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

Date of first publication: 1867

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

Date first posted: July 16, 2018

Date last updated: July 16, 2018

Faded Page eBook #20180781

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. MARCH, 1867. No. III.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, 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.]














Drawn by Augustus Hoppin.]        [See Our Baby, page 162.


If ever there lived a Yankee lad,

Wise or otherwise, good or bad,

Who, seeing the birds fly, didn’t jump

With flapping arms from stake or stump,

      Or, spreading the tail

      Of his coat for a sail,

Take a soaring leap from post or rail,

      And wonder why

      He couldn’t fly,

And flap and flutter and wish and try,—

If ever you knew a country dunce

Who didn’t try that as often as once,

All I can say is, that’s a sign

He never would do for a hero of mine.


An aspiring genius was D. Green:

The son of a farmer,—age fourteen;

His body was long and lank and lean,—

Just right for flying, as will be seen;

He had two eyes as bright as a bean,

And a freckled nose that grew between,

A little awry,—for I must mention

That he had riveted his attention

Upon his wonderful invention,

Twisting his tongue as he twisted the strings,

And working his face as he worked the wings,

And with every turn of gimlet and screw

Turning and screwing his mouth round too,

      Till his nose seemed bent

      To catch the scent,

Around some corner, of new-baked pies,

And his wrinkled cheeks and his squinting eyes

Grew puckered into a queer grimace,

That made him look very droll in the face,

    And also very wise.


And wise he must have been, to do more

Than ever a genius did before,

Excepting Dædalus of yore

And his son Icarus, who wore

      Upon their backs

      Those wings of wax

He had read of in the old almanacks.

Darius was clearly of the opinion,

That the air is also man’s dominion,

And that, with paddle or fin or pinion,

      We soon or late

      Shall navigate

The azure as now we sail the sea.

The thing looks simple enough to me;

      And if you doubt it,

Hear how Darius reasoned about it.


      “The birds can fly,

      An’ why can’t I?

      Must we give in,”

      Says he with a grin,

      “That the bluebird an’ phœbe

      Are smarter ’n we be?

Jest fold our hands an’ see the swaller

An’ blackbird an’ catbird beat us holler?

Doos the little chatterin’, sassy wren,

No bigger ’n my thumb, know more than men?

      Jest show me that!

      Ur prove ’t the bat

Hez got more brains than’s in my hat,

An’ I’ll back down, an’ not till then!”


He argued further: “Nur I can’t see

What’s th’ use o’ wings to a bumble-bee,

Fur to git a livin’ with, more ’n to me;—

      Ain’t my business

      Important’s his’n is?

      “That Icarus

      Made a perty muss,—

Him an’ his daddy Dædalus.

They might ’a’ knowed wings made o’ wax

Wouldn’t stand sun-heat an’ hard whacks.

      I’ll make mine o’ luther,

      Ur suthin’ ur other.”


And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned:

“But I ain’t goin’ to show my hand

To nummies that never can understand

The fust idee that’s big an’ grand.”

So he kept his secret from all the rest,

Safely buttoned within his vest;

And in the loft above the shed

Himself he locks, with thimble and thread

And wax and hammer and buckles and screws,

And all such things as geniuses use;—

Two bats for patterns, curious fellows!

A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows;

Some wire, and several old umbrellas;

A carriage-cover, for tail and wings;

A piece of a harness; and straps and strings;

      And a big strong box,

      In which he locks

These and a hundred other things.


His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke

And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk

Around the corner to see him work,—

Sitting cross-leggéd, like a Turk,

Drawing the waxed-end through with a jerk,

And boring the holes with a comical quirk

Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk.

But vainly they mounted each other’s backs,

And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks;

With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks

He plugged the knot-holes and calked the cracks;

And a dipper of water, which one would think

He had brought up into the loft to drink

      When he chanced to be dry,

      Stood always nigh,

      For Darius was sly!

And whenever at work he happened to spy

At chink or crevice a blinking eye,

He let the dipper of water fly.

“Take that! an’ ef ever ye git a peep,

Guess ye’ll ketch a weasel asleep!”

      And he sings as he locks

      His big strong box:—




“The weasel’s head is small an’ trim,

An’ he is little an’ long an’ slim,

An’ quick of motion an’ nimble of limb,

      An’ ef you’ll be

      Advised by me,

Keep wide awake when ye’re ketchin’ him!”


      So day after day

He stitched and tinkered and hammered away,

      Till at last ’twas done,—

The greatest invention under the sun!

“An’ now,” says Darius, “hooray fur some fun!”


      ’T was the Fourth of July,

      And the weather was dry,

And not a cloud was on all the sky,

Save a few light fleeces, which here and there,

      Half mist, half air,

Like foam on the ocean went floating by,—

Just as lovely a morning as ever was seen

For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.


Thought cunning Darius: “Now I sha’n’t go

Along ’ith the fellers to see the show.

I’ll say I’ve got sich a terrible cough!

An’ then, when the folks ’ave all gone off,

      I’ll hev full swing

      Fur to try the thing,

An’ practise a little on the wing.”


“Ain’t goin’ to see the celebration?”

Says brother Nate. “No; botheration!

I’ve got sich a cold—a toothache—I—

My gracious!—feel ’s though I should fly!”


      Said Jotham, “ ’Sho!

      Guess ye better go.”

      But Darius said, “No!

Shouldn’t wonder ’f you might see me, though,

’Long ’bout noon, ef I git red

O’ this jumpin’, thumpin’ pain ’n my head.”

For all the while to himself he said:—


      “I tell ye what!

I’ll fly a few times around the lot,

To see how ’t seems, then soon’s I’ve got

The hang o’ the thing, ez likely’s not,

      I’ll astonish the nation,

      An’ all creation,

By flyin’ over the celebration!

Over their heads I’ll sail like an eagle;

I’ll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull;

I’ll dance on the chimbleys; I’ll stand on the steeple;

I’ll flop up to winders an’ scare the people!

I’ll light on the liberty-pole, an’ crow;

An’ I’ll say to the gawpin’ fools below,

      ‘What world’s this ’ere

      That I’ve come near?’

Fur I’ll make ’em b’lieve I’m a chap f’m the moon;

An’ I’ll try a race ’ith their ol’ balloon!”


      He crept from his bed;

And, seeing the others were gone, he said,

“I’m gittin’ over the cold ’n my head.”

      And away he sped,

To open the wonderful box in the shed.


His brothers had walked but a little way,

When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say,

“What is the feller up to, hey?”

“Don’o’,—the’s suthin’ ur other to pay,

Ur he wouldn’t ’a’ stayed to hum to-day.”

Says Burke, “His toothache’s all ’n his eye!

He never ’d miss a Fo’th-o’-July,

Ef he hedn’t got some machine to try.”

Then Sol, the little one, spoke: “By darn!

Le’s hurry back an’ hide ’n the barn,

An’ pay him fur tellin’ us that yarn!”

“Agreed!” Through the orchard they creep back,

Along by the fences, behind the stack,

And one by one, through a hole in the wall,

In under the dusty barn they crawl,

Dressed in their Sunday garments all;

And a very astonishing sight was that,

When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat

Came up through the floor like an ancient rat.

      And there they hid;

      And Reuben slid

The fastenings back, and the door undid.

      “Keep dark!” said he,

“While I squint an’ see what the’ is to see.”


As knights of old put on their mail,—

      From head to foot

      An iron suit,

Iron jacket and iron boot,

Iron breeches, and on the head

No hat, but an iron pot instead,

    And under the chin the bail,

(I believe they called the thing a helm,)

Then sallied forth to overwhelm

The dragons and pagans that plagued the realm,—

      So this modern knight,

      Prepared for flight,

Put on his wings and strapped them tight,—

Jointed and jaunty, strong and light,—

Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip,—

Ten feet they measured from tip to tip!

And a helm had he, but that he wore,

Not on his head, like those of yore,

    But more like the helm of a ship.


      “Hush!” Reuben said,

      “He’s up in the shed!

He’s opened the winder,—I see his head!

He stretches it out,

      An’ pokes it about,

Lookin’ to see ’f the coast is clear,

      An’ nobody near;—

Guess he don’o’ who’s hid in here!

He’s riggin’ a spring-board over the sill!

Stop laffin’, Solomon! Burke, keep still!

He’s a climbin’ out now—Of all the things!

What’s he got on? I van, it’s wings!

An’ that ’tother thing? I vum, it’s a tail!

An’ there he sets like a hawk on a rail!

Steppin’ careful, he travels the length

Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength.

Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat;

Peeks over his shoulder, this way an’ that,

Fur to see ’f the’ ’s any one passin’ by;

But the’ ’s on’y a ca’f an’ a goslin’ nigh.

They turn up at him a wonderin’ eye,

To see—The dragon! he’s goin’ to fly!

Away he goes! Jimminy! what a jump!

      Flop—flop—an’ plump

      To the ground with a thump!

Flutt’rin’ an’ flound’rin’, all ’n a lump!”

As a demon is hurled by an angel’s spear,

Heels over head, to his proper sphere,—

Heels over head, and head over heels,

Dizzily down the abyss he wheels,—

So fell Darius. Upon his crown,

In the midst of the barn-yard, he came down,

In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings,

Broken braces and broken springs,

Broken tail and broken wings,

Shooting-stars, and various things,—

Barn-yard litter of straw and chaff,

And much that wasn’t so sweet by half.

Away with a bellow fled the calf,

And what was that? Did the gosling laugh?

      ’Tis a merry roar

      From the old barn-door,

And he hears the voice of Jotham crying,

“Say, D’rius! how do you like flyin’?”


Slowly, ruefully, where he lay,

Darius just turned and looked that way,

As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff.

“Wal, I like flyin’ well enough,”

He said; “but the’ ain’t sich a thunderin’ sight

O’ fun in ’t when ye come to light.”




I just have room for the moral here:

And this is the moral,—Stick to your sphere.

Or if you insist, as you have the right,

On spreading your wings for a loftier flight,

The moral is,—Take care how you light.

J. T. Trowbridge.


I have told you how Pussy went to the academy in summer, and what good times she had going through the fragrant sweet-fern pastures, and across the brown sparkling brooks, and through patches of woods green with moss and gay with scarlet wintergreen-berries,—and what other good times she had studying and working out her sums,—and also how fond every one got of her.

Well, by and by autumn came, and the frost changed all the leaves on the mountains round the house to scarlet and orange and gold; and then the leaves began to fall, and the old north-wind came, and blew and whirled and scattered them through the air, till finally the trees stood bare. Then Pussy’s father said, “It’s time to make all ready for winter,”—for he had been getting the cellar full of good things. Barrels of cider had been rolled in at the wide cellar-door, great bins had been filled with rosy apples and with brown-coated potatoes, and golden pumpkins and great crook-neck squashes had been piled up for Thanksgiving pies; and now it was time to shut the great doors, and to “bank up” with straw and leaves and earth all round the house, lest sharp-eyed Mr. Jack Frost should get in a finger or a toe, and so find a way into the treasures of the cellar. For a very sharp fellow is this Mr. Jack, and he always has his eyes open to see whether lazy people have left anything without proper care; and where he finds even a chink not stopped, he says, “Ha, ha! I guess I’ll get in here”;—and in he goes, and then people may whistle for their apples and potatoes. But Pussy’s folks were smart, careful people, and everything was snugly stowed and protected, you may be sure.

By and by the sun took to getting up later and later, setting a dreadfully bad example, it is to be confessed. It would be seven o’clock and after before he would show his red face above the bedclothes of clouds, away off in the southeast; and when he did manage to get up, he was so far off and so chilly in his demeanor, that people seemed scarcely a bit the better for him; and by half past four in the afternoon he was down in bed again, tucked up for the night, never caring what became of the world. And so the clouds were full of snow, as if a thousand white feather-beds had been ripped up over the world; and all the frisky winds came out of their dens, and great frolics they had, blowing and roaring and careering in the clouds,—now bellowing down between the mountains, as if they meant to tear the world to pieces, then piping high and shrill, first round one corner of the farm-house, and then round the other, rattling the windows, bouncing against the doors, and then, with one united chorus, rumbling, tumbling down the great chimney, as if they had a mind to upset it. O what a frisky, rough, jolly, unmannerly set of winds they were! By and by the snow drifted higher than the fences, and nothing was to be seen around the farm-house but smooth waving hills and hollows of snow; and then came the rain and sleet, and froze them over with a slippery shining crust, that looked as if the earth was dressed for the winter in a silver coat of mail.

Now, I suppose some of my little girls will say, “Pussy never can go two miles to the academy through all the cold and snow and sleet.” But Pussy did, for all that.

She laughed a gay laugh when her mother said it would be best to wait till spring before she went any more. “I wait till spring? What for? What do I care for cold and snow? I like them; I’m a real snow-bird,—my blood races and bounds so in cold weather that I like nothing better than being out. As to the days being short, there are just as many hours in them as there were before, and there’s no need of my lying in bed because the sun does.” And so at half past five every morning you might have heard Pussy bestirring herself in her room, and afterwards in the kitchen, getting breakfast, and singing louder than the tea-kettle on the stove as she drove her morning’s work before her; and by eight o’clock Pussy’s breakfast was over, and the breakfast-dishes washed and put away, and Pussy gathered her books under her arm, and took her little sled in her hand and started for school.

This sled her brothers had made for her in the evenings, and it was as smart a little sled as ever you saw going. It was painted red, and had “Snow-Bird” lettered on it in black letters. Pussy was proud of its speed; and well she might be, for when she came to the top of the long, stony hill on which the house stood, she just got on to her little sled, took her books in her lap, and away she flew,—past the pastures, by the barn, across the plain below, across the brook,—almost half a mile of her way done in a minute; and then she would spring off, and laugh, and draw her sled to the next hill, and away she would go again. The sled was a great help to Pussy, and got her on her way famously; but then she had other helps, for she was such a favorite in school that there was always one boy or another who came to meet her, and drew her on his sled at least half-way to school. There were two or three boys that used to quarrel with each other as to which should have the privilege of drawing Pussy from the chestnut pasture to the school-house, and he was reckoned the best fellow who got there first; while more than once, after school, little Miss Pussy rode the whole way home to her father’s on the sled of some boy who liked her blue eyes and felt the charm of her merry laugh. You may be sure Pussy always found company, and she used to say that she really couldn’t tell which she liked best, summer or winter. In summer, to be sure, there were the pretty flowers and the birds; but in winter there were the sleds and sliding, and that was such fun!

In winter evenings, sometimes, when the moon shone clear, whole parties of boys and girls would get an old sleigh-bottom, and come to the farm-house, and then Pussy would get on her hood and mittens, and out they would all go and get on the sleigh-bottom together. There were Tom Evans and his sister Betsey, and Jim Styles, and Almira and Susan Jenkins, and Bet Jenkins, and Mary Stephens, and Jack Stephens, and nobody knows how many more, all piled on together, and holding as tight as they could; and away they would go, down the smooth white hill, and across the shining silvery plain, screaming and laughing, like a streak of merriment; and the old sober moon, as she looked down through the deep blue sky, never said a word against it, or hushed them up, for making too much noise.

Ah, it was splendid fun! and even when they stamped their feet, and blew their hands for cold, not one of them would hear of going in till nine o’clock; and then they all got round the stove, and ate apples and cracked nuts for half an hour more, and then went off home to be in bed by ten o’clock, so that they might all be up early the next day.

Another of the good times Pussy used to have was at a candy frolic. When the weather was at the coldest, and the frost so severe that everything really snapped, then was the time to make candy. Then Pussy’s mother would put on a couple of quarts of molasses to boil in the afternoon, while Pussy was at school, so that the candy would be almost made by evening.

In the evening, when the supper-dishes were cleared off, you would hear them all trooping in, and a noisy, happy time they had of it,—trying the candy, pulling little bits of it out in teacups and plates and saucers, to see if it was done hard enough to pull. Finally the whole dark, smooth, ropy liquid was poured out from the kettle into a well-greased platter, and set out in a snow-bank to cool; and then all the hands were washed and greased, to begin the pulling.

Ah! then what sport, as each one took a share of the black-looking candy, and began pulling it out, and watching the gold threads come out as they worked and doubled and turned and twisted, till at last the candy grew bright amber-color, and then a creamy white, and, when finally hardened by setting it out again in the snow, would snap with a delicious, brittle crispness most delightful to see! How jolly were the whole party after this gay evening, as each wended his way home over the crisp sparkling snow, with a portion of candy-sticks,—and what talking there was in school next day, and what a going over of the jokes of last evening,—and how every latch of every door in all the houses round had molasses-candy on it for a week after,—are all things that my little readers who have ever given candy frolics will not need to have told them.

What I have said will be enough to show you that Pussy made a merry time of winter no less than summer.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Chin-Chin and Sing-Song.

Charley Sharpe,” said I, “let’s improve our minds.”

“All right, old fellow. What do you want to know first?”

