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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 10

Date of first publication: 1869

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: May 8, 2016

Date last updated: May 8, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20160512

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

Drawn by Edwin Forbes.]          [See “The Swan Story.”







An Illustrated Magazine







Vol. V. October, 1869. No. X.



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.]




















If the reader supposes that I lived all this while in Rivermouth without falling a victim to one or more of the young ladies attending Miss Dorothy Gibbs’s Female Institute, why, then, all I have to say is the reader exhibits his ignorance of human nature.

Miss Gibbs’s seminary was located within a few minutes’ walk of the Temple Grammar School, and numbered about thirty-five pupils, the majority of whom boarded at the Hall,—Primrose Hall, as Miss Dorothy prettily called it. The Primroses, as we called them, ranged from seven years of age to sweet seventeen, and a prettier group of sirens never got together even in Rivermouth, for Rivermouth, you should know, is famous for its pretty girls.

There were tall girls and short girls, rosy girls and pale girls, and girls as brown as berries; girls like Amazons, slender girls, weird and winning like Undine, girls with black tresses, girls with auburn ringlets, girls with every tinge of golden hair. To behold Miss Dorothy’s young ladies of a Sunday morning walking to church two by two, the smallest toddling at the end of the procession like the bobs at the tail of a kite, was a spectacle to fill with tender emotion the least susceptible heart. To see Miss Dorothy marching grimly at the head of her light infantry, was to feel the hopelessness of making an attack on any part of the column.

She was a perfect dragon of watchfulness. The most unguarded lifting of an eyelash in the fluttering battalion was sufficient to put her on the lookout. She had had experiences with the male sex, this Miss Dorothy so prim and grim. It was whispered that her heart was a tattered album scrawled over with love-lines, but that she had shut up the volume long ago.

There was a tradition that she had been crossed in love; but it was the faintest of traditions. A gay young lieutenant of marines had flirted with her at a country ball (a. d. 1811), and then marched carelessly away at the head of his company to the shrill music of the fife, without so much as a sigh for the girl he left behind him. The years rolled on, the gallant gay Lothario—which wasn’t his name—married, became a father, and then a grandfather; and at the period of which I am speaking his grandchild was actually one of Miss Dorothy’s young ladies. So, at least, ran the story.

The lieutenant himself was dead these many years; but Miss Dorothy never got over his duplicity. She was convinced that the sole aim of mankind was to win the unguarded affection of maidens, and then march off treacherously with flying colors to the heartless music of the drum and fife. To shield the inmates of Primrose Hall from the bitter influences that had blighted her own early affections was Miss Dorothy’s mission in life.

“No wolves prowling about my lambs, if you please,” said Miss Dorothy. “I will not allow it.”

She was as good as her word. I don’t think the boy lives who ever set foot within the limits of Primrose Hall while the seminary was under her charge. Perhaps if Miss Dorothy had given her young ladies a little more liberty, they would not have thought it “such fun” to make eyes over the white lattice fence at the young gentlemen of the Temple Grammar School. I say perhaps; for it is one thing to manage thirty-five young ladies and quite another thing to talk about it.

But all Miss Dorothy’s vigilance could not prevent the young folks from meeting in the town now and then, nor could her utmost ingenuity interrupt postal arrangements. There was no end of notes passing between the students and the Primroses. Notes tied to the heads of arrows were shot into dormitory windows; notes were tucked under fences, and hidden in the trunks of decayed trees. Every thick place in the boxwood hedge that surrounded the seminary was a possible post-office.

It was a terrible shock to Miss Dorothy the day she unearthed a nest of letters in one of the huge wooden urns surmounting the gateway that led to her dovecot. It was a bitter moment to Miss Phœbe and Miss Candace and Miss Hesba, when they had their locks of hair grimly handed back to them by Miss Gibbs in the presence of the whole school. Girls whose locks of hair had run the blockade in safety were particularly severe on the offenders. But it didn’t stop other notes and other tresses, and I would like to know what can stop them while the earth holds together.

Now when I first came to Rivermouth I looked upon girls as rather tame company; I hadn’t a spark of sentiment concerning them; but seeing my comrades sending and receiving mysterious epistles, wearing bits of ribbon in their button-holes and leaving packages of confectionery (generally lemon-drops) in the hollow trunks of trees,—why, I felt that this was the proper thing to do. I resolved, as a matter of duty, to fall in love with somebody, and I didn’t care in the least who it was. In much the same mood that Don Quixote selected the Dulcinea del Toboso for his lady-love, I singled out one of Miss Dorothy’s incomparable young ladies for mine.

I debated a long while whether I should not select two, but at last settled down on one,—a pale little girl with blue eyes, named Alice. I shall not make a long story of this, for Alice made short work of me. She was secretly in love with Pepper Whitcomb. This occasioned a temporary coolness between Pepper and myself.

Not disheartened, however, I placed Laura Rice—I believe it was Laura Rice—in the vacant niche. The new idol was more cruel than the old. The former frankly sent me to the right about, but the latter was a deceitful lot. She wore my nosegay in her dress at the evening service (the Primroses were marched to church three times every Sunday), she penned me the daintiest of notes, she sent me the glossiest of ringlets (cut, as I afterwards found out, from the stupid head of Miss Gibbs’s chamber-maid), and at the same time was holding me and my pony up to ridicule in a series of letters written to Jack Harris. It was Harris himself who kindly opened my eyes.

“I tell you what, Bailey,” said that young gentleman, “Laura is an old veteran, and carries too many guns for a youngster. She can’t resist a flirtation; I believe she’d flirt with an infant in arms. There’s hardly a fellow in the school that hasn’t worn her colors and some of her hair. She doesn’t give out any more of her own hair now. It’s been pretty well used up. The demand was greater than the supply, you see. It’s all very well to correspond with Laura, but as to looking for anything serious from her, the knowing ones don’t. Hope I haven’t hurt your feelings, old boy,” (that was a soothing stroke of flattery to call me “old boy,”) “but ’twas my duty as a friend and a Centipede to let you know who you were dealing with.”

Such was the advice given me by that time-stricken, care-worn, and embittered man of the world, who was sixteen years old if he was a day.

I dropped Laura. In the course of the next twelve months I had perhaps three or four similar experiences, and the conclusion was forced upon me that I was not a boy likely to distinguish myself in this branch of business.

I fought shy of Primrose Hall from that moment. Smiles were smiled over the boxwood hedge, and little hands were occasionally kissed to me; but I only winked my eye patronizingly, and passed on. I never renewed tender relations with Miss Gibbs’s young ladies. All this occurred during my first year and a half at Rivermouth.

Between my studies at school, my out-door recreations, and the hurts my vanity received, I managed to escape for the time being any very serious attack of that love fever which, like the measles, is almost certain to seize upon a boy sooner or later. I was not to be an exception. I was merely biding my time. The incidents I have now to relate took place shortly after the events described in the last chapter.

In a life so tranquil and circumscribed as ours in the Nutter House, a visitor was a novelty of no little importance. The whole household awoke from its quietude one morning when the Captain announced that a young niece of his from New York was to spend a few weeks with us.

The blue-chintz room, into which a ray of sun was never allowed to penetrate, was thrown open and dusted, and its mouldy air made sweet with a bouquet of pot-roses placed on the old-fashioned bureau. Kitty was busy all the forenoon washing off the sidewalk and sand-papering the great brass knocker on our front-door; and Miss Abigail was up to her elbows in a pigeon-pie.

I felt sure it was for no ordinary person that all these preparations were in progress; and I was right. Miss Nelly Glentworth was no ordinary person. I shall never believe she was. There may have been lovelier women, though I have never seen them; there may have been more brilliant women, though it has not been my fortune to meet them; but that there was ever a more charming one than Nelly Glentworth is a proposition against which I contend.

I don’t love her now. I don’t think of her once in five years; and yet it would give me a turn if in the course of my daily walk I should suddenly come upon her eldest boy. I may say that her eldest boy was not playing a prominent part in this life when I first made her acquaintance.

It was a drizzling, cheerless afternoon towards the end of summer that a hack drew up at the door of the Nutter House. The Captain and Miss Abigail hastened into the hall on hearing the carriage stop. In a moment more Miss Nelly Glentworth was seated in our sitting-room undergoing a critical examination at the hands of a small boy who lounged uncomfortably on a settee between the windows.

The small boy considered himself a judge of girls, and he rapidly came to the following conclusions: That Miss Nelly was about nineteen; that she had not given away much of her back hair, which hung in two massive chestnut braids over her shoulders; that she was a shade too pale and a trifle too tall; that her hands were nicely shaped and her feet much too diminutive for daily use. He furthermore observed that her voice was musical, and that her face lighted up with an indescribable brightness when she smiled.

On the whole, the small boy liked her well enough; and, satisfied that she was not a person to be afraid of, but, on the contrary, one who might be made quite agreeable, he departed to keep an appointment with his friend Sir Pepper Whitcomb.

But the next morning when Miss Glentworth came down to breakfast in a purple dress, her face as fresh as one of the moss-roses on the bureau up stairs, and her laugh as contagious as the merriment of a robin, the small boy experienced a strange sensation, and mentally compared her with the loveliest of Miss Gibbs’s young ladies, and found those young ladies wanting in the balance.

A night’s rest had wrought a wonderful change in Miss Nelly. The pallor and weariness of the journey had passed away. I looked at her through the toast-rack and thought I had never seen anything more winning than her smile.

After breakfast she went out with me to the stable to see Gypsy, and the three of us became friends then and there. Nelly was the only girl that Gypsy ever took the slightest notice of.

It chanced to be a half-holiday, and a base-ball match of unusual interest was to come off on the school ground that afternoon; but, somehow, I didn’t go. I hung about the house abstractedly. The Captain went up town, and Miss Abigail was busy in the kitchen making immortal gingerbread. I drifted into the sitting-room, and had our guest all to myself for I don’t know how many hours. It was twilight, I recollect, when the Captain returned with letters for Miss Nelly.

Many a time after that I sat with her through the dreamy September afternoons. If I had played base-ball it would have been much better for me.

Those first days of Miss Nelly’s visit are very misty in my remembrance. I try in vain to remember just when I began to fall in love with her. Whether the spell worked upon me gradually or fell upon me all at once, I don’t know. I only know that it seemed to me as if I had always loved her. Things that took place before she came were dim to me, like events that had occurred in the Middle Ages.

Nelly was at least five years my senior. But what of that? Adam is the only man I ever heard of who didn’t in early youth fall in love with a woman older than himself, and I am convinced that he would have done so if he had had the opportunity.

I wonder if girls from fifteen to twenty are aware of the glamour they cast over the straggling, awkward boys whom they regard and treat as mere children? I wonder, now. Young women are so keen in such matters. I wonder if Miss Nelly Glentworth never suspected until the very last night of her visit at Rivermouth that I was over ears in love with her pretty self, and was suffering pangs as poignant as if I had been ten feet high and as old as Methuselah? For, indeed, I was miserable throughout all those five weeks. I went down in the Latin class at the rate of three boys a day. Her fresh young eyes came between me and my book, and there was an end of Virgil.

“O love, love, love!

   Love is like a dizziness,

 It winna let a body

   Gang aboot his business.”

I was wretched away from her, and only less wretched in her presence. The especial cause of my woe was this: I was simply a little boy to Miss Glentworth. I knew it. I bewailed it. I ground my teeth and wept in secret over the fact. If I had been aught else in her eyes would she have smoothed my hair so carelessly, sending an electric shock through my whole system? would she have walked with me, hand in hand, for hours in the old garden? and once when I lay on the sofa, my head aching with love and mortification, would she have stooped down and kissed me if I hadn’t been a little boy? How I despised little boys! How I hated one particular little boy,—too little to be loved!

I smile over this very grimly even now. My sorrow was genuine and bitter. It is a great mistake on the part of elderly ladies, male and female, to tell a child that he is seeing his happiest days. Don’t you believe a word of it, my little friend. The burdens of childhood are as hard to bear as the crosses that weigh us down later in life, while the happinesses of childhood are tame compared with those of our maturer years. And even if this were not so, it is rank cruelty to throw shadows over the young heart by croaking, “Be merry, for to-morrow you die!”

As the last days of Nelly’s visit drew near, I fell into a very unhealthy state of mind. To have her so frank and unconsciously coquettish with me, was a daily torment; to be looked upon and treated as a child was bitter almonds; but the thought of losing her altogether was distraction.

The summer was at an end. The days were perceptibly shorter, and now and then came an evening when it was chilly enough to have a wood fire in our sitting-room. The leaves were beginning to take hectic tints, and the wind was practising the minor pathetic notes of its autumnal dirge. Nature and myself appeared to be approaching our dissolution simultaneously.

One evening, the evening previous to the day set for Nelly’s departure,—how well I remember it!—I found her sitting alone by the wide chimney-piece looking musingly at the crackling back-log. There were no candles in the room. On her face and hands, and on the small golden cross at her throat, fell the flickering firelight,—that ruddy, mellow firelight in which one’s grandmother would look poetical.

I drew a low stool from the corner and placed it by the side of her chair. She reached out her hand to me, as was her pretty fashion, and so we sat for several moments silently in the changing glow of the burning logs. At length I moved back the stool so that I could see her face in profile without being seen by her. I lost her hand by this movement, but I couldn’t have spoken with the listless touch of her fingers on mine. After two or three attempts I said “Nelly” a good deal louder than I intended.

Perhaps the effort it cost me was evident in my voice. She raised herself quickly in the chair and half turned towards me.

“Well, Tom?”

“I—I am very sorry you are going away.”

“So am I. I have enjoyed every hour of my visit.”

“Do you think you will ever come back here?”

“Perhaps,” said Nelly, and her eyes wandered off into the fitful firelight.

“I suppose you will forget us all very quickly.”

“Indeed I shall not. I shall always have the pleasantest memories of Rivermouth.”

Here the conversation died a natural death. Nelly sank into a sort of dream, and I meditated. Fearing every moment to be interrupted by some member of the family, I nerved myself to make a bold dash.



“Do you—” I hesitated.

“Do I what?”

“Love any one very much?”

“Why, of course I do,” said Nelly, scattering her revery with a merry laugh. “I love Uncle Nutter, and Aunt Nutter, and you—and Towser.”

Towser, our new dog! I couldn’t stand that. I pushed back the stool impatiently and stood in front of her.

“That’s not what I mean,” I said angrily.

“Well, what do you mean?”

“Do you love any one to marry him?”

“The idea of it!” cried Nelly, laughing.

“But you must tell me!”

“Must, Tom?”

“Indeed you must, Nelly.”

She had risen from the chair with an amused, perplexed look in her eyes. I held her an instant by the dress.

“Please tell me, Nelly.”

“O you silly boy!” cried Nelly. Then she rumpled my hair all over my forehead and ran laughing out of the room.

Suppose Cinderella had rumpled the Prince’s hair all over his forehead, how would he have liked it? Suppose the Sleeping Beauty, when the king’s son with a kiss set her and all the old clocks agoing in the spell-bound castle,—suppose, I say, the young minx had looked up and coolly laughed in his eye, I guess the king’s son wouldn’t have been greatly pleased.

I hesitated a second or two, and then rushed after Nelly just in time to run against Miss Abigail, who entered the room with a couple of lighted candles.

“Goodness gracious, Tom!” exclaimed Miss Abigail, “are you possessed?”

I left her scraping the warm spermaceti from one of her thumbs.

Nelly was in the kitchen talking quite unconcernedly with Kitty Collins. There she remained until supper-time. Supper over, we all adjourned to the sitting-room. I planned and plotted, but could manage in no way to get Nelly alone. She and the Captain played cribbage all the evening.

The next morning my lady did not make her appearance until we were seated at the breakfast-table. I had got up at daylight myself. Immediately after breakfast the carriage arrived to take her to the railway station. A gentleman stepped from this carriage, and greatly to my surprise was warmly welcomed by the Captain and Miss Abigail, and by Miss Nelly herself, who seemed unnecessarily glad to see him. From the hasty conversation that followed I learned that the gentleman had come somewhat unexpectedly to conduct Miss Nelly to Boston. But how did he know that she was to leave that morning? Nelly bade farewell to the Captain and Miss Abigail, made a little rush and kissed me on the nose, and was gone.

As the wheels of the hack rolled up the street and over my finer feelings, I turned to the Captain.

“Who was that gentleman, sir?”

“That was Mr. Waldron.”

“A relation of yours, sir?” I asked, craftily.

“No relation of mine,—a relation of Nelly’s,” said the Captain, smiling.

“A cousin?” I suggested, feeling a strange hatred spring up in my bosom for the unknown.

“Well, I suppose you might call him a cousin for the present. He’s going to marry little Nelly next summer.”

In one of Peter Parley’s valuable historical works is a description of an earthquake at Lisbon. “At the first shock the inhabitants rushed into the streets; the earth yawned at their feet and the houses tottered and fell on every side.” I staggered past the Captain into the street; a giddiness came over me; the earth yawned at my feet, and the houses threatened to fall in on every side of me. How distinctly I remember that momentary sense of confusion when everything in the world seemed toppling over into ruins.

As I have remarked, my love for Nelly is a thing of the past. I had not thought of her for years until I sat down to write this chapter, and yet, now that all is said and done, I shouldn’t care particularly to come across Mrs. Waldron’s eldest boy in my afternoon’s walk. He must be fourteen or fifteen years old by this time,—the young villain!


When a young boy gets to be an old boy, when the hair is growing rather thin on the top of the old boy’s head, and he has been tamed sufficiently to take a sort of chastened pleasure in allowing the baby to play with his watch-seals,—when, I say, an old boy has reached this stage in the journey of life, he is sometimes apt to indulge in sportive remarks concerning his first love.

Now, though I bless my stars that it wasn’t in my power to marry Miss Nelly, I am not going to deny my boyish regard for her nor laugh at it. As long as it lasted it was a very sincere and unselfish love, and rendered me proportionately wretched. I say as long as it lasted, for one’s first love doesn’t last forever.

I am ready, however, to laugh at the amusing figure I cut after I had really ceased to have any deep feeling in the matter. It was then I took it into my head to be a Blighted Being. This was about two weeks after the spectral appearance of Mr. Waldron.

For a boy of a naturally vivacious disposition the part of a blighted being presented difficulties. I had an excellent appetite, I liked society, I liked out-of-door sports, I was fond of handsome clothes. Now all these things were incompatible with the doleful character I was to assume, and I proceeded to cast them from me. I neglected my hair. I avoided my playmates. I frowned abstractedly. I didn’t eat as much as was good for me. I took lonely walks. I brooded in solitude. I not only committed to memory the more turgid poems of the late Lord Byron,—“Fare thee well, and if forever,” &c.,—but I became a despondent poet on my own account, and composed a string of “Stanzas to One who will understand them.” I think I was a trifle too hopeful on that point; for I came across the verses several years afterwards, and was quite unable to understand them myself.

It was a great comfort to be so perfectly miserable and yet not suffer any. I used to look in the glass and gloat over the amount and variety of mournful expression I could throw into my features. If I caught myself smiling at anything, I cut the smile short with a sigh. The oddest thing about all this is, I never once suspected that I was not unhappy. No one, not even Pepper Whitcomb, was more deceived than I.

