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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 4, Issue 6

Date of first publication: 1868

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

Date first posted: Mar. 10, 2019

Date last updated: Mar. 10, 2019

Faded Page eBook #20190327

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






An Illustrated Magazine




Vol. IV. JUNE, 1868. No. VI.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, 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 Winslow Homer.          [See Watching the Crows, page 355.



The wind was hushed, the fleecy wave

Scarcely the vessel’s sides could lave,

When in the mizzen-top his stand

Tom Clueline, taking, spied the land.

O sweet reward for all his toil!

Once more he views his native soil;

Once more he thanks indulgent Fate,

That brings him to his Bonny Kate.


A ribbon, near his heart which lay,

Now see him on his hat display,—

The given sign to show that Fate

Had brought him safe to Bonny Kate.

That’s Round-the-World Joe, just coming on the front porch with Charley Sharpe. He’s getting very fond of calling at our house of late, Joe is; and he always comes in that style,—sometimes whistling, but generally singing some sort of a sea-song, with a “Bonny Kate,” or a “Charming Kitty,” or a “Kathleen Mavourneen” (but that’s not a sea-song), or a “Kitty, the Clipper,” in it. Some days he informs the whole neighborhood, he hollers so, that he

“Sailed in the good ship The Kitty,

 With a smart spanking gale and rough sea”;

and at another time (for as much as a week, maybe) he seems to want everybody in our block to know that

“In a vessel of his own he has often ta’en a trip,

   And he christened her The Charming Kitty.

 Though not quite so big as a three-masted ship,

   Yet she looked, when at sea, quite as pretty.”

Now, that sort of thing was all very well for the jovial tars in the “fokesel” of the Circumnavigator on a Saturday night, when “the ample can adorned the board,” and the Tarry Mariners, prepared to see it out, gave each the girl that he adored, and pushed the grog about; but I must say it is not exactly the right kind of noise to raise around the premises of temperance folks, or to wake all the babies within an old-fashioned, quiet neighborhood, where the families are large, and the houses are small. Besides, I don’t admire the style,—’pears to me it’s kind o’ making free. Miss Catharine Eager, though she is only ten years old, and can’t play on the accordion, is nobody’s Poll, nor yet their Partner, Joe; and, if she is your Friend, that’s not saying she’s your Pitcher. So I just up and asked her about it. “If you don’t like it, Katy,” says I, “only say the word, and I’ll stop the music or change the tune.”

“Well, now,” says she, “dear old humbug, I like to hear Mr. Brace sing; I don’t want him to stop singing. I don’t care whether the person in the song is named Bonny Kate, or Dowdy Bet, or Crazy Peggy; and if you make him stop, I’ll ask him to begin again, exactly where he left off, and perform them all over and over again,—the way they grind ’em on the hand-organs. Why, I think it’s real nice, the way Mr. Brace does it,—so sentimental, you know, and funny. It always puts me in mind of the gentleman we saw in the Nautical Drama at Barnum’s, with his pantaloons so dilapidated looking, and his shirt so baggy, and his throat so exposed,—the one, you remember, who kept scraping his foot, and jerking it backwards, as if a great many heavy things were trying to fall on his toes, and flirting his straw hat around, and giving it a sort of a streaky sling every time he jerked his foot, as if he had just run in out of a soaking rain, and his legs and his hat were all dripping,—the one that said ‘Avast heaving!’ (whatever that is) so many times, and called everybody in good clothes ‘Your Honor,’ and seemed to be so anxious to get his timbers shivered, and always clapped his hand on his mouth when he said bad words, as if he had left his mouth open by accident, and the bad word had tried to jump out like a rat,—the one that expressed that lovely sentiment that made all the people clap their hands, and stamp, and bang with their sticks, and whistle, and cry ‘Hi, hi!’ about the Man that will not answer the Signals of a Female in Distress, and Lay himself, Broadside on, to her Enemy, no matter how Many Guns he carries, is a Sneak, whom it is Perfectly Ridiculous to call a Coward. O, wasn’t that lovely? And then, you remember, he sang that sweet distressing ballad about the Fleet that was all Moored, and how Black-eyed Seeusan came on board to inquire where she could find her True Love,—

‘Tell me, ye Jovial Sailors, tell me true,

 Does my Sweet William sail among your crew?’—

or words to that effect. And how her Sweet William was in the yard, rocking something; and as soon as he heard her well-known voice, he jumped down, quick as lightning, exclaiming, ‘Seeusan, Seeusan, Lovely Dear!’ and requesting her to let him Kiss off that Falling Tear,—which I suppose she did (and no harm either, both of ’em being so fond of each other, and so miserable), because, afterwards, when the Bos’n (whatever that is) gave the Dreadful Word (sailors are always giving dreadful words in the Nautical Dramas, it seems to me), she sighed, and he hung his head, and they both kissed,—being so fond of each other, and so unhappy; and then she cried ‘Good By,’—no, ‘Adieu!’ because it was all done in poetry,—and Waved her Lily Hand; and it didn’t say what became of either of them after that. But it was all Per-fect-ly Splen-did, and I had a real good cry.”

“But,” says I again, “what has all that to do with Round-the-World Joe?”

“Why, you see!” said Katy, “I couldn’t help thinking of Mr. Brace all the while; because, you know, he follows the sea; and on the Fourth of July the Circumnavigator has Streamers Waving in the Wind; and his name might have been William, if it hadn’t been for old Captain Brace being a Joseph, and Mrs. Brace being so proud of him, and thinking there never could be too many Joseph Braces; and then he sings sea-songs, which I suppose Sweet William must have been doing all the time, when he wasn’t crying or avast-heaving.”

Now there’s a pretty reason for letting Joe Brace make a Naval Warbler of himself, and a nuisance besides. But, bless these women! they’re all alike. When you let one of ’em get by you in a subject, you never can tell where she’ll come out. They’re like that pig that Leigh Hunt tells about, that slipped the string off its hind leg in Smithfield Market; the boy that had been trying to drive or coax it just slapped his hat down on the ground, and began to pull his hair and cry, and said it “worn’t no use a-tryin’ to foller her; he knowed she’d bolt up all manner o’ streets.”

But there’s one thing I can’t find out, and another thing I think I have found out.

What makes her call Joe Mister Brace?

Now, there’s Charley Sharpe, he’s every bit as old as Joe; and, though he’s not so tall by about a quarter of a head, he’s a sight stouter. Joe says he’s built on the porpoise model; and some of the boys call him “Fatty,”—behind his back though, mind you; for Charley’s apt to be rather quick with his fists when his dignity’s stirred up. And Katy has known Joe quite as long as she has known Charley; but she never calls Charley Mister Sharpe: it’s always just “Charley,” or sometimes “Cousin Charley,”—kind of affectionate, though he’s no relation to her. Queer,—isn’t it?

Once I asked her, “Sis, what do you call Round-the-World Joe Mister Brace for? Don’t you like him?”

“Why, what an i-dee-a!” says she. “Of course I like him; that is, he’ll do. But the i-dee-a of calling a person Joe who has seen a Whale, and, for all I know, the Sea-Serpent, and the next thing to a Mermaid,—a person who has ‘scudded,’ and been on his ‘beam-ends,’ and ‘under bare poles,’ and all those other dreadful things he has told us about,—a person who just keeps all the time sailing up and down among dangers, as if there wasn’t a soul on all the dry land to love him, or be anxious about him, or wish he’d come back, and so he didn’t care how soon he went down, Down, Down!—a person who, night after night, goes to sleep like that poor sailor-boy in the Piece that one of our school-girls recited, who dreamed he was at home:—

‘The jessamine clambers in flowers o’er the thatch,

   And the swallow sings sweet from her nest in the wall;

 All trembling with transport he raises the latch,

   And the voices of loved ones reply to his call.


‘A father bends o’er him with looks of delight,

   His cheek is impearled with a mother’s warm tear’;

and then, only to think how he woke up,—

‘O sailor-boy, sailor-boy! never again

   Shall home, love, or kindred thy wishes repay:

 Unblessed and unhonored, down deep in the main,

   Full many a fathom, thy frame shall decay!’

O, it is dreadful!

‘The white foam of waves shall thy winding-sheet be,

   And winds, in the midnight of winter, thy dirge!’

“Joe!” says she, “Joe! Yes, I’d look pretty calling him Joe, wouldn’t I?” And then she began to cry; and I kissed her, and said: “There now, sis! don’t cry; I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I’m always making a heartless hippopotamus of myself”; and at that she laughed, and I said she would look pretty calling him Joe, or anything else she pleased.

And, My Gracious! don’t it just take my sister Kate to look pretty!

Maybe you think I shouldn’t say so, right out, in print too, to all sorts of Young Folks, perfect strangers to me, and me her brother; but I say that’s all humbug. What’s the use of being brother to a nice pretty girl, just as pretty in all her ways as she is in her face, if you can’t admire and love her like sixty, and brag about her too? Who has any better right than I have to hurrah for my sister? And what’s the use of being a fellow’s pretty sister if it’s against the rules for him to hurrah for you?—especially if you’re right sensible, and won’t take on airs and be conceited on account of it?

Besides, it’s not poetry,—it’s a good-looking matter-of-fact, and just as easy to prove as two and two make four. Here’s her carte-de-visite, as she appeared; and if any Young-Folks boy thinks he’s got a sister that’s prettier than that, all he’s got to do is to send along her tin-type to “George Eager,” care of the Editor; and, if it’s so, I’ll own right up, stick her tin-type in Bonny Kate’s Album, and send her a Valentine next Fourteenth of February.

But as to a fellow’s bragging about his own sister,—why, there’s Captain Brace,—Round-the-World Joe’s Old Man,—modest as my own little darling about himself; but don’t he hug Mrs. Brace right before folks,—Young Folks or old folks,—and laugh a big, fat, red, warm, Christmas-dinner sort of laugh, and say, “If this be n’t the nicest, jolliest, best-looking woman in these latitudes, why, then I’m prejudiced!”

Now that’s what I call rational talk. I believe in the Old Man, because he believes in the Good Man, and that’s his way of showing it.

But that Mister Brace is the thing, I can’t find out,—because I think even Kate has not found out the true reason for it yet. And here’s the thing I think I have found out; and I’m going to tell you in strict confidence. (Cross your heart you won’t tell!)

Miss Catharine Eager is engaged to Joseph Brace, Jr., Esq., Mariner. They have exchanged tin-types and locks of hair, and torn a three-cent stamp between them (breaking a sixpence is the regular tender, true-love style; but they thought it wouldn’t pay to wait for the Resumption of Specie Payments, Life being Short and Art being Long), and I’m going to give them my Blessing, and Remember them in My Will. They have not asked me to do that yet, but I think I shall “Kindly Feed their Mutual Flame, and Lend my Count’nance to the Same.” (That’s out of a Song. I found it hanging on the Park railings. It cost me two cents, and an apple to a newsboy for whistling the tune.)

But you would like to know how I found that out,—wouldn’t you? And you thought it was Charley Sharpe all the time,—didn’t you?

Well, you see, it was the Mister Brace that first set me thinking. I knew it wasn’t Charley, because she was always in a good humor with him, and told him all the secrets that she told to everybody else, and never looked grave when he teased her, and behaved as if she thought so much of him, and never cared whether he was around or not, and didn’t mind eating molasses taffy right before him, and getting all sticky with it, and called him “Cousin” sometimes, and was always wishing he’d come, and getting awfully tired of him.

And I knew he was all right, because he was always pretending to be half crazy for love of her, and then laughing; and because, when other boys plagued him about her, he’d pretend to get mad, and then laugh; and because he never teased Joe about her, nor her about Joe,—you see he was sharper than I was; and because he told her all the secrets that he never told to anybody else; and could write a note to her with only one sheet of paper, and without getting furious, and without trying to get it out of the post-office again, after he had dropped it in.

But Charley is almost as fond of Kate as I am. Once he said he wished she was his sister,—I don’t think Joe would say that; and I know he’d work for her and fight for her, for all his nonsense about her; for Charley Sharpe is the greatest boy I know for saying what he don’t mean,—or for saying what he does mean, as if he didn’t mean it; and he has two ways of hiding his feelings,—one is by pretending not to care at all, and the other is by pretending to care too much. But his heart’s all right; and he can be serious enough in a serious matter,—when there’s a meanness to put down, for instance, or somebody’s part to be taken.

And this is how I knew it was Joe: because he’d tease Charley about her, but didn’t like anybody else to do the same thing; because he always spoke of her as if he was her grandfather, and always spoke to her as if she was his grandmother; because he never offered, and she never asked him, to do anything for her before anybody, but, if any other boy tried to do it, he’d meddle; because when they were together, when other folks were by, they behaved as if they were so uncommon fond of everybody else,—and as sure as one of them moped the other giggled,—and Kate would keep running out of the room for drinks of water, as if she had a favorite flower-pot inside,—and Joe would nurse his ten fingers, and hold their heads, and try to settle them in comfortable positions, as if they were all very ill, and he was waiting for ten doctors to come and tell him if there was any hope that they might recover; and once, when Joe had to write a note to Kate immediately, about nothing at all, he tore up seven and a half sheets of paper, filled his mouth full of ink, never sent the note, and then got up in the middle of the night to write another, and tell her why he didn’t; because he was always telling Kate how he loved the sea and the “Circumnavigator,” and that he expected to sail again very soon, and always proving to us that his father would leave him at home next voyage; because whenever he sang a song that Kate was fond of, called “The Sailor-Boy’s Parting Signal,” he always left out one verse. Charley found that verse in a newspaper, and asked him why he didn’t give us that too; and Joe said, O well! it was such nonsense. Here it is:—

“Farewell to Sister, Lovely Yacht!

 But whether she’ll be manned or not

      I cannot now foresee.

 May some good ship a tender prove,

 Well found in stores of truth and love,

      And take her under lee.”

And, finally, I knew it was Joe because I felt it in my bones.

And I’m glad of it; for Bonny Kate Eager is the world to me, and if any chap is to be her sweetheart, I’d rather it would be Round-the-World Joe than any other fellow I know; for he has sung sea-songs till he’s as chock-full of courage, honor, fidelity, and tenderness as if Sweet William had been his father and Black-eyed Seeusan his mother, and when they both died they had left him to Tom Bowling to bring up.

But all this while Joe and Charley had been waiting in the porch.

“Katy,” said I, “the boys are at the door.”

“Are they?” said she. “Well!”

“Well,” said I, “I’d ask them in if I were you; it’s customary, you know, and generally considered respectable. I’d open the door for them myself, only I’m busy now, finishing this Number X.”

If you believe me, she made a pretty little face, as if she thought it a bore. Now there’s an artful duck for you! To look at her, only a month or two ago, you’d have said she did not know how to spell Deception, and now she’s as full of tricks as if she had served her time at shuffling cards for the Wizard of the North. Why, the other day, when Charley was making fun of Joe,—just to try her, I guess,—she laughed heartily, and made as if she enjoyed it; but presently she slipped out of the room, and I found her sitting on the back steps, crying with rage; and when I asked her what was the matter, she said, “Well, to be sure! and what made you think anything was the matter?”

But she let the boys in, and was taken immediately with a jerky attack of giggles, while at the same time Joe’s fingers were so suddenly prostrated that he must have thought all was over with them, for he began to straighten their limbs and lay them out,—ten awful tragedies, all in a row; and then he looked at them with a “gone” expression, as if the shock had been too much for him, and his mind was giving way.

But Charley was unusually peert.

“Katy,” said he, “as I look at you this morning, I can’t help wishing I was a Battaker, and you were a famous female member of the Royal Geographical Society.”

“What sort of wild beasts are those?” Katy asked.

“A Battaker,” said Charley, “is a colored gentleman with an unnatural appetite and a literary turn of mind, who resides in the interior of Sumatra, and lives exclusively on rats, lizards, alligators’ brains, and ladies,—there are three hundred and fifty thousand of them. And the F. F. M. R. G. S. is an immortal, besides being an undying Dutchwoman, who explored them, with the laudable object of ascertaining, by personal experience, for the benefit of missionaries, and other Dutchwomen with inquiring spirits, whether, when they pay their devours to a lady, they make a stewed hash of her, or swallow her whole and raw.”

