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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 3, Issue 1

Date of first publication: 1867

Author: J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom (editors)

Date first posted: July 2, 2018

Date last updated: July 2, 2018

Faded Page eBook #20180702

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






An Illustrated Magazine




Vol. III. JANUARY, 1867. No. I.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, 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.]


















The boys—and, I am glad to say, the girls too—had enjoyed a few days of the very finest skating, when one night there came a fall of snow, and the next morning Lawrence, looking from his window, saw the pond covered with a shining white mantle.

“Never mind,” said he; “we can sweep places to skate on. A good skater don’t care for a space larger than a parlor floor to practise on.”

So he went out that afternoon with a shovel and a broom to clear off a little of the snow. He was surprised to find a number of men on the pond before him. They had long chisel-shaped iron bars, with which they were cutting holes in the ice, about five paces apart, all over the pond.

“Look here!” cried Lawrence, running up to one of them, “what is this for? You’re spoiling our skating.”

“Your skating is spoiled already,” said the man; and click! click! his bar went through the ice again. “Our business would be spoiled too, if we didn’t cut these holes.”

“I don’t see how?”

“I’ll tell you how. This coating of snow prevents the ice from forming. Snow is warm; did you know it? A sheep covered up in a drift will live through a night that would freeze her to death if she was exposed to the weather. Just so, a heavy fall of snow is the best thing in the world to keep strawberries and other plants from winter-killing. It keeps the pond warm in the same way. Ice will form, to be sure, under the snow, but so slow we shouldn’t get half a crop if we didn’t cut these holes and let the water through.”

“I see,” cried Lawrence. “The weight of the snow makes the ice sink a little; that forces the water up, and the water soaks the snow, and then freezes and makes ice.”

“Yes, but that top-ice—snow-ice, we call it—is good for nothing. It’s only a bother to us, as you will see if you are here when we are cutting. But it don’t prevent the ice from forming underneath, as the snow does.”

“I understand,—the ice is a good conductor of caloric, and the snow isn’t,” said Lawrence, who had learned enough of natural philosophy to come to this conclusion. “But why don’t you have some sort of horse-scrapers to scrape the snow off?”

“We have horse-scrapers, but now the ice ain’t strong enough to bear a horse; that’s the trouble.”

“Will it be good skating after the snow soaks and freezes?”

“It will be pretty rough. There’s a good strip along by the Doctor’s shore where we don’t cut; it is kept for skating and fishing. You can sweep the snow from that, if you like, and cut holes for pickerel too,—a thing that ain’t allowed on any other part of the pond.”

“How can you prevent it? Do you own the pond?”

“No, but the ice-company have bought the privilege of cutting from all the owners around the pond, and so control it. Pickerel holes would spoil the ice at the time of cutting; besides, the horses would get their legs in them.”

Lawrence was very anxious to see the work begin. He skated meanwhile on his uncle’s shore, and after the snow-ice had frozen he went all over the pond,—although, as the man had predicted, he found it pretty rough.

Then there came another fall of snow. By this time the ice was firm enough to bear up horses, and the workmen came on it with plank scrapers six feet broad, and scraped the snow all up, like hay, in big windrows stretching across the pond.

Then there came still another snow, accompanied by sleet, and followed by rain; so that, when the storm was over, the pond was covered with a coarse frozen crust, too hard for the wooden scrapers. This brought out the iron-edged scoop-scrapers, formed for removing either heavy or crusted snow. Each scraper was drawn by a single horse, with a harness which consisted of a simple girth and loops for the shafts.

At last, one bright morning, early in January, Lawrence looked from his window and saw that the ice-harvest had fairly begun. It was Wednesday; there was no school in the afternoon, and as soon as he had eaten his dinner he hastened out to see the ice-cutters.

There were two men fishing on his uncle’s shore. Having chopped holes in the ice, they dropped their hooks through them, baited with live minnows which had been caught in the autumn and preserved in tanks for this purpose. Their minnows were in a pail; an axe and three or four pickerel lay on the ice; and each man was watching half a dozen lines sunk in different places, a few yards apart, and adjusted so that a bite at either would pull down a rag of red flannel set up on a stick for a signal.

Lawrence, like most boys, took a lively interest in fishing. But something of still greater interest attracted him to-day; and, stopping but a few minutes to watch the sport, he hastened on to the scene of the ice-cutting.

Two or three hundred men were at work on the pond, in two divisions, one at the upper and the other at the lower end; presenting, with their horses and ice-saws and ice-hooks and cutters and scrapers and planes, a wonderfully animated and busy picture.

He chose to visit the lower end first, because he there expected to find the man whose acquaintance he had already made. He saw some men at work with a long, straight strip of board and a curious-looking instrument, and ran up to them. One of the men got down on his face and took sight across the board at a target, while the others drew the instrument along the edge of it. They thus marked the ice, somewhat as a school-boy draws a straight line with a pencil and ruler.

The man who had taken sight got up, and Lawrence saw that it was his old acquaintance.

“So you’ve come to see the ice-cutting. Well, here you have what is properly the beginning of it. We are striking a straight line, which is almost finished.”

Three or four more lengths of the board brought them to the target, set up by one of the windrows of snow.

“This board is what we call a straight-edge. Here is an arm to it which we now open; and you see it lies on the ice like a carpenter’s square. Now we are to strike another line at right angles with this; and so we lay out our square-cornered fields of any number of acres, which are to be all cut up into such cakes as the ice-man brings you in summer. This instrument we mark with is called a hand-groove. You see it has seven steel-teeth, set one behind another, and riveted in this strong iron back. Each tooth is a quarter of an inch broad, and forms a sharp little plough by itself. The first cuts the slightest groove in the ice; the second is a trifle longer, and cuts a trifle deeper; the third, deeper still; and so on, till the last, which leaves the groove an inch and a half deep.”

“You go all around your field in this way?” said Lawrence.

“No, only on two sides. Now see,—here comes an odd-looking horse-machine down the line we have struck. That is what we call a guide-and-marker. The guide is a smooth-edged blade that runs in the groove we have cut. The marker is a cutter made on the same principle with this hand-groove. The two are so fitted and fastened together that, when the guide runs in the groove, the marker cuts another parallel groove twenty-two inches from it.”

As the machine approached, Lawrence saw that it was drawn by a single strong rope, fifteen or twenty feet long, which kept it at a distance from the horse. The horse was led by one man, and the machine held by its handles, like a plough, by another. The marker made a crisp, brittle sound, and threw out fine, bright chips, as the teeth cut through the ice; and after it had passed, Lawrence saw that there were two perfectly straight, beautiful grooves instead of one.

Arrived at the corner of the new field, the horse was turned about, and the machine (by means of an ingenious arrangement) turned over, so that, returning, the guide ran in the freshly-cut groove, and another groove was cut by the marker, twenty-two inches farther on.

“In this way,” said Lawrence’s friend, “the machine goes over the whole field, the last groove it cuts forming the boundary of the other side. Then it commences on this line, which we are here running at right angles with the first, and goes over the whole field the other way, cutting it all up into checkers twenty-two inches square. The marker cuts a groove two inches deep. Now you see another machine following it, drawn by a horse, just the same. But instead of being double, like the guide-and-marker, it is a single instrument, made up of teeth like the marker; only the teeth are longer, and they cut deeper. That we call a four-inch cutter, as it leaves the groove four inches deep. That will be followed by a six-inch cutter, and that by an eight-inch, and that again by a ten-inch. Each cuts two inches, which is about as much as a horse ought to be compelled to do. We have also a twelve-inch cutter, but this ice is not thick enough to require it.”

“Do you cut clear through the ice? I shouldn’t think that would do.”

“No, indeed. This ice is about fifteen inches thick, and we shall cut it only ten inches. We have harvested ice when it was only ten inches thick, and again when it was twenty-three inches; but that is rare. Sixteen inches is a good average thickness for working.”

Lawrence remained with his friend until the second line was struck. By this time a new machine, likewise drawn by a horse, made its appearance. It was the ice-plane, twenty-two inches broad, running between two grooves, and planing off the porous snow-ice which has already been described.

“Now,” said the man, “we will see how the ice is housed.” And he took Lawrence over a field where a hundred men had been at work all the morning.

It was a busy scene. On one side, the six-, eight-, and ten-inch cutters were going. On the other, men were breaking off broad rafts of the grooved ice, and floating them along a canal which had been cut to the ice-houses. Some were cutting through to the water with saws. Others were splitting off the sheets, the ends of which had been thus cut, with iron bars called “barring-off bars.” Still others, by means of “calking-bars,” were calking with ice-chips the ends of the grooves which were to come in contact with the water.

“The calking,” said Lawrence’s friend, “is to keep the water from running into the grooves. For if it gets into them, it will circulate all through them, and then freeze, and the ice will be a solid mass again, as if it hadn’t been grooved at all.

“These rafts, or sheets of cakes, are, you see, thirty cakes long and twelve broad. The ends have to be sawed; but every twelfth groove—in this direction, lengthwise—is cut deeper than the rest, so that one man can easily bar off a sheet. Ice splits very easy from top to bottom, but it is hard to split it in any other direction. Lay a cake up out of water in a warm day, and it will always begin to honeycomb from the top downwards. Turning it on its side makes no difference with it; the frost insists on taking down its work first where it began to build it up. This shows that ice has a grain.”

The sheet of three hundred and sixty cakes, being split off, with its grooves all carefully calked around the ends and sides exposed to the water, was then floated off into the canal, and dragged on towards the ice-houses. One man, armed with an ice-hook,—an instrument resembling a pike-pole,—sometimes riding on the sheet, and sometimes walking by the edge of the canal, navigated this checkered raft to the slip, where it was broken up with bars into blocks of six cakes each, by men standing on the platform. Each of these blocks was fastened upon by an iron grapple, and taken by two men and a horse up an inclined plane to the summit of a strong staging built before the windows of a row of white ice-houses. One man guided the horse; the other guided the block along the smooth rails with a wooden handle attached to the grapple. It was lively work, one horse going up after another at a swift pace. At the summit of the staging, the blocks were seized by men with ice-hooks, and shoved along the now slightly declining rails towards the windows where they were wanted. Swiftly sliding, one after another, went the bright crystal masses, to be seized again by men standing at the windows, and whirled into the ice-houses, where, layer upon layer, they were stowed away.

“As soon as the ice in these is built up to the level of this staging, the horses will begin to carry it up the next one” (for there was another staging above the first); “from that we shall fill the houses nearly to the top; then the ice will be completely covered with hay. Each of these vaults,” continued Lawrence’s friend, as they went up and looked into one of the great, gloomy buildings, into which the blocks went sliding and bouncing, and where several dimly-seen men were at work taking care of them, looking like demons in a pit,—“each of these vaults holds five thousand tons of ice. You will see, behind the ice-houses, trains of cars loading at the same time. The cars take the ice to ships in the harbor, and they take it to all parts of the world. We want to cut, this year, sixty-five or seventy thousand tons. Our two hundred and fifty men will cut about five thousand tons a day.”

Lawrence noticed that the ice-houses had very thick wooden walls; but his friend said: “Each wall is in reality two walls, two feet apart, with the space between filled in with tan-bark, which is the best thing we have for keeping out the heat.”

“Do you ever cut two crops of ice the same season?”

“Seldom. The second freezing makes poor ice compared with the first. I don’t pretend to give the reason. There is a great difference in the quality of ice for keeping. Ice cut in melting weather is porous, and won’t keep half as long as ice cut in cold weather.”

“It seems to me,” said Lawrence, as they descended the inclined plane, “machinery might be invented to take the place of these horses in elevating the ice.”

“Well, how would you arrange it?”

“I don’t know; but I’ve been thinking you might have two wheels, one at the water down there, and the other at the top of the ice-house; have an endless chain pass over them, hung full of grapples; set it in motion by an ordinary steam-engine; and let the grapples catch the blocks of ice in the slip, and carry them up an inclined plane to the stagings.”

The man laughed. “Go to the other end of the pond, and you’ll find very much such a machine as you have suggested. A common steam-engine of forty horse-power does the work of a hundred and fifty men and seventy-five horses, and does it quicker and better. We shall elevate all our ice in that way another year.”

Lawrence hastened to the upper ice-houses, and saw, to his delight, the operation of the new machine. It was so much like the one he had arranged in his own mind, that he began to consider himself a great inventor. The floating blocks, of two cakes each, were fed into a little slip under the lower wheel, which revolved just over the water. They were there seized by the grapples, which, coming down empty on the upper side of the moving chain, returned loaded on the under side.

Stiff ratan brooms, fastened to the platform, swept the blocks clean, as the grapples carried them up. The crystallized pond-water was thus elevated by this chain-pump, and poured into the ice-house windows,—the rattling and sliding masses, as they flew along the stagings, resembling an endless train of silver-bright cars seen on high bridges in the distance. There were four stagings, one above another, running the whole length of a long row of ice-houses. The ice was elevated at one end, so that one machine answered for all. The blocks were launched by the grapples upon a short inclined plane, which set them sliding down the gently sloping staging to the windows, where they were seized. The houses being filled to the level of one staging, the ice was then, by a slight alteration in the machinery, carried up to the next.

There was something about this harvesting of the ice so brisk and beautiful that Lawrence remained all the afternoon watching it; and more than once, afterwards, he went to spend a delightful hour among the ice-cutters.

J. T. Trowbridge.


The king’s spectacles brought it all about; and whether he—but, in the first place, you are to know that, in the creek running through the Catskill Clove is a flat stone, planted slanting-wise in the bed of the stream, from under which you hear continually a discontented, grumbling voice, something like this: Wabble! wabble! wabble!—being, in fact, a respectable old water-goblin, who has had his trials, who tells his story all day long to the frogs and fishes, and who one day told it to me.

This old grumbler had four sons, three of whom were steady-going, well-to-do brooks,—the first being in the violet-growing business, the second a scene-maker, while the third had hired himself out to a woollen-spinner; but Steme, the youngest, had all his days been a care and vexation to his father. He had all the antic tricks of his cousins, the frogs and mists, and the fickle disposition of his mother, who was of the Fire family. One moment he drew himself out to the length of a giant, as if he had been so much gutta-percha; the next, he made himself so small that you lost him altogether. Now he sung, roared, puffed, bellowed, shrieked, and whistled, till the family were wild with his noise. A little after, he was gone,—mum as a mouse, however you called him; and never any two days alike, except in the fact that he was at all times idle and useless,—till one fine morning his father, being utterly out of patience, hustled him out of fairy-land, with, “See here, my lad! it is time you sought your fortune.”

“It is very odd,” said Steme to himself. “I am sure I could do something, if there were not some mistake somewhere”;—and coming just then to a house which had on the door-plate the words, “Wisest Man,” he rang the bell, thinking, perhaps, the question could be settled there; but the Wisest Man only shook his head.

“If you could have been of any use, somebody would have discovered it before,” said he.

So Steme travelled on till he came to the court of the king, where was a great hubbub; and as no one would pay him the least attention, Steme grew sulky, and, coiling himself up, hid away in the tea-kettle.

“Now if anybody wants me, let them find me,” said he; and you would never have known that he was there, unless by the way that the kettle-cover clattered now and then.

But, as I said, the court was in a hubbub, because of the king’s spectacles; and whether he had changed them at the tailor’s, where he ordered the trimming for the Lord High Fiddlestick’s green satin gown, or at the jeweller’s, where his crown was being mended, or at the grocer’s, where he had stopped for a mug of ale, his Royal Highness was quite unable to decide. Only these could never be the spectacles that usually rested on his royal nose; for whenever he looked through them, he could see nothing but moth and rust,—moths eating the bed-covers, the hangings, the carpets, the silks and velvets, the wool and linen, the lace and embroidery, in every part of his Majesty’s dominions,—rust on the gold and silver, the marble and granite, the oak and walnut, the houses and ships, everywhere in his kingdom. The king grew nervous. “We are all coming to poverty,” said his Royal Highness; and though it was drawing toward Christmas, he did little but peep through the spectacles and look dismal.

Of course, all the court looked dismal too. The courtiers got a crick in the neck by going about with heads on one side, like his Majesty. The Lord High Fiddlestick, being of the jolly persuasion, was obliged to shut himself up and laugh privately by the hour, to take the fun out of him before waiting on his Royal Highness; while the ladies wore their old gowns to court, and said, where the king could hear them, “O, we are obliged to piece and patch in these days. Between that dreadful Moth and Rust we are all coming to poverty, you know.”

In this dilemma they sent for the Wisest Man, who came at once, looking so profound that the king took courage, and said, “What shall we do? Tell us, now.”

“Hum!” said the Wisest Man, “that is a grave question. Let us go back to first principles. If there was nothing to eat, there would be no moths, and nothing to consume, there would be no rust,—do you see?”

“Yes,—certainly,—of course,” said all the courtiers; but the king only groaned.

“But as there is silk and satin, velvet and linen, gold and diamonds, everywhere in the kingdom, I really don’t see what you are to do about it,” concluded the Wisest Man, and marched away home again.

This was cold comfort, and the king groaned more deeply than ever; but the king’s son said to himself, “If there is no help for it, why cannot we contrive to grow rich faster, and so keep ahead of the leak?”

So he sent for all the rich men in the kingdom.

“How did you grow rich?” asked the prince.

“By trading,” answered they all together.

“Trade more, then,” said the prince, “and we shall not all come to poverty.”

“Alas! your Highness!” answered the rich men, sorrowfully, “we send away now just as much wheat and oil, and bring home just as much silk and gold, as we can find horses and wagons for carrying, and houses for storing.”

“Work faster, then,” suggested the prince.

“We work as fast as flesh and blood is able,” answered the rich men together as before.

“Now is my time,” said Steme to himself. “Here is work a little more to my taste than violet-growing”;—and he began to clatter the cover of the kettle.

“Who is there?” asked the prince.

“Steme,” gurgled the kettle.

“And what can you do, Steme?” said the prince.

“Carry as many tons as you like, and run sixty miles an hour,” spluttered the kettle.

“That is a likely story!” cried the prince,—“curled up there in a kettle, whoever you are!”

“Try me,” said Steme, coming out of the kettle.

So the prince ordered a load that would have broken the backs of forty horses to be strapped behind Steme, who darted off with it as if it had been a feather, shrieking, snorting, and puffing, as he always did when his blood was up; and though he had a three-days’ journey before him, he was back in a few hours, fresher than when he started.

“More loads! more tons!” bellowed Steme. “Longer journeys! I want to go farther. I want to go faster. I can run twice as fast! Huzza!” swinging his arms, and capering, and jumping all the while, as if he was beside himself.

“Ah! this is better,” said the prince, setting all the men in the palace to load Steme still more heavily. “Not much chance here for Moth and Rust.”

Presently, back came Steme roaring for more loads. All the men in the kingdom were set at work. Twice as much wheat and oil was sent out, and four times as much silk and gold were brought in, as ever before.

“Not much danger of poverty now,” exclaimed the courtiers; and even the king smiled, till he thought to put on his spectacles, when he saw more moths and more rust, eating twice as fast as ever before at the wheat and oil, the silk and gold.

“That is because you don’t work fast enough,” shouted Steme. “Who ever saw such wheels and looms? Let me spin! Give me thousands of wheels! I can weave! Give me looms! give me spindles!—millions of spindles,—hundreds of thousands of looms!”

So men worked night and day to make spindles and wheels and looms for Steme; and a thousand workmen could not spin and weave the tenth part of what Steme did in a day.

“More, more!” cried Steme, buzzing and whirring and clicking and whizzing among his wheels and spindles. “Not half enough yet!”

But the king, looking through his spectacles, saw Moth and Rust busy as ever at the very wheels and spindles and looms themselves.

“Still it is your fault,” shouted Steme. “You don’t get about fast enough. Your horses creep like snails. Give me horses with iron backs,—hundreds of them,—thousands! I will draw your carriages. Give me paddles,—twenty and thirty in a hand. I will row your boats.”

So Steme drove the carriages, and rowed the boats; and as people went dashing and tearing about everywhere, they panted to each other, “What a wonderful nation we have grown to be! no chance for Moth and Rust now!”

But, looking through his spectacles, the king saw moths by the million, and rust on everything.

“Your fault still!” snorted Steme. “Why don’t you read more? Why not have more books? Let me make your books. Everybody shall have them. Every one shall read and be wise. Some one will then find out the remedy for Moth and Rust.”

So Steme made books by the ton, and carried them everywhere,—thundering continually, “More, more! faster, faster! not half enough yet!”

But still the king saw moths and rust increase, and on Christmas eve he had no heart for Yule-logs and Christmas-trees, but wandered away in the forest, and walked there by himself, till just at dark he met a stranger.

“Who are you, and where are you going?” asked the king; for the man had such a broad, jolly, smiling face that the king knew it was none of his court.

“I am Merry Christmas,” said the stranger, “and I am going to the cottage in the forest.”

The king was curious to know why Merry Christmas had passed his palace, where were a hundred Christmas-trees and a Yule-log on every hearth, to stop at the cottage, where they could have nothing more than a pine branch, and he walked on too. In the cottage lived an old woman and a little girl. Against the chimney hung the little one’s stocking, and on the table, before the fire, was a chicken nicely browned. The mouths of the dame and the little one watered, for the dame had few chickens, and, as you may believe, they had not roast chicken for dinner every day; but just as Merry Christmas opened the door, there stepped in, before him and the king, a poor little, hungry, shivering boy.

“Sit down,” said the dame; “we were waiting for you. And let us thank the Lord for all his grace.”

“Why, there is hardly meat enough for two,” cried the king. “Such a little chicken!”

But “Hush!” said Merry Christmas, “I carve!”

And, looking at him, the king understood how there would not only be enough for three, but that it would taste better than the choicest bit of turkey that the Lord High Fiddlestick would carve for his Majesty’s own plate; and when Merry Christmas sat down on the hearth, there was such a glow in the pine chips, and such a light in the tallow candle, and such a brightness through all the room, that came out of Merry Christmas, and had nothing to do with either fire or candle, that the three at the table rejoiced like a bird or a baby, without understanding why; and the king knew that the great hall in his palace, with its Yule-log and its chandeliers, would be dark and cold beside the little room.

Just then he remembered his spectacles, and, pulling them out, hastily clapped them on his nose and looked about him.

“Bless my soul!” cried the king with a start, and, taking off the spectacles, rubbed them carefully, and looked again; but stare as he would, he saw neither Moth nor Rust.

“How is this?” thought the king, when, looking again and more sharply, he spied written on everything in the little room, “We give of what we have to-day to whoever needs, and trust to God for to-morrow.”

“O,” said Merry Christmas chuckling, “no preventive like that against Moth and Rust”;—but the king went home sorrowful, for he was very rich.

Louise E. Chollet.


Pussy Willow was so happy and proud at her success in making bread, that she now felt a very grown-up woman indeed; and her idea of a grown-up woman was, as you will see, that of a person able and willing to do something to some useful purpose. Some of my readers may think that a little girl ten years of age could not knead up and bake a batch of bread like that which Pussy is described as doing; but they must remember that little girls who grow up in the healthy air of the mountains, and who have always lived a great part of their time in the open air, and have been trained to the use of their arms and hands from early infancy, become larger and stronger than those who have been nursed in cities, and who never have done anything but arrange dolls’ baby-houses, and play at giving and receiving company.

Pussy was as strong a little mountaineer as you could wish to see; and now that her mother was laid up with a lame arm, Pussy daily gloried in her strength. “How lucky it is,” she said to herself as she was dressing in the morning, “that I have got to be such a large girl! What mother would do without me, I’m sure I don’t see. Well now, if I can make bread and biscuit, I’m sure I can make gingerbread and pies; and father and the boys will never miss anything. O, I’ll not let grass grow under my feet.”

This was in the dim gray of the morning, before another soul was awake in the house, when Pussy was up bright and early; for she had formed the design of getting up and making breakfast ready, all of her own self, before anybody should be up to call her or ask her to do it. For you must know it was Pussy’s nature to like to run before people’s expectations. She took a great interest in surprising people, and doing more than they expected; and she thought to herself, as she softly tiptoed down the stairs: “Now I shall have the fire all made, and the tea-kettle boiling, by the time that mother wakes. I know she’ll wake thinking ‘I must go and call Pussy, and ask her to get breakfast.’ How surprised she’ll be to find Pussy up and dressed, the fire made, and the kettle boiling, and breakfast just ready to go on!”

So Pussy softly felt her way into the kitchen, where it was hardly light as yet, and found the water-pail, and then, opening the kitchen-door, she started for the little spring back of the house for a pail of water. It had been Pussy’s work from her earliest years to bring water from this spring to her mother,—at first in tiny little pails, but gradually, as she grew older and bigger, in larger ones, till now she could lift the full-sized water-pail, which she had on her arm.

“So here you are, Mr. Robin,” said Pussy, as she stepped out of the door and heard a lively note struck up from the willow-bush by the window. “You and I are up early this morning, ar’n’t we? Ha, ha, old Mr. Chipmunk,—is that you? Take care of yourself, or I shall catch you. You are up getting breakfast for your family, and I for mine. Mother is sick, and I’m housekeeper now, Mr. Chip.” So saying, Pussy splashed her pail down among the fern-leaves that bordered the edges of the spring, and laughed to see the bright, clear water ripple into it; and having filled it, she drew it up all glittering and dripping with diamond-bright drops, which fell back again into the little spring.

“There’s a girl for you!” said old Mother Fern, when Pussy had turned her back on the spring. “That girl does credit to our teaching. Every feeling of her heart is as fresh and clear as spring-water, and she goes on doing good just as the brook runs in a bright, merry stream. That girl will never know what it is to be nervous or low-spirited, or have the dyspepsia, or any of the other troubles that come on the lazy daughters of men. And it all comes of the gifts that we wood-fairies have brought her. She takes everything by the smooth handle, and sees everything on the bright side, and enjoys her work a great deal more than most children do their play.”

Meanwhile Pussy had gone in and kindled the fire in the stove, and set over the tea-kettle, and now was busy sifting some meal to make some corn-cakes for breakfast.

“I’ve seen mother do this often enough,” she said, “and I’ll surprise her by getting it all nicely into the oven without her saying a word about it.” So she ran in all haste to the buttery, where stood a pan of milk which had turned deliciously sour, and shook and quivered as she moved it, like some kind of delicate white jelly with a golden coating of cream over it. A spoonful of soda soon made this white jelly a mass of foam, and then a teacupful of bright, amber-colored molasses was turned into it, and then it was beaten into a stiff mass with the sifted corn-meal, and poured into well-buttered pans to be baked. Pussy was really quite amused at all this process. She was delighted to find that the cake would actually foam under her hands as she had often seen it under her mother’s, and when she shut the oven-doors on her experiment it was with a beating heart.

“I do believe, mother,” said Pussy’s father, opening one eye and giving a great stretch,—“I do believe Pussy is up before you.”

“Good child!” said her mother, “she is making the fire for me. With a little instruction she will be able to make a corn-cake nicely.”

Pussy’s voice was now heard at the door. “Mother! mother! sha’n’t I come in and help you dress?”—and a bright little face followed the voice, and peeped in at the crack of the door.

“Thank you, dear child; I was just thinking of coming to call you. I wanted you to make the fire for me.”

“It’s made, mother,—long ago.”

“What a good girl! Well then, you may just get a pail of water and fill the tea-kettle.”

“I got the water and filled the kettle half an hour ago, mother,” said Pussy, “and you can’t think how it’s boiling!—puffing away like a steamboat,—and I’ve put the coffee on to boil, and—”

“You have been a very good girl,” said her mother, as Pussy was helping her into her gown. “You are such a nice handy little housekeeper that I think I can easily show you how to get the whole breakfast. Wouldn’t you like to have me teach you how to mix the corn-cakes?”

O then how Pussy laughed and crowed, as she led her mother into the kitchen, and, opening the oven-door, showed her corn-cakes rising as nicely as could be, and baking with a real lovely golden brown. And besides that there were slices of ham that she had cut and trimmed so neatly, lying all ready to be put into the frying-pan.

How Pussy enjoyed that breakfast! The cakes were as light and golden as her mother’s best, and Pussy had all the glory of them, for she had made them all by herself. I don’t think Miss Emily Proudie ever felt so delighted to walk out in a new hat and feather as did little Pussy to be able to get this breakfast for her mother, and to hear the praises of her father and brothers on everything she had made.

It would be amusing if the good fairies would let us ride on a bit of their fairy carpet through the air on this same bright morning, when Pussy was so gay and happy in her household cares, and set us down in the elegant chamber where little Emily was sleeping. Everything about the room shows such a study to please the sleeping child! The walls are hung with lovely pictures; the floor is carpeted with the most charming carpet; the sofas and chairs and lounges are all of the most elegant shapes, and spread out upon the sofa is a beautiful new walking-dress, which came home after little Emily went to bed last night, and which is spread out so as to catch her eye the first thing when she wakes in the morning. It is now past eight o’clock, and Pussy Willow has long since washed all the dishes, and arranged the kitchen, and done the morning work in the farm-house, and has gone out with her little basket on her arm to dig roots, and pull young wintergreen for beer; but all this while little Emily has been drowsily turning from side to side, and uneasily brushing off the busy flies that seem determined she shall not sleep any longer.

“Come now, Miss Emily! your mamma says you must wake up and see your pretty new dress,” says Bridget, who has been in four times before, to try and wake the little sleeper. Emily sits up in bed at last, and calls for the new dress.

“So, she’s got it done at last,—that hateful Madame Tulleruche! She always keeps me waiting so long that I am tired to death. But there!—she has gone and put that trimming on in folds, and I told her I wanted puffs. The dress is just ruined. Take it away, Bridget. I can’t bear the sight of it. I do wonder what is the reason that I never can have anything done as other girls can. There’s always something the matter with my things.”

“Troth, Miss Emily, it’s jist that ye’s got too much of ivrything, and your stomach is kept turned all the time,” said Bridget. “If ye had to work as I do for your new dresses, ye’d like ’em better, that’s what ye would. I tell ye what would do ye more good than all the fine things ye’s got, and that same ’s a continted mind.”

“But how can I be contented,” said Emily, “when nothing ever suits me? I’m so particular,—mamma says so. I’m so, and I can’t help it, and nobody ever does do anything quite as I like it; and so I am unhappy all the time.”

“And what if ye did something for somebody else, instead of having everybody else a-serving ye?” said Bridget. “I works from morning to night, and gets my two dollars a week, and sends the most part of it to me poor old mother in Ireland; and it keeps me jolly—praise be to God!—to think I’m a-comfortin’ her old age. Did ye ever think whether ye did anything for anybody?”

No; Emily never had thought of that. From the very first hour that her baby eyes had opened, she had seen all the world on their knees around her, trying to serve and please her. Neither her father nor mother ever spoke or acted as if they expected her to do the slightest service for them. On the contrary, they always spoke as if they must do everything for her; and Bridget’s blunt talk now and then was the only intimation the little girl ever got that there was a way to be happy that she knew not of.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.


The name of no writer can be better known to the boys and girls of America than that of Mayne Reid,—“the Walter Scott of the juveniles,” as he has sometimes been called. Therefore the readers of “Our Young Folks” will be glad to know something about the man himself, and to look upon his portrait, which is now for the very first time made public,—for he has never allowed his likeness to be published in England, or copies of his photograph (from which this picture is engraved) to be sold there.

Captain Mayne Reid, who now lives as a quiet English gentleman in his pleasant and retired country-seat, is the son of a clergyman, and of blended Scotch and Celtic blood. Strictly educated in all respects under his father’s direction, he only held his adventurous spirit in check until he should be his own master, and at an early age, breaking away from the restraints which annoyed him, he set out to travel, and to find diversion and fortune. The greater portion of his absence from home was spent in America, the southern and western portions of which particularly delighted him, by their greatness, their freedom of life and habits, their luxuriant growth of strange birds, animals, plants, and trees, their wild sports, and their rich recompense for the explorations of the hunter and the pioneer. He was in America when the Mexican war began, and he at once cast in his fortune with that of the country he had learned to love, and, joining a New York regiment as lieutenant, fought through the whole campaign, being advanced to the rank of captain, which title he still holds. He is said to have been an impetuous and daring soldier, and was several times wounded, receiving one—the severest—shot during a desperate charge upon the walls of Mexico in the engagement which ended in the capture of that city.

Returning home after the war, and casting about for some occupation, he bethought him of making a book about the wonderful country he had visited, filling it with the results of his observation and adventure. He did so, and the volume was most successful, reaching a great circulation in a remarkably short time. This decided his course, and since that time he has devoted himself to literature, being one of the most popular authors of the time.

As all must know, Mayne Reid chooses his subjects from out-door life. Travelling, hunting, fishing, the investigation of strange climates, wild animals, curious trees and plants, remarkable adventures and new sports, are the topics with which he fills his pages. His own romantic nature leads him to prefer unfamiliar lands for the scene of his stories, and novel or astonishing combinations of incident for their action.

But this may be confidently said of Captain Reid,—that, however amazing or improbable may seem the thread of adventure which constitutes the narrative of his volumes, the statements which he makes in regard to geography, or botany, or natural history are sure to be true. When he is preparing a new tale, he gathers all the information that persons or books can give him in regard to the region into which he means to send his characters, and then, having got these facts before him, he proceeds to make a story which will include them all. Thus, though his anecdotes of animals or Indians, and his accounts of rivers or forests, may appear too strange to be true, yet, if one has the opportunity and the time to examine the narratives of travellers and scholars, he will find authority for what Mayne Reid has told him.

At this very time, the marvels which were recounted in “Afloat in the Forest” are being confirmed daily, by Professor Agassiz, who has just come home after a long journey in Brazil, and who tells in his lectures and writings similar wonders of the Gapo and its inhabitants with all that eloquence and minuteness for which he is so famous. Rev. J. C. Fletcher, too, the eminent Brazilian traveller, has verified many of Captain Reid’s accounts; and there now lies in a drawer in the editors’ office a little round, rough, brownish ball, about as big as a pea, which he gave them, and which, if planted in suitable soil and properly nurtured, would grow up to be just such another great, useful giant as the food-producing Assai, of which you read last year; for it is the real seed of such a tree.

So, boys and girls, you may believe just as much as you please of strange adventures, amazing perils, and miraculous escapes with which Mayne Reid spices his stories; but you may trust him entirely when he tells you anything for a fact; and you must remember him kindly, as a man of another land, who yet loves your country, has fought and shed his blood for her, who always has a warm word to speak in her praise, and who would gladly have drawn his sword again for her in her last battles had not the feebleness of his health and the dependence of his family forbidden.


In my travels about the world I have made the acquaintance of a great many children, and I might tell you many things about their dress, their speech, and their habits of life, in the different countries I have visited. I presume, however, that you would rather hear me relate some of my adventures in which children participated, so that the story and the information shall be given together. Ours is not the only country in which children must frequently begin, at an early age, to do their share of work and accustom themselves to make their way in life. I have found many instances among other races, and in other climates, of youthful courage, and self-reliance, and strength of character, some of which I propose to relate to you.

This one shall be the story of my adventure with a little post-boy, in the northern part of Sweden.

Very few foreigners travel in Sweden in the winter, on account of the intense cold. As you go northward from Stockholm, the capital, the country becomes ruder and wilder, and the climate more severe. In the sheltered valleys along the Gulf of Bothnia and the rivers which empty into it, there are farms and villages for a distance of seven or eight hundred miles, after which fruit-trees disappear, and nothing will grow in the short, cold summers except potatoes and a little barley. Farther inland, there are great forests and lakes, and ranges of mountains where bears, wolves, and herds of wild reindeer make their home. No people could live in such a country unless they were very industrious and thrifty.

I made my journey in the winter, because I was on my way to Lapland, where it is easier to travel when the swamps and rivers are frozen, and the reindeer-sleds can fly along over the smooth snow. It was very cold indeed, the greater part of the time: the days were short and dark, and if I had not found the people so kind, so cheerful, and so honest, I should have felt inclined to turn back, more than once. But I do not think there are better people in the world than those who live in Norrland, which is a Swedish province, commencing about two hundred miles north of Stockholm.

They are a tall, strong race, with yellow hair and bright blue eyes, and the handsomest teeth I ever saw. They live plainly, but very comfortably, in snug wooden houses, with double windows and doors to keep out the cold; and since they cannot do much out-door work, they spin and weave and mend their farming implements in the large family room, thus enjoying the winter in spite of its severity. They are very happy and contented, and few of them would be willing to leave that cold country and make their homes in a warmer climate.

Here there are neither railroads nor stages, but the government has established post-stations at distances varying from ten to twenty miles. At each station a number of horses, and sometimes vehicles, are kept, but generally the traveller has his own sled, and simply hires the horses from one station to another. These horses are either furnished by the keeper of the station or some of the neighboring farmers, and when they are wanted a man or boy goes along with the traveller to bring them back. It would be quite an independent and convenient way of travelling, if the horses were always ready; but sometimes you must wait an hour or more before they can be furnished.

I had my own little sled, filled with hay and covered with reindeer-skins to keep me warm. So long as the weather was not too cold, it was very pleasant to speed along through the dark forests, over the frozen rivers, or past farm after farm in the sheltered valleys, up hill and down, until long after the stars came out, and then to get a warm supper in some dark-red post cottage, while the cheerful people sang or told stories around the fire. The cold increased a little every day, to be sure, but I became gradually accustomed to it, and soon began to fancy that the Arctic climate was not so difficult to endure as I had supposed. At first the thermometer fell to zero; then it went down ten degrees below; then twenty, and finally thirty. Being dressed in thick furs from head to foot, I did not suffer greatly; but I was very glad when the people assured me that such extreme cold never lasted more than two or three days. Boys of twelve or fourteen very often went with me to bring back their fathers’ horses, and so long as those lively, red-cheeked fellows could face the weather, it would not do for me to be afraid.

One night there was a wonderful aurora in the sky. The streamers of red and blue light darted hither and thither, chasing each other up to the zenith and down again to the northern horizon, with a rapidity and a brilliance which I had never seen before. “There will be a storm, soon,” said my post-boy; “one always comes, after these lights.”

Next morning the sky was overcast, and the short day was as dark as our twilight. But it was not quite so cold, and I travelled onward as fast as possible. There was a long tract of wild and thinly settled country before me, and I wished to get through it before stopping for the night. Unfortunately it happened that two lumber-merchants were travelling the same way, and had taken the horses; so I was obliged to wait at the stations until other horses were brought from the neighboring farms. This delayed me so much that at seven o’clock in the evening I had still one more station of three Swedish miles before reaching the village where I intended to spend the night. Now, a Swedish mile is nearly equal to seven English, so that this station was at least twenty miles long.

I decided to take supper while the horse was eating his feed. They had not expected any more travellers at the station, and were not prepared. The keeper had gone on with the two lumber-merchants; but his wife—a friendly, rosy-faced woman—prepared me some excellent coffee, potatoes, and stewed reindeer-meat, upon which I made an excellent meal. The house was on the border of a large, dark forest, and the roar of the icy northern wind in the trees seemed to increase while I waited in the warm room. I did not feel inclined to go forth into the wintry storm, but, having set my mind on reaching the village that night, I was loath to turn back.

“It is a bad night,” said the woman, “and my husband will certainly stay at Umea until morning. His name is Neils Petersen, and I think you will find him at the post-house when you get there. Lars will take you, and they can come back together.”

“Who is Lars?” I asked.

“My son,” said she. “He is getting the horse ready. There is nobody else about the house to-night.”

Just then the door opened, and in came Lars. He was about twelve years old; but his face was so rosy, his eyes so clear and round and blue, and his golden hair was blown back from his face in such silky curls, that he appeared to be even younger. I was surprised that his mother should be willing to send him twenty miles through the dark woods on such a night.

“Come here, Lars,” I said. Then I took him by the hand, and asked, “Are you not afraid to go so far to-night?”

He looked at me with wondering eyes, and smiled; and his mother made haste to say: “You need have no fear, sir. Lars is young; but he’ll take you safe enough. If the storm don’t get worse, you’ll be at Umea by eleven o’clock.”

I was again on the point of remaining; but while I was deliberating with myself, the boy had put on his overcoat of sheep-skin, tied the lappets of his fur cap under his chin, and a thick woollen scarf around his nose and mouth, so that only the round blue eyes were visible; and then his mother took down the mittens of hare’s fur from the stove, where they had been hung to dry. He put them on, took a short leather whip, and was ready.

I wrapped myself in my furs, and we went out together. The driving snow cut me in the face like needles, but Lars did not mind it in the least. He jumped into the sled, which he had filled with fresh, soft hay, tucked in the reindeer-skins at the sides, and we cuddled together on the narrow seat, making everything close and warm before we set out. I could not see at all, when the door of the house was shut, and the horse started on the journey. The night was dark, the snow blew incessantly, and the dark fir-trees roared all around us. Lars, however, knew the way, and somehow or other we kept the beaten track. He talked to the horse so constantly and so cheerfully, that after a while my own spirits began to rise, and the way seemed neither so long nor so disagreeable.

“Ho there, Axel!” he would say. “Keep the road,—not too far to the left. Well done. Here’s a level: now trot a bit.”

So we went on,—sometimes up hill, sometimes down hill,—for a long time, as it seemed. I began to grow chilly, and even Lars handed me the reins, while he swung and beat his arms to keep the blood in circulation. He no longer sang little songs and fragments of hymns, as when we first set out; but he was not in the least alarmed, or even impatient. Whenever I asked (as I did about every five minutes), “Are we nearly there?” he always answered, “A little farther.”

Suddenly the wind seemed to increase.

“Ah,” said he, “now I know where we are: it’s one mile more.” But one mile, you must remember, meant seven.

Lars checked the horse, and peered anxiously from side to side in the darkness. I looked also, but could see nothing.

“What is the matter?” I finally asked.

“We have got past the hills on the left,” he said. “The country is open to the wind, and here the snow drifts worse than anywhere else on the road. If there have been no ploughs out to-night we’ll have trouble.”

You must know that the farmers along the road are obliged to turn out with their horses and oxen, and plough down the drifts, whenever the road is blocked up by a storm.

In less than a quarter of an hour we could see that the horse was sinking in the deep snow. He plunged bravely forward, but made scarcely any headway, and presently became so exhausted that he stood quite still. Lars and I arose from the seat and looked around. For my part, I saw nothing except some very indistinct shapes of trees: there was no sign of an opening through them. In a few minutes the horse started again, and with great labor carried us a few yards farther.

“Shall we get out and try to find the road?” said I.

“It’s no use,” Lars answered. “In these new drifts we would sink to the waist. Wait a little, and we shall get through this one.”

It was as he said. Another pull brought us through the deep part of the drift, and we reached a place where the snow was quite shallow. But it was not the hard, smooth surface of the road: we could feel that the ground was uneven, and covered with roots and bushes. Bidding Axel stand still, Lars jumped out of the sled, and began wading around among the trees. Then I got out on the other side, but had not proceeded ten steps before I began to sink so deeply into the loose snow that I was glad to extricate myself and return. It was a desperate situation, and I wondered how we should ever get out of it.

I shouted to Lars, in order to guide him, and it was not long before he also came back to the sled. “If I knew where the road is,” said he, “I could get into it again. But I don’t know; and I think we must stay here all night.”

“We shall freeze to death in an hour!” I cried. I was already chilled to the bone. The wind had made me very drowsy, and I knew that if I slept I should soon be frozen.

“O, no!” exclaimed Lars, cheerfully. “I am a Norrlander, and Norrlanders never freeze. I went with the men to the bear-hunt, last winter, up on the mountains, and we were several nights in the snow. Besides, I know what my father did with a gentleman from Stockholm on this very road, and we’ll do it to-night.”

“What was it?”

“Let me take care of Axel first,” said Lars. “We can spare him some hay and one reindeer-skin.”

It was a slow and difficult task to unharness the horse, but we accomplished it at last. Lars then led him under the drooping branches of a fir-tree, tied him to one of them, gave him an armful of hay, and fastened the reindeer-skin upon his back. Axel began to eat, as if perfectly satisfied with the arrangement. The Norrland horses are so accustomed to cold that they seem comfortable in a temperature where one of ours would freeze.

When this was done, Lars spread the remaining hay evenly over the bottom of the sled and covered it with the skins, which he tucked in very firmly on the side towards the wind. Then, lifting them on the other side, he said: “Now take off your fur coat, quick, lay it over the hay, and then creep under it.”

I obeyed as rapidly as possible. For an instant I shuddered in the icy air; but the next moment I lay stretched in the bottom of the sled, sheltered from the storm. I held up the ends of the reindeer-skins while Lars took off his coat and crept in beside me. Then we drew the skins down and pressed the hay against them. When the wind seemed to be entirely excluded Lars said we must pull off our boots, untie our scarfs, and so loosen our clothes that they would not feel tight upon any part of the body. When this was done, and we lay close together, warming each other, I found that the chill gradually passed out of my blood. My hands and feet were no longer numb; a delightful feeling of comfort crept over me; and I lay as snugly as in the best bed. I was surprised to find that, although my head was covered, I did not feel stifled. Enough air came in under the skins to prevent us from feeling oppressed.

There was barely room for the two of us to lie, with no chance of turning over or rolling about. In five minutes, I think, we were asleep, and I dreamed of gathering peaches on a warm August day, at home. In fact, I did not wake up thoroughly during the night; neither did Lars, though it seemed to me that we both talked in our sleep. But as I must have talked English and he Swedish, there could have been no connection between our remarks. I remember that his warm, soft hair pressed against my chin, and that his feet reached no further than my knees. Just as I was beginning to feel a little cramped and stiff from lying so still I was suddenly aroused by the cold wind on my face. Lars had risen up on his elbow, and was peeping out from under the skins.

“I think it must be near six o’clock,” he said. “The sky is clear, and I can see the big star. We can start in another hour.”

I felt so much refreshed that I was for setting out immediately; but Lars remarked, very sensibly, that it was not yet possible to find the road. While we were talking, Axel neighed.

“There they are!” cried Lars, and immediately began to put on his boots his scarf and heavy coat. I did the same, and by the time we were ready we heard shouts and the crack of whips. We harnessed Axel to the sled, and proceeded slowly in the direction of the sounds, which came, as we presently saw, from a company of farmers, out thus early to plough the road. They had six pairs of horses geared to a wooden frame, something like the bow of a ship, pointed in front and spreading out to a breadth of ten or twelve feet. This machine not only cut through the drifts but packed the snow, leaving a good, solid road behind it. After it had passed, we sped along merrily in the cold morning twilight, and in little more than an hour reached the post-house at Umea, where we found Lars’s father prepared to return home. He waited, nevertheless, until Lars had eaten a good warm breakfast, when I said good by to both, and went on towards Lapland.

Some weeks afterwards, on my return to Stockholm, I stopped at the same little station. This time the weather was mild and bright, and the father would have gone with me to the next post-house; but I preferred to take my little bedfellow and sled-fellow. He was so quiet and cheerful and fearless, that, although I had been nearly all over the world, and he had never been away from home,—although I was a man and he a young boy,—I felt that I had learned a lesson from him, and might probably learn many more, if I should know him better. We had a merry trip of two or three hours, and then I took leave of Lars forever. He is no doubt still driving travellers over the road, a handsome, courageous, honest-hearted young man of twenty-one, by this time.

Bayard Taylor.


Not from Titania’s Court do I

Hither upon a night-moth fly;

I am not of those Fairies seen

Tripping by moonlight on the green,

Whose dewdrop bumpers, nightly poured,

Befleck the mushroom’s virgin board,

And whose faint cymbals tinkling clear

Sometimes on frosty nights you hear.


No, I was born of lustier stock,

And all their puling night-sports mock:

My father was the Good Old Time,

Famous in many a noble rhyme,

Who reigned with such a royal cheer

He made one Christmas of the year,

And but a single edict passed,

Dooming it instant death to fast.


I am that earthlier, fatter elf

That haunts the wood of pantry-shelf,

When minced-pies, ranged from end to end,

Up to the gladdened roof ascend;

On a fat goose I hither rode,

Using a skewer for a goad,

From the rich region of Cockayne,

And must ere morn be back again.


I am the plump sprite that presides

O’er Thanksgiving and Christmas tides;

I jig it not in woods profound;

The barn-yard is my dancing-ground,

Making me music as I can

By drumming on a pattypan;

Or if with songs your sleep I mar,

A gridiron serves me for guitar.


When without touch the glasses clink,

And dishes on the dresser wink

Back at the fire, whose jovial glance

Sets the grave pot-lids all adance;

When tails of little pigs hang straight,

Unnerved by dreams of coming fate;

When from the poultry-house you hear

Midnight alarums,—I am near.


While the pleased housewife shuts her eyes,

I lift the crust of temperance pies,

And slip in slyly two or three

Spoonfuls of saving eau de vie;

And, while the cookmaid rests her thumbs,

I stone a score of choicer plums,

And hide them in the pudding’s corner,

In memory of the brave Jack Horner.


I put the currants in the buns,

A task the frugal baker shuns;

I for the youthful miner make

Nuggets of citron in the cake;

’Tis I that down the chimney whip,

And presents in the stockings slip,

Which Superstition’s mumbling jaws

Ascribe to loutish Santa Claus.


’Tis I that hang, as you may see,

With presents gay the Christmas-tree;

But, if some foolish girl or boy

Should chance to mar the common joy

With any sulky look or word,

By them my anger is incurred,

And to all such I give fair warning

Of nightmares ere to-morrow morning.


James Russell Lowell.


Darling “Young Folks,”—Would you like to read about this pathetic, ridiculous little marriage? For here it is written down, just as it happened.

One sharp, bright afternoon in December, ever, ever so long ago, a quick ring was heard at the front-door bell of a large house in the city of New York. The door was opened; a tall, handsome man passed in with a swift step; and, an instant after, a voice like a tuneful breeze sounded up the stairs,—“Fanny, Fanny! where is my little pet? Where can she be?”

In a moment, a wee morsel of a child came flying down, and was caught in his arms, and kissed a dozen times. The next moment she was perched on his shoulder, and carried triumphantly into the parlor.

“There, little brown bird,” he said, seating her in a great arm-chair before the blazing fire, “there you are, all compact and comfortable.”

There was no doubt about her being “compact.” She looked almost a baby, though “half past five years old,” as she said. Her small face lit up with a look of perfect happiness, as she settled herself to her satisfaction in the great chair, and she repeated, with a little chuckling laugh, “All compac’ an’ comf’able. Tell me a story, Roswald.”

“Certainly,” he answered. “Once upon a time a nice little girl had an old rag doll. She loved it so much that she took it with her wherever she went; so it came to pass, that one fine day they both went up to the moon together to make a visit.”

“O, what a story!” exclaimed Fanny, her mouth dimpling into a smile, while her dark eyes shot out solemn reproof at the narrator.

“To be sure it is. You asked me to tell a story. Well; to climb to the moon conveniently, the nice little girl planted a Turkey bean, which grew at such a rate that—would you believe it?—it outstripped the wind, and was tied in a sailor’s knot round a horn of the moon in about seven minutes; and then all that the nice little girl and her rag doll had to do was just to walk up the stem, as if nothing particular had happened. Up they trotted, both talking and laughing at once, as noisy and happy as possible.

“O, it was beautiful! There rested the moon in the sky, like a great silver island, while far, far below was the round world they had left.

“They found the Man in the Moon sitting all by himself in a great cave, at the foot of the biggest volcano. He was mending his stockings with some brown twine, and a monstrous crooked needle,—such stitches!—and eating between whiles a lump of green cheese, of which the moon is composed.

“ ‘How-de-do, Mr. Moon,’ said the nice little girl, making a very polite courtesy. The rag doll tried to courtesy too, but she only doubled up in the most dreadful manner, because she was not stuffed tight enough, and struck her rag head against a moon-stone.

“ ‘Did you ever!’ cried the nice little girl, catching her doll up. ‘How’s Mrs. Moon?’

“ ‘I’m a bachelor,’ growled the Man in the Moon.

“ ‘O,’ said the little girl; and she thought, ‘That is the reason why you don’t offer me the least bit of your cheese,’ for she knew well enough that living alone made one mean and selfish, with a heart no better than that of a boiled cabbage; which vegetable, as every botanist can tell you, hasn’t a grain of spirit in it, good or bad.

“Yes; the Man in the Moon had lived, nobody knows how many thousands of years, without a single relation in the universe,—although the Emperor of China pretends to be his uncle, or grandfather, I forget which.

“ ‘I’ve got four faces,’ said the Man in the Moon, ‘and I change them once a week. Don’t you believe it?’

“ ‘O, certainly,’ answered the little girl, but the rag doll winked her eyes, and said nothing.

“Presently, they all went out of the cave for a walk; the Man in the Moon first putting on a battered old hat, which looked as if he had borrowed it from a scarecrow. They climbed up a tall peak of the volcano, and rested on the edge of the crater, where the heat came up at such a rate that the perspiration trickled down their foreheads,—except the rag doll’s. She sat staring into the crater, as cool as a cucumber.

“Then the Man in the Moon told how he had been engaged all his days and nights racing after the sun, without ever being able to overtake him; and this bothered and worried him (the moon man) so, that sometimes he would become as thin and sharp as a scythe; while at other times he wouldn’t care, but would take to getting up late in the evenings, and then his face grew round and fat and shining, and he would favor the Earth and his wife with a grin of jolly good-humor, like this,—and here the Man in the Moon stretched his mouth, flapped his ears like a rabbit, raised his eyebrows till you would have thought they were going over the top of his head, twisted his eyes into a horrible squint, and glared at the company.

“ ‘I don’t like to stay here,’ said the old rag doll. ‘There are only double-faced men and women on the earth, down below. That is bad enough in all conscience. Four-faced people are quite too much. I can’t bear it!’

“ ‘Just wait till I catch the sun,’ growled the Man in the Moon, in a furious passion. ‘I’ll tear him out of the sky, and put him in my breeches-pocket. Then you’ll be borrowing your grandmother’s spectacles to see any face at all! Boo!’

“At this, the nice little girl turned quite blue with fright; and, seizing her beloved rag doll, she jumped right out of the moon into the house next door to this.—And that’s the whole story; and if you don’t believe every word I’ve been telling you, just run up to the moon on the first bean-stalk you can find; but, mind you, don’t stay longer than you can.”

Fanny gave a little funny laugh, and then, heaving a sigh because the story was ended, she folded her hands, and looked gravely into the fire, thinking about the cross Man in the Moon, while Roswald, as she called him, talked to two young ladies who had just entered. They were Fanny’s aunts.

Presently the little girl heard her Aunt Mary repeat, in a tone of surprise: “Going to England, Mr. Carson? What sends you, at this season of the year?”

“I am tired of being idle,” he answered; “I want occupation; and I am going on important business, which may in a short time make me a very rich man.”

Going away. Fanny crept down from her great chair, and came climbing up his knee. “Don’t go, Roswald!” she begged. “I want you to tell me more stories, and say your cat’chism. You didn’t know your cat’chism last time. When I asked you, ‘Of what are you made?’ you said, ‘Wet powder,’—you naughty boy!”

“Well, little teacher, I will study my cat’chism hard, and say it all perfect when I come back,”—and he stooped and kissed her anxious upturned face.

“O—h, but you’ll never come back!” and her lips curled painfully, and her dark eyes grew misty with tears.

“I promise you I will. You know you are going to be my little wee wife. You promised to make haste and grow; and to do that, you must not cry: ladies never do.”

“O, don’t they?”

“No. If I had a wife who cried, people might think I had been beating her with the poker.”

“Then I won’t cry. There. See, I’m done.” And the little thing looked up in his face with a pitiful smile, adding, “Shall I be your little wifie now?”

“Yes, little innocent darling; but you mustn’t fret a bit all the time I am gone. You are going to be a merry little kitten, and a robin, and a cricket, and lemon and sugar, and everything nice. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am. I said I wouldn’t cry; and a lady never breaks her word. If you will only be so kind as not to get any older, I should be so glad.—But oh! I can’t let you go,”—and a chubby arm went creeping round his neck.

“I’ll bring you back a house to live in.”

“Will you live in it too?”

“I’m afraid it won’t be quite big enough for me. But that need not make any difference; I can peep into the windows, and you shall hand me out a cup of tea,—the size of a thimble. Won’t that be splendid?”

Fanny laughed and looked delighted for a minute, and then all the comfort appeared to fly away. She sighed, and seemed deep in reflection. Suddenly a gleam of joy chased the grief from her face, and she exclaimed, “Roswald, I will be your little wifie now! then I know you will come back, as papa comes back to mamma.”

I ought to tell you, dear little reader, that Fanny’s parents spent all their winters in Charleston, South Carolina, often leaving their children at their kind grandfather’s house in New York. Their mamma would sometimes return first, in her impatience to see her darlings; but, as Fanny said, “Papa always came soon after,” and stayed during the hot months of summer.

Reasoning from this, the child was sure Roswald would be faithful and unforgetting in that far-off England.

The two aunts had listened to this conversation with amused attention. Young and full of fun, they thought it would be an exquisite joke to humor their little niece in her strange fancy. They loved, admired, and petted her, and took the kindest care of her and her brothers while their parents were absent. So the elder aunt, approaching Mr. Carson, her eyes sparkling with mischief, said: “I don’t see how you can decline this proposal with any politeness. We will give you a grand wedding, won’t we, Fanny?—lots of candies, mottoes, bread and milk, and round hearts; and you shall be married in the very best Mother Goose style. We will put one end of a bran new broom with an extra long handle, on the fender, the other end resting on the floor, and you and Mr. Carson shall jump over the broomstick together. Then you will be married, until the broom falls to pieces.”

Fanny laughed a little happy laugh, and the big man kissed her, and it was all settled then and there that the wedding should take place Christmas evening, with the utmost pomp and ceremony.

A new white frock was made; a broad white sash was bought; the snowy pantalets were trimmed with lace; the coral necklace and armlets were laid out, and a pair of tiny white slippers were sent home, which last received the high approbation of old Aunt Peggy, the black cook, who kept a little tin pan for no other purpose but to set upon the floor for Fanny to stand in when new shoes were tried on,—to see “ef her little foots had growed any.”

Christmas came,—a wild snowy day. Fanny and her two little brothers planted themselves at the window, watching the crowds of people who passed. The snow did not drop down softly and silently: it was blown violently into faces and eyes. It flew up in wreaths and spiral columns, leaving the pavements perfectly clean in some places, and forming in hillocks in others. The furious wind played all manner of pranks with umbrellas,—bursting the whalebones, and breaking the handles, and in some instances, to the children’s great delight, turning them inside out, making them look like wigs and cocked hats, of which the handles made the long queues.

Grandpa and Aunt Mary braved the storm and went to church. The children had church at home. The way they had it was this. In the olden times, people slept on great four-post bedsteads, with feather-beds and mattresses piled up so high that steps were necessary to mount into bed. At the side of the bed in the room where the children played church were two steps covered with Brussels carpet. If you turned these upside down, and placed a bench under the upper step, it made an enclosed seat, which did excellently well for a pulpit. The elder of Fanny’s two brothers was the minister. He was four years old. The other was the chorister, and the little girl, with Miss Arabella, her new wax doll, which Santa Claus had sent her that day, and all her other dolls set up on chairs, formed the congregation.

Don’t think I am making a jest of sacred things, my darlings. Far from it! These little ones were perfectly serious in their church. Every rainy Sunday morning was spent in preaching a little sermon, singing hymns, and praying that God would make them good children.

And now this day, when all was ready, the little minister said, “Beloved,” with such a tender emphasis on the word,—“Beloved, let us sing the following hymn.”

None of them could read a bit, but they all knew by heart what he repeated, holding their hymn-books in their hands.

“O that it were my chief delight

  To do the things I ought!

Then let me try with all my might

  To mind as I am taught.


“Whenever I am told to go,

  I’ll cheerfully obey;

And will not mind it much, although

  I leave a pretty play.


“When mother bids me, I will tell

  About my little toys.

But if she’s busy, or unwell,

  I must not make a noise.


“For God looks down from Heaven on high

  Our actions to behold;

He loves good children when they try

  To do as they are told.”

Then the other little brother rose. He sat in front of the pulpit, as the choristers used to do in churches in those old times. The chorister always held a tuning-fork in his hand. He would give it a little knock against the table, hold it to his ear, and then pitch the tune by the musical sound it made. So little John pretended to knock an imaginary tuning-fork and hold it to his ear; and then, looking at a corner of the ceiling, as the chorister in his grandpapa’s church always did at the lofty ceiling, cooed out in his baby voice a familiar hymn so sweetly, and was joined so earnestly and reverently by the others, that I do sincerely believe it was accepted at His Throne as soon as the music which swelled from tutored lips in crowded churches, and perhaps sooner.

When the hymn had been sung, the minister, rising in his pulpit, and throwing back the long, golden curls of his hair, began the sermon: “My dear beloved,” he said, “if you want to be happy, you must be good; mind grandpa and aunties; never tell ’tories; never scratch like naughty cats; never bark and bite like robber dogs; and if your brother loses your India-rubber ball, you must forgive him, certainly”;—and here the little minister looked down so tenderly at the little chorister, that, if it had not been in church, I do believe John would have jumped up and kissed him in the pulpit, for he knew that his brother was no longer angry because the chorister had lost his ball.

Was not this a good practical sermon?

After another hymn had been sung, church was out; and the only people who seemed glad of it were the dolls, who had looked stupid and uninterested during the whole service. Do you ever look and feel this way? For if you do, you might as well have a wax or porcelain head and a sawdust heart, for all the good going to church will do you.

Afterwards came the grand Christmas dinner, to which all the relations far and near had been invited; and in hilarious fun and frolic the day waxed and waned, and the low-gliding, pale-beaming winter sun sunk at last, crimson and clear, in the west.

Mr. Carson had made one at the dinner, and you may be sure his little pet was close beside him. In those old times the children dined on very simple fare in the nursery; but on this blessed Christmas day they all had seats at the table, and sat up in great grandeur and glory, afraid almost to wink lest it should not be considered good behavior. Indeed, staring at the delicious smoking dishes caused them to open their eyes so wide, that it would really have been a difficult matter to shut them, even for a wink.

I don’t think you could have found a happier or merrier party if you had travelled all the way from here to Bagdad; and Fanny whispered in confidence to Mr. Carson, that Nursey had helped old Aunt Peggy to cook this fine dinner, and her face was as red and as hot as a live coal in consequence.

And now a great many candles were lighted, for there was no gas in those old times; and after dinner all the company marched two and two into the large front parlor, the children walking gravely like the rest, except that every few steps they could not help giving a little skip, they were so happy.

What made all three suddenly spring forward and rush to the fire? Lying across the rug, one end set up against the high brass fender, as if it were gazing at the ruddy blaze, was a long new broom!

“Well, here’s a queer visitor for a Christmas party!” exclaimed grandpa, trying to look grave. “Perhaps a little witch came down the chimney on it, and is hiding behind the curtains.”

“O, no,” said Mr. Carson; “a little witch is going to jump over it now. Isn’t she?” he asked, holding out his hand to Fanny.

She flew to him like a white bird, while the little brothers jumped up and down with ecstasy at this new play.

The company gathered round, as Fanny and Mr. Carson stood hand in hand before the broomstick. For one moment all was silence. The child’s heart beat violently; her radiant little face grew pale; but her wondering, trustful eyes were fastened upon his face, as, with awful pause and emphasis between each word he said, “One! two! three!” and immediately they jumped over the broomstick! and became, in the innocent little one’s solemn belief, man and wife.

O, it was but a cruel pastime! Those grown people, having their thoughtless fun, did not understand the pitiful undertone of Fanny’s tender little laugh when it was over. They never dreamed what an odd, sensitive little creature she was,—how perfect her conviction that jumping over a broomstick was the only way to be married. They never watched her in summertime hunting under the clover-leaves, and peeping in the cups of the tiger-lilies, to find the fairies she was sure were hiding there; but her own dear mamma knew her better, and, if she had been present, she would have forbidden this broomstick-marriage, so funny, and so—but never mind! When you get to the end of the story, you will know what else it was.

Such fun as Fanny’s brothers had! They jumped forwards and backwards over the broomstick; and Captain Pike,—a great black cat, old Aunt Peggy’s prime favorite,—hearing such a racket up stairs, trotted in, and leaped after them, to their immense delight. Then all hands, Captain Pike and all, played “Puss in the Corner”; and grandpa got out his long sword and cocked hat, which he had worn when he was a major in the Revolutionary army, and marched up and down, with Fanny on his shoulder, the boys and Captain Pike following behind, while one of the aunts played “Yankee Doodle” on the piano; and the Liverpool coal fire blazed, and the candles shone, until even the snuff-colored old paintings on the walls brightened up and flashed back, and thought more of themselves than ever.

The children were to sit up until ten o’clock, an unheard-of dissipation; and now the hour had arrived. Two grim dragons of nurses, one black, the other white, came to capture them.

Fanny, like a good little darling, was coaxed to stand in the middle of the room, and make her grand courtesy to the company. This was effected by placing the tip of the toe of the right foot in front of the other, and making a slow stately sweep of the right foot in a backward circle, bending lower and lower. If she did not lose her balance and tumble over (which she generally did), it was a very dignified and imposing proceeding; but on this occasion, over she popped just as she was about to rise triumphant; but Roswald caught her in an instant, jumped her nearly up to the ceiling, shook her while in the air, and handed her laughing and breathless to Adeline, her black nurse, who ran quickly away.

The boys were harder to manage. They had no idea of leaving all this splendid fun. They climbed up on chairs, and jumped down again, crept under the piano and sofas, and hid behind the curtains, until at last Lecty, the white nurse, tired of racing after them, proposed that she should be a horse, and they the drivers; whereupon they seized her long apron-strings, and before they knew it had galloped out of the parlor, up the stairs, and into the nursery, with the door shut fast.

The next day—the last but one before Mr. Carson sailed—he came to take his little favorite out for a walk “to buy housekeeping things,” he said, which proposal filled the believing child’s heart with joy.

Of course the very best place to buy housekeeping things was that fairy land, the toy-shop; and to a famous one in those days they immediately went. Elderly New York people will remember Workmeister’s, which used to be on the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway.

On the steps were all manner of enchanting things, among which a tiny wicker rocking-chair caught Fanny’s eye. Down she sat in it, and commenced rocking and singing a little song.

“Come,” said Mr. Carson.

“But I want it,” she answered, still rocking. “Well, come in, little kitten, and we’ll buy it.”

So in they went, Fanny holding her chair fast behind her.

They not only bought the chair, but a Chinese mandarin, with his eyes all on a slant, who, if you did but touch him, bobbed his head as if he never meant to stop; they also purchased the pitiful story of Cock Robin, with gamboge and vermilion pictures, gorgeous to behold, a tin kitchen, a tea-set, and three little mugs, with A B C on one, the days of the week on the second, and the months of the year on the third, so that you might study your lessons and drink your milk at the same time, if you were in a hurry.

With a great deal of coaxing Fanny consented that the rest of the things should be sent home, but she would not part with her rocking-chair, and the two went on their way carrying it between them, the big man with a grave, measured step, and the little one dancing and skipping, her face radiant with happiness.

“I must buy a trunk, little wifie,” said Mr. Carson. “I shall go a travelling with it first, but when I return we will stuff it full of our best things.”

“And put Miss Arabella in,” interrupted Fanny.

“Yes, and Captain Pike too, if you like; and we’ll buy a plum-cake for luncheon, and go everywhere in steamboats, and stage-coaches, and soon be wiser than any one ever was before,—wiser than the learned monkey who had seen the world.”

Fanny jumped up and down in an ecstasy of joy at this “exchanting plan,” as she called it, and before long they had reached Mr. John Black’s celebrated trunk store, in Broadway, near Canal Street, and which, wonderful to tell, is in the very same place at this day. Here the little girl gravely selected a trunk, into which she was lifted, and the lid shut down for a moment, so that she might judge of its capacity to hold Miss Arabella and Captain Pike. She declared that it was plenty large enough; whereupon it was ordered home, and Roswald and his little wife and the rocking-chair went home too.

The last day came, as all last days must, and Mr. Carson took poor little Fanny in his arms to say good by. A great choking lump arose in her throat, her color faded, her limbs trembled, and the big tears burst from her eyes as she sobbed out, “O, I can’t bear it! I can’t bear it! I shall die!”

The aunts stood amazed and bewildered at the sight of such extreme grief in a little child, and Roswald, strangely agitated and distressed, could only beg her not to cry, and promise to come back; then, taking her clinging hands from his neck, he set her gently down, and fairly ran away.

All day long she sobbed and cried. Miss Arabella sat up stiff and staring in a corner, and held her kid arms out, but no notice was taken of her, and Captain Pike rubbed his side against the little rocking-chair, and purred his sympathy, but the child never heeded him. Her little brothers kissed her, and offered to give her their beloved horse with three legs, and all their tin soldiers. But although she moved her mite of a “hankerfish” away from one eye in order to inspect the tin soldiers, she only shook her little disconsolate head. There was no comfort in anything.

At last, just at night, her aunt, in a sort of comic despair, proposed that she should work Roswald a pair of slippers, and exhibited a bunch of bright-colored worsteds, and some coarse canvas. Ah! that sounded pleasant. The “hankerfish” came down, and Fanny was soon deep in the mysteries of cross-stitch. To be sure it was funny work, with no end of knots and puckers, and very cross stitches indeed,—for some of them were crossed four or five times, and her small fingers were pricked all over; but her face grew happy and beaming as she worked, and that more than made up for every blunder. Yes indeed! if Roswald did not prize and love every stitch of them all, he would have just the very hardest heart in the world and the moon into the bargain.

And so Fanny forgot to grieve, and was as happy and joyous as ever, and as naughty sometimes, too; but her aunts had only to say that Roswald would be shocked at such conduct in his little wifie, to make her instantly penitent, begging pardon of everybody, and sitting silent and thoughtful for at least five minutes after. So you see a broomstick marriage has its good effects after all. It would have been hardly possible to forgive it otherwise.

The winter passed. Spring and summer came; and with the latter, papa and mamma, with kisses and presents for their darlings. Among them was a tiny book-case full of story-books. O, what a splendid present this was! far more so in those old times than now, when the best, the brightest, the kindest thoughts and hearts are busy every month in the year for Our Young Folks.

Mamma took Fanny in her lap, while the little boys stood or hopped up and down on either side, and heard all the news,—all about the grand broomstick marriage; and she noted well the little sobbing voice, the keen struggle to keep back the tears, the wistful sigh with which the odd little thing said, “He does stay so long away from his little wifie.”

Grieved and angry she put the child gently down, and went and read a sharp lecture to the thoughtless aunts, and then, as the best remedy for the mischief done, the subject was never mentioned again, and everybody seemed to forget it altogether.

Well, I must not tell you of the children’s funny sayings and doings, because my story is getting so long, but hasten on to the next winter, when Fanny’s parents were gone again to Charleston, and Roswald wrote that he was coming home, and was going to “bring somebody” with him,—whom he did not say. At last the ship arrived, and Fanny stood at the parlor window to watch for the carriage containing her dear Roswald. He was coming directly to her house, he wrote, and would go to a hotel afterwards.

One idea filled her heart and brightened her little brown face, as she exclaimed, with a smile of delight, “Now at last I shall see him!”

The tiny rocking-chair, the Chinese mandarin, the story-book, tea-set, tin kitchen and little mugs, were all as ready as ever for housekeeping. She put the mandarin up at the window, and made him bob his head at the passers-by, so that they might know, she said, “that something was going to happen”; and the piece of canvas, quite covered with cross-stitches of every size and color, was spread out on the table, and made a most prodigious show. “How splendid it is!” cried Fanny, clapping her hands. “Roswald will go out of his wits for joy, when he sees his new shoes!”

Rumble! rumble! rumble! A carriage dashed up to the door just as tears of impatience and disappointment were swelling in the child’s eyes. But look! They do not fall, but rest on her eyelids with a strange glitter, as if they had been frozen, and her little feet seem rooted to the spot.

Roswald—yes, Roswald himself—leaped out of the carriage, and the next instant lifted a young and lovely lady in his arms, carried her up the steps of the house, and in another moment they are in the parlor.

“Ah, Fanny, little darling,” he cries, running quickly towards her, “come and be introduced to my wife. She knows all about you, and loves you dearly.”

His wife. Poor little innocent, trusting creature! All her faith, truth, and devotion struck down, crushed at one blow! With wild eyes, as if she were gazing at some fearful apparition, the child gave a piteous cry, and fled from the room.

Ah, was it not a cruel pastime,—that broomstick marriage? Never,—never, grown people, practise a deception upon little children! for you know not what lasting, perhaps fatal, injury you may do.

Her little heart very nearly broke, that dreadful morning. Nothing, nobody could comfort her: not even Roswald’s entreaties, through the closed nursery door, that his little darling would forgive him; that he never meant to grieve her so terribly; that he thought she knew it was all meant in fun. He did not laugh: no, he could not; for he was filled with sincere remorse and pity, that the thoughtless joke had caused such bitter sorrow. The aunts were distressed and frightened; the little boys got into a corner and whispered to each other in their dismay, and both the black and white nurses looked solemn and agitated.

It was many, many a long day before Fanny could be persuaded to see Mrs. Carson; and when at last they met, for a long time her lips would quiver and curl painfully as she talked to her. But the time did come when the child learned to love heartily and dearly the sweet and gentle woman who had usurped her rights. And she was never tired of hearing how Mrs. Carson went to the great St. George’s Church in London, and there, in that sacred place, before the minister of God, and all the people assembled, promised to be a good and faithful wife to Roswald.

This was the true marriage.

Years have passed since that time, and the little Fanny—little still, though no longer a child—at length stood up herself in a true marriage, and is now your own loving “Aunt Fanny” writing this very story. Yet, long ago as it happened, there is a lump in her throat, and a twinge of pain in her heart, as she recalls, for your amusement, her jump over a broomstick.

Aunt Fanny.


This is a story of a little girl who was going to have a Christmas-tree, and forgot all about it.

She was very much like all other little girls, I suppose. She liked to twist up her hair in curl-papers, and wear red lacings in her boots, and red ribbons around her net. She liked to play “House,” and read fairy-stories, and cut up her mother’s bonnet-ribbons to dress little snips of china dolls. She liked to “break friendships,” and “have secrets”; she “hated” to write compositions; she particularly enjoyed having her own way; and her name was Lill.

One Christmas morning Trotty woke her up very early.

You would like to know who Trotty was? Well, it is not an easy thing to say exactly. Grandmother says that he is a little pink daisy; his brother Max pronounces him a humbug; Lill insists that he is a monkey; and his mother will have it that he is a dewdrop. Biddy inclines to the belief that he is a blessing; Patrick denominates him the plague of his life; while Cousin Ginevra, who has been to boarding-school and wears long curls, has several times informed me that he is such a little darling! Between so many conflicting opinions, it is somewhat difficult to classify him.

At any rate, whatever he was, he had seen the May-flower grow pink, and the tassels of silk hang from the rustling corn, and the blood-red maple-leaves fall, and the snow-flakes melt on his pretty, pink hand, three times. He had seen three mysterious Christmas eves, three merry Christmas mornings, and three sleepy Christmas nights, and he didn’t remember a thing about them. This Christmas was the fourth, and he meant to remember this, and he did.

His hair was as brown as a chestnut, and his eyes were as blue as a September sky after a thunder-shower; his mouth looked like a ripe strawberry, and the corners of it always turned up,—except when he was politely declined access to the sugar-barrel, or grandmother expressed a reluctance to have him cut up her best caps for “hankerchers for Trotty,” or Max refused him the harmless luxury of adding his notes and comments to the college copy of Homer with a quill pen and the blackest ink in the house,—when they turned obviously the other way, and had a hard time of it getting up again. When he laughed, it sounded like water falling into a silver basin; and when he cried, it didn’t sound like that at all. When he talked, you would have thought it was a whole nest of blackbirds chattering; and when he walked, it was like rain-drops on the roof. And when he teased for applesauce!

Besides, he had a dimple, and his name was—I am sure I do not know. Not Trotty, probably, in the original; but whatever it was, I think that every one must have forgotten by this time. Perhaps it was Timothy or Tryphenius or Tiglath-pileser.

The most remarkable thing about Trotty was his u-bi-qui-tous-ness. That is a long word, and you haven’t the least idea what it means. If your eight fingers, and your two thumbs, and your two fists, and your two elbows are large enough to hold Mr. Webster’s Dictionary, I advise you to look it out. But you would like to have me save you the trouble.

Well, then, it means that if you shut Trotty into the parlor, and hurried up stairs to have a few moments’ peace in your own room, Trotty was on the landing before you. It means that, if you put him into your room, and whisked down stairs and looked up, there were his copper toes sticking through the banisters. It means that, if you spirited yourself up garret when he was looking the other way, there was a great clattering on the bare floor, and there was Trotty. It means that, if you seceded into the garden, there was a patter on the walk, and there was Trotty again. Trotty’s feet were a very important part of him.

Trotty’s feet they were which woke Lill on that Christmas morning. She heard them in her dreams tapping on the oil-cloth by the wash-stand, and she opened one eye, and saw the sky all on fire with such a sunrise as does not come every day in the year; Trotty outlined against it, perched on a chair by the window, his ten little pink toes peeping out like ten little pink shells from the edge of his white nightgown.

“Why, Trotty Tyrol! you will catch your death. Bundle into bed as fast as ever you can! But what a nice day it is going to be,—not a cloud to be seen anywhere!”

“Ye-es, there is a cloud anywheres,” chattered Trotty, who was beginning to be cold. “There’s a little black cloud just on top of Mr. Deacon Jones’s barn.”

“Where? O, that isn’t anything.”

“O, no,” echoed Trotty confidentially, “that isn’t anything. I guess Christmas has come a purpose, don’t you, Lill?”

Who would have thought just how much “a purpose” that Christmas was, or that neither Trotty nor Lill will forget that little black cloud as long as they live?

The sun swept kindling up and on, till the fire that lay low on the horizon opposite Trotty’s eastern window had set the whole world ablaze; the smooth, crusted snow flashed under it, till one could not look for blindness; the icicles from the trees were tossing on the wind like broken rainbows; and Trotty went out and let them fall into his mouth, and into his curls, and into his neck, and into his little white mittens, and tried to rub the sunbeams out of his eyes, and tried to get to the front gate before the wind did, and couldn’t understand where his feet went to when he fell down, and was surer than ever that Christmas had come “a purpose.” All the while, the little black cloud was hiding behind Deacon Jones’s barn, and nobody thought anything about it.

By twelve o’clock there was no little cloud at all. A great, dull, ugly duskiness had crept over Mr. Jones’s roof, and seemed to be trying to put the world out, just as you put an extinguisher on a candle.

Now you must know that Lill’s Christmas-tree was shut up in the parlor, waiting for night, and its glories of colored candle-light; that Trotty would keep rattling the latch, opening the door the fraction of a crack to squeeze in the tip end of his nose and one pink cheek,—agonizing on tip-toe to peep in at the keyhole, and hammering to get in, till his fists were black and blue; that he had been commanded, threatened, enticed, and deluded out of the vicinity just fifteen times that morning, and was back again hammering, rattling, squeezing, and peeping, within five minutes, each separate and individual time; that, as a consequence, the family mind was relieved when Lill proposed, after dinner, that they should go out and coast.

“Only I am almost afraid it will storm,” said her mother, looking at the dusky cloud.

“Why, it wouldn’t ever go and storm on Christmas!” said Lill.

“It wouldn’t never storm Christmas,” repeated Trotty, who always thought he must say everything that Lill did.

So Lill put on her hood with the blue silk lining and the tassel behind, and grandmother kept Trotty still long enough to get him into his little scarlet gaiters, and his bits of fleece-lined snow-boots, and his flannel coat, and his red tippet, and his tiny mittens with a red border on the wrists, and his jockey cap with the Scotch-plaid velvet trimming, and everybody kissed him all round, as if he had been going off for a year in Europe, to which Trotty, brought up to believe that the dispensations of Providence are inscrutable, resigned himself with fortitude. When his mother called him back after they had started, to kiss his eyes, “because they looked so much like papa’s to-day,” Trotty made no remarks, but I am inclined to think that the iron on that occasion entered his soul. At least, he informed Lill in confidence, on the way over to Gertie’s, that he “didn’t see why peoples couldn’t kiss Biddy or Grandma just as well; and when he was as big as Max, would Cousin Ginevra have to keep calling him her little darling?”

Gertie was Lill’s most particular, confidential, intimate, and eternal friend. Last week it was Jane De Witt; but Jane De Witt had given a stick of barley candy to Lou Hollis, and Lill hadn’t bowed at recess for three whole days. The week before, it was Molly Gibbs; but Molly had told somebody, who told somebody else, who told Gertie, who told Lill, that she (Molly) believed that she (Lill) was “real proud” of that quilted blue silk in her hood, and now Molly and Lill were sworn enemies. Next week, Gertie would go overboard. Lill usually went the rounds of the school about twice a term.

There was some sunlight left, in spite of the creeping cloud, and Trotty trudged along after Lill and Gertie, tugged his sled over the walls, stuck fast trying to crawl through the fences, and invariably fell on his nose when he fell down, but succeeded in reaching Long Hill without having lost anything but his tippet, one mitten, and a handkerchief, and coasted under the broken rainbows and over the blazing crust, the whole long afternoon.

You ought to have seen him! He would always slide down hill with his mouth open, and climb up with his eyes shut; and he had just about as much of an idea how to steer as a canary-bird. He would insist on dragging both his feet along the crust: he wore three holes in his snow-boots in that one afternoon. His sled would spin round like a top, and he would roll off like a bundle, and pick himself up, and spin round and roll off again. Then, when his feet became cold, he began to cry, and told Lill that there was something in his boot which hurt him,—that was all the little monkey knew!

But for all that he had a very good time, and so did Lill and Gertie,—so good that they had forgotten all about the stealing cloud; it had stolen all over the sky; the rainbows were gone, the blaze of the flashing crust had died out like ashes, and a thick whirl of snow-flakes had been whitening the air for some time before they found it out.

“Ow!” said Trotty, at last, with a gasp, “look a-here,—there’s a snowstorm goin’ down my froat!”

“So there is, as true as you live,” said Lill, stopping short. “Did you ever?”

“It’s cold as Greenland too,” shivered Gertie, “and I do believe it’s after supper-time. Let’s run home as fast as ever we can.”

“Yes, let’s. I’m tired of coasting.”

“I’m tired of coasting, too. I wished I could get this stone out of my boot,” moaned Trotty.

So off they started across the fields. Now they were a long mile’s walk from home,—a half-mile from the open road; there were fences to climb, and a patch of woods to cross; the wind was rising fast, the snow was thickening faster, and it began to be hard work.

“Hurry up, Trotty,” said Lill, growing cross. “What a little slow-poke you are! Come along!”

Trotty came along as fast as he could come; but his little legs were so short, and his little feet were so small, that he could not keep up. Lill had to wait for him, and Lill was growing cold. “Trotty Tyrol, what a bother you are! I do wish I could ever go anywhere without you tagging after. There! run now, or I’ll go home without you.”

“O yes,” said tired Trotty, starting afresh. “I’ll run vely fast. My feets are so heavy! I wished you’d take hold o’ my hand, Lill!”

But Lill had both hands in her sack-pockets to keep them warm, and she pretended not to hear. The wind bit Trotty’s bare fingers, and the snow fell on them.

It grew dark very fast.

“If it weren’t for that everlasting little Trotty, we should be home,” said Lill to Gertie, just loud enough for Trotty to hear. “I do believe we shall be late to the Tree. I’ve a good mind to go on without him.”

Trotty’s under-lip quivered and grieved. Lill, as she ran along, heard him pattering faster behind her. “I’ll try not to be an everlasting little Trotty! Please to don’t go home to Christmas without me.”

Lill did not look back. If she had, she would have seen a purple fist rubbing two great tears out of two great eyes.

But it was growing darker.

The snow whirled into their faces and blinded them. The sharp wind whistled and stung. Trotty gulped down the two tears, and trudged on manfully; but he fell farther behind, and farther, and Lill ran on.

“Hurry up, Trotty, hurry!” she called, without turning her head. I really do not think that she knew how far behind he was. “I can’t wait for you any longer. You know the way home, and you can come right along. You’d better be quick if you want any of the Tree.”

Trotty slipped upon the icy crust, and dragged his tired feet along, and slipped again, and fell, and clambered up, and hurried on, in a perfect little agony of terror. He was in the patch of woods now; the shadows of the trees were dark; the whistle of the wind was shrill.

“Lill, wait for me! Wa-it for me!”

But Lill ran on.

“Lill! Li-ill! Lil-ly! Wait for Trotty! Please to wait for Trotty, Lill!”

But Lill did not hear. The snow was pelting into Trotty’s eyes: he could hardly see her now.

“Lill, I’ve got somefin to tell yer,—I’ve got somefin to tell yer, Lill!”

But Lill was out of sight now.

Trotty tried once more, his little piping voice choking into sobs: “It’s somefin real nice, Lill! O Lill, do let Trotty go home to Christmas!”

Nothing answered him but the long, loud shriek of the wind, sweeping over the hills, and through the trees. Trotty stopped running, and stood still.

It was now quite dark. The low branches of the pines shut out of sight the ash-like whiteness of the fields, where the last light lingered faintly, but did not shut out the storm. The feathery flakes of snow had turned to sleet that stung Trotty’s cheeks like needles, and thrust itself into his eyes like knives. He could not see the path; he could not see the sky; he had stuffed his blue fingers into his mouth, and into his curls, and down his neck, but he could not make them warm; the fleece-lined boots had grown as cold as the snow that was drifting up about them; the little flannel coat and scarlet gaiters could not shut out the bitter wind. The wide winter night was settling down,—Trotty’s Christmas night.

“Lill, come back!” called poor little Trotty, tramping feebly on. He did not know, he could not see, where he was going. “I’ll be a good boy, Lill. I won’t be a bover any more. I’ll run real fast. I won’t tag after. O, why don’t somebody come after Trotty!”

But nobody came after Trotty, and he was growing very cold.

“Why, Lill, where is Trotty?”

“O, just behind us somewhere. He was so slow, and we—Why! he—isn’t—”

The house was very dark. Nobody had thought to light the lamps. Supper was on the table, untasted. The fire was dying in the grate. Grandmother sat by it, trying to knit, but something was the matter with her eyes, and she had to give it up. Up in the corner, in the dark, some one was crouched alone, shrinking all into a heap on the floor. It was Lill. She had not said a word. She had tried more than once to cry out, “O grandma! do you think they will find him? Will Trotty freeze to death? Grandma! grandma! I wish I could go too, and tell him I am sorry.”

But the words would not come. She could not remind anybody that she was there. She would rather be forgotten. She said nothing, but she thought much.

She thought of Trotty, playing about in the morning in his nightgown, throwing pillows at her, his hair tumbled all over his face,—she had been cross to him sometimes in those pillow-fights,—of Trotty in the scarlet gaiters and jockey-cap and tiny mittens, making snow-balls in the front yard,—of Trotty’s eyes and cheeks and funny little flat nose, peering in “to fighten grandma” through the low piazza window,—of Trotty at the sugar-barrel, the molasses-jug, the preserve-closet,—of the mischief in his face,—of his dimple. What if she never saw that dimple any more? She thought of Trotty trudging out with her that afternoon, when his “feets were heavy.” It was a long walk for such bits of feet: she should have thought,—O, she should have thought!

She thought of Trotty climbing up the hill in the sunshine, and rolling off the sled,—of the bitter wind, and Trotty tramping home through the storm,—of his faint voice calling after her: “Wait for Trotty, Lill! Wa-it!” But she had not waited. Poor little voice!

And if it should never ask Lill to wait again? If Lill should never have any chance to tell him that he was not a bother? If he should go up to Heaven and tell the angels that Lill called him an everlasting little Trotty?

“Hark!” said grandmother. “What’s that?”

It was the clink of the front gate. It was the door thrown open. It was the tread of Max upon the floor,—his voice,—his mother’s; but no other. They came in all covered with snow. Max had a bundle in his arms, and that was covered with snow; but it was very still.

Lill did a queer thing. She turned around, with her face to the corner, and put her hands before her eyes. She said afterwards that she did not dare to look.

But all at once the bundle sat up straight.

“I want my supper!” said a voice that was as much like Trotty’s as any voice could be.

This is how Lill came to forget her Christmas-Tree. But then it was just as good for to-morrow night.

E. Stuart Phelps.


Drawn by S. Eytinge, Jr.] [See Trotty, page 39.



There is no subject more worthy the attention of their children than the stern virtues, and sterling worth and piety of the men who laid the foundations of the institutions which we enjoy, and our appreciation of which we have vindicated in the recent terrific struggle, thus reconsecrating the manhood of our institutions by the same baptism of blood with which their infancy was sanctified.

As the struggle recorded in the following pages is not fiction, but fact, we beg leave to introduce our readers at once to the principal person from whom we derived our information.

In the town of Gorham, Maine, is a fertile farm of about two hundred acres, skirted by a small stream called Little River, and sometimes Warren’s River. The farm lies at the roots of high hills that slope gradually to the stream, and is now occupied by Major William Warren, one of the few persons in his neighborhood who retain the lands possessed by their forefathers. The house, which is of two stories, built when there was a rage for two-story houses in Maine, and which replaced the log camps of the first settlers, is situated upon a gentle elevation a few rods from the bank of the river. In the kitchen, which occupies nearly the whole length of the house, is the old panelling of the walls, and there too are the ancient dressers which once glittered with their long rows of pewter dishes, now replaced by commonplace crockery. In the centre of the side of the room is one of the real old-fashioned fireplaces, with the oven between the jambs, and a chimney up whose capacious throat you can look and see the stars. In the right-hand corner is the dye-pot, and a couple of blocks upon which the children sit and nestle together in the cold winter nights.

The old house faced to the south, and the out-buildings, running to the east and at right angles with it, formed a sheltered and sunny door-yard, which was occupied by an enormous pile of wood, composed of sections of the trunks of large trees, fifteen feet in length, mixed with the largest branches, the smaller brush not being worth hauling home in that day!

It is the afternoon of a bright, sunshiny day in February; the snow is falling from the roof, and the ice dropping from the glazed logs of the wood-pile; near to which is a youth just entering upon manhood, who evidently considers it to be the chief end of man to chop wood. Stripped as to his outer garments to the waist, his arms bare to the elbows, the perspiration dropping from his face, he is junking up a hemlock log into four-foot cuts. He is getting ready the night’s wood, both for grandmother’s room and the old kitchen fireplace,—for grandmother always has a fire built in her room to go to bed by. While he is thus engaged, a woman, aged, but vigorous and straight as a rush, comes out from the house and fills her apron with the great chips he is cutting out.

“A cold spring,” she observes, looking up at the bright sun.

“Why, how can you tell that, Grandma’am?” inquires the boy.

“Because, child,

‘As far as the sun shines in on Candlemas day,

So far will the snow blow in before May,’—

and to-day is Candlemas.”

This is Grannie,—the youngest child of the family of which we are to speak. Her maiden name was Martha McLellan; that by marriage, Warren; and she is now about seventy years of age.

Being gifted with a retentive memory, she was in possession of all the traditions of her family, enriched by her own experience as the wife of a pioneer and the mother of a lusty family reared in hardship. She was rather small of stature, but of a frame uniting great strength and endurance, dark-complexioned, and with a keen black eye, which, when she was roused (for Grannie had a temper of her own), would flash like a snake’s. “I know I am quick, (God mend me!)” she would sometimes say, by way of apology; “but if soon up, I’m soon down. It’s the old Highland temper. And what’s the good of a pewter axe?”

But if Grannie had grit, she had grace too, and a noble spirit of her own,—God bless her! She was hospitable in the highest degree, and so kind and good in sickness that she was sent for from far and near,—better than half the doctors,—for she knew all the herbs of the mountains. Inheriting an iron constitution hardened by a life of toil, her only infirmities were occasional attacks of a rebellious colic, which, however, generally yielded to persistent applications of hot water and pumpkin-seeds.

There were few books in the house. Neighbors were distant, and in the long winter evenings, before a blazing fire, a dish of apples between the andirons (such as were andirons, made to hold up an eight-foot fore-stick, with hooks on the back for the spit), the apples flanked by a pitcher of cider,—O, was not our Grannie then a real treasure? She was not our own grandmother, you must know, but our grandmother’s sister; yet we always called her Grannie, and she was just as good. Didn’t she knit our mittens, and knit the name into them too? Didn’t she come out into the field to bring us a luncheon when, in her opinion, we had eaten too slight a breakfast? and didn’t she worry and make all the house worry when we were out late in the woods? Hadn’t we a right to call her Grannie?

The Major’s wife we used to call Aunt, though she was but a second-cousin’s wife. But didn’t she bake for us in the old oven such three-cornered biscuit and turnovers and pan-dowdies, and roast raccoons, and have such glorious fires to welcome us when we came home wet, cold, and hungry from the woods!

But to the point. The great incentive to this eager preparation of the night’s wood was a desire to propitiate Grannie, whom we had offended and touched in a very tender spot. It was this that made the chips fly and the perspiration run. She generally wound up her stories about hauling masts for the king’s ships by saying, “Well, they used to have a barrel of rum at father’s, a barrel at Brother Billy’s, and a barrel at Cary’s; and the barrel at our house they got more masts with, and it lasted longer, than the one at Billy’s or Cary’s.”

Upon which we suggested that perhaps they watered it to make it hold out.

“Watered, is it!” she exclaimed, with an expression of scorn upon her features which would have done honor to Mrs. Siddons. “They were never guilty of such meanness in those days. They had no occasion, for they could drink their liquor and carry it off, and thank God for it like honest men, and not get drunk on a thimbleful as they do now. They were not, to be sure, so full of compliments, and stuck-up ways, and great pretensions to religion and doing God’s work by the job, as they are now. But they had religion enough to keep them warm in His house without stoves; and when they got there, didn’t sit fussing with their shawls, and flaunting their ribbons, and picking themselves like a hen in the sun. But they looked at the servant of God, and heard what he said, and practised it afterwards. They didn’t backbite and talk about their neighbors, but loved them and lived together like brothers. Nobody ever thought of such a thing as charging a neighbor for cattle to plough, or a horse to go to mill, or a little seed-corn to sow. If one was sick or poor, the rest helped him. They put in his planting, or they cut his hay, or hauled up his winter’s wood, and looked for their pay in the approbation of their own conscience, and of Him who has said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Water spirit for hard-working men to drink, indeed!”

Then, without deigning to wait for a word of apology or explanation, she took her pipe, thrust her thumb into the bowl to put it out, folded up her knitting-work, and went to her room, though it wanted a quarter of seven; and for two long months there were no more stories.

How we missed our customary evening feast! We played fox and geese; we caught rats in a meeting-house trap, and had a tame woodchuck; we played “pull-up” with the neighbors’ boys,—which consisted in sitting down on the floor and putting our feet one against the other, then taking hold of an axe-handle and seeing which could pull the other up. We even aspired to tell stories ourselves out of spite; but they sounded too flat, and moreover we had to encounter Grannie’s glances of contempt, as we thus lamed ourselves “treading in the steps of Cæsar.” We shrewdly suspected that Grannie herself was in somewhat the same predicament; for, like most old people, she was fond of talking about the events of her youth, and liked an attentive audience. But as to her yielding,—at any rate until we were sufficiently punished and penitent,—it was altogether out of the question. Driven to desperation, we had on this day resolved to do our best endeavor to melt her obdurate will.

There were three things that Grannie dearly loved,—good tobacco, a rousing fire, and a cup of green tea. About the middle of the afternoon we presented her with a fig of nice tobacco, which we had travelled six miles in the snow the night before to get; and we had previously bunched onions in the evenings for Captain Codman in order to obtain money to pay for that, and for some little things that boys need. This was well received and gave us a ray of hope. The next stage of the process was to prevail upon Aunt to give Grannie a cup of tea that would “bear a flat-iron,” to which she readily agreed. It was a regular conspiracy. The final stage was the great fire that Grannie loved. All old people, as the circulation gets low in their veins, love warmth. But Grannie was peculiar in this respect. She loved to see the blaze and listen to the crackling of the fire, if it was midsummer. As the great majority of our readers never saw an old-time fire, and never will, we propose to describe the process of making it. First came the log,—a green hemlock, four feet long, and three feet through, calculated to last two days. This was either hauled into the house on a hand-sled, or “walked in,” that is, set up on end and worked along, one corner at a time. It was rolled into the fireplace upon two large sticks to keep it up from the coals, and with half a bushel of snow on it. Then came a back-stick two thirds as large on the top, then a fore-stick eight feet long and a foot through; then the brands and coals of the old fire surmounted with great clefts of rock-maple, oak, birch, or beech, stark green, mixed with dry pine and pitch-knots. Finally a little blowing, by waving a hemlock broom back and forth a few times (Grannie used to fan with her apron), and the whole mass burst into a blaze, that went roaring up the chimney, and made the whole room as light as day. There was no call for patent Excelsior fire-kindlings in those days, when there were a bushel of red-hot coals, a charred log, and the brands of the old fore-stick to begin with in the morning.

We are now, supper being ended and the fire having burned down to reasonable dimensions, all seated around the hospitable hearth. In the right-hand corner is Grannie; on the block between her knees and the jambs sits the penitent offender against the majesty of antiquity; on her left the grandchildren and Aunt; in the rear of the group sits the Major, his handkerchief flung over his face in order to conceal any signs and sounds of merriment from the quick eyes and ears of his parent, watching the progress of the plot.

Grannie was evidently in a favorable mood. She had praised the tea, praised the tobacco, expressed her satisfaction with the fire. As she thus sat with her checked apron smoothed over her knees,—for though she had a silk gown for “dress up,” and a string of gold beads, she would have scorned to wear anything for every day that was “boughten stuff” (not made at home),—her knitting-work lay in her lap, and she drew long and gentle whiffs through her pipe. It was plain that things were working,—that she was not, as usual, about to retire when she had finished her pipe, but had brought her knitting, and meant to spend the evening with us. Emboldened by these pacific signs, the youth observes, with a wink to Aunt, “I don’t see how the old people ever got through with so much work. I am sure women now-a-days couldn’t begin to do it.”

This was touching Grannie in a weak point. The Major’s wife was an early riser,—up with the crows. Her cows always stepped over the pasture bars very soon after sunrise; while Grannie, with all her vigor and faculty for turning off work, was never a very early riser. She took it upon herself to reply.

“It was because they worked; mother always said that she never got her property by getting up early, or sitting up late, but by working after she was up. Sally here is a smart woman, smart as any of the women now-a-days; so is my darter, Betsey Libby. But I wonder what they’d think if they had to milk seven cows, and get breakfast for eight men, fill up tubs and troughs with water to keep the clearing fires from burning the camp up, and then get on to the stallion, with a child before them, and ride through the spotted trees down to mother’s, and help her spin, and then back to get dinner. I wonder what they would think of that!”

“They couldn’t do it, Grandma’am,” cried the youth, his hands clenched, and his face red with excitement and admiration. “It ain’t in ’em.”

“No, child,” replied Grannie, “it ain’t in ’em; it never was in ’em, and it never will be in ’em. God fits every back to its burden, and we were fitted for ours. At any rate they were heavy enough, I am sure of that.”

“Now, Grandma’am, tell us about the time you made Sam’s trousers.”