Among the minor pleasures of being blighted were the interest and perplexity I excited in the simple souls that were thrown in daily contact with me. Pepper especially. I nearly drove him into a corresponding state of mind.

I had from time to time given Pepper slight but impressive hints of my admiration for Some One (this was in the early part of Miss Glentworth’s visit); I had also led him to infer that my admiration was not altogether in vain. He was therefore unable to explain the cause of my strange behavior, for I had carefully refrained from mentioning to Pepper the fact that Some One had turned out to be Another’s!

I treated Pepper shabbily. I couldn’t resist playing on his tenderer feelings. He was a boy bubbling over with sympathy for any one in any kind of trouble. Our intimacy since Binny Wallace’s death had been uninterrupted; but now I moved in a sphere apart, not to be profaned by the step of an outsider.

I no longer joined the boys on the play-ground at recess. I stayed at my desk reading some lugubrious volume,—usually “The Mysteries of Udolpho,” by the amiable Mrs. Radcliffe. A translation of “The Sorrows of Werter” fell into my hands at this period, and if I could have committed suicide without killing myself, I should certainly have done so.

On half-holidays, instead of fraternizing with Pepper and the rest of our clique, I would wander off alone to Grave Point.

Grave Point—the place where Binny Wallace’s body came ashore—was a narrow strip of land running out into the river. A line of Lombardy poplars, stiff and severe, like a row of grenadiers, mounted guard on the water side. On the extreme end of the peninsula was an old disused graveyard, tenanted principally by the early settlers who had been scalped by the Indians. In a remote corner of the cemetery, set apart from the other mounds, was the grave of a woman who had been hanged in the old colonial times for the murder of her infant. Goodwife Polly Haines had denied the crime to the last, and after her death there had arisen strong doubts as to her actual guilt. It was a belief current among the lads of the town, that if you went to this grave at nightfall on the 10th of November,—the anniversary of her execution,—and asked, “For what did the magistrates hang you?” a voice would reply, “Nothing!”

Many a Rivermouth boy has tremblingly put this question in the dark, and, sure enough, Polly Haines invariably answered nothing!

A low red brick wall, broken down in many places and frosted over with silvery moss, surrounded this burial-ground of our Pilgrim Fathers and their immediate descendants. The latest date on any of the headstones was 1780. A crop of very funny epitaphs sprung up here and there among the overgrown thistles and burdocks, and almost every tablet had a death’s-head with cross-bones engraved upon it, or else a puffy round face with a pair of wings stretching out from the ears, like this:—

These mortuary emblems furnished me with congenial food for reflection. I used to lie in the long grass, and speculate on the advantages and disadvantages of being a cherub.

I forget what I thought the advantages were, but I remember distinctly of getting into an inextricable tangle on two points: How could a cherub, being all head and wings, manage to sit down when he was tired? To have to sit down on the back of his head struck me as an awkward alternative. Again: Where did a cherub carry those necessary articles (such as jack-knives, marbles, and pieces of twine) which boys in an earthly state of existence usually stow away in their trousers-pockets?

These were knotty questions, and I was never able to dispose of them satisfactorily.

Meanwhile Pepper Whitcomb would scour the whole town in search of me. He finally discovered my retreat, one afternoon, and dropped in on me abruptly while I was deep in the cherub problem.

“Look here, Tom Bailey!” said Pepper, shying a piece of clam-shell indignantly at the Hic jacet on a neighboring gravestone, “you are just going to the dogs! Can’t you tell a fellow what in thunder ails you, instead of prowling round among the tombs like a jolly old vampire?”

“Pepper,” I replied, solemnly, “don’t ask me. All is not well here”—touching my breast mysteriously. If I had touched my head instead, I should have been nearer the mark.

Pepper stared at me.

“Earthly happiness,” I continued, “is a delusion and a snare. You will never be happy, Pepper, until you are a cherub.”

Pepper, by the by, would have made an excellent cherub, he was so chubby. Having delivered myself of these gloomy remarks, I arose languidly from the grass and moved away, leaving Pepper staring after me in mute astonishment. I was Hamlet and Werter and the late Lord Byron all in one.

You will ask what my purpose was in cultivating this factitious despondency. None whatever. Blighted beings never have any purpose in life excepting to be as blighted as possible.

Of course my present line of business could not long escape the eye of Captain Nutter. I don’t know if the Captain suspected my attachment for Nelly. He never alluded to it; but he watched me. Miss Abigail watched me; Kitty Collins watched, and Sailor Ben watched me.

“I can’t make out his signals,” I overheard the Admiral remark to my grandfather one day. “I hope he ain’t got no kind of sickness aboard.”

There was something singularly agreeable in being an object of so great interest. Sometimes I had all I could do to preserve my dejected aspect, it was so pleasant to be miserable. I incline to the opinion that people who are melancholy without any particular reason, such as poets, artists, and young musicians with long hair, have rather an enviable time of it. In a quiet way I never enjoyed myself better in my life than when I was a Blighted Being.

T. B. Aldrich.


Along the wayside and up the hills

  The golden-rod flames in the sun;

The blue-eyed gentian nods good by

  To the sad little brooks that run;

And so Summer’s done, said I,

        Summer’s done!


In yellowing woods the chestnut drops;

  The squirrel gets galore,

Though bright-eyed lads and little maids

  Rob him of half his store;

And so Summer’s o’er, said I,

        Summer’s o’er!


The maple in the swamp begins

  To flaunt in gold and red,

And in the elm the fire-bird’s nest

  Swings empty overhead;

And so Summer’s dead, said I,

        Summer’s dead!


The barberry hangs her jewels out,

  And guards them with a thorn;

The merry farmer boys cut down

  The poor old dried-up corn;

And so Summer’s gone, said I,

        Summer’s gone!


The swallows and the bobolinks

  Are gone this many a day,

But in the mornings still you hear

  The scolding, swaggering jay!

And so Summer’s away, said I,

        Summer’s away!


A wonderful glory fills the air,

  And big and bright is the sun;

A loving hand for the whole brown earth

  A garment of beauty has spun;

But for all that, Summer’s done, said I,

        Summer’s done!


Lily Nelson.


Never was there so lonely a little lake! There were other lakes not far away, but it could not know that, because it must stay still in one place. To be sure, it was always sending out messengers; blue waves, big and little, that went till the river which ran out from the lake took them and carried them far away to a broader stream, which never stopped for a word, but flowed on and on to the great sea.

All day and every day the little lake waited, but never a wave came back to tell what it had seen of the wide world; and as the springs below and the rains above were always busy pouring in more water, the lake thought sometimes, either that her messengers had never started, or else had all come back again, too tired with the journey to say a word.

It was not worth while to ask many questions either, because there was so much going on both day and night that it took all one’s time to listen and watch. There was wild rice at the head of the lake, where the birds came in autumn and told such stories that the messengers were sent faster than ever to find out if they could be true. There were lilies too,—white water-lilies,—and when they bloomed the lake kept still as it could, so that at night the stars shining down could be plainly seen in it. The lake knew very well they were only images, and that the real stars were far off, but the lilies did not.

Every night the deer came down to drink, and to eat the broad green lilypads lying still on the water, and often with the leaves they took a flower. So the lilies, as they looked about next morning and saw one, two, or three gone, said each to themselves, “Ah! the stars have taken them, and now they will never fade; it will be our turn next”; and then they shut up tight, that when night came they might have all the more sweetness to give out.

There were one or two very old lilies who knew better, because the cat-fish, who was always watching, had told them about the deer; but the younger lilies never believed a word of it, and would have nothing to do with the cat-fish, who was always meddling, they said, with things he knew nothing about. So the lilies lived and died happy, because they were always expecting to be taken by the stars, you know; and even when their lovely white crowns faded and shrivelled, they did not care, for they said, “We shall be here again another summer; there is time enough still.”

The lake only smiled a little, and listened to all that went on, and though just the same things had happened at just the same time for nobody knows how many hundred years, everything was always new; because the lake forgot every day all that it had seen the day before, and was always just as much surprised as though such things had never been heard of before. The great snapping-turtle who lived at the bottom remembered everything, but said nothing, though the cat-fish continually asked him questions. It is not of him, though, that I want to tell you, or indeed of the lake either, but of the one swan that lived there year after year, and could never fly away to find his relatives, because his wing and leg were both broken. The turtle knew about this too, but never told, and so I must do it for him.

Care and trouble had made our swan forget almost everything about the first year or two of his life. Here on this little lake, where winter was never known, it seemed to him that he could remember both the snow and ice of which the birds talked when they came; but he was never sure. He knew he had flown day after day with his flock, till they settled down on this lake, where they were to stay till summer heats drove them northward again. How well he remembered now!—for was there not one swan by whose side he flew, and with whom he talked, through the long days, of the nest they would build when they went northward once more? There was a rival too,—a great swan with gray feathers in his tail and wings, and a neck three inches longer than our swan’s. What fierce eyes he had! How strong he was! and oh! that dreadful battle in the reeds! The snapping-turtle could have told you every word about it. He knew just how it began. He saw our swan and the pretty white one floating off toward the reeds, where the little green frogs lived. He saw the gray swan, almost bursting with jealousy, swim after. He saw the great wings beating, and the water thrown high, as the two struggled. He saw the gray swan hold our swan’s head under the water, and then—

Well, to this day the snapping-turtle cannot tell how it was that he bit the wrong leg. He was on our swan’s side. He hated the gray swan; he meant to bite him, and yet it was our swan’s leg that cracked when his strong jaws closed on it. The wing had been broken before, and one eye put out. Now the gray swan was satisfied, and the little white one sailed away with him. The snapping-turtle dived down into the mud, and hardly put his head out for a week, he was so sorry; and that was the end of everything.

Our swan lay in the reeds, with his beautiful white neck stretched out and bleeding, and all the other swans would have fallen upon him and killed him, for that is swan-nature, only the little white one said, “No; let him alone; he will soon die.”

So they did not kill him, but only flew far away, and left him in the lonely little lake, which he never would leave again, and he lay there in the reeds with broken bones, and thinking his heart was broken too. The little green frogs were so sorry for him, that they were almost ready to sit down just where he could eat them without any trouble; but they could never quite make up their minds to this. They did, instead, what was just as well, perhaps; for, a tree-toad having come down to the shore to look at the great white bird, they pushed him into the water, and our swan, seeing it struggling and kicking, never stopped to think whether it were frog or toad, but swallowed it at once. He felt better then, and almost wished there were another.

By the next day he raised his head and looked around. All alone there! but the lake lay blue in the sunshine, and the lilies, asleep on their long stalks, were waiting for starlight.

“I did mean to die,” said our swan; “but I will not. I will get well, and follow the wicked gray swan. He is older and stronger than I, but I will grow older and stronger too, and then we shall see.”

So now he ate all the little green frogs that showed their heads above water, besides a whole shoal of the cat-fish’s grandchildren, who had been sent to see if he was any better. After this he grew strong very fast, but the broken wing still trailed by his side in the water, and he could swim only a stroke or two because his leg hurt him so. He held up his head, though, like a true swan, and a flock of hooded-ducks, who stopped here one day for a bath on their way south, said he was the handsomest swan they had ever seen. He swam as far as he could without screaming, and when they asked him why one wing trailed, he said his branch of the swan family carried their wings so, that they might be always ready to strike any enemy who came against them.

The ducks did not stay long, for they were in a hurry; and when they had flown our swan was more lonely than ever, and went away among the reeds to mourn a little while. One duck who had started with the others, but left them all to come back again, was glad of this, because she thought if the beautiful swan was so sad, he would not be angry if even a duck should offer to stay with him.

So by and by, when our swan raised his head once more, and looked out over the water, he saw not far off the little duck, who hardly dared come near, but was ready to fly away at once, if he wanted her to. He did not, you may know. There were not many words, for our swan had been silent so long that he had almost forgotten how to talk, but the little duck saw very plainly that he was glad to have her there, and so stayed.

Every day our swan thought, “Soon I shall be well, and can seek the gray swan”; and in the mean time he talked more and more, and as he talked his memory came back, and he told her all his life, from the very beginning in the great nest, whence, through the short Arctic summer, he looked out on the tall icebergs floating away, and saw the green grass spring out of the melting snow, down to that dreary day of which I have told you. Every day the little duck loved him better, and every day our swan said, “Soon I shall be strong, and can seek the gray swan.”

No ducks came again to the lake. Perhaps they had forgotten the way, but the little duck did not care, and wanted nothing but to stay here as long as she lived. So the seasons went by. Our swan grew no stronger, but hoped always that he should; and that is almost the same thing, you know. He was growing older, too; but he did not know it, for the lake was unchanged, and the lilies blossomed just the same. The snapping-turtle came out sometimes, but his head was black as ever, and as polywogs were all the time turning into little green frogs, how should any one know but that they had always been there?

But one day came a change. Overhead, so far up that they seemed only a dark letter V drawn against the sky, flew a flock of swans. Our swan knew them well, for the strong trumpet-cry of the leader was plainly heard. He answered, but the old call was almost forgotten. The flock passed swiftly on, and our swan, who thought none heard, tried to rise, but fell back in pain and hid his head in the lily-leaves. Then a white swan, who had left the others and dropped softly down among the reeds, swam to him and laid her head by his, and our swan, looking up, knew now that there was no need to seek the gray swan, for his own had come to him again. He forgot then that she had once left him; he hardly cared to know that the gray swan was dead; he only thought that his mate had come, and he should never be alone again.

So when the little duck, glad and sorry too, swam toward them, the white swan, who did not know what good right she had to be there, struck at her with her bill. Our swan, just happy enough to think only of himself, looked only at the new mate, and had no eyes for his old companion. The little duck paddled away to the reeds, and sat there still all the day. At first she thought she would fly away and try to find the old flock, but they, she knew, were gone long ago; the new ones would not know her; she had almost forgotten how to fly. She went to the shore next day, and, sitting there, watched the swans, who, side by side, were talking of old times and new times. She felt old and weak. The thrush in the tree overhead sang loud and sweet, but the notes seemed far off. The snapping-turtle came to the bank and looked at her, and asked if he should bite the new swan.

“No,” the little duck said; “I am going to sleep now”; and she put her head under her wing.

That was the last. The snapping-turtle came again the next day, but she never stirred. The thrush sang to her, and two wrens tried to pull her head from under her wing, but could not. Then they knew she was dead.

The burying-beetles came and looked at her, but they had never even tried to bury so large a bird, and did not think of it now, till the snapping-turtle crawled out, and told them all the story. The mole listened. I think he cried, though one could not see enough of his eyes to say whether there were truly tears in them or not. The field-mouse did, I know; and altogether they made a little grave, and covered her up, so that no wicked fox could carry her away. The crickets came as mourners, and the thrush sang her sweetest songs; if you listen to her notes, you can hear this very story.

Did the swan ever think of her again? Ask the thrush.

Helen C. Weeks.


“Willie, Willie, that will do, that will do,” said Mr. Blake to his son one evening of the last winter, as that bright little fellow was throwing more coal on the already bright and cheerful fire. “That will be enough coal for the whole evening, and you may now sit down and enjoy it.”

And Willie sat down, and for a time they all enjoyed the blue flame, while Mr. Blake worked away at some drawings. At length Mrs. Blake, who was a very economical and thrifty housewife, broke the silence by asking,—

“What is coal worth now, husband?”

“Coal is cheap this winter,” answered Mr. Blake. “The last ton I bought cost only seven dollars in money; but,” he added, sighing, “Heaven only knows how much it cost in blood!”

Mr. Blake said this in a very quiet, matter-of-fact way, as if it was a common thing to calculate and speak of the cost of coal in blood. But the children, and Mrs. Blake too, did not take the announcement in the same quiet way, for they started up in astonishment.

“Blood, papa!” they exclaimed in chorus; “does coal cost blood?”

“Indeed it does. Each scuttle of coal which we use costs a terrible price in human blood.”

“O papa! do tell us what you mean,” pleaded Willie.

“Well, children, I will. Come gather around the table; wait until I can get my papers and sketch-book, and I will tell you all about the cost of coal.”

Mr. Blake was not long in getting his papers ready; he soon sat down at the table, and at once began with his story of how coal is mined out of the earth, and how much sorrow and suffering and labor and life it costs to get it into our grates for burning.

“To begin with, children,” he said, “you must know that there is no life in the world which is fuller of adventure and danger than that of the miner. There are miners all the world over; miners in America and England and all Europe, in Siberia and Japan and China; miners in coal, lead, copper, salt, silver, iron, and gold; but of all miners the collier runs the greatest risks and meets with the most terrible disasters. The miners of gold and silver and lead are often lost in descending to and ascending from the mines; huge masses of falling rocks sometimes bury them alive; but they have no unseen enemies to battle with as have the coal-miners. It requires as much courage to work daily in a great coal-mine as it does to go into a great battle; perhaps even more, for in battle the soldier can sometimes see his enemy, and always feels that he is as strong as his foe; but the collier who goes down into the mine knows that he is surrounded by hidden enemies, against whom he is almost powerless, and from whom he can only run away. He cannot always do even that.

“You know that coal is taken out of the earth, and that in the old mines which have been worked for many years, the miners have to go down many hundred feet. Of course there is very little fresh air to be found in the deep mines, and fresh air is one of the things which a man cannot live without. Sometimes men who are engaged in digging wells not more than forty or fifty feet deep, are smothered by the foul air which collects at the bottom. Before they go down into a well, it is usual for well-diggers to let down a candle to test the air. If the light of the candle is extinguished, the workmen refuse to go down into the well, because they know that a man cannot live where a candle will not burn. If there is foul air forty or fifty feet down in a well, you can easily imagine that there would be much more of it several hundred feet down in a coal-mine. In England the mines have been worked for so many years, and have been pushed so far down into the earth, that they are very foul, and are ventilated by machinery,—that is, they have fresh air forced into them by pumps. There is one coal-mine in England, called the Ferndale Colliery, which requires three hundred and fifty men and boys, and thirty-eight horses, to work the pumps which force the pure air through the mines. The foul air often kills the workmen before they can get out of the mines, and many have been the means employed to furnish pure air for them to breathe. A French gentleman named Galibert has invented an apparatus by which the miner carries on his back a bag of air for the supply of his lungs; but the air, of course, soon gets fouled, and has to be replenished. Two pipes, you will see, communicate the air from the bag to the man’s mouth; but as he has to breathe this air back into the pipes and bag, it soon renders the air impure and poisonous. You do not know, perhaps, that almost the foulest, most poisonous thing in the world is the air which you expel from your mouth after it has passed through your lungs. It is so foul that if you had to breathe it over again it would soon kill you.

“There is also another invention similar to this made by another Frenchman named Rougnayral, which consists of a strong metallic case filled with air and carried as the soldier carries his knapsack. This is an improvement on the first, because the air, after being breathed by the man, is not forced back into the reservoir of pure air to poison it, but is expelled directly from the mouth and nostrils. But as this soon exhausts the pure air in the case, it is by no means a satisfactory mode of saving life, and it is used only to explore foul mines.

