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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 3

Date of first publication: 1869

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: Dec. 14, 2015

Date last updated: Dec. 14, 2015

Faded Page eBook #20151213

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Alex White & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Drawn by W. H. Davenport.]          [See page 146.







An Illustrated Magazine







Vol. V. MARCH, 1869. No. III.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by Fields, Osgood, & Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


[This table of contents is added for convenience.—Transcriber.]



















The first shadow that fell upon me in my new home was caused by the return of my parents to New Orleans. Their visit was cut short by business which required my father’s presence in Natchez, where he was establishing a branch of the banking-house. When they had gone, a sense of loneliness such as I had never dreamed of filled my young breast. I crept away to the stable, and, throwing my arms about Gypsy’s neck, sobbed aloud. She too had come from the sunny South, and was now a stranger in a strange land. The little mare seemed to realize our situation, and gave me all the sympathy I could ask, repeatedly rubbing her soft nose over my face and lapping up my salt tears with evident relish.

When night came, I felt still more lonesome. My grandfather sat in his arm-chair the greater part of the evening, reading the “Rivermouth Barnacle,” the local newspaper. There was no gas in those days, and the Captain read by the aid of a small block-tin lamp, which he held in one hand. I observed that he had a habit of dropping into a doze every three or four minutes, and I forgot my homesickness at intervals in watching him. Two or three times, to my vast amusement, he scorched the edges of the newspaper with the wick of the lamp; and at about half past eight o’clock I had the satisfaction—I am sorry to confess it was a satisfaction—of seeing the “Rivermouth Barnacle” in flames.

My grandfather leisurely extinguished the fire with his hands, and Miss Abigail, who sat near a low table, knitting by the light of an astral lamp, did not even look up. She was quite used to this catastrophe.

There was little or no conversation during the evening. In fact, I do not remember that any one spoke at all, excepting once, when the Captain remarked, in a meditative manner, that my parents “must have reached New York by this time”; at which supposition I nearly strangled myself in attempting to intercept a sob.

The monotonous “click click” of Miss Abigail’s needles made me nervous after a while, and finally drove me out of the sitting-room into the kitchen, where Kitty caused me to laugh by saying Miss Abigail thought that what I needed was “a good dose of hot-drops,”—a remedy she was forever ready to administer in all emergencies. If a boy broke his leg, or lost his mother, I believe Miss Abigail would have given him hot-drops.

Kitty laid herself out to be entertaining. She told me several funny Irish stories, and described some of the odd people living in the town; but, in the midst of her comicalities, the tears would involuntarily ooze out of my eyes, though I was not a lad much addicted to weeping. Then Kitty would put her arms around me, and tell me not to mind it,—that it wasn’t as if I had been left alone in a foreign land with no one to care for me, like a poor girl whom she had once known. I brightened up before long, and told Kitty all about the Typhoon and the old seaman, whose name I tried in vain to recall, and was obliged to fall back on plain Sailor Ben.

I was glad when ten o’clock came, the bedtime for young folks, and old folks too, at the Nutter House. Alone in the hall-chamber I had my cry out, once for all, moistening the pillow to such an extent that I was obliged to turn it over to find a dry spot to go to sleep on.

My grandfather wisely concluded to put me to school at once. If I had been permitted to go mooning about the house and stables I should have kept my discontent alive for months. The next morning, accordingly, he took me by the hand, and we set forth for the academy, which was located at the further end of the town.

The Temple School was a two-story brick building, standing in the centre of a great square piece of land, surrounded by a high picket fence. There were three or four sickly trees, but no grass, in this enclosure, which had been worn smooth and hard by the tread of multitudinous feet. I noticed here and there small holes scooped in the ground, indicating that it was the season for marbles. A better playground for base-ball couldn’t have been devised.

On reaching the school-house door, the Captain inquired for Mr. Grimshaw. The boy who answered our knock ushered us into a side-room, and in a few minutes—during which my eye took in forty-two caps hung on forty-two wooden pegs—Mr. Grimshaw made his appearance. He was a slender man, with white, fragile hands, and eyes that glanced half a dozen different ways at once,—a habit probably acquired from watching the boys.

After a brief consultation, my grandfather patted me on the head and left me in charge of this gentleman, who seated himself in front of me and proceeded to sound the depth, or, more properly speaking, the shallowness, of my attainments. I suspect my historical information rather startled him. I recollect I gave him to understand that Richard III. was the last king of England.

This ordeal over, Mr. Grimshaw rose and bade me follow him. A door opened, and I stood in the blaze of forty-two pairs of upturned eyes. I was a cool hand for my age, but I lacked the boldness to face this battery without wincing. In a sort of dazed way I stumbled after Mr. Grimshaw down a narrow aisle between two rows of desks, and shyly took the seat pointed out to me.

The faint buzz that had floated over the school-room at our entrance died away, and the interrupted lessons were resumed. By degrees I recovered my coolness, and ventured to look around me. The owners of the forty-two caps were seated at small green desks like the one assigned to me. The desks were arranged in six rows, with spaces between just wide enough to prevent the boys’ whispering. A blackboard set into the wall extended clear across the end of the room; on a raised platform near the door stood the master’s table; and directly in front of this was a recitation-bench capable of seating fifteen or twenty pupils. A pair of globes, tattooed with dragons and winged horses, occupied a shelf between two windows, which were so high from the floor that nothing but a giraffe could have looked out of them.

Having possessed myself of these details, I scrutinized my new acquaintances with unconcealed curiosity, instinctively selecting my friends and picking out my enemies,—and in only two cases did I mistake my man.

A sallow boy with bright red hair, sitting in the fourth row, shook his fist at me furtively several times during the morning. I had a presentiment I should have trouble with that boy some day,—a presentiment subsequently realized.

On my left was a chubby little fellow with a great many freckles (this was Pepper Whitcomb), who made some mysterious motions to me. I didn’t understand them, but, as they were clearly of a pacific nature, I winked my eye at him. This appeared to be satisfactory, for he then went on with his studies. At recess he gave me the core of his apple, though there were several applicants for it.

Presently a boy in a loose olive-green jacket with two rows of brass buttons held up a folded paper behind his slate, intimating that it was intended for me. The paper was passed skilfully from desk to desk until it reached my hands. On opening the scrap, I found that it contained a small piece of molasses candy in an extremely humid state. This was certainly kind. I nodded my acknowledgments and hastily slipped the delicacy into my mouth. In a second I felt my tongue grow red-hot with cayenne pepper. My face must have assumed a comical expression, for the boy in the olive-green jacket gave an hysterical laugh, for which he was instantly punished by Mr. Grimshaw. I swallowed the fiery candy, though it brought the water to my eyes, and managed to look so unconcerned that I was the only pupil in the form who escaped questioning as to the cause of Marden’s misdemeanor. C. Marden was his name.

At recess several of the scholars came to my desk and shook hands with me, Mr. Grimshaw having previously introduced me to Phil Adams, charging him to see that I got into no trouble. My new acquaintances suggested that we should adjourn to the playground. We were no sooner out of doors than the boy with the red hair thrust his way through the crowd and placed himself at my side.

“I say, youngster, if you’re comin’ to this school you’ve got to toe the mark.”

I didn’t see any mark to toe, and didn’t understand what he meant; but I replied politely, that, if it was the custom of the school, I should be happy to toe the mark if he would point it out to me.

“I don’t want any of your sarse,” said the boy, scowling.

“Look here, Conway!” cried a clear voice from the other side of the playground, “you let young Bailey alone. He’s a stranger here, and might be afraid of you, and thrash you. Why do you always throw yourself in the way of getting thrashed?”

I turned to the speaker, who by this time had reached the spot where we stood. Conway slunk off, favoring me with a parting scowl of defiance. I gave my hand to the boy who had befriended me,—his name was Jack Harris,—and thanked him for his good-will.

“I tell you what it is, Bailey,” he said, returning my pressure good-naturedly, “you’ll have to fight Conway before the quarter ends, or you’ll have no rest. That fellow is always hankering after a licking, and of course you’ll give him one by and by; but what’s the use of hurrying up an unpleasant job? Let’s have some base-ball. By the way, Bailey, you were a good kid not to let on to Grimshaw about that candy. Charley Marden would have caught it twice as heavy. He’s sorry he played the joke on you, and told me to tell you so. Hallo, Blake! where are the bats?”

This was addressed to a handsome, frank-looking lad of about my own age, who was engaged just then in cutting his initials on the bark of a tree near the school-house. Blake shut up his penknife and went off to get the bats.

During the game which ensued I made the acquaintance of Charley Marden, Binny Wallace, Pepper Whitcomb, Harry Blake, and Fred Langdon. These boys, none of them more than a year or two older than I (Binny Wallace was younger), were ever after my chosen comrades. Phil Adams and Jack Harris were considerably our seniors, and, though they always treated us “kids” very kindly, they generally went with another set. Of course, before long I knew all the Temple boys more or less intimately, but the five I have named were my constant companions.

My first day at the Temple Grammar School was on the whole satisfactory. I had made several warm friends and only two permanent enemies,—Conway and his echo, Seth Rodgers; for these two always went together, like a deranged stomach and a headache.

Before the end of the week I had my studies well in hand. I was a little ashamed at finding myself at the foot of the various classes, and secretly determined to deserve promotion. The school was an admirable one. I might make this part of my story more entertaining by picturing Mr. Grimshaw as a tyrant with a red nose and a large stick; but, unfortunately for the purposes of sensational narrative, Mr. Grimshaw was a quiet, kind-hearted gentleman. Though a rigid disciplinarian, he had a keen sense of justice, was a good reader of character, and the boys respected him. There were two other teachers,—a French tutor, and a writing-master, who visited the school twice a week. On Wednesdays and Saturdays we were dismissed at noon, and these half-holidays were the brightest epochs of my existence.

Daily contact with boys who had not been brought up as gently as I worked an immediate, and, in some respects, a beneficial change in my character. I had the nonsense taken out of me, as the saying is,—some of the nonsense, at least. I became more manly and self-reliant. I discovered that the world was not created exclusively on my account. In New Orleans I labored under the delusion that it was. Having neither brother nor sister to give up to at home, and being, moreover, the largest pupil at school there, my will had seldom been opposed. At Rivermouth matters were different, and I was not long in adapting myself to the altered circumstances. Of course I got many severe rubs, often unconsciously given; but I had the sense to see that I was all the better for them.

My social relations with my new schoolfellows were the pleasantest possible. There was always some exciting excursion on foot,—a ramble through the pine woods, a visit to the Devil’s Pulpit, a high cliff in the neighborhood,—or a surreptitious row on the river, involving an exploration of a group of diminutive islands, upon one of which we pitched a tent and played we were the Spanish sailors who got wrecked there years ago. But the endless pine forest that skirted the town was our favorite haunt. There was a great green pond hidden somewhere in its depths, inhabited by a monstrous colony of turtles. Harry Blake, who had an eccentric passion for carving his name on everything, never let a captured turtle slip though his fingers without leaving his mark engraved on its shell. He must have lettered about two thousand from first to last. We used to call them Harry Blake’s sheep. These turtles were of a discontented and migratory turn of mind, and we frequently encountered two or three of them on the cross-roads several miles from their ancestral mud. Unspeakable was our delight whenever we discovered one soberly walking off with Harry Blake’s initials! I’ve no doubt there are, at this moment, fat ancient turtles wandering about that gummy woodland with H. B. neatly cut on their venerable backs.

It soon became a custom among my playmates to make our barn their rendezvous. Gypsy proved a strong attraction. Captain Nutter bought me a little two-wheeled cart, which she drew quite nicely, after kicking out the dasher and breaking the shafts once or twice. With our lunch-baskets and fishing-tackle stowed away under the seat, we used to start off early in the afternoon for the sea-shore, where there were countless marvels in the shape of shells, mosses, and kelp. Gypsy enjoyed the sport as keenly as any of us, even going so far, one day, as to trot down the beach into the sea where we were bathing. As she took the cart with her, our provisions were not much improved. I shall never forget how squash-pie tastes after being soused in the Atlantic Ocean. Soda-crackers dipped in salt water are palatable, but not squash-pie.

There was a good deal of wet weather during those first six weeks at Rivermouth, and we set ourselves at work to find some in-door amusement for our half-holidays. It was all very well for Amadis de Gaul and Don Quixote not to mind the rain; they had iron overcoats, and were not, from all we can learn, subject to croup and the guidance of their grandfathers. Our case was different.

“Now, boys, what shall we do?” I asked, addressing a thoughtful conclave of seven, assembled in our barn one dismal rainy afternoon.

“Let’s have a theatre,” suggested Binny Wallace.

The very thing! But where? The loft of the stable was ready to burst with hay provided for Gypsy, but the long room over the carriage-house was unoccupied. The place of all places! My managerial eye saw at a glance its capabilities for a theatre. I had been to the play a great many times in New Orleans, and was wise in matters pertaining to the drama. So here, in due time, was set up some extraordinary scenery of my own painting. The curtain, I recollect, though it worked smoothly enough on other occasions, invariably hitched during the performances; and it often required the united energies of the Prince of Denmark, the King, and the Grave-digger, with an occasional hand from “the fair Ophelia” (Pepper Whitcomb in a low-necked dress), to hoist that bit of green cambric.

The theatre, however, was a success, as far as it went. I retired from the business with no fewer than fifteen hundred pins, after deducting the headless, the pointless, and the crooked pins with which our doorkeeper frequently got “stuck.” From first to last we took in a great deal of this counterfeit money. The price of admission to the “Rivermouth Theatre” was twenty pins. I played all the principal parts myself,—not that I was a finer actor than the other boys, but because I owned the establishment.

At the tenth representation, my dramatic career was brought to a close by an unfortunate circumstance. We were playing the drama of “William Tell, the Hero of Switzerland.” Of course I was William Tell, in spite of Fred Langdon, who wanted to act that character himself. I wouldn’t let him, so he withdrew from the company, taking the only bow and arrow we had. I made a cross-bow out of a piece of whalebone, and did very well without him. We had reached that exciting scene where Gessler, the Austrian tyrant, commands Tell to shoot the apple from his son’s head. Pepper Whitcomb, who played all the juvenile and women parts, was my son. To guard against mischance, a piece of pasteboard was fastened by a handkerchief over the upper portion of Whitcomb’s face, while the arrow to be used was sewed up in a strip of flannel. I was a capital marksman, and the big apple, only two yards distant, turned its russet cheek fairly towards me.

I can see poor little Pepper now, as he stood without flinching, waiting for me to perform my great feat. I raised the cross-bow amid the breathless silence of the crowded audience,—consisting of seven boys and three girls, exclusive of Kitty Collins, who insisted on paying her way in with a clothes-pin. I raised the cross-bow, I repeat. Twang! went the whipcord; but, alas! instead of hitting the apple, the arrow flew right into Pepper Whitcomb’s mouth, which happened to be open at the time, and destroyed my aim.

I shall never be able to banish that awful moment from my memory. Pepper’s roar, expressive of astonishment, indignation, and pain, is still ringing in my ears. I looked upon him as a corpse, and, glancing not far into the dreary future, pictured myself led forth to execution in the presence of the very same spectators then assembled.

Luckily poor Pepper was not seriously hurt; but Grandfather Nutter, appearing in the midst of the confusion (attracted by the howls of young Tell), issued an injunction against all theatricals thereafter, and the place was closed; not, however, without a farewell speech from me, in which I said that this would have been the proudest moment of my life if I hadn’t hit Pepper Whitcomb in the mouth. Whereupon the audience (assisted, I am glad to state, by Pepper) cried “Hear! hear!” I then attributed the accident to Pepper himself, whose mouth, being open at the instant I fired, acted upon the arrow much after the fashion of a whirlpool, and drew in the fatal shaft. I was about to explain how a comparatively small maelstrom could suck in the largest ship, when the curtain fell of its own accord, amid the shouts of the audience.

This was my last appearance on any stage. It was some time, though, before I heard the end of the William Tell business. Malicious little boys who hadn’t been allowed to buy tickets to my theatre used to cry out after me in the street,—

“ ‘Who killed Cock Robin?’

    ‘I,’ said the sparrer,

    ‘With my bow and arrer,

  I killed Cock Robin!’ ”

The sarcasm of this verse was more than I could stand. And it made Pepper Whitcomb pretty mad to be called Cock Robin, I can tell you!

So the days glided on, with fewer clouds and more sunshine than fall to the lot of most boys. Conway was certainly a cloud. Within school-bounds he seldom ventured to be aggressive; but whenever we met about town he never failed to brush against me, or pull my cap over my eyes, or drive me distracted by inquiring after my family in New Orleans, always alluding to them as highly respectable colored people.

Jack Harris was right when he said Conway would give me no rest until I fought him. I felt it was ordained ages before our birth that we should meet on this planet and fight. With the view of not running counter to destiny, I quietly prepared myself for the impending conflict. The scene of my dramatic triumphs was turned into a gymnasium for this purpose, though I did not openly avow the fact to the boys. By persistently standing on my head, raising heavy weights, and going hand over hand up a ladder, I developed my muscle until my little body was as tough as a hickory knot and as supple as tripe. I also took occasional lessons in the noble art of self-defence, under the tuition of Phil Adams.

I brooded over the matter until the idea of fighting Conway became a part of me. I fought him in imagination during school-hours; I dreamed of fighting with him at night, when he would suddenly expand into a giant twelve feet high, and then as suddenly shrink into a pygmy so small that I couldn’t hit him. In this latter shape he would get into my hair, or pop into my waistcoat-pocket, treating me with as little ceremony as the Liliputians showed Captain Lemuel Gulliver,—all of which was not pleasant, to be sure. On the whole, Conway was a cloud.

And then I had a cloud at home. It was not Grandfather Nutter, nor Miss Abigail, nor Kitty Collins, though they all helped to compose it. It was a vague, funereal, impalpable something which no amount of gymnastic training would enable me to knock over. It was Sunday. If ever I have a boy to bring up in the way he should go, I intend to make Sunday a cheerful day to him. Sunday was not a cheerful day at the Nutter House. You shall judge for yourself.

It is Sunday morning. I should premise by saying that the deep gloom which has settled over everything set in like a heavy fog early on Saturday evening.

At seven o’clock my grandfather comes smilelessly down stairs. He is dressed in black, and looks as if he had lost all his friends during the night. Miss Abigail, also in black, looks as if she were prepared to bury them, and not indisposed to enjoy the ceremony. Even Kitty Collins has caught the contagious gloom, as I perceive when she brings in the coffee-urn,—a solemn and sculpturesque urn at any time, but monumental now,—and sets it down in front of Miss Abigail. Miss Abigail gazes at the urn as if it held the ashes of her ancestors, instead of a generous quantity of fine old Java coffee. The meal progresses in silence.

