Title: Harper's Round Table, November 17, 1896
Release date: July 18, 2019 [eBook #59939]
Credits: Produced by Annie R. McGuire
|BATTLE OF GLEN FREON.
|THAT DISREPUTABLE SCHOOL-HOUSE STOVE.
|FRENCH BOYS' GAMES.
|IMPORTANT "TRIFLES" ON WAR-SHIPS.
|A LOYAL TRAITOR.
|THE TRUE STORY OF ONE OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S DOGS.
|BOXING FOR BOYS.
|THE CAMERA CLUB.
Copyright, 1896, by Harper & Brothers. All Rights Reserved.
|NEW YORK, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1896.
|five cents a copy.
|vol. xviii.—no. 890.
|two dollars a year.
This is how the country people still tell the story of the Tragedy of the Youths, an incident of the time of James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, about forty years before the sailing of the Mayflower to America:
There was great destruction brought on the MacGregors, and many lost their lives, their lands, and their name. And the cause was this: The widow of a MacGregor dwelt in a place called Tulach, at the nether part of Glen Streatha. Her house was about half a mile from the place where the abode of the chief MacGregor himself was. She had two sons, and these, when they were but young, began to be pack dealers or peddlers, going to the Lowlands to buy, and going through the Highlands to sell their wares again. Once they went on a journey to Dumbarton to buy goods, and on returning homewards they passed along the west side of Loch Lomond. But as they tramped on by the lands of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, of Luss, heavy snow fell, and the track became very difficult to travel, for there were no roads in those days in the Highlands that could be used for wheeled carriages or carts, and when the foot-track was covered with snow a man had to be very well acquainted with the district not to go astray. The two boys went on until they reached Luss, a village on the banks of the beautiful Loch Lomond. There they asked for food, tendering payment, and being asked who they were, they owned that their name was MacGregor, for they did not know how much the people whose hospitality they craved hated that name. Neither for favor nor for payment would the Luss people give the boys any food. The boys saw well how much they were disliked on account of their race, and they became anxious to go away. Up Glen Luss and through Glen-Na-Sreinge was the shortest way in those days for any one to reach the head of Loch Lomond, but the distance was great and the snow made the journey most difficult. On the east side of the loch the most numerous clans were the Curries and the MacGregors, and they occupied the country from Pollach to near the north end of Loch Lomond, through what was called the Sho's, or Slope, near to the pass of Balla-Na-Chatha. The Slope was very rough and difficult to traverse, and its inhabitants had the reputation of being very fierce. The Slope of Ben Lomond was called Croigchrosdain, and the people dwelling there were distinguished by this name from the other MacGregors. The people of Luss declared these men came frequently in their boats across the Loch to steal cattle and take whatever they could lay their hands on, and that when a raid had thus been made it was as much as a man's life was worth to go to ask for restitution.
It was therefore no wonder that the young lads were badly received, for they had not disguised their names, and no man would help them to get home. They consulted together and determined to try to get across the loch, and went to a place called the Caolaig, where a boat was kept by a man who, when payment seemed assured, undertook to ferry people over to the other side. The boys begged that they might be put across the water, but the night threatening storm and the ferryman disliking to cross, they were refused. They begged for shelter, but this was also denied them. Food there was none for them at Caolaig any more than at Luss. Left by this harsh treatment to shift for themselves, they looked around for some place where they might find refuge, and at last they found a goat shelter, and went into this, and lay down in the cold and darkness, waiting in fear until they thought every one had gone to rest before they dared try to make a fire. When they thought that they would not be seen they made search for fuel, and happened on an out-house where a farmer had left some agricultural implements. The shafts and handles of these the boys took, breaking them up for fire-wood. A plough that had a good deal of wood in it they destroyed for fuel, and lit a fire, and having caught a young goat, killed this and roasted it to satisfy their hunger. All this had been done, as they supposed, without any one having been able to notice them, for they had hidden their fire as much as they could, and the snow and storm made them think themselves secure. But some one saw the light, followed them, and seeing what they had done, went to Rossdhu, and told Sir Humphrey Colquhoun that the MacGregors were at their old work again. A band of men was quickly got together, and the two youths were caught and taken to Sir Humphrey's place, and there put in prison. A court was held, witnesses were examined, the case against them fully proved, and they were sentenced to be hanged on a day that was named. Whether any of their kindred were present at the trial is not known, but in a very short time the news spread through the country that the lads were to be executed, and the men of Glen Gyle and Croigchrosdain resolved to go in a body under their chief to the place of punishment and ask for the corpses of the lads to take them back with them for burial in their own district. When the day arrived Sir Humphrey had a large force of men besides those from his own estate. He caused the two prisoners to be brought from the prison of the House of Rossdhu to a knoll called in the Gaelic Tom-Na-Cruaich (Knoll of the Gallows), a short distance from the Light Grey Brook, by the side of the highway. The Colquhouns selected a fir-tree, which grew on the mound, to serve as a gallows, and the two lads were made to stand up to be hung. But something went wrong with the withes of the gallows, and the two lads fell as soon as their weight was on the ropes, and were not much the worse. Then a great shout went up from the MacGregors and Curries who had come over the loch. "The sentence of the law is fulfilled. Let the prisoners go." They rushed to the gallows, intending to rescue the lads, but their numbers were small in comparison to the followers of Sir Humphrey, whose men spoke insolently and contemptuously to them, while they barred the way, and prevented any nearer approach to the place where the lads lay. Meanwhile new withes or ropes had been adjusted, and the prisoners were hung up again, and left to die, amid the cries of their friends, who shouted and yelled beyond the crowd of the men Sir Humphrey had closely surrounding the mound. When it was evident that the lads were dead they were let down, and their heads were cut from their trunks, and the heads were placed on stakes, one on each side of the gate of Rossdhu. The men who had demanded their pardon went away full of anger.
The tragedy that had taken place was detailed in all its sadness and horror to the lads' clansmen wherever they could be found. Messengers went from village to village recounting the story by the peat fires in the little cottages, where under the thatched roofs and within the unmortared walls the cows and the hens and the family lived together. The messengers always began by saying that if any of the MacGregors had lost any of their young men, they should go to the gate of Rossdhu House, and see if in the features of the death heads on the posts on each side of the gate they could discern the features of their loved ones. The widow of Tulach in Glen Streatha heard the story, and anguish came on her as she thought that this cruelty might have been dealt on her children who had not returned when she expected them home. She made ready speedily, and went over the moors, travelling without pausing until she arrived near Rossdhu. She drew near to the gate and saw the heads, and even from a distance she thought she recognized the shape of her sons' heads, and coming close to the posts standing there with their trophies on them, she saw that her forebodings were too true. She took an opportunity, and had the heads taken down, and tied them up in two pieces of cloth, and walked back, carrying a head in each hand. And reaching her own glen she went to MacGregor's house, and laid down the two heads at his feet, letting them out from the cloths which hid them, and then burst into lamentation and tears, and at last told him how she had carried them away with her. Then the chief, who knew and loved the two youths, was greatly enraged with Sir Humphrey, and resolved to encounter him. Before he proceeded on his designs he went[Pg 51] to the Earl of Argyll and asked his advice, and his counsel was that MacGregor should ask to meet Sir Humphrey with a hundred men on each side, so that an account might be given by the Colquhouns as to what had happened, and the reasons for the cruel treatment of the lads. For, said the Earl, if Sir Humphrey has no good reasons he may pay the old ransom called, from the days of the Norse invasions, "eirig," or a fine for their deaths, and all fighting be avoided. In any case, he counselled that MacGregor should not be the first to begin to shed blood, unless in self-defence. Then the chief went to Ardkinglass, where Mac Ian Riach (Campbell of Ardkinglass) advised him to go and have an interview with Sir Humphrey, saying that the MacGregors might go through the Ardkinglass lands and have a night's lodging in Ganavin at the side of Loch Long, and that the people there were to ferry the band over the loch on the day following their arrival. All was carried out as had been suggested by the Earl, and Sir Humphrey made answer that he would meet the MacGregor chief, and tell the MacGregors of the crimes of the youths at the upper end of Glen Freon on a Saturday, and that he desired to explain all that there might be peace.
As soon as this answer had been conveyed to the district where Alexander MacGregor had his followers, he assembled two hundred men, giving his brother the command over one hundred, and himself taking the leadership of the rest, and marched towards Luss. They left Glen Streatha on Friday, and went through the Caothran of Glen Fine, and arrived at Ardkinglass Castle. Then instead of going by the highway of the Highlanders up between Ben-Nan-Luibhean (Hill of the Herbs) and Ben-Tomadh, they went through the lands of Mac Ian Riach (Ardkinglass), over the moors as far as Ganavin. There they got ferried across the loch to a place called the Tmire Franyach (French Ridge). Landing, they ascended by the slant of the moor, and passed the top of Sron Mhailein, crossed the water of the Callanach at the Broad ford, and went on by the highway of the Highlanders above the place of the Man of Tom-Bhui, until they reached a brook called Alt-Na-Chle. They halted there to rest, and took special note of the situation of this place, for the burn had a very rough course, and formed the march between the land of Fionnart and Tom-Bhui. There were two fords within a short distance of each other near the Highlanders' way; but most of the bed of the torrent lay deep, and abounded in deep hollows, the burn flowing in a series of falls from a third of the distance from the top of the moor to the shore of Loch Long. Although the two fords are narrow, yet it was over them that the cattle were driven when the Highland caterans, or robbers, took spoil from the Lowlands. The MacGregors thought that this impetuous burn's course would give an excellent place where a reserve of men might be left in case the Laird of Luss should prove false to them. So the chief's brother was left there with one hundred men, while he went himself with a like number to meet Sir Humphrey.
The place where the reserve men were thus placed in ambush, or at call, was a remarkably secret one. There is a rock on the side of Fionnart of the ford of the highway of the Highlanders, which, although of no great height, is so wall-like that no one can climb up the face of it. It is on the moorland side of the track, and there is a little hillock on the top of it, and at the top of this hillock the waterfall of Alt-Na-Chle flows with a bend round it, and returns again beneath it to the Highlanders' way. The water falls steeply below this pass, and again sixty paces lower, where there is a spot where the torrent can be passed, but this is practically only at these so-called fords, for below there is no good passage. John MacGregor and the band selected to remain at the burn went up and concealed themselves behind the hillock, where they were near enough to the track to throw stones upon it, although they could not be seen where they lay. Alexander of Glen Streatha, when he had seen his brother and his men thus posted, went on to the head of Glen Freon for the tryst. The anticipated meeting with the Colquhouns had been much discussed in the country, not only on Loch Lomond side, but about the banks of Clyde. The MacGregors had the name of being a fierce people, and as the date of the conference was known, and many thought there might be fighting, a great crowd gathered to see what would come of the meeting.
In the town of Dumbarton there was a seminary, and the teachers and students, participating in the curiosity aroused by the event, went in a body to see what might happen. Many citizens of Dumbarton followed, and a hundred men of the Clan-Na-Liendaig marched from that town to help Sir Humphrey, should he need support. One of the Buchanan lairds marched also thence with a number of the Clan Cameron and Clan Walter to Glen Freon. Thus when Sir Humphrey numbered his men he found he had over four hundred, but he and his friends arranged that he should go forward with only one hundred, and that the other three hundred should be hidden behind a hill, ready to move up at a signal, and this signal should be given if the MacGregor chief did not come to terms. The hill behind which Sir Humphrey's reserve was concealed was between the hill of Glen Freon and a place called the Birch Clumps, not far from a part of the Highland way by which they supposed the MacGregors would return home. Sir Humphrey meanwhile marched on with his band of a little over one hundred men, and stood waiting at the place where he had agreed to meet MacGregor, for he was anxious to put an end to the disagreements and troubles which had been a cause of warfare and sorrow to both Lowlanders and Highlanders. MacGregor was soon seen approaching, and both bands arrayed themselves in ranks, and stood opposite to each other and not far apart. The Lowlanders wore their great flat bonnets of blue cloth, and were clad in long jackets and short hose with gray coarse stockings; the Highlanders, in bonnets also of blue, but of smaller size, and they all wore red tartan, most of them in kilts, though others had tartan tight-fitting trousers.
Sir Humphrey went forward into the space between, and there met MacGregor, who likewise advanced alone, with an eagle's plume in his bonnet, and the two began to confer together. What passed is not exactly known, but the conversation lasted long, and then the chief was seen to turn away from Sir Humphrey, and go to his own men, who stood in their red dresses on the hill-side, and the listening crowds of Lowland citizens and Sir Humphrey's Lowland-clad band heard the chief's words to his men, as he said, "We will go home. There is to be no bloodshed in the mean time." The MacGregors turned and began their return march, but instead of going by the Highland way they took a short way through the glens which lay above Sron Glen Freon, and they thus avoided altogether passing the Colquhoun men who were lying in reserve behind the hill. Sir Humphrey and his friends now held a consultation quickly with each other, and gave orders to those men who were leisurely following the MacGregors' march. When these orders were delivered it was seen that the Lowlanders quickened their pace, and a shout went up from them, and Sir Humphrey's reserve of men rose and joined the advance and pursued the MacGregors, who fled. The Alt-Na-Chle burn, where they had left their supports, was nearly four miles away. The Highlanders ran on as fast as they could, anxious to reach their comrades some time before the pursuers could come up, so that they could have breath for the fight, and get into order to receive the attack, which they now saw was to be made upon them. This they accomplished. They got into order of battle, and were standing to their arms on the other side of the two fords a short time before the Colquhoun force arrived at the banks of the burn, which presented such difficulties to the pursuers that the disparity in numbers was well balanced by the nature of the position the chief had gained. So much was this the case that the reserve was told to remain in ambush until the fight should grow hot. The Colquhouns, pausing for a moment, got their men in a column, and attempted to rush the ford and bank beyond, but they could only advance a few at a time, the hill on the other side giving great advantage to the defence, and the first men who got over were all killed without a single one of the MacGregors being harmed. There were seven very brave men among the Colquhouns. These men were all brothers, and they volunteered to head the attack, that a breach might be made through the MacGregors' line, but[Pg 52] the devoted brothers were all slain, and lay together in a heap by the side of the water of the burn, which gave to the pass in after-times the name of the Brothers Ford.
