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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 5, Issue 12

Date of first publication: 1869

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: May 15, 2016

Date last updated: May 15, 2016

Faded Page eBook #20160516

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

Drawn by S. Eytinge, Jr.]           [See the Story “Hot Buckwheat Cakes.







An Illustrated Magazine







Vol. V. December, 1869. No. XII.



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.]

















A letter with a great black seal!

I knew then what had happened as well as I know it now. But which was it, father or mother? I do not like to look back to the agony and suspense of that moment.

My father had died at New Orleans during one of his weekly visits to the city. The letter bearing these tidings had reached Rivermouth the evening of my flight,—had passed me on the road by the down train.

I must turn back for a moment to that eventful evening. When I failed to make my appearance at supper, the Captain began to suspect that I had really started on my wild tour southward,—a conjecture which Sailor Ben’s absence helped to confirm. I had evidently got off by the train and Sailor Ben had followed me.

There was no telegraphic communication between Boston and Rivermouth in those days; so my grandfather could do nothing but await the result. Even if there had been another mail to Boston, he could not have availed himself of it, not knowing how to address a message to the fugitives. The post-office was naturally the last place either I or the Admiral would think of visiting.

My grandfather, however, was too full of trouble to allow this to add to his distress. He knew that the faithful old sailor would not let me come to any harm, and, even if I had managed for the time being to elude him, was sure to bring me back sooner or later.

Our return, therefore, by the first train on the following day did not surprise him.

I was greatly puzzled, as I have said, by the gentle manner of his reception; but when we were alone together in the sitting-room, and he began slowly to unfold the letter, I understood it all. I caught a sight of my mother’s handwriting in the superscription, and there was nothing left to tell me.

My grandfather held the letter a few seconds irresolutely, and then commenced reading it aloud; but he could get no further than the date.

“I can’t read it, Tom,” said the old gentleman, breaking down. “I thought I could.”

He handed it to me. I took the letter mechanically, and hurried away with it to my little room, where I had passed so many happy hours.

The week that followed the receipt of this letter is nearly a blank in my memory. I remember that the days appeared endless; that at times I could not realize the misfortune that had befallen us, and my heart upbraided me for not feeling a deeper grief; that a full sense of my loss would now and then sweep over me like an inspiration, and I would steal away to my chamber or wander forlornly about the gardens. I remember this, but little more.

As the days went by my first grief subsided, and in its place grew up a want which I have experienced at every step in life from boyhood to manhood. Often, even now, after all these years, when I see a lad of twelve or fourteen walking by his father’s side, and glancing merrily up at his face, I turn and look after them, and am conscious that I have missed companionship most sweet and sacred.

I shall not dwell on this portion of my story, which, like the old year, is drawing to an end. There were many tranquil, pleasant hours in store for me at that period, and I prefer to turn to them.

One evening the Captain came smiling into the sitting-room with an open letter in his hand. My mother had arrived at New York, and would be with us the next day. For the first time in weeks—years, it seemed to me—something of the old cheerfulness mingled with our conversation round the evening lamp. I was to go to Boston with the Captain to meet her and bring her home. I need not describe that meeting. With my mother’s hand in mine once more, all the long years we had been parted appeared like a dream. Very dear to me was the sight of that slender, pale woman passing from room to room, and lending a patient grace and beauty to the saddened life of the old house.

Everything was changed with us now. There were consultations with lawyers, and signing of papers, and correspondence; for my father’s affairs had been left in great confusion. And when these were settled, the evenings were not long enough for us to hear all my mother had to tell of the scenes she had passed through in the ill-fated city.

Then there were old times to talk over, full of reminiscences of Aunt Chloe and little Black Sam. Little Black Sam, by the by, had been taken by his master from my father’s service ten months previously, and put on a sugar-plantation near Baton Rouge. Not relishing the change, Sam had run away, and by some mysterious agency got into Canada, from which place he had sent back several indecorous messages to his late owner. Aunt Chloe was still in New Orleans, employed as nurse in one of the cholera hospital wards, and the Desmoulins, near neighbors of ours, had purchased the pretty stone house among the orange-trees.

How all these simple details interested me will be readily understood by any boy who has been long absent from home.

I was sorry when it became necessary to discuss questions more nearly affecting myself. I had been removed from school temporarily, but it was decided, after much consideration, that I should not return, the decision being left, in a manner, in my own hands.

The Captain wished to carry out his son’s intention and send me to college, for which I was nearly fitted; but our means did not admit of this. The Captain, too, could ill afford to bear the expense, for his losses by the failure of the New Orleans business had been heavy. Yet he insisted on the plan, not seeing clearly what other disposal to make of me.

In the midst of our discussions a letter came from my Uncle Snow, a merchant in New York, generously offering me a place in his counting-house. The case resolved itself into this: If I went to college, I should have to be dependent on Captain Nutter for several years, and at the end of the collegiate course would have no settled profession. If I accepted my uncle’s offer, I might hope to work my way to independence without loss of time. It was hard to give up the long-cherished dream of being a Harvard boy; but I gave it up.

The decision once made, it was Uncle Snow’s wish that I should enter his counting-house immediately. The cause of my good uncle’s haste was this,—he was afraid that I would turn out to be a poet before he could make a merchant of me. His fears were based upon the fact that I had published in the Rivermouth Barnacle some verses addressed in a familiar manner “To the Moon.” Now, the idea of a boy, with his living to get, placing himself in communication with the Moon, struck the mercantile mind as monstrous. It was not only a bad investment, it was lunacy.

We adopted Uncle Snow’s views so far as to accede to his proposition forthwith. My mother, I neglected to say, was also to reside in New York.

I shall not draw a picture of Pepper Whitcomb’s disgust when the news was imparted to him, nor attempt to paint Sailor Ben’s distress at the prospect of losing his little messmate.

In the excitement of preparing for the journey I didn’t feel any very deep regret myself. But when the moment came for leaving, and I saw my small trunk lashed up behind the carriage, then the pleasantness of the old life and a vague dread of the new came over me, and a mist filled my eyes, shutting out the group of schoolfellows, including all the members of the Centipede Club, who had come down to the house to see me off.

As the carriage swept round the corner, I leaned out of the window to take a last look at Sailor Ben’s cottage, and there was the Admiral’s flag flying at half-mast!

So I left Rivermouth, little dreaming that I was not to see the old place again for many and many a year.


With the close of my school-days at Rivermouth this modest chronicle ends.

The new life upon which I entered, the new friends and foes I encountered on the road, and what I did and what I did not, are matters that do not come within the scope of these pages. But before I write Finis to the record as it stands, before I leave it,—feeling as if I were once more going away from my boyhood,—I have a word or two to say concerning a few of the personages who have figured in the story, if you will allow me to call Gypsy a personage.

I am sure that the reader who has followed me thus far will be willing to hear what became of her, and Sailor Ben and Miss Abigail and the Captain.

First about Gypsy. A month after my departure from Rivermouth the Captain informed me by letter that he had parted with the little mare, according to agreement. She had been sold to the ring-master of a travelling circus (I had stipulated on this disposal of her), and was about to set out on her travels. She did not disappoint my glowing anticipations, but became quite a celebrity in her way,—by dancing the polka to slow music on a pine-board ball-room constructed for the purpose.

I chanced once, a long while afterwards, to be in a country town where her troup was giving exhibitions; I even read the gaudily illumined showbill, setting forth the accomplishments of

—but failed to recognize my dear little Mustang girl behind those high-sounding titles, and so, alas! did not attend the performance.

I hope all the praises she received and all the spangled trappings she wore did not spoil her; but I am afraid they did, for she was always over much given to the vanities of this world!

Miss Abigail regulated the domestic destinies of my grandfather’s household until the day of her death, which Dr. Theophilus Tredick solemnly averred was hastened by the inveterate habit she had contracted of swallowing unknown quantities of hot-drops whenever she fancied herself out of sorts. Eighty-seven empty phials were found in a bonnet-box on a shelf in her bedroom closet.

The old house became very lonely when the family got reduced to Captain Nutter and Kitty; and when Kitty passed away, my grandfather divided his time between Rivermouth and New York.

Sailor Ben did not long survive his little Irish lass, as he always fondly called her. At his demise, which took place about six years since, he left his property in trust to the managers of a “Home for Aged Mariners.” In his will, which was a very whimsical document,—written by himself, and worded with much shrewdness, too,—he warned the Trustees that when he got “aloft” he intended to keep his “weather eye” on them, and should send “a speritual shot across their bows” and bring them to, if they didn’t treat the Aged Mariners handsomely.

He also expressed a wish to have his body stitched up in a shotted hammock and dropped into the harbor; but as he did not strenuously insist on this, and as it was not in accordance with my grandfather’s preconceived notions of Christian burial, the Admiral was laid to rest beside Kitty, in the Old South Burying Ground, with an anchor that would have delighted him neatly carved on his headstone.

I am sorry the fire has gone out in the old ship’s stove in that sky-blue cottage at the head of the wharf; I am sorry they have taken down the flag-staff and painted over the funny port-holes; for I loved the old cabin as it was. They might have let it alone!

For several months after leaving Rivermouth I carried on a voluminous correspondence with Pepper Whitcomb; but it gradually dwindled down to a single letter a month, and then to none at all. But while he remained at the Temple Grammar School he kept me advised of the current gossip of the town and the doings of the Centipedes.

As one by one the boys left the academy,—Adams, Harris, Marden, Blake, and Langdon,—to seek their fortunes elsewhere, there was less to interest me in the old seaport; and when Pepper himself went to Philadelphia to read law, I had no one to give me an inkling of what was going on.

There wasn’t much to go on, to be sure. Great events no longer considered it worth their while to honor so quiet a place. One Fourth of July the Temple Grammar School burnt down,—set fire, it was supposed, by an eccentric squib that was seen to bolt into an upper window,—and Mr. Grimshaw retired from public life, married, “and lived happily ever after,” as the story-books say.

The Widow Conway, I am able to state, did not succeed in enslaving Mr. Meeks, the apothecary, who united himself clandestinely to one of Miss Dorothy Gibbs’s young ladies, and lost the patronage of Primrose Hall in consequence.

Young Conway went into the grocery business with his ancient chum, Rogers,—Rogers & Conway! I read the sign only last summer when I was down in Rivermouth, and had half a mind to pop into the shop and shake hands with him, and ask him if he wanted to fight. I contented myself, however, with flattening my nose against his dingy shop-window, and beheld Conway, in red whiskers and blue overalls, weighing out sugar for a customer,—giving him short weight, I’ll bet anything!

I have reserved my pleasantest word for the last. It is touching the Captain. The Captain is still hale and rosy, and if he doesn’t relate his exploit in the War of 1812 as spiritedly as he used to, he makes up by relating it more frequently and telling it differently every time! He passes his winters in New York and his summers in the Nutter House, which threatens to prove a hard nut for the destructive gentleman with the scythe and the hour-glass, for the seaward gable has not yielded a clapboard to the east-wind these twenty years. The Captain has now become the Oldest Inhabitant in Rivermouth, and so I don’t laugh at the Oldest Inhabitant any more, but pray in my heart that he may occupy the post of honor for half a century to come!

So ends the Story of a Bad Boy,—but not such a very bad boy, as I told you to begin with.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich.


Some boys and girls are born so that they enjoy society, and all the forms of society, from the beginning. The passion they have for it takes them right through all the formalities and stiffness of morning calls, evening parties, visits on strangers, and the like, and they have no difficulty about the duties involved in these things. I do not write for them, and there is no need, at all, of their reading this paper.

There are other boys and girls who look with half horror and half disgust at all such machinery of society. They have been well brought up, in intelligent, civilized, happy homes. They have their own varied and regular occupations, and it breaks these all up, when they have to go to the birthday party at the Glascocks’, or to spend the evening with the young lady from Vincennes who is visiting Mrs. Schemerhorn.

When they have grown older, it happens, very likely, that such boys and girls have to leave home, and establish themselves at one or another new home, where more is expected of them in a social way. Here is Stephen, who has gone through the High School, and has now gone over to New Altona to be the second teller in the Third National Bank there. Stephen’s father was in college with Mr. Brannan, who was quite a leading man in New Altona. Madam Chenevard is a sister of Mrs. Schuyler, with whom Stephen’s mother worked five years on the Sanitary Commission. All the bank officers are kind to Stephen, and ask him to come to their houses, and he, who is one of these young folks whom I have been describing, who knows how to be happy at home, but does not know if he is entertaining or in any way agreeable in other people’s homes, really finds that the greatest hardship of his new life consists in the hospitalities with which all these kind people welcome him.

Here is a part of a letter from Stephen to me,—he writes pretty much everything to me: “. . . . Mrs. Judge Tolman has invited me to another of her evening parties. Everybody says they are very pleasant, and I can see that they are to people who are not sticks and oafs. But I am a stick and an oaf. I do not like society, and I never did. So I shall decline Mrs. Tolman’s invitation; for I have determined to go to no more parties here, but to devote my evenings to reading.”

Now this is not snobbery or goodyism on Stephen’s part. He is not writing a make-believe letter, to deceive me as to the way in which he is spending his time. He really had rather occupy his evening in reading than in going to Mrs. Tolman’s party,—or to Mrs. Anybody’s party,—and, at the present moment, he really thinks he never shall go to any parties again. Just so two little girls part from each other on the sidewalk, saying, “I never will speak to you again as long as I live.” Only Stephen is in no sort angry with Mrs. Tolman or Mrs. Brannan or Mrs. Chenevard. He only thinks that their way is one way, and his way is another.

It is for boys and girls like Stephen, who think they are “sticks and oafs,” and that they cannot go into society, that this paper is written.

You need not get up from your seats and come and stand in a line for me to talk to you,—tallest at the right, shortest at the left, as if you were at dancing-school, facing M. Labbassé. I can talk to you just as well where you are sitting; and, as Obed Clapp said to me once, I know very well what you are going to say, before you say it. Dear children, I have had it said to me fourscore and ten times by forty-six boys and forty-four girls who were just as dull and just as bright as you are,—as like you, indeed, as two pins.

There is Dunster,—Horace Dunster,—at this moment the favorite talker in Washington, as indeed he is in the House of Representatives. Ask, the next time you are at Washington, how many dinner-parties are put off till a day can be found at which Dunster can be present. Now I remember very well, how, a year or two after Dunster graduated, he and Messer, who is now Lieutenant-Governor of Labrador, and some one whom I will not name, were sitting on the shore of the Cattaraugus Lake, rubbing themselves dry after their swim. And Dunster said he was not going to any more parties. Mrs. Judge Park had asked him, because she loved his sister, but she did not care for him a straw, and he did not know the Cattaraugus people, and he was afraid of the girls, who knew a great deal more than he did, and so he was “no good” to anybody, and he would not go any longer. He would stay at home and read Plato in the original. Messer wondered at all this; he enjoyed Mrs. Judge Park’s parties, and Mrs. Dr. Holland’s teas, and he could not see why as bright a fellow as Dunster should not enjoy them. “But I tell you,” said Dunster, “that I do not enjoy them; and, what is more, I tell you that these people do not want me to come. They ask me because they liked my sister, as I said, or my father, or my mother.”

Then some one else, who was there, whom I do not name, who was at least two years older than these young men, and so was qualified to advise them, addressed them thus:—

“You talk like children. Listen. It is of no consequence whether you like to go to these places or do not like to go. None of us were sent to Cattaraugus to do what we like to do. We were sent here to do what we can to make this place cheerful, spirited, and alive,—a part of the kingdom of heaven. Now if everybody in Cattaraugus sulked off to read Plato, or to read “The Three Guardsmen,” Cattaraugus would go to the dogs very fast, in its general sulkiness. There must be intimate social order, and this is the method provided. Therefore, first, we must all of us go to these parties, whether we want to or not; because we are in the world, not to do what we like to do, but what the world needs.

“Second,” said this unknown some one, “nothing is more snobbish than this talk about Mrs. Park’s wanting us or not wanting us. It simply shows that we are thinking of ourselves a good deal more than she is. What Mrs. Park wants is as many men at her party as she has women. She has made her list so as to balance them. As the result of that list, she has said she wanted me. Therefore I am going. Perhaps she does want me. If she does, I shall oblige her. Perhaps she does not want me. If she does not, I shall punish her, if I go, for telling what is not true; and I shall go cheered and buoyed up by that reflection. Any way I go, not because I want to or do not want to, but because I am asked; and in a world of mutual relationships it is one of the things that I must do.”

No one replied to this address, but they all three put on their dress-coats and went. Dunster went to every party in Cattaraugus that winter, and, as I have said, has since shown himself a most brilliant and successful leader of society.

The truth is to be found in this little sermon. Take society as you find it in the place where you live. Do not set yourself up, at seventeen years old, as being so much more virtuous or grand or learned than the young people round you, or the old people round you, that you cannot associate with them on the accustomed terms of the place. Then you are free from the first difficulty of young people who have trouble in society; for you will not be “stuck up,” to use a very happy phrase of your own age. When anybody, in good faith, asks you to a party, and you have no pre-engagement or other duty, do not ask whether these people are above you or below you, whether they know more or know less than you do, least of all ask why they invited you,—but simply go. It is not of much importance whether, on that particular occasion, you have what you call a good time or do not have it. But it is of importance that you shall not think yourself a person of more consequence in the community than others, and that you shall easily and kindly adapt yourself to the social life of the people among whom you are.

This is substantially what I have written to Stephen about what he is to do at New Altona.

Now, as for enjoying yourself when you have come to the party,—for I wish you to understand that, though I have compelled you to go, I am not in the least cross about it,—but I want you to have what you yourselves call a very good time when you come there. O dear, I can remember perfectly the first formal evening party at which I had “a good time.” Before that I had always hated to go to parties, and since that I have always liked to go. I am sorry to say I cannot tell you at whose house it was. That is ungrateful in me. But I could tell you just how the pillars looked between which the sliding doors ran, for I was standing by one of them when my eyes were opened, as the Orientals say, and I received great light. I had been asked to this party, as I supposed and as I still suppose, by some people who wanted my brother and sister to come, and thought it would not be kind to ask them without asking me. I did not know five people in the room. It was in a college town where there were five gentlemen for every lady, so that I could get nobody to dance with me of the people I did know. So it was that I stood sadly by this pillar, and said to myself, “You were a fool to come here where nobody wants you, and where you did not want to come; and you look like a fool standing by this pillar with nobody to dance with and nobody to talk to.” At this moment, and as if to enlighten the cloud in which I was, the revelation flashed upon me, which has ever since set me all right in such matters. Expressed in words, it would be stated thus: “You are a much greater fool if you suppose that anybody in this room knows or cares where you are standing or where you are not standing. They are attending to their affairs and you had best attend to yours, quite indifferent as to what they think of you.” In this reflection I took immense comfort, and it has carried me through every form of social encounter from that day to this day. I don’t remember in the least what I did, whether I looked at the portfolios of pictures,—which for some reason young people think a very poky thing to do, but which I like to do,—whether I buttoned some fellow-student who was less at ease than I, or whether I talked to some nice old lady who had seen with her own eyes half the history of the world which is worth knowing. I only know that, after I found out that nobody else at the party was looking at me or was caring for me, I began to enjoy it as thoroughly as I enjoyed staying at home.

Not long after I read this in Sartor Resartus, which was a great comfort to me: “What Act of Parliament was there that you should be happy? Make up your mind that you deserve to be hanged, as is most likely, and you will take it as a favor that you are hanged in silk and not in hemp.” Of which the application in this particular case is this: that if Mrs. Park or Mrs. Tolman are kind enough to open their beautiful houses for me, to fill them with beautiful flowers, to provide a band of music, to have ready their books of prints and their foreign photographs, to light up the walks in the garden and the greenhouse, and to provide a delicious supper for my entertainment, and then ask, I will say, only one person whom I want to see, is it not very ungracious, very selfish, and very snobbish for me to refuse to take what is, because of something which is not,—because Ellen is not there or George is not? What Act of Parliament is there that I should have everything in my own way?

As it is with most things, then, the rule for going into society is not to have any rule at all. Go unconsciously; or, as St. Paul puts it, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.” Everything but conceit can be forgiven to a young person in society. St. Paul, by the way, high-toned gentleman as he was, is a very thorough guide in such affairs, as he is in most others. If you will get the marrow out of those little scraps at the end of his letters, you will not need any hand-books of etiquette.

As I read this over, to send it to the editor, I recollect that, in one of the nicest sets of girls I ever knew, they called the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians the “society chapter.” Read it over, and see how well it fits, the next time Maud has been disagreeable, or you have been provoked yourself in the “German.”

“The gentleman is quiet,” says Mr. Emerson, whose essay on society you will read with profit, “the lady is serene.” Bearing this in mind, you will not really expect, when you go to the dance at Mrs. Pollexfen’s, that while you were standing in the library explaining to Mr. Sumner what he does not understand about the Alabama Claims, watching at the same time with jealous eye the fair form of Sybil as she is waltzing in that hated Clifford’s arms,—you will not, I say, really expect that her light dress will be wafted into the gaslight over her head, she be surrounded with a lambent flame, Clifford basely abandon her, while she cries, “O Ferdinand, Ferdinand!”—nor that you, leaving Mr. Sumner, seizing Mrs. General Grant’s camel’s hair shawl, rushing down the ball-room, will wrap it around Sybil’s uninjured form, and receive then and there the thanks of her father and mother, and their pressing request for your immediate union in marriage. Such things do not happen outside the Saturday newspapers, and it is a great deal better that they do not. “The gentleman is quiet, and the lady is serene.” In my own private judgment, the best thing you can do at any party is the particular thing which your host or hostess expected you to do when she made the party. If it is a whist party, you had better play whist, if you can. If it is a dancing party, you had better dance, if you can. If it is a music party, you had better play or sing, if you can. If it is a croquet party, join in the croquet, if you can. When at Mrs. Thorndike’s grand party, Mrs. Colonel Goffe, at seventy-seven, told old Rufus Putnam, who was five years her senior, that her dancing days were over, he said to her, “Well, it seems to be the amusement provided for the occasion.” I think there is a good deal in that. At all events, do not separate yourself from the rest as if you were too old or too young, too wise or too foolish, or hadn’t been enough introduced, or were in any sort of different clay from the rest of the pottery.

And now I will not undertake any specific directions for behavior. You know I hate them all. I will only repeat to you the advice which my best friend gave me after the first evening call I ever made. The call was on a gentleman whom both I and my adviser greatly loved. I knew he would be pleased to hear that I had made the visit, and, with some pride, I told him, being, as I calculate, thirteen years five months and nineteen days old. He was pleased, very much pleased, and he said so. “I am glad you made the call, it was a proper attention to Mr. Palfrey, who is one of your true friends and mine. And now that you begin to make calls, let me give you one piece of advice. Make them short. The people who see you may be very glad to see you. But it is certain they were occupied with something when you came, and it is certain, therefore, that you have interrupted them.”

I was a little dashed in the enthusiasm with which I had told of my first visit. But the advice has been worth I cannot tell how much to me,—years of life, and hundreds of friends.

Pelham’s rule for a visit is, “Stay till you have made an agreeable impression, and then leave immediately.” A plausible rule, but dangerous. What if one should not make an agreeable impression after all? Did not Belch stay till near three in the morning? And when he went, because I had dropped asleep, did I not think him more disagreeable than ever?

For all I can say, or anybody else can say, it will be the manner of some people to give up meeting other people socially. I am very sorry for them, but I cannot help it. All I can say is that they will be sorry before they are done. I wish they would read Æsop’s fable about the old man and his sons and the bundle of rods. I wish they would find out definitely why God gave them tongues and lips and ears. I wish they would take to heart the folly of this constant struggle in which they live, against the whole law of the being of a gregarious animal like man. What is it that Westerly writes me, whose note comes to me from the mail just as I finish this paper? “I do not look for much advance in the world until we can get people out of their own self.” And what do you hear me quoting to you all the time,—which you can never deny,—but that “The human race is the individual of which men and women are so many different members.” You may kick against this law, but it is true.

It is the truth around which, like a crystal round its nucleus, all modern civilization has taken order.

Edward E. Hale.



They say to-night is Christmas Eve, and, high as I could reach,

I’ve hung my stockings on the wall, and left a kiss on each.


I left a kiss on each for Him who’ll fill my stockings quite:

He never came before, but O, I’m sure He will to-night.


And to-morrow’ll be the day our blessed Christ was born,

Who came on earth to pity me, whom many others scorn.


And why it is they treat me so indeed I cannot tell,

But while I love Him next to you, then all seems wise and well.


I long have looked for Christmas, Mother,—waited all the year;

And very strange it is indeed to feel its dawn so near;


But to-morrow’ll be the day I so have prayed to see,

And I long to sleep and wake, and find what it will bring to me.


The snow is in the street, and through the window all the day

I’ve watched the little children pass: they seemed so glad and gay!


And gayly did they talk about the gifts they would receive;—

O, all the world is glad to-night, for this is Christmas Eve!


And, Mother, on the cold, cold floor I’ve put my little shoe,—

The other’s torn across the toe, and things might there slip through;—


I’ve set my little shoe, Mother, and it for you shall be,

For I know that He’ll remember you while He remembers me.


So lay me in my bed, Mother, and hear my prayers aright.

He never came before, but O, I’m sure He will to-night.



Mother, is it the morning yet? I dreamed that it was here;

I thought the sun shone through the pane, so blessed and so clear.


I dreamed my little stockings there were full as they could hold.

But it’s hardly morning yet, Mother,—it is so dark and cold.


I dreamed the bells rang from the church where the happy people go,

And they rang good-will to all men in a language that I know.


I thought I took from off the wall my little stockings there,

And on the floor I emptied them,—such sights there never were!


A doll was in there, meant for me, just like those little girls

Who always turn away from me; and O, it had such curls!


I kissed it on its painted cheek; my own are not so sweet,

Though people used to stop to pat and praise them in the street.


And, mother, there were many things that would have pleased you too;

For He who had remembered me had not forgotten you.


But I only dreamed ’twas morning, and yet ’tis far away,

Though well I know that He will come before the early day.


So I will put my dream aside, though I know my dream was true,

And sleep, and dream my dream again, and rise at morn with you.



The Mother.

All night have I waked with weeping till the bells are ringing wild,

All night have I waked with my sorrow, and lain in my tears, like a child.


For over against the wall as empty as they can be,

The limp little stockings hang, and my heart is breaking in me!


Your vision was false as the world, O darling dreamer and dear!

And how can I bear you to wake, and find no Christmas here?


Better you and I were asleep in the slumber whence none may start.

And O, those empty stockings! I could fill them out of my heart!


No Christmas for you or for me, darling; your kisses were all in vain;

I have given your kisses back to you over and over again;


I have folded you to my breast with a moaning no one hears:

Your heart is happy in dreams, though your hair is damp with my tears.


I am out of heart and hope; I am almost out of my mind;

The world is cruel and cold, and only Christ is kind:


And much must be borne and forborne; but the heaviest burden of all

That ever hath lain on my life are those little light things on the wall.


Hush, Bells, you’ll waken my dreamer! O children so full of cheer!

Be a little less glad going by; there hath been no Christmas here.


Go tenderly over the stones, O light feet tripping a tune!

The slighted thing sleeps in my arms,—she’ll waken too soon, too soon!

A. W. Bellaw.


At eight o’clock, one fine October morning, little Eddie lay fast asleep, “all curled up in a very small heap” under the fleecy blankets that covered everything that went to compose that young gentleman except the crowning curl of his kinky pate, which he called his “top.” The sun fairly blazed in at the windows,—no unwelcome guest, either; for there were no fires yet up stairs, and it was just cool enough to make one jump into daytime clothes and hurry down to the crackling chimney below.

Mamma passed through the room with a pretty wool shawl over her shoulders and a tiny bit of three-cornered lace on her “top,” which was not half so shining or curly as her little boy’s.

“Come, Eddie,” said the cheery voice, “not awake yet! Come! we have buckwheat cakes for breakfast, you know. I must send Rose up to dress you, directly.”

“O yes, mamma, do!” said the young master, rubbing his eyes and brushing back with impatient fingers the tangled curls; “and, O mamma, can I have butter on ’em and syrup too?”

His mother laughed as she kissed his eager face: “I don’t know about that, sir; but if you are very good while Rose dresses you, and if you don’t cry when your hair is curled, it is just possible.” Mamma tripped down stairs, and the click-clack of the hoop-petticoat on the last step had scarcely died away, when a colored girl about fourteen years of age entered the bed-chamber.

“Now, Mas’ Ed,” vociferated the hand-maiden, as her charge dived into the blankets, intent upon a struggle and a frolic, “yer ma says you is to git up dreckly and lemme dress yuh. Breakfus’ is only a-waitin’ jes’ fur yer Pa. Let’s see now which one o’ yuh’ll be down fust. Up-sy, daisy! There’s a man!” and with a jump and a bump, Mas’ Ed is down on the floor in a very confused tumble of night-clothes.

“Now fur de shoes an’ stockin’s, to keep dese yer little toes warm,—sech a knot! Now, Mas’ Ed, how did yuh git dis yer string in sech a fix? Yer mus’ ha got up in yer sleep; I never lef yer shoe dat ar way in all my born days.”

“Rose, stop jerking so. I’ll tell mamma,” said Eddie, with dignity. “You know well enough that isn’t the way to get knots out of anything!” and the young philosopher looked severe, as a philosopher should.

By this time the balmorals were laced, and now came the process of washing: Rose poured water from the little pink china pitcher into the little pink china basin on the wash-stand, which, like the bedstead, bureau, and chairs, was a sort of grown-up toy, just high enough for Eddie to use in perfect comfort.

“Rose,” said Eddie, after heroically enduring the bathing, not to say scrubbing, of face and neck and hands,—the water being a little biting,—“if you will be very careful and won’t pull my hair this morning, guess what I’ll give you!”

“O, I dunno,” said Rose; “but what makes my precious think I’se a-gwine to hurt him? Goodness knows I wouldn’t pull a single har of his head for no ’mount o’ money!” Eddie was not moved by this forcible appeal; perhaps past experiences spoke more eloquently on the other side; at any rate he renewed his proposal:—

“I’ll give you that beautiful wooden horse of mine with three legs and no tail!”

“Now, Eddie,” said Rose, trying hard not to laugh, “you is jest a-foolin’ me! Does yuh really mean it, ‘honor bright’?”

“Honor bright,” replied Eddie, with all the solemnity of a severe business transaction. This conversation by no means interrupted the toilet; now the little white drawers were to be buttoned, next the pretty chintz shirt to put on, and then, last of all, the Zouave trousers and little cut-away jacket.

At this point Mas’ Ed, with a towel pinned closely about his throat, was placed upon a pinnacle of pain,—to wit, a high chair, whereon he suffered three times a day the curling of his long flaxen hair. Except that it might serve as a salutary discipline for future trials of patience, it were hard to say what good purpose so much torture served. But then the hair was “so lovely,” and whenever cutting was proposed, what a chorus of ahs and ohs, indignant, appealing, or almost tearful, from grandma and aunts and cousins and from the pretty young mother herself! No, it could not be thought of for another year at least.

Well, the curling was a trial to both parties immediately concerned. Such a tangle of golden threads, all kinked up as if the fairies had been playing at hide-and-seek all night long through its soft meshes. This fanciful idea suggested itself to Rose, who, with all the aptness of her race for amusing children, wove on the instant a wonderful story that held captive Master Eddie’s impatient little limbs, and wrapped his imagination in such complete forgetfulness of the outside world, that it was only at the very sharpest twinges that he even winced.

“And the Princess Witeasmilk,” said Rose, with slow and pompous mystery, “the Princess Witeasmilk was never seed in her father’s palish after dat night; an’ jes’ as true as I’m a-standin’ yer she ’loped an’ wus married to dat very Fairy Prince she seed by de moonlight a-dancin’ onto de end of her l-o-n-g y-e-l-l-o-w c-u-r-l!” And with this startling finale came the brush and twist of Eddie’s last “long yellow curl,” and off he ran with a shout of happy emancipation.

“Laws-a-massy!” said Rose, stooping down to look at her glass beads in the little mirror of the little bureau, “de chile’s done gone forgot to say his prars; an’ I don’t wonder, wen I filled his head full o’ sech nonsense. I jes reckon de good Lord’ll take ker of him fur one day, anyhow.” So quieting her conscience, she threw open the windows and proceeded to air the sheets, blankets, and pillows of the pretty little pink bed, doing all to the high-pitched tune of “Captain Jinks.” This musical performance was not without its effect upon a smart-looking colored boy on the door-steps opposite, who turned from polishing his brasses to bestow an admiring recognition upon the singer, who returned it with interest.

In the mean time, Eddie in his high chair, with careful pinafore tied around his neck, is in the full enjoyment of the first “cakes” of the season,—his not over-judicious mother having granted his petition for “syrup and butter too,” on his share of the delicately browned circumferences, so dear to the palates of his countrymen, and so expensive to their dyspeptic digestions.

With his own silver fork—aunty’s Christmas gift—mouthful after mouthful goes plump into the rosebud of his pretty face, down into the little fat stomach, which more and more resembles a drum with the parchment drawn very tight indeed.

“My dear,” says mamma, at last, as papa, rejoicing in his boy’s good appetite, cuts up on his plate the top smoker, fresh from the new half-dozen just brought in by turbaned Dinah, who “wonders whar dat good-fur-nuthin’ Rose is now?” “My dear, don’t you think Eddie is rather over-eating? Buckwheat cakes, you know, are not considered exactly the diet for young children. Eddie, isn’t your forehead hard yet? Dear me, yes! Come, mamma’s pet, I wouldn’t eat any more.” As mamma helped herself in the act of giving this advice to her son, he very naturally decided in behalf of his appetite, notwithstanding that his forehead was very hard indeed,—a “sign” he had been taught to consider infallible ever since the days of his nursery pap. His decision was, moreover, biased by his father’s answer:—

“O, let the child eat as long as he enjoys his food. Nothing makes children so puny and delicate as the modern notion of dieting. Now, when I was a boy, I ate everything and anything; look at me!”

This young gentleman owned himself conquered at last. With but little of the vivacity which brightened the breakfast-room as he entered with good-morning kisses, he slid down from his high-chair, and moved off slowly, ponderously, half yawning, as if life were already a bore,—he the merry Puck of the house!

He threw himself down on the hearth-rug and pulled the kitten’s tail; she was lazy and would not play. Poor kitty! perhaps she had drank too much milk. Mamma went through the parlors into her little green-room to water her flower-pots and give the birds their breakfast,—happy birds! that could not eat too many buckwheat cakes! Eddie arose with some difficulty and went into the kitchen, for this was not a tabooed place to our little master, as it is to the commonwealth of young gentlemen whose cooks are Bridgets and not Dinahs. To him, the pet of the linsey petticoats, it was a resort full of entertainment, as varied as its multiplied pursuits, and of cheerful, sympathetic companionship. Rose was baking cakes for the “second table.” How delightful to watch her, as she first rubbed the sissing griddle with the lump of suet on the end of a kitchen fork, and then poured the batter which surprised (as the French cook calls it) the hot surface into an ejaculatory s-s-p-a-t-t! This in a few minutes becomes a cake, or half of one, for it must be turned, and with the “turning,” interest warms into excitement: If Rose shouldn’t hit just the right distance from the next neighbor cake! There, miss, I told you so! that one did fall half over the other! “O Rose, let me try just once! I know I could!” But Rose was hard-hearted.

“Now, Mas’ Ed, you’se too fresh; I’ll jes’ go tell yer ma to call you in de house, ef you don’t quit a-pesterin’.”

“No, you won’t, miss,” speaks up Aunt Dinah, setting down her bowl of coffee, with dignity, “I should jes’ like to know w’y de chile can’t bake de cake ef he wants to. Come hyah, honey, an’ turn one fur Aunt Dinah; course he shill. You, Rose, gim me de turner dis minit! A putty one you is to git along wid children! You isn’t wuth yer salt,—not dat I ’proves ov allers givin’ ’em der own way nuther?”

So a little cake was poured on the griddle, and Eddie held the turner; Dinah held his wrist, and they turned it between them. Then another was poured, to let him do it “by his own sef”; and then another, because he did that one “so nice.”

Finally, being reanimated by the novelty of the performance, he must eat the three he had cooked, which accordingly he did,—Aunt Dinah sagely remarking at the time:—

“ ’Pears to me dat wite folks never does ’low der children to eat as much as dey wants. Here’s dis bressed chile dat allers comes out hyah hungry, and jes’ frum de very table!”

The day wore on with less noise from Master Eddie than usual,—that is, less noise of a lively sort, for of fretting, and occasionally worse, there was no lack. I am not sure that at the curling torture preparatory to dinner he did not assault his faithful Rose, with more or less intent to hurt, refusing to hearken to her tale of the Wonderful Genie with Seven Mouths. At dinner, as his appetite was not craving, he was tempted with certain delicacies usually denied him, and especially with a rich dessert. After this repast Eddie’s temper was by no means improved; a cold, hard, leaden lump lay where a pleasant, comfortable dinner ought to have been; there was no enjoyment for him in any game or toy; even his new rocking-horse, that would take him all the way to Banbury Cross on springs, was a delusion and a bore.

Like the little girl in funny Punch, his “world was hollow,” and everything “stuffed with sawdust,” or worse, with buckwheat cakes! He was cross to everybody; he didn’t even love his “pretty mamma,” as he called her; and what the matter was the poor little fellow did not know. His cheeks were very rosy and his eyes very bright; his grandma, who came in during the afternoon, said he looked feverish, but his mother pronounced him perfectly well: “If you think he is ill, you ought to have been here at breakfast-time!”

It was getting too cool for the customary issuing forth of the children of the neighborhood on the “front pavement,” but within his little coat Eddie promenaded “round the square” several times with Rose, who on these occasions, in spite of Aunt Dinah’s protest, was indescribably vigilant and devoted,—the perfection of a born nurse. But at last the horrid day was at an end; he waited only for papa’s good-night kiss, before he went off with flushed cheeks and feverish eyes to bed. Rose undressed him by a little wood-fire kindled on the hearth; she held him on her lap while he toasted his soft pink feet, and when he was very plainly on the express-train for Shut-Eye Town, she put him in a private car and tucked him in! Mamma ran up after tea to see that her darling was all snug; he was a trifle restless only, so with a kiss and the same silly gibberish that all the mothers of all the young folks indulge in on like occasions, she left him to rejoin her husband in the parlor.

Some hours after, the inside of that little curly head was the scene of many strange performances: it wasn’t like a head at all, but rather like the stage of a theatre, full of the fantastic brilliancy of a Christmas pantomime. Part of the time Eddie was looker-on, part of the time player, and often both at once; and to do all this inside of his own little head was, to say the least, peculiarly perplexing. This hodge-podge of funny things continued, it seemed to Eddie, for years and years. He got so tired of the monkeys and the elephants and the butterflies, and of being first one and then the other; of hanging on to trees by his tail, and squirting water from his trunk, and sucking honey out of pasteboard flowers. He was so tired of the little men made of gingerbread dough, who rode furiously up and down on “horse-cakes,” grinning at him and asking him to take a bite. Then there was a supper-table, loaded down with everything nice to eat, but when they—monkeys, elephants, and all—were about to sit down to the feast, every blessed thing—beef, mutton, chickens, cakes, pies, and the rest—just turned upside down on the table and walked off with the dishes on their backs!

One of the elderly and irritable elephants became enraged at this strange proceeding and accused Eddie—who was then a monkey, scrambling for nuts—of having spoiled all their fun by his greediness; and thereupon he seized him with his trunk and threw him wildly up and down in the air,—up as high as the moon it seemed to the terrified monkey. He tried to scream for help, but in vain; nothing but a faint gasp came with his best trying.

“Mamma!” he at last managed to whisper.

“What is it, my pet?” answered his mother from the next room, who slept, as only mothers can, with one eye open; and in a moment was at his bedside.

“What’s the matter, Eddie? Want a drink?”

“O mamma, I had such an awful dream! I was riding on an elephant like the one I saw at the ’nagerie, and I am so thirsty.”

“Here’s some water, dear; now lie down and go fast asleep again.”

Eddie was not slow to obey; but still his little head was full of curious thoughts, that walked about like living things, and talked to him and made faces; at last they grew less fantastic, and took the shape of a story such as Rose had told him.

He was now neither monkey nor butterfly, but just “his own sef,” and he was walking alone along a narrow country road, not in the least like any place he had ever seen. There were rocks and mountains on one side ever, ever so high; no houses in sight, no cows nor trees nor chickens nor green grass, such as he sees in the country where he goes in the summer-time.

It was very lonesome and the way was long, and his feet so tired and cold; where was he going, and, above all, when should he get there? He would have cried, only he had never cried in a dream and he didn’t know how. All at once the road came to an end, or at least it came to a mountain, which is very nearly the same thing.

“I must never turn back,” thought brave little Eddie, “let what will come; up this mountain I am bound to go!”

So he began to climb, and as he climbed he made a discovery. The mountain was not rock, not stones, not dirt; it was not a mountain at all, but an enormous pile, reaching to the very clouds, of buckwheat cakes! Of every size and in every shade of brownness, thick and thin, turned and unturned; only all perfectly round and laid one upon the other with the utmost regularity. Although very hungry, Eddie did not dare touch one for fear the whole mass would tumble into the sea below. He was also thirsty, and seeing a stream flowing down the mountain-side, he was about to stoop and drink, when lo! it was not water, but batter,—batter for cakes! So he was forced to go on, weary and hungry and thirsty. His little feet ached, for climbing up a “natural staircase” of that sort was no easy performance; he would gladly have lain down; but such a bed! it was not to be thought of. Just as hope was at its lowest ebb in that little dyspeptic breast of his, a castle rose to view. (Rose’s stories always had a castle.) The sight was welcome, though it looked dark and gloomy enough standing there in its sulky loneliness. Poor Eddie’s heart sank within him, but there was no help for it; he must ask for a night’s shelter, or perish with cold and hunger. He was spared the pains of asking, however, for a servant of the castle had seen him from a window in the turret, and made haste to make him welcome.

“Will your master ’low me to come in,” said Eddie, with his best manners, nevertheless much terrified at the frightful goblin-like countenance of the man.

“O yes,” answered he, “nothing my master likes better than little boys,—little boys that are tender and juicy,—(I mean gentle and well-behaved.) So come in, my little man; your hard day’s journey is at an end.”

These words, apparently kind, were said with a leer of double meaning, so cold and cruel that Eddie fairly trembled in his balmorals.

“But,” the man continued, “you haven’t asked who my master is; did you ever hear of the Giant Griddle-Magog in the story of Jack the Giant-Killer?”

“O yes,” said Eddie, his heart in his mouth.

“Well, my dear, that Jack was an impudent boaster; he never killed the Giant Griddle-Magog, for he lives in this very castle, and he does not eat hasty-pudding any more, but cakes,—buckwheat cakes! B-u-c-k-w-h-e-a-t C-a-k-e-s. Do you hear, little hop o’ my thumb? B-u-c-k-w-h-e-a-t C-a-k-e-s!” And here he went off into such a frenzy of impish laughter that Eddie almost swooned on the spot.

In the castle all was a hurly-burly of odd sights and strange noises, bangings and moanings as of the wind, rumblings and indistinct talking, with now and then a word or a mocking laugh coming up, as it were, to the surface. The fire smouldered in the huge chimney; ugly bats flew headlong in the dim recesses of the vast hall, and the hunting dogs growled and snapped in their dreams, as they rested from the fatigues of the chase. Altogether it was a terrifying place for a little spoiled child to find himself in, and Eddie could not help thinking how much nicer it was to hear a fairy story than to be in one. Suddenly a door swung back with a clang, and in came half a dozen burly men, who kicked the hounds yelping from the hearth, and threw logs upon the dying embers. Then they drew forth the rude tables to make ready for supper.

“The master is hungry,” roared one to the cook, “are the cakes stirred up yet?”

“All ready,” answered the cook, “but the boy was not so good as he might have been.”

“The boy,” thought Eddie, “what has a boy, good or bad, to do with cakes, except to eat as many as he wants?” But he was too busy watching the proceedings to give further consideration to the matter.

“What’s this?” exclaimed one of the men, coming up to him. “Odds bodkins! what a wee chap, to be sure! Trot out, little one, let’s see thy paces!” At this address, in a threatening tone, Eddie turned as pale as death.

“O, let him be,” said the other, who had brought him into the castle, “it is not his turn yet. He came in for a night’s lodging.” At this a horrible wink went the rounds of the party, who all joined in a mocking, giggling chorus.

Presently, when the lighted torches flared about the hall, and the fire leaped madly up the wide chimney, a blare of trumpets announced the approach of the terrible Giant Griddle-Magog! With heavy strides and ponderous puffs this awful personage stalked into the hall and threw himself down upon the seat of honor at the head of the table. Everybody who has read Jack and the Beanstalk knows how a Giant looks; so what use in describing him? Eddie now knew that the half had never been told him of the ferocity and hideousness of such a monster.

“Let the cook come in!” thundered Griddle-Magog. The six men rushed all together to the door, and all six roared, “Let the cook come in!” Forthwith a fat, chunky fellow, humpbacked and with little round eyes glistening like beads, a fiery red head surmounted with a tall white paper hat, and body stoutly girdled with a white apron, came waddling in, preserving as best he could the dignity of carriage befitting his high position in the Giant’s household.

“What is it my lord’s pleasure to be pleased to order for his lordship’s supper?” asked the cook, bowing as low as his fatness permitted, and clapping on again his paper hat, as one would put an extinguisher over a candle flame.

“What indeed?” said the Giant in a tone of ironical rage; “one would think I had the fancies of a sick girl. Sirrahs,” he roared to the six servants, “what do I eat for supper? What do I always eat for supper?”

“Buckwheat cakes, your highness,” said the six servants in a breath.

“Bring the apparatus!” said the cook, majestically, and immediately the servants went out and presently came back, bearing between them a huge furnace of red-hot coals, a brazen griddle, and a spouted caldron full of batter that seemed to flounder about as if it were actually alive.

The cook rolled up his sleeves and began operations. The brazen griddle, six feet square at least, commenced to siss over the red-hot coals; it was well rubbed with a piece of beef-suet as large as a water-pail, and the caldron was raised by the six servants ready to pour out the batter at the given signal.

“Stop there!” thundered the Giant. “Is he young and tender?”

“I humbly hope so,” answered the cook with a profound obeisance. “Your lordship must be the judge, since who would dare touch your lordship’s morsel?”

“Be ready,” said the cook to the servants, “One! Two! Three! Pour!” And S-P-A-T-T-T! down came the batter till the enormous griddle was almost covered.

“How will they ever turn it?” thought little Eddie in his dim corner, and, in the excitement forgetting his fears, he drew near to watch the seething mass.

Horrors upon horrors! not a huge round cake, as he supposed, but a boy, kicking and frizzling and frying upon the brazen griddle!

“Turn him,” said the cook, with awful brevity.

The six servants, each with a long-handled implement, something like a spade, rushed one at the head, one at each foot, one at each arm, and one at the small of the batter back. Then, as before, “One! Two! Three! Turn!” and over he went, as nicely browned as one would wish to see.

In a few minutes the buckwheat cake was on the Giant’s trencher, but at the first mouthful fury possessed him. “Fire and fagots!” roared the monster, while the cook and the six servants quaked with fear, “am I to be made a fool of within my own castle walls? See that you get ready a supper worth my eating, or I’ll make a stew of your own miserable heads!”

“Your lordship, be pleased to consider—” began the trembling cook.

“Hold your tongue!” shouted the Giant. “I give you thirty minutes, while I smoke a pipe, to make ready. Young, juicy, tender, mind you, or off with your head!”

The cook smote his fat breast in despair; he even took off his paper cap and pulled his hair; but it hurt, and he suddenly desisted from that expression of his emotions.

The six servants, roused by the painful exigency of the occasion, had an idea,—that is, they each had one sixth of an idea, which they threw into the common mental fund.

They whispered into the ear of the frantic cook, who didn’t wait to neatly finish off his fine frenzy, but at once made for the corner where little Eddie stood breathless.

“He’ll just do!” exclaimed the cook, “and my life is safe for one more night. Come along, my fine lad! Kicking won’t mend your matters,—into the batter-pot you go!”

But for all that, Eddie kept on kicking, and from kicking he came to screaming; and scream he did, long and loud, till he found himself free from the cook and in the arms of his mother. This angel of sudden mercy leaned over him: “O my darling, what is the matter? James, come here, be quick; Eddie is very ill; you must go for the doctor immediately!”

“O mamma,” said Eddie, between his sobs, “such a frightful place I was in! and they were just going to fry me when you came! O dear! O dear!”

“Never mind, pet, you are all safe now!” (Aside to her husband.) “O James, look at the child’s eyes! He certainly has brain-fever, his head is like fire! Do be quick for the doctor, and call Rose.”

The next morning, when all anxiety was over, and the boy relieved by prompt treatment, Rose was suddenly overcome; she threw herself down at the foot of Eddie’s bed, and, between crying and choking off, confessed to his mother:—

“O Miss Sophie, all dis yer was my fault; it was all on ’count o’ my forgettin’ to make him say his prars yes’day mornin’. I didn’t call him back when he runned down stairs to breakfus’, an’ I had de imperence to say to mysef, ‘De good Lord’ll take care ov him fur one day anyhow’; and now all dis yer trouble jes’ come on ’count ov my wickedness, and, O dear! ef dat ar darlin’ chile had a-died, I never could ha’ forgived mysef, de longest day I lived; O my! O my!”

“Now, Rose,” said her mistress, by no means displeased by this affectionate burst, “just stop crying and hush your nonsense; the prayers and the good Lord had nothing to do with the matter. We nearly killed poor little Eddie with buckwheat cakes, and I hope it will be a lesson for all of us for the rest of the season.”

The next time that Eddie took his seat at the breakfast-table, a little pale and quite subdued, he looked longingly at the hot cakes that Aunt Dinah fetched in smoking from the griddle.

“Mamma,” he said, brightening with the idea deeply impressed by his Rose, “they won’t make me sick now, for I said my prayers this morning.”

His mother laughed: “My little boy, you don’t know what the good bishop said to the lady who had a great many little boys.”

“No, ma’am,” answered Eddie.

“Neither do I,” said his papa.

“Well,” he said, “that for certain things it is necessary to fast as well as pray.”

“What does that mean, mamma?”

“O, it means that you mustn’t eat any more buckwheat cakes, prayers or no prayers. What, tears! Does my little boy want to be fried, after all, by that horrid cook? I might not get there just in time another night, you know.”

H. L. Palmer.


The little village of Grünenthal lies in a deep valley through which a noisy stream comes roaring and leaping as if hurrying to escape from that gloomy forest on the mountain.

The stream bore no resemblance to those calm, peaceful English rivers that glide tranquilly on their way seaward, never speaking in a louder tone than a soft whispering ripple; not so this boisterous northern brook. The whole course of a river depends upon the start it gets in life. This one, for instance, did not begin by oozing quietly from the ground; it had no green fields for its cradle; its birthplace was high up on the wild mountain. Two huge rocks had once crashed together, and from between them sprung this stream. Other little rivulets are cheered along by grasses and flowers waving over them: this one had no such friends; indeed, if the bluebells did venture to spring up around, in their attempts to be sociable, they were soon driven off by his rough play. So his only companions all down the mountain were the cold gray rocks, and the mosses that cling to them through everything, and will not be driven away even when the rude stream drenches them with spray. They are stanch friends.

Above, the forest-trees tossed their bare arms, and moaned and sighed all winter long; and even when they had put on their green summer robes the little birds were shy of going near the stream; and when the village children, on holiday excursions, climbed the mountain and wandered through the wood in search of wild-flowers, it was always with the promise of keeping away from the stream.

It was so lonely and wild all through its course, and in the spring-time played such mischief with the fields and gardens in the valley, that the ignorant village people insisted it was not so much the inundations they dreaded, as the evil spirits who hovered round, and the water-kelpies lurking beneath its surface, who would surely lure any children to death who should go within reach of their charms. So it was feared and shunned by all the villagers.

More than half-way up the mountain, just on the skirts of the forest, and not so far distant from the stream but that if one paused to listen he might always hear it on its rushing way, there stood a very small, neat cottage. It was protected on the north from the too rough winter winds by jutting rocks; a bend in the road hid it from the village.

Perhaps there is nothing more aggravating to village curiosity than a solitary house whose owner holds himself aloof; a house occupied by mysterious people, if it is actually in the village, is a constant gratification; for the most secluded appear at times, and give material for gossip. But situated as this cottage was, so distant and retired, none but a professional Paul Pry could watch it. All that the villagers knew was that some years before the cottage, having long stood vacant, was repaired; and one night about sunset a lady was seen with a baby in her arms walking up the mountain road. Moreover, one of the village gossips, anxious for further discoveries, followed her at a distance, saw her enter the little cottage and close the door. Unfortunately, the lady’s veil was dropped, so that her face could not be seen.

Ever since, she had lived there alone, receiving no friends, nor visiting any; seldom seen in the village except on Sundays, when she regularly attended mass in the village chapel, bringing the child with her, and always wearing a veil as at first. She gave liberally to the poor, and the little boy was more richly dressed than the neighbors’ children, so the most groundless stories were started of her enormous wealth; many felt sure she was a princess in disguise. Finally, after racking their brains to account for the lady’s simple, quiet life, they wisely concluded to go back to their own affairs, and wait for further disclosures.

Let us, too, take a look at the cottage. Outside the December winds are whistling, and the snow whirling down as if the whole winter were not before it; already enough has fallen to bury the path leading to the door, as well as the leafless stems of bushes growing under the windows; almost every moment trees in the forest are heard snapping and are overthrown by the storm.

Within, the scene is less dreary. A bright wood-fire is crackling merrily. The room, though neat, is scantily furnished. If the village gossips could look in, they would be at a loss to find signs of wealth; indeed, the only indication of it is a richly illuminated book lying upon the table.

The lady who has excited so much curiosity is sitting before the fire, very different in appearance from the common people of the village; her features are delicate; the soft, dark hair, and deep black eyes heighten the paleness of her face; she would look haughty except for those sad lines round her mouth. The little boy sitting in her lap has thrown one arm around her neck, which he affectionately draws closer every few moments, at the same time covering her face with kisses. He is a rosy little fellow, with long light curls falling on his shoulders, resembling his mother only about the eyes.

The short winter day has already closed, and the only light in the room comes from the blazing pine-knots.

After one of his most loving embraces, the little boy breaks silence: “Mamma, will to-morrow night be Christmas eve?”

The lady nods assent.

“And, mamma dear, I have been a very good boy; will you take me to the village, as you did last Christmas eve, and let me go to the doors and sing a carol; and then perhaps the good people will call me in again to look at their lighted Christmas-trees. Do you remember how one little girl asked me if I was the Christ-child?—say, mamma.” And he gave her another hug to gain her attention, for she had all the time been looking fixedly at the fire, without seeming to notice his appeal. The last embrace recalled her; she put him down and walked to the window. After looking out a few minutes, she replied,—

“I fear the snow will be too deep after this storm”; and added to herself, half aloud, “How noisy the kelpies are to-night!”

Apparently not wishing to draw the child’s attention to that subject, she took up the illuminated book, resumed her seat, and said,—

“Come, Carl, let me see how well you can sing the carol, and then I will show you these pictures!”

Much pleased with the suggestion, he stationed himself beside her, and began singing in a sweet, childish voice one of those touching Christmas ballads so common throughout Germany. As his voice rose and fell, it seemed to drown the fury of the storm; and as he ended, a ray of light struck the floor, from the moon just struggling through the clouds.

When Carl opened his eyes the following morning, he found that the sun had got the start of him. All traces of the storm had disappeared, except that branches torn off by the wind lay scattered upon the ground; all the roughnesses of the valley and mountain were hidden under the sparkling weight that rested upon it.

Those who live on the mountains must be early risers. Accordingly Carl was out of bed and dressed at about the time children in the valley would wake: then having despatched his bread-and-milk, and added to his mother’s prayer for protection from the malice of all evil spirits a request that the Christ-child would forgive his sins, and visit him and all good children, he begged his mother’s permission to go to the forest and play in the snow.

He ran off gayly, singing snatches of the songs she had taught him. Now he moulded the snow into little birds, and again fashioned it into a beautiful figure, like his mother’s description of the Christ-child; he clapped his hands with delight to see how it shone in the morning sunlight.

So he wandered on, forgetting all but the charming sights around him. On a sudden he came to the stream; how innocent it looked! It sparkled in every drop as it leaped from rock to rock: glittering icicles hung all around in every fantastic shape.

Carl was charmed; it did not seem the same river that he had seen before, so dark and swollen. Heedless of all his mother’s cautions, he climbed nearer and nearer. The falling spray froze and dropped just below him in a sparkling star;—he scrambles to reach it over the slippery rocks; in taking it, one foot dips beneath the water.

That instant a thousand cold, watery hands seize him and bear him under, struggling and sobbing. Stupefied with fear, they hurry him on against the tide, beneath fallen trees and through gloomy caverns, which he is too unconscious to see; up, up, till they reach the source of the stream, an ice palace, and there yield him to their princess.

This tiny, cruel princess was a niece of the good old elf Santa Claus; but she did not in the least resemble him, either in appearance or disposition.

How such a sensible old fellow, and one who requires such model conduct in children, should ever have indulged and spoiled this niece is a mystery! She had not the most senseless whim ungratified; and though he himself was so rough, and dwelt in such a rude underground retreat, he allowed this little lady to live in the most extravagant style, and had caused his workmen to build the most exquisite palace for her gratification.

It was certainly a remarkable specimen of architecture. Ice-covered branches supported the curious crystal arches of the halls; the stone pavement was covered with frost-work in forms of the most delicate leaf-tracery. The walls were built of the clearest, coldest ice. Crystal cascades adorned some of the apartments. The pictures and most of the ornamental work were executed by a distant cousin of the princess,—a famous artist, known to mortals as Mr. John Frost.

Santa Claus not only bore the original expense of the building; he was also obliged to keep workmen constantly busy repairing damages caused by the heat of the sun.

Within the palace all was cold and glittering; the little princess always appeared in a snowy robe, and her only ornaments were the purest crystals.

It is hard to tell how she employed her time, day after day; she had nothing to do but to amuse herself, which is, to be sure, the most difficult task that can be set any one. Almost every night she gave a great ball; and through the day she wandered about her palace, trying to think of some new pleasure.

She finally decided that she would be happy if some mortal child could be stolen and brought to her; so she had offered a prize to any one of her subjects who should gratify her desire.

She had waited in vain until now, for her province only embraced a narrow strip of land all down the stream; and all the children shunned it till this time, when poor Carl had ventured too near, enticed by the sparkling waters. That was the reason that the kelpies had been so eager to seize him.

The child lay on the palace floor half dead, and all the curious little people walked around to look at him. When they had rubbed him, and dried his clothes out in the sun, he revived, and saw the tiny princess, with her icicle sceptre, standing there and looking at him.

“Sing,” she said, imperiously. The treatment he had received was not likely to make him feel like singing; still, all bewildered, and wondering if he were looking at one of the Christmas-trees in the village, he began to sing a little carol. When he reached the name of the Christ-child, the little princess grew very angry, and shook her head at him.

Then Carl remembered how he had fallen into the water, and what his mother had told him about the wicked elves.

Sobbing and crying for his mother, he tried to run from the hall, but a guard of little people held him back.

When the princess saw that nothing would content him so long as he thought of home, she commanded some of her wise subjects by their magic arts to rob him of his memory. Desirous to obey her, they stole away one by one every remembrance of home and his mother.

He grew with the years in body, but not in mind; that had been dwarfed by their evil arts. The princess made him sing to her all the songs he knew, again and again, but never would listen to the Christmas hymns. After a time she permitted him to stray outside the palace, sure that he would not seek to return home.

There is no need to tell of his mother’s anxious waiting for Carl’s return that Christmas eve; of her frantic search for him through the forest and over the mountain, until she traced his footprints in the snow to the edge of the stream; or of the wonder of the village people who now saw her come and go alone.

She sold every costly possession, except the illuminated book, and gave the money to the poor; she seemed to take comfort only in wandering through the forest where Carl had played.

Once, after many years had passed and her step was growing feeble, she had climbed the mountain higher than ever before, when she came upon a man sitting on a stone, his lap filled with wild-flowers, which he was pulling to pieces and scattering on the ground. His long soft hair reached half down his back, and his beard swept the ground; his face was turned from her; and she thought, “It is the crazy old man whom the village children fear.” Suddenly he began to sing in a low voice Carl’s Christmas carol. Unable to restrain herself, while the tears rolled down her cheeks, she joined in the song as she had been used to do; he looked up, startled, and cried, “Mamma!”

The little cottage looked cheerful again, as the mother sat before the fire, with the childish old man, her son, sitting at her feet, his head resting on her lap.

“Mamma, do you think the Christ-child will come this year? He never came before, and I have tried to be a good boy!” But almost before he had finished speaking, he had forgotten his question, and lay gazing vacantly into the fire, while his mother gently smoothed back the hair from his forehead.

That night, just before the dawn, the old man saw the beautiful Christ-child enter, and heard the sweet voice that had haunted his dreams calling him; he answered, “Thou hast come at last; but I must not leave my mamma again; we will take her with us.” And the Christ-child heard his prayer.

When the priest had watched in vain for the strange lady the following Sunday, he made bold to climb the mountain and knock at the cottage door. No answer came, and when he lifted the latch no sound of welcome greeted him. He trembled nervously, fearing that the evil mountain spirits had been at work; but his apprehensions were calmed when he saw the illuminated book lying on the table, open at the story of the Christ-child.

After a time the cottage was torn down, the ground sprinkled with holy water, and on the spot a little shrine was placed where all who are climbing the mountain may stop and ask protection; where the children of the village always hush their mirth, and offer a prayer as they go and come from their rambles.


“Papa, why don’t the generals in the army get killed in battle?”

It was Willie Blake, whom you have possibly met before, who asked this curious question. He was rather fond of asking odd questions, as you may remember; and this one rather surprised his father, to whom it was addressed. As he asked it Willie looked up from the book which he had been reading and caught his father’s surprised look.

“Why, Willie,” replied his father, “what do you mean? There were a great many generals killed in our army. Don’t you remember there was General Lyon and General Kearney and General McPherson and—”

“But I mean the great generals, papa,—like Sherman and Sheridan and Thomas and Meade and Grant. I’ve been reading about the great war for the Union, and I notice that none of the generals of large armies on either side were killed or even wounded. And though I’ve been thinking, I can’t understand why?”

“Perhaps it is because, with all your reading of the history of the war, you do not yet understand precisely how battles are fought.”

Willie very readily admitted that he had no clear understanding about it, and then added, very eagerly, that he would like to know, if his father would be so good as to tell him. I have noticed that there are a great many young people—and old ones, too, for that matter—who have strange ideas of armies and battles; and for their sakes I have written out what Mr. Blake told his son; but they must read it carefully, or they will not be able to understand it, for it is a difficult subject to comprehend.

“I suppose, Willie,” began his father, “that you think the generals ought to be killed oftener because they are the most exposed. Is not that so? You always see the generals in front in the pictures; and when you have seen soldiers parading through the streets on holidays, you have noticed that the principal officers always rode in front and the soldiers walked behind.”

“Yes, sir,” answered Willie; “and that’s what made me wonder so few of them were killed.”

“It was very well reasoned, but you did not know that in battle it is the private soldier who goes in front and the generals who march behind.”

“I don’t think that is right,” exclaimed Willie, indignantly; and his sister Minnie, who was sitting by and listening attentively, said,—

“Shame on the generals!”

But their father only smiled at their enthusiasm.

“You think it very unjust that in parades the officers should have the place of honor, while the poor privates in battle must take the place of danger and march in front while the officer gets behind them; but still that place is not only best and wisest, but right also.”

“I don’t see how you can say so, papa,” persisted Willie, still dissatisfied with the generals.

“If you were to walk or parade through the streets on a bright sunny morning, you would hold your head up and look as handsome as possible, and not put your hands before your face to hide it, would you? But if you should be attacked by another boy and had to defend yourself from being injured, what would you do with your hands and face then? You would double up your hands into fists and put them up before your face to defend it. You would not think of running at your opponent head first, would you? Of course not, for you would want your head clear and your eyes open to see how to defend yourself. Well, every good army in a fight acts as if it was one man instead of many thousands of men; it is moved by one will; a single pair of eyes see for it, and one brain thinks for it. The soldiers are the arms; the general-in-chief is the head; and the head must be protected or the arms will be whipped. It is for this reason that the wisest and ablest generals show wisdom, and valor too, in keeping out of danger. But you must not suppose that they do not run any risk; for often they are in the midst of the hottest firing before they know it. At the battle of Shiloh one of General Grant’s officers had his head taken off by a cannon-ball while telling the General a message from another part of the field. In the battle of Stone River General Rosecrans’s chief officer was killed in the same way while riding by his side. But the commanders of armies are not exposed to as great danger as the men are; they are often where they cannot see the fighting, and are engaged during the battle in some apparently unimportant work, sitting behind trees or in houses.”

“Didn’t the ancient generals go in front of their soldiers in battle?” asked Willie.

“Sometimes; but you must remember that war is very different now from what it was then. In ancient times generals were leaders of men; in modern warfare they are directors of great machines. In ancient wars the generals were chosen from the strongest and bravest of the army; now they are selected from among the wisest and coolest; and it happened in our great war that the wisest and coolest was also the very smallest in person of all the generals on both sides. In ancient times the generals put themselves at the head of the men and waved their swords and cried aloud, ‘Follow me, my brave men!’ Nowadays they stay behind and say, ‘Push forward here,’ or ‘Charge there.’ I was sitting once by the side of a great general who was just going to attack a strong position with his whole army. The enemy was only a short distance from where we sat on our horses,—so near that we could see them in their fort moving about, and they were firing great cannon-balls and shells at the troops who stood around and in front of us. Now what do you suppose this general said when he ordered the attack to be made? If he had been one of the ancient generals, he would have put himself at their head and said, ‘Follow me, my heroes’: I will tell you what he really did. He was smoking a cigar while the troops were preparing to charge on the Rebel fort, and when he spoke, he did not even take his cigar out of his mouth. He only turned to the general whose troops were in front, and, calling him by his Christian name instead of his title of General, he said, ‘Well, Hugh, I guess you had better go ahead; and I say, old fellow, don’t ask for help before you need it.’ Then the other general put spurs to his horse; in a few minutes the whole army began to move, and directly the battle opened. That was the way the famous General Sherman ordered the charge of his army at the great battle of Chattanooga.”

“Papa,” pleaded Willie, who was afraid his father’s story had come to an end, “do tell us all about one of the big battles you saw?”

“I am afraid you would not understand. I think I had better tell you first about an army,—how it is raised, how it lives in camp, how it marches to the battle-field, and how it acts when it gets there. That will give you the best idea of war, and then you can understand about any battle you read of.

“In the first place,” began Mr. Blake, “I will tell you how armies are raised. The manner of doing this differs in different countries. Most foreign countries keep what are called ‘standing armies,’ always in camp ready for any war which their rulers may get into. We have a standing army in this country, but it is very small,—only large enough to take care of the government property in the forts. The standing armies of foreign countries are kept full all the time by buying men to enter the service. Generally it is poverty which forces men to enlist in the regular armies of all countries, our own as well as those of Europe. In England they have officers who recruit, that is, get fresh soldiers in this way. They go into the low places and drinking-houses of the great cities, and find men drunk and starving. They offer to lend them a shilling. When the poor man has taken and spent it for more drink or for food, they tell him it is the ‘king’s shilling,’ and that he is enlisted. That is the law there, and the poor man has to serve in the army for five years. In France and Germany and Russia and Austria each citizen has to serve a certain time in the army, or furnish a man to do it for him, and these keep the armies full at all times. When war breaks out and more soldiers are wanted, they are selected by lottery or by conscription. A certain number are chosen from each village and city; and the unfortunate young men who are chosen or conscripted have to leave their parents and wives and little ones at once to go into the army, perhaps never to see them again. In this country, when a war breaks out, the President calls for troops, and the citizens volunteer and go to war for the honor of the country, not their own benefit. When President Lincoln called for an army of seventy-five thousand men to defend the capital against the rebels, how many men do you suppose volunteered? Almost enough men offered to go from the loyal States to make ten armies of that size. It was not two weeks before the whole army was at Washington and in camp.

“A great camp,” resumed Mr. Blake after a moment or two, “is precisely like a great city. It has its streets and avenues often named after famous streets of famous cities; its great houses and its little ones; its stores and depots and shops and stables. There are policemen called ‘sentinels’ and ‘camp guards,’ and prisons called ‘guard-houses,’ and too often there are criminals in the form of drunken soldiers to be put in them. Every camp, like every great city, must be near great streams; and the running streams are to the camp as the water-works to the city, carrying the water to every door. The stores are those of the sutler,—a sort of groceryman authorized to sell to the regiments; the depots are those of the commissaries who feed and the quartermasters who clothe the troops; the shops are those of the blacksmith, who shoes horses and repairs the guns, the shoemakers, who repair the men’s shoes and the horses’ harnesses; there are often barber-shops, where one or two soldiers practise their old trade, and shave the rest of the army; I have seen tailors and even watchmakers with many regiments; and indeed almost all kinds of mechanics are to be found in American camps. Once I heard a general in a Western army complain that his watch was out of order; another general who was sitting by took it from him, took it to pieces and repaired it. When he handed it back he said, ‘I am an old watchmaker, general.’ The other general said in reply with great politeness, ‘I am much obliged, general; and if at any time your boots need repairing, send them to my headquarters, for I am an old shoemaker.’

“Besides these shops I have named, there are often bakeries for each regiment. The great houses of which I have spoken are the tents of the generals, or ‘headquarters’ as they are called; the small ones, those of the private soldiers. You have often seen the tents of the soldiers in pictures, but you do not in this way get a correct idea of them. If an army is to be encamped a single night only, the soldiers do not always put up their tents; but if the army is to remain in one place for a longer time, they arrange everything very nicely and comfortably. They put up arbors above their tents to shade them from the sun or rain, and often decorate them in this way very handsomely. Their greatest care, however, is given to the interior. They often floor them and make windows in them; they make tables to eat off, and beds to lie on, and stools to sit on, and even looking-glasses to see themselves in. Often they build great arbors of cedar to answer for churches; and I have seen many that were really handsome and picturesque. The soldiers in camp are generally a lively, happy set of men in spite of all their hardships; instead of making themselves miserable by repining at their troubles, they keep merry by keeping busy at work or play; and they are equally merry in camp or on the march.

“And now about the marching of an army. You are not to suppose that troops in the field near the enemy, march as they do in our streets, in a long procession. If they did this, an army would stretch over dozens of miles; the front of an army would be two or three days’ travel from its rear. Those who came last would really have no road to march on, for the roads are rapidly ruined by the marching over them of a very small part of an army. Instead of stretching in procession over many miles of a single road, the several corps or divisions of an army move on a great many roads at the same time,—as many as run towards the point or army which is to be attacked. Now, in the diagram here, the white blocks indicate an army encamped around a town waiting to be attacked; the black blocks indicate the enemy marching to the attack; the black and dotted lines show how it spreads out into line of battle,—the second line being what are called the reserves. You will readily understand that, if the whole army had moved by one road, it would have taken a great deal more time to get into line of battle than by moving by several roads. By this way of moving, you will notice that there are thrice as many men at all times fronting the enemy, and ready to fight him if he comes out to meet them, as there would be if they moved in one column or by one road. This matter of marching is one of the most difficult of things to do; and at West Point, where our soldiers are educated, the study of Logistics, or the art of marching, is one of the most important. As many generals fail to win by mistakes in marching to the battle-field as by errors in actual fighting. Some generals are famous as great marchers, or ‘strategists,’ who are not good fighters, or ‘tacticians’; and some win all their battles, but let the enemy escape after he is whipped, because they cannot march well.

“There is nothing in common life to which I can liken an army marching; but it is a very interesting sight. The men do not look on it, as you would suppose, as a hardship; they generally enjoy it, particularly if they are pursuing an enemy. I once saw a whole division—ten thousand men—marching after the Rebels through a heavy rain, knee deep in mud, and singing ‘We are marching on’ and ‘Rally round the flag, boys.’ Soldiers seldom complain of their hardships, but laugh at care, and cheer each other up with talk and song. In damp weather persons a mile away from a column of soldiers can locate them by the low, rumbling noise of their conversation; and songs may be heard several miles off, but the words are lost in a general volume of sound like the roar of a waterfall. In dry weather, and on dusty roads, the column of dust which the troops raise in marching can be seen many miles distant; and old soldiers can tell from the dust which they see, whether the troops are horsemen or foot-soldiers. At the great battle of Chickamauga, General Thomas was very much troubled by seeing a great column of dust directly behind his troops. He did not know whether it was caused by the enemy or his own friends coming to help him; and he doubted which way to face his troops. General Wood was standing by his side, and, after watching the cloud of dust for a long while, he said they were friends. How do you suppose he knew? He was an old soldier, and had noticed that foot-soldiers in marching raise a thick column of dust which does not rise very high, while the dust raised by horsemen or cavalry ascends in great spiral columns away above the tops of the trees. He saw from the dust that these were foot-soldiers, and as he knew that the Rebels had no foot-soldiers in that direction, he was certain they were friends. And so it proved; these friends came up and saved the army from being surrounded and captured.

“When troops are marching at night, a person can distinguish their position and tell the road they are on, by the clanking of the bayonet against the canteen, or by the rattling of the swords in the scabbards, or the rumbling of the wagons. Just before the battle of Nashville, General Hood was pursuing General Schofield’s army, and, thinking he might catch him by marching at night, he kept his troops going while General Schofield’s were trying to get a little sleep. The Rebels were marching on a parallel road a few miles away from that on which General Schofield was, but both led to the same place, and the battle would be easily won by the army which got there first. The clanking of the swords and bayonets of the Rebels betrayed them; General Schofield roused his army from sleep, and made it march all night. The two armies thus marched alongside of each other for many miles, having a hard race. If you will read the account of the battle of Franklin, in your History of the Rebellion, you will learn which army won the race and the battle.

“Of course there are often many difficulties encountered in marching. Sometimes roads must be made, mountains crossed, and bridges built over rivers. Most great armies carry their bridges with them. They are called ‘pontoons,’ and are in charge of the ‘pontooniers.’ Pontoons are simply flat-bottomed boats about twenty feet long and six or eight feet wide, with anchors and oars. They are mounted on trucks, and drawn across the country by mules. When the army comes to a stream too deep to ford, the boats are taken from the trucks, and instead of using them to ferry the troops over, they are launched on the stream, and anchored in a row from shore to shore about ten feet apart. Then heavy timbers are stretched from boat to boat, and on these strong planks or boards are laid, forming a bridge over which troops and wagons and cannon can be moved without delay. A bridge of this kind, a quarter of a mile long, can be built in one or two hours; and one is often made while the soldiers are being fired at by the enemy on the other side of the stream.

“Sometimes greater obstacles than rivers are found in ascending and descending mountains. When the roads are bad, the wagons and cannon have to be taken to pieces and are carried by mules and men; and at other times the men have to haul the guns where the horses cannot find a secure foothold. At the greatest heights the roads often run along the edge of a mountain, and are very dangerous in slippery or wet weather. I once saw a cannon which was being hauled up Lookout Mountain by a very narrow road, slip over the mountain-side into the ravine below, dragging the horses after it. Of course the cannon broke loose from its truck and was lost; the horses were instantly killed; and the wheels of the truck caught and hung in the tops of the trees which grew far below the summit of the precipice.

“Marching in this way over mountains and crossing rivers, the two rival armies gradually approach each other, and both sides prepare for battle. The soldiers fill their haversacks with extra allowances of food; each cartridge-box is filled with cartridges; the guards are increased; and the utmost caution is observed. The two armies get as close to each other as possible. The two lines of battle face each other, often being not more than half a mile apart, and each throws out a strong line of pickets.”

“What are pickets, papa?” asked Willie.

“I told you of the sentinels, did I not? Well, pickets in the field are what sentinels are in the camp, except that the sentinels guard the camp that the soldiers may not get out of it, and the pickets that the enemy may not get in. The line of sentinels surrounds the camp and fences the soldiers in; the line of pickets fences the enemy out. The pickets are there to give warning to the camp of the enemy’s approach, and very close watch they have to keep too. It is a serious thing to be on picket when the armies are near each other. While all the rest of the camp sleeps, the pickets are wide awake; if they sleep they are stolen upon, and killed by the enemy, or are shot down by their own comrades if caught slumbering when the ‘relief guard’ or ‘officer of the guard’ makes the ‘round.’ ‘Sleeping on his post’ is the greatest crime the soldier can commit, and death is the sure punishment. On the night before a battle, the pickets have a serious time of it. For fear of being shot by the enemy’s pickets, who are often only a few yards distant, they have to hide in bushes or lie close to the ground behind stumps or logs or trees. During General Sherman’s campaign in Georgia, his army and the Rebel army under General Johnson were in sight and hearing of each other for nearly one hundred days. During all this time, the Union and Rebel pickets were in hearing of each other; and there was not an hour that they were not firing at each other. This firing was so continuous and dangerous that the pickets had to dig holes to protect themselves. These were small holes about two feet deep and as many wide, the dirt from them being thrown up on the side next to the enemy. They were called ‘gopher holes’; and in these the pickets used to sit and watch each other. In the first part of the war the Rebels used to call our soldiers when digging trenches and building fortifications ‘the beavers in blue’; when they took to digging ‘gopher holes’ the Rebels called them ‘prairie dogs.’ If you have ever seen a prairie-dog hut, you will understand the Rebels’ meaning.

“In the same way that the sentinels change their character and become pickets, the army on the battle-field is not in camp, but ‘bivouac.’ No tents are put up; no fires are lighted; there is no noise, no cheerfulness. The men who were merry and frolicsome in camp are serious and solemn in bivouac. Instead of relating stories and exchanging jests, they talk of home and exchange messages with each other, or write letters for the loved ones at home.

“All is ready for the battle at last; and in the morning it is begun. Every good general makes his plan of battle before he commences it, and pursues it until he wins, or is compelled to change it to suit circumstances. No two battles were ever fought on precisely the same plan. I am not going to try to make you understand these things, because they require years of study. I will only say that all plans of battle are based on the idea of striking the enemy in his weakest point with your strongest. But in every attack the different branches or arms of the service have a distinct part to play. The infantry or foot-soldiers have the hardest work to do, and I will tell you of them first.

“In most of the war pictures which you see in books, the infantry are drawn up in regular line, firing away with the greatest regularity, and standing up in such a way that you wonder how the enemy can miss them. But that is not the way armies really fight. Each soldier of a regiment fires as often as he can, and as long as the enemy are in sight. The men are drawn up in two lines or rows, but when the fighting is going on they are not all standing or all lying down. Some kneel behind stumps; some stand behind trees; some lie close to the ground on their backs to load, and on their breasts to fire, while others lie down to load, and stand up to fire. Some hastily fire without taking aim at all; others take deliberate aim at a particular person in the enemy’s ranks, and fire slowly.

“I was standing behind a big tree during the battle of Chickamauga, and a Kentucky regiment of Union troops was in line of battle about five feet in front of me, fighting very hard. While I was looking on, a great, tall soldier left the line and came up to me as if he thought he had as much right to that protecting tree as I had; but he said nothing until he had loaded his gun. Then he slowly levelled it until the barrel was across my shoulder. ‘Stand still, captain,’ he said to me, mistaking me for an officer; ‘I’ll get him this time. I’ve shot at that colonel twice before, and I ain’t going to miss him again.’ I stood as still as I could; he rested his gun on my shoulder, and took good aim; at last he fired. I did not see any one fall, but he did, for when I turned to him to ask him the result of the shot, he grinned at me, and winked his eye, and said, ‘I got him that pop.’ That soldier was worth three or four of those who fired without looking at what they were shooting; he picked out his particular man each time he fired, and so wasted no powder. But very few men have the courage to fire in this cool way; and out of a regiment, nine tenths of the men will waste their powder and hurt nobody. Persons who have calculated say that for every man killed in war his weight in lead is wasted, and so there came into use the expression which you may have heard, that ‘it takes a man’s weight in lead to kill him in battle.’

“Sometimes the regiment has to charge; then the men fix bayonets, and rush upon the enemy without firing at all; but it is very seldom that they ever get to such close quarters that they can use their sharp points. The regiment charging either breaks up before the enemy’s fire and retreats, or the enemy run away without waiting for their enemy to come close enough to bayonet them. I once saw a whole army charge bayonets with empty guns up a mountain-side. The Rebels ran away as soon as our soldiers came near them, and our men, being too tired to run after them, fell to pelting them with stones and dirt, and hooted and yelled at them in rage at not being able to capture them. And just then General Grant, who had ordered them to make this daring charge, rode into their midst, and the men, in their great joy and enthusiasm, ran up to him hugging his legs, and kissing his hands, and acting like madmen, so excited and rejoiced were they.

“Next about the artillery. A battery, which consists of six cannon, is fought in a different manner from the infantry,—with great regularity and precision. It has to depend on the infantry for safety from capture, and must always be attended by or supported by one or more regiments of infantry. Generally batteries are in the front rank of battle, the infantry lying on both sides of it. Sometimes they are a little in the rear of the infantry, and fire over their heads, but always on the highest ground that can be found. When engaged, the cannon which rests on the hind wheels is uncoupled from the front wheels of the truck, which carry the ammunition-box; and this is taken to the rear. The ‘powder-monkeys,’ or men who carry the shot and shells, run from the ammunition-box to the cannon with the ammunition. When the enemy at which the guns are being fired is at a distance—that is, a mile or two away—the cannon throw solid shots from the size of my fist to the size of your head, or shells, which are oblong, not round. These shells are hollow shot, and, the cavity being filled with powder, burst on striking any object. There is a brass screw in the front or sharp end of the shell which connects with a percussion-cap inside. When this pivot strikes the earth, after being fired, it explodes the cap, the powder is ignited, and the fragments of the shell fly in every direction. When the enemy comes nearer, the guns throw what are called grape-shot,—smaller balls about the size of a walnut, and which scatter on leaving the gun,—or else ‘schrapnel shot’ or ‘spherical case,’ which are simply shells filled with powder and all sorts of iron scraps, like bullets, nail-heads, etc. These latter are scattered when the shell explodes, and are terribly destructive. Very few troops can stand their fire, and few charges against batteries are successful, because of their destructiveness, and because the infantry which support or protect them are also firing briskly at the same time. When the enemy charging cannot be driven back, the cannoneers have to run away, or get captured with their guns.

“Once on a time, in the battle of Stone River, a young man—he was really only a boy—named Lieutenant Ludlow was in command of two guns, or a section of Battery H, 5th United States Artillery,—and another very young man, named Colonel Anderson, was in command of the 6th Ohio infantry, which supported him. Well, the enemy charged to take these guns, and a most desperate fight followed, in which Lieutenant Ludlow managed his guns most efficiently. The other young man, Colonel Anderson, was so full of admiration of his gallantry and skill, that when the Rebels were driven back he ran up to Lieutenant Ludlow, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him a dozen times. In the same battle there was in another battery a little boy not sixteen years old, who fought so gallantly at his gun, taking the place of one who was killed, that General Rousseau rode up to him in the midst of the battle and shook hands with him, telling him he was a true soldier and a brave boy. And all his comrades cheered him right in the midst of the battle. You may be sure the little fellow felt very proud of this.

“And now about the cavalry. The horsemen or cavalry are the ‘eyes of the army,’—that is, on the march they move in front, and gather information of roads and streams, which they report to the general for his guidance; in the battle they are on the sides or wings of the army, and watch the movements of the enemy, telling the general when he is advancing and when retreating. Sometimes large bodies of cavalry are sent around behind the enemy, to cut off his retreat if he is defeated, destroy his wagons and camps, and capture his stragglers. Sometimes they charge upon other cavalry troops; but cavalry fights are not frequent in war. If their own army is driven back, they keep in the rear to ‘cover the retreat,’ as it is called.”

“But, papa,” said Willie, who thought his father was about to stop in his account, “what becomes of the killed and wounded?”

“During a battle the poor fellows who are killed are left lying where they fall. Sometimes the body of an officer will be carried off the field by his men and removed to a place of safety from capture, but the most of them lie where they fall until the battle is over. Then they are buried by friend or foe, whichever wins the field. The wounded either walk away or are carried off,—those slightly wounded going off without help, and only after asking their captain’s permission. The badly wounded are removed by a corps of men called the ‘ambulance corps.’ These carry what are called ‘stretchers’,—a piece of canvas about six feet long and three wide, fastened to two slender poles. The wounded man is put on the stretcher, two men take it up by the poles, and carry the man to the nearest ambulance or ‘hospital mule.’ The ambulance is a wagon with four beds. Here the wounded are laid, and when the ambulance is full, it is driven to the nearest hospital,—generally houses in the rear of the battle-field. Here their wounds are dressed. But often there is no time to remove all the wounded; and they lie on the field for hours after a battle, until the army which has won the fight, having taken care of its own wounded, offers assistance. Sometimes whole hospitals of wounded fall into the hands of the enemy. Then all in the hospital become captives, except the surgeons or doctors, who are never considered as such. Hospitals are marked by a plain red flag, and the surgeons and hospital stewards and ambulance corps wear a green strip of ribbon around their arms. Soldiers are bound in honor not to fire on hospital buildings, or tents with the red flag flying above them, or to harm the men with the green badges.

“The scene about a hospital is one of the most painful that you can imagine. As soon as the wounded men arrive and are taken from the ambulances, the surgeons begin to operate on them. Some not badly hurt are sent to other hospitals, more remote from danger of capture; others are put in beds in the tents which are put up to accommodate them; some are to have arms taken off; others are to lose their legs; while others, too badly injured to live, are laid outside on the ground to die. Often they are placed in rows by the side of those already dead or dying. The hospital steward searches their pockets to find some clew to their name or company, which he writes out on a piece of paper and pins on their breasts. It is all done in the most matter-of-fact way, and is all the more terrible because of the business-like air which reigns in a well-conducted hospital. From the interior of the house or tents you hear the occasional shriek of some poor fellow under the surgeon’s cruel knife, losing an arm or a leg, while all around you the dying men are to be heard praying most piteously, or trying to join with the chaplains in singing the hymns they used to sing at home.”

“Sometimes night puts a stop but not an end to the battle; the firing ceases, and the two armies lie down to rest on their arms, ready to begin the dreadful fight in the morning. Through the awful darkness you can hear thousands of groans and cries for help coming up from the wounded men; the neighing of wounded horses; the rumbling of the ambulances; and you can see the torches of men hunting for the dead and dying. There is a truce then,—the enemy hunt for their wounded as we for ours,—and no one of those who were firing all day at each other thinks to do each other harm.

“But come; you must be weary to-night. Another time I will tell you how sieges are carried on and how war is conducted on the water.”

Major Traverse.


Here is his portrait, just as I saw him in the Paris Carnival. The artist has copied him, true as life, from a printed sheet, indicating the route of the Promenade des Bœufs Gras through Paris streets on Dimanche, Lundi, and Mardi, headed with a grand picture of the procession, wherein he was the chief feature. This sheet I bought at the corner of Rue St. Honoré, on the Saturday previous, of a clattering little French lad, who had under his arm a big bundle of them, which he was selling for a sou apiece to Parisians, for two sous to foreigners. And so now you have the bona fide minute history of the transaction, and may be quite certain that this bœuf is the real bœuf and his likeness as faithful as the artist can make it. He was a very fine animal, weighing 1,361 kilogrammes,—French measure,—which a little ingenious calculation may turn into pounds avoirdupois. He came from the province of La Nièvre, and his name was Gulliver.

You will observe, my little American friends,—for all little Americans I have met have been very nice children and very good friends of mine,—that I do not translate any French for you. I take it for granted that you know enough of the language to make this unnecessary, and, if not, the sooner you acquire it the better. So, whenever you find yourselves at fault, take your dictionary and poke out the words; and be sure that the trouble will do you no harm. I would like to familiarize every boy and girl from infancy with that charming French language, so graceful, so flexible, yet so logical and precise, which always reminds me of the elephant’s trunk, capable alike of tearing down a tree and picking up a pin.

Well, now as to the bœuf gras, which in Paris is always the crowning feature of the Carnival. Of course you know what the Carnival is,—in all Catholic cities, but especially in Rome and Paris, a three days’ festival,—the farewell to flesh, as the word expresses, before the long fast of Lent. It begins on Quinquagesima Sunday, the Sunday before Lent, and lasts until the morning of Ash-Wednesday,—three whole days, during which these lively French people seem to take the opportunity of going quite mad with gayety. In Paris, I believe, they are not quite so mad as they are at Rome, because the city is larger, and a certain amount of work must go on meanwhile, as well as play; but this year, 1868, even in Paris, it seemed as if for those three days all the population had turned out to play. And the grand centre of entertainment was this said procession of le bœuf gras.

It was planned and organized by a person rather remarkable in his way. He is a butcher named Duval, who at the age of twenty was merely a poor butcher’s boy, and now at fifty-seven is one of the richest of the bourgeoisie of Paris,—having earned his money in a way that does especial credit to him, because in earning it he has likewise benefited hundreds and thousands of his fellow-creatures.

He did it thus. Twenty years ago there was no place in Paris where one could get a dinner, except at the expensive restaurants and hotels, and the cheap, nasty, almost poisonous feeding-places called gargotes. Duval conceived the idea of opening decent eating-houses, which he called bouillons économiques,—where for a moderate sum, which allowed a small profit over and above the price of the meal and the cooking, a poor French workman might go in and get his dinner,—plain, indeed, but wholesome and good, clean and well served. Being a butcher, M. Duval had, of course, advantages; and being a good man of business,—with a clever wife, who was ready to help her husband in everything,—he so arranged the plan of these bouillons as to lose nothing by them; in fact, on the principle of “small profits and quick returns,” to make an actual gain. From one establishment he gradually increased to twelve, which he planted in different parts of the city, and managed so well that, not only did he provide good dinners for half Paris,—the hard-working half at least,—but he furnished employment to a perfect army of waitresses, cooks, book-keepers,—mostly women,—and accumulated, by the way, (as honest and benevolent people sometimes do, my children, in the world, as well as in fairy tales,) a very large fortune. On it he lives,—this worthy M. Duval,—in a large house in the Rue de Rome, which is also his principal house of business, and from which he directs all his other establishments,—the bouillons, the butchers’ shops, the slaughter-houses—besides others for baking bread, washing clothes, &c., carried on on the same principle as the bouillons économiques, and equally successful. He has also a little “hobby” of his own, which amuses youthful Paris greatly,—an aquarium, where he keeps alive all sorts of fish and marine curiosities with great care and skill. During the Exposition of last year, two hundred and fifty thousand persons visited this Aquarium Duval, which is in the Boulevard Montmartre.

I have told you this little history of M. Duval, that it may make you the more interested, as I was, in his procession, which, they say, was the finest Promenade des Bœufs Gras which has been seen in Paris for many years. M. Duval arranged it all, and paid the expense of it all. No doubt he repaid himself pretty well; for it is the custom for the bœuf gras to stop and visit numerous personages of note, beginning with the Emperor and the royal family, and passing down to the ministers of state and foreign ambassadors, and from each is sent out a sort of largesse, varying from fifty to five hundred francs,—all of which might go very fairly into the pocket of M. Duval. Still, when one considers that his procession numbered about five hundred people, all in grand dresses,—some very grand,—a number of horses, and six chars de triomphe, besides the chars on which rode the four bœufs gras—But I am forestalling things. Silence!

Silence was certainly not to be got in Paris anywhere during those three days. Even on Sunday, when we were walking home from Notre Dame in our quiet English fashion, we fell in with several floating fragments of crowds collecting here and there in expectation of the bœuf gras. But he did not appear. He was taking his first promenade in another direction,—from the Palais de l’Industrie, whence he was to start every morning at half past nine, up the long straight line of the Champs Elysées, to the Arc de Triomphe, and down again, right through towards old Paris,—if there is any such place left,—to the Bouillon Duval in the Rue Montmartre. He was to stop en route to pay his respects at the more illustrious houses,—the British Embassy, the palace of Madame la Princesse Mathilde, &c.,—and then he was to go back through the Rue de Rivoli to the place whence he came,—which was also to prove, finally, his place of execution,—the Palais de l’Industrie.

I name all these places, because to American children who have been to Paris (and many have, for Young America travels all over the world) it will make all I tell seem more interesting; and those who have not been to Paris,—why, they can wait till they go.

On Sunday we did not meet the procession, though more than once in the course of our walks we heard the distant murmur of its passing a few streets off. But on Monday we rose determined not to miss the fun on any account. So about nine o’clock on a bleak, gray February morning, with a fierce east wind blowing, almost nipping the heads off the poor little violets that were sold about the streets, we found ourselves clinging to the railings of the Jardin des Tuileries, just at the corner where the Rue de Rivoli debouches into the Place de la Concorde.

“Debouches” is certainly the right word here, for the street seemed to have opened its mouth, and to be pouring itself out in streams of people, which kept incessantly flowing down either side, and settling here and there into small eddies of crowds, who were not exactly stationary, but still prepared themselves to be so, and to take up in a moment their best position for seeing the sight. They were almost universally working-people,—I suppose “genteel” Paris had hardly yet opened its eyes,—with a large proportion of children, attended by those neat, white-capped, good-tempered looking bonnes whom one sees in every quiet nook of Paris, strolling or sitting in the sun, with their enfants playing about them. Here is a group which I had close beside me for an hour or more, and which I have described to the artist, and made him draw it as well as he could,—the three pretty little French children. I can even tell you their names, which I overheard; Albéric, the boy,—and a most gentlemanly little Frenchman he was, and charmingly polite to the little girls, Fifine and Marie. They were younger, I fancy, but both taller than himself; he stood between them, helping them to hold on to the railings, and chattering away to them in his shrill, rapid French. How they laughed, all three together! and how rosy were the little girls’ faces under their scarlet and violet capuchons, which I think every little girl in Paris wears this winter!—and very warm and pretty head-dresses they are, and the artist has copied them exactly. Sometimes, when these little people chattered too loudly, their bonne called them to order; but on the whole they behaved remarkably well,—as, so far as my experience goes, French children always do. I don’t know if they are any better than their neighbors, but they are certainly better-mannered,—yes, even the lowest class. Here is one of two boys, regular street gamins, bold and reckless, with their meagre, merry faces, and their clothes “windowed” with many a hole that showed the dirty brown skin underneath; yet when the younger leaped up on the railing in front of me, the elder pulled him down with a sharp rebuke (administered in a patois that I should utterly fail in writing down, or you in translating) to the effect that, if he mounted there, Madame would not be able to see the bœuf gras at all; and when Madame thanked him, the little scamp took off his cap to her with an air that would not have disgraced the Prince Imperial. I mention this, and I have tried to make the artist give you some notion of the lad’s face,—the poor little Paris gamin, who had yet the true feeling of chivalry, honneur aux dames,—because, my children, I do believe that politeness is more than a grace, a virtue, and that it cannot be learned too young or practised too universally.

The exceeding politeness and unfailing good-humor of this French crowd struck me very much. It gathered and gathered till the raised walk was thick with people, and they hung upon the railing which divides the Tuileries gardens from the Rue de Rivoli, like swarming bees upon the branch of a tree. But there was no pushing, no scrambling, no rudeness of any kind. Many were their jokes and great was their patience. Mine, alas! was gradually ebbing away in the teeth of this fierce east wind, which went whistling through the bare trees behind us, and chilled us to the very marrow of our bones, when there was a sudden stir in the crowd, and I saw my friend Albéric beginning to climb the railings like a young monkey, screaming out with eager gesticulations, “Il vient, il vient!”

Yes, he was certainly coming, le bœuf gras, the joy of all Paris for the time. His approach was heralded, of course, by military music and a grand array of soldiers; nothing is ever done in Paris without soldiers. They came marching across the Place de la Concorde, and after them appeared the procession, which to describe minutely would require a great deal more space than the editor is likely to afford me. The first portion of it passed very quickly, and my attention was distracted from it by the antics of Albéric, Fifine, and Marie, who showed their ecstasy in a manner so vehement and French, that I momently expected Albéric would impale himself on the gilded tops of the railings, and the little girls squeeze their heads through so far that they would never come out again alive. But their bonne seemed to take all calmly, and after a few shrill warnings of “Soyez sage!” “Prenez garde, mes petits!” and so on, she left them to fate, and devoted herself also, heart and soul, to the show.

And a very fine show, I must say, it was, got up with admirable French ingenuity,—nay, taste,—and the dresses of the men and women, and the caparisons of the numerous horses, showed very gay and handsome, even in the glare of the dangerous daylight. There were four chars,—representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and America,—besides a char d’Olympe, and a char d’agriculture. Europe, which of course was France, represented both France of 1804 and France of 1868; and a great contrast they made,—these differing costumes. 1804 walked on foot, 1868 rode in the triumphal chariot. But they passed so rapidly that I only remember a blaze of color, a glitter of gilding, and then appeared the second char, Africa. A gigantic sphinx sat on the top, her hands, or rather her paws, extended with the usual calm, good-natured smile that sphinxes wear; below, a group of Egyptians and Ethiopians, men and women, all in correct antique costumes. And then came the first of the four bœufs.

His name, the bills informed us, was Mignon, and a very great “darling” he was, no doubt. His skin, smooth and sleek as satin, was light-colored, almost white; his horns were gilded; and on his head, back, and sides, wherever they could be stuck, hung wreaths of artificial—very artificial—flowers. He stood motionless, his poor legs, hind and fore, being safely tied together under the greenery which surrounded him; his head was bent meekly down, always bent, which surprised me till I saw that it too was tied, so that he could only turn his large eyes from side to side at the crowd. I wonder what he thought of it! Poor Mignon!

The next bœuf was Paul Forestier, so called after the hero of a play which has lately been very popular in Paris. His was the Asiatic char, and above him, instead of the sphinx, was a gigantic elephant. I hardly know whether the live or the dead animal looked most natural or was most quiet. In spite of the Indian princesses that surrounded him, and the dignity with which he travelled, I felt a thrill of pity for Paul Forestier.

After him came—what will certainly gladden little American hearts when I say it—the most brilliant char of the whole. It was emblematic of the New World. Two great palm-trees,—manufactured how I know not, but they were uncommonly good imitations of nature—rose in its centre, and between them hung a lady in a sort of hammock. O, how it did swing! I pitied her, for she must have felt as if permanently voyaging on the awful ocean between here and New York. Yet she looked comfortable enough, and exchanged various jokes with another young lady, whose head she just touched as she swung. This young lady was supposed to represent South America. And, whether or not M. Duval meant the compliment, she was the very handsomest person in the whole procession. Around the char came an equestrian troop of what the bill called cavaliers peaux rouges, accurately costumed in blankets, feathers, moccasins, and tomahawks, yet withal the funniest specimens of redskins ever beheld in or out of America. Most of them rode cigar in mouth, and all had mustaches and queer little withered Parisian faces. After them, preceded by a band of forty musicians in all sorts of extraordinary costumes, came the third bœuf called le lutteur masqué, after a person who has been rather noted in the Parisian masked balls this winter. He was a fine animal, but not to compare with the fourth and the last, who followed next, the principal bœuf gras, Gulliver.

He really was a magnificent beast. His color was a pale yellow, and he had a grand head, and eyes of the sort which taught Homer the simile of “ox-eyed Juno.” To think of him turned into beef was quite melancholy. I had full opportunity for admiring him, for just as he came up, driven between the char d’agriculture and the char d’Olympe, the procession stopped for ten minutes at least.

What a change! Suddenly the allegorical occupants of the two chariots condescended to be mere mortals. “Spring”—from the char d’agriculture, which contained the four seasons and the twelve months of the year—devoted herself to soothing her starved-looking baby. “Winter” began smoking a cigar. Septembre, Juillet, and Octobre left their places vacant, having scrambled down through imitation vines and fig-trees, and disappeared among the crowd, which joked and fraternized with them to a great extent. Even the char d’Olympe, full of gods and goddesses whom Homer himself could hardly have identified, became gradually emptied of its occupants. The gods smoked, the goddesses chatted in lively French, which I suppose was the language of Olympus. Many of them looked tired, worn, cold, and ugly, but none of them looked cross. And as I watched them, shivering under their not too warm garments, and thought of the one day past and two days more to come that they would have thus to traverse Paris streets this biting weather, I earnestly hoped that M. Duval would give them, at the end, a good dinner, at one of his best bouillons.

When the signal came they all remounted. Jupiter, I noticed, had a sad scramble under the wheels of the char, and nearly lost his thunder-bolt; and I believe the other char moved off with ten Months inside it, instead of twelve. The band burst forth in renewed clangor, the horses were urged forward,—one refractory pony trying to stand on his hind legs and dance as he probably had learned at the Hippodrome, but which was slightly unpleasant to the peau rouge who rode him, and who certainly did not ride like Uncas the Mohican. The procession moved on, and the crowd closed up behind it, following it eagerly; nay, when I turned round, my three little friends, Albéric, Fifine, and Marie, had slipped down from their railings and vanished after it, too, never again to be found by me in this mortal world. But I stood a good while watching the procession winding along the Rue de Rivoli. I could trace it ever so far down that straight two-mile street, one of the finest streets in the world, the two tall palm-trees nodding as they moved, and the poor little woman in her hammock swinging between them in a fashion which I trust is not the universal fashion in America; the sun, which had come out at last, shining on the big sides of the sham elephant,—which rocked a little, but not too much,—and then glittering on the gilded horns and yellow, broad, garlanded back of the hero of the procession,—the fortunate, unfortunate Gulliver.

Poor Gulliver! He and his less distinguished companions have ended their three days’ triumphant career and been made into bouillon long ago; but yet I recall almost tenderly his great beauty, his satin skin, his majestic size, and the patient, uncomplaining, almost human, look of his big eyes, as the artist has here done his likeness, and as he appeared as le bœuf gras of 1868.

Author of “John Halifax, Gentleman.”


I’ll tell you of the queerest lad:

  They called him Johnny Tearful;

A very sorry way he had

  Of never being cheerful.

He cried the moment he got up;

  He made a din at dinner;

With tears enough to fill a cup

  He never grew much thinner.


He cried in spite of all you said

  To keep the tears from streaming;

He cried when he was put to bed;

  He cried while he was dreaming.

His doleful eyes of pygmy size

  Were dim with overflowing;

A walking shower-bath he was,—

  The shower forever going.


They told him that the moon was round:

  Enough,—that set him bawling;

He scared the kittens off the ground

  By constant caterwauling.

But though his tears fell thick and fast,

  They never did his woes end:

Folks wondered how the drops could last;

  They trickled down his nose end.


His kites were never made to suit;

  Of course, that made him bellow.

He cried for green, forbidden fruit,—

  This aggravating fellow.

Why, if you only called his name,

  In tears you made him jump up:

It really was a perfect shame,

  The numbers he could pump up.


What cared he for the spring-time days?

  For flowers, or this or that bird?

Why, when he went his moody ways

  Each robin, jay, and cat-bird

Flew up and shook its downy head,

  While gayly hummed the May-bee;

And this is what the birdies said:

  “Cheer up, cheer up, cry-baby!”


And now poor Johnny’s fate I sing:

  He rose one morning early,

And in his eyes—the usual thing—

  There stood the tear-drops pearly.

He kicked, and splashed the water round

  They brought to wash his face in,

Then quietly dissolved! they found

  One huge tear in the basin!

George Cooper.

[In a Second Letter to Mr. Clarence.]

I began to tell you how I went to find the ship architect. I soon saw his sign on the upper story of a great, long old wooden building, near the ferry. At the top of two flights of stairs outside I came to a door with his name and slate on it; it was partly open, and I looked in.

It was a great room in the top of the building, at least a hundred and fifty feet long and thirty broad. On the sleepers overhead, beneath the roof, were piled all sorts of odds and ends of lumber. One side of the floor was occupied by piles of boards, carpenters’ horses, benches, and tools; but the larger part was an open space, in the middle of which a man was at work on his knees, marking out lines by thin strips of board or battens bent into curves, and held in place by awls stuck into the floor. He wore, tied on his knees, strong caps of leather, to protect them as he knelt at his work. I noticed that the toes of his shoes were worn through. He looked up pleasantly, under his broad-brimmed straw hat, and said, “Come in.”

I told him frankly what had brought me there.

“That’s right; glad to see you,” said he. “I’ll be through here in a few minutes, then I’ll show you.”

I watched him at his work; and, looking around, saw that almost the entire floor was covered with long, sweeping, curved lines, in different groups, and straight lines running across them in places.

“Do you see what I am making here?” said he.

I said I supposed it must be the designs of a ship’s timbers.

“You are right,” said he. “These lines I am drawing now are for one of the ship’s ribs. That is built up of several timbers; and I mark here a pattern of each. I cut out a mould-board after the pattern, and send that to the carpenter to cut his timber by.”

“But how do you get your plan in the first place? That is what puzzles me!” I said.

He said he would show me that by and by, and kept on marking and talking. It was fun to see him bend a batten to just the curve he wanted, stick awls to hold it, and then mark his lines by it. He said it required five hundred moulds to make the timbers of a ship of the size he was designing (about thirteen hundred tons’ burden); and it would take more than twice the number, “but,” said he, “I make moulds for the timbers of only one side; and then there are several frames near the middle of the ship made just alike, from the same set of moulds.”

I said “I had no idea till to-day how much timber it took to build a ship!”

“It takes more,” said he, “than can be got into another ship of the same size.”

“What is the weight of such a ship as this when finished?” I asked.

“A thirteen-hundred-ton ship will weigh about nine hundred tons; that is, a wooden ship. An iron ship of the same capacity—”

“Will weigh considerably more, I suppose,” I said, as he stopped to make some figures.

“Considerably less,” said he. “An iron ship of thirteen hundred tons will weigh less than seven hundred tons.”

“Do they build ships all of iron?” I asked.

“Yes; and they are the cheapest and best ships that can be made. The first cost is a third more than that of wooden ships; but they are more buoyant, they carry a larger freight, they are stronger, and they last three times as long. The dry rot don’t trouble them, and the water-worms let them alone. In place of these large timbers they have slender iron ribs; and in place of the heavy planking without and within they have just a thin skin of iron plates riveted together, less than an inch thick, except in very large ships. A great many ships are built of iron nowadays, especially in England, where iron is comparatively cheap and timber dear. The largest ship ever built is made of iron; that is the Great Eastern,—six hundred and eighty feet long by eighty-two and a half broad, and fifty-eight deep; a magnificent structure, though practically she don’t seem to be good for much except laying Atlantic cables.”

“What keeps an iron ship from sinking?” I asked. “The question came up at school the other day, and though we all seemed to know, yet not one of us, not even the teacher, could give a satisfactory answer. Iron will sink; then why don’t an iron boat sink?”

“It seems to me you ought to answer that question,” said he. “Why does wood float while iron does not?”

“Because,” I said, “wood weighs less than the same bulk of water, while iron weighs more; and the heaviest substance goes to the bottom.”

“In other words,” said he, “wood, in order to sink, must displace more than its own weight of water. Now a boat is constructed in such a way as to displace a great deal more than her own weight of water by being made hollow. All the air she contains below her water-line is in the balance against an equal bulk of water outside. An iron ship, in fact, displaces just as much water as if she was built of solid metal. Let the water into her, and it drives the air out; then she displaces only the actual bulk of the iron, and down she goes.”

“This question of displacement,” he went on to say, “is a very important one in building a ship. We must know just how much water she will displace, in order to know what weight she will bear up. Now, thirty-five cubic feet of salt water weigh a ton. Salt water is heavier, you know, than fresh water; it takes thirty-six cubic feet of fresh water to weigh the same. A ton in our calculations is twenty-two hundred and forty pounds. Then for every ton’s weight she buoys up she must displace thirty-five cubic feet of water. Her solid contents below her water-line will of course just equal the amount of water she displaces,—or, as we say in one word, the displacement.”

I asked if it was by such calculations that a ship’s tonnage was ascertained.

“When we speak of a ship of so many tons’ burden, we mean the government rate. The government measures and rates every American ship. By the new rule the interior of a ship is measured,—just as you would get the solid contents of an odd-shaped box,—and every hundred cubic feet below her upper deck count for a ton. Some vessels will actually carry a good deal more than they are rated by this rule. Some kinds of freight—such as iron, and other solid matters—go by weight. Others—such as boxes of shoes—go by measurement, a certain bulk being considered equal to a ton.”

“Do builders often make two ships from the same set of moulds?”

“Sometimes; but usually they prefer to have a new model for a new ship; perhaps they want to make her a little larger, or a little smaller, or sharper, or broader, or think they can improve upon the old model some way. Now step here, and I’ll show you what a model is. This is the first stage of it.”

As I saw nothing but a bundle of plain boards in a press, I thought at first that he meant something else. There were, perhaps, a dozen boards, two thirds of an inch thick and about six feet long.

“After these are pressed firmly into shape,” said he, “they are held together by screws, making what we call a block. Then we commence working it down to something like this shape.”

He took me into a little workroom at the end of the loft, where a perfect little model—or, strictly speaking, half-model—of a ship lay on a workbench. Imagine a ship sawed in two vertically in the centre from stem to stern, and the right half of her will give you an idea of the form of this model.[1] Only it was solid. Examining it, I found that it was carved out of just such a bundle of boards as I had seen; and the seams between them made so many parallel stripes, or water-lines, along the sides; only a top board had been added, thicker than the others, and carved so as to make the curved line, or sheer, higher at the bow and stern than amidships.

I asked why he did not carve his model from one solid block, instead of packing a pile of boards together.

“I’ll show you soon,” said he. “This model isn’t quite finished yet. I work it down till I think I have got it about right, or till the owner of the ship to be built from it is satisfied. When he comes in to see it to-morrow, he may say, ‘Make her a little sharper,’—for the fancy is for sharp ships just now. There is this great advantage in making a model,—anybody can tell, by looking at it, just what the shape of the ship is to be. English shipwrights do not make models, but draw all their lines on paper first.

“The way we get our lines is this: When the model is completed I lay it on a smooth surface, flat side down, and mark around it,—that is, draw its profile. Then the water-lines are marked in. This forms what we call the sheer plan.

“Then I remove the screws, take the model to pieces, and lay one board after another, beginning with the narrowest at the bottom, on another plain surface,—the straight side of each being adjusted to a common centre line, representing the centre of the ship. A line marked about the curved side of each board, shows her exact proportions through that part which it represents. In this way we get what is called the half-breadth plan.

“By a scale of measurements we obtain from these two plans the exact dimensions of every part of the ship, and make a third plan, called the body plan. This represents her entire breadth and height, as viewed from one end, with curved lines on the right side of a centre line, showing the frame timbers of the forward half of the ship, and others on the left showing those of the after part.

“Now I’ll explain to you how we get out the designs of the frame timbers. The model is on a scale of one inch to three feet; that is, every inch of the model stands for thirty-six inches in the ship to be built. Having got our body plan, therefore, we have only to draw it on the floor of the loft on a scale thirty-six times as large. Then every one of these curved lines represents a rib, for which we go to work and make as many moulds as are required.”

“All that looks very simple now,” I said. “But a man might learn it all by heart; still, it would bother him to build a ship!”

“I guess it would,” said he. “For instance, a man comes to me and says, ‘I want a steamboat for the cotton trade on a Southern river. She must carry three thousand bales where the water is only twelve feet deep.’ I have to plan accordingly. Then one man wants a vessel for speed, while with another a heavy freight is the chief consideration. For speed, we make the model sharper,—on the principle that a knife will cut the water easier than a walking-stick will. But the sharper a ship, the less room she has for cargo. We make more room by building her broader; but then she meets with more resistance passing through the water. Owners choose certain qualities for a ship, according to the trade she is in,—whether it is important she should go quickly with a light load, or leisurely with a heavy load. But it isn’t all in her shape; she must be rigged right and loaded right to sail well.”

I asked him if great improvements had not been made in modelling and rigging ships within a few years.

“We think so,” he replied, with a smile. “A modern-built ship, designed for speed,—what we call a clipper ship,—will sail three times as fast as a ship built forty years ago; and it takes fewer men to manage her sails.”

“What are the best proportions for vessels?” I asked.

BODY PLAN.—1, 2, 3, Water-Lines.

“As a general rule the length of a ship is five times her breadth; her depth, one half or two thirds her breadth. Steamers are longer; a length equal to eight times the breadth is common. Length adds speed, but it weakens a vessel.”

“When you get your floor covered with marks what do you do,—rub them out?”

“No, plane them off with what is called a lazy man’s plane.” And he showed me one; it had a handle like a mop, so that a man could use it standing.

In another room was his office; and there I saw several beautifully finished models of ships and steamers fastened to the wall, the pieces composing each having been finally glued together and polished up. I noticed that neither of them had the keel attached.

“No,” he said; “the keel isn’t necessary in a model, though it is indispensable in a ship. It not only gives strength, but a sailing vessel can’t beat without it.”

I told him I never could understand how a ship sailed against the wind.

“She can’t sail directly against it,” he said. “But she goes this way,”—he drew a perpendicular arrow. “That represents the way the wind blows. Now suppose the ship’s course lies in an opposite direction. But the nearest she can come to that is a line crossing the course of the wind something like this smaller arrow. Her sails are set diagonally,—this fashion,—so that the wind fills them, and presses them forward in the direction of this dotted line. But a ship meets with great resistance going sidewise through the water; the keel is like a blade on the bottom; it adds greatly to that resistance, and serves to keep her in a straight course. So instead of sailing in the direction of the dotted line, she sails in the direction her keel points. But head her too much that way, and she drifts off with the wind. Some vessels will sail much closer to the wind than others. After she has sailed as long as the master thinks best in that direction her head is turned suddenly toward the wind; her momentum through the water keeps her in motion till she comes clear around, and gets the wind on her other side, and sails off on what is called another tack. In this way she describes a zigzag course, against the course of the wind, sailing several miles for every one she makes in the direction she wishes to go. That is what we call beating. Some badly built or imperfectly rigged ships won’t stay,—that is, they won’t go around with their heads to the wind, but lose their momentum, and blow off; such ships, in tacking, have to wear,—turning the opposite way, with their sterns to the wind; a great disadvantage, as they necessarily go back a little on their course before they can get around on the other tack.”

He took up a piece of wood from his desk, and handing it to me, asked what I thought of it. I found it light as cork, and full of holes as a piece of honeycomb. It was a bit of ship’s timber that had been destroyed by water-worms. The outside surface was smooth, appearing to be perforated here and there with pin-points. The worms were no larger than that, he said, when they went in; but, feeding on the wood, they grew rapidly, until they made a hole as large as a pipe-stem. They are borers; and, what is curious, the cutting end of a modern ship-auger is copied after their boring apparatus, and it is found to work better, in making a straight, deep hole, than any other.

“This ship,” he said, “was loaded so that the water came above her sheathing; and so the worms got at her. A ship’s bottom must be sheathed in some sort of metallic covering, or she is soon destroyed by insects, shellfish, and marine vegetables, adhering to her. Copper makes the best sheathing, as it corrodes and poisons whatever touches it. But it is expensive, and it wastes rapidly; so a composition of copper and zinc is commonly substituted for it.”

“When is the sheathing put on?”

“Sometimes just before she is launched,” said he; “but it is liable to get injured when she goes off; and, besides, any leaks in her can’t be so well detected and stopped afterwards. So she is usually launched first, and then taken to a dry dock and sheathed. She is shut into the dock, the water is pumped out by steam-engines, and let in again after the sheathing is put on.”

Fore-and-aft Sail.

He told me ever so much about the spars and rigging, which I don’t think I could write out if I should try. A ship is a vessel with three masts and square sails. A brig has two masts and square sails. A schooner has two masts with fore-and-aft sails. An hermaphrodite brig has the foremast square-rigged and the mainmast fore-and-aft rigged; she is half brig and half schooner. A sloop has only one mast. Then there is the topsail schooner, with a square topsail; and the barkantine, with three masts, the foremast rigged like a ship’s, and the other two schooner-rigged.

