The Project Gutenberg eBook of Cousin Lucy at Play

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Title: Cousin Lucy at Play

Author: Jacob Abbott

Release date: March 23, 2022 [eBook #67689]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Clark, Austin & Smith, 1841

Credits: The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)




Title page

Author of the Rollo Books.

New York.
Clark, Austin and Smith.





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1841,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


Two volumes of a series of little books, corresponding, in their general style and characteristics, with the Rollo Books for boys, but designed more particularly for the other sex, have already been published, under the names of Cousin Lucy’s Conversations, and Cousin Lucy’s Stories. This, and its companion, Cousin Lucy at Study, are now offered to the public, in the hope that the little readers, into whose hands they may fall, may be interested, and, in some degree at least, profited, by the perusal of them.


The Marble Box, 9
Metaphysics, 26
Stories, 42
The Ride to Town, 56
The Gypsy Party, 72
The Morocco Book—The Lonely Sleigh-Ride, 90
Mary Jay’s Sunday School, 108
The Present, 126
A Fright, 138
Royal a Protector, 156
The Dictionary, 172



There was a box, or chest, of a somewhat singular character, in the house where Lucy lived; it was called the marble box. It was not really made of marble; it was made of wood; but then it was painted marble color, and that was the reason why it was called the marble box.

The marble box had books and playthings in it. It was pretty large, and so it would hold a considerable number. There was a handle at each end, and when Lucy took hold of one handle, and Royal, her brother, of the other, the box was just about as much as they could conveniently carry. The place where the marble box was usually kept, was under a table in the back chamber entry, not far from the head of the stairs.

10 There was a lock to the marble box, and Lucy’s mother kept the key. She tied a piece of blue ribbon to the key to mark it, and she kept it hung up under the mantel shelf in her room.

The rule of the marble box was this—that it never was to be opened except when the children were sick,—or, rather, when they were convalescent. When children are attacked with sickness, they do not generally, for a time, wish for any playthings. But, then, when the disease is once subdued, and the pain, or the unpleasant feelings, whatever they may be, have disappeared,—then there is a period, while the patient is recovering his health and strength, which is called the period of convalescence. Now, during convalescence, children are more in need of playthings to interest and occupy their minds than at any other time.

There are various reasons why this is so. In the first place, they cannot usually be allowed to go out of doors; for, after such an attack of sickness, it generally takes some time for the system to become restored to its usual state, so as to bear safely the ordinary exposures. Thus, by being confined to the house, the child is cut off from some of his sources of enjoyment, which makes it more necessary that he should have agreeable books and playthings.

11 Then, besides, during convalescence, the mind is not generally in a proper state to engage in study, or in any of the usual duties of life. This is peculiarly the case if the sickness has been severe. We feel weak, and are easily fatigued, and exhausted with exertion, either of mind or body. Consequently the ordinary duties of life are usually suspended during convalescence, and this leaves a large portion of time unoccupied. It is always difficult for mothers to find the means to occupy this time pleasantly, in the case of the convalescence of their children.

There is one more reason why it is desirable to have interesting books and playthings for children, when they are in a state of convalescence; and that is, that the mind is in such a state that it is in some respects more difficult to be interested and amused then than at other times. When recovering from sickness, there is often a kind of lassitude and weariness, which makes the patient indisposed to be long occupied in any one way. Occupations and amusements, which would please him very much at some times, fail altogether now. The common books and playthings, which he is accustomed to use at other times, do not afford him much pleasure now. He very soon gets tired of them.

12 For these reasons, Lucy’s mother had often found it very difficult to provide the means of amusing her, and occupying her mind, when she was sick; and still more difficult to do this in the case of Royal. So she told them, one day, that she meant to have a trunk to keep books and playthings in, expressly for this purpose. She looked about the house for a trunk, but she could not find any one, which was not in use. At last, however, she met with this wooden box or chest, which was about as large as a trunk; and she said that that would do very well indeed. Royal helped her to bring it down stairs.

It was one day when Royal had been sick with the croup, that his mother first formed the plan of such a box; and she wanted to amuse and occupy him then, as well as to prepare to do it at future times, when he should be sick. So she proposed to him to take the chest into the kitchen, and line the inside of it with blue paper, so as to make it look neat and pretty within. She brought him some blue paper in large sheets; Joanna made him some paste; and then he pasted the blue paper in.

It took all the afternoon to line the box; and in the evening, when Royal’s father came home, Lucy brought him out into the kitchen to see it.13 It was then almost dry, and was lying down upon its side, not a great way from the kitchen fire. Lucy wanted to place it nearer; but Royal said that there was danger, if it was placed too near, that the heat would warp the wood, and so spoil the box.

“What do you think of our plan, father?” said Royal.

“I think it is a very excellent plan, indeed,” said his father. “I should like to have had a share in the execution of such an excellent plan myself.”

“What do you mean by that, father?” asked Lucy.

“Why, that I should have liked to have done something myself about this box. Mother formed the plan and found the box, and Royal has lined it. Joanna made the paste, and you,—you have done something, I suppose.”

“Yes, father,” said Lucy, “I held down the corners of the great sheets, while Royal was pasting them.”

“Yes,” rejoined her father, “all have helped excepting me.”

“Well, father,” said Royal, “I wish you would make us a till.”

14 “A till,” repeated his father; “what kind of a till?”

“Why, a till here in the side,” said Royal, “to keep the small things in.”

Royal explained more fully to his father what he meant by a till; and his father said that he would see if he could make one; and that he would go to work upon it that very evening, after tea.

Accordingly, about an hour after this conversation, they all came out into the kitchen to see the process of making the till. Royal and Lucy set out the table, and put the box upon the back side of it. Their mother brought her work, and took her seat upon the side opposite to the one where the children had placed a chair for their father.

“What do you suppose father is going to make the till of, Royal?” asked Lucy.

“Of boards,” said Royal.

“O Royal!” exclaimed Lucy; “boards are too heavy.”

“I mean very thin boards,” said Royal, “very thin indeed.”

But just at this time their father came into the room with a large, smooth board under his arm. The board was about as large as the top of the15 box; and it was pretty thick and heavy. He brought this board, and placed it down upon the table.

“O father,” said Royal, “are you going to make our till of such a great, heavy board as this?”

“Not of it, but on it,” replied his father.

“What do you mean by that, sir?” said Lucy.

“Why, I am going to make your till of pasteboard; and I am going to cut it out upon this smooth board.”

He then went out again, and presently returned bringing with him a large sheet of very thick pasteboard. He laid the pasteboard down upon the board, and then, after measuring upon the box, he marked out a square upon it, as long as the box was wide; and as it was a square which he marked out, it was, of course, as wide as it was long.

“What is that for, father?” said Lucy.

“That is for the bottom of your till,” replied her father.

He then took a large pair of dividers, which he had brought with him, and began to mark and measure in various ways, so that Lucy could not understand at all what he was doing.

Presently he said,—

16 “Should you prefer to have a fixed, or a sliding till, children?”

“O, a sliding till,” said Royal; “let’s have a sliding till, Lucy. But, father,” he continued, after a moment’s pause, “what is a sliding till?”

“How do you know that you should like a sliding till, if you do not know what it is?” asked his father.

“Why, I am pretty sure,” said Royal, “that I should like a till that would slide. But I never saw one that would slide. They are almost always fastened in at the end.”

Royal was correct in this statement. The till of a chest is commonly a shallow box passing across the end of it, near the top, and is usually fastened to its place. But there is an inconvenience in having it fastened, unless it is made quite small; for, if it is large, it covers and conceals the things which are below it, in the bottom of the chest.

Now, Lucy’s father wanted to make his till pretty large. He cut it out square, as long, each way, as the width of the marble box. Now, as the marble box was about twice as long as it was wide, it follows that the till was large enough to cover one half of the upper part of the box. If, therefore, it had been fixed into its place, it would17 have been inconvenient on account of its covering and concealing the things beneath it, and making it difficult to get them out. So Royal’s father concluded to make it movable.

The arrangement which he adopted to secure this object was this: He brought in two strips of wood, which he cut off so as to make them just as long as the box itself, inside. He then bored two holes in each of these strips, and, by means of some little screws, he screwed them to the sides of the box, within, about three inches from the top. Royal and Lucy watched their father very intently while he was doing this; but they did not ask any questions. They thought that it might interrupt him, and disturb his calculations, if they were to ask him questions; so they preferred to look on and observe for themselves.

“Now I understand,” said Royal, when his father was screwing on the second strip.

“What?” said Lucy. “What is it? Tell me.”

“Why, these strips are for the till to slide on. Father is going to make a till, and put it in there, and let it rest upon those strips. Those must be the sliders for the till to slide upon. Isn’t it so, father?”

His father did not answer, but went on with his work.

18 “It must be so, I know,” said Royal; “and it is an excellent plan. I like a sliding till a great deal better than one that’s nailed in, so that you can’t move it.”

When Royal’s father had got the sliders secured in their proper places, he began to work again upon the till itself.

“Father,” said Lucy, “why did not you finish the till before you made the sliders? You very often tell us that we must always finish one thing before we begin another.”

“Did I say always?” asked her father, “or generally?”

Always, I believe, father,” said Lucy, pausing a moment, as if trying to think. “Yes, I believe you said always.”

“Then I made a mistake,” said her father; “I ought to have said generally: it is a good general rule, but there are some exceptions. There are very few rules which have not some exceptions.”

While this and similar conversation was going forward, Lucy’s father continued industriously at work upon the till. He cut out a piece of pasteboard of such a shape that there was a large, square piece for a bottom in the middle, and side pieces all around. He then carefully folded up19 the sides, and the pasteboard thus assumed the form of a box.

“Now,” said Royal, “how are you going to fasten the sides up in their places?”

“Why, mother can sew them,” said Lucy.

“No,” replied her father, “that will not do very well; for the stitches would show through the paper that I am going to cover the till with. Besides, it would be very hard indeed to sew such stiff, thick pasteboard as this is.”

“The paper will hold it,” said Royal. “When it is all covered over with blue paper, pasted down strong, that will hold the sides together in their places.”

“No,” said his father, “not strong enough. The paste would hold; but then the paper itself would break away at the corners, after a time, and so the till would be spoiled.”

“How shall you do it, then?” asked Lucy.

“You’ll see,” replied her father.

By observing him continually, the children did see. Their father took some strips of cotton cloth, and pasted them over the corners, turning the edges over inside of the box, and pasting them down smooth. Then he covered the whole with blue paper, just as Royal had lined the inside of20 the box; and when this work was completed, the till was done.

He then put the till carefully into the box, and let it rest upon the sliders. He showed the children, too, how it would slide along from one end to the other.

“Let me slide it,” said Lucy.

“Very carefully,” said her father, “for it is not dry yet.”

“And will it tear, now that it is not dry?” said Lucy.

“Perhaps it may not tear, but it will easily get bent out of shape. To-morrow you can slide it as much as you please.”

The top of the till was just level with the top of the chest, so that the lid would shut down tight, just as if there was no till in it. So Lucy’s father shut the lid down when it was all ready, and told the children that they might put the box away.

“We call it the marble box,” said Lucy.

“I should think you had better call it the convalescent box,” said her father, “since it is to be kept exclusively for cases of convalescence.”

“What does that mean, sir?” said Lucy.

Convalescence means getting well,” replied her father, “after you have been sick. So I21 should think that that would be the most appropriate name. It is not really a marble box.”

“No, sir,” said Lucy; “only it looks like marble, and so we call it the marble box.”

“Yes, sir,” said Royal; “and, besides, I don’t think that convalescent box would be a very good name, for that would mean that the box itself was getting well,—whereas, in fact, it is only the children.”

“True,” replied his father; “that is an objection. But let me see; I believe we do use descriptive epithets in that way.”

“Descriptive epithets,” repeated Royal; “what are descriptive epithets?”

“Why, the word convalescent,” replied his father, “is an epithet. It is applied to box, in order to describe it; and so it is called a descriptive epithet.”

“Then I think,” said Royal, “that it ought to describe the box, and not the persons that are to use it; or else it is not a good descriptive epithet.”

“So should I,” added Royal’s mother.

“But I believe we do use epithets in that way. For example, we say a sick room; but we don’t mean that the room is sick, but only the persons that are in it. And so we say a long and weary22 road; but it is not the road that is weary but only the people that travel it.”

“It is the road that is long,” said Royal.

“Yes,” replied his father, “but not weary.”

“But perhaps,” said Lucy’s mother, “all such expressions are incorrect.”

“No,” said her father; “usage makes them correct. There is no other rule for good English than good usage.”

“Very well, then,” said Lucy’s mother; “I’ll call it the convalescent box; and I think it will be a very convenient box indeed.”

They did no more about the box that evening; for it was now time for the children to go to bed. The next day, however, they made some rules for the box, which Royal wrote out in a very plain hand, and pasted upon the under side of the lid. They were as follows:—


“1. This box must not be opened for Royal or Lucy, unless they have been sick enough to have to take medicine.

“2. It must be shut and locked again, the first time they are well enough to go out of doors.

“3. The playthings and books must always be23 put back in good order, and the key given to mother.”

When Royal had pasted the paper containing a copy of the rules into its place, he and Lucy began to look around the house to find books and playthings to put into it. Lucy said that she meant to go and ask her mother what she had better put in.

“What do you think, mother,” said she, “that we had better put into the marble box?”

“That is rather a hard question to settle,” her mother replied. “You want very interesting books and playthings when you are sick; but then all that you put in will be entirely lost to you while you continue well; for you know the box is never to be opened when you are well.”

“Would you put in my little paint-box, mother?” asked Lucy.

“Why, no,” answered her mother, “I think I should not; for you often want to use your paint-box when Marielle comes to see you.”

“Well, at any rate,” said Royal, “we will put in all our little pictures; for we don’t care much about pasting pictures, except when we can’t go out of doors.”

They accordingly collected all their loose pictures,24 and old, worn-out picture-books, such as they were accustomed to cut the pictures out of, to make new picture-books with of their own. They also had a number of pieces of marble paper, and gilt paper, and other kinds of paper, of various colors, which they were accustomed to use for making little pocket-books, and wallets, and portfolios. These they tied up neatly together, and laid in the bottom of the box.

Then they selected a number of books, such as they thought they could best spare, and placed them in two rows in the bottom of the box, across the end. They also put in a number of playthings, the large ones below, and the smaller ones in the till. When all was ready, they locked it up, and gave their mother the key.

That night, however, when their father came home, the marble box had to be opened again a moment, to put in two parcels which he brought. One looked as if it had books in it, and the other something of an irregular shape. Their father would not tell them what was in the parcels. He only said it was something to amuse convalescents, whenever there should be any. He then locked up the box again immediately, and gave the key to the children, to be carried to their mother.

That evening Lucy said to Royal,—

25 “Royal, how long do you think it will be before you or I shall be sick?”

“I don’t know,” said Royal. “Why?”

“Because,” said Lucy, “only I should like to open our marble box.”



Notwithstanding their father’s recommendation of the name convalescent box, the children continued to call it the marble box. Lucy said that that name was a great deal easier, and she thought it was prettier, besides. For some time after this, therefore, the children were accustomed to call it by one name, and the parents by the other. Whatever might be its name, however, it was found to answer a very excellent purpose. It continued to be used, according to the rules pasted upon its lid; and as, in consequence, it was not opened very often, and as new books and playthings were frequently put into it, it came to be a very valuable resource when the children were confined to the house by indisposition; so much so that Lucy’s mother said that she thought it would be an excellent plan for every family to have a convalescent box.

One time, when Lucy had been sick,—long after the convalescent box was made, and in fact,27 after it had been used a great many times,—she carried a little cricket up to it, in the back entry, and sat down before it, and began to read. Royal had helped her first to move it out near a window. It was placed with one end towards the window, and the lid was turned back against a chair which she had placed behind it. She had also placed another chair before it, in such a way that, when she was sitting upon her cricket, she could lay her book in this chair, using it as a sort of table. When Royal had helped her move out the great box, he had gone down into the yard to play, leaving her to arrange the other things herself.

Accordingly, when they were all arranged, Lucy asked Royal if he would not come up and see her study.

“Yes,” said Royal, “I will come.”

So Royal went up stairs again, to see Lucy’s study, as she called it. He found her seated upon the cricket, with a picture-book open before her upon the chair.

“Well, Lucy,” said Royal, “I think you have got a very good study. What are you reading?”

“I am reading stories,” answered Lucy.

“What stories?” said Royal.

“One is about a parrot,” replied Lucy; “and28 there are some others which I am going to read after I have finished this.”

“But I think,” said Royal, “that you had better come down and play with me, behind the garden.”

The fact was, that Royal was going to make a little ship. He was going to work upon it at a seat in a shady place beyond the garden, and he wanted some company.

“Come, Lucy,” said he, “do go.”

“But I don’t think that mother will let me go out yet,” replied Lucy. “I have not got well enough to go out.”

“I’ll run and ask her,” said Royal.

Lucy called to him to stop, but he paid no attention to her call. She did not want to have him go and ask her mother; for, even if her mother would consent, she did not wish to go out. She did not assign the true reason. The true reason was, that she was interested in the story about a parrot, that could say, “Breakfast is ready; all come to breakfast,”—and she did not wish to leave it. Her fear that her mother would not allow her to go out was, therefore, not the true reason. It was a false reason.

People very often assign false reasons, instead29 of true ones, for what they do, or are going to do. But it is very unwise to do this. They very often get into difficulty by it. Lucy got into difficulty in this case; for, in a few minutes, Royal came back, and said that his mother sent her word that she might go out, if she chose, and stay one hour.

Thus the false reason which Lucy gave for not going with Royal, was taken away, and yet she did not want to go; but then she was embarrassed to know what to say next. That is the way that persons often get into difficulty by assigning reasons which are not the honest and true reasons; for the false reasons are sometimes unexpectedly removed out of the way, and then they are placed in a situation of embarrassment, not knowing what to say next. It is a great deal better not to give any reasons at all, than to give those which are not the ones which really influence us, but which we only invent to satisfy other persons.

When Royal told Lucy that her mother was willing to have her go out, she hesitated a moment, and then she said,—

“Well, Royal, if I go out now, I must shut and lock the marble box; and then we cannot open it again till the next time we are sick; and that may be a great while.”

30 “Well,” said Royal, “and suppose it is.”