Our parlor is by no means thrown open every day. It is open this June morning, and is pervaded by a strong smell of centre-table. The furniture of the room, and the little China ornaments on the mantel-piece, have a constrained, unfamiliar look. My grandfather sits in a mahogany chair, reading a large Bible covered with green baize. Miss Abigail occupies one end of the sofa, and has her hands crossed stiffly in her lap. I sit in the corner, crushed. Robinson Crusoe and Gil Blas are in close confinement. Baron Trenck, who managed to escape from the fortress of Glatz, can’t for the life of him get out of our sitting-room closet. Even the “Rivermouth Barnacle” is suppressed until Monday. Genial converse, harmless books, smiles, lightsome hearts, all are banished. If I want to read anything, I can read Baxter’s Saints’ Rest. I would die first. So I sit there kicking my heels, thinking about New Orleans, and watching a morbid blue-bottle fly that attempts to commit suicide by butting his head against the window-pane. Listen!—no, yes,—it is—it is the robins singing in the garden,—the grateful, joyous robins singing away like mad, just as if it wasn’t Sunday. Their audacity tickles me.

My grandfather looks up, and inquires in a sepulchral voice if I am ready for Sabbath-school. It is time to go. I like the Sabbath-school; there are bright young faces there, at all events. When I get out into the sunshine alone, I draw a long breath; I would turn a somersault up against Neighbor Penhallow’s newly painted fence if I hadn’t my best trousers on, so glad am I to escape from the oppressive atmosphere of the Nutter House.

Sabbath-school over, I go to meeting, joining my grandfather, who doesn’t appear to be any relation to me this day, and Miss Abigail, in the porch. Our minister holds out very little hope to any of us of being saved. Convinced that I am a lost creature, in common with the human family, I return home behind my guardians at a snail’s pace. We have a dead cold dinner. I saw it laid out yesterday.

There is a long interval between this repast and the second service, and a still longer interval between the beginning and the end of that service; for the Rev. Wibird Hawkins’s sermons are none of the shortest, whatever else they may be.

After meeting, my grandfather and I take a walk. We visit—appropriately enough—a neighboring graveyard. I am by this time in a condition of mind to become a willing inmate of the place. The usual evening prayer-meeting is postponed for some reason. At half past eight I go to bed.

This is the way Sunday was observed in the Nutter House, and pretty generally throughout the town, twenty years ago. People who were prosperous and natural and happy on Saturday became the most rueful of human beings in the brief space of twelve hours. I don’t think there was any hypocrisy in this. It was merely the old Puritan austerity cropping out once a week. Many of these people were pure Christians every day in the seven,—excepting the seventh. Then they were decorous and solemn to the verge of moroseness. I should not like to be misunderstood on this point. Sunday is a blessed day, and therefore it should not be made a gloomy one. It is the Lord’s day, and I do believe that cheerful hearts and faces are not unpleasant in His sight.

“O day of rest! How beautiful, how fair,

How welcome to the weary and the old!

Day of the Lord! and truce to earthly cares!

Day of the Lord, as all our days should be!

Ah, why will man by his austerities

Shut out the blessed sunshine and the light,

And make of thee a dungeon of despair!”


T. B. Aldrich.


Gay little velvet coats,

 One, two, three!

Any home happier

 Could there be?

Topsey and Johnny

 And sleepy Ned,

Purring so cosily,

 Three in a bed!


Woe to the stupid mouse

 Prowling about!

Old Mother Pussy

 Is on the lookout.

Little cats, big cats,

 All must be fed,

In the sky parlor,

 Three in a bed!


Mother’s a gypsy puss,—

 Often she moves,

Thinking much travel

 Her children improves.

High-minded family,

 Very well bred;

No falling out, you see!

 Three in a bed!


George Cooper.


Lawrence looked in through the wreaths of thin, undulating flames that poured out of the mouth of the oven, or flowed away in graceful waves and curves under the long, low vault within, and saw a thickly clustered row of glass articles stretching far away towards an opening where daylight shone at the opposite end of the leer.

“Here are four leers,” said the gaffer, “two on each side of this passage. From this end, where the glass goes in, to the other, where it is taken out, the distance is eighty feet. The glass is placed on pans, which are hooked together; so that, when one is drawn forward at the other end, that draws the whole string forward. When a pan is emptied at that end, it is sent back, and hooked on and filled again at this end. There is your little inkstand, beginning its journey in grand company,—fruit-dishes, and ruby and blue lamp-shades, which look pretty enough under the rolling flames. I’ll put your ruby cups near them, and leave directions at the other end with the man who will take them out; he will bring them to me.”

“How long will it take them to go through?”

“About twenty-four hours. The fire is at this end of the oven. As the articles pass through, they cool very slowly, and come out almost cold at the other end. In this way we give the particles of glass time to get acquainted, and to nestle together comfortably and contentedly before they harden. That makes them fast friends. Your cups and inkstand would be apt to break the first time you used them if they were not annealed.”

“I see you send nearly everything to the leers, except the lamp-chimneys,” said the Doctor.

“Yes. The thinner the glass the less liable it is to crack from exposure to heat and cold. The lamp-chimneys are of such uniform thinness throughout that we don’t consider it necessary to anneal them.”

“I advise you to anneal them,” said the Doctor. “I believe we have cracked half a dozen in my house within a week or two, and we are getting tired of them. I am quietly reading my newspaper of an evening, when—snap!—another broken chimney.”

“That’s because you don’t buy your chimneys of us,” said the gaffer, laughing.

Walking through the passage between the leers, they entered what is called the “sloar-room,” where the glass was taken from the pans and put into boxes, to be sent up to the cutting-room.

“You must go up there now,” the gaffer said to Lawrence. “As it is a separate department from mine, I will just go up and introduce you to the foreman and leave you. This way; we may as well ride.”

He stepped on what appeared to be a trap-door, supported by strong uprights. Lawrence and his uncle stepped on beside him. A bar was put up, and they were enclosed in a little square pen. The gaffer then pulled a lever beside one of the uprights, and the trap-door, little square pen, passengers and all, began to ascend towards an opening in the floor overhead; having reached the level of which it stopped, the bar was let down, and Lawrence and his companions stepped off in the midst of the cutting-room.

This was a long, large room, full of whirling wheels and the sound of grinding. Overhead, running the entire length of the building, was a power-shaft, which, with its many wheels and bands, set in motion a second range of wheels below, and at these a long line of workmen and workwomen were grinding various articles of glass. Over this lower range of wheels was a row of queer-looking, tunnel-shaped wooden tubs, called hoppers, set in a strong framework, and filled with water, or with sand and water, which dripped upon the wheels.

The Doctor, looking at his watch, and remembering the business which had brought him to the vicinity of the glass-house, departed with the gaffer; and Lawrence was left with the foreman of the cutting-room.

“But where do you cut the glass?” the boy inquired; for he had expected to see diamonds employed in the operation.

“What is commonly called glass-cutting,” replied the foreman,—a very obliging elderly person in shirt-sleeves and white apron,—“is nothing but grinding in some shape. Cutting with diamonds is a very different thing; we don’t do anything of that kind here.

“Regular glass-cutting,” he continued, “is done by three processes. Here is the first.”

He showed a man working at a wheel wet with sand and water dripping from its companion hopper. The wheel was of iron, and the sand made a sharp, rough grit upon it. To this the man held with firm hands the stem of a goblet, very much as a knife is held to a grindstone. The stem was round as it came from the hands of the blower, and he was grinding it into angles.

“You notice,” said the foreman, “that the edge of the wheel is shaped for the kind of work it is doing. We use iron and sand first, because they cut faster than anything else. But you see how rough they leave the surface. Now see the second process. This wheel is of fine stone, and only water drips on it from the hopper. This man takes the glass as the other leaves it, and grinds off the rough surface. But it still has a dull look, as you see; and that brings us to the third process. Here the dull surface is polished on a wooden wheel, with pumice-stone and water. For the finest work, a cork wheel is used, with what we call putty,—a paste composed of lead and tin.”

“Hallo!” said Lawrence, “this is what I wanted to see!” as he found a man finishing round facets that had been cut through the thin colored shell of a ruby lamp-shade into the transparent glass beneath.

The foreman was now called away, and Lawrence was left to wander about as he pleased. He watched for a long time a number of men cutting caster-bottles, wondering at the rapidity with which they turned them from angle to angle on the stones. He saw one man fitting glass stoppers to decanters,—a simple process by which they were made air-tight. The stopper, set fast in a lathe, was set whirling, and ground down roughly at first with a piece of sheet-iron in sand and water. It was then inserted in the neck of the decanter, and ground on that until it fitted. Three or four workmen were cutting stars in the bottoms of preserve dishes, while others were simply taking off the rough spot left by the ponty on the bottoms of articles that had been blown.

At one end of the room some women were at work on transparent lamp-globes, which had come up from below in a large packing-box. A globe was taken, attached to a lathe, and set whirling over a trough half filled with sand and water. In one hand the workwoman held a stiff wire brush, which she pressed upon the glass, while she applied to it sand and water, in profuse quantities, dipped up from the trough with the other hand. In this way she ground thoroughly the glass about the two ends of the globe, rendering it white and opaque, but leaving a broad belt about the centre untouched. She then stopped the lathe, took off the globe, and rinsed it, showing the polar regions, so to speak, white with frost, which extended well down into the temperate zones, while the torrid zone remained crystal clear. She told Lawrence the process was called “roughing.”

He followed the globes from her hands to those of a workman sitting at a narrow-edged grindstone, on which he was ornamenting the transparent space between the ground parts. Now he was cutting buds and petals, now leaves, and now a waving stem surrounding the globe like a tipsy equator, uniting the whole in a graceful garland of flowers. His cuts on the glass were not afterwards polished, but were left white and opaque.

Lawrence asked if he called his work engraving.

“It is a sort of coarse engraving; but we call it simply cutting,” replied the man. “The real engraving is done at the upper end of the room.”

Thither Lawrence went, and saw the difference; yet the engraving, too, was only a species of grinding. The engraver sat on a high stool before a swiftly whirling little copper wheel, not more than two inches in diameter. To the edge of this he touched occasionally a mixture of oil and emery, in a little shallow dish, then pressed firmly upon it the article he was engraving.

He was ornamenting the sides of goblets and wineglasses. On one he was cutting an initial letter, encircled by a delicate wreath. Lawrence asked if he had a pattern to go by.

“I make my own patterns, and carry them in my head mostly,” replied the artist. “For this design, I just make four marks for the top and bottom of the letter. The wreath I do without making any marks first.”

As the side he was engraving was necessarily held from him, and he could see where he was cutting only by looking through the glass from the other side, Lawrence wondered how he could do such fine work. The artist, seeing him interested, showed him still finer specimens. One was a fairy-like goblet, the surface of which was surrounded and filled up by the gracefully bending sprigs and drooping flowers of the fuchsia. Another was a landscape, showing a hunter and his dog in natural attitudes, and a partridge rising on the wing before the uplifted gun; and there were many more equally beautiful.

“Is it possible you do all this with a wheel?”

“I use a variety of wheels. Each has an edge shaped for the kind of work it does. Here is the smallest.” It was scarcely bigger than a pin-head. “I’ll show you a design—this is it—that required nine different wheels in the cutting.”

“But you must understand drawing?”

“O yes. When I began as an apprentice, thirteen years ago, I was set to work at first on broken glass, making dots and lines, like a school-boy learning to write. Then I made them on whole glass which we were not very particular about. At the same time I gave my evenings to the study of drawing. I worked hard; but a man can’t accomplish much in this world unless he does apply himself.”

“Is it the copper wheel that cuts the glass?”

“No; it is the emery we put on the wheel.”

“Do you work nights?”

“Not often. But sometimes, when we have orders we are in a hurry to get done, I take a little work home with me in the evening.”

“How do you do it at home? Your lathes here go by steam-power, don’t they?”

“Yes; but I have a foot-lathe at home I can do my work on, though it is harder. In some of the English factories glass-engravers use foot-lathes altogether. Labor is cheap there.”

“With the exception of this ornamental work, what is the great difference between cut glass and common glass? I see they go to work and grind down the round stems and sides of blown goblets into just such shapes as they press other glass in.”

“In the first place, blown glass is freer from waves and wrinkles; and the angles on cut glass are much sharper and cleaner than on pressed glass. Although,” added the engraver, admiring the perfection of a pressed goblet, “they are getting to do some of their pressed work so well, that, with a little subsequent burnishing, it almost equals the cut. It is not so apt to crack as the cut glass is, besides being so much cheaper. You may usually know pressed glass by this little seam on each side, left by the crease in the moulds; though from some articles it is burnished off.”

From the cutting-room Lawrence found his way to the lamp-room, where he saw a number of girls at work cementing the bodies and feet of lamps together, and putting on the brass collars. Farther on he found men screwing the lamp-tops on, and fitting the metallic tops of other ware, such as pepper-boxes, “mustards,” and sirup-pitchers; thence he went on to the mould-room, where the patterns were made and the moulds finished after they were brought from the foundry.

He finally inquired his way to the private room of the gaffer, whom he found sitting at a work-bench, watching what looked like a strip of copper or brass doubled up in a transparent bottle half filled with water.

“What are you doing to that old hoop?” asked Lawrence.

“That old hoop,” said the gaffer, “is pure gold, enough to buy you a small farm. I am eating it up.”

“Eating it up?” said Lawrence, laughing. “I don’t see it.”

“Eating it up with that preparation of nitric acid. Do you see it work?”

Lawrence did see, to his surprise, that the liquid was beginning to bubble about it, like some brisk sort of wine, and that the old hoop was gradually sinking down into it.

“It looks,” he said, “as if the gold was on fire, and sending up fine vaporous flames through the liquor. But isn’t it a poor use to put gold to? especially at the present premium.”

“We use gold in coloring ruby glass; that is what makes ruby glass so expensive. We use old bones, or the phosphate of lime, as I told you, to make white glass, and the oxides of iron, copper, and silver to make other colors. The yellowish tint, with shades of green and opal, which you may have seen in Bohemian glass, is produced chiefly by uranium.”

“What is stained glass, such as we read of in descriptions of old cathedral windows?”

“Staining is a kind of painting on glass. The colors are a mineral composition; and they are melted into the glass, so that nothing will ever fade them or wash them out. Fancy articles of glass are often painted in the same way.”

“How is this silver glass made?” asked Lawrence, taking up a door-knob from the bench. “It looks like silver, and it always keeps bright. I have seen pitchers and sugar-bowls and lamp-reflectors made of it.”

“That is a new process, but quite simple. I’ll tell you how we make a reflector, for instance. The glass is blown into a large bubble, which is worked flat across the top, and saucer-shaped at the bottom. Then the blower puts his mouth to the pipe, but, instead of blowing, he sucks, and draws the top in until it almost touches the bottom. Then you have something like a broad, shallow dish with a lining. Here are half a dozen of them. The hole in the bottom part is caused by the cracking off of the pipe after it is blown. You see there is a narrow space between the bottom part and the lining. Now I’ll show you how the silvering is done.”

The gaffer took a tall measuring-glass, and went into another room, where there were some jars of transparent liquid on a shelf.

“This jar,” said he, “contains nitrate of silver”; and he poured a small quantity into the glass. Then he went to another jar. “This is a solution of grape sugar,—nothing more nor less”; and he poured in a still larger quantity of that. He then went to a third jar. “This is pure water”; and he filled the glass with it.

He then turned the reflectors down on a counter, and filled the space between the bottom part and the lining of each by pouring the mixed contents of the glass in through the hole. When they were full, he took them to an oven, and placed them on a pan of hot sand.

“That is all,” said he, shutting the oven. “In half an hour I come again and take them, pour out the liquid, and find that the silver in it has completely coated the inside of the glass. Pitchers and goblets are made in the same way, except that the lining, instead of being sucked in by the blower, is pushed in with a plug. After silvering, the stem and foot of the goblet are put on, and the hole in the bottom of the pitcher is closed up.”

“Now I know,” said Lawrence, “how those fancy glasses are made that seem to be nearly full of wine, but when you go to drink it turns out to be only a little wine, or some other colored liquid, under the lining. You can fool a fellow by making believe you are going to throw it in his face. Do you make window-glass here?”

“O no; blowing window-glass is another business entirely.”

“What! is window-glass blown?”

“Certainly. What is called English crown glass is made in this way. It is first blown into a large globe, then flattened and reversed on a ponty. Where the glass breaks off from the pipe, a hole is left. That side is then made melting hot before the furnace; it is whirled so swiftly that the centrifugal force given to it enlarges the hole, gradually at first, then faster and faster, then—flap! that whole side flies open, and what was a globe is a disk, or wheel, four or five feet in diameter. It is called a table. After annealing, it is cut up into panes.

“There is another process,” continued the gaffer, “by which our common window-glass is made. By the way, if ever you visit Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, you must go into the window-glass factories there; you will find them very curious. Their furnace, in the first place, is built in the ancient style: it has no chimney, and the smoke from the bituminous coal they burn pours out in a cloud into the room. There are openings in the roof for it to escape through, and a continual draught of air from the doors carries it upward, so that it is not so bad for the workmen as one would think. Besides, they do not begin to blow until the smoke is all burnt off.

“There are five pots on each side of the furnace; and you will see five men in a row, blowing all at once, with the regularity of a file of soldiers exercising. Each gathers thirty or forty pounds of metal on his pipe, which is very long and strong. They stand on platforms, to get room to swing the glass, as they blow it. The five men begin to blow and swing all together. Each blows a great globe of glass, which is stretched out gradually by the swinging motion into a cylinder, or roller, as it is called, five feet long. Then the five rollers are swung up towards the furnace-holes, and five other soldiers spring forward with their guns,—which in this case are iron bars, that they set upright under the five blowing-pipes to support them while the rollers are being reheated in the necks of the pots. The blowers blow in the pipes with all their might, then clap their thumbs over the holes to prevent the air from rushing out again; in the mean while the end of the roller is softened, so that at last the air, forced in and expanded by the heat, bursts it outwards. The glass is then a cylinder, open at one end. It is whirled in the heat until the edges become true, then brought away,—the five iron supports dropping to the ground with a simultaneous clang. The cylinders are laid on tables, where the imperfect spherical end about the blowing-pipe is cracked off from the rest by a stripe of melted glass drawn around it. The cylinder is then cracked from end to end on one side by means of a red-hot iron passed through it.

“In an adjoining building is what is called the flattening oven. The cylinders brought there are lifted on the end of a lever, passed in through a circular opening just large enough to admit them, and laid on flattening stones on the oven bottom, with the crack uppermost. The oven bottom is circular, and it revolves horizontally. As the glass softens, it separates at the crack, and lays itself down gently and gradually on the stone. The long cylinder is then a flat sheet, three feet wide and nearly five feet in length. There are four openings around the sides of the oven: at one the glass is put in, through another a workman sweeps the stone for it, a third workman smooths it down with a block as it comes round to him, and a fourth, at the last opening, which is close to the one at which it was put in, lifts the sheet—partly cooled by this time—upon a carriage in the oven. This he does by means of a lever furnished with sharp, broad blades at the end, which he works in under the glass. When the carriage is full, it is run through an annealing oven beyond.