“But,” continued Mr. Blake, “though the foul vapors of the mines are so deadly, and cost the lives of so many good men every year, the most terrible enemies that the colliers have to encounter in the mines are the ghosts.”

“The ghosts!” exclaimed the children in a breath, looking at their father in astonishment.

“O papa! how strange a story it is you are telling us!” said Willie, looking uneasily behind him, as if afraid he should see a ghost come to haunt him. He did not know that there was one at that moment in the room glaring fiercely at him through one great, bright eye!

“Strange, Willie, but true for all that.”

“Do you mean, papa, that the miners are murdered by ghosts,—real ghosts?”

“Real ghosts, Willie,” answered his father,—“the original ghosts, and ghosts of the most fearful character. They are invisible to the eye, but they make their terrible presence felt by all the other human organs. They issue from the caverns with a loud cry or a continued hissing that is horrible to hear; they smell ghastly and grave-like; you can feel their clammy presence on your brow, and if you inhale their breath you must die. They fly swifter than the birds; and, pursuing their victims, they surround them and slowly smother them or else blow them instantly into atoms.”

“O husband! you will frighten the poor children out of their wits,” exclaimed Mrs. Blake, as she put her arms around little Minnie, who had nestled closer to her, while Willie looked uneasily about him.

“They need not be afraid,” said Mr. Blake, reassuringly. “The ghosts have been tamed, and will not hurt us here.”

Willie took courage at this and urged his father to go on with the story, for it began now to get very interesting.

“Don’t be impatient,” said his father, “or you will not understand all I am going to say. This foul air of which I have just told you is called choke-damp, because it suffocates or chokes; there is another more terrible enemy of the miner, which is called fire-damp, because it explodes and burns. When these explosive fire-damps were first discovered,—it was about two hundred and fifty years ago,—a famous old German chemist named Van Helmont called them “geists,” which is the German for ghosts. Since that day we have originated another word, derived from the same German term, and have called these ghosts of the mines gases; and it is these gases which are the real terrible ghosts which the miners have to encounter.

“It would be impossible for you to understand how this gas is formed in the coal-mines, but when you are older it will form a very interesting study. In some coals it is very plentiful and dangerous. Sometimes it lies between the crevices of the coal in the mine; oftener it is in the coal itself, and is not released until the coal is burned. If you have ever seen bituminous coal burning, you have noticed the little bright jets of gas burning with a hissing noise. When the coal is laid bare by the miner’s pick, the fire-damp, or gas, or ghost inside, is set free and comes out with a hissing sound and a bad smell. This is what the miners call ‘singing-coal,’ and it sings many a poor fellow to his last sleep. When a crevice between the different lumps of coal is struck, the fire-damp bursts forth in a great body, and fills up the mine so suddenly that the men cannot escape or extinguish their lights, and thus explosions take place. Sometimes these crevices connect with others, and thus there is a continuous flow of gas for months at a time. Then the mines are filled with gas to such an extent that the miners dare hardly approach the entrance, and it is almost certain death to go down in them, even provided with fresh-air reservoirs like those I have shown you. There was a mine worked some years ago in Nova Scotia, which was so strongly charged with fire-damp that whenever the miner struck a vein with his pick it escaped with a loud report like that of a pistol. This mine was partly dug under a small river, and once, when a large vein of gas was opened, the water of this river was violently agitated, and it was found that the gas from the mine had worked through the earth and water, and now, turned to oil, was floating on the surface of the stream. One of the miners then applied a match to it and set the river on fire.”

“O papa!” exclaimed Willie, “what strange stories you are telling us about ghosts and setting the river on fire.”

“Not strange stories, Willie, but strange facts. When you have lived as long as I have, you will find that facts are often stranger than any fiction you could possibly invent. It was, of course, not the water in the river which burned, but the floating gas or oil. This fire-damp explodes just like powder, and even with more terrible effect sometimes, for the whole air of the mines is then converted into one white cloud of flame. It fires the timbers and loose coal of the mines, and consumes them. When this flaming gas is exhausted, it is followed by the choke-damp, which fills the mine again until the ventilating engines can be put to work and pump a purer atmosphere into it.

“Now how many lives do you suppose are lost every year in coal-mines all the world over by fire and choke damp? You will never guess that the number is at least two thousand.”

The children could only express their amazement by looking at their father and at each other.

“We have not had many disasters in this country, because our mines are not deep down in the earth like those of England and Belgium and Germany, which have been worked for hundreds of years. Still, there have been explosions and loss of life in America, mainly in the Virginia mines. In 1839 there was an explosion in Heath’s mines which killed fifty-three out of fifty-six miners. In 1841 and 1844 and 1854 there were other terrible explosions, in which many hundreds of lives were lost. In another explosion in England, one hundred and ninety-six men out of two hundred in the mines were killed. Thus you see that few of the miners escape when the ghosts are abroad. The reports of the collieries of England show that for many years past one thousand men have been killed every year while engaged in mining coal; and in the year 1866 fourteen hundred and eighty-four lives were lost in the mines.

“Of course,” continued Mr. Blake, after a pause, “many things have been done to guard against such terrible disasters; but it seems that they are unavoidable, and none of the inventions are perfect successes. The best of them sometimes go wrong and fail; explosions still frequently occur; and so you see,” added Mr. Blake, taking a bit of coal from the scuttle and holding it up,—“and so you see that each one of these ‘black diamonds’ costs almost enough blood to color it as red as a ruby or coral.”

The children were again surprised at this statement, and wondered what their father meant by calling a lump of coal a diamond.

“Papa,” said Minnie, “we don’t know what you mean when you call this dirty, sooty thing a diamond.”

“It isn’t a diamond like the one in mamma’s wedding-ring,” cried Willie.

“No,” said their father, comparing the coal with the diamond which glittered on Mrs. Blake’s finger; “they are not precisely alike, yet they belong to the same family.”

“The same family!” exclaimed Willie. “Do diamonds have families?”

“Coal and diamonds belong to the same mineral family just as all human beings belong to the same human family. The diamond is one of the aristocrats of the mineral kingdom, while coal belongs to the democracy. The diamond is the purest of all minerals, while coal belongs to the lowest order; but you will find that it is far more useful than its beautiful cousin, for the diamond, like a great many other aristocrats, is not a very useful member of society. The diamond is only made to be admired, while there is no material which serves so many good purposes as coal. It not only warms us in winter, but from it is made the gas which gives us light at night. When mother is faint and sick, she puts a bottle of coal to her nose and calls it ‘smelling-salts.’ She wears a white silk dress to a party and gets it soiled and has it dyed blue, or crimson, or green, and never suspects that the dyes came from coal. She has the toothache, and sends Willie for some creosote to ease the pain, and never thinks that she is putting a lump of coal in her mouth, and a pretty big lump at that. Paraffine, paraffine-oil, naphtha, pitch, Prussian blue, and many other useful articles, are made of coal. So you see that ‘black diamonds’ and real diamonds are nearly akin, and that the useful democrat is the more valuable of the two.

“But come, we must put an end to this long lesson. It is time you and Minnie were in bed; so ring for the nurse and have her bring the ghosts to your rooms.”

“Ghosts in our rooms!” exclaimed the children, looking around, half terrified.

“The only real ghosts in the world,” said their father; “but they will do you no harm. They are your servants, not your enemies now. Years ago some wise men thought it would be a good thing to save the gas which is in the coal and which escapes when the coal is heated, and so they devised means by which to separate the coal from the gas and save both. They put the coal into great tanks and cooked it, boiled it in fact, until the gas came out of the coal and collected in the top of the tank while the coal settled at the bottom. Then the gas was drawn off and put in a reservoir to cool; while the coal, which in its new condition was called coke, was used again for heating. Then the gas or ghost which was put up in the great reservoirs, was led through long pipes through the streets and into the houses, and there burned. And thus we have ghosts in our houses, under complete control, and they are such useful ghosts that I don’t well see how we could get along without them. So off to bed, lighted by your good ghosts.”

And so saying Mr. Blake kissed the children good night and wished them many happy dreams.

Major Traverse.


“Tell me, little vine-berries,

  If I may be so bold,

Why are you reddest and rarest

  ’Neath the tree that is bent and old?

And you, little downy spring blossoms,

  And fair ferns graceful and green,—

Why do you cluster the sweetest

  His gnarled old roots between?

And mosses, O shining mosses,

  With your caps of scarlet and gold!

Why do you stay with his lichens,

  So withered and gray and old?”—

They only clung closer and looked very wise

Out of their dewy-sweet woodland eyes.


But I came away home to the children,—

  Elsie and Winnie and Ned,—

And there was Grandfather, surely,

  With his dear and wise gray head,

With his face all laughing wrinkles,

  And his voice one shout of glee;

For high on his back rode Elsie,

  And the others were climbing his knee,

Pictures and toys all forgotten,

  And mother quite out of mind too.

I stood and smiled at the frolic

  And the wood-flowers’ answer knew,—

Green leaves and blossoms with dew-drops pearled,

“Grandfather’s grandfather, all through the world.”


L. G. W.


Second Paper.

Liston tells a story of a nice old lady—I think the foster-sister of the godmother of his brother-in-law’s aunt—who came to make them a visit in the country. The first day after she arrived proved to be much such a day as this is,—much such a day as the first of a visit in the country is apt to be,—a heavy pelting northeaster, when it is impossible to go out, and every one is thrown on his own resources in-doors. The different ladies under Mrs. Liston’s hospitable roof gathered themselves to their various occupations, and some one asked old Mrs. Dubbadoe if she would not like to read.

She said she should.

“What shall I bring you from the library?” said Miss Ellen. “Do not trouble yourself to go up stairs.”

“My dear Ellen, I should like the same book I had last year when I was here. It was a very nice book, and I was very much interested in it.”

“Certainly,” said Miss Ellen; “what was it? I will bring it at once.”

“I do not remember its name, my dear; your mother brought it to me; I think she would know.”

But, unfortunately, Mrs. Liston, when applied to, had forgotten.

“Was it a novel, Mrs. Dubbadoe?”

“I can’t remember that,—my memory is not as good as it was, my dear,—but it was a very interesting book.”

“Do you remember whether it had plates? Was it one of the books of birds, or of natural history?”

“No, dear, I can’t tell you about that. But, Ellen, you will find it, I know. The color of the cover was the color of the top of the baluster!”

So Ellen went. She has a good eye for color, and as she ran up stairs she took the shade of the baluster in her eye, matched it perfectly as she ran along the books in the library with the Russia half-binding of the coveted volume, and brought that in triumph to Mrs. Dubbadoe. It proved to be the right book. Mrs. Dubbadoe found in it the piece of corn-colored worsted she had left for a mark the year before, so she was able to go on where she had stopped then.

Liston tells this story to trump one of mine about a schoolmate of ours, who was explaining to me about his theological studies. I asked him what he had been reading.

“O, a capital book; King lent it to me; I will ask him to lend it to you.”

I said I would ask King for the book, if he would tell me who was the author.

“I do not remember his name. I had not known his name before. But that made no difference. It is a capital book. King told me I should find it so, and I did; I made a real study of it; copied a good deal from it before I returned it.”

I asked whether it was a book of natural theology.

“I don’t know as you would call it natural theology. Perhaps it was. You had better see it yourself. Tell King it was the book he lent me.”

I was a little persistent, and asked if it were a book of biography.

“Well, I do not know as I should say it was a book of biography. Perhaps you would say so. I do not remember that there was much biography in it. But it was an excellent book. King had read it himself, and I found it all he said it was.

“I asked if it was critical,—if it explained Scripture.”

“Perhaps it did. I should not like to say whether it did or not. You can find that out yourself if you read it. But it is a very interesting book and a very valuable book. King said so, and I found it was so. You had better read it, and I know King can tell you what it is.”

Now in these two stories is a very good illustration of the way in which a great many people read. The notion comes into people’s lives that the mere process of reading is itself virtuous. Because young men who read instead of gamble are known to be “steadier” than the gamblers, and because children who read on Sunday make less noise and general row than those who will play tag in the neighbors’ front-yards, there has grown up this notion, that to read is in itself one of the virtuous acts. Some people, if they told the truth, when counting up the seven virtues, would count them as Purity, Temperance, Meekness, Frugality, Honesty, Courage, and Reading. The consequence is that there are unnumbered people who read as Mrs. Dubbadoe did or as Lysimachus did, without the slightest knowledge of what the books have contained.

My dear Dollie, Pollie, Sallie, Marthie, or any other of my young friends whose names end in ie, who have favored me by reading thus far, the chances are three out of four that I could take the last novel but three that you read, change the scene from England to France, change the time from now to the seventeenth century, make the men swear by St. Denis, instead of talking modern slang, name the women Jacqueline and Marguerite, instead of Maud and Blanche, and, if Harpers would print it, as I dare say they would if the novel was good, you would read it through without one suspicion that you had read the same book before.

So you see that it is not certain that you know how to read, even if you took the highest prize for reading in the Amplian class of Ingham University at the last exhibition. You may pronounce all the words well, and have all the rising inflections right, and none of the falling ones wrong, and yet not know how to read so that your reading shall be of any permanent use to you.

For what is the use of reading if you forget it all the next day?

“But, my dear Mr. Hale,” says as good a girl as Laura, “how am I going to help myself? What I remember I remember, and what I do not remember I do not. I should be very glad to remember all the books I have read, and all that is in them; but if I can’t, I can’t, and there is the end of it.”

No! my dear Laura, that is not the end of it. And that is the reason this paper is written. A child of God can, before the end comes, do anything she chooses to, with such help as he is willing to give her, and he has been kind enough so to make and so to train you that you can train your memory to remember and to recall the useful or the pleasant things you meet in your reading. Do you know, Laura, that I have here a note you wrote when you were eight years old? It is as badly written as any note I ever saw. There are also twenty words in it spelled wrong. Suppose you had said then, “If I can’t, I can’t, and there’s an end of it.” You never would have written me in the lady-like, manly handwriting you write in to-day, spelling rightly as a matter of mere feeling and of course, so that you are annoyed now that I should say that every word is spelled correctly. Will you think, dear Laura, what a tremendous strain on memory is involved in all this? Will you remember that you and Miss Sears and Miss Winstanley, and your mother, most of all, have trained your memory till it can work these marvels? All you have to do now in your reading is to carry such training forward, and you can bring about such a power of classification and of retention that you shall be mistress of the books you have read for most substantial purposes. To read with such results is reading indeed. And when I say I want to give some hints how to read, it is for reading with that view.

When Harry and Lucy were on their journey to the sea-side, they fell to discussing whether they had rather have the gift of remembering all they read, or of once knowing everything, and then taking their chances for recollecting it when they wanted it. Lucy, who had a quick memory, was willing to take her chance. But Harry, who was more methodical, hated to lose anything he had once learned, and he thought he had rather have the good fairy give him the gift of recollecting all he had once learned. For my part I quite agree with Harry. There are a great many things that I have no desire to know. I do not want to know in what words the King of Ashantee says, “Cut off the heads of those women.” I do not want to know whether a centipede really has ninety-six legs or one hundred and four. I never did know. I never shall. I have no occasion to know. And I am glad not to have my mind lumbered up with the unnecessary information. On the other hand, that which I have once learned or read does in some way or other belong to my personal life. I am very glad if I can reproduce that in any way, and I am much obliged to anybody who will help me.

For reading, then, the first rules, I think, are: Do not read too much at a time; stop when you are tired; and, in whatever way, make some review of what you read, even as you go along.

Capel Lofft says, in quite an interesting book, which plays about the surface of things without going very deep, which he calls Self-Formation,[1] that his whole life was changed, and indeed saved, when he learned that he must turn back, at the end of each sentence, ask himself what it meant, if he believed it or disbelieved it, and, so to speak, that he must pack it away as part of his mental furniture before he took in another sentence. That is just as a dentist jams one little bit of gold-foil home, and then another, and then another. He does not put one wad on the hollow tooth, and then crowd it all in. Capel Lofft says that this reflection—going forward as a serpent does, by a series of backward bends over the line—will make a dull book entertaining, and will make the reader master of every book he reads, through all time. For my part, I think this is cutting it rather fine, this chopping the book up into separate bits. I had rather read as one of my wisest counsellors did; he read, say a page, or a paragraph of a page or two, more or less; then he would look across at the wall, and consider the author’s statement, and fix it on his mind, and then read on. I do not do this, however. I read half an hour or an hour, till I am ready, perhaps, to put the book by. Then I examine myself. What has this amounted to? What does he say? What does he prove? Does he prove it? What is there new in it? Where did he get it? If it is necessary in such an examination you can go back over the passage, correct your first impression, if it is wrong, find out the meaning that the writer has carelessly concealed, and such a process makes it certain that you yourself will remember his thought or his statement.

I can remember, I think, everything I saw in Europe, which was worth seeing, if I saw it twice. But there was many a wonder which I was taken to see in the whirl of sight-seeing, of which I have no memory, and of which I cannot force any recollection. I remember that at Malines—what we call Mechlin—our train stopped nearly an hour. At the station a crowd of guides were shouting that there was time to go and see Rubens’s picture of ——, at the church of ——. This seemed to us a droll contrast to the cry at our stations, “Fifteen minutes for refreshments!” It offered such æsthetic refreshment in place of carnal oysters, that purely for the frolic we went to see. We were hurried across some sort of square into the church, saw the picture, admired it, came away, and forgot it,—clear and clean forgot it! My dear Laura, I do not know what it was about any more than you do. But if I had gone to that church the next day, and had seen it again, I should have fixed it forever on my memory. Moral: Renew your acquaintance with whatever you want to remember. I think Ingham says somewhere that it is the slight difference between the two stereoscopic pictures which gives to them, when one overlies the other, their relief and distinctness. If he does not say it, I will say it for him now.

I think it makes no difference how you make this mental review of the author, but I do think it essential that, as you pass from one division of his work to another, you should make it somehow.

Another good rule for memory is indispensable, I think,—namely, to read with a pencil in hand. If the book is your own, you had better make what I may call your own index to it on the hard white page which lines the cover at the end. That is, you can write down there just a hint of the things you will be apt to like to see again, noting the page on which they are. If the book is not your own, do this on a little slip of paper, which you may keep separately. These memoranda will be, of course, of all sorts of things. Thus they will be facts which you want to know, or funny stories which you think will amuse some one, or opinions which you may have a doubt about. Suppose you had got hold of that very rare book, “Veragas’s History of the Pacific Ocean and its Shores”; here might be your private index at the end of the first volume:—

Percentage of salt in water, 11: Gov. Revillagigedo, 19: Caciques and potatoes, 23: Lime water for scurvy, 29. Errata, Kanaka, ἀνηρ, ἀνα? 42: Magelhaens vs. Wilkes, 57: Coral insects, 72: Gigantic ferns, 84, &c., &c., &c.

Very likely you may never need one of these references; but if you do, it is certain that you will have no time to waste in hunting for them. Make your memorandum, and you are sure.