“Well, in those days there were no carding-mills to card cotton and wool, nor cotton-factories to spin and weave, but everything we wore had to be made by hand. Sam was warned to go to General Muster, and he had to have white trousers. There was a pair in the house that his father had trained in, and that he lotted upon wearing. We had to make things last in those days, and they were made to last: they wa’ n’t made to sell; but when he came to try them on after dinner, the day before muster, they were so old and threadbare they all came to pieces. There was a time! one o’clock the day before muster, and no trousers. My girls wa’ n’t married then,—smart girls they were, too, brought up to work. Though I say it myself, I could drive things then. ‘Girls,’ I said, ‘we must weave the cloth, and make those trousers by morning.’ ‘O mother, it’s impossible!’ ‘Don’t tell me that, Betsey! Get the wheel, get the cards! Sam, clap the saddle on the mare and ride down to mother’s and borrow her cotton-cards and some cotton-wool, for I’m jealous we haven’t enough in the house.’ We sat up all night, and never stopped to eat, only we kept the teapot between the andirons. I drew the piece in the loom, and wove just enough for the trousers, cut it out, and made ’em that night, and the next morning he wore ’em to training. That’s the way we did things in those days.”

“Now, Grandma’am, tell us about Uncle Billy, and the old Highland folks, and the Douglasses, clear from the bottom, clear from the roots, Grandma’am, do!”

“Not the Douglasses, child,—they were no kin to us; there was an old feud between us and the Douglass.”

A celebrated French chemist, in his researches for a process to preserve wood from decay, cut asunder a small tree, and, placing it in a vessel filled with a red liquid, found that the liquid was drawn up by capillary attraction, even to the extremity of the branches and the very fibres of the leaves. Thus, as I sat in the chimney-corner, my chin on her knees, my eyes fixed on her face, and my mouth wide open, did the ancient dame impregnate my boyish fancy with the traditions of other days.

But of all the forms she summoned from the buried past, none ever made such abiding, loving, reverential impression as Uncle Billy,—the name by which he was known and loved far and near. To us the day dawned, and the sun rose and set, in Uncle Billy; he overshadowed us like a great presence. To be as tough, as resolute as Uncle Billy, was to us the sum total of life and life’s happiness. Were cold, hunger, tempest, to be endured, we thought how would he have grappled with it. He was, according to Grannie, all that a friend should love or an enemy fear; and to her definition we gave a cordial assent.

There was a forest where we used to go and fell trees, by weeks together, in the short gloomy days of November,—a sombre and lonesome place, far from home. In the midst of it stood an enormous gray maple, green with the moss of many centuries, impossible to approach; for from beneath its roots came out a spring which, choked by dead leaves, windfalls, and withered branches, created all around it a quaking bog, which would not have borne a woodchuck, and would have engulfed an army. How we did ache to cut that tree, just to see it fall! We should like to do it now. But since we could not fell it, we christened it Uncle Billy.

Often, as night drew on, as the shadows lengthened in the forest, and no sound was heard but the low creak of some swaying branch and the mournful sough of the wind among the pines, did we steal timorous glances at the old tree, and, as its form grew dim in the twilight, we almost expected to see the bark open, and the tall form and grave features of our stalwart ancestor emerge from it. As we resumed our clothes, and, flinging the axe over our shoulder, set out for home in the twilight, we perchance mistook the echo of our own footsteps for those of some one following, and quickened our pace to the travelled road.

And here, before listening to our relative’s narration in respect to the origin and fortunes of her family in the Old World, let us glance at the places where, notwithstanding all the disadvantages of ignorance, poverty, and war, they, with indomitable courage and trust in God, fought and conquered in life’s battle.

As the traveller passes up the road leading from Scarborough to the village of Gorham, at the distance of a mile from it, he ascends a slight elevation, and his eye rests upon a row of locust-trees, by the side of a straggling wall, and an aged pomegranate, to whose withered branches a few green leaves, like friendship in misfortune, still cling. Near by is the remnant of an extensive orchard, the trees of which are decaying,—some hollow and prostrate, others surrounded by a wilderness of sprouts, striving with their green foliage to conceal the hoary parent, and to prolong its life. A lilac and a few currant-bushes covered with moss struggle for existence near to the cellar of what was evidently, at some time long past, a spacious house. The land around is desolate and forbidding, fast relapsing to the original forest; while the mind, upon contemplating it, experiences a feeling of regret at seeing savage Nature again resuming its sway where it is evident the hand of man has wrought, and human affections have taken root.

Ask any man past middle age, a native whom you may chance to meet, whose place that was or is, and he will tell you, “That was the ‘Uncle Billy’ place”; and almost any boy will tell you the same from traditional knowledge. Interrogate the aged man further, and he will tell you that these brown and barren fields once groaned with abundant harvests; the branches of those decaying trees once bent beneath the weight of choice fruit; large herds fed in the pastures; twenty cows filled the brimming pails; while upon that grass-grown cellar stood a noble house, and in it lived a man from whose hospitable door none ever went hungry away; and he will probably wind up by telling you that they never had any town’s poor in Gorham as long as Uncle Billy lived. Thus the whole community seem to have assumed the task of keeping green the memory of a man who loved his country and his kind, but who had no son to keep his name in remembrance.

At the distance of a quarter of a mile from the principal village of Gorham, in the same direction, and just below what is known as the Academy Hill, near the banks of a brook,—now a mere thread, but which, at the date of this story, was a smart stream when fed from the full springs of the primeval forest, and which furnished to the pioneers many a dish of speckled trout,—stands a quaint-looking house of two stories. The walls to the second story are of brick,—the ends and roof of wood. The progress of improvement has replaced the old gable by a modern sharp roof, and some slight alterations have been made inside; the great fireplace has given way to a stove; otherwise the old house stands as the founders left it.

A few rods from it, and a little nearer the brook, is the site of the log-house in which those founders lived when not in garrison during the French and Indian wars, and from which they removed to the brick one, where, as we shall see, Elizabeth nursed the wounded savages. Just below, a spring pours its water into a wooden trough, for the convenience of the traveller. To this spring, on the evening of the 18th of April, 1746, Uncle Billy, then a boy, went to bring the night’s water, while Indians ambushed the path on each side, and could have touched him with their hands. Upon the opposite side of the road, a few decaying apple-trees mark the spot where once stood the original camp in which the emigrants passed their first night.

In this house, built in 1773, the first brick building erected in Maine, the bricks of which were made by his own hands and those of his children, lived and died Hugh McLellan, and Elizabeth his wife,—the father and mother of Uncle Billy and eight other children, the youngest of whom, Martha, was our Grannie, to whom you have already been introduced, and who was, it is said, the very image of her mother. The story of their struggle I tell you as it was told to me, through many long winter evenings at Grannie’s knees, till I was afraid to go to bed lest I should meet an Indian in his war-paint on the stairs, and covered my head in agony in the blankets if a door creaked, or a nail, loosened by the frost, snapped among the shingles.

They were called in that day Scotch-Irish. Not that there was any admixture of blood, but a long residence in Ireland had given rise to the name. In the year 1608, by reason of the rebellion of the native chieftains in the north of Ireland, and their subsequent defeat and banishment, about five hundred thousand acres accrued to the crown,—that is, became the property of the king of England. These lands James I. settled to a great extent with emigrants from England and Scotland. Ireland had for ages been the back-door to England and Scotland, through which the French had thrown forces into the kingdom, and aided the cause of insurrection. Therefore, as a bulwark against future aggressions, James determined to drive out the native Catholic Irish, and to replace them largely by a Protestant population of Scotch and English, but principally Scotch,—rough-handed and warlike,—whose lands were to be given them in fee-simple on certain conditions, and who might be safely counted upon to defend their property to the death. Thus being actuated by the strongest principles that operate upon the human mind,—self-interest, religious enthusiasm, and the antipathies of race,—it was supposed they would form a loyal population, that might prove a permanent bulwark against foreign aggression and domestic treason. As this was a pet measure of the monarch’s, peculiar privileges were accorded them. Free schools were endowed, a University established, the extent of possessions limited, and all proprietors were compelled to reside on and cultivate their lands. Thus these Scottish emigrants obtained the name of Scotch-Irish, though, except in occasional instances, without any mixture of blood. Indeed, it was the great object of the king to prevent this, as it was upon the mutual antipathies of the two races that he relied for the success of his scheme. Provision was therefore made that they should be settled in different parts of the territory, it having been found by a similar experiment in the time of Elizabeth, that, instead of the industrious settlers civilizing the wild Irish, the latter only envied the superior advantages of their neighbors, and by means of free access to their houses took occasion to steal their goods and plot against their lives. The wild Irish were therefore planted in the most level, open, fertile part of the country, and on the lands that were the most easily worked, in order that the superior quality of the soil might counterbalance the disadvantages arising from their natural indolence and want of knowledge of agriculture. Thus also they were exposed to the constant inspection of their neighbors, and it was hoped that, from being mere vagabonds, wandering from place to place with their cattle, they might be gradually habituated to agriculture and the mechanic arts. To the others were assigned the hills and the places of greatest strength and command, and those of the most danger,—the woods and wild parts of the country,—Ireland being covered—before they were destroyed to smelt iron—with vast forests, the remains of which are to this day found in the bogs. The old Irish were also forbidden to drive their cattle from place to place, or go “creaghing” as it was called, but compelled to a settled habitation and tillage. Each landed proprietor was also required within a specified time to place a certain number of tenants on his place. The cottages were also required to be built in the English style.

From this race sprang Hugh McLellan of Gorham, and Bryce of Portland, the ancestors of all of that name in Maine. They were a hard-handed race, who knew right well how to wield the claymore, and belonged to the order of saints who hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord, and who inscribed upon the muzzles of their cannon, “Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.” Their paternal ancestor, Sir Hugh of the clan Argyle, came into Ulster after the expatriation of the old Irish from the neighborhood. He received an allotment of fifteen hundred acres, according to the conditions of tenure, with the understanding that he was to render knight’s service to the crown, and with his good sword hold his goods and lands against all comers, which he was nothing loath to do, being bred to arms from his youth. With the progress of refinement, the growth of knowledge and of a more kindly and rational piety, his posterity became an industrious, God-fearing, manly race, who, losing the fiercer traits of their forefathers, retained their hardihood and strength of limb.

Let us, turning back the leaves of the years, imagine ourselves in the County of Antrim, in the Province of Ulster, in 1733, when the resolute Presbyterian, forsaking country and kin, with his young wife dared the privation of a strange land and a savage wilderness, stimulated by no romantic hopes of finding treasure or amassing a fortune, but that he might obtain that which was denied him in his native land,—a heritage for himself and his children,—and might escape those persecutions to which all who at that time differed from the Established Church were exposed,—a period in our narrative which will more properly form the subject of another chapter.

Elijah Kellogg.


Katy came into the breakfast-room with a shy look on her merry little face. Papa was deep in his newspaper, and did not observe her. Harry raised both hands, rolled up both eyes, and stood on tiptoe in astonishment; but a violent gesture from Katy made him whistle in the “Oh!” that was about to roll forth. Shy? I should think so. First, there was her beautiful hair, driven from her forehead and piled above it in a rough-and-tumble heap. Second, there was her beautiful hair pulled through a—doughnut, do you call it?—and padded on somehow to the back of her head. Then, as seemed necessary, there were sundry bits of nets and ribbons to keep things from flying apart, and she was in truth a funny little puss to look on.

Katy sat down to the breakfast-table and tried to act as if nothing had happened. And papa, laying aside his newspaper, caught a glimpse of her, and then took a long look, and cried, “Overslept, Katy! Have not combed your hair this morning, dear?”—and then Harry’s fun had free course, and Katy laughed, too, a little, and blushed a good deal.

“Why, papa, I never combed my hair so much in my life.”

“Took her all night,” cried Harry. “She began at bedtime, and has just finished.”

Papa came up slowly, in great pretended amazement, and touched the wonderful doughnut cautiously. “The wheel of our old truckle-cart! and what is all this scare above?”

“Now, daddy, dear, don’t,” said Katy, coaxingly drawing her head carefully away from the great, awkward fingers that threatened harm to her carefully built edifice. “We are going to have our tin-types taken, Harry and I, and so I dressed my hair, and you must not pull it down, there’s a dear.”

“Why, it is all strapped up, child. One could unharness a horse as easily as your head.”

“Strap! O papa! that is a fillet.”

“Classical, papa,” said Harry. “Did not the old Latin ladies wear such things when you were young?”

“To the best of my knowledge and belief never. And I am not so sure I want an old Latin lady about the house. Madam Octavia Sulpicia Copernica, shall I trouble you to return to Latium, and bring my little Katy once more!”

“O, now, dear little papa! do not be stupid and teasing, when I am going to have my tin-type taken, and must be magnificent. Now, if you will only be good, you shall have your choice of them all.”

And papa, having been brought up in a long course of such goodness, let the “scare” and “truckle-cart wheel” alone, and listened to the tale of the tin-types. Just nothing at all, they said: eighteen for a quarter of a dollar, which they were going to pay for out of their own income of ten cents a week. “Everybody has them, papa, and we give them all away. Jenny Hand had her eighteen Thursday, and only one left Friday night. You see, papa, you have them taken, nine at a sitting, and then little albums to save them up in.”

“And you buy an album, too, out of your ten cents a week?”

“O, no,” said Harry, “because an album costs so much we should be poor all the time, just beggars, to go into such an expense.”

“We wait, papa,” said Katy, demurely, “thinking something may turn up. Perhaps, when we get all our pictures together, somebody will look at them,—somebody who has plenty of money,—and will say, ‘My dears, these are very pretty, and you must have a book apiece to put them in, and here is a dollar to—’ ”

“Say two, while you are about it,” whispered Harry very audibly.

“ ‘Here are two dollars apiece, dear children—’ ”

“No,” growled Harry again; “you will upset the basket. A dollar apiece,—two for both.”

“ ‘A dollar apiece, two for both, dear children, to buy each of you a beautiful tin-type album, with red covers and gilt edges.’ I should not wonder, papa, if that somebody were a handsome man, with dear old brown eyes, and a lovely brown beard, a little gray.”

“And eating buckwheat cakes this very minute,” added Harry.

“At this very table, Harry.”

“With a seal-ring on his little finger, Katy.”

“With his hair a little curly, Harry.”

“And a little bald on the top of his head, Katy.”

“Where his dear little daughter, that he loves so much, combs his hair for him when he is tired, and asks nothing in return, Harry.”

“And keeps pouring on the syrup, and does not hear a word we are saying, Katy.”

“And will not give us any tin-type albums, and break our hearts, Harry.”

Just here came the laugh they were planning for, and of course, with it, out came the money they were plotting for; and so breakfast was finished merrily, and papa was allowed to read his newspaper with a pleasant sense of having behaved very properly, and received the approbation of his judicious children.

Away to the photographer’s they went, Katy carrying her head a little stiffly in her new “harness,” but quite happy in her stateliness. As they turned into the village, they saw a crowd gathered on the sidewalk, looking up earnestly at something in the great tree. “A squirrel,” suggested Harry; but Kate thought likely it was some new kind of bird. No, it was something fluttering, larger than a squirrel or a bird, “as big as a peacock and his tail,” said Harry.

“Why, it is a veil!” exclaimed Katy. “It is some one’s veil blown off, and flying up and caught on the branch away up. It will never come down again. She has lost her veil.”

“Perhaps the same breeze that stole it will repent and bring—why, there is a boy up in the tree, now, after it!”

So there was surely. High, high up, it seemed to Katy, his light clothes appeared among the leaves. “Oh! I should think he would be afraid, and he is crawling out farther along the limb.”

“Afraid!” said Harry, rather contemptuously. “Why, there is nothing to be afraid of. I have climbed trees twice as high as that, and twice as fast, too. I wish I was up there,—I would show them how to do it. This is what I call slow.”

“I am sure I would not take so much trouble for a veil,” murmured Kate, half to herself.

“Not for a veil; but I would for Miss Eliza.”

“O, is it hers?”

“Yes. I heard a boy say so,”—for Harry had been working in and out among the crowd. “And it is Jack Crowley up there, and he would just kill himself for Miss Eliza any time.”

Jack had evidently climbed as far out along the branch as he dared to go, and was yet not within reach of the veil. He had a stick in one hand, and while holding on to the branch above him with the other, he tried with his stick to loosen the veil from the twig on which it was caught. But the stick was too short, and he called to those below to pass him another. This was easily done by two or three boys who were in the tree below him; but Miss Eliza was much more anxious about Jack than about her veil, and begged him not to trouble himself.

“No trouble at all, ma’am,” called down Jack, cheerily. “I like the fun. I see a bird’s nest, too.”

“Lud, ma’am,” said a stout fellow who was watching him, “young chaps like him, they don’t mind climbing trees no more’n you do stepping into your carriage. It’s only a lark, ma’am, let alone a lady’s veil, and her you, begging pardon.”

“Pshaw, yes,” said another, reassuringly. “That boy has climbed more trees, I’ll be bound, after birds’ eggs than—well, I wish I had as many dollars as he has climbed trees.”