Now when many of the pursuers were already lying heaped together in the pass, the chief called to his brother and the hundred who were with him, still lying beyond the knoll. These men as they rose had but to spring forward a few steps to gain the top of the rock overhanging the Highland way, and when they thus crowned the green summit they saw under the rock wall below them a number of the Colquhouns at the base of the waterfall. They plied their bows sharply now, sending down their arrows on the pursuers, who, pent together, could not escape them. Every shaft told, and the Colquhouns, despairing of forcing the ascent, gave way and fled back, the MacGregors crossing over after them and keeping above them as they ran along the hill face, continuing their arrow fire and doing much hurt. The whole crowd of pursuers and pursued ran aslant the moor until they reached a little plain called Tom-Na-Folaich (or the Little Bush and of the Rank Grass), where the Colquhouns, turning, attacked the nearest of their enemies, who gave way in their turn, running over the hill to a place where there was a gap between two ridges of rock. There they faced round, filling up the gap. The Colquhouns hurried onward until they were nearly within sword-stroke of their enemies. Here again the skill of the Highland bowmen decided matters, for crossing the top of the rock on the left of the Lowlanders they killed a great number, while they could not be much harmed themselves. In the Gaelic speech that gap is still called the Chasm of Misfortune, and the rock is yet known as the Bowmen's Crag. The Lowlanders gave way. Meanwhile the remainder of them, under Sir Humphrey, had been fighting the rest of the Highlanders, and a like result had overtaken them. All the MacGregors were now in pursuit of the Colquhouns, running along the Highland way over the large brook, the Alt-Mor, at the smithy's ford, and when some distance beyond, an unfortunate minister, who was a teacher at the seminary of Dumbarton, was overtaken as he was fleeing with the people who had rashly come out as spectators, and was killed. The chief's brother happened to be pursuing a young man of the Clan-Na-Liondaig who had been with Sir Humphrey, and the young fellow turned on the chieftain, and cut him down near a great gray stone that was often pointed out as marking the Highland chieftain's death-place. At the head of Glen Freon the Colquhouns attempted to rally, by the persuasions of Sir Humphrey, but he could not get them into any order until they arrived at a large level field called Acha Haich. Here he managed to get them again into array, but the Highlanders, seeing them make a stand, halted to form their line, and quickly attacked. Hardly a minute passed before Sir Humphrey's men turned their backs, and all that can be said of what followed is that chase and flight went streaming down both sides of Glen Freon.
When the rout reached the middle of the glen the victors, who were slaying as they went, overtook the principal of the seminary, who with his students were showing every sign of terror. But the MacGregors took no heed of them. The principal hastened to the chief, and said to him, "These youths are unarmed and in great fear. Now that you have won the day, I intrust them to your forbearance." There was a barn near the place where they stood, and the chief ordered them into the barn, putting over them as guard a man named Black Hugh of the Dhu-Leitir, who came from his own Glen Streatha. It is said that this man was not a MacGregor, but a MacCalister, who had gone from the district where his youth was spent to the MacGregor country, taking their name on account of some crime that he had committed.
He heard his chief now say to him, "Hugh, here are thirty-seven youths. Stand at the door. I confide them to you. Take good care of them," and as he obeyed he saw his chief hurry on in the pursuit. Hugh began his sentry duty, and allowed none of the youths to leave the barn, believing that they should be treated as prisoners; but as the lads could speak no Gaelic, and Hugh no English, there was not much attempt at communication between them.
We will follow the pursuit from which Hugh was debarred by his duties as jailer. The MacGregors harassed the Colquhouns in their retreat persistently, sparing none whom they found with arms in their hands, and among these were many of the citizens of Dumbarton. Of the incidents of the pursuit, men remember that at Tigh-Na-Goaithe, or the House of the Winds, in the glen, one of the MacGregors took note of a gentleman among the Colquhouns who was on horseback. He rushed at the rider, who fled, yet the Highlander was so swift of foot that he kept up with the pace of the horse all the way between the place called the Hill of the Wind and the waterfall of the Finglass. The mounted officer missed a passage or ford which existed, and came to a place where it was difficult to cross the burn's ravine, called the "churn." It was about twenty feet in depth, and there was a pool below, the chasm being about ten feet broad above and sixteen feet below. The horse took the leap, and bad as was the take off, carried his rider across in safety. The pursuer could not take the leap, but shot an arrow, which missed the rider, who coolly dismounted, picked up the arrow, and shot it back from his own bow, killing the man who had first shot it.
At the lower part of the glen Sir Humphrey's people scattered widely, each trying to save his own life. Some went the way of Luss, others fled towards the Leven. But MacGregor did not care to see his men disperse themselves so widely, and stopped the pursuit. He called them to him, and told them it was now best to return the road they had come. They obeyed him, and the march home was commenced. When they were ascending the upper part of Blar-Na-Chietein (or the Plain of April) the piper struck up, playing an extemporized tune, which was known afterwards as the "Bout of Spoils on Colquhoun." They went along rejoicing, but they soon had cause for grief.
MacGregor now observed Black Hugh among his followers, and inquired of him, "What have you done with the young lads whom I intrusted to you?"
Hugh replied by drawing a dirk from his belt, and shaking it above his head, said, "Ask that dirk and God's mercy what has become of them!"
"May God look on us!" said MacGregor. "If you have killed the lads, no mention shall be made of a MacGregor henceforth." He hurried to the barn, and there were all the youths lying where they had been butchered, cold in their blood! The chief turned angrily and called up Black Hugh. "Why have you done this?"
And Hugh answered: "After the youths had been for a time in the barn they became turbulent, I do not know why; but they spoke a great deal of English, and I could not understand a word of what they said, but I shook the dirk at them and told them to keep quiet in Gaelic, which they should have understood, and I asked, and I asked, and I asked them to keep quiet, but they would not, and attempted to get out in spite of me. It seemed to me that I might just as well lose my own life as let a prisoner escape; and as they came forward one by one to get out I killed them as quickly as they got within reach. I do not know what it means, but every one as he was pierced with the dirk seemed to me to cry out a sound like 'God's mercy.'"
"It was not to hurt them or keep them prisoners that I sent you there, but to protect them from harm," sternly replied MacGregor.
It was only then that Hugh perceived that he had blundered. All the MacGregors were sorrowful at the event, and the chief himself deeply distressed. They continued their march in gloom, taking home with them the body of the chief's brother, for they found him where he had fallen on the hill-side. Although the fight has been named after the glen, it was really at Alt-Na-Chle that it began, about four miles from the glen, and a much larger number of the Colquhouns were slain on the land of Fionnart than at the head of the glen, but the pursuit did not take them through Glen Freon.
After the battle, and on the retreat of the Highlanders, the Lowland party were greatly enraged. They went and[Pg 53] buried the dead, and kept their bloody shirts that they might be shown to the King, and Sir Humphrey and his friends got 220 women to ride to Edinburgh, each woman carrying on a spear as a banner a blood-stained shirt which she said had belonged to a man massacred by the MacGregors. The youths who had been killed by Hugh were of good parentage, and the indignation caused by their death was not allowed to sleep by their kinsfolk and tutors. The King was greatly enraged against the MacGregors, having had a hatred of them on account of old strifes. He appointed a day for a court of justice, and MacGregor was summoned, but durst not appear. Neither was there any one to speak for him, and in his absence he and his clan were sentenced to lose their lands and name.
The district school-house in Hagar was very old, but it never looked so, on account of the paint. When the Selectmen concluded not to do something that ought to be done, because it would cost too much, they violently painted the school-house instead. It relieved their feelings and did not cost too much. Also, the school-house standing prominently by the cross-roads, it gave a thrifty appearance to the village.
The inside of the school-house was seldom painted by the violent Selectmen, or its individuality interfered with in any way. Its desks became more whittled from year to year, its ceiling smokier, and its blackboards dingier with adding and subtracting. The water-pail that stood over the cellar stairs was often upset for different reasons, so that now and then there was a new water-pail. The stove stood in front of the teacher's desk, and, on cold days, an enormous distance from the back seats. The stove-pipe was strung along the ceiling on precarious wires.
This stove was not an adequate stove. The sphere of its influence fell short of the back seats. It was an uncertain and variable stove. It sulked; sometimes it dropped legs and severed connections with the pipe. On windy days it shook, roared, threw sparks, and interrupted lessons. The Selectmen, namely, Deacon Crockett, Harvey Cummings, and Mr. Atherton Bell—who had been to the Legislature—were told that the stove was not an adequate stove, and denounced the school-house as a source of endless expense.
In the fall and spring the school was taught by different young ladies, who were much to be pitied. In the winter it was taught by a man—for some years by a man named Pollock, who had ideas. When the school became very unruly he flung the bell on the floor to produce silence. It was a large yellow-colored bell. When it was rung, the sound of it was as the sound of lamentation, and when it was flung on the floor it made us think of a number of funerals all mixed up. Mr. Pollock also taught algebra to those whom he thought deserved it; that was his idea of rewarding merit. It seemed to us that his idea was wrong.
But this story which I have to tell is not about the school in general, but a particular story intended to bring out a moral about the putting of horse-chestnuts in a stove, namely, that it is very revolutionary, and a good way to play nihilists, if you wish to play nihilists. It concerns one Willy Flint, who was an imp; not one of those nervous black little things, however, such as you would expect an imp to be. He had light hair, rather thin red eyelids, and no nerves; but for all that he was an imp. His sister's name was Angelica Bertina and some other names. She also was an imp. I believe she was, or grew up to be, a very pretty girl, but at that time I had no opinion of such matters.
Angelica kicked the snow against the entry-door and mentioned a desire to smash things. She felt that way, perhaps,[Pg 54] more often than most people, but we all know how it is when it is a relief, although nothing in particular has happened, to get a large club and pound a rock. It is partly surplus energy and partly discontent. Bobby Bell stared at Angelica admiringly. It was the noon-hour. Willy Flint reached the bottom of his lunch-pail, shook up the crumbs, and fitted it deftly on the head of Bobby Bell, who escaped and ran into Angelica. Angelica collared him and shook him out of the dinner-pail, but respectfully, for Bobby Bell was a gentleman, though very little, and though only five or six years old, greatly admired Angelica.
"You let Bobby alone," snapped Angelica; but Willy Flint was thinking of something else. Angelica, holding Bobby by the collar, brushed off the crumbs, and Bobby became contented and conversational.
"My fatha's comin' to thee the thtove," he announced.
"How do you know?" asked Willy Flint, blinking his red eyelids.
"My fatha thaid tho. Tho'th Deacon Cwockett. Tho'th Mithta Cummin'. Tho'th my fatha."
Willy Flint blinked his eyelids at Bobby Bell for some minutes, and then, without looking to the right or left, started on a run through the drifts to the road and along the road eastward. The entire school stopped snowballing and watched him in dumb amazement. Just as he turned into the Flints' gate, a quarter of a mile away, Mr. Pollock came to the entry and rang the lamentable bell. Therefore Willy Flint was late, and had to do a strange sum, involving two men who exchanged commodities in such a manner as never ought to be done in this world.
Willy Flint sat, pretending to do this sum, on the seat behind the stove, because he was an imp, and Mr. Pollock wished to keep an eye on him. The scholars on the back seats were good but cold; those in between were middling. Angelica Bertina was reciting geography, which she did very well. I suppose it practised her memory to remember her name. When one can say Angelica Bertina and the other names easily, it helps one out with Liberia and Porto Rico.
Willy Flint looked at Mr. Pollock, who looked at him, and asked Angelica about the products of Liberia. Willy Flint sighed despondently and drew spindle-legged people on his slate. Angelica stated the products of Liberia to be coffee, ivory, and rofia-palm fibre, and Mr. Pollock did not deny it, though of course rofia-palm fibre belongs with Madagascar and not with Liberia. He was wondering what Willy Flint was about to do.
Angelica saw his abstracted eye and went on, "Arrowroot, sugar, chewing-gum."
Here Moses Durfey giggled and Mr. Pollock started.
"Cotton," said Angelica, "cocoa, oranges, and lemons."
"Ah," said Mr. Pollock. "Correct."
And Willy Flint looked more cheerful.
This was the situation when the Selectmen came: the stove behaving in various ways, Willy Flint considering what he was about to do, Mr. Pollock wondering what that was, and Angelica reciting geography.
There was a loud knock at the entry-door, and Mr. Pollock and the entire school, with the exception of Willy Flint and Angelica, left whatever they were doing, and concentrated their minds on the door. Willy Flint leaned swiftly forward and slipped something through the damper of the stove. Angelica cast a glance after Mr. Pollock, closed her eyes, and recited in a loud voice:
"Abyssinia, eastern Africa, three kingdoms—Shoa, Tigre, and Amhara, elevated table-land, of which majority of people—m-m-m-m—pastoral pursuits."
Willy Flint again leaned forward and slipped something through the damper.
"Ah!" said Mr. Pollock, at the door. "Come in." And the violent Selectmen entered, namely, Deacon Crockett, Harvey Cummings, and Mr. Atherton Bell—who had been to the Legislature. Again Willy Flint leaned forward.
"Exports, skins," shouted Angelica, "ivory, gums—"
"Angelica," said Mr. Pollock, sternly—"Angelica Flint, that will do." And Angelica, with an eye on Willy's movements, thought that very likely it might.
"We've come to see about that stove," said the fluent Mr. Atherton Bell. "Now I don't see anything the matter with the stove. Do you, Deacon? It appears to me to have an excellent draught."
Deacon Crockett nodded gloomily.
"Furs rate," said Mr. Cummings.
"A good serviceable stove," said Mr. Atherton Bell.
Bang! went something in the stove; boom! crack! bang!
The top of the stove rose and danced about in an angular manner. The pipe came down and covered Deacon Crockett and Willy Flint impartially with soot. Legs went here and there. The door bounced off, followed by ashes and coals, and smote Mr. Cummings sorely on the foot. Then the stove settled down, propped only by one leg plainly showing and declaring itself the most disreputable stove in the town of Hagar; and the school resolved itself into anarchy, which proves just what all wise men say, that nihilism results in anarchy.
"Who done that?" shouted Mr. Cummings, angrily. Deacon Crockett said nothing, but glared. Willy Flint, being also covered with soot, looked in every respect like the down-trodden victim of conspiracy. Mr. Pollock wiped his glasses, which meant that he intended to maintain his presence of mind; and Mr. Atherton Bell, whom neither soot had touched nor flying missile smitten anywhere, seeing the misfortunes of his colleagues, immediately saw also the humor of the thing in a broad and liberal manner, thumped his sides and laughed loudly.
"Now, Harvey, tut, tut! Now, deacon—"
Then Bobby Bell, who greatly admired his father, joined in shrilly; then the rest of the school saw the humor of it too. Mr. Cummings, polishing his toe, smiled feebly. Mr. Pollock's eyes, as he brushed the Deacon's back with the broom, twinkled behind his glasses. The only persons who seemed really chagrined were Deacon Crockett and Willy Flint. Such it is to have an eye for the humor of a thing.
"Why—why," gasped Mr. Atherton Bell, "Pollock—Pollock—you don't mean to tell me it acts like this—I might say—customarily?"
Mr. Pollock wiped his glasses slowly. "No," he said, "I never saw it act just like that before—not so badly as that."
And all the school agreed that it had never acted so badly as that before.
And so it came about, what with Mr. Atherton Bell's sense of humor and the intense dislike which Harvey Cummings conceived for the ancient stove, that a new stove was put in—a large flat-topped satisfactory stove on which could be baked nearly a quart of chestnuts.
I remember distinctly how Chub Leroy, Moses Durfey, and I argued it over, and concluded that Willy Flint was to be a nihilist. After that we collected horse-chestnuts, and did things with them for which Moses Durfey was spanked. And Angelica, whose language was vigorous, like her stride, remarked that Mr. Pollock was "game." He was, in fact, a very honest and kindly gentleman, who always maintained his presence of mind, and that was about what Angelica meant.
The games of the children of France are the games of the children of the world—for games are the same all the world over.
This discovery is a great blow to your patriotic feeling of proprietorship in them. "Hide-and-Seek" and "Blind-Man's-Buff" are as much American to us as "The Star-spangled Banner" and "Yankee Doodle." English children might perhaps know them, because the English are our cousins and speak our language; but they had certainly never got so far from home as across the Channel. And now, when you begin to look into the subject, you find that "Hide-and-Seek" is represented in one of the old paintings found in the ruins of Herculaneum, and that not only children, but grown people as well, played this fascinating game in India long before we Americans were born or[Pg 55] thought of. Rousselet, a French traveller who wrote about India, says that an Indian Emperor in the sixteenth century built a palace expressly for playing it. The palace contained a wonderful labyrinth in marble, and little cabinets for people to hide in, with a marble pillow in the centre for a goal.
And "Blind-Man's-Buff" is equally of very ancient lineage, and is really a French game, though it is not called by that name in France. This is the way it came to be invented: In the year 999 Robert, the son of Hugh Capet, had attached to his service a warrior named Colin, surnamed Maillard, or Mallet, because a mallet was his favorite weapon. In a campaign against the Count of Louvain, Colin Maillard had his eyes put out; but he kept on fighting, guided by his squires. So, in memory of his bravery, King Robert established a military game, a sort of tournament named after him, which was nothing more nor less than "Blind-Man's-Buff." One of the titles to distinction of the celebrated crusader Godfrey de Bouillon was his having kept successfully the rôle of Colin Maillard five times.
Bowling is another very old French game, and the French word boulevard comes from it. It is made up of boule, or bowls, and vert, or green; so that the word means "the green bowling-place." The celebrated French boulevards, overhung by their green trees, were once upon a time the places where people congregated to bowl, and you can see how easily vert became vart, and how that was changed again into vard. Even nowadays one sometimes sees it written in old signs boulevart.
So in nearly all of the French games we find some of our old favorites, only changed more or less, according to the imagination of the people who have played them. The French are very imaginative, and the children always personify something or somebody in their games. For instance, "Tag," which is as popular here as at home, becomes "Chat," or "Cat." The person who is "it" is always a cat, and the others playing are generally supposed to be mice. There are several varieties of "Chat," such as "Chat perché" and "Chat coupé." In "Chat perché" the mouse is allowed to perch on anything it pleases, and is safe so long as it can hang on. Or the cat perches, and the mice watch the moment when the cat can no longer hold on and must fall. Generally the players agree that nobody is to be kept perched too long at a time. In "Chat coupé," the person who is cat chooses one person to run after. Any one else playing may cut in between the two running, when the cat changes her course to run after him.
Girls play "La Mère Gigogne," a running game in which one of the players is chosen to be the old Mother Gigogne. A line is traced, or some sort of boundary is decided on, behind which la Mère Gigogne is supposed to live. She calls out "La Mère Gigogne va sortir" (Mother Gigogne is going out), and then makes a dive for the children, who run as hard as they can with the mother Gigogne after them. The children, as they are caught one after the other, are put inside the boundary, and must take hold of hands in a line until all are taken. This line can bar the passage of the others, so the Mother Gigogne can catch them more easily. This is a favorite game in the girls' pensions or schools, and in the lycées and common schools both girls and boys alike play the "Jen de Barres," or "Prisoner's Base."
"Prisoner's Base" is exactly like our own "Prisoner's Base," and perhaps it may interest you to know that this game was invented by the Greeks about five hundred years before Christ. That and "Theque" are perhaps the two favorite boys' games in France. "Theque" is a kind of feeble imitation of our baseball, played in a babyish sort of way that would make an American college team faint. Indeed it is only lately that they are beginning to realize in France that boys need a certain amount of athletics to make them healthy and manly, and are trying to encourage out-door sports in all the schools. There has recently been held in Paris a grand international congress to promote the re-establishment of the old Olympic games, but exactly what these re-established Olympic games are going to be it is too early to say yet. Meanwhile lawn-tennis is getting to be as popular in France as at home, and croquet is a perpetual favorite.
The French have all sorts of pretty rounds, like the charming old "Pont d'Avignon"—when they used to dance "en rond"—which is not so popular as a round now as it used to be in the olden time; but there are many others. Instead of "Little Sally Waters," all the "babies in our block" in Paris would sing, "J'ai un joli bouquet, à qui le donnerai-je?" (I have a charming bouquet, to whom shall I give it?) or "Nous n'irons plus au bois."
Perhaps this last is the most popular of the French rounds, so that it is given in full. The idea is something like this: "We will go no more to the wood, for all the laurels are cut. But the beautiful one I present to you will go and pick them up. Enter into the dance, sing and waltz, and embrace the one that you love the best."
"Nous n'irons plus au bois,
Les lauriers sont coupés;
La belle que voilà ira les ramasser.
Entrez dans la danse;
Voyez comme on danse;
Chantez, valsez, embrassez celle que vous aimez."
Another game that is a sort of round is called "Mon beau Guillaume." All the players form a circle, while "handsome William" stands in the centre. Then he asks, "Where are you going, mes belles dames?" And the belles dames answer that they are going to take a walk. "Mes belles dames, you will wear out your slippers." "Mon beau Guillaume, you will mend them for us." "Mes belles dames, and who will pay me for it?" "The one that you catch." Then beau Guillaume closes his eyes, and the circle turns around very fast three times, when beau Guillaume must catch somebody and guess who it is.
The French play some pretty in-door games which are not known in America, a favorite of which is "Why am I on the sellete?" Sellette means literally "stool," and it is represented by a chair in the centre of the room. One person goes out, while another of the players goes around and asks each one why So-and-so is "on the sellette." When all the answers are given, the player who has gone out is called in, and takes his place on the chair. "Why am I on the sellette?" he asks, and the person who has collected the answers gives one after another, while the person in the centre tries to guess who are their authors. You can see that all the fun of this game, like that of many others, depends upon the cleverness of the players, for each one tries to make a witty hit in his answer at some characteristic or some event in the life of the person in question that is known to the speaker alone. If the person on the sellette guesses the author of the answer, the latter takes his place on the sellette.
"If I were a little piece of paper, what would you do with me?" is another game of the same sort, where the interest depends on the cleverness of the answers. "I'd make you into a bank-note." "I'd make you into a love-letter." You can see how an endless number of bright replies is possible. "I've lost my valise—what was there in it?" is another, in which any little foible or characteristic of the questioner is good-naturedly hit off. "Pigeon, vole, oiseau, vole," is a game very much like our "Simon says thumbs up." You twirl your two forefingers and put them down on your knees, saying, "Pigeon, fly, bird, fly," etc. But if you say "rabbit, fly," or any other animal that hasn't wings, and any fingers go down, their owners must give a forfeit.
And now to end with one more game, "Marriage and Divorce." All the players but one form in couples, one behind the other. The one left out stands in front of them in this way .::: and claps his hands three times, when the last two players run, one on one side and one on the other, and try to come together again and join hands behind the one standing alone before he shall have been able to catch either one of them. If he does not succeed in doing this the couple are still married, and take their place at the head of the others. If he succeeds, the one caught takes his place, and he "marries" the other, and takes his place with his bride at the head.
Suppose that a state of war exists between the United States and some other country well supplied with modern war-ships. Suppose, also, that one of our best battle-ships—like the Kentucky, soon to be built—is cruising off New York Harbor. A monster battle-ship of the enemy appears, and the ships are to fight until one is sunk or conquered. The alarm for general quarters has sounded. Every gun is loaded; the decks are cleared; ammunition is ready for instant use. The captain has taken his place in the conning-tower. The enemy approaches. The signal runs through the ship, "Stand by to fire!"
When the enemy gets within 3000 yards, the Kentucky's 13-inch forward guns will each hurl a monster bullet, weighing more than a thousand pounds, at the other vessel. Not a shot must be fired until the enemy is exactly 3000 yards away. Both ships are moving swiftly. In less than one second the enemy will be exactly 3000 yards off. An awful roar follows. A tongue of fire, followed by a rolling, bounding ball of smoke, darts from a great cannon. Nearly a quarter of a mile away the eye can see the half-ton projectile darting straight toward the other ship. It hits the very place it was intended to hit. Half a dozen such shots, or perhaps fewer, may send the other vessel to the bottom. The battle rages. Shot after shot is fired, and finally one vessel hoists the white flag, or careens, and the order is given for every man to save himself as she plunges to the bottom.
Marvellous as the shooting has been, still more marvellous is the way it has been done. The gunners have fired without seeing, or even looking to see, the other ship. They have fired by looking rather at little dials close by each gun. They have aimed each gun without trying to see the enemy. Still, each shot goes straight to the mark, and the havoc is terrific. How is it all done? Long before the firing began you might have observed a sailor-man, half-way up each mast of the battle-ship, looking at the enemy through a telescope. Attached to each telescope are a telephone-receiver and mouth-piece. The receiver is fitted to the sailor-man's head, and the mouth-piece comes close to his lips as he looks through the telescope. One of the sailor-men says to the other, through the telephone:
"I am looking at the forward smoke-pipe. Keep your eye on that until I tell you to change."
"All right," comes the answer; and then, as the enemy nears the Kentucky, these two telescopes follow the ship, turning gradually as the vessel comes nearer. Down at each gun there is another man looking at the enemy through a telescope. He is the gun-firer. Another man at the gun, the gunner, has turned a wheel to elevate the gun so as to shoot a certain number of yards, as marked on the dial in front of him. The vessel is rolling from side to side. The gun now points high in the air, and now down into the water. It is known that the enemy is the exact distance away to be hit by the projectile if the Kentucky did not roll. The gun-firer watches as his ship comes to a level. He sees the other ship exactly in the centre of his telescope, or at the juncture of the cross-hairs on the glass. Not a tenth of a second must be lost. The gunner has already pressed down a button, showing that his aim is all right for a certain distance. The gun-firer presses his button as the target shows itself in the centre of the cross-hairs; an electric current flashes through the primer of the projectile, and a thunder-bolt of war speeds through the air at the rate of about 2000 feet a second. The gun cannot be fired unless both gunner and gun-firer press down the buttons in front of them. How do they know when to do this? Who tells them when to fire? The answer is that no one tells them when to fire after they have received their general orders. It all results from those two sailor-men on the masts following the path of the enemy.
Those men on the masts are working the range-finders. There are electrical instruments that tell automatically the exact distance from them of any object. All that the men have to do is to keep looking at the enemy, and the guns will keep on hitting the mark if fired at that instant in the roll or plunge that the target comes at the centre of the gun-firer's telescope. All that is absolutely essential, as a first requisite, is that the two men at the range-finders shall be looking at the same spot on the enemy's ship.[Pg 57] Electricity does most of the rest of the work. Now you must know that there are instruments in navigation by which distances of objects from a ship can be reckoned accurately. A sextant is one of these instruments. It requires a lot of figuring, however, to fix the distance. It would be useless to try to use these instruments in a battle. Long before the distance of an enemy could be computed his ship, and your own as well, would have changed its position, going as war-ships in time of conflict do at the rate of more than a quarter of a mile a minute. A shot fired at the distance computed would perhaps be a mile wide of the mark.
Nor will it do to fire at an enemy in the old hit-or-miss style that used to be followed. In the old days the gunner sighted the gun, made an allowance as best he could for the distance the ship would go before he fired, and when the roll or plunge of his own vessel was favorable he pulled a string, as he turned away his head, and took chances of hitting the other ship. He had to guess the distance largely. He first tried a certain range, and then another, until he gradually got the right distance, and then he fired, whenever he got the right chance. Those were the days of the old smooth-bore cannon; the days when a captain could make himself heard by a speaking-trumpet anywhere on deck, and almost anywhere below-deck by shouting down a hatchway. All that is changed now. The roar on a war-ship in battle is like that on a mountain-top encased in a violent thunder-storm. Then, too, ammunition is too costly and too limited nowadays to be wasted by experiments in finding the range of the enemy, and in taking chances on hitting him. One shot from one of these guns of modern times may win the battle by piercing the vitals of the enemy's ship, and not even the smallest chance must be taken to miss that target. It is for that reason that the wonderful aid of electricity has been called into use on war-ships in many devices. Probably the most wonderful of all these devices is the range-finder.
It isn't necessary for us to go deep into electrical science to understand how this instrument does its work. Electricity itself is a great mystery, and a puzzle in many ways to those who understand it best. Most of us have not been able to grasp its simpler puzzles until we studied them in college, and even then it would not be well for us to boast of what we knew. All we need to know, however, to understand the range-finder is a little problem in geometry. Most of you understand that if we have a triangle, and know the length of one side and the size of the angles at the ends of that side, we can figure exactly the length of the other two sides and the distance of the point where those two sides meet. Well, that explains just how the range-finder works. The exact distance between the two men looking through the telescopes is known and fixed. Each man looks, as we have seen, at the same point out in the distance on the enemy's ship. That point is where the two unknown sides of the triangle come together. There is no time to figure the distance. A tenth of a second in these days is too much time to be lost. We must use electricity to do our figuring. This is the way it is done: The telescopes are turned about on electric circuits; that is, they are attached to a metal circle charged with electricity. The wires from these circles run to a little dial down in the hold. The Wheatstone bridge or electrical balance system is used. That means that the resistance of a current through a wire through a given distance is measured finally by a dial on a marking-instrument.
Now it is impossible to turn one or both of those telescopes on the range-finders without moving the dial on the marking-instrument. Electricity has progressed so far that to the exact foot the dial will indicate the distance an object is away from the base of the line connecting the range-finding instruments. At any instant that dial will[Pg 58] tell how many yards off the enemy is. The men at the telescopes know nothing of what the dial is doing. The dial is down in the central telephone exchange of the ship. One man is stationed there to do nothing else than to watch what it records. He has a little instrument beside him called a range-indicator. The dial of the range-finder says that the enemy is so many yards away. He simply presses a button on the range-indicator, which sends a current to other range-indicators in ten different places on a battle-ship like the Kentucky. The needles of these ten instruments, one at each of the guns of the main battery, and at some of the guns of the secondary battery, tell the gunner how far off the enemy is. The indicators have simply transmitted the news to the gunners which the range-finders have discovered automatically.
Every gunner knows, by the sliding-scale attached to his gun, just how far to elevate the gun so as to carry its projectile a certain number of yards. He does not look along his gun. He pays no attention to the enemy himself. He keeps one hand on a little wheel, which he turns with his fingers, and the slightest twist alters the range of the piece. In a twinkling he can change the range a hundred yards. Suppose, now, the dial of the range-finder in front of the man in the telephone central indicates 2580 yards. He presses his button on the range-indicator, and in ten places on board the Kentucky the gunners know that the enemy is 2580 yards away. Previous warnings have fixed that distance approximately. With a quick twist of the wrist the range of each gun in action is fixed for 2580 yards. The gunner keeps his eye on the range-indicator, and when his gun is pointed to carry its projectile that distance he presses down his firing-button. But it will not do, perhaps, to fire at that instant. The ship may be rolling or pitching. The gun-firer is looking through his telescope. Suddenly the ship is shown to be on an even keel, because the cross-hairs of the telescope centre on the enemy. The gun-firer presses his button, and the gun is discharged.
Suppose, now, that the range has changed between the time that the gun is aimed and the time the Kentucky has reached an even keel. Of course the gun-firer at the telescope can know nothing of it. He presses his button, and perhaps is surprised to find that the gun does not fire. That simply means that the gunner has taken his finger off his firing-button while he is changing the range of the gun to the new figures just telegraphed to him from the range-finder. The gun cannot be fired unless the buttons of both gunner and gun-firer are pressed down at the same time. This is done to avoid waste of ammunition. The gunner keeps his finger on his firing-button all the time the range remains fixed. During that time the man at the telescope can fire the gun whenever the cross-hairs of his instrument tell him it is the proper time to fire. If the range is being changed, the gun does not go off. If the range is set, the gun does go off. In either case the man at the telescope has nothing to do with the range. All he has to do is to watch the enemy and press his button. All the gunner has to do is to see that the range of his gun is the same as the range-indicator registers, and to keep his button pressed down so long as the range is fixed. All the man in the central telegraph and telephone exchange on ship has to do is to see what range the range-finders are indicating and telegraph it to the gunners. All the men at the range-finders have to do is to keep pointing their telescopes at the enemy, and let the rest of the work take care of itself.
All this seems like a complicated bit of mechanism. So it is; but, as with all electrical appliances, it is difficult to understand and extremely simple to use them. It may surprise you to know that from the time that the range-finder sailors fix their telescopes on the enemy less than one second need elapse before the guns are fired. Of course every man is at his station. Each gun is already fixed at near the proper range. The range-finders give the exact distance. The man in the central office telegraphs it to the gunners. The gunners adjust their weapons and press down their buttons. The gun-firers wait to get the proper sight, probably in the same twinkling of an eye that all this information is being sent over the ship, and he finally fires the gun. Of course, where the ship is rolling or pitching considerably, the time between fixing the range and firing the gun may be longer. After the gun is all ready for firing, however, even the fifth of a second may make the difference between a hit and a miss, and hence the need for the lightning quickness of electricity.
The range-finder and the other appliances used with it are the inventions of Lieutenant Bradley A. Fiske, of the United States navy. No other navy than ours has them, although the naval authorities of other nations are thinking of adopting them. If we should have a war right away, we should have an advantage over an enemy. Constant experience has shown their complete success.
In another article we shall consider some more of these "trifles" that are used in connection with electricity on war-ships.
The fire must have eaten through the chimney, and had probably been burning in the walls along the staircase and in the floors of the rubbish chambers for some minutes before we had inkling of it. It was almost beyond imagining, the way it spread. But the steps of the staircase itself were firm underfoot, although inside the walls, and even to the roof, the roaring crackling flames were gutting the left wing of the house.
The doctor did not stop to help Mr. Edgerton find the key; he threw his weight against the door I pointed out again and again. It went open with a crash at last, after I had thought that the doctor would have stove his own side in first.
There was no smoke on this side of the house, but it followed us from the hallway, choking the throat and stinging the eyes. There was the box in the middle of the room.
Now we were all three encouraging one another and shouting for haste. Twice did the lawyer drop the bunch of keys as he tried to fit the lock.
"Take them, lad," he cried at last, looking over his shoulder; "your fingers are the nimbler. But make haste!" The tears were pouring down his face; he hurriedly rose from his knees, and, making a leap for the window, kicked out the glass and the shutter that had been nailed fast, and thrust his head to the air, coughing, struggling, and gagging as if his last day had come.
In the mean time the doctor was bending over, with his face close to mine, and whispering admonitions to be cool; but his hand on my shoulder shook as if the ague had possession of him. Upon my soul, I think I was the coolest of the three! Key after key I tried without success. Suddenly the doctor slipped his fingers into the handle at the end.
"Out the window with it!" he spluttered. "What jack-asses! What dunces! Bear a hand here, Edgerton!"
The lawyer turned back into the room. He took the other end of the box, and they heaved with all their strength, I, still on my knees, helping them. We might as well have tried to pull the big oak before the house up by the roots.
"It's nailed down!" roared the lawyer, running his fingers along the edge.
There was a crash in the lower hall, and a great tongue of flame, like a red thirsty blade, licked in at us through[Pg 59] the doorway. There was such a roaring now in our ears that we could not make ourselves heard except by shouting.
"Out of the window for our lives!" cried the doctor. "The stairs have fallen!"
The lawyer bestowed some angry but useless kicks on the lid of the box, and we piled out of the window on the roof of the back piazza. The wind, blowing strongly from the eastward, had kept most of the smoke and the flame away from the north side of the building.
But it was a fearsome sight to see the way things were going. The whole of the west wing, and the south also, to the roof, was one red smooch of flame against the tree-tops. The dark smoke curled over and hung close to the damp earth. It was some twelve or fifteen feet from the piazza roof to the ground, but a chinaberry-tree grew close to hand, spreading to the eaves.
The lawyer made one leap of it into the tree and crashed through it; and just as the roof on which we were standing shook and sloughed away and the flames burst up from below, the doctor and I caught at a branch and swung off together; but the limb broke beneath our weight. Down we came by the run, I landing full and fair upon the doctor's chest, which almost did for him for good and all.
Scrambling to our feet, Mr. Edgerton and I hauled him away to some distance from the house, and the cool rain helped to revive him, although for some minutes he drew breath with difficulty.
Then the three of us sat there on the wet grass and watched the house burn. I shall never forget it or the mixture of feelings which filled my mind and bosom. A sense of unreality, an inability to grasp the idea that it was really happening probably was uppermost.
The lawyer, whom I had always thought a cold-tempered person, was squatted cross-legged, Turk fashion, grasping the toes of his boots in either hand, and rocking himself to and fro, all the time muttering and scolding like a child, and, whether from the smoke or his anger and disappointment, the tears following one another down his cheeks.
The doctor, who had raised himself on his elbow, was the first to speak coherently.
"The burning of a mystery," he said. "Now what's to be done?"
A shrill, frightful scream, the like of which I had never heard before or since, roused us to our feet.
"In the name of all the powers, what's that?" cried the lawyer.
"The horses, man—we have forgotten them!" answered the doctor, starting on a run to the front of the house around the east wing.
The oak to which the two beasts had been made fast was close to the side of the house. One of them had broken loose, and had made off into the garden, towing the chain behind him. The other (the saddle-horse) had wound the halter around the trunk of the tree, and, half strangled, was snubbed close to it, backing away with all his might. As we saw this again he emitted the horrid cry of fright and agony. I had never known that such tones were in the voice of any animal. The heat had shrivelled the upper branches of the oak, and even the bark on the side toward the house was singed and smoking.
The lawyer drew out a knife, and hastening up, shielding his face, cut the poor beast adrift. He galloped away toward the swamp.
The wooden wing was completely eaten by this time, and the flames were pouring from every window of the brick portion of the older part of the dwelling. Soon the walls alone would be left standing. I turned away from the sight and looked out to the river. A long white row of wild swan swayed in the current. Their halloings and cries, like those of a crowd of school-children at recess, came down to us on the damp wind. The smoke had evidently been seen from one of the plantations up the Gunpowder, for a boat under a small sprit-sail was making out from the farther shore.
The doctor was now in the garden examining the chaise, which had been overturned in a patch of brushwood. He tried each wheel mechanically, and I could see he felt relieved that no damage had been done.
"Well, what are we going to do now?" I nervously asked of Mr. Edgerton, speaking for the first time, and repeating the doctor's words of a few minutes before.
The lawyer fumbled in his pockets and drew forth the miniature and the paper he had taken from the desk. I remembered having noticed also that the doctor had slipped the coins in his pocket.
"This is all we have to go by," he replied. "Lord only knows what you've lost, Master Hurdiss. Oh, confound the thought that made me light the fire!" he added, kicking and pawing at the soaked ground like an angry bull.
Well, to make a short story of a long one, we watched the house burn down to a mass of smouldering heated ashes, and then we started to drive back without speaking. On the return we met a number of men on foot and horseback, who had sighted the conflagration from the cross-roads and were coming down the lane, but it was too late to do anything, and in a few words we explained what had happened. That night we spent at the tavern, and the next day we returned to Marshwood, followed by many curious persons. We dug in the still warm ruins, and there, to show the heat of the fire, we discovered nothing of the strong-box but the hinges, melted out of shape, and two or three small bits of metal as large as bullets that had once been gold pieces. These were turned over to me as being my lawful possessions, and they made, with what the doctor had saved and the miniature and the paper, my sole inheritance. So now begins the time I must act for myself.
On the twelfth day of November, 1811, my new life began. But before I go on I should explain that on the outside of the paper which the lawyer had saved, and which I had deciphered on the day of the burning of Marshwood House (and which has staid in my mind, as I transcribed it also), an address had been found. In some way it had been overlooked upon the first reading. It was important, however, as it gave the address of my uncle, Monsieur Henri Amedee Lovalle de Brienne, as Miller's Falls, near Stonington, Connecticut.
The lawyer had written to this place a letter at some length, but we had waited in vain for a reply; letters often went astray in those days, and in some way, as I afterwards discovered, this one was most likely lost. In the mean time I had become a member of Mr. Edgerton's family. I was treated with kindness, but of course it was not expected of him to take charge of my maintenance, and the proposition for a change came from my own lips. In walking along the water-front one day I discovered that a little brig, the Minetta, was about to sail for Stonington, and I proposed to Mr. Edgerton to take passage in her and search out my relative, if he were living.
The lawyer, who I could see felt himself responsible in some way for the beginning of my misfortune, exacted a promise that should I fail in finding M. de Brienne, I would return to him, and I should have done so had affairs terminated otherwise than as they did.
The consultation in which this decision was arrived at took place on the evening of the tenth of the month; and it was two days later, as I have written, that my new life began. For bright and early that morning I was standing at the taffrail of the little brig that was being warped out into midstream.
Mr. Edgerton and his family, consisting of a maiden sister and a grown daughter (he had been a widower for some ten years), together with Mr. Thompson, the school-master, the major, the kind doctor, and some of my boy companions, were on the dock. And I must not forget that Aunt Sheba, Ann Martha, and Ol' Peter were there also, all three of them in tears.
The lawyer had promised to take care of Peter, and the doctor had taken Aunt Sheba and Ann Martha into his household. I am glad to say that I had not sold the old people, although I had a perfect right to do so, as they were my property, but had given them their freedom, and knew they were left in kind hands and keeping.
Soon the faces on shore became indistinct. The brig took in her kedge anchors, the trilling of her capstan falls ceased, her jibs rattled up the stays, the yards creaked aslant, and we caught the light westerly breeze. The tide was setting out, and we made good travelling of it.
I was not the only passenger. There was a Virginian, by the name of Chaffee, a tobacco-planter, who was going on the voyage as a sort of supercargo, and his wife (a slight, black-eyed woman of much spirit) accompanied him.
The Captain and first mate were both New Bedford men, and tiptop sailors, as circumstances proved afterwards. The crew of eight men were Americans also, so far as I could judge, three of them being negroes—great, deep-chested black fellows, worth large sums of money in the market; but they were free men, and held themselves differently from slaves, although one, Pompey, waited on the cabin table.
Whether the Minetta's crew was a picked one or not I do not know, but no man would have felt ashamed of being over them. I can say that much. As for the brig, she was something over one hundred and eighty tons burden, and loaded with tobacco, sole-leather, and turpentine; she was light in ballast, and in good trim for fast sailing.
The crew for the most part slept in a tall deck-house on the forecastle, built around the foremast, and the cabin was given up to Mr. Chaffee and his wife; the two officers and myself bunked in a little cubby-hole forward of the after-skylight.
The Minetta was old-fashioned, and her high poop and top sides gave her a clumsy look; her spars and masts were very heavy for her tonnage, and I think had been built for a larger vessel; but she spread a great show of canvas, and the way she boiled the water up in front of her proved she was no laggard.
We kept well to the eastern shore as we went down the bay, but, nevertheless, I soon made out the mouth of the Gunpowder River, and could see the stark walls of my old home standing out against the trees.
Here I was, scarce fourteen years of age, and starting into the wide world alone, verily with my bridges burned behind me! Mr. Chaffee had entered into conversation with me, and he and his wife displaying great interest, I told him as much of my story as I thought proper. So far as the Captain and first mate went, I might not have existed.
That night as I lay on my narrow little shelf, I was so full of thinking that at first I could not sleep. I longed for comfort, and would have given worlds to have rested my head on Aunt Sheba's shoulder. I half sobbed aloud from loneliness, but at last I dozed off, and was awakened some hours afterwards by feeling the vessel pitching heavily.
Strange noises sounded all about me. Every plank overhead and on each side seemed to have a voice of its own. It was the first time I heard these sounds. Some loud bawling and the sound of scurrying from on deck caused me to start up suddenly, and I almost cracked my skull against a beam. After that I could not sleep, and lowering myself from the bunk I dressed and climbed out to the air.
I had imagined, from the patter of many feet, that I should find the whole crew trying to save the ship from some distress, and I was not prepared for the calm sight which met my eyes. It was moonlight, and all sail was set. The brig rose and fell steadily, occasionally taking a sea-chug under her broad bows with a jar which made her quiver, and the water would fly up in a gleaming sprinkle and scatter along the wet rail. Only four men were in sight—one at the wheel, two gathered in the lee of the forward deck-house, and the first mate leaning back against the skylight, smoking a long clay pipe.
(Oh, I have forgotten to mention that I had noticed the captain snoring in his bunk as I left the cabin, which had been reassuring.) The cool breeze and the damp on my cheeks were grateful to me, and then and there I fell in love with the sea (and I have truly never lost it). I staid on deck breathing a strange freedom until the morning watch.
About noon of this day the breeze had freshened, and we were carrying only our lower sails. The planter and his wife both kept the cabin, suffering much from the unusual motion, but as for myself I can here record I have never felt a touch of that sickness which is expected to accompany a first voyage or to follow a long stay ashore. I revelled in the swinging of the vessel, and wished it would blow harder, which it did.
At four o'clock in the afternoon a sail was made out to the northward, and holding the course that we already were we would have passed close by her, as she was bearing down on us before the wind. I noticed, however, that as the stranger became clearer, and her lower courses could be seen, the first mate went aloft with a glass, and hurrying down held consultation with Captain Morrison. In pursuance to orders, the brig's course was altered a few points, and we stood to the eastward to give the approaching vessel a wider berth. But no sooner had we done so than the latter held up a trifle, as if it were her intention to intercept us, and an hour's more sailing brought her into plain view.
She was a vessel the like of which I had never seen up to that day. Her hull appeared as large as one of the many-windowed warehouses of the wharves of Baltimore, and her towering tiers of canvas gleamed white in the sunlight. A smother of foam rolled under her forefoot.
A few more turns of the wheel now, and we were holding a course due east, sailing close on the wind.
"She means to head us off," said Captain Morrison, looking about with a scowl.
Why he should have any cause for alarm I did not know; but I could see that the crew were much disturbed, and were gathered in a whispering cluster at the break of the forecastle, watching the vessel with anxious eyes. I timidly approached Mr. Norcross, the mate.
"Is she a pirate?" I inquired, half fearing.
"Yes, about that," was the gruff return. "She's a British line-of-battle ship, and keeps the seas, with all her kind, by robbery."
"Will she harm us?" I inquired again.
"Not you, my son," he answered. "But she would like to get her clutches on some of our brave lads yonder." He nodded his head toward the group of seamen.
Slowly but surely we were nearing the huge vessel now holding the same course as our own. It was a grand sight! As she heeled over, the gleam of her copper showed in the hollows of the waves that swept past her, and the shadows on her white sails were as blue as the sky overhead. Her ports were open, and the muzzles of the black guns could be made out plainly. The red coats of a party of marines on her forecastle made a bright patch of color, and some men sprawling out on her great yard-arms were no bigger to the eye than ants.
The Captain was giving nervous glances at our shaking foresail. Then he took a look across the water, as if measuring the distance and the rate of the other's travelling. Suddenly a smile wrinkled his cheeks.
"We're outpointing the old whale, Mr. Norcross," he said, grinning.
"Ay, sir; given the wind hold as it is and she will pass astern of us."
The crew by this time had noticed this fact, and a movement began amongst them. One, a tall fellow with light hair and a well set up figure, took a few steps of a horn-pipe.
"Not this time, Johnny Bull; not this time," he laughed, slapping one of his companions on the shoulder. "I know her; it's the Plantaganet; and I'd go overboard with a[Pg 62] shot at my heels before I put a foot on her deck. She reeks of the cat!"
I was soon to learn why this man, whose name was Dash, knew so much. As soon as he had finished his dancing, the tall sailor and another man ran aft.
"Shall we show our colors, sir?" the former asked of Captain Morrison.
"Ay; toss them out," replied the Captain, whose good humor had now returned.
A minute later the stars and stripes were crackling at our peak. The line-of-battle ship was almost even with us by this time. Faces could be seen above her bulwarks. Suddenly a puff of white smoke burst out from one of her forward ports, and a ball skipped and plashed across our bows—so close that we heard the slap of it against the water; then the report came to us. The Captain mounted the bulwarks, and taking off his hat, made an elaborate bow.
"Sorry I cannot stop, you great big hog," he said; and then standing there bareheaded, he burst into such a torrent of cursing that Mrs. Chaffee, who had come out of the cabin, and was anxious to see the sight, sought its refuge again. But we had outpointed the battle-ship, and crossed athwart her bows.
Not three hundred yards astern of us she roared past.
"She dassent fire a broadside at us, or she'd do it in a minute," muttered Mr. Norcross, looking back over his shoulder.
He had taken the wheel himself during the last few minutes, and had handled it amazingly, I can tell you.
As if afraid to acknowledge her discomfiture, the three-decker went on in silence, like she had not seen us, and our men, who were now all in the rigging of the brig, burst out into a cheer.
But they were cheering too early in the game, and this was soon to be proved.
Somehow, despite Captain Morrison's excited profanity, I had begun to admire him hugely.
This is the way I came to hear the story: One summer afternoon, two or three years ago, I was sitting in front of a hotel in a Normandy watering-place, watching for the diligence to come from Fécamp. At last it appeared in the distance. And then began my surprise. For when I had first caught sight of the figures in the imperial there had seemed something familiar about them, and as they came nearer and I could see the faces, they looked so much like some faces I knew that I could hardly believe my eyes. It was—but no, it could not be—yes, it was; it was the MacAlpines! There were Mr. and Mrs. MacAlpine getting out from inside the diligence, and there were Janie and Isa and Fédie, Tom and Alec and the maid, climbing down from the top, with, in Janie's arms, the dearest little dog—the dearest little blue Skye terrier—you ever saw.
"And who is this?" I said at last, looking at the little dog that Janie still held in her arms, while Mrs. MacAlpine was talking to Madame Ernestine, the landlady of the hotel, about rooms, and Mr. MacAlpine was watching the men take down the luggage, and counting the different pieces. "This is a new member of the family. I thought you said you never would take a dog about with you, Mr. MacAlpine."
"And so I did," said Mr. MacAlpine. "But this isn't an every-day dog. This is a family dog, and a dog of high degree. Almost anybody would be glad to take her about."
"This is the Queen's dog," said Alec, giving her a pat, "or it used to be."
"Has it ever been to court?" I asked.
"Yes, indeed, she has!" said Janie. "Haven't you, Lassie darling? She's done all sorts of wonderful things, Aunt Katharine." (I was not really the children's aunt. They only called me so because we loved each other so much.) "She doesn't look like other dogs. She's much prettier."
"Yes, and more clever," put in Tom.
"She's certainly a very wonderful little dog," said Mrs. MacAlpine, who had finished arranging about the rooms. "And of all the strange stories you ever heard, Aunt Katharine, hers is the strangest. We'll tell you all about it when we've been upstairs and got a little of this dust off. What are you going to do this afternoon? Can't we have tea together by-and-by when we're clean and rested?"
"Oh, my cake!" I called out, suddenly remembering it. "My beautiful Paris cake! I must go and get it. We'll have our tea in the cabin on the beach, and Tom and Alec shall carry down the tea-things. We'll meet at the front door of the hotel at four o'clock;" and off I ran to get my parcels.
At four o'clock we went down in procession to the beach, and settled ourselves in front of our bathing-cabin.
And then Mr. MacAlpine began the story: "Once upon a time I lived with my father and mother and brothers and sisters in the beautiful islands called the Hebrides. The Hebrides, you know, are islands off the coast of Scotland, and they are noted for their wild and romantic scenery. But scenery, I am sorry to say, was something that I didn't much appreciate when I was a boy, and I would have given the whole of it for some boys of my own age to play with. My brothers were all older and my sisters younger than I, so I had to get my lessons and go to the manse to recite them by myself; and very lonely work it was too, until one day my father brought me home a blue Skye terrier, Lassie, just like this little dog here.
"From the first moment I saw her I loved her almost better than anything in the world. She was so little that I could take her about with me everywhere I went, tucked away in my plaid when we climbed the rocks and went long distances, and she always sat by me when I did my lessons, and I spent all my spare time playing with her and teaching her tricks. She could beg, and play dead, and wink one eye, and sneeze, and do more things than I ever heard of a dog's doing before or since, and she could understand everything I said to her exactly like a person, and altogether I was perfectly happy with her up to the time Lady Jane came to see us.
"Lady Jane was a cousin of my father's who was one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, and a very grand lady she was, indeed. She always came with so many boxes and bundles that we boys had a sort of feeling it would be polite for us to move out and give the house to her, and she also made us feel that everything she said must be obeyed, because she represented the Queen, and we had been brought up to be very good and loyal subjects. So you can imagine how I felt one day when she said to me: 'Tom, I'm going to take your little dog back with me as a present for her Majesty. You've trained her so nicely, and you won't care, will you? I'll send you something else in its place.'
"My very heart stood still at these words. Lady Jane had a way of having her own way if she wanted it, and none of us could stand out against her, and so I went to my mother about it. 'She wouldn't take Lassie, would she, mother?' I said, looking into her eyes to try to read there what she thought. And my mother said of course not, and comforted me, and I went off for a long walk and tried to think no more about it. But I couldn't help but feel uneasy, and after that I kept my dog out of the way as much as possible until in a little while Lady Jane seemed to have forgotten her. She was away nearly all the time—on excursions or visiting at the great houses in the neighborhood—so that we children seldom saw her, and by-and-by the last evening of her stay came.
"There were fine doings at our house that night. I can see the big hall now with a roaring fire in the chimney-place at one end, throwing its light over the deer-heads and odd birds and trophies with which the walls were hung. And the Highlanders came up with their bagpipes and played for us all to dance Sir Roger de Coverley up and down the polished floor, and Lady Jane and my father[Pg 63] danced a jig, and my sisters sang, and I put Lassie through her tricks, and made her perform the celebrated double somerset, which was the last trick I had taught her. Everybody laughed, Lady Jane the most of all, and then she kissed us children good-night and bade us good-by, and I went up stairs happy. For Lady Jane would be gone in the morning; her trunks were strapped and in the front hall now, and I went to sleep with Lassie curled up by me, and a lighter heart than I had since the day when she first spoke to me about the dog.
"It seemed to me I had only slept a moment when I began to dream of icebergs, and then I was waked up suddenly by some one's pulling all the bedclothes off from me. Then a hand snatched up Lassie, and before I could realize what was happening Lady Jane's voice, very fresh and wide-awake, said: 'Now, Tom, don't feel badly, but you know I must have Lassie, and I've come after her. I'll send you something nice in her place, my boy,' and before I could say a word she was out of the door and my little dog was gone.
"There was no time for thinking. Like a flash I was out of bed and into my clothes and rushing along the road to the pier where Lady Jane's boat lay, trying to keep back the big tears as I went. But it was too late. Just as I came up to the landing the boat sailed slowly out of the harbor, and there in the stern was Lady Jane standing, waving her handkerchief to the people on the shore, and under one arm I could see a little shaggy head and a pair of bright eyes that seemed to look at me with a sad farewell look, and my little dog went sailing away on the unknown sea, and I burst into tears with my heart breaking, for I never expected to see her again."
"And did you?" I asked, eagerly. "Is this dog—"
"Ah, that's the strange part of the story," said Mr. MacAlpine. "Janie is the one who can tell that. Janie, tell Aunt Katharine the rest."
Janie's rosy Scotch face dimpled, and smiling up at her father, she went on:
"Well, you know that was always our favorite story, about when papa was a little boy in the Hebrides, and about the little dog he lost, but we always wanted to hear the end of it. We wanted to know what became of Lassie after Lady Jane took her, and if the Queen liked her, and if she did her tricks; but Lady Jane died soon after she went back to Balmoral, and papa's father went to Canada and took papa with him, and so we could only guess about Lassie, and make papa make up what happened to her.
"And then one time mamma and Isa and Fédie and I were going home from England, and mamma and the maid were so seasick they had to stay down in the cabin, but we children sat in steamer chairs on the deck, so miserable, and with nothing to do to amuse ourselves. And then a little bit of a dog that belonged to the lady sitting in a chair next ours jumped down from her lap and came over and stood in front of us, and stood up on her hind legs and began to sneeze. We all began to laugh, and then we said how exactly she was like papa's little dog that he used to tell us about, and she used to sneeze too, and they were the only dogs we had ever heard of that did. And then we said we wished we knew what the dog's name was, and the lady it belonged to said it was Lassie, and then we couldn't help but cry out,'Oh, how strange!' Then the lady asked us what was strange, and we told her about our Lassie, and she told us about her Lassie, and we found out that hers was the granddaughter of ours. And this lady, who had been one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting herself, could remember when Lady Jane brought Lassie there.
"The Queen had liked papa's little dog, and had always kept her, and when her maid of honor left England for Canada her Majesty had given her one of Lassie's puppies to take with her.
"Before the ship reached Quebec we all got to be great friends, and just the last day out the lady called me to her, and said, 'My dear, I'm going to make you a present of this little dog if you'll take her. My maid doesn't like dogs, and I'm not strong enough myself to take care of her. And it was Lady Jane that carried your father's Lassie away, and it shall be Janie that brings her back.'"
"Yes, because the oldest girl in the MacAlpine family is always named Jane," put in Tom.
"And then when papa came down to the wharf to meet them," said Alec, "there was Janie standing on the ship and waving to him, and under her arm was a bundle and a pair of bright eyes, and there was Lassie come sailing back when he was a grown-up man."
There are two reasons why a boy should understand and practise boxing. First, because in the life of every one there come times when it is necessary to defend one's self or others. There are very few occasions when a boy need ever fight on his own account. Sometimes, of course, it is absolutely necessary, but more often it only seems so, and the older a boy becomes, the more he is convinced that in boys' affairs, as well as in those of nations, arbitration is the only sensible and civilized way of settling disputes. Occasionally, however, there comes a crisis when a boy must defend another weaker than himself, and then it is that a boxer knows what to do and does it, while an untrained boy either shirks his duty or, if very brave, tries to interfere, and usually makes matters worse by being hurt himself.
At a Yale-Harvard football game in Springfield, the writer noticed an incident which illustrates very forcibly the advantage of knowing how to box. Some rows ahead of the writer in the grand stand, a slim young fellow, certainly not more than eighteen years old, was sitting with a lady in the aisle seats. During the intermission between the halves he stepped some distance down the aisle to speak to a friend. Just then a rough-looking character, who had been drinking enough to be quarrelsome, pushed his way into the row, insisting that the lady was in his seat, and seizing her by the shoulder, tried to pull her out into the aisle. The boy turned at her call and sprang back. As the rough faced him the other stepped easily forward, and like a flash his left shot out from the shoulder and landed just under his opponent's chin—a clean scientific lead with all his weight back of it. The rough went down, striking his head heavily against the boards, lay there a moment, and then climbing unsteadily to his feet, slunk off without a word. There were no police officers nearer than the field, the lady was in the boy's care, was insulted, and in danger of being injured. In time the crowd would have interfered, but it was a case for immediate action. To protect a woman at any cost is the duty of every American boy. This one had developed and trained his strength so as to make it effectual for exactly such an emergency. He knew just how and where to strike, and—the thing was over. Altogether the incident convinced the writer more than ever that boys owe it to themselves and their manhood, as protectors of all things weak, to learn to use their strength most effectively. And it is wonderful how effective a knowledge of boxing will make a very small amount of strength. The writer remembers seeing a skilled light-weight boxer in a college boxing-room easily best the stroke oar of a class crew—a man of tremendous strength and weight, but one who had never learned to box.
The second reason why a boy should learn to box is because boxing not only teaches him how to utilize the strength that he has, but before long it tremendously increases that same strength. Nearly every muscle of the body is brought into play. The triceps, or pushing muscles on the back of the arm, the shoulder and back muscles, are the ones especially developed in boxing. The bare back of a boxer is a perfect mass of muscle. Great knots and coils appear between and across the shoulders with every movement, while the ridges stand out clear down to the base of the spine. Let a boy practise a single left-hand lead in front of a mirror in gymnastic costume, and note how[Pg 64] many muscles are used. Besides the above-mentioned ones, the leg, thigh, fore-arm, stomach, and breast muscles are all called upon indirectly. Besides strengthening all the muscles, boxing trains the eye, gives quickness and a lithe, easy carriage, broadens and deepens the chest, and enlarges the lungs, and, best of all, teaches self-control, and gives a certain indefinable feeling of strength and safety that comes only with a strong well-trained body.
So much for the advantages of boxing. It is not the writer's purpose in this article to do more than give the most general hints in regard to the actual blows and parries. Boxing cannot be taught on paper, and a boy can learn more in one lesson from a good teacher than by reading volumes. But a few brief hints may aid those who are not fortunate enough to be under an instructor.
And first, as to the selection of a teacher. Above all things, get one that is a scientific boxer, not some strapping bruiser that will knock you around at so much an hour. Every town has some veteran boxer who will be glad to give boys a start in sparring. The first principles should be learned thoroughly and correctly, or the pupil will always be bothered by some clumsy habit picked up as a beginner. It was only this winter that the writer broke his thumb by a wrong blow learned ten years back from his first teacher, and which, in the excitement of a hard-fought bout, is only too apt to crop out in spite of years of warning from half a dozen instructors.
The first important thing to learn in boxing is the position. Figure 1. represents what the writer considers an ideal position. The left foot should be in front, with the right foot from fifteen to eighteen inches in the rear and from six to eight inches to the right. The left hip should point nearly front. By that position the whole body can be protected from any right-hand blows by simply dropping the left arm as shown in illustration No. 2. The right arm should rest across the chest, with the glove on the left nipple, while the left arm should be held as in the illustration. In connection with the subject of position comes the management of the feet. The weight should rest equally on both feet, and in breaking ground, as movement to one side or the other is termed, or in advancing or retreating, the feet should never be raised from the ground as in walking. Advance first the front foot some six inches, and then the back foot, so as to always keep the same relative distance between them.
Always "counter" (i.e., give a return blow with the hand not used in parrying) every lead of your opponent. Remember that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and always lead a straight blow. It comes more natural for every one to hit "round"—i.e., swinging—blows. But a straight hard lead is the more effective. Swing, if swing you must, when countering, never when leading. Try as much as possible to avoid blows at the face by ducking.
The left hand lead, either at the face or the body, is the most important lead of all, the first taught, and by far the hardest to learn. One of the best boxers the writer has ever met was not allowed by his teacher to practise anything else for a whole year, until it was almost impossible to avoid or parry his left-hand lead or counter, so quick did he become.
Illustration No. 3 shows a left-hand lead at the face getting home. Observe the tremendous force and drive that the blow has, while the boxer can step back instantly into perfect position, and is not thrown at all off his balance, as is the case with swinging blows. The requisites of a good left-hand lead either at face or body are:
First, that the left foot shall be advanced in a perfectly straight line with the hit (notice how straight the toe is in the illustration), otherwise the blow is apt to be pulled across in the parry and leave one desperately exposed.
Second, the weight of the body should follow the lead. This is what gives the "kick" to the blow, and more than anything else shows the difference between the veteran and the novice.
Third, the wrist should be held perfectly straight, and the blow be struck by that portion of the hand between the knuckles and the second joints of the fingers. Practise this lead constantly, either in actual boxing or at a punching-bag as it swings from you, and the instant the blow lands get away and back into position. The left-hand lead once learned, the straight left-hand counters will come easily.
Next in importance to the left-hand lead—for in our modern boxing offence is of much more importance than defence—come the parries. The guard for a right-hand body blow has already been shown in illustration No. 2. The safest parry for a left-hand body blow is by "barring"—i.e., laying the right hand across the body and letting the blow land on the rigid muscles of the fore arm—at the same time countering with the left, as shown in illustration No. 4.
The best answer to a lead at the face is to duck to one side or the other and counter either on the face or on the body, as shown in illustration No. 6. But sometimes it is necessary to parry it in the regulation manner. This should be done by shooting the arm out perfectly straight as if leading. This will make the blow glide easily off the wrist or arm, as shown in illustration No. 5.
Never parry with the arm bent, as is often done, for then the arm receives the full concussion of the blow, and may be badly bruised. The left-hand lead and the different parries form the first principles of boxing. Practise them again and again until they come instinctively. With these well learned a boy can do much towards defending himself, even before mastering the counters, cross-counters, upper cuts, side-steps, and all the more complicated part of boxing which can only be taught effectively by a teacher.
A last piece of advice—practise continually. Spar with everybody and anybody who will put the gloves on. By so doing one perfects what has already been learned, besides continually picking up new ideas from the different styles of his various opponents.
One of the most important of recent events in the world of interscholastic sport is the reconciliation between Exeter and Andover, and the renewal of athletic relations between these two great schools. The first meeting of the two old rivals occurred on the football field at Andover last Saturday; which was too late for any comment to get into this issue of the Round Table. Next week, however, we hope to be able to devote to the game the space due to so important an event.
It was decided on November 5 that there should be an Exeter-Andover game. On that day Andover sent a challenge to Exeter, and Exeter at once accepted. Two days later the Exonian confirmed the news of the reconciliation, and spoke editorially as follows:
It is now three years since these contests were broken off, and this thought, taken with the history of the years which went before, may well give us cause for sober reflection. We, the school of to-day, stand far enough apart from the school of '93 to consider calmly the events which then took place, and to draw from them such lessons as shall help us in the conduct of our athletics in the future. We are able now to see that the spirit of rivalry between the two schools, which was at first but a healthy stimulus to all forms of athletics, had grown to such unhealthy proportions as to cause a doubt in the minds of thinking people as to the beneficial results of such athletics, not only to those who took part but to the larger school bodies.
The "Exonian" then goes on to say that the students at Exeter now realize that their predecessors allowed their excitement and rivalry to carry them too far, and it asserts that it may be that the three years in which the two great schools have stood apart may not have been without their usefulness. It is to be hoped that this is true, and it is to be hoped that both Exeter and Andover will go into the new contests with a firm determination to respect not only the letter of the law of amateur sport, but likewise the spirit.
The game with Exeter, however, will not be Andover's last match of the year. They play Lawrenceville day after to-morrow. Although at the present writing the Lawrenceville team is not so strong as it was last year at this time, it is probable that with the coming days of practice, and the games with outsiders that are to be played in the meantime, the men will improve very materially. Dana's work at centre has improved considerably of late, but much of this is due to the assistance he gets from Richards and Cadwalader. There is still room for progress in his method of snapping the ball back. Another weak position is that of full-back, where Kafer is weak on catching punts.
Some of the schools of the Cook County League are still keeping up their great game of "protest." Their capacity for this sort of thing has become so great that the[Pg 66] Chicago newspapers have even commented upon it. It would seem as if almost every team that loses a game immediately protests, with the result that most of the League matches have to be repeated. Next to protesting, the Cook County football teams seem to be ablest at forfeiting. On November 1 Northwest Division failed to meet its obligations toward Hyde Park. Northwest Division has little to be proud of in its football record this year. It has not won a game in the High-School League, and it does not seem likely that it will if it continues to forfeit.
Because a football team is weak is no excuse for not fulfilling its agreement to play another team—an obligation which it assumed when it became a member of the League. The Oak Park team is a weak eleven, but it won a victory nevertheless when it met the West Division eleven. Oak Park started in boldly and scored, and her players were so surprised at this success that they kept right on, and closed the game with a score of 32-0.
But this same game afforded an excellent illustration of the disease of "protest" which is afflicting Cook County just at present. At one point of the play, just as Hyman of Oak Park was being forced over the goal-line for a touch-down, he lost the ball, which rolled twenty feet away from him. Holdrich and Brown both made long dives for the ball, and both, falling upon it at about the same moment, claimed the leather. The referee decided in favor of Holdrich of Oak Park, and immediately the captain of the West Division team made great objections, and said that he would protest the game. Fortunately, however, better judgment prevailed later in the afternoon, and this particular game was, after all, not protested. But some of the Cook County League games have been carried before the Executive Committee on smaller grounds than these.
A close and interesting match was that between North Division and Manual Training, which resulted in favor of Manual, 6-0. For the first time in any of the League games this fall there was not a single dispute of any kind during the entire game. That is undoubtedly the principal reason why the players put up such an excellent game of football. Men cannot play football and quarrel among themselves at the same time, and, consequently, when they are weak enough to allow their tempers to get the better of them, the sport invariably suffers. Manual Training was superior in line-bucking, and made most of its games in that way.
In the game between Englewood and Evanston the former was victorious, 12-0. Evanston forced the ball to within two or three yards of Englewood's goal twice, but lost the leather on a fumble the first time, and on downs the second time. Excepting perhaps Teetzel, the two elevens were very evenly matched. Prather had the better of Fowler, and occasionally made a hole through his position. Englewood's tackles, Ryden and Prentiss, were weak at times, and allowed several gains to be made through them.
The game between Hyde Park and Oak Park, resulting in a victory of 16-0 to the former, was of no particular interest, as the sport was marred by disputes between the players and the umpire over slugging. There must be something radically wrong with the officials of the Cook County League. Fully half the games played so far have been marred, in some way or another, by misunderstandings between the players and the field officers.
The Berkeley School team has made considerable progress within the last two weeks. Hasbrouck is putting up a strong game at left end, and is developing a good capacity for breaking into opposing interference. Both he and Boyesen are learning rapidly to get down the field after punts. Hasbrouck runs well with the ball, and is being depended upon a good deal in tricks. He is making an excellent Captain for the team, and although he does not insist quite strongly enough upon his rights against opposing teams sometimes, this is a shortcoming which will promote rather than injure the welfare of amateur sport. Boyesen is a new man to the game, and a trifle light, but he tackles splendidly and has good grit.
Huntington, who has been playing right tackle, is a trifle careless in his work; he is a powerful player, however, and runs well, and can tackle when he sets his mind on it. Granberry and Thomas have been candidates for the tackle positions; Granberry has been doing hard work and has improved steadily, but Thomas has the advantage over him in stature and physical strength. With the exception of Hasbrouck, Gilson, who plays right guard, is probably the best man in the line. He is well-developed, and is as strong a player as any in the New York League. He knows the game well, but unfortunately, owing to his class-room work, he has not been able to devote as much time to field practice as is necessary to keep him in tiptop shape. Irvine, at left guard, has been running considerably with the ball; he is better in this position than he was at tackle, where he played early in the season. One of the weakest men in the line is Walker, at centre; he has the strength, but he is very slow, and does not seem able to catch the knack of putting the ball into play properly.
The backs are putting up a higher quality of football than the line-men. They are natural athletes, and all except Rice were members of last spring's baseball team. Their experience in catching seems to stand them in good stead now. Pell has been making rapid strides in his knowledge of the game. He is a clever dodger when running with the ball, but needs to overcome a slight timidity against being tackled. He punts fairly well, and is the best drop-kicker on the team. On the offensive he plays close up to the line and breaks through well, but his eagerness sometimes leads him to run too far, thus putting himself out of the play.
The best football-player that Berkeley ever boasted is undoubtedly Bien, at full-back. He is as good a man in that position as there is in the New York League this year. He is a first-rate ground-gainer and knows the game thoroughly. He is a strong tackler; and as for kicking goals, it is asserted that he has not missed one this season. Wiley puts up a hard game, but does not use his head enough. He punts pretty well, and may be counted on to catch every ball that comes his way. He is a sandy player, and sometimes plunges too boldly into the scrimmage.
Rice at quarter can hardly be ranked on a par with the other backs. He interferes well at the kick-off, but does not keep up this standard in close plays. He is a sandy tackler, but being a new man at the game frequently wastes his energy. He is badly handicapped by his centre rush.
Considerable improvement is to be noticed in the work of the Garden City football-players. Lorraine is doing all that can be required at end. Since my last criticism of his play he has gone into the game with more vim and dash, and is playing good hard football all the time. Symonds, until the Lawrenceville game, was playing a miserable game at tackle; since then, however, he has improved greatly, particularly in defensive play.
Everett Starr is heavier than he was last year, although he is still the lightest man in the line. His experience, however, makes him as reliable a man as there is on the team. Cluett as snap-back and in attacks on the centre is first rate, but he seems to have the idea that his work ends there, as he very seldom breaks through and is slow in following the ball. Kinney is new at the game this year, but nevertheless he is playing as good football as any of the older members on the team. He is strong and exceptionally quick for his size. He makes many tackles and sure ones, is generally to be found where the[Pg 67] ball is, and when he runs with the ball is pretty sure of making a gain.
Thus far Brown has not by any means played the game he is capable of. He has met no opponents of his own weight. He is fairly quick, and has a good knowledge of the game. With these conditions his work should be of the brilliant order, but, on the contrary, it has been even at the best mediocre, and at times lamentably weak.
White is probably the best end on any school team about New York. Very seldom is a gain made around his end, and an attempt usually results in a loss. Owing to an injury to Goldsboro, he has taken the latter's place at right half in offensive play, and has done exceptionally good work, getting down the field on kicks in good style. Goldsboro may not be able to play again this year.
Blount, who last year was only a substitute on the second eleven, is a fixture at quarter-back. He gives the signals, and is playing his position and handling the team like a veteran. The chief fault he has to overcome is in missing tackles. Weller is a good runner and a sure hard tackler. He interferes and follows interference well.
Captain Starr is showing rare form at full-back this year. He has developed into an exceptionally good punter and place-kicker; moreover, in the games with Cutler and Poly. Prep. he dropped in each a pretty goal from the field. As a line-bucker and an interferer he can be relied upon thoroughly. In defensive play he plays rush-line half-back. His work is often brilliant. Temple is a fast runner, but owing to lack of experience he has a tendency not to make the best use of his interference. This was particularly noticeable in the Poly. Prep. game. He made some good runs, but with a good end he would have been downed for a loss in nearly every case.
By the time this number of the Round Table reaches the reader the deciding game of the Connecticut League championship series will have been played, and as the match will probably be a close one I hardly dare hazard the guess that the banner will go to New Britain. The New Britain team defeated Norwich Free Academy last week to the tune of 50-0, and although Brinley was seriously injured in the game, and may not be able to play any more this season, the eleven will still be a strong one without him.
On the same day that New Britain played Norwich, Meriden H.-S. took Bridgeport into camp, 20-12. It is evident that this year the smaller schools turned out the better teams. Hillhouse, Hartford, and Bridgeport all got defeated in the race for the Yale Cup.
Andrew T., Rochester.—The "halves" in a football game may be of any duration agreed upon beforehand. In championship games, however, they must be thirty-five minutes each.
J. C. Finch, Fort Anne, New York.—See Harper's Round Table for September 22, or for fuller particulars see W. H. Lewis's A Primer of College Football.
Dr. Goldsmith took the plot of She Stoops to Conquer from a joke played by a Lincolnshire gentleman named Grummit. Late one night a commercial traveller met Grummit on the road, and asked him where he might find the nearest inn. Grummit said he would gladly "show him the way to a quiet respectable house of public entertainment for man and horse." The stranger was thereupon conducted to Grummit's private residence. Everything he ordered was promptly brought him, and in the morning he asked for his bill, and was very pleasantly surprised to find he had been a private guest. Other odd deeds of kindness are related of Grummit.
Hamlet is taken from the Danish history of Amleth, by Saxo Germanicus. It may be but a coincidence that the word "Hamlet" may be formed from "Amleth" by placing the last letter of the latter word before the former one. The story of Amleth is said to be very improbable, and that only a genius like Shakespeare would have founded a play on it. The famous "ghost" of the Shakespearian version is the bard's own invention. Amleth, having made the nobility drunk, sets fire to the palace, kills the usurping king, and is himself proclaimed ruler.
in midst of plenty. Unfortunate, yet we hear of it. The Gail Borden Eagle Brand Condensed Milk is undoubtedly the safest and best infant food. Infant Health is a valuable pamphlet for mothers. Send your address to N. Y. Condensed Milk Co., N. Y.—[Adv.]
Bewildering display of elegance at Arnold, Constable & Co.'s store. A show of elegant and artistic articles in dress goods and materials as must surely bewilder the most hardened of shoppers is now to be seen at Arnold, Constable & Co.'s, at the corner of Broadway and Nineteenth Street. In the silk department there is so much worthy of notice that it seems almost impossible to select special samples of the wealth of beauty which has been imported recently. Satin duchesse, with gold or silver tinsel, in graceful and elegant patterns, specially adapted for dinner and reception dresses, while for street costumes the peau-de-soie material, with colorings of the new blue, new green, and lavender, will be much admired. There are some particularly striking moire antiques in water silks, handsomely brocaded in all the new tints, while a striking exhibit is the white moire antique with flower designs in satin effects, suitable for bridal costumes. This magnificent material is in grades from $2.50 to $10 a yard. A full line of moire velours in tints with gold and silver threads for evening wear is sure to command attention, while some very pretty designs in white grounds with small colored pompadour figures, very well adapted for bridesmaids' dresses, are likely to be popular. Among the velvet materials there are many novelties, most noticeable of which is perhaps the frieze velvet on chameleon ground of taffeta silk. This is an absolute innovation. White velvet figures on a light-colored brocaded groundwork is also new. A very pretty thing is the brocaded velvet with mottled spots on a colored ground, and the velvet on a glacé taffeta in all colors. Plain velvets are likely to be very popular for waists and sleeves or trimmings. In dress goods the drap d'été, in all colors, both dark and light, is an important and attractive novelty.—[Adv.]
Book-keeping, Penmanship, Arithmetic, Shorthand, etc., thoroughly taught by Mail at student's Home. Low rates; perfect satisfaction. Cat. free. Trial lesson 10c.
A cream-of-tartar baking powder. Highest of all in leavening strength.—Latest United States Government Food Report.
Lace Boleros, Garnitures, Collars.
Chiffon & Net Ruffs & Boas.
Marie Antoinette Lace Fichus,
Lace and Linen Handkerchiefs.
Hold their place in the front rank of the publications to which they belong.—Boston Journal, Feb. 19, 1896.
|MAGAZINE, $4.00 a Year
|WEEKLY, $4.00 a Year
|BAZAR, $4.00 a Year
|ROUND TABLE, $2.00 a Year
PIGEONS!—Send 25c. for "Pigeon Queries," a book of 200 questions and answers on Pigeons. "Possum Creek Poultry Club," humorous, 25c. Fanciers' Review, Chatham, N. Y.
This Department is conducted in the interest of Bicyclers, and the Editor will be pleased to answer any question on the subject. Our maps and tours contain many valuable data kindly supplied from the official maps and road-books of the League of American Wheelmen. Recognizing the value of the work being done by the L.A.W., the Editor will be pleased to furnish subscribers with membership blanks and information so far as possible.
The difficulty of getting out of New York city by proceeding directly north, and the fact that there are only two suitable roads, which makes bicycling out of New York in time monotonous, can be obviated by crossing the Hudson and proceeding by several good roads up its western bank. For the next few weeks, therefore, we shall give in this Department maps of the country along the Hudson as far as Newburg.
The map this week includes Hoboken, Jersey City, the marshes back of these cities, and the roads as far north as Englewood. There are several ways of starting from New York into this country. You can cross the Hoboken Ferry at either Barclay, Christopher, or Fourteenth Street to Hoboken, and go out of the city direct to the Hudson County Boulevard, which is the best road running north. By an examination of the map the rider will easily pick out the different ways to reach the boulevard. It is perhaps wiser to cross from Fourteenth Street, as the ferry lands in Hoboken further uptown; but it is possible to ride from any of the ferries northward, keeping generally to the left into West Hoboken; thence to the boulevard, by Scheutzen Park, leaving Union on the eastward, passing through New Durham and by Guttenburg to Fairview, and thence to Ridgefield. The Northern Railroad of New Jersey should always be to the westward, and the road itself runs along the side of the hill, which rises to the Palisades. The Hackensack marshes are across the river to the left going north. At Ridgefield the rider may either continue on through Leonia and Nordhoff, running direct into Englewood, or he may turn to the left across the Northern road, crossing a branch of the Hackensack afterwards, and running along its bank, finally crossing the West Shore road and the main river, keeping to the right at Little Ferry, and running direct into Hackensack. It is then possible to proceed northward from Hackensack through Fairmount and Cherry Hill, or to run eastward through Tea Neck to Nordhoff, thence turning to the left northward on the boulevard, and running into Englewood. From Hoboken the rider, if he is going westward towards Passaic, should cross the West Shore road at Tyler Park or at Scheutzen Park, running direct to Secaucus, and thence cross the marshes and the river into Rutherford and direct to Passaic.
It is also possible to cross the ferry at Fort Lee, but there is a long hill which it is foolish for any one to ride, rising for something over a mile. The rider may either follow the bank of the river and run along a good road through Linwood, turning to the left to run into Englewood, or he may proceed to Leonia, and there turn northward to Englewood. The black roads on the map are in almost every case good roads, and especially in and around Englewood, Tea Neck, Nordhoff, and to the north of these towns the roads are in capital condition. Of course time may be saved, if the wheelman lives uptown in New York, by crossing at Fort Lee, but he must remember that he has to rise between 250 and 300 feet above the river at once, and this necessitates a long walk. The Fort Lee Ferry leaves New York at 125th Street.
Thebe is still another way of crossing, which is from the 42d Street Ferry to Weehawken. On arriving at the Weehawken Ferry the rider should make at once by the shortest roads for the Hudson County Boulevard, as it is distinctly the best wheeling road in that vicinity.
At a country-school examination one day, a visitor noticing the great promptness and correctness with which the questions were answered by the scholars, suspected that the children were only given such questions as the teacher was sure of their knowing. So requesting the privilege of asking a few himself, the gentleman addressed a small child thus, "Where is Turkey, my dear?"
The little girl was greatly confused for a minute, then suddenly a bright look came into her little face, and she piped forth, "In the back yard with the poultry, sir!"
Any questions in regard to photograph matters will be willingly answered by the Editor of this column, and we should be glad to hear from any of our club who can make helpful suggestions.
In photographic exhibits, as well as in exhibits of paintings, what are called character studies always attract the most attention, and usually receive higher marks than a simple portrait study.
There are many picturesque characters which make fine studies for the amateur photographer, and our young amateurs are requested to bear them in mind when in search of subjects for our coming contest. There is the old veteran with his faded blue army coat, to which he clings as long as it preserves a remnant of respectability; the shoemaker or cobbler at work on his bench; a sailor who bears marks of his tussle with wind and wave; a ruddy farmer engaged in some one of his many duties; a woman weaving at a hand-loom or spinning on a flax or wool wheel; a sturdy blacksmith at his forge; an old colored uncle or aunty, relics of the sunny South—these and many other types or characters may be found by the amateur photographer, and their likenesses preserved in gelatine.
One common fault with nine out of ten of the amateur character studies is that the subject looks as if he were sitting for his picture. This is the one thing to be avoided, for the charm of this style of picture is the natural and easy position of the subject, who must look as if such a thing as a camera had never come within his observation.
Suppose one wished to make a picture of a cobbler on his bench. If you went to him with your camera and told him you wished to take his picture, while you were getting your camera ready he would probably begin to tuck away the bits of litter on his bench, straighten his tools, close the half-open drawers, put away his last, and then taking out his pocket-comb, smooth his hair so that not a lock should be out of place. This done, he would sit up and announce that he was ready. If you should take his picture thus, you would have a subject with every natural line crossed out, leaving simply a stiff uncomfortable victim sitting for his picture.
The proper way to do is to tell the cobbler that you wish to make a picture of him at his work, and that you would like to have him go on working the same as if you were not there, and that when you are all ready you will tell him. Arrange your camera, focus sharply, take out the slide, and set the shutter ready to open. Watch for a favorable attitude, ask the man to hold still for a moment, and expose the plate. Make three or four studies, for it is better to do this than to take but one and, in case it should not be good, be obliged to go again. Do not let the subject look toward the camera, but insist on his looking at the piece of work on which he is engaged. If he is tapping a shoe, take the picture when he has the hammer raised to drive a peg, if he is sewing a seam, take it when he is either putting in the threads or has them partly drawn out. A cobbler hammering a piece of leather on a lapstone is an easy position to catch, and another is where he is examining a ragged shoe to see if it is past mending.
Whatever vocation you may choose to picture, bear this in mind, that the subject must not be allowed to pose himself, and if, while you are getting your camera in readiness for the picture, you talk with him on some subject in which he is interested, you will stand a good chance of getting an easy, natural picture of him. If you are not successful the first time trying, remember the old couplet,
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again.
George H. says that he has a pocket kodak which makes very good pictures, but in nearly all the negatives there is a black cloud in the one corner, and asks the reason; how to make the title of the picture on the print in white letters; and if the "Quad" and "Vive" cameras are reliable; and how to join the Camera Club. The black cloud on the negative is due to the fact that there is undoubtedly a tiny pin-hole either in the bellows or lens-holder which admits light to the film and fogs it. Take the camera to the place where it was purchased, and have the defect remedied. Letter the title on the negative on the film side with India-ink, going over the letters carefully in order that they may be uniform in density, and when the print is made from the negative the letters will appear white, as the ink is nonactinic, and shields the paper from the light. The title must be reversed when printed on the negative. Both the "Quad" and the "Vive" are made by reliable firms, and either will give satisfactory returns for the money invested. Sir George says that he discovered in a back number of the Round Table the use of blue paper, and encloses prints made on the first paper which he experimented with. Sir George must have followed the directions closely, for the paper is very evenly coated, and the blues clear and brilliant.
THE neatest and most attractive Stamp Album ever published is The Favorite Album for U. S. Stamps. Price 25c. (post free 30c.).
Catalogue of U. S. Stamps free for the postage, 2c. Complete Catalogue of all Stamps ever issued, 10c. Our Specialty: Fine Approval Sheets at low prices and 50% commission.
Do you wish a set of stamps free? If so, send to us for a selection of stamps on approval at 50 per cent. commission and full particulars.
100, all dif., & fine STAMP ALBUM, only 10c.; 200, all dif., Hayti, Hawaii, etc., only 50c. Agents wanted at 50 per cent. com; List Free! C. A. Stegmann, 5941 Cote Brilliant Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
worth of stamps given away to approval sheet agents. Send for circular describing all details. Fine sheets 50% com. Reference required, 102 varieties, Venezuela, Cuba, etc., 10c.
Coldwater, Mich. 80 var., 5c.; 160 var., 20c.; 21 var. U. S. Revenue, 25c. Agents wanted. 50% com.
STAMPS, Free, 100 mixed, perf. gauge, 8 blank app. sheets, hinges, cat. Send 10c. for large juvenile paper (with stamp dept.) 3 mos. to get above. Bullard & Co., Pembroke St., Boston, Mass.
25 diff U.S. stamps 10c., 100 diff. foreign 10c. Agts w'td @ 50%. List free! L. B. Dover & Co. 5958 Theodosia, St. Louis, Mo.
STAMPS. Send for approval sheets, 50% commission.
Postage and Rev. Fine approval sheets. Agts. wanted.
"These publications give the children the right taste for reading, and help to an extent that is beyond expression in making them intelligent and in educating the moral nature, while furnishing them delightful entertainment."—Herald and News.
Every MOTHER, KINDERGARTNER, and PRIMARY TEACHER should have Babyland.
BUZ-BUZ. A tiny Serial Story. By Chas. Stuart Pratt. The "twelve adventures of a housefly." Something really new in nursery literature; as simple as it is novel.
GUESSING STORIES. By Margaret Johnson. Small pictures take the place of words. Very easy, entertaining, and educational.
A PINT OF PEAS. Work for Little Fingers. The construction of various objects, using soaked peas and wood toothpicks. Endless amusement.
JOHNNY, JACK, AND JOHN. By Margaret Compton.
JO AND BETTY; or, Out in the World. By Sophie Swett.
GOING WITH THE BIG BOYS. By Kate Upson Clark.
BOY HEROES OF THE WAR. By Mrs. A. R. Watson. Pathetic, humorous, thrilling. A dozen stories of young heroes of our Civil War—six of the South, six of the North.
THE TALKING BIRDS. By M. C. Crowley. A series of amusing and marvellous parrot stories—true stories.
The importance of correct pronunciation is nowhere more imperative than in a religious service. A soloist in a Philadelphia surpliced boy choir was heard on a recent Sunday morning in a certain well-known anthem. After the service another boy, a member of the choir, excitedly caught hold of the skirt of the choir-master's vestment, and asked, "Will you tell me, sir, what Jack Mahaffy [the boy soloist] meant by 'a consecrated cross-eyed bear'?"
"A what?" demanded the astonished leader.
The lad, badly frightened, repeated the question.
The soloist was called, and when he spoke the words, instead of singing them, the boy got the correct version, "a consecrated cross I'd bear."
Will some reader of the Round Table please give me a description of the Church of Notre Dame, Montreal, Canada? I will be very thankful for information on this subject.
We quote the following from an article on "Montreal," in Harper's Magazine for June, 1889:
"Here"—in Montreal—"among a Roman Catholic population, noted chiefly for their lack of wealth, is building a cathedral one-third the size of St. Peter's at Rome, and of the same shape, excepting that this one has a pointed roof to shed snow. Montreal has already the great Notre Dame de Lourdes, the largest in America, excepting the Cathedral of Mexico. It seats 10,000, and will hold 15,000 people. The official poster at the door asserts that the bell is the largest in the world. It is the eighth in size, weighing 24,780 pounds. In the interior, vast but harsh and gaudy, you may see an ornate spiral pulpit and a bronze statue of St. Peter, of which the toes are well polished.
"In Montreal you can continue to visit churches all day. They reveal a religious life of the Middle Ages kept up with marvellous force in this nineteenth century. One of the pleasantest scenes of this religious life may be witnessed in the city of the dead. In the cemetery on the mountain, along the streets of tombs, are erected little grottos, each having in colored tableau the stations of the cross. A priest leads slowly the flock from station to station, and explains to the kneeling people the dogmatic value of the sufferings portrayed. The trees, birds, plants, sunshine, and the murmuring winds, all combine to make the ceremony touching. The route ends on a knoll where three huge crosses and figures represent most realistically the final agony. When I visited the place, on a fine June day, a company of convent girls and nuns were holding a merry picnic at this spot. After their picnic they knelt for prayer and went away rejoicing. On many of the graves are evidences of tender regard to the departed—plaster figures of saints, photographs of the deceased, and little altars with candles and crucifixes, set up in glass-covered boxes that look like toy chapels."
Some Montreal reader may give us a short description of the exterior of Notre Dame.
I'm not employed by Uncle Sam,
And yet I carry mail.
I'm swift as many a telegram;
I'm seldom known to fail.
Around and 'round, then straight I go;
The shortest route I always know.
1. What battle was fought October 13, 1812?
2. How did Du Plessis Mauduit help America?
3. Who was Sir Guy Carleton?
4. Who put this clause into his will: "I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatever, shall be admitted for any purpose whatever, or as visitor, within the premises appropriated for said ——." And of what did he speak?
My first moon, in her regal car,
In thronely pomp rides past;
She trips a silver serenade
Round my secluded last.
My last has borne the pelting blasts
Two hundred years twice told;
Its loop-holed battlements to-day
Rear grandly as of old.
Our first laid schemes we plumb and build
In sorrow, be it known;
Like fabled last high-poised in air
Are quickly levelled down.
My dual parts will rightly sketch,
If roughly scribbled down,
A city in an English shire
And in a Delaware town.
J. E. Bennett.
|1. To blight so as to destroy.
|2. A machine for turning.
|3. A collection of maps.
|4. Anything long and straight.
|5. Easily irritated or fretful.
A. E. T.
No. 50.—Diagonal Acrostic.
|128 x 1 x 32 = 4096
|4 x 16 x 64 = 4096
|8 x 256 x 2 = 4096
And the same with the perpendiculars and diagonals.
St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, iv, 27.
1. Skaara. 2. Kars. 3. Don—the Spanish equivalent of Lord. 4. Bhore. 5. Kabul—Atlantic cable. 6. Save—because, if true to its name, it would rescue you. 7. Koping.
Janey Crow, 13 Birch Crescent, Rochester, N. Y., publishes, with a friend to help, The Acorn, a monthly of twenty-eight pages. It is not printed from types, but written, and sent round for reading. These young editors and publishers desire to receive sample copies of other amateur papers, either written or printed ones. So also do Frank G. Davis, Vermillion, S. D., and Edward F. Daas, 1717 Cherry St., Milwaukee, Wis. The last-named desires also to form a corresponding Chapter, whose members may live in any part of the world, exchange specimens of shells, minerals, ferns, and bugs, and prepare round-robin descriptive letters.
Polly Pemberton Morris.—You are quite right in your contention, and your friend is wrong. Queen Elizabeth did not live as well as does the average family of to-day whom we call poor. Comparatively she lived well—and walked on a cloak. But she suffered many discomforts which the gallantry of all the Raleighs of her reign but badly recompensed. Indeed, her household was so poor that few of the laboring-people of to-day would endure one like it. For instance, her table service was what we would call scarcely fit for animals. Huge joints of meat were brought to the table on the roasting-spits. There were no dishes such as we have. Earthenware with a china finish was unknown. The meat-carvers held the meat with one hand while they cut it with the other, and the guests helped themselves with their fingers. Cats and dogs were allowed around and under the table—and to them were thrown the bones. Fancy the condition of the floor—there was not always a floor—after the meal. There were no forks and no plates. Fingers served for the former and huge slices of bread for the latter.
Irving Kenyon asks: "Is there on exhibition in some city in each State the articles patented in that State? If so, in what city of Connecticut can I see them? Are authors privileged to use the plan of another author, which has appeared in a pamphlet some time previous, without permission? If permission is necessary, to whom do I apply?" There is no such exhibition. In the Patent Office at Washington may be seen a vast number of models, but they come from every State. Even these models are no longer required by law. Authors' privileges are not easily defined. Do you mean "plan" or "plot"? We should say that the least one could do who wished to use the plot of another would be to ask permission. If permission cannot be obtained from any cause, get another plan or plot or else forego writing.
This Department is conducted in the interest of stamp and coin collectors, and the Editor will be pleased to answer any question on these subjects so far as possible. Correspondents should address Editor Stamp Department.
Although all German and foreign catalogues list the varieties of the 1870 20c. blue of France in three types, still few are seen in collections, probably on account of the difficulty heretofore felt in explaining the differences.
The cuts I., II., and III. illustrate exactly the differences of the Greek ornaments at the lower light side of the frame (compare with Figure IV.).
Even in the very poorly printed specimens these varieties in the lines of the Greek ornaments are prominent, and in the very heavy impressions where the shadings of the main lines are invisible, the distinguishing points are still plain.
It will be simple for everybody to now distinguish these types with the aid of the illustrations. In addition the main points will be easy to memorize.
Type I. has, as we know, only points at the neck and eyes for shading purposes; the circle of pearls is very irregular.
Type II. The shading at the neck consists of fine lines, and under the eyes are long drawn points. A fine white line runs around the entire top of the head.
In Type III. the white line at the top of the head is almost invisible; under the eye are points similar to Type II., but in larger numbers. At the neck there are only lines. The points between the inscriptions, both at top and bottom, are hardly to be seen and often disappear altogether.
A Type IV. is also listed in few catalogues, but its existence has been clearly established. The peculiar break in the Greek ornaments, as is the case in the other types, is not found, but in other respects it resembles Type III., except in the inscription.
It is probable that after the plate of the third type was worn out the inscription was repaired, and for the third time enlarged, which is sufficient evidence to accept as a fourth type. As to the grade of rarity of these different types the following is probably correct (the lowest number being the commonest).
Early impressions of these four plates are very desirable.
A. E. Drake, 198 Marcy Avenue, Brooklyn wishes to exchange stamps. The last Peru issue are very common. Any dealer can supply at a fair price.
F. Rich.—The 90c. 1851 issue, unperforated, is probably a proof. The 24c. same issue is well authenticated.
J. B. Bryan.—To restore colors of stamps which have oxidized, or changed color, owing to chemical or atmospheric changes, to their original color, apply peroxide of hydrogen to the stamp with a small camel's-hair brush. After repeating several times soak the stamp in water and dry between blotters.
A. A. Hall.—In purchasing hinges, be careful to secure those having a gum known to be harmless. Some hinges have a gum that will eventually injure the stamp to which they are affixed, changing the color or causing the paper to turn yellow. For fifteen cents a thousand you can get the best hinges from any responsible dealer. You will probably not use over a million during your career as a collector, and the amount you save in purchasing an inferior grade is insignificant, while the proper preservation of your stamps will be materially aided in using those you know are reliable.
E. L. Smith, 64 Sparks Street, Cambridge, Mass., wishes to exchange stamps.
C. Rawson.—The 3c. Proprietary is worth 10c. perforated, several dollars if unperforated, with wide margins.
F. D. W. Laneland.—Your Chile stamp is probably a Revenue stamp. You do not give all the lettering, and I am therefore unable to say positively.
You ask me to tell the Table about the fair which we had this autumn, which netted $25 for the Good Will School Fund. We sold home-made candy, fancy-work which we made through the summer, cake, and ice-cream. All who took part in the fair were members of Harper's Round Table Order. They were Helen Layton, Katie Atwood, Mary Roof, Mable Roof, Edna Roof, Mollie Morford, Eleanor Hayward, Emma Hayward, Louis Layton, Waldemar Hayward, Clarence Hayward, and Thomas Woodruff. Mrs. John Roof, who assisted us, is a Patron of Harper's Round Table. We hoped to, and doubtless would, have made more had the evening not been a very stormy one. Last year we sent thirty-one dollars. We hoped at least to send fifty this year.
Helen J. Layton.
Newton, N. J.
We thank you most heartily. The money has been placed in the Fund.
The frequent use of a good soap like the Ivory will purify the complexion as no cosmetic can.
The Procter & Gamble Co., Cin'ti.
Copy accurately and beautifully the glories of nature by means of the
Every one can draw and sketch with it. A simple device, consisting of a mirror and photographic lens, so arranged that you can draw with pencil and paper exactly what is before you. An educator to the youthful mind. Sent on receipt of $1.00. Circulars free.
We wish to introduce our Teas, Spices, and Baking Powder. Sell 75 lbs. to earn a Bicycle; 50 lbs. for a Waltham Gold Watch and Chain; 25 lbs. for a Solid Silver Watch and Chain; 10 lbs. for a beautiful Gold Ring; 50 lbs. for a Decorated Dinner Set. Express prepaid if cash is sent with order. Send your full address on postal for Catalogue and Order Blank to Dept. I
by sending two other 6-months' subscribers on the same terms. Write for the necessary special subscription blanks.
And other styles to suit all hands.
By W. H. Lewis. Illustrated from Instantaneous Photographs and with Diagrams. 16mo, Paper, 75 cents.
There is probably no other man in America who has had as much football experience or who knows more about the game than Mr. Lewis.... Of value not only to beginners, but to any one who wishes to learn more about football.... We heartily recommend it as the best practical guide to football we have yet discovered.—Harvard Crimson, Cambridge.
Written by a man who has a most thorough knowledge of the game, and is in language any novice may understand.—U. of M. Daily, University of Michigan.
Will be read with enthusiasm by countless thousands of boys who have found previous works on the subject too advanced and too technical for beginners.—Evangelist, N. Y.
Beginners will be very grateful for the gift, for no better book than this of Mr. Lewis's could be placed in their hands.—Saturday Evening Gazette, Boston.
By Walter Camp. New and Enlarged Edition. 16mo, Cloth, $1.25.
The progress of the sport of football in this country, and a corresponding growth of inquiry as to the methods adopted by experienced teams, have prompted the publication of an enlarged edition of this book. Should any of the suggestions herein contained conduce to the further popularity of the game, the object of the writer will be attained.—Author's Preface.
FOOTBALL FACTS AND FIGURES. Post 8vo, Paper, 75 cents.
Here is a hint for boys and girls who write. A correspondent of an English newspaper asked, the other day, if it improved a steel pen to give it a period of rest. The answer was:
Yes. Rest for a steel pen is not only good, but at times absolutely necessary, as it is for all steel tools if they are to continue in first-class order. A member of a well-known firm of steel-pen makers advised that if a pen gets scratchy and does not write well, it is not necessarily finished and fit for throwing away, but is probably only tired and in need of a rest. "Give it," said he, "a rest for a day or two, then hold it in a gas-light for fifteen seconds, not longer, and you will find it almost as good as new." Keeping steel pens in water when not in use, or converting a potato into a pen-wiper, is said to prevent corrosion and to preserve them for a long period.
Apropos of the steel pen, it is interesting to note that the earliest notice of steel pens is one by Wordsworth. In 1806 he and his family were occupying the house at Colerton during the absence of Sir George and Lady Beaumont, and in the month of December the poet wrote to the latter what he calls "the longest letter I ever wrote in my life," and with reason, as it fills eighteen pages. He begins: "My dear Lady Beaumont,—There's penmanship for you! I shall not be able to keep it up to the end in this style, notwithstanding I have the very great advantage of writing with one of your best steel pens, with which Miss Hutchinson has just kindly furnished me."
The next mention noted is one by Dr. Kitchiner, in 1824. When speaking of a friend above sixty, he says, "This strain of the eye and occasion for spectacles of a high magnifying power is particularly found in mending pens (this was when the goose-quill was the most generally accepted tool in the trade of authorship), so that he has a sufficient number of pens to prevent the necessity of mending any of them until he has finished writing." To this there is appended a note: "To those who find the mending of pens rather a difficult job, I recommend the occasional use of the steel pen, especially when they wish to write very small and neatly."
Joe is a boy who, through the beneficence of his grandparents, is singularly blessed with uncles and aunts, and Christmas and birthdays he realizes it most. They give him so many toys that his father and mother, on such occasions, usually make their presents consist in carrying out some cherished plan of Joe's.
"Actually," his father remarked, on his most recent birthday, "Joe has more presents now than he can break in a year."
"Oh no, papa!" said Joe, with an injured air, "there's one present I won't break."
"Well, Joe," replied his father, "I'm glad there's one. Which is it—the cast-iron train of cars Uncle Bill gave you?"
"Oh no!" cried Joe; "I can break that easily enough. I mean I won't break your promise to send me to dancing-school."
 The famous Virginian Calhoun came of this family.