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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Vol 1, Issue 7

Date of first publication: 1865

Author: John Townsend Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: Mar. 7, 2017

Date last updated: Mar. 7, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170313

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






An Illustrated Magazine





Vol. I. JULY, 1865. No. VII.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

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


















Freddy Lincoln was the son of a widow, and, because he was born on the First of January, she called him her New Year’s Present. A charming present he was, the bright, loving little fellow! His mother was not very well. She was not strong enough to earn much money. But Freddy grew stout on boiled potatoes, and good sweet bread and milk. His clothes were patched; but he liked them, because mother mended them so nicely. He had no money to buy playthings; but he did not need any. He could amuse himself all day with chips and shavings, and his little frisky kitten, and a tin cow that he picked up in the street. The cow had her feet broken off, but his mother bored four holes in a piece of wood, and put the cow’s legs into the holes, and then she stood as well as any cow in the barn-yard; but she could not give any milk, you know, because she was made of tin. Kitty was a live thing, that wouldn’t break, and Freddy liked her much better than anything made of tin or wood. She was a white kitten,—all white, except a little black spot on her nose. That black spot made her look as if she had been smelling of crocky kettles. When boys peeped in through the open fence, they called her Smutty Nose. Freddy did not like to have them laugh at his kitten. One day he took a basin of water and a piece of sponge, and tried to wash the black spot off. The kitten cried, “Miou!” and kicked her hind legs very hard against his wrists. But he held her tight, and scrubbed poor kitty’s nose till he almost rubbed the skin off. Perhaps he would have rubbed the skin quite off, if his mother had not called him. But as soon as he heard her sweet voice calling, “Freddy dear!” he ran to see what was wanted. His mother said to him, “Here is Bobby Spring come to see you. He is going to have a Christmas party, and he wants you to come.” “O mother, do let me go!” exclaimed Freddy; and when mother said he might go, he jumped up and down, and shook his elbows, and laughed out loud, he was so glad. When kitty saw him jumping about, she began to jump too. She ran round and round, after her own tail; but she didn’t catch it; for the tail ran round as fast as she did. “What a little fool!” said Bobby Spring. “She don’t know that her tail is tied on.” Freddy clapped his hands, and laughed to see how fast the kitten ran round. “So it is tied on,” said he; “and kitty don’t know it. She thinks she can catch it, but she can’t never catch it. Mother, when is Christmas? Is it to-night? May I wear my blue jacket?”

When he was told that the next night would be Christmas Eve, he thought it was a long time to wait. All the next day he kept asking, every hour, how long it would be before sunset. The sun went down at last, and Freddy went to the Christmas party. There he saw wonderful things. There was an evergreen tree on the table, lighted up with little candles; and dogs, and dolls, and birds, and all sorts of pretty things, were on the branches. Every little girl and boy had something from the tree. Freddy had a small flag with stars and stripes on it, and on the top was a bright gilded eagle and a yellow tassel. And he had a paper full of sugared almonds, and a book full of pretty pictures. He jumped round with a little black-eyed girl, and called it dancing. Mrs. Spring played on the piano, and they had a merry time.

When Freddy’s mother came for him, he could not believe it was nine o’clock, though he never sat up so late before. His mother told him it was time his little peepers were shut. But his peepers were open for two hours afterward; and when he fell asleep, he went to the Christmas party again. He dreamed that he saw his white kitten up in the Christmas tree, stretching her paw down to catch the dolls, that were dancing on the branches to the tune of Yankee Doodle. He remembered it when he woke up, and talked to his mother about it. When she told him the kitten did not go to the party, he said, “Yes, she was there, mother, for I did see her.” Then he turned to puss, who was sleeping on the hearth-rug, and said, “Kitty, you know you was there. I did see you trying to catch the dolls.” The kitten winked her eyes sleepily, and didn’t seem to remember anything about the Christmas tree. But Freddy always thought that puss was at the party, though she couldn’t talk about it. He talked it over to her ever so many times.

A week after the party it was New Year’s Day. Freddy came down stairs barefoot, his little toes all red with the cold. He jumped and skipped about, for he was never still. And he hugged and kissed his mother, and said, “I woke up first! I did wish you a happy New Year first! Didn’t I, dear mother?” Then, looking at his cup of milk and crust of bread, he began to think of the nice things at the Christmas party. And he said, “Mother, I don’t think that is a very good breakfast for New Year’s Day. It’s my birthday, too. All the boys have things New Year’s Day. Bobby Spring said he was going to have lots of things. His father, and his mother, and his grandfather, and his grandmother are all going to give him something.”

Freddy’s mother kissed him, and said, “My little boy has no father, and no grandfather, and no grandmother; and mother is not well, and can’t earn much money to buy things. But she has made her dear little son a nice cap, just such a one as he wanted. See! it is like a soldier’s cap. There are two bright buttons and a tassel. Isn’t that a pretty New Year’s present?”

Freddy seized it with both hands, pushed it down on his head, and began to march about the room. His mother smiled to see how tall he felt. “I wish I had a feather in it,” said he.

“Well, here is the cockerel’s feather you picked up; I will put that in,” said his mother.

Freddy was delighted to have it, and as soon as it was fastened in, he began to march about again.

“But isn’t my little son going to give mother a New Year’s present?” said she.

He stopped marching at once, and said, sorrowfully, “I don’t know what to give you, dear mother. I haven’t got anything. I am sorry I did eat up all my sugared almonds.”

His mother kissed him, and said, “You are my New Year’s present, sonny. Give mother a kiss. She will like that better than sugared almonds.”

When they had kissed each other many times, his mother said, “Now my little boy must be dressed, and eat his breakfast.”

Freddy jumped down and looked out of the window. “It did snow while I was asleep,” said he. “Let me have on my copper-toed shoes, and go out in the snow.”

“But you must eat your breakfast first,” said his mother.

Freddy nibbled away at the crust; then he laid it down, and, looking up coaxingly in his mother’s face, he said, “You know once, when I did look into the baker’s window, he comed out and did give me a gingerbread rabbit, with two black currants for eyes. Praps, if I wish the baker a happy New Year, he will give me another gingerbread rabbit. May I go and wish the baker a happy New Year? Do let me go, dear mother.”

She smiled, and said, “You may go and wish Mr. Wheaton a happy New Year, my son; but you mustn’t ask him for a gingerbread rabbit. If he gives you a cake, make a bow, and say, I thank you, sir; and if he does not give you a cake, make a bow and say, Good morning, sir, and come right away, like a little man.”

“But, mother, if the baker don’t give me a cake,” said Freddy, “I should like to stop outside one little minute, just to look into the window and see the gingerbread rabbits. I won’t ask him for a rabbit. I will only look at ’em.”

“Well, you may look at them, darling,” said his mother. “But drink your cup of milk before you go.”

He took the tin cup with both his little plump hands, and held back his head, and poured every drop into his mouth, and then set the cup down, smacking his lips. “Now, mother,” said he, “please put on my coat, and my new cap, with the brass buttons and the cockerel’s feather; and I’ll take my little flag, and then I shall look like a soldier.” When his coat and cap were on, he gave his mother a smacking kiss, and said, “If the baker gives me a gingerbread rabbit, I will give you half of it.” And away he went, saying, “March! March!”

His mother looked after him with a smile, but the tears were in her eyes; for Freddy was her darling boy, and she felt sad because she had no New Year’s cake to give him. It was a beautiful winter morning. There was snow on the ground, and a sprinkling of snow on the trees, and bright sparkles of frost in the air. Freddy went marching along, making the snow fly with his little copper-toed shoes. His eyes were blue as the sky, his cheeks were rosy with cold, and the curls of his soft yellow hair blew about in the wind. He felt very tall, with a flag on his shoulder and a feather in his cap. He saw a man coming toward him dressed in a blue coat, with bright brass things on his cap. But he didn’t mind that. He kept marching along. When the man came up to him, he stopped and said, “What are you doing, my fine little fellow?”

“Playing soldier, sir,” said Freddy, looking up into the man’s face with his clear blue eyes.

The man caught him up in his strong arms, and hugged him and kissed him. “Bless your heart, I wish you were my little boy,” said the man. “Your eyes are just like my little Lucy’s. Whose boy are you?”

“I’m Mrs. Lincoln’s boy. Whose boy are you?” said Freddy, with a roguish smile. His mother had taught him to say so, for fun; and he said it to the stranger man because he thought he would think it funny.

The man did think it was funny. He laughed, and chucked Freddy under the chin, saying, “You little rogue! I’m one of Mister Lincoln’s boys.” He said that because he was a soldier in President Lincoln’s army.

“Please let me get down,” said Freddy. “I’m going to the baker’s, to wish him happy New Year; and praps he will give me a gingerbread rabbit. He did give me a gingerbread rabbit once.”

“You had better come with me,” said the soldier. “I will give you a cake. You will see ever so many soldiers, and they will play Yankee Doodle for you on the drum and the fife.”

“I would like to see the soldiers, and hear the drum and the fife,” said Freddy. “Is it a great ways? Will you bring me back? I don’t want to go a great ways from my mother.”

“I will bring you safely back, my boy,” said he. “So come with me and see the soldiers.” He kissed him again, and set him down on the ground very tenderly.

Freddy liked this new friend very much. Sometimes he looked up in his face and smiled; and the soldier smiled to see him marching along by his side, with his little copper-toed shoes, and the flag on his shoulder, and the feather in his cap. Freddy felt very safe and very grand, marching along with a real live soldier. He thought it was a great deal better than playing with tin soldiers at the Christmas party. When his friend asked him if he had ever been to see the soldiers, he said he had played with a whole company of tin soldiers. Then he told him all about the Christmas party, how he danced with a little girl, and how Santa Claus put a little flag, and a picture-book, and some sugared almonds, in the tree for him.

“I should like to see you dance with my little Lucy,” said the soldier. “She has great blue eyes and curly yellow hair, just like you. She is a pretty little puss, and I love her dearly.”

“Is she a kitten?” asked Freddy.

“No indeed. She is my little girl,” said the soldier. “What made you think she was a kitten?”

“Because you did call her a pretty little puss; and that is what mother calls my kitten,” said Freddy. Then he began to tell about his kitten; how she was all white, except a smutty spot on her nose, that he couldn’t wash off.

The big soldier was as much pleased with his prattle as if he himself had been a little boy. It sounded very pleasantly in his ears, for his own dear little Lucy at home was just such a chatterbox. They had not walked very far before they came to a large building, and in front of it there were a great many men wearing blue coats and soldiers’ caps. Some were singing, some talking, and some cleaning their guns. Freddy had never seen so many men together before. He began to wish his mother was with him. He nestled close up to his new friend, and took hold of his coat.

“You needn’t be afraid,” said the man. “These are all Mr. Lincoln’s boys, and they’ll all be glad to see you. Come with me. I’ll take good care of you.”

“Hilloa, Sergeant!” shouted one of the soldiers, “who is this?”

“He is a little boy I found in the street,” said the Sergeant. “I brought him here to see the soldiers. He wants to hear you play Yankee Doodle on the drum and the fife.”

“That we will!” said the drummer. “Come here, my little fellow.”

“Wish you happy New Year! Wish you happy New Year!” said the soldiers.

“It’s my birthday, too,” said Freddy, who began to feel that he was among friends.

They gave him apples and peanuts, and told him about the little girls and boys they had left at home. Then they began to play Yankee Doodle, with a big drum and a little drum, and a big fife and a little fife; and some of the soldiers sang Yankee Doodle, and snapped their fingers to the music; and one of the men danced, and another made up droll faces. All this made Freddy so merry, he didn’t know what to do with himself. He jumped up and down, and rolled over in the snow, and laughed, and laughed. Then he got up and marched about with his little flag, and tried to sing Yankee Doodle. He forgot all about the baker, and the gingerbread rabbit, and his little white kitten, and everything. The soldiers thought he was a charming little fellow, and he thought they were charming great fellows; and they had all manner of fun together.

Presently there was the rolling sound of a big drum, and somebody called out that dinner was ready. Then little Freddy stopped jumping about, and said, “I must go right home to my mother.”

But his friend the Sergeant said, “You couldn’t find the way home, my boy. Come and eat dinner with us, and as soon as I have done dinner, I will carry you home.”

“I don’t want to be carried,” said Freddy. “I am a great, large boy, and I can walk home alone.”

“What a big tail our kitten’s got!” said one of the soldiers.

“Where is the kitty?” asked Freddy.

When the soldiers saw him looking all round for a kitten, they laughed; but Freddy didn’t know what they were laughing at.

An officer came up and told the soldiers to form into a line. So they marched, two and two, to the dinner-tables; and Freddy took hold of the friendly Sergeant’s hand, and marched along, with the cockerel’s feather in his cap, and the little flag on his shoulder. The drums and the fifes sounded so merrily, that he wanted to jump and skip; but the Sergeant told him he must march like a little soldier, because he had the flag to carry. So he marched along very steadily, and his little copper-toed shoes made marks on the snow exactly alongside of the sergeant’s big shoes. Freddy felt as if he was a man.

The ladies of the town had sent the soldiers a great many good things for a New Year’s dinner. They all seemed to think that Freddy was king of the feast. They mounted him on a tall box, so that he was as high as any of them. They put on his plate a slice of roasted turkey, and squash, and potato, and gravy. He was in a hurry to have his friend the Sergeant cut up the turkey for him; for he had never had roasted turkey but twice before in his life. It tasted wonderfully good; but when he had eaten two or three mouthfuls, he stopped, and, looking up in the Sergeant’s face, he said, “If you please, sir, I should like to put this nice dinner in a paper, and carry it home to my mother. My mother isn’t very well, and she don’t get much money to buy good things.”

“That’s right! Always be good to your mother, my brave boy,” said the Sergeant. “But you may eat the turkey on your plate. I will give you another slice to carry home to your mother.”

Then Freddy ate his turkey with a good appetite. And when he had eaten it, they gave him a slice of plum-pudding with sweet sauce. He looked at the big raisins, and laughed, and began to sing,

“Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,

   Eating Christmas pie;

 He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum,

   And cried, What a great boy am I!”

He wanted to pull out a plum; but the pudding looked so good, he said, “If you please, I would like to put this in a paper and carry it home to my mother.”

“Eat your pudding, my boy,” said one of the soldiers. “I will go out presently and buy a basket, and we will fill it full of nice things for your mother.”

So he ate his pudding, and all the sweet sauce on his plate. Then he took a little tin cup of water with both hands, and drank it all, and said he had had dinner enough.

The soldier went out and bought a basket, as large as he thought such a little boy could lift, and they filled it full of nice things. Then Freddy was in a great hurry to go home to show his mother what a New Year’s present the soldiers had sent her. His friend the Sergeant put a bow of ribbon in his cap, red, white, and blue, with a bright gilt eagle in the middle. The long ends of the ribbon hung down about his ears, and mixed with his yellow curls; and it all looked as pretty as a picture. Freddy was in a great hurry to go and show it to his mother; but the soldiers all wanted to kiss him. It took a long while to go round among them all; and his friend the Sergeant said, “Make haste. The boy ought to go home. His mother will think he is lost.”

Freddy hurried through his kissing, and heaved a big sigh when he said, “Good by, Mr. Lincoln’s boys. I wish I could come again to-morrow.”

“We are going to march away to-morrow,” said the men; “and we don’t know whether we shall ever see little Freddy again. Good by. Remember Mr. Lincoln’s boys.”

Some of them felt tears coming in their eyes, for they were thinking of their own dear little children at home.

“Good by,” said Freddy. “Thank you for my nice dinner, and for the nice things you have sent my mother.”

“Good by, Good by, Good by,” they all said; and Freddy did not see them more.

He felt sorry they were going away; but when the Sergeant began to whistle Yankee Doodle, he became merry again; and as they walked along, he shook his little head to the music, till the cockerel’s feather in his cap, and the red and white and blue ribbons, and the yellow curls, all seemed to be dancing a jig. There never was a little boy so happy as Freddy was that day.

When they came in sight of his mother’s house, the Sergeant said, “Now you can carry the basket the rest of the way. Good by, dear little fellow.” He took him up in his arms, and looked in his face, and kissed his mouth, and both his cheeks, and both his eyes. When he sat him down on the ground, tears fell on his yellow curls, for the kind soldier was thinking of his own little blue-eyed Lucy at home.

Freddy did not see the tears, and he did not know what his friend was thinking of when he kissed him so many times. He was in a great hurry to show his mother the present he had brought her, and he tugged the basket along as fast as he could. His mother opened the door and said, “Why Freddy! Where have you been all this while?”

He was all out of breath, but as soon as he could speak, he said, “O mother, I did have such a darling New Year’s Day! I did see such a many, many soldiers! And they did give me roast turkey, and they did give me plum-pudding; and they did send a New Year’s present to you.”

“But, Freddy,” said his mother, “you have been naughty. Poor mother has been much troubled about you. She thought her little boy was lost.”

Was I naughty?” said Freddy, sorrowfully. “I didn’t know I was naughty.”

“Why only think how long you have been gone!” said his mother. “You went away at breakfast-time, and now it is after dinner.”

“So I did!” said Freddy. He was very much surprised. He did not know where the day had gone to, it had gone so quick. When his mother told him she had been frightened about him, he felt sorry, and began to make up a lip to cry.

