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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Vol 5, Issue 7

Date of first publication: 1869

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: Feb. 9, 2016

Date last updated: Feb. 9, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20160212

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

Drawn by F. O. C. Darley.]          [See the Poem.







An Illustrated Magazine







Vol. V. JULY, 1869. No. VII.



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.]









CHARADE. (Carpet.)










It was spring again. The snow had faded away like a dream, and we were awakened, so to speak, by the sudden chirping of robins in our back garden. Marvellous transformation of snow-drifts into lilacs, wondrous miracle of the unfolding leaf! We read in the Holy Book how our Saviour, at the marriage-feast, changed the water into wine; we pause and wonder; but every hour a greater miracle is wrought at our very feet, if we have but eyes to see it.

I had now been a year at Rivermouth. If you do not know what sort of a boy I was, it is not because I haven’t been frank with you. Of my progress at school I say little; for this is a story, pure and simple, and not a treatise on education. Behold me, however, well up in most of the classes. I have worn my Latin grammar into tatters, and am in the first book of Virgil. I interlard my conversation at home with easy quotations from that poet, and impress Captain Nutter with a lofty notion of my learning. I am likewise translating Les Aventures de Télémaque from the French, and shall tackle Blair’s Lectures the next term. I am ashamed of my crude composition about The Horse, and can do better now. Sometimes my head almost aches with the variety of my knowledge. I consider Mr. Grimshaw the greatest scholar that ever lived, and I don’t know which I would rather be,—a learned man like him, or a circus-rider.

My thoughts revert to this particular spring more frequently than to any other period of my boyhood, for it was marked by an event that left an indelible impression on my memory. As I pen these pages, I feel that I am writing of something which happened yesterday, so vividly it all comes back to me.

Every Rivermouth boy looks upon the sea as being in some way mixed up with his destiny. While he is yet a baby lying in his cradle, he hears the dull, far-off boom of the breakers; when he is older, he wanders by the sandy shore, watching the waves that come plunging up the beach like white-maned sea-horses, as Thoreau calls them; his eye follows the lessening sail as it fades into the blue horizon, and he burns for the time when he shall stand on the quarter-deck of his own ship, and go sailing proudly across that mysterious waste of waters.

Then the town itself is full of hints and flavors of the sea. The gables and roofs of the houses facing eastward are covered with red rust, like the flukes of old anchors; a salty smell pervades the air, and dense gray fogs, the very breath of Ocean, periodically creep up into the quiet streets and envelop everything. The terrific storms that lash the coast; the kelp and spars, and sometimes the bodies of drowned men, tossed on shore by the scornful waves; the shipyards, the wharves, and the tawny fleet of fishing-smacks yearly fitted out at Rivermouth,—these things, and a hundred other, feed the imagination and fill the brain of every healthy boy with dreams of adventure. He learns to swim almost as soon as he can walk; he draws in with his mother’s milk the art of handling an oar: he is born a sailor, whatever he may turn out to be afterwards.

To own the whole or a portion of a row-boat is his earliest ambition. No wonder that I, born to this life, and coming back to it with freshest sympathies, should have caught the prevailing infection. No wonder I longed to buy a part of the trim little sail-boat Dolphin, which chanced just then to be in the market. This was in the latter part of May.

Three shares, at five or six dollars each, I forget which, had already been taken by Phil Adams, Fred Langdon, and Binny Wallace. The fourth and remaining share hung fire. Unless a purchaser could be found for this, the bargain was to fall through.

I am afraid I required but slight urging to join in the investment. I had four dollars and fifty cents on hand, and the treasurer of the Centipedes advanced me the balance, receiving my silver pencil-case as ample security. It was a proud moment when I stood on the wharf with my partners, inspecting the Dolphin, moored at the foot of a very slippery flight of steps. She was painted white with a green stripe outside, and on the stern a yellow dolphin, with its scarlet mouth wide open, stared with a surprised expression at its own reflection in the water. The boat was a great bargain.

I whirled my cap in the air, and ran to the stairs leading down from the wharf, when a hand was laid gently on my shoulder. I turned, and faced Captain Nutter. I never saw such an old sharp-eye as he was in those days.

I knew he wouldn’t be angry with me for buying a row-boat; but I also knew that the little bowsprit suggesting a jib, and the tapering mast ready for its few square yards of canvas, were trifles not likely to meet his approval. As far as rowing on the river, among the wharves, was concerned, the Captain had long since withdrawn his decided objections, having convinced himself, by going out with me several times, that I could manage a pair of sculls as well as anybody.

I was right in my surmises. He commanded me, in the most emphatic terms, never to go out in the Dolphin without leaving the mast in the boat-house. This curtailed my anticipated sport, but the pleasure of having a pull whenever I wanted it remained. I never disobeyed the Captain’s orders touching the sail, though I sometimes extended my row beyond the points he had indicated.

The river was dangerous for sail-boats. Squalls, without the slightest warning, were of frequent occurrence; scarcely a year passed that six or seven persons were not drowned under the very windows of the town, and these, oddly enough, were generally sea-captains, who either did not understand the river, or lacked the skill to handle a small craft.

A knowledge of such disasters, one of which I witnessed, consoled me somewhat when I saw Phil Adams skimming over the water in a spanking breeze with every stitch of canvas set. There were few better yachtsmen than Phil Adams. He usually went sailing alone, for both Fred Langdon and Binny Wallace were under the same restrictions I was.

Not long after the purchase of the boat, we planned an excursion to Sandpeep Island, the last of the islands in the harbor. We proposed to start early in the morning, and return with the tide in the moonlight. Our only difficulty was to obtain a whole day’s exemption from school, the customary half-holiday not being long enough for our picnic. Somehow, we couldn’t work it; but fortune arranged it for us. I may say here, that, whatever else I did, I never played truant (“hookey” we called it) in my life.

One afternoon the four owners of the Dolphin exchanged significant glances when Mr. Grimshaw announced from the desk that there would be no school the following day, he having just received intelligence of the death of his uncle in Boston. I was sincerely attached to Mr. Grimshaw, but I am afraid that the death of his uncle did not affect me as it ought to have done.

We were up before sunrise the next morning, in order to take advantage of the flood tide, which waits for no man. Our preparations for the cruise were made the previous evening. In the way of eatables and drinkables, we had stored in the stern of the Dolphin a generous bag of hardtack (for the chowder), a piece of pork to fry the cunners in, three gigantic apple-pies (bought at Pettingil’s), half a dozen lemons, and a keg of spring-water,—the last-named article we slung over the side, to keep it cool, as soon as we got under way. The crockery and the bricks for our camp-stove we placed in the bows with the groceries, which included sugar, pepper, salt, and a bottle of pickles. Phil Adams contributed to the outfit a small tent of unbleached cotton cloth, under which we intended to take our nooning.

We unshipped the mast, threw in an extra oar, and were ready to embark. I do not believe that Christopher Columbus, when he started on his rather successful voyage of discovery, felt half the responsibility and importance that weighed upon me as I sat on the middle seat of the Dolphin, with my oar resting in the row-lock. I wonder if Christopher Columbus quietly slipped out of the house without letting his estimable family know what he was up to?

Charley Marden, whose father had promised to cane him if he ever stepped foot on sail or row boat, came down to the wharf in a sour-grape humor, to see us off. Nothing would tempt him to go out on the river in such a crazy clam-shell of a boat. He pretended that he did not expect to behold us alive again, and tried to throw a wet blanket over the expedition.

“Guess you’ll have a squally time of it,” said Charley, casting off the painter. “I’ll drop in at old Newbury’s” (Newbury was the parish undertaker) “and leave word, as I go along!”

“Bosh!” muttered Phil Adams, sticking the boat-hook into the string-piece of the wharf, and sending the Dolphin half a dozen yards towards the current.

How calm and lovely the river was! Not a ripple stirred on the glassy surface, broken only by the sharp cutwater of our tiny craft. The sun, as round and red as an August moon, was by this time peering above the waterline.

The town had drifted behind us, and we were entering among the group of islands. Sometimes we could almost touch with our boat-hook the shelving banks on either side. As we neared the mouth of the harbor, a little breeze now and then wrinkled the blue water, shook the spangles from the foliage, and gently lifted the spiral mist-wreaths that still clung along shore. The measured dip of our oars and the drowsy twitterings of the birds seemed to mingle with, rather than break, the enchanted silence that reigned about us.

The scent of the new clover comes back to me now, as I recall that delicious morning when we floated away in a fairy boat down a river like a dream!

The sun was well up when the nose of the Dolphin nestled against the snow-white bosom of Sandpeep Island. This island, as I have said before, was the last of the cluster, one side of it being washed by the sea. We landed on the river side, the sloping sands and quiet water affording us a good place to moor the boat.

It took us an hour or two to transport our stores to the spot selected for the encampment. Having pitched our tent, using the five oars to support the canvas, we got out our lines, and went down the rocks seaward to fish. It was early for cunners, but we were lucky enough to catch as nice a mess as ever you saw. A cod for the chowder was not so easily secured. At last Binny Wallace hauled in a plump little fellow crusted all over with flaky silver.

To skin the fish, build our fireplace, and cook the dinner kept us busy the next two hours. The fresh air and the exercise had given us the appetites of wolves, and we were about famished by the time the savory mixture was ready for our clam-shell saucers.

I shall not insult the rising generation on the seaboard by telling them how delectable is a chowder compounded and eaten in this Robinson Crusoe fashion. As for the boys who live inland, and know naught of such marine feasts, my heart is full of pity for them. What wasted lives! Not to know the delights of a clam-bake, not to love chowder, to be ignorant of lob-scouse!

How happy we were, we four, sitting cross-legged in the crisp salt grass, with the invigorating sea-breeze blowing gratefully through our hair! What a joyous thing was life, and how far off seemed death,—death, that lurks in all pleasant places, and was so near!

The banquet finished, Phil Adams drew forth from his pocket a handful of sweet-fern cigars; but as none of the party could indulge without imminent risk of becoming sick, we all, on one pretext or another, declined, and Phil smoked by himself.

The wind had freshened by this, and we found it comfortable to put on the jackets which had been thrown aside in the heat of the day. We strolled along the beach and gathered large quantities of the fairy-woven Iceland moss, which, at certain seasons, is washed to these shores; then we played at ducks and drakes, and then, the sun being sufficiently low, we went in bathing.

Before our bath was ended a slight change had come over the sky and sea; fleecy-white clouds scudded here and there, and a muffled moan from the breakers caught our ears from time to time. While we were dressing, a few hurried drops of rain came lisping down, and we adjourned to the tent to await the passing of the squall.

“We’re all right, anyhow,” said Phil Adams. “It won’t be much of a blow, and we’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug, here in the tent, particularly if we have that lemonade which some of you fellows were going to make.”

By an oversight, the lemons had been left in the boat. Binny Wallace volunteered to go for them.

“Put an extra stone on the painter, Binny,” said Adams, calling after him; “it would be awkward to have the Dolphin give us the slip and return to port minus her passengers.”

“That it would,” answered Binny, scrambling down the rocks.

Sandpeep Island is diamond-shaped,—one point running out into the sea, and the other looking towards the town. Our tent was on the river-side. Though the Dolphin was also on the same side, it lay out of sight by the beach at the farther extremity of the island.

Binny Wallace had been absent five or six minutes, when we heard him calling our several names in tones that indicated distress or surprise, we could not tell which. Our first thought was, “The boat has broken adrift!”

We sprung to our feet and hastened down to the beach. On turning the bluff which hid the mooring-place from our view, we found the conjecture correct. Not only was the Dolphin afloat, but poor little Binny Wallace was standing in the bows with his arms stretched helplessly towards us,—drifting out to sea!

“Head the boat in shore!” shouted Phil Adams.

Wallace ran to the tiller; but the slight cockle-shell merely swung round and drifted broadside on. O, if we had but left a single scull in the Dolphin!

“Can you swim it?” cried Adams, desperately, using his hand as a speaking-trumpet, for the distance between the boat and the island widened momently.

Binny Wallace looked down at the sea, which was covered with white caps, and made a despairing gesture. He knew, and we knew, that the stoutest swimmer could not live forty seconds in those angry waters.

A wild, insane light came into Phil Adams’s eyes, as he stood knee-deep in boiling surf, and for an instant I think he meditated plunging into the ocean after the receding boat.

The sky darkened, and an ugly look stole rapidly over the broken surface of the sea.

Binny Wallace half rose from his seat in the stern, and waved his hand to us in token of farewell. In spite of the distance, increasing every instant, we could see his face plainly. The anxious expression it wore at first had passed. It was pale and meek now, and I love to think there was a kind of halo about it, like that which painters place around the forehead of a saint. So he drifted away.

The sky grew darker and darker. It was only by straining our eyes through the unnatural twilight that we could keep the Dolphin in sight. The figure of Binny Wallace was no longer visible, for the boat itself had dwindled to a mere white dot on the black water. Now we lost it, and our hearts stopped throbbing; and now the speck appeared again, for an instant, on the crest of a high wave.

Finally, it went out like a spark, and we saw it no more. Then we gazed at each other, and dared not speak.

Absorbed in following the course of the boat, we had scarcely noticed the huddled inky clouds that sagged down all around us. From these threatening masses, seamed at intervals with pale lightning, there now burst a heavy peal of thunder that shook the ground under our feet. A sudden squall struck the sea, ploughing deep white furrows into it, and at the same instant a single piercing shriek rose above the tempest,—the frightened cry of a gull swooping over the island. How it startled us!

It was impossible to keep our footing on the beach any longer. The wind and the breakers would have swept us into the ocean if we had not clung to each other with the desperation of drowning men. Taking advantage of a momentary lull, we crawled up the sands on our hands and knees, and, pausing in the lee of the granite ledge to gain breath, returned to the camp, where we found that the gale had snapped all the fastenings of the tent but one. Held by this, the puffed-out canvas swayed in the wind like a balloon. It was a task of some difficulty to secure it, which we did by beating down the canvas with the oars.

After several trials, we succeeded in setting up the tent on the leeward side of the ledge. Blinded by the vivid flashes of lightning, and drenched by the rain, which fell in torrents, we crept, half dead with fear and anguish, under our flimsy shelter. Neither the anguish nor the fear was on our own account, for we were comparatively safe, but for poor little Binny Wallace, driven out to sea in the merciless gale. We shuddered to think of him in that frail shell, drifting on and on to his grave, the sky rent with lightning over his head, and the green abysses yawning beneath him. We fell to crying, the three of us, and cried I know not how long.

Meanwhile the storm raged with augmented fury. We were obliged to hold on to the ropes of the tent to prevent it blowing away. The spray from the river leaped several yards up the rocks and clutched at us malignantly. The very island trembled with the concussions of the sea beating upon it, and at times I fancied that it had broken loose from its foundation, and was floating off with us. The breakers, streaked with angry phosphorus, were fearful to look at.

The wind rose higher and higher, cutting long slits in the tent, through which the rain poured incessantly. To complete the sum of our miseries, the night was at hand. It came down suddenly, at last, like a curtain, shutting in Sandpeep Island from all the world.

It was a dirty night, as the sailors say. The darkness was something that could be felt as well as seen,—it pressed down upon one with a cold, clammy touch. Gazing into the hollow blackness, all sorts of imaginable shapes seemed to start forth from vacancy,—brilliant colors, stars, prisms, and dancing lights. What boy, lying awake at night, has not amused or terrified himself by peopling the spaces round his bed with these phenomena of his own eyes?

“I say,” whispered Fred Langdon, at length, clutching my hand, “don’t you see things—out there—in the dark?”

“Yes, yes,—Binny Wallace’s face!”

I added to my own nervousness by making this avowal; though for the last ten minutes I had seen little besides that star-pale face with its angelic hair and brows. First a slim yellow circle, like the nimbus round the moon, took shape and grew sharp against the darkness; then this faded gradually, and there was the Face, wearing the same sad, sweet look it wore when he waved his hand to us across the awful water. This optical illusion kept repeating itself.

“And I, too,” said Adams. “I see it every now and then, outside there. What wouldn’t I give if it really was poor little Wallace looking in at us! O boys, how shall we dare to go back to the town without him? I’ve wished a hundred times, since we’ve been sitting here, that I was in his place, alive or dead!”

We dreaded the approach of morning as much as we longed for it. The morning would tell us all. Was it possible for the Dolphin to outride such a storm? There was a light-house on Mackerel Reef, which lay directly in the course the boat had taken, when it disappeared. If the Dolphin had caught on this reef, perhaps Binny Wallace was safe. Perhaps his cries had been heard by the keeper of the light. The man owned a life-boat, and had rescued several people. Who could tell?

Such were the questions we asked ourselves again and again, as we lay in each other’s arms waiting for daybreak. What an endless night it was! I have known months that did not seem so long.

Our position was irksome rather than perilous; for the day was certain to bring us relief from the town, where our prolonged absence, together with the storm, had no doubt excited the liveliest alarm for our safety. But the cold, the darkness, and the suspense were hard to bear.

Our soaked jackets had chilled us to the bone. To keep warm, we lay huddled together so closely that we could hear our hearts beat above the tumult of sea and sky.

We used to laugh at Fred Langdon for always carrying in his pocket a small vial of essence of peppermint or sassafras, a few drops of which, sprinkled on a lump of loaf-sugar, he seemed to consider a great luxury. I don’t know what would have become of us at this crisis, if it hadn’t been for that omnipresent bottle of hot stuff. We poured the stinging liquid over our sugar, which had kept dry in a sardine-box, and warmed ourself with frequent doses.

After four or five hours the rain ceased, the wind died away to a moan, and the sea—no longer raging like a maniac—sobbed and sobbed with a piteous human voice all along the coast. And well it might, after that night’s work. Twelve sail of the Gloucester fishing fleet had gone down with every soul on board, just outside of Whale’s-back light. Think of the wide grief that follows in the wake of one wreck; then think of the despairing women who wrung their hands and wept, the next morning, in the streets of Gloucester, Marblehead, and Newcastle!

Though our strength was nearly spent, we were too cold to sleep. Once I sunk into a troubled doze, when I seemed to hear Charley Marden’s parting words, only it was the Sea that said them. After that I threw off the drowsiness whenever it threatened to overcome me.

Fred Langdon was the earliest to discover a filmy, luminous streak in the sky, the first glimmering of sunrise.

“Look, it is nearly daybreak!”

While we were following the direction of his finger, a sound of distant oars fell on our ears.

We listened breathlessly, and as the dip of the blades became more audible, we discerned two foggy lights, like will-o’-the-wisps, floating on the river.

Running down to the water’s edge, we hailed the boats with all our might. The call was heard, for the oars rested a moment in the row-locks, and then pulled in towards the island.

It was two boats from the town, in the foremost of which we could now make out the figures of Captain Nutter and Binny Wallace’s father. We shrunk back on seeing him.

“Thank God!” cried Mr. Wallace, fervently, as he leaped from the wherry without waiting for the bow to touch the beach.