“Why, then I shall have to wait a great while before I can hear the rest about the parrot.”

“O, never mind the parrot,” said Royal; “I will tell you some stories that will be prettier than that is, a great deal, I dare say.”

“What kind of a story will it be?” said Lucy.

“O, I don’t know,” answered Royal. “What sort of a story should you like?”

“I don’t know much about the different kinds,” said Lucy. “How many different kinds of stories are there?”

“Come with me,” replied Royal, “and I will tell you. I can tell you all about it, while I am making my ship.”

“But I wish you would tell me a little about it now,” said Lucy, “and then I can decide better whether to come or not.”

“Well,” said Royal, “there are three kinds of stories—true stories, probable stories, and extravagant stories.”

“Which is the best kind?” said Lucy. “I expect true stories.”

“Why, I don’t know,” said Royal. “If you will come with me, I will tell you one of each kind, and then you can judge for yourself.”31

“She looked out at the window, and saw Royal walking along through the garden.”—Page 33

33 “Well, Royal,” said Lucy, as she saw that he was going away, “just tell me what sort of stories extravagant stories are.”

“Why, they are a very queer sort of stories indeed; you’ll know when you come to hear one.”

So saying, Royal went away, leaving Lucy in much perplexity of mind. She thought that she would just finish the story of the parrot, and that she would then go and hear Royal’s stories. But she could not read very fast, and her mind was distracted with wondering what sort of a story an extravagant story could be.

She looked out at the window, and saw Royal walking along through the garden. She wished very much that it was consistent with the rules of the marble box for her to go out and play with Royal an hour, and then come back and finish her story; but she knew that it was not.

Finally, her curiosity to hear the extravagant story triumphed, and she accordingly put the books away into the box, returned the till into its place, which she had taken out in order to gain more easy access to the books below, and then shut the lid and locked it. She was not strong enough to put the box back, where it belonged, without Royal; but she put away all the other furniture very carefully, and then went down stairs.

34 She carried the key to her mother, and said, “Here, mother, here is the key. I am going out to play with Royal. He is going to tell me an extravagant story.”

“An extravagant story!” repeated her mother, with some surprise; “what sort of a story is that?”

“I don’t know,” replied Lucy; “only Royal is going to tell me one.”

Her mother laughed, saying that she should like to hear one of Royal’s extravagant stories; and then Lucy walked away.

Lucy walked through the garden, and then climbed over the stile at the foot of it; and when at the top of the stile, she saw Royal sitting at a little distance in a shady place near some rocks.

“Ah, Lucy,” said he, when he saw her, “I am very glad that you have come; I want you very much. Come, run.”

Lucy descended from the stile, and walked along towards Royal pretty fast, but she did not run.

Royal was tying a knot, about his rigging; and he wanted Lucy to put her finger on to hold the first tie, until he secured it by a second. So he sat still, holding the ends of the thread, and waiting for Lucy to come.

“Why don’t you run, Lucy? Here I am waiting35 all this time,—while you are coming along so slow.”

“No,” rejoined Lucy, “I am not coming along slow. I am walking as fast as I can.”

“Walking!” repeated Royal; “well, that is coming slow. There, put your finger on there while I tie again.”

Lucy put her finger upon the place, saying, at the same time, that she did not think that all walking was slow. “I can walk very fast indeed,” she added.

“But I don’t see why you could not have run a little,” said Royal.

“Because,” said Lucy, “it is not proper for sick persons to run. I have not got well enough yet to run.”

Royal laughed aloud and heartily at this,—while Lucy looked disturbed and troubled. They came very near getting into a serious disagreement on this subject. They were both partly in the wrong. Royal ought not to have required Lucy to run to him, in that absolute manner, as if he had any right to claim that she should do it. But, then, on the other hand, when Lucy saw that Royal was in haste to have her come quick, and do something for him, she ought to have had the kindness to have run. She was mistaken in36 supposing that her being sick was the reason; for, in about half an hour after this, when Royal went away to sail his vessel, she ran after a black butterfly, with yellow spots, for a considerable distance.

Any serious difficulty, however, between the children, was prevented by an occurrence which fortunately intervened. It happened that, soon after Lucy left the house, her mother asked Miss Anne to be kind enough to walk down through the garden, and see where she and Royal were sitting, in order to be sure that it was a safe place, as she wished to be careful that she should not incur any danger of taking cold.

Now, it happened that, just as the conversation between Royal and Lucy was beginning to take this unfavorable turn, Miss Anne appeared coming over the stile.

Lucy walked along towards Miss Anne, with a countenance expressing some uneasiness of mind, which Miss Anne immediately observed, and she said,—

“Well, Lucy, and what is the matter now?”

“Royal is laughing at me,” said Lucy, in a complaining tone. Here Royal laughed again. “And besides,” continued Lucy, “he wants me to keep running all the time.”

37 “O Lucy,” said Royal; “not so. I only wanted you to run once, a little; just to put your finger on the knot while I tied it. Do you think there was any harm in that, Miss Anne?”

“No,” replied Miss Anne, “not if you asked in a proper manner. If you demanded it of her, or spoke harshly to her because she would not come,—then you did wrong; for she was under no obligation at all to run.”

“He scolded me a little,” said Lucy, “because I would not run.”

“O no,” said Royal.

“A little,” replied Lucy. “I only said a little.”

“Did you know what he wanted of you?” asked Miss Anne.

“No,” replied Lucy. “Only I supposed he wanted me to do something about his ship.”

“Well, I think, as he was waiting for you, you might have run along a little, Lucy. We ought to be willing to help one another. It is as much a duty to be kind to each other in little things as in great things; so that I think you were both somewhat to blame.”

“What was I to blame for?” asked Royal.

“For finding fault with her for not running,” replied Miss Anne, “and for speaking to her as38 if you had a right to require it of her. She was certainly under no obligation to come and help you at all, unless she chose to, herself.”

“Why, Miss Anne!” said Royal; “is not every body under obligation to do their duty? You said just now that it was Lucy’s duty to come.”

Miss Anne did not immediately answer this question, but stood still, looking into vacancy, as if thinking; and presently a smile, of a peculiar expression, came over her face.

“What are you laughing at, Miss Anne?” said Lucy.

Miss Anne did not answer, but only smiled the more.

“Miss Anne,” said Lucy again, pulling her hand, “what are you laughing at?”

“Why, I am laughing,” continued Miss Anne, “to think how I am cornered.”

“What do you mean by cornered?” asked Lucy, looking perplexed.

“I don’t see,” continued Miss Anne, “but that I am checkmated entirely.”

“What does that mean, Miss Anne?” asked Lucy. “I don’t understand one word you say.”

“Why, I told Royal,” replied Miss Anne, “that it was your duty to have helped him, and——”

39 “But I did help him, Miss Anne,” said Lucy.

“But I mean, to run along quick to help him,” replied Miss Anne.

“I did walk along as quick as I could,” said Lucy, “and I am not well enough yet to run.”

“Because I said it was your duty to make an exertion to do him a kindness,” continued Miss Anne, without appearing to notice much what Lucy said. “And that seems to be true, without any doubt. But, then, on the other hand,” she continued, “I told him that he did wrong to require it of you, for you were under no obligation to do it. That, too, seems to be true, without any doubt. Both seem to be true, considered separately; and yet, when brought together, they seem to be inconsistent; for, as Royal says, we are all under obligation to do whatever is our duty. I don’t think that I can get out of the difficulty very well.”

“I don’t see that there is any difficulty at all,” said Lucy; “for I am sure that Royal ought not to make me run when I am sick.”

The truth was, that Lucy was not old enough to understand metaphysical reasoning very well,—or any reasoning, in fact. So they dropped the subject. Miss Anne would not go on talking, and pretending to understand the subject, when40 really she did not; and Royal, satisfied with his victory, was desirous of turning his attention to his vessel.

“Who is going to make your sails for you, Royal?” said Miss Anne.

“I shall have to make them myself, I suppose, unless you will. See, there is my sail-cloth.”

Miss Anne looked upon a little sort of shelf in the rock where Royal kept his stores, and saw there a piece of white cotton cloth, neatly folded up, and lying in one corner. By the side of it were a pair of scissors and a spool of thread.

“Where are your needles?” asked Miss Anne.

“They are in the spool,” said Royal.

“In the spool!” repeated Miss Anne. She had never heard of needles in a spool.

“Yes,” said Royal; and he took up the spool, and showed it to Miss Anne. There was a hole through the centre of it, as is usual with spools. One end of this hole Royal had stopped with a plug, of such a shape that, when it was in, the end of it was smooth with the end of the spool; so that the spool could stand up upon this end for a bottom. Then, at the other end of the hole Royal had fitted a stopper, with a part projecting, by which he could take it out and put it in.

Thus the spool made quite a good needle-case.41 Royal kept it thus always in readiness for making his sails, and for rigging his little ships.

“Very well,” said Miss Anne; “and now where’s your thimble?”

“I have not got any thimble,” said Royal. “I don’t know how to sew with a thimble.”

“Well,” said Miss Anne, “if you will cut out your sails, I will hem the edges for you. Lucy and I will walk along up towards the house, where I can get a thimble; and then I can be at work, while walking back slowly through the garden.”

Royal did this, and Miss Anne made his sails. They were better sails than he had ever had before. And so much interested did they all become in this work, that Lucy did not think of the stories which Royal had promised to tell her. So she did not hear the extravagant story until another time.



A few afternoons after this, when Royal came down stairs from the room where he was accustomed to study, he saw Lucy walking away from the house, with a little parcel in her hand.

Lucy turned round, but she continued moving,—walking now, however, backwards; and she said with a tone of voice expressive of great pleasure,—

“I am going of an errand, Royal, all by myself. I am going of an errand, and a good long errand too.”

Lucy was so young, that she had been very seldom, if ever, before employed to go of errands; and she was very much pleased that her mother had intrusted her with one now.

“I’ll go with you, Lucy,” said Royal.

“No,” said Lucy, “I don’t want you to go with me. I must go all alone by myself.” Lucy thought that having a companion like Royal43 would detract somewhat from the credit that she would deserve by going alone.

“But, Lucy,” said Royal, “I won’t trouble you at all; and, besides, I’ll show you the way.”

But Lucy did not wish to have the way shown to her. One great part of the pleasure which she took in the expedition was in the idea of finding the way herself.

Lucy kept walking along backwards all this time, and was just upon the point of turning round again, when her foot stuck the upper part of a long and large root, which ran from one of the trees which grew near the sidewalk, and the course of which was so near to the surface of the ground, that the upper part of it rose a little above the path. Royal had just time to say, “There you go,” when Lucy fell over upon the grass.

Although it was in the walk, still it was a grassy place, for the walk was not much travelled; so that Lucy was hurt only a very little. She began to cry; but, perceiving that it was not necessary in such a case, she stopped just as Royal came up to her.

“There, Lucy, I told you that you were not big enough to go alone.”

Royal did wrong to say this; for Lucy had not boasted improperly of her age and powers,44 but only expressed a pleasure which it was very proper that she should feel at being intrusted by her mother with a mark of increased confidence in her strength and intelligence. Besides, even if Lucy had been vaingloriously boasting, her fall ought to have protected her from taunts; for whenever people are led into difficulty by their errors, the pain they feel is punishment enough. They do not need our reproaches.

However, though Royal at first accosted Lucy in a harsh manner, he soon changed his tone, and went to help her up. He smoothed her dress, and picked up her parcel, and gave it to her; for it had been thrown off up against the tree by the concussion.

“Lucy,” said he, “I’m sorry that you fell down; but you had better let me go along with you, to take care of you, and help you up if you fall down again.”

“No,” said Lucy, “I want to go and do the errand myself alone. I shall not fall down, if you are not behind me to talk to me, and make me turn round and walk backwards.”

Royal perceived that he had been the cause of Lucy’s fall; so he said no more upon that subject, but only added,—

“Well, Lucy, since you won’t let me go with45 you, just sit down here a few minutes on the grass, and tell me where you are going, and all about it.”

“No,” said Lucy, “I must not stop to play or sit down by the way, when I am going of errands,—only I am going to stop half an hour at Mary Jay’s.”

“Then you are going to Mary Jay’s,” said Royal.

“Yes,” answered Lucy, “to carry this book.”

While they had been talking thus, they had both been slowly advancing along the path.

“Well, Lucy,” said Royal, “it does not do any harm for me to walk along with you like this. I will keep a little behind you, and so let you find the way yourself; and then you shall do the errand to Mary Jay, all alone. I won’t speak a word.”

By these and similar persuasions Lucy was induced, at last, to allow Royal to accompany her; and they walked along together.

“Now,” said Royal, after they had been walking along together a little while,—“Now, Lucy, I’ll tell you about the different kinds of stories.”

“Well,” said Lucy, “I should like to hear very much.”

46 “First,” said Royal, “there are true stories.”

“Yes,” said Lucy, “and I like true stories very much.”

“Next, there are probable stories. The things did not really happen, but there is nothing in them but what might have happened well enough.”

“Now tell me a probable story,” said Lucy.

“Well,” said Royal. “Once there was a boy who had a cat,—a beautiful Malta cat. He tied a pink ribbon around her neck for a collar.”

“O Royal,” said Lucy, “I never heard of a cat with a collar.”

“No,” replied Royal; “they generally put collars upon dogs; but this boy had no dog, and so he put a collar on his cat.”

“What was his name?” asked Lucy.

“His name was—George;—no, Jeremiah,” said Royal, correcting himself.

“How came you to say it was George first?” asked Lucy.

“Why, first,” replied Royal, “I thought I would have him named George; but then I thought that would not be so good a name; and so I changed it to Jeremiah.”

“But, Royal,” said Lucy, “I want to know what his real name was.”

47 “Why, he had no real name,” answered Royal, “only what I give him.”

“Why, isn’t it a true story?”

“No,” said Royal, “certainly not; this is only a probable story. I have to make it up as I go along.”

“O,” said Lucy. “Very well,—only I was thinking that it was true.”

“The boy,” continued Royal, “taught his cat to follow him like a dog. He would walk down into the fields and woods, and the cat would follow him all about. Sometimes she would climb up to the tops of the trees, trying to catch squirrels.”

“And could she catch them?” asked Lucy.

“No, indeed,” said Royal, in reply; “they were a great deal too nimble for her. Besides, they were light, and she was heavy; and so they could run out upon the light and slender branches, where she could not go. Once, she went out after one, and the branch was so slender, that it bent away down, and she came tumbling down upon Jeremiah’s shoulders.”

Here Lucy and Royal stopped to have a good laugh at this idea, which Lucy seemed to consider very amusing.

“But Jeremiah caught a great many mice with his cat,” said Royal, “although he could not48 catch squirrels. He caught field mice, in the grass. He would walk about, and whenever he saw a mouse, he would call, ‘Here, Merry Merry, Merry!’”

“What did he mean by that?” asked Lucy.

“Why, he meant his cat,” replied Royal; “her name was Merry.”

“And would Merry come?” asked Lucy.

“Yes,” said Royal, “she would come running along, with her red collar about her neck, and the large bow-knot under her chin.”

“You did not tell me any thing about the bow-knot before,” said Lucy.

“No,” said Royal; “I just thought it would be a good plan to have a bow-knot.”

“Well, what else?” said Lucy.

“When the boy found that he could teach his cat so much, he concluded that he would teach her to sail on a board, in the little pond;—for you must understand that there was a little pond behind his father’s house. So, in order to teach her, he used to feed her at first very near the water; then on the board, which he would place every day more and more on the water. At last he taught her to go on eating a piece of meat while the board was sailing about the pond; and finally she would lie quietly on the board, when49 she had not any thing to eat, and so let him sail her all about the water. He made a board of the shape of the deck of a vessel, and put two masts into it; and he fastened a long string to the bows, and he would take hold of the end of this string himself, standing on the shore. When his cat was sailing, he used to call her Captain Merry of the ship Floater. She looked beautifully when she was sailing, sitting up straight, with her face towards the bows, her tail curled round to one side, and the beautiful bow-knot under her chin.”

Here Lucy clapped her hands, and seemed much delighted with the picture which Royal thus presented to her imagination.

“Besides,” said Royal, “Merry’s red collar was useful as well as beautiful; for, after a while, the mice in the field were all terribly afraid when they saw any thing red; and so Jeremiah just scattered a parcel of red rags about, and that frightened them all away.”

Here Royal and Lucy made the road ring with long and loud peals of laughter. When their glee, however, had in some measure subsided, Lucy said,—

“And is that what you call a probable story, Royal?”

“Why—yes,” said Royal, with some hesitation,50 “all except frightening the mice away. I don’t think that is very probable. But all the rest is; for a boy might very easily put a red ribbon around his cat’s neck for a collar, and then he might teach her to sail on a board, by managing kindly and carefully. But as for frightening away all the mice by red rags, I think myself that that was rather extravagant.”

“And now, Royal,” said Lucy, “tell me an extravagant story.”

“Well,” said Royal. “Once there were some chimney swallows who built their nests in a great hollow tree. They thought it was a chimney.”

“O Royal,” said Lucy, “they would know, because it was not square.”

“No,” said Royal, “not at all. Chimney swallows don’t understand geometry.”

“What is geometry?” asked Lucy.

“Why, it is about squares and rounds, and all other shapes. Chimney swallows don’t know any thing about it.”

“I should think,” said Lucy, “that, if they could see at all, they could tell whether any thing was square or round.”

“Besides,” said Royal, “some chimneys are round, and perhaps these swallows thought that this was a round chimney. At any rate, they51 built their nests in it, and found that it was a very good place.

“By and by,” continued Royal, “there came two large gray squirrels, and they built a nest in a small hole pretty near the bottom of the tree, about as high as a man’s head. The hole went in above a branch, and was just big enough for the squirrels to creep in. And it was large enough inside to hold ever so many nuts and acorns.”

“Wasn’t the tree all hollow, from top to bottom?” said Lucy.

“No,” replied Royal, “only a small place at the top, where it had been broken off by the lightning. That let the rain in, and rotted it down some way; but the bottom of the tree was large and strong.

“So the squirrels and the chimney swallows lived here in peace for some time. At last there came a great monkey, and he climbed up into the middle of the tree, and held on there by his tail.”

“By his tail!” said Lucy.

“Yes; he curled his tail around a branch, and so held on while he gathered nuts.”