“Well, how did she find it?”

Didn’t find it. You see they received her very impolitely,—wouldn’t make a collation of her at all, although she had her pocket full of pepper and salt, and a bottle of Jockey-Club sauce in her portmanteau. To her profound disappointment and mortification, they treated her with the most disgusting kindness; and she came back with all her tough temptation on her bones. She had tried our friends the Dyaks before that; but their prejudiced and benighted minds actually rejected her head,—and such a head!”

“Now, Charley!”

“It’s every word true,—isn’t it, Joe? Ask him, Katy; he has been there, and was telling me about it as we came along this morning.”

But Katy did not even look at Joe, who was taking the measure of his fingers—for coffins, perhaps.

“How is it, Joe?” said I.

And Joe jumped as if I had stuck a pin in him, and brightened up quite brisk; and all the fingers sat straight up, like the Fine Ould Irish Gintleman when they were going to wake him, and somebody brought in a bottle of whiskey, and the funeral was postponed.

“Well,” said he, “if you strain that story through a little sober sense, so as to get the Charley out of it, I think what’s left will be plain history and geography, about half and half.”

“But did the Dutch lady really go there?” said Kate; “and wouldn’t they partake of her?”

“Not they,” said Charley; “they were afraid she’d eat them; and, as dinner-time came on, the young and tender ones began to disappear, until nothing was left but a few gristly old gobblers, as tough as that celebrated traveller herself. But if it had been you, Katy,—why, you’d have made a dainty dish to set before the King. They’d have pickled you, and preserved you, and canned you, and hermetically sealed you, and kept you for Royal Birthdays. And that’s why I said I wished I was a Battaker, and you were a celebrated Dutch lady with an inquiring mind.”

By this time Joe’s fingers had all swooned again, and he began to lay them out once more.

“But how awfully ignorant they must be!” said Katy, “and such ferocious savages!”

“On the contrary,” said Charley, “Joe tells me they are very fond of their relations,—after they are dead. Besides, they are a literary people,—have a written language, that they invented themselves, and lots of books that they wrote themselves, on History, Medicine, and Magic. A larger proportion of them can read and write than of the inhabitants of Ireland or Mexico.”

“O, how can that be?” exclaimed Katy.

“Easy enough,” said Charley; “it only proves the truth of Joe’s observation in No. IX.,—it’s all Tradition and the Custom of the Country, and education has nothing to do with it. If it was the fashion in this country to dine on one’s neighbors, you’d be catching all the little children that strayed into this yard, and fattening them in coops; and the greediest cannibals in the land would be the subscribers to the ‘Home Journal.’ ”

Katy laughed merrily, and her cheeks broke out all over in dimples.

“But suppose the Dutch lady had been partaken of,” said she, “how could Useful Knowledge have been any the richer for that?”

“Ah!” said Charley, “now you ask too much for me. The ways of philosophers, and enthusiastic travellers, and enterprising Dutch ladies with inquiring minds, are past finding out. She would have been eaten,—that would have been our comfort; and she would have known whether she was served whole or hashed, roasted or raw,—that would have been hers.”

George Eager.


One morning Mrs. Peterkin was feeling very tired, as she had been having a great many things to think of, and she said to Mr. Peterkin, “I believe I shall take a ride this morning!”

And the little boys cried out, “O, may we go too?”

Mrs. Peterkin said that Elizabeth Eliza and the little boys might go.

So Mr. Peterkin had the horse put into the carryall, and he and Agamemnon went off to their business, and Solomon John to school, and Mrs. Peterkin began to get ready for her ride.

She had some currants she wanted to carry to old Mrs. Twomly, and some gooseberries for somebody else, and Elizabeth Eliza wanted to pick some flowers to take to the minister’s wife, so it took them a long time to prepare.

The little boys went out to pick the currants and the gooseberries, and Elizabeth Eliza went out for her flowers, and Mrs. Peterkin put on her cape-bonnet, and in time they were all ready. The little boys were in their india-rubber boots, and they got into the carriage.

Elizabeth Eliza was to drive; so she sat on the front seat, and took up the reins, and the horse started off merrily, and then suddenly stopped, and would not go any farther.

Elizabeth Eliza shook the reins, and pulled them, and then she clucked to the horse; and Mrs. Peterkin clucked; and the little boys whistled and shouted; but still the horse would not go.

“We shall have to whip him,” said Elizabeth Eliza.

Now Mrs. Peterkin never liked to use the whip; but, as the horse would not go, she said she would get out and turn her head the other way, while Elizabeth Eliza whipped the horse, and when he began to go she would hurry and get in.

So they tried this, but the horse would not stir.

“Perhaps we have too heavy a load,” said Mrs. Peterkin, as she got in.

So they took out the currants and the gooseberries and the flowers, but still the horse would not go.

One of the neighbors, from the opposite house, looking out just then, called out to them to try the whip. There was a high wind, and they could not hear exactly what she said.

“I have tried the whip,” said Elizabeth Eliza.

“She says ‘whips,’ such as you eat,” said one of the little boys.

“We might make those,” said Mrs. Peterkin, thoughtfully.

“We have got plenty of cream,” said Elizabeth Eliza.

“Yes, let us have some whips,” cried the little boys, getting out.

And the opposite neighbor cried out something about whips; and the wind was very high.

So they went into the kitchen, and whipped up the cream, and made some very delicious whips; and the little boys tasted all round, and they all thought they were very nice.

They carried some out to the horse, who swallowed it down very quickly.

“That is just what he wanted,” said Mrs. Peterkin; “now he will certainly go!”

So they all got into the carriage again, and put in the currants and the gooseberries and the flowers; and Elizabeth Eliza shook the reins, and they all clucked; but still the horse would not go!

“We must either give up our ride,” said Mrs. Peterkin, mournfully, “or else send over to the lady from Philadelphia, and see what she will say.”

The little boys jumped out as quickly as they could; they were eager to go and ask the lady from Philadelphia. Elizabeth Eliza went with them, while her mother took the reins.

They found that the lady from Philadelphia was very ill that day, and was in her bed. But when she was told what the trouble was, she very kindly said they might draw up the curtain from the window at the foot of the bed, and open the blinds, and she would see. Then she asked for her opera-glass, and looked through it, across the way, up the street, to Mrs. Peterkin’s door.

After she had looked through the glass, she laid it down, leaned her head back against the pillow, for she was very tired, and then said, “Why don’t you unchain the horse from the horse-post?”

Elizabeth Eliza and the little boys looked at one another, and then hurried back to the house and told their mother. The horse was untied, and they all went to ride.

Lucretia P. Hale.


  Out in the fields to walk,

  Hearing the grasses talk,

In the sweet month of June!

  These are the words they say,

  As in low whispers they

Speak through the silence of noon:—


  “Sunbeams, come lie on me;

  Rain, here is room for thee;

Clouds, here your shadows may rest;

  Wind, you may rustle through;

  Cow, here is food for you;

Horse, come and roll on my breast.


  “Ground-bird, come here and see

  How you can nest with me.

Child, run about me and play.

  Strong man, with cheek so brown;

  Here come and cut me down,

Toss me, and turn me to hay.


  “Fill high the farmer’s loft;

  Then go and gather oft

Fodder for cattle at night;

  Take all you need of me;

  I’ll not live selfishly,

Nor for my own delight.


  “Grasshopper, butterfly,

  Bees, that with ‘honeyed thigh’

Ever on busy wing rove.

  Born of one parent, we,

  All of one family,

Linked to each other in love.


  “Golden-hued buttercup,

  Over me glancing up,

By the light summer-breeze wooed,

  You, too, shall share with me

  This happy destiny,

Born to be useful and good.


  “So shall the early spring

  Life to our bosoms bring,

Verdure and beauty restore;

  Then, taking heed of us,

  All who have need of us

Welcome shall be as before.”

Mrs. A. M. Wells.


The twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth witnessed the height of the Feudal System in England, and the commencement of its decline. The complete reversal of that system did not occur for long ages after, but the first effective blow of the many strokes that toppled Feudalism to the dust was given at Runnymede in the year 1215.

Feudalism was the exact reverse of Republicanism. In the latter, the basis of honor and power is in the people, and on that foundation are built up all the several classes of officials, finishing with the Chief Magistrate himself as the crowning stone of the edifice. Under the Feudal System, the source of honor and the seat of power was the king, from whom all the governing classes took their power, and on whom they were made dependent. His influence extended downward through every rank to the common people, who were mere machines to do the bidding of those in authority. When William the Conqueror vanquished England, he took possession of the land as his personal property, and divided the greater part among the chief men of his army, in payment for their services in the conquest. These principal barons thus became the chief tenants of the Crown, bound by the conditions of the grant to acknowledge, at stated periods, their allegiance to the king, and bound also to render him aid in men and money whenever called upon. Under the great barons were lesser barons, or knights, holding land from and owing service to their lords, in like manner as those lords held land from and owed service to the king. The knights had free yeomen bound to them in similar manner, whilst the great mass of the common people—conquered Saxons—were bond-slaves to one or another class of land-owners, or held a position somewhere between actual slavery and freedom. Thus every class owed military service to the class above it, was liable to fines and taxes at the will of its immediate superiors, and was subjected to many other oppressive restrictions. Marriages could only take place by the consent of the lord to whom the contracting parties owed duty as tenants, and that consent was frequently purchased with a heavy fine. Over all the king reigned supreme, and his order to collect an army or raise money for his own purposes was felt in calls for men and money through all the grades of people.

For the common people, who had neither titles nor lands, no sort of consideration was shown. In addition to other forms of oppression to which they were subjected, barbarous forest laws treated them with cruel severity. An unlicensed person who killed, or even chased, one of the thousands of deer that roamed over the broad forest wastes made by levelling hamlets and villages with the ground, was subjected to punishments of revolting cruelty, or even death,—the life of a deer being considered of more value than the life of a man.

It has been said, that all who were untitled, or who did not hold land, were slaves to one or other of the more favored classes. There was an exception to this rule. The dwellers in cities were free from service to any one but the king himself; and the bondman who succeeded in escaping to a city, and remained unmolested there a year and a day, became forever after a freeman. Thus the population of the cities was steadily increased by the number of fugitives seeking shelter; and as the cities grew stronger they became less inclined to surrender any of these fugitives to the titled land-owners who claimed them.

Such was the Feudal System in England when King John began his reign. It can easily be imagined that such an organization of society would be apt to create dissatisfaction throughout every class. The king railed at his nobles because of their tardy compliance with his demands for men and money. The greater nobles, in drawing on their inferiors to meet the royal exactions, added to the demand enough to supply their own requirements. The lesser lords and knights in turn forced their subordinates to give liberally, whilst the wretched commonalty were reduced to griping hunger and abject misery in their ineffectual efforts to meet the hard extortions of their superiors.

With King John upon the throne, what there was of evil in the Feudal system became fully developed, what there might be of good disappeared from sight. There was no good feature in the king’s character, no bound to his tyranny and oppression. His licentiousness and cruelty made some of the greater nobles furious with anger, and eager to revenge personal wrongs. His fair young nephew, Arthur of Brittany, the rightful heir to the English crown, was cruelly murdered by his order. At once a tyrant and a coward, he treated his subjects with cruelty, and robbed them without compunction, and at the same time made abject submission to the Pope of Rome, professing himself his mere servant. The kingdom of England he professed to hold from the Pope in the same manner that the nobles held their lands of the king, and bound himself to pay a tribute yearly to his acknowledged lord. Having made war on France, he set out to invade that country; but suddenly concluded a shameful peace, and turned his hordes of foreign soldiers, hired to fight for money, to rob, burn, outrage, and murder his own English subjects, rich and poor, churchman and lay. In fact, he treated his subjects as hated enemies, harassing them in every possible way.

It was a high day in the thriving and busy town of St. Edmund’s Bury. The feast day of the great Saxon king and saint had come, and with the first light of that raw November day the roads were crowded with people on foot and on horseback, all making towards the town named after the saint, and where his body lay entombed. Barons and knights rode proudly on prancing steeds; noble ladies, on gently ambling palfreys, were followed by squires and pages. A never-ending stream of commoner folk, staff in hand, trudged along the dusty highways.

The good people of the town were busily preparing for the reception and care of the vast crowd. The nobles and dames of rank rode straight to the great abbey, whose gates were opened wide to receive them; and on the refectory tables stores of provision were spread for their refreshment. The others visited their relatives, or the acquaintances they had made on previous visits. The sturdy archers and pikemen who had done hard duty in France or in the Holy Land sought out their comrades in long marches and fierce battles, and told, over the leather bottle of “jolly good ale and old,” tales of the glorious days when Richard of the Lion Heart led them against the Paynim, or when they overran the fair fields of France with fire and sword. Those who had neither friend nor comrade to entertain them sat by the roadside, or in the churchyard, and ate the food they had brought with them, or satisfied their hunger and thirst at the booths, put up in the churchyard for the refreshment of weary travellers and to “turn an honest penny” for the booth-keepers.

The doors of the great church stood wide open, and up the broad steps tramped a motley crowd. Rich and poor, baron and churl, titled dame and blowzy milkmaid, pushed in side by side, marched reverently up the broad aisles, and dropped on their knees before the high altar, all ablaze with lights, where was displayed the shrine of the coffined saint, plated with solid silver and burnished gold, and sparkling with rare gems. High dignitaries of the church, in vestments heavy with gold and jewels, knelt around the shrine; white-robed boys swung golden censers of smoking perfume, that filled the vast church with its oppressive fragrance; and black-robed monks bent their tonsured heads before the shrine, chanting litanies and anthems. Around the high altar, the blaze of numerous tapers shed a brilliant light. Farther down the church, the cold rays of the November sun struggled through the painted windows, and, warmed by the rich coloring, threw a soft rosy glow on the worshipping throng in nave and aisles.

Among the multitude that thronged the churchyard, and poured in at the church doors, were many clad in pilgrims’ weeds,—the long cloak reaching nearly to the ground, and the hood drawn closely over the head, showing little of the face. These men pressed steadily towards the church, loitering never, and turning neither to right nor left. Solemn, earnest men were they, speaking to no one, and paying no heed to the jesting banter of the idlers or the frequent call from the booths of “What do you lack?”

“By the mass!” said a gray old archer, who had served in Palestine, and who now leaned against the trunk of a stately yew-tree in the churchyard, scanning the appearance of all who entered the church,—“by the mass! but it seemeth strange to me that so many pilgrims have boots of mail beneath the palmer’s robe. And, if I mistake not, I saw a sword-hilt push from the cloak of yon pilgrim. By my fay!” he muttered to himself, as the pilgrim turned towards him, “but it is the Earl Fitzwalter himself,—the banished lord whose daughter, they say, the king poisoned. And there goes the brave De Ros; what does he do out of his cloister, with a sword once more hanging at his left hip? What! the great Percy too, and Gilbert de Clare? That bodes ill for King Lackland!”

The nobles the old archer had mentioned, drawing their palmers’ robes closely around them, threaded their way through the crowd, and entered the church together, others like them following their footsteps. In the darkest part of the great church they knelt side by side, joined from time to time by others, until a goodly number had assembled.

The priests at the altar were celebrating high mass, and Cardinal Langton himself, the chief prelate of all England, was the principal celebrant. A tall, stately man, in his gorgeous robes, rich in color, bordered heavily with gold, and sparkling with costly gems, he stood on the steps of the altar, the grandest and most dignified figure in the vast crowd that filled the building. The poor reverenced him, for he was bountiful to those in need. The yeomanry loved him, for he was a Saxon like themselves, and was proud of his birth. The Anglo-Norman barons respected and feared him; for he had defied the king himself, had flung the curses of the Church at the tyrant, and had given shape and purpose to the disaffection of the barons to the king.

The solemn chant of the monks ceased to reverberate among the lofty arches; the stillness that followed, broken only by the tinkle of the bell that bowed every head still lower, was in turn succeeded by a triumphant burst of sacred song; and that too died away as the stately form of Cardinal Langton, standing on the highest step of the altar, turned towards the expectant throng. Raising his right hand slowly, and turning his eyes to the far end of the building, he said, “In the name of God and Holy Church, you that would swear to maintain the laws and liberties of the people and of Holy Church come forward!”

There was a stir and bustle in the crowd at these words, few amid the throng knowing what they meant. At the summons the cloaked pilgrims rose in a body, their mantles were cast aside, and two by two they marched, armed and mailed warriors, through the kneeling crowd that parted to give them passage, up to the front of the altar. Then Robert Fitzwalter, tall, dark, and stern, stepped up to the shrine of St. Edmund, and lifting his cross-hilted sword in one hand, whilst the other was laid on a copy of the Holy Evangels, spread on the silver and golden shrine of the saint, he repeated, after the Cardinal Archbishop, a solemn oath, that, should King John refuse to grant the rights the barons claimed, he would renounce his faith to the king, and join the other barons in making war upon the perjured monarch. Solemn and impressive was the oath; and Fitzwalter, as he swore vengeance on the faithless king, thought of Baynard’s castle in flames, his fair daughter Maud lying dead by the king’s work, and himself a banished man.

Then came Robert de Ros, bold and fearless, who, wearied with the world, had retired to a monastery, abandoning wealth and power, but who had again put on armor and grasped his sword to strike a blow at tyranny and oppression. Robert de Percy, Gilbert de Clare, Geoffrey de Mandeville, and many another powerful baron and famous warrior laid his hand on the shrine, and took the dread oath. Then the Archbishop, raising his hands, blessed the confederated barons and the cause in which they had embarked, and bade them all assemble again on the Feast of the Nativity, about one month distant. The kneeling worshippers rose and streamed out of the church, to carry over all the land the news of the strange scene they had witnessed, setting all men wondering what was to come of it.

Nearly six months after the meeting at St. Edmund’s Bury, on a moonlight night in May, the road leading from Bedford to London was occupied by a large army, moving rapidly, and with the least possible noise, towards the capital. The moonlight glanced on steel spear-heads and on burnished shields. The night-breeze lazily ruffled the silken pennons bearing the devices of the chief barons of England. Along the narrow causeway, flanked on either side by soft ground that in wet weather became a quagmire of mud, rode the nobles, at the head of their retainers on foot and horse. In advance of all rode Robert Fitzwalter, the leader of the “Army of God and of Holy Church,” which had set out with the purpose of curbing tyranny and restoring the supremacy of the old Saxon laws that recognized the rights of the people.

The half-year since the meeting in St. Edmund’s Bury Church had been an eventful one. The king, deserted by his nobles, fled to London, and shut himself up in a strong castle. Thither the leading barons followed, and obtained an interview, in which, after a furious altercation, a meeting was agreed on for Easter day. Before that time came, King John sought aid from Rome, paying a heavy fine for the purpose. The Pope issued letters forbidding Cardinal Langton’s interference in affairs of state, and desiring the barons to return to their allegiance. Langton declared that, cardinal of Rome though he were, he was a Saxon Englishman, and neither king nor pope should prevent his standing firmly by the old Saxon principle of freedom from oppression. The barons laughed at the request of the Pope, and swore never to stop, never to falter, until their claims were granted.

The bright round moon, rising above the trees, through whose quivering foliage the broken rays flecked the road with patches of light and spots of shade, passed above the tiny cloudlets, shining like bits of silver, up into the pale blue sky, where its flood of soft light dimmed the twinkling stars. With brisk clatter of hoof, with clank of armor, with jingle of weapons, with heavy tramp of footmen, with low-voiced talk and hurried command, the Army of God and of Holy Church pressed on towards London, where the king kept his state.

The pale, round moon passed down the sky, and hid itself behind fleecy clouds. The stars shone brighter for a while, and then paled one by one,—all but the one bright star of morning, that glowed like a spark of fire. The roadside trees grew weird and shadowy as the light grew dim, and whispered to one another as a cool breeze came softly over Epping Forest. With steady prance of hoof, with rattle of shields, with jangle of heavy swords against iron armor, with weary tramp of bowmen and spearmen marching on foot and lifting their caps that the cool breeze might fan their heated brows, with here and there an occasional word of impatience at the length of the miles, the Army of God and the Holy Church pressed on towards London, where the citizens, openly friendly to the king, who, with his armed robbers, was ever ready to spoil them of their substance, were eagerly waiting to receive and welcome the barons who would curb the cruel and rapacious monarch.

The golden light of early dawn was gilding the roof and towers of Waltham Abbey as the army passed along the road to the west of that stately pile. The full glory of an unclouded sun shone on flaunting banner and glancing spear as the mighty army drew up before Aldgate, one of the seven gates in the wall that surrounded London.

It was plain that they were expected, and that those who guarded the city were their friends. The walls were decayed and ruinous. The great double doors were wide open, and but two or three watchmen kept guard. These, as the army marched silently up, made no resistance, nor attempted to shut the great doors. It was Sunday morning. The streets were deserted, and the churches were crowded with citizens attending high mass. The priests knelt at prayers, the choirs were singing the triumphant chant “Gloria in Excelsis,” when through the streets rang the cry “For God and the Holy Church!” Out from the churches rushed the people in tumultuous crowds. Loud were their shouts, and wild their demonstrations of joy, as proudly on prancing steeds the mail-clad barons, and, joyful that the journey was over, with steady tramp the sturdy yeomen, with pikes and bows, passed by.

“For God and the Holy Church!” rang from street to street as the mailed and plumed troop passed along. “Deliverance at last!” whispered the citizens to one another as they saw the troop go past.

King John and the few barons who still followed him heard the cry and fled. Some hastened to the Tower, and shut themselves in that gloomy stronghold. The king and seven of his friends crossed London Bridge, and, galloping across the Surrey hills, sought refuge at Odiham, in Hampshire. So the capital of the kingdom was won to the Army of Freedom, and the kingly tyrant was a fugitive from his subjects.

The Tower of London remained in the keeping of the king’s friends, and the barons made no effort to dislodge them, having the city under their control, and the party in the Tower not having sufficient strength to sally out. The gates of the city were guarded by the apprentices with clubs, and the barons employed a large force of workmen in repairing the walls and strengthening the gates. Soon came a message from the king. He would meet a chosen number of the barons at Windsor Castle, and there grant all their requests. Their answer was prompt. They would have no gatherings in strong castles, where treachery might be practised. When they met the king, it must be in the free air, where no assassins could lurk and no dungeons gape. In the open meadow of Runnymede, or the “Mead of Council,” they would meet him. Again he sought to change their purpose; but their invariable answer was, “Let the day be the fifteenth day of June, for that is the Monday of the Blessed Trinity; the place, Runnymede.” With that the king was perforce content.

Runnymede was a flat strip of meadow-land on the south bank of the River Thames, midway between London and the king’s refuge at Odiham. On the day previous to the appointed time, the king and his friends moved to Windsor, and the barons to Staines. With the dawn of the fifteenth, the two parties set out for the place of meeting, and encamped at opposite sides of the meadow. In the days of the Anglo-Saxons, many a council had been held on that meadow; but no council was ever held there, or elsewhere in the kingdom, that was of so much immediate importance, or so lasting in its effect, as that for which the vast assemblage gathered on that pleasant June morning.

The preliminary negotiations were soon over. The king was sullen, but made little objection, for his friends were few, whilst the army of the barons was without number. When all was ready, the final meeting for signing the Great Charter took place in the centre of the meadow.

The day was bright, the air pure and balmy. In front the silvery Thames flowed smoothly and softly down towards the chief city of the kingdom, its bosom bearing scores of boats and barges crowded with people who had come up from London to witness the grand display. Near by, Cooper’s Hill bounded the view in one direction; at a greater distance, and farther north, rose the heights of Windsor; whilst far beyond were dimly visible the chalk hills of Buckinghamshire. Immense forests stretched around in every direction, forming a fine leafy border for the gorgeous picture in the meadow.

The king and his followers advanced to the centre of the meadow, where a rude table had been placed, on which lay the Great Charter, fairly engrossed on parchment, but as yet without signature, and the great seal to be affixed to it with straps. The king’s party were few in number, but gorgeous in display. King John himself was arrayed in royal robes of crimson and gold, belted with gold studded with jewels, and wearing a crown of gold sparkling with rare gems. With him came eight bishops, and Pandulph, the Pope’s legate, clad in rich pontifical robes, and attended by acolytes and cross-bearers; Almeric, the Master of the English Templars, wearing the cross upon his mantle; the Earl of Pembroke, and thirteen other nobles in complete armor, and attended by their principal retainers.

From the other side came to meet them the flower of the barons of England, headed by Earl Fitzwalter, all clad in complete suits of chain or ringed armor, their visors down, and accompanied by pages bearing long heater-shaped shields, on which were displayed the devices of the owners. In the camp behind them were subordinate knights, in suits of iron, and armed with long swords or longer lances, together with archers bearing long-bow and cross-bow, and the commoner retainers armed with bill-hooks, clubs, scythes mounted on long poles, and spears with hooks to drag the knights from their horses. Beyond all these the hillsides were crowded with peasantry, with citizens of London prepared to see the spectacle or to fight, if need be, against the treacherous king. Women and children, some in rich robes, but more in squalid rags, swarmed over the hillsides, eager to see so grand a sight, and hoping that in some way good might come of it to them,—that they might no longer be robbed and beaten by the servants both of the king and of the nobles.

As the nobles came together around the table, it was easy to see which party each belonged to. The king and his followers were heavily bearded, whilst the barons were all close shaved. Many a noble had cut off his beard and left the king during the past few months; and of those who still followed his fortunes, some were even now contemplating the scraping of their chins at an early day.

The king sat at the table, silent and sullen, whilst Cardinal Langton, in behalf of the barons,—few of whom could read, such matters being left to women and priests whilst they did the fighting,—read over the clauses of the Great Charter. It was a long document, and much of it of no interest now; but most of the terms wrested by it from the Crown marked a bold advance towards the rights of the people. It provided that excessive fines should no longer be demanded of heirs on coming into possession, and it protected the rights and property of wards and widows. Widows were not to be compelled to marry against their will, though not permitted to marry without the consent of the king, or the lords of whom they held their lands. The lands and rents of the debtor must not be seized so long as his chattels would satisfy the debt, and sureties were not to be called on when the principal was able to pay. Minor heirs and widows were released from the payment of interest on borrowed money remaining unpaid at the death of the borrower. King and barons both were prohibited from levying “aids,” or money assistance, (unless for certain important purposes,) from their feudal inferiors. The liberties of cities and boroughs were defined. The courts of common pleas were ordered to be held at some fixed and convenient place, and not to follow the king in his wanderings. When a person was convicted of offence, the fine should be proportioned to the fault, to be assessed by honest men of the neighborhood, and should take no man’s means of living. Towns and individuals were not to be oppressed with the expense of building bridges needlessly; constables and bailiffs of the Crown were no longer to take a man’s goods without prompt payment when demanded, nor take the horse and cart of a freeman, for carriage, without his consent. The fisheries of rivers were declared free, uniformity of weights and measures ordered, foreign merchants protected, and travel in foreign lands permitted; no officers of the law to be made except those who knew the law, and would themselves respect it. The oppressive forest laws, to which we have already alluded, and which set the life of a buck above that of a man, were abolished. But the key-note of the Great Charter, the foundation-stone of the liberties of the people, lay in the clause which stands thus in the original document: “Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut dissaisietur, aut utlugetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur; nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terræ. Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus, aut differemus rectum aut judicium.” That is to say, in English: “No freeman shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised (deprived of anything he possesses), or outlawed, or banished, or anyway destroyed, nor will we go upon him, nor will we send upon him (pronounce sentence against him, or allow any of the judges to do so), except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. To none will we sell, to none deny, to none delay right and justice.”

When this passage was read clearly and distinctly, King John scowled, and ground his teeth, but made no open opposition. The document being read and laid upon the table, the king devoutly crossed himself in token of his sincerity, and signed the parchment with a smiling face, though rage and hate filled his heart. Then the heavy seal was attached. The Charter was deposited for safe-keeping in a sort of ark. The king and his followers departed in all haste for Windsor. The barons’ army struck their tents, and set out again for London. The people swarmed down from the hillsides, and scattered to their homes. The barges sailed, and the boats rowed merrily down the river, and by night the henceforth historic field of Runnymede gave no trace, save in its crushed and mangled sward, of the eventful part it had played in the Story of the Great Charter.

J. H. A. Bone.


Besides the common House Wren, so well known to many of our young readers who live in the country, there are in the United States ten other species of this family. They are all very interesting, and bear a close resemblance to one other in external appearance. Yet in their habits they exhibit great variations, and on this account, and because of certain differences in their figure, they may be divided into four groups. To make these variations more intelligible to those who will study these pages, we will make use of a classification of our own, designating them as the Creeping Wrens, the Rock Wrens, the House Wrens, and the Marsh Wrens.

The first of these, the Creeping Wren, is most distinct in its appearance. By some naturalists it is regarded as a true Creeper, and not a Wren. Though there are several species of these Creeping Wrens in Mexico and Central America, there is only one kind found in the United States; this is called the Brown-Headed Wren or Creeper. It is found only in the Border States adjoining Mexico, from the Rio Grande River to California. The country where it is the most common is a very desolate region, with a scanty vegetation, and no trees,—only varieties of the cactus plants, and thorny bushes. It is a very lively bird, sprightly in its movements; and its song consists of clear, loud, ringing notes, and is described by General Couch as rich and powerful. In its habits it very much resembles true wrens, creeping into holes under fallen leaves, and through the grass in search of insects.

It builds a very singular and remarkable nest. This is very large for the size of the bird,—perhaps the largest nest in proportion that is made by any bird. It is composed chiefly of a large mass of long grass, interwoven together, and laid flat between the branches of a large cactus. This great mass is sometimes more than a foot in diameter, and two feet in length. The cavity of this nest is ten or twelve inches from the opening, and has a long covered passage-way leading to it. It is very snug and warm, and is lined with soft downy feathers. The eggs are six in number, and are very beautiful, being covered all over with bright salmon-colored spots.

Of the Rock Wrens there are only two kinds in this country, and these are classed by naturalists in different genera. But their differences are very slight, and their habits are very much alike. One of these, the White-throated Wren, also called the Mexican Wren, is found only between the valleys of the Rio Grande and those of the Gita and Colorado Rivers. It is a very wild bird, living only among the enormous piles of boulder-rocks that constitute so large a portion of that region, hiding away in the deep crevices, and building its nest in places so inaccessible that no man has ever yet found it. It is a beautiful singer; its notes are rich and clear. General Couch states that it makes the wild passes of those valleys echo and re-echo with its silver melody.

The other, known among naturalists as the Rock Wren, seems to be pretty common all over the high sterile plains of the Rocky Mountains, throughout the central portion of Western North America. Its habits are very like those of the Mexican, for it lives in the crevices of rocks. It is described as a comparatively silent bird, having no song, and only uttering at intervals a weak but very thrilling cry. It feeds on spiders and other insects which it finds among the loose boulder-rocks that cover the mountains, passing rapidly in and out of the crevices in its search for food. Mr. Nuttall, the celebrated naturalist, gives an interesting account of his meeting with a family of Rock Wrens on the Western Colorado. The old birds, when he first noticed them, were feeding a brood of five young ones. Although these seemed to be fully grown, and able to provide for themselves, the great lazy things were making their parents wait upon them, and were constantly calling for more food. As soon as Mr. Nuttall approached them, all scattered, and pertinaciously hid themselves in cracks in the rocks. After the lapse of a few moments, a low cautious chirr was heard from the mother, as if saying to her children, “Keep still, my dears; don’t one of you move”; and she immediately appeared herself, scolding the intruder, and jerking herself into the most angry attitudes she was capable of assuming. Though it is more than thirty years since this bird has been known, no one has yet been able to find where it breeds; though there is not much doubt that it places its nests in the crevices of rocks, out of sight, and probably out of human reach.

The House Wrens are divided by naturalists into two genera, but their differences are too slight to be worth mentioning here. There are six or seven varieties in the United States, and all of them very interesting birds, whose history is well worthy the attention of our readers. They are the Great Carolina Wren, Bewick’s Wren, the common House Wren, Parkman’s Wren, the Winter Wren, and the Wood Wren. By some, however, the last two are supposed to be of the same species. As the habits of these species are very similar, we will describe first and more particularly those of the common House Wren, the most familiar of our wrens. It is found throughout the United States from Maine to Florida, and from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains. In some localities it is much more abundant than in others. It makes its appearance in Massachusetts early in May, and remains until September. We have no bird in America that more nearly replaces with us, in its familiar ways, the Robin Redbreast of Europe, than this wren, though their dispositions are not alike. Our wren is a wide-awake, pert, saucy little fellow. His familiarity has a slight tinge of impudence in it. He seems and acts as if he were conferring a favor upon us by coming around and living in the houses we provide for his comfort. Sometimes he gives himself airs, and scolds away at you with a ludicrous affectation, if you are too familiar with his home or his family. But, notwithstanding the airs he gives himself, the wren is a universal favorite, and his odd ways only make him the more entertaining.

He is a very ingenious little fellow; and when he builds his nest in a hollow tree, and the opening is too large, he makes the entrance smaller by building up a strong barricade of interwoven twigs. He is persevering, industrious, and not to be daunted by obstacles that seem even quite formidable. A pair once took possession of a large clothes-line box in the yard of the late Rev. Henry Ware, in Cambridge, Mass., which the little fellows actually undertook to fill up with materials for a nest. After accumulating about half a bushel of articles of almost every conceivable description, including old suspenders, snakes’ skins, &c., the wrens constructed a compact, well-woven nest in the midst of them.

In another case, a farmer who had left his coat several weeks hanging in his barn, was rather surprised to find a nest full of young wrens in one of its sleeves the first time he tried to put it on.

A friend of ours, who was living near Chicago, was visited by a pair of wrens that built their first nest over the door of his room. In this they were disturbed by the opening and shutting of the door, and their second nest was built on a shelf, in the room itself,—they going in and out through a convenient knot-hole in the unceiled wall. Though shy at first, they soon came to be familiar, and to disregard his presence in the room. When the young were hatched, however, at first the mother was very unwilling any persons should approach her nest, but would fly at them, and strike at their heads. But, finding they did her young ones no injury, she became more gentle, and allowed the family to peep into her nest without making any objections, and would remain on her nest. In the morning, before the inmates of the room were out of their bed, she would perch on the headboard, twittering close to their heads. Familiar as she was, she never seemed willing to have them watch her when she fed her young ones, and would stop whenever she noticed that any one was looking at her; though if people were in the room reading, or with their backs turned, their presence did not disturb her. The male bird was more shy than the female, and, though equally industrious with his mate, would never bring the food he collected into the room if any one was there, but would wait at the knot-hole till his more courageous wife came; then he would give it to her to take in. We are sorry to have to add that a sad fate befell this interesting family. One morning, just as the young birds were nearly ready to fly, a strange cat found its way into the room, and destroyed the mother and all the young birds. The surviving wren, widowed and childless, for a while kept about the premises, uttering now and then a sorrowful twitter, and then was seen no more for the season. The next year he reappeared with a new mate, and occupied the same spot, undiscouraged by the fate that had befallen his former family.

The father of the gentleman to whose observations we are indebted for these interesting facts was a country physician, and drove an old two-wheeled gig without a cover. In the back of this there was a long narrow box, open at the top. This having been left unused in the shed several days, a pair of wrens built their nest in it, and, before there was occasion to use it, had laid an egg. When the gig was brought out for use, the nest was discovered and removed. It was again left unused a day or two, and again the wrens began to build in it a nest, which was again removed. This was repeated several times, and several times eggs were laid, and even some were deposited on the bare boards, when the birds had seemingly given up in despair the building of their nest. All this time the gig was taken out every day, and it was nearly two weeks before the pertinacious little pair gave up their claims to the use of the doctor’s gig, who, knowing that the jolting on the road would destroy their eggs, and not being able quite to give up his gig to them, sought for a long while in vain to make them desist from their useless labors.

During May, June, and part of July, the wren is a constant and remarkable singer. Its song is loud, clear, and shrill, given out with great rapidity and animation. If a cat approaches his nest while he is singing, a great change in his tune takes place. Angry vociferations succeed his sprightly song. Naturally enough, a wren detests a cat, and is by no means slow to show it.

We are sorry to say that our little friends do not always observe the golden rule of doing to others as they would be done by. Occasionally, without asking leave, they will take possession of a box or a hollow tree that belongs to a meek Bluebird or a lively White-breasted Swallow, and, by constructing a barricade across its entrance, effectually shut out the rightful owners, and compel them to seek other quarters.

Wrens are insect-eaters altogether, and of great service to farmers. It has been estimated that a single pair of wrens, with their young, destroy on an average a thousand insects each day.

Next in point of interest is the Carolina or Mocking Wren. It is the largest of the true wrens, and, in the Southern States, the most common. It is found from Virginia to Florida, and as far west as the Rio Grande.

In its habits it is very much like all the rest of the Wren family. It moves about with sudden jerks, uttering a quick, sharp note, as if in anger, passing in at one place and out at another almost with the rapidity of thought, appearing and disappearing nearly at the same moment. It possesses a great variety and power of song, and also apparently great powers of imitation. It often exhibits an almost ludicrous variety, from the hoarse rattle of the Kingfisher to the simpler refrains of the Towhee, the Meadow Lark, or the Bluebird.

Sometimes this wren places its nest in the hollow of a tree, and at other times builds an elaborate nest, with an overarching roof to protect it from the rain.

Although generally described as shy, retiring, and studious of concealment, in some of the more Southern cities it seems to be most familiar, and is to be found on the house-tops, singing with great energy. A friend staying at Fort Dallas, in Florida, describes the nest built in a mill by a pair of these birds, in a box on a shelf only four feet from the floor. It was arched over at the top with a covering of fine shavings and small sticks; though of course this was not necessary to protect it from the rain. The birds were very tame, and were in no wise disturbed by the noise of the mill.

The Bewick Wren is found from Pennsylvania to Georgia, but is more common on the Pacific coast. It is very much like the Carolina Wren in its appearance and in its habits. For the most part, it is a shy and retiring bird, building its nest in hollow trees or stumps. By some it is described as a fine singer. General Couch, who found it quite common in the eastern parts of Mexico, says it was there very tame and familiar, nesting in the thatched roofs of the houses, freely entering them, and nesting in the most convenient places, just under the roof. He describes its song as one of the sweetest he ever heard. A German naturalist who lived, before the Rebellion, in Northern Georgia, but who was forced into the Rebel army and there killed, once gave me an interesting account of a pair of Bewick Wrens, that undertook to build a nest in his bed. This was more than he could consent to, and he put a stop to their proceedings; whereupon they still persisted in occupying his bedchamber, building their nest in another part of the room.

On the Pacific coast of North America is found another Wren, very closely resembling the common House Wren. It was named, by Mr. Audubon, Parkman’s Wren, in honor of the unfortunate Dr. George Parkman, of Boston, who had been a kind friend and benefactor to that celebrated naturalist. Its habits, song, mode of building its nest, and other characteristics, make it a complete counterpart of our common wren. Dr. Cooper saw one of its nests built in the skull of a horse that had been stuck upon a fence. In Vancouver’s Island, where it is very abundant, it breeds chiefly in hollow trees, arching over its eggs with a warm and neat covering of feathers. A friend who observed their habits in that island states that, like our wren, they will take possession of any convenient cavity,—one pair building under the roof of a frame house, entering by a hole between the boards and the shingles. Another pair had their nest in a gate-post, by which people were continually passing and repassing. A third pair built over a door-way, entering under a loose board, and placing their nest within reach of the hand. A fourth took possession of an old cigar-box, placed in a tree in a garden in Victoria, in which they constructed their nest, and in it laid seven eggs.

The Wood Wren and the Winter Wren are supposed by some naturalists to be the same bird. But few of the first have been observed. It is said to breed in holes in the ground, and to be a very shy bird, living only in wild and solitary places. The Winter Wren is more common in the northern parts of North America. In its appearance it is not distinguishable from the common wren of Europe, and is, by many naturalists, regarded as the same bird. The song of this wren is described by those who have heard it as excelling in its brilliant sweetness that of almost every other bird,—full of cadence, energy, and melody, and very musical; and its power of continuance is said to be truly surprising. It constructs a very beautiful moss-covered nest, entirely spherical, with only a small aperture though which the parents go in and out. The wall of this nest is two or three inches in thickness, and is very warmly lined. It is made to resemble the moss-covered protuberances of old trees, and is not easily found except by watching the parent birds. One of our young Boston naturalists recently met with a nest of these birds in an unoccupied hut in the upper part of Maine, between the logs of the building. It was large and bulky, composed chiefly of moss, and lined with the finer hair of the hedgehog and the feathers of the spruce partridge. It was built in the form of a long porch, and the entrance was ingeniously constructed of fine pine twigs.

There are two kinds of Marsh Wrens in the United States, both found throughout its entire extent, but differing each from the other in their structure, and in the locality they frequent. The common marsh wren is more abundant on the sea-coast or marshes along the banks of rivers affected by the ocean tides. It is also found in the neighborhood of large bodies of water. It constructs a nest of about the size and shape of a cocoa-nut, with an opening at one side. It is placed in a low bush, just high enough to be out of the reach of tide-water, and protected from the weather by an arched roof. The entrance to the nest is also furnished with an overarching protection like the porch to a house. It has no song, and its cry resembles the sound made by an insect rather than the note of a bird. Its eggs are of a deep, dark chocolate or mahogany-brown color.

The Short-billed Wren is, for the most part, found only in fresh-water and inland meadows. It is very irregularly distributed about the country, and is rather common in the vicinity of Boston. It is shy and unapproachable. It has a lively, quaint song, delivered with great earnestness, and as if in great haste, when unobserved. If you approach it, this song changes into a harsh, angry, and petulant cry, as if of annoyance at your intrusion. Its home is in the midst of the long rank grass of meadows, and its food is the insects it there finds. Its nest is constructed in a very curious and interesting manner. In a tussock of high, rank meadow-grass, it interweaves the long and slender stalks, while yet fresh and green, into a spherical or globular form. In the interior of this it builds its nest, warmly lined, with an opening at one side. The long stalks of grass of which it is constructed keep fresh and green, and effectually conceal the nest, except when the grass is cut by the mower. The eggs of this wren are of the purest crystal white. The representation on the preceding page is taken from a nest found in the meadows of West Roxbury.

T. M. B.


Grandmother’s Letter to William Henry.

My Dear Little Boy,—

Your poor old grandmother was so glad to get those letters, after such long waiting! My dear child, we were anxious; but now we are pleased. I was afraid you were down with the measles, for they’re about. Your aunt Phebe thinks you had ’em when you were a month old; but I know better.

Your father was anxious himself at not hearing; though he didn’t show it any. But I could see it plain enough. As soon as he brought the letters in, I set a light in the window to let your aunt Phebe know she was wanted. She came running across the yard, all of a breeze. You know how your aunt Phebe always comes running in.

“What is it?” says she. “Letters from Billy? I mistrusted ’twas letters from Billy. In his own handwriting? Must have had ’em pretty light. Measles commonly leave the eyes very bad.”

But you know how your aunt Phebe goes running on. Your father came in, and sat down in his rocking-chair,—your mother’s chair, dear. Your sister was sewing on her doll’s cloak by the little table. She sews remarkably well for a little girl.

“Now, Phebe,” says I, “read loud, and do speak every word plain.” I put on my glasses, and drew close up, for she does speak her words so fast. I have to look her right in the face.

At the beginning, where you speak about being whipped, your father’s rocking-chair stopped stock still. You might have heard a pin drop. Georgianna said, “O dear!” and down dropped the doll’s cloak. “Pshaw!” said Aunt Phebe, “ ’tisn’t very likely our Billy’s been whipped.”

Then she read on and on, and not one of us spoke. Your father kept his arms folded up, and never raised his eyes. I had to look away, towards the last, for I couldn’t see through my glasses. Georgianna cried. And, when the end came, we all wiped our eyes.

“Now what’s the use,” said Aunt Phebe, “for folks to cry before they’re hurt?”

“But you almost cried yourself,” said Georgianna. “Your voice was different, and your nose is red now.” And that was true.

After your sister was in bed, and Aunt Phebe gone, your father says to me: “Grandma, the boy’s like his mother.” And he took a walk around the place, and then went off to his bedroom, without even opening his night’s paper. If ever a man set store by his boy, that man is your father. And, O Billy, if you had done anything mean, or disgraced yourself in any way, what a dreadful blow ’twould have been to us all!

The measles come with a cough. The first thing is to drive ’em out. Get a nurse. That is, if you catch them. They’re a natural sickness, and one sensible old woman is better than half a dozen doctors. Saffron’s good to drive ’em out.

Aunt Phebe is knitting you a comforter. As if she hadn’t family enough of her own to do for!

From your loving


A Letter from William Henry.

My dear Grandmother,—

Dorry asked his sister to ask his mother if he might ask me to go home with him. And she said yes; but to wait a week first, because the house was just got ready to have a great party, and she couldn’t stand two muddy-shoed boys. May I go?

Tom Cush was sent home; but he didn’t go. His father lives in the same town that Dorry does. He has been here to look for him.

I never went to make anybody a visit. I hope you will say yes. I should like to have some money. Everybody tells boys not to spend money; but if they wanted as many things as boys do, and everything tasted so good, I believe they would spend money themselves.

Please write soon.

From your affectionate grandchild,

William Henry.

Grandmother’s Second Letter.

My dear Boy,—

Do you have clothes enough on your bed? Ask for an extra blanket. I do hope you will take care of yourself. When the rain beats against the windows, I think, “Now who will see that he stands at the fire and dries himself?” And you’re very apt to hoarse up nights. We are willing you should go to see Dorry. Your uncle J. has been past his father’s place, and he says there’s been a pretty sum of money laid out there. Behave well. Wear your best clothes. Your aunt Phebe has bought a book for her girls that tells them how to behave. It is for boys too, or for anybody. I shall give you a little advice, and mix some of the book in with it.

Never interrupt. Some children are always putting themselves forward when grown people are talking. Put “sir” or “ma’am” to everything you say. Make a bow when introduced. If you don’t know how, try it at a looking-glass. Black your shoes, and toe out if you possibly can. I hope you know enough to say, “Thank you,” and when to say it. Take your hat off, without fail, and step softly, and wipe your feet.

Be sure and have some woman look at you before you start, to see that you are all right. Behave properly at table. The best way will be to watch and see how others do. But don’t stare. There is a way of looking without seeming to look. A sideways way.

Anybody with common sense will soon learn how to conduct properly; and even if you should make a mistake, when trying to do your best, it isn’t worth while to feel very much ashamed. Wrong actions are the ones to be ashamed of. And let me say now, once for all, never be ashamed because your father is a farmer and works with his hands. Your father’s a man to be proud of; he is kind to the poor; he is pleasant in his family; he is honest in his business; he reads high kind of books; he’s a kind, noble, Christian man; and Dorry’s father can’t be more than all this, let him own as much property as he may.

I mention this because young folks are very apt to think a great deal more of a man that has money.

Your aunt Phebe wants to know if you won’t write home from Dorry’s, because her Matilda wants a stamp from that post-office. If the colt brings a very good price, you may get a very good answer to your riddle.

From your loving


P. S. Take your overcoat on your arm. When you come away, bid good by, and say that you have had a good time. If you have had,—not without.

William Henry’s Reply.

Dear Grandmother,—

I am here. The master let us off yesterday noon, and we got here before supper, and this is Saturday night, and I have minded all the things that you said. I got all ready and went down to the Two Betseys to let some woman look at me, as you wrote. They put on both their spectacles and looked me all over, and picked off some dirt-specks, and made me gallus up one leg of my trousers shorter, and make some bows, and then walk across the room slow.

They thought I looked beautiful, only my hair was too long. Lame Betsey said she used to be the beater for cutting hair, and she tied her apron round my throat, and brought a great pair of shears out, that she used to go a-tailoring with. The other Betsey, she kept watch to see when both sides looked even.

Lame Betsey tried very hard. First she stood off to look, and then she stood on again. She said her mother used to keep a quart-bowl on purpose to cut her boys’ hairs with; she clapped it over their heads, and then clipped all round by it, even. The shears were jolly shears, only they couldn’t stop themselves easy, and the apron had been where snuff was, and made me sneeze in the wrong place. Says I, “If you’ll only take off this apron, I’ll jump up and shake myself out even.” I’m so glad I’m a boy. Aprons are horrid. So are apron-strings, Dorry says.

They gave me a few peppermints, and said to be sure not to run my head out and get it knocked off in the cars, and not to get out till we stopped going, and to beware of pickpockets.

O, we did have a jolly ride in the cars! Do you think my father would let me be the boy that sells papers in the cars? I wish he would. I didn’t see any pickpockets. We got out two miles before we got there. I mean to the right station. For Dorry wanted to make his sister Maggie think we hadn’t come.

We took a short cut through the fields. Not very short. And went through everything. My best clothes too. But I guess ’twill all rub off. There were some boggy places.

When we came out at Dorry’s house, it was in the back yard. I said to Dorry, “There’s your mother on the doorstep. She looks clever.”

Dorry said, “She? She’s the cook. I’ll tell mother of that. No, I won’t neither.”

I suppose he saw I’d rather he wouldn’t. The cook said everybody had gone out. Then Dorry took me into a jolly great room. Three kinds of curtains to every window! What’s the use of that? Gilt spots on the paper, and gilt things hanging down from up above. A good many kinds of chairs. I was going to sit down. But they kept sinking in. Everything sinks in here. I tried three, and this made me laugh, for I seemed to myself like the little boy that went to the bears’ house and tried their chairs, and their beds, and their bowls of milk. Then I came to a looking-glass big enough for the very biggest bear. I thought I would make some bows before it, as you said. I was afraid I couldn’t make a bow and toe out at the same time. Because it is hard to think up and down both at once. While I was trying to, I heard a little noise, I looked round, and—what do you think? Bears? O no. Not bears. A queen and a princess, I thought. All over bright colors and feathers and shiny silks. The queen—that’s Dorry’s mother, you know—couldn’t think who I was, because they had been to the depot, and thought we hadn’t come. So she looked at me hard, and I suppose I was very muddy. And she said, “Were you sent of an errand here?” Before I could make up any answer, Dorry came in. He had some cake, and he passed it round with a very sober face. Then he introduced me, and I made quite a good bow, and said, “Very well, I thank you, ma’am.”

I tried to pull my feet behind me, and wished I was sitting down, for she kept looking towards them; and I wanted to sit down on the lounge, but I was afraid ’twouldn’t bear. She was quite glad to see Dorry. But didn’t hug him very hard. I know why. Because she had those good things on. Dorry’s grandmother lives here. She can’t bear to hear a door slam. She wears her black silk dress every day. And her best cap too. ’Tis a stunner of a cap. White as anything. And a good deal of white strings to it. Everything makes her head ache. I’d a good deal rather have you. When boys come nigh, she puts her hand out, to keep them off. This is because she has nerves. Dorry says his mother has ’em sometimes. I like his father. Because he talks to me some. But he’s very tired. His office tires him. He isn’t a very big man. He doesn’t laugh any. If Maggie was a boy she’d be jolly. She’ll fly kites, or anything, if her mother isn’t looking. Her mother don’t seem a bit like Aunt Phebe. I don’t believe she could lift a tea-kettle. Not a real one. When she takes hold of her fork, she sticks her little finger right up in the air. She makes very pretty bows to the company. Sinks way down, almost out of sight. She gave us a dollar to spend; wasn’t she clever? Dorry says she likes him tip-top. If he’ll only keep out of the way.

I guess I’d rather live at our house. About every room in this house is too good for a boy. But I tell you they have tip-top things here. Great pictures and silver dishes! Now, I’ll tell you what I mean to do when I’m a man. I shall have a great nice house like this, and nice things in it. But the folks shall be like our folks. I shall have horses, and a good many silver dishes. And great pictures, and gilt books for children that come a-visiting. And you shall have a blue easy-chair, and sit down to rest.

Now, maybe you’ll say, “But Billy, Billy, where are you going to get all these fine things?” O you silly grandmother! Don’t you remember your own saying that you wrote down?—“What a man wants he can get, if he tries hard enough.” Or a boy either, you said. I shall try hard enough. There’s more to write about. But I’m sleepy. I would tell you about Tom Cush’s father coming here, only my eyes can’t keep open. Isn’t it funny that when you are sleepy your eyes keep shutting up and your mouth keeps coming open? Please excuse the lines that go crooked. There’s another gape! I guess Aunt Phebe will be tired reading all this. I’m on her side. I mean about measles. I’d rather have ’em when I was a month old. I suppose I was a month old once. Don’t seem as if ’twas the same one I am now. But if I do have ’em,—there I go gaping again,—if I catch ’em, and all the doctors do come, I’ll—O dear! There I go again. I do believe I’m asleep—I’ll—I’ll get some natural-born old woman to drive ’em out, as you said, and good night.

William Henry.

Mrs. A. M. Diaz.


Caw, caw!”—You don’t say so!—“Caw, caw!”—What, once more?

Seems to me I’ve heard that observation before,

And I wish you would some time begin to talk sense.

Come, I’ve sat here about long enough on the fence,

And I’d like you to tell me in confidence what

Are your present intentions regarding this lot?

Why don’t you do something? or else go away?

Caw, caw!”—Does that mean that they’ll go or they’ll stay?

While I’m watching to learn what they’re up to, I see

That for similar reasons they’re just watching me!


That’s right! Now be brave, and I’ll show you some fun!

Just light within twenty-nine yards of my gun!

I’ve hunted and hunted you all round the lot,

Now you must come here, if you want to be shot!

Caw, caw!”—There they go again! Isn’t it strange

How they always contrive to keep just out of range?

The scamps have been shot at so often, they know

To a rod just how far the old shot-gun will throw.


Now I’ve thought how I’ll serve ’em to-morrow: I’ll play

The game old Jack Haskell played with ’em one day.

His snares wouldn’t catch ’em, his traps wouldn’t spring,

And, in spite of the very best guns he could bring

To bear on the subject, the powder he spent,

And the terriblest scarecrows his wits could invent—

Loud-clattering windmills and fluttering flags,

Straw-stuffed old codgers rigged out in his rags,

And looking quite lifelike in tail-coat and cap,

Twine stretched round the cornfield, suggesting a trap,—

Spite of all,—and he did all that ever a man did,—

They pulled his corn almost before it was planted!


Then he built him an ambush right out in the field,

Where a man could lie down at his ease, quite concealed;

But though he kept watch in it, day after day,

And the thieves would light on it when he was away,

And tear up the corn all around it, not once

Did a crow, young or old, show himself such a dunce

As to come within hail while the old man was there;

For they are the cunningest fools, I declare!

And, seeing him enter, they reasoned, no doubt,

That he must be in there until he came out!


Then, one morning, says he to young Jack, “Now I bet

I’ve got an idee that’ll do for ’em yet!

Go with me down into the corn-lot to-day;

Then, when I’m well placed in the ambush, I’ll stay,

While you shoulder your gun and march back to the barn;

For there’s this leetle notion crows never could larn:

They can’t count, as I’ll show ye!” And show him he did!

Young Haskell went home while old Haskell lay hid.

And the crows’ education had been so neglected,—

They were so poor in figures,—they never suspected,

If two had come down, and one only went back,

Then one must remain! So, no sooner was Jack

Out of sight, than again to the field they came flocking

As thick as three rats in a little boy’s stocking.

They darkened the air, and they blackened the ground;

They came in a cloud to the windmill, and drowned

It’s loudest clack-clack with a louder caw-caw!

They lit on the tail-coat, and laughed at the straw.

“By time!” says old Jack, “now I’ve got ye!” Bang! bang!

Blazed his short double-shooter right into the gang!

Then, picking the dead crows up out of the dirt, he

Was pleased to perceive that he’d killed about thirty!


Now that’s just the way I’ll astonish the rascals!

I’ll set up an ambush, like old Mr. Haskell’s;

Then see if I don’t get a shot! Yes, I’ll borrow

Another boy somewhere and try ’em to-morrow!

Caw, caw!”—You’re as knowing a bird as I know;

But there are things a little too deep for a crow!

Just add one to one now, and what’s the amount?

You’re mighty ’cute creeturs, but, then, you can’t count!

J. T. Trowbridge.


From the deep sea to the lofty mountains, you and I, Young Folks, will this month take a trip. “The Mountains” does not mean the White Mountains, nor the Green Mountains, nor the Catskills, nor the Alleghanies, nor the giants who raise their hoary heads above the clouds in the west of North Carolina. It means the Rocky Mountains, the backbone of the vast continent on which we live. This is just as “the Coast,” among sailors at Liverpool, means the west coast of Africa, where the trade for palm oil, gold-dust, and ivory is carried on, and where that in slaves used to flourish.

I have recently had an opportunity to hear something about the Rocky Mountains, about the Indian tribes who roam among the hills and valleys of their southern slopes, and about the hunters and fur-traders who used to stay for years in those rugged and far-off regions, at the trading-posts and forts, and I think it will be of interest to the Young Folks to have it in their magazine.

When writing of the Indians of the Northwest as bow-men, I had occasion to mention the exploits of Charles Primeaux, the oldest and most influential mountain man now living, and of his nephew, Antoine Le Faivre, among the grizzly bears. I have lately had a visit from Antoine. Having recently married, he came with his young bride from the west bank of the Mississippi to stay for a short time with us who dwell on “Old Long Island’s sea-girt shore.” We talked much concerning Indians, bears, buffaloes, elks, antelopes, wolves, and the modes and implements of the chase in the regions where he spent four years.

He was not quite fourteen years old when his uncle Charles took him from St. Louis to the mountains, and he was eighteen when he returned. His health was poor when he went there, but the mountain air, the hardships and pleasures of the hunter’s and trapper’s life, and the diet,—consisting almost wholly of wild meat,—made him very strong, hardy, and robust.

The state of that part of the country, twelve years ago, was very different from what it is now. A few explorers had reached the head-waters of the Missouri River, and penetrated the passes of the highest ridge of the mountains. Lewis and Clarke, who discovered Oregon, were the first of them. The American Fur Company had its posts from Fort Pierre on the Missouri River, in what is now called Dakota Territory, up to Fort Benton, which is at the very head of navigation, about fifteen hundred miles above,—near Hell Gate Pass in the Rocky Mountains, also near Lewis and Clarke’s Pass, and within about sixty or seventy miles of the British line.

Charles Primeaux was one of the leading men in the Company, and the manager of the traffic with the Indians from Fort Pierre to the upper posts. He had been in the Indian country for more than thirty years, and was a great man with all the wild tribes who roved about the banks of the great river from Council Bluffs to its head-waters in the mountains. Antoine was sometimes at Fort Pierre and sometimes at Fort Benton, the upper post. Fort Benton is far away to the northwest of Pike’s Peak, and far to the north of Fremont’s Peak. The Territory in which it is situated is now called Montana; it is very mountainous, very rocky and sterile, but it is said that gold abounds in it. The mountains extend far to the eastward of Fort Benton,—the Bear’s Paw Mountains, the Little Rocky Mountains, the Judith Mountains, &c. all lying on this side of it. The Rocky Mountains there do not consist of one great ridge running north and south, as we are often led to imagine, but extend to the eastward from the top of the watershed for hundreds of miles. Right up among them, upon the head-waters of the Missouri and a little below the Great Falls, is Fort Benton. Washington Territory lies to the westward, but part of Montana is on the west side of the mountains. It was formerly the northeast part of Oregon; and the Pacific Ocean, about Puget’s Sound, is not very far away.

Few white men, except those under the control of the Fur Company, then went farther up than Fort Pierre. Once a year the Company sent a steamboat up to Fort Benton with stores and articles of traffic, provided there was water enough above the mouth of the Yellowstone; and Primeaux sent her back, laden with furs and buffalo robes, obtained by traffic with the Indians, or taken from animals trapped or killed by the Company’s men. When there was not water sufficient for the steamboat, the goods were taken up, and the furs and robes brought down, in Mackinaw boats. No passenger steamboats ever went up to Fort Benton then, and the agents and officers of the government had recourse to the Company whenever they wanted to go above the mouth of the Yellowstone. From this it will appear that in these regions the Indians must have retained all the primitive manners and customs of their ancestors. They were unlike those border tribes who have frequent talks with the government agents and officers. They sent no embassies to Washington; they received no annuities; they had sold no land,—they had none that the white man coveted, or could make use of, until it was found that the rugged rocks of the awful mountains, among whose spurs and streams they dwelt, bore gold. None of them had been to Washington themselves; very few of them had ever even seen an Indian who had been to Washington. Here was the Indian to realize the poet’s dream of that heroic and happy age which existed

“Ere the base reign of servitude began,

 When wild in woods the noble savage ran.”

I have learned from Antoine, that, with all his hardihood and ingenuity, the noble savage had commonly a desperately hard time of it every winter. The cold was intense. The snow was deep, and lay on the ground for six months at a time. The buffalo had gone to other haunts. Then it was that the Indians camped round the Fort, and lived as best they could until the snow melted. They, with the grizzly bears, the buffalo, the elk, wolf, and antelope, possessed the land.

The greatest man on earth of all the whites, in Indian estimation, was Charles Primeaux. They had known him for more than thirty years. He was in authority over all the white men they ever saw. He was in the possession of what they deemed inexhaustible wealth. If a military man, once in a great while, visited the upper waters, and talked about the “Great Father at Washington,” it went in at one ear and out at the other. They knew the great chief of the whites. He lived in the mountains with them. His steamboats brought up all the goods they ever had. There could not be a greater chief; and, besides, he was a mighty hunter, and a man of medicine gifts. His influence was vast. He spoke all their various dialects. He was connected with the great tribe of Sioux by marriage,—his wife’s mother having been an Indian squaw, the daughter of a powerful chief. Therefore the Indians could not conceive of any greater white man than he; and, as greatness is relative to the place and people who estimate it, the conclusion of those tribes was right. His influence and authority were wisely and justly used. He sold no “fire-water,” nor did he permit any one else to sell any, if he could hinder it, in all that great region, from Fort Pierre to the mountains beyond Fort Benton. “Many of our Indians,” said Antoine, “had never tasted whiskey!”

Charles Primeaux is now nearly seventy years of age, but robust and very active. There is not, in all probability, a better off-hand marksman with a rifle in the world; and it matters not whether the object be a grizzly bear, furious with hunger and rage, or an antelope on the steep hillside. Two years ago he bought a fine property in St. Louis, intending to live there. He remained, sorely discontented, for one winter. His means were large, and his relatives and friends many. But it would not do. As soon as navigation opened, he was up and away towards the great regions of the Northwest, where the Sioux, the Blackfoot, and the Crow still dwell; and he is in the mountains now.

The tribes in the vicinity of Fort Benton were the Upper Sioux, the Blackfeet, the Assineboines, and the Crows. These were the great tribes who used to trade at Fort Benton. Their subdivisions were numerous. Lower down the river, the Mandans, Cheyennes, Pawnees, and Kiowas were found. The Sioux were the largest tribe and the tallest and handsomest people. The Blackfeet were shorter, thicker, and in every respect heavier-set. Antoine esteemed the Crows the least of any. They were a mean, thievish kind of Indian, always ready to steal horses or anything else they could lay hands on. The wealth of the Indians consisted in horses, buffalo-robes, and dogs. The latter were not used for the purposes of hunting game, but were esteemed a great delicacy at the feast, and were fatted, killed, and eaten. When a lodge killed a dog, the chief of the band was always invited to partake of it. Antoine could never learn that the Indians paid their chiefs any kind of tax or tribute. Charles Primeaux was also always invited to the dog-feasts which were held in the neighborhood where he happened to be. It would not have done to refuse. And, besides that consideration, Antoine remarked that the Indian dog, properly fed and cooked, is the richest and most delicate meat in that region. It surpasses the flesh of the antelope, and the buffalo beef is very tough, dry eating compared to it. It closely resembles juicy young pork.

There is a deal of prejudice in regard to food. The English long cherished an utter contempt for the French. They had witnessed the prowess of the latter on many a stricken field; they could not deny the proficiency of that nation in the arts; but then they ate frogs! The Tartars like horseflesh; the Esquimaux are fond of blubber and the greasy, fishy flesh of the white bear. An amphibious reptile, like an alligator, is a luxury in South America. I have fed on shark-steaks myself; yet, when I first came to this country, I did not like to eat raccoon. So with bear’s meat; it was the sight of the claws and paws that repelled me. Yet the coon is capital eating, resembling young mutton; and the meat of the bear is delicious. It may be said that the dog is an unclean animal. But it must be remembered that the Jews reject the flesh of the hog for like reason; and the Hindoos abominate beef and mutton to that degree that the Indian mutiny is said to have arisen from the fact that the British served out to the Sepoy regiments cartridges that had been greased with suet.

Elk, antelope, &c., abounded in the mountain regions, but the great dependence of the Indians was upon the buffalo. Except in the dead of winter, when the snows were at the deepest, some buffalo were generally to be found. Long after the snows and frosts had set in, small herds would be found in sheltered nooks of the mountains, where, upon the lee side of the hills and in the vales, they found coarse herbage. The implements of the Indians in their buffalo hunts were bows and arrows. They had a few old flint-lock guns, but never used them on such occasions. The bow was their weapon; and such was their proficiency as marksmen, that they could hit a silver half-dollar every time at forty or fifty yards. The grown men of the tribes seldom hunted anything but the buffalo. They always went on horseback, and the strength of their shooting was such that they would send an arrow clear through the body of the bison, and into the ground on the other side of him. Their bows were made of hickory or ash; the bowstrings were of tendons. Some bows were made of bone, and some were wrapped with green hide; but these were merely fancy articles. Antoine was out above a hundred times with hunting parties of Indians to run buffalo. There would be forty or fifty Indians in each band, and he never saw one using a bone bow on such an occasion. The white men who went upon these excursions used large heavy revolvers, which for close work were as good as rifles. The stem of the Indian arrow is very thin, not thicker than a lead pencil. It has two feathers only. The arrow-head is broad, thick, and heavy. The Fur Company sold the Indians the iron for their arrow-heads. It was sheet-iron, three eighths of an inch thick. A piece was taken about three inches long and two in width, and worked into this shape. In the centre, along the line from the middle of the head to the point, the iron was left of its original thickness. It was bevelled by grinding, or rubbing with stones on each side, to a feather edge, and the inside of the barbs was also bevelled to an edge in the same way. The stem part, which was inserted into a cleft in the stem of the arrow, was also ground thin, leaving a shoulder on the head, against which the wooden end of the arrow fitted. It was then bound with sinew, which was like catgut. This formidable thin arrow then was armed with a head that was broad, massive, and very heavy, as well as sharp. It made a dreadful gash; and, if it struck a bone, it went round it with a curve, and on into the vital parts of the animal.

The younger Indians killed elk and antelope by stalking. When they discovered a gang of elk, they enveloped their heads in grass or hay, and crawled laboriously and silently until within shot. The hunter then rose to his knees, and delivered the fatal shaft. The elk would commonly run some distance after being hit, but the wound was so large that the animal soon sank from loss of blood.

The Indian horses are small, rough, and very hardy. They have been so much in-bred, and so long used for the hunting of the buffalo, that it has become an instinct with them. They can scent the buffalo long before the Indians can discover them, and no sooner do they scent the herd than they set off in chase like hounds. This is a curious fact for naturalists, and another proof of the fine intelligence of that noble animal the horse.

When buffalo abound, the Indians revel in plenty, and they make provision for the long frosts and deep snows by jerking some of the meat. It is cut in long thin strips, and hung across a pole to dry in the sun. In that fine clear atmosphere it does not become tainted. This is the sole resource of the Indians when no fresh meat can be had.

I have seen some rosy accounts of the fertility of that country; but Antoine says it is so rugged and cold and sterile that they could grow nothing at Fort Benton,—not even turnips or potatoes. The only vegetables they ever had were a few bags of potatoes and onions, brought from the settlements as a preventive of scurvy among the Company’s men. Flour was seventy-five cents a pint; and the great luxury of the men in the fort was a pot-pie made of a beaver with fat pork. The Company served out no rations of flour, and therefore Antoine and his companions had to buy it of his uncle, who was supreme over the Company’s store, as well as elsewhere. The Company, indeed, seems to have carried the science of trade, in buying cheap and selling dear, to perfection. For the skin of the beaver they trapped for their Sunday pie, the Company only paid them enough to purchase the fifth part of a pint of flour. It took ten beaver-skins, or one buffalo-robe to buy a quart. Foxes abounded, although their skins sold for but little. That scarce and almost fabulous animal, the black fox, was, however, almost venerated for the value and beauty of its fur. Antoine saw but one during the whole time he was in the mountains, and that was caught in one of his own traps. His uncle gave him a credit of one hundred and fifty dollars for the skin, which was worth five hundred dollars at St. Louis. I am inclined to think that there is another variety of the black fox which is more common, and the fur of which is of little comparative value. The silver-gray fox was common enough. The one I brought from the West, and presented to the Central Park, New York, is dead. He was a great favorite with the visitors, especially with the ladies and children. The man who has charge of the animals thinks he was poisoned by some means. I believe I could get any one of the Northwestern animals, from a young grizzly bear to a buffalo bull, through Antoine and his uncle.

The grizzly bear was very common about Fort Benton. The Indians generally give this bear a wide berth. He is too ugly a customer for their arrows. But the white hunter, armed with a good rifle and a big revolver, twice the size of the navy revolver, is in little danger, provided he has nerve, and is a good marksman. He must shoot true, so as to reach the heart or lungs. The favorite shot is right at the breast when the bear is coming on, and the fire should not be delivered until he is within twenty paces. Ten paces is better still. The hunter never fires at the head. The ball would not reach the brain once in a hundred times.

To read some accounts of the grizzly bear, one would wonder how the animal is ever killed at all. In Frank Forrester’s book there is a description of what is said to be the method most in practice,—crawling into the den in which he lies torpid in the winter, waking him up with a torch, and shooting him in the eye when he comes to snuff at the light. Antoine laughed at this, and said he had no doubt it was all humbug. In the first place, said he, you can’t get to the bear’s den during the season that he lies torpid, even if you knew just where it is. He frequents mountains and gorges, wild, rocky wastes. The snow is twenty or thirty feet deep in some of these gulches, and there is no such thing as travelling about those places at such times. Antoine never heard of a grizzly bear being shot in the eye in his den. It is like catching little birds by putting salt on their tails. The danger of meeting and shooting them in the ordinary way is much exaggerated. Antoine never had any hesitation in giving battle to a bear, even when alone. He says, however, that if he had met the great bear alone, which his uncle Charles and he killed when going down the Missouri River in a Mackinaw boat, he thinks he would not have shot at him. But this was an animal of uncommon age, size, and ferocity, the like of which is seldom seen. A man might then be there a lifetime, and never see such another one.

In their wanderings the Indians often had to cross creeks and rivers which were not fordable. They have not canoes, as those have who live on the shores of the great lakes, and all except the very young children can swim. The squaws take the pappooses into deep water at about four years of age, and, if they do not swim at about the third lesson, they get a whipping. When a river or a creek, swollen with the melted snows, is to be crossed, the whole band, Indians, squaws, pappooses, horses, and dogs, plunge bodily in, and swim over.

Charles J. Foster.



“When we were last time cruising in the Alice, I think I told you all about the arctic winter,—did I not?” said the Ancient Mariner to his little friends when they were met once more.

“Yes,” answered William (who was always ready to act as spokesman for the party),—“yes, Captain Hardy, all about the arctic winter, and the aurora borealis, and the wonderful moonlight, and the darkness, and how you and the handsome little Dean lived through it, and what you talked about, and how you passed the time, and what a doleful life you led, and what a dreadful thing it was, and how it made you shiver now to think of it; and—all that, and a great deal more.”

“Certainly,” replied the Captain, “certainly, that’s it,—all told off nicely, my lad; only it was not exactly how we lived that I spoke of, but rather how we protected ourselves from cold, and kept ourselves from hunger, and prepared a home for ourselves on the Rock of Good Hope. And this seemed likely to be our home for life too,—so far, at least, as we could see; for it appeared clear enough to us that our condition would never change except with death, which we, like everybody else, whether they have ever been cast away or not, wanted to put off as long as possible, having no wish at all to die, and not liking either to freeze or starve: so we had good motives for energy and patience.”

Here little Alice, in her gentle, quiet way, interrupted the Captain to say that the aurora borealis had troubled her dreams all night, and that she would like to know, if the Captain pleased, why anything should have such a strange name.

“That I will tell you with pleasure, my dear,” answered the Captain; “I’ll tell you all about it,—of course I will. Aurora borealis,—that means northern light; and the name comes from a pagan goddess called Aurora, who was supposed to have rosy fingers, and to ride in a rosy chariot, and who opened the gates of the East every morning, and brought in the light of day; and thus, in course of time, any great flush of light in the heavens got to be called Aurora. And then there was a pagan god called Boreas, who was the North Wind, and had long wings and white hair, and made himself generally disagreeable. So you see Boreas, from being the pagan name for north wind, got to mean the north; and Borealis, from that, became Northern, and Aurora Borealis became Northern Light.”

“Thank you, Captain Hardy,” said little Alice; and Fred and William said “Thank you” too; while, as for the Captain, he looked very wise and solemn, like other great philosophers, appearing as if he would say, “Don’t be surprised, for that’s nothing to what I could do if I had a mind,” every word of which the children would have believed, you may well be sure. However, the Captain hastened on with the story (which is more to our present purpose) without giving any further proof of his learning.

“When the winter had fairly set in,” said he, “our field of operations was much enlarged, and, although the birds had all flown away, we were hardly worse off than before, as you shall see; for all through the summer we had been kept close prisoners on the island; but now, when the ice was solid all over the sea, we could walk out upon it, and this we did as soon as it would bear. Once the poor Dean broke through, being a little careless of where he was stepping; but I got him out, with no more harm coming to him than a cold bath and a fright.

“Soon after this we made a valuable discovery. Some of the arctic seals have a habit, when the sea is frozen over, of cutting holes through the ice with their sharp claws, in order that they may get their heads above the water to breathe,—the seals not being able, as I have told you before, to breathe under water, like fish. They can keep their heads under water about an hour, by closing up their nostrils, so that not a drop can get in; and, during that time, they do not breathe at all; but at last they must find the open sea, or a crack in the ice, or else dig a hole through the ice from below, and thus get their heads to the surface in some way, or they would drown.

“As we did not then know anything about the habits of the seals in this respect, I was very much surprised one day, while walking over ice that was everywhere apparently very solid, to find one of my feet suddenly break through. I was carrying, at the time, our great narwhal horn, which had already been used for so many purposes; and when I had got my foot, as quickly as possible, out of the cold water, I pounded with the heavy horn all about the place, and found that there was a large round hole there, that had evidently been made by some animal; and I could think of nothing else as likely to have made it but a seal. The reason why I had not seen it was because the snow had drifted over it in a hard crust, and through this crust the seal kept open with his nose, a small orifice for breathing, that was not larger round than a silver dollar.

“This discovery set us off in quite a new line of adventure,—for, having concluded what it was, we concluded also that there must be more like it, and we went in search of them immediately. Our search was soon rewarded, for these seal-holes were very numerous.

“How to catch a seal was the question which now most occupied our minds. The difficulty was very great, for we had no weapons of any sort for such a purpose. Once more, however, we fell back upon our narwhal horn. To this horn we had already become much attached, and, as if to express our gratitude, we had bestowed upon it several names,—as, for instance, ‘Life-preserver,’ ‘Crumply Crowbar,’ ‘The Castaway’s Friend,’ and the like of that; but the title which finally stuck to it was ‘Old Crumply,’—not that it was exactly a crumply horn, like the one that grew on the head of the cow that tossed the dog, that worried the cat, that killed the rat, that ate the malt, that lay in the house that Jack built,—for it was really not crumply at all in that sense, but, on the contrary, was as straight as an arrow, and was no further crumply than crumply means wrinkled and twisted; and, indeed, the old horn looked as if it might have been once red hot, and had been twisted about ten times around before it had cooled off.

“Besides this ‘Old Crumply,’ we made another weapon, in quite an ingenious way, as we thought, though at a great expense of time and labor. This was called by several names, like the other; but generally I called it the ‘Dean’s Delight,’ for it was made after the Dean’s idea, and he used to flourish it about at a great rate, and was very proud of it. It was simply a kind of spear made by lashing together (after carefully cutting with our knife, and fitting and overlapping) a great many pieces of bones. The lashing was the same string we had before used for the duck-traps. It was very strong, though not half so heavy as ‘Old Crumply.’

“But though we had ‘Old Crumply,’ and the ‘Dean’s Delight,’ we were apparently just as far off as ever from catching a seal; for although the ‘Delight’ was tipped with hard ivory (a piece of walrus tusk carved into shape with the jack-knife), and ‘Crumply’ was of the very best kind of ivory throughout, yet we could not sharpen either of them so as to be of much use. But, remembering the general shape of the harpoon-heads used in whale-ships, I managed to carve one of that pattern out of walrus ivory, and this I set on the end of the ‘Dean’s Delight,’ and then, making a hole in the centre of it, I fastened it to the end of one of our long lines. And thus I had obtained all that was needed, in name at least, for catching a seal; but only in name, as was soon proved; for the Dean and I set out at once to try our fortunes in this new line of adventure, and, discovering a seal-hole, we stood near it (on the leeward side, that the seal might not scent us) until the animal appeared, which was not for a long time, and not until we had grown very cold. The seal had evidently been off breathing in another hole. When he did come up, we knew it by a little puff he gave, which threw some spray up through the little orifice in the snow-crust. Quick as thought I plunged the ‘Dean’s Delight’ down into the very centre of the hole, and struck the animal; but the ivory harpoon-head that was on the end of it only glanced off, without penetrating the skin; and the seal, no doubt very much astonished, got off as quickly as he could, more frightened, probably, than hurt; at least, we heard of him no more. He never came back to the hole, for it was all frozen over next day, and so it remained. We afterwards discovered that when a seal-hole has been once touched, the seal will never go back to it.

“I was now more puzzled than ever to know what to do; but I did not give up trying, determined to succeed, one way or another. Presently it occurred to me that almost anything that was hard would answer to sharpen the edge and point of the ivory harpoon-head, and, since I could not get any kind of metal to make a whole harpoon-head out of, I had to try some other plan. As good luck would have it, I now thought of the brass buttons on my coat. Some of these I quickly tore off. Then I hacked my knife with a sharp flint stone until I had made a saw of it, and with this saw I cut a little groove along the tapering point of the ivory harpoon-head; and into this groove, which was about a quarter of an inch deep, I set the buttons, which I had squared with the knife, and then wedged them firmly. I had now only to grind all these bits of brass down even, and to sharpen the whole with a stone, and my work was done. The only thing remaining was to put the weapon to the test; and this we quickly did. A seal-hole being soon found, we had not long to wait before the seal came into it, with a little puff, as before; and, as quick as the noise was heard, I let fly with my harpoon, and, striking through the snow-crust, hit the seal fairly in the neck, and drove the harpoon into him.

“Down sank the seal through the hole, taking the harpoon along with him, and spinning out the line which was attached to it at a furious rate. Before the seal was struck, and while I was watching for him, the Dean had quietly tied the end of the line that was not fast to the harpoon around the middle of ‘Old Crumply,’ and when the seal descended into the sea, ‘Old Crumply’ was whipped along over the snow until it lodged right across the hole, and there the seal was,—‘brought up with a round turn,’ as the sailors say.

“And now was anybody ever so rejoiced as we? The Dean fairly shouted with delight, and danced round the hole as if he were crazy, crying ‘Bravo, bravo!’ and ‘Hurrah for Crumply!’ and ‘Hurrah for Old Crumply!’ and hurrah for this, and hurrah for that, until he was fairly hoarse. Meanwhile the seal was trying his best to get away. He darted from side to side, and up and down, without any other result than to tire himself out; for the harpoon held firmly in his body, and the line held firmly to ‘Old Crumply,’ and ‘Old Crumply’ lay squarely across the hole. By and by the seal was forced to come up to breathe; and, since there was no other place for him, he had to return to the hole where he had been struck. But he did not stay more than a second or so, going down as quickly as he had done before. As soon as the line was loosened, however, we drew in the slack, and wound it around ‘Old Crumply,’ so that the seal did not have so much of it now to play with. Nor did he remain under so long the second time. When he came up again, we got in all the slack of the line that we could, as before.

“It was now clear to us that we should be sure of the seal, if we only had something to kill him with; and so the quick-witted Dean ran off at once to the hut, and brought a walrus tusk that we had saved. This was driven into the hard snow not far from the hole, and, while the Dean held it there firmly, I got the line made fast around it. As soon as I saw that this was secure, and that the Dean was holding on bravely, I unfastened the line from ‘Old Crumply,’ and, when the seal came next time, I gave him a heavy thrust with the sharp end of it. But this did not kill him by any means, nor did he give me another chance for some time. Then, however, he was almost dead with bleeding, and fright, and hard struggling to get away, to say nothing of holding his breath so long; but I wanted him too badly to have any mercy on him, so I worked away as hard as I could to get in all the line, so that the seal could not sink down through the hole any more. At last I was successful, and the seal was fast in the hole, and with all his struggling he could not get away. With the aid of ‘Old Crumply,’ I now quickly made an end of him. As soon as he was dead, we drew him out on the ice, and rejoiced over him. Such shouting never was before known, at least in that part of the world. If anybody could have heard and seen us, we should have surely been taken up for insane people, especially the Dean, whose joy knew no bounds.

“Having no sledge, we had to drag the dead seal over the ice and snow, for which purpose we made the line fast through his nose. It was a very difficult task to get him to the hut; and, when we did at last succeed, we found that the seal was partly frozen, so that we were obliged to draw it inside the hut, and then thaw it, before we could get the skin off, which made the hut very disagreeable. After the skin and blubber were removed, we cut off some of the flesh, and made for ourselves a good hot supper,—first cooking a stew in our soapstone pot, and then frying some steaks on a flat stone; and, if anything was before wanting to make us perfectly happy over the capture of so great a prize, we had it now, when we discovered what excellent food it was, and what a quantity there was of it.

“When we had finished butchering the seal, we prepared the skin for making boots; and we put the blubber and flesh away in our storehouses for future use,—the flesh for food, and the blubber for our fire and lamp. Then we slept, and the very next day we set out to catch more seals, without, however, the same success, for we were unfortunate in every attempt; and it was, indeed, almost a week, I think, before we made a second capture. Some time afterward we caught a third, and then a fourth, and by great good fortune on the very same day a fifth; and not long after that we caught another, which made the sixth. But it would have been well had we been content with five, without coveting a sixth, as this last had like to have been the ruin of us; for as we were going slowly back to the hut, dragging the seal after us, and all unsuspicious of harm, we were set upon by a great white beast, the like of which we had never seen before, but which we knew must be one of those savage animals called polar bears. He was not coming rapidly, but was rather crawling along cautiously, with mouth wide open, looking very fierce. As soon as we discovered him, we dropped the line with which we were dragging the seal, and ran as fast as our legs would carry us, never stopping until we had reached the hut, and crawled into it,—not once having had the courage to look back, for at every step we expected that the bear would be atop of us.

“We had left ‘Old Crumply’ and ‘Dean’s Delight’ where we captured the seal, intending to go for them the next day; and, having no weapon of any kind, we were in the greatest terror, expecting every moment to hear the bear coming to tear the hut down, and drag us out, and eat us.

“But, finding that we were not disturbed, we at length fell asleep from sheer exhaustion. Upon awaking the next day, and finding that we had been suffered to go undisturbed thus long, we began to wonder whether we had not been needlessly alarmed, and finally we set to wondering whether we had really seen a bear after all, and at length we grew to feel quite ashamed of ourselves. So we put on a little bravado, like the boy that whistled in the dark to keep his courage up, and went out, cautiously approaching the spot where we had left the seal. Arriving there, we had positive proof enough, if any were wanting, that we had certainly seen a bear. The bones of the seal were all strewn about over the snow, picked as clean as could be. Some foxes were gnawing at them, as we came up; but they all scampered off when they saw us coming.

“Hurrying on, we picked up ‘Old Crumply’ and ‘Dean’s Delight,’ and then hastened back to the hut, which we reached without any further adventure; but on the day following, upon going out to visit our fox-traps, we came across the bear’s tracks, from which it was evident to us that the wild beast was prowling round the island, where he had already obtained one good meal, and was in hopes, no doubt, of getting another; and, as we did not know how soon he might feel disposed to begin upon us, we ran back to the hut with all speed, imagining, as we went along, that every rock and snow-drift was a bear.

“We had now even greater fears than before that we should be attacked and eaten up by the wild beast. It did not once occur to us that the bear would be much more likely to prefer the contents of our storehouses to ourselves, if he came that way, but we thought only of our own safety; and this was perhaps not unnatural, for boys and men alike are everywhere liable to magnify their own importance, even in the eyes of a bear.

“We had not been in the hut more than a couple of hours, I should say, before we heard the tramp of our enemy. We knew it must be the footsteps of the bear, because it could be nothing else. Our fears were now even greater than ever. The bear appeared from the sound of his footsteps, crunching in the snow, to be making directly for us, sniffing the air as he came along, apparently enjoying in advance a supper that he felt quite sure of. He seemed to halt at every step or so, as if greatly relishing the prospect. At last he came very near, and we expected at every instant to see his head appear at the window, preparatory to tearing down the wall. Resolved to sell our lives as dearly as possible, we grasped our weapons firmly, the Dean his ‘Delight’ and I ‘Old Crumply,’ to the end of which I had firmly lashed the jack-knife, after grinding it very sharp on a stone, and giving it a good point. As the knife-blade was quite long, I had strong hopes of giving the bear such a wound, when he appeared at the window, as might be the death of him, or, at any rate, frighten him so badly that he would be glad to run away, and not come back any more.

“Nearer and nearer came the bear, and greater grew our alarm. Our hearts beat violently in our breasts; our faces were pale as death; we held our breath, as if fearful of making the least noise to give the bear encouragement. At length the enemy gave a sudden start. It seemed to us as if he had now made a dash at the window, so we both rose to our feet, with our weapons ready to meet him; but, to our great joy and relief, the sound of his footsteps showed that the beast was retreating, rather than advancing, and was moving more rapidly. A moment afterward we heard the rattle of stones, and now, from fear for ourselves, we passed instantly to fear for our stores; for we knew that it was our stores, and not we, that he was after, and that he must be tearing down one of our principal storehouses. And now, what if he should tear them all down, and eat up all our food and fuel? It was a fearful thought.

“How often do we pass almost insensibly from the greatest terror to the greatest courage! Relieved now from all immediate personal apprehension, we felt at once inspired to protect our property, on the safety of which our lives depended. We ceased at once to feel like standing passively on the defensive, but immediately crawled out of the hut to do something,—exactly what we did not know. Our thoughts had, indeed, hardly time to take shape in our minds, so quickly had the change come in the situation and in our feelings.

“The bear was plainly in sight as soon as we got outside, tearing down our storehouse, as we had expected; but he appeared not to be thinking of us at all. Without reflecting in the least what I was about, but filled only with alarm at the prospect of losing our food and fuel, I set up a loud shout, in which the Dean joined; and, to our great astonishment, the huge beast, that had caused us so much terror, took fright himself, and without looking round, or stopping a moment, he made a great bound, and tore away over the rocks, plunging through the snow-drifts, and rolling down the hill into the valley, where we had dug the turf, in a most ridiculous manner.

“We passed now from a state of the greatest terror to a feeling of perfect safety, and in such an unexpected manner, too, that we laughed outright, and we thought that we had been very foolish to be so frightened, and looked upon our enemy as a great coward. So we concluded that an animal who was so easily scared as that would never attack us, and therefore, getting our weapons, we followed after him, hoping to drive him from the island. The jumps that he had made were quite immense, showing clearly the state of his mind.

“Following the tracks of the bear, we came very soon in full view of the beach where the carcass of the narwhal was lying, half buried in ice and snow. The tracks led in that direction, and finally pointed straight to the spot. He had in his flight evidently smelled the old narwhal, and, remembering only that he was hungry, had stopped there; for presently we caught sight of him, tearing away at the narwhal with as much energy as he had before wasted upon our storehouse. We had come quite near before we saw him; and now our spirits underwent another sudden change, and our minds were once more filled with such feelings of respect for the bear, that we turned about immediately, and beat a hasty retreat; and, when once more under the shelter of the hut, prepared again to stand on the defensive.

“All we could now do was to watch the bear closely. So long as the old narwhal lasted, we felt that we were safe enough, even after he had apparently satisfied himself with a good meal, and had gone away, as seemed likely, to sleep. He would certainly, however, come back to the narwhal again when he got hungry; but now, worse than ever, when he did come back, there were two other bears with him, and all three of them were tearing away at the carcass of the dead narwhal. These last two were quite small ones,—the smaller not being larger than a big Newfoundland dog.

“With this discovery all our newly found courage took rapid flight, and we were overtaken with even greater terror than before. That the narwhal would soon all be gone seemed plain enough, with three bears feeding upon it; and then, when this feeding was over, this first bear, knowing where our storehouse was, and forgetting his fright, and having two bears, and perhaps by that time even more, to help him, we were sure he would soon come back again. It seemed as if a great crisis had now come in our fortunes, and what to do we did not know, and what was to become of us we could not imagine. We were in great trouble.”

“I don’t wonder,” exclaimed William,—“the horrid brutes!”

“I should have been scared to death,” cried Fred; while little Alice thought it was too dreadful to think of; but, “The poor bears, how cold and hungry they must have been!” said she.

Isaac I. Hayes.


It was a warm, sunny morning in spring, and our little friend Birdie begged his mother to take a walk in the woods with him, “to see if the flowers had wakened up.” His mother said she was willing to go, but Birdie would have to wait a little while, as she had something to attend to first. It was hard for the little boy to wait patiently, but his mother told him the time would soon pass if he were busy; so he began putting his toys in order, and soon became so much interested in making his closet “look pretty,” that he was quite surprised when his mother came in, all ready for their walk. She looked at his closet, and said he was a good boy to put his playthings in such nice order; and then said, “You have been so quiet and patient, Birdie, that I had time to make some cakes, and we will take some with us to eat on the way.”

Then Birdie’s hat and cape were soon put on, and his mamma gave him a little basket to carry, and they went out of the front gate together; not together, exactly, though, for little Birdie skipped on in such a hurry, that his mother had to call him to wait for her, and be careful not to upset the cakes; so he stood still until his mother fastened the gate, and came up to him, saying, “We will go to the barn first, and give papa some cakes.” “O yes, let’s!” cried Birdie, with such a hop-skip-and-jump that the cakes rattled in the basket, as if they were jumping too; and his mamma said, “Take care, my boy; if you make the cakes hop out into the mud, they will not be much better than the mud-pies you make sometimes.” This made Birdie laugh, and take his mother’s hand, saying, “I’ll be quiet now, mamma; but I’m so happy I’d like to fly!” By this time they had reached the big gate which led into the barnyard, and as they pushed it open, and went in, Alice, the colt, came running towards them, tossing her mane, and neighing. Birdie felt a little afraid, and drew back; but his mother said, “Alice is glad to see us out again; come and give her a cake, dear.” The colt was quiet now, stooping her head to be stroked and patted; and when Birdie held out a cake, she took it gently from his hand, nodding her head as if to thank him. They left Alice looking over the fence, and went on to the barn, where they soon found Birdie’s father at work. He called out, “Who comes here?”

“A g’enadier!” answered Birdie, trying to look tall, as he marched in with the basket on his arm.

“And what have you brought me?—a pot of beer?” asked the father.

“Something better than that,” said Birdie’s mother; “we have brought you some fresh cakes for lunch.”

“And we are going to the woods to wake up the flowers, and eat cakes on the way; and I ’most made mud-pies out of the cakes; and I gave Alice one!” said Birdie, all in a breath, and almost out of breath when he got through.

“Why, young man, you have quite a lot of news to tell me!” said his father, laughing. “I should like to go with you to call on the flowers, but I am too busy; so you must bring some home for me.”

“Yes, we will, papa,” said the child; and then, bidding good by with a kiss, he and his mother started again for their walk.

They went down the road a little way, and then turned into the apple-orchard. Birdie’s quick eye soon caught sight of some flowers on the trees, and he said, “O mamma, just look at those little roses! how did they get up on the apple-trees?” His mother told him they were apple-blossoms, and came before the apples; and she bent down a branch, and picked a spray of flowers for the little boy to look at. The buds were round and pink, looking almost like little berries, but the open flowers were pink outside and white within. They were so pretty that Birdie was delighted, and wanted to pick “a whole lot to take home to papa”; but his mamma said that would hurt the apples, and told him to wait until they came to the woods, and he should pick as many flowers as he chose. They looked at the beautiful blossoms, covering the trees like snow; but Birdie did not ask for any more, for he thought his mother knew best. The bluebirds flew about from tree to tree, and they heard a robin-redbreast whistling merrily; and once they saw a little red squirrel run along upon the top of the fence, and sit upon a post to look around; but, the minute it saw them, it was off like a flash, and ran into its hole. When they reached the fence, they found some bars down, and went through into the woods; and, after scrambling over some stones and briers, they came out on a grassy hillside, with tall trees growing on it,—the bright sunshine streaming through the branches, not yet in their summer dress of green leaves.

“Now look, Birdie!” said his mother. And well might he look, and stand still with wonder and delight, his rosy face all over smiles, at the beautiful sight before him. The ground was almost covered with wild flowers; they peeped up at his feet, grew in rings around the trees, clustered together on the grass, and seemed to be everywhere. It was such a warm, sunny spot that all the spring flowers grew there. There were bunches of blue innocence, and delicate little wind-flowers and anemones nodding above the dry leaves; the pure white blossoms of the blood-root, and the dainty striped spring-beauty; while here and there some early violets looked out from among their green leaves, or a bright yellow strawberry-blossom peeped up, smiling.

“You see the sunshine has wakened all the flowers, Birdie,” said his mother, when they had looked at them for some time.

“Yes, indeed, mamma,” said the child, “and so many! I didn’t know there were so many flowers in the world. Will it hurt them if I take some home to papa? ’cause I said I would”; and he looked up earnestly into his mother’s face.

“No, darling, it will not hurt them,” answered his mother; “you know I said you might pick as many as you wanted in the woods.”

“O, that’s good!” exclaimed Birdie, delighted to find that he might keep his promise to his father without hurting the dear little flowers. Then he sprang forward, and was soon in the midst of the flowers, busily gathering some of each kind, and running to show them to his mother, who was resting on a log. It was a new thing to the little boy to see so many lovely flowers; and he was perfectly happy, and picked more than his little hands could well hold. At last he came to his mother with a bunch of violets and spring-beauties, and said, “Just look at these lovelies, mamma! now I think I have mostly enough for papa,” and was quite willing to sit down and rest while they finished their cakes.

His mamma put the flowers into the little basket they had brought, telling him they would not fade so soon in it; and while she was arranging them she said, “Everything seems to be waking from its long winter sleep to-day, and all seem trying to be as bright and happy as they can, to thank God for taking care of them.”

“And we’re happy too,” said Birdie; “and when I say my prayers to-night, I’m going to say ‘thank you,’ to God for all these pretty flowers.”

His mamma kissed him, and said that was right; and then Birdie, who was never still very long, said, “Did you ever go out in the woods, and pick flowers, mamma, when you were a little boy?”

“When I was a little girl, I did,” answered his mother, with a smile. “Many a happy day have I spent in the woods, and once I thought I saw some fairies there.”

“O, do tell me about it, mamma dear; just a little; while we rest here,—it would be so nice,” said the little boy, his eyes dancing with delight at the thought of hearing a fairy-tale.

“We must go soon, dear,” answered his mother; “but perhaps we’ll have time for a short story, and then we shall have to go home.”

“Yes’m, we will,” said Birdie, “as soon as you get done the story.”

“Well,” said his mamma, “when I was a little girl, I went out in the woods, one fine spring day, to look for flowers.”

“All by your own self?” asked Birdie.

“No, my brothers were with me. We were going to take up some flower-roots to put in our little gardens at home. The boys had little spades, and baskets to carry the plants in, and what do you think I took?”

“Some cakes, I guess,” said little Birdie, who was still busy with his lunch.

“No, pet,” said his mother; “I took a bag to put nuts in! My brothers laughed at me, and said the squirrels had carried off all the nuts by that time; but I said I knew I could find some, and I would take a bag.”

“Did you get any nuts in it?” asked Birdie.

“You shall hear, little chatterbox, if you will be quiet,” said his mamma, beginning again. “When we reached the woods, we were delighted to find the ground covered with flowers in full bloom; and we picked some bunches to take home to our mother, and then the boys said they would go to work and dig up roots. ‘You go look for your nuts, Bessie,’ they said to me, ‘and, if your bag gets so full you can’t lift it, call us to help you.’ I ran off in a hurry, for I did not like to be teased; and when I came to the old chestnut-tree, where we had gathered nuts in the autumn, I went to work very busily. I took a stick and turned over the burrs, and knocked some open to find the nuts; but after looking all around the tree, and getting very tired and hot, and pricking my fingers with the burrs, without finding a single good nut, I began to think my brothers were right, and that the squirrels had taken all the nuts.”

“Naughty squirrels,” exclaimed Birdie, “to take all the nuts away from poor little mamma!”

“O, that is all they have for food, dear,” answered his mother; “but I did not know it then, and felt almost ready to cry, and sat down on a rock, looking very cross, I’m afraid. I wondered why nuts did not last all the year, and whether any more would grow on the tree; and that made me look up into the tall tree, stretching its great branches far above my head; and through the boughs I saw the blue sky, looking so smiling that I felt ashamed of my cross feelings, and said aloud, ‘I’m going to be happy and good, if I can’t find nuts!’ After that I felt much better, and looked about me at the trees and bushes, and then at the little flowers growing amid the grass, and I was surprised to see how beautiful and bright everything seemed to me. Do you know why it was, Birdie?”

“No, mamma; why?” said the little boy.

“Because I was good-natured then, and felt bright and happy; that was the reason I could see the beauty of the sweet spring flowers, which I hardly noticed when I was giving way to ill-temper. I wondered who had planted all those lovely flowers, and who took care of them, and then I thought of the fairies, and said to myself, ‘I do believe they are the fairies’ flowers!’ Just then I heard a little rustling not far off, and, on looking around, what should I see but a troop of little tiny fairies, flying through the wood! Some wore long floating robes of pure white; others wore robes of blue or pale pink; and some had cloaks of green, that seemed to be made of leaves; but all had wings of shining gold, so fine and thin I could almost see through it; and yet they seemed strong, for the fairies flew about very quickly, and fluttered their golden wings in the sunlight until I was almost dazzled with their brightness.

“They did not notice me at all; and I sat there on the rock, with my head resting on my hand, hardly daring to breathe, lest I should frighten them away before I could see what they were doing.

“Very busy and active were the little creatures! They flew about among the flowers, and worked as hard as they could at their pleasant task. Some pulled the dead leaves away from the young plants, and carried off any sticks or twigs that had blown down; but the fairies were so little that it took two or three to carry off an oak-leaf, and a dozen of them could hardly lift some of the sticks. Others tried to loosen the earth around the flower-roots, and brought water from the spring, in tiny leaf-buckets, to pour upon the plants. It seemed to be the duty of others to flutter over the sleeping flowers, fanning them with their glittering wings, and singing,—

‘Idle flow’rets, ope your eyes!

 Fairy sunbeams bid you rise!’

And, as they sang, the flowers seemed to spring up at their call, and throw back their pale green hoods, lifting up their sweet blossoms to meet the bright smiles of their loving friends, who would bend to kiss them, and then flutter away to another spot, to call up flowers there. I heard no cross words, and saw no angry looks; but all seemed gentle and happy, and went singing on their way, seeming to know their duty and to rejoice in doing it.

“I watched them for a long time, and felt as if I should never tire of seeing these lovely little things tending their flowers; but at last I was startled by feeling a hand on my shoulder, and then my brother’s voice said, ‘Why, Bessie! I believe you have been asleep in the warm sunshine, just like a little pussy-cat!’

“I jumped up, and rubbed my eyes, looking around for the fairies, as I answered, ‘No, indeed, Jesse! I’ve been watching the sweetest little fairies, and I’m so sorry they have gone away before you saw them.’ But my brother laughed, and said, ‘O, you’ve been dreaming; I did not see any, and I came up very quietly.’

I could see no sign of the fairies then, either, but I concluded they had flown away to another part of the wood. However, I made up my mind to be pleasant, and only said, ‘Well, I’ve had a lovely time, anyhow,’ and then we went home.

“My brothers saw that I did not mind their funny teasing, so they did not say much about my nuts, though they saw, by the empty bag hanging from my arm, that their words had come true. As soon as we reached home, I ran to the nursery, where my mother was, and told her all about the fairies as well as I could.

“She did not laugh at me, but said it must have been a beautiful sight, and she would like to have seen it too; then she said, ‘I hope you have brought a Sunbeam Fairy home with you, my child.’ ‘Why, I could not, mother,’ said I; ‘they would not let me touch them; and, as soon as the boys spoke to me, they flew away as quick as lightning.’ My mother smiled, and said, ‘I think you have brought me a Sunbeam Fairy, for all that, my darling.’ And then she drew me close to her and said, ‘My little daughter looked rather gloomy and frowning as she left home; but she has come back so bright and smiling that I think the fairies have charmed away all the clouds. You must try always to copy your little friends, and shed smiles, like sunshine, on all around you.’ I kissed my kind mother, and promised to try and be cheerful; and after that, when I felt inclined to be cross or fretful, I would think of the happy Sunbeam Fairies, and try to be like them.”

“And so you are, dear mamma!” said Birdie, earnestly; “your eyes always look sunshiny to me!”

“And to me too!” said a deep voice behind them, which startled Birdie so that he fell off the log he had been sitting on; but he fell on the soft grass, and rolled over to see who it was, when he soon found out that his father had come to look for them, as it was dinner-time.

“This little rogue coaxed me into telling him a story,” said the mother, “and so we have stayed too long.”

Then Birdie gave his father the flowers, and he said they were beautiful, and thanked Birdie for picking them, and, tossing the little boy up to his shoulder, they went home through the apple-orchard, where the trees were blooming and the birds singing. Birdie’s head was as high as some of the branches, and his mother said his rosy face looked like a bright red apple with a straw hat on, and they had a merry walk, and soon reached home.

Margaret T. Canby.


Julius Eichberg.


Julius Eichberg.



No. 34.

The gambler my first will try to do,

  Wherever the game is played.

My second the miser must always have,

  For in it his hoards are laid.

To do my third mankind are prone

  And ever when seeking the best.

An ancient city on English ground

  Is the whole that waits to be guessed.


No. 35.

Kind friends to me your pity lend,

  Indeed I need it badly.

I have two heads, but ne’er an eye,

  And then I’m beaten sadly.

I wear a belt, have ne’er a waist,

  And yet I tell you truly,

Whene’er I speak, princes and kings

  Must all obey me duly.


I have no ear, I never sing,

  I’m musical, however;

And yet, unless you beat me well,

  Sure I am silent ever!


No. 36.

Softly, stilly falls the moonlight,

  Brightening o’er the mellow fields

Silently, until at daybreak

  My first unto Aurora yields.


From the noontide sultry zephyrs,

  ’Neath the oak’s wide-spreading boughs,

Seeking for my welcome second

  Come the weary, restless cows.


In the deep, dark, tangled wildwood

  Hangs my whole in clusters red;

Beautiful, yet poison-breathing;

  He who eats the fruit is dead!

M. T. H.




Willy Wisp.


No. 39.

I am composed of 17 letters.

My 3, 2, 1, is to bow.

My 15, 16, 17, is part of the human body.

My 11, 15, 6, 14, is not that.

My 15, 16, 7, 8, is the home of an industrious insect.

My 10, 6, 3, 4, is a measure.

My 12, 16, 4, is to strike.

My 14, 9, 13, is an abbreviation of a female name.

My 1, 2, 5, is a domestic animal.

My whole is the dying exclamation of a hero.


No. 40.

I am composed of 60 letters.

My 21, 6, 25, 48, 43, 45, 53, 59, was a celebrated princess of Greece.

My 1, 37, 42, 2, 10, 9, 55, 54, 12, 26, 30, was the son of a king of Egypt.

My 4, 29, 34, 13, 30, 5, were sea-nymphs.

My 23, 14, 57, 35, 16, 50, 17, was a surname of Diana.

My 20, 8, 44, 18, 56, 21, 54, 19, was a scold.

My 15, 3, 11, 36, 38, 51, was the mother of three thousand daughters.

My 39, 58, 40, 22, 44, 33, was one of the Gorgons.

My 24, 50, 27, 41, 25, was a giant.

My 7, 29, 60, 55, was a queen.

My 32, 52, 46, 19, 4, were goddesses.

My 28, 37, 47, 59, was the daughter of Juno.

My 49, 26, 6, 31, was an Edomite.

My whole is worth remembering.



No. 41.

Upon an Illinoisian plain

I have a wide and rich domain

Of timber-land and prairie fair,

Which is in form exactly square.

A fence I built around this farm,

To keep my growing crops from harm.

My posts I planted in the ground

A rod apart, and then I found

That for each post that fenced it round

I had an acre, just, of land.

Your slates, and tell me, youngster band,

How many posts my farm surround?

How many acres do they bound?



26.Rio JaneirO,
28.Ten dollars make an eagle. [X (doll)r’s (May) (can) (eagle).]
29.I’ll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes. [(Isle) (pew) (tag) (eye) r d (ell) (e round a bout) the (ear) (he thin) (forte) (m in u) (teas).]
31.When the swallows homeward fly.
33.Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The Conqueror.


Mrs. J. P. Ballard sends us, in a letter, this pleasant story, which she knows to be true, and which may teach some of our little readers—not many, we hope, need it—a good lesson.

Twenty-three Eggs.

“At eight years old I was as wide awake, and saw as many things between daybreak and nine o’clock at night, as any boy in the country, and was withal fond of telling quite as much as I saw, and now and then a good deal more.

“My mother sometimes suspected me of great powers of exaggeration, but as, on looking into my statements, she could never detect me in a direct lie, I was little likely to receive the correction which I was often conscious of deserving. This came to me in an unexpected manner, and the way I was helped out of the worst and last falsehood I ever told has always been a mystery to me.

“I was loitering in the kitchen one morning, where my mother was at work making tarts, when—tarts suggesting cake, and cake, eggs—she turned to me and said, ‘I don’t see as your new-fangled chickens turn out any better than the old ones. We don’t seem to have any more eggs.’

“Here my mother touched a tender spot. I had bought the chickens with my own money, and on the positive assurance of their being magnificent layers.

“ ‘Yes, they do,’ I said,—not stopping to think what my hasty vindication might cost me,—‘yes, they do; they lay splendidly. I found a nest with ever so many eggs in it this morning.’

“ ‘Then why didn’t you bring them in?’

“ ‘I had no basket, and then I forgot it; but there’s a hole there, under the cow’s rack, and I counted twenty-three eggs.’

“That was a ‘stunner,’ but my mother did not drop her rolling-pin, nor give any sign that she discredited my assertion. She only said quietly, ‘Take a basket, Bridget, and go with Harry to the barn.’

I took the basket, and marched out, half a rod ahead of Bridget, straight to the cow’s rack. I did not expect to find anything, but I must go ahead till I had to stop; that was always my way. So I went to the rack, when, sure enough, there was the hole; and, thrusting in my arm, I felt—an egg. I put it in the basket and tried again,—another, and another, till twenty-three eggs had been taken from the wonderful hole. Just twenty-three, and no more!

“Never was profounder astonishment in one little breast, and the worst of it was, it had to be kept there. It was a big charge of powder in a small rock. I was terribly afraid it would explode; but it didn’t. I took the eggs to my mother, and went out whistling,—my mother saying to herself,—dear soul!—‘How foolish I was to doubt him!’

“Poor me! how I ached to confess the fiction for the sake of telling the stranger truth! I had not the courage to do this, but the effect on me of the amazing verification of my falsehood was never lost. I had been so strangely confronted face to face with my lie, as if the Evil One had whispered, ‘Have it as you say’ that I determined it should be my last. And it was. I became strictly truthful,—so noted, indeed, for exactness, that the time has at length come when I can safely tell the story of my twenty-three eggs.”

Ned Sketchley. Aim at finish and style, as well as spirit, in your drawings.—Willy Wisp draws out his symbols.—Put very little trust in the floating personal paragraphs of newspapers; they are rarely correct.—Ruskin’s “Elements of Drawing” costs about two dollars. Scribner, Welford, & Co., of New York, can tell you all about it.

Who can find the puzzle in this?

“Divide 18/53 by 81/106. Following literally the rule of (Eaton’s) arithmetic, I get 17 for the quotient. How can this be?


“ ‘Rule. Invert the divisor, and then proceed as in multiplication.’

Eaton’s Arithmetic.

“ ‘Invert,—to turn upside down.’

Webster’s Dictionary.

“The divisor inverted is therefore 901/18.

18/53 × 901/18 = 17.”

Homer says that his “big brother” at college has been agreeably surprising him by a subscription to our Magazine, and he advises other elders who wish to please the younger brothers at home to do likewise. Homer’s advice sounds in our ears exceedingly rational.

O. M. The enigma was rather too long.

An unknown friend sends these sweet verses.

The Brook.

“Up through the mosses I gently creep;

Soft from their green heads kiss I the heat;

Fresh is the print of my viewless feet;

        Through grottos dim

        Murmureth my hymn,

        Down the green aisles

        Gleam out my smiles,

Flowers laugh out on my sedgy brim,

Greenness abideth where I have been.


“Over the pebbles my light foot trips,

Fresh lie the drops on my parted lips,

In ’mid the lilies my bright hair dips;

        Laughing I speed

        Down through the mead,

        Singing my song

        Happy and long,

Clasping the moss with my fair white hands,

Crowning my head with its long green bands.


“Through the soft blush of the spring sunshine,

On through the gleam of the summer-time,

On through the wealth of the autumn’s prime,

        Never staying

        For the playing

        Of the low breeze

        In the pine-trees,

Always I haste to the broad blue sea,

Boundless, confineless, and ever free.


“Winter his clear crystal shackles flings

Over the speed of my flashing wings;

Shuddering I shrink to a smaller stream;

        Yet far below

        Under the snow

        Noiseless I creep,

        E’en while I weep,

Shuddering, and chilled, and sighing, ‘Ah, when,

When shall I leap in my joy again?’


“Wait I in faith, for I know erelong

Comes my release with the robin’s song,

Comes my release with the smiling throng

        Of sweet mayflowers

        In leafy bowers,

        And bursting leaves

        On old oak-trees;

The winter is long, but I soon shall wake

Into music and laughter for spring’s sweet sake.

Perle Ley.

Have you all translated last month’s Shakespearian puzzle? If so, we do not need to tell you that it is “He dies, and makes no sign.” The next one we have to offer you is this, which Mr. Day has derived from the play of “Hamlet,” Act I., Scene 4.


Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been fixed.

[The end of Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Volume 4, Issue 6 edited by J. T. Trowbridge and Lucy Larcom]