But his mother patted him on the head and said, “Don’t cry. You didn’t mean to be a naughty boy. You didn’t mean to stay away from poor mother so long; did you? How was it? Tell me all about it.”

But Freddy was busy unpacking the basket. “O mother,” said he, “see what lots of things the soldiers did send you! Here is a great piece of mince-pie, and a great piece of apple-pie, and a great piece of plum-pudding, and a great piece of turkey, and four red apples; and see this great, big, large orange!”

His mother smiled, and said, “But where is the gingerbread rabbit you went out to get this morning?”

Freddy laid down the big orange, and seemed very much surprised again. “Why, mother,” said he, “I did forget all about the gingerbread rabbit! How funny! But I did have a darling New Year’s Day.”

“You have not told me where you have been,” said his mother. “Come, sit in my lap, and tell me all about it.”

Then he began to tell how he met a soldier, who took him up in his arms and kissed him, and told him he looked like his little blue-eyed Lucy at home. And how he asked him to go and see the soldiers; and how they played Yankee Doodle on a great drum and a little drum, and a big fife, and a little fife. How his tongue did run! It seemed as if he could never go to sleep that night. And when at last his peepers were shut, his mother saw him smiling in his sleep. He was dreaming about the soldier that made such funny faces. He was awake bright and early in the morning, and the first words he said were, “Hark, mother! Don’t you hear the drums and fifes? I guess the soldiers are marching away. O mother, let me get up and be dressed, and march a little way with ’em.”

She put her arm round him and said, “My little boy don’t want to go away and leave his poor mother all alone, does he?”

“No, dear mother, I don’t.” He nestled close up to her, and began to tell her over again all the wonderful things he had seen and heard. Freddy was a chatterbox.

When the winter passed away, something else happened. A lady in the country invited his mother to come and stay at her house; for she thought the fresh air and the smell of the new hay would be good for her. Freddy was delighted to go. He was always delighted with everything. The lady had a neighbor, whose little blue-eyed daughter was named Lucy; and they lived alone, because Lucy’s father had gone to be a soldier.

One day, when Lucy was picking up chips, Freddy helped her to fill her little basket; and when it was full, he took hold of one side of the handle, and she took hold of the other, and they carried it into the house to her mother. The lady asked him whose little boy he was; and when he told her he was Mrs. Lincoln’s boy, she smiled, and asked him if he didn’t go to see Mr. Lincoln’s boys on New Year’s Day. Freddy began to tell about the charming time he had with the soldiers. The lady took him up in her lap and kissed him, and told him her husband was the soldier who met him in the street. “And is that his little Lucy?” asked Freddy. “Yes, that is his little Lucy,” said the lady. Then Freddy felt as if he was very well acquainted with the little girl. They played together every day. He told her, over and over again, what great times he had on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day; and he told her all about his white kitten with a smutty nose; and she told him all about her chickens and her lambs. They made houses of cobs, and rode seesaw on the boards. He called her Sissy, and she called him Bubby. They had very pleasant times together.

When summer was gone, he did not want to go back to the city. He said, “I shall have nobody to play with me, mother. I wish Lucy would go with me. I wish she was my Sissy.” “I wish so, too,” said his mother. “But Lucy must not leave her mother all alone, you know. And we must go home now, and see what has become of puss.” “O yes,” said Freddy, “I want to see puss again.”

He found that she had grown to be a great puss; and he told his mother he did not like her half so well as he did little Lucy.

L. Maria Child.


Every one calls her remarkably good;

All of her virtues are well understood;

Spotless her laces, and smooth is her hair;

She is Propriety’s self, sitting there

With her bland smile and her satisfied air.


“Cheerful?” What of it? She smiles when you smile;

Lets you the wearisome moments beguile;

Takes your red roses and weaves into crowns;

Lists while the voice of your flattery sounds.

“Cheerful?” Go, prove her with shadows and frowns.


“Lovèd and loving?” She has a new ring,

Jewelled and costly, an exquisite thing;

Far too imposing a token to hide,

Pledge of her conquest, she wears it with pride;

Pleased to be chosen as Luxury’s bride.


“Free from quick passion?” Her heart-beats are slow;

How should the half-empty chalice o’erflow?

Few are the feelings she has to restrain;

What does she know of the torturing pain

Of the racked heart and the agonized brain?


“Pattern for others?” What tempts her to stray?

Where could she find a more sunshiny way?

Changing her path were to darken her hours;

Sinning means thistles, and saintliness flowers;

Duty leads onward through vineyards and bowers.


Not that I judge her; O, bitter and stern

Lessons, in future, her spirit may learn!

Nectar, by keeping, may change into gall;

Angels turn demons when tempted to fall;

Goodness untried is no goodness at all.


Not the frankincense and gold from the mine,

Not the sweet fragrance of Galilee’s wine,

Not the rich ointment the penitent poured,

Not the hosanna’s triumphant accord,—

Thorn-wreath and cross proved the love of the Lord.

Marian Douglas.


Our old homestead—(the house was very old for a new country, having been built about the time that the Prince of Orange drove out James the Second)—nestled under a long range of hills which stretched off to the west. It was surrounded by woods in all directions save to the southeast, where a break in the leafy wall revealed a vista of low green meadows, picturesque with wooded islands and jutting capes of upland. Through these, a small brook, noisy enough as it foamed, rippled, and laughed down its rocky falls by our garden-side, wound, silently and scarcely visible, to a still larger stream, known as the Country Brook. This brook in its turn, after doing duty at two or three saw and grist mills, the clack of which we could hear in still days across the intervening woodlands, found its way to the great river, and the river took it up and bore it down to the great sea.

I have not much reason for speaking well of these meadows, or rather bogs, for they were wet most of the year; but in the early days they were highly prized by the settlers, as they furnished natural mowing before the uplands could be cleared of wood and stones and laid down to grass. There is a tradition that the hay-harvesters of two adjoining towns quarrelled about a boundary question, and fought a hard battle one summer morning in that old time, not altogether bloodless, but by no means as fatal as the fight between the rival Highland clans, described by Scott in “The Fair Maid of Perth.” I used to wonder at their folly, when I was stumbling over the rough hassocks, and sinking knee-deep in the black mire, raking the sharp sickle-edged grass which we used to feed out to the young cattle in midwinter when the bitter cold gave them appetite for even such fodder. I had an almost Irish hatred of snakes, and these meadows were full of them,—striped, green, dingy water-snakes, and now and then an ugly spotted adder by no means pleasant to touch with bare feet. There were great, black snakes, too, in the ledges of the neighboring knolls; and on one occasion in early spring I found myself in the midst of a score at least of them,—holding their wicked meeting one Sabbath morning on the margin of a deep spring in the meadows. One glimpse at their fierce, shining heads in the sunshine, as they roused themselves at my approach, was sufficient to send me at full speed towards the nearest upland. The snakes, equally scared, fled in the same direction; and, looking back, I saw the dark monsters following close at my heels, terrible as the Black Horse rebel regiment at Bull Run. I had, happily, sense enough left to step aside and let the ugly troop glide into the bushes.

Nevertheless, the meadows had their redeeming points. In spring mornings the blackbirds and bobolinks made them musical with songs; and in the evenings great bullfrogs croaked and clamored; and on summer nights we loved to watch the white wreaths of fog rising and drifting in the moonlight like troops of ghosts, with the fireflies throwing up ever and anon signals of their coming. But the brook was far more attractive, for it had sheltered bathing-places, clear and white-sanded, and weedy stretches, where the shy pickerel loved to linger, and deep pools, where the stupid sucker stirred the black mud with his fins. I had followed it all the way from its birthplace among the pleasant New Hampshire hills, through the sunshine of broad, open meadows, and under the shadow of thick woods. It was, for the most part, a sober, quiet little river, but at intervals it broke into a low, rippling laugh over rocks and trunks of fallen trees. There had, so tradition said, once been a witch-meeting on its banks of six little old women in short, skyblue cloaks; and, if a drunken teamster could be credited, a ghost was once seen bobbing for eels under Country Bridge. It ground our corn and rye for us, at its two grist-mills; and we drove our sheep to it for their spring-washing, an anniversary which was looked forward to with intense delight, for it was always rare fun for the youngsters. Macaulay has sung,

“That year young lads in Umbro

 Shall plunge the struggling sheep,”

and his picture of the Roman sheep-washing recalled, when we read it, similar scenes in the Country Brook. On its banks we could always find the earliest and the latest wild-flowers, from the pale blue, three-lobed hepatica, and small, delicate wood-anemone, to the yellow bloom of the witch-hazel burning in the leafless October woods.

Yet, after all, I think the chief attraction of the Brook to my brother and myself was the fine fishing it afforded us. Our bachelor uncle who lived with us (there has always been one of that unfortunate class in every generation of our family) was a quiet, genial man, much given to hunting and fishing; and it was one of the great pleasures of our young life to accompany him on his expeditions to Great Hill, Brandy-brow Woods, the Pond, and, best of all, to the Country Brook. We were quite willing to work hard in the cornfield or the haying-lot to finish the necessary day’s labor in season for an afternoon stroll through the woods and along the brook-side. I remember my first fishing excursion as if it were but yesterday. I have been happy many times in my life, but never more intensely so than when I received that first fishing-pole from my uncle’s hand, and trudged off with him through the woods and meadows. It was a still, sweet day of early summer; the long afternoon shadows of the trees lay cool across our path; the leaves seemed greener, the flowers brighter, the birds merrier than ever before. My uncle, who knew by long experience where were the best haunts of pickerel, considerately placed me at the most favorable point. I threw out my line as I had so often seen others, and waited anxiously for a bite, moving the bait in rapid jerks on the surface of the water in imitation of the leap of a frog. Nothing came of it. “Try again,” said my uncle. Suddenly the bait sank out of sight. “Now for it,” thought I, “here is a fish at last.” I made a strong pull, and brought up a tangle of weeds. Again and again I cast out my line with aching arms, and drew it back empty. I looked to my uncle appealingly. “Try once more,” he said, “we fishermen must have patience.”

Suddenly something tugged at my line and swept off with it into deep water. Jerking it up, I saw a fine pickerel wriggling in the sun. “Uncle!” I cried, looking back in uncontrollable excitement, “I’ve got a fish!” “Not yet,” said my uncle. As he spoke there was a plash in the water; I caught the arrowy gleam of a scared fish shooting into the middle of the stream; my hook hung empty from the line. I had lost my prize.

We are apt to speak of the sorrows of childhood as trifles in comparison with those of grown-up people; but, we may depend upon it, the young folks don’t agree with us. Our griefs, modified and restrained by reason, experience, and self-respect, keep the proprieties, and if possible avoid a scene; but the sorrow of childhood, unreasoning and all-absorbing, is a complete abandonment to the passion. The doll’s nose is broken, and the world breaks up with it; the marble rolls out of sight, and the solid globe rolls off with the marble.

So, overcome by my great and bitter disappointment, I sat down on the nearest hassock, and for a time refused to be comforted, even by my uncle’s assurance that there were more fish in the brook. He refitted my bait, and, putting the pole again in my hands, told me to try my luck once more.

“But remember, boy,” he said, with his shrewd smile, “never brag of catching a fish until he is on dry ground. I’ve seen older folks doing that in more ways than one, and so making fools of themselves. It’s no use to boast of anything until it’s done, nor then either, for it speaks for itself.”

How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I didn’t catch! When I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to anticipate the credit which belongs only to actual achievement, I call to mind that scene by the brook-side, and the wise caution of my uncle in that particular instance takes the form of a proverb of universal application: “Never brag of your fish before you catch him.

John G. Whittier.


The summer of 1746 was a trying time to the inhabitants of New England everywhere, and notably so to the people of the little town of North Yarmouth in the Province of Maine, now the flourishing and populous village of Yarmouth in the great State of Maine. The Indians, at first friendly, as you know, to the early settlers, maddened by a long series of wrongs, real and fancied, and instigated by the promptings of their French Jesuit priests, had at last combined in a general effort to drive away the hated pale-faces from their hunting and fishing-grounds. There had been other Indian wars before, and cruel and bloody wars they were; but this war of 1746 seems to have been waged with a savage ferocity and a deadly determination which make the others appear quite insignificant in comparison.

I have no time now to tell you the causes of this hostility of the Indians to the settlers. When you are a little older, you will read all about the matter in your histories, and will find, I am afraid, that our Puritan ancestors, however good and pious in other things, were anything but good in their treatment of the unsuspecting savages, of whose territory they took such unceremonious possession; and that, if there ever was just cause for bitter and bloody retaliation, the Indians of that time had it.

However this may be, at the time of which I am telling you the whole Province of Maine was in a state of complete alarm, and no little danger. A large force of Indians hovered along the whole frontier, and around all the outlying settlements, and every now and then made rapid incursions to the interior. They came generally in scattered bands, usually consisting of five or ten, rarely of more than fifty; killed the straying cattle; robbed, murdered and scalped all who were found outside of the rude fortifications of the time; and sometimes, when they felt themselves strong enough,—which was not often,—made an attack upon towns and garrisons. So that the good people of North Yarmouth, in the sunny month of August, 1746, instead of being out in their boats fishing on the pleasant waters of Casco Bay, as they were wont to do, (for they were a seafaring people then, as they have always continued to be,) or cultivating their fields on the banks of the little Royall’s River, were obliged to live shut up in block-houses,—only to go abroad in well-armed bodies, and then only for the shortest possible distance, for fear of being surprised by some skulking band of savages.

You may well imagine it was not a very cheerful thing to be shut up in these block-houses, as at this time, not only in North Yarmouth, but all over the Province of Maine, almost everybody was obliged to be. Life at the best then was not a very cheerful business; our ancestors were never very cheery people, and while doing all honor to the high qualities which they undoubtedly had, and which have made our glorious old New England the mother of all that is most noble in the great commonwealth, yet there is no harm in regretting that they were not more cheerful in their habits and in their ways, and, without thinking any less of their Christian virtues and pious exercises, did not pay a little more attention to amusing themselves and their children. The gloom of those old Puritan times still overhangs too many a fireside in our Northern hills, and has given to us, the unworthy descendants of the Puritans, a sullenness of demeanor, an unwillingness to be pleased, or to appear pleased, which, if only a crust upon our kindly disposition, is yet a very disagreeable one, and one which I heartily wish we were well rid of.

But one can hardly blame our great-grandfathers for not being cheerful in the block-houses to which the dangers of 1746 consigned them. These were rude structures at the best. Many of them were no larger than a good-sized room, but securely built of stout logs. These were refuges for single families, and were not intended to withstand a strong attack. Others were of a more formidable character, consisting of a strong enclosure of palisades fifty or a hundred feet square, with the block-house proper, a solid log fort two stories high in the centre. These latter, properly garrisoned, could bid defiance to any party of Indians likely to attack them. In them, says the old chronicler, many families were often clustered together; and he mentions, as an extraordinary instance of harmony, that in one of them eleven families lived together for no less than seven years. The meagre records of the time give us very little information about the mode of life of our beleaguered forefathers, but we know enough to be able to say, as I told you, that it could not have been very cheerful. We may suppose that the elders found a grim satisfaction in their long prayers at morning and night, their long graces before and after meals, their ponderous volumes of sound but musty theology, and in the interminable and sometimes heated discussions on predestination, free will, and kindred doctrines, with which they occupied their leisure moments. But how must it have been with the young people? It was no pleasant thing to peep out of the narrow slits in the walls, and see the deserted fields, and the crops growing into wild luxuriance, the cottages burnt or plundered by their savage enemies, with perhaps a curl of smoke in the distance showing where the Indians were still pursuing their work of destruction. It was not a pleasant thing to see the men go out to their work in the scanty fields close around the fort,—when it was considered comparatively safe to do so,—feeling that almost any one of them might be picked off by a lurking savage from some safe place of concealment near by. So it was no wonder that the children longed for the time when the wicked Indians should be driven away or killed, (I am afraid the latter was the general wish,) and they could go out again, to play in the woods and fields, or to go down on the beach and make wells and forts for the coming tide to destroy, or to go on the cliffs, or out in boats, to catch the delicate fish for which those waters are still famous.

Tradition says that our great-grandfather, though a good and pious man, and a devout member of the Rev. Mr. ——’s church, yet was withal of a cheerful, active, energetic disposition, and chafed, perhaps, more than most of his more sluggish neighbors at the life of gloomy and anxious confinement he was compelled to lead. Perhaps, if he had not been such a man, I shouldn’t have had this story to tell you about him. At any rate, whether prompted by this natural uneasiness, or some other cause, he startled his wife and three little children, as they sat at their frugal breakfast of hasty-pudding and milk with the rest of the garrison, one fine warm morning in this month of August, 1746, by telling them that he was going that day to one of the neighboring forts, some miles away. He was going, he said, to see if any intelligence had been received of the progress of the war in other parts, and whether any Indians had been seen in the neighborhood by the scouts. For two months there had been no alarm at Wier’s Garrison, and it was hoped that the savages had given up the hope of making a successful attack in this quarter, and had retired to the frontier, leaving the colonists free to go out once more in safety into their fields, and to give some attention to their neglected crops.

