The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Jimmyjohns, and other stories

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Title: The Jimmyjohns, and other stories

Author: Abby Morton Diaz

Release date: June 8, 2023 [eBook #70939]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: James R. Osgood and Company, 1877

Credits: Bob Taylor, Steve Mattern and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)




THE KING’S LILY AND ROSEBUD. Illustrated. 16mo






LUCY MARIA. Illustrated. 16mo


A STORY-BOOK FOR YOUNG FOLKS. Illustrated. 16mo,



Illustrated. 16mo

Paper, 50 cts.; cloth, 1.00


Paper, 50 cts.; cloth, 1.00

For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, postpaid, on receipt of price, by


Cathedral Building, Winthrop Square,

[Pg 2]

HOW EASY SHE GOES!”—See p. 17.






Author of “The William Henry Letters,” “Lucy Maria,” etc.



(Late Ticknor & Fields, and Fields, Osgood, & Co.)


117 Franklin Street,

[Pg 5]


The Jimmyjohns:— Page.
I. A Morning with the Jimmyjohns 11
II. The Sad Fate of “Polly Cologne” 18
III. An Account of the Jimmyjohns’ Little Affair with the Gulls 26
IV. The Jimmyjohns’ Sailor-Suits 35
V. A Leaf from a Little Girl’s Diary 46
VI. A Little Girl’s Story 50
VII. The Bad Luck of Bubby Cryaway 57
VIII. What made Mr. Tompkins laugh 66
IX. Mr. Tompkins’s Small Story 76
Flowers waking up 80
The Little Pullwinger’s Dream 85
How the Barn came from Jorullo 95
A Potato Story which begins with a Bean-Pole 107
The Way Mrs. MacGarret’s Tea-Party was broken up 110
Getting up in the World 114
The Story of Florinda 118
The House that Jack built 134
A Little Guess-Story 147
The Little Beggar-Girl 152
Wide-Awake 169
Reasons why the Cow turned her Head away 173
Two Little Rogues 179[Pg 6]
The Belated Butterfly 182
The Maple-Tree’s Children 186
The Whisperer 189
A Stranger in Pilgrim-Land, and what He saw 191
Dramas and Dialogues:—
The Gypsies.—A May-Day Drama 205
A December Charade.—(Farewell.) 221
The Little Visitors.—A Play for Young Children 233
The Bird Dialogue 242
Shopping.—A Dialogue for the very Little Ones 250
May-Day Indoors; or, The Yotopski Family’s Rehearsal 255

[Pg 7]


How Easy She goes! 2
Joey Moonbeam, Dorothy Beeswax, Betsey Ginger, and Polly Cologne 22
The Jimmyjohns and the Gulls 33
The Little Boys, half crying, held fast by the Sides of the Boat 43
Joey Moonbeam’s New Hat 47
Over went the Barrel, and over went He 63
Flowers waking up 80
The Barrel-Man looking at his Possessions 93
The Barrel-Man cuts the Branches, and the Owner complains 97
The Horses and the Oxen appear in Sight 101
The Fourteen Hungry Men sit around the Table 105
A-shaking their Corn-Poppers over the Coals 135
The Cat that caught the Rat 137
The Dog that was tossed 138
The Cow with the Crumpled Horn 139
The Maiden all Forlorn 140
The Man all Tattered and Torn 142
Good-Morrow, Sir Priest! will You Marry Us Two? 145
The Little Beggar-Girl 153[Pg 8]
Now I’ll pull up; now I’m almost up 171
Take this Wisp of Hay 174
Forefathers’ Rock 196
Indian Doll 200

[Pg 9]


[Pg 11]




A pretty brown cottage, so small that the vines have no need to hurry themselves in climbing over it, but take plenty of time to creep along the eaves, to peep in at the windows, and even to stop and weave bowers over the doorways. Two “Baldwin” trees shade one end of the cottage, a silver-oak the other. In its rather narrow front-yard grow damask rose-bushes, sweet syringas, and a snowball-tree. In one corner of this front-yard a running-rose, called a “pink prairie-rose,” climbs to the cottage-roof, where it has delightful times with the honeysuckle and woodbine. On either side, and round about and far away, lie broad green meadows, apple-orchards, fields of waving corn, and many a sloping, sunny hill-side, on which the earliest wild flowers bloom. Ah! it must be a pleasant thing to live where one can watch the fields grow yellow with dandelions and buttercups, or white with daisies, or pink with clover; where sweet-scented honeysuckles peep in at one window, roses at another, and apple-blossoms at another; where birds sing night and morning, and sometimes all the day.

[Pg 12]

Between the hours of seven and eight, one lovely morning in June, there might have been seen, turning the corner of Prairie-rose Cottage, two travellers on horseback, each of whom carried a huckleberry-basket on his arm. These two travellers were of just the same age,—four years and ten months. The horses they rode were of the kind called saw-horses, or, as some call them, wood-horses. Both names are correct, because they are made of wood, and wood is placed upon them to be sawed.

Our young travellers were twin-brothers, and were named—the one, Jimmy Plummer; the other, Johnny Plummer. They were dressed exactly alike, and they looked exactly alike. Both had chubby cheeks, twinkling eyes, small noses, and dark, curly hair. Both wore gray frocks belted round with leather belts, and both belts were clasped with shining buckles. Their collars were white as snow. Their trousers were short, leaving off at the knee, where they were fastened with three gilt buttons. Their stockings were striped, pink and gray; the gray stripe being much wider than the pink. Their boots were button-boots. Their hats were of speckled straw; and in the hat-band of each was stuck a long, narrow, greenish feather, which looked exactly like a rooster’s feather. Their whip-handles were light blue, wound round with strips of silver tinsel; and at the end of each lash was a snapper. Their bridles were pieces of clothes-line.

The travellers were bound to Boston, so they said, to buy oranges. It was hard work to make those horses of theirs go over the ground. There isn’t very much go in that kind of horse: they are sure-footed, but not[Pg 13] swift. But there was a great deal of make go in the two travellers. They jerked that span of horses, they pushed them, they pulled them, they made them rear up, they tumbled off behind, they tumbled off the sides, they pitched headforemost, but still did not give up; and at last came to Boston, which was, so they made believe, on the outside cellar-door.

And, as they were playing on the cellar-door, the funny man came along, and began to feel in his pockets to see what he could find.

“Halloo, Jimmyjohns!” he cried. “Don’t you want something?”

Jimmy and Johnny Plummer were best known in the neighborhood as “the Jimmyjohns.” And it seemed very proper their being called by one name; for they looked, if not just like one boy, like the same boy twice over, so that some members of their own family could hardly tell them apart. They were always together: what one did the other did, and what one had the other had. If one asked for pudding four times, the other asked for pudding four times; and when one would have another spoonful of sauce, so would the other. And it was quite wonderful, everybody said, that, in playing together, they were never known to quarrel. People often tried to guess which was Jimmy, and which was Johnny; but very few guessed rightly.

The funny man felt in every one of his pockets, and found—a piece of chalk. The Jimmyjohns laughed. They had seen him feel in every one of his pockets before, and knew that nothing better than chalk, or buttons, or tack-nails, would come out of them.

“Now,” said the funny man, “I’m going to guess[Pg 14] which is Jimmy, and which is Johnny. No, I can’t guess. But I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll turn up a cent. There it goes. See here: if it turns up head, this sitting-down boy’s Jimmy; tail, he’s Johnny. Now then. Pick it up out of the grass. Head? Yes, head. Then this sitting-down boy’s Jimmy. Right? Are you sitting-down boy Jimmy?”

“No, sir. Johnny.”

“Johnny? How do you know you are Johnny?”

Johnny laughed, looked down, turned up the corner of his frock, and showed there a bit of red flannel, about the size of a red peppermint, stitched on the wrong side. Mrs. Plummer, it seems, had put red flannel peppermints on Johnny’s clothes, and blue flannel peppermints on Jimmy’s, so that each could tell his own.

The funny man passed on, but had hardly gone ten steps before he turned, and said to the Jimmyjohns, “Why don’t you go a-rowing?” They answered, because they had no boat. He told them Dan took a tub for a boat. Then they said they had no water. The funny man was just at that moment stepping over the fence; but he answered back, speaking very loud, “Dan plays grass is water.”

The Jimmyjohns looked at each other.

“Ask him what oars Dan takes,” said Johnny.

“You ask him too,” said Jimmy.

So they called out both together, “What oars does Dan take?” And then, the funny man being by that time far along the road, they scampered to the fence, scrambled up, leaned over the top-rail, and shouted loud as they could, “What oars does Dan take?

[Pg 15]

The funny man turned, held one hand to one ear to catch the sounds, and shouted back, speaking one word at a time, “Can’t—hear—what—you—say!

What—oars—does—DAN—T-A-K-E?” bawled the Jimmyjohns, holding on to the last word as long as their breath lasted.

Takes—brooms! Dan—takes—BROOMS!” the funny man bawled back; then walked away quite fast.

“Cluck, cluck, cluck! Cluck, cluck, cluck! Cluckerty cluck!”

That was what it sounded like; but in reality it was pretty Banty White saying to her chickens, “Hurry back! Danger! Boys! Dreadful danger!”

Madam Banty White kept house under a tub at the back of the house; and it was her tub which was going to be the boat.

“Over she goes!” cried Jimmy, giving it a knock.

“Cluck, cluck, cluck! Cluck, cluck, cluck! Cluckerty cluck!” clucked Madam Banty. “Run for your lives! For your lives!”

“Sister, sister, sister!” shouted the Jimmyjohns.

Annetta Plummer, six years old and almost seven, was often called “Sister,” and sometimes “Sissy Plummer.” Hearing the shouts, sister ran to the window, calling out, “What do you want, you little Jimmies?”

Then curly-headed, three-years-old Effie trotted to the window, stood on her tiptoes, and shouted with her cunning voice, “What oo want, oo ittle Dimmeys?”

“Throw down two brooms. Quick’s you can!”

“Little boys must say ‘Please,’” said Annetta.

[Pg 16]

“Ittel—boys—say—‘Pease,’” repeated Effie.

Please, please, please, please!” shouted the Jimmies. Then, “Oh, dear! Oh! ma! Oh, dear! Ma! ma! Oh! Oh, dear! oh, dear!” in quite a different tone.

All the people came running to the window. “Who’s hurt? What’s the matter? Oh, they’ve tumbled down! they’ve tumbled down!”

The flour-barrel was at the bottom of it all. In their hurry to get the brooms, the Jimmies climbed on a flour-barrel which lay upon its side. It rolled over, and they rolled over with it. It is plain, therefore, that the flour-barrel was at the bottom of it all.

The poor Jimmyjohns cried bitterly, and the tears ran streaming down. Still they were not hurt badly, and the crying changed to kissing much sooner than usual. To explain what this means, it must be told, that when the Jimmies were little toddling things, just beginning to walk, they were constantly tumbling down, tipping over in their cradle, or bumping heads together; and Mrs. Plummer found that the best way to stop the crying at such times was to turn it into kissing. The reason of this is very plain. In crying, the mouth flies open; in kissing, it shuts. Mrs. Plummer was a wonderful woman. She found out that shutting the mouth would stop its crying, and to shut the mouth she contrived that pretty kissing plan, and at the first sound of a bump would catch up the little toddlers, put their arms round each other’s necks, and say, “Kiss Johnny, Jimmy; kiss Jimmy, Johnny.” And that was the way the habit began. They had not quite outgrown it; and it was enough to make anybody laugh to see them,[Pg 17] in the midst of a crying spell, run toward each other, their cheeks still wet with tears, and to see their poor little twisted, crying mouths trying to shut up into a kiss.

But now must be told the sad fate of Banty White’s tub. Alas for poor Banty! Nevermore will she gather chicks under its roof.

Mrs. Plummer, it seems, allowed the Jimmies to take her third-best broom and the barn broom to row with.

“Let’s go way over there, where there’s some good grass,” said Jimmy.

“So I say,” said Johnny. “How shall we get her over?”

“Take the reins,” said Jimmy.

“Oh, yes! so I say,” said Johnny.

The reins were then taken from the horses, and tied to one tub-handle. The brooms were tied to the other tub-handle, and so dragged behind. The Jimmies hoisted the tub over the fence into the field of “good grass,” squeezed themselves inside, put the broom-handles through the tub-handles, and began to row.

After rowing a while, and finding “she didn’t go any,” they thought they would try to find Dan, and ask him how he “made her go.” So the tub was hoisted over the fence again, and the brooms tied on for another pull. Both took hold of the reins; and then away they ran along the road, up hills and down hills, to find Dan.

“How easy she goes!” cried Johnny at last as they were rounding a corner.

Both turned to look, and, oh! what did they see? Alas! what did they see?—two hoops, pieces of wood[Pg 18] scattered along the road, and the brooms far behind. The tub had fallen apart, and the hoops that bound it were rolling away.

The brothers Plummer stood still and gazed. It was all they could do.

“And now won’t it be a tub any more?” Johnny asked at last very soberly.

“I—don’t—I guess so,” said Jimmy. “Maybe pa can tub it up again.”

Each boy took an armful of the pieces (leaving one that neither of them saw), hung a hoop over his shoulder, and in this manner turned to go home, dragging the brooms behind.

But, finding themselves quite near aunt Emily’s, they went that way, and made a call at the house. And very good reasons they had for doing so. One reason was a puppy; one reason was a gold-fish; but the sweetest reason of all was aunt Emily’s gingerbread.


HIGH times at Prairie-rose Cottage,—high times indeed! For there is cousin Floy Plummer on her tiptoes; and there is little Effie Plummer hurrying with might and main to climb to the top of the bureau; and there are the twins, the Jimmyjohn Plummers, scrambling both at once into the baby’s dining-chair, tumbling over the back like one boy, then dividing at[Pg 19] the bottom and going up again like two boys: and all these trying to pinch Annetta Plummer’s ears, and to pinch them seven times too; for Annetta Plummer is seven years old this very day.

Ever since morning, a little girl may have been seen holding two hands to two ears, scampering up stairs and down stairs, dodging into dark corners, behind doors, behind curtains, behind people, racing through the garden, hiding among the currant-bushes, among the grass, among the waving corn, in the barn, in the hen-house, up the apple-tree, up the ladder; and always have gone some of the pinchers after her, with seven pinches apiece in their thumbs and fingers. And now, will climbing that table save Miss Seven-year-old?

Hark! Rover is barking outside! O Rover! don’t you know any better than to bark at the party,—Annetta’s birthday-party? Look at old Bose, and learn how to behave. Old Bose never barks at company; and he is six times bigger than you are, you little, noisy, capering, frisky, frolicsome Rover! Now the Jimmyjohns run to call off their dog. “Here, Rover! Here, ere, ere, ere! Rove, Rove, Rove!”

And now the company have come in, and have taken off their things, and have told Mrs. Plummer how their mothers do, and have sat down quietly in a row of chairs. Seven of them,—seven bright faces so rosy and sweet! seven heads of hair so smooth or so curly! seven pairs of tidy boots, best ones, perhaps,—who knows but brand-new? The Jimmyjohns, too, have on their new, slippery, smooth-bottomed button-boots; and that was the reason of their falling down while they stood almost still, or rather more than half still, watching the seven little girls sitting in a row.

[Pg 20]

Ten minutes later. All out on the green spot, where it is shady, playing “Little Sally Waters sitting in the sun.” Josephus the baby (called Josephus while waiting for his real name) stays in his baby-carriage, hearing them sing, watching the ring go round, laughing, crowing, patting cakes by the dozen. When the Jimmies choose the one that they love best before they close their eyes to rest, Rover rushes into the middle, barking, leaping high, as if he, too, were going to kiss the one that he loved best.

Fifteen minutes later. They are playing “Pretty fair maid.” Dear, dear! what a charming singsong goes with this play! What a lively, chirruping tune! “Pretty fair maid, will you come up, will you come up, will you come up, to join us in our dances.” “And now we’ve got the Queen of May, the Queen of May, the Queen of May, to join us in our dances.” And then the last part, “Green grow the rushes O! Never mind the blushes O!” Ah! who would not be a little girl at a party, singing “Pretty fair maid” on the green spot?

Half an hour later. All out in the orchard, playing “keep house.” They divide themselves into “families.” There is one very large flat rock in the orchard, also several hollow places where rocks have been dug out. Two of the “families” take each a hollow to live in; a third “keeps house” on the rock, a fourth under a haycock. Oh, what good times! Only two families can have “fathers,” because there are only two boys. The other “fathers,” cousin Floy says, have gone to Boston. Cousin Floy manages this play. She is ten years old, and knows how. Cousin Floy[Pg 21] goes in to coax Mrs. Plummer for some things in which to dress up the “fathers” and “mothers.” She says it will do if the heads look like fathers’ and mothers’ heads, and no matter about the clothes. Mrs. Plummer lends two head-dresses, also ribbons and laces. Grandmother Plummer lends a cap and black ribbon. Who’ll be the “grandmother,” I wonder. Minnie Lowe, the little girl with the flossy curls. Oh, what a cunning grandmother!—Down, Rover, down! What! barking at your grandmother, you saucy little puppy?

“Ha, ha! He, he! Ha, ha! He, he! Ho, ho!” And who wouldn’t laugh at seeing Jimmy Plummer in a high dicky, black whiskers, and tall hat? The hat touches his shoulders behind. Ah! that is better. Cousin Floy has taken off the hat, and put on a great deal of black hair pulled from an old cushion; yes, a great deal,—as much as a quarter of a peck. It rises high on his head, and—What ails Rover? Ha, ha! Pretty good! Rover doesn’t know Jimmy!

Well, well, well! Grandfather forever! They are going to have Johnny a grandfather! Cousin Floy is covering his head with cotton-wool for white hair. Now she gives him a cane. Now go on the spectacles. Now she is—doing—something—I cannot—see—what. Oh, yes, yes, yes! putting a hump under his frock, between his shoulders, to give him a stoop. Bark away, Rover! Who wouldn’t bark at a cotton-wool grandfather?

Joey Moonbeam
doll clothes
small doll

Annetta has been in to the house, and is bringing out all her rag-babies. To be sure; for now there can be a baby in every family. One of these is very large, and has a face as big round as a pint porringer; but the[Pg 22] others are quite small. The large one is named Joey Moonbeam. This is a true picture of Joey Moonbeam, copied from her likeness now hanging in Annetta Plummer’s baby-house. The largest of the small rag-babies is named Dorothy Beeswax. She is a little taller than a knitting-needle. This is a true picture of Dorothy Beeswax. The next largest is Betsey Ginger. The next is Jenny Popover. The next is Eudora N. Posy. The “N.” stands for Nightingale. The next is Susan Sugarspoon. This is a true picture of Betsey Ginger. Susan Sugarspoon, and Jenny Popover, and Eudora N. Posy, have not had their pictures taken yet. The smallest of all is Polly Cologne,—the smallest, the prettiest, and the cunningest. Her cheeks are painted pink, and she wears a locket. Her hair is of flax-colored floss-silk, while the hair of all the others is stocking-ravellings. She is the baby of the baby-house, and this is her true and exact picture. Polly Cologne has feet; but the others stand on their stiff petticoats.

[Pg 23]

Now comes Mrs. Plummer, with seed-cakes for the housekeepers to play supper with; and behind her comes cousin Floy, bringing cinnamon-water, and dishes from the baby-house. The cinnamon-water is in four phials. Each phial has in it sugar, and also rose-leaves.

What are the children laughing and whispering about? and why do they look at little Fanny Brimmer in such a way? Mrs. Plummer has called Annetta aside with one or two others, and is asking why they do so.

“Because,” whispers little Lulu, “Fanny picked out—the biggest—seed-cakes—that had the most—sugar-plums—on the tops.”

Mrs. Plummer tells them, speaking very low, that perhaps Fanny did not know it was selfish to do so; that her mother might never have told her. “Selfish girls,” says Mrs. Plummer, “should be pitied, not laughed at; and besides, perhaps every one of you may be selfish in some other way.”

Half-past four o’clock. What is going on now? Oh! I see. The “family” at the rock are having a party, and to this party have come the “families” from the hollows and the haycock.—No, Rover, you were not invited. Down, sir!—down!

The supper is laid out on the rock. The cinnamon-water is poured into the cups, each cup holding half a thimbleful. Grandfather Johnny and grandmother Minnie sit at the head, and father Jimmy at the foot; while the mothers with their little girls fill the room between. The mothers wear head-dresses. The little girls wear dandelion-curls, and curls of shavings. Only one of the babies is allowed to come to the table, and that is Polly Cologne. The others sit on the floor, and[Pg 24] play with their playthings. Joey Moonbeam can come to table, because she is big enough. They call Joey Moonbeam a little girl three years old, that cannot walk, because she has had a fever. Polly Cologne seems to be a pet among all these mothers and little girls. They all want to hold her. Why, by their talk, one might suppose she was a live baby. Hear them. “O little darling!” “Just as cunning!” “Dear ’ittle baby!” “Did zee want some payzings?” “Tum to oor mozzer, oo darling!” “Do let me hold her!” “No, let me, let me!” “Me!” And so she is passed from one to another, and kissed and stroked and patted, and talked to. Really the birthday-party is having a good time. Ah! who would not be a little girl playing supper on a rock, out among the apple-trees, and sipping cinnamon-water?

But, dear, dear! what is the matter? Why do they all jump down in a hurry, and scream and shout, and run after Rover? What! Polly Cologne? Rover gone off with Polly Cologne in his mouth? Yes, Rover has. There he goes, scampering away, and all the children after him, calling, “Here, here, ere, ere, ere! Back, sir! back!” The Jimmyjohns slip with their smooth-bottomed boots, and down they go; and off go wigs, whiskers, and all! Now they’re up again, shouting to Rover, “Here, Rover!—here, Rover! Drop it, drop it! Rove, Rove! Come back!”

But Rove won’t hear, and won’t come back. He’s out of the orchard, across the meadow, over the brook; and now—and now he has gone into the woods! Oh, dear, dear!

Four days later. Orchard, wood, brook, and meadow[Pg 25] have been searched; but the lost is not yet found. Annetta is quite sad. She has put away Polly Cologne’s every-day locket and every-day clothes, and blue silk sun-bonnet, because it made her feel badly to see them.

Dear little Polly Cologne, where are you now? Lost in the woods? And are the Robin Redbreasts covering you over with leaves? Perhaps naughty Rover buried you up like a meat-bone in the cold, damp ground, or dropped you in the brook,—and, alas! you could never swim ashore. Did those bright-spotted trout eat you? or did you float away to the sea? Perhaps you did float away to the sea. Perhaps you are now far out on the mighty ocean, where the wild winds blow, and there, all alone, toss up and down, up and down, on the rolling waves; or perhaps the waves and the winds are at rest, and the sea is smooth like a sea of glass, and you lie quietly there, with your pink cheeks turned up to the sky. Or the mermaids may take you down into their sea-caverns all lined with rose-colored shells, and sing you sweet songs till your hair turns green. Or who knows but you may float away to Northland, and be picked up on shore by the little funny, furry Esquimaux children? Oh, if you should be frozen solid in an iceberg there! But it may be you have drifted down to the sunny islands of the South, where the people have few clothes, no houses, no schools; and then some little, half-naked, dusky child may pick you up from among the coral and sea-shells, and show you to its mother, and say, “Mother, where do this kind of folks live?” And its mother, not having studied geography, may say, “Oh! in a wonderful country close by the moon.”

[Pg 26]

Yes, let us hope that Polly Cologne has been wafted to those sunny summer-lands of the South, where oranges grow, and prunes, and bananas; where the palm-tree waves, and geraniums grow wild; where the air is balmy; where snow never comes, nor ice, nor frost; where bright-winged birds warble in the groves; where trees are forever green, and flowers bloom through all the year.


In this story will be given a true and exact account of the Jimmyjohns’ affair with the gulls; also of the manner in which Jimmy was turned out of the little red house at the sea-shore. The account will begin at the time of their leaving home. It will explain the reason of their going, and will, in fact, tell every thing that happened to them just exactly as it happened.

Mr. Plummer, their father, had bought some salt hay at a place called Stony Point, near the sea-shore. One day he sent Ellis Payne with the ox-cart to finish making the hay and bring it home. Mr. Plummer told Ellis Payne that he himself should be riding that way about noontime, and would carry him a warm dinner. He started just after eating his own dinner. Ellis Payne’s was put up in a six-quart tin pail. It being Saturday, Mr. Plummer took the Jimmyjohns along.[Pg 27] Their mother said they might play at Stony Point till Ellis Payne came home, and then ride back on the hay. Mr. Plummer was going to the mill.

Now, the road turned off to the mill a short distance before reaching Stony Point; and Mr. Plummer, to save time, told the Jimmyjohns they might jump out there, and carry the pail to Ellis Payne, and he would keep on to the mill, and then he could take in the funny man. The funny man was just turning up that same road. He stopped to have a little fun with the twins; jumped them out of the wagon; tried to guess which was which, and, when told, turned them round and round, to mix them up; then tried to guess again, and would have tossed up a cent, and said, “Heads, this is Jimmy,—tails, this is Johnny,” as he sometimes did, only that the horse seemed in somewhat of a hurry.

Mr. Plummer showed the little boys a scraggy tree which grew on the edge of a bank, near the shore; and told them they would see the oxen as soon as they turned the corner where that tree grew. One took hold on one side of the pail, and the other on the other; and in that way they walked along the shore, keeping pretty close to the bank. It took them only about five or ten minutes to reach that tree; and, when the corner was turned, they saw the oxen plainly, but could not see Ellis Payne. They kept on, walking more slowly, the way being more stony, and at last came to the oxen. Ellis Payne was not there. The reason of his not having been there is as follows: Two fields away from the shore stood a small red house all alone by itself, in which lived an old woman with her[Pg 28] young grandson. The young grandson fell from a chamber-window, and broke his collar-bone bone; and the old woman ran to the shore, screaming for help; and Ellis Payne left his work, and went to find out what was the matter.

The Jimmyjohns, seeing some oxen farther along the shore, thought perhaps those first oxen were not the right ones, and so kept on to those other ones. They turned down, and walked quite near the water, picking up pretty pebbles as they went along, and now and then a cockle-shell, or a scallop, or purple muscle. Some of the shells were single; others in pairs, which could be opened like crackers. They had a reason for picking up the scallops and muscles, which there is no time to mention here; though, after all, perhaps it may as well be told. Annetta Plummer was going to have a party, and she had not enough scalloped shells to bake her cakes in. The cockles were for Effie to put in her arm-basket. The Jimmyjohns picked up enough of all kinds to fill their pockets; then took off their hats, and filled those. By that time they had come to the spot where the oxen had stood. But no oxen were there then, and no man: so there was nothing better to do than to play in the sand, and sail clam-shell boats in the little pools. It was a warm day; the water looked cool; and the little Jimmies, as they beheld the rippling waves, felt just like wading in. So it was off with shoes, and off with stockings, roll up trousers-legs, and away and away, with a run, and a shout, and a dash, and a splash, and a spatter. A little distance out from the shore there was a high rock, not so very, very high,—just the right height to give them[Pg 29] a good seat; and they sat down there, feet in the water, heads together, looking down into the water, watching the fries darting swiftly hither and thither.

It is just here that the gull part of the story comes in. Gulls are large sea-birds. They live upon fish, and they are their own fishermen. Some may call this the funny part of the story, though those who are ever in such a story may not call it the funny part.

The white-winged gulls were flying about. It is a common thing, at sea-side places, to see gulls flying about, and skimming over the water. Sometimes they dip in their bills and take a fish. The Jimmyjohns sat looking down, keeping very still, so as not to scare the fries away. Just what the gulls thought of them no one knows, and it can never be known; for there is no way of finding out gulls’ thoughts, which is a pity: it would be so curious to know just what they do think about, and how they think it! Perhaps those that belong to this story thought the two Jimmyjohns were two great fishes, exactly alike; or perhaps they thought hair would be good to line nests with. But, whatever they thought, this is what they did: They flew down swift and sudden upon the boys’ heads, flapped their great wings in their faces, clawed their hair, beat them with their beaks. The little fellows screamed, jumped, fell down, scrambled up, ran, fell down, then up again; got to the shore some way; ran over the sand, over the pebbles, over the stones, over the rocks, across wet grass, up a bank, through a field, screaming all the time as if the gulls were chasing them every step of the way. But no doubt the gulls had been just as much frightened as the boys; for they had flown away[Pg 30] faster than they came, out of sight, far over the sea. The Jimmies sat down on the grass, in the warm sunshine, and rubbed their bruises, and counted the cuts in their feet. Johnny’s left knee was lame, and the heel of the other foot had been badly cut by a piece of clam-shell.

By this time it was quite late in the afternoon. The boys began to feel hungry, and talked of going to get the pail, and eating some of the dinner. One guessed it would be stealing to do that, and the other guessed it would not be stealing. At last they agreed to go and get their hats and shoes and stockings and the pail, and find Ellis Payne, and ask him to give them a little piece of his gingerbread.

It was pretty hard work going back over those sharp stones, and that coarse, stubbed grass, barefoot. To be sure, they came that way; but they were frightened then, and only thought of the gulls. That grass—why, its edges were so sharp, it seemed as if little knives were cutting into their feet! They walked on their heels, on their toes, on the sides of their feet, almost on the tops of them sometimes, and so hobbled along slowly,—rather too slowly; for, by the time they reached the shore, somebody had been there before them, and taken all their things. What body? Why, a body you have heard of before; a body that has done great mischief; a body that had carried off bigger things than six-quart tin pails; a body that is said to get furious at times, and to do then the most terrible things. Have you never heard of a body of water called the mighty ocean? That was it. The mighty ocean rushed up that pebbly shore, and swallowed[Pg 31] up hats, shoes, stockings, dinner-pail, dinner, and all. To speak in plain words, the tide had risen, and covered them.

The Jimmies never thought of that until a man came along—a man with a horse-cart—and told them. “Why,” said he, “no use looking: the tide has carried them off.”

When the man had gone, the boys went up from the water to look for Ellis Payne. Johnny’s heel was in such a state, he could only use the toes of that foot; and, in going over the sharp stones, he cut the ball of the same foot, so that he could not step with it at all; and, when they came to the stubbed grass that cut like little knives, he held up one foot, and hopped on the other; and, getting tired of that, he walked on his knees. Jimmy laughed at him, but, in the midst of his laughing, cried out, “Ou, ou!” and was glad enough to come down upon his own knees. And so they went on a while; but finding knee-walking hard to do, and apt to make knee-walkers roll over, they tried hand-walking and knee-walking both, which is all the same as crawling.

And now comes that part of the story where Jimmy was turned out of a house.

While those boys had been picking up shells, and playing in the sand, and wading, and watching the fries, and running away from gulls, and drying their clothes in the sun, and counting their cuts, and hobbling up and down the shore, the sun had been sinking lower and lower and lower; and Ellis Payne had finished making the hay, and gone home with it. It is sad to think how hungry Ellis Payne must have[Pg 32] been! The boys were hungry too; and that may have been the reason why they went toward the little red house. It stood two fields away from the shore, as has already been stated. When they reached the last field, Johnny lay down in the grass, close by a row of wild-plum bushes, and cried. He said he could not walk any more. Jimmy said he would go into that house; and, if any woman gave him any thing, he would bring Johnny some. But when he reached the house he was too bashful to open the door, and staid in the wood-shed quite a long time, till he saw a woman go in.

After Jimmy had been gone a few moments, Johnny heard a noise of some one walking near; and soon an old woman came out from behind the bushes, with some leaves in her hand. She went close to Johnny, and asked him what he was lying there for, bareheaded. Johnny told her he had a lame knee and a sore heel, and he couldn’t walk.

“Don’t tell me that!” said she. “Didn’t I just see you running across the field?”

“No—ma’am—’twasn’t—I,” sobbed Johnny.

“Don’t tell me! don’t tell me!” cried the old woman; and she walked off, picking now and then a leaf as she went. The leaves were plantain-leaves for the bruises of her little grandson, who had fallen out of the chamber-window. The boy she saw running across the field was Jimmy.

When that old woman had finished picking leaves, she went back into the house; and hardly had she spread the leaves out on the table, when Jimmy put his head in at the door slowly, then his shoulders, then the rest of himself.

[Pg 33]


[Pg 35]

“What do you want here?” cried the old woman. “Didn’t you tell me you couldn’t walk?”

“No—ma’am,” Jimmy answered, frightened almost out of his breath.

“Oh! oh! oh! what a big story-teller you are!” cried the woman. “Off with you!—quick too! I don’t want such a boy as you are in my house with my little Sammy.”

By the time she had got as far as “my little Sammy,” Jimmy was out of the house and at the first pair of bars; and, being in a terrible fright, he ran back to Johnny as fast as he could go.

Johnny was sitting there, hugging somebody. What body? Not a body of water is meant this time, but a lively, loving, frisking, barking little body, named Rover. And close behind came Mr. Plummer. When Ellis Payne came home without the Jimmyjohns, Mr. Plummer put the horse into the light wagon, and took Rover, and went to look after them.


This chapter will tell why Mrs. Plummer had to sew very odd-looking patches on the Jimmyjohns’ sailor-suits. It will also tell what boy cut holes in those sailor-suits, and why he cut them, and when; and will show, that, at the time it was done, the three boys were in great danger.

[Pg 36]

It was on a Monday morning that people first took notice that the Jimmies’ trousers were patched in a curious manner. Johnny was carrying the new dog, and Jimmy was taking hold of Johnny’s hand. After Rover was lost, the twins had a new dog given them, named Snip. He was the smallest dog they ever saw: but he was a dog; he was not a puppy. Mr. Plummer brought him home in his pocket one day, two weeks after Rover went away. It was Rover, you know, that ran off with poor little Polly Cologne. People talked so much to him about this piece of mischief, that at last he began to feel ashamed of himself; and, as soon as Polly Cologne’s name was mentioned, he would slink into a corner, and hide his head. One day Annetta showed him an apron that poor little Polly used to wear,—it was a bib-apron,—and said to him, “St’boy! Go find her! Don’t come back till you find her!”

The bib-apron was about three inches long. Rover caught it in his mouth, and away he went, and—did not come back. They looked for him far and near; they put his name in the newspapers; but all in vain. The apron was found sticking to a bramble-bush, about a mile from home; but nothing could be seen or heard of Rover. There was a circus in town that day, and he might have gone off with that. Perhaps he was ashamed to come back. Little Mr. Tompkins, the lobster-seller, thinks the dog understood what Annetta said, and that he may be, even now, scouring the woods, or else sniffing along the streets, peeping into back-yards, down cellar-ways, up staircases, in search of poor Polly Cologne.

[Pg 37]

Mr. Tompkins was among the very first to notice the sailor-suits. He met the twins that morning as he was wheeling along his lobsters, and quickly dropped his wheelbarrow, and sat down on one of the side-boards. Being a small, slim man, he could sit there as well as not without tipping the wheelbarrow over.

Mr. Tompkins wore short-legged pantaloons and a long-waisted coat. The reason of this was, that he had short legs and (for his size) a long waist. His coat was buttoned up to his chin. His cap had a stiff visor, which stood out like the awning of a shop. He had a thin face, a small nose, small eyes, and a wide mouth; and he wore a blue apron with shoulder-straps.

“What’s happened to your trousers, eh?” asked little Mr. Tompkins. His way of speaking was as sharp and quick as Snip’s way of barking. “Say, what’s happened to your trousers?”

The trousers were patched in this way: Jimmy’s had a long strip on the left leg: Johnny’s had a round patch above each knee, one being much farther up than the other.

“Oh, yes! I see,—I see how it is,” said Mr. Tompkins. “Your mother did that so as to tell you apart. Oh, yes! Yes, yes! Very good! Johnny Shortpatch, Jimmy Longpatch; or Jimmy Shortpatch, Johnny Longpatch,—which is it?”

“She didn’t do so for that,” said Johnny, and then Jimmy after him. Johnny was commonly the first to speak.

“She didn’t?” cried Mr. Tompkins: “then what did she do so for?”

“Perhaps to tell which is good, and which is naughty,” said a lady who had stopped to look on.

[Pg 38]

Then the butcher’s boy stepped up, and he wanted to know about the trousers. Then a woman looked out of the window, and she wanted to know about the trousers. Then a great black dog came up, and he smelt of the trousers, which made Snip snap his teeth. Then came a flock of school-children, and they had something to say. “Halloo!” “What’s up?” “What’s the matter with all your trousers?” “Hoo, hoo!” “How d’ye do, Mr. Patcherboys?”

Now, the truth was, that Amos Dyke cut holes in those trousers with his jack-knife. It happened in this way: The Jimmies, the Saturday before that Monday, started from home to spend a cent at Mr. Juniper’s store. They had, in the first place, two cents; but one was lost. They got those two cents by having a show in the barn. The price for going in to see the show was four pins. The Jimmies sold the pins to the funny man. He gave a cent for sixteen straight ones, but would take no crooked ones at any price. Sometimes the Jimmies tried to pound the crooked ones straight on a stone. Their pins, that Saturday, came to nearly a cent and three-quarters; and the funny man made it up to two. Jimmy let his fall on the barn-floor; and Johnny, in helping him find it, hit it accidentally with his toe, and knocked it through a crack. Then Mrs. Plummer said they would have to divide between them what was bought with the other cent.

The little boys left home to go to Mr. Juniper’s store at half-past two o’clock in the afternoon, taking Snip with them. Probably, if they had not taken him with them, all would have been well.

In passing a garden, they looked through the pickets,[Pg 39] and saw a kitten racing along the paths. Snip was after her in a moment.

“Now, you stay and take care of Snip,” said Johnny to Jimmy, “and I’ll go spend the cent, and bring your half here.” And just so they did. Jimmy found Snip, and then went along to a shady place under a tree; and there he climbed to the top rail of a fence, and sat down to wait.

Johnny went round to Mr. Juniper’s store, and asked for a cent roll of checkerberry lozenges. Mr. Juniper had no cent rolls of lozenges; but he had striped candy, and some quite large peaches, which he was willing, for reasons known to himself, to sell for a cent apiece. Johnny felt so thirsty, that he longed to bite of a peach: so he bought one, and turned back towards the garden. Having no knife to cut it with, he ate off his half going along; and this tasted so good, that he could hardly help eating Jimmy’s half. But he only nibbled the edges to make them even.

Turning a corner, he spied Jimmy, and jumped over into a field, so as to run across by a short cut. In the field he met Amos Dyke. Amos Dyke is a large boy, and a cruel boy. He likes to hurt small children who cannot hurt him.

Amos Dyke knocked Johnny’s elbow with a basket he was carrying, and made him drop the half-peach in the grass. Then Johnny began to cry.

“Now, if you don’t stop crying, I’ll eat it,” said Amos, taking up the half-peach, and setting his teeth in it.

“Oh! don’t you! don’t! give it to me! it’s Jimmy’s half!” cried Johnny. Amos took two bites,[Pg 40] and then threw away the stone. The stone was all there was left after the two bites were taken. Johnny cried louder than before.

“Here! stop that! stop that!” some one called out from the road. It was Mr. Tompkins the lobster-seller. “Stop!” cried Mr. Tompkins. “Let that little chap alone! Why don’t you take one of your own size?”

The fact is, that Amos Dyke never does take one of his own size. He always takes some little fellow who can’t defend himself.

Just about this time the funny man came along with his umbrellas under his arm. The funny man is an umbrella-mender. Then Amos Dyke, seeing that two men were looking at him, whispered to Johnny, “Hush up! Quick! Don’t tell! Come down to the shore, and I’ll let you go graping with me in a boat. I’ll run ahead and get the oars, and you go get Jimmy.”

The boat was a row-boat. Johnny sat at one end, and Jimmy at the other. Amos Dyke sat in the middle, and rowed. Before starting, he fastened a tall stick at the stern of the boat, and tied his handkerchief to it, and called that the flag.

They rowed along-shore, then off beyond the rocks, then in-shore again, and farther along, for nearly a mile, to a place called “High Pines,” and there landed. The grapes grew in the woods, on the top of a steep, sandy cliff as high as a high house. Twice, in climbing this cliff, did the little Jimmies slide down, down, down; twice was poor Snip buried alive; and many times were all three pelted by the rolling, rattling stones.

They reached the top at last, and found Amos[Pg 41] already picking grapes. He told them, that, if they would pick for him, he would give them two great bunches. The grapes were of a kind called sugar-grapes, light-colored, fragrant, and as sweet as honey. Amos told the little boys not to eat while they were picking. When he had filled his basket, he borrowed the Jimmies’ pocket-handkerchiefs, and tied some up in those. They were their “lion” pocket-handkerchiefs: each had in its centre a lion, with a b c’s all around the lion. Amos gave the Jimmies two great bunches apiece. He then hid the basket and two small bundles behind a bush, and they all three went to find a thick spot. When they found the thick spot, Amos, not having any thing else to pick in, took off his jacket, and filled both sleeves. Then he borrowed the Jimmyjohns’ jackets, and filled the four sleeves. Then he filled his own hat and the Jimmyjohns’ hats.

As it grew later, the wind breezed up, and the Jimmies began to feel cold. Amos had long pantaloons and a vest; but the Jimmies’ little fat legs were bare, and they had no vests: they only had thin waists, and their trousers were rolled up.

It began to sprinkle, and Amos said it was time to go. They went back for the basket and two small bundles, but were a long time in finding the bush, on account of the bushes there looking so much alike. They did find it, though; or rather Snip found it. The Jimmies took one apiece of the bundles, and wanted to take more; but Amos was afraid they might lose some of the grapes. Perhaps he knew pretty well how they would reach the foot of the cliff; perhaps he knew pretty well that they would begin slowly, and that[Pg 42] the sliding sands would take them along so fast they couldn’t stop themselves, and would land them at the bottom in two small heaps.

Now about the row home. Such a time as they had! There was no rain to speak of; but the wind blew hard, and this made the sea very rough,—so rough that the boat pitched up and down, and sometimes took in water. Amos told the Jimmies to hold on by the sides. They were seated at the ends, as before, and, by stretching their arms apart, could take hold of each side, and did so. Amos put on his own hat, and let them have theirs, but said it wouldn’t do to stop to empty the jacket-sleeves. The grapes from the hats were emptied into the bottom of the boat. Snip was in the bottom of the boat too. As there was no one to hold him, he lay down on the Jimmyjohns’ jackets.

And there he did mischief. The boat, it seems, was an old, leaky boat, and the leaks were not well stopped. Snip pulled out with his teeth, and chewed up, what had been stuffed into the cracks; and, before they knew what he was about, the water had begun to come in, and was wetting their feet and all the things in the bottom. The wind took their hats off, and blew the flag away. They caught their hats, and held them between their knees. Amos began to look sober. The little boys, half crying, held fast by the sides of the boat, saying over and over, “Oh, I want to go home!” “I want to see mother!”

This was the time when the trousers were cut. “I must cut pieces out of your trousers,” said Amos, “and stop the leaks, or we shall be drowned. Mine are too thick cloth.”

[Pg 43]


[Pg 45]

He took out his jack-knife as quick as ever he could, and cut pieces from their trousers, and stuffed the pieces into the cracks. Even this did not wholly keep the water from coming in: so, just as soon as they got past the rocks, Amos steered the boat to the land; and there he pulled her up, the Jimmyjohns pushing behind.

By this time it was after sunset. Amos emptied all the grapes, except those in his basket, out upon the ground behind a log, and covered them with dry seaweed. He let the Jimmies have a part of what were in their handkerchiefs. They all started then to walk along the sands. As the jackets were too wet to be worn, each boy carried his own on his arm. The Jimmies took turns in carrying Snip. In this manner they walked for nearly a quarter of a mile to the place they started from. There were two men coming down toward the water. As soon as Amos saw those two men, he ran away; for one was Mr. Plummer, and the other was the umbrella-man. The umbrella-man, it seems, had told Mr. Plummer that he saw his little boys in the field with Amos Dyke, and had come to help him find them.

Mrs. Plummer sat up very late that Saturday night.

[Pg 46]


I am going to put some things about Effie in my diary; and this is the reason why I am going to put them in: My mother says, when Effie is a great girl she will like to read some of the things she did and said when she was three years old. And so will the Jimmyjohns when they grow up; and so I shall put in some of their things, too, when I have done putting in some of Effie’s things. The Jimmyjohns are my little brothers, both of them twins, just alike.

One time, Effie wanted to be dressed up in her best clothes to go up in the tree and see the sun-birds. She thinks that the tops of the trees are close up to the place where the sun is, and that makes her call birds sun-birds. And she thinks the birds light up the stars every night. My mother asked her, “What makes you think the birds light up the stars every night?” and Effie said, “Because they have some wings to fly high up.”

My father brought me home a pudding-pan to make little puddings in. It doesn’t hold very much: it holds most a cupful. And Joey Moonbeam is going to have a party; and, when she does, my mother is going to show me how to make a pudding in it. Joey Moonbeam is my very great rag-baby. She has got a new hat. I made it. Cousin Hiram says he is going to draw a picture of it on Joey Moonbeam’s head in my[Pg 47] diary before she wears it all out. Betsey Ginger is going to have some new clothes to wear to Joey Moonbeam’s party; and Dorothy Beeswax is going to have one new arm sewed on. Susan Sugarspoon, and Eudora N. Posy, and Jenny Popover, are not careful of their clothes, and so they cannot have some new ones. N. stands for Nightingale. Dear little Polly Cologne was the very smallest one of them all. She was the baby rag-baby. She was just as cunning, and she had hair that wasn’t ravellings. It was hair; and all the others have ravellings. Her cheeks were painted pink. She had four bib-aprons, and she had feet. We don’t know where she is. Rover—that little dog that we used to have—carried her off in his mouth, and now she is lost. Rover went away to find her when I told him to, and he did not come back. We don’t know where Rover is. We think somebody stole him, or else he would be heard of. We feel very sorry. He was a good little dog. My father says he was only playing when he carried her off.

Joey Moonbeam’s New Hat

I love all my rag-babies. I love Snip, but not so much as I do Rover. I love dear little baby-brother. I love the Jimmies, both of them. I love Effie, and[Pg 48] I love my mother, and my father, and grandma Plummer. I don’t love aunt Bethiah. Aunt Bethiah does not love little girls. When little girls have a pudding-pan, aunt Bethiah says it is all nonsense for them to have them. My mother said I might have raisins in my pudding. I like to pick over raisins. Sometimes my mother lets me eat six when I pick them over, and sometimes she lets me eat eight. Then I shut up my eyes, and pick all the rest over with them shut up, because then I cannot see how good they look. Grandma Plummer told me this way to do. Effie is not big enough. She would put them in her arm-basket. She puts every thing in her arm-basket. She carries it on her arm all the time, and carries it to the table, and up to bed. My mother hangs it on the post of her crib. When she sits up to the table, she hangs it on her chair.

One time, when the Jimmies were very little boys, they picked up two apples that did not belong to them under Mr. Spencer’s apple-tree, and ate a part. Then, when they were eating them, a woman came to the door, and said, “Didn’t you know that you mustn’t pick up apples that are not your own?” After she went in, the Jimmies carried them back, and put them down under the tree in the same place again.

I am going to tell what Effie puts in her arm-basket. Two curtain-rings, one steel pen she found, some spools, some strings, one bottle (it used to be a smelling-bottle), my father’s letter when he was gone away, a little basket that Hiram made of a nutshell, a head of one little china doll, Betsey Beeswax sometimes, and sometimes one of the other ones, a peach-stone to plant, a glass eye of a bird that was not a live[Pg 49] one, and a pill-box, and a piece of red glass, and pink calico, and an inkstand, and her beads, and a foot of a doll. One time it got tipped over when we played “Siren.” Mr. Tompkins was in here when we played “Siren.” He looked funny with the things on. Cousin Floy told us how to play it. The one that is the siren has to put on a woman’s bonnet and a shawl, and then go under the table, and then sing under there, and catch the ones that come close up when they run by. I caught Hiram’s foot. Hiram was so tall, he could not get all under. Cousin Floy stood up in a chair to put the bonnet on him. My father did not sing a good tune: it was not any tune, but a noise. My mother did, and cousin Floy did too. Mr. Tompkins squealed. Mr. Tompkins could get way under. The one that is caught has to be the siren. Soon as the siren begins to sing, then the others go that way to listen, and go by as fast as they can. The siren jumps out and catches them. My father got caught. He did not want to put on the bonnet; but he did. He did not sing a bad tune like Hiram’s, but a pretty bad one. He made it up himself. My mother told Hiram that sirens did not howl. When Johnny was caught, Jimmy went under there too, and had another bonnet; and they both jumped out together to catch. The tune the Jimmies sung was,—

“Toodle-doo was a dandy cock-robin:
He tied up his tail with a piece of blue bobbin.”

Effie was afraid to go under. Her arm-basket got upset, and made her cry. Snip flew at Hiram when Hiram caught Johnny. He went under, too, when they went[Pg 50] under, and barked most all the time. I was the one that got caught the most times, and so then I had to be judged; and I chose cousin Floy for my judge, and she judged me to tell a story.

We are going to have pumpkin for dinner. Joey Moonbeam’s party is going to be a soap-bubble party. When Clarence was the siren, he sang,—

“Hop, hop, hop!
Go, and never stop.”

Sometimes Clarence stops to play with us when he comes here. My mother says he is a very good boy. His father is dead: his mother is sick; so is his little brother. He has got two little brothers and two little sisters. They do not have enough to eat. He comes here to get the cold victuals my mother has done using.


Mrs. Plummer holding “Josephus,” and Mr. Plummer, and grandma Plummer, and Hiram, take seats in the row, and play they are little children like the rest, waiting to hear the story. Hiram, sometimes called “the growler,” sits on a cricket, his long legs reaching across a breadth and a half of the carpet. Annetta seats herself in front of the row.

“Shall I make it up true, or ‘fictisher’?” she asks.

Annetta’s true stories tell of things which have really[Pg 51] happened. The “fictishers” are usually one solid mass of giants. In fact, her hearers have had so many and so very monstrous giants lately, that they can’t stand any more, and ask that Annetta shall “make it up true” this time; though, of course, what is true can’t be made up.

“Well, if I make it up true,” says Annetta, “I shall make it about the Jimmyjohns.” (The Jimmies, who are seated together in the row, look very smiling at this.) “All be very quiet,” Annetta goes on, “and keep in the row. Mr. Growly must not interrupt so much as he does most every time, because it’s every word true.

“Once there were two little twinnies named the Jimmyjohns, just as big as each other, and just as old, and just alike. And one day, when Joey Moonbeam was going to have a soap-bubble party, Annetta (me; but I mustn’t say me, you know)—Annetta wanted to make a pudding in her little pudding-pan, and her mother said she might. And her mother gave her some grease, so it needn’t stick on, and told how many teaspoonfuls of sugar to take, and milk and cracker, and twenty currants (because currants are smaller than raisins are). And one egg was too many for such a little one, and she couldn’t think what to tell about that: and Mr. Growly said humming-birds’ eggs would be the right size for such a little one; and he asked the Jimmyjohns if they would chase some humming-birds home and get their eggs, and they said ‘Yes.’ But he was only funning with them. And he took a little red box with white on top of it, that used to be a pill-box, out of Effie’s basket—she let him—for them to put the eggs[Pg 52] in when they found any, and put two white sugar-lumps in the box; and their mother said, when they found the eggs, they could eat the sugar-lumps up, and put the eggs in there.

“And first they went behind the syringa-bush; and, when one came, they said, ‘Sh!’ and began to crawl out. But Johnny tried to stop a sneeze’s coming; and so that sneeze made a funny noise in his nose, and scared it away.

“And first it went to the sweet-peas; and then it flew to some wild rose-bushes over the fence, and then to some other places. And they chased it everywhere it went. And then it flew across a field where there was a swamp; and, when they came to the swamp, they couldn’t find it anywhere. And they saw a boy there, and that boy told them maybe it flew over the hills. Then they went over the hills, and it took them a great while. And pretty soon there came along a little girl, and her name was Minnie Gray; and she came to pick flowers in a basket for another girl that was sick, and couldn’t go out doors to smell the sweet flowers. And she asked them where they were going; and they said to find humming-birds’ eggs for Annetta to put in her pudding, because Joey Moonbeam was going to have a soap-bubble party. And they asked her if she knew where humming-birds laid their eggs, and she said she guessed in a lily; and they asked her where any lilies grew, and she said in her mother’s front-yard; and they asked her if they might go into her mother’s front-yard and look, and she said they might. Then they went over to Minnie Gray’s house, and went into her mother’s front-yard, and looked in every one of the[Pg 53] lilies, but couldn’t find one. And pretty soon they saw the funny man, that mends umbrellas, coming out of a house with some umbrellas that he had to mend; and he asked them where they were going, and they said to find some humming-birds’ eggs for Annetta to put in her pudding that she was going to make in her pudding-pan, because Joey Moonbeam was going to have a soap-bubble party. And they asked him if he knew where to look for them, and he said they’d better climb up in a tree and look. Then he went into another house; and then they climbed up into Mr. Bumpus’s apple-tree and looked, and couldn’t find any; and Mr. Bumpus’s shaggy dog came out and barked, and Mr. Bumpus’s boy drove him away; and a limb broke with Johnny, and so he fell down, and it hurt him, and made him cry.

“And Mr. Bumpus called the dog, and told them to never climb up there and break his limbs off any more. And then they went along; and pretty soon the funny man came out of another house, and asked them if they had found any humming-birds’ eggs, and they said ‘No.’ Then he told them butterflies laid theirs on the backs of leaves: so they’d better go and look on the backs of leaves, and see if humming-birds did so. So they went into a woman’s flower-garden, and turned some of the leaves over, and looked on the backs of them; and a cross woman came out and told them to be off, and not be stepping on her flower-roots. And the funny man was coming out of a house way long the road; and, when they came up to him, he asked them if they’d found any, and they said ‘No.’ Then he laughed; and he told them that mosquitoes stuck their eggs together,[Pg 54] and let them float on the water in a bunch together, and they’d better go over to the pond and look there. So they went over to the pond, and he sat down to wait; and they went and looked, and came right back again, and said they didn’t see any. Then he told them water-spiders laid theirs in water-bubbles under the water, and he said they’d better go back and look again. So they went back and paddled in the water, and couldn’t see any eggs in any of the bubbles, and got their shoes and stockings very muddy with wet mud. And, when they went back, there was another man talking with the funny man; and that other man told them that ostriches laid eggs in the ground for the sun to hatch them out, and they’d better go dig in the ground. The funny man and that other man laughed very much; and they went away after that. And then the Jimmies got over a fence into a garden, because the ground was very soft there, and began to dig in the ground; and, when they had dug a great hole, a man came up to them, and scolded at them for digging that hole in his garden, and he made them dig it back again. And I’ve forgot where they went then. Oh, I know now!”

“Up on the hill!” cry the Jimmies both together.

“Oh, yes! I know now. Then they went up on the hill; and there was a boy up there, and that boy told them maybe humming-birds had nests in the grass, just like ground-sparrows. But they could not find one; and, when they were tired of looking, they sat down on the top of the hill. And by and by Mr. Bumpus came along, and his wife (that’s Mrs. Bumpus); and she asked them if they had seen Dan (that’s Dan Bumpus), and they said ‘No.’ Then she said she and Mr.[Pg 55] Bumpus were going to a picnic, and Dan was going. And she said they were going by the new roadway; and she asked them if they would wait there till Dan came, and tell Dan to go by the new roadway. And they promised to wait, and tell Dan. So they waited there a very long time, and didn’t want to stay there any longer; but they did, so as to tell Dan what they said they would. And then it was most noon; and Johnny said he was hungry, and Jimmy said he was too. The funny man saw them sitting up on top of the hill; and he went up softly and got behind some bushes when they didn’t see him, and looked through. And one of them wanted to go home; and the other one said, ‘’Twon’t do, ’cause we must tell Dan what we said we would.’ So they waited ever so long. And the one that had the red box took it out and opened it; and both of ’em looked in, and one of ’em asked the other one if he s’posed their mother would care if they ate up the sugar; and the other said mother told them they might eat the sugar-lumps when they found the eggs: so they didn’t know what to do. And, while they were looking at it, they heard a great humming noise in among the bushes. Then they crawled along toward the bushes, softly as they could, to see what was humming there. And they didn’t see any thing at first: so they crawled along and peeped round on the other side, and there they saw something very strange. They saw an old broken umbrella all spread open, and a green bush hanging down from it, and they saw the feet of a man under the bush; and the humming came from behind that umbrella. The funny man was behind there humming, but they didn’t know it; and he[Pg 56] was looking through a hole. And, when they crawled up a little bit nearer to see what made that humming noise, he turned round with the umbrella, so they could not see behind that umbrella; and, every time they crawled another way, he turned round so they could not see behind that umbrella; and when they began to cry, because they felt scared, he took down the umbrella, and that made them laugh.

“The baker was coming along the new road; and the funny man stopped him, and bought two seed-cakes of him for the Jimmies. And he told them they needn’t wait any longer for Dan, for Dan had gone by another way, riding in a cart. Then he came home with the Jimmyjohns; and, when they got most to the barn, they saw me—no, I mean saw a little girl named Annetta (but it was myself, you know); and the funny man put up his old umbrella, and began to hum; and he told her to hark, and hear a great humming-bird hum; and that made me—no, made the little girl laugh. And she wanted him to keep humming; and she went in and told the folks to all come out and see a great big humming-bird. So the folks came out, and he kept moving the old umbrella so they couldn’t see who was humming behind there. And when they tried to get behind him, so as to see who was humming there, he went backward up against the barn; but one of them went in the barn and poked a stick through a crack and tickled his neck, and that made him jump away. Then Annetta’s father said he knew where there was a humming-bird’s nest. Then they all went across a field to some high bushes; and Mr. Plummer lifted up the little children so we could look in; and there we saw two very, very tiny,[Pg 57] tiny white eggs, about as big as little white beans. The Jimmies wanted Annetta to take them to put in her pudding; but the funny man said they’d better not. He said he had read in a story-book, that, if you ate humming-birds’ eggs, you would have to hum all your life forever after. And so,” said Annetta, looking at the row from one end to the other, “the pudding never got made in the pudding-pan for Joey Moonbeam’s soap-bubble party.”


The Jimmyjohns are never happy when their faces are being washed. Perhaps it is no more than right to tell the whole truth of the matter, and confess that they cry aloud at such times, and also drop tears into the wash-basin; which is a foolish thing to do, seeing there is then water enough already in it.

One morning, as little Mr. Tompkins, the lobsterman, came wheeling his wheelbarrow of lobsters up to the back-door of the cottage, he met the Jimmyjohns scampering off quite fast. After them ran Annetta, calling out, “Come back, come back, you little Jimmyjohn Plummers!” Effie, standing in the doorway, shouted, “Turn back, turn back, oo ittle Dimmydon Pummers!” Mrs. Plummer, from the open window, cried, “Boys, boys, come and be washed before you go!” Hiram said nothing; but, by taking a few steps with those long legs of his, he got in front of the runaways,[Pg 58] and turned them back, making motions with his hands as if he had been driving two little chickens. Mr. Tompkins took one under each arm, and presented them to Mrs. Plummer. Mrs. Plummer led them into another room. Strange sounds were heard from that room; but, when the ones who made those sounds were led back again, their rosy cheeks were beautiful to see.

Mr. Tompkins sat with a broad smile on his face. He seemed not to be noticing the two little boys, but to be smiling at his own thoughts: and, the while he sat thinking, the smile upon his face grow broader, his eyes twinkled at the corners, his lips parted, his shoulders shook; there came a chuckle, chuckle, chuckle, in his throat; and then he burst out laughing.

“I was thinking,” said he, “of a boy who—thinking of a boy I used to know a long time ago, down in Jersey, who—who tried to get rid of a small wetting, and got a big one. I shall have to tell you about that smart chap: I knew him very well. He was afraid to have his face washed, even when he had grown to be quite a large boy; and also afraid to have his hair cut. Sometimes in the morning, when his mother forgot to shut the windows before she began, people would burst into the house, asking, ‘What’s the matter? Anybody tumbled down stairs, or out the chamber-window, or got scalded, or broken any bones?”

“Why, did he cry as loud as that?” asked Annetta.

“Oh, yes! and pulled back, and twisted his shoulders, and turned his head the wrong way. I can tell you it was hard work getting him ready to go out in the morning. The boys called him ‘Bubby Cryaway.’ They were always watching for chances to wet him.[Pg 59] If he passed near a puddle, splash would come a great stone into the water! When he staid out after sunset, they would begin to shout, ‘Better go in, Bubby: the dew’s a-falling!’ Sometimes they called him ‘Dry-Goods.’

“But this is what I was laughing about. One morning he thought he would start out early, before his sisters said any thing about washing his face, or cutting his hair. They had then been coaxing him for a long, long time to have his hair cut. So he crept down the back-stairs, and across the back-yard, and through a back-alley, which took him into the worst-looking street in town. Here he met a fellow named Davy Bangs. Davy Bangs’s mother kept a little shop in that street: I’ve bought fish-hooks of her many’s the time. Davy Bangs asked him if he were going to the circus. He said ‘No:’ he hadn’t any money. Davy Bangs asked him why he didn’t catch frogs, and sell them to the circus-riders. He asked Davy if the circus-riders would buy them.

“‘Yes, and be glad to,’ said Davy. ‘They eat the hind-quarters: that’s what makes ’em jump so high. And if you’ll go over to Dutch Meadows,’ said Davy, ‘to that little swamp they call Duck Swamp, you can dip up frogs with a dip-net; and, if you want a dip-net, I’ll lend you our old one.’

“He went and got Davy Bangs’s old dip-net, and was hurrying along the streets with it, when a ragged country-boy—who had come in to the circus, I suppose—cried out,—

“‘Halloo, little fisherman! The man that keeps the furniture-store wants you.’

[Pg 60]

“Bubby turned back and found the furniture-store, and went in; and there he stood, waiting, waiting, waiting, till at last a workman ordered him off. As he was walking away, he saw the country-boy grinning at him from around a corner, and shouted,—

“‘The man didn’t want me! Now, what did you say that for?’

“‘I thought he’d want your hair to stuff cushions with!’ cried the boy, and then ran off.”

“Now, I think that was mean enough!” said Annetta.

“Pray, Mr. Tompkins, go on,” said Mrs. Plummer. “I want to hear what happened to the little fisherman.”

“Plenty of things happened to him,” said Mr. Tompkins. “He had to run so fast, to make up for waiting, that he stumbled over cellar-doors, and tumbled down half a dozen times, besides bumping against everybody he met. When he came to Dutch Meadows, he turned down a lane, thinking there might be a short cut that way to Duck Swamp. This lane took him past the house of a Mr. Spleigelspruch.” Here the chuckling sound came into Mr. Tompkins’s throat again; and presently he burst into a hearty laugh.

“Now, do please tell us; then we can laugh; but now we can’t,” said Annetta.

“I will,” said he. “I’ll tell—I’ll tell—he, he, he, he, he!—I’ll tell right away. That Mr. Spleigelspruch was a Dutchman,—a short, fat, near-sighted, cross old Dutchman. His wife took in washing. His wife’s sister, and his wife’s sister’s sister-in-law Winfreda, lived in another part of the same house, and they took in washing too. Winfreda was poor, and the other[Pg 61] woman made her do all the hardest jobs of work. Mr. Spleigelspruch got his living by selling eggs, poultry, and garden-stuff, and by raising the uncommon kinds of fowls,—fowls which brought high prices. He was troubled a good deal by boys coming around there, chasing his hens and stealing his eggs, and trampling on the clean clothes spread out on the grass. I suppose that was what made him so cross.”

“And did that old cross man touch that boy?” asked Johnny Plummer.

“I should think he did touch that boy!” said Mr. Tompkins. “Yes, yes, yes!—he, he, he, he!—I’ll tell you how it was. Just as the boy got to Mr. Spleigelspruch’s, a dozen or more people came running down the lane, screaming, ‘Elephant, elephant!—the elephant’s a-coming!’ There wasn’t a word of truth in this story. A few boys in town had shouted, ‘The elephant’s coming!’ meaning he was coming with the circus: and some folks who heard them thought the elephant had got away from his keeper; and they shouted and ran, and this made others shout and run, and this made others, and this made others; so that there was great confusion. Carriages were upset, windows smashed in, children jostled about; and some of the people were so scared, they ran out of town away past Mr. Spleigelspruch’s.

“Now, on this very day,” continued Mr. Tompkins, looking more and more smiling, “Mr. Spleigelspruch had received from his cousin in Germany, Mr. Lockken, a pair of very rare fowls called the ‘eagle-billed robin-fowl.’ They were very uncommon fowls indeed. The rooster was different from common roosters in three[Pg 62] ways,—in the tone of its voice, in the hang of its tail-feathers, and in the shape of its bill. Its bill was shaped very much like an eagle’s bill. Mr. Lockken had taken great pains to improve the tone of voice. This kind of thing is something which nobody else ever did; at least, nobody that I ever heard of.

“‘If I can only cause to be sweet the voices of the crowers,’ Mr. Lockken in Germany wrote to his cousin, Mr. Spleigelspruch, ‘it will be then like to having so many monster robins about our door-yards. Then shall I make my fortune.’

“Mr. Lockken began on a kind of fowl called ‘the eagle-billed fowl,’ and tried experiments upon those for a number of years; keeping almost every thing that he did a secret, of course. It was said that he shut up the chicks, as soon as they were hatched, in a large cage of singing-birds. He tried a good many kinds of food, oils especially, mixed in a good many ways; and at last—so he wrote his cousin, Mr. Spleigelspruch—he did get a new kind of crowers. Their voices were not quite as musical as robins’ voices, he said; but they were remarkably fine-toned. He called them the ‘eagle-billed robin-fowl.’ Mr. Spleigelspruch bought the first pair of these fowls which were for sale, and paid fifty dollars for them; and there was the expense of getting them over here besides. They arrived, as I said just now, on the very day I have been speaking of; and, as the place where they were to stay was not quite ready, they were put, for a short time, in a barrel near a board fence, quite a little way from the back-yard. Mr. Lockken said in his letter, that, for the first year, it would be better for them to be kept as far out of[Pg 63] hearing of the common kinds of crowers as was possible.

Over went the barrel, and over went he

“Now, that chap with his dip-net, when those people yelled so about the elephant, jumped over the board fence in a hurry, and happened to jump right down upon that barrel, and knocked it over. He hit another barrel at the same time, and let out a duck,—some curious kind of South-sea duck, I think; but that wasn’t so much matter. When he came down, why, over went the barrel, and over went he, right into the duck-pond;[Pg 64] and out flew the eagle-billed robin-fowls. Mr. Spleigelspruch was busy, some ways off, getting their place ready. The first that he knew of the matter, a woman who lived in the next house screamed to him that somebody was stealing his fowls. He saw a boy running, and gave chase. He didn’t know then that his fowls had got away. The boy tried to get out of sight, and ran so fast he didn’t mind where he was going, and so ran over some clean clothes spread out on the grass. Mr. Spleigelspruch’s wife and his wife’s sister, and his wife’s sister’s sister-in-law Winfreda, came out with their brooms in a terrible rage. The wife’s sister caught hold of him, and the wife held him fast. There was a tub near by, which had some rinsing-water in it; and they dropped him into that, and held him down with their brooms, and sent Winfreda to the pump for more water. They said they would souse him. Mr. Spleigelspruch came up, bawling,—

“‘Stop thief! Police! Hold him! Rub him! Give it to him! Drub him! Scrub him!’

“He caught up Winfreda’s broom, but didn’t use it long; for in a minute that same woman ran into the yard, screaming, ‘They’ve got away!—your new fowls have got away!’ Then they all left the boy, and ran to catch the fowls. When Winfreda came back with the water, she behaved kindly to the boy. Winfreda had lived a hard life, and that made her know how to pity other folks. Bringing the water along, she thought to herself (so she told the boy afterward),—

“‘Suppose I had married in my young days, and suppose I had now a little grandson, and suppose he were treated like that boy,—oh, how badly I should feel!’

[Pg 65]

“She took him out of the water; she made him go up stairs and get between the blankets of her own bed; she fed him with broth; she hung his clothes on the bushes to dry; she borrowed another suit for him; and she let him out into the street through a place where there was a board loose in the fence. Next day his father took the clothes back, and changed them. The fowls had just been found in a swamp. It was thought that some country-people coming in to circus caught them the day before and carried them off, and that the fowls afterwards got away. They probably staid in the swamp all night, and that might have been the means of their death; though it might have been the sea-voyage, or change of air, or home-sickness: we can’t tell. They didn’t live very long after that.”

“And didn’t he get some more?” Annetta asked.

“No. The cousin in Germany died; and his fowls were not attended to; and a disease got among them, and carried them off. Mr. Spleigelspruch told me the whole story after I grew up.”

“What a pity,” said Hiram, “that those musical fowl couldn’t have spread over the country! ’Twould be a fine affair to have all the roosters singing in the morning, instead of making the kind of noises they do make. ’Twould be like an oratorio.”

“To be sure,” said Mrs. Plummer. “And I wish, for my part, that boy had staid at home. I suppose he has grown up by this time. It is to be hoped that he washes his face, and also that he doesn’t forget poor Winfreda.”

“Oh, no!” said Mr. Tompkins, stepping out, and[Pg 66] taking up the arms of his wheelbarrow,—“oh, no! I don’t forget Winfreda. I send her lobsters every spring.”

“You, you! what do you send her lobsters for?” asked Mrs. Plummer and Hiram, both speaking at once.

Mr. Tompkins trundled his wheelbarrow along pretty fast, laughing away to himself; and, when he got beyond the yard, he looked over his shoulder at them as they stood in the doorway, and called out, “I was the boy!


One afternoon, when the Jimmyjohns were playing in the back-yard, Mr. Doty, the funny man as we sometimes call him, came jogging along. When he saw the little boys, he stopped, and began to push his hat up on one side, and to scratch his head, and to twinkle the corners of his eyes. Then he began:—

“Oh! you’re out here, so you are. What are you doing?”

“Making a flow,” they answered, looking up from the mud and water in which they stood.

“Hem! well, why don’t you go somewhere?”

“Ma won’t let us.”

“Won’t she? Oh, no, she won’t! will she? Well, hem! Why don’t you have a party?”

“’Tisn’t our birthday yet!” cried Johnny, hopping up and down with the pump-handle.

[Pg 67]

“Well, why not have a cocoanut-party?”

“We haven’t got any cocoanut.”

“Oh! I’ll find a cocoanut” (holding up one). “See here! Where are you going so fast?”

“To ask ma!” they shouted, running in doors.

The funny man’s eyes twinkled, and up went his hand to scratch his head again. Presently they popped their heads out, and asked,—

“When shall we have it?”

“Have it now,” said Mr. Doty.

“Have it now,” they told their mother.

“Where?” asked Mrs. Plummer.

“She says, ‘Where?’” shouted the Jimmies.

“Out here on the grass,” said Mr. Doty.

“Out here on the grass,” the Jimmies repeated.

“Who’s to be invited?” asked Mrs. Plummer.

“Who’s to be invited?” asked the Jimmies.

“Well—hem! Invite—anybody,” said Mr. Doty. “I’ll come: that makes one.”

“And I’ll make two,” cried Annetta, looking out of the window.

“What is it?—a party?” asked Hiram, stepping down from a high wood-pile with his long legs. “Oh, I’ll come! I’ll make three and a half. What kind of a party is it?—a birthday-party?”

“Oh, no, indeed!” said Mr. Doty. “Nothing of that sort. ’Tis a cocoanut-party.”

Just then little Effie came trotting along with her arm-basket.

“Can you come to our party?” asked Mr. Doty.

“No, I tan’t tum,” said Effie very soberly.

“What! not come to a cocoanut-party?” cried Hiram.

[Pg 68]

“No, I tan’t, tause my tittens’ eyes haven’t tum opened ’et,” said Effie.

“Ask the Jimmyjohns to wait till your kittens’ eyes come open,” said Hiram.

Little Effie went close to the Jimmies, looked up in their faces, and said, “Dimmydons, will oo wait till my tittens’ eyes tum opened?”

The Jimmies laughed; and so did another little fellow who was then coming out of the house. This was Clarence,—a poor boy who came every day with his basket to get what food was to be given away. Some people called him “the little gentleman,” because he had very good manners.

“Do you want to stay to the party?” Mr. Doty asked Clarence.

“If the Jimmyjohns will let me,” he said.

“Yes, yes, you may come!” they shouted.

“Can’t cousin Floy be invited?” asked Annetta. “She’s here playing with me.”

“By all means,” said Hiram. “And there’s Mr. Tompkins: maybe he’ll come to the party.”

Mr. Tompkins, the lobster man, had dropped his wheelbarrow, and come to look over the fence.

“Mr. Tompkins can’t leave his lobsters,” said Mr. Doty.

“Party?—yes, yes; always go to parties; boy’ll mind wheelbarrow,” said Mr. Tompkins in his short, quick way. “When is it going to begin?”

“Right off,” said Mr. Doty.

“What do you do first?” asked Hiram.

“Set the table,” said Mr. Doty.

“The girls must set the table,” said Hiram.

[Pg 69]

“Where is it?” asked cousin Floy.

“There it is: don’t you see it?” Hiram was pointing to a wagon-body which lay there without its wheels. He turned it upside down. “There’s your table,” said he.

After the pieces of cocoanut were placed on the table, Mr. Doty told the Jimmyjohns to ask their ma if she didn’t want to come to their party.

“I am longing to come,” cried Mrs. Plummer, appearing at the door. “I have thought of nothing else ever since it was first mentioned. Would baby disturb the party, do you think?”

“Not at all,” said Hiram. “Pray invite Josephus.”

“I wish some of you would be kind enough to bring him out,” said Mrs. Plummer. “He is fastened in his straw chair.”

“I will,” said Hiram.

Hiram brought out Josephus, then a rocking-chair, and then some common chairs for Mr. Doty and Mr. Tompkins. The children ran in for crickets. Snip capered after the Jimmies every step they took, and came near being trodden on.

There were seventeen sat down to table,—twelve that were in plain sight, and five that could not be seen very plainly. The twelve who were in plain sight were Mr. Doty, Mr. Tompkins, Mrs. Plummer, Josephus, Hiram, cousin Floy, Annetta, Effie, Clarence, Jimmy, Johnny, and Snip. The five who could not be seen very plainly were the cat and her four kittens. These were invited on Effie’s account, and came in their own private box.

Just as the cocoanut was being passed round, Mr.[Pg 70] Plummer appeared from the orchard, and asked what was going on.

“A party!” shouted the children.

“Well,” said Mr. Plummer, “I must say that it is rather strange that I have not been invited!”

“Won’t you come? Oh, do come!” the children called out.

“In my own yard too!—very strange indeed!” said Mr. Plummer.

“But won’t you come?”

“I haven’t had any invitation.”

“Take one; do come!” they shouted.

Mr. Plummer laughed, and went and sat down on a roller-cart close by Josephus.

“Will the party be done right away after supper?” asked Hiram as they all nibbled cocoanut.

“Oh, not so soon!” cried Annetta.

“It hasn’t lasted five minutes,” said Mrs. Plummer.

“Play charades; do, please do!” cried Floy. “I went to a real party last night, and they played charades. One charade was ‘Mother Goose.’”

“How do you play it?” asked Annetta.

“Oh, easy enough! Somebody has to be ‘mother;’ and then somebody has to be ‘goose;’ and then somebody has to be ‘Mother Goose,’ and say, ‘Sing song a sixpence, pocketful of rye.’”

“I speak not to be the ‘goose!’” cried Hiram.

“Who’ll be ‘mother’?” asked cousin Floy.

“You be ‘mother,’” said Annetta.

“Well, I’ll be ‘mother,’” said cousin Floy. “Who’ll be my little girl? There must be a little girl to keep coming in, and saying ‘Mother,’ and asking me for things.”

[Pg 71]

“I’ll be little girl,” said Hiram.

“Hoo, hoo! he, he! you don’t know how! you’re too tall!” shouted the children.

“Oh, yes! I know how. Come, Floy, let’s get ready.” And away they went into the house.

In about five minutes cousin Floy came out, dressed in Mrs. Plummer’s things,—shawl, bonnet, and skirt,—and with a serious face took her seat in a chair which had been placed upon the wagon. Then came Hiram, with Floy’s hat on, the elastic under his chin. For a sack he had turned his coat, which was lined with red, wrong side out; and he had pinned a shawl around his waist in a way which made it look like a dress-skirt.

Floy told him he must keep coming in to ask her something, and must call her “mother” every time. He did just as she had told him. He trotted out of the house and back, taking little short steps, asking a question each time, and imitating the voice of a small child.

“Mother, may I have a cent?” “Mother, may I go out to play?” “Mother, may I wear my new shoes?” “Mother, may I make corn-balls?” “Mother, may I have a doughnut?”

At each question the “mother” would shake her head very soberly, and say, “No, my daughter;” or, “Not at present, my daughter.”

“Good!” cried Mr. Tompkins,—“very good for ‘mother’! Now who’s going to be ‘goose’?”

“I will,” said Clarence.

“Come, then,” said Floy. “If cousin Hiram will help me, I’ll dress you up for ‘goose’ in the way they dressed up their ‘goose’ last night.”

[Pg 72]

Hiram and Floy took Clarence into the house, and got an old light-colored calico dress of Mrs. Plummer’s, and held it bottom up, and told Clarence to step in, and put his legs through the sleeves. Next they gathered the bottom of the skirt around his neck, keeping his arms inside. Then they tied a thin pocket-handkerchief over his head, covering face and all. Then they fastened a tin tunnel to the front side of his head, and called that the “bill of the goose;” and then pinned on two feather fans for wings, and hung a feather duster on behind for a tail. Floy told him he must stoop far over, and go waddling around, pecking with his bill like a goose.

The instant the “goose” appeared, all the people began to laugh: and when they saw it waddling around in the grass, pecking with its bill as if it were pecking at little bugs, they fairly shouted; some crying out, “Oh, what a goose!—oh, what a goose!” Josephus shouted too, and made his feet fly and his hands fly, and patted cakes enough for his supper. Snip barked, and ran this way and that way; keeping away from the “goose,” though.

The next thing was to put the two words together, and act “Mother Goose.”

“Mr. Tompkins,” said Mr. Doty, “why don’t you be ‘Mother Goose’?”

“I don’t believe Mr. Tompkins could keep from laughing,” said Hiram.

“Oh, yes, I could! I could keep from laughing,” said Mr. Tompkins; “but my nose is too short.”

“That Mother Goose’s nose last night,” said Floy, “had wax on it to make it long.”

[Pg 73]

“Nice way that,” said Hiram. “But, Mr. Tompkins, are you sure you can keep from laughing?”

Hiram had a reason for asking this question.

“Oh, yes! perfectly, perfectly sure,” said Mr. Tompkins. “Make me laugh, I’ll pay forfeit.”

Mr. Tompkins was so eager to show that he could keep from laughing, that he agreed to pay any kind of forfeit, and to dress in any kind of way.

Hiram took him into the house, and dressed him. First he lengthened out his nose with a piece of warm wax; then he tied a handkerchief over his head for a cap (for a cap-border he pinned on some strips of newspaper); and then he put a large round cape over his shoulders. A black shawl served for a skirt. When all this was done, he told Mr. Tompkins that he might sit down in the house and wait a few moments. He had a reason for telling him that.

Cousin Floy, a little while before, when the “goose” was being dressed, told Hiram of a way by which one of the actors was made to laugh at the “real party” she went to; and Hiram thought it would be fun to try it with Mr. Tompkins.

So, while Mr. Tompkins was sitting down to wait a few moments, they went into another room, and got a pillow, and dressed it up to look like an old woman. First they tied a string around the pillow, near one end, to make a head. On one side of this head they marked eyes, nose, and mouth with a piece of charcoal. Then they took a waterproof, stuffed out the sleeves for arms, and put that on the pillow-woman. Then they went up into grandma Plummer’s room, and borrowed an old cap, black bonnet, and spectacles, and put those on.

[Pg 74]

When the pillow-woman was ready, Floy ran and told them all to be sure and not laugh loudly when they saw what was coming, for fear Mr. Tompkins might hear them. The pillow-woman was then taken out by Hiram, and seated in a chair among the other people. He introduced her to them as “Mrs. Mulligachunk.” He pinned together the wrists of her stuffed arms, and let them drop in her lap, and placed a bundle on them to cover the place where there should have been hands. The bundle was tied up in a handkerchief. Then he placed a pair of shoes just where they would seem to be her feet, stood an umbrella by her side, and tipped her head back just a little; so that, when Mr. Tompkins should be standing on the wagon, she would appear to be looking him in the face.

“Come, Mother Goose!” cried Hiram; and Mr. Tompkins, in his funny rig, walked from the house, took his stand upon the wagon, and with a very sober face began:—

“Sing a song a sixpence, pocketful of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie:
When the pie was opened, the birds be”—

At that moment his eye fell upon “Mrs. Mulligachunk.” She sat there in a row with the others, and seemed to be listening just the same as anybody. The people, who were all on the watch, burst out laughing; and Mr. Tompkins had to laugh too, in spite of all he could do.

Hiram sprang up. “Mother Goose,” cried he, “let me introduce you to Mrs. Mulligachunk.”

Mother Goose replied by taking off her things, and throwing them at Mrs. Mulligachunk.

[Pg 75]

Then Hiram asked the Jimmies if they didn’t want to take Mrs. Mulligachunk to ride.

“Yes, yes! yes, yes!” they shouted.

Hiram then put Mrs. Mulligachunk into the roller-cart,—bundle, umbrella, and all. The Jimmies caught hold of the handle, and away they ran like two smart little ponies, Snip barking behind with all his might.

Mr. Tompkins was about to follow; when Annetta and cousin Floy suddenly called out, “Forfeit, forfeit! You’ll have to be judged!”

Mr. Tompkins gave his penknife for a forfeit.

“Then judge me quick!” said he; “for I must be going.”

“To dance a jig!” cried Hiram.

“To tell a story!” cried cousin Floy.

“Yes, yes! that’s it!” cried Annetta.

“Oh, no! no, no! take too long,” said Mr. Tompkins.

But Mr. Plummer and Mrs. Plummer, and all the rest, kept shouting, “Story, story, story!”

“Well, well, story ’tis,” said Mr. Tompkins; “a small one, though.”

And then Mr. Tompkins began to tell a small story about a hen named Teedla Toodlum, who lived in a far-away country,—the name of which country was so strange, that not one of the people could remember it five minutes afterward. In the next chapter you shall have Mr. Tompkins’s story.

[Pg 76]


“It must be a small one,” said Mr. Tompkins.

“Oh, yes! we’ve agreed to that,” said Mr. Plummer.

Mr. Tompkins then asked if they were willing it should be merely a hen-story.

“We’ll take the vote on that,” cried Hiram. Then, turning to the company, he said,—

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is known to you that our friend Mr. Tompkins has paid his forfeit, and that he has been judged to redeem it by telling a story. It was no more than right for him to pay a forfeit; for he laughed at a quiet old lady who never did him any harm, and treated her in an unkind manner. Mr. Tompkins now wishes to know if his small story may be merely a hen-story. All who are willing that Mr. Tompkins’s small story shall be merely a hen-story please to say ‘Ay.’”

“Ay, ay, ay, ay!” was shouted many times by young and old; and, what with the shouting and the laughing and the hand-clapping, there was such a racket as set Snip a-barking at the top of his voice. Josephus crowed, and made his feet fly, and patted cakes, and tossed them up so high, that he nearly threw himself over backward. The cat hopped out of her private box, her tail standing straight in the air: and it is more than likely that the kittens’ eyes came open with wonder;[Pg 77] which would have been a very great wonder indeed, seeing that the nine days were not much more than half over.

Mr. Tompkins then told the following short and simple story, which was written down upon the spot by the only person present who had a lead-pencil:—

There was once a hen who talked about another hen in a not very good way, and in a not at all friendly way. The hen she talked about was named Phe-endy Alome. Her own name was Teedla Toodlum. They both belonged to a flock of white hens which lived in the far-away country of Chickskumeatyourkornio.

Now, the one that was named Teedla Toodlum went around among the other hens, making fun of Phe-endy Alome on account of her having a speckled feather in her wing. She told them not to go with Phe-endy Alome, or scratch up worms with her, or any thing, because Phe-endy had that speckled feather in her wing.

One of the hens that Teedla Toodlum talked to in this way was deaf, and therefore could not hear very well. She had become deaf in consequence of not minding her mother. It happened in this way: A tall Shanghai roost-cock crowed close to her ear when she was quite small; when, in fact, she was just hatched out of her shell. She had a number of brothers and sisters who came out at almost the same time. The Shanghai stood very near, and in such a way that his throat came close to the nest, and he crowed there. The chicks wanted to put their heads out from under their mother, and see who was making such a noise. Their mother said,—

[Pg 78]

“No, no, no! Keep under! You might be made deaf: I’ve heard of such a thing happening.”

But one chick did put her head out, and close to the Shanghai’s wide-open throat too, and when he was crowing terribly.

Then her mother said,—

“Now I shall punish you: I shall prick you with my pin-feathers.”

And the chick was pricked, and she became deaf besides; so that, when she grew up, she hardly could hear herself cackle. And this was the reason she could not understand very well when the hen named Teedla Toodlum was telling the others that the hen named Phe-endy Alome had a speckled feather in her wing.

One day, the hen named Teedla Toodlum scratched a hole in the sand beneath a bramble-bush, and sat down there, where it was cool; and, while she was sitting there, a cow came along at the other side of the bramble-bush, with a load of “passengers” on her back. The cows in the country of Chickskumeatyourkornio permit the hens to ride on their backs; and, when a great many are on, they step carefully, so as not to shake them off. In frosty weather they allow them to get up there to warm their feet. Sometimes hens who have cold feet fly up and push off the others who have been there long enough.

The cow passed along at the other side of the bush, and by slipping one foot into a deep hole which was hidden with grass, and therefore could not be seen, upset the whole load of passengers. She then walked on; but the passengers staid there, and had a little talk together,—after their own fashion, of course.[Pg 79] The deaf one happened to be among them; and, seeing that the others were having great sport, she wanted to know what it was all about. Upon this the others—those of them who could stop laughing—raised their voices; and all began at once to try to make her understand. And this is what they said:—

“Think of that goose of a hen, Teedla Toodlum, telling us not to go with Phe-endy Alome because Phe-endy Alome has a speckled feather in her wing, when at the same time Teedla Toodlum has two speckled feathers in her own wing, but doesn’t know it!

Teedla Toodlum was listening, and heard rather more than was pleasant to hear. She looked through the bramble-bush, and saw them. Some had their heads thrown back, laughing; some were holding on to their sides, each with one claw; and some were stretching their necks forward, trying to make the deaf one understand, while the deaf one held her claw to her ear in order to hear the better.

“Ah, I feel ashamed!” said Teedla Toodlum to herself. “I see now that one should never speak of the speckled feathers one sees in others, since one can never be sure that one has not speckled feathers one’s self.”

“Why, that’s the way our cow does!” cried the Jimmyjohns as soon as Mr. Tompkins had finished.

“What! talks about speckled feathers?” asked cousin Floy.

“No: lets hens stay on her back.”

“Her parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents, then,” said Mr. Tompkins, “probably came from Chickskumeatyourkornio.”

[Pg 80]



Flowers waking up

“It must be that spring has come,” said the Pansy, “or I should never feel so uneasy, and so very wide-awake. I’ve a great mind to put my head up out of the ground, and see. Hark! Yes, there are the birds. They are calling to the flowers. ‘Awake!’ they say, ‘awake, and come forth! There’s nothing to be afraid of now; for Old Winter has gone away. He can’t hurt you any more. Violet! Snowdrop! Pansy! Don’t stay down there any longer. We little birds are lonesome without you.’ Yes, birds, we are coming, and that right soon; for it is quite time the spring[Pg 81] work was a-doing; and as old Goody Grass says, if some of us do not spring up, there will be no spring at all.

“Ah, how charming to breathe fresh air, and to be in the light! Why, I feel all alive, all astir! This warm sunshine thrills me through and through. ’Twas very dismal down there; but how light and cheerful it is up above! And here are all our old neighbors; come to spend the summer, I hope. Dear Violet, I’m so glad to see you! When did you come up?”

“Only just this moment, Pansy. When the birds began to call, I felt that we ought to start immediately. It is really very pleasant to be awakened by music; pleasant, too, to meet old friends once more. And, oh, how good it is to be alive! I have just your feelings, and cannot keep myself quiet. What is the charm that works upon us so?”

“I believe,” said Pansy, “that the great shining sun up there has something to do with it, in a way we don’t understand.—Ah! Neighbor Snowdrop, how do you do? No doubt, being so early a riser, you were one of the very first upon the ground.”

“Why, yes,” said Snowdrop, “I do make a practice of coming early. It seems as if the birds should have some one to welcome them back: it must be hard work singing to bare ground, after what they’ve been used to at the South. And, besides, my dreams were so unpleasant, that I was really glad to shake them off. Probably I slept too near the surface; for the terrible uproar above ground disturbed me, even in my sleep. I dreamed that a mighty giant was striding about, shaking the world to pieces; that he stamped[Pg 82] upon the flowers; and was so cruel to the trees as to make them groan dreadfully. Once I half awaked, and shuddered, and said to myself, ‘Oh! what can be going on overhead?’ then fell asleep again, and dreamed that the whole beautiful earth was covered with something white and cold, and that a voice said, ‘Go up through the snow!’ to which I answered, ‘Oh! I’m afraid to go alone.’

“When I awoke, the voice seemed still saying, ‘Go up!’ Then I remembered the birds, and came, but came trembling; for the cold white snow was truly here, and I feared that dreadful giant might be real also. My good friends, did you have no bad dreams? and were you not disturbed by the tumult?”

“Not at all,” said Pansy. “When our mother told us the good Summer who loved us had gone, and that there was a dreadful old Winter coming, who would growl and pinch and bite, and that we’d better keep our heads under cover, then I went to sleep, and slept soundly. I haven’t heard any thing of all this rowdedow you say has been going on overhead, but, on the contrary, have had very charming dreams. I dreamed of being in a place where the sky was made up of the most beautiful colors,—purple, yellow, pale gold, and straw-color; and there were purple and yellow rainbows reaching down from the sky to me. At last I awoke, and heard the birds calling. Wasn’t that pretty? Now, little Violet, what did you dream?”

“In my dreams,” said the Violet, “the sky was all over blue,—a deep, beautiful blue. And I can’t tell you how it was,—the dream was a strange one,—but, while it lasted, this blue seemed to fall upon me,—to[Pg 83] fall gently, as the dew falls; and with the blue came a delightful perfume. It was a very sweet dream.”

“Now I slept here quite accidentally,” said a young Sunflower, starting up; “but I, too, had my dreams. I dreamed of seeing something round and bright and glorious moving across the sky,—something which I so worshipped, so longed to be like, that, wherever it went, I never failed to turn towards it; and, in return for my worship, this glorious object sent me down floods of its golden light.”

“As for me,” said a Damask Rose-Bush, “I haven’t been to bed at all, but have slept standing; and in my dreams the sky was the color of the east just before sunrise, and every object seemed bathed in its lovely light. There was a fragrance, too, in the air about me, and whispers, very faint whispers, which sounded like this,—‘Love, love, love!’ and there were little winged boys hovering around.”

“Now I,” said the Woodbine, “slept leaning against the house, and my dreams were chiefly of climbing. Nothing would satisfy me but getting higher. And really the dream seems to have meant something. I have strange sensations: I feel active, restless. What has got into me, I wonder. It must be the sap. Well, here I go!”

The other dreams seemed to have meant something too: for the Snowdrop bore a flower the color of snow,—a pale, trembling blossom, that looked as if it were afraid old Winter would come back, and have a grab at it yet; and the Pansy’s flower was of the wondrous hues she dreamed of,—purple, yellow, and[Pg 84] straw-color; the Violet’s was blue, and shed around it a delicious perfume, like that which in her dream came down with the blue from the heavens.

The Sunflower grew up very tall, and produced a flower which always turned to the sun, from the time of his rising in the east to his setting in the west, and thus drew into itself such floods of golden light, that at last this devoted flower came to resemble somewhat the sun it worshipped.

The buds of the Damask Rose were used by lovers when they wished to tell their love in the most beautiful way; and no doubt they and those who received them heard whispers in the air like those the Rose-Bush dreamed of; and if they did not see the little winged boys,—why, they might have been there, for all that.

As for the Woodbine, it climbed till the house-top was reached, and, at last accounts, was still creeping up the roof.

[Pg 85]



“You must know, children,” said uncle Joe, “that I have taken great pains to collect dreams. Whenever strange ones or funny ones are told me, I write them down in this ‘dream-book.’ Some of them would make you laugh till the tears ran out of your eyes. It is really curious what singular things do come to us in dreams,—such wonders! such jumbles! such sillinesses! and yet they all seem right enough when we are dreaming them.

“Now, there was little Barnabas Springer, who dreamed he was ploughing with an ox on the sea-shore, (of all places in the world to be ploughing!) and that the ox made a stifled, ‘rumble-grumble’ sound in its throat several times. He dreamed, that, when they reached the end of the furrow, he saw standing there a tall lady, whose head—now mind this—was set on in such a way that her face came over her right shoulder; and that this tall lady spoke to him in a loud voice, like a person scolding,—

“‘Barnabas Springer! that ox was trying to tell you to say “Gee” to him, so that he might “gee,” and not wet his feet.’

[Pg 86]

“Now, ‘gee’ means ‘turn to the right,’ and the tall lady’s face looked over her right shoulder; and, when Barnabas woke up, he was lying on his right side, with his eyes, nose, and mouth in the pillows: all of which is something to think of.

“Then there was my pet niece Susie dreamed she was her own kitten, trying to catch her own canary-bird, and that she understood every thing the bird said in his flutterings, and just what his feelings were. The poor child cried herself awake, and no wonder.

“But among the strangest of the strange ones in this collection,” said uncle Joe, opening his dream-book, “is that of Jimmy, my little nephew. He dreamed he was a fly, and that he talked with a sorrowful butterfly (which died in the dream), and with a bluebird, and also with a curious being who wore five tall black-and-white plumes,—one in his hat, and two on each shoulder. The curious being also wore a cow’s horn, standing in front of his hat; for which reason he was called the ‘Great Head-Horner.’

“He had ten ‘helpers.’ These helpers had each one plume, but no horn. Their plumes stood up straight, in the middle of the crowns of their tall hats. You will hear about them presently; for I have the whole dream written down here, just as Jimmy told it to me, dialogue-fashion.

“It happened in this way: One summer afternoon Jimmy had been doing something naughty (you will find out what it was by and by); and his mother, after talking with him, read to him a story about a boy who had done the same thing, and other things somewhat like it. She also told some true stories of cruel men[Pg 87] whom she had known, and read several short pieces of poetry on the same subject.

“Now that I have spoken the word ‘cruel,’ I may as well say that Jimmy had been tormenting insects in ways which it would give me pain to tell, and give you pain to hear, and that the men of whom his mother spoke had been cruel to dumb animals.

“While she was talking, three or four officers in uniform passed by. I mention these things in order that you may the better account for Jimmy’s curious dream.

“Jimmy fell asleep during the reading of the verses, and dreamed of being in a strange place, where he saw close beside him a large golden-spotted butterfly. He dreamed that it was a moaning, sighing, sorrowing butterfly, and—what seemed more strange—that it spoke to him, and called him a fly; and, stranger yet, that he thought, for a time, he was a fly, though he felt like himself all the while. Even this, however, is not so strange as the rest.

“In the dream-dialogue I call Jimmy by his true name, because, as he said, he felt like himself. You will observe that the sorrowful butterfly begins.”

Butterfly.—Speak to him; ask him not to do it, dear, pretty fly!

Jimmy.—You are not talking to me, butterfly, are you?

Butterfly.—Yes, fly, I am talking to you.

Jimmy.—But I am not a fly, butterfly: I am a boy, a Jimmy.

Butterfly.—You are a fly, and this will prove it. Can a boy hear butterfly-talk, and know the meaning of it?

[Pg 88]

Jimmy.—But if I were a fly, butterfly, I could fly.

Butterfly.—So you can fly, fly. Flap, and try!

“He flapped in his dream, flew up, then flew down.”

Jimmy.—But if I were a fly, butterfly, I could crawl on the wall.

Butterfly.—You can. Flap again, fly; fly to the wall, and crawl!

“He flapped in his dream, flew to the wall, and crawled.”

Butterfly.—Now do you believe you are a fly?

Jimmy.—Yes, butterfly: I am a fly, and I am a Jimmy; I am a Jimmy-fly.

Butterfly.—Oh, oh, oh! Help, he comes!

Jimmy.—Who comes?

Butterfly.—The giant. Ask him not to do it, dear, good fly! See, see the sharp rod! I tremble, I quiver!

Jimmy.—What will he do with it, butterfly?

Butterfly.—He will run it through my body. Oh, dear! oh, dear!

Jimmy.—Why don’t you fly away?

Butterfly.—The window is shut. Do, do speak to him!

Jimmy.—A fly cannot talk to a giant.

Butterfly.—But you can buzz to him. A poor butterfly cannot even buzz. See, he comes near!

Jimmy.—That is not a giant: that is only a boy.

Butterfly.—Oh, it is a giant! Won’t you, won’t you, buzz to him?

Jimmy.—What shall I buzz to him?

Butterfly.—Buzz that I want to live; that I long to live.

Jimmy.—What shall I buzz that you want to live for?

[Pg 89]

Butterfly.—To rock in the lily-bells.

Jimmy.—What else?

Butterfly.—To float up and down, up and down, all the summer-day.

Jimmy.—What else?

Butterfly.—For the honey of the flowers.

Jimmy.—What else?

Butterfly.—And for their fragrance. Flower fragrance is the breath of life to a butterfly. Buzz all this to him. Quick! Ah, too late, too late! Oh, oh, oh!

Jimmy.—Will it take a great while to die?

Butterfly.—A very great while. (Gasps for breath.) Oh, oh, dear! Cruel, cruel, cruel giant!

“The Jimmy-fly flies up to the ‘giant’s’ ear, and tries to buzz ‘Cruel, cruel, cruel!’

“A great hand strikes him off. He gets lost in the air; and when, after a long time, he finds his way back, the golden-spotted butterfly is almost dead. It takes no notice of any thing around, but murmurs, faintly and more faintly, of ‘clover, bees, honey, perfume, roses, mossy banks, lily-bells, dewdrops, humming-birds,’ and so passes away in a pleasant butterfly vision.

“The Jimmy-fly flies up again, and buzzes in the giant’s ear, as well as he can, ‘Cruel, cruel, cruel!’

“The window is opened, and he is driven out. He flies to a tree near by, where sits a bluebird. The bird appears frightened, and-utters cries of distress.”

Jimmy.—Bluebird, what troubles you so?

Bluebird.—There’s a gun below. It will kill me! Oh, if I could only live!

Jimmy.—It is strange. The butterfly wished the[Pg 90] very same thing. Now, what do you want to live for, bluebird?

Bluebird.—Why, to sing with the other birds, and to swing on the boughs; to take care of my little birdies, and to spread my wings, and fly away and away over the treetops; also to go South with the summer. Oh, but we birds have rare sport then! Have you heard of the sunny South? Do you know that we go where the orange-trees bloom? We find no frost there, but sunshine always, and flowers, and a mild air. And then the fun of going all together! We sing, we fly races in the sky, we follow the leader. Ah! a bird’s life is a happy life, and—

“A gun has been fired.

“The Jimmy-fly flies down, and finds the bird on the ground, gasping for breath. Its bright eyes are closed. Its head fails on its breast. One little flutter of the wings,—dead! The bluebird will never sing again, nor swing on the boughs, nor fly away and away over the treetops, nor go South with the summer.

“And here enters into the dream the curious being spoken of just now, namely, the ‘Great Head-Horner,’ or captain, with his five tall black-and-white plumes,—one in his hat, and two on each shoulder. Behind him, in single file, all keeping step, march his ten helpers.”

Captain (in a loud voice).—Halt! Here is the boy.—Boy, step this way!

Jimmy.—I am not—a boy. I am—a—a—fly.

Captain.—Ha, ha! He says he is a fly. Ha, ha! Pass it along.

[Pg 91]

“It passes along the line, each helper saying to the next,—

“‘Ha, ha! He says he is a fly. Ha, ha! Pass it along.’”

Captain.—If he is a fly, why doesn’t he fly?

“All repeat this, one after the other, ‘If he is a fly, why doesn’t he fly?’ till the noise of so many voices sounds like the bumbling of hoarse bumble-bees.

“Jimmy flaps his arms, but cannot rise.

“A laugh passes along the line.”

Captain.—Which are you now,—fly, or boy?

Jimmy.—I think—I am—a boy.

Captain.—He thinks he is a boy: we think he is a pullwinger-boy. Wheel about, my helpers.—Boy, these are my first company of helpers.—Wheel about, my helpers; form a hollow square around the boy; take him to the great “Bondenquol;” let him see what is being done there!

“Jimmy is now taken to the great ‘Bondenquol.’”

Captain.—First company of helpers, begin your work: bring in the abusers of dumb animals. (The ten helpers march out.)

Captain.—Helper No. 1, enter!

“Enter helper No. 1, driving before him a red-faced man who is harnessed to a wagon in which is a load too heavy for him to draw. Wagon moves slowly: man pulls with all his might. Helper No. 1 strikes him with a whip: man cries out, tries to move faster, but cannot. Another blow: he groans, quivers, bends himself nearly double.

“Meantime other helpers have come in at other doors, each driving a man who is trying to draw a[Pg 92] load heavy beyond his strength. The helpers use their whips. The men suffer pain: some of them are lame; some blind; some are half starved, and so weak that their joints tremble. The great ‘Bondenquol’ resounds with shrieks and groans.”

Jimmy (to the captain).—What are they hurting those men for?

Captain.—To let them know how whip-blows feel. Those are the cruel: they abuse dumb animals. Do you know, that, were horses not dumb, whoever passes along the street would hear shrieks and groans worse than those you are now hearing? But come. You are waited for.—Boy-punishers, roll the wall.

“The heavy wall moves along on rollers. The noise of this, together with fright at the prospect of being punished, woke Jimmy from his sleep. A wagon loaded heavily with coal was passing the house. It was this which waked him. It came to a steep place in the road. The horses could scarcely move. The driver swore at them. He took his whip, and laid on the blows,—terribly hard blows!

“Jimmy ran out.

“‘Oh, don’t, Mr. Driver!’ he cried. ‘Please stop whipping the poor horses! You don’t know how it hurts!’

“The driver could hardly tell what to make of it to be spoken to in that way, and by a boy.

“‘And do you know?’ he asked.

“‘Yes, yes!’ cried Jimmy. ‘I dreamed all about it.’

“The driver seemed more puzzled than ever. He stood still, looked down at Jimmy; and at last said he,—

“‘Well, to please you, I’ll stop.”

[Pg 93]


[Pg 95]




It was not a new story; indeed, it was hardly a story at all: but the children liked the family story-teller’s way of telling it and of acting it out. The family story-teller made a big matter of that barn-moving. He put in words enough to describe an earthquake, or a West-India hurricane, or a volcano pouring out red-hot melted lava, or a steamboat bursting her boiler and blowing herself up. He also wanted plenty of room in which to fling his arms about, and shake his fists, and make other kinds of motions, so as to act out what was done, and especially what the oxen-drivers did.

“Oh, yes!” the family story-teller said, taking a leap into the middle of the floor: “I’ll tell how the barn came from Jorullo. All keep quiet. The story is going to begin now. One morning the barrel-man—a collector of barrels—went forth from his house by the back-door; and there he stood with folded arms (like this), looking at all his carts, wheelbarrows, barrels, haystacks, garden-tools, and many other things. And he said, ‘Behold, I have carts, wheelbarrows, barrels, haystacks, garden-tools, and many other things, but have no roof whereunder to shelter them.’ And he[Pg 96] said, ‘Behold, in Jorullo there stands a barn,—a brown barn, a right goodly barn. This barn will I buy. And I will get oxen (horned oxen with their drivers) and horses, and moving-men with their stout wheels, and timbers, and great iron chains; and the timbers shall be raised upon the wheels, and the barn shall be raised upon the timbers, and the oxen shall draw, and the wheels shall roll, and the barn shall come from Jorullo; and in that will I shelter my carts, barrels, wheelbarrows, haystacks, garden-tools, and many other things.’

“And he sent round about into all the country; and there came twenty oxen, and horses besides, with their drivers, from South Stromriffe and Smithersville and Mt. Lob and Trilerbite Four Corners; and the Paxhamborough moving-men came with their stout wheels, and their timbers, and their great iron chains; and the timbers were raised upon the wheels, and the barn was raised upon the timbers. Then the drivers began to shout, and flourish their whips (like this): ‘Get up there!’ ‘Gee!’ ‘Haw!’ ‘Come along!’ ‘Hi, hi, hi!’ ‘What’re ye ’bout?’ The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty strength; the wheels began to roll; and the barn began to move from Jorullo.

“And first they came to a telegraph-wire, and there they stopped. ‘Take down that telegraph-wire!’ shouted the head moving-man, ‘and let it stay down till the barn passes by.’ Then out came the ladders, and up climbed the men, and down came the telegraph-wire.”

“And out jumped a cat!” cried one of the little boys.

[Pg 97]

Ladder and sign


[Pg 99]

“Yes, out jumped a cat from the barn-window, with a kitten in her mouth. She thought ’twas time to move into some other building. She went back to Jorullo and left her kitten, and came back and jumped in at the same window just as they were going to start again. ‘Ready!’ cried the head moving-man. Then the drivers began to shout, and flourish their whips (like this): ‘Come along here!’ ‘Haw!’ ‘Whoa!’ ‘Go on!’ ‘Gee!’ ‘Get up there!’ ‘What ye ’bout there?’ The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty strength; the wheels began to roll; and the barn moved on.

“And next they came to a railroad-crossing, and there they stopped. Across the way was a signboard; and on the signboard were capital letters, ‘LOOK OUT FOR THE ENGINE WHEN THE BELL RINGS.’ ‘Take down that signboard!’ shouted the head moving-man, ‘and let it stay down while the barn passes by.’ Then out came the ladders, and up climbed the men, and down came the signboard.”

“And out jumped the cat again!” cried the same little boy.

“To be sure, out jumped the cat again, with another kitten in her mouth, and ran. She had farther to go this time; and, before she got back, the head moving-man called out, ‘Ready!’ Then the drivers began to shout, and flourish their whips (like this): ‘Move along now!’ ‘What are ye doin’ there!’ ‘Hi, hi!’ ‘Get up!’ ‘Go on!’ ‘Haw!’ ‘Haw!’ ‘Keep a-movin’!’ The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty strength; the wheels began to roll; and the barn moved on.

[Pg 100]

“And next they came to a great oak-tree, whose limbs overhung the road, and there they stopped. ‘Chop off a few of those limbs!’ shouted the head moving-man. Then out came the ladders, and up went the men with their hatchets; and crack, snap! went the limbs. Soon ran somebody from a little house a long distance off, bawling away, and shaking his fists, ‘What you doin’ up there? Stop chopping; stop chopping! I’ll make you pay damages!’—‘All right! I’ll pay damages!’ cried the head moving-man; and just then the cat came back, and jumped in at the window. The drivers began to shout, and flourish their whips (like this): ‘Come up!’ ‘Gee!’ ‘Gee, I say!’ ‘Come along!’ ‘Whoa!’ ‘Back!’ ‘Get up now!’ ‘Hawbuck!’ ‘Mind there!’ ‘Hi, hi, hi!’ ‘Now go ’long!’ The horses and oxen began to draw with mighty strength; the wheels began to roll; and the barn moved on.

“At home, Hepsy Bacon and another woman, Sophrony by name, sat at the chamber-window, peeling potatoes. They had come to help the barrel-man’s wife get the dinner ready; for the Paxhamborough moving-men, and all the oxen-drivers from South Stromriffe and Smithersville and Mt. Lob and Trilerbite Four Corners, must have their dinners. And the barrel-man had said, ‘Watch out from the chamber-windows; and, when the barn comes in sight, put your potatoes in the pot.’

“Three great dinner-kettles were set boiling on the stove, besides tea-kettles, frying-pans, stew-pans, sauce-pans, coffee-pots, tea-pots, and many other things.

[Pg 101]


“At two o’clock the great brown barn came in sight, [Pg 103]with all the horses and oxen and drivers, and a crowd of men and boys and dogs following on. Then ran Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony, and dropped into the pot their peeled potatoes, along with the meat, cabbages, parsnips, squashes, turnips, carrots, rye-dumplings, and many other things; and the table was set with plates, spoons, cups, saucers, forks, knives, napkins, tumblers, and many other things.

“At half-past two the great brown barn came rolling past the windows, with all the twenty oxen (twenty horned oxen) and horses (horses with tails), and crowds of men, and drivers cracking their whips, and boys shouting, and dogs barking, and a grand hurrah all round. The barrel-man’s lame horse whinnied and ran; the cow mooed and ran; the geese squawked and ran; the turkeys gobbled and ran; the old pig grunted and ran; the little pigs squeaked and ran; the hens cackled and ran; the two cats mewed and ran, and one jumped up on the house; the dogs barked; while Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony, with their long necks out the window, waved white handkerchiefs. When the barn stopped, out leaped the cat that came from Jorullo, with another kitten in her mouth. The boys hooted her,—‘Meauw, meauw!—’st, ’st!—quish! pr—rr—rr—rr—rr!’—and back she went again. Somebody chased her in, and found she had one kitten there besides the one in her mouth.

“When every thing was ready, the men came in to dinner,—tall men, short men, fat men, lean men, dark men, light men, young men, old men, curly-haired men, straight-haired men, men with shaggy coats, men with butchers’ frocks, men with bruised hands, men with[Pg 104] bad coughs, men with pains in their shoulders, all tired, and all very hungry; for they had eaten nothing since early in the morning, and had walked all the way from their homes in South Stromriffe, Smithersville, Mt. Lob, Paxhamborough, and Trilerbite Four Corners. The barrel-man’s wife and Hepsy Bacon filled up the dishes as fast as they were emptied; and Sophrony, with the coffee-pot in one hand and the teapot in the other, asked each one, ‘Tea, or coffee, sir?’

“One poor sickly man who was troubled with a very bad cough was asked to stay all night, so that he needn’t take anymore cold; and Hepsy Bacon and Sophrony made for him in the frying-pan a cough-medicine of molasses and castor-oil and pepper and sugar and butter and vinegar, and many other things.

“Next morning there were four kittens in the barn. That cat must have gone all the way back to Jorullo in the night, and brought those others, one at a time.

“And now, children,” said the family story-teller in conclusion, “stand around—little and big, old and young—while I show you the beautiful, graphic, and animated drawings which the barrel-man made himself on the very day that the barn came down from Jorullo.”

[Pg 105]


[Pg 107]



The family story-teller, being asked to tell one of his “ten-minute” stories, said, “If it will content you, I will tell you a Potato story which begins with a Bean-Pole.

“Once there was a Bean-Pole which was stuck into the ground by the side of a Potato-Hill.

“‘Dear me!’ cried a young Cabbage, growing near, ‘what a stiff, poky thing that is! and of no earthly use, standing there doing nothing.’

“But very soon a Scarlet-Bean, running about in search of something to climb upon, found this same Bean-Pole.

“‘All right!’ cried the happy little Bean. ‘You are the very thing I want. Now I’ll begin my summer’s work.’

“‘Well, to be sure!’ cried young Cabbage. ‘Every thing comes to some use at last. But who would have thought it!’

“The Scarlet-Bean was a spry little thing. She ran up that pole just as easy! Being of a lively turn, she began, at last, to make fun of the Potato-Plant.

[Pg 108]

“‘How sober you are!’ said she. ‘Why don’t you try to brighten up, and look more blooming?’

“The poor Potato-Plant, though doing her best, could only show a few pale blooms.

“‘You don’t mean to call those things flowers?’ cried the frisky Bean. ‘Just look at my beautiful blossoms!’ And she held up a spray of bright scarlet.

“The Potato-Plant kept quiet.

“‘What stupid, useless things those Potato-Plants are!’ said young Cabbage; ‘and how much room they take up!’

“Summer passed. The Bean began to fill her pods, and proud enough she was of them.

“‘Why don’t you do something?’ she cried to the Potato-Plant down below. ‘Only see what I’ve done! There’s a summer’s work for you!’ And, sure enough, she had hung her full pods all up and down the pole.

“‘Yes, why don’t you do something?’ cried Cabbage. ‘Your summer is gone, and nothing done. Can’t you come to a head? Any thing but idleness!’

“The Potato-Plant still kept quiet: but when digging-time came, and the hill was opened, and the pile of ‘Long Reds’ appeared, her neighbors could hardly believe their senses.

“‘Dear me! what a surprise!’ cried the Bean. ‘So we can’t always tell by appearances.’

“‘I declare!’ cried Cabbage. ‘Then you were doing something all that time! But how could I know? There’s that Bean: she hung her pods up high, so that everybody could see. Well, well, well! After this, I’ll always say of a plant which makes but little show, “Wait: potatoes inside there, maybe.”’

[Pg 109]

“There are a great many Scarlet-Beans among the people I know,” said the family story-teller, “and some Potato-Plants too, and perhaps a few young Cabbage-Heads.”

[Pg 110]



Mrs. MacGarret was an attic cat, and lived in the garret; but Mrs. O’Cellary lived in the cellar. Mrs. MacGarret had three children, and Mrs. O’Cellary had three children. Mr. MacGarret had gone away, and so had Mr. O’Cellary. Mrs. MacGarret’s children were all of an age, and Mrs. O’Cellary’s children were all of an age. The names of the MacGarret children were Spotty MacGarret, Tabby MacGarret, and Tilly MacGarret. The O’Cellary children were named, the first, Dinah O’Cellary, after its mother; the second, Thomas O’Cellary, after its father; while the third was called Bengal Tiger O’Cellary, after one of their grand-relations.

One day Mrs. MacGarret said to her children, “My dears, I have decided to have company this afternoon. I shall invite Mrs. O’Cellary and her family. Behave well, or you will be punished. At supper eat the poorest, and give the best to the company. Be very quiet, and never interrupt. That you may look your best, I shall put up your tails in curl-papers. Now, don’t[Pg 111] cry if I pull some.” And they shut their mouths tight, and never uttered a sound.

“Good children!” said Mrs. MacGarret. “Now you may go down and invite the company.”

“What, in curl-papers!” cried Spotty. “Oh, not in curl-papers!” cried Tabby. “You can’t mean in curl-papers!” cried Tilly.

“True,” said their mother: “you can’t go in curl-papers. I’ll step down myself.”

“But we’re afraid to stay alone!” cried Spotty and Tabby and Tilly. “Don’t go!” “Don’t go!” “Don’t go!” And each held up her fore-paw, and begged and prayed and wept.

“Poor darlings!” said Mrs. MacGarret: “how can I leave you? Now, if we were but good friends with Mr. Rat, how easily he could do the errand! for yonder rat-hole leads to the cellar straight.”

“Can’t you speak down to her?” asked Spotty. “I think you might speak down,” said Tabby. “Do speak down!” cried Tilly.

“To be sure,” said Mrs. MacGarret: “of course I can. ’Tis often done in hotels. What smart children you are!”

Then Mrs. MacGarret spoke down, and invited Mrs. O’Cellary and her family to tea at seven o’clock; and Mrs. O’Cellary answered up that they would be most happy.

At quarter before seven the curl-papers were taken out.

“Charming!” cried Mrs. MacGarret. “All stand in a row, that I may see. Charming! Don’t move!”

At seven o’clock Mrs. O’Cellary arrived with all her[Pg 112] children, and two young cousins who were paying her a visit: and, as it was a grand occasion, supper was laid out on a black leather trunk bordered with brass nails; and nothing could have been more elegant.

Now, this was what Mrs. MacGarret set before them for supper: first, mouse; second, scraps; third, codfish dried; fourth, squash in the rind, brought up from the kitchen in the dead of the night. Mrs. MacGarret lamented that she was out of milk; but their saucer was licked dry at dinner, and the milkman had not been round. But the company all said they seldom took milk, and that every thing was lovely. The talk was very entertaining, being mostly about the boldness of a mouse, who would peep out of his hole at them, but who popped back again the minute they stirred. They also talked much of the bad boy. A new little whip had been given him, and travelling through the passages was really quite unsafe.

“We were in great danger coming up, I assure you,” said Mrs. O’Cellary.

“Very great danger, ma’am,” said Thomas.

“We ran for our lives, ma’am,” said Bengal T.

“Be not so forward to speak in older company,” whispered Mrs. O’Cellary.

After supper a neighbor dropped in from the next attic, bringing her children; and there was a very merry party; and all would have gone well but for Tabby MacGarret, who did not do the right thing. This is how it happened.

All the mothers sat down on a spinning-wheel to have a cosey talk, and the children had great sport with the funny little mouse. First he would peep out[Pg 113] of his hole, and wink at them; and, when they all jumped for him, he would dodge back again; and the next thing they knew his little black eyes would be peeping out from another hole. Then they would jump again. But he always popped back just in time.

“Now do come out, mousey, and play with us,” they said.

Said mousey, “I like this better.”

Now, Mrs. MacGarret had given the children all that was left at supper to divide among themselves. They chose one to divide it; and Tabby MacGarret was the one chosen. Pretty soon Spotty saw her clap something under her paw in a very private way; and, guessing that all was not right, she stepped softly round behind, and just bit the end of her tail. This made Tabby lift up her paw, and then—they all saw! She had taken the best piece for herself!

Such a time as there was! “O shame!” “Shame!” “Shame!” cried Spotty and Tommy and Dinah; and “Shame!” cried Bengal Tiger O’Cellary. And they all hissed and sputtered; and Tabby ran down the garret-stairs with all the others after her, and all the mothers behind. The bad boy was standing in the passage with his new whip; and he snapped it and cracked it till they were frightened out of their wits, and scampered to hide where best they could.

And it was in this way that Mrs. MacGarret’s tea party was broken up.

[Pg 114]



“Mother, do butterflies remember when they were worms and caterpillars?” inquired Natty.

“What puzzling questions you children do ask!” said his mother. “The idea never entered my head. You must ask your uncle Joe.”

“Uncle Joe,” asked Natty, again, “do butterflies remember when they were worms and caterpillars?”

“Why, no!” said uncle Joe. “I should say not, if all stories are true.”

“What stories do you mean, uncle Joe?”

“I am thinking now,” said uncle Joe, “of a story I once heard, which perhaps you will like to hear. Yes? Then I will tell it.

“A poor tired worm was one day crawling slowly along the ground, seeking for food; while above her happy insects darted through the air, their bright wings flashing in the sunlight.

“‘Alas!’ sighed the worm, ‘what a toilsome life is ours! We move only by great labor, and, even with that, can never travel far. Kept near the damp ground, liable at any moment to be crushed, toiling up and down rough stalks, eating tough leaves,—for it is[Pg 115] only now and then we find a flower,—oh, it is truly a wearisome life!

“‘Yet none seem to pity our sorrows. Those proud insects flitting overhead,—the miller, the butterfly, the dragon-fly, the golden bumble-bee,—they never notice us. Oh, but life goes well with them! Flying is so easy! Wherever they wish to be, they have only to spread their wings, and the summer wind bears them on. Dressed gayly, at home with all the flowers, living on sweets, seeing fine sights, hearing all that is to be heard, what care they for us poor plodders? Selfish creatures, they think only of themselves. Now, for my part, if I had wings, and could move about so easily, I would think sometimes of the poor worms down below who cannot fly. I would bring them now and then a sip of honey, or a taste of something nice from the flower-gardens far away. I would come down and speak a kind word; tell them something good to hear; in short, be friendly. Oh, if one only had wings, how much good one might do! But these selfish creatures never think of that.’

“Not long afterward, this complaining worm was changed into a butterfly. Spreading her light wings, she passed the happy hours in flitting from field to field, rocking in the flower-cups, idling about where the sunshine was brightest, sipping where the honey was sweetest. Oh! a right gay butterfly was she, and no summer day ever seemed too long.

“One morning, while resting upon an opening rosebud, she saw below her a couple of worms, making their slow way over the ground.

“‘Poor creatures!’ she said. ‘Life goes hard with[Pg 116] them. Dull things, how little they know! It must be stupid enough down there. No doubt their lives could be brightened if proper means were taken. Some few pleasures or comforts might be given them; and I hope this will be done. If I were not so busy—but really I haven’t a moment to spare. To-day there is a rose-party, and all the butterflies are going there. To-morrow the sweet-pea party comes off, and all the butterflies are going there. Next day the grasshoppers give a grand hop, and at sundown there will be a serenade by the crickets. Every hour is occupied. The bumble-bees and hornets are getting up a concert. Then there is a new flower blossoming in a garden far away, and all are flying to see it. The two rich butterflies—Lady Golden-Spot and Madame Royal-Purple—have arrived in great state, and they will expect great attentions. The bees have had a lucky summer, and, in honor of these new arrivals, have promised to give a grand honey-festival, at which the queen herself will preside. The wasps are on the police; and they will, I trust, keep out the vulgar. The gnats and mosquitoes have formed a military company, called the Flying Militia, which will serve, if needed. It is to be hoped that no low creatures, like the two creeping along below, will intrude themselves. Poor things! If I had the time, I really would try to do something for them; but every sunny day is taken up, and stirring out in the wet is not to be thought of.

“‘Besides, one meets with so much that is not pleasant in mixing with low people. Their homes are not always cleanly: I might soil my wings. And, if once taken notice of, they will always expect to be. Why[Pg 117] make them dissatisfied? They are well enough off as they are. Perhaps, after all, it is my duty not to meddle with them: in fact, I have no doubt of it.

“‘Here comes Miss Gossamer. Welcome, Miss Gossamer! All ready for the rose-party? How sweetly you look! Wait one moment till I have washed my face in this dew-drop: the sun has nearly dried it up while I have been pitying those mean worms below there. It is folly, I know, to thus waste the time; but my feelings are so tender! I actually thought of calling! What would Lady Golden-Spot think, or Madame Royal-Purple? Have you seen them pass? They are sure to be there. Do you suppose they will take notice of us? If they don’t, I shall be perfectly wretched. Come, dear Miss Gossamer, one more sip, and then away!’”

[Pg 118]



A party of small cousins were spending New-Year’s at grandma Bowen’s; and, while waiting for tea, they begged her to tell them the story of Florinda,—some because they had never heard it, others because they had. The old lady was more than willing. “Yes,” said she, “we Bowens ought to keep alive the memory of Florinda, the faithful hired girl; and I will tell you the story just as your grandfather told it to me, and just as his grandfather told it to him, and as his grandfather told it to him. Your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather remembered Nathaniel Bowen very well; and his father—Nathaniel Bowen’s father, the first Mr. Bowen of all—came over from England in the bark ‘Jasper’ more than two hundred years ago. He brought his family with him, and they settled in this very place where we live now. The country was covered with woods then. Indians, buffaloes, deer, wolves, and foxes had it pretty much to themselves.

“But, if I am going to tell the story,” continued the old lady, suddenly raising her voice, and sitting straight in her chair, “there is something to be done first, so[Pg 119] that we may seem to see just how they lived in those days. For instance, carry out the furniture, and the stove, pictures, carpet (make believe, you know); then tear the house down, leaving only this one room, and let this one room pass for that one-roomed hut. But knock away lath and plaster: the walls must be made of logs; the same overhead. Cut square holes for windows, and hang wooden shutters inside (one of the square holes may have four small panes of glass); cover the others with oiled paper (there was no glass made in this country then). Let a stone chimney run up through the logs overhead at one end; and at the other end a ladder, leading to a loft: the fireplace must be very large. And now, to furnish the hut, bring in a bed, a meal-chest, a large, heavy clothes-chest, a spinning-wheel, a bench or two, and a few chairs. Can you see that hut now?”

“And the stumps!” cried some of the listeners, who knew the whole story.

“Yes, dears,” said the old lady, looking pleased, “and some stumps of trees, sawed off short, for the children to sit on.

“There was one house beside in the valley, and only one, and that belonged to a man named Moore. It stood nearly an eighth of a mile off in that direction” (pointing). “Four miles off in that direction” (pointing the opposite way), “at the Point, called then Mackerel Point, there were some dozen or twenty houses, a store, and a mill. There was no road between here and the Point: there was only a blind pathway through the woods. Those woods reached hundreds and hundreds of miles.

[Pg 120]

“When Mr. Bowen had lived in this country a little more than a year, his wife died, leaving three children,—Philip, not quite eleven years old; Nathaniel, six; and Polly, three: and to take care of these children, and to keep his house, he hired a young girl named Florinda LeShore, who came over from England as servant in some family. This Florinda was born in France; but she had spent the greater part of her life in England. She was only fifteen years old,—rather young to take the care of a family. There were so few whites in this country then, however, that Mr. Bowen was glad to get even a girl fifteen years old. I suppose he little thought she would be the means of saving the lives of two of his children.

“Florinda hired out to Mr. Bowen some time in November. On the 29th of December, as Mr. Bowen and Mr. Moore were saddling their horses to go to the store for provisions, word came that they must set out immediately for a place about fifteen miles off, called Dermott’s Crossing, to consult with other settlers as to what should be done to defend themselves against the Indians; for there were reports that in some neighborhoods the Indians were doing mischief.

“So the two men turned their horses’ heads in the direction of Dermott’s Crossing. It was woods most of the way; but they knew the general direction of the bridle-path, and thought they should make good time, and be back by noon of the next day. Florinda baked corn-meal into thin cakes, and put the cakes and some slices of bacon into the saddle-bags along with corn for the horses. The men were to return by way of the store, and bring provisions.

[Pg 121]

“Two days and two nights passed, and they had neither come, nor sent any message. By that time there was not much left to eat in either house. Florinda and the children slept both nights at Mrs. Moore’s. Mr. Bowen said it would be better for them to sleep there. He did not fear any actual danger (the Indians in this neighborhood had never been troublesome at all): still, in case any thing should happen, Mrs. Moore’s house was much the safer of the two. It was built of heavy timbers; and its doors were oak, studded with spikes. The Indians never attacked a strong house like that, especially if it were guarded by a white man with fire-arms. Mrs. Moore was a feeble woman. She had two little children; and her brother was then living with her,—a young man named David Palmer, at that time confined in doors on account of having frozen his feet badly.

“On the second morning, Philip begged Florinda to let him take his hand-sled and go to the store and get some meal and some bacon for themselves and Mrs. Moore. Florinda felt loath to let him go. It was a long distance: there was snow in the woods, and no track. But Philip said that he wasn’t afraid: the oldest boy ought to take care of the family. And at last Florinda said he might go: indeed, there seemed no other way; for, unless he did, they might all starve, especially if there should come on a heavy snow-storm.

“Philip had a hand-sled made of barrel-staves. He took this hand-sled, and took a shovel to dig his way through the open places where the snow would be drifted. Mrs. Moore had him start from her house, because she wanted to be sure he was well wrapped[Pg 122] up. She, as well as Florinda, felt badly about his going. There was danger that he would lose his way; and there were other dangers, which neither of them liked to speak of. He left home in good spirits, about nine o’clock in the morning, on the thirty-first day of December, promising to be back before evening.

“Florinda spent the day in spinning and in other work for the family. As soon as it began to grow dark, Mrs. Moore sent her little boy over to inquire. Florinda sent word back that Philip had not come, but that she expected him every minute, and that she should wait until he did come before going over to Mrs. Moore’s.

“After the boy had gone back, Florinda barred the door, and shut all the window-shutters but one. She left that open, so that Philip might see the firelight shining through. The children began to cry because Philip was out all alone in the dark woods; and Florinda did every thing she could to take up their minds. Nathaniel told afterward of her rolling up the cradle-quilt into a baby for little Polly, and pinning an apron on it; and of her setting him letters to copy on the bellows with chalk. He said she tied a strip of cloth round his head to keep the hair out of his eyes when he bent over to make the letters. He remembered her telling them stories about the people in France, of their out-door dancings and their grape-pickings; and that, to amuse them, she took from her clothes-box a spangled work-bag that was made in France; and then took out a funny high-crowned cap her mother used to wear, and put the cap on her own head to make them laugh; and that, when little Polly wanted a cap too, she twisted[Pg 123] up a handkerchief into the shape of a cap for her; and he remembered her stopping her wheel very often to listen for Philip. He always spoke of Florinda, as a sprightly, bright-eyed girl, who was pleasing both in her looks and her manners.

“At last little Polly fell asleep, and was placed on the bed. Nathaniel laid his head on Florinda’s lap, and dropped asleep there, and slept till she got up to put more wood on. It was then nearly twelve o’clock. He woke in a fright, and crying. He had been dreaming about wolves.

“In the midst of his crying there came a tap at the door. Florinda made no answer. Then a voice said, ‘’St, ’st’ Still she made no answer. Then the voice said softly, ’Florinda!’ It was the young man David Palmer, Mrs. Moore’s brother. He had crawled all the way from the other house to see if they were safe, and ask if they would not come over. Florinda said no; that it would soon be morning; that she had plenty of work to do, and that she was not afraid: the Indians had always been kind to the family, and the family to them. The young man told her that what had happened in far-off neighborhoods might happen there; that, at any rate, the window-shutter ought to be shut to keep the light from shining out, in case any Indians passed through the woods; and that, when Philip got within half a mile of the house, he could keep his course by the brook. Florinda closed the shutter. He pointed to a knot-hole in the shutter, and she hung a shawl over it. Then he dried his fur mittens a few minutes longer at the blaze, and went back to stay with his sister.

[Pg 124]

“When the young man had been gone a little while, Nathaniel climbed up and looked through the knot-hole, and told Florinda he saw a fire in the woods. Florinda said she thought not; that maybe it was the moon rising; and kept on with her spinning. By and by he looked again, and said he did see a fire, and some Indians sitting down by it. Florinda left her wheel then, and looked through, and said yes, it was so. She kept watch afterward, and saw them put out the fire, and go away into the woods toward the Point. She told Nathaniel of this, and then held him in her arms and sang songs, low, in a language he could not understand. By this time the night was far spent.

“On the back-side of the hut, near the fireplace, there had been in the summer a hole or tunnel dug through to the outside under the logs. It was begun by a tame rabbit that belonged to Nathaniel. The rabbit burrowed out, and got away. The children at play dug the hole deeper and wider, and it came quite handy in getting in firewood. This passage was about four feet deep. They called it the back doorway. When winter came on, it was filled up with sand and moss. Florinda thought it well to be prepared for any thing which might happen; and therefore she spent the latter part of that night in taking the filling from the back doorway. The outer part was frozen hard, and had to be thawed with hot water. When this was done, she took the work-bag out of her clothes-box, and put into it Mr. Bowen’s papers and the teaspoons (among the papers were deeds of property in England). Little Polly waked and cried, and both children complained of being hungry. There were a few handfuls of meal left.[Pg 125] Florinda baked it into a cake, and divided it between them. She said a great deal to Nathaniel about taking care of little Polly; told him, that, if any bad Indians came to the door, he must catch hold of her hand, and run just as quick as he could, through the back way, to Mrs. Moore’s. Her chief care, then and afterward, seemed to be for the children. And, when danger came in earnest, she made no attempt to save herself: her only thought was to save them.

“While she was talking to Nathaniel in the way I have said, they heard a step outside. It was then a little after daybreak. Some one tapped at the door; and a strange voice said, ‘A friend; open quick!’ She opened the door, and found a white man standing there. This white man told her that unfriendly Indians were prowling about to rob, to kill, and to burn dwelling-houses, and that several were known to be in that very neighborhood. The man was a messenger sent to warn people. He could not stop a moment. This was on the morning of the 1st of January. As soon as the man had gone, Florinda double-barred the door, raked ashes over the fire, put on her things and the children’s things, and got ready to go with them over to Mrs. Moore’s. She made up several bundles; gave one to each of the children, and took one herself. But, before starting, she opened the shutter a crack, and looked out; and there she saw two Indians coming toward the door. She flung down her bundle; snatched the children’s away from them; hung the work-bag round Nathaniel’s neck, whispering to him, ‘Run, run! you’ll have time; I’ll keep them out till you get away!’ all the while pulling at the clothes-chest. He heard the[Pg 126] Indians yell, and saw Florinda brace herself against the door, with her feet on the chest. ‘Run, run!’ she kept saying. ‘Take care of little Polly! don’t let go of little Polly!

“Nathaniel ran with little Polly; and on the way they met the young man, David Palmer, creeping along with his gun. He had got the news, and had come to tell Florinda to hurry away. Just at that moment he heard the yells of the Indians, and the sound of their clubs beating in the door. David Palmer said afterward, that it seemed to him he never should reach that house: and, when he had almost reached it, his gun failed him; or rather his hands failed to hold it. He started without his mittens; and his fingers were stiff and numb from creeping over the frozen snow.

“He threw the gun down, and went on just as fast as a man could in such a condition, and presently saw two Indians start from the house, and run into the woods, dropping several things on the way,—stolen articles, some of which were afterward found. He listened a moment, and heard dogs barking; then crept round the corner of the house. The door had been cut away. Florinda lay across the chest, dead, as he thought; and indeed she was almost gone. They had beaten her on the head with a hatchet or a club. One blow more, and Florinda would never have breathed again. David Palmer did every thing he could do to make her show some signs of life; and was so intent upon this, that he paid no attention to the barking of the dogs, and did not notice that it was growing louder, and coming nearer every moment. Happening to glance toward the door, he saw a man on horseback, riding[Pg 127] very slowly toward the house, leading another horse with his right hand, and with his left drawing something heavy on a sled. The man on horseback was Mr. Moore. He was leading Mr. Bowen’s horse with his right hand, and with the other he was dragging Mr. Bowen on Philip’s hand-sled.”

Philip?” cried two or three. “Did he come?”

“No,—yes; that is, he came at last. He had not come, though, at the time of their finding his sled. Mr. Moore found the sled, or rather Mr. Moore’s dog found it, as they were riding along. Those two men had a good reason for staying away; though such a reason can hardly be called good. Coming home from Dermott’s Crossing, Mr. Bowen was taken sick. They knew of a house a mile or two out of the way, and went to it. There was nobody there. The family had left on account of the Indians; but Mr. Moore found some means of getting in.

“Just as soon as Mr. Bowen was able to be bound to his horse, and carried, they set out for home, but had to travel at a very slow pace. When they had almost reached home, Mr. Moore’s dog, in racing through the woods, stopped at a clump of bushes; and there he sniffed and scratched and yelped, and made a great ado. Then Mr. Bowen’s dog did the same. Mr. Moore hitched the horses, and went to see, and found Philip’s sled among the bushes, with a bag of meal on it, and a shoulder of bacon. Mr. Bowen being then weary and faint, and much travel-bruised, Mr. Moore put the bag of meal and the bacon on the horse, then covered the sled with boughs, and laid Mr. Bowen on top of them, and drew him along. It was supposed that the barking of those dogs frightened away the Indians.

[Pg 128]

“Philip himself left the sled under those bushes. That day he went to the Point, he had to wait for corn to be ground, which made him late in starting for home. He heard a good many reports concerning the Indians, and thought, that, instead of keeping in his own tracks, it would be safer to take a roundabout course back; and, by doing this, he lost his way, and wandered in the woods till almost twelve o’clock at night, when he came out upon a cleared place, where there were several log-huts. The people in one of these let him come in and sleep on the floor, and they gave him a good meal of meat and potatoes. He set out again between four and five in the morning, guided by a row of stars that those people pointed out to him.

“A little after daybreak, being then about a quarter of a mile from home, in a hilly place, he thought he would leave his sled, the load was so hard to draw, and run ahead and tell the folks about the Indians. So he pushed it under some bushes; and then, to mark the spot, he took one of his shoe-strings, and tied one of his mittens high up on the limb of a tree.”

“One of his leather shoe-strings!” cried some of those who knew the whole story.

“Yes, my dears,” said the old lady, looking pleased again, “one of his leather shoe-strings; and then he ran toward home. Just as he came to the brook he heard some strange sounds, and climbed up into a hemlock-tree which overhung the brook, to hide out of sight, and to look about. He lay along a branch listening, and presently saw Nathaniel, with the work-bag around his neck, hurrying toward the brook, leading little Polly, and was just going to call out, when he[Pg 129] caught sight of three Indians, standing behind some trees on the other side, watching the two children. Little Polly was afraid to step on the ice. She cried; and at last Nathaniel made her sit down and take hold of a stick, and he pulled her across by it. Philip moved a little to see better, and by doing this lost sight of them a moment; and, when he looked again, they were both gone. He heard a crackling in the bushes, and caught sight of little Polly’s blanket flying through the woods, and knew then that those Indians had carried off Nathaniel and little Polly; and, without stopping to consider, he jumped down and followed on, thinking, as he afterward said, to find out where they went, and tell his father. Philip was a plucky fellow, as you will find presently. His pluck brought him into danger, though; and, if it had not been for an Indian woman of the name of Acushnin, he might have lost his life in a very cruel way. This woman, Acushnin, lived in a white family when a child. She had a son about the age of Philip. It was perhaps on account of both these reasons that she felt inclined to save him. But I must not get so far ahead of my story.

“Philip, by one way or another, kept on the trail of those Indians the whole day. Once it was by finding the stick that little Polly dropped; once it was by seeing a shred of her blanket; another time it was by coming across a butcher-knife the Indians had stolen from some house: and he had wit enough to break a limb or gash a tree now and then, so as to find his way back; also to take the bearings of the hills. When the Indians halted to rest, he had a chance to rest too.

“At last they stopped for the night in a sheltered[Pg 130] valley where there were two or three wigwams. He watched them go into one of these, and then he could not think what to do next. The night was setting in bitter cold. The shoe he took the string from had come off in his running; and that foot was nearly frozen, and would have been quite if he had not tied some moss to the bottom of it with his pocket-handkerchief. The hand that had no mitten was frozen. He had eaten nothing but a few boxberry-plums and boxberry-leaves. It was too late to think of finding his way home that night. He lay down on the snow; and, as the Indians lifted the mats to pass in and out, he could see fires burning, and smell meats cooking. Then he began to feel sleepy, and, after that, knew nothing more till he woke inside of a wigwam, and found two Indian women rubbing him with snow. They afterwards gave him plenty to eat. He did not see Nathaniel and little Polly: they were in another wigwam. There were two Indians squatting on the floor, one of them quite old. Pretty soon another came in; and Philip knew he was one of those that carried off the children, because he had Florinda’s work-bag hanging around his neck. He thought, no doubt, from seeing it on Nathaniel’s neck, that there was the place to wear it. Philip suffered dreadful pain in his foot and hand, but shut his mouth tight, for fear he might groan. He said afterward, when questioned about this part of his story, that he was not going to let them hear a white boy groan.

“It was probably from seeing him so courageous that they decided to offer him to their chief’s wife for adoption. It was a custom among them, when a[Pg 131] chief’s wife lost a male child by death, to offer her another, usually a captive taken in war, for adoption. If, after seeing the child offered in this way, she refused to adopt him, he was not suffered to live.

“Now, one of those two squaws in the wigwam, the older one, was the Acushnin I spoke of just now; and she felt inclined to save Philip from being carried to Sogonuck, which was where the chief lived: so next morning before light, when the Indians all went off hunting, she sent the other squaw out on some errand, and then told Philip in broken English what was going to be done with him, and that it would be done in two days; and told him in a very earnest manner, partly by signs, that he must run away that very morning. She bound up his foot; she gave him a moccasin to wear on it; she gave him a bag of pounded corn and a few strips of meat. Philip had found out that the Indians supposed him to be a captive escaped from another party; and he thought it would be better not to mention Nathaniel and little Polly, but to get home as quick as he could, and tell people where they were.

“When the young squaw came in, the old one set her at work parching corn, with her back to the door; then made signs to Philip, and he crept out and ran. After running a few rods, he came unexpectedly upon a wigwam: this made his heart beat so that he could hardly breathe. There was a noise of some one pounding corn inside; and, when that stopped, he stopped; and, when that went on, he went on, and so crept by.

“As soon as it began to grow light, he kept along without much trouble, partly by means of the signs on the trees: but as he got farther on, there being fewer[Pg 132] of these signs (because they came so swift that part of the way), he took the wrong course,—very luckily, as it proved; for by doing so he fell in with two men on horseback, and one of these carried him home.

“As they came near the house, Philip saw by the chimney smoke that there was some one inside, and began to whistle a certain tune.

“Up to this time, Mr. Bowen had not been able to shed a tear; but, the moment he heard that familiar whistle, he fell down on the floor, and cried like a little child.

“Florinda seemed dull, stupid, indifferent, and scarcely noticed Philip at all. It was found that she had no clear recollection of any thing that took place after Mr. Bowen’s going to meet the council. Indeed, even after she was her own self again, she never could wholly recall the events of those few days; which was, perhaps, quite as well for her.”

“And did those two ever get found?” asked a small listener.

“Yes. Philip described the place; and that very night a party was sent out, which captured the Indians, and brought back Nathaniel and little Polly.”

“And the work-bag, and the papers, and the teaspoons?”

“Yes, all. Florinda had half the teaspoons. She was married, not many years after all this happened, to David Palmer; and Mr. Bowen gave them to her for a wedding-present. Mr. Bowen did a great deal for Florinda, as well he might. One of those spoons has come down in the Palmer family, and is now owned by Mr. Thomas Palmer of Dermotville.

[Pg 133]

“And here is one of those that Mr. Bowen kept,” continued the old lady, going to a corner cupboard, and holding up a small, thin, slim teaspoon, very oval in the bowl, and very pointed at the handle. “This was given to your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather by Mr. Nathaniel Bowen himself. Nathaniel Bowen was your ancestor. Your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather remembered him very well, as I told you at the beginning. You may be sure that this story is every word true; for the Palmer family have it in writing, copied from the account which David Palmer wrote down at the time it happened.”

[Pg 134]


OH! Jack was the fellow who lived long ago,
And built him a house, as you very well know,
With chimneys so tall, and a cupola too,
And windows set thick, where the light could go through.
And this is the house that Jack built.
Now, Jack he was so tender-hearted and true,
He loved every dear little childling that grew.
“The old folk can do very well without me,
And I’ll be the friend of the children,” quoth he.
So away in his store-room he stored up a heap
Of corn-bags well filled, full seven yards deep;
While ranged very near them, in beautiful show,
Were a great many corn-poppers, set in a row.
And this is the corn that lay in the house that Jack built.
And a blazing red fire was ever kept glowing
By a great pair of bellows that ever kept blowing;
And there stood the children, the dear little souls!
A-shaking their corn-poppers over the coals.

[Pg 135]

A-shaking their corn-poppers over the coals

[Pg 137]

Soon a motherly rat, seeking food for her young,
Came prying and peeping the corn-bags among.
“I’ll take home a supply,” said this kindest of mothers:
“My children like corn quite as well as those others.”
And this is the rat, &c.
Run quick, Mother Rat! Oh, if you but knew
How slyly old Tabby is watching for you!
She’s creeping so softly! pray, pray do not wait!
She springs! she has grabbed you!—ah, now ’tis too late!
And this is the cat, &c.


Too late! yes, too late! All your struggles are vain:
You never will see those dear children again!
All sadly they sit in their desolate home,
Looking out for the mother that never will come.
[Pg 138]
When Pussy had finished, she said with a smile,
“I think I will walk in the garden a while,
And there take a nap in some sunshiny spot.”
Bose laughed to himself as he said, “I think not!”
Just as Puss shuts her eyelids, oh! what does she hear?
“Bow-wow!” and “Bow-wow!” very close at her ear.
Now away up a pole, all trembling, she springs;
And there on its top, all trembling, she clings.
And this is the dog, &c.
Said Bose to himself, “What a great dog am I!
When my voice is heard, who dares to come nigh?
Now I’ll worry that cow. Ha, ha, ha! Oh, if she
Should run up a pole, how funny ’twould be!”


Poor Bose! You will wish that you’d never been born
When you bark at that cow with the crumpled horn.
’Way you go, with a toss, high up in the air!
Do you like it, old Bose? Is it pleasant up there?
And this is the cow, &c.
[Pg 139]
Now, when this old Moolly, so famous in story,
Left Bose on the ground, all bereft of his glory,
She walked to the valley as fast as she could,
Where a dear little maid with a milking-pail stood.
And this is the maiden, &c.


Alas! a maiden all forlorn was she,
Woful and sad, and piteous to see.
With weary step she walked, and many a sigh:
Her cheek was pale; a tear bedimmed her eye.
She sat her down with melancholy air
Among the flowers that bloomed so sweetly there,
And thus with clasped hands she made her moan:—
“Ah me!” she said; “ah me! I’m all alone!

[Pg 140]


In all the world are none who care for me;
In all the world are none I care to see;
[Pg 141]
No one to me a kindly message brings;
Nobody gives me any pretty things;
Nobody asks me am I sick or well;
Nobody listens when I’ve aught to tell;
Kind words of love I’ve never, never known:
Ah me!” she said, “’tis sad to be alone!”
Now up jumps the man all tattered and torn,
And he says to the maiden, “Don’t sit there forlorn.
Behind this wild rose-bush I’ve heard all you said;
And I’ll love and protect you, you dear little maid!
For oft have I hid there, so bashful and shy,
And peeped through the roses to see you go by:
I know every look of those features so fair;
I know every curl of your bright golden hair.
My garments are in bad condition, no doubt;
But the love that I give you shall never wear out.
Now, I’ll be the husband, if you’ll be the wife;
And together we’ll live without trouble or strife.”
And this is the man, &c.
Thought the maid to herself, “Oh, what beautiful words!
Sweeter than music, or singing of birds.
How pleasant ’twill be thus to live all my life
With this kind little man, without trouble or strife!
If his clothes are all tattered and torn,—why, ’tis plain
What he needs is a wife that can mend them again.
And he brought them to such sorry plight, it may be,
’Mong the thorns of the roses while watching for me!”
And, when this wise maiden looked up in his face,
She saw there a look full of sweetness and grace.

[Pg 142]


’Twas a truth-telling face. “Yes, I’ll trust you,” said she.
“Ah, a kiss I must take, if you trust me!” quoth he;
“And, since we’re so happily both of a mind,
We’ll set off together the priest for to find.”
[Pg 143]
Now hand in hand along they pass,
Tripping it lightly over the grass,
By pleasant ways, through fields of flowers,
By shady lanes, through greenwood bowers.
The bright little leaves they dance in the breeze,
And the birds sing merrily up in the trees.
The maiden smiles as they onward go,
Forgotten now her longing and woe;
And the good little man he does care for her so!
He cheers the way with his pleasant talk,
Finds the softest paths where her feet may walk,
Stays her to rest in the sheltered nook,
Guides her carefully over the brook,
Lifts her tenderly over the stile,
Speaking so cheerily all the while!
And plucks the prettiest wild flowers there
To deck the curls of her golden hair.
Says the joyful maid, “Not a flower that grows
Is so fair for me as the sweet wild rose!”
Thus journeying on by greenwood and dell,
They came at last where the priest did dwell,—
A jolly fat priest, as I have heard tell;
A jolly fat priest, all shaven and shorn,
With a long black cassock so jauntily worn.
And this is the priest, &c.
“Good-morrow, Sir Priest! will you marry us two?”
“That I will,” said the priest, “if ye’re both lovers true.
But when, little man, shall your wedding-day be?”
“To-morrow, good priest, if you can agree:
[Pg 144]
At the sweet hour of sunrise, when the new day
Is rosy and fresh in its morning array,
When flowers are awaking, and birds full of glee,
At the top of the morning, our wedding shall be.
And, since friends we have none, for this wedding of ours
No guests shall there be, save the birds and the flowers;
And we’ll stand out among them, in sight of them all,
Where the pink-and-white blooms of the apple-tree fall.”
“Od zooks!” cried the priest, “what a wedding we’ll see
To-morrow, at sunrising, under the tree!”
Next morning, while sleeping his sweetest sleep,
The priest was aroused from his slumbers deep
By the clarion voice of chanticleer,
Sudden and shrill, from the apple-tree near.
“Wake up, wake up!” it seemed to say;
“Wake up, wake up! there’s a wedding to-day!”
And this is the cock that crowed in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog, that worried the cat, that caught the rat that ate the corn that lay in the house that Jack built.

[Pg 145]


[Pg 147]



“O mother, look up!—look up in the sky! away, ’wa—y up there! Oh! isn’t a kite a pretty sight? Now it only looks like a speck of something. I wonder where it comes from.”

“Yes, Nannie, I think it is a pretty sight; and no doubt the owner of it thinks so too. I wish we could see him. Let’s guess about him: what do you say to that? Let’s play we could follow the string down, down, down, away down behind yonder hill, till we come to the boy at the other end.”

“Oh, yes, mother! You guess about him, please.”

“I will try, Nannie. Ah, there he is! I’ve found the little fellow! He lies in the grass, flat on his back, paste on his hands, I think, and on his trousers too. The buttercups are thick about him,—bright yellow buttercups; but the dandelions are turning white.”

“Why do you shut up your eyes, mother?”

“Because I can guess prettier things with my eyes shut. The little boy holds fast to his kite-string. There’s a row of lilac-bushes near, and an apple-tree—a beautiful apple-tree—all in bloom; cherry-trees and[Pg 148] pear-trees too, white as snow. I wish we were there, Nannie. A little brook goes dancing by all so gayly! Happy little brook, to be dancing so merrily on among the flowers! and happy little boy, to be lying there listening to its song, and smelling the apple-blossoms, with the south wind blowing over him! The clover-tops and the cool green clover-leaves come close to his cheeks,—his round, rosy cheeks; and there’s a little buttercup right under his chin, seeing for itself whether he loves butter or not.”

“And does he?”

“Yes, he loves butter. And now he has picked a dandelion-ball, and is blowing it to see—hold fast to your string, my boy!—to see if his mother wants him. Three blows.”

“Do they all blow off?”

“No, not all: a few stay on.”

“Then she doesn’t want him.”

“No, his mother doesn’t want him quite yet. He can lie there a little while longer, and watch his kite, and smell the flowers, and hear the birds sing. I wish I were a little boy lying in the grass.”

“How lovely is your little guess-boy, mother?”

“Oh! quite lovely, quite lovely. He has brown wavy hair, and bright eyes, and a right pleasant, laughing face. Two cunning pussy-flowers come close down, and tickle his ear.—Be careful, little guess-boy! don’t let the string slip. That kite is too good to lose. Great pains you took to make its frame light and smooth and even; worked hard with newspapers and paste; the tail was a trouble; the bobs got tangled: but that’s all over now.”

[Pg 149]

“What is your little guess-boy’s name, mother?”

“His name?—let me think. Ah! his name is Ernest. Now Ernest turns his head; now he smiles; now he whistles.”

“And what is he whistling for?”

“I think, his dog. Yes, yes! there he comes,—a noble shaggy fellow, leaping, frisking, bounding. Ernest calls, ‘Ranger, Ranger, Ranger! here, Ranger!’”

“How noble is Ranger, mother?”

“Very noble. Oh! he’s a splendid fellow!—a knowing, good-natured fellow. Now he comes bounding on. The boy laughs, and lets Ranger lick his face all over.

“‘Now down!’ he says,—‘down. Ranger, down, down, sir!’ Good dog: he lies down by Ernest, and winks his eyes, and snaps at the flies and the bumble-bees.”

“O mother! what is your little guess-boy doing to his kite? It snakes; it pitches: oh, it is falling down!—blowing away!”

“My poor little boy! Perhaps a bumble-bee startled him: it flew right in his eye, I’ve no doubt, and made him let go. How he runs! Too late, my boy: your kite is gone, and will never return,—never, never!”

“Where has it gone, mother?”

“Far, far over the woods: now it falls into the river, and the river will float it away to the sea.”

“Can you see it go floating along?”

“Yes: it floats along by green banks where willow-trees are growing.”

“Please don’t open your eyes yet. Can’t you see some little guess-children coming to pick it out?”

[Pg 150]

“Perhaps I can. Now it gets tangled in the roots of a tree; now on it goes again; now it stops behind a rock. Yes, there are some little guess-girls, little frolicking guess-girls, coming to the bank of the stream.”

“Do they see it?”

“Yes; but they can’t reach. Take care, you little thing with a blue dress ruffled round the bottom! you are bending too far over. Ha, ha, ha!”

“What are you laughing at, mother?”

“Why, there’s a little bareheaded one tugging a long bean-pole. She’ll never do any thing with that. Now they throw stones. One hits; another hits. There goes the kite; and there goes the bean-pole; and there—dear, dear!—no; but she did almost tumble in. On, on floats the kite,—on to the sea.

“There’s a little boat coming, rowed by two children. They steer for that odd thing which floats upon the water. ‘What is it?’ they ask. An oar is reached out, and a kite-frame picked up,—nothing but a frame: the paper is soaked away.”

“And what has become of Ernest, mother? Is he lying down there now, smelling the blossoms, and hearing the brook go?”

“Ah, yes, poor little boy! he has lain down again among the buttercups; but I think he is not listening to the brook, nor smelling the apple-blossoms. I think he is crying. His head is turned away, and his face hidden in the grass.

“Now Ranger comes again, but not, as before, leaping and bounding; not frisking, and wagging his tail. Oh, no! he looks quite solemn this time. Dogs know a great deal. Ranger understands that something bad[Pg 151] has happened. He puts his head close down, and tries to lick the boy’s face. Now he gets his nose close up to Ernest’s ear, as if he were whispering something. What is he whispering, I wonder. Poor Ernest! he seems very sad; and no wonder. Any boy would to lose a kite like that.

“But he jumps up; he smiles, and looks almost happy. Something good must have been whispered to him either by Ranger or by his own thoughts.”

“What was it, mother?”

“I think it was, ‘Don’t cry for lost kites; don’t cry for lost kites! Run home and make another; run home and make another!’”

“And will he?”

“I think so: I think he will. Yes, there he goes! He runs through the grass, leaps the brook, springs over the fence, whistling to Ranger all the while. Ranger is so glad, he barks and bounds like a crazy dog.

“There’s the house; and there’s his mother, looking out of the window, very glad to see her boy, if some of the dandelion feathers did stay on. I hope she’ll find some more newspapers for him, and let him make more paste on her stove.”

“O mother! please let’s go take a walk and find the little guess-boy, and see him make his kite.”

[Pg 152]



One day, when uncle Joe could think of no story to tell, he read to the children one which he had borrowed from a friend, and which was entitled “The Little Beggar-Girl.” The story was as follows:—

There were once two beggar-children, named Paul and Nora. Paul was ugly and cross; but Nora was so sweet-tempered, that nothing could make her speak an unkind word. She had beautiful eyes, and her hair was of a golden brown. These children had no home, and not a single friend in the world. On pleasant nights they slept in a market-cart; but, if it was rainy, they crept underneath. It was their business to wander about the city, begging whatever they could.

One day Paul found an old basket with the handle gone. “Now,” said he, “we will go into the bone business.”

“And then won’t you beat me any more?” said Nora.

“Not if you mind me,” said Paul, “and beg something nice for me every day. What have you got there?”

[Pg 153]


Nora showed him some bits of bread and dry cake, a [Pg 155]chicken-bone, and a bunch of grapes, which an old gentleman had given her because her eyelashes were like those of his dear little grandchild who had died years before.

“Why didn’t you get more grapes?” said Paul. “I could eat twenty times as many. Here, you may have three, and the whole of that chicken-bone.”

Nora threw her arms about his neck, and said, “O Paul, how good it is to have a brother! If I didn’t have you, I shouldn’t have anybody.”

That night they crept under the cart; for it was rainy. But first they covered the ground with some old straw. “How good it is to have a cart over us,” said Nora, “and straw to sleep on!” But Paul bade her stop talking; for he was tired.

After he was asleep, Nora crept out to pay a visit to her window. She called it her window. It was on the back-piazza of a nice house. The curtains hung apart a little, leaving a crack; and every night she paid a visit here to watch the undressing and putting to bed of a little girl.

She could see the laughing face as it peeped through the long, white night-gown, and the rosy toes as they came out of their stockings. She could see the little girl’s arms holding tight around the mother’s neck, and the mother’s arms holding tight her little girl. She could also both see and hear the kisses; and, by putting her ear close to the window, could sometimes catch the very words of the evening hymn. Nothing seemed to her half as beautiful as this; for it was the only singing of that kind she had ever heard.

But on this particular night she dared not stay long[Pg 156] at the window; for Paul had said they must start out of the city by daybreak to look for bones, and had bade her go to sleep early. She only waited to see the little girl’s hair brushed, and then to see her spat the water about in the wash-bowl.

After creeping under the cart, where Paul was sleeping, she put out her hands to catch the rain-drops, and washed her face. Molly the rag-picker had given her an old comb she had found in a dirt-barrel, and a faded handkerchief. For these she had given a bit of cake. To be sure, the cake was dry, and required a stone to break it; but it contained two plums; and, when Molly made the trade, she was thinking of her little lame boy at home. And so Nora sat up in the straw, and combed out her pretty hair. It was long (for there was no one to cut it), and of a most lovely color. To tell the truth, there was not a child in all the street whose hair was half as beautiful.

“I cannot be undressed,” she thought, “because I have no night-clothes; and I cannot be kissed or sung to sleep, because I have only Paul. And Paul—he couldn’t; oh, no! Paul doesn’t know the way; but I can do this.”

And, while thinking such thoughts as these, she combed out her long hair just as she had seen the little girl’s mother do; and, by tying the three-cornered handkerchief under her chin, she kept it smooth.

The next morning they set forth at sunrise to search for bones, swinging the basket between them.

“How bright the sun shines!” said Nora: “now our clothes will dry.” And, when they were out of the city, she said, “No matter for shoes now, Paul, the grass is so soft.”

[Pg 157]

“You are always being pleased about something,” said Paul. “Anybody would think you had every thing you want.”

Nora was still for a moment; and then she said, “Oh, no, Paul! I want one thing a great deal: I think about it every night and every day.”

“What is it?” said Paul. “Can’t you beg for one?”

“No,” said she, “I couldn’t.”

“Why don’t you tell?” said Paul, speaking crossly.

“I don’t like to say it,” said Nora.

“Tell,” said Paul, giving her a push, “or I’ll strike you.”

Nora crept up close to him, and whispered, “I want somebody to call me darling.”

“You’re a ninny,” said Paul: “you don’t know any thing. I’ll call you darling. Darling, hold up the basket.”

“But that isn’t real,” said Nora: “you don’t know the right way; and the darling isn’t in your eyes,—not at all. Yesterday I met a little girl,—as little as I. Her shoes were pretty, and a kind lady was walking with her; and, when they came to a crossing, the lady said, ‘Come this way, my darling;’ and it was in her eyes. You couldn’t learn to say it right, Paul; for you are only a brother, and can’t speak so softly. Did we two have a mother ever, Paul?”

“To be sure we did!” said Paul: “she used to rock you in the cradle, and tell me stories. I wasn’t but four then: now I’m eight, and most nine.”

“Was she like Molly?” asked Nora.

“Not a bit! her face was white, and so were her hands,—jolly white. She used to cry, and sew lace.”

[Pg 158]

“Cry?—a mother cry? What for?”

“Can’t say; hungry, maybe. Sometimes father hit her. But stop talking, can’t you? I want to run down this hill: catch hold.”

As they were walking along the road, at the bottom of the hill, breathing fast from running so hard, they met a wicked-looking man, whose whiskers were black and very heavy. His nose was long, and hooked over at the end. He had a short-waisted coat with a peaked tail. He laughed almost every time he spoke.

When he saw Paul and Nora, he said, “Where are you going, children?—going to take a walk? He, he, he!”

“To pick up bones,” said Paul. “I know a man that buys them.”

“I’ll buy your bones,” said the man, “and give you a good price for them. My shop is in this yellow brick house. Come this evening; come about eight; come to the back-door. Is this your little sister?”

“Yes,” said Paul.

“Well, bring your sister. I like your little sister. He, he, he! Good-morning, and good-luck to you.” Then he patted Nora’s head, and went away, laughing, “He, he, he!”

It was hard work for Nora, walking far out of town, and climbing fences, looking for bones which had been thrown out, or hidden by dogs; and many times they were driven away by cross servants.

“It’s all your fault,” said Paul. “You are always peeping in at windows. If you don’t stop it, I’ll strike you.”

[Pg 159]

“I only want to see what the little girls do,” said Nora. “They go up the steps, and the door shuts; and then, when I can’t see them any more,—then what do they do, Paul?”

“How should I know?” said Paul. “Can’t you stop talking, and give me something to eat? What have you got?”

Nora showed him all her broken bits, and then untied the corner of her handkerchief. There were a few pennies tied up there, given her by a lady who was pleased with her pleasant face. “What shall we do with these, Paul?” said she.

“Well,” said Paul, “I think—I think I’ll buy a cigar. I never had a cigar.”

“To be sure!” said Nora: “a boy ought to have a cigar.”

And, while Paul smoked his cigar, she sat upon a stone near by, watching the smoke. He leaned back against a tree, puffing away, with his feet crossed high up on a rock. Nora was so pleased!

“How glad I am I’ve got you!” said she. “If I didn’t have you, I shouldn’t have anybody. When I grow up, maybe I’ll be your mother, and give you good things.”

“You’re a little fool!” said Paul. “Stop your talk now, and go look for more bones. There’s no need of both of us sitting idle.”

“Oh, my feet ache so!” said Nora. But she minded Paul, and went searching about till he called her to go back to the city.

The walk back was so tiresome, that Nora almost dropped down from weariness. “O Paul!” said she,[Pg 160] “my hands are too little; and they are sore, and my feet are too. I can’t hold on. Oh! it’s going, Paul! it’s going!”

Paul gave her a blow across the shoulders. “There!” said he. “Let that basket go down again, will you? Hurry up! Who wants everybody staring?”

Nora’s bare feet were bleeding, her arms ached, and her shoulders smarted where his hand came down. She was so little!—so very little! Poor thing! she did her best.

Upon reaching the yellow brick house, Paul and Nora walked directly in at the back-door, as they had been told. The wicked-looking man came to meet them, and took them into a room very low in the walls, and hung round with bird-cages. In these cages were canary-birds,—a great many canary-birds; also Java sparrows and mocking-birds. The room smelt strong of soap. In a door leading to the next apartment there were two squares of glass set: through this small window they could see a man’s face, tipped a little backwards, which the hand of another man was covering with soap-foam. By this they knew it must be a barber’s shop.

The wicked-looking man took Nora by the hand, and said, as he placed her in a chair, “All right, my little lady,—he, he, he! All right, my little beauty! I want to cut off your hair.”

“Oh, no! oh, no!” said Nora; and she covered her head with both hands.

“Oh, yes! oh, yes!” said the man. “I won’t charge you any thing,—not a penny: cheap enough,—he, he,[Pg 161] he!” The wicked-looking man wanted Nora’s beautiful hair to make up into curls, such as ladies buy. He came close up with his shears.

“Oh, I want it, I want it!” said Nora, beginning to cry.

“Let the man have it, can’t you?” said Paul.

“Oh, I can’t let him! I can’t, I can’t!” said Nora, sobbing.

“Why not? what’s the use of it?” said Paul.

“Oh!” said Nora, “because—because—I like it. And I have no boots, and no night-clothes, and nobody to lead me; and so—and so—I want it.”

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” said the man. “I’ll give you something for it. What do you want most?—he, he, he! Think now. Isn’t there any thing you want most?”

“Yes, sir,” said Nora; for she remembered what she had told Paul in the morning.

“Well,” said the man, “I thought so. What is it? Say.”

“I don’t like to speak it,” said Nora.

“Don’t like to? Why?”

“Because,” said Nora, sobbing, “you haven’t—it seems like—as if you couldn’t.”

Paul burst out laughing. “She wants somebody to call her darling,” said he.

“To call her what?”

“To call her darling.” And then he burst out laughing again; and the man raised both hands, and put up his shoulders, and burst out laughing, and they both laughed together.

At last the man took a walk round among his bird-cages,[Pg 162] and said, “Come, I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll give you a bird. If you’ll give me your hair, I’ll give you a bird.”

“A live one?” asked Nora.

“Yes, a live one. And, besides that, your hair will grow: then you will have both.”

“Will it sing?” asked Nora.

“When he’s old enough,” said the man. “And here’s a little basket to keep him in. It used to be a strawberry-basket. I’ll put some wool in it. It looks like a bird’s nest. I’ll hang it round your neck with this long string. There, how do you like that?—he, he, he!”

He hung it around her neck. The bird looked up into her face with its bright little eyes. Nora put down her lips, and kissed it. Then she looked up at the man, and said faintly, “I will.”

The man caught up his great shears, and in less than five minutes Nora’s hair lay spread out upon the table. She turned away from it, weeping.

But Paul pulled her roughly along; and she soon dried her tears by saying over to herself, “It will grow; it will grow. And I have two now,—the bird and Paul. Before I had but one,—Paul: now two,—Paul and the bird, the bird and Paul,—two.”

For a whole week after this, Nora could think of nothing but her bird. It was lame. The man had cheated her: he had given her a bird that would not sell. But Nora loved it all the better for this. She would sit on the curb-stone, and let it pick crumbs from her mouth. While she was walking about, the bird hung from her neck in its little basket. Nights, she let it sleep in her bosom.

[Pg 163]

Very often, ladies and gentlemen passing along the street would stop when they saw her feeding her bird. They seemed to think it a very pretty sight. Or if people met her walking, the basket hanging around her neck, with the bird’s head peeping out, they would turn and say, “Now, isn’t that cunning?”

But one day, at the end of the week, Paul came from fighting with some boys: they had beaten him, and this had made him mad and cross. Nora had begged nothing very nice that day. He called her lazy, and came behind, as she was feeding her bird, and knocked it upon the pavement.

“There!” said he: “now you will do something.”

The bird was killed. Nora caught it to her bosom, and sobbed out, “O Paul! my little bird! O Paul!” Then she lay down upon the pavement, and cried aloud. Paul ran off, and presently a policeman came and ordered her up.

Nora had now lost her only comfort: no, not her only comfort; for she could still watch the little girls walking with beautiful ladies; and could still listen, standing upon the back-piazza, to the singing of evening hymns. And one day she discovered something which gave her great joy.

Without knowing that she could, without meaning to try to sing, she herself sang. At first it was only a faint, humming noise: but she started with pleasure; for it was the very tune in which the lady sang hymns to her little girl. She tried again, and louder; then louder still; and at last cried out, “O Paul! it’s just the same! it’s just the same! I didn’t think I could! How could I, Paul?—how did I sing?”

[Pg 164]

That was a hard summer for Nora. They had to go every day out of town: and wearisome work it was, climbing fences, and walking over the rough ways; and very few pennies did they get.

When winter came, they fared still worse. Nora begged a few clothes for herself and Paul; but all they could get were not enough to prevent them from suffering with cold. On nights when they had not even a penny apiece to pay for a place on the floor in some filthy garret or cellar, they piled up what old straw the cartmen would give them, and crept under that, in the best place they could find.

One very cold evening, when they had no shelter, Paul said, “Now to-night we shall surely freeze to death.”

“Oh, no!” said Nora: “I know where there are such heaps of straw! A man came and emptied a whole bedful on a vacant lot just back of a church.”

And when it grew dark they brought bundles of this straw, and made a bed of it in an archway under the church.

“Now, if we only had something for a blanket!” said Paul: “can’t you beg something for a blanket?”

“Oh, no!” said Nora; “it is so cold! Let me stay here.”

“Go, I tell you,” said Paul.

“Oh! I don’t want to beg in the evening,” said Nora.

“You shall go,” said Paul; and he gave her a push.

Then, as he grew very cross, she said, “I’ll try, Paul,” and ran off in the dark.

It was a bitter cold night: the sharp wind cut through her thin garments like a knife. Men stamped to keep[Pg 165] their feet from freezing. Ladies hid their faces behind their furs. Scarcely any one spoke; but all went hurrying on, eager to get out of the cold.

“None of these people have anything to give me for a blanket,” thought little Nora.

She ventured to beg at a few houses: but the servants shut the doors in her face; and she could hear them answer to the people above stairs, “Only a beggar-girl.”

For all it was so cold, Nora could not pass the window of the back-piazza without looking in for a moment. The curtain was partly drawn aside. No one was in the room; but through the door she could see another larger room, brilliantly lighted. There were wax candles burning, and a bright fire was blazing in the fireplace. There were vases of flowers upon the table, and the walls were hung-with large pictures in shining gilt frames. Around the fire many people were seated, and the little girl was there kissing them all good-night. Nora could see them catch her up in their arms. One gave her a ride on his foot, another gave her a toss in the air, and one made believe put her in his pocket; and to every one the little girl gave a kiss on both cheeks.

Then her mother led her into the room where Nora had so many times watched the going to bed; and Nora saw, as she had often seen before, the white shoulders catch kisses when the dress slipped off, then the bright face peep through the night-gown and catch a kiss, and the little rosy feet put up to have their toes counted. Then there were huggings, and showers of kisses; and the little girl was laid in her crib, and blankets tucked close about her.

[Pg 166]

Next came the evening hymn, which the mother sang, sitting by the crib. Poor little Nora was almost benumbed with cold; but this singing was so sweet, she must stop just a few moments longer. Wrapping her thin shawl tightly about her, she stood bending over, her ear close to the window, that not a note might be lost.

And soon, almost without knowing it, she, too, was singing. But, as Nora had never learned any hymns, she could only sing what was in her mind: “Nora is cold; Nora has no blanket; Nora cannot kiss any mother.”

She sang very softly at first; but her voice would come out. It grew louder every moment; and this so delighted her, that she forgot where she was, forgot the cold, forgot every thing except the joy of the music. And, when the tune ran high, her voice rang out so loud and clear, that a policeman came toward the gate; and then Nora was frightened, and ran away. She ran back to the place where Paul was lying. He was asleep now. She crept in among the straw, and sat there shivering, looking up at the stars. She looked up at the stars: but she was thinking of the good-night kisses in the lighted room around the fireside, and of the little girl lying asleep in her crib, with the loving mother watching near; and the more these pleasant thoughts passed through her mind, the more lonely and sorrowful she felt.

“O Paul!” she whispered, “if I didn’t have you, I shouldn’t have anybody in the world. Good-night, Paul.” She put her arms softly around him, stroked his hair, and then tucked her thin shawl closely about him, just as the lady had tucked the blankets about her little[Pg 167] girl, and kissed him. “Good-night, Paul,” she whispered again.

Then she leaned her head upon his shoulder, and began to sing, but very softly, lest some one should hear. She sang of the blazing fire, of the candles burning, of the flowers, of the pictures, of the undressing, of the kisses, of the sleeping child, and then of other little children walking in the streets, led by beautiful ladies.

Then it seemed as if she herself were one of these little girls. In her dream, she, too, was dressed in gay clothes, warmed herself by glowing fires, or was led along sunny streets by a gentle lady: and all the while she seemed to keep on singing; and everybody—the loving mothers and the pretty children—sang with her, until the whole air was filled with music. Her little bird, too, seemed to be there, and was singing with the rest: he came and nestled in her bosom.

Then in this beautiful dream she found herself sitting alone, clothed in white garments, in the midst of a soft, silvery light. A river rolled at her feet, beyond which hung, like a veil, a thin, shining mist. It was from behind this mist that the light was shed about her. Still the music kept on, but far more loud and sweet. It came from beyond the river; and she heard a voice in the air, saying, “Come and sing with the angel-children.”

Then she arose, and stood gazing like a lost child, not knowing how to cross the stream. But instantly a smile spread over her face; for she saw standing near, upon a bridge of flowers, a lady, in whose face were exceeding beauty and sweetness. She stretched forth to Nora her hands, saying in gentlest tones, “Come[Pg 168] this way, my darling.” And Nora trembled with joy, and smiled still more brightly; for the countenance of the lady was beaming with love, and the darling was in her eyes as she clasped to her bosom her own dear little child.

At early dawn a policeman found Paul lying in the straw asleep; and leaning upon his shoulder was the face of his little sister, stiff and cold in death. But the smile of joy was still there, and was witnessed by hundreds that day; for a great many people came to see the little frozen beggar-girl who had passed from her life of sorrow with so sweet a smile.

One of these persons, after hearing the policemen, beggar-woman, and others tell what they knew of Nora’s life, took one long look at her face as she lay there like a child smiling in its sleep; then went home and wrote the above story of the Little Beggar-Girl.

[Pg 169]



Da, da, da! Don’t sing “By-lo” anymore, nor rock harder, nor tuck in the blankets, nor cover my eyes up, nor pat, nor sh— me: it really makes me laugh; for I’m awake,—wide-awake! Shut up peepers? put my little heddy down?—not a bit. Go to s’eepy?—no, I’m going to waky: I am awaky; I see you; I see red curtains, see pictures, see great doggy.

Haven’t had my nap out? When would it be out? I should like to know that; yes, I should like to know when a baby’s nap would be out. Haven’t you swept, and watered your plants, and made the bed, and seen to dinner, and taken out your crimps, and more? Pudding?—yes, now you want to make the pudding, and then the salad, and then the Washington pie, and then run out a minute. I know: don’t tell me. A baby’s nap is never out, never, never, so long as any thing is to be done.

But I am awake, and I’m coming out of this right off. Drink not ready?—why not? I ask why not, when you knew ’twould be called for? But no: that must be left. And when you see my eyes wide open, and me pulling myself up with my two hands,—you not[Pg 170] offering to help,—then you call out, “Get baby’s drink ready!” Who knows but the fire is out, or the bottle-stopper lost!

But ’tis plain enough you thought I’d sleep all day. Yes, you’d like that. You wouldn’t? Oh, I know; I know! Don’t you always say, “Too bad baby’s waked up”? Why don’t you get some other kind?—get a rag baby, or gutta-percha, or a wooden one, with its eyes screwed down, or that doesn’t have any! Swap me off; I’m willing; I’d rather than to be in the way: or else I’ll lay my little heddy down and go to s’eepy, and never, never, open eyes again. You’d be sorry?—then why don’t you take me?

There, that’s it,—da, da, da! “Now laugh, look glad!” I like that. Kiss me; hug hard; call me “lovey-dovey;” call me “precious;” call me “honey sweet;” trot me; cuddle me; tell “Little Boy Blue;” sing a pretty song.

Will I walk a little? Oh, yes! and glad to. I’ve crept long enough. Stand me up against the wall: now smooth down the carpet; now take things out of the way; now hold up something pretty, and I’ll walk to it. Your thimble?—no, you’ll cheat: you won’t let me have it. Not the rattle: I’m too big for that, I hope! String of spools?—no, I’ve done with spools. Fruit-knife?—well, yes, I’ll come for the fruit-knife. Now, one, two, three, four steps up to mother. Da, da! kiss, kiss, kiss! sweet as sugary candy!

Now will I sit on the floor and have the pretty things?—Yes: but bring them all,—blocks, soldiers, ninepins, Noah’s ark, Dinah, and Jumping-Jack, and hammer and clothes-brush and pans and porringers,—every thing; I want every thing.

[Pg 171]

Oh, I’m left alone! Why didn’t she shake a day-day, so I could cry? I don’t want these anymore: I’d rather get up: I’ll creep to something, and get up,—creep, creep, creep. I’ll get up by this. What is this funny thing, so soft and so warm? Now I’ll pull up; now I’m almost up. Oh! it moves; it growls; ’tis slipping out; ’tis going off! down I come again! Oh! wo, wo, wa, wa, wo, wa! Why doesn’t somebody hear me cry?

Now I’ll pull up; now I’m almost up

Away I go—creep, creep, creep—to the rocking-chair. Now pull up by this,—up, up, up; most up; way up,—da, da, da! But it shakes!—oh, oh![Pg 172] down I come again!—oh, wo, wa, wo, wa, wo, wa! Why doesn’t somebody come?

Creep, creep, creep. What is this so tall, and so black, and so shining? Oh! this will do: let me catch hold. Now pull: but it bends; it won’t hold up. Oh! ’tis nothing but a rubber-boot. Away I roll over! Oh! wa, wa, wa, wo, wa! Why doesn’t somebody come? Oh! where have I rolled? where is this? how dark it is! I’ve rolled under the table. Let me get out,—creep, creep, creep. Ha! there’s something!—the table-cloth: I’ll pull up by this.

But I don’t go up. It’s coming down. Oh, my head! What’s dropping down?—-work-basket, dominos, glass tumbler, scissors, pin-cushion, knitting-work, hooks and eyes, buttons. Oh, here’s the fun! Now I’ll get pins; now I’ll pull the needles out; now I’ll put things in my mouth!—da, da, da!

[Pg 173]




“Moolly cow, your barn is warm: the wintry winds cannot reach you, nor frost nor snow. Why are your eyes so sad? Take this wisp of hay. See, I am holding it up! It is very good. Now you turn your head away. Why do you look so sorrowful, Moolly Cow, and turn your head away?”

“Little girl, it makes me sad to think of the time when that dry wisp of hay was living grass; when those brown, withered flowers were blooming clover-tops, buttercups, and daisies, and the bees and butterflies came about them. The air was warm then, and gentle winds blew. Every morning I went forth to spend the day in sunny pastures. I am thinking now of those early summer-mornings,—how the birds sang, and the sun shone, and the grass glittered with dew; and the boy that opened the gates,—how merrily he whistled! I stepped quickly along, sniffing the fresh morning-air, snatching at times a hasty mouthful by the way: it was really very pleasant. And, when the bars fell, how joyfully I leaped over! I knew where[Pg 174] the grass grew green and tender, and hastened to eat it while the dew was on.

Take this wisp of hay

“As the sun rose higher, I sought the shade; and at noonday I lay under the trees, chewing, chewing, chewing, with half-shut eyes, and the drowsy insects humming around me; or perhaps I would stand motionless upon the river’s bank, where one might catch a breath of air, or wade deep in to cool myself in the stream. And when noontime was passed, and the heat grew less, I went back to the grass and flowers.

“And thus the long summer-day sped on,—sped[Pg 175] pleasantly on; for I was never lonely. No lack of company in those sunny pasture-lands! The grasshoppers and crickets made a great stir, bees buzzed, butterflies were coming and going, and birds singing always. I knew where the ground-sparrows built, and all about the little field-mice. They were very friendly to me; for often, while nibbling the grass, I would whisper, ‘Keep dark, little mice! don’t fly, sparrows! boys are coming!’

“No lack of company; oh, no! When that withered hay was living grass, yellow with buttercups, white with daisies, pink with clover, it was the home of myriads of little insects,—very, very little insects. Oh! but they made things lively, crawling, hopping, skipping among the roots, and up and down the stalks, happy, full of life, never still; and now not one left alive. They are gone!—that pleasant summer-time is gone! Oh these long, dismal winter-nights! All day I stand in my lonely stall, listening, not to the song of birds, or hum of bees, or chirp of grasshoppers, or the pleasant rustling of leaves, but often to the noise of howling winds, hail, sleet, and driving snow.

“Little girl, I pray you don’t hold up to me that wisp of hay. In just that same way they held before my eyes one pleasant morning a bunch of sweet-clover, to entice me from my pretty calf.

“Poor thing! She was the only one I had; so gay and sprightly, so playful, so frisky, so happy! It was a joy to see her caper, and toss her heels about, without a thought of care or sorrow: it was good to feel her nestling close at my side; to look into her bright, innocent eyes; to rest my head lovingly upon her neck.

[Pg 176]

“And already I was looking forward to the time when she would become steady and thoughtful like myself; was counting greatly upon her company of nights in the dark barn, or in roaming the fields through the long summer-days: for the butterflies and bees, and all the bits of insects, though well enough in their way, and most excellent company, were, after all, not akin to me; and there is nothing like living with one’s own blood relations.

“But I lost my pretty little one. That bunch of sweet-clover enticed me away. When I came back, she was gone. I saw through the bars the rope wound about her; I saw the cart; I saw the cruel men lift her in. She made a mournful noise: I cried out, and thrust my head over the rail, calling in language she well understood, ‘Come back!—oh, come back!’

“She looked up with her round, sorrowful eyes, and wished to come; but the rope held her fast. The man cracked his whip; the cart rolled away: I never saw her more.

“No, little girl, I cannot take your wisp of hay: it reminds me of the silliest hour of my life,—of a day when I surely made myself a fool. And on that day, too, I was offered by a little girl a bunch of grass and flowers.

“It was a still summer’s noon. Not a breath of air was stirring. I had waded deep into the stream, which was then calm and smooth. Looking down, I saw my own image in the water; and I perceived that my neck was thick and clumsy; that my hair was brick-color, and my head of an ugly shape, with two horns sticking out much like the prongs of a pitchfork. ‘Truly, Mrs. Cow,’ I said, ‘you are by no means handsome.’

[Pg 177]

“Just then a horse went trotting along the bank. His hair was glossy black. He had a flowing mane, and a tail which grew thick and long. His proud neck was arched, his head lifted high. He trotted lightly over the ground, bending in his hoofs daintily at every footfall. Said I to myself, ‘Although not well-looking, it is quite possible that I can step beautifully, like the horse: who knows?’ And I resolved to plod on no longer in sober cow-fashion, but to trot off nimbly and briskly and lightly.

“I waded ashore, climbed the bank, held my head high, stretched out my neck, and did my best to trot like the horse, bending in my hoofs as well as was possible at every step, hoping that all would admire me.

“Some children gathering flowers near by burst into shouts of laughter, crying out, ‘Look, look, Mary, Tom! What ails the cow? She acts like a horse. She is putting on airs. Clumsy thing! her tail is like a pump-handle. Oh! I guess she’s a mad cow.’ Then they ran, and I sank down under a tree with tears in my eyes.

“But one little girl staid behind the rest; and, seeing that I was quiet, she came softly up, step by step, holding out a bunch of grass and clover. I kept still as a mouse. She stroked me with her soft hand, and said,—

“‘O good Moolly Cow! I love you dearly; for my mother has told me very nice things about you. You are good-natured, and we all love you. Every day you give us sweet milk, and never keep any for yourself. The boys strike you sometimes, and throw stones, and set the dogs on you; but you give them your milk just the same. And you are never contrary, like the horse;[Pg 178] stopping when you ought to go, and going when you ought to stop. Nobody has to whisper in your ears to make you gentle, as they do to horses: you are gentle of your own accord, dear Moolly Cow. If you do walk up to children sometimes, you won’t hook; it’s only playing: and I will stroke you, and love you dearly.’

“Her words gave me great comfort; and may she never lack for milk to crumb her bread in! But, oh! take away your wisp of hay, little girl; for you bring to mind the summer-days which are gone, and my pretty bossy that was stolen away, and also—my own folly.”

[Pg 179]



SAYS Sammy to Dick,
“Come, hurry; come, quick!
And we’ll do, and we’ll do, and we’ll do!
Our mammy’s away;
She’s gone for to stay:
And we’ll make a great hullabaloo!
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo!
We’ll make a great hullabaloo!”
Says Dicky to Sam,
“All weddy I am
To do, and to do, and to do.
But how doeth it go?
I so ittle to know:
Thay, what be a hullabawoo?
Ri too, ri loo, woo, woo, woo!
Thay, what be a hullabawoo?”
“Oh! slammings and bangings,
And whingings and whangings,
And very bad mischief we’ll do:
[Pg 180]
We’ll clatter and shout,
And pull things about;
And that’s what’s a hullabaloo!
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo!
And that’s what’s a hullabaloo!
“Slide down the front-stairs,
Tip over the chairs,
Now into the pantry break through;
We’ll take down some tinware,
And other things in there:
All aboard for a hullabaloo!
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo!
All aboard for a hullabaloo!
“Now roll up the table
Far up as you’re able,
Chairs, sofa, big easy-chair too;
Put the poker and vases
In funny old places:
How’s this for a hullabaloo?
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo!
How’s this for a hullabaloo?
“Let the dishes and pans
Be the womans and mans:
Everybody keep still in their pew!
Mammy’s gown I’ll get next,
And preach you a text.
Dicky, hush with your hullabaloo!
Ri too, ri loo, loo, loo, loo!
Dicky, hush with your hullabaloo!”
[Pg 181]
As the preacher in gown
Climbed up, and looked down
His queer congregation to view,
Said Dicky to Sammy,
“Oh, dere comes our mammy!
Se’ll thcold for dis hullabawoo.
Ri too, ri loo, woo, woo, woo!
Se’ll thcold for dis hullabawoo!”
“O mammy! O mammy!”
Cried Dicky and Sammy,
“We’ll never again, certain true.”
But with firm step she trod,
And looked hard at the rod:
Oh, then came a hullabaloo!
“Boohoo, boohoo, woo, woo, woo!”
Oh, then came a hullabaloo!

[Pg 182]




Am I awake? am I alive? Then it was true, after all. Aunt Caterpillar told me, that if I would cover myself over, and lie stock-still, and go to sleep, I should wake up a beauty. She said I should no longer creep, but should fly like the birds; and I do. She said I would never need to chew leaves any more, but might feed upon sugar of roses, and sip honey from the flowers. She said I should have beautiful wings of purple and gold. And it is every word true.

Now I’m flying. Oh, glorious! This floating in the air—oh, what a joy it is! Good-by, you little worms! Here I go up, up, up,—a trifle dizzy, that is to be expected at first,—higher, higher. Good-morning, Mr. Bluebird! We have wings, haven’t we? Down,—no, I will not touch the earth: I will rock in this lily, brush the dew from the mignonette, breathe the perfume of the heliotrope, and rest in the heart of this damask-rose.

What sweet rest! How soft these rose-leaves are! Let me nestle close,—close. But I grow faint with the[Pg 183] perfume, and must be off,—off to the hills, where sweetbrier and wild roses grow. Cousin Moth says she goes there every day. Oh the joy of flying! Up, down; up, down; up, down; now rest, now float, now sip, now rock, now away, away!

Here are the tall blue meadow-flowers. I’ll stay a while with them. How long it used to take me, with my eighteen legs, to creep thus far! Whom have we here? What mean, dull fly is this? and why should he have wings? What!—keep company with me? You? Impossible! Have you noticed who I am, pray? or are you asleep? Look at my brilliant wings! I am a Butterfly, born in the purple. Of some use?—dear me! of what use could such as you be to such as I? Upon my word, I pity you; but all can’t be Butterflies, or go in company with Butterflies. Please don’t follow, I should feel so mortified! Good-by! Now for a long, long flight over the meadows!

The hills, at last,—the breezy hills! Ah! good bees, have you come too? and you poor little wee grasshoppers! Dear humming-bird, isn’t it jolly? Why don’t you sing? You don’t know how?—what a pity! But you can hum. Oh this charming sweetbrier! and here are wild-roses: now we’ll have a merry time among the wild-roses, and play in the fragrant sweet-fern.


Lost, lost, lost! I wandered too far among the hills. Who will show me the way home? My home is in the flower-garden: will no one show me the way? Oh this frightful darkness! Where is the beautiful daylight gone? The evening dews are cold and damp. My[Pg 184] wings droop from weariness. The night-winds chill me through. Ugly creatures are abroad, and strange sounds fill the air. I see no flowers; hear no singing of birds, no chirping of insects, no humming of bees. Where are you, little bees?

Oh, this dreary, dreary night! Shivering with cold, I fly hither and thither, but never find my home. I am a poor lost Butterfly. Who will pity a poor lost Butterfly?

What dreadful sounds!—“Juggulp, juggulp, juggulp!” Away, quick! “Juggulp, juggulp.” Oh, dear! oh, dear! Now something just hit me! Again! Some horrid monster!—a bat, perhaps. Cousin Moth said, “Beware of bats; for they will eat you up.” I shall die with fright. I know, I know, I shall die with fright. My wings can scarcely move,—my fine purple wings! Will the dear warm sun never shine again? Cousin Moth told me of so many dangers, and never even mentioned getting lost. Alas! must I die here all alone, breathe my last breath in this terrible place? Better that some boy had caught me in his hat; that I had been choked with a match, stuck on a pin, or put under a glass, than to drop down here in the cold, gasping, quivering, and die all alone.

Who comes? Can I believe my own eyes? Is that a light? Ho! a fly with a lantern! How quick he darts! Stop there, you with a lantern!

It is the very same mean fly I met this morning. Good fly, best creature, charming insect! I pray you light me home. Do you know where the flower-garden is? You do? that is my home. My lodgings are among the damask-rose-leaves. I am a poor belated Butterfly. I lost my way; staid very long with the sweetbrier, and never thought the daylight would go.

[Pg 185]

You will light me home? That’s a dear fly! Your name is Firefly? What a sweet name! But how fast you go! Please don’t dart so quick, because I cannot follow; for my wings are very, oh! very tired. Slower, slower, that’s a kind firefly! Now we go nicely on.

What will you take for your lamp? Won’t sell? But you will forget, I hope, our morning conversation. Perhaps, though, so little a fly can’t remember so long. You can remember? Then what a kind, forgiving creature you are! I shall certainly speak well of you to my friends. Call on me almost any time,—that is, almost any evening,—and we’ll go out together. We have come a very long way, and should now be near home. Yes, the air is so fragrant here, that I am sure we have nearly reached the flower-garden. I smell the perfume quite plainly. We are passing over mignonette; that is the breath of sweet-pea; now the bed of pinks is beneath us; here must be the honeysuckle-bower; here is balm; here is lavender; and here’s the smell of the damask-rose.

Now thanks and good-by, my friend. I shall need you no longer: the fragrance will guide me to bed. Good-night, little fly!

I do think it is very strange, and say so, now he is out of hearing, that such mean-looking little flies should have lamps to carry, while we Butterflies, who would light up so beautifully, and are so much superior to them, should be obliged to do without.

[Pg 186]



A maple-tree awoke at spring-time, shivering in the east winds. “O mother Nature!” she said, “I tremble with cold. Behold my limbs ugly and bare! The birds are all coming back from the south, and I would look my best. They will soon be building their nests. Oh, a bird’s nest does make a tree so pleasant! But, alas! they will not come to me, because I have no leaves to hide them.”

And kind mother Nature smiled, and presented her daughter Maple with such multitudes of leaves!—more than you could count. These gave beauty to the tree, besides keeping the rain out of the birds’ nests; for birds had quickly come to build there, and there was reason to expect a lively summer. A right happy Maple-Tree now was she, and well pleased with her pretty green leaves. They were beautiful in the sunlight; and the winds whispered to them things so sweet as to make them dance for joy. A pair of golden-robins had a home there, and thrushes came often. Sunshine and song all day long! Or, if the little leaves became hot and thirsty in the summer’s heat, good[Pg 187] mother Nature gave them cooling rain-drops to drink. A happier Maple-Tree could nowhere be found.

“Thanks, thanks, mother Nature,” she said, “for all your care and your loving-kindness to me.”

But, when autumn came with its gloomy skies and its chilling winds, the Maple-Tree grew sad: for she heard her little leaves saying to each other, “We are going to die; we are going to die!”

People living near said, “Hark! Do you hear the wind? It sounds like fall.” Nobody told them it was the leaves all over the forest, moaning to each other, “We are going to die; we are going to die!”

“My dear little leaves!” sighed the Maple-Tree. “Poor things, they must go! Ah, how sad to see them droop and fade away!”

“I will make their death beautiful,” said kind mother Nature; and she changed their color to a scarlet, which glowed in the sunlight like fire.

And everyone said, “How beautiful!” But the poor Maple-Tree sighed, knowing it was the beauty of death.

And one cold October morning she stood with her limbs all bare, looking desolate. The bright leaves lay heaped about her.

“Dear, pretty things,” she said, “how I shall miss them! they were such a comfort! And, how ugly I am! Nobody will enjoy looking at the Maple-Tree now.”

But presently a flock of school-girls came along, chatting away, all so cheerily, of ferns, red berries, and autumn-leaves.

“And I think,” said one, “that there’s a great deal of beauty in a tree without any leaves at all.”

[Pg 188]

“So do I,” said another. “Just look up through yonder elm! Its branches and boughs and twigs make a lovely picture against the sky.”

“When my uncle came home,” said a third, “he told us that some of the people in the torrid zone perfectly longed to see a forest without leaves.”

And, thus chattering, the lively school-girls passed on.

“Ah!” sighed the Maple-Tree, “this will at least be pleasant to dream about.”

For she already felt her winter’s nap coming on. If she could but have staid awake, and heard what her little leaves said to each other afterwards down there on the ground!

“Dear old tree! She has taken care of us all our lives, and fed us, and held us up to the sun, and been to us a kind mother; and now we will do something for her. We will get under ground, and turn ourselves into food to feed her with; for she’ll be sure to wake up hungry after her long nap.”

Good little things! The rains helped them, and the winds,—in this way: The rains beat them into the ground, and the winds blew sand over them; and there they turned themselves into something very nice for the old Maple-Tree,—something good to take.

[Pg 189]



Uncle Joe, being “stumped” by the children to tell a story about a birch-tree, began as follows:—

“There was once a lovely princess who had a fairy for a godmother. This young princess was slender, graceful, and very fair to behold. She usually dressed in green, green being her favorite color.

“This pretty creature would have been a great favorite but for her troublesome habit of whispering. She had always some wonderful news, or seemed to have, which everybody must hear privately: so no wonder that she came to be known, at last, by the name of ‘The Whisperer.’

“Now, this conduct was very displeasing to the old fairy, who, being of a hasty temper, would often become angry, and scold and threaten her; though, when good-natured, she would smile most pleasantly upon her, and drop gold in her path.

“The princess, as may be imagined, liked to see herself well dressed; and every year she saved up the gold which her godmother had dropped, and spun and wove herself a fine golden mantle. The fairy was quite willing to find her in gold to spin; and all would have[Pg 190] gone well, only for the habit above mentioned; which habit, I will say in passing, was very strong upon her in breezy weather.

“But one day the old lady, who, as has been remarked, was of rather a hasty turn, became so provoked, that she lost all patience with the whisperer, and, touching her with her wand, changed her, quick as thought, to a slender green tree.

“‘Now stand there and whisper to the winds!’ cried the angry fairy.

“And sure enough she did. The pretty, graceful tree did stand and whisper to the winds ever after, but always saved up sunshine enough through the long summer-days to weave for itself a golden mantle, and, when decked in that, was as pleased as a tree could be to see itself so fine.

“And that’s the way, so I’ve been told,” said uncle Joe, laughing, “that birch-trees began. Go into the woods any time when there’s a light breeze stirring, and you may hear them whispering, whispering, whispering. They never fail, however, to save up sunshine enough through the long summer-days to weave for themselves fine golden mantles. But these fine golden mantles are sure to be spoiled by a rough old king who comes this way every year, storming and raging, and making a great bluster. He gives them white ones instead; but they are not as pretty.

“Say, my little children, do you know who this old king is?”

[Pg 191]



The town of the Pilgrims—how often, in my far-off Western home, have I read its story, and the story of the stout-hearted who sailed across the sea to this very spot, then a wilderness, two hundred and fifty years ago!

And I have come at last to visit the town of my dreams; have actually set my foot upon its “holy ground.” This hill, planted thick with graves, is the ancient “Burial Hill.” Sitting among its mossy headstones, I look far across the bay to the cliffs of Cape Cod, where, before landing here, some of “The Mayflower’s” crew went ashore to get firewood. Just below me lies the town, sloping to the sea. Vessels sail in and out, and little boats skim over the water like white-winged birds. How can they skim so lightly over the hallowed waters of Plymouth Bay! Far less swiftly sped that “first boat,” laden with passengers from “The Mayflower.”

Two hundred and fifty years ago!—let me use for a while, not my real eyes, but my other pair, the eyes[Pg 192] of my mind, my “dream eyes,” and see, or make believe that I see, this place just as it looked then.

And now I will suppose the town has vanished. No streets, no houses, no sail upon the sea. Stillness reigns over the land and over the dark waters of the bay.

A ship enters the harbor. Why should a ship come sailing to these desolate shores? A hundred and one passengers are on board. They have come three thousand miles, have been tossed upon the ocean one hundred days and nights; and now they find no friends to welcome them. Not a house, nor a single white person, in all this vast wilderness. What will they do—these men, women, and children—in so dreary a place? Can they keep from freezing in this bitter cold?

A boat puts off from the ship. Row, row, row. Nearer and nearer it comes. But how will they land? Will the sailors jump out, and pull her up high and dry? Ah! to be sure, there is a Rock, and the only one to be seen along the shore. They steer for that. And now I see Elder Brewster, their first minister, and Gov. Carver, their first governor, and Capt. Miles Standish, their first soldier, and Mary Chilton, the first woman who stepped upon the Rock. Now the boat goes back,—back for another load.

Where can all these people live? Out of doors this wintry weather? Let me see what they will do.

They cut down trees to build houses. First a “common house” is built; then the one hundred and one people are divided into nineteen families, and begin to construct nineteen log-huts, each family working upon its own. These are set in two rows, and are[Pg 193] placed near together, on account of the Indians. The two rows form a street, which runs from a cliff by the water’s edge part way up this hill.

Now the goods are being brought ashore,—bales, boxes, farming-tools. And there is a cradle. They will need that to rock little Peregrine White in. A baby has been born on the passage, whom they named “Peregrine,” because he was born during their peregrinations, or travels.

More goods are landed, such as beds, bedding, dinner-pots, dishes, pewter platters, spinning-wheels; and the nineteen families go to house-keeping, and begin New England.

What will they eat, I wonder. Why, some catch fish; some dig clams; others hunt. There comes a hunting-party, which brings, among other game, an eagle. Will they really eat it?—eat the “American eagle”! Yes, they do, and declare that it tastes “very much like a sheep.” But it was not the “American eagle” then.

Soon to these nineteen families come sickness and death. In December, six people die; in January, eight; in February, seventeen; in March, thirteen. Scarcely half remain. They bury their dead with bitter tears, but raise no stones above them. A crop of corn is sown over the graves, that the Indians may not know how few are left alive.

And, now that spring has come, “The Mayflower” must go back to England. Will none return by this only chance? Is there not even one feeble woman who would rather go home and live an easy life? No. For freedom’s sake they came, and for freedom’s sake[Pg 194] they will remain. Not one goes back in “The Mayflower.”

They climb the hill, this very hill, and watch her as she sails away,—this very hill! I see them standing around me; see their pale faces; see eyes, dim with tears, following each turn of the ship. Now she is but a speck: now she is gone, and they are left alone. Behind them stretches the wilderness, away, and away, and away, across the continent; before them, three thousand miles of ocean. Slowly and sadly they descend the hill to that cluster of huts, and the life of toil goes on.

And now I will use my real eyes, and go down to view the town,—a quaint old town, with narrow, crooked streets, yet quite a populous old town, numbering its seven or eight thousand. The Indians used to hold their feasts upon that hill at the right; and clam-shells are still to be found buried in the soil upon its western side. At the foot of this hill runs Town Brook, where Gov. Carver made a treaty with the Indian chief Massasoit. Massasoit came down the hill with a train of sixty Indians, but crossed the brook with only twenty. They were nearly naked, painted, oiled, and adorned with beads, feathers, and fox-tails. Capt. Miles Standish with a few of his men marched them into a hut, where were placed “a green rug, and some cushions which served as thrones.” The governor then marched in to the music of drums and trumpets. He kissed Massasoit, and Massasoit kissed him. The Indians “marvelled much at the trumpet.”

Now I walk down into that street which was first laid out, and divided into lots for the nineteen families. It[Pg 195] is a short street, leading to the sea; and on the right, at the lower end, may be seen the site of the first house. On the left is the hill upon which the Pilgrims made that early graveyard, planting it over with corn. It was then a cliff overhanging the sea: now a street runs along at its foot, on the outer side of which are wharves and storehouses. I am glad that these last are by no means in good repair; glad that, standing near the Rock, they have the grace to look old and gray and weather-beaten.

Farther and farther on I go. Soon shall my longing eyes behold that sacred Rock “where first they trod.” Ah, how many times have I fancied myself sitting upon its top, gazing off with my other pair—my dream eyes—at “The Mayflower,” watching the coming of the crowded boat, almost reaching out my hand to the fair Mary Chilton!

But where is it? I must be near the spot; but where is the Rock? Here comes a boy. “My young friend, can you show me the way to the Rock?” Boy points to a lofty stone canopy. “Is it possible?” I exclaim: “all that hewn out of Forefathers’ Rock?” Boy smiles, takes me under the canopy, and points to a square hole cut in the platform. “There ’tis: Forefathers’ Rock’s ’most all underground.” I look down at the enclosed rocky surface, less than two feet square; then with a sigh stagger against the nearest granite column. “Sick?” boy asks. “Oh, no! only a fall—down from a rock. The one in my mind was so high!”—“’Nother piece of it out at Pilgrim Hall,” boy remarks.

I inquire my way to that Pilgrim Hall. Here it is;[Pg 196] and here, right in front, lies the precious fragment, surrounded by an iron fence, and marked in great black letters “1620.”

Forefather’s rock

Now I am going into the hall to see the Pilgrim relics, some of which were brought over in “The Mayflower.”

On the wall of the ante-room hangs Lora Standish’s sampler, wrought in silks of divers colors, bright enough two hundred and fifty years ago, no doubt, though, alas! all faded now. Using again my dream eyes, I behold the fair young girl, intent on learning “marking-stitch,” bending over the canvas, counting the threads, winding bright silks; her cheeks as bright as they. Little thinks she how many shall come centuries after to view her work. Underneath the alphabet are stitched these lines, which with my real eyes I read:—

“Lora Standish is my name.
Lord, guide my hart, that I may doe thy will;
Also fill my hands with such convenient skill
As may conduce to virtue void of shame;
And I will give the glory to thy name.”

[Pg 197]

In this same ante-room I find the two famous old arm-chairs that came over in “The Mayflower,” one of which belonged to Elder Brewster, and the other to Gov. Carver.

This ante-room on the right contains an ancient spinning-wheel, also some bones and a kettle dug from an Indian grave. The kettle was found placed over the Indian’s head. Here, too, are many very old books.

Now I enter the large hall, sit for half an hour before an immense painting,—of the Landing,—and am shown two large cases with glass doors. In one of these is a great round-bottomed iron dinner-pot, once belonging to Miles Standish. The handle, which has a hinge in its centre, lies inside. Using my other pair, my dream eyes, I see this big pot hanging over a big blazing fire, pretty Lora tending it; while the gallant captain stands near, polishing his sword. To guess what is cooking in the pot I get this hint from an old ballad of those times:—

“For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies.
We have pumpkin at morning, and pumpkin at noon:
If it was not for pumpkin, we should be undoon.”

And as for what they drank with their dinner,—

“If barley be wanting to make into malt,
We must be contented, and think it no fault;
For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.”

The captain was polishing his sword, I said; and here it lies inside. Need enough it has of polish now! And here is one of his great pewter plates. Poor Lora[Pg 198] Standish, with a pile of those to wash and to wipe and to scour!

Whose spoon? “Elder Brewster’s,” the label says,—a dark iron spoon with a rounded bowl (a bit nipped off the edge) and a short handle. A spoon suggests “chowder;” and no doubt this one often carried that delicious food to the lips of the elder: for what says the ballad?—

“If we’ve a mind for a delicate dish,
We go to the clam-bank, and there we catch fish.”

And, speaking of spoons, they used stout forks in those days. Here is one a foot long, with a short handle, and two prongs very wide apart,—certainly not made to eat peas with!

That inlaid cabinet on the upper shelf must have been a pretty thing in its day. It belonged to Peregrine White, and came to him, so the label says, from his mother,—just as likely as not a present to her from Mr. White in their courting-days, and used to keep his love-letters in: who knows? With my other pair I can see the rosy English girl sitting alone by her cabinet. Its little drawers of letters are open, and with a smile and a blush she reads over the old ones while awaiting the new. I wonder if any fortune-teller ever told her that she would sail over the seas to dwell in a wilderness, and that she would be the first New-England mother,—the first bride too; for, after Mr. White’s death, she married Mr. Edward Winslow, the third governor; and their wedding was the first one in the colony. Yonder, among other portraits, hangs that of Mr. Winslow. On the top of this relic-case is[Pg 199] a flaxen wig worn by one of the Winslow family, and underneath it is Mr. White’s ivory-headed cane.

What is this sealed up in a bottle? Apple-preserve, made from the apples of a tree which Peregrine White planted. Think of apple-preserve keeping so long!

On one of these shelves inside I see dingy old Bibles; also the spectacles with which they were read, looking as if they could almost see without any eyes behind them. There is an ancient Dutch Bible, with brass studs and clasps, and an English one, open at the titlepage, “Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, printer to the King’s most excellent Majestie.

And—is it possible? can this really be? yes, there it is in black and white—John Alden’s Bible! O John! you young rogue, I’ve read in a poem what you did!—made love to Priscilla Mullins, when Capt. Miles Standish was going to ask her to be his second wife, and sent you to do the errand for him. Naughty, naughty youth! But Priscilla knew pretty well the feelings of your heart, John, and knew very well the feelings of her own, or she would never have dared to ask that question, so famous in story, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” Mr. Longfellow has told us all about your wedding; and how, when taking home the bride,

“Alden the thoughtful, the careful, so happy, so proud of Priscilla,
Brought out his snow-white steer, obeying the hand of his master,
Led by a cord that was tied to an iron ring in his nostrils,
Covered with crimson cloth, and a cushion placed for a saddle.
She should not walk, he said, through the dust and the heat of the noonday.”

[Pg 200]

Little Mehitable Winslow’s shoes may also be seen here,—stiff, clumsy, black, cunning, peaked things they are, with their turned-up toes; likewise old pocket-books, dishes, a spur, a gourd-shell, a lock taken from the house of Miles Standish, and various articles besides.

Cross over now to the other case. What little ship is that on top? Ah! a model of “The Mayflower.” I am glad to see a model of “The Mayflower.” By no means a clipper ship was she.


This case contains mostly Indian relics, such as tomahawks, kettles, mortars, pestles, axes, all made of stone; also a string of “wampum,” or Indian money, which is simply shells, polished and rounded. And here, of all things in the world! is an Indian doll, made of—I don’t know what; perhaps hardened clay. It is a clumsy-looking thing for a toy. I see plenty of Indian arrows, and up there on the highest shelf a sort of helmet labelled King Philip’s cap. The genuineness of this relic is doubted. King Philip was a famous Indian warrior, who gave the whites a deal of trouble, until at last Col. Church caught him in a swamp. Col. Church was a[Pg 201] mighty man to catch Indians. He used to complain, though, that they sometimes slipped out of his hands, because, on account of their going nearly naked, “there was nothing to hold on by but their hair.” King Philip was caught at last, though, by this valiant Col. Church; and, if anybody doesn’t believe it, why here is his own pocket-book, marked “Col. Benjamin Church;” and here is the very gun-barrel of his gun.

Now one last look, and then for a walk to find those “sweet springs of water” and “little running brooks” on account of which the Pilgrims settled in this spot. Good-by, precious relics! and good-by, you old arm-chairs wherein sat those men of blessed memory!

“Their greeting very soft,
Good-morrow very kind:
How sweet it sounded oft,
Before we were refined!
Humility their care,
Their failings very few.
My heart, how kind their manners were
When this old chair was new!”

[Pg 203]


[Pg 205]




Lady Caroline. Flora, little daughter of Lady Caroline. Margery, her maid, an elderly person. Elsie, a young girl in attendance upon Flora. Tramp, dressed as an old gypsy-man. Tramp’s Wife, dressed as an old gypsy-woman. Tramp’s Daughter Peg, dressed as a gypsy-girl. Tomkins, a showman. A Blind Fiddler, old and gray. Girls and Boys, who dance the May-dance, and sing May-songs.

Scene I.Lady C. reclining in arm-chair. Enter Margery with vase of flowers.

Lady C. How beautiful, Margery! Did little Flora help you gather them?

Margery. Yes, my lady. Miss Flora—why, Miss Flora, she do frisk about so, pulls Elsie here, and then there,—“Now this flower, Elsie!” and “Now this nice one, Elsie!” That be a most wonderful child, my lady: she be playful like a kitten, and gentle, too, like a pet lamb.

Lady C. (anxiously). Ah! already I regret having given her permission to go with Elsie to the green. But she longed so to see the May-dances!

[Pg 206]

Margery. Oh, never fear, my lady! There isn’t anywhere a faithfuller little maid than Elsie: she will not let Miss Flora out of her sight. But nobody could wish Miss Flora out of sight, she is such a little angel. Indeed and in truth, my lady, in all the world can’t be found a child sweet-tempered like her.

Lady C. Oh, do not call her an angel, good Margery! call her a lamb or a kitten, if you will, or even a squirrel, but never an angel.

(Children’s voices outside. Enter Flora, singing and skipping. Elsie follows quietly.)

Flora. O mamma! see her wreaths and garlands, and the white dress she has on for the May-day dances! Doesn’t she look lovely, mamma?—oh, just as lovely as—oh, I don’t know!

Lady C. (smiling). Indeed she does, my dear. Elsie, do all the lassies wear white?

Elsie. Yes, my lady, white, with right gay garlands.

Flora. Good-by, mamma: it is time to go now. (Goes to her mother.)

Lady C. O Elsie! will you take good care? She never went far from me before. I shall be very anxious!

Elsie. Yes, indeed, my lady, I will take great care.

Flora. And I will stay with Elsie, and be so good!—oh, just as good as—oh, you can’t think!

(A company of singers heard outside, as if passing at a distance.)

Flora (skipping, and clapping hands). Oh, hark, mamma! do hark to the May-songs! Come, Elsie, quick! Good-by, mamma!

[Pg 207]

Lady C. (embracing her). Good-by, darling! good-by!

[Exit F. and E.

Margery. I must see to their lunch-baskets.

[Exit Margery. Curtain falls.

Scene II.Pretended gypsies seated in a tent, or on the ground. Old Woman counting over silver, Old Man looking on. He is dressed in old, ill-fitting clothes. Woman has a black handkerchief wound about her head, shabby dress, blue stockings, and something bright around her neck.

Man. Wal, old Beauty Spot, how many d’ye count?

Woman. Eight spoons, six forks, five thimbles, one cup.

Man. Is that all we’ve took on this beat?

Woman. Not by somethin’! Look ye here, dad! (Holds up a ladle.)

Man (delighted). Now you be the beater! (Rubs his hands.) Let’s take a look. (Examines it.) Real, is’t? But where’s Peg?

Woman. Off on her tramps about the grand house yonder. Owner’s away: nobody left but my lady and servants. Never a better time, daddy.

Man. Nor a better day. Tompkins will set up his show tent. Everybody stirring. Pockets to pick, fortunes to tell!

Woman (rubbing her hands). Lads and lassies dancing on the green, old uns looking on, nobody taking care of the spoons’n the house.

Man (slapping her on the shoulder). We’re in luck, old woman,—in luck! (Enter Peg, dressed in red bodice, black skirt, red stockings, light blue handkerchief on[Pg 208] her head, pinned under her chin.) Here comes Peg, now. Wal, my Nimble Fingers, any game to-day?

Peg (takes a few articles from her pocket). Not much now, dad, but some a-coming, if you an’ her (points to Woman) be up to it.

Man (earnestly). What’s that?

Peg. Oh! a nice little job.

Man and Woman (earnestly). Speak out, gal.

Peg. Wal, you see I walked in through the park, and along by the hedge-row, and into the kitchen-garden, thinkin’ to go boldly in at the back-door, as you told me, to ask for cold bits.

Both (bending eagerly forward). Yes.

Peg. But jest when I got my mouth open to say, “Charity for my poor sick mother”—

Both. Wal?

Peg. Why, a servant ordered me off.

Man. An’ what then?

Peg. Why, then I turned to come away. But next I sees—

Woman. Sees what?

Peg. Somethin’ in our line.

Both (impatiently). Tell away, can’t yer?

Peg. Sees my lady’s child a-walkin’ out with her maid.

Woman. Wal, what o’ that?

Peg. You keep quiet, an’ I’ll tell; jest you keep on a-interruptin’, an’ I’m mum’s a fish.

Man (to Woman). Hush up, now, can’t yer? (To Peg.) Sees what?

Peg. I seed as how little miss was a-dressed out in all her finery,—her velvet, an’ her silks, an’ gold beads an’[Pg 209] bracelets. (Clasps throat and wrists.) Very good things to have. (Old couple nod approvingly at each other.)

Man. Mebby they be (holding up old bag); but how be they a-goin’ to jump in this ’ere?

Peg. There ye go agin a-interruptin’.

Woman (to Man). Hush up, dad! Let the gal speak, can’t yer?

Peg. Then I watches to find out where wud they be a-goin’ ter (old couple nod to each other), an’ I sees ’em take the path down by the hedge-row. So I creeps along softly, a-tiptoe, on t’other side, just like this (shows how she crept along), a-peepin’ through.

Woman (rubbing her hands together). Sharp gal you be, Peg.

Man (to Woman). Keep still; don’t bother her.

Peg. When they goes down on the grass to rest, I goes down too, on t’other side, ye know, to rest,—so. (Sits down.)

Man (laughing). Yes, yes: so ye did. Poor little gal, wasn’t used to trampin’!

Woman (to Man). Gabble, gabble, gabble! The gal’ll never git done.

Man. Tell away, Peg.

Peg. I listens, an’ I finds little miss is a-goin’ with her maid to see the dances. There, I’ve started the game: let’s see ye foller it up.

(Old couple sit in silence for a few moments, turning over the silver.)

Man (thoughtfully). ’Tis deep water; but I sees through.

Peg (bending forward). Let’s hear. (Woman listens.)

[Pg 210]

Man. Tomkins’s show draws all the crowd, missy among ’em.

Peg. Go on, dad.

Man (rising). They two, missy and maid, stands agapin’ at it,—so. (Imitates.) You creeps in between,—so. (Imitates.) I stays outside.

Peg. Yes, yes!

Man. In the middle of it I gets myself knocked down outside, and groans and roars, “Help, help! thieves! murder!”

Woman (eagerly). Then everybody’ll run.

Man. Then everybody’ll run. Peg catches hold o’ little miss, runs her off. I say, “I’ll take care of yer.” Neat job, hey? (Rubs hands.)

Peg (briskly). Then I’ll lend her some of my clothes, ’cause they’s better for her, you know, an’ help her eat what’s in the buful basket; an’ she’ll be my little sister, an’ she’ll tramp with us (rises) an’ our merry, merry crew. (Sings. Old couple join in chorus, and all keep time with feet and hands.)

[Download MXL]

Oh! we’re a merry gypsy crew, Roaming all the country thro’,
Plenty to eat and little to do, Roaming thro’ the wildwood. Sing ri fa la li
lu li oh! Plenty to eat and little to do, Roaming thro’ the wildwood.

[Pg 211]

Want and care we never know:
Sun may shine, or winds may blow;
All the same we come and go,
Roaming through the wildwood.
Sing ri fa la li lu li oh!
Plenty to eat, and little to do,
Roaming through the wildwood.

Scene III.Enter Flora and Elsie, hand in hand. Both have flowers; and Elsie carries a pretty lunch-basket.

Flora. What pretty flowers there were in that meadow! Why, I wanted every one!

Elsie. Then we’d have to fetch a wagon to carry them home in, I guess.

Flora. A wagonful of flowers! What would mamma say to that, I wonder?

Elsie. All the vases together wouldn’t half hold ’em.

Flora. Then I’d put them in my little crib, and have them for my bed.

Elsie. Margery wouldn’t spread her white sheets on such a bed as that.

Flora. But I could take flowers for bed-clothes, and smell them all night. Oh! what a—(stops suddenly, and listens). I hear music. Hark! (Music heard faintly, as if afar off.) O Elsie! they’re coming, they’re coming! Hark! don’t you hear the singing?

Elsie. Yes (looking in the direction of the music): they’re marching this way.

(Singing comes gradually nearer, until the chorus is heard outside. Enter a procession of girls and boys,[Pg 212] blind fiddler following. Boys are dressed in white trousers, with bright or striped jackets, flowers at the button-hole; girls in white, with garlands. All march round the stage, singing; then either eight or sixteen of them form a circle for dancing the May-dance. At intervals, in some pretty figure, the dancers pause, and sing a May-song, in which all join. Dancing ends with a march, which is interrupted by a girl rushing in from the show.)

Song (briskly, to “The Poacher’s Song,” or any lively tune).

We come, we come, with dance and song,
With hearts and voices gay;
We come, we come, a happy throng;
For now it is beautiful May.
We’ve lingered by the brookside
To find the fairest flowers;
We’ve rambled through the meadows wide
These sunny, sunny hours.

(All move round.)


Oh! we’ll dance and sing around the ring
With footsteps light and gay;
Oh! we’ll dance and sing around the ring;
For now ’tis the beautiful May.

Girl (rushing in). Oh, come! do come and see the show! ’Tis the funniest show!

All together. Where? where? (Pressing about her.)

Girl (pointing). Over yonder by the wood. Only a penny. Come!

[Pg 213]

All together (or nearly so). Yes: let’s go! Come! Only a penny? We’ll all go!

(All rush out, Elsie leading Flora. Curtain falls.)

Scene IV.Tomkins, in flashy costume, preparing for the show. There should be several objects, supposed to be statues or animals, covered with white cloth. The animals may be boys in various positions. The coverings will not be removed, as the show is to be interrupted. Tomkins moves about, peeping under the coverings, dusting the statues, patting and quieting, and perhaps feeding, the animals. He holds in one hand a string which is attached to one of them. Enter Tom Thumb and his Bride, arm in arm, followed by his aged parents and maiden aunt. (Five little children must be dressed up to represent these.) Tomkins helps them to a high platform at the back part. Old lady is knitting a doll’s stocking. Enter crowd of May-dancers, Peg among them. She tries several times to separate Flora from Elsie while they are listening to Tomkins, and finally succeeds. (This scene may easily be lengthened by adding other figures to the show, such as a giant, or curious animals, &c.)

Tomkins (arranging the spectators, speaks rapidly). Stan’ reg’lar, ladies and gentlemen, stan’ reg’lar, and let the tall ones look over the short ones; for if the tall ones don’t git behind the short ones, and the short ones gits behind the tall ones, then how’s the short ones a-goin’ to look over the tall ones? Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to show you the only ’xhibition[Pg 214] of the kind on record. On this ’casion ’tis not a talkin’ ’xhibition. Six talkin’ ’xhibitions they’ve done to-day. Do I want ’em to die on my ’ands? Do I want to close their ’xpiring eyes, an’ say—an’ say—farewell, my dears? No. Let ’em live to d’light the world, an’ to ’dorn—to ’dorn—my ’xhibition. (The animal gets uneasy. Tomkins jerks the string.) Sh—sh—! your time’ll come when the Thumbs is all done. Ladies and gentlemen, you see before you the descendants of the real Tom Thumb, who lived in story-books a thousand years ago. Their grandfather far removed was carried in his master’s waistcoat-pocket, and swallowed by a cow. (Animal steps. He pulls the string.) Sh—sh! They would speak to the audyence: but six talkin’ ’xhibitions they’ve done to-day; an’ their healths must be looked to, as their constitootions compares with their sizes, and ’tis very nat’ral they’d be short-breath’d. The old lady, as you see, is knittin’ a stockin’ for her grandchild that lives in Siam. The old gentleman takes his pinch of snuff, an’ would smoke his pipe, but—ladies present. The maiden aunt is neat about her dress; and that’s why she’s smoothin’ out the wrinkles, and rubbin’ off mud-spots. Tom Thumb is very fond of his bride; an’ you won’t think strange of his strokin’ her curls, an’ lookin’ at her face in admiration. (Animals move a little.) But my an’mals is uneasy, and I must also proceed to uncover the statuarys. Thumb family may march round and take their leave. (They march round and go out, each turning at the door to salute the audience.) I will now proceed to uncover the famous, unheard-of, wonderful animal called—(Deep groans heard outside. “Help![Pg 215] thieves! murder!”) Don’t be uneasy! (All rush out. Peg runs off with Flora.)

[Curtain falls.

Scene V.Lady Caroline reclining in her chair. She rings a bell. Enter Margery.

Lady C. You may bring that round table nearer to me, Margery: Miss Flora and I will take our tea together. What a treat it will be for her!

Margery (bringing the table). Yes, my lady. (Spreads cloth.)

Lady C. She will be eager to tell all that has happened, and I shall be just as eager to hear. (Margery fetches plates, &c.) Bring her small china mug, Margery (she likes that best); and bring her low rocking-chair.

Margery. Yes, my lady. The little dear will be so tired! (Brings the things.)

Lady C. Place the chair near me. Is the supper all ready? What an appetite the little traveller will have to-night!

Margery. Every thing is ready, my lady.

Lady C. And fetch her slippers lined with down. They will be soft to her tired feet. Ah, how many steps those feet have taken since she kissed me good-by! (Margery brings slippers, and places them in front of the chair.) So. That is right. Now that all is ready, how long seems every moment! Margery, go stand by the upper window, and bring me word when you catch the first sight of them coming along by the hedge-row.

[Pg 216]

Margery. I will, my lady. I’ll watch, and not leave the window,—not for one single moment.

[Exit Margery. Curtain falls.

Scene VI.Tramp and his Wife. Old bags, bundles, and baskets lying about. Man is binding an old shoe to his foot with a strip of cloth. Foot is on the shoe, not in it. Woman is picking over rags of different colors.

Woman. Wal, ole man, here we bees agin. ’Tis a year ago this blessed day since Peg ’ticed the little gal from Tomkins’s show.

Man. ’Twouldn’t ha’ been a year, mammy, only we got no news o’ the reward. Fifty guineas, an’ no questions asked. Wal-a-day! Many’s the weary tramp we’s had that we needn’t a’.

Woman. An’ many’s the trinket I’ll buy.

Man. Now, ole Beauty Spot, you don’t git the spendin’ o’ that gold!

Woman. I don’t! Wal, we’ll see! I don’t, do I?—humph!

Man. But where’s Peg? Meet us by this wood, she said. An’ ’tis past the time set. She must a’ reached the hall two days agone.

Woman. If I’d a’ had my say, the child should ha’ been sent by some other body; but Peg she would go along.

Man. ’Tis a marcy an’ she don’t git fast under lock an’ key.

Woman. Wal, the child’s back to where she belongs; an’ lucky she be; for our Peg, that be a great deal too[Pg 217] smart for us, will go to mind every crook o’ that young un’s finger, an’ worse’n that. Now I’ll tell ye. I harked one night, late it was, with the stars all so bright, we inside the tent, they two out, nobody stirring, no noise, only corn rustlin’ a-near us, an’ a little matter of a breeze in the trees; an’ what does I hear? Why, that young ’un a-tellin’ our Peg about the angels, an’ more besides, an’ what good was, an’ what wicked was. Does I want a gal o’ mine to hear the like? No, I doesn’t. Peg ain’t the gal she was (shaking her head). No, no! She ain’t up to half the smart tricks. (Enter Peg.)

Man and Woman. The money! The gold, the gold! Where’s the gold?

Peg. The lady wants to see you at the hall.

Both. Ha!

Woman. Be we fools?

Man. She wants, does she?—ha, ha! She wants!—he, he, he!

Peg. I want, then. And the gold is ready for you there.

Woman. What be we a-goin’ to the hall for?

Peg. She has a favor to ask.

Woman. Yes: the favor o’ shuttin’ us up.

Peg. The favor o’ lettin’ me be servant to Miss Flora. (Woman nods to Man.)

Man. Have more sense, gal.

Woman. O Peg! an’ would ye go from us, an’ to be a slave?

Man (picking up bundles). ’Tis all a trap to nab us.

Peg. No, there be no trap.

[Pg 218]

Woman. An’ what use of our seein’ the lady?

Peg. She be loath to keep anybody’s child without consent. The little un begs me stay; an’ I must.

Woman (entreatingly). Don’t, Peg! Let her go. She ben’t one o’ our sort.

Peg. I can’t; an’ the truth must be spoken to ye. I’m tired o’ trampin’, tired o’ beggin’ an’ thievin’, an’ skulkin’ about; an’, what’s more, I can’t lose sight o’ her.

Woman (sorrowfully). O Peg! An’ how could the little un bewitch ye so?

Peg. I can’t tell that. How can I tell what makes me pine for a sight o’ her sweet face, an’ why ’tis that the sound o’ her sweet voice touches me here (places hand on her heart), an’ why ’tis I weep when she tells me of the angels and holy things? Will ye go, or no? (Moves towards door.)

Man to Woman (confidentially). Between you an’ me, I’d sooner have Peg there. Don’t ye see? (Claps hand on her shoulder.) Many’s the nice bit she’ll help us to, or a silver penny, or a spoon.

Woman. That she won’t. An’, if she’d do’t, ain’t we got money enough wi’ all that gold? I’d sooner keep my gal. (Folds arms, and looks down sorrowfully.) But ’twon’t be for long. (Looks up more cheerfully.) Peg’ll come back to us. She’ll soon pine for the sweet woods agin’. (Ties up her bundles.)

Man (contemptuously). Enough!—enough gold! (Picks up baskets.) What can the old gal mean? Enough money?—ha, ha, ha! Enough!—he, he, he!

[Curtain falls.

[Pg 219]

Scene VII. (chiefly a tableau).—Lady C. sits with her arm round Flora. Margery arranging the furniture. Enter gypsies, conducted by Peg. Lady C., at sight of them, shudders, and turns away. Margery keeps them at a distance.

Margery. Stand back, stand back! Don’t ye see my lady almost faints at sight of ye? (Music, heard afar off, comes gradually nearer.)

Lady C. (listening). What music do I hear, Margery?

Margery. ’Tis the May-party, my lady. They come to welcome Miss Flora back with a cheerful song.

Lady C. Bid them enter, Margery.

(Margery goes to the door. Enter May-party and blind fiddler. They are arranged by Margery. Gypsies watch the proceedings,—Old Gypsy leaning on his staff with both hands; Old Woman, rather sullen, stands with folded arms. Peg moves softly along, and sinks upon the floor near Flora. Elsie is among the singers, but stands silent with downcast looks. Margery motions for the young people to sing, and, when they begin, holds corner of apron to her eyes.)

Closing Song.

Home again, home again!
All her wanderings o’er;
At home, sweet home again, to dwell
With loving friends once more!
Flowers, show your fairest hues,
Make the meadows gay;
Dear little birds, oh I carol forth
Your sweetest songs to-day.

[Pg 220]

Chorus. For home again, home again,
Her weary wanderings o’er,
At home, sweet home again, she dwells
With loving friends once more.

[Curtain falls.

[Pg 221]



First Syllable: Fare.


Joe and Ned, two young clerks from the city. Joe is in rough sea-clothes,—tarpaulin hat, stout boots, trousers tucked in; carries cod-lines, oil-clothes, and a rope-handled bucket. Ned is in gentleman’s fishing-costume; wears broad-brimmed straw hat, carries reed pole, lunch-basket, &c. They enter from opposite doors.

Joe. How fares ye, Ned? Been a-fishing? So’ve I. Let’s sit down on the bank here and talk it over. (Throws himself down. Ned spreads out his handkerchief, then seats himself upon it.)

Ned (affectedly, and with a sigh). Ah, well! or, rather, ah, ill! Another day of vacation gone. Already the store—the busy, crowded, everlasting store—looms up before me. Customers seem beckoning me away. I hear, methinks, the rustle of cambrics mingling with the rustling of the leaves, and—and—

Joe. And the birds sing out “Cash, cash!” don’t they? O fiddle-de-dee! the store is fifty miles off,—fifty miles; and six days! Another day gone?—well,[Pg 222] don’t fret for that. Didn’t you get enough for it? Now, I never fret about letting a piece of goods go, if I get the worth of it.

Ned. Really, Joseph, I don’t see what selling goods has to do with the subject.

Joe. Why, you’ve let your day go. Old Time took it. He buys up a good many of ’em; but he pays. You got the value of your article: you took your pay in taking comfort. Fair trade enough.

Ned. Well, you may talk; but the day is gone, and it will never return (sighs).

Joe. But, if we live till to-morrow, there’ll another one come: leastways, I hope so; for I’ve a plan ahead. (Earnestly.) I’ll do it: I will! I certainly will, dogs or no dogs,—unless the sea dries up; and then I’ll walk. But how was river-fishing?

Ned. Oh, fair! that is to say, reasonably fair, for the first attempt.

Joe. Fine day you had.

Ned. Charming day. In the morning we rowed up stream, with Nature smiling all around us,—of course I mean the dewy fields, sprinkled with flowers; and anon we glided through the leafy woods, where the birds sang melodiously. All was fair and lovely.

Joe. Having fair wind’s the main thing: the rest is well enough. So you made an all-day trip of it?

Ned. Yes: a really charming little excursion, and the presence of the fair sex—hem!

Joe. Made it still more really charming. Yes, I know. They usually have their charms about them.

Ned. Exactly. And at noon we landed, and spread our repast under the shade of a spreading oak, and[Pg 223] there partook of cold chicken, sandwiches, and fruits. At the hour of sunset, with a fair wind, and with now and then a song, we floated calmly down the stream.

Joe. All serene. Now I took it in the rough. See! Borrowed real sea-clothes, and sailed on the briny sea. Jingoes, if ’twasn’t sport off the Ledge!

Ned. Seasick?

Joe. Hem! Well, little rily doubling “Hook’s Pint:” soon over it, though, and relished my lunch—oh, hugely! None of your chicken-fixin’s; real fishermen’s fare,—sea-biscuit dipped in the sea.

Ned. Barbarous fare, I should call that.

Joe. Not a bit. Oh, yes! I’m mistaken: good many bits. Fish bit lively, and old skipper chowdered ’em right out o’ the water: then we got into a school o’ mackerel, and so brought in quite a fare of fish. If we’d only landed on that island—But I mean to (rubbing his hands), dogs or no dogs. What the dogs do I care! Let ’em yelp!

Ned. Of what island are you speaking?

Joe. “Maiden Island” some call it. Skipper said ’twas oftener called “The Isle of Dogs.”

Ned. Why are these names given to it?

Joe. Because there is a maiden there, of course, and dogs abound. But I’ll land (rubbing his hands excitedly). I’ll attack the fort. “Let dogs delight,” and so forth.

Ned. I’m curious to hear more of this isle of the sea.

Joe. Listen, then, and I’ll tell you a true story: only it hasn’t any end to it yet. But I’ll make an end (earnestly),—I’m resolved upon that,—unless an earthquake swallows it up.

[Pg 224]

Ned. Swallows up the end!

Joe. The island.

Ned. Can’t you explain? (In a pet.)

Joe. Oh, yes! Explain?—certainly. Now hark. In the middle of the sea—that is, off in the harbor—stands a lonely isle; and on that isle stands a hut; and in that hut dwells a stern old fisherman; and that stern old fisherman owns a fair daughter; and, on account of the island being flooded with admirers, he has defended it with dogs, manned it with dogs.

Ned. Really! Now that isn’t quite fair in the old gentleman.

Joe. Fair? Of course it isn’t! But I’ve got a plan. I’ll land: I certainly will, if every dog had as many heads as—now, what was that dog’s name that barked down in that dark place?—no matter; and if every head had as many mouths, I’ll land. “Faint heart never won fair lady.”

Ned. But what if they all fly at you?

Joe. Then I’ll fly at them. (Sings.)

“Let dogs delight
To bark and bite.”

(Slight noise of rain heard.)

Ned (rising hastily). We shall be caught in the shower. (Going.) Come.

Joe (rising slowly). Oh, let it rain, let it rain! Better chance of fair weather to-morrow.

Ned (passing out). But will you? will you really dare?

Joe. Yes: none but the brave deserve the fair!

[Exeunt both.

(Rain may be made by dropping peas in a tin pan behind the scenes.)

[Pg 225]

Second Syllable: Well.

Scene.Out of doors. Tools lying about. Mr. Benson, a dark-whiskered Yankee, in working-clothes and overalls, is at work on a pump. The pump is a man or boy incased in brown paper. He is topped by a bandbox-cover, or by any thing which will bear resemblance to the capping of a wooden pump. One arm is used for the pump-handle: the other, as far up as the elbow, represents the spout. A small tub should be put underneath. There must be a large bottle of water hid in the coat-sleeve, with the thumb pressed over its mouth for a stopper. At the proper time, the water is allowed to run out. (This operation should be first practised in the ante-room.) While Mr. Benson is at work, Squire Reed enters. He is well dressed; has gray whiskers, tall hat, and a cane; is a little pompous and condescending.

Squire Reed. Well, Benson, how do you prosper? Always at work, hey? What! covered up your well?

Mr. Benson. Yes, and got in a pump (works the handle); but ’twon’t draw. Something’s the matter.

Squire R. I’m very sorry; not sorry the pump won’t draw, but sorry to lose the well,—sorry, I mean, to lose it out of the landscape. It was a very striking feature, with its long sweep.

Mr. B. Wal, to tell the truth, it did go agin my feelings. We’d got used to seeing it. My gran’ther dug it and stoned it up; and I’ve hoisted up a good deal o’ water out of it since I was boy, counting washing-water and all. But then ’twas a heap o’ trouble. (Works the handle.) Why don’t the critter draw?

[Pg 226]

Squire R. How did it trouble you?

Mr. B. (resting on the pump). Oh! things kept falling down it. I’d be out in the field, working, you know; and ’twould be all the time, “Mr. Benson, this thing’s tumbled down the well, and that thing’s tumbled down the well.” Then I’d leave, and run; and maybe ’twould be my little gal’s doll, or bub’s hat, or clean clothes off the line. And all the neighbors wanted to hang their things down it to keep cool. Course it put us out; but course we didn’t like to speak: so we had to say, “No trouble at all, no trouble at all;” though ’twasn’t true, you know.

Squire R. Very true; that is, it wasn’t very true.

Mr. B. And then ’twas a master place to c’lect young folks together, as ever was. First the gals would come with their pails, and stand talking; then the beaux would come, ’specially about sundown. Says I to my wife, “Guess I’ll break up that haunt.” (Pumps with short quick stroke.) But this new-fangled thing won’t draw a mite.

Squire R. Let me try. (Pumps slowly, with long stroke.)

Mr. B. Yes, you work it, and I’ll pour in water to fetch it. (Lifts the cover a little, and pretends to pour in water from a pitcher; then seizes the handle, and works it with quick, jerking motion.) Any thing run out?

Squire R. (stooping a little). I don’t see any thing.

Mr. B. (examining the spout). Dry as a grasshopper.

(Enter Mr. Downing, a tall man, with green spectacles and wide red cravat. Has a rod in his hand, and walks with solemn air.)

[Pg 227]

Mr. D. (to Mr. B. very stiffly). Good-morning, sir. I understand you have a pump that doesn’t work well.

Mr. B. Exactly: that’s just what I’ve got.

Mr. D. (solemnly). I am a pump-doctor.

Squire R. (with a condescending smile). That is to say, I suppose that you can cure a pump, and make it well.

Mr. B. (laughing). Oh, don’t make mine well! It’s been well once.

Mr. D. If you will place your pump in my hands, sir, I will pledge myself that it shall give satisfaction.

Squire R. That is to say, give water.

Mr. B. Here, take it right into your hands: now let’s see what ’twill give.

Squire R. How do you cure, sir?

Mr. D. (solemnly). By circles and opposite electricities. Shall I proceed?

Mr. B. Yes, proceed to begin: don’t wait.

Squire R. That is, begin first, and then proceed.

Mr. B. And, if the job’s well done, you shall be well paid.

Mr. D. I shall require, gentlemen, a little assistance from both of you.

Squire R. (glancing down at his clothes and his hands). Of what nature, sir?

Mr. B. Oh, yes! I’m willing to take hold: course you’ll take little something off the price.

Mr. D. No labor, no actual labor, will be required of you. My system involves only circles and opposite electricities. In the first place, it will be necessary to ascertain whether your electrical currents are opposite.

[Pg 228]

Mr. B. Well, how will you do it?

(Mr. D. brings in an old-fashioned flax-wheel, or some yarn-winders, or any thing that can be made to turn round. After solemn preparation, he whirls this rapidly for a minute or two.)

Mr. D. to Squire R. Have the kindness, now, sir, to touch lightly the circumference of this machine.

(Squire R. touches, and hops away with a loud cry, dropping his cane.)

Mr. D. to Mr. B. Now you, sir. (Mr. B. hesitates.) Don’t be afraid: it is quite harmless.

(Mr. B. touches, and, with a scream, gives a leap in the opposite direction, rubbing his arms, and looking frightened.)

Mr. D. All is well. The electrical conditions are fulfilled: the one sprang to the east, the other to the west.

Mr. B. (glancing at the machine, and rubbing his arm). Mighty powerful!

Mr. D. (solemnly). I shall now proceed, gentlemen, to describe two circles around the well. (Marks out two circles with his rod.) Will you please to advance? (Squire R. walks towards the pump.)

Squire R. Sir, this appears somewhat like trifling.

Mr. D. That depends upon yourself, sir. To the light-minded, serious matters appear light. I deal with the truths of science. (To Mr. B.) Will you come nearer, sir?

Mr. B. (advancing cautiously). No danger, I hope; no witchcraft?

[Pg 229]

Mr. D. Not the slightest. I will now work the handle. You two, being fully charged, will stand at opposite points (placing them), and proceed to revolve silently in these circles,—you, sir (to Squire R.), revolving in the external orbit, and you, sir (to Mr. B.), in the internal: at your third conjunction, water will gush forth. (Works the handle slowly. The others walk as directed. At their third meeting, water streams out. They step back.)

Squire R. (lifting both hands). Marvellous! most wonderful!

Mr. B. Wal, I declare! Be you a wizard? I hope—I hope it’s Christian doings.

Mr. D. (with a smile, and wave of the hand). What you have witnessed, gentlemen, is merely a new triumph of science.

Mr. B. (with a sigh of relief). I’m glad it’s science: I was afraid ’twas witchcraft. Send in your bill, stranger. (Pumps.) I’m all in a heap. Science!

Mr. D. Permit me to inform you, sir, that witchcraft is science; only science doesn’t know it. Good-morning, gentlemen (takes his machine): I have business farther on. Have the goodness to accept my card (presenting it).

Squire R. (following). Will you allow me to accompany you, and give me the pleasure of your conversation?

Mr. D. With pleasure, sir. (They move to the door.)

Squire R. Good-day, neighbor. I’m rejoiced that your troubles are over. “All’s well that ends well.”

Mr. B. My well ends pump.

[Curtain drops.

[Pg 230]

Whole Word: Farewell.

It being December, there may be a Farewell Address from the Old Year to the children. This Old Year may be represented by a trembling old man, with white locks and beard, leaning on his staff,—the staff to be a portion of a leafless bough. He should carry a pack on his back, marked on each end “’77;” and, as a wholly pathetic character is not desirable, he may be plentifully labelled with the same figures. White hair and beard can be made of cotton-wool or yarn, or both; and dipping the ends in a solution of alum will give them a frosty or icy appearance.


Dear Children,—Do you know who I am? My name is ’77. Good-by. I am going now; yet very few of you will mourn for that. Are you not already wishing me away, longing for the young, bright New Year? You know you are.

Oh, I remember well when I was myself a young, bright New Year! A Happy New Year, they called me: and so I was; for then you all liked me. You had longed for my coming; you cheered me; you hurrahed; you shouted for joy; for I came bringing gifts and good wishes.

Ah! that is all changed now. Now that I am old, and have little left to give, you are willing to turn me off for another. Such ingratitude is hard to bear. It is that which has bleached my locks, and chilled me to the heart; for I have given you the very best I had. Think, now. Look back,—away back to the time when I was in my prime. Did I not give you those lovely[Pg 231] spring children of mine? Don’t you remember my young April, so tender, so full of feeling, laughing and crying in a breath? She brought the crocuses and violets, but seemed too bashful to offer them. And do you so soon forget my pretty, smiling May, with her apple-blossoms and her singing-birds? My June brought you green carpets inlaid with buttercups and daisies, and her warm-hearted sisters gave you all their beautiful flowers.

And then my later children, how generous they were! how free of their gifts? Think of all the apples they gave you; think of the abundance of ripened grain,—grain which will last till the new friend that is coming shall be able to furnish more. And fortunate that it is so; for let me tell you that it will be a long time before this young upstart, this inexperienced New Year, can do much for you in the way of providing.

But, although I have done my very best, you are impatient to see me off. Now, why this haste? Why treat me so coldly? When once gone, you will see me no more. Other friends leave you in sadness to return in joy; but I go, never to return.

And in this pack I carry all the joys and the merry times of ’77: you can never have them back again. Do you grieve for that? Take comfort, then, in the thought that I carry, also, all the sorrows of ’77. But there is something which cannot be taken away,—memory. All the days and hours of ’77 are in this pack; but the memory of them remains. Be thankful; for if memory, too, could be carried away,—why, then, in looking back, what a dreary blank there would be!

Well, children, I am going. Good-by! Do you[Pg 232] wonder that I go off so smilingly? ’Tis because Old Santa Claus—dear, jolly Old Santa Claus—comes to cheer me in these last days. Ah, were it not for him, how gloomy would these last days be! But it is not permitted me to be sad. He comes with his jingling of bells, and his mirth, and his “Merry, merry Christmas!” and so, thanks to him, I leave you with a smiling face.

And now farewell forever! But when young ’78 comes, happy and bright, laden with good wishes, and rejoicing your hearts with his beautiful gifts, look back, I pray you, and bestow one thought upon poor old ’77.

Whole Word in Pantomime:[1] Farewell.

Scene.Inside of room. When the curtain rises, a young sailor is seen taking leave of his mother. Both are standing. Her head is slightly turned away; her right hand is clasped in his. With the left she holds a handkerchief to her eyes, as if weeping. Her little boy stands near, holding by her dress, and looking up in the sailor’s face. His playthings are scattered on the floor. Faint noise of singing heard, as if in the distance: it is the singing of sailors, and seems to come nearer and nearer, and very near. Sailor presses the mother’s hand in both of his; catches up his little brother, and kisses him; then rushes out. Mother sinks down, as if overcome with grief, and sits with face bowed upon both hands. Little boy looks out at the door. Singing grows fainter and fainter, and dies away in the distance, while curtain falls slowly.


[1] If preferred, the pantomime may be substituted for the Old-Year’s Address.

[Pg 233]




Agnes, aged six or seven. Lulu, aged six or seven. Bel, aged four or five. Dan, aged eight or nine. Benny, aged ten or eleven.

Scene.A common room. Agnes sits with many dolls and other playthings about her. Benny is reading, the other side of the room. Dan sits near him, catching flies on the table.

(Enter Lulu and Bel, with dolls all in out-door rig.)

Agnes (jumping up, and clapping hands). Oh, goody, goody! Did your mothers say you might come?

Lulu (speaking quickly). Yes, my mother said I might; and then I teased Bel’s mother, and she said yes.

Agnes (clapping hands). Oh, I’m so glad! (Helping take off their things.) How long can you stay? Can you stay to supper?

Lulu. I can’t stay without I’m invited, mother said.

Bel. My mother said to come home when the table[Pg 234] had begun to be set. I’ve got my new boots on (looking down), and I stepped in the mud with ’em.

(Dan, in catching a fly, knocks down Benny’s book.)

Benny (picking it up). What are you trying to do?

Lulu. We saw a cow, and ran across the street; and Bel stepped in the mud (wiping it off Bel’s boots).

Bel. ’Twas a hooking cow.

Benny. Ho! run for a cow! ’Fore I’d run for a cow!

Dan (swooping off a fly). It doesn’t take much to scare girls.

Benny (finding his place). I know it: anybody could do that.

Agnes. He couldn’t scare us; could he, Lulu?

Benny. Don’t you believe I could make you run? Boo, boo! (Jumps at them.)

Lulu. Oh, we sha’n’t run for that!

Benny. Just wait a little while; and, if I can’t scare you, then I’ll treat.

Agnes (indignantly). Do you believe he could, Lu?

Lulu. I know he couldn’t. What will you treat us to?

Benny. Oh! any thing. Take your choice.

Agnes (clapping hands). Oh, goody, goody! Ice-cream, ice-cream!

Lulu. Cream-cakes, cream-cakes!

Dan. I’ve got him (looks carefully in his hand). Why, I haven’t got him! Where is he? Oh, I see! (Hits Benny’s shoulder.)

Benny (starting up). You’ve driven away this fly. (Goes out to disguise himself. Dan goes on swooping flies off of table; girls step back to where the dolls are.)

[Pg 235]

Agnes. Now let’s play something.

Lulu. So I say. Let’s play school.

Bel. But there wouldn’t be enough scholars.

Dan (coming forward with ruler). I’ll be the schoolmaster. Silence! Take your seats. Study your books. Can’t have any recess. You must all stay after school. (Girls laugh. Dan goes back to his flies.)

Lulu. Let’s play mother, I say.

Agnes. You be the mother?

Lulu. No, you be the mother, and I’ll be your little girl, and Bel be my little sister.

Agnes. Well, I’ll run up and get some of my mother’s things to put on, and you two can be seeing my dollies. (Agnes goes out.)

Dan (stepping forward). I’ll be the one to introduce them. (Takes up each doll as it is named.) This is Miss Cherrydrop, named for her red cheeks; but some say they’re painted, and not real. She’s got a new round comb and a—a sontag.

Bel. Oh, that isn’t a sontag! ’tis a breakfast-shawl.

Dan. Well, never mind. Here is Miss Patty Troodledum; very proud, so they say, because her dress is spangled. When Aggy thinks too much of her new clothes, mother says, “Ah! who have we here? Miss Patty Troodledum?” Sit down there, Miss Patty. And this is the young sailor-boy, just home from sea. There’s the star on his collar, and his Scotch cap. Jack, take off your cap, and make a bow to the ladies. His mother fainted away with joy at seeing him, and hasn’t come to yet: here she is. (Takes up old faded shabby doll.) But here is somebody very grand.[Pg 236] Now, who do you think came over in the ship with the sailor-boy?

Lulu. The captain.

Dan. Of course. But I mean passenger.

Lulu. Who was it?

Dan. Mademoiselle De Waxy, right from Paris.

Lulu. Oh, she’s a beauty! Don’t touch her, Bel!

Dan. Oh, no! Miss De Waxy mustn’t be touched. Miss De Waxy keeps by herself, and never speaks a word to the others, because they can’t talk French. Miss De Waxy, before she came over, thought all the American dolls were dressed in wild beasts’ skins. See, this is her fan, bought in Paris; and this is her gold chain. (Lays her carefully by.)

Bel. And who are all these little ones? (Pointing to row of small dolls.)

Dan. Those are the children just come from school, waiting for their lunch. See this cunning one! She doesn’t know O yet: she’s in the eleventh class.

Lulu. And who is that old one with that funny cap on?

Dan. Oh, this! (Taking up large old rag-doll.) Why, this is—this is old Nurse Trot. Poor old woman, she’s got a lame back, and she’s all worn out tending so many children; but she never complains, nor sheds a tear.

Bel. Oh, she’s got a bag on her arm!

Dan. Her snuff-box is in that. The sailor-boy brought it home from sea to her. (Takes out the box, opens it, takes pinch of snuff, sneezes. The others sneeze.) Best of snuff! And he brought her these new spectacles (tries them on her): now she can see as well as ever she could.

[Pg 237]

Lulu. How came this one’s arm off?

Dan. Why, that is poor Tabitha. She broke her arm sweeping out the baby-house; and it had to be taken off at the shoulder.

Bel. Where did she get that clean apron?

Dan. That checked apron? Let me see. That came, I think—oh! that was made at the doll’s sewing-school.

Lulu. Look, Bel: here’s a blind one! (Takes up doll with eyes gone.)

Bel. Oh! isn’t that too bad?

Dan. Yes, she’s blind; totally blind. She became so by trying to sleep with her eyes open. Dolls know better now. They shut their eyes when they lie down, and go off to sleep like live folks.

Lulu. Oh, see this one! she’s all spoiled.

Dan. Yes: she was spoiled having her own way. Fell down when she was told to stand up, and broke her cheek. Doctors were sent for; but they couldn’t do any thing. She ought to have that face tied up. Where’s her pocket-handkerchief? Here it is. Now, isn’t that a beauty? Aggy says the sailor-boy brought it home to her from China. There, now her face is tied up, she won’t get cold. Do you see this pretty girl with the pink dress and curly hair? She is to be the wife of the sailor-boy. These two sit close together all the time, waiting for their wedding-day. The wedding-cake is ordered. See how smiling they look! and no wonder. I will tell you who is invited to the wedding; but you mustn’t tell. First, all the— Oh! here comes Aggy. Wait till by and by.

[Pg 238]

(Enter Agnes, dressed up in her mother’s clothes, with gay head-dress.)

Lulu (laughing). Oh, what a good mother! What’ll your name be?

Agnes. Mrs. White. (Tiptoes up at the glass, twists and turns, arranges bows, strings, collar, &c.) This is the way mother does.

Dan. Shall I be the father, and do the way father does?

All the Girls. Oh, yes, yes! Do!

(Dan goes out. Agnes walks stiffly to a chair, speaks to the children very soberly.)

Agnes. Children (unfolding aprons), come and let me put on your sleeved aprons.

Lulu and Bel (whining). I don’t want to.

Agnes (stiffly). Little girls must think mother knows best. Come, mind mother. (Sleeved aprons are put on.) Now, children (speaking slowly), I am going to have company this afternoon; and you must be very good children. What do you say when a gentleman speaks to you? (Children stand with folded hands.)

Lulu and Bel. Yes, sir; no, sir.

Agnes. What do you say when a lady speaks to you?

Lulu and Bel. Yes, ma’am; no, ma’am.

Agnes. And, if they ask you how you do, don’t hang your head down, and suck your thumbs, so, but speak this way (with slight bow and simper),—“Very well, I thank you.” Now let me hear you say it.

Children (imitating). Very well, I thank you.

[Pg 239]

Agnes. And what do you say at the table?

Bel. Please give me some more jelly.

Lulu. Please may I be excused, when we get up.

Agnes. That is right. And, if anybody asks you to sing, you must be willing, and sing them one of your little songs. What one do you like the best?

Lulu.Gone Away.

Agnes. I think you’d better sing it over with me, to be sure you know it. (All three sing a song, Agnes beginning.)

Tune,—“Nelly Bly.”

I know a pretty little maid,
And Sally is her name;
And, though she’s far away from me,
I love her just the same.
Sally is a darling girl,
A darling girl is she:
Her smile so bright is a happy sight
I’d give the world to see.
Upon my lovely Sally’s lips
The sweetest kisses grow.
Oh! if I had her by my side,
She’d give me some, I know.
Sally is a darling girl,
A darling girl is she:
Her smile so bright is the happiest sight
In all the world to me.
I have not seen my little girl
This many and many a day:
I hope she’ll not forget me in
That land so far away.
Sally is a darling girl,
A darling girl is she:
Her smile so bright is a happy sight
I’d give the world to see.

[Pg 240]

Agnes (slowly). Very well. Now sit down, dears, and play with your playthings, and don’t disturb mother. Mother’s going to make a new head-dress. (Takes lace, flowers, ribbons, from work-basket. Children sit down and play with blocks, dishes, &c.)

(Dan enters, dressed as father, with tall hat, dicky, black whiskers, cane, &c.)

Agnes. Children, be quiet. Your father’s coming. (Dan walks in with stately air, seats himself, crosses foot over the other knee, tips back a little, takes out pipe, pretends to smoke.)

Dan. That’s the way father does.

(Children get each other’s things, and make believe quarrel.)

Lulu. That’s mine.

Bel. I say ’tisn’t.

Lulu. I say ’tis.

Bel. Mother, see Lu! } Both together.
Lulu. Mother, see Bel.

(Children’s blocks tumble down with great noise. They get each other’s.)

Lulu. Mother, won’t you speak to Bel?

Bel. Mother, Lu keeps plaguing.

Dan (sternly). Silence, children!

Agnes (knock heard at the door). Bel, you may go to the door.

(Bel goes to the door, and runs back really frightened.)

Bel. Oh, there’s an old beggar-man there! I’m scared of him! (Begins to cry.)

[Pg 241]

(Enter beggar-man very slowly. He is shockingly dressed; stoops; is humpbacked; carries a cane; has whiskers and hair, which, with a slouched hat, nearly cover his face. Girls are really frightened, and, huddling close together, whisper.)

All the Girls. Who is it? I’m scared! Let’s run! Come quick! (Girls run out.)

Dan (jumping up). Good for you, Ben! I knew they’d be scared.

Benny (throwing off disguise). Hurrah! let’s chase! No treat, no treat!

Dan. Come on, come on! (They run out.)

[Pg 242]




Mary. Edith. Eva. Frederic.
Debbie. Caroline. Minnie. Arthur.
Dora. Hittie. Joe. Johnny.

[Mary, Caroline, Debbie, and Dora are the largest among the girls; Minnie and Eva the smallest. Frederic and Joe are the largest boys: Johnny is the smallest.]

Scene.A schoolroom. Tables and chairs are placed around, upon which are books, slates, a globe, &c. Maps are hung upon the walls. A group of scholars assembled, waiting for school to begin. Mary and Hittie are sitting together, Mary’s arm around Hittie. Johnny stands whittling. Gussie is seated, with open book in hand, twirling a teetotum. Debbie stands with sack on, holding and occasionally swinging her hat by one string. Caroline sits with slate and arithmetic before her. Edith is seated with an open atlas. Frederic leans back a little in his chair, sharpening lead-pencils for the others, which he hands them at intervals. Dora is at work on tatting.[Pg 243] Arthur stands, and is winding a ball, unravelling the yarn from an old stocking. Joe sits at work on the hull of a little boat. Minnie is sitting on a low stool, with a bunch of flowers, which she is arranging in different ways. Eva is also on a low stool, near Dora and Caroline. These various occupations are introduced to avoid stiffness. They should not be kept up constantly, but left off and resumed occasionally, in an easy, careless way. Confused talking and noise heard behind the curtain. Curtain rises.

Mary (as if continuing a conversation). Now, I should rather be a robin. He sings so pretty a song! Everybody likes to hear a robin sing. I don’t believe even a boy would shoot a robin.

Johnny. Course he wouldn’t!

Minnie. Robin redbreasts covered up the two little childuns when they got lost in the woods.

Caroline. And they don’t do like other birds,—live here all summer and have a good time, and then fly off and leave us. They stay by.

Gussie. How do you know that?

Caroline (or any one that can sing). Oh! I’ve heard. They stay in swamps and barns, waiting for spring. Don’t you remember? (Sings.)

“The north-wind doth blow, and we shall have snow;
And what will the robin do then, poor thing?
He will sit in the barn, and keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing!”

(Others join in the song, one or two at a time; and, at the close, all are singing.)

[Pg 244]

Mary. Yes: he comes up close to our back-door and eats the crumbs, and perches on the apple-tree boughs. Mother says it seems as if he were one of the family.

Debbie. Now, I should a great deal rather be a swallow, and fly away. Then I could fly away down South where the oranges grow, and figs and sugar-cane, and see all the wonderful sights; and I’d go to the beautiful sunny islands away over the seas.

Johnny. You’d get tired, maybe, and drop down into the water.

Joe. No. He’d light on vessels’ topmasts: that’s the way they do.

Debbie. ’Twould be a great deal better than living in a barn all winter.

Dora. Oh, this morning I saw the prettiest bird I ever saw in all my life! Oh, if he wasn’t a pretty bird! Father said ’twas a Baltimore oriole. Part of him was black, and part of him red as fire. Oh, he was a beauty! If ever I am a bird, I’ll be an oriole!

Arthur. Uncle Daniel calls him the fire hangbird.

Frederic. That’s because his nest hangs down from the bough like a bag.

Caroline. Don’t you know what that’s for? Where they first came from, ’way down in the torrid zone, they build their nests that way, so the monkeys and serpents can’t get their eggs.

Arthur. I’ve got a hangbird’s egg.

Edith. Do they have red eggs? (Boys smile.)

Fred. No: black-and-white. Father calls him the golden-robin.

Caroline. I’ll tell you what I’d be,—a mocking-bird.[Pg 245] And I’ll tell you why: because a mocking-bird can sing every tune he hears. It does vex me so when I hear a pretty tune, and can’t sing it! Sometimes I remember one line, and then I can’t rest till I get the whole. Mother says I ought to have been born a mocking-bird.

Fred. Of course, Caroline would want to carol.

(Groans and “O Fred!” by the crowd.)

Caroline. Mother says he can whistle to the dog, and chirp like a chicken, or scream like a hawk, and can imitate any kind of a sound,—filing, or planing, or any thing.

Mary. And he can sing sweeter than a nightingale.

Arthur. I’d be a lark; for he goes up the highest.

Fred. He has a low enough place to start from.

Caroline. I know it,—’way down on the ground, ’mongst the grass.

Debbie. No matter what a low place he starts from, so long as he gets up high at last. Don’t you know Lincoln?

Joe. I know what I would be,—some kind of a water-fowl: then I could go to sea.

Johnny. You’d better be a coot.

Fred. Or one of Mother Carey’s chickens.

Joe. No. I’d be that great strong bird, I forget his name, that flies and flies over the great ocean, and never stops to rest, through storms and darkness right ahead. He doesn’t have to take in sail, or cut away the masts. I’d be an albatross!—Guss, what do you think about it?

[Pg 246]

Guss. Well, I think I’ll be an ostrich: then I can run and fly both together.

Arthur. And you wouldn’t be afraid to eat things.

Guss. That’s so! They swallow down leather, stones, old iron; and nothing ever hurts them.

Debbie. I heard of one swallowing a lady’s parasol.

Johnny. But they’d pull out your feathers.

Guss. No matter! The girls need them for their hats.

Johnny. I know what I’d be. I’d be an owl: then I could sit up nights.

Hittie. You’d be scared of the dark!

Johnny. ’Twouldn’t be dark if I were an owl.

Mary. Can’t you play enough daytimes?

Johnny. Oh! daytime isn’t good for any thing. They have all the fun after we’ve gone to bed,—I and Charlie.

Fred. ’Twon’t do for little boys to hear every thing that goes on.

Guss. You little fellers are apt to make a noise, and disturb us.

Hittie. Mother says, if I weren’t a chatterbox, I could stay up later. I’ll choose to be a parrot; for parrots can talk just when they want to, and have blue wings, and green wings, and red and yellow, and all colors.

Edith. I should rather be a canary-bird, ’cause they have sponge-cake and sugar-lumps every day.

Hittie. Oh, I wouldn’t be a canary-bird, shut up in a cage!

Dora. I should rather live on dry sticks.

[Pg 247]

Minnie. My mamma’s got a canary-bird; and he sings, and he’s yellow.

Hittie. Parrots are the prettiest.

Mary. Why doesn’t somebody be a flamingo? He is flame-colored.

Arthur. I should think some of you girls would want to be a peacock.

Debbie. Now, what do you say girls for? Boys think as much of their new clothes as girls do.

Dora and Mary. Just as much!

Fred. I know who seems like a peacock,—Nannie Minns. I saw her stepping off the other day just as proud!—about seventeen flounces, and yellow kids, and yellow boots, and curls and streamers!—first looking at her dress, and then at her boots, and then at her gloves, and then at her curls,—this way. (Imitates Nannie Minns’s walking.)

Debbie. Well, if some girls are peacocks, so are some boys hawks. I saw that great Joshua Lowe come pouncing down among a flock of little boys yesterday, and do every thing he could think of to ’em, just to show he could master them.

Mary. And, if you want a crow-fighter, take Andy Barrows: he’s always picking a quarrel.

Dora. I know it. I’ve heard him. “Come on!” he says,—“come on: I’ll fight ye!”

Caroline. I think, as a general thing, girls behave better than boys. What do you think about it, little Minnie? You don’t say much.

Minnie (looking up from her flowers). I’d be a humming-bird.

Edith. She thinks you’re talking about birds.

[Pg 248]

Caroline. And what would you be a humming-bird for?

Minnie. ’Cause they’re so pretty, and so cunning!

Hittie. So they are, Minnie.

Minnie. And they keep with the flowers all the time, and eat honey.

Arthur. They eat the little mites of insects as much as they do honey.

Edith. My brother found a humming-bird’s nest. Oh, the inside of it was just as soft as wool! and little bits of white eggs, just like little bits of white beans.

Dora (looking at Eva, and taking her hand). Now, here’s a little girl sitting still all this time, and not saying a word.

Caroline. I know it. Isn’t she a dear little girl? (Stroking her hair.)

Mary. She ought to be a dove, she’s so gentle and still.

Debbie. You dear little pigeon-dove, what bird would you be?

Eva (looking up). Sparrow.

Mary. You would? And what would you be a sparrow for?

Eva. ’Cause my mamma said not a sparrow falls to the ground.

(The girls look at each other.)

Debbie (softly). Isn’t she cunning?

Mary and Dora (softly). I think she’s just as cunning as she can be.

Joe. Fred hasn’t said what he’d be yet.

[Pg 249]

Fred. Eagle. He’s the grandest of all. He can fly right in the face of the sun.

Johnny. Eagles can beat every other bird.

Joe. Of course, Fred wouldn’t be any thing short of an eagle.

Fred. No: nor any thing short of the American eagle.

All the Boys. Three cheers for the American eagle!

All together. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

(Curtain falls. Or, if there be no curtain, a boy rushes in to tell them the organ-man is coming, and they all rush out.)

[Pg 250]




Clerk. Old Lady. Mrs. Highfly.
Annie. Celia. Mr. Jones.

Scene.A shop. Tables are placed at one end of the stage to represent counters. Upon these are displayed toys, confectionery, boxes, or any thing which will indicate a shop. Advertisements of patent medicines and of other things might be hung up. White pebbles may pass for sugar-plums. Sticks whittled out and colored will do for sticks of candy. A little boy of seven or eight may be dressed up to represent a smart clerk or storekeeper (with a pen behind his ear). The other actors should be younger. Celia and Annie, two very little girls, enter at one end of the stage.

Celia. O Annie! did your mother give you a cent?

Annie. Yes. See! (Holds it out.)

Celia. Want me to go with you to spend it?

Annie. Yes, come. There’s the shop.

[Pg 251]

Celia. Will you let me taste?

Annie. If you won’t taste very big.

Celia. I will only take just a little teenty teenty mite. (They cross over.)

Annie. Here’s the shop.

Clerk. Well, my little girls, what will you have?

Celia. She wants to spend her cent.

Clerk. That’s right. This is the place.

Annie. I want a stick of candy.

Clerk. Red candy?

Annie. No, sir. Mamma says white candy is best for little girls.

(Clerk wraps stick of candy in paper, and takes the cent. Little girls walk away, hand in hand. Annie lets Celia taste. Celia and Annie go out.)

(Enter Mrs. Highfly, fashionably dressed, with trail, veil, waterfall, reticule, parasol, &c.)

Clerk (with polite bow). Good-morning, Mrs. Highfly.

Mrs. Highfly. Have you any canary-seeds? I wish to get some for my bird.

Clerk. We have all kinds of flower-seeds, ma’am.

Mrs. Highfly. Those won’t do. Have you nice prunes?

Clerk. We don’t keep prunes. We have some very nice squashes, ma’am. (Takes long-necked squash from behind the counter.)

Mrs. Highfly. What do you ask?

Clerk. Six cents a pound.

Mrs. Highfly. I’ll take half a one. My family is quite small.

[Pg 252]

Clerk. Can’t cut it, ma’am. It sells by wholesale.

Mrs. Highfly. I’ll try some other store.

[Exit Mrs. Highfly in displeasure.

(Enter nice Old Lady, dressed in black; white cap-frill shows under her bonnet: she carries a work-bag, and wears spectacles (without glasses); makes a little courtesy.)

Old Lady. Good-morning, sir. I’ve come to town, and I want to buy some sugar-plums for my grandchildren.

Clerk. Large or small kind?

Old Lady. Which are the best?

Clerk. Large ones are better for large children, and small for the small ones.

Old Lady (counts her fingers). Let me see. There’s Sarah Emeline and Polly and Jemima and John Alexander and Hiram,—five. I’ll take five cents’ worth, mixed. (Takes out from her bag five old-fashioned cents.)

Clerk. Yes’m. (Attempting to wrap them in paper, Old Lady watching him.) ’Twill come to just five cents.

Old Lady (opening bag). Drop them right in here. (Clerk drops them in.)

[Exit Old Lady.

(Enter Mr. Jones with tall hat, overcoat or dress-coat, cane, stand-up dicky, &c.)

Clerk. Good-morning, sir. Wish to trade to-day?

Mr. Jones. I wish to buy some toys for my children.

[Pg 253]

Clerk. How old are your children?

Mr. Jones. All ages.

Clerk. Would you like a whip, sir? (Shows one, snapping it.)

Mr. Jones. Well, a whip isn’t a very good thing to have in the house.

Clerk. Would you buy a ball? These will every one bounce. (Shows various kinds.)

Mr. Jones. No, sir. I’m about tired of setting glass.

Clerk. These are warranted not to break windows. But here’s a trumpet. A trumpet is a very pleasing toy. (Shows one, blowing it.)

Mr. Jones (with a wave of the hand). Don’t show me any thing that will make a noise.

Clerk. How would a hoop suit you? (Showing one.)

Mr. Jones. I couldn’t think of spending money for hoops. A barrel-hoop drives just as well.

Clerk. Have they got marbles?

Mr. Jones. Yes, plenty. My Sammy got one in his throat, and came very near being choked.

Clerk. Try a jumping-jack. (Holds one up, pulling the string.)

Mr. Jones. Oh! they’d soon break the string.

Clerk. How would a knife please them? (Shows one.)

Mr. Jones. Well enough. But they’d be sure to lose it, or cut themselves. Jemmy’s got six fingers tied up now.

Clerk. Are they supplied with boats? (Showing one.)

[Pg 254]

Mr. Jones. I never let my children sail boats, for fear of their being drowned.

Clerk. How is it about a kite?

Mr. Jones. Kites are likely to blow away.

Clerk. Perhaps you’d like something useful.

Mr. Jones. My children don’t like useful things.

Clerk. Here’s a good hatchet. (Shows hatchet.)

Mr. Jones. They’d hack my fruit-trees.

Clerk. A hammer?

Mr. Jones. Nails would be driven in everywhere.

Clerk. Buy a doll for your little girl. (Shows doll.)

Mr. Jones. She has a houseful now.

Clerk. A silver thimble?

Mr. Jones. A pewter one does as well to lose.

Clerk. You are a hard customer, sir.

Mr. Jones. Not at all. Your wares don’t suit me.

Clerk. We expect a new lot of toys in soon.

Mr. Jones (going). I’ll call again. Good-morning.

Clerk. Good-day, sir.

[Exit Mr. Jones.

Note.—If the part of the clerk is too long for one small boy to remember, another one dressed as the storekeeper, with gray whiskers and wig (made of curled hair), might come in and take his place when Mr. Jones enters. In this case the clerk should sit down and look over his account-books, and appear to write. If the conversation with Mr. Jones is too long, part of it may be omitted; and, if the articles mentioned are not at hand, others may be substituted.

[Pg 255]




Arthur, William Tell. Ned, the Tyrant. Tommy, Tell’s Son. George. Caroline, Lucy, Anna, Polly, Kate. Girls are dressed in white, with bright sashes, and have little flags. George has a larger flag.

Scene.Room in residence of Ned, Polly, and Tommy. Lunch-baskets, &c., on chairs. Polly sits, holding her hat, shawl, and sack. Tommy is seated on the floor, playing with marbles. Ned, a much larger boy, leans over a chair-back.

Ned (dolefully). We shall have to give it up, Polly. No May-party to-day. (Goes to window.)

Polly (earnestly). Oh! don’t you think the clouds will blow over?

Ned. The whole sky will have to blow over. It’s all lead-color.

Polly (sighing). Oh, dear, dear, dear!

(Voices heard outside. Enter, with a rush, Caroline, Lucy, Anna, Kate, George, and Arthur, with baskets,[Pg 256] tin pails, &c. The boys’ hats are trimmed with evergreen, the girls’ with wreaths and posies. The girls have baskets of flowers. Tommy leaves off playing with his marbles to watch the new-comers.)

George (throwing down a long coil of evergreen). Here we come!

Lucy (almost out of breath, and speaking fast). Yes, here we come, pell-mell! It’s going to pour!

Caroline (speaking just as Lucy finishes). Oh, how we have hurried! I felt a great drop fall on my nose.

Anna (speaking just as Caroline finishes). And think of our dresses!—span-clean white dresses!

Kate (speaking just as Anna finishes). No procession to-day!—no dancing around the May-pole!

(Arthur throws up his hat, and catches it. George does the same.)

Lucy. They got all that evergreen to trim the May-pole; and George brought his flag.

Ned. If it had only been pleasant to-day, I’d have let it rain a week afterward.

George (stepping to the window). There!—it pours! It’s lucky we hurried.

Polly. Now all of you stay here and keep May-day with us (clapping hands). Do, do!

Caroline. Will your mother like it?

Polly. I’ll go ask her. (Runs out.)

Ned. Anyway, you can’t go till it holds up. (Girls go to the window.)

Arthur. That may not be for a week. (Enter Polly in haste.)

Polly. She says we may do any thing but make ’lasses-candy.

[Pg 257]

Ned. The last time we made it, father said he found some in his slipper-toes.

(Girls take off hats and shawls, which, with baskets, &c., are placed in a corner. Some take seats with some confusion; others remain standing.)

Arthur. Now what shall we do with ourselves?

Ned. Let’s get up an entertainment. Tickets ten cents; grown folks, double price.

Kate. So I say; and call ourselves a “troupe,” or a “family,” or something.

George. Something that has a foreign sound.

Arthur. How would “Yotopski” do?

Caroline, Lucy, and Anna. Splendid!

Anna. Let’s call ourselves “The Yotopski Family.”

Lucy. But what shall we have for our entertainment?

Polly. I think tableaux are perfectly splendid.

Anna. Oh, I’ll tell you! Have the kind that winds up.

George. Why, all entertainments wind up when they are done.

Anna. I mean, have each one wound up with a key, and then they move.

Arthur. She means Mrs. Jarley’s Wax-works.

Ned. All right. We’ll have the winding kind.

Caroline. What wax-works shall we have?

Ned. We might have William Tell shooting the apple, for one.

Tommy. I’ve seen that! ’Twill take three to do that,—Mr. Tell, and his son, and the cross tyrant.

George. And the apple makes four.

[Pg 258]

Anna. Who’ll be Mr. Tell?—you, Ned?

Ned. No; I’d rather be the cross tyrant: I feel just right for that. Arthur’ll be Mr. Tell.

Arthur. Oh, yes! I’ll be Mr. Tell; and Tommy can be the boy. (Tommy moves toward the door.) Where are you going, Tommy?

Tommy (going out). After my bow’n’arrow.

Lucy (bringing an apple from her basket). Here’s the apple.

Caroline. What shall we do for a feather? Mr. Tell’s hat must have a feather.

Kate. Twist up a piece of newspaper. (Turns Arthur’s hat up at one side, and fastens it with a twist of paper, left open at the top.) There you have it! And Polly’s sack, turned wrong side out, will do for a tunic.

(Arthur puts on hat and sack. Sack is lined with a bright color, or with different colors.)

Polly. He ought to have a wide sash.

Lucy (taking off hers). Here, take mine!

Polly. Not that kind of a sash!

Anna. Oh, that won’t do!

Caroline. It should be a scarf.

Ned (tying sash at the side, around Arthur’s waist). Oh! never mind, we’re only rehearsing.

Lucy. How must the cross tyrant be dressed? Who knows?

Anna. The tyrant I saw had a cape hung on one shoulder. A shawl will do for that. (Brings shawl, which Ned hangs over his left shoulder.) Now, what must he wear on his head?

[Pg 259]

Lucy. I should think a tyrant ought to wear a tall hat.

Polly (going). I’ll get father’s.

Anna (to Polly). And something bright to put on it. I remember that part plainly.

George (calling after Polly). And something long, for a sword. (Exit Polly.)

Caroline. If the boys do that, can’t we girls make ourselves into wax-works?

Anna. Let’s be a May-day wax-work, singing and dancing round a May-pole.

George. I’ll be the pole.

Caroline. But you’re not long enough.

George (mounting a chair). Now I am!

Girls (laughing and clapping). Oh, yes; oh, yes! He’ll do! Trim him up; trim him up!

Ned (to George). Yes. Come down and be trimmed up.

(George steps down, stands erect, arms close to his body. Girls hand garlands. Ned winds them around George.)

Kate. Shall we hoist the flag?

Ned. Oh, yes! bring the flag. And here’s a string (taking ball of string out of pocket) to fasten it on with. (Ned fastens the flag-stick to George’s head by winding the string around, then helps him mount the chair.) Three cheers for the flag! Now,—One, two, three! (All cheer and clap.)

(Enter Polly with an old hat and a poker.)

Polly. Won’t this hat do? Mother can’t have father’s good one banged about.

[Pg 260]

George. Oh! that’s good enough. We’re only rehearsing. Did you get something bright?

(Ned puts on hat.)

Polly (taking out yellow bandanna handkerchief). Mother said this was quite bright.

Anna. Why, I meant something shiny, like a clasp, or a buckle.

Kate. No matter: we’re only rehearsing.

(Ned ties handkerchief round the hat, so that the corners hang down.)

Polly (hands the poker). Here’s your sword. That’s the longest thing I could find.

(All laugh. Ned seizes poker, and strikes a military attitude. Enter Tommy with bow and arrow.)

Tommy. Where shall I stand up?

Arthur. Come this way (leads Tommy to one side the stage; Ned follows). Ned, you must scowl and look fierce. Tommy, fold your arms, and stand still as a post.

(Puts apple on Tommy’s head, and takes aim with bow and arrow.)

Tommy. Oh, I’m afraid! Look out for my eyes! The arrow might go off!

Arthur. I’ll put the apple in the chair.

(Tommy stands motionless. Arthur aims at apple in the chair. Ned stands by with drawn sword; then all three resume their former position.)

Kate. Now, we girls must stand around the May-pole (they gather around the pole). Who’ll wind?

[Pg 261]

The Girls. You, you, you!

Polly. What a little circle! I wish we had more girls.

Kate. So do I. (To Anna.) How shall I wind up the wax-works?

Anna. The ones I saw all stood on a string, and the string led to a box; and, when the box was wound up, the wax-works began to act their parts. A door-key will do to wind with.

Kate. We’ll manage in the same way.

(Lays a long string on the floor, passes it under the feet of the wax-works, and drops the end of it in a work-box upon the table.)

Arthur. Don’t you think you girls ought to be holding your posies, and your flags, and your flower-baskets, and wearing your wreaths? They’ll make your wax-work look handsomer.

Caroline. So they will.

(Girls get their posies, little flags, and baskets, take wreaths from hats, and put them on their heads.)

Anna. You must take a key, and pretend to wind up the machinery. What song shall we sing?

Lucy. “The merry month of May” is perfectly splendid.

Caroline. I wonder if we know the words. Let’s try. (They sing a May-song.)

Kate. That’s a good song. Now then! All ready! Stand in your places (gets the door-key). Arms folded, Tommy! When I’ve done winding up, Arthur will begin to take aim, Ned will begin to scowl and to hold up his sword, and you girls will begin to[Pg 262] sing and dance around. Can’t you hold your hands high, so the flowers and flags will show? (Girls raise their hands.) That’s prettier. Now all stand just as still as real wax-works till the machinery is wound up; then begin. We’ll play, that, when I throw up my handkerchief, the curtain falls. Now!

(Kate winds the machinery, the actors remaining quiet. When the winding stops, they begin to perform their parts. When the dancers have danced twice around the circle, Kate throws up her handkerchief.)

(Curtain falls.)

(If desirable, more singing and dancing can be introduced under pretence of practising.)

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Transcriber’s Notes