The Project Gutenberg eBook of Clinton

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Title: Clinton

or, boy-life in the country

Author: Walter Aimwell

Release date: January 21, 2024 [eBook #72775]

Language: English

Original publication: Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1853

Credits: Bob Taylor, Richard Hulse and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



The Aimwell Stories


Walter Aimwell



Gould & Lincoln

The Aimwell Stories.






With Illustrations.


Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1853, by
Gould and Lincoln,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of

Stereotyper and Printer.


The story of Clinton is designed mainly to illustrate by example the importance of early habits of obedience and industry; the danger of mingling with unprincipled and vicious companions; and the necessity of being able to say no, when tempted to do wrong. It is also designed to awaken in boys a stronger taste for the quiet and innocent pursuits and pleasures of home-life,—a taste which can hardly be overestimated, as one of the Heaven-appointed safeguards of youthful virtue.

Winchester, Mass.



The Aimwell Stories” are designed to portray some of the leading phases of juvenile character, and to point out their tendencies to future good and evil. This they undertake to do, by describing the quiet, natural scenes and incidents of every-day life, in city and country, at home and abroad, at school and upon the play-ground, rather than by resorting to romantic adventures and startling effects. While their main object is to persuade the young to lay well the foundations of their characters, to win them to the ways of virtue, and to incite them to good deeds and noble aims, the attempt is also made to mingle amusing, curious and useful information with the moral lessons conveyed. It is hoped that the volumes will thus be made attractive and agreeable, as well as instructive, to the youthful reader.

Each volume of the “Aimwell Stories” will be complete and independent of itself, although a connecting thread will run through the whole series. The order of the volumes, so far as completed, is as follows:

I. Oscar; or, the Boy who had his Own Way.

II. Clinton; or, Boy-Life in the Country.

III. Ella; or, Turning over a New Leaf. (In preparation.)

[Pg v]


Description of Brookdale—The house where Clinton lived—Specimens of his ingenuity—His habit of finding out how to do things—Annie—Clinton’s mother—Keeping ducks—Clinton’s poultry—Keeping accounts—His profits—Obstinate Specky—Ducks bad mothers—The duck-house—No school—Studying at home—Clinton at work—A mysterious “but,” 13

Digging a duck-pond—Bantering—A talk about work—Going to the pond—Clinton’s hesitation—Afraid of being laughed at—Ridicule—He yields—Bathing—A merry time—Unpleasant thoughts—A sail proposed—Clinton’s remonstrance—His return home—His companions’ sport—Aground—Laughing at mischief—Character of Jerry and Oscar—Dangers ahead, 30

The little ducks—Their house and pond—Their first ducking—An exciting scene—The beautiful and the ridiculous—Winter wheat—Hard work—A welcome proposal—The Cross-Roads—Clinton’s errand—Oscar and Jerry—Gunning—The closed store—Another successful temptation—The river—The Falls—The[Pg vi] wood-road—The cigars—Temptation again—Why Clinton yielded—A new sensation—Starting for home—Another new sensation, not so pleasant—Arrival home—Sickness—Telling half the truth—Parental sympathy—What conscience said—Good-night, 43

The icicle—How evil habits are formed—Stealing pears—Discovery and flight—A call from Mr. Upham—A serious matter—A talk about punishment—The culprits discovered—The flogging of Oscar and Jerry—Its effects—Fire in the woods—Mr. Upham’s loss—His suspicions—The warrant—Arrest of Oscar and Jerry—Mr. Preston’s feelings—Arrival at Squire Walcott’s—A dreary hour, 61

The Justice of the Peace—Oscar’s arraignment—His feelings—The Squire’s advice—Reading of the complaint—Oscar’s plea—The witnesses—Mr. Preston’s opinion of the evidence—Decision reserved—Jerry’s examination—His confession—Oscar’s recall—His surprise—Bonds required, but not obtained—Oscar and the constable—A sad journey—The jail—The registry—Oscar’s cell—His supper—His father’s arrival at Brookdale—The case settled—Release from jail, 73

Mr. Preston’s absence—Jerry’s conduct—The rabbits—Disobedience—Its results—Fate of the rabbits—Lonesomeness of Jerry—His secret intimacy with Clinton—A dull scholar—Playing truant—A bad predicament—A plan of escape—Clinton to be a party—His objections—The real one not given—Coaxing and[Pg vii] entreaty—Indecision—Tampering with sin—The forged excuse—Its success, 87

How to conquer a hard lesson—Can and can’t—An important lesson—Clinton’s great mistake—His miserable position—The social party—Master Eaton and Mrs. Preston—Inquiries about Jerry—Unpleasant discoveries—A mystery—Suspicions—Foreboding of evil—Clinton’s guilt betrayed—Shame and grief—A request—The confession—Master Eaton’s opinion of the case—His advice—Jerry’s perplexity, 101

A peep at Clinton’s home—A talk about him—His return from school—Sober looks—Whittling—Story of a whittler—Clinton unburdens his mind—Parental admonitions—A father’s prayer—Clinton’s punishment—A lighter heart, 115

A visit from Mrs. Preston—Jerry’s theft and departure—His mother’s grief—Mr. Davenport’s advice—He starts in pursuit—His return—Feelings towards Jerry—Temptation not to be courted, 125

A long walk—The tavern—The bar-room—Jerry questioned—A good supper—Sleep—An early call—The stage ride—Waterville—The depot—A long[Pg viii] ride by railroad—Thoughts of home—Portland—Travelling by night—Arrival at Boston—Baggage checks—Carriages—Bare ground—Haymarket Square by gas-light—Hunting up quarters—The Hotel clerk—Jerry booked—A lofty bed-room, 132

A fine prospect—What next?—Oscar at sea—Breakfast—The waiters—Crowded streets—Novel sights—An omnibus incident—Shipping—The ferry-boat—People Jerry met—The wharf—No boys wanted—The outward-bound brig—An unexpected chance—Going to sea in a hurry—Jerry’s thoughtlessness, 147

Going down the harbor—The ocean—Jerry’s first lesson in nautical duties—Four-footed passengers—Seasickness—Repentings—Bob’s trick—Jerry’s tormentors—Going to bed—The forecastle—First night at sea—A rough morning-call—Scrubbing decks—Breakfast—Destination of the brig—An “Irishman’s hurricane”—Mother Carey’s chickens—Routine of work at sea—Iron discipline—A nap at the watch—Insolence cured—Dangerous associates, 158

Jerry missed at home—What Mary thought had become of him—A letter—Disappointment—Clinton’s visits—The snow-image—A painful contrast—Mary’s sickness—The doctor—Strange talk—Delirium—Recognition—Inquiries about Jerry—Mary’s vision—The last scene—The burial—Heaven, 174[Pg ix]

March—Clinton’s good conduct—An excursion proposed—Preparations—The outfit—An early start—Their destination—The forests—Plenty of wood—Its scarcity in Europe—Great stumps—A variety of trees—Their uses—Virtues of birch—Incident in Mr. Davenport’s school days—The oil of birch—Curious properties of the birch tree—Uncle Tim’s clearing, 186

Uncle Tim’s premises—His log house and barn—Dinner—Uncle Tim’s account of his settlement in the woods—A table turned into an arm-chair—Splints—Holes in the floor—The river—A sagacious dog—Bill and Jim—The barn—The crops—A great fire-place—Supper—A visit to the river—A talk with the boys—The settle—“I’ll try”—Uncle Tim’s stories—The three brothers—An alarm—A bad, but laughable predicament—Good done by a bear—Going to bed, 198

The journey resumed—Dreary scenes—Camping in the woods—Welcome sounds—The loggers’ quarters—Mr. Jones—Situation of the camp—Description of the cabins—Their interior—Return of the loggers from work—Supper—Exchange of provisions—Night in the camp—Going to work—The three gangs—Clinton’s rambles—Private marks on the logs—Evening stories—Log driving—Jams—How they are started—A fearful scene—Narrow escape—The great boom—How the logs are got out, 215[Pg x]

Starting for home—A logger’s life—Mr. Davenport’s opinion of it—Hard work and small pay—Mr. Jones’s history—The two boys—Contrast between their early habits—Henry Jones’s fatal error—Its consequences—A moose discovered—Its appearance—Fast travelling—Antlers of the moose—A moose-yard—Hunting moose—A moose at bay—Home again, 232

Early spring—A dull season for boys—Clinton in the shop—He makes a settle—The motto—Winter over—Work on the farm—Taking care of the garden—A bargain—Contest with weeds and bugs—Secrets of Clinton’s success—Going to the post-office—A boyish dispute—Play-ground rhymes—Their antiquity—The two letters—Curiosity excited—A letter from Jerry—Unpleasant question—Consulting the map, 245

Letter from Clinton’s uncle—Willie’s disappointment—An interesting case—Oscar’s career, after his release from jail—Joins a band of juvenile thieves—His arrest—Imprisonment—Denial of guilt—A dark future—Friendly messages—A wag of Bouncer’s tail—A bad beginning seldom makes a good ending—Working and thinking—A newspaper—Oscar’s conviction and sentence—The Reform School—Its inmates—The four classes—Class of “Truth and Honor”—Daily order of business—Employment—The probability of Oscar’s reforming—Clinton’s character retrieved—Conclusion, 260

[Pg xi]


Clinton’s Home FRONTISPIECE.
Map of Brookdale 14
The Boat Aground 38
The Fire in the Woods 69
Oscar in Jail 84
Clinton at the Fire-side 117
Haymarket Square 143
Sea-Sickness 162
The Snow Image 177
The Log House 199
The Loggers’ Camp 219
The Settle 248
Bouncer’s Tail 264
The Reform School 269

[Pg 13]



Most people on entering the little village of Brookdale for the first time, are struck with the beauty of its location. Those who were born there, and who have always lived in sight of its green hills, and pleasant valleys, and frolicsome rivulets, probably do not think so much of these things as does the stranger who happens to come among them, and who has an eye for the beauty of nature. Beautiful objects often lose their attractions when they become familiar to us. If a man were permitted to behold the splendors of a[Pg 14] clear evening firmament but once in his life-time, he would be almost enraptured with the sight; but give him the opportunity of gazing at the stars every cloudless night in the year, and he will seldom notice them.

Map of Brookdale

A range of high hills skirt the eastern side of Brookdale, and stretch away to the north, as far as the eye can reach. Towards the west, in a clear day, can be seen the shadowy form of a distant mountain, looking like a dim cloud on the horizon. Near the centre of the village is one of those beautiful little lakes, so common in the State of Maine. Several rivulets, fed by[Pg 15] springs in the hills, flow through the village during the greater portion of the year, and empty their sparkling waters into this lake, or pond as it is generally called. It is from this circumstance that the town is called Brookdale.

It was near the foot of one of the hills in this pleasant little village, in a snug farm-house a story and a half high, that Clinton lived. Mr. Davenport, his father, had formerly been a carpenter in another part of the State; but having a taste for farming, he gave up his trade after he had accumulated a little property, and bought the place of which we are speaking. He brought with him, however, a great variety of carpenter’s tools, and had a room fitted up for a workshop, where he often did little jobs for himself or some neighbor, when a rainy day kept him indoors. This room was in the rear of the house, adjoining the pantry, so that it was not necessary to go out of the house to reach it. Clinton spent a great many happy hours in this shop; for though he was only thirteen years old, he had considerable mechanical skill, and could handle the plane, the saw, the bit, and most of the other tools, in quite a workmanlike style. As he was[Pg 16] careful not to injure the tools, his father allowed him to use them whenever he wished.

There were some very creditable specimens of Clinton’s skill at carpentry about the house, which he took no little pride in showing to visitors, as well he might. For instance, there was the martin-house, on a tall pole in the garden, which was a complete miniature model of the farm-house itself, including the long “kitchen-end” in the rear. To make the resemblance as close as possible, Clinton gave this bird-house two coats of white paint, and also painted imitation windows in black. On the barn there was another tall, straight staff, with a vane representing a prancing horse, all the work of Clinton’s own hands. The trellises on each side of the front door of the house which supported the climbing roses and honeysuckles, were likewise his handiwork.

Clinton did not like to have any one show him how to do a thing, if he could possibly get along without it. I suppose it was for this reason that he never wanted others to know what he was at work upon, until it was completed. His father would sometimes laugh at him on this account, and repeat to him the saying of Doctor[Pg 17] Franklin, that the man who depends on teaching himself will have a fool for his master. But this did not move Clinton in his resolution. It is a good plan to profit as much as we can by the experience and advice of others; but after all, there are many things to which this rule will not apply. The boy who works out a hard sum alone, and refuses to let any one show him how to do it, will derive much more benefit from the exercise than though he had been assisted by others. So, no doubt, Clinton owed no little of his skill in carpentry to the fact that he did not run to his father for advice and assistance every time he met with a little difficulty.

Clinton had one sister, but no brothers; her name was Annie; and she was seven years younger than her brother. She was a beautiful child, with large, blue eyes full of confidence and love, a fat, rosy face, and hair that hung in golden curls about her white shoulders. She was all gentleness and affection, and was the pet and favorite of the household. No boy of his age ever loved a sister more than Clinton did his. Though she was so much younger than himself, he spent much of his time with her, joining in sports in[Pg 18] which she could take a part, or making playthings for her amusement. It was very rarely that he allowed himself to use an unkind or impatient word toward her; and when he did, he was sure to repent of it, for he could not bear the silent and sorrowful reproach of those eyes. Annie, for her part, was proud of her brother, and returned, with interest, all the affection he bestowed upon her. She was sure that no other little girl in Brookdale had such a brother; and when this subject was talked about after school one day, she was not a little offended with Susan Lovering, because she persisted in maintaining that her brother Herbert was just as good and as ingenious a boy as Clinton Davenport. Annie thought the idea absurd, and it was some time before she could forgive Susan for making such a remark.

The only other inmate of the house I have described, was Clinton’s mother. Mrs. Davenport was an excellent woman, gentle and lady-like in her manners, and extremely fond of her children. Mr. Davenport employed one or two hired men on his farm a portion of the year, but they did not live with the family.

[Pg 19]

“Father,” said Clinton one day, on coming home from the mill, and before he had alighted from the wagon, “Father, may I keep some ducks?”

“Ducks! what do you want of them, Clinty?” inquired his father.

“Why, I’ve just seen Jerry Preston, and he’s got some real handsome ones, and he says I may have four of them for a dollar.”

“Yes, but that isn’t answering my question. No doubt Jerry would be glad to sell his ducks, but what do you want of them, and what will you do with them? We must always think of these things before we buy anything. I am not so sure but that if you had the ducks you would be almost as badly off as the man who came into possession of an elephant, which he could not keep, sell, nor give away.”

“Why, father,” replied Clinton, “I can build a little house to keep them in, down by the side of the brook, and Jerry says they will lay more than eggs enough to pay for their keeping. They don’t need so much grain as hens do. They look real handsome, too, sailing on the water.”

“Well, if you are willing to pay for them out of[Pg 20] your own money, and will provide a suitable place for them, I don’t know as I shall object to your keeping a few. But it seems to me you might make a better bargain than you propose. Won’t Jerry sell you some eggs?”

“I don’t know as he has any, yet, for he has just begun to keep ducks; but I will ask him.”

“Do so,” said Mr. Davenport, “and if he will sell you a dozen, at a reasonable price, you may buy them.”

“But of what use will the eggs be, father, without a duck to hatch them?” inquired Clinton.

“Never mind about that now,” replied his father, “you get the eggs first, and then we will see what we can do with them.”

Clinton was already somewhat largely interested in the poultry line. When he was nine years old, his father gave him all the fowls belonging to the farm, on condition that he should assume the whole charge of them, and take good care of them. There were in all about twenty hens and chickens, and half a dozen young turkeys. Mr. Davenport agreed to pay Clinton for all the eggs and poultry they needed for the table,[Pg 21] but Clinton must purchase with his own money whatever was necessary for the subsistence of the fowls. Clinton was much pleased with this arrangement; and as he knew that when men engage in business they usually keep account books, in which they record all the sums they spend or receive, he procured a few sheets of paper, with which he made a little blank book, for this purpose. His first entry was simply an enumeration of his fowls, with an estimate of their value; or, as the merchant would call it, a schedule of his stock in trade. It was as follows:—

Commenced this account July 18th, 1847, with the following fowls:—

1 rooster and 8 hens, (old), worth 30 cts. each, $2,70
10 pullets, 40 4,00
6 turkeys, 75 4,50
Total value, $11,20

Whenever he sold any eggs, he entered the date, the number sold, and the price, on a page which he reserved for this purpose. On the opposite page, he set down the sums which he paid his father for the corn and meal consumed by his fowls. At the end of the first year, he struck a balance, to use a mercantile[Pg 22] expression; that is, he added up the various sums he had received and spent, and ascertained how much he had made by the year’s operations. His account stood thus:—

Value of fowls on hand one year ago $11,20
12 bushels corn, at 75 cts. 9,00
6 meal, at 80 cts. 4,80
4 barley, at 60 cts. 2,40
2 potatoes, at 40 cts. 80
Meat 92
Total cost $29,12
Now on hand, 2 roosters and 32 hens and pullets, worth 36 cents each $12,24
9 turkeys, worth 75 cts. each 6,75
150 dozen eggs sold 22,50
10 hens and chickens sold, 36 cts. each 3,60
6 turkeys sold at 83⅓ cts. each 5,00
2 loads manure 2,50
Total value $52,59
Expenses 29,12
Profit $23,47

[Pg 23]

Of this profit, $18,99 was in the shape of hens and turkeys, and $4,48 in ready cash, safely deposited in the old bureau drawer, in Clinton’s bed-room.

The second year, Clinton made a much larger profit on his poultry, his father having given him a patch of ground, where he raised with his own hand a crop of corn sufficient to carry his fowls through the year. At the end of this year, he had about $30,00 in money, which his fowls had earned for him; and as he continued every year to raise his own grain, when he was thirteen years old, he had about $75,00 in cash, which, at his request, his father had deposited in a bank in Portland, where it earned him interest. In addition to this, he had about $25,00 worth of hens and turkeys; so that the $11,20 worth of fowls which his father gave him, had, by his own industry and prudence, swelled into $100 in four years.

The same afternoon on which the conversation upon ducks was held, Clinton managed to run over to Jerry’s again, to see if he could procure the eggs. Jerry told him he had not now got enough for a litter, but would be able to supply him in a few days. Clinton[Pg 24] therefore engaged the first dozen he should have, for which he agreed to pay 25 cents.

“Now, father,” said Clinton a few days after, as he uncovered the box of eggs for which he had bargained, “now I am ready for you.”

“You don’t need any assistance,” replied Mr. Davenport; “all you have got to do, now, is to give the eggs to Specky, and she will do the rest.”

Specky was one of Clinton’s hens, and this name was given to her, on account of her speckled feathers. She had recently taken it into her head that she wanted to raise a family of little Speckies; but as Clinton did not happen to coincide with her in this matter, she had done nothing but make herself miserable for several days. Every chance she could get, she would jump into the nest, and commence setting, as though she were determined to bring a chicken out of the chalk nest-egg. When Clinton approached to take her off the nest, she would scream and cluck with all her might, which I suppose was her way of scolding; and when he put her down, she would squat upon the ground, and refuse to budge an inch. He was[Pg 25] obliged to shut her up alone in a little coop, to reform her bad manners; but she had not got over her stubbornness, at the time Mr. Davenport told Clinton to let her take charge of the ducks’ eggs.

“But,” said Clinton, on receiving this direction, “will she set on those eggs?”

“Yes,” replied his father, “she will set on any thing that looks like an egg, and be glad of the chance, too. And besides, she will make a better mother to the little ducklings than their real mother would prove. The duck is so fond of the water, that when she once gets into it, she is apt to forget all about her eggs, until they get cold, and are spoilt. And if she should not fall into this blunder, and hatches her brood successfully, the first thing she does is to give the poor, weak things a cold bath, no matter how chilly or stormy it is. They can’t stand this rough treatment very well, and for this reason it is better to let hens do the setting and hatching, when there are any ducks to be raised.”

All this was new to Clinton, as he had never had any experience in the management of the duck family. He followed his father’s directions, however, and as[Pg 26] madame Specky seemed delighted with the arrangement, he was satisfied. The next day, he set about building a house for the expected new comers, down in the meadow, by the side of the brook. This was something of an undertaking, for a boy of his age, but he took hold with a right good will, and by devoting to it all the time he could spare from his other duties, he had it completed, and ready for the ducks to move into, long before they had begun to show their heads.

At this time Clinton was not attending school, for the very good reason that there was no school in the place. The law of the State only required that every town should support a public school three months in the year; and as Brookdale had but a small and scattered population, the people did not think it advisable to continue their school any longer than the winter term, which lasted from the first of December to the first of March. During this season of the year, the lads and lasses of all ages, from six or seven years up to eighteen or twenty, turned out and attended the same school, and made the most of their brief opportunities for acquiring knowledge.

But though there were nine months of every year[Pg 27] that Clinton did not attend school, he was not allowed to neglect his studies, during these long vacations. Both of his parents had received good educations in their youth, and they knew too well the value of the benefits thus secured, to allow their children to grow up in ignorance. Mrs. Davenport had once been a teacher herself, and it was now but a pleasant task to give Clinton and Annie their daily lessons, and to listen to their recitations. Mr. Davenport, too, had taught a school for one or two terms, when a young man. The branches which Clinton was now studying, were reading, writing, arithmetic, and grammar. He was required to devote two hours to his studies, each day, no matter how much work he had to do, or how much he wanted to play. In the evening his mother heard him recite, and gave him such assistance as he needed. In this way, he made considerable progress in his studies, though perhaps he did not learn as fast as he could had he enjoyed school privileges all the time. During the portion of the year he attended school, he always ranked above other boys of his own age, and was considered one of the best scholars in town.

Clinton also performed a good deal of work for his[Pg 28] parents, when he did not attend school. In the spring he used to drive the ploughing team, while his father or the hired man guided the plough through the soil. He likewise made himself very handy in planting season; and in mid-summer he could rake the hay or hoe the corn and potatoes, almost as well as a man. He knew how to build a stone-wall, or to make a compost-heap, or to litter and feed the oxen, or to chop wood; for all these things, and many others, he had been taught to do. He was not required to labor too hard, or too long at one time; but his father wished him to learn to work while young, believing he would be happier if he had some useful employment for a portion of his leisure time. And Clinton found this to be true. He not only learned a great many useful things, from his daily labors, but he found that after working a few hours, he could enjoy his sports with much more zest than if he had idled away all his time in trying to amuse himself. Besides, it was no little satisfaction to know that he could be of some service to his parents, to whose care and affection he was so greatly indebted.

It was thus between work, study and play, that Clinton[Pg 29] divided his time. He was an intelligent, kind-hearted, good-natured, and well-meaning boy, but——well, we will for the present drop the vail of charity over the unpleasant truth which belongs to the other side of that “but.”

[Pg 30]


After Clinton had finished his duck-house, he noticed that the water was getting quite low in the brook. It was the month of August, and the season had been very hot and dry, so that the springs in the hills, which fed the brook, had almost given out. While he was thinking what his ducks would do for water if the brook should dry entirely up, it occurred to him that he might make a little pond, to be filled from the brook, which would afford a good place for his ducks to swim, and might also prolong the supply of water. Having obtained his father’s consent, he set about the job at once. He was busily at work, digging out the peat or mud for this pond, one warm afternoon, when he happened to look up and saw two boys by the side of him. As their eyes met, one of them exclaimed,—

“An’ faith, Patrick, what are ye after doin’ now?[Pg 31] Is it for goold ye are diggin’, sure? or are ye goin’ to make a river of the brook? Why don’t ye spake, ye bogtrotter, hey?”

Clinton laughed at this rough salutation, but perhaps he felt that there was a slight tinge of unkindness in the joke, as he turned his eye from the neat dress of the speaker, to his own heavy boots loaded with mud, and his coarse and well-worn pantaloons, the bottoms of which were tucked into his boots.

“But you do look just like a Paddy, Clin, I’ll leave it to Jerry if you don’t,” continued the speaker, who was a cousin of Jerry Preston’s, and was named Oscar.

Jerry agreed that it was so. “But,” he continued, “what are you trying to make, Clin? I should really like to know.”

“Wait a few days and you will see,” replied Clinton.

“The same old story,” said Oscar, “‘wait and you’ll see;’ you needn’t think you can get anything more than that out of him, Jerry.”

“I guess he has taken a contract to dig a cellar for somebody,” continued Jerry. “See him put in!” he added, as Clinton resumed his work.

“And I guess,” said Oscar, “that he isn’t making[Pg 32] anything in particular, but is only digging for amusement. What capital fun it must be to dig mud this warm day!”

Clinton made no reply to their bantering, but kept on digging. After a minute’s pause, Jerry resumed the conversation by saying,—

“Clin, you are the queerest fellow I ever saw.”

“How so?” inquired Clinton.

“Why, I never come over here but I find you hard at work about something or other. You must love to work better than I do.”

“Yes, and such work, too,” chimed in Oscar; “you’re making a complete clodhopper of yourself. You’ll be an old man before you are a young one, if you don’t mind. Why doesn’t your father make his men do this hard drudgery, instead of putting it upon you?”

“My father doesn’t make me do this work,” replied Clinton, with some spirit; “I’m doing it for myself, and of my own accord.”

“I suppose your father doesn’t make you work at all,” said Oscar, with a sneer in his look and voice, which Clinton could not fail to observe.

[Pg 33]

“Yes, he does require me to work,” replied Clinton, “but no more than I ought to. I have plenty of time for play, besides having a little left for study, too, which is more than some boys, that I know, can say.”

“Yes,” resumed Oscar, “when you aint hard at work, digging like an Irishman, your father makes you sit down in the house, and mope over your books. I’m glad I havn’t got such a father to stand over me; aint you, Jerry?”

“I am so,” replied Jerry. “I don’t believe in making slaves of boys. It is time enough to go to work when we get to be men. I mean to enjoy myself while I am young, if I don’t any other time. But come, Oscar, we’ve stopped here long enough,—let’s be going.”

“Well, I’m ready,” said Oscar, and they began to start. Clinton, seeing that they were not directing their steps homeward, inquired where they were going.

“Over to the pond,” replied Jerry, “to have a swim. Come, wont you go too, Clinton?” he added.

“Yes, come with us, Clin,” said Oscar; “we shall have a first-rate time; and as you say you can play as[Pg 34] much as you please, there’s nothing to prevent your going.”

Clinton did want to go with them, but his parents and Annie had gone away that afternoon, leaving the house in his charge, and he thought it would not be right to leave the premises. It was true, he was not expressly told not to go off; but Clinton knew his father expected him to remain about the house until their return, as he had left a message to be delivered to Mr. Hardy, the blacksmith, who was to call at Mr. Davenport’s that afternoon. So, after a moment’s hesitation, Clinton answered,—

“I should like to go, but I don’t see how I can to-day.”

“Why not?” both Oscar and Jerry inquired, at the same instant.

Clinton did not like to tell them his reason, for fear they would laugh him out of it. He could not bear to be ridiculed, and these boys knew it; for whenever they wished to persuade him to do anything he was not inclined to do, they generally resorted to this weapon to effect their object. Accordingly, they began to try its virtues in the present case. They asked[Pg 35] him if he was afraid to go out of sight of the house without his father’s leave, and how long he expected to be tied to his mother’s apron-strings. They had proceeded in this strain but a few moments, when Clinton’s’ resolution began to give out. He at first warmly denied that he was afraid to go; and a moment after, as if to convince them that it was not fear that kept him at home, he threw down his shovel, and exclaimed,—

“I don’t care,—I believe I will go, too.”

So, exchanging his thick boots for a light pair of shoes, he started for the pond with the other boys. It was not a very long walk,—taking the shortest path through the fields,—and they were soon tumbling and plunging about in the cool water, in high glee. Judging from their shouts of laughter, and the merry splashing they made in the calm lake, you would have supposed they were a happy set of boys. But Clinton, at least, was not quite so happy as he seemed. Something in his breast told him that he had done wrong in yielding to the solicitations of his comrades. The louder he laughed, the more plainly did he hear the voice within, saying, “Ah! Clinton, you have made a[Pg 36] false step; you have yielded to a foolish temptation; you have disobeyed your father; you have betrayed his confidence,—and all for a few moments’ gratification.” He tried to drive these unpleasant thoughts from his mind, but they would not leave him. He was careful, however, not to let his companions see any traces of his uneasiness.

When they had been in the water nearly an hour, Clinton proposed returning home; but neither Oscar nor Jerry seemed inclined to do so. After waiting a little longer, Clinton concluded to go home alone, and proceeded to dry and dress himself. The other boys were so absorbed in their sport, that they scarcely noticed what he was doing.

Just as Clinton was about to start for home, Oscar took it into his head to have a sail on the lake. There was a sail-boat anchored a little way from the shore, near where they were bathing, which belonged to Squire Walcott. Oscar proposed to take possession of this boat, and Jerry readily fell in with his plan. The water where the boat lay was so shallow they could wade out to it; so they proceeded to dress themselves, preparatory to their excursion. Clinton knew that the[Pg 37] Squire was very obliging, and was always willing to lend his boat to any one who knew how to manage it; and he was sorry that the boys were going to take it without leave. Indeed, he even remonstrated with them about it. But the only reply he got, was this from Oscar:—

“Who cares for old Walcott? Besides, he needn’t know anything about it, unless you go and tell him. You may go home, if you choose, but I’m bound to have a sail.”

Clinton got home before his parents returned; and, fortunately for him, Mr. Hardy came along soon after, and the message was delivered, so that this burden was removed from his conscience. He did not, however, feel exactly right in his mind; for though no harm had resulted from his absence, he had been guilty of something like a breach of trust, and his conscience continued to reprove him.

The boat aground

Jerry and Oscar amused themselves on the pond, for an hour longer; but though both of them attempted to act the skipper, neither knew much about managing a boat, and the result was, they run themselves aground, at a place where the bottom was soft mud, and were[Pg 38] unable to get afloat again. It was half a mile from their starting place, and they did not know how they should get the boat back to its anchoring ground. They got into the water, and tried to push it off, but it refused to go. At length, wearied with their exertions, and with their clothes wet and dirty, they concluded to wade ashore, and leave the stolen boat to take care of itself. In going home, they avoided the road, as much as possible, and skulked through the woods, lest they[Pg 39] should be seen; but after they had reached their home, and considered themselves beyond the danger of discovery, they began to treat the affair as a joke, and laughed to think how mad “old Walcott” would be, when he found his boat aground, half a mile from the place where it belonged. They did not seem to realize that they had acted meanly and wickedly, in taking possession without leave, of Squire Walcott’s boat, and in leaving it aground, without informing him of its whereabouts. If they could escape detection, it mattered little to them whether their conduct had been right or wrong.

These two boys were unlike Clinton, in many respects. Jerry,—or, to give, him his full name, Jeremiah Preston,—lived in the nearest farm-house to Mr. Davenport’s.[1] There was more than half a mile’s distance between the two families; but as there were no nearer neighbors, they were on pretty intimate terms. Jerry was but a few months older than Clinton, and the two boys had been playmates almost from the cradle. Mr. Preston was engaged in the logging[Pg 40] and lumbering business, which required him to be away from home, in the forests, a large portion of the year. As Jerry’s mother did not succeed very well in governing her household, the long and frequent absences of Mr. Preston from his family were unfortunate for the children, especially for Jerry, who was the eldest child, and the only son. During the few months of each year the father spent at home, he was more inclined to humor his children, than to train them to obedience. Sometimes, it is true, in a moment of passion, he would punish Jerry severely, for some offence; but at another time, he would entirely overlook a much more serious fault. Under the influence of this bad training, it is not strange that Jerry was getting to be an ungovernable and mischievous boy.

Oscar Preston was a cousin to Jerry, who had recently come from Boston, to spend a few months in Brookdale. He was about a year older than Jerry, in age, but was several years his senior in bad habits. He had in fact become almost unmanageable at home, and it was on this account, as well as to get him away from the evil influences of the city, that his father sent him into the country. He had never been taught to[Pg 41] labor, and as he now had nothing to do, and there was no school to attend, and no one to restrain him, he did not seem to grow much better by his banishment from home. It is said that idleness is the mother of mischief, and Oscar furnished daily proof of the truth of the saying. His adventure with the boat is but a specimen of the way in which he amused himself.

The influence of Oscar Preston upon the other boys in the village, and especially upon Jerry, from whom he was seldom separated, soon became very perceptible. He had seen more of the world than they, and never wearied of telling of the wonders of the city, often exaggerating his stories, to make them the more marvellous. In addition to this, he was naturally bright and intelligent, and was more genteelly dressed than the village boys; but the qualities that contributed most to his influence over his associates, were his daring spirit, and his imperious, commanding bearing, which seemed to mark him for a leader. But he had been permitted to have his own way so long at home, that he had become headstrong and unmanageable; and his evil passions were daily growing stronger, while the voice of conscience within him was[Pg 42] as rapidly becoming weaker. It is sad, indeed, to see a youth growing up in this manner, for he is like the sailor who should go to sea in a frail boat, without anchor, rudder, or compass. He may be delivered from early destruction, through the mercy of Providence, but he will not escape many struggles and losses.


[1] See the map on page 14. Clinton’s home is numbered 1, and Jerry’s 2. The building numbered 3 is the school-house.

[Pg 43]


Clinton’s brood of ducks at length made their appearance, just one month after he had put the eggs to the hen. There were eight of them, four of the eggs having produced nothing. If madame Specky was a little astonished at the singular appearance which her children presented, she kept it all to herself, like a good, prudent mother, for she behaved toward them just the same as though they were ordinary chickens. She did not appear to think anything strange of their large bills, or their clumsy, webbed feet, or their awkward, waddling gait. If a dog or cat ventured near them, or a hawk happened to sail through the air, hen never put on bolder front than did mistress Specky. And there was need enough for all her courage, for her young family had so little[Pg 44] control over their big feet, that they never could have saved themselves by their legs, had a foe invaded the premises.

For several days after the ducks were hatched, they continued about the poultry-yard, ignorant as yet that there was such a thing as water, except as they had made its acquaintance in the little tin pan from which they were accustomed to drink. Clinton’s father had told him that it was a good plan to keep them from water for the first three or four days, as they were so tender as to be easily injured by cold and dampness. On the fifth day, Clinton concluded to introduce them to their new home; so, gathering up the ducklings into a basket, and taking the hen under his arm, he carried them down to the brook, where he had made the duck-house and pond before-mentioned. It was now about the middle of September, and the brook was nearly dry; but the little round pond contained plenty of water. This pond received all the water that came down in the brook; and there was a dam, at the lower side of it, so that the water could not pass on its way, until it had filled the pond, and flowed over the dam. The pond was thus kept full, all the time, but it could[Pg 45] be easily emptied, when necessary, by opening a gate which Clinton had made in the dam.

Clinton had no sooner deposited his basket of ducklings by the side of the pond, than they all seemed possessed to get into the water. Away they ran, pell mell, and before their cautious and anxious mother could warn them of their danger, every one of them had launched away into the new element. And now they were as graceful and beautiful as they had been ungainly and ugly. They glided along over the water as naturally and elegantly as does the new ship on its first entrance upon its destined element. Annie, who had come to witness the scene, was delighted with the sight, and clapped her hands in glee, exclaiming:—

“O, isn’t it beautiful, Clinty? Look! look! see that cunning little one duck its head into the water!”

“Yes,” said Clinton, without turning to look at the sight which so pleased Annie, “yes, and only see what a fuss the old hen is making on the bank! Look quick! Ha, ha, ha!” and the boy, whose love of the ludicrous was as strong as his sister’s love of the beautiful, burst into a hearty laugh. Nor did he laugh without a reason. Madame Specky, good, honest old[Pg 46] hen that she was, had never seen such strange doings before, and she was greatly alarmed for the safety of her brood. So she stood by the side of the pond, clucking and calling with all her might, and with her wings partially opened, as if to receive back her naughty children. Her neck was stretched out yearningly towards them, and she was so excited that she could not stand still a moment, but kept dancing, like a boy whose legs are undergoing that peculiar tingling sensation produced by a smart switching with a birch rod. There was horror in her eye, and frenzy in her attitude. But the little ducks, who were the innocent authors of all this alarm, were sailing about as calmly as though nothing unusual had happened. Clinton and Annie remained with them a long time, now admiring the graceful movements of the ducks, and now laughing at the distraction of the old hen, as she tried in vain to call them ashore. After a while, Clinton carried them all to the duck-house, and shut them up for the remainder of the day, that they might get used to their new home.

Mr. Davenport was at this time engaged in getting a piece of land ready for a crop of winter wheat, and[Pg 47] he required the assistance of Clinton a considerable portion of each day. The field had to be broken up and manured, and the soil finely pulverized, to prepare it for the seed, which must be sown early in the fall, and not in the spring, like most other seeds. Mr. Davenport always did thoroughly whatever he undertook. His motto was, “If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well;” and a very good motto it is. Clinton sometimes thought his father was more particular about his work than was necessary; he certainly took more pains than some of his neighbors did. But somehow or other, he always seemed to get paid back liberally for his extra care, by better and larger crops than those could show who were less particular about their work. Mr. Davenport was especially anxious to have the ground well prepared for this crop, because it was an experiment; he never before having attempted to raise winter wheat. Indeed, but very little of this grain had ever been raised in the State, and it was yet uncertain whether the climate was favorable to its production. He therefore determined to give it a fair trial, not only to satisfy his own mind, but that others might be benefited by the[Pg 48] experiment; for if he and his neighbors could raise their own flour, instead of sending several hundred miles for it, he thought it was very important that they should know it. Were it not for such men as he, who are willing to enter into patient and careful experiments, for the common benefit, the world would make but slow progress in improvement.

The land was at length about ready for the seed. Clinton had worked pretty hard for several days, and as the family arose from their noon meal, Mr. Davenport said:—

“Well, Clinty, I hope you wont get sick of raising wheat before we have planted it. You have had a pretty hard time, and I think you must be tired. You need not go into the field this afternoon, but you may tackle up Fanny, and drive over to Mr. Fletcher’s, and get the seed-wheat that I bought of him. Get back as early as you can, as I want to have the seed cleaned to-night, and ready to put into the ground to-morrow morning.”

Clinton was not sorry to hear this announcement of his afternoon’s work; for though he was not a lazy boy, it really seemed to him, that just then a ride to the[Pg 49] Cross-Roads would be quite as pleasant as an afternoon spent at work in the field. So Fanny was soon harnessed into the wagon, and Clinton started on his errand.

Mr. Fletcher was a trader, who kept a store at the Cross-Roads,—a place where two of the main highways of the county cross each other at right angles, thus ✛.[2] Quite a thrifty little village had sprung up at this point, boasting, among other things, a school-house, a church, a post-office, and a “variety store.” It was, in fact, the centre of life and business for the surrounding dozen miles. Though about five miles from Mr. Davenport’s house, there was no other store or church within twice the distance. His family, consequently, had almost come to regard the Cross-Roads settlement as a part of their own village, though it was actually situated in another township.

Clinton had not driven half way to his destination, when he discovered two lads in advance of him, walking the same way he was going. On coming up with them, he found that they were Oscar and Jerry, who[Pg 50] were out on a gunning excursion,—Oscar having borrowed a fowling-piece of a young man who lived near Mr. Preston’s.

“Halloo, Clin, give us a ride,” exclaimed Oscar, as the wagon drew up to them; and without further ceremony, both boys jumped into the vehicle.

“Where are you going?” inquired Clinton, as he started the horse.

“O, wherever you please,—we are not at all particular,” replied Oscar. “Jerry and I have been trying to pop off some birds, this afternoon, but the little fools won’t stop long enough to let us shoot them.”

“I’m glad of it,” replied Clinton, dryly.

“Why are you glad?” asked Jerry.

“Because it’s too bad to shoot them,” replied Clinton. “I like to see and hear them too well, to harm them. If I could have my way, there shouldn’t be a bird shot, unless they were crows or hawks, or something of that kind.”

“Pooh,” said Oscar; “I should like to know what birds were made for, if it wasn’t to be shot. You don’t know what fine sport it is to shoot them, or you would be as fond of gunning as I am.”

[Pg 51]

Oscar had probably shot half a dozen poor little birds in the course of his life, and severely frightened as many more. But he had got the idea that gunning was a fine, manly amusement, and he already fancied himself to be quite an accomplished sportsman. And if the disposition could have made him a successful hunter, he would have been one; for he wanted to take the life of every bird and squirrel that he saw. He soon found, however, that it was easier to fire than to hit; and in most of his excursions, his powder-flask was emptied much faster than his game-bag was filled.

The boys continued their conversation, and soon reached the Cross-Roads. Driving the wagon up to Mr. Fletcher’s store, Clinton alighted, but on trying the door, he found it locked. Mr. Fletcher had evidently stepped out for a few minutes, and Clinton was about to hitch the horse to the post, and await his return, when Oscar proposed driving round to the “Falls,” instead of waiting there. Clinton at first refused; but Jerry and Oscar both joined in the request so earnestly, that he soon began to parley and hesitate, and finally ended by reluctantly yielding to their[Pg 52] proposition. He accordingly jumped into the wagon, and turned the face of Fanny towards the Falls.

The lake, or pond, which has been before alluded to, has one outlet,—a little stream which flows away in a south-westerly direction, finally discharging into a larger river, which finds its way to the ocean. This little stream, which goes by the simple name of “The River,” in Brookdale, passes near by the Cross-Roads. About a mile beyond that village, it comes to a wild, romantic, down-hill place, where the waters tumble about, and frolic among the rocks, as though they really enjoyed the sport. This place is called “The Falls,” the descent of the river here being very marked. It is off from the common roads, the only way of reaching it being by a “wood-road,”—a sort of path through the forest, used by the teams in hauling wood. The very seclusion of the spot, however, made it the more charming, and it was often resorted to by pleasure parties in the summer.

The road through the woods being narrow and rough, Clinton could not drive very swiftly; but he and his companions talked fast enough to make up for their slow progress. They had not proceeded very[Pg 53] far in this road, when Oscar drew from his pocket a small package, enveloped in a piece of paper, which he began to unroll slowly, and with a very knowing and significant look. The contents proved to be three cigars. Holding them out in his hand, he exclaimed:—

“How lucky! just one a-piece. Now, boys, for a good smoke. Take one, Clin; and here, Jerry, is one for you.”

Jerry took the cigar offered, but Clinton shook his head, saying that he did not smoke.

“You don’t know what you lose, then,” said Oscar. “I’ve smoked these two or three years, and I couldn’t live without my cigar, now. You can’t imagine how much pleasure there is in it. Come, just try this, and see if it isn’t nice.”

“No,” replied Clinton, “I don’t wish to. Father hates tobacco, in every shape, and he wouldn’t like it if he knew I smoked.”

“But this is all prejudice,” added Oscar. “Smoking never hurt me, yet, and nobody can make me believe that there is any harm in it. I felt a little sickish for a few minutes, the first time, but that was nothing. Come, try it, Clin,” he added, as he drew a match from[Pg 54] his pocket, and lighted his own cigar; “try it—it can’t hurt you,—and besides, your father needn’t know anything about it.”

“Here goes mine,” said Jerry, as he touched off a match, and applied the fire to his cigar. “My father wont object, I know, for he smokes himself like everything; and if he did object, I guess it wouldn’t make much difference. I don’t intend to be a boy all my life-time.”

The two young smokers were soon puffing away in good earnest. Oscar was an old hand at the business, and Jerry had been practising pretty diligently since his city cousin came to live with him. Between each whiff, however, they renewed their assaults upon the good resolution of their comrade; and so skilfully and perseveringly did they conduct the attack, that Clinton, after a while, began to think it looked a little unsocial and obstinate to refuse to participate in their enjoyment. By the time they had reached the Falls, he had concluded to yield to their wishes. He accordingly drove Fanny into the water, and unhitched her bridle, that she might drink and cool herself. The three boys then threw themselves[Pg 55] down upon the grass, beneath a large tree, and prepared to enjoy the scene, and at the same time repose their limbs. Clinton lighted his cigar,—and now commenced his first experience in tobacco. He was pleased with the new sensation; and as he lay upon his back, watching the delicate wreaths of smoke ascending from his cigar, and listening to Oscar,—who was spinning out one of his long yarns about a military muster he once witnessed in Boston,—the time flew by much faster than he was aware. His cigar had half disappeared, and those of his companions were nearly used up, when he happened to notice that the sun was fast declining, and would soon go down behind the tops of the tall pines on the other side of the stream. Tossing his cigar into the water, he jumped up, saying:—

“Come, boys, this wont do,—we must be on our way home.”

“What’s your hurry?” inquired Jerry; “it isn’t four o’clock yet.”

“Perhaps it isn’t,” replied Clinton, “but I ought to have been at home by this time. Come, jump in, and I will turn the horse round.”

[Pg 56]

The boys got into the wagon, and were soon slowly threading their way out of the woods. In about half an hour they reached Mr. Fletcher’s, where Clinton stopped, and got the bags of seed. He had now a pretty good load, and much of the way being up hill, he did not get along very fast. Oscar and Jerry talked as fast as usual, but Clinton looked sober, and did not seem inclined to say much. Indeed, he hardly spoke to them, from the time they left the store until they reached the house where Oscar and Jerry lived, when he bade them good afternoon, and drove on.

The fact was, Clinton was suffering the penalty of his first cigar, but he did not like to confess it, and this was the reason why he said nothing. Soon after he started from the Falls, he began to experience a sinking, nauseating feeling in his stomach, and every jolt and jerk of the wagon seemed to increase it. He concealed his feelings from Oscar and Jerry, as much as he could, and after they had alighted, he hurried home as fast as possible.

It was past six o’clock when Clinton drove into the yard at home. His father, who had begun to feel anxious at his long absence, had come in from the field, and[Pg 57] on seeing Clinton, he called out to him, somewhat sharply,

“Where have you been all the afternoon, Clinton? I’ve been waiting for you more than two hours.”

“Mr. Fletcher wasn’t there, and I had to wait for him,” replied Clinton. “Besides, it was so warm I thought I wouldn’t drive very fast.” Ah, Clinton, have you forgotten that it is a falsehood to tell but half the truth?

Clinton had begun to unharness the horse, when he became so faint and dizzy that he was obliged to stop; and before he could get into the house, he began to vomit. His father, hearing the noise, ran to his aid, and led him into the house. The pale, deathly look of Clinton, as his father assisted him into the sitting-room, was the first notice his mother received that he was ill. She was somewhat startled by the suddenness of his entrance, and at first thought that he had got hurt.

“Mercy on us! what has happened?” was her first exclamation.

“Nothing alarming,” replied Clinton; “I am a little sick at my stomach—that is all.”

[Pg 58]

“How long have you been so?” inquired his mother.

“Only a little while,” was the reply. “I haven’t felt very smart for an hour or two, but just as I got home I began to grow worse, and have been vomiting.”

“Have you eaten any thing this afternoon?” inquired Mr. Davenport.

“No, sir,” replied Clinton, “nothing since dinner.”

“I am afraid he has worked too hard lately,” remarked Mrs. Davenport to her husband. “You have kept him at it pretty steadily for a week past, and you know he isn’t so rugged as many boys are. I wouldn’t allow him to work so hard again.”

“He has been working pretty hard, I know,” observed Mr. Davenport; “but he has never complained before, and I did not suppose he suffered from it. I don’t think this is anything serious, wife—he needs a little physic, perhaps, or something of that sort, to regulate his system.”

While this conversation was taking place, Clinton sat in the rocking-chair, leaning his head upon his hand. Little Annie stood by his side, silent and sad, her large, loving eyes looking up wonderingly at her[Pg 59] sick brother. But he did not notice her. He was thinking very earnestly of something else. His conscience was busily at work, reproaching him for his conduct during the afternoon. “You disobeyed your father,” it plainly said, “by going over to the Falls, when he told you to come right home. You deceived him, after you got home, by not giving the true reason for your long absence. You made yourself sick by smoking that cigar, and now you sit still and hear your parents, in their sympathy and solicitude, attribute your illness to hard work. O Clinton, you have not only done very wrong, but you have done it very meanly, too! No wonder you cover up your face, and dare not meet the eye of your parents.”

Thus was conscience talking. At first, Clinton almost resolved to confess the whole story of his wrong-doings. “Do it,” said conscience; but shame whispered, “no, don’t expose yourself—you will soon feel better, and the whole affair will be forgotten in a day or two.” The longer he hesitated, between these two advisers, the less inclined did he feel to make the confession. His father soon went out, to put up the horse, and his mother set about preparing him a bowl of[Pg 60] thoroughwort tea—her favorite medicine, in all common forms of sickness. Clinton already began to feel much better, and on the whole he thought he would say nothing about the adventures of the afternoon. When his mother brought him the herb tea, he drank it down as fast as possible, but he could not help making a wry face over it, for it was not very palatable to his taste. His mother thought he had better go to bed early, and without eating any supper, and he complied with her wishes. Just as he was beginning to doze, a gentle, timid voice awakened him, saying,

“Clinty, you won’t be sick, will you?”

“No, sis,” he answered, and with a parting “good-night,” he fell asleep—not the sweet, calm sleep to which he was accustomed, but fitful, troubled dreams, in which the unpleasant events of the afternoon flitted before him, in an exaggerated and grotesque, but always sad and reproachful panorama.


[2] See the Map of Brookdale, p. 14.

[Pg 61]


An icicle is hanging over the window by which I write. A day or two ago, it was hardly perceptible, but it has gone on, increasing in size, until now it is as large round as my arm, and full as long. It is nothing, however, but an innumerable collection of little drops of water, frozen together. One by one they chased each other down the roof above, but on coming to the cold icicle, they became chilled, and were congealed into a part of itself, some of them running down to its slender tip, and others fastening themselves upon its sides, or its inverted base.

It is thus that evil habits are formed—drop by drop, and atom by atom. One wrong act prepares the way for another. One bad habit invites and attracts others. Thus the little one soon becomes a troop, and the feeble enemy swells into a formidable giant.

[Pg 62]

Oscar and Jerry were fast descending the downward path of evil. Having nothing else to employ themselves about, mischief-making became the main business of their lives. They were away from home a large portion of the time; and as Mr. Preston was glad to have them go off, for the sake of quiet and peace at home, he seldom troubled himself to inquire where they went, or what they did. Complaints, however, sometimes reached him of their misconduct, which he passed over in silence, or angrily rebuked or punished, as he happened to feel.

One day, as Oscar and Jerry were making one of their excursions about the town, they noticed some fine-looking pears, growing on a small dwarf tree in a garden. No person was in sight, and the blinds of that portion of the house from which they could be seen were all closed. There seemed to be nothing to prevent their helping themselves, and after deliberating a moment, and turning their eyes in every direction, with an assumed air of carelessness, they noiselessly entered the gate, and commenced stripping the tree of its rich burden. The tree was not much higher than Oscar’s head, and there were but half a dozen[Pg 63] pears upon it, all of which were quickly transferred to the pockets of the boys.

The act was not committed so secretly as the young thieves imagined. Mr. Upham, to whom the fruit belonged, was at work threshing, in the barn, and from a back window observed Oscar and Jerry as they came along the road. Knowing the mischievous propensities of the boys, he kept an eye upon them, until he saw them reach forth to pluck the fruit, when he seized a whip, and ran towards them. The last pear was in their pockets before they saw him approaching, and all they had to do, therefore, was to run with all speed, which they lost no time in doing. Mr. Upham pursued them, several rods, but finding that their young legs were more nimble and light-footed than his, he soon gave up the unequal chase.

Towards noon, when Mr. Upham supposed the boys would be at home to dinner, he tackled his horse and rode over to Mr. Preston’s. As he saw Jerry’s father in the barn, he advanced towards him, calling out in his rough way:—

“Hulloo, Preston, where are those boys of yours, Oscar and Jerry?”

[Pg 64]

“They are somewhere about here,—I heard them a minute ago,” replied Mr. Preston; “why, what do you want of them?”

“I’ve come over here on purpose to give the young whelps a good trimming, or to get you to do it,” said Mr. Upham, making a very significant gesture with his whip, which he had brought with him from the wagon. He then told Mr. Preston the story of the robbery, adding that the fruit was a new and choice species, which he had cultivated with much care, and this was the first crop. He said he would rather have given five dollars than lost it, as he wished to ascertain what the fruit was. “Now,” he added, “I am determined that these rogues shall not go unpunished. If you’ll give them their deserts, well and good; or if you will delegate me to do it, it’s all the same; but if you won’t do either, I’ll lodge a complaint against them with Squire Walcott, before sun-down. I’ve had fruit stolen before, but never could catch the rascals; and I shan’t let this chance go of giving them justice, now that I am sure who they are.”

“I don’t blame you in the least,” said Mr. Preston; “if there’s anything that I’ll punish my children for,[Pg 65] it’s for stealing. Jerry shall be whipped for this; but I don’t know about whipping Oscar. He is not a child of mine, but is only here on a visit, and I don’t exactly feel as though I had authority to correct him.”

“Will you give me leave to do it, then?” said Mr. Upham.

“I can’t give you an authority I don’t myself possess,” replied Mr. Preston. “No doubt he is the greatest rogue in this matter, and deserves a good trouncing. You can punish him on your own responsibility, if you choose, and I will not object; only let it be reasonable.”

“That’s enough,” said Mr. Upham; “now let us find the rogues.”

“I think I heard them up in the hay-loft last,” remarked Mr. Preston, and they accordingly directed their steps thither.

The boys, on coming home from their marauding excursion, had gone up into the hay-loft, and were in the act of eating their plunder, when they were startled by Mr. Upham’s well-known voice. Their first impulse was to effect a hasty retreat; but this proved to be a difficult thing to do. They could not go down below[Pg 66] without being seen. There were two windows, but they were too far from the ground to afford escape. There was no place where they could conceal themselves, and they finally concluded to keep still, and hear the result of the interview.

“Here they are,” said Mr. Preston, as he reached the top stair.

“So they are,” echoed Mr. Upham,—his eye lighting up with something like joy. “You see, boys,” he added, “it didn’t do you much good to run, did it?”

“I suppose you heard what we were talking about, below, Oscar?” said Mr. Preston.

A sullen, almost inaudible “Yes,” was the response.

“Then you know our business,” added Mr. Preston; “and, as it is dinner-time, we won’t waste any more words about it. Mr. Upham, there’s your boy,” he continued, pointing to Oscar.

Oscar, though generally bold and daring, and little disposed to show respect or fear for his superiors, seemed completely cowed down in the presence of Mr. Upham. Whether it was the latter’s Herculean limbs, and rough, blunt manners, or the threat of prosecution, that produced this result, certain it is, that all thought[Pg 67] of resistance had vanished. He took off his jacket, at the command of Mr. Upham, and submitted with almost lamb-like meekness to the heavy shower of blows that fell upon his back. The same operation was then performed upon Jerry, by his father, after which the boys, with red, swollen eyes, and backs well-scored and sore, and hearts rankling with suppressed rage, betook themselves to the house.

Such a punishment, inflicted in a spirit of revenge, and in the heat of passion, and without any attempt to appeal to the reason and consciences of the offenders, or to awaken contrition in their hearts, could have but one effect, and that a most injurious one, upon Oscar and Jerry. It hardened them in their sin, and awakened a feeling of bitter hatred towards the man who had been the instigator of their punishment. Instead of repenting of the evil they had done they were already plotting still worse things against him. They appeased the smartings of the rod with the thought that, some day or other, they would have their revenge.

Week after week passed away, and Jerry and his cousin continued to follow their accustomed manner of[Pg 68] life. For a day or two after the events just related, some distance and coolness were perceptible between them and Mr. Preston; but nothing more was said about the affair, and it was soon apparently forgotten.

One pleasant afternoon in October, a man on horseback rode in great haste to Mr. Davenport’s, and informed him that the woods were on fire, just beyond the hills, in the north or upper part of the town, and requested him to go over and assist in putting it out. The messenger carried the same news to most of the other houses in the village; and, in the course of an hour, quite a number of men and boys had assembled at the scene of the conflagration. Some thirty or forty cords of wood, which had been cut and seasoned, ready for use, were found to be well on fire. The mass of coals and flame sent out a fierce heat, so that no one could approach very near. The fire had communicated to many of the standing trees, and was roaring and crackling with great fury, leaping from branch to branch, and from tree to tree, everything being almost as dry as tinder. It had evidently been burning a considerable time; but the hills, which separated the wood-lot from the principal part of the village, had prevented[Pg 69] the smoke being seen. The people who had collected could do little or nothing to stay the progress of the flames, now that they were under such headway, and it was not until several acres were burnt over, that the fire began to go down. It finally went out, only because there were no more trees to burn, it having reached a space which had previously been cleared by the axe.

The fire in the woods

The wood-lot and corded wood destroyed by this fire belonged to Mr. Upham, and his loss was about a hundred dollars. It was the common opinion among the[Pg 70] town’s people that the fire must have originated in the carelessness of some boys or men who happened to pass through the wood-lot. Mr. Upham, however, had formed a different opinion from this, but he said nothing about it that afternoon. The next day he started off early after breakfast, with the determination of finding some clue to the mystery, if it were a possible thing. In the course of the day he visited many of the people in the village, and gathered several items of information, which he thought might have a bearing on the mystery he was striving to solve. Among others thus visited, were Mr. Davenport and his son, and the latter put Mr. Upham in possession of a certain fact which greatly confirmed his suspicions.

The result of these investigations was, that Mr. Merriam, the constable, called at Mr. Preston’s house early the following morning, with a warrant, empowering him to “seize the bodies” of Oscar and Jerry, and bring them before Squire Walcott, to answer to the charge of setting fire to Mr. Upham’s wood. The family were just finishing their breakfast, when Mr. Merriam entered. Taking Mr. Preston alone into the entry, he showed him the warrant, telling him there were suspicions[Pg 71] that Oscar and Jerry knew something about the fire, and it was thought advisable to have the matter examined. “I hope it won’t amount to anything,” he continued, “but if there are suspicions about, they ought to be cleared up. It is unpleasant business, and I thought I would manage it as quietly as possible. Perhaps you had better say nothing to the family, now; but tell your boys you want them to go with me, of an errand, and you can jump in too, and ride down with us. Wouldn’t that be the best way to manage it?”

Mr. Preston seemed much affected by the intelligence which was thus kindly broken to him. The mere fact that his son and nephew were suspected of a crime which might send them to a prison, went like an arrow to his heart. The warrant, it should be observed, charged the boys named with setting fire to the wood wilfully and maliciously, and with intent to destroy the same. After a moment’s silence, he obtained sufficient command over his feelings to say:—

“I don’t know, Mr. Merriam, what facts have come to light, but I have no reason to suppose that my boys had anything more to do with the fire than you or I. And if they did have a hand in it, it isn’t at all likely[Pg 72] that it was anything more serious than an accident. But as you say, we had better keep quiet about it, until the subject is investigated. I will call the boys, and we will go down to the Squire’s immediately.”

The little party got into the carriage, and drove towards Squire Walcott’s. Oscar and Jerry, who had suspected the nature of Mr. Merriam’s errand from the first, had now no doubt that their suspicions were correct. The silence of Mr. Merriam, and the sad and anxious expression on the face of Mr. Preston, told them that something unusual was about to transpire. They asked no questions, however, but all rode on in silence. On reaching the Squire’s, the boys were conducted into the sitting-room, where they seated themselves with the constable. Mr. Preston went into the “front room,” or parlor, where there were several other men. The time appointed for the examination not having quite arrived, and several of the witnesses summoned being yet absent, Oscar and Jerry remained in the sitting-room nearly an hour, before any one spoke to them. It was a long and dreary hour. Their tongues were silent, but their thoughts were busy, and their eyes glanced anxiously at every footstep.

[Pg 73]


Squire Walcott, like most of the inhabitants of Brookdale, was a farmer. He was somewhat advanced in years, and his son-in-law lived in the same house with him, and assisted in carrying on the farm. He was generally known as “The Squire,” in town,—a title which he acquired from the circumstance of his holding a commission as Justice of the Peace. This commission is conferred by the Governor of the State, and empowers the holder to discharge certain judicial functions, such as the issuing of writs and warrants, the examination of persons accused of crime, etc. In cases where the offence is very small, the Justice of the Peace may himself impose a fine, or other lawful penalty; but if the offence is one of much magnitude, he must bind over the supposed offender in a sum of[Pg 74] money, or commit him to jail, to await a trial before a higher court.

The examination on the present occasion, was to be held in the front room of Squire Walcott’s house. When the time arrived to commence, one of the men present conducted Oscar into the room. As he took the seat pointed out to him, and cast his eye about the room, he recognized Mr. Upham, Mr. Davenport, Mr. Preston, Clinton, and several others of the town’s people. All eyes were turned towards himself, as if anxious to detect from his appearance whether he were guilty or innocent. With all his boldness, he felt his courage failing him, as he encountered the searching glances of one and another; and although he tried to look indifferent, alarm was written too plainly on his pale face to be disguised.

The Squire sat in a chair, with a table before him, on which were several books, with pen, ink and paper. In a pleasant tone of voice, he informed Oscar of the charge brought against him, and expressed the hope that he would be able to establish his innocence. “Before reading the complaint,” he added, “I wish to say, that you are not obliged to criminate yourself in this[Pg 75] matter. You can plead guilty, or not guilty, as you choose. But if you did have any hand in the fire, I would, as your friend, advise you to confess the whole at once. By so doing, you will not add to your guilt by falsehood, and the law will deal more leniently with you than it would if you should be proved guilty contrary to your own assertions. Even if you set the wood on fire, you may have done it accidentally, or in sport, without thinking of the consequences. If you had any connection at all with the fire, I would advise you to state the facts, exactly as they occurred.”

The Squire then read the complaint, charging Oscar Preston with setting the wood on fire. When he had concluded, he added:—

“What do you say to this, Oscar,—are you guilty or not guilty?”

“Not guilty,” replied Oscar, faintly.

The Squire now requested the complainant to produce his evidence against the accused. Mr. Upham commenced with an account of the stealing of his pears by Oscar and Jerry, and the punishment which followed that adventure. He said he had been threatened with vengeance for causing the boys to be[Pg 76] whipped, and he had reason to believe that the burning of his wood was the result of this grudge against him.

The witnesses were now brought forward. The first was a boy, who testified that he heard Oscar say, with an oath, that he would yet come up with Mr. Upham for the flogging he gave him. A young man, who worked on a farm, was then called up, and testified, that whenever the pear-stealing scrape was mentioned to Oscar, he would get mad, and threaten to be revenged on Mr. Upham. The third witness was Clinton, who testified, that one afternoon, a short time before the fire, while he was at work mending a stone-wall on his father’s land, near the scene of the conflagration, Oscar and Jerry came along, and the former asked several questions about the location of Mr. Upham’s wood-lot, and particularly inquired if he owned a certain lot of corded wood, which Oscar described, and which was the same lot that was afterwards burnt. The fourth and last witness, was a man who testified that he was in the upper part of the town on the afternoon of the fire, and, a short time before the alarm was given, saw Oscar and Jerry, coming very fast from the direction of Mr. Upham’s lot.

[Pg 77]

The Squire wrote down the testimony as it was given. When it was concluded, he told Oscar he was at liberty to make any remarks or produce any evidence that he saw fit. Oscar, somewhat perplexed, turned to his uncle, and after some conversation between them, in a low tone, Mr. Preston remarked to the Squire, that he thought the evidence against Oscar was altogether too trivial to be worthy of serious notice. There was not, he said, the least proof that Oscar set the wood on fire. He thought Mr. Upham had magnified a foolish, boyish threat into a matter of very grave importance; and he expressed his opinion, very decidedly, that the prisoner ought to be released forthwith.

The Squire said he would defer his decision until the other prisoner had been examined. Oscar was then conducted from the room and Jerry was brought in. He appeared even more pale and excited than his cousin. The Squire addressed him in pretty much the same strain of remark as he did Oscar; but before he commenced reading the complaint, Jerry began to sob, and with broken and choked utterance, said:—

[Pg 78]

“Yes, I was there, and saw him do it, but I didn’t have any hand in it myself.”

“That is right, my son,” said the Squire, in an encouraging tone; “tell us all you know about it, just as it happened, and it will be better for you than though you attempted to deceive us. You say you ‘saw him do it’—whom do you mean?”


“Well, go on with the story, and tell us all the particulars,” said the Squire.

Jerry then related the history of the fire. Oscar, it seemed, had formed the plan of burning the wood, several days previous, and he regarded it as a sort of joint operation, in which Jerry and he were to share the fun, the gratification, and the risk. It appeared, however, from Jerry’s story, that though he had entered into the plan, he did not actually apply the match, nor assist in the immediate preparations for the fire. He was present rather as a spectator than an actor.

When Jerry had finished his confession, Mr. Upham, after a little conversation with the Squire, concluded[Pg 79] to withdraw his complaint against Jerry. Oscar was then re-called. He entered the room with a calmer and more confident air than on the first occasion; for since he had discovered how weak the testimony against him was, he had little fear for the result. When, however, Jerry was called to take the oath of a witness, a deadly paleness came over the guilty boy, and he almost fainted. This was quickly succeeded by an expression of rage in his countenance, for Oscar was a boy of strong passions, and when they were excited, he could not conceal them. It was necessary that Jerry should relate under oath, and before Oscar, the account he had already given of the fire, for every person charged with crime has a right to hear the evidence against him. When he had done this, the Squire asked Oscar if he had anything to say.

“No,” replied Oscar.

“Then,” added Squire Walcott, “I have only to say that the evidence of your guilt looks very black, and unless you can break down the testimony of Jerry, I fear your conviction will be certain. I must bind you over for trial, and shall require you to give bonds in the sum of two hundred dollars, to appear before the[Pg 80] county court at the next term. “Mr. Preston,” he continued, “will you be his bondsman?”

“No,” replied Mr. Preston, in a decided tone; “the boy has been trouble enough to me, already, and now he may go to jail, for all I care.” A moment after, noticing the distressed look of his nephew, he somewhat relented, in his feelings, and, in a milder tone, assured Oscar that he would write immediately to his father, who would doubtless hasten to his relief, and settle the whole affair without any further trial.

The little court now broke up, and all returned to their homes, save Oscar, who was still in the custody of Mr. Merriam, the constable, in default of bail. After making a few hasty arrangements for the journey, the officer and prisoner set out for the county jail, which was about fifteen miles distant. Mr. Merriam had thought of putting a pair of hand-cuffs upon Oscar, to prevent his escaping, during this long ride; but the latter begged so hard to be spared this humiliation that he relented, and allowed the boy to ride by his side in the open wagon, free and untrammelled. He also tried to divert his mind from his unpleasant situation, by conversation on other subjects, but Oscar[Pg 81] seemed little inclined to talk. His heart was full of hard and bitter thoughts against every body, and especially against Mr. Upham, Jerry, and his uncle. He scarcely thought of his own guilt, so absorbed was he in nursing his wrath against those whom he supposed had injured him.

It was towards the middle of the afternoon, when they arrived at the jail. A cold chill ran through Oscar’s veins, for a moment, when he first caught sight of his prison-house. Before, he could hardly realize that he was a prisoner—it all seemed like a dream; but here was the jail before him, with its stone walls and grated windows, and the dream was changed to a reality. Passing through a high gate, they entered that part of the building occupied by the jailer’s family, and were conducted to a room called “the office.” The keeper of the jail soon made his appearance, and Mr. Merriam informed him that Oscar was committed to his custody for trial, and showed him the order from Squire Walcott to that effect. The jailer asked several questions about the case, and then took down a large book, partly filled with writing, and made the following entry within it:—

[Pg 82]

October 25th.—Oscar Preston, of Brookdale, aged 14½ years, charged with setting fire to wood, in Brookdale. Examined by Justice Walcott, and committed for trial by Constable Merriam. Bail $200. Of ordinary height for his age, slender form, light complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes. Dress,—gray pantaloons, dark blue jacket buttoned to chin, blue cloth cap. Cell No. 19.”

The object of this brief description of the dress and personal appearance of Oscar was, that he might be the more easily identified, should he happen to escape from the jail. Mr. Merriam, bidding a kind good-bye to the young prisoner, now departed, and the jailer proceeded to examine Oscar’s pockets, to see if there was anything in them not allowed in the prison. The only articles he took from them were two cigars, which he tossed into the fire-place, telling Oscar he would have no use for them there. He then conducted him through a long and dark passage-way to cell No. 19, which he had entered against his name in the registry-book, and which was to be Oscar’s home for the present. It was a small, narrow room, with one window, near the top, which was guarded by iron bars. The[Pg 83] walls and floor were of brick (the former had been recently white-washed) and the door was of iron. A sort of bunk was fitted up in one corner of the cell, which was supplied with bed-clothes. There were also a small red pine table and an old chair, a basin, bucket, tin dipper, and several other articles of furniture.

Oscar did not seem to be much pleased with the appearance of his cell, and he said to the jailer:—

“Can’t you let me have a better room than this? I shan’t stop here but a few days, and my father will pay you for it, when he comes, if you will let me have a good room.”

The jailer told him, in reply, that this was the most comfortable vacant cell he had; that he did not wish to put so young a prisoner in a cell with older offenders, and if he was to stay but a few days, he could easily make himself contented. After informing Oscar of the principal rules and regulations of the prison, the jailer locked the heavy door upon him, and retired.

The first impulse of the young criminal, in his solitude, was to cry; but he soon checked himself, and resolved to make the best of his situation. In a short[Pg 84] time his supper was brought to him, which consisted of a few slices of bread, and a dipper of warm milk and water. Before night had fully set in, Oscar threw himself upon the bunk, and though it was not so commodious or so soft a bed as he was accustomed to, he soon fell asleep, and dreamed over again the eventful incidents of the day.

Oscar in Jail

The result of Oscar’s trial created a great stir in Brookdale. It was the principal topic of remark in every family, and in every little knot of people that happened to collect, for several days. The first mail that left Brookdale, after the trial, carried a letter from Mr. Preston to Oscar’s father in Boston, informing him of the sad intelligence. In three or four days,[Pg 85] the father of the unhappy boy arrived in Brookdale, to see what could be done in behalf of his son. He first sought an interview with Mr. Upham, who, after a little persuasion, agreed to withdraw the complaint, if his loss, $100, were made up to him. But to carry out this arrangement, it was necessary to get the consent of the prosecuting attorney of the county, who now had charge of the case. The prosecuting attorney is an officer appointed to represent the State at the trials of criminals. Oscar having been bound over for trial, the State became a party in the suit, in place of Mr. Upham. The complaint now pending against him, was endorsed, “Commonwealth versus Oscar Preston.” The prosecuting attorney, as the representative of the Commonwealth, can discontinue a suit, if he deems the reasons sufficient. The agreement by which this is done, is called a nolle prosequi, often abbreviated nol. pros.

Mr. Preston had to go to a neighboring town, some dozen miles distant, to see the prosecuting attorney. He laid before that officer the facts in the case, who, after considering the matter, agreed to the proposition, on condition that Oscar should leave the State forthwith.[Pg 86] To this Mr. Preston consented; and on his paying over to Mr. Upham, (who had accompanied him on this visit,) the sum agreed upon, together with all the other expenses of the suit, the prosecuting attorney stayed further proceedings in the case, and gave Mr. Preston an order for the release of his son from jail.

Just one week after Oscar’s committal to the jail, his father arrived, with the order of release. The interview was not a very pleasant one. The father was evidently deeply mortified and displeased; the son was equally ashamed and embarrassed. But little was said, however, on either side. Mr. Preston returned to Boston as soon as possible, taking Oscar with him.

[Pg 87]


Soon after Oscar left Brookdale, Jerry’s father, who was interested in the logging business, started for the head-waters of the Penobscot river, to be absent several months. Large parties or gangs of loggers, as they are called, encamp every winter in the forests of Maine, for the purpose of cutting timber. After the trees are chopped down, the logs are hauled by oxen to the banks of some stream, where they remain until the ice breaks up in the spring, when they are rolled into the water, and floated down the swollen river, to the mills. Such was the business which kept Mr. Preston away from his home nearly half the year.

Jerry’s conduct had never been very dutiful toward[Pg 88] his mother, nor very affectionate toward his little sisters, during his father’s long absences from home; but now it was soon evident that he was going to give the family much more trouble than ever before. He obeyed his mother only when her commands happened to be perfectly agreeable to him.

One day, Jerry’s little sister, Mary, came running into, the house, saying:—

“O, mother, Jerry has got two beautiful little rabbits, the cunningest little things you ever saw; and he says they are his, and he’s going to make a house for them out of the old grain-chest in the barn.”

“No, he wont,” said Mrs. Preston; “he shan’t keep rabbits,—his father has forbidden it over and over again. Go and tell him to come here this minute; I want to see him.”

Mary ran out to the barn and told Jerry all that his mother had said. He took no notice, however, of her command, but kept at work upon the old chest, which he was converting into a rabbit-house. Mrs. Preston was busy about her work, and did not go out to the barn to see what her son was about. In fact, she soon forgot about the rabbits, and did not think of them[Pg 89] again until Jerry came in to supper. She then asked him if he had brought some rabbits home.

“Yes,” replied Jerry.

“Well,” said Mrs. Preston, “you had better carry them off again just as quick as you can, or I shall get James to kill them.” James was a young man who lived on Mr. Preston’s farm.

“I should like to see Jim kill my rabbits,” replied Jerry; “I guess it wouldn’t be healthy for him to do it.”

“But you know,” replied his mother, “that your father has always refused to let you keep rabbits. They may do a great deal of mischief, and are of no use whatever. They’ll be a real trouble to you, too, and you’ll soon get sick of them. Come, I wouldn’t keep them. Send them off, and I will make it up to you in something else.”

“What else?” inquired Jerry, who was always ready to listen, when his mother proposed to “buy him off” from doing anything she did not like.

“O, I don’t know now,” she replied; “you’ll want something or other by-and-by, and if you send the rabbits off, I shall probably let you have it.”

Jerry did not accept this rather indefinite offer, and[Pg 90] pretty soon the topic of conversation was changed. The next day he completed the quarters for his rabbits, in spite of the threats of James, and the feeble remonstrances and coaxings of his mother. He kept them shut up several days, that they might learn to feel at home; after which, he left their door open, giving them the run of the barn and garden.

The rabbits had enjoyed their liberty but three or four days, when one morning James discovered, to his astonishment, that they had completely stripped the bark, as high up as they could reach, from about thirty young apple and pear trees, which Mr. Preston had set out two or three years previous. The excitement which this discovery produced in the family was so great as almost to make even Jerry tremble for a while. The trees thus destroyed were choice varieties, and it would require several years’ time, as well as much care and money, to make good the loss. The blame was, of course, thrown entirely upon Jerry, to whom it belonged; and it was many days before he heard the last of the scolding and fretting in consequence of this mishap. As to the rabbits, he never saw them again; and, as he made no inquiries, he[Pg 91] never knew what fate befel them. James, in the heat of his wrath, had despatched them both, without jury or trial, on the morning when their depredations were first discovered.

It was natural that Jerry should greatly miss Oscar, with whom he had associated continually, day and night, for several months. Indeed, he began to think seriously of running away from home, and going to Boston, that he might be with his cousin again, and participate with him in some of the marvellous scenes and adventures which Oscar had so often described. In his lonesomeness, Jerry now began to seek the company of Clinton more than ever. The district school soon commenced for the season, and as both boys attended it, they were thrown together much oftener than in the summer months. In going to and from school, Clinton had to pass Jerry’s house, and they usually kept each other company by the way. For some reason or other,—probably a suspicion that Clinton’s parents did not like him very well,—Jerry seldom went to Mr. Davenport’s house. Of course, Mr. Davenport did not know that any particular intimacy existed between his son and Jerry. He occasionally spoke of[Pg 92] the latter as a boy whose end, he feared, would not be good; and more than once he expressed a wish that Clinton would avoid him as much as possible. But this, Clinton found it rather difficult to do. Jerry sought his company, and he could not bear to say no. He knew Jerry was a bad boy, and that he did wrong to put himself under his influence; but he had not sufficient decision of character to terminate an acquaintance which had been so long continued. So the intimacy was kept up, to the great injury of Clinton.

At school, Jerry was not only a dull scholar, but a very troublesome one. Having never been taught to obey at home, he was rude and ungovernable in the school-room, and was more frequently punished for disobedience and inattention to his duties than any other boy in the school. After the novelty had worn off, Jerry began to grow tired of attending, and occasionally played truant, always contriving, however, to escape detection, by representing that he was detained at home by his mother. But after a while these absences grew so frequent, that the master began to suspect all might not be right; and one morning, on calling Jerry to account for his absence the preceding afternoon,[Pg 93] he told him he should not excuse him unless he brought a note from his mother in the afternoon, certifying that he was kept at home.

Jerry was put to his wit’s end, by this new and unexpected demand. He had been off on a skating frolic the afternoon previous, while his mother supposed him to be at school, and he could not, therefore, ask her for a note of excuse. What could he do? If he did not bring an excuse in the afternoon, he was afraid the matter would be investigated, and lead to the discovery of his other frequent truancies; and in this case, he knew he would not escape a severe punishment. At first he thought of writing a note himself, and signing his mother’s name to it; but then he wrote such an awkward hand, and was such a poor speller, that he was afraid he could not deceive the teacher. After thinking the matter over, all the forenoon, he at last resolved to do one of two things,—either to persuade some one to write the excuse for him, or else never to enter the school-room again.

When school was dismissed, Jerry walked home with Clinton, as usual. After they had got beyond the hearing of the other scholars, Jerry said:—

[Pg 94]

“Clinty, I’ve got into a bad scrape, and I don’t know how to get out of it, unless you help me.”

“How can I?” inquired Clinton, who at once comprehended the situation of affairs.

“I’ll tell you of a plan I’ve thought of,” continued Jerry; “and if you’ll only say yes, I guess we can fix it easy enough. You see it wont do for me to ask the old woman for a note,”—the old woman was the disrespectful title by which he usually spoke of his mother,—“and if I go to school without one, I’m afraid that old Eaton will find out that I’ve been playing truant all along, and he’ll give me a regular trouncing. Now if you will write the note, nobody will ever know the difference, for you can write just like a woman. I would do it myself, if I could write as well as you can.”

“What!” said Clinton, with some signs of astonishment; “you don’t mean that you want me to write an excuse, and sign your mother’s name to it, do you?”

“Yes, that’s it, exactly; unless you can tell me of a better way to get out of my trouble.”

“I should like to help you out of it,” replied Clinton; “but I couldn’t do that.”

[Pg 95]

“Then,” added Jerry, in a decided tone, “I shall never see the inside of the old school-house again. I don’t know of anybody else that I can get to write the note, and I am not going there without it, to have the breath beat out of my body. I shall go to Boston, and take my chance,—I wont stay about here any longer.”

“Don’t talk so,” said Clinton. “Why not tell your mother that you didn’t go to school yesterday afternoon, and ask her to write an excuse? She would do it, I guess, if you made the confession, rather than have you punished.”

“She do it!” exclaimed Jerry, with some bitterness; “no, more likely she would write a note requesting old Eaton to lick me like blazes. But,” he continued, “why wont you write the excuse, Clinty?”

Clinton hesitated what reply to make to this question. If he had honestly confessed his feelings, he would have said, “It would be wrong, very wrong, to do such a thing;” for his conscience told him this, and this alone was the objection that weighed in his mind. And yet Clinton, though a well-trained and virtuous boy, had a foolish dread of confessing that he was afraid to do a wrong act. This was especially the case[Pg 96] in his intercourse with Jerry, who, he knew, seldom had scruples of this kind, and whose ridicule he dreaded more than that of his other associates. So, after a brief pause, he said,

“Why, there would be a great risk in doing that. If Master Eaton should discover that I wrote the excuse, it would be a bad piece of business for both of us.”

“But how can he find it out? He doesn’t know my mother’s hand-writing, and if you write it neat and fine, he wont suspect anything. Come, you write it when you get home, and bring it with you this afternoon, and I’ll meet you on the road. If you don’t I shan’t go to school, that’s all.”

By this time they had reached Mr. Preston’s house, and after a few more words of coaxing and entreaty, Jerry left his friend, with a pretty confident feeling that he would accede to his wishes. True, Clinton did not actually promise to write the note; but Jerry knew how difficult it was for him to say no, to any pressing suitor, and he felt almost sure that his wicked plan would be successful.

When Clinton was left to his own thoughts, there[Pg 97] came on a severe struggle in his mind. He could not bear the idea of lending himself to such a mean and wicked piece of deception, and yet he feared to meet Jerry with a refusal. He thought, also, what the consequences would be to himself, should the fraud be discovered. And then he thought of Jerry’s threat to leave school and run away from home, if he did not write the excuse. If he could prevent this great sin on the part of Jerry, might it not atone in a measure for the lesser sin of writing the note? This question arose in his mind, and many an older head has been led astray by a similar suggestion. No, Clinton, you must not do evil that good may come, or greater evil be prevented. You must not commit a sin, even in kindness to a friend. But he did not hear the voice, and when he reached his home, he was as undecided as ever what to do.

Clinton’s long walk to and from school, left him little more than time enough to eat his dinner. The noon meal not being quite ready, when he entered the house, he went to his father’s desk, and began to scribble something in the form of a note of excuse. After writing several, to see how they would look, he was[Pg 98] called to dinner; and hastily selecting the best looking of the notes, he put it in his pocket, for future consideration, and destroyed the others. Even now, he was no nearer a decision than he was at first.

When Clinton arose from the dinner-table, it was time to start for school. He had not proceeded far before he overtook Jerry, who was loitering along, in expectation of his approach.

“I’ll take that note now,” said Jerry, stretching out his hand to Clinton, as the latter came up with him.

“I don’t know about that,” said Clinton; “I’ve been thinking it all over, and have about come to the conclusion that I can’t agree to your proposal. But haven’t you thought of some other way to get out of the scrape?”

“No,” replied Jerry, “there is no other way; but you have written the note, haven’t you?” he added, with some appearance of alarm.

“I have written something,” replied Clinton, “just to see how it would seem; but I rather guess I shan’t let you have it.”

“Let me look at it, then, wont you?”

“I guess so!” said Clinton, with a laugh.

[Pg 99]

“But I’m in earnest,” added Jerry, “just let me look at it, and I can tell in a minute whether it will answer. Perhaps it wont do, and then I shan’t want it, at any rate. Come, let me see it, and if you don’t want me to keep it, I wont.”

Clinton took the excuse from his pocket, and allowed Jerry to look at it. It read as follows;—

“Mr. Eaton will please excuse Jerry for absence from school, yesterday, as he was needed at home.

Eliza Preston.

Jan. 5th.

After reading the note, Jerry said it would do first rate; but instead of returning it to Clinton, as he promised, he put it into his own pocket. Clinton reminded him of his promise, and tried to get the paper back again, but in vain; and Jerry carried on the contest in such a good-natured, bantering spirit, that Clinton could not take offence. Thus the deed was done, so far as Clinton was concerned, without his coming to any decision about it. In such cases as this, no decision at all, is often equivalent to a wrong decision.

[Pg 100]

As Jerry entered the school-room, that afternoon, he handed the forged note to Master Eaton, who read it, and, without saying anything, tore it up. The deception was successful.

[Pg 101]


My young friend, did you ever master a hard lesson, after a great effort? And do you remember how you felt, after the achievement? Perhaps it was a difficult sum; and when you began, you did not see how you could possibly work your way through it. But you persevered, and covered your slate with long columns of figures, until at length you arrived at the correct answer, and you felt something like the philosopher of old, who exclaimed, after solving a difficulty, Eureka,—I have found it! And now, having conquered this sum, you felt just like attacking a still harder one, the next day. You knew you could do it, because you did the other; and you took hold of it, with a determination to work it out—and you did work it out, did you not?

Perhaps there was another boy in your class, who attempted[Pg 102] to do the same thing. But before he had put forth half the effort required, he got tired of the sum, and gave up the attempt. The next day the teacher tried to encourage him to make another attempt, but the boy knew he could not do the sum,—he had tried once, and it was of no use to try again. So the teacher was obliged to turn him back into simple addition and multiplication, and he will probably never get much beyond those departments of arithmetic.

It is precisely the same with everything else that we attempt to do. Suppose, instead of a difficult sum, it was a fault, or temptation, that these two lads tried to master. One of them persevered until he conquered the difficulty, and the result was, his virtuous principles were strengthened, and he was prepared to resist still greater temptations, or to subdue greater faults. His motto is, “I can.” The other boy would not make the necessary effort, and gave up the attempt after a poor, feeble trial. The consequence was, he not only fell into bad habits, but lost his self-reliance, by degrees, until the notion got into his head that it was of no use for him to try to do right. “I can’t” is his motto.

The lesson to be drawn from this is a very important[Pg 103] one, as you will see from the history of Clinton. That you may have a clear idea of it, let me state it thus:—

Every temptation resisted, will give you greater confidence in your ability to overcome new temptations. Every temptation yielded to, will impair your self-reliance, and prepare the way for yet greater faults.

Clinton soon found that he had made a great mistake, in aiding Jerry to escape the consequences of his truancy. True, the deception was not discovered; but the very success of the plan encouraged Jerry to repeat the experiment, and Clinton now found it less easy to refuse to write an excuse than at first. His sin was, therefore, repeated again and again, until Jerry felt at perfect liberty to absent himself as often as he pleased, knowing that Clinton would furnish him with the written excuse, which the teacher now required in all cases of absence. To be sure, Clinton objected, and scolded, and threatened; but Jerry cared little for this, so long as he was sure to yield to his desires in the end. If ever a more convincing argument than usual was needed, the hard-hearted boy would secure[Pg 104] his end by hinting at an exposure of Clinton’s-share in his past truancies. Thus did Clinton find himself fast in the net of this bad associate; and thus, through the influence of one false step, did he continue to do wrong, against his conscience, and even against his own wishes.

The people of Brookdale frequently held social parties, at their houses, in the long winter evenings, which were usually attended by all the neighborhood. They were not favorably situated for maintaining the lectures and other entertainments which are common in large towns, and these social gatherings were a substitute for them. At one of these parties, Mrs. Preston happened to meet Master Eaton, and after a few words on unimportant matters, she inquired how Jerry got along at school. Mr. Eaton could not give a very favorable report either of Jerry’s behavior or scholarship. He did not wish to pain Mrs. Preston, at such a time, by telling her exactly how things stood; and so he thought he would evade a direct reply to her question, by turning her attention to a point where he supposed she herself was at fault.

“Why,” he remarked, “he is absent so often that it[Pg 105] is hard to tell whether he really does make any progress. I find that scholars never get along very well unless they are pretty regular in their attendance.”

“But what do you mean?” inquired Mrs. Preston; “I thought he attended school regularly.”

“O,” replied Mr. Eaton, “parents are hardly ever conscious of the bad effects of absences upon the scholar. They think it of little consequence if their children are kept at home two or three times a week, but it is just this little irregularity in attendance that often prevents their learning anything.”

“But you are mistaken, Mr. Eaton,” said Mrs. Preston; “I have not kept Jerry at home half a day this winter.”

“He always brings an excuse from you, when absent,” added Mr. Eaton.

“An excuse from me!” said Mrs. Preston, with an air of astonishment; “why, I have not written an excuse for him this term, and I did not know that he had ever been absent.”

Master Eaton was now as much astonished as was Mrs. Preston. Both had made an unpleasant discovery. It was evident that Jerry was a worse boy than either[Pg 106] of them had supposed. He had played the rogue with a high hand. After some further conversation, it was agreed that Mrs. Preston should say nothing at present respecting Jerry’s misconduct, but leave the teacher to investigate the affair.

The next morning, on searching his desk, Master Eaton found several of Jerry’s old notes of excuse, which had been accepted, and thrown aside. His first object was to find out who wrote them, for he knew that Jerry could not have done it. At first, he thought the writing was the work of a female hand; but among the girls who attended school, there was not one whom he could suspect of such conduct. Besides, he knew that Jerry was not very popular, with the girls, who regarded him as a rude, rough boy, and shunned his company as much as possible. He then took the writing-books of the male scholars, and examined each one carefully, by itself, comparing the penmanship with that of the notes. The conclusion to which he came was, that there were only three male scholars who could possibly have written the notes. Two of these were young men, nearly grown up, who apparently held very little intercourse with[Pg 107] Jerry; the other was Clinton, an intimate acquaintance of Jerry, but a boy whose conduct at school had always been unexceptionable. Surely, none of these could have had a hand in the mischief. At least, so thought Master Eaton.

Several days elapsed, and the teacher made no progress in his investigations. At last, Jerry’s seat was vacant, for one entire day, for he now seldom took less than a day at a time, when he played truant. The next morning, he appeared with a note, as usual, which the master read, and put in his desk, without making any remark. Mr. Eaton had noticed that Clinton and Jerry came to school together, that morning, and as he glanced at Clinton, after reading the note, he observed that the latter turned his eye quickly away, and dropped his head, as if afraid to meet the gaze of his teacher. This led Mr. Eaton to watch him more closely, and it was with the deepest pain that he detected an uneasy, anxious appearance in his manners, which he had never before observed. In the course of the forenoon, he stopped a few moments at Clinton’s seat, and conversed familiarly with him about his lessons; but there was a constraint and want of frankness[Pg 108] in the boy’s appearance that only served to deepen the master’s painful suspicion.

The truth was, Clinton went to school, that morning, with a vague foreboding that his guilt was about to be brought to light. By some mysterious process, which I cannot explain, a secret impression of approaching evil sometimes weighs heavily upon the mind, without any known cause. This was the case with Clinton, that morning, and the glance which his teacher cast toward him, after reading Jerry’s excuse, sent the conviction to his heart that he was discovered. How easily does guilt betray itself!

School was dismissed as usual, at noon, and again assembled in the afternoon. The master had intended to detain Clinton after school in the forenoon; but the intermission was so short, that he concluded to defer the investigation until afternoon. Just before dismissing the scholars, at night, he went to Clinton’s seat, and in a low tone of voice which no one else heard, requested him to remain after school. Clinton turned red, and then pale, at this unusual request, made in so unusual a manner. After the scholars had all passed out, and the doors were shut, Mr. Eaton called Clinton[Pg 109] up to his desk, and taking Jerry’s excuse from the drawer, held it up, and asked him if he knew anything about it.

It was a terrible moment for the unhappy boy. He felt that his guilt had already betrayed itself, and exposure, shame, and punishment were now inevitable. His tongue refused to speak, and after vainly struggling with his emotions a few moments, his pent-up feelings found an outlet in an outburst of tears. His legs trembled beneath him; and throwing himself upon a bench near by, he buried his face in his hands and sobbed bitterly.

Mr. Eaton did not repeat his question—it was already answered. He saw, however, that there was penitence as well as guilt, in the youth before him, and when he spoke to him, it was in a kind and soothing tone. “Clinton,” he said, “I have kept school here three winters, and this is the first time I have ever had to call you to account for a fault. You have always behaved well; if you have done wrong now, I think you must have been led astray by some great temptation. I accidentally discovered, a few days ago, that these notes did not come from Jerry’s mother,[Pg 110] and I determined to trace them to their source. I judge from your conduct that you wrote them. If so, I want you to make a clean confession of the affair. If you have really had a hand in this matter, you should consider yourself fortunate that you have been detected, before it went any farther. I have long known Jerry Preston to be a very bad boy, but you are so unlike him that I did not suspect he was leading you on to ruin. Come, wipe your eyes, and tell me the whole history of this matter.”

“Will you promise me one thing?” said Clinton, speaking with considerable difficulty amid his sobs and tears.

“I cannot promise you anything until I know what it is,” replied Mr. Eaton. “What is the promise you refer to?”

“I am willing to tell you the whole story,” added Clinton, “but I don’t want any body else to hear of it.”

“I cannot promise you that,” remarked Mr. Eaton, “for there may be good reasons why the affair should not be kept secret. I will agree, however, to keep it private, provided I think I can properly do so.”

[Pg 111]

Clinton now proceeded to relate all the circumstances connected with the forged excuses, just as they occurred. He described his fears, his struggles with conscience, the threats of Jerry to run away, and the artifice by which the latter obtained possession of the first note. Nothing was kept back, and as Mr. Eaton listened to the disclosures thus frankly made, and read the sorrow and repentance of Clinton in his looks and tones, he was satisfied that a true account had been given. Clinton himself felt as though a terrible burden had been rolled from his heart, after he had concluded his confession. He breathed freer than he had for several days previous.

After Clinton had concluded his confession, Master Eaton sat in silence several moments, apparently engaged in deep thought. At length he spoke:—

“This is sad business, Clinton,—sad business. You have been guilty of a series of forgeries, in repeatedly signing another person’s name. You have also aided and encouraged a bad boy in his evil ways, and are to some extent responsible for his wickedness.”

Clinton commenced crying afresh.

“But,” continued the teacher, “there are some extenuating[Pg 112] circumstances in the case, which I shall take into consideration. I cannot see as a public exposure of your wrong-doing before the school would be of any benefit to yourself or to others, and I shall spare you that mortification, provided your general conduct continues good. And as to the punishment that the case demands, I will consult with your father before concluding upon it.”

“O no,” exclaimed Clinton, “don’t tell him about it. Punish me in any way you please, and I’ll promise never to offend again, if you wont let father know anything about it.”

Mr. Eaton’s reply was decided, but kindly expressed. “Clinton,” he said, “I have always considered you a youth of good habits, but the disclosures you have just made show that your character has a weak side. You are too easily influenced by others. You can’t say no, when a great temptation presents itself. In my opinion, you have just had a narrow escape from ruin; for who can tell into what evil Jerry would have soon led you, if the spell had not been accidentally broken? Now your father is ignorant of all this. He has no idea, probably, of the dangers to[Pg 113] which you are exposed; but he ought to know the facts in the case, and I should not feel as though I had been faithful to my trust, were I to hush up a matter of so great importance to his and your welfare. No, I cannot think of doing it. The better way would be for you to go to him and confess the whole truth, yourself. If you are really sorry for what you have done, as I suppose you are, you ought to be willing to do this. What do you say to the proposal?”

“If you think I ought to, I will do it,” replied Clinton, somewhat reluctantly; “but I would rather he would not know it.”

“My advice is,” said Mr. Eaton, “that you go home and confess the whole affair to your father to night. If you do so, I shall consider that my duty has been discharged, so far as you are concerned; and shall leave the matter of punishment entirely with your father.”

With these words Mr. Eaton bade his pupil good-night, and both departed for their homes. On his way home, Clinton encountered Jerry, who, suspecting the cause of his detention, had loitered on the road,[Pg 114] waiting to learn the truth. Clinton told him they were discovered, but declined giving him any information, or entering into any farther conversation on the subject; and he hurried home, leaving Jerry not a little perplexed at his unusual conduct.

[Pg 115]


While Clinton is on his way home from school, after the discovery of his offence, let us look in a moment upon his parents.

“After six o’clock, and Clinton has not made his appearance yet,” said Mrs. Davenport, who had the smoking tea and toasted bread upon the table, in readiness for the evening meal. “Really, husband, I begin to feel uneasy about Clinton. He is away from home a great deal more than he used to be, and when he is here, he seems like a different boy from what he was a year or two ago. You say you don’t notice anything unusual about him, but that only shows that a mother’s eye is more quick to read the heart than a man’s. I see a change in his conduct. He is more reserved than he used to be; is less affectionate in his manners, takes less interest in his work and books,[Pg 116] and often seems absent-minded, as though he was thinking of something that he meant to conceal from us. I don’t like that Jerry Preston, and I’m afraid he is doing Clinton no good.”

“You are only borrowing trouble when there is no need of it,” replied Mr. Davenport. “I don’t see but that Clinton behaves as well now as he ever did. At any rate, I’ve no fault to find with his conduct, and nobody else has yet made any complaint against him. You must not expect that he will always be precisely the same little boy he used to be. As he grows older, he will naturally change, like all the rest of us.”

Clinton at the fire-side

Before Mrs. Davenport could reply, Clinton entered the room, and silently took his seat with the family at the supper-table. The conversation that had just passed, naturally led both his parents to observe him more closely than usual. Mr. Davenport thought he looked unusually sober. But the mother, with her penetrating eye, saw more than this; she saw traces of weeping, and a peculiar expression of trouble, on the face of Clinton. She noticed, also, that she could not catch his eye, which was restless and uneasy. He took no part in the conversation at the table, and ate[Pg 117] but little. After tea, he took the lantern, and brought in from the barn the usual supply of wood and kindling stuff for the morrow, which was a part of his regular work. This duty over, he seated himself on a cricket by the fire-side, and commenced whittling a piece of pine which he had brought in. Annie had been put to bed, and his father and mother were seated at the light-stand, which was drawn up in front of the blazing wood-fire. The same troubled look which Mrs. Davenport had noticed at the tea-table, was still very plainly visible[Pg 118] on Clinton’s face. Indeed, he had seated himself with the determination not to rise until he had made his confession to both his parents; and he was thinking how he should introduce the unpleasant topic, when his father broke the silence by asking:—

“Clinton, what are you making?”

“I am only whittling,” he replied.

“I see you are whittling,” remarked Mr. Davenport; “I inquired what you was making.”

“I aint making anything,” replied Clinton.

“That’s a bad sign, Clinty,” continued his father. “I know whittling is a Yankee accomplishment, but he is a poor Yankee, who whittles away his stick to nothing. Did you never hear of the fellow who lost his sweet-heart by doing that very thing?”

Clinton shook his head, in the negative.

“Well,” continued Mr. Davenport, “after the young man had come to an understanding with the pretty lass whom he intended to make his wife, he had to go to her father to get his consent to the arrangement. The father was a shrewd old farmer, and he noticed that his daughter’s suitor, during the awkward interview, whittled away very industriously at a stick, just[Pg 119] as you were doing a moment ago. The old man watched the movement of the knife, and at the same time continued to talk on the prospects of his would-be son-in-law, until the stick had dwindled down to nothing. Then he said to the young man: ‘Sir, you have property, and steady habits, and are good-looking; but you can’t have my daughter. Had you made something,—no matter what,—of the stick you have whittled away, you could have had her; as it is,—you cannot. Your property will go as the stick did, little by little, until all is gone, and your family reduced to want. I have read your true character; you have my answer.’

“So,” continued Mr. Davenport, “you see what a man lost by whittling his stick away to nothing. Perhaps he only did it because he had something on his mind, which he did not know how to get off; but he took a very foolish way to get over the difficulty, as he soon discovered.”

This last remark, whether intended so by his father or not, Clinton took as having a special meaning for him. He thought it an evidence that his father had noticed his troubled look, and was awaiting an explanation.[Pg 120] So throwing his piece of pine into the fire, and summoning all his resolution, he said, as his eyes filled with tears:—

“Father, I have got something on my mind that has made me very unhappy for a good while, and now I want to tell you all about it.”

At these words his mother, who was sewing, dropped her work and fixed her eyes earnestly upon Clinton. His father, forgetting his conversation an hour or two previous with Mrs. Davenport, said:—

“I thought something ailed you, Clinton, and I am glad you have concluded to tell us about it. You have no better friends than your father and mother, and you ought never to conceal your troubles from them. Go on with your story.”

Clinton then made a full and frank confession of his misdoing, as it has been already related. He also gave an account of the manner in which he had been detected, so far as he had been able to learn, and narrated the conversation he had held with Master Eaton, that afternoon. When he concluded his confession, his parents, as well as himself, were in tears. For some moments[Pg 121] there was a silence, unbroken save by sobs. Mr. Davenport then arose, and pressing Clinton to his heart, said:—

“My son, I bless God that he has given you courage to make this confession. You have done very wrong; you have had a narrow escape from shipwreck,—and all the while we were not dreaming of your danger! O, how could you deceive us so? But I won’t chide you now. You have done well to disclose it all, even at this late day,—and I hope you have learned a lesson from this affair which you will never forget!”

His father and mother continued the conversation for some time,—pointing out to Clinton, very plainly but kindly, the principal faults of his character, by which he had been led astray; and warning him earnestly against associating any more with Jerry, or any other boys of his stamp. At length, Mr. Davenport inquired what punishment the teacher had inflicted.

“None,” replied Clinton; “he said, if I would confess the whole affair to you, he would leave the punishment to you.”

“Well,” said his father, “I will think about it. I could[Pg 122] cheerfully forgive all the past, if you would promise to do better hereafter,—but I am not sure that this would be the best thing for you.”

“I mean to behave better hereafter,” said Clinton; “but I do not ask to be pardoned without punishment. I know I deserve to suffer for my conduct, and I shan’t think hard of it if I do.”

Mr. Davenport said he would consider the matter, and announce his decision the next day. The family then knelt in prayer; and the erring, but repentant, son was most affectionately commended to the Divine forgiveness, and the Good Spirit implored to guide his future steps.

The next morning Clinton attended school, as usual, but Jerry was absent. Mr. Eaton inquired of Clinton if he had kept his promise, and seemed much pleased when he answered in the affirmative. He gave him some good advice, and expressed the hope that he would avoid all similar errors hereafter. It being Saturday, no school was held in the afternoon, and Clinton returned home without having seen Jerry.

In the evening, when Clinton was alone with his[Pg 123] parents, the subject which had engrossed the thoughts of all, so earnestly, for the last twenty-four hours, was again introduced.

“Your mother and I,” said Mr. Davenport, “have talked over your affair, Clinton, and we have come to the conclusion that the series of offences was so long, and so aggravated, that the pain of exposure which you have suffered is hardly sufficient punishment. You did well in making a confession, it is true; but, you did not do that, until you found you could no longer conceal your guilt. We have therefore decided that you must forego your promised trip to Boston next March, by way of punishment.”

This was, indeed, a severe deprivation to Clinton. For more than six months he had been anticipating, with delight, the arrival of spring, when, the winter-school over, he was to spend several weeks with his uncle and cousins in Boston. But he felt that the disappointment was deserved, and he made no complaint. His father afterwards added, for his encouragement, that if his conduct continued unexceptionable, the suspended visit should come off in the following autumn, after the fall work was over.

[Pg 124]

Notwithstanding his disappointment, Clinton went to bed that night with a lighter heart than he had known before for many weeks. He felt that he had escaped from a frightful snare, and that he could once more look his parents and teacher honestly in the face. He determined to retrieve, by his good conduct, whatever he had lost, in their estimation; and he felt almost impatient to be tempted again, that he might show them how firmly he could now resist every evil influence.

[Pg 125]


Early on the Monday morning after the events related in the preceding chapter, Mrs. Preston was seen approaching the house of Mr. Davenport. She was evidently much excited and troubled, and as soon as she entered the room, she proceeded to disclose her errand. It was simply this, Jerry had run away from home!

It will be remembered that Jerry learned from Clinton on Friday evening, that his truancies were discovered. He had already made up his mind what to do in case of such an emergency; and the following day he thought the matter over, and determined how to proceed. The next day all the family went to church but himself, he having desired permission to stay at home and take care of the house. After he was left alone, he hastily dressed himself in his best suit, and[Pg 126] proceeded to tie up in a bundle a few articles of clothing, such as shirts, stockings, etc. He then went to his mother’s bureau, and, knowing where she kept the key, unlocked a drawer, and took therefrom a purse containing all the money she then had on hand, amounting to about thirty dollars. Seeing some letter paper by the side of the purse, he wrote the following message on the sheet, and left it in the drawer:—

“i am tyred of staing in this misrable plaice—i am Goeing to see, and you wont se me again verry soon. you se i took a feu dollars, to help me allong—you musnt think you can ketch me, so Goodbie.”

Having thus fitted himself out for the journey, Jerry turned his back upon his home, without one reluctant thought, and hastened on his way toward Boston. As the family did not return from church until the afternoon service was over, no one knew of the disappearance of Jerry till late in the day. At first, nothing strange was thought of his absence; but when night set in, and he did not appear, his mother began to grow uneasy. On examining the chest in his bed-room, she found that some of his clean clothes had[Pg 127] gone, and a suspicion flashed upon her mind that he had forsaken his home. Still later in the evening, she happened to go to her drawer, and discovered Jerry’s farewell note, and—the robbery. Yes, her son was a thief, as well as a runaway. I will not attempt to describe the anguish which pierced her soul, when she read his heartless message, confirming her worst suspicions. Bad and unruly though he was, he was her own, her only son, and she still loved him with the affection which only a mother can know. And now to be separated from her boy under such painful and mortifying circumstances—to lose all influence over him, and all knowledge, even, of his whereabouts, with the prospect of never seeing him again—ah, it cost her a pang such as she never before experienced.

Mrs. Preston destroyed Jerry’s letter, before any one else could have a chance to see it; for she determined that no one, even in the family, should know of the theft he committed. Of course, she said nothing to Mr. Davenport about this. She called upon him to ask his advice and aid in the matter. Mr. Davenport was not much surprised to hear that Jerry had run[Pg 128] away. From what he knew of the boy, it was only what might have been expected. Nor, on the whole, was he very sorry that he had gone; for he was a bad boy, and was corrupting the youth of the village, and his leaving the place would be a public blessing. Still, Mr. Davenport could not help pitying Jerry’s mother, and in spite of his feelings, he thought it his duty to assist her to recover her son, or at least to ascertain where he had gone. He therefore advised her to write immediately to Jerry’s uncle in Boston, and request him to put the police officers on the look-out for the runaway, should he show himself in that city. He also decided to go himself in pursuit of Jerry, in a sleigh, with the hope of overtaking him. But before Mrs. Preston took her leave, he said to her:—

“I have one more word of advice, Mrs. Preston; and that is, if Jerry is bent on going to sea, I think you had better let him go a short voyage. If we succeed in bringing him back, it is not likely that he will stay here long; and if he is determined to go away, he had better go with your knowledge and consent, than without them. His uncle can probably secure[Pg 129] a chance for him on board some vessel where he will be well treated, and then you will know where he is, and be likely to hear from him occasionally.”

Mrs. Preston said that, for her part, she would agree to such an arrangement, though she did not know as Jerry’s father would consent to it.

Mr. Davenport kept his promise, and, as soon as he could get ready, started off in pursuit of the runaway, taking the road that led toward Portland. He stopped occasionally at some house, on the road, to inquire if a boy had been seen travelling that way the day before. For a while, he could find no trace of Jerry; but at last he found one house, the inmates of which remembered that a lad, answering to the appearance of Jerry, had passed along the road on foot, the day previous. Mr. Davenport now pressed forward, subsequent inquiries confirming him that he was on the right track. Toward noon, he reached a village from which a line of coaches ran to Waterville, connecting with the railroad to Portland. On making inquiries at the tavern, he learned that Jerry arrived there the evening previous, and took the stage early in the morning, saying that he was bound for Boston. It was, of course,[Pg 130] useless for Mr. Davenport to follow him any farther, and he accordingly returned home, and reported the result of his inquiries.

“Father,” said Clinton, as the family sat around the fire-side in the evening, “I shouldn’t think you would be sorry Jerry has run away—and yet you’ve tried pretty hard to catch him.”

“On some accounts,” replied Mr. Davenport, “I am not sorry; but I pity his poor mother, and for her sake I would like to save the boy from the foolish course he has taken. But I have little faith that he would remain here a great while, if brought back. He has been permitted to have his own way so long, that there is little probability of his submitting now to the authority of his mother.”

“Well, I am almost sorry that he has gone, too,” said Clinton.

“You ought not to be,” replied his father.

“Why, as to that,” said Clinton, “I had made up my mind just how I would treat him, hereafter, and I wanted you to see that I have got some firmness left; but now I shan’t have any opportunity to show you what I can do.”

[Pg 131]

“You need not feel any regret on that score,” replied Mr. Davenport. “It is easy enough to form good resolutions, but perhaps it will be fortunate for you if yours are never put to a severe test. But even if Jerry does not return, I suspect you will meet with temptations sufficient to prove your strength of resistance. A wise man never courts temptation.”

[Pg 132]


Jerry had planned his flight with considerable care and skill, for a boy of his age; and before the time came for him to take the first step, he had laid out the course he intended to pursue. Dressed in his best suit, with his bundle of clean clothes under his arm, and with the ill-gotten thirty dollars stowed away in the lower corner of his vest pocket, he started on his journey into the great unknown world. He walked for many a weary mile, over a road covered with snow that had recently fallen; but the sun shone pleasantly, and the weather was not so cold but that he sweat very freely from his exercise. It was not until after sunset that he reached the tavern where he proposed to spend the night. This tavern was a large wooden building, somewhat dingy with age, and bore upon its front a faded, weather-beaten sign, on which was inscribed[Pg 133] the name of its proprietor. Some time before Jerry reached the building, he could see the bright, cheerful light of the fire shining through the windows, and flickering and flashing over the wide, level field of snow which separated him from its comfortable shelter. Quickening his steps, he was soon at the door, and without stopping to knock, he entered the room from which he had seen the light.

It was a large room, with sanded floor, and the walls were covered with dingy maps, pictures, stage and railroad bills, advertisements of public houses in other places, and various other things. There was a large, open fire-place on one side, and a heap of glowing coals and blazing logs gave the room a very comfortable and attractive aspect. Several men were seated around the fire, in chairs, which supported themselves on their back legs, at an angle of forty-five degrees. Two or three of the company were smoking cigars, the fumes of which filled the room almost to suffocation. As Jerry entered, the men all seemed to look at him pretty sharply, and as he laid down his bundle, and drew a chair up to the fire, one of them said,

[Pg 134]

“Well, young man, what can we do for you?”

“I want to stay here to-night,” replied Jerry, “and I should like some supper too, if it isn’t too late.”

“How far have you come to-day?” inquired the man.

“I don’t know,” answered Jerry; “I should think it was about eighteen miles.”

“Running away from home, eh?” continued the inquirer.

“No, I’m not running away, but my mother has sent me to Boston, to get work.” And Jerry could utter this falsehood with so honest a look and so smooth a tongue, as to deceive all who heard him!

“What is your name?” continued his inquisitive host—for it was the keeper of the tavern that put these questions.

“Jeremiah Preston.”

“And where did you say you belong?”

“In Brookdale.”

“And are you going to take the stage to-morrow morning for Boston?”

“Yes, sir.”

[Pg 135]

The tavern-keeper made several other inquiries, which were answered to his satisfaction. He then left the room, and presently returned and told Jerry that his supper was ready. Following his host, Jerry entered a long room, in the middle of which stood a table, running nearly the whole length. At one end of this table were spread the dishes and victuals for Jerry’s supper, the rest of the household having been to tea. There were warm biscuits and butter, rich milk, and smoking tea, nice-looking cheese, and red, juicy applesauce,—besides a plate of tempting cakes, and pies of two kinds. A lady poured out a cup of tea, and then left him to help himself to the eatables. His long walk had given him a sharp appetite, and he availed himself of this privilege very freely. It seemed to him that he never sat down to so good a supper before. He ate until he began to feel ashamed of himself, and then left off, not because he had had enough, but because he was afraid to eat more.

The demands of hunger satisfied, Jerry began to realize how tired he was. He accordingly asked the landlord to show him the way to his bed-room, which the latter did. Before leaving him for the night, the[Pg 136] landlord told Jerry that the stage started at five o’clock in the morning, and that he would call him in season for it. Jerry then went to bed, and was soon lost in sound sleep, from which he did not awake till a loud and long-continued rapping on his door, and the repeated cry of “stage ready!” at length elicited from him the response, “I hear.” Scarcely knowing where he was, or what all the disturbance was about, he leaped out of bed, and was soon dressed, and ready to resume his journey. His tavern bill was fifty cents, which he paid, and without stopping for breakfast, he took his seat in the stage that stood waiting at the door. It was quite dark, and the snow was falling fast, a driving wind piling it up in drifts. The stage, as it was called, was a large covered sleigh, with three long seats inside. Having fastened down the woollen curtains to keep out the snow, the driver mounted his seat, gave the word to the horses, and away they started.

For a large portion of the way, Jerry was the only passenger. Now and then he could hear the crack of the whip above the noise of the storm, and the sound of the horses’ bells, deadened by the snow and wet, was just audible. He could see nothing, for it was not[Pg 137] yet daylight, and besides, he was a close prisoner. He could not even tell which way the vehicle was going. Sometimes he thought it went sideways, and then again it would seem to be going backwards. Sometimes, with a jerk and a bounce he would be almost thrown from his seat,—and at other times, it would seem as if it were impossible to escape upsetting. For a while, he was much amused with his situation, but at length he began to grow tired of the continual thumping and jolting, and longed to see the end of the journey. Several more passengers were picked up, as they passed through other villages, which, with the appearance of daylight, served to enliven somewhat the remainder of the way. But Jerry was not sorry when the driver reined up the horses in front of one of the hotels in Waterville. Hungry and benumbed with cold, he entered the public house, and spoke for breakfast, which was furnished very soon, as passengers were expected by the stage. For this he paid twenty-five cents. It was a very good breakfast, and well worth the money; but he could not help thinking how many meals, quite as good as this, he had eaten at home, without paying[Pg 138] anything for them. He began to feel the difference between living at home and living abroad.

After breakfast, Jerry ascertained that he had about two hours to spare, before the cars started, which he thought he would spend in looking about. Waterville seemed to him to be quite a large and bustling place. The houses were numerous, and many of them were very elegant. There were also plenty of stores and work-shops, and quite a number of churches. The Kennebec river, on one bank of which the town is built, was frozen over, and the saw-mills were not in operation. He went on to the covered bridge, which crosses the Kennebec, where he obtained a good view of the river, the mills, and a portion of the town. On a hill, a short distance from the centre of the town, he saw three large brick buildings, one of which had a cupola. On inquiring of a boy what they were, he was told they were “the colleges.”

Jerry now directed his steps to the railroad depot, where he found preparations making for the train of which he was to be a passenger. After examining the locomotive, cars, depot, switches, turn-tables, signals, etc., all of which possessed the charm of novelty[Pg 139] to him, he seated himself in the train. Soon the signal was given for starting; the engine commenced its at first slow but gradually quickening puffs; the bell rang to warn people of the approach of the train, and in a few minutes they were under full headway. Jerry had travelled by railroad once or twice before, but the novelty of the thing had not worn off, and he watched the movements of the train, and the snow-covered country through which they passed, with a good-deal of interest. On they flew, over hills and valleys, through forests and villages, over rivers and under roads. The storm had ceased, and the snow on the track was not sufficient to impede their progress. Occasionally they stopped to take up or drop a passenger, or to replenish the engine with water and fuel. The ride, however was a long one,—eighty-two miles,—and it was three hours and a half before they reached Portland. After a while Jerry grew tired of looking at strange scenes, and then his thoughts wandered back to the home he had left. How he wished he could look in unperceived, for a moment, and see what his mother was doing! Was she sorry or angry, that he had run away? Would she try to get him back again?[Pg 140] What would the neighbors say about his disappearance? And then he wondered how his sisters felt about losing their brother. Little Mary, the youngest, he thought would be sad, for she seemed to love him better than the others did,—perhaps, because her affectionate disposition and tender age did not allow him to treat her so rudely as he did Emily and Harriet. He wished that he had bidden her good-by, for really, he was just learning that he felt something like affection towards her. Such were the thoughts that were passing through his mind, when the train stopped at the depot in Portland.

Jerry had bought a through-ticket for Boston, and was obliged to continue his journey without stopping in Portland. He did not have time even to eat dinner, but bought some cakes and a glass of milk at a refreshment room in the depot, and then seated himself in another train bound for Boston. Nothing occurred, worthy of notice, during the trip. It grew dark before the train had proceeded a third of its distance, and the lamps in the cars were lighted. Of course nothing could be seen, outside, save the lights in the villages through which they passed. It was nearly eight[Pg 141] o’clock in the evening when the train entered a large building, lighted by gas lanterns, and the passengers made a general movement towards the car-doors. Jerry followed the others, and soon found, as he had already suspected, that he was in Boston. The locomotive was not to be seen, having been switched off upon another track before the cars entered the depot; and the baggage car, which followed immediately after the engine and tender, was now unhitched from the cars, and some men were pushing it forward to the farther end of the depot. Here there was a raised platform, where the baggage could be delivered, and which was fenced round, so that no person could get at the car to help themselves. The passengers soon began to crowd around in search of their baggage, which was passed out as fast as possible by men in the car. Each trunk, valise, box, etc., had a number affixed to it, on a little brass tag, or check; and as each passenger had received a check with a number corresponding to that on his trunk, the baggage-master had no difficulty in telling to whom each article belonged. These checks were given to the passengers when their baggage was received at the depot in Portland, and on surrendering[Pg 142] them in the Boston depot, they were sure of receiving back their own baggage. As Jerry’s bundle was small, he did not have it put among the baggage, but took it with him into the cars.

A large number of men, with silver numbers on their hats, were moving about among the passengers, accosting almost everybody that they met with the words, “Cab, sir?” “Hack, madam?” “Ride up, sir?” etc. On going to the door, Jerry saw that there were a great many coaches and cabs arranged along the side-walk, waiting for the passengers. He was surprised to find that all these vehicles were on wheels, and that the streets were quite destitute of snow. He had not seen bare ground before for several months; for in Brookdale the snow often falls in the latter part of November, and does not disappear till late in March. Boston being farther south and nearer the sea-coast, the snow does not accumulate in such quantities, nor remain so long upon the ground, as it does in that part of Maine where Jerry belonged.

Haymarket Square

Jerry now thought it was time to hunt up quarters for the night. He was wholly unacquainted with the streets, but he knew there were a great many public[Pg 143] houses in the city; and he supposed he should not have to go far, in any direction, to find one. On leaving the depot, he found himself in a large, open square, surrounded on all sides by tall buildings. In the centre of the square, was a circular enclosure, surrounded by an iron fence and a brick side-walk; and in the centre of that was a tall, iron post supporting a gas-lamp. This was Haymarket Square. Eight different streets lead out of it, in various directions, and it was some time before Jerry could decide which to take. He, at length, chose one and started on his way, not[Pg 144] knowing whither it would lead him. He had not gone far before he saw a building, which he thought might be a hotel, and on inquiring of the driver of a carriage which was standing before the door, he was told that it was a public house. He accordingly ascended the steps, and entered the room which had the word, “Office,” painted over the door. Several men were seated around a very large stove, reading; and another was sitting at a desk, behind a counter that extended across one end of the room. Going up to the latter, Jerry said:—

“Can I stay here to-night, sir?”

The man addressed,—who was the clerk of the hotel,—eyed the stranger somewhat sharply for a moment, and then inquired:—

“Where are you from?”

“Brookdale,” replied Jerry.

“Brookdale,—I never heard of that place; where is it?”

“It is in Maine,” answered Jerry, who was rather surprised that the man should ask such a question.

“Come from there to-day?” continued the clerk.

“Yes, sir.”

[Pg 145]

“And what are you going to do in Boston?”

“I’m going to sea.”

“Have you got any baggage?”

“Nothing but this,” replied Jerry, holding up his bundle.

“We don’t like to take strangers, who haven’t any baggage,” continued the man; “they sometimes step out very suddenly, without settling their bills.”

“If you are afraid to trust me, I can pay you in advance,” replied Jerry, who began to fear he should have to seek further for lodgings.

“O, never mind that,” said the clerk; “you look honest enough; and as you’re fresh from the country, I aint afraid to trust you. Put your name in that book,” he continued, handing Jerry a pen, and placing a large book on the counter.

This book was the register of the house, and each guest who stopped there recorded in it his name and place of residence. Jerry wrote his name as well as he could,—which is not saying a great deal,—and then inquired if he could not have something to eat. The clerk replied in the affirmative; and, in a little while, Jerry was summoned into another room, where[Pg 146] he found a good supper provided, of which he ate with a keen relish after his long fast. Having finished his meal, he told the clerk he was tired, and should like to go to bed. The latter gave a pull at a cord and tassel, which rang a bell in another part of the house. A servant quickly answered the summons, and was directed to show Jerry to No. 69. Following the servant, Jerry passed through several narrow entries, and ascended four long flights of stairs, and turned more corners than he could remember, before he reached his sleeping-room. It was a small room, and had but a few plain articles of furniture. Jerry was too tired, however, to give much attention to these things. He was soon in bed, and sleeping as soundly as though under his father’s roof.

[Pg 147]


The sun, streaming in from the window, awoke Jerry from his slumbers, after his first night in Boston. On getting up he found that his room was higher than the surrounding buildings, affording an extensive prospect. One of the first objects that met his eye he concluded must be Bunker Hill Monument, as it resembled the engravings he had seen of that structure. There were a great many church-steeples in sight, and the houses seemed to be crowded together almost as close as they could be packed. He could also see a strip of water, with numerous vessels, one or two of which were very large, noble-looking ships. These last were men-of-war, belonging to the American Government, and were anchored off the Navy-Yard at Charlestown.

But Jerry did not stop to gaze long at the novel[Pg 148] scene spread before him. Other matters claimed his attention. As he dressed himself he began to consider what he should do next. He was acquainted with but one family in the place,—that of his uncle,—and he did not dare to go to them, lest they should send him back to his home. If Oscar had only been at home, he would have lost no time in seeing him; but he knew, from letters received by his parents, that his wayward cousin had gone to sea, several months before. A stranger, in a great city, with no one to advise or assist, and cast entirely upon his own resources, it must be confessed that Jerry felt rather dull, that morning. And yet he did not wish to return to his home, and his greatest fear was that his friends would discover where he was. He thought it would not be safe to stay long in Boston, and so he determined to try at once to get a chance to go to sea—a design on which he had set his heart, before he started from home.

Jerry’s reflections were interrupted by the ringing of a large bell, in the entry below, and thinking it might be the summons to breakfast, he went down. Following the current of men and women, he found[Pg 149] himself in a large hall, in which a long table was spread. The man with whom he had the conversation the night before, was there, and beckoned him to a chair at the table. There were thirty or forty persons at the table, and the rattling of dishes, the clatter of knives and forks, and the low hum of conversation, soon commenced in good earnest. Some six or eight young men, in slippers and jackets, and wearing small white aprons, were continually flying back and forth, behind the boarders, bringing cups of tea and coffee, and passing dishes to those who could not reach them. Sometimes half a dozen persons would order as many different things, of the same waiter, almost at the same moment, and Jerry thought the man must be puzzled to know which to get first; but in a minute he would return, and hand to each the article which he ordered. The skill which these men acquire in their business, by practice, is often quite remarkable to one unaccustomed to the sight.

The company did not all leave the table at once, but one or two at a time, just as they happened to finish their meal. Jerry having eaten all he desired, arose and went to the office. The clerk of the hotel[Pg 150] entered, soon after, and Jerry took the opportunity to pay his bill, which amounted to seventy-five cents. With his bundle in hand, he now started off, with the design of shipping for a voyage, or, if he could not do this, of procuring a cheap boarding place, where he might remain until he could find a chance to go to sea.

The streets were full of people, who all seemed intent on going somewhere, as fast as possible. Jerry, as he slowly passed along toward the point where he had seen the ships from his chamber window, was jostled first on one side and then on the other, and it required no little effort to dodge the current which was sweeping by him. This was partly because he did not keep to the right side of the walk, as is the usual custom in cities, but turned sometimes to the left, and sometimes to the right, and sometimes took the centre. Few of the persons he met seemed to take any notice of him. Two boys, however, whose dress was better than their manners, stopped almost directly in front of him, and stared at him until he passed by, with a comical expression on their faces. A loud laugh, and the expression, “Aint he green, Sam!” which reached[Pg 151] the ears of Jerry, immediately after, explained their conduct.

The horses and carriages in the street were quite as novel a sight to Jerry, as the strange faces he met on the side walk. A continuous line of vehicles, of all descriptions, was passing back and forth. There were long trucks, with two or three noble horses harnessed “tandem,” and short cabs, which looked as though they had been curtailed of their original proportions; ponderous carts, with broad wheels, and light, gaily-painted express wagons; omnibuses and coaches, chaises and buggies, wheel-barrows and hand carts, all passing in an endless procession. Jerry observed one little incident that highly amused him. A small boy, intent on having a free ride, got upon the steps at the end of a passing omnibus; but he had hardly settled himself into a comfortable position, when a passenger inside, who had watched his proceedings, reached his hand through the open window, and seizing his cap, threw it high into the air. The lad’s face was in an instant red with passion, and giving the man a look which said as plain as looks could speak, “I’d pay you for that—if I could,” away he ran to recover[Pg 152] his cap, which had fallen into the street; and so the poor boy lost both his ride, and his temper.

Jerry continued his walk, and soon found himself in the neighborhood of the shipping. Most of the wharves, in this locality, are covered with coal, wood, lumber, lime, and other products of the coasting trade. Nearly all of the vessels lying at these wharves were small, and Jerry noticed that many of them came from ports in the State of Maine, the names of the towns where they belonged being painted upon their sterns. There was nothing very inviting to Jerry, about these wharves, and he passed on. Presently, the wharves began to grow longer, and the vessels larger. At one place he encountered quite a crowd of people, and several teams and carriages, which were coming up from one of these wharves. This was the slip of the Chelsea ferry-boats. Seeing a steamboat at the end of the wharf, Jerry turned in, to look at it; but just before reaching the boat, he was stopped by a man in a loll-house, who told him that he could not pass without paying the fare. Not wishing to go to Chelsea, at that time, Jerry turned back, and resumed his walk along Commercial street.

[Pg 153]

As Jerry kept on, the shipping began to grow more numerous, and almost everything he saw had something to do with the sea. The most common signs on the street were “Naval Stores,” “Ship Chandlery,” “Sail Loft,” “Commission Merchant,” etc.; and on most of the wharves were long blocks of warehouses and stores, some of which were built of granite, and made a very imposing and substantial appearance. Sailors were plenty, too. Some of them were “old salts” with great brown hands, and grizzled locks, and little gold rings in their ears, and leather belts around their waists, in which they carried their sheath-knives. Some were young men, whose sun-burnt faces were half buried in huge, dark whiskers, and whose pea-jackets and pantaloons bore witness that they were not unacquainted with grease and tar. Occasionally, Jerry would meet a lad about his own size, whose dark blue pants, fitting snugly around the waist and worn without suspenders,—and neat blue jacket, with a turned down shirt collar of the same color, edged with white,—and shining tarpaulin hat, stuck upon the back of his head,—at once excited his admiration and envy.

[Pg 154]

Jerry now thought it time to look around among the vessels, and see if he could accomplish the object of his journey. He accordingly turned down a wharf at which some twenty or thirty craft of various kinds were lying, with the determination of applying to each one of them for a situation, in regular order, until he should be successful. The first two or three vessels which he approached were apparently deserted. No person was to be seen about them, and of course they afforded no chance for Jerry. The next vessel he came to was a large ship, which towered so high out of the water that he could see nothing of the deck from where he stood. There were some steps leading from the wharf to the deck, which Jerry ascended. The only person on board he could see was a negro, who was in a little house built upon the deck, from the top of which smoke was issuing through a stove-pipe. This place was the caboose, or kitchen of the ship, and its inmate was the cook. To the inquiry whether a boy was wanted on board, a gruff “No” was the only response. Jerry descended to the wharf, and continued his walk, though with little success. On board some of the vessels, the men were so busy at their labors[Pg 155] that he could get no answer to his inquiries; and those who did notice him so much as to reply, were sure to say “No.”

Jerry’s hopes began to fall very fast, and he felt his courage giving way, in consequence of these continued rebuffs. Still he thought he would not give up his purpose yet, and so he passed along. He received the usual reply, from the next vessel he approached, and had just turned away, when he heard somebody cry out:—

“Hallo, there, what youngster is that?”

On looking round, Jerry saw that the voice came from a brig which was slowly moving past the vessel on whose deck he stood.

“He’s a chap that wants to ship,” replied the sailor to whom Jerry had spoken.

“You aint the boy that shipped with us yesterday, are you?” continued the man on board the brig, as Jerry turned towards him.

“No, sir,” replied Jerry, “but I should like to ship with you.”

“Well, come along then—we’re off this minute,[Pg 156] and can’t wait for the other fellow. You may take his place—only be spry about it.”

Here the man, who was captain of the brig, gave some orders in a loud tone to the crew, which were unintelligible to Jerry. In a moment the brig was hauled to along side the vessel in which Jerry was waiting, and, in his confusion scarcely knowing what he did, he quickly jumped over the railing, into the brig. The sailors then re-commenced hauling her out from the dock into the stream. Jerry threw his bundle down upon the deck, and stood watching the movements of those around him. He could scarcely realize that he was going to sea, in this unceremonious manner, and began to suspect that the sailors were playing a joke upon him. But all seemed in earnest, and as busy as they could be, and on the whole he concluded they were not sporting with him. No one spoke to him, however, or set him to work, and as he was as yet totally unacquainted with the duties of a sailor-boy, he did not venture to volunteer his services. But his long-cherished hopes were realized, and his heart beat fast at the prospect before him. Strange boy! He had[Pg 157] shipped with no outfit for the voyage, and he did not know where he was bound, nor even the name of the vessel, or of the captain. He did not know what wages he was to receive, what duties he was expected to perform, or how long he was to be absent. And yet he thought of none of these things, so delighted was he to find himself actually afloat. One by one the white sails of the brig were spread to the wind, and she was soon in full headway towards the broad ocean.

[Pg 158]


For the first few hours at sea, Jerry was little better than a piece of lumber, in everybody’s way. Nobody told him what to do, and, indeed, he was pretty diligently employed in watching the quick movements of the sailors, for the purpose of dodging out of their path. But, with all his alertness, he was not quick enough to avoid being sometimes rudely shoved one side, with a muttered imprecation on his head for getting in the way. The city now began to recede rapidly from view. The State House dome, the church spires, and the forest of ship-masts along the water-side, were all that could be distinguished in the city proper. East Boston, with clouds of smoke ascending from its numerous foundries, was in full view in the distance; while nearer at hand, on the right, was South Boston, with its highlands, its large[Pg 159] public buildings, and its many work-shops with tall chimneys. The last sound that came from shore, was the striking of the church clocks. There was a brisk north-west wind, before which the brig dashed along at a rapid rate. Soon they were sailing between two fortresses, situated on islands about a mile apart, and commanding the only channel by which large vessels can enter or leave the port. Several other islands were in sight, on some of which there were large buildings. They also passed near two light-houses—tall towers built on islands, with dwelling-houses near by for their keepers. Towards noon, the pilot, whose business it is to guide vessels in and out of the harbor, took leave of the brig, and returned to port in a small sail-boat. But little land was now in sight, and the broad ocean, dotted with white sails, was spread out before them.

The sun shone pleasantly upon the waters, but the wind was raw and cold, and Jerry began to realize that he must stir about to keep warm. He was slowly sauntering along, to see for the fiftieth time if he could find anything to do, when he was accosted in a rough voice by one of the men, who said:—

[Pg 160]

“Here, you land-lubber, did you ship for a gentleman, or a figure-head, or what do you mean to do with yourself?”

“I mean to do my duty, if anybody will tell me what it is,” replied Jerry, who did not like the tone in which he was addressed, and answered accordingly. The surly manner in which this was said, was more objectionable than the language itself. In an instant, the man to whom it was addressed (who was the chief-mate), gave Jerry a blow with his hard fist, which sent the boy reeling across the deck.

“There, you young snapping-turtle,” said he, “that’s your first lesson; and hereafter look out when you’re spoken to, and give a civil answer, or I’ll crack your tow-head for you. Now bear a hand here, and clean out that pig-pen,” he continued, pointing to a shovel and scrubbing brush standing in one corner.

Pigs and poultry are frequently carried to sea, to furnish a supply of fresh meat for passengers and sailors; but these particular pigs, to whose acquaintance Jerry was so summarily introduced, were themselves passengers, on their way to a foreign land. A small pen had been fitted up for them on deck, and as cleanliness[Pg 161] is one of the cardinal virtues on ship-board, it was necessary that they should be continually looked after. And cleaning out a hog-sty was to be Jerry’s first experience of “a life on the ocean wave!” Had any one at home ordered him to do such a job, it is very doubtful whether he would have obeyed; but here, after the lesson he had just received, he dare not refuse or even hesitate, and so he leaped into the pen, scraped up the filth, and threw it overboard.


Shortly after Jerry had completed this useful but most unromantic task, he began to grow ill. His stomach rolled and pitched with the brig, and his head was light and dizzy. When he walked he reeled like a drunken man, and the deck seemed about to fly up into his face. Every moment, his sensations became more distressing. He laid himself down in a sheltered part of the deck, but found no relief. His pale, wo-be-gone countenance bore the impress of his misery. O, how he wished he was once more on shore! How he cursed in his heart the hour that he turned his wayward steps from Brookdale! As the motion of the vessel rolled him about like a log, he almost wished that it might pitch him overboard, and thus put an end[Pg 162] to his misery. Should such an accident happen, it seemed to him he would not lift a finger to escape a watery grave. Such thoughts as these were passing through the brain of the sea-sick boy, when some one stole slyly up behind him, and dropped a large piece of greasy salt pork almost directly into his mouth. Any fatty substance is very disagreeable to a sea-sick person; and this mischievous prank, with the laughter and jibes of the sailors which followed it, put the climax upon the misery of Jerry. He got upon[Pg 163] his feet, and, clinging to the rail, began to vomit, or “throw up Jonah,” as the sailors term it. The more he retched, and gagged, and groaned, the more his tormentors ridiculed him. The most conspicuous among them was a raw, freckle-faced lad, apparently a little older than himself, who was now on his second voyage, and was retaliating upon Jerry the treatment he had himself suffered but six or eight months before. He it was that dropped the pork into Jerry’s face. The sailors called him Bob, for they seldom use any but nick-names, and those of the shortest kind.

Jerry remained upon the deck nearly all the afternoon; and no one, from Bob to the Captain, took any notice of him, except to laugh at his condition. Sea-sick people generally get but little sympathy from old salts. Towards sunset, feeling no better, Jerry asked one of the sailors if he would please to show him to his bed-room,—for, in his simplicity, it had never occurred to him that a bed-room, and even a bed, were luxuries that did not belong to the sea. The old tar, with the utmost gravity, called out:—

“Come here, Bob,—this ’ere young gentleman wants you to show him the way up to his bed-room.”

[Pg 164]

Bob came, and conducted Jerry to the ratlin, or ladder, leading up the mast,—and told him to “go up two pair of stairs, and knock at the left-hand door.” If there was anything funny in this, Jerry was too sick to apprehend it. His good-nature had long since given out; but now he was getting positively angry, and retorted upon his tormentors with some spirit. But this only increased their sport and aggravated his misery. At length, however, they became weary of their bantering, and one of the sailors, whom they called Tom, led Jerry down into the forecastle, as that part of the vessel, where the sailors sleep, is called. This apartment was in the forward part of the brig, immediately under the deck. It was a small place, barely high enough to stand erect in, and with no light except what entered at the door-way. Great chests were strewed around the floor, so that it was difficult to walk without running into them. The sides of the forecastle were fitted up with three tiers of what looked like large shelves, with raised edges. These were the bunks in which the sailors slept. Each man had his own bunk, which was just large enough to lie down in. Two or three of these bunks were unclaimed, and Tom told[Pg 165] Jerry he could take his choice of them. But Jerry had come on board without the slightest preparation for sea, and of course had neither mattress nor blankets, which each sailor is expected to provide for himself. What was he to do in this emergency? Luckily for him, Tom happened to have some spare bed-clothing in his chest; and as he rather pitied Jerry, he offered to let him use it until he should have an opportunity to furnish himself with an outfit. Jerry gladly accepted the offer, and taking off a portion of his clothing, crawled into this narrow, box-like resting-place.

Our young sailor did not enjoy a very sound sleep, on his first night at sea. The motion of the vessel, the creaking and straining of the rigging, the noise of the water dashing against the bows, the dolorous sighing of the wind through the blocks and ropes, the loud, sharp-spoken orders on deck, and the frequent passing of the seamen to and from the forecastle, together with his sea-sickness, allowed him but little repose. Nor did he quite fancy the atmosphere of the forecastle, which became close and stifled before morning, and was flavored with various odors, the most prominent of[Pg 166] which seemed to be tar, bilge-water, and tobacco. However, he made out to catch a few short naps, from one of which, about daylight, he was aroused by a hearty shake, and ordered on deck. It at first seemed to him that he had not strength sufficient to arise, but he managed to get upon his feet, and staggered up on deck, where the mate at once set him to work, washing down the decks. Weak and sick as he was, he worked at the pump awhile, the cold water in the meantime running in streams about his feet, his shoes offering but little resistance to the flood. Then he was obliged to kneel down and scrub the deck with small stones, called by the sailors, “holy-stones,” and used at sea for cleaning the decks of vessels. This laborious employment continued for more than an hour, and whenever Jerry attempted to relax his efforts in the slightest degree, he would hear the stern voice of the mate:—

“Bear a hand there, sir,—no skulking here!”

On one occasion, this admonition was enforced by a smart stroke of a rope’s-end laid over his shoulders. Jerry began to regard the mate as a monster; and, indeed, he looked upon the officers and men, generally, as little better than the pirates of whom he had read[Pg 167] in some of his juvenile books. But these men were not so bad as he imagined. It is stern, rough discipline that makes the hardy sailor; and Jerry’s initiation was no more severe than that of most boys who go to sea “before the mast.”

After the deck had been holy-stoned, Jerry made his first meal at sea,—he having been too sick hitherto to eat anything. His breakfast consisted of hard ship-bread, cold salt junk, or beef, and rye coffee, without milk. He ate but little, for the fare was not very tempting, and his stomach had not yet got accustomed to the ups and downs, the pitchings, and tossings, and reelings, of a life at sea. He was kept busily employed, most of the day, in doing various little chores about the vessel; for being the youngest, he was obliged to run at everybody’s call. He learned from one of the sailors, during the day, that the brig was bound for Valparaiso; but this did not give him a very definite idea of his destination,—for so sadly had he neglected his geography at school, that he could not tell in what quarter of the globe Valparaiso was situated, or whether it was a week’s, or month’s, or six months’ sail[Pg 168] from Boston. He also discovered that the name of the brig was “The Susan.”

Towards the evening of the second day out, the weather grew milder and the sea more calm. The brig, which had dashed through the water as if on a race, from the moment they got under headway, now began to slacken her speed,—and one of the old sailors predicted an “Irishman’s hurricane,” as a calm is sometimes humorously called. The motion of the vessel was much less perceptible, and Jerry began to get over his sea-sickness. He now took some interest in the strange scenes spread out before him: the level ocean stretching away in every direction, until it apparently touched the sky; no hill bounding the horizon, and not a speck of land to be seen. But one other vessel was in sight, and that was so far off that only the white sails could be discerned, the hull being hidden from sight by the roundness of the earth. Dolphins and porpoises were sporting round the brig in a very amusing manner,—now darting entirely out of water, and now plunging to the bottom, or scudding along very swiftly near the surface. Occasionally, a[Pg 169] small bird was seen flitting past the vessel, or skimming along upon the water, in its wake. At first, Jerry took them to be swallows, but he soon learned from Tom, that they were stormy petrels, or, as the sailors call them, Mother Carey’s Chickens. The sailors regard these birds with much superstitious fear, because they appear in greatest numbers just before a storm, and are besides very singular in their habits; but the petrels are really very inoffensive birds, and have no more to do with getting up a tempest than our ducks, geese, swallows, snow-birds, and other land birds, which are uncommonly noisy and busy just before a storm. Tom, however, like most sailors, believed the traditions concerning the petrel, and when he told Jerry they were messengers of the evil one, they lost none of their interest in the eyes of the young sailor. At night, while stowed away in his little bunk, sound asleep, they appeared to him in countless flocks, and he dreamed that they settled around him in such vast numbers, that he had to struggle desperately to avoid being suffocated by them.

Thus passed Jerry’s first two days at sea. You would hardly have patience to follow him through all[Pg 170] the long voyage; nor is it necessary that you should, for the experience of one day was much like that of another. He found going to sea a very different thing from what he expected. To be sure, there were at first some pleasant novelties about it, but these wore away after a while. This was not the case, however, with the toils and hardships,—which only grew more distasteful the longer they were continued. The romantic, free-and-easy life of the sailor, which he had pictured in imagination, he found to be in reality a life of severe labor, drudgery, exposure, and deprivation. There were few idle moments for him, even in the most delightful weather. At daylight, each morning, rain or shine, he must scrub the decks; and clean out the pig-pen. Next, perhaps, he would be ordered to assist in shifting sails, and would be obliged to haul rough ropes until his hands were sore, and his back felt ready to break; then, for an hour or two, he would be kept hard at work scraping and oiling the masts and yards,—or be sent aloft with a bucket of tar and grease, called slush, and, hanging in mid-air, be compelled to dip his hand into the nasty mixture, and rub down some portion of the rigging or mast. He also had his[Pg 171] own washing and mending to do; and when there was nothing else to employ his time, he must pick oakum, or make spun-yarn and sennit. Even at night, he could not claim exemption from toil,—but was liable at any hour to be turned out by the shrill cry of “All hands, ahoy!” to face rain or snow, or to feel his way aloft in a gale of wind, and in pitch-darkness!

There was one thing, however, that Jerry, at first, felt more than even the hard work and poor fare of his new calling; this was, the iron discipline to which he found himself subjected. He had never been accustomed to obey any one, at home; but here, it was prompt, instant obedience, or a blow. This deep-rooted habit of disobedience, together with his settled habit of laziness, made his “breaking in” at sea much more painful than it would otherwise have been. One morning he did not instantly obey the summons when called up, and, without intending it, dropped asleep again; a moment afterwards he found himself sprawling among the chests in the forecastle, every bone in his body aching as though it had been twitched out of its place. The captain, with one jerk, had brought him from his bunk to the floor, and accompanied the act[Pg 172] with an imprecation on his eyes, for not turning out when called. Jerry had to take his turn in watching on deck, at night. One night he was greatly fatigued, and sitting down on the boom he fell asleep with his head in his lap. The second mate happened to be on deck, and seeing the situation of Jerry, he seized the rope’s-end, and approaching him stealthily, brought it down with all his strength upon the back and shoulders of the boy. Jerry, in his fright, came near leaping overboard, and it was a long time before he again took a nap at the watch. At work, too, a kick, or cuff, or a bit of rope was always handy, if there was any inclination to skulk. “Hurrah, there! bear a hand! heave along! heave along!” was constantly sounding in his ears,—a system of driving which he found anything but agreeable.

Jerry also added unnecessarily to the bitterness of his lot, during the first few weeks of the voyage, by his surly, insolent manners towards the sailors. Being treated as inferiors themselves by their officers, sailors have no opportunity to play the superior except towards the boys on ship-board, and they are very apt to make the most of this opportunity. It is best for the[Pg 173] boy to submit patiently and good-naturedly to this petty tyranny; for, if he is saucy or surly, they show him no mercy. Jerry soon learned this, from his own experience. He at first bore the treatment of the crew with much ill-grace; but he was soon cured of this fault, and learned to be civil and obliging towards them.

In addition to all these troubles and hardships, Jerry found himself thrown into intimate companionship with men, some of whom were not only shockingly profane and disgustingly indecent, in their language, but even boasted of the immorality of their lives. But these evil influences, though they startled Jerry a little, at first, were not the things that troubled him;—and yet, with his unformed habits and principles, they were a thousand times worse for him than all the stern hardships of the sea.

[Pg 174]


Jerry was missed at home;—to be sure, his departure was not felt so sensibly as it would have been, had he acted the part of a dutiful son and an affectionate brother. Still, all mourned his sudden disappearance; especially, as they knew not what had become of him. For a while, Mrs. Preston looked up the road, many times every day, to see if she could discern anything of the runaway, for she had strong expectations that he would return. But he did not come, nor were any tidings received from him. In her distress and anxiety on his account, she forgot all his bad conduct, and only remembered that he was her son,—her only son. Little Mary, too, was much troubled at the loss of her brother. She did not fully comprehend the occasion of his absence, and as little was said in her presence about it, she somehow got the notion into her[Pg 175] head that Jerry had been seized and carried off by certain wicked people whom she called “bugaboos.” “Mother,” she would say, “when Jerry gets to be a great-big man, wont he get away from the bugaboos; and come back again?” And then her mother would look sad, and reply, “I hope so, my dear.”

About a fortnight after Jerry’s departure, Mrs. Preston received a letter from her husband’s brother in Boston. She opened it with mingled hope and trembling, for it was in reply to one she had addressed him, the day after Jerry left home. But it gave her no information in regard to his whereabouts. Jerry’s uncle simply stated that he had been absent from home, and did not get her letter till a few days previous; that he had made inquiries, but could learn nothing of Jerry; and that he would be on the look-out for him, and give her immediate information should he hear anything concerning the runaway. She laid the letter down with a sigh; and that evening she wrote to her husband, informing him of the situation of affairs,—for she had delayed doing so until now, in hope of hearing what had become of Jerry. Being at work in the woods, far away from any post-office, Mr. Preston did not[Pg 176] receive this letter until it had got to be quite an old affair, and so he did not think it worth while to return home, to look after his son.

Clinton continued to be a frequent visiter at Mrs. Preston’s, and was regarded as one of the family, rather than a stranger. When riding down to the Cross Roads, he always stopped to inquire if they had any errands to be done at the store; and often, when going back and forth, he would drop in a few moments, to chat with the children, or join in their sports. There was in the yard a great image of snow, twice as large as a man, which Clinton had made to amuse little Mary. The frequent thawings and freezings to which this snow giant was subjected, gave him a smooth, thick coating of ice, so that a snow ball made no impression upon him. This, Clinton said, was his coat of mail. By causing water to drop down its chin, when it was freezing cold, Clinton made a beard of icicles for the image, which gave it a very grotesque look. One morning, after a thaw, Mary was highly delighted with a discovery she made of a long icicle hanging from the nose of the “old man,” as she called him. A few days after there was a heavy fall of moist[Pg 177] snow, which swelled the image to gigantic proportions, the outline of the figure being still preserved; but soon it tumbled to pieces of its own weight, and only a heap of hardened snow and ice remained to tell its story.

The snow image

Clinton was a favorite with the family, and his visits gave them much pleasure; yet Mrs. Preston could not look upon him without a feeling of sadness, for his presence always reminded her of her own son—the playmate from infancy of Clinton. Nor could she help contrasting their characters and prospects. She thought what a difference a few years had made, in the two boys; and then she wondered whether this difference was to go on, ever widening, to the end of their lives.

Thus week after week passed away, and the family were beginning to recover from the melancholy occasioned[Pg 178] by Jerry’s flight from home, when a new and unwelcome guest entered the house. This guest was sickness, and Mary was its victim. She grew ill so alarmingly fast, from the hour of her attack, that James was soon despatched for the doctor. When this functionary arrived, he felt of Mary’s pulse and temples, looked at her tongue, and made some inquiries of her mother in relation to her symptoms. He then pronounced her to be in a fever, but expressed some hope of being able to throw it off. Opening the little leathern trunk, which he always carried with him in his professional visits, he took from it several kinds of medicines, and gave them to Mary’s mother, with directions how to administer them. But Mary continued to grow worse and worse, in spite of the good doctor’s medicine. She tossed about on her little bed, moaning piteously, and complaining continually of the dreadful pain in her head. Night came, and she could not sleep, although the lamp in the room was shaded, and her mother moved noiselessly about in her gentle ministries to the sick one. Every little while she would call for drink, for she said she was burning up with the heat; but she ate nothing.

[Pg 179]

The doctor called the next day, and after the usual examination, he left some more medicine, and departed. But his little patient grew no better. And so daily he repeated his visits, and each time remained longer, and looked more anxious; but his skill seemed to be of little avail. At length one morning, as Emily and Harriet were sitting at the bed-side of the sufferer, while their mother was necessarily absent, Mary awoke from a short, troubled sleep, and, with a wild, unnatural look, began to talk very fast and very singularly about a great many different things.

“There’s my old snow man,” she said, pointing to a bed-post on which some light-colored clothing was hanging; “old man, old man, old man, do you know who made you? I know who it was—’twas Clinty. O mother, see that! see that! isn’t it beautiful! Now it’s gone, and I shan’t see it again. Yes I will too. There it goes—buz-z-z-z-z—do n’t you sting me, you naughty bee—I’ll tell my mother if you do. See! see! see! there he comes—that’s Jerry—no it aint—yes it is too—I tell you it is Jerry—don’t you see him? O, how glad I am he’s got away from the bugaboos! Look! look quick! that’s him—there[Pg 180] it goes—up there—don’t you see it way up there, going round and round? By-low baby,—by-low baby,” she continued, twisting the bed-clothes into something that seemed to her a doll; and then she repeated a verse of one of her little songs:—

“Dance, little baby, dance up high;
Never mind, baby, mother is by;
Crow and caper, caper and crow,
There, little baby, there you go.”

Thus she continued to talk, her mind flying from one thing to another in a most singular manner. Her sisters spoke to her, but she took no notice of them; and Harriet ran down to her mother, and bursting into tears, cried:—

“O, mother, do come up stairs—Mary’s gone crazy, and is talking about everything!”

The poor little sufferer continued in a delirious state most of the day, though occasionally, for a few moments at a time, reason would seem to resume its sway. The doctor looked more grave than ever, and when Mrs. Preston followed him into the entry, and entreated him to tell her exactly what he thought of the case, he replied:—

[Pg 181]

“I think she is a very sick child, but as the fever has not reached the turning-point, it is impossible to tell how it will result. I do not despair of saving her, however, for I have seen more than one patient live through as violent an attack as this appears to be.”

Clinton called daily at the house, to inquire after Mary, but as it was important to keep her as quiet as possible, he did not go into the sick chamber. His mother, however, came over every day, and sometimes remained all night, greatly assisting Mrs. Preston in taking care of the sick one. Mary’s delirium continued with little interruption for two or three days. When she came out of this state, she cast a recognizing look at her mother and sisters, who were seated in the room, and then, in a low voice, inquired:—

“Mother, where is Jerry?”

“Jerry is not here, dear,” replied Mrs. Preston; “he has not yet got back.”

“Where has he gone?”

“I don’t know where he is—he went away before you was taken sick, but we hope he will be back soon.”

[Pg 182]

“But I saw him here yesterday, mother,” continued Mary, who had a confused remembrance of some of the impressions of her delirium.

“No, darling, you are mistaken, you dreamed that you saw him—that was all.”

Mary looked disappointed; and as her recollection of Jerry’s disappearance returned, she added mournfully:—

“Then I shan’t see Jerry again before I die—nor father either.”

“O, yes you will,” quickly replied her mother, startled at these words; “you will soon get well, I hope, and father will be home, before many weeks, and Jerry, too, perhaps.”

Mary sadly shook her head, but made no reply. That night she slept a few hours, but in the morning it was evident that she was rapidly failing. Calling her mother to the bed-side, she said, with a beautiful smile upon her face:—

“Dear mother, I am going to-day—I have seen the angel that is to carry me over the river. O, I wish I could tell you all about it, but I can’t talk much now. I saw a beautiful country—there was no snow[Pg 183] there, but the grass was all green, and there were flowers of every kind. There was a great temple, too, as high as the clouds, and it dazzled my eyes to look at it, it glittered so in the sun. And I saw thousands of little children, dressed in white, and the Saviour gathered them around him, and kissed them, and then they all sang, and looked so happy, and he looked so kind. But there was a dark, ugly river between me and them, and while I was thinking how I should like to get across, a tall, beautiful angel came up to me, and asked me if I would not like to become one of the Saviour’s little lambs. I told him I should, but I was afraid of the terrible river. Then he kissed me, and told me not to be afraid, for he would come for me in a few hours, and carry me over; and he said I never should be sick any more, nor go astray. And I asked if he, would not take you too, and father, and Jerry, and Emily, and Harriet, but he said:—‘Not yet.’ And while the angel was talking to me, the Saviour looked towards us, and stretched out his arms; and so I am sure that I shall go to heaven to-day.”

Mrs. Preston listened to this recital in tears, and was too much overpowered with her emotions to make[Pg 184] any reply. It was but too evident that Mary’s presentiment of her approaching death was not unlikely to prove true. She continued to sink through the day. The doctor came once more, but he told the weeping mother he could do nothing more for the sufferer. In the afternoon, Mary desired that all the members of the family should be gathered around her. In a few simple, childish words, she bade each a farewell, and looked the affection which she could not express. And then, remembering the absent ones, she left messages of love for her father and Jerry. She soon after sank into a stupor, and apparently did not recognize her mother and sisters, who sat silently and tearfully watching her breathing, as each minute it became shorter and more labored. Just as the last spark of life was expiring, a heavenly smile beamed upon her pure young face, and the exclamation, “There he is!—the angel is coming!” faintly trembled upon her lips. A moment after, little Mary was gathered into the fold of the Good Shepherd, in heaven.

A little grave was dug in the frozen earth, in one corner of the garden, and there the dust of Mary now sleeps, in hope of a resurrection. But it is only the[Pg 185] body that lies there. She went with the good angel, we trust, to become one of the lambs in the Saviour’s flock.

“There past are death and all its woes,
There beauty’s stream for ever flows,
And pleasure’s day no sunset knows.”

[Pg 186]


March had come—the month which is usually considered the beginning of spring, though in the part of the country where Clinton resided it seemed more like the last month of winter. The winter school had closed, and as it was too early to commence labors on the farm, the scholars were enjoying a long holiday. There was little for Clinton to do, at home, and even his father was at leisure much of the time, having chopped and hauled his year’s supply of wood, cleaned and repaired his tools, and done such other jobs as are usually deferred to the winter season. The deportment of Clinton, since his frank confession of the errors into which Jerry had led him, had been unexceptionable, both at home and at school. He seemed like himself again. His parents began to feel sorry that they had deprived him of his promised journey to[Pg 187] Boston, although he had never once spoken of the matter from the day they announced their intention. In talking over the subject one evening after the children had gone to bed, they concluded to make up for Clinton’s disappointment, in part at least, by treating him to an excursion of another kind. The next morning, at the breakfast table, Mr. Davenport introduced the matter by saying:—

“Clinton, you’ve behaved pretty well, for some time past, and as I believe in rewards as well as punishments, I am going to propose to treat you to a little excursion, next week. Where should you prefer to go—to Portland, or to Bangor, or back into the forests, among the loggers? As the sleighing is now excellent, and bids fair to remain so for a week or two longer, we will take Fanny—or rather she shall take us; and you shall decide to which of these points we shall steer.”

“I should like to go to either of the places, first-rate,” said Clinton, “but I don’t know as I have any choice about them. I’ll leave it with you to say which shall be the trip.”

“No,” resumed his father, “you think the matter[Pg 188] over to-day, and perhaps you will find that you have some preference.”

Clinton did so, and after weighing in his mind the attractions of the several places, he came to the conclusion that he had rather visit a logging camp, of which he had heard so much, than to go to either Portland or Bangor. He had already once visited the former city, and the other had no special interest for him, beyond any other large place. So he informed his father of his decision, and the logging camp was determined upon as the object of their journey.

The rest of the week was spent in preparing for and talking about their approaching excursion. Clinton watched the weather very closely, and was constantly on the look out for a storm; but no storm came, though there were at times indications of foul weather, which somewhat dampened his ardor. His mother cooked a large amount of dough-nuts, ginger cakes, fried apple pies, and other eatables convenient for a journey; for they were going through a section of the country which was little settled, and might have to depend upon themselves, in part at least, for their provisions. The sleigh was cleaned, and even Fanny[Pg 189] received extra care, and an extra allowance of fodder, in consideration of the long jaunt before her.

Monday morning, at length, came. The weather was just what they desired. The sun shone pleasantly, the air was mild, and the sleighing,—which had not been interrupted for a day, since the first considerable fall of snow in December,—was smooth and easy. Mrs. Davenport stowed away in the sleigh-box, under the seat, an ample supply of provisions for the journey; and, also, a quantity of extra clothing, to be used in case they should need a change. Nor did Mr. Davenport forget to provide something for Fanny’s comfort on the way. He lashed a bag of grain between the dasher and the front of the sleigh, and inside he put as much hay as he could conveniently carry, tied up in wisps of a convenient size for bating the horse. Some friction matches, an umbrella, a rifle, a hatchet, and two good buffalo skins, completed their outfit.

The sun was hardly half an hour up, when Clinton and his father bade good-bye to Mrs. Davenport and Annie, and started on their journey. The logging business is carried on most extensively around the head waters of the great rivers in the northern part of[Pg 190] Maine. These, however, were too far distant, and the roads to them too little travelled, to be visited with much pleasure or even safety, at this season of the year. The camp which Mr. Davenport intended to visit was situated on one of the tributaries of the Kennebec river, about forty miles from Brookdale. Here they could obtain quite as correct an idea of the loggers’ life as they could by going farther north, though the business was carried on upon a smaller scale at this place.

Fanny trotted off at a brisk pace, and soon the travellers found themselves upon a road where no houses nor cultivated land could be seen,—but tall forest trees rose on each side, and spread away in the distance as far as the eye could see.

“What lots of woods,” said Clinton; “I don’t see why they go so far after logs, when they are so plenty around here.”

“I suppose one reason is,” said his father, “that these forests are not very convenient to a stream, so that the logs could not be easily floated down to the saw-mills. Perhaps, too, the land belongs to somebody who thinks the lumber will be more valuable by and by[Pg 191] than it is now. There are many large tracts of wood scattered over the State, even in parts which have been settled for years.”

“I should think it would take a great many ages to use up all the wood there is in this State,” continued Clinton.

“I hope it will be a great while,” remarked Mr. Davenport, “before we are as badly off for wood as they are in some parts of the old world. What would you think of buying fire-wood by the pound? Yet this is the way it is sold in Paris and many other European cities. A man who had travelled a great deal, once told me that he had known wood to sell at the rate of eighty-five dollars a cord, in Naples. In France, and Spain, too, wood is very scarce, and as but little coal is used, the people learn to be very economical in the use of fuel. He says it would cost a fortune for a man to keep up such fires in his house, in Paris, as we do here. The trimmings of fruit trees and grape vines, and everything that will burn, is carefully saved. Lumber, for building purposes, is also much dearer than it is here, and is much less used than with us. But some people think the time will come when wood and lumber[Pg 192] will be as dear here as they are now in Europe.”

Patches of fenced lands, some of which had evidently been cultivated, now began to appear, and in a few minutes a little settlement of farm-houses became visible; but the travellers did not stop, and were soon again in the forests, with no signs of civilization around them but the road upon which they travelled. Most of the pine trees had been cut down, in this tract, but a few lofty and noble specimens remained, as if to show what had been there. The stumps of these departed giants of the forest were scattered in every direction, and some of them were of great size. They had no measuring tape, but Mr. Davenport, after carefully examining one of these stumps, calculated that it measured fully seventeen feet in circumference, at the “cut.” There was a pine still standing, near by, which he thought would measure almost as much as this. Its height he estimated at one hundred and thirty feet.

But though there were few white pines left, there was no lack of trees. Among those which Clinton recognized, was a small, scraggy species of pine; the stiff, cone-shaped cedar; the mountain ash, with its[Pg 193] clusters of bright red berries; the noble and cleanly beech; the thrifty, broad-headed butternut; the graceful birch, with its silvery trunk; the maple, the larch, the spruce, etc. There was also a dense growth of smaller trees or bushes, among which he found the hazel, filbert, moose-wood, alder, bear-berry, winter-green, and other familiar shrubs. The conversation turned upon the properties and uses of these several trees,—for Mr. Davenport always improved such occasions for giving Clinton useful information concerning the objects around him. He told him what an excellent substitute beech leaves were for straw, for filling beds; and how valuable the sugar-maples will one day be considered, when the people get in the way of making sugar as an article of export; and how the Shakers use the wood of the butternut for making bowls, and sell the bark to the apothecaries for medicinal purposes; and how fond the partridge is of the little red bear-berries.

“As to the birches, which are so plenty along here, I suppose you already know something of their peculiar virtues,” continued Mr. Davenport.

“I guess a few of the boys at school discovered what they are good for, this winter,” replied Clinton, with a laugh.

[Pg 194]

“Well, I made the same discovery myself, when I went to school,” added Mr. Davenport. “The master got out of birch rods, one day, and sent me off to cut some. The tree which we usually patronized for this purpose was near by a pond where there happened to be excellent skating; and as my skates were handy, I having hid them under a log before going into school, I thought I would take a turn or two round the pond, after cutting the twigs. I did so; and then returned to school, with half a dozen long, stout rods. As the master took them, he said, with a smile, ‘Ah, these look nice, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I will just test them a little.’ I laughed at his pleasantry, and turned to go to my seat, when he said, ‘Here, sir, come back, I’m in earnest—I want to test these a little before you take your seat.’ And sure enough, he did test one of the longest of them, so that I carried proofs of its virtues upon my legs for several days after. ‘There,’ said he, after he had satisfied himself, ‘these rods will do very well; now you may go to your seat, and when I send you after the next lot, don’t you stop to skate on the pond!’ I afterwards learned that he grew suspicious of my long[Pg 195] absence, and sent out a boy to see what had become of me, who reported to him that I was skating. Ever since that day, I have had a very lively recollection of the virtues of the birch tree.”

“Master Eaton often says boys are subject to some complaints that have to be doctored on the botanical system—he says there is nothing but oil of birch that will save them,” remarked Clinton.

“Speaking of the oil of birch,” said Mr. Davenport, “did you know that it is valuable for tanning leather, as well as boys’ hides?”

“No, sir, I didn’t know there was really such a thing as the oil of birch,” replied Clinton. “I thought people used the words only in fun.”

“There is such a substance, and it is said to be used in tanning hides, and currying leather, in Russia. They distil it from the outside bark of the tree. Did you never notice that the birch-bark often remains entire, after the tree to which it belonged has gone to decay?”

“Yes, sir, I know some trees back of our house that have been dead ever since I can remember, and are all[Pg 196] rotten inside, and yet the bark looks as though it was alive.”

“That is because this oil in the bark preserves it from decay. And there is another curious thing about this tree—it is generally the first to spring up after a forest has been cut down, or burned over. I suppose most of these birches that we see around us, have grown up since the pines were cut down. They are not at all particular about their location, but will manage to flourish wherever they can find a standing place. They seem to take it for granted that a birch tree is better than no tree, and so they squeeze in and fill up the spaces in the forests, and settle down upon all unappropriated tracts. And in fact they are not to be despised; for they grow rapidly, are rather pretty, and are not only useful to tanners and school-masters, but their branches make strong withes, when green, and their wood makes good fuel, when seasoned.”

“Quite a catalogue of virtues,” remarked Clinton.

“Yes—and here we are, almost at Uncle Tim’s, nearly half through our journey,” added Mr. Davenport.

[Pg 197]

Mr. Lewis, or “Uncle Tim,” as he was always called, was an old pioneer, who settled down in this wilderness years ago, his “clearing” being many miles distant from any neighbor. This was the last house they would meet, on the road to the camp, and as Uncle Tim’s dwelling was a sort of tavern, at which all travellers over the road were accustomed to stop, Mr. Davenport had determined to rest Fanny there until the next morning.

[Pg 198]


Uncle Tim was very glad to see Mr. Davenport and Clinton, as he always was to see travellers. He called Bill, one of his boys, to go and put up the horse, while he led the strangers into the house, where his wife had already set about preparing something for them to eat, for it was past noon, and the family had just finished their dinner.

Clinton soon slipped outside, to take a look at the premises, for his curiosity was much excited by the novel appearance of things. The clearing was very large, and not a native tree had been left upon it; but it was completely surrounded by a straight, unbroken line of forest, which looked like a perpendicular wall. The land consisted of gentle slopes and valleys, and was divided into separate fields, by fences made of stumps and logs. Nearly in the centre of the clearing[Pg 199] stood the house and barn. They were both built of spruce logs, placed one upon another, cob-house fashion, the chinks between them being filled up with clay and moss. From the centre of the house rose a huge stone chimney. The windows were glazed in the common manner. As Clinton was looking around, Uncle Tim came out and spoke to him:—

The log house

“What do you think of it, young man?” he said; “do you suppose you could build as good a house as this, with nothing but an axe?”

[Pg 200]

“I guess not,” replied Clinton; “but you didn’t build it with an axe, did you?”

“I didn’t have much of anything else to work with, I assure you,” said Uncle Tim. “There’s no knowing what you can do with an axe, until you set out and try. But come in—I guess your dinner’s about ready.”

Uncle Tim guessed right. The table was covered with tempting food, in great profusion, and Clinton and his father sat down to it with a good appetite.

“You don’t starve yourselves, up here in the woods,” said Mr. Davenport, glancing at the heaping dishes.

“No,” said Uncle Tim, “we can generally find something to eat; but it’s a pity you didn’t come along a little sooner, so as to have had some of our dinner.”

But the travellers did not pity themselves, if Uncle Tim did; for with the fried ham and eggs, the nice wheaten bread, the delicious milk, the sweet cakes and mountain cranberry sauce, the rich cheese, and tea sweetened with molasses, they were in no danger of starving.

[Pg 201]

After their meal, Clinton renewed his examination of the house; and Uncle Tim seeing he was interested in it, began to tell him how he built it. He pitched upon the spot about twenty years before; and after securing his title, he took his axe and went to work cutting down trees. The first trees he felled, he used in building a “camp,” a hut made of logs and covered with bark. After he had cleared about an acre, and lopped off the limbs of the fallen trees, he set them on fire in the fall. The logs, which remained unconsumed, were afterwards cut into lengths of ten or twelve feet, piled together in heaps, and again set on fire. Thus he had burned hundreds of cords of wood, to get rid of it, which would have sold for six or seven dollars a cord, could he have sent it to Portland or Boston. In the spring he planted his corn and potatoes, and then went to work again with his axe and cleared another piece. By-and-by he began to feel lonesome, for thus far he had been entirely alone, with the exception of a couple of trusty dogs; so he went back to the town from which he came, married a wife, and then returned to his home in the forest. After a while their family began[Pg 202] to increase, and so they built a larger and better house,—the one in which they were now sitting.

This was the substance of Uncle Tim’s story, although he made a much longer one of it than I have done; for it was not very often that he saw a stranger, and when he did, his tongue was pretty sure to enjoy a holiday,—not of rest, but of action.

By this time, Mrs. Lewis had cleared off the table, and Clinton was not a little astonished to see it suddenly converted into a rude but capacious arm-chair! The round top of the table was turned up against the wall, thus forming the back of the chair; and the frame which supported it, became the arms. The object of this was to economize space as well as furniture,—for in log houses there is seldom any room to waste upon useless articles.

There were five rooms, but the partitions, instead of being of plastering, were made of wood. Clinton, noticing this, said:—

“I thought you said you built this house with an axe; but how did you make your boards for the doors, and partitions, and floors?”

[Pg 203]

“Boards? Why, bless you, there isn’t a board in the house. These things are splints, not boards. I made them by splitting spruce logs. The roof is covered with them, too, and I’m going to clapboard the house with the same things afore next winter.”

Clinton’s mistake was very natural, for the floor and partitions were almost as smooth and straight as though made of sawed and planed boards. Clinton noticed in the floor, however, a great number of small holes, which Uncle Tim told him were made by the spikes that the drivers fix upon their boots to prevent their slipping off the logs. This led Clinton to another discovery. The river, to whose head waters they were going, passed through Uncle Tim’s clearing; but as it was frozen over, and the ice partially covered with snow, Clinton had not noticed it before. It was down this river that the logs and their iron-shod drivers came, and the latter were in the habit of stopping at uncle Tim’s for supplies.

Seeing a noble looking dog asleep in the chimney-corner, Clinton inquired if that was one of the two that came with him when he first settled in the woods.

“No,” said Uncle Tim, “but he’s a son of theirs, and[Pg 204] a worthy successor he is, too,—aint you, Hunter?” Hunter, at the mention of his name, started from his doze, and wagged his bushy tail, which said “Yes,” as plain as tail could speak. “He considers the poultry under his charge,” continued Uncle Tim, “just as his father and mother did afore him, and he wont suffer a hawk or any big bird to come within twenty rods of the chickens. He’s great on Ingins, too,—he smells ’em a mile off, and barks long afore they’re in sight.”

“Do you have many Indians about here?” inquired Clinton.

“Not many; a few stragglers come along once in a while. Red-skins aint so plenty as they were when I first came here, nor half so saucy either. They know it’s their fate to give way to their betters, and it makes them sort of humble like.”

Clinton now went out to the barn, where he found two stout, hearty lads, larger than himself, giving the cattle their suppers. These were Uncle Tim’s sons. “Bill” and “Jim” were the only names by which he heard them called. Their faces were brown, their hands large and rough, and their clothing was of the coarsest description; but their bodies were finely developed,[Pg 205] and, like their father, they were shrewd and intelligent, though they had never enjoyed a day’s schooling. Clinton took hold and helped them about their work, and soon he felt very well acquainted with them. They asked him a great many questions about Brookdale, and he, in return, was quite as inquisitive about their home. He was astonished to learn, as he did, in the course of the conversation, that Bill, the eldest of these great, broad-shouldered, wide-chested, and long-legged boys, was only about a year older than himself, while Jim was actually his junior by three months. Hard work, constant exposure to the air, and hearty food, had hastened their growth to a remarkable degree.

The barn was larger than the house, and was built in much the same way, though there were only wooden shutters to the windows instead of glass, and the wood generally was not so smoothly finished as it was in the house. The stock consisted of horses, cows, oxen, pigs and hens. The ground served as a floor, in the lower story; but overhead there was a loft, in which hay, straw, and other articles were stored. Clinton learned from the boys, that their father raised all the[Pg 206] hay and grain necessary for the stock. Potatoes, grass, and oats, were their principal crops, but they generally had small patches of wheat and Indian corn. There were a few apple trees, which Uncle Tim had raised from the seed, but the boys said the fruit was sour and crabbed, fit only for “sarse,” or the pigs.

When Clinton returned to the house, he found preparations making for supper. The fire-place,—the only one the house could boast,—was almost large enough to admit of roasting an ox whole; and the heap of burning logs, four feet long and unsplit, looked as if Mrs. Lewis was intending to accomplish some such feat. But it was only her ordinary fire, such as she always had to boil the tea-kettle, and bake a pan of cakes. The fire-place was built of stone, and there was a hearth of the same material before it. An iron crane swung over the fire, from which the tea-kettle and baking kettle were suspended, by hooks shaped like the letter S. Near the ceiling, over the hearth, a string was stretched across the room, on which a few stockings were drying.

The arm-chair was now converted into a table, and supper was soon ready. It was very similar to the[Pg 207] meal of which Mr. Davenport and Clinton had already partaken. Uncle Tim’s two boys did not come to the table until the others had risen, as there was not room enough for all. After the boys had finished their supper, Clinton asked them if they would not go down with him to the river. They complied with his request, and as they were on their way, they passed some logs, by the side of which there was an axe, with a remarkably long helve or handle.

“Hullo,” said Clinton, “I guess that axe was made for a giant.”

“No,” said Bill, “the helve has to be long so that the chopper can stand on the log when he cuts, so fashion,” and he jumped upon the log, and gave it two or three blows that made it crack to the centre.

Clinton found the river narrower than he expected, and as the snow had drifted in, there was not much ice to be seen. The boys told him, however, that in the spring the stream was two or three times as wide and deep as it was now, and they described to him its lively appearance in a freshet, when thousands of logs were swept down its swift current, every day, and the jolly drivers were continually passing, to start off those[Pg 208] timbers that happened to lodge against the rocks or shores.

“I’m going to be a logger,” said Bill; “they have first-rate times up in the woods, in the winter, and it’s real fun to see them go down the river in the spring.”

“Poh,” said Jim, “I’ll bet you’ll get enough of it in one season. Father says it’s the hardest life a fellow can choose.”

“And what do you mean to be, Jim?” inquired Clinton.

“I want to be a carpenter,” replied Jim, “but father wont get me any tools, nor let me go away to learn the trade. Do you have any tools where you live, Clinton?”

“Yes, lots of them. My father used to be a carpenter, and has got a whole set of tools, and lets me use them as much as I please.”

“O, how I wish I had some tools,” continued Jim. “I mean to ask father to let me go over and see yours some time.”

“I wish he would let you go,” said Clinton. “I’d show you all our tools, and how to use them, too.”

Night was fast drawing on, and the boys had now[Pg 209] reached the house, where they found Uncle Tim and Mr. Davenport talking about the elections. There was in the room an article of furniture called a settle, a bench large enough for three or four to sit upon, with a high back, and arms to lean upon at each end. Clinton did not notice this particularly as it stood in the back part of the room; but when the boys moved it up to the fire, and all three seated themselves upon it, he was much pleased with it.

“Father,” he said, during a pause in the conversation, “I wish we had one of these seats—don’t you suppose I could make one?”

“I think very likely you could,” replied Mr. Davenport.

“I mean to try, when I get home,” added Clinton, and he examined it still more carefully, to see how it was constructed.

“That settle was my grand-father’s, Master Clinton,” said Uncle Tim, “and you must see if you can’t make one that will last as long as that has—then your grand-children will have something to remember you by.”

“I’ll try,” said Clinton, with a laugh.

[Pg 210]

“‘I’ll try’—those are good words, my boy,” said Uncle Tim. “That’s what Col. Miller said, when Gen. Brown asked him if he could carry Queenstown Heights. ‘I’ll try,’ said he, and sure enough he did try, and gained a splendid victory, and Congress gave him a gold medal, with ‘I’ll try’ engraved on it. So you stick to that motto, Master Clinton, and I guess your grand-children will have a settle to remember you by—don’t you think so?”

Clinton laughed, and seeing Uncle Tim was in so pleasant a mood, he asked him if he wouldn’t let Jim go over to see him, some time. Jim, finding the ground was broken, lost no time in putting in a word for himself; and as Mr. Davenport said he should like to have the boys visit Clinton, Uncle Tim gave a sort of half promise that Jim should go, some time when he could spare him.

The rest of the evening was spent in listening to Uncle Tim’s stories of his early life in the woods. He related many interesting accounts of his adventures with bears and wolves, and other savage animals, which were then more numerous than now. One[Pg 211] of his anecdotes, which greatly amused Clinton, was as follows:—

“Now I’m going to tell you a story,” said Uncle Tim, “that happened a good many years ago, up in Vermont. I guess it was afore I was born, but never mind, it may be just as new to you, for all that. There were three brothers that went from Massachusetts and settled close together in the wilderness, up there. They all lived in one log hut, and ate out of the same porringer, but each fellow had his own patch of land, and as it was pleasanter being together than alone, they agreed to take turns in working upon each other’s farms. One day, all hands worked on Jake’s farm, the next day on Sam’s, and the next on Bill’s—perhaps I haven’t got the names right, but never mind that. But by-and-by one of them got sort of jealous, or dissatisfied, or something of that kind, and said he would not work that way any longer, no how. So the other two stuck together, and let the odd sheep do as he pleased. Well, one day, while the two that agreed were working in the field, they heard a tremendous outcry from the other brother’s lot. So they up and seized their rifles, which they always kept right under[Pg 212] their noses, and ran to see what the matter was. They expected to see some horrible sight, you know, but what do you suppose they found? Why, there was their brother up in a little sapling, rocking to and fro, and bellowing with all his might, and below was a great bear, looking up dreadful earnest at him. It seems the bear came suddenly at him, and as he hadn’t time to go after his rifle, he sprung to the nearest sapling, which he knew the bear couldn’t climb. But the sapling was so slender it bent over like a bow, bringing him in such a position that he had to hold on with both his feet and hands, and the bent part of his body, which was covered with his buckskin breeches, hung down almost within reach of the bear. Old Bruin soon discovered this, and so stood up on his hind legs, to see if he couldn’t reach him that way; but all he could do was to give the fellow a push with his fore paw, which set him and his sapling to swinging back and forth. His claws did not go through the buckskin breeches, but the man thought he was a gone case, and roared dreadfully. The bear then squatted on his haunches to enjoy the sport, and when the force of the blow was spent, and the man[Pg 213] began to get steady, he up and gave him another start. When the other two fellows saw the state of the case, they laughed about as loud as their brother hollered, and it was some time afore they could steady their hands so as to put a bullet into the bear. After that scrape all three of them hitched horses together again and went to work on the old plan. The old bear paid dear for his sport, but you can’t say he didn’t do some good in the world, can you? If it hadn’t been for him, just as likely as not the fuss among those brothers would have grown bigger and bigger, until they quarrelled just like cats and dogs.”

At nine o’clock, Uncle Tim wound up his yarns, and soon after all retired to bed. They ascended to the second floor by means of a ladder. There were two bed-rooms, with a space between them, which served both as an entry and a store room. The great chimney came up through this entry. Each bed-room had one window, in the gable end of the house, but the space between the rooms was dark, except when the chamber doors were open. The roof came down nearly to the floor, on each side, and in the centre of the rooms, a tall man could hardly stand erect. Mr.[Pg 214] Davenport and Clinton slept in one of these rooms, and Bill and Jim in the other. Uncle Tim and his wife had a bed-room down stairs. A straw bed made up upon the floor, without a bedstead, a large chest, and one chair, were the only furniture in the room where Clinton slept. There were several long wooden pegs driven into the logs which served as rafters, upon which they hung their clothing; and soon both were sleeping as sweetly as though they had been quartered in the best room of a “first-class hotel.”

[Pg 215]


The sun rose clear, the next morning, and after an early and bountiful breakfast, Mr. Davenport and Clinton bid good-bye to Uncle Tim and his family, and resumed their journey. The country through which they rode was much the same as that they had already passed over, with the exception that it was if possible even more stern and wild, not a single house or cultivated spot meeting their eyes during the whole forenoon’s ride. After the first hour, Clinton was not quite as lively as usual. In fact, he felt a trifle less cheerful than ordinary—he could not tell whether it sprang from a touch of home-sickness, or from a sense of lonesomeness. But his unpleasant feelings arose more from the influence of the dreary winter scenery upon his mind, than from either of these causes. His father, noticing this, chatted away in a more lively[Pg 216] strain than usual, and after awhile succeeded in dispelling the tinge of gloom from his mind.

The road being travelled but very little, the sleighing was poor, and there was no prospect of their reaching their destination before the middle of the afternoon. Accordingly, about noon, they reined up, for the purpose of resting the horse, and eating their dinner. Having given Fanny a wisp of hay, to take up her mind, they collected together a heap of dead wood, the remnants of fallen trees, etc., which they found near the road, and set it on fire. It burned finely, and sent out a cheerful warmth, in which they seated themselves, and partook with a keen relish of the various good things which Clinton’s mother had stowed away in the sleigh-box.

After halting about an hour at this place, they resumed their journey, and a ride of about three hours brought them within hearing of the loggers. The first indication they had that they were near the camp, was the loud “Gee, haw-buck, whoa!” of a man who was driving oxen. These sounds had a very enlivening effect upon Clinton, who could scarcely refrain from jumping from his seat, and running ahead, so[Pg 217] impatient was he to see some signs of humanity in the dreary wilderness. But in a few moments, they came in sight of the camp, and soon they noticed two or three men, with long hair and immense whiskers, approaching them from different directions. Mr. Davenport recognized an old acquaintance in one of them, and received a most hearty welcome from him.

“Mr. Jones,” said Mr. Davenport, “my boy has long wanted to see how the loggers live; and as I had a little leisure and the weather and sleighing were promising, I thought I would gratify his wishes.”

“I am right glad to see you, and him, too,” said Mr. Jones; and he seized Clinton by the hand, and gave it a gripe and a shake which he felt for ten minutes afterward;—“why, I haven’t laid eyes on a child or a youngster, for four months, and it’s a real treat to see you, I can tell you. I’ve got a boy of my own, at home, about your size, and a fine little fellow he is, too. I’m afraid you’ll find rather poor quarters here in the camp, but you are welcome to such accommodations as we have, just so long as you’ll stay.”

The horse was taken from the sleigh and led to the cattle hut, and Mr. Jones conducted Mr. Davenport and[Pg 218] Clinton to one of the camps, where he told them to make themselves at home. He offered them food, which they declined until the usual supper-hour. He had many questions to ask concerning what was going on in the world, from which the loggers are almost shut out; and as he and Mr. Davenport were absorbed in their conversation, Clinton slipped out to reconnoitre the premises.

The camp, he found, was situated in the midst of the woods; and not, as he expected to find it, in a clearing. There was no scenery at all; the tall trees shut out the prospect on every side, and the only opening for the eye was towards the clear, blue heavens above. Only a few trees had been cut down, to serve as material for the houses, or as fuel. This spot was chosen for the sake of the shelter it afforded in severe weather, and also, because there was an excellent spring of water convenient to it.

Clinton now turned his attention to the camps. These were built of logs, but in a style much inferior to Uncle Tim’s house, in the clearing. As they are but temporary affairs, the loggers only aim at making them habitable for one or two winters. There were three[Pg 219] of these buildings, one of which was used by the oxen. They were each about twenty feet long by fifteen wide and were built of logs placed one on the top of another, and the whole sides and roof covered with bark. Each camp had one door, but no windows. A hole in the middle of the roof, three or four feet square, served both for a chimney and a window.

The loggers’ camp

Clinton now returned to the camp, where his father and Mr. Jones were sitting, and began to inspect the interior. He found there were no partitions,—for the[Pg 220] loggers have no occasion for more than one room. The principal feature of the interior was the fire-place. This was directly under the hole in the roof, and was about six feet in diameter. The ground had been dug out nearly two feet deep, to make a bed for the fire and ashes, and the space was surrounded by stones. Benches, made of split logs, were arranged around the fire, which served both as seats and tables. He noticed that the door had a wooden latch, which was very ingeniously whittled to resemble an iron one. The only other articles in the room were a pork barrel, water bucket, basin, dipper, towel, a few cooking and eating utensils, and a dozen greasy and well-worn books and newspapers. The floor was thickly strewn with leaves of arbor vitæ, especially under the eaves, which came down to within three feet of the ground. These formed the loggers’ beds.

Such was the rude house in which Clinton was to spend two or three nights. He afterwards found that it differed from the cattle hut only in having a fire-place, and an outlet through the roof. But that fire-place, with the “rousing fire” which it afforded at all hours of the day and night, made the hovel comparatively[Pg 221] cheerful and comfortable. So far from feeling disappointed with his quarters, Clinton longed for bed-time to come, that he might enjoy the new sensation of sleeping in such a romantic place.

At sunset, the men began to return from their work. They all wore coarse but warm and durable clothing, and one article seemed universal among them, namely, red flannel shirts. Their beards and hair had not been trimmed since they left home. As they arrived at their quarters, they flocked around Mr. Davenport and Clinton, as if a strange face was a very unusual sight among them, as, indeed, it was. When they had all returned from their work, Clinton counted twenty men and six yoke of oxen.

Having washed their faces and hands, the men now commenced preparations for supper, in both camps. It was fast growing dark, but they had no lamps, the blazing fire lighting up their houses very brilliantly. Kettles of water were boiled, and tea was made. Presently, one of the men began to poke round in the ashes and coals, and soon drew forth a large baking-kettle, which had been buried there two hours before. On taking off the cover, a huge loaf of bread presented itself,[Pg 222] which even an accomplished housewife might have been proud to own, so far as appearance was concerned. This, with a few slices of boiled salt pork, and tea sweetened with molasses and without milk, constituted their supper. They had no butter, but spread molasses on their bread, instead. Clinton ate heartily of the homely fare. The bread proved quite as nice as it looked, and even the tea tasted pleasantly to him. Mr. Davenport emptied what remained of the contents of the baskets which his wife had stowed away in the sleigh-box, saying that he would exchange his cakes and pies for a little of their bread, when he started for home. He and Clinton had consumed but a small part of their provisions, and this disposal of the surplus appeared to gratify the loggers very much, as they had not tasted of any luxuries of this kind for many a day.

After supper, the men gathered around the fire, on the benches, and talked, and told stories, until nearly ten o’clock, when one after another began to creep away to his bed of leaves, and stretch himself out, with his feet towards the fire. Clinton and his father soon followed their example, and extended themselves[Pg 223] upon the soft leaves, without removing their clothing. The novelty of their position, the crackling and glare of the fire, and the breathing and snoring of a dozen strong men, did not permit either of them to sleep much during the first part of the night. Clinton lay for more than two hours, at times watching the stars through the opening in the roof, and then gazing steadfastly at the flickering fire and the curling smoke spangled with sparks. But at last he fell asleep, though he awoke again, several times, before morning. Occasionally, one of the men, who happened to awake, would get up and put a fresh log upon the fire, which is kept burning by night as well as by day.

By sunrise, the next morning, the men in both camps had despatched their breakfasts, and turned out the oxen, and were ready to commence the day’s work. Mr. Davenport and Clinton determined to accompany them to the scene of their operations, which was a short distance from the camp, and spread over a considerable extent of ground. The men did not all work together, but after proceeding a little way, they separated into three different gangs. The choppers, or those who cut down the trees, formed one party, and[Pg 224] proceeded by themselves to their particular spot. Another gang were called swampers. It was their business to clear roads from the felled trees to the landing place on the banks of the river, where the logs remain until the breaking up of the ice in the spring, when they are rolled into the water. The third party were teamsters, whose business it was to haul the logs from the forest to the stream. These last had the assistance of the oxen, which were attached to little “bobsleds,” as they were called, upon which the heavy end of the log was placed, while the other dragged upon the snow.

Clinton had abundant time to witness the operations of all these gangs, during the day. He found there was not much of either novelty or variety, in their labors, which in fact differed but little from the routine of the wood-chopper, which he had often witnessed at home. The sturdy strokes of the choppers, followed by the falling of the noble tree,—the stripping of the prostrate trunk of its branches,—the clearing of a passage way for the oxen through the small growth, and the hauling of the log to the river’s bank, were by no means novel sights to him. At the landing-place he[Pg 225] found hundreds of logs piled up, awaiting the opening of the river. Each log had a peculiar and uniform mark cut in the sap-wood, by an axe, somewhat resembling a crow’s foot, by which the owner would be enabled to know it when it should reach the great boom far away down the river, and become mixed up with thousands of other logs, belonging to many different persons. Each owner has his own private mark or device, which is bored or cut into all his logs, and thus he is always able to distinguish them from those of other lumber-men.

Clinton kept with the loggers all day, witnessing their operations, and asking questions about their business. Indeed, he did not dare to go far from them, for fear of getting lost in the woods. At sunset, he returned with them from their labors, and after the homely evening meal, he sat and listened to the stories of the loggers, until bed-time. These stories were mostly of encounters with bears and wolves in the wilderness, of hunting excursions, and of adventures and exploits in the logging-camp and upon the river. One of the oldest and most intelligent of the men related the following adventure, in answering some inquiries[Pg 226] of Clinton concerning the manner of driving logs to mill:—

“Six years ago,” said he, “I was logging upon the head waters of the Penobscot. “We cut eight thousand logs; and about the last of April we started them downstream. It took two or three days to roll them all in, and by that time, some of those we started first were perhaps more than fifty miles down stream, while others had lodged within a hundred rods of us. So we divided into three gangs, one to descend by boats, and the others by land each side of the stream. Each man was provided with a pole, having a stout hook in the end, and with these we pushed off the logs, where ever we found they had lodged on the banks or rocks. The first few days, we made pretty good progress, having little to do but to roll in the logs, and set them afloat merrily down the river.”

“Did you camp at nights, as you do here?” inquired Clinton.

“Yes, we camped out, but we had nothing but little huts made of spruce boughs, where we ate and slept;—as I was saying,—all went on pretty easy at first, and some days we got over fifteen or twenty miles of[Pg 227] ground. But by-and-by we came to a jam. Do you know what a jam is?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, when the river gets choked up with logs which have met with some obstruction, we call it a jam. Sometimes, a thousand logs will accumulate in this way, forming a sort of dam across the river, and interrupting the flow of the water. And, oftentimes, all this is occasioned by a single log catching upon a projecting rock; and if that single log could be started, the whole mass would go down stream with a tremendous rush.”

“I should think that would be fine sport,” said Clinton.

“It’s all very fine to look at,” continued the logger; “but you wouldn’t think there was much sport about it, if you had to go out upon this immense raft, and loosen the logs, at the risk of being ground to atoms by them when they start.”

“Are people ever killed in that way?” inquired Clinton.

“Not very often; for none but the most experienced drivers are allowed to undertake such a delicate job;[Pg 228] and they are always very cautious how they proceed. But let me go on with my story: the jam I was telling you about, happened to be in a rapid, rocky place, where the river passed through a narrow gorge. On each side were steep cliffs, more than sixty feet high, which almost hung over the water. The only way to reach the jam was to descend by a rope from one of these cliffs. This was so hazardous an undertaking, that we concluded to wait a day or two, to see if the choked up mass wouldn’t clear itself, by its own pressure, and thus save us all trouble and danger. But after waiting nearly two days, there were no signs of the jam’s breaking. We can generally tell when this is going to happen, by the swaying of the logs; but the mass was as firm and compact as ever; and it was evident that we must do something to start it. There was an old and very expert driver in our gang, who offered to descend to the jam, and see what could be done. So we rigged a sort of crane, and lowered him down from the cliff by means of a rope fastened around his body, under his arms. After he had looked around a little, he sung out to us that he had discovered the cause of the trouble. A few strokes of the axe in[Pg 229] a certain place, he said, would start the jam; and he cautioned us to pull him up, gently, as soon as he should cry, ‘Pull!’ and also to be careful, and not jerk him against the precipice. He then began to hew into the log which was the cause of the jam. After he had worked a few minutes, the mass began to heave and sway, and he cried out, ‘Pull!’ As the spot where he had been chopping was near the centre of the stream, he started instantly towards the cliff, so that his rope should be perpendicular. But before he could put himself in the right position for being drawn up, the huge mass of logs rose up in a body, and then, with a crash, rolled away in every direction from under his feet. The scene was awful. Some of the logs plunged headlong down the rapids, with tremendous force; others leaped entirely out of the water, turning complete somersets, end over end; others were hurled crosswise upon each other, or dashed madly together by hundreds, or were twisted and twirled about, in a most fearful manner. At the first movement of the jam, our man was plunged into the water. For a moment, we were horror-struck, but we pulled away at the rope, expecting to draw up only a mangled and lifeless body.[Pg 230] And we should have done so, had we been half a second later; for we had just raised the man out of the water, when a mass of seventy-foot logs swept by, directly under him, with force enough to have broken every bone in his body, had he been in their way. He suffered no harm but his ducking and fright. But I don’t believe he will ever forget that day’s adventure. So, my boy, you see it isn’t all sport, driving logs,—though some think this is the pleasantest part of a logger’s life.”

“How do you stop the logs, when they have gone as far as you want them to go?” inquired Clinton.

“They are stopped by great booms, built of logs, and bolted and chained together very strong. These booms are rigged across the river, so that the floating logs cannot pass them. The great boom at Old Town, near Bangor, where our drive brought up, that year, had over a million of logs in it, when we got down there, seven weeks after we started from the forests. The logs lay upon one another about ten feet deep, and extended back for miles. They belonged to hundreds of different men and companies, but as each had its own mark, there was no difficulty in sorting them out. The[Pg 231] boom is opened at set times, to let out a portion of the logs, and then the river below is all alive with men and boys, in small boats, who grapple the logs as they float down, and form them into rafts, or tow them to the various mills on the river. Very few of the logs escape, unless too many are let out from the boom at once, or the river is swollen by a freshet, in which case they sometimes float off to sea and are lost. But all hands seem to be going to bed, and I guess we had better follow their example.”

Upon this, the old logger stretched himself upon the bed of faded leaves; and Clinton, who for some time had been his only listener, was soon in the same position.

[Pg 232]


Early the next morning, Mr. Davenport and Clinton decided to start for home, as there were indications of an approaching change in the weather, which might render the roads very uncomfortable, if it did not compel them to prolong their stay at the loggers’ camp longer than would be agreeable. After a breakfast of hot bread and molasses, fried pork, and tea, Fanny was harnessed, and bidding farewell to their forest friends, they jumped into the sleigh, and set their faces towards Brookdale. As they were riding along the solitary road, Mr. Davenport asked Clinton if he thought he should like to be a logger.

“I don’t know but I should,” he replied; “there are a good many things about the business I should like. It makes them strong and healthy, and I guess they have good times in the camps, and on the rivers.[Pg 233] It is quite a romantic life, too, and they seem to meet with a good many curious adventures.”

“The novelty and romance of it soon wear off,” replied Mr. Davenport. “These gone, do you think you should like the business well enough to follow it up year after year?”

“Why, no, I suppose I should get tired of it, being away from home so much of the time,” said Clinton.

“The work is very hard, too,” suggested his father.

“Yes, sir.”

“And the pay is not very great, in proportion.”

“Isn’t it?”

“It is, however, a very useful employment,” continued Mr. Davenport, “and there must be men to engage in it. It is an honorable employment, too, for all useful labor is honorable. But I should not call it a very desirable employment. The logger not only has to labor very hard, but he must go far away from his home, and deprive himself of nearly every comfort of civilized life, and expose himself to many dangers. And for all this hardship and toil, he does not receive[Pg 234] so much pay as many a mechanic earns in his shop, with half the effort.”

“Does not Mr. Preston make a great deal of money at logging?” inquired Clinton.

“I suppose he makes a fair business of it,” replied his father; “but he is a contractor, and employs a good many hands. I was speaking of the hired men, not of those who manage the business.”

“Is Mr. Jones a contractor?”

“No, he works by the month, and hard work he finds it, too, I fear.”

“Then why does he follow it?”

“Because he is obliged to. He has a family to support, and this is the only way by which he can provide for them. Should you like to know how it happened that he cannot make money by an easier and pleasanter method?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Clinton.

“When he and I were boys together,” continued Mr. Davenport, “his father was rich, but mine was poor. When I was nine years old, I was taken from school, and put out to work; but Henry Jones was not only[Pg 235] kept at school, for many years after, but was not required to do any work, even in his leisure hours. He was well dressed, and had everything he wanted, and I can remember to this day how I used to envy him. I could not go to school even in winter, but had to work constantly, and earn my own living. When I was about fourteen years old, I engaged myself as an apprentice to a carpenter. I liked the work, and soon made pretty good progress. As I had the long winter evenings to myself, it occurred to me that I might make up for my lack of school privileges, by an improvement of those leisure hours. So I got some school books, and set myself to studying. Soon after I reached my sixteenth year, I offered myself as a candidate for schoolmaster in our town, and was accepted, for the winter term, my master having agreed to release me for three months, as he usually had little business during that portion of the year. And I, the poor self-taught boy, was not only a school teacher, but Henry Jones, whose privileges I had so often envied, was one of my scholars! A very dull scholar he was, too, for he did not take the slightest interest in his studies. Before I had finished my term, he left school,[Pg 236] against the wishes of his parents, having been fairly shamed out of it. He remained about home several months, doing nothing, until his father secured a situation for him in a merchant’s store in Portland; but when he made his appearance in the counting-room, the merchant found him so deficient in penmanship and arithmetic, that, after a week’s trial, he sent Henry back to his father, with the message that he would not answer. His failure discouraged him from attempting to do anything more. Instead of remedying the defects in his education, he refused to go to school any more, but spent his time principally in lounging about his father’s place of business, and in sauntering around the town. He was a perfect idler, and as his father continued to support and clothe him, he took no more thought for the morrow, than the pigs in our sty do, and I doubt whether he was half so valuable to the world as they are.

“But this state of things could not last for ever. His father had embarked very largely in the famous eastern land speculations, and when the crash came, he found himself ruined. And yet even then, Henry managed to hang upon him like a dead-weight for two[Pg 237] or three years, sponging his living out of his father’s shattered fortunes. But after a while, his father died, and then Mr. Jones had to shift for himself. But what was he fit for? It took him a great while to find out. He tried several lighter kinds of employment, but did not succeed. At length a man came along who was making up a gang of loggers, and despairing of any better employment, he engaged in that, and has continued at it ever since. He is with his family only four or five months in the year, and during that time he works hard, at farming, not for himself, but as a hired man.”

“I should think he would feel bad, when he thinks how he wasted his youth,” said Clinton.

“He does,” said Mr. Davenport. “He is a worthy and industrious man now, but he cannot repair the errors of his boyhood. Had he worked half as hard when a youth as he has had to since, he would probably be under no necessity of laboring now. But then his parents were rich and indulgent, and he thought he should never be obliged to work. Whenever we meet, he always says, ‘O dear, what a fool I have been! If my father had only kicked me into the street when I was[Pg 238] twelve years old, and left me to shirk for myself, I might have been something now.’ And I never see him, without thanking God that I was brought up to depend upon myself, from my boyhood.”

Fanny had now come to a long and steep hill, and Mr. Davenport and Clinton got out and walked up, to lighten her load. When they reached the top, the prospect was very extensive, and they stopped a few minutes, to enjoy the scene, and to rest the horse. While they were gazing around, Clinton discovered something moving on a distant hill, and cried out:—

“A deer! a deer! don’t you see it, father?—right over that great pine that stands all alone, there.”

Mr. Davenport soon discovered the object pointed out by Clinton, and said:—

“No, that can’t be a deer, Clinty,—it is too large. It is a moose, and a noble great one, too. I should like to have a shot at him, but he is too far off.”

“I didn’t know there were moose around in this part of the State,” said Clinton. “One of the loggers told me they hadn’t seen one this winter.”

“They are pretty scarce now in this section of the country,” said his father; “but now and then one is[Pg 239] seen. That fellow has probably been pursued, and has strayed away from his yard.”

The moose continued in sight for several minutes. Its gait was a swift, regular trot, which no obstacle seemed to break. There was something noble in its bearing, and Clinton stood watching and admiring it, until it disappeared in the woods. He and his father then got into the sleigh, and drove on.

“The moose is a handsomer animal than I supposed,” said Clinton. “That one Mr. Preston brought home, two or three years ago, was a coarse, clumsy-looking fellow.”

“They always look so, seen at rest, and close to,” replied Mr. Davenport. “But when they are in motion, and at a distance, there is something quite majestic about them. They travel very fast, and they always go upon the trot. It makes no difference if they come to a fence or other obstruction five or six feet high,—they go right over it, without seeming to break their trot. I have been told that they will travel twenty miles an hour, which is almost as fast as our railroad trains average.”

[Pg 240]

“I have heard of their being harnessed into sleds—did you ever see it done?”

“No, but they are sometimes trained in this way, and they make very fleet teams. The reindeer, which are used to draw sleds in some parts of Europe, are not so strong or so fleet as our moose.”

“It is curious that their great antlers should come off every year,” said Clinton.

“Yes, and it is even more curious that such an enormous mass should grow out again in three or four months’ time. This is about the time of the year that their new antlers begin to sprout. I saw a pair, once, that weighed seventy pounds, and expanded over five feet to the outside of the tips. The moose must have a very strong neck, to carry this burden about upon his head. When the antlers are growing, they are quite soft and sensitive, and the moose is very careful not to injure them. This is one reason, I suppose, why they frequent the lakes and rivers in the summer and autumn, instead of roaming through the forests. At these seasons of the year, the hunter has only to conceal himself on the shore of some pond or lake,[Pg 241] and he is pretty sure to fall in with them. But the best time to hunt them is in the winter or spring, when they are in their ‘yards,’ as they are called.”

“Did you ever see a moose-yard, father?”

“Yes, I saw one a good many years ago. A party of us went back into the forests on a hunting excursion, one spring, and as near as I can remember, it was in this very part of the country that we came across the yard. That was before the loggers came this way, and frightened away the moose. There were no roads, then, in this section, and we travelled on foot, on snow shoes, with our guns in our hands, and our provisions on our backs. Some hours before we discovered the yard, we knew we were near one, by the trees which had been barked by them in the fall. Having got upon the right track, we followed it up, as silently as possible, until we came to the yard. But the moose had heard or smelt us, and vacated their quarters before we reached them. The yard we found to be an open space of several acres, with paths running in every direction, all trodden hard; for the moose does not break fresh snow, when he can help it. Nearly all the trees in the vicinity were stripped of[Pg 242] their bark, to the height of eight or ten feet, and the young and tender twigs were clipped off as smoothly as if it had been done by a knife. We could not tell how many moose had yarded here, but from the size and appearance of their quarters, we judged there must have been five or six. Sometimes they yard alone, but generally a male, female and two fawns are found together. But we did not stop many moments to examine their quarters. We soon found their track from the yard, but we could not tell from this how many there were, for they generally travel single file, the male going first, and the others stepping exactly into his tracks. We kept up the pursuit until night, without catching a sight of our game. We then built a camp of hemlock boughs, made up a good fire in front of it, ate our supper, and went to bed.

“We started again early the next morning, and had not gone much more than half a mile, before we found the place where the moose had spent the night. Some how or other, they can tell when their pursuers stop, and if tired, they improve the opportunity to rest. Having gone a little farther, the track divided into two, and our party concluded to do the same. After[Pg 243] several hours’ pursuit, the gang with which I went came in sight of a moose. He was evidently pretty stiff, and we gained on him fast, as the thick crust on the snow, while it aided us, was a great inconvenience to him. Finding at last that he could not get away from us, he suddenly turned about, and stood prepared to meet us. But we had no disposition to form a very close acquaintance with him. One blow with his fore feet, or one kick with his hind legs, would have killed the first man that approached him. But he would not leave his place to attack us, and so we had nothing to do but to lodge a bullet or two in his head, which quickly decided the contest. We took his hide, and as much of the meat as we could carry, and went back to meet our companions, who, we found, had followed up their trail all day without getting sight of any game. At night they gave up the chase, and returned to the place at which they had separated from us. That was my first and last moose hunt. On the whole, we were as successful as most hunting parties are, for the moose is a very shy animal, and it is difficult to approach within sight of it, without its taking alarm.”

Mr. Davenport had scarcely finished his moose story[Pg 244] when Uncle Tim’s clearing appeared in sight. As a storm seemed to be gathering, which might last several days, he concluded to stop here only long enough for dinner, and then to push his way homeward. Uncle Tim and his wife and boys were glad to see him and Clinton, and they seemed quite disappointed when they found their guests were not going to stop over night. After an hour’s visit, the travellers resumed their journey, and arrived home early in the evening, without any remarkable adventure. The storm which Mr. Davenport anticipated, set in about dark, in the form of rain and sleet, and continued for two or three days. This kept Clinton in the house, much of the time, and gave him an opportunity to relate to his mother and Annie the various incidents of his excursion, which he did with great minuteness and fidelity.

[Pg 245]


The days were now perceptibly longer, and the sun had begun to make quite an impression on the huge snow-banks in which Brookdale had been nearly buried up all winter. “Bare ground,” that looks so pleasant to the boy in a northern climate, after a long winter, began to appear in little brown patches, in particularly sunny and sheltered spots. The ice upon the pond was still quite thick, but it was too soft and rough for skating. The sled runners cut in so deeply, that there was little fun in sliding down hill. Besides, skating and coasting had got to be old stories, and the boys were heartily tired of all their winter sports. The sleighing was about spoiled, the roads were sloppy, the fields and meadows impassable, and the woods uncomfortable. In fact, while all the outdoor amusements of winter were at an end, it was too early for the[Pg 246] various summer games and sports that supply their places. This brief season, which usually attends the breaking up of winter in northern latitudes, is generally the dullest of all the year to boys in the country, unless they are so fortunate as to be able to amuse themselves indoors, a part of the time at least.

Clinton’s favorite place of resort, at such seasons, was the shop in the rear of the house. Here, surrounded with tools, and patterns, and plans, and specimens of his own work, and perhaps absorbed by some object upon which he was engaged, he was never at a loss for amusement. A day or two after his return from the logging camp, he went to work on the “settle,” which he had determined to make, in imitation of the one he had seen at Uncle Tim’s. This was a job that would require some little thinking and planning, as well as skill at handling tools,—for his mother had promised to give it a place in the kitchen, if it was well made,—and he felt anxious to do his best on this occasion. He first sawed out from a plank the two end pieces, rounding off one corner of each, in a sort of long scroll pattern. Having planed these smooth, he next made the seat, which was also of stiff[Pg 247] plank, and fastened it firmly in its place. Nothing remained to be done but to make the back, which was of boards, planed and matched, and screwed into the end pieces. In the course of a week the settle was finished; and it was not only neat and well-finished, but really substantial. It looked as though it might do service full as long as Uncle Tim’s. Clinton was quite satisfied with his success, and his mother was so well pleased with the settle, that she not only decided to place it in the kitchen, but promised to make a handsome cushion for it.

As Clinton was looking admiringly upon his piece of work, soon after it was finished, and thinking whether he could improve it in any respect, the conversation at Uncle Tim’s recurred to his mind, and a happy thought suggested itself, by which he might associate his settle with that interview, and thus have constantly before him a memorial of his trip to the loggers. The next time he had occasion to go to the store, he bought a small package of brass-headed tacks, and with these he carried out his new design, which was to inscribe his initials “C. D.” upon one end of the settle, and the motto, “I’ll Try,” upon the other. He had seen[Pg 248] nails arranged in the form of letters upon trunks, and he found no difficulty in making his inscriptions look very well. He surrounded each of them by a single line of tacks, placed in the form of an oval, which gave the whole quite a finished look. This improvement elicited from his parents many additional compliments for the new article of furniture.

The settle

The snow was rapidly disappearing, and the sunny sides of the hills were quite bare. The welcome song of the robin was heard around the house, proclaiming the arrival of spring. The brook which flowed through Mr. Davenport’s land was swelled to a miniature torrent, and Clinton’s ducks,—whose water privileges had been restricted through the winter to a small space kept clear of ice by an axe,—now sailed about in all their glory. The frost soon left the ground,—for it penetrates but slightly, when the earth is covered with snow all winter,—the moisture rapidly dried up, and[Pg 249] the fields were ready for the plough. For a few weeks Clinton was employed, much of the time, in the various labors of the farm. He usually drove the ploughing team, but he sometimes turned the furrow, by way of change, while his father guided the oxen. Then came harrowing, manuring, planting, setting out trees, making beds in the kitchen-garden, and the various other farm operations of spring, in all of which Clinton assisted his father. He also attended to his own patch of ground, of which he had the sole care every year. As they were at work in the kitchen-garden one day, Mr. Davenport asked Clinton how he should like to take the whole charge of it for the season.

“Why, I should think I might take care of it, just as well as you, after it’s all planted,” replied Clinton.

“And should you be willing to assume all the trouble and responsibility?” inquired his father.

“Yes, sir, I’ll take it and do the best I can,—only, I may want your advice sometimes.”

“Well, Clinty,” resumed his father, “I’ll make you an offer, and you may accept it or not, just as you please. After the garden is planted, I will surrender it entirely into your hands, and you shall do the best[Pg 250] you can with it. You shall keep account of everything that is raised in it, and at the end of the season we will calculate the value of the various crops, and I will give you one-fourth of the whole sum, as your share of the profits. For instance, if the vegetables you raise come to twenty-five dollars, you shall have six dollars and a quarter for your services. If, by your good management and the aid of a favorable season, you raise forty dollars’ worth, you will receive ten dollars,—and so on in proportion.”

“I’ll do it, I’ll do it,”—said Clinton, eagerly.

“Wait a moment,” continued Mr. Davenport,—“there are one or two conditions that must be plainly understood, before we close the bargain; one is, that you are not to neglect my work, for the sake of your own. I shall call on you, when I want your assistance in the field, just as I did last year, and you mustn’t think that what you do in your garden is to exempt you from all further labor. And you must understand, too, that if I find you are neglecting the garden at any time, I shall take it back into my own hands, and you will receive nothing for your labor. Do you agree to this?”

[Pg 251]

“Yes, sir; but you’ll allow me time enough to take care of the garden, wont you?”

“Certainly, you shall have time enough for that, besides some hours every day, to devote to study and play.”

“Well,” said Clinton, “I’ll agree to all that, and if the garden doesn’t do well, it shan’t be my fault.”

In a few days the garden was all planted. It was nearly an acre in extent, and was thickly sowed with vegetables, such as peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, turnips, cabbages, onions, early potatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squashes, melons, etc. Having done all that he was to do with it, Mr. Davenport now surrendered it into the keeping of Clinton. For a few weeks the garden required little care; but by-and-by the weeds began to spring up, and the various insect tribes commenced their operations among the tender plants. Clinton now found plenty to do. He was wise enough, however, not let his work get behind hand; for had he suffered the bugs and weeds to get a few days’ start of him, I doubt whether he would have overtaken them. This was one secret of his success; another was, his perseverance,—for he generally carried through whatever[Pg 252] he undertook, simply because he was determined to do so. Mr. Davenport was very well satisfied with the way he managed the garden; and to encourage him, he was careful not to call him away to other parts of the farm any more than was necessary.

Clinton generally rode over to the post-office, at the Cross-Roads, every Saturday afternoon, to get the weekly newspapers to which his father was a subscriber. One pleasant afternoon, in May, he drove over as usual, and as the mail had not arrived, he hitched Fanny to a post, and went away, a short distance, to where a group of small boys of his acquaintance were collected. They were earnestly and loudly discussing some point, and when they saw Clinton, one of them said:—

“There’s Clinton Davenport coming, let’s leave it to him.”

“Yes,” cried one and another,—and the proposition appeared to be unanimously accepted.

“Well, what is the trouble?” inquired Clinton.

Half a dozen different voices began to answer at once, when Clinton cut them all short, and told Frank, one of the oldest boys, to explain the difficulty.

“Why,” said Frank, “you know when we play ‘I[Pg 253] spy,’ we tell off the boy, that’s to lead in the game, in this way:—

‘One-ary, youery, ickery C,
Hackaback, crackaback, titobolee,
Hon-pon, muscadon,
Twiddledum, twaddledum, twenty-one.’”

“‘Tweedledum, twaddledum!’ you goose!” exclaimed one of the boys; “who ever heard such lingo as that? This is the right way, isn’t it, Clinton?

‘One-ary, youery, ickery, Ann,
Phillacy, follacy, ticular John;
Queeby, quaby, Irish Mary,
Stinklam, stanklam, buck.’

There, now, isn’t that right?”

“That’s the way we have it here,” replied Clinton,—“but I suppose they say it different where Frank came from. When Oscar Preston was here, he used to rattle it off different from both of these; I believe this is the way he said he learned it:—

‘One-ary, youery, ickery and,
Phillacy, follacy, Nicholas Jones;
[Pg 254]
Queeby, quaby, Irish Mary,
Huldee, guldee, loo.’”

“Ho! I never heard of that way before,” said one of the boys; “I guess that’s the latest Boston edition.”

“If you can’t agree on any of these,” said Clinton, “I’ll tell you what you can do,—you can ‘tell off’ with:—

‘One-zall, zu-zall, zicker-all zan,
Bobtail, vinegar, titter-all, tan,
Harum, scarum, back-out.’

Or, if that doesn’t suit, then take:—

‘Eeny, meeny, mony mite;
Peskalana, bona, strike;
Parago, walk.’”

“Pooh!” said Frank; “that aint right, nor anywhere near it. This is the way I learned that one:—

‘Eeny, meeny, mony, my;
Pistolanee, bony, sly;
Argy, dargy, walk.’”

The other boys all objected to this version of the saying,[Pg 255] but Frank insisted that if it was not the right one, it was certainly the best.

“I wonder who first made up all these poetries,” said one of the smaller boys.

“‘These poetries!’ what grammar do you study, Ned?” said Frank, with a laugh.

“Well, you know what I mean,” replied Ned; “I knew ’t wasn’t right,—I only said it just in fun.”

“I don’t know when these rhymes were made,” said Clinton, “but my father says they used to have them when he was young, and I suppose the boys have always had something of the kind. Shouldn’t you like to see all the different kinds printed in a book, Ned?”

“I guess I should,” replied Ned; “what a funny book it would make!”

The mail-stage had now arrived, and Clinton went over to the post-office. In addition to the usual newspapers, the post-master handed him two letters. One of them was for Mrs. Preston, for Clinton often took her letters and papers from the post-office, and delivered them on his way home. The other letter was addressed[Pg 256] to himself. It was stamped at Boston, and was in the hand-writing of his uncle. The letter for Mrs. Preston had two or three different post-marks upon it, and was somewhat dingy, as though it had travelled a great distance. This, together with the fact that the address was written in a cramped and awkward hand, led Clinton to suspect, or at least hope, it was from Jerry. He hurried back as fast as possible, and when he reached Mrs. Preston’s, his curiosity was so much excited that he determined to stop and hear who the letter was from. He watched Mrs. Preston as she first glanced at the address, and then hastily broke the seal, and before she had read half its contents, he felt so certain that he had guessed right, that he inquired:—

“Isn’t it from Jerry, Mrs. Preston?”

But Mrs. Preston was too eagerly engaged, to heed his question, and she continued reading until she had finished the letter, when she replied:—

“Yes, it is from Jerry, and I’m very much obliged to you for bringing it. Poor boy! he’s having a hard time of it, but it’s a great satisfaction to know where he is.”

[Pg 257]

“Where is he?” inquired Clinton, whose curiosity was now thoroughly awakened.

“You may read the letter, if you wish,” said Mrs. Preston, handing it to Clinton. “Read it aloud, if you please, so that Emily and Harriet may hear.”

Clinton complied with her request. Correcting the grammar, spelling, and punctuation, the letter read as follows:—

Rio Janeiro, March 30.

Dear Mother,

I write these few lines to let you know I am alive and well, and I hope this will find you so. You will see from the date I am a good ways from home. I came here in the brig Susan, which sailed from Boston in February. We have had a very rough time. Last week we encountered a terrible gale, and I thought it was a gone case with us. We had to put in here to repair damages, and as there is a chance to send letters home I thought I would write. We are bound for Valparaiso, and have got to go round Cape Horn. It is a long voyage, and I guess I shall go to California before I come home. I don’t like going to sea so well as I expected, and I don’t mean to go another voyage. It’s a hard life, I can tell you. I am sorry I took that money, but I had to have some. I didn’t spend but little of it, but somebody has stolen the rest—some of[Pg 258] the sailors, I suppose, but I don’t know who. I mean to pay you back again, out of my wages. I suppose father hasn’t got through logging yet. I should like to see you all, but I must wait a spell. Tell Mary I am going to fetch her home a pretty present, and I shall bring something for the others, too. I can’t see to write any longer, so good-bye to you all.

Jeremiah Preston.

“Mother,” said Harriet, as soon as Clinton had finished reading the letter, “what does Jerry mean about taking money?”

“Don’t ask me any questions now,” replied Mrs. Preston, in a tone that cut off all further inquiries. Jerry’s theft had been a secret in her own breast, until now; but as he had alluded to it in his letter, and as his letter must be read by all the family, she knew it could no longer be concealed. Still, she was provoked that Harriet should be so thoughtless as to allude to the subject in the presence of Clinton.

“Emily,” continued Mrs. Preston, “you run and get your atlas, and let Clinton show us where Jerry is, before he goes.”

The atlas was soon produced, and Clinton, turning to the map of South America, pointed out to the[Pg 259] family the location of Rio Janeiro, in Brazil, on the Atlantic coast, and Valparaiso, the chief sea-port of Chili, on the Pacific side of the continent. Then, remembering his own unopened letter, he bade them good-night, and started for home.

[Pg 260]


“Mother, I’ve got lots of news,” said Clinton, as he entered the house; “Mrs. Preston’s had a letter from Jerry, and I’ve got one from Uncle Clinton. Jerry’s gone to sea, and wrote home from Rio Janeiro. He came near being shipwrecked, and he says he’s got enough of going to sea. He’s got to go clear round Cape Horn, though, to Valparaiso, before he can come home.”

“And what does your Uncle Clinton write?”

“O, I haven’t read that yet, but I’m going to now,” said Clinton; and he sat down and opened his letter. “See what a long one it is,” he added, holding it open; “I wonder what it can all be about.” It was as follows:—

Boston, May 12, 185-.

My Dear Nephew and Namesake,

It’s a long while since you have had a letter from[Pg 261] me, and I suppose you will wonder what is going to happen when you see this; but don’t be frightened—there’s nothing alarming in the wind. We all felt very sorry, when your father wrote us that your anticipated visit to Boston this spring must be postponed. Willie, in particular, was sadly disappointed. He had set his heart on having a nice time with you—piloting you around the city, showing you the ‘elephants,’ and making himself generally useful and agreeable. And will you believe it, the silly fellow actually ‘boo-hooed right out’ when your father’s letter came, and put a wet blanket on his anticipations. Well, never mind, you’ll come this summer or fall, wont you? I’ve promised Willie you shall, and as I always keep my promises, you see there is no backing out of that. Tell your father that he must let you come, as soon as he can spare you; and if he doesn’t, I shall send a writ after you.

“I have a case on the docket, as we lawyers say, that I guess will interest you a little. Willie insists upon my writing a history of it for your benefit; and as he is full four feet high, now, and keeps a terrible great dog, I suppose I must comply with his wishes. The parties in this case are, on the one side, our venerable and dignified Commonwealth, and on the other, that young harum-scarum crony of yours, (if you will own him as such), Oscar Preston. You knew, I suppose, that Oscar went to sea after he left Brookdale so[Pg 262] suddenly, last fall. He got back again in the winter, perfectly cured of his life-on-the-ocean-wave fever, and has done nothing but loaf about and cut up shines ever since. He wouldn’t go to school, and he wouldn’t go to work, and he wouldn’t do anything that his father wished him to do.

“But his bad habits were not all negative ones, I can assure you; for a few weeks ago it happened to be discovered, some how or other, that he and two or three other boys had formed a band of thieves, and had stolen several articles from different persons and houses. The affair went before the Grand Jury, and one of the young scamps confessed the whole story. So an officer arrested Oscar, and carried him to jail; and his father, on learning the facts in the case, was so enraged that he would not bail him out. He came to me, however, to see what could be done for Oscar, and engaged me to act as his counsel. I inquired into all the facts, and when I found how conclusive the evidence was against him, I told his father the best thing Oscar could do would be to plead guilty, and trust to the mercy of the judge, who, I had little doubt, would take into consideration his youth, and sentence him to the Reform School. His father objected to this at first, but at last he was convinced that this would be the best course. So we both went over to the jail, in Cambridge Street, last week, to talk with Oscar about it.

[Pg 263]

“We found him in a little cell, about twelve feet by eight, engaged in reading a newspaper, which some one had distributed among the prisoners. He did not appear very glad to see his father, and spoke in a surly manner to him. I really pitied the poor man, for he felt so badly that he could hardly keep from crying, when he saw the situation of his son. Oscar did not know me, I suppose. I believe I never saw him before, although I had often heard Willie speak of him. Mr. Preston told him that I was a lawyer whom he had engaged to manage his case, and he then proceeded to tell him the conclusion we had arrived at. ‘I shan’t do it,’ he instantly replied; ‘I aint guilty, and I wont say I am.’ ‘But,’ said I, ‘this is very foolish in you, for here are the clearest proofs of your guilt, and you can’t rub them out.’ ‘I don’t care,’ he said, ‘I wont cave in now, any how. I mean to stick it out to the last.’ I then told him we were afraid he would be sentenced to the House of Correction, whereas, if he confessed his guilt, we could probably get the judge to send him to the Reform School. ‘I don’t want to go to the Reform School,’ he replied; ‘of the two, I’d rather go to the House of Correction. That would be all over with, in two or three months; but if I’m sent to the Reform School, I shall have to stay three or four years, and I wont do it—I’ll run away first.’ So he continued to talk, and we continued to reason with him, but all in vain; and finally we left[Pg 264] him, in no pleasant mood. This forenoon, I called on him again, thinking he might have altered his mind, by this time; but he was as obstinate as ever, and so I must defend him to the best of my ability, when the trial comes on, next month. Poor boy! I’m afraid he will find the way of the transgressor is hard, before he is many months older. He appears to be pretty intelligent, and does not look like a bad boy, but he seems bent on his vicious courses. I tried to appeal to his feelings, to-day, but could not produce any effect upon him. I’ll try to let you know how his case turns out, when it comes to trial.

“Your Aunt Lizzy sends her love to you and to your father, and mother, and dear little Annie. Willie says, ‘Tell Clinton I’m going down to see him this summer’—but as this is the first I have heard of it, I guess it will pass only for a rumor. Sissy sends ’a bushel of love,’ and Bouncer, Willie’s big bouncing dog that I mentioned before, sends a wag of his tail. Here it is:—

Bouncer’s tail

There, now, I forgot to put in the wag—but no matter, you can imagine that. Well, I’ve got to the[Pg 265] end of my sheet, and have only room to subscribe myself,

Your affectionate

Uncle Clinton.”

After running over the letter, Clinton read it aloud to his father and mother. The intelligence it gave concerning Oscar, did not much surprise any of them, though they felt sorry for him and his parents.

“I have seldom known a bad beginning to make a good ending,” remarked Mr. Davenport. “Oscar seems to have made a very poor start in life, and I’m afraid he will not turn out any too well. It’s too bad, for I always thought he was a bright, capable sort of a boy, if he would only keep out of mischief. But I suspect his parents never had much control over him, and if that’s the case, they are as much to be blamed as pitied.”

After conversing a while longer on Oscar’s case, Mr. Davenport told Clinton he had better not mention the subject out of the family, as it might reach the ears of Jerry’s mother, and make her feel unpleasantly. He also told Clinton he had concluded to let him go to Boston in October, and that he might write to either[Pg 266] his Uncle Clinton or to his Cousin Willie, and inform them of the fact. He also directed him to invite Willie to come and spend his summer vacation with him, and to extend the same invitation to the rest of the family. Clinton accordingly wrote, a few days after, directing the letter to his uncle, whose long epistle, he thought, was entitled to an answer.

Clinton continued his daily labors in the garden, which now began to give tokens of a fair harvest. He set apart a portion of each day to this business, and was always to be found engaged at his work, when the set hour arrived. While weeding the beds, and hoeing the corn and potatoes, and training the pea and bean vines, his thoughts often wandered far away,—sometimes to Jerry, now probably near the end of his voyage; and sometimes to the little stone cell in which Oscar was awaiting his trial.

June came, and as this was the month in which Oscar’s case was to be decided, Clinton began to look rather impatiently for a letter. He went to the post-office two or three times a week, but still no letter made its appearance. At length, however, his frequent visits were rewarded by the reception of a[Pg 267] newspaper, directed to himself, in the well-known hand of his uncle. Tearing off the wrapper, and opening the paper,—for he could not wait till he got home,—a heavy black mark, drawn with a pen around a particular item, at once met his eye. The article was headed, “Municipal Court;” and after brief notices of several trials, sentences, etc., came the marked paragraph, which was as follows:—

“Oscar Preston, a minor, tried on two indictments for larceny. Verdict guilty, and sentenced to the State Reform School during his minority.”

This was all, and it told the whole story. Clinton was disappointed that the information was not conveyed by letter, which would have given him more particulars; but he concluded his uncle was too busy to write, and he felt glad he had not entirely forgotten him, in the hurry of business. He hastened home, and showed the short, sad record to his parents.

“Well,” said Mr. Davenport, on reading it, “that is the best place for him. They may make something of him yet.”

“What sort of a place is the Reform School?” inquired[Pg 268] Clinton; “is it anything like a jail, or house of correction?”

“Not much, I suppose,” replied his father; “boys are sent there to be reformed and instructed, rather than punished. I have never visited an institution of this kind, myself, but I read quite a full description of the one in Massachusetts, not long ago, and perhaps I can find the paper that contained it. I will look over the files, some day when I have leisure.”

One rainy afternoon, not long after this, Mr. Davenport overhauled the papers referred to, and succeeded in finding the description of the Massachusetts Reform School. He gave it to Clinton, who was much interested in it. The following is the substance of the description:—


This institution is located in Westboro’, thirty-two miles from Boston, and is designed to accommodate five or six hundred boys. Any boy under sixteen years of age, who has been convicted of an offence, punishable by imprisonment, can be sentenced to the Reform School instead of the prison, unless his crime is a very aggravated one, such as the laws require to [Pg 271]be punished by imprisonment for life. When a boy arrives at the School, he is first placed in the hands of the steward, who strips, washes, and dresses him in a suit of good clothes; he is then assigned to the field or workshop, and is not allowed to converse with his companions for two or three days, or until the superintendent understands his character and disposition. The boys are divided into four principal classes. The new comers enter the first class, and by dint of good conduct work their way up. Beyond the fourth is a still higher class, reached only by a few, and known as the class of “Truth and Honor.” To become a member of this class, a boy must pass a certain number of weeks without a demerit mark,—for a daily account of the merits and demerits of each boy is kept, and at the end of the week he is promoted or degraded, according to his deserts. It is so difficult to get into the class of “Truth and Honor,” that there are seldom more than eight or ten members. They enjoy extraordinary privileges,—are invited to the parlor of the superintendent,—have extra hours to play and read, and receive numerous special favors, greatly prized by them, and desired by others.

[Pg 272]

The daily order of business is as follows: The boys rise at five o’clock in summer, make their beds, march to the general wash-room, where they bathe their hands and face; attend prayers at a quarter before six; from six to seven for breakfast and play; work from seven to ten, A. M., and from three to six, P. M.; study from ten A. M., to three P. M., in two sessions of two hours each, with an hour for dinner and play, at noon; from six to seven, P. M., for supper and play; from seven to eight for the hearing and examination of all reports respecting the good or bad conduct of the boys, and the settlement of cases needing discipline which have occurred during the day. On Sunday they have a Sabbath-school, and religious worship in their chapel.

Many of the boys are employed in making shoes. They not only make and mend all their own shoes, but manufacture for dealers, who contract for their labor. About eighty boys are employed in the tailor’s shop, where all the clothing, bedding, etc., used in the institution, are made and repaired. In the shops, no noise or confusion is allowed during working hours. The boys are arranged in divisions, to each of which there[Pg 273] is a monitor, who has a slate on his bench, with the names of the boys, in his division, written upon it, and when one of them commits a fault, the disciplinarian gives notice of the fact to the monitor,—who makes a demerit mark opposite to the delinquent’s name.

A portion of the boys are employed upon the farm, which embraces nearly three hundred acres. Then, there is the laundry, in which some twenty boys do the washing and ironing, under the direction of a matron; and the kitchen, in which several boys do the cooking and baking, etc.

Boys, committed to the Reform School, are kept till they are reformed and discharged, or bound out as apprentices to mechanics and farmers, or sent to prison if they are found to be incorrigible. They cannot be committed to the institution for less than one year, or for a longer term than during their minority.

“Well,” said Mr. Davenport, after Clinton had finished reading the account, “now you can imagine in what sort of a place Oscar is living, and what he is about,—for I suppose he has been sent to the Reform School before this.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Clinton, “and I guess it will[Pg 274] come rather hard to him, at first, to go to work, don’t you?”

“No doubt it will,—but I suppose, if he can be made to form habits of industry and obedience, it will be comparatively easy to save him, even now.”

“I hope he will get into the class of ‘Truth and Honor,’” added Clinton.

“Ah,” said his father, “what a pity it is that boys ever get out of that class! It is much easier to stay in it, than it is to get back again after a person has been once expelled from it. When you think of Oscar’s unhappy career, Clinton, I want you to remember what it was that led to it; and, beware, how you swerve a single hair from the line of TRUTH AND HONOR.”

Perhaps Mr. Davenport was thinking of Clinton’s entanglement in Jerry’s artful snares, the previous winter, when he uttered this warning; but he never directly alluded to that affair, since his son had given such unequivocal evidence of sorrow for his offence. Clinton, indeed, had already more than made up, by his exemplary conduct, what he lost in the good opinion of his parents by his unhappy connection with Jerry. He had the wisdom to profit by his experience, and[Pg 275] the lesson which he learned from his temptation and fall, he will probably never forget. For the present, however, we must bid him good-by. Should the readers of this volume wish to know something further of his history, it is possible that I may be able to gratify their curiosity, some time or other.


YOUNG AMERICANS ABROAD; or, Vacation in Europe: the Results of a Tour through Great Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. By John Overton Choules, D. D., and his Pupils. With Elegant Illustrations. 16mo, cloth, 75 cts.

A highly entertaining work, embracing more real information, such as every one wishes to know about Europe, than any other book of travels ever published.

Three intelligent lads, who knew how to use their eyes, accompanied their tutor on a European tour; and, from a carefully-kept journal, they wrote out, in a series of letters to a favorite companion in study, at home, their impressions of the most remarkable places en route. The pencillings are genuine and unaffected, and in all respects form an interesting and instructive record of travel.—Sartain’s Magazine.

One of the most instructive and delightful books of the age.—Southern Lit. Gaz.

Boys, here is a book that will suit you exactly. It is a series of letters from certain boys travelling in Europe to their classmates in this country. It will improve your knowledge and amuse you during long winter nights.—Methodist Prot.

It is worth much more than many a larger and more pretentious volume, for giving a daguerreotype of things abroad.—Congregationalist.

A beautiful book for young people, unlike any thing we have ever seen.—Ch. Ob.

Most interesting book that can be put into the hands of the young.—Olive Branch.

The best book of foreign travel for youth to be found in the whole range of American literature.—Buffalo Morning Express.

THE ISLAND HOME; or, the Young Castaways. By Christopher Romaunt, Esq. With Elegant Illustrations. 75 cts.

The best and prettiest book for boys that we have lately seen.—Boston Post.

A stirring and unique work. It will interest the juvenile men vastly.—Olive Br.

Delightful narrative of the adventures of six boys who put to sea in an open boat, and were drifted to a desert island, where they lived in the manner of Robinson Crusoe.—N. Y. Com.

A book of great interest, and one which will be a treat to any boy.—Home Circle.

The young will pore over its pages with almost enchanted interest.—Transcript.

A modern Robinson Crusoe story, without the dreary solitude of that famous hero. It will amuse and instruct the young in no ordinary degree.—Southern Lit. Gazette.

A story that bids fair to rival the far-famed Robinson Crusoe. We become as much interested in the Max, Johnny, Arthur, and the rest of the goodly company, as in the Swiss Family Robinson.—Sartain’s Magazine.

THE AMERICAN STATESMAN; or, Illustrations of the Life and Character of Daniel Webster, for the Entertainment and Instruction of American Youth. By the Rev. Joseph Banvard, author of “Plymouth and the Pilgrims,” “Novelties of the New World,” “Romance of American History,” etc. With elegant Illustrations. 75c.

☞ A work of great interest, presenting a sketch of the most striking and important events which occurred in the history of the distinguished statesman, Daniel Webster, avoiding entirely all points of a political character; holding up to view, for the admiration and emulation of American youth, only his commendable traits of character. It is just such a work as every American patriot would wish his children to read and reflect upon.


HOW TO BE A MAN; a Book for Boys, containing Useful Hints on the Formation of Character. Cloth, gilt, 50 cts.

“My design in writing has been to contribute something towards forming the character of those who are to be our future electors, legislators, governors, judges, ministers, lawyers, and physicians,—after the best model. It is intended for boys—or, if you please, for young gentlemen, in early youth.”—Preface.

“How to be a Man” is an inimitable little volume. We desire that it be widely circulated. It should be put into the hands of every youth in the land.—Tenn. Bap.

HOW TO BE A LADY; a Book for Girls, containing Useful Hints on the Formation of Character. Cloth, gilt, 50 cts.

“Having daughters of his own, and having been many years employed in writing for the young, he hopes to offer some good advice, in an entertaining way, for girls or misses, between the ages of eight and fifteen. His object is, to assist them in forming their characters upon the best model; that they may become well-bred, intelligent, refined, and good; and then they will be real ladies, in the highest sense.”—Preface.

Parents will consult the interests of their daughters, for time and eternity, in making them acquainted with this attractive and most useful volume.—N. Y. Evangelist.

The following Notices apply to both the above Volumes.

It would be better for the next generation if every youth would “read, learn, and inwardly digest” the contents of these volumes.—N. Y. Commercial.

These volumes contain much matter which is truly valuable.—Mer. Journal.

They contain wise and important counsels and cautions, adapted to the young, and made entertaining by the interesting style and illustrations of the author. They are fine mirrors, in which are reflected the prominent lineaments of the Christian young gentleman and young lady. Elegant presents for the young.—American Pulpit.

Newcomb’s books are excellent. We are pleased to commend them.—N. Y. Obs.

They are books well calculated to do good.—Phil. Ch. Chronicle.

Common-sense, practical hints on the formation of character and habits, and are adapted to the improvement of youth.—Mothers’ Journal.

ANECDOTES FOR BOYS; Entertaining Anecdotes and Narratives, illustrative of Principles and Character. 18mo, gilt, 42 cts.

ANECDOTES FOR GIRLS; Entertaining Anecdotes and Narratives, illustrative of Principles and Character. 18mo, gilt, 42 cts.

Interesting and instructive, without being fictitious. The anecdotes are many, short, and spirited, with a moral drawn from each, adapted to every age, condition, and duty of life. We commend them to families and schools.—Albany Spectator.

Works of great value, for a truth or principle is sooner instilled into the youthful heart by an anecdote, than in any other way. They are well selected.—Ev’g Gaz.

Nothing has a greater interest for a youthful mind than a well-told story, and no medium of conveying moral instructions so attractive or so successful. The influence is far more powerful when the child is assured that they are true. We cannot too strongly recommended them to parents.—Western Continent, Baltimore.



The attention of the public is invited to the following notices of Banvard’s Histories. They contain a vast fund of just that kind of information, presented in a style possessing all the attractiveness and charm of romance, which every American, whether old or young, should possess.


Or, Incidents of Adventures in the History of the First Settlers. With Illustrations. 16mo, cloth, 60 cts.

Mr. Banvard has wrought a good work in collecting, arranging, and presenting in so graphic and agreeable a manner the leading incidents of an event which will ever wake to quicken while the “Pilgrim Rock” tells its story, or a drop of pilgrim blood warms the veins of a descendant—Bangor Mercury.

The book, when once taken up, will not be laid down until finished.—Boston Cour.

An interesting volume. The incidents are well chosen, and are described in that direct, simple, and sprightly manner, for which Mr. Banvard is so justly esteemed, and which eminently qualifies him to be a writer for the young.—Am. Traveller.

It is written in a terse and vigorous style, and is well adapted for popular reading, and particularly to entertain and instruct the youthful mind.—Mercantile Journal.

Every New Englander should own this book.—Scientific American.

This is a beautifully executed and extremely interesting volume. It is written in a plain, but vigorous style, particularly adapted to the young, though it may be read with interest by the older ones.—Ch. Freeman.

Highly attractive in style and instructive in matter, and well calculated to engage the attention of young persons.—N. Y. Com. Adv.

Mr. Banvard has here produced a work that will be read with pleasure and instruction by every one. The style is clear and forcible, and his manner of weaving incidents and character, and giving position to historical events, felicitous.—Bee.

This book we predict will be, ere long, at the fire-side of every descendant of the Pilgrims in New England.—Commonwealth.

It is written in a pleasing style, abounding in incident, anecdote, and fact. The author has shelled the grain from the dry husks, and so spread a feast better adapted to the tastes and requirements of the young.—Rambler.

This book will be read with peculiar interest by all who would learn the causes which gave to our country its peculiar religious and political character.—Cabinet.

There is no work on American history of the same size which affords an equal amount of information.—Carpet Bag.

It reminds us much of that admirable historical series for the young, Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather.—Ch. Register.

Treated with the talent and skill for which Mr. Banvard has become noted, as a descriptive and popular writer.—Watchman and Reflector.

Few works will have a greater run, especially with youth. Many thrilling facts are either brought to light for the first time from musty records, or from tomes inaccessible to the public generally.—Journal and Messenger.

It is full of interest, abounding with vivid illustrations of fearless courage, enduring fortitude, ingenious strategy, and romantic adventure. It will find its way into every family.—Willis’s Home Journal.


AN ACCOUNT OF THE ADVENTURES AND DISCOVERIES of the First Explorers of North America. By Rev. Joseph Banvard, author of “Plymouth and the Pilgrims,” etc. Being the second volume of Banvard’s Series of American Histories. With numerous Illustrations. 16mo, cloth, 60 cts.

If Mr. Banvard completes the series as he has begun, he will supply an important desideratum for the young—a series of books which will serve as valuable introductions and enticements to more extended historical reading. The plan of the author is to seize on the prominent and interesting points in the history of our country, and present them in a continuous and sprightly narrative.—Am. Traveller.

We have seen the boys bend over these pages, unwilling to leave them, either for play or sleep; and when finished, inquiring anxiously when the next would come.—Watchman and Reflector.

It has all the interest of a romance.—Portland Transcript.

Written in a felicitous style, which is neither too childish for adults, nor yet too difficult of comprehension for children, they will delight and instruct.—Journal.

Some of the most interesting scenes and events in the New World are here brought together and invested with a charm that is irresistible by old or young.—Ch. Intel.

The subject is handled in a masterly manner.—Olive Branch.

This is a lively and entertaining history of some of the most romantic and important events in the early times of European explorations of America.—Commonwealth.

Mr. Banvard has much of that talent, so rare and valuable, which enables its possessor to interest and instruct the young. We are glad to see the romantic stories of our colonial times disinterred and reproduced from the ponderous volumes in which they have been buried, and brought forward in a form adapted to the taste and capacity of the youthful reader.—N. Y. Recorder.

It contains strange adventures filled with romance. The volume has also some fourteen good illustrations.—Express.

The extraordinary hardships and thrilling incidents connected with the history of the early explorers, together with the charm which Mr. Banvard has thrown around it by his popular style of writing, renders it exceedingly interesting.—Ch. Sec.

A very pleasant, instructive, and interesting book is this. The historical incidents, sketches of character, national customs, and amusing anecdotes told in it, give it a charm which even the grave scholar will acknowledge and approve.—Patriot.

The style is very agreeable, and his selection of the most remarkable incidents very happy and judicious, and well calculated to improve the mind.—Sci. American.

Much that is fresh for the reader, imparted with tact and spirit.—Home Journal.

How “novel” was the “New World” when examined by the first explorers, and Mr. Banvard has gone over the ground in so charming a manner that he seems to have brought the scenes down to our own experience. Every page is absorbingly interesting.East Boston Gazette.

The book only needs to be known to command readers.—Watchman of Prairies.

The popularity of the author, and the admirable productions of his pen, already so widely circulated, are a sufficient pledge that any thing from him will be found to possess sterling merit and worth.—Transcript.

Mr. Banvard has hit upon a happy idea in this series of publications, and will no doubt find a full sanction in the public patronage.—Zion’s Herald.

The author possesses the art of making simple truth far more interesting than the wonders of fable.—Evergreen.


OR, AN ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY SETTLEMENT of North Carolina and Virginia, embracing a Narrative of the tragic Incidents connected with the Spanish Settlement at St. Augustine, the French Colonies at Roanoke, and the English Plantation at Jamestown; the Captivity of Captain John Smith, and the interesting Adventures of the youthful Pocahontas. By Rev. Joseph Banvard. Being the third volume of Banvard’s Series of American Histories. With numerous Illustrations. 16mo, cloth, 60 cts.

This is the third volume of Mr. Banvard’s attractive series of books founded on the early history of our country; and it will make a most valuable addition to all family and school libraries.—Arthur’s Gazette.

It has all the interest of romance and the additional interest of history.—Pur. Rec.

It is a volume just such as we like to see in the hands of intelligent youth, and just such as intelligent youth like to have given them. It shows that there were times that tried men’s souls “long before the day of the Revolution.” It unfolds the dangers that were passed, the trials endured, the labors undergone in order to wrest from savage men and a savage wilderness this fair and wide domain which we now enjoy.—Willis’s Home Journal.

As interesting as a novel, and a thousand times more profitable.—Lit. Messenger.

Every library should contain this National Series of Histories.—N. E. Farmer.

Admirably fitted for fire-side, family reading. Its style is clear and simple; its succession of events happily chosen.—Am. Traveller.

No man has a better taste than Mr. Banvard for such a work. If any person can read his books without rising from the perusal of them with stronger love for the history of his country, he must be different from ordinary men.—Watch. of Prairies.

No more instructive reading can be put into the hands of the young.—Port. Tran.

It is difficult to say whether the entertaining or instructive predominates.—Argus.

It is just the book to interest young persons. It combines the interest of romance with the value of truth.—Zion’s Herald.

Mr. Banvard has chosen a most entertaining theme for the labors of his graceful and facile pen. The earlier history of the peopling of the American continent by the Europeans is full of romantic and thrilling incident. It is a book for the aged, the middle aged, and the young; a book for our youths and maidens; a book to render us thankful for the virtues and heroism of our fathers, and for the blessings their sufferings and labors have entailed upon us.—Democratic Press.

Mr. Banvard’s series of books upon the early history of America are full of fascinating interest.—Republican.

The incidents are curious and deeply interesting. It is truly the romance of history.—Religious Herald.

A book of deep and thrilling interest, containing many interesting historical sketches of scenes that are not familiar to the young reader.—Ch. Secretary.

This is a very interesting work. The personal incidents it records will be gratifying to the curious.—Ch. Observer.

☞ Other volumes of this popular series are in course of preparation. The series will embrace the most interesting and important events which have occurred in the United States since the settlement of the country. They will be adapted to the popular mind, and especially to the youth of our country, and will contain numerous fine engravings. There will be twelve or more 16mo volumes, of about 300 pages. Each volume to be complete in itself; and yet, when all are published, they will together form a regular Series of American Histories.


By S. Prout Newcombe. With numerous Illustrations. 75c.

☞ This work is designed for the pleasure and profit of young people; and, as the title indicates, intended as an aid to Home Education. The great variety of subjects presented, consisting of Moral Lessons, Natural History, History, Travels, Physical Geography, Object Lessons, Drawing and Perspective, Music, Poetry, etc., and withal, so skilfully treated as to make truth simple and attractive, renders it an admirable family book for winter evenings and summer days.

A very excellent book. History, philosophy, science, stories, and descriptions of games are all mingled together, and he who does not like the compound must be hard to please.—Post.

Pleasant pages, containing information on a great variety of subjects. Here we have science and art made plain and captivating. The lessons in drawing and perspective alone are worth the price of the volume. And then a thousand questions which the intelligent young mind raises are here answered.—Parlor Magazine.

This is indeed a home book of endless amusement.—Boston Atlas.

An admirable book of home education. We commend it to families.—Alb. Spec.

A work admirably adapted to the instruction and amusement of the young.—Reg.

A pleasant book, full of all sorts of information upon all sorts of subjects.—Jour.

One of the most delightful works for young people we have ever met with. Few persons, young or old, could examine its pages without gaining knowledge of a useful kind. It is one of the most successful combinations of the pleasant with the useful to be found.—Daily Advertiser.

A book of not only “pleasant pages,” but of singularly instructive pages. Even people not so very young might be profited by its perusal.—South Boston Gazette.

It presents much solid information, and opens before the young new fields of observation. The youngsters will clap their hands with joy.—Scientific American.

There is a great deal of valuable information communicated in a very simple and easy way. While it is full of useful instruction to children, it is also suggestive to those who are called to conduct their education.—Puritan Recorder.

We like this book: it is well fitted for the family library. The young like facts; when these are set forth in a pleasant way, the interest is greater than fiction ever awakens, unless the fiction is made to appear like truth.—Godey’s Ladies’ Book.

THE GUIDING STAR; or, The Bible God’s Message. By Louisa Payson Hopkins. With Frontispiece. 16mo, cloth, 50 cts.

An excellent work to put into the hands of youth. It is written in conversational style, and opens up most beautifully, and with great simplicity, the great leading evidences that the Bible contains God’s message to man. Those seeking after truth will find it worthy of frequent perusal.—Dr. Sprague, in Albany Spectator.

We cordially commend the work to parents, children, and Sabbath schools.—Cong.

This volume should be in the hands of every youthful reader, and adult persons would find it not only interesting, but instructive.—Ch. Chron.

The popular author of this book has conferred a favor on the public, for which she deserves something more than thanks.—Ch. Secretary.

One of the most valuable books for youth that we have seen.—Cong. Journal.

A book of more than common excellence. How often have we wished that all the youth of our land might become familiar with its contents.—Ch. Mirror.


CHAMBERS’S HOME BOOK AND POCKET MISCELLANY. Containing a Choice Selection of Interesting and Instructive Reading for the Old and the Young. Six vols. 16mo, cloth, 3,00.

This work is considered fully equal, if not superior, to either of the Chambers’s other works in interest, and, like them, contains a vast fund of valuable information. Following somewhat the plan of the “Miscellany,” it is admirably adapted to the school or the family library, furnishing ample variety for every class of readers, both old and young.

We do not know how it is possible to publish so much good reading matter at such a low price. We speak a good word for the literary excellence of the stories in this work; we hope our people will introduce it into all their families, in order to drive away the miserable flashy-trashy stuff so often found in the hands of our young people of both sexes.—Scientific American.

Both an entertaining and instructive work, as it is a very cheap one.—Puritan Rec.

It cannot but have an extensive circulation.—Albany Express.

Of all the series of cheap books, this promises to be the best.—Bangor Mercury.

If any person wishes to read for amusement or profit, to kill time or improve it, get “Chambers’s Home Book.”—Chicago Times.

The Chambers are confessedly the best caterers for popular and useful reading in the world.—Willis’s Home Journal.

A very entertaining, instructive, and popular work.—N. Y. Commercial.

The articles are of that attractive sort which suits us in moods of indolence when we would linger half way between wakefulness and sleep. They require just thought and activity enough to keep our feet from the land of Nod, without forcing us to run, walk, or even stand.—Eclectic, Portland.

It is just the thing to amuse a leisure hour, and at the same time combines instruction with amusement.—Dover Inquirer.

Messrs. Chambers, of Edinburgh, have become famous wherever the English language is spoken and read, for their interesting and instructive publications. They combine instruction with amusement, and throughout they breathe a spirit of the purest morality.—Chicago Tribune.

CHAMBERS’S REPOSITORY OF INSTRUCTIVE AND AMUSING PAPERS. With Illustrations. An entirely New Series, containing Original Articles. p. 260, 16mo, cloth, per vol. 50 cents.

The Messrs. Chambers have recently commenced the publication of this work, under the title of “Chambers’s Repository of Instructive and Amusing Tracts,” similar in style, etc., to the “Miscellany,” which has maintained an enormous circulation of more than eighty thousand copies in England, and has already reached nearly the same in this country. Arrangements have been made by the American publishers, to issue the work simultaneously with the English edition, a volume every two months, to continue until the whole series is completed. Each volume complete in itself, and will be sold in sets or single volumes.

☞ Commendatory Letters, Reviews, Notices, &c., of each of Chambers’s works, sufficient to make a good sized duodecimo volume, have been received by the publishers, but room here will only allow giving a specimen of the vast multitude at hand. They are all popular, and contain valuable instructive and entertaining reading—such as should be found in every family, school, and college library.


By Benjamin F. Bourne. With Illustrations. 12mo, cloth, 85 cts.

This work, by Captain Bourne,—who was taken captive and retained three months by the Patagonians,—gives an account of his capture and final escape; a description of this strange people; their manners, customs, habits, pursuits; the country, its soil productions, etc., of which little or nothing has heretofore been known. ☞ A work of thrilling interest, and of instruction to every class of readers.

Any book, descriptive of a country which is almost like fable land to the civilized world, must possess great interest; but this work, besides having this attraction, is written with much vigor and spirit, and is replete with a variety of interesting facts, descriptive of the manners, customs, character, etc., of the Patagonians.—Sav. Jour.

A work of thrilling interest, and bids fair to be another Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Captain Bourne is well known and highly respected in this community; and the narrative of his strange adventures, startling and romantic as they may seem, can be relied upon as strictly true.—Nantucket Eagle.

We have seldom read a work of such intense interest—N. H. Sentinel.

This is a narrative of great interest.—Phil. Ch. Observer.

We question whether the scenes, trials, hardships, adventures, etc., could have been more vividly drawn had they emanated from the pen of an Irving or a Cooper.Rutland (Vt.) Herald.

The author is known as a respectable man, and one of high integrity; and from his own experience has given particulars of the manners, customs, habits, and pursuits of the natives. It is a thrilling narrative, and as exciting as Typee.—Newport Merc.

No work of romance can exceed to enchain the mind and awaken interest.—Cong.

Seldom, if ever, have we perused a work with so intense an interest. No work of romance can excel it in power to enchant the mind, and awaken a nervous desire to possess the valuable information which it communicates.—Amherst Express.

Having begun it one evening, we would not quit until the book had been finished.—Montpelier Journal.

Uncle Tom may stand aside for the present. Mrs. Stowe may herself, as well as her readers, listen to the tale of a New Bedford sailor. His narrative is one that cannot fail to move both to smiles and tears,—containing touches of the broadest and most genial humor, as well as passages of simple pathos, which dissolve the soul in sympathy.—B. H. Aurora.

Possessing all the interest of real adventure, with all the attractiveness of romance, we do not wonder at its popularity.—Boston Atlas.

We have never before perused any personal narrative that has interested us as this one.—Fountain and Journal, Me.

We have scarcely been able to leave its attractive pages. If the reader wishes to be amused, instructed, delighted, and benefited, he cannot do better than to procure a copy.—Gardiner Evening Transcript.

THE HISTORY OF BANKING; with a Comprehensive Account of the Origin, Rise, and Progress of the Banks of England, Ireland, and Scotland. By William John Lawson. First American Edition. Revised, with numerous additions. By J. Smith Homans, Editor of Bankers’ Magazine. 1 vol. octavo, 2,00.

☞ A novel book, yet interesting and instructive; containing anecdotes of men who have figured largely in the business, cases of forgeries, counterfeits, detections, trials, etc.

CHAMBERS’S CYCLOPEDIA OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. A Selection of the choicest productions of English Authors, from the earliest to the present time. Connected by a Critical and Biographical History. Forming two large imperial octavo volumes of 1400 pages, double column letter-press; with upwards of 300 elegant Illustrations. Edited by Robert Chambers, embossed cloth, 5,00.

This work embraces about one thousand authors, chronologically arranged and classed as Poets, Historians, Dramatists, Philosophers, Metaphysicians, Divines, etc., with choice selections from their writings, connected by a Biographical, Historical, and Critical Narrative; thus presenting a complete view of English literature from the earliest to the present time. Open where you will, you cannot fail to find matter for profit and delight. The selections are gems—infinite riches in a little room; “A whole English Library fused down into one cheap book!

From W. H. Prescott, Author of “Ferdinand and Isabella.” The plan of the work is very judicious.... Readers cannot fail to profit largely by the labors of the critic who has the talent and taste to separate what is really beautiful and worthy of their study from what is superfluous.

I concur in the foregoing opinion of Mr. Prescott.—Edward Everett.

A work indispensable to the library of a student of English literature.—Wayland.

We hail with peculiar pleasure the appearance of this work.—North Am. Review.

It has been fitly described as “a whole English library fused down into one cheap book.” The Boston edition combines neatness with cheapness.—N. Y. Com. Adv.

☞ The American edition contains additional likenesses of Shakespeare, Addison, Byron; a full length portrait of Dr. Johnson, and a beautiful scenic representation of Oliver Goldsmith and Dr. Johnson. These important additions, together with superior paper and binding, render the American far superior to the English edition. The circulation of this work has been immense, and its sale in this country still continues unabated.

CHAMBERS’S MISCELLANY OF USEFUL AND ENTERTAINING KNOWLEDGE. Edited by William Chambers. With Elegant Illustrative Engravings. Ten volumes, 16mo, cloth, 7,00.

This work has been highly recommended by distinguished individuals, as admirably adapted to Family, Sabbath, and District School Libraries.

It would be difficult to find any miscellany superior or even equal to it; it richly deserves the epithets “useful and entertaining,” and I would recommend it very strongly as extremely well adapted to form parts of a library for the young, or of a social or circulating library in town or country.—George B. Emerson, Esq., Chairman Boston School Book Committee.

I am gratified to have an opportunity to be instrumental in circulating “Chambers’s Miscellany” among the schools for which I am superintendent.—J. J. Clute, Town. Sup. of Castleton, N. Y.

I am not acquainted with any similar collection in the English language that can compare with it for purposes of instruction or amusement. I should rejoice to see that set of books in every house in our country.—Rev. John O. Choules, D. D.

The information contained in this work is surprisingly great; and for the fire-side, and the young, particularly, it cannot fail to prove a most valuable and entertaining companion.—N. Y. Evangelist.

An admirable compilation. It unites the useful and entertaining.—N. Y. Com.


By Hugh Miller, author of “Old Red Sandstone,” “Footprints of the Creator,” etc., with a fine likeness of the author. 12mo, 1,00.

Let not the careless reader imagine, from the title of this book, that it is a common book of travels, on the contrary, it is a very remarkable one, both in design, spirit, and execution. The facts recorded, and the views advanced in this book, are so fresh, vivid, and natural, that we cannot but commend it as a treasure, both of information and entertainment.—Willis’s Home Journal.

This is a noble book, worthy of the author of the Footprints of the Creator and the Old Red Sandstone, because it is seasoned with the same power of vivid description, the same minuteness of observation, and soundness of criticism, and the same genial piety. We have read it with deep interest, and with ardent admiration of the author’s temper and genius. It is almost impossible to lay the book down, even to attend to more pressing matters. It is, without compliment or hyperbole, a most delightful volume.—N. Y. Commercial.

This is a most amusing and instructive book, by a master hand.—Dem. Rev.

The author of this work proved himself, in the Footprints of the Creator, one of the most original thinkers and powerful writers of the age. In the volume before us he adds new laurels to his reputation. Whoever wishes to understand the character of the present race of Englishmen, as contradistinguished from past generations; to comprehend the workings of political, social, and religious agitation in the minds, not of the nobility or gentry, but of the people, will discover that, in this volume, he has found a treasure.—Peterson’s Magazine.

His eyes were open to see, and his ears to hear, every thing; and, as the result of what he saw and heard in “merrie” England, he has made one of the most spirited and attractive volumes of travels and observations that we have met with.—Trav.

Hugh Miller is one of the most agreeable, entertaining, and instructive writers of the age. We know of no work in England so full of adaptedness to the age as this. It opens up clearly to view the condition of its various classes, sheds new light into its social, moral, and religious history, its geological peculiarities, and draws conclusions of great value.—Albany Spectator.

The author, one of the most remarkable men of the age, arranged for this journey into England, expecting to “lodge in humble cottages, and wear a humble dress, and see what was to be seen by humble men only,—society without its mask.” Such an observer might be expected to bring to view a thousand things unknown, or partially known before; and abundantly does he fulfil this expectation. It is one of the most absorbing books of the time.—Portland Ch. Mirror.




By Hugh Miller, author of “Footprints of the Creator,” “Old Red Sandstone,” “First Impressions of England,” etc. 12mo, cl.

This is a personal narrative of a deeply interesting and instructive character, concerning one of the most remarkable men of the age. No one who purchases this book will have occasion to regret it, our word for it!


A NARRATIVE OF THE EXCURSION MADE BY MR. VANDERBILT’S PARTY, IN THE STEAM YACHT, in her Voyage to England, Russia, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Turkey, Madeira, etc. By Rev. John Overton Choules, D. D. With elegant Illustrations, and fine Likenesses of Commodore Vanderbilt and Capt. Eldridge. 12mo, cloth, gilt backs and sides. $1.50.

The cruise of the North Star was an event of almost national concern, and was watched with universal interest. This volume is as different from ordinary books of travel as the cruise of the North Star was different from an ordinary trip to Europe. We need not bespeak for it many readers.—Providence Jour.

The American people ought to be proud of, and grateful to, Cornelius Vanderbilt. This man has done more than a dozen presidents to give America a respected name in Europe. In the person of Cornelius Vanderbilt, American enterprise told the people of Europe what it could do. The desire to get this curious narrative was so great that the whole of the first edition went off in two days!—Star of the West.

Those who remember to have met with a very interesting work, published some two years ago, entitled “Young Americans Abroad,” will be glad to learn that here is another book of travels from the same source. Do you say your shelves are all full of books of travel?—we reply, with Leigh Hunt,—then put in another shelf, and place this one on it.—Methodist Protestant.

The work is one of the most entertaining, and, in its way, vivid, portraitures of scenes in the Old World, that we have ever seen.—Boston Transcript.

The book is in many respects as novel as the occasion which produced it was unique and memorable. Both the accomplished author and the publishers deserve the best thanks for so tasteful a record of a performance which has reflected so much credit abroad upon American enterprise.—N. Y. Courier & Enquirer.

This work is interesting, not only as a memorial of the North Star, and her trip to Europe, but also as a record of European travel, narrated in a lively manner, by a gentleman whose taste and attainments eminently qualify him for the task.—New York Times.

Never before did a private individual make so magnificent an excursion as Mr. Vanderbilt. Dr. Choules, who was one of his guests, has given to the world a charming account of this unique voyage, in a beautifully printed and illustrated volume. We commend it to our readers as a very entertaining, well-written book.—Zion’s Herald.

The book will be eagerly perused, as a record of one of the unique occurrences of the age; is written with a kind of drawing-room, etiquette-like style, is mellow in sentiment, and is wholly destitute of that straining after the sublime, and stranding in the “high-falutin,” that characterize the effusions of the tourist generally.—Chicago Advertiser.

This beautiful volume describes, in a chaste and readable manner, the fortunes of the widely-known excursion of the princely New York merchant and his family and guests. From the eclat of the voyage itself, and the pleasant way of Dr. Choules’ account of it, we think the book is destined to have—what it deserves—a very large sale.—Congregationalist.

New and Popular Series for Youth.




Author of “The Boy’s Own Guide,” “Boy’s Book of Morals and Manners,” &c.

With Numerous Illustrations.

The volumes will contain about 300 pages, 16mo, each, bound in cloth, with gilt backs. Price 63 cents.

☞ Each volume will be complete and independent of itself, but the series will be connected together by a partial identity of characters, localities, &c.

The first two volumes of this series are now ready. They are entitled—


Notices of Clinton.

Well, the boys have read it, and pronounce it “first-rate.” We confirm their judgment. It enters into the heart of the boy; comprehends his thoughts, his wishes, and his temptations; mingles in his sports; stimulates him in his studies, and implants right principles and noble views. It is a safe book, an entertaining book, and a useful book.—The Independent, N. Y.

We attempted to read this book, but the boys got hold of it, and, morning, noon, and night, they kept hold of it, until one, and another, and another still, had read it through. If their judgment is worth anything, the book is capital, one of the very best of its kind.—N. Y. Evangelist.

We like “Clinton” for its naturalness. It is a narrative about real life, pleasantly described in just the way to attract young readers, resembling, and quite equal to, the “Rollo” series.—Christian Register.

A better book, as a mere book of combined amusement and instruction for boys, could scarcely be found.—Saturday Evening Mail.

A prime book,” as we heard a little boy say who had just got through with it.—Youth’s Companion, Boston.

A better book a boy can hardly read.—Forrester’s Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine.

The boy who begins it is sure to peruse it from title-page to finis; and he who does so can hardly fail of wishing to be a better and wiser boy.—Zion’s Herald.

One of the best books for boys we have ever seen. Its descriptions are exact, and all its details are those of actual life. Its moral and religious influence is excellent.—Congregationalist.

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Transcriber’s Notes