But when he saw only three boys standing on the sands, his eye wandered restlessly about in quest of the fourth; then a deadly pallor overspread his features.

Our story was soon told. A solemn silence fell upon the crowd of rough boatmen gathered round, interrupted only by a stifled sob from one poor old man, who stood apart from the rest.

The sea was still running too high for any small boat to venture out; so it was arranged that the wherry should take us back to town, leaving the yawl, with a picked crew, to hug the island until daybreak, and then set forth in search of the Dolphin.

Though it was barely sunrise when we reached town, there were a great many people assembled at the landing, eager for intelligence from missing boats. Two picnic parties had started down river the day before, just previous to the gale, and nothing had been heard of them. It turned out that the pleasure-seekers saw their danger in time, and ran ashore on one of the least exposed islands, where they passed the night. Shortly after our own arrival they appeared off Rivermouth, much to the joy of their friends, in two shattered, dismasted boats.

The excitement over, I was in a forlorn state, physically and mentally. Captain Nutter put me to bed between hot blankets, and sent Kitty Collins for the doctor. I was wandering in my mind, and fancied myself still on Sandpeep Island: now I gave orders to Wallace how to manage the boat, and now I cried because the rain was pouring in on me through the holes in the tent. Towards evening a high fever set in, and it was many days before my grandfather deemed it prudent to tell me that the Dolphin had been found, floating keel upwards, four miles southeast of Mackerel Reef.

Poor little Binny Wallace! How strange it seemed, when I went to school again, to see that empty seat in the fifth row! How gloomy the playground was, lacking the sunshine of his gentle, sensitive face! One day a folded sheet slipped from my algebra; it was the last note he ever wrote me. I couldn’t read it for the tears.

What a pang shot across my heart the afternoon it was whispered through the town that a body had been washed ashore at Grave Point,—the place where we bathed. We bathed there no more! How well I remember the funeral, and what a piteous sight it was afterwards to see his familiar name on a small headstone in the Old South Burying Ground!

Poor little Binny Wallace! Always the same to me. The rest of us have grown up into hard, worldly men, fighting the fight of life; but you are forever young, and gentle, and pure; a part of my own childhood that time cannot wither; always a little boy, always poor little Binny Wallace!

T. B. Aldrich.


Down, down went the car, steadily, but by no means so fast as when it bore no freight of human lives. Lawrence held tight to his little lamp with one hand, and to the brace with the other, while he tried to get some idea of the depth of the shaft, by reflecting that, if the partitions were taken out, Bunker Hill Monument would have made a very good plug for it.

“Are you afraid?” said Owen, laughing. “A terrible accident happened in a shaft near here the other day”; and a shadow passed over his face at the recollection. “A crowd of men were going into the mines one morning. They didn’t like to wait, so seventeen of ’em piled on to one car at once. The rope broke, and they fell two hundred feet. Fourteen got killed, and the other three got maimed for life.”

“That’s a cheerful story to tell, when we are half-way down a shaft,” said Mr. Clarence.

“I thought you said there were iron dogs to fall into these notches in the guides, and hold the car, if the rope should break,” said Lawrence.

“The dogs would hold a loaded car that was going up, or a light load going down,” said Owen.

“Because,” added Mr. Clarence, “a car going up must stop before it can fall; but, going down, it is already in motion, and if it has a heavy load on, it will break everything before it. But here we are, all right. Step out.”

Lawrence was at first so bewildered that he hardly knew which way to step. He seemed to have dropped suddenly into the heart of an immense, black, branching cavern. Strange noises filled his ears, and glancing lights moved like fireflies through the darkness. Then dim forms and sooty faces and shining eyes appeared around him. Everything had such an unearthly look, that for a moment he could have fancied that he was in the bottomless pit, and that these were its proper inhabitants.

“Lean on me, look!” said Owen, “then you shall not black yourself.” So Lawrence got out of the car without rubbing his clothes against it. “This way, look!” cried Owen, again. “There’s water!”

The reservoir, or well, from which the water of the mines was pumped, was directly beneath the car, at the foot of the shaft; and Lawrence thought he meant that. In avoiding it he ran under a little streaming shower that dripped from some point above,—which was, in fact, the water Owen had wished to warn him against.

“What a stupid fellow I am!” he exclaimed. “There goes my light!”—his little tea-pot of a lamp having been extinguished in his brief passage under the shower-bath.

“Never mind; I can light it,” said Owen; and whilst he was touching the flame of his own to the drenched wick, Lawrence had time to look about him and see more plainly where they were.

He now perceived that the lights and the demons he had seen were men and boys with lamps on their caps, and that the sounds he heard were the shouts of mule-drivers and the tinkling of mule-bells, mingled with the noise of water falling into the well.

“Now you see where the loads of coal come from,” said Mr. Clarence.

The empty car in which they made the descent had already been pushed off from the carriage, along a track laid level with it; and now a loaded car, standing near by, was seized by men and boys, and pushed on. A bell-wire was then pulled (“Signal for the engineer,” said Mr. Clarence), and up went the carriage, with the car on it, disappearing instantly in the darkness of the shaft.

“Hark!” said Mr. Clarence. And in a few seconds they heard the faint thunder-peal of a load of coal dumped into the breaker three hundred feet above.

“That’s disposing of a ton and a half of coal in short notice,” said Mr. Clarence. And almost while he was speaking the car came down again empty.

Then another car was pushed on, and sent up. There was a long row of loaded cars waiting on the track, and others were coming in little trains of four or five, drawn by mules, out of the depths of the cavern. The whole made a picture which, seen by the dim light of the lamps, in the midst of surrounding blackness, had a strange fascination for the eyes of Lawrence.

Mr. Clarence now put down his dog Muff, and told him to take care of himself.

“I should think he would get as dirty here as in the breaker,” said Lawrence.

“It’s a different kind of dirt,” said Mr. Clarence. “It will be all on the outside, if he rubs against anything. But in the breaker he would get the coal-dust sifted into his wool, so it could never be washed out.”

“See here a minute,” said Owen; and he led Lawrence to a frame of rough boards, like a box, set into the wall of the cavern. There were two holes in it, like a pair of great eyes, and he told Lawrence to look in through one of them.

Lawrence climbed up on a ledge of slate, put his eye to the hole, and uttered an exclamation of surprise. He had expected to see nothing but darkness, in such a place; but it was like looking into a show-box.

“What do you see?” said Mr. Clarence.

“I see a little room, with a clock in it.”

“What time is it?” asked Owen.

“Ten minutes past three,—as plain as can be! Where does the light come from on the face of the clock?”

Lawrence looked around, and saw Owen at his side laughing.

“Where did it come from? Look again,” said Owen.

He looked again, and declared that the box was as dark as a pocket. Then in an instant it was lighted up again. Turning his head quickly, he saw Owen holding a lamp at the other hole.

“Why do you keep a clock boxed up in that way?” he asked.

“It’s handy, look!” said Owen. “A man wants to know the time; he puts his eye to one hole, and his lamp to the other, and there it is. If the clock wasn’t boxed up, it wouldn’t be there to-morrow.”

“I see,” said Lawrence, who understood that it would be stolen.

A number of men, with lamps on their hats and tin pails in their hands, were coming along by the railroad track, and crowding near the shaft.

“They have got through work, and are waiting to go up,” said Owen.

Half a dozen of them jumped into the next empty car that came down, the engineer was signalled to lift slowly, and up they went to the head of the shaft.

“I see here but one set of cars going up and down,” said Lawrence. “But at the head of the shaft they were moving on both sides.”

“We are working two veins of coal,” said Owen. “This is what we call the Rock Vein; the other is the Diamond Vein, thirty feet above. The other cars stop there.”

“Thirty feet! and what is between the two veins?”

“Slate, mostly. There’s always layers of sandstone, limestone, slate, clay,—one or all of ’em,—between the different coal veins,” said Owen. And seeing the astonishment of Lawrence, who, after all he had heard and read on the subject, had but a faint idea of a coal formation, he continued, “Fifty feet below this vein there is another,—what we call the Big Vein,—fourteen feet thick. Then there are five more veins below that. There are two more above the Diamond. They will all pay to work, some day, after we get these two veins worked out. Then there are several little veins besides.”

“By veins,” said Mr. Clarence, “he means seams, or beds. Coal lies in layers, which can’t properly be called veins, though this is the term used everywhere in the anthracite regions,—except by my uncle and myself,” he added, with pleasing vanity. “Some minerals lie in streaks; and those are properly called veins. Go into the soft-coal regions, and you won’t hear coal-beds called veins.”

“Why are they called so here?”

“I suppose it is because the anthracite beds are so tumbled and broken up in some places. Just here you see them lying nearly on a level, or undulating something like the surface of a hilly country. But go into mines where I have been! Some of the seams are perpendicular, or keeled over, or broken up by faults, so that it appears ridiculous to call them beds.”

“Aren’t the soft-coal beds tumbled up too?”

“Nothing like the anthracite. They all lie as nearly level as these beds here. There’s a very pretty scientific fact connected with this difference in the two formations,” Mr. Clarence continued. “Soft coal is more or less bituminous, while anthracite has no bitumen in it. But there’s no doubt but what they were both formed in the same way, and out of the same materials. The ancient forests I told you of decayed in the water and made black mud, which a certain degree of heat and pressure condensed into soft coal. There the bituminous coal-fields were left, and were not much disturbed afterwards. But in the anthracite region there was subsequent volcanic action, which heaved and broke up the coal measures, and with its intense heat expelled the bituminous matters and hardened the coal still more. The best evidence in support of this theory is, that here you have igneous rocks,—or rocks that were melted matter when they were heaved up from the bowels of the earth,—while in the bituminous regions you have none.”

“Are the anthracite regions as extensive as the bituminous?”

“My dear sir, nothing in comparison. The biggest part of the anthracite coal-field lies in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties, here in Eastern Pennsylvania; while the bituminous coal-fields extend over nearly all the western portion of the State, and over large portions of other States, and over other parts of the world; though I believe,” added Mr. Clarence, “that a little anthracite is found, in the neighborhood of igneous rocks, in some bituminous regions. This is all Greek to you, isn’t it, my little Welshman?” he said to Owen.

“I don’t understand anything about it,” replied Owen, laughing.

“I knew it,” said Mr. Clarence. “It is singular,—men who work in coal-mines all their lives generally know nothing more about the history of the coal formation than your day-laborers in Massachusetts. Some men who call themselves mining engineers are just as ignorant. Yet this Welsh boy can tell you all about the coal, as it lies in the mines, and the gangways and chambers are as familiar to him as the streets of your native village are to you. How thick, Owen, is this ‘Rock Vein,’ as you call it?”

“Nine feet,” replied Owen, quickly. “The Diamond Vein is seven feet.”

“All solid coal?” said Lawrence, looking at the black wall of the cavern.

“All but the slate in it. The coal is in three benches,” said Owen.

Then Lawrence had to ask what benches were; and Mr. Clarence was well pleased to be able to inform him.

“I told you how layers of slate occur in the coal-beds, didn’t I? The bed may be even twenty or thirty feet thick, but it won’t be one clean body of coal. Every two or three feet, or oftener, you come to a thin seam of slate running through it. The coal that lies in these natural divisions, between the slate seams, we call benches. Here there is a roof of slate.” Mr. Clarence took the lamp from Lawrence’s hand, and held it high above their heads. “Then, between that and the bottom,”—passing the lamp down the wall—“there are two slate seams; see if you can tell where they are.”

“It all looks alike to me, coal or slate,” said Lawrence, his eye glancing along the uniform blackness of the wall. “Ah!” he suddenly exclaimed, “I see! This little ridge! Here must be one of the slate seams! and here is the other!”

“You would make a miner,” said Owen, smiling, as they walked on.

“Are you a miner?” Lawrence asked.

“My father is, and I mean to be. I come down at noon to bring his dinner, and stop and help him sometimes.”

“Do you like it?”

“I like it well. If you work in the mines awhile,” said Owen, “you never want to do anything else. ‘Once a miner, always a miner,’ my father says.”

“Why so?” said Lawrence.

“The miner is his own boss, look,” said Owen, stopping, and facing the visitors, his bright Welsh eyes shining with animation under his lamp-hung cap. “He can work, or he can sit still. He works six or eight hours a day, and earns good pay. It is never hot and it is never cold in the mines. It is about the same thing the year round. You work here a few years, then you go to work outside, and it is bad. You can’t stand the heat. You can’t stand the cold. You are glad to get back into the mines.”

They walked on again, keeping the car-track, between black walls of coal. “It is like a street railroad,” said Lawrence,—“only the track is narrow, and the street isn’t so wide as I thought it was.”

“This is what we call a gangway, or drift,” said Mr. Clarence. “It is the main passage from the breasts or chambers to the shaft. It is cut out just the depth of the coal-bed, and wide enough to accommodate the cars. In thin coal-beds,—they often work those that are only two or three feet thick,—they cut down enough of the top rock to make a passage for the cars.”

“And to give the miners room to work, I suppose,” said Lawrence.

“No,” said Owen; “miners can work where a man can’t stand. My father once worked in a coal-vein, in the old country, where he had to lie on his side when he used the pick. The vein was only a foot and a half thick; but he got out the coal.”

“Then why not invent a low car, that will carry the coal through low gangways, and save cutting out the rock?” said Lawrence.

“To invent a low car is easy enough,” said Mr. Clarence, with a laugh at his friend’s simplicity; “but it isn’t so easy to invent a low mule.”

Owen laughed too. Lawrence was glad his blushes were hidden by the darkness of the drift. But, to show that he had not spoken so inconsiderately as Mr. Clarence supposed, he retorted quickly, “Haul the cars by machinery;—why not?”

“That’s not so bad an idea,” said Mr. Clarence, his respect for his friend’s intelligence somewhat restored.

“My father tells how, in the old country, women used to carry the coal out of the mines,” said Owen. “The men mined it, and the women carried it. A woman would carry a load of coal heavier than she was up slopes, or stairs; and maybe she would have a quarter of a mile to travel before she could put it down.”

“That is a horrible story!” said Lawrence, who had never seen women do hard work, and could scarcely believe that such things were tolerated in a Christian country.

“A reform, in this respect, has taken place in the British collieries, within a few years,” said Mr. Clarence. “Now a small steam-engine that burns only four or five tons of coal a day does work it would take five hundred women to do.”

Lawrence concluded that steam was a good missionary, if it could convert people from such barbarous practices.

“It is the great agent of modern civilization,” said Mr. Clarence, in his eloquent way. “Our steamships, railroads, factories, a thousand industrial enterprises, are dependent upon it; but what is steam itself dependent on? Without coal, steam would be a limping cripple. This big black fellow, in whose bed we now are, is doing a good share of the work of the world. Did I say four or five tons did the work of five hundred women? It is a low estimate. Ten pounds of coal, economically applied to steam-power, are considered equal to a day’s work by one man. Then a ton and a half of coal may be set down as equal to the labor of one man for a year. I have seen a careful calculation, to that effect, in one of my uncle’s books.”

“I wonder who first thought of digging out coal and burning it,” said Lawrence.

“Nobody knows who first used soft coal for fuel,” Mr. Clarence replied. “It has been in use in England for hundreds of years, though it was only after the forests began to disappear, and the steam-engine was invented, and gas-light came into fashion, that the immense coal-trade was developed which now makes the prosperity of that little island. This anthracite business is another thing. It has all been developed within fifty years, though there is evidence that the first blacksmiths in the country began to use the stone coal, as it was called (anthracite is only a Greek word for the same thing), a hundred years ago. It took the rest of the world half a century to find out how to burn the thing. Neither philosophers nor fools could make a fire of it, in a common stove or fireplace. Bituminous coal will kindle and burn with a flame like wood; but hard coal required different treatment, and a peculiar kind of grate. Then, when it did burn, it was found superior to any other coal for many purposes. Though hard to kindle, it makes an intense heat, and no smoke. And now,” Mr. Clarence concluded, “though it is confined to so small an area, compared with the vast fields of bituminous coal, there is about as much anthracite mined in this State, every year, as there is of other coal.”

Meanwhile, the boys walked on through the black gangway, which seemed interminable to Lawrence. It was lighted only by the two little lamps they carried, which made a dim halo about them, in the midst of darkness that retreated slowly before, and followed close behind, as they moved on. Occasionally, little incidents diversified the gloomy monotony of the trip. Now they approached a faintly-shining beam, seen afar off in the cavernous darkness, which grew to a little yellow glow in a corner, as they came near, and proved to be the light of a tiny lamp on the ground, close under the wall of coal. Sitting near it, between two stout wooden props supporting the slate roof, was a boy, who seemed at first glance a mere imp of darkness. He was not more than nine or ten years old, and O so small and black! He seemed to be playing with something on a black slab of slate, between him and the lamp. On coming up to him, what was Lawrence’s surprise to see that the little fellow was amusing himself, there in the solitude of the mine, with a pack of cards almost as black as his fingers.

Close by was a large wooden door which completely closed the gangway,—“to shut off the air-current, and force it in another direction,” Mr. Clarence said,—and this child was the doorkeeper.

“Aren’t you lonesome here?” Lawrence asked.

“Not much,” the urchin replied, looking up with a grin. “It ain’t so nice when my lamp burns out, and I can’t get oil. But the mule-teams are passing all the time.”

While he was speaking the shout of a driver was heard, and a light was seen approaching. Then appeared a train of empty cars, accompanied by a boy, with the usual lamp on his hat. The child sprang to his feet, and threw the gate open; Owen and the two visitors stepped aside between the props of the gangway; the train passed through, the driver shouting to the trampling mules, and the great door flapped together again.

The visitors and their guide soon followed the train, while the little fellow returned to his cheerful game of cards.

“How I pity him!” said Lawrence. “I wish I could give him something to amuse him, alone there in the dark!”

“He is well enough off,” laughed Owen. “He is happy. You should hear my father tell of boys in the mines of the old country, who can’t even have a light.”

Along a channel beside the gangway flowed a rivulet towards the shaft,—its low, gentle ripple sounding hollow and strange in those dismal depths. That was all the noise they heard for some distance, as they walked on. Then suddenly came a terrific thunder-peal, which seemed to shake the earth, and made Lawrence for a moment think the roof was coming down upon their heads.

“Now here we are, look!” was all the comment Owen made upon this little incident, which might well startle a stranger.

They passed a railroad switch, and followed a side track, which turned off into what seemed a winding cavern. It was narrow at the entrance, but it grew wider and wider, as they advanced. All was dark before them at first, but as they kept on around the curve of the track, dim lights appeared, glimmering through a thick, bluish cloud. The broad, flat roof was supported by rows of wooden props. Beside the car-track were heaps of slate that had been taken out of the coal. And now Lawrence, if he had not already guessed the nature of the explosion he had heard, was made aware of it by the strong odor of blasting-powder which swept over him with a cloud of smoke.