Bear in mind all along that each book will suggest other books which you are to read sooner or later. In your memoranda note with care the authors who are referred to of whom you know little or nothing, if you think you should like to know more, or ought to know more. Do not neglect this last condition, however. You do not make the memorandum to show it at the Philo-gabblian; you make it for yourself; and it means that you yourself need this additional information.

Whether to copy much from books or not? That is a question,—and the answer is,—“That depends.” If you have but few books, and much time and paper and ink; and if you are likely to have fewer books, why, nothing is nicer and better than to make for use in later life good extract-books to your own taste, and for your own purposes. But if you own your books, or are likely to have them at command, time is short, and the time spent in copying would probably be better spent in reading. There are some very diffusive books, difficult because diffusive, of which it is well to write close digests, if you are really studying them. When we read John Locke, for instance, we had to make abstracts, and we used to stint ourselves to a line for one of his chatty sections. That was good practice for writing, and we remember what was in the sections to this hour. If you copy, make a first-rate index to your extracts. They sell books prepared for the purpose, but you may just as well make your own.

You see I am not contemplating any very rapid or slap-dash work. You may put that on your novels, or books of amusement if you choose, and I will not be very cross about it; but for the books of improvement, I want you to improve by reading them. Do not “gobble” them up so that five years hence you shall not know whether you have read them or not. What I advise seems slow to you, but if you will, any of you, make or find two hours a day to read in this fashion, you will be one day accomplished men or women. Very few professional men, known to me, get so much time as that for careful and systematic reading. If any boy or girl wants really to know what comes of such reading, I wish he would read the life of my friend George Livermore, which our friend Charles Deane has just now written for the Historical Society of Massachusetts. There was a young man, who when he was a boy in a store began his systematic reading. He never left active and laborious business; but when he died, he was one of the accomplished historical scholars of America. He had no superior in his special lines of study; he was a recognized authority and leader among men who had given their lives to scholarship.

I have not room to copy it here, but I wish any of you would turn to a letter of Frederick Robertson’s, near the end of the second volume of his letters, where he speaks of this very matter. He says he read, when he was at Oxford, but sixteen books with his tutors. But he read them so that they became a part of himself, “as the iron enters a man’s blood.” And they were books by sixteen of the men who have been leaders of the world. No bad thing, dear Stephen, to have in your blood and brain and bone, the vitalizing element that was in the lives of such men.

I need not ask you to look forward so far as to the end of a life as long as Mr. George Livermore’s, and as successful. Without asking that, I will say again, what I implied in August, that any person who will take any special subject of detail, and in a well-provided library will work steadily on that little subject for a fortnight, will at the end of the fortnight probably know more of that detail than anybody in the country knows. If you will study by subjects for the truth, you have the satisfaction of knowing that the ground is soon very nearly all your own.

I do not pretend that books are everything. I may have occasion some day to teach some of you “How to Observe,” and then I shall say some very hard things about people who keep their books so close before their eyes that they cannot see God’s world, nor their fellow-men and women. But books rightly used are society. Good books are the best society; better than is possible without them, in any one place, or in any one time. To know how to use them wisely and well, is to know how to make Shakespeare and Milton and Theodore Hook and Thomas Hood step out from the side of your room, at your will, sit down at your fire, and talk with you for an hour. I have no such society at hand, as I write these words, except by such magic. Have you in your log-cabin in No. 7?

Edward E. Hale.

Self-Formation. Crosby and Nichols. Boston. 1845.


James the First was King and Archbishop Bancroft was Primate of England. A pedantic, narrow-minded, insincere monarch filled the throne, and was, in name, the head of the Church. People were no longer sentenced to the rack or the stake for reading the Bible, or refusing to attend mass, but they were punished with fine or imprisonment for objecting to the government of the Established Church, or for listening to preaching by other than a licensed minister of that Church. Officers were on the lookout for offenders against the church laws, and the magistrates were kept busy imposing penalties.

In the extreme northern part of Nottinghamshire, where the county is pinched up into a narrow point by Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, lived one William Brewster, a man of some repute, who had served at court and travelled in foreign countries. Having been of use to some of the great men of the day, he was now enjoying the reward of his services in the position of postmaster at Scrooby, on the great post-route between London and Berwick. In consideration of his office, the great manor-house—a rambling building of timber and brick, with two court-yards, and surrounded by a moat—was given him to live in. This had been the occasional residence of the Archbishop of York, to which see it belonged. Brewster was dissatisfied with the condition of the Church, and openly encouraged those around him who refused to submit to the harsh edicts of Archbishop Bancroft.

Across the Lincolnshire border, at Gainsborough, a dissatisfied minister, named Smith, had so wrought upon his congregation that they accompanied him to Holland, where they were enjoying that freedom of worship denied them in England.

At Babworth, a small village a few miles from Scrooby, Mr. Clifton, the pastor, was preaching boldly against the corruptions of the Church as by law established, and across the fields every Sunday went postmaster Brewster and others of the Scrooby folk to hear him. Sometimes they were accompanied by a young lad, William Bradford, a farmer’s son of Austerfield in Yorkshire, who walked a dozen and more miles each way to hear the preacher of Babworth. The simple farming and laboring folk of the country around were greatly stirred by the preaching of the Babworth minister, and became daily less disposed to conform to the rules of the Church.

By and by came officers and orders from London. The Babworth minister was turned out of his pulpit, and strict command was given that he should neither preach nor teach. The Sunday walks across the fields were at an end. But persecution only served to knit closer the bonds between the scattered members of the Babworth congregation. Postmaster Brewster threw open the wide doors of Scrooby manor-house, and thither every Sunday flocked the farmers, cottagers, and villagers for miles around. A church organization was formed. The Babworth minister was chosen teacher. Postmaster Brewster was made an elder. For pastor was selected a pious, simple-hearted clergyman, one John Robinson, who had come up out of Norfolk to join the Scrooby congregation.

This state of things could not long be permitted; so in September, 1607, Brewster lost his postmastership. Then the officers of the ecclesiastical courts came down to spy about, and arrests and fines harassed the Scrooby congregation.

There was evidently no staying in England, if they wished to remain free in conscience and person, so the members of the new church cast about them for a place of refuge. America, where a few daring adventurers had already attempted a settlement, was suggested; but the way was long and perilous, and the result of the attempts at colonization hitherto made, sufficient to discourage any but the very sanguine or very desperate.

There was but one country to which the Protestant fugitive for conscience’ sake, denied a refuge in England, could turn. The people of Holland had wrested from the sea a great part of the land on which they lived, and to retain it were compelled to keep up an incessant warfare with their old foe. Freedom of conscience and political independence they had in like manner won and maintained by a long and terrible struggle against Spain. Having paid such a price for life and liberty they knew how to value them, and could sympathize with others compelled to pass through similar struggles. Already a number of English exiles for conscience’ sake had found safe refuge and welcome there, and the members of the Scrooby church turned their thoughts in the same direction. But the more timid held Holland to be but little better as a refuge than America. “We are simple farming folk,” said they, “and Holland is a trading and manufacturing country, where we shall find living costly, and labor for which we are fitted, scarce. In the end we shall either starve or be forced to return in greater misery than we went, as some have done before us.”

But the officers of Archbishop Bancroft continued busy, and the members of the little church were harassed more sorely. Brewster had not only lost the favor of those in power, but had been singled out for punishment, and was heavily fined for non-attendance at church. It was finally decided to take refuge in Holland. The next question was how to get away. A royal order forbade departure from England without special license, and particular instructions were given to watch the coasts from which the passage would probably be attempted.

After much cautious inquiry a shipmaster was found in Boston, on the Lincolnshire coast, who agreed that on an appointed day his ship should be at a convenient place in the neighborhood of that port, where the emigrants might safely embark for Holland. The news set the Scrooby neighborhood astir. There was a hurried consultation. It was determined that a large company of men, with their families and such goods as were removable, should make the venture. The leaders of the congregation remained to brave the storm and to keep together those who were left until provision could be made for their escape also.

In the early winter the company set out. Seventy miles of weary travel lay between them and the proposed place of embarkation. Some of the men rode on their farm-horses, the women on pillions behind them, and the children mounted in front. Others tramped sturdily on foot. Their few goods were strapped on pack-horses, that picked their way along in line with jingling bells to warn other pack-trains of their coming. Their way lay mostly through a flat country, much of it little better than a marsh. The roads were horrible, being often but a broad ditch, deep with mud and sown with scattered stones. Progress under these circumstances was slow and tedious.

At last, across the swampy flats, appeared the sea, and the appointed rendezvous was soon after reached. There a cruel disappointment awaited the travellers. The shipmaster had broken his word. No vessel was there to receive them. At length, after many vexatious delays, which made sad inroads on their slender purses, the ship was brought around. In the darkness of the night the travellers hastily embarked with their goods, and the shipmaster made pretence of putting to sea. But he was a traitor. His delay was only to afford opportunity of selling to the officers of the law information of the fugitives. Whilst he professed to be making sail these officers suddenly boarded the vessel, made prisoners of the passengers and put them into open boats. There they were searched for money. Robbed and insulted, they were taken ashore and marched through the streets to prison, amid the jeers of the populace. They lay in prison a month, when most of them were turned loose to find their way home as they best could. Thus miserably ended the first attempt to set out on the great pilgrimage.

With the following spring came fresh persecutions, and a renewed purpose to escape to Holland, if a way could possibly be found. Some of the congregation being at Hull, on the Humber, found in that port a Dutch ship, homeward bound, and made with the owner an agreement to take as many of their people, with their goods, as the ship could carry. They were to embark at a point on the Lincolnshire coast, between Hull and Grimsby, at the edge of a large common, distant from any town, and a day was set for their departure.

When the time drew nigh a small boat was hired, in which the women and children, with the goods, were placed. These were to find their way down the little river Idle to the Trent, down the Trent to the Humber, and thence out to the appointed place. Meanwhile the men set out for a tramp of fifty miles along muddy roads, across fields, and by bridle-paths, to the same point.

Slowly the little boat crept down the rivers. At length she reached the Humber, sailed past Hull, and turned the point of Skitterness. There she entered the Humber estuary; but the wind being strong, and dead ahead, and the sea rough, she made but little headway. The women became very sick. They begged the master to put into a little creek hard by the place of meeting, and he, fearing to be out at night with his small craft so heavily loaded, gladly did so.

Morning came, bright and clear. The Dutch captain was faithful to his promise. His vessel rode at anchor a short distance from the shore. The men had finished their wearisome tramp, and were pacing the beach awaiting the arrival of the bark with their families and goods. She, unfortunately, was hard aground, and could not be got off until the tide rose at noon. That no time might be lost, the captain of the Dutch ship sent his boat ashore, with the purpose of embarking the men first, and then going to the assistance of the smaller craft. But a new misfortune awaited them. The Boston attempt had warned the officials to keep a closer watch on the Scrooby people, and no sooner had the second company left than the country was raised to capture and bring them back.

The first boat-load of passengers had but just reached the deck of the ship, and the boat was about to push off for more, when over the common came a great crowd of armed men, on foot and on horseback.

The shipmaster weighed anchor and set sail in great haste, mingling his excited orders to the crew with heavy Dutch oaths. The passengers begged with tears that they should be set ashore to share the perils of their families; but he was too anxious to get out of danger himself to heed their entreaties. Those of their companions left on shore fled in different directions, except a few who remained to protect the women and children. These, who were in sore distress at the sudden separation from their husbands and fathers, were seized by the officers, and borne away to prison; but, after much persecution and suffering, they were permitted to find their way across the sea to their relatives.

Those who escaped in the ship were scarcely in better plight than those left behind. Without their families, without money, and without a change of garments, they were about to enter a strange country. To add to their misery, a great storm sprung up. For seven days they drove before the furious gale without seeing the sun; for seven nights there was neither moon nor stars to guide them on their way. Once the ship was on the point of sinking. Huge waves broke over her and drenched those on board. The sailors gave over all for lost, and tossing their arms in despair, cried out, “We sink! we sink!” But the Pilgrims, who had already suffered so much, never lost faith, and above the din of the tempest could be heard their unfaltering voices exclaiming, “Yet, Lord, thou canst save!”

Soon the storm abated, and the ship, which had been driven northward as far as Norway, was headed on her right course once more. Fourteen days after her departure from the Lincolnshire coast, and when all hopes of her safety had been abandoned by those who knew of her sailing, she rode in safety at her quay in Amsterdam.

The news of the safe arrival of their friends, whose fate had been so uncertain, in time reached those of the Scrooby church left in England, and their rejoicing was great. Renewed efforts were made to join them, and before the end of the year 1608 these efforts were successful. All the congregation who desired got safely across,—Elder Brewster and the two ministers, Robinson and Clifton, being among the last to leave. The first important stage in the great pilgrimage had been passed.

In April, 1609, a twelve years’ truce was agreed on, between Holland and Spain, and thenceforth the business of the towns and seaports of Holland increased rapidly. Amsterdam and Rotterdam rose to ports of vast commerce. Leyden became as famous for its manufactures of cotton, woollen, and silk as it was already for its university, its men of learning, and its printing-presses. The theological discussions of the Leyden professors engaged the attention of learned men everywhere. The classical books issued from the Elzevir press were eagerly sought for in all parts of Europe for their correctness and typographical beauty. Students and professors, gathered there in great number. Numerous factories gave steady employment to many laborers. The population numbered over a hundred and twenty thousand.

To this hive of industry and learning the English pilgrims came after about a year’s stay in Amsterdam, attracted thither partly by the advantages of the university, and partly by the increased opportunities for procuring employment. To these reasons for leaving Amsterdam were added the dissensions that had sprung up among those of their brethren who had fled to Amsterdam in previous years, and who differed among themselves on questions of church discipline.

The members of Pastor Robinson’s church shrank from being concerned in the unfortunate controversy and deemed it advisable to withdraw. A few, among whom was their teacher, Richard Clifton, the Babworth preacher, chose to remain in Amsterdam, and were numbered no more among the Pilgrims. Pastor Robinson and Elder Brewster led their flock to Leyden, and with them went the young man Bradford.

Twelve years the English Pilgrims remained in Leyden, finding employment as they could. The men who had all their lives followed the plough now tended the loom, exchanging the free air of their English fields for the stifling atmosphere of a Dutch manufactory. No wonder the labor and confinement grew irksome to them. They pined for an opportunity to resume their old occupations of farmers and field laborers.

The grave elders who had charge of the spiritual welfare of the flock were troubled on other grounds. The temptations of city life were sorely trying the steadfastness of the weaker brethren. The Protestantism of the Hollanders was less strict than that of the English Puritans, and the lax observance of the Sabbath by the Leydeners filled the more devout members of the English congregation with horror. It was evident that if the little church was to grow, or even to maintain its existence, it must be transplanted to more congenial soil than that of Holland. But whither? Again they turned their eyes wistfully to America.

Some progress had been made in the exploration and settlement of the American coasts whilst the English fugitives were pacing the quays of Amsterdam, and weaving silks and woollens in Leyden. Before they left their homes around Scrooby the coast from Labrador to Florida had been visited by English, French, Spanish, or Dutch navigators. Attempts had been made to found permanent colonies at various points, but these had mostly failed, each of the early settlements, from one cause or another, coming to a miserable end.

The question of emigration to America was long and earnestly discussed by the English congregation in Leyden. Some who had become enervated by city life feared to risk the perils of the long voyage and face the terrors of the savage wilderness. To the known hardships and dangers that must be encountered were added others conjured up by the imagination, or by fearful tales of navigators who had visited the savage coasts. If these were passed through in safety, there would follow the miseries of a residence in the unknown wilderness; exposure and the probabilities of sickness and death.

Then came the shipmen’s tales of the ferocity of the savages. They were not only cruel and treacherous, but were furious in their rage, and merciless to their captives. The unhappy prisoner was flayed alive with shells of fishes, his limbs hacked off joint by joint; his flesh broiled on the coals and forced upon him for food. What hope was there of a mere handful of men, hampered with women and children, and cut off from all communication with their own race, making head against innumerable savages, fierce as demons, who would look on their arrival as an intrusion, and resent it accordingly?

To this was replied, that, if in the approaching contest with Spain the Dutch should suffer disaster, it were better to trust the mercy of the American savage than of the Spanish soldier, followed, as he would be, by the officers of the Inquisition. Famine and pestilence were as imminent in Holland as in America. So it was at last decided to continue the pilgrimage across the Atlantic, if a way could be found.

Negotiations had already been attempted with the London company, though without success. They were now renewed, and at last a patent was secured, the emigrants promising to go to the north of the Jamestown settlement in order to prevent dissensions, and intending to settle somewhere near the Dutch posts on the Hudson River.

But the Leyden congregation were mostly poor, and it would be impossible for them to found their colony, or even cross the Atlantic, without money. So their agents once more ventured among the merchants of London. They found their task a hard one. The enterprise was one of great risk for cautious men to venture money in, and the bad odor in which the Leyden congregation stood with the English government rendered the merchants doubly cautious about lending them assistance. But at last money was advanced, on terms sufficiently hard.

A joint-stock company was formed, with shares at ten pounds each. Each member of the colony, sixteen years of age, was rated at a single share of ten pounds. Every person between ten and sixteen was to be rated at half a share. For seven years the colonists were to labor for the common benefit and to be maintained at the common expense. Then everything, lands, houses, furniture, property of every description, was to be divided according to the shares held by the colonists and the merchants advancing the money.

For the poor man, who would have nothing but the one share purchased by seven years’ toil, these were hard conditions, and there was much murmuring among Pastor Robinson’s flock when they were made known. But the London merchants were inexorable, and the contract was at length drawn.

A small Dutch craft, the Speedwell, of sixty tons, was purchased. A larger vessel, the Mayflower, of a hundred and eighty tons, was hired in England to assist in carrying over the emigrants. Captain Reynolds and a ship’s company were hired to take the Speedwell across and remain with her one year on the American coast. Captain Jones was to bring back the Mayflower when the colonists had got them a place to live in.

But the Speedwell and the Mayflower both would be insufficient to transport more than a portion of the congregation. Who should go to encounter the perils of the wilderness, and who remain to dare the terrors of war?

After much consultation it was determined that Elder Brewster should lead the first band of Pilgrims, and that Pastor Robinson should remain to keep the remnant together until word came back that a place had been prepared for them. With Elder Brewster was to go William Bradford, the Yorkshire farmer lad, now grown to a thoughtful and active man, of keen observation and sound sense.

Miles Standish, a grim warrior of Lancashire birth, who had done active service against the Spaniard, and who admired the bravery and resolution of the Pilgrims, volunteered to accompany Elder Brewster’s band. Though not a member of the church, his services were gladly accepted, as being of use in the probable conflicts with the savages.

A few left their wives behind, and some were unmarried; but the greater number took with them wives and children, fearing to hazard the chances of reunion if separated.

At last all was ready, and the time of separation drew nigh.

The people among whom the Pilgrims had lived were loath to part with them. The magistrates of Leyden bore public testimony that in their twelve years’ residence not a suit or accusation had been brought against them. They had feared God and respected the laws.