But here, notwithstanding Jack’s experience, a sad thing happened. Whether undue excitement made him careless, or whatever it may have been, certain it is that in reaching forward he loosed the veil and also lost his balance. The veil floated down and floated out, and then down again, as majestic as you please; but no one saw it, for down came poor Jack, too, not majestic at all, not floating, but crashing, crashing through the twigs, bumping against the branches, and there he lay in a heap on the ground, torn, bleeding, senseless. Poor, poor little Jack Crowley!

Some screamed, one or two almost fainted. As for Harry, he caught Kate’s hand, and they ran off as fast as they could out of sight and sound, till they found themselves, without knowing how, on Miss Eliza’s door-step. There they sat down, all pale and trembling, and looked at each other’s white face, and then Katy began to cry. “To be all killed and dead and bounced up so in a minute,” sobbed Katy.

“O Katy! don’t cry,” said Harry, with a choking voice, “perhaps he is not dead.”

“And he such a good boy, and showed us where the high-bush blackberries were last summer,—don’t you remember?”

“And helped you fill your pail after you spilled them crossing the brook, and had to go and get the cows, too.”

“O, I shall never eat any more blackberries as long as I live, for grief and sorrow,—or if I do I shall always think of poor Jack tumbling down dead off a tree.”

And so they went on recounting Jack’s virtues and their own sorrows and future proceedings, till Miss Eliza appeared and informed them that Jack was not in the least dead, though a good deal bruised and stunned. “Fortunately he broke his arm,” said Miss Eliza.

“Fortunately?” echoed the children, in surprise.

“Yes; because if his arm had not received the shock, and so broken the fall, the fall might have broken his neck.”

“Just as we thought it did,” said Katy. “O dear little Jack! Miss Eliza, do you think we might go and see him, and make him happy a little, all bruised.”

“No, dear, the doctor is there,”—at which Katy grew pale again,—“and for the present he is to be kept as quiet as possible. After a few days he will be very glad to see you, and I dare say you can cheer him up a good deal.”

“Come Harry,” said Katy, “let us go home. I do not feel like tin-types any more, and poor Jack Crowley with his arm broken.”

“What I shall do, Katy, I shall go home and find something to give him as soon as ever he gets well.”

“I wonder how soon do people get well of broken arms.”

“Or I can give him something that does not want arms,—something to read, or something.”

“O, I tell you, Harry! now this is just the thing! Let us go and have our tin-types taken, and buy him an album, and put everybody’s tin-type in it, and give it to him. Because he is poor, and never will have any!”

“Now, Katy, that is bright. But if I buy his album, then you will have one, and I shall not.”

“You may put all your pictures in mine.”

“O, but it is not fun to have somebody else’s.”

“Well, do see. You give him your album, and I will give him my money to buy whatever he likes with. Then we shall be even.”

And if they were happy before in going to the photographer’s, they were ten times happier in turning back now,—so happy that they could hardly keep their faces still long enough to be photographed. Katy was sure she looked like a fright, and Harry’s hair had dropped down over his forehead, notwithstanding the great pains he had taken to plaster it up in place. But there they were, thirty-six of them in all, to take or to leave; and then they selected the daintiest little album they could find, and filled it at home with the dainty little pictures which they prized so highly; and each time they unfolded one from its tissue-paper wrapper, they stopped to gaze at it, and talk about it, so that it was a good forenoon’s work to get the little album ready; and when it was ready, they turned it over and over again, till Harry declared they should get the good all out of it before ever Jack got hold of it. “And O,” cried Katy of a sudden, “I have thought such a nice thing again. My dollar, you know; let us get papa to change it into ten-cent pieces, and lay them between the leaves, so he will keep finding them and finding them.”

“Just as you do in a dream, and that will spin it out ever so much longer than to find just one dollar all in a heap. O, yes!”

Of course papa was glad to accommodate them; and when it was thought proper to make their visit, Chryssa gave them a little basket containing a tiny loaf of frosted cake, and a glass of jelly; and papa added two oranges, and Sally contributed a cake of maple-sugar and the very handsomest of her carnation pinks; and altogether Harry thought in his secret heart that Jack was a rather lucky fellow to have broken his arm.

They were a little silent and afraid as they approached Jack’s house,—fearing the hush and twilight and strangeness of illness. But when they went in, there was no bed and no twilight, but Jack lying on the faded old lounge in the bright sunshine, with the cat perched and purring on his feet, as comfortable as could be. To be sure his arm was broken and tied up in a sling, which is not comfortable, and to be sure he was black and blue and stiff and sore, and felt, he said, as if he had been jounced in a bag of stones; but he talked as gayly and laughed as merrily as ever, and when Harry and Katy drew up their chairs and sat down by him, and held up the basket, how his eyes sparkled! “Not much of anything,” said Katy demurely,—“only a crumb or two for the cat.” Which Miss Puss seemed to understand, for she rose and walked up Jack’s legs as coolly as if he had not been “jounced in a bag of stones,” and would have poked her inquisitive nose into the basket, if Harry had not interposed. “There!” said Katy, having removed the lid, “now you have one well arm, and you must use it; we brought the things, and he must take them out, must he not, Harry?”

“Pop goes the weasel, then,” said Jack, smiling with eager eyes, and he fingered off the napkin coyly. “Frosted cake! O my! And what’s this in the tumbler? O jolly!” And so he went through the contents of the basket, his delight increasing with every fresh discovery; and when Harry brought forth the album and showed him his own name written in it beautifully in “German text,” he fairly shouted, “O mother, only just come here a minute! Isn’t it jolly to break your arm?”—and if there ever were any better tin-types than those, I never heard of them.

Gail Hamilton.


“Pretty vine, what makes you cling

  To that cold gray stone?

Why don’t you lift your drooping head,

Like all the flowers in the bed,

  And learn to stand alone?”


“Little maid,” the vine replied,

  “You needn’t pity me;

I lie here in the warm bright sun,

And have the stone to rest upon.

  I’m happy as can be.


“Why don’t you leave your mother’s side,

  And run away alone?

I think you’re just as bad as I!

You always want her standing by,—

  And I want my gray stone.”


A. Q. G.


A gentle boy, with soft and silken locks,

  A dreamy boy, with brown and tender eyes,

A castle-builder, with his wooden blocks,

  And towers that touch imaginary skies.


A fearless rider on his father’s knee,

  An eager listener unto stories told

At the Round Table of the nursery,

  Of heroes and adventures manifold.


There will be other towers for thee to build;

  There will be other steeds for thee to ride;

There will be other legends, and all filled

  With greater marvels and more glorified.


Build on, and make thy castles high and fair,

  Rising and reaching upward to the skies;

Listen to voices in the upper air,

  Nor lose thy simple faith in mysteries.


Henry W. Longfellow.


Words by Emily Huntington Miller. Music by J. R. Thomas.



No. 1.

They met,—my bold and manly third,

  And she who held my whole;

Naught by the rippling streamlet stirred,

  While soul communed with soul;

With many a tender look and word

  He sought my slender first;

Then on the scene—Heaven save the mark!—

  My base-born second burst,

And idly launched his little bark;

My third with sudden fury shook,

And with my first my second took,

And hurled him headlong in the brook,

The while his love—a merry soul!—

Shook, as she fled, my snowy whole.



No. 2.

My first is an article constantly used;

My second, though noisy, no music can boast;

My third is hung up, though of crime not accused,

But only because it is ready to roast.

My whole is a man through all ages renowned

For the virtue and truth in his character found.


J. B.

No. 3.

My first is nothing but a name;

  My second is still less;

My whole shall ever nameless be,

  And now my riddle guess.


J. F. N.


Willy Wisp.


No. 1.

I am composed of 26 letters.

My 10, 1, 22, 5, 12, 9, 14, is a weapon.

My 26, 5, 2, 18, 1, is a strange quadruped.

My 19, 12, 9, 7, 8, 20, is an insult.

My 17, 21, 1, 25, is a place where vessels are laden.

My 6, 15, 24, is a cunning animal.

My 3, 15, 23, 5, 4, is what cowards often are.

My 16, 21, 13, 16, 11, 9, 14, is a Yankee vegetable.

My whole is indispensable to the literary world.

Lilla Lawson.

No. 1.

I belong to the church, the house, and the farm;

I belong to a ship, and I then have an arm;

And while I have feet, (do not think I am funning,)

I can’t walk a step, though they speak of me “running”;

And by way of a merit I proudly declare,

I’m always prepared to do things by the “square.”

In times so dishonest, this trait is a treasure,

And so you may praise it, but not without measure.

But now read me backwards: in busiest throng

You may see me go dragging my “slow length along.”

I’m a sort of a carriage, but, if you have pride,

Would be hardly the one you’d select for a ride,—

A thing not remarked for its beauty, but uses,

And subject, like everything else, to abuses.

But, O, what a proof of my owners’ rapacity!

They think there’s no end to my strength and capacity.

But I’ll stop,—though each morn sees my burdens increasing,—

Or you’ll think that my rhymes, like my toils, are unceasing.


T. G.


Arithmetical Puzzles.

7.225 feet.


25.Love’s a virtue for heroes!—as white as the snow on high hills.
26.My daily nourishment.

Illustrated Rebuses.

32.    Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, O, give me back my heart.
[(Maid) o (fat hens) er (ewe) (part) G (eye) V (hog minus H) (ivy = IV) (mi) (back) M (eye) (heart).]
33.When honest, respectable people are the pioneers of a land, it is a real El Dorado. [W (hen on nest) (res) (peck) (table) (pea) (pill-ar) (tea) (he) (pie on ears) of (ale) & (eye) T (eye) S a (real) L (do, re, do).]
34.Quarrels occur among young folks generally from misunderstandings which can be settled by frank explanations. They should early receive this treatment. [(Quarrel) (sock) (cur among young folks) (General Lee) F (rum) (miss under stand in G) S (witch) (can) (bee) (settle) D by (frank) X (plane) a (tie on S).  (Tea) (hay) (shoulder) (lyre) (sieve) thi (street) (men) (tea).]


With the present number begins a new volume of Our Young Folks, and the Editors desire again to express their untiring sympathy with the thousands of busy little people who make up the far-extended circle of their patrons, critics, and friends. This sympathy goes forth impartially to one and all, and if it were possible to give each an individual example of it, they would gladly do so; but as this cannot be, let every boy and every girl feel included in this intimation of remembrance and regard. In the year that is opening now, the Editors hope to receive even more than the great multitude of letters and messages which have poured into their sanctum during 1866. There is no little note, however small, or cramped, or childish, which does not suggest to them an image of its writer, eagerly composing and inscribing it, and perhaps looking expectantly for an answer, and over every one they pause with the pleasant feeling that some one, perchance in a distant, out-of-the-way corner, has thought enough of them, and believed enough in them, to send this proof of industry or confidence. It is of course absolutely impossible to reply to all these despatches here,—just think of a Letter Box with answers or acknowledgments to eight or ten hundred writers!—and so many letters are received every month. All those which ask particular questions or contain paragraphs of general interest to the Editors’ countless family will be noticed in their turn, but equally welcome will be the hundreds which need not this especial comment; for they show the same spirit, and that is of the most consequence after all.

But it is time to end this Preface. To all their friends the Editors extend the hearty, kindly wishes of this sweet season, when hearts should warm in the renewal of that time which brought the gracious Saviour to bless little children, and to guide and save them of a larger growth. And in this intent are commended to all, as a most beautiful and tender expression of the feeling which should spring up with Christmas and the New Year, these verses of Thackeray’s, written many years ago for boys whom he loved and from whom he hoped much good:—

“Come wealth or want, come good or ill,

  Let young and old accept their part,

And bow before the Awful Will,

  And bear it with an honest heart.

Who misses, or who wins the prize?

  Go, lose or conquer as you can:

But if you fail, or if you rise,

  Be each, pray God, a gentleman.


“A gentleman, or old or young!

  (Bear kindly with my humble lays;)

The sacred chorus first was sung

  Upon the first of Christmas days:

The shepherds heard it overhead,—

  The joyful angels raised it then:

Glory to Heaven on high, it said,

  And peace on earth to gentle men.


“My song, save this, is little worth;

  I lay the weary pen aside,

And wish you health, and love, and mirth,

  As fits the solemn Christmas-tide.

As fits the holy Christmas birth,

  Be this, good friends, our carol still,—

Be peace on earth, be peace on earth,

  To men of gentle will.”

Here are some conundrums sent us by friends:—

Why are railway stations like groans? Because they are (deep oh’s) depots.

Why is a “non-resistant” like a Tartar? Because he leads a no-mad-ic life.

If you asked one of the antipodes whether he lived under the zenith, what would he say? Nay, dear (Nadir).

Why is an astronomer like a press-gang? Because he will see stars (seize tars).

T. B. A. Under the circumstances, you did quite right. Generally speaking, it is not grateful or courteous to transfer to another the present you have just received; but if the gift be such that its value will be diminished or lost by postponement of its use, and you can neither avail yourself of it, nor yet return it to the giver, there can certainly be no objection if you allow some other friend to enjoy the benefit. Indeed, any really generous person would prefer that you should do so, that his favor might not be neglected, and so fail of doing good to anybody.

Daisy. We are glad to know it.

M’lle De Trop. Your story has the merit of being simply and naturally told. The defects in it are such as study and practice will overcome. The sketch is better than the verses. Persevere.

E. V. A. We are glad of a letter from a patriotic little girl, like you, who knew our lamented President personally; but we have not room for the “Reflections.”

R.” We cannot spare the space for a careful criticism of your little poem; but its chief defect is in its irregular construction. You must study all about iambics and anapæsts and dactyls, before you can write correct verses.

C. C. W.’s letter has been lying overlooked—not neglected—longer than we could have wished. A word in reply is all that we can offer now.

A writer’s life is not so easy as it seems. If you undertake it, you must be prepared to meet discouragements which nothing but an intense love of your work will overcome. Very few pens have the Midas-power of turning what they touch into gold. Write, if you cannot help it,—but do not depend upon writing “for a living,” if you can find anything else to do.

Bow-wow. Very well expressed and legibly written. The question is not unfamiliar, however, in a slightly different form.

C. A. S. sends a French conundrum: “What is the richest, and what the poorest letter in the French alphabet? La richesse (riche S) et la pauvreté (pauvre T).”

Gattie Garnet. You are quite right to “love everything that is wild and beautiful.” But how is it about such things as are wild and not beautiful? Wildness in girl or boy is apt to be unlovely from the first, and will surely be so at last. Be wise in time.

Clinton B. It is really quite good; but remember that we can only use the remarkably good ones, and for every one which we do use there are hundreds which we cannot.

W. A. M. We do not. Ask some good chemist or druggist.

Eddie C. S. Not at present.

G. C. B. Draper’s chemistry will probably suit you.

An Important Question.

Dear Editors,—In looking over the ‘Letter Box,’ I see a note to ‘Fraxinella,’ which reminds me that I should like to ask your advice on a subject which has puzzled me not a little. Like ‘Fraxinella,’ if I can do nothing else, I should like to be a writer. I know that my compositions are very good; that is, they compare favorably with those of girls older than myself, as they are always read at school. Then the girls always ask me to write or tell them stories, and older people—impartial ones, too—say that, when ‘my taste is formed,’ etc., I may hope to do something. What I want to ask you, then, is how to improve my taste and discern between merit and the contrary. Is there anything I had better read? I have read what I could that I thought would lead to such a result, and as my reading has never been restricted in the slightest, I have had good opportunities. Of course Dickens, Scott, Shakespeare, etc., I have almost as long as I can remember been familiar with, as with other standard writers. If you will be so kind as to recommend something to me, I should be very glad. Please do not think me very conceited, as I know my letter must seem so, for I have just stated these facts that they may help in the choice of books, if you will be so good as to answer this. Also, if it will be any aid to know my age, I am just fourteen. Before I close I must tell you how much I enjoy your Magazine, and beg your pardon for claiming your valuable time with this letter. Please be as kind to me as to ‘Fraxinella.’

One of the Young Folks.

If you have an acquaintance with such books as you refer to, we do not need to recommend you any more. Now let your acquaintance develop into knowledge: study these good books, as you would study your lessons, seek out their best points, and try by reflection and comparison to ascertain why these are the best. A few of the best books, thoroughly and thoughtfully re-read, with careful consideration of their ideas, their development, and their style, are better for you than a vast library of volumes, however good in themselves, which are cursorily examined and then laid aside for something new.

Connecticut sends this:—

Dear Trio,—Let me for my own satisfaction bring my mite of praise and gratitude. And not mine alone, but that of a whole wide houseful of people, who all agree, little and big, that ‘Our Young Folks’ is the daintiest, freshest, ‘cutest,’ most delightful, bulliest* of all ‘child-folks’ Magazines. Through it I am quite well acquainted with you, and I am therefore quite bold about asking a favor of you. . . . .

I shall be ever after

Your obliged and grateful friend,

Ella M. B.

There are four boys in this family.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 3, Issue 1 edited by J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom]