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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 11

Date of first publication: 1869

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: May 14, 2016

Date last updated: May 14, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20160515

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

Drawn by Miss M. A. Hallock.]           [See the Poem.







An Illustrated Magazine







Vol. V. November, 1869. No. XI.



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.]

















It was not possible for a boy of my temperament to be a blighted being longer than three consecutive weeks.

I was gradually emerging from my self-imposed cloud when events transpired that greatly assisted in restoring me to a more natural frame of mind. I awoke from an imaginary trouble to face a real one.

I suppose you don’t know what a financial crisis is? I will give you an illustration. You are deeply in debt—say to the amount of a quarter of a dollar—to the little knickknack shop round the corner, where they sell picture-papers, spruce-gum, needles, and Malaga raisins. A boy owes you a quarter of a dollar, which he promises to pay at a certain time. You are depending on this quarter to settle accounts with the small shop-keeper. The time arrives—and the quarter doesn’t. That’s a financial crisis, in one sense,—in twenty-five senses, if I may say so.

When this same thing happens, on a grander scale, in the mercantile world, it produces what is called a panic. One man’s inability to pay his debts ruins another man, who, in turn, ruins some one else, and so on, until failure after failure makes even the richest capitalist tremble. Public confidence is suspended, and the smaller fry of merchants are knocked over like tenpins.

These commercial panics occur periodically, after the fashion of comets and earthquakes and other disagreeable things. Such a panic took place in New Orleans in the year 18—, and my father’s banking-house went to pieces in the crash.

Of a comparatively large fortune, nothing remained after paying his debts excepting a few thousand dollars, with which he proposed to return North and embark in some less hazardous enterprise. In the mean time it was necessary for him to stay in New Orleans to wind up the business.

My grandfather was in some way involved in this failure, and lost, I fancy, a considerable sum of money; but he never talked much on the subject. He was an unflinching believer in the spilt-milk proverb.

“It can’t be gathered up,” he would say, “and it’s no use crying over it. Pitch into the cow and get some more milk, is my motto.”

The suspension of the banking-house was bad enough, but there was an attending circumstance that gave us, at Rivermouth, a great deal more anxiety. The cholera, which some one predicted would visit the country that year, and which, indeed, had made its appearance in a mild form at several points along the Mississippi River, had broken out with much violence at New Orleans.

The report that first reached us through the newspapers was meagre and contradictory; many people discredited it; but a letter from my mother left us no room for doubt. The sickness was in the city. The hospitals were filling up, and hundreds of the citizens were flying from the stricken place by every steamboat. The unsettled state of my father’s affairs made it imperative for him to remain at his post; his desertion at that moment would have been at the sacrifice of all he had saved from the general wreck.

As he would be detained in New Orleans at least three months, my mother declined to come North without him.

After this we awaited with feverish impatience the weekly news that came to us from the South. The next letter advised us that my parents were well, and that the sickness, so far, had not penetrated to the faubourg, or district, where they lived. The following week brought less cheering tidings. My father’s business, in consequence of the flight of the other partners, would keep him in the city beyond the period he had mentioned. The family had moved to Pass Christian, a favorite watering-place on Lake Pontchartrain, near New Orleans, where he was able to spend part of each week. So the return North was postponed indefinitely.

It was now that the old longing to see my parents came back to me with irresistible force. I knew my grandfather would not listen to the idea of my going to New Orleans at such a dangerous time, since he had opposed the journey so strongly when the same objection did not exist. But I determined to go nevertheless.

I think I have mentioned the fact that all the male members of our family, on my father’s side,—as far back as the Middle Ages,—have exhibited in early youth a decided talent for running away. It was a hereditary talent. It ran in the blood to run away. I do not pretend to explain the peculiarity. I simply admit it.

It was not my fate to change the prescribed order of things. I, too, was to run away, thereby proving, if any proof were needed, that I was the grandson of my grandfather. I do not hold myself responsible for the step any more than I do for the shape of my nose, which is said to be a facsimile of Captain Nutter’s.

When I look back now, I wonder how I had the heart to dream of stealing off from the old house and all the kindly souls it sheltered. The heart, I think, had nothing to do with it. It was a matter of destiny—and legs.

I have frequently noticed how circumstances conspire to help a man, or a boy, when he has thoroughly resolved on doing a thing. That very week the Rivermouth Barnacle printed an advertisement that seemed to have been written on purpose for me. It ran as follows:—

WANTED.—A Few Able-bodied Seamen and a Cabin-Boy, for the ship Rawlings, now loading for New Orleans at Johnson’s Wharf, Boston. Apply in person, within four days, at the office of Messrs. —— —— & Co., or on board the Ship.

How I was to get to New Orleans with only $4.62 was a question that had been bothering me. This advertisement made it as clear as day. I would go as cabin-boy.

I had taken Pepper into my confidence again; I had told him the story of my love for Miss Glentworth, with all its harrowing details; and now conceived it judicious to confide in him the change about to take place in my life, so that, if the Rawlings went down in a gale, my friends might have the limited satisfaction of knowing what had become of me.

Pepper shook his head discouragingly, and sought in every way to dissuade me from the step. He drew a disenchanting picture of the existence of a cabin-boy, whose constant duty (according to Pepper) was to have dishes broken over his head whenever the captain or the mate chanced to be out of humor, which was mostly all the time. But nothing Pepper said could turn me a hair’s-breadth from the project.

I had little time to spare, for the advertisement stated explicitly that applications were to be made in person within four days. I trembled to think of the bare possibility of some other boy snapping up that desirable situation.

It was on Monday that I stumbled upon the advertisement. On Tuesday my preparations were completed. My baggage—consisting of four shirts, half a dozen collars, a piece of shoemaker’s wax (Heaven knows what for!) and seven stockings, wrapped in a silk handkerchief—lay hidden under a loose plank of the stable floor. This was my point of departure.

My plan was to take the last train for Boston, in order to prevent the possibility of immediate pursuit, if any should be attempted. The train left at 4 p. m.

I ate no breakfast and little dinner that day. I avoided the Captain’s eye, and wouldn’t have looked Miss Abigail or Kitty in the face for the wealth of the Indies.

When it was time to start for the station I retired quietly to the stable and uncovered my bundle. I lingered a moment to kiss the white star on Gypsy’s forehead, and was nearly unmanned when the little animal returned the caress by lapping my cheek. Twice I went back and patted her.

On reaching the station I purchased my ticket with a bravado air that ought to have aroused the suspicion of the ticket-master, and hurried to the car, where I sat fidgeting until the train shot out into the broad daylight.

Then I drew a long breath and looked about me. The first object that saluted my sight was Sailor Ben, four or five seats behind me, reading the Rivermouth Barnacle!

Reading was not an easy art to Sailor Ben; he grappled with the sense of a paragraph as if it were a polar-bear, and generally got the worst of it. On the present occasion he was having a hard struggle, judging by the way he worked his mouth and rolled his eyes. He had evidently not seen me. But what was he doing on the Boston train?

Without lingering to solve the question, I stole gently from my seat and passed into the forward car.

This was very awkward, having the Admiral on board. I couldn’t understand it at all. Could it be possible that the old boy had got tired of land and was running away to sea himself? That was too absurd. I glanced nervously towards the car door now and then, half expecting to see him come after me.

We had passed one or two way-stations, and I had quieted down a good deal, when I began to feel as if somebody was looking steadily at the back of my head. I turned round involuntarily, and there was Sailor Ben again, at the further end of the car, wrestling with the Rivermouth Barnacle as before.

I commenced to grow very uncomfortable indeed. Was it by design or chance that he thus dogged my steps? If he was aware of my presence, why didn’t he speak to me at once? Why did he steal round, making no sign, like a particularly unpleasant phantom? Maybe it wasn’t Sailor Ben. I peeped at him slyly. There was no mistaking that tanned, genial phiz of his. Very odd he didn’t see me!

Literature, even in the mild form of a country newspaper, always had the effect of poppies on the Admiral. When I stole another glance in his direction, his hat was tilted over his right eye in the most dissolute style, and the Rivermouth Barnacle lay in a confused heap beside him. He had succumbed. He was fast, fast asleep. If he would only keep asleep until we reached our destination!

By and by I discovered that the rear car had been detached from the train at the last stopping-place. This accounted satisfactorily for Sailor Ben’s singular movements, and considerably calmed my fears. Nevertheless, I did not like the aspect of things.

The Admiral continued to snooze like a good fellow, and was snoring melodiously as we glided at a slackened pace over a bridge and into Boston.

I grasped my pilgrim’s bundle, and, hurrying out of the car, dashed up the first street that presented itself.

It was a narrow, noisy, zigzag street, crowded with trucks and obstructed with bales and boxes of merchandise. I didn’t pause to breathe until I had placed a respectable distance between me and the railway station. By this time it was nearly twilight.

I had got into the region of dwelling-houses, and was about to seat myself on a doorstep to rest, when, lo! there was the Admiral trundling along on the opposite sidewalk, under a full spread of canvas, as he would have expressed it.

I was off again in an instant at a rapid pace; but in spite of all I could do he held his own without any perceptible exertion. He had a very ugly gait to get away from, the Admiral. I didn’t dare to run, for fear of being mistaken for a thief, a suspicion which my bundle would naturally lend color to.

I pushed ahead, however, at a brisk trot, and must have got over one or two miles,—my pursuer neither gaining nor losing ground,—when I concluded to surrender at discretion. I saw that Sailor Ben was determined to have me, and, knowing my man, I knew that escape was highly improbable.

So I turned round and waited for him to catch up with me, which he did in a few seconds, looking rather sheepish at first.

“Sailor Ben,” said I, severely, “do I understand that you are dogging my steps?”

“Well, little messmate,” replied the Admiral, rubbing his nose, which he always did when he was disconcerted, “I am kind o’ followin’ in your wake.”

“Under orders?”

“Under orders.”

“Under the Captain’s orders?”


“In other words, my grandfather has sent you to fetch me back to Rivermouth?”

“That’s about it,” said the Admiral, with a burst of frankness.

“And I must go with you whether I want to or not?”

“The Capen’s very identical words!”

There was nothing to be done. I bit my lips with suppressed anger, and signified that I was at his disposal, since I couldn’t help it. The impression was very strong in my mind that the Admiral wouldn’t hesitate to put me in irons if I showed signs of mutiny.

It was too late to return to Rivermouth that night,—a fact which I communicated to the old boy sullenly, inquiring at the same time what he proposed to do about it.

He said we would cruise about for some rations, and then make a night of it. I didn’t condescend to reply, though I hailed the suggestion of something to eat with inward enthusiasm, for I had not taken enough food that day to keep life in a canary.

We wandered back to the railway station, in the waiting-room of which was a kind of restaurant presided over by a severe-looking young lady. Here we had a cup of coffee apiece, several tough doughnuts, and some blocks of venerable sponge-cake. The young lady who attended on us, whatever her age was then, must have been a mere child when that sponge-cake was made.

The Admiral’s acquaintance with Boston hotels was slight; but he knew of a quiet lodging-house near by, much patronized by sea-captains, and kept by a former friend of his.

In this house, which had seen its best days, we were accommodated with a lonesome chamber containing two cot-beds, two chairs, and a cracked pitcher on a washstand. The mantel-shelf was ornamented with three big pink conch-shells, resembling pieces of petrified liver; and over these hung a cheap lurid print, in which a United States sloop-of-war was giving a British frigate particular fits. It is very strange how our own ships never seem to suffer any in these terrible engagements. It shows what a nation we are.

An oil-lamp on a deal-table cast a dismal glare over the apartment, which was cheerless in the extreme. I thought of our sitting-room at home, with its flowery wall-paper and gay curtains and soft lounges; I saw Major Elkanah Nutter (my grandfather’s father) in powdered wig and Federal uniform, looking down benevolently from his gilt frame between the bookcases; I pictured the Captain and Miss Abigail sitting at the cosey round table in the moon-like glow of the astral lamp; and then I fell to wondering how they would receive me when I came back. I wondered if the Prodigal Son had any idea that his father was going to kill the fatted calf for him, and how he felt about it, on the whole.

Though I was very low in spirits, I put on a bold front to Sailor Ben, you will understand. To be caught and caged in this manner was a frightful shock to my vanity. He tried to draw me into conversation; but I answered in icy monosyllables. He again suggested we should make a night of it, and hinted broadly that he was game for any amount of riotous dissipation, even to the extent of going to see a play if I wanted to. I declined haughtily. I was dying to go.

He then threw out a feeler on the subject of dominos and checkers, and observed in a general way that “seven up” was a capital game; but I repulsed him at every point.

I saw that the Admiral was beginning to feel hurt at my systematic coldness. We had always been such hearty friends until now. It was too bad of me to fret that tender, honest old heart even for an hour. I really did love the ancient boy, and when, in a disconsolate way, he ordered up a pitcher of beer, I unbent so far as to partake of some in a teacup. He recovered his spirits instantly, and took out his cuddy clay pipe for a smoke.

Between the beer and the soothing fragrance of the navy-plug, I fell into a pleasanter mood myself, and, it being too late now to go to the theatre, I condescended to say,—addressing the northwest corner of the ceiling,—that “seven up” was a capital game. Upon this hint the Admiral disappeared, and returned shortly with a very dirty pack of cards.

As we played, with varying fortunes, by the flickering flame of the lamp, he sipped his beer and became communicative. He seemed immensely tickled by the fact that I had come to Boston. It leaked out presently that he and the Captain had had a wager on the subject.

The discovery of my plans and who had discovered them were points on which the Admiral refused to throw any light. They had been discovered, however, and the Captain had laughed at the idea of my running away. Sailor Ben, on the contrary, had stoutly contended that I meant to slip cable and be off. Whereupon the Captain offered to bet him a dollar that I wouldn’t go. And it was partly on account of this wager that Sailor Ben refrained from capturing me when he might have done so at the start.

Now, as the fare to and from Boston, with the lodging expenses, would cost him at least five dollars, I didn’t see what he gained by winning the wager. The Admiral rubbed his nose violently when this view of the case presented itself.

I asked him why he didn’t take me from the train at the first stopping-place and return to Rivermouth by the down train at 4.30. He explained: having purchased a ticket for Boston, he considered himself bound to the owners (the stockholders of the road) to fulfil his part of the contract!

This struck me as being so deliciously funny, that after I was in bed and the light was out, I couldn’t help laughing aloud once or twice. I suppose the Admiral must have thought I was meditating another escape, for he made periodical visits to my bed throughout the night, satisfying himself by kneading me all over that I hadn’t evaporated.

I was all there, however, the next morning, when Sailor Ben half awakened me by shouting merrily, “All hands on deck!” The words rang in my ears like a part of my own dream, for I was at that instant climbing up the side of the Rawlings to offer myself as cabin-boy for the voyage.

The Admiral was obliged to shake me two or three times before he could detach me from the dream. I opened my eyes with effort, and stared stupidly round the room. Bit by bit my real situation dawned on me. What a sickening sensation that is, when one is in trouble, to wake up feeling free for a moment, and then to find yesterday’s sorrow all ready to go on again!

“Well, little messmate, how fares it?”

I was too much depressed to reply. The thought of returning to Rivermouth chilled me. How could I face Captain Nutter, to say nothing of Miss Abigail and Kitty? How the Temple Grammar School boys would look at me! How Conway and Seth Rodgers would exult over my mortification! And what if the Rev. Wibird Hawkins should allude to me publicly, as “an awful example of total depravity,” in his next Sunday’s sermon? Sailor Ben was wise in keeping an eye on me, for after these thoughts took possession of my mind, I wanted only the opportunity to give him the slip.

The keeper of the lodgings did not supply meals to his guests; so we breakfasted at a small chop-house in a crooked street on our way to the cars. The city was not astir yet, and looked glum and careworn in the damp morning atmosphere.

Here and there as we passed along was a sharp-faced shop-boy taking down shutters; and now and then we met a seedy man who had evidently spent the night in a doorway. Such early birds and a few laborers with their tin kettles were the only signs of life to be seen until we came to the station, where I insisted on paying for my own ticket. I didn’t relish being conveyed from place to place, like a felon changing prisons, at somebody else’s expense.

On entering the car I sunk into a seat next the window, and Sailor Ben deposited himself beside me, cutting off all chance of escape.

The car filled up soon after this, and I wondered if there was anything in my mien that would lead the other passengers to suspect I was a boy who had run away and was being brought back.

A man in front of us—he was near-sighted, as I discovered later by his reading a guide-book with his nose—brought the blood to my cheeks by turning round and peering at me steadily. I rubbed a clear spot on the cloudy window-glass at my elbow, and looked out to avoid him.

There, in the travellers’ room, was the severe-looking young lady piling up her blocks of sponge-cake in alluring pyramids and industriously intrenching herself behind a breastwork of squash-pie. I saw with cynical pleasure numerous victims walk up to the counter and recklessly sow the seeds of death in their constitutions by eating her doughnuts. I had got quite interested in her, when the whistle sounded and the train began to move.

The Admiral and I did not talk much on the journey. I stared out of the window most of the time, speculating as to the probable nature of the reception in store for me at the terminus of the road.

What would the Captain say? and Mr. Grimshaw, what would he do about it? Then I thought of Pepper Whitcomb. Dire was the vengeance I meant to wreak on Pepper, for who but he had betrayed me? Pepper alone had been the repository of my secret,—perfidious Pepper!

As we left station after station behind us, I felt less and less like encountering the members of our family. Sailor Ben fathomed what was passing in my mind, for he leaned over and said,—

“I don’t think as the Capen will bear down very hard on you.”

But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t the fear of any physical punishment that might be inflicted; it was a sense of my own folly that was creeping over me; for during the long, silent ride I had examined my conduct from every stand-point, and there was no view I could take of myself in which I did not look like a very foolish person indeed.

As we came within sight of the spires of Rivermouth, I wouldn’t have cared if the up train, which met us outside the town, had run into us and ended me.

Contrary to my expectation and dread, the Captain was not visible when we stepped from the cars. Sailor Ben glanced among the crowd of faces, apparently looking for him too. Conway was there,—he was always hanging about the station,—and if he had intimated in any way that he knew of my disgrace and enjoyed it, I should have walked into him, I am certain.

But this defiant feeling entirely deserted me by the time we reached the Nutter House. The Captain himself opened the door.

“Come on board, sir,” said Sailor Ben, scraping his left foot and touching his hat sea-fashion.

My grandfather nodded to Sailor Ben, somewhat coldly I thought, and much to my astonishment kindly took me by the hand.

I was unprepared for this, and the tears, which no amount of severity would have wrung from me, welled up to my eyes.

The expression of my grandfather’s face, as I glanced at it hastily, was grave and gentle; there was nothing in it of anger or reproof. I followed him into the sitting-room, and, obeying a motion of his hand, seated myself on the sofa. He remained standing by the round table for a moment, lost in thought, then leaned over and picked up a letter.

It was a letter with a great black seal.

T. B. Aldrich.


“Another piece of turkey, please, and some stuffing; I love stuffing, and ma always makes hers so nice. O yes! I can find room for mince-pie directly.”

Of course it was Thanksgiving. The snow was beating against the windows, sifting in under the door, and drifting across the roadway. At the rate it was falling and drifting, the railroads would be blocked before night. No matter, Uncle Peter and Aunt Susan had arrived by the morning train; Uncle Fred and Aunt Maria, with Cousin Will and the twins, had come over in the wagon; and everybody that was not wanted to cook the dinner had been to church and returned, stamping off the snow at the doorstep, as hungry as hunters. Then ma bustled about, and presently she came into the sitting-room with her face as warm and red as a peony, and said, “Come, folks, dinner’s ready,” and out we all went into the dining-room, and there do you believe was the biggest turkey you ever saw! Grandma lifted her hands and exclaimed, “Well, if that isn’t a Thanksgiving turkey, I declare!”

“Isn’t it a beauty?” said ma, and then we young ones clapped our hands, and all had to say something about the turkey.

If we didn’t feast on that turkey! Cousin Will got the wishbone and broke it with our Mary, and he got the wish. We all asked what his wish was, but he said he would tell Mary some day, and she blushed. Then we had mince-pie. Grandma said it was real nice pie, and ma said, “It ought to be nice, for you taught me how to make it,” and it was nice. Then we had games, and forfeits, and cider, and apples, and a real good time, although the wind did whistle in the chimney and shake the shutters, and the snow beat against the window almost like hail. Dear, dear, what a long time ago that was!

I remember Aunt Susan asked grandma if they used to have Thanksgivings when she was young. “Why, bless me, my dear, yes,” said she, “and ever so long before. I don’t know when the first Thanksgiving was.” And Uncle Peter didn’t know, nor did Uncle Fred, and Pa said he had heard it talked about once, but those who discussed it seemed uncertain about the date and occasion. So the matter was given up. But it is scarcely right that young Americans should be ignorant of the origin of one of the most important days in their year, and the readers of Our Young Folks, at all events, shall be so no longer.

The Pilgrim Fathers landed in December. It was an unusually mild winter for that part of the country. There was little snow, but there were many cold rain-storms. Mild as was the weather, they suffered greatly from exposure and hardships. The men travelled through the woods for days, oftentimes drenched with rain that froze upon their clothing, and they slept in the open air at night, until a place had been found on which to make their settlement. Then they worked busily, cutting down trees, sawing them to proper lengths, and hewing them into shape for building log-houses. All this time they slept under such miserable shelter as they could make with boughs of trees and reeds, the women and children and some of the sick men remaining on board the ship.

It was perilous as well as laborious to collect materials for building. Those who went to the woods for logs, and others who went to the streams for reeds and flags with which to thatch the roofs, took with them their breastplates of iron, their heavy swords, and their still heavier muskets, that were rested on the forked head of a staff when fired. Sometimes a strange noise among the trees would make them drop axe and saw, hastily buckle on their jackets of iron, gird on their swords, place their heavy muskets on the rests, and kindle the matches with which to touch off the charges.

In this work the military experience of Miles Standish became of service. He was a tough campaigner, more than half of whose thirty-seven years had been spent in knocking about the world as a soldier of fortune. His trade was fighting, and the smell of powder was a scent delightful to his nostrils. He had roughed it too much in Flanders to be troubled about tramping around in rain and mud, or sleeping in the open air in midwinter; and as for fearing a half-naked Indian, had he not knocked in the head many a steel-clad Spaniard, more formidable and ferocious than a dozen painted savages? With his rough manners and camp phrases, the sturdy little captain was not exactly the kind of man the peace-loving and devout Pilgrims would have chosen as one of their number under other circumstances; nor were their precise ways altogether according to his fancy; but they needed his courage and military experience, and he admired their sturdy independence, and was moved by his love of adventure to share their perils in the American wilderness. Besides, he had been smitten by the charms of a Rose that bloomed among the English Puritans in Leyden, and in making her his wife was content to link his fortunes with those of her friends. So Captain Miles Standish trained his companions in the use of the broadsword, taught them how to handle quickly and fire the matchlock and the snaphance, and boasted that in a little while he would make them fit to meet twice their number of Spaniards, let alone a lot of howling savages with no armor but a skin, and no weapons better than a bow and arrows with heads of brass and deer’s horns.

At first was built the common house, for the shelter of all on shore, until the separate dwellings could be built, and then for meetings. Next a small hospital for the sick, of whom there were several, a shed for the provisions, and then dwellings arranged along a street leading from the crown of the hill to the water. Roughly squared logs, with the chinks daubed with clay, formed the sides; the roofs were thatched with reeds, and the window spaces filled with paper soaked in linseed oil, instead of with glass. As the town grew into existence it needed a name, and by common consent it was called New Plymouth, Old Plymouth being the last place in which they had trodden the soil of England, and there, during their stay, they had found kind treatment.

The land along the main street had been divided into nineteen lots, for the nineteen heads of families, and it was intended to build a dwelling-house on each. But there was no occasion for so many houses. Their long confinement on shipboard, the salt diet to which they had been confined, and the exposure to cold and rain after landing, brought on diseases that swept like a pestilence through the band of Pilgrims. Nine days after the landing, in the midst of a terrible storm that prevented communication between the ship and those on shore, died Richard Britteridge. His was the first funeral at Plymouth, some of the mourners hastily filling in the grave, whilst others stood to their arms in fear of an attack by Indians. Three days afterwards died Solomon Prower, and a few days later Diggory Priest was dead. Christopher Martin fell sick and died after a very short illness, and next Rose Standish, the young wife of the sturdy Captain, was struck down by the pestilence and buried in the graveyard, which now gave promise of being more populous than the street. Then the pestilence raged with full sway. Two or three died in a day. Those who escaped death were mostly stretched helplessly sick, many with their limbs stiffened and racked with excruciating pains. At one time but seven out of the whole company were able to move about.

Never in his Flanders campaigning had Miles Standish been so busy a man as now. Hewing down huge trees; rending and chopping them into building-logs and firewood; snatching up arms and armor and gathering his few comrades in fighting order at every suspicious sound; passing from house to house, with the venerable Elder Brewster, to tend the sick, with the deftness acquired on the battle-field, or to prepare for the burial of the dead; toiling with the few able to aid him in landing and mounting the cannon for the protection of the settlement; and taking advantage of the first pleasant days to break ground around his house and plant a few garden-seeds for pot-herbs,—the sturdy soldier had no leisure moments for his own personal sorrows. He never desponded, and his bluff cheeriness was better than medicine to many a sick comrade.

All this time they were unmolested by Indians. Since the fight between a roving band and the exploring party from the ship, before the landing at Plymouth, there had been no hostile demonstration. Indians hovered about, watching with curiosity and dread the work of building the village, but fearing to come near, and fleeing on the approach of a white man. A superstitious belief was the cause of this terror.

Three years before the landing of the Pilgrims a French ship was cast away on Cape Cod. The crew reached land only to meet a fate worse than drowning. The Indians stood on the shore and killed them as they were thrown up by the waves,—all but three, whom they made slaves. Two were ransomed by an English explorer; the third was retained in captivity until death ended his sufferings. As he lay dying, he told the Indians that God was angry with them for their wickedness; that he would destroy them and give their land to a strange people, who would be clothed, and not live like beasts as they did. They mocked him and derided his prophecy. “It is false,” said they. “We are great and powerful. We are not afraid of the Great Spirit. He cannot kill us. We are too many.” But the Frenchman said God was powerful, and though they were in number as the sands of the sea or the trees in the forest, he had many ways to destroy them they knew not of, and could kill them all.

He was scarcely dead when a dreadful pestilence broke out among them, the like of which they had never seen. With the falling leaves they fell in great numbers, and when winter came but a miserable remnant was left of the powerful tribe. Then came the Englishmen. At the first meeting the Indians thought to sweep them away, and with loud yells shot their arrows at the strangers. But the weapons passed harmlessly by. Then some of the English fired their matchlocks, but without effect. The Indians were astonished at their adversaries bringing thunder and lightning to their aid; but they were not to be driven back by thunder that cracked feebly, and lightning that did not strike. They fired another volley of arrows. Then Miles Standish stepped forward a few paces, rested his musket on its staff and took aim at the chief, who was partially hidden by a tree. The shot struck the Indian’s arm, and with a loud yell of terror he fled, followed by the whole band.

Now they remembered the prediction of the Frenchman, and were filled with dread that these were the people who were to possess their land. The medicine-men, or conjurers, of the tribe were called together, and for three days they performed their horrid incantations in a dark and dismal swamp, cursing the strangers and calling on their gods and demons to drive the intruders from the land. But the incantations were in vain, and towards spring the medicine-men told the chiefs it was the will of the Great Spirit they should be friends with the white men.

It was well for the sick and enfeebled settlers that during their worst weakness the Indians were prevented by superstitious terror from coming near and discovering their true condition. It was well, too, that when the Indians resolved to be friends with them, the sick had mostly recovered so far as to be about, though still feeble.

In February Miles Standish was chosen Captain, and at once set about organizing into military order all the men fit for duty. The cannon were landed and planted in the best places for the protection of the town. The great guns—minions and sakers, carrying from four to six pound shot—were placed on the hill and commanded the street to the water. The smaller cannon—bases carrying five or six ounce balls—were placed before the houses of the Governor and Captain. “Now,” said the Captain, “we are ready for the rascals.” The work was scarcely done when reports came in of the approach of the savages. For days they hung around, and one or two ventured in. At last, one fair warm morning in March, there was a great stir in the settlement. The Indians had appeared in force on a neighboring hill,—sixty warriors headed by their king, Massasoit. There was hasty buckling on of armor and gathering up of swords and muskets. With trumpet and drum the troops of Captain Miles Standish were ordered into rank. The women and children hid themselves in the houses. But the alarm was unfounded. In accordance with the advice of the medicine-men and the determination of the council, King Massasoit and his warriors had come to make a treaty of peace. So the warlike preparations were converted into a military display in honor of the distinguished visitor.

Captain Standish with six musketeers in their breastplates, and shouldering their heavy pieces, escorted the Indian king and twenty of his warriors, some of whom were clad in skins and others naked, but all painted and oiled, the king being distinguished from the others by a heavy necklace of bone beads. They were marched into an empty house, just completed, and Massasoit was seated on a green rug, reserved for state occasions. Some of the other Indians were placed on cushions.

With trumpet blowing and drum beating, and followed by a few musketeers, entered Governor Carver, wan and feeble,—for a deadly sickness had already laid hold on him,—but keeping a stately deportment. He seated himself by the Indian king, upon the rug, kissing his hand to him by way of salute and being in return embraced and kissed. Captain Miles Standish ran his eye anxiously along his men, some of whom were so feeble that the heavy breastplate and musket severely taxed their strength to carry.

After drinking and eating together, a treaty of friendship and alliance was made, which lasted while those who made it lived. With ceremonies like those with which the meeting was begun it was now ended, and the Indians took their departure, glad enough to get out of the company of the fearful weapons that sent invisible death to any distance, and which they eyed with trembling fear during the whole conference.

Towards the middle of March the birds sang sweetly in the woods,—a joyful sound, for it told of the coming spring. At noon came their first experience of an American thunder-storm,—“strong and great claps, but short, but after an hour it rained very sadly till midnight.” A few days later every man that could handle a spade was breaking ground to prepare for the first crop.

From the Indians they had obtained some corn, and, under the guidance of an Indian, twenty acres were set with this; six acres more were sown with barley and peas,—the whole being manured with fish scooped up from the stream. The seed was sown with many prayers, for on the success of that crop depended the fate of the colony. The supply brought with them from England would have soon been exhausted, but for the reduction of their numbers by the pestilence. The game which they expected to kill proved at first very shy, and they were but indifferent hunters. Owing to an unfortunate omission to bring small hooks their success in fishing was equally poor. A failure of the crop, in the possible event of inability to get supplies in time from England, would result in starvation.

With the coming of spring the sickness decreased. Of the hundred and one Pilgrims who arrived in Cape Cod harbor in November about half were dead by April. The Mayflower lay in port with but half her crew, the pestilence having treated crew and passengers alike. But now the mortality ceased. The sick and lame recovered, and despondency gave way to hope. Whatever thoughts of returning were indulged in during the height of sickness were now banished. The sails of the Mayflower were hoisted once more, and from his battery on the hill-top Captain Miles Standish gave her a parting salute, as she sailed away with cheering letters for England, but with not a single passenger.

The summer months passed quietly by, the colonists busily engaged in building, clearing land, and watching the crops. The peas were a failure. They came up well, blossomed, and then were parched under the fierce July sun. The barley was thin, but moderately thrifty. The corn was strong, green, and promised well. There was reason to hope for a good harvest.

In August the peace of the colony was rudely disturbed. Word came that the friendly Indian king, Massasoit, had been driven from his home by a rebel chief named Corbitant, and that the Indian messengers sent by the Pilgrims had been imprisoned by Corbitant, who threatened them with death. A solemn council of the colonists was called. Elder Brewster, the leader of the flock, pleaded earnestly against bloodshed. He thought an appeal to the consciences of the rebellious Indians would be effective. William Bradford, who had been elected governor on the death of Carver, hesitated to counsel war, yet doubted the efficacy of Elder Brewster’s policy. Each of the members of the council spoke his mind, some counselling this, some that, but all shrinking from advising warlike action. Then Captain Miles Standish started to his feet in anger. “You are men of the Bible,” said he, “but I am a man of the sword. I will talk to these savages through my muskets, and they will then listen quietly to your sermons. Give me a dozen men, and the rest can pray for our success whilst we march and fight.”

Next morning he started out with fourteen men, well armed, in a heavy rain. At night they lost their way, and wet, weary of marching all day in cumbrous armor and carrying heavy arms, they sat down in the woods greatly discouraged. But the trail was again found, and they made a sudden attack on the Indian village, capturing or putting to flight all the rebellious Indians, and from the centre of the village Miles Standish proclaimed the intention of the Pilgrims to reinstate Massasoit, and to protect all those who should prove the friends of the white men. The news of this successful attack and the proclamation of the dreaded white chief soon spread, and before many days the chiefs of all the surrounding country came in, professing friendship and asking for treaties of alliance.

Under these favorable circumstances the first harvest was gathered. With joyful hearts they secured the bountiful crop of Indian corn which had ripened in the fierce heats of August and the warm haze of September. As they looked on the heaped-up stores,—the first-fruits of the soil of their new home,—their hearts swelled with thankfulness that the Lord had so mercifully cared for them, and that, though sorely smitten with pestilence, they were now blessed with health, peace, and freedom from the dread of famine.

Mindful of the Providence to whom those blessings were due, Governor Bradford proclaimed a solemn Thanksgiving feast, and ordered that preparations should be made for celebrating it with such festivities as were in their power. Four men were despatched into the woods to shoot wild-fowl, and though the game had been scanty throughout the summer, the four sportsmen returned at night staggering under their burden of turkeys and other wild-fowl, great and small, sufficient to provision the whole settlement an entire week. There was rare work among the good wives of the Pilgrims, plucking and dressing the game, pounding corn and baking it, getting out and polishing the tin and pewter table services brought from England and Holland, and scrubbing the wooden trenchers that served the poorer Pilgrims in place of tin or pewter.

The roar of one of the great guns on the hill-top announced the commencement of Thanksgiving. Then, in the different dwellings and over fires lit in the open air, began the work of roasting and boiling. The air was before long savory with the steam of turkeys turning on strings before the fire, and of smaller birds fizzing on spits or dancing in bubbling pots.

There was a rattle of drums, and every man caught up his musket or firelock and hurried to the house of the Captain, falling into line as he arrived. When all had assembled the sergeant stepped forward, and the men, three abreast, with firearms shouldered, marched orderly and silently towards the meeting-house. Behind came Governor Bradford, in his long robe of office, walking gravely, as befitted a governor. On his right hand went the venerable Elder Brewster, in his preacher’s cloak, bearing the Bible reverently in his hands. On the Governor’s left walked Captain Miles Standish, his heavy armor laid aside for a short cloak, his trusty sword at his side, and a small cane in his hand as a mark of office. Proudly he watched the firm tread, sturdy frames, and serviceable weapons of the little troop before him, and was half regretful that among the subjects for the day’s thanksgivings was the blessing of peace with all the tribes about them. It was almost a pity so many good muskets should be used only in shooting wild-fowl.

The sermon of Elder Brewster was appropriate to the occasion. Never was he known to preach a better discourse, or a shorter one, though it would be thought very long now, especially if the steam of roasting turkeys tickled the noses of preacher and congregation, as it did then. The services over, the procession marched back again, the troop saluted the Governor and were dismissed, and then came in the real business of the day.

It was a Thanksgiving dinner, and no mistake about it. To be sure the tables were of the rudest, and there was not much display, nor were there many little delicacies that can often be found now on Thanksgiving tables. But the turkey was there, and so were a number of other birds, great and small, roasted and boiled, and broiled over the embers. There was cornbread, and several little knickknacks such as the skilful housewives could make up out of the materials at hand. Nor were the tables altogether wanting in display. Some families had brought a few household relics from their English homes, and these were set out to do honor to the day of rejoicing.

The dinner over and the relics cleared away, the thoughts of the Pilgrims turned to the homes they had left. As the evening closed in, they trod in fancy the green lanes of England or the busy streets of Leyden. They sang the psalms and songs that had been sung around their English firesides, and mingled memories of the past with thankfulness for the present and hope for the future.

Hark! An Indian shout, followed by a challenge from one of the guard! A sharp rattle of a drum, and every man grasped his firelock and rushed out in alarm. Nearly a hundred savages were pouring into the village with shouts and cries. There was no occasion for alarm. It was Massasoit and his band, coming in to thank the white men for their assistance and to share their festivities. They brought with them five deer and a good supply of other game, as their contribution to the feast.

So the Thanksgiving feasting was continued another day. By daybreak the fires were again set going, and the work of roasting, broiling, and boiling was resumed. This time venison was added to the turkey, and the Pilgrims smacked their lips with delight over this unusual food.

Whilst the feast was preparing, the Indians performed their dances, startling the white men and frighting the women with their wild yells and fierce gestures. When they rested, Captain Standish called out his troops in full armor and put them through their military exercises, winding up with the discharge of a volley from their muskets, and a salute from the great cannon on the hill-top and the little cannon before the Governor’s door. The crash of the musketry and the roar of the cannon terrified the savages, and they begged the “great Captain” that he would not thunder again, lest he should kill them all.

On the third day the feasting was resumed, the Indian hunters going out before daybreak, and returning early with game for the day’s feast. A council-fire was built, and around it speeches were made, and new pledges of friendship exchanged. Then with great ceremony Massasoit took leave of the Governor, his friend the great Captain, and the other chief men of the town. Captain Standish, with his troop of musketeers, escorted the Indians a little way out of the town and gave them a parting salute.

Thus, with prayers and feasting, with godly psalms and Indian dances, with joyous songs, roaring cannon, and English shouts mingling cheerily with Indian whoops, was celebrated the First New England Thanksgiving.

J. H. A. Bone.


What if I climbed the mountain tall,

  And could see the moon close by?

My papa says it is not so small

  As it looks, ’way off in the sky.


Maybe it comes so near, up there,

  That it touches the mountain side;

And what if it has a door somewhere?

  Then I could get in and ride.


Away I’d go,—’way up in the sky

  To the house of the angels, where

All the dear little babies that die

  With the white, white angels are.


And then I would coax our Baby May

  Into the moon with me,

And we’d sail away, and sail away,

  As happy as we could be.


We would reach our hands out either side,

  And gather the stars close by;

And, after a while, the moon would slide

  To the other edge of the sky.


Soon as it reached the mountain there,

  We would both get out of the moon,

And call papa, who would know just where

  To come, and would find us soon.


And then he would see little Baby May,

  And would take her upon his arm,

And hold my hand, and we’d walk away

  Down the hills to papa’s farm.


Then mamma would see us coming, I know,

  And run to the gate and say,

“Why, little Sissy! where did you go?”

  And then she would see little May,—


And then she would laugh,—O, it makes me cry,

  To think how glad she would be!

She would say, “Who has been ’way up in the sky

  To get my baby for me?”


“It was little Sissy,” papa would say,

  “She went in the moon to-night,

And found little May, and coaxed her away

  From the angels all so white.”


Then mamma would kiss me, and call me good,

  And we’d all go in at the door,

And have some supper; and May never would

  Go up in the sky any more.

Annette Bishop.


Do you remember the pretty old nursery story of the Babes in the Wood? Well, there are other new stories of little lost children quite as pretty as that one, and true too. Here is one that I heard somewhere not long ago.

There were three young children who lived in a cottage in a very lonely place. It was so quiet a place that sometimes for days together they never saw any other faces except their own and their father’s and mother’s; especially in winter, when the snow lay deep upon the ground. Often, then, not a sound would be heard from morning to night, and not a footstep would pass their door.

The little house stood high upon a hillside, and in these lonely days the children would sometimes say to one another, “I wish we lived down in the village; it would be so much merrier there.” And they would often go about a quarter of a mile from the cottage, where they could see a good way down the hill, and would stand there watching the little specks of people below, and wondering what every one was doing, and thinking that it must be very pleasant, when the snow lay so deep that they could not play out in the wood, to have the nice village street to run about in, and to be able to look through the cottage windows at the bright fires blazing within. In the summer they never longed to go to the village, for then they had plenty of delights at home. They were very poor,—so poor that they often had not bread enough to eat, nor clothes enough to keep them warm, but yet in the summer they were always happy. It did not matter to them, then, that their little frocks were thin, and their little shoes worn; it hardly seemed to matter even that their porridge came so soon to an end, and that the potatoes at dinner seemed never to be enough for all of them; for were there not always wild fruits in the wood, and thousands of red and purple berries good to eat? They used to eat them by the hour together; and by the hour together, too, they would gather the beautiful wild wood-flowers and play with them, and make chains and garlands of them, sitting on the grass or on the moss at the roots of the great trees. They would often spend the whole of long summer days like this, never wandering so far away from home but that their mother’s voice could reach them if she stood at the outskirts of the wood and called, but yet often out of sight for hours together, hidden by the thick branches, or sometimes almost buried amidst the brushwood and the long green grass. “Some day I should like to walk straight forward, whole miles into the forest,” the eldest of the children would say sometimes to her mother; but the mother would always very cautiously shake her head. “I have lived here for ten years, my dear,” she would answer, “and I have never once been for miles into the forest.”

They were two girls and a boy. The eldest girl, Barbara, was four years older than the others; she was almost nine. The other girl came next,—a little thing of five, called Lizzy; and then came the boy, David, who was scarcely four. The two young ones were always given into Barbara’s charge when they went for their long play-days into the wood, and a very tender, careful nurse she was to them. She was a sweet-tempered, thoughtful, sensible little thing, with a grave, pretty face, and curious womanly ways, such as the children of poor people often get when they are very young. She was so used to having her mother depend upon her, and trust in her watchfulness and good sense, that I think for nearly a couple of years back she had almost forgotten that she was a child, and had got to have quite the staid manners of a grown-up person. “I don’t know what I should do without Barbara,” the mother would often gratefully say.

It had been summer, but the summer was almost gone, and the leaves were all yellow in the wood, and the days were getting cold. The children liked the early part of autumn dearly, for the fruits were ripest then, and the flowers brightest; but when the days began to grow very short, and November winds blew, and dead leaves lay thick on the damp ground, then it was sometimes rather dreary in the forest, and they were often glad to come home, and play instead by their own fireside.

“It will soon be winter now in real earnest,” the mother said, one evening when they had been forced to close the cottage door because the wind blew in so coldly; and she sighed as she said it, for the winter often brought them hard times, and both she and the children would have had it summer always if they could.

It had been a raw wintry day. For several hours rain had been falling, and then after the rain there came a sudden frost, that made all the ground almost as slippery as glass. They sat waiting in the firelight for the father to come home. They looked for him always soon after nightfall, but to-night it had been quite dark for more than an hour, and yet he had not come. Again and again the mother went to the door to listen for him, but there was no sound of any step coming near. It was almost eight o’clock before he came at last, limping painfully up the steep path.

“I’ve fallen down and hurt my knee. I thought I should never get home,” he called out to his wife as soon as he got near.

He was quite white and faint when he came into the cottage. “I slipped when I was two thirds up the hill,” he said. “I’ve been trying to crawl on ever since. I don’t know if I’ve broken a bone, or what it is,—but I’m glad to have got home at last.”

His wife got him to bed, and bathed and bandaged the knee, and after a time he had less pain.

“I dare say I’ve only given it a twist,” he said, presently, “and maybe it will be well by morning.”

But when morning came the pain had come back, and the limb was swollen and useless. All that day he lay in bed, and by night-time he was very feverish. They had yet sent for no doctor, for, poor as they were, and living in such a solitary place, they rarely thought of sending for one when they were ill, but doctored themselves as they best could. But now the poor wife began to get frightened. Her husband tossed about on his bed all night, and the more restless he was, the more he suffered, for every movement that he made sharpened his pain.

She sat up with him all the night, and then in the morning at last she said to Barbara,—

“You must go down to the village, and ask Mr. Dickson to come and see him, for I’m sure he’s getting worse.”

So little Barbara put on her bonnet and cloak and prepared to go upon her errand.

It was a dull, cold morning,—very cold. The frost had passed away now, but there were leaden clouds over the sky that seemed to promise snow, and the wind was very cutting and keen.

“You might take the children with you as far as to Mrs. Pope’s,” the mother said as Barbara was putting on her bonnet, “and call for them again as you come back. Tell Mrs. Pope about your father, and say I’d be obliged if she’d take care of them for an hour or two.”

Then Barbara dressed the little ones too, and they set out.

“I’ll be back, mother, as soon as ever I can,” she said as she left the house.

It was about twelve o’clock of a November morning. The cottage at which Barbara was to leave the children was only about a mile away, standing, as their own did, close to the forest. It was a house to which they often went, for the people who lived in it—an old man and his wife—were their nearest neighbors, and very kind and good-natured ones. It was no uncommon thing, when the mother sent Barbara on any message to the village, for her to leave her little brother and sister here to rest while she went on by herself the two miles farther; and the whole little journey to the village and back—six miles in all—used to be made easily by her in about three hours. To-day, as she left home at twelve o’clock, she ought to be back, if she did not linger,—and on such a day she was sure not to linger,—soon after three. But when three o’clock arrived, she had not returned. About four o’clock the doctor came, and the mother, half uneasy by this time, said to him,—

“Did you not overtake my little girls coming home?”

No, he answered, he had seen nobody.

Then he examined her husband’s knee, and told her what to do for it. As he was going away, he glanced up at the sky while she held the door open for him, and said, carelessly,—

“We shall have snow before night, I think.”

“O, I wish my children were at home!” the mother cried, with a sudden fear.

“Where do you suppose they are? The little girl was with me hours ago,” he said.

And then she told him that she supposed they must have been persuaded to stay at her neighbor’s cottage,—though it was not like Barbara, she said, who was so thoughtful always.

“O, well, don’t you frighten yourself,” the doctor answered, good-naturedly. “I’ll knock at Mrs. Pope’s just now as I pass, and send them home to you.”

And then he went away, and when he got to Mrs. Pope’s he stopped at the door and knocked.

“You’ve got Mrs. Morris’s children with you here, haven’t you?” he said. “Tell them to run away home, for their mother wants them.”

I got the children, sir!” Mrs. Pope exclaimed. “I haven’t seen them!”

“Why, she sent them here this morning,” the doctor said.

“Then they never got in, sir, for I’ve been down in the village all the morning,” she answered, “and had the house shut up, and the key in my pocket.”

It was half past four o’clock, and the short November day was already ending. The doctor gave a quick look towards the forest.

“If they have lost themselves wandering about there, with the night coming on—” he said, suddenly.

But Mrs. Pope shook her head. “I don’t think they can have lost themselves, sir,” she answered. “Why, little Barbara is as steady as a woman; she’d no more go into a part of the wood where she didn’t know her way than I would. I’ll tell you what I dare say she’s done. I think that she’s taken the children with her down to the village, and they’ve been resting somewhere for a bit. I wish they were at home, for the night’s coming on fast; but I don’t believe they can be in the forest, sir.”

The doctor was busy, and had no more time to waste.

“Well, if they’ve all been to the village together I may meet them yet,” he said; “and if I do I’ll hurry them home.”

And then he bade Mrs. Pope good night, and hastened on. But he did not meet the children on his way. Neither he nor any one else ever met the three little figures again, coming up the steep path.

It was half past twelve o’clock when Barbara reached Mrs. Pope’s cottage. She knocked at the door, but no one, of course, opened it.

“O dear!” Barbara exclaimed, “she’s not at home!” And, then, quite puzzled what to do, she stood with the two little ones at her side. She thought at first that she must take them home again; but then it would delay her so in fetching the doctor, for it was such a long way home. She could not take them to the village with her, for the only time that she had tried to do that Davie had broken down upon the road, and she had had to carry him in her arms till she could scarcely stand. Suppose she left them here outside the cottage to run about and play till Mrs. Pope should come back and take them in? She thought the question over in her grave little mind for two or three minutes, and then at last she resolved that she would leave them here. The poor child was so anxious to get the doctor for her father that at the moment that seemed to her more important than any other thing. Her father was so ill; if she could only get the doctor quickly!

“Lizzy,” she said to her little sister, “if I leave you and Davie here to play till I come back, will you be sure to keep inside the garden, and not go anywhere out of sight?”

“O yes!” answered Lizzy, readily.

“I’ll come back as fast as ever I can,” poor Barbara promised; “and mind, I shall be so angry if you don’t do what I tell you. Now you understand?”

“O yes!” said Lizzy again.

“And you’re to take care of Davie, you know, and not let him stir a step beyond the gate or get into any mischief. I shall be back very soon; I sha’n’t be more than an hour away,” said the elder sister. And then, half uneasy, and yet not knowing what else she could do, she closed the little garden gate upon the children, and hurried away.

She ran half way to the doctor’s house, and half way back again. She was tired and breathless when she got once more to Mrs. Pope’s cottage. The garden door was standing open, and the children were not in the garden; but she said to herself, “O, Mrs. Pope has come back; that is all right,” and went quickly up to the house door and knocked. But no one answered her knock. With the color leaving her face, she went round to the window and looked in. No one was there; the fire had not been touched; the house was empty.

She stood still for a minute, and in her sudden fear burst into tears. She was too startled at first to do anything else. But when that first minute had passed she began to get back her courage. “O, they shouldn’t have gone away when I told them not!” she said to herself. “They must have gone into the wood,—and Lizzy promised me that she wouldn’t,” she said, reproachfully, as she ran back again to the garden gate to begin her search for them.

She was not very much frightened now, for she and her brother and sister had often before played in this part of the forest that was close to Mrs. Pope’s house, and she thought that very likely the children had only gone a very little way in, and that she should find them before many minutes. So she went in amongst the trees, and began to call, “Lizzy! Lizzy!” and then “Davie! Davie! don’t you hear me?” thinking every moment that their voices would come back to answer her.

But no answer came, though she went on calling till she was tired. Then she began to get frightened again, and went backwards and forwards searching for them everywhere, and began to pierce into parts of the forest where she had never been before, so eager to find them that she quite forgot that she was losing her own way, and that the trees were closing in all round her.

She had been looking for them for a long time,—or at least for what to her seemed a long time,—when at last she heard a little sound that she thought was Davie’s voice. It was a faint sound of crying far away. She had been standing still listening, not knowing in her terror what to do next, wondering whether it would be best for her to go home and see if they might have got there before her, and yet feeling as if her heart would break if she should get home and find they weren’t there,—when this feeble little voice reached her, and made her heart leap to her lips with joy.

“O Davie! yes, I hear you!” she cried out, and then she ran to where the voice seemed to come from, and as she ran she heard it again and again, till at last she caught sight of the two little ones standing sobbing, with their arms stretched out to her.

“O Lizzy, how could you break your promise?” Barbara said, and burst out crying again as she caught little Davie up.

“It was a hare amongst the trees, sister,” David said, as soon as he could speak. “I saw it, and I was tired of staying in the garden, and I ran after it, and Lizzy ran too,—and we lost our way.”

“I couldn’t help it. Davie would come; I couldn’t stop him,” Lizzy said, half sobbing.

Barbara did not scold the children; she was too glad to have found them again to do that. She stood holding their hands, one in each of hers, feeling for the moment quite happy again. They were all tired, and she was quite breathless, and for a few minutes she leant against the trunk of one of the big trees to rest. Then presently she said,—

“Mother will think we are never coming back. We must get home now as fast as ever we can.”

And still holding little Davie’s hand, she took a step or two forward, till all at once she thought with a great start, “Which is the way home?” and then stood suddenly still. Was it this way through the tall fir-trees? or down there where there seemed to be a kind of pathway through the brushwood? She did not know. She looked up to the sky, but the sky was covered with leaden clouds; there was no sun there to guide her. “I think I will go through the brushwood,” she said to herself at last, with a great fear beginning to come over her; and then she went on, while the children followed her, and little Davie chattered to her in his piping voice, beginning to forget his fright and sorrow.

For a few minutes they all walked on; then Lizzy suddenly said, “I don’t think this was the way we came.”

“Was it not?” Barbara asked, quickly, and, looking round with her anxious face, stood still again.

Till now she had not told her sister that she had lost the way, but now, all at once, when she stood still, Lizzy pressed up to her.

“Sister, don’t you know how to go?” she said, with great eyes lifted up to Barbara’s face. And then, when Barbara did not answer, the little one began to cry.

“Hush, dear! it will all come right. I’ll find the way presently. I’ve only lost it for—for a little while,” poor Barbara said; and she took a hand of Lizzy too, and went on again, trying to follow the feebly traced pathway that was her only guide; but that was leading her—she did not know where.

The cold and dreary November afternoon grew colder and drearier still. All day there had been a biting northeast wind, and it came whistling now through the leafless branches, piercing through the children’s little coats till their teeth chattered, and they shivered with cold.

“O, I want to get home!” Davie began to sob. “I so tired, I want to get home!” And he stopped at last, and threw his arms round Barbara’s waist, and leaned his weary little head against her side.

Then she took him up and carried him. He was a heavy boy of four, and she was only nine, but she patiently carried him, and hushed him on her bosom as she went on. She had no longer even that faint trace of a pathway to lead her now; it had ceased, or she had lost it, and in all that great wilderness of trees there was no sign left to guide them. She wandered on, backwards and forwards, not knowing any more how she went, the great sick fear in her heart growing greater and bitterer with every step she took. All the way she kept crying piteously to herself,—what was she to do, O what was she to do, if she should never find the lost way home?

Little Lizzy kept moaning and sobbing at her side. Davie fell presently half asleep in her tired arms. Once or twice, almost exhausted, she sat down for a little while upon the ground, but, weary as she was, she did not dare to rest for more than a few moments. How could she rest when the night was so near? After each little pause she rose up hurriedly, and toiled on again. Perhaps throughout these miserable hours the hardest thought she had to bear was the thought that the children had been given to her charge, and that she had left them. All other pain was less than that pain, the thought that they would have been safe if she had never trusted them alone.

The day wore on, and the dim light began to grow dimmer. When the twilight had almost come, light flakes of snow began to fall like soft white feathers through the trees. Then Lizzy burst out into louder crying, and Barbara sank down upon the ground and took both the little ones into her arms. The child—such a mere child she was still in years, and yet in heart so womanly and tender—pressed the other little faces on her breast and held them there. It was all that she could do. She herself sat blankly looking at the snow as it came down, flake after flake, soft and white and silent, till all hope left her, and in those moments perhaps at last the little heart broke. “O mother! mother!” was the only thing she said.

Once more, after a few moments, she tried to make Lizzy rise up, that they might go on again, but the child, when she roused her, burst into weary, passionate sobs.

“I can’t! I’m so tired! I can’t go on!” she said; and then Davie awoke and began to moan too.

“O, I want to get home! When shall we get home? I’m so cold!” he sobbed.

She had a little brown cloth cloak on, and she took it off and wrapped it round the child. Twice more, as it got darker,—with a last forlorn effort,—she rose up again and carried the children on a little farther, the snow falling still over them, but yet falling gently, seeming to touch them almost tenderly, as if it was sorry for the little lost wanderers; then at last the end of the weary struggle came. She could do no more. She sat down with them at the foot of a great tree. “Perhaps somebody will come in the morning, and find us, and take us home,” she said.

There were dead leaves on the ground, and she gathered them together as well as she could in the darkness, and made the children lie down upon them side by side. They were moaning and crying with hunger and cold. She rubbed their little limbs till they were warm, and took off their shoes and stockings, and warmed their feet upon her breast. She had already taken off her cloak for Davie; now, as they still went on crying, one by one she stripped herself of her other clothes, and wrapped the little ones up in them. Then she lay down beside them, and took them both as she best could in her arms.

The boy was frightened and restless. “Try to go to sleep, Davie,” she said to him. “If mother was here she would like you to go to sleep.” And then presently she remembered a little hymn that he was fond of, and sang it to him.

That was the last thing that either of the little ones heard her do. Warmed by the clothes that she had robbed herself of to give them, and by each other’s arms and hers, they fell asleep while she was still singing.

Children, my story has a half-sad ending, but I think you guess it already, and I need hardly tell it to you. I think there were angels looking down on Barbara as she sang that hymn, and that their arms were very near her when in the cold night the beating of her little heart grew faint. When morning came, those who had been looking for the children found them, and David and Lizzy woke up—still warm and breathing—from their sleep; but in the cottage on the hillside there is one empty seat now, and one little pair of feet the fewer is on the floor, and the mother has lost something that she will never find again on earth. Good by to little Barbara! Think of her tenderly, children, but do not pity her; those who live to do what Barbara did, want no pity from any one of us.

Georgiana M. Craik.


It is easy to laugh at a ghost after some brave fellow has marched up to it, and found out that it is only a yellow turnip, with a candle inside of it, stuck on the top of a snow-man.

I have always thought a great deal of that Pacific islander the missionaries tell of, who was brought up to believe that if any one touched a certain idol he would instantly drop dead; but being assured by a missionary that the idol was only a log of wood, with a remarkably ugly head carved upon it, which could do no harm to any one, he summoned up all his courage one day and ventured to touch it with the tip of his finger. Finding himself still alive, he touched it again, then laid both hands upon it, and finally pushed it over. After that, the greatest coward on the island found it easy to go up to the fallen image and pull its nose; and, indeed, I believe a number of the cowards tied a rope round its neck, drew it around for a while, and then burnt it up.

The next very great exploit which I have to relate of the gallant captains who sailed under Prince Henry of Portugal was not quite so easy as pulling the nose of a wooden idol; and yet it bore some resemblance to that daring action in being not half as dangerous as it was thought to be. But I must tell you first of one or two things the Prince did before he succeeded in getting any of his captains to perform the action to which I refer; for you cannot possibly know too much of this generous, resolute, and persevering benefactor of man.

Encouraged by the discovery of the Madeira Islands in 1420, the noble Prince put forth greater efforts than ever. In 1424 he prepared a grand expedition of twenty-five hundred foot-soldiers and a hundred and twenty horse-soldiers for the conquest of the Canary Islands, which were inhabited by innocent, good-tempered, but brave and warlike savages. But it was not clear at the time to whom the group belonged, and the Prince was very reluctant to spend in mere fighting a great sum of money which would go so much further in discovering new lands and seas. So he put off this enterprise, and the natives of those islands continued for twenty years longer to live in peace, and the Prince had more time and money to spend in colonizing and planting Madeira.

You have forgotten, I suppose, that, after the taking of Ceuta, Prince Pedro, the brother of Prince Henry, set out upon his travels, and was gone twelve years. In 1428 he returned, bringing with him a great store of knowledge, and several new books and maps, which he had gathered in distant cities. Among his maps there was one upon which the group of islands now called the Azores, that lie in the Atlantic Ocean, eight hundred miles west of Portugal, were distinctly marked. Prince Henry, after he had obtained possession of this precious map, never rested content until he had found out whether there really were such islands out there in the broad Atlantic.

So in 1431 he fitted out a vessel, placed it in command of a nobleman named Cabral, and sent him in search of those islands. The first attempt to find them was a failure; but Prince Henry never thought of giving up a search of this kind even after ten failures. The next summer he sent Cabral again, who cruised about in the Atlantic until he discovered one island of the group, which he named Santa Maria, a name which it bears to this day. As this was a fine large fertile island, Prince Henry at once set about colonizing it, giving the direction of the colony to Cabral, who succeeded in settling upon it several families, descendants of whom are now living there.

For several years no one supposed that there were any islands near Santa Maria. But, one day, a runaway slave in Santa Maria who had been living in the mountains for some time, came into the settlement, gave himself up to his master, and told him something which he hoped would secure his pardon and perhaps his freedom. He said that on a clear day, from the top of the highest mountain on the island, he had seen, far away to the north, another island. Some of the colonists went to the spot, found that the slave had spoken the truth, and sent word to Prince Henry. It so happened that Cabral was with the Prince when this news reached him, and he was immediately ordered to go in search of the new island. The first time he missed it, and the Prince explained to him from the chart that he had probably passed between Santa Maria and the new island. The next time he found it, and a very fine island it proved to be, which the Prince also planted and settled. The rest of the group gradually came to light, and they were named Azores (which means hawks), because so many birds resembling hawks were found upon them.

Thus, by the year 1432, three of the groups of islands in the Atlantic Ocean were known and partly settled. These were the Canaries, the Madeiras, and the Azores, the last two of which groups were rediscovered and colonized by the brave navigators who sailed in the service of Prince Henry. Besides this, his captains had sailed down the coast of Africa as far as the Great Desert, which begins at a point about seven hundred miles from Cape Sagres, on which the Prince lived. Such were the results of about fifteen years’ exploration. During all that time Prince Henry had sent out a small vessel or two every summer, and this was what he had accomplished.

And now many of his friends supposed, and perhaps he thought himself, that his discoveries were at an end. There was a lion in the path, a terrible roaring lion, more awful to the imagination of the credulous mariners of that day than we can conceive. This was nothing less than the terrible Cape Bojador, a promontory which thrust itself out into the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of the Great Desert, just below the most southern of the Canary Islands. This cape cuts a poor figure on our maps; it hardly shows at all; but for a century it was an object of such terror to sailors that none of them thought it possible for any vessel navigated by mortals to go beyond it. It was supposed to run out into the sea a hundred and fifty miles, and away out beyond the cape there were reefs, upon which the waves of the Atlantic broke and thundered and foamed eternally.

This awful cape was supposed to be, for all the purposes of man, the end of the world. With regard to what there might be south of it sailors had different conjectures. Some thought that the water of the seas on the other side of Cape Bojador grew hotter and hotter until they boiled, and that consequently the ocean there was too shallow for navigation. It was generally believed that white people could not live in the tropics for any time without turning as black as negroes, and remaining so for the rest of their lives.

Now, in truth, to sailors creeping timidly down along the African coast, this harmless Cape Bojador might well have seemed terrible. It does extend some miles out into the ocean, and there is a reef of rocks lying low in the water three or four miles beyond it; and, both upon the shore of the cape and upon the rocky reef, the mighty waves of the Atlantic do break and foam and thunder in the sublimest manner. As you approach the cape from the north, the sand of the shore and of the cliffs above it has a reddish hue, which probably added to the terrors of the scene in those simple old days. At present, when sailors keep as far from land as possible, this cape is not terrible at all, and few sailors ever see it or know anything about it. Indeed, I have had much trouble in finding out what sort of a cape it really is.

By this time, as you may imagine, Prince Henry put very little faith in the tales which mariners brought him of the terrors of the sea; and he had long been satisfied that a man bold enough to stand out from the shore far enough would find no great difficulty in sailing past this awful cape, and finding out what there was on the other side of it. So in the year 1433, the year after the discovery of the Azores, he appears to have determined to make the passing of Cape Bojador the next of his undertakings. It was in this very year that King John, his father, died, exhorting him on his death-bed to persevere in his work of discovery, and thus extend the Christian faith among the heathen. King Edward, the Prince’s brother, who succeeded King John upon the throne of Portugal, also urged him to go on, and promised him all the help he could afford. Thus exhorted and encouraged, our noble Prince continued his labors with fresh zeal and determination.

Among the young gentlemen who lived and studied with him, and served him in his mansion at Sagres, there was a certain Gil Eannes, a brave man, and one of the Prince’s favorites. Him, in the summer of 1433, the Prince sent forth in command of a small sailing vessel, directing him to go beyond Cape Bojador, and bring back some account of what there was on the other side. Gil Eannes set sail boldly enough. But among his crew, it seems, there were four old sailors who had heard the usual accounts of Cape Bojador, and they told those wild tales to their captain, who consequently went no farther than the Canary Islands, whence he stole some of the natives and returned home.

The Prince was exceedingly displeased,—not because he had brought home and made slaves of the innocent Canary-islanders, which no doubt the Prince regarded as a very proper and virtuous action,—but because he had been frightened from his purpose by the terrible stories of some ignorant mariners.

“If,” said the Prince, “there were the slightest authority for these stories that they tell, I would not blame you; but you come to me with the statements of four seamen who have been accustomed to the voyage to Flanders, or some other well-known route, and beyond that have no knowledge of the needle or the sailing chart. Go out then again, and give no heed to their opinions; for by the grace of God you cannot fail to derive from your voyage both honor and profit. No perils that you encounter can be so great that your reward shall not be greater if you accomplish the object.”

These things and many others the Prince said to his downcast squire after his return from the Canaries in 1433. Prince Henry was not a man whose censure or whose praise could be lightly regarded. Every one who served him desired, above all things, to win the approval of so worthy a Prince. Gil Eannes now secretly resolved that, no matter what might be the perils and terrors of Bojador, he would pass beyond that cape or never return to tell the tale of his failure.

Following the Prince’s advice, he no longer hugged the shore; but, as soon as he had got well by the Canaries, stood out to sea, and of course he had no more difficulty in passing the cape than in sailing over any other portion of the Atlantic on a fine day in summer. As soon as he had got by he stood in, and found a pleasant, tranquil little bay, to which the end of the cape served as a breakwater against the huge waves from the north, and in which there was good anchorage. He went on shore, but found no signs of inhabitants; and, indeed, there were not and are not to this day any inhabitants on that part of the coast of the Desert. He gathered some plants that were growing on the shore, which were similar to a plant common in Portugal, called by the Portuguese St. Mary’s Roses. Content with these trophies, he ventured no farther south, but made all haste home to the Prince.

I say, again, that it is easy to laugh at a ghost when you know it is not a ghost. It does, indeed, seem rather ridiculous that, after performing so easy a task, Gil Eannes should have been received and rewarded as a great hero and conqueror, and his name carried all over Europe as the valiant navigator who had braved the terrors of the terrible Cape Bojador. But it is impossible for us to imagine how awful that cape was to the ignorant people who lived four hundred years ago. I should judge, from reading the old books, that the passing of this cape was more encouraging to Prince Henry and his friends, and had more to do with the progress of discovery, than anything that had yet occurred, not excepting the discovery of the fine island of Madeira. It taught one grand lesson to all concerned,—not to be frightened before they were hurt.

The Prince was now all alive to know something of the country south of Cape Bojador,—how far Africa extended, and whether the region beyond the cape had any inhabitants. The very next summer, which was that of 1435, he sent Gil Eannes again in the same vessel, and with this he despatched a large oared galley, of which he gave the command to his cup-bearer, Alphonso Gonsalvez. These two navigators had no difficulty in getting by the cape, and they kept on their way down along the coast for a hundred and fifty miles beyond it. Coming to a convenient bay, they anchored and went on shore. Before they had gone far into the interior they found traces both of men and camels, but nowhere anything like a human habitation. No one ever lived there, although for ages caravans of men and camels had passed and repassed along that shore.

But these adventurers knew nothing of caravans and the roving life of the Desert. They now knew, however, that there were people in Africa; how many, and of what disposition, and how armed, they knew not. It seemed best to them, therefore, to go on board their vessels and return to Portugal, which they did with all despatch.

Such was the ardor of Prince Henry in the pursuit of knowledge that he was well satisfied with this summer’s work, although he only learned from it that there were people and animals in Africa south of Cape Bojador, and that it was all a delusion about the ocean in the tropics being any shallower than in the temperate zone. I do not suppose that Prince Henry ever believed that the seas there were boiling; but until Gil Eannes had passed the cape he evidently thought that the tropical parts of the ocean were very shallow. The vessel in which Gil Eannes first passed the cape was a bark of fifteen or twenty tons. The oared galley which Gonsalvez commanded on the second voyage is spoken of in the old books as the largest vessel that had ever been employed by the Prince in his exploring expeditions.

There were people, then, in Africa south of the cape. The next thing was to find out who those people were,—whether they were many or few, natives or visitors, and, above all in the mind of Prince Henry, whether they were Pagans or Christians. Accordingly, the next summer he again sent his cup-bearer, Gonsalvez, in the same large-oared galley. The sole object of this expedition was to bring home to Portugal some of the inhabitants of Africa; and to promote this object the Prince sent with Gonsalvez an interpreter who was acquainted with the language of the Moors. He also put on board the galley two horses, to make it easier for the adventurers to examine the country. To Gonsalvez he intrusted two noble youths, aged about seventeen years, members of his own household, whom he was training for the future service of the state. The Prince’s orders to Gonsalvez were to go as far down the coast of Africa as he could, and to do his very best to capture at least one of the people and bring him to Portugal.

On the morning of a summer day in 1436 the galley left the port of Lagos, and directed its course toward the African coast. Several days’ rowing, aided by a favorable breeze, brought them past Cape Bojador; whence Gonsalvez kept on his way until he had gone more than two hundred miles beyond the place where he had gathered the plants on his last voyage. He was then three hundred and sixty miles south of Cape Bojador. Here they came to what they thought was the mouth of a large river, but which afterwards was found to be only an indentation into the shore, which extended many miles into the interior. Entering this deep gulf, which to this day is called a river (Rio d’Ouro), they cast anchor in a convenient place, and Gonsalvez went on shore, and looked about him. The land appeared more likely to be inhabited than where they had formerly been on shore, and the commander thought that this would be a good place to search for the Africans whom the Prince desired so much to possess.

The two horses were landed, and upon them Gonsalvez mounted the two noble youths of whom I have just spoken.

“The names of these two youths,” says an old historian, “were Hector Homen and Diogo Lopez d’Almaida, both gentlemen and cavaliers, educated in that school of nobility and virtue, the household of the excellent Prince, the Infante Don Henry!”

An ancient Portuguese chronicler says of them: “I afterwards knew one of these boys when he was a noble gentleman of good renown in arms, and you will find him in the chronicles of the kingdom well proved in great deeds. The other was a nobleman of good presence, as I have heard from those who knew him.”

These gallant lads wore no armor, carrying only their lance and sword, in order that they might be freer to make their escape if they should come upon a large number of the natives. Gonsalvez ordered them to keep together, to view the country as far as they could without dismounting, and if they could take any captives without running any risk, they were to do it.

They were lads of high metal, these pupils of the noble Prince Henry, and they cantered gayly off as though they were going to take a pleasant ride into a country perfectly well known and safe; and we may be sure that the crew of the galley followed them with their eyes as long as they could be seen. They kept along the shore of the bay for the space of twenty-one miles, without seeing any signs of inhabitants. It was then pretty late in the afternoon, and it was high time for them to set out on their return to the ship. All at once they came full upon a group of naked men, armed with darts. They came upon them so suddenly that it was impossible for them to retreat without being seen. Not having the idea that naked black men could have any human feelings or human rights, and being themselves but boys, and at the same time full of desire to gratify the Prince their master, they rushed into the midst of the savages, and began to wound them with their spears. The natives, astounded and bewildered as they were, defended themselves with their darts, and wounded one of the young men in the foot. In order the better to resist the strangers they gathered in a cluster behind a heap of rocks, where the young men could not follow them upon their horses, nor reach them with their lances.

Night coming on, and there being no prospect of taking a prisoner, these audacious young fellows thought it best to leave the savages to themselves, and set out upon their return to the galley. Night soon overtook them, but as they had only to follow the course of the bay, they continued their journey all night, and reached the galley just as the day was breaking the next morning. Every reader can imagine the relief and joy of Gonsalvez and the crew when they saw the young men riding up on their tired steeds; and how warmly every one extolled their valor and determination.

The wound in the foot proved to be but slight, and after resting an hour or two the lads were in good condition, and eager to guide their commander to the spot where they had seen the natives. So, about nine o’clock in the morning they mounted their horses once more, and Gonsalvez hoisted his anchor, and the galley was rowed gently up the bay, guided by the two youths on horseback to the place where they had left the savages the evening before. The poor negroes had gone, however, and probably in a great panic, for they had left behind them all their little property, such as it was, which Gonsalvez put on board his galley to convey to the Prince. The two mounted youths galloped far and wide over the country at the head of the bay, but they saw no further trace of human beings.

Most reluctant was Gonsalvez to leave the spot without a prisoner, but he was obliged to do so, and he returned again to the mouth of the bay. Still unwilling to give it up, he continued on his way down the coast forty miles farther, until they came to the mouth of another bay, where they saw a wonderful sight. On an island which lay across the entrance, they discovered an amazing number of seals, or, as they called them, sea-wolves, lying fast asleep. Gonsalvez thought there were at least five thousand of them in sight at one time. Here they had a grand seal-hunt, and loaded the galley with as many seal-skins as they could find room for. These were valuable, and would pay part of the cost of the expedition; but Gonsalvez was well aware that if he had loaded his galley with gold, the Prince would not have valued it as much as one African. What the Prince wanted was, not seal-skins, nor any other kind of wealth, but knowledge. Gonsalvez, therefore, again turned his prow southward, and kept bravely on one hundred and fifty miles farther, until he reached a rocky promontory which looked so much like a galley in shape, that they called it gallee, a name which it bears to this day.

Here again they went on shore, and examined the country. In the course of their rambles they found some fishing-nets, which, you may be sure, they seized eagerly and closely examined. These nets were not made of hemp, nor of anything else the Portuguese were acquainted with, but of the fibres of the bark of a tree that grew near. And yet these nets were as strong as any that could be made by Europeans. Here was another plain proof that this part of Africa was inhabited; but nowhere could Gonsalvez or his crew, or the brave youths of the Prince’s household, find any traces of inhabitants except these nets. The adventurers were obliged to return to Portugal, after all the trouble they had taken, without being able to present to their Prince a single captive.

It was in the year 1436 that this galley voyage was made, in the course of which, for the first time, Europeans sailed into the torrid zone, and reached a point fourteen hundred miles south of Portugal. Considering all things, it was a great achievement. So far and no farther had the ocean been explored when Columbus lay in his mother’s arms at Genoa, an infant a few months old.

In my next number you shall be told how the Prince continued his labors, and how at last he was gratified with the sight of a great number of native Africans. I fear he was much better pleased to see them than they were to see him.

James Parton.


“Uncle Dunbar! O, here’s Uncle Dunbar!” And all four of us ran out to kiss him, and get hold of his hand, and lead him joyfully in.

Uncle Dunbar was a ship-master who came at the end of every voyage to my father’s house. It was a happy day for us children when he arrived. What could be more pleasant than to sit on his knee, and hear about distant lands, and about adventures at sea; or to make him speak in foreign tongues, and then tell what the strange words meant? What a good man he was! How much he had seen and learned! And how well do I, even to this day, though five-and-thirty years are gone, remember his benevolent old face, and his slow, gentle tones!

He stayed with us this time only a day and a night; and next morning, as I was sitting on his knee, he said, “Now, my dear little boy, I will tell you a story of my being chased by a pirate, and then I must go.”

“O, a story about a pirate!” I shouted. “Samuel, Sarah, Willie, come! Uncle Dunbar was chased by a pirate, and he’s going to tell about it.”

How they did come running, and how they crowded together to listen! As soon as we were all still, he began.


“Twenty years ago I was master of the ship Atticus, sailing out of Castine. She would be thought a small ship nowadays, being but of three hundred and ten tons burden, but she was large for those days, and was the fastest ship that ever sailed out of Penobscot Bay. Well that she was so, my dear children, or I should not be here to-day.

“I was in the West India trade, and having taken in about one third of a cargo at a windward island, that is, one lying farthest to the east, was running down to a leeward island, about six hundred miles, to fill up my ship. One third of a cargo just made a perfect set of ballast for a very heavy wind, so that my ship could not have been in a condition to sail faster. And this, too, was providential,” said the good old man, piously, “as you will soon see; for had she been either fully laden or in light ballast we should have been overhauled and lost.

“At that time there were a great many pirates in the West Indian seas. They were merciless creatures, and killed all whom they captured.”

“What did they want to kill them for?” I said; “it didn’t make them any richer.”

“O, if they had spared one, he might see them afterwards in Boston or New York, when they came there to spend their money, and so might bear witness against them, and cause them to be punished. In earlier years the pirates were more merciful, but when some had been convicted by chancing to meet persons whom they had spared, the others said, ‘Dead men tell no tales,’ and murdered all whom they took. People who begin to do wickedly almost always have to do another wicked thing to cover the first, and so can never find a stopping-place.

“One morning, when we were about half-way to our port, a fair wind was blowing very freshly indeed, and we were running under short sail. At sunrise I came on deck, and took my glass, as I always did the first thing in the morning, to look around and see if any sail were in sight. And far away to the east, straight astern, I could barely discern a schooner standing to the north. I had just fairly made her out when her course was suddenly changed, and she began sailing directly after us. In a few minutes I saw more sail spread upon her. First a reef was taken out of the topsail, then the topgallant-sail was set, and then a great square-sail was let down from the fore yard. Evidently she was chasing us.

