in the morning at Mrs. Henry’s. The doctor came that evening.

“Ah, Phonny,” said he, when he came into [Pg 162]the room, and saw Phonny lying upon the sofa, “and what is the matter with you?”

“I have cut my foot,” said Phonny.

“Cut your foot!” rejoined the doctor, “could not you find any thing else to cut than your foot?”

Phonny laughed.

“I hope you have cut it in the right place,” continued the doctor. “In cutting your foot every thing depends upon cutting it in the right place.”

While the doctor was saying this, Mrs. Henry had drawn off Phonny’s stocking, and was beginning to unpin the bandage.

“Stop a moment, madam,” said the doctor. “That bandage is put on very nicely; it seems hardly worth while to disturb it. You can show me now precisely where the wound was.”

Mrs. Henry then pointed to the place upon the bandage, underneath which the cut lay, and she showed also the direction and length of the cut.

“Exactly,” said the doctor. “You could not have cut your ankle, Phonny, in a better place. A half an inch more, one side or the other, might have made you a cripple for life. [Pg 163]You hit the right place exactly. It is a great thing for a boy who has a hatchet for a plaything, to know how to cut himself in the right place.”


The doctor then said that he would not disturb the bandage, as he had no doubt that the wound would do very well under the treatment which Mrs. Henry herself had administered. He said that in a few days he thought it would be nearly well.

[Pg 164]

It might be prudent, however, he added, not to walk upon that foot in the mean time. There might be some small possibility in that case, of getting the wound irritated, so as to bring on an inflammation, and that might lead to serious consequences.

The doctor then bade Phonny good-bye, telling him that he hoped he would be as patient and good-natured in bearing his confinement, as he had been dextrous in the mode of inflicting the wound. And so he went away.

[Pg 165]

Chapter X.

Good Advice.

Phonny was confined nearly a week with his wound. They moved the sofa on which he was lying up into a corner of the room, near Mrs. Henry’s window, and there Stuyvesant and Malleville brought various things to him to amuse him.

He was very patient and good-natured during his confinement to this sofa. Wallace came to see him soon after he was hurt, and gave him some good advice in this respect.

“Now,” said Wallace, “you have an opportunity to cultivate and show one mark of manliness which we like to see in boys.”

“I should think you would like to see all marks of manliness in boys,” said Phonny.

“Oh no,” said Wallace. “Some traits of manly character we like, and some we don’t like.”

“What don’t we like?” asked Phonny.

“Why—there are many,” said Wallace, [Pg 166]hesitating and considering. “We don’t desire to see in boys the sedateness and gravity of demeanor that we like to see in men. We like to see them playful and joyous while they are boys.”

“I thought it was better to be sober,” said Phonny.

“No,” said Wallace, “not for boys. Boys ought to be sober at proper times; but in their plays and in their ordinary occupations, it is better for them to be frolicsome and light-hearted. Their time for care and thoughtful concern has not come. The only way by which they can form good healthy constitutions, is to run about a great deal, and have a great deal of frolicking and fun. Only they must be careful not to let their fun and frolicking give other people trouble. But we like to see them full of life, and joy, and activity, for we know that that is best for them. If a boy of twelve were to be as sage and demure as a man, always sitting still, and reading and studying, we should be afraid, either that he was already sick, or that he would make himself sick.”

“Then I think that you ought to be concerned about Stuyvesant,” said Phonny, “for [Pg 167]he is as sage and demure as any man I ever saw.”

Wallace laughed at this.

“There is a boy that lives down in the village that is always making some fun,” said Phonny. “One evening he dressed himself up like a poor beggar boy, and came to the door of his father’s house and knocked; and when his father came to the door, he told a piteous story about being poor and hungry, and his mother being sick, and he begged his father to give him something to eat, and a little money to buy some tea for his mother. His father thought he was a real beggar boy, and gave him some money. Then afterward he came in and told his father all about it, and had a good laugh.

“Then another day he got a bonnet and shawl of his sister Fanny, and put them upon a pillow, so as to make the figure of a girl with them, and then he carried the pillow up to the top of the shed, and set it up by the side of the house. It looked exactly as if Fanny was up there. Then he went into the house and called his mother to come out. And when she got out where she could see, [Pg 168]he pointed up and asked her whether Fanny ought to be up there on the shed.”


