The Project Gutenberg EBook of Our Young Folks--Vol. I, No. II, February
1865, by Various

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Title: Our Young Folks--Vol. I, No. II, February 1865
       An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls

Author: Various

Editor: J. T. Trowbridge
        Gail Hamilton
        Lucy Larcom

Release Date: January 2, 2010 [EBook #30829]

Language: English

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An Illustrated Magazine


Vol. I. FEBRUARY, 1865. No. II.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by Ticknor and Fields. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

This Table of Contents is added for convenience


Pg 81




Who of my young friends have read the sorrowful story of “Enoch Arden,” so sweetly and simply told by the great English poet? It is the story of a man who went to sea, leaving behind a sweet young wife and little daughter. He was cast away on a desert island, where he remained several years, when he was discovered, and taken off by a passing vessel. Coming back to his native town, he found his wife married to an old playmate,—a good man, rich and honored, and with whom she was living happily. The poor man, unwilling to cause her pain and perplexity, resolved not to make himself known to her, and lived and died alone. The poem has reminded me of a very similar story of my own New England neighborhood, which I have often heard, and which I will try to tell, not in poetry, like Alfred Tennyson's, but in my own poor prose. I can assure my readers that in its main particulars it is a true tale.

One bright summer morning, more than threescore years ago, David Matson, with his young wife and his two healthy, barefooted boys, stood on the bank of the river near their dwelling. They were waiting there for Pelatiah Curtis to come round the Point with his wherry, and take the husband and father to the Port, a few miles below. The Lively Turtle was Pg 82about to sail on a voyage to Spain, and David was to go in her as mate. They stood there in the level morning sunshine talking cheerfully; but had you been near enough, you could have seen tears in Anna Matson's blue eyes, for she loved her husband, and knew there was always danger on the sea. And David's bluff, cheery voice trembled a little now and then, for the honest sailor loved his snug home on the Merrimack, with the dear wife and her pretty boys. But presently the wherry came alongside, and David was just stepping into it, when he turned back to kiss his wife and children once more.

“In with you, man,” said Pelatiah Curtis. “There's no time for kissing and such fooleries when the tide serves.”

And so they parted. Anna and the boys went back to their home, and David to the Port, whence he sailed off in the Lively Turtle. And months passed, autumn followed the summer, and winter the autumn, and then spring came, and anon it was summer on the river-side, and he did not come back. And another year passed, and then the old sailors and fishermen shook their heads solemnly, and said that the Lively Turtle was a lost ship, and would never come back to port. And poor Anna had her bombazine gown dyed black, and her straw bonnet trimmed in mourning ribbons, and thenceforth she was known only as the Widow Matson.

And how was it all this time with David himself?

Now you must know that the Mohammedan people of Algiers and Tripoli, and Mogadore and Sallee, on the Barbary coast, had for a long time been in the habit of fitting out galleys and armed boats to seize upon the merchant-vessels of Christian nations, and make slaves of their crews and passengers, just as men calling themselves Christians in America were sending vessels to Africa to catch black slaves for their plantations. The Lively Turtle fell into the hands of one of these roving sea-robbers, and the crew were taken to Algiers, and sold in the market-place as slaves, poor David Matson among the rest.

When a boy he had learned the trade of a ship-carpenter with his father on the Merrimack; and now he was set at work in the dock-yards. His master, who was naturally a kind man, did not overwork him. He had daily his three loaves of bread, and when his clothing was worn out, its place was supplied by the coarse cloth of wool and camel's hair woven by the Berber women. Three hours before sunset he was released from work, and Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sabbath, was a day of entire rest. Once a year, at the season called Ramadan, he was left at leisure for a whole week. So time went on,—days, weeks, months, and years. His dark hair became gray. He still dreamed of his old home on the Merrimack, and of his good Anna and the boys. He wondered whether they yet lived, what they thought of him, and what they were doing. The hope of ever seeing them again grew fainter and fainter, and at last nearly died out; and he resigned himself to his fate as a slave for life.

But one day a handsome middle-aged gentleman, in the dress of one of his own countrymen, attended by a great officer of the Dey, entered the ship-yard, and called up before him the American captives. The stranger was none other than Joel Barlow, Commissioner of the United States to Pg 83procure the liberation of slaves belonging to that government. He took the men by the hand as they came up, and told them they were free. As you might expect, the poor fellows were very grateful; some laughed, some wept for joy, some shouted and sang, and threw up their caps, while others, with David Matson among them, knelt down on the chips, and thanked God for the great deliverance.

“This is a very affecting scene,” said the Commissioner, wiping his eyes. “I must keep the impression of it for my Columbiad”;—and drawing out his tablet, he proceeded to write on the spot an apostrophe to Freedom, which afterwards found a place in his great epic.

David Matson had saved a little money during his captivity, by odd jobs and work on holidays. He got a passage to Malaga, where he bought a nice shawl for his wife and a watch for each of his boys. He then went to the quay, where an American ship was lying just ready to sail for Boston.

Almost the first man he saw on board was Pelatiah Curtis, who had rowed him down to the port seven years before. He found that his old neighbor did not know him, so changed was he with his long beard and Moorish dress, whereupon, without telling his name, he began to put questions about his old home, and finally asked him if he knew a Mrs. Matson.

“I rather think I do,” said Pelatiah; “she's my wife.”

“Your wife!” cried the other. “She is mine before God and man. I am David Matson, and she is the mother of my children.”

“And mine too!” said Pelatiah. “I left her with a baby in her arms. If you are David Matson, your right to her is outlawed; at any rate she is mine, and I am not the man to give her up.”

“God is great!” said poor David Matson, unconsciously repeating the familiar words of Moslem submission. “His will be done. I loved her, but I shall never see her again. Give these, with my blessing, to the good woman and the boys,” and he handed over, with a sigh, the little bundle containing the gifts for his wife and children.

He shook hands with his rival. “Pelatiah,” he said, looking back as he left the ship, “be kind to Anna and my boys.”

“Ay, ay, sir!” responded the sailor in a careless tone. He watched the poor man passing slowly up the narrow street until out of sight. “It's a hard case for old David,” he said, helping himself to a fresh cud of tobacco, “but I'm glad I've seen the last of him.”

When Pelatiah Curtis reached home he told Anna the story of her husband and laid his gifts in her lap. She did not shriek nor faint, for she was a healthy woman with strong nerves; but she stole away by herself and wept bitterly. She lived many years after, but could never be persuaded to wear the pretty shawl which the husband of her youth had sent as his farewell gift. There is, however, a tradition that, in accordance with her dying wish, it was wrapped about her poor old shoulders in the coffin, and buried with her.

The little old bull's-eye watch, which is still in the possession of one of her grandchildren, is now all that remains to tell of David Matson,—the lost man.

John G. Whittier.

The Sandpiper
Pg 84 Top


Across the lonely beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud, black and swift, across the sky:
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,
One little sandpiper and I.
I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong,
He scans me with a fearless eye;
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.
Pg 85
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My drift-wood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky;
For are we not God's children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I?
C. T.



THEY were a family that had long outlived their grandeur,—the Fotheringtons. And though the last generation had been kept alive with traditions of it, the present one knew those traditions only as vague dreams that might or might not be true, and which, either way, had nothing at all to do with their absolute want of bread and butter, other than as having fostered past pride they had hindered honest labor. Of all those great colonial possessions, nothing remained to them but the rambling old house and its well-worn hereditaments; and though various parts even of the old mansion itself had been sold and moved away, still much more room remained than was needed by the mother and her five children,—the mother, whose woful condition had brought her to an utter contempt of the ancestral Fotheringtons, the children, who yet preserved a certain happiness in the midst of their poverty in remembering that at their great-grandfather's wedding a hundred guests were entertained for a week in the house after princely fashion. Not that the Fotheringtons of to-day did not present a decent appearance;—gowns were turned, and ribbons were pressed, and laces were darned till there was nothing left of them; nobody knew exactly how poor they were, which perhaps made it all the harder. The eldest daughters had been quite comfortably educated before everything was gone; the elder son had pushed his own way through college with but small debt, and was now studying his profession at home, finding much reason for unhappiness, and vexed out of patience by little Sarah's troublesome tongue and fingers, and young Tommy's musical fancy, which occasioned him opportunity of exercising his lungs and his shrill little voice all day long and sometimes half the night. It was hard work for poor Frederick Fotherington to try and bury himself in the dismal profundities of his law-books, and the quirks and catches of their citations, when little Sarah had been planted at one end of the great, lumbering cradle in which the first Fotherington might have been rocked,—planted there to be entertained by Tommy, who, inserting himself at the other end,Pg 86 with a hand on either side, loudly rocked the great ark quite across the room from one end to the other, piping meanwhile, like a boatswain's whistle, an interminable ballad of the Fair Rosamond that his sister Margaret had taught him, without ever dreaming of the evil use to which it would be put, and piping the more noisily the more he guessed at Frederick's annoyance. Of the two remaining children, Margaret taught school all day, being a visiting governess in two families; Helen stayed at home and did the house-work and the sewing, for the mother had been an invalid ever since her husband's death and the birth of little Sarah, something over two years ago.

This family had yet a trifle remaining of their mother's small dowry, invested, as it had been by their father, in certain bridge-stock, which paid dividends of exactly one per cent. This gave the two children molasses on their bread; the elders ate their bread without it. They had a cow, that fed in the paddock,—a cow lineally descended from a famous Puritan cow of the Fotherington breed,—and from her milk once a fortnight Helen contrived to scrape together butter enough for her mother's morning slice of toast. They completed the inventory of their wealth by mention of an old horse, which every day Frederick harnessed into an antique chaise, in order that he might take his mother for an airing.

Meantime, Helen, left with the two children alone in the house, would scrub, and scour, and cook, and sew, and sing songs, and tell stories,—stories of the good cheer of other days that once this barren house afforded, half of which she believed, and many of which she made up. Thus gradually left so much to herself and her fancies, while the others either detested their origin or laughed at it, Miss Helen had persuaded herself into a conviction that it was all a very fine thing, and was sure that they had by no means come to the end of such a tether, and that some day or other something was to turn up on it. There were the customary legends of every rich family for her to choose from; she might take that of the day when, after General Fotherington's funeral, the guests, returning from the grave, found the old gentleman there before them, storming up and down in a great pother opposite the portrait of his wife, long dead and gone, trying to shake the panel on which it was painted from its setting in the carved wood of the wall, so that half the world believed that the worthy, having failed to find his departed spouse in the spirit-land, had indignantly returned to loosen her ghost from the painting in which some cunning artist had imprisoned it, and the other half declared that certain deeds and records had been concealed between the panel and the chimney-bricks, which the General wished to dislodge; but, as no one knew of any deed or record missing, the matter had slipped by. Or, if Miss Helen's conjecture wearied on that, she might take the rumor concerning a Revolutionary Fotherington, who, being a noted Tory, had seen fit both to eat his cake and have it, and had accordingly buried a great pot of golden Spanish pieces in the garden, and marked the spot with the young slip of a St. Michael's pear-tree. There stood the old St. Michael's at this day, a dead trunk, having long since ceased to bear either fruit or blossom or leaf; and many a time had Helen persuaded Margaret and Frederick toPg 87 take hoe and shovel and go with her to dig round the roots of the old St. Michael's. Once, after the first digging, the ancient tree surprised them by bursting into a cloud of blossoms, and bearing a crop of golden, juicy pears; but that was the last sign of life it ever gave, and all the gold they ever found. There, too, had been the wide, dark-eaved garrets full of moth-devoured relics of splendor; who knew what might be lying hidden in those vast hair-covered chests? They were there no longer now; for once, in an access of angry irreverence, Margaret had had them all dragged down, and had sold their contents to the rag-man, and had made by her speculation cloaks for themselves and a shawl for Frederick,—in the days when gentlemen condescended to lend to their stiff costume the graceful dignity of a dropping fold or two. But what treasures of parchment might not have been quilted into any one of those old brocaded petticoats? and who knew the unrevealed wealth of that trunk of yellowed papers, that had brought only the sum of ten dollars in the rag-man's scales? More than once Helen had started at the rap at the door, half expecting an announcement that such and such a document had been found among that heap of trumpery, thought to have been worthless as yellow autumn leaves, which would install them as the possessors of such and such domain,—raps which usually brought nothing but a shoe-bill, or a demand for the price of the previous winter's coal. All these idle day-dreams Helen wisely kept to herself and Tommy; for there was not another member of the family whom they would not have aggravated out of endurance.

It was one day drawing on towards twilight in the latter part of November,—an afternoon of the mild, sweet weather that always comes at that season, and always seems an accident. Frederick had driven his mother out for her airing, and whether they had been beguiled by the soft air into going too far, or had met with some accident or delay, they had not yet returned. Margaret would have worried, had she herself yet come in from her classes; as for Helen, who would have looked with a sanguine eye at her own shroud, she was sure no harm could happen while Frederick had the reins. So she busied herself in giving things as cheerful an aspect as possible when everybody should have reached home.

But, in the first place, there were no coals. Helen had caught a pain in her side picking up the very last with her fingers. Nevertheless, she had put a bright face upon it, and, after threatening to set fire to the house and run away by the light of it, had decided that it would be better still to set fire to it and remain and be warmed by it, while Margaret declared they would never know what luck was again till they had made soap from the ashes. All that, however, had put nothing into the coal-bin.

Yesterday, Helen had received five dollars for transferring a piece of embroidery for a wealthy acquaintance. She had hesitated about accepting it; it would be the first Fotherington that ever took wages,—Margaret's pay was salary; but conscience put down pride, and she gave thanks, and shut her purse,—and perhaps it broke the spell. In such a household one would have thought there would of course be no question what to do with it.Pg 88 On the contrary, it was a grave question. Should Tommy have a hat and Sarah a hood? should the mother have a shawl? should it buy a quarter of a ton of coal? And there was the lyceum! Now, in the town where they lived, not to attend the lyceum was not to be in society; last winter they had managed to effect one season-ticket, and the girls had gone alternately, in a neighbor's company; this winter Frederick was at home, and two tickets were desirable.

“Let us buy three tickets to the lyceum now,” said Margaret.

“Same money would buy three turkeys,” answered Helen, “and we're close on Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

“Yes, Nelly,” cried Tommy, who was thoroughly tired of bread and molasses, “buy the turkeys.”

“Be quiet, child,” said the mother; “you can't go to the lyceum, you know; so don't be selfish.”

“Well, which would be best,” meditated Margaret, who had a way of spending other people's money as well as her own,—“turkeys or tickets?”

“The turkeys will feast the whole family, the tickets only us three,” said Helen.

“And then our bonnets are so shabby,” said Margaret.

“Buy the turkeys, mother,” pleaded Tommy, piteously.

“Hush now, Tommy! You've no voice in the debate,” declared Margaret. “You're not a member of the Lyceum Society.”

“But I'm a member of the Turkey Society,” urged Tommy, as a finishing argument.

The result of the conference was, that, as Frederick's shoes were fast approaching the character of sandals with leathern thongs, they were surreptitiously subtracted from his bedside at night, and their place filled by a pair of stout boots, which would carry him well into the winter. That was yesterday. Meanwhile, to-day, no coals; no kindlings, if there had been; last year's bill due, and dunned for; winter upon their heels; the night growing chilly. Helen wrapped a cloak round little Sarah, and gave her her precious black rosary to play with, and bade Tommy take excellent care of her, and for reward he need recite only half his usual spelling-lesson when she came back. Then she ran up the hill behind the house,—she had reached that pass that she did not care whether the neighbors saw or not,—and fell to gathering sticks. Once the spot had been a wood-lot, now long since dispeopled of its dryads; a young sapling or two had sprung up in place of the old growth, and boughs and twigs were blown there in the storms. Helen came down with her arms full, and trailing a couple of great branches behind her. These, at the back door, she broke up, reserving larger pieces for the parlor blaze, and the small bits for a good kitchen fire; and, that done, decided to catch a couple of her choice chickens, and decapitate them, although she shut her eyes and cut her own thumb in the course of the procedure; these chickens, which were her special property, had been reserved by her for some occasion, and when would there be a better than Frederick and her mother returning from so late and unconscionable a jaunt,Pg 89 and doubtless shivering with the cold? This accomplished, and the savory stew simmering over the stove, Helen washed her hands, that had nearly lost their patrician shape and whiteness, took off her apron, and withdrew to the parlor. There she found that Master Tommy had, some time since, left little Sarah to her own devices, and she had forthwith broken the string, and scattered the beads of the rosary in every direction upon the floor, while he stood breathing upon a distant window-pane, and drawing pictures with his finger-tip on the groundwork thus effected, humming the while one of his favorite tunes to himself.

“Now, Tommy,” said Helen, “I'll hear your lesson.”

“No, you won't,” sang Tommy to his tune.

“Why not?”

“'Cause I can't say it.”

“Then we'll learn it together. F-a-t-h, what does that spell?”

“Don't know,” said Tommy, his finger in his mouth.

“See now if you can't remember,” urged Helen, giving him each letter phonetically.

“Don't want to know,” said Tommy.

Here, little Sarah, who had heard the lesson many times, informed him what the desired syllable ought to be, and inferred the rest herself. Whereupon Helen proceeded to the next word. But there Tommy proved obdurate, not only didn't know, and didn't want to know, but refused to hear, and presented such a fearful example to his younger sister, that his elder one had no resource but to transfer the cloak from Sarah to Tommy, and to shut him up in the dark closet. That done, she laid the sticks together in the grate, that was never made for sticks, and blew up a nice blaze, that warmed and lighted all the damp and dark old room; and, taking little Sarah in her arms, rocked and sung her away to sleep.

It was a dismal room, and had been long deserted,—possibly owing to its former dreariness, and possibly to the report of its haunted space and shadow; for over the chimney-piece was the panel with the pale, proud face of old General Fotherington's dead wife painted on it, which every midnight he was once believed to return and visit. But when other parts of the house had fallen into hopeless disrepair, Helen had taken Tommy's little hatchet, and had felled the lofty lilac-hedge that obscured all the southern windows of the room, had cleaned the old paint, made good use of a bucket of white-wash, reset the broken glass herself, and then moved chattels and personals into the vacancy, and given it a more homelike appearance than it had worn for half a century. If the truth were known, Helen's chief fancy for the room, shaky and insecure as both floor and ceiling seemed, was that dim panel-portrait blistering there above the fire or peeling off with mouldy flakes in past days,—for she had still many a longing for the old family-pictures that once her shiftless father, when put to his trumps, had sold to adorn the halls of some upstart with forefathers.

“Tommy,” said she softly, when little Sarah slept, “can you tell me what w-a-t-e-r spells?”Pg 90

“No,” said the stolid Tommy.

“Is it dark in there, Tommy?” asked she, half relenting, and yet half wishing to excite his fears enough to conquer his obduracy.

“I don't know,” answered Tommy, quite willing to converse, “I've got my eyes shut.”

“Very well,” said Helen, and went on with her low lullaby, which Tommy stoutly, but ineffectually, attempted to join. The wind was beginning to rise and clatter at the casements, and sing its own tune round the gable-corner; the dark had quite fallen, and the room was gloomy and vivid by turns with the fitful flashes of the firelight.

“Nelly,” said Tommy, wheedlingly, and shaking the lock of the closet, “I wish you'd give me some. I'm real sirsty.”

“Some what?” asked Helen, very willing to compromise.

“Some w-a-t-e-r. I'm so sirsty.”

“Pronounce it, Tommy, and you shall come out and have some.”

“I don't know how to,” was the atrocious answer.

“And some chicken-broth as well as some water, if you'll only tell me what those five letters spell.”

But there was nothing but silence in reply from Tommy, and Helen resumed her song.

“It's real damp in here,” said Tommy pretty soon, beginning to cough furiously. “I'm getting a stiff neck.”

“You have one already,” said Helen; and, laying little Sarah down, she went to put on her apron, to attend to her stew, to bring in the cloth and the tray of dishes, and to spread the supper-table in the warm room,—set out near the fire, the worn white linen, the sparse silver, the rare and gay old china, of which they used every day what would have decked out a modern drawing-room, all clean and glittering as if viands were various and plentiful as color and sparkle. That all done, again Cinderella sat down before the fire.

“'Elen!” said Tommy then in a muffled tone, having given the door another premonitory shake, and as if his darkness induced metaphysics, “how many yesterdays have there been and how many to-morrows are there going to be?”

“I'll tell you, Tommy, when you tell me what those letters spell.” And again in response there was silence on the part of the closet, broken by occasional kicks that shook the door, and even caused the old panel to stir in its worm-eaten setting of oaken wainscot. As Helen looked up after the silence that followed Tommy's demonstration, while the panel yet slightly stirred, it seemed to her that a shiver ran over the lady painted there; she remembered the ghost-stories, it made a shiver run over her herself. She rose and went to look out of the window and see if there were no sign of the chaise,—it was hardly time for Margaret yet. Then she returned, and her fascinated eyes caught again the eyes of the old Colonial Governor's lady, that lady who was her mother many generations removed. It was a pale face painted there, as if the painter had seen it only by moonlight,—dark eyes in which the lustre lay with an effect of restless, searching radiance, and the delicate aquilinePg 91 nose and thin and haughty lip spoke of a woman capable of acting a secret in her day, and keeping it long after, Helen thought. Whenever she caught the eye of that portrait,—and so curiously well was it painted, that she never looked at it without catching the eye,—the lady shadowed there seemed to return a glance of defiance, and her lip wore a curve of triumph. She kept one hand clasped over her crimson vest embroidered with its golden tangles and purfles; perhaps in the other her secret hung hidden out of sight. Now, in the dancing firelight, the ruby that lay on the dame's forehead seemed to flicker like a live jewel in Helen's eyes; as the flame rose, her breast heaved too, a color rested on the pale cheek; as it fell, Helen fancied that she sighed; with all the quick lightning and darkening of the crackling fire the glance of the eyes shifted to and fro, the shadows round the mouth wavered; now they lowered, and now they smiled, and now the parted lips seemed just about to speak.

In the sitting room

Helen started to her feet in a tremble: no wonder Tommy hated to stay in the closet; she sprung to let him out. And just then the old horse stopped at the gate, with the sound of Frederick's voice. Helen forgot Tommy, flung open the door to Frederick, and ran out to the gate as he appeared coming in with his mother in his arms, and laid her on the sofa. Helen only stayed to lead the old horse into the barn, and directly afterward was blowing up the blaze in the parlor, and calling the delinquents to account.Pg 92 They had driven into Orton Wood, Frederick said, and there the chaise broke down; and it being in an open space, he had kindled a great fire to keep his mother warm, while he tied the springs up as he might, which it took a weary while to do, and he had brought home a chaiseful of fagots that nobody owned, and was cherishing visions of future predatory excursions in the same direction. Immediately as he said it, wheeling his mother's sofa up to the hearth and rubbing his hands before it, a little occurrence took place that rendered his invaluable chaiseful of fagots of a moment ago the mere chips of this one, for it had changed the earth under all their feet. Margaret was just coming in at the door; Master Tommy, hearing the incoming and voices and confusion, and desiring to make a part of it, called out from his den, “'Elen! let me out, let me out, I say. W-a-wa, t-e-r, water. You know the Docker said I needed plenty of fresh air. 'Elen! let me out,—the Docker said I was a pecoolar child and needed pecoolar treatment!” And before any one could reach him, the belligerent boy gave the old door such an astonishing series of kicks and thrusts, that the lock broke from its mouldering frame; the worn floor shook and creaked; a bit of the plastering dropped from above; the door and Tommy fell out together; and the old portrait of the pale proud lady started, and trembled, and pitched downward, caught and split from end to end upon the handle of the great steel poker. And suddenly, with a wild exclamation of inextinguishable certainty and exultation, Helen held up her apron to catch what came rattling and ringing and racing and jingling, as they tumbled down together into it, and danced a measure over the floor with the naughty nuns of the broken rosary-beads that they surprised in their mad escape from the bondage of a hundred years. The pale and languid mother started up, resting eagerly on her elbow; Margaret fell upon the floor, catching up the guineas and doubloons as if she were crazy, and kissing them in a transport; Tommy began to discover what his pockets were made for, straightway. Meanwhile Frederick sprung upon a chair and went to pulling out the thready remnants of the decaying bags in which the gold had been enclosed; Helen still held her apron up, thanking fortune it was so large; and little Sarah, waking, began to creep down and toddle along to hold her apron too, crowing and capering at the strange scene, the glitter, and the joy. At last there were no more,—there was only the memorandum on a bit of parchment, telling the story of the sealing of the bags by the old Tory ancestor in troublous times, and their destined concealment behind his wife's portrait.

“Here are more thousands of dollars than you have fingers and toes, little Cinderella!” cried Frederick. “You can afford to wear glass slippers for the rest of your life! It is all your godmother's doings, and she was a fine old English gentlewoman, who acted wisely and for the benefit of posterity. Never say I disbelieved in my ancestors!”

“O yes,” said Helen, “all very fine now. For my part, I was sure of it long ago!”

“I sha'n't dare to close an eye to-night for fear of burglars!” cried Margaret. “That I sha'n't!”Pg 93

“Now mother, mother dear,” exclaimed Helen, coming and taking her mother's thin hand and plunging it deep down among the sliding coins that were tearing down her strong apron with their weight, “'tis almost as much as I can carry! Tommy may go to school now, and you can have the Doctor and get well, and what can't we, what sha'n't we have! Margaret needn't teach any more,—we can have the house made over, we can keep a girl,—and gold at 240!—O, I think I shall lose my wits!” And down it would all have gone upon the floor but for Frederick.

“Don't, Nelly,” said he, “we shall want them,—the guineas I mean, of course not the wits. What use have they been to us all these years, except to make gowns out of cobwebs and dinners out of dew? Now let us count our wealth, and then—”

“No,” said Nelly, “my stew will be good for nothing if we wait, and mother is famished. We're comfortable, we know; if we're rich, we can find it out after supper. I wish I hadn't killed my cropple-crowns. Now Tommy, Tommy Fotherington, you never need spell water again as long as you live, for it was that blessed word that put Tommy in the closet, that kicked the door, that shook the house, that loosened the panel, that poured out the guineas, that made the starving Fotheringtons a richer and happier family than ever sat round the old Tory Governor's table!”

Harriet E. Prescott.




No. II.

(Continued from page 66.)

TONY King was particularly struck with the improvement in the coffee-mill, for his knuckles had received a full share of the general skinning; and when the job was done, turning to the old man, he said, “O, Uncle Benny, won't you teach me to do such things before you do all the odd jobs about the farm?”

“Never fear that all the odd jobs about any farm, and especially such a one as this, are going to be done in a hurry,” he replied, laying his hand gently on Tony's head. “If the owner of a farm, I don't care how small it may be, would only take time to go over his premises, to examine his fences, his gates, his barn-yard, his stables, his pig-pen, his fields, his ditches, his wagons, his harness, his tools, indeed, whatever he owns, he would find more odd jobs to be done than he has any idea of. Why, my boy, all farming is made up of odd jobs. When Mr. Spangler gets through with planting potatoes, don't he say, 'Well, that job's done.' Didn't I hear you say yesterday,Pg 94 when you had hauled out the last load of manure from the barn-yard,—it was pretty wet and muddy at the bottom, you remember,—'There's a dirty job done!' And so it is, Tony, with everything about a farm,—it is all jobbing; and as long as one continues to farm, so long will there be jobs to do. The great point is to finish each one up exactly at the time when it ought to be done.”

“But that was not what I meant, Uncle Benny,” said Tony. “I meant such jobs as you do with your tools.”

“Well,” replied the old man, “it is pretty much the same thing there. A farmer going out to hunt up such jobs as you speak of will find directly, that, if he has no tool-chest on hand, his first business will be to get one. Do you see the split in that board? Whoever drove that nail should have had a gimlet to bore a hole; but having none, he has spoiled the looks of his whole job. So it is with everything when a farmer undertakes any work without proper tools. Spoiling it is quite as bad as letting it alone.

“You see, Tony,” he continued, “that a good job can't be done with bad tools,—that split shows it. No doubt the man who made it excused himself by saying that he was never intended for a mechanic. But that was a poor excuse for being without a gimlet. Every man or boy has some mechanical ability, and exercising that ability, with first-rate tools, will generally make him a good workman. Now as to what odd jobs a farmer will find to do. He steps out into the garden, and finds a post of his grape-arbor rotted off, and the whole trellis out of shape. It should be propped up immediately. If he have hot-beds, ten to one there are two or three panes out, and if they are not put in at once, the next hard frost will destroy all his plants. There is a fruit-tree covered with caterpillars' nests, another with cocoons, containing what will some day be butterflies, then eggs, then worms. The barn-yard gate has a broken hinge, the barn-door has lost its latch, the wheelbarrow wants a nail or two to keep the tire from dropping off, and there is the best hoe with a broken handle. So it goes, let him look where he may.

“Now come out into the yard,” continued the old man, “and let us see what jobs there are yet to do.”

He led the way to the wood-shed. There was an axe with only half a handle; Tony knew it well, for he had chopped many a stick with the crippled tool. Uncle Benny pointed to it with the screw-driver that he still carried in his hand, but said nothing, as he observed that Tony seemed confounded at being so immediately brought face to face with what he knew should have been done six months before. Turning round, but not moving a step, he again pointed with his screw-driver to the wooden gutter which once caught the rain-water from the shed-roof and discharged it into a hogshead near by. The brackets from one end of the gutter had rotted off, and it hung down on the pig-pen fence, discharging into the pen instead of into the hogshead. The latter had lost its lower hoops; they were rusting on the ground, fairly grown over with grass. The old man pointed at each in turn; and, looking into Tony's face, found that he had crammed his hands into his pockets, and was beginning to smile, but said nothing. Just turningPg 95 about, he again pointed to where a board had fallen from the farther end of the shed, leaving an opening into the pig-pen beyond. While both were looking at the open place, three well-grown pigs, hearing somebody in the shed, rose upon their hinder feet, and thrust their muddy faces into view, thinking that something good was coming. The old man continued silent, looked at the pigs, and then at Tony. Tony was evidently confused, and worked his hands about in his pockets, but never looked into the old man's face. It was almost too much for him.

“Come,” said Uncle Benny, “let us try another place,” and as they were moving off, Tony stumbled over a new iron-bound maul, which lay on the ground, the handle having been broken short off in its socket.

“How the jobs turn up!” observed Uncle Benny. “How many have we here?”

“I should say about five,” replied Tony.

“Yes,” added the old man, “and all within sight of each other.”

As they approached the hog-pen, they encountered a strong smell, and there was a prodigious running and tumbling among the animals. They looked over the shabby fence that formed the pen.

“Any jobs here, Tony?” inquired Uncle Benny.

Tony made no answer, but looked round to see if the old man kept his screw-driver, half hoping that, if he found anything to point at, he would have nothing to point with. But raising the tool, he poised it in the direction of the feeding-trough. Tony could not avert his eyes, but, directing them toward the spot at which the old man pointed, he discovered a hole in the bottom of the trough, through which nearly half of every feeding must have leaked out into the ground underneath. He had never noticed it until now.

“There's another job for you, Tony,” he said. “There's not only neglect, but waste. The more hogs a man keeps in this way, the more money he will lose. Look at the condition of this pen,—all mud, not a dry spot for the pigs to fly to. Even the sheds under which they are to sleep are three inches deep in slush. Don't you see that broken gutter from the wood-shed delivers the rain right into their sleeping-place, and you know what rains we have had lately? Ah, Tony,” continued the old man, “pigs can't thrive that are kept in this condition. They want a dry place; they must have it, or they will get sick, and a sick pig is about the poorest stock a farmer can have. Water or mud is well enough for them to wallow in occasionally, but not mud all the time.”

“But I thought pigs did best when they had plenty of dirt about them, they like it so,” replied Tony.

“You are mistaken, Tony,” rejoined Uncle Benny. “A pig is by nature a cleanly animal; it is only the way in which some people keep him that makes him a filthy one. Give him the means to keep himself clean, and he will be clean always,—a dry shed with dry litter to sleep in, and a pen where he can keep out of the mud when he wants to, and he will never be dirty, while what he eats will stick to his ribs. These pigs can't grow in this condition. ThenPg 96 look at the waste of manure! Why, there are those thirty odd loads of corn-stalks, and a great pile of sweet-potato vines, that Mr. Spangler has in the field, all which he says he is going to burn out of his way, as soon as they get dry enough. They should be brought here and put in this mud and water, to absorb the liquid manure that is now soaking into the ground, or evaporating before the sun. This liquor is the best part of the manure, its heart and life; for nothing can be called food for plants until it is brought into a liquid condition. I never saw greater waste than this. Then there is that deep bed of muck, not three hundred yards off,—not a load of it ready to come here. Besides, if the corn-stalks and potato-vines were tumbled in, they would make the whole pen dry, keep the hogs clean, and enable them to grow. But I suppose Mr. Spangler thinks it too much trouble to do these little things.

“Now, Tony,” he continued, “you can't do anything profitable or useful in this world without some trouble; and as you are to be a farmer, the sooner you learn this lesson, the more easily you will get along. But who is to do that job of putting a stopper over this hole in the trough, you or I?”

“I'll do it to-morrow, Uncle Benny,” replied Tony.

“To-morrow? To-morrow won't do for me. A job that needs doing as badly as this, should be done at once; it's one thing less to think of, don't you know that? Besides, didn't you want to do some jobs?” rejoined Uncle Benny.

Tony had never been accustomed to this way of hurrying up things; but he felt himself fairly cornered. He didn't care much about the dirt in the trough; it was the unusual promptness of the demand that staggered him.

“Run to the house and ask Mrs. Spangler to give you an old tin cup or kettle,—anything to make a patch big enough to cover this hole,” said Uncle Benny; “and bring that hammer and a dozen lath-nails you'll find in my tool-chest.”

Tony did as he was directed, and brought back a quart mug with a small hole in the bottom, which a single drop of solder would have made tight as ever.

“I guess the swill is worth more to the hogs than even a new mug would be, Tony,” said Uncle Benny, holding up the mug to the sun, to see how small a defect had condemned it. Then, knocking out the bottom, and straightening it with his hammer on the post, he told Tony to step over the fence into the trough. It was not a very nice place to get into, but over he went, and, the nails and hammer being handed to him, he covered the hole with the tin, put in the nails round the edge, hammered the edge flat, and in ten minutes all was done.

“There, Tony, is a six months' leak stopped in ten minutes. Nothing like the present time,—will you remember that? Never put off till to-morrow what can be done to-day. Now run back with the hammer and these two nails, and put this remnant of the tin cup in my chest; you'll want it for something one of these days. Always save the pieces, Tony.”

Tony was really surprised, not only how easily, but how quickly, the repairPg 97 had been made. Moreover, he felt gratified at being the mechanic; it was the first time he had been allowed to handle any of Uncle Benny's nice assortment of tools, and he liked the old man better than ever. But who is there that does not himself feel inwardly gratified at conferring a new pleasure on a child? Such little contributions to juvenile happiness are neither barren of fruit nor unproductive of grateful returns. They cost nothing, yet they have rich rewards in the memory of the young. They make beautiful and lasting impressions. The gentle heart that makes a child happy will never be forgotten. No matter how small the gift may be, a kind word, a little toy, even a flower, will sometimes touch a chord within the heart, whose soft vibrations will continue so long as memory lasts.

This survey of Mr. Spangler's premises was continued by Uncle Benny and Tony until the latter began to change his opinion about the former doing up the odd jobs so thoroughly that none would be left for him. He saw there was enough for both of them. The old man pointed out a great many that he had never even noticed; but when his attention was called to them, he saw the necessity of having them done. Indeed, he had a notion that everything about the place wanted fixing up. Besides, Uncle Benny took pains to explain the reasons why such and such things were required, answering the boy's numerous questions, and imparting to him a knowledge of farm wants and farm processes, of which no one had ever spoken to him.

The fact was, Uncle Benny was one of the few men we meet with, especially on a farm, who think the boys ought to have a chance. His opinion was, that farmers seldom educate their children properly for the duties they know they will some day be called on to perform,—that is, they don't reason with them, and explain to the boy's understanding the merit or necessity of an operation. His idea was, that too many boys on a farm were merely allowed to grow up. They were fed, clothed, sent to school, then put to work, but not properly taught how and why the work should be done. Hence, when they came to set up for themselves, they had a multitude of things to learn which they ought to have learned from a father.

He used to say, that boys do only what they see the men do,—that all they learned was by imitation. They had no opportunity allowed them while at home of testing their own resources and energies by some little independent farming operation of their own. When at school, the teacher drills them thoroughly; when at home, they receive no such close training. The teacher gives the boy a sum to do, and lets him work it out of his own resources. But a farmer rarely gives a boy the use of a half-acre of land, on which he may raise corn or cabbages or roots for himself, though knowing that the boy could plant and cultivate it if he were allowed a chance, and that such a privilege would be likely to develop his energies, and show of what stuff he was made. The notion was too common that a boy was all work, and had no ambition,—whatever work was in him must be got out of him, just as if he had been a horse or an ox. It was known that at some time he must take care of himself, yet he was not properly taught how to do so. The stimulant of letting him have a small piece of ground for his own profit was too rarelyPg 98 held out to him. No one knew what such a privilege might do for an energetic boy. If he failed the first year, he would be likely to know the cause of failure, and avoid it in the future. If he succeeded, he would feel an honest pride,—the very kind of pride which every father should encourage in his child. And that success would stimulate him to try again and do still better. Both failure and success would be very likely to set him to reading about what others had done in the same line,—how they had prospered,—and thus a fund of knowledge would be acquired for him to draw upon whenever he set up for himself.

As before mentioned, Mr. Spangler made a strange departure from his rule of plenty of work for everybody, by quitting home on a wet day and going to the tavern rendezvous, to hear what the neighbors had to say, leaving no work marked out for his “hands” to do in his absence. These wet days were therefore holidays for the boys. All three were pretty good readers; and so they usually borrowed a book from Uncle Benny, and went, on such occasions, into the barn, and lay down on the hay to read. Uncle Benny recommended to them that one should read aloud to the others, so as to improve his voice, and enable each to set the other right, if a mistake were made. When the weather became too cold for these readings in the barn, they went into the kitchen, there being no other room in the house in which a fire was kept up.

One November morning there came on a heavy rain that lasted all day, with an east wind so cold as to make the barn a very uncomfortable reading-room, so the boys adjourned to the kitchen, and huddled around the stove. But as the rain drove all the rest of the family into the house, there was so great an assembly in what was, at the best of times, a very small room, that Mrs. Spangler became quite irritable at having so many in her way. She was that day trying out lard, and wanted the stove all to herself. In her ill-humor at being so crowded up, she managed to let the lard burn; and at this she became so vexed that she told Tony, with Joe and Bill, to go out,—she couldn't have them in her way any longer.

They accordingly went back to the barn, and lay down in the hay, covering themselves with a couple of horse-blankets. These were not very nice things for one to have so close to his nose, as they smelt prodigiously strong of the horses; but farmers' boys are used to such perfumes, and they kept the little fellows so warm that they were quite glad to escape the crowd and discomfort of the kitchen. These became at last so great, that even Uncle Benny, seeing that he was not wanted there just then, got up and went over to the barn also. There he found Tony reading aloud from a newspaper that had been left at the house by a pedler a few days before. Tony was reading about the election, and how much one set of our people were rejoicing over the result.

As Uncle Benny came into the barn, Tony called out, “Uncle Benny, the President's elected,—did you know it?”

“O yes, I knew it,—but what President do you mean?” responded Uncle Benny.

“Why, President Lincoln. He was a poor boy like me, you know.”Pg 99

“But can you tell me, boys,” asked Uncle Benny, “who will be President in the year 1900?”

“Dear me, Uncle Benny,” replied Tony, “how should we know?”