“O, everything about China. Round-the-world Joe says a chap that don’t know the difference between a junk and a joss-stick is just butting along his course by dead reckoning, and never can rightly tell where he is on the chart; all his navigation, says Joe, is worked by ‘Dutch talent,’—main strength and stupidity.”

“Well,” said Charley, “the shortest and easiest method I know of to find out everything all at once about China, and several other subjects, is to take the c’s out of that wonderful Cyclopædia of yours, boil them down to a pint, and take a teaspoonful every hour until it operates. Or, if we kept on drinking tea, chewing melon-seeds, firing crackers, and talking Pigeon-English long enough, we might both turn into Chinamen, and feel all the branches of the subject in our bones.”

“Charley,” said I, “how many stones and bricks are there in Wan-li-chang, the Great Wall? and how long did it take to build it?—that’s what I want to know. If the Chinese invented the compass, porcelain, gunpowder, printing, and paper, why do we have to send missionaries and Webster’s spelling-books to them?—that’s what I want to know. If the population of China is as great as that of all the rest of the globe together, what is the use of so many folks of one kind in one place?—that’s what I want to know.”

“How do cockroaches taste done in castor-oil?—that’s what I want to know,” said Charley. “Why do they call the finest quality of tea ‘old man’s eyebrow’? Why do they put a piece of silver in a dead man’s mouth, and make a hole in the roof for his seven senses and his three souls to fly through, and feed the ghost with roast pig? And was it really Bo-bo, the son of Ho-ti, who discovered crackling?—that’s what I want to know. Why is every one who utters a word against the idol Kan-wang-ye instantly seized with the bowel-complaint? How long did it take the patient old woman of Kuh-thung, when she wanted a needle, to make one by rubbing down a crow-bar? And how did the Pekin schoolmaster stop his donkey from braying?—that’s what I want to know.”

“O, as for the donkey,” said I, “I can tell you that secret myself. The schoolmaster, who was travelling with a party of French missionaries, was mounted on a showy, vulgar ass, that was as conceited and noisy as he was good-looking and smart. All day long on the road that dreadful donkey brayed; all night long, at the inns, hee-haw! hee-haw! he blew his hateful horn, that all the world might lie awake and hear what a tremendous ass he was; all night long the poor missionaries tossed and grumbled and groaned, ‘O the donkey! the abominable donkey! the diabolical Chinese donkey! Who will strike the donkey dumb?’

“In the morning came the schoolmaster (the missionaries had converted him), and hoped they had slept well. Then they all struck up together, ‘O the donkey! the abominable donkey! the diabolical Chinese donkey!’

“ ‘What a pity!’ cried the schoolmaster,—‘what a pity! what a shame! Why did not your foreign reverences, your outside-barbarian holinesses, send for me? I would have spoiled his ridiculous horn; I would have shut off the wind from his vain-glorious bellows very suddenly. But your foreign reverences may make your minds easy; to-night your outside-barbarian holinesses shall sleep as soundly as if no jackass had ever been saved in Mandarin Noah’s great junk.’

“And sure enough they did. When the schoolmaster came in the morning to inquire politely how they had passed the night, they all struck up together, ‘Alas! the donkey! the murdered donkey! the conceited, amusing Chinese donkey!’

“ ‘But,’ said the schoolmaster, ‘he is not dead; it was not necessary to take his foolish life. I merely fastened down his valve and closed his draft. If your outside-barbarian reverences will come with me, I’ll show you how it was done.’

“So they all followed the schoolmaster to the yard. There stood the dandy donkey, with his eyes fixed in shame and sorrow upon the ground, his ears hanging down in abject despair, and a big stone tied to his tail.

“ ‘When an ass is going to bray,’ said the ’cute schoolmaster, ‘he always begins by elevating his tail; and he keeps it extended and stiff as long as his horn is sounding. You see, his tail is like the handle of the bellows to the big organ in the In-ki-li (English) joss-house in Hong Kong; you have only to make it fast so that he can’t work it, and there’s an end to his sing-song till you set it free again. I’ll show you now,’—and then he removed the stone.

“At first, Donkey showed no sign of satisfaction; he made up his mind that his musical machinery was all ruined forever; and when the relief came, it took him by surprise, and he could not believe his own tail. But presently he shook just the tip of it, very gently, as if to convince himself that he was not dreaming; next, he brought the ends of his clumsy little body close together, and looked straight at the outraged tail, at first with melancholy anxiety and then with joyful astonishment; and finally, he raised, very slowly, ‘the handle’ of his bellows until it stuck straight out as stiff as iron, worked it up and down once or twice, stretched out his neck, laid back his ears, shut his eyes, opened his mouth, and let out a hee-haw strong and raspy enough to wake a dead missionary.

“ ‘Plenty of style about him,’ said the schoolmaster; ‘but such an ass!’ ”

“Pretty good that, for a Chinese story,” said Charley, “and I wish I was smart enough to find the moral of it; the first noisy jackass I met, I’d tie it to his tail.”

Yesterday, as we three were going to skate in the Central Park, Round-the-world Joe picked up something that Charley Sharpe had trod upon.

“What’s that, Joe?” I asked.

“Paper,” said Joe, wiping it on his sleeve.

“Green-back?” inquired Charley.

“No,” said Joe, folding it carefully, “got writing on it.”

“Check, may be,” said Charley. “Let’s see.”

Joe laughed, and handed him a scrap of writing-paper, soiled and torn; it was ruled with heavy black lines, and was evidently a piece of a school-boy’s copy-book, torn from the page in this shape:—

Charley turned this round and round, with a serious face, pretending to examine it with interest, as if it were a rare and precious specimen.

“Very ancient and curious,” said he, handing it back to Joe. “If you are making a collection of those for a cabinet, George and I will be happy to contribute a cart-load or two, classified, from pot-hooks and hangers to ‘Evil Com-mu-ni-ca-tions Cor-rupt Good Man-ners’ in German text, and ‘Com-mand you may your Mind from Play’ in the fancy and ornamental sign-painter style,—the ‘Command’ in flourishes and circumbendibuses, with a great deal of ‘Play’ and very little ‘Mind.’ ”

“Charley,” said Round-the-world Joe, “I’m afraid you carry too much gab for your ballast. You ought to ship for a sea-lawyer.

‘My timbers! what lingo you’d coil and belay!

  ’Twould be all just as one as High Dutch.’

Now, if you had ever been to China, you would know, without my telling you, why I picked up that piece of paper; because you would have seen hundreds of queer old priests, with light hods on their backs and hooks in their hands, like rag-pickers in Paris, poking around among piles of rubbish and dirt, and fishing out every bit of paper they can find with writing upon it. You would have noticed that the people passing on the roads and streets take pains not to tread on such paper; that, no matter how busy and bustling they may be, they will walk round it, or stop to pick it up; that they never put it to any mean or unclean use; and that even the little children will leave their play to drag it from puddles and gutters, wipe it on their sleeves, as I did, and hide it somewhere in their jackets; and if you had asked any one of these—priest, pedler, or school-boy—why he did so, he would have told you that it was ‘Conformable to Reason and According to the Rites, and the Precepts of the Venerable and Illustrious Sages, to rescue from profanation, and preserve with respect, and consecrate with piety—’ ”

“Phe-e-e-ew!” whistled Charley, “if that’s Pigeon-English or broken China, it’s mighty fine.”

“ ‘—Consecrate with piety the Written Word, which is the Noble Human Thought made visible and audible.’ So they send it by junk-loads to the great towns, and burn it in the pagodas, before the images of the Venerable and Illustrious Sages.’

“Now that’s what I consider a highly intelligent and respectable Chinese notion; and when I picked up ‘Many Men of Many Minds,’ I was thinking of the poor patient old bonzes, with their hods and hooks, fishing in puddles for the Noble Human Thought.”

“I wish,” said Charley, “I had known all that three years ago.”

“Why?” said Joe.

“Because then my sweet-tooth was so large and my dignity so little, that I used to take my old copy-books to the market-house and swop them off to the old women who kept the candy stalls for maple-sugar; and when I think how much Noble Human Thought, made visible, sweet, and sticky, disappeared suddenly and forever down me, I feel ashamed of myself, and wish I was a Chinaman, tail, hod, hook, and all, fishing for Many Minds, Birds, and Fishes, in a duck-puddle.”

“Joe,” said I, “do the Chinese write letters, and have they post-offices and stamps, as we have?”

“Well, yes,” said Joe, they do ‘correspond’ with each other after a formal, cold-blooded Chinese fashion, without sincerity or secrecy; but they know nothing about the sacred feelings and the jealous confidences which render our letters the hidden treasures of our hearts. They have among their books of Rites and Classics, as they call them, a sort of universal letter-writers, with patterns of letters suited to every person and occasion; we have such things too,—you may find them in the shops where ‘Dream-Books,’ ‘Fortune-Tellers,’ and ‘Sentimental Warblers’ are sold,—but few except ignorant or stupid and vulgar people ever use them. In China, on the contrary, they are in the highest fashion, and everybody, from The Son of Heaven, as the Emperor is styled, down to the Son of See-Kook, the pig-doctor, copies from them when he has to write, and tell his father that his mother is dead. It is not considered respectable and ‘conformable to reason’ to make a letter out of your own heart, when such nice ‘patent adjustible’ ones have already been made for you out of some venerable and illustrious sage’s head.

“There are no post-offices in China. When you have a letter to send off, you must have a special messenger to take it, or intrust it to any chance traveller. It is considered of small consequence that a Chinese letter has been lost, and none at all that a hundred people have been idle or stupid enough to open and read it; for they must have read a thousand others exactly like it, whatever it may happen to be about. Of every thousand letters that are written in China, nine hundred and ninety-nine would answer just as well for nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand other people as for those to whom they are addressed; so the most interesting thing about such a letter is, that it is written upon very funny fancy paper, stamped with red, blue, and yellow figures of birds, beasts, and flowers, heroes, demons, and dragons. No Chinaman has the slightest objection to your looking over his shoulder while he is writing to his wife; and if you have undertaken to deliver his letter to her, he will feel perfectly satisfied if you open it, read it, and throw it away, so that you tell her what it was about. She probably already has a hundred exactly like it, and would not bestow the hundredth part of a thought upon a thousand more. No Chinese mother ever clasped to her loving, anxious bosom a letter from her son; no Chinese boy ever hurrahed and laughed and cried, all at once, over a letter from his mother; for anybody can write to anybody for anybody else, and anything will do to say any time, so that it is according to the Rites.”

“That reminds me,” said Charley, “of something funny I have read in ‘Hood’s Own’ about autographs. If I were to ask a Chinese Illustrious Personage for his autograph, I presume he would send it to me in a style conformable to reason and according to the Rites, that is, by proxy, or anonymously, or in a disguised hand, or in print; or something of this sort, in fireworks, very neat:—

You chin-chin mi, Mi sing-song you. Hi-yah!

                                      ‘Fah-quah-Tup-pah.’ ”

“Joe,” said I, “do they have schools in China, with heads and tails to the classes, and keepings in, and real live, go-it school-boys,—the old-fashioned sort, that play jews-harps, shoot peas, and fling assafœtida in the stove, and once in a while turn good and smart and studious, just for a change?”

“To be sure,” said Joe: “there is more teaching done in China than in any other land on the globe. I can’t answer for the ship-shape quality of it,” said he, “but the quantity is prodigious. Almost every Chinaman knows how to read and write. Every little village has its school, and every roadside pagoda its schoolmaster. There is hardly a cottage, or even a junk, or one of those lubberly bamboo rafts and arks that drift by thousands on the lakes and canals, that has not its reckoning machine, and its annual register, and its writing-desk, with cakes of India ink, and small brushes instead of pens, and cunning porcelain tiles and saucers to soften the ink on. Then there is always a tablet hanging up, with a solemn text from Confucius, or some pompous proverb, painted on it; and in the larger houses and junks there is generally a ‘children’s idol,’—a regular bugaboo figure-head, to bully the brats with. Every clerk or doctor that ships on a floating island or a garden raft (I’ll tell you all about those by and by) takes with him an armful of pamphlet novels and tales, and lives of celebrated mandarins and murderers, priests and pirates; besides wonderful poems and fables about the ‘Western marine demons’ beyond the black water,—the Houng-mao-jin, or Men with Red Hair, as they call the English, and the Ya-me-li-Kien (that is, Americans), the Men of the Gaudy Banner; and about the Land of Women, where no male thing can live; and the Land of Dog-men, with the slack of their ears towing astern; and the Land of Giants, all furred and feathered, and with only one great eye; and about the people who are born with a hole through the middle of the breast, so that a mandarin of that nation, instead of calling a coach or a palanquin when he goes out, has only to rig a sort of bamboo capstan-bar through his breast-light, and have himself slung across a couple of porters; and if the bar is long enough, and the porters are strong enough, several mandarins can be accommodated at one trip, provided they have no objection to looking like so many smoked herrings strung on a stick.”

“Now,” said Charley, “that’s just the sort of study that I have a real—what d’ ye call it?—ap-ti-tude for. The trouble with me is, that I have too much Confucius and bugaboo, and too little Giant and Dog-man. As for the Rites and the Classics, they are not at all in my line. Our George here is the chap for them; aren’t you, Georgey?”

“O, you get out!” said I. “Joe, tell us about the school-boys. Did you ever know one—with a tail?”

“Well, yes,” said Joe. “There was young Kuh-tang; he and I were chums. His father was master of a rice-junk called the ‘Quintessence of Beatitude.’ The old man—that’s my father, you know—had chartered her to work between ship and shore when we were shipping our cargo, and every night she made fast to the Circumnavigator. Then sometimes I would go aboard Old Squint, as Lobby Scouse, the cook’s mate, used to call her, and sometimes Kuh-tang would board us, and we’d have him down in the foke’sel talking Pigeon-English and broken China to the watch below, and blowing about the sailing qualities of the Quintessence of Beatitude. He was born aboard the junk, as millions of Chinese children are, and, young as he was, had served his time at tiller and ropes, so that he could handle her like the Flying Dutchman. It was beautiful to see him put her about in half a gale, when there was barely sea-room among the junks and the foreign craft for a tadpole to tack ship.”

“Just so,” said Charley Sharpe, and he winked at me.

“While his old man,” Joe went straight on, “squatted by the main hatch, and sucked at his pipe with his eyes shut, like a turtle in love.”

“Joe,” said I, “what are you talking about?”

“Quintessence of Beatitude,” said Charley.

“About Kuh-tang’s school,” said Joe. “You see he used to go ashore two days in the week to ‘sing-song the Sacred Trimetrical,’ as he called it. Jerry Gaff said it was to ‘stow larnin’; and once I got him to take me with him. The school-house was on a hill abaft the town, and close alongside of a joss-house. There were about a dozen boys, little and big,—all in tidy blue jackets, very baggy, and baggy blue breeches, except one who was ‘in black’ for his mother,—his jacket and breeches were white; and their tails were neatly plaited and Turk’s-headed at the end with red string. They all looked very old or very young, according to where you stood when you took your observation. The backs of their heads were full of age and wisdom, while their faces, and especially their little pig eyes, were full of cunning and fun.

“Magister Jin-Seng, the teacher, was a very ancient and curious Chinese fossil. His face looked almost as old as the back of Kuh-tang’s head. His tail was turning gray,—a most extraordinary and honorable circumstance; not because it was his own hair, but because it had been left to him by a learned friend of his, a highly respectable doctor, who all his lifetime had observed the Rites strictly, and done everything conformably to reason; so that even his old tail seemed to remember what was due to a venerable and wise magister, and began to turn gray at the period when all polite and prudent tails are expected to do it. Magister Jin-Seng wore a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles, about the size and shape of small soup-plates; and he looked down on his little school through them, awfully, like the man in two moons. Magester Jin-Seng was so monstrously learned, that if all that he knew had been printed in a book, the whole of George Eager’s father’s Cyclopædia would hardly have served as an index to the first volume of it. The professors and doctors called him Sin-tshuen, ‘the Elegant and Perfect,’ and he had passed so many examinations, and carried off so many diplomas, that every hair in his tail was as awful as a faculty. First, he had taken the degree of hien-ming, which signifies ‘having a name in the village’; next, of fu-ming, ‘having a name in the department’; then of sin-tsai, or ‘flowering talent’; then of ku-jin, or ‘promoted man’; and finally, of tsiti-szu, or ‘entered doctor’; and now he was a candidate for the han-lin, or ‘Forest of Pencils’; that would be the crowning glory, for it would entitle him to a chair in the Imperial Academy, and he could ask the Emperor questions—if the Emperor would let him.

“Of course instruction under so great a man was expensive. It cost Kuh-tang ‘four dollars in money, of rice one hundred pounds, of tea, salt, lard, and lamp-oil, each two catties,*—Magister Jin-Seng to find pupil Kuh-tang in paper, ink, and pencils,—Conformability to Reason and the use of the Square Globes extra.’