Our great-grandmother, however unwilling she might be to have her husband go on an expedition which she knew must be perilous, made no objection to his proposal. She knew her husband to be brave and cautious, a master in the art of wood-craft, and thoroughly acquainted with all the savage ways; besides, our ancestor, though kind to his family, is known to have had much of the stern bearing of the men of the time, and in those days the word of the father of the family was a law from which there was no appeal. So she said no word, when our great-grandfather lifted up his voice, and said quietly: “Friends, I am going to the Point to-day, to see if there be any tidings from across the seas, or along the shore,—or if any of our cunning spies have seen the tracks of the savages in these parts. I believe that the way is safe, and that the journey will be without peril; and so, with the blessing of God, I shall return by nightfall. Are there any messages for the brethren and friends?”

For a few moments a dead silence prevailed, only broken by a whispered consultation among some of the men. Although it was by no means uncommon for the different posts to have communications with each other, yet such communications were usually made by bands of three or four, to whom the expedition was comparatively safe. The savages were unlikely to attack even so small a number of resolute men, unless they were in strong force, which, as I have told you, did not often happen. With a single man, however, the case would be different. The road lay through thick woods, from which it would be the easiest thing in the world for two or three Indians to ambush a solitary traveller, who, of course, could not make a very effectual resistance to an unseen enemy.

The garrison, however, made no attempt to dissuade our ancestor, and after a while good Mr. Wier, who, in virtue of his age and experience, had come to be considered the Captain of the post, thus spoke: “Well, Brother Greely, if you have determined to go, so be it, and may the blessing and protection of the Lord go with you. But take good heed of your movements, and see that your musket be in good order. Our savage enemies are wily and sharp-sighted, and may even now, though I deem that it is not so, be at our very doors. So go not hastily, nor be over-bold, and I believe you will have a prosperous journey, and a safe return.”

Our great-grandfather expressed his firm intention to watch vigilantly for his own safety; adding, that he had very little apprehension of danger, since he had no idea that there were any Indians in the neighborhood, so long a time having elapsed without any alarm from them. Several other members of the garrison then gave him advice and instruction about the journey;—good Father Wier said a lengthy grace, in which he did not fail to remember the outgoing traveller, and the party left the breakfast-table.

Our great-grandfather went to the hooks where his gun was kept, took down the trusty piece that had been handed down to him from former wars, examined it, and loaded it with extreme care, slung his powder-horn and bullet-pouch by his side, and then turned for a parting good-by to his family and friends. This was brief, for the New-Englanders of that time were much the same undemonstrative race they are now. He kissed his children, charging them to be good boys and girls during his absence; exchanged a few affectionate words of mutual advice and caution with his wife; grasped the hands of his friends who stood by, and received their messages; and then, somewhat more sedate than usual, shouldered his musket, and strode manfully out of the fort. Just as he reached the gate, his oldest boy, little Jonathan, an urchin of five or six years, called after him: “O father, you must take old Turk with you. He wants to get away dreadfully, and he can smell out the red-skins long before you could see them.”

His father assented, and presently Turk, a fine stout English mastiff, appeared, highly overjoyed at being freed from his chain, and, with every manifestation of pleasure, followed his master. The garrison separated to their usual duties inside and outside the walls, while our great-grandmother and her oldest boy, with such others of the women and children as had nothing to call them elsewhere, climbed to the top of the palisades near the gate, prepared to follow the traveller as far as the eye could see him.

“Wier’s Garrison” was, as I have told you, a strong block-house, built of large oaken logs, securely fastened together, and pierced with narrow loopholes for musketry. This, in its turn, was enclosed by a wall of equally strong palisades, ten feet high, pierced by similar loopholes. Within this enclosure was a place of considerable extent, which was used by the inmates as a playground and place of exercise when the danger of attack was so imminent that it was considered unsafe to venture outside. The outer enclosure was of sufficient strength to withstand any ordinary attack; but if it proved impossible to hold that, then a retreat to the block-house was easy, and that was wellnigh impregnable. The fort, for it quite deserved the name, was situated on a little eminence, about a stone’s throw from the shore, and combined such natural advantages with its artificial strength, that, with a sufficient garrison, its inmates had no occasion to fear any attack likely to be made against it. In these days of immense armies, you will be surprised to hear that a sufficient garrison for this little fort consisted of twenty men, and at the time of which I am telling you, its whole effective strength was only ten men and boys capable of doing anything for the common defence. The post was therefore in considerable danger, for, besides not being as strongly garrisoned as was necessary, the vigilance of its defenders, never subject to very strict discipline, had, by reason of such long immunity from attack, become so lessened, that a sudden and unexpected assault upon it, even by a small force, might very likely have proved successful. You will get some idea of the fancied security of the people, when I tell you that nearly all the men went outside the fort, as our great-grandfather started away, to attend their duties in the little patches of cultivated soil close to the walls, the sad remnants of the broad and fertile fields they used to till before the war. The women and children gathered together about the gate, or, like our great-grandmother and her little boy, climbed to the top of the palisades, to watch the traveller, who, followed by his faithful Turk, trudged manfully across the little plateau of gardens and fields, towards the forest, not far away.

The fort was situated, I told you, on an elevated ridge not far from the shore. For some distance around it the ground had been cleared, and comprised the fields and gardens of the little settlement,—close to the fort in a tolerable state of cultivation, but beyond its friendly shelter quite neglected and run wild. There were no woods near enough to afford cover to an attacking enemy, except in one quarter. A musket-shot or two away, just off the rude road that led to the other settlements, there was a deep wooded gully, an accident of the landscape, which in happier days had been the favorite playground of the little folk of the settlement. This ravine might be used as a shelter for a hostile force, and as our great-grandfather approached it he proceeded with more deliberation,—shifted his gun from his shoulder to the hollow of his arm,—evidently keeping a sharp lookout in all directions. Turk, still delighted at his release, skipped joyously around him, furiously chasing the little birds away from the path and plunging every now and then into the tall grass or shrubbery, as if from the very wantonness of freedom. Suddenly, the little group who still stood by the gate, waving their good-byes, saw him dart into the gully, from which a moment after he emerged, showing every possible sign of alarm and discomfiture.

“I guess, mother,” said little Jonathan, “that Turk has seen a wild-cat in the gully; see how sheepishly he tries to slink behind father.”

The sentence was hardly finished, when a little puff of white smoke rose up from the edge of the ravine, followed instantly by the quick report of a rifle, and a wild and indescribable yell, which the terror-stricken spectators knew too well to be the dreaded war-whoop of the Indians, and our great-grandfather, though evidently desperately wounded, for he could be seen to press one hand quickly to his side, and to stagger painfully, turned rapidly upon his steps, and shouted, in a tone that, in spite of the extreme distance, was distinctly heard at the garrison, “Neighbors! be on your guard! the Indians! the Indians!” Then, his strength failing all at once, he fell heavily forward on his face, quite motionless, his faithful Turk standing defiantly over him. At the same moment the war-whoop again rang forth from the gully, and a troop of savages, hideously bedaubed with paint, sprang into sight, and rushed towards the fort.

But our brave great-grandfather’s warning cry had come in time. The people who were outside the palisades hurried within the enclosure, closed the heavy oaken gate, and barred it with its stout log-fastenings, and then alarmed the rest of the garrison with the cry, “To arms! friends, to arms! the savages are upon us!” It did not take many minutes to seize their guns, and place themselves in readiness to open fire as soon as the Indians came within range.

At first the savages seemed inclined to make a desperate rush on the fort, in the hope of reaching it before its surprised occupants could be prepared for defence; but seeing that was impossible, they hesitated for a moment, and then turned to where our great-grandfather lay motionless, with his dog still at his side. One of them sprang to the body, quickly passed his gleaming scalping-knife around his head, brutally tore off the scalp, and held it up in full view of the broken-hearted wife, with a yell of ferocious triumph. Poor Turk made a brave but ineffectual attempt at defence, for one of the Indians speedily knocked him lifeless with a blow from the but of his gun.

For a time the savages seemed satisfied with their horrid work; but at length, still at a safe distance from the fort, they sat themselves down in a circle, as if to have a powwow, a consultation about what should be done next. They made no attempt to conceal themselves, and the defenders of the fort could distinctly see them from their loopholes, and could even count their number. There were thirty of them,—all stout, athletic warriors, each grimly decorated with his war-paint. After a short deliberation, a plan of operations seemed to have been devised, for they divided into small groups, and separated in different directions, evidently to make a combined attack on the fort from several quarters.

You can imagine the feelings of the unfortunate settlers. With an effective force, as I have told you, of only ten men and boys, they had to contend with a body of desperate and ferocious savages at least three times their number, with the possibility of a still larger force close at hand. These resolute men, however, did not falter. After a hurried consultation, they determined to defend themselves to the very last. They knew they had no mercy to expect from their enemies if they surrendered, and they hoped that the report of musketry might bring help to them from some of the neighboring forts. Besides, if the force they saw was all they had to contend with, the chance of making a successful resistance was a good one; and even if that was but the advance guard of a larger body, there was still some hope for them. So they sent the women and children into the inner block-house, whither they intended to retreat themselves if they found it impossible to hold the outer work, and then, after listening to a few words of solemn prayer from good Mr. Wier, they silently grasped each other’s hands, and betook themselves to their appointed posts. I have said the women and children were sent into the blockhouse; but our great-grandmother remained outside. She absolutely refused to leave the loopholes in the palisades, from which she could see the body of her beloved husband, lying on the ground as it fell. “Give me a gun, good Mr. Wier,” she said to the captain, “and you shall see that I shall do my duty against these savages, as becometh the wife of Philip Greely. Mine eye shall not dim, nor my hand falter, till God’s justice hath been done on my husband’s slayer.”

As the stern necessities of the time had compelled women to know the management of guns, as well as of the distaff and the spinning-wheel, the men, though unwillingly, consented that she should remain. They charged her, however, to be sure to retreat to the block-house whenever the preconcerted signal should be given. Her little boy stayed with her, and it is to his vivid recollections of these occurrences that we owe all we know of them, except their mere mention in history.

For a few moments a silence as of death reigned over the scene; and yet the air was full of all the pleasant sounds of a summer’s morning,—the song of birds, the chirp of grasshoppers, the soft whisper of the wind in the distant trees, and the splash and ripple of waves upon the neighboring shore. The stricken mother and child stood by the little loophole in their log bulwarks fearfully watching for the dreaded savages to approach. How those few terrible minutes had changed the aspect of everything around them! The morning sun shone just as serenely as before on the fields and gardens and distant forests; but they had eyes only for that prostrate body lying there just without their reach, and they powerless to help, and for those dusky groups that glared menacingly upon them from the distance. There may have been a gleam of hope that her husband was not dead, which gave strength to our great-grandmother’s heart; but the story tells us, that, whether excess of grief, utter despair, or that slight hope was the cause, her eyes were dry, and her hand steady. The little boy was too young to feel anything but a momentary pang of sorrow at his father’s death, and even that was no doubt speedily lost in the excitement of the approaching struggle.

This silence and inaction lasted for what seemed an age to the inmates of the fort, but what was in reality only a very few short minutes. At last the scattered groups of Indians were seen to begin to creep towards the fort. It was evidently their plan to approach as closely as possible without exposure, protecting themselves from the fire of the garrison by the inequalities of the ground, and by the stumps that everywhere dotted the fields, and then to make a desperate assault from several quarters at once, hoping to find somewhere a spot where the defence would be weak. So they crept along, almost imperceptibly, but steadily. Meanwhile the defenders of the fort were on their guard. They knew the nature of their enemies, and, aided by what they could plainly see, they could easily divine the plan of operations. At first they fired occasional shots; but as soon as they ascertained that the savages were out of range, they stopped firing, and waited with grim determination for their nearer approach. As the Indians advanced, they moved with greater and greater caution; creeping like snakes at full length upon the ground, so that only a sharp eye could detect their movements, and a still sharper one get a chance to fire at them. At last one savage incautiously exposed his arm from behind a tree, while reconnoitring, and at the same instant a crack of a rifle rung out from the fort, and the Indian dropped to the ground.

At this, as by a signal, the various scattered bands sprung from their places of concealment, fired one scattering volley, and, brandishing their weapons in the air, and yelling out the war-whoop, dashed upon the fort. For a moment or two they were allowed to advance unmolested, but were presently greeted with such a discharge of musketry as laid two or three of their number wounded on the ground, and caused the whole party to waver and halt. This momentary delay undoubtedly saved the fort, for it gave its defenders time to reload their pieces, and to receive the savages in their second attempt with another well-directed volley, that proved too much for them; for, hastily gathering up their wounded, they turned and fled. They were followed by a cheer of defiance as they disappeared in the ravine.

The skirmish had been sharp, but short. Thanks to the stout oaken walls of the fort, none of its defenders were injured. Several of the Indians, however, had been seen to fall wounded, and it was supposed some were killed, though this was never known with certainty. On the first burst of their exultation, some of the younger spirits of the garrison wished to sally out, and pursue the flying redskins, but they were overruled by the older and more experienced heads, who thought the retreat of the savages might have only been for the purpose of enticing them out of their defences, and, even if this was not so, that they were not strong enough to cope with the savages while in the shelter of the ravine. So they remained steadily at their posts for a long time, not considering it safe to venture out, but keeping a vigilant watch for any further movements of their enemies.

At last a ringing cheer (a very different sound from the unearthly war-whoop of the savages) rang out from the distance; and, looking over the stretch of open country in the direction of the neighboring town of Falmouth, the weary garrison saw, galloping along the road, a band of about fifty horsemen. They were not uniformed, but each man carried a musket, and some of them a stout broadsword also. What was better than all, they were white; and before many minutes they had come near enough to be recognized as friends and neighbors. A few minutes more, and they reined their panting horses at the gate of the fort, which was thrown wide open to receive them.

A few hurried words of mutual explanation followed, and the timely arrival of the reinforcement was accounted for. It seems that a friendly Indian had that very day given information to the people of Falmouth that a band of Indians of considerable strength had planned to surprise Wier’s Garrison, and massacre all its inmates, unless, with questionable mercy, they carried some away into captivity, to be reserved for a more lingering and horrible fate. They had determined to conceal themselves during the night in the gully near the fort,—which was, as you have learned, admirably fitted for their designs,—and then, during the following day, to creep in upon the fort unawares. They counted, of course, upon the fancied security of the people, and expected to find them quietly working in their fields, or, at any rate, quite off their guard. You would naturally think that an attack made in the darkness and silence of night would have been much more likely to be successful; but the Indians knew better. They knew that at night the whole garrison, except perhaps a sentinel or two, would be safely barricaded in the inner block-house; and repeated attempts upon such fortifications had satisfied them that they were impregnable to all assaults, except when made in overwhelming numbers. So they wisely chose the other plan, which would, no doubt, have proved successful, if it had not been for our poor great-grandfather and his dog. He unquestionably saved the garrison, but at the cost of his own life. The good people of Falmouth, on learning the peril of their neighbors, instantly collected a force of well-armed volunteers, and started for the rescue, increasing their numbers by recruits all the way. They arrived too late, however, as you have heard, to take part in the fight, but not too late for pursuit; and, hardly waiting to hear what had transpired, or to give their jaded horses a mouthful of water, they started off on the trail. But all to no purpose. The Indians, either because they had lost heart at the unexpected and successful resistance of the garrison, or because they had only intended to effect a surprise, in which, of course, they were defeated, gave up the attempt after their repulse. The pursuers found nothing but the relics of their camp of the previous night, and such indications as led them to believe that a considerable number must have been severely wounded. It was not considered safe to carry the pursuit very far; and, after a short and unsuccessful exploration of the neighboring woods, the party returned to the fort.

Meantime his wife, with the assistance of her friends, had recovered the body of our great-grandfather. He was found to have been hit in a vital part, and must have died almost instantly. It was considered wonderful, that, with such a wound, he could have given utterance to the alarm; and it must have been only by an extraordinary effort of will that he did so. The body was placed reverently on a rude bier, and carried to the fort, where, in due time, his friends paid it the last sad offices of respectful duty.

This story is true. The little boy, who, as I told you, was a witness of his father’s murder, was afterwards my grandfather’s father, and, although young at the time, yet retained a vivid recollection of the event, and often recounted it to his children. I have told you the story, as nearly as possible, as I heard it,—exactly, in all the essential particulars. The youth of our dear New England was full of such incidents, many of which, having no historical importance, do not appear on the pages of the histories, or, if mentioned there, are passed by with only a line or two of reference. Thousands of such stories of privation and suffering, and midnight attacks, and dark and bloody murder,—the records of the stern experiences which have educated us to what we are,—live only in local or family tradition, and, without some kindly perpetuation of them, will soon pass away, and be forgotten. This story is mentioned in history, but so briefly and carelessly, that, without my help, you would never have known anything about it. Let me hope that you will now remember it, so that by and by you can tell your children “how our great-grandfather was killed.”

P. H. B.


My name is Grasshopper: high as I can

Here I hop, there I hop,—little old man!

Look at my countenance, aged and thin;

Look at my crooked legs, all doubled in;

Is not my face long and sober and wan?

Do I not look like a little old man?

Yet all the summer I play in the grass,

Jump up and stick to whoever may pass.

Where I then hide myself they cannot guess,

Never know where I am till they undress;

Finger and thumb, then, they snap me away,

Though they might know how much rather I’d stay.