Wallace laughed to hear this story.

“Then in a minute,” continued Phonny, “the boy pointed off in another direction, and there his mother saw Fanny playing safely upon the grass.”

“And what did his mother say?” asked Wallace.

“She was frightened at first,” replied [Pg 169]Phonny, “when she saw what she supposed was Fanny up in such a dangerous place; but when she saw how it really was, she laughed and went into the house.”

“Do you think he did right, Wallace?” asked Stuyvesant.

“What do you think, Phonny?” asked Wallace.

“Why, I don’t know,” said Phonny.

“Do you think, on the whole, that his mother was most pleased or most pained by it?” asked Wallace.

“Most pleased,” said Phonny. “She was not much frightened, and that only for a moment, and she laughed about it a great deal.”

“Were you there at the time?” asked Wallace.

“Yes,” said Phonny.

“What was the boy’s name?” said Wallace.

“Arthur,” said Phonny.

“Another day,” continued Phonny, “Arthur was taking a walk with Fanny, and he persuaded her to go across a plank over a brook, and when she was over, he pulled the plank away, so that she could not get back again. He danced about on the bank on the [Pg 170]other side, and called Fanny a savage living in the woods.”

“And what did Fanny do?” asked Wallace.

“Why, she was very much frightened, and began to cry.”

“And then what did Arthur do?” asked Wallace.

“Why, after a time he put up the plank again and let her come home. He told her that she was a foolish girl to cry, for he only did it for fun.”

“And do you think he did right or wrong?” said Wallace.

“Why, wrong, I suppose,” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Wallace, “decidedly wrong, I think; for in that case there is no doubt that his fun gave his sister a great deal of pain. It is very right for boys to love frolicking and fun, but they should be very careful not to let their fun give other people trouble or pain.”

“But now, Phonny,” continued Wallace, “you are to be shut up for perhaps a week, and here is an opportunity for you to show some marks of manliness which we always like to see in boys.”

[Pg 171]

“How can I?” asked Phonny.

“Why, in the first place,” said Wallace, “by a proper consideration of the case, so as to understand exactly how it is. Sometimes a boy situated as you are, without looking at all the facts in the case, thinks only of his being disabled and helpless, and so he expects every body to wait upon him, and try to amuse him, as if that were his right. He gives his mother a great deal of trouble, by first wanting this and then that, and by uttering a great many expressions of discontent, impatience and ill-humor. Thus his accident is not only the means of producing inconvenience to himself, but it makes the whole family uncomfortable. This is boyishness of a very bad kind.

“To avoid this, you must consider what the true state of the case is. Whose fault is it that you are laid up here in this way?”

“Why it is mine, I suppose,” said Phonny. “Though if Stuyvesant had not advised me to bring the hatchet in, I suppose that I should not have cut myself.”

“It was not by bringing the hatchet in, that you cut yourself,” said Wallace, “but by stopping to cut with it on the way, contrary to your mother’s wishes.”

[Pg 172]

“Yes,” said Phonny, “I suppose that was it.”

“So that it was your fault. Now when any person commits a fault,” continued Wallace, “he ought to confine the evil consequences of it to himself, as much as he can. Have the evil consequences of your fault, extended yet to any other people, do you think?”

“Why, yes,” said Phonny, “my mother has had some trouble.”

“Has she yet had any trouble that you might have spared her?” asked Wallace.

“Why—I don’t know,” said Phonny, “unless I could have bandaged my foot up myself.”

“If you could have bandaged it up yourself,” said Wallace, “you ought to have done so, though I suppose you could not. But now it is your duty to save her, as much as possible, from all other trouble. You ought to find amusement for yourself as much as you can, instead of calling upon her to amuse you, and you ought to be patient and gentle, and quiet and good-humored.

“Besides,” continued Wallace, “I think you ought to contrive something to do to repay her for the trouble that she has already [Pg 173]had with this cut. She was not to blame for it at all, and did not deserve to suffer any trouble or pain.”

“I don’t know what I can do,” said Phonny, “to repay her.”

“It is hard to find any thing for a boy to do to repay his mother, for what she does for him. But if you even wish to find something, and try to find something, it will make you always submissive and gentle toward her, and that will give her pleasure.”

“Perhaps I might read to her sometimes when she is sewing,” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Wallace, “that would be a good plan.”

When this conversation first commenced, Malleville was standing near to Wallace, and she listened to it for a little time, but she found that she did not understand a great deal of it, and she did not think that what she did understand was very interesting. So she went away.

She went to the piazza and began to gather up the green leaves which she had been playing with when Phonny had called her to go out to see the chickens. She put these leaves in her apron with the design of carrying them [Pg 174]to Phonny, thinking that perhaps it would amuse him to see them.

She brought them accordingly to the sofa, and now stood there, holding her apron by the corners, and waiting for Wallace to finish what he was saying.

“What have you got in your apron?” said Wallace.

“Some leaves,” said Malleville. “I am going to show them to Phonny.”

So she opened her apron and showed Phonny.

“They are nothing but leaves,” said Phonny, “are they? Common leaves.”

“No,” said Malleville, “they are not common leaves. They are very pretty leaves.”

Stuyvesant came to look at the leaves. He took up one or two of them.

“That is a maple leaf,” said he, “and that is an oak.”

There was a small oak-tree in the corner of the yard.

“I am going to press them in a book,” said Malleville.

Wallace looked at the leaves a minute, and then he went away.

Stuyvesant seemed more interested in looking[Pg 175] at the leaves, than Phonny had been. He proposed that while Phonny was sick, they should employ themselves in making a collection of the leaves of forest-trees.

“We can make a scrap-book,” said he, “and paste them in, and then, underneath we can write all about the trees that the leaves belong to.”

“How can we find out about the trees?” asked Phonny.

“Beechnut will tell us,” said Stuyvesant.

“So he will,” replied Phonny, “and that will be an excellent plan.”

This project was afterward put into execution. Stuyvesant made a scrap-book. He made it of a kind of smooth and pretty white wrapping-paper. He put what are called false leaves between all the true leaves, as is usually done in large scrap-books. Stuyvesant’s scrap-book had twenty leaves. He said that he did not think that they could find more than twenty kinds of trees. They pressed the leaves in a book until they were dry, and then pasted them into the scrap-book, one on the upper half of each page. Then they wrote on a small piece of white paper, all that they could learn about each tree, and put these [Pg 176]inscriptions under the leaves, to which they respectively referred.

The children worked upon the collection of leaves a little while every day. They divided the duty, giving each one a share. Stuyvesant pressed the leaves and gummed them to their places in the book. Phonny, who was a pretty good composer, composed the descriptions, and afterward Stuyvesant would copy them upon the pieces of paper which were to be pasted into the book. Stuyvesant used to go out to the barn or the yard, to get all the information which Beechnut could give him in respect to the particular tree which happened, for the time being, to be the subject of inquiry. He would then come in and tell Phonny what Beechnut had told him. Phonny would then write the substance of this information down upon a slate, and after reading it over, and carefully correcting it, Stuyvesant would copy it neatly upon the paper.

One day during the time that Phonny was confined to his sofa, Stuyvesant and Malleville had been playing with him for some time. At last Stuyvesant and Malleville concluded to go out into the yard a little while, and they left Phonny with a book to read.

[Pg 177]

“I am sorry to leave you alone,” said Stuyvesant.

“Oh, no matter,” said Phonny, “I can read. But there is one thing I should like.”

“What is that?” said Stuyvesant.

“I should like to see Frink. I suppose it would not do to bring him in here. Would it, mother?”

Mrs. Henry was sitting at her window at this time sewing.

“Why, I don’t know,” said Mrs. Henry. “How can you bring him in?” she asked.

“Oh, I can put his house upon a board,” said Stuyvesant, “and put him into it, and then bring house and all.”

“Well,” said Mrs. Henry, “I have no objection. Only get a smooth and clean board.”

So Stuyvesant went out to the shop to get the squirrel. He found him perched upon the handle of the hand-saw, which was hanging against the wall.

“Come, Frink, come with me,” said Stuyvesant. So he extended his hand and took Frink down.

“Ah!” said he, “I have not got your house ready yet. So you will please to go down into my pocket until I am ready.”

[Pg 178]

So saying, Stuyvesant slipped the squirrel into his jacket-pocket, leaving his head and the tip of his tail out. The squirrel being accustomed to such operations, remained perfectly still. Stuyvesant then found a board a little larger than the bottom of the squirrel’s house, and putting this board upon the bench, he placed the house upon it. He then took Frink out of his pocket and slipped him into the door. He next put a block before the door to keep the squirrel from coming out, and then taking up the board by the two ends he carried it out of the shop.

He walked along the yard with it until he came to the piazza, and then went in at Mrs. Henry’s window, which was open. As soon as he had gone in, Mrs. Henry shut her window, and Malleville shut the doors. Stuyvesant then put the house down upon a chair, and took the block away from the door to let the squirrel come out.

Frink seemed at first greatly astonished to find himself in a parlor. The first thing that he did was to run up to the top of a tall clock which stood in the corner, and perching himself [Pg 179]upon a knob there, he began to gaze around the room.


Phonny was very much amused at this. Stuyvesant and Malleville were very much amused, too. They postponed their plan of [Pg 180]going out to play for some time, in order that they might see Frink run about the parlor. At length, however, they went away, and Phonny commenced reading his story. After a time, Frink crept slyly along and perched himself on the back of the sofa, close to the book out of which Phonny was reading.

[Pg 181]

Chapter XI.

The Journey.

One evening about a week after the occurrences related in the last chapter, when Phonny’s foot had got entirely well, Mrs. Henry went to the door which led to the back yard with a letter in her hand. She was looking for Stuyvesant.

Presently she saw him and Phonny coming through the garden gate with tools in their hands. They had been down to build a bridge across a small brook in a field beyond the garden.

“Stuyvesant,” said Mrs. Henry, “I have just received a letter from your father.”

Stuyvesant’s eye brightened as Mrs. Henry said this, and he pressed eagerly forward to learn what the letter contained.

“It is about you,” said Mrs. Henry, “and it is a very important letter indeed.”

“What is it?” said Phonny eagerly. “Read it to us, mother.”

[Pg 182]

So Mrs. Henry opened the letter and read it as follows,—the boys standing before her all the time, with their tools in their hands.

New York, June 20.

“My Dear Sister,

“My business has taken such a turn that I am obliged to go to Europe, to be gone five or six weeks, and I am thinking seriously of taking Stuyvesant with me. He is so thoughtful and considerate a boy that I think he will give me very little trouble, and he will be a great deal of company for me, on the way. Besides I think he will be amused and entertained himself with what he will see in traveling through England, and in London and Paris, and I do not think that he will care much for whatever hardships we may have to endure on the voyage. So I have concluded to take him, if he would like to go. I intend to sail in the steamer of the first, so that it will be necessary for him to come home immediately. I would rather have him come home alone, if he feels good courage for such an undertaking,—as I think he could take care of himself very well, and the experience which he would acquire by such a journey [Pg 183]would be of great service to him. If he seems inclined to come alone, please send him on as soon as may be. Furnish him with plenty of money, and give him all necessary directions. If on the other hand he appears to be a little afraid, send some one with him. Perhaps Beechnut could come.”

Here Mrs. Henry raised her eyes from the letter as if she had read all that related to the subject, and Phonny immediately exclaimed.

“Send me, mother; send me. I’ll go and take care of him. Let me go, Stivy, that will be the best plan.” As he said this Phonny, using his hoe for a vaulting pole, began to leap about the yard with delight at the idea.

Stuyvesant remained where he was, with a pleased though thoughtful expression of countenance, but saying nothing.

“I’ll give you two hours to think of it,” said Mrs. Henry, addressing Stuyvesant. “You must set off either alone or with Beechnut to-morrow morning.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “I will think of it and come to tell you. And now, Phonny, let us go and put away the tools.”

In the course of the two hours which Stuyvesant [Pg 184]was allowed for considering the question, he made a great many inquiries of Beechnut in respect to the journey, asking not only in relation to the course which he should pursue at the different points in the journey if every thing went prosperously and well, but also in regard to what he should do in the various contingencies which might occur on the way.

“Do you advise me to try it?” said Stuyvesant.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “by all means; and that is very disinterested advice, for there is nothing that I should like better than to go with you.”

Mrs. Henry herself afterward asked Beechnut if he thought it would be safe for Stuyvesant to go alone.

“Just as safe,” said Beechnut, “as it would be for him to go under my charge. There is always danger of accidents, in traveling,” he added, “but there is no more danger for Stuyvesant alone than if he were in company.”

“But will he know what to do always,” said Mrs. Henry, “in order to get along?”

“I think he will,” said Beechnut. “I shall explain it all to him beforehand.”

[Pg 185]

“But there may be some accident,” said Mrs. Henry. “The train may run off the track, or there may be a collision.”

“That is true,” replied Beechnut, “but those things will be as likely to happen if I were with him as if he were alone. It seems to me that when a boy gets as old as Stuyvesant, the only advantage of having some one with him when he is traveling is to keep him from doing careless or foolish things,—and Stuyvesant can take care of himself in that respect.”

It was finally decided that Stuyvesant should go alone.

About eight o’clock, Mrs. Henry went up into Stuyvesant’s room to pack his trunk, but she found it packed already. Stuyvesant had put every thing in, and had arranged the various articles in a very systematic and orderly manner. The trunk was all ready to be locked and strapped; but it was left open in order that Mrs. Henry might see that all was right.

Besides his trunk, Stuyvesant had a small carpet-bag, which contained such things as he expected to have occasion to use on the way. In this carpet-bag was a night-dress, rolled up snugly, and also a change of clean linen. [Pg 186]Besides these things there were two books which Stuyvesant had borrowed of Phonny to read in the cars, in case there should chance to be any detention by the way. Stuyvesant had a small morocco portfolio too, which shut with a clasp, and contained note and letter paper, and wafers and postage stamps. This portfolio he always carried with him on his journeys, so that he could, at any time, have writing materials at hand, in case he wished to write a letter. He carried the portfolio in his carpet-bag. There was a small square morocco-covered inkstand also in the carpet-bag. It shut with a spring and a catch, and kept the ink very securely.

Mrs. Henry calculated that it would cost Stuyvesant about ten dollars to go from Franconia to New York; so she put ten dollars, in small bills, in Stuyvesant’s wallet, and also a ten dollar bill besides, in the inner compartment of his wallet, to be used in case of emergency. When all these arrangements were made, she told Stuyvesant that he might go and find Beechnut, and get his directions.

Stuyvesant accordingly went in pursuit of Beechnut. He found him sitting on a bench, under a trellis covered with woodbine, at the [Pg 187]kitchen door, enjoying the cool of the evening. Malleville was with him, and he was telling her a story. Stuyvesant and Phonny came and sat down upon the bench near to Beechnut.

“So then it is decided that you are to go alone,” said Beechnut.

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant, “and I have come to you to get my directions.”

“Well,” said Beechnut. “I am glad you are going. You will have a very pleasant journey, I have no doubt,—that is, if you have accidents enough.”

“Accidents!” said Stuyvesant. “So you wish me to meet with accidents?”

“Yes,” said Beechnut. “I don’t desire that you should meet with any very serious or dangerous accidents, but the more common accidents that you meet with, the more you will have to amuse and entertain you. If it were only winter now, there would be a prospect that you might be blocked up in a snow storm.”

“Hoh!” said Phonny, “that would be a dreadful thing.”

“No,” replied Beechnut, “not dreadful at all. For people who are on business, and [Pg 188]who are in haste to get to the end of their journey, it is bad to meet with accidents and delays; but for boys, and for people who are traveling for pleasure, the more adventures they meet with the better.”

“Accidents are not adventures,” said Phonny.

“They lead to adventures,” replied Beechnut.

“But now for my directions,” said Stuyvesant.

“Well, as for your directions,” replied Beechnut, “I can either go over the whole ground with you, and tell you what to do in each particular case,—or I can give you one universal rule, which will guide you in traveling in all cases, wherever you go. Which would you prefer?”

“I should prefer the rule,” said Stuyvesant, “if that will be enough to guide me.”

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “it is enough to guide you, not only from here to New York, but all over the civilized world.”

“What is the rule?” asked Stuyvesant.

“I shall write it down for you,” replied Beechnut, “and you can read it in the stage, to-morrow morning, or in the cars.”

[Pg 189]

“Well,” said Stuyvesant,—“if you are sure that it will be enough for me.”

“Yes,” replied Beechnut, “I am sure it will be enough. It is the rule that I always travel by, and I find it will carry me safely anywhere. It is an excellent rule for ladies, who are traveling alone. If they would only trust themselves to it, it would be all the guidance that they would need.”

“Well,” said Stuyvesant, “I will decide to take the rule.”

Shortly after this, Beechnut and the children all went into the house, and Stuyvesant and Phonny went to bed. Stuyvesant was so much excited, however, at the thoughts of his journey, that it was a long time before he could get to sleep.

He woke at the earliest dawn. He rose and dressed himself, and took his breakfast at six o’clock. At seven the stage came for him. Beechnut carried his trunk out to the stage, and the driver strapped it on in its place, behind. Mrs. Henry and Malleville stood at the door to see. Stuyvesant went first to the kitchen, to bid Dorothy good-by, and then came out through the front door, and bade Mrs. Henry and Malleville good-by.

[Pg 190]


By this time the driver of the stage had finished strapping on the trunk, and had opened the door and was waiting for Stuyvesant to get in. Beechnut handed Stuyvesant a small note. He said that the Traveling Rule was inside of it, but that Stuyvesant must not open the note until he got into the car on the railroad. So Stuyvesant took the note and put it in his pocket, and then shaking hands with Beechnut and Phonny, and putting [Pg 191]his carpet-bag in before him, he climbed up the steps and got into the stage. The driver shut the door, mounted upon the box, and drove away.

Stuyvesant had about twenty-five miles to go in the stage. He was then to take the cars upon a railroad and go about a hundred and fifty miles to Boston. From Boston he was to go to New York, either by the railroad all the way, or by one of the Sound boats, just as he pleased.

Stuyvesant had a great curiosity to know what the rule was which Beechnut had written for him as a universal direction for traveling. He had, however, been forbidden to open the note until he should reach the cars. So he waited patiently, wondering what the rule could be.

One reason in fact why Beechnut had directed Stuyvesant not to open his note until he should reach the cars, was to give him something to occupy his attention and amuse his thoughts on first going away from home. The feeling of loneliness and home-sickness to be apprehended in traveling under such circumstances, is always much greater when first setting out on the journey than afterward, [Pg 192]and Beechnut being aware of this, thought it desirable to give Stuyvesant something to think of when he first drove away from the door.

When Stuyvesant first got into the stage he took a place on the middle of the front seat, which was not a very good place, for he could not see. Pretty soon, however, he had an opportunity to change to a place on the middle seat, near the window. Here he enjoyed the ride very much. He could look out and see the farms, and the farm-houses, and the people passing, as the stage drove along, and at intervals he amused himself with listening to the conversation of the people in the stage.

It was about ten o’clock when the stage arrived at the railroad station. As they drew near to the place, Stuyvesant began to consider what he should have to do in respect to getting his trunk transferred from the stage to the train of cars. He knew very well that he could ask the driver what to do, but he felt an ambition to find out himself, and he accordingly concluded to wait until after he had got out of the stage, and had had an opportunity to make his own observations before troubling the driver with his questions. As for his ticket, [Pg 193]he was aware that he must buy that at the ticket-office, and he supposed that he could find the ticket-office very readily.

When the stage stopped, Stuyvesant and all the other passengers go out. The stage was standing near a platform which extended along the side of one of the buildings of the station. As soon as the passengers had got out, the driver began to take off the trunks from the rack behind the stage, and to put them on the platform.

There was a gentleman among the passengers who had said in the course of conversation in the stage, that he belonged in Boston, and was going there. It occurred to Stuyvesant that it would be a good plan to watch this man and see what he would do in respect to his trunk, and then do the same in respect to his own. So he stood on the platform while the driver was taking down the trunks, and said nothing.

The driver put the trunks and baggage down, in heaps of confusion all about the platform, and though the passengers were all standing around, none of them paid much attention to what he was doing; this led Stuyvesant to think that there was no urgent [Pg 194]necessity for haste or anxiety about the business, but that in some way or other it would all come right in the end. So he stood quietly by, and said nothing.

The result was just as he had anticipated; for after he had been standing there a short time, a man with a band about his hat, on which were inscribed the words baggage-master, came out from a door in the station-house, and advancing toward the baggage with a business-like air, he said,

“Now then, gentlemen, tell me where all this baggage is going to?”