A day of solemn fast and humiliation was appointed, when all the members of the congregation that had already suffered so much for conscience’ sake gathered for the last religious services in which all would unite.

The little meeting-house was crowded. Many of the people of Leyden, who had learned to respect and love the upright, truth-speaking Englishmen, who never defrauded in their dealings or broke a promise, came to testify their sympathy and regret.

The services were long. Pastor Robinson preached from an appropriate text, closing with some parting words of advice. Then the intense sorrow which had been restrained during the services found vent in tears and lamentations. When evening closed in, the congregation slowly left the meeting-house, and wended their way to their homes, from which they were to depart on the morrow.

Before the July sun next morning reddened the old Roman tower that overtopped the Leyden houses, the Pilgrims set out for Delfthaven, twenty-four miles distant, where the Speedwell lay. With them went Pastor Robinson and the older members of the congregation who were to remain until a place had been provided for them. The Leyden people in great number came into the streets to bid them farewell, and some accompanied them to Delfthaven. There they met many of their countrymen and old friends from Amsterdam, who had come for a final greeting.

The night before the embarkation was spent in prayer and conversation. None slept, and though to the night-watcher the morning usually seems long in coming, that dawn broke too soon on the company that it was to part. With the first light of day, they went in a body to the river-side and crowded on board the ship, examining her accommodations and discussing the voyage. Steadily the tide rose until the Speedwell was fully afloat. The master announced that the hour for sailing had come. Then arose a pitiful cry. Men, women, and children clung to each other with heart-breaking lamentations. The rough sailors were touched with pity. The Dutch on the quay turned with watery eyes from the sorrowful scene.

But a solemn, tear-choked voice stilled the noisy sorrow in an instant. It was the pastor on his knees, praying, with uplifted hands and streaming eyes, that strength might be given to bear this great sorrow, and that those who went and those who stayed might have the Divine blessing and protection. The whole company knelt in reverent silence. Rising from their knees, they embraced hastily, and those who were to remain in Holland departed over the side of the ship, fearing to trust themselves with words. The rope was cast off, the wind filled the sails, and away went the little ship, freighted with the germ of a mighty nation,—down the Maas, across the North Sea, and down the English Channel to Southampton, the wind being fair and passage good. There lay the Mayflower, arrived from London, and having on board some who had not shared in the first stage of the pilgrimage, but who were now ready to accompany the little band in their more adventurous journey.

For some days they lay in harbor at Southampton, arranging the passengers according to the conveniences of the ships, and appointing a governor and assistants for each vessel, aside from the sailing officers.

All things being ready they sailed from Southampton on Saturday, August 15th, with a fair wind.

After some days’ running the Speedwell signalled the other ship, and together they put back into Dartmouth on Sunday, August 23d, having made but a hundred and twenty miles on their voyage. Captain Reynolds, of the Speedwell, complained that his ship was leaky, and several days were spent in overhauling her.

On Wednesday, September 2d, they sailed again, but at about a hundred leagues from the Land’s End the Speedwell again made signals of distress, and the two ships put back to Plymouth. Here the Speedwell was examined, and pronounced by her officers and men to be unseaworthy. But the fault was not so much in the ship as in the sailors. They had repented their contract, and were determined not to cross the ocean. This was sad news to the Pilgrims, who were now compelled to crowd into one ship, and make new disposition for the voyage. Some became discouraged and remained on shore. A few others joined the company, so that the Mayflower was well filled.

On Wednesday, September 16th, after having been delayed a full month on her voyage by the treachery of the Speedwell’s captain and crew, the Mayflower, with one hundred and one passengers, men, women, and children, weighed anchor and sailed out of the harbor. The narrow, steep, and ill-built streets of Plymouth were the last of English earth trod by the founders of a new empire.

Out of the spacious Sound, and down the English Channel before a brisk east-northeast wind, went the Mayflower. Leaving on her left the Eddystone Rock, the terror of mariners, on which no daring architect had yet dreamed of erecting a lighthouse, she sped past the Land’s End, past the Scilly Islands, past the extreme southwest of Ireland, and then out into the mighty Atlantic.

For several days the wind was fair and the voyage prosperous. Then came a succession of storms that tossed the little craft and greatly troubled the crowded passengers. For days the storm was so violent that no sail could be hoisted, and the ship was tossed about with bare poles, at the mercy of the winds and waters. The furious waves dashed against her sides and broke upon her decks, racking her upper works, and sending the water through her opened seams. Once a tremendous wave rose mountain-like over her bulwarks, poised itself a moment, and then came thundering down on deck. There was a shriek of terror. The heart of the stoutest mariner quailed when the ship-carpenter came up with pale face to announce that one of the main beams had broken. The ship was held as no longer seaworthy, and a hasty consultation was had whether to proceed or to turn back.

But sorely as the Pilgrims had been tried, there had always been found for them a way out of their difficulties. One of the passengers had brought from Holland a great iron screw. With this the broken beam was forced back to its place, where it was secured by the carpenter. The weather moderated somewhat, and the ship was once more put on her course.

At daybreak on Thursday, November 19th, the look-out man at the bow raised the joyful shout, “Land!” Passengers and crew crowded to the side of the ship. As the light strengthened, there, sure enough, lay the land, well wooded to the brink, and to the sea-weary eyes of the Pilgrims a sight fair to behold. The master pronounced it to be Cape Cod. This was not the point they expected to reach, and the shipmaster was told to sail southward until he reached the neighborhood of Hudson River, believed to be but a few leagues distant.

They had again been the victims of treachery. The master of the Mayflower, having been bribed by the Dutch to carry his passengers far to the north of their settlements, had deceived the Pilgrims as to his course and the nature of the coast to which he had brought them.

A few miles’ sailing to the southward brought them into shoals and navigation so dangerous that they turned back to Cape Cod and cast anchor within the harbor. The shores then were clothed to the water’s edge with oaks, pines, juniper, sassafras, and other sweet wood. Whales in great numbers sported and spouted around the ship. Sea-fowl dotted the water and land-birds in flocks rose from the woods. Here, then, the Pilgrims deemed it a fitting place to form a settlement, should a good landing-place be found.

But so far north had they come that they were beyond the limits of South Virginia, and the patent from the London company was therefore worthless. Once on shore they would be without the jurisdiction of any organized government on that side of the ocean, and there were a few, not of the Leyden Pilgrims, but of those who joined at Plymouth, who were disposed to take advantage of this fact by repudiating their obligations to the company at large and setting up for themselves. To prevent this a meeting was held before the ship came to an anchor, and the heads of families and unmarried adventurers signed an agreement, of which this is a copy:—

“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are vnderwritten, the loyall Subiects of our dread soveraigne Lord King Iames, by the grace of God of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, &c.

“Having vndertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian Faith, and honour of our King and Countrey, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant, and combine our selues together into a civill body politike, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such iust and equall Lawes, Ordinances, acts, constitutions, offices from time to time as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the generall good of the Colony; vnto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnesse whereof we haue here-vnder subscribed our names, Cape Cod 11. of November, in the yeare of the raigne of our soveraigne Lord King Iames, of England, France, and Ireland 18. and of Scotland 54. Anno Domino 1620.”

Thus on the 11th of November, Old Style, or the 21st according to our present reckoning, which has been observed in the dates given in this narrative, before the foot of one of the Pilgrims had touched land, was formally adopted that principle of self-government on which the American Republic is founded.

One month was spent in exploring the coast in a small boat, seeking a fitting place for the establishment of the colony. Meanwhile winter was rapidly approaching. Frost, snow, and cold winds sowed the seeds of disease that soon carried off many of the Pilgrims, and sorely afflicted others who escaped death. The exploring party, under the lead of the stalwart Miles Standish, fought and dispersed a hostile party of savages.

Whilst the main company on the ship were waiting the result of the explorations the first child, Peregrine White, was born, and the wife of William Bradford fell overboard and was drowned, her husband being absent at the time. On Sunday, the 20th of December, the exploring party rested on Clark’s Island, and kept their first Sabbath on American soil.

Next morning they landed upon Plymouth Rock.

One of the party writes: “On Munday we sounded the Harbour, and found it a very good Harbour for our shipping. We marched also into the Land, and found divers corne fields, and little running brookes, a place very good for situation, so we returned to our Ship againe with good newes to the rest of our people, which did much comfort their hearts.” A few days later the Mayflower was brought over, and the establishment of the colony was commenced.

A resting-place had at length been found. They had planted their feet upon the rock on which should be reared the grandest structure ever devoted to civil and religious liberty. The Great Pilgrimage was ended.

J. H. A. Bone.


It rained so hard that day that nobody but a duck or a boy would have thought of going out, if it could possibly be helped.

Arthur and Frank Spencer thought they would never find a better time to make tickets for their “exhibition,” which was to come off the next week in the barn; Tom Hay, who lived next door, had waded over to see them; and there was Freddy Spencer, too,—but he was only five years old, while they were ten or eleven, and they made little account of him.

Mamma Spencer had got out an old silk dress to work on, because she felt safe from neighbors dropping in till the rain held up. On the floor, at her feet, lay Pinkie, the baby; she was the fattest, roundest little dumpling of a baby that ever you kissed in your life. If she had any bones about her, nobody could find them, and she rolled one way just as well as another. When she had everything she wanted,—and that was almost always,—she was good as the day was long.

Drawn by Lizzie B. Humphrey.]          [See the Story of “Spotty.”

Pinkie’s real name was Lurana Isabel, after two of her aunts, but as this was almost as long as she was herself, they called her Pinkie, till she should grow to it.

Pinkie had been trying to get the whole head of her rubber doll into her mouth for some time, and the room was so still that you could hear the purring of Spotty the cat, as she lay asleep on her cushion by the fire.

All at once Mamma found she must go up stairs to look for more pieces for her dress, and she said to Arthur,—

“You must watch Pinkie and keep her out of mischief while I go up stairs; I will come back in a minute.”

“Of course I will, mother,” said Arthur, who could never bear to be told to do anything; he was always so sure that he should go right of himself.

So he kept his eyes on Pinkie for a little while; but she was very quiet over the doll, and as his mother did not come down in a minute, he turned round again to his tickets.

He was carefully cutting off a long strip of pasteboard, when Pinkie burst out with a terrible cry, and she and Spotty were all mixed up together on the floor, and there was a drop of blood on one of Pinkie’s eyes.

“The cat has scratched out Pinkie’s eye!” screamed Freddy at the top of his voice, and began to cry louder than the baby.

Jennie Spencer had been ironing her doll’s clothes in the kitchen, and she came running in with a little bit of a flat-iron in one hand and a doll’s dress, half-ironed, in the other. Mamma rushed down stairs and picked up Pinkie, with only one look at Arthur. There was such a stirring about of people that Pinkie stopped crying to look around her and find out what it all meant; when Mamma had bathed her eye with a soft sponge, she could find nothing but a little scratch on the eyebrow, and in a few minutes Pinkie was on the floor as happy as ever.

Mamma did not say a word to Arthur then, for she never reproved her children when they had company; but Arthur felt very guilty, and knew that he ought to be punished for not watching Pinkie all the time. Spotty was fast asleep again on her cushion.

“See that bad cat,” he cried out; “she didn’t really do much hurt, but maybe she meant to, and she ought to be punished.”

“Let’s have a court and try her,” said Tom Hay; “my uncle’s a lawyer, and I know how they do it.”

“O, I know about that,” said Arthur, “and I’ll be the judge.”

“No, you don’t,” said Frank; “I want to be judge myself.”

“I’m the oldest,” said Arthur.

“Only a year,” said Frank, “and I weigh a pound more.”

“That’s because you’re always eating. You’ll get so fat some time that we shall have to drag you round in Pinkie’s wagon.”

“O bother!” said Tom Hay, who was always peacemaker between Arthur and Frank. “You can both be judges if you want to, but then who will be lawyer for Pinkie? I am going to be Spotty’s lawyer myself. There must be a sheriff, too, to take the folks to jail. Spotty ought to be in jail all this time.”

“I say,” said Arthur, who never let any one make such a long speech before without putting in his word, “Freddy shall be the sheriff.”

Freddy was delighted, and offered to kiss Arthur, who drew back and said judges never kissed anybody.

“Sheriff, bring Spotty to me,” said Arthur in a very loud voice. He tied a stout string around her neck. “Now, Sheriff, lead Spotty out by this string and tie her to the first spruce-tree by the gate. Cats hate to be wet, so that will be as good as a jail to her, and, Freddy,—I mean Sheriff, be sure you put mother’s water-proof all over you before you go out in the rain.”

Freddy trudged out, dragging poor Spotty after him.

“We must have a bench for the judge to sit on,” said Tom Hay.

“Margaret’s wash-bench will be just the thing,” said Frank.

“And there is such a thing as a jury, but I don’t know what it is, and I guess it don’t make much difference whether we have it or not,” said Tom Hay.

“No, I never heard of it,” said Arthur, as if he had heard of everything worth knowing.

“Jennie, you go back into the parlor; girls never go to court.” Jennie’s lip began to tremble.

“Yes, yes,” said Tom Hay, “let her go; she won’t be in the way.”

“You are always standing up for her, Tom,” said Arthur.

“Well, she ain’t to blame for being a girl. I like girls myself.”

“That’s because there ain’t any at your house; they’re always in the way.”

“Come, Jennie,” said Tom, “we’ll make believe that you are the jury, whatever it is.”

Then they all went out into the wood-room, and Arthur sat down on the wash-bench, with an old hoe-handle in his hand to keep order with. A small tub was set in front of him, to put the wicked Spotty in while she was having her trial.

“Sheriff, put on the water-proof, and bring her in,” said Arthur, in a loud, fierce voice. He was very particular about the water-proof, because he meant to make great show with it when his mother came to deal with him about Pinkie, after Tom Hay should have gone home. Freddy stumbled in, dragging poor pussy by main strength. Spotty was a white cat by nature, with two or three dark spots on her back that gave her her name. She was always very neat and tidy in her habits, but in trying to get free from the string that held her to the spruce tree she had rolled herself over and over in the mud, which stuck to her wet fur, and made her the wickedest-looking cat that ever walked on four legs. She looked very low-spirited too, and dragged her tail behind her as if she had not a friend in the world.

She mewed pitifully all the time, and little streams of water made her fur into pointed fringe. She was put into the tub, and tied to the handle so that she could not jump out.

“Poor Spotty!” said Jennie, “don’t tie her too tight.”

“Jennie,” said Arthur, “you mustn’t talk in court. You can’t stay here if you speak another word.”

Frank consented to be Pinkie’s lawyer, and went after her, with Freddy, to bring her little willow chair.

Pinkie was a full twenty-five pounder, every ounce, and it made Frank, who was not very lean himself, puff hard to carry her into court; but he did it manfully, and set her down for a minute to get his breath.

“Tie her into her chair,” said Arthur. But Pinkie had caught sight of her favorite in the tub and scrambled up to it. She leaned too far over the side, lost her balance, and for half a second she stood on her head in the tub with her little fat legs sticking up straight in the air. Spotty howled worse than ever, but Tom Hay set Pinkie on her feet so quickly that she thought it good fun, and was all ready to do it over again. Her hair was full of gravel, and her pretty white dress, all tucks and ruffles, put on clean that afternoon, was streaked with mud and water; but she patted her fat hands and laughed and crowed as if she had now done the thing of all others that everybody must kiss her for.

If Frank had been judge, Pinkie’s funny ways would have broken up the court; but Arthur had hard thoughts of her for bringing him into disgrace with his mother.

So he rapped on the floor with his hoe-handle and said, “Sheriff, take Pinkie out of this court.”

Freddy tried hard to mind the judge; but Pinkie liked the court, and made up her mind to stay in it; and the more Frank and Freddy tried to get her away, the stiffer she lay on her back and kicked at them.

At last Tom Hay begged a piece of cake of Margaret, and showed it to Pinkie inside the kitchen-door, which brought her up on all fours again very quickly.

He kept stepping back with it till she had crept into the middle of the kitchen, then he gave her the cake, and scudded out before Pinkie knew where she was.

Tom Hay was one of those uncommon people that are just like the oil they put on wheels to make them go smoothly. He never did much to speak of himself, but he made everybody else feel better and do better when he was with them.

All the boys liked him and wanted to play with him, and perhaps not one of them knew the reason why. He was one of those that the Bible speaks of when it says “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

But he did not know that he was any better than other people, and that was the best of him; if he had known it, and been proud of it, it would have spoilt him entirely. Jennie wished every day that he was her brother.

Now all was ready to hold the court, and Spotty’s mewing said just as plain as words, that if they were going to hang her she wished they would do it at once and have it over. Arthur fidgeted on his bench, and got very red in the face, and clearly did not know what to do next; but he would have sat there till this time before he would have owned to it.

“A great judge you are!” said Frank; “why don’t you do something?”

“The judge don’t do the trying,” said Tom Hay, just in time to nip a new quarrel in the bud. “It’s the lawyers that talk all the time.”

“To be sure,” said Arthur.

“You must make a speech and stand up for Pinkie, and then I’ll make one and stand up for Spotty, and the judge says which is the best and tells what shall be the punishment.”

“The lawyers say ‘your honor’ when they speak to the judge, for I heard my mother read Uncle John’s speech in court, and it was full of your ‘honor,’ ” said Tom Hay.

“I’ll never call Arthur ‘your honor,’ ” said Frank.

“Then you sha’n’t make any speech,” said Arthur.

“Well, never mind, I’ll make my speech first.”

So Tom stuck up his hair to look taller and began: “Your honor, I just ask you to look at poor Spotty as she stands there dripping and crying in her tub, and see if she don’t feel bad enough already for what she has done, without any more punishment. She tells me—”

“That’s a lie,” said Frank, who felt that he had been put upon from the first; “a cat can’t tell anything.”

“I know that,” said Tom Hay, “but once I heard my uncle say that it’s part of a lawyer’s business to tell lies,—they couldn’t make any money without it. I suppose he was in fun; but we can make believe it’s so, just for once.”

“All right,” said Arthur; “don’t you mind what Frank says; he don’t know anything about courts. Go on, Tom.”

“She tells me, that is, Spotty, that she has always been a better cat than common; she never stole any meat nor fish out of the pantry, nor knocked down any dishes; she never brings in dirt on the carpets, nor takes naps on the spare bed, nor wants to sit in laps when she is shedding her fur. She has had lots of kittens, spotted and striped and all colors that kittens ever are, and she lets you all handle ’em as much as you want to without flying at your face, as some cats do. She says she loves Pinkie dearly, and never would have laid a paw on her if she had been awake; but she was up all last night, and so slept hard, and when something came right down bump on her, she thought it was a big dog, and scratched before she knew it. She is dreadful sorry, and never will do so again. I hope your honor will let her off easy.”

“I mean to,” said Arthur.

“Now, Frank, it’s your turn,” said Tom.

But Frank would not look at Arthur, and would not say “your honor,” and all that his speech amounted to was that Pinkie was the best baby in the world, and he thought Spotty ought to be hung for hurting her.

By this time Sheriff Freddy was fast asleep on an old buffalo-robe, but he was waked up to hold the cat while she heard her sentence.

Freddy held her up on her hind legs while Tom Hay held down her ears to make her look meek, and very meek and altogether miserable she did look, I can tell you.

“Now, Spotty,” said Arthur, giving her a little rap on the head with his hoe-handle, “I won’t hang you this time, because you have been such a good cat always before, and this shall be your punishment; when you have some more kittens, and we have to drown some of ’em, we’ll take you along to see us do it, and then you will always remember not to hurt Pinkie, whatever she does to you.”

Jennie had sat very still up to this minute, but she could not bear this.

“O Arthur, you are the cruelest boy that ever lived. Only think if mamma had to stand by and see Freddie and Pinkie drowned!”

“She would have to do it, if I was a real judge and said so,” said Arthur.

“You never will be a real judge; folks wouldn’t have you,” said Jennie.

You couldn’t help it; women don’t have anything to do with such things,” said Arthur.

“Maybe she will,” said Tom Hay; “my Aunt Hope says women are going to vote by and by, and men won’t be anywhere then.”

“I hope they will,” said Jennie, brightening up, “and I never will vote for Arthur to be judge,—never!”

“Nor I either,” said Frank.

“Who cares?” said Arthur. “I say this court is done, and I am as hungry as a bear. I vote that we have a piece of pie all round. Freddy, you go and ask mother if we can have a whole pie.”

Just then mamma opened the kitchen-door with Pinkie in her arms, all white and clean again, but crying for “Otty, Otty,” which was her name for Spotty.

So Spotty got clear of being hung that time, because she had such a good lawyer. They washed and dried her, and took her back to the parlor, and the first thing Pinkie did was to put Spotty’s paw in her mouth and bite it with all her strength, and Spotty never so much as put out a claw, which shows plainly that she knew all about her trial, and meant to profit by it.

A long time after that, in the summer-time, mamma was preserving strawberries in the kitchen; Pinkie had learned to walk and talk a little, and she tormented mamma every minute by wanting to taste the strawberries and have the spoon to suck, till she had not a grain of patience left, and told the children to take Pinkie out to the barn to play in the hay. Jennie thought it would be better to leave Pinkie on the barn floor, while they went up on the hay, so she sat her in a bushel-basket, and gave her a lot of corn-cobs to play with.

When Jennie and Frank and Freddy had climbed up the stairs they heard a little faint mewing deep down in the hay, and in a minute they found Spotty and four little soft, lovely kittens, all nestled together. They were so delighted that they forgot all about Pinkie, till Jennie saw her little curly head just peeping up at them over the hay. Pinkie liked corn-cobs well enough, but she liked company better, and when she found herself left alone, she easily tipped over the basket and crept up the stairs. Then they dragged her over the hay to see the kittens, and she crowed and laughed, and finally cried because she could not squeeze them all she wanted to.

Mamma said two of them must certainly be drowned, for she could not have the house overrun with cats.

The boys picked out the two that had the most black about them and put them into a newspaper with a stone, and carried them down to the brook. Tom Hay went too, and Sheriff Freddy led Spotty by a string round her neck. Jennie was gone away to spend the day.

Arthur threw in the bundle with the kittens in it, and of course the paper broke as soon as it touched the water and the stone sunk to the bottom of the brook; the poor blind kittens were swimming about and mewing to break your heart. Freddy was looking so hard that he forgot about holding the string tight, and before anybody thought of looking to see how Spotty bore it, she had dived bravely into the water and brought one of the kittens safe to land by its neck; then she swam after the other and caught it just as it was sinking, and landed that too.

Then she shook them, and patted them, and behaved so exactly, as Tom Hay said, as his mother did, when he tumbled into the water, that he would not have them drowned at all, but carried them home in his handkerchief, with Spotty following after.

Mamma threatened every day to give them away, but she never did, and they kept growing, and now Pinkie has five great cats to play with, and cannot make up her mind which she likes best.

Ella Williams.


William Henry to his Grandmother.

Dear Grandmother,—

The puddles bear in the morning and next thing the pond will, and I want to have my skates here all ready. ’Most all the boys have got theirs all ready, waiting for it to freeze. They hang up on that beam in the sink-room chamber. Look under my trainer trousers that I had to play trainer in when I’s a little chap, on that great wooden peg, and you’ll find ’em hanging up under the trousers. And my sled too, for Dorry and I are going to have double-runner together soon as snow comes. It’s down cellar. We went to be weighed, and the man said I was built of solid timber. Dorry he hid some great iron dumb-bells in his pockets for fun, and the man first he looked at Dorry and then at the figures, and then at his weights; he didn’t know what to make of it. For I’ve grown so much faster that we’re almost of a size.

First of it Dorry kept a sober face, but pretty soon he began to laugh, and took the dumb-bells out, and then weighed over, and guess what we weighed?

The fellers call us “Dorry & Co.,” because we keep together so much. When he goes anywhere he says, “Come, Sweet William!” and when I go anywhere I say “Come, Old Dorrymas!” There’s a flower named Sweet William. There isn’t any fish named Dorrymas, but there’s one named Gurrymas. We keep our goodies in the same box, and so we do our pencils and the rest of our traps. His bed is ’most close to mine, and the one that wakes up first pulls the other one’s hair. One boy that comes here is a funny-looking chap, and wears cinnamon-colored clothes, all faded out. He isn’t a very big feller. He has his clothes given to him. He comes days and goes home nights, for he lives in this town. He’s got great eyes and a great mouth, and always looks as if he was just a-going to laugh. Sometimes when the boys go by him they make a noise, sniff, sniff, sniff, with their noses, making believe they smelt something spicy, like cinnamon. I hope you’ll find my skates, and send ’em right off, for fear the pond might freeze over. They hang on that great wooden peg in the sink-room chamber, that sticks in where two beams come together, under my trainer trousers; you’ll see the red stripes.

Some of us have paid a quarter apiece to get a football, and shouldn’t you think ’twas real mean for anybody to back out, and then come to kick? One feller did. And he was one of the first ones to get it up too. “Let’s get up a good one while we’re about it,” says he, “that won’t kick right out.” Dorry went to pick it out, and took his own money and all the rest paid in their quarters, and what was over the price we took in peanuts. O, you ought to’ve seen that bag of peanuts! Held about half a bushel. When he found the boys were talking about him he told somebody that when anybody said, “Let’s get up something,” it wasn’t just the same as to say he’d pay part. But we say ’tis. And we talked about it down to the Two Betseys’ shop, and Lame Betsey said ’twas mean doings enough, and The Other Betsey said, “Anybody that won’t pay their part, I don’t care who they be.” And I’ve seen him eating taffy three times and more, too, since then, and figs. And he comes and kicks sometimes, and when they offered some of the peanuts to him, to see if he’d take any, he took some.

Now Spicey won’t do that. We said he might kick, but he don’t want to, not till he gets his quarter. He’s going to earn it. If my skates don’t hang up on that wooden peg, like enough Aunt Phebe’s little Tommy’s been fooling with ’em. Once he did, and they fell through that hole where a piece of the floor is broke out. You’d better look down that hole. I’m going to send home my Report next time. I couldn’t get perfect every time. Dorry says if a feller did that, he’d know too much to come to school. But there’s some that do. Not very many. Spicey did four days running. I could ’a got more perfects, only one time I didn’t know how far to get, and another time I didn’t hear what the question was he put out to me, and another time I didn’t stop to think and answered wrong when I knew just as well as could be. And another time I missed in the rules. You better believe they are hard things to get. Bubby Short says he wishes they’d take out the rules and let us do our sums in peace, and so I say. And then one more time some people came to visit the school, and they looked right in my face, when the question came to me, and put me out. I shouldn’t think visitors would look a feller right in the face, when he’s trying to tell something. Dorry says that I blushed up as red as fire-coals. I guess a red-header blushes up redder than any other kind; don’t you? I had some taken off my Deportment, because I laughed out loud. I didn’t mean to, but I’m easy to laugh. But Dorry he can keep a sober face just when he wants to, and so can Bubby Short. I was laughing at Bubby Short. He was snapping apple-seeds at Old Wonder Boy’s cheeks, and he couldn’t tell who snapped ’em, for Bubby Short would be studying away, just as sober. At last one hit hard, and W. B. jumped and shook his fist at the wrong feller, and I felt a laugh coming, and puckered my mouth up, and twisted round, but first thing I knew, out it came, just as sudden, and that took off some.

I shall keep the Report till next time, because this time I’m going to send mine and Dorry’s photographs taken together. We both paid half. We got it taken in a saloon that travels about on wheels. ’Tis stopping here now. Course we didn’t expect to look very handsome. But the man says ’tis wonderful what handsome pictures homely folks expect to make. Says he tells ’em he has to take what’s before him. Dorry says he’s sure we look very well for the first time taking. Says it needs practice to make a handsome picture. Please send it back soon because he wants to let his folks see it. Send it when you send the skates. Send the skates soon as you can, for fear the pond might freeze over. Aunt Phebe’s little Tommy can have my old sharp-shooter for his own, if he wants it. Remember me to my sister.

Your affectionate Grandson,

William Henry.

Grandmother to William Henry.

My dear Boy,—

Your father and all of us were very glad to see that photograph, for it seemed next thing to seeing you, you dear child. We couldn’t bear to send it away so soon. I kept it on the mantel-piece, with my spectacles close by, so that when I went past it I could take a look. We sent word in to your aunt Phebe and in a few minutes little Tommy came running across and said his “muzzer said he must bwing Billy’s Pokerdaff in, wight off.” But I told him to tell his muzzer that Billy’s Pokerdaff must be sent back very soon, and wasn’t going out of my sight a minute while it stayed, and they must come in. And they did. We all think ’tis a very natural picture, only too sober. You ought to try to look smiling at such times. I wish you’d had somebody to pull down your jacket, and see to your collar’s being even. But Aunt Phebe says ’tis a wonder you look as well as you do, with no woman to fix you. I should know Dorry’s picture anywhere. Uncle Jacob wants to know what you were both so cross about? Says you look as if you’d go to fighting the minute you got up.

Little Tommy is tickled enough with that sled, and keeps looking up in the sky to see when snow is coming down, and drags it about on the bare ground, if we don’t watch him.

I had almost a good mind to keep the skates at home. Boys are so venturesome. They always think there’s no danger. I said to your father, now if anything should happen to Billy I should wish we’d never sent them. But he’s always afraid I shall make a Miss Nancy of you. Now I don’t want to do that. But there’s reason in all things. And a boy needn’t drown himself to keep from being a Miss Nancy. He thinks you’ve got sense enough not to skate on thin ice, and says the teachers won’t allow you to skate if the pond isn’t safe. But I don’t have faith in any pond being safe. My dear boy, there’s danger even if the thermometer is below zero. There may be spring-holes. Never was a boy got drowned yet skating, but what thought there was no danger. Do be careful. I know you would if you only knew how I keep awake nights worrying about you.

Anybody would think that your uncle Jacob had more money than he knew how to spend. He went to the city last week, and brought Georgiana home a pair of light blue French kid boots. He won’t tell the price. They are high-heeled, very narrow soled, and come up high. He saw them in the window of one of the grand stores, and thought he’d just step in and buy them for Georgie. Never thought of their coming so high. I’m speaking of the price. Now Georgie doesn’t go to parties, and where the child can wear them, going through thick and thin, is a puzzler. She might to meeting, if she could be lifted out of the wagon and set down in the broad aisle, but Lucy Maria says that won’t do, because her meeting dress is cherry-color. Next summer I shall get her a light blue barege dress to match ’em, for the sake of pleasing her uncle Jacob. When he heard us talking about her not going anywhere to wear such fancy boots, he said then she should wear them over to his house. So twice he has sent a billet in the morning, inviting her to come and take tea, and at the bottom he writes, ☛“Company expected to appear in blue boots.”☚ So I dress her up in her red dress, and the boots, and draw my plush moccasins over them, and pack her off. Uncle Jacob takes her things, and waits upon her to the table, and they have great fun out of it.

My dear Billy, I have been thinking about that boy that wears cinnamon-colored clothes. I do really hope you won’t be so cruel as to laugh at a boy on account of his clothes. What a boy is, don’t depend upon what he wears on his back, but upon what he has inside of his head and his heart. When I was a little girl and went to school in the old school-house, the Committee used to come, sometimes, to visit the school. One of the Committee was the minister. He was a very fine old gentleman, and a great deal thought of by the whole town. He used to wear a ruffled shirt, and a watch with a bunch of seals, and carry a gold-headed cane. He had white hair, and a mild blue eye, and a pleasant smile, that I haven’t forgotten yet, though ’twas a great many years ago. After we’d read and spelt, and the writing-books and ciphering-books had been passed round, the teacher always asked him to address the school. And there was one thing he used to say, almost every time. And he said it in such a smiling, pleasant way, that I’ve remembered it ever since. He used to begin in this way.

“I love little children. I love to come where they are. I love to hear them laugh, and shout. I love to watch them while they are at play. And because I love them so well, I don’t want there should be anything bad about them. Just as when I watch a rosebud blooming;—I should be very sorry not to have it bloom out into a beautiful, perfect rose. And now, children, there are three words I want you all to remember. Only three. You can remember three words, can’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” we would say.

“Well, now, how long can you remember them?” he would ask,—“a week?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Two weeks?”

“Yes, sir.”

“A month?”

“Yes, sir.”

“A year?”

“Guess so.”

“All your lives?”

Then some would say, “Yes, sir,” and some would say they guessed not, and some didn’t believe they could, and some knew they couldn’t.

“Well, children,” he would say at last, “now I will tell you what the three words are: Treat—everybody—well. Now what I want you to be surest to remember is ‘everybody.’ Everybody is a word that takes in a great many people, and a great many kinds of people,—takes in the washer-women and the old man that saws wood, and the colored folks that come round selling baskets, and the people that wear second-hand clothes, and the help in the kitchen,—takes in those we don’t like and even the ones that have done us harm. ‘Treat—everybody—well.’ For you can afford to. A pleasant word don’t cost anything to give, and is a very pleasant thing to take.”

The old gentleman used to look so smiling while he talked. And he followed out his own rule. For he was just as polite to the poor woman that came to clean their paint as he was to any fine lady. He wanted to make us feel ashamed of being impolite to people who couldn’t wear good clothes. Children and grown people too, he said, were apt to treat the ones best that wore the best clothes. He’d seen children, and grown folks too, who would be all smiles and politeness to the company, and then be ugly and snappish to poor people they’d hired to work for them. A real lady or gentleman,—he used to end off with this,—“A real lady, and a real gentleman will—treat—everybody—well.” And I will end off with this too. And don’t you ever forget it. For that you may be, my dear boy, a true gentleman is the wish of

Your loving Grandmother.

P. S. Do be careful when you go a skating. If the ice is ever so thick, there may be spring-holes. Your father wants you to have a copy of that picture taken for us to keep, and sends this money to pay for it. I forgot to say that of course it is mean for a boy not to pay his part. And for a boy not to pay his debts is mean, and next kin to stealing. And the smaller the debts are, the meaner it is. We are all waiting for your Report.

William Henry to his Grandmother.

My dear Grandmother,—

Excuse me for not writing before. Here is my Report. I haven’t sniffed my nose up any at Spicey. I’ll tell you why. Because I remember when I first came, and had a red head, and how bad ’twas to be plagued all the time. But I tell you if he isn’t a queer-looking chap! Don’t talk any, hardly, but he’s great for laughing. Bubby Short says his mouth laughs itself. But not out loud. Dorry says ’tis a very wide smile. It comes easy to him, any way. He comes in laughing and goes out laughing. When you meet him he laughs, and when you speak to him he laughs. When he don’t know the answer he laughs, and when he says right he laughs, and when you give him anything he laughs, and when he gives you anything he laughs. Though he don’t have very much to give. But he can’t say no. All the boys tried one day to see if they could make him say no. He had an apple, and they went up to him, one at once, and said, “Give me a taste.” “Give me a taste,” till ’twas every bit tasted away. Then they tried him on slate pencils,—his had bully points to them,—and he gave every one away, all but one old stump. But afterwards Mr. Augustus said ’twas a shame, and the boys carried him back the pencils and said they’d done with ’em. Dorry says he’s going to ask him for his nose some day, and then see what he’ll do. I know. Laugh. You better believe he’s a clever chap. And he won’t kick. Dorry likes him for that. Not till he’s paid his quarter. Mr. Augustus offered him the quarter, but he said, No, I thank you. Why not? Mr. Augustus asked him. He said he guessed he’d rather earn it. We expect the teacher heard about it, and guess he heard about that feller that wouldn’t pay his part, and about his borrowing and not paying back, for one day he addressed the school about money, and he said no boy of spirit, or man either, would ever take money as a gift long as he was able to earn. Course he didn’t mean what your fathers give you, and Happy New Year’s Day, and all that. And to borrow and not pay, was mean as dirt, besides being wicked. He’d heard of people borrowing little at a time, and making believe forget to pay, because they knew ’twouldn’t be asked for. The feller I told you about—the one that kicks and don’t pay—he owes Gapper Sky Blue for four seedcakes. Mr. Augustus says that what makes it mean is, that he knows Gapper won’t ask for two cents! Gapper let him have ’em for two cents, because he’d had ’em a good while and the edges of ’em were some crumbly. And he borrowed six cents from Dorry and knows Dorry won’t say anything ever, and so he’s trying to keep from paying. I guess his left ear burns sometimes!

Gapper can’t go round now, selling cakes, because he’s lame, and has to go with two canes. But he keeps a pig, and he and little Rosy make tip-top molasses candy to sell in sticks, one centers and two centers, and sell ’em to the boys when they go up there to coast. I tell you if ’tisn’t bully coasting on that hill back of his house! We begin way up to the tip-top and go way down and then across a pond that isn’t there only winters and then into a lane, a sort of downish lane, that goes ever so far. Bubby Short ’most got run over by a sleigh. He was going “knee-hacket” and didn’t see where he was going to, and went like lightning right between the horses’ legs, and didn’t hurt him a bit.

Last night when the moon shone the teachers let us go out, and they went too, and some of their wives and some girls. O, if we didn’t have the fun! We had a great horse-sled, and we’d drag it way up to the top, and then pile in. Teachers and boys and women and girls, all together, and away we’d go. Once it ’most tipped over. O, I never did see anything scream so loud as girls can when they’re scared? I wish ’twould be winter longer than it is. We have a Debating Society. And the question we had last was, “Which is the best, Summer or Winter?” And we got so fast for talking, and kept interrupting so, the teacher told the Summers to go on one side and the Winters on the other, and then take turns firing at each other, one shot at a time. And Dorry was chosen Reporter to take notes, but I don’t know as you can read them, he was in such a hurry.

“In summer you can fly kites.

“In winter you can skate.

“In summer you have longer time to play.

“In winter you have best fun coasting evenings.

“In summer you can drive hoop and sail boats.

“In winter you can snow-ball it and have darings.

“In summer you can go in swimming, and play ball.

“In winter you can coast and make snow-forts.

“In summer you can go a fishing.

“So you can in winter, with pickerel traps to catch pickerel and perch on the ponds, and on rivers. When the fish come up you can make a hole in the ice and set a light to draw ’em, and then take a jobber and job ’em as fast as you’re a mind to.

“In summer you can go take a sail.

“In winter you can go take a sleigh-ride.

“In summer you don’t freeze to death.

“In winter you don’t get sunstruck.

“In summer you see green trees and flowers and hear the birds sing.

“In winter the snow falling looks pretty as green leaves, and so do the icicles on the branches, when the sun shines, and we can hear the sleigh-bells jingle.

“In summer you have green peas and fruit, and huckleberries and other berries.

“In winter you have molasses candy and pop-corn and mince-pies and preserves and a good many more roast turkeys, (another boy interrupting) and all kinds of everything put up air-tight!

“(Teacher.) Order, order, gentlemen. One shot at a time.

“In summer you have Independent Day, and that’s the best day there is. For if it hadn’t been for that, we should have to mind Queen Victoria.

“In winter you have Thanksgiving Day and Forefather’s Day and Christmas and Happy New-Year Day and the Twenty-second of February, and that’s Washington’s Birthday. And if it hadn’t been for that we should have to mind Queen Victoria.”

When the time was up the teacher told all that had changed their minds to change their sides, and some of the Summers came over to ours, but the Winters all stayed. Then the teacher made some remarks, and said how glad we ought to be that there were different kinds of fun and beautiful things all the year round. Bubby Short says he’s sure he’s glad, for if a feller couldn’t have fun what would he do? After we got out doors the summer ones that didn’t go over hollered out to the other ones that did, “Ho! Ho! Winter killed! Winter killed! ’Fore I’d be Winter killed! Frost bit! Frost bit! ’Fore I’d be Frost bit!”

I should like to see my sister’s blue boots. I am very careful when I go a skating. There isn’t any spring-hole in our pond. I don’t know where my handkerchiefs go to.

Your affectionate Grandson,

William Henry.

P. S. Don’t keep awake. I’ll look out. Bubby Short’s folks write just so to him. And Dorry’s. I wonder what makes everybody think boys want to be drowned?

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.


Our day on Carysfort Reef, of which I gave an account in the August Number of the Young Folks, was one of many such. We fished and dredged, and when the weather was not favorable for deep-sea soundings we made excursions in small boats. New and beautiful objects daily filled the bowls and jars in which the specimens were kept. Though I should like to talk with you about many of these things, I must not confuse your minds with a variety of images, but I wish especially to show you the difference between a living and a dead coral, because these animals are so seldom seen alive.

I repeat here Figure 4, from the June number of the Young Folks. It is a fragment from a head of Mæandrina, or Brain-Coral. I have always been familiar, as I dare say many of my young readers are also, with the heads of Mæandrina exhibited in museums. They are usually bleached to a pure white, or, if not perfectly bleached, are of a dingy ugly brown. I shall not easily forget my surprise when I first saw a perfect Mæandrina stock, fresh from the sea, placed in a large bucket of clear salt water. The long winding spaces between the ribbed ridges were of a bright beautiful green, and the little mouths were set in these furrows from distance to distance,[1] as they are represented in the woodcut.

Mæandrina, or Brain-Coral.

The tentacles, themselves of the same vivid color, were crowded thickly along these spaces, not only fringing the margins of the furrows, but so closely packed as to form a soft velvety floor like moss across each depression. I used to watch the tentacles with the lens, and see them constantly at work contracting or expanding, stretched in search of food, I suppose, or at rest while the process of digestion went on.[2] At times they were so completely withdrawn as to be altogether out of sight, so that the furrows joined the ridges without any intervening border. These ridges dividing the furrows from each other were of a dark brown color, and contrasted prettily with the green spaces, where you could see only the soft parts of the animal, while the ridges were hard. When the animal dies, the soft parts shrink and dry up, leaving only the solid structure; namely, the hard brown ridges, which have much the same appearance whether living or dead, and the rigid lime deposit in the furrows, which is completely hidden during life. Thus, you see, one might almost as well judge of the life of any animal by its skeleton as of that of a Mæandrina by the dry specimens commonly exhibited.

The same is true of many other corals,—of the Porites, for instance, a specimen of which was represented in a former article.[3] In a Porites community the single animals are round, and form circular openings on the surface. The soft parts may be protruded from these openings or mouths, the summit of the animal rising crowned with a close wreath of feelers, always twelve in number; the next moment, on some alarm, or the approach of anything which disturbs them, these feelers may be withdrawn and packed closely within the little pit under the surface, formed by the hard parts of the coral. Presently, if left to themselves, they rise and spread again. The expansion is generally slower than the contraction, though their movements are rarely sudden in either case. All the corals forming round pits—the Astræans, as well as the Porites and others with whose names you are unfamiliar—have, like the Porites, such a circular wreath of feelers outside the mouth on the upper margin of the body. While all the lower portion of the animal becomes hard, this part of the body remains flexible, and they can lift it so as to push out the feelers, or contract it so as to withdraw them, at will. There are a few corals in which the soft parts are so delicate as to allow you to see the hard structure through them; this is the case with the Rhizotrochus, that large white cup-like coral, of which we had a picture in the last article, and also with some of the Madrepores, but it is rare.

The Madrepores, or Finger-Corals, are very beautiful when alive. They are not so brilliant in color as many other corals, being of a brownish tint; but the individual animals, especially the topmost one on every branch,[4] are large, so that the wreath of tentacles about the separate mouths is very conspicuous. Some of the so-called Fan-Corals have also a very different aspect, when living and in their native element, from that of the museum specimens, by which they are generally known. In the Pterogorgia, for instance, a kind of Gorgonia, which when dried looks like a bunch of rods, each branch is some two or three times thicker when seen in the ocean, with all the animals expanded, than it is in the dry specimen.

In the true Fans, on the contrary, the difference is not so striking between the living and the dead specimen. The animals are excessively small, mere punctures or pin-pricks on the stem, and their purple or yellow colors are retained after death, though losing something of their natural brilliancy. And yet these fans, in their native element, growing on the sea bottom, have a charm they can never have elsewhere. They stand up firm and elastic, mounted on rocks or shells, waving to and fro with every motion of the water; and though they do not lose their natural color when removed from the ocean, they resemble the living coral-fan as a dried and pressed fern may resemble one which grows in the woods on a bed of moss at the foot of some old forest-tree, stirring with every breath of wind and borrowing beauty from everything about it.

Now that you have seen—for I hope you have seen just a little with my eyes, though I wish you could have used your own—how these animals look and how they live, let us see what they do, or rather what is the result of their lives; for, as their work is accomplished simply by growing, I suppose we cannot praise them for industry. To explain this I must go back to our map of Florida; and to make the reference easier, I reproduce it here.

Look at it for a moment. The wall running parallel with the coast, outside the Keys, and farthest south, is called the Reef of Florida. It is for the greater part under water, coming to the surface at one or two points only. The channel within divides the reef from Key West and a number of other islands, lying between the reef and the main-land, and running nearly parallel with both, though they extend farther westward than the southern shore of Florida itself. This row of islands in its eastern part is connected with the main-land by the mud flats adjoining what are called the Shore Bluffs, or rising grounds making the southern outline of the peninsula, to the north of which are the Hunting-grounds, Long Key, and the Everglades.

At the end of every number of the Young Folks you have a collection of puzzles, conundrums, and the like. Should I give you as a puzzle this question,—What is the relation between the reef, the row of keys or islands lying parallel with it, and the Shore Bluffs on the southern edge of the peninsula itself?—I wonder whether I should get an answer. I think from some of you I might. I think a few, who have read the articles and looked at the map carefully, would say,—They are one and the same thing; the outside reef is a wall built up by the coral animals from the sea-bottom, but it has not yet reached the surface of the ocean; the line of islands inside is the top of another wall exactly like it, which has reached the sea level here and there, and formed islands; the outline of the peninsula is an older wall still,—a reef which has been for a long period above the water, and has had time to connect itself with the main-land. This is just the truth. We do not know how much of the peninsula of Florida has been built up in this way, because little is known of the interior of Florida or of the structure of its northern part. But we are sure, from the character of the ground and from the nature of the soil, that all its southern portion consists of coral reefs lying within one another, and connected by marshes which were once mud flats such as now connect the Keys with the peninsula.

Suppose now that in imagination we cut off the peninsula from the line marked Everglades in our map; suppose, in short, that the peninsula were about half its present length. Thus curtailed, let us plant upon its southern shore a number of the transparent delicate little bodies born from corals. They settle here, attach themselves to the bottom, and begin to grow. If they belong to the Astræans, Mæandrinas, or Porites, they will establish themselves at some distance from the shore, because they like deep water and because the fresh influence of the sea, untainted by any deposit from the land, is most favorable to their growth. Once attached to the ground, the lime deposit which I have described is formed in their base, spreading gradually into the upper part of the body; they begin to bud also, putting out new individuals on every side, while at the same time these new individuals, beside budding in their turn, constantly cast out into the water around them eggs which grow into young corals. The latter, as soon as they have attained a certain size, establish themselves as the first have done, founding new and growing communities. Thus, hundreds of those large heads, making the foundation-stones of a coral reef or wall, are formed. Gradually, very slowly,—for it has been estimated, upon careful observations, that the increase of a coral reef in height is less than a foot in a century,—the wall rises from the bottom of the sea and approaches the surface. You may ask why it keeps always at about the same distance from the shore, running along parallel with it in a continuous line, instead of spreading over a broader, more irregular surface. For this reason: because a certain distance from the shore—far enough removed to prevent any land deposit from troubling the water, near enough to limit the depth to some twelve or fifteen fathoms—gives the most favorable conditions for the life of reef-builders; therefore they naturally keep within these limits. Other corals may be found at much greater depth, while others again prefer shallower waters. For a reason of the same kind, the sea-side of a coral wall is always steeper than its landward side. The corals grow best where exposed to the immediate influence of the fresh sea-water; they therefore increase more rapidly on the outer side of the reef, and in so doing they exclude those on the inner side from the same favorable circumstances, shutting them out from the strongest action of the ocean, and enclosing a space where the deposits from the land easily collect, and where the reef-building corals do not grow as rapidly.

Suppose, now, that our imaginary coral wall has grown up to the sea-level,—the Astræans, Mæandrinas, and Porites having raised it to a certain height, and other lighter kinds, which prefer shallower waters, then setting in above them, till finally, upon the summit, fans and branching corals complete the growth and bring it to the surface. But this is not all. A coral reef has a host of other creatures living upon it beside corals. We have seen that sea-anemones, sea-urchins, star-fishes, shells, fishes, and a great variety of animals shelter themselves in its recesses, and make their home in all its nooks and corners. Among them are numbers of boring shells and worms. They work their way into it, piercing holes through and through the solid substance, so that large portions become loosened, are broken off by the force of the sea, tossed about in the water, shattered into fragments, and finally ground to powder. Thus, just as fallen branches, decayed wood and leaves may accumulate upon the ground in a forest, the coral reef becomes embedded in a mass of loose material, the result of its own decay.

Such loose materials, detached heads, broken bits of coral rock, coral sand, shells, etc., are thrown up by the force of the waves on any part of the coral wall which has reached the surface of the ocean. Gradually on these spots a soil gathers and an island is formed. Such an island is at first a mere cap of loose sand or very minute mud, resting insecurely on the top of the coral wall; it may even be swept away many times before it becomes stationary; but gradually it spreads, grows firmer, seeds fall upon it, drifted out from the shore or dropped by birds in their flight, vegetation springs up over its surface, and it is now an inhabitable island. Our reef having thus reached the sea level, and being in the course of transformation into islands, we should then have the southern extremity of Florida where the middle of the peninsula now is, with a row of islands lying outside of it, just as the Keys now lie outside its present southern shore.

But how did those islands ever become connected with the main-land, so as to make them, as they now are, a part of the interior of the peninsula? Look at the present Keys: between them and the coast of Florida stretches a level, muddy belt of ground called the Mud Flats. The space now occupied by those mud flats was once open water; it has filled up gradually with washings from the shore and from the Keys themselves, with coral sand, broken shells, fragments, and débris of all sorts. This accumulation is greatly assisted by a curious plant called the mangrove, which grows in great quantities all about the Florida shore. Its seeds germinate upon the tree and form young shoots with little rootlets at one end. In that stage of growth they resemble a cigar in shape. They are heaviest at the end where the rootlets are developed, and are dropped from the trees in numbers; as the latter usually stand on the brink of the shore or upon islands, the young plants fall into the water and float about there with the heavier end sunk below the surface. Thus floating, they drift against any collection of mud or sand in their way, the rootlets attach themselves slightly, and the shoot begins to grow. As soon as the little plant has attained a certain height it throws out air-roots, that is, roots which, instead of spreading underground, start from the branches and strike down into the soil from above. These roots are so numerous that they presently form a network around every such tree; and as the mangrove plantations sow themselves rapidly and become very extensive, their roots form a complete labyrinth, a close lattice or trellis as it were, in which all sorts of objects floating in the water about them are caught. Thus they contribute to fill up the channels between the Keys and the main-land, and transform them gradually into marshy grounds.

Unquestionably such a process as is now going on between the Florida Keys and the peninsula was completed, centuries ago, between that ancient row of islands which I have tried to describe and the main-land. The whole coral wall gradually rose above the sea level, was converted to dry land, and was united to Florida by marshy grounds formed as the mud flats are forming now. To the south at a little distance a reef arose such as now exists outside the present row of Keys. In due time that also built itself up to the sea level, the channel dividing it from the main-land filled in with mud, was transformed to marshes uniting that reef to the first, and so on till we meet the present line of Keys and the reef now growing up to the south of them. The same process is still going on. The mud flats are increasing and consolidating by the addition of all the mud, sand, broken shells, coral fragments, etc., floating about between the coast and the islands; this will continue till they are raised to a level with them, and will finally connect the shore and the Keys by a marshy belt of land.[5] The wall, of which the islands are only such parts as have risen more rapidly than the rest, will complete its growth and reach the level of the sea for its whole length. The outer reef, now rising only in two or three points above the surface of the water, will gradually form islands here and there, as the inner one now does, and between those islands and the inner reef, which will then be the coast of Florida, mud flats will collect and fill the space. The outer reef will then gradually complete its growth, no longer remaining a series of islands, but becoming a long strip of land; the mud flats will unite it to the inner one, and then there will be solid ground from the present coast of Florida to the line where the outer coral reef now runs beneath the sea.

This is no fanciful sketch. Seven such reefs and marshes have actually been discovered between the Shore Bluffs, themselves formed by an ancient reef, and the central part of the peninsula. The Indian Hunting-ground, as it is called, lying within the Shore Bluffs, is nothing but an old channel, filled in by mud flats at first and then transformed to marshes. Just beyond it is a line of elevations, called Hummocks in Florida; this row of Hummocks is again only a reef of past times, with the former keys or islands on its summit rising a little above the general level of the reef. Long Key, marked in your map, is such an island of past times. Beyond that is another low, marshy ground; and thus we may trace the successive reefs and mud flats one within another until we reach Lake Okeechobee, which is situated, as you will see by your school atlas, about half-way between the northern boundary of Florida and its southern shore.

If you do not think me too tiresome, I will give you, in connection with these facts, a little sum in addition. As I have told you, a coral reef grows less than a foot in height in a century. Probably it does not actually grow more than half a foot in that time; but let us call it a foot.[6] The outer and youngest reef of Florida is about seventy feet high. Allowing that it has grown at the rate of a foot in a century, what must be its age? Whoever is ready at numbers answers, Seven thousand years. Counting the ancient reefs, and those still alive and growing outside its southern shore, we have ten such reefs in the southern half of Florida. If one alone has required seven thousand years to build itself up to its present height, how many years must we allow for the growth of the whole number? I think my class will say with one voice, Seventy thousand years. But some of the more thoughtful ones will add, “That is supposing they grew one after the other; and why should not they all have been growing together?” If they had done so, the earlier ones would never have reached the level of the sea, as we know by their height they must have done, because the later ones growing up in front of them would have shut them out from the fresh influence of the ocean, without which they cannot prosper. This shows us that the ancient reefs did not grow at the same time, but in succession, just as the present outer Reef of Florida has followed the Keys in its formation, the coral animals always establishing themselves on the slope of the preceding reef.

We may therefore infer—for, as I have said, the rate of growth here assigned to the reef is probably much greater than its actual increase—that it has taken nearly a hundred thousand years to build up the southern half of Florida. This sounds to you, no doubt, like an exaggeration, but when you know a little of the history of the world—I do not mean the history of the men who live upon it, but of the world itself—you will cease to wonder at this estimate. You will find that all our measurements of time are too short for the slow processes by which the earth has been brought to its present state, by which its rocks have been hardened, its mountains uplifted, its river-beds and lake-basins furrowed out, its soil made fertile and ready for the harvest when men should come to sow and reap upon it. The coral reefs of Florida are not the only ones in the United States. In the State of Iowa there is an ancient coral reef belonging to a time when an open gulf ran far up into the heart of the continent, before the Valley of the Mississippi existed, before our great West was born, before the Rocky Mountains lifted their summits above the ocean.

One word, as we bid good-by to the coral reefs, of those circular islands in the Pacific Ocean which excited the wonder and interest of navigators long before Darwin, the English naturalist, explained their structure. The ocean bottom is not a flat floor; it is an undulating surface, like that of the dry land. It has lofty ranges of mountains and deep valleys and broad, level plateaus. Suppose that a mountain rises from the bottom of the sea without reaching the surface; its summit is perhaps eight or ten fathoms below the sea level. Upon its slopes little coral animals, similar to those we have known on the Florida shore, settle, and form a ridge around its crest. (See Figure 1.) Gradually the ridge rises into a wall, and, reaching the surface (see Figure 2), forms a circular island, enclosing a sheltered, quiet harbor; for since the mountain-top around which the corals have grown does not reach the sea level, the centre of the island remains open water. By the same process which builds up dry land on the summit of the Florida reefs, a soil accumulates on the top of such a circular coral wall. Vegetation springs up upon it, and it is soon transformed into a green ring of land encircling a quiet lake in mid-ocean.

Such an island, or Athol as it is called, may be produced by the subsidence of a mountain. If the sea bottom is not level, neither is it immovable in all its parts, and there is a tract beneath the Pacific Ocean which is known to be slowly sinking, just as in certain other regions the ocean floor is known to be slowly rising. Suppose corals to have established themselves around the slope of a mountain, the crest of which rises above the sea level and forms an island. If the mountain be subsiding more rapidly than the corals are growing, the island and the wall itself will be lost beneath the ocean. But if, on the contrary, the rate of increase in the wall is greater than that of subsidence in the island, the former will rise while the latter sinks, and by the time the wall has completed its growth the top of the mountain will have disappeared, leaving a space of open water in its place, enclosed within a ring of coral reef, in which there may be a break here and there, perhaps, at some spot where the prosperous growth of the corals has been checked. Sometimes, when there is no break, and the wall remains perfectly uninterrupted, the sheet of sea-water so enclosed may even be changed to fresh water by the rains poured into it. Such a water basin will remain salt, no doubt, in its lower part, and the fact that the rise and fall of the tides affect it shows that it is not completely cut off from communication with the sea outside. But the salt-water, being heavier, remains at the bottom, while the lighter rainwater floats above, so that we may have a sheltered fresh-water lake in mid-ocean.