Nobody cares what becomes of poor me;

Flung out of window I’m certain to be,

E’en though the hen might be there with her brood!

A Grasshopper’s feelings,—they’re not understood!

Mrs. Anna M. Wells.



I remember once seeing an ingenious little contrivance, through which, by the aid of mirrors fixed opposite each other at certain angles, the apparent impossibility of reading through a brick was successfully accomplished. In the little trick I am about to describe, a similar but more wonderful effect is produced, without aid from apparatus of any kind; and so mysterious does it appear, that I have often heard it attributed to Mesmerism and Clairvoyance. It is, however, simply a trick, with considerable humbug about it, but no isms, and far surpasses, in my estimation, the celebrated “ballot test” of the Spiritualists. I have never given it a name, although once or twice I advertised it as “Second Sight”; but as it is apt, when called by that name, to be confounded with another and better trick, my readers must be content with the description and explanation of it, and choose a name for it to suit themselves.

A small round box, about an inch and a half in diameter, and half an inch deep, is handed to the audience, with the request that, when they have satisfied themselves that it is without preparation, they will place some article or articles in it, such as coins, peculiar rings, &c., &c. This being done, the box is covered with a handkerchief, and given to one of the audience to hold. The performer then stands at a distance, and proceeds to describe minutely, the contents, although hidden from his view.

To perform this trick, it is necessary to have a second box as near the size and shape of the first as possible. This is sewed in the corner of a handkerchief in the same manner as the ring described in the “Russian Ring Trick.” When the first box has been filled, the performer takes it, and, whilst pretending to place it in the handkerchief, palms it, and gives the second one to be held. He now walks away to take his position at a distance, and whilst his back is turned to the audience he takes the opportunity of opening the box and examining its contents. Having fully examined and replaced the articles, he proceeds with his description, which being finished, he approaches the person who has the handkerchief, and, taking hold of it, requests that he will let go the box, at the same time shaking the handkerchief, and letting the first box, which is still concealed in the palm of the hand, fall to the ground. The audience will naturally suppose that the box never left the handkerchief, and when they see the borrowed articles taken from it and returned to the owners, they will be still further mystified.

Next in order, comes “a trade trick,” said to have been invented by a wine-dealer for the purpose of cheating his customers. Let that be as it may, the trick is at least a good one, whatever the liquors may be, and is performed somewhat in this way. Two wine-glasses, one filled with wine, and the other with water, and a decanter, are the articles used. The wine and water are poured into the decanter, which is then placed on a small stand, made for the purpose, and covered with a handkerchief. The empty glasses are placed one on each side of the decanter and covered with tin cones made to fit over them. After a few moments the handkerchief and cones are removed, and the decanter is found empty, whilst in one glass is the wine and in the other the water.

To perform this really clever trick, considerable apparatus is needed. The first thing necessary is a tin stand, made hollow throughout, legs and all, on which to place the decanter. In the top of this stand is cut a hole about the size of a silver quarter-dollar, and in order that it may not be observed, there is a false top, which is made exactly like the real one, with the exception that it is perfect. The whole is then tastily japanned. Next drill a hole in the bottom of the decanter and another in the upper part of it near the neck. This can be easily done with a good tempered rat-tail file, the glass being kept moistened with spirits of turpentine, or benzine. Then get a tinman to make two fancifully shaped tin cones, and in the upper part of each have a partition, which must be well soldered round the edges, so as to be water-tight. In the centre of the partition have a small hole made, and in the top of the cone, another hole. Now if the space between the top of the cone and partition is filled with water or wine, (to do this a funnel with a long, tapering neck, so as to fit in the hole in the partition, will have to be used,) and the hole in the top of the cone is stopped up, the liquor will not run out of the hole in the partition; but if the upper hole is left open, the air rushing in will force the liquor out of the lower hole. The inside of the cones must be painted black, and the outside japanned to match the decanter stand.

When about to perform the trick, and before coming before the audience, fill the tops of the cones, one with water and the other with wine, and stop up the upper holes either with a peg or a piece of wax. Next stop up both holes in the decanter. Everything is now in readiness to exhibit the trick. Bring forward the decanter stand, and show it, without allowing any one to handle it, and as you return to place it on the table take off the false cover, which you conceal under your coat. Then proceed to pour the water and wine into the decanter from the glasses. Now cork up the decanter so that it is perfectly air-tight. You may then open the hole in the bottom, without danger of the contents running out. Place the decanter on the stand and cover it with the handkerchief. Next take two goblets and set them mouth down, one on each side of the decanter. On the bottom of each goblet, set one of the wine-glasses and cover them with the cones. Remove the handkerchief from the decanter and show the audience that the liquor is still there; re-cover it, and at the same time open the upper hole of the decanter, and the liquor will immediately begin to run out at the bottom. Then open the upper holes of the cones, and the wine in one and the water in the other will in a few minutes fill the glasses. The accompanying illustration will give a very good idea of the apparatus. The dotted lines show the position of the bottle, wine-glasses, and partition in the cones. The letters A, A, mark where the holes are to be drilled. A standing joke amongst Magicians is to fill one cone with a solution of epsom salts, instead of water, and, when the trick is finished, to hand the glass containing it to some gentleman in the audience. At the wry face which is sure to follow, you venture to hint something about “adulteration of liquors,” &c., and then present the glass of wine, with assurances that you can vouch for its purity.

One of my young readers has written to me to know how the trick of “rolling one rabbit into another” is performed, and as it never fails to elicit tokens of surprise I will describe it. Two rabbits are produced “alive and kicking,” and the performer immediately proceeds to make one swallow the other, by thrusting one through a trap in the table whilst rolling them together. That is the whole mystery and a very stupid trick it is. There is however one somewhat like it in fact, but very different in effect, which I can recommend.

A cloth or handkerchief, which has been thoroughly examined and found free from holes or traps, is laid on a table, and on it is placed a rabbit. A hat is then placed over the animal to prevent it from escaping, whilst the performer gets a sheet of paper. The paper being obtained, the rabbit is taken from under the hat, which is again placed mouth down on the table and wrapped in the paper. The performer then counts, “One! Two! Three!” and, crushing the bundle which he holds, at the same time shows that the paper is empty. One of the audience is then requested to lift the hat, and, behold! there is the rabbit, sitting on the cloth.

For the proper performance of this trick, a trap table is required; and as it is also necessary for many other occasions, I will describe one that appears to be perfectly fair, and yet is as great a deception as any trick exhibited on it.

Have two circular boards made, about twenty inches in diameter, one of one-inch and the other of half-inch plank. Next get a piece of muslin, about a yard and three quarters in length and a foot in width, and tack one edge of it round the edge of one of the boards. It will not go completely round, but will leave part of the edge uncovered. Next make a crease in the centre and lengthways of the muslin, and lastly tack the other edge to the second board. This will form a kind of box, with an opening at the side, or rather will resemble the body of a bellows. Now have a hole cut in the centre of the half-inch board, about nine inches long and five and a half wide, and another near the edge, of a circular form and about four and a half inches in diameter. Then have pieces of board cut to fit these holes exactly, and let them be fixed in their places by means of spring hinges. The spring of the circular trap must work so lightly, that the weight of a feather merely will cause the trap to open; the square trap, however, needs to be a trifle stiffer.

Next, have a circular hole cut in the centre of the inch-board to receive the pole of the stand; which is passed through it and fastened to the upper board. Lastly, glue a piece of green baize or green carpet, over the top board, cutting it where the traps open, and tack some heavy fringe, which must be over a foot in depth, around the edge of the upper board. Your table is now complete.

Before performing any trick on this table, you request the audience to notice that there is no drawer in it, or other place to conceal anything, and, lifting the fringe, you at the same time raise the lower board even with the upper one, and the two will appear as one; a glance will suffice to satisfy the most incredulous, and you may then lower the fringe and bottom board.

So much for the table; now for

The Rabbit Trick.

You must first get two rabbits, as nearly alike in size and color as possible. One of these you place in a bag, which you hang at the back of a table, (not the table,) which you put in the centre of the stage or room where you perform your tricks, before your curtain is raised. At the right of this table, and some little distance from it, place your trap table. Everything now being prepared, ring up your curtain, and proceed with your trick, as follows.

Borrow a large dark silk handkerchief, and spread it on the central table, in such a way that it comes to the back edge of the table. On this handkerchief, and close to the back edge of the table, place a rabbit, which you immediately cover with a hat. Then get a large sheet of stiff white paper, which you lay on your trap table.

Next approach the central table at the back, and with your right hand take hold of the rabbit which is in the bag. Then with your left hand raise the hat just the least bit, and at the side nearest to you, and bring your right hand, which grasps the rabbit, even with the top of the table. Lower the hat immediately, and, holding the rabbit at arm’s length, walk with it towards the trap table. The audience, unless they are far more keen than the generality of people, will imagine that you took the rabbit from under the hat, which is just what you want them to think, although of course the first animal, utterly unconscious of the amazement it is about to excite, is still sitting, or rather squatting, complacently on the handkerchief under the hat.

When you reach the trap table, lay the second rabbit on the edge of the paper, holding it down with your right hand. Take hold of the other edge of the paper with your left hand, and, bringing it towards you, fold it over your right hand, and at that moment push the rabbit which is in that hand through the large trap of the table. Still keeping your hand in the paper, twist one end of it together, and then, gathering it all up and withdrawing your hand, twist the other end. The paper, being stiff, will bulge out in the centre, and look to the audience as if it held the rabbit. Lift up the bundle, or rather the paper, carefully, with one hand resting under the centre, as if supporting the rabbit which is supposed to be inside, and walk with it to the other side of the room. Then, pointing one end of the paper at the hat on the table, count, “One! Two! Three! Pass!” bring your hands together, smashing the paper, which you then throw towards the audience, and, going to the hat, raise it by the upper part of the crown, and show the rabbit, on the handkerchief, which the company will think has just that moment reached its resting-place.

To finish the trick, you brush the hat, and are about returning it to its owner, when you discover that it is full, and proceed

To Produce a Feather Bed from a Hat.

Yes,—actually to pull and shake out enough feathers to make a respectably large bed. My readers, I suppose, are by this time too familiar with Magic to believe there is anything supernatural about this, and will naturally inquire, “How is it done?” Well, this is the way.

Hanging from the back of the table is a small bag, packed tight with fine down. Enough of the down to make a great show when picked out and spread about with the fingers, can be packed in a bag small enough to go inside a hat. Having your bag all ready, the next thing is to get it into the hat without being seen. This is effected thus.

Take the bag in your left hand, keeping it down behind the table, and the hat in your right hand. Bring your left hand and the bag even with the edge of the table, and immediately place the hat over both, and begin brushing it with your right hand. This movement is such a natural one, that it will not be suspected. After the brushing is completed, withdraw the left hand and take hold of the rim of the hat with it. Take the hat towards the owner, as if you were about returning it to him, when you suddenly stop, affect surprise, and, putting the fingers of your right hand in the hat, loose the drawing string of the bag and begin to pull out the feathers; work your fingers down into them, and bring up a handful and spread them out, and they will seem to be thrown up, as if coming from a spring. This you continue until the supply is exhausted, by which time you will have seemingly such a quantity as to astonish not only the audience, but yourself, the first time you perform the trick. The bag which held the feathers you can take out of the hat at any time, by rolling it up and concealing it in your hand. Brush all the feathers from both inside and outside of the hat, return it to the owner with thanks, and bow your acknowledgments of the applause which you are sure to obtain.

P. H. C.



This important part of the general future being thus successfully under way, the next thing was to fit up a pig-pen, for the new queen in the boys’ affections would very soon be brought home. As there was a scarcity of materials on the farm for constructing a fashionable modern pen, with brick walls, shingle roof, plank floor, and costly iron feeding-trough, Uncle Benny directed them to use a large old molasses-hogshead, that happened to be lying idle. One of the boys got into it and removed all the projecting nails from the inside, then, placing it on its side, and blocking it so that it could not roll over, they put into it an abundant supply of straw for a bed. They then built a fence of old posts, broken rails, pieces of board, sticks from the wood-pile, and any other waste stuff they could find. In fact, there was nothing else to be had. It was a tottering, decrepit sort of affair, although strong enough to keep the pig in, but it enclosed sufficient room to give her a fine range, while the great hogshead would be sure to afford a retreat always dry and warm,—in fact, just such a shelter as a pig must have, if one expects him to keep himself clean and in thriving condition.

Though Uncle Benny had himself superintended the erection of a structure which was destined to be the theatre for very important events, yet, when finished, he gazed upon it with a sort of architectural dismay. He had a nice eye for the beautiful; but here was a collection of all the crippled boards and half-rotten posts and rails that such a farm as Spangler’s generally contains in wasteful abundance. “It must be whitewashed,” he exclaimed. “I am ashamed of it. Your pig will be ashamed of it too, and the neighbors will laugh at it. The hogshead will do, but the fence must be whitewashed.”

Mr. Spangler, coming up at that moment, and hearing the old man’s remark, joined in by saying, “Yes! It beats me all hollow! There’s no worm-fence on the farm like it.”

The uneducated eye of the boys being unable to appreciate the squalid features of the structure, they were surprised at these disparaging estimates of the results of their labor, but, on promising that they would supply the whitewash as soon as the weather became warmer, the subject was dropped.

In due time the expected and long-desired pig was brought to her future home, and she went cheerfully into it, giving no critical attention to the fence, but making directly for the feeding-trough, which had been crammed, with boyish generosity, as evidence of a hearty welcome. She was a sleek, demure, and very motherly-looking pig, and her white skin was so much cleaner than any of the dirty razor-backed animals in Spangler’s pen that everybody remarked it. Mrs. Spangler herself, with all the girls, could not resist the temptation of coming over to see what they had heard described at every meal since Christmas. Even they observed the difference; but one of them, whose name was Nancy, rather spitefully remarked that it wouldn’t last; she’d soon be as dirty-looking as the others. This so nettled Joe, that he said the pig should be called after her; and the boys falling in with the idea, they formally adopted the name. Even Uncle Benny always used it when speaking of her.

The advent of this animal created even more interest among the boys than that of the pigeons. The latter were away up in the loft, out of reach, and not proper subjects for handling or talking to, besides being shy and unsociable, except among themselves. But Nancy was down upon the ground, always accessible, ever desirous of seeing company, and with so quick an ear that the lightest approaching footfall would bring her out of her warm hogshead to see what was coming. Whether it was company she wanted, or a bucket of swill, was of little apparent consequence. She turned out regularly when any one came near, and drew up to him with amusing familiarity.

The fact was that Bill Spangler had become as attentive to her as if she had been his sweetheart, and he seemed to live, and move, and have his being in hanging around the pen, or in getting over the fence to give her a grateful scratching with the currycomb. After a very brief practice under this rough shampooing, Nancy took to lying down on her side the moment Bill put his foot over the fence, and waited, with an impatient grunt, for Bill to begin. It was amusing to see how highly she relished these rough but acceptable attentions, shutting her eyes, as if oblivious of all outward things, even of the feeding-trough, dropping her ears in perfect repose, stretching out her legs, and abandoning herself entirely to the soothing influence. Every one was satisfied that Nancy’s skin became cleaner and whiter under this treatment, even to the putting on of a silky brightness. Uncle Benny was so sure that she was improving under it, that he gave Bill great credit for having undertaken the labor of two or three curryings daily.

Bill also kept the pen in order. Having been provided with a clean, dry bed, she kept that clean herself; for it is the instinct of a well-bred pig to keep his nest in good order, if a nice dry one be given him, with adjoining space for other purposes. In this useful duty Bill was not dismayed by the occurrence of a drizzling, muddy day. On the contrary, as the boys on such occasions generally had the most time to spare, so Bill spent his holidays in Nancy’s pen, scraping and piling up the supernumerary contents, and putting in fresh litter. Of course his boots got so muddy, that, when going in to meals, the girls regarded him as an object of suspicion; and when he happened to stand too close to a hot stove, especially when his clothes were damp, the exhalations became so pungent as very justly to expose him to the most damaging imputations. But he was proof against all the slurs thrown out at such times. If his boots had been in the pig-pen, his heart had been there also.

Uncle Benny required all that Nancy consumed to be charged against her in a separate account, so that the boys should know whether she really did eat her head off, as her namesake in the house had spitefully predicted she would. There was no getting for her even a mouthful of kitchen-slop; Miss Nancy had been so stung by having her name undervalued, that she was careful to throw all to her father’s great long-legged hogs. But as a sort of equivalent for this manifestation of hostility, the boys picked up numerous odds and ends about the place for Nancy’s benefit, such as they had never before thought of saving. When they saw a stray cabbage-leaf or turnip lying about, or a nubbin of corn, they put it into their pockets until they had a chance of giving it to her. Though it was still cold weather, with no green things about, yet they were often surprised at the variety of trifles they could find when thus on the lookout for them. Between these three caterers, Nancy had quite a luxurious time of it, even though spitefully cut off from the run of the kitchen.

Uncle Benny watched the behavior of the boys toward their new pets, and as the winter wore away became more and more gratified at the beneficial influence which the care of them was exercising on their habits. He considered it a great gain for a very small outlay. Nor did he fail to remind Mr. Spangler of the important fact, going into particulars which compelled him to admit that these little concessions had done the boys much good. It was a hard thing for him to give up the convictions of a lifetime, but he did nevertheless,—though sometimes winding up with a request that the old man would wait till the year’s end, and see how the experiment would result.