“The opposite end of the annealing oven opens into the cutting-room. There the carriages are pushed along a central track, and unloaded at the stalls of the cutters. The cutter has a table before him, with measure-marks on its edges. He lifts one of the sheets, lays it on the table, and commences ruling it faster than a school-boy rules his slate. His ruler is a wooden rod five feet long, and his pencil-point is a diamond. Every stroke is a cut. Not that he cuts the glass quite apart; indeed, he seems scarcely to make a scratch. Yet that scratch has the effect of cracking the glass quite through, so that it breaks clean off at the slightest pressure. In this way the sheets are cut up into panes of the requisite size.”

“I should think the diamonds would wear out,” said Lawrence.

“I remember,” replied the gaffer, “one workman told me that a single diamond would last him two or three years. It has fifteen or sixteen different edges, and, when one edge is worn out, he uses another. South American diamonds, such as he used, cost, he told me, from six to thirty dollars each; and, when they are worn out for his purpose, he sells them for jewels to be put into watches.”

“What is plate-glass?” Lawrence asked.

“That is not blown, but cast. The pot, or cistern, containing the melted metal, is swung up by a crane over an immense polished metallic table, and tipped. The table is heated, of course; and there is a rim to keep the glass which is poured on from running over the sides. The glass is then rolled down to a uniform thickness by a heavy copper cylinder, reaching across the table, and resting on the rim, which is, of course, just as high as the plate is to be thick. For bow-windows the plates are bent before cutting up into panes. For mirrors they are silvered in this way:—A sheet of tin-foil is spread on a table, and a thin coating of mercury is poured over it. Then the glass to be silvered—sometimes an immense plate, and it has been carefully annealed, ground, and polished, of course—is slipped on in such a way as to exclude all the air from beneath it, the table being tipped just enough to let the superfluous mercury run off. When the plate is in its place on the table, it is kept for several hours under a press of heavy weights. The mercury and tin-foil combine to form what is called the amalgam, which coats the glass and makes the mirror.”

Lawrence said he had read that glass mirrors were modern, and that the ancients used polished metal instead. “The Romans for window-panes used sheets of mica. Yet glass-making,” said he, “was a very ancient art.”

“So ancient,” said the Doctor, coming in just then, “that in Egypt glass ornaments have been discovered on mummies that were buried three thousand years ago; and on their monuments are still to be seen hieroglyphics, or picture-writings, which represent glass-blowers at work in the same way, and with the same kinds of tools, as modern glass-blowers. The inhabitants of Tyre were famous glass-makers, after them the Romans, and after them the Venetians. It was the Venetians that introduced the art to modern Europe.”

“The Germans brought it to this country,” said the gaffer. “A company of them started a factory at Quincy, in Massachusetts, before the Revolution, but it didn’t succeed. Mr. Hewes, a Boston merchant, next tried it. His glass-blowers were nearly all Hessians, deserters from the British army. He set up his works in the woods of New Hampshire, where fuel was cheap. But it wasn’t till after the beginning of the present century that glass-making began to prosper in this country. It has now become a very extensive and very profitable business. New England manufactures a good share of the flint-glass which is made in America, and which I may say, without boasting, is equal to any in the world. Our window-glass is made mostly in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. It doesn’t pay to manufacture that except where fuel is cheap.”

“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Lawrence, taking up a goblet. “In that piece of glass are white sand, and red-lead, and pearlash, and saltpetre, neither of them transparent by itself, and yet here they are all transparent! It does seem a sort of magic that has made them invisible!”

“There are many wonderful things connected with glass,” said the gaffer. “It will not tarnish. Only one acid has any effect upon it. It is one of the most brittle substances, and yet one of the most elastic. A hollow glass ball can be made that will rebound half the distance to your hand if you drop it on an anvil.”

Lawrence said he should like such a ball as that; but when told that it was pretty sure to break at the second or third rebound, he said “Oh!” and cheerfully gave it up.

“It makes the finest sounding bells,” said the Doctor, “and musical glasses are made of it that are played by merely rubbing them with the moist fingers. It will condense moisture from the air more quickly than any of the metals.”

“There is another curious thing,” said the gaffer. “Drop a ball of melted glass in water, and you’d think it would make a tremendous spluttering; but it don’t at first. After it has had time to cool a little, then it sets the water to bubbling.”

They had now returned to the gaffer’s room, which they found so full of the fumes of the acid that Lawrence immediately began to cough.

“You see,” said the gaffer, “the gold has disappeared. The acid has eaten it. Come with me now, and I’ll show you something that happened while you were in the cutting-room.”

Locking the door behind him, he took his visitors once more to the cave, which they found full of smoke and steam and stifling heat. There he showed them the astonishing spectacle of what seemed a cluster of icicles, some a yard in length, hanging from the grate under the big furnace.

“One of our melting-pots burst. It was nearly full of metal, which ran down into the fire, of course. Some of it came through the grate, but the most of it rushed out through the teaze-hole in a perfect lava flood, which came near setting us on fire.”

“That must have been a serious loss,” said Lawrence.

“Yes. To say nothing of the pot, the glass in it was worth about a hundred and fifty dollars.”

“Well,” said the Doctor, “we began with the cave, and we may as well end with it.” And, taking leave of the gaffer, he departed with his nephew, who, he promised, should come in a few days for the inkstand and cups.

“How wonderful it all is!” said Lawrence, as they stood on the platform, waiting for the train.

“It is truly wonderful,” replied the Doctor. “When we consider the many uses to which glass is applied, its cheapness, its purity, its beauty, we find that it possesses the valuable qualities of nearly all the metals;—incorruptible as gold, clear as silver, useful as iron, what would our houses be without it? It keeps the cold out, it lets the light in. We drink out of it, and we see ourselves in it. Besides fulfilling a thousand common and domestic uses, it is made into gems that rival the brilliancy of the diamond, and into lenses which give new realms to human vision. It restores eyesight to the aged, and remedies the defective eyesight of the young. It magnifies objects invisible to the naked eye, so that they can be distinctly seen and studied; and it brings the heavens near. To it we owe our intimate acquaintance with the stars. The telescope is the father of modern astronomy, and the soul of the telescope is glass.”

J. T. Trowbridge.


The other day I saw a poor old woman in the street, and some children laughing at her and calling her names, as she trudged along with a great basket on her arm; and it reminded me of a story I had to tell “Our Young Folks.” It is about a little girl,—such a one as goes to your school, perhaps, if there is a girl there who learns her lessons more quickly and recites them better than any of you, who is always ready to play at any game whenever you ask her, and who can run and laugh and shout with the best. And if she is pretty, too,—very pretty, so that you like her all the better for being good to look at,—then you know what sort of girl little Esther Green was, and why all the children were so fond of her. Any one who passed the school-house at recess, or met the children going home, would hear her name oftener than any other,—a sure sign of popularity. “O Esther, look here!”—“Do come here, Esther!”—“Esther’s asked to sit with me this afternoon,”—“O, now, that’s real mean! you said you’d sit with me, Esther,”—and so on. They did not care that her mother was almost the poorest person in the village. The fact is, no one was very rich, and if Mr. Taft lived in a white house two stories high, and Mrs. Green in a black one with but two rooms in it, it was doubtless only because people wanted more flour and meal and sugar than they did suits of clothes (for Mrs. Green was the tailoress); and that was no reason why Harry Taft shouldn’t find Esther the first spring flowers, and go shares with her in his berrying and nutting expeditions, and take her to school on his sled through the deep snows.

One day, late in October, after school was dismissed, the children still lingered playing about the yard, and Esther had mounted the great wood-pile with Harry. She could go anywhere Harry went, for his hand was always ready to pull her over the difficult places, though he steadfastly discountenanced his sisters’ attempts at climbing,—saying he couldn’t have a parcel of girls tagging after him. The wood-pile was nearly finished; Harry was catching the sticks that the boys threw up to him of those that lay scattered around, and Esther walked about very much at her ease, calling to the children in the yard and chattering to him.

“O, I do believe it’ll snow soon,—just look at the clouds! Then you’d have out your sled, Harry,—wouldn’t you? and O, if it should be a real big snow-storm like last winter, we’d all bring our dinners to school and stay all day; wouldn’t it be nice?”

Harry looked up to answer, and saw her on the very edge of the wood-pile, and still stepping back. It was too late to save her; in another moment she was lying on the ground among the loose sticks of wood. Now when a little girl has a fall, one of two things may generally be expected,—either that she will get up and laugh, or that she will get up and cry; but Esther did neither. She just lay where she had fallen, her eyes half closed, her lips slightly parted, and her face as white as an image of her made in snow would be. The children were frightened; so was the master, who hurried out of the school-house to see what had happened; and when the doctor came and found her lying on one of the benches, and saying how dreadfully her back hurt her, he looked at her very seriously, and went out to see where she fell, and came in and looked at her again, and finally they took her home in Farmer Handy’s wagon.

Then there were long days and nights when she knew nothing but pain, or else raved wildly in a burning fever. She was at school, learning her lessons, playing with the children, talking to her mother; but now and then she would put out her arms with a great start, and the cry, “O, I’m falling,—catch me!” After that there was always a silence, as if she were really acting over again what had happened. Never since she was born had people talked about her so much as they did in the days that she lay so ill. The neighbors came in, one after another, to watch with her, or to bring her jellies and custards; and they shook their heads and said they “s’posed t’ would be a dreadful loss,—an only child, and her mother thinking everything of her.” Half a dozen times a day, too, there would come gentle knocks low down on the door, and when it was opened some little voice would ask, breathless, “O Mis’ Green, how’s Esther?”

At last one day Esther opened her eyes after a long sleep, and began to ask all sorts of questions,—what was the matter with her? how long had she been in bed? and what was this dreadful pain? Then they told her that it was because she fell on a sharp stick of wood, and that the doctor said she must lie perfectly still, and not try to move, or else she wouldn’t get well so fast.

Now Mrs. Green had to be at work in the kitchen sometimes, and Esther, left all to herself, used to have very queer fancies. One was that she was going to die. Lizzie Strout had a fever last year and died, and now Esther had had a fever, so she would die too. But she wouldn’t say anything about it to mother till the time came; then she should put her arms around her neck and kiss her good by; and the tears began to come into her eyes thinking of the sadness of that parting. She would say good by to Lucy Blake, her best friend and desk-mate, and to Harry, too, of course,—he would be sorry; and she would ask Lucy to forgive anything she had ever done or said to her that was unkind. Then how would it be at school without her? Lucy would have no one to share her desk, and she would be at the head of the spelling class when Esther wasn’t there. And they would bring home her books and slate,—Lucy and she had carried home Lizzie’s; and mother would cry as Mrs. Strout had done, and ask if they missed her at school. And she would be lying out in the graveyard with the stone at her head, marked “Esther: Only child.” There was no long name to put on her gravestone: it would seem more like her than Lizzie’s did like Lizzie; for somehow she never could think that “Elizabeth Parmenter, Youngest Daughter of Jonathan Strout and Mary his Wife,” was the Lizzie she knew so well. She would be lying there and mother at home alone, setting only one cup and plate on the table, and missing her little girl. The tears came in a great flood then, and she had to stifle her sobs in the pillow.

When Mrs. Green came back, she wanted to know, “What’s the matter with my Esther? Is the pain very bad, dear?”

“Pretty bad,” Esther said. And then mother would sit down and talk to her, or tell her stories. She had to spare a good deal of time from her work to make herself entertaining. The school-children came in, though, every day or two, some of them, and Harry quite often at first. But it must be confessed that his visits were not entirely satisfactory. Having asked Esther how she did, and having said he hoped she would be better soon, he appeared to have nothing further to add, but would stand at the foot of the bed gazing at her and twirling his cap, with the occasional variety of dropping it and picking it up again, till it seemed that the silence could only be broken by Mrs. Green coming in, dishcloth or broom in hand, to say, “How’s your mother, Harry?” Then he would answer quite briskly, “Pretty well, thank you,” and in a minute, as if a bright thought had struck him, “Well, good by, Esther.” And Esther wondered at his silence, and Mrs. Green called him a mumchance; but I think she was a little hard on him, for it must take one rather aback to go to see somebody who has long brown curls, and pink cheeks, and a tongue of the kind supposed to be hung in the middle, and find her with all her hair cut off, and her face so white you can hardly tell it from the pillow, as she lies there looking at you with great eyes, and answering by “yes” or “no,” or perhaps only by a little smile, when you speak to her.

Lucy was the most frequent visitor. She used to sit on the edge of the bed and talk for an hour at a time, so that when she slipped down, saying she must go, and would come again soon, Esther’s “O yes, do!” was quite fervent; but, as the pleasant spring weather came on, Lucy’s visits grew few and far between, and when she did come she had a great deal to say about a certain Sarah Carroll, whom Esther didn’t know or care about, whose father had come to the village lately, and set up a shop where “fashionable garments were cut and made at the lowest possible prices,” as Lucy quoted from the placard in the window.

“Sarah is real nice. I wish you knew her, Esther,” she said. “But she doesn’t study a bit, and in the class, when she’s going to miss, she looks at Harry Taft, and he tells her. I think he likes her because she has your seat,—till you want it, you know.”

In all these long months that Esther lay in bed she came to forget the idea that she was going to die; for the pain grew less day by day, and the doctor’s visits ceased, and now she took another fancy. She thought she was getting crooked with lying in bed.

“I must sit up, mother,” she would say, “to get out straight. I feel all hunched up, I’ve been lying here so long.”

“Why, dear, I guess I wouldn’t,” her mother always said. “I don’t believe you’re strong enough yet.”

However, she talked so much and so often about it, that one day Mrs. Green lifted her up and put the pillows behind her.

“And now I want to see how I look. Will you bring me the glass, mother? I haven’t seen myself since my hair was cut off,” said Esther.

“O, I’ll tell you how you look, dear.” But that wouldn’t do at all, so Mrs. Green took down the glass from its nail and held it before her. Esther wasn’t particularly pleased with her appearance.

“How funny I look!” she said. “I’ve been real sick,—haven’t I? and my shoulders are just the way Jane Harmon has hers in school, and Master Brown tells her not to. Why, mother!” she added, looking up quite startled; “I can’t put ’em down again. O, I ought to have sat up before!”

“That hasn’t anything to do with it, dear,” said Mrs. Green. “It’s where you fell and hurt yourself. The doctor said you’d have to show it—some.”

“Then I know what makes the pain in my back,” said Esther, suddenly. “There’s a hump coming there; I told you it felt so.”

Mrs. Green turned away to hang up the glass, but she came back to the bed in a minute, and, stooping to kiss her, she said:—

“You mustn’t think about it, my darling; nobody else will. The doctor was saying, at one time, that you wouldn’t get over it; so you and I must be very glad things have turned out as they have.”

Esther said nothing more, except presently that she wanted to lie down again; and, when she was comfortably settled, Mrs. Green went into the kitchen, shut the door, and, putting her face in her apron, cried as if her heart would break. She had done that a good many times before, thinking of the “dearest, sweetest, prettiest child that ever lived,”—as she sobbed to herself,—who never again would stand up before her fair and straight and tall. Then, as she wiped her eyes, she wondered that Esther had taken it so quietly. However, when her mother lay down beside her that night, Esther seemed to have something on her mind.

“Mother,” she said, “I’ve been thinking about old Betty Hoppin,—how the boys used to plague her and laugh at her. And the girls, too, sometimes,—I did once myself; but when I was sorry and went after her to give her half my gingerbread, she said, so cross, ‘I don’t want your cake, child.’ ”

“Maybe she wasn’t cross,” said Mrs. Green; “Betty had a gruff voice. Poor soul! she’s well out of this world and gone to a better, I hope.”

“Well, mother, does there always have to be an old woman to go round for the cold victuals?”

“Why, no, there don’t have to be, dear; but, if there is an old woman that can’t work, she’s likely to want ’em, I suppose.”

“Because I was thinking, what if I should go about with a basket, sometime, as Betty did. I shall look like her, you know,—she was all crooked. And then if the children called after me, I could say: ‘Why, you mustn’t do so; I’m Esther Green, who used to go to school with you; don’t you remember?’ O, but they’d be grown up, too, wouldn’t they? and those children wouldn’t know me! They’d say, ‘Hallo, little old woman!’ ”

“Why, Esther, child, you’ll break my heart!” cried Mrs. Green; and then added gently, “you mustn’t talk so, I can’t bear to hear you. And what makes you think of such things, dear? You won’t go round with a basket while you have mother to take care of you,—will you?” So she talked and comforted her; but long after Esther had fallen quietly asleep, trusting in “mother’s” ability to take care of her, Mrs. Green lay thinking that the time might come when she would have to leave her, and praying that no one might ever be cruel to her girl, but that all might be more kind and gentle to her, just because of her sad infirmity, and for His sake who pitied the lame and the halt and the blind.

The doctor said Esther was getting better, but still she suffered a good deal at times all through the summer and autumn; and when there was no pain she was very weak, so that the next winter found her only strong enough to sit up in bed. And in the first cold days of that cold winter the wolf came to the door. Not a wolf, but the wolf; the one that goes ravening through the world, always devouring and never satisfied. He finds his prey among the poorest of the people who work with their hands for a living; and when such a one falls ill, or is disabled from any cause, he will howl and prowl about that house, almost sure of a victim there. The name of the wolf is Poverty. Now Mrs. Green had the rheumatism in one arm and hand so badly that she couldn’t do any odd jobs of washing and ironing that might be offered her, nor finish the piece of homespun that Mr. Carroll had agreed to buy. Nobody had asked her to make it up into jackets and trousers, or coats and pantaloons, because every one preferred to be fashionably fitted; which was rather bad for Mrs. Green, although it is delightful to think how elegant they must all have looked.

“And there’s my stockings,” said Mrs. Green, one day, looking at the blue yarn and knitting-needles. “I wish I’d begun ’em a little sooner.”

“Mother, why can’t I knit?” asked Esther. “I should like to, and I have sometimes, for fun, you know.”

Mother had no objections, so Esther began to knit in earnest, and was highly delighted with her self-imposed task.

“I’ll get ’em done for you this week, mother,” she promised. “And then I shall want to make some more. You’ll want two or three pairs,—won’t you? I like to knit so!”

“I’ll want as many as you’ll make me,” said Mrs. Green, pleased to see her so happy. “There’s plenty of yarn.” But Esther found another customer: the doctor came in and saw her at work.

“What! knitting stockings!” said he. “They’re for me, I suppose. For mother? O, that’s too bad! Mother’s got enough, I know, and I’ve no little girl to keep me tidy. Now won’t you make me some when you’ve finished that pair?”

“O yes, sir. Thank you,” said Esther.

“No, it’s I that’ll thank you,” said the doctor; “though I shouldn’t expect to pay for them that way. You can just calculate how much yarn there was in them, Mrs. Green, and how much time it took.”

“Why, Doctor, Esther would be glad to make ’em for you for nothing; she knows how good you’ve been to her.”

“But I shouldn’t be glad to have her. I’ve never worn anything yet that wasn’t paid for, Mrs. Green, and you wouldn’t advise me to begin now,—would you?”

So it was settled that Esther should fit the doctor out with stockings; and she was very proud of helping mother by earning some money, though she didn’t know, and Mrs. Green would have been very sorry to have her know, how much it was needed. By and by people began to talk about it in the village, and some one would say: “Mis’ Green’s Esther’s knitting stockings to sell. I shouldn’t wonder if she was poorly off just now, what with the rheumatism and all. Perhaps I’d better get Esther to knit some for the boys,—my hands are full enough, goodness knows.”

