The Project Gutenberg eBook of St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 5, March, 1878

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Title: St. Nicholas, Vol. 5, No. 5, March, 1878

Author: Various

Release date: March 15, 2005 [eBook #15374]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Lynn Bornath and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at



[See page 367.]


No. 5.
MARCH, 1878.

[Copyright, 1878, by Scribner & Co.]




Once upon a time, in a very small village on the borders of one of the great pine forests of Norway, there lived a wood-cutter, named Peder Olsen. He had built himself a little log-house, in which he dwelt with his twin boys, Olaf and Erik, and their little sister Olga.

Merry, happy children were these three, full of life and health, and always ready for a frolic. Even during the long, cold, dark winter months, they were joyous and contented. It was never too cold for these hardy little Norse folk, and the ice and snow which for so many months covered the land, they looked on as sent for their especial enjoyment.

The wood-cutter had made a sledge for the boys, just a rough box on broad, wooden runners, to be sure, but it glided lightly and swiftly over the hard, frozen surface of snow, and the daintiest silver-tipped sledge could not have given them more pleasure.

They shared it, generously, with each other, as brothers should, and gave Olga many a good swift ride; but it was cold work for the little maid, sitting still, and, after a while, she chose rather to watch the boys from the little window, as they took turns in playing "reindeer."

One day they both wanted to be "reindeer" at once, and begged Olga to come and drive, but the chimney corner was bright and warm, and she would not go.

"Of course," said Olaf; "what else could one expect? She is only a girl! I would far rather take Krikel; he is always ready. Hi! Krikel! come take a ride!" and he whistled to the clever little black Spitz dog that Peder Olsen had brought from Tromsöe for the children.

Krikel really seemed to know what was said to him, and scampered to the door, pushed it open with his paws and nose, then, jumping into the little sledge, sat up straight and gave a quick little bark, as if to say: "Come on, then: don't you see I am ready!"



"Come, Erik; Krikel is calling us," said Olaf. But Olga was crying because she had vexed her brother, and Erik stayed to comfort her. So Olaf went alone, and he and Krikel had such a good time that they forgot all about everything, till it grew so very dark that only the tracks on the pure, white snow, and a little twinkle of light from the hut window helped them to find their way home again.

In the wood-cutter's home lived some one else whom the children loved dearly. This was old grandmother Ingeborg, who was almost as good as the dear mother who had gone to take their baby sister up to heaven, and had never yet come back to them.

All day long, while the merry children played about the door, or watched their father swing the bright swift ax that fairly made the chips dance, Dame Ingeborg spun and knit and worked in the little hut, that was as clean and bright and cheery as a hut with only one door and a tiny window could be. But then it had such a grand, wide chimney-place, where even in summer great logs and branches of fir and pine blazed brightly, lighting up all the corners of the little room that the sunbeams could not reach.

Here, when tired with play, the children would gather, and throwing themselves down on the soft wolf-skins that lay on the floor before the fire, beg dear grandmother Ingeborg for a story. And such stories as she told them!

So the long winter went peacefully and happily by, and at last all hearts were gladdened at sight of the glorious sun, as he slowly and grandly rose above the snow-topped mountains, bringing to them sunshine and flowers, and the golden summer days.

One bright day in July, father Peder went to the fair in Lyngen.

"Be good, my children," said he, as he kissed them good-bye, "and I will bring you something nice from the fair."

But they were nearly always good, so he really need not have said that.

Now, it was a very wonderful thing indeed for the wood-cutter to go from home in summer, and grandmother Ingeborg was quite disturbed.

"Ah!" said she, "something bad will happen, I know."

But the children comforted her, and ran about so merrily, bringing fresh, fragrant birch-twigs for their beds, shaking out their blankets of reindeer-skins, and helping her so kindly, that the good dame quite forgot to be cross, and before she knew it, was telling them her very, very best story, that she always kept for Sundays.

So the hours went by, and the children almost wearied themselves wondering what father Peder would bring from the fair.

"I should like a little reindeer for my sledge," said Olaf.

"I should like a fur coat and fur boots," said Erik; "I was cold last winter."

You see, these children did not really know anything about toys, so could not wish for them.

"I should like a little sister," said Olga, wistfully. "There are two of you boys for everything, and that is so nice; but there is only one of me, ever, and that is so lonely."

And the little maid sighed; for besides these three, there were no children in the village. The brawny wood-cutters who lived in groups in the huts around, and who came home at night-fall to cook their own suppers and sleep on rude pallets before the fires, were the only other persons whom the little maiden knew; and sometimes the two boys (as boys will do to their sisters) teased and laughed at her, because she was timid, and because her little legs were too short to climb up on the great pile of logs where they loved to play. So it was no wonder that she longed for a playmate like herself.

"Hi!" cried the boys, both together; "one might be sure you would wish for something silly! What should we do with two girls, indeed?"

"But father said he would bring 'something nice,' and I think girls are the very nicest things in the world," replied Olga, sturdily.

There would certainly have been more serious words, but just then good grandmother Ingeborg called "supper," and away scampered the hungry little party to their evening meal of brown bread and cream, to which was added, as a treat that night, a bit of goat's-milk cheese.

During midsummer in Norway the sun does not set for nearly ten weeks, and only when little heads nod, and bright eyes shut and refuse to open, do children know that it is "sleep-time." So on this day, though the little hearts longed to wait for father's coming, six heavy lids said "no," and soon the tired children were sleeping soundly on their sweet, fresh beds of birch-twigs.

A few miles beyond Lyngen, on the north, a little colony of wandering Lapps had pitched their tents, some years before our story begins, and finding there a pleasant resting-place, had made it their home, bringing with them their herds of reindeer to feed on the abundant lichens with which the stony fields and hill-side trees were covered. Somewhat apart from the little cluster of tents stood one, quite pretentious, where dwelt Haakon, the wealthiest Lapp of all the tribe. He counted his reindeer by hundreds, and in his tent, half buried in the ground for safe keeping, were two great chests filled with furs, gay, bright-colored jackets and skirts, beautiful articles of carved bone and wood, and, more valuable than all, a little iron-bound box full of silver marks. For Haakon had married Gunilda, a rich maiden of one of the richest Lapp families, and she had brought these to his tent.

Here, for a while, Gunilda lived a peaceful, happy life. Haakon was kind, and, when baby Niels came to share her love, the days were full of joy and content. She made him a little cradle of green baize bound with bright scarlet, filled with moss as soft and fine as velvet, and covered with a dainty quilt of hare's-skin. This was hung by a cord to one of the tent-poles, and here the baby rocked for hours, while his mother sang to him quaint, weird songs, that yet were not sad because of the joyous baby laugh that mingled with the notes.

But, alas! after a time Haakon fell into bad habits and grew cruel and hard to Gunilda. Though she spoke no word, her meek eyes reproached him when he let the strong drink, or "finkel," steal away his senses; and because he could not bear this look, he gave his wife many an unkind word and blow, so that at last her heart was broken. Even baby Hansa, who had come to take Niels' place in the little cradle, could not comfort her; and, one day, when Haakon was sleeping, stupidly, by the tent-fire, Gunilda kissed her children,—then she, too, slept, but never to waken.

When Haakon came to his senses, he was sad for a while; but he loved his finkel more than either children or wealth, and many a long day he would leave them and go to Lyngen, to drink with his companions there.

Ah! those were lonely days for Niels and little Hansa. The Lapp women were kind, taking good care of the little ones in Haakon's absence, and would have coaxed them away to their tents to play with the other children; but Niels remembered his gentle-voiced mother, and would not go with those women who spoke so harshly, though their words were kind. Hansa and he were happy alone together. Each season brought its own joys to their simple, childish hearts; but they loved best the soft, balmy summer-time, when the harvests ripened quickly in the warm sunshine, and they could wander away from their tent to the fields where the reapers were at work, who had always a kindly word for the gentle, quiet Lapp children. Here Hansa would sit for hours, weaving garlands of the sweet yellow violets, pink heath, anemones, and dainty harebells, that grew in such profusion along the borders of the fields and among the grain, that the reapers, in cutting the wheat, laid the flowers low before them as well. Niels liked to bind the sheaves, and did his work so deftly that he was always welcome. He it was, too, who made such a wonderful "scarecrow" that not a bird dared venture near. But little Hansa laughed and said: "Silly birds! the old hat cannot harm you. See! I will bring my flowers close beside it." Then the reapers, laughing, called the ugly scarecrow "Hansa's guardian."



So the years went by, and the children lived their quiet life, happy with each other. It seemed as though the tender mother-love that had been theirs in their babyhood was around them still, guarding and shielding them from harm. Niels was a wonderful boy, the neighbors said, and little Hansa, by the time she was twelve years old, could spin and weave, and embroider on tanned reindeer-skins (which are used for boots and harness) better than many a Lapp woman. Besides, she was so clever and good that every one loved her. Every one, alas! but Haakon, her father. He was not openly cruel; with Gunilda's death the blows had ceased, but Hansa seemed to look at him with her mother's gentle, reproachful eyes, and so he dreaded and disliked her.

One summer's day he said, suddenly: "Hansa, to-day the great fair in Lyngen is held; dress yourself in your best clothes, and I will take you there."

"Oh, how kind, dear father!" said Hansa, whose tender little heart warmed at even the semblance of a kind word. "That will be joyful! But, may Niels go also? I cannot go without him," she said, entreatingly, as she saw her father's brow darken.

But Haakon said, gruffly: "No, Niels may not go; he must stay at home to guard the tent."

"Never mind, Hansa," whispered Niels; "I shall not be lonely, and you will have so many things to tell me and to show me when you come home, for father will surely buy us something at the fair; and perhaps," he added, bravely, seeing that Hansa still lingered at his side, "perhaps father will love you if you go gladly with him."

"Oh, Niels!" said Hansa, "do you really think so? Quick! help me, then, that I may not keep him waiting."

Never was toilet more speedily made, and soon Hansa stepped shyly up to Haakon, saying gently, "I am ready, father."

She was very pretty as she stood before him, so gayly dressed, and with a real May-day face, all smiles and tears—tears for Niels, to whom for the first time she must say "good-bye," smiles that perhaps might coax her father to love her. But Haakon looked not at her, and only saying "Come, then," walked quickly away.

"Good-bye, my Hansa," said Niels, for the last time. "I love you. Come back ready to tell me of all the beautiful things at the fair."

Then he went into the tent, and Hansa ran on beside her father, who spoke not a word as they walked mile after mile till four were passed, and Lyngen, with its tall church spires, its long rows of houses, and many gayly decorated shops, was before them. Hansa, to whom everything was new and wonderful, gazed curiously about her, and many a question trembled on her tongue but found no voice, as Haakon strode moodily on, till they reached the market-place, and there beside one of the many drinking-booths sat himself down, while Hansa stood timidly behind him. Soon he called for a mug of finkel, and drank it greedily; then another and another followed, till Hansa grew frightened and said, "Oh, dear father, do not drink any more!"

Then Haakon beat her till she cried bitterly.

"Oh, cry on!" said the cruel father, who we must hope hardly knew what he was saying, "for never will I take you back to my tent and to Niels. I brought you here to-day that some one else may have you. You shall be my child no longer. I will give you for a pipe, that I may smoke and drink my finkel in peace. Who'll buy?"

Just then, good Peder Olsen came by, and his kind heart ached for the little maid.

"See!" said he to the angry Lapp. "Give me the child, and I will give you a pipe and these thirty marks as well. They are my year's earnings, but I give them gladly."

"Strike hands! She is yours!" said Haakon, who, without one look at his weeping child, turned away; while the wood cutter led Hansa, all trembling and frightened, toward his home.

At first, she longed to tell her kind protector of Niels, and beg him to take her back. But she was a wise little maid, and curious withal. So she said to herself: "Who knows? It may be a beautiful home, and the kind people may send me back for Niels. I will go on now, for I have never been but one road in all my life, and surely I can find it again."

So she walked quietly on beside father Peder, till at last his little cottage appeared in sight.

"This is your new home, dear child," said he, and they stepped quickly up to the door, opened it softly, and entered the little room.

Grandmother Ingeborg was nodding in her big chair in the chimney corner, but the soft footsteps aroused her, and, looking up, she said:

"Oh! tak fur sidst[A] good Peder. Hi, though! What is that you bring with you?"

[A] Thanks for seeing you again.

Before she could be answered, the children, whose first nap was nearly over, awoke and saw their father with the little girl clinging to his hand, and looking shyly at them from his sheltering arm.

"Oh!" cried Olga, "a little sister! My wish has come true!"—and she ran to the new-comer and gave her sweet kisses of welcome; at which father Peder said, "That is my own good Olga."

But grandmother Ingeborg, who had put on her spectacles, said:

"Ah! I see now! A good-for-nothing Lapp child! She shall not stay here, surely!"

"Listen," said Peder Olsen, "and I will tell you why I brought home the little Hansa, for that is her name,"—and he told the story of the father's drinking so much finkel, and offering to give his little girl for a pipe, and how he himself had purchased her. "But see!" added the worthy Peder, turning toward Hansa, "you are not bound but for as long as the heart says stay."

Hansa looked about, and, meeting Olga's sweet, entreating glance, said, "I will stay ever."

Then Olga cried, joyously, "Now, indeed, have I a sister!" and took her to her own little bed, where soon they both were sleeping, side by side.

As for Olaf and Erik, they were still silent, though now from anger, and that was very bad.

Grandmother Ingeborg, I think, was angry, too, for said she to herself:

"Now I shall have to spin more cloth, and sew and knit, that when her own clothes wear out we may clothe this miserable Lapp child" (for the good dame was a true Norwegian, and despised the Lapps); "and our little ones must divide their brown bread and milk with her, for we are too poor to buy more, and it is very bad altogether. Ah! I was sure something bad would happen,"—and grandmother fairly grumbled herself into bed.

In the morning all were awake early, you may be sure, and gazing curiously at the new-comer, whom they had been almost too sleepy to see perfectly before; and this is how she appeared to their wondering eyes.

She seemed about twelve years old, but no taller than Olga, who was just ten. She had beautiful soft, brown eyes; and fair, flaxen hair, which hung in rich, wavy locks far down her back. She wore a short skirt of dark blue cloth, with yellow stripes around it; a blue apron, embroidered with bright-colored threads; a little scarlet jacket; a jaunty cap, also of scarlet cloth, with a silver tassel; and neat, short boots of tanned reindeer-skin, embroidered with scarlet and white.

Soon grandmother Ingeborg, who had been out milking the cow, came in, and almost dropped her great basin of milk, in her anger.

"What!" cried she to Hansa, "all your Sunday clothes on? That will never do!"

"But I have no others," said the little maid.

"Then you shall have others," said grandmother, and she took from a great chest in the corner an old blue skirt of Olga's, a jacket which Olaf had outgrown, and a pair of Erik's wooden shoes.

Meekly, Hansa donned the strange jacket and skirt; but her tiny feet, accustomed to the soft boots of reindeer-skin, could not endure the hard, clumsy wooden shoes.

"Ah!" said grandmother, who was watching her. "Then must you wear my old cloth slippers," which were better, though they would come off continually.

"Now bring me my big scissors, that I may cut off this troublesome hair," cried Dame Ingeborg. "I do not like that long mane; Olga's head is far neater!"

And, in spite of poor Hansa's entreaties, all her long, beautiful, shining locks were cut short off.

But Hansa proved herself a merry little maid, who, after all, did not care for such trifles. Besides, this, she was so helpful in straining the milk, preparing the breakfast, and bringing fresh twigs for the beds, that Dame Ingeborg quite relented toward her, and said:

"You are very nice indeed—for a Lapp child. If you could only spin, I'd really like to keep you."

Then Hansa moved quickly toward the great spinning-wheel which stood near the open door, and, before a word could be spoken, began to spin so swiftly, yet carefully, that grandmother, in her surprise, forgot to say "Ah," but kissed the clever little maid instead.

"She'll be proud," said the boys, "because she is so wise. Let us go by ourselves and play,"—and away they ran.

"Come," said Olga to Hansa; "though they have run away, they will not be happy without us,"—which wise remark showed that she knew boys pretty well; and the two little maids went hand in hand, and sat down beside the boys.

"We have no room for two girls here," said Olaf, and he gave poor Hansa a very rough push.

"What can you do to make us like you?" said Erik.

"I can tell stories," said Hansa. "Listen!"

And she told them a wonderful tale, far better than grandmother's Sunday best one.

"That is a very good story," said Olaf, when it was finished, "and you are not so bad—for a girl. But still, if my father had not bought you, I should have owned a reindeer for my sledge to-day."

"And I should have had a fur coat and boots, to keep me warm next winter," said Erik.

At this, Hansa opened her bright eyes very wide, and looked curiously at the boys for a moment, then said: "Did you wish for those things?"

"We have wished for them all our lives," said Erik; while Olaf, too sore at his disappointment to say a word, gave Hansa a rude slap instead.

That night, when all were sleeping soundly, little Hansa arose, dressed, and stole softly from the hut. The sun was shining brightly, and it seemed as if the path over which father Peder had led her showed itself, and said, "Come, follow me, and I will lead you home!" And so it did, safely and surely, though the way seemed long, and her little feet ached sorely before she had gone many miles. But she kept bravely on, till at last her father's tent appeared in sight. Then her heart failed her.

"I hope father is not home," said she, "else he will beat me again. I only want my Niels."

And she gave a curious little whistle that Niels had taught her as a signal; but no answer came back. So she crept gently up to the tent, drew aside the scarlet curtain that hung before the opening, and looked in.

Meanwhile, let us go back to Haakon at the fair.

As father Peder led Hansa away, he turned again to the booth, and being soon joined by some friendly Lapps, spent the night, and far on into the next day, in games and wild sports (such as abound at the fair) with them.

At last, a thought of home seemed to come to him, and, heedless of all cries and exclamations from his companions, he hurried away. The long road was passed as in a kind of dream, and, almost ere he knew it, he stood before his tent, with Niels' frightened eyes looking into his, and Niels' eager voice crying:

"Oh, father! where is Hansa? What have you done with my sister?"

"Be silent, boy!" said Haakon, sternly. "Your sister is well, but—she will never come back to the tent again!"

Then, as if suddenly a true knowledge of his crime flashed upon him, he buried his face in his hands, and tears, that for many years had been strangers to his eyes, trickled slowly down his rough brown cheeks, and so, not daring to meet his boy's truthful questioning gaze, he told him all.

"Oh, father, let us go for her! She will surely come back if you are sorry," cried Niels, eagerly.

"You cannot, for, alas! I know neither her new master's name nor whither he went," said Haakon.

Then Niels, in despair, threw himself down on his bed and wept bitterly—wept, till at last, all exhausted with the force of his grief, he slept. How long he knew not, for in the Lapp's tent was nothing to mark the flight of the hours; but he awoke, finally, with a start, sat up and rubbed his eyes, and looked wildly about, saying:

"Yes, there sits father, just where I left him, and there is no one else here. But I am sure I heard Hansa whistle to me; no one else knows our signal, and——Oh! there—there she is at the door!" and he sprang toward her and clasped her in his arms, crying, "Hansa, my Hansa! I have had a dream—such an ugly dream! How joyful that I am awake at last! See, father," he said, leading her to Haakon; "have you, too, dreamed?"

"It was no dream, boy," said his father; and, turning to Hansa, he asked, more gently than he had ever yet spoken to her, "How came you back, my child?"

Then Hansa, clinging closely to Niels the while, told him all that had befallen her, and of the pleasant home she had found, and added, boldly;

"Father, let me take these kind friends some gifts; we have so much, and I wish to make them happy."

"Take what you want, child," said Haakon. "And see! here is a bag of silver marks; give it to Peder Olsen, and say that each year I will fill it anew for him, so that he shall never more want." Then, turning to Niels, he added: "Go you, too, with Hansa. Surely those kind people will give you a home as well. It is better for you both that you have a happier home, and care; and I—can lead my life best alone."

In the wood-cutter's little hut, Olga was the first to discover Hansa's absence.

"Ah, you naughty boys!" cried she. "You have driven my new sister away!"—and she wept all day and would not be comforted.

Bed-time came, but brought no trace of Hansa. Poor, tender-hearted Olga cried herself to sleep; while Olaf and Erik were really both frightened and sorry, and whispered privately to each other, under their reindeer blanket, that if Hansa should ever come back, they would be very good to her.

"And I will give her my Sunday cap," said Erik, "since she cannot wear my shoes."

Two, three, four days went by, and still Hansa came not; and father Peder, who was the last to give up hope, said, finally:

"I fear we shall never see our little maid again."

The children gathered around him, sorrowing, while Dame Ingeborg threw her apron over her head, and rocked to and fro in her big chair in the chimney corner.

Just then came a gentle little tap on the door, which, as Olga sprang toward it, softly opened, and there on the threshold stood little Hansa, smiling at them; and—wonder of wonders!—behind her was a little reindeer, gayly harnessed, with bright silver bells fastened to the collar, which tinkled merrily as it tossed its pretty head. Beside it stood a boy, somewhat taller than Olaf, balancing on his head a great package.

"I have been far, far away to my own home," said Hansa, "and my brother Niels has come back with me, bringing something for you."

Then Niels laid down the package, and gravely opening it, displayed to the wondering eyes real gifts from fairy-land, it seemed.

There were the fur coat and boots, and a cap also, more beautiful than Erik had ever dreamed of. A roll of soft, fine blue wool, for grandmother, came next; then a beautifully embroidered dress, and scarlet apron and jacket, for Olga; and last of all, a fat little leather bag, which Hansa gave to father Peder, saying:

"There are many silver marks for you, and my father has promised that it shall never more be empty, if you will give to Niels and me a home." Then turning quickly to Olaf, she said: "And here is my own pet reindeer 'Friska' for you."

So the children, in the gladness of their hearts, kissed the little maid, and Olaf whispered, "Forgive me that slap, dear Hansa!"

Father Peder stood thoughtfully quiet a moment, then, turning to the children, he said:

"See, little ones! I gave my last mark for Hansa, and knew not where I should find bread for you all afterward; but the dear child has brought only good to us since. I am getting old, and my arms grow too weak to swing the heavy ax, and I thought, often, soon must my little ones go hungry. But now we are rich, and my cares have all gone. So long as they wish, therefore, shall Niels and Hansa be to me as my own children; they shall live here with us, and we will love them well."

Then he kissed all the happy faces, and said: "Now go and play, little ones, for grandmother and I must think quietly over these God-sent gifts."

So the children, first putting Friska, the reindeer, carefully in the little stable beside the cow (so that he should not run away from the strange new home, Hansa said), hastened to their favorite play-place,—a large pine board lying on the slope of the hill, whence they could look far away across the fields and fjords to the Kilpis, the great mountain peaks where, even in summer, the pure white snow lay glistening in the sunlight.

"Ho!" cried Niels, "that is a fine board, but no good so; see what I can do with it!" and lifted one end and put it across a great log that lay near by.

"Now you little fellows," said he to Olaf and Erik, "I am strong as a giant, but I cannot quite roll up this other log alone. Come you and help."

So the boys together rolled the heavy log to its place, and put the other end of the board upon it.

"Now jump!" cried Niels; and with one joyous "halloo" the children were on the broad, springy plank, enjoying to the utmost this novel pleasure.



Their shouts of delight brought the wood-cutter to the door of the little hut, and grandmother Ingeborg following, caught the excitement, and, pulling off her cap, she waved it wildly, crying: "Hurrah for the Lapps! Hurrah!"

Then she and father Peder went back to their chairs in the chimney corner; and Hansa, sitting on the spring-board, with the children around her, told them such a wonderful, beautiful story, that they were quite silent with delight.

At last said Olaf, contentedly, as he lay with his head on Hansa's knee:

"After all, girls are the nicest things in the world!"

"Except boys," said little Hansa, slyly.



Juno lived in a great park, where there was a menagerie, and neither the park nor the menagerie could have done without Juno. Now, who do you think Juno was? She was a dear old black and brown dog, the best-natured dog in the world. And this was the reason they could not do without her in the park. A lioness died, and left two little lion-cubs with no one to take care of them. The poor little lions curled up in a corner of the cage, and seemed as if they would die. Then the keeper of the menagerie brought Juno, and showed her the little lion-cubs, and said: "Now, Juno, here are some puppies for you; go and take care of them, that's a good dog." Juno's own puppies had just been given away, and she was feeling very badly about it, and was rather glad to take care of the two little lions. They were so pretty, with their soft striped fur and yellow paws, that Juno soon loved them, and she took the best of care of them till they grew old enough to live by themselves. Many people used to come and stand near the big lion's cage, and laugh to see only a quiet old dog, and two little bits of lion-cubs shut in it.

It was very pretty to see Juno playing with the cubs, and all the children who came to the park wanted first to see "the doggie that nursed the lion-puppies." But when they grew large enough they were taken away from her, and sold to different menageries far away, and poor Juno wondered what had become of her pretty adopted children. She looked for them all about the menagerie, and asked all the animals if they had seen her two pretty yellow-striped lion-puppies. No one had seen them, and nearly every one was sorry, and had something kind to say, for Juno was a favorite with many. To be sure, the wolf snarled at her, and said it served her right for thinking that she, a miserable tame dog, could bring up young lions. But Juno knew she had only done as she was told, so she did not mind the wolf. The monkeys cracked jokes, and teased her, saying they guessed she would be given another family to take care of—sea lions, most likely, and she would have to live in the water to keep them in order. This had not occurred to Juno before, and it made her quite uneasy.

"It is not possible they would want me to nurse young sea-lions," said she. "They are so very rude, and so very slippery, I never could make them mind me."

"You may be thankful if you don't get those two young alligators in the other tank," said a gruff-voiced adjutant.

"Good gracious!" exclaimed Juno. "You don't think it possible?"



"Of course it is possible," said a pelican, stretching his neck through his cage-bars. "You'll see what comes of being too obliging."

"We all think you are a good creature, Juno," said a crane. "Indeed, I should willingly trust you with my young crane children, but really, if you will do everything that is asked of you, there's no knowing whose family you may have next."

Juno went and lay down in a sunshiny place near the elephant's house, and thought over all these words. Very soon she grew sleepy, in spite of her anxiety, and was just dropping off into a doze, when she heard the keeper whistle for her. She ran to him and found him in the hippopotamus's cage.

"Juno," said he, "I guess you'll have to take charge of this young hippopotamus, the poor little fellow has lost his mother."

"Dear, dear!" sighed Juno. "I was afraid it would come to this. I'm thankful it isn't the young alligators."



So Juno took charge of the young hippo,—she called him hippo for short, and only when he was naughty she called him: "Hip-po-pot-a-mus, aren't you ashamed of yourself?" But he was a great trial. He was awkward and clumsy, and not a bit like her graceful little lion-puppies. When he got sick, and she had to give him peppermint, his mouth was so large that she lost the spoon in it, and he swallowed spoon and all, and was very ill afterward. But he grew up at last, and just as Juno had made up her mind not to take care of other people's families any more, the keeper came to her with two young giraffes, and told her she really must be a mother to the poor little scraps of misery, for their mother was gone, and they would die if they weren't cared for immediately. These were a dreadful trouble, and besides, they would keep trotting after her everywhere, till the pelican, and the adjutant, and the cranes nearly killed themselves laughing at her. Poor Juno felt worse and worse, till when one day she heard the keeper say she certainly would have to take care of the young elephant, she felt that she could stand it no longer, and made up her mind to run away. So she said good-bye to all her friends, and ran to the wall of the park. There she gave a great jump, and,—waked up, and found herself in the sunshiny grass near the elephant's house.

"Oh, how glad I am!" said Juno.

"What in the world has been the matter?" asked the elephant. "You've been kicking and growling in your sleep at a great rate. I've been watching you this long time."

"Such dreadful dreams!" said Juno. "Lion-puppies are all very well, but when it comes to hippopotamus, and giraffes, and elephant——"

"What are you talking about?" said the elephant. "I guess you'd better go to your supper; I heard the keeper call you long ago."

So Juno went to her supper very glad to find she had only dreamed her troubles; but she made up her mind that if the old hippopotamus should die, she would run away that very night.



I wish that the grasses would learn to sprout,
That the lilac and rose-bush would both leaf out;
That the crocus would put on her gay green frill,
And robins begin to whistle and trill!

I wish that the wind-flower would grope its way
Out of the darkness into the day;
That the rain would fall and the sun would shine,
And the rainbow hang in the sky for a sign.

I wish that the silent brooks would shout,
And the apple-blossoms begin to pout;
And if I wish long enough, no doubt
The fairy Spring will bring it about!



Letter A

match is a small thing. We seldom pause to think, after it has performed its mission, and we have carelessly thrown it away, that it has a history of its own, and that, like some more pretentious things, its journey from the forest to the match-safe is full of changes. This little bit of white pine lying before me came from far north, in the Hudson Bay Territory, or perhaps from the great silent forests about Lake Superior, and has been rushed and jammed and tossed in its long course through rivers, over cataracts and rapids, and across the great lakes.

We read that near the middle of the seventeenth century it was discovered that phosphorus would ignite a splint of wood dipped in sulphur; but this means of obtaining fire was not in common use until nearly a hundred and fifty years later.

This, then, appears to have been the beginning of match-making. Not that kind which some old gossips are said to indulge in, for that must have had its origin much farther back, but the business of making those little "strike-fires," found in every country store, in their familiar boxes, with red and blue and yellow labels.

The matches of fifty years ago were very clumsy affairs compared with the "parlor" and "safety" matches of to-day, but they were great improvements upon the first in use. Those small sticks, dipped in melted sulphur, and sold in a tin box with a small bottle of oxide of phosphorus, were regarded by our forefathers as signs of "ten-leagued progress." Later, a compound made of chlorate of potash and sulphur was used on the splints. This ignited upon being dipped in sulphuric acid. In 1829 an English chemist discovered that matches on which had been placed chlorate of potash could be ignited by friction. Afterward, at the suggestion of Professor Faraday, saltpeter was substituted for the chlorate, and then the era of friction matches, or matches lighted by rubbing, was fairly begun.

But the match of to-day has a story more interesting than that of the old-fashioned match. As we have said, much of the timber used in the manufacture comes from the immense tracts of forest in the Hudson Bay Territory. It is floated down the water-courses to the lakes, through which it is towed in great log-rafts. These rafts are divided; some parts are pulled through the canals, and some by other means are taken to market. When well through the seasoning process, which occupies from one to two years, the pine is cut up into blocks twice as long as a match, and about eight inches wide by two inches thick. These blocks are passed through a machine which cuts them up into "splints," round or square, of just the thickness of a match, but twice its length. This machine is capable, as we are told, of making about 2,000,000 splints in a day. This number seems immense when compared with the most that could be made in the old way—by hand. The splints are then taken to the "setting" machine, and this rolls them into bundles about eighteen inches in diameter, every splint separated from its neighbors by little spaces, so that there may be no sticking together after the "dipping." In the operation of "setting," a ribbon of coarse stuff about an inch and a half wide, and an eighth of an inch thick, is rolled up, the splints being laid across the ribbon between each two courses, leaving about a quarter of an inch between adjoining splints. From the "setting" machine the bundles go to the "dipping" room.

Candle and match.

After the ends of the splints have been pounded down to make them even, the bundles are dipped—both ends—-into the molten sulphur and then into the phosphorus solution, which is spread over a large iron plate. Next they are hung in a frame to dry. When dried they are placed in a machine which, as it unrolls the ribbon, cuts the sticks in two across the middle, thus making two complete matches of each splint.

The match is made. The towering pine which listened to the whisper of the south wind and swayed in the cold northern blast, has been so divided that we can take it bit by bit and lightly twirl it between two fingers. But what it has lost in size it has gained in use. The little flame it carries, and which looks so harmless, flashing into brief existence, has a latent power more terrible than the whirlwind which perhaps sent the tall pine-tree crashing to the ground.

But the story is not yet closed. From the machine which completed the matches they are taken to the "boxers"—mostly girls and women—who place them in little boxes. The speed with which this is done is surprising. With one hand they pick up an empty case and remove the cover, while with the other they seize just a sufficient number of matches, and by a peculiar shuffling motion arrange them evenly, then—'t is done!

The little packages of sleeping fire are taken to another room, where on each one is placed a stamp certifying the payment to the government of one cent revenue tax. Equipped with these passes the boxes are placed in larger ones, and these again in wooden cases, which are to be shipped to all parts of the country, and over seas.

All this trouble over such little things as matches! Yet on these fire-tipped bits of wood millions of people depend for warmth, cooked food and light. They have become a necessity, and the day of flint, steel and tinder seems almost as far away in the past as are the bow and fire-stick of the Indian.

Some idea of the number of matches used in North America during a year may be gained from the fact that it is estimated by competent judges that, on an average, six matches are used every day by each inhabitant; this gives a grand total of 87,400,000,000 matches, without counting those that are exported. Now, this would make a single line, were the matches placed end to end, more than 2,750,000 miles in length! It would take a railroad train almost eight years to go from one end to the other, running forty miles an hour all the time.

How apt to our subject is that almost worn-out Latin phrase, "multum in parvo"—much in little! Much labor, much skill, and much usefulness, all in a little piece of wood scarcely one-eighth of an inch through and about two inches long!



Teddy was such a rogue, you see! If Aunt Ann sent him to the store for raisins, the string on the package would be very loose, and the paper very much lapped over, when he brought it home; if he went to the baker's, the tempting end of the twist loaf was sure to be snapped off in the street, and a dozen buns were never more than ten when they reached the table. Boys are so hungry! Teddy knew every corner of the pantry: if half a pie were left over from dinner, it could not possibly be hidden under any pan, bowl, pail, or cunningly folded towel, but he would find it before supper. Pieces of cake disappeared as if by magic, preserves were found strangely lowered in the crocks, pickles went by the wholesale, gingerbread never could be reckoned on after the first day, and once—only once—did Teddy's mamma succeed in hiding a whole baking of apple tarts in the cellar for a day by setting them under a tub. The cellar never was a safe place again; Aunt Ann tried it with doughnuts, and the crock was empty in two days. She put her stick cinnamon on the top shelf in the closet, behind her medicine bottles, and when she wanted it a week after, there was not a sliver to be found. Then the loaf sugar—I don't know but that was the worst of all. Did he stuff his pockets with it? did he carry it away by the capful? It seemed incredible that anything could go so fast. One day, Aunt Ann detected Teddy behind the window curtain with a tumbler so nearly full of sugar that the water in it only made a thick syrup, and there he was reading "Robinson Crusoe" and sipping this delightful mixture. From that moment Aunt Ann made up her mind that he should "stop it."

"I'll tell him it's nothing more nor less than downright STEALING—so I will," muttered the good soul to herself; "the poor child's never had proper teaching on the subject from one of us; he's got all his pa's appetite without the good principles of our side of the family to save him."

So, the next day, the sugar being out, she bought two dollars' worth while Teddy was at school, and without even telling his mother, she searched the house for a hiding-place. She shook her head at the pantry and cellar, but she visited the garret, and the spare front chamber; she looked into the camphor-chest, she contemplated a barrel of potatoes, she moved about the things in her wardrobe, and at last she hid the sugar! No danger of Teddy finding it this time! Aunt Ann could not repress a smile of triumph as she sat down to her knitting.

Unconscious Teddy came home at noon, ate his dinner, and was off again. His mother and Aunt Ann went out making calls that afternoon, and as Aunt Ann closed the street door she thought to herself—

"I can really take comfort going out, I feel so safe in my mind, now that sugar is hid."

But at tea-time she almost relented when she saw Teddy look into the sugar-bowl, and turn away without taking a single lump.

"He is really honorable," she said to herself; "he thinks that is all there is, and he wont touch it." And she passed the gingerbread to him three times, as a reward of merit.

There was sugar enough in the bowl to sweeten all their tea the next day, and so far all went well. But the third day, in the afternoon, up drove a carry-all to the gate, with Uncle Wright, Aunt Wright, and two stranger young ladies from the city—all come to take tea, have a good time, and drive home again by moonlight.

Teddy's mother sat down in the front room to entertain them, and Aunt Ann hurried out to see about supper. How lucky it was that she had boiled a ham that very morning! Pink slices of ham, with nice biscuit and butter, were not to be despised even by city guests. She had also a golden comb of honey, brought to the house by a countryman a few hours before; it looked really elegant as she set it on the table in a cut-glass dish. Then there were,—oh, moment of suspense! would she find any left?—yes; there were enough sweet crisp seed-cakes to fill a plate.

The table was set—the tea with its fine aroma, and the coffee, amber-clear, were made. The cream was on, so was the sugar-bowl, and Aunt Ann was just going to summon her guests, when she happened to think to lift the sugar-bowl cover and peep in. Sure enough, there wasn't a lump there!

"I must run and fill it!" exclaimed Aunt Ann, lifting it in a hurry, and starting; but she had to stop to think in what direction to go.

"Where was it I put that sugar?" she asked herself.

In the camphor chest? No. In the potatoes? No; she remembered thinking they were not clean enough. Was it anywhere up garret? If she went there and looked around, maybe it would come into her mind. She did go there, sugar-bowl in hand, and she did look around, but all in vain—she could not think where she had put that two dollars' worth of sugar!

And time was flying, the sun was setting—pretty soon the moon would be up. How hungry the company must be, and they must wonder why supper wasn't ready. It would never do to sit down to the table with an empty sugar-bowl, for Aunt Wright always wanted her tea extra sweet, and Uncle Wright never could drink coffee without his eight lumps in the cup. Dear, dear! Aunt Ann was all in a flurry. Why had she ever undertaken to hide that sugar!

"I shall certainly have to send to the store for some more!" she said to herself, "and that will take so long; but it can't be helped."

So she spoke to Teddy, who was sitting in the dining-room window apparently studying his geography lesson, but in reality wondering what in the world Aunt Ann was fluttering all over the house so uneasily for.

"Run to the store, Teddy!" she said quickly; "get me half a dollar's worth of loaf sugar as soon as ever you can."

"Why, Aunt Ann," he replied, "what for? I should think you had sugar enough already."

"So I have!" she exclaimed, nervously. "I got two dollars' worth day before yesterday, and I hid it away in a safe place to keep it from you, and now, to save my life, I can't think where I put it, and I've searched high and low. Hurry!"

Teddy smiled upon her benignly.

"You should have told me sooner what you were looking for," he said. "That sugar is on the upper shelf of your wardrobe, in your muff-box in the farther corner. It is very nice sugar, Aunt Ann!"

"Sure enough!" she cried. "That is where I hid it, and covered it up with my best bonnet and veil. And then, when I went calling, I wore my bonnet and veil, and never once thought about the sugar. I suppose that was when you found it, you bad boy."

"Yes 'm, I found it that time. I was looking for a string," he said; "but I should have found it anyhow in a day or two, even if you hadn't let sugar crumbs fall on the shelf, Aunt Ann!"

"I believe you, you terrible boy!" she rejoined. "Now go call the company to tea."

And she did believe him, and would have given up the struggle from that day, convinced that the fates were against her, but for her heroic resolve to instill straightway into this young gentleman with his pa's appetite the good principles of her side of the family.





Exactly five minutes before six the party arrived in great state, for Bab and Betty wore their best frocks and hair-ribbons, Ben had a new blue shirt and his shoes on as full-dress, and Sancho's curls were nicely brushed, his frills as white as if just done up.

No one was visible to receive them, but the low table stood in the middle of the walk, with four chairs and a foot-stool around it. A pretty set of green and white china caused the girls to cast admiring looks upon the little cups and plates, while Ben eyed the feast longingly, and Sancho with difficulty restrained himself from repeating his former naughtiness. No wonder the dog sniffed and the children smiled, for there was a noble display of little tarts and cakes, little biscuits and sandwiches, a pretty milk-pitcher shaped like a white calla rising out of its green leaves, and a jolly little tea-kettle singing away over the spirit-lamp as cozily as you please.

"Isn't it perfectly lovely?" whispered Betty, who had never seen anything like it before.

"I just wish Sally could see us now" answered Bab, who had not yet forgiven her enemy.

"Wonder where the boy is," added Ben, feeling as good as any one, but rather doubtful how others might regard him.

Here a rumbling sound caused the guests to look toward the garden, and in a moment Miss Celia appeared, pushing a wheeled chair in which sat her brother. A gay afghan covered the long legs, a broad-brimmed hat half hid the big eyes, and a discontented expression made the thin face as unattractive as the fretful voice which said, complainingly:



"If they make a noise, I'll go in. Don't see what you asked them for."

"To amuse you, dear. I know they will, if you will only try to like them," whispered the sister, smiling and nodding over the chair-back as she came on, adding aloud: "Such a punctual party! I am all ready, however, and we will sit down at once. This is my brother Thornton, and we are going to be very good friends by and by. Here's the droll dog, Thorny; isn't he nice and curly?"

Now, Ben had heard what the other boy said, and made up his mind that he shouldn't like him; and Thorny had decided beforehand that he wouldn't play with a tramp, even if he could cut capers; so both looked decidedly cool and indifferent when Miss Celia introduced them. But Sancho had better manners, and no foolish pride; he, therefore, set them a good example by approaching the chair, with his tail waving like a flag of truce, and politely presented his ruffled paw for a hearty shake.

Thorny could not resist that appeal, and patted the white head, with a friendly look into the affectionate eyes of the dog, saying to his sister as he did so:

"What a wise old fellow he is! It seems as if he could almost speak, doesn't it?"

"He can. Say 'How do you do,' Sanch," commanded Ben, relenting at once, for he saw admiration in Thorny's face.

"Wow, wow, wow!" remarked Sancho, in a mild and conversational tone, sitting up and touching one paw to his head, as if he saluted by taking off his hat.

Thorny laughed in spite of himself, and Miss Celia, seeing that the ice was broken, wheeled him to his place at the foot of the table. Then seating the little girls on one side, Ben and the dog on the other, took the head herself and told her guests to begin.

Bab and Betty were soon chattering away to their pleasant hostess as freely as if they had known her for months; but the boys were still rather shy, and made Sancho the medium through which they addressed one another. The excellent beast behaved with wonderful propriety, sitting upon his cushion in an attitude of such dignity that it seemed almost a liberty to offer him food. A dish of thick sandwiches had been provided for his especial refreshment, and as Ben from time to time laid one on his plate, he affected entire unconsciousness of it till the word was given, when it vanished at one gulp, and Sancho again appeared absorbed in deep thought.

But having once tasted of this pleasing delicacy, it was very hard to repress his longing for more, and, in spite of all his efforts, his nose would work, his eye kept a keen watch upon that particular dish, and his tail quivered with excitement as it lay like a train over the red cushion. At last, a moment came when temptation proved too strong for him. Ben was listening to something Miss Celia said, a tart lay unguarded upon his plate, Sanch looked at Thorny, who was watching him, Thorny nodded, Sanch gave one wink, bolted the tart, and then gazed pensively up at a sparrow swinging on a twig overhead.

The slyness of the rascal tickled the boy so much that he pushed back his hat, clapped his hands, and burst out laughing as he had not done before for weeks. Every one looked around surprised, and Sancho regarded him with a mildly inquiring air, as if he said, "Why this unseemly mirth, my friend?"

Thorny forgot both sulks and shyness after that, and suddenly began to talk. Ben was flattered by his interest in the dear dog, and opened out so delightfully that he soon charmed the other by his lively tales of circus-life. Then Miss Celia felt relieved, and everything went splendidly, especially the food, for the plates were emptied several times, the little tea-pot ran dry twice, and the hostess was just wondering if she ought to stop her voracious guests, when something occurred which spared her that painful task.

A small boy was suddenly discovered standing in the path behind them, regarding the company with an air of solemn interest. A pretty, well dressed child of six, with dark hair cut short across the brow, a rosy face, a stout pair of legs, left bare by the socks which had slipped down over the dusty little shoes. One end of a wide sash trailed behind him, a straw hat hung at his back, while his right hand firmly grasped a small turtle, and his left a choice collection of sticks. Before Miss Celia could speak, the stranger calmly announced his mission.

"I have come to see the peacocks."

"You shall presently—" began Miss Celia, but got no further, for the child added, coming a step nearer:

"And the wabbits."

"Yes, but first wont you—"

"And the curly dog," continued the small voice, as another step brought the resolute young personage nearer.

"There he is."

A pause, a long look, then a new demand with the same solemn tone, the same advance.

"I wish to hear the donkey bray."

"Certainly, if he will."

"And the peacocks scream."

"Anything more, sir?"

Having reached the table by this time, the insatiable infant surveyed its ravaged surface, then pointed a fat little finger at the last cake, left for manners, and said, commandingly;

"I will have some of that."

"Help yourself; and sit upon the step to eat it, while you tell me whose boy you are," said Miss Celia, much amused at his proceedings.

Deliberately putting down his sticks, the child took the cake, and, composing himself upon the step, answered with his rosy mouth full:

"I am papa's boy. He makes a paper. I help him a great deal."

"What is his name?"

"Mr. Barlow. We live in Springfield," volunteered the new guest, unbending a trifle, thanks to the charms of the cake.

"Have you a mamma, dear?"

"She takes naps. I go to walk then."

"Without leave, I suspect. Have you no brothers or sisters to go with you?" asked Miss Celia, wondering where the little runaway belonged.

"I have two brothers, Thomas Merton Barlow and Harry Sanford Barlow. I am Alfred Tennyson Barlow. We don't have any girls in our house, only Bridget."



"Don't you go to school?"

"The boys do. I don't learn any Greeks and Latins yet. I dig, and read to mamma, and make poetrys for her."

"Couldn't you make some for me? I'm very fond of poetrys," proposed Miss Celia, seeing that this prattle amused the children.

"I guess I couldn't make any now; I made some coming along. I will say it to you."

And, crossing his short legs, the inspired babe half said, half sung the following poem:[B]

"Sweet are the flowers of life,
Swept o'er my happy days at home;
Sweet are the flowers of life
When I was a little child.

"Sweet are the flowers of life
That I spent with my father at home;
Sweet are the flowers of life
When children played about the house.

"Sweet are the flowers of life
When the lamps are lighted at night;
Sweet are the flowers of life
When the flowers of summer bloomed.

"Sweet are the flowers of life
Dead with the snows of winter;
Sweet are the flowers of life
When the days of spring come on.

[B] These lines were actually composed by a six-year-old child.

"That's all of that one. I made another one when I digged after the turtle. I will say that. It is a very pretty one," observed the poet with charming candor, and, taking a long breath, he tuned his little lyre afresh:

"Sweet, sweet days are passing
O'er my happy home,
Passing on swift wings through the valley of life.
Cold are the days when winter comes again.
When my sweet days were passing at my happy home,
Sweet were the days on the rivulet's green brink;
Sweet were the days when I read my father's books;
Sweet were the winter days when bright fires are blazing."

"Bless the baby! where did he get all that?" exclaimed Miss Celia, amazed, while the children giggled as Tennyson, Jr., took a bite at the turtle instead of the half-eaten cake, and then, to prevent further mistakes, crammed the unhappy creature into a diminutive pocket in the most business-like way imaginable.

"It comes out of my head. I make lots of them," began the imperturbable one, yielding more and more to the social influences of the hour.

"Here are the peacocks coming to be fed," interrupted Bab, as the handsome birds appeared with their splendid plumage glittering in the sun.

Young Barlow rose to admire, but his thirst for knowledge was not yet quenched, and he was about to request a song from Juno and Jupiter, when old Jack, pining for society, put his head over the garden wall with a tremendous bray.

This unexpected sound startled the inquiring stranger half out of his wits; for a moment the stout legs staggered and the solemn countenance lost its composure, as he whispered, with an astonished air:

"Is that the way peacocks scream?"

The children were in fits of laughter, and Miss Celia could hardly make herself heard as she answered, merrily:

"No, dear; that is the donkey asking you to come and see him. Will you go?"

"I guess I couldn't stop now. Mamma might want me."

And, without another word, the discomfited poet precipitately retired, leaving his cherished sticks behind him.

Ben ran after the child to see that he came to no harm, and presently returned to report that Alfred had been met by a servant and gone away chanting a new verse of his poem, in which peacocks, donkeys, and "the flowers of life" were sweetly mingled.

"Now I'll show you my toys, and we'll have a little play before it gets too late for Thorny to stay with us," said Miss Celia, as Randa carried away the tea-things and brought back a large tray full of picture-books, dissected maps, puzzles, games, and several pretty models of animals, the whole crowned with a large doll dressed as a baby.

At sight of that, Betty stretched out her arms to receive it with a cry of delight. Bab seized the games, and Ben was lost in admiration of the little Arab chief prancing on the white horse, "all saddled and bridled and fit for the fight." Thorny poked about to find a certain curious puzzle which he could put together without a mistake after long study. Even Sancho found something to interest him, and standing on his hind-legs thrust his head between the boys to paw at several red and blue letters on square blocks.

"He looks as if he knew them," said Thorny, amused at the dog's eager whine and scratch.

"He does. Spell your name, Sanch," and Ben put all the gay letters down upon the flags with a chirrup which set the dog's tail to wagging as he waited till the alphabet was spread before him. Then with great deliberation he pushed the letters about till he had picked out six; these he arranged with nose and paw till the word "Sancho" lay before him correctly spelt.

"Isn't that clever? Can he do any more?" cried Thorny, delighted.

"Lots; that's the way he gets his livin' and mine too," answered Ben, and proudly put his poodle through his well-learned lessons with such success that even Miss Celia was surprised.

"He has been carefully trained. Do you know how it was done?" she asked, when Sancho lay down to rest and be caressed by the children.

"No 'm, father did it when I was a little chap, and never told me how. I used to help teach him to dance, and that was easy enough, he is so smart. Father said the middle of the night was the best time to give him his lessons, it was so still then and nothing disturbed Sanch and made him forget. I can't do half the tricks, but I'm going to learn when father comes back. He'd rather have me show off Sanch than ride, till I'm older."

"I have a charming book about animals, and in it an interesting account of some trained poodles who could do the most wonderful things. Would you like to hear it while you put your maps and puzzles together?" asked Miss Celia, glad to keep her brother interested in their four-footed guest at least.

"Yes 'm, yes 'm," answered the children, and fetching the book she read the pretty account, shortening and simplifying it here and there to suit her hearers.

"'I invited the two dogs to dine and spend the evening, and they came with their master, who was a Frenchman. He had been a teacher in a deaf and dumb school, and thought he would try the same plan with dogs. He had also been a conjurer, and now was supported by Blanche and her daughter Lyda. These dogs behaved at dinner just like other dogs, but when I gave Blanche a bit of cheese and asked if she knew the word for it, her master said she could spell it. So a table was arranged with a lamp on it, and round the table were laid the letters of the alphabet painted on cards. Blanche sat in the middle waiting till her master told her to spell cheese, which she at once did in French, F R O M A G E. Then she translated a word for us very cleverly. Some one wrote pferd, the German for horse, on a slate. Blanche looked at it and pretended to read it, putting by the slate with her paw when she had done. "Now give us the French for that word," said the man, and she instantly brought C H E V A L. "Now, as you are at an Englishman's house, give it to us in English," and she brought me H O R S E. Then we spelt some words wrong and she corrected them with wonderful accuracy. But she did not seem to like it, and whined and growled and looked so worried that she was allowed to go and rest and eat cakes in a corner.

"'Then Lyda took her place on the table, and did sums on a slate with a set of figures. Also mental arithmetic which was very pretty. "Now, Lyda," said her master, "I want to see if you understand division. Suppose you had ten bits of sugar and you met ten Prussian dogs, how many lumps would you, a French dog, give to each of the Prussians?" Lyda very decidedly replied to this with a cipher. "But, suppose you divided your sugar with me, how many lumps would you give me?" Lyda took up the figure five and politely presented it to her master.'"

"Wasn't she smart? Sanch can't do that," exclaimed Ben, forced to own that the French doggie beat his cherished pet.

"He is not too old to learn. Shall I go on?" asked Miss Celia, seeing that the boys liked it though Betty was absorbed with the doll and Bab deep in a puzzle.

"Oh yes! What else did they do?"

"'They played a game of dominoes together, sitting in chairs opposite each other, and touched the dominoes that were wanted; but the man placed them and kept telling how the game went, Lyda was beaten and hid under the sofa, evidently feeling very badly about it. Blanche was then surrounded with playing-cards, while her master held another pack and told us to choose a card; then he asked her what one had been chosen, and she always took up the right one in her teeth. I was asked to go into another room, put a light on the floor with cards round it, and leave the doors nearly shut. Then the man begged some one to whisper in the dog's ear what card she was to bring, and she went at once and fetched it, thus showing that she understood their names. Lyda did many tricks with the numbers, so curious that no dog could possibly understand them, yet what the secret sign was I could not discover, but suppose it must have been in the tones of the master's voice, for he certainly made none with either head or hands.'

"It took an hour a day for eighteen months to educate a dog enough to appear in public, and (as you say, Ben) the night was the best time to give the lessons. Soon after this visit the master died, and these wonderful dogs were sold because their mistress did not know how to exhibit them."

"Wouldn't I have liked to see 'em and find out how they were taught. Sanch, you'll have to study up lively for I'm not going to have you beaten by French dogs," said Ben, shaking his finger so sternly that Sancho groveled at his feet and put both paws over his eyes in the most abject manner.

"Is there a picture of those smart little poodles?" asked Ben, eying the book, which Miss Celia left open before her.

"Not of them, but of other interesting creatures; also anecdotes about horses, which will please you, I know," and she turned the pages for him, neither guessing how much good Mr. Hamerton's charming "Chapters on Animals" were to do the boy when he needed comfort for a sorrow which was very near.



"Thank you, ma'am, that's a tip-top book, 'specially the pictures. But I can't bear to see these poor fellows," and Ben brooded over the fine etching of the dead and dying horses on a battle-field, one past all further pain, the other helpless but lifting his head from his dead master to neigh a farewell to the comrades who go galloping away in a cloud of dust.

"They ought to stop for him, some of 'em," muttered Ben, hastily turning back to the cheerful picture of the three happy horses in the field, standing knee-deep among the grass as they prepare to drink at the wide stream.

"Aint that black one a beauty? Seems as if I could see his mane blow in the wind, and hear him whinny to that small feller trotting down to see if he can't get over and be sociable. How I'd like to take a rousin' run round that meadow on the whole lot of 'em," and Ben swayed about in his chair as if he was already doing it in imagination.

"You may take a turn round my field on Lita any day. She would like it, and Thorny's saddle will be here next week," said Miss Celia, pleased to see that the boy appreciated the fine pictures, and felt such hearty sympathy with the noble animals whom she dearly loved herself.

"Needn't wait for that. I'd rather ride bare-back. Oh, I say, is this the book you told about where the horses talked?" asked Ben, suddenly recollecting the speech he had puzzled over ever since he heard it.

"No, I brought the book, but in the hurry of my tea-party forgot to unpack it. I'll hunt it up to-night. Remind me, Thorny."

"There, now, I've forgotten something too! Squire sent you a letter, and I'm having such a jolly time I never thought of it."

Ben rummaged out the note with remorseful haste, protesting that he was in no hurry for Mr. Gulliver, and very glad to save him for another day.

Leaving the young folks busy with their games, Miss Celia sat in the porch to read her letters, for there were two, and as she read her face grew so sober, then so sad, that if any one had been looking he would have wondered what bad news had chased away the sunshine so suddenly. No one did look, no one saw how pitifully her eyes rested on Ben's happy face when the letters were put away, and no one minded the new gentleness in her manner as she came back to the table. But Ben thought there never was so sweet a lady as the one who leaned over him to show him how the dissected map went together, and never smiled at his mistakes.

So kind, so very kind was she to them all that when, after an hour of merry play, she took her brother in to bed, the three who remained fell to praising her enthusiastically as they put things to rights before taking leave.

"She's like the good fairies in the books, and has all sorts of nice, pretty things in her house," said Betty, enjoying a last hug of the fascinating doll whose lids would shut so that it was a pleasure to sing "Bye, sweet baby, bye," with no staring eyes to spoil the illusion.

"What heaps she knows! More than Teacher, I do believe, and she doesn't mind how many questions we ask. I like folks that will tell me things," added Bab, whose inquisitive mind was always hungry.

"I like that boy first-rate, and I guess he likes me, though I didn't know where Nantucket ought to go. He wants me to teach him to ride when he's on his pins again, and Miss Celia says I may. She knows how to make folks feel good, don't she?" and Ben gratefully surveyed the Arab chief, now his own, though the best of all the collection.

"Wont we have splendid times? She says we may come over every night and play with her and Thorny."

"And she's going to have the seats in the porch lift up so we can put our things in there all dry, and have 'em handy."

"And I'm going to be her boy, and stay here all the time; I guess the letter I brought was a recommend from the Squire."

"Yes, Ben: and if I had not already made up my mind to keep you before, I certainly would now, my boy."

Something in Miss Celia's voice, as she said the last two words with her hand on Ben's shoulder, made him look up quickly and turn red with pleasure, wondering what the Squire had written about him.

"Mother must have some of the 'party,' so you shall take her these, Bab, and Betty may carry baby home for the night. She is so nicely asleep, it is a pity to wake her. Good-bye till to-morrow, little neighbors," continued Miss Celia, and dismissed the girls with a kiss.

"Isn't Ben coming, too?" asked Bab, as Betty trotted off in a silent rapture with the big darling bobbing over her shoulder.

"Not yet; I've several things to settle with my new man. Tell mother he will come by and by."

Off rushed Bab with the plateful of goodies; and, drawing Ben down beside her on the wide step, Miss Celia took out the letters, with a shadow creeping over her face as softly as the twilight was stealing over the world, while the dew fell and everything grew still and dim.

"Ben, dear, I've something to tell you," she began, slowly, and the boy waited with a happy face, for no one had called him so since 'Melia died.

"The Squire has heard about your father, and this is the letter Mr. Smithers sends."

"Hooray! where is he, please?" cried Ben, wishing she would hurry up, for Miss Celia did not even offer him the letter, but sat looking down at Sancho on the lower step, as if she wanted him to come and help her.

"He went after the mustangs, and sent some home, but could not come himself."

"Went further on? I s'pose. Yes, he said he might go as far as California, and if he did he'd send for me. I'd like to go there; it's a real splendid place, they say."

"He has gone further away than that, to a lovelier country than California, I hope." And Miss Celia's eyes turned to the deep sky, where early stars were shining.

"Didn't he send for me? Where's he gone? When's he coming back?" asked Ben, quickly, for there was a quiver in her voice, the meaning of which he felt before he understood.

Miss Celia put her arms about him, and answered very tenderly:

"Ben, dear, if I were to tell you that he was never coming back, could you bear it?"

"I guess I could—but you don't mean it? Oh, ma'am, he isn't dead?" cried Ben, with a cry that made her heart ache, and Sancho leap up with a bark.

"My poor little boy, I wish I could say no."

There was no need of any more words, no need of tears or kind arms round him. He knew he was an orphan now, and turned instinctively to the old friend who loved him best. Throwing himself down beside his dog, Ben clung about the curly neck, sobbing bitterly:

"Oh, Sanch, he's never coming back again; never, never any more!"

Poor Sancho could only whine and lick away the tears that wet the half-hidden face, questioning the new friend meantime with eyes so full of dumb love and sympathy and sorrow that they seemed almost human. Wiping away her own tears, Miss Celia stooped to pat the white head, and to stroke the black one lying so near it that the dog's breast was the boy's pillow. Presently the sobbing ceased, and Ben whispered, without looking up:

"Tell me all about it; I'll be good."

Then, as kindly as she could, Miss Celia read the brief letter which told the hard news bluntly, for Mr. Smithers was obliged to confess that he had known the truth months before, and never told the boy lest he should be unfitted for the work they gave him. Of Ben Brown the elder's death there was little to tell, except that he was killed in some wild place at the West, and a stranger wrote the fact to the only person whose name was found in Ben's pocket-book. Mr. Smithers offered to take the boy back and "do well by him," averring that the father wished his son to remain where he left him, and follow the profession to which he was trained.

"Will you go, Ben?" asked Miss Celia, hoping to distract his mind from his grief by speaking of other things.

"No, no; I'd rather tramp and starve. He's awful hard to me and Sanch, and he'll be worse now father's gone. Don't send me back! Let me stay here; folks are good to me; there's nowhere else to go." And the head Ben had lifted up with a desperate sort of look went down again on Sancho's breast as if there was no other refuge left.

"You shall stay here, and no one shall take you away against your will. I called you 'my boy' in play, now you shall be my boy in earnest; this shall be your home, and Thorny your brother. We are orphans, too, and we will stand by one another till a stronger friend comes to help us," cried Miss Celia, with such a mixture of resolution and tenderness in her voice that Ben felt comforted at once, and thanked her by laying his cheek against the pretty slipper that rested on the step beside him, as if he had no words in which to swear loyalty to the gentle mistress whom he meant henceforth to serve with grateful fidelity.

Sancho felt that he must follow suit, and gravely put his paw upon her knee, with a low whine, as if he said: "Count me in, and let me help to pay my master's debt if I can."

Miss Celia shook the offered paw cordially, and the good creature crouched at her feet like a small lion bound to guard her and her house forever more.

"Don't lie on that cold stone, Ben; come here and let me try to comfort you," she said, stooping to wipe away the great drops that kept rolling down the brown cheek half hidden in her dress.

But Ben put his arm over his face, and sobbed out with a fresh burst of grief:

"You can't; you didn't know him! Oh, daddy! daddy!—if I'd only seen you jest once more!"

No one could grant that wish; but Miss Celia did comfort him, for presently the sound of music floated out from the parlor—music so soft, so sweet, that involuntarily the boy stopped his crying to listen; then quieter tears dropped slowly, seeming to soothe his pain as they fell, while the sense of loneliness passed away, and it grew possible to wait till it was time to go to father in that far-off country lovelier than golden California.

How long she played Miss Celia never minded, but when she stole out to see if Ben had gone she found that other friends, even kinder than herself, had taken the boy into their gentle keeping. The wind had sung a lullaby among the rustling lilacs, the moon's mild face looked through the leafy arch to kiss the heavy eyelids, and faithful Sancho still kept guard beside his little master, who, with his head pillowed on his arm, lay fast asleep, dreaming, happily, that "Daddy had come home again."

(To be continued.)





When you're writing or reading or sewing, it's right
To sit, if you can, with your back to the light;
And then, it is patent to every beholder,
The light will fall gracefully over your shoulder.
Now here is a family, sensible, wise,
Who all have the greatest regard for their eyes;
They first say, "Excuse me," which also is right,
And then all sit down with their backs to the light.

But their neighbors, most unhygienic, can't see
Why they do it, and think that they cannot agree,
And always decide they've been having a fight,
When they merely are turning their backs to the light.



I believe that the youngsters in our family consider my study a very pleasant room. There are some books, pictures, and hunting implements in it, and I have quite a large number of curious things stored in little mahogany cabinets, including a variety of specimens of natural history and articles of savage warfare, which have been given to me by sailors and travelers. In one of these cabinets there are the silver wings of a flying-fish, the poisoned arrows of South Sea cannibals, sharks' and alligators' teeth, fragments of well-remembered wrecks, and an inch or two of thick tarred rope.

The latter appears to be a common and useless object at the first glance, but when examined closely it is not so uninteresting. It measures one and one-eighth of an inch in diameter, and running through the center are seven bright copper wires, surrounded by a hard, dark brown substance, the nature of which you do not immediately recognize. It is gutta-percha, the wonderful vegetable juice, which is as firm as a rock while it is cold and as soft as dough when it is exposed to heat. This is inclosed within several strands of Manilla hemp, with ten iron wires woven among them. The hemp is saturated with tar to resist water, and the wires are galvanized to prevent rust. You may judge, then, how strong and durable the rope is, but I am not sure that you can guess its use.

Near the southern extremity of the western coast of Ireland there is a little harbor called Valentia, as you will see by referring to a map. It faces the Atlantic Ocean, and the nearest point on the opposite shore is a sheltered bay prettily named Heart's Content, in Newfoundland. The waters between are the stormiest in the world, wrathy with hurricanes and cyclones, and seldom smooth even in the calm months of midsummer. The distance across is nearly two thousand miles, and the depth gradually increases to a maximum of three miles. Between these two points of land—Valentia in Ireland and Heart's Content in Newfoundland—a magical rope is laid, binding America to Europe with a firm bond, and enabling people in London to send instantaneous messages to those in New York. It is the first successful Atlantic cable, and my piece was cut from it before it was laid. Fig. 2 on the next page shows how a section of it looks, and Fig. 3 shows a section of the shore ends, which are larger.


SECTIONS OF CABLES (REDUCED). 1. Main cable of 1858. 1a. Shore end, abandoned cable of 1858. 2. Main cable of 1866. 2a. Shore-end, recovered cable of 1865. 3. Shore end of cable of 1866.

Copper is one of the best conductors of electricity known, and hence the wires in the center are made of that metal. Water, too, is an excellent conductor, and if the wires were not closely protected, the electricity would pass from them into the sea, instead of carrying its message the whole length of the line. Therefore, the wires must be encased or insulated in some material that will not admit water and is not itself a conductor. Gutta-percha meets these needs, and the hemp and galvanized wire are added for the strength and protection they afford to the whole.

It was an American who first thought of laying such an electric cable as this under the turbulent Atlantic. Some foolish people laughed at the idea and declared it to be impracticable. How could a slender cord, two thousand miles long, be lowered from an unsteady vessel to the bottom of the ocean without break? It would part under the strain put upon it, and it would be attacked by marine monsters, twisted and broken by the currents. At one point the bed of the sea suddenly sinks from a depth of two hundred and ten fathoms to a depth of two thousand and fifty fathoms. Here the strain on the cable as it passed over the ship's stern would be so great that it certainly must break. More than this, the slightest flaw—a hole smaller than a pin's head—in the gutta-percha insulator would spoil the entire work, and no remedy would be possible. A great many people spoke in this way when the Atlantic cable was first thought of, as others, years before, had spoken of Watt and Stephenson. But Watt invented the steam-engine, Stephenson invented the locomotive, and Cyrus Field bound Great Britain to the United States by telegraph.

Early in 1854, Mr. Field's attention was drawn to the scheme for a telegraph between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, in connection with a line of fast steamships from Ireland to call at St. John's, Newfoundland. The idea struck him that if a line were laid to Ireland, lasting benefit would result to the world. So he called together some of his intimate friends, including Peter Cooper, Moses Taylor, Chandler White, and Marshall O. Roberts, and they joined him in organizing the "New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company," which was the pioneer in the movement to connect the two continents by a telegraph cable, and without whose aid its consummation would have been indefinitely delayed.

The work was costly and difficult. The first part consisted in surveying the bottom of the sea for a route. This was done by taking "soundings" and "dredgings." As some of you are aware, "sounding" is an operation for ascertaining the depth of the sea, while "dredging" reveals what plants and living creatures are at the bottom. After much patient labor, a level space was found between Ireland and Newfoundland, and it seemed to be so well adapted to the surveyor's purposes that it was called the "Telegraphic Plateau."

Two or three large vessels were next equipped, and sent out with several thousand miles of cable on board, which they proceeded to lay. But the fragile cord—fragile compared with the boisterous power of the waves—broke in twain, and could not be recovered. A second attempt was made, and that failed, too. Brave men can overcome adversity, however, and the little band of scientific men and capitalists were brave men and were determined to succeed. Each heart suffered the acute anguish of long-deferred hope, and each expedition cost many hundred thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, the promoters of the Atlantic cable sent out a third time, and when failure met them again, it seemed to common minds that their scheme was a settled impossibility. Not so with the heroes. Each failure showed them some faults in their plans or machinery. These they amended. Thus, while they were left at a distance from the object of their ambition, they were brought a little nearer to its attainment.

Guided by the light of past experience, they equipped a fourth expedition. The "Great Eastern" was selected, and her interior was altered for the purpose. She was, and is still, the largest vessel afloat. Her length is six hundred and ninety-five feet; her breadth eighty-five feet, and her burthen twenty-two thousand tons. One of the principal causes of failure in previous expeditions was the inability of the cable to endure the severe strain put upon it in stormy weather as it passed from an ordinarily unsteady vessel into the sea. The "Great Eastern," from her immense size, promised to be steady in the worst of gales. Her hold was fitted with three enormous iron tanks—-a "fore" tank, a "main" tank, and an "after" tank. The main tank was the largest, and eight hundred and sixty-four miles of cable were coiled in it. Eight hundred and thirty-nine miles in addition were coiled in the after tank, and six hundred and seventy miles in the fore tank, making in all two thousand three hundred and seventy-four miles of cable. The food taken on board for the long voyage in prospect consisted of twenty thousand pounds of butcher-meat, five hundred head of poultry, one hundred and fourteen live sheep, eight bullocks, a milch cow, and eighty tons of ice.

What is called the shore-end of the cable—i.e., that part nearest the shore, which is thicker than the rest—was first laid by a smaller steamer. It extended from Valentia to a point twenty-eight miles at sea. Here it was buoyed, until the great ship arrived. On a wet day in July, 1866, it was joined with the main cable on board the "Great Eastern," and on the same day that vessel started on her voyage to Newfoundland.

It may seem a simple matter to distribute or "pay out" the cable, but in practice it is exceedingly difficult. Twenty men are stationed in the tank from which it is issuing, each dressed in a canvas suit, without pockets, and in boots without nails. Their duty is to ease each coil as it passes out of the tank, and to give notice of the marks painted on the cable one mile apart. Near the entrance of the tank it runs over a grooved wheel and along an iron trough until it reaches that part of the deck where the "paying out" machine is placed. The latter consists of six grooved wheels, each provided with a smaller wheel, called a "jockey," placed against the upper side of the groove so as to press against the cable as it goes through, and retard or help its progress. These six wheels and their jockeys are themselves controlled by brakes, and after it has been embraced by them the cable winds round a "drum" four times. The drum is another wheel, four feet in diameter and nine inches deep, which is also controlled by powerful brakes; and from it the cable passes over another grooved wheel before it gets to the "dynamometer" wheel. The dynamometer is an instrument which shows the exact degree of the strain on the cable, and the wheel attached to it rises and falls as the strain is greater or less. Thence the cable is sent over another deeply grooved wheel into the sea.

You will remember what I said about insulation,—how a tiny hole in the gutta-percha would allow the electricity to escape. On deck there is a small house, which is filled with delicate scientific instruments. As the cable is paid out, it is tested here. If a wire or a nail or a smaller thing is driven through it, and the insulation is spoiled, an instrument called the galvanometer instantly records the fact, and warning is given at all parts of the ship. The man in charge touches a small handle, and an electric bell rings violently in the tank and at the paying-out machinery. At the same time a loud gong is struck, at the sound of which the engines are stopped. Delay might cause much trouble or total failure, as the injured section must be arrested and repaired before it enters the water.

The great steamer went ahead at the rate of five nautical miles an hour, and the cable passed smoothly overboard. Messages were sent to England and answers received. The weather was bright, and all hands were cheerful. On the third day after the "splicing" of the shore-end with the main cable, that part of the ocean was reached where the water suddenly increases in depth from two hundred and ten fathoms to two thousand and fifty. One of the earlier cables broke at this place and was lost forever. The electricians and engineers watched for it with anxious eyes. It was reached and passed. The black cord still traveled through the wheels unbroken, and the test applied by the galvanometer proved the insulation to be perfect. The days wore away without mishap until the evening of July 17, when the sound of the gong filled all hearts with a sickening fear.

The rain was falling in torrents and pattering on the heavy oil-skin clothing of the watchers. The wind blew in chilly gusts, and the sea broke in white crests of foam. A dense and pitchy cloud issued from the smoke-stacks. The vessel advanced in utter darkness. A few lights were moving about, and shadows fell hither and thither as one of the hands carried a lantern along the sloppy deck. The testing-room was occupied by an electrician, who was quietly working with his magical instrument, and the cable could be heard winding over the wheels astern, as the tinkling of a little bell on the "drum" recorded its progress.

The electrician rose from his seat suddenly, and struck the alarum. The next instant each person on board knew that an accident had happened. The engines were stopped and reversed within two minutes. Blue-lights were burned on the paddle-boxes, and showed a knot in the cable as it lay in the trough.

Two remedies seemed possible. One was to cut the cable, and support one end in the water by a buoy until the rest could be unraveled. The other was to unravel the cable without cutting it.

It is a very intricate knot that an old sailor cannot untie, and the old sailors on the "Great Eastern" twisted and untwisted coil after coil until they succeeded in untying this one. The insulation remained perfect, and in a few hours all was right again. The accident caused much ill foreboding, however, as it showed how slight an occurrence might bring the expedition to a disastrous end.

On July 27, after a voyage of fifteen days, the "Great Eastern" finished her work, and her part of the cable was attached to the American shore-end, which had been laid by another vessel. Some of you will remember the rejoicings in the United States over the event. It surpassed all other achievements of the age, and equaled the invention of the telegraph itself.



Thus, after infinite labor and repeated failures, the brave men who undertook the work accomplished it. A year before, their third cable had broken in mid-ocean, and it was now proposed to "grapple" for it. The "Great Eastern" was fitted out with apparatus, which may be likened to an enormous fishing-hook and line, and was sent to the spot where the treasure had been lost. The line was of hemp interwoven with wire. Page 328 shows a section of it. Twice the cable was seized and brought almost to the surface. Twice it slipped from the disappointed fishermen, but the third time it was secured. It was then united with the cable on board, which was "paid out" until the great steamer again reached Newfoundland, and a second telegraph-wire united the two continents.



The scene on board as the black line appeared above water was exciting beyond description. It was first taken to the testing-room, and a signal intended for Valentia was sent over it, to prove whether or not it was perfect throughout its whole length. If it had proved to be imperfect, all the labor spent upon it would have been lost. The electricians waited breathlessly for an answer. The clerk in the signal-house at Valentia was drowsy when their message came, and disbelieved his ears. Many disinterested people, and even some of the promoters of the cable, did not think it possible to recover a wire that had sunk in thousands of fathoms of water. But the clerk in the little station connected with the shore-end of the cable of 1865 suddenly found himself in communication with a vessel situated in the middle of the Atlantic.

The delay aggravated the anxious watchers on the ship, and a second signal was sent. How astonished that simple-minded Irish telegraph-operator was! Five minutes passed, and then the answer came. The chief electrician gave a loud cheer, which was repeated by every man on board, from the captain down to his servant.

There are now four cables in working order, and the cost of messages has been reduced twenty-five per cent. The New York newspapers now contain nearly as much European news as the London newspapers themselves.





Annette's canary-bird's cage, with the canary in it, was brought into the library and hung upon a hook beside the window.

Out popped a mouse from a hole behind the book-case.

"Why, what are you doing here, canary?" she said. "I thought your place was the bay-window in the dining-room."

"So it is—so it is!" beginning with a twitter, answered the canary; "but they said I talked too much!"—ending with a trill.

"Talked!" repeated the mouse, sitting up on her hind-legs and looking earnestly at him. "I thought you only sang!"

"Well, singing and talking mean about the same thing in bird-language," said the canary. "But goodness g-r-r-racious!" he went on, swinging rapidly to and fro in his little swing at the top of his cage, "'t was they that talked so much—my mistress and the doctor's wife, and the doctor's sister—not me. I said scarcely a word, and yet I am called a chatterbox, and punished—before company, too! I feel mad enough to pull out my yellowest feathers, or upset my bath-tub. Now, you look like a sensible little thing, mouse, and I'll tell you all about it—what they said and what I said—and you shall judge if I deserved to be banished.

"The doctor's wife and the doctor's sister called.

"'It's a lovely day!' said they.

"'A lovely, lovely, lovely day!' sang I. 'The sun shines bright—the sky is blue—the grass is green—yes, lovely, lovely, lovely—and I'm happy, happy, happy, and glad, glad, glad!'

"They went right on talking, though I sang my very best, without paying the slightest attention to me; and when I stopped, I caught the words 'So sweet' from my mistress, and then I sang again: 'Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet is the clover—sweet is the rose—sweet the song of the bird—sweet the bird—sweet the clover—sweet the rose—the rose—the clover—the bird—yes, yes, yes—sweet, sweet, sweet!' And as I paused to take breath, I heard some one say, 'What a noise that bird makes! how loudly he sings!' 'How loudly he sings!' repeated I, 'how loudly he sings!—the bird, the bird, the beautiful bird—sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet——' But suddenly my song ended, for my mistress got up, unhooked my cage, saying, 'Canary, you're a chatterbox; you talk too much,' and brought me in here.

"And really, mouse, as you must see, I didn't say more than a dozen or so words. What do you think about it?"

"Well," said the mouse, stroking her whiskers and speaking slowly, "you didn't say much, but it strikes me you talked a great deal."

"Oh!" said the canary, putting his head on one side and looking thoughtfully at her out of his right, bright, black, round eye. But just then the mouse heard an approaching footstep, and, without even saying "good-bye," she hurried away to the hole behind the book-case.



"Tell you what, Roxie, I wish father and Jake had some of those hot nut-cakes for their dinner; they didn't carry much of anything, and these are proper nice."

Mrs. Beamish set her left hand upon her hip, leaned against the corner of the dresser, and meditatively selected another nut-cake, dough-nut or cruller, as you may call them, from the great brown pan piled up with these dainties, and Roxie, who was curled up in a little heap on the corner of the settle, knitting a blue woolen stocking, looked brightly up and said:

"Let me go and carry them some, Ma. It's just as warm and nice as can be out-of-doors, real springy, and I know the way to the wood lot. I'd just love to go."

"Let's see—ten o'clock," said Mrs. Beamish, putting the last bit of cake into her mouth, and wiping her fingers upon her apron. "It's a matter of four miles there by the bridge, Jake says, though if you cross the ford it takes off a mile or more. You'd better go round by the bridge, anyway."

"Oh no, Ma; that isn't worth while, for Pa said only last night that the ice was strong enough yet to sled over all the wood he'd been cutting," said Roxie, earnestly, for the additional mile rather terrified her.

"Did he? Well, if that's so, it is all right," replied her mother, in a tone of relief, and then she filled a tin pail with nut-cakes, laid a clean, brown napkin over them, and then shut in the cover and set it on the dresser, saying:

"There, they've got cheese with them, and you'll reach camp before they eat their noon lunch. Now, get on your leggin's and thick shoes, and your coat and cap and mittens, and eat some cakes before you start, so as not to take theirs when you get there."

"I wouldn't do that, neither; not if I never had any," replied Roxie, a little resentfully, and then she pulled her squirrel-skin cap well over her ears, tied her pretty scarlet tippet around her neck, and held up her face for a good-bye kiss. The mother gave it with unusual fervor, and said, kindly:

"Good-bye to you, little girl. Take good care of yourself, and come safe home to mother."

"Yes, Ma. But I may wait and come with them, mayn't I? They'll let me ride on old Rob, you know."

"Why, yes, you might as well, I suppose, though I'll be lonesome without you all day, baby. But it would be better for you to ride home, so stay."

It was a lovely day in the latter part of March, and although the ground was covered with snow, and the brooks and rivers were still fast bound in ice, there was something in the air that told of spring,—something that set the sap in the maple-trees mounting through its million little channels toward the buds, already beginning to redden for their blooming, and sent the blood in little Roxie's veins dancing upward too, until it blossomed in her cheeks and lips fairer than in any maple-tree.

"How pleasant it is to be alive!" said the little girl aloud, while a squirrel running up the old oak-tree overhead stopped, and curling his bushy tail a little higher upon his back, chattered the same idea in his own language. Roxie stopped to listen and laugh aloud, at which sound the squirrel frisked away to his hole, and the little girl, singing merrily, went on her way, crossed the river on the ice, and on the other bank stopped and looked wistfully down a side path leading into the denser forest away from her direct road.

"I really believe the checkerberries must have started, it is so springy," she thought; "I've a mind to go down and look in what Jake calls 'Bear-berry Pasture,' though I told him they were not bear-berries, but real checkerberries." So, saying to herself Roxie ran a few steps down the little path, stopped, stood still for a minute, then slowly turned back, saying:

"No, I wont, either, for may be I wouldn't get to the camp with the nut-cakes before noon, and then they would have eaten all their cheese. No, I'll go right on, and not stay there any time at all, but come back and get the checkerberries; besides, mother said she'd be lonesome without me, so I'd better not stay, any way."

So Roxie, flattering herself like many an older person with the fancy that she was giving up her selfish pleasure for that of another, while really she was carrying out her own fancy, went singing on her way, and reached the camp just as her father struck his ax deep into the log where he meant to leave it for an hour, and Jake, her handsome elder brother, took off his cap, pushed the curls back from his heated brow, and shook out the hay and grain before old Rob, whose whinny had already proclaimed dinner-time.

"Why, if here isn't sis with a tin kettle, and I'll be bound some of ma'am's nut-cakes in it!" exclaimed Jake, who had rather mourned at the said cakes not being ready before he left home, and then he caught the little girl up in his arms, kissed her heartily, and put her on Rob's back, whence she slid down, saying gravely:

"Jake, Ma says I'm getting too old for rough play. I'll be twelve years old next June."

"All right, old lady; I'll get you a pair of specs and a new cap or two for a birthday present," laughed Jake, uncovering the tin kettle, while his father said:

"We wont have you an old woman before you're a young one, will we, Tib? Come, sit down by me and have some dinner. You're good to bring us the nut-cakes and get here in such good season."

The three were very happy and merry over their dinner, although Roxie declined to eat anything except out of her own pocket, and the time passed swiftly until Mr. Beamish glanced up at the sun, rose, took his ax out of the cleft in the log, and, swinging it over his head, said:

"Come, Jake, nooning is over. Get to work."

"All right, sir. You can sit still as long as you like, sis, and by and by I'll take you home on Rob."

"I'm going now, Jake," said Roxie, hesitating a little, and finally concluding not to mention the checkerberries, lest her father or brother should object to her going alone into the wilder part of the forest. "Ma said she'd be lonesome," added she hurriedly, and then her cheeks began to burn as if she had really told a lie instead of suggesting one.

"Well, you're a right down good girl to come so far and then to think of Ma instead of yourself, and next day we're working about home I'll give you a good ride to pay for it."

And Jake kissed his little sister tenderly, her father nodded good-bye with some pleasant word of thanks, and Roxie with the empty tin pail in her hand set out upon her homeward journey, a little excitement in her heart as she thought of her contemplated excursion, a little sting in her conscience as she reflected that she had not been quite honest about any part of it.

Did you ever notice, when a little troubled and agitated, how quickly you seemed to pass over the ground, and how speedily you arrived at the point whither you had not fairly decided to go?

It was so with Roxie, and while she was still considering whether after all she would go straight home, she was already at the entrance of the sunny southern glade where lay the patch of bright red berries whose faint, wholesome perfume told of their vicinity even before they could be seen. Throwing herself upon her knees, the little girl pushed aside the glossy dark-green leaves, and with a low cry of delight stooped down and kissed the clusters of fragrant berries as they lay fresh and bright before her.

"O you dear, darling little things!" cried she, "how I love to see you again, and know that all the rest of the pretty things are coming right along!"

Then she began to pluck, and put them sometimes in her mouth, sometimes in her pail, and so long did she linger over her pleasant task that the sun was already in the tops of the pine-trees, when, returning from a little excursion into the woods to get a sprig from a "shad-bush," Roxie halted just within the border of the little glade, and stood for a moment transfixed with horror. Beside the pail she had left brim-full of berries, sat a bear-cub, scooping out the treasure with his paw, and greedily devouring it, apparently quite delighted that some one had saved him the trouble of gathering his favorite berries for himself.

One moment of dumb terror, and then a feeling of anger and reckless courage filled the heart of the woodsman's child, and, darting forward, she made a snatch at her pail, at the same time dealing the young robber a sharp blow over the face and eyes with the branch of shad-bush in her hand, and exclaiming:

"You great, horrid thing! Every single berry is gone now, for I wont eat them after you. So now!"

But, so far from being penitent or frightened, the bear took this interference, and especially the blow, in very bad part, and after a moment of blinking astonishment, he sat up on his haunches, growled a little, showed his teeth, and intimated very plainly that unless that pail of berries was restored at once, there would be trouble for some one. But this was not the first bear-cub that Roxie had seen, and her temper was up as well as the bear's. So, firmly grasping the pail, she began to retreat backward, at first slowly, but as the bear dropped on his feet and seemed inclined to follow her, or rather the pail of berries, she lost courage, and turning, began to run, not caring or noting in what direction, and still mechanically grasping the pail of berries.

Suddenly, through the close crowding pines which had so nearly shut out the daylight, appeared an open space, and Roxie hailed it with delight, for it was the river, and once across the river she felt as if she would be safe. Even in the brief glance she threw around as she burst from the edge of the wood, she saw that here was neither the bridge nor the ford which she had crossed in the morning; a point altogether strange and new to her, and, as she judged, further down the river, since the space from shore to shore was considerably wider. But the bear was close behind, and neither time nor courage for deliberation was at hand, and Roxie, after her moment's pause, sprung forward upon the snowy ice, closely followed by the clumsy little beast.

At that very moment, a mile further up stream, Mr. Beamish and his son Jake were cautiously driving Rob across the frozen ford, and the old man was saying:

"I'm afraid we'll have to go round by the bridge after this, Jake. I shouldn't wonder if the river broke up this very night. See that crack."

"It wouldn't do for Roxie to come over here alone again," said Jake, probing the ice-crack with his stick.

And Roxie,—poor little Roxie,—whom Jake was so glad to think of as safe at home, was at that very moment stepping over a wide crack between two great masses of ice, and staring forlornly about her, for a little way in advance appeared another great gap, and the bear close behind was whimpering with terror as he clung to the edge of the floating mass upon which Roxie had only just leaped, and which he had failed to jump upon. Shaking with cold and fright, the little girl staggered forward across the ice until at its further edge she came upon a narrow, swiftly rolling tide, increasing in width at every moment—the current of the river suddenly set free from its winter's bondage, and rapidly dashing away its chains.

Roxie turned back, but the crack that she had stepped over was already far too wide for her to attempt to repass, and a gentle shaking movement under her feet told that the block on which she stood was already in motion, and that no escape was possible without more strength and courage than a little girl could be expected to possess. The bear had climbed up, and now crouched timidly to the edge of the ice, moaning with fear, and seeming to take so little notice of Roxie that she forgot all her fear of him, and these two, crouching upon the rocking and slippery floor of their strange prison, went floating down the turbulent stream.

The twilight deepened into dark, the stars came out bright and cold, and so far away from human need and woe! Little Roxie ceased her useless tears, and kneeling upon the ice put her hands together and prayed, adding to the petition she had learned at her mother's knee some simple words of her own great need.

A yet more piteous whine from the bear showed his terror as the ice-block gave a sickening whirl, and crawling upon his stomach he crept close up to the little girl, his whole air saying as plainly as words could have spoken:

"Oh, I am so scared, little girl, aren't you? Let us protect each other somehow, or at least, you protect me."

And Roxie, with a strange, light-hearted sense of security and peace replacing her terror and doubt, let the shaggy creature creep close to her side, and nestling down into his thick fur, warmed her freezing fingers against his skin, and with a smile upon her lips went peacefully to sleep.

She was awakened by a tremendous shock, and a struggle, and a fall into the water, and before she could see or know what had happened to her, two strong arms were round her, and she was drawn again upon the ice-cake, and her brother was bending close above her, and he was saying:

"Oh, Roxie! are you hurt?"



"No, Jake, I—I believe not. Why, why, what is it all? Where is this, and—oh, I know. Oh, Jake, Jake, I was so frightened!" And, turning suddenly, she hid her face in her brother's coat and burst into a passion of tears. But Jake, with one hurried embrace and kiss, put her away, saying:

"Wait just a minute, sis, till we finish the bear; father will shoot him."

"No, no, no!" screamed Roxie, her tears dried as if by magic. "Don't kill the bear, father! Jake, don't you touch the bear; he's my friend, and we were both so scared last night, and then I prayed that he wouldn't eat me, and he didn't, and you mustn't hurt him."

"Well, I'm beat now!" remarked Mr. Beamish, as with both hands buried in the coarse hair by which he had dragged the bear to the surface, for it had gone under when the ice-cake had been broken against the jam of logs which had stopped it, he looked up at his little daughter's pale face.

"You and the bear made friends, and said your prayers together, and he can't be hurt, you say?"

"Yes, father. Oh, please don't hurt him!"

"We might take him home and keep him chained up for a sort of a pet, if he will behave decent," suggested Jake, a little doubtfully.

"Well!—I suppose we could," replied the father, very slowly and reluctantly. "He seems peaceable enough now."

"And see how good he is to me," said Roxie, eagerly, as she patted the head of her strange new friend, who blinked amicably in reply. "Oh, Jake, do go and get Rob and the sled, and carry him home, wont you?"

"Why, yes, if father says so, and the critter will let me tie his legs."

The ox-sled was close at hand, for the father and brother had brought it to the river before they began their weary search up and down its banks, not knowing what mournful burden they might have to carry home to the almost frantic mother.

And Bruin, a most intelligent beast, seemed to understand so well that the handling, and ride, were all for his own good, that he bore the humiliation of having his legs tied with considerable equanimity, and in a short time developed so gentle and gentlemanly a character as to become a valued and honored member of the family, remaining with it for about a year, when, wishing, probably, to set up housekeeping on his own account, he quietly snapped his chain one day and walked off into the woods, where he was occasionally seen for several years, generally near the checkerberry patch.



I have no doubt that most of the readers of ST. NICHOLAS have heard of the grand old Abbey of Westminster, in London, and that they would be glad to visit this famous historical place. I had often been there in my thoughts and dreams, and had often wished that I might really walk through its quiet aisles and chapels, when, at last, I should make a trip to Europe. And my wish was granted.

It was on a November morning—one of those dark, gloomy mornings, peculiar to London, that I started from my lodgings to walk to the Abbey. As I said before, I had often been there in my imagination, and, as I walked slowly along, I could hardly realize that I was actually about to visit it in person. After a while I came in sight of Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, and then, on my right, I noticed two tall towers, and without the help of my guide-book I knew that they must belong to the Abbey; so I quickened my steps until I had gained the entrance door. What a change I experienced as I stepped from the busy, crowded streets, into this old sepulcher, so celebrated for its relics of the dead! It almost made me shudder, for the interior of the building was dark and gloomy, and I saw many cold, white figures towering high above me. The original Abbey was built many, many years ago, and has been restored from time to time by the succeeding kings and queens of England, until we find it in its present condition, safe and sound, and one of the greatest, if not the greatest object of interest in the city of London.



Westminster Abbey may certainly be called a tomb, for we could spend a whole day in simply counting its monuments. There were so many of these that I hardly knew which to look at first, but I thought it best to follow my own inclinations, and so, instead of procuring a guide (men with long gowns, who take visitors around and point out the objects of greatest interest), I roamed about at my will. The first monument that attracted my attention was the venerable shrine of Edward the Confessor, in the chapel of St. Edward, once the glory of the Abbey, but which has been much defaced by persons who were desirous of obtaining a bit of stone from this famous tomb. In this chapel I saw also the old coronation chairs, in which all the reigning sovereigns of England, since Edward I. have been crowned. They are queer, old-fashioned chairs, made of wood, and not very comfortable, I imagine. The older of the two chairs was built to inclose the stone (which they call Jacob's pillar) brought from Scotland by Edward, and placed in this chapel. Many other interesting tombs are to be seen here, and the floor of the chapel is six hundred and fourteen years old!



I next visited the chapel of Islip, built by the old Abbot of Islip, who dedicated it to St. John the Baptist. One very interesting monument there was to the memory of General Wolfe, who fell, you remember, at the battle of Quebec. His monument is a very beautiful piece of art. It represents him falling into the arms of one of his own soldiers, who is pointing to Glory, which comes in the shape of an angel from the clouds, holding a wreath with which to crown the hero. A Highland sergeant looks sorrowfully on the dying warrior, while two lions sleep at his feet. The inscription reads as follows: "To the memory of James Wolfe, Major-General and Commander-in-Chief of the British land forces on an expedition against Quebec, who, after surmounting, by ability and valor, all obstacles of art and nature, was slain in the moment of victory, on the 13th of September, 1759, the King and Parliament of Great Britain dedicate this monument."

I now walked on to the north transept, and the first monument I noticed was one erected to Sir Robert Peel, the great orator and statesman. I seated myself on an old stone bench to rest, and looking around, saw a magnificent statue of the great William Pitt, who, you may remember, was also a great statesman, and accomplished more for the glory and prosperity of England than any other statesman who ever lived. In this transept there is a beautiful window, which represents our Savior, the twelve apostles, and four evangelists. As I was sitting quietly in this secluded spot, looking up at the window, strains of solemn music reached my ear, which sounded as if they came from one of the gloomy vaults around me. I walked on to discover, if possible, whence this music came, and I saw, in the nave of the Abbey, the Dean of Westminster conducting a service, assisted by his choir boys. I seated myself until the ceremonies were over, and I thought it was a very odd place to hold church—among so many graves.

After the Dean and his choir boys had disappeared I commenced my walk again, and saw many fine old monuments. One of these was in memory of Sir Isaac Newton, and I am sure I need not tell you who he was. Prominent among the monuments in this part of the Abbey is that to Major André, the fine young officer who was executed during our Revolutionary War.

I next visited the south transept, better known as the "Poet's Corner," which I think is the most interesting part of Westminster. A hundred, and more, monuments to the memory of great men can be seen here; but I can only tell you of a few of the most important. The one I thought most of is erected to the memory of William Shakspeare, although his bones repose far away, in the little church at Stratford-on-Avon. Then I saw the tombs of David Garrick, the great actor and delineator of Shakspeare's characters; George Frederick Handel, the eminent composer, the author of that beautiful anthem, "I know that my Redeemer liveth;" the great Milton; rare old Ben Jonson; Edmund Spenser, author of the "Faëry Queene;" and those of Southey, Dryden, Addison, Gray, Campbell, and other well-known English poets.



Then, among the names of the dead of our own day, I saw those of Dickens, Bulwer, Macaulay, and Dr. Livingstone.

Kings, queens, statesmen, soldiers, clergymen, authors and poets here have equal station. Some may lie under richer tombs than others, but all rest beneath the vaulted roof of Westminster Abbey, the place of highest honor that England can offer her departed sons.



Crip was having a dismal—a very dismal time of it. Crip was eleven, it was his birthday, and Crip was in disgrace—in a garret.

Wasn't it dreadful?

It happened thus: Crip's father was a shoemaker. The bench where he worked and the little bit of a shop, about eight feet every way, in which he worked, stood on a street leading down to the town dock, and the name of the town we will say was Barkhampstead, on Cape Cod Bay.

Now and then—that is, once or twice in the year—a whaling vessel set sail from the dock, and sometimes, not always, the same vessels returned to the dock.

The going and the coming of a "whaler" made Crip's father, Mr. John Allen, glad. It was his busy season, for when the seamen went, they always wanted stout new boots and shoes, and, when they came, they always needed new coverings on their feet to go home in.

Two years before this dismal time that Crip was having, the ship "Sweet Home" went away, and it had not been spoken or signaled or heard from in any way, since four months from the time it left the dock at Barkhampstead.

The fathers and mothers and wives and little children of the men who went in the "Sweet Home" kept on hoping, and fearing, and feeling terribly bad about everybody on board whom they loved, when, without any warning whatever, right in the midst of a raging snow storm, the "Sweet Home," all covered in ice from mast-head to prow, sailed, stiff and cold, into Barkhampstead harbor.

Oh! wasn't there a great gladness over all the old town then! They rang the meeting-house bell. It was a hoarse, creaking old bell, but there was music in it that time, as it throbbed against the falling snow, and made a most delicious concert of joy and gratitude in every house within a mile and more of the dock.

Mr. John Allen rushed down to the "Sweet Home," as soon as ever it came in. He hadn't anybody on board to care very particularly about, but how he did rub his hands together as he went, letting the snow gather fast on his long beard, as he thought of the thirty or forty pairs of feet that must have shoes!

Crip, you know, was to be eleven the next day, and his mother, in the big red house next door to the little shop, had made him a cake for the day, and, beside, plum-pudding was to be for dinner.

Before Crip's father had gone down to the dock he had said to Crip: "Now, you must stay right here in the shop and not go near the dock, until I come back;" and Crip had said "Yes, sir," although every bit of his throbbing boy body wanted to take itself off to the "Sweet Home."

The snow kept on falling, and it began to grow dark in the little shop. Crip had just lighted a candle, when the shop door opened, and a boy, not much bigger than Crip himself, came in and shut the door behind him.

Crip jumped up from the bench and said:

"What ——?"

"You don't know me, Crip Allen," said the boy.

"Who be you?" questioned Crip.

"Don't wonder!" said the other, "for we've all come right out of the jaws of ice and death. I'm Jo Jay."

"Jo Jay,—looking so!" said Crip.

"Never mind! Only give me a pair of shoes—old ones will do—to get home in. It's three miles to go, and it's five months since I've had shoes on my feet. Oh, Crip! we've had a bad time on board, and no cargo to speak of to bring home."

"You wont pay for the shoes?" asked Crip.

"No money," said Jo, thrusting forth a tied-up foot, wrapped in sail-rags. "But, Crip, do hurry! I must get home to mother, if she's alive."

"She's alive—saw her to meeting," said Crip, fumbling in a wooden box to get forth a pair of half-worn shoes he remembered about.

He produced them. Jo Jay seized the shoes eagerly, and, taking off his wrappings, quickly thrust his feet, that had so long been shoeless, into them: and, with a "Bless you, Crip! I'll make it all right some day." hobbled off, making tracks in the snow, just before Crip's father came up from the dock.

Mr. John Allen returned in a despondent mood. There was not oil enough on board the "Sweet Home" to buy shoes for the men.

"Who's been here, Crip? Socks in and shoes out, I see."

"Jo Jay, father."

"Where's the money, Crip?" and Mr. Allen turned his big, searching blue eyes on Crip, and held forth his hand.

"Why, father," said Crip, "he hadn't any, and he wanted to go home. It's three miles, you know, and snowing."

"Crip Allen! Do you know what you've done? You've stolen a pair of shoes."

"Oh, I haven't, father," cried Crip, "and 't was only the old, half-worn shoes that you mended for George Hine, that he couldn't wear."

"Christopher!" thundered forth Mr. Allen, in a voice that made the lad shake in his boots, "go into the house and right upstairs to bed. You have stolen a pair of shoes from your own father. You knew they were not yours to give away."

Poor Crip! Now he couldn't get a sight of the "Sweet Home" to-night, even through the darkness and the snow.

His upper lip began to tremble and give way, but he went into the big red house, up the front staircase to his own room, and, in the cold, crept under the blankets into a big feather bed, and thought of Jo plodding his way home.

About eight of the clock, when Crip was fast asleep, the door opened, somebody walked in, and a hand touched the boy, and left a bit of cake on his pillow; then the hand and the somebody went away, and Crip was left alone until morning. He went down to breakfast when called. His father's face was more stern than it had been the night before. Crip could scarcely swallow the needful food. When breakfast was over, Mr. Allen said:

"Christopher. Go into the garret and stay till I call you. I'll teach you not to take what doesn't belong to you, even to give away."

"Father!" beseechingly said Crip's mother, "it is the boy's birthday."

"Go to the garret!" said Mr. Allen.

Crip went, and he was having the dismal time of it referred to in the beginning of this story. Poor little chap! He stayed up there all the morning, his mother's heart bleeding for him, and his sisters saying in their hearts, "Father's awful cruel." It did seem so, but Mr. Christopher Allen, the nation-known shipping merchant, said, fifty years later, when relating the story to a party of friends on board one of his fine steamships:

"That severe punishment was the greatest kindness my father ever bestowed on my boyhood. Why, a hundred times in my life, when under the power of a great temptation to use money in my hands that did not belong to me, even for the best and highest uses, and when I knew that I could replace it, I have been saved by the power of the stern, hard words, the cold, flashing eyes, and the day in the garret. Yes, yes, father was right. I ought to have taken off my own shoes, and gone without any, to give to Jo Jay. That was his idea of giving."



A very respectable Kangaroo
Died week before last in Timbuctoo;
A remarkable accident happened to him:
He was hung head down from a banyan-limb.
The Royal Lion made proclamation
For a day of fasting and lamentation,
Which led to a curious demonstration:
The Elephant acted as if he were drunk—
He stood on his head, he trod on his trunk;
An over-sensitive she-Gorilla
Declared that the shock would surely kill her;
A frisky, gay and frolicsome Ape
Tied up his tail with a yard of crape;
The Donkey wiped his eyes with his ears;
The Crocodile shed a bucket of tears;
The Rhinoceros gored a young Giraffe
Who had the very bad taste to laugh;
The Hippopotamus puffed and blew,
To show his respect for the Kangaroo;
And a sad but indignant Chimpanzee
Gnawed all the bark from the banyan-tree.





Dr. Brier considered himself the principal of Blackrock School, but the boys in that establishment often used to say to each other that Mrs. Brier was really the master.

Not that she intruded into any sphere which did not belong to her, but she took such a deep interest in the school that she had the welfare of every boy at heart, and Dr. Brier was one of those amiable men who never act except in concert with their wives, and he had, moreover, good sense enough to see that oftentimes her judgment was better than his own.

At the time our story opens, the school was in a very flourishing condition. It contained about eighty boys, the tutors were men of unquestionable ability, and so successful had the Doctor been in turning out good scholars that he had applications from various parts of England, in which country our story is located, for the admission of many more boys than he could possibly receive.

Among the institutions of the school was a weekly reception in the Doctor's private drawing-room, when twenty boys at a time were invited to tea, and to spend the evening hours in social enjoyment.

It was a very good thing, for it gave Mrs. Brier an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the boys, and it enabled them to see the Doctor, not in his professional character of principal, but as a kind and gentle host.

At some schools, where a plan of this kind has been adopted, boys have been inclined to look upon it as a great bore, and have dreaded the return of the so-called social evening, when they would have to be, for some hours, in a state of nervous anxiety, lest they should be catechised in a corner, or be betrayed into something that they would be sorry for afterward.

But, with one exception, this was not the case with the Blackrock boys; the Tuesday reception was always a red-letter day with them, and if ever, through misbehavior, an invitation was withheld, it was regarded as one of the severest punishments inflicted in the school.

Several boys were one day standing in a group under the elms which inclosed the play-ground, putting on their jackets to return to the school-room, as the recreation hour was nearly over.

"Who's going to the house on Tuesday?" asked Howard Pemberton.

"I am," said Martin Venables.

"And I," added Alick Fraser.

"And I too, worse luck," said Digby Morton.

"Why worse luck?" asked Martin.

"Oh, it wouldn't do for me to enter into particulars with you," replied Digby, rather testily. "You're the Doctor's nephew, and we all know that we've got to be careful of what we say about the house before you. The wind might carry it around."

Martin turned as red as a poppy, as he flashed up in honest anger that such paltry meanness should be charged on him.

"I tell you what it is, Digby," he said, trying to keep himself cool, "I can stand a joke as well as anybody, but there is no joking about your ill-natured speeches. I tell you now, once for all, that I never did and never shall blow upon any boy in this school. You know as well as I do that the Doctor treats me as a scholar here, and not as a spy or a relative, and if ever you charge me again with tale-bearing, I'll answer you with my fists."

"Good!" cried several voices at once, while some of the small boys who had gathered round seemed delighted at the rebuke administered to Digby, who was by no means a favorite with them.

"And now let's drop it," said Howard, the boy who had asked the question as to the invitations for Tuesday. "If Digby doesn't like the receptions, it's a pity he doesn't stay away. I don't know another boy in the school who would think with him."

"Nor I, and I can't make out why any one should," said Alick; "to my mind they are the jolliest evenings we have."

"Oh yes, I should think they would just suit you" answered Digby, with his accustomed sneer, "but they don't suit me. They are precious slow affairs, and I don't care much for the society of Mrs. B. She pries into the school affairs a sight too much as it is, and ——"

What other objections Digby might have advanced will forever remain unknown. He had committed high treason in speaking lightly of a name dear to the heart of every boy there, and a storm of hissing and hooting greeted his unfinished sentence.

He saw that he had trespassed on ground which was too dangerous for him to tread any further, and so, with a defiant "Bah!" he threw his jacket over his shoulder and walked sullenly away.

Many of the boys in Blackrock school would have found a difficulty in stating the exact grounds of their regard for Mrs. Brier. To some of them she was a comparative stranger; they could not trace one direct act in which they were indebted to her. Perhaps the merest commonplaces in conversation had passed between them, and yet they felt there was a something in her presence which threw sunshine around them; they felt that they were thought about, cared for and loved, and in any little scrape into which, boy-like, they might get, they felt satisfied that if the matter only came to her knowledge they would get an impartial judgment on the case, and the best construction that could be put upon their conduct would be sure to be suggested by her. But out of eighty boys it would not be reasonable to suppose that all should share this feeling alike,—we have seen already one exception; yet the disaffected were in a very small minority, and the majority was so overwhelming, and had amongst it all the best acknowledged strength and power of the school, that no one dared to say above his breath one word against Mrs. Brier, if he cared for a whole skin.

While Digby was returning to the school by one road, Howard and Martin strolled leisurely along by another path under the trees.

"I can't understand Digby," said Martin; "he has altered so very much lately that he hardly seems the same fellow he was. Have you noticed that he cuts all his old chums now? What's happened to him?"

"I'm sure I don't know," answered Howard, "but he certainly has altered very much. I wish we could be as friendly as we used to be, but it is months since we have been on really good terms together."

"Two or three years ago we used to be the best of friends," said Martin.

"Yes, but all that has been gradually altering. He seems to have taken a dislike to me. I can't help thinking that Digby has some secret that worries him."

"I shouldn't be surprised if he has," answered Martin; "and it will get him into trouble, whatever it is. He has several times been 'out of bounds' for a long time at a stretch, and if it hadn't been for Alick Fraser and one or two others who have screened him, he would have come to grief. Can you guess at all what is wrong with him?"

"No," replied Howard, hesitatingly; "the only thing I can think of is that his father has told him that when he leaves school in September he is to be articled to a lawyer, and I know he has made up his mind to go to sea. He is crazy about pirates, and whale-hunts, and desolate islands, and all that sort of stuff. And yet, sometimes, if you talk to him about them he shuts you up so very sharply that you feel as if you were prying into his secrets. Perhaps—"

And here Howard stopped.

"Well, perhaps what?" asked Martin.

"I don't know that it is right to talk about a mere notion that may not have any truth in it at all, so let what I say be kept close between us; but I have noticed him bring things home after he has been out of bounds, and carefully put them in his big box, which he always keeps locked, and I have sometimes thought—but mind, it is only a passing thought, so don't let it go any further—that perhaps he has made up his mind to run away to sea!"

"Howard, I have had this same thought in my mind many a time," said Martin, "and I believe the reason why Digby dislikes me so much is because something occurred about a month ago, which I would rather not mention, but it led me to say to him that I hoped he would not be so foolish as to think of throwing up all his prospects in life for the sake of a mania about the sea, and he flashed up so angrily that I was convinced I had touched him on a sore point."

Just then the school-bell rang. There was no time for further talk, and it was not for many days that the subject was renewed.



Every expected day comes at last,—not always, however, to realize the expectations formed of it: but the evening of the reception in which we are interested bade fair to be a most satisfactory one. The weather was unusually fine, and the Doctor and Mrs. Brier were in such good spirits that some of the visitors made special note of the fact.

I hardly know where to begin in attempting to describe an evening in the House at Blackrock school.

As to stiffness and formality, there was not a vestige of it. The Doctor was a gentleman, every inch of him, and ease is an essential quality of gentlemanly behavior. It is not always an easy thing to be easy, and all the Doctor's pupils were not miniature doctors, but whatever else a boy might not have learned at Blackrock, he certainly had a chance to learn to be gentlemanly.

So conversation flowed freely; the boys were encouraged to indulge in hearty, unrestrained enjoyment, and no one could have heard the buzz of voices and the sounds of merry laughter, or seen the beaming faces, without feeling that all were perfectly at home.

The Doctor was wise in his generation, and he did not invite any of the tutors to meet the boys. He pretty shrewdly guessed that their meetings were quite as frequent as could be desired on either side, but he always invited a few lady friends to join the party.

The Doctor had often been heard to say that while he would not declare that either Greek or Hebrew was absolutely necessary for an ordinary education, he was prepared to assert that no boy was educated unless he knew how to feel at home and to behave with propriety in the society of ladies.

Moreover, the Doctor was a great lover of music. Many of the boys also loved it, and, when ladies were invited, those were generally selected who could contribute to the pleasure of the evening.

Among the guests was one who will meet us again in the course of this story. It was Madeleine Greenwood, the Doctor's niece, and Martin Venables' cousin. I should like to describe her, but I will only say that she was a young and very pretty sunshiny girl, and that everybody who knew her liked her.

After tea, there were portfolios to examine, and books to turn over; there was a bagatelle board in one corner of the room, a little group busy upon some game of guessing in another corner, and another group eagerly arranging specimens in a microscope, while the Doctor seemed to be at each group at once.

"Now, come here," said Mrs. Brier to a little knot of boys who could not find room by the Doctor and his microscope. "I will show you some of my curiosities."

And she produced a little case, containing a curious old watch, set in pearls; a snuff-box which had been in the possession of the family for ages, and a variety of similar treasures. Among them was a miniature painting, on ivory, of exquisite workmanship, and set in a gold frame, which was studded with precious stones. It was as beautiful as it was costly. The portrait was that of a young and lovely girl.

"What a sweet face," said Howard to Martin; "and how marvelously like your cousin, Miss Greenwood!" And with a boyish enthusiasm joined to boyish fun, he turned aside, so that Mrs. Brier should not see him, and pretended to clasp the image to his breast.



"Oh, I have caught you, have I?" said Digby Morton, with his disagreeable sneer, as, turning away from the Doctor's group, he came abruptly upon Howard.

If Alick Fraser, or Martin, or McDonald, or any one of half a dozen boys near him had made this observation, Howard wouldn't have minded the least in the world, but coming from Digby, it made him nervous and confused, especially as it was almost certain Mrs. Brier must have heard it.

"Please let me see it," said Alick, who had only caught a passing glimpse of it. "Surely it must be meant for Miss Greenwood?" he said, after he had duly admired it.

"You are not the first who has thought so," said Mrs. Brier, "but it is really a portrait of her grandmother, taken in her young days. But look at this; I think it will interest you all. It is a curious ivory carving, and is a puzzle which I should like to challenge any one to explain."

And so this uncomfortable episode, the only one that occurred during the evening, passed quietly away.

Music was soon called for, and Madeleine sang a beautiful song of the sea. Then there was a merry glee, and a duet on the piano and violoncello, and the time passed so cheerily that when the trays with refreshments came round, betokening that the time to go was fast approaching, everybody instinctively looked at the clock to make sure that there was not some mistake.

One or two of the boys, as they lay awake that night, trying to recall some of its pleasant hours, little thought that as long as life lasted the incidents of that reception evening would be stamped indelibly upon their memories.

"Now, aunt," said Madeleine, after all the guests had departed, "sit down and rest, and let me collect the things together."

Everybody knows how a drawing-room looks when the company has gone. Music here, drawings there, musical instruments somewhere else, and a certain amount of confusion not apparent before now apparent everywhere.

But Mrs. Brier was one of those who never could sit still while anything had to be done, and she began to arrange the cabinet which held her curiosities, while Madeleine collected the music. They were thus employed when Mrs. Brier suddenly exclaimed, "Oh! Madeleine!"

"What is the matter, aunt?" asked the young girl, running to her.

"Nothing, I hope, but I cannot find the miniature portrait or the old snuff-box which were here."

"Then they must be on one of the tables!" said Madeleine.

"I fear not; I laid everything back in the case myself—at least, I believe I did—before putting it in the cabinet."

A careful search in every probable and improbable place in the room was made, but the missing articles could not be found. The Doctor was hastily called, and inquiries were made of him.

"No, my dear, I have seen nothing of them," he said. "I was busy with the microscopes, and never even saw the things during the evening. Let us look about—we shall soon find them."

Search after search was made, but in vain, and there was but one conclusion at which to arrive,—the miniature and the snuff-box had been taken away.

But by whom? It could not have been by the servants, for they had only entered the room to bring the refreshments. It could not have been by any of the lady guests, for they had not been near the curiosities; being old friends, these had often been shown to them before.

It was, perhaps, the most trying hour that either the Doctor or Mrs. Brier had ever spent. They were not grieved simply because they had lost property, valuable as it was, but their deepest sorrow arose from the fear that honor had been lost in the school.



The morning came, and the anxiety which the Doctor and Mrs. Brier had felt the night before was not removed but rather increased. What to do for the best was the question preying upon both minds. There was no escape from the conviction that one of the boys, either by accident or with evil intent, had taken the missing articles. If by accident, they would be returned the first thing in the morning, although there would be no excuse for not having returned them on the previous evening as soon as the discovery was made; and if with evil intent who was the culprit?

The Doctor was one of those men who could best bear anxiety out-of-doors. If anything unusual troubled him, no matter what the weather might be, he would pace the garden or wander through the fields, while he thought or prayed himself out of the difficulty.

He was a God-fearing man. I do not mean in the sense in which many apply this term, turning a good old phrase into a cant expression. He believed in God, he believed in the Bible, and he believed in prayer.

So, after he had paced the garden in the early morning, long before any others of the establishment were abroad, he turned into the summer-house, and there, quiet and alone, he prayed for guidance in his difficulty.

When breakfast was over the boys began to away to their several rooms and occupations, but those who had been at the Doctor's on the previous evening were told separately that he wished to speak with them in his library. Each was rather startled on arriving to find others there, and a vague feeling of discomfort prevailed at first. Mrs. Brier was present, and this added to the mystery, as she was rarely seen in the library.

"Now, my boys," said the Doctor, when all had assembled, "I want to take you all into my confidence, and shall be glad, in the interest of all, if what is now said is kept as much as possible to ourselves. The matter about which I have called you together is one that has caused me much anxiety, and I shall be thankful if you can allay my uneasiness. You will remember that last night Mrs. Brier showed you a casket of trinkets and curiosities, amongst them a valuable miniature painting and an antique snuff-box. I am sorry to say that these are missing. Careful and diligent search has been made for them, but they cannot be found. Can any of you throw light on the subject? Is it possible that by accident one of you may have mislaid them, or inadvertently have carried them away?"

Anxious glances were exchanged from one to the other as each answered in the negative. An awkward pause followed.

"And now," said the Doctor, "it is my painful duty to ask you separately whether you know anything whatever about the matter. For the sake of each, and the honor of all, I charge you to tell me truth as in the sight of God. Herbert, do you know anything about it?"

"No, sir."

"Marsden, do you?"

"No, sir; nothing whatever. I saw the things and thought I saw Mrs. Brier put them back in the box."

"Do you know anything, McDonald?"

"I do not, sir."

"Do you, Pemberton?"

"No, sir."

"Do you, Morton?"

Digby stammered and hesitated. The Doctor repeated his question.

"I know nothing for certain, sir. But I—I think—" and he held to the back of a chair with a very determined clutch as he again hesitated, and began to speak.

"What do you think, man? Speak out," said the Doctor.

"I think I ought to mention a circumstance, but I shall prefer speaking to you alone."

"Does it relate to any one present?"

"It does."

"Then I must have it told here. But let me first continue my question to each one present."

The question went round, and the answer in each case was in the negative.

"Now, Morton, I must ask you to state what you know of this matter, or rather what you suspect, and I leave it to your good sense to say only that which you think it absolutely necessary for me to know."

There was a dead silence. Every eye was turned toward Digby with intense interest, while he fixed his gaze steadily upon the floor.

"I saw Howard Pemberton putting the miniature in his breast coat-pocket last evening, sir, when we were in your drawing-room. I said to him, 'I've caught you, have I.' He made no reply to me, but turned away, very red in the face—"

"It is false—wickedly false," cried Howard, in a passionate burst of feeling.

"He states it is false," continued Digby, "but I will appeal to Fraser or McDonald, who saw it, or better still, to Martin Venables, who also saw it, and made some remark in apology for him!"

"Do you know of anything else, directly or indirectly, that you think should come to my knowledge?" asked the Doctor.

"Nothing more, sir, except that Pemberton, whose room adjoins mine, seemed to have something on his mind last night, for he was walking about in his room in the middle of the night, and I fancied he got out of the window. This is all I have to say, sir. I said I knew nothing for certain, and I hope I have not done wrong in telling you this much."

And now all eyes turned to Howard Pemberton. He stood speechless. He felt as in a horrible nightmare, and could neither move body nor mind to break the spell. If he could have known that there was not one in the room who believed him to be guilty, he would have easily recovered from the blow; but with his peculiarly nervous temperament, although conscious of perfect innocence in the matter, he felt that the terrible insinuations which had been made against him had separated him from those whom he loved and honored, and he was crushed beneath the weight of implied dishonor.

Happy is the man who has a friend, and Howard had many, but perhaps none greater than Martin Venables. Martin knew the peculiarities of Howard's character better than any one present, and seeing the position in which he was placed he came forward to vindicate him.

"Dr. Brier, there is not a boy in this school, except Digby, who does not love and respect Howard Pemberton. I hate to be a tale-bearer, but I know that for many months he has cherished a great animosity to Howard, and has taken every opportunity of showing it. The story which he has now invented is as clumsy as it is false. It is the worst kind of falsehood, for it has just a shadow of truth in it as regards one part of the story. When Mrs. Brier showed the miniature, it pleased Howard, as it does everybody who sees it. He made a remark to me that it was very much like my cousin, Miss Greenwood, and perhaps you know, sir, that many boys in the school think her very lovely and amiable. Howard thought so too, and when he attempted to put the miniature in his pocket, as Digby untruthfully stated, he merely put it, in fun, to the place where they say the heart is. It was what any of us might have done, and, wise or not wise, we would certainly have meant no harm. But I am quite certain that afterward the portrait passed into the hands of Alick Fraser, and then into Digby's, and after that it was placed in the case by Mrs. Brier. I do not say, sir, that Digby Morton has willfully misrepresented facts for the purpose of getting one who was once his most intimate school friend into trouble, but I say that if Howard Pemberton is untruthful or dishonest, I do not believe an honest boy lives."

The boys were quite excited over Martin's speech—the first set speech he had ever made—and they greeted it with undisguised enthusiasm.

The Doctor seemed to think that somebody ought to say something equivalent to "silence in the court" at this display of sentiment, although in his heart of hearts he would have liked to step forward and pat Martin on the back for his manly defense of his friend. But an interruption was made to the proceedings by a tap at the door.

"Can I speak with Mrs. Brier?" said a servant, putting her head in at the door.

"No, Mrs. Brier is engaged," answered the Doctor, rather sharply for him.

Servants have a knack of knowing what is going on in a house, and this servant seemed to be in the secret which had called the little assembly together, for she would not take the rebuff, but said:

"If you please, sir, I must speak to Mrs. Brier."

So Mrs. Brier left the room for a moment, to return again in company with the servant.

"What is this all about?" asked the Doctor.

"If you please, sir, this morning, in making the bed Mr. Pemberton sleeps in, I noticed the ticking loose, and I put my hand in, as I felt something hard, and I found this snuff-box."

I have read in books about boys who, under some exciting necessity, have started in an instant from boyhood to manhood, just as I have read about people's hair in time of trouble turning from black to white in the course of a night. Howard Pemberton did not spring from boyhood to manhood at this strange discovery, nor did his hair turn white, but the words of the servant had a sudden and powerful influence upon him. In a moment he turned to his accuser and said:

"Digby, there is some vile secret underlying all this, and I don't know what it is. But I declare to you, solemnly, that I am innocent of this charge. If you have spoken against me to-day because you thought you ought to do it, I can't blame you, but if you have done it from any wrong motive, I hope you'll confess it before evil is added to evil."

But Digby merely shrugged his shoulders, and turning to the Doctor, said: "Have you anything more you wish to ask me, sir?"

Dr. Brier was fairly nonplussed. The fog grew denser all around him. Addressing a few words of caution to those who had been summoned to this the strangest meeting that was ever held in Blackrock School, he dismissed the boys, ordering Howard and Digby to be kept in separate rooms until he should arrive at some judgment in the case.



It was all very well for the Doctor to decide to keep the boys in two separate rooms until he should form some judgment on the case, but toward the close of the day, after the most searching inquiries had been instituted, he was no nearer to a final decision than when he started, and he feared they might have to remain where they were until Doomsday, unless he could find out something positive about the matter.

Howard and Digby were missed from their accustomed places in the school, and by the mid-day play-time the secret had oozed out, and great discussions were being held as to the merits of the case. There was not a boy in the school who in his heart believed that Howard was really guilty, although the evidence seemed clearly against him. There was not, on the other hand, one who felt justified in thinking that Digby had willfully accused his friend falsely, and yet there was an uncomfortable suspicion that it might be so.

All the next day inquiries went on, and nothing of importance was the result. The Doctor had seen the prisoners, and talked to each separately; he had taken counsel from those of the boys upon whose judgment he could rely, and in the evening all those who had constituted the preliminary meeting were again called together. The first count in the indictment, namely, that Howard had attempted to pocket the miniature, was discussed and dismissed as a misconstruction of motive. The second charge as to his being about in his room during the night was not so easily got rid of. Howard pleaded that he had gone to sleep as usual, and slept soundly, but that he was aroused by hearing, as he thought, some one in his room. He went to sleep again, and was aroused a second time by the stumbling of some one over a box, as it seemed to him, which was followed by the sudden closing of a door. He got up, went into Digby's room, listened by his bedside, and found he was breathing hard, and then, noticing that his window was not fast, he opened it and looked out. The nightingales were singing, and he sat up for a long time listening to them. Then, as he grew chilly, he closed the window and turned into bed again, and slept till Digby called him. Beyond this he knew nothing.

The Doctor summed up. There was guilt in the heart of one boy at least, but which one there was no evidence at present to show. That the fact of the snuff-box being found in Howard's bed had at first sight looked like circumstantial evidence against him could not be denied, but as the links in the chain had been broken in several places, he considered that the whole had fallen to pieces, and he confessed that he did not believe for a moment, from the facts before him, that Howard was guilty. From his knowledge of Digby he must fully exonerate him from the charge of willfully implicating his friend in the matter, as it seemed evident that he was justified in expressing the suspicions he entertained, considering the circumstances of the case. For the present the matter must be dismissed, but he could not doubt that light would soon shine through the darkness, and the true facts of the case would yet be known. He would still urge that if anything should transpire in the knowledge of any one present that it was important he should know, no selfish motive should induce him to remain silent, while at the same time he would deprecate suspicions of each other, and would remind them that as the law judged those to be innocent who were not proved to be guilty, so it must be in this case. With this the Doctor dismissed the assembly.

So far in our story we have confined ourselves to the characters in whom we are immediately interested, without any reference to their previous history or family connections. But I must pause here to take a glance into two homesteads, a few days after the events just described.

In the breakfast-room at Ashley House Mr. Morton had laid aside his newspaper, and was reading a letter from Dr. Brier. It was the second or third time he had read it, and it seemed to disturb him. Mr. Morton hated to be disturbed in any way. He was a hard man, who walked straight through the world without hesitating or turning to the right hand or to the left. He was a strong-minded man—at least, everybody who got in his way had good reason to think so. But he had a rather weak-minded wife. Poor Mrs. Morton was a flimsy woman, without much stamina, mental or bodily. She stroked her cat, read her novel, lay upon the sofa, or lolled in her carriage, and interested herself in little that was really necessary to a true life. It was in such an atmosphere as this that Ethel Morton lived and Digby had been reared.

Their mother had died when Ethel was a very little baby, and when the new Mrs. Morton came home the children were old enough to feel that they could not hope to find in her what they had lost in their true mamma.

Ethel was a bright, pleasant girl, and, being left very much to herself, she seemed to live in a world of her own. As a child she peopled this world with dolls, and each doll had an individuality, a history, and a set of ideas attached to it, which gave her almost a human companionship in it. Then came the world of fairies and gnomes and elves, amongst whom she held sway as queen, and many a plant and shrub in the garden, and glade in the woodlands, was a part of her fairy-land. And, now that she was nearly seventeen, a new world was dawning upon her; human wants and human sympathies were demanding her thought and care, and every day brought her into contact with those in the villages round about, whose histories were educating her heart into the true ideal of womanhood.

As Mr. Morton finished reading the letter he passed it to his wife, merely remarking:

"You will see Digby has mixed himself up with some disagreeable piece of business in the school. It is time he came home. I shall see Mr. Vickers about him to-day, and write for him to return as soon as this affair has blown over, instead of in September, in order that he may commence his studies in the law at once."

Leaving Mrs. Morton to mourn that her anxieties and responsibilities were to be increased by Digby's return, and Ethel to rejoice in the fact that her brother was coming home to be again her companion, let us now take a glance into a home in the suburbs of London.

It is a humbler home than that we have just visited, and a happier one. The breakfast-room is elegantly furnished, but it is small; the garden is well stocked with flowers, but the whole extent of it is not greater than the lawn at Ashley House.

There are three people round the breakfast-table. Mrs. Pemberton, a handsome woman, dressed in the neatest of black and lavender dresses, and wearing a picturesque widow's-cap. Nellie, her daughter, a girl about nine or ten years old, and Captain Arkwright, a retired naval officer, the brother of Mrs. Pemberton.

There is anxiety on each face, and traces of recent tears mark that of Mrs. Pemberton, as she nervously turns over and over in her hand a long letter from Dr. Brier, and a still longer and more closely written one from Howard.

"It is an extraordinary and distressing affair," she said, "and I am at a loss to know what to do. What would you advise, Charles?"

"I should advise Dr. Brier to choose a lunatic asylum to go to. What a wooden-headed old fellow he must be, to have got the affair into such a mess. Do? I should do nothing. You certainly don't suppose Howard is really concerned in the affair. Not he; that sort of thing isn't in his line. It'll all come right enough by and by, so, don't fidget yourself, my dear," he continued. "There's some vile plot laid against Howard, but if he doesn't come clean out of it with flying colors, call me a simpleton."

That day was spent in letter-writing, and the same post that brought to Digby the intelligence that he was to leave school that term, and commence work with Mr. Vickers, conveyed to Howard the loving sympathy of true hearts, which clung to him through evil report and good report.

(To be continued.)





"How do you know?" "Who told you so?"
These words you often hear;
And then it often happens, too,
This answer meets your ear:
"A little bird has told the tale,
And far it spreads o'er hill and dale."

Now let us see if this can be.
How can the birds find out so well,
And give the news to all?
Or, if they know, why need they tell?
And which among the feathered tribe
Must we to keep our secrets bribe?

The busy crow? As all well know,
He sometimes breaks the laws;
We shall regret it, when he does,
For he will give us cause.
Though slyest of the feathered tribe,
The crow would scorn to need a bribe;—

Not robin red; he holds his head
With such an honest air,
And whistles bravely at his work,
But has no time to spare.
"I mind my own concerns," says he;
"They're most important, all may see;"—

Nor birdie blue, so leal and true;
He never heeds the weather,
But in the latest winter-days
His fellows flock together;
And then, indeed, glad news they bring
Of early buds and blossoming.

Might not each one beneath the sun
Of all the race reply,
If questioned who should wear the cap,
"Oh no! it is not I?"
For there are none who, every day,
Are busier at work than they.

They chatter too, as others do;
But what it is about,
The wisest sage in all the earth
Might puzzle to make out.
But I'm as sure as I can be,
They never talk of you or me,

We hear "They say,"—oh, every day!
Are they the birds, I wonder,
That have such power with words to part
The dearest friends asunder?
Or must we search the wide world through
To bring the culprits full in view?

The birds, we see, though wild and free,
Have something else to do;
And, reader, don't you think the same
Might well be said of you?
It really seems to be a shame
That they should always bear the blame.



The ground was covered with snow, and now it had begun raining. There was no prospect of a change in the weather, which made Fred's face rather gloomy as he looked out of the window. Harry was turning over the leaves of a story-book. You could see they were both disappointed that the morning was stormy; for when they came to grandpapa's in the winter, they expected bright days and plenty of fun.

"What shall we do?" said Fred.

"Let's go into the garret!" exclaimed Harry.

This plan evidently suited both of them, for they made a rush toward the door; and the dog, awakening from his nap, entered into the idea, too.

At this moment, Aunt Carrie came into the room. They wished it had been grandmamma, for she never laid the least restriction on their sports, but smiled on every request and allowed them to do exactly as they pleased.

"Now, boys," said Aunt Carrie, "where are you going?"

"Only into the garret, auntie."

"Be sure to leave things exactly as you find them," she replied, with a laugh and a little groan.

"We always do, Aunt Carrie."

Away they went, with Gyp at their heels, and every footstep resounded through the old house until they reached the upper floor.

"It is no wonder that garret is never in order," said Aunt Carrie; "but the children must enjoy themselves."

"Of course, they must, Carrie," replied grandma from the depths of her heart.

First, the boys pulled out a box of old books and papers, and busied themselves reading the queer names and advertisements of old times. Soon they turned from these to a shelf of chemical instruments. Most of them were in perfect order, and they knew they must keep their hands off, for the bulbs and tubes of glass were too delicate to be touched by unskilled fingers.

"Here is an old broken forrometer," exclaimed Harry. "Let's ask grandpa if we can have it."

"You mean thermometer, don't you?" said Fred. "What can we do with that?"

"Don't you see? There is a great deal of quicksilver in this glass ball, and we can play with it. I'll show you how." And away they went downstairs to find their grandfather.

"Grandpa, can we have this?"

Mr. Lenox looked up from his newspaper.

"Let me see it a moment. What do you wish to do with it?"

"We will break it and take out the quicksilver, and then I will show you. Let me ask Ellen for a dish to catch the drops."

"Not quite so fast; wait a moment, Harry," replied Mr. Lenox. "I wish you to notice something about it first. The top of the tube is slightly broken, which makes it of no exact use, for to measure heat or cold the quicksilver must be entirely protected from the air. If you had noticed it when you first came in, you would see that the warmth of the room has caused it to rise in the tube. This is shown by the marks on the plate to which it is fastened. Now, if you hold it close to the stove, the quicksilver will rise still higher. Let it stand outside the window a moment, and it will sink."

By this time the boys were much interested.

"But what makes it do so, grandpa?" they asked.

"Quicksilver is very sensitive to heat and cold. If the weather is warm, or if the room it is in is warm, it expands—swells out—and so rises in the glass tube, as you have seen. The least coolness in the air will cause it to contract, or draw itself into a smaller space; then, of course, it sinks in the tube.

"The barometer is another instrument in which quicksilver is used. It is intended to measure the weight of the air, therefore the quicksilver in it must be exposed to the pressure of the air. Common barometers have it inclosed in a small leather bag at the back of the instrument. This we do not see, but only the tube which is connected with it. When the weather is pleasant, the air, contrary to the general idea, being heavier, presses against this little bag and the quicksilver rises in the tube. When the atmosphere is damp, the pressure being less, the metal sinks."

"Grandpa," said Harry, "when you think of it, isn't quicksilver a funny word?"

"Yes; it was so named by people who lived many hundreds of years ago. They called it living silver also. It is the only metal found in a liquid state; and so many strange changes did it pass through under their experiments, that it seemed to them really a living thing. If they tried to pick it up, it would slip out of their fingers. When thoroughly shaken, it became a fine powder. They boasted that it had the faculty of swallowing any other metal, while powerful heat caused it to disappear entirely. It is now known among metals as mercury. Can you tell me, Fred, some of the metals?"

"Oh yes, sir! There are gold, silver, iron, lead and copper."

"That is right. But, you know, all these are hard; some of them can be chipped with a knife, but they cannot be dipped up in pails, unless they have first been melted. Yet mercury can be frozen so hard that it may be hammered out like lead, and sometimes it takes the form of square crystals. Yet it can be made to boil, and then sends off a colorless vapor."

"Grandpa." said Fred, who had scarcely listened to the last words, "if mercury can be dipped up in pails, it must be very easy to get it. I read somewhere that gold and silver are so mixed in with the rock that it takes a great deal of time and money to separate them."

"That is true; but mercury is not always obtained easily. It forms part of a soft, red rock called cinnabar, composed of mercury and sulphur. The cinnabar is crushed and exposed to heat, when the metal, in the form of vapor, passes into a vessel suited to the purpose, where it is cooled. Then, being reduced to its liquid state, it is pure and fit for use. When men working in the mines heat the rocks, the quicksilver will sometimes roll out in drops as large as a pigeon's egg, and fall on the ground in millions of sparkling globules. Think how very beautiful it must be, the dark red rock glittering on every side with the living silver, while every crack and crevice is filled with it!

"Visitors to the mines of Idria are shown an experiment that I think would interest you boys. In large iron kettles filled with mercury are placed huge stones, and these stones do not sink."

"Why, grandpa! how can that be?"

"Did you ever see wood floating on water?"

"Yes, sir, but that is different."

"But the principle is the same; can you tell me why?"

Both the boys looked puzzled.

"It is only because the wood does not weigh so much as water; neither are the stones as heavy as mercury, therefore they cannot sink."

"I wish we could go into the mines. Can't you take us, sometime, grandpa?" said Harry.

"That is asking rather too much, my child, for quicksilver is not a common metal. There are in the world only four important localities from which it is obtained. These are California, Peru, Austria, and Almaden in Spain. The mines nearest us are in California. I think I shall never go as far as that, but I hope you both may before you reach my age.

"It is a curious story how the mines in Peru were discovered. Cinnabar, when ground very fine, will make a beautiful red paint. The Indians used this to ornament their bodies on grand occasions. This caused the country where they lived to be examined, and the cinnabar was found. The Romans used this paint hundreds of years ago in decorating their images and in painting pictures. It is very highly valued now, and we call it vermilion."

"Fred," continued Mr. Lenox, "you spoke of the difficulty of separating gold and silver from the rock in which they are found. Did you know that our wonderful mercury renders valuable aid in this? The rock that contains the precious metal is crushed fine, sifted and washed until as much as possible of the gold or silver is removed; then it is placed in a vessel with the quicksilver, which seems immediately to absorb it, thus separating it entirely from every particle of sand or rock. If the metal to be cleansed is gold, you will see a pasty mass or amalgam, as it is called, of a yellowish tinge. This is heated, and the mercury flies away, leaving behind it the pure gold."

"How did people learn to do this?" asked Fred.

"They did not learn it all at once. It was only by years of patient effort and frequent failure that they finally succeeded.

"You know there are many gold and silver mines in California," continued grandpa. "Near some of them large mines of quicksilver have been discovered. You can imagine that this caused great rejoicing, for all the quicksilver previously used was sent in ships to this part of the world, which, of course, made it scarce and very expensive. Now, we can send away quantities to other countries after supplying our own wants.

"Notwithstanding that this strange metal renders such service to mankind—for I could tell you of many other useful things it does—it is a deadly poison. Its vapor is so dangerous that persons searching for it often die from breathing the air where it is found. About seventy years ago, the mines in Austria, took fire, and thirteen hundred workmen were poisoned, and many of them died. The water that was used to quench the fire being pumped into the river Idria, all the fish died excepting the eels. Since that time, spiders and rats have deserted the mines.

"Mercury is carried in sheepskin bags and cast-iron bottles. It is so heavy that an ordinary cork would soon be forced out by it, therefore an iron stopper must be screwed in.

"Once, some bags of mercury were stored in the hold of a foreign vessel; unfortunately, a few of the bags were rotten and leaked. Every person on board was poisoned, and every piece of metal connected with the vessel received a silvery coating of mercury."

"It is dreadful! Fred, don't let us touch it," said Harry.

"Don't be frightened yet, Harry. Did you know that mercury is used as a medicine? It is given in very small doses."

"I am sure I shall never take it," exclaimed Fred.

"Perhaps you may have done so already," replied their grandfather, laughing. "Did you ever hear of blue-pill and calomel? They both are preparations of mercury."

Just then the sun shone into the room so brightly that every one turned to the windows. Such a sparkle! The evergreens were covered with shining ice-drops, and the tall trees pointed their glistening branches toward the few clouds that were hurrying over the blue sky.

"I am not sorry it rained, after all," said Fred. "I have enjoyed the morning so much that I forgot the play we were going to have."

Two happy, tired boys went to sleep that night, and the next morning they started for home. They both agreed in thinking they had never enjoyed a more delightful visit at grandpapa's.


There is scarcely any place so lonely as the depths of the woods in winter. Everything is quiet, cold and solemn. Occasionally a rabbit may go jumping over the snow, and if the woods are really wild woods, we may sometimes get a sight of a deer. Now and then, too, some poor person who has been picking up bits of fallen branches for firewood may be met bending under his load, or pulling it along on a sled. In some parts of the country, wood-cutters and hunters are sometimes seen, but generally there are few persons who care to wander in the woods in winter. The open roads for sleighing, and the firm ice for skating, offer many more inducements to pleasure-seekers.

But young people who do not mind trudging through snow, and walking where they must make their own path-way, may find among the great black trunks of the forest trees, and under the naked branches stretching out overhead, many phases of nature that will be both new and interesting—especially to those whose lives have been spent in cities.







Washington Irving has so many things for us, and we have heard so much that is pleasant of him, that a good time with him may be expected; and you would not read far in Irving's books before learning that no one believed in "good times" more than he. The name of his home on the Hudson would tell you that. "Sunnyside" is not the name a gloomy man would choose.

Perhaps you will like best to hear that many of you often stand where Irving stood, and walk the streets he knew so well, for New York City was Irving's birthplace, and there many of the seventy-six years of his life were spent. One of his books is a funny description of his native town in the days of its old Dutch governors. He does not call it Irving's, but "Knickerbocker's History of New York." And as only Irving knew anything of Diedrich Knickerbocker outside this book, we will let him tell you that "the old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work." Of course, Irving can say what he chooses about Knickerbocker's book, so he gives it as his opinion that, "To tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be." But Sir Walter Scott, in a letter to a friend, says of these funny papers of Irving's: "I have been employed these few evenings in reading them aloud to Mrs. S. and two ladies who are our guests, and our sides have been absolutely sore with laughing." All Irving's histories are not "make-believe," and some day you will read Irving's "Life of Columbus," and "Life of Washington," completed just before his death in 1859, without thinking of them as histories. He wrote the "Life of Columbus" in Spain. Can you tell me why that was the best place to write it?

Would you like to know where the boy Irving might often have been seen when he was not devouring the contents of some book of travels? "How wistfully," he wrote, "would I wander about the pier-heads in fine weather? and watch the parting ships, bound to distant climes!"

Not many years after, he wrote from England, "I saw the last blue line of my native land fade away like a cloud in the horizon." He was then in England, where he visited Westminster Abbey, Stratford-on-Avon, and many other grand and famous places. Of these, and much that is neither grand nor famous, he has written in the "Sketch-book," giving this reason for so naming word-paintings: "As it is the fashion for modern tourists to travel pencil in hand and bring home their portfolios filled with sketches, I am disposed to get up a few for the entertainment of my friends." Is it not as good as a picture to hear this man, who had no little ones of his own, tell of "three fine, rosy-cheeked boys," who chanced to be his companions in a stage-coach? This is what he writes:

"They were returning home for the holidays in high glee and promising themselves a world of enjoyment. It was delightful to hear the gigantic plans of the little rogues. * * * They were full of anticipations of the meeting with the family and household, down to the very cat and dog, and of the joy they were to give their little sisters by the presents with which their pockets were crammed; but the meeting to which they seemed to look forward with the greatest impatience was with Bantam, which I found to be a pony." When he had heard what a remarkable animal this pony was said to be, Irving gave his attention to other things until he heard a shout from the little travelers. Let him tell the rest of the story.

"They had been looking out of the coach-windows for the last few miles, recognizing every tree and cottage as they approached home, and now there was a general burst of joy. 'There's John! and there's old Carlo! and there's Bantam!' cried the happy little rogues, clapping their hands. At the end of a lane there was an old, sober-looking servant in livery waiting for them; he was accompanied by a superannuated pointer, and by the redoubtable Bantam, a little old rat of a pony, with a shaggy mane and long, rusty tail, who stood dozing quietly by the roadside, little dreaming of the bustling times that awaited him. Off they set at last, one on the pony, with the dog bounding and barking before him, and the others holding John's hands, both talking at once. * * * We stopped a few moments afterward to water the horses, and on resuming our route a turn of the road brought us in sight of a neat country-seat. I could just distinguish the forms of a lady and two young girls in the portico, and I saw my little comrades with Bantam, Carlo, and old John trooping along the carriage-road. I leaned out of the coach window in hopes of witnessing the happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it from my sight."

"If ever love, as poets sing, delights to visit a cottage, it must be the cottage of an English peasant," Irving thinks, and goes on to write in his own pleasant fashion of many pleasant things in English country life, saying: "Those who see the Englishman only in town are apt to form an unfavorable opinion of his social character. * * * Wherever he happens to be, he is on the point of going somewhere else; at the moment when he is talking on one subject, his mind is wandering to another; and while he is paying a friendly visit, he is calculating how he shall economize time so as to pay the other visits allotted in the morning."

The "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a genuine ghost story. It is not very startling, but very, very funny, when you know what scared poor Ichabod Crane on his midnight ride that last time he went courting Governor Wouter Van Twiller's only daughter.

You must read for yourselves the famous story of Rip Van Winkle and the nap he took. It is too long for me to give in Irving's words, and "Rip Van Winkle" is just such a story as no one but Irving knows how to tell.

In another of his interesting stories in the "Sketch Book," told, he says, by a queer old traveler to as queer a company gathered in a great inn-kitchen, Irving describes the busy making-ready for a wedding. The bride's father, he says, "had in truth nothing exactly to do."

Do you suppose he was content to do nothing "when all the world was in a hurry?"

This is the way in which he helped: "He worried from top to bottom of the castle with an air of infinite anxiety; he continually called the servants from their work to exhort them to be diligent, and buzzed about every hall and chamber as idly restless and importunate as a blue-bottle fly on a warm summer's day." The book of Irving's that some of you will like best of all is "The Alhambra." The Alhambra is the ancient and romantic palace of the Moors. When he was in Spain, Irving spent many dreamy days amid its ruined splendors, whence the last of the Moors was long since driven into exile. We have good reason to be glad that Irving saw the Alhambra, for this book is what came of it. We shall all want to go where Irving went, after reading what he says of the Alhambra by moonlight. "The garden beneath my window is gently lighted up, the orange and citron trees are tipped with silver, the fountain sparkles in the moonbeams, and even the blush of the rose is faintly visible. * * * The whole edifice reminds one of the enchanted palace of an Arabian tale."

These, you know, are only crumbs, and crumbs which show Irving's "warm heart" more, perhaps, than his "fine brain."

To learn of his literary talent and well-deserved fame, of his rich fancy and his wonderful ability for story-telling, you can better afford to wait than to miss knowing how healthy, happy, and truly lovable was this man's nature. Now, with only one of the many sober, earnest thoughts, we must lay aside his books.

"If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent; if thou art a friend and hast ever wronged in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee, then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory."



"You haven't any more ambition than a snail, Joe Somerby!" said energetic Mrs. Somerby to her husband, as, with sleeves rolled to the elbow, she scoured the kitchen paint.

Joe, who was smoking behind the stove, slowly removed his pipe to reply:

"Wal, if I haint, I haint; and that's the end on 't!"

"What would become of us if I was easy, too?" continued his spicy partner. "Why can't you have a little grit?"

Joe puffed away silently.

"Now, you pretend to carry on the rag business, you spend all your money a-buying and a-storing of 'em away; the back room's full, the attic's full, the barn's full,—I can't stir hand or foot for them rags! Why on earth don't you sell 'em?"

"Waiting for 'em to rise, marm!"

"Always a-waiting!" retorted Mrs. Somerby, thrusting her scrubbing-brush and pail into a closet, and slamming the door upon her finger. "Before you get through, the chance goes by. Joe," in a coaxing tone, "I've had a presentiment."

Joe evinced no interest, but removed his pipe to say:

"Now, wife, don't get uneasy. Let's be comfortable."

"Yes, I feel a presentiment about those rags;" the little woman whisked into a chair beside her lord. "They say the paper manufacturers are giving a big price now, husband. Why can't you take a load to the city to-day? I've been thinking of it all the morning."

"I'll do my own thinking, marm," said Joe, with dignity. He rose, however, and laid his pipe away.

Mrs. Somerby said no more, sure that she had roused him from his torpid condition. She wound Joe up to the starting-point, just as she did her kitchen-clock, and he kept upon his course as steadily as that ancient time-piece. She was just the wife for ease-loving Joe, whom her brisk ways never wounded, for he knew her heart was full of tenderness for him.

An hour later Joe drove into the yard. Mrs. Somerby flew out with a lump of sugar for a jaded-looking horse, bought by Joe to speculate upon, and who ate everything he could get, including his bedding, and never grew fat.

"I'll make a trotter of him in a month, and sell him to some of the grandees!" Joe said, but his system failed or the material was poor,—old Jack slouched along as if each step was likely to be his last. But despite this, Jack had become very dear to the childless couple, and they were as blind as doating parents to his defects.

"Bless his heart!" cried Mrs. Somerby, as Jack whinnied at her approach, and thrust his ugly nose into her hand.

Mr. Somerby felt of Jack's ribs with a professional air, and said:

"I'm trying a new system with this 'ere beast; I think he's picking up a grain."

"He'll pick up the grain, no doubt," playfully retorted his wife. "Now then, I'll help you off. Those paper men'll have all they want if you're not on hand. I'm glad I put you up to sorting the stuff last week."

"You'll 'put me up' till I'm clean gone," said Joe, winking to himself, as he followed his lively wife. "Let them bags alone, marm. You can be putting me up a big lunch."

"It's all ready, under the wagon-seat. By good rights, Joe, you'd ought to have a boy to help you."

"It isn't a woman's work, I know," said he, kindly. "You just sit here and look on."

Joe swung her up on a bale as if she had been a child. Inspired by her bright eyes he worked with a will. The wagon was soon loaded. Mrs. Joe ran for his overcoat and best hat, gave him a wifely kiss, and watched him depart from the low brown door-way.

"She's the best bargain I ever made," thought Joe, as he jogged toward the city. "I'm not quite up to her time, I know," continued he, and there was a tender look in his sleepy eyes. "Howsomedever, I'll make a lucky hit yet!"

The prospect was so cheering that Joe actually snapped the whip at the "trotter" who was meditating with his head between his knees. Jack, however, did not increase his gait, but plodded on. It was bitter cold, and Joe had to exercise himself to keep warm. It was afternoon when the laden cart entered the city. Hungry Jack had stopped twice, and gazed around at his master in dumb reproach. Joe was hungry, too; so he hurried into a square, in the business part of the city, covered his pet with an old quilt, and giving him his food, went to dispose of his cargo. But Joe's purchasers had gone to dinner, so he returned, mounted the cart, and began upon his own lunch.

"Now, if they don't want my stuff, my wife's 'presentiment' 's gone up," said the elegant Joe, "and I've had this cold trip for nothing."

Just here a remarkable event occurred. Jack suddenly threw up his meditative head, shied, and stood upon his hind-legs.

"Hey there!" cried his master, delighted at this token of life. "Yer a trotter, after all?"

"Yer old nag scart, mister?" asked several small boys, who hovered about.

"He's a leetle lively!" said Joe, proudly. "Keep clear of his heels, boys."

Jack subsided, but eyed a pile of boxes in a court on the left.

"What ails ye, Jack?"

"It's the hermit ails him!" cried one, pointing toward a huge box from one side of which somebody's head and shoulders protruded.

"Quit scaring my horse!" cried Joe.

The face was startlingly pale, and the eyes had a troubled, eager look—the look of anxious care; but Joe knew their owner was a boy, although he quickly disappeared in the box. Mr. Somerby resumed his lunch, but kept the reins in case Jack should be startled when the boy came out. But he did not appear; there was no sign of life in the box. Joe thought he was either up to some more mischief or afraid; the latter seemed most likely, as he recalled the white, still face.

Joe got down from his cart and quietly peeped in. He was somewhat astonished at first, for the boy was on his knees. The sight stirred his sympathies strangely. The pallid lips were moving; soon, low words came forth:

"I don't know how to speak to you, dear Lord; but please help me. Mother prayed to you, and you helped her. Oh! help me, I pray, for Jesus' sake. Amen."



The listener drew back to brush the tears from his eyes.

"'Minds me o' Parson Willoughby's sermon—'Help, Lord, or I perish!' I wish my wife was here. I declare I do. The little chap must be in trouble!"

Joe peeped in again. The boy did not see him as he was partly turned from the opening. He threaded a rusty needle, and proceeded to patch his coat. Joe could see the anxious puckers in his face as he bent over the task.

"I do wish she was here!" Joe cried, aloud.

The boy turned quickly.

"Why don't you go home, lad? You'll freeze to death here."

"This is my home."

"Sho! Do you mean to say you live here?"

"Yes." The lad hesitated, then asked, "Are you from the country, sir?"

"Wal, yes, I be. Though folks don't generally mistrust it when I'm slicked up. But I don't stand no quizzing."

The boy appeared surprised at this sudden outburst, and said, with a frank, manly air that appeased Joe:

"I thought if you lived a long way off I wouldn't mind answering your questions. I'm English, and my name's John Harper. I don't mix with the street boys, so they call me the hermit!"

"Don't you 'mix' with your own folks, neither!"

"They were lost at sea in our passage to this country," was the low reply. "Sometimes I wish I'd died with them, and not been saved for such a miserable life. Can't get work, though I've tried hard enough, and I'd rather starve than beg. I can't beg!" he cried, despairingly. "I'm ordered off for a vagrant if I warm myself in the depots, and I don't suppose the city o' Boston'll let me stay here long."

"Don't get down at the mouth—don't!" said honest Joe, in a choking voice, as the extent of this misery dawned upon him.

"There, you know all," said the boy, bitterly. "I scared your horse, or I wouldn't tell so much. Besides, you look kinder than the men I meet. Perhaps they're not so hard on such as me where you live?"

But Joe had gone, his face twitching with suppressed emotion.

"I'll take the hunger out o' them eyes, anyhow!" He grasped the six-quart lunch pail, and, hastening back, cried, as he brandished it about the lad's head, "Just you help a feller eat that, old chap. My wife 'ud rave at me if I brought any of it home. Help ye'self!"

Hunger got the better of John Harper's pride. He ate gladly. There wasn't a crumb left when he returned the pail. The light of hope began to dawn in his sad eyes,—who could be brave while famishing!

Meantime, Joe had been puzzling his wits and wishing his wife was there to devise some plan for the wayfarer.

"I wonder if you'd mind my horse a spell, while I go about my business?"

So the pale hermit crept out of his box, and mounted the wagon, well protected by an extra coat that comfort-loving Joe always carried.

"He'll think he's earned it, if I give him money," was Joe's kind thought. "He's proud, and don't want no favors. I'll give the lad a lift, and then—"

After "the lift," what was before the homeless boy? Somehow he had crept into Joe's sympathies wonderfully. He couldn't bear to look forward to the hour when Jack and he must leave him to his fate. A chance word from the paper manufacturer put a new idea into Joe's brain. He bought all the cargo at a good price, and engaged the stock at home.

"I'll bring it in soon," said Joe, putting his purse in a safe place. "I don't keep no help to sort my stuff, or I'd be on hand to-morrow."

"Ah," said the bland dealer, little thinking what a train of events he was starting. "You are doing a good business; why don't you keep a boy? I know one who is faithful and needy!"

"Yes, yes, he's in my cart, done up in my coat!" cried Joe, suddenly. He beamed upon the bewildered dealer, and rushed for the door, almost crazy with the new idea.

"My wife said I'd ought to have a boy, too," he thought, almost running toward the spot where he had left the cart, Jack, and the solitary figure in the great coat. Joe grasped the boy. "I've got a plan for you, John Harper. I want a boy to help me; the dealer says so, my wife says so, and I say so. You must go home with me to-night. We'll carry this load to the store-house; then pitch in your baggage and start for a better place than this, my lad!"

It was, indeed, "a better place" for "the boy in the box,"—a place where he found rest and food and shelter. After a little, he grew into the hearts of the childless couple that they called him their own. John went to school winters, and helped Mr. Somerby summers, and got ahead so fast in his happy surroundings that ambitious Mrs. Somerby had him educated. He is now a prosperous merchant, and a text for old Joe to enlarge upon when his wife gets too spicy.

"You wan't nowheres around when I found our John," he often says, "and he's the best bargain I ever made, next to you!"



A cock sees the sun as he climbs up the east;
"Good-morning, Sir Sun, it's high time you appear;
I've been calling you up for an hour at least;
I'm ashamed of your slowness at this time of year!"

The sun, as he quietly rose into view,
Looked down on the cock with a show of fine scorn;
"You may not be aware, my young friend, but it's true,
That I rose once or twice before you, sir, were born!"



Birds and flowers do much to enliven the dusky house-windows of the London streets, and both are attended to with great care. The birds are treated to some luxuries which our American pets scarcely know of at all, in their domestic state, and among these are two small plants called chick-weed and groundsel, which grow abundantly along the hedges and in the fields on the outskirts of the smoky city. Both chick-weed and groundsel are insignificant little things, but the epicurean lark, canary, or goldfinch finds in it a most agreeable and beneficial article of diet, quite as much superior to other green stuff as—in the minds of some boys and girls—ice-cream and sponge-cake are superior to roast-beef and potatoes.

On Sunday afternoons and holidays, the lanes where the groundsel and chick-weed grow are frequented by the citizens of the laboring class, who, although the city is quite near and its smoke blackens the leaves, call this the country and enjoy it as such. It is a pretty sight to see them, when they are well behaved; and should one notice the boys and girls, many of them would be found hunting under the hawthorn hedge-rows for chick-weed and groundsel to be taken home for the pet birds.



But all the birds of London do not depend on the industry of their owners for these luxuries. Some men make a trade of gathering and selling the plants, and the picture which is opposite this page will give the reader a good idea of how they look. Their business has one decided advantage. It needs no capital or tools, and a strong pair of legs and a knife are all that its followers really want. Perhaps it is on this account that the groundsel and chick-weed sellers are all very poor, and the raggedness of some is pitiable in the extreme, as the picture shows. Their shoes are shockingly dilapidated, owing to their long daily marches into the country, and the rest of their clothes are nearly as bad.

The one that we have illustrated is a fair example, but despite his poverty-stricken appearance, his torn, loose sleeves and useless boots, he is not at all repulsive. His face tells of want and toil; he has slung a shabby old basket over his shoulders, in which he carries his load, and, with a bunch in his hand, he saunters along the street, proclaiming his trade, "Grun-sel, grun-sel, grun-sel!" Besides the groundsel and the chick-weed, he has small pieces of turf for sale, of which larks are very fond.

The birds in their cages at the open windows chirp and put their pretty little heads aside when they hear him coming; they know perfectly well who he is and what he brings, and their twitter shapes itself into a greeting. The old raven perched on the edge of the basket feels like a superior being, and wonders why other birds make such a fuss over a little green stuff, but that is only because he has coarser tastes.



Johnny was in disgrace. "Drandma" had set him down uncomfortably hard in his little wooden chair by the fire-place, and told him not to move one inch right or left till she came back; she also told him to think over how naughty he had been all day; but some way it seemed easier just then to think of his grandma's short-comings.

He looked through his tears at the candle in the tall silver candlestick, and by half shutting his eyes he could make three candles, and by blinking a little he could see pretty colors; but amusement tends to dry tears, and Johnny wanted to cry.

He caught the old cat and watched his tears slide off her smooth fur, but when he held her head on one side and let a large round tear run into her ear, she left him in indignation. Then he looked out of the window. The snow was falling fast, as it had been all day.

"Drandma!" he called, but the old lady was busy in the next room, and could not, or would not hear him, so he walked to the door and said: "Drandma, may I sweep a path for drandpa?"

This time "drandma" did hear and see him too. He was brought back and reseated, with marks of flour here and there on his little checked apron.

We must not blame grandma too much; it was a very long time since she was a child, and Johnny, to use her own words, "had almost worn her soul out of her."

When Johnny's mother died, his home was in New York, and while Johnny sat in his little chair by the fire-place, he was thinking of New York, wondering if he ever should see it again,—the great stores with their bright windows,—and, above all, hear the never-ending bustle and hum that would drown the noise of twenty great clocks like grandpa's. Then he thought how he had been deluded in coming to Plowfield; stories of bright green fields, butterflies, hay-carts piled high with hay, and 'way up on the top a little boy named Johnny.

A horse would be there, a cow (wrongly supposed by city people to mean always a plentiful supply of milk), and a blue checked apron; but no one mentioned the apron, and no one said that winter came in Plowfield; not that they meant to deceive Johnny—they couldn't remember everything, but it came all the same, and the bright green fields were brown and bare; then Johnny didn't like them at all, and when the snow came, grandma said if he went out he'd have the croup.

The butterflies forgot Johnny.

He did have one ride on the hay, but grandpa didn't have much hay.

The horse was not such a great comfort after all; he never drove except taking hold of what reins grandpa didn't use, and the cow—yes, Johnny did like the cow—she was a very good cow, but, if Johnny could have expressed himself, he would have said that she was a little monotonous.

Johnny couldn't remember his mother, which was fortunate then, or he would have cried for her. He saw his father only once a month; he was making money very fast in the dingy little office away down town in New York, and spending it almost as fast in a house away up town for Johnny's new mamma, and, with Plowfield so far away, it was no wonder Johnny's father was always on the move. He ought to have been there that very day; the heavy snow perhaps had prevented; that was one reason why Johnny had been so naughty.

He sat quite still after he was brought back. He was too indignant to cry; he felt as if there was no such thing as justice or generosity in grandmothers.

After a while he felt that he had thought of something that would do justice to his feelings.

"Drandma," he cried, "I wish I'd smashed the bowl to-day when I spilt the cream!"

Grandma didn't say anything for fear Johnny would know she was laughing.

He grew more and more indignant; he never in his life had felt so naughty. He thought of all the rebellious things he had ever heard of, and making a few choice selections, mentioned them to his grandmother, and she, laughing, stored them away, to tell grandpa, consoling herself with the idea that if he was bad he wasn't stupid.

Suddenly, among other brilliant ideas, came the thought that sometimes boys ran away; Mike's boy Jerry ran away (Mike was the man who worked for grandpa), and he didn't have any money, and Johnny had fifteen cents; besides, when he got on the cars he could tell the conductor to charge it to his father; of course, he knew his father; he came from New York every month.

He listened till he heard grandma go to the shed for wood, and before she came back her small grandson was some distance from the house in the deep snow, putting on his coat and tying his comforter over his ears.



As he looked back and saw the shadow of grandma as she put down the wood, he said: "I guess I'll make her cry pretty soon."

After the wood, grandma seemed to find quite a number of things either to take up or put down, so for a little while Johnny was forgotten. Did you ever notice that grandmothers, and mothers too, are always begging for a little quiet, yet, if they ever get a bit, nothing seems to make them more uneasy?

Grandma thought Johnny was unusually still—she thought, "and is asleep on the lounge." So she was not alarmed when she saw the little empty chair, but when no Johnny appeared on the lounge or anywhere in the room, she felt worried.

"Johnny!" she called all through the house and wood-shed. Then she missed the little coat, cap, and comforter.

"If he has gone to meet his grandpa, he'll freeze to death. Oh, why didn't I amuse him till his grandpa came," she thought. She opened the door and tried to call, but a cloud of snow beat her back. Wrapping herself comfortably, she started down the white road she thought Johnny had taken.

She called and called his name, and in her excitement expected every moment to find him frozen. She promised the wind and snow that, if they would only spare her Johnny, her dead daughter's baby, that in place of his impatient old grandma there should be one as patient as Job!

She had nearly reached the depot. She heard the evening train, she saw the glare of the great lamp on the engine though the glass that covered it was half hidden by the blinding snow. She heard a sleigh coming toward her, and said to herself, "No matter who it is, I will stop him, and he shall help me." The bells came nearer and nearer, and the sleigh stopped. "Where are you going, my good woman? It is a rough night, isn't it, for a woman to be out?"

Any other time, how grandma would have laughed!—grandpa didn't know his own wife!

"Take her in, father," said another voice. Poor grandma! It was Johnny's father who spoke.

"Oh, Johnny's lost!" she cried, as she tottered into the sleigh. "He will freeze before we can find him."

The old lady was taken home, and grandpa and Johnny's father started off, quite naturally in the wrong direction, for Johnny.

For a while, Johnny went on manfully; but soon his little fingers and toes began to beg him to go back. He refused to notice their petition, and wished grandma could see him, as the wind whirled him round and round and almost buried him in the snow. He thought he had gone about ten miles, when he heard bells. He turned to one side for the sleigh to pass, when he heard a voice he knew.

"Oh, Jerry," he cried, "please take me in!"

Jerry stopped, and asked, "Who are ye?"

"I'm Johnny," said our small hero, quite meekly.

"And where may ye be bound to, Johnny?" said Jerry.

"To the depot. I'm going to New York," said Johnny, who thought this a mild way to tell Jerry he was running away.

"This road niver took any one to the depot, Jacky. If I hadn't come this way, yer'd been froze stiff in the mornin'."

Here Jerry rolled his eyes in a dreadful manner, and trembled like one terribly frightened. Johnny would have cried hard, but he remembered how brave Jerry was when he ran away, so he winked hard to keep back the tears, and said:

"Do you think I shall 'froze' now, Jerry?"

Jerry thought not, if he minded him. So he lifted him into the sleigh, and they drove on.

"Is this the depot?" asked Johnny, when they stopped.

"Ye be hard on the depot. This is my house." said Jerry.

As he opened the door, his mother said, "I've looked afther yez since the dark, and what have ye there?" as she saw Johnny.

Mike, Jerry's father, sat by the stove, and there was a baby on the floor. Johnny thought he never had seen such a funny place.

He liked the baby best, although its yellow flannel night-dress was dirty; but it wasn't quite his idea of a baby.

"What shall we do wid him, Mike?" said the lady of the house, as she saw Johnny's head bobbing and his eyes closing.

"I thought ye'd kape him here till the next train for New York," said Jerry, laughing.

Mike laid down his pipe, and began to put on his coat.

"Is it to go out again that yez will, this arful night, Mike?" said Maggie.

"Lay him out on the bed; lave him to slape here to-night, Maggie. I'll go and make it aisy wid the old folks," said Mike.

He found grandma sitting before the fire-place. Bottles of all sizes stood on the table, and blankets hung on chairs by the fire. The old lady's face was pale, and Mike afterward told Maggie, "The hands of her shook like a lafe, and she had the same look on her that she had when they tould her Johnny's mother was dead. And when I tould her the boy was safe wid yez here—Ah, Maggie, she's a leddy!" said Mike, lowering his voice.

"Well, what did she say?" said Maggie.

"She said I betther sit down an' ate some supper, to warm meself," said Mike.

Poor grandma! She declared afterward she didn't know Mike was such a good-looking man, and so kind-hearted, too. But she didn't keep him long to praise him, but hurried him off to find grandpa.

Mike found the brilliant pair, going over and over the same ground. You need not laugh, little reader; that's just what your father would do, if you were lost.

Five minutes after they had learned where Johnny was, they were standing over him in Mike's house—standing over him, and the baby in the yellow flannel night-dress, for they were both in one bed, and Johnny's father saw them about as clearly as Johnny had seen the candle.

The family were thanked individually and collectively, from Mike down to the baby, who, when Johnny left, was covered with sweetmeats and toys, brought from New York to Johnny.

The next morning, at breakfast, Johnny learned many things, among them that it was very wrong to run away, and he must be punished, and grandma should decide how severely.

"I will punish him myself," said grandma, "by removing all temptation to do so again."

Johnny is too young now to appreciate his pleasant sentence, but in after years, when his sins are heavier, he will miss his gentle judge.

He was to leave Plowfield the next day for New York; but he was to come back again with the summer, and many were the promises he made of good behavior.

When the time came for him to go, he clung so to his grandma that his father said:

"You need not go, Johnny, if you would rather stay."

"No," said Johnny, "I want to go; but why don't they have drandmas and fathers live in the same house?"

At last, he was all tucked in the sleigh, and grandpa had started.

"Stop! wait!" said Johnny, "I forgot something."

He jumped out of the sleigh, ran back to grandma, clasped his arms around her neck, and whispered in her ear:

"I'm sorry, drandma, 'cause I spilt the cream, and I'm awfil glad I didn't smash the bowl."



Many times have I heard English people say, as if they really pitied us: "Your country has no monuments yet; but then she is so young—only two hundred years old—and, of course, cannot be expected to have either monuments or a history." Yet we have some monuments, and a chapter or two of history, that the mother-country does not too fondly or frequently remember. But I am not going to write now of the Bunker Hill Monument, nor of the achievement at New Orleans, nor of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. I want to tell of another land nearer its infancy than ours, with a history scarcely three-quarters of a century old, but with one monument, at least, that is well worth seeing, and that cannot be thought of without emotions of loving admiration and reverence. The memorial is of bronze, and tells a story of privation and suffering, but of glorious heroism, and victory even in death.

Everybody knows something of the great island, Australia, the largest in the world, reckoned by some geographers as the fifth continent. I might almost have said its age is less than one-quarter of a century, instead of three. It was visited by the great adventurer, William Dampier, about the year 1690, and again, eighty years after, by Cook, on his first voyage around the world. It is only within the present generation that we have come to know it well. England's penal colony there, and Cook's stories of the marvelous beauty and fertility of the land, were never wholly forgotten; but almost nothing was done in the way of exploration, especially of the interior, and the world remained ignorant of both its extent and its resources until 1860, in August of which year two brave-hearted young men, by name Burke and Wills, determined to find out all that they could of the unknown central regions. It is in memory of these men that Australia's first monument has been erected. Let me tell you their story.

Burke was in the prime of life, a strong, brave man, who delighted in daring and even dangerous exploits. Wills, an astronomer, was younger, and not so ardent, but prudent, wise, sagacious, and thus well fitted to be the companion of the adventurous Burke. Their object was to trace a course from south to north of Australia, and explore the interior, where hitherto no European had set foot.

Fifteen hardy adventurers were induced to form the little company; twenty-seven camels were imported from India, for carrying the tents, provisions and implements needed upon such a journey, a fifteen-months' supply of provisions was laid in, and large vessels were provided for holding ample stores of water, whenever the route should lie through arid regions.

Thus burdened with baggage and equipments, the explorers started out. Their progress was necessarily slow, but the greatest difficulty with which the leaders had to contend was a spirit of envy and discontent among their followers. This led to an entire change in Burke's plans, and perhaps also to the sad catastrophe which ended them.

Instead of keeping his men together, as at first intended, he divided the company into three squads. Assigning the command of two of these to Lieutenants Wright and Brahe, and leaving them behind at an early stage of the journey, together with most of the baggage and provisions, Burke took Wills, with two others of the most resolute of his company, and pushed boldly forward, determined to reach the northern coast if possible, but, at any rate, not to return unless the want of water and provisions should compel him.

A place called Cooper's Creek, about the center of the Australian continent, was to serve as a rendezvous for the entire company; one of the squads was directed to remain at this point for three months, and longer if practicable; another squad was told to rest a while at Menindie, and then join the first; while Burke, Wills, Gray and King were to prosecute their journey northward, do their utmost to accomplish the main object of the expedition, and return to Cooper's Creek. Had this plan been faithfully executed, all might have gone well. But hardly had Burke taken his departure when quarrels for pre-eminence broke out among the men he had left behind; then sickness and death thinned the ranks and disheartened the survivors, and they failed to carry out the programme Burke had laid down. Wright stayed at Menindie until the last of January before setting out for the rendezvous; while Brahe, who had charge of most of the provisions, instead of remaining for three months at Cooper's Creek, deserted that post long before the time arranged, and left behind neither water nor provisions.

In two months Burke and his companions reached the borders of the Gulf of Carpentaria, at the extreme north of the continent, having solved the problem, and found a pathway to the North Pacific. Then, worn and weary, they set out to return. Their forward march had been exhausting, as the frequent attacks of bands of savage natives and the many deadly serpents had made it dangerous to halt for rest either by day or night. The heat, too, was excessive, and sometimes for days together the travelers were almost without water, while but sparing use could be made of the few provisions they had been able to carry. Feeling sure of relief at Cooper's Creek, however, and jubilant at their success, the four almost starving men turned about and pressed bravely on, but they arrived only to find the post deserted, and neither water nor provisions left to fill their pressing need.

In utter dismay, they sat down to consider what could be done, when one of the party happened to see the word "dig" cut on the bark of a tree, and digging below it, they found a casket containing a letter from Brahe, which showed that he had left the post that very morning, and that our travelers had arrived just seven hours too late!

Imagine, if you can, how terribly tantalizing was this news, and how hard it must have seemed to these heroic men, after having suffered so much, braved so many dangers, and tasted the first sweets of success, to die of starvation just at the time when they had hoped relief would be at hand—to be so nearly saved, and to miss the certainty of rescue by only a few hours! Eagerly they searched in every direction for some trace of their comrades, and called loudly their names, but the echo of their own voices was the only answer. As a last effort for relief, they attempted to reach Mount Despair, a cattle station one hundred and fifty leagues away, but they finally gave up in complete discouragement, when one more day's march might have brought them to the summit and saved their lives.

For several weeks these brave fellows fought off their terrible fate, sometimes hoping, oftener despairing, and at last, one after another, they lay down far apart in the dreary solitude of the wilderness, to die of starvation.

All this and more was learned by Captain Howitt, who commanded an expedition of search sent out from Melbourne, some nine months after the departure of Burke and his company, not a word of news having been received concerning them, and many fears being felt for the safety of the little band. On Howitt's arrival at Cooper's Creek he, too, found the word "dig," where the four despairing men had seen it; and beneath the tree was buried, not only the paper left by Brahe, but Burke's journal, giving the details of the journey to the coast, discoveries made, and the terrible last scenes.

At every step of Burke's pathway new objects of interest had elicited his surprise and admiration. Not only were there fertile plains and beautiful, flower-dotted prairies, but lagoons of salt water, hills of red sand, and vast mounds that seemed to tell of a time when the region was thickly populated, though now it was all but untrod by man. A range of lofty mountains, discovered by Burke in the north, he called the Standish Mountains, and a lovely valley outspread at their foot he named the Land of Promise.

But alas! Great portions of Burke's journey had to be made through rugged and barren regions, destitute of water, and with nothing that could serve as food for man or beast. Driven to extremities by hunger, the pioneers devoured the venomous reptiles they killed, and on one occasion Burke came near dying from the poison of a snake he had eaten. All their horses were killed for food, and all their camels but two. Perhaps these also went at a later day, for toward the last the records in the journal became short, and were written at long intervals.

Once the party was obliged to halt with poor Gray, and wait till he had breathed his last, when the three mourning survivors went on in silence without their comrade.

A letter from young Wills, addressed to his father, is dated June 29th. The words are few, but they are full of meaning.

"My death here, within a few hours, is certain, but my soul is calm," he wrote.

The next day he died, as was supposed by the last record; though the precise time could not be known, as he had gone forth alone to make one more search for relief, and had met his solitary fate calmly, as a hero should. Howitt, after long search, found the remains of his friend stretched on the sand, and nearly covered with leaves.

The closing sentence in Burke's journal is dated one day earlier than young Wills's letter. It runs:

"We have gained the shores of the ocean, but we have been aband—"

It is not, of course, known why the last word was never finished. It may have been that he felt too keenly the cruelty of his companions' desertion of him to bring himself to write the word; or perhaps the death agony overtook him before he could finish it. At any rate, it speaks a whole crushing world of reproach to those whose disregard of duty cost their noble leader's life. It has its lessons for us all.

Burke's skeleton also was found, covered with leaves and boughs that had been placed there, it is supposed, by the pitying natives, who found the dead hero where, in bitter loneliness, he heaved his dying sigh, unflinching to the last.

Howitt wrapped the remains in the flag of his country, and left them in their resting-place. Then he returned to Melbourne, and made preparations for their removal and subsequent burial. They rest now in that beautiful city near the sea, beneath the great bronze monument. There are two figures, rather larger than life, Burke standing, Wills in a sitting posture. On the pedestal are three bass-reliefs, one showing the return to Cooper's Creek, another the death of Burke, and the third the finding of his remains. This is a fitting tribute to the memory of the brave explorers, but a far nobler and more enduring memorial exists in the rapid growth and present prosperous condition of that vast island, results that are largely the fruit of their labors and devotion.

King survived, but he was wasted almost to a skeleton, and it was months before he could tell the story of suffering he alone knew.



"If I had a fortune," quoth bright little Win,
"I'd spend it in Sunday-schools. Then, don't you see,
Wicked boys would be taught that to steal is a sin,
And would leave all our apples for you and for me."

"If I had a fortune," quoth twin-brother Will,
"I'd spend it in fruit-orchards. Then, don't you see,
Wicked boys should all pick till they'd eaten their fill,
And they wouldn't want apples from you or from me."



His name is Charley. A common name for a horse, and yet he was a most uncommon horse, of a sweet and cheerful disposition, and celebrated for his travels over the sea. This is his portrait, taken the day before he left America, for the benefit of sorrowing friends. He looks as if he thought he was going abroad. There is something in his eye and the expressive flirt of his tail that seems to suggest strange doings. Charley is going to Scotland, over the sea, and he is having his feet cared for by the Doctor. He stands very steady now, even on three legs. When he afterward went aboard the good steamship "California" it was as much as he could do to keep steady on all four.

Poor Charley! He was dreadfully sick on the voyage. He had a fine state-room, but the motion of the ship was too much for his nerves, and he was very ill. So they had to bring him, bed and all, on deck. The steamer was rolling from side to side, for the waves ran high, and the tall masts swayed this way and that with a slow and solemn motion. Poor Charley didn't appreciate the beauty of the sea, and thought the whole voyage a most unhappy experience. Then he had to be hoisted out of the hatchway in a most undignified manner. The frontispiece shows you how this was done. They put him in his box and put a rope round it and fastened the rope to the donkey engine, a little steam-engine which is used for hoisting and such purposes. How humiliating for a horse to be dragged aloft by a donkey engine! The captain stood near to give the signal when the steamer rested for a moment on a level keel. The donkey engine puffed, and the sailors stood ready to steer the patient upward, just as you see in the picture.

Charley grew very serious as he rose higher and higher, but a man held him by the head and whispered comfort in his ear. At last, he reached the deck in safety, and they gave him a place in a breezy nook beside some other four-footed passengers, and he immediately recovered.


There was once a little boy who was not very strong, and it was thought right that he should be a great deal in the open air, and therefore it was also thought right that he should have a donkey.

The plan was for this little boy to take long rides, and for his mamma to ride on another donkey, and for his papa to walk by the side of both.

The two donkeys that were procured for this purpose had belonged to poor people, and had lived hard lives lately, out upon the common, because the poor people had no employment for them, and so could get no money to give the donkeys better food. They were glad, therefore, when the gentleman said that he wanted to buy a donkey for his little boy, and that he would try these two for a time, and then take the one he liked best.

So the gentleman and the lady and the boy took their excursion day after day with the two donkeys.

Now, one of these was a thin-looking white donkey, and the other was a stout black donkey; and one was called "Violet" and the other "Tidy."

The little boy liked the black donkey best, because he was bigger and handsomer, "I like Tidy," he said; "dear papa, I like Tidy."

"Stop!" said his papa. "Let us wait a bit; let us try them a little longer."

The party did not go out every day; sometimes the gentleman and lady were engaged, and the donkeys remained idly in the gentleman's field.

And then, when they had done eating, they used sometimes to talk.

"Is not this happiness?" said the meek white donkey. "Instead of the dry grass of the common, to have this rich, green, juicy grass, and this clear stream of water, and these shady trees; and then, instead of doing hard work and being beaten, to go out only now and then with a kind lady and gentleman, and a dear little boy, for a quiet walk:—is it not a happy change, Tidy?"

"Yes," said Tidy, flinging his hind-legs high in the air.

"Oh!" said Violet, "I hope you will not do that when the young gentleman is on your back."

"Why not?" said Tidy.

"Because," said Violet, "you may throw him off, and perhaps kill him; and consider how cruel that would be, after all his kindness to us."

"Oh," said Tidy, "people always call us donkeys stupid and lazy and slow, and they praise the horse for being spirited and lively; and so the horses get corn and hay and everything that is good, and we get nothing but grass. But I intend to be lively and spirited and get corn."

"Take care what you do, Tidy," said Violet. "The gentleman wishes to buy a quiet donkey, to carry his little boy gently. If we do not behave ourselves well, he surely will send us back to the common."

But Tidy was foolish and proud, and, the next time he went out, he began to frisk about very gayly.

"I fear," said the gentleman, "that the good grass has spoiled Tidy."

Tidy heard this, but, like other young and foolish things, he would not learn. Soon, the little dog Grip passed by, and Tidy laid his ears back on his neck and rushed at Grip to bite him.

"Really," said the gentleman, "Tidy is getting quite vicious. When we get home, we will send Tidy away, and we will keep Violet."

Tidy, as you may believe, was sorry enough then. But it was too late. He was sent away to the bare common. But Violet still lives in the gentleman's field, eats nice grass, goes easy journeys, and is plump and happy.


Poets have a great deal to answer for, and they should be careful what they say, for they've no idea what an influence they have. Now, I'm told that about one hundred and fifty years ago, one by the name of Thomson (Thomson without a p) sang:

"Hail, gentle Spring! Ethereal mildness, hail!"

and made no end of trouble, of course. March being the first spring month, was the first to hear the command, and so, ever since, she has been trying her best to hail. Failing in this, as she nearly always does, her only recourse is to blow; and blow she does, with a will. So don't blame her, my chicks, if she deals roughly with you this year, blows your hair into your eyes, and nearly takes you off your feet. It's all the fault of that poet Thomson.

I suppose if he had sung to our great American cataract, he would have told it to trickle, or drip, or something of that sort; and then what would have become of all the wedding tours? Mrs. Sigourney, my birds tell me, was a poet of the right sort. She sang, "Roll on, Niagara!"—and it has rolled on ever since.

Talking of fluids, here's a letter telling


A good friend sends Jack this true horse-story:

At my summer home, the very coolest and pleasantest spot to be found on a hot day is a grassy knoll, shaded by a great tree. Close by is the horse-trough, which is supplied with water from the well a few rods off. One sultry day, my little boy and I went to play under the shade of this tree. The trough was full of clean, sparkling water, and I lingered there even after the two horses, "Cherry" and "Dash," had been brought out and tied to the tree; for they, too, had found their house uncomfortable, and had begged with their expressive eyes to be taken out-of-doors.

Now, the water in the trough looked very tempting, and soon my boy Willy put his little hand in, and then rolling up his sleeve, plunged in his arm and began to splash the water, throwing it around, wetting us all, horses included. We left the tree, and were going into the house, when we heard a loud thumping, and splashing; turning round, we saw Cherry, with his fore-leg in the trough, knocking his great iron shoe against the side of it, sending the water flying in all directions, and making the water in the trough all black and muddy. Now, these horses had drunk from this trough three times a day for two months, and spent many a morning under that very tree, and it had never occurred to either of them to play such a trick until they had seen Willy do it.

Willy was so much pleased that he gave Cherry several lumps of sugar to reward him for his naughtiness; but James, the coachman, took a different view, and gave him a sound scolding, and I am afraid whipped him; although I protested that Willy was more to blame than poor Cherry, who had only imitated his little master.



Another enemy to my friends the birds! This time it's a spider. He lives near the Amazon River, they tell me, builds a strong web across a deep hole in a tree, and waits at the back of the hole until a bird or a lizard is caught in the meshes. Then out he pounces, and kills his prey by poison. And yet this dreadful creature has a body only an inch and a half in length!

Then there's a spider named Kara-Kurt, who lives in Turkestan; and, though he is no bigger than a finger-nail, he can jump several feet. He hides in the grass, and his bite is poisonous; but I'm glad to say he doesn't kill birds.

In the same country is a long-legged spider, who has long hair and a body as big as a hen's egg. When he walks he seems as large as a man's double fists. What a fellow to meet on a narrow pathway! I think most people would be polite enough to let him have the whole of the walk. Little Miss Muffett would have been scared out of her senses if such a huge spider had "sat down beside her."


The Little Schoolma'am says Thomson didn't say "Hail, gentle Spring!" He said, "Come, gentle Spring!" Dear, dear! I beg his pardon. But, like as not, some other poet said it, if Thomson didn't. Or perhaps they've sung so much about Spring that March, taking it all to herself, thinks she may as well blow her own trumpet, too.

Poor March! In old times she used to be the first month of the year,—and now she is only the third. May be, that is what troubles her. Nobody likes to be put back in that way.


Deacon Green was talking about parrots the other day. He said he once knew a parrot that was not as polite as "Pippity," the one mentioned in a story called "Tower-Mountain." The parrot that he knew would swear whenever he opened his bill. It had been taught by the sailors on board the ship in which it had come from South America. When the deacon knew it, it belonged to the widow of a very strict minister. It had been brought to her by her nephew, a midshipman, as a Christmas present. It was lucky for him, just then, that the old lady was stone deaf. She was very cross with the neighbors when they told her what wicked words the bird used. It was a great pet, and she would not believe anything bad about it. But at last it swore at a visitor who was a bishop, and soon after, it was no more.

Since the Deacon told that story I have had a paragram about another parrot; one that lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, five years ago. This one could laugh, weep, sing songs, make a noise like "smacking the lips," and talk. His talking was not merely by rote; he would speak at the right times, and say what was just right to be said then and there. He spoke the words plainly, bowed, nodded, shook his head, winked, rolled from side to side, or made other motions suited to the sense of what he was saying. His voice was full and clear, and he could pitch it high or low, and make it seem joyful or sad. Many curious tales, are told of him, but the most remarkable thing about him is that he actually lived and really did the things named.

That's what the paragram says. Stop—let me think a moment. May be that parrot himself sent it? But no; he wasn't smart enough for that; I remember, now, the signature was "Chambers."


Did you ever hear of a sphygmograph? Of course not. Well, in its present improved state, it is something new and very wonderful. It takes its name from two Greek words, sphugmos, the pulse, and grapho, I describe. It is an implement to be used by physicians, and forces the patient's pulse to tell its own story, or, in other words, make a full confession of all its ups and downs and irregularities. Not only make a confession, my beloveds, but actually write it down in plain black and white!

So you see that a man's pulse in Maine may write a letter to a physician in Mexico, telling him just what it's about, and precisely in what manner its owner's heart beats—how fast or slow, and, in fact, ever so much more.

Now, isn't that queer? Should you like to see some specimens of pulse-writing? Here they are:


No. 1, according to the doctors, writes that he is the pulse of a strong, healthy boy, and that his owner is getting on admirably. No. 2 writes that his proprietor has trouble with his heart. No. 3 tells a sad story of typhoid fever; and No. 4 says that his owner is dying.

I am only a Jack-in-the-Pulpit, you know, quite dependent upon what the birds and other bipeds tell me, so you cannot expect a full description and explanation of the sphygmograph here. Ask your papas and friends about it.

There's a great deal going on in the world that you and I know very little about; but such things as the sphygmograph give us a hint of the achievements of science in its efforts to help God's children out of their many ills and pains.

The deacon says that, wonderful as the sphygmograph is, the pulse itself is more wonderful still—a fact which no good ST. NICHOLAS child will deny.


You've heard, I suppose, that they expect soon to open up a new and wonderfully rich deposit of silver in the mines of Peru? No! Well, then, it's high time you were warned about it. Take your Jack's advice, my youngsters, and be very careful about things. Why, if they go on finding big bonanzas in this reckless way, silver will be too cheap for use as money! And then what will they do? They'll have to use something in place of it, of course; but there's no telling what it will be. Only think, they might choose double-almonds, or something of that kind!

But don't allow yourselves to be cast down about it, my dears. Try to keep up your spirits, and remember that, if the worst comes to the worst, good children will never be so plenty that people will cease to appreciate a good child. That's a bit of solid comfort for you, any way.


Which of you can state the exact distinction, if there is any, between lumber and timber, without consulting the dictionary?


Now, what am I to do with this? If the Little Schoolma'am sees it, she may want to give the boys and girls of the Red School-house a new sort of geography lesson, or perhaps a spelling task to her dictation. That would be a little hard on them: so perhaps I'd better turn over the letter to you just as it is, my chicks.

Washington, D.C.

DEAR JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT: Here are the names of some towns in the United States. They are so funny that I send them to you, and I hope you will like it. Do you think the Little Schoolma'am would know where all these places are?

Toby Guzzle, Ouray, Kickapoo, T.B., Ono, O.Z., Doe Gully Run, Omio, Nippenose, Eau Gallie, Need More, Kandiyohi, Nobob, Cob Moo Sa, We Wo Ka, Ty Ty, Osakis, Why Not, Happy Jack, U Bet, Choptack, Fussville, Good Thunder's Ford, Apopka, Burnt Ordinary, Crum Elbow, Busti, Cheektowaga, Yuba Dam, Dycusburgh, Chuckatuck, Ni Wot, Buck Snort, What Cheer, Forks of Little Sandy, Towash, Sopchoppy, Thiry Daems, Vicar's Switch, Omph Ghent, Peculiar.

I have found a great many more, but these are the queerest I could pick out.—Yours truly,



Here are two answers, out of the three, to the riddles I gave you last month: TOBACCO, and CARES (Caress). The archbishop's puzzle has been too much for you, I'm afraid, my dears. I'll give you until next month. Then we'll see.


Washington, D.C.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Not long ago I read in your delightful magazine a poem, entitled "Red Riding Hood," by John G. Whittier. It recalled to me some visits which I made to the great and good poet, my friend of many years.

My acquaintance with him began when I was a school-girl in Salem. Then he lived in Amesbury, on the "shining Merrimack," as he calls it, with his sister, a most beautiful and lovable person.

I remember distinctly my first visit to them. The little white house, with green blinds, on Friend street, looked very quiet and home-like, and when I received the warm welcome of the poet and his sister I felt that peace dwelt there. At one side of the house there was a little vine-wreathed porch, upon which opened the glass-door of the "garden room," the poet's favorite sitting room, the windows of which looked out upon a pleasant, old-fashioned garden. Against the walls were books and some pictures, among which were "Whittier's Birthplace in Haverhill," and "The Barefoot Boy," the latter illustrating the sweet little poem of that name.

In the parlor hung a picture of the loved and cherished mother, who had died some years before, a lovely, aged face, full of strength and sweet repose. In a case were some specimens of the bird referred to in "The Cry of a Lost Soul," a poem which so pleased the Emperor of Brazil that he sent these birds to the poet.

At the head of the staircase hung a pictured cluster of pansies, painted by a lady, a friend of the poet. He called my attention to their wonderful resemblance to human faces. In the chamber assigned to me hung a large portrait of Whittier, painted in his youth. It was just as I had heard him described in my childhood. There were the clustering curls, the smooth brow, the brilliant dark eyes, the firm, resolute mouth.

We spent a very pleasant evening in the little garden room, in quiet, cheerful conversation. The poet and his sister talked of their life on the old farm, which Whittier has described in "Snow Bound," and he showed me a quaint old book written by Thomas Elwood, a friend of Milton. It was the only book of poetry that Whittier had been able to get to read when a boy.

Like all distinguished writers, Whittier has a large number of letters from persons whom he does not know, and many strangers go to see him. Miss Whittier said that one evening the bell rang, and Whittier went to the door. A young man in officer's uniform stood there. "Is this Mr. Whittier?" he asked. "Yes," was the answer. "I only wanted to shake hands with you, sir," and grasping the poet's hand he shook it warmly, and hastened away.

Some years after my first visit a great sorrow befell Whittier in the loss of his sister. After that, a niece kept house for him. She is now married, and he spends most of his time with some cousins at "Oak Knoll," a delightful place near Danvers. It was there that I last had the pleasure of seeing him, one golden day in October. The house is situated on an eminence, surrounded by fine trees, which were then clad in their richest robes of crimson and bronze and gold. Through the glowing leaves we caught glimpses of the deep blue sky and the distant hills. We had a pleasant walk through the orchard, in which lay heaps of rosy apples, and across fields and meadows, where we gathered grasses and wild flowers. And we saw the pigs and cows and horses, and had the company of three splendid dogs, great favorites of the host. We had also for a companion a dear, bright little girl, a cousin of the poet. She is the "little lass," the "Red Riding Hood" of his poem.

After a most enjoyable day I came away reluctantly, but happy at leaving my friend in such a pleasant home, and among the charming and refreshing country scenes that he loves so well.—Yours truly,


AGNES'S MOTHER, whose letter was printed in the "Letter-Box" for January last, will oblige the Editors by sending them Agnes's address.

Uxbridge, Mass.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Last summer, we stayed a week on Prudence Island, in Narragansett Bay, where the blackberries sprinkle thickly the ground, and mosquitoes, in some parts of the island, sprinkle thickly the air. Prudence, Patience, Hope, and Despair are four islands near together; they were named by the owner after his daughters. Prudence has some twelve or fifteen houses; but in Revolutionary times there were, it is said, seventy families on the island. The British set fire to everything, and the island was devastated. One old hornbeam-tree is pointed out as the only tree that escaped destruction. The wood of this kind of tree is so hard that it does not burn easily. This tree is sometimes called "iron wood," and "lever wood," as the wood is used to make levers. This old tree has all its branches at the top, umbrella-wise, as if the lower branches had been destroyed in some way, for it is not the nature of the tree to grow in this fashion. I could barely reach one little twig of pale, discolored leaves, to bring home as a memento. Prudence is the largest of the four islands, Patience, next in size, lies a little north of it. Hope, on the west side, is a picturesque mass of rock; and Despair lies just north of Hope, a solid rock, nearly or quite covered at high tide.


DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have a question to ask you, and if you will answer it you will greatly oblige me. This is the question: May leaves be of any size to make a folio or quarto?—Yours truly, K.

A sheet of paper of any size, folded in two equal parts, makes two leaves of folio size; folded evenly once more, four leaves of quarto size. But book-publishers use these words arbitrarily. With them a sheet about 19 by 24 inches is supposed to be the proper size, unless otherwise specified. A folio leaf is, consequently, about 12 by 19 inches; a quarto leaf, about 9 by 12 inches: an octavo leaf, about 6 by 9 inches.

Fordham, N. Y.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have a Polish rooster, I wonder if you have ever seen one? If not, I will describe it. It has a very large top-knot, very much larger than a duck's, although it is not at all like it.


Here is a letter that was sent to Santa Claus, last Christmas:


I don't know your number, but I gest you will get it.

MY DEAR OLD SANTA CLAUSES: I know you are awful poor for Mama sed so but I do want so Many things and when I Commence to Writting to you I feel like crying. Cause you know my papa is dead and mama is auful poor to but I do want a Dolly so bad not like they give of the Christmas tree but a real Dolly that open and shut it eyes but O I want so many other things but I wont ask for them for you will Think I am auful selfage and want to Take evythink from others little Girls but when you ben all around if you have one picture Book left pleas send it to me. Dear Santa Clauses plese don't forget me because I live in Perth Amboy.


New York City.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am reading a history of the late Civil War, and often come across names of different parts of an army. I would like to ask you two questions:

1. How many men usually are there in a corps, division, brigade, and company?

2. How many guns are there in a field-battery?

If you will answer these, you will greatly oblige your friend and reader,


In the United States service, the "company," in time of war, contains 98 non-commissioned officers and privates, and 3 officers; total, 101. The regiment consists of ten companies. A brigade usually consists of four regiments, and, if the ranks are full, should contain about 4,000 men. It sometimes happens that five or six regiments may be comprised in one brigade. A division contains usually three, sometimes four, brigades, and with full ranks would number from 12,000 to 15,000 men. A corps contains three divisions, and should number, say, 45,000 men. In actual conflict, these figures will, of course, widely vary; regiments being reduced by losses to, perhaps, an average of 300 men each, and the brigades, divisions, etc., to numbers correspondingly smaller. A field-battery has either four or six guns, in the United States service usually the latter number, and from 150 to 250 men. The English and French Armies are not very dissimilar from our own in the matter of organization; but in the German army the company contains 250 men, and the regiment 3,000, and they have but two regiments in a brigade.

Pittsburg, Pa.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I want to tell you What a nice time I had on vacation. I enjoyed the holidays so much that it makes me happy to tell everybody. Our Sunday-school gave a treat on Christmas night, and the church was very handsomely decorated. Above the center, in amongst the evergreen wreaths, was a shining star made by jets of gas. The pastor, Mr. Vincent, said this was to represent the Star of Bethlehem. Then the large Christmas-tree was loaded with gifts, and when lighted up I pretty near thought I was going to see Aladdin's wonderful lamp and Cinderella from fairy-land. I am sure every one felt happy, and we sang the Christmas carols louder than ever, so loudly that the church trembled. But may be it was the organ made it tremble.


MR. EDWIN HODDER, the author of the new serial, "Drifted into Port," which begins in this number, is an English gentleman, and he wrote this story, not only to tell the adventures of his heroes and his heroines, but to give American boys and girls an idea of life at an English school. We think that the doings of Howard, Digby, Madelaine, and the rest, will be greatly interesting to our readers, especially as these young people leave the school after a while, and have adventures of a novel kind in some romantic, sea-girt islands.

BESSIE G.—Your letter is not such a one as we are apt to answer in the "Letter-Box." But the best possible message we can send you, and one that you will understand, and apply to your own case, is a beautiful little poem which will interest all readers. We shall give it to you entire. We take it from a treasured old newspaper slip, and regret that we do not know the author's name.


A nightingale made a mistake;
She sang a few notes out of tune,
Her heart was ready to break,
And she hid from the moon.
She wrung her claws, poor thing,
But was far too proud to speak.
She tucked her head under her wing,
And pretended to be asleep.

A lark, arm-in-arm with a thrush,
Came sauntering up to the place;
The nightingale felt herself blush,
Though feathers hid her face.
She knew they had heard her song,
She FELT them snicker and sneer,
She thought this life was too long,
And wished she could skip a year.

"O nightingale!" cooed a dove,
"O nightingale, what's the use,
You bird of beauty and love,
Why behave like a goose?
Don't skulk away from our sight,
Like a common, contemptible fowl:
You bird of joy and delight,
Why behave like an owl?

"Only think of all you have done;
Only think of all you can do;
A false note is really fun,
From such a bird as you!
Lift up your proud little crest;
Open your musical beak;
Other birds have to do their best,
You need only SPEAK."

The nightingale shyly took
Her head from under her wing,
And, giving the dove a look,
Straightway began to sing.
There was never a bird could pass;
The night was divinely calm;
And the people stood on the grass
To hear that wonderful psalm!

The nightingale did not care,
She only sang to the skies;
Her song ascended there,
And there she fixed her eyes.
The people that stood below
She knew but little about;
And this story's a moral, I know,
If you'll try to find it out!

Northern Vermont.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: "Little Joanna" is only three years and a half old, but her father and mother take the ST. NICHOLAS for her; and although she is so very young, she enjoys it as much as the older ones. She liked the little poem called "Cricket on the Hearth," and has learned to repeat some of it. In the December number she liked the poem about the tea-kettle; she cries every time she hears about poor "Little Tweet," and laughs at the "Magician and his Bee," and at Polly's stopping the horses with the big green umbrella. But she laughs the hardest at the picture of the little girl who was so afraid of the turtle, and Edna, the kitchen-girl, told her if the turtle should get hold of the little girl's toe, he wouldn't let go till it thundered. After "Little Joanna" has seen the pictures and heard the stories she can understand, her mamma sends the ST. NICHOLAS to some little cousins in Massachusetts, who in their turn forward it to some more cousins in far away Iowa. So we all feel the ST. NICHOLAS merits the heartiest welcome of any magazine.—Yours,


Dayton, O.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I like your "Letter-Box" so much, and I always read it first. My brother and I fight which shall read ST. NICHOLAS first. He always speaks for it the month before. Then sister reads it out loud to keep us quiet. I wish we had had more of the Pattikins. I liked them real well.

The biggest thing in Dayton is the Soldiers' Home, three miles from town. It is the largest of all the Homes, though they have a small one at Milwaukee, Wis., and several others. They have three thousand disabled soldiers here, and a big hospital, a church built of stone, barracks, stores, dining-room, library, and everything just like a little town. Then lovely lawns, gardens, lakes, fountains, rustic bridges, etc. Lots of people say it is much prettier than Central Park, and I think so, too. The soldiers have most all of them lost their legs or arms, and some both. Lots of blind ones lost their sight in battle, from the powder. They get tipsy, too,—I guess because they get tired and feel sick. Nobody cares, only they get locked up and fined. Papa says he don't believe blue ribbon will keep them sober. Everybody wears blue ribbon here, but I don't, because I don't want to get tipsy anyhow.

General Butler is the big boss of the Home. He comes every fall, and walks around. They always have an arch for him. Colonel Brown is Governor. He only has one arm, and was in Libby Prison. I wish the boys and girls could all come and spend the day here. They have a big deer-park, and lots of animals of all kinds, as good as a show, and a splendid band that gives concerts, and they have dress parades by the Brown Guards. I asked Papa how much it cost to run it a year, and he wrote down for me, so I would not forget, $360,740.81, last year. Hope you will find room to publish this. Harry says you wont. Harry is my brother.—Your friend,


Trenton, N.J.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have read a great many letters in your ST. NICHOLAS, and I always like to read them, for they are so funny. So I thought I would write you a letter and tell you about my poor little cat. It was given me when two weeks old, and I only had it a month before it died—and, do you believe, I saw it die! It was taken sick, and I cried awful. I don't know what was the matter with it, but I think it had the colic, for it lay as quiet as a mouse; and then it died. Oh, how sorry I was! My friend got a little box and buried it right under my window, so I could often think of it. So I hope you will all wish me better luck with my cats. Be sure and give my love to Jack.—From your little friend,


San Francisco, Cal.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I have often read in the "Letter-Box" some other little stories which boys and girls have written.

I will now write about the wire-cable railroads of this city. The first one constructed was on Clay street, between Kearney street and Leavenworth street. The road has now been continued out to Van Ness avenue.

The second was constructed by the Sutter Street R.R. Company from Sansom street to Larkin street, a distance of one mile.

The best of all the railroads in the city is on California street, between Kearney and Fillmore streets, a distance of two miles. It is considered the best built wire-cable road in the United States, and is owned by the great railroad king of California, Leland Stanford.

I have a little railroad track seven and a half feet long, with fifteen feet of string, which I call a cable. The invention of the gripping attachment is my own.


DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: Will you please, for a few moments, imagine yourself blind, deaf and dumb, so that you may have a fair idea of the boy about whom I want to tell you?

His name is James Caton. He is fifteen years old and lives in the Deaf Mute Institution, on the Hudson River, near New York. He was born deaf and dumb, and two years ago a severe sickness left him blind. Before this he had learned to read and write, and talk with his fingers. He uses a pencil and his fingers to ask for what he wants, and tell you how he feels. People can talk to him by spelling words with their fingers against the palm of his hand, and he is so bright and quick that they cannot spell too fast for him. He is fond of his lessons, but sometimes, in adding a long column of figures, he makes mistakes that vex him sadly. Only think how hard it must be to add twenty or thirty large numbers that you cannot see! But when James finds his temper rising he puts it right down, calls back his patience, and goes to work more strenuously than ever. One day, his teacher, a lady, told him the Bible story of Cain, who killed his brother and became a wanderer. Some time after, she asked him "Who was Cain?" and he answered, "Cain was a tramp!" She takes pains to tell him about the great events of the day, such as the dreadful war between Russia and Turkey, and he understands this so well that he can describe it with wonderful effect. He stands out on the floor like an orator, and with the most graceful, animated and expressive signs and gestures, gives the positions of the armies, their meeting, the beating of the drums, the waving of the flags, and the firing of the cannon. Watching him, one can see the battle-field and all its pomp and horror.

James was in the country during the summer, and there he lay on the soft grass, smelled the sweet flowers, and tried to remember their forms and colors. He leaned against the strong tree trunks and measured them with his arms, and the sweet, cool breezes from the river came to refresh and strengthen him.

James has a chum, Charles McCormick, who is almost as badly off as himself—perhaps you will think him worse off. He was born deaf and dumb, and when three years old he fell on the railroad track and the cars cut off both his arms! These two boys love each other dearly. They go into the woods together to gather flowers. Charles goes first because he has the eyes, and when he finds the flowers he stoops down and touches them with the stump of his arm, while James passes his hand down his friend's shoulder and picks them! So they do together what neither could do alone, and both are as happy as birds!—Your friend,


Hampstead, England.

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I am eleven years old, and this is the first time I have ever written to you, so I am going to tell you about my dear little squirrel, "Bob." He is beautifully soft, and his back and head are gray, but his legs and tail are red; he has four long teeth, and he bites very much, if we vex him. He eats nuts and fruit, and he is very fond of bread and milk. When we had him first, he used to run up the curtains and bite them all into holes. Every Sunday he would be brought downstairs while we were at dinner, and papa would give him nuts; but he got so cross that papa would not let him come down again. In the summer, we brought out his cage into the garden; but one Sunday papa opened the cage door, and out jumped Bob. He ran to the wall (which was all covered with ivy), and began to climb it; but papa caught him by his hind-leg and stopped him, and he gave papa such a bite on his hand. So I would not let him go out again. Last summer, mamma took us all down to Wales; but it was too far to take Bob, so we left him to my governess, who took him home with her. But one unlucky day she let him out in the conservatory, and did not shut the window; so he got a chance and ran away out into the road, and he did not come back. She offered a reward, and two days afterward he was found outside the window of an empty house. Soon after that we all came home, and I was very glad to see Bob again, naughty as he was. There is a very funny thing which I ought to have told about first; it is that my Bob was brought up by a cat, and not in the woods at all. I do not think there is anything more to tell you about him.—I am your little reader,



In the first place, you must live in the country, where you can find that early spring flower, the blood-root or sanguinaria. Wherever it grows it generally is seen in great abundance—flowering in the Middle States about the first of April. The roots are tuberous, resembling Madeira vines, and they do not penetrate very deeply into the earth. Therefore, when the ground is not frozen on its surface, these tubers can be quite easily procured. In the latter part of March, after removing a layer of dead leaves, or a light covering of leaf mold, the plants may be found, and, at that time will have large brown or greenish brown buds in great abundance, all very neatly wrapped up in conical rolls. A basket should be carefully filled with these tubers, without shaking all the earth from them, and some of the flakiest and greenest pieces of moss that can be found adhering to the rocks must also be put into the basket.

When you reach home, take a large dish or pan and dispose these tubers upon it, first having sprinkled it ever so lightly with the earth found in the bottom of the basket. Place the roots quite close together, taking care to keep the large, pointed, live-looking buds on the top, pack them closely; side by side, until the dish is full, then lay your bits of moss daintily over them, or between them when the beds are large, set them in the sweet spring sunshine, in a south or east window, sprinkle them daily with slightly tepid water, and on some fine morning you will find a little bed of pure white flowers, that will tell you a tale of the woods which will charm your young souls.

Sanguinaria treated in this way will generally so far anticipate its natural time of flowering as to present you the smiling, perfumed faces of its blossoms while the fields may yet be covered with snow.

But this is not the end. After these snowy blossoms have performed their mission of beauty, they will drop off upon the carpet of moss, and, in a short time, will be succeeded by the leaves of the plant, which are large and irregular, but very beautiful, and each leaf is supported by a stem which comes directly from the ground, giving the impression of a miniature tree. A large dish of these little trees springing from the moss makes the Fairy Forest, and an imaginative girl, or possibly boy, well steeped in fairy lore, may imagine many wonderful things to happen herein.

If you have little friends; or relatives who live in the city and cannot go into the woods to look for the sanguinaria, you can easily pack a pasteboard box full of the roots and moss, and send it to them by express, or, if it is not too heavy, by mail.




1. My 26 39 66 55 40 48 44 11 12 is a poet of ancient Greece.

2. My 25 24 33 8 42 is a poet of ancient Italy.

3. My 69 36 14 50 18 3 41 is a poet of England.

4. My 22 58 65 37 9 by 59 21 53 23 47 28 is a German poem.

5. My 47 62 64 38 is a historian of England.

6. My 30 46 54 48 15 32 is a popular American writer.

7. My 34 7 46 57 41 50 70 is a Scottish writer.

8. My 6 13 67 16 1 17 68 63 5 52 is an English poet.

9. My 47 24 2 23 10 68 63 43 4 is an American writer of fiction.

10. My 49 41 19 56 35 is an eminent geologist.

11. My 16 24 27 41 is a scientist of England.

12. My 45 61 60 67 37 13 31 is one of America's living writers.

13. My 61 7 20 29 is another American writer.

The whole is an extract of two lines (seventy letters) from a noted English poem.


In each of the following sentences fill the blank or blanks in the first part with words whose letters, when transposed, will suitably fill the remaining blank or blanks.

1. —— —— —— words with a man in a ——.

2. Did you see the tiger —— on me with his —— eyes?

3. McDonald said: "—— —— ragged —— remind you of Scotland."

4. The knots may be —— more easily than ——.

5. —— —— told me an —— which amused all in his tent.

6. I hung the —— on the —— round of the rack.

7. The witness is of small value if he can —— —— information that is more —— than this.

8. The —— —— as they look over the precipices in their steep ——.


1. Reverse a color, and give a poet. 2. Reverse a musical pipe, and give an animal. 3. Reverse an entrance, and give a measure of surface. 4. Reverse an inclosure, and give a vehicle. 5. Reverse part of a ship, and give an edible plant. 6. Reverse a noose, and give a small pond. 7. Reverse a kind of rail, and give a place of public sale. 8. Reverse sentence passed, and give temper of mind. 9. Reverse a portion, and give an igneous rock. 10. Reverse an apartment, and give an upland.


The first and ninth words, together, make vegetables that grow in the second upon the third in the fourth; the eighth, a girl, after performing the fifth upon the first and ninth in the fourth, pulling the second the while, did the sixth to get them into the house; here the eighth soon had them upon the seventh, cooking for dinner.

Perpendicular, heavy; horizontal, picking.

To the name of a gifted man,
Affix a letter, if you can,
And find his avocation.

Curtail a piece of work he did,
You'll find a word that now is hid,—
A madman's occupation.

Behead another, you will find
Measures of a certain kind
Used by the English nation.

The whole, composed of fourteen letters, names the hero of a well-known book. The 1 7 3 4 8 is a singing-bird of America. The 9 10 2 6 12 is a religious emblem. The 13 11 5 9 14 is an Oriental animal.


The answer is a proverb of five words. Each numeral beneath the pictures represents a letter in the word of the proverb indicated by that numeral,—4 showing that the letter it designates belongs to the fourth word of the proverb, 3 to the third word, and so on.

Find a word that describes each picture and contains as many letters as there are numerals beneath the picture itself. This is the first process.

Then put down, some distance apart, the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, to correspond with the words of the proverb. Group beneath figure 4 all the letters designated by the numeral 4 in the numbering beneath the pictures (since, as already stated, all the letters there designated by the numeral 4 belong to the fourth word of the proverb). You will thus have in a group all the letters that the fourth word contains, and you then will have only to transpose those letters in order to form the word itself. Follow the same process of grouping and transposition in forming each of the remaining words of the proverb. Of course, the transposition need not be begun until all the letters are set apart in their proper groups.

IGH—   —are—   —pea—.   —rea—   —ne—   —r—   —um—.

1. Join ease and an ornament, by a vowel, and make recovering—thus: rest-o-ring (restoring). 2. Join pleasant to the taste to a boy's nickname, by a vowel, and make honeyed. 3. Join to bury to a bite of an insect, by a vowel, and make what pleasant stories are.


ACROSS: 1. Portion of an ode. 2. A musical drama. 3. Soon. 4. Marked. 5. Flowers.

DOWN: 1. In a cave. 2. A river. 3. To unclose. 4. The second dignitary of a diocese. 5. A mistake. 6. High. 7. An affirmative. 8. A prefix. 9. In a shop.



Brothers are we, alike in form and mien,
Sometimes apart, but oft together seen.
One labors on, and toils beneath his load;
The other idly follows on the road.
One parts the sleeping infant's rosy lips;
The other veils the sun in dark eclipse.
One rises on the breath of morn, with scent
Of leaf and flower in fragrant incense blent;
The other's wavering aspiration dies
And falls where still the murky shadow lies.
At hospitable boards my first attends,
And greets well pleased the social group of friends;
But if my second his grim face shall show,
How dire the maledictions sent below!
Yet there are those who deem his presence blest,
A fitting joy to crown the social feast,
And make for him a quiet, calm retreat,
Where friends with friends in loving concourse meet.


1. Two brothers ever keeping side by side,
The closer they are pressed the more do they divide

2. Brothers again unite their ponderous strength,
Toiling all day throughout its tedious length.

3. I never met my sister; while she flies
I can but follow, calling out replies.

4. A casket fair, whose closely covered lid
A mother's hope, a nation's promise, hid.

5. A plant once used to drive sharp pain away,
Not valued greatly in this later day,
Except by those who fly when they are ill
To test the virtues of a patent pill.


In fruit, but not in flower; a period of time, a fresh-water fish; a sea-bird; in strength, but not in power.

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* * *   E   * * *
* *     *     * *
*     * * *     *
    * * * * *    

The middle letter, E, is given in the diagram. The centrals form two words, and are read from top to bottom and from side to side, including the middle letter. The words that form the limbs of the cross are read from the outside toward the center, those forming the top and bottom limbs being read horizontally, and those that form the arms, downward.



TOP LIMB: 1. New. 2. A boy's name. 3. A consonant.

BOTTOM LIMB: 1. Plain. 2. A deed. 3. A consonant.

LEFT ARM: 1. Existence. 2. A tavern. 3. A consonant.

RIGHT ARM: 1. Unready. 2. A tree. 3. A consonant.


The answer is a couplet in Sir Walter Scott's poem "Marmion."


The whole, eleven letters, is a songster. The 1 2 3 4 is adjacent. The 5 6 7 is a metal. The 8 9 10 11 is a current of air.


1. What wood is sometimes called. 2. A character in "Hamlet." 3. Customary. 4. An underling of Satan's. 5. A common shrub. 6. A boy's name meaning "manly." 7. An animal. 8. A place of security. 9. A body of water. 10. A large bird of the vulture family. 11. The home of the gods in Greek mythology. 12. A preposition. 13. A spelled number.

The initials name a female author, and the finals a male author.


1. Take a bird from a saint's name, and leave something ladies wear. 2. Take the present from understanding, and leave a chief. 3. Take part of a fish from explained, and leave a will. 4. Take a forfeit from cultivated, and leave a color. 5. Take an insect from needed, and leave joined. 6. Take a vessel from to supply, and leave to angle.

My first may be made of my last,
And carries mechanical force.
My last both lives and dyes for man,
May often be seen as a horse,
And serves him by day and by night
In ways very widely apart.
My whole is the name, well renowned,
Of a chief in the potter's art.

1. Syncopate and curtail a greenish mineral, and leave a Turkish officer. 2. Syncopate and curtail a royal ornament, and leave a domestic animal. 3. Syncopate and curtail a fabled spirit, and leave a coniferous tree. 4. Syncopate and curtail a small fruit, and leave an opening. 5. Syncopate and curtail a motive power, and leave a body of water. 6. Syncopate and curtail colorless, and leave a humorous man. 7. Syncopate and curtail stops, and leave a head-covering. 8. Syncopate and curtail a sweet substance, and leave an agricultural implement. 9. Syncopate and curtail a carpenter's tool, and leave an insect. 10. Syncopate and curtail coins, and leave an inclosure.



EASY DOUBLE CROSS-WORD ACROSTIC.—Initials, Birch; finals, Maple; horizontals, BeaM, IdA, RomP, CorraL, HousE.

SQUARE-WORD.—Ruler, Unite, Lithe, Ethel, Reels.



EASY DECAPITATIONS.—1. Foil, oil. 2. Spear, pear. 3. Feel, eel. 4. Sledge, ledge. 5. Stag, tag. 6. Mace, ace. 7. Goats, oats. 8. Draw, raw. 9. Galley, alley.

TRANSPOSITIONS.—1. Subtle, bustle. 2. Shah, hash. 3. Shearer, hearers. 4. Sharper, harpers. 5. Resorted, restored. 6. Negus, genus.

CHARADE.—Manhattan (Man-hat-tan).

GEOGRAPHICAL PUZZLE.—Queen Charlotte (1) went to Cork (2) to attend a ball. She there met Three Sisters (3), named as follows; Alexandria (4), Augusta (5), and Adelaide (6), in whom she was much interested. Her dress was Cashmere (7), and though elegantly trimmed with Brussels (8), it was, unfortunately, Toulon and Toulouse [too long and too loose] (9). As she felt chilly [Chili] (10), she wore around her shoulders a Paisley (11) shawl. Her jewelry was exclusively a Diamond (12). Her shoes were of Morocco (13), and her handkerchief was perfumed with Cologne (14). Being a Superior (15) dancer, she had distinguished partners, whose names were Washington (16), Columbus (17), Madison (18), Montgomery (19), Jackson (20), and Raleigh (21). Having boldly said that she was hungry [Hungary] (22), she was escorted by La Fayette (23) to a Table (24), where she freely partook of Salmon (25), some Sandwich[es] (26), Orange (27), Champagne (28), and some Madeira (29). After passing a Pleasant (30) evening, she bade Farewell (31) to her hostess and was escorted home by Prince Edward (32).

NUMERICAL ENIGMA.—Chinamen (chin-amen).

ILLUSTRATED PUZZLE.—1. Hare (hair). 2. Beholder (bee-holder, the hive). 3. Ear. 4. Clause (claws). 5. Wings. 6. Comb (honeycomb on the ground). 7. Branch. 8. Leaves. 9 and 10. B I (bee-eye). 11. Tongue. 12. Pause (paws).

CURTAILMENTS.—1. Teasel, tease, teas. 2. Planet, plane, plan. 3. Marsh, Mars, mar, ma. 4. Panel, pane, pan, pa.

COMPLETE DIAGONAL.—Diagonals from left to right downward: 1. L. 2. Ed. 3. Sir. 4. Aver, 5. Eager. 6. Dale. 7. Law. 8. Po.

9. L. Horizontals:EASEL


SQUARE-WORD.—Czar, Zero, Arms, Rose.


Double Diamond:  S  
Concealed Square: ATE 

PICTORIAL PROVERB PUZZLE.—"Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew, the dog will have his day."

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES in the January number were received, before January 18, from Jas. J. Ormsbee, Fred M. Pease, Morris H. Turk, Susie Hermance, M.W. Collet, Eddie Vultee, A.B.C., "M'sieur B.M.", Alice and Mamie Taylor, Constance Grandpierre and Sadie Duffield, Winnie Brookline, Charlie and Carrie Moyses, O.A.D., Baron P. Smith, F.U., Mary B. Smith, Milly E. Adams and Perry Adams, W.H.C, Anita O. Ball, "Bessie and her Cousin," Georgie Law, K.L. McD., Mary Wharton Wadsworth, Nessie E. Stevens, Inez Okey, Nellie Baker, E. Farnham Todd, Daisy Breaux, Lillie B. Dear, Mary C. Warren, Georgietta N. Congdon, "King Wompster," Nellie Emerson; 255 Indiana street, Chicago; Bessie Cary, Henry D. Todd, Jr., Finda Lippen, Jennie Beach, Mary Todd, Anna E. Mathewson, Nellie Kellogg, Lucy E. Johnson, Charles Behrens, Clara H. Hollis, Nellie Dennis, E.S.P., Bessie and Houghton Gilman, May C. Woodruff, George Herbert White, H. Howell, Lizzie B. Clark; Bessie T.B. Benedict, of Ventnor, Isle of Wight, England; B.M., and Jennie Wilson.

"Oriole" answered all the puzzles in the January number.