“This is what we call a chamber, or breast,” said Mr. Clarence.

At the further end of it, where the lights were, seventy-five or eighty yards from the entrance, two men were at work in the thickest of the smoke. One was clearing away the fragments which the blast had blown out from the bottom of the coal-seam. This was the miner’s “laborer.” The other was examining the opening that had just been made, and evidently studying how to place his next charge of powder. This was the miner himself. Both were begrimed with powder-smoke and coal-dust, the effect of which was heightened, to Lawrence’s imagination, by the cloud and stench in which they worked.

Owen stepped nimbly over the rubbish, the others following,—all but Muff. Mr. Clarence had left him, with his cane, at the entrance to the chamber. Then Owen astonished Lawrence very much by saying quietly, as the miner turned and looked at them, with an honest, kindly face under its grime,—

“This is my father.”

Lawrence was, in fact, taken so much by surprise at this introduction, that he offered to shake hands,—an evidence of weakness on his part that once more, for the moment, quite lost him the respect of his friend, Mr. Clarence.

The sensible Welshman declined the honor, showing his blackened hands, and said, “You have come to see the coal-mines, have you?”

Lawrence said he had, and began to ask questions with regard to the manner in which the coal was got out.

“It is very simple, look!” replied the miner. (The father, like the son, had an odd way of throwing in that little word look, when he was speaking.) “You put in your charge of powder, and blow it out.”

“Do you have to blow all of it?”

“Every yard. I work under the vein, look. I work out here a space, at the bottom, about five feet high, and twelve feet deep. Then I put in a heavy charge above, and blow down the top.”

“How much coal do you blow out at a time!”

“A couple of tons or so, when I am working out the bottom. Then when I blow down the top, I get a good many tons, sometimes.”

“You must drill pretty deep for that.”

“Yes, we sink the drill five or six feet generally, to get a good blast. There’s everything in taking advantage of the way the coal lays. It isn’t like mining soft coal, look. There you work under the bottom bench with a pick, and then break down the rest from the top with wedges. You don’t blast at all, only when the rock is in your way.”

“What sound is that?” asked Lawrence.

Both men had stopped work for the moment; and now could be heard a regular, dull click-click-click, which seemed to be somewhere in the solid wall of coal close beside them.

“That is the miner drilling in the next chamber.”

“How far off is he?”

“About twenty feet. He keeps his breast along about even with mine. We are in, now, about two hundred and fifty feet from the gangway.”

“How deep do you drive your chambers?”

“About three hundred feet along here. Sometimes we go deeper, and sometimes not so deep.”

“Then how do you get out the coal beyond?”

“Drive breasts from other gangways,” said the miner.

Lawrence could have remained a long time watching him at his work, and talking with him; but Owen suggested that they had a great deal yet to see, and that it was getting late. So they took leave of the miner, and started to go back to the entrance to the chamber, where Mr. Clarence had left Muff.

J. T. Trowbridge.


I had long promised my little friend Veronica to take her to spend an afternoon in the Happy Valley, or the Wilderness, for we call it, indifferently, by both names. It is a deep dell in the grounds belonging to a friend of mine, whose permission I have to take thither any children I choose. And a most enjoyable and lovely spot it is. Originally I think it must have been an enormous gravel-pit, but the growth of at least two centuries of trees and brushwood, together with careful cultivation, has made it into a perfect fairy glade, where Art so disguises herself that she looks like Nature, and everything grows so wildly luxuriant that it may well be called a wilderness.

I believe Veronica—who is a very matter-of-fact little person, and yet has a spice of imagination too—took my promise literally, and for weeks would not get out of her mind the idea that she was to be taken into the wilderness that the Children of Israel journeyed through, where she would see camels, Bedouin Arabs, and perhaps a mirage or two. She had full time to think about it, for immediately afterward there ensued a long series of wet days,—and during such weather the Happy Valley is, I must confess, a most damp and uncomfortable place, very soppy on its grassy lawn, and on its steep mossy paths very slippery and unsafe, especially to poor Veronica.

For my little friend has a hard lot for a child: she is lame, and has to go about on crutches. We trust this will not last,—that with care she may in a few years be able to run about just like other children; but in the mean time she has to suffer much. Her sad, entreating blue eyes often put me in mind of the flower whose name she bears,—

“The blue veronica, shut from light,

 Faded away to a sickly white,”—

only that is far from being the case with this Veronica. She lives in a perfect sunshine of love and kindness, which helps her so much that I really believe, in spite of all her pain, she is a very happy little girl. She has become accustomed to her crutches, and has learned to use them so cleverly, that, instead of walking, she seems actually to fly across the rooms or the garden, and can get about almost as well as any of her playfellows. Several of them were now staying with her; so, as the season of primroses, when I made the promise, had passed into that of wild roses and honeysuckle, I thought it was high time to fulfil my pledge; and we planned a little party to the Happy Valley, whither we all started to go, in high spirits and a basket-chaise, also a perambulator.

“We” consisted of Veronica, aged nine; her friends Willie, Mary, Alfred, and baby, all younger than she; myself,—whose age is of no particular consequence; and two nurses, of whom all I will vouch for is that they are certainly above ten years old. But, to look at the party, you would have said that wisdom decreased, instead of increasing, with years; for the wisest and gravest of us, to all appearance, was most decidedly the baby. He was the most solemn infant I ever beheld! Never once did I see him smile; and, sheltered in his nurse’s arms, he sat viewing the whole proceeding with an air of dignified superiority which was quite edifying.

Veronica, Willie, and Mary occupied the basket-chaise; Alfred and baby travelled in the perambulator; I walked, and waited for the rest under a huge elm-tree at the wicket-gate which led into the Wilderness. Whether Veronica had by this time discovered that, though a wilderness, it was no desert, and she should not see any camels, I cannot tell; but she asked no questions, and looked quite satisfied. Nay, as we descended into the dell, she was most anxious to carry for me a mysterious bag and two stone jugs with their noses safely tied up, with which I had provided myself for the general benefit; and the lightsome way she stepped along down the steep road, which was nearly too much for the perambulator, showed she meant to enjoy herself as much as any of us, and was quite capable of so doing.

When we got to the bottom of the dell, O, how pretty it was! A circle of green sloping grass fit for a fairies’ ballroom, and all round it ornamental shrubs,—syringa, sumach, rhododendron, cornel-tree,—quantities of evergreens, wild roses, and honeysuckle. Beyond these again, growing up the precipitous banks of the quondam gravel-pit, were very tall trees,—elms, oaks, and firs,—in which dwelt, unmolested, hundreds of birds. There were thrushes, linnets, blackbirds, chaffinches,—all those charming singing-birds which fill our English woods. I do not know if American birds sing as well, but I am sure they cannot sing better. To-day several nightingales, who yearly build in the Happy Valley, added their help to the chorus; in fact, led it; for one of them sang so loud, at the very top of his voice, though it was only half past three in the afternoon, that he put all the other birds to silence. Willie and Mary, who came from the north of England, which region nightingales seldom visit, had never heard one before, and listened to him with great interest.

But we had no time to be sentimental; we wanted a little adventure, and there seemed room for it,—the whole place being solitary and silent, as if it were a real wilderness, except for the singing of the birds. Willie wanted to know if there was game there. Whether he meant wild boars, lions, or tigers, I cannot tell; but I assured him he would find nothing worse than a rabbit, at which he looked a little disappointed.

We encamped the nurses and babies (Alfred observing, in faint remonstrance, “I’s a—big—boy—now!”) on the centre of the fairies’ green parlor, and proceeded to climb up to the wood by which it was shut in. Mary timidly took my hand, but Veronica sprang about in so skilful and so fearless a manner that I, too, soon lost my fear for her, satisfied that she would come to no harm. And it was beautiful to see the child thus overcoming her deprivations, and making the best of everything, without one single complaint.

Willie was the gentleman of the party,—a bright, bold, manly little fellow. When we got to the top, he looked over the sheer edge, thirty or forty feet, down into the dell, and, spying the nurses, began pelting them with fir-cones,—all of which, I was happy to see, fell yards wide of their mark. Still, it was great fun; and we felt quite like a besieging army attacking a defenceless castle; gathering a quantity of fir-cones as ammunition, which we used as harmlessly as I wish all the ammunition in the world was used, and upon as innocent enemies. Fir-cones were the only things we gathered; for, though the Happy Valley was full of flowers, I explained to the children that they belonged to the lady of the place, and it was a point of honor not to touch them. And to the little folks’ great credit, though temptation sore abounded,—rhododendrons, roses, and especially beds of tall foxglove, crying out for tiny fingers to be stuck into their dainty bells,—my young friends never plucked a single flower.

In the midst of our fun, we caught sight of a poor little bird lying dead upon the ground. A linnet, I think it was, scarcely fledged. It looked so sad and forlorn that I proposed we should bury it.

“Yes,” said Mary, who had stood contemplating it with mournful eyes. “Perhaps its mother would be glad if we buried it. If she saw it lying there, I dare say she would cry.”

“Birds don’t cry,” remarked Willie, derisively; but still he consented to the plan, and told me all about a rabbit they had found in their garden, and buried, and put a tombstone over it, but not knowing its name, and thinking it ought to have one, had called it Thomas. Then we consulted as to what name we should give this dead bird, and thought the best one would be Dick.

“And what sort of a gravestone shall we put over it?” said Mary.

There was a brick-end lying near, but we decided that it was not pretty enough; so I found a broken branch of laurel, with its green leaves turned bright yellow, and proposed that we should plant it over the grave like a tree,—which was agreed to unanimously. Veronica lent me one of her crutches, and stood looking on with serious blue eyes while I dug a hole with it in the soft leaf-mould, among the roots of a fir-tree. There we laid the little bird as safely as in its own nest, and covered it up, and planted over it the laurel-branch. We felt rather sad for the pretty young linnet, which had never lived to sing like these other birds; but then it would never know winter and frost and hunger and cold; and, as Mary said, she was sure its mother would have been glad to know we had buried it so “comfortably.”

Pushing our way onwards, through a tangle of brushwood, trailing brambles, and fern so tall that it reached higher than Willie’s head, we came to a wonderful little nook, a tiny garden made in the middle of the wood. A deserted garden now, but once it must have been charming. It was made more than a century ago for some little lords and ladies, the children of an earl who once possessed this estate. How it passed away from the family I do not know, but it had passed; and they themselves had vanished and left no trace in the neighborhood, except a monument or two on the church wall, and this forsaken garden.

It was fenced round with a pretty miniature fence and wicket-gate, just high enough for little hands to open; and there must once have been all sorts of curious flowers in it; for there still remained great straggling bushes of damask roses, and yards of yellow musk-plant, creeping wild across the beds, and mingling, quite regardless of distinctions of rank, with the weeds that overgrew them. The gardener of the present mansion had begun to turn the place to use as a nursery for young evergreens; but otherwise it remained very much as it was, only utterly forsaken, neglected, and forlorn.

Willie was not much impressed with it; but the two little girls were deeply interested.

“And was this garden really made on purpose for the children?” asked Mary. “And did they play in it and work in it all themselves?”

“And did all this happen a hundred years ago?” Veronica questioned. “I wonder what they were dressed like, and what sort of children they were.”

That I could not tell; though I thought their names might easily be found in Burke’s British Peerage; as having been born, married, and died—yes, certainly they must all be dead—long ago. Further I knew nothing, except that a very old lady, now also passed away, had once told me she remembered coming as a child on a visit to some other children who lived in this mansion, and who were probably the descendants of the little lords and ladies for whom the garden was made. This was a link in history, however; and I felt that it much enhanced my dignity, and made the young people look upon me with respect as a sort of modern Methuselah.

With such conversation at intervals we threaded the wood, and came out at its other end,—at a gardener’s cottage, where, tied up to the boughs of an old apple-tree, was a beautiful swing. We asked permission of the gardener’s children,—not thinking we had any right to monopolize their property without asking it,—and then didn’t we enjoy ourselves! The sun burnt fiercely upon us, and the motion of the swing was, I should think, nearly as bad as that of a steamboat; but no matter! Willie and Veronica considered it the greatest fun; and even little Mary, who had never been in a swing before, timidly adventured, and looked as pleased as possible with her achievement. Then, our three children having gone in a body to thank the gardener’s three children, who stood at the cottage door with their fingers in their mouths, very shy, but much flattered, we retraced our steps through the Wilderness, calling out to one another at intervals, lest somebody should be lost, and found, days after, like one of the Babes in the Wood, covered over with leaves.

Here I ought, to make my story interesting, to invent an adventure, but, if I must tell the honest truth, we had none. Nothing whatever happened to us. We met no ogres, or giants, or dwarfs. No charming bluebird, or conversational rabbit, tempted us away into fairy-land. Not a robber, not even an old witch, was to be seen. We found a disused gravel-pit which interested us greatly,—it was so full of flowers and all sorts of curious things. And we looked over its edge, holding fast by one another; but nobody tumbled in, breaking three legs apiece,—a suggestion of mine, which was met with a scornful shout of “We have only two!”

“I wish, indeed, I had three legs, if they would help to run faster,” said Willie; “and, as I told mamma this morning, I should so like a pair of wings, and then I might fly. Could people ever learn to fly?”

I replied that, in spite of many ingenious attempts, nobody ever yet had succeeded in flying, and that I feared he must be content with his two legs, which he used so satisfactorily. I noticed, however,—and it was pretty to see in such a merry, active boy,—that, wherever she went, his eye followed Veronica; that in swinging he was extremely anxious over her “poor leg,” lest it should be hurt; and that, when she leaned too near the edge of the gravel-pit, he said, “Take care, my duck!” and held her in the tenderest way, though he was so much younger than she. It was that kindly spirit of protection which the stronger should show to the weaker, all boys should show to all girls; and it gave me a very good impression of Master Willie.

When we rejoined the nurses and babies, we found them sitting on the grass, cool and comfortable, while we were so hot and tired. Nevertheless, Mary wanted to take them up the hill and show them the deserted garden. But, as that would require carrying both Alfred and baby, the scheme fell through; though Alfred again informed us, reproachfully, that he was “a big boy now,” and I am sure would have made a long remonstrance had not his English failed him, he being only two years and three months old.

But Alfred is a remarkable boy, and twenty years hence, if he and I both live so long, I mean to have the honor of showing him this account of himself wherein I said so. By that time he will probably be a remarkable man, which will reflect great credit on my powers of prophecy.

Said he,—when prevented from going to see the garden, “Den I will go—next year. Mind! I will go Tuesday—next year,” with the air of a gentleman making a solemn appointment. And then, sitting down on the skirt of my dress, he began to converse with me. “I have a sekelet” (secret),—he never uses the third person, as babies do, but always the dignified first,—“I went to church, and I was so dood. I sat still, and I never spoke one word”; each syllable being pronounced slowly, distinctly, much like a foreigner learning English, and very desirous of being accurate.

I said I was exceedingly glad to hear of his good behavior, and told him of a little girl named Ethel, who sat opposite to me at church, and was, likewise, quite a pattern of goodness.

“Does she never ’peak one word, but sit still, like me?” and then he repeated his sentence over again, beginning, “I have a sekelet.” Language was evidently a great difficulty to him still; his mind being something like the large jug with the little narrow neck, only just untied, out of which I was now pouring a feeble decoction of raspberry vinegar.

“It looks like water,” said Affie, eying it doubtfully. But when he did deign to try it, he found it so good that he took draught after draught, eating at intervals pieces of currant bread,—a good honest loaf of bread with currants and sugar in it, and nothing else, which I recommend to all mothers of families as better than any cake for little people.

We had all dined, so we were not ravenous; still we finished our feast, and the raspberry-vinegar jug grew lighter and lighter every minute. We were such thirsty souls, especially Alfred. But both he and his brother Willie were thorough little gentlemen, and took their turns in order, however thirsty they might be. And after every draught Alfred repeated in his solemn manner, “It looks like water,” till he half killed us with laughing. Then he looked round, and said with dignity, half reproving, half apologetic, “I—drinks—water” (here he paused, and seemed to hunt the English language through for a word to express his meaning. It came at last in a burst.)—“I drinks water—genewally!” (generally.)

But time was passing on; we had only half an hour left for our ball-playing, our scampering, or whatever we liked to do. Off they set, Willie, Veronica, Mary, and even Affie, who toddled about on his fat legs after his elder brother, whom he greatly admired, and who was exceedingly kind to him. How fast minutes fly when one does not want them to go! Presently we heard the sound of wheels down the road outside, and our festival was over.

I don’t know how far the children thought it a festival, but I am sure I considered it one; they were so good, so easily amused, so obedient,—giving up their pleasure without a single grumble, when it came to an end.

So we packed up the bag of provisions—empty now; and the jugs with slim necks and small noses, drained to the last drop. We put the shawls in the perambulator, and slowly mounted up the mossy walk which led out of the Happy Valley.

“But I will come—next year. On Tuesday—next year,” said Affie, resolutely.

Alas! no “I will” of any of us is of much more use than little Affie’s in absolutely determining what we shall do next year, or even next week; but we will hope for the best. And as we all kissed one another an adieu, I faithfully promised, that, if possible, we would have just such another afternoon next summer in the Happy Valley.

And if this ever happens, I also promise to tell you little American children all about it.


Shy little Colt, here’s a handful of clover;

  Let us be friends, and begin from to-day.

Look, I am tall, and can reach the bars over,—

  Pretty brown frisker, don’t gallop away!


I know if you’d wait but a minute to hear me,

  Without shooting off in such terrified style,

You would very soon make up your mind not to fear me,

  But listen until I had gossiped awhile.


There’s shaggy old Neptune, he thinks it no danger

  To come when I call, but a matter of course.

Mamma says it’s naughty to run from a stranger,

  As I hope you’ll agree, sir, before you’re a horse.


Is that your mamma by the lily-pool yonder?

  She is sleeker than you, and more gentle-eyed.

Is she scolding you now for bad conduct, I wonder,

  In the whinny she gives, as you bound to her side?


Well, Nep., let’s be off in the woods for a ramble,

  And leave Master Colt to his own ugly mood.

I dare say he’ll canter and frolic and gambol,

  Without the least sorrow at having been rude.


But one of these days, when his play-time is over,

  When he’s broken to harness and whipped till he goes,

Perhaps he’ll remember the handful of clover,

  And think what a blessing is kindness,—who knows?


Edgar Fawcett.



If any enchanter, with a magic wand in his hand, should ask me to what place in Europe I should like best to be transported on one of these fine spring days, I should be able to answer the civil question without a moment’s delay.

Portugal, you know, ends in a promontory that juts far out into the Atlantic Ocean, and points straight to the Madeira Islands. A bold and lofty headland it is, named Cape St. Vincent,—very familiar to sailors bound for the Mediterranean, and famous in these modern times for a great naval battle fought near it in 1797, for gaining which an English admiral was created Earl St. Vincent. But that is not the place to which I should request my friendly enchanter to waft me.