“Well, I can tell,” responded the old man.

The boys were a good deal surprised at hearing these words, and at once sat up in the hay.

“Who is he?” demanded Tony.

“Well,” replied Uncle Benny, “he is a boy of about your age, say fifteen or sixteen years old.”

“Does he live about here?” inquired Bill, the youngest of the party.

“Well, I can't say as to that,” answered the old man, “but he lives somewhere on a farm. He is a steady, thoughtful boy, fond of reading, and has no bad habits; he never swears, or tells a lie, or disobeys his parents.”

“Do you think he is as poor as we are, Uncle Benny?” said Joe.

“Most likely he is,” responded the old man. “His parents must be in moderate circumstances. But poverty is no disgrace, Joe. On the contrary, there is much in poverty to be thankful for, as there is nothing that so certainly proves what stuff a boy is made of, as being born poor, and from that point working his way up to a position in society, as well as to wealth.”

“But do poor boys ever work their way up?” inquired Tony.

“Ay, many times indeed,” said Uncle Benny. “But a lazy, idle boy can do no such thing,—he only makes a lazy man. Boys that grow up in idleness become vagabonds. It is from these that all our thieves and paupers come. Men who are successful have always been industrious. Many of the great men in all countries were born poorer than either of you, for they had neither money nor friends. President Lincoln, when he was of your age, was hardly able to read, and had no such chance for schooling as you have had. President Van Buren was so poor, when a boy, that he was obliged to study his books by the light of pine knots which he gathered in the woods. President Lincoln for a long time split rails at twenty-five cents a hundred. But see how they got up in the world.”

“But I thought the Presidents were all lawyers,” said Tony.

“Well, suppose they were,” replied Uncle Benny; “they were boys first. I tell you that every poor boy in this country has a great prospect before him, if he will only improve it as these men improved theirs. Everything depends on himself, on his own industry, sobriety, and honesty. They can't all be Presidents, but if they should all happen to try for being one, they will be very likely to reach a high mark. Most of the rich men of our country began without a dollar. You have as fair a chance of becoming rich or distinguished as many of them have had. You must always aim high.”

“But how are we to make a beginning?” demanded Joe.

“I'll tell you,” replied Uncle Benny. But at that moment a loud blast from the tin horn summoned them to dinner. They all thought it the sweetest music they had heard that day, and hurried off to the house.

Author of “Ten Acres Enough.”

(To be continued.)

Pg 100



O snow! flying hither
And hurrying thither,
Here, there, through the air,—you never care whither,—
Do you see me here sitting,
A-knitting, a-knitting,
And wishing myself with you breezily flitting,
Like any wild elf?
Mother sits there a-rocking,
And watches my stocking;
Well, I know I am slow, and she thinks it is shocking:
While Lizzie and Sally,
They twit me, and rally,—
My thoughts, half asleep, chase your flakes to the valley,
A drowsy white heap.
Dear Sally and Lizzie,
My sisters so busy,
In and out, all about, you make my head dizzy;
You hasten, you flutter,
You spin, you churn butter,
You sew the long seams; while I cannot utter
One word of my dreams.
Lo! light as a feather,
The merry flakes gather
In rifts and in drifts, glad enough of cold weather;
Gay throngs interlacing,
On the slant roofs embracing,
They slip and they fall! down, down they are racing,
I after them all!
One large flake advances;
'Tis a white steed that prances;
At the bits as he flits, how he foams, like my fancies!
Up softly I sidle
From where I sit idle,—
I snatch, as it flies, at the gossamer bridle,—
I'm mounted, I rise!
Away we are bounding,
No hoof-note resounding,
Still as light is our flight through the armies surrounding;
Pg 101No murmur, no rustling,
Though millions are jostling;
A host is in camp, but you heard neither bustling
Nor bugle, nor tramp.
Yet the truce-flag is lifted;
Unfurled it lies drifted
Over hill, over rill, where its snow could be sifted;
And now I'm returning
To parley concerning
The beautiful cause that awakened my yearning,—
The trouble that was.
Ho! ho! a swift fairy,—
A pearl-shallop airy!
I am caught, quick as thought! fleece-muffled and hairy,
Her grim boatman tightens
His grasp, till it frightens
Me, half, as we sail to the east where it brightens,
On waves of the gale.
White, dimpled, and winning,
The fairy sits spinning,
From her hair, floating fair, coils of cable beginning,
Her shallop to tether
In stress of bleak weather,
While the boatman and I, wrapped in ermine together,
Drift on through the sky.
Stay! the boat is upsetting!
My fairy, forgetting
Her coil and her toil, to escape from a wetting
Has now the one notion:
Below boils the ocean!
I scream,—I am heard,—up, in arrowy motion,
I'm borne by a bird,—
A gray eagle!—over
The seas flies the rover;
And I ride as his guide, a new world to discover.
He bears me on, steady,
Through whirlwind and eddy;
I cling to his neck, and he ever is ready
To pause at my beck.
White doves through the ether
Come flocking together.
How they crowd to me, proud if I smooth one soft feather!
Pg 102O what is the matter?
They startle,—they scatter!
On the wet window-pane hear my eagle's claws clatter!—
The snow's turned to rain!
Tears, why will you glitter?
My sisters they titter,
And there from her chair mother calls, “What a knitter!”
My ball pussy twitches,—
I've dropped twenty stitches,—
My needles all rust,—they will earn me no riches;
Alas if they must!
Lucy Larcom.



We were in our winter camp on Port Royal Island, South Carolina. It was a lovely November morning, soft and spring-like; the mocking-birds were singing, and the cotton-fields still white with fleecy pods. Morning drill was over, the men were cleaning their guns and singing very happily; the officers were in their tents, reading still more happily their letters just arrived from home. Suddenly I heard a knock at my tent-door, and the latch clicked. It was the only latch in camp, and I was very proud of it, and the officers always clicked it as loudly as possible, in order to gratify my feelings. The door opened, and the Quartermaster thrust in the most beaming face I ever saw.

“Colonel,” said he, “there are great news for the regiment. My wife and baby are coming by the next steamer!”

“Baby!” said I, in amazement. “Q. M., you are beside yourself.” (We always called the Quartermaster Q. M. for shortness.) “There was a pass sent to your wife, but nothing was ever said about a baby. Baby indeed!”

“But the baby was included in the pass,” replied the triumphant father-of-a-family. “You don't suppose my wife would come down here without her baby. Besides, the pass itself permits her to bring necessary baggage, and is not a baby six months old necessary baggage?”Pg 103

“But, my dear fellow,” said I, rather anxiously, “how can you make the dear little darling comfortable in a tent, amidst these rigors of a South Carolina winter, when it is uncomfortably hot for drill at noon, and ice forms by your bedside at night?”

“Trust me for that,” said the delighted papa, and went off whistling. I could hear him telling the same news to three others, at least, before he got to his own tent.

That day the preparations began, and soon his abode was a wonder of comfort. There were posts and rafters, and a raised floor, and a great chimney, and a door with hinges,—every luxury except a latch, and that he could not have, for mine was the last that could be purchased. One of the regimental carpenters was employed to make a cradle, and another to make a bedstead high enough for the cradle to go under. Then there must be a bit of red carpet beside the bedstead, and thus the progress of splendor went on. The wife of one of the colored sergeants was engaged to act as nursery-maid. She was a very respectable young woman; the only objection to her being that she smoked a pipe. But we thought that perhaps Baby might not dislike tobacco; and if she did, she would have excellent opportunities to break the pipe in pieces.

In due time the steamer arrived, and Baby and her mother were among the passengers. The little thing was soon settled in her new cradle, and slept in it as if she had never known any other. The sergeant's wife soon had her on exhibition through the neighborhood, and from that time forward she was quite a little queen among us. She had sweet blue eyes and pretty brown hair, with round, dimpled cheeks, and that perfect dignity which is so beautiful in a baby. She hardly ever cried, and was not at all timid. She would go to anybody, and yet did not encourage any romping from any but the most intimate friends. She always wore a warm long-sleeved scarlet cloak with a hood, and in this costume was carried, or “toted,” as the colored soldiers said, all about the camp. At “guard-mounting” in the morning, when the men who are to go on guard-duty for the day are drawn up to be inspected, Baby was always there, to help inspect them. She did not say much, but she eyed them very closely, and seemed fully to appreciate their bright buttons. Then the Officer-of-the-Day, who appears at guard-mounting with his sword and sash, and comes afterwards to the Colonel's tent for orders, would come and speak to Baby on his way, and receive her orders first. When the time came for drill, she was usually present to watch the troops; and when the drum beat for dinner, she liked to see the long row of men in each company march up to the cook-house, in single file, each with tin cup and plate. During the day, in pleasant weather, she might be seen in her nurse's arms, about the company streets, the centre of an admiring circle, her scarlet costume looking very pretty amidst the shining black cheeks and neat blue uniforms of the soldiers. At “dress-parade,” just before sunset, she was always an attendant. As I stood before the regiment, I could see the little spot of red out of the corner of my eye, at one end of the long line of men; and I looked with so much interest for her small person, that, instead of saying at the proper time, “Attention, Battalion!Pg 104 Shoulder arms!”—it is a wonder that I did not say, “Shoulder babies!”

The Baby of the Regiment
The Baby of the Regiment

Our little lady was very impartial, and distributed her kind looks to everybody. She had not the slightest prejudice against color, and did not care in the least whether her particular friends were black or white. Her especial favorites, I think, were the little drummer-boys, who were not my favorites by any means, for they were a roguish set of little scamps, and gave more trouble than all the grown men in the regiment. I think Annie liked them because they were small, and made a noise, and had red caps like her hood, and red facings on their jackets, and also because they occasionally stood on their heads for her amusement. After dress-parade the whole drum-corps would march to the great flag-staff, and wait till just sunset-time, when they would beat on their drums what is called “the retreat,” and then the flag would be hauled down,—a great festival for Annie. Sometimes the Sergeant-Major would wrap her in the great folds of the flag, after it was taken down, and she would peep out very prettily from amidst the stars and stripes, like a little new-born Goddess of Liberty.

About once a month, some inspecting officer was sent to the camp by the general in command, to see to the condition of everything in the regiment, from bayonets to buttons. It was usually a long and tiresome process, and, when everything else was done, I used to tell the officer that I had one thing more for him to inspect, which was peculiar to our regiment. Then I would send for Baby to be exhibited, and I never saw an inspecting officer, old orPg 105 young, who did not look pleased at the sudden appearance of the little, fresh, smiling creature,—a flower in the midst of war. And Annie in her turn would look at them, with the true baby dignity in her face,—that deep, earnest look which babies often have, and which people think so wonderful when Raphael paints it, although they might often see just the same expression in the faces of their own darlings at home.

Meanwhile Annie seemed to like the camp style of housekeeping very much. Her father's tent was double, and he used the front apartment for his office, and the inner room for parlor and bedroom; while the nurse had a separate tent and wash-room behind all. I remember that, the first time I went there in the evening, it was to borrow some writing-paper; and while Baby's mother was hunting for it in the front tent, I heard a great cooing and murmuring in the inner room. I asked if Annie was still awake, and her mother told me to go in and see. Pushing aside the canvas door, I entered. No sign of anybody was to be seen; but a variety of soft little happy noises seemed to come from some unseen corner. Mrs. C. came quietly in, pulled away the counterpane of her own bed, and drew out the rough cradle where lay the little damsel, perfectly happy, and wider awake than anything but a baby possibly can be. She looked as if the seclusion of a dozen family bedsteads would not be enough to discourage her spirits, and I saw that camp life was likely to suit her very well.

A tent can be kept very warm, for it is merely a house with a thinner wall than usual; and I do not think that Baby felt the cold much more than if she had been at home that winter. The great trouble is, that a tent-chimney, not being built very high, is apt to smoke when the wind is in a certain direction; and when that happens, it is hardly possible to stay inside. So we used to build the chimneys of some tents on the east side, and those of others on the west, and thus some of the tents were always comfortable. I have seen Baby's mother running in a hard rain, with little Red-Riding-Hood in her arms, to take refuge with the Adjutant's wife, when every other abode was full of smoke; and I must admit that there were one or two windy days that season, when nobody could really keep warm, and Annie had to remain ignominiously in her cradle, with as many clothes on as possible, for almost the whole time.

The Quartermaster's tent was very attractive to us in the evening. I remember that once, on passing near it after nightfall, I heard our Major's fine voice singing Methodist hymns within, and Mrs. C.'s sweet tones chiming in. So I peeped through the outer door. The fire was burning very pleasantly in the inner tent, and the scrap of new red carpet made the floor look quite magnificent. The Major sat on a box, our surgeon on a stool; “Q. M.” and his wife, and the Adjutant's wife, and one of the captains, were all sitting on the bed, singing as well as they knew how; and the baby was under the bed. Baby had retired for the night, was overshadowed, suppressed, sat upon; the singing went on, and the little thing had wandered away into her own land of dreams, nearer to heaven, perhaps, than any pitch their voices could attain. I went in, and joined the party. Presently thePg 106 music stopped, and another officer was sent for, to sing some particular song. At this pause the invisible innocent waked a little, and began to cluck and coo.

“It's the kitten,” exclaimed somebody.

“It's my baby!” exclaimed Mrs. C. triumphantly, in that tone of unfailing personal pride which belongs to young mothers.

The people all got up from the bed for a moment, while Annie was pulled from beneath, wide awake and placid as usual; and she sat in one lap or another during the rest of the concert, sometimes winking at the candle, but usually listening to the songs, with a calm and critical expression, as if she could make as much noise as any of them, whenever she saw fit to try. Not a sound did she make, however, except one little soft sneeze, which led to an immediate flood-tide of red shawl, covering every part of her but the forehead. After a little while, I hinted that the concert had better be ended, because I knew from observation that the small damsel had carefully watched a regimental inspection and a brigade drill on that day, and that an interval of repose was certainly necessary.

Annie did not long remain the only baby in camp. One day, on going out to the stables to look at a horse, I heard a sound of baby-talk, addressed by some man to a child near by, and, looking round the corner of a tent, I saw that one of the hostlers had something black and round, lying on the sloping side of a tent, with which he was playing very eagerly. It proved to be his little baby, a plump little shiny thing, younger than Annie; and I never saw a merrier picture than the happy father frolicking with his child, while the mother stood quietly by. This was Baby Number Two, and she stayed in camp several weeks, the two little innocents meeting each other every day, in the placid indifference that belonged to their years; both were happy little healthy things, and it never seemed to cross their minds that there was any difference in their complexions. As I said before, Annie was not troubled by any prejudice in regard to color, nor do I suppose that the other little maiden was.

Annie enjoyed the tent-life very much; but when we were sent out on picket soon after, she enjoyed it still more. When a regiment is on picket, the main camp is usually much smaller, because most of the companies are scattered about at outposts, and but few are left at head-quarters. Our head-quarters were at a deserted plantation house, with one large parlor, a dining-room, and a few bedrooms. Baby's father and mother had a room up stairs, with a stove whose pipe went straight out at the window. This was quite comfortable, though half the windows were broken, and there was no glass and no glazier to mend them. The windows of the large parlor were in much the same condition, though we had an immense fireplace, where we had a bright fire whenever it was cold, and always in the evening. The walls of this room were very dirty, and it took our ladies several days to cover all the unsightly places with wreaths and hangings of evergreen. In this performance Baby took an active, or rather a passive part. Her duties consisted in sitting in a great nest of evergreen, pulling and fingering the fragrant leaves, and occasionally giving a little cry of glee when she had accomplished some piece of decided mischief.Pg 107

There was less entertainment to be found in the camp itself at this time; but the household at head-quarters was larger than Baby had been accustomed to. We had a great deal of company, moreover, and she had quite a gay life of it. She usually made her appearance in the large parlor soon after breakfast; and to dance her for a few moments in our arms was one of the first daily duties of each one. Then the morning reports began to arrive from the different outposts,—a mounted officer or courier coming in from each place, dismounting at the door, and clattering in with jingling arms and spurs, each a new excitement for Annie. She usually got some attention from any officer who came, receiving with her wonted dignity any daring kiss or pinch of the cheek. When the messengers had ceased to be interesting, there were always the horses to look at, held or tethered under the trees beside the sunny piazza. After the various couriers had been received, other messengers would be despatched to the town, seven miles away, and Baby had all the excitement of their mounting and departure. Her father was often one of the riders, and would sometimes seize Annie for a good-by kiss, place her on the saddle before him, gallop her round the house once or twice, and then give her back to her nurse's arms again. She was perfectly fearless, and such boisterous attentions never frightened her, nor did they ever interfere with her sweet, infantine self-possession.

After the riding-parties had gone, there was the piazza still for entertainment, with a sentinel pacing up and down before it; but Annie did not enjoy the sentinel, though his breastplate and buttons shone like gold, so much as the hammock which always hung swinging between the pillars. It was a pretty hammock, with great open meshes; and she delighted to lie in it, and have the netting closed above her, so that she could only be seen through the apertures. I can see her now, the fresh little rosy thing, in her blue and scarlet wrappings, with one round and dimpled arm thrust forth through the netting, and the other grasping an armful of blushing roses and fragrant magnolias. She looked like those pretty little French bas-reliefs of Cupids imprisoned in baskets, and peeping through. That hammock was a very useful appendage; it was a couch for us, a cradle for Baby, a nest for the kittens; and we had, moreover, a little hen, which tried to roost there every night.

When the mornings were colder, and the stove up stairs smoked the wrong way, Baby was brought down in a very incomplete state of toilet, and finished her dressing by the great fire. We found her bare shoulders very becoming, and she was very much interested in her own little pink toes. After a very slow dressing, she had a still slower breakfast out of a tin cup of warm milk, of which she generally spilt a good deal, as she had much to do in watching everybody who came into the room, and seeing that there was no mischief done. Then she would be placed on the floor, on our only piece of carpet, and the kittens would be brought in for her to play with.

We had, at different times, a variety of pets, of whom Annie did not take much notice. Sometimes we had young partridges, caught by the little boys in trap-cages. The children called them “Bob and Chloe,” because the firstPg 108 notes of the male and female sound like those names. One day I brought home an opossum, with her blind bare little young clinging to the droll little pouch where their mothers keep them. Sometimes we had pretty little green lizards, their color darkening or deepening, like that of chameleons, in light or shade. But the only pets that took Baby's fancy were the kittens. They perfectly delighted her, from the first moment she saw them; they were the only things younger than herself that she had ever beheld, and the only things softer than themselves that her small hands had grasped. It was astonishing to see how much the kittens would endure from her. They could scarcely be touched by any one else without mewing; but when Annie seized one by the head and the other by the tail, and rubbed them violently together, they did not make a sound. I suppose that a baby's grasp is really soft, even if it seems ferocious, and so it gives less pain than one would think. At any rate, the little animals had the best of it very soon; for they entirely outstripped Annie in learning to walk, and they could soon scramble away beyond her reach, while she sat in a sort of dumb despair, unable to comprehend why anything so much smaller than herself should be so much nimbler. Meanwhile, the kittens would sit up and look at her with the most provoking indifference, just out of arm's length, until some of us would take pity on the young lady, and toss her furry playthings back to her again. “Little baby,” she learned to call them; and these were the very first words she spoke.

Baby had evidently a natural turn for war, further cultivated by an intimate knowledge of drills and parades. The nearer she came to actual conflict, the better she seemed to like it, peaceful as her own little ways might be. Twice, at least, while she was with us on picket, we had alarms from the Rebel troops, who would bring down cannon to the opposite side of the Ferry, about two miles beyond us, and throw shot and shell over upon our side. Then the officer at the Ferry would think that there was to be an attack made, and couriers would be sent, riding to and fro, and the men would all be called to arms in a hurry, and the ladies at head-quarters would all put on their best bonnets and come down stairs, and the ambulance (or, as some of the men called it, “the omelet”) would be made ready to carry them to a place of safety before the expected fight. On such occasions, Baby was in all her glory. She shouted with delight at being suddenly uncribbed and thrust into her little scarlet cloak, and brought down stairs, at an utterly unusual and improper hour, to a piazza with lights and people and horses and general excitement. She crowed and gurgled and made gestures with her little fists and screamed out what seemed to be her advice on the military situation, as freely as if she had been a newspaper editor. Except that it was rather difficult to understand her precise directions, I do not know but the whole Rebel force might have been captured through her plans. And at any rate, I should much rather obey her orders than those of some generals whom I have known; for she at least meant no harm, and would lead one into no mischief.