“I did not like to alarm the crew; so I said nothing about the vessel astern, but called the mate and said, ‘Mr. Mason, it’s best to make the most of a fair wind; you may shake out the reefs from the topsails, and set the topgallant sails.’

“ ‘All hands aloft to make sail!’ he shouted. Then coming up to me, looking a little pale, he said, ‘What is it, Captain?’—for he had noticed that I had kept the glass at my eye a good while.

“ ‘Nothing of great consequence, I guess,’ said I.

“ ‘Something, I’m certain,’ he said to himself, but went away.

“I didn’t keep the secret long, for when the sailors had done making sail, one of them spied the schooner, and cried ‘Sail ho!’ They all saw her, and knew in a moment what it meant. Coming down to the deck, they stood in a group, looking pretty anxious, but keeping quiet, and gazing at me as if I carried all their lives in my hands. Before long we could see the schooner plainly from the deck with the naked eye. How swiftly she came on! And we, too, were rushing forward at a great speed.

“Soon the mate came aft again. ‘Captain Dunbar, we are ready to set more sail, if you say so.’

“ ‘Not now,’ I said; ‘we’ll see. The wind freshens fast, and I’m not sure we could carry more sail with safety.’

“In an hour more the pirate was only three or four miles astern. We could see her decks crowded with men. And presently up went the black flag!

“ ‘My God! there it is!’ cried all the crew as with one voice.

“Yes, there it was; and now if we could outsail the pirate, we lived; if not, we died.

“The wind had been freshening fast all the while, and was now a sharp gale. I had never in my life, perhaps, had so much canvas on in so heavy a blow, but we must spread more.

“ ‘Set the courses.’

“You should have seen the men fly to obey. They had the courses on in about the time it commonly takes a seaman to shift his quid of tobacco from one cheek to the other!

“ ‘Set the royals.’ It was done almost as soon as said.

“I now waited to see if we were going fast enough; but soon perceived, only too plainly, that the pirate still gained upon us, though slowly at last. I looked up to the masts. They were bending like coach-whips,—that they did not go overboard seemed a miracle,—and yet we must carry more sail.

“ ‘Get on the studding-sails,’ I said; ‘we must trust God to make the ship bear it.’

“At any other time had I ordered the seamen aloft when the masts were threatening each moment to go by the board, they would have refused duty; now they sprang up the shrouds like cats. Studding-sail after studding-sail was set; then we got out the boats’ sails, and spread them wherever they would catch a capful of wind. And still not a spar nor a yarn parted. It seemed to me that they were held only by the mighty power of God.

“There were a few moments of deep suspense. I stood turning my eye now aloft at the bending, groaning masts, then astern at our fierce pursuer. ‘Courage, boys!’ I cried; ‘she no longer gains.’

“What a hurrah! But next moment they were still as death again, for it did not seem possible that the top-hamper could hold out; and the snapping of one spar or rope would have doomed us.

“And so for an hour, that seemed a year. The ship flew, but the moments lagged,—how they lagged! Still the wind increased. I could see that the pirate was ploughing terribly into the sea, and that if the wind went on increasing she must soon take in sail. Presently there was a puff of smoke at her bow, and a cannon-ball plunged into the sea a quarter of a mile astern. The men quailed a little, but I said, ‘Good! boys; they begin to see that they cannot catch us.’ Soon another ball, which went farther, but was wild. She kept firing for half an hour. Some of the balls would have struck, had they been well enough aimed; but the firing hindered her speed, and she lost ground considerably.

“It was now nine o’clock. By this time the gale was too much for her, and her great square sail was taken in. She fell astern rapidly; at one o’clock her hull could no longer be seen, and she gave up the chase, hauling to and shortening sail. I now had the studding-sails and royals taken in, and ordered dinner, for as yet no man had tasted food. We soon left her out of sight. But if God didn’t hold our masts in that day, I don’t know what did.”

David A. Wasson.


Drawn by W. H. Davenport.]          [See the Poem.

Tell me, little housewives,

  Playing in the sun,

How many minutes

  Till the cooking’s done?

Johnny builds the oven,

  Jenny rolls the crust,

Katy buys the flour

  All of golden dust.


Pat it here, and pat it there;

  What a dainty size!

Bake it on a shingle,—

  Nice mud pies!


Don’t you hear the bluebird

  High up in the air?

“Good morning, little ones,

  Are you busy there?”

Pretty Mister Squirrel

  Bounces down the rail,

Takes a seat and watches,

  Curls his bushy tail.


Twirl it so, and mark it so

  (Looking wondrous wise);

All the plums are pebbles,—

  Rich mud pies!


Arms that never weary,

  Toiling dimple-deep;

Shut the oven door, now,

  And soon we’ll take a peep.

Wish we had a shower,—

  Think we need it so,—

That would make the roadside

  Such a heap of dough!


Turn them in, and turn them out;

  How the morning flies;

Ring the bell for dinner,—

  Hot mud pies!

George Cooper.


Georgiana to William Henry.

My Dear Brother,—

Yesterday I went to Aunt Phebe’s to eat supper, and had on my light blue boots Uncle Jacob brought me when he went away. He dragged me over because ’twas snowing, for he said the party couldn’t be put off because they had got all ready. But the party wasn’t anybody but me, but he’s all the time funning. Aunt Phebe’s little Tommy he had some new rubber boots, but they didn’t get there till after supper, and then ’twas ’most his bedtime. But he got into the boots and walked all round with them after his nightgown was on, and the nightgown hung down all over the rubber boots. And when they wanted to put him in his crib he didn’t want to take them off, so Uncle Jacob said better let the boots stay on, till he got asleep and then pull ’em off softly as she could. Then they put him in the crib and let the boots stick out one side, without any bedclothes being put over them. But we guessed he dreamed about his boots, because soon as they pulled ’em a little bit, he reached down to the boots and held on. But when he got sound asleep then she pulled them off softly and stood ’em up in the corner. I carried my work with me, and ’twas the handkerchief that is going to be put in this letter. Aunt Phebe thinks some of the stitches are quite nice. She says you must excuse that one in the corner, not where your name is, but next one to it. The snow-storm was so bad I stayed all night, and they made some corn-balls, and Uncle Jacob passed them round to me first, because I was the party, in the best waiter.

And we had a good time seeing some little pigs that the old pig stepped on,—six little pigs, about as big as puppies, that had little tails, and she wouldn’t take a mite of care of them. She won’t let them get close up to her to keep warm, and keeps a stepping on ’em all the time, and broke one’s leg. She’s a horrid old pig, and Uncle Jacob was afraid they might freeze to death in the night, and Aunt Phebe found a basket, a quite large basket, and put some cotton-wool in it. Then put in the pigs. When ’twas bedtime some bricks were put on the stove, and then he put the basket with the little pigs in it on top of the bricks, but put ashes on the fire first, so they could keep warm all night. And in the night they kept him awake, making little squealy noises, and he thought the fire would get hot and roast them, and once one climbed up over and tumbled down on to the floor and ’most killed himself so he died afterwards. And he says he feels very sleepy to-day, watching with the little pigs all night. For soon as ’twas daylight, and before too, Tommy jumped out and cried to have his rubber boots took into bed with him, and then the roosters crowed so loud in the hen-house close to his bedroom window that he couldn’t take a nap. He told me to send to you in my letter a question to talk about where you did about summer and winter. Why do roosters crow in the morning?

Two of the little pigs were dead in the morning, beside that one that killed itself dropping down, and now two more are dead. She is keeping this last one in a warm place, for they don’t dare to let it go into the pigsty, for fear she would step on it or eat it up, for he says she’s worse than a cannibal. But I don’t know what that is. He says they kill men and eat them alive, but I guess he’s funning. She dips a sponge in milk and lets that last little pig suck that sponge.

Grandmother wants to know if little Rosy has got any good warm mittens. Wants to know if Mr. Sky Blue has. And you must count your handkerchiefs every week, she says. Little Tommy went out with his rubber boots, and waded way into such a deep snow-bank he couldn’t get himself out, and when they lifted him up they lifted him right out of his rubber boots. Then he cried. Tommy’s cut off a piece of his own hair.

Your affectionate Sister,


William Henry to his Sister.

My dear Sister,—

You can tell Grandmother that Lame Betsey knit a pair for Gapper Sky Blue, blue ones with white spots, and little Rosy has got an old pair. You are a very good little girl to hem handkerchiefs. I think you hemmed that one very well. It came last night, and we looked for that long stitch to excuse it, and Dorry said it ought to be, for he guessed that was the stitch that saved nine. When the letter came, Dorry and Bubby Short and Old Wonder Boy and I were sitting together studying. When I read about the pigs, I tell you if they didn’t laugh! And when that little piggy dropped out of the basket Bubby Short dropped down on the floor and laughed so loud we had to stop him. Dorry said, “Let’s play have a Debating Society, and take Uncle Jacob’s question.” And we did. First Old Wonder Boy stood up. And he said they crowed in the morning to tell people ’twas time to get up and to let everybody know they themselves were up and stirring about. Said he’d lain awake mornings, down in Jersey, and listened and heard ’em say just as plain as day. “I’m up and you ought to, too! And you ought to, too!”

Then Bubby Short stood up and said he thought they were telling the other ones to keep in their own yards, and not be flying over where they didn’t belong. Said he’d lain awake in the morning and heard ’em say, just as plain as day, “If you do, I’ll give it to you! I’ll give it to you oo oo oo!”

But a little chap that had come to hear what was going on said ’twas more likely they were daring each other to come on and fight. For he’d lain awake in the morning and listened and heard ’em say, “Come on if you dare, for I can whip you oo oo!”

Then ’twas my turn, and I stood up and said I guessed the best crower kept a crowing school, and was showing all the young ones how to scale up and down, same as the singing-master did. For I’d lain awake in the morning and heard first the old one crow, and then the little ones try to. And heard the old one say, just as plain as day, “Open your mouth wide and do as I do! Do as I do!” and then the young ones say, “Can’t quite do so! Can’t quite do so!”

Dorry said he never was wide awake enough in the morning to hear what anybody said, but he’d always understood they were talking about the weather, and giving the hens their orders for the day, telling which to lay and which to set, and where the good places were to steal nests, and where there’d been anything planted they could scratch up again, and how to bring up their chickens, and to look out and not hatch ducks’ eggs.

The teacher opened the door then to see if we were all studying our lessons, so the Debating Society stopped.

Should you like to hear about our going to take a great big sleigh-ride? The whole school went together in great big sleighs with four horses. We had flags flying, and I tell you if ’twasn’t a bully go! We went ten miles. We went by a good many schoolhouses, where the boys were out and they’d up and hurrah, and then we’d hurrah back again. And one lot of fellers, if they didn’t let the snowballs fly at us! And we wanted our driver to stop, and let us give it to them good. But he wouldn’t do it. One little chap hung his sled on behind and couldn’t get it unhitched again, for some of our fellers kept hold, and we carried him off more than a mile. Then he began to cry. Then the teacher heard him, and had the sleigh stopped, and took him in and he went all the way with us. He lost his mittens trying to unhitch it, and his hands ached, but he made believe laugh, and we put him down in the bottom to warm ’em in the hay. We ’most ran over an old beggar-woman, in one place between two drifts, where there wasn’t very much room to turn out. I guess she was deaf. We all stood up and shouted and bawled at her and the driver held ’em in tight. And just as their noses almost touched her she looked round, and then she was so scared she didn’t know what to do, but just stood still to let herself be run over. But the driver hollered and made signs for her to stand close up to the drift, and then there’d be room enough.

When I got home I found my bundle and the tin box rolled up in that new jacket, with all that good jelly in it. Old Wonder Boy peeped in and says he, “O, there’s quite some jelly in there, isn’t there?” He says down in Jersey they make nice quince-jelly out of apple-parings, and said ’twas true, for he’d eaten some. Dorry said he knew that was common in Ireland, but never knew ’twas done in this country. Dorry says you must keep us posted about the last of the piggies. Keep your pretty blue boots nice for Brother Billy to see, won’t you? Thank you for hemming that pretty handkerchief. I’ve counted ’em a good many times, but counting ’em don’t make any difference.

From your affectionate Brother,

William Henry.

William Henry to his Grandmother.

My dear Grandmother,—

This is only a short letter that I am going to write to you, because I don’t feel like writing any. But when I don’t write then you think I have the measles, else drowned in the pond, and I’ll write a little, but I feel so sober I don’t feel like writing very much. I suppose you will say,—what are you feeling so sober about? Well, seems if I didn’t have any fun now, for Dorry and I we’ve got mad at each other. And he don’t hardly speak to me, and I don’t to him either; and if he don’t want to be needn’t, for I don’t mean to be fooling round him, and trying to get him to, if he don’t want to.

Last night we all went out to coast, and the teachers and a good many ladies and girls, and we were going to see which was the champion sled. But something else happened first. The top of the hill was all bare, and before they all got there some of the fellers were scuffling together for fun, and Dorry and I we tried to take each other down. First of it ’twas all in fun, but then it got more in earnest, and he hit me in the face so hard it made me mad, and I hit him and he got mad too.

Then we began to coast, for the people had all got there. Dorry’s and mine were the two swiftest ones, and we kept near each other, but his slewed round some, and he said I hit it with my foot he guessed, and then we had some words, and I don’t know what we did both say; but now we keep away from each other, and it seems so funny I don’t know what to do. The teacher asked me to go over to the stable to-day, for he lost a bunch of compositions and thought they might have dropped out of his pocket, when we went to take that sleigh-ride. And I was just going to say, “Come on, Old Dorrymas!” before I thought.

But ’tis the funniest in the morning. This morning I waked up early, and he was fast asleep, and I thought, Now you’ll catch it, old fellow, and was just a going to pull his hair; but in a minute I remembered. Then I dressed myself and thought I would take a walk out. I went just as softly by his bed and stood still there a minute and set out to give a little pull, for I don’t feel half so mad as I did the first of it, but was afraid he did. So I went out-doors and looked round. Went as far as the Two Betseys’ Shop and was going by, but The Other Betsey stood at the door shaking a mat, and called to me, “Billy, where are you going to?”

“Only looking round,” I said. She told me to come in and warm me, and I thought I would go in just a minute or two. Lame Betsey was frying flapjacks in a spider, a little mite of a spider, for breakfast. She spread butter on one and made me take it to eat in a saucer, and I never tasted of a better flapjack. There was a cinnamon colored jacket hanging on the chair-back, and I said, “Why, that’s Spicey’s jacket!” “Who!” they cried out both together. Then I called him by his right name, Jim Mills. He’s some relation to them, and his mother isn’t well enough to mend all his clothes, so Lame Betsey does it for nothing. He earns money to pay for his schooling, and he wants to go to college, and they don’t doubt he will. They said he was the best boy that ever was. His mother doesn’t have anybody but him to do things for her, only his little sister about the size of my little sister. He makes the fires and cuts wood and splits kindling, and looks into the buttery to see when the things are empty, and never waits to be told. When they talked about him they both talked together, and Lame Betsey let one spiderful burn forgetting to turn ’em over time enough.

When I was coming away they said, “Where’s Dorry? I thought you two always kept together.” For we did always go to buy things together. Then I told her a little, but not all about it.

“O, make up! make up!” they said. “Make up and be friends again!” I’m willing to make up if he is. But I don’t mean to be the first one to make up.

From your affectionate Grandson,

William Henry.

William Henry to his Grandmother.

My dear Grandmother,—

I guess you’ll think ’tis funny, getting another letter again from me so soon, but I’m in a hurry to have my father send me some money to have my skates mended; ask him if he won’t please to send me thirty-three cents, and we two have made up again and I thought you would like to know. It had been ’most three days, and we hadn’t been anywhere together, or spoken hardly, and I hadn’t looked him in the eye, or he me. Old Wonder Boy he wanted to keep round me all the time, and have double-runner together. He knew we two hadn’t been such chums as we used to be, so he came up to me and said, “Billy, I think that Dorry’s a mean sort of a chap, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t,” I said. “He don’t know what ’tis to be mean!” For I wasn’t going to have him coming any Jersey over me!

“O, you needn’t be so spunky about it!” says he.

“I ain’t spunky!” says I.

Then I went into the school-room, to study over my Latin Grammar before school began, and sat down amongst the boys that were all crowding round the stove. And I was studying away, and didn’t mind ’em fooling round me, for I’d lost one mark day before, and didn’t mean to lose any more, for you know what my father promised me, if my next Report improved much. And while I was sitting there, studying away, and drying my feet, for we’d been having darings, and W. B. he stumped me to jump on a place where ’twas cracking, and I went in over tops of boots and wet my feet sopping wet. And I didn’t notice at first, for I wasn’t looking round much, but looking straight down on my Latin Grammar, and didn’t notice that ’most all the boys had gone out. Only about half a dozen left, and one of ’em was Dorry, and he sat to the right of me, about a yard off, studying his lesson. Then another boy went out, and then another, and by and by every one of them was gone, and left us two sitting there. O, we sat just as still! I kept my head down, and we made believe think of nothing but just the lesson. First thing I knew he moved, and I looked up, and there was Dorry looking me right in the eye! And held out his hand—“How are you, Sweet William?” says he, and laughed some. Then I clapped my hand on his shoulder, “Old Dorrymas, how are you?” says I. And so you see we got over it then, right away.

Dorry says he wasn’t asleep that morning, when I stood there, only making believe. Said he wished I’d pull, then he was going to pull too, and wouldn’t that been a funny way to make up, pulling hair? He’s had a letter from Tom Cush and he’s got home, but is going away again, for he means to be a regular sailor and get to be captain of a great ship. He’s coming here next week. I hope you won’t forget that thirty-three. I’d just as lives have fifty, and that would come better in the letter, don’t you believe it would? That photograph saloon has just gone by, and the boys are running down to the road to chase it. When Dorry and I sat there by the stove, it made me remember what Uncle Jacob said about our picture.

Your affectionate Grandson,

William Henry.

William Henry to his Grandmother.

My dear Grandmother,—

The reason that I’ve kept so long without writing is because I’ve had to do so many things. We’ve been speaking dialogues and coasting and daring and snow-balling, and then we’ve had to review and review and review, because ’tis the last of the term, and he says he believes in reviews more than the first time we get it. I tell you, the ones that didn’t get them the first time are bad off now. I wish now I’d begun at the first of it and got every one of mine perfect, then I should have easier times. The coast is wearing off some, and we carry water up and pour on it, and let it freeze, and throw snow on. Now ’tis moonshiny nights, the teacher lets all the “perfects” go out to coast an hour. Sometimes I get out. And guess where Bubby Short and Dorry and I are going to-night! Now you can’t guess, I know you can’t. To a party! Now where do you suppose the party is to be? You can’t guess that either. In this town. And not very far from this school-house. Somebody you’ve heard of. Two somebody’s you’ve heard of. Now don’t you know? The Two Betseys! Suppose you’ll think ’tis funny for them to have a party. But they ’re not a going to have it themselves. Now I’ll tell you, and not make you guess any more.

You know I told you Tom Cush was coming. He came to-day. He’s grown just as tall and as fat and as black and has some small whiskers. I didn’t know ’twas Tom Cush when I first looked at him. Bubby Short asked me what man that was talking with Dorry, and I said I didn’t know, but afterwards we found out. He didn’t know me either. Says I’m a staving great fellow. He gave Dorry a ruler made of twelve different kinds of wood, some light, some dark, brought from famous places. And gave Bubby Short and me a four-blader, white handled. He’s got a fur cap and fur gloves, and is most as tall as Uncle Jacob. He told Dorry that he thought if he didn’t come back here and see everybody, he should feel like a sneak all the rest of his life.

We three went down to The Two Betseys’ Shop with him, and when he saw it, he said, “Why, is that the same old shop? It don’t look much bigger than a hen-house!” Says he could put about a thousand like it into one big church he saw away. Said he shouldn’t dare to climb up into the apple-tree for fear he should break it down. Said he’d seen trees high as a liberty-pole. And when he saw where he used to creep through the rails he couldn’t believe he ever did go through such a little place, and tried to, but couldn’t do it. So he took a run and jumped over, and we after him, all but Bubby Short. We took down the top one for him.

The Two Betseys didn’t know him at first, not till we told them. Dorry said, “Here’s a little boy wants to buy a stick of candy.” Then Tom said he guessed he’d take the whole bottle full. And he took out a silver half a dollar, and threw it down, but wouldn’t take any change back, and then treated us all, and a lot of little chaps that stood there staring. Lame Betsey said, “Wal, I never!” and The Other Betsey said, “Now did you ever? Now who’d believe ’twas the same boy!” And Tom said he hoped ’twasn’t exactly, for he didn’t think much of that Tom Cush that used to be round here. Coming back he told us he was going to stay till in the evening, and have a supper at the Two Betseys’, us four together, but not let them know till we got there. He’s going to carry the things. We went to see Gapper Sky Blue, and Tom bought every bit of his molasses candy, and about all the seed-cakes. When I write another letter, then you’ll know about the party.

Your affectionate Grandson,

William Henry.

P. S. Do you think my father would let me go to sea?

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.


When safe from inquisitive ears and eyes,

Birds and beasts oft converse in language most wise.—

This statement may cause you some little surprise;

But the burden of proof is with him who denies.


There once on a time was a yellow canary;

His home was quite lovely enough for a fairy;

The sweet summer breezes strayed into the room,

The flowers from the garden sent in their perfume,

And nodded and smiled through the window wide,

Yet the foolish bird was dissatisfied.

“I wish I were dead!” he mournfully cried.


The cat looked up quickly and pricked up her ear,

And said, in a voice most pathetic to hear,

“I don’t wonder at it, I’m sure, my poor dear!”


“Kept here in a prison through long summer hours

While my friends are rejoicing in sunshine and flowers,

What blessings have I over which to rejoice?”

“Too true,” sighed the cat;—there were tears in her voice.

“Only once in an age, doors and windows shut tight,

I come out of my cage for a very short flight,

Which rests my poor wings for a moment—” “But that

Is insult and mockery,” murmured the cat.


“And my songs, they are sung with such nice skill and art

That no one would guess I was playing a part;

But never a note of them comes from my heart!”


“Yet, dearest, your songs are most exquisite, surely,”

The cat softly answered, and looked down demurely,

While the end of her tail gave a mischievous start;

“I never could sing, except right from my heart!”


“I wish I were dead,” sighed the bird once again;

“My life is a burden of bondage and pain!”


“My love,” purred the cat, as she rose to her feet,

“Your very best friends could ask nothing more sweet.

The door of your cage, as you see, is ajar;

If you will but find courage to venture so far,

I will meet you half-way” (leaping into a chair),

“And free you at once from your grief and despair.”


“What! what!” chirped the bird, with a terrible flutter

Of fear in his heart he had no words to utter.


“Though the thought,” said the cat, “fills my heart with deep pain,

Yet, dearest, for your sake my grief I restrain;

I stifle my feelings your bliss to insure,”—

By this time the cat laid her paw on the door.


But a footstep approaching made puss turn her head,

And she suddenly jumped from the window and fled.

And canary became—so I’ve heard his friends say—

A wiser and happier bird from that day.


What think you, Young Folks, of the story you’ve heard?

Would it always be safe to take you at your word?

R. S. P.

[In a Letter from Lawrence to Mr. Clarence.]

Here I am home again; and I am going to tell you about some of the things I have seen since I said good by to you that morning on the cars,—for this is what you made me promise I would do. I am not much used to writing letters, as maybe you remember; but my uncle says if I write just as I would talk, I shall do well enough,—only it must be about something I am interested in.

Well, what I am interested in just now is ships! You see, my uncle sent me over to East Boston the other day to find a man that moved away from here, and owed him a bill,—and I was to have the money if I collected it, which would be right handy about Christmas time, you know. But the man wasn’t at home; and while I was waiting for him, I thought I would take a stroll down by the water. It was a splendid day,—just cool enough; there was a fine breeze blowing, and sailing vessels and ferry-boats were passing in fine style; there was Charlestown and the Navy Yard over opposite; and on the shore, right down before my eyes, was the skeleton of a big ship. I started for that. It was on the further side of a great yard between the street and the water,—a yard full of great timbers and piles of lumber, and men at work chopping, measuring, hauling, and lifting; there was also a saw-mill and a sort of blacksmith shop.

Drawn by Winslow Homer.]           [From Whittier’s “Ballads of New England.”

I looked into the office as I passed the gate. It was a little square room, with two or three men in it talking earnestly over some drawings and figures on the desk, and a number of handsome ship-models, all nicely polished, fastened to the walls. Then there were framed pictures of steamers and ships under full sail. The room had quite a nautical look. I wanted to stop and ask about the models, but the men were busy, and so I walked on down into the yard.

I don’t think you ever saw more chips on an acre of ground! There were old chips rotting in the dirt; and fresh new chips just split off from the logs; and chips in every stage of youth and old age between. There was a wagon loading up with chips; there were women filling baskets with chips; there was a great staring sign,—“NO CHIPS TAKEN FROM THIS YARD”; and a stick of timber, which a horse was dragging off, went ploughing its way through dirt and chips. Burn it over, and couldn’t you raise corn and beans in that yard? I bet you!

I stopped to watch the men at work. One was hewing out a stick of timber to something like this shape. As he looked up and nodded at me, I asked him what that stick was for. “That? That’s a futtick,” said he. “What’s a futtick?” said I. “A part of a frame,” said he. “What’s a frame?” said I. “A frame is a rib,—what you would call a pair of ribs. These timbers we are hewing out here, they’re all for frames,” said he. “They are different shapes; no two exactly alike; and they are all cut out, just as you see, with the axe. We have these marks to go by.”

Then I noticed the man who was making the marks. He had some thin boards sawed in just the shape he wanted the face of the timbers cut. He laid one of these flat on a hewed stick, and marked around the edges with a red pencil. Some of these boards—they are called moulds—were very long and curved only a little. Others were shorter, and curved very much more. Some were curved like a bow; others were almost straight, being curved only a little at one end. As there are some hundreds of timbers in the side of a big ship, and every timber has to have a separate mould, and as some of these moulds are made of two or three boards pieced together, you see it must take a good many boards, as well as a good deal of gumption, just to get the patterns ready, before even a timber is touched. Then here is another thing. Besides the shape given to the stick by the mould, which determines its up-and-down curve in the ribs of the ship, it must be hewed just right to fit in with the others, and make its part of the curved lines running lengthwise along the vessel’s side. So most of the timbers have to be bevelled more or less. All the bevel angles come marked on a board, called a “bevel-board,” and the carpenter takes off those, one by one, with his bevel instrument, and marks them on the ends of the sticks, for the choppers. And he must be careful to get the right bevel on the right stick. It is as if every bone in your body had to be designed and shaped separately, before you were put together; and that makes ship-building something wonderful, don’t it? Though it is really the pieces of only one side that the architect has anything to do with. He designs the ribs on your right side, for instance. The moulds for one of these are just turned over, and the bevels reversed, to make the corresponding rib on your left side. Understand?

Your ribs are all of oak, as you must know. The best qualities of white or live oak are preferred, to build you stanch and strong. And the timber must be cut when the sap is out of it, and well seasoned afterwards, or you are liable to rot.

The most of the timber used in this yard, one of the men told me, comes from Virginia and Maryland. It isn’t quite so good always as our northern white oak, but it is cheaper. Oak in New England is getting to be a scarce article; but, since the war, whole forests in Virginia are bought up cheap, so that the expense of it here amounts to but little more than the cost of cutting and shipping it. Crews go out from our ports and spend the winter getting timber when the sap is down in the roots. They take out their oxen and cows, and sometimes their wives and babies, and build huts in the Southern forests, and have a merry time of it. Often they take out the moulds of a ship, and cut all her timbers into shape for building, on the spot; so that when they are landed here they are all ready to go into the frames. Think of a stick fitted there in the woods for a particular part of a particular rib of a particular ship to be built months afterwards, hundreds of miles away! There seemed to me something romantic about the voyages of these crews; and I thought I should like to go out with them, and spend a winter in the Virginia forests. But the chopper who told me this, and who has been out often, said he guessed I would find it hard.

They don’t work much in these ship-yards during the winter, he told me. It is all out-door work. The storms interfere with it, and the snow is a great bother. “Sometimes you go out in the morning,” he said, “and find every timber in the yard covered; and the stagings about the ship will be all slippery with snow and ice,—for it isn’t often a common vessel is built under a house, like those over at the Navy Yard.” I looked across and could see the immense ship-houses standing with their ends towards the water. “This ship,” said he, “won’t be complete before December; and a good deal of snow will have to be shovelled for her, before ever she is launched.”

I was in a hurry to see how the frames were put together; so I followed one of the timbers, which a horse was hauling away; and soon came to a high platform, to the top of which it was drawn up an inclined plane, by means of a rope and pulley.

I went up with it, stepping on cleats nailed across the planks on one side of the plane. Beyond was the half-finished skeleton of the ship that was building. The stern was towards the water, and the other end of the keel came up even with the platform. The keel was an immense stick of timber,—or rather several sticks pieced together,—perfectly straight and nearly two hundred feet long. It was laid on piles of blocks; and it slanted up a little from the end towards the water, so as to give the ship the proper inclination for launching. If the keel was laid level, she wouldn’t slide off, you know.

The first thing I noticed was that the ribs were complete on both sides to the tops, as far as they were built at all. As I had seen a picture of a ship’s ribs built up a little way all round, before the upper pieces were joined on, I had expected to see something like that here; but I learned that only small boats are made in that way,—though even large vessels used to be, fifty or a hundred years ago.

There the great ribs were, complete to about midships, and supported on the sides by two little groves of props. The part of the keel towards the platform was a naked piece of timber,—like half of your backbone waiting for the ribs to be fitted to it.

There were a dozen men on the platform; and now I saw what they were doing. They took the timbers as they came up from the yard, and put them together in a frame shaped like a big letter U. It was laid flat on the platform, with the bottom of the U toward the ship. The position it was designed for, near the middle of the keel, where the vessel is broadest and the bottom flattest, gave it its U shape. Near one of the ends it would have been shaped more like a V.

This, then, was what the men called a “frame.” It was composed of fifteen timbers; and it measured thirty-six feet across, and twenty-four in depth. All these timbers have particular names. They are in two tiers, one laid over the other, on the platform,—“breaking joints,” as the carpenters say; you know,—the ends of two sticks in one tier meet at about the middle of a stick in the other tier, to which they are bolted. First, across the bottom, is the “floor-timber”; then two “naval-timbers”; then a first, second, third, and fourth “futtock” (not “futtick” as the man said), in each arm of the frame; then a “stanchion” and a “top-timber” finish the arm. After the timbers were got into place, holes were bored, and long iron bolts driven through both tiers, four men driving one bolt, their four sledge-hammers revolving in the air hitting the iron one after another, in complete time, and making a lively scene.

When the frame was finished, pulley-ropes were made fast to it, and it was drawn off the platform down towards the ship, sliding flat along the keel, and a couple of planks laid to support it, one on each side. When the bottom of the frame was near the standing frames,—the exact place for it being marked on the keel,—pulley-ropes were attached to the tops of the U, and it was raised right up into position, as neatly as anything you ever saw. The pulleys were worked by a capstan back in the yard. While this was getting into place, another frame was going together on the platform.

I climbed up into the half-finished skeleton, and looked around. On one side stood a twenty-foot ladder, with a man on the upper rounds, fastening the last frame to the others with a cleat. His head did not reach the top. The ship was still broader than she was deep; the bottom timbers forming an almost level floor for several yards each side of the keel. As I walked towards the stern she grew narrower, till finally the ribs crooked right up sharply from the keel, and there was no floor at all.

From the stern I looked out on the water, into which she is to be some day launched. The “ways” were already laid for her there,—timbers on blocks, like the two rails of a railroad, sloping down into the waves that were dashing over them.

The “stern-post” was not yet raised. It lay on a platform at the lower end of the keel, with the “transoms,” or cross-timbers, already framed to it. This “post” is one of the strongest and most important timbers in the ship. It stands upright on the end of the keel, into which it is mortised. There is a groove cut in the back side of it, for the rudder-post to turn in. All the converging lines of the ship’s under sides are brought into it with a graceful sweep. The transoms, and the stern-frame built out from them, make the broad and high part of the stern.

The frames in the bottom of the ship were set four inches apart. The two sets of timbers in each frame were bolted close together at the bottom; but up on the sides I noticed that pains had been taken to make an open space between them,—a wide crack. I asked a workman what that was for.

“Why, you see,” said he, “a ship has to be preserved like so much corned beef or pork.”

“How so?” said I.

“She has to be salted down,” said he.

“Salted down!” said I, thinking he must be joking.

“To be sure,” said he. “This ’ere ship’s timbers would last a hundred years and more, if ’twa’n’t for the dry rot. That’s the ruination of vessels. It ain’t like common rot; that goes to work in an honest kind of a way on the outside. Dry rot is sly; it begins its mischief on the inside of a timber, and turns it all to a kind of dry, crumbly powder, before ever you suspect it’s there. I’ve seen a stick completely eaten up by it, while the painted outside remained as slick and han’some as ever.”

I asked what occasioned the rot.

“That’s more ’n I know,” says he. “Some say it’s a vegetable growth,—a sort of fungus I believe they call it. The seeds are supposed to be in the sap of the tree, though I don’t believe that, for timber that’s been preserved hundreds of years will be attacked finally by the rot in certain situations. The planks we bend on to the bows and after-parts of the ship’s sides have to be steamed; and it’s found the dry rot don’t attack them. These bottom timbers are protected by salt water,—that kills the rot,—but the upper timbers don’t get the benefit of that, and so we salt ’em down. Them openings between ’em are all filled in with salt, when the frames are covered. It will take a hundred and eighty hogsheads of salt to salt down this ’ere ship.”

That astonished me. Just think of it; a ship carries a small cargo of salt in the crevices between her ribs! The man hewed away a spell with his adz (he was smoothing the insides of the frames for the planks to be put on; he called the work “dubbing”), then looked up again and said,—

“The kind of cargo a ship carries makes all the difference in the world with the rot. She is lucky if she gets a cargo of salt for her first voyage. Spice—you would hardly believe it—is about the worst thing. I’ve known a new ship put into the spice trade to rot out in three years.”

I looked over into a neighboring ship-yard, and saw the skeleton of a vessel nearly complete. So I thought I would go and see what was the next thing to be done. They were putting the keelson into her,—kelson the men call it,—a son of the keel, I suppose. It is a set of timbers inside the frames, running the length of the ship, corresponding with the keel outside. There were three courses of timbers, sixteen inches square, laid one on another, and making a pile (16 × 3=48 inches) four feet high. These rested on the floor-timbers, which were eighteen inches thick. The keel under them was two feet. On the bottom of the keel was a five-inch plank “shoe.” This made a “backbone” to the ship almost eight feet through! I mustn’t forget the “sister keelsons,”—two strong timbers laid one on each side of the true keelson. Isn’t there a backbone for you!

I asked the carpenter who gave me these figures what the “shoe” was for. “It is a protection to the keel,” he said. “If a ship strikes a rock, the shoe takes the brunt of the stroke, and often she may be got off by the shoe parting from the keel, and letting her slide.”

They were putting on the top timbers of the keelson, and fastening them with bolts driven clear through into the keel. Such bolts! They were not driven by sledge-hammers, but by a sort of pile-driver, worked by four men, who drew up the heavy iron weight by a pulley, and let it fall on the end of the bolt, which a fifth man guided.

In the yard some men were hewing out a rudder-post,—an immense timber thirty-six feet long. All the upper end of it was round as a mast; that comes up through a hole in the stern, and has the tiller attached to it. In large vessels there are ropes made fast to the tiller, and then to the wheel, so that the man at the wheel steers the ship. The rudder-post fits into the groove in the stern-post, upon which it is hung by pintles,—bolts making a sort of hinge. Only one side of the lower part of the rudder-post was rounded; some men were getting ready a stick of timber to be fitted to the other side, the upper end of it to come up as high as the top of the water after the ship was launched and freighted. Just these two timbers make the rudder that guides the ship. One would hardly think that turning it a little to the right, or left would change her course so quickly! I suppose I needn’t tell you that she can’t be steered unless she is in motion. Leave the rudder alone, as she sails, and it will follow straight after the keel. But turn it ever so little, and the force of the water striking on one side pushes it off the other way, and the stern off with it. Moving her stern a little one way causes the bow to swing off in the opposite direction, you know; and this I believe is all the mystery there is in steering a ship.

The skeleton of this vessel was all complete except a few of her bow timbers. Each rib in this part is framed and raised separately. It runs up to an astonishing height above the keel,—the bow being the loftiest part. The stem-post was nearly ready to raise. This is to the bow or stem what the stern-post is to the stern. It is an immense timber as large as the keel, into which it is framed,—or rather it is several timbers pieced together to give length, with the curve that shapes the prow. Where it joins the keel it makes almost a right-angle.

This point is called a “fore-foot.”[1] Behind the stem-post, curving with it, and secured to it, is a broad timber, or series of timbers, called the “apron.” This is fastened to the keel by a “knee” (there are lots of knees in a ship). So you see her bow has one thing that belongs to a quadruped, another that belongs to a biped, and a third that belongs to both. I may add that the prow is her “head.” A curious thing a ship, isn’t she, though?

For some distance back of the lower part of the stem-post she is made so sharp, for cutting her way through the water, that there is no room for framing; so the thin space between her sides is there filled in with what is called dead wood,—heavy timbers nicely fitted and shaped, to bring, as you may say, the wedge to an edge. The stern, below the water-line, is as sharp as the stem, and I believe a little sharper; and the thin part there is filled in with dead wood, just the same.

In the next yard was a ship nearly finished; and I went to take a look at her. There were three stagings built all about her, and men on them at work; and they kept up a jolly hammering and clattering, I tell you! A dozen men were carrying a long plank up an inclined plane, to the middle staging. It was of hard pine, five inches thick, six or seven broad, and fifty feet long. Six men at each end, with their shoulders under it, had hard work to get it up.

“They are putting on her skin,” a workman told me. The skin I found consisted of such planks as these. She was already half covered, from the keel upwards. The planks upon her sides are thicker than those below, and are called “wales.” I thought the big one the men were carrying up must be the Prince of Wales.

After they got it up on the staging, they placed it on the top of the planking already fastened to the timbers. As the ship’s side bulged, while the plank was nearly straight, it had to be brought to its place by means of ring-bolts in the timbers, levers, ropes, wedges, and sledge-hammers. For the short curves about the bow and stern the planks have to be steamed, and put on wet and hot, or they would split all to pieces in bending. The wales do not run in straight horizontal lines, parallel with the ship’s water-line, but they sweep from end to end in sagging lines, highest above the water at the bow and lowest about midships. The line of a ship’s deck makes a similar curve. This is called the “sheer.”

As soon as a plank was in place, it was fastened by spikes driven at each end. Afterwards auger-holes were bored at intervals clear through plank, timber, and inside plank, or “ceiling” (for this ship was already lined); then long wooden oak pins, called “trunnels” (though you won’t find trunnel in the dictionary; the word is spelled treenail), were driven through, and wedged at both ends without and within. Besides these fastenings, iron bolts were let through and clinched on the inside.

The “skin” planks were cut so as to fit closely together against the timbers, and yet leave an open seam between them, a quarter of an inch wide, at the surface. On the lower staging the calkers were at work. Two men had eight or ten light iron wedges, which they drove into a seam, and opened it a quarter of an inch further. Other men followed, driving oakum in between the planks, with mallets and calking-irons. As fast as the head calker came up to the wedges they were knocked out, and oakum filled their place, while they were carried forward and driven into the seam again further along. The ring of so many mallets made merry music, for a person who likes a lively noise. The oakum was driven in out of sight; it was afterwards to be covered with hot pitch from a syringe-like instrument, run along the seam. This had been done in some places; and there carpenters were smoothing the planks all over with planes, and making the bottom ready for sheathing.

I went up on the top staging and climbed over on the upper deck, which men were calking in about the same way. Every exposed seam about a ship must be calked, you know, or the constant straining she gets in the heavy seas will make her leak like a sieve.

Carpenters were building the deck-houses and dressing the stanchion timbers,—the uppermost timbers of her frames, that rise above the deck and support her rails. The top rail is sometimes called a “monkey-rail.” The wood-work between that and the water-ways is her “bulwarks.” The “water-ways” are deep planks that form a way for the water about her deck (which is rounded a little, like a duck’s back, so as to shed it), and let it out through holes called “scuppers.” Secured to the stanchions, below the monkey-rail, is commonly another rail full of holes for wooden pins, to which the sail-ropes are made fast. This is the “pin-rail.” The rail about the stern is the “taffrail.” You see every part of a ship has its peculiar name. I am going to get, if I can, some drawings, showing the principal parts, and send them to you. (Here they are,—profile and deck plans, and a midship section.)

[For the drawings on this and the following page we are indebted to the accomplished ship-architect, Mr. William H. Varney, Assistant Naval Constructor at the U. S. Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N. H.]

Midship Section (one side).

From the upper deck (sometimes called the “spar-deck”) I went down a steep ladder, through a “hatchway” (sailors usually say simply the “hatch,” as the “after hatch,” the “main hatch”), and landed on the lower or “main deck.” There I had a good chance to see how she was finished up inside. Overhead, supporting the upper deck, and binding the two sides of the ship together, were “beams,” extending across, and secured at each end by a naturally crooked piece of timber called a “knee.” One end of this knee was fastened to the beam, the other to the side of the ship. There was another set of beams supporting the deck under my feet. Besides the knees at the ends, each beam of the lower deck was supported at its centre by a stanchion, or prop, resting on the keelson. The beams of the upper deck had a row of just such stanchions, resting on the row below.

Through openings in the lower deck I could look down into the immense “hold.” There were holes through both decks for the masts, which were to rest on the keel, secured to it by blocks called “steps.” The “ceiling”—that is to say, the inside planking—was quite thin on the bottom of the hold. But it was made very heavy—a foot thick, I believe—where the sides began to rise, diminishing gradually to some seven inches between decks.

The clatter kept up inside that ship was jolly! The men were pounding down the ends of the bolts driven through from the outside; and then every stroke of a hammer or a calker’s mallet on the “skin,” or the deck above, was heard as plainly as if all these thirty or forty men were thundering away inside of her.

Some men were polishing down the beams and ceiling, and making them as handsome as the wood-work of the finest houses.

As I went out, and down over the side again, I saw a fellow bringing up coarse salt in a coal-hod and pouring it into the spaces between the timbers, which he kept filled as fast as the “skin” was put on.

The more I learned about a ship, and saw how skilfully designed and nicely fitted everything had to be, to give her symmetry and strength, and make her sit well on the water, the more I wondered at it; and it seemed to me one of the greatest mechanical feats to make the plan and patterns of a ship. I said as much to one of the carpenters, who replied, “You ought to visit a moulding-loft.” I asked what that was. “The ship architect’s workshop,” said he, “where his model and the mould-boards are made. It’s a curiosity.”

I asked, would the architect like to have me look in,—for of course I regarded him as a great man.

“Certainly,” said he; “he’ll be glad to show you; and you’ll find him a perfect gentleman.”

The carpenter gave me his address; it was only a few squares off. But, dear me, Mr. Clarence! haven’t I written a long letter? I thought I could tell you all I had to tell on one sheet of paper, and at one sitting; now this is the third evening I have been writing, and I haven’t begun to tell you the most interesting things about ship-building. So I’ll hold up for the present, and give you the rest in another letter.

Yours, out of breath,


P. S.—I collected that bill!

J. T. Trowbridge.

See Profile Plan, p. 769.


One day Alice was sitting hard at work, making what she called a monkey-jacket for her beloved doll, Miss Ginevra Fanshawe, when there came a loud, sharp ringing at the front-door bell. The next moment the servant handed in a letter, saying, “For you, Miss Alice.”

“For me,” cried Alice, jumping up, and letting Miss Ginevra fall out of her lap. “Goody! how glad I am!” and, tearing open the envelope, she took out the note, and handed it to her mother, begging her to “please read the reading”; for you know Alice was a little kitten of a girl in those days, and could not read writing or printing either.

So her mother took the note, and this is what was written in it.

Dear Alice:—

“The Count de Morny and his wife, to whose wedding you came last summer, are to have a regatta in the bath-tub next Saturday, and they request the pleasure of your company, with all your dolls, at two o’clock.

“Your true friend,

Miss Alice B.” “Lillie.

“What lovely fun!” cried Alice, with a scream of delight. “A regatta? re—gatta. What is a regatta, mamma? is it something to eat?”

“Not exactly, darling; it is a boat-race, and I should think a boat-race in a bath-tub would be a very genteel affair.”

“Of course it will,—so grand! O dear! I must hurry and finish Miss Ginevra’s monkey-jacket, so she can go; and let—me—see! I must take Miss Mousatilla Rattlebug, Anna Stevenson, Bertha, the cry-baby, and Henrietta, my new kid-and-wax doll, with knit clothes. I would take Willie, only he is so fat, and he can’t sit down, because he is all china, and as stiff as the poker; besides he’s got a crack in his head.”

“Ee! ee! eee!” squeaked a little voice.

Really and truly it was Alice who squeaked; but she jumped up, and ran into a corner of the room, where Willie was standing on his head, leaning against the wall, and staring at the company.

“O my darling!” said Alice, in a soft, cooing voice, “did he want to go to the re—whatucallem? Well, so he shall! Don’t, my dear!” and Willie, with a sniff or two, which Alice made for him, was put back in the corner, on his cracked head again, quite comforted.

As for Miss Mousatilla and the rest, they ought to have been out of their wits with delight at being invited to the regatta. If they were, they never mentioned it, but looked as simpering and stupid as possible, which, after all, is not very surprising, for they had china and wax heads, and sawdust earths, with not a grain of feeling in either; all except the cry-baby; she had a sort of whistle inside of her, and when Alice pinched her she squealed terribly.

Perhaps it was squealing so hard that had split her poor head from ear to ear; and Alice had no end of trouble to keep it from tumbling in two. She was to stay at home; for Alice said one doll with a cracked head was quite enough.

Saturday came, and such a time as there was getting ready! As none of the ladies could walk, except Alice, she had to carry the whole of them, and Master Willie into the bargain, and her little fat arms were just as full of dolls as they could hold. Every little girl she met stopped and looked after her with great admiration, and said to herself, “Dear me! I do suppose she must be going to a dolls’ party.” Sure enough, she was, as you and I happen to know.

She gave a little shy pull at the bell, and Lillie opened the door herself. “Why, Alice, you little darling!” she cried. Lillie was not one inch bigger than Alice, but she called her “little darling,” because she loved her so dearly; and they fell into each other’s arms, dolls and all, and had a real good hugging and kissing time.

“Come,” cried Lillie, “hurry up stairs! some of the company have come! Such a lot of dolls! It’s perfectly splendid!”

Then Alice twitched off her hat in the greatest haste, and she and Lillie ran and tumbled up stairs as hard as they could, through the second-story hall, and into the bath-room, which was at the end of the hall.

It really was beautiful, and Alice said a long “O—h!” of delight as she looked around, with sparkling eyes. The bath-tub was quite full of clear, pure water, which even had little ripples in it, as if a soft wind was blowing over it. This appearance was caused by a crowd of gold-fishes which Lillie’s mamma had emptied out of a large glass globe. She had lent them for this grand occasion as a great favor. The fishes were enchanted at the change! They thought the bath-tub a very respectable ocean. They were swimming and darting up to the top to peep at the children with their soft, sleepy eyes, then leaping and rushing head over heels—no! fishes don’t have heels! head over tails—down again, perfectly crazy with joy. Two or three great pond-lilies floated on the surface, their golden hearts looking like spots of sunshine on the water; and among them five little flat chips of wood were resting, and one real boat,—a lovely little craft, with her sails set, and a long tricolored pennon flying at the mast-head. On all the boats were paper dolls, and some wee bits of china dolls; they were all lying flat on their backs, but that didn’t make the slightest difference. They enjoyed the sailing just as much, staring up at the ceiling, and were perfectly happy.

But the grandest sight of all was the company. Ranged all round the ledge, at the head and side of the bath-tub, against the wall, were,—well, I don’t know how many dolls. The Count de Morny, who was the same knit-worsted doll that he was when he was married, only much more dingy and dismal, sat up stiff and straight at the head, with his steel-bead eyes winking and blinking seven ways for Sunday. His wife—who ate and slept and lived in her bridal dress, because, poor thing! it was all she had—was smiling and prinking beside him, with her hair all out of curl, and the end of her nose gone, nobody knows where; and, as she never looked in the glass, she hadn’t the least idea that she had lost it, but thought herself as elegant as ever.

Then all sorts and sizes of china, wax, and india-rubber dolls and babies were sitting, standing, and lying just as they could; and about a hundred and fifty paper dolls were flat on their stomachs, with their heads over the edge, gazing at the show with all their might and main. Lillie had put them in this position to enable them to see, and the paper dolls considered it very kind in her, and their paper hearts rustled together in a little flutter of thanks.

The small room was so full of little girls, dolls, and one dear little boy, named Hugh, that it did not seem as if there were any more room for even a kitten, when three more little girls came in, bringing their dolls.

“Why, dear me,” cried Ethel, one of the party, when she saw the company, “what a crowd! there won’t be room for any more; and here is Jessie, dressed up in a new diamond breastpin. It’s only pretend diamond, you know,” she whispered to Alice; “Mrs. Geer gave it to me for her.”

“But O how shiny it shines!” said Alice,—“so very glittery! I wish Mrs. Geer would give Ginevra one.”

“Nonsense!” said Lillie, “Ginevra has a new monkey-jacket; that’s enough for her. Come! let’s put all the new dolls in their places,—plenty of room,—just like a ondibus.” Lillie meant “omnibus,” and, like the people in them, the dolls were pushed and crowded and “scrunched up,” as Lillie said, and the new company dolls had capital places after all.

“Now the race is going to begin,” said Lillie.

“Where do you get wind to sail your boats?” asked Hugh, poor little man, who had not the slightest idea of the managing ways of little women. Of course not! how could he?

“O, you’ll see! don’t distress yourself, my dear,” said Lillie, in a patronizing tone; and, running out of the room, she soon returned with—a large pair of bellows!

And now, with chuckles and skips of delight, Lillie began to blow the boats with the bellows, all the rest screaming and jumping and laughing and begging for “a blow.”

First she blew the real little boat, which darted off, keeling over on one side, as if it had been caught in a squall; then she blew chip after chip, and they rushed after, bumping each other and tumbling over sideways, upsetting the paper dolls, whisking round and round, and making such a hullabaloo, that the fishes came darting up like streaks of living gold, ramping and raging, and butted the boats with their noses, and the children cried, “See the porpoises and whales!” and took turns blowing at the boats; and O, there never was such fun! and everybody, as they afterwards said, “most died of laughing!”

And three lives were saved! Just think of that!

In a corner of the ceiling, a great ugly black ogre of a spider was spinning a house for himself, basting, piecing, and snipping here and there at a great rate. But the children and the regatta made such a clatter, that the spider said to himself, “What on earth can be the matter?” and while glaring on them in surprise, with I don’t know how many eyes, there bounced into his house three ridiculous little flies; but the spider, busy staring, never saw them, and, with tearing, biting, scratching, they escaped with only a great scaring. If he’d only had an inkling, just the faintest little tinkling, he’d have snapped them up, and eat them up, in a quarter of a twinkling.

And so the grand regatta saved three little flies’ lives, whatever else it did.

The pretty gold-fishes had the worst time of all. What to make of this screaming and laughing, and popping up of a boat and five little flat chips, they did not know. They swam round and round in such a flurry, that they flapped their fins into one another’s face, and would have stepped on one another’s toes, if they had had a sign of a toe to step on. They dived down to the bottom of the bath-tub, and darted back again, and swam on their heads and their tails, and cried out to each other, “What a dreadful storm! Did you ever? I do believe the world is coming to an end.”

The sweet water-lilies huddled timidly together in a corner, and confided to one another their belief that this was the most topsy-turvy, shocking pond they had ever seen. But the children never heard or minded.

They declared that the fishes were darlings, and that the lilies smelt delicious; and they hurrahed and danced and laughed, and had five “blows” apiece with the bellows, and the pretty little boat had beaten the chips about twenty-nine times, when—a dreadful thing happened!

Willie, poor fat Willie, with the cracked head, was having a delightful time staring at the race upside down,—for he was standing on his head as usual, because he never could be made to stand on his feet,—when the Count de Morny, or the bride, or somebody or something, or some other thing, upset him, and over he went, pop! right into the water. But this was not the worst of it. He was not only drowned, but, as he fell, he bounced and bumped against the hard side of the bath-tub, and, awful to relate! snap; both his legs broke right short off! Both his arms broke shorter off! His cracked old head came quite in two, and one half of his face and head sunk about half a second before the other,—and there was Willie quite drowned in six pieces!!

Everybody grew perfectly still in a minute! The little fishes swam down, and smelt at Willie’s arms and legs with a business air; then moved away a little and observed to one another, “H’m! quite a curiosity! shouldn’t wonder if he was good to eat! Let’s try!” and then floated slowly down again and took little nips of poor Willie; but china dolls are not good food for fishes; that is one comfort, any way.

“O, what a pity!” cried Lillie at last, in a mournful tone.

“What a pity!” repeated Alice.

“Pity!” sighed all the other little girls,—which is just what you would have said, you little darling girl! but you, funny monkey of a boy, you would have stuck your hands in your pockets and said just what Hugh did; and that was, “Sho!”

“O goody! there’s Anna Stevenson crying! Pretend she is,” said Alice. “Poor Willie is her only son, you know.”

So all the little girls began to make believe cry, and Hugh began to howl; and it was such funny crying and howling, that the next moment they burst out laughing, and then, rolling up their sleeves, they plunged their little fat arms into the water, at sight of which all the fishes fainted, and thought now the end of the world surely was come. Before their senses returned, Willie had been carefully taken out, and all his legs and arms, and the two halves of his head and his body, set in a long row on the oil-cloth which covered the bath-room floor. It really was a most dismal sight, only the children forgot to cry any more, and stood looking at the pieces with odd little chuckles and grins, as if Willie had gone to pieces on purpose to make them laugh.

All of a sudden Lillie’s blue eyes grew rounder and brighter, and with a tremendous air of wisdom she said, “I tell you what! we will mend him with Spaulding’s glue!”

No sooner said than done. They got the bottle out of a closet, and in a delightful state of excitement patched up poor Willie’s wounds. Everybody helped or wanted to help, and in five minutes he was finished in triumph,—very sticky and smelly (Spaulding’s glue doesn’t smell nice), and a perfect sight to behold! for both his legs were turned the wrong way, as if he were running off backward like a crab, and half of his nose and one eye was higher than the other, and he was altogether so ridiculous that the children laughed at him till they tumbled over one another. So upon the whole the awful misfortune turned out to be great fun.

As for Willie, he quite liked having one eye cocked up higher than the other; “I can see more than ever,” he thought inside of his china head: “and if my feet are behind me, why, I shall set the fashion. I’ll just button my coat behind, and walk off Spanish!”

Now how very nice that is, to have a comfortable opinion of one’s self!

Willie has taught us quite a lesson. If he had been a china girl, and the children had left him (or her) in the water, he might have spread out into a mermaid,—which is half a lady with a fish’s tail. Who knows? Or, if he had been left as he was, he might in time have turned into a doll-phin, and that would have been splendid! but he was just as happy and content to be a ridiculous, patched, behind-before sort of a doll; and so we’ll all follow his good example, and be content with just what we are, and just what we have.

“Now let’s pretend the regatta is over,” said Lillie.

“But which ship winned?” asked Hugh. You see Hugh being a boy knew more than anybody and everybody. He had seen a real boat-race, and of course he knew that one of the boats must win, and gain a prize.

So they one and all agreed that the pretty little sail-boat had won; and as Lillie had a speck of a silver tea-set (pewter silver), they presented this to the paper-doll crew with great ceremony, and one of them, a perfect fright to behold, with a nose like Punch in the puppet-show, and who looked as if he had changed coats with a scarecrow, made a speech returning thanks for the “elegant testimonial,”—which made the children laugh until their dear little faces were perfectly crimson. He was the captain,—Captain Bragg.

Really and truly Lillie made the speech for him, but don’t mention it, I beg, for it would spoil the fun of the thing.


“That’s the tea bell,” screamed Lillie, joyfully. “Come, let’s all run down! bring the dolls! hurry!”

Such a scratching and a scrambling as there were! Anna Stevenson came within an inch of being drowned, Miss Mousatilla Rattlebug had her wig half torn off, the Count de Morny and his wife were both carried off upside down, and with dolls’ legs and arms and heads sticking out of the children’s arms in all directions, the merry party rushed down stairs, pell-mell, all laughing and talking together just as happy as happy could be.

What a delicious-looking tea-table it was! There was enough on it for ninety-and-nine and one more. The dolls went tugging and kicking to get at the eatables,—at least it looked as if they were doing it,—but the little girls and Hugh were far too well-behaved to tug and kick. They hadn’t done that since they were all babies, when every one of them had cried for supper without the least politeness. That’s the fashion for babies, but we know better. So they waited with great bright eyes, and a few little skips, and soft laughter as sweet as birds’ singing, until Lillie’s mamma placed them around the table,—the dolls being all stuck up on the sofa.