About three miles to the east of this promontory there is another, called Cape Sagres, of very peculiar form and character. It is shaped something like a long human foot, and extends out into the sea about three quarters of a mile. It is about one quarter of a mile wide in its widest part, and it is elevated a hundred feet or more above the surface of the water. It is a bleak, barren, and desolate place. If the promontory had not been composed of solid granite, it would long ago have been washed away by the sea; and, granite as it is, the huge Atlantic waves have worn and torn deep cuttings in it, scooped out great archways under it, and have even forced openings through the solid rock to the surface of the promontory. Through these openings, and especially through one very large one, the swelling sea drives out the wind with great force; and sometimes the sea itself rushes up in a great mass, and, tossing itself high into the air, breaks into spray, and is carried by the wind as far as two miles into the interior, thus blighting the vegetation, and keeping the grass from growing over the loose, sandy soil.

Standing upon this promontory, you behold in all directions but one the broad sea. Before you, and on each side of you, there is sea, sea, sea, everywhere sea; and the view behind is a level waste, grassless, colorless, from the never-ceasing wind and spray; and no sound is heard except the dash and thunder and retreating growl of the never-resting waves. And yet this is the place, of all others in the world, that I should choose to visit, if in these delightful days of spring I could have a free passage to Anywhere I liked.

Evidently some one else, in some distant age, had the same curious taste; for all over this promontory there are signs of human habitation. Here there is an old tower, once an observatory, now used as a hayloft. At another place there are old walls that formed part of a stately residence. Yonder are the ruins of a church. Elsewhere there are walls overthrown, and at the beginning of the promontory there is a pedestal, such as was formerly used for the support of a wayside cross. There is also a fort, and some barracks, in which a company of Portuguese troops have sometimes been stationed. The fort and the barracks, however, are modern structures, with which we have little concern. All the buildings that once stood on this cape, which have to do with our present subject, were partly burnt by Drake, in 1587, and tumbled into ruins by the great earthquake of 1755.

Why should I wish to visit a spot so remote and desolate? Who could have ever lived in such a place? What motive could induce a man to select Cape Sagres for his abode in sunny, vine-clad Portugal?

Come into this fort, and you will see. Imbedded in the wall over the inner gate of the fort there is a large slab of fresh-looking marble, sculptured and inscribed like a tombstone. On the upper part there is engraved a coat of arms, a geographical globe, and an ancient ship under full sail, with a pennant streaming from her mast-head, and the Portuguese flag astern. Below is an inscription which explains why I desire to stand upon this height, and who it was, by residing here, made it sacred forever! This whole promontory was named Sacred by the Romans, because they found upon it a Druidical temple, and the present name Sagres is a corruption of the Latin word sacrum. A far better reason have we for calling it Sacred; for there lived upon it once a great and good man, who spent his whole life in the service of his race.

The inscription on this monumental stone has been translated thus:—


In this place

The great Prince Henry, son of John I., King of Portugal, having undertaken to discover the previously unknown regions of West Africa, and also to open a way, by the circumnavigation of Africa, to the remotest parts of the East, established at his own cost his royal palace, the famous school of cosmography, the astronomical observatory, and the naval arsenal, preserving, improving, and enlarging the same till the close of his life, with admirable energy and perseverance, and to the greatest benefit of the kingdom, of literature, of religion, and of the whole human race. After reaching by his expeditions the eighth degree of north latitude, and discovering and planting Portuguese colonies in many islands of the Atlantic, this great Prince died on the 13th of November, 1460. Three hundred and seventy-nine years after his death, Maria II., Queen of Portugal and the Algarves, commanded that this monument should be erected to the memory of the illustrious Prince, her kinsman, the Viscount de Sá da Baudiera being Minister of Marine. 1839.”

The monument is small compared with the importance of the man in whose honor it was erected. But all America is his monument. Australia is his monument. The coasts of India and the numberless islands of the seas speak his fame. Those two great continents and those innumerable islands were discovered directly in consequence of the labors of Prince Henry the Navigator, who never navigated.

Some of my readers will perhaps be glad and proud to know that the mother of Prince Henry was of our own blood,—an Englishwoman. For my part, I have enough of the vanity of race to think that he derived much of his peculiar generosity of mind, his public spirit, and his love of knowledge from that noble English mother of his, Philippa, daughter of the valiant Prince whom Shakespeare calls “Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster.” I do not suppose that we Americans and English are, upon the whole, better than other races of human beings; but in the one virtue of public spirit, a heartfelt interest in the public welfare, a willingness to take trouble and spend money that others may be happy, wise, and good, I do really believe that we are not surpassed by any other people. However that may be, the fact remains, that the mother of Prince Henry was an English lady.

Not that this Prince had not also a right valiant and worthy father. Five centuries have passed since the birth of King John the First of Portugal; but to this day he is called by the Portuguese John the Great and King John the Father of his Country. And with much reason do they call him by the latter name. When the Moors had been driven to a safe distance from the frontiers, it was this King John who defended Portugal against its powerful neighbor, Castile. In his fierce and desperate war against the King of Castile, he won victories so great and so numerous as to secure the independence of his country against its Christian enemies, as his brave forefathers had against its Mahometan foes. It was chiefly owing to him that Portugal has been able, for the greater part of the last five centuries, to hold its own against the powerful kingdoms near it. Spain despises Portugal, and Portugal hates Spain; but if this contempt and hatred should ever again cause a war between them, the large kingdom will not be able to absorb the little one, as long as Portugal remembers the valor of King John. His tomb defends his country more than any of its forts.

It is a curious thing that, six hundred years ago, Portugal and England were as closely allied by friendship and interest as they now are. They are so nearly connected at present, that Portugal is sometimes called a British Province. An English gentleman tells me that to this day, when a member of the royal family of Portugal dies, the royal family of England goes into mourning,—not merely the public or court mourning, as it is styled, but into what is termed domestic mourning, which is only worn upon the decease of a relative. This intimacy of friendship dates back almost to the beginning of the Portuguese monarchy. King John, for example, was the first sovereign, not English, who ever belonged to the Order of the Garter, and he received it soon after the order was established by Edward the Third, John of Gaunt’s father.

Now, the way in which King John of Portugal came to marry an English princess was this: old John of Gaunt, by one of his marriages, acquired a claim to the crown of Castile, and when King John of Portugal had dealt Castile some damaging blows, he thought the opportunity good for enforcing his claim. So he led an army into Portugal to join the forces of that country in invading the neighboring kingdom. Expecting to make a long stay, he brought his daughters with him, one grown up and the other a little girl. After some fighting, and a great deal more skirmishing and marching, and crossing of rivers and coming back again, they made a peace, which was finally cemented by two marriages,—one of John of Gaunt’s daughters, Philippa, married the King of Portugal, and the other, when she was old enough, married the King of Castile. In this way the royal families of England, Portugal, and Castile were more closely connected than ever; but one of the best effects of it was that it promoted peace between Portugal and its neighbor, and this gave Portugal time and money, by and by, to explore the unknown sea.

The marriage between King John and the Princess Philippa took place February 2d, 1387. They had eight children, all of whom grew up except two. Prince Henry, called The Navigator, was born at Oporto on the 4th of March, 1394. He was the fifth child and fourth son of his parents.

While these princes were growing up to manhood their father was busy in governing and defending his kingdom, and consequently the care of the family devolved chiefly upon their mother, Queen Philippa. She was one of those women whose nature it is to be a blessing to every one connected with them. Her whole employment was to do good, and in nothing did she so much delight as to reconcile disputes, and change enemies into friends. She was not like some of the fine ladies of the present day, who think it a great shame that they should have to take care of their households, and assist in rearing their children. She delighted in those great duties. She felt it to be worthy of a Queen to take part in training princes who were one day to give the tone to the manners and morals of the kingdom; nor did she consider it beneath her to attend to the affairs of the dining-room and kitchen. In short, she was a thoroughly good mother, and many of you know what that is from having one.

Some may think, perhaps, that because these children were of princely rank they were indulged in their whims, and allowed to have their own way. No such thing. In Europe, as a rule, the higher the rank of a family the more strictly the children of it are brought up. These young princes, besides being inured to hardship as young soldiers, had a thorough drilling in Latin, Greek, and mathematics. The two elder brothers, we are told, were particularly fond of the ancient languages, and learned to write very well in Latin, as well as in Portuguese. Prince Henry, however, preferred mathematics, astronomy, geography, and other branches which are particularly useful to a navigator. All of these children gave great promise of future worth and talent; and they acquired in their youth, not only a great deal of knowledge, but that love of knowledge, that eager curiosity to know, which makes the persons who are so happy as to have it students and observers as long as they live.

In the year 1415 the three elder princes were grown men. Edward, the heir to the throne, was twenty-two, Peter was twenty-one, and Henry nineteen. It was time for them to receive the honor of Knighthood, to which in those days the sons of monarchs and nobles all aspired, except those who were going to become priests. But not even a king’s son could become a Knight, until he had shown himself worthy of it by some gallant feat of arms. Portugal was at peace. So the King proposed to invite the Knights of all Europe to come to Portugal and join in a succession of grand tournaments, in which his three sons could take part, and win their knightly spurs. But, it seems this King had a wise old Secretary of the Treasury, as we should call him, who suggested a scheme which he thought would be a great deal more profitable.

I have said several times, in the course of these articles, that, whenever the Moors were about to wage war against the Christians of Spain and Portugal, hosts of Mahometans used to cross over the Straits of Gibraltar, from Africa into Spain, to join in the fray. These armies always met and organized at a city called Ceuta (pronounced by English sailors and merchants Su-ta, but by the Spaniards, who now possess it, Thay-oo-ta). It was, as it now is, an excellent seaport, and was strongly fortified by walls and towers. If you look on the map of Morocco, you will see how conveniently situated it is for the purpose to which the Moors applied it, as it is not more than thirty miles from the southern extremity of Spain.

Now, said the knowing old treasurer of King John, let us carry the war into Africa; let us capture the city of Ceuta; let us block up so convenient a doorway into Europe; and let us plant the standard of the Cross in the midst of its greatest enemies.

You can easily imagine what the three young princes thought of this fine proposal. Of course they were most warmly in favor it, and very likely urged their father to give his consent. The King was nothing loath, and soon made up his mind to make the attempt.

And now all the seaports in the kingdom were astir with preparation. Ships were building, repairing, rigging, arming, and loading; and there was such a furbishing of arms and armor, and such a universal din of getting ready, that the Moors began to be alarmed. The Moorish King of Grenada sent an embassy to King John, imploring him to keep the peace, and when they could get no satisfactory answer from him, the envoys went to Queen Philippa, begging her to intercede with her husband, and promising, on behalf of their Queen, to send her splendid gifts for the wedding of her daughter. The Queen replied:—

“I know nothing of the methods which your queens may resort to in dealings with their husbands; but with us, it would be regarded as an indecent thing for a wife to interfere in her husband’s affairs, especially in such as have to be debated in council. As regards the presents which your Queen has so liberally offered me, I thank her, and accept her good wishes, but beg her to dispose of her gifts elsewhere, as she may please; for when the time comes for my daughter to be married, she will have no lack of costly ornaments.”

I do not suppose that this good Queen was at all sorry for the Moors who were going to be attacked. The old Portuguese historian who relates this anecdote says that, as Queen Philippa was an Englishwoman, she of course held both Jews and Moors in detestation. Probably she regarded them with some pity, and more contempt, and heartily wished them to be so reduced in numbers and power that they never again could trouble the peace of Christians. Poor lady! she died in July, 1415, a few days before the expedition sailed, after having been Queen of Portugal for twenty-eight years. You may see her monument and statue, if ever you go to Portugal, and you will observe that she had as grand a head as even a phrenologist could desire.

On the 25th of July, 1415, the expedition sailed from Lagos, a port only a few miles distant from the Cape Sagres described above. It was an amazing expedition for so small a kingdom; but almost every leading country in Europe sent some galleys or smaller ships to join it. A chronicler of the time says that the fleet consisted of thirty-three galleys, twenty-seven triremes, thirty-two biremes, and one hundred and twenty smaller vessels. A galley, you know, was a vessel with only one row of oarsmen. A bireme had two rows, and a trireme three rows, one above the other. This fleet, it is said, carried fifty thousand men, of whom thirty thousand were oarsmen and sailors, and twenty thousand were soldiers. The King himself and the three princes sailed with the expedition.

It was a desperate affair. Twice the fleet was driven away and scattered by adverse winds; at which the Portuguese were so much discouraged that they would have given up but for the unconquerable resolution of King John and his three sons. But a landing was effected at last. Prince Henry and his elder brother, at the head of three hundred men, stood upon the shore. A great force of Moors issued from the town and attacked them, when a fierce contest ensued, which ended in the retreat of the Moors, who fled in a panic toward one of the principal gates. There they made a stand, headed by a huge naked negro, who carried no weapons, but threw large stones with wonderful force. One of these stones struck the helmet of Vasco Martinez, a nobleman who fought near Prince Henry. Though half stunned by the blow, he quickly recovered himself, and, dashing through the foremost of the enemy, thrust his spear into the side of the gigantic negro, who fell to the ground. Panic seized the Moorish host again, and they now fled through the gate into the town, the princes and their men following pell-mell.

Ceuta was half won. Fresh forces from the fleet poured in and joined the gallant band fighting in the town. The battle lasted all day, Prince Henry foremost wherever the fight was hottest. Once, in a narrow street, he found himself alone against a number of the foe; but he kept them off until, upon the arrival of a few Portuguese soldiers, they took to flight. At another time the Prince was lost for a while, and word was brought to his father that he had fallen. The King, at such a moment, was more a soldier than a parent, and calmly said to the officers around him, “Such is the end which soldiers must expect.”

At sunset the Moors were everywhere defeated, and each man loading himself with as much property as he could carry, they left Ceuta to its fate, and sought safety, with their wives and children, in the towns and villages outside of the walls. The very citadel was quietly abandoned, and the Portuguese entered it without having the trouble to batter down the door.

Prince Henry was evidently the hero of this glorious day. Almost at the same moment the King heard that the citadel was taken, and that Prince Henry was alive, and he welcomed his son, worn and sweating from the fight, with a joy that shone in his countenance. The King wished to make him a Knight upon the spot, before his brothers, because, young as he was, he had borne himself that day more like a veteran in arms than a youth of nineteen. But the Prince said, “No; my brothers are before me in age, and I wish them to be before me in honor also.”

So on the next morning at daybreak all the bishops and priests of the army gathered in the great Mahometan mosque of the city, and consecrated it a Christian cathedral, which it remains to this day, for Ceuta has ever since been a Christian city. When the mosque had thus become a church, and mass had been said in it, the three princes knelt before the King in full armor, each wearing at his side a sword which their dead mother had given them during her last illness; and there, in the presence of a great multitude of their fellow-soldiers, they received the honor of Knighthood in the order of their age.

Thus fell Ceuta, for so many years a terror to Spain and Portugal. The princes remained for many weeks in the town after its fall; and while there, Prince Henry and his brother Pedro, with the curiosity natural to intelligent young men, asked the Moors who remained in the town all about their country. Prince Henry was very desirous to know what there was south of Morocco, and how far Africa extended, and whether there were any Christian nations and princes in it, and whether the sea along the coast was navigable, and whether anything was clearly known of the islands which had been visited under the reign of his grandfather. How much information he obtained upon these points we do not know. We only know that he gathered all the knowledge he could, and that he went away from Africa with a deep and inextinguishable desire to know more of that continent and the ocean that washed its shores.

The King and his sons, toward the close of the year 1415, went home to Portugal, leaving in the captured city a Portuguese governor and garrison. The Moors did not continue the war, and so Portugal was at peace again.

Two of these princes now began to carry out the great purpose of their lives, which was to gain a greater knowledge of the wonderful world they lived in than had yet been obtained by any one. Pedro sought knowledge by travelling on land, and Prince Henry from the exploration of the sea. Soon after returning from Ceuta, Prince Pedro, attended by twelve persons, set out upon a journey which lasted twelve years, during which he visited his royal relatives in Castile, France, and England, traversed a great part of Europe, and probably parts of Asia and Africa. No account of this remarkable journey has yet been published in Portugal, though I cannot help thinking there must be some narrative of it among the manuscripts in which that country abounds. We know little more of it than that he returned safe and sound, after twelve years’ travel; and he spent the rest of his days in assisting his brother Henry in the study of the ocean.

Prince Henry, I say again, chose the sea, and the unknown lands bordering upon it, for his object. After his return from Ceuta the King made him governor of Algarve, the most southern province of Portugal, near the extremity of which is Cape Sagres, described at the beginning of this chapter. On that promontory the Prince built a mansion, and there he went to reside, having no other motive except a desire to be on the spot most convenient for carrying out his design. Around him and before him was the sea which he wished to explore, and near by was the port of Lagos for the ships which he intended to employ. At his abode upon Cape Sagres he gathered a considerable number of the young nobility of the kingdom, for whose instruction in mathematics, navigation, and geography he invited men learned in those branches to come and live in his palace, to whom he gave a princely welcome and liberal support.

A little town grew up about his house, which the people of the neighborhood called Villa do Infante, or, as we should style it, Princeton. He built an observatory, a church, an arsenal, and a library. He collected books, maps, charts, compasses, and all other instruments then used in navigation. Surrounded by learned men and learned books, by young students and aged instructors, he passed a long life upon this promontory, leaving it only when public affairs called him away. He devoted all his time, all his talents, all his revenues, and all his influence to increasing man’s knowledge of the planet he inhabits.

His chief concern, of course, was the sending out of those ships of discovery which have made his name immortal. For forty years he made a practice of sending out a ship or ships every spring, with orders to sail as far down the coast of Africa as the captains could make the crews go, and to bring back to him, at Cape Sagres, a full account of all they had seen and heard during the voyage, both on land and sea. This was the chosen business of his life. He wisely preferred never to sail on these expeditions himself, and therefore I have called him Prince Henry the Navigator, who never navigated. As prince, as general, as master of the military Order of Christ, as counsellor to the King, as chief of a school of navigators, he had duties to perform which kept him at home. He had chosen for his part the more difficult and less popular task of inspiring, directing, and rewarding other men, and keeping up that steady succession of endeavors which alone could have accomplished anything great in that age. Any brave man might make a successful voyage. Prince Henry’s post was on the lofty height of Sagres, seeing to it that brave men went forth every year in quest of knowledge.

James Parton.



It is supposed that you have learned your letters, and how to make them.

It is supposed that you have written the school copies, from

down to

It is supposed that you can mind your p’s and q’s, and, as Harriet Byron said of Charles Grandison, in the romance which your great-grandmother knew by heart, “That you can spell well.” Observe the advance of the times, dear Stephen. That a gentleman should spell well was the only literary requisition which the accomplished lady of his love made upon him a hundred years ago. And you, if you go to Mrs. Vandermeyer’s party tonight, will be asked by the fair Marcia, what is your opinion as to the origin of the Myth of Ceres!