As Bill was devoted to Nancy, he was up in advance of the other boys, and off to her pen to give her her breakfast. One morning early in March, on reaching it in the performance of this pleasing duty, he was confounded by seeing ten young pigs in the hogshead. There was too much grunting and squealing around Nancy to permit her to hear Bill’s step as he came up to the pen, nor did she happen to see him. So he stood for a moment, surprised beyond anything within his memory, gazing at the joyful sight, then turned back to the house, routed the other boys out of their beds, and ran shouting up to the girls with the glorious news that Nancy had ten pigs! No news-boy ever cried out the tidings of a great victory over the Rebels with such voluble glee, as when Bill ran stamping down stairs with the news. He thundered even at Uncle Benny’s door, then opened it, and told him also what had taken place.

Of course it created a great sensation, and very soon the whole family was gathered around Nancy’s pen. There was no denying the thing; Nancy had brought the boys ten pigs,—nine plump little fellows and a runt. Even Mr. Spangler came out before he got breakfast to see if it could be so, and if the pigs looked any better than a litter which had fallen to his lot the week before.

As to the boys, they were pleased beyond measure. Nancy came grunting and sniffing toward the spectators, as if the matter were a great relief to her also, and behaving as though a good warm breakfast, with plenty of it, would not come amiss. Altogether it was a noisy and lively scene, and appeared to give general satisfaction. But its real interest lay in the single fact that Nancy belonged to the boys. Had she been one of Spangler’s drove, no one would have felt much concern about the matter but herself. It also went far toward establishing another point,—that when the boys of a farmer’s family are permitted to interest themselves in any little independent operation of their own, the family itself is pretty certain to become interested also.

That very day the boys were to quit school for the winter; so they hurried off to the school house to spread the news among their fellow-pupils. There was great interest as well as great envy among them, for only one or two of the whole number had been allowed by their parents any privilege of the kind. The good luck of the Spanglers created so much anxiety to imitate them that there sprang up a demand for pigs that seemed likely to exhaust the entire litter. It can hardly be doubted that, if Nancy herself had been trotted out into the school-room with her squeaking brood, the boys would have laid violent hands on all of them, and there would have been so general a scramble for pigs as to send her home bereft even of the little runt. Bill was quite carried away by his enthusiasm, so far forgetting himself as to say that Nancy had eleven, instead of only ten. This, however, was an accidental slip, and occurred when the teacher called him up to know what was the meaning of the buzzing and excitement and inattention to their lessons which was shown by the scholars, as he discovered they had something in their heads that morning more interesting than reading or ciphering.

When the litter was three weeks old, Uncle Benny told Bill he must take out the runt pig and bring it up by hand, or it would surely die, and that would be a loss of at least three dollars. The other pigs, which were fat and strong, fought it away from Nancy so that it got scarcely anything. He said that even the runt pig of a litter ought to have a chance, as well as the boys. He liked to see fair play all round. Bill accordingly took it away and kept it by itself. He fed it on the kitchen swill, which, having been cooked, was just what it needed, and nursed it up so faithfully, that in the end it turned out as fine as any in the litter, while he learned the useful fact that a poor dwindling pig could be saved and made a profitable animal by the exercise of a little care.

Before the middle of March the pigeons had laid and hatched. When it was ascertained that most of the nests contained young ones, Uncle Benny directed the boys to let the birds out by removing one of the slats, and adjusting it like a pendulum, so that it could be readily swung back again into its place, and the opening closed. They began by opening this swinging door-way an hour or two before sunset, as at that time of day the pigeons would be certain to fly only a short distance from home, even if without young ones. They accordingly went out, took a short flight, as if merely to practise their wings, and all returned in good time. After a while the door was opened at noon, and, the pigeons being found to be thoroughly domesticated, the front lattice was removed altogether, so that they could go and come when they pleased. The fact of their having young ones to feed made their stay a permanent one. This relieved the boys from much care, and, the birds having the range of the whole farm, they obtained in the fields so large a portion of their food as to make a perceptible diminution of expenses.

After May had come, the boys set about planting the two acres of corn which they were to have for themselves. Spangler did not exactly like this part of the arrangement, but there was no getting out of it now, as by this time the pigs and pigeons had consumed so much corn and meal that he had good reason to expect a loss unless he gave the boys a chance to replace them. Uncle Benny selected a field close to the barn-yard, that had been sadly neglected. But there was no manure for it, as Spangler had emptied the barn-yard for his own crops. But he generously gave them the privilege of taking from it such scrapings as they could find. They accordingly went a manure-hunting with a will. Taking hoe, and rake, and shovel, they cleaned out at least twenty holes and corners where considerable deposits had been carelessly left for several years,—all, therefore, nicely rotted. They poked their hoes under the barn and drew forth surprising quantities. They took up the loose planks under where the cows and horses had been standing, and turned out extensive deposits of the very best quality. Spangler was amazed at the extent of these collections, and now began to fear that he was likely to lose manure as well as corn. It seemed impossible for him to entertain any other idea than that whatever he gave to his boys, or allowed them to make for themselves, was so much loss to himself.

The supply being scanty, they were unable to give the land a good broadcast dressing, yet they had enough to afford an extra quantity to each hill. This they applied faithfully and well, Uncle Benny constantly enjoining it on them to feed high,—that the corn required feeding as much as the pigs. He sometimes even thought that they could have done nearly as well by putting all the manure on one acre instead of two, as in that case they would have had only half as much ground to attend to, with a strong likelihood of harvesting quite as much corn. But this was the beginning only, and it was not to be expected that things would go on as bravely at the first attempt as they would afterwards. In reality, the boys had wanted more than two acres, thus adopting, as if by instinct, the common error of undertaking too much. Like many others, they supposed a man’s crops were in proportion to the quantity of ground he cultivated, not in proportion to the thoroughness with which he enriched it. But Uncle Benny knew otherwise, and that two acres would be quite as much as they could manage. As it turned out, there were more than they had the means of manuring properly.

“I don’t see why you want this ground made so rich, Uncle Benny,” said Joe Spangler, when they had finished planting. “Father never puts as much on his corn as we have put on this, and yet you say it ought to have more. It is very tedious having to handle so much.”

The old man drew a newspaper from his pocket, and read to his audience the following paragraph:—

“Thirty years ago the farmers of the Genesee and Mohawk valleys assisted each other, in the winter, to cart their manures on the ice, so that when the rivers broke up they should get rid of them, and not be compelled to move their stables: now, in those very valleys, barn-yard manure is worth two dollars or more per cord, and is so much needed, that, without its use, a crop of wheat cannot be raised which would compensate the grower. The average crop of those valleys has sunk within thirty years from thirty bushels to the acre to less than fifteen, while the whole average of the State of New York is less than eleven; that of Pennsylvania has sunk to eleven and a quarter, and that of Ohio from thirty-five bushels to eleven and a half. Massachusetts can no longer raise grain enough to support her manufacturing population, without import from elsewhere; and with all these facts prominently before them, many farmers in these rich valleys have actually cut gutters from their barn-yards across the public road, to let the liquid manure run away. This may be considered cleanliness, but it certainly is not economy.”

“There,” said the old man, “you see what the majority of the New York farmers did thirty years ago, and what has been the result. No manure, no crop.”

“But,” replied Tony, “when you were telling us about the election, I thought you said the majority were always right.”

“Ah,” rejoined the old man, “that’s a great mistake. Majorities are sometimes actually blind to the truth. When Noah told the people there was a terrible flood coming, there was a great majority who wouldn’t believe a word of it. It was the minority that were in luck that time. So will you be in your future practice, if you turn over a new leaf on the manure question.”

“Blame the thing!” cried Bill, with sudden impatience, kicking away from him the dead body of a huge cat, “it’s been in my way all day!”

“Now, Bill,” said Uncle Benny, “bring the cat here again; I’ll put it out of your way. That cat is manure, and must not be wasted.”

They were then standing at the end of a corn-row, on the outside of the field. Bill went after the cat, and, lifting up the animal with his hoe, brought it up to the old man.

“Now,” said he, “plant that cat.”

As directed, Bill took up the grains of corn from the last hill, dug a hole some ten inches deep, in which he placed the animal, then covered it with earth, on which the grains were replaced and again covered, as before. There was a good deal of laughing and shouting among the boys while this was going on; but when the thing was done, Joe looked up to the old man, and inquired, “What’s the use of that, Uncle Benny?”

“Why,” said he, “you put a small shovelful of manure in each hill, but that cat is equal to four shovelfuls. Besides, Joe, it is a clear saving. If the cat had been allowed to dry up on top of the ground, its richness would have gone to waste; and you must learn never to waste anything, for it is by the saving of small things, no matter what they may be, that men grow rich. Now watch this corn-hill, and see how the roots will draw up strength and vigor from that decaying carcass. It will be the best hill on the whole field. I wish we had a cat for every one of them.”

“But does anybody else plant cats?” inquired Bill.

The old man again produced a newspaper, and read to them an interesting statement by Mr. Edgar A. Clifton, of Staten Island, showing how richly some such experiments made by him had resulted.

When selecting his particular piece of ground for a cornfield, Uncle Benny had had an eye to the adjoining barn-yard. As already mentioned, Mr. Spangler had caused its fluid contents to be discharged into the public road, nor was there any likelihood of his going to the slight trouble necessary to prevent such wholesale waste. Uncle Benny quietly undertook it for him, by opening a new outlet directly into the cornfield. As Spangler had tried his hand at wasting, the old man would try his at saving. The ground was so situated as to make this the work of only an hour or two. It was done so effectually, that not a drop ran to waste as formerly. On the contrary, whenever a heavy summer thunder-shower fell, there could be seen a torrent of dark liquor rushing through the barn-yard, and pouring away into the cornfield, diffusing itself over at least half an acre. There were no means of causing it to irrigate a greater surface. The rain diluted the concentrated liquor down to the exact strength for the corn roots to drink in and stimulate the plants.

This ingenious bit of engineering gave rise to no remark from Spangler beyond his saying that he was glad to see the barnyard so much drier than formerly. The old man had in fact drained it effectually. There could be no denying that it produced remarkable results. Into whatever part of the cornfield this wash of the barnyard was carried by the spring rains, it bore with it so stimulating a vigor that there the corn came popping up out of the ground in advance of all other places. In addition to coming up earlier, the corn was evidently stronger and healthier, presenting a deeper tinge of green throughout the season. It refused to turn yellow under a succession of cold days and colder nights, though all the other plants became pale and spindling. Many of the hills showed double the number of ears that the others produced.

The boys could not fail to notice these things from the start. The weeds came in to share in this general feast of fat things. As this had been a neglected spot, so there the weeds had been allowed, for many years, to grow and ripen their seeds. These seeds, now fed by ten times their usual supply of nourishment, sprang up rapidly and thickly in proportion. Every dormant germ seemed to put on vitality under the quickening influence. Varieties now vegetated which had not been seen on that place for many years. These numerous pests had evidently started with a determination to dispute with the corn for undisturbed possession of the ground. Had they encountered no opposition, they would have quickly smothered the whole crop.

But as they multiplied, so did the labors of the boys increase in subduing them. Uncle Benny was compelled to spend much of his time in keeping this crop clean. He had set out to raise corn, not weeds. Moreover, he had a stake in it as well as the boys. But while working with his hoe around the corn-hills, he was never tired of admiring the surprising difference between the half-acre upon which the barn-yard had been emptied, and that of the remainder of the field. The latter was good, but the former was magnificent. It maintained its superiority throughout the season, the roots striking into the earth so widely and deeply as to hold up the stalks in a heavy August storm which prostrated half of the others.

It afforded, moreover, too striking an illustration of the theory and practice of applying manure, to be overlooked. The boys, frequently working in the cornfield, came to understand clearly how it was that a plant grew almost wholly by virtue of the liquids that were supplied to its roots, not by merely undecomposed manure. They knew well that rain-water was a good thing, but here they saw that, when the barn-yard extracts were mingled with the rain, the mixture was the true food for plants. So clearly were they made to comprehend this formula, that they regretted a hundred times their inability to bring a larger portion of the cornfield within convenient distance of the barn-yard.

Author ofTen Acres Enough.



Well, after the departure of Madam Florence there was a long cessation of the dog mania in our family. We concluded that we would have no more pets; for they made too much anxiety, and care, and trouble, and broke all our hearts by death or desertion.

At last, however, some neighbors of ours took unto themselves, to enliven their dwelling, a little, saucy Scotch terrier, whose bright eyes and wicked tricks so wrought upon the hearts of one of our juvenile branches, that there was no rest in the camp without this addition to it. Nothing was so pretty, so bright, so knowing and cunning, as a “Scotch terrier,” and a Scotch terrier we must have,—so said Miss Jenny, our youngest.

And so a bargain was struck by one of Jenny’s friends with some of the knowing ones in Boston, and home she came, the happy possessor of a genuine article,—as wide awake, impertinent, frisky, and wicked a little elf as ever was covered with a shock of rough tan-colored hair.

His mistress no sooner gazed on him, than she was inspired to give him a name suited to his peculiar character;—so he frisked into the front door announced as Wix, and soon made himself perfectly at home in the family circle, which he took, after his own fashion, by storm. He entered the house like a small whirlwind, dashed, the first thing, into the Professor’s study, seized a slipper which was dangling rather uncertainly on one of his studious feet, and, wresting it off, raced triumphantly with it around the hall, barking distractedly every minute that he was not shaking and worrying his prize.

Great was the sensation. Grandma tottered with trembling steps to the door, and asked, with hesitating tones, what sort of a creature that might be; and being saluted with the jubilant proclamation, “Why, Grandma, it’s my dog,—a real genuine, Scotch terrier; he’ll never grow any larger, and he’s a perfect beauty! don’t you think so?”—Grandma could only tremblingly reply, “O, there is not any danger of his going mad, is there? Is he generally so playful?”

Playful was certainly a mild term for the tempest of excitement in which master Wix flew round and round in giddy circles, springing over ottomans, diving under sofas, barking from beneath chairs, and resisting every effort to recapture the slipper with bristling hair and blazing eyes, as if the whole of his dog-life consisted in keeping his prize; till at length he caught a glimpse of pussy’s tail,—at which, dropping the slipper, he precipitated himself after the flying meteor, tumbling, rolling, and scratching down the kitchen stairs, and standing on his hind-legs barking distractedly at poor Tom, who had taken refuge in the sink, and sat with his tail magnified to the size of a small bolster.

This cat, the most reputable and steady individual of his species, the darling of the most respectable of cooks, had received the name of Thomas Henry, by which somewhat lengthy appellation he was generally designated in the family circle, as a mark of the respect which his serious and contemplative manner commonly excited. Thomas had but one trick of popularity. With much painstaking and care the cook had taught him the act of performing a somerset over our hands when held at a decent height from the floor; and for this one elegant accomplishment, added to great success in his calling of rat-catching, he was held in great consideration in the family, and had meandered his decorous way about house, slept in the sun, and otherwise conducted himself with the innocent and tranquil freedom which became a family cat of correct habits and a good conscience.

The irruption of Wix into our establishment was like the bursting of a bomb at the feet of some respectable citizen going tranquilly to market. Thomas was a cat of courage, and rats of the largest size shrunk appalled at the very sight of his whiskers; but now he sat in the sink quite cowed, consulting with great, anxious yellow eyes the throng of faces that followed Wix down the stairs, and watching anxiously the efforts Miss Jenny was making to subdue and quiet him.

“Wix, you naughty little rascal, you mustn’t bark at Thomas Henry; be still!” Whereat Wix, understanding himself to be blamed, brought forth his trump card of accomplishments, which he always offered by way of pacification whenever he was scolded. He reared himself up on his hind-legs, hung his head languishingly on one side, lolled out his tongue, and made a series of supplicatory gestures with his fore-paws,—a trick which never failed to bring down the house in a storm of applause, and carry him out of any scrape with flying colors.

Poor Thomas Henry, from his desolate sink, saw his terrible rival carried off in Miss Jenny’s arms amid the applauses of the whole circle, and had abundance of time to reflect on the unsubstantial nature of popularity. After that he grew dejected and misanthropic,—a real Cardinal Wolsey in furs,—for Wix was possessed with a perfect cat-hunting mania, and, whenever he was not employed in other mischief, was always ready for a bout with Thomas Henry.

It is true, he sometimes came back from these encounters with a scratched and bloody nose, for Thomas Henry was a cat of no mean claw, and would turn to bay at times; but generally he felt the exertion too much for his advanced years and quiet habits, and so for safety he passed much of his time in the sink, over the battlements of which he would leisurely survey the efforts of the enemy to get at him. The cook hinted strongly of the danger of rheumatism to her favorite from these damp quarters, but Wix at present was the reigning favorite, and it was vain to dispute his sway.

Next to Thomas Henry, Wix directed his principal efforts to teasing Grandmamma. Something or other about her black dress and quiet movements seemed to suggest to him suspicions. He viewed her as something to be narrowly watched; he would lie down under some chair or table, and watch her motions with his head on his forepaws as if he were watching at a rat-hole. She evidently was not a rat, he seemed to say to himself, but who knows what she may be; and he would wink at her with his great bright eyes, and, if she began to get up, would spring from his ambush and bark at her feet with frantic energy,—by which means he nearly threw her over two or three times.