And then there were other people who “guessed Mis’ Green wasn’t very provident.” They were the same persons, of course, who used to be “afraid Mis’ Green was teaching Esther to think too much of her outside,” when she walked into church behind her mother, with new ribbons on her bonnet, and looking as sweet as a pink.

However, Esther had plenty to do, and the wolf was fairly driven off that time by a little girl’s knitting-needle. Mrs. Green’s hands got well, and the doctor said Esther would be up before next summer, but I can’t tell about that, for my story ends here. Perhaps the doctor was mistaken. Perhaps—because, even if she were up, she never could be well and strong again—the Great Physician in mercy laid his hand upon her, and they put up a little stone in the graveyard, marked “Esther: Only child.” Or perhaps the thread of life, though slender, was tenacious, and it is the mother who has slept this many a year, while the village has grown into a great city, where iron fingers are making hundreds of pairs of stockings faster than Esther could knit one. And Esther, little Esther (she would always be that, you know), lonely and old and poor, creeps about with a great basket on her arm, while the children—no, the children’s children of the boys and girls who went to school with her, point at her and shout after her in the streets, “Hallo, old Polly! how are all the folks?”—“Going it two-forty to-day, aren’t you?”—“What you got in your basket?”—“Please give us some cold victuals!”

G. Howard.


Florida is thrown out like a pier from our continent,—a breakwater, as it were, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; and its geographical position has a direct bearing upon its structure. Indeed, it owes its existence, in part, to a great tropical current, which sweeps over from the western coast of Africa to the American shore, and pours a portion of its warm tide into the basin, lying between Central America and the United States, known as the Gulf of Mexico.

There is nothing you should study with more care, on your maps, than the ocean currents. They are far more interesting, and far more important in their bearing on the history of the world and the condition of its inhabitants, than many of the local facts with which our geographies are filled. I would not undervalue the latter. It is well, perhaps, that you should know the names of all the counties and towns in the various States, their respective products, and the number of their inhabitants,—if you can remember them.* But, while details of this kind are learned to-day and forgotten to-morrow, there are physical facts too impressive to escape the memory when they have once been understood. Among them is the history of the Gulf Stream, of which I will say something here, because it is closely connected with that of Florida.

From the western coast of Africa an immense body of water starts on a journey northward. Heated under a tropical sun, it goes laden with benedictions, carrying a softer atmosphere and a more genial climate to the cold and sterile countries toward which it travels.

Crossing the Atlantic first in an almost westerly direction, though bearing slightly to the north, it reaches the coast of South America. There it meets the great headland of Cape St. Roque. The current breaks against this large promontory and becomes divided, a part turning southward along the Brazilian coast, while the remainder continues its course in a northwesterly direction. Arriving on the shore of Central America, it finds the broad entrance to the Gulf of Mexico open, and rushes in to fill that wide basin; then with diminished bulk pursues its path along the Southern States.

From this point it is known to us as the Gulf Stream, having received that name before the whole history of the current was understood. Indeed, from a very early period, navigators had been familiar with a broad belt of warm water in the North Atlantic Ocean. They constantly crossed it in their voyages, and they named it the Gulf Stream, supposing that, as it issued from the Gulf of Mexico, it must originate there.

But this stream, powerful though it be, cannot have undisputed possession of the road, any more than other great potentates. Leaving the Gulf of Mexico to travel up our coast, it meets a current of a very different character coming down from the north. This body of cold water has started from the arctics, as the Gulf Stream has started from the tropics. Poured out through Baffin’s Bay, it hurries southward, following the line of our Atlantic States, and keeping close to the shore. Having thus got possession of the inside track, it crowds the warmer current out, until, in the neighborhood of Cape Cod, the Gulf Stream, fairly driven from the ground, turns more decidedly eastward, and finally crosses to the British coast.

You can easily understand how powerful must be the effect of this moving mass of heated water along its whole course. Indeed, its warm breath is felt for many miles on either side. It gives the pleasant climate to Newport which makes it such a favorite resort, and, condensing in vapors and clouds on the banks of Newfoundland, it hangs over that region in an ever-renewed curtain of fog. Even on the shores of southern England and Ireland, though in the long journey thitherward it has lost much of its tropical character, it still retains genial heat enough to soften the ocean mists which keep those countries always green and fertile.

When the Pilgrim Fathers landed on Plymouth Rock, they chose a latitude in which, judging by the situation of the home they left behind, they had a right to expect a climate as warm as that of England, or even warmer, since the land lay farther south. They did not know, nor did any one, until long afterwards, that, in place of the warm current which flowed toward the British isles, a current bringing with it the very chill of the arctic ice bathed the coast of New England; nor did they know that to the north of their new home lay open plains, unbroken by any great chains of mountains, over which swept southward the pitiless blasts from polar snow-fields.

I suppose, when you boys and girls who live in our northern and eastern States hasten to school on some bitter January morning, running and sliding to keep yourselves warm, you do not stop to ask why our climate is so cold and our winter wind so strong and piercing. You are too busy stamping your feet, and blowing your fingers to keep the blood in circulation, for that; but perhaps when you reach the school-room, and are warming yourselves around the stove, you may like to hear a little physical geography which has a direct bearing on your own sensations. You may be interested to know that the high wind which almost blew you to school owed its unbroken force to the fact that America has no lofty chain of mountains to intercept the winter winds from the north.

The early settlers of New England were as ignorant of these facts as some of you may be; but they learned from hard experience, though they could not explain the cause of the phenomenon, that the same latitudes often have very different climates. Only through later investigations of physical laws we have learned that mountain chains, acting as screens against the winds, and ocean currents, bringing warm or cold water to our shores, have as much to do with climate as degrees of latitude.

Perhaps it is as well that our forefathers were not better informed; they might have turned aside from the granite rocks of New England, and have hesitated to expose their colony to the hardships and difficulties which in the end made their best strength, and developed the finest qualities of their descendants.

But to return to Florida. I have said that she owes her existence in great part to the influence of the Gulf Stream. This is true, though in an indirect sense, and only because the temperature of the warm water in which her shores are always steeping is favorable to the development of certain little animals, which, by simply growing, have built up a large portion, if not the whole, of the State of Florida, from the ocean bottom.

You are all familiar with the general outline of Florida; but, that it may be present to your minds while you read, I subjoin a small map of the peninsula, to which we may refer from time to time.

Just outside its lower extremity are a number of islands,—the easternmost almost touching the main-land, while the western lie a little farther off.

In consequence of this peculiarity in their disposition, the space left between these islands and the Florida coast, marked on the map as mud flats, is broad and open at the western outlet, but almost closed toward the east. It is important to remember the form of this broad intervening space, stretching between the keys and the main-land, because the narrower and more shallow end may easily be filled up with sand, mud, &c. If you will look at the map, you will see, by the flats at the eastern end of this once open channel, that such a process is actually going on. In fact, a current sets toward the channel, drifting into it sand, mud, and débris of all sorts.

I hope to show you that these flats, being gradually consolidated into dry land, will at last make a bridge between the islands and the lower extremity of Florida, uniting them solidly together, so that the former will cease to be islands and will become part of the main-land.

Indeed, we shall find that Florida herself, so far as her structure is known, is only a succession of such rows of islands as now lie outside her southern shore, united together by flats exactly like those accumulating at this moment between the present islands and the coast. These islands are called the Keys of Florida, and are distinguished from one another by a variety of appellations, such as Sand Key, Key West, Indian Key, Long Key, and the like. They are of various sizes; some—like Key West, for instance—are large, inhabited islands, planted with fruit and flower gardens, where cocoa-nuts and other palms, orange-trees, and bananas, grow in great luxuriance, while others are mere barren rocks scarcely rising above the surface of the ocean, washed over by the waves, and wholly destitute of verdure.

Suppose now that in fancy we sail out from the keys on their seaward side, choosing a bright, calm day, when the surface of the ocean is still. The waters of that region are always remarkably clear; and under such influences of sky and atmosphere they are so transparent that the bottom may be seen at a considerable depth, distinct as a picture under glass.

Sailing southward to a distance of some four or five miles from the keys, we find ourselves in the neighborhood of a rocky wall rising from the ocean bottom. As we approach it, if we look over the side of the boat, we shall see that we are passing over a floating shrubbery, a branching growth spreading in every direction, its lighter portions swaying gently with the movement of the sea. It is not green, like land shrubbery, but has a variety of soft, bright hues,—purple, rosy, amethyst, yellow, brown, and orange. If circumstances are favorable, and the water crystal-clear, as it sometimes is, we shall have glimpses of bright-colored fishes swimming in and out amid this tangled thicket, or here and there we may discern a variety of sea-anemones, their soft feathery fringes fully expanded.

This wonderful growth over which we have imagined ourselves to be sailing is the top of a coral wall. Reaching the surface of the water at intervals, it forms little rocky islands here and there, divided from each other by open channels, through some of which vessels of considerable size may pass. This wall is in fact a repetition of the same process as that which has formed the inner row of keys, though in a more incomplete stage; it is built up by the coral animals from the sea bottom. Wherever circumstances are most favorable to their development, there they grow most rapidly. In such spots they bring the wall to the sea level sooner than in others.

This done, however, the work of the coral animals ceases, because they cannot live out of the water. But in consequence of a process of decay and decomposition, which I shall describe when we examine the structure and life of the animals themselves, such a wall—or coral reef, as it is called—is surrounded by coral sand and fragments worn away from it by the action of the sea.

Materials of this sort, mixed with sea-weed, broken shells, &c., soon gather upon the top of the reef wherever the coral growth has brought it to the sea level. By degrees a soil is collected upon such spots, raising them more and more above the surface of the water. In this way the islands have been formed which we call the Keys of Florida; and in the same way the little patches now rising highest on the summit of the Reef will enlarge gradually into more and more extensive islands, though at present many of them are scarcely visible above the water level.

Look now once more at the map, that you may impress upon your minds the relations of these different formations, which give such a peculiar character to the southern extremity of Florida. First you have the shore of the peninsula itself, then the mud flats, outside of which lie the keys, and beyond the latter, and divided from them by a channel,—the “ship channel,” as it is called,—the ocean wall of which I have spoken.

This outer wall of the Florida coast is the coral reef so dreaded by seamen because it forms a complete trap for vessels.

Coming to the surface, as I have said, only here and there, but stretching for a distance of some hundred and fifty miles, its long line of breakers is a terror and a snare to sailors. Neither is it easy to guard against these dangers, since, for reasons which you will understand when I have explained more fully the nature of the reef, it has been very difficult to establish light-houses upon it. There are active agencies at work in the substance of the wall, undermining it in such a manner that large portions may easily be torn off by storms. It has even happened that a light-house built upon the reef, in the hope of affording security to navigation, has been rent away with the very foundations on which it stood, and washed into the sea.

Now that, through the labors of the Coast Survey, the position of the reef and its outline, as well as its structure and growth, are better understood, such accidents are less frequent, and there is good reason to believe that the present light-houses will stand securely for many years.

In the present chapter I have described only the external appearance of those lighter branching kinds of corals which live in shallow waters and may be seen growing on the upper part of the reef. Were the whole wall, however, composed of those more delicate species known as fan corals and the like, it would have little solidity, for they offer a comparatively slight resistance to the action of the waves and storms.

In my next article I shall tell you something of the internal structure and mode of growth of corals; and in the end you will see how wonderfully the different kinds are fitted into the various parts of the reef, the more massive ones below, the lighter above, so that finally a wall is formed more solid and more indestructible than any ever built by man.

Elizabeth C. Agassiz.

In this connection I cannot but call the attention of parents and teachers to Guyot’s admirable series of geographies, which are not so well known as they should be; though Mr. Guyot’s own reputation as one of the first geographers now living is their best recommendation. The plan of these geographies is as simple as it is intelligent. They teach geography in its larger sense,—not as a mere inventory of countries, towns, rivers, mountains, &c., but as a science treating of those physical laws which control the climate and general conditions of the earth’s surface, determine its divisions into distinct regions, and influence the development and history of its inhabitants. Beginning with an elementary work for very young children, attractive to little folks from its abundant illustrations, clear maps, and simple text, this series is continued through a succession of volumes, gradually adapted to the use of higher schools and more mature students.


William Henry’s Letter to Dorry.

Dear Dorry,—

I’m just as hungry as anything, now, about all the time. My grandmother says she’s so glad to see me eat again; and so am I glad to eat, myself. Things taste better than they did before. Maybe I shall come back to school again pretty soon, my father says; but my grandmother guesses not very, because she thinks I should have a relapse if I did. A relapse is to get sick again when you’re getting well; and, if I should get sick again, O what should I do! for I want to go out-doors. If they’d only let me go out, I’d saw wood all day, or anything. There isn’t much fun in being sick, I tell you, Dorry; but getting well, O, that’s the thing! I tell you getting well’s jolly! I have very good things sent to me about every day, and when I want to make molasses candy my grandmother says yes every time, if she isn’t frying anything in the spider herself; and then I wait and whistle to my sister’s canary-bird, or else look out the window. But she tells me to stand a yard back, because she says cold comes in the window-cracks: and my Uncle Jacob, he took the yardstick one day, and measured a yard, and put a chalk mark there, where my toes must come to, he said. If I hold the yardstick a foot and a half up from the floor, my sister’s kitty can jump over it tip-top. My sister has made a Red-Riding-Hood cloak for her kitty, and a muff to put her fore paws in, and takes her out.

Yesterday Uncle Jacob came into the house and said he had brought a carriage to carry me over to Aunt Phebe’s; and when I looked out it wasn’t anything but a wheelbarrow. My grandmother said I must wrap up, for ’twas the first time; so she put two overcoats on me, and my father’s long stockings over my shoes and stockings, and a good many comforters, and then a great shawl over my head so I needn’t breathe the air; and ’twas about as bad as to stay in. Uncle Jacob asked her if there was a Billy in that bundle, when he saw it. “Hallo, in there!” says he. “Hallo, out there!” says I. Then he took me up in his arms, and carried me out, and doubled me up, and put me down in the wheelbarrow, and threw the buffalo over me; but one leg got undoubled, and fell out, so I had to drag my foot most all the way. Aunt Phebe undid me, and set me close to the fire; and Lucy Maria and the rest of them brought me story-books and picture-papers; and Tommy, he kept round me all the time, making me whittle him out little boats out of a shingle, and we had some fun sailing ’em in a milk-pan. Aunt Phebe had chicken broth for dinner, and I had a very good appetite. She let me look into all her closets and boxes, and let me open all her drawers. But I had to have a little white blanket pinned on when I went round, because she was afraid her room wasn’t kept so warm as my grandmother’s. Soon as Uncle Jacob came in and saw that little white blanket he began to laugh. “So Aunt Phebe has got out the signal of distress,” says he. He calls that blanket the “signal of distress,” because when any of them don’t feel well, or have the toothache or anything, she puts it on them. She says he shall have to wear it some time, and I guess he’ll look funny, he’s so tall, with it on. The fellers played base-ball close to Aunt Phebe’s garden. I tell you I shall be glad enough to get out-doors. I tell you it isn’t much fun to look out the window and see ’em play ball. But Uncle Jacob says if the ball hit me ’twould knock me over now. Aunt Phebe was just as clever, and let me whittle right on the floor, and didn’t care a mite. And we made corn-balls. But the best fun was finding things, when I was rummaging. I found some pictures in an old trunk that she said I might have, and I want you to give them to Bubby Short to put in the Panorama he said he was going to make. He said the price to see it would be two cents. They are true ones, for they are about Aunt Phebe’s little Tommy. One day, when he was a good deal smaller feller than he is now, he went out when it had done raining one day, and the wind blew hard, and he found an old umbrella, and did just what is in the pictures. The school-teacher that boarded there, O, she could draw cows and pigs and anything; and she drew these pictures, and wrote about them underneath.

I wish you would write me a letter, and tell Benjie to, and Bubby Short.

From your affectionate friend,

William Henry.

P. S. What are you fellers playing now?


Tommy sets forth upon his travels around the house, taking with him his whip.

At the first corner he picks up an umbrella. A larger boy opens the umbrella, and shows him the way to hold it. Being an old umbrella, it shuts down again. But Tommy still keeps on in this way.

At the second corner, a gust of wind takes down the umbrella, and blows his cape over his head. He pushes on, however, whip in hand, dragging the umbrella behind him.

On turning the third corner, a hen runs between his legs, and throws him down in the mud.

He is taken inside, stripped and washed, and left sitting upon the floor in his knit shirt, waiting for clean clothes. He can reach the handle of the molasses-jug. He does reach the handle, and tips over the jug. His mother finds him eating molasses off the floor with his forefinger. Tommy looks up with a sweet smile.

William Henry’s Letter to his Grandmother.

My dear Grandmother,—

I’ve been here three days now. I came safe all the way, but that glass vial you put that medicine into, down in the corner of the trunk, broke, and some white stockings down there, they soaked it all up; but I sha’n’t have to take it now, and no matter, I guess, for I feel well, all but my legs feeling weak so I can’t run hardly any. When I got here, the boys were playing ball; but they all ran to shake hands, and slapped my shoulders so they almost slapped me down, and hollered out, “How are you, Billy?” “How fares ye?” “Welcome back!” “Got well?” “Good for you, Billy!” Gus Beals—he’s the great tall one we call “Mr. Augustus”—he called out, “How are you, red-top?” And then Dorry called out to him, “How are you, hay-pole?” Dorry and Bubby Short want me to tell you to thank Aunt Phebe for their doughnuts, and you, too, for that molasses candy. The candy got soft, and the paper jammed itself all into the candy, but Bubby Short says he loves paper when it has molasses candy all over it. I gave some of the things to Benjie. Something hurt me all the way coming, in the toe of my boot; and when I got here I looked, and ’twas a five-cent piece right in the toe! I know who ’twas! ’Twas Uncle Jacob when he made believe look to see if that boot-top wasn’t made of mighty poor leather. I went to spend it yesterday, down to the Two Betseys’ shop. Lame Betsey called me a poor little dear, and was just going to kiss me, but I twisted my face round. I’m too big for all that now, I guess. She looked for something to give me, and was just going to give me a stick of candy; but the other Betsey said ’twas no use to give little boys candy, for they’d only swallow it right down; so she gave me a row of pins, for she said pins were proper handy things when your buttons ripped off. Just when I was coming back from the Two Betseys’ shop, I met Gapper Skyblue. He goes about selling cakes now. A good many boys were round him, in a hurry to buy first, and all you could hear was, “Here, Gapper!” “This way, Gapper!” “You know me, Gapper!” “Me, me, me!” One boy—he’s a new boy—spoke up loud and said, “Mr. Skyblue, please attend to me, if you please, for I have five pennies to spend!” He came from Jersey. The fellers call him “Old Wonder Boy,” because he brags and tells such big stories. But now, just as soon as he begins to tell, Dorry begins too, and always tells the biggest,—makes them up, you know. O, I tell you, Dorry gives it to him good! You’d die a laughing to hear Dorry, and so do all the fellers. W. B.,—that’s what we call Old Wonder Boy sometimes,—W stands for Wonder, and B stands for Boy,—he says cents are not cents; says they are pennies, for the Jersey folks call them pennies, and he guesses they know. He says he gets his double handful of pennies to spend every day down in Jersey. But Bubby Short says he knows that’s a whopper, for he knows there wouldn’t anybody’s mother give them their double handful of pennies to spend every day, nor cents either, nor their father either. And then Dorry told Old Wonder Boy that he supposed it took his double handful of pennies to buy a roll of lozenges down in Jersey. Then W. B. said that our lozenges were all flour and water, but down in Jersey they were clear sugar, and just as plenty as huckleberries. Dorry said he didn’t believe any huckleberries grew out there, or, if they did, they’d be nothing but red ones, for the ground was red out in Jersey. But W. B. said no matter if the ground was red, the huckleberries were just as black as Yankee huckleberries, and blacker too, and three times bigger, and ten times thicker. Said he picked twenty quarts one day.