These things are supposed. It is also supposed that you have, at heart and in practice, the essential rules which have been unfolded in Numbers I. and II. of this series. As has been already said, these are as necessary in one duty of life as in another,—in writing a President’s message as in finding your way by a spotted trail, from Albany to Tamworth.

These things being supposed, we will now consider the special needs for writing, as a gentleman writes, or a lady, in the English language, which is, fortunately for us, the best language of them all.

I will tell you, first, the first lesson I learned about it; for it was the best, and was central. My first undertaking of importance in this line was made when I was seven years old. There was a new theatre, and a prize of a hundred dollars was offered for an ode to be recited at the opening,—or perhaps it was only at the opening of a season. Our school was hard by the theatre, and as we boys were generally short of spending-money, we conceived the idea of competing for this prize. You can see that a hundred dollars would have gone a good way in barley-candy and blood-alleys,—which last are things unknown, perhaps, to Young America to-day. So we resolutely addressed ourselves to writing for the ode. I was soon snagged, and found the difficulties greater than I had thought. I consulted one who has through life been Nestor and Mentor to me,—(Second class in Greek,—Wilkins, who was Nestor?—Right; go up. Third class in French,—Miss Clara, who was Mentor?—Right; sit down),—and he replied by this remark, which I beg you to ponder inwardly, and always act upon:—

“Edward,” said he, “whenever I am going to write anything, I find it best to think first what I am going to say.”

In the instruction thus conveyed is a lesson which nine writers out of ten have never learned. Even the people who write leading articles for the newspapers do not, half the time, know what they are going to say when they begin. And I have heard many a sermon which was evidently written by a man who, when he began, only knew what his first “head” was to be. The sermon was a sort of riddle to himself, when he started, and he was curious as to how it would come out. I remember a very worthy gentleman who sometimes spoke to the Sunday school when I was a boy. He would begin without the slightest idea of what he was going to say, but he was sure that the end of the first sentence would help him to the second. This is an example.

“My dear young friends, I do not know that I have anything to say to you, but I am very much obliged to your teachers for asking me to address you this beautiful morning.—The morning is so beautiful after the refreshment of the night, that as I walked to church, and looked around and breathed the fresh air, I felt more than ever what a privilege it is to live in so wonderful a world.—For the world, dear children, has been all contrived and set in order for us by a Power so much higher than our own, that we might enjoy our own lives, and live for the happiness and good of our brothers and our sisters.—Our brothers and our sisters they are indeed, though some of them are in distant lands, and beneath other skies, and parted from us by the broad oceans.—These oceans, indeed, do not so much divide the world as they unite it. They make it one. The winds which blow over them, and the currents which move their waters,—all are ruled by a higher law, that they may contribute to commerce and to the good of man.—And man, my dear children,” &c., &c., &c.

You see there is no end to it. It is a sort of capping verses with yourself, where you take up the last word, or the last idea of one sentence, and begin the next with it, quite indifferent where you come out, if you only “occupy the time” that is appointed. It is very easy for you, but, my dear friends, it is very hard for those who read and who listen!

The vice goes so far, indeed, that you may divide literature into two great classes of books. The smaller class of the two consists of the books written by people who had something to say. They had in life learned something, or seen something, or done something, which they really wanted and needed to tell to other people. They told it. And their writings make, perhaps, a twentieth part of the printed literature of the world. It is the part which contains all that is worth reading. The other nineteen twentieths make up the other class. The people have written just as you wrote at school when Miss Winstanley told you to bring in your compositions on “Duty Performed.” You had very little to say about “Duty Performed.” But Miss Winstanley expected three pages. And she got them,—such as they were.

Our first rule is, then,

Know what you want to say.

The second rule is,

Say it.

That is, do not begin by saying something else, which you think will lead up to what you want to say. I remember, when they tried to teach me to sing, they told me to “think of eight and sing seven.” That may be a very good rule for singing, but it is not a good rule for talking, or writing, or any of the other things that I have to do. I advise you to say the thing you want to say. When I began to preach, another of my Nestors said to me, “Edward, I give you one piece of advice. When you have written your sermon, leave off the introduction and leave off the conclusion. The introduction seems to me always written to show that the minister can preach two sermons on one text. Leave that off, then, and it will do for another Sunday. The conclusion is written to apply to the congregation the doctrine of the sermon. But, if your hearers are such fools that they cannot apply the doctrine to themselves, nothing you can say will help them.” In this advice was much wisdom. It consists, you see, in advising to begin at the beginning, and to stop when you have done.

Thirdly, and always,

Use your own Language.

I mean the language you are accustomed to use in daily life. David did much better with his sling than he would have done with Saul’s sword and spear. And Hatty Fielding told me, only last week, that she was very sorry she wore her cousin’s pretty brooch to an evening dance, though Fanny had really forced it on her. Hatty said, like a sensible girl as she is, that it made her nervous all the time. She felt as if she were sailing under false colors. If your every-day language is not fit for a letter or for print, it is not fit for talk. And if, by any series of joking or fun, at school or at home, you have got into the habit of using slang in talk, which is not fit for print, why, the sooner you get out of it the better. Remember that the very highest compliment paid to anything printed is paid when a person, hearing it read aloud, thinks it is the remark of the reader made in conversation. Both writer and reader then receive the highest possible praise.

It is sad enough to see how often this rule is violated. There are fashions of writing. Mr. Dickens, in his wonderful use of exaggerated language, introduced one. And now you can hardly read the court report in a village paper but you find that the ill-bred boy who makes up what he calls its “locals” thinks it is funny to write in such a style as this:—

“An unfortunate individual who answered to the somewhat well-worn sobriquet of Jones, and appeared to have been trying some experiments as to the comparative density of his own skull and the materials of the sidewalk, made an involuntary appearance before Mr. Justice Smith.”

Now the little fool who writes this does not think of imitating Dickens. He is only imitating another fool, who was imitating another, who was imitating another,—who, through a score of such imitations, got the idea of this burlesque exaggeration from some of Mr. Dickens’s earlier writings of thirty years ago. It was very funny when Mr. Dickens originated it. When he occasionally uses such exaggeration now it is very funny. But it is not in the least funny when these other people use it, to whom it is not natural, and to whom it does not come easily. Just as this boy says “sobriquet,” without knowing at all what the word means, merely because he has read it in another newspaper, everybody, in this vein, gets entrapped into using words with the wrong senses, in the wrong places, and making himself ridiculous.

Now it happens, by good luck, that I have, on the table here, a pretty file of eleven compositions, which Miss Winstanley has sent me, which the girls in her first class wrote, on the subject I have already named. The whole subject, as she gave it out, was, “Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.” I think, myself, that the subject was a hard one, and that Miss Winstanley would have done better had she given them a choice from two familiar subjects, of which they had lately seen something or read something. When young people have to do a thing, it always helps them to give them a choice between two ways of doing it. However, Miss Winstanley gave them this subject. It made a good deal of growling in the school, but, when the time came, of course the girls buckled down to the work, and, as I said before, the three pages wrote themselves, or were written somehow or other.

Now I am not going to inflict on you all these eleven compositions. But there are three of them which, as it happens, illustrate quite distinctly the three errors against which I have been warning you. I will copy a little scrap from each of them. First, here is Pauline’s. She wrote without any idea, when she began, of what she was going to say.

Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.

“A great many people ask the question, ‘What is duty?’ and there has been a great deal written upon the subject, and many opinions have been expressed in a variety of ways. People have different ideas upon it, and some of them think one thing and some another. And some have very strong views, and very decided about it. But these are not always to be the most admired, for often those who are so loud about a thing are not the ones who know the most upon a subject. Yet it is all very important, and many things should be done; and, when they are done, we are all embowered in ecstasy.”

That is enough of poor Pauline’s. And, to tell the truth, she was as much ashamed when she had come out to this “ecstasy,” in first writing what she called “the plaguy thing,” as she is now she reads it from the print. But she began that sentence, just as she began the whole, with no idea how it was to end. Then she got aground. She had said, “it is all very important”; and she did not know that it was better to stop there, if she had nothing else to say, so, after waiting a good while, knowing that they must all go to bed at nine, she added, “and many things must be done.” Even then, she did not see that the best thing she could do was to put a full stop to the sentence. She watched the other girls, who were going well down their second pages, while she had not turned the leaf, and so, in real agony, she added this absurd “when they are done, we are all embowered in ecstasy.” The next morning they had to copy the “compositions.” She knew what stuff this was, just as well as you and I do, but it took up twenty good lines, and she could not afford, she thought, to leave it out. Indeed, I am sorry to say, none of her “composition” was any better. She did not know what she wanted to say, when she had done, any better than when she began.

Pauline is the same Pauline who wanted to draw in mono-chromatic drawing.

Here is the beginning of Sybil’s. She is the girl who refused the sponge-cake when Dr. Throop offered it to her. She had an idea that an introduction helped along,—and this is her introduction.

Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.

“I went out at sunset to consider this subject, and beheld how the departing orb was scattering his beams over the mountains. Every blade of grass was gathering in some rays of beauty, every tree was glittering in the majesty of parting day.

“I said, ‘What is life?—What is duty?’ I saw the world folding itself up to rest. The little flowers, the tired sheep, were turning to their fold. So the sun went down. He had done his duty, along with the rest.”

And so we got round to “Duty performed,” and, the introduction well over, like the tuning of an orchestra, the business of the piece began. That little slip about the flowers going into their folds was one which Sybil afterwards defended. She said it meant that they folded themselves up. But it was an oversight when she wrote it; she forgot the flowers, and was thinking of the sheep.

Now I think you will all agree with me that the whole composition would have been better without this introduction.

Sarah Clavers had a genuine idea, which she had explained to the other girls much in this way. “I know what Miss Winstanley means. She means this. When you have had a real hard time to do what you know you ought to do, when you have made a good deal of fuss about it,—as we all did the day we had to go over to Mr. Ingham’s and beg pardon for disturbing the Sunday school,—you are so glad it is done, that everything seems nice and quiet and peaceful,—just as when a thunder-storm is really over, only just a few drops falling, there comes a nice still minute or two with a rainbow across the sky. That’s what Miss Winstanley means, and that’s what I am going to say.”

Now really, if Sarah had said that, without making the sentence breathlessly long, it would have been a very decent “composition” for such a subject. But when poor Sarah got her paper before her, she made two mistakes. First, she thought her school-girl talk was not good enough to be written down. And, second, she knew that long words took up more room than short; so, to fill up her three pages, she translated her little words into the largest she could think of. It was just as Dr. Schweigenthal, when he wanted to say “Jesus was going to Jerusalem,” said, “The Founder of our religion was proceeding to the metropolis of his country.” That took three times as much room and time, you see. So Sarah translated her English into the language of the Talkee-talkees; thus:—

Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.

“It is frequently observed, that the complete discharge of the obligations pressing upon us as moral agents is attended with conflict and difficulty. Frequently, therefore, we address ourselves to the discharge of these obligations, with some measure of resistance, perhaps with obstinacy, and I may add, indeed, with unwillingness. I wish I could persuade myself that our teacher had forgotten” (Sarah looked on this as a masterpiece,—a good line of print, which says, as you see, really nothing) “the afternoon which was so mortifying to all who were concerned, when her appeal to our better selves, and to our educated consciousness of what was due to a clergyman, and to the institutions of religion, made it necessary for several of the young ladies to cross to the village,” (Sarah wished she could have said metropolis,) “and obtain an interview with the Rev. Mr. Ingham.”

And so the composition goes on. Four full pages there are; but you see how they were gained,—by a vicious style, wholly false to a frank-spoken girl like Sarah. She expanded into what fills nine lines on this page what, as she expressed it in conversation, fills only four.

I hope you all see how one of these faults brings on another. Such is the way with all faults; they hunt in couples, or often, indeed, in larger company. The moment you leave the simple wish to say upon paper the thing you have thought, you are given over to all these temptations, to write things which, if any one else wrote them, you would say were absurd, as you say these school-girl’s “compositions” are. Here is a good rule of the real “Nestor” of our time. He is a great preacher; and one day he was speaking of the advantage of sometimes preaching an old sermon a second time. “You can change the arrangement,” he said. “You can fill in any point in the argument, where you see it is not as strong as you proposed. You can add an illustration, if your statement is difficult to understand. Above all, you can

Leave out all the Fine Passages.

I put that in small capitals, for one of our rules. For, in nineteen cases out of twenty, the Fine Passage that you are so pleased with, when you first write it, is better out of sight than in. Remember Whately’s great maxim, “Nobody knows what good things you leave out.”

Indeed, to the older of the young friends who favor me by reading these pages I can give no better advice, by the way, than that they read “Whately’s Rhetoric.” Read ten pages a day, then turn back, and read them carefully again, before you put the book by. You will find it a very pleasant book, and it will give you a great many hints for clear and simple expression, which you are not so likely to find in any other way I know.

Most of you know the difference between Saxon words and Latin words in the English language. You know there were once two languages in England,—the Norman French, which William the Conqueror and his men brought in, and the Saxon of the people who were conquered at that time. The Norman French was largely composed of words of Latin origin. The English language has been made up of the slow mixture of these two; but the real stock, out of which this delicious soup is made, is the Saxon,—the Norman French should only add the flavor. In some writing, it is often necessary to use the words of Latin origin. Thus, in most scientific writing, the Latin words more nicely express the details of the meaning needed. But, to use the Latin word where you have a good Saxon one is still what it was in the times of Wamba and of Cedric,—it is to pretend you are one of the conquering nobility, when, in fact, you are one of the free people, who speak, and should be proud to speak, not the French, but the English tongue. To those of you who have even a slight knowledge of French or Latin it will be very good fun, and a very good exercise, to translate, in some thoroughly bad author, his Latin words into English.

To younger writers, or to those who know only English, this may seem too hard a task. It will be doing much the same thing, if they will try translating from long words into short ones.

Here is a piece of weak English. It is not bad in other regards, but simply weak.

“Entertaining unlimited confidence in your intelligent and patriotic devotion to the public interest, and being conscious of no motives on my part which are not inseparable from the honor and advancement of my country, I hope it may be my privilege to deserve and secure, not only your cordial co-operation in great public measures, but also those relations of mutual confidence and regard, which it is always so desirable to cultivate between members of co-ordinate branches of the government.”

Take that for an exercise in translating into shorter words. Strike out the unnecessary words, and see if it does not come out stronger. The same passage will serve also as an exercise as to the use of Latin and Saxon words. Dr. Johnson is generally quoted as the English author who uses most Latin words. He uses, I think, ten in a hundred. But our Congressmen far exceed him. This sentence uses Latin words at the rate of thirty-five in a hundred. Try a good many experiments in translating from long to short, and you will be sure that, when you have a fair choice between two words,

A short Word is better than a long one.

For instance, I think this sentence would have been better if it had been couched in thirty-six words instead of eighty-one. I think we should have lost nothing of the author’s meaning if he had said, “I have full trust in you. I am sure that I seek only the honor and advance of the country. I hope, therefore, that I may earn your respect and regard, while we heartily work together.”

I am fond of telling the story of the words which a distinguished friend of mine used in accepting a hard post of duty. He said:—

“I do not think I am fit for this place. But my friends say I am, and I trust them. I shall take the place, and, when I am in it, I shall do as well as I can.”

It is a very grand sentence. Observe that it has not one word which is more than one syllable. As it happens, also, every word is Saxon,—there is not one spurt of Latin. Yet this was a learned man, who, if he chose, could have said the whole in Latin. But he was one American gentleman talking to another American gentleman, and therefore he chose to use the tongue to which they both were born.

We have not space to go into the theory of these rules, as far as I should like to. But you see the force which a short word has, if you can use it, instead of a long one. If you want to say “hush,” “hush” is a much better word than the French, “taisez vous.” If you want to say “halt,” “halt” is much better than the French “arretez-vous.” The French have, in fact, borrowed “halte” from us or from the German, for their tactics. For the same reason, you want to prune out the unnecessary words from your sentences, and even the classes of words which seem put in to fill up. If, for instance, you can express your idea without an adjective, your sentence is stronger and more manly. It is better to say “a saint” than “a saintly man.” It is better to say “This is the truth” than “This is the truthful result.” Of course an adjective may be absolutely necessary. But you may often detect extempore speakers in piling in adjectives, because they have not yet hit on the right noun. In writing, this is not to be excused. “You have all the time there is,” when you write, and you do better to sink a minute in thinking for one right word, than to put in two in its place,—because you can do so without loss of time. I hope every school-girl knows, what I am sure every school-boy knows, Sheridan’s saying, that “Easy writing is hard reading.”

In general, as I said before, other things being equal,

The fewer Words, the better,”

“as it seems to me.” “As it seems to me” is the quiet way in which Nestor states things. Would we were all as careful!

There is one adverb or adjective which it is almost always safe to leave out in America. It is the word “very.” I learned that from one of the masters of English style. “Strike out your ‘verys,’ ” said he to me, when I was young. I wish I had done so oftener than I have.

For myself, I like short sentences. This is, perhaps, because I have read a good deal of modern French, and I think the French gain in clearness by the shortness of their sentences. But there are great masters of style,—great enough to handle long sentences well,—and these men would not agree with me. But I will tell you this, that if you have a sentence which you do not like, the best experiment to try on it is the experiment Medea tried on the old goat, when she wanted to make him over:—

Cut it to Pieces.

What shall I take for illustration? You will be more interested in one of these school-girls’ themes than in an old Congress speech I have here marked for copying. Here is the first draft of Laura Walter’s composition, which happens to be tied up in the same red ribbon with the finished exercises. I will copy a piece of that, and then you shall see, from the corrected “composition,” what came of it, when she cut it to pieces, and applied the other rules which we have been studying.

Laura’s first Draft.

Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.

“I cannot conceive, and therefore I cannot attempt adequately to consider, the full probable meaning of the metaphorical expression with which the present ‘subject’ concludes,—nor do I suppose it is absolutely necessary that I should do so, for expressing the various impressions which I have formed on the subject taken as a whole, which have occurred to me in such careful meditation as I have been able to give to it,—in natural connection with an affecting little incident, which I will now, so far as my limited space will permit, proceed, however inadequately, to describe.

My dear little brother Frankie—as sweet a little fellow as ever plagued his sister’s life out, or troubled the kindest of mothers in her daily duties—was one day returning from school, when he met my father hurrying from his office, and was directed by him to proceed as quickly as was possible to the post-office, and make inquiry there for a letter of a good deal of importance which he had reason to expect, or at the least to hope for, by the New York mail.”

Laura had come as far as this early in the week, when bed-time came. The next day she read it all, and saw it was sad stuff, and she frankly asked herself why. The answer was, that she had really been trying to spin out three pages. “Now,” said Laura to herself, “that is not fair.” And she finished the piece in a very different way, as you shall see. Then she went back over this introduction, and struck out the fine passages. Then she struck out the long words, and put in short ones. Then she saw she could do better yet,—and she cut that long introductory sentence to pieces. Then she saw that none of it was strictly necessary, if she only explained why she gave up the rainbow part. And, after all these reductions, the part of the essay which I have copied was cut down and changed so that it read thus:—

Duty performed is a Rainbow in the Soul.

“I do not know what is meant by a Rainbow in the Soul.”

Then Laura went on thus:—

“I will try to tell a story of duty performed. My brother Frank was sent to the post-office for a letter. When he came there, the poor child found a big dog at the door of the office, and was afraid to go in. It was just the dead part of the day in a country village, when even the shops are locked up for an hour, and Frank, who is very shy, saw no one whom he could call upon. He tried to make Miss Evarts, the post-office clerk, hear; but she was in the back of the office. Frank was frightened, but he meant to do his duty. So he crossed the bridge, walked up to the butcher’s shop in the other village,—which he knew was open,—spent two pennies for a bit of meat, and carried it back to tempt his enemy. He waved it in the air, called the dog, and threw it into the street. The dog was much more willing to eat the meat than to eat Frankie. He left his post. Frank went in and tapped on the glass, and Miss Evarts came and gave him the letter. Frank came home in triumph, and papa said it was a finer piece of duty performed than the celebrated sacrifice of Casabianca’s would have been, had it happened that Casabianca ever made it.”

That is the shortest of these “compositions.” It is much the best. Miss Winstanley took the occasion to tell the girls, that, other things being equal, a short “composition” is better than a long one. A short “composition” which shows thought and care is much better than a long one which “writes itself.”

I dislike the word “composition,” but I use it, because it is familiar. I think “essay” or “piece” or even “theme” a better word.

Will you go over Laura’s story and see where it could be shortened, and what Latin words could be changed for better Saxon ones?

Will you take care, in writing yourself, never to say “commence” or “presume”?

Next month we will ask each other

How to read.

Edward Everett Hale.


William Henry’s Letter about the “Charade.”


I never did in all my life have such a real tiptop time as we fellers had last night. We acted charades, and I never did any before, and the word was—no I mustn’t tell you, because it has to be guessed by actions, and when you get the paper that I’m going to send you, soon as I buy a two-cent stamp, then you’ll see it all printed out in that paper. The teacher the fellers call Wedding Cake, because he’s such a good one, asked all the ones that board here to come to his house last night, and we acted charades, and his sister told us what to be, and what things to put on, and everything. You’ll see it printed there, but you must please to send it back, for I promised to return.

There weren’t females enough, and so Dorry he was the Fat Woman, and we all liked to ha’ died a laughing, getting ready, but when we were—there, I ’most told!

O if you could ha’ seen Bubby Short, a fiddling away, with old ragged clothes and old shoes and his cap turned wrong side out, then he passed round that cap—just as sober—much as we could do to keep in! I was a clerk and had a real handsome mustache done under my nose, with a piece of burnt cork-stopple burned over the light. And she told me to act big, like a clerk, and I did.

Mr. Augustus was the dandy, and if he didn’t strut, but he struts other times too, but more then, and made all of us laugh.

Old Wonder Boy was the boy that sold candy, and he spoke up smart and quick, just as she told him to, and the teacher was the country feller and acted just as funny, and so did his sister; his sister was the shopping woman. Both of them like to play with boys, and they’re grown up, too. Should you think they would? And they like candy same as we do. And when it came to the end, just as the curtain was dropping down, we all took hold of the rounds of our chairs, and jerked ourselves all of a sudden up in a heap together, and groaned, and so forth.

I wish you all and Aunt Phebe’s folks had been there. We had a treat, and O, if ’twasn’t a treat, why, I’ll agree to treat myself. Three kinds of ice-creams shaped up into pyramids and rabbits, and scalloped cakes and candy, and such a great floating island in a platter!—Dorry said ’twas a floating continent!—and had red jelly round the platter’s edge, and some of that red jelly was dipped out every dip. O, if he isn’t a tiptop teacher! Dorry says we ought to be ashamed of ourselves if we have missing lessons, or cut up any for much as a week, and more too, I say.

And so I can’t tell any more now, for I mean to study hard if I possibly can.

Your affectionate grandson,

William Henry.

Please lend it to Aunt Phebe’s folks.

CHARADE. (Carpet.)

First Syllable.

Chairs placed in two rows, to represent seats of cars. Passengers enter and take their seats. Placard stuck up, “Beware of Pickpockets” in capitals.

First. Enter two school-girls, M. and A., with books strapped about, lunch-box, &c. They are laughing and chatting. M. gives A. a letter to read. A. smiles while reading it, M. watching her face, then both look over it together. Afterwards, study their lessons. All this must be going on while the other passengers are entering.

Second. Business man and two clerks, one at a time. One takes out little account-book, another reads paper, another sits quietly, after putting ticket in his hat-band.

Third. Fat woman with old-fashioned carpet-bag, umbrella, and bundles tied up in handkerchiefs; seats herself with difficulty.

Fourth. A clergyman, all in black, very solemn, with white neckcloth, and spectacles.

Fifth. Yankee fellow from the country, staring at all new-comers.

Sixth. Dandy, with yellow gloves, slender cane, stunning neck-tie, watchchain, and eyeglass, comes in with a flourish, lolls back in his seat, using his eyeglass frequently.

Seventh. Lady with infant (very large rag-baby, in cloak and sunbonnet) and nurse-girl. Baby, being fussy, has to be amused, trotted, changed from one to the other. Lady takes things from her pocket to please it, dancing them up and down before its face.

Eighth. Plainly dressed, industrious woman, who knits.

Ninth. Fashionable young lady, dressed in the extreme of fashion. She minces up the aisle, looks at the others, seats herself apart from them, first brushing the seat. Shakes the dust from her garments, fans herself, takes out smelling-bottle, &c. (Shout is heard.) “All aboard!”

Tenth. In a hurry, Lady that’s been a-shopping, leading or pulling along her little boy or girl. She carries a waterproof on her arm, and has a shopping-bag and all sorts of paper parcels, besides a portfolio, a roller cart, a wooden horse on wheels, a drum, a toy-whip (and various other things). Doll’s head sticks out of a paper. Lady drops a package. Dandy picks it up with polite bow. Drops another. Yankee picks it up, imitating Dandy’s polite bow. Gets seated at last, arranges her bonnet-strings, takes off the child’s hat, smooths its hair, &c.

Steam-whistle heard. Every passenger now begins the jerking, up-and-down motion peculiar to the cars. This motion must be kept up by all, whatever they are doing, and by every one who enters.

Enter Conductor with an immense badge on his hat, or coat. Calls out, “Have your tickets ready!” Then passes along the aisle, and calls out again, “Tickets!” The tickets must be large and absurd. Passengers take them from pocket-books, gloves, &c. Fat old woman fumbles long for hers in different bundles, finds it at last in a huge leather pocket-book. Conductor, after nipping the tickets, passes out.

Enter boy with papers. “Mornin’ papers! Herald, Journal, Traveller!” (Business man buys one.) “Mornin’ papers! Herald, Journal, Traveller!” (Clerk buys one.) Paper boy passes out. Conductor appears, calls out, “Warburton! Warburton! Passengers for Bantam change cars!” (Noise heard of brakes, jerking motion ceases, school-girls leave, with those little hopping motions peculiar to school-girls. Yankee moves nearer fashionable miss. Two laborers enter. Steam-whistle heard, jerking motion resumed.) Candy boy enters. “Jessup’s candy! All flavors! Five cents a stick!” (Lady buys one for baby.) “Jessup’s candy! All flavors! Lemon, vernilla, pineapple, strorbry!” (Yankee buys one, offers half to fashionable miss. She declines. Crunches it himself.) Boy passes out.

Enter boy with picture-papers, which he distributes. Some examine them, others let them lie. (Dandy buys one.) Boy collects them, and passes out. Enter a very little ragged boy, with fiddle, or accordion. After playing awhile, passes round his hat. Most of the passengers drop something in it. Exit boy.

Enter Conductor. “Tickets!” Collects tickets. (Steam-whistle heard.) Passengers pick up their things. Curtain drops just as the last one goes out. (This scene might be ended by the passengers, at a given signal, pulling their seats together, pitching over, and have the curtain fall on a smash-up.)

Second Syllable.

Lady in morning-dress and jaunty breakfast-cap, sadly leaning her head on her hand. On table near is toast, chocolate, &c. Enter Maggie with tray.

Maggie. Ate a bit, mum, ate a bit. ’Twill cheer ye up like!

Lady (looking up). No, no, I cannot eat. O, the precious darling! It is now seventeen hours since I saw him last. Ah, he’s lost! he’s lost!

Maggie. And did ye slape at arl, mum?

Lady. Scarcely, Maggie. And in dreams I saw my darling, chased by rude boys, or at the bottom of deep waters, in filthy mud, eaten by fishes, or else mauled by dreadful cats. Take away the untasted meal. I cannot, cannot eat.

Exit Maggie, with breakfast things. Enter Mike with newspaper.

Mike. Mornin’ paper, mum.

Lady (catching it, and looking eagerly up and down its columns). Let me see if he is found. O, here! “Found! A diamond pin on—” Pshaw, diamond pin! Here ’tis. “Dog found! Black and tan—” Faugh, black and tan! My beauty was pure white. But, Mike, where’s the notice of our darling’s being lost?

Mike. Shure, an’ it’s to the side o’ the house I put it, mum, arl writ in illegant sizey litters, mum.

Lady (in alarm). And didn’t you go to the printers at all?

Mike. Shure an’ ben’t it better out in the brard daylight, mum, laning aginst th’ ’ouse convanient like, an’ aisy to see, mum?

Lady. O Mike, you’ve undone me! Quick! Pen, ink, and paper. Quick! I say.

Exit Mike.

Lady (solus). It was but yesterday I held him in these arms! He licked my face, and took from my hand the bits of chicken, and sipped of my chocolate. His little black eyes looked up, O so brightly! to mine. His little tail, it wagged so happy! O, dear, lovely one, where are you now?

Enter Mike, with placard on long stick, with these words in very large letters.

Dog Lost! V Dollus! ReeWarD! InnQuire! Withinn! Live oR DeD!!!

Reads it aloud, very slowly, pointing with finger.

Mike. An’ it’s meeself larned the fine writin’, mum, in th’ ould counthry!

Lady (excited). Pray take that dreadful thing away, and bring me pen and paper!

Exit Mike, muttering. Knock heard at door.

Lady. Come!

Enter Market-man, in blue frock.

Market-man. Good day, ma’am. Heard you’d lost a dog.

Lady (eagerly, with hand extended). Yes, yes! Where is he?

Market-man. Was he a curly, shaggy dog?

Lady. Yes! O yes! Where did you find him?

Market-man. Was your dog bright and playful?

Lady (in an excited manner). O, very! very!

Market-man. Answered to the name of Carlo?

Lady. Yes! He did! he did! O, if I had him in these arms!

Market-man (in surprise). Arms, ma’am? Arms? ’Tis a Newfoundland dog! He could carry you in his arms!

Lady (dejected). O cruel, cruel disappointment!

Market-man. What kind of a dog was yours?

Lady. O, a dear little lapdog. His curls were white and soft as silk!

Market-man (going). Good day, ma’am. If I see him, I’ll fetch him.

(Exit Market-man. Mike enters, with writing materials, and goes out again. Lady begins to write, repeating the words she writes aloud.)

Lady. Lost, strayed, or stolen. A curly—(Tap at door.) Come!

(Enter stupid-looking Boy, in scanty jacket and trousers, and too large hat.)

Lady. Did you wish to see me?

Boy (drawling). Yes, ma’am.

Lady. About a dog?

Drawn by Miss Tessie Curtis.]          [See the Poem.

Boy. Yes, ma’am.

Lady. Have you found one?

Boy. Yes, ma’am.

Lady. Is he a very small dog?

Boy. Yes, ma’am.

Lady. Sweet and playful?

Boy. Yes, ma’am?

Lady. Did you bring him with you?

Boy. Yes, ma’am (pointing). Out there.

Lady (excited). O, bring him to me. Quick! O, if it should be he! If it should! (Boy brings in small dog, yellow or black or spotted.)

Lady (in disgust). O, not that horrid creature! Take him away! Take him away!

Boy. Isn’t that your dog?

Lady. No! no! O, can’t you take the horrid animal away?

Boy (going). Yes, ma’am.

Exit Boy with dog. Lady prepares to write.

Lady. Stupid thing! Now I’ll write. (Repeats.) Lost, strayed, or stolen. A curly, white— (Tap at the door.) Come! (Lays down pen.)

Enter ragged Boy, with covered basket.

Lady. Have you found a dog?

Boy. No, I hain’t found no dog.

Lady. Then what do you want?

Boy. Father sells puppies. Father said it you’d lost your dog, you’d want to buy one of ’em. Said you could take your pick out o’ these ’ere five. (Opens basket for her to look in.)

Lady (shuddering). Little wretches! Away with them!

Boy. They’ll grow, father said, high’s the table.

Lady. Carry them off, can’t you?

Boy. Father wants to know what you’ll take for your dog, running. Father said he’d give a dollar, an’ risk the ketchin’ on him.

Lady. Dollar? No. Not if he were dead! Not if I knew he were drowned, and the fishes had eaten him, would I sell my darling pet for a paltry dollar!

Boy (going). Good mornin’. Guess I’ll be goin’. If I find your dog, I won’t (aside) let you know.

Exit Boy, with bow and scrape.

Lady (writes again, and repeats). Lost, strayed, or stolen. A cur— (Knock at the door.) Come! (Lays down pen.)

Enter Mrs. Mulligan.

Mrs. Mulligan. An’ is it yerself lost a dog, thin?

Lady (eagerly). Yes. A small, white, curly, silky dog. Have you seen him?

Mrs. Mulligan. Och, no. But ’twas barkin’ all night he was, behint th’ ’ouse. An’ the b’ys,—that’s me Pat an’ Tim,—they drooned him, mum, bad luck to ’em, in the mornin’ arly.

Lady. And did you see him?

Mrs. Mulligan. No, shure.

Lady. And where is he now?

Mrs. Mulligan. O, it’s safe he is, Pat tould me, to the bottom o’ No Bottom Pond, mum.

Lady. And how do you know ’tis my dog?

Mrs. Mulligan. Faith, an’ whose dog should it be, thin?

Lady. Send your boys, and I’ll speak with them.

Mrs. Mulligan (going). I’ll send them, mum. Mornin’, mum.

Exit Mrs. Mulligan. Another tap at the door.

Lady. O, this is not to be borne! Come!

Enter Countrywoman with bandbox,—not an old woman.

Lady (earnestly). If it’s about a dog, tell me all you know at once! Is he living?

Countrywoman. Yes’m, but he’s quite poorly. I think dogs show their sickness, same as human creturs do. Course they have their feelin’s.

Lady. Do tell quick.

Countrywoman. Just what I want, for I’m in a hurry myself. So I’ll jump right inter the thick on’t. You see last night when my old man was ridin’ out o’ town in his cart, with some o’ his cabbages left over, for garden sarse hadn’t been very brisk all day, and he was late a comin’ out on account o’ the off ox bein’ some lame, and my old man ain’t apt to hurry his critters, for a marciful man is marciful to his beasts, you—

Lady. But about the dog!

Countrywoman. Wal, the old man was a ridin’ along, slow, you know,—I alwers tell him he’ll never set the great pond afire,—and a countin’ over his cabbage-heads, and settlin’ the keg o’ molasses amongst ’em, and a little jug of—(nods and winks and smiles),—jest for a medicine, you know. For we never do,—I nor the old man,—never, ’xcept in case o’ sickness—

Lady (impatiently). But what about the dog?

Countrywoman. Wal, he was a ridin’ along, and jest got to the outskirts o’ the town, when he happened to see two boys a squabblin’ which should have a dog,—a little teenty white curly mite of a cretur—

Lady. Yes! Go on! Go on!

Countrywoman. And he asked ’em would they take fifty cents apiece and give it up. For he knew ’twould be rewarded in the newspapers. And they took the fifty.

Lady (eagerly). And what did he do with him? Where is he now?

Countrywoman. Why, I was goin’ to ride in with the old man this mornin’ to have my bunnet new done over, and I took the dog along. And we happened to see that ’ere notice, and he and I together, we spelt it out! (Opening bandbox.) Now look in here! Snug as a bug, right in the crown o’ my bunnet. Seems poorly, but he’ll pick up. (Takes out a white lapdog.)*

Lady (snatches him, and hugs and kisses him). ’Tis my Carlo. O my precious, precious pet! Ah, he is too weak to move. I must feed him and put him to sleep. (Rises to go out.)

Countrywoman. But the five dollars, marm!

Lady. O, you must call again. I can’t think of any paltry five dollars, now. (Exit.)

Countrywoman (calling out). I’ll wait, marm!

Enter Mike.

Mike. An’ what bisness are ye doin’ here?

Countrywoman. Waiting for my pay.

Mike. Pay, is it? Och, she’ll niver pay the day. She’s owin’ me wages, an’ owin’ the cook, and Mrs. Flarty that scoors, and the millinery lady, an’ ’tis “Carl agin,” she sez. “Carl agin. Can’t ye carl agin?”

Countrywoman. Then I’ll get mine, now. (Takes off shawl, and sits down. Takes out long blue stocking, and goes to knitting, first pinning on her knitting-sheath.) I don’t budge, without the pay.

Mike looks on admiringly. Curtain drops.

A white lapdog may be easily made of wool and wire.

Whole Word.

Clerk standing behind counter, with shawls and various dry goods to sell. Also rolls or pieces of carpet, oil and other kinds. Various placards on the walls,—“No credit.” “Goods marked down!” &c. Enter Old Woman.

Old Woman (speaking in rather high key). Do you keep stockings?

Clerk (handing box of stockings). O yes. Here are some, very good quality.

Old Woman (examining them). Mighty thin, these be.

Clerk. I assure you, they are warranted to wear.

Old Woman. To wear out, I guess.

Enter Young Married Couple.

Clerk. Good morning. Can we sell you anything to-day?

Wife (modestly). We wish to look at a few of your carpets.

Clerk. This way, ma’am.

Husband. Hem! (Clearing his throat.) We will look at something for parlors.

Clerk. Here is a style very much admired. (Unrolls carpet.) Elegant pattern. We import all our goods, ma’am. That’s a firm piece of goods. You couldn’t do better. We warrant it to wear. All fast colors.

Old Woman (coming near). A good rag carpet’ll wear out two o’ that.

Wife (to Husband). I think it is a lovely pattern. Don’t you like it, Charley?

Husband. Hem—well, I have seen prettier. But then, ’tis just as you say, dear.

Wife. O no, Charley. ’Tis just as you say. I want to please you, dear.

Old Woman (to Clerk). Have you got any crash towelling?

Husband. What’s the price of this carpet?

Clerk. Three dollars a yard. Here’s another style (unrolls another) just brought in. (Attends to Old Woman.)

Husband (speaking to Wife). Perhaps we’d better look at the other articles you wanted. (They go to another part of the store, examining articles.)

Enter a spare, thin Woman, in plain dress and green veil.

Clerk. Can we sell you anything to-day?

Woman. I was thinking of buying a carpet.

Clerk. Step this way, ma’am. (Shows them.) We have all styles, ma’am.

Woman. I want one that will last. (Examining it.)

Clerk (taking hold of it). Firm as iron, ma’am. We’ve sold five hundred pieces of that goods. If it don’t wear, we’ll agree to pay back the money.

Woman. I want one that won’t show dirt.

Clerk. Warranted not to show dirt, ma’am. We warrant all our goods.

Woman. Can it be turned?

Clerk. Perfectly well, ma’am. ’Twill turn as long as there’s a bit of it left.

Woman. What do you ask?

Clerk. Well, we have been selling that piece of goods for three fifty, but you may have it for three dollars.

Woman. Couldn’t you take less?

Clerk. Couldn’t take a cent less. Cost more by wholesale.

Woman. I think I’ll look further. (Going.)

Clerk. Well, now seeing it’s the last piece, you may have it for two fifty.

Woman. I wasn’t expecting to give over two dollars a yard. (Going.)

Clerk. Now I’ll tell you what I’ll do. Say two and a quarter, and take it.

Woman. I have decided not to go over two dollars. (Going.)

Clerk (crossly). Well. You can have it for that. But we lose on it. In fact, we are selling now to keep the trade, nothing else. Twenty-five yards? I’ll measure it directly.

Old Woman. Have you got any cotton flannel?

(Enter Fashionable Lady.)

Clerk (all attention, bowing). Good morning, madam. Can we sell you anything to-day?

Fashionable Lady. I am looking at carpets this morning. Have you anything new?

Clerk. This way, madam. We have several new lots, just imported. (Shows one.)

Fashionable Lady. It must light up well, or it will never suit me.

Clerk. Lights up beautifully, madam.

Fashionable Lady. Is this real tapestry?

Clerk. O certainly, madam. We shouldn’t think of showing you any other.

Fashionable Lady. What’s the price?

Clerk. Well, this is a Persian pattern, and we can’t offer it for less than six dollars. Mrs. Topothetree bought one off the same piece.

Fashionable Lady. ’Tis a lovely thing, and when a carpet suits me, the price is no objection.

Old Woman (coming forward). Have you got any remnants? I wanted to get a strip to lay down afore the fire. (Speaking to Lady.) Goin’ to give six dollars a yard for that? Guess you better larn how to make a rag carpet. Fust, take your old coats and trousers, and strip ’em up inter narrer strips, and jine the strips together, and wind all that up in great balls. That’s your warp. Then take coarse yarn and color it all colors. That’s your fillin’. Then hire your carpet wove, and that carpet’ll last.

Enter Policeman and a Gentleman.

Gentleman (pointing to Fashionable Lady). That is the person.

Policeman (placing his hand on her shoulder). This gentleman, madam, thinks you have—borrowed a quantity of his lace goods.

Fashionable Lady (with air of astonishment). I? Impossible! Impossible, sir!

Gentleman. I am sure of it.

Policeman. Will you have the goodness, madam, to come with us?

Curtain drops, while all are gazing at each other in amazement.

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.


At night, in the fisherman’s cottage,

  The driftwood fire burned red;

The children had finished their supper,

  Their bowls of milk and bread;


And round the hearth they were gathered,—

  There was hardly room for them all,—

And watched the curious pictures

  The firelight made on the wall.


Their mother sat at the window

  With her hands crossed on her knee;

She looked out into the darkness,

  And heard the moaning sea.


The children were telling stories

  Of what they were going to do;—

They didn’t see the white-caps,

  Nor hear how the norther blew.


They told the most marvellous stories,—

  And believed them every one,—

Of what was sure to happen

  When a few more years had run;


Of the countries they meant to sail to,

  The things they meant to see:

“Look!” said John, “this log that’s blazing

  Was part of some good ship’s knee.


“I wonder what port she was bound for

  When she went under, a wreck!

I mean to be the best sailor

  That ever trod a deck!”


Their mother sat at the window,

  The norther rattled the pane;

She saw the scud, and she shivered

  As she heard the lash of the rain.


Not a star shone in all the heavens,

  Black clouds crept over the moon,

Somewhere out of the distance

  Rang the faint laugh of a loon.


And still the children prattled,

  And the driftwood fire burned red,

And the merry, mocking shadows

  Danced on the wall overhead.


Lily Nelson.



The stream that crept down from the hills, three miles away, has worn a smooth bed for itself in the gravel; has watered the farmer’s fields and turned the wheel of the old grist-mill, where the miller tends the stones that grind the farmer’s corn. But down below here the stream has something else to do. It has been working hard, up and away from dam to dam again,—and always in life there should be something besides business, something beautiful and peaceful,—so the stream has swept round this corner, behind the wooded point of land which hides the mill, and spread itself out in the hollow of Brown’s meadow, where, Farmer Brown says his grandfather used to tell him some Indian wigwams stood when he was a boy. The land has sunk since then, and there is something more beautiful than Indian wigwams there now.

Where the old squaws used to sit weaving baskets, and the pappooses rolled and played, is now thick, black mud, in which are great tangled roots, some of them bigger than my arm.

All winter they lie there under the ice, while the children skate over them. In the spring, when everything stirs with new life, they too must wake up,—so, slowly and steadily, they begin to put up long stems to reach the surface of the water,—chambered stems they are, each having four passages leading up to the air, and down to the root and black mud. The walls of these chambers are brown and slimy, and each stem bears at its top a slimy bud,—slimy on the outside, brownish-green as it pushes up through the water; for this outer coat is stout and waterproof, and can well afford to be unpretending, since it carries something very precious wrapped up inside.

Not days, but weeks, even months, it is working upon this hidden treasure, before we shall see it. And the July mornings have come, while we wait.

Can you wake at three o’clock, children, and, while the birds are singing their very best songs, go down the road under the elms, across the little bridge, and through the hemlock grove at the right? It is a mile to walk, and you will not be there too early. The broad, smooth pond that the brook has made for its holiday pleasure is at our feet. At its bottom are the tangled roots; on the surface, among the flat green leaves, float those buds that have been so long creeping towards the light.

One long, bright beam from the sun just rising smiles across the meadow, and touches the folded buds. They must indeed smile back in reply; so the thick sheath unfolds, and, behold, the whitest, fairest lily-cup floats on the water, and its golden centre smiles back to the sun with many rays.

We watched only one, but perhaps none is willing to be latest in greeting the sun, and the pond is already half covered with a snowy fleet of boats fit for the fairies; boats under full sail for fairy-land, laden with beauty and fragrance.

And this is what the dark mud can send forth. This is one of Mother Nature’s hidden treasures. Perhaps she hides something as white and beautiful in all that seems dark and ugly, if only we will wait and watch for it, and be willing to come at the very dawn of day to look for it.

The lilies will stay with us, now that at last they are here, all through the rest of the summer, and even into the warm, sunny days of earliest October; but it will be only a few who stay so late as that. And where have the others gone, meanwhile? You see there are no dead lilies floating, folded and decaying, among the pads.

The stem that found its way so surely to the upper world knows not less surely the way back again; and when its white blossom has opened for the last time, and then wrapped its green cloak about it again, not to be unfolded, the chambered stem coils backward, and carries it safely to the bottom, where its seed may ripen in the soft, dark mud, and prepare for another summer.

Author of “Seven Little Sisters.”


During all this time the Pattons, who still occupied the next-door cottage, had refrained from improving the outward appearance of their property. There was the green lawn with its stiff, straight walk, and the coarse flowers that no one admired; but as for trees or shrubbery, they considered such things very unnecessary expenses. Mrs. Patton hoped the day would come when her husband would tire of the country, and be ready to return to the city, where she could have more gayety. True, she did complain of the heat of the sun, which shone upon the house with unbroken power; and at such times she would have been glad of some of her neighbors’ trees and vines; but then, she said, they had cost them much trouble, and were, after all, of trifling advantage to the property. With the exception of a few potatoes planted every year in the back part of the land, there was no attempt at raising anything for use. Even the grass, which was suffered to grow until very long, was given to the man in payment for mowing it, and this Mr. Patton considered good management, as it saved hiring it done.

The grass on the Grays’ lawn was kept nicely cut, and yielded two tons of good hay during the season, which, at twenty dollars the ton, amounted to a very important sum, and almost kept the cow during the winter. Sometimes, for days together, she was tethered with a long chain, so that she could help herself to the grass, and yet not meddle with the flowers. That was generally in the autumn, when the grass had been cut for the last time, and the cow was glad to get a parting taste of fresh pasture before she went into winter quarters.

Another difference between the two neighbors was, that one was prompt in repairing little damages that were constantly occurring about the premises, while the other generally neglected such trifles, until the consequences became serious. The hinge of the Pattons’ front gate had been dislocated for some time, and all it wanted was a nail or screw, yet even to supply that was too much trouble for them. The ugly hinge stuck out, and had already caused the destruction of one or two nice dresses that had caught upon it; and there is no telling how many more might have been torn, had not a high wind blown it down altogether, and obliged them to have a carpenter to make a new gate. A single nail from Willie’s tool-box would have saved several dollars’ expense.

Then the window-shutters had no fastenings, and on windy nights they banged to and fro against the house, at the same time creaking terribly on their hinges, all for want of a few shillings for hooks and staples, and a drop or two of oil. When Mr. Patton happened to break a strap or string, he was glad enough to run in and borrow something to mend it with from his neighbor’s barn, yet never supplied himself with the same conveniences; and just as likely as not would forget to return the tools to the owner. One night, while the gate was down, a drove of stray cows got in, and trampled down all the flowers in the long borders, besides making great havoc of the potatoes; and but for that finishing catastrophe, the gate might have lain still in its state of desolation. After that the Pattons gave up all ideas of having a garden, and recollecting the accounts they had heard of other people’s success with chickens, determined to buy a few at once, and begin the business for themselves.

They were quite as inexperienced in this branch of farming as in all others, but by calling in a man who did know, they got the hen roosts and nests fitted up in grand style, and, almost for the first time since they lived there, the barn seemed likely to be of use. Then going to a neighboring poultry-yard, Mrs. Patton selected a dozen fine-looking spring chickens, at the time about half grown, and having paid the price demanded, they were at once sent home to stock her own farm. “Now,” she said to her daughters, “we will have eggs before long, and see if we don’t get as much comfort and profit from our chickens as the Grays will from their garden.

The Grays had killed all theirs before they began gardening in the spring, knowing well that chickens and a fruit or flower garden will not agree. Very reluctantly they had been forced to make dinners of them, although the children could hardly relish their pet chickens in the shape of pies and fricassees.

The new chickens were given the entire range of the Pattons’ three acres, and even that did not always satisfy their roving propensities. As soon as their wings had well grown, they indulged in flights across the neighbors’ fences. Mrs. Gray disliked to complain, but was forced to do so, at the same time requesting Mrs. Patton to clip the wings of her birds. The latter demurred at first, thinking it would injure them, but being assured to the contrary, she promised to do it, rather than annoy her neighbors. No doubt she meant what she said, but days passed on, and the chickens were perpetually scratching in the flower-beds; so Willie undertook the job himself, and by catching each intruder, and clipping one wing before putting it back over the fence, its power to fly was considerably lessened. The lop-sided fowls could not manage to rise very far with one wing so much shorter than its mate, and so the garden enjoyed a temporary reprieve.

O, what a variety of songsters came that year and settled themselves in the trees and bird-houses! Robins, yellow-birds, bluebirds, orioles, and screeching cat-birds were all wide awake, and filled the air with their various notes. Even humming-birds came occasionally, and thrust their long bills into the honeysuckle blossoms, and then hurried away before the children could determine the color of their delicate wings and feathers. As for the insects, worms, bugs, caterpillars, flies, and the like, which they destroyed this season, they were past reckoning; but there was not a half-hour in the day that one might not have seen a bird hopping along on the ground, or from spray to spray, with some creature of the sort in its mouth. And that reminds me to tell of another useful but homelier pet, which came to the place quite mysteriously, and found itself so well treated that it showed no disposition to depart.

One day as Bessie was busy with her trowel, loosening the earth in her garden, she discovered a strange-looking object, oval in shape, and curiously spotted with black and yellow. At first she could see no appearance of life, and knew not what it could be; but presently it put forth a long head and neck, four claw feet, and a slender, tapering tail, and began to move along over the ground. Then Bessie knew that it was a tortoise, and she kept very still to see where he would go, and what he was disposed to do. But he was very slow in his motions, and did not show much desire for eating, though they offered him all sorts of tempting morsels.

When Mr. Gray came home, he was able to tell them rather more about the ugly-looking thing. “When I was a child about Daisy’s age,” he began, “I had a pet tortoise that lived in the garden. I kept it for years, and it became so very tame that it knew me when I came along with an earthworm or caterpillar, on the end of a stick, and it would eat such things quite greedily; indeed, I think we had better make friends with this one, and in return he will eat up a few caterpillars.”

“O, let us catch one for him, now,” cried Daisy; “I want to see him eat.”

“Hush,” said Mr. Gray, “you will frighten the poor thing, if you talk so loud; see how it has shut itself up in its shell.”

There was not much difficulty in finding a long earthworm, and as a beginning, it was suspended upon a low branch of one of the rose-bushes, just a few inches in front of the tortoise’s head. Then all the party retired to a respectful distance behind it, to see what it would do. For several minutes the poor worm wriggled upon the branch, but the tortoise did not deign to open its shell or appear to notice it.

“What a stupid creature!” said Bessie, softly.

“Just wait a moment,” whispered her father; “it is an animal that never acts rashly, and is only making sure that all is safe.”

He had hardly said this, when the tortoise opened its shell very slowly, and out came its long head, showing two very bright eyes; then, moving forward, it seized the worm, and before many seconds had devoured it entirely, and was looking around as if ready for another. Willie soon found one, which shared the same fate, and the children were very much entertained at seeing their new pet making himself so much at home.

The Pattons’ chickens grew finely, for Mrs. Patton spared no expense in buying corn, which is just what chickens like; so no wonder that they were soon very fat and flourishing fowls. But Mr. Patton remarked sometimes that they were “eating their heads off,”—a phrase which meant simply that they were costing more than they would ever repay. Still, with all their feeding, these fine hens would not lay. The nests were as nice and inviting as they could be, with nest-eggs of shining porcelain in each, and yet, with all these inducements, not an egg had been laid in one of them.

At last, one day in September, as Mr. Patton was dressing in his upper chamber, he was attracted by a very strange sound in the front yard. “As I live,” he exclaimed to his wife, “your finest white hen is crowing!”

“Crowing!” she returned, in amazement. “O dear, and can it be that my pet hen is, after all, a rooster?”

“It sounds very much that way,” he said, trying to restrain his laughter out of respect to his wife; “but hark,—there goes the black one too.”

It was a very shabby and croaking style of crowing it is true, but they were doing their best to imitate the neighboring chanticleers that answered each other from many a barn-yard far and near. Mrs. Patton looked out at the offenders and wondered now that she had ever mistaken them for hens, for their combs were quite brilliant, and there were spurs upon their feet. “Sure enough,” she said, with deep mortification in her countenance, “then we shall have no eggs from that pair; they shall be killed to-morrow.”

“And a pretty dear dinner they’ll be,” returned her husband,—“the dearest chickens we’ve had this season.”

“What will the Grays say when they hear of it?” exclaimed Mrs. Patton, who dreaded her neighbors’ ridicule, and knew that she would be sure to be laughed at.

“Never tell them a word about it, and how will they know anything of it?”

“But they’ll miss the chickens, and I shall have to tell them why we killed them.” Then, trying to console herself, she added, “O, well, it’ll be a nine days’ wonder, if they do hear about it.”

The Grays saw it out of their own window, however, and more besides. For no sooner had the black-and-white chickens begun to try their notes than half a dozen more followed their example, and before night there were eight of the flock crowing away with various degrees of success. Yet even this was not all. So many roosters could never agree, and they began to fight like soldiers, each one flying at the other’s head, until they were a bloody set of warriors. In vain did the Pattons try to pacify them, and separate the fighters; whenever the next one crowed, it was the signal for renewed hostilities. The ground was scattered with feathers, and the chickens themselves looked very fierce and defiant.

“What shall we do?” asked Mrs. Patton, in despair, when her husband returned home in the evening.

“Kill them all,” was the answer, “or they will kill themselves in a few days. No good hen-wife keeps eight roosters in her poultry-yard.”

“Don’t laugh,” she said, as she noticed his expression; “indeed, I can’t bear it; it’s such a provoking thing,—and after all one’s trouble!”

The chickens were doomed, and for a week they had fine dinners off the fat roosters, whose only fault it was that they were not hens. As for the four remaining, the poorest of the lot, as they had thought, they soon began to lay. Yet Mrs. Patton said the eggs had cost them so much, that the recollection of it seriously interfered with her enjoyment of the cakes and puddings into which they entered, and whenever she thought of their late mortifying disappointment, she felt positively disgusted with eggs in every shape. The poor little hens were soon very much neglected, for since her finest and largest birds were gone, the four chickens that now occupied the great hen-house looked too small and insignificant to claim much attention. Then, as might have been expected, the lonely creatures resented this neglect by ceasing presently to lay their accustomed number of eggs. Day after day would often pass without a single souvenir, until Mrs. Patton grew more disgusted than ever with the behavior of her chickens.

Fowl business, very,” said Mr. Patton, slyly, as he listened to this new complaint; “suppose we make pies of them at once, and the money it takes to feed them will buy us all the eggs we want.”

At first this proposal was rejected; but not long after, when some friends came unexpectedly from the city, and they wanted something nice for dinner, one pair of the hens was taken to furnish a savory roast, and thus the number was reduced to two. These two indeed lingered along awhile, and then disappeared mysteriously, stolen perhaps by some night robber, who killed and dressed them for market. So ended the Pattons’ costly experiment with poultry-raising; they were secretly convinced that their chickens had not paid quite as well as a garden would have done. But this should never be admitted to their neighbors, the Grays.

“Let us sell the place,” said Mrs. Patton to her husband; “I’m sure there’s nothing attractive about it, and here are the girls who have nothing to do, and long so for the city.”

“Why can’t they do as the Grays do?” asked Mr. Patton; “they never seem to be tired, and always have plenty of work; look out when you will, you may see them tying up their vines or hoeing their flower-beds. I tell you what, wife, their place is prettier than ours, and would bring more money.”

“The houses are just alike, and as for the flowers, why we had some too until that unfortunate gate blew down and the cows got in; if we had had the finest garden imaginable, it would have been all the same,—the cows would have destroyed it.”

“And next came those chickens,” he added, very mischievously.

“Don’t say ‘chicken’ to me again; I never want to see another live one; to think of all we’ve spent on the vile creatures, and for nothing, too. I should think you’d see by this time that we’d live cheaper in the city than out here. And then it is so much more convenient to business.”

“O, as to that, I rather like the trip out and in every day; but if you’re so bent upon going back, we’ll sell as soon as we can, and return to our old quarters.”

“Good!” exclaimed the two daughters, who were as anxious to go as their mother. “Maybe a customer will come before long!”

Next day a large placard was placed upon the outer portal containing the words “For Sale” in large printed capitals, and an advertisement was also sent to be inserted in one of the principal daily papers. In it the place was described in glowing terms, as a most elegant and desirable residence near town, and in a charming neighborhood. They confidently expected a rush of customers, and prepared accordingly. The house was ordered to be kept in good trim, to be shown at a moment’s notice.

But there were many other places prettier and more desirable, bearing the same label, and day after day passed without a single application or inquiry. At length came a lady to look at it, but objected to the price; they asked too much for such a plain-looking place, without improvements or embellishment; but as she was the first one who had said so, and it was still early, they did not offer to take less. In course of time another and another called to inquire, but all went away as they came.

“We must take less,” said Mrs. Patton, despairingly, to her husband; “we shall never sell it unless we do, and especially at this time in the year, when people are going to the city instead of away from it.”

“As you please,” said he; for he was really growing weary of this house question, and the daily grumbling. “Take off a thousand, and see if it will go at that.” So the price was lowered, but the applicants were few and far between, and the season was now advancing towards the end of September. They were almost in despair.


The Jameses, who lived in the cottage across the road, had long wished to have gardens of their own, which they could cultivate themselves, without the aid of John, the gardener. Their home was a much more costly and elegant one than the Grays’, for Mr. James was a rich man, and there was a regular gardener constantly employed to lay out and plant the beds, hoe, weed, and trim, without the least assistance or dictation from the family. Indeed, it would have been the height of presumption for any of them to venture a suggestion to one of his vast knowledge, in all that related to his profession. Every day John gathered the flowers for nosegays, and brought them in for Mrs. James to arrange or dispose of as she might fancy, but as to any further enjoyment or interest she took in her garden, it was really no more than a stranger or visitor might feel. It never occurred to the lady to go out and work awhile herself, for amusement and recreation. This was because she had not the real fondness for flowers which was natural to her opposite neighbors, and which caused them to forget any toil or weariness resulting from their employment in the pleasure of watching the growth and blossoming of their favorite plants.

“The flowers seem as if they were really our own,” was the children’s frequent remark; “they smell sweeter, and look prettier than if somebody else had raised them.” Then, as each little girl took care of her own particular plot, and kept it clear of weeds, they were in excellent order always. An hour after breakfast, as a general rule, afforded time enough for all ordinary purposes, and did not interfere with study or school hours.

During all this practical experience in gardening they had acquired many useful lessons in chemistry and natural history, which would not be forgotten. They learned why the ground must be constantly enriched, and what was the proper manure for different kinds of plants; they found that for certain species the dark leaf-mould from the forest was the best food, whilst for others the richest compost from the barn-yard, or copious waterings of guano, would cause a rapid growth. Then this feeding must be done at certain times when the plant was preparing its new buds and branches. All this was valuable knowledge, and by it they were enabled to exhibit fine specimens both in summer and winter. They were constantly gathering bouquets for their friends as well as for themselves, and no one went away without a nosegay, for the possession of these flowers induced a generous spirit.

So it was with the fruit; there were so many city-bound individuals on their list of acquaintances, to whom the gift of a basket of fresh strawberries would come as a most refreshing remembrancer of the pure country air and sunshine, and it was so pleasant to be able to share their fruit with those who had none. These things, therefore, made them free-handed and liberal, and it really did seem as if the more they plucked their flowers, the more profusely they bloomed again. There was also a reason in the theory, since a cut or trimmed plant will generally grow more vigorously. Had they never cut their flowers, the strength of the plants would soon have spent itself in perfecting too large a proportion of seed.

When the flowers began to bloom freely, and in the greatest perfection, the finest head or bunch was selected for seed, and by tying a string around the stem, it was sure to be preserved until the little seeds were fully ripe. Then came the gathering, and pockets for them were easily provided by cutting in two parts old letter envelopes thrown aside as useless. A few drops of liquid gum-arabic were sufficient to close up the cut sides, and thus, without much trouble, the children supplied themselves with receptacles for the various kinds of seed. Each girl had her own stock, and by keeping them in one allotted place they were always within reach, either for winter or spring sowing. In this way the girls acquired systematic habits, and were able to have things constantly in order, saving much time and many vexatious disappointments; besides, it often happened that by preserving a large supply of the seeds of their own flowers, they were able to exchange with their friends for other varieties.

In this business of cultivating flowers they had, moreover, noticed several strange freaks of nature. Thus, by planting near together, the first year, plants of deep purple and pure white petunias, the seed gathered would produce next season a wonderful variety of shades. There were some with spotted throats and shaded edges, others with delicately tinted flowers of purple or pinkish hue. So with other flowers,—especially verbenas, lady-slippers, asters, and zinnias, whose varieties in this way became endless. As for the verbenas, the finest shades and oddest combinations were among those raised from seed, whilst the same color could always be continued and propagated by slips or layers, in the autumn.

Then there was still another branch of gardening in which Maggie had become quite an expert,—grafting the choice kinds of roses upon common roots. There is a vast amount of science in all these various processes, and when Maggie took her first lessons in the art of grafting and budding from Mr. James’s gardener she scarcely supposed she would succeed so well.

Her first experiment was not with roses, but pears. A tall, hardy tree of an old-fashioned variety, that had produced very inferior fruit, was selected for the purpose, and John, who was an obliging sort of man, provided her with a graft of the splendid Bartlett pear, taken from a fine tree in Mr. James’s orchard.

“The first thing,” said John, as he began his lesson, “is to have a sharp, flat-bladed knife, which ought to be kept for this work alone; for unless there is a smooth, clean cut, the two edges will not fit well together.”

Figure 1.

Maggie watched him very closely, as he cut the graft in the manner shown in Figure 1, and then, having cut off the branch of the tree to correspond, the two were matched as nearly as possible, and bound tightly together by a plaster spread with wax, prepared and kept for the purpose. The object of thus encasing the stem was, that the sap in the parts might be kept in, and also that the moisture from without might be excluded, for that would be certain to cause decay in the wood. One or two other styles were shown and explained, such as tongue and cleft grafting; the latter, John said, was better when they were using a small graft on a large stock; and this plan will be understood by the figures of drawing No. 2. The graft itself is cut like a wedge, and a cleft made in the centre of the stock, into which the slender point should be fitted closely, and then well covered up with the wax.

Figure 2.

One thing, he said, must always be remembered; the graft must be placed, not in the centre of the cleft, but toward one side, so as to cause the inner layers of bark to meet in a line, at least in one place. The reason of this is very plain, for when the sap begins to ascend into the new graft, it will follow this inner bark, and so, in like manner, the descending sap will soon flow downward to form new wood, and unite firmly with its main stalk. Instead of sending down roots into the ground as cuttings do, it strikes its forming wood into the stock itself, and soon becomes a part of the tree.

Tongue grafting, or, as some call it, whip grafting, shown in No. 3, is done by making notches in each to correspond as nearly as possible, and is somewhat preferred because it is likely to hold the two parts more closely together and in their proper places. As to the wax, it was prepared in the same way as that used by Mrs. Gray in cementing her jars of fruit,—three parts rosin, three of bees-wax, and two of mutton-tallow.

Figure 3.

This first graft was made in April, before the leaves had put out far, and Maggie had the satisfaction of seeing it do well, and after a while the bud opened into leaves.

“Next year,” she said, “I will graft another limb of the same tree with a different variety, and it will be a fine thing to have two or three kinds of fruit on the same stock; there is one at Mr. James’s with a dozen sorts, and they can thus have pears at various seasons. Why may not we do the same thing?”

The fact was, that Maggie had grown ambitious, and felt so much elated with her success in this important branch of gardening, that she was anxious to graft every shrub she met with. Roses, plum and cherry trees were all to be improved in course of time, and there were also several grape-vines upon which her newly gained knowledge was tried at once. But the reader will hardly expect me to say that in every instance her efforts were entirely successful. No; sometimes they failed, as do the attempts of gardeners of long experience, yet in most cases the grafts did well. Maggie began to feel like a real florist, and was often invited to try her skill upon the trees and vines of the neighborhood. She knew that the favorite dwarf pear-trees, which in their own ground were this year in full bearing, were always produced by grafting pears upon quince stocks. So she resolved to look around and secure a few thrifty young quince-trees for next spring, with a view to having still more of this fine fruit hereafter.

Another department of gardening in which Maggie already excelled was the raising of plants, and especially roses, from cuttings. Wherever or whenever she could beg a slip of some choice variety of rose, it was brought home and planted in a pot of sand, and then set in some half-shady corner of the garden, where before many weeks it would begin to strike vigorous roots. As soon as this was ascertained to have taken place, the little plants were very carefully transferred into other pots, in which some rich soil was mixed with the sand; for now that they had begun to grow, they needed nourishment stronger than the mere sand could afford. That was only intended to keep them moist, while encouraging Nature’s efforts in forming a new plant. If richer soil had been given them at the outset, they would have decayed very soon, before a root had begun to be visible.

After this transplanting was successfully accomplished, the little pots were to be kept moderately moist in a warm place, and in time the buds would open into leaves, and begin to look like a real rose-bush. July and August were found to be the months in which to start rose-cuttings, as the wood was then sufficiently matured and the buds formed and ready. This is the best method of raising roses, although many gardeners do well with seedlings and grafts. Many kinds of roses, however, do not produce seed, but if seedlings can be raised, the florist is pretty sure to secure thereby some new variety, which will bring a high price in the market.

Where grafts are made, it is usual to select roots of some very common or inferior kinds. When the graft has grown, care must be taken to keep away all suckers from the root, as the original plant will be likely to send up these shoots constantly, and if allowed to grow, they soon starve out the graft, by taking away its strength and subsistence. For these reasons, persons who purchase rose-bushes at the street-corners may often be deceived by the looks of the large stock, into choosing grafted plants. Although they may blossom well, and flourish in the hands of an experienced and watchful florist, they will probably show quite a different flower, when the suckers from the root come into bloom.

All these hints Maggie had gathered from John, who considered her a very apt scholar, and came over occasionally to see how her cuttings prospered. “Next year,” he said, “they will be in flower, and a pretty collection you’ll have, to be sure. When spring comes, I’ll show you how to arrange them in groups, for we do not put all the red ones in one bed, and the white ones in another, but group them with an eye to effect.”

Although this sounded so simple, it was important, as Maggie well knew; so she thankfully accepted the offer, whenever thee proper time should arrive.

Author of “Six Hundred Dollars a Year.”





My second calls my first again,

But only meets it to complain.

M. M.

No. 44.

My first is what the bees make.

My second may be found in all fields and woods and gardens.

My whole is a cheat.


RIDDLE.—No. 45.

Busy am I day and night,

  Though I neither sow nor reap;

Toiling on with all my might,

  That which others spend, I keep.

H. K.

ENIGMA.—No. 46.

I am composed of 8 letters.

My 6, 7, 8, is a wager.

My 1, 3, 3, 2, 7, is a fruit.

My 4, 5, 8, is part of a gentleman’s walking costume.

My 8, 1, 3, is to strike lightly.

My 6, 7, 2, 2, 1, is a girl’s name.

My 4, 1, 6, 7, 8, is a Latin verb in the active voice, indicative mood, present tense, third person, singular number, and of the second conjugation.

Without my whole there would be little use in attempting to be a scholar.

F. M. B.


Which letter is the most inquisitive?

Which letter has wings?

Which letters do lazy folks like?

Which letter do oxen know?

Which letter grows in the garden?

Which letter is often drunk?

Which letter is out of fashion?

Minnie May.


36.“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of Time.”
(Lives of great men) (awl) (ream-mine-D) (U.S.)
Wee can) (MayC) (ow R) (L ivy ES) lives (S ewe bee lime)
And) (DE part in G) (leave behind US)
Footprints on the sands) (aw F) (time).]
37.“How silent rolls Time’s car along,
But, sinner, O how sure!”
[(House) (Isle) (N trolls) Time (scar) A long
(Butts in a row) (house) (ewer)].
38.1. The key of A minor.
2. “It might have been” (bean).
3. Those of Offenbach (often back).
4. Because it is a May-lay (Malay).
5. A courser (coarser).
6. Because it is a little lower.
7. Because they are made of Holmes-pun (homespun) material.
8. Yes; into minute particles.
9. Drop a meal or two.
10. Because he is four-handed (forehanded).
11. One is postmaster, and the other most pastor.
12. To Rehoboth (re-hoe both).
13. Braintree.
14. Because there is a whole (hole) stove in it.
15. When its answer is tolled (told).
40.Pheasant. (Pin, House, Eel, Army, Sea, Andiron, Nail, Thistle.)
41.Foundation Words:—Basket, Tureen.
Cross Words:—Bonnet, Adieu, Star, Kite, Eve, Turban.

Rebus in June Letter Box.

Hold on, I’ll see about it. [(Hold on isle) (sea about it)].



We do not indorse everything in “David’s” letter. Frogs and tadpoles, being distantly related to boys, are not supposed to enjoy a “hit on the head” any better than they. But “David” gives us the results of his experiments in tadpole-training in a piquant manner, and we are happy to let him speak for himself.

Editors “Young Folks”:—

I have just been reading your story about sixty-two tadpoles, and think it a big one. I have had some experience about tails; I have had tadpoles, too, but mine didn’t drop off. I wish you would look into this thing. I will tell you how mine acted, and you can judge.

Boys needn’t be told that tadpoles make frogs. They always know it. It’s a kind of knowledge, I suppose, born with ’em. Now I ain’t a cruel boy, but I always hit a frog on the head when I can. I can’t help it, it’s natural to do so, and he has nothing in the world to do but take care of his head, and he does wrong to pop it up in a way to tempt us boys. So, too, about dragon-flies, or devil’s darning-needle.

But about tadpoles. Mine acted in this way. John and I took a piece of lace and tied it over a hoop to catch tadpoles with, for the pond down to the bridge was full of ’em, just hatched out, and looking like large-headed pins. (I ought to say that the piece of lace which I found on the grass proved to be Sister Mary’s cape, and I broke several holes in it, and she called me a “booby,” which I suppose is true of me.)

Well, we caught a good many,—I did not count ’em,—and mother let me take her Aquarium, which was empty, to put them into it. I filled it up, and put in grasses, and cresses, and roots such as grew in the pond, and waited to see the tails drop off, as everybody told me they would. But the tails didn’t drop. I was in a state, watching and expecting. My tadpoles never dropped their tails,—never, that’s poz.

I’ll tell you how mine did, and I should like somebody else to write and tell us if their tadpoles dropped off their tails, so I may know if mine were peculiar tadpoles.

I don’t think much of tadpoles, though frogs are a good institution, not only for hitting purposes, but eating; however, let us consider the tail question: this is the way mine did. They grew, and grew, and came to be just the fattest, ugliest looking things I ever did see. A lump for a head, with two spots for eyes, and a long piece hanging down for a tail.

Every day I saw this tail was growing shorter,—“was being absorbed,” mother said (for she is great on big words),—and the rest of the body was getting to be frog-like: the sides stretched out, and the tail went in, and at last, before you could say Jack Robinson, there was a pair of legs, and a squaring away, kicking out as if they’d been used to it beforehand. My tadpoles never dropped a bit of a tail.

The way frogs hopped about our house, up stairs and down stairs, and in the ladies’ chamber, was a caution to all tadpole-hunters. They jumped out of the aquarium and started on their travels, and explored attic and cellar. Mother likes them in the latter place, and keeps a toad and a terrapin there on account of flies.

I hope you will tell me more about your tadpole tails, and see if you are correct, as you may have been in your tadpoles, but not in mine.

Yours to serve,


“A. D.” asks about “Tom Brown’s School Days at Rugby” and “Tom Brown at Oxford.” They are both published by Fields, Osgood, & Co. The price of the first is $1.25, of the second (in two volumes), $3.00. There are no more excellent books for boys than these.

It is quite impossible for us to comply with one request which is frequently made of us. When sending enigmas, stories, or letters, many of our friends ask us to “answer or acknowledge receipt in the next ‘Letter Box.’ ” If we tried to do so, we should be obliged to enlarge the “Letter Box” to four or five times its usual size, and then fill it entirely with these acknowledgments and answers, which would be very dull reading. We do not intend to print anything in the “Letter Box” that will not interest our readers generally. Personal letters will be answered as soon as we can attend to them, if they are accompanied by a stamped envelope, with the writer’s real address.

The music in this number is said by good judges to be unusually fine. We should be glad to have our musical subscribers tell us how they like this and other songs as they appear from month to month. Mr. Boott has written songs which are great favorites among our older friends, and certainly young singers are not harder to please than others.

Mr. Hale’s paper this month will be invaluable to our composition-writers. His papers about “Talk,” in former numbers, have been said by some of our readers to be well worth the subscription price of the magazine. This is by no means too high praise. We could say much more, but there is no need of it. The articles commend themselves.

The Soap-Bubble Question is not yet settled. This letter is one of several which have been written to us regarding it. Who else has experiments to report?

I have tried two or three times to make “Rainbow Bubbles” after the directions given by “Will o’ the Wisp” in the “Letter Box” of “Our Young Folks” for last August. I think he must have made some mistake in the directions. Won’t you please ask him to look into the matter and report results? My bubbles, made from the directions given, are small and frail; it is impossible to blow them large, and they break at the slightest touch.


T. H. S.

An answer to one of Our Young Folks’ questions:—

Warner, N. H., March 1st, 1869.

In the March number of Our Young Folks a correspondent asks “Who was the first to fall at the Battle of Lexington?”

“In 1825 the inhabitants of that town, at a public meeting, appointed a committee of nine citizens to collect and publish a statement of such facts, relative to the affair at Lexington, on the morning of the 19th of April, ’75, as may be supported by undoubted authority.”

The late Colonel Phinney was chairman of the board, and made out the report, which was published in pamphlet form, of forty pages, a copy of which was presented to me by Colonel P. many years ago, from which I quote the following facts:—

“Jonas Parker, of Lexington, ‘was the first to fall.’ He was wounded and fell at the second fire from the enemy. The British soldiers came up and run him through with their bayonets.”

“Six other citizens of Lexington were killed in the morning, and three others in the afternoon.”

Trusting the above will answer the inquiry of your correspondent,

I am, most truly, yours, &c.

Levi Bartlett.

To what race do these men belong?


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 placard on page 472 should have an upside-down left-pointing finger, an upside down version is not available; the unicode left-pointing finger was used instead.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Vol 5, Issue 7 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]