The mast of a small vessel is generally a single well-rounded, tapering stick of pine. But each of the three masts of one of the largest ships consists of a number of sticks. The lower part of each has a central stick, and others fitted about it,—all well rounded and hooped, to give greater size and strength. At the head of the lower mast is a platform called the “top.” Standing on this is another mast, called the “topmast,”—secured by a “cap.” Atop of the topmast is the “top-gallant” mast; and over that the “royal.” Some ships have besides what is called a “skysail mast,” top of all. Each of these masts has a square sail of the same name hung upon it by a yard. The masts are held in their places by immensely large ropes, called “stays,” and by smaller ropes called “shrouds,” which also serve as ladders; the rounds, or steps, are cross-ropes called “ratlines.” The “halyards” are ropes for hoisting the yards and sails; the “braces” are for swinging them around; the “sheets” are ropes for hauling and fastening the lower corners of the sails. These, and other ropes used in managing the sails, are called the “running rigging.” The stays, shrouds, etc., are the “standing rigging.”

So much I remember. He has promised to get me a drawing of a full-rigged ship, and to mark in the names of the sails for me; if he does you shall see it.

All at once, while we were talking, he looked at his watch. “There’s to be a launch to-day at high tide,” he said. “It’s almost high tide now.”

You’d better believe that excited me, for a launch was just what I wanted to see. I had passed right by the yard where it was to take place without knowing it. As I might have time to see it yet, if I hurried, I bade him good by, and went plunging down his outside stairs like a mad boy. Right under his loft was a rigging-loft, where men were at work making the stays and shrouds of ships, which I should have looked into, if I had had time; but the launch was the thing just then.

Drawn by G. G. White.]           [See page 842.

I arrived on the ground just in season. A crowd had gathered in the yard since I passed by; and another crowd was standing or sitting on the wharves or timbers of a neighboring yard, waiting to see the show. In ten minutes she would go off; and in the mean while I looked sharply about to see how the thing was to be done.

a.Foresail.i.Mainsail.s.Mizzen Top-gallantsail.
b.Fore Topsail.k.Main Topsail.t.Mizzen Royal.
c.Fore Top-gallantsail.l.Main Top-gallantsail.u.Mizzen Skysail.
d.Fore Royal.m.Main Royal.v.Jib.
e.Fore Skysail.n.Main Skysail.w.Fore Topmast Staysail.
f.Fore Studdingsail.o.Main Topmast Studdingsail.x.Fore Staysail.
g.Fore Topmast Studdingsail.p.Main Top-gallant Studdingsail.y.Fore and Main Spencers.
h.Fore Top-gallant Studdingsail.r.Mizzen Topsail.z.Driver or Spanker.

I told you of the ways laid on blocks, and extending down into the water from under the stern of the first ship I visited,—a sort of huge wooden railroad, you know. Well, a track like this had been built of timbers running from the water all along under the ship’s bottom, on each side of her keel. It had a slope of nearly an inch to the foot, just enough to make her slide off handsomely.

She did not rest directly on these ways, understand. Built up all about her was a curious sort of frame, called a cradle, the bottom timbers of which are called bilgeways. These were the runners on which she was to take a ride down the track. She was blocked up by timbers and planks between her bottom and the bilgeways; and these rested on the ways, which had been well “greased with taller,” as a workman informed me, and afterwards, when the tallow was cold, “slushed with ile and soft-soap.” The under-sides of the bilgeways had also been greased. To prevent her from running off the track, strong hard-wood “ribbons” were fastened to the top of the ways on the outer edge, and well supported by slanting props set in the firm ground.

Her entire weight did not rest on the cradle as yet; otherwise there would have been nothing to prevent her from sliding down the slippery track. The piles of blocks on which she had been built were still under her keel, and a few shores at her sides. While I was looking on, the shores were taken away, and the word came to launch, when a number of men on each side, who stood ready with axes, commenced splitting out the top block of each pile.

I got a good position at a safe distance on a pile of lumber near the sawmill. The crowd was perfectly silent, waiting to see the huge thing start; and there was scarcely any noise but the sound of the axes, and the puffing of the steam-tugs lying off the yard waiting to catch her as soon as she was launched.

“I hope the tugs will do better than they did with the last ship I saw go off,” said a man who stood on the boards beside me. “She was a very large ship; the cables parted they undertook to hold her with; she got away, and ran clean across the stream, butted agin the navy-yard wall, poked her nose into it fifteen feet, and there stuck.”

As he had broken the silence, I asked, “Do they always launch stern-foremost?”

“Oftener than any other way,” he said. “Sometimes they launch bow foremost. Very large vessels in narrow streams have to be launched sideways. The Great Eastern was launched sideways in the Thames.”

The men had begun splitting out the blocks nearest the water. I supposed they would have to split out the top block on the last pile under the bow before she would start. But half a dozen piles still remained untouched, when suddenly the crowds on each side shouted, “She is going!” The men with the axes sprang away, while the last blocks whirled over beneath her keel, as her weight came down on the bilgeways, and they began to slide. It was a grand sight,—that immense structure, a ship of the largest size, starting slowly at first, then moving off faster and faster, striking the water, and throwing up a great wave as she plunged in! You never heard heartier cheers! I cheered and swung my hat till everybody else was done, I was so excited. The tugs held her; and then we cheered again. Everybody likes to see a great enterprise carried out with such perfect success; and building and launching such a vessel is one of the greatest and grandest.

There were a few gentlemen and ladies aboard of her, when she went off; and how I envied them! Yet people said the sight was grander from the shore.

Well, it was all over; and what astonished me as much as anything was the hole she made in that yard after she had gone off. Imagine a meeting-house in a village square suddenly disappearing, leaving it vacant, and a crowd of people around the spot where it stood, and you’ll have some idea of it.

This ship had been sheathed before she was launched. As the tugs began to move off with her down the stream, I asked where she was going.

“To the shears,” said some one.

I asked what the “shears” were, and was told that they were a couple of spars lashed together, set upright, and furnished with tackle for lifting the masts into and out of vessels. I ought to have told you before that a vessel’s spars (which include masts, yards, bowsprit, boom, etc.) are not put in till after she is launched.

It was too late for me to visit the shears; and I guess you are glad of it,—for haven’t I written you another stunningly long letter? The shears, instead of cutting it off, would only make it longer.

Good by.            Lawrence.

J. T. Trowbridge.

The model, and the half-breadth and body plans which follow, have been reversed in printing, so that the right side appears as the left side, etc. These cuts are from photographs of a model and drawings kindly furnished by Lawrence’s friend, Mr. William H. Varney, of the Portsmouth Navy Yard.


First Syllable. (Fare.)

CHARACTERS.—Joe and Ned, two young clerks from the city. Joe is in rough sea clothes: tarpaulin hat, stout boots, trousers tucked in, carries cod-lines, oil-clothes, and a rope-handled bucket. Ned is in gentleman’s fishing costume, wears broad-brimmed straw hat, carries reed-pole lunch-basket, etc. They enter from opposite doors.

Joe. How fares ye, Ned? Been a-fishing? So’ve I. Let’s sit down on the bank here, and talk it over. (Throws himself down. Ned spreads out his handkerchief, then seats himself upon it.)

Ned (affectedly and with a sigh). Ah well! or rather, ah ill! Another day of vacation gone! Already the store, the busy, crowded, everlasting store, looms up before me! Customers seem beckoning me away. I hear, methinks, the rustle of cambrics mingling with the rustling of the leaves, and—and—

Joe. And the birds sing out, “Cash!” “Cash!” Don’t they? O fiddle-de-dee! The store is fifty miles off! Fifty miles and six days? Another day gone? Well, don’t fret for that! Didn’t you get enough for it? Now I never fret about letting a piece of goods go, if I get the worth of it!

Ned. Really, Joseph, I don’t see what selling goods has to do with the subject.

Joe. Why, you’ve let your day go. Old Time took it. He buys up a good many of ’em. But he pays. You got the value of your article. Took your pay in taking comfort. Fair trade enough!

Ned. Well, you may talk, but the day is gone, and will never return (sighs).

Joe. But if we live till to-morrow, there’ll another one come. Leastways, I hope so. For I’ve a plan ahead. (Earnestly.) I’ll do it! I will! I certainly will, dogs or no dogs! Unless the sea dries up, and then I’ll walk. But how was river fishing?

Ned. O, fair. That is to say, reasonably fair, for the first attempt.

Joe. Fine day you had!

Ned. Charming day! In the morning we rowed up stream, with Nature smiling all around us,—of course I mean the dewy fields, sprinkled with flowers; and anon we glided through the leafy woods, where the birds sang melodiously! All was fair and lovely!

Joe. Having fair wind’s the main thing, the rest is well enough. So you made an all-day trip of it?

Ned. Yes; a really charming little excursion, and the presence of the fair sex—hem—

Joe. Made it still more really charming. Yes, I know. They usually have their charms about them.

Ned. Exactly. And at noon we landed, and spread our repast under the shade of a spreading oak, and there partook of cold chicken, sandwiches, and fruits. At the hour of sunset, with a fair wind, and with now and then a song, we floated calmly down the stream.

Joe. All serene! Now I took it in the rough. See? Borrowed real sea-clothes and sailed on the briny sea! Jingoes, if ’twasn’t sport, off the Ledge!

Ned. Seasick?

Joe. Hem! Well, little rily, doubling “Hook’s Pint.” Soon over it, though, and relished my lunch, O, hugely! None of your chicken-fixin’s! Real fishermen’s fare. Sea-biscuit dipped in the sea!

Ned. Barbarous fare, I should call that!

Joe. Not a bit! O yes. I’m mistaken. Good many bits. Fish bit lively, and old skipper chowdered ’em right out o’ the water. Then we got into a school o’ mackerel, and so brought in quite a fare of fish. If we’d only landed on that island? But I mean to! (rubbing his hands.) Dogs or no dogs! What the dogs do I care? Let ’em yelp!

Ned. Of what island are you speaking?

Joe. “Maiden Island” some call it. Skipper said ’twas oftener called “The Isle of Dogs.”

Ned. Why are these names given to it?

Joe. Because there is a maiden there, of course, and dogs abound. But I’ll land! (rubbing his hands excitedly.) I’ll attack the fort. Jingoes if I don’t! “Let dogs delight,” and so forth.

Ned. I’m curious to hear more of this Isle of the Sea.

Joe. Listen, then, and I’ll tell you a true story, Only it hasn’t any end to it yet. But I’ll make an end! (earnestly.) I’m resolved upon that! unless an earthquake swallows it up!

Ned. Swallows up the end?

Joe. The island.

Ned. Can’t you explain? (in a pet.)

Joe. O yes. Explain? Certainly. Now hark. In the middle of the sea, that is, off in the harbor, stands a lonely isle. And on that isle stands a hut. And in that hut dwells a stern old fisherman. And that stern old fisherman owns a fair daughter. And on account of the island being flooded with admirers, he has defended it with dogs? Manned it with dogs! Actually!

Ned. Really? Now that isn’t quite fair in the old gentleman.

Joe. Fair? Of course it isn’t. But I’ve got a plan! I’ll land! I certainly will! If every dog had as many heads as—now what was that dog’s name that barked down in that dark place? no matter,—and if every head had as many mouths, I’ll land. “Faint heart never won fair lady!”

Ned. But what if they all fly at you?

Joe. Then I’ll fly at them! (Sings.)

“Let dogs delight

To bark and bite.”

Slight noise of rain heard.

Ned (rising hastily). We shall be caught in the shower. (Going.) Come!

Joe (rising slowly). O, let it rain, let it rain. Better chance of fair weather to-morrow.

Ned (passing out). But will you? Will you really dare?

Joe. Yes, none but the Brave deserve the Fair! (Exeunt both.)

Rain may be made by dropping peas in a tin pan, behind the scenes.

Second Syllable. (Well.)

Scene.Out of doors. Tools lying about. Mr. Benson, a dark-whiskered Yankee, in working clothes and overalls, is at work on a pump. The pump is a man, or boy, encased in brown paper, or in wrappings of some kind. He is topped by a six-cornered bandbox cover, or by anything which will bear resemblance to the capping of a wooden pump. One arm is used for the pump-handle. The other, as far up as the elbow represents the spout. A small tub should be put underneath. There must be a bottle of water hid in the coat-sleeve, with the thumb pressed over its mouth, for a stopper. At the proper time, the water is allowed to run out. (This operation should be first practised in the anteroom.) While Mr. Benson is at work Squire Reed enters. He is well dressed, has gray whiskers, tall hat, and a cane, is a little pompous and condescending.

Squire Reed. Well, Benson, how do you prosper? Always at work, hey? What! covered up your well?

Mr. Benson. Yes, and got in a pump. (Works the handle.) But ’twon’t draw. Something’s the matter.

Squire R. I’m very sorry. Not sorry the pump won’t draw, but sorry to lose the well,—sorry, I mean, to lose it out of the landscape. It was a very striking feature, with its long sweep.

Mr. B. Wal, to tell the truth, it did go agin my feelings. We’d got used to seeing it, and my gran’ther dug it, and stoned it up, and I’ve hoisted up a good deal o’ water out of it, since I was boy, counting washing water and all. But then ’twas a heap o’ trouble. (Works the handle.) Why don’t the critter draw?

Squire R. Trouble? How?

Mr. B. (resting on the pump). O, things kept falling down it. I’d be out in the field, working, you know, and ’twould be all the time, “Mr. Benson, this thing’s tumbled down the well, and that thing’s tumbled down the well!” Then I’d leave and run, and maybe ’twould be my little gal’s doll, or bub’s hat, or clean clothes off the line. And all the neighbors wanted to hang their things down it, to keep cool. Course it put us out; but course we didn’t like to speak. So we had to say, “No trouble at all, no trouble at all.” Though ’twasn’t true, you know.

Squire R. Very true. That is, it wasn’t very true.

Mr. B. And then, ’twas a master place to c’lect young folks together, as ever was. First the gals would come, with their pails, and stand talking. Then the beaux would come, ’specially about sundown. Says I to my wife, “Guess I’ll break up that haunt.” (Pumps with short, quick stroke.) But this new-fangled thing won’t draw a mite!

Squire R. Let me try. (Pumps slowly with long stroke.)

Mr. B. Yes, you work it, and I’ll pour in water, to fetch it. (Lifts the cover a little, and pretends to pour in water from a pitcher, then seizes the handle and works it with quick, jerking motion.) Anything run out?

Squire R. (stooping a little). I don’t see anything.

Mr. B. (examining the spout). Dry as a grasshopper!

Enter Mr. Downing, a tall man, with green spectacles, and wide red cravat. Has a rod in his hand, and walks with solemn air.

Mr. D. (to Mr. B. very stiffly). Good morning, sir. I understand you have a pump that doesn’t work well.

Mr. B. Exactly. That’s just what I’ve got!

Mr. D. (solemnly). I am a pump doctor.

Squire R. (with a condescending smile). That is to say, I suppose, that you can cure a pump, and make it well!

Mr. B. (laughing). O don’t make mine well! It’s been well once.

Mr. D. If you will place your pump in my hands, sir, I will pledge myself that it shall give satisfaction.

Squire R. That is to say, give water!

Mr. B. Here, take it right into your hands! Now let’s see what ’twill give!

Squire R. How do you cure, sir?

Mr. D. (solemnly). By circles and opposite electricities. Shall I proceed?

Mr. B. Yes, proceed to begin. Don’t wait!

Squire R. That is, begin first, and then proceed.

Mr. B. And if the job’s well done you shall be well paid.

Mr. D. I shall require, gentlemen, a little assistance from both of you.

Squire R. (glancing down at his clothes and his hands). Of what nature, sir?

Mr. B. O yes. I’m willing to take hold. Course you’ll take little something off the price.

Mr. D. No labor, no actual labor will be required of you. My system involves only circles and opposite electricities. In the first place, it will be necessary to ascertain whether your electrical currents, are opposite.

Mr. B. Well, how will you do it?

Mr. D. brings in an old-fashioned flax-wheel, or some yarn-winders, or anything that can be made to turn round. After some solemn preparation, he whirls this rapidly for a minute or two.

Mr. D. to Squire R. Have the kindness, now, sir, to touch lightly the circumference of this machine.

Squire R. touches, and hops away, with a loud cry, dropping his cane.

Mr. D. to Mr. B. Now you, sir. (Mr. B. hesitates.) Don’t be afraid. It is quite harmless.

Mr. B. touches, and, with a scream, gives a leap in the opposite direction, rubbing his arms, and looking frightened.

Mr. D. All is well. The electrical conditions are fulfilled. The one sprang to the east, the other to the west.

Mr. B. (glancing at the machine and rubbing his arm). Mighty powerful!

Mr. D. (solemnly). I shall now proceed, gentlemen, to describe two circles around the well (marks out two circles with his rod). Will you please to advance? (Squire R. walks towards the pump.)

Squire R. Sir, this appears somewhat like trifling.

Mr. D. That depends upon yourself, sir. To the light-minded, serious matters appear light. I deal with the truths of science! (To Mr. B.) Will you come nearer, sir?

Mr. B. (advancing cautiously). No danger, I hope? No witchcraft?

Mr. D. Not the slightest. I will now work the handle. You two, being fully charged, will stand at opposite points (placing them), and proceed to revolve silently in these circles,—you, sir (to Squire R.), revolving in the external orbit, and you, sir (to Mr. B.), in the internal. At your third conjunction water will gush forth. (Works the handle slowly. The others walk as directed. At their third meeting water streams out. The others step back.)

Squire R. (lifting both hands). Marvellous! Most wonderful!

Mr. B. Wal! I declare! Be you a wizard? I hope—I hope it’s Christian doings!

Mr. D. (with a smile and wave of the hand). What you have witnessed, gentlemen, is merely a new triumph of science!

Mr. B. (with a sigh of relief). I’m glad it’s science! I’s afraid ’twas witchcraft! Send in your bill, stranger! (Pumps.) I’m all in a heap! Science!

Mr. D. Permit me to inform you, sir, that witchcraft is science, only science doesn’t know it. Good morning gentlemen (takes his machine); I have business farther on. Have the goodness to accept of my card (presenting it).

Squire R. (following). Will you allow me to accompany you, and give me the pleasure of your conversation?

Mr. D. With pleasure, sir. (They move to the door.)

Squire R. Good day, neighbor. I’m rejoiced that your troubles are over. “All’s well that ends well.”

Mr. B. My well ends pump.

Curtain drops.

Whole word. (Farewell.)

It being December, there may be a Farewell Address from the Old Year to the children. This “old year” may be represented by a trembling old man, with white locks and beard, leaning on his staff,—the staff to be a portion of a leafless bough. He should carry a pack on his back, marked on each end “ ’69,” and as a wholly pathetic character is not desirable, he may be plentifully labelled with the same figures. White hair and beard can be made of cotton-wool, or yarn, or both, and dipping the ends in a solution of alum will give them a frosty or icy appearance.


Dear Children,—Do you know who I am? My name is Sixty-nine. Good by. I am going now. Yet very few of you will mourn for that! Are you not already wishing me away, longing for the young, bright New Year? You know you are!

O, I remember so well when I was myself a young, bright New Year! A Happy New Year, they called me, and so I was. For then you all liked me. You had longed for my coming. You cheered me! You hurrahed! You shouted for joy! For I came bringing gifts and good wishes.

Ah, that is all changed now! Now that I am old, and have little left to give, you are willing to turn me off for another! Such ingratitude is hard to bear. It is that which has bleached my locks, and chilled me to the heart. For I have given you the very best I had. Think, now. Look back, away back to the time when I was in my prime. Did I not give you those lovely Spring children of mine? Don’t you remember my young April, so tender, so full of feeling, laughing and crying in a breath? She brought the crocuses and violets, but seemed too bashful to offer them! And do you so soon forget my pretty, smiling May, with her apple-blossoms and her singing-birds? My June brought you green carpets, inlaid with buttercups and daisies, and her warm-hearted sisters gave you all their beautiful flowers!

And then my elder children, how generous they were! How free of their gifts? Think of all the apples they gave you! Think of the abundance of ripened grain,—grain which will last till the New Friend that is coming shall be able to furnish more. And fortunate that it is so. For let me tell you, that it will be a long time before this young upstart, this inexperienced New Year, can do much for you in the way of providing!

But for all that I have done my very best, you are impatient to see me off. Now why this haste? Why treat me so coldly? When once gone, you will see me no more! Other friends leave you in sadness, to return in joy. But I go, never to return.

And in this pack I carry all the joys and the merry times of ’69. You can never have them back again. Do you grieve for that? Take comfort, then, in the thought that I carry, also, all the sorrows of ’69. But there is something which cannot be taken away. Memory. All the days and hours of ’69 are in this pack, but the memory of them remains. Be thankful. For if memory, too, could be carried away, why, then, in looking back, what a dreary blank there would be!

Well, children, I am going. Good by! Do you wonder that I go off so smilingly? ’Tis because Old Santa Claus, dear, jolly Old Santa Claus, comes to cheer me in these last days. Ah, were it not for him, how gloomy would these last days be! But it is not permitted me to be sad. He comes with his jingling of bells, and his mirth, and his Merry, Merry Christmas! and so, thanks to him, I leave you with a smiling face.

And now farewell forever. But when young Seventy comes, happy and bright, laden with good wishes and rejoicing your hearts with his beautiful gifts, look back, I pray you, and bestow one thought upon poor old Sixty-nine!

Whole Word in Pantomime.[1] (Farewell.)

Scene.—Inside of room. When the curtain rises, a young soldier is seen taking leave of his mother. Both are standing. Her head is slightly turned away, her right hand is clasped in his. With the left she holds a handkerchief to her eyes, as if weeping. A little boy stands by his mother, holding by her dress and looking up in the soldier’s face. His playthings are scattered on the floor.

Faint noise of drum and fife (or other instruments besides, if convenient) heard, as if in the distance. Seems to come nearer and nearer, and very near. Soldier presses the mother’s hand in both of his, catches up his little brother and kisses him, then rushes out. Mother sinks down, as if overcome with grief, and sits with face bowed upon both hands. Little boy looks out at the door. Music grows fainter and fainter, and dies away in the distance, while curtain falls slowly.

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.

The pantomime may be substituted for the Old Year’s Address, if preferred.



& Funny Things.


No. 87.

Make sense of the following:—

                    A E W Y H T L
                    L R O T Y L A
                    T I O T Y R E
                    H S B E L A H
                    Y E E A R E N
                    A M D A N D A
                    N A K E S A M
                    D W I S E

M. B. B.

No. 88.


First, a poet of England, of medium fame,

Who friendship with poets could certainly claim.

Next a poet who Laureate once might have been,

Had he chosen the fame of that title to win.

My third was a poet and essayist too;

A fame not unpleasant was justly his due.

My fourth was a poet,—you’ll guess, when you’re told

That, whatever might happen, he ne’er could grow old.

These four English poets’ initials will frame,

Of a fifth English poet the still-cherished name,

And of all, the most polish his poems may claim.


No. 89.


What letter ought to turn a precious metal out of good society?

What letter makes a poem ominous?

What letter makes the aged daring?

What letter conveys one seal of marriage?

What letter makes of age an enclosure?

What letter prefixed to a covering for the head denotes familiarity?

What letter prefixed to a delicate article of dress gives it locality?

What letter turns a short measure into a small room?

A. M.


No. 91.


Draw this house with one continued line, without raising your pencil.


No. 92.

I am composed of 17 letters.

My 1, 16, 17 is something that pleases children.

My 2, 3, 7, 6 is a man much talked about.

My 4, 5, 8 is the abode of a quadruped.

My 9, 10 is a particle.

My 11 is an article.

My 12, 13, 14 is not good.

My 15 leads many, but follows one.

My whole is a story in Our Young Folks.

No. 93.

I am composed of 16 letters.

My 15, 4, 11 is a Boy.

My 8, 2, 12, 16 is a part of his face.

My 13, 2, 14 he plays with.

My 6, 7, 5 he wears.

My 14, 16, 10, 10 he does when hurt.

My 1, 9, 6, 3 is his name.

My whole is a name of fiction.




No. 95.

A lady of rank sweeps proudly by

With a queenly look in her flashing eye;

A velvet robe and costliest lace

Set off her beauty of form and face.

Diamonds flash from her neck and hair,

And gleam on her fingers jewels rare.

With a stately step and spirit free,

What you would call her, my first would be.


Gentle and sweet and tender-eyed,

Whom do you see so softly glide

Into and out of the dear old rooms?

With her the sunshine ever comes.

Ever busy for one and all,

Ready to come at every call;

Better than jewels and velvet and lace,

The look of love on her dear, fair face.

Sweeter than singing her every word;—

All honor and love to my second and third!


Calmly she sits in her rocking-chair,

My whole, with her beautiful soft white hair.

Never a cloud in those eyes so blue,

Nor a shadow of doubt o’er that heart so true.

Her hands are folded, their work is past;

They are ready to rest at last, at last.

Our saint,—not much doth lie between

Her gentle life and the Land unseen,—

Not much, but we all do love her so,

How can we ever let her go?

L. G. W.

No. 96.

When overcome with toil and heat,

The soldier walks with weary feet,

Faint and fatigued and sore athirst,

He turns with joy to hail my first.


When fighting’s o’er and peace restored,

Silenced the cannon, sheathed the sword,

The soldier, freed from war’s alarms,

My second meets with open arms.


Now gathered all around the board,

With all the good wife’s dainties stored,

My third and whole will grace the feast,

And give to all a crowning zest.

L. H.

No. 97.


Foundation Words.

Two artists, whose works I am sure you have seen;

Right worthy are they of this honor, I ween.

Cross Words.

      On stray lambs a diner;—

      A humorous designer;—

An artist who long since was touched by death’s dart;—

An Englishman famed for his writings on art.



77.1. Mole, molar, molest. 2. Bee, beer, beast. 3. Go, gore, ghost. 4. Some, summer. 5. Mite, mitre. 6. Y, wire. 7. Must, muster.

79. Carpet.

80. Current.

81. The Alphabet.

82. Fan.

83. Fore.


85. 1. Eight anchored (A tankard). 2. Because they mutilate (mew till late). 3. When she is foundering (found erring). 4. Because they are Lent. 5. Because she is linked to a Si (sigh). 6. Horse pistols.

86. Evil into the mind of God or man may come and go, so unapproved, and leave no spot or stain behind. (Milton.)

(Eve) (lin) (tooth) e (M in dove) (god) (oar) (man) (May) comma N D G (O’s) O (Una pea rue Ved) a (N D) (leaven) (O’s) (pot) (oar) (stain) (bee) (hind).


The evenings are growing long now, and boys and girls are sometimes perplexed as to the manner of passing them most pleasantly. Wouldn’t it be a good plan for them to tell each other, through the Letter Box, how they spend the time, when they get together for a little party, or when the family circle is large enough to make various kinds of games interesting? We know of fathers and mothers, to say nothing of aunts and uncles, who enjoy both old and new fashioned games quite as well as the children do. Nothing keeps us elders so fresh and cheery, young folks, as entering into your pleasures; so don’t leave us out in the cold, when you are planning a good time together.

It doesn’t matter to the Letter Box whether a game is old or new. Our readers are so far apart, and the ways of doing things are so different in opposite parts of the country, that what is familiar in one region may be quite unknown in another.

To begin with, we offer a numerical puzzle from one of our correspondents:—

“I tell my boy to take his slate and write down a line of four or five figures which I dictate. He then writes under them a line of figures which he repeats to me. We continue to dictate alternate lines to any extent, and when we stop, I tell him at once the sum of the column. It must be understood that I dictate the first line and the last.

I commence with4742
I end with5134
and announce the sum of64736

On what principle is this done?


The above is plain enough, when you have looked at it sharply a minute or two. But we will give the explanation next month.

“Buz-buz” is simpler still, and is doubtless familiar to many of our readers. It is played thus:—

A number of persons are sitting together. One begins the game by saying “One,” the person next to him “Two,” the next “Three,” and so on until “Seven” is reached. The person to whom this number falls says “Buz” instead of “Seven.” Then the numbers go on to “Fourteen,” instead of which “Buz-Buz” must be pronounced. And so, for every multiple of seven, “Buz” must be pronounced as many times as seven is contained in the number. The counting and “buz-zing” must be done as rapidly as the words can be pronounced. Easy as it seems, there are few persons who will not often be caught in a mistake.

“The Elements” is another very simple game, which keeps one’s wits closely at work. You throw a handkerchief into the lap of some one sitting near you, saying at the moment, “Earth!” “Air!” or “Water!” The person who receives the handkerchief must name some inhabitant of the element mentioned before the one who throws it can count ten. No general term, like “bird,” “beast,” or “fish,” must be used, and the same creature must not be twice mentioned.

“Initials” is a game we have heard of from Sweden, where, in the evenings, which are longer than our days, they must need a great variety of amusements. You whisper to your next neighbor the name of some distinguished person; he whispers another to his next neighbor, and so on around the room. Then the first person to whom a name was first told repeats adjectives or other words, the initials of which in some way describe the individual mentioned to him, and the rest of the company guess who is meant from the initials and appellations.

For instance: Some one says, “Artificial Poet,” and you have no trouble in guessing the name of Alexander Pope. Or if the words “Notorious Butcher” are pronounced, it is quite possible that Napoleon Bonaparte is meant.

The games which are easy enough for the smallest people to share are usually the best. Everybody likes to be counted in, when there is a good time. And there are a great many of these easy plays,—such as “The Grand Mufti,” “Hieroglyphics,” “My Father is a Merchant,” “The Cook who does not like Peas,” “Scandal,” and the like. Who of our young correspondents will describe to us their way of playing these games? or which of them would they like to have us explain, in another number? We mean to give, from month to month, during the coming year, the best descriptions of the kind that we can get from our friends, or out of our own memory. But we shall give the preference to those which are sent to us, and which are also the least familiar to ourselves.

We are in many ways reminded that Christmas is drawing near, and one very pleasant thing which brings it before us is this little poem, just dropped into the Letter Box, about



Who, last night, but my little white maid,

  Stole out of bed? I caught her myself

  Playing at Christmas, the dear little elf!—

Saddest of rebels, I am afraid.

She thinks I don’t know, and don’t understand;

  But I shall tell all that I heard.

Each little dainty lass, all through the land,

  Shall know every word.

      *       *        *        *        *

“However little folks long for Christmas,

  Grown folks count up the days all wrong!

They make a month seem as it never would pass,

  And a year is twice too long.

My Dolly dear never saw Christmas day!

  What a state to be in! If dolls could speak,

I know very well what she would say,—

‘O for a nice year! once in a way,

  With a Christmas once a week!

Now it is nothing but drag and drone;

Count Sunday, Monday, one by one,

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,—

Fair day, wet day, worse day,—

With Friday over and Saturday done,

There’s only another slow week begun.’


“Here’s Dolly’s night-cap, and here is her gown;

Straighten and smooth her floss locks down;

Settle the coverlet close to her chin;—

          I’ll tuck my baby in.

We’ll make Christmas for our two selves,

  Since real true Christmas comes so slow,

No use waiting for Santa Claus’ elves,

  We’ve waited two months now.

      Sleep! sleep! Doll-baby dear,

      To-morrow Christmas will be here.

All good things, nice things that grow,

Into the stocking top shall go.

Make-believe honeycomb up to the sky;

Make-believe candy piled ever so high;

Doll-house with baby gear all complete;

Everything chock full of everything sweet;

A book full of pictures, painted and gay,—

No letter in it, not even an A,—

All things beautiful, fit for a doll,

A make-believe stocking to hold them all.

    Wake! wake! Doll-baby dear,

    Make-believe Christmas is here.”

      *       *        *        *        *

Are all the little birds gone from the land?

  I’ll put it in rhyme, and write it out clear,

That my little maiden may understand:—

  No whisper so low that mother can’t hear.

Wishing for Christmas all day long,

  Sighing for Christmas all night through,

Won’t make right of a thing that’s wrong,

  However little girls make ado.

A few more days, a few more nights,

  A little more patient waiting, dear,

Will herald for little folks grand delights,

  And Christmas morn be here!

The Acting Charades, from S. Annie Frost and others, are to be commenced with the New Year. They will be varied by pantomimes, mimic operas, and other matters equally entertaining,—as we can make room for them.

Mr. Trowbridge is to continue his contributions, and they will doubtless interest our readers, as “Ship-building” and others have done.—Those who have read his last articles on this subject will enjoy the pictures of ship-building given in Mr. Longfellow’s well-known poem, which Messrs. Fields, Osgood, & Co. have had illustrated for the holidays. “The Building of the Ship” is now as much of a gem through its illustrations as it has hitherto been by reason of its own matchless verse. The pictures are by Gifford and Hennessy, engraved by W. J. Linton and A. V. S. Anthony, and the red-line illumination and elegant binding make it one of the most exquisite of gift-books.

There are plenty of new books waiting for a place in the children’s Christmas stockings. We have only had time to glance at the covers and title-pages of some of them. To think of California sending us children’s books, as well as gold! Here are the “Golden Gate Series” and the “Inglenook Series,” published by A. Roman & Co., San Francisco. We hope we shall find them as good as gold, when we come to examine them; but we can say nothing about their contents as yet.

Lee and Shepard have two new books which ought to be excellent, judging from their titles: “How Charlie Roberts became a Man,” and “How Eva Roberts gained her Education.” The prefaces promise well. Dr. Todd’s “Sunset Land,” which they also publish, has interested us more than any description of California we ever read. And “Dotty Dimple’s Flyaway” is as fresh and funny and fascinating as all “Sophie May’s” children are. Little folks will be sorry that this is the last of the “Dotty Dimple” series.

Mrs. E. A. Walker, whose contributions our readers will remember, has put the “Pilgrim’s Progress” and the “Life of Christ” into words of one syllable, making two pretty little books. They are published by George A. Leavitt, New York, in small quarto, with large type, and illustrations in oil colors. John Bunyan has always been a favorite with children, and we think that the very little ones must like this edition,—at least as an introduction to the immortal tinker’s delightful allegory; and they will be the better pleased with it because the long speeches and sermons, which the older juveniles usually skip, are all left out.

Every boy who is making a collection of books for himself must want to own the “Illustrated Library of Wonders,” of which Messrs. Scribner & Co., of New York, have issued two more volumes,—“The Intelligence of Animals,” and “Great Hunts.” These books are full of instruction and entertainment.

“The Fairy Egg, and what it Held,” which Fields, Osgood, & Co. will publish before Christmas, is a sort of magnified and glorified “Mother Goose.” “Little Bo-Peep and Little Boy-Blue,” the “Musical Pie,” the “Adventures of Richard and Robin,” and other classic legends from the same source, are woven and embroidered into ingenious little romances, and illustrated by Miss Lucy Gibbons. It will be a very attractive holiday volume.

The “Uncle Sam Series,” by the same publishers, is now complete. These are all bright, attractive little picture-books, in paper covers, and filled with colored prints. Some of our best poets have here lent their efforts to give a fresh interest to the history and legends of our country, and the series deserves attention, both from children and older people.

We call attention to the attractions of our next year’s programme, some hints of which we gave last month. Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney’s serial, “We Girls: A Home Story,” has surely a most inviting title. It will be commenced in the January number. We shall have a charming little poem from Mr. Whittier in that number, and others from the same source, we hope, through the year. We have several of Rose Terry’s pretty sketches awaiting publication. Colonel T. W. Higginson is going to write some new papers for us, about animals. Dr. I. I. Hayes will give the history of several of the Esquimaux dogs which were his companions in the Arctic regions. With these names, and those of Rev. E. E. Hale, Mrs. E. C. Agassiz, Mrs. A. M. Diaz, Mrs. Helen C. Weeks, Mr. T. B. Aldrich, Mr. James Parton, Miss E. Stuart Phelps, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others equally welcome to our readers, we feel as if we had a right to promise that “Our Young Folks” will well maintain its reputation as the best magazine of its kind in this or any country.

More than one hundred compositions have been sent to us in competition for the prize. Our decision with regard to them we shall give in the January number.

We slip in an extract from a letter which “S. P. F.” sends us from the Berkshire hills. We wish we could also print the pretty pansies which came with it, bedded in a tuft of mountain-moss:—

“October 29, 1869.

Dear ‘Young Folks’:—

“Have you had any snow down at the Hub? Snow fell here in fitful squalls yesterday and the day before. For a few moments the air would be so full of snow that we could scarcely see across the way,—then in an instant the sun would shine brightly, and the distant mountains would show snowy crests, for the first time this Fall. Were the Autumn leaves ever so gorgeous as they have been this season? Though the bright hues have faded now, there is still a lingering glory in the fading tamaracks. Now the snow is melting, and everything is dripping, dripping. The green grass is showing strangely bright through the snow, and but for the clinging leaves of the lilacs one might fancy it Spring. A few brave asters and pinks still remain, with the bright-eyed pansies, which are not summer friends, but faithful all the year.

“Yes, we went a-Maying!—the sweet arbutus and blue-bell, wild rose and sweet-brier, and the whole tribe of summer flowers within our reach came in to gladden our home. Well we remember one day. The youngest, the pet of the household, lay very low with scarlet fever. Charlie, our oldest, came into the nursery very softly, his hands full of wild-roses. Their fragrance filled the room for weary days and nights, when the Death Angel seemed so near. They were the first objects that the little one noticed, as he began to recover, and wild roses are sacred to me now.

“We have country neighbors. Since the snow began to fall, a lone partridge settled, trembling, outside the kitchen window. A few days ago, a large gray squirrel trotted along under the piazza. They often venture near, several having been killed in the yard and one in the shed since we came here. We begin to think of Thanksgiving. We hear the merry voices of the huskers, each of whom has a pumpkin for a seat. We give preference to country pumpkin-pies,—eggs and cream being fresh and plenty here.”

Look for tempting prizes, boys and girls, in the next number of the Letter Box. We shall then offer something magnificent.

A correspondent wishes some of our bright readers to give information of the whereabouts of the quotation,

“Though lost to sight, to memory dear.”

And another inquires where this originates:—

“Consistency, thou art a jewel.”

December is passing, dear young folks, and the snow is doubtless falling while you read. May the best blessings of the season descend with it into your hearts and homes! And do not forget the children who must wander about in the winter-time, unloved and cheerless and homeless. Send their lives a little of the sunshine you can spare so well! Do something to make some sad child happy before Christmas comes!

Christmas! The word recalls to our thoughts Him who came to save the lost, and to teach us that our happiness is to be found in helping others. These verses, by the author of “Christmas Tide,” in the present number, remind us very tenderly of His love to all little children; and with them we may fittingly close our Letter Box for the year:—


Beautiful stranger, we have walked all day;

Our feet grow weary in the sun and shade,

And we are lost and know not where to go;

And now we see our little hopes all fade,

And weep the tears our eyes should never know.—

      “I am the Way.”


The skies of morning shone upon us bright;

And flowers we plucked that grew beside the road,

And carried them through all the weary noon;

But now our flowers have come to be a load,

And night is near and darkness cometh soon.—

      “I am the Light.”


We are too young to know what is the best,

And we are wrong, and there’s no eye that sees;

The hours of toil seem never to be done;

There are no arms to fold us into peace,

Nor any breast to lay our heads upon.—

      “I’ll give you rest.”

Here is the picture of the poor little “Gamin” who, by accident, was left out of his place in Mrs. Craik’s sketch of “Le Bœuf Gras,” on page 829. Our readers will want to see how he looks,—and we think he does not look badly in the Letter Box.


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 12 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]