As the baggage-master said this, the people standing by began to point out their several trunks, and to say where they were to go. As fast as the baggage-master was informed of the destination of the trunks and carpet-bags, he would fasten a check upon each one by means of a small strap, and give the mate of the check to the owner of the baggage. Stuyvesant stood quietly by, watching this operation until it came to the turn of the gentleman who he had observed was going to Boston.

“That trunk is to go to Boston,” said the gentleman, pointing to his trunk.

[Pg 195]

So the baggage-master checked the trunk and gave the duplicate check to the gentleman.

“And that trunk is to go to Boston too,” said Stuyvesant, pointing to his own trunk.

So the baggage-master put a check upon Stuyvesant’s trunk and gave Stuyvesant the duplicate of it.

Stuyvesant observed that as soon as the baggage was checked, the owners of it appeared to go away at once, and to give themselves no farther concern about it, and he inferred that it would be safe for him to do so too. So he went into the station to find the ticket-office, in order to buy his ticket. He saw, in a corner of the room, a sort of window with a counter before it, and a sign, with the words Ticket Office above. Stuyvesant went to this window. The Boston gentleman was there, buying his ticket.

One for Boston,” said the gentleman. As he said this, he laid down a bank-bill upon the counter just within the window. The ticket seller gave him two tickets and some change.

“He said one and he has got two,” said Stuyvesant to himself. “I wonder what that means.”

[Pg 196]

Stuyvesant then took the Boston gentleman’s place at the window, and laid down a bank bill upon the counter, saying:

Half a one, for Boston.”

The ticket-seller looked at Stuyvesant a moment over his spectacles, with a very inquiring expression of countenance, and then said,

“How old are you, my boy?”

“I am between nine and ten,” said Stuyvesant.

“And are you going to Boston, all alone?” asked the man.

“Yes, sir,” said Stuyvesant.

So the man gave Stuyvesant two tickets and his change, and Stuyvesant put them, tickets, money and all, carefully in his wallet, and turned away. He observed that each of his tickets had one of the corners cut off. This was to show that they were for a boy who had only paid half-price.

As Stuyvesant turned to go away, he met the driver of the stage coming toward him.

“Ah, Stuyvesant,” said he, “I was looking for you. Have you got your tickets?”

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant.

“And is your trunk checked?” asked the driver.

[Pg 197]

“Yes,” said Stuyvesant.

“Very well, then; it’s all right. I was going to show you. I did not suppose that you knew how to take care of yourself so well.”

There were no cars at the station at this time. It was a way station, and the train was to pass there, and stop a few minutes to take up passengers, but it had not yet arrived. Stuyvesant went round to see what had been done with his trunk. It had been removed from the place where he had left it, but after a time he found it, with others, on another platform near the railroad track. He supposed that that was the place where the train was to come in.

He was right in this supposition, for in a few minutes the sound of the whistle was heard in the distance, and soon afterward the train came thundering in. It slackened its speed as it advanced, and finally stopped opposite to the platform on which Stuyvesant was standing. The baggage-master put the trunks into the baggage car, and the passengers got into the passenger cars, and in a very few minutes the bell rang, and the train began to move on again. Stuyvesant got an excellent seat near a window.

[Pg 198]

“Now,” said he, “for Beechnut’s rule.”

So Stuyvesant opened his note, and read as follows:—

“Keep a quiet mind, and do as other people do. Beechnut.

“That’s just what I have been doing all the time,” said Stuyvesant to himself, as soon as he had read the paper. “I found out Beechnut’s rule myself, before he told me.”

This was true; for Stuyvesant’s instinctive good sense and sagacity had taught him that when traveling with a multitude of other people, who were almost all perfectly familiar with the usages of the road, a stranger would always find sufficient means of guidance in his observation of those about him. It gave Stuyvesant pleasure to think that he had found out the way to travel himself, and he was very glad to have the wisdom of the method which he had adopted, confirmed by Beechnut’s testimony.