His young mistress kept a rod, and put him through a severe course of discipline for these offences; after which he grew more careful,—but still the unaccountable fascination seemed to continue; still he would lie in ambush, and, though forbidden to bark, would dart stealthily forward when he saw her preparing to rise, and be under her dress smelling in a suspicious manner at her heels. He would spring from his place at the fire, and rush to the staircase when he heard her leisurely step descending the stairs, and once or twice nearly overset her by being under her heels, bringing on himself a chastisement which he in vain sought to avert by the most vigorous deprecatory pawing.

Grandmamma’s favorite evening employment was to sit sleeping in her chair, gradually bobbing her head lower and lower,—all which movements Wix would watch, giving a short snap, or a suppressed growl, at every bow. What he would have done, if, as John Bunyan says, he had been allowed to have his “doggish way” with her, it is impossible to say. Once he succeeded in seizing the slipper from her foot as she sat napping, and a glorious race he had with it,—out at the front door, up the path to the Theological Seminary, and round and round the halls consecrated to better things, with all the glee of an imp. At another time he made a dart into her apartment, and seized a turkey-wing which the good old lady had used for a duster, and made such a regular forenoon’s work of worrying, shaking, and teasing it, that every feather in it was utterly demolished.

In fact, there was about Wix something so elfish and impish, that there began to be shrewd suspicions that he must be somehow or other a descendant of the celebrated poodle of Faust, and that one need not be surprised some day to have him suddenly looming up into some uncanny shape, or entering into conversation, and uttering all sorts of improprieties unbefitting a theological professor’s family.

He had a persistence in wicked ways that resisted the most energetic nurture and admonition of his young mistress. His combativeness was such, that a peaceable walk down the fashionable street of Zion Hill in his company became impossible; all was race and scurry, cackle and flutter, wherever he appeared,—hens and poultry flying, frightened cats mounting trees with magnified tails, dogs yelping and snarling, and children and cows running in every direction. No modest young lady could possibly walk out in company with such a son of confusion. Beside this, Wix had his own private inexplicable personal piques against different visitors in the family, and in the most unexpected moment would give a snap or a nip to the most unoffending person. His friends in the family circle dropped off. His ways were pronounced too bad, his conduct perfectly indefensible; his young mistress alone clung to him, and declared that her vigorous system of education would at last reform his eccentricities, and turn him out a tip-top dog. But when he would slily leave home, and, after rolling and steeping himself in the ill-smelling deposits of the stable or drain, come home and spring with impudent ease into her lap, or put himself to sleep on her little white bed, the magic cords of affection gave out, and disgust began to succeed. It began to be remarked that this was a stable-dog, educated for the coach-boy and stable, and to be doubted whether it was worth while to endeavor to raise him to a lady’s boudoir; and so at last, when the family removed to Zion Hill, he was taken back and disposed of at a somewhat reduced price.

Since then, as we are informed, he has risen to fame and honor. His name has even appeared in sporting gazettes as the most celebrated “ratter” in little Boston, and his mistress was solemnly assured by his present possessor that for “cat work” he was unequalled, and that he would not take fifty dollars for him. From all which it appears that a dog which is only a torment and a nuisance in one sphere may be an eminent character in another.

The catalogue of our dogs ends with Wix. Whether we shall ever have another or not we cannot tell, but in the next month I will tell my young readers a few true stories of other domestic pets which may amuse them.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Part IV.


The road taken by the rangers was at first a mere bridle-path, which picked its tangled way over rocks and stumps at the back of the mansion, but soon emerged into a broad thoroughfare, winding along over high hills and level plains, dotted here and there with blossoming orchards, pleasant mansions, and little clusters of negro-houses, and covered everywhere with waving fields of wheat and corn, all clad in the beautiful garments of summer. Beyond this open country were dense forests and rocky heights, and far away to the westward the landscape faded into long mountain ranges, on which the clouds, not yet aroused from their morning nap, were sleeping peacefully in the sun.

Pausing on the summit of one of the nearest hills, the Captain halted his troop, and, drawing out a field-glass, took a long survey of the horizon. Turning then to one of his men, he said, “Are you sure we’re on the right road.”

“Shore, Cap’n. Clap yer eye ter the glass agin, and look over yon patch o’ timber. Look sharp, and ye’ll see the Cunnel’s tent, all dressed out in pine sprigs and laurel leaves, like a meetin’-house at Christmas; and I reckon it mought pass fur a meetin’-house toll’able easy, fur a serious-minded man could yere more Scriptur thar than anywhar else in creation.”

“It is a saintly place,” rejoined the Captain, laughing. “How far away may it be?”

“Twenty-five miles as the crow flies,—thirty, by the road we’ve got to travel.”

“Well, your eyes are good! Perhaps you can see the Colonel himself.”

“P’raps I mought,—ef I had yer glass,” answered the man drily.

The Captain gave him the instrument, and, imitating his gesture, the man swept it along the horizon.

“Do you see him?” asked the officer after a while.

“See him!” echoed the other; “ye mought as well s’pect ter see a honest man in a Bushwhacker’s boots, as the Cunnel in sech a fixin’ as this ar. My eyes didn’t cost half so much as the blasted thing, but I wouldn’t swop ’em for forty of it.”

It was noon of the following day when the Rebel cavalcade and the little prisoner emerged from the forest they had seen stretched along the edge of the sky, and entered a wide clearing midway up the side of Flint Hill,—one of the more bold of the long range of mountains which traverses the whole of Middle Virginia. Though a clearing, and in full cultivation as a plantation, the opening was dotted here and there with groves of great forest-trees; and in one of these groves was the camp of the Rebel highwayman. The camp—if that can be called a camp which is without a single tent—was a collection of curiously-shaped houses, made of cypress branches and laurel twigs, and looking as green and rustic as the mansion in which Adam and Eve dwelt before they went out to work for a living. Among them were robbers’ caves, and philosophers’ grottos; Lapland huts, and Patagonian hovels; Gothic cottages, and Indian wigwams; Chinese pagodas, and—even the two-story tenements, brown as a brick (built of deciduous boughs already sere and faded) and square as a packing-box, which ornament the streets of some Northern towns. Such a grotesque group of human habitations never was seen. They seemed unfit homes for freebooters, and showed that among the lawless horde was at least one whose mind was “above his business.” The man who could create forms so picturesque and beautiful as those rudely fashioned in that rough carpentry might be very far gone from original righteousness, but he could not be wholly given over to evil.

Entering one of the numerous paths which wound about this rustic hamlet, the cavalcade halted abreast of the largest structure, and the Captain accosted a dismounted horseman who was standing in its doorway. Without heeding his respectful and rather cordial salutation, the horseman looked the trooper coldly in the eye, and curtly said, “Well, have you bagged the game?”

“No. I caught him, but he got away. My men say he’s in league with the devil,—it’s certain he’s hard to hold,” replied the Captain.

“I’ll have him,” growled the other, through his bared teeth, “if it costs me my life; but I see I must send a better man than you after him.”

“Go yourself then. You’re the best man I know—in your own opinion,” blurted out the trooper with intense rage.

“Come, come, none of that, Captain. You and I mustn’t quarrel,” said the other, holding out his hand, which the trooper took, while a frank, pleasant smile overspread his face.

This, then, was the famous guerilla, Mosby. James did not know to whom the conversation of the two referred, and he did not care, except as it revealed somewhat of the character of the man in whose hands he was a prisoner. The revelation was not very assuring to James. Beneath the careless, reckless exterior of the guerilla leader, there evidently was a fierce, cruel, desperate spirit, which only needed to be aroused to do acts of great wickedness. He was of slender, but athletic frame, about the medium height, with light brown hair, a well-formed head, regular features, large gray eyes, and a dark, sun-browned complexion. He wore the gray uniform of a Confederate officer, with high top boots, and a large slouched hat, and as he stood there, one hand grasping the bridle-rein of his horse,—a powerful iron-gray with flowing mane and tail,—he looked the legitimate offspring of slavery, just such a character as only slavery could produce. Crafty and self-asserting, with stormy, unbridled passions, and a cruel, inflexible disposition, he seemed a man who would not hesitate to oppress the weak and the defenceless, but would deliberate long before measuring swords with his equals or superiors; and yet he had manly, generous impulses, which showed that under better influences he might have been a better man.

James had leisure to revolve all this, and more than this, in his mind, before the conversation between the two troopers came to an end. Turning then to the Captain, Mosby said, “Well, Dick, who have you here? A young nigger-stealer?”

“No, not a nigger-stealer, Colonel. He’s an Ohio boy, but, I swear, he hasn’t a drop of Yankee blood in him. I’ve offered to make him ‘chief of staff’ if he’d join us, but he won’t,—he’ll die first.” Mosby laughed, and the Captain added, in a lower tone, “You may laugh, but try him. He’s more pluck than the whole regiment.”

“Well, my little man,” said the leader, fixing on the boy his cold, glittering gray eye. “You have come out here to pull hemp, have you?”

“I don’t understand you, sir,” replied James, in a respectful, but totally unconcerned tone.

“Well, I’ll teach you,” and here he inserted a great oath. “Do you know who I am?” asked the guerilla, with assumed fierceness.

“I suppose I do. You are Colonel Mosby,” answered the boy.

“I am, and,”—here was another big oath,—“I’m a going to hang you.”

“I don’t think you will, sir,” said James, with the same impassible coolness.

“And why not?”

“Because you’re not altogether a devil yet,—you won’t be, till you get to the end of your rope.”

Mosby was now really enraged. His face grew livid, and, almost frothing at the mouth, he poured out a volley of oaths that would pollute the worst ink in Christendom. What had begun as pastime was ending in sober earnest, and it might have fared hardly with James, had not the Captain shouted out, laughing heartily, “The boy is right. That’s what we’ll all come to. But let him alone, Colonel. I tell you he’s more pluck than any man you ever saw.”

That was true, for the Captain had never seen the kind of courage which James possessed. It was not physical, it was moral courage. The little boy had fully learned two things,—learned them so well that they were real to him,—as real as the air he breathed, or the sky he looked at. These two things were, that God is Infinite Right, and cannot do wrong; and that he governs all things,—watches the fall of the sparrow, and numbers the very hairs of our heads. His mother was poor and a widow. She worked hard for her daily bread, and often had gone supperless to bed to save the means to keep him at school. She could give him no money, so she gave him that great truth, and in giving him that gave him more than the rich man gave his son, when he gave him a million. On her bended knees she gave it to him, and so he took it,—took it into his heart until it became a part of his being,—rested on it until his head seemed to be pillowed on the bosom of the Almighty,—thought upon it, until he, a young boy, with that in his heart, could singly meet a hostile universe. It was that which gave him the courage which Mosby saw, and it gave him more than courage. It gave him peace and hope and strength, and a noble ambition to be worthy of the Great Father who had adopted him.

And what this truth gave to James, it will give to every little boy and girl who reads this. No matter how poor you may be; no matter if you go in rags; if you lie down at night hungry, and rise up in the morning not knowing whence will come your daily food,—if this truth is in your heart, you are rich,—so rich that you can buy out all the farms, all the banks, and all the poor rich men in the world, and then have enough left to build another small universe for people who are more ragged in body and in soul than you are.

But I need not prolong this sketch. I might tell you more of Mosby and his men, but it would be useless. I began my story to show how a little boy trusted in God, and how He “delivered him out of all his troubles.” I shall do that if I now relate how, at the end of a fortnight, the regiment of guerillas, with James and other prisoners bound to Richmond, set out for Gordonsville, and how the rear-guard, under the Captain, was soon attacked by a larger force of Union cavalry. They were beaten off, but the Captain was mortally wounded. Before he breathed his last, Mosby came up, and promised the dying man to send James back to his mother. He kept his word. And so ends my story, and so God dealt with a little boy who trusted in and prayed to Him.

Edmund Kirke.



There came a gloomy day to the people of New Hope,—that gloomiest of the year, of all the years,—that on which they received the astounding intelligence that Fort Sumter had been attacked by the people of South Carolina, and that Major Anderson commanding it, with his little company, had been compelled to surrender. News so startling brought all the people into the streets. They assembled around the telegraph office, where Mr. Magnet read the despatch; how the attack had been made at daybreak on Friday, the 12th of April, all the batteries which General Beauregard had erected opening fire upon the half-starved garrison; how shot and shell were rained upon the fort, from Moultrie, from the guns on Morris Island, and from the floating battery which the Rebels had built; how Major Anderson coolly ate his breakfast; how Captain Doubleday fired the first gun in reply; how the cannonade went on all day, the great guns roaring and jumping; how the fight commenced again next morning; how the barracks were set on fire by the shells from the Rebel guns; how manfully the garrison fought against the flames, rolling kegs of powder into the sea; how the soldiers were scorched by the heat and suffocated by the smoke; how the flag-staff was shot away; how the flag was nailed to the broken mast; how the brave little band held out till their powder was almost exhausted, till there was nothing to eat but raw salt pork; how at last, after thirty-six hours’ fighting, Major Anderson surrendered the fort, saluting his flag as he hauled it down, carrying it away with him, being permitted to sail with his company to New York; and how the President had called for seventy-five thousand men to suppress the rebellion. The people held their breath while Mr. Magnet was reading, and when he had finished looked at one another in mournful silence. The flag of their country was trailed in the dust, and dishonored in the sight of the nations. They could not have felt worse if they had lost a very dear friend by death.

“The country is gone, gone, gone,” said Judge Adams, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“I reckon not, Judge,” said Colonel Dare, “the people will have something to say about this insult to the flag. They will wipe out the disgrace by sweeping those scoundrels into the sea.” The Colonel usually looked on the bright side of things. He recalled the trainings of other days, when his regiment paraded on the green and had a sham-fight. He wished that he were once more in command; he would march to Charleston, burn the city, and sow it with salt.

“The question is whether a sovereign State has not a right to secede if she chooses,” said Mr. Funk,—for he and Philip were the only persons in New Hope who were not sorrowful over the intelligence. Mr. Funk was a native of Virginia, and had much to say about the superiority of Southern gentlemen over all other men,—how noble and chivalric they were.

“I am glad that the President has called for seventy-five thousand men to crush the vipers,” said the Colonel.

“He can’t do it. It won’t be constitutional. You can’t coerce a sovereign State,” said Mr. Funk.

“We will do it. Let me tell you, Mr. Funk, that this is a government of the people,—the whole people,—and that the old flag which has been stricken from the walls of Sumter shall go up there, if it takes a million of men to put it there!”

“You can’t do it. One Southerner can whip five Yankees any day,” said Philip.

Colonel Dare took no notice of what Philip said. He was too much depressed by the news to enter into an argument with Mr. Funk upon the right of a State to secede from the Union.

One by one the people went to their homes, meditating upon what they had heard, and wondering what next would happen. They could not work; they could only think of the terrible event.

What a gloomy day it was to Paul Parker! He went home, sat down before the fire, and looked into the glowing coals. The gun which his grandfather carried at Bunker Hill, and which in his hands had brought down many a squirrel from the highest trees, was hanging in its usual place. He felt like shouldering it and marching for Charleston. He recalled the stories which his grandfather had told him there upon the hearth, of Bunker Hill and Saratoga. Many times he had wished that he had lived in those glorious days, to be a patriot, and assist in securing the independence of America. But now the work which his grandfather and the Revolutionary sires had accomplished seemed to be all lost. It made him sick at heart to think of it. Would the people resent the insult which South Carolina had given to the flag? What would the President do? What if he did nothing? What would become of the country? What would become of liberty, justice, truth, and right? O, how hard it was to see them all stricken down,—to think that the world was turning backward! He looked into the coals till he could see great armies meeting in battle,—houses in flames, and the country drenched in blood. He sat motionless, forgetful of everything but the terrible intelligence and the gloomy future. What part should he take in the contest? What could he do? The President had called for men to help raise the flag once more upon the walls of Sumter; could he leave his home, his mother, his friends? These were trying questions; but he felt that he could go wherever duty called him.

Colonel Dare, as he reflected upon what had happened, saw that the people needed stirring up to sustain the President; that the Rebellion must be put down, or there would be an end of all government. He resolved to get up a public meeting. “We will have it this evening, and you must be chairman,” he said to Judge Adams.

He called upon Rev. Mr. Surplice. “I want you to open the meeting by prayer,” he said, “for these are sober days. We need God’s help. If we ask Him, He will help us. And you must make a speech. Come down on the Rebels,” he added, with sudden indignation; “curse them, as David cursed the enemies of God. You, who are watchman on the walls of Zion, must lead off, and the people will follow. Their hearts are burning within them; the kindlings are laid; strike the match now, and there will be such a flame of patriotism as the world never saw.”

“We shall want singing,” he said to Paul. “You must get that up.”

He engaged Mr. Tooter to be there with his fife, and Mr. Noggin with his drum. These two were old companions on training days. They had drank many glasses of cider together, and had played “Yankee Doodle,” and “The Campbells are coming,” and “Saint Patrick’s Day in the Morning,” on many occasions.