“Magister Jin-Seng was enthroned in a high chair, raised above the floor on a stage. All the boys sat before him, on bamboo stools, at two long tables, their backs toward him, and their books in their hands. The Man in Two Moons raised his long bamboo, and cried in slow and solemn tones, ‘It-is-con-form-a-ble-to-rea-son-that-we-be-gin-the-ex-er-ci-ses-of-the-day. BEGIN!’ Then all the boys began to sing-song, swinging themselves backwards and forwards. Some sing-songed the multiplication table, rattling the red, white, and blue buttons in their reckoning machines; some boxed the compass, sing-songing the points; some sing-songed the hornbook of Wang-Pihau, the Trimetrical Classic, and the Millenary Classic, and all the Five Classics; some sing-songed the sayings of Chu-Hi, and the proverbs of Wan-Wang, and the puns of Slam-Bang; and some chin-chinned the tablet of Confucius: but all of them rocked and bawled with all their might.

“Then the Man in Two Moons said very slowly and solemnly, ‘It-is-con-form-a-ble-to-rea-son-that-we-be-gin-the-ex-er-cise-of-the-El-e-gant-Pencil. BEGIN!’ So they all put aside their books and compasses and reckoning machines, and took up their porcelain tiles and ink-cakes and pencils; and Magister Jin-Seng set them a copy on the black-board:—


Man in the Beginning was by Nature Holy!

Then they all began to write, sing-songing the syllables; and each, as he finished his copy, showed his work to the Magister, who corrected the bad strokes of the pencil, sometimes with another pencil dipped in red ink, sometimes with more bad strokes with the bamboo. Then the pupil presented his copy to the Magister, made a low bow, turned his back, and sing-songed from memory his Jen-dze-tsou-sin-pen-chau. One boy had not separated his pen from sin, which Magister Jin-Seng said was not conformable to reason or worthy of an Elegant Pencil; and he bambooed him accordingly. This is called pey-chou, or ‘backing a lesson,’ because the boy backs the lesson against the bamboo, and the master bamboos the lesson on his back. Kuh-tang caught it for having a text from Confucius on his thumb-nail and a pun of Slam-Bang in his mouth.

“Then Magister Jin-Seng exhorted them all to diligence and honorable perseverance, and advised them to imitate the example of Sung-King, who tied his tail to a hook in the roof to keep his head from nodding over his classic at midnight; and of Che-jin, who studied truth by the light of a glowworm.

“After that, all the boys chin-chinned him, and went home sing-songing a proverb of Wei-chan: ‘One never needs one’s Wits so much as when one has to do with a Fool.’

“Kuh-tang and I went aboard the Quintessence of Beatitude to rub his sore back with goose-grease.”

George Eager.

A catty is about a pound and a third.


The wonderful snow is falling,

  Over river and woodland and wold;

The trees bear spectral blossom

  In the moonlight blurred and cold.


There’s a beautiful garden in Heaven:

  And these are the banished flowers,

Fallen and driven and drifting

  To this dark world of ours!

John James Piatt.



In our last chapter we left Hugh, after the fatigue and excitement of the night, quietly sleeping in York harbor. As day broke, the married pair were on deck, and eagerly viewing the shores of the strange land. Strange indeed must all have appeared to them, who had never in all their lives seen anything resembling a grove of trees,—only a few scattered specimens in the parks of the nobility, or the trunks which were dug from the bogs,—and who had scarcely any knowledge of frost or snow, as they gazed upon the vast masses of forest crowning the hills and filling the valleys, the whole country buried in snow, and the ice, through which the vessel under her canvas had pressed, fringing the shores. But as the sun arose, they beheld a spectacle which surpassed all they had ever conceived of beauty, and which, in their new and strange circumstances, produced an impression upon their minds never to be forgotten.

Although it was but moderately cold, the wind being southwest, the frost had congealed the sleet of the previous night upon the branches and trunks of the trees on the edge of the forest, and on the cliffs at the shore, over the whole surface of the snow, the dwellings of the settlers, and the cordage of the ship. And when the sun, rising over the masses of forest that covered the eastern bank of the river, poured his full radiance upon the landscape, he lighted up the scene with an effulgence that the eye could scarcely endure, and a beauty surpassing all description. But to those who beheld it for the first time, and under such peculiar circumstances, it seemed like enchantment. They looked at each other as they stood upon the forecastle without the power of speech, and in a sort of maze, as if to say, “Is this reality, or the work of the fairies whom we have heard so much about in Ireland?”

The log-houses of the settlers, every niche and projection of the rough logs filled with ice, shone like silver. The frozen gems which overlaid the branches of the trees were of every imaginable form; generally conforming to that of the twigs, leaves, and buds, but at other times congealed in the most fanciful shapes, in all that infinitude of variety which the Creator bestows upon his workmanship. There were spheres and prisms, diamonds of the purest water, and masses of network embossed with silver, from the finest gauze to the coarsest lattice. In one place were cylinders, in another pyramids. Here was a long branch flashing in the sunlight, and extending over the river, from which sprang lesser ones bristling along their entire length with minute lances and spangles of pearl. The hues were as various as the shapes, arising from the different colors of the materials upon which this fretwork was laid, and which shone in the clear sunlight through their crystal covering. The clear white of the birch, mottled with specks of gray, and occasionally banded with stripes of dark red where the elements or the hand of man had removed the outer bark, contrasted strikingly with the dark green of the pines, and the black spruce, and the lighter drapery of the cedars, the crimson buds of the maple, and the spotted limbs of the beech. The bright yellow of the willows, and the dun of the leaves that still clung to the branches of the beech and white oak,—the tufts of many-colored moss on the cliffs, mingled with the dark purple of the shaggy-barked hemlock, and the white patches on the trunks of the firs,—all heightened in their effect by the dark green of the waters, which now began to curl beneath the morning breeze,—completed a picture which no art can imitate, no pen can describe.

A swift trampling is now heard in the forest; a large moose, roused in his distant lair by the hunters or the wolves, bursts from beneath the branches of a hemlock weighed down to the ground by the frozen sleet, and, scattering the icicles far and near, bounds upon the ice, and, ascending the opposite bank, at a leap vanishes in the forest; although long after he has passed from view his course can be traced by the click of his hoofs, the falling icicles, and the whir of the partridge roused by his passage.

So quickly did he burst upon them and disappear, that they had only time to notice his huge, misshapen head, his immense height, the tuft beneath his throat, and his great horns.

“What in the name of heaven is that,—a bear?” cried Hugh to the mate; who replied, smiling, that it was a moose.

“Will it bite?” said Hugh.

“No, but it will kill a man with its fore-feet if it hits him,” replied the mate, who then explained to Hugh the nature and habits of the creature.

“Well,” continued Hugh, glancing again at the forest, from which, moved by the wind and thawed by the sun, the ice was beginning to fall in showers, “whatever hardships I may suffer in this country, (and I don’t expect they will be few,) I never shall forget how handsome this looked.”

“Hardship won’t hurt you,” replied the mate; “you are one of the hard-meated kind; your arm feels like the branch of an oak-tree. I only wish I had your strength. Wouldn’t I keep sailors in order!”

While they were speaking, four Indians, with rifles and snow-shoes on their backs, suddenly came from beneath the hemlock, and followed on at a loping trot in the track of the moose.

“They will never catch that moose,—never in the world,” said Hugh. “Why, they don’t go one half so fast as he does.”

“Yes, they will,” said the mate. “In a short time the crust will thaw and let him through, and cut his legs so that he can’t run, and then they will put on their snow-shoes and catch him.”

Elizabeth and Hugh had heard so much of Indians and their cruelties, and seen so many pictures of them, that they recognized them at once, and gazed with great interest upon those receding beings, of whose character and habits they were to have so sad an experience.

As the captain had refunded Hugh his passage-money, he had now a little to help himself with till he could look about and till spring. By the captain’s direction he went to the house of a settler named Riggs, who agreed to let him have a room for the winter. He borrowed a hand-sled and hauled up his goods and tools, and Riggs invited them to dine. Mrs. Riggs at once “took to” Elizabeth, and the children were delighted with the baby.

After dinner they sat down before a fireplace as large as that in the old house in Ireland, which was built hundreds of years ago, when there was wood in that country, and when the great families on occasion roasted oxen whole; but instead of a little smouldering fire of turf, this was filled with great logs of wood, which sent the blaze roaring up the great chimney. Riggs, who was a well-to-do farmer, with a family of rugged boys, brought up from the cellar a great pitcher of cider and some apples, and offered Hugh and Elizabeth a pipe, and they sat down to talk and get acquainted.

As the host had been born in the country, and had cleared up his farm from the forest, he was fully competent to tell Hugh and his wife all they wanted to know, and all the methods of getting along in a new country.

“It will be much better for you,” said he, “to work out awhile before attempting to farm for yourself. You will thus save yourself from a great many mistakes and much needless labor by reason of taking hold of things by the wrong end, and will gain experience that will be worth to you more than money.”

Hugh saw the reasonableness of this advice, and determined to act upon it. He then, as fire was the first requisite, asked where he could buy some wood.

“Wood?” replied the other,—“help yourself anywhere. We are glad to burn it up here to get rid of it. And now, as you are a carpenter, and the boys and I are not over handy with tools, if you will make me a pair of bobsleds, we will haul you wood enough to last all winter.”

“I will gladly make them,” said Hugh, “if you will give me the pattern.”

They then ground the tools, while the boys set off for the woods, and before night he had a load of wood at the door, a fire burning, and a few utensils for cooking procured. Elizabeth had washed the room and made up a bed on the floor in one corner. Mrs. Riggs lent them a table and a wooden settle; and that night they sat down by a cheerful fire to supper in their own room, safe from the perils of the sea, and with grateful hearts to Him who had preserved them.

Hugh soon had proof of the report that there was work for all in America. The captain employed him to unhang the ship’s rudder and repair it in a more thorough manner than he had been able to do at sea, and also to make a new top-mast and top-gallant-mast, and a new pawbit to the windlass, and to do some calking on the ship’s upper works;—as carpenters in Europe often in those days learned the calker’s trade, he was thus enabled to do the whole. In the mean time his wife procured a wheel, and began to spin flax and wool, and exchange the yarn for provisions; and every night when Hugh came home from his work, his ears were saluted with the familiar sound of the wheel. The first stormy day he made a bedstead, which raised them off the floor; and after that, at different times, a table, a high-backed settle, and some chairs bottomed with basket-work.

When the ship was done, he hired himself with a gang of men to go into the woods to cut spars. He had never seen a tree cut in his life; but doing as he saw the rest do, he became in the course of the winter so expert in the use of the narrow axe, to which he had never before been accustomed, that not a man in the gang could take the heart of a tree from him.

When the snow went off in the spring, he let himself to his neighbors; at one time he was employed in clearing land, at another in burning, cutting, and piling the logs for the second “burn,” hacking in the crop, and fencing. Thus he became familiar with and an adept in all parts of the pioneer’s life. Elizabeth, in the mean while, spun and wove for the neighbors, and learned from them the art of making leggins and breeches of deer and moose hide.

He had not been long in his new abode before the selectmen came to see him to find out what he was,—for they had a custom, in those days, of warning all persons of idle and poor character out of town, lest they should become an expense to the townsfolk or cast discredit upon them. He frankly told them that he was a Presbyterian; that he left Ireland to escape persecution, and to obtain a home for himself and family; that he had attended their meetings, and been fed with the bread of life, and should cordially unite with them in the worship of God. This declaration melted the crust of the Puritan heart like frost in the sunshine, and he at once found himself admitted to the confidence of the community.

Thus, by prudence and industry, our immigrants husbanded their little stock of money, learned the habits of the country, the modes of doing business, and the most profitable methods of labor. They made many valuable friends, and established a good character among their neighbors.

In the fall Hugh was invited by his brother James, who had been some years in the country, to come to Saco and cut masts. Leaving his family at York, he spent the winter in the woods. In the spring he moved his family into the house with his brother, and worked for him through the summer. The next year he moved to Back Cove in Falmouth, and by permission built a log-house, and cleared a piece of land, and then by what he could raise and obtain by his work lived comfortably. Scarcely was he settled here before he was driven off by the Indians, and obliged to flee for safety to Portland; his house was burnt, but he saved a horse and cow, though all their clothing and household stuff were lost. What little money he had earned was expended in replacing his tools and their housekeeping necessaries; so that the family were now thrown back upon the ten pounds which, through all their trials, they had kept as a sacred trust, to buy land. But with indomitable resolution he went to work in Portland, still hoping for a home, which now seemed further off than ever. The dread of the savages, who had wasted the whole eastern shore of Maine with fire and slaughter, had heretofore caused the settlements to be made upon the shore, both as being less exposed to attack, and as affording fish for food and enabling the settlers to obtain hay and pasture from the salt marshes while clearing their land.

But Portland was now rapidly recovering from the effects of the Indian wars. Masts and fish and lumber were exported in large quantities, ships were built, and a back line of lots was in the process of laying out. Work was plenty, and Hugh was able to support his family comfortably; but money was scarce and hard to be obtained, nearly all trade being by barter. But land in any safe and desirable position could not be obtained without money, and their great desire—amounting almost to anguish—was for land. No American born and bred can realize the uncontrollable desire cherished by the poorer classes of Europe, who have been tenants for generations, to become themselves owners of land,—to have a spot they can call their own! It was especially strong in the breasts of Hugh and Elizabeth. But to continue in this way, accumulating but a trifle above their living, seemed to afford but a wretched prospect of ever obtaining enough to purchase land, cheap as it was held in the Colonies. For several weeks this Christian mother, Elizabeth, as she lay on her bed, kept from sleep by anxious thoughts, revolved their situation in her mind; and often during that period, as she afterwards said, she rose in the night and prayed for direction and support. At length she came to a decision which she lost no time in making known to her husband.

“Hugh,” said she, the next night, after supper was over and the children abed, “what man was that you were talking to so long the other day at the wood-pile?”

“What day?”

“Why the day you stayed at home to cut wood.”

“O, that was more than a fortnight ago.”

“No matter, who was he?”

“I don’t know his name.”

“How provoking you are! What was his business with you?”

“Well, that was a man who is going to settle in Narragansett No. 7.”*

“Where is that?”

“Nine or ten miles back in the woods. The government has given a township to the men who fought in the Narragansett war, and their heirs. This man has his father’s share, and he is going to settle on it; and he has bought out some others.”

“I suppose the government has given this land to these men, just as King James gave land to our people who fought against the French and Papists, because he hadn’t money to pay them, Hugh?”

“Just so. He tells me that a good many of these people have farms in Massachusetts, and don’t need to go into the woods and endure hardship, and run the risk of being killed by the Indians, and so they sell their rights very cheap. He has bought some rights for a mere song. He says the land is excellent, and heavily timbered.”

“What risk is there from Indians? Are we not at peace with them, and haven’t they signed the treaty?”

“Yes; but many think they can’t be trusted, and say they are sullen, and when they are in liquor threaten. My brother James says they are plotting something, and will break out before long. This is the general feeling, I find; and that is the reason for these Narragansett lands being sold so cheap, because people don’t like to leave the sea-shore and the places where there are garrisons, and where they are safe from the Indians.”

“I thought you talked with him a good while.”

“Yes, I talked with him some time.”

“That was more than a fortnight—yes, it was nearly three weeks—ago, and you never said one word to me about it, Hugh!”

“Well, I don’t know as I did.”

“Hugh,” said she, rising and placing her hand on his shoulder, “do you want me to tell your thoughts? You talked a good hour with that man, and more,—for I was spinning where I could see you, and I knew by the thread I spun; and you were in real earnest. You found that the land was cheap, and came within your means, and yet you never mentioned it to me. I know that you saw this was a better chance than you have ever had, or ever will have again; but you kept it to yourself, because you wouldn’t expose me and the children to the Indians, and thought I would be for going.”

“Betsy,” replied he, putting his arms around her, and taking her upon his knee, “you are a witch! That is just the reason why I said nothing about it, and I have tried to put all thought of it out of my mind; but I can’t,—it haunts me night and day.”

“That is what you have been thinking about with your head between your hands, while I have been washing the dishes.”

“Yes, Betsy.”

“I had an inkling of this. William overheard your talk, and told me part, and I guessed the rest from your looks. Now, Hugh, I say, go! All the time you have been poring over this, I also, unknown to you, have been thinking about it, and praying to God. It seems to me that we are placed just like this. If we had had money enough, we could have bought land at home.” Her eyes filled with tears at the familiar word, but she brushed them away and continued: “If we had money, we could also buy land here in Falmouth, and have schools for our children, and the preaching of the Word, and have neighbors, and be safe,—because this safety and these good things cost money. But here is a piece of land that is offered for a very little money,—just what we have got,—and the balance in blood and risk and hardship. Now, money is just what we have the least of; but we are rich in the other things. We have health and strength and resolution; and I say, let us go up and take the land and possess it, and make a home for ourselves and our children. We have suffered a great deal; let us stick to it and gain our object, and not lose the good of all we have gone through.”

“You are a brave, good lass,” said Hugh, pressing her to his bosom; “but have you considered the difference between living here and in the woods, with a few families,—miles apart,—so that the Indians can cut them off one by one?”

“Well, Hugh, I say, ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.’ The people who are going are Massachusetts people, born in the country, used to hardship, used to Indians and to fighting them. I am sure the people that have killed Philip and destroyed the Narragansetts can take care of these Indians, who have had some severe lessons already. I say, if land can be bought for danger and for hardship, that is the chance for us, who have not much else to pay down.”

“But have we a right to expose the lives of the little ones?”

“That is where the greatest trouble has been with me,” said his wife; “but I have turned it over in my mind, and carried the matter to my Maker, and I feel clear that we should go, and leave the rest with Him.”

“That is just the way I have felt from the first,” said Hugh, drawing a long breath, as though relieved of a heavy burden; “but I did not like to expose you and the children to risks that I would cheerfully take myself. Had I come over here as my brother James did, a young man and single, I would have ground my axe and started by sunrise the very next morning after I heard of such a chance at night. But as we have both been brought to think alike without saying anything to each other, I take it to be God’s will that this should be our path, and by His blessing we will walk therein.”

This Narragansett No. 7 was a lot of wilderness land given by the State of Massachusetts to Captain Shubael Gorham and one hundred and nineteen others, for their services in King Philip’s war, and was called for him Gorhamtown. But it was a town only in name. It had been surveyed for settlement; and here and there a logging road ran through the woods, made by lumbermen, who in the winter months, when there was no danger from the savages, came to cut timber, and haul it to the Presumpscot River. It is not certain whether there were only two families in the place,—Captain John Phinney’s and John Ayres’s,—or whether there was another, James Mosier’s. Thus, with the exception of these families, it was an unbroken forest, a thoroughfare of the Indians as they came to the sea-coast to hunt fish and trade skins in time of peace, and in time of war to harass and kill the settlers; it was nine miles from Portland, and reached only by a path through the woods.

The morning after this conversation, Hugh started for Narragansett, and spent nearly a week exploring the different lots which he knew were for sale, in company with a young man who had carried the chain for the surveyor, and who knew the corners of the lots. Just as night drew on, they came upon the hill where the academy now stands; and seeing a smoke rising up among the trees below them, they followed its direction, and came to the camp of John Ayres, which stood where the brick house which we have mentioned now stands. He cultivated no land, abhorred the axe and every kind of regular work, but lived by trapping, hunting, and fishing. He was at home, made them welcome, and, having just killed a deer, was able to entertain them bountifully.

Hugh McLellan was a man who, besides possessing a deep religious faith and fearless nature, always took hold of things by the right end; everything that he touched prospered. This arose from an excellent judgment, great strength of body, and a patient, hopeful nature. He soon found that the spot where he was now was the one most suitable for him; and after spending the next day in exploring it, told Ayres, on his return to the camp at night, that he should buy it, and move in during the latter part of winter or in the early spring.

“Well, then,” said Ayres, “as I am only a squatter, I suppose I must make tracks.”

“By no means,” replied Hugh; “neighbors are not so plenty. I should be very sorry to have you go away, and shall be very glad to have you stay as long as you wish. There is room for both of us, and many more.”

He found the place well watered by springs, and the brook, which is now a mere thread, was then large, and afforded trout in plenty. The high land was covered with an enormous growth of maple, yellow birch, and oak. The ravines and banks of the brook were filled with hemlock, pine, and ash. But that which principally attracted his attention and decided his choice was the great size and straight growth of the white pines, which, mixed with a few hemlocks, covered the swales and slopes of the hills, and were scattered here and there among the hard-wood trees, and which were suitable for the masts of the largest ships of war. Masts for large ships are now made of several pieces, clustered round a central core, and hooped together, because the country does not now afford trees of sufficient size to make them in one piece; but then they were made of a single tree.

In those days, when the States were Colonies of Great Britain, the Royal Commissioner of Forests employed surveyors, who went through the woods and marked with a broad arrow every sound and straight pine over thirty-six inches in diameter. These were reserved for the king’s ships, and the owner of the land whereon they grew could not cut or sell them. But the government would pay him liberally to cut and haul them to the landing. They were tremendous trees, some of them more than four feet through; and to fell and haul them through the woods with the wooden-shod sleds and small cattle of that period, fed entirely on hay, and often merely by browsing, was an enterprise that might well daunt the boldest. But Hugh was no common man; he saw that the masts were of the best quality, and would command their price in cash could they be transported to the coast, and he felt himself equal to the task. He also saw, further than this, that all around were rivers and brooks which afforded mill-sites,—Presumpscot on the east, Strandwater on the south, and still another on the west. There were also smaller affluents, which at that day, when all the springs shaded by forests were full, afforded at a trifling outlay moderate water powers. Thus, while the masts and other spars could be made directly available, the remaining timber would become more valuable each year, as population increased, roads were made, and mills were built. Here he determined to make his clearing, and to labor for a home for himself and family. There were, as has been said, but two permanent settlers beside himself—Phinney and Musier—on the whole tract, (for Ayres was a mere hunter and transient dweller,)—one of them about a mile distant, the other more than two miles. Except their clearings, all was an unbroken forest to the sea, and back to Canada; while it was directly in the Indian trail that led from Canada to the sea-coast, whither the Indians in great numbers resorted in the spring, summer, and autumn, for fishing and hunting, and to spear salmon, and in many places to raise corn.

Hugh now returned to his family, secured the land, and, as it was late in the fall, found work upon a vessel during the winter. In the last week in February he left his work, and with his pack and axe started on snow-shoes for the woods. Upon the easterly side of the road leading to Fort Hill, and opposite to where the brick house now stands, upon land now occupied by Asa Palmer, Esq., he found an old logging camp, with the roof fallen in and filled with snow and leaves of trees. The great logs of which the walls were built had resisted the force of the elements and the hand of Time. Several hands, it was evident, had been required to roll up these logs, and the camp was of a size sufficient to contain a number of men. Hugh beheld these evidences of former occupation with that interest which men always feel who are about to undertake a perilous enterprise, as they trace the footsteps of those who have preceded them in like efforts. So long had it been abandoned, that a clump of young trees had grown up within the walls of the camp, and almost obliterated all evidences of the pioneers’ operations. But with a practised eye he traced through the young growth the road by which the masts had been hauled, and that to the spring where the lumbermen had obtained their water. He searched out the decaying stumps of the trees they had cut, and by the luxuriant growth of clover and other grass, and of weeds foreign to the woods, ascertained the place where stood the hovel for their cattle. Having now satisfied his curiosity, he returned to the camp, and proceeded to cut the young trees and bushes that grew within it; then, using his snow-shoes for shovels, he began to clear it of snow. While thus engaged, his thoughts involuntarily reverted to those who had built and occupied the structure before him.

“It is many a long year since these pines were cut and men slept in this old ruin,” said Hugh to himself.

While busied with these thoughts, and scraping the snow along the sides of the camp, he came upon an Indian tomahawk buried in the sides of one of the logs that formed the end wall; the handle had decayed and fallen away, and the stem of a blackberry-bush had sprung from the moss and dead bark of the log, and grown through the empty eye. As he stood thus, alone in the wilderness, and held this emblem of savage hostility and ruthless barbarity in his hand, even his firm mind was not proof against uneasy thoughts. Involuntarily the idea would intrude, that the gang of the camp had been killed by the Indians, and he almost expected to find their bones among the leaves. It was impossible to prevent the thought, “Such may be my fate and that of my family.”

Having completed his task, he got together some dead wood and brush, and made a great fire in the middle of the camp, thus burning up all the impurities and the green moss on the walls, and making the whole place dry and wholesome. As he had no tools to make splints and shingles, and bark would not run at that time of the year, he was compelled to cover the roof with brush. As the ends were standing, he made rafters of poles, and covered them with the brush, laying it in courses like shingles, placing the buts of the branches uppermost and lapping over. He then put other poles upon the brush, to prevent the wind from blowing it away, fastening them down with wooden pins, and leaving a large hole in the middle for the smoke to make its escape through. Thus he made quite a tight roof. Next, he hewed out some planks from a pine sapling, pinned them together for a door, and hung it on wooden hinges. He then covered the ground with hemlock boughs, upon which he spread his blanket for a bed.

“A man might as well take all the comfort he can,” said Hugh; so, driving four stakes into the floor before the fire, he piled up some logs between them, and spread his blanket over them to lean his back against.

Having eaten his supper, he sat down, and, leaning his back against the logs, took his axe between his knees and began to whet it with a stone (for he had no grindstone), that he might be ready for the morrow’s labor.

“It is good enough for a king,” said he, stretching out his hands and feet to the blaze, and looking around upon the walls, now dry and lighted up by the fire. “This is what I call real comfort. If the children and their mother were only here, it would be perfect.”

His first work was to fell trees for a “burn”; and as the sap had begun to flow, he made a trough, and, sticking his axe into a rock-maple, put a chip in the gash to guide the juice, and so had maple sap to drink while at work.

It was now the latter part of March, and he determined to go for his family, who were all ready and waiting to join him. They set out from Portland at daybreak, cheerful and with light hearts, although they would have been objects of pity to any person they might have chanced to meet. Elizabeth rode on the white horse, carrying one child; William drove the cow; and Hugh followed, with a pack on his back and a little girl in his arms. Elizabeth had on the horse with herself nearly all their household stock.

They arrived at the camp late in the afternoon, as they travelled but slowly, cumbered with children and cattle. But when they arrived, they found a heavy snow had fallen and broken in the roof, and filled the camp with snow. It was a sad disappointment; the children were crying with cold and hunger; they themselves were fatigued; and it was all the more bitter because Hugh had on the road told them how comfortable his abode was, and how he had a great fire ready to kindle the moment they arrived, and the little ones, with the eagerness of children for change, had been pleasing themselves with anticipations of the good times and great fires they were to have in the new camp.

But nothing daunted, Hugh kindled a fire beneath the root of a wind-fallen tree that sheltered them from the wind; Elizabeth milked the cow and gave them all a drink; and leaving William to mind the smaller ones by the fire, the pair set resolutely at work, removed the snow, put some brush on the roof, made a fire, and, spreading down some quilts to keep the children from freezing their feet (for they were all barefoot), and huddling all together for warmth, lay down by the fire to rest.

“This is a sorry time for you and the children, Betsy,” said Hugh.

“Indeed, we’ve much to be thankful for,” she replied, with her cheerful temper, that it was not in the power of circumstances to repress; “we’ve wood enough, and no rent to pay, thank God; and the children don’t mind it. I’ve known a poor creature’s pig seized and his fat taken off the fire in Ireland (thank God we’re not there!) for the rent of a place not half so good as this, and not two rods of land with it! Sure, it’s our own; and home is home, they say, be it ever so homely.”

The sun rose bright the next morning, with a warm southwest wind. Hugh got up early, made a good fire, and brought in some sap and spruce-gum for the children; the snow melted away from the door, and ran into the brook, and they could play out of doors. They were therefore in high glee, and all were cheerful and happy.

“It don’t take much to make children happy,” said Hugh to his wife, as he glanced at their smiling faces and healthy, robust forms.

“Not if they have but little,” she replied. “But there are the children or rich people, who have everything that can be imagined, and one would think ought to be happy; they are never satisfied, always fretful, while ours are contented with spruce-gum and maple-sap.”

“I think, then, poor people’s children are best off,” said Hugh.

“To be sure they are,” replied Elizabeth; “that is, if they have food and clothing, and could only be brought to believe it. And you know yourself, that the children who are brought up in a hard, rough way always make the brightest and smartest men. Look at our William,—he has seen hard times ever since he was born, and where can you find a boy of his age like him among the children of the rich? How much more he is worth for getting along in the world than my uncle’s boys in Ireland, who have always had all they wanted, and who, because they have had it, are feckless and do-nothings. I might have been the same,” she continued, “if I hadn’t been lucky enough to marry a poor man”;—and the lively creature laughed and clapped her hands with a heartfelt merriment that was contagious, and in which Hugh and all the children joined her. Then, rising up, she said, “While I feel so happy, I’m going over to see the woman in the other camp, and get acquainted with my neighbors.”

Having now his tools, Hugh split out shingles four feet long, and, putting them on rough, made the roof tight; while William, who was now eight years old, filled the chinks between the logs with clay from the brook, and, piling up brush around the bottom logs, made the place really warm and comfortable. Till this time they had been obliged to keep the horse and cow in the camp at night, for fear of the wolves and bears, to the great delight of the children, who, every time their mother’s back was turned, would get a little milk, which made her wonder why the cow gave so little,—for the rogues kept their own counsel, and so the falling off was imputed to driving her from Portland.

But their father now made a hovel of large logs that the wolves could not get into. He then brought from Portland the wool and flax wheels. To be sure, they raised no flax or wool. But Hugh oftentimes, when he could not obtain money for his work, took wool or flax for pay, and his wife spun and knit up the wool into stockings and mittens for him and the children, and spun the flax, and then carried it to Portland to his cousin Bryce McLellan, who was a weaver by trade, and who wove it in his loom. Such shifts were they put to at that time to get along. Sometimes, also, she took flax and wool home to spin for other folks, and had a proportion of it for spinning it.

They now had a piece of land, and it was paid for, and was their own. But to pay for it had taken the last penny. They had not a chair, stool, nor table; for when the Indians burnt their camp at Back Cove, they lost everything; and when they lived in Portland, in the house with Jennie Miller, who was a relation, they used her things. Hugh had as yet no time to make them, because he must spend all the time possible in cutting down trees, by which they might get their bread. They had but a fortnight’s provisions for themselves; not a lock of hay for the cow or horse, although it was yet only the middle of March; no bedstead, for they slept on brush laid on the ground. They needed neither churn nor milk-pans, for they drank the milk as fast as it came from the cow. They sat on the floor, and ate off of the floor; but Hugh said that was what half of Ireland did. They had not a bit of earthen, tin, or crockery in the camp, but ate from plates of wood made with an axe and adze, and with wooden spoons. They had neither tea nor coffee pot, because they had no tea or coffee; no candles or lamps, for they had but one room, and the fire made it light as day; and when they wanted a light in the night, they took a pine knot or a piece of pitchy wood. They had not a fowl of any kind, for they had no grain to feed it on. But they were a living exemplification of the truth of the proverb, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” The horse and cow picked up a living by means of the great quantities of “browse” afforded by the trees that were felled for clearing, and the old grass that was on the banks of the brook and in the open places of the woods; while the fear of wolves always brought them home at night. Notwithstanding, they were cheerful, resolute, and happy, because they trusted in God, and believed that he would crown their endeavors with success. Poor as they were, they had the Bible, the Catechism, and a few other good books. Night and morning from that humble camp went up the voice of praise and heartfelt thanksgiving to God; and the Ministering Angel passed by many a lordly palace and luxurious abode to hover in benediction over the rude camp of the immigrant in the wilderness. They were strong of limb, strong in faith, strong in God,—these descendants of those who read their Bibles among the hills of Scotland, with the broadsword holding down the leaves against the breeze, and who fought against Claverhouse. By degrees they obtained the things of prime necessity. Hugh went to Strandwater, bought some boards, cut them up, laid them across the horse’s back, and thus brought them home, and made a table. He hewed out a plank settle, and made a back to it of small poles; split out some stools from a large log, and put legs to them. Every stormy day that he could not work, he made some article of necessity for the camp. Meanwhile the children collected sap, and Elizabeth made sugar, which they used or sold to the Indians (who, though they made it themselves, could never have enough of it) for meat and fish. Hugh continued to fell trees, and, when he got out of provisions and could do no better, went out to work at Saco or Portland, to get a little corn, and brought it home on his back; and when by good fortune it was more than he could thus bring, William or his mother went with the horse.

It was now late in April, and as the trees cut then would be too green to burn, Hugh went out to work till June, when it was time to burn the fallen timber, in order that he might obtain provisions to last him through his planting, when, he must be at home. Here we shall leave him for the present, with wishes for his success.

Elijah Kellogg.

What is now Gorham, the scene of our story.


O, have you seen her! You should see

  Our Baby girl, our little one,

An opening bud of mystery,

  An everlasting hope begun!


Our Baby is a sunny thing,

  A sunny thing of love and light,

A little blossom of the spring,

  A tiny lily sweet and white.


Her eyes are of the softest blue,

  And in the whiteness of her face

Are like the sky gaps breaking through

  A pearly cloud in summer days.


Our Baby’s arms are little wings

  That flutter plumeless in the air;

And in her infant crowing sings

  The angel music unaware.


A sweetness clings to all her flesh,

  Like early grasses steeped in dew;

And in her silky hair, the fresh

  Faint odors that from Heaven she drew.


A thousand things our Baby knows,

  A thousand things she cannot tell;

For she remembers Eden’s rose,

  And sunny banks of asphodel;


And she has not forgotten, quite,

  The glory of her home above;

She sees it in the smile of light,

  She sees it in the smile of love.


Our Baby answers them in smiles

  As full of light and love as they,

And draws our elder hearts, with wiles

  Of sweetness, to her infant play.


And oh! as thus she brings us back

  To childhood’s simple truth and love,

Be ours to keep her shining track

  As sinless to her home above!

George S. Burleigh.


All the boys and most of the girls skate when the ice is good, and most excellent exercise and diversion they find. I remember the time when, in country districts, not one out of fifty enjoyed this pastime. The diversions of the ice were sliding and playing hockey, the girls joining only in the former. Sometimes, indeed, there was football upon a big pond, but an ice surface is not well suited for that sport; falls are rather too numerous, and the rush of players to one spot, where there may be a rally round the ball, involves the risk of a break, unless the ice is very thick and strong. Skating is all the fashion now for all, from children to the middle-aged; hockey is not often combined with it, and yet in a game of this kind on skates the sport is capital, and the fun fast and furious. But skating pure and simple is good enough for most boys, when it can be had, and for girls, too, for that matter.

My first impression about skating connected it with the girls. Did you ever see an illustrated book in which the various nations are personified, each by a figure? If you did, you will remember that Holland, the mother country of the honest folks who first settled New York State, and there smoked their pipes in peace until overrun by the Yankees from Connecticut, was represented by a maiden of sixteen, skating along the canal to market with a basket of butter on one arm, and one of eggs on the other. Years after I first saw the book, I wintered on the Elbe, and there, as near as might be, was the flaxen-haired, rosy-cheeked maiden, gliding along to market with her butter and eggs. Since then I have seen other pictures of skating;—Russians on the Neva, clad in sables; Swedes at Stockholm, wearing the spoils of the bear; and our own dainty fashionables, done to death almost by the tailor and dressmaker, on the lake in Central Park;—but none of them have supplanted the figure of the little Dutch damsel, with her blue eyes, her butter, and her eggs.

Skating, to be well enjoyed, should be carried on where there is plenty of room for speed and turns. In this sport, as in racing, there should be no “cross and jostle,” but in the neighborhood of large towns this can scarcely be avoided; on a fine day or evening, at the skating-ponds, the crowd is so great that no real skating can be had. There is a little wiring in and out, and dodging about, but no downright striking out. It reminds one of the Prince of Wales ball in New York, where the crowd was so great that, in order to enable one set to dance, they had to make a roped ring in the centre of Cooper Institute, and employ the police to keep it; but in the country there is space and verge enough. Before you start, look out for your equipments; clothing is a matter of importance,—for while it will seldom be too warm, it will sometimes be too heavy. Under-clothing is the thing to rely upon, not heavy, stiff over-coats, which cramp the body. Wool is the material. Cotton they said was king, but wool is the king-maker; for on a winter’s day, with light, yet thick woollen under-clothes, you will feel like a king, and may defy the frost. Its virtue is not limited by winter and cold climates; the mortality from the coast fever among the sailors in African ports was vastly diminished by a rule that they should wear woollen under-shirts. It used to be said of one part of the coast,—

“The Bight of Benin,—

 For ten that come out,

 A hundred go in!”

But this is so no longer.

A woollen under-shirt, then, is almost indispensable; and if there is a delicacy of habit, and an aptitude to take cold, let it be thin, with a light buckskin shirt worn next to it. I said before there was nothing like wool. I now say for boys and girls of not very hardy habit, and unused to “roughing it,” “There’s nothing like leather.” The buckskin shirt is a very shirt of mail against coughs, colds, sore-throats, and the like. The stockings should be warm, and fit the foot. The trousers and waistcoat will be the ordinary ones for winter wear. Over the waistcoat a Cardigan jacket is a capital thing for a skater; and while skating on still days, not intensely cold, you will need no coat, or only a light one over it. This jacket is named after the British officer who led the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava; it is knitted of worsted, or crocheted of Berlin wool, and your sister or cousins can make it, or they are not half as accomplished in the useful and ornamental arts as I take them to be. It is simply a jacket to fit the figure, long enough to come down over the hips; it buttons down the front, and the sleeves are tight at the wrists, which is a great point towards keeping you warm. These jackets may be seen in the stores, but the price is very high, except for poor, short things, ended soon after they were begun. Therefore let the young ladies get the material and move their nimble fingers. Being warm, light, and elastic, the Cardigan is the very best thing for skating. Even in cold, windy weather, a light coat will be enough to wear over a Cardigan.

The boots for skating should be tolerably stout, and made to lace up in front above the ankle. That sort of boot braces the ankle-joint, and the skate fits to it better than to any other. Commonly it should be made of good calf-leather, without patent-leather tips, kid tops, and like fancy things. But where the hide of a young alligator can be had, the best material that Nature ever formed for a winter boot is within your power. Take the skin of the legs, where the scales are small, and nothing can beat your uppers; they will look a little clumsy, and those who know nothing of the matter may fancy the leather rigid. But it is as soft and pliable as kid, never stiffens in drying, and is as proof against water or melting snow as a bottle: I speak from experience.

In regard to the skates, I think the most simple in construction are the best. The new inventions have not brought forth any useful original principle that I can see. The irons should not be fluted, except for children and light boys. For them the grooving is useful, as the skate takes hold of the ice more readily. But where there are weight and some force of stroke, the smooth-edged skate will take hold of the ice easily enough. The advantages of the smooth-edged iron over the fluted one are two,—it does not cut up the ice so much, and it has no groove to clog up, become slippery, and give the wearer a back fall.

The skates being firmly buckled on, the beginner must, if possible, get the assistance of a friend at the outset. With good nerve and a friendly hand, the difficulty of a commencement, which is the greatest of all, will be soon overcome. A few falls may be expected as a matter of course. The legs must be kept well together, but the toes may point outward a little. In striking out, it is best not to be rash at first; if the right is to be the leading leg, the left knee must be stiffened up to bear the weight, and then bent a very little at the moment the stroke is made. The right foot is to be advanced with a gliding motion, the weight being thrown on the inside, well forward towards the ball of the great toe. The right knee is then to be straightened and the left foot advanced. The strokes should not be above a yard in length at the outset. If two boys will hold the end of a staff, and let the beginner take the middle of it to steady him, the stroke will soon be learned. The stroke is to be gradually increased in length, and the foot which is relieved at each stroke kept off the ice longer. The skater must not look at his feet, but keep his eyes on something a good distance off. The body should be advanced a little, and the head held well up. When perfect steadiness and precision are attained, an upright position may be assumed; but if this is attempted at the beginning, the young skater will find his heels go from under him, and he will get a back fall. The movement should be smooth and free, not scrabbling and jerking. To stop, the knees must be bent, the heels drawn together, and the weight thrown on them. Or, by taking a short turn, and advancing the inside foot to sustain its share of the weight, a halt is soon effected.

For the old and young dandies and exquisite misses, who take to skating as a means to show their graces, the fashionable ponds near the cities are deservedly in favor. The great crowds which make real skating impossible are no objection, because few exquisites can skate well, and the crowd is an excellent excuse for such pattering about on the irons as they are capable of. But the boys and girls who make up the band of “Our Young Folks” want to skate,—to enjoy the genuine thing. Therefore they do not go to the ponds where there are many flags and much music, with calcium lights and what not by night, but seek other scenes.

The chosen place of action is out of town. The New-Yorker may take delight in the Fifth Avenue Pond or the Central Park Lake. The Brooklynite may believe in those whose banners wave over that great suburb. The Montrealer may have his sheltered “rink,” screened overhead, warmed by stoves, and lighted with gas. But our young folks hie away from the cities to the lake, with its sheltered nooks and woody islands, where the wild-fowl breed,—the long pond, under the grove on the hill, where the squirrels coil up in the hollows of the trees, and snooze away the hardest of the winter,—the winding reaches of the river, where the muskrats build their castles, and where the beaver and the Indian in old times used to dwell. The pond above the mill-dam will please them; and there are less satisfying places than the stretches of a canal, especially for straight-away work, when the wind is sideways and the water low.

The lee side is always to be chosen, and if possible the lee of a piece of woods. There are two good reasons for this: one is that the shelter makes the sport much more enjoyable, and the other is that you can go faster and farther in a still atmosphere than in a windy one. The outside wind works not in aid of the wind-mill inside.

Up in the morning early, is a motto of the young skater; a crust and a cup of milk before the family are astir, and then away to the trysting-place. It nips the nose a little, this frosty air, and inclines us to push along briskly. It is that time when at other seasons Puck says to his master,—

“Fairy king, attend and mark,

 I do hear the morning lark!”

We are break-of-day boys!

“Right against the eastern gate,

 Where the great sun begins his state,”

the sky is lighted up. The boughs soon sparkle with sprays of gold, and clusters of diamonds, brighter than those that some whom we know wear as ornaments, and just as real. Here you are, all in a clear glow; the skates are buckled, and away you go. The sport is just delicious; and I think you enjoy it all the more because your time is limited, and you must be at home to breakfast. When you have done, sit down out of the wind, off with the skates quickly, on with your jackets or over-coats, over the Cardigans, and away with you at a good swinging walk. The mush and milk and buckwheat cakes must suffer, but what then? The cook forever, and no need for the doctor.

Now a word about diet. You like hot buckwheat cakes, with butter and honey, I dare say. I know I do; but I can tell you, my boys, that mush and milk is better for the wind and the muscle; oatmeal porridge is better than either. I have my doubts whether oatmeal is not better for the wind and the formation of muscle than wheat-flour. Tom Cribb, once champion of England, was very nearly defeated by a powerful negro named Molyneaux, from the Southern States. But they were matched again. Captain Barclay, the man who walked a thousand miles in a thousand hours, took Cribb to the Highlands of Scotland, and trained him upon oatmeal porridge, mountain mutton, and walks of thirty miles a day through the blooming heather. The consequence was that he beat the black easily.

If skating in the early morning sunshine is delicious,—and I think you will admit that it is,—skating by night, by the light of the clear, cold moon, is simply glorious. The stars look down upon a happy band; all is still upon the gleaming hill, and all snug in the valley; no sound comes from the farmyard, except perhaps the challenge of the valiant cock, who, in sheer defiance of the cold, now and again crows lustily. Under the lee of the bluffs, upon smooth, hard ice, the game begins, and this is the way of it.

Long, quick stroke, and away we go,

By the bluffs that are crowned with snow,

Waking the fish in the pools below,

  To wonder what may betide.

The starry trout and the winding eel

Quake alike at our flying steel,

As on we dash, or sideways wheel,

  And over the shadows glide.


Speed, lads, speed! o’er the icy way,

Swift as darts the pike at his prey

From the lily-pads on a sunny day,

  On the marge of a limpid lake.

Shout, shout, “Ho, ho! ’tis the sport we love!”

The wild-fowl shriek in the drift above,

The watch-dogs bark, and the gentle dove

  Coos soft in the cedar brake.


The swifts are gay in the summer time,

The swallows glad in the autumn prime,

But we are birds of the frosty rime,

  All under the northern sky.

With wings of steel, we fly by night,

Revelling loud in the cold moonlight,

Or, wrapt in folds of mist so white,

  Go silently gliding by.

Charles J. Foster.


Mississippi was crying!

O, I see some of you are making round eyes at this, and one sharp-looking boy, with a bright glance and a snub nose, says sarcastically, “Yes, of course, a perfect torrent of tears.” But that little fair-haired girl who has not yet learned the world’s wisdom—to doubt—says wonderingly, “I knew that rivers had mouths,—but eyes—I don’t understand.”

This was a little girl, and not a river.

You see, down South, the people are very fond of their own particular States. Perhaps some of you have heard that it is a self-evident truth that the whole is greater than any of its parts. But this has never been evident to some persons down there, and I dare say they believe to this day that their own particular State is worth more than the whole United States. This idea is known as the doctrine of States’ Rights, and you know they fought to support it not very long ago, which was exactly as if you boys were to fight for a piece of plum-cake, when you might have the whole.

So it happened that a little girl came to be called after a State. You may meet every State in the Union walking about in Dixie. I myself have known a “Virginia Revolutianna,” and two or three “Americas,” all “South Americas,” of course.

But this fresh-looking little girl, whose face is now in a cloud, a storm-cloud where rain is falling, was seldom burdened with her long name, for the servants and nearly every one else called her “Missy.” It had been such a happy day! I will tell you about it, and how such a sunshiny time came to end in a shower.

When Missy saw those golden arrows of light shooting into her room, she jumped out of bed, ran to the window, and looked out with delight. Morning was breaking, and the sun crowned it with a kingly crown. Over the green islands with their fruitful shores, over sunny slope and verdant swell and far-reaching woods, the bright beams were dancing. The birds twittered and fluttered about, as if they were fairly drunk with light and joy. And Missy danced too in her white night-gown, and sang till you might almost have fancied her some odd white bird of most uncommon plumage.

“For I shall have a picnic to-day, Screwny, dear,” she said.

Screwny was her elder sister, properly named Susan, a staid, proper girl, who talked like a copy-book.

“In these times of trouble and danger, how can you think of such a thing?” said Screwny. “A picnic, when we have been living on corn-bread and bacon for a month!”

“Ah! but Tip gave me a darling little fat chicken last night, that Maum Juno broiled to a delicious brown. It made my mouth water, and I thought of a picnic at once.”

“One chicken,” said Screwny contemptuously, “and stolen of course.”

Missy was silent. Tip was not irreproachable on that score. His morality, like his face, was not perfectly white. But it was hard to have such a wet blanket thrown on her enthusiasm.

“Tip knows I wouldn’t eat stolen chicken,” she said, proudly, as she brushed up the short, bright curls, till they looked like a little golden crown. “You are so disappointing, Screwny.”

“Disappointment is the lot of man,” answered Screwny in her primmest style. “What would you say to the Yankees landing in the midst of your picnic?”

“O, I hope not till we’d eaten our chicken; there wouldn’t be enough for all,” said Missy, laughing.

But their mother’s voice was now heard calling in sharp tones that made the girls start. She was not a mother to be kissed and coaxed into anything. She was straight and cold, and seemed as if childhood lay so far behind her that she had forgotten all about it.

Nevertheless, Missy came off conqueror. It was something to get the children comfortably off for the day. She could have some sweet potatoes, but she could not have Tip. Now as Missy’s picnic only included her sister and Tip, this last was a great loss.

Even Screwny relaxed when she saw the crisp chicken wrapped in a napkin, and the brown potatoes, looking their sweetest, piled about it.

“Exercise in moderation is always to be sought,” quoth Screwny, “as it has a most beneficial effect on the health and spirits.”

“But, O Tip, I wish you could come with us,” said Missy. “I counted on a row over to St. Johns.”

Tip was chopping wood. He would have chopped his hand off to serve Missy, but he was a factotum about the Morgans’ now. They were “pore white folks,” and only owned a half-dozen slaves, so he could not be spared. He was what the common people called a “likely yaller boy,” tall, slim, with soft, dark eyes; but there was fire under the softness, and under the thick, dark skin there were nerves that could thrill with pleasure, as yours do, or be stung to madness by pain. Years ago his father had been so stung into searching for freedom through the neighboring swamps, and over all the dreary stretches of land and water to the Ohio shore. Would Tip ever forget the night that the bloodhounds set off on his trail, and the dull waiting, day by day, to see “daddy” brought back torn and bleeding to his dingy little cabin. Strange, isn’t it, for prayers to go up to Heaven, that the husband and father may not come home?—but so prayed Maum June and Tip. And God, sitting on his great white throne beyond the sunsets, heard the cry; for “daddy” never came back. Tip was fifteen now, and the maddening hunger for life and freedom stirred him through and through. Mr. Morgan was a hard master,—but there was hope still. The Yankee fleet was coming, and in the mean time he could serve Missy, and wait.

He bobbed his head as she spoke to him now, with the courtesy of a knight of olden time; but of course you wouldn’t have read the chivalry in his yellow face, because it was colored, and had knotty wool over it.

“Lors, Missy, no end to de work for dis nigga; I’d gin a heap to gwine wid yer; but yer see’t ain’t no use a wishin’. Reckon missis tinks I’d spile if I didn’t keep a goin’.”

So Missy and her sister went on and turned out of the brown dusty way into the woods, where the wild strawberries shone out coral-red under lush green leaves, and the dew still sparkled on the broad, glossy magnolia-leaves and their pure pearly buds. The long, mournful moss draped the trees, but even that took a fresher color in the golden morning light. And Missy frisked about like a kitten, and envied the bird-life in the branches,—the birds who had no hard lessons, and no tiresome work, and no desperate struggle for house and home and food and raiment,—for she thought, “Feathers cost them nothing, and their fashions never alter, and they never can tear their clothes.”

“But I should want to read,” said Missy, “and so I could not be quite happy as a bird. I have brought Hans Christian Andersen with me, Screwny.”.

So they sat down in a mossy nook, velvety soft and green, with the birds darting about like winged flowers or flying gems, and a bit of blue sky shining above, and the bluer water gleaming through the tree openings, and a soft plashing of waves on the beach, to read.

But Screwny tired first of the intellectual fare, and looked at the basket with longing eyes. When Missy looked up, she saw something more surprising; namely, Tip, making his way slowly through the trees.

“Ki, Missy, I jes’ done made de time to gin you a row”;—and he looked so happy that Missy questioned him no further.

So, after the chicken was discussed, they went out into the long grass where crowds of bees were droning in the sunshine, and crowds of brown grasshoppers hopped about over the purple flushed slopes,—where yellow butterflies fluttered their golden wings,—down to the brown beach, where a little boat rocked gently on the tide.

How dreamy Missy grew as those oars dipped softly in the water, and the liquid plash sounded in unwritten music on her ear! Every blow seemed to shatter the shining water into diamond showers; yet the sunshine goldened far down in the waves, like a heart of light. Then Tip sang, as the negroes always do in rowing:—

“O, dar is a ribber, a cole, dark ribber,

An’ my soul is gwine before ye.

O make de ribber a shinin’ ribber

To carry me home to glory.


“Trabble low, trabble low,—

O, we’s gwine home to glory!—

Trabble low, my Christian frien’s,—

O, we’s gwine home to glory!”

“Glory!” It seemed to Missy as if they had reached it already, such a blue sky bent over them, with snowy floats of clouds like white-winged ships sailing over it; the shores sloped away in a dim greenness, and the sun made a golden path for them as they floated idly on.

But she was brought back sharply to this lower world before long. When the golden-belted bees began to stagger home, Missy thought it was time to go too; and she wondered that Tip hung back as they approached the house.

Maum Juno stood at the kitchen door, watchful and irate. “You done cotch it now, I reckon,” she said, as she caught Tip by the arm. “Missis didn’t fine her frien’s at home, and she done come back, an’ a mighty fuss she’s made about yer. O, she’s mad as blazes.”

Tip stood up defiantly, a burning flush glowing through his light yellow skin, and a fierce light kindling in his soft, sleepy eyes. Missy looked sadly at him; she understood it at once. “O Tip, it was wrong, but I know you did it to please me. I will beg mamma to let you off.”

Screwny followed at a measured pace, and reached the room in time to hear her mother coldly say, “Tip has disobeyed, and he shall be punished. I’ve already ordered that he shall have twenty lashes to-morrow.”

And Missy burst into tears,—so we have reached the beginning of our story, and you know what she was crying about. She could not eat when tea-time came, but was glad to go out into the soft evening air, and lay her flushed and tear-stained face on the grass, and the cool breeze fanned her, and the branches waved about her, till I suppose she fell asleep; for the stars were looking down at her, with a hundred golden eyes, when she opened her own again. But something beside the soft night-wind stirred near her. At first a chill of fear made her shiver in the warm summer air, but then in a moment she recognized the voices, and did not stir.

“It’s mighty hard, Tip,” said Maum Juno, in a low, sad tone. “I’se done raised yer, an’ had a heap o’ comfort in yer; but ’pears like ye’re dead sot on goin’. Ye allez had a hankerin’ dat a way, an’ now dis yere lickin’—”

“O, as for de lickin’, tell ole Missis I’se berry sorry dat I couldn’t wait for it; de spress train lebes dis yere station at half past eight. An’ I reckon I ain’t gwine to fine time to come back arter it; for, as de boy said when dey wos a teachin’ him his letters an’ a lickin’ him at ebery letter, ‘I can’t tell if it ’ud be worth going t’rough so much for so little.’ ”

“Now Tip,” said Maum Juno, “don’t go in dat sperrit. Gib yerself to yer Hebbenly Master, and don’t be a heavin’ of yer jokes about in dis yer solemn season. Who gwine ter help yer troo de ma’sh, ef de good Lord don’t take pity on yer? Ye know when Jacob was a trabblin’, how de Lord helped him wid dat yere ladder.”

“Tink dat yere ladder ’ud reach to der Yankees?” said Tip. “ ’Pears dat sech a ladder ’ud be mighty useful to us poor niggas. Reckon dese white folks tinks dey owns de ladder to heaven, and when dey gets up dere dey’ll jest fotch it up after ’em.”

During this talk, Tip had been dressing himself in girl’s costume,—an old blue homespun dress with a coarse check apron,—and he was just finishing by tying an old sun-bonnet on his head. Missy hardly breathed, yet a fierce struggle was going on in her innocent little heart. Tip was going to run away, and what was her duty about it? Her father had gone to Savannah, and would not be back for weeks. There was a fair chance for Tip to get off, and, poor fellow! he had been so kind to her. How could she go and denounce him to her mother?—remembering all the time the twenty lashes that would cut into his quivering flesh when once the bright morning broke. But then they would lose him. They were poor enough already; and Missy, young as she was, knew the value of soul and body, or rather of bodies, when black and owned by a Southern planter. So she listened with such a beating heart that she wondered they did not hear it throb through the silence, to tell them some one was near.

Maum Juno did look furtively about once in a while, as she hurried a few poor things into a bundle. “Look sharp for yer dad, when ye gits safe to de Norf, Tip,” she began in a trembling voice. “Reckon he clean forgot de ole cabin and de chil’en. Tell him Pete’s dead, an’ lilly Sam’s done sole away. ’Pears like I nebber see de ole man in dis worl’, Tip, but I reckon Hebben’s as nigh to Georgy as it is to de Norf,—so some day or odder I’ll meet him in de shinin’ streets.”

“Lors! does yer eber ’spect to walk in dem shinin’ streets?” said Tip with bitter sarcasm. “Reckon when ye gits to heaven ye’ll have to stay in de quarters.”

“Ye’re an onbliever, Tip, I’se sorry to see, or ye’d know de lovin’ Master says dat dar’s no bond an’ free dar. But go now, ef ye’re gwine, and yer ole mammy’ll pray for ye night an’ day.”

“Good by, mammy,” said Tip, in a really sobered tone. “I’se gwine sure ’nuff. I’ll tink a heap o’ pore ole dad, when I gits in de ma’sh to-night; and when I gits to de Yankees, I’ll learn to read and write so as to write yer a line.”

So Tip was gone, and Missy sat there awhile like a guilty thing, thinking it all over. There was still time to run to her mother; there was time to set the hunters on his track. Why, if she only called aloud,—if one only took a few steps,—he would be a prisoner. Poor Tip! he did not own himself; he was theirs; he was running away with their property,—stealing part of their inheritance,—and yet she did not cry “Stop thief!” She sat there as if spellbound, and listened, as in a dream, to Maum Juno, who was fixing things for the night, going about very softly, and singing in a sort of awestruck tone:—

“O what yer gwine ter do

  When dat day comes?

O what yer gwine ter do

  When dat day comes?

When de yearth begin to shake,

  An’ de hebben ’gin to quake,—

O what yer gwine ter do

  When dat day comes?”

Then Missy got up very slowly. Poor Tip! She was decided now. It will be better not to have owned souls when “dat day comes.” She crept stealthily up to bed, wondering that they had not missed her; but she heard Screwny’s voice reading aloud as she passed, and these words sounded on the stillness,—“Neither Greek nor Jew, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all.” So the problem was solved; and Missy fell asleep and dreamed of the lonely swamps, with their tangled vines, and the great pines that stood up in them with horribly swollen trunks and dank gray moss dripping from them, and poor Tip cowering under them, dreaming of freedom.

So Missy looked pale the next morning when she sat down to her lessons, and when Screwny asked her where Rio Janeiro was, she answered wildly, “In the desert of Sahara.”

“I suppose it’s a camel then,” said her sister, with withering sarcasm.

“Seems to me, Missy, it’s no use havin’ a mind if you don’t keep it convenient when it’s required. Now mine’s just like my work-basket,—always in order, and I know just where to put my hand on an idea when I want it.”

But Missy sat silently waiting for the first mutterings of a storm that must surely come,—waiting with a throbbing heart, as some timid souls wait and watch the thunder-cloud, with the fear that the next fiery flash may leap on them, or strike somewhere near, and shake the solid earth beneath their feet.

It came at last sharp and quick. “Girls! Tip has run away,—the ungrateful scamp; there’s no doubt of it, he’s gone.”

Missy could not look astonished. She did not try; but Screwny’s exclamations quite covered her silence.

“When did you see him last, Missy?”

The child turned pale. She could not lie; but she had heroic stuff in her, for she looked steadfastly at her mother, though her voice faltered. “Last night.”

“Of course,” was the quick and fierce reply; “but when,—how late?”

Poor Tip’s joke made Missy remember the hour too well. “At half past eight.”

The steadfast, shining eyes, the pale cheeks, made Mrs. Morgan examine Missy’s face with a keener look. Through and through her, Missy felt that look blaze into her very soul to light up the secrets there. But even her mother’s cold voice faltered at the next question. “Did you,—did you hear anything of this?”

“Yes, mamma! I heard Tip say he was going to run away!”

Then Missy dropped her eyes, and her heart stopped its quick choking throbs,—would it ever beat again, she wondered. A dead silence of a moment,—only a few flies buzzing in the slant yellow sunbeams on the floor,—only a clock that ticked louder and louder, till Missy thought it sounded like another frightened heart, beating out its terror. She knew what her mother’s anger was; she had seen it visited upon the servants before,—now she was to bear it alone. She saw the pale, fixed face, the stern, set mouth, though she never raised her eyes.

“Screwny, bring me ‘Dr. Jack.’ ”

The words struck her like a blow. “Dr. Jack” was a long leathern strap,—the terror of her childhood, but only used as a bugbear, for Missy only knew it in name. Now it curled about in Screwny’s hand like some venomous live thing. Yet Missy did not speak a word.

Mrs. Morgan asked no further questions. Explanation could not be given to her for such a crime, and the child knew her mother too well to offer any. She only shut her eyes as the fiery, cutting strokes came down on her bare neck and raised great scarlet welts on the white skin.

“Now help a runaway slave again,” said Mrs. Morgan, as she shut poor Missy in her room.

So there she sat through the long bright May-day, with a sad, tired little heart. It was a hard world,—a cruel world, she thought; but she did not repent of letting poor Tip go free. She looked with longing eyes across the purple downs to the gloomy coolness of the swamps beyond, as if she could see the lonely, friendless boy toiling through their tangled brakes. Freedom was worth something, then. It was more than shelter, more than comfort, more than food; it was worth toil and hunger, starvation perhaps, death itself, since Tip had perilled all to gain it. So she did not repent her crime, but rejoiced that she had helped to make him free. For day by day wore on, and he was not brought back.

The yellow leaves of the elm-tree dropped all about Missy on that clear September day, and lay in little golden drifts around her feet. The chrysanthemums were all ablaze in the garden, and the fever flush was kindled in the maples. Only the solemn pines stood up unchanged, and murmured their own music to the winds. The world looked bright again to Missy as she listened to a measured tramp, and saw a grand procession with gay flags of crimson stripes and silver stars, with the gleaming of armor, the beat of drums, and martial music ringing out the changes on that wonderful old tune, “Hail Columbia,” file slowly by.

Mrs. Morgan and Screwny watched it from a window, with colder eyes; but Missy danced about at the gate, and Maum Juno looked at the mystic flags as if they were the wands of some mighty enchanter.

She drew a long breath as the last one flapped in the wind at the turning of the road.

“Dat’s de flag dat makes us free, Missy, bress de Lord!” she said; “but I’s not gwine to be sot up by it a mite. We’s pore creturs at de best.”

Two weeks after, Missy saw this in a New York paper, from an army correspondent: “One of the most valuable guides to our army in this region of swamps and thickets has been a young mulatto who seems to know every foot of the way. He has shown great fortitude in the marches, which have been severe for a slender boy of fifteen. Like all his race, he is a fast friend to the Yankees. His name is ‘Tip,’ but I call him ‘Tip-Top.’ ”

Then Missy knew that she had helped in some small way to bring into the land “the flag that made them free.”

Helen Wall Pierson.


Dora Sumner was a dear little girl, about four years old. Her hair was the color of corn-silk, and fell on her plump shoulders in soft flossy curls, while her blue eyes looked lovingly at everybody and everything. She was such a sunny-tempered little creature, that her old nurse Roxy used to say, “Ten children like our Dora would make less noise and trouble in a house than one like Master Sam.” Sam was Dora’s only brother,—a saucy, careless fellow of eight; always tearing his clothes, playing tricks, chasing the cat, or teasing Annie. As for Annie, she was the eldest of the children, a gentle, thoughtful girl, who rather liked to be considered a young lady, though she was not much over ten.

One evening in March, the three children were with their mother in the cosey sitting-room of their house, in a pretty village near Boston. Annie and Sam were playing dominoes, while Dora, who had finished her early supper of bread and milk, was watching the game, and making brave efforts to keep awake until papa should return from visiting his patients and give her a good-night kiss. The poor child was very sleepy, however, and, in spite of all her struggles, her rosy mouth stretched once and again into a big yawn. Each time, her mother and Annie noticed it, and smiled significantly, for it was one of the family rules that the third yawn after tea should be a signal for going to bed. At last number three came, and the little one, slipping from her chair, leaned her weary head on her mother’s lap, sighing, “Wing for Woxy, mamma, Do’s ’awned fwee times.” Roxy came accordingly; but before she carried her pet away, good-night kisses must be given all round, and the prayers said at the mother’s knee. The other children paused in their game to watch the child, as she knelt and slowly repeated “Our Father,” and “Now I lay me,” then drew a long breath and went on, “God bwess papa and mamma, Nannie and Sam and Woxy, make Do a good girl, and bwess dear Uncle Max, and ‘Genty Annie,’ and bwing ’um safe home out of the big sea. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.”

All the listeners knew what Dora’s prayer meant; but perhaps you may not understand it, and so I will tell you that “Uncle Max” was Mrs. Sumner’s only brother,—a very warm-hearted, generous man, who, having no wife or children of his own, was extremely fond of his sister and her family. He was a sea-captain, and owned a fine vessel named the “Gentle Annie,” in which he made voyages to China, South America, or the West Indies. Whenever he returned from these trips, he brought presents for his sister and the children in his big green chest. They all loved him dearly,—he was so merry, so good-natured, so willing to tell them stories, and sing them songs, and amuse them in funny ways that no one else would have thought of. Sam often declared that Uncle Max was better than Christmas, or New Year, or even Fourth of July; and once at school, when Jenny Dowse boasted she had a pony all her own, and Susy Moody said she had two new silk dresses, Annie had silenced them both by saying, “You haven’t either of you an Uncle Max, who owns a whole ship, and has been to China and seen whales and sharks.”

This beloved uncle had left them six months before the evening I was telling you about, intending to visit several South American ports, and to touch at Cuba on his return. He was now expected daily; and, for a week past, the children’s first act in the morning had been to rush to the head of the stairs to see if the well-known green chest were in the hall below.

One of Uncle Max’s merry ways was to let them all wish for what they wanted he should bring them next time. On the last afternoon he was with them he would lie down on the sofa as if very weary, and declare his intention of taking a nap, adding, that they must be very quiet, and, if they had any last wishes to express, they might whisper them to “Gentle Annie.” By this he meant a little model of his vessel which stood on a table at the head of the sofa. One of the sailors had made it for Sam. So the children would keep as still as mice, until, from breathing heavier and louder, Uncle Max would finally snore sonorously; then one by one they would steal up, and whisper the secret wishes of their little hearts to the carved figure-head of the “Gentle Annie.” The elder ones always had their minds made up, and their wish ready, having previously ascertained where their uncle was going, and then consulted their parents and their geographies as to the desirable articles to be procured there. Little Dora, however, more ignorant and more trustful, always said, “P’ese, Genty Annie, bwing Do huffin nice.” Somehow or other, the wishes were always gratified, and, when next uncle’s chest returned, there were the very things they had whispered about.

Perhaps you are old and wise enough to guess the mystery; perhaps by this time Sam and Annie had solved the puzzle; but the plan was first made when they were so young as to think there must surely be fairies’ work about it, and no one had ever showed any wish to give it up. Both uncle and children liked it as well as ever. Before the last voyage, Sam had wished for a funny live monkey, Annie for a big basket of oranges, and Dora, as usual, for “huffin nice.” Sam had heard how lively and roguish monkeys were, and he thought it would be rare fun to have one, and see him playing tricks in the kitchen, putting neat Annie’s basket out of order, and perhaps even pulling off Roxy’s false curls. Annie’s idea had been more amiable. “I might wish for a sandal-wood fan,” she thought, “but I could only carry it once in a great while to a party, and I know I should fidget all the time then, for fear it would get broken. I will have oranges, and then I can take one to school every day for luncheon, and papa loves them cut up in sugar for tea, and I can ride about with him, and give them to his patients. I will have the fan when I am older.” So she wished for the fruit, and Sam for Jocko; and when I tell you that part of the rule was, that neither child should know the other’s wish, you can understand how eagerly they looked for their uncle’s return, which would bring surprises as well as gifts to all.

While I have been telling you all this about Uncle Max, Dora has gone to sleep in her crib, the game of dominoes is ended, papa has returned, tea is over, and Sam and Annie have also snuggled into their respective beds. Just as they had called out “Good night” to each other for the third time, the front gate was heard to click open and slam shut, and a clear, strong voice came singing under the windows,—

“But give to me the swelling breeze,

  And white waves heaving high.”

“Hooray for Uncle Max,” cried Sam; and his slim legs kicked off the blankets and carried him to the head of the stairs in an instant.

“O splendid! O hush!” exclaimed Annie, in one breath. “O, where is my wrapper?”—and out she came too, thrusting her arms into the sleeves of her flannel gown.

Sure enough, there is father opening the door, and mother, close behind, slips past him, and is snatched in the big blue-coated arms. Yes, it is darling Uncle Max! No one else has such shaggy hair, all in black curls and rings; no one else such tanned cheeks. Who beside him would lift mamma clear off her feet, and call her his “own dear Molly,” or dare to take papa by the shoulders and kiss him? Nobody else would have spied the shivering, eager little peepers above, and, singing out so heartily, “Now for the babies!” have come leaping up the stairs. Sam gave a shrill yell, and rushed down three steps, and clung around his waist; and as he reached the top, Annie, laughing and crying together, launched herself into his open arms, and received a dozen kisses before she was set free.

“Go back to bed, you little foxes,” cries the merry uncle. “Here comes Roxy, and she’ll scold us both. Go quickly to sleep, or you won’t be fit to go with me to the Museum to-morrow.”

The children disappeared quickly in their rooms.

“Ah, Roxy, here I am again, to break all your good rules, you see.”

“I’m merry glad to see you, Captain Max, whatever,” says Roxy; “and I know it’s little Dora you’ll have to kiss before you’ll have your tea, sir.”

So she led the way, turned up the gas, and there lay the little cherub, rosy and beautiful, in her crib, with her golden curls tossed like a glory above her head. One fat hand clasped tightly a much-soiled rabbit, made of once white cotton flannel, and with which the child always went to sleep. The rough sailor gazed at her till the tears filled his eyes, and his sister called from below, “Tea’s all ready, Max.”

“Ay, ay,” he answered, kissed Dora gently, and went down.

You may be sure the children were all up early the next morning. Dora rode down stairs on Uncle Max’s shoulder, Sam and Annie following, full of eager expectation. The first thing they saw on entering the dining-room was a big wooden box marked “Miss Annie Sumner,” full of delicious-looking oranges, peeping out of their white papers. The next discovery was a box of guava jelly in Dora’s plate; then a piece of beautiful white and pink Cuba linen for wrappers on the mother’s chair, and, chained to the leg of the table, a funny, old-mannish looking monkey, about as big as a young cat. You can imagine the astonishment of the girls at Sam’s gift, their delight over their own, and the thanks and kisses showered on Uncle Max. Dora insisted that Jocko was “Uncle Jakey,” an old black man who sometimes came to saw wood.

“It is Uncle Jakey, got all small. I know it is. He better go in the kitchen wiz Woxy,”—and nothing would induce her to touch him or regard him as a pet, playfellow, or friend.

She was much pleased with her own gift, her “pwitty wed butter,” as she called it, and stopped several times during breakfast to hug her uncle. Roxy shared her pet’s prejudice against the monkey, and went about holding her skirts carefully from contact with him, and tossing her head in a way she had when things did not please her. Her mistress secretly sympathized with her, but was consoled by a private promise from Captain Max that he would take away Jocko at the end of a week, if she really wished it.

That afternoon Uncle Max took the elder children to the Museum, as he had promised, allowing each of them to invite one of their particular friends to go too. They were thus a party of five, and had a glorious time. The only drawback was, that the captain bade them good by as soon as they reached home, being obliged to take the night boat for New York.

“I shall be gone four or five days,” he said, “and when I return I shall expect to hear how many dozen oranges Annie has eaten, and how Sam’s monkey has behaved. Mind now, Sam, if you let him trouble your mother, I’ll take him away where you’ll never see him again.”

Sam grinned; he did not believe his merry uncle would ever keep the threat. Like many other children, he did not know that one so lively and good-natured could also, in case of need, be stern, just, and immovable.

At the end of a week Captain Max returned. This time he came late, and all the children were asleep, the Doctor had been called out, and Mrs. Sumner was alone. As soon as he was comfortably seated and his cigar lit, he requested, and his sister gave him, The Sad Story of Sam’s Monkey.

“O Max! such a week as this has been! I can laugh about it now with you, but it has been no laughing matter for either the children, or Roxy, or me, I assure you.

“You know, when you left, the creature was quite shy and still, and would hardly move or eat. In the morning he still seemed so harmless and depressed that I allowed Sam to leave him unchained when he went to school, thinking he would feel more at home if he walked about a little. Accordingly he did walk about, but very slowly and shyly. He seemed to take a fancy to Roxy, and, though she hated him, followed her about closely while she gave Dora her bath and afterwards washed some laces in the bath-room basin. His aspect was so comically wise and attentive that we all laughed, and felt more kindly towards him.

“By and by I went down stairs, leaving him asleep in a patch of sunlight on the play-room floor, while Roxy and Dora were sitting as usual in the nursery close by. I had hardly been down half an hour when piercing screams from Dora made me run up again. O such a scene! The perfidious monkey, in imitation of Roxy’s performances, had collected all the dolls from the baby-house, thrown them into the bath-tub, and turned on the water, besides putting to soak in the basin a pile of Dora’s freshly-ironed white aprons, which Roxy had left a moment on a chair. Poor Dora’s grief, as she pulled her drenched dollies out of their bath, was extreme. The china ones were unhurt, except as to their dresses; but the large painted one was a melancholy spectacle: the black of her hair and the red of her cheeks had run all over her face, and ruined her white frock. I could think of nothing but a savage in his war-paint;—while the favorite wax lady, with real hair, was painfully like a drowned kitten. Roxy’s wrath was loud and long. The monkey fled before it, and did not reappear until dinner-time.

“I’m sorry to say that Sam only laughed till he cried when he heard of the ruin Jocko had wrought. But before night he realized that mischief was not always so amusing. I allowed him to take the monkey out for a walk, on condition he did not loose him or allow him out of his sight for a moment. For a while all went well. Jocko made plenty of sport, pelting the boys with acorns, riding on Ponto, etc.; but at last they grew tired of him, chained him to the fence, and amused themselves by skipping stones on the surface of the pond. Presently Mr. Monkey began to imitate them; and, though his stones did not skip, he threw them so fast and made such ludicrous imitations of the positions and gestures of the boys, that they screamed with laughter and encouraged his play.

“Suddenly some one cried, ‘He gets his stones out of your pocket, Sam! O, my eyes! they’re your marbles!’ Too true! Sam had carelessly flung his overcoat on the fence, and Jocko, smelling the gingerbread in the pockets, had explored them all, discovered the marbles, and made rapid use of them. Alas! the beautiful Chinese ones, the gorgeous glass ones, the agates, the alleys, and the commoneys, were all deep in the middle of the pond. Poor Sam! he gave way, forgot his manliness, and cried as bitterly as Dora had over her drowned dollies. Jocko received a good whipping, and was chained up for the night, with nothing but dry bread for his supper.

“Poor Sam was somewhat consoled the next morning; for kind Annie gave him fifteen cents out of her own pocket-money to buy new marbles. On the strength of this, he forgave Jocko, and fed him generously before he went to school. I decided that the mischievous creature must remain tied; but Sam made such eloquent representations of the harshness of solitary confinement in the woodshed, that I commuted the sentence to a short rope under the kitchen table.

“Going down there in the course of the morning, I found Biddy cutting up fish for a chowder. She solemnly informed me that the monkey watched her so closely that she was getting quite nervous. ‘The wise-like look of the baste is somethin’ awful, marm; he sees ivery turn of me hand, and it’s all of a creep I am, with his stiddy watchin’ and niver spakin’, for it’s my belafe he could spake if he chose.’

“I laughed at her, gave my directions for dessert, and was leaving the room, when she called my attention to the cellar door. The latch was out of order in some way, so that to keep the door closed she was obliged to bolt it. She dropped her knife as she turned to show me, but neglected to pick it up until we had examined and discussed the broken latch. Promising to have it mended, I went away, and she, stooping for the knife, noticed with relief (as she told me afterwards), that Jocko had curled himself up, and gone to sleep. Alas, poor Biddy! she little knew that, while she was so volubly explaining the state of the door, the wily creature had not only noticed that, but had used the knife to cut his rope, and was only waiting for a good opportunity to make use of his liberty. His time soon came. Biddy went down cellar, and her apparently sleeping enemy instantly started up, closed and bolted the door upon her, and, with joyful chattering, found himself master of the kitchen.

“His first exploit was a thorough foraging of the pantry. Here he ate out the middle of two pies, consumed several cup-custards, emptied the sugar-bowl upon the floor, the better to select the big lumps, and threw the saltcellar through the window, because he did not relish its contents. He next directed his inventive mind to the cooking, quite regardless of the scolding of his prisoner, who was now wildly beating on the cellar door. Having previously watched her putting the various ingredients into the chowder, he now decided to add a few of his own selection. With this in view, he pulled open the table drawer, and, finding there a pleasing variety of objects, he proceeded by the aid of a chair and a towel to reach and remove the cover of the kettle without burning his wicked paws, and with wonderful swiftness he then added the whole contents of the drawer to poor Biddy’s savory stew.

“What his next achievement would have been we can never know, for at this moment Roxy was heard coming down stairs to re-iron the white dresses so rudely treated the day before. Jocko dropped on the cover, towel and all, and ran to hide himself behind the flour-barrel in the pantry, and Roxy coming in saw nothing amiss; but poor Biddy’s cries were distinctly audible, and in great amazement she hastened to open the door, and was instantly overwhelmed with bitter reproaches from the furious prisoner, who of course regarded nurse as the sole author of the joke. It was only after the exchange of a great many loud words, and the copious shedding of tears on cook’s part, that they came to an understanding, and finally,—missing Jocko,—to the right conclusion.

“Of course he was nowhere to be found, and peace was at last restored, but not to continue long; for Biddy, going to the closet, discovered the dreadful signs of invasion there, and set up a yell worthy of a wake. Roxy at the same moment, stooping over the range for a flat-iron, perceived an unaccountable odor, lifted the cover of the chowder-kettle, and immediately sat flat down upon the floor and gave way to screams of dismay and laughter. The noise of this duet reached even to the nursery, and Dora and I hurried down, expecting to find the house on fire at least. O Max! if you could only have been here! I have not laughed so since we were children, and that bottle of beer burst, and blew off grandfather’s wig. Roxy still sat on the floor, lame and weak with hysterical laughing and crying, but not quite able to subdue either; Biddy, with her apron over her head, alternately bewailed ‘the poor dear docthor’s dinner spiled, and he niver mistrustin’,’ and threatened Jocko with every form of violent death.

“The state of the pantry was nothing compared to that chowder. There, all boiling and steaming together, were slices of pork and rusty hair-pins, flakes of fish and a ball of lamp-wicking, rounds of potato, a half-knitted stocking, bits of onion, spools of cotton, and a big lump of beeswax, a half-eaten apple, a pocket-comb, and a fancy fan, the ‘Key of Heaven’ reduced to the consistency of the hard crackers, a lump of flag-root, and two or three neck-ribbons floating on top. Such a time as we had fishing all these out! But you can imagine the rest,—how I scolded the girls into self-command, and set them to preparing a new dinner,—how the Doctor, not having his regular Friday’s chowder, forgot what day it was, and missed an important appointment,—and how Jocko crept out at nightfall, and received a suitable compensation for his tricks.

“All day Saturday he languished in chains, and, though the children invited their friends to see him, I would not allow him to be loosed. Sunday, Annie was kept in by a bad cold, and I left him in her care without anxiety, while I took Sam and Dora to church.

“Annie first established herself in her father’s office with a book, having chained Jocko to a chair and put the biggest volume of ‘Anatomical Plates’ into it to keep it steady. Getting tired after a while, she went into the parlor, leaving her charge safely anchored, and apparently asleep. Unluckily for her, the Doctor came in for a bottle, and, seeing his beloved book in a Chair, carefully replaced it on the shelf, and went out again, unconscious of the monkey who was thus left comparatively at liberty. Annie, trying to puzzle out ‘Old Hundred’ on the piano, had forgotten all about him, or rather she supposed him still asleep. But he was softly and gradually dragging his chair to the table, and at last he brought it close, and his chain allowed him to climb up and examine the Doctor’s properties at his leisure. The day before he had seen the children trying with paints and brushes to restore form and beauty to Dora’s drowned dollies, and some remembrance of it must have been in his mind now, when he seized the mucilage brush and bottle, and tried to embellish the great plaster busts of Æsculapius and Hippocrates, between which he found himself.

“The results not being lively enough to please his tropical taste, he next dipped his brush in the ink, and then indeed he saw the fruit of his labors. When I returned from church, poor Æsculapius was metamorphosed into an Othello, and Hippocrates was in a zebra-like condition of stripes, while the artist himself wore an expression of absorbed delight. My cry of dismay startled him from his rapture, and, with miserable whimperings, he tried to hide himself in the paper-basket.

“As he was far too inky to be touched, I carried him away in it, and had him once more chained up in solitude in the shed. Poor Annie had a hearty cry over the results of her unusual carelessness, and her father gave peremptory orders that the monkey should not be unchained or brought in again during your absence.

“All trouble might have ended here, had Sam been obedient; but I’m sorry to say the spirit of mischief is often stronger than anything else in that boy. I should feel more troubled about it than I do, Max,” she added roguishly, “if I hadn’t seen such cases before, and known them turn out tolerably well. Monday I had a peaceful day. Tuesday morning also passed without annoyance. After dinner, however, the Doctor took the girls and me to ride, giving Sam leave to spend the afternoon at Teddy Ray’s. Unfortunately Teddy was not home, so Sam came back, and, finding time hang heavily on his hands, he yielded to temptation, and decided to unchain the monkey just for half an hour, and have a good frolic with him for the last time. Roxy being out, and Biddy in her own room, there was no one to check him, and, as he fondly thought, no one need ever know of his misbehavior. So, going into the shed, and carefully closing all the doors, he released Jocko, who celebrated his liberty with many joyous leaps and droll antics. For a while all went merrily. Sam taught his new mate to play ball, and found him a ready pupil. He says they threw it back and forth over a hundred times without failing, and only stopped then because he laughed so at Jocko’s eagerness and spiteful throws. In this way time passed unnoticed. Teddy Ray, meanwhile, having come home and heard of Sam’s visit, came with boy-like promptness to return it. Sam gleefully admitted him, made him promise secrecy, and then proudly displayed the new accomplishment of his pet. Ted was delighted, and would not hear of having such a playmate chained. “When we hear the carriage coming will be time enough; let’s have all the fun we can, Sam.” And Sam yielded, as he is too apt to do, to the counsels of his older, bolder ally. So the three began to play; but Jocko evidently considered Teddy an interloper, and obstinately refused to throw the ball to him. Teddy, in revenge, would not toss it to Jocko, who now chattered and squealed with jealous rage. This, of course, was ‘gay fun’ to the boys, and they continued to aggravate him; now withholding the ball entirely, now tossing it over his head, and again pretending to throw it, and laughing and jeering when he held out his paws for nothing.

“At last he was wrought up to a state of fury, and, snatching a broken tumbler which had been set over one of Biddy’s plants in the window, threw it with true aim at his rival. Poor Ted’s cheek was dreadfully cut, and the blood streamed at once. Sam’s temper was up in a moment. Brave as a lion he sprung on the enemy; but Jocko was angry too, and gave his young master more than one vigorous scratch, and pulled out two pawfuls of his curls before he was conquered and chained.

“On this cheerful scene, the Doctor and I entered, followed by Annie and Dora. Poor Teddy, faint and dizzy, sat on the wash-bench, leaning his head against the wall, while his pale face and gayly braided jacket were striped and smeared with blood. Sam stood over him, sobbing with fright and remorse, trying to wipe away the stains with his little dingy handkerchief, which he had soaked in water. Why is it that boys’ handkerchiefs always look so, I wonder?”

“Because they carry worms and pebbles and gingerbread and pitch and liquorice paste in their pockets,” suggested Uncle Max.

“Perhaps it is. But I must finish about poor Sam. His mingled relief and shame, when he saw us, were very touching. ‘O papa,’ he cried, ‘I am so glad you’ve come! O, I have been very bad, and you may punish me hard, only see to Teddy first, pray do! I will tell you all about it, only do stop the blood. Poor Ted! it was all my fault, mamma, and you may send away Jocko as soon as you please. O, will it make a dreadful scar, and will Mrs. Ray hate me? I’m so sorry, Ted. I wish it was I that was cut so. Don’t mind my face, it’s only scratched, but fix poor Teddy’s.’

“His distress when he heard that the wound must be sewed up was far greater than Teddy’s own, and I had much more of a scene putting him to bed, bathing his swollen face, hearing his full confession, and soothing him to sleep, than the Doctor had with Ted in the surgery. All this time Annie had her share of consoling to do; for poor Dora, who had never seen more than a drop of blood at a time before, thought that both the boys were ‘deaded,’ and was crying with all her might. I assure you, I have had to feed the monkey myself ever since, for no one else will go near him. And you will take him away early, to-morrow, Max, won’t you? and not reproach Sam; for the sight of the results of his disobedience has been a severe punishment to him already.”

“I will do just as you say, Molly,” said Uncle Max, very gravely. “I am beginning to feel that I was wrong to bring such a playfellow to your quiet home; but, as I told you before, I only borrowed him of one of the sailors, who will call for him to-morrow. I am sorry I ever did so thoughtless a thing. I hope Annie’s oranges have not been unfortunate too?”

“No, indeed,” said Mrs. Sumner, with a happy smile; “that story will be quite a different one.”

L. D. Nichols.


The snow and the silence came down together,

  Through the night so white and so still,

And the young folks, housed from the bitter weather,—

  Housed from the storm and the chill,—


Heard in their dreams the sleigh-bells jingle,

  Coasted the hillsides under the moon,

Felt their cheeks with the keen air tingle,

  Skimmed the ice with their steel-clad shoon.


They saw the snow, when they rose in the morning,

  Glittering ghost of the vanished night,

Though the sun shone clear in the winter dawning,

  And the day with a frosty pomp was bright.


Out in the clear cold winter weather,—

  Out in the winter air like wine,—

Kate with her dancing scarlet feather,

  Bess with her peacock plumage fine,


Joe and Jack with their pealing laughter,

  Frank and Tom with their gay hallo,

And half a score of roisterers after,

  Out in the witching, wonderful snow.


Shivering graybeards shuffle and stumble,

  Righting themselves with a frozen frown,

Grumbling at every snowy tumble,—

  But the young folks know why the snow came down.

Louise Chandler Moulton.


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

Ho! yo ho! the winds are sighing

  Underneath the cottage eaves,

In the dreary darkness moaning

  Like a tender voice that grieves;

And the maples creak and shiver,—

  Yet my heart can gayly sing;

I have caught a sound of promise

  Whispered from the coming spring.


Ho! yo ho! the winds are saying,

  “Spring is coming, full of mirth;

You may hear her footsteps patter

  Lightly on the frozen earth.

Storms may wake and winds be wailing,

  Clouds be black with icy rain,

Yet be sure the grass is creeping

  Upward to the light again.”



No. 3.


The Beginning.          The End.


That which protects the beginning.

That which confuses the beginning.

The laziest embodiment of both.

That which if the beginning is, the end will be bad.


No. 4.


A friend to woman I have been,

Since Mother Eve first learned to sin;

No one of all her daughters fair

Can suitable apparel wear,

Or be in graceful gait arrayed,

Without my ever present aid.


Yet still the first cannot be reckoned

Completely armed without my second;

In vain her useless toil she plies,

And o’er the task allotted flies;

We must unite the loving twain,

If we their needful help would gain.


Useless when whole, yet broken gives

The food on which a creature lives.


An habitation formed for man,

Before the human race began.


That which the lover seeks to gain,

When he his purpose would explain.


That which we surely must believe,

More blessed to give than to receive.


That which can fearful ruin throw

Where tropic flowers and fruits may grow.


That which the years will surely bring

To every sad or joyful thing.

S. A. B.


No. 1.

Curb me land. Old Thumb. Change on. My Wade. Mein herr. Rain-pad. As a dog can. When set to. (All names of rivers in the United States.)

C. E. A. D.

No. 2.

By transposing the letters in the word “Misrepresentation,” make four words which shall recall a well-known scene in the New Testament.

R. W. S., Jr.


No. 4.

My first’s an evil thing to do,

  And yet we needs must do it,

Both saint and sinner, I and you,

  Or sadly we should rue it;

Though out of bed a shame and sin,

’Tis very right and proper in.


My second is of small account,

  And yet, you cannot doubt it,

My whole with all his might and main

  Would be a myth without it;

And once it had, it can be shown,

Both priest, and temple of its own.


Now when in drowsy ears my whole

  Sloth whispers in the morning,

Reverse my second! Sloth will fly

  Before that word of scorning,

As you before my whole would flee,

Tawny and terrible to see!


No. 5.

The sounds commanded by my name

Are hushed where you repeat the same;

Alone, I bid sweet voices flow,

Yet, doubled, am a place of woe.


Repeat my name in felon’s ear,

And lo! his face is blanched with fear;

And yet my name, when he is free,

Will bid him hail his liberty.

J. L.


No. 3.

What is that word of six letters of which

  the 2d, 1st, and 6th form a noun;

  the 5th and 1st, an abbreviation;

  the 1st, 2d, and 3d, an adverb;

  the 3d, 4th, and 6th, an interjection;

  the 2d, 6th, 1st, and 3d, a noun;

  the 4th, 5th, and 6th, a noun;

  the 5th and 4th, a French adverb;

  the 1st and 2d, a preposition;

  the 4th and 2d, a conjunction?

H. F. B.


C. J. S.


No. 2.

I am a word of two letters.

My first represents that which is dearer to me than house or lands.

My second is the name of an article which cheers my life and adds to my enjoyment.

My whole is the most definite and the most indefinite word in the English language, which may apply to anything in the universe, and which can yet designate but a single thing.

Levi D.





2.William Makepeace Thackeray.

Illustrated Rebus.

3.O woman, in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
When pains of anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou.

[O (woman in o u r hours of E’s), U N (sir) (ten), (sea) (boy minus B) & hard (top) (lease), W(hen) (panes) O (fan) Gu (eye) sh (ring) t (he) B (row), a (minister) (ring) (angel) thou.]


Ada Peck. The story is very well in its way: we will see about the enigma.

Nellie R. We will use a part.

Horace says: “When is a loaf of bread inhabited?—When it has a little Indian in it.”

Bluebell. Both, if you can; either, if you can’t do both.

C. W. V. We have received it.

H. J. M. “The Inexhaustible Bottle” will be explained directly.

Kitten. Almost.

Alice. Your letter interests deeply, but we do not think that the subject is one for publicity.

Linden Blossom. The old rates still hold. The enigma?—no.

A. B. C. Decidedly it is wrong.

Ned Nevans. A good idea, but not carried out as it should be.

S. G. B. We have the same subject already engraved in a little different form.

X. Y. Z. Thank you. Read what we have said to young writers in other numbers.

S. Many thanks for your favor, but we fear our young folks would hardly understand the “Soliloquy.”

W. A. M. You must wait a while before your turn will come round again.

J. L. J. Your puzzle is a new one, but you have made too many errors in transcribing. Spelling, punctuation, capitals, etc., are all regarded in our judgment of contributions.

Eugene T. We cannot spare the room.

F. L. W. We would rather not print an enigma about ourselves.

W. J. McA. Your definition of “my whole” tells the story at once.

F. S. S. Very good; but it could not be reproduced without occupying too much space.

The Woodland Princess.” Will the author of this sketch please to send her (?) address?

Daniel H. There are mistakes in it. There is no such Greek letter as that you name.

Col. Cochran. 1. We do not reprint any old matters, even though rare. 2. On alternate pages. 3. All at once.

A. A. F. Glad to hear from you. We hope that your favorite will soon write you something.

E. H. F. “Great vices do (not) make men famous”—but infamous.

Nellie. They are cunning little rebuses.

Clyde Stuart. No.

A Little Correspondent says of “Our Young Folks”: “There is one thing which I do not quite understand, and that is, where the letters of the Letter Box come from, and who answers them. I read the letters, and I think they are very interesting, but I should like to know where they come from.”

Why, dear little friend, they come from everywhere,—from every State, and from almost every county, in the country; from children just like you, who want to know something, and turn this way for information. The answers are given by the Editors of the Magazine.

W. A. C. sends some conundrums, of which we give this sample:—

“If two matches are lying on the table, and one be taken away, how many will be left?—Two; because it takes two to make a match.”

A Grandfather. Thank you; but “Good Old Times” will give as much of the history of the past as we have space for during this year.

Little Miss Contrary” is not admissible into our well-behaved family.

Subscriber. Because the space could be more advantageously used. Dickens is very much more than “a great caricaturist”: he is wise, tender, truthful, earnest, pathetic, simple, grave, tragic, and mirthful by turns, and caricature, when he uses it, is but one element out of many, and he is even more of a moralist than a caricaturist.

Lilla Lambert. If you are “only a little girl,” you write a very nice note. Tell Sancho, please, that a candle is not a good synonyme for “shines.”

Chemicus. It goes into the basket at once, because there is no answer.

Agatha’s letter runs on in this sprightly fashion:—

“I received your delightful little Magazine from my sister as a Christmas present. Having taken it the year of 1866, I know just how good it is. As for the author of ‘Leslie Goldthwaite,’ I never can say enough for that woman. ‘Her price is far above rubies.’ But to change the subject.

“How does Willy Wisp contrive to send so many and such good things? Does he make them all the time? Does he get every one to help him? I should really like to know. Mamma thinks that such things are a waste of time. She says that they do no good, and one only wastes time puzzling over them; one had better be drawing or practising.

“Ah well! people differ in their opinions.

“Please pass your judgment on the enclosed, for it is a great disappointment to write and never hear a word from your letter.

“And now I say once more, with all my heart, ‘All hail to the Editors!’ ”

How Willy manages we do not know. We have seen better puzzles than “the enclosed.”—Please tell mamma that we do not mean to induce her little daughter to leave any duty undone for our sake; and that we hope she will agree with us, after all, that it is best for children if even their amusements oblige them to be patient, thoughtful, careful, and ingenious. A puzzle is as hard as a sum, and just as good exercise, if you “stick right to it.”

J. Martin G. sends a new plan for the game of “Proverbs.” This is usually played by giving one word in turn to each of a group of players, who is to introduce that word in his answers to the questions (which must not exceed three) of the player who is to guess the proverb; the latter has to find out each person’s word, and unite all into the proper sentence. By the new plan, instead of questions and answers are a series of poetical quotations, each containing a word of the adage which is to be studied out. J. M. G. gives this example, in which the words of the proverb are italicized to show the composition of the puzzle:—

      “Upon a black-plumed charger

        One rode who held a shield.”


“And the swallow’ll come again, mother, with summer o’er the wave,

But I shall lie alone, mother, within the mouldering grave.”


    “Than does the sun the candle light,

      Or brightest day the darkest night.”

    “Life is real, life is earnest,

      And the grave is not its goal.”


  “By dreams that make night shadows bright,

    And truths that turn our day to night.”

      “He stood beside a cottage lone

        And listened to a lute.”


  “One summer eve, when the sun was low

    And the nightingale was mute.”

A Mother, in far-off Michigan, writes to us thus:—

“I write to thank you from my heart for the good your Magazine has done me and mine. I wish that I might thank the author of ‘Leslie Goldthwaite’ for her story;—it has been the source of so much comfort to me, living, as I do, almost without the pale of civilization, and surrounded by all the work and care incident to a new country. I have thought my life but dry leaves, and when I look at my children, I see so many things ‘crowded out,’ that I almost despair. But the words of cheer she has written have found a response. . . . . Again I thank you for efforts to improve and elevate our children; and that you may be prospered and blessed is the ardent wish of

Mary C. A.

In December we received this pleasant note:—

“I am an old fellow, but not so old that I cannot enjoy along with my children the good things which we find in your Magazine for the young folks. At our family circle, a few evenings since, one of my youngsters attempted to manufacture something which he hoped might be good enough to be admitted into your columns. His daddy has assisted a little, and the result is enclosed. The draughtsman of the family is out of town, so I send the manuscript in the rough. If you can make any use of it, you are welcome to it.

“Truly yours,

An Old Fogy,

“who can’t help playing the child

once in a while.”

We are obliged to the “old fogy,” and we shall send the youngsters “something” to be engraved.

Willy Wisp sends this inversion:—

Stranger. ‘Yo ho, madam! I’m Adam, O hoy!’

Lady. ‘Oh sir, Irish, O!’ ”

Claudie’s Prayer” will soon be printed here, and also two or three songs with which we have been favored.

Minnie and Marion. We should not approve of making “children believe that there is really a Santa Claus who brings them their presents.” But we see no harm in allowing them to indulge their childish pleasure in such a belief, or in humoring it. If all the poetry and fancy, the imagination and invention, were taken away from us, this would be a very poor world indeed. The children of to-day will outgrow all their little notions about Santa Claus, and fairies, and the like, as they do their faith in the understanding and feeling of their playthings, and just as their fathers and mothers did before them. If it is not wrong to think that a sawdust doll can be a companion and enjoy good treatment, or that a wooden horse knows when his little owner speaks to him, neither is it wrong to let the girl and the boy have just as much dependence upon any other creature of their imagination.

C. H. F. sends from St. Louis a private letter to one of us; but it contains so much that will interest, and perhaps instruct, others, that we print a large part of it here:—

“Although you do not seem exactly like a stranger to me, as I have read a good many of your books, and have often heard mamma speak of you as a townsman of hers, I hardly know how to commence this letter, as I am a little boy, only eleven years old, and not much used to writing, and have never in my life addressed a letter to an Editor.

“I have been taking ‘Our Young Folks’ ever since it was first published, and have read with interest and preserved with care every number; and intend to have them bound in volumes. It has already cost me $4.80, as I have bought it at the book-stores, at 20 cents a month; but when I saw the Prospectus for next year, I thought it would be so much cheaper for myself and others at the club price, that I concluded to risk my chances at getting it through the Post-Office; and papa said that perhaps I could earn five or ten dollars, to spend during the holidays, by getting up one or two clubs of twenty-five subscribers.

“So last week I got up my first club, and you would hardly believe me if I should tell you how busily I had to work for it. I had many obstacles to contend with, such as Southern prejudices against ‘Yankee’ literature,—the absence of the lady of the house,—‘no children,’—cross servant-girls,—and the fear of the irregularity of the mails.

“I have never attended school, because mamma prefers to teach my sister and myself at home, and we all enjoy it very much. I study Arithmetic, Geography, Grammar, and Brewer’s ‘Science of Familiar Things.’ I also read and spell in Wilson’s ‘Fourth Reader,’ and write compositions. Last week my subject was ‘Christmas,’ and this letter is my composition for this week.”

Milton Bradley & Co., of Springfield, Mass., have our thanks for a very curious affair, which is too ingenious and philosophical in principle to be set down as merely a toy, although its purpose is mainly amusement. It consists of a pasteboard cylinder, with a number of little slits in the side; in it is placed a strip of paper on which are printed figures of a man or an animal in different positions; the cylinder is placed on a pivot fixed in a stand and made to revolve, and then the several figures are so blended by their rapid motion that a person who watches the slits as they pass before him seems to see one figure moving swiftly and successively through all the various attitudes or actions,—running, or vaulting, or playing ball, as the case may be. The illusion is one of the most amusing and curious in the science of optics,—a series of set figures having the effect of a single moving figure. The invention is called the “Zoetrope,” and we presume the makers will gladly answer any inquiries about its cost, etc.

This sweet little poem came to us we know not whence, and so we print it here in the hope that the author will acknowledge it, and send us her (?) address.

Hold fast what I give you.

“Molly, and Maggie, and Alice,

  Three little maids in a row,

At play in an arbor palace,

  Where the honeysuckles grow,—


“Six dimpled palms pressed together,

  Even and firm, two by two,—

Three eager, upturned faces,

  Bonny brown eyes and blue.


“Which shall it be, O you charmers?

  Alas! I am sorely tried;

I, a hard-hearted old hermit,

  Who the question am set to decide.


“Molly, the sprite, the darling,

  Shaking her shower of curls,

Whose laugh is the brook’s own ripple,

  Gayest and gladdest of girls?


“Maggie, the wild little brownie,

  Every one’s plaything and pet,

Who leads me a chase through the garden

  For a kiss, the wicked coquette?


“Or Alice?—ah! shy-eyed Alice,

  Looking so softly down

Under her long, dark lashes

  And hair so golden brown,—


“Alice, who talks with the flowers,

  And says there are none so wise,—

Who knows there are elves and fairies,

  For ‘hasn’t she seen their bright eyes?’


“There, there, at last I am ready

  To go down the bright, eager row;

So, up with your hands, my Graces,

  Close,—nobody else must know.


“ ‘Hold fast what I give you,’ Molly!

  (Poor little empty palms!)

‘Hold fast what I give you,’ Maggie!

  (A frown steals over her charms.)


“ ‘Hold fast what I give you,’ Alice!

  You smile,—do you so much care?

Unclasp your little pink fingers:

  Ah ha! the button is there!


“But do you know, sweet Alice,

  All that I give you to keep?

For into my heart you have stolen,

  As sunbeams to shadows creep.


“You, a glad little maiden,—

  How old are you? Only nine,—

With your bright, brown hair all shining,

  While the gray is coming to mine.


“No matter, you’ll be my true-love,

  And come to my old arms so;

And ‘hold fast what I give you,’ Alice,

  For nobody else must know.”


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 3 edited by J. T. Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton and Lucy Larcom]