However, at last the danger, such as it was, would be all over, and the ladies would be induced to go peacefully to bed again; and Annie would retreat with them to her ignoble cradle, very much disappointed, and lookingPg 109 vainly back at the more martial scene below. The next morning, she would seem to have forgotten all about it, and would spill her bread-and-milk by the fire as if nothing had happened.

I suppose we hardly knew, at the time, how large a part of the sunshine of our daily lives was contributed by dear little Annie. Yet, when I now look back on that pleasant Southern home, she seems as essential a part of it as the mocking-birds or the magnolias, and I cannot convince myself that in returning to it I should not find her there. But Annie came back, with the spring, to her Northern birthplace, and then passed away from this earth before her little feet had fairly learned to tread its paths; and when I meet her next, it must be in some world where there is triumph without armies, and where innocence is trained in scenes of peace. I know, however, that her little life, short as it seemed, was a blessing to us all, giving a perpetual image of serenity and sweetness, recalling the lovely atmosphere of far-off homes, and holding us by unsuspected ties to whatsoever things were pure.

T. W. Higginson.




ONCE upon a time, when the rocks that make the earth were not so gray, and the beard of the sea-waves not so hoary,—when the stars winked at each other and said nothing, and the man in the moon thought of getting married,—once upon a time, I say, there lived on the edge of a pine-forest in Bohemia a poor peasant named Otto Koenig.

His hut was made of pine-branches, plastered with mud and thatched with rye-straw; a hole in the top let the smoke out, and a hole in the side let in father, mother, pigs, chickens, and children, beside a tame jackdaw, that slept on an old stool by the fireplace, and ate with Otto's nine children out of a wooden bowl.

Little enough the nine had to share with Meister Hans, as they called the jackdaw, for they lived on black beans and black rye-bread. Sometimes a bit of smoked bacon was found in the beans on great feast-days, and sometimes in summer wild berries helped the dry bread to savor and sweetness; but oftener the poor pig's-flesh and the red strawberries were put into a rush basket, covered with great cool leaves, on top of the eggs that lay so smooth and white below, and Otto carried them to Prague, when he went there at full moon to sell the turpentine he gathered in the pine-forest. With the money he got there he bought serge to clothe the nine children, rancid oil to burn in the clay lamp that sometimes they lighted in the long winter evenings, or some coarse pottery for larger vessels than he could hew out ofPg 110 dead branches with his dull hatchet. But it took all the coin that ever rattled in his sheep-skin pouch to buy any clothes or enough food for the nine black-eyed children who ran about in rags, and always wanted more bread and beans than poor Marthon, their brown, hard-working mother, had to give them.

At last, one winter there came a dreadful famine in Bohemia. There was no rye for the fowls, or the bread; it was blasted in the ear during a wet summer; and that same summer had given so little sunshine to the fields that no berries ripened; the turnips rotted in the ground, so the pig had nothing to eat; and between cold and starvation, quite tired of his wet sty and empty trough, master pig gave a loud squeak one November day, struggled out of his moist lodgings into a pool of water hard by, and died. For all that he was eaten up, because the nine children wanted food, whatever it might be, and the jackdaw scolded loudly for bread, but got less and less daily.

To be sure, the turpentine ran faster and clearer than ever from the trees, but then it was worth less to the old Jew who bought it, and the striped red serge and rancid oil were dearer than ever; so the children ate their supper by the light of the pine-cones they gathered in the forest, and went to bed to keep warm, where Mihal, the youngest boy, told them long stories of the old days in Bohemia, when there were fierce witches with steeple-crowned hats and flame-colored cloaks, who were burned to death in the market-place of Prague, and their ashes scattered on the waters of the Elbe, to find no rest on earth or in the water,—and legends of gnomes and elves that worked with little swarthy hands in the mountain mines, and hid their treasures away from human miners, unless spell and incantation brought them to light, and then the gnomes would scream and sob in the deep caverns till the miners fled away for fear.

These stories Mihal had learned from his old grandmother, who died the year before the famine. She used to sit in the open air knitting, or spinning with a distaff, and the scarlet yarn that trailed across the gray jacket and green petticoat glowed in the sun like a thread of crawling fire, and seemed to keep time to her droning voice, as she poured story after story into the wide-open ears of the child nestled on her feet.

But all these pretty tales of Mihal did not keep his eight brothers and sisters warm. Zitza, the least of all, cried herself to sleep often, and woke with hunger, wailing, in the sad and quaint accents of her land, for bread and berries. These were sorrowful sounds for poor Otto Koenig; he knew well the eager pain for food that forced that cry from the child's lips,—for his black crust was as small as it could be to keep him alive, and his cup of sour beer was only a quarter filled. Often, as he shouldered the rude axe with which he gashed the trees, and wandered out into the forest, the spicy smell of the pine-boughs seemed to make him sick and giddy, he was so faint with hunger; and instead of the hymns the wind used to sing in the long green tufts of leaves, there was a rush of unearthly whispering laughter, and mocking voices said in the poor man's ear, “Bread and beer! bread and beer!” chorused with another rustle of laughter; whereat the unlucky man, halfPg 111 crazed, would bless himself devoutly, and, taking to his heels, run like a scared cony till the woods were far behind him.

In the hut things went worse still; in vain did Matthias, the oldest of the nine children, take his twin sister into the fields to search the brambles for stray hips, or locks of wool the sheep had not left there willingly; men and women even worse off had been there before them, and they came home at night, tired out and footsore, only to hear Zitza's fretful cry for food, and the constant chatter of Meister Hans, croaking for his own share in what they had not.

One night, when Mihal had told more wonderful stories than ever, and fairly talked the other eight to sleep, he was still awake himself. Nothing stirred on the side of the hut where the children lay sleeping on some straw covered with sheep-skins, but Meister Hans, who, perched for the night on the arm of the grandmother's empty chair, rustled his blue-black wings now and then. But as Mihal lay thinking and hungry, his looks turned restlessly toward the uneasy bird; and presently he saw the creature's eyes begin to shine through the darkness brighter and brighter, till they made the room so light that one could plainly see the eight sleeping children, the straw-bed from which Father Koenig's snores were loudly heard, Mother Marthon's petticoat and red jacket hung against the wall, and the old black chair with the fiery-eyed jackdaw perched on one arm. Mihal lifted himself on his elbow and rubbed his eyes. Yes, it was really so! Meister Hans nodded gravely to him, and, hopping down to the floor, turned his eyes toward the boy, nodded again, croaked circumspectly, and walked with odd, precise steps toward the door, which was screened from the cold by a rough mat hung inside, and again turning, repeated the nod and the croak, as if he were inviting Mihal to follow him. The child gathered his rags more closely about him, and stepped across the threshold, at which Meister Hans gave a very satisfied croak and hopped along. The moon shone brightly on bare brown fields silvered with white frost, and in the still, cold air the distant forest stood like a black cloud just dropped upon earth.

In a strange, dreamy way Mihal followed the movements of the bird, stumbling over hard furrows, bruising his feet against stones, falling into ditches, but still straight after his odd guide, who peered at him now and then with one fiery eye, and wagged his head. On and on they went, away from the pine forest, but into places where Mihal had never been before, wide as were his usual rambles; on and on, over stone walls, ditches, stubble-fields, and wide meadows, till they found themselves at the foot of a high, round hill. Out of one side of this great mound ran a pure bubbling spring, and over its waters hung an old oak-tree, leafless now, but still strewing the ground beneath with dry acorns. Right at the root of this tree was an upright gray stone, apparently part of a rock deeply sunk in the hillside; dark lichens clung to its face, and dead leaves lay piled at its foot. Beside this stone Meister Hans paused, and, looking hard at the boy, deliberately picked up an acorn, and, hopping to the side of the little gravelly basin, dropped his mouthful into the fountain, and returned to the flat stone, where Mihal stood wondering much what was to follow.Pg 112

Presently the jackdaw approached the stone and knocked upon it three times. No sound replied, but the rock opened in the middle, and there stood a little old woman, as withered as a spring apple and as bright as a butterfly, dressed in a scarlet bodice covered with spangles, and a black petticoat worked in square characters with all the colors of the rainbow. She made a reverence to the bird and Mihal, and in a shrill, eager voice invited them to come in. The boy hesitated, but the little old woman snatched his hand and pulled him in. A draught of warm air and a delicious smell of food invited him still more charmingly, he was so cold and hungry, and he passed through the cleft stone to find himself in a high round cavern, of shining, sparkling crystals, that glittered like jewels whenever the light of the old woman's iron lamp shone across them. She opened a low door in the side of this cavern, and beckoned her companions to follow. In the middle of a still larger vault stood a great arm-chair, fashioned from beryl and jasper, with knobs of amethyst and topaz, in which sat a dwarf no taller than little Zitza. He was dressed in robes of velvet, green and soft as forest moss, and a ring of rough gold lay on his grizzled hair; his little eyes were keen and fiery, his hands withered and brown, but covered with glittering jewels.

The Red Winged Goose

About the cave a hundred little creatures, smaller still than he, were busied in a hundred ways. Some ran to and fro with long ladles, wherewith they stirred and tasted kettles of smoking broth; others shredded crisp salads,Pg 113 and sliced fresh vegetables for the pottage; some, with ready hands, spread a table with flowered damask, golden plate, and crystal goblets; three tugged and strained at turning a huge spit before a fire at the end of the cavern, while a dozen more watched the simmering of pots and pipkins, seething on the coals; and full a score moulded curious confections, adorned vast pastries, heaped fruits upon baskets of carved ice, or brewed steaming potions in great silver pitchers, whose breath of tropic fragrance curled upward in light clouds to the sparkling roof above; while the red flashes of the blaze on the hearth lighted up their swarthy little figures and merry faces, and cast grotesque, mocking shadows against the sides of the cave.

As Meister Hans hopped gravely past all this toward the chair of the Dwarf-king, making profound reverences all the way, the little monarch stretched out his sceptre, which was a tall bulrush of gold, and touched the jackdaw on the head, whereat, to Mihal's great wonder, his old friend turned suddenly into just such another little old woman as the one who had brought them in.

After another low reverence to the king, she turned to Mihal and made him aware, by a long speech, that she had been turned into a jackdaw for twenty years, because she had once presumed to say that gold was not so yellow as buttercups, or so bright as sunshine,—a statement altogether against the belief and laws of the dwarf; but now her punishment was over, and, knowing that she would never go back to the earth again, because she had lived there long enough to know better, and had learned that gold was the best of all things, she had resolved to bring little Mihal with her, (for she loved him almost as much as gold, and quite as well as silver, he was such a good boy), and persuade her master to grant him one wish before he left the cavern.

The king readily consented to do this, but ordered that the boy and his friendly guide should take their places at the table and be served with supper first, for well he knew that a hungry child's first wish must be for food.

The king had scarce given this order before a quick pair of hands stripped a tender sucking-pig from the spit, another filled a golden bowl with smoking stew from the caldron, another poured wine and ale into the clear goblets, and a fourth heaped porcelain dishes from every simmering pot and pipkin on the hearth; rolls of bread whiter than hoar-frost, and piles of purple and golden fruit followed, while the half-starved boy warmed his fingers at the blaze, and then ate and drank his fill of such viands as he had never before tasted, even in dreams. But when he could do no more good trencher-service, and the little old woman reminded him of the wish he was to ask the Dwarf-king to grant, he sat a long time pondering this important matter.

Now, among the legends that his old grandmother had recounted was one that had made especial impression on his fancy,—an old Bohemian tradition of a red-winged goose, followed by six goslings, which traversed the forests and valleys in the dead of winter, uncaught and unhurt, for hundreds of years, though whoever was so skilful or so lucky as to catch the goose would after that succeed in all his undertakings. Mihal bethought himself, asPg 114 he sat there, that perhaps the Dwarf-king was master of this wonderful bird, and could give him the prize at once, without delay or toil; so he slid from his seat at the table, and, approaching the king, made known his request.

The dwarf fixed his keen eyes sharply on the child, and shook his grizzled head from side to side before he spoke, in his rough but kindly voice, and said: “I cannot do that for thee, little one! All the treasures in my mountain, or the heart of the dumb earth, could not buy for thee the red-winged goose. She must be caught; but there is only one way to this end, and that way hitherto hath no mortal known. He who would capture the goose must first have caught the goslings, and that not by two or three, or as he may choose to trap them, but always the nearest one first, which is ever the last, seeing that they follow her in line, unbroken and unwavering. Thou must take them one by one, and in their order, child, however sorely tempted to break the sequence. Keep thine eye and thy labor for the nearest one, and at last the red-winged goose itself will reward thy patience.”

Mihal heard and treasured up the Dwarf-king's orders, spoke his simple thanks, bowing low, and, after a gay farewell to the little old woman who had been his jackdaw, went his way into the upper air; and just as the sun arose, touching the pine-tree tops with fire, he came to his father's hut, where the eight children were rubbing their eyes and Zitza crying for her breakfast. No one knew that Mihal had been farther than the door-sill, nor did he tell the clamorous brood of children what he had seen, lest they should mock it as a dream, or attempt the pursuit themselves.

So he went patiently about his work, helped them look for Meister Hans, whom all mourned for many a day,—excepting Mihal, who well knew how much better off the jackdaw was than in any of the pitiful conditions they fancied, and the parents, who were too thankful to gain even the bird's small share of bread for their wasted and fretful children.

But after nightfall Mihal crept softly from his straw in the corner, tied a sheep-skin across his shoulders, and, with his uneaten supper, a crust of black bread, in the bosom of his ragged shirt, stole softly out of the door to seek his fortune. About two miles from the hut there was a clear space in the pine forest, where there stood a great stone cross, at the foot of which a tiny spring slept in the grass, and overflowed softly on the crisp turf at all seasons. At this place Mihal resolved to wait for the flight of the red-winged goose, and he knew the forest paths so well that a short half-hour brought him to the open glade. He knelt and bathed his face in the spring, drank deeply of its pure and tranquil waters, and then leaned back against the foot of the cross to eat his crust and wait till moon-rise. Overhead the dark blue sky seemed to be higher than ever, and the bright stars sparkled so kindly, and looked so much like watchful eyes to guard and bless him, that Mihal felt no fear, but gazed upward into the quiet depths of air so long that he fell fast asleep and dreamed about the Dwarf-king's hill-palace.

Rose Terry.

(To be continued.)



Pg 115




“THE Gapo?” exclaimed the master of the craft. “What is it, Munday?”

“The Gapo?” repeated Tipperary Tom, fancying by the troubled expression on the face of the Indian that he had conducted his companions toward some terrible disaster. “Phwat is it, Munday?”

“Da Gapoo?” simultaneously interrogated the negro, the whites of his eyeballs shining in the moonlight. “What be dat?”

The Mundurucú made reply only by a wave of his hand, and a glance around him, as if to say, “Yes, the Gapo; you see we're in it.”

The three interrogators were as much in the dark as ever. Whether the Gapo was fish, flesh, or fowl, air, fire, or water, they could not even guess. There was but one upon the galatea besides the Indian himself who knew the signification of the word which had created such a sensation among the crew, and this was young Richard Trevannion.

“It's nothing, uncle,” said he, hastening to allay the alarm around him; “old Munday means that we've strayed from the true channel of the Solimoës, and got into the flooded forest,—that's all.”

“The flooded forest?”

“Yes. What you see around us, looking like low bushes, are the tops of tall trees. We're now aground on the branches of a sapucaya,—a species of the Brazil-nut, and among the tallest of Amazonian trees. I'm right,—see! there are the nuts themselves!” As the young Paraense spoke, he pointed to some pericarps, large as cocoa-nuts, that were seen depending from the branches among which the galatea had caught. Grasping one of them in his hand, he wrenched it from the branch; but as he did so, the husk dropped off, and the prism-shaped nuts fell like a shower of huge hailstones on the roof of the toldo. “Monkey-pots they're called,” continued he, referring to the empty pericarp still in his hand. “That's the name by which the Indians know them; because the monkeys are very fond of these nuts.”

“But the Gapo?” interrupted the ex-miner, observing that the expressive look of uneasiness still clouded the brow of the Mundurucú.

“It's the Indian name for the great inundation,” replied Richard, in the same tranquil tone. “Or rather I should say, the name for it in the lingoa-geral.”

“And what is there to fear? Munday has frightened us all, and seems frightened himself. What is the cause?”

“That I can't tell you, uncle. I know there are queer stories about the Gapo,—tales of strange monsters that inhabit it,—huge serpents, enormousPg 116 apes, and all that sort of thing. I never believed them, though the tapuyos do; and from old Munday's actions I suppose he puts full faith in them.”

“The young patron is mistaken,” interposed the Indian, speaking a patois of the lingoa-geral. “The Mundurucú does not believe in monsters. He believes in big serpents and monkeys,—he has seen them.”

“But shure yez are not afeerd o' them, Munday?” asked the Irishman.

The Indian only replied by turning on Tipperary Tom a most scornful look.

“What is the use of this alarm?” inquired Trevannion. “The galatea does not appear to have sustained any injury. We can easily get her out of her present predicament, by lopping off the branches that are holding her.”

“Patron,” said the Indian, still speaking in a serious tone, “it may not be so easy as you think. We may get clear of the tree-top in ten minutes. In as many hours—perhaps days—we may not get clear of the Gapo. That is why the Mundurucú shows signs of apprehension.”

“Ho! You think we may have a difficulty in finding our way back to the channel of the river?”

“Think it, patron! I am too sure of it. If not, we shall be in the best of good luck.”

“It's of no use trying to-night, at all events,” pursued Trevannion, as he glanced uncertainly around him. “The moon is sinking over the tree-tops. Before we could well get adrift, she'll be gone out of sight. We might only drift deeper into the maze. Is that your opinion, Munday?”

“It is, patron. We can do no good by leaving the place to-night. Wiser for us to wait for the light of the sun.”

“Let all go to rest, then,” commanded the patron, “and be ready for work in the morning. We need keep no look-out, I should think. The galatea is as safe here as if moored in a dry dock. She is aground, I take it, upon the limb of a tree! Ha! ha! ha!”

The thought of such a situation for a sailing craft—moored amid the tops of a tall tree—was of so ludicrous a nature as to elicit a peal of laughter from the patron, which was echoed by the rest of the crew, the Mundurucú alone excepted. His countenance still preserved its expression of uneasiness; and long after the others had sunk into unconscious sleep, he sat upon the stem of the galatea, gazing out into the gloom, with glances that betokened serious apprehension.



The young Paraense had given a correct, although not sufficiently explicit, account of the sort of place in which the galatea had gone “aground.”

That singular phenomenon known as the Gapo (or Ygapo), and which is one of the most remarkable characteristics of the great Amazonian region, demands a more detailed description. It is worthy of this, as a mere study of physical geography,—perhaps as pleasant a science as any; and furthermore,Pg 117 it is here absolutely necessary to the understanding of our tale. Without some comprehension of the circumstances that surrounded them, the hardships and sufferings endured, the adventures accomplished, and the perils passed by the crew of the strayed galatea, would appear as so many fabulous inventions, set forth to stimulate and gratify a taste for the merely marvellous. Young reader, this is not the aim of your author, nor does he desire it to be the end. On the contrary, he claims to draw Nature with a verisimilitude that will challenge the criticism of the naturalist; though he acknowledges a predilection for Nature in her wildest aspects,—for scenes least exposed to the eye of civilization, and yet most exposed to its doubting incredulity.

There are few country people who have not witnessed the spectacle of a piece of woodland inundated by the overflow of a neighboring stream. This flood is temporary; the waters soon subside into their ordinary channel, and the trees once more appear growing out of terra firma, with the green mead spreading on all sides around them. But a flooded forest is a very different affair; somewhat similar in character indeed, but far grander. Not a mere spinney of trees along the bank of a small stream; but a region extending beyond the reach of vision,—a vast tract of primeval woods,—the tall trees submerged to their very tops, not for days, nor weeks, but for months,—ay, some of them forever! Picture to your mind an inundation of this kind, and you will have some idea of the Gapo.

Extending for seventeen hundred miles along the banks of the Solimoës, now wider on the northern, now stretching farther back from the southern side, this semi-submerged forest is found, its interior almost as unknown as the crater-like caverns of the moon, or the icy oceans that storm or slumber round the Poles,—unknown to civilized man, but not altogether to the savage. The aboriginal of Amazonia, crouching in his canoe, has pierced this water-land of wonders. He could tell you much about it that is real, and much that is marvellous,—the latter too often pronounced fanciful by lettered savans. He could tell you of strange trees that grow there, bearing strange fruits, not to be found elsewhere,—of wonderful quadrupeds, and quadrumana, that exist only in the Gapo,—of birds brilliantly beautiful, and reptiles hideously ugly; among the last the dreaded dragon serpent, “Sucuriyu.” He could tell you, moreover, of creatures of his own kind,—if they deserve the name of man,—who dwell continuously in the flooded forest, making their home on scaffolds among the tree-tops, passing from place to place in floating rafts or canoes, finding their subsistence on fish, on the flesh of the manatee, on birds, beasts, reptiles, and insects, on the stalks of huge water-plants and the fruits of undescribed trees, on monkeys, and sometimes upon man! Such Indians as have penetrated the vast water-land have brought strange tales out of it. We may give credence to them or refuse it; but they, at least, are firm believers in most of the accounts which they have collected.

It is not to be supposed that the Gapo is impenetrable. On the contrary, there are several well-known water-ways leading through it,—well known, IPg 118 mean, to the Indians dwelling upon its borders, to the tapuyos, whose business it is to supply crews for the galateas of the Portuguese traders, and to many of these traders themselves. These water-ways are often indicated by “blazings” on the trees, or broken branches, just as the roads are laid out by pioneer settlers in a North American forest; and but for these marks, they could not be followed. Sometimes, however, large spaces occur in which no trees are to be seen, where, indeed, none grow. There are extensive lakes, always under water, even at the lowest ebb of the inundation. They are of all sizes and every possible configuration, from the complete circle through all the degrees of the ellipse, and not unfrequently in the form of a belt, like the channel of a river running for scores of miles between what might readily be mistaken for banks covered with a continuous thicket of low bushes, which are nothing more than the “spray” of evergreen trees, whose roots lie forty feet under water!

More frequently these openings are of irregular shape, and of such extent as to merit the title of “inland seas.” When such are to be crossed, the sun has to be consulted by the canoe or galatea gliding near their centre; and when he is not visible,—by no means a rare phenomenon in the Gapo,—then is there great danger of the craft straying from her course.

When within sight of the so-called “shore,” a clump of peculiar form, or a tree topping over its fellows, is used as a landmark, and often guides the navigator of the Gapo to the igarita of which he is in search.

It is not all tranquillity on this tree-studded ocean. It has its fogs, its gales, and its storms,—of frequent occurrence. The canoe is oft shattered against the stems of gigantic trees; and the galatea goes down, leaving her crew to perish miserably in the midst of a gloomy wilderness of wood and water. Many strange tales are told of such mishaps; but up to the present hour none have received the permanent record of print and paper.

Be it our task to supply this deficiency.



It would not be true to say that the crew of the galatea were up with the sun. There was no sun to shine upon the gloomy scene that revealed itself next morning. Instead, there was a fog almost thick enough to be grasped with the hand. They were astir, however, by the earliest appearance of day; for the captain of the galatea was too anxious about his “stranded” craft to lie late abed.

They had no difficulty in getting the vessel afloat. A strong pull at the branches of the sapucaya, and then an adroit use of the paddles, carried the craft clear.

But what was the profit of this? Once out in the open water, they were as badly off as ever. Not one of them had the slightest idea of the direction they would take, even supposing they could find a clear course in any direction!Pg 119 A consultation was the result, in which all hands took part, though it was evident that, after the patron, most deference was paid to the Mundurucú. The young Paraense stood next in the scale of respect; while Tipperary Tom, beyond the account which he was called upon to give of his steersmanship, was not permitted to mingle his Hibernian brogue in the discussion.

Where was the river? That was the first problem to be solved, and of this there appeared to be no possible solution. There was no sun to guide them; no visible sky. Even had there been both, it would scarce have mended the matter. The steersman could not tell whether, on straying from the channel, he had drifted to the south or the north, the east or the west; and, indeed, an intellect less obtuse than that of Tipperary Tom might have been puzzled upon the point. It has been already mentioned, that the Solimoës is so tortuous as to turn to every point of the compass in its slow course. The mere fact that the moon was shining at the time could be of little use to Tipperary Tom, whose astronomy had never extended beyond the knowledge that there was a moon.

Where lay the river? The interrogatory was repeated a score of times, without receiving a satisfactory answer; though every one on board—the little Rosita excepted—ventured some sort of reply, most, however, offering their opinion with a doubting diffidence. The Mundurucú, although repeatedly appealed to, had taken small part in the discussion, remaining silent, his eyes moodily wandering over the water, seeking through the fog for some clew to their escape from the spot.

No one plied the paddles; they had impelled her out of sight of the sapucaya, now shrouded in the thick fog; but, as it was useless paddling any farther, all hands had desisted, and were now resting upon their oars. At this moment it was perceived that the galatea was in motion. The Mundurucú was the first to notice it; for his attention had for some time been directed to such discovery. For this reason had he cast his searching glances, now down into the turbid waters, and now out through the murky atmosphere. A thicket was discernible through the fog, but every moment becoming less distinct. Of course it was only a collection of tree-tops; but whatever it was, it soon became evident that the galatea was very slowly receding from it. On discovering this, the Mundurucú displayed signs of fresh animation. He had been for some minutes lying upon his face, craning out over the gangway, and his long withered arms submerged in the water. The others occupied themselves in guessing what he was about; but their guesses had been to no purpose. Equally purposeless had appeared the actions of the Indian; for, after keeping his arm under water for a period of several minutes, he drew it in with a dissatisfied air, and once more arose to his feet. It was just then that he perceived the tree-tops, upon which he kept his eyes sharply fixed, until assured that the galatea was going away from them.

Hoola!” he exclaimed, attempting to imitate the cry he had more than once heard issuing from the lips of Tipperary Tom. “Hoola! the river is out there!” As he spoke, he pointed towards the tree-tops.

It was the first confident answer to the all-important question.Pg 120

“How can you tell that, Munday?” inquired the captain of the craft.

“How tell, patron? How tell day from night, the moon from the sun, fire from water? The Solimoës is there.” The Indian spoke with his arm still extended in the direction of the trees.

“We are willing to believe you,” rejoined Trevannion, “and will trust to your guidance; but pray explain yourself.”

“It's all guess-work,” interpolated Tipperary Tom. “Ould Munday knows no more av fwat he's talkin' about than Judy Fitzscummons's mother. I'll warrant ye we come in from the tother side.”

“Silence, Tom!” commanded his master. “Let us hear what Munday has to say. You have no right to contradict him.”

“Och, awance! An Indyen's opinion prefarred before that ov a freeborn Oirishman! I wondher what nixt.” And as Tipperary completed his chapter of reproaches, he slank crouchingly under the shadow of the toldo.

“So you think the river is there?” said Trevannion, once more addressing himself to the Mundurucú.

“The Mundurucú is sure of it, patron. Sure as that the sky is above us.”

“Remember, old man! It won't do for us to make any mistake. No doubt we've already strayed a considerable distance from the channel of the Solimoës. To go again from it will be to endanger our lives.”

“The Mundurucú knows that,” was the laconic reply.

“Well, then, we must be satisfied of the fact, before we can venture to make a move. What proof can you give us that the river lies in that direction?”

“Patron! You know the month? It is the month of March.”

“Certainly it is. What of that?”

“The echente.”

“The echente? What is that?”

“The flood getting bigger. The water on the rise,—the Gapo still growing,—that is the echente.”

“But how should that enable you to determine the direction of the river?”

“It has done so,” replied the Indian. “Not before three months—in June—will come the vasante.”

“The vasante?”

“The vasante, patron: the fall. Then the Gapo will begin to grow less; and the current will be towards the river, as now it is from it.”

“Your story appears reasonable enough. I suppose we may trust to it. If so,” added Trevannion, “we had better direct our course towards yonder tree-tops, and lose no time in getting beyond them. All of you to your paddles, and pull cheerily. Let us make up for the time we have lost through the negligence of Tipperary Tom. Pull, my lads, pull!”

At this cheering command the four paddlers rushed to their places; and the galatea, impelled by their vigorous strokes, once more glided gayly over the bosom of the waters.Pg 121



In a few moments the boat's bow was brought within half a cable's length of the boughs of the submerged trees. Her crew could see that to proceed farther, on a direct course, was simply impossible. With equal reason might they have attempted to hoist her into the air, and leap over the obstruction that had presented itself before them.

Not only were the branches of the adjoining trees interlocked, but from one to the other straggled a luxurious growth of creepers, forming a network so strong and compact that a steamer of a hundred horse-power would have been safely brought to a stand among its meshes. Of course no attempt was made to penetrate this impenetrable chevaux de frise; and after a while had been spent in reconnoitring it, Trevannion, guided by the counsel of the Mundurucú, ordered the galatea to go about, and proceed along the selvage of the submerged forest. An hour was spent in paddling. No opening. Another hour similarly employed, and with similar results!

The river might be in the direction pointed out by the Indian. No doubt it was; but how were they to reach it? Not a break appeared in all that long traverse wide enough to admit the passage of a canoe. Even an arrow could scarce have penetrated among the trees, that extended their parasite-laden branches beyond the border of the forest! By tacit consent of the patron, the paddlers rested upon their oars; then plied them once more; and once more came to a pause.

No opening among the tree-tops; no chance to reach the channel of the Solimoës. The gloomy day became gloomier, for night was descending over the Gapo. The crew of the galatea, wearied with many hours of exertion, ceased paddling. The patron did not oppose them; for his spirit, as well as theirs, had become subdued by hope long deferred. As upon the previous night, the craft was moored among the tree-tops, where her rigging, caught among the creepers, seemed enough to keep her from drifting away. But very different from that of the preceding night was the slumber enjoyed by her crew. Amidst the boughs of the sapucaya, there had been nothing to disturb their tranquillity, save the occasional shower of nuts, caused by the cracking of the dry shells, and the monkey-pots discharging their contents. Then was the galatea “grounded” upon a solitary tree, which carried only its own fruit. To-night she was moored in the middle of a forest,—at all events upon its edge,—a forest, not of the earth, nor the air, nor the water, but of all three,—a forest whose inhabitants might be expected to partake of a character altogether strange and abnormal. And of such character were they; for scarce had the galatea become settled among the tree-tops, when the ears of her crew were assailed by a chorus of sounds, that with safety might have challenged the choir of Pandemonium. Two alone remained undismayed,—Richard Trevannion and the Mundurucú.

“Bah!” exclaimed the Paraense, “what are you all frightened at? Don't you know what it is, uncle?”Pg 122

“I know what it resembles, boy,—the Devil and his legions let loose from below. What is it, Dick?”

“Only the howlers. Don't be alarmed, little Rosita!”

The little Peruvian, gaining courage from his words, looked admiringly on the youth who had called her “little Rosita.” Any one could have told that, from that time forward, Richard Trevannion might have the power to control the destinies of his cousin.

“The howlers! What are they?” inquired the old miner.

“Monkeys, uncle; nothing more. From the noise they make, one might suppose they were as big as buffaloes. Nothing of the kind. The largest I ever saw was hardly as stout as a deerhound, though he could make as much noise as a whole kennel. They have a sort of a drum in the throat, that acts as a sound-board. That's what enables them to get up such a row. I've often heard their concert more than two miles across country, especially in prospect of an approaching storm. I don't know if they follow this fashion in the Gapo; but if they do, from the way they're going it now, we may look out for a trifling tornado.”

Notwithstanding the apparent unconcern with which young Trevannion declared himself, there was something in his manner that arrested the attention of his uncle. While pronouncing his hypothetical forecast of a storm, he had turned his glance towards the sky, and kept it fixed there, as if making something more than a transient observation. The fog had evaporated, and the moon was now coursing across the heavens, not against a field of cloudy blue, but in the midst of black, cumulous clouds, that every now and then shrouded her effulgence. A dweller in the tropics of the Western hemisphere would have pronounced this sign the certain forerunner of a storm; and so predicted the young Paraense. “We'll have the sky upon us within an hour,” said he, addressing himself more especially to his uncle. “We'd better tie the galatea to the trees. If this be a hurricane, and she goes adrift, there's no knowing where we may bring up. The likeliest place will be in the bottom of the Gapo.”

“The young patron speaks truth,” interposed Munday, his eyes all the while reading the signs of the heavens. “The Mundurucú knows by yonder yellow sky.”

As he spoke, the Indian pointed to a patch of brimstone-colored clouds, conspicuous over the tops of the trees. There was no reason why Ralph Trevannion should not give credit to the two weather-prophets, who could have no personal motive in thus warning him. He yielded, therefore, to their solicitation; and in ten minutes more the galatea was secured among the tree-tops, as fast as cords could make her.

Mayne Reid.



Pg 123

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth,
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Henry W. Longfellow.


Pg 124



IN an instant Andy stopped turning, and saw sitting on the grass right before him the most beautiful white rabbit, with the softest fur and the longest ears that ever were.

“O Bunny!” cried Andy, delighted; and he stepped forward to smooth the lovely creature with his hand.

He had scarcely touched it, when it gave a little hop, and sat down again, just out of his reach.

“Bunny, Bunny! poor Bun!” cried Andy, coaxingly, creeping after it, as eager to catch it as ever a cat was to put her paw on a mouse. “I won't hurt you! Poor, poor Bunny!”

But the rabbit watched him with its mild, timid eyes, and gave two leaps, as light as a feather, and as noiseless, and sat down again by the garden fence. Andy crept up, still coaxing, and promising not to hurt it; and when he had got quite near, he spread out both hands, gave a spring like a cat, and caught a whole handful of grass right where the pretty creature had sat that very instant; but it was gone, and, looking over the fence, he saw it hopping away across the garden, from cabbage to cabbage, from hill to hill of the potatoes, in the airiest and most graceful manner, but not half as fast as a boy could run. So Andy resolved to chase it; and getting over the fence, he hurried across the garden, and came up to it just as it was perched for a moment like a bird on the top of a slender weed, which did not bend in the least beneath its weight. Andy grasped eagerly with both hands, and caught the weed between them; but away went the rabbit over the next fence, and across a large sunny pasture, making wonderful leaps, so long and light and high that sometimes it seemed to sail in the air on wings.

Andy ran after it, wild with excitement. Now it slipped through his fingers just as he pounced upon it, and tumbled headlong into a bunch of thistles. Now it floated in the air quite above his head, while he reached up and jumped, and ran on tiptoe after it, until he hit his foot against a stone, which he was looking too high to see, and nearly broke his shin in falling. Then it skipped along close upon the ground, stopping when he stopped, and seeming to invite him to come and catch it, but darting away again the moment he thought he had it fairly in his hands.

At last it squatted down against a stump, in a large, hilly field full of stumps and stones and ploughed ground, where Andy had never been before.

Almost crying, he was so vexed and tired and far from home, he came up to the stump. Bunny did not stir, but only winked a little, and pricked up its pretty ears.

“Now I'll have you!” And Andy sprang upon it, catching it with both hands. “I've got you! I've got you! I've got you!” he cried, in high glee.Pg 125 “Now, my pretty, naughty—ho!” said Andy, with the greatest amazement.

For lo! on opening his hands, he found that the thing he had given such a chase, and caught at last, was nothing but a little ball of thistle-down, which had been blown before him by the wind!

There he held it, and rubbed his eyes as he looked at it, and wondered; then he began to remember what Mother Quirk had said to him; and he would have given a good deal just then to have been back again at the well, as he was before the angry old woman boxed his ear. He was afraid she had bewitched him.

He looked at the thistle-down again and again, and turned it over, and picked it to pieces a little, then brushed it off from his hand, when, O wonderful! it immediately changed to a dove, and flew into the sky! But he found that he had pulled out some of its feathers, and still held one beautiful long white quill in his fingers.

Now he was sorry he had not kept it. And he would have got up and run after it again; but just then, happening to look where he had thrown the feathers down by the stump, he saw one of the strangest sights in the world.

A little bit of a fellow, not so large as the end of his thumb, opened a little bit of a door in the side of the stump, walked out, and looked around as if he had heard a noise about his house, and wished to see what had happened.

“Tom Thumb!” exclaimed Andy, in the greatest surprise and delight.

He had lately read the history of that famous little dwarf; and he had often thought he would give all his playthings just to make his acquaintance.

“Tom Thumb! Tom Thumb! how do you do?” he said.

But as Tom walked about, and paid no attention to him, he thought perhaps he had not addressed him respectfully enough. So he said,—“I beg your pardon, Mr. Thumb! I hope you are pretty well, Mr. Thumb.”

At that the little gentleman took off his hat, and made the politest little bow imaginable.

“My name is Andy. I have read about you. Come, let's be friends.”

Mr. Thumb made some reply, but in such a very small voice that Andy could not understand a word.

“Speak again, Mr. Thumb, if you please.”

And Andy put his head down to hear. But Tom appeared to be afraid; and, opening the little door again, he stepped back into the stump.

“Hello! come out again!” cried Andy. “Won't you? Then I'll find you!”

And with the dove's quill he forced the door of Tom Thumb's house, and penetrated the entry. At that he heard a confused murmuring and muttering and shouting; and, pulling away the feather, he saw rush out after it a dozen little fellows, all as angry as they could be.

“Excuse me, gentlemen!” said Andy, as soon as he had recovered from his astonishment. “I didn't mean any harm. Did I hurt anybody?”

They did not answer, but kept running to and fro, and talking among themselves, and darting in and out of the door, as if to see what damage had been done.Pg 126

Andy watched them with the greatest interest. They were all dressed in the gayest style, and very much alike. They had on black velvet caps, striped with gold, and with long plumes that waved over their heads. They wore the handsomest little tunics, of stuff as much finer than silk as silk is finer than the bark of a tree. They had on beautiful bright yellow scarfs, and their tunics were bordered with fringes of the richest orange-color, and their trousers were all of dark velvet and cloth of gold. They dangled the neatest little swords at their sides, in golden scabbards; and three or four of them clapped their hands furiously on the hilts; and one, seeing the feather which Andy pushed at them, drew out the finest little black steel blade, not near so large as a needle, threw himself into a noble fencing attitude, and made an impetuous lunge, thrusting and brandishing his weapon in the bravest manner.

Andy laughed gleefully, but stopped laughing, to wonder, when he saw another of the little warriors shake out the folds of a marvellous little cloak that covered his back, and, spreading it on the air, sail aloft with all his flashing colors, sword and plumes. He came straight to Andy's ear, and said something in a voice of thunder, and even made a cut or two at the boy's hair; then darted away out of sight.

By this time the little doorway in the stump was crowded with these strange little people. Some hurried to and fro, muttering and shaking their cloaks, some sailed aloft, and others passed in and out of the door,—all very much excited. Andy also noted several new-comers, who seemed quite surprised, on arriving, to find the little community in such confusion. The most of them brought some kind of plunder,—tiny bags of gold, armfuls of a minute kind of yellow-ripe grain, silks and satins of the fine quality mentioned,—which they hastened to hide away in their dwelling.

But what astonished Andy most of anything was the appearance of a wonderful little lady, who walked out among the warriors like a queen. She was extremely small-waisted, although otherwise very portly. She wore hoops of the most extraordinary extension, which made her appear three or four times as large as the largest of her subjects. She walked with a haughty air, fanning herself with a little gossamer fan, while her servants went backwards before her, spreading down the cunningest little carpets for her to tread upon. She was magnificently attired; her dress, of the costliest materials, the most gorgeous pattern, and the widest dimensions, was covered all over with the most splendid little fringes and flounces which it is possible to conceive. Her countenance, although very beautiful, was angry, and full of scorn, and she appeared scolding violently, as she strode to and fro on the royal carpets.

Andy was almost beside himself with delight and amazement, as he watched these proceedings. At length he said,—“These are not Tom Thumb's people, but a nation of fairies! O what a lucky boy I am!”

For it is not every boy, you know, that has the good fortune to discover these rare little people. They are in fact so seldom seen, that it is now generally believed that no such beings exist except in story-books. Andy hadPg 127 read about them with a great deal of interest; and although he had never been quite convinced that what was said of them was really true, he could now no longer have a doubt on the subject. He had not only discovered the home of the fairies, but he had seen the fairy queen.

And as Andy was a selfish boy, who wished to possess every strange or pretty thing he saw, he felt an ardent desire to seize and carry away the beautiful and scornful little being, who walked up and down on the carpets, scolding, and fanning herself with the gossamer fan.

“I will put her under a tumbler,” he said, “and keep her there until I can have a glass cage made for her. And I will make all the little fairy people come and be my servants, as they will have to if I carry off their queen. And I will show her to everybody who comes. And everybody will wonder so! O what a lucky boy I am!”

So saying, he formed his plan for capturing Her Majesty. Being anxious to take her alive, and carry her off without doing her any personal harm, he resolved to put her into his hat and tie his handkerchief over it. Having got everything in readiness, he stooped down very carefully, and extended his hand. Nobody seemed to be frightened; and the next moment the fairy queen was fast between his thumb and finger.

“Ha, ha!” cried Andy; “the first time trying! Hurrah!” And he lifted her up to put her into his hat.

But instantly the tiny creature began to struggle with all her might, and rustle her silks, and—queen as she was—scratch and bite in the sharpest manner. And at the same time the bravest little warriors flew to the rescue; shrewdly darting at Andy's face, as if they knew where to strike; and suddenly, while he was laughing at their rage, he got a thrust in his forehead, and another in his neck, and a third under his sleeve, where a courageous little soldier had rushed in and resolutely driven in his rapier up to the hilt! Andy, who had no idea such little weapons could hurt so, was terrified, and began to scream with pain. And now, strange to see! the fairies were no longer fairies, but a nest of bumblebees; it was the queen-bee he held in his fingers; and two of them had left their stings sticking in his wounds!

Andy dropped the queen-bee, left his hat and handkerchief by the stump, and began to run, screaming and brushing away the bees, that still followed him, buzzing in his hair, and stinging him where they could. He did not stop until he had run half across the fallow, and the last of the angry swarm that pursued him had ceased buzzing about his ears.

“Oh! oh! oh!” he sobbed, with grief, and disappointment, and the pain of the stings. “I didn't know they were bumblebees! And I've lost my hat! And I don't know where I am! Oh! oh! oh!” And he sat down on a stone and cried.

“Whoa! hush, haw!” said a loud voice.

And looking up through his tears, he saw an old farmer coming, with a long whip in his hand, driving a yoke of oxen. Andy stopped weeping to ask where he was, and the way home.

“About a peck and a half a day,” replied the farmer.Pg 128

Andy did not know what to make of this answer. So he said again,—“Can you tell me where my father and mother live?”

“One in one stall, and the other in the other. Hush, haw!” cried the farmer.

“I've got lost, and I wish you'd help me,” said Andy.

“Star and Stripe,” replied the farmer.

“How far is it to my father's?” the poor boy then asked.

“Well, about ninety dollars, with the yoke,” said the farmer. “Whoa, back!”

At this Andy felt so vexed, and weary, and bewildered, that he could not help sobbing aloud.

“What!” said the farmer, angrily; “making fun of me?” And he drew up his whip to strike.

“O, I wasn't making fun!” said Andy, frightened.

“You stopped me, and asked how much corn I feed my oxen; and I told you. Then where I feed them; and I told you that. Then their names; and I said, Star and Stripe. Then what I would sell them for; and I gave a civil answer. And now you're laughing at me!” said the farmer, raising his whip again.

Then Andy perceived that, whenever he said anything, he seemed to say something else, and that his weeping appeared to be laughter, and that, if he stayed there a moment longer, he would surely get a whipping. So he started to run, with the owner of the oxen shouting at his heels.

“There! take that for being saucy to an old man!” cried the farmer, fetching him a couple of sharp cuts across the back. Then he returned to his oxen, and drove them away; while Andy got off from the fallow as soon as he could, weeping as if his heart would break.

Seeing not far off a beautiful field of clover, the boy thought he would go and lie down in it, and rest.

He had never seen such clover in his life. It was all in bloom with blue and red and white flowers, which seemed to glow and sparkle like stars among the green leaves. How it waved and rippled and flashed in the sunshine, when the wind blew! Andy almost forgot his grief; and surely he had quite forgotten that nothing was now any longer what it appeared, when he waded knee-deep through the delicious clover, and laid himself down in it. No sooner had he done so than he saw that what he had mistaken for a field was a large pond, and he had plunged into it all over like a duck.

Strangling and gasping for breath, and drenched from head to foot, Andy scrambled out of the water as fast as he could. His hair was wet; and little streams ran into his eyes and down his cheeks. His ears rang with the water that had got into them. He was so frightened that he hardly knew what had happened. And in this condition he sat down on the shore to let his clothes drip, and to empty the water out of his shoes.

J. T. Trowbridge.

(To be continued.)


Pg 129


WE have just built our house in rather an out-of-the-way place,—on the bank of a river, and under the shade of a little patch of woods which is a veritable remain of quite an ancient forest. The checkerberry and partridge-plum, with their glossy green leaves and scarlet berries, still carpet the ground under its deep shadows; and prince's-pine and other kindred evergreens declare its native wildness,—for these are children of the wild woods, that never come after plough and harrow has once broken a soil.

When we tried to look out the spot for our house, we had to get a surveyor to go before us and cut a path through the dense underbrush that was laced together in a general network of boughs and leaves, and grew so high as to overtop our heads. Where the house stands, four or five great old oaks and chestnuts had to be cut away to let it in; and now it stands on the bank of the river, the edges of which are still overhung with old forest-trees, chestnuts and oaks, which look at themselves in the glassy stream.

A little knoll near the house was chosen for a garden-spot; a dense, dark mass of trees above, of bushes in mid-air, and of all sorts of ferns and wild-flowers and creeping vines on the ground. All these had to be cleared out, and a dozen great trees cut down and dragged off to a neighboring saw-mill, there to be transformed into boards to finish off our house. Then, fetching a great machine, such as might be used to pull a giant's teeth, with ropes, pulleys, oxen and men, and might and main, we pulled out the stumps, with their great prongs and their network of roots and fibres; and then, alas! we had to begin with all the pretty wild, lovely bushes, and the checkerberries and ferns and wild blackberries and huckleberry-bushes, and dig them up remorselessly, that we might plant our corn and squashes. And so we got a house and a garden right out of the heart of our piece of wild wood, about a mile from the city of H——.

Well, then, people said it was a lonely place, and far from neighbors,—by which they meant that it was a good way for them to come to see us. But we soon found that whoever goes into the woods to live finds neighbors of a new kind, and some to whom it is rather hard to become accustomed.

For instance, on a fine day early in April, as we were crossing over to superintend the building of our house, we were startled by a striped snake, with his little bright eyes, raising himself to look at us, and putting out his red, forked tongue. Now there is no more harm in these little garden-snakes than there is in a robin or a squirrel; they are poor little, peaceable, timid creatures, which could not do any harm if they would; but the prejudices of society are so strong against them, that one does not like to cultivate too much intimacy with them. So we tried to turn out of our path into a tangle of bushes; and there, instead of one, we found four snakes. We turned on the other side, and there were two more. In short, everywhere we looked, the dry leaves were rustling and coiling with them; and we were in despair.Pg 130 In vain we said that they were harmless as kittens, and tried to persuade ourselves that their little bright eyes were pretty, and that their serpentine movements were in the exact line of beauty; for the life of us, we could not help remembering their family name and connections; we thought of those disagreeable gentlemen, the anacondas, the rattlesnakes, and the copperheads, and all of that bad line, immediate family friends of the old serpent to whom we are indebted for all the mischief that is done in this world. So we were quite apprehensive when we saw how our new neighborhood was infested by them, until a neighbor calmed our fears by telling us that snakes always crawled out of their holes to sun themselves in the spring, and that in a day or two they would all be gone.

So it proved. It was evident they were all out merely to do their spring shopping, or something that serves with them the same purpose that spring shopping does with us; and where they went afterwards we do not know. People speak of snakes' holes, and we have seen them disappearing into such subterranean chambers; but we never opened one to see what sort of underground housekeeping went on there. After the first few days of spring, a snake was a rare visitor, though now and then one appeared.

One was discovered taking his noontide repast one day in a manner which excited much prejudice. He was, in fact, regaling himself by sucking down into his maw a small frog, which he had begun to swallow at the toes, and had drawn about half down. The frog, it must be confessed, seemed to view this arrangement with great indifference, making no struggle, and sitting solemnly, with his great, unwinking eyes, to be sucked in at the leisure of his captor. There was immense sympathy, however, excited for him in the family circle; and it was voted that a snake which indulged in such very disagreeable modes of eating his dinner was not to be tolerated in our vicinity. So I have reason to believe that that was his last meal.

Another of our wild woodland neighbors made us some trouble. It was no other than a veritable woodchuck, whose hole we had often wondered at when we were scrambling through the underbrush after spring flowers. The hole was about the size of a peck-measure, and had two openings about six feet apart. The occupant was a gentleman we never had had the pleasure of seeing; but we soon learned his existence from his ravages in our garden. He had a taste, it appears, for the very kind of things we wanted to eat ourselves, and helped himself without asking. We had a row of fine, crisp heads of lettuce, which were the pride of our gardening, and out of which he would from day to day select for his table just the plants we had marked for ours. He also nibbled our young beans; and so at last we were reluctantly obliged to let John Gardiner set a trap for him. Poor old simple-minded hermit, he was too artless for this world! He was caught at the very first snap, and found dead in the trap,—the agitation and distress having broken his poor woodland heart, and killed him. We were grieved to the very soul when the poor fat old fellow was dragged out, with his useless paws standing up stiff and imploring. He was industrious in his way, and would have made a capital soldier under McClellan. A regiment like himPg 131 would have made nothing of trench-digging, could they have been properly drilled. As it was, he was given to Denis, our pig, which, without a single scruple of delicacy, ate him up as thoroughly as he ate up the lettuce.

This business of eating, it appears, must go on all through creation. We eat ducks, turkeys, and chickens, though we don't swallow them whole, feathers and all. Our four-footed friends, less civilized, take things with more directness and simplicity, and chew each other up without ceremony, or swallow each other alive. Of these unceremonious habits we had other instances.

Two little frogs

Our house had a central court on the southern side, into which looked the library, dining-room, and front hall, as well as several of the upper chambers. It was designed to be closed in with glass, to serve as a conservatory in winter; and meanwhile we had filled it with splendid plumy ferns, taken up out of the neighboring wood. In the centre was a fountain surrounded by stones, shells, mosses, and various water-plants. We had bought three little goldfish to swim in our basin; and the spray of it, as it rose in the air and rippled back into the water, was the pleasantest possible sound of a hot day. We used to lie on the sofa in the hall, and look into the court, and fancy we saw some scene of fairy-land, and water-sprites coming up from the fountain. Suddenly a new-comer presented himself,—no other than an immense bullfrog, that had hopped up from the neighboring river, apparently with a view to making a permanent settlement in and about our fountain.Pg 132 He was to be seen, often for hours, sitting reflectively on the edge of it, beneath the broad shadow of the calla-leaves. When sometimes missed thence, he would be found under the ample shield of a great bignonia, whose striped leaves grew hard by.

The family were prejudiced against him. What did he want there? It was surely some sinister motive impelled him. He was probably watching for an opportunity to gobble up the goldfish. We took his part, however, and strenuously defended his moral character, and patronized him in all ways. We gave him the name of Unke, and maintained that he was a well-conducted, philosophical old water-sprite, who showed his good taste in wanting to take up his abode in our conservatory. We even defended his personal appearance, praised the invisible green coat which he wore on his back, and his gray vest, and solemn gold spectacles; and though he always felt remarkably slimy when we touched him, yet, as he would sit still, and allow us to stroke his head and pat his back, we concluded his social feelings might be warm, notwithstanding a cold exterior. Who knew, after all, but he might be a beautiful young prince, enchanted there till the princess should come to drop the golden ball into the fountain, and so give him a chance to marry her, and turn into a man again? Such things, we are credibly informed, are matters of frequent occurrence in Germany. Why not here?

By and by there came to our fountain another visitor,—a frisky, green young frog of the identical kind spoken of by the poet:

“There was a frog lived in a well,
Rig dum pully metakimo.”

This thoughtless, dapper individual, with his bright green coat, his faultless white vest, and sea-green tights, became rather the popular favorite. He seemed just rakish and gallant enough to fulfil the conditions of the song:

“The frog he would a courting ride,
With sword and pistol by his side.”

This lively young fellow, whom we shall call Cri-Cri, like other frisky and gay young people, carried the day quite over the head of the solemn old philosopher under the calla-leaves. At night, when all was still, he would trill a joyous little note in his throat, while old Unke would answer only with a cracked guttural more singular than agreeable; and to all outward appearance the two were as good friends as their different natures would allow.

One day, however, the conservatory became a scene of a tragedy of the deepest dye. We were summoned below by shrieks and howls of horror. “Do pray come down and see what this vile, nasty, horrid old frog has been doing!” Down we came; and there sat our virtuous old philosopher, with his poor little brother's hind legs still sticking out of the corner of his mouth, as if he were smoking them for a cigar, all helplessly palpitating as they were. In fact, our solemn old friend had done what many a solemn hypocrite before has done,—swallowed his poor brother, neck and crop,—and sat there with the most brazen indifference, looking as if he had done the most proper and virtuous thing in the world.Pg 133

Immediately he was marched out of the conservatory at the point of the walking-stick, and made to hop down into the river, into whose waters he splashed; and we saw him no more. We regret to say that the popular indignation was so precipitate in its results; otherwise the special artist who sketched Hum, the son of Buz, intended to have made a sketch of the old villain, as he sat with his luckless victim's hind legs projecting from his solemn mouth. With all his moral faults, he was a good sitter, and would probably have sat immovable any length of time that could be desired.

Of other woodland neighbors there were some which we saw occasionally. The shores of the river were lined here and there with the holes of the muskrats; and, in rowing by their settlements, we were sometimes strongly reminded of them by the overpowering odor of the perfume from which they get their name. There were also owls, whose nests were high up in some of the old chestnut-trees. Often in the lonely hours of the night we could hear them gibbering with a sort of wild, hollow laugh among the distant trees. But one tenant of the woods made us some trouble in the autumn. It was a little flying-squirrel, who took to making excursions into our house in the night season, coming down chimney into the chambers, rustling about among the clothes, cracking nuts or nibbling at any morsels of anything that suited his fancy. For a long time the inmates of the rooms were wakened in the night by mysterious noises, thumps, and rappings, and so lighted candles, and searched in vain to find whence they came; for the moment any movement was made, the rogue whipped up chimney, and left us a prey to the most mysterious alarms. What could it be?

But one night our fine gentleman bounced in at the window of another room, which had no fireplace; and the fair occupant, rising in the night, shut the window, without suspecting that she had cut off the retreat of any of her woodland neighbors. The next morning she was startled by what she thought a gray rat running past her bed. She rose to pursue him, when he ran up the wall, and clung against the plastering, showing himself very plainly a gray flying-squirrel, with large, soft eyes, and wings which consisted of a membrane uniting the fore paws to the hind ones, like those of a bat. He was chased into the conservatory, and, a window being opened, out he flew upon the ground, and made away for his native woods, and thus put an end to many fears as to the nature of our nocturnal rappings.

So you see how many neighbors we found by living in the woods, and, after all, no worse ones than are found in the great world.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.




Pg 134



HOW lonesome the days when dear friends leave us to return no more, whom we never shall see again on earth, who will send us no message or letter of love from the far distant land whither they have gone! It tries our hearts and brings tears to our eyes to lay them in the ground. But shall we never, never see them again? Yes, when we have taken the same journey, when we have closed our eyes on earth and opened them in heaven.

It was a sad day to Paul when he followed the body of his dear old grandfather to the grave; but when he stood by his coffin, and looked for the last time upon his grandfather's face, and saw how peaceful it was and how pleasant the smile which rested upon it, as if he was beholding beautiful scenes,—when Paul remembered how good he was, he could not feel it in his soul to say, “Come back, Grandpa”; he would be content as it was. But the days were long and dreary, and so were the nights. Many were the hours which Paul passed lying awake in his bed, looking through the crevices of the poor old house, and watching the stars and the clouds as they went sailing by. So he was sailing on, and the question would come up, Whither? He listened to the water falling over the dam by the mill, and to the chirping of the crickets, and the sighing of the wind, and the church-bell tolling the hours; they were sweet, yet mournful and solemn sounds. Tears stood in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks, as he thought that he and his mother were on earth, and his father and grandfather were praising God in the heavenly choirs. But he resolved to be good, to take care of his mother, and be her comfort and joy.

Hard times came on. How to live was the great question; for now that his grandfather was gone, they could have the pension no longer. The neighbors were very kind. Sometimes Mr. Middlekauf, Hans's father, who had a great farm, left a bag of meal for them when he came into the village. There was little work for Paul to do in the village; but he kept their own garden in good trim—the onion-bed clear of weeds, and the potatoes well hilled. Very pleasant it was to work there, where the honey-bees hummed over the beds of sage, and among his mother's flowers, and where bumblebees dusted their yellow jackets in the hollyhocks. Swallows also built their nests under the eaves of the house, and made the days pleasant with their merry twittering.

The old pensioner had been a land surveyor. The compass which he used was a poor thing; but he had run many lines with it through the grand old forest. One day, as Paul was weeding the onions, it occurred to him that he might become a surveyor; so he went into the house, took the compassPg 135 from its case, and sat down to study it. He found his grandfather's surveying-book, and began to study that. Some parts were hard and dry; but having resolved to master it, he was not the boy to give up a good resolution. It was not long before he found out how to run a line, how to set off angles, and how to ascertain the distance across a river or pond without measuring it. He went into the woods, and stripped great rolls of birch bark from the trees, carried them home, spread them out on the table, and plotted his lines with his dividers and ruler. He could not afford paper. He took great pleasure in making a sketch of the ground around the house, the garden, the orchard, the field, the road, and the river.

The people of New Hope had long been discussing the project of building a new road to Fair View, which would cross the pond above the mill. But there was no surveyor in the region to tell them how long the bridge must be which they would have to build.

“We will send up a kite, and thus get a string across the pond,” said one of the citizens.

“I can ascertain the distance easier than that,” said Paul.

Mr. Pimpleberry, the carpenter, who was to build the bridge, laughed, and looked with contempt upon him, Paul thought, because he was barefoot and had a patch on each knee.

“Have you ever measured it, Paul?” Judge Adams asked.

“No, sir; but I will do so just to let Mr. Pimpleberry see that I can do it.”

He ran into the house, brought out the compass, went down to the edge of the pond, drove a small stake in the ground, set his compass over it, and sighted a small oak-tree upon the other side of the pond. It happened that the tree was exactly south from the stake; then he turned the sights of his compass so that they pointed exactly east and west. Then he took Mr. Pimpleberry's ten-foot pole, and measured out fifty feet toward the west, and drove another stake. Then he set his compass there, and took another sight at the small oak-tree across the pond. It was not south now, but several degrees east of south. Then he turned his compass so that the sights would point just the same number of degrees to the east of north.

“Now, Mr. Pimpleberry,” said Paul, “I want you to stand out there, and hold your ten-foot pole just where I tell you, putting yourself in range with the stake I drove first and the tree across the pond.”

Mr. Pimpleberry did as he was desired.

“Drive a stake where your pole stands,” said Paul.

Mr. Pimpleberry thrust a splinter into the ground.

“Now measure the distance from the splinter to my first stake, and that will be the distance across the pond,” said Paul.

“I don't believe it,” said Mr. Pimpleberry.

“Paul is right,” said Judge Adams. “I understand the principle. He has done it correctly.”

The Judge was proud of him. Mr. Pimpleberry and Mr. Funk, and several other citizens, were astonished; for they had no idea that PaulPg 136 could do anything of the kind. Notwithstanding Paul had given the true distance, he received no thanks from any one; yet he didn't care for that; for he had shown Mr. Pimpleberry that he could do it, and that was glory enough.

Paul loved fun as well as ever. Rare times he had at school. One windy day, a little boy, when he entered the school-room, left the door open. “Go back and shut the door,” shouted Mr. Cipher, who was very irritable that morning. Another boy entered, and left it open. Mr. Cipher was angry, and spoke to the whole school: “Any one who comes in to-day and does not shut the door, will get a flogging. Now remember!” Being very awkward in his manners, inefficient in government, and shallow-brained and vain, he commanded very little respect from the scholars.

“Boys, there is a chance for us to have a jolly time with Cipher,” said Paul at recess.

“What is it?” Hans Middlekauf asked, ready for fun of any sort. The boys gathered round, for they knew that Paul was a capital hand in inventing games.

“You remember what Cipher said about leaving the door open.”

“Well, what of it?” Hans Middlekauf asked.

“Let every one of us show him that we can obey him. When he raps for us to go in, I want you all to form in line. I'll lead off, go in and shut the door; you follow next, Hans, and be sure and shut the door; you come next, Philip; then Michael, and so on,—every one shutting the door. If you don't, remember that Cipher has promised to flog you.”

The boys saw through the joke, and laughed heartily. “Jingo, that is a good one, Paul. Cipher will be as mad as a March hare. I'll make the old door rattle,” said Hans.

Rap—rap—rap—rap! went the master's ruler upon the window.

“Fall into line, boys,” said Paul. They obeyed orders as if he were a general. “Now remember, every one of you, to shut the door just as soon as you are in. Do it quick, and take your seats. Don't laugh, but be as sober as deacons.” There was giggling in the ranks. “Silence!” said Paul. The boys smoothed their faces. Paul opened the door, stepped in, and shut it in an instant,—slam! Hans opened it,—slam! it went, with a jar which made the windows rattle. Philip followed,—slam! Michael next,—bang! it went, jarring the house.

“Let the door be open,” said Cipher; but Michael was in his seat; and—bang! again,—slam!—bang!—slam!—bang! it went.

“Let it be open, I say!” he roared, but the boys outside did not hear him, and it kept going,—slam!—slam!—slam!—bang!—bang!—bang!—till the fiftieth boy was in.

“You started that, sir,” Cipher said, addressing Paul, for he had discovered that Paul Parker loved fun, and was a leading spirit among the boys.

“I obeyed your orders, sir,” Paul replied, ready to burst into a roar at the success of his experiment.

“Did you not tell the boys to slam the door as hard as they could?”Pg 137

“No, sir. I told them to remember what you had said, and that, if they didn't shut the door, they would get a flogging.”

“That is just what he said, Master,” said Hans Middlekauf, brimming over with fun. Cipher could not dispute it. He saw that they had literally obeyed his orders, and that he had been outwitted. He did not know what to do; and, being weak and inefficient, did nothing.

Paul loved hunting and fishing; on Saturday afternoons he made the woods ring with the crack of his grandfather's gun, bringing squirrels from the tallest trees, and taking quails upon the wing. He was quick to see, and swift to take aim. He was cool of nerve, and so steady of aim that he rarely missed. It was summer, and he wore no shoes. He walked so lightly that he scarcely rustled a leaf. The partridges did not see him till he was close upon them, and then, before they could rise from their cover, flash!—bang!—and they went into his bag.

One day as he was on his return from the woods, with the gun upon his shoulder, and the powder-horn at his side, he saw a gathering of people in the street. Men, women, and children were out,—the women without bonnets. He wondered what was going on. Some women were wringing their hands; and all were greatly excited.

“O dear, isn't it dreadful!” “What will become of us?” “The Lord have mercy upon us!”—were the expressions which he heard. Then they wrung their hands again, and moaned.

“What is up?” he asked of Hans Middlekauf.

“Haven't you heard?”

“No, what is it?”

“Why, there is a big black bull-dog, the biggest that ever was, that has run mad. He has bitten ever so many other dogs, and horses, sheep, and cattle. He is as big as a bear and froths at the mouth. He is the savagest critter that ever was,” said Hans in a breath.

“Why don't somebody kill him?”

“They are afeared of him,” said Hans.

“I should think they might kill him,” Paul replied.

“I reckon you would run as fast as anybody else, if he should show himself round here,” said Hans.

“There he is! Run! run! run for your lives!” was the sudden cry.

Paul looked up the street, and saw a very large bull-dog coming upon the trot. Never was there such a scampering. People ran into the nearest houses, pell-mell. One man jumped into his wagon, lashed his horse into a run, and went down the street, losing his hat in his flight, while Hans Middlekauf went up a tree.

“Run, Paul! Run! he'll bite you,” cried Mr. Leatherby from the window of his shoe shop. People looked out from the windows and repeated the cry, a half-dozen at once; but Paul took no notice of them. Those who were nearest him heard the click of his gun-lock. The dog came nearer, growling, and snarling, his mouth wide open, showing his teeth, his eyes glaring, and white froth dripping from his lips. Paul stood alone in thePg 138 street. There was a sudden silence. It was a scene for a painter,—a barefoot boy in patched clothes, with an old hat on his head, standing calmly before the brute whose bite was death in its most terrible form. One thought had taken possession of Paul's mind, that he ought to kill the dog.

Winning his way

Nearer, nearer, came the dog; he was not a rod off. Paul had read that no animal can withstand the steady gaze of the human eye. He looked the dog steadily in the face. He held his breath. Not a nerve trembled. The dog stopped, looked at Paul a moment, broke into a louder growl, opened his jaws wider, his eyes glaring more wildly, and stepped slowly forward. Now or never, Paul thought, was his time. The breech of the gun touched his shoulder; his eye ran along the barrel,—bang! the dog rolled over with a yelp and a howl, but was up again, growling and trying to get at Paul, who in an instant seized his gun by the barrel, and brought the breech down upon the dog's skull, giving him blow after blow.

“Kill him! kill him!” shouted the people from the windows.

“Give it to him! Mash his head!” cried Hans from the tree.

The dog soon became a mangled and bloody mass of flesh and bones. The people came out from their houses.

“That was well done for a boy,” said Mr. Funk.

“Or for a man either,” said Mr. Chrome, who came up and patted Paul on his back.Pg 139

“I should have thrown my lapstone at him, if I could have got my window open,” said Mr. Leatherby. Mr. Noggin, the cooper, who had taken refuge in Leatherby's shop, afterwards said that Leatherby was frightened half to death, and kept saying, “Just as like as not he will make a spring and dart right through the window.”

“Nobly, bravely done, Paul,” said Judge Adams. “Let me shake hands with you, my boy.” He and Mrs. Adams and Azalia had seen it all from their parlor window.

“O Paul, I was afraid he would bite and kill you, or that your gun would miss fire. I trembled all over just like a leaf,” said Azalia, still pale and trembling. “O, I am so glad you have killed him!” She looked up into his face earnestly, and there was such a light in her eyes, that Paul was glad he had killed the dog, for her sake.

“Weren't you afraid, Paul?” she asked.

“No. If I had been afraid, I should have missed him, perhaps; I made up my mind to kill him, and what was the use of being afraid.”

Many were the praises bestowed upon Paul. “How noble! how heroic!” the people said. Hans told the story to all the boys in the village. “Paul was just as cool as—cool as—a cucumber,” he said, that being the best comparison he could think of. The people came and looked at the dog, to see how large he was, and how savage, and went away saying, “I am glad he is dead, but I don't see how Paul had the courage to face him.”

Paul went home and told his mother what had happened. She turned pale while listening to the story, and held her breath, and clasped her hands; but when he had finished, and when she thought that, if Paul had not killed the dog, many might have been bitten, she was glad, and said, “You did right, my son. It is our duty to face danger if we can do good.” A tear glistened in her eye as she kissed him. “God bless you, Paul,” she said, and smiled through her tears. He remembered it for many a day.

All the dogs which had been bitten were killed to prevent them from running mad. A hard time of it the dogs of New Hope had, for some which had not been bitten did not escape the dog-killers, who went through the town knocking them over with clubs.

Although Paul was so cool and courageous in the moment of danger, he trembled and felt weak afterwards when he thought of the risk he had run. That night when he said his evening prayer, he thanked God for having protected him. He dreamed it all over again in the night. He saw the dog coming at him with his mouth wide open, the froth dropping from his lips, and his eyes glaring heavily. He heard his growl,—only it was not a growl, but a branch of the old maple which rubbed against the house when the wind blew. That was what set him a dreaming. In his dream he had no gun, so he picked up the first thing he could lay his hands on, and let drive at the dog. Smash! there was a great racket, and a jingling of glass. Paul was awake in an instant, and found that he had jumped out of bed, and was standing in the middle of the floor, and that he had knocked over thePg 140 spinning-wheel, and a lot of old trumpery, and had thrown one of his grandfather's old boots through the window.

“What in the world are you up to, Paul?” his mother asked, calling from the room below, in alarm.

“Killing the dog a second time, mother,” Paul replied, laughing and jumping into bed again.






AMONG the many queer characters I have encountered, in the shadow of the forest or the sunshine of the prairie, I can remember none queerer than Zebulon Stump, or old Zeb, as he was familiarly known. “Kaintuck by birth and raisin',” as he described himself, he was a hunter of the Daniel Boone sort. The chase was his sole calling; and he would have indignantly scouted the suggestion that he ever followed it for mere amusement. Though not of ungenial disposition, he held all amateur hunters in lordly contempt; and his conversation with such was always of a condescending character, although he was not, after all, averse to their company. Being myself privileged with his acquaintance, many of my hunting excursions were made in company with Old Zeb. He was in truth my guide and instructor, as well as companion, and initiated me into many mysteries of American woodcraft.

One of the most inexplicable of these mysteries was Old Zeb's own existence; and I had known him for a considerable time before I could unravel it. He stood six feet high in his boots of alligator-skin, into the ample tops of which were crowded the legs of his coarse “copperas” trousers; while his other garments were a deer-skin shirt, and a blanket coat that had once been green, but, like the leaves of the autumnal forest, had become sere and yellow. A slouched felt hat shaded his cheeks from the sun upon the rare occasions when Old Zeb strayed beyond the shadow of the “timber.” Where and how he lived were the two points that most required explanation. In the tract of virgin forest where I usually met him, there was neither house nor hut. So said the people of Grand Gulf, the small town upon the Mississippi where I was staying. Yet Old Zeb had told me that in this forest was his “hum.” It was only after our acquaintance had ripened into strong fellowship, that I had the pleasure of spending an hour under his humble roof. It consisted of the hollow trunk of a gigantic sycamore-tree, still standing and growing! Here Old Zeb found shelter for himself, his squaw,—as he termed Mrs. Stump,—his household goods, andPg 141 the tough old nag that carried him in his wanderings. His establishment was no longer a puzzle,—though there was still the mystery of how he maintained it. A skilled hunter might easily procure food for himself and family; but even the hunter disdains a diet exclusively game. There were the coffee, the “pone” of corn-bread, the corn itself necessary for the “critter,” the gown that wrapped the somewhat angular outlines of Mrs. Stump, and many other things that could not be procured by a rifle. Even the rifle itself required food not to be found in the forest.

Presuming on our intimacy, I asked, “How do you manage to live? You don't appear to make anything, nor do I see any signs of cultivation. How then do you support yourselves?”

“Them duds thar,” answered my host, pointing to a corner of his tree-cabin. I looked and saw the skins of several animals,—among which I recognized those of the “painter,” “possum,” and “'coon,” along with a haunch or two of recently killed venison. “I sell 'em, boy; the skins to the storekeepers, and the deer-meat to anybody as 'll buy it.”

Old Zeb's shooting appeared marvellous to me. He could “bark” a squirrel in the top of the tallest tree, or kill it by a bullet through its eye. He used to boast, in a quiet way, that he never spoilt a skin, though it was only that of a “contemptible squir'l.”

What most interested me was his tales of adventure, of which he was often the hero; one possessed especial interest, partly from its own essential oddness, and partly from its hinging on a phenomenon which I had more than once witnessed. I allude to the “caving in,” or breaking down, of the banks of the Mississippi River, caused by the undermining of the current, when large strips of land, often whole acres, thickly studded with gigantic trees, slip into the water, to be “swished” away with a violence eclipsing the fury of fabled Charybdis. It was at the time of these land-slides that old Zeb had met with this adventure, which, by the way, came very near killing him.

I shall try to set it forth in his own piquant patois, as nearly as I can transcribe it from the tablets of my memory. I was indebted for the tale to a chance circumstance, for old Zeb seldom volunteered a story, unless something suggested it. We had killed a fine buck, that had run several hundred times his length with the bullet in his body, and fallen within a few feet of the bank of the great river. While stopping to dress him, old Zeb looked around keenly, exclaiming, “If this ain't the place whar I war trapped in a tree! Thar's the very saplin' itself!”

I looked at the “saplin'.” It was a swamp cypress of some thirty feet in girth, by at least a hundred and fifty in height.

“Trapped in a tree!” I echoed with emphatic interest, perceiving that he was upon the edge of some odd adventure; and, desirous of tempting him to the relation, I continued: “Trapped in a tree! How could that be with an old forester like you?”

“It dud be, howsomedever,” was the quaint reply of my companion; “an' not so very long agone, neyther. Ef ye'll sit down a bit, I'll tell ye all, as IPg 142 kin tell it; for I hain't forgotten neery sarcumstance; an' I'll lay odds, young feller, thet ef ever you be as badly skeeart, you'll carry the recollection o' that skeer ter yer coffin.

“Ye see, kumrade, I war out arter deer jest as we are the day; only it had got to be nigh sundown, i'deed, an' I hedn't emptied my rifle the hul day. Fact is, I hedn't sot eye on a thing wuth a charge o' powder an' lead. I war afut; an' it are a good six mile from this to my shanty. I didn't like goin' home empty-handed, specially as I knowed we war empty-housed; an' the ole 'ooman wanted somethin' to git us a pound or two o' coffee an' sugar with. So I thort I shed stay all night i' the wuds, trustin' to gettin' a shot at a stray buck or a turkey in the early mornin'. I war jest in this spot; but it looked quite different then. The hul place about hyar war kivered wi' the tallest o' cane, an' so thick, a coon ked sca'ce worm his way through it; but sence then the under-scrub's all been burnt out. So I tuk up my quarters for the night under that 'ere big cyprus. The ground war dampish; for thar hed been a spell o' rain. So I tuk out my bowie, an' cut me enough o' the green cane to make a sort o' a shake-down. It war comf'table enough; an' in the twinklin' o' a buck's tail, I war soun' asleep. I slep' like a possum, till daybreak, an' then I war awoke by the worst noises as ever rousted a feller out o' his slumber. I heerd a skreekin' an' screamin' an' screevin', as ef all the saws in Massissippi wor bein' sharped 'ithin twenty yards o' my ear. It all kim from overhead,—from out the top o' the cyprus; an' it war the callin' o' the baldy eagles; it wa'n't the fust time I had listened to them hyar. 'That's a neest,' sez I to myself; 'an' young 'uns, too. That's why the birds is makin' sech a rumpis.' Not that I cared much about a eagle's nest, nor the birds neyther. But jest then I remembered my ole 'ooman had told me that there war a rich Englishman at the tavern in Grand Gulf who offered no eend o' money for a brace o' young baldy eagles.

“So in coorse I clomb the tree. 'T warn't so easy as you may s'pose. Thar war forty feet o' the stem 'ithout a branch, an' so smooth thet a catamount kedn't 'a' scaled it. I thort at fust that the cyprus wa'n't climable no how; but jest then I seed a big fox grape-vine, that, arter sprawlin' up another tree clost by, left it an' sloped off to the one whar the baldies had thar nest. This war the very thing I wanted,—a sort o' Jaykup's ladder; an', 'ithout wastin' a minit, I shinned up the grape-vine. The shaky thing wobbled about, till I war well-nigh pitched back to the groun'; an' thar war a time when I thort seriously o' slippin' down agin.

“But then kim the thort o' the ole 'ooman, an' the empty larder, along wi' the Englishman an' his full purse; an' bein' freshly narved by these recollections, I swarmed up the vine like a squir'l. Once upon the cyprus, thar warn't no differculty in reachin' the neest. Thar war plenty o' footing among the top branches whar the birds had made thar eyeray. But it warn't so easy to get into the neest. Thar kedn't 'a' been less than a wagon-load o' sticks in it, to say nothin' o' Spanish moss, an' all sorts o' bones o' fish and four-footed animals. It tuk me nigh a hour to make a hole, so that I ked git my head abovePg 143 the edge, an' see what the neest contained. As I expected, thur war young 'uns in it,—two o' them about half feathered.

“All this time the old birds were abroad lookin' up a breakfast, I suppose, for thar chicks. 'How disappointed they'll be!' sez I to myself, 'when they come back an' find that the young 'uns have fled the neest, without feathers!'

“I war too sure o' my game, an' too curious about the young baldies, watching them, as they cowered clos't thegither, hissin' an' threatenin' me, to take notice o' anythin' besides. But I war roused by feelin' the hat suddintly snatched from my head, an' at the same time gettin' a scratch acrost the cheek, that sent the blood spurtin' out all over my face. It was from the talon o' the she-eagle, while the ole cock war makin' a confusion o' noises as if he hed jest come all a-strut from the towers o' Babylon. I had grupped one o' the young baldies, but I war only too glad to lot it go an' duck my head under the nest, till the critters were tired threatenin' me, an' guv up the attack. By this time I guv up all thought o' takin' the young eagles. Arter my scratch, I war contented to leave 'em alone, an' no Englishman's gold ked hev bought that brace o' birds. I only waited a bit to rekiver myself, an' then I commenced makin' back-tracks down the tree.

“I hed got 'bout half-way to the place whar the fox-grapes tuck holt o' the cyprus, when I was stopped by a sound far more terrefic than the screech o' the eagles. It was the creakin' an' crashin' o' timber along wi' that unairthly rumblin' ye may hear when the banks o' the Massissippi be a cavin' in, as they war then. I ked see the trees that stood atween me an' the river trimblin' and tossin' about, an' then goin' with a loud swish, an' a plunge, into the fast flowin' current o' the stream. The cyprus itself shook, as if the wind war busy among its branches. I felt a suddint jerk upon it, an' then it righted agin', an' stood steady as a rock. The eagles above screamed wuss than iver, while Zeb Stump below war tremblin' like an aspick.

“I know'd well enough what it all meant, but knowin' didn't give me any great satesfaction, since I believed that in another minit the cyprus mout cave in too! I didn't stay the ten thousanth fraction o' a minit. I hurried to get back to the groun'; an' soon reached the place whar the grape-vine joined on to the cyprus. Thur warn't no grape-vine to be seen. It war clear gone! The tother tree to which its roots had been clingin' had gone into the river, takin' the fox-grape along wi' it. It war that gev the pluck I felt when descendin' fro' the neest. I looked below. The river had changed its channel. Instead o' runnin' twenty yards from the spot, it war surgin' along clost to the cyprus, which in another minit mout topple over, whirl along, and be swallowed in the frothin' water.