Figure 3.

Here we will leave the corals. Should any of you care to know more about them, Darwin’s delightful volume on “Coral Reefs,” from which the little sketch of the island in Figure 3 is taken, will be pleasant reading for you. You might learn a great deal also about the structure of coral animals from looking at the plates in Dana’s report of the United States Exploring Expedition, although the descriptions would perhaps be too difficult for you to understand. But the figures are admirably drawn, and would interest and please you from their beauty, if for nothing else.

Elizabeth C. Agassiz.

I see that in my description of the Mæandrina (see No. 54 of the Young Folks, p. 386) I have said that the furrows are produced by the elongation of the mouths. I should rather have said by the tendency of the separate animals to elongate in one direction, thus forming, instead of the compact round pits of the Astræans, depressions corresponding to their internal cavities, running lengthwise on the surface. The mouths frequently do elongate and run into each other, and are always oblong in shape. But they may also remain distinct, and are seen studding the furrows at short intervals, as in the woodcut.

In the true Mæandrinas, owing to the elongated forms of the animals, the feelers or tentacles do not form wreaths around the mouths, as they do in sea-anemones and in most corals, but follow the whole length of the furrows. There is, however, a kind of coral resembling Mæandrina, in which the furrows widen and narrow alternately. When they narrow, the opposite rows of tentacles are drawn together, and they may seem to form a circle; but they really follow the undulations of the furrows, and only touch where the space contracts so much as to bring them into contact.

See No. 54 Young Folks, p. 384, Figure 1.

See No. 54 Young Folks, p. 387, Figure 5.

From this line to the end of the paragraph, the account of the probable completion of the Keys and reef is taken from a little book written by me for children many years ago, called “Actæa.” In reading it over I do not see that I can make the explanation of this point clearer by any change of expression, and I therefore transcribe it literally.

For fear of wearying my young readers, I have not given here the observations on which this statement is founded; but any one who cares to verify it may find them in “Agassiz’s Methods of Study” in the chapter on the Age of Coral Reefs.


Do you know that flowers, as well as people, live in families? Come into the garden and I will show you how. Here is a red rose; the beautiful bright-colored petals are the walls of the house,—built in a circle, you see; next come the yellow stamens, standing also in a circle; these are the father of the household,—perhaps you would say the fathers, there are so many. They stand round the mother, who lives in the very middle, as if they were put there to protect and take care of her. And she is the straight little pistil, standing in the midst of all. The children are seeds, put away for the present in a green cradle at their mother’s feet, where they will sleep and grow, as babies should, until by and by they will all have opportunities to come out and build for themselves fine rose-colored houses like that of their parents.

It is in this way that most of the flowers live; some, it is true, quite differently; for the beautiful scarlet maple blossoms, that open so early in the spring, have the fathers on one tree and the mothers on another; and they can only make flying visits to each other when a high wind chooses to give them a ride.

The golden-rod and asters and some of their cousins have yet another way of living, and it is of this I must tell you to-day.

You know the roadside asters, purple and white, that bloom so plenteously all through the early autumn? Each flower is a circle of little rays, spreading on every side; but if you should pull it to pieces to look for a family like that of the rose, you would be sadly confused about it; for the aster’s plan of living is very different from the rose’s. Each purple or white ray is a little home in itself, and these are all inhabited by maiden ladies, living each one alone in the one delicately colored room of her house. But in the middle of the aster you will find a dozen or more little families, all packed away together; each one has its own small yellow house, each has the father, mother, and one child; they all live here together on the flat circle which is called a disk; and round them are built the houses belonging to the maiden aunts, who watch and protect the whole. This is what we might call living in a community. People do so sometimes. Different families who like to be near each other will take a very large house and inhabit it together; so that in one house there will be many fathers, mothers, and children, and very likely maiden aunts, and bachelor uncles besides.

Do you understand, now, how the asters live in communities? The golden-rod also lives in communities, but yet not exactly after the aster’s plan,—in smaller houses generally, and these of course contain fewer families; four or five of the maiden aunts live in yellow-walled rooms round the outside; and in the middle live fathers, mothers, and children, as they do in the asters; but here is the difference: if the golden-rod has smaller houses, it has more of them together upon one stem. I have never counted them, but you can, now that they are in bloom, and tell me how many.

And have you ever noticed how gracefully these great companies are arranged? For the golden-rods are like elm-trees in their forms; some grow in one single tall plume, bending over a little at the top; some in a double or triple plume, so that the nodding heads may bend on each side; but the largest are like the great Etruscan elms, many branches rising gracefully from the main stem and curving over on every side, like those tall glass vases which, I dare say, you have all seen.

Do not forget, when you are looking at these golden plumes, that each one, as it tosses in the wind, is rocking its hundreds of little dwellings, with the fathers, mothers, babies and all.

When you go out for golden-rod and asters, you find also the great purple thistle, one of those cousins who has adopted the same plan of living. It is so prickly that I advise you not to attempt breaking it off; but only with your finger-tips push softly down into the purple tassel, and if the thistle is ripe, as I think it will be in these autumn days, you will feel a bed of softest down under the spreading purple top; a little gentle pushing will set the down all astir, and I can show you how the children are about to take leave of the home where they were born and brought up. Each seed-child has a downy wing with which it can fly, and also cling, as you will see, if we set them loose and the wind blows them on to your woollen frock. They are hardy children, and not afraid of anything; they venture out into the world fearlessly, and presume to plant themselves and prepare to build wherever they choose, without regard to the rights of the farmer’s ploughed field or your mother’s nicely laid out garden.

More of the community flowers are the immortelles, and in spring the dandelions. Examine them, and tell me how they build their houses, and what sort of families they have; how the children go away; when the house is broken up; and what becomes of the fathers, mothers, and aunts.

Author of “Seven Little Sisters.”


Fire! fire! upon the maple bough

  The red flames of the frost!

Fire! fire! by burning woodbine, see,

  The cottage roof is crossed!

The hills are hid by smoky haze!

Look! how the roadside sumachs blaze!

And on the withered grass below

The fallen leaves like bonfires glow!


Come, let us hasten to the woods

  Before the sight is lost;

For few and brief the days when burn

  The red fires of the frost;

When loud and rude the north-wind blows,

The ruddy splendor quickly goes;

But now, hurrah! those days are here,

The best and loveliest of the year!


Marian Douglas.


Words by George Cooper. Music by F. Boott.



& Funny Things.




Pleasant in summer when the earth is green,

Charming in winter with a crystal sheen,

Much cultivated, too, through all the year,

And both to fireside and the public dear.


Just one half of my whole, and two thirds good,

So transposed is the other part,—so crude,

So plain,—and yet all men must know,

The good is better for its being so.


“A bank whereon” the time is fully lost,

But which men cultivate at heavy cost.


From out the Nile I rose a thing divine,

And Egypt’s sons knelt praying at my shrine.


Wingless and headless I, a fragile thing,

Give me but warmth, I soar, and soaring, sing.


Small, light, elastic, coiled or flung at length,

On the wild Pampas horsemen test my strength.


In the clear stillness of the Southern night,

My six fair stars shed down a steady light.


I mark the hours of sorrow or of joy

Rise with the whirlwind, cover and destroy.



No. 73.

What letter turns all round?

What letter would you drop from a gust of wind to give it shape?

What letter makes merchandise attentive?

What letter gives out a painful disease?

What letter ornaments repose?

What letter stains our fortune?

What letter will make an elevation of land shiver?


ENIGMA.—No. 74.

I am composed of 21 letters.

My 10, 13, 7, 14 is a vessel.

My 3, 16, 18, 4 is a measure.

My 17, 20, 15 is a boy’s nickname.

My 19, 12, 8 is a boy’s nickname.

My 21, 2, 5 is an animal.

My 11, 6, 1, 9 is the name of an Arctic explorer.

My whole is an old adage.


Positive, Comparative, Superlative.

Hitty Maginn.


53.Foundation words:—River, Ocean.
Cross words:—RomeO, IsaaC, VanE, EvA, ReasoN.
55.Caius Valerius Catullus.
57.Argentine Republic.
58.The search for Sir John Franklin.
59.High tide on the coast of Lincolnshire.
60.Cambridge (K aim bridge).
61.Cashmere (Cash M ear).
62.Gibraltar (Jib R altar).
63.Salem (Sail M).
64.Rotterdam (R Otter Dam).
68.Masters seldom believe in persuading, they usually rely on force; but the more fortunate use tact and prudence. [M (asters) (cell) (dumb-bell) (Eve) (inn) (purse wading) T (hay) (ewe) (shoe) (alley) (re) (lion) (fours); (butt) (tea) (he) (mower) (four ton) (eight) (ewes) (tack) t (and) P (rood) (ens)].
69.1. King, ring. 2. Cat, rat. 3. Clown, crown. 4. Fool, pool. 5. Boy, joy. 6. Sinner, dinner. 7. Saint, paint.
70.1. Iodine (Io, dine!) 2. Jonquil (John Quill). 3. Violin (Vile inn). 4. Woodcut (Would cut). 5. Proof-reader (Proof, reader!)

Puzzle in Letter Box.

“He that hath a house to put his head in, hath a good headpiece.”


A correspondent, who signs himself “Joseph Alfred Clarence Erastus Daniel,” asks why the bad boy of the good story-books is always called “James.” He quotes Mr. Mark Twain, who, he says, commences one of his funny sketches something like this: “There was once a bad little boy, whose name was Jim, though, if you will notice it, bad little boys are usually called James, in your Sunday-school books. It was very curious, but it was nevertheless true, that this boy was called Jim.”

He adds this verse, also, to show that “James” is thought a worse boy than “Tom” or “John”:

“Tom was a bad boy, and beat a poor cat,

 John put a stone in a blind man’s hat;

 JAMES was the boy who neglected his prayers,

 And they’ve all grown up ugly, and nobody cares.”

To give his own words:—

“I want to know, Mr. Young Folks, why it is that those nice people who write treatises about ‘Tailorboys, and how they became Presidents,’ ‘Bobbin boys, and how they became something-elses,’ ‘Tanner boys, and how they got to be Generals,’ never ask themselves Romeo’s conundrum,—‘What’s in a name?’—but take it for granted that Joseph is a good boy, Alfred a studious boy, Clarence an amiable boy, Erastus a laborious boy, and Daniel a real clever, smart boy; while always, always, always, James is the worst possible boy that can by any possibility be imagined?

“Why on earth were the ragamuffins who went about cutting off French gentlemen’s heads, in the Dark Ages, and during the Reign of Terror, handed down to Time as the Jacquerie or Jameses? Why do good English Tories swear a prayer or two when they think of the Jacobins or Jameses?

“I want Mr. Young Folks to tell me the reason I have asked for.

“I suppose he’ll be putting me off with some such nonsensical historical answer, as that the Jacquerie were so named because their password was ‘Jacques,’ or that the Jacobins were the followers of Jacobus, or James; but I’m a very cross boy when I get put out. I don’t want any fooling. I just want to know the REASON.”

As Mr. Young Folks isn’t at home, we leave Joseph Alfred and So Forth’s question to be settled by the Jameses themselves, who can doubtless send us a long roll of honorable names. We have heard many a “Charlie” charge his misfortunes to his name; perhaps the Neds and Jacks do the same thing. If our names grew up with us, or were given us when we are grown up, as boys used to have their “freedom suits” given them, there might be something in it.

We have been greatly amused by “Alice’s Adventures in Wonder-Land,”—a reprint, by Lee and Shepard, of an English story. Alice’s queer dream is sometimes painfully grotesque; yet the state of things it describes is a reality to many persons. For Alice only finds herself always too large or too small for the place she is in.

One of our contributors—we do not know whether she is willing to have her name made public or not—has written a pleasant story-book of New England and Southern Life, which is just published by G. W. Carleton, of New York. “Sibyl Huntington” describes the life of a young Vermont girl, and her struggles to obtain an education, in a way which many a school-girl of to-day will recognize as truthful, from her own experience. If anybody has a great deal of curiosity to know the author, turn over the back volumes of “Our Young Folks,” and see who wrote the pathetic poem called “Margery Grey.”

Teachers and scholars will be pleased with a nice little “Hand-book of Map-Drawing,” published by E. H. Butler & Co., Philadelphia. The maps are accompanied by a few general questions, and a brief Descriptive Lesson of the United States.

Our Own Birds” is the title of a small book issued by J. B. Lippincott & Co., Phila., which will be useful to young readers who are interested in the birds that fly or sing around them. We have so few good books upon ornithology, so few that come within the means and the comprehension of ordinary boys and girls, that every new effort in this direction is to be welcomed. There is much interesting description and anecdote in this little volume.

For the sake of many mothers whose little ones have been won from their arms by the angels, we make room in the “Letter Box” for one bereaved mother’s tender little poem about


Since gentle little Alice died,

Children to me are glorified.

Last year, as in my arms she lay,

I watched her fading day by day,—

Her face grew thin, and pale, and fair,

And when at last her golden hair

Was parted on her brow of snow,

And I was forced to let her go,

I thought my heart would break in twain,

But for the children that remain.


My darling sleeps through weary years;

Why should I wake her with my tears?

So reasons cold Philosophy.

But in the grave does Alice lie?

Thus questions my fond heart in vain,

From death the secret to obtain.


Children to me are a delight,

As are the blessed stars at night,

As buds in spring-time, flowers in June,

As running water ’neath the moon,

As waves of ocean ’gainst the shore,

When the tired boatman rests his oar,—

With lovely forms and artless grace,

With beaming eyes and rosy face.

Brimming with laughter, fun, and glee,

Or hushed in childish sympathy,

With raven tresses, golden curls,

God bless our little boys and girls!

A. S. T.

M. M. B. and others.—We have made no offer of prizes for puzzles since last January. By referring to the June number, you will see that these prizes were all awarded, and the puzzles printed in the same number. We do not pay for enigmas or other puzzles, except when we have made some special offer for prizes.

“Hitty Maginn,” who was one of the winners last June, has an illustrated adjective rebus in the present number,—a new form of puzzle to us. In it the three degrees of comparison are given. We are inclined to think that this author originated the “Positive and Comparative” puzzle. Here are some specimens sent us by “Hitty” last spring; certainly the first we ever saw. Guess them, young folks.

A falsehood.A musical instrument.
A beverage.A beverage.
A kind of wood.A pugilist.
A disagreeable noise.A meal.

Printer.—The real names of those who win the prizes for Composition will be published.

We shall at once set ourselves about examining the October fruit which the boys and girls have sent us. A large drawer-full of it is awaiting our leisure. Of course we do not expect these productions to be as ripe and perfect as if they grew on brain-trees twenty or thirty years old. But we look for some very nice compositions, nevertheless.

Allie V. recommends Bayard Taylor’s “El Dorado” to some one who inquired in the Letter Box for a “nice, instructive book about California.”

Lamp-Post says that the “Novelty” printing-press is the best for boys. It is made by R. O. Woods, 351 Federal Street, Boston. Another subscriber recommends one made by the “Lowe Press Company,” Boston.

Annie E. S. asks, “Who introduced the game of croquet into this country? and how is ‘Silver Chimes’ played?”

A. C. has a question for croquet players:—

“The other night while playing croquet we had a dispute about a rule. The rule was ‘No ball could hit a ball twice before going through a wicket.’

“The way it was is this: I knocked for a ball and hit it and croqueted it up by the wicket I was aiming for; then I knocked for my wicket, and hit that same ball as I went through. Am I dead for that time, or can I go ahead?”

A. C.

Our Letter Box” unlocks itself cheerfully to receive this pretty sketch of


Baby Nell is a queer little thing. She is three years old, yet we call her Baby Nell because she is the youngest, and the pet of the family. Everybody loves her, she is so cunning in all she does and says. You would laugh to see her toddling over the way, and hear one of her queer speeches, for you must know that Baby Nell is a Quaker, and quotes her “thee,” and “thou,” as correctly as Grandma Chesley herself. Now Baby Nell thinks a great deal of Grandma Chesley, who tells her how many poor people she has visited, how many tracts she has given away, etc., etc.; and Baby Nell listens very quietly, for she well knows that a handful of candy, or a bunch of raisins, will reward her patient listening.

One day, Grandma Chesley visited a niece, who had recently received a tiny baby. Of course the baby was described for the benefit of Baby Nell. Its cunning little feet and hands, its blinking eyes, and red face, were talked over and over, until Baby Nell assured herself it was a real live baby, when she demurely asked, “Grandma, did thee give it any tracts?

Hearing that a certain Elder had been moved to preach, she soon after began a long talk to her kitten. When reproved for making so much noise, she quickly replied, “I feel peach, and I must peach.” An aunt dying, whom she loved dearly, she wept bitterly because she must be buried in the cold dark ground. She was told that auntie was not here, but had gone to heaven. Soon afterwards, she was found in the attic, alone, gazing from the window. When asked what she was doing, she replied, “Looking to see auntie go up to heaven, but I guess she’s got there, for I don’t see anything of her.”

In berry time Grandma took Baby Nell to visit a lady, whose berry-cakes are the wonder of all little folks. The lady was very glad to see the little girl, and her sweetest berries and nicest cream were used in her preparations for tea. Baby Nell did ample justice to the good things provided, and soon wished to repeat her visit.

“Mrs. E. is a nice lady, and thee should see her often,” was the oft-repeated plea for another visit. As Grandma and the lady were intimate, little Nell’s wish was soon gratified, and she was again seated at the lady’s tea-table. But instead of berry cake, there was plain bread, instead of sugared fruit, a plate of sweet butter. Baby Nell’s appetite was very poor, however, and she went home almost supperless.

“Wouldst thou like to visit the nice lady again, Nellie, dear?” asked Grandma, soon after.

“She’s a nice lady enough, Grandma, but I guess thee had better wait until berry time,” was the quiet reply.

One thing Baby Nell likes very much,—to hear stories from “Our Young Folks.” We told her about Kitty, and her gold pieces, and the fairy who showed her how to spend them, and how happy Kitty was after spending her money for the good of others.

Now Baby Nell has a pretty, round box, in which she puts all the money Grandma and others give her. From this little store she has been taught to give a piece whenever an object of charity presents itself.

When the poor woman needed medicine for her sick child, Baby Nell went for her box, but instead of one, three pieces were selected.

“Why give more than one?” asked Grandma.

“Because, Grandma, the more I give, the happier I shall be, and I want to be three pieces happy, like Kitty.

Lizzie L. W.

Eva L. W. sent us the right answer to the Shakespeare rebus in the September number the day after publication. Who will be as prompt in finding the answer to this? It is in the first Act of Hamlet.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

Inconsistency in hyphenation has been retained.

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

Some photographs have been enhanced to be more legible.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 10 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]