Not a single scrap were they to have! That was to punish them for being so greedy, as Lillie said; and I think she was perfectly right, don’t you?

The children had little round buttered biscuit, and strawberries, and they all had leave to help themselves to powdered sugar; that was the best of it! And they did help themselves! You could not see the strawberries for the sugar. Cakes full of raisins, lots of raisins, and icing on the top, the best kind of ice, made of sugar; and after all this a tremendous glass dish was brought in, full of mottoes, firing-off mottoes, which always set Aunt Fanny squealing and running for her life, but which are jolly fun for children! and they set up such a popping that Lillie’s mamma wished her ears were only buttoned on her head, so that she could take them off and send them with her compliments to a cross old bachelor who lived next door and was as deaf as a post. She was sure he would not hate children so much if he could only hear all this delightful noise, and see this perfect happiness.

In the very midst of the fun, and while the children’s faces were sparkling with delight, there came two or three rings at the front-door bell one after the other. It was the nurses coming to take them home.

“Why!” said Alice, “where has all the afternoon gone? It always does hurry so, just when we want it to be the longest. Why, I do declare, it’s almost dark! I wish we could nail the sun up in the sky, when we are having such delightful fun!”

“Yes, and not pull the nails out till we were ever and ever so tired,” said Lillie.

They might have done such a thing in the wonderful days when the cow jumped over the moon, and it rained sugar-plums every morning; but those happy times are gone. So all that the little ones had to do was to pop off the rest of the mottoes at each other, and then put on their hats and gather up their dolls, and let this lovely party come to an end.

But there was one more enchanting thing to happen. Just as they were leaving, Lillie’s mamma gave to each little darling a great golden orange to take home, and, like the beautiful yellow hearts of the water-lilies, the golden globes seemed to bring back the sunshine, as if the sun were sorry for marching off to bed when they wanted him to stay, and had sent bits of himself back to comfort them. Curious old fellow, the Sun; isn’t he?

And now came a grand kissing time. All the little girls kissed Lillie and each other. Hugh wouldn’t and didn’t kiss anybody. Not he! When they tried to kiss him, he just turned on his heel and twitched off with his ears as red as a rooster’s hat, and he said, “Stop!” and “Sho!” and looked quite savage. That’s just like a boy!

The little gold-fishes were taking long draughts of relief, comfort, and water in the quiet bath-tub, the sweet water-lilies were nestling together in a corner gently closing their white petals over their golden hearts, almost asleep, and the children were skipping home, laughing and talking, with their dolls in their arms, just as the pretty little twinkling stars were climbing the silent sky.

And this is the true account of the Dolls’ Regatta.

Aunt Fanny.



& Funny Things.



Forwards and backwards in our place,

Classed very near the human race.


Of modern times I am the light

So baleful to the human sight.


Through open doors the crowd has rushed,

Parepa sings! all else is hushed.


In politics an oft-used term,

When men’s debates become too warm.


I form a part of every name,

Either obscure or known to fame.


A heathen god of giant size,

Famous for mischief and for lies.


In hours of mirth I’m always heard,

And follow quick upon a word.


In ancient days a poet sung,

Upon his words Italia hung.


Enjoyment keen to young and old,

When skies are clear and winter’s cold.


1. A small animal.A tooth.To annoy.
2. An insect.A beverage.A quadruped.
3. A command.Something seen in the midst of battle.A spirit.
4. An indefinite quantity.A season. 
5. Mighty small.Worn by ecclesiastical dignitaries. 
6. A letter.Indispensable to the telegraph. 
7. A necessity.A gathering. 


8.To permit.A postman. 
A girl’s name.  
9.An embrace.A story from the German. 
A cup.  


My first I took that I might pay

  A visit to my charming cousin;

The journey seemed a weary way,

  Though not of miles above a dozen.


Her welcome smile was sweet to see,

  But ere my visit brief was over,

She in my second frowned on me,

  And half disowned me for her lover.


Then up and down my whole I paced,

  With darkened brows in desperate fashion,

Till suddenly her laughter chased

  Away the gathering storm of passion.

H. K.

No. 80.

Sly Jack stole through the garden-gate

To get a taste of the farmer’s fruit;

But Towser lurked in the bushes there,

And the race was won by the fleetest foot;

For ere Jack reached the garden-wall,

His Sunday breeches were rendered cheap;

And he learned by a splash on the other side,

He’d better have looked before the leap.

Out of the brook and home he ran,

With chattering teeth and visage wan;

He railed at my first, and wailed for my second,

And very chilly my whole he reckoned.

ENIGMA.—No. 81.

I am composed of 26 letters.

My 2, 18, 9, 1, 14, 2, 15, 18, 15, 9, 13, 8, 5 was a king of the eleventh century, celebrated in history and poesy.

My 13, 15, 14, 19, 13, 5, 7 is a noted piece of ordnance.

My 4, 15, 22, 5, 18 is one of the Cinque Ports.

My 11, 21, 14, 3, 8, 9, 14, 7, 9, 14, 7, 1 is one of the highest mountains in the world.

My 24, 1, 14, 20, 9, 16, 16, 5 was an ancient female noted for her fluency of expression.

My 6, 9, 14, 7, 1, 12, 19, 3, 1, 22, 5 is a natural curiosity.

My 26, 21, 25, 4, 5, 18, 26, 5, 5 is a sea in Europe which was formerly a fresh-water lake.

My 17 starts a query.

My 10, 1, 13, 5, 19, 23, 1, 20, 20 was one of the greatest inventors the world has known.

My whole embraces every language, and is the foundation of knowledge.



A word of three letters cools you in hot weather; it is also found in a barn. Change its first letter, and it is a verb of the imperfect tense. Change its first letter again, and it is an edict of proscription, also a public notice, a military edict, and a curse; it is frequently a notice of marriage, and it sometimes comes from the East. Change its first letter again, and it contains fluids. Change its first letter again, and it is a cooking utensil. Change its first letter once more, and it is the pet name of a certain ruminant.

No. 83.

A word of four letters is in front of everything. Change its last letter, and it is found in a river, in a road, in a lightning-rod, on a table, and in a stable. Change its last letter again, and it is supposed to be strong, though it is often weak. Change its last letter once more, and it is both a stream and across a stream.

PUZZLE.—No. 84.

Remove three of these lines from the five squares, leaving only three whole squares.


1. How many ships make one drinking-vessel?

2. Why are cats like butchers?

3. When is a ship not properly steered?

4. Why should we not keep the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter?

5. Why does a woman become sad who marries a man named Josiah?

6. Name the ancestors of Colt’s revolvers.

Willy Wisp.




No. 71.

72.Foundation Words,—Fields, Osgood.
Cross Words,—FarO, IbiS, EgG, LassO, DoradO, SanD.
73.B-all. B-last. A-ware. G-out. C-rest.
B-lot. C-hill.
74.Soft words break no bones.
75.Arch, archer, archest (R chest).

Answers to Positives and Comparatives in Letter Box.

Lie, Lyre.

Box, Boxer.

Port, Porter.

Din, Dinner.

The Shakespeare Rebus in the last No. was correctly answered by “T. H. A.” of Philadelphia, September 17th, and later by several others, among them “Fannie J. H.——,” aged 11 years. It is “What a falling off was there!”


Summer’s done! We must no longer expect pleasant letters, such as came to us last spring from Wisconsin prairies covered with unknown blossoms, from Pennsylvania coal-mines overhung by liverwort and trailing arbutus and ladies’ slippers, or from the Berkshire hills gay with anemones, wake-robin, adder-tongue, and cowslips. Our flower-letters take us back on their enchanted tapestry as far as to May, and how bright with blossoms the time between has been! Did you go a-Maying among the Green Mountains as you intended, dear “S.P.F.”? The snow was falling on the violet-buds when you wrote, but your letter was full of the music of robins and bluebirds, and the fragrance of lilacs, and foretold the coming of the mountain laurel and fringed gentian,—to say nothing of its tempting hints of blackberries and maple-sugar.

And did you really find the fringed gentian a good barometer? We knew that it seldom unfolded itself until the sun was ready to fill its cup with noon-glory, but had not thought of it as a weather-glass before.—By the way, little Brighteyes, how many flowers are you acquainted with, that are in the habit of foretelling a change of weather?

By this time the gentians are all frost-bitten, and only a few hardy asters or tufts of golden-rod linger here and there upon sunny slopes or along the fringes of the woods. What a pretty name the country people have for the asters,—Frost flowers! Isn’t it a comfort to know that some flowers are not afraid of the frost, but wait for its coming before they blossom? We have always delighted in the witch-hazel, because it dares to shake its golden curls in the very face of November, filling the dreary woods with sunshine of its own.

How many varieties of the aster have you found this autumn, young botanists: and which do you think the prettiest? We like the deep-purple, large-flowered “Nova-Angliæ,” it is so intense in color, and contrasts so finely with the sunny golden-rods. But there is another almost as pretty,—that white one which grows in the manner of the golden-rod,—a plume of living snow-stars;—and another, too,—a little lavender-colored one that shows its single blossom in barren hilly nooks where few flowers will live.

The golden-rod is as interesting to study, for its varieties, as the aster. There is the stout sea-side species, that delights to plant itself, like any old salt, down close to high-water mark, where it can feel the lapping of the waves;—the white golden-rod, not so graceful as the one that tosses its pretty plume in all our fields, but rarer;—the blue-stemmed golden-rod, which we have not seen, but have heard described as very fine;—and other endless varieties, which your own eyes and hands, and Professor Gray’s Botany, will help you to become acquainted with.

The autumn leaves are more wonderful in their tints than flowers even. Which is more magnificent, the glow of a beech-crowned hill in the Indian summer, or the variegated brilliance of a maple-grove? Almost everybody will say the last; and the maple does take all the gay colors of all the other trees into a single leaf sometimes. But the splendor of the beech lasts longer.

Did you press some autumn leaves for your large parlor vases this October? They will hold the sunshine for you all winter, if properly dried. They are said to keep better, if varnished; but the varnish is apt to give them an unnatural glitter. Some one at our elbow says that if autumn leaves are brushed lightly with olive-oil, they will retain their natural shape and color. It is worth trying.

There are many graceful ways of arranging leaves and grasses for parlor adornment. Perhaps Our Young Folks will tell each other through the Letter Box about their successful efforts of this kind. The charm which these simple things add to the houses we live in is not so generally appreciated as it ought to be. A picture in a little frame of spruce twigs is sometimes shown to better advantage than it would be by the most elegant rosewood and ebony and gilt in the world. It need not cost much money to make a home beautiful. Nature offers her wealth gratis. And just here we make room for



“Why do the clovers turn brown, Aunt Sue?

  Why did the apple-blooms fall?

What makes the leaves flutter down, Aunt Sue?

  The woodbine grow red on the wall?”


“Summer must pass away, little Kate;

  Autumn must come in its stead;

Clover must turn to hay, little Kate,

  And fruit comes when flowers are dead.


“The leaves have lived their life, little Kate,

  They hurry away to the ground,

To wrap the roots of the dainty flowers,

  Till another bright spring comes round.”


“But why don’t the summer stay, Aunt Sue?

  What’s the use of frost and snow?

Could not God keep the grass green, Aunt Sue?

  And forbid the cold winds to blow?


“If days were all warm and bright, Aunt Sue,

  If rain and snow never fell,

And there was no still dark night, Aunt Sue,

  I should like the world twice as well.”


“All sun would kill the flowers, little Kate;

  Could they speak, they’d gladly tell

How much they love the showers, little Kate,

  And that God doth all things well.


“They need the rain as much as the sun,—

  Each in its turn is best:

And, budding, leaving, and blooming done,

  They are glad of the winter’s rest.


“Rough winds make trees grow strong, little Kate,

  The still dark night gives sleep,

And through gloom and storm God guides us on,

  As a good shepherd guides his sheep.


“But there is a Land where flowers never fall,

  Where no clouds obscure the sky,

And, trusting our Lord who loves us all,

  We shall win to it, by and by.”

L. D. N.

A. C.’s question about Croquet has received the following answers:—

“A player is always entitled to another shot after having gone through his wicket. After ‘A. C.’ had ‘played on’ the ball which he hit, it was, to him, a ‘dead ball’; his hitting it had no effect whatever, and he was clearly entitled to another shot after having gone through his wicket.


“ ‘A. C.’s’ question in Croquet is easily answered. Of course the hitting a ball the second time before making a point does not necessitate his executing a croquet or roquet-croquet upon that ball, neither is he allowed to do it. If he strikes for his arch, but hits a ball on the track of his passage through that arch, he of course cannot claim the privileges of the roquet; but if he should hit a ball on the other side, in the same stroke by which he made his arch, he would of course have the privileges consequent upon making his arch. The player in no case may croquet or roquet-croquet the same ball twice before making a point.


“Certainly ‘A. C.’ could go ahead. He was entitled to another strike for going through the wicket, but not for hitting the ball a second time.

“U. S. S.”

“I should rule that as A has no right to move B (in the case supposed), it can take no advantage from contact with it, even if they go through the arch together. B must be replaced (having been removed as if by accident) after the play, and both balls must be used the same as though there had been no displacement.

Willy Wisp.

We have just a word to say about our plans for next year. Mrs. Whitney, author of “Leslie Goldthwaite,” is going to write a story for us. Mr. Aldrich will contribute some witty things not unworthy of Tom Bailey himself. Colonel Higginson and “Carleton” are to write for us, and the other friends and favorites of Our Young Folks—Mr. Hale, Mrs. Agassiz, Mrs. Diaz, Mrs. Weeks, Mr. Parton, Major Traverse, and the rest—still promise us their best attempts. We expect to make next year’s magazine more attractive than ever to our subscribers.

With the dull days of November we begin to look more closely at our book-shelves, and ask of them, What cheer?

Poetry brings the whole outward and inward world of beauty to our firesides. Happy are the fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters who can enjoy poetry together.

It is by no means the “Hymns for Infant Minds” that infants always prefer to read, although Jane Taylor did an excellent work for them when she wrote that book. But children are often on more familiar terms with Scott and Cowper, and Milton and Shakespeare, than their elders can find time to be. Mrs. Jameson tells us that she read the whole of Shakespeare when she was between seven and ten years old; and we have a little boy-friend of only three or four years whose favorite reading—on being-read-to—is Whittier’s “Snow-Bound.” We have the impression that he could recite nearly the whole poem, before he could spell out a word of it for himself.

True, “Snow-Bound” is so full of life-like country pictures that no real boy could fail to enjoy it; yet it is not this alone that takes a child’s fancy. Poetry is a whisper from the Infinite, to both old and young; and it often suggests grander meanings to the child than to those who have grown worldly-wise, and have explained everything to their own satisfaction. We venture to say that Coleridge’s “Hymn to Mont Blanc,” and Gray’s “Elegy,” and Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” and “Death of the Flowers,” and Tennyson’s “May Queen,” and Longfellow’s “Psalm of Life,” can be correctly repeated by twice as many children as grown persons,—and that at least as many under fifteen as beyond that age would be made very happy by receiving Jean Ingelow’s illustrated “Songs of Seven,” or Whittier’s new volume of “Illustrated Ballads” for a Christmas present this year.

We must say a word about these “Ballads,” from which we give our readers a specimen picture this month. The poem it belongs to—“The Playmate”—is well known as one of Mr. Whittier’s most charming idyls. Winslow Homer has made a pretty picture of the bashful boy and his girl-playmate, who went away to the South and perhaps forgot all about him,—although we don’t believe she did. The “Illustrated Ballads” is, it can scarcely be doubted, the finest picture-book ever published in America. Mr. Fenn’s bits of landscape are perfect gems, and perfect likenesses, too, of the forest-nooks and sea-glimpses to be found all about Seabrook, and Hampton, and Amesbury. It is a pleasant region,—that through which the Merrimack broadens to blend with the Atlantic, and well deserves what it has received, the best efforts of one of our best artists to portray its beauty. Whoever looks at this book will be sure to want it for himself or for somebody else who loves pictures and poetry.

Messrs. Fields, Osgood, & Co. have recently issued the “Merrimack Whittier” uniform with the “Farringford Tennyson.” It is the finest edition of Mr. Whittier’s poems yet published, and is complete, containing his last volume, “Among the Hills.”

They have also a new Diamond edition of Mr. Lowell’s Poems. “Sir Launfal” is always a favorite with growing-up young persons of taste, and that exquisite child-poem of his, “The First Snow,” loses nothing of its charm by reappearing in his later volume, “Under the Willows,” among verses ripe with wisdom and culture.

Mr. Trowbridge’s new volume we may speak of, since “Mr. Young Folks” is not now holding the pen. It is tastefully bound, and contains the author’s picture. “Darius Green and his Flying Machine” our Young Folks will remember as the funniest poem ever printed in their magazine. The volume opens with “The Vagabonds,” a most spirited poem, only too true to life, and contains many fine pieces, some familiar and some now published for the first time. Mr. Trowbridge also contributes the “Story of Columbus” to the “Uncle Sam Series, for American children”; which is a group of poetical picture-books for the coming holidays. Mr. E. C. Stedman puts Rip Van Winkle’s story into capital verse. Bayard Taylor does the same for Abraham Lincoln, and R. H. Stoddard for “Putnam the Brave.” These books have all full-page illustrations, printed in colors, and are unique, pretty, and by no means costly.

So much for the new things we happen to know about, in the way of poetry.

We are almost sorry to speak of the publication of the “Story of a Bad Boy” in book form, because it is, in fact, writing that bright little fellow’s obituary, so far as our magazine is concerned. But Tom Bailey is only to take a new lease of life. He is to be dressed up new, in whatever style those who send for him may desire, and go a-visiting all the Young Folks who want to see him, to stay until his clothing, not his welcome, is worn out. This last could scarcely happen anywhere, for Tom Bailey is the best story-teller of all the boys we know,—excepting, perhaps, Tom Brown, of Rugby. He is both witty and well behaved,—two qualities not always found together; and we know that his story will read better as a whole than in fragments, as we have had to offer it to our readers.

And “William Henry” and “Trotty” are both to be started on their travels too. Dear, dear! how these children do leave us! What shall we do next year without our William Henry,—frank, genuine boy that he is? We had taken him to our editorial heart, and nobody else can fill his place very soon. His book will contain much matter entirely new to our readers, including a description of the “Two Betseys’ ” party, and a very original preface by one Mr. Silas Y. Frye.

And little Trotty,—there will be no end of children who will invite him to houses full of ginger-snaps and everything else that is good.

There is still another nice little book which the publishers of “Trotty” and “William Henry” and the “Bad Boy” promise their child-patrons for the holidays. It is called “The Fairy Egg, and what it held.”

And here is one more that the boys must know of,—Mr. Dana’s “Two Years before the Mast,” a book certainly as good as new. His story of a boy’s life on board ship so many years ago has lost nothing of its interest for boys of to-day. Very few, however, will be tempted to go to sea by reading his book. It is an “ower true tale.”

Other books we must leave until next month. If we have spoken especially of those to be issued by one publishing-house, it is because we chance to know what they are doing. If we knew other publishers’ secrets, perhaps we should tell them too.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

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

Some photographs have been enhanced to be more legible.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 11 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]