“I ked do nuthin' but stay whar I war,—nothin' but wait an' watch,—listenin' to the screamin' o' the eagles,—skeeart like myself,—the hoarse roarin' o' the angry water, an' the crashin' o' the trees, as one arter another fell victims to the flood.”

I was fascinated by this narration. Old Zeb's thoughts, notwithstanding the patois in which they were expressed, had risen to the sublime; and althoughPg 144 he paused for some minutes, I made no attempt to interrupt his reflections, but in silence awaited the continuance of his tale.

“Wal, what do ye suppose I did nixt?” asked Zeb.

“Really, I cannot imagine,” I replied, considerably astonished by Old Zeb's abrupt and unexpected question.

“Wal, ye don't suppose I kim down from the tree?”

“I don't see how you could.”

“Neyther did I, for I kedn't. I mout as well 'a' tried to git down the purpendiklar face o' the Chickasaw bluffs, or the wall o' Jackson Court-House. So I guv it up, an' stayed whar I war, cross-legs on a branch o' the tree. It warn't the most comf'table kind o' seat; but I hed somethin' else than cushions to think of. I didn't know the minit I mout be shot out into the Massissippi; an' as I niver war much o' a swimmer,—to say nothin' o' bein' smashed by the branches in fallin',—I warn't over satesfied wi' my sitiwation.

“So I passed the hull o' that day; tho' thar warn't an easy bone in my body, I hed got to be a bit easier in my mind; for on lookin' down at the river, it seemed that the cave-in hed come to a eend. But my comfort didn't last long. It war follered by the reflection that, whether the tree war to stand or fall, I war equally a lost man. I knew that I war beyont the reach o' human help. Nothin' but chance ked fetch a livin' critter within reach o' my voice. I seed the river plain enough, an' boats passin' up an' down; but I know'd they war 'custom'd to steer along the opposite shore, to 'void the dangerous eddy as sets torst this side. The river's more 'n a mile wide here, and the people on a passin' boat wudn't hear me; an' ef they did, they'd take it for some one a mockin' 'em. A man hailin' a boat from the top o' a cyprus-tree! It 'ud be of no use. For all that I tried it. Steamers, keels, and flats,—I hailed them all till I war hoarse; some o' 'em heard me, for I war answered by shouts o' scornful laughter. My own shouts o' despair mout a' been mistuk for the cries o' a fool or a madman.

“Wul, I kim to the conclusion that I war trapped in that tree, an' no mistake. I seed no more chance o' gittin' clur than wud a bar wi' a two-ton log across the small o' his back.

“It war jest arter I hed gin up all hope o' bein' suckered by anybody else, thet I 'gan to think o' doin' suthin' for myself. I needed to do suthin'. Full thirty hours hed passed since I'd eyther ate or drank; for I'd been huntin' all the day afore 'ithout doin' eyther. I ked 'a' swallered the muddiest water as ever war found in a puddle, an' neyther frogs nor tadpoles would 'a' deterred me. As to eatin', when I thort o' that, I kedn't help turnin' my eyes up'ard; an', spite o' the spurt I'd hed wi' thar parents, I ked 'a' tolt them young baldies that thar lives war in danger.

“Possible, I mout 'a' feeled hungrier an' thurstier then I did, if it hadn't been for the fear I war in 'bout the cyprus topplin' over into the river. Thet hed kep' me in sich a state o' skear, as to hinder me from thinking of most anythin' else.

“As the time passed, hows'ever, an' the tree still kep' its purpendic'lar, IPg 145 begun to b'lieve that the bank warn't agoin' to move any more. I ked see the water down below through the branches o' the cyprus, an' tho' it war clost by, thar 'peared to be a clamjamfery o' big roots stickin' out from the bank, as war like to keep the dirt firm agin the underminin' o' the current,—leastwise for a good while.

“Soon as I bekum satersfied o' the firmness o' the cyprus, I tuk to thinkin' again how I war to git down. Thinkin' warn't o' no use. Thar war no way but to jump it; an' I mout as well ha' thort o' jumpin' from the top o' a 'Piscopy church steeple 'ithout breakin' my ole thigh-bones, tough as they be.

“By this time it hed got to be night; an' as thar wa'n't no use o' me makin' things wuss then they war, I groped about the cyprus to see ef thar war ary limb softer than the others, whar I ked lay myself for a snooze. I foun' a place in one o' the forks, large enough to 'a' lodged a bar; an' thar I squatted. I slep' putty well, considerin'; but the scratch the eagle hed gin me hed got to be sorish, an' war wuss torst the mornin'. At peep o' day I war wide awake, an' feelin' hungry enuf to eat anything.

“While I war thinkin' o' climbin' up to the neest an' wringin' one o' the eagles' necks, I chanced to look out over the river. All at oncet I see one o' them big water-hawks—osprey, they call 'em—plunge down, an' rise up agin wi' a catfish in his claws. He hadn't got twenty feet above the surface when one o' the old baldies went shootin' torst him like a streak o' lightnin'. Afore ye kud 'a' counted six, I seed the she-baldy comin' for the tree wi' the catfish in her claws.

“'Good,' sez I to myself; 'ef I must make my breakfast on raw stuff, I'd rayther it shed be fish than squab eagle.'

“I started for the neest. This time I tuk the purcaution to unsheathe my bowie an' carry it in my hand ready for a fight; an' it warn't no idle purcaution, as it proved; for sca'ce hed I got my head above the edge o' the neest when both the old birds attackted me jest as afore. The fight war now more even atween us, an' the cunnin' critters appeared to know it; for they kep' well out o' reach o' the bowie, though floppin' an' clawin' at me whenever they seed a chance. I guv the ole hen a prod that cooled her courage consid'able; an' as for the cock, he warn't a sarcumstance to her; for, as yer know, the pluckiest o' eagles is allers the hen bird.

“The fish war lyin' in the bottom o' the neest, whar they had dropped it. It hedn't been touched, 'ceptin' by the claws thet hed carried it, an' the young 'uns war too much skeart durin' the skurmidge to think o' beginnin' breakfast. I spiked it on the blade o' my bowie, an', drawin' it torst me, I slid back down the tree to the fork whar I hed passed the night. Thar I ate it.”

“You don't mean to say you ate it raw?”

“Jest as it come from the river! I mout 'a' gin it a sort o' a cookin', ef I'd liked; for I hed my punk pouch on me, an' I ked 'a' got firin' from the dead bark o' the cyprus. But I war too hungry to wait, an' I ate it raw. The fish war a couple o' pound weight; an' I left nothin' o' it but the bones, fins, an' tail.Pg 146

“As ye may guess, I wa'n't hungry any longer; but jest then come upon me a spell o' the driest thirst I ever 'sperienced in all my life. The fish meat made it wuss; for, arter I hed swallered it, I feeled as ef I war afire. The sun war shinin' full upon the river, an' the glitterin' water made things wuss; for it made me hanker arter it all the more. Oncet or twice I got out o' the fork, thinkin' I ked creep along a limb an' drop into the river. I shed 'a' done so, hed it been near enough, tho' I knowed I ked niver 'a' swum ashore. But the water war too fur off.

“'T war no use chawin' the leaves o' the cyprus. They war full o' rosin, an' 'ud only make the chokin' wuss. Thar war some green leaves on the fox-grape-vine, an' I chawed all o' them that I ked git my paws on. Thet dud some good; but my suffering war still unbarable.

“How war I to git at the water o' that river, that flowed so tauntin'ly jest out o' reach? I 'most jumped off o' the tree when at last I bethort me o' a way to manage it.

“I had a piece o' cord I allers carries about me. 'T war long enough to reach the river bank an' let down into the water. I ked empty my powder-horn an' let it down. It would fill, an' I ked then draw it up agin. Hooray!

“I cried that hooray only oncet. On lookin' for the horn, I diskivered that I hed left it whar I hed tuk it off afore goin' to sleep, under the cyprus.

“I warn't agoin' to be beat in that way. Ef I hed no vessel thet wud draw water, I hed my ole doe-skin shirt. I ked let that down, soak it, an' pull it up agin. No sooner said than done. The shirt war peeled off, gathered up into a clew, tied to the eend o' the string, an' chucked out'ard. It struck a branch o' the cyprus an' fell short. I tried over an' over agin. It still fell short several feet from the bank o' the river. Yet the cord war long enough. It war the thick branches o' the cyprus that gin me no chance to make a clur cast, and havin' tried till I war tired, I gev that up too.

“I shed 'a' felt dreadful at failin' arter bein' so sure o' success; but jest then I bethunk me o' another plan for reachin' that preecious flooid.

“I've tolt ye 'bout my cuttin' a lot o' cane to make me a shake-down for sleepin' on. Thur it still war right under me,—armfuls o' it. The sight o' its long tubes suggested a new idee, which I warn't long in puttin' to practice. Takin' the shirt out o' its loop, I made the cord fast to the heft o' my bowie. I then shot the knife down among the cane, sendin' it wi' all my might, an' takin' care to keep the p'int o' the blade down'ards. It warn't long till I had spiked up as much o' thet 'ere cane as wud 'a' streetched twenty yards into the river.

“Thar war no eend o' whittlin' an' punchin' out the p'ints, an' then splicin' the tubes one to the other. But I knowed it war a case o' life or death, an' knowin' that, I worked on steady as an ole gin-hoss.

“I war rewarded for my patience. I got my blow-gun completed, an' shovin' it carefully out, takin' the purcaution to give it a double rest upon the branches, I hed the satersfaction ter see its p'int dippin' down into the river. I tell ye, thar warn't no mint-juleps ever sucked through a straw as tasted like the flooid that cum gurdlin' up through that cane. I thort I ked niverPg 147 take the thing from my lips; an' I feel putty sartin that while I war drinkin', the Massissippi must 'a' fell clur a couple o' feet. Ye may larf at the idee, young feller, an' I'm gled to see ye in setch good sperits; but ye aren't so elevated as I war when I tuk my mouth from the cane. I feeled all over a new man,—jest as ef I hed been raised from the dead, or dragged out o' a consoomin' fire.

“I lived in the fork o' that ere cyprus for six long days,—occasionally payin' a visit to the eagles' neest, an' robbin' the young baldies o' the food thar parents hed pervided for 'em. Thar diet war various, an' on a konsequence so war mine. I hed vittles consistin' o' fish, flesh, an' fowl,—sometimes a rabbit, sometimes a squir'l, with feathered game to foller, sech as partridge, teals, an' widgeons. I didn't cook 'em, for I war afraid o' settin' fire to the withered leaves o' the tree an' burnin' up the neest, which wud 'a' been like killin' the goose as laid the eggs o' gold.

“I mout a managed that sort o' existence for a longer spell, tho' I acknowledge it war tiresome enuf. But it warn't that as made me anxious to see it up, but suthin' very different. I seed that the young baldies war every day gettin' bigger. Thar feathers war comin' out all over, an' I ked tell that it wudn't be long till they wud take wing.

“When that time kum, about whar shed I be? still in the tree or worse; but whar was my purvision to kum from? who wud supply me wi' fish, an' flesh, an' fowl, as the eagles hed done? Clurly neery one. It war this thort as made me uneasy.

“I must do suthin' to git down out o' that tree, or die among its branches, an' I spent all my spare time in thinkin' what mout be did. I used to read in Webster's Spellin' Book that needsessity are the mother o' invention. I reckon Ole Web warn't far astray when he prented them ere words. Anyways it proved true in the case o' Zeb Stump, when he war trapped in that cyprus.

“I hed noticed that the two ole eagles becum tamer, as they got used to me. They seed that I did no harm to their chicks, 'ceptin' so far as to abstrack from 'em a portion o' thar daily allowance. But I allers tuk care to leave them sufficient for themselves; an' as thar parents appeared to hev no difficulty in purvidin' them wi' plenty,—unlike many parents in yur country, friend, as I've heerd,—my pilferin' didn't seem much to distress 'em. They grew at last so that they'd sit on the one side o' the neest, while I war peepin' over the other! I seed that I ked easily snare them; an' I made up my mind to do this very thing; for a partickler purpuss which promised to extercate me out o' the ugly scrape I hed so foolishly got into.

“I hed noticed that the eagles war both big birds, an' strong i' the wing. Everybody ort to know thet much. It therefore occurred to me that I mout make them wings do me a sarvice,—otherways that they shed carry me out o' the tree. In coorse I didn't intend they shed take me up i' the air. There warn't much danger o' that. I only thort they mout sarve to break my fall, like one o' them flyin' things,—paryshoots I believe they calls 'em. Arter I'd got my plan tol'ably well traced out, I sot about trappin' the olePg 148 eagles. In less 'n an hour's time I hed both on 'em in my keepin' wi' thar beaks spliced to keep 'em from bitin' me, an' thar claws cut clur off wi' my bowie. I then strengthened my cord by doublin' it half a dozen times, until it war stout enough to carry my weight. One eend o' it I looped around the legs o' the eagles, gatherin' all four into a bunch, while the other eend I made fast around myself just under the arm-pits. I hed done all this upon the lowest limb o' the cyprus, whar I hed fetched down the eagles. When all war ready, I drew my bowie from its sheath, an' with its sharp point pricked both the baldies at the same time, so as to set 'em a floppin'. As soon as I seed thar four wings in full play, I slid off the branch, directin' myself torst the groun' underneath. I ain't very clur as to what followed; I only recollex bein' dragged through the branches o' the cyprus, an' the minit arter plumpin' cochuck into the waters o' the Massissippi.

I looped around the legs o' the eagles
I looped around the legs o' the eagles

“I shed most sartinly a been drownded ef that ere cord had broken, or the eagles had got loose. As it war, the birds kep' beatin' the water wi' thar big wings; an' in that way hindered me from goin' under. I've heerd o' aPg 149 woman, they called Veenis, bein' drawed through the sea by a couple o' swans; but I don't b'lieve they ked a drawed her at 'a' quicker pace than I war carried over the Massissippi. In less 'n five minits from the time I had dropped out o' the tree, I war in the middle o' the river, an' still scufflin' on. The baldies were boun' for the Arkansaw shore, an' knowin' that my life depended on thar reachin' it, I offered no opposition to thar efforts, but lay still and let 'em go it.

“As good luck wud hev it, they hed strength enough left to complete the crossin'; an' thar war another bit o' good luck in the Arkansaw bank bein' on a level wi' the surface o' the water; so that in five minits more I found myself among the bushes, the baldies still flutterin' about me, as if determined to carry me on over the great peraries. I feeled that it war time to stop the steam; so, clutchin' holt o' a branch, I brought up to an anchor. I tuk good care not to let the birds go,—tho' sartin I owed them that much for the sarvice they hed done me. But jest then I bethunk me o' the Englishman at Grand Gulf,—ah! it war you, ye say?”

“Certainly! And those are the eagles I purchased from Mrs. Stump?”

“Them same birds! Yer shed 'a' hed the young 'uns, but thar warn't no chance ever agin to climb that cyprus, an' what bekim o' the poor critters arterward I haint the most distant idee. I reckon they eended thar days in the neest, which ye can still see up thar, an' ef they dud, I reckon the buzzarts wudn't be long afore makin' a meal o' 'em.”

With my eyes directed to the top of that tall cypress-tree, and fixed upon a dark mass of dead sticks resembling a stack of faggots, I listened to the concluding words of this queer chapter of backwoods adventure.

Mayne Reid.


Round the Evening Lamp

Pg 150



NO. 2.
My first is, in sound, the odd creature that goes
Into Hottentots' traps when he follows his nose:
But in sense 't is an adjective, short, spick and span,
Well hated by Hunkers and kept under ban.
My second it qualifies, also my third,
Though a high fen between can't be crossed nor be stirred.
Now my next, like a swindler when cleaned out of tin,
Has always its tick, and takes most people in.
Amphibious its habit, as frequently found
Beneath the blue sea as on top of the ground:
Yet, oddest caprice out of destiny's cup,
Just when in full feather 't is always “sewed up.”
What is forced and affected most all people spurn,
Yet they like this because 't is a made-up concern.
Best friend when our sunshine to gloom is converted,
Yet the moment we rise in the world we desert it.
Best friend, yet precisely its stead you can find,
To which, strange to say, you are never inclined.
And the warmer you get when a lieing you take it,
The more you wink at it, the less you forsake it.
Wet blankets you throw over swells, but not so
O'er my second, however puffed up it may grow.
My third is so shallow you'll guess it before
I've told you how many smart folks pass it o'er;
Even Cæsar went o'er it and by it and through it,
And lived long enough, the baldpate, to rue it.
Tho' shallow it is, yet the bravest and best
By keeping it give of their wisdom a test.
And the hotter it gets in dispute, yet the most
Courageous is he who wont let it be crossed.
On the whole, though 't is often a subject of strife,
More people it joins than it parts in this life.
My whole is a place I forbear now to flatter;
It thrives upon those whose dearest and best
Severely it tries, yet makes light of the matter,
And thinks the more wicked their end, the more blest.
J. W.
Pg 151


Illustrated Rebus


  1. Why should soldiers never meddle with nut-crackers?
  2. What is that which no man wants, but which, if a man has it, he would most unwillingly part with?
  3. Why are flatterers sometimes mistaken for truth-tellers?
  4. Why does a scolding woman keep people at a distance?
  5. Why is an easy office like a good dinner eaten by an invalid?


NO. 2.

I am composed of 17 letters.

My 17, 12, 8, 3, is a philosopher.

My 2, 15, 7, 13, 16, 4, is what boys are when school is done.

My 1, 2, 14, 12, 1, 16, 3, is a place of amusement.

My 11, 12, 8, 3, 16, is a German huntsman.

My 7, 3, 13, 16, 10, 14, 17, are a persecuted race.

My 13, 12, 8, is a mouthful.

My 11, 10, 15, 16, 17, belongs to you.

My 13, 14, 7, 6, 17, is a family.

My 2, 3, 12, 9, 4, is not light.

My 17, 15, 13, 12, 16, is sweet.

My 13, 16, 12, 9, 3, is solemn.

My 9, 12, 8, 15, 14, is quite uncertain.

My whole is a very interesting book by one of the writers for “Our Young Folks.”


I thought I should like to ivred; so I went to the abelts to sahenrs my oehsr, but I found the ubcelk of the hebeirgnc was broken; to make the best of it, I put an old piesk in place of the eontug, brought out the old acsihe, and off I went. Now tell me how I got on.


NO. 1.

My first is in Urn but not in Vase,
My second is in Cabinet but not in Case,
My third is in “Goose” but not in Fool,
My fourth is in Chair but not in Stool,
My fifth is in Vanity but not in Conceit,
My sixth is in Parsnip but not in Beet.
My whole is the name of a boys' book.

NO. 2.

Behead an animal, and leave a gift.
C. M. E.


NO. 3.

So arrange the nine digits, using each but once, that their sum shall be exactly one hundred.

NO. 4.

100055,—a long-tailed animal.

C. M. E.

NO. 5.

One hundred and one by fifty divide;
And then, if a cipher be rightly applied,
And your computation agreeth with mine,
The answer will be one taken from nine.
Pg 152


Illustrated Rubus

(TN: from previous volume)

  1. Pilgrimage.
  2. Illumination.
Arithmetical Puzzles.
  1. Height of staff, 75 feet; payments, $11.50, $23, $34.50, and $57.50, respectively.
  2. CIVIL.
  1. Our Young Folks.
Illustrated Rebus.

1. Beware of the intoxicating bowl, for it brings penury and ruin.

[(Bee) (ware) of (the-in-t) (ox) (eye) (cat-in-g) (bowl) four (eye)t b(rings) (pen) (ewe) (rye) and-rew (inn).]


There was a young cavalry “feller”
Who “foraged” a secesh umbrella.
When he got it he said,
“I will now 'make a spread,'”—
This confiscating cavalry “feller.”

Transcriber's Note:

Hyphenated words have been standardized. Inconsistencies in spellings have been left as in the original except those listed below.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Our Young Folks--Vol. I, No. II,
February 1865, by Various


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