Dorry said, “Poh, that wasn’t much of a pick!” Says he, “Now I’ll tell you a huckleberry story that’s worth something.” Then all the boys began to hit elbows, for they knew Dorry would make up some funny thing. Says he: “I went a huckleberrying once to Wakonok Swamp, and I carried a fourteen-quart tin pail, and a great covered basket, besides a good many quart and pint things. You’d better believe they hung thick in that swamp! I found a thick spot, and I slung my fourteen-quart tin pail round my waist, and picked with both hands, and ate off the bushes with my mouth all the while. I got all my things full without stirring two yards from the spot, and then I didn’t know what to do. But I’ll tell you what I did. I took off my jacket, and cut my fishing-line, and tied up the bottom ends of my jacket sleeves, and picked them both full. And then I didn’t know what to do next. But I’ll tell you what I did. I took off my overalls, and tied up the bottoms of their legs, and picked them so full you wouldn’t know but there was a boy standing up in ’em!” Then the boys all clapped.

“Well,” Old Wonder Boy said, “how did you get them home?”

“O, got them home easy enough,” Dorry said. “First I put the overalls over my shoulders, like a boy going pussy-back. I slung all the quart and pint things round my waist, and hung the covered basket on one arm, and took the fourteen-quart tin pail in that same hand. Then I tied my jacket to the end of my fishing-pole, and held it up straight in my other hand like—like a flag in a dead calm!”

O, you ought to’ve seen the boys,—how they winked at one another and puffed out their cheeks; and some of ’em rolled over and over down hill to keep from laughing! Bubby Short got behind the fence, and put his face between two bars, and called out, “S—e—double l!” But Dorry says they don’t know what a “s—e—double l” is down in Jersey. But I don’t believe that W. B. believes Dorry’s stories; for I looked him in the face, and he had a mighty sly look when he asked Dorry how it was he got his huckleberries home.

To-day they got a talking about potatoes. Old Wonder Boy said that down in Jersey they grow so big you have to pry ’em up out of the hill, and it don’t take much more than two to make a peck. Dorry told him that down in Maine you could stand on top the potato-hills and look all round the country, they were so high; and he asked W. B. how they planted ’em in Jersey, with their eyes up or down. He said he didn’t know which way they did turn their eyes. Then Dorry told him the Yankees always planted potatoes eyes up, so they could see which way to grow. Said he planted a hill of potatoes in his father’s garden, last summer, with their eyes all down, and waited and waited, but they didn’t come up. And when he had waited a spell longer, he raked off the top of that hill of potatoes, and all he saw was some roots sticking up. And he began to dig down. And he kept digging. Followed their stems. But he never got to the potato-tops; and says he, “I never did get to those potato-tops!” O, you ought to’ve heard the boys!

Old Wonder Boy wanted to know where Dorry thought they’d gone to. Dorry thought to himself a minute, and looked just as sober, and then says he, just like a school-teacher, “The earth, in the middle, is afire. I think when they got deep enough to feel the warm, they guessed ’twas the sun, and so kept heading that way.”

Is the world afire in the middle? Dorry told me that part of his story was really true. How Uncle Jacob would laugh to sit down and hear Dorry and Old Wonder Boy tell about whales. W. B. calls ’em wales. His uncle is a ship-captain, he says, and once he saw a wale, and the wale was making for his ship, and it chased ’em. And, no matter how they steered, that wale would chase. And by and by, in a calm day, he got under the vessel and boosted her up out of water, when all the crew gave a yell,—such a horrid yell that the wale let ’em down so sudden that the waves splashed up to the tops of the masts, and they thought they were all drowned.

“O, poh!” Dorry cried out. “My uncle was a regular whaler, and went a whaling for his living. And once he was cruising about the whaling-grounds and ’twas in a place where the days were so short that the nights lasted almost all day. And they got chased by a whale. And he kept chasing them. Night and day. And there came up a gale of wind that lasted three days and nights; and the ship went like lightning, night and day, the whale after them. And, when the wind went down, the whale was so tuckered that he couldn’t swim a stroke. So he floated. Then the cap’n sang out to ’em to lower a boat. And they did. And the cap’n got in and took a couple of his men to row him. The whale was rather longer than a liberty pole. About as long as a liberty-pole and a half. He was asleep, and they steered for the tail end. A whale’s head is about as big as the Two Betseys’ shop, and ’tis filled with clear oil, without any trying out. The cap’n landed on the whale’s tail, and went along up on tiptoe, and the men rowed the boat alongside, and kept even with him; and, when he got towards her ears, he took off his shoes, and threw ’em to the men to catch. After a while he got to the tip-top of her head. Now I’ll tell you what he had in his hand. He had a great junk of cable as big round as the trunk of a tree, and not quite a yard long. In one end of it there was a point of a harpoon stuck in, and the other end of it was lighted. He told the men to stand ready. Then he took hold of the cable with both hands, and with one mighty blow he stuck that pointed end deep in the whale’s head, and then gave one jump into the boat, and he cried out to the men, ‘Row! Row for your lives! To the tail end! If you want to live, row!’ And before that whale could turn round they were safe aboard the ship! But now I’ll tell you the best part of the whole story. They didn’t have any more long dark nights after that. They kept throwing over bait to keep her chasing, and the great lamp blazed, and as fast as the oil got hot it tried out more blubber, and that whale burned as long as there was a bit of the inside of him left. Flared up, and lighted up the sea, and drew the fishes, and they drew more whales; and they got deep loaded, and might have loaded twenty more ships. And when they left they took a couple in tow,—of whales,—and knocked out their teeth for ivory, and then sold their carcasses to an empty whaler.”

Dorry says some parts of this story are true. But he didn’t say which parts. Said I must look in the whale book and find out.

Your affectionate grandchild,

William Henry.

P. S. I wish you would please to send me a silver three-cent piece or five-cent. Two squaws have got a tent a little ways off, and the boys are going to have their fortunes taken. But you have to cross the squaws’ hands with silver.

W. H.

Georgianna’s letter to William Henry.

My dear Brother Billy,—

O Billy, my pretty, darling little bird is dead! My kitty did it, and O, I don’t know what I shall do, for I love my kitty if she did kill my birdie; but I don’t forget about it, and I keep thinking of my birdie every time my kitty comes in the room. I was putting some seeds in the glass, and my birdie looked so cunning; and I held a lump of white sugar in my lips, and let him peck it. And while I was thinking what a dear little bird he was, I forgot he could fly out; but he could, for the door was open, and he flew to the window. I didn’t think anything about kitty. It flew up to that bracket you made, and then it went away up in the corner just as high as it could, on a wooden peg that was there. I didn’t know what made it flutter its wings and tremble so, but grandmother pointed her finger down to the corner, on the floor, and there was my kitty stretching out and looking up at my bird. And that was what made poor birdie tremble so. And it dropped right down. Before we could run across to catch kitty, he dropped right down into her mouth. I never thought she could get him. I didn’t know what made grandmother hurry. I didn’t know that kitties could charm birds, but they do. She didn’t have him a minute in her teeth, and I thought it couldn’t be dead. But, O Billy, my dear birdie never breathed again! I warmed him in my hands, and tried to make him stir his wings, but he never breathed again. Now the tears are coming again. I thought I wasn’t going to cry any more. But they come themselves; when I don’t know it, they come; and O, it was such a good birdie! When I came home from school I used to run to the cage, and he would sing to meet me. And I put chickweed over his cage.

Grandmother has put away that empty cage now. She’s sorry, too. Did you think a grandmother would be sorry about a little bird as that? But she’d rather give a good deal. When she put the plates on the table, and rattled spoons, he used to sing louder and louder. And in the morning he used to wake me up, singing away so loud! Now, when I first wake up, I listen. But O, it is so still now! Then in a minute I remember all about it. Sometimes kitty jumps up on the bed, and puts her nose close down, and purrs. But I say, “No, kitty. Get down. You killed little birdie. I don’t want to see you.” But she don’t know what I mean. She rubs her head on my face, and purrs loud, and wants me to stroke her back, and don’t seem as if she had been bad. She used to be such a dear little kitty. And so she is. She’s pretty as a pigeon. Aunt Phebe says she never saw such a pretty little gray and white kitty as she is. I was going to have her drowned. But then I should cry for kitty too. Then I should think how she looked all drowned, down at the bottom, just the same way I do now how my birdie looked when it couldn’t stir its little wings, and its eyes couldn’t move. My father says that kitty didn’t know any better. I hope so. I took off that pretty chain she had round her neck. But grandmother thinks I had better put it on again. Aunt Phebe’s little Tommy says “Don’t kye, Dordie, I’ll bung dat tat. I’ll take a tick and bung dat tat!” He calls me Dordie. I guess I rather have kitty alive than let her be drowned, don’t you? Grandmother wants you not to catch cold and be sick.

From your affectionate sister,


P. S. Grandmother showed me how to write this letter.

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.


When I was a school-boy and studied geography, I used to wonder sometimes, as I was poring over a large map of the world, how it came to pass that such a country as Portugal had so many possessions in distant parts of the earth. It is a little kingdom, about as large as our State of Indiana, and contains only about as many people as the State of New York; and those people, travellers tell us, are not very industrious, skilful, or enterprising. And yet the old map which I used to look at seemed to be dotted all over with places marked, “Belongs to Portugal.”

It is not so surprising that this small kingdom, this odd corner of Europe, this narrow, oblong slice of Spain, should have gained possession of most of those islands off the African coast,—the Azores, Madeiras, and the Cape Verdes,—because they are not very far from Portugal, and because there is no other Christian country from which they can be so conveniently reached. Most of those islands are within seven or eight hundred miles of its southwestern corner. But away down the African coast, in what is called Lower Guinea, the land of ivory, gold dust, and precious gums, we find a great region of country belonging to Portugal, with a Portuguese town in it, a Portuguese governor-general, and churches conducted by Portuguese priests, in which crowds of half-naked negroes and mulattoes bow low before the cross and the image of the Virgin.

And then, on the other side of Africa, there is another extensive region, called Mozambique, which also belongs to Portugal. Here Portugal has a territory as large as the State of Virginia, from which are exported plenty of indigo and rare drugs, fine woods for furniture, elephants’ tusks, the teeth of the hippopotamus, and the horns of the rhinoceros; to say nothing of common things, such as rice, sugar, spice, coffee, and coal. Here again we find a Portuguese city of considerable size, with great barracks for soldiers, with storehouses and wharves, a splendid palace for the governor-general, a cathedral, and several smaller churches and convents. In this city, which consists of palaces for the Portuguese and huts for the natives, there are a Portuguese bishop, Portuguese priests, nuns, and monks, Portuguese judges and courts. The Portuguese have been so long established in that country that one of their towns there has had time to go to decay. It is called Melinda, and you may see there the ruins of Portuguese churches, convents, store-houses, wharves, and palaces, which were built three centuries ago.

But this is not all. If you should sail from the ruined walls and wharves of Melinda two thousand miles to the westward, across the ocean, and enter the harbor of Goa, on the coast of India, you would find a Portuguese settlement and city that would fill you with still greater astonishment. Neither the English, nor the French, nor the Dutch have ever built in that part of the world cathedrals or palaces so splendid as those with which the Portuguese have adorned this city, so far from their native land. One church there is decorated with beautiful paintings brought from Italy; and the cathedral is so exceedingly gorgeous, and so vast in extent, that it would not be thought out of place in one of the principal cities of Catholic Europe. These buildings, it is true, are going to decay; but they show what power the Portuguese must have had in India, when they could spend the revenue of an Indian province upon one convent or one church. To this day there is a Portuguese viceroy resident there, and a Portuguese archbishop; and there is also a Portuguese seminary for the education of priests.

Then there is Macao, a Portuguese city in China, where again we find amazing evidences, in the form of churches, convents, and seminaries, of the power once possessed in this part of the world by the Portuguese. Indeed, it was at this city of Macao that Camoens, the only Portuguese poet known to the rest of the world, composed the only famous poem which that country has produced. Macao was given by the Emperor of China to the mighty King of Portugal, in return for some assistance which the Portuguese King had rendered him in driving pirates from the Chinese seas.

Why, two hundred years ago, there was not a head in all the Eastern world that would not bow low to the Portuguese uniform; and millions of dusky human beings in Asia and Africa toiled from youth to old age to enrich that small and distant kingdom. In America, too, there is Brazil, a country containing nearly four millions of square miles,—larger than the United States,—which belonged to Portugal until a few years ago. Here the Portuguese language is still spoken, Portuguese laws and customs still prevail, and it is governed by an emperor sprung from the royal family of Portugal.

I used to wonder at these things when I had but a slight knowledge of them at school; but in later years I found out the reason. I said in my last number that the mariner’s compass, very much as we have it now, was invented about the year 1300, and that I was going on to tell what was done with it after it was in the hands of navigators. Well, the reason why Portugal, a little, insignificant kingdom, held possessions so valuable and numerous in those distant parts of the world, is simply this: the Portuguese were the first to turn the compass to account in navigating the ocean.

But, after all, this does not quite explain the mystery. The compass is a delicate instrument, and one which lazy and ignorant people would be very unlikely to take an interest in, and still more unlikely to use in exploring unknown seas. From what we know of the Portuguese of the present day, we should not suppose them to have been at any time very energetic, very enterprising, or very intelligent. Indeed, I was told only last week by a New York merchant who has lived twenty years in India and China, that many of the Portuguese in Macao, Goa, Mozambique, and Angola, are more deeply sunk in vice, ignorance, and superstition than the natives themselves. I think we may say that it never would have occurred to such men as most of the Portuguese now are to take a needle in a box on board a ship, and go forth to discover and to conquer on the other side of the globe. It is only virtuous and intelligent people who do great and heroic things. You may well ask, therefore, how it came to pass that the Portuguese, of all the nations of Europe, should have been among the first to understand, and the first to use, the compass in navigating the broad ocean.

People used to laugh at the ancient historians, because they began their histories, even of insignificant states or men, by relating the creation of the world. But, in truth, events are so linked together, or so grow out of one another, that, in trying perfectly to understand the most trifling occurrence, you find yourself led back from one thing to another, until you are groping in the darkness of the most distant ages. I have found it so in this instance. In order to tell you how Portugal, in the fourteenth century, came to know enough to understand the compass, and to be brave enough to use it, it is positively necessary to explain to you how there came to be such a kingdom as Portugal at all; for the very circumstance which caused Portugal to be sliced off from Spain, and made into an independent State, was the reason of its taking the lead of Europe in navigating the sea.

But don’t be alarmed. I am not going to begin at the creation of man, nor even at the Deluge; nor am I going to tell a long and tedious story of the origin of Portugal. I wish merely to tell enough to enable you to understand clearly what is to follow.

And I must confess I wonder that more has not been written upon this subject of the first use of the compass by the Portuguese. I hear a great deal about Columbus and his mighty achievement in discovering America, and I do not wish to deny that Columbus was a great, resolute, and valiant hero. But he was only one of a long line of great navigators, of whom he was certainly the most fortunate, but perhaps not the greatest. And was not Columbus himself a pupil of the Portuguese? Did he not learn much of ocean navigation in Portuguese ships, under Portuguese captains, sailing to Portuguese possessions? Did he not carry on in Portugal the business of map-making and globe-making? Was he not inspired with a passion for discovery by listening to the very stories which I am going, by and by, to tell you,—stories of Portuguese adventure and discovery? Certainly he was. Do not wonder, then, at my being desirous that you should know something more about the great kings, princes, and people of a kingdom to which the world is more indebted than to any other modern nation.

If you look upon a map of Spain, in the southwestern corner of it you will find, near the coast, a place named Xeres. On that spot in the year 711 a great battle was fought,—one of those battles which change all the future of nations. Roderick was then King of Spain,—that Don Roderick about whom Robert Southey wrote one of his long poems. And I may just mention here that the poet Southey was one of the few men of his time who knew what great benefits Portugal once conferred on mankind; and he was hoping, all his life, to get time to write a history of that country.

Well, in April of the year 717, while Don Roderick, King of Spain, was away in the north, reducing to subjection some troublesome rebels in that quarter, there was brought to him the news that a mighty host of Arabs, under one of their bravest chiefs, Tarek by name, had crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, and marched sixty miles up the coast, to the plains of Xeres, having defeated one of the King’s generals on the way. Like a brave king as he was, he gathered all the nobles and fighting men of his country about him, and marched southward to drive these Mahometans from the soil which they had invaded. Three months after the landing of the Arabs, Roderick attacked them, himself commanding the centre of his army. All day long the battle raged without result. Renewed each morning, the contest was continued during eight days, and the victory was still undecided. On the ninth day the Spanish army gave way; Roderick was killed, sword in hand, by the leader of the Arab host, who from that hour was master of the Peninsula. He had but to march on and take possession. The Spaniards fled toward the Pyrenees on the northern boundary of Spain, whither the conqueror did not care to pursue them, and where their very poverty and helplessness protected them.

It took nearly eight hundred years to undo the work of those nine bloody days.

The Arabs continued their victorious march until all the fairest portions of Spain were occupied by them, and the Spaniards could call nothing their own except the rocks, and the hidden valleys and lofty peaks of the mountains which divide their country from France. Other hosts from Africa poured into the conquered country. Moorish cities were built, wherein Mahometan mosques pointed their minarets to the skies, and where, five times a day, the followers of Mahomet turned to the east and said their prayer. Spain, in fact, was doubly conquered; for the invaders who had stolen her lands and captured her cities had also driven out her priests and profaned her temples, and brought in a religion which the Christians of that day held in such abhorrence as we of the present age can hardly understand.

But the Spaniards were not destroyed. Under princes of their royal house they were reorganized; and they increased in numbers, until, from being just able to defend their mountain homes, they had become strong enough to descend into the plains, and wrest from the invader some of the territory which he had conquered. After four hundred years of almost ceaseless contest, Spain was half Moorish and half Spanish,—half Christian, half Mahometan,—each division of the people still hating the other with indescribable animosity.

You all know, I suppose, that in barbarous ages and countries nothing so sets man against his brother as a difference of religion; and to this was added, in the case of the Moors and Spaniards, a difference of race and color, as well as that natural hatred which men who stand in the relation of conquerors and conquered bear to one another. During all this long time, every patriotic Spaniard cherished in his heart one great desire, and that was to see the Moors driven away forever from the soil which he felt they polluted; while, on the other hand, every zealous Mahometan longed to see the day when every Christian church in Spain should be changed into a mosque, and the Christians should all be driven over the mountains into France.

Would you like to know why it was that this struggle between the Moors and the Spaniards lasted 781 years? I can tell you in four words: Neither party was united. The Moors were divided into many tribes and kingdoms, each under its own chief, and these tribes could be made to act together only when a great danger threatened them all, or when a powerful leader held out to them hopes of great conquests. The Spaniards, too, had their dissensions, and could seldom be brought to act as one nation. It was not until, by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, nearly the whole of Christian Spain became one kingdom, that the Christians finally triumphed, and drove the hated “infidels” back into Africa. This occurred in 1492, the year which Columbus made forever memorable by the discovery of America.

Now, at last, I come to Portugal. It was about the year 1100, seven hundred and sixty-nine years ago, when, as I have just said, Spain was half Christian and half Mahometan, that the events occurred which led to the formation of that little kingdom. As yet there had been no thought of such a division; although, perhaps, that part of Spain may have already been called Porto-galle, which, I believe, means the port-country; that is, the country about the mouth of the Douro, which forms the harbor of Oporto. It seems that, about 1090, Alphonso VI. the most powerful of the Christian kings of Spain, led a great army against the Moorish city and province of Toledo, fifty miles south of Madrid. He captured the city, drove the Moors out of the province, and added both to his own dominions. When he had time to reflect, he was actually frightened at his own success. The loss of such a province, he thought, would unite the Moors, and bring the whole host of them down upon his own dominions.

So he sent word to his father-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy, of the danger he had brought upon himself by winning too splendid a victory over the infidels, as the Mahometans were then called throughout Europe; and he begged the duke to send to his assistance some of the valiant knights and squires of Christian Burgundy. He sent also a similar message to Philip I, King of France. Soon there came trooping down across the southern plains of France, and winding through the passes of the Pyrenees, a band of gallant French and Burgundian knights and men-at-arms, to join in defending Alphonso against his enemies and the enemies of the common faith of Europe. They were commanded by two Burgundian princes, one of whom was the brave and noble Prince Henry, a younger brother of the Duke of Burgundy.

They remained in Spain for nearly three years, and greatly distinguished themselves in many a wild foray and desperate fight. Of such assistance were they to King Alphonso, that he not only secured his old conquests, but added others to them. One of these, an especially fine province, lay to the north of the river Douro, and now forms the most northern province of Portugal, having Oporto for its capital and seaport. This province he presented to Henry of Burgundy as a reward for the services which that noble Prince had rendered him; and, besides that, he gave him his daughter Theresa in marriage. Henry was then called the Count of Portugal, and he went to live in a town to the north of the Douro river, where the ruins of an ancient palace built by him or his sons may be seen to this day.

This was the beginning of the kingdom of Portugal, once so renowned and powerful, through which the two halves of the earth were one day to be brought to know each other.

It was no holiday sport to be a king or a nobleman in those wild times. It was no affair of mere ceremony and luxury, of gay hunting in the forest, hawking on the plain, and feasting in a grand banquet-hall when the sport was done. A prince then was understood to be the principal or best man in his dominions, around whom naturally gathered the valiant, the noble, and the wise.

Kings and nobles are not very much thought of in America at present, and this is very proper; for they appear to have done nearly all the good they had to do in the world. But the time was, let me tell you, when kings and nobles were worth all they cost, and when they greatly assisted the nations in coming out of barbarism and ignorance. If kings had not been necessary to mankind, mankind would not have had kings so long.

Now, one of the ways in which kings and princes helped to civilize nations was by marrying into families better than their own, and thus bringing into a country powerful persons who had more knowledge, more sense, or better feeling than before existed in it.

And it seems to me that the reason why this little kingdom of Portugal for two centuries took the lead in exploring and subduing unknown regions is that it had a royal family which was a great deal better and wiser than the race over which it ruled. Henry of Burgundy, Count of Portugal, besides being himself a valiant and high-minded prince, was also wise enough to rear a son worthy to fill his place and able to continue his work. That son, in honor of his benefactor, he named Alphonso Henry. He it was who defeated the Moors in one of the fiercest battles ever fought in the Peninsula. Five Moorish kings, it is said, led against him an army of two hundred thousand men, while he could muster but thirteen thousand troops for the defence of his dominions. From morning until evening, upon the plains of Ourique the battle was fought; and at sunset the Moors took to flight, and their army was totally destroyed. At the close of this bloody day, Count Alphonso was proclaimed king by his victorious soldiers; and this title being ratified by the pope, as well as by his own valor and goodness, he held it to his dying day, and transmitted it to sixteen successors of his name and blood.

His wife Matilda was a woman worthy to be the mother of a royal line. It was this noble pair who set the example of bringing up the royal children of Portugal in those habits of temperance and study which caused so many of them to be distinguished for virtue and knowledge. Fortunate was it, too, for Portugal, that Alphonso I. and Matilda, his queen, had a large family of sons and daughters, who, marrying into other noble and princely families, passed on the good qualities and good habits of their parents to their own children.

Two things you who wish to understand this matter will please to bear in mind until next month. One is, that the compass was ready for navigators about the year 1300. The other is, that the Portuguese royal family, founded by Henry of Burgundy, and enriched by some of the best blood of Europe, had in it a great deal of intellect and goodness. People of intellect, you know, have plenty of curiosity. Such kings and princes as Portugal then had—Portugal with five hundred miles of sea-coast and several good harbors—could not look upon such an instrument as the compass, could not hear of it, without wishing to understand it and put it to use.

James Parton.


From the school-house old and gray,

Under branches pink with May,

Clatter, patter, all together,

Little feet have hurried out,

Echoing, with their noise and rout,

Through the brooding spring-time weather

Poised uncertainly between

April cloud and summer sheen,

Half enamored of delay.


Only one poor little drone,

Silent, sullen, stays alone,

With his book unheeded lying

Near the useless, broken slate

In a storm of rage and hate

Flung at random on the floor.

Proud, rebellious, obstinate,

For a weary while before,

He has waited, vainly trying

To repress the tears that rise

In the angry baby eyes.


Well enough it is to play

All the golden hours away;

Well enough, unlucky scorner

Of the school-room’s common law,

Idle curve and line to draw

While the classes read and spell;

But when work is fairly done,

To be left, the only one,

In a dark and dusty corner,

Surely is not quite as well!


Naught for note of time has he

Save a neighboring apple-tree,

That a lengthened shadow swinging

Nearer, clearer, through the hour,

Tracery of leaf and flower

Marks upon the wall so plain,

Almost seems it he can see,

On the bough the eager bee

To the shaken blossom clinging,

’Mid the breezy petal-rain.


O you naughty little elf,

Punishing your silly self,

While the sun is wellnigh setting!

Do you fancy Rob will wait

All the evening by the gate,

With his boat upon the shelf?

Let the ready tears have way;

Seek forgiveness while you may,

Lest you find yourself regretting

A repentance come too late.


Kate Putnam Osgood.

From the Painting by Landseer.]          [See page 183.


One afternoon, about a hundred years ago, a boy was sitting in his grandmother’s kitchen, apparently doing nothing in particular, but really holding a very remarkable conversation with—whom do you think?—a white giant!

Now on the face of it, nothing would seem more unlikely than that a giant should be found in a plain little Scotch kitchen not more than eight feet high from the bare floor to the unplaned rafters; all the more so when a horseshoe hung by the chimney-side, and the old lady’s Bible, with her silver-bowed spectacles on the top of it, lay on the shelf. Nevertheless, there was the giant; and there, gazing intently on the place of his imprisonment, were the only two eyes in all Scotland that were able to find him out.

Indeed I must tell you that the giant in his proper state was quite invisible; but when he did appear in plain view, it was in the shape of a very old man with long white hair and beard, which seemed to encircle him like a garment, unless, indeed, they flowed down and mingled with his garment; and all—hair, beard, and robe—were whiter than snow. Therefore he is called the white giant.

And this is the way in which he made himself known to the boy.

Sitting by the fire, James had noticed that the lid of the teakettle was in a singular state of agitation. It would rise and fall, and flutter up and down in a very excited manner; and, coming as he did of a race that had believed for centuries in witches and goblins, and many supernatural creatures, the boy naturally began to suspect that some imprisoned force or other was beneath it, struggling to get free.

“Who are you?” said he, very quietly, “and what do you want, that you are so restless and excited?”

“Space, freedom, and something to do!” cried the captive giant from within.

“Softly! you have not told me yet who you are,” said James.

“No matter who I am. I’m pressed down here into nothing at all, and I am a great strong giant that wants room to work and be free.”

“Well, well! there’s work enough to be done,” said James. “Never was a race that wanted more done for it. But what can you do?”

“Try me and see. No one can do more. I will carry your ships, draw your carriages, and lift all your weights. I will plough your fields, sow the grain, and reap and thresh the harvests. I will hew away mountains and build roads. I will turn all the wheels in all your factories. I will weave your cloths and print your books, and carry them to the ends of the earth. In short, I will do everything that strength can do, and you shall be the brain that directs. I will be the faithful servant to fulfil all your commands.”

“Here’s a singular treasure-trove to be found in an old copper teakettle!” cried James, rubbing his eyes to be sure he was not dreaming.

“Only shows the use of having your eyes open,” replied his strange companion. “I am one of the forces that were created to work for you; but you have a fancy for drudgery, it seems, and prefer to dig and weave for yourselves.”

“Indeed, we prefer no such thing,” said James, laughing. “We are told that it is one of our great vices to require other people to work for us while we sit idle.”

“That is very true when it is your brethren that you are enslaving,” replied the giant; “but you have not found out half the servants that were ordained to work for you since the foundation of the world, or else you would not be delving in the ditches and drudging with your hands, instead of letting your brains grow, that you may direct us. What do you mean by letting little children toil in your miserable factories, and become dwarfed in body and soul, when here am I; and a hundred other giants like myself, any one of whom could do the work of ten thousand of those babies, and never feel it,—and you give us no work to do?”

“You are a kind-hearted old genie, I am sure,” said the boy; “and, if I live, my work shall be to introduce you to the acquaintance of men. But tell me something of your history. Where have you been, all these years, that no one has found you out?”

“Where I am now, and in similar places, though not always so tightly pressed. And indeed I have not been idle, though my appetite for work has never been half supplied. I am one of the elder children of the flood, and began my work in the world before your race appeared upon it. Before the rain began her ministry, I arose from my hidden retreats in the earth, and watered the earliest of gardens. Ever since then I have been carrying on a great system of irrigation; rising from the ocean into the sky, sailing in great fleets laden with treasure toward the mountain-sides where my bounties have been bestowed; sinking then, in a slightly altered form, into the earth, and visiting the roots of all the trees with supplies of food,—creeping up through all their veins and into their broad green leaves, whence I escape into the air again. You see I have had something to do. But all this quiet work is only half enough for me. Work is my nature; so do not be afraid of overtasking me. I cannot have too much.”

“Indeed you are a grand old fellow, and I am proud of your acquaintance,” cried James. “Now I seem to remember having seen you in April days, or sometimes in August or September, floating in the sky, but I never thought to become so much better acquainted with you in my grandmother’s kitchen.”

“James, James! what are ye doing?” cried the old lady, from her straight-backed chair. “Here ye’ve done naething a’ the day but tilt the cover of the kettle, like a lazy lout that ye be. Gae to your tasks noo, like a mon, and be of some use in the world.”

“Ah, grandam,” said James, “I have been doing a thousand days’ work, sitting here by the ingleside.”

“Dinna be fooling, bairn! Dinna be fooling, ye idle dreamer! Wark and ye’ll thrive; be lazy and ye’ll come to naught.”

Nevertheless, James’s dreams came to more use than many another man’s work, because he had the faculty of thinking to a purpose; and in the many talks he held with the friendly old giant he learned one after another the secrets of his power. When lessons were over, the giant told wonderful stories to his young disciple; and perhaps I can repeat one of them in a few words:—

“In old times, there was a long-continued contest between the land and the sea. At first the sea had been the monarch, and ruled over the whole surface of the globe. At length the land appeared, claiming a large part of his domain, and this enraged the sea, who beat wrathfully with whole armies of billows upon her shore and threatened to conquer back all that he had lost.

“Presently came the children of the land: first the little grasses, that, tenderly embracing their mother, protected her from being quite carried away by the rude invading sea; and at length the taller trees, the great pines and oaks, that added greatly to her beauty and glory.

“Then a new thought occurred to the land, and she sent out these her greater children to subdue the sea on his own domains. They rode triumphantly over the billows, and, aided by the friendly winds, plied diligently from place to place, increasing everywhere the wealth and glory of their mother. But the sea arose in his wrath, and often ingulfed these faithful children of the land, or broke their bones, and cast them up upon her lap in bitter scorn and defiance.

“Then the land resolved to take a more exquisite revenge than ever before. And she called forth a mighty spirit from the bosom of the sea himself,—a weird, white, gigantic genie who had been the eldest child of the flood. She gave him an armor of iron scales which the sea could not break, and upon him she laid her spells, and he went obediently to and fro at her bidding. Thus the land was at last triumphant, as organized brain always will be over brute natural force; and the children of men passed over land and sea in safety toward their goal of perfect knowledge.

“But part of that is prophecy,” said the white giant, when he had finished the story.

“It shall be fact before many years,” said James. “And you, my good giant, are the genie who shall finish the tale.”

Soon swift cars were running to and fro the whole length of the kingdom, propelled by the giant’s arms. Soon, too, the tasks of the little children at the factories were done by the same old worker, who could drive a million spindles at a stroke quite as easily as a child could move one; and if the children were still employed, it was only to keep the giant supplied with work enough, which indeed was no easy task.

His good-nature was equal to all the tasks which could be imposed upon him. If you have ever seen his white beard rising above the chimney of some factory on a winter morning, or puffing out of the escape-valve of some little tug, you may almost have mistaken him, in the wavy, graceful lines of his white drapery, for a sunny cloud,—which, indeed, would not be the greatest of mistakes.

Before long the great ocean-going ships had the giant established in their holds, and their ponderous wheels moved by his iron arms, so that, independently of wind or tide, they could hold their course night and day, and like swiftly moving shuttles weave the continents together with bands of neighborly good-will.

Elsie Teller.


The last rays of the setting sun lingered on the towers of Carthage, and tinged with a warm flush the snowy crests of the waves that flung their gray foam to its very ramparts.

Laughing maidens, bearing their pitchers from the fountains, assembled at the gates; tired camels, that all day long had borne from distant and tributary realms vestments of purple, fragrant gums, and dust of gold, released from their burdens, were feeding beneath the walls,—while from the deck of many a galley the slave’s rude song floated on the evening air.

In a quiet vale, secluded, yet not distant from the city, beneath the shadow of a palm, reclines a lovely woman; the low-voiced summer wind, stirring the citron groves, has lulled her to rest. The ripe grapes from a pendent vine almost touch her swelling breast. The spray of a neighboring fountain falls in minute drops, like tears of pearl, on her cheek; while a beautiful boy, tired with play, has nestled to her side, half hidden by her flowing locks. Hurried footsteps are heard in the distance, a heavy hand puts aside the branches, and Hamilcar, the chieftain of the Carthaginian armies, stands beneath the shadow of the palm; as he bends forward to look upon his slumbering wife, a ripe grape, shaken by the plume of his helmet from the cluster, falls upon the face of the sleeper, and she awakes. Bright tears of pride and joy glitter in her dark eyes, as, seated at his feet among the flowers, her white arm flung in careless happiness across his sinewy knees and throbbing in his gauntleted grasp, she gazes on the towering form and noble brow on which the stern traces of recent conflict still linger. Tempests have bronzed his cheek, desperate and bloody conflicts left their scars upon him, yet is he not less dear to her than when in joy of youth they crowned the altars of the gods with flowers, sporting among the sheaves at harvest home. She speaks: “My lord, is it disaster or business of the state that brings you here? Your eye is troubled, and these iron fingers too rudely press my flesh, as though your thoughts were dark and fraught with doubt or danger.”

“I have left the camp to make good a purpose long since known to thee,—to devote with sacred rites this boy at the altar of Mars, and pledge him to eternal enmity with Rome.”

“Is this the weighty business which brings thee at this unaccustomed hour, thine armor soiled with dust, thy brow with sweat, in such fierce haste to pluck this fair child from his mother’s breast, and train him up to slaughter? Strange that this great empire, so full of men and arms and fleets of war, should need the arm of childhood to protect it. Stern man, thou lovest me not.”

“Why question thus my love? for as this breastplate does my heart defend, so have I cherished and protected thee, while in thy fragile beauty thou hast clung around the warrior’s stubborn strength, even as that wreathing vine doth yonder citron clasp, adorning its protector. But little dost thou know, fair wife, of the affairs of nations and of camps. Beneath these shades where the cool zephyr from Trinacrian hills breathes through the spicy groves, thou hast reposed; no tear has stained thy cheek except the fountain’s pearly drops that glistened there when I thy sleep disturbed.

“Too well I know the Roman’s iron strength: in times of truce and intervals of conflict I have seen his daily life, and marked his customs well. The water of the brook to quench his thirst, the dry leaves for his bed, and bread of simplest preparation supply his wants. Then, as the fierce she-wolf doth raven for her whelps, so goes he forth to plunder and to prey among the nations, and, for the sake of stealing that which stolen is not worth the keeping, will life and fortune set upon a cast. Show to a Roman senate some patch of sand within mid-Africa, some waste of Alpine rocks, white with eternal snows, where famished peasants watch their starving flocks and wrestle with the avalanche for life;—did Phlegethon with all his burning waves the wretched pittance guard, and fierce Eumenides beleaguer all the shore, yet would a Roman consul dare the flood, do battle with the lion for his sands, and slay the shivering goatherd for his rocks.

“The Romans turn their greedy eyes toward these fair realms: they seek to lay in ashes these ancestral towers, where whatsoever piety reveres, or old affection cherishes, is garnered and bestowed. Nor will they pause till every wave of this encircling sea, crimsoned with the gore of matrons and aged men, and even of the laughing and unconscious babe, shall roll its bloody burden to the shore.

“And most unequal is the conflict. The men who reared these towers and moistened with their blood these battlements are not: in their stead has come a race of petty shopkeepers and sycophants, having no generous resolve, no strength to keep what their forefathers won. The streets are thronged with youths whose dainty limbs are clad in flowing and embroidered robes, whose jewelled fingers are skilful to touch the lyre, but not to press the war-horse through ranks of thronging spear-men, to draw the Numidian arrow to the head, and dip its thirsty point in hostile blood. The rest are veterans gray with years, and most unfit for service, as the shepherd’s dog, stiff with age and pampered with good living, erects his hair and shows his toothless jaws, making in vain a noble front before the gaunt and wiry wolf.

“Our only hope is in the legions I have drawn from Spain, and trained in foreign wars to conflict. But my step, once lighter than the brindled tiger’s on the Libyan sands, grows heavy with the weight of years and hardships. Were I to fall, armies would lack a leader, my country one who loves her better than himself, or wife, or child. But the blood that mantles in this boy’s cheek is that of heroes; thy ancestors and mine were chieftains of the olden time, and when the lion shall breed sheep will I believe that any of our race and lineage can ever fail their country in her hour of need. Therefore, despite thy tears, mine own affection, and his tender age, from off thy bosom will I take this child, and as the lion brings his whelps afield with claws half grown, and trains them on the hunters, so will I him. . . . . It is not what we choose, but what our country needs and sacred liberty requires, that we must do, though in the conflict our own heart-strings break. He shall be the enemy of Rome in soul and body, and in secret thought. . . . . He shall not feed on dainties and sleep on Tyrian purple till he becomes the object of men’s sneers. The panther’s shaggy hide, the forest leaves, shall be his couch, while on my corselet scales his cheek shall rest,—the soldier’s iron pillow; and when with growing strength and hardihood his bones endure the harness, behind his father’s buckler he shall learn to fight, and bathe his maiden sword in blood.”

At the altar of Mars, surrounded by a vast throng of citizens, soldiery, and the chief estates of the realm, stands Hamilcar; his helmet down, his features concealed from the crowd. On the opposite side of the altar are his wife and her maidens; at his side the child. Placing his little fingers on the yet quivering flesh of the victim, he said, “Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, swear by this consecrated blood, and in the presence of that dread God of battles on whose altar it smokes, that you will neither love nor make peace with any of Roman blood; should fortune, friends, and weapons fail, you will still live and die the inexorable enemy of Rome.”

As he paused, the clear tones of a childish voice, answering, “I swear,” rose upon a stillness so deep that the low crackling of the flames that fed the altar-fires was distinctly audible.

It was broken by one wild shriek of agony, as the frantic mother fell fainting into the arms of her maidens.

The stern chieftain spake not, but, as he stooped to raise the child, a single tear, falling between the bars of his helmet upon the upturned face of the wondering boy, told of the agony within.

Elijah Kellogg.

Note.—The Publishers of “Our Young Folks” are obliged, by their arrangement with the author of the foregoing declamation, positively to prohibit its republication.


I wish the young people who propose to read any of these papers to understand to whom they are addressed. My friend, Frederic Ingham, has a nephew, who went to New York on a visit, and while there occupied himself in buying “travel-presents” for his brothers and sisters at home. His funds ran low; and at last he found that he had still three presents to buy and only thirty-four cents with which to buy them. He made the requisite calculation as to how much he should have for each,—looked in at Ball and Black’s, and at Tiffany’s, priced an amethyst necklace, which he thought Clara would like, and a set of cameos for Fanfan, and found them beyond his reach. He then tried at a nice little toy-shop there is a little below the Fifth Avenue House, on the west, where a “clever” woman and a good-natured girl keep the shop, and, having there made one or two vain endeavors to suit himself, asked the good-natured girl if she had not “got anything a fellow could buy for about eleven cents.” She found him first one article, then another, and then another. Wot bought them all, and had one cent in his pocket when he came home.

In much the same way these six articles of mine have been waiting in the bottom of my inkstand and the front of my head for seven or nine years, without finding precisely the right audience or circle of readers. I explained to Mr. Fields—the amiable Sheik of the amiable tribe who prepare the “Young Folks” for the young folks—that I had the six articles all ready to write, but that they were meant for girls say from thirteen to seventeen, and boys say from fourteen to nineteen. I explained that girls and boys of this age never read the “Atlantic,” O no, not by any means! And I supposed that they never read the “Young Folks,” O no, not by any means! I explained that I could not preach them as sermons, because many of the children at church were too young, and a few of the grown people were too old. That I was, therefore, detailing them in conversation to such of my young friends as chose to hear. On which the Sheik was so good as to propose to provide for me, as it were, a special opportunity, which I now use. We jointly explain to the older boys and girls, who rate between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, that these essays are exclusively for them.

I had once the honor—on the day after Lee’s surrender—to address the girls of the 12th Street School in New York. “Shall I call you ‘girls’ or ‘young ladies’?” said I. “Call us girls, call us girls,” was the unanimous answer. I heard it with great pleasure; for I took it as a nearly certain sign that these three hundred young people were growing up to be true women,—which is to say, ladies of the very highest tone.

“Why did I think so?” Because at the ages of fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen they took pleasure in calling things by their right names.

So far, then, I trust we understand each other, before any one begins to read these little hints of mine, drawn from forty-five years of very quiet listening to good talkers; which are, however, nothing more than hints

How to talk.

Here is a letter from my nephew Tom, a spirited, modest boy of seventeen, who is a student of the Scientific School at New Limerick. He is at home with his mother for an eight weeks’ vacation; and the very first evening of his return he went round with her to the Vandermeyers’, where was a little gathering of some thirty or forty people,—most of them, as he confesses, his old schoolmates, a few of them older than himself. But poor Tom was mortified, and thinks he was disgraced, because he did not have anything to say, could not say it if he had, and, in short, because he does not talk well. He hates talking parties, he says, and never means to go to one again.

Here is also a letter from Esther W., who may speak for herself, and the two may well enough be put upon the same file, and be answered together:—

“Please listen patiently to a confession. I have what seems to me very natural,—a strong desire to be liked by those whom I meet around me in society of my own age; but, unfortunately, when with them my manners have often been unnatural and constrained, and I have found myself thinking of myself, and what others were thinking of me, instead of entering into the enjoyment of the moment as others did. I seem to have naturally very little independence, and to be very much afraid of other people, and of their opinion. And when, as you might naturally infer from the above, I often have not been successful in gaining the favor of those around me, then I have spent a great deal of time in the selfish indulgence of ‘the blues,’ and in philosophizing on the why and the wherefore of some persons’ agreeableness and popularity and others’ unpopularity.”

There, is not that a good letter from a nice girl?

Will you please to see, dear Tom, and you also, dear Esther, that both of you, after the fashion of your age, are confounding the method with the thing. You see how charmingly Mrs. Pallas sits back and goes on with her crochet while Dr. Volta talks to her; and then, at the right moment, she says just the right thing, and makes him laugh, or makes him cry, or makes him defend himself, or makes him explain himself; and you think that there is a particular knack or rule for doing this so glibly, or that she has a particular genius for it which you are not born to, and therefore you both propose hermitages for yourselves because you cannot do as she does. Dear children, it would be a very stupid world if anybody in it did just as anybody else does. There is no particular method about talking or talking well. It is one of the things in life which “does itself.” And the only reason why you do not talk as easily and quite as pleasantly as Mrs. Pallas is, that you are thinking of the method, and coming to me to inquire how to do that which ought to do itself perfectly, simply, and without any rules at all.

It is just as foolish girls at school think that there is some particular method of drawing with which they shall succeed, while with all other methods they have failed. “No, I can’t draw in india-ink [pronounced in-jink], ’n’ I can’t do anything with crayons,—I hate crayons,—’n’ I can’t draw pencil-drawings, ’n’ I won’t try any more; but if this tiresome old Mr. Apelles was not so obstinate, ’n’ would only let me try the ‘monochromatic drawing,’ I know I could do that. ’T so easy. Julia Ann, she drew a beautiful piece in only six lessons.”

My poor Pauline, if you cannot see right when you have a crayon in your hand, and will not draw what you see then, no “monochromatic system” is going to help you. But if you will put down on the paper what you see, as you see it, whether you do it with a cat’s tail, as Benjamin West did it, or with a glove turned inside out, as Mr. Hunt bids you do it, you will draw well. The method is of no use, unless the thing is there; and when you have the thing, the method will follow.

So there is no particular method for talking which will not also apply to swimming or skating, or reading or dancing, or in general to living. And if you fail in talking, it is because you have not yet applied in talking the simple master-rules of life.

For instance, the first of these rules is,

Tell the Truth.

Only last night I saw poor Bob Edmeston, who has got to pull through a deal of drift-wood before he gets into clear water, break down completely in the very beginning of his acquaintance with one of the nicest girls I know, because he would not tell the truth, or did not. I was standing right behind them, listening to Dr. Ollapod, who was explaining to me the history of the second land grant made to Gorges, and between the sentences I had a chance to hear every word poor Bob said to Laura. Mark now, Laura is a nice clever girl, who has come to make the Watsons a visit through her whole vacation at Poughkeepsie; and all the young people are delighted with her pleasant ways, and all of them would be glad to know more of her than they do. Bob really wants to know her, and he was really glad to be introduced to her. Mrs. Pollexfen presented him to her, and he asked her to dance, and they stood on the side of the cotillon behind me and in front of Dr. Ollapod. After they had taken their places, Bob said: “Jew go to the opera last week, Miss Walter?” He meant, “Did you go to the opera last week?”

“No,” said Laura, “I did not.”

“O, ’twas charming!” said Bob. And there this effort at talk stopped, as it should have done, being founded on nothing but a lie; which is to say, not founded at all. For, in fact, Bob did not care two straws about the opera. He had never been to it but once, and then he was tired before it was over. But he pretended he cared for it. He thought that at an evening party he must talk about the opera, and the lecture season, and the assemblies, and a lot of other trash, about which in fact he cared nothing, and so knew nothing. Not caring and not knowing, he could not carry on his conversation a step. The mere fact that Miss Walter had shown that she was in real sympathy with him in an indifference to the opera threw him off the track which he never should have been on, and brought his untimely conversation to an end.

Now, as it happened, Laura’s next partner brought her to the very same place, or rather she never left it, but Will Hackmatack came and claimed her dance as soon as Bob’s was done. Dr. Ollapod had only got down to the appeal made to the lords sitting in equity, when I noticed Will’s beginning. He spoke right out of the thing he was thinking of.

“I saw you riding this afternoon,” he said.

“Yes,” said Laura, “we went out by the red mills, and drove up the hill by Mr. Pond’s.”

“Did you?” said Will, eagerly. “Did you see the beehives?”

“Beehives? no;—are there beehives?”

“Why, yes, did not you know that Mr. Pond knows more about bees than all the world beside? At least, I believe so. He has a gold medal from Paris for his honey or for something. And his arrangements there are very curious.”

“I wish I had known it,” said Laura. “I kept bees last summer, and they always puzzled me. I tried to get books; but the books are all written for Switzerland, or England, or anywhere but Orange County.”

“Well,” said the eager Will, “I do not think Mr. Pond has written any book, but I really guess he knows a great deal about it. Why, he told me—” &c., &c., &c.

It was hard for Will to keep the run of the dance; and before it was over he had promised to ask Mr. Pond when a party of them might come up to the hill and see the establishment; and he felt as well acquainted with Laura as if he had known her a month. All this ease came from Will’s not pretending an interest where he did not feel any, but opening simply where he was sure of his ground, and was really interested. More simply, Will did not tell a lie, as poor Bob had done in that remark about the opera, but told the truth.

If I were permitted to write more than thirty-five pages of this note-paper (of which this is the nineteenth), I would tell you twenty stories to the same point. And please observe that the distinction between the two systems of talk is the eternal distinction between the people whom Thackeray calls snobs and the people who are gentlemen and ladies. Gentlemen and ladies are sure of their ground. They pretend to nothing that they are not. They have no occasion to act one or another part. It is not possible for them, even in the choice of subjects, to tell lies.

The principle of selecting a subject which thoroughly interests you requires only one qualification. You may be very intensely interested in some affairs of your own; but in general society you have no right to talk of them, simply because they are not of equal interest to other people. Of course you may come to me for advice, or go to your master, or to your father or mother, or to any friend, and in form lay open your own troubles or your own life, and make these the subject of your talk. But in general society you have no right to do this. For the rule of life is, that men and women must not think of themselves, but of others: they must live for others, and then they will live rightly for themselves. So the second rule for talk would express itself thus:—

Do not talk about your own Affairs.

I remember how I was mortified last summer, up at the Tiptop House, though I was not in the least to blame, by a display Emma Fortinbras made of herself. There had gathered round the fire in the sitting-room quite a group of the different parties who had come up from the different houses, and we all felt warm and comfortable and social; and, to my real delight, Emma and her father and her cousin came in,—they had been belated somewhere. She is a sweet pretty little thing, really the belle of the village, if we had such things, and we are all quite proud of her in one way; but I am sorry to say that she is a little goose, and sometimes she manages to show this just when you don’t want her to. Of course she shows this, as all other geese show themselves, by cackling about things that interest no one but herself. When she came into the room, Alice ran to her and kissed her, and took her to the warmest seat, and took her little cold hands to rub them, and began to ask her how it had all happened, and where they had been, and all the other questions. Now, you see, this was a very dangerous position. Poor Emma was not equal to it. The subject was given her, and so far she was not to blame. But when, from the misfortunes of the party, she rushed immediately to detail individual misfortunes of her own, resting principally on the history of a pair of boots which she had thought would be strong enough to last all through the expedition, and which she had meant to send to Sparhawk’s before she left home to have their heels cut down, only she had forgotten, and now these boots were thus and thus, and so and so, and she had no others with her, and she was sure that she did not know what she should do when she got up in the morning,—I say, when she got as far as this, in all this thrusting upon people who wanted to sympathize a set of matters which had no connection with what interested them, excepting so far as their personal interest in her gave it, she violated the central rule of life; for she showed she was thinking of herself with more interest than she thought of others with. Now to do this is bad living, and it is bad living which will show itself in bad talking.

But I hope you see the distinction. If Mr. Agassiz comes to you on the Field day of the Essex Society, and says: “Miss Fanchon, I understand that you fell over from the steamer as you came from Portland, and had to swim half an hour before the boats reached you. Will you be kind enough to tell me how you were taught to swim, and how the chill of the water affected you, and, in short, all about your experience?” he then makes choice of the subject. He asks for all the detail. It is to gratify him that you go into the detail, and you may therefore go into it just as far as you choose. Only take care not to lug in one little detail merely because it interests you, when there is no possibility that, in itself, it can have an interest for him.

Have you never noticed how the really provoking silence of these brave men who come back from the war gives a new and particular zest to what they tell us of their adventures? We have to worm it out of them, we drag it from them by pincers, and, when we have it, the flavor is all pure. It is exactly what we want,—life highly condensed; and they could have given us indeed nothing more precious, as certainly nothing more charming. But when some Bobadil braggart volunteers to tell how he did this and that, how he silenced this battery, and how he rode over that field of carnage, in the first place we do not believe a tenth part of his story, and in the second place we wish he would not tell the fraction which we suppose is possibly true.

Life is given to us that we may learn how to live. That is what it is for. We are here in a great boarding-school, where we are being trained in the use of our bodies and our minds, so that in another world we may know how to use other bodies, and minds with other faculties. Or, if you please, life is a gymnasium. Take which figure you choose. Because of this, good talk, following the principle of life, is always directed with a general desire for learning rather than teaching. No good talker is obtrusive, thrusting forward his observation on men and things. He is rather receptive, trying to get at other people’s observations; and what he says himself falls from him, as it were, by accident, he unconscious that he is saying anything that is worth while. As the late Professor Harris said, one of the last times I saw him, “There are unsounded depths in a man’s nature of which he himself knows nothing till they are revealed to him by the plash and ripple of his own conversation with other men.” This great principle of life, when applied in conversation, may be stated simply then in two words,—

Confess Ignorance.

You are both so young that you cannot yet conceive of the amount of treasure that will yet be poured in upon you, by all sorts of people, if you do not go about professing that you have all you want already. You know the story of the two school-girls on the Central Railroad. They were dead faint with hunger, having ridden all day without food, but, on consulting together, agreed that they did not dare to get out at any station to buy. A modest old doctor of divinity, who was coming home from a meeting of the “American Board,” overheard their talk, got some sponge-cake, and pleasantly and civilly offered it to them as he might have done to his grandchildren. But poor Sybil, who was nervous and anxious, said, “No, thank you,” and so Sarah thought she must say, “No, thank you,” too; and so they were nearly dead when they reached the Delavan House. Now just that same thing happens, whenever you pretend, either from pride or from shyness, that you know the thing you do not know. If you go on in that way, you will be starved before long, and the coroner’s jury will bring in a verdict, “Served you right.” I could have brayed a girl, whom I will call Jane Smith, last night at Mrs. Pollexfen’s party, only I remembered, “Though thou bray a fool in a mortar, his foolishness will not depart from him,” and that much the same may be said of fools of the other sex. I could have brayed her, I say, when I saw how she was constantly defrauding herself by cutting off that fine Major Andrew, who was talking to her, or trying to. Really, no instances give you any idea of it. From a silly boarding-school habit, I think, she kept saying “Yes,” as if she would be disgraced by acknowledging ignorance. “You know,” said he, “what General Taylor said to Santa Anna, when they brought him in?” “Yes,” simpered poor Jane, though in fact she did not know, and I do not suppose five people in the world do. But poor Andrew, simple as a soldier, believed her and did not tell the story, but went on alluding to it, and they got at once into helpless confusion. Still, he did not know what the matter was, and before long, when they were speaking of one of the Muhlbach novels, he said, “Did you think of the resemblance between the winding up and Redgauntlet?” “O yes,” simpered poor Jane again, though, as it proved, and as she had to explain in two or three minutes, she had never read a word of Redgauntlet. She had merely said “Yes,” and “Yes,” and “Yes,” not with a distinct notion of fraud, but from an impression that it helps conversation on if you forever assent to what is said. This is an utter mistake; for, as I hope you see by this time, conversation really depends on the acknowledgment of ignorance,—being indeed, the providential appointment of God for the easy removal of such ignorance.

And here I must stop, lest you both be tired. In my next paper I shall begin again, and teach you, 4. To talk to the person you are talking with, and not simper to her or him, while really you are looking all round the room, and thinking of ten other persons; 5. Never in any other way to underrate the person you talk with, but to talk your best, whatever that may be; and, 6. To be brief,—a point which I shall have to illustrate at great length.

If you like, you may confide to the letter-box your experiences on these points, as well as on the three on which we have already been engaged. But, whether you do or do not, I shall give to you the result, not only of my experiences, but of at least 5,872 years of talk—Lyell says many more—since Adam gave names to chattering monkeys.

Edward Everett Hale.


A nestling in the little crib,

A soft hand laid upon my head,

A gentle whisper in my ear,—

“Mamma, I’m tumin’ into bed!”


“O no!” I said, “ ’twill never do;

Now shut those little peepers tight,

And sleep and dream till morning breaks;

Then you may come,—when comes the light.”


Again a nestling in the crib,

As down to rest my birdie lay;

I listened, for I thought she spoke;—

“Huddy up, Light!” I heard her say.


Then all was still. We slept again

Till dawn lit up the eastern sky;

Then sang my birdie sweet and clear,

“Now light has tum, and so has I!”

A. Q. G.


No. 15.

My first a revolver you’ll find;

My second, if placed in your way,

Might hinder your taking a part in my third;

And if you get hurt in the fray,

You’ll have, I am sure, but yourself to upbraid,

Should you need, in my whole, to be homeward conveyed.



