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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 3, Issue 5

Date of first publication: 1867

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

Date first posted: July 17, 2018

Date last updated: July 17, 2018

Faded Page eBook #20180786

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. MAY, 1867. No. V.

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 S. Eytinge, Jr.]          [See Too Far Out, page 271.
Engraved by W. J. Linton.



Round-the-World Joe sat on his front stoop, moping; and as Charley Sharpe and I came up, he turned his face the other way, so as to pretend not to see us, and blew his nose, and began to whistle.

“I say, George,” said Charley, “something wrong with Joe this morning,—know by the way he blows his nose.”

“Pooh!” said I, “got a cold in his head.”

“Got a warm in his heart, you mean. Georgey, when you see a straightforward chap like that overdo it blowing his nose, and dodge with his handkerchief round the corners of his eyes, and begin to whistle (high old whistling!) like a sick bobolink that’s had too much green persimmons, it’s his feelings that are too many for him.”

“Think so, Charley?”

“That’s what’s the matter, Georgey.”

“Hello, Joe!” said Charley, “here we are again, as lively as a pair of polliwogs in a duck-puddle.”

“Good morning, lads,” said Joe, gravely; his eyes were red, his voice was husky, and his lip quivered.

I made a sign to Charley to stop joking. But, dear old fellow! he was as serious as I, only he had a different way of showing it.

“Feel badly, Joe?” I asked. “How’s your mother this morning?”

Then Joe jumped up, and turned his back to us, and stamped his foot, and said, “Con-found it! Confound it!” says he, “I don’t deserve to have any mother. If she was to die this very minute, serve me right. I’m no better than a piratical cannibal; that’s what I am,—a pi-rat-i-cal can-ni-bawl!”

“Look here, Joe Brace,” said Charley, “if you mean to say you’ve been mean enough—”

“Hold your tongue, Charley,” said I. “What’s the matter, Joe?”

Joe looked at Charley as if he didn’t know whether to knock him down or shake hands with him; and then he said: “Well, you see, lads, here’s how it is. This morning, at breakfast, the old man he begins to talk about getting the ‘Circumnavigator’ in trim for another voyage—to California, or Australia, or somewhere. And mother,—she says she hopes I’ll stay at home with her next time. And I says, ‘I’d look pretty staying at home, wouldn’t I? I’d like to know who’d bring him his coffee at four bells, or tell him how she heads. Why, mom,’ says I, ‘he’s no more fit to go to sea by himself than a hen.’ At that the old man he laughs, and his coffee goes the wrong way and chokes him. But mother, she looks steady into the teapot, the way she does when it’s drawing, and winks her eyes very hard,—’count of the steam, I guess; and says she, ‘It’s a long, long, lonesome time, my boy,—a lonesome, anxious time,—and you’re the last I’ve got,—and I’m getting old and foolish—’ Con-found it!” said Round-the-world Joe, and he stamped his foot and blew his nose again.

“Well?” said I.

“Well?” said Charley.

“Well,” said Joe, “of course I made a piratical cannibal of myself. ‘O, bother,’ says I,—‘don’t talk like that, mom; do be more manly; you’re worse than a sea-sick cook.’ And then I happened to cast an eye over towards the old man, and—well, he was just a-lookin’ at me,—that’s all, just a-lookin’ at me. You never caught my old man lookin’ at you, did you?”

“No,” said I.

“Well, you needn’t want to. ‘Youngster,’ says he, ‘do you know what day this is?’ ‘Friday, sir,’ says I. ‘Day of the month?’ says he. ‘Tenth of April,’ says I, mighty peert. ‘Tenth of April,’ says he. ‘And where were you last tenth of April, sir, about this time o’ day, if me and that sea-sick cook may make so bold as to ask?’ He was a-lookin’ at me, and I was a-thinkin’. ‘Straits of Malac—’ And then it all fell on me like a house, and I wished I was dead; but I didn’t say another word. Me and the old man just looked at one another, and I got up and kissed mother, and came out here.

“Lads,” said Joe, “last tenth of April, in the morning, we were in the Straits of Malacca, and a white squall struck the ‘Circumnavigator’ while we were taking in sail; and somehow my chum, Ned Foster, got knocked off the foreyard and fell on deck, hurt so he only lived an hour; and the last words he said were these: ‘Joe,’ (that’s me,) ‘take my chest home to mother,—she’s a widow, you know; and tell her I have read that Bible every day, accordin’ to promise; and it’s all right. And, Joe,’ says he, ‘I want you to make me a promise now.’ I couldn’t say anything, you know; but I looked straight into poor Ned’s eyes. ‘All right,’ says he. ‘You’ve got a mother, too, Joe,’ says he, ‘and she’s as good as gold, I know, if she ain’t a widow. Promise me, that you’ll keep loving her all the time, as if the very next minute was to be your last.’ I couldn’t say anything, you know; but I squeezed his hand, and he squeezed mine, and said it was all right. And it was all right—with him. Con-found it!”

“Well,” says Charley Sharpe (very shaky), “guess you do love your mother, don’t you? Guess she knows it, don’t she? If she don’t, she’s only got to send for one of them spiritual magnetic clearvoysters, and they’ll tell her all about it for a quarter.”

Of course, that made Joe laugh, (which was just what Charley was after,) and then he blew his nose again and began to sing:—

“Why, what’s that to you, if my eyes I’m a-wiping?

   A tear is a pleasure, d’ye see, in its way;

 ’Tis nonsense for trifles, I own, to be piping,—

   But they that ha’n’t pity, why, I pities they.


“If my maxim’s disease, ’tis disease I shall die on,—

   You may snigger and titter, I don’t care—”

“Joe,” said I, “tell us some more about that funny spree you went on with Little Pigeon and the other Chinese chaps. What did you and Barney Binnacle do with all your sapecks?”

“Flung about a peck among the beggars,” said Joe. “Reckon there must have been a thousand to scramble for them.”

“Now, that’s what I can’t get through my hair,” said Charley.

“How’s that?” said Joe.

“Why should there be so many beggars in China,” said Charley, “when it takes fifteen sapecks to make one cent, and every sapeck will buy a handful of rice, and a handful of rice will keep one Chinaman going, and a cent’s worth will stuff his wife and children.”

“That’s just how it is,” said Joe. “It’s so much easier to ask for a sapeck than to work for it, and so much more pleasant to give the sapeck than to smell the beggar, or squirm at the sight of his sores, and so many more people have sapecks to spare, and a sapeck is such a small thing to give or to get, and rice is so cheap and filling, and Chinese beggars are so nasty and saucy,—that’s just how it is. It’s my opinion it’s the sapecks that make the beggars, and at first the beggars make their own sores on purpose to beg with, and then the sores spread and make more beggars, until at last there’s so many of them they breed a famine.”

“That’s it, Joe,” said Charley, “it’s the Political E-conomy; they get it just like the small-pox. Don’t they, Georgey? You know.”

“The Ex-ces-sive Cir-cu-la-tion,” said I, “of an In-fini-tesi-mal Cur-ren-cy by offering a Pre-mi-um to Idleness and Indifference diminishes the Number of Pro-du-cers on the one hand while it increases the Number of Con-su-mers on the other hence says Richard Cobden—”

“Hence,” said Charley, “no gentleman’s library is complete without your father’s Cyclopædia; and it must be a sweet consolation to John Chinaman, when he is starving to death, to know that you and that Cobden boy know what killed him.”

“Now, if you are going to talk Politics,” said Round-the-world Joe, “you may count me out; likewise Economy,—I didn’t ship for either of them. But there’s one thing I do know: when John Chinaman has made up his mind to die of starvation, somebody had better stand from under.”

“How so?”

“Why, when a dead Chinaman’s body don’t get buried, his soul gets mad, and turns into a devil, rampaging around and raising Cain generally. All China believes that gives fits to cats, pip to chickens, bots to horses, and hollow-horn to cattle, and afflicts the folks who neglected its carcass with crosses in love, miseries in their bones, and bad luck in their speculations. So somebody invented the Society for the Distribution of Gratuitous Coffins, to head off the spiteful ghosts of the beggars that die of hunger in the porches of pagodas, or freeze to death under the lee of graveyard walls; and nobody is safe from fits, pip, bots, hollow-horn, unrequited love, blanks in the lottery, or getting euchred, who doesn’t belong to the Society for the Distribution of Gratuitous Coffins.”

“Sho!” said Charley Sharpe.

That’s so,” said Joe. “Then there is a King of the Beggars, enthroned on a dirty dog-mat at Pekin, who is as much of a monarch in his way as the tremendous ‘Son of Heaven’ and ‘Brother of the Sun and Moon’ himself. He reigns over all the gypsies, ragamuffins, rapscallions, and tatterdemalions in the Central Flowery Kingdom, and they acknowledge allegiance to him, and pay tribute into his treasury. On certain days, according to law, he lets loose upon the land the whole nasty swarm of them at once, and they go raiding upon cities and villages, gayly flourishing their monstrosities and deformities and leprosies and sickening sores, and all their crawling abominations; howling like wolves, and laughing and crying like hyenas, and grunting like hogs, and—”

“Ugh!—stop that, Joe,” said I, “do!”

“Away they go,” said Joe, “like all the plagues of Egypt boiled down to a pint; and they hop and crawl and wriggle and gnaw and blow, till the poor people in the towns begin to ‘call in their emergence upon countless saints and virgins,’ and dragons and ghouls, to come and help them; for no man dare strike one of them, or drive him from his door, on Beggar-day. Then up steps the King of the Beggars and calls a town-meeting, and offers to call off his frogs and lice and flies and locusts for so many cart-loads of cash, cash down. And the Board of Health pays the money, and away they go, hopping, crawling, wriggling, gnawing, blowing, to the next town. But all this time the King of the Beggars is personally responsible for every man of them; and if they are guilty of anything extra-outrageously outrageous,—such as scaring a prefect’s pony, or waking a judge’s baby,—the Mandarins seize his ragged Majesty by the tail of his head, drag him to the stocks, and then and there pound him with bamboos on the pit of the stomach till he squeals like a stuck pig.”

“That’s what I want to go to China for,” said Charley Sharpe.

“As how?” said Joe.

“To get bambooed. They say that when you have come to the worst of the hurting part, as if one more lick would kill you dead, then it begins to feel good.”

“I don’t know how that may be,” said Joe, “but I dare say Tea-Pot and Little Pigeon, if we had them here, could unfold a tale, as the ghost says, that speaks the theatre piece.”

“Who was Tea-Pot?”

“One of Little Pigeon’s friends that we went on the ten-cent spree with. He was a short, round chap, with very little legs and a great deal of stomach, and Barney called him Tea-Pot because he was built so squat. Tea-Pot and Little Pigeon both got bambooed tremendously when they went home, for losing so many sapecks that day.”

“How did they lose them?”

“Gambling,” said Joe; “but it was not for that that they were triced up, and caught their three dozen.”

“What for, then?” asked Charley.

“For not winning. Every man, woman, and child in all China ‘fights the tiger’ like the very old—John Morrissey; and is ready to go his whole pile on cards, dice, dominoes, chess, checkers, skittles, cock-fights, quail-fights, spider-fights,—any kind of a ‘lay out,’—as naturally as if they were all born on Mississippi steamboats, rocked in California cradles, weaned on Saratoga water, and had been running for Congress ever since. They’ll bet everything they can raise, from their fans and chopsticks to their wives and children. Tea-Pot’s old man had been an awful sport in his time, and when he got his hand in, and the game was lively, didn’t mind what he put up. He had lost Tea-Pot’s mother at Thimble-rig, and his own tail at Simon-says-Wiggle-Waggle, and the fingers of his left hand at All-fours; and once, at Shanghai, Little Pigeon’s father lost all his clothes in the dead of winter, spider-fighting, and had to run about among the bake-houses, and cuddle up to the warm walls, first one side and then the other, like a sick kitten to a hot brick,—that’s the naked truth.

“The way they play for fingers is funny: two of them sit down to a small table, with a flat stone, a small, sharp hatchet, a dish of nut-oil hot, with a lamp under it, and a pack of cards. As often as a game is lost and won, the loser lays one of his fingers down on the flat stone, and the winner takes the hatchet, chops the finger off and puts it in his pocket or his mouth. Then the loser sticks the stump in the hot oil to stop the blood, and takes another hand.”

“Now you Joe!” said I.

“Take my after-davit.”

“Certainly,” said Charley, “that’s one of the advantages that China offers to the traveller, over all other foreign parts; you can’t lie about it. If the last tough story is rather hard to swallow, the Chinese will make it all right for you next time. Like the Jerseyman that the wonderful Fakir of Blunderpore, in performing his celebrated gunpowder trick, blew through the roof of the theatre, all you’ve got to do is to wait till you come down, and wonder what they’ll do next. You pays your money, and you gets the worth of it.”

“But Joe,” said I, “when they’ve lost all their fingers, how do they work their chop-sticks?”

“Why, you see,” said Joe, “by the time they’ve got to that part of the game, they don’t generally have any more use for chop-sticks; for as long as they’ve a grain of rice left, they stump it down.”

“But what do they do with all the old fingers?”

“Sell them to the pickpockets and sleight-of-hand people,” said Charley, “or plant them, and raise presti-digit-taters.”

I can’t exactly see how that is!

“Tea-Pot and Little Pigeon,” said Joe, “lost all their sapecks on a cricket-fight. On the corner of Cream-jug Street and Slop-bowl Alley, a member of the Chinese Fancy had a lot of fighting crickets in bamboo cages, exactly like bird-cages, only smaller,—you can see them at the China shops on Broadway and Washington Street; and on a pretty lackered table he had a deep soup-plate. Little Pigeon and Tea-Pot cried ‘Hi-yah!’ when they saw him, and showed their sapecks, and called for a lay out; and Little Pigeon said, ‘Spose one piecee fights makee, too much fun can secure, Bul-lee!’

“Then he and Tea-Pot selected a pair of the peertest, that were well matched in size and weight,—regular game crickets, bred and trained, none of your common tea-kettle kind, that sing Peerybingle babies to sleep on the hearth. And Tea-Pot named his cricket ‘Fire-Dragon,’ and Little Pigeon’s was called Gong-Devil, and they set them down on the edge of the soup-plate, and asked the Fancy gentleman if he would be Umpire, and he said he would. Then Little Pigeon offered to bet the end of his thumb against one of Tea-Pot’s eye-teeth; but Tea-Pot said he couldn’t take it, because his teeth were all spouted, and he had to pay the pawnbroker so much a day for the use of them. So they were obliged to get along the best way they could, with sapecks. Then the old sport that was umpire said, ‘Gentlemen, make your game!’ and they both began to poke their crickets with sharp sticks, and call them names, to get their blood up. Tea-Pot called Fire-Dragon a sick donkey, and Little Pigeon called Gong-Devil an old woman, till they both got mad; for crickets are naturally quick on the trigger, and these two fellows were as gamy as Heenan and Sayers. The sick donkey began to rear up on his hind legs, and look round for something about his size; and the old woman began to claw and grit her teeth, as if she wished she knew what poked her. Presently they caught sight of each other, and with three cheers—”

“What?” said I.

“They jumped down into the soup-plate, and clinched in the middle of it, just where a blue man with a blue tree on his head was crossing a blue bridge on a blue umbrella. At it they went, give and take, nip and tuck, when, all of a sudden, before you could say Jack Robinson—”

“O, that won’t do at all,” said Charley; “you must say, ‘in even briefer time than this hasty, and I fear inadequate and incoherent description has occupied.’ ”

“Gong-Devil turned over on his back, groaned, shivered once, and then lay still,—dead as the mummy of Pharaoh’s mammy; and Fire-Dragon reared up on his hind legs and gave three—”

“Now stop that, Joe,” said I.

“But Little Pigeon snapped him up, turned him upside down, and hollered, ‘Foul!’ And, sure enough, there was a long pin sticking in his tail; Tea-Pot had put it there, to keep his pluck up. Little Pigeon and Tea-Pot both grabbed for the sapecks together; but the old sport that was umpire, he grabbed first and got it; and he said he’d hold it for them till the case was decided. But the case will not be decided in the reign of the present Emperor.”

“By the last advices from Pekin,” said Charley, “we learn that the cause has been carried up to the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court has been occupied for the last three hundred years with the Great Green Cheese imbroglio, depending on the question whether the moon is in Hong Kong or Shanghai.”

Not far from the corner where the cricket-fight occurred was a show, where, as the bill announced, Signor Foo-Foo, the Champion Wizard of the Flowery World, from the Celestial Academy of Music at Nankin, would swallow his head and lift himself up by the tail; Signorina Poo-Poo, Fairy Fu-nam-bu-list, and Injin-rubber Rose of Loveliness and Elasticity, from the Imperial Cooper Institute at Pekin, would dance a break-down on a cobweb, and fling a double somerset through a finger-ring [☞This Establishment advertises in the Herald]; and Joe and Barney, with Little Pigeon and Tea-Pot and Young Hyson, and the rest of the Chinese boys, started to go there. But they hadn’t got far when they saw a pretty little girl, about five or six years old, running toward them, screaming with terror, and pursued by a Chinese madman of frightful aspect, who was yelling and cursing awfully, and stabbing the air with a great murderous dirk-knife. Joe and Barney sprang forward to rescue the poor little thing, but before they could reach her the madman caught her by the hair, plunged the horrid knife in her innocent bosom, and flung her body, quivering and bathed in blood, on the pavement. Joe and Barney stood for a moment, stunned and stupefied with horror, and almost turned to stone. But they recovered themselves quickly, and, Joe crying, “Come on, Barney!” and Barney crying, “I’m with you, shipmate!” they sprang upon the furious monster, and laid him on his back; and while Barney held him down by the throat, Joe wrenched the weapon from his grasp.