“Were there any nuts on the tree?” asked Lucy.

“Yes,” replied Royal, “monstrous great nuts,52 as big as my fist,—and very sweet. Well, one of the squirrels, when he saw the monkey, went up and said, ‘Monkey, this is our tree.’

“But the monkey begged the squirrel to let him stay. He said that, if they would, he would do them some favor, some day or other. So the squirrel let him stay.

“By and by, a man came along through the woods with an axe; and he went up to look at this tree. He concluded that he would cut it down. So he began to take off his coat.

“The squirrel came out of his hole, and crept around the back side of the tree, where the man could not see him, and said to the monkey, ‘Monkey, there is a man going to cut down our tree.’

“‘Ah!’ said the monkey; ‘well, I’m pretty cunning; I can contrive some way to drive him off. Do you go up and tell the swallows while I think.’ So the squirrel went up and told the swallows, and they all came down; and then the other squirrel and all the little squirrels came up, and gathered around the monkey in the middle of the tree. He then told them what to do. He told the swallows to fly off softly, and one by one, into the neighboring trees. Then he told the two old squirrels and all the little squirrels to creep53 down to the branches that were directly over the man’s head. Then he said that he would break off a great many branches, and have them all ready; and when he gave the signal, the birds must all fly together about his ears, making as loud a chirping as they could, and the squirrels must jump down upon his head, and he would throw his branches down, and then come tumbling down himself with a prodigious noise and chattering; and all that, he thought, would frighten the man away.”

“And did they do so?” asked Lucy.

“Yes,” replied Royal. “The monkey gave the signal, and they all came upon the man together,—branches, birds, squirrels, and monkey,—and with such a screaming, chirruping, chattering, and fluttering, that the man was frightened away out of the woods; and he did not dare to come back until the next day, even to get his coat.”

Lucy smiled a little at this ingenious plan formed by the monkey, and then, after a moment’s pause, she asked,—

“Is that an extravagant story, Royal?”

“Yes,” said Royal, “I think that is extravagant enough.”

“Well,” rejoined Lucy, “I like it pretty well.

54 “And now have you told me all the kinds of stories?”

“Yes, I believe so,” replied Royal.

“No,” added Lucy, “you have not told me any true story. Just tell me one true story, and that will be all.”

“Well,” replied Royal, “let me consider.—Well. Once there was a little girl, and she was going of an errand for her mother.”

“What was her name?” asked Lucy.

“O, never mind about her name,” said Royal. “She was going of an errand to carry a book.”

“That’s just like my errand,” said Lucy.

“After she had set out,” continued Royal, “her brother came and called to her, and she turned round to speak to him. While she was speaking to him, she kept walking on backwards.”

“Why, that’s me, Royal. I verily believe you are telling about me.”

“And she tripped over a root, and tumbled down,” continued Royal.

“It is nobody but me,” said Lucy, “I know, and I don’t want to hear that.”

“But that is a true story, and you said, before I began, that you liked true stories the best.”

“Well, I don’t,” said Lucy; “I like the extravagant stories the best.”

55 By this time, Lucy and Royal reached Mary Jay’s, and Lucy went in to do her errand, while Royal walked around behind the house to see the water post, which is described in the book called Lucy At Study.



Lucy’s father lived not a great many miles from a town which was quite large; and the family used often to ride to the town in a chaise or carryall. When only two wanted to go, they took the chaise; but if more than two, the carryall, as that had seats for four.

One pleasant morning, Lucy, Miss Anne, and Royal, set out in the carryall to go to the town, to do some shopping. Royal sat upon the front seat to drive. Lucy and Miss Anne sat behind. Royal moved out to the end of the front seat, and then sat with his back turned a little to the side of the carryall; and by this arrangement he could see the horse, and could also join in the conversation with Lucy and Miss Anne.

“What are you going to buy in town, Miss Anne?” asked Royal.

“O, various things,” replied Miss Anne; “among the rest, I am going to buy a book for Lucy.”

57 “What book?” asked Royal.

“We have not decided. We are going to choose it when we get to the bookstore.”

Just at this moment, Royal’s attention was attracted by the sight of the heads of a yoke of oxen, just coming into view, in the road before them, as they were coming up a hill. The heads seemed to shake and to be agitated, as if the oxen were running. As they came up higher, and Royal could see a part of their bodies, he found that they were running, and drawing after them a large hay cart; that is, a cart with a large rack upon the axletree, for holding hay, instead of the common cart-body. The hay cart was empty. There was nobody near the oxen to drive them.

In an instant, however, Royal’s eye glanced farther down the hill,—for he had now advanced so far towards the brow of it, that he could see better,—and there he perceived a man running up the hill, with a goad-stick in his hand, and shouting out all the time, for the oxen to stop.

“O dear me!” said Lucy, “O dear me! now we shall all be run over.”

“Take the reins, Miss Anne,” said Royal; “just take the reins.” So saying, he passed the reins into Miss Anne’s hands on the back seat, and sprang out of the carryall. He ran forward, and58 began to march up towards the oxen with a bold and determined look, brandishing his whip, and shouting to them, to make them stop.

The oxen slackened their pace a little, but did not seem much inclined to stop. They, however, turned a little to one side. Royal then concluded to let them go on, but to drive them away out to one side, so that they should not run against the carryall. So he flourished his whip at them, and turned them off more and more. The oxen shook their heads at Royal, but ran on, until, at length, one wheel of the cart passed over a large stone by the side of the road, while the other sank into a hole, and the cart upset. The great rack tumbled off upon one side, and the oxen, having come up against the fence, stopped. Just at this moment, the man came running up to them.

“I am very much obliged to you for stopping my steers,” said the man. “They are as wild as a pair of colts.”

Royal looked at the oxen, and observed that they were quite small.

“I have been to get this hay cart,” continued the man, “and, while I stepped into the blacksmith’s shop a minute, they got away, and undertook to run home. I am much obliged to you for stopping them.”

59 “But I am sorry your cart is broken,” said Royal.

“O, it is not broken,” replied the man, “only the rack has come off. I can put it right on again,—if you would be so good as to stop and help me a moment, about backing the oxen.”

Just then the man happened to see a boy coming up the road, and he immediately said,—

“Ah, no; here comes Jerry. Jerry!” said he, in a louder voice, calling to the boy, “come here quick, and help me get this rack on.”

Then Royal, finding that he was no longer needed, got into the carryall again, took the reins from Miss Anne’s hands, and drove on.

“The man seems very glad to get his oxen again,” said Miss Anne.

“His steers,” said Lucy. “He said they were steers.”

“Yes,” added Royal; “but he need not have thanked me so much for stopping his steers; I did not think of doing him any good,—but only of keeping them from running against the carryall.”

Lucy here kneeled up upon the seat, and put her head out at the side of the carryall, where the curtain had been rolled up, and looked back to see what they were doing.

60 “How do they get along, Lucy?” said Royal.

“Why, the man has got the hay cart out in the road, and the oxen and the wheels too.”

“The hay rack, you mean,” said Royal.

“Yes,” said Lucy, “that great thing like a cage, which tumbled off. Now the man is holding it up, and the boy is backing the oxen so as to get the wheels under it. Do you think you could have backed the oxen, Royal, if his boy had not come?”

“Yes,” said Royal, “I could have backed them, I have no doubt.”

“There was one thing,” said Miss Anne, “that I noticed, that was singular.”

“What was it?” asked Royal.

“Why, the great difference in the man’s way of speaking, when he was asking Royal to help him put his cart together, and when he called the boy to come.”

“Yes,” said Royal; “he asked me if I would be kind enough to do it; but he said to Jerry, ‘Here, Jerry, come here quick.’”

“Yes,” rejoined Miss Anne; “now, what was the reason of the difference?”

“Why, Jerry was his boy, I suppose,” said Lucy.

61 “I don’t see that that makes any difference,” said Royal. “A man ought to speak as pleasantly to his boy as to any other boy.”

“He did speak pleasantly,” said Miss Anne, “only he spoke to Jerry in the form of command; but in speaking to you, he only made a request. The reason was, as Lucy says, that Jerry was his boy, and so bound to do whatever he should say; but you were not his boy, and therefore under no obligation to help him.”

“No,” said Royal, “I might do just as I pleased about it.”

“And yet,” said Miss Anne, “are you not under obligation to help any one whom you find in trouble or difficulty when you can do it so easily?”

“Why, yes,” said Royal.

“So it seems, in that point of view, that you were under obligation to help the man, as truly as his boy Jerry was,—though it was an obligation of a different kind. He was bound to do it, because it is every boy’s duty to obey his father; you, because it is every boy’s duty to help those who are in difficulty or trouble.”

“Yes,” said Royal.

“It is a case very much like the one we had the other day, when Lucy would not run to help62 you tie the knot. I asked your father about it afterwards, and he explained it to me.”

“And what did he say about it?” asked Royal.

“Why, he said,” rejoined Miss Anne, “that it very often happens that there is a duty which we ought to perform to a person, and yet we are not responsible to him if we do not perform it. He told me a story to help explain it.”

“What was the story, Miss Anne?” said Lucy. “Tell it to us.”

“It was about a widow and her garden. The widow was poor, and rather cross, and she had one son, who took care of her garden. At last her son became sick, and so the poor widow’s garden was neglected.

“Now, it happened that a gentleman lived near, who had a gardener. He was walking by the widow’s house, and he looked over the fence, and he saw that the weeds were getting up pretty high. So he told the widow that the next morning he would bring his gardener, and let him put it in order for her.

“The widow said that she had hired a man to come the next morning.

“‘Very well,’ said the gentleman, ‘I will let my gardener come and help; and then you will not have so much to pay.’

63 “Accordingly he came the next morning, and set his gardener at work, telling him what to do. Then he went away, and the two men went on working, one upon one side of the garden, and the other on the other.

“At length, after they had been working about an hour, the woman came out and began to scold them because they did not work faster. When she came to the gentleman’s gardener, he stopped, and listened to her a few minutes, leaning on his hoe, and then he said,—

“‘I will thank you, ma’am, to go and scold your own man. I am responsible to my master.’”

“Is that all the story, Miss Anne?” said Lucy, when she found that Miss Anne paused.

“Yes,” said Miss Anne, “that is all.”

“I don’t see how that explains the difficulty, exactly,” said Royal.

“Why, it is to show that, though the gardener was performing a duty which was for the advantage of the woman, yet he was not responsible to her for the performance of it. He was under obligation, but not under obligation to her. So it often happens that persons are under obligation to do things, and yet they are not under any obligations to us. And in such cases, we have no right to insist upon their doing them, nor to command64 them to do them. You were under obligation to help the man out of his difficulty with the cart, but you were not under obligation to him.”

“Who is it, then, that I am under obligation to, in such a case?” asked Royal.

“Why, to conscience,—or to God. But you are not responsible to the man at all. Of course, if he wishes you to do it, he ought only to request it. He must not command. But his boy is under obligation to him. The obligation is, perhaps, no greater in itself, but it runs to the man himself, and the man has a right to exact the fulfilment of it. But your obligation is not to him at all; and he has no right to insist upon your fulfilling it, or to call you to account for it at all.”

Royal listened very attentively to this explanation, though Lucy did not understand it very well. However, Lucy understood better what followed.

“Your father told me,” continued Miss Anne, “that this was a distinction in moral philosophy, very important for children to understand.”

“Is that moral philosophy?” asked Royal.

“Yes,” rejoined Miss Anne. “He said it would very much promote peace and harmony among children, if they only knew the difference between what they have a right to insist upon65 from each other, and what they have not. They often think that, because a playmate ought to do a thing, therefore they have a right to insist upon it. For instance, one boy wanted another to go and be his horse, and was displeased with him because he would not go, and found a great deal of fault with him. Another boy, named Thomas, had two apples, and his brother James had none. James asked Thomas to give him one, but Thomas would not. So James sat down muttering sullenly, and looking very ill-humored, and every now and then would tease Thomas to give him an apple. Just then his father came along, and asked him what was the matter. ‘Why, Thomas won’t give me an apple,’ said he, ‘when he has got two, and I haven’t got any.’ ‘Well,’ said his father, ‘you ought not to look out of humor about that, and to try to compel him to give you the apple, by teasing and fretting.’ ‘Why, father,’ said James, ‘I am sure he ought to do as he would be done by; and I know he would want me to give him an apple if I had two.’ ‘Yes,’ replied his father, ‘I don’t deny that he ought to give you the apple. I only deny that you have any right to insist upon it. He is not responsible to you, at all. If he had agreed to give you an apple, on account of something which you had66 done for him, then the obligation would have been to you, and you might have insisted upon it. But in this case it is only his general obligation to be kind and friendly; and you have no jurisdiction over that. He is not responsible to you for that, at all.’

“So, you see,” continued Miss Anne, “children often insist upon things which they have no right to insist upon,—though perhaps the other children ought to do them.”

“Yes,” said Royal. “Once we were playing together, and there were four boys, and it takes four to play ball,—and we all wanted to play but one, and he wouldn’t, and so the rest of us could not play.”

“Yes,” said Miss Anne. “Now, I suppose that, in such a case, he ought to have been willing to play; but, if he would not, you would have no right to insist upon it. Children very often are unreasonable in urging others to play with them, when they do not wish to.”

“Yes,” said Lucy, “that is the way that Royal always does with me.”

“O no, I don’t, Lucy, I’m sure.”

“Yes,” added Lucy, “you want me to be your horse, very often, when I don’t want to;—and, besides, I don’t think it is proper for me to be your horse.”

67 “Well, never mind that now,” said Miss Anne. “We won’t spoil the pleasure of our ride by a dispute.”

“Well,” said Lucy, “and I mean to take out my money-purse, and count my money, and see if it is all safe.”

Lucy had several pieces of money which her father had given her to buy something with, in the town. She was going to buy a book, and any thing besides, which Miss Anne might approve. So she poured the money out upon her lap, and began to count it.

“What would you buy with this money, Miss Anne?” said Lucy, after she had counted it, and found it all safe.

“Why, I can hardly say, till I see what they have got to sell. But I can tell you what I think I would not buy.”

“Well,” said Lucy, “what?”

“Why, I think I would not buy any very perishable property.”

“What do you mean by perishable property?”

“Property that is soon consumed or destroyed. Sugar-plums are very perishable property indeed; for you eat them, and they are gone.”

“But a doll isn’t perishable, is it?” said Lucy.

68 “No, not so perishable as sugar-plums or candy. But you have got a doll.”

“Yes, but I want a new one, for my doll is old and worn out.”

“So, you see, dolls are perishable; that is, they will wear out.”

“Then every thing is perishable,” said Royal, “for every thing will wear out in time.”

“Yes,” replied Miss Anne, “but then some things will last so long that we do not consider them perishable. A silver bowl, for instance, will last for several generations; but then it would wear out in time.”

“I should not think it would ever wear out, if it was really silver,” said Lucy.

“Yes, if it was used, it would wear out in time; but it would take a very long time. At any rate, we should not consider it perishable property. A silver thimble would not be perishable property.”

“Is a book perishable?” asked Lucy.

“Yes, more so than many other things; for it gets worn out and defaced, so that its value is destroyed before a great while. A box is not so perishable,—a handsome, well-made box.”

“I believe I’ll buy a box,” said Lucy.

“I’d buy something not very perishable, if I69 were you, at any rate, and then you can keep it and enjoy it a great many years.”

“Well,” replied Lucy. “But what other kind of things are there that you would not buy?”

“I would not buy any thing that you are growing away from. I would rather buy something that you are growing up to.”

“I don’t know what you mean by that,” said Lucy.

“Why, once there was a boy about three years old. He had never had any playthings bought for him, because his father had no money to spare. But one day his uncle came to visit him, and he gave him a shilling to go and buy himself a plaything with. So he went to the toy-shop, and they showed him a whistle and a ball. Now, he was not quite old enough to play with a ball, though it was almost time for him to be too old to be amused much with a whistle. However, he concluded to take the whistle. It was a very good whistle, and it lasted a long time; but he very soon ceased to care any thing about it. On the other hand, he very soon became big enough to play ball, and then almost every time that he saw his whistle for two years, he wished that it was a ball. He did not consider, when he bought it,70 that the time for him to be pleased with a whistle was almost gone by, while the time for him to be pleased with a ball was all to come. He bought something that he was growing away from.”

“What kind of a ball was it, Miss Anne?” asked Royal.

“An India rubber ball,” replied Miss Anne, “large, and round, and smooth.”

“What a foolish boy!” said Royal.

“Yes, he was not so wise as a girl I knew once, named Harriet.”

“Why, what did she do?” asked Lucy.

“When she was twelve years old, her father gave her five dollars to buy whatever she pleased with, for a birthday present. There were two things which she thought of, which she could have for five dollars. One was a beautiful waxen doll, with eyes that would open and shut, and a handsome cradle to put it in. The other was a portable desk, to hold writing materials,—such as paper, pens, an inkstand, wafers, sealing-wax, &c. There was also room in it to keep her notes and papers, and any valuable treasures which she might have. She asked her mother which she thought she had better take; and her mother said that she thought the doll would give her the most pleasure for a few days.

71 “‘And after that, would the desk give me most pleasure?’ asked Harriet.

“‘Yes,’ said her mother,—‘because your time for playing with dolls has nearly gone by. You will feel less and less interest in them now every year,—and the interest will soon be gone entirely. But your interest in writing and in other intellectual pleasures, will increase every year. So that I would recommend to you to buy the desk. If you were three years old instead of twelve, perhaps I should recommend to you to buy the doll; but for you to buy it now, would be like a man’s buying a trunk at the end of his journey.’”

“Well,” said Lucy, “and what did Harriet do?”

“O, she bought the desk, and she liked it better and better every year. She used to write notes, and a journal upon it; and she kept the notes which the other girls wrote to her, and her journal books, and her drawings, and her pencils, and all her treasures, in it. Thus she bought something that she was growing up to.”

Lucy determined to follow Miss Anne’s advice; but she had not time to hear any more, for very soon after this they reached the town.



One Wednesday evening, in summer, Royal and Lucy were sitting on the front door steps, eating bread and milk, which their mother had given them for supper, when they saw a boy coming along the road, with a little letter in his hand.

“There comes a boy with a letter,” said Royal. “I wonder whether he is going to bring it here for my father.”

The boy walked along, and, when he reached the front gate, he opened it, came up, and handed the note to Royal. “There’s a letter for you.” Then he turned round, and went away again.

Royal looked at the outside of the note, and saw that his own name and Lucy’s were written there. He accordingly opened it, and read as follows:—

“Mary Jay sends her compliments to Royal and Lucy, and would be happy to have their company73 at a gypsy party, at her house, to-morrow, at 3 o’clock.

Wednesday Morning.

“A gypsy party! I wonder what a gypsy party is,” said Lucy.

“It is a party to have a supper out of doors,” said Royal. “We’ll go, Lucy; we’ll certainly go. I should like to see a gypsy supper.”

“Yes,” said Lucy, “if mother will let us. I’ll go directly and ask her.”

Lucy went and showed her note to her mother. Her mother seemed much pleased with it, and she said that Lucy might go.

“And Royal too?” asked Lucy.

“Why,—yes,” said her mother, with some hesitation. “I suppose that I must let Royal go, since he is invited; but it is rather dangerous to admit boys to such parties.”

“Why, mother?” said Lucy.

“Because,” replied her mother, “boys are more rough in their plays than girls, and they are very apt to be rude and noisy.”

Lucy went back to the door, and told Royal that their mother said that they might go.

“But she thinks,” added Lucy, “that perhaps you will be noisy.”

74 “O no,” said Royal, “I will be as still as a mouse.”

Just then, Royal and Lucy saw a little girl, dressed very neatly, walking along towards their house. As she came nearer, Lucy saw it was Marielle, her old playmate at the school where Lucy first became acquainted with Mary Jay. Marielle advanced towards the house, looking at Lucy with a very pleasant smile. Royal went and opened the gate for her.

“How do you do, Lucy?” said Marielle.

Lucy did not answer, but looked at Marielle with an expression of satisfaction and pleasure upon her countenance.

“Are you going to Mary Jay’s gypsy party to-morrow?” she asked.

“Yes, and Royal too,” replied Lucy. “Are you going?”

“Yes, I am going, and Harriet, and Jane, and Laura Jones, and little Charlotte, and one or two others. My brother is going, too, and William Jones. And we are all going to carry something in baskets to eat.”

“Why, what is that for?” asked Royal.

“Why, you see,” she replied, “Mary Jay is going away in two or three days, and is not coming back for a year; and so she invited us to75 come and pay her a farewell visit,—all of us that she used to teach in the school. And my mother thought that, as she was going away so soon, she must be very busy; and so she sent me to go and ask her not to make any preparation herself, but to let us all bring things in our baskets; and then she could put them on the table and arrange them after we got there.”

“And what did she say?” asked Lucy.

“Why, she laughed, and said it was a funny way to give a party, to have the guests bring their suppers with them. But, then, pretty soon she said that we might do so; and she told me to say to my mother that she was very much obliged to her indeed.”

“Well,” said Royal, “let’s go in and tell mother about it.”

So the children went in and told their mother, and she said that she thought it was an excellent plan, and that she would give them a pie and some cake, and a good bottle of milk, for their share.

“My mother,” said Marielle, “wanted me to ask you not to send a great deal.”

“Well, that will not be sending a great deal; besides, what would be the harm if I should?”

76 “Why, she says that generally, in such cases, they carry too much.”

“Yes,” said Royal’s father, who was then sitting in the room reading. “When people form a party to go up a mountain, they each generally take provisions enough for themselves and all the rest of the party besides; so that they have to lug it all up to the top of the mountain, and then to lug it down again.”

They all laughed at this; and Royal’s father went on with his reading. His mother then said that she would not send a great deal, and Marielle bade Lucy and Royal good evening, and went home. The next day, at three o’clock, there were quite a number of children walking along the road towards Mary Jay’s house, all with small baskets in their hands.

Royal, Lucy, and Marielle, went together; and, as they reached the house, they found a boy in the yard, who told them that Mary Jay was at her seat down beyond the garden. So they went through the garden, and thence over into the walk which led down through the trees, as described in Lucy At Study.77

“Royal, Lucy, and Marielle, went together.”—Page 76.

79 As they drew near the place where they were to come in sight of the little pond of water, they heard the sound of voices; and, after a few steps more, they caught a glimpse of something white through the trees. They walked on, and presently they came in sight of a pretty long table, just beyond the pond, upon a flat piece of grass ground, up a little from the pond, and under the trees. The table was surrounded with girls moving about in all directions. Some were opening their baskets, some were hanging up their bonnets upon the branches of the trees, and several were standing around Mary Jay, who was seated at the head of the table, upon a chair, with her feet upon a small cricket, and a crutch lying down by her side.

“O, there they are,” said Lucy, as soon as she saw them; and she began to run. Royal followed, carrying the provisions.

“Ah, Royal,” said Mary Jay, “I am glad you have come; for I want you to help William make us a fireplace to roast our apples and corn. It would not be a gypsy supper without some cooking.”

“A fireplace?” said Royal; “I don’t know how to make a fireplace.”

“O, it is only a gypsy fireplace,” replied Mary Jay; “and that is very easy to make. All you80 have to do is to cut two crotched sticks, and drive them down into the ground, about as far apart as you can reach; and then cut a green pole, and lay across from one to the other. Then we can build our fire upon one side, and stand up our ears of corn against the pole, on the other; and so they will roast. Only we must turn them.”

“Well,” said Royal; “but where shall I get an axe?”

“You will have to go up to the house and get the axe. You will find one in the shed, just beyond the water post.”

So Royal and William went off after the axe, while the girls were all busy, some about the table, taking out the various stores and arranging them; others rambling about in the paths around, looking at Mary Jay’s stone seat, or playing with the pebble-stones on the margin of the water.

In a short time, Royal returned; and he and William began to look around, among the small trees, for two with branches which would form a crotch.

“Here is one, Royal,” said a gentle voice, at a little distance through the trees.

Royal turned, and saw that Marielle had found one for him. He went to it, to look at it.

81 “Will that do?” said she.

“Yes, indeed,” said Royal; “it is a beautiful crotch.”

In fact, it did look very beautiful and regular. The two branches diverged equally from the main stem below, so as to give the fork a very symmetrical form. Royal cut it down. Then he cut off the main stem about a foot from the crotch, and then the two branches a few inches above. He carried it to Mary Jay, to show her what a beautiful crotch he had got, for one.

“And now,” said he, “where shall we make our fireplace?”

“O, any where about here, where there is a level place; you and William can find a place. Marielle may help you.”

So they began to look about for a place. They found a very good place near the brook, and not very far from the table. Royal began to drive down the crotch. But here he soon found difficulty. The two branches of the fork diverged equally from the main stem, and of course, when the point was set into the ground, neither of them was directly over it; so that, when Royal struck upon one of them, the tendency of the blow was to beat the stake over upon one side, and if he82 struck upon the other branch, it beat it over upon the other side. In a word, it would not drive.

“Strike right in the middle of the crotch,” said William.

Royal did so. This seemed to do better at first; but the axe did not strike fair, as the head of it, in this case, went down into the wedge-shaped cavity between the branches, instead of finding any solid resistance to fall upon. And after a few blows, the branches were split asunder by the force of the axe wedging itself between them; and there was, of course, an end of the business.

“O dear me!” said Royal, with a long sigh, as he stopped from his work, and leaned upon his axe.

As he looked up, he saw an old man, on the other side of the brook, with a sickle in his hand, who had been down in a field at his work, and who was now returning. He had seen Royal driving the stake as he was passing along.

“The trouble is, boy,” said the old man, “that you have not got the right sort of crotch. The arms of it branch off both sides.”

“I thought it was better for that,” said Royal.

“No,” said the man; “it looks better, perhaps, but it won’t drive. Get one where the main stem83 grows up straight, and the crotch is made by a branch which grows out all on one side. Then you can drive on the top of the main stem.”

“O yes,” said Royal, “I see.”

“Besides,” said the old man, “if that is the place that you have chosen for your fire, I don’t think that it is a very good one.”

“Why not?” said Royal.

“Why, the smoke,” replied the old man, “will drift right down upon the tables. It is generally best to make smokes to leeward.”

So saying, the old man turned around, and walked slowly away.

“What does he mean by making smokes to leeward?” asked a little girl who was standing near. It was Charlotte.

“I know,” said Royal; “let us see,—which way is the wind?” And he began to look around upon the trees, to see which way the wind was blowing.

“Yes, I see,” he added. “It blows from here directly towards the table; we should have smoked them all out. We must go around to the other side of the brook, and then the smoke will be blown away. But first we must go, William, and get some more crotched stakes.”

So Royal and William went looking about after84 more stakes. They tried to find them of such a character as the old man had described; and this was easy; for it was much more common for a single branch to grow off upon one side, leaving the main stem to go up straight, than for such a fork to be produced as Marielle had found. Marielle seemed to be sorry that her fork had proved so unsuitable; but Royal told her that it was no matter. He said that hers was a great deal handsomer than the others, at any rate, although it would not drive.

They found suitable crotches very easily, and drove them into the ground. Then they cut a pole, and laid it across, and afterwards built a fire upon one side of it; and by the time that the other preparations were ready for their supper they had a good hot fire, and were ready to put the ears of corn down to roast.

The children had a very fine time eating their supper. Some stood at the table; and some carried their cakes and their blueberries away, and sat, two or three together, under the trees, or on the rocks. Lucy went to Mary Jay’s seat, and took possession of that. They made little conical cups of large maple leaves, which they formed by bringing the two wings of the leaf together and pinning them; and then the stem served as a little handle85 below. They were large enough to hold two or three spoonfuls of blueberries.

They had milk to drink too, and water, which they got from a spring not far from Mary Jay’s seat. Lucy went there to get some water; and, as she was coming back to her seat, bringing it carefully, she saw Royal doing something on the shore of the little pond. She put down her mug, and went to see.

He was making a vessel of a small piece of board. He had a large leaf fastened up for a sail. He secured the leaf, by making a slender mast, and running this mast through the leaf, in and out, as you do with a needle in sewing; and then, leaving the leaf upon the mast, he stuck the end of the mast into the board. Then he loaded his vessel with a cake, and some blueberries, and said that he was going to send it over to the other side, to Charlotte, who was waiting there to receive it. The children all gathered around to see it sail. It went across very beautifully, and Charlotte ate the cargo.

Then they brought the ship round back again, to load it again; and at this time, when it was nearly loaded with other things, Marielle brought the saucer of an acorn which she had gathered from a neighboring tree, and filled it with milk,86 and then set it carefully upon the stern of the vessel. She said that she wanted Charlotte to have something to drink. But just before they got ready to sail the vessel, they heard a little bell ring at the table, which they all understood at once to be a summons from Mary Jay to them to go there, and attend to what she had to say to them.

So those who were at the water left it at once, and the others came in from the places where they were playing; and all gathered around the table.

“Now, children,” said Mary Jay, “we’ll clear away the table, and then you will have an hour and a half to play before it will be time to go home. First, put all the fragments carefully into the large basket under the table.”

The children looked under the table, and saw a good-sized basket there; and they took all that was left upon the table, and put it carefully in. Then Mary Jay told them to fold up the cloth, and put that in; and they did it. Then William and Royal took the board which formed the table, and carried it up towards the house, and stood it up by the stile at the foot of the garden; the other children carried the basket which was under the table, and the cloth, and all the other baskets, and87 put them down, in regular order, near the same place. When the children came back, they found that Mary Jay had moved to her stone seat, where she sat waiting for them.

“Now,” said Mary Jay, “the things are all ready to be carried home, and the ground is clear for our plays.”

“What shall we play?” said several voices.

“We’ll see presently,” said Mary Jay, “when you get ready.”

So the children all collected around Mary Jay, some standing and some sitting in various places, upon the flat stones.

“Now,” said Mary Jay, “how many are there here? One, two, three,”—and so she went on counting until she ascertained the number. There were ten.

“There are ten; that will be about eight minutes apiece. Each of you may choose a play for eight minutes. First you may mention any plays that you would like,—so that you may all have a good number in mind to choose from.”

One of the girls said, “Blind man’s buff;” another, “A march;” another, “Hunt the stag;” and several other plays were named.

“Now,” said Mary Jay, “I will call upon one88 of the oldest children to choose a play. Laura, what should you like for your eight minutes?”

“A march,” said Laura.

“Yes,” said all the children, “let’s have a march.”

“Would any of the rest of you,” said Mary Jay, “like to have your eight minutes added to Laura’s? and that will make sixteen minutes for a march.”

“Yes, I,” and “I,” said several voices.

“But then you must remember,” said Mary Jay, “that whoever gives up her eight minutes to a march, cannot choose any other play for it.”

“O, well, then I don’t want to give mine,” said one of the girls, “for I want to have Blind-man’s-buff for mine.”

However, there was one of the girls who decided to add her eight minutes to Laura’s for the march; and so, at Mary Jay’s command, they all formed a line, and marched about under the trees for quarter of an hour. Mary Jay appointed Royal to be the captain; and so they all followed him around and under the trees, singing a merry song all the way. They had branches of the trees for banners.

When the march was over, Mary Jay called for more plays, and they played three more times,89 about eight minutes each, as near as Mary Jay could estimate the time.

“But, Mary Jay,” said Royal, “you have passed by Marielle; and she is older than the others that you have called upon.”

“So I have,” said Mary Jay. “Marielle, I did not mean to forget you.”

“O, it’s no matter,” said Marielle.

“Well, what play should you like? You shall take your turn now.”

“Cannot we choose any thing besides plays?” asked Marielle.

“Why, yes,” replied Mary Jay, “perhaps so; I’ll see. What should you like?”

Marielle looked down, and appeared half afraid to say what she wished; but presently she said,—

“Why, if you would be kind enough to read us a story out of your Morocco Book.”

“O yes,” “Yes,” exclaimed all the children, “let us have a story out of the Morocco Book.”

“Very well,” said Mary Jay; “I have no objection. I can find a short one, which will not take more than eight minutes.”

But the children did not want a short one, and those who had not chosen plays agreed to appropriate all their time to the Morocco Book.



Mary Jay accordingly sent up two of the children after the Morocco Book. She told them that her sister would give it to them. They knocked at the door of the house, and, when Mary Jay’s sister came to the door, they told her what they wanted. Then her sister went in, and presently came back, and brought the Morocco Book, which she had wrapped up carefully in a newspaper; for she knew that Mary Jay was very careful of the Morocco Book.

When the messengers had returned to where the children were assembled, Mary Jay took off the newspaper, and brought the handsome Morocco Book to view. She looked at the index a few minutes, and then turned to a place at about the middle of the book, and read the following story.—91


Once there was a farmer who lived in a solitary place near the bank of a river, and he had a little daughter named Jane. They commonly called her Jenny.

There was a small village about two miles off, up the river, though upon the other side. At the village there was a mill, and very near the mill, on the other side of it, was a house where the miller lived. One evening in winter, when the moon was shining bright, the farmer concluded to go to the mill in his sleigh. Jenny wanted to go with him for the ride; and he said that she might go. It was a very pleasant ride along the banks of the river from the farm to the mill. When the river was frozen over, they generally went upon the ice. The road upon the ice was very pleasant to travel, though it was rather bad getting off and on, for there was generally a wet place along the shore.

The farmer was going to carry a bag of wheat to the mill, to be ground. The meal was to be put into the same bag again; but then he wanted another bag to put the bran into. Jenny wanted the bran to feed her chickens with. So the farmer92 brought out a spare bag, and laid it upon the step of the door, while he went to bring the horse and sleigh out of the barn.

Jenny followed her father to the barn, and got into the sleigh there. Her father stepped in, too, after her, and took his seat. But he had to get out again to adjust some part of the harness, which was out of order. While adjusting the harness, he got engaged in talking with Jenny, and, when he was ready to set out, he had entirely forgotten about his spare bag; and so he drove by, and left it upon the great, flat stone which formed the step of the door.

It was a bright moonlight evening, and the farmer drove on over the beautiful white road very fast. Presently he came to the place where he was accustomed to turn off to go down upon the river.

“Are you going on the river?” said Jenny.

“Why, yes,” said her father; “wouldn’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” said Jenny, “perhaps; only I’m a little afraid to go through the water at the edge.”

“O, that will do no harm,” replied her father; “the water is not deep.” So her father drove down through the water, over on to the ice, and then turned up the river, and the horse trotted swiftly on.

93 As they rode on, Jenny and her father happened to fall into conversation on the way to act when in circumstances of sudden danger.

“Always take time, Jenny, in such cases,” said her father, “to consider well what you had better do, before you begin to do it.”

“But, father,” said Jenny, “suppose there is not any time.”

“Why, then,” replied her father, “of course you cannot do any thing.”

“But I mean, father, suppose there is only a very little time—not enough to think in.”

“Why, if there is ever so little time,” said her father in reply, “it would be better to use a part of it in considering. If the house is on fire, the first thing is to consider well what to do.”

“Why, I should run and cry fire,” said Jenny.

“But that might not be best,” said her father. “You might be in such a place that nobody would hear you, if you did cry fire. Or, if you should examine the fire, you might find that you could put it out yourself, very easily, with a pail of water; and in that case it would not be wise to alarm the people out of doors.”

“Then,” said Jenny, “the first thing I should do would be to run and get a pail of water.”

“That might not be best,” said her father; “for94 perhaps the fire would have advanced so far that you could not hope to put it out; and so it might be wisest for you to go get some valuable papers and carry out, or a child asleep in a cradle.

“So you see,” continued her father, “the best thing that you could do would be to pause and consider what to do. I heard a doctor say once that, if he had but five minutes to save a man’s life in, he should take two of them to consider what to do.”

Jenny wanted to drive a little. The horse was a very spirited, but yet a very kind and gentle horse, so that her father often used to let Jenny drive him. But it was rather cold this evening; and her father told her that he thought it would be better for her to sit still and keep her fingers warm.

When they arrived at the village, they drove up near to a post which stood between the house and the mill. The miller came to help the farmer take out the bag of wheat. And he said to the farmer, “You had better let your little girl go into the house and stay there while we are grinding.”

“O no,” replied the farmer; “she can go into the mill with us, just as well. She will like to walk about in the mill a little.”

So the farmer folded up the reins, and put them through a ring in the harness, in such a way that95 they hung safely down the horse’s shoulder; and he was then going to fasten the horse. He hung up the reins in that manner so as to prevent their getting down under the horse’s feet. Just before he fastened the horse, however, he observed that the miller was ready to help him carry in the bag of wheat. So he took hold of one end, while the miller took hold of another, in order to carry it along through a passage-way on that side which led into the mill.

“I think,” said the miller, “that your little girl had better go into the house. Yes, here comes John, and he will take your horse round into my shed, and show Jenny in.”

John was a boy who was just then coming along with a pail of water. He heard what his father said, and he answered.

“Yes, father,” said he; “as soon as I have carried in this pail of water, I will come out and do it.”

“O, that is not necessary,” said Jenny’s father; “there is a shed around on the other side of the mill. I will come and put the horse there, and let Jenny go in with us.”

So the boy went in with his pail of water, and the miller and the farmer carried the bag of wheat along the passage-way. When they had gone,96 Jenny thought she would step into the sleigh again, so as to be all ready to go whichever way it was decided to carry her.

Now, the horse perceived that somebody got into the sleigh, and he very naturally supposed that he was to set out again, and carry them where they wanted to go; and so he began to turn around out towards the road.

“Whoa! whoa!” said Jenny.

But the reins were hung up upon the harness out of Jenny’s reach; and so, as the horse felt no pressure of restraint upon the bit, he paid no attention to the order, but moved on out into the street. The weather being cold, all the doors were shut in the mill and in the house, and nobody heard the sound of the bells, nor Jenny’s calls to the horse; and, in a word, before Jenny had time to consider her situation, the horse was out in the street trotting off at a good round pace down towards a bridge which passed over a small stream just below the mill, and which was on the way towards home.

In the mean time, Jenny’s father, after helping the miller about getting the grain into the mill, and pouring it into the hopper, came back for Jenny. When he saw that the sleigh was gone, he said,—

“Ah, John has taken her into the house, I97 see. Well, he was pretty quick about it.” So he went back into the mill.

In the same way, John, when he had carried in his pail of water, came back to look for Jenny and the sleigh. When he saw that they were gone, he said,—

“Ah, they have taken her into the mill, I see. Well, they were pretty quick about it.” So he went back into the house.

In the mean time, the horse trotted on. Jenny’s first thought was to jump out at once. But the horse was coming fast down the hill to the bridge, and that made her afraid to jump out there; for she thought that, if she should fall down upon the hard planks, it would hurt her more than to fall upon the snow. So she concluded to wait until she should have got over the bridge.

But now, as she was passing the bridge, she recollected what her father had told her about always stopping to consider what it was best to do when she was placed in any dangerous situation; and so she concluded not to jump out at once, but to reflect a little whether it would be best to jump out or not.

“If I jump out,” she said to herself, “I shall get thrown down, perhaps, and hurt my head. And then, besides, the horse and sleigh will go98 home alone, and my mother will think that my father and I are thrown out and killed, and so she will be very much frightened. No, I had better not jump out.”

Then she thought of another plan. “I might climb along one of the shafts towards the horse’s head, and try to get hold of the reins, and then I could stop him.—But no,” she added, “that will not do. It might frighten him, and make him run away faster.”

Here she paused, and thought a little more about it.

“But, then,” she said to herself again, presently, “if I keep in the sleigh, and the horse runs against any thing, or runs quick round a corner, and turns the sleigh over, then I shall be thrown out, and shall be killed.

“Ah,” she continued, after thinking a little more, “I know what I will do. I will get out carefully upon the runner, and step along till I get on to the end of the runner, behind the sleigh; and then, as long as the horse goes on right, I will cling on, and he shall carry me home; but when I see any difficulty coming, then I will jump off.”

So Jenny stepped out very carefully, holding on by the back of the sleigh, and took her place99 upon the end of the runner, on one side. She went on so, very well, for a short distance, for the horse did not go very fast. If she had been much frightened, and had screamed or called out very loud, it would have frightened the horse very much, and he would have soon got into a run. But, as all was quiet, the horse supposed that all was right, and so he trotted along towards home, just as usual.

But then, in a very few minutes after this, he turned into the road which led down the bank to the river.

“O dear me!” said Jenny. “He will draw my feet all over in the water. I’ll jump off.—No, I’ll jump in.”

She had but a moment to decide which to do; but she happened to decide right. She jumped in, just as the horse was stepping carefully into the water at the margin of the river. She sat down upon the seat, and held on by one side of the sleigh. The runners plunged into the water, and then, with a jolt, struck the edge of the ice, and rose up upon it. The horse then began to trot again.

“There,” said Jenny, “I am safe on the ice. Now I can get out again upon the runner.”

However, by this time Jenny had become quite100 quiet and composed in her new situation. She found that the horse was going along very regularly, and she reflected that, as she had got out of the village, she had passed all the places where there were bad corners to turn, and also that it was not now very probable that she should meet any body coming. So she concluded to remain in the sleigh, especially as she would have to go through the water again, when the horse went up off the ice.

So she staid in the sleigh. She stood up in the front of it, upon one corner, and took hold of the dasher, in order that she might stand firmly. In this way she rode along. The horse trotted very fast, but the road was level and smooth, and its direction changed only by great curves, which followed the bends in the stream. At length, the horse came to the place for going up upon the land. He stopped trotting when he came to the water, looked down into it, stepped carefully in, and then very soon took the sleigh and Jenny out safe to the solid ground. He walked up the bank, turned into the road, trotted on a short distance, and then wheeled round up into the farmer’s yard. He walked along to the barn door, and there stopped for Jenny to get out and unharness him.

“Well,” said Jenny to herself, as she stepped101 out of the sleigh. “This is pretty well.” She looked around towards the house, and saw no light. So she knew that her mother had gone to bed in her bed-room, on the back side. The bag for the bran was lying in the moonlight on the step of the door, where her father had left it. She turned around again to the horse, and took hold of the reins, which were hanging like a bundle of ribbons from the horse’s shoulder.

“This was all the difficulty,” she said. “If I had only had these reins, I could have stopped him. I’ve a great mind now to get in again, and drive him back. I’ll see if I can turn him round, at any rate.”

So Jenny got into the sleigh, with the reins in her hands, and she found that she could turn him around without any difficulty. She had never driven alone before, but she had often driven when her father was seated in the sleigh with her, so that she knew very well how to guide the horse to the right or left by pulling one rein, and how to make him stop by pulling both; so that she had no difficulty in turning him round, and then stopping him before he went out into the road. Here she paused to consider.

“If I don’t go back,” said she to herself, “my father will come out to find me, and be afraid I102 am killed. Perhaps he is walking along home after me now. If I go in the house here, there is nobody to drive the horse back, and it is too far for my father to walk. Yes, I will drive him back; and then, besides, there is the bag upon the step. I can carry my father his bag, and so get the bran for my chickens.”

The sleigh was standing very near the step, at this time, but Jenny drove a little nearer, so that she could step out and get the bag. She kept hold of the reins all the time, with one hand.

She put the bag into the bottom of the sleigh, and then got in again herself. She then carefully drove the horse down out of the yard into the road, and turned him in the direction towards the village. When she came to the place for going down the bank to the river, her courage failed a little. She was afraid to drive into the water. However, she kept the reins still, and held on as firmly as she could, and the horse carried her safely through.

“Now, pony, you must go faster,” she said, when the horse was fairly upon the river. So she took the whip, which was lying in the bottom of the sleigh, and touched him very lightly with it. The horse trotted on at great speed. The road passed sometimes out in the middle of the103 stream, and sometimes it curved along by the shore, under a high bank overhung with trees. Sometimes she was in the moonlight, and sometimes in shadow; but the road was smooth and true, and she glided over it like a bird.

Presently she saw something dark at a distance before her. In a few minutes, she perceived that it was moving. It was a horse and sleigh coming on towards her.

“What shall I do now?” said Jenny.

The first thought was to stop the horse, and tell the man who was in the sleigh her story, and get him to go back with her. But then she reflected that she was getting along very well without any help, and that probably the people in the sleigh had a home of their own that they wanted to get to, as well as she.

“On the whole, if I can only get by them,” she said to herself, “I will go directly on.”

So she turned out well from the path, when she found that she was near them, and got by without any trouble. There were a man and a woman in the sleigh, and they looked up astonished at seeing so small a girl driving a sleigh at that time of night, and on such a solitary road. But then the two sleighs passed each other so104 quick, that the travellers had no time to say any thing to Jenny, and so she drove on.

And it was rather a sombre scene, as is here represented in the picture.

“O, is there a picture, Mary Jay?” “Let us see the picture,” said all the girls. They came around Mary Jay, and looked at the picture which was painted in the Morocco Book, at the place where Mary Jay was reading. They stood, some on each side and some behind, looking over her shoulder. They looked at it a few minutes in silence.

There was a lonely-looking place upon a river, the surface of the stream being white with snow. There were dark woods in the background, hanging gloomily over the shore; and upon the foreground, too, upon one side, there were some large rocks and fir-trees, which were upon the bank nearest the spectator. Jenny’s sleigh was going along, the moon shining upon it brightly; and behind it there was the other sleigh, which was seen more dimly, as it was partly shaded by trees. Still you could see the man’s head turned back, looking towards Jenny’s sleigh.

“How cold it looks!” said Marielle.

105 The rest of the children said nothing; but, after they had looked at it for some minutes, silently, they went back to their places, and Mary Jay went on.

Jenny met with no other adventure on the ice. In a short time, she came to the place where she was to go off the ice, and the horse took her very safely through the water, and up upon the shore.

She then guided him along towards the village, and across the bridge, and thence up to the mill. Just as she got there, she saw her father and the miller going along around the house to find her. His wheat was ground, and he was now ready to go home. He supposed that Jenny was in the house, and his sleigh in the yard. He heard a sleigh coming along behind him; but, not imagining it could be his, he did not pay particular attention to it, but walked on.

As soon, however, as he turned around the corner of the house, and saw that his sleigh was not there, under the shed where he had expected to find it, he stopped, and exclaimed,—

“What!—where’s my sleigh?”

“Here it is, father,” said Jenny, “and here is your bag, too, for the bran.”

Her father and the miller turned around, together,106 but they could hardly believe their eyes, and when Jenny came to tell her story, it was still more difficult to believe their ears. When, at length, however, they understood the story, her father said,—

“Well, Jenny, that’s pretty well—pretty well. If you had not got the bag with you for proof, I should think that you had got asleep in the sleigh, and been dreaming.”

Here Mary Jay paused, and shut the book.

“Is that the end?” asked the children.

“Yes, that is the end,” replied Mary Jay.

“Well, I think,” said Laura, “that Jenny was a pretty courageous girl.”

“And I think,” said Royal, “that she was a pretty wise girl.”

“But I don’t think she did quite right,” said Marielle, “to drive back again without her mother’s leave.”

“I am not sure of that myself,” said Mary Jay. “But now, girls, it is time for you to go home. Come, all of you, and shake hands with me, and bid me good-by, and leave me here. I am going away, to be gone a long time, and I don’t know when I shall see you again. But there is one thing that I want you to do for me. Be107 very gentle and obedient, at home, now, for three days; and they will think it is owing to your having paid a visit to Mary Jay.”

“Yes, we will, Mary Jay,” said the girls; “we certainly will.”

So Mary Jay held out her hand to the girls. For a minute or two, she looked upon them with a smile, as one after another came forward to shake it; but then she turned her head away, and, leaning upon a round stone at one side of her seat, she hid her face in her handkerchief, which she held in her left hand. Marielle lingered till the last, and then she kneeled down upon the step of the seat beside her, kissed her cheek, and said, in a very gentle tone,—

“Good by, dear Mary Jay.”

She then paused, and looked at her with a sad expression of countenance. Her dark hair, lying in curls upon her neck, was very beautiful. But Marielle was not admiring her beauty; she was pitying her sorrow.



Mary Jay lived at some distance from any church, and so it was very seldom that she was able to go to church; for she could not walk very far. But it happened that, at a short distance from the house where she lived, there was a small red school-house, at the edge of a grove of pine-trees, on the bank of a river; and Mary Jay used to go there every Sabbath day, to keep a Sabbath school for the little children that lived near.

The next Sabbath after the gypsy supper, Mary Jay was going to close her school. Marielle wanted to go very much; and she proposed to Lucy that they should both ask their mothers to allow them to go, instead of going to church. Lucy said that she was willing.

So they both asked their mothers, and they said yes. Royal wanted to go too, but his father thought that it was not best. So Marielle and Lucy set off alone. They were going to call at109 Mary Jay’s house, a little before the time, and so walk along to the school-house with her.

They found Mary Jay all ready for them, sitting in a chair, upon the door step. She had her bonnet on, and she was reading. One crutch was leaning against the post of the door. When she saw the two little girls coming, she shut her book, rose, and took her crutch under her arm.

“But, Mary Jay,” said Lucy, “where is your other crutch?”

“I am not going to take but one,” said Mary Jay.

“But you always used to have two.”

“I know it, but I am better and stronger now, and can get along very well with only one; unless I have to go a great way.”

“I am very glad of that,” said Marielle. “And perhaps, by-and-by, you will get so well that you can go without any.”

“No,” said Mary Jay, “I never expect to be well enough to walk without one crutch.”

“But perhaps you will, Mary Jay,” said Lucy—“perhaps.”

Mary Jay stepped down from the step, and took hold of Lucy’s hand with that one of her own hands that was free. Marielle went upon the110 other side, and carried her books; and thus they walked along together towards the school.

There was a short path through the fields which they took, which was more shady than the open road. They had to get over some fences; but then there were stiles or gaps in the walls, at the crossing-places, so that they got along without much difficulty. At one place there was a gate. Marielle held it open while Mary Jay and Lucy went through. At length, they reached the school-house.

It stood in a very pleasant place between the road and the river; on one side was a grove of trees, and on the other, before the door, was a little play-ground, green and level. From the play-ground there was a path which led down to the shore of the river, where there was a smooth beach. The children, in the recesses of the school on week-days, used to love to go down to this beach, and amuse themselves by throwing pebbles into the water.111

“When they saw her coming, they went in.”—Page 110.

113 Several little children were standing at the door and around upon the green, when Mary Jay and the other girls came up. When they saw her coming, they went in, and Mary Jay followed them. There was a fireplace, but it was filled with evergreens, because it was summer. Directly before the fireplace was Mary Jay’s table. Then before the table there was a level area extending into the middle of the room, and benches and desks around the four sides.

The children took their seats upon benches which were arranged around this area, next to the desks. So they formed a sort of a hollow square. Mary Jay asked two of them to move her table forward a little way; and then she took her seat at it; so that now she could see all the children, and all the children could see her. She gave Marielle and Lucy seats near her, on one side.

First Mary Jay read a hymn, and she and all the children sang it. Then she opened the book which she had brought with her, and read a prayer. The children listened to it with great reverence and attention.

After the prayer was ended, there was a moment’s pause, and then Mary Jay rapped gently upon the table. Immediately the room seemed to be in confusion. The children all arose, and began to move about, passing and repassing among each other, and going behind the desks, in apparent confusion; but very soon they seemed to be coming into order again, and Marielle and Lucy114 saw that they had arranged themselves in little classes, at the desks.

“What are they going to do now?” said Lucy, in a low tone, to Mary Jay.

“They are going to say their lessons,” replied Mary Jay.

“Who are they going to say them to?” asked Lucy again.

“To the teachers,” replied Mary Jay.

“But I don’t see any teachers,” rejoined Lucy.

Mary Jay smiled, and said, “The teachers are not very big.” By this time the room was all in a buzz. The children were all saying their lessons. The lessons were very short—only two short verses; but then all the teachers had to hear each member of her class repeat them, and so it took some time.

“I suppose they learned their lessons at home,” said Marielle.

“No,” replied Mary Jay; “they learned them here last Sunday. I teach them the verses one day, and then they recite them to my little assistant teachers the next.”

“Yes, but, Mary Jay,” said Marielle, “why don’t you let them learn their lessons at home?”

“Because,” said Mary Jay, “it would be a great deal of trouble to their mothers to attend to115 it; for their mothers are all very busy with their work. And if nobody attended to them, they would not have them well learned, and my assistant teachers would have to hear bad lessons recited; and that is very painful and unpleasant to teachers, and very injurious to scholars. So I teach them their lessons myself, and so they are almost all well learned.”

Marielle and Lucy now looked around the room, and they observed that it was getting very still again. A large part of the classes had finished saying their lessons. Mary Jay waited a few minutes longer, until all had finished, and then she rapped again upon her table. Then the children all returned again to their places, upon the seats around the area. Marielle observed that they were arranged regularly, the younger children at the two sides, nearest to Mary Jay, and the older ones back upon the seat that passed across at the farther end of the area.

When they were all seated, they looked attentively towards Mary Jay, in silence, as if they expected something; and then suddenly, all together at the same instant, they rose. At the next instant, they all faced half round, those on each side turning towards the ends of the seats where the little girls sat, which were towards116 Mary Jay. The larger girls, on the seat at the back side of the area, faced in opposite directions; one half turning out towards one side of the room, and the other towards the other. Of course the two girls which were in the middle stood back to back. Marielle and Lucy wondered how they happened to move so precisely together. The fact was, they moved in obedience to signals which Mary Jay made, but which were so slight that Marielle and Lucy did not observe them.

“Sing,” said Mary Jay; and she immediately began herself to sing a hymn, in a clear and sweet tone of voice, to a tune which all the children knew, and which was a very good tune to march by. The children joined in with her, singing loud and full. As soon as the children had taken up the tune, Mary Jay stopped singing, and let them go on alone. Presently, just as they reached the end of the first line, she gave another order, which was,—


The children all began beating the time with the left foot, while they went on singing. At the end of the second line, Mary Jay said,—


And the children all began to march. The two little girls who were at the ends of the line117 towards Mary Jay’s table, turned, and marched towards each other, advancing in front of the table. When they met, they turned towards the area, and took hold of hands; and then they marched along down the centre of the area, all the rest following, and joining hands, two by two, as fast as they came together.

When the two leaders reached the back side of the area, they separated again, and turned off, one to each side, and so came back, along by the seats where the line had first been formed. Thus they passed around and down through the area three or four times, until they had sung all the verses of the hymn. Then they took their places in the lines again; and, at a given signal from Mary Jay, they all sat down together.

“Now, children, we will learn the verse for the next Sabbath;—no, you will not come here next Sabbath to recite it, for this is the last day; but you can learn the verse, at any rate. I have chosen one for you which is a great comfort to me now that I am going away. It is this:—

“‘Are not two sparrows sold for one farthing? and, behold, not one of them is forgotten before God.

“Now, repeat. Are not two sparrows—

118 And all the girls said after her, “Are not two sparrows.”

Sold for one farthing,” continued Mary Jay.

Sold for one farthing,” repeated the scholars.

And thus they went on, Mary Jay enunciating the several clauses of the verse in succession, and the children repeating them after her. Marielle and Lucy were surprised to see how precisely together the children repeated the words.

Mary Jay had trained them to do it very accurately.

“Children,” said Mary Jay, “do you know what this verse means?”

The children were silent.

“It means,” said Mary Jay, “that sparrows are such little things that it takes two of them to be worth a farthing; and yet God takes care of every one. Of course much more will he take care of us. So you see, children, it is an excellent verse for us all; and particularly it is an excellent verse for me, now that I am going away alone among strangers.

“And now let us see,” she continued, “if some of you can repeat the verse. Lucretia, you may try.”

So Lucretia, who was one of the girls upon the119 back seat, rose, and repeated the verse. She spoke in a low and gentle tone, but they were all very still, and so they could hear her; and she said it very correctly.

“Anna,” said Mary Jay.

Anna was a little girl who sat very near Marielle and Lucy. She rose, and repeated the verse in a very correct and proper manner.

“Now all may repeat it together,” said Mary Jay. “Begin.”

At the word begin, they all commenced with one voice, and went through the verse with great correctness and precision.

“Very well, children,” said Mary Jay. “Here ends your lesson. Now we will sing a verse. Rise.”

And all the children rose.

Then Mary Jay commenced singing, and all the children joined with her. When it was concluded, she directed them to sit down again. And then she said, “Recess;”—and all her scholars arose, and began to walk about the room, mingling with each other, and talking in low and subdued tones.

“Why, Mary Jay,” said Marielle, “do you have a recess in your Sunday school? I never heard of a recess in a Sunday school.”

120 “Nor I,” said Mary Jay; “but my scholars are so little that they get tired of sitting still so long; and so I let them have a little recess, to move about a few minutes and rest themselves. But I tell them that they must remember that it is the Sabbath day, and so be very still. And I think that they are pretty still.”

“Yes,” said Marielle, “I think they are very still, indeed.”

“What comes after the recess?” asked Lucy.

“Why, what I call my sermon comes next,” said Mary Jay, with a smile.

“Your sermon?” said Lucy. “Do you have a sermon?”

“You’ll see,” said Mary Jay.

During the recess, some of the girls went out and stood upon the door step, or walked about upon the green. But they all came back again very soon; and when Mary Jay rapped upon the table, they were all ready to take their seats.

When they were seated, Mary Jay began to instruct them as follows:—

“What is necessary for us, children, in order that we should be happy in heaven, after we die?”

The children seemed to hesitate: at length, one or two said, “We must be good.”

“We must be good,” repeated Mary Jay. “Is121 that the right answer? All of you that think that is the right answer, may hold up your hands.”

Nearly all the children held up their hands.

“I don’t think it is the best answer,” said Mary Jay. “We will examine it a little. Must we be always good, or will it do to be sometimes good and sometimes bad?”

“Always,” replied the children, very promptly.

“Then, in order to go to heaven after we die, we must be always good.”

“Yes,” said the children, with one voice.

“Then,” said Mary Jay, “who do you think will ever go to heaven?”

There was a long pause;—none of the children answered.

“Who do you think will ever go to heaven,” repeated Mary Jay, “if it is only those can go who are always good?”

There was of course no reply to be made to this question.

“No, children,” continued Mary Jay, “you have not given me the right answer. You have given the common answer, but I don’t think it is the right answer.

“You have all heard of the thief that was crucified with Jesus Christ—the penitent thief. Where did he go when he died?”

122 “To heaven,” said a great many of the children.

“Yes,” said Mary Jay. “Jesus Christ promised him that he should go with him into paradise; which meant heaven. Now, was he good while he lived in this world?”

“No, indeed,” said one of the children; “he was a thief.”

“Yes,” replied Mary Jay; “so that you see the right answer is not that we must be good in order to go to heaven; we must be——what?”

Mary Jay paused, and looked all about the room, waiting for an answer.

“We must be——what?——forgiven. That’s it—Forgiven. Not good, but forgiven, for being bad. That’s the distinction.

“Do not think, however, children, that I am excusing you from being good. We ought to be good all the time. We ought to obey all God’s commands, and do all our duty. But, then, we must not expect to depend on this as the means of going to heaven. It is forgiveness for our sins that we need. Therefore, children, remember, if you want to be happy when you die, you must confess your sins to God, and ask him to forgive you now. This is my last advice to you. Ask God to forgive you for123 every sin. Whenever you do wrong, as soon as possible ask God to forgive you, and every night, when you go to bed, confess all your sins, and pray to God to forgive you. That is the way to prepare yourselves to go to heaven. And remember that there never was a person good enough to go to heaven without forgiveness, nor bad enough to be shut out with it.”

Mary Jay made some further explanations, and then she gave them another verse to sing. After they had sung the verse, she read another prayer out of her book; and this was the closing exercise of the school. Then the children put on their bonnets and caps, and all went away.

Mary Jay and the two girls then set out together to walk along towards home.

They went on slowly, and talking by the way, for some time. They did not go back the way they came, for there was some difficulty in getting over the fences; and now the sun was down so far that the road was pretty cool and shady. They saw little groups of Mary Jay’s scholars walking along the road, at different distances before them. These children, however, gradually disappeared. Some turned off into other roads; some went into farm-houses; and124 pretty soon all had gone but two, who were standing at a little gate which led to a small white house, a little way back from the road, and at a short distance before Mary Jay and the two girls who were with her. When they came up to the place where the two scholars were standing, they spoke to Mary Jay, and told her that their mother wanted to have her come in a minute as she was going by.

Mary Jay said that she would; and she asked Lucy and Marielle to go in with her. But they declined. Marielle said that she and Lucy would walk along very slowly. So Mary Jay went in, and Marielle and Lucy walked on a few steps, and then sat down to wait for her.

After about five minutes, they saw Mary Jay coming out with something in her hand. Lucy wondered what it could be. When Mary Jay came along to where Lucy was, she and Marielle rose, and went forward to meet her, and asked what it was.

“Why, the mother of two of my scholars lives there,” said Mary Jay, “and she says that she is very much obliged to me for teaching her children, and that they have been a great deal better children since they came to my Sabbath school;125 and so she has made me a present of these good, warm moccasins. They are to keep my feet warm next winter.”

Lucy and Marielle looked at the moccasins. They were very pretty, and Marielle said that they looked as if they would be very warm.

“I should think you would be very glad to get such good, warm moccasins,” said Lucy.

“I am,” replied Mary Jay. “And I am glad, too, to hear that any of my scholars are good children.”



When Lucy and Marielle had left Mary Jay, on their way home from the Sabbath school, as was described in the last chapter, and had walked on some way, Marielle said that she thought it would be a good plan for them and some of the other girls to unite and buy something for a present for Mary Jay.

“So it would,” said Lucy. “It would be an excellent plan. I have got some money myself. And, besides, my father will give me some more. I know he will. I will ask him as soon as I get home.”

“Well,” said Marielle, “you may ask your father, and I will ask mine; and then, if they think it is a good plan, we will ask some of the other girls.”

Lucy went home very much interested in this idea; and, when she came to propose it to her parents, she found that they approved of it very highly. Marielle came over to see Lucy early127 on Monday morning, and said that her father thought it would be a very good plan; and so Lucy and Marielle went around to collect the money.

They found that the plan was very favorably received wherever they went. Mary Jay had taken a great deal of interest in performing acts of kindness for the girls while she was in school with them, as is described in Lucy’s Stories. And she had instructed them since, and read them stories out of her Morocco Book, and had often given them good advice; and she had done all in so gentle and pleasant a manner, that she had acquired a great influence over all the children, which she had used in such a manner as to do them a great deal of good. So the children were all very much pleased with Marielle’s plan, and their parents were very much pleased too.

They generally asked Marielle what the present was to be. But she said that it was not for her to decide that; but that, as soon as all the money was collected, all the girls that had joined in it were to have a meeting, and then consider what it would be best to buy.

They collected several dollars; and it was agreed that they should all meet that afternoon, in the garden, at Marielle’s, to determine what to128 buy. And in the mean time, Lucy was to go and see Mary Jay, and find out what day she was going to leave town, in order that they might know how soon they must have the present ready. But they charged Lucy not to let Mary Jay know what the reason was which led her to inquire.

That afternoon, they all assembled for their consultation. The persons were just the same that had been at the gypsy supper; for all that were at the gypsy supper had contributed. Miss Anne went also with Lucy, as it was necessary to have some one older than the rest, to preside.

There were a great many things proposed for the present. One wanted it to be a new gown, another a desk, another some books.

“A watch,” said Laura—“how would a watch do?”

“O yes,” they all exclaimed, “a watch, a watch! let us get a watch.”

“No,” said Miss Anne, “you cannot have a watch. There is not money enough for a watch.”

“Not money enough?” said little Charlotte. “O Miss Anne, there is a great deal of money.”

“Yes,” replied Miss Anne, “I know there is; but it is not enough to buy a good watch. And it would be best not to give her one, unless it was a good one.”

129 “Let it be a desk then,” said Laura. “I would have a desk. Mary Jay writes a great deal, and I know that she would like a handsome portable desk. There is money enough for that; isn’t there, Miss Anne?”

“Yes,” said Miss Anne, “I think there is.”

“I know what I would give her,” said Royal.

“What?” asked several of the children.

“A crutch,” answered Royal.

“A crutch!” they exclaimed, in astonishment. “O Royal, a crutch isn’t a pretty thing at all. I would not give her a crutch.”

“Yes,” said Royal, “a good, handsome crutch; an elegant crutch. And then, when people see that she is lame, they won’t think she is poor.”

“O no, no,” said the children, “I wouldn’t have a crutch; would you, Miss Anne?”

“I don’t know,” replied Miss Anne. “I never should have thought of such a thing, myself; but since Royal has thought of it, it is worth considering. It would be a singular thing for a present, certainly.”

“We will have it made of rose-wood,” said Royal, “with a silver plate on it, and all our names.”

“I don’t think that there will be time to have a crutch made,” said Miss Anne.

130 “Yes, there will,” said Lucy, “for she is not going till next week, now. She was going this week; but she says it is put off till next week, on Tuesday.”

“Did you tell her what you wanted to know for?” asked Royal.

“No,” replied Lucy; “I told her it was a secret.”

The children all laughed aloud at this; but Lucy could not see what it was that made them laugh.

“Why, you told me,” said she, “not to let Mary Jay know, and so I told her it was a secret.”

“Well, you should not have told her any thing about it,” said Royal.

“O, never mind that,” said Miss Anne. “Let us think about the present. I think a desk would be a very good thing indeed; and as to a crutch, I don’t know. When Royal first mentioned it, I did not like it very well.”

“Nor I,” said Laura. “I wish she did not use any crutch at all.”

“Yes,” said Miss Anne, “we all wish that very much; but since she has to wear one, and probably will do so for a long time to come, the question is, whether we had not better get her a131 handsome one. And I don’t know. I should like to ask Lucy’s mother, or Marielle’s.”

“Let us go and ask my mother, now,” said Marielle; “she is sitting on the piazza.”

“Very well,” replied Miss Anne, “we will go.” So all the children walked along, following Miss Anne, out of the summer-house, where they had assembled, and along the garden-walks, till they came to a piazza which projected into the garden from the rear of the house where Marielle lived. There was an elderly lady, dressed in black silk, sitting upon the platform of the piazza, in a little rocking-chair, sewing. Her work-table was by her side. Miss Anne advanced to a little railing upon the edge of the platform, and the children all gathered around, while she stated the case to the lady, who was Marielle’s mother.

The lady smiled when she heard of Royal’s proposal; but she did not answer hastily. She paused a short time to consider. At length she said,—

“I am not certain but that Royal is right. It is true that a desk would be a very appropriate present. She would use it a great deal, and it would be a great source of enjoyment to her. And yet a handsome crutch might, on the whole,132 be still better. A young female, suffering under such a calamity, feels depressed and disheartened by it, especially when in public, and among strangers. The feeling of being an object of pity is painful. But if she wore a handsome crutch, one that was evidently somewhat expensive, people would see that she was not in very humble circumstances; and I think it likely the wearing it would save her feelings, and encourage her in the presence of strangers, and thus help her where she most needs help. Yes, I am rather in favor of a crutch. They make them sometimes very handsome for ladies. The shaft is of rose-wood, down as far as the hand extends, and the lower part is a metallic rod, with a sort of button at the bottom.”

“Do you think we shall have money enough?” said Marielle.

“O, never mind that,” replied her mother. “Miss Anne may engage such a one as she thinks most suitable; and we shall be able to make out the money in some way or other, I dare say. Only, Miss Anne,” she continued, “you must not get one too expensive, or that will be entirely out of keeping with her dress and appearance in general, or that will have the appearance of an ostentatious display.”

133 “I shall not know,” said Miss Anne, “exactly what kind of one to get; but I can ask Lucy’s father about it. But come, girls,” she added, “we will go back to the summer-house again.”

They talked over the subject some time longer; and the more they considered it, the better they were pleased with this plan. In fact, they all said that, if they were lame, they should want to have a handsome crutch, by all means. At last it was agreed that Miss Anne should talk with Lucy’s father about it, and, if he approved of the plan, that she should go into the town, to such a place as he should recommend, and get one made. She was to get it done by Saturday, and then they were all to meet at the same place, to look at it, and to determine in what way to present it to Mary Jay.

On Saturday, they assembled accordingly. As the different groups came up, they waited at the gate, to inquire of each other if the crutch had come. Presently they saw Miss Anne, and Royal and Lucy, walking along towards them at a rapid rate, and Royal had the crutch in his hand. As he drew nearer, they perceived that it was done up in papers, which were carefully tied around it, so as to cover it entirely. When Royal reached134 the gate, they opened it, and all the party went in toward the summer-house, eager to see.

When they reached the place, Royal untied the strings, and unrolled the papers, one after another, and brought the whole crutch to view. The children all said that it was very beautiful. The upper part was made of rose-wood, of a splendid color, and it was polished highly. The lower part was a metallic rod, with a little knob at the bottom. The color of the metal was white. On the top of the crutch, at the place where it comes under the arm, there was a small silver plate, with something engraved upon it. The children all wanted to see what it was; and they found, on holding it down so that they could see it, that the plate contained the words, FROM FRIENDS.

“We thought that that would be better,” said Miss Anne, “than to put all your names on.”

“Yes,” said Marielle, “a great deal better. Mary Jay will remember all our names.”

“Yes,” rejoined Miss Anne, “we thought it would be well, when you send it, to send a note with all your names in it, because she will want to know whom it is from.”

“And my name too?” said little Charlotte.

135 “Yes,” said Miss Anne, “your name too, by all means.”

“Well,” said Charlotte, in a tone of great satisfaction; and she went capering about in high glee.

Various plans were proposed for giving the crutch to Mary Jay. Among the others there was this—that Miss Anne and two or three of the children should be at the house when Mary Jay was going away; that they should have the new crutch hid behind the stage; and that, when Mary Jay came out to get into the stage-coach, Miss Anne should offer to hold her crutch for her while she got in; and then, after she was fairly in her seat, that they should put in the new crutch instead of the old one, and shut the stage door quick, and let her be driven off.

Miss Anne said that that was certainly an ingenious plan; but she thought that that mode would not be so pleasant to Mary Jay, as some other mode might be.

“It would give her a sudden surprise,” continued Miss Anne, “which would not be pleasant in so public a place as a stage-coach. She would probably be very much embarrassed and confused.”

“Besides,” said Laura, “I don’t want to have136 it given to her just when she is going away. I want to see how she looks, and to hear what she says. We had better all go together, and ask her to come out, and then give it to her ourselves.”

“No,” said Marielle, “I don’t think that will be the best way. She would rather be alone when she receives it. Let Royal carry it to the door all tied up, and the note fastened to it, and give it to her sister, and ask her to give it to Mary Jay, and then come right away.”

There was some objection made to this plan, but at length it was adopted. Miss Anne thought it would be pleasanter for Mary Jay to receive it in some such way as that. “I think,” said she, “that she would rather receive it alone. And then, besides, it is better that she should have it a little time before she goes away, in order that she may become somewhat accustomed to it.”

Accordingly, that evening Royal carried the crutch. He waited until evening, in order that he might be more sure not to find Mary Jay herself at the door, or in the yard or garden. He knocked at the door, and Mary Jay’s sister came. He handed her the crutch, and the note, and asked her if she would be so good as to give them to Mary Jay; and then he turned around and came directly away.

137 On the Monday following, which was the day before Mary Jay went away, the girls received a little note from her, thanking them for their present. The note was as follows:—

“My dear Friends,

“I was very much astonished last evening when my sister brought in your beautiful present to me. I like it very much indeed. It is so light that I can walk very easily with it, and it feels very smooth to my hand. I shall not be nearly so much troubled because I am lame, when I am among strangers, now that I have got such a beautiful crutch; and you may depend upon it that I shall not very soon forget who the friends were that performed so great an act of kindness for

Mary Jay.”

Mary Jay found her crutch, in use, as valuable as she had expected. She felt far less awkward and embarrassed; for, as Royal had predicted, she had now the feeling that, though it was evident that she was lame, the beauty of her crutch showed that, at any rate, she was not friendless and poor.



Royal and Lucy formed a plan to go for blueberries in a wild piece of pasture land, not very far from where they lived. They got several other children to go with them. There was Rollo, who was then quite a small boy, and a boy named Thomas, and Marielle.

They took some luncheon in a basket. Their plan was to eat their luncheon, out of the basket, as soon as they got to the blueberry ground. Then they were going to fill the basket with blueberries, to bring home. Each one took a little tin mug to pick in, because they could not conveniently all pick into the same basket.

They walked along very pleasantly together, till they came to the pasture. Then they had to clamber along up rough and precipitous paths, and among rocks and brambles. At last they came to the place where the blueberries were found. Before they began to gather them, however,139 they went into a little copse of trees, near the borders of a brook, and sat down upon the stones to eat their luncheon.

The brook was pretty large, and it flowed among rocks and bushes; and just opposite to where the children had stopped, it divided into two parts, which formed an island between them. Royal and Thomas said that they meant to go over to that island, and eat their luncheon there. So they began to step along from one stone to another across the brook.

“I mean to go too,” said Rollo.

“And I,” added Lucy. And they rose from their seats, and attempted to follow the two boys.

“Royal, stop for me,” said Lucy; “stop and help me over this deep place.”

“O, you must jump over yourself,” said Royal, “as I did.”

“But it is too far for me to jump,” said Lucy. “I wish you would just come and help me across.”

“Yes, come, Royal,” said Rollo.

But Royal had got over upon the island, and was lost from view among the bushes. Rollo and Lucy called louder and louder; but Royal only answered with a sort of shout, such that they140 could not hear what he said, but only they knew that he was not coming back.

It was wrong for Royal and Thomas to do so. They were the oldest boys of the party, and they ought to have acted as guides and protectors of the rest. Instead of going off to seek their own amusement, and leaving the rest of the party, they ought to have been willing to have sacrificed their own wishes, in some respects, in order to please the younger children.

“Come back, children,” said Marielle. “I would not go over upon the island.”

“Why, Marielle,” replied Lucy, “it is a beautiful place there, and we want to go very much. I don’t see why Royal couldn’t have come back and helped us across.”

“Well,” said Marielle, “I’ll come and see if I can help you over.”

So Marielle went to the place. The children were standing upon a flat stone, near the middle of the brook. The water which was beyond them was not deep, and it was only a short distance to the next stone. The boys had leaped across without any trouble, but Marielle hesitated.

“I am afraid to have you try to go across there,” said Marielle.

141 “Why, Marielle,” said Lucy, “you can jump across very easily; and then, if you will take hold of our hands, we can get across too.”

“Yes, only I don’t know,” said Marielle, “but that those rocks are slippery; and if you should slip in, and get one foot into the water, then we should all have to go directly home, and it would spoil our expedition.”

“O dear me!” said Rollo; “I wish Royal would come back.”

They shouted to Royal, several times, as loud as they could, but they got no answer. He had gone across from the upper part of the island to the main land again, and had disappeared among the bushes.

“I don’t think that he ought to have gone off and left us,” said Lucy. “Now, how shall we find our way home?”

“O, he’ll come back again before long,” said Marielle. “We’ll begin to get our blueberries, only we’ll stay pretty near here, and then he will know where to find us.”

So Rollo and Lucy came back from the brook. They finished eating their luncheon, and then they went back a little from the brook, to a place where the berries were thick, and commenced142 gathering them. They put the basket down in a central place, where it would be convenient for them all to find it, to pour in what they should gather in their mugs, and then they went to work industriously gathering the blueberries.

Marielle had emptied her mug once into the basket, and Rollo and Lucy had filled theirs half full, when Royal and Thomas came back.

“Ah,” said Royal, “you don’t know what a beautiful place we found out there, Lucy.”

“What kind of a place?” asked Lucy.

“O, there were some rocks there piled up very high, and a great tree growing out of a crack in one of them.”

“I wish I could see it,” said Lucy.

“It was a beautiful place,” said Royal.

Marielle secretly thought that it was not acting much like a gentleman for Royal to go away and leave her and the two children alone, and then come back and boast of the fine things that he had seen. But she said nothing.

“And, Marielle,” said Royal, “we saw some other children out there getting blueberries.”

“Did you?” said Marielle.

“Yes,” replied Royal; “they were near a very thick piece of bushes.”

143 “Were the blueberries pretty thick there?” asked Marielle.

“I don’t know,” replied Royal. “They seemed to be picking them pretty fast.

“O Thomas,” continued Royal, “I’ll tell you how we might have had some fun. We might have hid in the bushes, and growled like two bears, and they would all have been frightened away.”

“Yes,” said Thomas, “so we might.”

“I’ve a great mind to go now,” said Royal.

“No, I wouldn’t frighten them,” said Marielle; “let them pick their berries.”

“O, it will not frighten them much,” said Royal; “and after it is all over, they will only laugh at it.”

“No, you mustn’t frighten them,” said Lucy.

“Yes,” said Royal; “let us go; we can creep along slyly by the bank of the brook, and get into the bushes close to where they are.”

“No,” said Rollo, gesticulating with his hand, and speaking in a very positive tone; “you must not frighten them, Royal.”

“I shall go and tell them,” said Lucy, “that you a’n’t any bears at all; that you are nothing but Royal.”

144 “No,” said Royal, “you must not tell them. If you do, I will run away from you, and leave you here all alone; and I don’t believe that you can find your way home.”

So Royal and Thomas went off, creeping slowly along by the bank of the brook, until they came to a little copse of trees, which was near where the children were gathering their blueberries. There were three children—two girls and a boy. The oldest girl was about as old as Marielle, the youngest about as old as Lucy, and the boy was between them, in respect to age.

They were all barefoot, and they wore very old clothes. In fact, they were poor, and had come to gather berries to sell, to get some money for their mother.

If Marielle and Lucy had known these facts, they would have been still more unwilling to have had Royal go and frighten these children; and Royal himself would probably have altered his plan. And as it was, Marielle and Lucy were very sorry to have him go.

“I wish he would come back,” said Lucy, “and not go and frighten those poor children.”

“Yes,” said Marielle, “it seems cruel, while145 they are there enjoying themselves so well, to go and put them all into pain.”

“O, he isn’t going to hurt them,” said Rollo; “he is only going to frighten them a little.”

“Frightening them is hurting them,” said Marielle. “I am sure I think being frightened is the worst kind of pain.”

“So do I,” said Lucy.

“One day,” added Marielle, “a dog ran after me in the road, and frightened me terribly, and I fell down and hurt my head; but the fright was a great deal worse than the pain in my head.”

Lucy said that she had a great mind to go and tell the children not to be frightened. Marielle made no reply to this proposal. She would not object to it; but, then, on the other hand, she did not dare to encourage Lucy to go, or to do any thing herself to oppose Royal openly; as she was afraid that he would go away and leave them, as he had threatened to do. So she remained where she was, and they all went on quietly, gathering berries.

After a short time, they suddenly heard an outcry, in the direction towards which Royal and Thomas had gone. The bushes and trees were in the way so much that they could not see any thing; but they listened and heard several voices,146 uttering shouts or cries. A moment afterwards, they saw the three children running across the pasture, at some distance from them. They came into view from behind some trees, and seemed to be running along as if going towards the bars by which they had come into the pasture. Marielle and Lucy could not see them very well; they could only get a glimpse of their heads, now and then, as they ran along; for the ground was much broken between where they were running and the place where Marielle and her party stood, and it was covered with brakes and bushes.

“There they go,” said Lucy.

“Poor children,” said Marielle, “how they are frightened! I mean to run and tell them that it is not a bear, if Royal does go off and leave us.”

So Marielle put down her mug by the basket, and ran off after the girls, calling out, “Girls! Girls! Children!”

The oldest girl looked around, and saw Marielle pursuing her, and supposed that she, too, had been frightened by the bear, and was running away. So this only made them run the faster. The youngest of the little girls had dropped her blueberries at first; but the boy and the oldest girl had contrived to keep theirs until they were alarmed anew by Marielle. And now they dropped their baskets too, and ran on as fast as they could run.

“‘There they go,’ said Lucy.”—Page 146.

147 Marielle found that she could not overtake them, and she was afraid to leave Lucy and Rollo alone. So she came back to the place. Lucy and Rollo had climbed up to the top of a little hillock, in order to see.

“Could not you make them hear you?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” said Marielle, “they heard me, and looked round, but they would not stop. They only ran away so much the faster.”

“Where do you think they will go?” said Lucy.

“I don’t know,” said Marielle, despondingly.

In a few minutes, they saw Royal and Thomas coming back. They did not come by the same way that they went, but farther out towards where the children had run away. They looked hurried, and Royal had an anxious expression of countenance.

“What silly children,” he said, “to be frightened so much! I did not think they would be frightened so much! Which way did they go?”

“They went off that way,” said Lucy and148 Rollo. “You have frightened them entirely away.”

“I did not think they would be frightened so much,” said Royal.

Marielle said nothing; but, after a moment’s pause, she stooped down, and began to gather berries again.

“I mean to go and find them, and tell them to come back,” said Royal. “Come, Thomas, go with me.”

So Thomas and Royal went away, in the direction in which the children had gone. They walked as fast as they could go. Royal was sorry for what he had done. He had supposed that they would have been frightened only a little, and would, perhaps, have run away a short distance, and then stopped; and then he and Thomas were coming out of the woods laughing.

But it is always very dangerous to attempt to frighten any body. It is impossible to know beforehand what effects will be produced; for terror is very seldom in proportion to its cause. Children in lonely places, like that where these parties had gone to gather blueberries, are very easily terrified; and, when fears are once aroused, it is very difficult to quell them again. Royal149 did wrong in attempting to put the children to any pain whatever, for his own amusement; but he did not intend that the mischief should have been so great as it really proved.

He hurried along after the children, feeling anxious and self-condemned. He was in advance of Thomas, as he was very eager to overtake the children. After going some distance, Thomas called out to him,—

“O Royal, look here!”

Royal turned back, and Thomas pointed him to the place where the children had dropped their baskets when they had been frightened the second time, by Marielle. The baskets were tumbled down, and the berries spilled all about. Royal looked upon them with a countenance expressive of great concern.

“They have spilled all their berries,” said Thomas.

“Yes,” said Royal. “Let’s pick ’em up.”

So Royal began gathering up the berries as fast as he could, only he did it carefully. Some were on the grass, and were clean and uninjured; but others had rolled away into the dusty path, and were spoiled. Royal worked a few minutes, and then he said to Thomas,—

“Thomas, I had better go on and find them,150 while you stay here and finish picking up the berries.”

“No,” said Thomas, “I don’t want to be left here all alone.”

“Yes,” said Royal, “it will not be but a few minutes. We will all come right back here. Because, if I stay here, I am afraid that they will get away too far.”

Thomas reluctantly consented to remain, and Royal went on. Presently he came to a path which led along to the bars. He followed the path, sometimes walking fast, and sometimes running, until he came, at length, in view of the bars; and there he saw the three children perplexed and unhappy, and not knowing what to do. The youngest was sitting down upon the grass by the side of the road, crying.

“Why, girls,” said Royal, when he came up near enough to speak, “what made you run off so far?”

The older girl was silent; the younger continued to cry. The boy, after a little pause, said,—

“We heard a terrible noise down there in the woods.”

“O, that wasn’t any thing,” said Royal; “it was only another boy and I. But we didn’t mean to frighten you so much.”

151 “You did frighten us very much indeed,” said the boy.

“And you have made us spill all our blueberries,” said the oldest girl; “and now I don’t know what we shall do.”

Here the little girl began crying and sobbing anew. Royal stood silent and sad; he was shocked to see how much mischief he had done.

“Don’t cry, Jenny,” said the older girl. “We will go back and get our baskets.” She spoke in a gentle, but a very melancholy tone.

“Yes,” said Royal, “we’ll go back; and I’ll help you pick some more blueberries.”

The children began to go back slowly, following Royal. Royal told them that Thomas was picking up the berries that they had spilled, and that he would help them get some more.

“We can’t stop to get any more,” said the older girl. “We must go home now. We were just ready to go when you frightened us.”

“But why need you go home so soon?” said Royal. “It is not but little more than the middle of the afternoon yet. We shall have two hours more, before sundown.”

“But we have got a great way to go,” replied the girl, “to sell our berries. Mother told us to be sure and come home by the middle of the afternoon,152 so as to have time to sell our berries; for if we do not get a chance to sell them before night, then we have all our work for nothing.”

“Why? Can’t you eat your berries?”

“Why, yes, we can eat them,” said the girl, “but we want to sell them. But, then, we haven’t got any to sell now;—I forgot that;—so we may as well stay as not. Only, then, mother won’t know what is become of us. O dear! I don’t know what we shall do.”

When they came to the place where Thomas was picking up the blueberries, Royal went to work at once, very busily too. Little Jenny said, in a mournful tone,—

“Now, my basket isn’t here, Mary; and I don’t know where it is.” And she began to cry again.

The older girl, whose name, it seems, was Mary, told her not to cry.

“Never mind, Jenny,” said she. “Don’t cry; mother won’t blame us much, when we tell her all about it.”

“But I can’t find my basket at all,” said Jenny.

“Why, you dropped it out there where you first began to run away,” said Royal. “You go back there, and get it, while we are picking up these blueberries.”

“No,” said Jenny, shaking her head.

153 “Yes,” replied Royal; “it is not very far.”

“No,” said Jenny; “I’m afraid to go there again.”

“Ho!” said Royal; “you need not be afraid. There’s nothing there. It was only Thomas and I that made that noise.”

But Jenny was afraid to go; and so Royal said that he would go, and come back with Jenny’s basket in a minute.

“And you finish picking these up, Thomas,” said he. “Pick ’em up very carefully.”

So Royal went away. When he was gone, Mary, who had thus far stood looking upon the scene in a sort of silent despair, now began to help Thomas gather up the blueberries from the grass. Many of them had rolled down into the dust, and got spoiled; but there was a large portion which was not injured. These the children were rapidly putting back into the basket again, when Marielle and Lucy, who had seen them returning there, came over with Rollo from where they had been, to see what was going on.

As soon as she, and Rollo, and Lucy, saw what they were doing, they went to work too, to help gather up the blueberries; and they soon got back into the baskets all that were fit to go. Before154 long, Royal came back, too, with Jenny’s basket. He had waited to pick up her blueberries, which had been spilled as well as the rest.

They found that so many of the berries had been lost or spoiled that the baskets were not nearly as full as they were before. So Marielle proposed to Rollo and Lucy that they should give Mary theirs. Rollo and Lucy said that they should like to do that very much. Mary at first refused to receive them; but Marielle insisted upon it, for she said, “We have not got to go home yet, and we can gather plenty more.” So they poured in the blueberries into the other children’s baskets, and filled them full. And when they went away, Marielle went up to Mary, and said to her in a low tone,—

“If you can’t sell your blueberries easily, come to our house, and perhaps my mother will buy them.”

Then Royal, and Marielle, and their party, began again to gather blueberries for themselves; but the occurrences of the afternoon had shed such a gloom over the party, that they did not feel inclined to stay very long. They gathered a few, and then they went home. Royal did not say much; but he seemed really sorry for the mischief155 he had done. Though he had spoiled the pleasure of the party, yet Marielle did not reproach him. In fact, he seemed so sorry for it, and so disposed to do all he could to make reparation, that in her heart she forgave him.



When Royal went home that evening, he felt very much chagrined. He could not look back upon the scenes of the afternoon, without great mortification and regret. He was sorry for having put the poor children to so much inconvenience, trouble, and pain. And then he was sorry that he had been able to do so little towards making reparation. The spilled blueberries had been gathered up by Thomas, Marielle, Lucy, and Rollo, more than by himself; and then they had to take those which Marielle, Lucy, and Rollo, had gathered, to make amends for what were lost and spoiled. On the whole, it was a very unfortunate afternoon, and he wanted very much to go again, some day, to retrieve his character.

Still he hardly dared to propose it. He thought that, if he should ask Marielle and Lucy, they would not want to go. And probably he would not have proposed it, had it not been that Marielle came one afternoon, not many days after157 this occurrence, to play with Lucy; and this gave him so good an opportunity to propose the plan, that he could not let it pass.

It was, however, as he expected. Marielle and Lucy did not want to go. They did not give any reason, but Royal knew very well what it must be. So he did not urge their going; but he said,—

“Well, Marielle, I owe you and Lucy some blueberries, and I believe I’ll go myself, and get some to pay you. I’ll go and get aunt to let Rollo go with me.”

“What do you owe us any blueberries for?” asked Marielle.

“For those which you gave Mary and Jenny, the other day, to pay for those I made them spill.”

“O, never mind that,” said Marielle. “Besides, my mother bought them that evening, and so we had them all back again.”

“So you bought back your own berries?” said Royal.

“Yes,” replied Marielle. “Mary said she did not want to sell us any, only what she and the other children picked themselves; but mother made her take pay for the whole.”

Royal concluded to go himself, for blueberries,158 if Marielle would not. He went and obtained his mother’s leave, and then went to ask his aunt Holiday to let Rollo go with him. She said yes. So the boys walked along together, Royal carrying a basket, and Rollo a little tin mug.

Now, it happened that there was a small green field, with a path through it, which the children had to pass, on their way to the pasture. There was a brook running through the centre of this field, with smooth and beautiful grass ground on each side. There was a large grove at one end, up the brook, and there were scattered trees over the rest of the ground.

Royal came through the grove. By going around after Rollo, he had been taken somewhat out of his way, so that he had to come through the grove, instead of along the path, through the field, which would have been the way if he had come directly from his father’s house.

As they advanced towards the edge of the grove, and looked forward, they saw several children advancing along the path. There was a small flock of sheep scattered over the field, cropping the grass. The field was a mowing field; but the crop had been mowed, and so the farmer that owned it had turned the sheep in, to feed upon the short grass which was left. Rollo159 was glad, for he liked to see sheep feeding in the fields.

Now, two circumstances occurred at this crisis which were very fortunate for Royal, in respect to his desire to retrieve his character. One was, that Mary and Jenny happened to come after blueberries that afternoon again. The other was, that, after he had gone, Marielle changed her mind about going herself, and proposed to Lucy that they should go. She saw that Royal felt troubled at the consequences of his misconduct, and felt convinced that he would not act so again. She saw, too, that he was very desirous to make some amends for the past, and she thought that he would be pleased to have her and Lucy go again, and let him show them the change in his demeanor. So she proposed to Lucy to go; and thus, by a singular train of circumstances, it happened that, when Royal and Rollo came along out of the grove, the children that they saw coming were, Jenny and her party first, and Marielle and Lucy at a little distance behind.

He was just on the point of running down to meet them, when he heard a loud but distant voice calling to them. It came from the opposite side of the field, where the path, which the girls were walking in, led over into a lane which conducted160 to a farm-house. Royal and Rollo looked in the direction from which the sound came, and listened. They saw a little girl upon the bars, and perceived that she was calling out to them.