No. 16.


Without my first, my second’s an empty thing,

But from us both great social evils spring.


In nearly all petitions I appear.

One whom our patriot soldiers did not fear.

An awful curse: recall that word so dread!

A classic youth,—alas for his poor head!

By tens of thousands I can count my slain.

The lover begs to hear me once again.

Beacon Street.

No. 17.


The name of a distinguished traveller and author.


What we should not do.

A province of ancient Greece.

What we shall never see again.

A sea in Western Asia.

A hero of Shakespeare.

A river of Russia.




No. 19.

I am composed of 12 letters.

My 8, 12, 11, 3, is what pretty girls are apt to be.

My 5, 9, 1, is the life of vegetation.

My 2, 8, 11, 7, is not good.

My 1, 12, 11, 4, is hard to bear.

My 1, 2, 10, 4, 6, is an American coin.

My whole is one of the United States.

Allie H. C.

No. 20.

I am composed of 32 letters.

My 28, 19, 6, 31, 27, 13, is a county in New York.

My 8, 18, 3, 23, 32, 8, 21, 6, 24, is the capital of one of the Western States.

My 16, 27, 30, 31, 4, 27, is a lake in the State of New York.

My 30, 6, 15, 1, 4, 27, is a county in the southern part of New York.

My 11, 17, 32, 27, is a natural division of water.

My 8, 10, 14, 26, 24, is a river in Georgia.

My 13, 2, 10, 27, is a river in Africa.

My 24, 22, 26, 14, 12, is a division of Africa.

My 9, 12, 14, 7, is one of the grand divisions of the earth.

My 12, 2, 20, 2, 11, 25, is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea.

My 14, 24, 5, 10, 29, is a division of Europe.

My whole is a place of great resort.

Lulu & Frank.

No. 21.

     Borne by a bird I’m seen,

     Worn by a jewelled queen,

Headless, and mouthless, and toothed like a shark.

     Workmen have fashioned me,

     Insects have toiled for me,

Made me of hexagons framed in the dark.


     Formed of chelonian shell,

     Formed of baleen as well,

Elephant’s tusk or the sap of a tree;

     Keeping the locks in sheen,

     Hiding the hills between,—

How many little folks ever saw me?

No. 22.


I am composed of 62 letters.

My 36, 6, 62, 19, 32, is an Italian poet.

My 18, 53, 32, 50, 40, 21, 9, is an English poetess.

My 38, 51, 34, 50, 24, 16, 61, 27, 4, 28, 39, is a Siamese poet.

My 52, 13, 37, 43, 55, 58, is a German poet.

My 46, 54, 14, 10, 30, 1, 25, 3, 35, is the birthplace of an English poet.

My 25, 12, 44, 2, 7, 50, 37, 46, is an American poet.

My 49, 31, 60, 50, 23, 33, 45, 9, presided over poetry.

My 4, 57, 48, 11, is a Latin poet.

My 59, 47, 3, 40, 62, 22, 28, 41, is a French poet.

My 8, 42, 17, 29, 20, 26, 56, was beloved by a poet.

My 5, 48, 37, 8, 15, 46, is a poet whose name is well known to “Our Young Folks.”

My whole is a well-known couplet written by a leading poet of New England.

No. 23.


I am composed of 9 letters.

My 1, 6, 7, is a quadruped with parted hoofs.

My 2, 6, 2, is a bird that feeds chiefly on insects.

My 3, 6, is a quadruped with long claws.

My 4, 8, 2, is a gnawing quadruped.

My 5, 3, 9, is the biped that makes a fire.

My 7, 8, 4, is a fish found on our coast.

My 8, 9, 2, is a stinging insect.

My 9, 3, 7, is a whole-hoofed quadruped.

My whole is a bird that inhabits Arctic regions.


Willy Wisp.




7. Nicholas Nickleby.

8. Ladies, if love should chance to break your heart, a rose in your bosom will take away the smart. [(Ladies) if (Loves) (hood) (chants) (tub) (rake) (ewer) (heart) A (rose in ewer) (bosom) W (hilt) A (key) (weight) (he) SM (heart).]

9. Home-sick-ness.

10. Boat.

11. This is not to represent a round-robin, but Round the Evening Lamp and Our Letter Box. [(This is not to represent a round-robin but) round (tea) (he) (Eve) (N in G) (lamp) & (hour) (letter) (box).]

Ave MariA.
Oil City.


Our readers will be saddened to hear of the death of Mrs. Anna Maria Wells, whose beautiful child-poems have so often appeared in this Magazine. She had lived to quite an advanced age, but her last illness was brief, and her departure seemed sudden to her friends. Her residence of late years was at Roxbury, Mass. She died in the month of December.

She loved children dearly: one need only read her verses to know that. We have lost with her one of our best contributors. Several of her poems are yet to be given to the readers of “Our Young Folks”; and the following sweet and thoughtful lines of hers, which have been lying for some months in our drawer, will not be out of place here, as a remembrancer of one who surely has not lived in vain.


To the restless couch where Jamie,

  Half waking, half slumbering, lay,

Lighting the sick-room feebly,

  Stole the first dawn of day.


“Has the morning come, dear mother?

  Then why is it not more bright?

Last night little angels came here

  And filled the whole room with light.


“Those beautiful angel children!

  Perhaps I was dreaming then.

I wish it were night and not morning,

  To dream of the angels again.


“They smiled, and they spoke so softly;

  Their voices were sweet and low;

They showed me green fields and bright rivers,

  And asked me with them to go.


“Lean over my pillow and kiss me.

  The angel children are fair.

Don’t turn away from me, mother;

  Mother, are you there?


“Come closer, that I may see you,—

  Nearer,—more near, more near;

I hear them again; they are coming;

  They call to me,—do you hear?


“O beautiful ones! O voices!

  O heavenly sounds of song!

O white wings folding about me,

  Tender and swift and strong!


“Far through the golden gateway,

  Beyond and beyond I see;

I go with the angel-children;

  Mother, be glad for me.”


The mother, she kissed his pale lips,

  And all through tears she smiled,

And her heart to heaven uplifting,

  “God keep thee,” she said, “my child.”

Happy is the child who loves a picture-book, and who has parents able and willing to gratify his taste. For picture-books are growing prettier every year,—at least it seems so to us, fresh from a tour among the bookstores, where so many exquisite gleanings yet remain from the late holiday-harvest.

And what a nice thing it is, that Christmas and blessed old Santa Claus come early in the winter, so that when the last fringed gentian has faded from the brook-side, and the last fiery maple-leaf has burnt itself out to the color of the dry grass where it fell, and the little folks can no longer have the freedom of the woods, they can ramble away into picture-land and story-land, those wide, airy regions where frost never falls. For the charm of a good picture, whether written or painted, is that it takes us out of ourselves, and leads us into a new world,—a recreation that we all feel the need of sometimes, though we may be inclosed within the very pleasantest four walls.

To begin as children prefer to begin (whether it is good for them or not is another matter), with what we like best. “The Story without an End” has taken us entirely captive. It is more of a dream than a story, and the pictures are the blossoms of the dream. A dream-child appears in them, wandering on from page to page among real morning-glories and violets and hepaticas, between the stars of earth and the stars of heaven, and is last seen as a small, shrouded chrysalis, so light as not to bend the grass-blades where it hangs, under the smile of the blue, eternal skies.

This lovely picture-book is one of the things that almost make us wish ourselves children again. Not because we should have been likely to own it, had it been written or translated then,—for Santa Claus was hardly acclimated in cold New England during our childhood, and, had he been, he would have brought no book so costly as this down our humble, old-fashioned chimney,—but because the story haunts us like a memory that slips away and returns again in glimpses and flashes. It is the poem that every imaginative child’s heart sings to itself,—the vision that flits before every newly opening life, seen more or less dimly by each and by all. If not fully understood, (and what grown-up child understands his own life?) it cannot fail to bring beautiful dreams; and that is much, in a world where there are so many realities which are not beautiful.

The book is a translation from the German, and is published by Scribner, Welford, & Co., New York.

Next to this, we have been interested in “Miss Lily’s Voyage round the World.” Here, also, the pictures tell their own tale in a very spirited manner. The story is a natural and childlike one. Miss Lily, in her mamma’s absence, has great dreams of adventure, with which she inspires her little cousins, Paul and Toto. With the assistance of little Peter, a peasant child, they undertake a boat-voyage in search of Robinson Crusoe’s Island, Miss Lily acting as admiral of the expedition. They pass through the perils of storm and ship-wreck, and land upon an island, which, being new to them, answers their purpose as well as if it were really Juan Fernandez. It is, however, in their own river, and only a few miles from their home; and they find it not entirely desolate, but occupied by a friendly artist, who returns them in safety to their parents.

The adventures of these little French children, particularly of the baby Toto and his dear Mr. Punchinello, who was unfortunately left adrift on the unknown waters, are very amusing. They all taste the river-water and pronounce it salt; they scorn little Peter’s suggestion that the giant they have discovered on the strange island is only a scarecrow in a cornfield; and they are sure that the artist under his parasol in the distance, if not a savage, is Robinson Crusoe himself. You will almost believe with them, little readers, when you follow them through the lifelike pictures which illustrate their adventures.

It is a great art,—this of making children really live on the pages of a book. The artist who does it in this case is Lorenz Frölich; and the translation is published by Roberts Brothers of Boston.

The same publishers give the children three smaller volumes, illustrated by the same artist:—“Boasting Hector,” “Foolish Zoe,” and “Mischievous John.” In these very practical picture-books, the faults in question are made ridiculously true to life. Many a vain little girl must see herself in Foolish Zoe’s portrait, unless, like some of us who are older, she is so vain as not to know that she is vain, and is only reminded of somebody else that the pictures exactly describe. Whether the very little men the other two books are written for will treat Hector and John in the same way, we are not sure. Tell us, boys, do you think you see your faults more easily than girls do theirs?

Another delightful little book is Mr. W. J. Linton’s “Flower and Star,” published by Fields, Osgood, & Co. It was one of the holiday gems. The illustrations and the stories both have that delicate airiness of fancy which the child-heart delights in, whether it throbs in a form three years old, or seven, or seventy. Those who are familiar with this Magazine already know something of Mr. Linton, both as a writer and as an artist.

But all the picture-books are not made in this hemisphere. We have just been looking over some splendidly-illustrated Chinese and Japanese books, which “Carleton” has brought home with him:—our readers will be glad to know that “Carleton” has returned safe and sound from his journey round the world. We doubt whether the boy-and-girl antipodes are often allowed to turn the leaves of fine rice-paper volumes like these. But children on this side of the world would certainly be interested in them. They describe the cultivation of silk, and paint the sad history of the Chinese opium-eater’s life, with great vividness. In one picture, a young man who has evidently exchanged a large part of his clothing for the intoxicating poison, is brought to his mother for punishment. And very foolish and miserable he looks, with his wife holding his hands to prevent his escape, while his sister is cutting a bamboo with which his mother means to impress the severe lecture she is giving him.

We had supposed the “sensation novel” to be an unhealthy growth peculiar to the English language, but it seems that it is not unknown to the Orientals. We would not punish ourselves so severely as to read a “sensation novel,” even in Japanese,—supposing we could,—but we have found it very entertaining to look through the pictures of one or two. The entire want of perspective, and the outlandish faces and costumes, make scenes which were intended to be tragical seem ludicrous to American eyes. But, sharing with children their fondness for bright colors, we have turned these curious pages with a child’s delight. We should like to peep into a Chinese or Japanese paint-box, for certainly the brilliancy of their colors is something wonderful.

It would be impossible for us to mention half the interesting things “Carleton” has brought home; but we hope that among them he has brought some memories for the especial benefit of “Our Young Folks.”

We print this little note just as it came to us, because it is a specimen of many which testify to the growing interest in our Magazine, and because it contains a question about one of our most valuable contributors.

Dear Young Folks:—

“Papa made Jamie and me a Christmas present of “Our Young Folks” for 1869; and, as we have the January and February numbers, we want to tell you how delighted we are with our Magazine.

“I like to read Mr. Trowbridge’s pieces on Glass-Making, because I have often wondered how glass was made, and I never could understand how they could use potash and sand in making it, as I have been told they did.

“Jamie thinks Tom Bailey is going to be the right sort of a boy after all, and I like to read about such a boy too. Jamie is 12 and I am 14.

“Jamie wants me to ask who Mr. Aldrich is, and if he is Tom Bailey; and where Rivermouth is. We can’t find it at all, and we have looked on our map all along the coast of Massachusetts.”

We thank our little friend for her kind words, and we are gratified to know that she is pleased with the stories she mentions.

When Mr. Trowbridge comes to speak of Coal-Mining and Ship-Building, we have no doubt that she and many besides will be as much interested as they have been in Glass-Making. Before preparing his papers on Coal-Mining, which are soon to appear, he visited the coal regions of Pennsylvania, and saw the miners at their work. In describing the manner of carrying on this great business, he will have much to tell about these miners, and the little “slate-pickers,” and the cats and rats in the mines, and other curious and interesting things.

But about Mr. Aldrich and his story.—Well, Mr. Aldrich is widely known as a poet. Those who do not own the dainty blue-and-gold volume of his poems may yet remember the graceful sweetness of his “Babie Bell,” which so delighted both children and grown-up people a few years since. He writes prose sketches, as well as poems, for the “Atlantic.” “A Young Desperado,” published in that Magazine for December, 1867, is probably not unknown to some of our readers. Mr. Aldrich is also the Editor of “Every Saturday.”

In proposing to write a story for “Our Young Folks,” he said he wanted to give the history of a real, natural boy, such as all wide-awake, hearty boys are, everywhere, and asked if he could have the liberty of doing so. He was assured that he could.

“Well,” said Mr. Aldrich, “such a story as I have in mind will be an honest one, but do you think it will do to publish?” “Why not?” he was asked. “Because the boy I am thinking of is not what is called a good boy. He is full of mischief and fond of fun; and, what is worse, perhaps he will fight, if it is necessary for him to fight. On the other hand, he is generous and honest, and won’t do a mean thing. And,” said he, “I don’t think such boys are fully appreciated.”

The Editors, bearing in mind the thousands of brave, generous boys who constantly read this Magazine,—boys not impossibly faultless, but who hate meanness as thoroughly as they love fun,—replied, “It is just the story we want.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Aldrich, “you shall have it on this condition, that you call it ‘The Story of a Bad Boy’; for I don’t wish any one to read it under false impressions.”

So you see, dear young folks, why Tom Bailey is called a bad boy.

We don’t wonder that many of our friends have hunted over their maps in vain for Rivermouth. It would be hardly fair play on our part to tell the reader what town is really meant by Rivermouth. It may be Lynn, or Portsmouth, or Newburyport,—our correspondent “Edgar” positively declares it is Salem,—but we are not going to settle the question. Every boy or girl who knows anything about our New England coast will see at a glance that Rivermouth is a faithful picture of a real seaport town, and that must suffice for the present.

In answer to several questions, we will say that Enigmas are included under the general head of “Puzzles” in our offer of prizes. Conundrums are also desired. If anybody will send us an entirely new species of puzzle, better than all the rest, we will give its author a separate prize, larger than those already named.

We are glad to have the children try for these prizes, and we mention it particularly here, because a number of our subscribers have asked permission to do so. The offer was meant for them at first, and for anybody else who might choose to try. Here is “Enoch’s” request:—

“May I try to gain a prize? Please say yes. O, I would so like to get one! for I love books,—grown-up books, too. Papa says I read too much; but what can I do? I hurt my leg when I was so little that I can just remember it, and I have been lame ever since. But I am not so badly off as some persons, for I can walk (or hobble, papa calls it) a little bit with my cane. I have not many books, and would like ever so much to get some nice poetry to call my own. I sign my name ‘Enoch,’ because I liked ‘Enoch Arden’ so much when I read it.”

There are many ways of giving variety to the Enigma, the easiest form of puzzle for a child to undertake. It can be put into rhyme, or be made to tell a story. It can be all about history, poetry, trades, games, animals, plants,—indeed, about almost anything. We consider those the best, in which the words are all on one subject. But Enigmas must not be too long. We have printed a long one this month, because it is particularly good. A single word of some length, or any proper name, is generally the best to take.

And, now that we are upon the subject, would not the boys and girls like to find out something about the history of riddles, and tell us what are the oldest ones on record? We will make all possible room for their answers in “Our Letter Box.”

The colored print which was promised to our last year’s subscribers is now ready to send, and we expect that all will be supplied with it by the time this number of the Magazine is received. The pictures were so closely glued together by the heat of last summer, that it was impossible to separate them until the freezing weather came.

We print these questions, which we find in Our Letter-Box, partly to show what a variety we receive, and partly because many of them can be best answered by our subscribers or by some of their older friends.

First, about books:—

“What nice, instructive book has been written about California?” “What is the best poem Tennyson has written?” “What good works are there on Drawing, Water-Colors, Oil-Painting, Crayons?” “What is the best Phonographic Text-Book for beginners, and by whom is it published?” “What is the best Chemistry for self-instruction? The best Geology and Mineralogy?” “Is there a Catalogue of works upon Experimental Chemistry?” “Is there a publication which includes all the gold, silver, and copper coins in the world?” “What is the best work on the Art of Illumination?” “Is there a Child’s History of the German Confederation?” “What book is there containing Lives of Eminent Naturalists?” “What grammar would you recommend to a person wishing to study German without a teacher?” “What is the best Hand-Book of Etiquette?” “Is there any book that tells all about pigeons?”

And here are some miscellaneous inquiries:—

“What was the cause of the Mexican War?” “When was gold first discovered in Australia?” “Where and by whom was the first newspaper printed?” “Who invented wedding-cake?” “Is there any word to rhyme with chimney?” “Who was the first to fall at the Battle of Lexington?” “What is the proper length of a base-ball bat for a boy of thirteen years?” “What is the cost of a small printing-press, and the best place to buy one?” “Where is the best place (in New York) to buy a good violin?” “Do apples and pears grow in the southern part of California?”

But these are sufficient to make it plain that it needs more than two heads to answer Our Young Folks’ questions. Not that they ask too many. Only let everybody that sends a question see if he cannot send with it an answer to some other one. Is not that fair?

We must ask our friends to wait patiently a little longer for the promised Charades and Dialogues. They have been unavoidably delayed. But we hope soon to be able to furnish some excellent ones, from various hands well skilled in such matters.

Erratum.—On page 73, line 15, in Our Young Folks for February, read Joseph’s for “Jacob’s.”

Answer to Rebus in Letter Box.—What saw you on Mount Washington? I saw on its summit ten men and eight women. [(Double ewe) (hat) (saw) (ewe on mow NT) (Washington)? (Eye) (saw on ITS) (sum) (mitten) (men) & A two (men).]

The answer to the Shakespeare puzzle in our last number is the last line in the Fourth Act of Macbeth: “The night (knight) is long that never finds the day (Dey).”

Here is a proverb-puzzle, in a language not foreign, nor yet generally understood in America.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

Illustrations have been relocated due to using a non-page layout.

Some photographs have been enhanced to be more legible.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 3 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]