“Stick the knife in him, Joe, if he moves,” said Barney.

“Call the police,” said Joe.

“Po-lice! Po-lice!” bawled Barney. “Don’t be afraid, Police!”

“You can come up now, Police,” cried Joe; “it’s all over, and there’s no danger.”

But, instead of police, what should they see but the Chinese boys laughing as if they would go into fits. Little Pigeon was clapping his hands and dancing a crazy hornpipe with delight; Tea-Pot, rolling on the ground and red in the face, was behaving like an apoplectic dumpling; and another boy was slapping Young Hyson’s back to keep him from strangling. Even the murderer was grinning from ear to ear, and spluttering Pigeon-English as well as he could, with Barney choking him.

“Mi devil-man [conjurer]! Hi-yah! Mi makee one piece fine fun! Mi too muchee fine fun kin ketch, Hi-yah!”

And last of all, came the gory remains of the pretty little victim, holding out her shoe; and says she, in Chinese, “Please, sir, give me a cent to buy my grandmother a drink of water: she’s so hungry she don’t know where she shall sleep to-night.”

Then Joe looked at Barney, and Barney looked at Joe; and both said, “Chinese joke, I guess”; but Joe said, “Don’t see the point.”

Little Pigeon told Joe to “Look see one piece knife”; and then they did see the point. The handle of the dirk was hollow, and filled with sheep’s blood. When the point was thrust sharply against anything, the blade slid back into the handle, and at the same time a little valve flew open, and the blood spirted out.

Joe and Barney let the mad murderer up, and walked off, feeling very foolish. They filled the little girl’s shoe with sapecks, but they did not know Chinese enough to ask her not to say anything about it.

What with too much laughing and too many melon-seeds, Joe says, Tea-Pot was taken with the Chinese stomach-ache, and the other boys had to take him to a doctor. They found one on the corner of the street, perched on a high stool, with about a peck of red pills before him on a tray. His brother was a fortune-teller, and carried on business at the same table, with an old almanac, a calculating machine, a bottle of leeches, and a black cat; and as both of them wore long gray beards, and spectacles the size and shape of a saucer, and as they were both very deaf, and had to keep their heads close together, it was next to impossible to tell one from the other.

The doctor felt all of Tea-Pot’s different pulses twenty-four times, and played twenty-four different tunes on them with his fingers, as if they were two dozen pianos; and then he laid his head to the fortune-teller’s head, and they both stroked their beards, and both looked through their spectacles like a couple of owls, and both said, ‘H’m!—Hah!—Ho!’ And then the Doctor told Tea-Pot that his disease was in the vital spirits,—that the Ig-ne-ous Principle and the A-que-ous Principle inside of him had fallen out about something, and were fighting in his stomach like Kilkenny cats; that the A-que-ous Principle was getting the worst of it; that Reason required that something should be done to back up the A-que-ous Principle, for fair play; and that, as water-melons and soap-suds were friends and relations to the A-que-ous Principle, it was plain that Tea-Pot ought to eat a great many water-melons and drink a large quantity of soap-suds; and that it was his professional opinion, after playing the twenty-four tunes on the twenty-four pulses, according to Reason, that, if Tea-Pot did not continue to grow worse, he might, at the propitious hour, to be calculated from the seven moons and the seventy stars, begin to grow better, by virtue of the green medicine depending on the element of wood. “My compliments to your respectable mother,—Hi-yah! H’m!”

Then the other old owl told Tea-Pot’s fortune, to see whether he would pull through or not. He said that, according to Reason and the Tom-Cats, and according to the Leeches and the Rites, it appeared that two events personally concerning Tea-Pot might happen in the course of time,—Tea-Pot might die, and Tea-Pot might be a great-great-grandfather; and that, in order to avert the first, he must consult Doctor Owl, and in order to avert the second, he must take Doctor Owl’s opinion. “My compliments to your respectable mother,—Hi-yah! H’m!”

Then Round-the-world Joe paid the bill, Tea-Pot being broke; and Barney Binnacle tied the two owls’ tails together, and they all came away. And as it is not according to the Rites for one Chinese gentleman to pull, handle, or otherwise meddle with another Chinese gentleman’s tail, I presume those two old owls are still patiently waiting for the propitious hour, according to the Leeches and the Tom-Cats, when their respectable tails may be untied.

George Eager.


Captain Ben was in a hurry. To be sure it was only five o’clock in the morning, but he had been up since daybreak bringing ashore in the schooner’s boats everything he did not want to leave on board, and piling them into the wood-shed, till Mrs. Ben affirmed it would be as much as their lives were worth to try and get a stick of wood.

After long deliberation it had been decided that the Mary Ann could not go to sea again till newly copper-bottomed, and to-day Cap’n Ben and his men were to sail up the bay and leave her at the ship-yard. Polly and Nathan and Jimmy could hardly eat their breakfasts for joy at the idea that father would be at home at least a fortnight; and yet there was a small pout on Polly’s red lips. The boys were going up the bay with father, and coming home in the evening laden with fire-crackers, rockets, and pin-wheels, for to-morrow would be the Fourth of July.

Polly had begged to go, but as Cap’n Ben and the boys were coming down in an oyster-boat, and very likely might not run into the cove till late at night, mother had vetoed the plan, and Polly’s own sweet temper was struggling with a little natural indignation that the boys should do more than she could.

“Nathan’s had the measles, mother, and I haven’t, and I should think I could keep awake as long as he can; he ain’t but nine any way, and I’m seven and a month.”

“Good reason you didn’t have the measles,” shouted Nathan, “when they kep’ you up to Jack’s house all the time, for fear you would. Anyhow you’ve had the mumps, and I haven’t, an’ you’d get ’em again, sittin’ in dirty water all the way down from the ship-yard.”

“I don’t care,” Polly began; but Cap’n Ben, swallowing his last mug of coffee, rose up.

“Come, boys, tuck the rest in your pockets; we’ve got to be off.”

Polly followed slowly down to the shore. Jack was on hand, ready to bring back the boat which took them to the schooner, where the men were already weighing anchor. Polly watched her brothers climbing over the side, and heaved a sigh as she said to herself that she could have gone up just as easy as Nathan if she wasn’t a boy.

How exciting it would have been to be on board, and hear the blocks squeak as the ropes ran through them, and then lean ’way over as the anchor came up, and look at the queer sea-weeds on it, while the schooner tacked, and then with filled sails sped up the bay. Here was Jack coming back, though, and perhaps he was going to dig clams on their beach to-day, and she could have him to play with. Polly ran out to the very end of the point. It was only a rod or two from the big rock and the buoy where they moored the spare boats, though quite deep water lay between.

“I say, Polly,” said Jack as he came nearer, “I’m going to leave the boat here, and you get into the punt an’ come out to the rock, so ’t I can get ashore. I don’t want to swim, ’cause I can’t take time to dry my clothes.”

Polly ran back to the beach where the punt lay, half in and half out of the water, pushed off bravely, and rowed out to Jack, who, fastening his skiff carefully to the buoy, jumped into the punt and took the oars in his own hands.

“Good for you, Polly,” said he. “There ain’t many girls small as you be can row a boat, and not one ’longshore can swim a stroke but you.”

“I wouldn’t ’a’ learned,” said Polly, “but father said I wasn’t fit to be a sailor’s little girl if I didn’t, an’ I learned just as fast as Nathan. I can swim out to the big rock now, an’ not be tired one bit,” and Polly pointed to where they had left the large boat. “What you going to do to-day, Jack?” she added.

“Goin’ to dig like a streak, so’s to have time for fun to-morrow,” said Jack. “I left the big basket down to South Point as I came along; you come with me, Polly, if your mother’ll let you.”

Polly ran up to the house, where her mother was busy baking pies and gingerbread for to-morrow’s festivities.

“Do what you want till supper-time, so long as ’tain’t mischief,” she said, “for I have no time to look after you. Take enough in your pockets for you and Jack, and be off with you.”

“I’ll swim awhile, mother, mayn’t I?” said Polly. “The water’s good an’ warm, an’ Jack’s going to be round all day.”

“Not to-day, Polly,” answered her mother. “You’ve got a cold now, an’ you’ll get more if you go in a swimming, an’ then race round in your wet frock.”

“But, mother!” said Polly, “I wanted to go out to Black Rock an’ get some Job’s-tears off the sea-weed on the end: there’s beautiful ones there.”

“You can get ’em another day,” said her mother, “or may be Nathan’ll do it for you to-morrow; but you mustn’t think of it. Run off now, and play by Jack like a good girl.”

Polly shut the door hard as she went out. First to have to stay at home because she was a girl, and then not to go in swimming when she had set her heart on it. She could not feel good-natured, and went sulkily along towards the Point.

Half-way down, the rocks, thick enough anywhere alongshore, were piled up together, and one great one arched over, and formed what the children called their house. Here Nathan and Jimmy brought all treasures of smooth pieces of wood for boats, stray bits of bunting, curious shells and sea-weeds, and here in one corner, sacred to Polly, were her doll, and the wooden cradle manufactured for it by her father, gay bits of broken china, and a little wooden bench. Here, through spring and summer weather, the children played, and when autumn winds began to blow there was a grand moving time to the wood-house chamber, where through the winter they rioted till spring came again.

Polly felt too cross to meet Jack just then, and so stopped to take a look at Matilda Ann, her doll. The cradle was in sad disorder. Matilda must have been restless in the night; for the little patchwork quilt lay at one end of Polly’s corner, and the sheets at another. She made up the cradle smoothly, and then tried to play that Matilda Ann had kicked off the bedclothes, and made herself sick, and must have a doctor immediately.

“Jack!” Polly called, going out on the shore, “I want you to come and play you’re a doctor.”

“Couldn’t,” said Jack; “I’ve got to keep a doctoring these clams. I’m puttin’ ’em to bed in this basket fast as ever I can.”

Polly didn’t even laugh, but went back slowly, and settled down again to teach Matilda Ann her letters, and so passed away the time till nearly noon; but it grew harder and harder. All Matilda Ann needed was necklace and bracelets, which should by this time have been made from the Job’s-tears, as ornaments for Fourth of July.

“I can’t stand it,” said Polly. “Only to think how nice she’d ’a’ looked!” Then a new idea came. “I’ll go out in the punt,” thought she. “Mother only meant I mustn’t get wet, and I sha’n’t in the punt. It’ll be better than swimming, I do believe! If I’d ’a’ swum, I’d had to get into the big boat to get round to the very end where the best shells are, for father said I mustn’t go to the very end of the rock yet awhile, when I swum, ’cause it was too deep water, an’ that I mustn’t get into the big skiff, ’cause I couldn’t manage it; so the punt’s the very thing!”

Alas for Polly! Jack, finding the supply of clams on South Point running short, had taken the punt and was rowing down the shore to a beach where he knew they abounded. It was provoking. There lay the rock, hardly a stone’s throw from the shore, and there was Jack, pulling off over the smooth water, and only shaking his head a little as Polly screamed to him to come back.

“I can’t mind mother this time, anyhow,” said she, “for I’ve got to have those shells, and Jack’s gone off with the punt.”

Back she ran to the rock house, pulled off her clothes, and put on the old pink frock she wore as a swimming dress, and then down to the shore again, and into the water. How warm it felt, and how easily her little limbs made their way through it! She quickly reached the rock and sat down a moment to take breath. There were no shells near her, but at the other end Polly saw them shining on the great clusters of sea-weed. The skiff rocked softly up and down near her. “So much nicer,” thought Polly, “to just row round there an’ get all I want, than to crawl down the rock for ’em through all that nasty green slime and stuff.”

She stepped into the boat, untied the rope which fastened it, and rowed a stroke or two. “How easy it goes!” said she. “Father didn’t know, when he said I couldn’t manage it.”

Nevertheless, reaching the jagged point of Black Rock, just visible above water, it did not seem so easy to gather shells in this way as she had thought. The boat would not stay still, but bumped up against the rock, and then swung round in a very trying way. She caught at a trailing length of sea-weed, covered with the little gray and white shells, and pulled it in to her, sitting down in the stern to pick them off. This done, she moved back to her oars, intending to go round on the other side. One was there, but the other, knocked back and forth against the rock, had taken matters into its own hands, and was quietly floating off to sea. Polly’s impulse was to jump after it. “If I do,” said she, “the boat will get away, for it’s untied. I’ll have to get back to the buoy with one oar, and when Jack comes back, I’ll ask him what I’d better do.”

Getting back was not so easy. The current setting out to sea had made it possible for her to reach the end of the rock toward the shore, but as she had swung round on the ocean side, that same current, stronger than any force in her little arms, was surely drifting her away from rock and buoy. Polly pulled hard at her one oar, but two could have done her no good then. There was already quite a space of smooth green water between boat and rock,—farther than Polly had ever dared to swim. She stood up in the bow and screamed, “Mother! mother!” But mother, busy in her kitchen, far up on the shore, heard nothing, and Polly sat down, quite bewildered with fear. “Perhaps Jack will see me,” she thought; but Jack was only a little black speck on a distant beach, and no boat of oysterman or fisherman was in sight. The tide was going out, and Polly saw herself drifting, drifting, steadily out to sea. There we leave her.

Jack dug till two or three o’clock, filling his basket and the end of the punt with clams, and then rowed very slowly up to the cove. He was hot and thirsty; so, drawing his boat up on to the shore, he ran up to Cap’n Ben’s for a drink.

“Where’s Polly?” said Mrs. Ben.

“I don’ know,” answered Jack; “I thought she was here. I guess she’s down to the rock house playing with her doll.”

Mrs. Ben went quickly down to the shore, and on to the rocks. Jack heard her cry out as she reached them, and ran fast.

“Jack! O Jack!” she said. “Polly’s drowned! O my little Polly!”

Jack saw the clothes and shoes lying near her, but his quick eye had discovered, as he ran, that the boat was missing. “No, she isn’t,” he said; “she ain’t drowned at all. The boat’s gone from the buoy, and she’s in it, I know.”

Jack ran out to the end of the Point, where we first saw him, and looked out over the water. There was certainly a boat in the distance, and on it a little pink speck. “Polly’s out there!” he shouted. “I’ve been out farther’n that, an’ I’ll row hard’s I can, an’ bring her back. ’Taint so far”;—and he flew back to the punt, threw out his clams, and pulled off furiously.

“Save your strength, Jack,” called Mrs. Ben, “an’ I’ll send men off fast as I can find ’em”;—and she ran down the shore towards a fisherman’s house.

Every man and boy was away,—gone up the bay to sell off as much as possible before the Fourth, and there was nothing to do but to wait, patiently as might be, for Cap’n Ben’s return. She went up to the bluff and watched the two boats. Jack was pulling strongly; but how hard it seemed that there could not be some tough fisherman with him, to lengthen the strokes, and gain upon the fast-disappearing little boat! The sun was almost setting now, and they seemed sailing into a gold and crimson sea; but Mrs. Ben only thought that soon it would go down, and then her little Polly might die of fright in the darkness. The breeze blew up freshly, and there was a swish of water on the beach.

“Lord help us!” said Mrs. Ben; “the tide has turned, and Jack never can row against it”;—and she sank down crying on the bluff.

Jack too had watched the setting sun, and pulled more vigorously. His arms ached, and he trembled from head to foot with the effort. He was passing now a little island, hardly more than a rock, and the only one near the Highlands, and the current set in strongly towards it. He was nearing Polly too, and she evidently saw him, for she waved the skirt of her frock, and Jack heard her voice coming faintly across the distance.

He set his teeth and pulled fiercely. There was a snap, and he fell back sharply to the bottom of the punt. The slender oar had given way. Jack groaned, then pulled himself up, and examined the damages. The oar was useless, but he stood up and paddled the boat along till safely beyond the current. It was perilous work. The little flat-bottomed thing almost went over, time and time again, as Jack stepped from side to side; but Polly was in plain sight, wild with joy at being so near safety, and paddling with all her little might. A few minutes’ intense work, and Jack was near enough to throw the boat-line.

“Hold hard, Polly!” he shouted; “hold on for your life!”

Polly pulled in the rope, the boats drew nearer and nearer, till with a great jump Jack found himself safe in the skiff, while the little punt floated alongside, bottom up. Polly caught hold of him, and the two children sank down with a great burst of sobs. Jack had just strength enough to pick up the sound oar as it floated by, and tie the punt to the skiff, and then lie back.

“I never was so tired in my life, Polly,” said he, “and I can’t row another stroke. We sha’n’t come to any harm now, for the night’s still, and we’ll be picked up in the morning. Cuddle down close to me, and we’ll go to sleep.”

Polly, worn out with terror and crying, and Jack, with hard work, lay down in the bottom of the boat, and slept almost as their heads touched the jacket which Jack had rolled up for a pillow. A light wind came now and then from the south, but the skiff slid easily over the little waves, and the children did not stir.

Far into the night Jack awoke. The stars were still shining, and for a moment he thought himself in his own little bed under the roof. In the east was a faint streak of light, the first sign of coming day. Polly’s little brown head lay on Jack’s knee, and she still slept quietly.

“It’s lucky it’s hot weather,” thought Jack, “or she wouldn’t be so comfortable with nothin’ on but that frock. He drew her closer, and put his arm around her. To care for somebody in that darkness was a relief, and Jack sat looking steadily off to the east, watching the faint glimmer change and deepen into dawn. It seemed hours to him before the first gleam of sunlight came over the water, and Polly opened her eyes, first dreamily, and then half wildly, as she stretched out her stiff little arms and legs.

“Shake yourself, and get the wrinkles out, Polly,” said Jack, “an’ then you stand in the stern and steer, and I’ll pull ahead, some nearer that schooner that’s coming along so spry. Let’s see which’ll catch up with the other first.”

Polly stumbled over the seats, and took the rudder in her hand. Planks certainly were not as comfortable as the trundle-bed at home: she ached from head to foot. “If I’d only something to eat, Jack!” she said.

“I’m hungry too, Polly,” answered he, “but we’re going to have a Fourth o’ July breakfast on that schooner.”

Jack was right. An hour later a boat pulled from the schooner, manned by two sailors sent out by the captain, to whom it had been reported by the man at the helm, that two children were rowing for the schooner as hard as they could pull, though what they were doing out to sea, at four o’clock in the morning, he couldn’t tell.

Jack quickly told the story, and then Polly had the opportunity she had so longed for yesterday morning, of climbing up a schooner’s side. It wasn’t nice now, one bit, for she felt as if every sailor leaning over the railing knew every particular of her naughtiness, and was laying it up against her, and she looked hard on the deck as the captain came forward.

Jack knew him at once. It was Captain Brown, who had been the year before at Cap’n Ben’s, and since then had been down on the South Carolina coast, and now came from Charleston. He took both the children to his own cabin, gave them a good breakfast, and listened to Jack’s story.

“How came you afloat in such a rig?” he asked.

Polly grew crimson as she explained, and wanted to sink right through the cabin floor.

“Never mind,” said the good-natured captain; “mothers do know best pretty often, an’ I guess you’ll think so too after this. Your father’s been cruisin’ round for you all night, most likely, and thinks may be you’re drowned. We’ll be lookin’ out for him.”

Just then there was a shout from the deck, and Polly was sure she heard her father’s voice. Too timid to go on deck in her strange dress, she shrunk back, but Jack had darted up, and was looking over the water.

Two boats were pulling rapidly toward the ship, and in one Jack saw his father and Cap’n Ben.

“Hooray!” he shouted till he was hoarse, while Captain Brown, whirling Polly up to the deck, held her out like a flag.

What a meeting it was! Poor Cap’n Ben had not reached home till nearly midnight, and then had set out at once with Jack’s father, who was in great fear for his boy’s safety too. Three of the neighbors had already gone out; but in the darkness little could be done. They had thrown up rockets and shouted, but the worn-out children knew nothing of this, and it was not till Cap’n Ben, looking at the schooner through his spy-glass, had recognized his own boat towing behind, that he began to feel a little hope.

Now they were miles from home, and it would be a sad Fourth for mother and Nathan and Jimmy till they came sailing in again. Captain Brown crowded all sail, and they went swiftly on, while Jack and Polly, too tired to run about, sat and listened to the stories Captain Brown was telling of his year down South, of the Charleston people, and of a Mr. Calhoun in particular, who he said didn’t want the United States to be united any longer, and who, with a lot of other Nullifiers, would have had their way, if President Jackson hadn’t sent down troops and hindered them.

Polly, in her father’s arms, looked and listened, till Captain Brown’s voice seemed to come from away off, and then she slept again.

When she opened her eyes she was on deck. The stars and stripes were flying, gay bunting decked every stay, and the negro cook brought out his banjo and strummed Yankee Doodle as they sailed up to the cove. She could see the shore plainly, and there were her mother and Nathan and Jimmy and all the neighbors. Jack threw up his cap as he saw his mother among them, and could hardly stand still while the anchor was dropped, and the boats lowered in which all went ashore.

The two mothers cried together,—Jack’s mother over Polly, and Polly’s mother over Jack,—and then everybody went up to the little brown house, and after all didn’t get in, because, not having been built with such an end in view, the room couldn’t possibly hold more than half of them.

Not a word was said about Polly’s disobedience. Only in her little heart she had made a vow, when drifting away alone in the boat, that never again would she bring such sorrow to other people as she knew mother and father felt at her trouble. She kept close to her mother all day, only going away to press every good thing she could think of on Jack, who declared she meant to kill him.

At night they set off their fire-works, with the addition of some splendid ones which Captain Brown brought from the schooner. The last piece was “Union,” in great letters of red, white, and blue.

“Hooray for Union!” shouted Jack and Nathan and Jimmy together, and “Hooray for Union!” answered the lookers-on as the last spark went up.

“Secession’s no go for gals nor for States,” said Cap’n Ben. “Jack’s been our Jackson! Hooray for Jack!”

Helen C. Weeks.


Her father had gone to the village one night, and left her quite alone in that bit of a house; it was really very small,—it did not seem much larger than a dog-kennel; but it was large enough for two people, especially if one were such an atom as Ruby. It was a very lonely house, too, for it stood half-way up a mountain where the shadow of the pine forest was darkest, and the great white stretch of snow that sloped down through it lay still and untrodden,—still, except when the icicles clattered sharply down from the trees on it. Ruby could hear them often, when she sat alone; she could hear the wind too, sobbing around the house as if its heart were broken, and then wailing off over miles of mountain solitude. Sometimes she could hear the chirp of a frightened bird in its nest, or the mournful cry of the whippoorwill over in the swamp. Once she heard the growl of a distant bear that had lost his way.

But she never thought of such a thing as being afraid. Her father found and shot the bear, the next day, and it was the only one that had been seen on the mountain for years. As for the icicles, and the wind, and the whippoorwill, she had heard them ever since she could remember, and they did not disturb her in the least. On the contrary, she thought they were very pleasant company when her father was gone, and she used to sit at the window for hours together, listening to them.

But she had her playmates in-doors as well as out. Of these, her favorite was the fire. Now I do not believe there are many people who can build such a fire as Ruby could. She used to gather such piles of light, dry brushwood, and such branches of dead oak-leaves, which made the prettiest, quivering shavings, and she had such fragrant pine-cones for her kindling-wood!

When the hearth was all blazing and crackling with a fire about as tall as she was, she used to sit down before it, and stretch out her hands with the fingers close together, so that she could see the beautiful, brilliant blood in them; or take off her shoes and stockings, and put her pretty pink feet almost into the ashes to warm them; or sit with her eyes very wide open, and look and look into the pile of blazing fagots, till she made herself think that it was some great city in flames, towers falling, steeples tottering, churches crashing, and hundreds of houses in hundreds of streets turned to living fire.

Or she would watch the lights and shadows chasing each other all over the little low room. Where they flecked the ceiling, they painted rare fresco-work, that shifted and changed to some new pattern every moment; where they quivered over the bare plaster of the walls, they hung them with tapestry drooping and rich with quaint devices, and glittering with embroidery of black and golden threads. Every piece of the old, well-worn furniture,—the huge pine-bedstead, and Ruby’s little couch in the corner behind the chintz curtain, the rocking-chair and the cricket and the rough table,—all grew into the richest of foreign woods, with coverings of crimson and orange velvet, and the curtain waved itself into damask folds with jewelled fringes. As for the unpainted floor, that became the pavement of a palace, inlaid with ebony and gold.

At least, so Ruby used to think, and night after night, when her father had gone to the village to sell his wood, or the rabbits and squirrels that he shot in the forest, she would fancy, all the evening long, that she was not Ruby at all, but some beautiful, happy Princess.

Now how she came to be called Ruby I really do not know; but, after thinking of the matter two whole nights and a day, I have arrived at the conclusion that it was probably because her cheeks were as red as the reddest gem, and as soft as the sweetest of June roses, and her lips like beads of coral. I presume they were made so on purpose to be bits of crimson lights for her hair and eyes, which were as black as a summer’s night when the stars are hidden.

On this evening of which I started to tell you, she built up her largest and brightest fire,—for it was a very cold evening,—looked a few minutes at the towers crashing down through the city,—watched for the frescos, and the tapestries, and the gold and ebony pavements to flicker and glow into their places,—put upon her forehead her mother’s chain of gold beads that was kept so carefully in the drawer, and that served her for a princess’s crown; then she suddenly remembered another of her playfellows who would be in the room that night, and went to the window to look for it. Perhaps you will think it must have been a stupid companion, but I assure you that Ruby did not find it so. It was only the moonlight which had fallen silently in, and lay quite pale upon the floor.

The moon itself, looking very large and very lonely, was bright above the tops of the pines, against the blue of a far, faint sky. Every branch of every tree was tipped and edged with silver; all the foliage of the evergreens, and the dead leaves that had hung all winter shivering on their stems, flashed in the light like crystals; the footpaths stretched on through the woods, arched overhead and glittering, winding away and away like interminable fairy corridors, and the snow, like a mirror, caught all the pearly lights with which the air was filled, and threw them back. Ruby thought that they were little rainbow kisses tossed up at the moon.

She sat down on the floor right in a flood of light, with her hands folded, and her eyes looking up through the tree-tops, like a bit of a silver statue. And sitting so, she began to think—as Ruby loved to think when she was alone—about the rivers of molten pearl, and the diamond mountain, and the silver grass on silvered fields, and the trees with rainbows for blossoms and jewels for fruit, and the little ladies dressed in spun dew-drops, and—O, so many things that might be in the moon! If one could only find out for certain!

“O—I—really—why, what’s that? O, dear me!” said Ruby at last, scrambling to her feet in a hurry. For something or somebody was walking through the air, down upon the broadest of the moonbeams. Almost before she could draw a breath, it stood close upon the outside of the window,—something very large and very dark, but whether it was a man or an animal, Ruby could not decide.

“O, you can’t, you know,” she began, moving away a little, “you can’t possibly get through the window,—if you’ll wait till father comes, may be I’ll let you in at the door.”

But, to her unutterable surprise, the strange visitor at this came directly through the window without the slightest difficulty, or without making so much as a crack in the glass, and landed on the floor beside her.

“Oh!—if you please won’t!—why, I never did!” said Ruby, winking very hard, and looking around for a place to hide. But the stranger did not look in the least as if he had any thoughts of wringing her neck, or swallowing her whole, or doing her any harm whatever. He was only an old man,—a very odd old man, though. He was not so very much taller than Ruby; he had exceedingly white hands, and wore white satin slippers. His trousers were bright corn-color, and he had long pink stockings that came up to his knees. He wore a coat of white broadcloth, with sleeves a yard wide, and silver fringe and buttons. His vest was of faint, gray velvet,—whether it was faded or not, Ruby could not make out,—and on his head was a three-cornered cap of white tissue-paper, with a little black tassel on top of it. But by far the funniest thing about him was his face. It was as round as a dinner-plate, and perfectly white. His eyes were round, and his nose was round, and his mouth was round, and there was not a particle of color anywhere in them. His eyebrows and eyelashes, his hair, and his long, flowing beard, were like drifting snow.

He stood looking very solemnly at Ruby, and, after he had looked a minute without speaking, he made her so low a bow, that the tassel on the tip of his tissue hat touched the ground.

“Why—why, who are you?” stammered Ruby, with her eyes very wide open.

“Guess,” said he, setting his cap straight.

“Well, maybe,” began Ruby, trying very hard not to be frightened,—“maybe you’re one of the fairies that live in the rocks by the brook. I guess I saw you peekin’ out of a crack, last week.”

“No, you didn’t,” said the stranger; “guess again.”

“Or perhaps you’re some sort—some sort of a—sort of a king, you know,” said Ruby, hesitating, and feeling of the gold beads on her forehead; “and you’ve got a palace,—a real live one.”

“Guess again,” said the old gentleman.

“I shouldn’t wonder “—Ruby began to look again for a place to hide—“if you might be a—a ghost!”

The visitor burst into a laugh that echoed through the hut. “You’re a good Yankee! You haven’t come any nearer than you are to the moon.”

“I’m sorry I’m so stupid,” said Ruby, humbly. “Won’t you tell me?”

“O, certainly, with the greatest pleasure,—certainly, certainly, I’m the Man in it.”

“The Man in what?”

“The Man in the Moon.”

“O my!” said Ruby.

“Yes, I am,” continued he, growing suddenly very sober. “I have been ever since I can remember.”

“You don’t say so!” Ruby drew a long breath.

“I do,” asserted the Man in the Moon, with an air of gentle melancholy.

The crimson lights on Ruby’s cheeks fairly paled and glowed with curiosity. “If you wouldn’t mind telling me, I should like so much to know, sir, what—what on earth you came down for?”

“Your fire.”

My fire!

The old gentleman nodded. Ruby began to be afraid that he was going to make a bonfire of the house, or burn her at the stake.

“Cold!” said her visitor in an explanatory tone, shivering till every separate hair of his huge beard seemed to stand on end.

“What! don’t you have any fire up there, sir?” asked Ruby.

“Sat on a snow chair all last evening, and slept under one blanket of ice, and a frost bedquilt,—caught the worst rheumatism I’ve had this season,” said the Man in the Moon, sighing.

“O, how dreadful! and you don’t mean to say you saw my fire clear down here,—really?”

The old gentleman nodded again.

Ruby looked at the fire, then up through the window at the moon. “I don’t see how you could see so far, to save your life! Wouldn’t you like to come up and get warm, sir?”

The old gentleman had been seized with such a shivering fit just then, that Ruby thought he would shiver himself to pieces; which would not have been at all convenient, as she should not know what to do with the broken bits. She felt relieved, however, when he smiled the roundest of smiles out of his round mouth, and seated himself in the rocking-chair in front of the hearth, apparently with the greatest satisfaction.

“You—you are—really, you are very kind,” began her visitor, rubbing his hands. “I am not a thin man,” he proceeded, apparently giving himself no trouble about the want of connection between his sentences; “never was but once, and that was when I lived on putty and dew-drops for two years. We had a famine. I grew so small I got lost one day in my own coat,—couldn’t find my way out for four hours and a half.”

“Dear me!” said Ruby.

“Yes, you are very kind not to laugh, nor anything of the sort,” he continued, with an absent air,—“very, indeed; and it is very good in you to let me warm myself at your fire,—very. On the whole, I think it is exceedingly good.”

“Why, I shouldn’t think of doing anything else,” said Ruby, who had quite recovered from her fright; “but do tell me what you eat in the moon, when it isn’t a famine?”

The old man twirled his silver buttons, felt of the tassel on his cap, gave his head a little shake, and looked solemnly into the fire. “Depends on the season,—sand-cakes with hail-sauce are about as good as anything in their time. I have an excellent recipe for a sea-shell pudding; and for breakfast, I take fried snow-balls pretty much the year round.”

“O,” said Ruby. “Well, I should like to know if you weren’t cold, taking such a long journey in that hat.”

“O,” said the Man in the Moon, “I’m used to it.”

“But what do you wear it for?” persisted Ruby.

At this he looked very wise, and stared into the fire again, but said nothing. Ruby did not dare to repeat the question; so she stood with her eyes very black, looking at the funny, fat little figure and solemn white face beside her.

“Are there really little ladies up there,” she broke out at last, “with silver dresses, and diamond mountains, and castles with great pearl doors, and little princes riding white horses, and—”

“No, ma’am,” interrupted the Man in the Moon, “there isn’t anybody but me.”

“Don’t you get dreadfully tired of it?” said Ruby, beginning to feel very sorry for him.

He gave a little short groan, and, taking a black silk handkerchief out of his pocket, began to wipe his eyes. The handkerchief was so large that it dragged on the floor, and covered him quite out of sight, till he began to feel in better spirits, when he folded it up sixteen times, and put it back in its place.

“Who hems your handkerchiefs?” asked Ruby, suddenly.

“Hem ’em myself.”

“Why, how did you learn to sew?”

“O, I always knew how: first time I remember anything about myself, I was sitting on top of a thorn-tree, mending a pair of mittens.”

“You were?”

“Yes,” said the old gentleman, with a meditative air, “I was.”

Seeing how much enjoyment he appeared to take from the heat of the fire, Ruby suddenly bethought herself that he might also fancy some supper,—especially, poor man! as his bill of fare in his own residence was so uninviting. So she stole away on tiptoe to the closet, and brought out the remains of her supper,—a brown-bread cake, and a cup of goat’s milk. There was a bit of cold squirrel, too; but that was saved for her father. She spread them before her visitor on the table.

“Wouldn’t you like some supper, sir? It isn’t much; but I think it must be better than what you have at home.”

“Much obliged,” he said, looking first at the bread, then at the milk, then at her,—“very much indeed. Really, you are remarkably polite; but I never allow myself to eat away from home; it doesn’t agree with my constitution. The last time I did it,—I’d gone on a visit to my first-cousin, who lives in the planet Jupiter,—it gave me St. Vitus’s dance, and I had to walk on my head for a week afterwards.”

“Do tell!” exclaimed Ruby, who did catch some country expressions occasionally. “Well, I’m sure I wouldn’t have asked you, if I’d known.”

She put up the tea-things with a great clatter and hurry. Indeed, I am not sure but she was afraid the dyspeptic gentleman might be overcome by his appetite, and snatch a mouthful or two as she was carrying away the bread and milk. As for his exercising around the room on the tip of that tissue hat, though it might be a very interesting phenomenon, she thought she should, on the whole, prefer that he would not perform till her father came home.

She had no more than fairly locked up her dishes and come back to take a seat on the cricket, when she was attracted by a strange behavior on the part of her guest. He had been watching her, every step she took about the room, and now he folded both his little fat hands, and, looking at her very hard, gave her a solemn wink.

“What do you want?” asked Ruby.

Another wink; but he said not a word.

“I—I don’t exactly understand,” said Ruby.


“Does the light hurt your eyes, sir?”

Wink—wink; but not a syllable did he say. Ruby was now really frightened. Perhaps he was a cannibal, and was going to make his supper out of her, after all! And, O dear! to think of being eaten up alive! And if she could only jump out the window and run away! And what would her father think when he came home, and found nothing but her dress and shoes and a heap of little white bones!


O dear! couldn’t she climb up the chimney?

And then he opened his mouth. Ruby screamed aloud, but she did not dare to stir.

“I say,” said the old man, “you’re a very polite young lady,—very polite; quite a sweet voice; and you’re very good-looking, too.”

“Dear no, sir,” said Ruby, drawing a long breath, and feeling very much relieved.

“What should you say,” continued the old gentleman, “to coming home with me? You might come back every Saturday night and see your father, you know.”

“O dear!” cried Ruby, turning pale, “I couldn’t think of it,—I couldn’t possibly.”

“O, it’s of no consequence,” replied the Man in the Moon, looking quite unconcerned,—“none in the world; it’s just as well. I think I must be going now. There won’t be anybody to ring the nine-o’clock bell if I don’t.” And before Ruby could find words to speak, he had walked with a serious air to the window and disappeared.

Ruby started, stared, and rubbed her eyes to look out after him. The forest was quite still; the wind had cried itself to sleep, and her father was just coming up the foot-path that led to the door.

Ruby, bewildered, looked up,—miles and miles away at the moon. The old gentleman’s solemn face was staring down out of it; and if it had not been for the branch of a little tossing birch-tree that came in the way just then, she would have been sure—perfectly sure—that he winked at her. Though I have been told that her father, with the stupidity common to parents, teachers, older sisters, and all ignorant people, continues somewhat sceptical on that point to this day.

It is reported, I believe, by a correspondent of a Patagonia paper, who found it in a Kamtschatkan exchange, which had it from the editor of a Boorioboola daily, who copied it from a popular magazine issued on the Mountains of the Moon,—where, of course, they ought to know,—that all this happened about the time when the Man in the Moon was hunting for a wife.

E. Stuart Phelps.


The eyes pertaining to Somebody opened very early, and very reluctantly, one bitter cold morning, in a front room on the third or fourth floor of a boarding-house “up town.” About the same moment, and perhaps the cause of that effect, the ears of Somebody became aware of a grating, scratching sound somewhere below. It might have been six o’clock, but the sun was not in the habit of getting up before that hour, probably because the weather was so cold, and, when inside shutters were partly closed, the hour seemed very doubtful. As before said, the eyes opened reluctantly, with a vague idea that it was somewhere about midnight, and the ears added to this impression sundry suggestions of burglars, and, listening intently to the mysterious pick, scratch, rattle, were almost convinced that some visionary thief was about to seek a fortune in a clerk’s boarding-house. But the unearthly whoop of a milkman, and the sound of his flapping arms, as he stood up in his cart, waiting for the tardy Bridget, put to flight such absurdities, and Somebody turned over for another nap. But for once curiosity was destined to overcome indolence, and a hasty rush to the window and a peep through the shutters solved the problem of what made that scratching.

In the next building was a bakery, and, as a natural consequence, there were plenty of ashes to be disposed of; and, not having the fear of the police before their eyes, the people had poured them in one heap in the gutter, instead of collecting them in box or barrel “as the law directs.” The accumulation was fast freezing into a solid mass, and growing to a mountain, quite enough to excuse the cart-men from taking it away. Thus much Somebody had seen and passed by, daily, but not till this particular morning had she seen the “atom of animated nature” which crowned the pile.

Where the last ashes were poured, and the warmth still lingered, stood the valiant little delver. No seeker for California treasure was ever more patient, more persevering, and scarcely more hardy. The yardstick would measure nearly all her height, but the belles of Madison Square might have envied her figure, had they ever been up early enough to catch a glimpse of it. The dirty worsted hood tied under her chin did not tie up all the pretty wavy brown hair, and the rosy cheeks with a dimple in each, or the roguish eyes. The ragged little woollen shawl was tied in a great knot behind, over the torn calico that left the little red knees bare to the tops of a pair of leggings that once doubtless warmed more tender limbs, and hands and arms were cased in old stockings with holes cut for thumbs. It is a wonder that those same thumbs were not frozen, for they were holding on to an iron rod, crooked at one end like a poker, with which she hammered away at the heap, only stopping to pick up a coal blacker than the rest, that, washed by the snow, looked as if it might be made to burn again. There were not many such, and the store in her basket was but scanty, for Jack Frost had laid his hand on them and was very loath to give them up.

Now you don’t suppose that Somebody noticed and thought of all this, standing in her night-dress of a December morning? Not a bit of it. She was not quite so romantic as that, though she was romantic enough to think poor children just as interesting as rich ones, and often a great deal better, because it is so much harder to be good amidst constant struggling and suffering than when life is made easier by every comfort that money can buy.

It did not require many mornings, however, to learn that the little maiden was always earliest of the cinder-pickers to visit that particular heap, so that, if there was anything to be got there, she had it long before less enterprising ones came along. The long windows of the warm dining-room were a good place to watch her, and, as the mornings grew lighter, Somebody didn’t mind getting up half an hour earlier. And the little one soon knew that there was a face at the window; and while she worked, she would look up with a shy smile that showed two rows of teeth like corn. Perhaps she was glad of company in the cold, lonely morning, there were so few to notice her among all the comers and goers of the great city.

Once a gentleman stood by Somebody, and the little girl knew that they were talking about her. Presently this gentleman opened the window and threw out a handful of somethings that rattled on the pavement and rolled down, trying to hide themselves in the snow and ashes. How her eyes danced, and her feet too, as she gathered them up, bowing and courtesying with life and grace in every movement!

Again the window opened, and the gentleman said, “Here, Kohlasche” (you know that is German for cinder), “I heard you singing the other day,—can’t you sing us a song?”

She looked a little frightened, and hesitated, but seemed to conclude that she ought to do something in return for his kindness; so she set down her basket, and, coming to the window-railing, sang such a pretty, plaintive song, all in German. And her voice was so sweet and childish! When she had finished, Somebody would have liked to send her away with a kiss, but was afraid of being laughed at. Perhaps it was as well, for kisses were so rare to her that she might not have understood its meaning.

On another morning a boy scarcely larger than herself, but carrying a heavy pail of garbage, set it down to rest, and, as he stood watching her, began to whistle the tune she was singing to herself, which made her stop singing and look at him, which was just what he wanted.

“Pretty hard picking, hey?” said he, by way of introduction. “Folks burn their coal awful close, these war times. Let’s help. I’ll scratch and you pick up. Give us your poke!”

So they began to work away together, the boy talking all the time, and stopping frequently to stand with arms akimbo as if he had accomplished a great deal.

“What does yer granny do with all these coals? How many cart-loads does she get in a day? Don’t yer have no fire but these? Sells ’em, eh! A shill’n a peck! Jim-me-nee! She must have heaps o’ money. We gives three shill’n a pailful for fresh coals, when we buys ’em by the pail, but Dad says folks is pretty hard up when they buys coals that way; it’s putting too much money inter other folkses pockets.

“Yes, I carry swill every morning, ’fore school, though. Bub or me goes to the Alhambra House, and t’other goes to the brewery. We likes to go to the hotel, ’cause yer see Dad’s sister is cook there, and that’s how we gets the swill; and ’most allers she saves something nice for Bub and me. See here, now!”

Carefully lifting a cabbage-leaf from the top of his pail, he brought forth in triumph the bones of a chicken, nearly picked.

“Have one?” he questioned, with good-natured generosity; and munching his, he added, with epicurean criticism, “Guess they lives pretty well at the Alhambra. Yer granny sells more ’n coals, I reckon? If she’s as dear on her rum as she is on coals, customers must be scarce. Cracky! there she comes now! Pick up yer basket. Won’t you catch it for stopping ter talk ter me!”

And shouldering his pail, he trudged off whistling—what do you think?—“No one to love.” It’s a fact. But then, you know, for a penny one can buy from off the Park railings almost any song in existence.

Up the street came trundling a large hand-cart piled with cinders, a dog harnessed to each side, and, pushing against the front bar, an old woman swathed, like a mummy, in every description of rag,—wrinkled, old, and ugly, with scanty locks of gray hair blowing about her weather-beaten face.

She stopped when she saw Kohlasche, who ran to her and held up her basket. The dogs stopped too, and tried to get nearer to the little girl, wagging their tails, and seeming glad to see her. Granny looked into the basket, emptied it upon the cart, scowled, handed it back to the child, and, with a shake and a cuff, pointed down the street to where ash-boxes and barrels bordered the way. Evidently glad to part from her taskmaster, she hurried off; but as the old woman disappeared to rummage an area, little Kohlasche turned, and, taking from the bosom of her shawl the chicken-bones which she and the little swill-carrier had been picking, she hastily gave one to each dog, bounding away before they could lick her hand, as they wished to do. Poor dogs! They had the quick instincts of children in knowing a friend. Weary as they were, and hating their bondage, they gladly and pantingly sat down to rest, uneasily glancing around, however, and the moment the old woman’s head appeared above the pavement they were alert with fear, and moving on.

So by these several steps it was that Somebody came to think her little romance about the pretty cinder-child. She could not belong to that old woman,—of course not. Never was such beauty born of such ugliness. It was a shame that she should be left to such a life,—that nobody came to the rescue. So it was. She might be a stolen child. Perhaps some lonely mother mourned as dead the innocence and loveliness which might better be buried under green earth and bright flowers than under poverty and wickedness. Something must be done! Something should be done!

Thus from watching little Kohlasche came talking to her, and from talking came visiting her home,—to find dirt, cruelty, wretchedness. A cellar, a gin-shop, a wicked old woman who beat and starved several children and two dogs, whom she lodged and held to do her bidding,—to pick, to gather, and even steal, in furtherance of her miserable trade.

No, the little girl was not hers. She thanked fortune she had no “gals,”—there was “more to be made on boys.” Six years before, the eyes of a hapless woman who lodged with her (and, alas! loved all too well the burning solace that made her forget life’s horrors) had closed upon them all for the last time as those of her baby-girl began to stare wide open in unmitigated wonder. Babies can sometimes be made useful, so Granny did not throw this one away or send it to the almshouse. Would she give her up now, to have a good home, to go to school, and be helped to grow up as good as she was pretty? Yes, if it was made worth her while,—if she was paid for her trouble—in letting her live, she must have meant.

Somebody remembered distinctly that she herself was once a child, a thing it is to be regretted that many forget; and well too she remembered the tears she shed over Cinderella, the despised but triumphant, and she longed to play “the fairy godmother” to all possible “Cinderellas” of these days.

Dear old Mother Lovechild! Blessed be her memory when she shall pass to Him who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” She not only suffered them; to her the words seemed a command to help them to come unto Him. Her heart was always good, and had a warm corner for children; but sorrow visited it early and left it more tender for bruising. Husband, children, all were gone,—last, the daughter who left three tiny children to their grandmother in her age and poverty. How could she send them away? The Lord gave them, and would help her to take care of them. So she prayed while she worked, and the Lord did help wondrously. Hearts as warm as her own prompted fuller hands to give. They gave house and food and fuel, and increased the little fireside group by ones and twos, till the little cottage and the mother’s hands were full. Some called it a ragged-school; but few rags were there, and cleanliness and plenty and love made it home. And all shared alike with the mother, for she called them all hers. Her eldest grandchild had grown old enough to help her teach the little ones and sing with them as year by year they came and went.

It was after weary days and disappointments, but at length “the fairy godmother’s” wand was lifted, and lo! “Cinderella” stood transformed in the midst of these. Her little brown hands were folded over a bright new dress and apron, and her hair was neatly combed and curled, as she stood up with her class to spell. And after they spelled, they sang; and it would have done you good to hear and to see how they knitted and sewed and played.

And here it would be pleasant to pause and say with satisfaction, “That is all.” But inexorable Truth says, “Go on.”

Somebody loved to call at Mother Lovechild’s now and then to refresh herself with a sight of the bright eyes, little sleeved aprons, and copper-toed shoes, just as other somebodies like to drop in at the florist’s and refresh themselves with camellias, tuberoses, and daphnes. But she came out one day with tears in her eyes, for little Kohlasche was gone. Yes, gone. Decoyed away, it was supposed, by the old cinder-woman, who, though diligently sought for, could not be found. Stolen, perhaps, for her clothes,—perhaps to hire out for her voice.

Dear children, “the fairy godmother” prays that, if anywhere you meet a little girl with brown hair and blue eyes, roaming the streets to beg, or digging in heaps of dirt and ashes, or you should chance to hear a sweet, childish voice singing to the sound of a wandering hand-organ, you will look kindly and searchingly to see if it be not her dear lost “Cinderella.”

Caroline A. Howard.


“Mamma, may Bessie and I have a silver wedding?”

Mamma looked up suddenly, with wonder in her beautiful eyes; and papa put down his paper, with his face all covered with summer lightning from the twinkling of mirth that afterwards broke out into the gentle thunder of his hearty laugh; and actually, after a little while, there was a shower in his eyes, he laughed so long.

The little girl felt the color spreading painfully over her face at this unexpected reception of her innocent question, and she looked appealingly at her mother to know what it meant. Mamma, with her quick instinct, saw the trouble in the young face, and began, with her usual affectionate sympathy, to explain the question of the silver wedding, and the merry answer it had received.

“O, don’t teach that child anything about it!” interrupted papa. “Do for once put your wisdom to bed, tuck it up, and let it sleep awhile. You know that Grace and Bessie are more united than a great many married people, and as their faith in each other is as pure as silver, I say let them have a silver wedding, after their own fashion! I shouldn’t wonder if we could learn a lesson from it some way, and it won’t hurt my dear little girls. Come, Grace, and tell me all about your plans. Your mamma is a very dear woman, but she knows very little about silver weddings,—never having had any of her own,—while papa knows this much about them, that—that he is invited to one next week.”

“O, yes!” eagerly replied little Grace; “Bessie and I read the card; and it was just that that made us think it would be so pretty to have a silver wedding ourselves. Doesn’t silver wedding sound nice, papa? You know silver’s so bright, and a wedding is such a good time; so Bessie and I thought we should like a bright, good time, and we would ask you to let us have a silver wedding; but you laughed so, papa, that I don’t believe you will say yes.”

“I will say yes, with all my heart, little one,” said papa, with a kiss; “so call Bessie, and let us all talk it over together, so that we may know exactly what is expected.”

Grace hurried into the garden to hunt up Bessie, and while she was gone there was an animated discussion between the father and mother upon the child’s singular request. The mother, who was very cautious in everything that related to her children, had a doubt about the silver wedding, when it could only be play; but the father was so amused at the childish conceit, that he was determined the children should have their party, and call it what they pleased.

Mr. and Mrs. Smyth loved each other very much, and had these two little girls, Grace and Bessie, to bear them loving company. They lived on the sea-shore during the summer, thoroughly enjoying the sparkle of the waves, the vision of white sails floating past, and the bathing in the surf. Perhaps you can imagine something of the father’s and mother’s characters from the scene in which they have been introduced; but Bessie you do not know at all yet, and Grace but very little.

Now you must think of a dear little girl with great brown eyes, and short, curly hair, with the innocent expression of a baby in her face, and you have a picture of Bessie Smyth, who is the sweetest child that ever gladdened a parent’s heart. And then you must think of a bright, active little girl, with brown eyes, but not very large, with hair always neatly brushed back from her forehead, so as to take out as much of the natural curl as possible (it was very well for Bessie to look like a baby), and with a face full of thought: then you have Grace Smyth, who, although not as childlike as Bessie, was quite as much a comfort to her parents’ hearts.

I can tell you in confidence that Grace felt a little superior to Bessie, but she never showed much of this to any one, because she had an idea that it really wasn’t Bessie’s fault that she was so much of a child at six years. Grace, you must know, was eight! In all the plays Grace was the mother, and in unconsciously imitating her mother’s manners, she had gained an advantage over Bessie, who, as the child, had settled into her face the innocence which had charmed even her play-mother to love her dearly.

Such were Grace and Bessie Smyth, as they appeared before papa and mamma, when they came in from the garden to talk over the silver wedding. Papa had already arranged his writing materials for work; and as soon as Grace saw him, with the smile upon his face, and his pen in his hand, she knew that the bright, good time was coming.

“Well, little girls, here you are to give us your wishes as to the style of your invitation cards. We will have them out directly, as the evenings next week will be appropriately lighted by the silver moon.”

“O, you are so good, dear papa!” exclaimed Grace, kissing the hand that held the pen, “and there’s a kiss on your hand to pay it for writing the cards.” Bessie looked up into her father’s face with thanks that needed no words.

“I am pretty good, I know,” replied papa, with grave satisfaction in his tone, “and mamma is pretty good, too; I should even venture to say that she is very good—in her way.” And then both the children laughed, and followed their father’s loving eye to their mother, who was the very best woman in the world to all of them.

Mamma smiled contentedly, and in her heart broke out a little song of joy that she was honored by her husband, and that such children called her “mother.”

“Well, little ones, let the busy mother go on with her humdrum hemming.”

“That sounds like ‘the busy bee,’ doesn’t it, papa!” interrupted Bessie.

“I never saw such children as yours, Margaret; they will turn everything I say about you into a compliment. Now, children, let your dear mamma be, if you can, and attend to the silver-wedding invitations.”

As he spoke, papa dipped his pen into the ink, and looked up inquiringly, as if waiting for the first word. “O, of course. I came very near forgeting the initials, at the head of our card.” And soon the children saw, within the lines he had marked out as the size of the card, the initials B. G. in fine Roman characters.

Bessie’s large eyes opened as wide as possible with admiration and delight, while Grace looked with dignified satisfaction upon the imitation of the heading she had noticed on the elder wedding card.

“That’s very nice, papa,” said Grace, quietly, as she felt was proper.

“That does look pretty well! Come, Margaret, and see our famous beginning.”

Mamma left her work to admire the initials as much as the children hoped she would, and she remained near her husband’s chair to watch his further progress, in answer to the touch of little Bessie’s hand.

“I think, papa, that we had better say, ‘Grace and Bessie Smyth, with their dolls, would be happy to see their friends with their dolls, next Wednesday afternoon, at three o’clock, to tea, and pass the evening, to their silver wedding,’ ” said Grace, suddenly, and without a pause, as if this form of invitation had been a matter of mature consideration, and had become at last a fixed and elegant fact, which would no longer bear concealment.

Papa laughed very softly this time, fearing the painful color which began to appear in the little girl’s face; and then he said, “That will do, I think, if I give it a little more style.” And while they were all silently watching him, papa produced the following card:—

August 2, 1865.
Friends and DollsPapas and Mammas
at 3 p. m.at 8 p. m.

“O, that is splendid!” exclaimed Grace, losing for an instant her balance of dignity, and actually clapping her hands as Bessie might have done. “Can’t James take them round this very afternoon?”—Bessie joining with all her eyes in the request.

“Not so fast, my little girls,” replied papa. “How can I get the invitations written in such a hurry? Besides, I am not sure that I have blank cards enough for your list of little folks. Just think of the work in those initials alone! Why, I shall have to charge three kisses for each G and each B. You see that I can’t possibly get through the work and the pay in one afternoon. I promise to do all I can. We shall have all the invitations sent by to-morrow night. That will do very well, because it will be very long waiting for the day. Do you think a week will be long enough for the preparations, Bessie?”

“I’ve got to get a new white dress for Flory, papa,” answered Bessie, gravely, “and I believe she ought to have silver spangles somewhere. I think I’ll go right off and ask Nurse Mary if she has any, for she always has what I want,”—and as she spoke, she folded her mother’s hand in both of hers a moment, and then left the room to attend immediately to her doll’s wardrobe.

Grace lingered to see some of the invitations written upon the cards her father found in his desk, and then, remembering that Bessie might tell Annie Heywood all about the grand affair before she should be there to see her surprise and delight when it was announced, she started off through the glass door of the library, and was at the end of the avenue before her father thought that she might be needed to help make out the list.

By consulting together, however, papa and mamma finished the work; and the next afternoon the cards were all on the way to their destinations. So there was nothing now to hope for but a pleasant day, and good health to “Misses Smyth” and the invited guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Smyth took pains to have the whole matter understood by the other papas and mammas, so that the party was a subject of pleasant preparation and amusement to the elders as well as the little folks,—so much so, that even Mr. and Mrs. Smyth came to be surprised at the result; for on the day before the silver wedding they received a number of little packages, which were put away without comment, but with some telegraphic communications which were quite perplexing to the children.

Grace hinted to Bessie, in the course of the day, that the packages must be full of nice things for the tea in the summer-house,—perhaps all kinds of cakes and bonbons, such as she had seen at Southmayd’s.

“Perhaps,” said Bessie, a little doubtfully. “But then, if papa had ordered them, he wouldn’t have looked so astonished when they came. Mamma seemed almost to have tears in her eyes when that last bundle came. I sha’n’t believe it was cake, or even grapes, till I see them.”

So, putting away the mystery, as something that they should know all about on the morrow, they ran down to the summer-house to see if any preparations were going on for the party.

The summer-house stood upon a little elevation which commanded an unobstructed view of the sea. Flower-beds were all around it; and on the right, in the direction of the beach, was a grove of silver poplars, which seemed to rival the glistening of the sea when the wind tossed their leaves to and fro.

Within the summer-house were two rooms,—one for mamma’s work or writing, when she liked to be alone, and the other more open to the sun and air, where visitors lingered to enjoy the view, or rest in their walks through the grounds. As the children entered the inner room, they found that the rural furniture had been removed, and that the walls were covered with light festoons of evergreen. Nurse Mary and Katie the chambermaid were busy at work, and the children had scarcely time to see the shining of silver paper and heaps of little bright stars lying upon the floor, when they were urged to run away, as they would be so much better pleased to see it when it was all finished,—besides, “Papa wished it.” So, half sorry, yet obedient, Grace and Bessie walked down to the water, to pass away the time by watching the waves roll lazily upon the beach and roll lazily back again. It was such a warm afternoon that the waves seemed inclined to take things easily and half drop off to sleep, as most of the people were doing in the fine houses along the shore.

There was every prospect in the west of a fine day on the morrow; and as the children watched the sun go down, Grace exclaimed, in her own grand style, “Bessie, our silver wedding is to be the loveliest affair! There will not be a cloud anywhere, I am very sure, for it really seems as if the sun said, ‘Good night; I mean to shine brightly for you to-morrow.’ ”

“There isn’t any man in the sun, is there, Grace?” asked Bessie, having heard of the Man in the Moon.

“No, there isn’t Bessie; but you may be sure that, when we go to bed, the Man in the Moon will be peeping in, and winking at us, as much as to say, ‘I shall be round to-morrow night.’ ”

Bessie’s laugh rang out merrily at the prognostications of Grace; and as it was growing late, the two started back to the house with their arms interlaced behind them; and it was not long after that they were lying under their mosquito-netting, with the Man in the Moon promising, as well as he could promise, that he would be round on the silver-wedding night.

The day did indeed dawn without a cloud. The children sprang out of bed at the first call, and, raising the linen shades, looked out upon the smiling garden, the smiling poplar-trees, and the smiling sea. What a day for a silver wedding was this! And at the breakfast-table, what a smiling papa and mamma! And such was the gladness in the hearts of Grace and Bessie, that the silver of the breakfast-service seemed to smile in company. Well, it was altogether delightful.

What do you think could add to this? The visit to the summer-house to see everything completed in the decorations, which seemed like the work of fairy fingers; then the dressing; and then the first arrival, at three o’clock precisely, of Miss Alice Browne, with her three beautiful dolls, all dressed in wedding favors, and attended by a servant with a basket of white grapes.

It was this arrival that gave the first visible form to the grand idea; and even Grace forgot her welcome in the realization of the silver wedding thus inaugurated; for the dolls’ hats were evidently newly trimmed with shining white ornaments in honor of the occasion.

While Grace stood half amazed at the pretty sight, her mother stepped forward, and relieved them all of their embarrassment, by leading the way to the summer-house, which was now to be reception-room and tea-room for the children. It was not long before the little visitor was made quite at home by the admiration of her dolls,—it so soon warms one into friendship to have one’s own admired!

After this the arrivals became frequent, and then the guests would come along in little parties gathered on the way, and at last all were there, and the plays began. It was a very pretty scene in and around the summer-house, that lovely afternoon. Every child was dressed in white, and beautifully dressed dolls outnumbered the children. There was every variety of equipage for the very little folks, and down on the beach the doll-wagons were drawn rapidly with laugh and shout over the smooth sand, while the little ladies within sat with their eyes wide open upon the lovely view, with the same expression upon their faces as they had in the bazaar where they were bought,—poor dolls! At a certain time there seemed to be a stir among the servants of the house, and papa came down among the merry little people playing games, to say that all must go upon the beach for a short time with him, for he wanted to tell them a story of a wonderful mouse, who always sent his compliments to the household cat when there was to be a cheese party, for fear that, if she did not receive this delicate attention, she would eat him up.

At this prospect of a story, all the dolls that had been left in the shade, or had been carelessly tossed down, were gathered again into the maternal arms, and the party joined the group upon the beach. Here seats had been placed for them, and, having arranged themselves around Mr. Smyth, he kept them in the best of spirits with his story of the wonderful mouse.

We will not recite this story here, for we wish to tell that preparations were going on in the summer-house for the children’s tea. As the outer room was small, it was arranged that the children should have a view of the tea-table, and then pass to seats outside; in this way, mamma and Nurse Mary would have the whole control of the table. I know that we mustn’t think too much of such things, but that tea-table was a wonder of the nicest bread and butter and cakes and jellies and tarts and fruit and cream and nice sweet milk! Mamma and Nurse Mary were perfectly satisfied.

But what was that carefully guarded secret in the reception-room? Some little stragglers saw the nice things that were passed from the house to the tea-table, and they caught a glimpse of the table itself, as they flitted along the walk; but they caught no whisper of the secret which was in mamma’s watchfulness, and papa’s smile.

When everything was ready, the doors between the two rooms were thrown open, and also the door leading from the inner room into the garden, and then, at a preconcerted signal, papa on the beach gave the word for a return to the summer-house to tea. The command was eagerly obeyed, the white flock looking like doves to those who watched their coming.

Mrs. Smyth received them at the outer door of the reception-room, and then its secret was revealed. On a rosewood table were arranged the silver-wedding presents of Grace and Bessie from their little friends. In the centre of the table stood a miniature silver tea-service complete, resting upon a little silver waiter, and about it smaller articles of silver, with baskets of flowers and fruits. When the first exclamations of delight were over, Grace and Bessie came forward to receive and examine their gifts, scarcely realizing that, after the manner of older circles, a silver tea-set had been presented to them. This was from the little guests whose parents were most intimate with Mr. and Mrs. Smyth, and was a copy of the very latest style at Bigelow and Kennard’s. The waiter was from papa. Each article was of excellent workmanship, and the tiny medallions which ornamented them were all in keeping with the general finish. The set was quite large enough for a child’s tea-party, and fully repaid the givers for the pains they had taken in their directions for so novel a specimen of plate. Upon a card accompanying the gift were the names of the little girls who were supposed to present it, with gracefully worded compliments upon the happy occasion.

Following the exclamations of delight around the table, Grace and Bessie were astonished at other gifts, quite as perfect in their way. There was a small silver vase with lilies of the valley in wax, “From Annie Heywood, with love”; a pretty silver thimble for each, with “Nurse Mary” on the card; six little silver spoons “From Aunt Lucy and Uncle Edward”; two napkin rings with a delicate little napkin in each, embroidered with the initials as they appeared on the silver-wedding invitations, “From Mamma”; and better than all, two beautifully bound Bibles, with silver clasps, from a little invalid friend who could not be present, but who had written upon her card, “From Daisy Childs, whose mother says, whenever you unfasten the silver clasps something brighter than silver will shine into your souls.” The children were deeply touched by this token from their sick Daisy, and Bessie remembered the tears in her mother’s eyes which she had spoken about to Grace,—this must have been the present that affected her so much.

However, this was no time for tears; so the young guests, after due time had been allowed them for an examination of the presents, were invited into the tea-room, and their eyes were regaled with another feast of good things. This time they appropriated them to themselves, and there followed a great chattering for little voices, lively stepping round of the waiters, and timid screams at some fancied danger from a bug taking a walk, so that it was quite amusing for papa to hover round, although grown people were not invited to the feast. After this very satisfactory part of the entertainment was over, and dancing upon the lawn had commenced, the eight o’clock guests began to arrive, and the treasures of the inner room were again revealed to admiring eyes.

While all were thus engaged,—with the silver moonlight softening the scene into a picture of fairy-land,—Bessie stole gently to her mother’s side, and, looking wistfully into her face, asked, “Mamma, did people give us all those beautiful presents because they thought we asked for them?”

“O no, my dear,” replied her mother, amused and gratified by the earnestness of the child’s expression; “they did not think for an instant that you asked for them, and I am as much surprised as yourself that they were given; but I suppose that every one who sends out cards with ‘Silver-wedding’ invitations must expect the penalty.”

“If people thought we asked for them, dear mamma, we would never have a silver wedding again, I’m sure!” said Bessie, with a little sigh for such a sacrifice.

“O, never mind, my dear, don’t trouble your little heart about the matter. It has been a pleasure, I know, to all who have given you these pretty gifts. So go, now, and have a good dance while you can, for the silver wedding will soon be over.”

Mamma had a quiet laugh with the grown-up friends of Bessie upon her silver-wedding doubts, and they all agreed that she was rather wise in her littleness of body.

Grace, on the other hand, when she saw the guests departing, thought of nothing but the success of her grand idea, and courteously invited them all to her golden wedding, another year.

Betsy Blake.



The time had now come for hauling. Hugh, during his residence at Falmouth and Saco, had established a character for industry, integrity, and good judgment, by which and the efforts of his brother James and his cousin Bryce he obtained men and teams, who, as the value of the masts was fixed and the pay sure, agreed to help him “on shares.” Hugh improved the first snow that fell by hauling some logs to the mill at Sacarappa, where they were sawed into boards and plank. With these he made a long table, and some settles to place before the fire, with backs as high as the top of a person’s head, to break off the drafts of wind that went up the great chimney. He also made some benches as long as the table, one for each side, and supplied doors between the rooms instead of blankets, and board partitions in the lieu of hemlock bark. But he was so anxious to get the masts cut before the neighbors came to help him, that he worked in the woods through all the storms, and made his doors, settles, and benches in the evenings; and as they had no candles, when he had to work away from the fire-light William held some splinters of pitch-wood, which answer very well for candles.

Great was the excitement in that lonely household, the members of which but seldom saw a white face beyond the circle of their own family, when at noon of the appointed day there came ten men, with twenty oxen, bringing their hay and provisions on sleds. All was now bustle both in doors and out. Elizabeth had been up long before day, and had heated the ovens and baked beans, and made Indian puddings, and boiled beef and pork and cabbages,—for they now had abundance.

“We certainly ought to be thankful,” said she to her husband, as she looked over the table to see if all was in order, “that we can set such a table as this, and nearly everything on it from our own land.”

“It is all from our own land,” he replied; “for though we bought the beef, our timber paid for it, and I rather think that will be the easiest way to get all the provision. But only see what it is to have oxen,—for, as the blessed Book says, ‘much increase is by the strength of the ox,’ and we certainly ought not to forget old Star and Golding. If it were not for them, we should not have a table to eat from.”

The children had been up ever since daybreak, aroused by the crackling of the fire in the oven, and Abigail was not half dressed, which her mother had been too busy and excited herself to notice. They kept right at their mother’s heels, scrutinizing every motion, except when they were sent to bring in wood or water. It was a great day to them. They had never seen so many people together in their lives as would be at their house to dine that day, and it was only a few months since they had first seen an ox, so that the novelty of the sight had hardly worn off. They could not be satisfied with looking at and feeling of the new pewter plates, shining like silver, which were now brought out for the first time, the great pewter platters and porringers, the brown earthen drinking-mugs, and the cranberries, stewed and sweetened with molasses, which Elizabeth had got of the Indians,—for nobody else knew where they grew. All these things were new to them, for they had been used to see on the table only wooden plates and drinking-vessels, and wooden or horn spoons. When at length they heard the shouts of the teamsters in the distance, coming slowly, as they with difficulty urged their weary cattle through the deep snow, which had not yet been broken, they rushed bareheaded from the house, in an ecstasy of happiness and wonder that is beyond all description. Hugh’s cattle, and even the horse, shared in the general excitement; the horse whinnied, the oxen bellowed, and the calf ran in between the strange cattle, and astride of the chains, and between the bars of the sleds, and cut up all kinds of antics. The oxen were chained to trees and fed, but, worn out with their journey,—for they had been out all night,—they dropped down in the snow and refused to eat. The men, scarcely less weary, passed into the great kitchen, where a blazing fire was roaring in the huge fireplace, and the bountiful table spread. Hugh had stationed himself by the door with a pailful of New England rum and water sweetened, and as they came in gave each one a drink, after which all took their seats at the table, where, after the grace, Hugh and his wife and William waited upon them.

Nothing could be undertaken in those days without rum. It was the great and almost the only vice of our fathers; and many of those acres obtained with so much toil and bloodshed were lost by their children, through habits of intemperance learned at the very fireside. That appetite which the iron constitution and strong will of the parents kept within the limits of sobriety was by their descendants in too many instances indulged to excess. Thus, while the elders were willing to deprive themselves of the common comforts of life that they might give their children the blessings of religion and education, they taught them at the same time a habit which destroys both soul and body.

The contents of the great pewter platters disappeared with great celerity before the hungry guests who had been wading all night in the deep snow, and had not broken their fast since the day before. Their hunger being at length appeased, they drew up around the great fire, and dried their wet clothes, and thawed their frozen shoes and leggins, and rested an hour or so.

Refreshed by the hearty meal, the warmth, and the short rest, they took their axes and proceeded to a growth of small pines within a short distance of the house. The keen blades, swung in practised hands, flashed in the air, the woods rang with the din of blows, and soon the long, slim trees lay widely prostrate. Some now began to cut them into appropriate lengths, while others notched and rolled them up; and in an incredibly short time a rude hovel rose where a few hours before had been the dense forest. A floor was now laid with poles,—puncheons, as they termed them,—which Hugh, who was most skilful with the broad-axe, had been hewing on one side,—all which the time permitted. The stanchions for tying the cattle were now put in, which had been brought all made, and the neck bows; a roof of brush was then put on, the hay put in, and just as the twilight came on the tired oxen were released from the yoke and placed in their new quarters.

In addition to the government timber, Hugh had cut a lot of smaller spars, for which there was always a ready market. The royal timber was also of different sizes; the masts were immense sticks, three feet in diameter after they were hewn, and more than a hundred feet in length,—the bowsprits were larger, but much shorter, while the yards were smaller still. The party had in the first place to break the road with empty sleds, it being all the oxen could do to get through the deep snow; then they took light loads of the small spars, which they continued to haul for some days,—in the mean time carefully examining the road, cutting off all roots and limbs that projected into it, putting poles in all the soft places, and treading down the snow into them that it might freeze and make a hard road, and making the necessary bridges in the gullies, till all the way was as hard and smooth as glass. Then they put on a bowsprit to try, which from its different shape was much less difficult to haul than a mast. As the road bore this without “slumping,” they now loaded one of the large masts. This was very exciting work, and especially to the children and Elizabeth, who looked on.

Men were stationed by the middle cattle to keep them from getting down, or getting the chain over their backs in crossing the gullies and knolls,—for they were sometimes hung up by the neck for a moment, and a chain straightened over a creature’s back would break it instantly. Men were also stationed by the sled with ropes to keep it from turning bottom up. But when the great mass moved off at the word of command, the sled creaking and groaning under the weight, the drivers shouting, and the oxen exerting themselves to the utmost, Captain Phinney took off his hat and gave a cheer for the first mast cut and hauled in the town of Gorham since it had received that name; in which all joined, the shrill screams of the children, who wellnigh split their throats in striving to perform their parts, predominating over the rest.

They sometimes took a day or two, and beat up the quarters of a bear, or hunted moose upon the crust, to help out their provisions; and thus they went on successfully, getting out mast after mast, without accident to man or beast, till the advent of spring put an end to their work.

When they came to settle up the winter’s labor and divide the proceeds, Hugh found himself in possession of more money than he had ever seen before in his life. Encouraged by this, he determined to devote his whole attention to the occupation which he had found so profitable.

But though successful, he received a lesson which he never forgot, since he and his family were brought nearer to starvation than ever before. He hired two hands, and went to cutting masts for the next winter’s work, peeling the bark off to keep the worms from spoiling them. When haying-time came, he mowed all the wild grass he could find in the natural meadows and old beaver-dams, and stacked it, making abundant provision for his cattle in the winter. Then, not having planted a hill of corn, and only a few potatoes and peas, he set himself to cutting masts, intending to buy his bread, and give his whole mind and time to lumbering. By the middle of November he had a great number of masts and other lumber ready to haul on the first snows.

But now occurred a misfortune, which it is not surprising an emigrant and a stranger in the country should not have foreseen,—especially as hundreds born in the country, and better advised, were in the same condition. Silver and gold were at that time scarce, and almost all trade was by barter. To this lumbering was an exception, and offered a direct means of getting hard money, whence followed a universal neglect of farming in Maine. The result of which, in turn, was a great scarcity of breadstuff. As this was procured from the Carolinas and other parts of the country by small vessels, in the winters, when vessels could not get in to the coast, the scarcity at times amounted to a famine, and became especially severe at such times with those outlying settlers who were separated by wide and almost impassable woods from any place where corn could be procured. The last time that the team went down with a mast, Hugh had bought and hauled home corn enough to have lasted him, under ordinary circumstances, till February. But as he had neglected hunting altogether that he might cut masts, he had little meat, and so consumed more corn. He had no harvest to look forward to, and by the middle of November, when his stock was greatly reduced, he found that, as the great body of settlers in Maine had done pretty much like himself, there was scarcely any corn or grain in the whole Eastern country,—that the great bulk of the people must, till another year, depend for food upon the uncertain supplies that came by coasters,—and, going to Portland to get an axe, he made the alarming discovery that there was no corn there to be had at any price. In addition to this, as he had determined upon buying his corn, he had kept but one spring pig, and so had but little pork to raise.

“Well, wife,” said Hugh, somewhat depressed after telling her the state of things, “I thought if we had money, we could not but get on; and now that we have more money than we ever had in our lives, we are like to starve. It makes me think of a story I have heard about an Arab who was travelling in the desert, and in a starving condition. He espied a bag on the ground, and, hoping it might be bread, picked it up; but it contained only pearls.”

“Don’t be distrustful, Hugh,” replied his wife, whose spirit nothing could depress, “after all that God has brought us through. Look at this nice, comfortable house, and remember that first night in the old camp; and only look at this,”—placing a plump and savory-steaming partridge before him, that Billy had shot that morning with his bow and arrow. “Depend upon it, my laddie, it is not those who have money who are going to starve, even in a famine; it was never so in the old country, for they would still find some means to get what little there was.”

Encouraged by the cheery tone of his sage counsellor, backed by a voracious appetite, (for the cold and hungry man had eaten nothing since morning, and had brought an axe and a half-bushel of salt on his back nine miles through the woods,) and with his back to the blazing fire, he made short work of the partridge, drank up a platter of hot pea-soup, and finished with sundry thick slices of bread. But when, having satisfied his hunger, he turned round to the great fire and stretched out his wet feet to the grateful heat, and met the cheerful countenance of his wife, who, too industrious to lose any time, sat knitting on the block in the corner, while in the other corner lay Billy, stretched at full length on the hearth, with his feet to the fire, and he noticed the great bones and sinews of the boy, giving promise of early and efficient partnership in his own toils, he began to be of his wife’s opinion.

“You are better than I am, Elizabeth,” said he; “and I ought to be ashamed of myself, and I am. God forgive me! We are ungrateful creatures at the best.”

“I have not been travelling all day through the swamps with a load on my back,” said she, “but sitting here by the warm fire; and we feel downhearted when we are tired and hungry. But now take the good Book, and thank God for all His mercies, for surely they have been many.”

Hugh prayed, and was strengthened. They then, after laying their plans to meet this new emergency, retired to rest. The result of this matrimonial counsel was soon apparent. The allowance of bread in the family was diminished, and a whole week spent in hunting, and the meat dried in the smoke, after the method of the Indians. Hugh went to Portland and bought a quantity of pickled and dry fish. A great quantity of acorns, beech-nuts, ground-nuts, and lily-roots were gathered and dried and stored up; these last were to grind with the corn to make it hold out longer. As there were a good many masts cut, a large part of the time was devoted to hunting, which the coming cold weather and deep snows would render difficult.

Hugh, now expecting the teams, took some of the boards which he had obtained during the last winter, and laid a floor in the chamber above, and all over the lower part of the house, that it might be warmer than the timber floor, which was open and rough-laid, while this was double, planed and jointed, and as tight as a cup. But that which pleased Elizabeth most of all was the procuring of a Dutch oven,—which was a flat-bottomed iron kettle, having an iron cover with a rim around it two inches high. This was put on the fire, and hot coals put on the cover, and thus, with heat both above and below, bread or meat baked nicely,—which saved heating the great oven, and, as the bread baked in half the time it would on a board by the fire, this was a great help in the short, cold winter mornings when so many men were to have their breakfast before light, that they might get the cattle fed, and be in the woods by sunrise.

Hugh now went over the road and removed the trees that had blown down or fallen across it in the summer, and put new poles in all the miry spots and skids in the hollows. The snow soon came, and with it, much earlier in the season than before, the teams and men. They had made so good a winter’s work the year before, that they were eager to begin as soon as possible. All their talk this winter was about the scarcity of corn and grain, for all alike felt the hand of poverty, and all were agreed in opinion that the settlers in the Eastern country had made a great mistake in devoting themselves so much to lumbering. Indeed, some of them confessed, that, though they had five hundred acres of land, they had not planted a hill of anything, but had spent the entire year (except when they were cutting their hay) in cutting and hauling timber, or rafting it down the rivers, or at work in the mills; and now corn was thirty shillings a bushel, and little to be had at that,—the holders keeping it for a higher price, knowing that people must buy or starve. Solemn resolutions were made that, if they escaped starvation this time, they would never be caught doing the like again.

“But the worst of it is,” said Patterson, of Saco, “if we go on in this way, we shall not be able to lumber much longer; for we shall have no hay for the oxen, because we burn over the land, and don’t plough it, but let it lie and so it bears no grass, but grows up to fire-weed and pigeon-weed and wild-cherry and all kind of stuff,—the forest over again.” Indeed, such was the case to some extent then, for one of the men who was short of hay, and had four oxen, offered Hugh one yoke of them for their keeping, which, as he had abundance of hay, was gladly accepted; for Hugh had formed quite different plans for the next year, in consequence of his bitter experience.

By hunting, grinding acorns and the cobs of the corn together with the kernel, they contrived to make the corn hold out till the hauling season was over, though their meat diet brought on various disorders and eruptions. But when the company was gone, and the bustle and cheerfulness which their presence caused no longer existed, and they were left alone,—with cows almost dry, the deep snows so favorable for the taking of moose and deer diminished, the bears, raccoons, and beaver leaving their dens, and no longer to be taken as before, and the children, missing their milk, beginning to cry for the bread which could not be given them, except in scanty morsels,—the hearts of the parents grew heavy, and their minds were filled with gloomy thoughts. As a penance for the past year’s neglect, the father now began to cut trees for a burn; but his arm, enfeebled by hunger, struck but feeble blows; still he persevered, and performed about half his usual task. In this extremity they resorted to various expedients; maple-sugar was boiled with milk and roots, and eaten to allay the cravings of hunger. Many a time did Hugh drop his axe, and, falling on his knees in the lonely forest, plead with Heaven for aid, rising to return with renewed courage to his labor.

At this period of distress an Indian, who had been out hunting without success, (belonging to a party who had camped at Sebago Pond,) entered the house, evidently faint and weary, and, approaching Elizabeth, said, “Indian hungry.” She, without a moment’s hesitation, gave him a portion of her scanty allowance, although she was then boiling lily-roots for the children’s dinner, together with elm-bark and hazel-nuts. She then spread a blanket for him by the fire, and he lay down to sleep. Arising completely refreshed, he pursued his journey, departing without a word of acknowledgment.

In four days from this time the same Indian came, and, laying on the table a porcupine’s skin filled with corn, and the hind leg of a beaver, said: “Squaw have big heart; she have little, she feed Indian. Indian, he have big heart too; he feed squaw.” His keen eye, well read in the signs of hunger, had detected its ravages in the faces of the mother and children, and he hastened to repay the kindness.

William, who had gone to Saco to try to purchase some corn, now returned with only a peck, with the gun his uncle had promised him, and a dog,—a puppy of a large and excellent breed; and it would be difficult to tell which he was the most delighted with,—the dog or the gun.

“Why, William McLellan,” exclaimed Elizabeth, when she saw this unwelcome addition to their family. “Have we not hungry mouths enough to fill now, that you must needs bring this good-for-nothing puppy to eat us out of house and home? I thought you had more sense, William.”

“O mother,” he replied, “the dog will help fill our mouths, instead of taking anything out of them”;—and so indeed it proved, for he not only aided essentially in the support of the family, but finally became the means of saving their lives, and the mother often had occasion to change her hasty conclusion.

William spent the remainder of the day in cleaning his gun, and running bullets to fit it in a mould which his uncle had also given him. The next morning early, he started with the dog for the woods, and in two hours came back with three raccoons.

“Why, Will,” said his mother, overjoyed,—for it was long since they had procured any meat,—“how did you get all these so quick?”

I didn’t get them,” said he, rejoiced to vindicate his dog’s character,—“I never should have got ’em: the dog got ’em. They were all coiled up round the body of a spruce, right at the butts of the limbs,—O, just as snug!—and I might have gone under the tree a hundred times without seeing them, they were so near the color of the bark; but Bose scented them, and began to bark,—you don’t know how he did bark,—he barked awful, and began to scratch, and stand up on his hind legs, and put his fore-paws against the tree, and then I saw ’em.”

A few days after, Bose treed some partridges, which Billy shot and brought home; and he found the holes of raccoons and woodchucks in hollow trees and logs; and William cut them out, and the dog shook them till he killed them.

At length, one day when his father was away, William came to his mother in great excitement. The dog had found a bear in a den.

“How do you know there is but one?” said his mother.

“Because I saw him go in.”

Here was a great temptation; the weather was cold enough for the meat to keep a long time, and, as they were without pork, the fat was a great item to the mother in her cookery, and the skin was valuable to sell, or for clothing. Elizabeth reflected some moments while the son eagerly watched his mother’s face to anticipate her decision; finally, to his great delight, she said: “William, we must have that bear. Providence has put him in our way, and it seems to be our duty. We shall certainly be protected in doing our duty.”

“It wasn’t Providence, ma’am, it was Bose,” cried Billy; “he drove him into the den.”

“Well, it was Providence that sent us Bose, Billy.”

Thus doubly fortified by hunger and a sense of duty, after William had loaded the guns they sallied forth.

“Mother,” said Billy, “it’s better that your gun should be empty than mine. I’ll start him out, and you fire.”

He tried by thumping on the den, which was under a windfall where two trees had blown down together, to make the brute come out, but the bear, which, as they afterwards found, had been hunted before, only growled and refused to come.

“You disobliging old scamp,” said Billy, “I’ll make you come,—you see if I don’t,”—and, going to the house for a firebrand, he set the den on fire. No sooner had the smoke begun to penetrate the den, than the bear began to sneeze, and soon came out, receiving the contents of Elizabeth’s gun in his face and eyes.

William, thus early manifesting the cool judgment that distinguished him in after life, had loaded his mother’s gun with shot, knowing that the scattering would do much to make up for the inaccuracy of aim, and would blind and bother the bear, and afford him and the dog a better opportunity to deal with him. But, confident in the sureness of his own aim, he had loaded his gun with two balls. While the bear, half blind and mad with pain, hesitated a moment, the dog seized him behind, and, rising on his hind legs to confront the dog, he received William’s fire, who, resting his gun over the windfall, took deliberate aim, and shot him dead.

“Didn’t Bose do well, mother?” said William.

“I think you did well, my boy; you shot him.”

“But I never could have shot him so slick, if Bose hadn’t taken hold of him behind; that stopped him, and I had a chance for a rest, and couldn’t help hitting him.”

They now took the oxen and sled to haul the carcass to the house; but the cattle would not go near the brute, and finally got away from them, and, snorting and trembling, ran home. So they skinned and cut the bear up in the woods, and took it home on the back of the horse, which, accustomed to adventures, was not a bit afraid of a dead bear. Ever after this Bose had a warm place by the fire, and shared with the family the provisions he contributed in so great a degree to procure.

Bose often went hunting on his own account, and would dig out and bring home animals, and then cover them up in the ground, to eat at his leisure. If he found an animal that he could not get at, he would come home and by signs invite his master to follow him to the place. He had an unconquerable antipathy to Indians. He would scent them at a great distance, and it was necessary to tie him up when they were about to keep him from tearing the Indian children to pieces, and the Indians from shooting him. The moment he scented one at a distance he would begin to growl, and the hair on his back would rise up.

The frost was soon out, and the land which Hugh had first cleared was in a state to plough, the stumps and roots being tender with decay. He had now, with his own cattle and those he had taken to winter, a powerful team, and he hired help and broke up a large piece of ground. He then took the ends of the ears of corn which were not fit to plant, and ground them together with the cob and some acorns,—which was the last of their corn, although it had been husbanded with the greatest care, and they had been on allowance for four months. But while the last baking was in the oven, he heard from his brother at Saco that a vessel had come in with corn, that the civil authorities were compelling the owners to sell it in small lots and at a moderate price, and that three bushels had been secured for him. This good news was brought by John Cutts, one of the men who worked with him in the winter,—the same man that let him have the oxen, and who had now come for his cattle, bringing half a bushel of the corn on his back.

“I knew you were short as you could be,” said John, “and thought I would make you glad to see me.”

They were indeed glad to see him, and, as blessings or troubles rarely come single, it was announced that one of the cows had calved, and the children were jubilant with the prospect of milk. A pleasant evening was that, and bear-meat tasted delicious now there was bread to go with it. A mighty corn-loaf was baked, and the other batch, half baked, was taken from the oven and thrown away.

As there were no newspapers, all news was communicated by word of mouth, and John informed them of all that had occurred during the winter,—who had died, who had been married, the news from England, the suffering of the people for bread, and the doings of the Great and General Court in Boston,—and so the evening passed pleasantly away.

The next morning Hugh set out for Saco to get his corn, and then he heard that a vessel had arrived at Portland with four thousand bushels more. The fact was, that these vessels had been detained off the coast many weeks by northerly winds, and then came in together. After resting a day he went to Portland and brought home ten bushels more and some pork. Hugh thought the face of nature never looked so beautiful as on that day. He whistled, he sang “The Battle of the Boyne Water.” He smiled to himself as he reflected upon the happiness the provisions he was carrying would occasion in his family, nor did he forget to lift up his heart in gratitude to God, the author of all his blessings.

Erelong it was the tenth of May, and the leaves on the white oak were as big as a mouse’s ear,—the Indian sign that the time was near for planting corn. Hugh, taught by past experience, put in all the seed-corn he then had, (as the corn he procured at Saco and Portland was Southern corn and not fit for planting,) and a large piece of potatoes, which were not generally raised at that time, together with wheat, beans, and peas; he then made his burn and planted corn there. During the whole summer he gave his attention to the cultivation of the soil, and again bought fowls and hogs, as they had been obliged to eat up all theirs. William went to Saco, and obtained ducks’ and turkeys’ eggs, and set them under hens; and the ducks lived finely in the brook, which abounded in frogs, upon which they fed.

When autumn came round they had the satisfaction of looking upon fields rich with harvest. The coons dared not trouble the corn, for Bose shook some of them to pieces; and that, and his barking in the nights, frightened away the rest. Hugh filled his crib with ears of sound corn, and festoons of it were hung up all around the kitchen,—much more than he needed for his family. They had pork and milk and eggs in abundance, with a noble crop of wheat,—for this was before the day of the Hessian fly. Since he had no barn-floor to thresh it on, he threshed it upon boards laid on the ground.

Hugh had now a remarkable illustration of the wisdom of not neglecting the cultivation of the soil in order to lumber. The great majority did not lay to heart the bitter experience of the last year; but, unable to resist the fascination of the woods, so soon as the vessels came with corn, forgot all their past sufferings. Therefore, though there was no famine, yet corn bore so high a price that Hugh with the proceeds of the corn he sold was enabled to hire help enough to cut and get out as many masts as he did the year before, when he neglected everything for lumbering, and almost starved in the winter beside. When the teams came again to commence lumbering, Hugh was able to receive them in even better style than at first, and had constructed bunks like those in a vessel, so that the men slept up stairs, and lay till breakfast-time (except the one who got up to feed the cattle), and thus were not in the kitchen and in the way when Elizabeth was getting her breakfast.

Next came the spring of 1744, and, to the great joy of the McLellans, other settlers began to move in to their vicinity. For two years people had been coming in, but not near them; yet it had been of the utmost advantage, as it had enabled them to have the preaching of the Gospel, the want of which they had felt to be one of their greatest deprivations, and they had just now had six months’ preaching. “I should be so glad,” said Hugh sometimes to his wife, “to have a near neighbor; when I am chopping, to hear the sound of somebody’s axe beside my own. I often think Bose would like to have some other dog to bark at, instead of having always to bark at the moon, or hold a concert with the wolves and foxes.”

“I am sure I should,” said Elizabeth; “I should like to have some woman that I could run in and see, and ask about anything I am doing. You know a woman’s work is different from a man’s. Men ask each other about their work, and take lots of comfort talking about it with one another, and so women do just the same. Often, when I am making a gown for Abigail, or something for William, or putting a piece in the loom, or coloring something, I think if I only had somebody to whom I could say, ‘How would you do this?’ or ‘How does this set?’ And then about cooking,—people do things so differently. I have nobody to ask but you, and it is plain to be seen that you don’t know or care; but if it was a woman,—especially a woman who had children,—it would be different. I am sure I miss Mrs. Ayres,—she was a great deal better than no neighbor, though she was a poor rickety creature, and afraid of her own shadow.”

Elijah Kellogg.


Of all games, base-ball is the most played in this country. Cricket comes next in favor of those which are played with a ball. Tennis, fives, rackets, trap-ball, &c. are but little known. The popularity of base-ball is immense, and is of recent growth. The regular clubs are numbered by thousands, extending from the shores of the Atlantic to the Pacific, and their immense number is not more remarkable than the enormous crowds of people who attend the great matches near our large cities as spectators. When two crack clubs play at Brooklyn, or on the Elysian Fields at Hoboken, the multitude is so great that it is well into the night before the ferry-boats have brought them all back to the home-hive, New York. This game has an extraordinary fascination for the players and lookers-on, which I think is mainly because of the rapidity of the action. It goes right along without pause, after it is once begun. It is all movement and dash,—hurry, hurry, hurrah! This suits Americans, whether young folks or old folks; whatever else we may be, we are not a deliberate people. Cricket is a deal more formal, and some think it “slow.” Unless the play is really fine, there is a sort of dawdling at it which provokes the impatient spectator. The game out of which base-ball grew was called Rounders, and at one time was much played in England; but of late years cricket has altogether superseded it there.

The rules of rounders were few and simple, and the apparatus for play easily obtained. A bat and a ball were all that was required. The bat was simply a round club, tapering up towards the hands; the ball was hard, covered with white sheep-skin, not with red leather, as a cricket-ball is, the latter being much harder and heavier. The ground was a square, with four bases. There were, as there are at base-ball, the home base, where the striker stands; the first base, ninety feet to the right and front of the striker, as he might stand in front of the feeder, or pitcher; the second base, ninety feet to the front and left, so as to bring it in a line with the feeder and striker; and the third base, ninety feet to the left front of the striker. Therefore a line drawn from the home base to the second base, and one drawn from the first to the third would intersect each other at the middle of the square, and resolve it into four triangles. The feeder’s place for the delivery of the ball was forty-five feet from the home base, the position of the striker. The “out” side took the field as scouts, to stop or catch the ball, and return it to the pitcher, or the keepers of the bases, as might seem most advisable under the circumstances. The ball was to be pitched by the feeder, not jerked, or thrown. The striker might refuse three balls; that is, decline to strike at them, but at the fourth he was compelled to strike. If the ball was caught off the bat, or on the first rebound from the earth, the striker was out, or if he tipped the ball so that it went behind him, he was out; if he missed it altogether, he was out; if he was struck with it by one of the opposing side before he had reached the first base, or while between any two bases, he was out. As soon as he had made his stroke he threw down the bat, and ran for the first base, and if it was a good hit to the second base. When the ball was struck far away to the long field, he might be able to go all round. But, as more frequently happened, all the bases would be occupied at one time, and any one would be put out if struck by the ball in the hands of a player on the other side while off a base. For this reason there was a base-keeper at each base, whose business it was to receive the ball from the fielders, or feeder, and put the others out whenever they attempted to run a base.

In that game they scored a run for every base made. In base-ball a run can only be made by making good all the bases. There was also this peculiarity at rounders,—the last of the side whose innings it was had a chance to secure another innings for his side. He might call for “three fair hits for the rounder”; he might then refuse to strike as often as he pleased, and when he did strike, he could make no score unless he could run all the bases. He had three trials at this, and if he succeeded his side went in again. If he failed to run from home to home, at one of his three strokes, his side was put out. This feature has not been incorporated into base-ball, at which the rule is that, when three of a side are out, all that side are out. This again tends to keep things lively.

To play at base-ball, according to the rules, there should be nine on each side. This gives the out side the pitcher, three base-keepers, the catcher, and four fielders. One of these, however, is placed within the square of the bases, to the left front of the striker, as he stands squarely in front of the pitcher. He is called the short stop, and his position will be understood by the diagram below. The dimensions given are those in use by the clubs; but as the players are mostly young men, our young folks must reduce the distances according to their size. Thus, forty-five feet is too far for a boy to pitch the ball to the striker; and I have this to say to the readers of the Magazine, that wherever they find a rule laid down which is impracticable for them, or which hinders, instead of promoting, the spirit and fun of the game, they had better disregard it. The rules are made for them, not they for the rules.

The striker being at his home base, the rules to be followed are simply these. The ball must be pitched,—that is, the hand must be swung forward without touching the hip with the elbow, and it must be done with a straight arm. It must be a fair ball,—that is, delivered fairly at the striker, within striking distance, and without touching the ground. If the ball is struck outside of the first base, or of the third base, it is a foul ball, and nothing can be made of it. If the ball is caught off the bat, or on the first bound, the striker is out; but if not, he must leave his home base when he has struck the ball; if there is a player on the first base, he must leave that, and so on all round. Any player touched by the ball in the hands of another player, while off a base, is out. The bases are sanctuaries, and the game is, not to leave the one on which you stand, until there is a necessity, or a good chance to gain another. When the striker has missed two fair balls, the next fair ball is in play, whether he hit or miss it, so that, if it be caught, the striker is out, and if not caught by the catcher, the striker must make his first base just as though he had struck the ball instead of missing it. In this, as in all other games, there is nothing like actual play for the thorough understanding of them. Our young folks may anywhere see the game played, and then they will be quickly prepared to understand its principles and take part in it.

Cricket was played in England three hundred years ago, but it is only within a hundred years that it has become very popular. It is more elaborate than base-ball, requiring a nicer eye and more calculation, but is easily learned, and delights young and old alike. Men continue to play it with great zest after they have passed the middle age, and nothing can exceed the joy of a lot of boys in the midst of a good game. In England every school has its cricket-ground, and in large ones there are often two or three sets of players,—those of about the same size and age going together. The implements of the game are two bats, one ball, and two wickets. The bats are made of light but tough wood, willow being the best. The ball is covered with Russia leather, sewed on in two even halves. Young folks are apt, through ambition, to choose bats and balls too large for their age, and, in consequence, they do not so soon get that freedom and precision in batting and bowling which practice would otherwise give. Each wicket is composed of three stumps and two bails. The cut at the head of this article shows the wicket erected. The distance between wickets is twenty-two feet for men, but for boys it should be reduced, as the bowling will then have more pace, and more runs may be made, which encourages the young players and increases the pleasure of the game. Eleven on each side is the regular number of players, but capital games may be played with as few as seven. It is then, however, hard work for the fielders, when the batting is good.

The wicket stands in the middle of a line six feet long, which is called the bowling crease. The ball must be delivered by the bowler before both his feet are over this crease, otherwise it is no ball, and the innings side score one. The bowler at cricket does not deliver the ball while standing, as the pitcher at base-ball does, but, going backwards some steps, makes a sharp run, and thus increases its swiftness when he sends it out with all his force. There are, however, exceedingly good slow bowlers, and the deceptive, twisting way in which these balls come puts many batters out. The batter at the wicket about to be bowled at assumes the position given in No. 1. of the batting diagram; it will be seen that he stands with one foot on each side of a line drawn across the wicket. This is four feet from the stumps, and is called the popping-crease. The batter at the other wicket must be careful not to move over his popping-crease, unless his bat is grounded inside of it; for if he should do so, instead of bowling the ball at the batsman’s wicket, the bowler may put the former out with it. The object of the bowler is to pitch the ball so that it may take the ground so far from the bat that it cannot be safely struck before it touches the ground, and yet so near, that the eye, instantaneous as the action of that organ is, has hardly time to see it on the rebound before it must be struck. This measuring of his distance by the bowler is called being “on the spot.” So, when a bowler is “on the spot,” and sends the return ball straight for the wicket, and swift as well, few runs can be got. The batsman has enough to do to guard his stumps and bails. When the slow bowling is adopted, he may perhaps run at the ball, so as to meet it on the pitch, but his danger is double then, for, if he miss it, the wicket-keeper may stop it, and put him out before he can ground his bat inside the popping-crease. The ball in No. 2. of the diagram is well wide of the wicket on the off side, and the batsman has thrown his left foot across in front of the wicket, and has his bat high, to give it a hard, low cut to the off. In No. 3, the ball is on the leg side, and the batsman is about to make a hit to leg. A great many runs are got by fine hits to leg. No. 4 shows the batsman’s position to strike at a wide off ball, with the right leg instead of the left advanced across the wicket. In No. 6 the ball is coming straight for the middle stump, and the batter is about to block it well forward. In No. 5 it is an awkward ball, and the best mode of guarding the wicket against it is shown. Besides the fast and slow underhand bowling, which methods are those most adapted for boys, there is a mode of delivering the ball called round-arm bowling. In this the arm is swung out, away from the bowler, instead of perpendicularly by his side. More swiftness is attained by the round-arm method; but it is at the expense of straightness and true distance of pitch, unless the experience and practice are very great.

Next to the bowlers, the wicket-keeper is of greatest importance to the side not at the wickets. He stands just behind the wicket which is being bowled at, and this is changed every four or six balls. If the batsman miss the ball, it is the province of the wicket-keeper to stop it with his hands, and put out the batsman, if he is over the popping-crease, or throw it back to the bowler so quickly that he may put out the batsman at his end, should the latter have advanced from his ground, in expectation of a stroke by his partner and run. Behind the wicket-keeper the long-stop is posted, and when the former fails to stop the ball, the latter does so, if possible; otherwise the batsman may run “byes,” as though the ball had been hit. Quickness and precision of eye and hand, with daring and fortitude, are the gifts necessary to make a good wicket-keeper. He must stop every possible ball, no matter how swift it comes. It is found in practice that nothing brings so many hard knocks to a wicket-keeper as a flinching at the instant the ball is coming within reach. He should rather meet the danger, and thus he will overcome it. It is also his business to catch the ball when thrown in to him by the scouts, and put the runner to his wicket out, if he cannot get there quickly enough to ground his bat within the popping-crease before the wicket is knocked down by the ball. Runs may be made for overthrows, if the wicket-keeper, or the bowler at the other wicket, should fail to catch or stop the ball when it is thrown in. Therefore the nearest fielders back them, when a throw is about to be made. For every time the batsmen exchange wickets by running from one to the other, they score one run. When the ball is caught after having been hit by the bat, no run can be made, and the batsman is out. But though no run can be made, the other batsman may be put out if he leaves his ground and cannot get back to it before the ball touches his wicket so as to remove a bail. The ball may hit the wicket from the bowler, or in any other way, as by a throw, or from the hand of the wicket-keeper; but if it do not knock a bail off, the batsman is not out. The ball, however, very seldom touches the wicket at all without sending a bail off. If the wind of a ball were to send a bail off, the batsman would not be given out by the umpire. But if a bail was off, the umpire would hold it a presumption that the ball did in fact touch the wicket; and if he was not satisfied that it did not touch the wicket, he would act on the presumption, and give the player out. Boys generally play without umpires, from the fact that all want to play, and nobody wants to fill the honorable, but dull and unthankful judicial office. The consequence is some pretty hot disputing and hearty wrangling as to whether a player is out, at times. Say he has been stumped by the wicket-keeper, either after having struck at and missed a ball, or in making a run. Now the wicket-keeper is positive that the batsman had neither foot nor bat within the popping-crease when he put the wicket down with the ball; and the batter is just as positive that he had. The evidence is divided, and equally honest, and there is no authority to decide. Half the play-time is wasted in such disputes. Therefore there should be two umpires. A catch at cricket must be made before the ball has touched the ground. At base-ball it is good at the first rebound, but not so here. When the ball has touched any part of the bat, or the striker’s hand (but not his wrist), it is a stroke, and a catch by the wicket-keeper, or any other of the field side, will put the player out. The fielders are disposed so as to catch or stop the ball when struck. The positions of the bowler delivering the ball, the wicket-keeper, and the long-stop have been given. The other bowler stands a few yards on the off-side and a little behind the wicket, where he is in a good place to catch or stop balls which have been just tipped with the bat. Five more fielders are posted on that side usually. But this only leaves two for the on side, and these two have to field hits to the long-field on and leg; and in the play of boys, another scout had better be put on the on side about mid-wicket. The captain of the side which is fielding should arrange the most of his force near the wickets, rather than at a great distance from them. The quickest and most active lads, next to the wicket-keeper, should be placed at what is called point of the bat and mid-wicket, on the off side. The good throwers are put to the long-fields, on and off, the leg, and the cover point. When the bowling is good, chances for catches are likely to be afforded to those fielders nearest the bat on the off side. The following diagram shows the positions of the field for fast bowling. For slow bowling a fielder must be placed between long-field on and leg, and the fielders on the off side are drawn in more, for the reason that these slow balls are more frequently hit up. The bowler not bowling is short-slip. The diagram will give such of Our Young Folks as are qualified to be the captains of the game the general principles upon which the fielders should be arranged. In actual play, however, he will plant his scouts with reference to the peculiarities of the batters at the wickets.

The young player, whether batting, wicket-keeping, or fielding, should endeavor to get a quick and true eye for the ball. Without this he cannot become a good cricketer; with it, he will be sure to do so, with practice. When batting he must not look at his bat, but must keep his eye on the ball from the hand of the bowler until the moment of striking. So, too, in fielding, the eye must range with the ball. Many young players, just as the ball is coming, drop their eyes towards their hands, instead of keeping them on the ball. By thus diverting the eye, catches are missed. The hands are sure to second the eye, if the latter gets true range of the ball, no matter how swift it may come. Once in the hands, it is the fault of the fielder if the ball escapes him. A ball held never hurts half as much as one which strikes the hands without being held. If a ball from the bowler is going straight for the stumps, and strikes the leg of the batsman, the latter is out,—leg-before-wicket. In bowling, the ball should not be grabbed in the palm of the hand, but held with the thumb and finger, so that twist may be given.

Charles J. Foster.


Long ago, when this earth on which we live was at least six hundred years younger than she is to-day, there reigned far up in the mountains of Persia a warlike prince by the name of Alo-eddin, the Sheikh al Jebal. Sheikh al Jebal means, in Arabic, “Chief of the Mountain Places”; but he was familiarly known to his neighbors and to old story-tellers as the Old Man of the Mountain. If you think this name denoted any want of respect, let me hasten to correct your mistake. Such a power was he in the land he lived in, that the most formidable princes stood in terror of him for their lives and crowns. His four strong castles,—Alamût, Lamsir, Kirdkuh, and Maimun-diz,—frowning down from their rocky heights, defied the bows and spears of the fiercest Tartar hordes; and as for his trained warriors, the like had never been seen in all Asia for skill and endurance and reckless courage.

Never had prince such followers: they seemed possessed by a very madness of obedience to the will of their lord, and the greater the danger, the more eager were they to be permitted to risk their lives in his service,—indeed, their enemies said they seemed to desire death even more than victory when they charged in battle. Moreover, they were so expert in the abominable trades of murder and robbery that they came to be called, by the horror-stricken people of that land, “The Assassins.” Not a travelling merchant, returning home with the proceeds of his sales in neighboring cities, escaped their bloody ambush; caring nothing themselves for the booty, they rejoiced to lay the gold at Alo-eddin’s feet, having left their poor victim to moulder in the mountain passes, while wife and children waited and mourned, and hoped against hope at home.

Murder after murder had been committed, too, among such near-at-hand princes as had been so rash or so unfortunate as to offend the Old Man of the Mountain, who had his devoted slaves skulking in secret through all the large cities where the royal courts of his rivals were held, and he had but to speak the word and a hundred men eagerly contended for the honor of executing his dreadful orders. This implicit devotion, blind obedience, and utter contempt of life on the part of these assassins, in the service of so cruel and arbitrary a prince, was for a long time a great mystery to all that part of the world. It could not be for love of their master, said the people, for his was not the character to inspire so noble a passion; neither could it be for personal gain, for they were allowed no wealth beyond the rude necessaries of a martial life. All Persia trembled and wondered and conjectured; but the only conclusion she could reach was that the Sheikh al Jebal used wicked spells and magic arts, or even held league with evil spirits themselves. Now, as I know the riddle that all Persia tried to guess, listen to the story of


Far, far away from the busy towns, up mountains and down dales, over plains and across rivers and torrents, a full seven days’ journey by camel from Balkh, the magnificent city, there are—or were six hundred years ago—two mountain peaks so high that they seemed to lift the moon higher still up into the sky, whenever she passed over their snow-white tops. Between these two mountains, hollowed out by long centuries of rains and storms and mad, impetuous river-floods, lay, as it were, a great green bowl of beauty, filled to the brim with the prettiest groves, the gayest waterfalls, the sunniest nooks, the brightest and most tuneful birds, ever found in fairy-land itself. The ground was one thick carpet of soft green ferns and mosses, sprinkled all over with brilliant flowers that loaded the air with their fragrant breath. Every delicious fruit you can name grew in this enchanted garden: orange-trees, pomegranates, quinces, and date-palms offered their succulent sweets, and the almond and pistachio trees shook down their dainty kernels into your very lap.

The denser woods were peopled with chattering parrots, green, red, and orange-feathered; with the argus-pheasant, whose gorgeous tail glittered and waved with every passing breeze; with the milk-white gerfalcon, the turtle-dove, and the falcon of the scarlet breast, the dainty francoline-partridge, red-legged and red-beaked, and the bulbul, plain but tuneful. Antelopes, stags, and fallow-deer roamed at large through these sylvan shades; while in the distant meadows grazed the beautiful snow-white oxen of Persia, large-eyed and stately, with short ivory horns, and hump of silky fleece; and the enormous sheep of Aleppo; and Arabian horses of that rare race, since lost to the world, that were all foaled with a star in the forehead.

The streams and lakes abounded in every variety of delicate fish and waterfowl;—speckled, shining trout, the white beluga, the osotrin, and the pink salmon; the graceful swan, the heron, and the stork, and that gorgeous red-and-black-headed crane whose white plumage is covered as with a thousand eyes of gleaming gold.

Fountains, flowing not only with the purest water, but with milk and honey and the sweet palm-wine, played in fantastic shapes, and at every turn bowers curiously covered with fragrant vines offered their refreshment and repose, while the distant tinkle of music, playful gusts of song, and the jangling laughter of merry-hearted youth, rocked the weary senses to delicious slumber.

Near the centre of this bowl-shaped valley, a palace of wonderful beauty rose to view. The roof, all green and red and blue and violet tiled, gleamed like a rainbow in the distance; its marble walls, covered with golden images, flashed in the sunlight like burnished mirrors. In the gardens immediately surrounding this shining palace, beautiful young women, clad in robes of golden tissue that floated about their slender forms like garments of light, and handsome youths, robed in Persian khilàts of crimson silk with chamois girdles, swayed to and fro in graceful dances to the measure of exquisite music that floated out from the chambers within.

Still farther on, a lake, clear as crystal, rippled along the flowery banks, bearing upon its silvery bosom a shell-shaped boat with sails of perfumed silk and gilded oars, and this too filled with beautiful youths and maidens, who played and sang to flutes, harps, and lutes, till the valley echoed with the sweet, wild strains. Nubian slaves, clad in scarlet stuffs, and poising on their turbaned heads salvers of the most delicate viands, or golden flagons of the choicest wines, glided here and there, serving the fair inhabitants of this Happy Valley with the refreshment their momentary caprice demanded.

As night drew on, the whole valley blazed with myriads of dazzling lamps,—green, red, blue, orange, and violet,—hanging on every tree and shrub, around the arbors and fountains, and from every jutting cornice about the carved wonders of the palace.

Within the palace the scene was one of regal splendor. The ceiling of the banqueting-hall, a lofty vault of red, blue, and gold, was covered with figures of great dragons and peacocks and serpents; the walls were hung with paintings on cloth of gold made in Yasdi or Baghdâd; the couches and carpets and curtains, all of silk and damask and cloth, were embroidered with precious stones in every fantastic device.

The fountains of sweet-scented water plashed musically in their marble basins, while dark-skinned slaves moved noiselessly about, lighting the perfumed lamps, and filling the gold and crystal chalices with freshly gathered flowers; but this luxurious stillness was soon broken by bevies of young people, who, weary of out-door sports, thronged the apartments of the palace,—dancing, singing, playing graceful games until the banquet hour, when, with wines and fruits and all the choicest viands of Asia spread before them, deeper and deeper grew the excitement and intoxication.

But while jest and joy are gayest, Bolghâna, the queen-beauty of the fête, approaches the golden flagons of wine, prepared for the deluded youths who are her guests, and pours into each drinking-cup a black, deadly-looking liquid, of which whoever drinks shall become as if dead, yet still not dead.

An hour later, and every boyish head lies low; one by one Bolghâna has had them borne out by her slaves and laid upon couches to await their midnight journey; for drugged, stupefied, dead asleep as they are, they have yet a long, long ride to take before day-break. On the morrow they must awake in the Sheikh’s castle of Alamût. Four days ago they were taken from their beds in that castle,—drugged, stupefied, and dead asleep,—and awaked, as they supposed, in Paradise, but only Prince Alo-eddin’s Paradise.

And now do you know the riddle that all Persia could not guess? These youths that were dancing and feasting in the shining palace were some of the Sheikh al Jebal’s favorite warriors. It was his daily practice to talk to them about the Paradise that Mahomet had promised to all the faithful, and to assure them that their holy Prophet had given him power to open the gates of the Celestial Garden to any man who should engage with all his heart in whatever task he should allot him. If zealous and obedient, he should have foretastes, while yet in the body, of that delightful abode, and, should he chance to die in his lord’s service, he should be borne thither by houris never to return.

Having prepared the beautiful valley, and made fast its secret, by erecting an impregnable castle at its only entrance, he caused these youths to be drugged with opium,—a powerful and dangerous decoction from the poppy plant,—while feasting at his own table, and then, fast locked in sleep, to be conveyed by night on the fleetest Arab horses, through the castle, straight on to the shining palace. Here, stretched upon a couch of rosy satin, fanned with peacocks’ feathers, in an atmosphere heavy with flowers and the sweet-scented kalambak, the young soldier awoke to find himself apparently in the very Paradise his Sheikh had promised, and attended by the lovely houris who had been described to him as its fair inhabitants.

Refreshed with a perfumed bath, the richest attire of embroidered silk was placed ready for his use, and the rarest viands and wines and fruits, served in golden dishes, pressed upon him, till, every sense satiated with pleasure, he truly believed himself in the midst of heavenly delights.

On the return of these enraptured visitors to the court at Alamût, when the Old Man of the Mountain would ask them where they had been, they would answer, “We have been to Paradise, by favor of our gracious lord”; and then to the astonished court they would relate every detail of their mysterious and enchanting visit.

And so, year after year, by means of this cunning trick, the Old Man of the Mountain increased in power and audacity, and was more than ever the terror of the land.

But vengeance, though tardy, came at last. A mighty prince named Hulagu, brother to the Grand Khan, hearing of the murders and robberies committed upon defenceless travellers through his own country, determined to put a stop to such atrocious wickedness. So he sent one of his armies to besiege the Sheikh al Jebal in his own great castle of Alamût; but such was its strength, that, though for three whole years Prince Hulagu’s forces stormed and struggled and fought valiantly, it was not until its doomed master and his men were starved out that it surrendered. The Sheikh’s strong fortresses were brought to shame, his garden of Paradise utterly destroyed, and he himself put to an ignominious death,—since which time there has been no Old Man of the Mountain.

No Old Man of the Mountain? Nay, young friends, we may be sure he still lives; for what is he but that Evil Voice that says to every human heart, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”

H. L. P.

[But see now, what a strange thing has happened! Six hundred and eleven years after this terrible enchanter and assassin is killed,—five hundred and sixty-six years after the grand old Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, first tells the wonderful story of the Old Man of the Mountain,—and just ten days after this account of his Paradise is written for Our Young Folks, comes intelligence from India, that a Persian named Aga Khan has appeared before the Supreme Court of Bombay, and proved that he is the lineal descendant of that fierce Sheikh of the castle of Alamût, and therefore Hereditary Grand-Master of the still existing Order of Assassins! And British law has recognized this Aga Khan as the living Old Man of the Mountain, with absolute power over all the people of his sect, as in the days of Alo-eddin and his Paradise! Was ever fairy-tale stranger than this plain newspaper fact?]


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



No. 4.

First, I am what the wind is doing;

Beheaded once, of cows the cry;

Again, what many lose by doing;

Behead me again, the birds that fly

Use me in all their various flights.

This your attention now invites.


No. 5.

In folio est, sed non in arbore;

In lumine est, sed non in ardore;

In lana videtur, sed nunquam in ove;

In pilis cognoscitur, sed non in bove;

In sella insidit, sed nusquam in domo;

Inhaeret in litera, sed non in tomo;

Puella possidet, sed tamen non mater;

Et filius semper, sed minime pater;

In pluvia fluit, sed abest ab fonte;

In valle assurgit, non surgit in monte;

In albis videtur, sed nunquam in nigris;

In alacri habitat, sed non in pigris;

In sole, in luna, in stellis apparet,

Sed terra infelix perpetuo caret.

Adolescentes, nunc operam date,

Et, quod obscuratur, manifestate!

A. W.


C. J. S.


Hattie V.


No. 5.

I am composed of 58 letters.

My 24, 2, 31, 19, 13, is a division of Asia.

My 5, 22, 52, 6, is a river of the United States.

My 8, 21, 25, 28, 4, 16, 3, 27, 24, 43, is a river of Canada.

My 40, 56, 11, is a river of Siberia.

My 30, 15, 35, 44, 48, 34, is a division of Asia.

My 32, 52, 50, 36, 16, is a river of Africa.

My 26, 35, 18, 41, is an inland sea of Asia.

My 35, 33, 7, is a sea.

My 45, 35, 39, 58, 46, 40, 49, is a city of New Jersey, noted for a battle of the Revolution.

My 56, 5, 51, 37, 6, 53, is an important city of Massachusetts.

My 54, 55, 56, 34, 19, 57, is a principal city of New York.

My 29, 23, 19, 54, is a river of Siberia.

My 17, 9, 10, 15, 29, 23, 27, 58, is a noted island near Africa.

My 5, 1, 14, 28, 12, 13, is a river of Canada.

My 35, 28, 51, 28, 25, 38, 18, 20, is a cape of Arabia.

My 45, 24, 47, 54, 42, is a lake of Africa.

My whole is an old Scottish proverb.

W. A. May.







4.The Lord’s Prayer.



Illustrated Rebus.

5.Rule your fancy with your reason, or it will rule you. [(Rule) (ewer) (fans) (eye) (withe) (ewer) (e’s on oar) i (tea) (well—e + i) (rule) U.]

Our Letter Box

Fanny S. S. If only they were not proverbs!

Rosa H. It could be guessed too easily without working it out.

Dana. They are good for a beginning.

Jennie Wren. The “license” is really too great.

Physic. Our subscribers must have the preference, of course.—You can begin a subscription with any month.

X. F. T. S. Only a checkmate can win at chess; in case of a stalemate, or check to king if he moves again, the game is drawn.

From J. C. P.:

“Mother Goose cackleth in the tongue whereby she saved Rome.

“Jack et Gill, quaerentes fontem,

 Ascendebant parvum montem;

 Ille, cadens, fregit frontem,

 Secum trahens hanc insontem.”

Now then, Latin scholars, try it!

Allen E. H., Fanny G. S., Eddie, Mab, H. W. S., Fanny C. L., Olin D. W., Christabel, Quynne, G. P. W. You all have our thanks for special letters, which are here acknowledged.

Chemicus. Is the charade your own?

Gracie. The verses are very good indeed, and if we could make room we would print at least a part of them, if only to show you that we appreciate your fond interest in your sister. Your letter is very pleasant.

May Foster. 1. This question we cannot answer. 2. The double sign (“ ”) is the regular quotation-mark; but when one quotation comes within another, the single sign (‘ ’) is used to denote the difference. 3. A young lady may of course ask for a gentleman’s carte de visite, if they are sufficiently acquainted for the request not to be a familiarity, or to place her under an obligation which might become unpleasant in future; in regard to any particular case she should ask her mother, if unable to decide for herself.

Bow-wow. We don’t like being personal in any remark or reference.

Meg sends three inversions:—

“Hannah, stop & nap; pan & pots, Hannah!

“Draw no tub, Ada, but onward!

“Star, live on, & no evil rats.”

Charlie. Captain Reid is not publishing anything at present, being much occupied with business matters.—The author of “Farming for Boys” considers it as ended.

L. W. Your note is not “a naughty note” at all, and our friend feels quite pleased with your liking. He writes for no other Magazine, and whenever he has anything suitable for the young folks we shall be sure to print it.

Tillie E. All that is said in “Round-the-world Joe” about the manners and customs of the Chinese or other foreign nations is true. The author has been an extensive traveller, and relates what he has himself seen; good authority can be found in writers of historical repute that every statement of fact, description of habit, or expression of opinion is really true. The Chinese are certainly the most astonishing people in the world; nothing seems too absurd for them to believe, or too ridiculous or impossible for them to attempt.

A. M. says: “I want to ask you just one question. Won’t you please tell me what you think about slang? Is it wicked, or only unladylike? I’m sure almost all school-girls use it, and some slang phrases come so pit-a-pat to express just what you mean. If it is wicked, of course I will try to leave it off; but if it is merely unladylike, I don’t pretend to be a young lady yet, so what is the use of trying to appear so?”

Ladyhood depends not upon years, but upon character; it is internal quality, not outward behavior alone. You can be a lady in feeling, thought, and language at fifteen just as well as at fifty, although your experience would not be all-sufficient in doubtful or difficult cases at the earlier age. It is never too soon to practise refinement, and if you indulge yourself now in unbecoming speech, you will find it hard to break off by and by. Slang is not a good thing; there are occasions when it is excusable, no doubt, but there is no occasion when the avoidance of it is not better than the use.

Cliff. A ream (which ought to be always written reim) is not a strap with a buckle, as you draw it, but a strip of ox-hide twisted for use as a cord or thong.

Arinda. No, thank you.

Mary E. W. Yes, the book premiums are still given.

Alfred E. Yes indeed; some of our letters come from much younger children than you.

Walter D. J. tells us in his letter that beside himself his “grandmother is very much interested in ‘Good Old Times,’ as her ancestors came over in the same way as Hugh and Elizabeth.”

A Subscriber to four copies. Will you kindly tell us how a dialect can be represented in print, unless by variations from the ordinary forms of words?

Agatha. We have a letter for you.

E. D. T. We hope so;—or something like it.

N. J. M. “The Invalid” is not well enough for us.—The value determines the price.—“The May Queen” of Tennyson is not published separately, except as a song, in which case it costs about $1.50.

Hattie E. McI. If you address as before, it will be all right.

K. C. H. It’s about ourselves, you know.

Joseph P., Enella. Take to heart all our previous advice to young writers, and apply it.

Kate A. Hansen gives us

Molly’s Song.

“O queer little stitches,

 You surely are witches,

   To bother me so!

 I’m trying to plant you:

 Do stay where I want you,

   All straight in a row.


“Now keep close together!

 I never know whether

   You’ll do as I say.

 Why can’t you be smaller?

 You really grow taller,

   Try hard as I may!


“There! now my thread’s knotted,

 My finger is dotted

   With sharp needle-pricks!

 I mean to stop trying;

 I cannot help crying!

   O dear, what a fix!


“Yes, yes, little stitches,

 I know you are witches,—

   I’m sure of it now,—

 Because you don’t bother

 Grown people like mother

   When they try to sew.


“You love to bewilder

 Us poor little ‘childer,’

   (As Bridget would say,)

 By jumping and dancing,

 And leaping and prancing,

   And losing your way.


“Hear the bees in the clover!

 Sewing ‘over and over’

   They don’t understand.

 I wish I was out there,

 And playing about there

   In that great heap of sand!


“The afternoon’s going;

 I must do my sewing

   Before I can play.

 Now behave, little stitches,

 Like good-natured witches,

   The rest of the day.


“I’d almost forgotten

 About waxing my cotton,

   As good sewers do.

 And—O what a memory!—

 Here is my emery

   To help coax it through.


“I’m so nicely provided,

 I’ve really decided

   To finish the things.

 There’s nothing like trying;

 My needle is flying

   As if it had wings.


“There! Good by, little stitches!

 You obstinate witches,

   You’re punished, you know.

 You’ve been very ugly,

 But now you sit snugly

   Along in a row.”

Here we have another condensed proverb, for which we are indebted to the ingenuity of C. E. S. The one in the last number is, “United we stand, divided we fall.”


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