“Children,” said the girl, “children, run. Jolly is coming after you.”

The children looked around behind them, and Royal and Rollo looked in the same direction; and they saw a large ram, with monstrous horns curled all around his ears, advancing towards Marielle, nodding with his head, and just upon the point of springing at her. Marielle and Lucy cried out in terror, and ran. The other children were before them, and they ran too. But the brook was in their way, and they could not cross it without some difficulty; and they were greatly terrified at finding themselves so hemmed in, and with such a ferocious-looking enemy close upon them.

Royal sprang forward, and ran with all his speed down towards the children.

“Don’t be afraid,” said he; “I’ll take care of the ram. I a’n’t afraid of him. Go over the brook as slowly as you please.”

So Royal advanced to meet the ram. The children scrambled along over the brook, and then ran up the slope on the other side, until they161 reached the bars, where they all climbed over. They had just time to get fairly over, and to look around, when they saw the ram come with all his force against Royal, and knock him down.

“O dear! he’ll kill him!” exclaimed Marielle.

But Royal was up again in an instant. The ram stepped back, nodding his head, and preparing evidently for another charge.

Royal waved his basket back and forth a moment to intimidate the ram; but it seemed to have but little effect. He looked around him, and saw a tree near. He sprang towards it, and got round behind it, and then began to look out from behind it at the ram. He saw that the ram was standing in a threatening attitude, his head down, and apparently all ready for a spring.

“Now come on, old fellow, if you please,” said Royal, “and beat your own brains out.”

From his post of security Royal looked back to see if all the children were safe. They were all on the other side of the bars, excepting Marielle and Rollo. For Marielle had come back into the field again, to go after Rollo, who had remained standing where Royal had left him. She had called to him to come to her; and so, when Royal looked around, Rollo was running along towards Marielle, who was holding out her162 hand and encouraging him along, but not daring to go herself a great way from the bars.

“Royal,” called Marielle, “can’t you climb up into that tree? and then I will go and get a man to come and take the ram away.”

“No,” said Royal; “I know how to manage him. You lead Rollo away.”

So when Marielle and Rollo were safe upon the other side of the bars, Royal, watching his opportunity, suddenly darted away from his tree, and ran to another one, at a little distance from it. The ram followed, still threatening, but deterred from actually coming on by seeing how Royal was protected by the tree. He did not seem disposed to accept Royal’s invitation to beat his own brains out by knocking his head against a tree.

Presently Royal retreated to another tree, and then to another. The ram followed him, watching him narrowly, and endeavoring constantly to get an opportunity to attack him, but in vain. Royal soon reached the grove. Here he could retreat more easily and rapidly still, as the trees were quite near together. He gradually drew nearer to the fence, though he was coming to it at a considerable distance from the bars, where the other children had got over. They, however163 saw where he was coming out, and they passed along to the place, on the back side of the fence, so as to be ready to receive him when he should get over.

“Come quick, Royal,” said Lucy.

Royal reached the fence, and climbed up to the top of it, and took his seat upon a post, where he sat looking at the ram. The ram, too, stood at a few steps’ distance, fixing his eyes on him. He looked confounded. He did not know what to make of such an escape from his power. The children on the other side could see through the interstices between the rails.

“Well, sir!” said Royal, looking the ram full in the face.

The ram looked at him, but said nothing.

“What’s his name, little girl? Jolly, did you say?” asked Royal.

“Yes, his name is Jolly,” replied the little girl.

“Well, Jolly,” said Royal, “I am much obliged to you for waiting upon me across the field. I’ve got safe to the fence now; and I would recommend to you to go back and take care of your sheep.”

So Royal got down, and walked on with the children. They all seemed very glad indeed to164 find him safe with them again; and they reached the blueberry ground without any further adventure.

There was a large pile of boards at the place where they entered the pasture. The boards had been placed there for the purpose of making a fence. The children amused themselves, a few minutes, see-sawing, upon the ends of the boards, and then they passed on to the blueberry bushes.

They went on very pleasantly for two hours, gathering berries. Royal put two mugs full into Jenny’s basket, which pleased her very much. They were all very grateful to him for protecting them from the ram, and he himself found that it was far pleasanter to relieve distress than to create it. In fact, it happened that, in the course of the afternoon, he had another occasion for the exercise of energy and courage in defending Marielle and the children. It was thus:—

Mary and her party gradually wandered off by themselves; and about the middle of the afternoon, they went away, leaving Royal and those who were with him in the pasture alone. That is, there was nobody near them, with whom they were acquainted; but they could see, here and there, at a distance among the bushes, the heads165 of other persons, engaged, like themselves, in gathering berries. They found the berries very thick. Royal would scramble about among the rocks and bushes, and find the good places; and then he would call Marielle and the children to come and gather berries there.

About an hour before sundown, just as Marielle was going to say that it was time to go home, the children were alarmed at hearing a distant rumbling sound.

“What’s that?” said Lucy.

“It is thunder,” said Marielle.

The children looked up, and saw a large black cloud spreading all over the western sky. They had been so much engaged gathering their berries, which caused them to stoop down among the bushes, that they had not observed the cloud before.

“We must go home immediately,” said Marielle, “or we shall be caught in the rain.”

“Yes,” said Royal. “Let us pour our berries into the basket, and go right away.”

Here another distant peal of thunder reverberated through the sky.

Royal hastened to pour the berries from his mug into the basket, and then he helped Rollo166 and Lucy along with theirs. He took up the basket, which was now pretty heavy, and began to carry it along.

“I’ll take the basket,” he said to Marielle, “if you will help the children.”

So Royal went on as fast as he could, while Marielle followed with the children. They looked round repeatedly at the cloud, and it seemed to be rising fast. The thunder grew louder and more frequent; and once, when Marielle was looking back, she saw a faint glitter in the blackest part of the cloud. It was a flash of lightning.

“I don’t believe we shall get home before the shower,” said Marielle.

“Perhaps we can get into some house,” said Royal.

“Yes,” replied Marielle, “only there are no houses very near.”

“Well,” said Royal, “we shall only get wet pretty well; that is all.”

“I don’t want to get wet, I am sure,” said Lucy.

“And besides,” said little Rollo, “I’m afraid the thunder will strike us.”

“O no,” said Royal, “I don’t think that there167 is any danger that the thunder will strike us. It is a great way off.”

“How do you know?” asked Lucy.

“Because,” said Royal, “we don’t see the lightning much. If it was near, the lightning would be very bright.”

The children looked back, from time to time, at the cloud. It seemed to be coming on apace. Dark scuds were flying in contrary directions about the edge of the cloud, and every thing indicated the approach of a violent tempest. A few drops of rain began to fall just as the children came in sight of the pile of boards.

“We are a great way yet from any house,” said Marielle. “I don’t believe that we can get to any.”

“Then we must get under the ends of these boards,” said Royal. “There will be some shelter there.”

Marielle hesitated a moment, thinking whether it would be better to stop and avail themselves of the little shelter which the boards would afford, or to go on in search of a house, or some building, and by so doing run the risk of being caught out where they should be exposed entirely unsheltered to the whole fury of the storm. On the whole, they concluded to stop. They crept in under168 the end of the pile, where some of the boards projected farther than the rest, thus affording them a little shelter.

“But stop,” said Royal, as if suddenly recollecting himself; “I can make you a shelter.”

He immediately stepped out of his retreat, and climbed up to the top of the pile of boards. He began to take off the boards one by one, and to slide them down on the side of the pile which was opposite to the quarter of the heavens from which the thunder-cloud was coming.

“What are you going to do?” said Marielle.

“I am going to make you a house,” said Royal.

Marielle was afraid to have Royal up so high, especially now that the wind was beginning to blow. She could see vast clouds of dust rising along the line of the roads at a distance; and a violent waving motion commenced upon the tops of the trees, accompanied by a loud, roaring sound. She begged Royal to come down.

Royal said that he would, pretty soon. In the mean time, he pushed down the boards one after another, as fast as he could, running one end of each down to the ground, and planting it at a little distance off from the pile. The other end he left resting upon the edge of the pile. He placed the169 boards side by side in this position, so that they formed quite a roof, covering and enclosing a pretty large space underneath them. When he had thus run down six or eight boards, he told Marielle and the children that they had better get under them, as it was just beginning to rain faster.

So Marielle and the two children crept under. The space was pretty large, and it was high enough, next to the pile of boards, for them to stand upright. Lucy said that it was a very good garret. Marielle called Royal to come down, and come in too; but he said that he must put some more boards on first.

“Why, Royal,” said Marielle, “this will do very well. It is large enough.”

“Yes,” said Royal, “but I want to put some more boards over it, to cover up the cracks.”

“O, the cracks don’t do any hurt,” said Marielle. “The rain does not come down the cracks at all; not a drop.”

And Marielle held out her hand, as she stood under the roof which Royal had made for her, to see if any rain came through.

“No, not now, perhaps,” said Royal; “but presently, when the rain comes pouring down in a torrent, it will.”

Royal kept at work all the time that he was170 talking, sliding down more boards, over those which he had put down first, to cover the cracks. In the mean time, it began to rain; and the thunder grew louder and louder. The wind howled about his ears, and rattled the boards, and made it very difficult for him to place them. At length, just as Royal was ready to go down, and get in under his hut himself, a sudden gust took one of his boards, the upper end of which extended upwards farther than the rest, and blew it and three others away from their places, and carried them out to some distance on the grass.

Marielle and the children were frightened at the noise; but it was now raining so fast that they did not run out. Royal soon repaired the breach with other boards, which he placed so that the wind should not have any advantage in getting hold of them. At length, when all seemed secure, Royal came down from the pile, and ran in under the shelter, with the water running down off his hat and clothes in streams.

“Now, Royal,” said Marielle, “you have got yourself all wet through, making us a shelter.”

“That’s no matter,” said Royal. “It is good fun for a boy to get wet.”

Just then, a terrible clap of thunder burst, and rattled over their heads, preceded by a vivid flash171 of lightning. They were all alarmed at the sound. Royal, however, said that he thought that was the worst clap they should have, and that now the storm would soon be over.

And so it proved. The wind soon abated, and the thunder appeared gradually to pass away to the eastward. It continued to rain in torrents for some time; but then they were completely protected from it, and did not get wet at all. It was an hour before the rain was entirely over, so that they could go out and go home. But then the air was bright, the sun was shining, and all nature looked refreshed. Royal felt much better pleased with having been the protector of his party, than with having teased and troubled them as he had done on the former day. And though Marielle did not say any thing about it, he knew that she was pleased with him too. Royal liked Marielle for her gentleness and patience; and she liked him for his energy and courage.



One evening, Lucy was playing in the parlor where her mother was at work sewing. Lucy was sitting upon a cricket, looking over a book. Presently she found, between the leaves of the book, a small piece of white paper.

“O mother! I’ve found a piece of paper,” said she.

Her mother did not answer.

“I wish I had a pen and ink,” said Lucy again, in a tone intermediate between talking to herself and to her mother; “then I would write a letter on this piece of paper.”

“And what would you do with your letter?” said her mother.

“Why, I would play that I was the postman, and so I would carry it about.”

Just then Lucy happened to recollect that her father was in his room writing; and so she concluded that she would go in and ask him to write173 her a letter. She accordingly rose from her seat, and went to the door of her father’s room.

The door was open a little way, and Lucy had a great mind to go in without knocking. But, then, she remembered that it was proper for her to knock at her father’s door, and she accordingly did so. Nobody answered. Then Lucy pushed the door a little, so as to open it wider, in order to see whether her father was there.

He was not there. There was nobody there. Lucy pushed the door open farther, and walked in.

There was a lamp burning upon a table which stood against the window. Several books and papers were upon the table. One great book was lying open. There was a round, black inkstand not far from the book. It had a large, conical hole in the middle of it, which led down to the ink; and there were several smaller holes around, near the edge, to put the pen into. There was a pen with its point in one of these holes, the top of it leaning over to one side.

“Now, here’s a pen and ink all ready,” said Lucy; “but where’s my father?”

Lucy walked up to the table, and began to look at the book which was lying open. “What a great book!” she said. “I wonder if I can read in such a great book. Here are some big letters174 on the top. I can read such big letters as these.”

There were three big letters, in two places, on the top of each page; and Lucy began to read them.

“H-o-n,” said Lucy, reading—“H-o-n spells hon; but I don’t know what hon means. I wonder what this book is about.”

But Lucy could not find out what it was about, and so she thought that, as her father was away, she would take the pen and write herself a letter. She accordingly put her paper down upon the corner of the table, and then, reaching over the great book, she dipped the pen carefully into the conical hole in the middle of the inkstand. She then drew the pen very slowly and cautiously to the paper, secretly feeling, however, all the time, that she was doing wrong.

Lucy made several marks upon her paper, and then the ink in her pen failed. She accordingly reached back to the inkstand to get some more. She thought that she did not dip her pen far enough down before, and that that was the reason why the ink failed so quick. She, therefore, this time, dipped the pen in so far that the point of it touched the bottom of the inkstand; and so, when it came up, it was full of ink.

175 It was too full of ink, in fact, so that a little drop hung from the point just ready to fall; and very unfortunately, just as Lucy had got the pen almost across the great book, the drop did fall, and it made quite a large, round spot upon the middle of one of the pages.

Lucy was very much frightened at this occurrence. She put the pen back in its place, and began to walk as fast as she could go out of the room. In a moment, however, she reflected that, as soon as her father came in, he would see the ink spot, and would at once inquire who made it. So she thought that she would come and shut the book up, and that would keep the ugly-looking blot out of sight. She accordingly came back hastily to the table, shut the book up, and then went immediately away.

But, notwithstanding this ingenious precaution, her mind continued in a state of great agitation and alarm. She went back to her cricket, and began to look over her book again; but she felt very wretched. Finally, she came to the very wise conclusion of going back at once, and finding her father, and telling him all about the affair.

She put her book down upon the cricket, and went again towards her father’s room. She found176 her father just going into the room, with a large book of maps under his arm.

“Well, Lucy,” said her father, “are you coming to see me?”

Lucy walked slowly towards him, with a downcast look, but she said nothing. “What is the matter, Lucy?” said her father.

“Why,—why,” said Lucy, in a very low and timid voice,—“the ink has got on your great book.”

“My great book? What book?” said her father.

“Your great book on the table;—that great book.”

So saying, Lucy pointed to the book upon the table; for by this time they had got into the room where they could see the table and the book upon it.

“Where?” said her father. “Where is the ink?”

“Somewhere in the middle of it,” said Lucy. “But I don’t suppose I can find it now.”

Her father took up the great book, and began turning over the leaves; but he did not find the ink spot.

“But, Lucy,” said he, “how did you get the ink upon my book?”

177 “Why, father,” said Lucy, “you see, I was going to write me a letter, and the ink wouldn’t stay in the pen.”

“Now, Lucy, that was very wrong. You ought not to come to my table, and to take my pen and ink without leave. How big was the blot?”

“’Twas pretty big,” said Lucy, timidly.

“I can’t find the place,” said her father. “O, now I remember. It must have been at horizon. I was looking horizon, to see how it was accented.”

“No, sir, it was at hon. I remember now myself; it was at hon.”

Her father made no reply, but, after turning over a few leaves, he came at once to the place, and there, to Lucy’s utter astonishment, there were two blots, instead of one; there was one on each page. They were very large, too, much larger than the one which Lucy had seen.

“Now, there are two blots,” said Lucy; “how came that other one there?”

“Why, that was made by shutting up the book,” said her father. “How came the book shut up?”

“Why, I shut it, sir,” said Lucy.

“What did you shut it for?” said her father.

“Because,” said Lucy, speaking in a very178 timid voice again, “I did not want you to see the blot.”

“Then what did you come and tell me for?” said her father.

“Why, I thought it would be better to come and tell you,” said Lucy.

“You first shut the book in order to conceal it, and then you altered your mind, and so came and told me; was that it?”

“Yes, sir,” said Lucy.

“Well,” said her father, “that was honest, at any rate. And the blot, I see, is on the very word honesty. What a curious coincidence!”

“I don’t know what you mean by coincidence,” said Lucy.

“Why, you were honest in coming to tell me of the blot, and the blot happens to be upon the word honesty. That’s a coincidence. I am glad you were honest; but, then, you did very wrong to come and attempt to write with my pen. You have done me a great deal of mischief.”

“Can’t you get the blots out, any possible way?” asked Lucy.

“No, I presume not,” he replied. “I might try an acid, however,” he added, in a low voice, as if talking to himself.

179 “I wish you would, father,” said Lucy. “Do try an acid, father.”

Lucy did not know what an acid was, nor how her father was going to attempt to remove the ink stains by means of it; but she was very eager to have him try any thing which promised any chance of success.

“I don’t think I can take the spots out entirely,” said her father; “but perhaps I can change their color, so that they will not be quite so conspicuous.”

As he said this, he took the lamp and went away, Lucy following him. He went to a closet which was in another room, and took down a small phial, and poured out a few drops of the liquid which was in it, into a tea-cup. Then he got some water, and poured about a spoonful into the tea-cup too. Then he came back with Lucy into his own room.

“First,” said he, “we will try it upon another piece of paper.”

So saying, he took a small piece of newspaper, and made a blot upon it about as large as those which Lucy had made in the book. Then he held the newspaper to the fire until the blot was dry.

“Now I must make a little brush,” said he.

180 “How can you make a brush?” said Lucy.

Her father only said in reply, “You will see.” He went to his closet, and took a quill out from a bunch which was there. He cut off the top, and put the quill back, and then brought the top to the table. Then he stripped off all the feathers except a small tuft at the end, and that, he said, was his brush.

This brush he dipped into the tea-cup, and then very carefully washed over the ink spot upon the newspaper. Lucy saw that it made the spot look much more dim. Then her father washed over the spots in the book in the same way. The spots grew faint, and turned of a reddish color; but he could not get them out entirely.

“It looks a great deal better,” said her father, “but I cannot get them out entirely. There they must stay forever. I shall see them a great many times, for they are in my dictionary, and I am often turning over the leaves. And always when I see them I shall remember how they came there. One of them will remind me of your heedlessness, and the other of your honesty.”


Transcriber’s Note:

Punctuation has been standardised; hyphenation retained as it appears in the original publication.