During the whole of the journey to Boston, Stuyvesant guided himself by observation of [Pg 199]those about him. When the conductor came for the tickets Stuyvesant looked to see what the others did, and then did the same himself. At one time the cars stopped, and all the passengers rose from their seats and seemed to be going out. Stuyvesant accordingly rose and went with them. There was a man on the platform, who called out as the people stepped down from the cars, “Passengers for Boston will take the forward cars on the right.” Stuyvesant followed the crowd and entered with them into the cars of another train. In fact the travelers had arrived at what is called a junction, that is to a place where they come upon a railroad belonging to another company, and here of course they took another train. The fact that there were two railroads and two companies was the reason why each passenger had two tickets.

Stuyvesant wondered whether the baggage men would remember to transfer his trunk to the new train, without his attending to it, but as he observed that the other passengers did nothing about their trunks, but went at once into the new cars, he concluded that he had nothing to do but follow their example.

When he arrived at Boston it was very late. [Pg 200]This was owing to a detention which took place on the road through a somewhat singular cause. It seems that there was in one part of the road a very narrow cut, through a rocky hill, and the company were attempting to widen it in order to make a double track. They had accordingly been blasting the rocks on one side of the cut, and having fired a very heavy charge just before the train that Stuyvesant was in came along, an immense mass of rocks had fallen down into the cut and covered the track so that the train could not get by. The workman had accordingly sent a man along with a red flag to stop the train when it should come, and in the mean time they went to work with an enormous crane, which was set up on the rocks above, to hoist the stones off from the track, and swing them out of the way. A great many of the passengers got out and went forward when the train stopped, in order to see this operation; and Stuyvesant felt himself authorized by Beechnut’s rule to go with them. It took more than half an hour to raise and remove the rocks so as to clear the track, and Stuyvesant had a very pleasant time in watching the operation, and in listening to the [Pg 201]remarks of the men who were standing around.

On account of this delay, and of some subsequent delays which were caused by this one, it was quite late when the train arrived in Boston. When the cars at length reached the Boston station and the passengers began to get out, a great scene of noise and confusion ensued.

“Now,” said Stuyvesant to himself, “I must obey the first part of Beechnut’s direction, and keep a quiet mind.”

He accordingly rose from his seat, and taking his carpet-bag in his hand he went out with the rest of the passengers. There was a great crowd of hackmen on the platform, all clamorously shouting together to the passengers, offering their carriages and calling out the names of the several hotels. Stuyvesant observed that those before him who wished for a hack would quietly speak to one of these men, give him their baggage tickets and then ask him to show them his carriage. Stuyvesant accordingly did the same. He spoke to a man who was standing there with a whip in his hand and asking every body if they wanted a carriage.

[Pg 202]

“I want a carriage,” said Stuyvesant. “I want to go to the Marlboro’ Hotel.”

“Yes,” said the man, eagerly. “I’ll take you right there. Walk this way and I’ll show you the carriage.”

So Stuyvesant followed the man and got into his carriage. At the same time he gave him his check and said, “That’s for my trunk.” The man took the check and went away. In about ten minutes he returned with the trunk, and after fastening it upon the carriage behind, he got upon the box and drove away.

Stuyvesant had a very fine time at the Marlboro’ Hotel. He had a good bed-room to sleep in that night, and an excellent breakfast the next morning. He took a little walk in Washington-street after breakfast, and then wrote a short letter to Phonny to tell him how well he had got along on his journey. He wrote this letter in his room, having all the necessary materials in his portfolio. When his letter was finished, he brought it to the office of the hotel, and asked the clerk how he could get that letter to the post-office.

“Put it right in there,” said the clerk.

So saying, the clerk pointed to a letter-box on the counter, with an opening at the top, [Pg 203]and Stuyvesant dropped the letter in. He then told the clerk that he wished to go to New York that day by the afternoon train. The clerk said that it was very well, and that he would have a carriage ready at the proper time to take him to the station. Stuyvesant had no idea where the station was, or what the arrangements would be there about checks and tickets; but he had no doubt that he should find plenty of people there who were going to New York that day, and that he could very easily find out, by observing them, what he would have to do.

And so it proved. He had no difficulty whatever. In fact, all that he had to do was to throw himself, as it were, into the current, and be floated along to New York without any care or concern. He arrived very safely there at last, and his father was quite proud of him when he found that he had come all the way home alone.



[A] To prevent the squirrels that are caught from gnawing out, the boys sometimes line the inside of their traps with tin.

[B] See Frontispiece.

Transcriber’s Note:

Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters’ errors; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author’s words and intent.

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