“We shall expect some resolutions and a speech from you,” he said to Squire Capias.

Thus he laid out the work, and entered upon it with so much zeal, that all hands caught the spirit of his enthusiasm. Judge Adams, who had been very much depressed, became more cheerful, and thought over what he should say upon the occasion. Rev. Mr. Surplice looked through the Psalms and Isaiah and the New Testament to find the Scripture most appropriate to read. Squire Capias sat down by his round table in his dingy office, ran his fingers through his long black hair, and thought over his speech. Paul and Azalia, with Hans, went to Colonel Dare’s, and, with Daphne, rehearsed the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and “America,” while Mr. Noggin put a new cord into his drum which had been lying for months in his garret, and was covered with dust.

Evening came. The sexton rang the bell of the church,—not soberly and steadily, but he tugged with all his might at the rope, throwing the bell over and over,—ringing as if the whole town was in a blaze. The farmers out on the hills heard it, and came driving furiously into the village to see what was the matter.

Mr. Tooter and Mr. Noggin, with Mr. Chrome, who had a new flag, walked out upon the parade-ground. The musicians struck up Yankee Doodle. How it stirred the hearts of everybody,—the sharp, shrill notes of the fife,—the roll, the rattle, and the rat-a-tat-tat of the drum, and the clanging of the bell, and the sight of that flag, its crimson folds and fadeless stars waving in the evening breeze! Never had it looked so beautiful. The little boys swung their caps and cheered, the women waved their handkerchiefs, and the men hurrahed in an outburst of wild enthusiasm. Then they formed in procession with Colonel Dare for marshal,—the music and the flag in advance, Rev. Mr. Surplice, Judge Adams, and Squire Capias next, and then all the citizens, marching round the public square to the church, where the sexton was sweating at the bell-rope, filling the house, the pews, the aisles, the entry, and hanging like a swarm of bees around the windows.

Judge Adams forgot all his despondency, while Mr. Surplice, who was getting a little prosy as a preacher, was as full of fire as in his younger days. Mr. Capias was so eloquent that the people stamped till the house fairly shook with applause. He ended with resolutions, pledging the support of the people of New Hope to the government,—their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor towards suppressing the Rebellion. But more thrilling than all the eloquence of the evening was the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, by Azalia, Daphne, Paul, and Hans. They stood on the platform in front of the pulpit, Azalia and Daphne with flags in their hands. How sweet their voices! How inspiring the moment when they sang:

“And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

 O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Men threw up their hats, women waved their handkerchiefs, and all cheered and shouted, while many shed tears, as they looked upon the banner of their country, which had been so insulted and despised. There, in the place where they met on the Sabbath to worship God, they resolved that, let it cost what it might of money, of sacrifice, or of life, the old flag should once more wave in triumph upon the walls of Fort Sumter,—that the Rebellion should be subdued and the traitors punished.

That was an ever memorable night to Paul. Alone in his chamber, lying on his bed, whence he could look out, as in childhood, upon the stars, he thought upon what had happened at Fort Sumter, and of the meeting in the church at New Hope, and how he had pledged himself with the rest to stand by the flag of his country. The water by the mill was repeating the soul-stirring song, which Azalia, Daphne, Hans, and himself had sung. The maples, elms, and all the forest-trees, like a multitudinous chorus of a great and mighty people, were saying, “It shall wave—shall wave—over the home of the brave!”

But men were wanted. The President had called for them. Ought he not to be one of the seventy-five thousand? Would not his grandfather, if alive, point to the old gun, and say, “Go, Paul, your country calls you?” Were not all who have died for liberty, justice, truth, and right calling upon him to do his duty? Were not the oppressed everywhere looking to him? What answer could he give to the millions yet to be, if in his old age they were to question him as to what part he bore in the great struggle? Thus the voices of the ages propounded solemn questions—voices of earth and heaven—of his duty to his country and to God. But how could he leave his home, his mother, his friends, his school, the choir, Azalia, Daphne, Hans, and give up the dear associations of the place? What if he should fall in battle? Could he meet death face to face? But then he remembered that the path of duty, though it may lead through dangers, though it may lead to the death of the body, is the way by which peace comes to the soul. It was the most solemn moment of his life, for God was questioning him. He heard not only the voices of the past, and of the winds, the water, and of his country, calling him to do his duty as a patriot, but there was a still, small voice talking of sins committed and duties neglected; of a lie which he had told in childhood, and which had burned through all the years like a red-hot iron, leaving a crisped and blackened scar upon his soul. How could he be at peace? How ease the pain? Tears of anguish rolled down his cheeks. He turned and tossed in agony, wishing that the scar could be cut away, and that he could be made fit to dwell with the angels. But in his agony he heard another voice saying, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”

They were no longer tears of sorrow which wet his pillow, but of joy, for he saw that Jesus, having carried the cross up to Calvary, was able and willing also to bear his burden. What a friend,—to take away all his sin, and leave no scar, no pain, no sorrow! He would serve such a friend with his whole soul. He would do his duty, whatever it might be. For such a friend, he could go through all dangers and win his way to victory. For him he would live, and for him he would die, if need be, to save his country.

“Go, my son,—your country calls you, and God will take care of you,” said his mother in the morning, when he told her that he thought it his duty to enlist.

“I have decided to be a volunteer, and shall spend a half-hour with the school and then dismiss it, and this will be my last day as a teacher,” said Paul to the school committee, as he went for the last time to the schoolhouse. It was hard to part with those who were dear to him. He had been so kind and gentle, and yet so firm and just, that all the scholars loved him.

“You may lay aside your books, I have not time to hear your lessons,”—he said, and then talked of what had happened,—said that the flag had been insulted, that justice, law, religious liberty, truth, and right had been overthrown, and that, unless the Rebellion was put down, they would have no country, no home,—that God and his country called him, and he must go. The issues at stake were not only worth living for, but they were worth dying for, if they could be secured in no other way. It was a duty to fight for them. How hard it was to say “Good by!” They would meet again, but perhaps not in this world. His voice trembled; there was weeping around the room. When he dismissed them, they had no heart to play; they could only think how good and kind he was, and how great their loss; and in imagination, looking into the gloomy future, beheld him in the thickest of the fight upon the battle-field.

The whole country was aflame with patriotism. The drum-beat was heard not only in New Hope, but in every city and village of the land. There was a flag on almost every house. Men left their labors to become soldiers. Farmers left their ploughs in the unfinished furrows; the fire of the blacksmith’s forge went out; carpenters laid down their planes; lawyers left their cases in the courts,—all to become citizen soldiers and aid in saving the country,—assembling in squads, companies, and regiments at the countyseats.

He called upon Rev. Mr. Surplice. “The Lord be with you, to guide, protect, and bless you,” said the good man as he bade Paul farewell. It was a blessing and a benediction which followed Paul all the day, which comforted and strengthened him, when he reflected that he might be bidding a last farewell to his friends.

He was surprised to find that everybody was his friend; that all bade him God speed,—all, except Mr. Funk and Philip. It was evening when he called upon Azalia. He had shaken hands with Daphne and Hans, and others of his associates. The train would bear him away in the morning. Azalia came tripping down the path, holding out both hands to meet him at the gate. She greeted him with a sad smile. “You are not going away to the war, are you?” she asked with faltering voice.

“Yes, Azalia, and I have come to bid you good by!”

“Do you think it your duty to go and leave your mother? It will be hard for her to give you up; she will miss you very much, and we shall all miss you.”

“I know that the old house will be lonesome,—that the days will be long and the nights dreary to my mother,—that she will listen to every approaching footstep and think perhaps it is mine. I know, Azalia, that possibly I may never return; I feel that perhaps this is the last time I may ever take you by the hand; but I feel that God and my country both are calling me, and that I must go.”

“But what if you are killed on the battle-field! O Paul, it is dreadful to think of!”

“I would rather die there while doing what I feel to be my duty, than remain here shirking responsibility. Last night I heard the voices of the past calling me, and I seemed to see the myriads who are to come after us beckoning me. I know it is my duty to go. You would not have me falter, would you, Azalia?”

She could not reply. Her voice choked with emotion; she had not expected such a question. Tears came into her eyes, and she turned away to hide them.

“I could not go without coming to see you, to thank you for all your kindness to me; you have been always a faithful and true friend. God bless you for all you have done for me! I know your goodness of heart, and I hope that, when I am gone, you will sometimes go in and comfort my mother, and shorten the hours for her; for your smile is always like the sunshine, and it will cheer her.”

“I will do what I can to make her forget that you are gone.”

“And you will not wholly forget me.”

“I shall never forget you,” she replied; then, looking steadily upon him, with a strong effort to keep down her emotion, said, “Paul, I have heard that there are many dangers in camp; that soldiers sometimes forget home and old friends, and become callous and hardened to good influences; that they lose sight of heaven and things holy and pure amid the new duties and strange excitements. But for the sake of those who respect and honor and love you, you will not give way to vice, will you? I know you will not, for my sake.”

“For your sake, Azalia, if for no other reason, I will resist evil, and I will try to serve God and my country faithfully in all things, so that if I come back, or if I fall in battle, you will not be ashamed of having once been my friend.”

She touched her sweet lips to his forehead, saying, “I have nothing else to give you for such a promise. Remember that it came from your old friend, Azalia.”

His heart was full. He had braved himself to say farewell to all his friends without shedding a tear, but his courage was faltering. How could he go, perhaps never to return! He wanted to say more. He wanted to sit down at her feet and worship such goodness; but he could only dash away the tears, look for a moment into her eyes, drink in the sad smile upon her face, leave a kiss upon her cheek, press her a moment to his heart, and say, “God bless you, Azalia!”

He turned hastily away, and passed through the gate. He cast one glance behind, and beheld her standing in the gravelled walk, her chestnut hair falling upon her shoulders, and the setting sun throwing around her its golden light. She waved him an adieu, and he passed on, thinking of her as his good angel. When far away, pacing his lonely beat at dead of night, he would think of her and behold her as in that parting hour.


He was a soldier in camp, wearing a blue uniform, sleeping in a tent, wrapped in a blanket, with a knapsack for a pillow. He had voluntarily given up the freedom of home, and was ready to yield obedience to military rule. He could not pass the guard without a permit. When the drum beat, he must spring to his feet. He was obliged to wear a knapsack, a cartridge-box, a canteen, and a bayonet scabbard, and carry a gun, not always as he would like to carry it, but as ordered by the officer in command. He was obliged to march hour after hour, and if he came to a brook or a muddy place, instead of turning aside and passing over on stepping-stones or upon a fallen tree, he must go through without breaking the ranks. His companions were not altogether such as he liked to associate with. Some were very profane, and used indecent language. There was one great, overgrown Dutchman, Gottlieb von Dunk, who smoked nearly all the time when awake, and who snored terribly when asleep. But he was a good-hearted fellow for all that, and had a great many pleasant stories to tell.

It was inspiring to hear the drum and fife, the blast of the bugle, and the playing of the band. It was glorious to look upon the star-spangled banner, waving in the breeze; but the excitement soon wore away. There were rainy days, comfortless and cheerless. Sometimes the rations were not fit to be eaten, and there was grumbling in the camp. There were days of homesickness, when the soldiers longed to break away from the restraints of camp life, and be free once more.

The regiment in which Paul enlisted was ordered to Cairo, in Illinois, where it joined several others. When the men were enlisted, they expected to march at once upon the Rebels, but week after week passed by, spring became summer, and summer lengthened into autumn, and there was no movement of the troops. The ardor of their patriotism died out. It was a monotonous life, waking early in the morning to answer roll-call, to eat breakfast of salt pork and hard-tack, drilling by squads, by companies, by battalion, marching and countermarching, going through the same manœuvres every day, shouldering, ordering, and presenting arms, making believe load and fire, standing on guard, putting out their lights at nine o’clock at night,—doing all this, week after week, with the Rebels at Columbus, only twenty miles down the river. It was very irksome. Sometimes Paul’s heart went back to New Hope, as the dear old times came crowding upon him; but he had learned to be patient. He knew that it was necessary for soldiers to become disciplined. He had enlisted for the war, he gave his whole attention to doing his duty, and received his reward by being made a sergeant. His gun was always clean, his equipments in good order, and he was always in his place. So prompt was he, that his commander nicknamed him Sergeant Ready. He was as ready to play a game of football, or to run a race, as he was to appear in the ranks at drill. When off duty, instead of idling away his time, he was studying the tactics, learning not only his duty as a sergeant, but what it would be if he were a lieutenant or a captain.

The camp of his regiment was near the town, on the bank of the Mississippi, where he saw the great steamboats pass down the Mississippi from St. Louis, and down the Ohio from Louisville and Cincinnati, with thousands of troops on board, with the flags and banners streaming, the bands playing, and the soldiers cheering. It was pleasant to stand upon the levee, and behold the stirring scenes,—the gunboats commanded by the brave and good Admiral Foote, the great eleven-inch guns peeping from the portholes,—but Paul longed for active life. He rejoiced when he heard that his regiment was ordered to leave the Ohio River and go down toward Columbus on a reconnoitring expedition. The soldiers were so happy that they threw up their caps and gave a loud hurrah.

With their haversacks full of hard-tack and cold boiled beef, carrying their tin cups and plates, their cartridge-boxes full of cartridges, they embarked on one of the great steamboats, and floated down the river. They were exhilarated with the thought that they were to have new and untried experiences,—that perhaps there would be a battle. They paced the deck of the steamboat nervously, and looked carefully into the woods along the river-bank to see if there were any Rebel scouts lurking behind the trees.

Six miles below Cairo is a place called Old Fort Jefferson, where many years ago the white settlers built a fort, and where they had a battle with the Indians. The Essex gunboat, Captain Porter, was lying there, swinging at her anchors in the stream. The man pacing the deck, in a short blue jacket, and with a spy-glass in his hand, kept a sharp lookout down the river, for there were two Rebel gunboats below in the bend.

The regiment landed on the Kentucky side, where a narrow creek comes down from the hills through a wild ravine. Suddenly there was a cry of “There they come! the Rebel gunboats.” Paul looked down the river, and saw two dark-colored boats.

“Heave anchor! Put on steam. Light up the magazines. Pipe all hands to quarters! Lively!” were the orders on board the Essex.

The boatswain blew his whistle, the drummer beat the long roll, and the sailors, who had been dozing about the decks, were instantly astir, weighing the anchors, running out the great guns, bringing up shot and shell from the hold, and clearing the deck for action. The great wheels turned, and the Essex swung out into the stream, and prepared to meet her antagonists. What an exciting moment! Paul felt the blood rush through his veins as he never felt it before. One of the approaching gunboats was suddenly enveloped in white smoke. He heard a screaming in the air, coming nearer and nearer, and growing louder and louder and more terrifying. He felt a cold chill creep over him. He held his breath. He was in doubt whether it would be better to get behind a tree, or lie down, or take to his heels. He could see nothing in the air, but he knew that a great iron bolt was coming. Perhaps it might hit him. He thought of home, his mother, Azalia, and all the old friends. He lived years in a second. “I won’t run,” he said to himself, as the iron bolt came on. Crash! it went through a great oak-tree, shivering it to splinters, and flying on into the woods, cutting off branches, and falling to the ground at last with a heavy thug! ploughing a deep furrow and burying itself out of sight. There was a roar of thunder rolling along the river-banks, echoing from woodland to woodland. Then the heavy eleven-inch gun of the Essex jumped up from the deck, took a leap backwards, almost jerking the great iron ringbolts from the sides of the ship, coming down with a jar which made her quiver from stem to stern, sending a shell, smoking and hissing, down stream, towards the Rebel gunboat, and striking it amidships, throwing the planks into the water. “Hurrah! Hurrah!” shouted the crew of the Essex. “Hurrah! Hurrah!” answered the soldiers on shore, dancing about and cheering in wild enthusiasm. Another shot came screeching towards them as loud as the first; but it was not half so terrifying. Paul thought it was not worth while to be frightened till he was hurt, and so he stood his ground, and watched the firing till the Rebel gunboats turned towards Columbus and disappeared behind the distant headland, followed by Captain Porter, who kept his great guns booming till he was almost within range of the Rebel batteries at Columbus. He was a brave man, short and stout, with a heavy beard. His father commanded the United States ship Essex in 1812, and had a long, hard fight with two British ships in the harbor of Valparaiso, fighting against great odds, till his decks were slippery with blood, till nearly all of his guns were dismounted, when he was obliged to surrender.

“The son is a chip of the old block,” said Admiral Foote the next day to Captain Porter, commending his watchfulness and promptness to meet the enemy. Paul saw how necessary it was in military operations to be always on the watch, and he felt that it was also necessary to be calm and self-possessed when on the battle-field.

The regiment took up its line of march, for a reconnoissance towards Columbus, along a winding path through the woods, passing log farm-houses, crossing creeks on log bridges. Paul noticed all the windings of the road, the hills, houses, and other objects, keeping count of his steps from one place to another, jotting it down on a slip of paper when the regiment came to a halt. They could not kindle a fire, for they were in the enemy’s country, and each man ate his supper of hard-tack and cold beef, and washed it down with water from the creek.

Paul was sitting on a log eating his supper, and looking about for a place to spread his blanket for the night, when the Colonel of the regiment came to him and said: “Sergeant Parker, it is very important that a reconnoissance be made to-night towards the enemy’s lines. I hear that you are a good, faithful, and trustworthy soldier. Are you willing to undertake it?”

“I have no desire to shirk any responsibility. If you wish me to go, I am ready,” said Paul.

“Very well, gain all the information you can, and report at daybreak,” said the Colonel.

He went out alone in the darkness, past the pickets. And now that he was alone, and moving towards the enemy, he felt that he was engaged in a hazardous undertaking. He walked softly, crouching down, listening to every sound;—on through deep and gloomy ravines, through the dense forests, past farm-houses, where dogs were howling,—noticing all the objects, and picturing them in memory.

“Halt! Who comes there?” shouted a voice. He heard the click of a gun-lock. It was a very dark night; stooping close to the ground, he could see a dark object by the roadside, immediately before him. He held his breath. What should he do? “Keep cool,” said a monitor within. His heart had leaped into his throat, but it went back to its proper place. “Who comes there?” said the sentinel again.

Instead of answering, he moved backward so softly and noiselessly that he could not hear his own footsteps.

“What is the row?” he heard a Rebel officer ask of the sentinel.

“There is a Yankee prowling about, I reckon,” said the sentinel in a whisper, and added, “There he is.”

“Shoot him!” said the officer.

There was a flash which blinded Paul. He heard the Minie bullet sing above him. He could see the dark forms of the two men. He had a revolver in his hand, and could have shot them, but he was there to gain information, and not to bring on a fight.

“It is nothing but a stump, after all,” said the officer.

The report of the gun re-echoed far and near. The night was still, and he could hear other pickets talking out in the field on his right hand and on his left. How fortunate! He knew where they were, and now could avoid them. But ought he not to turn back? He resolved not to be frightened from his object. After lying still awhile, he went back along the road, then turned aside, walked softly from tree to tree, careful not to crackle a twig beneath his feet, crept on his hands and knees through the thick underbrush, and gained the road in the rear of the picket. Being inside of the enemy’s lines, he knew that he could move more freely, for if any of the sentinels heard him they would think it one of their own number. He walked on, but suddenly found himself standing face to face with a dozen soldiers.

“Well, Jim, are there any Yankees down there?” one asked.

“The sentinel thought he saw a Yankee, but I reckon he fired at a stump,” said Paul, passing boldly by them to their rear.

He now saw that he was in a Rebel camp. There were smouldering fires, tents, a cannon, baggage-wagons, and horses which were munching their grain. What should he do? He felt that he was in a critical situation. If taken, he would be hung as a spy. He stood still and reflected a moment, to calm his nerves. He had blundered in, perhaps he might get out. He would try; but as he was there, ought he not to improve the opportunity to find out all about the camp, how large it was, how many men there were? He counted the baggage-wagons and the tents. He almost stumbled over a man who was wrapped in his blanket. It was an officer sound asleep, with his sword by his side. He was sleeping so deeply that Paul ventured to take the sword, for he thought, unless he carried something back as evidence, his report would not be believed. And then he crept back past the grand guard, and past the sentinels, sometimes crawling an inch at a time, then stepping as noiselessly as a cat in search of her prey, till he was past them all. He was surprised to find how cool and self-possessed he was, how clear his brain, and how wide awake were all his faculties. He was as light-hearted as a bird in spring-time, for even in the darkness, while he was dimly discerning what was around him, he saw Azalia, as he last beheld her in the gravelled walk before her home, waving him on! At daybreak he reached the lines once more. The Colonel heard his story, and was in doubt about its truth; but when he saw how beautiful a map Paul drew, and that the sword was marked C. S. A., for the Confederate States of America,—when he saw how modest and straightforward Paul was in all that he did,—he said, “Sergeant Parker, I shall inform General Grant that you have done your duty faithfully.” That paid him; and the words rang in his ears for many a day.




Our adventurers sat in silent wonder watching the movements of the monkeys. It was certainly a spectacle of the most interesting character to see these creatures making the passage of the igarápe. Perhaps the most singular thing was the similarity of their leaps,—all planting their feet upon the same spot of the branch from which the leader sprang, springing exactly in the same way, and alighting on the opposite side in apparently the same spot and attitude, proving that each and all must have been actuated by the same thought or instinct at the precise moment of passing from one tree to the other. Another singular point was, that during its continuance the intervals between each two were almost as regular as the ticking of a clock. As soon as one launched itself out from the branch, another sprang into its place, and was ready to follow so quickly that the air was never for a moment without a monkey; and any one looking straight down the opening between the trees, without glancing to either side, might almost have fancied that it was a single guariba suspended in mid-air!

All the males of the tribe had succeeded in making the leap in safety; and all the females, too,—those carrying their “pickaninnies” along with the rest,—except one. This was a mother with a very young child on her back,—in fact a mere infant,—perhaps not nine days old. Notwithstanding its extreme youth, it appeared to comprehend the situation, as well as those of more mature age, clinging with its infantile fingers to the shaggy hide of its mother, while its tiny tail was twisted around the root of hers, in a loop that appeared tight as a sailor’s knot.

But the mother, enfeebled by some sickness,—for monkeys are subject to sickness as well as men,—appeared doubtful of her ability to accomplish the leap; and, after all the others had crossed, she stood upon the branch evidently only half determined about following them. At this crisis occurred a curious incident,—the first of a series. One of those that had crossed, a man-monkey, was seen to separate from the crowd, that had by this time ascended to the top of the tree. Returning along the limb to which they had just leaped, he placed himself opposite to the hesitating female and began to chatter, intending to encourage her, as his gestures showed. The mother of the infant made reply; but although the sounds were unintelligible to the human spectators, they might be translated as saying, “It’s not a bit of use, my trying; I shall only get a ducking for my pains, and the infant too. It may be drowned.”

Her reply was delivered in a tone of appeal; and, as if affected by it, the male monkey—evidently the father of the child—made no more remonstrance, but bounded back across the open water. It was but the work of six seconds for him to transfer the juvenile to his own shoulders; and in as many more both he and it were on the right side of the igarápe. Relieved of her charge and encouraged by the cries of those already across, the mother sprang out from the branch. The effort was too great for her strength. With her forefinger she caught the twigs on the opposite side and succeeded in clutching them; but before she could lap the branch with her tail,—a more trustworthy means of prehension,—she had sunk below its level, and, the twigs giving way, she plunged into the water.

A universal scream came from the top of the tree, and a score or more of guaribas leaped down upon the limb from which the unfortunate had fallen. There was a scene of confusion,—just as there would have been had the catastrophe happened among human beings,—as when a boat upsets, or some one breaks through the ice, and spectators stand speechless, or hurry to and fro, no one knowing exactly what to do,—what order to give, or whom to obey.

Very like was the scene of surprise, terror, and lamentation among the monkeys,—except that it did not last quite so long. In this respect animal instinct, as it is called, has the advantage of bewildered reason; and, while a crowd upon the sea-beach or the river-bank would have spent ten minutes before taking action to rescue the drowning individual, scarcely so many seconds were allowed to elapse before the guaribas had picked up and safely deposited her trembling person on the fork of a tree.

The mode in which this had been accomplished was something to astonish the spectators, and yet it was performed in a very efficient manner. As soon as the screaming would permit, the voice of the guariba chieftain was heard, in a chattering so loud and serious in tone as to indicate command; and some half-score of the number, in obedience, glided out on the limb of the tree under which the female was in imminent danger of being drowned. A bucket could not have descended into a well, or a pulley-tackle come down from warehouse or mill, more promptly and speedily than did that string of monkeys, hooked neck and tail to one another, like the links of a long chain,—the lowest upon the swinging series being the husband of the half-drowned mother, who had hastily deposited his baby in one of the forkings of the tree. Neither could the water-bucket have been filled, nor the wheat-sack hooked on, with half the speed and agility with which she was picked up and restored.

Once more shouldering her “chickabiddy,” she took her place in the troop, which, without further delay, moved on amid the tree-tops, keeping in a direct line of march, as if bent upon a journey that was to terminate at some spot already known to them. For a long time their track could be traced by their continuous howling, which then was heard only at intervals, and at length receded to such a distance as to become inaudible.


The sun was just setting as the guaribas disappeared; and from this circumstance it was conjectured that they were on their return to some favorite resting-place. Trevannion supposed that they might be on their way to dry land; and, if so, the route they had taken might serve himself and party for a direction. He mentioned this to the Mundurucú, who shook his head, not doubtfully, but as a simple negative.

“You think it would be of no use our taking the direction in which they have gone?” said the miner interrogatively.

“No, patron; not a bit of good in that. They are as like to be going from terra firma as towards it. It’s all the same to them whether they sleep over land, or water, so long as they have the trees to cling to. They are now trooping to some roost they have a fancy for,—perhaps some very big tree,—which they use at all times for their night-rendezvous, and where others of the same tribe will be likely to meet them. These have been off to some favorite feeding-ground, where the fruit may be more plenty than in the neighborhood of their regular dwelling-place; or they may have been upon some ramble for amusement.”

“What! do monkeys make such excursions?” inquired young Ralph.

“O yes,” replied the Mundurucú. “I’ve often met them trooping about among the trees, where nuts and fruits were in plenty; and have watched them, for hours at a time, without seeing them pluck a single one;—only chattering and screeching and laughing and playing tricks upon each other, as if they had nothing else to do. Neither have they when certain sorts of fruit are ripe, especially soft fruits, such as berries and the pulpy nuts of several kinds of palms, as the pupunha and assai. It is a little different at other seasons, when they have to live on the Brazil-nuts and sapucayas; then they have something to do to get at the kernels inside the thick shells, and at this they employ a good deal of their time.”

“Do they sleep perched on the trees, or have they nests among the branches in which they can lie down at their ease?”

“They have nests, but not for that. The females only use them when about to bring forth their young. As to sleeping at their ease, they can do that on the very slenderest of branches. It’s no hardship to them, as it is to us. Not a bit.”

“But do they not sometimes fall off in their sleep?”

“How could they do that, young master, when they have their tails to hold on by? Before going to sleep they take a turn or two of their long tail round a branch, not always the one their body is on, but more commonly a branch a little above it. For that matter they don’t need any branch to rest upon. They can go to sleep, and often do, hanging by the tail,—for that is the position in which they are most at ease; just as you would be reclining in a hammock. I’ve seen them scores of times asleep that way. To prove that they feel most at home when hanging by the tail, they take to it whenever any alarm comes suddenly upon them; and they want to be in readiness for retreat, in case of its proving to be an enemy.”

“What singular creatures!” said Ralph, half in soliloquy.

“You speak truth, young master. They have many an odd way, that would lead one to believe that they had as much sense as some kinds of men. You have seen how they picked up the old one that fell into the water; but I’ve seen them do a still stranger thing than that. It is but the commonest of their contrivances, put in practice every time they want to pluck a nut, or some fruit that grows near the end of a branch too slender to carry their weight. If there’s a stronger limb above, they go out upon it; and then, clinging together as you saw them do, they let themselves down till the last in the string can lay hold of the fruit. Sometimes there is no branch right over the spot; but that don’t hinder them from getting what they have coveted, if they can find a stout limb anyways near. Then they make their string all the same; and, by setting it in motion, they swing back and forward, until the lowest of the party is tossed out within reach of the fruit. I’ve seen them try this, and find that their string was just a few inches too short, when another monkey would glide down upon the others, and add his length to complete it. Then I’ve seen them make a bridge, young master.”

“Make a bridge! Are you in earnest? How could they?”

“Well, just in the same way as they get within reach of the nuts.”

“But for what purpose?”

“To get across some bit of water, as a fast-running stream, where they would be drowned if they fell in.”

“But how do they accomplish it? To make a bridge requires a skilled engineer among men; are there such among monkeys?”

“Well, young master, I won’t call it such skill; but it’s very like it. When on their grand journeyings they come to a stream, or even an igarápe like this, and find they can’t leap from the trees on one side to those growing on the other, it is then necessary for them to make the bridge. They go up or down the bank till they find two tall trees opposite each other. They climb to a high branch on the one, and then, linking together, as you’ve seen them, they set their string in motion, and swing backward and forward, till one at the end can clutch a branch of the tree, on the opposite side. This done the bridge is made, and all the troop, the old ones that are too stiff to take a great leap, and the young ones that are too weak, run across upon the bodies of their stouter comrades. When all have passed over, the monkey at the other end of the string lets go his hold upon the branch; and if he should be flung into the water, it don’t endanger him, as he instantly climbs up the bodies of those above him, the next doing the same, and the next also, until all have got safe into the trees.”

“Be japers,” exclaimed Tipperary Tom, “it’s wonderful how the craythers can do it! But, Misther Munday, have yez iver seen them fall from a treetop?”

“No, never. But I’ve known one to leap from the top of a tree full a hundred feet in height.”

“Shure it was kilt dead then?”

“If it was it acted very oddly for a dead animal, as it had scarce touched the ground when it sprang back up another tree of equal height, and scampered to the top branches nearly as quick as it came down.”

“Ah!” sighed Trevannion, “if we had only the activity of these creatures, how soon we might escape from this unfortunate dilemma. Who knows what is before us? Let us pray before going to rest for the night. Let us hope that He, in whose hands we are, may listen to our supplications, and sooner or later relieve us from our misery.” And so saying, the ex-miner repeated a well-remembered prayer, in the response to which not only the young people, but the Indian, the African, and the Irishman fervently joined.

Mayne Reid.


When the sun goes down, and the air is filled

  With the sound of rushing wings,

When the swallows fly, and the fire-flies flit,

  The Night-Moth comes and sings:—


“O sweet is the flower, at the evening hour,

  When the wandering bee goes home;

And dear to me are the sweets the bee

  Has left for my lips alone.

I startle the child, in the garden wild,

  When my rustling wings are heard;

But he laughs with glee my form to see,

  And calls me his humming-bird.


“The birds of day their roundelay

  May give to the sun and air,

But the pale twilight and the fire-flies bright

  To the Night-Moth are more fair.

O sweet is the flower, at the evening hour,

  When the wandering bee goes home;

And dear to me are the sweets the bee

  Has left for my lips alone.”

Tacie Townsend.



NO. 11.

As faded my first into darkness away,

And no more were heard the rude sounds of the fray,

A young soldier lay on a blood-covered plain,

Surrounded by heaps of the wounded and slain.


No one who loved him wept over him there,

No one beside him was kneeling in prayer;

Those hands, white and nerveless, none crossed on his breast,

Nor kissed the fair brow that a mother had blessed.


Next morn, when my second crept o’er that sad scene,

It showed where the ruthless destroyer had been;

Many were sleeping no more to awake,—

Theirs was the slumber that nothing can break.


Still and unconscious the young soldier lay;

With my whole his pure spirit has faded away.

Sorrow and suffering forever were o’er,—

Life and its troubles could move him no more.

J. E. N.


W. E. H.




No. 12.

I am composed of 31 letters.

My 6, 9, 2, is one of the elements.

My 12, 16, 15, is a metal.

My 1, 20, 11, 4, 19, is a fruit.

My 25, 29, 10, is part of a fish.

My 27, 3, 5, 18, is a defence in war.

My 8, 13, 30, 31, when gone cannot be recalled.

My 24, 6, 7, 21, is a point of the compass.

My 22, 14, 26, 25, is part of a horse.

My 17, 23, 28, 31, is a location.

My whole is a good old proverb.



J. P. B.


11.Why has a lobster no claws?
12.Why are several couples going to church like a child’s penny trumpet?
13.What vice is that which the worst people shun most?
14.Why is a bad picture like weak tea?
15.Why is a well-trained horse like a benevolent man?
16.What would be necessary to take all the snuff in the world at one pinch?


9.By transposing the letters in Misrepresentation, make four words which shall recall an event in the life of one of the twelve Apostles.
R. W. S., Jr.
10.They were talking of authors one day in Pittsburg. Sam said, he preferred Hag, I am not ill, but Mary admired Near colt; John praised I mend year, while Rob, it was there, was Tom’s favorite; Jane said, You call Mr. C., but I said, none was better than Big red wort.
H. H.



10.Damask rose-bud.


7.General Ulysses S. Grant,—Confederacy,—Abolitionist.
8.Boil them,—Roast it well,—Tapioca,—Peaches,—oranges.


10.A distinguished author.
11.Louis Van Beethoven.

Arithmetical Puzzles.

13.1, 3, 9, 27, 81.
14.D. MIX, M. D. His name (1509) is nine more than his title (1500), and if from his whole name (3009) you subtract twice the difference between the Christian and Mohammedan eras (622 × 2 = 1244) less one hundred, you have A. D. 1865.
15.3 at 4 cents each, 15 at 2 for a cent, and 2 at 4 for a cent.

Illustrated Rebuses.

12.One swallow does not make a summer.
[(One swallow) (does) (knot) (May)ke (a sum) (myrrh).]
13.The career of the great departed should inspire our souls to emulate them.
[The (car) (ear) of t(he) (great D parted) (should in spire) (hour) (souls) 2 e (mule) 8 them.]


There was a brave Marquis, named Pell,

Who always gazed long down the well;

  When the birds asked him why?

  He gave a deep sigh,—

That love-stricken, poor Marquis Pell.



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. Vol 1, Issue 7 edited by John Townsend Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom]