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Title: Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls. Vol. I, No. I, January 1865.
Editor: Hamilton, Gail [Dodge, Mary Abigail] (1833-1896)
Editor: Larcom, Lucy (1824-1893)
Editor: Trowbridge, John Townsend (1827-1916)
Author: Coffin, Charles Carleton (1823-1896)
Author: Hamilton, Gail [Dodge, Mary Abigail] (1833-1896)
Author: Kirke, Edmund [Gilmore, James Roberts] (1822-1903)
Author: Larcom, Lucy (1824-1893)
Author: Lewis, Dio [Diocletian] (1823-1886)
Author: Morris, Edmund (1804-1874)
Author: Reid, [Thomas] Mayne (1818-1883)
Author: Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896)
Author: Trowbridge, John Townsend (1827-1916)
Author: Weiss, John (1818-1879)
Illustrator: "Cakis, Anthony" [exact spelling uncertain]
Illustrator: "H. M. T."
Illustrator: "Morse"
Date of first publication: 1865
Place and date of edition used as base for this ebook: Boston: Ticknor and Fields, January 1865
Date first posted: 2 August 2009
Date last updated: 2 August 2009
Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #363

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, David Edwards & the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

This file was produced from images generously made available by the Internet Archive/American Libraries


An Illustrated Magazine


Vol. I. JANUARY, 1865. No. I.

This Table of Contents is added for convenience


Pg 1




At Rye Beach, during our summer's vacation, there came, as there always will to seaside visitors, two or three cold, chilly, rainy days,—days when the skies that long had not rained a drop seemed suddenly to bethink themselves of their remissness, and to pour down water, not by drops, but by pailfuls. The chilly wind blew and whistled, the water dashed along the ground, and careered in foamy rills along the roadside, and the bushes bent beneath the constant flood. It was plain that there was to be no sea-bathing on such a day, no walks, no rides; and so, shivering and drawing our blanket-shawls close about us, we sat down to the window to watch the storm outside. The rose-bushes under the window hung dripping under their load of moisture, each spray shedding a constant shower on the spray below it. On one of these lower sprays, under the perpetual drip, what should we see but a poor little humming-bird, drawn up into the tiniest shivering ball, and clinging with a desperate grasp to his uncomfortable perch. A humming-bird we knew him to be at once, though his feathers were so matted and glued down by the rain that he looked not much bigger than a honey-bee, and as different as possible from the smart, pert, airy little character that we had so often seen flirting with the flowers. He was evidently a humming-bird in adversity, and whether he ever would hum again looked to Pg 2us exceedingly doubtful. Immediately, however, we sent out to have him taken in. When the friendly hand seized him, he gave a little, faint, watery squeak, evidently thinking that his last hour was come, and that grim Death was about to carry him off to the land of dead birds. What a time we had reviving him,—holding the little wet thing in the warm hollow of our hands, and feeling him shiver and palpitate! His eyes were fast closed; his tiny claws, which looked slender as cobwebs, were knotted close to his body, and it was long before one could feel the least motion in them. Finally, to our great joy, we felt a brisk little kick, and then a flutter of wings, and then a determined peck of the beak, which showed that there was some bird left in him yet, and that he meant at any rate to find out where he was.

Unclosing our hands a small space, out popped the little head with a pair of round brilliant eyes. Then we bethought ourselves of feeding him, and forthwith prepared him a stiff glass of sugar and water, a drop of which we held to his bill. After turning his head attentively, like a bird who knew what he was about and didn't mean to be chaffed, he briskly put out a long, flexible tongue, slightly forked at the end, and licked off the comfortable beverage with great relish. Immediately he was pronounced out of danger by the small humane society which had undertaken the charge of his restoration, and we began to cast about for getting him a settled establishment in our apartment. I gave up my work-box to him for a sleeping-room, and it was medically ordered that he should take a nap. So we filled the box with cotton, and he was formally put to bed with a folded cambric handkerchief round his neck, to keep him from beating his wings. Out of his white wrappings he looked forth green and grave as any judge with his bright round eyes. Like a bird of discretion, he seemed to understand what was being done to him, and resigned himself sensibly to go to sleep.

The box was covered with a sheet of paper perforated with holes for purposes of ventilation; for even humming-birds have a little pair of lungs, and need their own little portion of air to fill them, so that they may make bright scarlet little drops of blood to keep life's fire burning in their tiny bodies. Our bird's lungs manufactured brilliant blood, as we found out by experience; for in his first nap he contrived to nestle himself into the cotton of which his bed was made, and to get more of it than he needed into his long bill. We pulled it out as carefully as we could, but there came out of his bill two round, bright, scarlet, little drops of blood. Our chief medical authority looked grave, pronounced a probable hemorrhage from the lungs, and gave him over at once. We, less scientific, declared that we had only cut his little tongue by drawing out the filaments of cotton, and that he would do well enough in time,—as it afterward appeared he did,—for from that day there was no more bleeding. In the course of the second day he began to take short flights about the room, though he seemed to prefer to return to us,—perching on our fingers or heads or shoulders, and sometimes choosing to sit in this way for half an hour at a time. “These great giants,” he seemed to say to himself, “are not bad people after all; they have a comfortable way with them; how nicely they dried and Pg 3warmed me! Truly a bird might do worse than to live with them.”

So he made up his mind to form a fourth in the little company of three that usually sat and read, worked and sketched, in that apartment, and we christened him “Hum, the son of Buz.” He became an individuality, a character, whose little doings formed a part of every letter, and some extracts from these will show what some of his little ways were.

“Hum has learned to sit upon my finger, and eat his sugar and water out of a teaspoon with most Christian-like decorum. He has but one weakness,—he will occasionally jump into the spoon and sit in his sugar and water, and then appear to wonder where it goes to. His plumage is in rather a drabbled state, owing to these performances. I have sketched him as he sat to-day on a bit of Spiræa which I brought in for him. When absorbed in reflection, he sits with his bill straight up in the air, as I have drawn him. Mr. A—— reads Macaulay to us, and you should see the wise air with which, perched on Jenny's thumb, he cocked his head now one side and then the other, apparently listening with most critical attention. His confidence in us seems unbounded; he lets us stroke his head, smooth his feathers, without a flutter; and is never better pleased than sitting, as he has been doing all this while, on my hand, turning up his bill, and watching my face with great edification.

“I have just been having a sort of maternal struggle to make him go to bed in his box; but he evidently considers himself sufficiently convalescent to make a stand for his rights as a bird, and so scratched indignantly out of his wrappings, and set himself up to roost on the edge of his box, with an air worthy of a turkey, at the very least. Having brought in a lamp, he has opened his eyes round and wide, and sits cocking his little head at me reflectively.”

When the weather cleared away, and the sun came out bright, Hum became entirely well, and seemed resolved to take the measure of his new life with us. Our windows were closed in the lower part of the sash by frames with mosquito gauze, so that the sun and air found free admission, and yet our little rover could not pass out. On the first sunny day he took an exact survey of our apartment from ceiling to floor, humming about, examining every point with his bill,—all the crevices, mouldings, each little indentation in the bed-posts, each window-pane, each chair and stand; and, as it was a very simply furnished seaside apartment, his scrutiny was soon finished. We wondered, at first, what this was all about; but, on watching him more closely, we found that he was actively engaged in getting his living, by darting out his long tongue hither and thither, and drawing in all the tiny flies and insects which in summer-time are to be found in an apartment. In short, we found that, though the nectar of flowers was his dessert, yet he had his roast beef and mutton-chop to look after, and that his bright, brilliant blood was not made out of a simple vegetarian diet. Very shrewd and keen he was, too, in measuring the size of insects before he attempted to swallow them. The smallest class were whisked off with lightning speed; but about larger ones he would sometimes wheel and hum for some minutes, darting hither and thither, and surveying them warily; and if satisfied that theyPg 4 could be carried, he would come down with a quick, central dart which would finish the unfortunate at a snap. The larger flies seemed to irritate him,—especially when they intimated to him that his plumage was sugary, by settling on his wings and tail; when he would lay about him spitefully, wielding his bill like a sword. A grasshopper that strayed in, and was sunning himself on the window-seat, gave him great discomposure. Hum evidently considered him an intruder, and seemed to long to make a dive at him; but, with characteristic prudence, confined himself to threatening movements, which did not exactly hit. He saw evidently that he could not swallow him whole, and what might ensue from trying him piecemeal he wisely forbore to essay.

Hum had his own favorite places and perches. From the first day he chose for his nightly roost a towel-line which had been drawn across the corner over the wash-stand, where he every night established himself with one claw in the edge of the towel and the other clasping the line, and, ruffling up his feathers till he looked like a little chestnut-bur, he would resign himself to the soundest sleep. He did not tuck his head under his wing, but seemed to sink it down between his shoulders, with his bill almost straight up in the air. One evening one of us, going to use the towel, jarred the line, and soon after found that Hum had been thrown from his perch, and was hanging head downward fast asleep, still clinging to the line. Another evening, being discomposed by somebody coming to the towel-line after he had settled himself, he fluttered off; but so sleepy that he had not discretion to poise himself again, and was found clinging, like a little bunch of green floss silk, to the mosquito netting of the window.

A day after this we brought in a large green bough, and put it up over the looking-glass. Hum noticed it before it had been there five minutes, flew to it, and began a regular survey, perching now here, now there, till he seemed to find a twig that exactly suited him; and after that he roosted there every night. Who does not see in this change all the signs of reflection and reason that are shown by us in thinking over our circumstances, and trying to better them? It seemed to say in so many words: “That towel-line is an unsafe place for a bird; I get frightened, and wake from bad dreams to find myself head downward; so I will find a better roost on this twig.”

When our little Jenny one day put on a clean white muslin gown embellished with red sprigs, Hum flew towards her, and with his bill made instant examination of these new appearances; and one day, being very affectionately disposed, perched himself on her shoulder, and sat some time. On another occasion, while Mr. A—— was reading, Hum established himself on the top of his head just over the middle of his forehead, in the precise place where our young belles have lately worn stuffed humming-birds, making him look as if dressed out for a party. Hum's most favorite perch was the back of the great rocking-chair, which, being covered by a tidy, gave some hold into which he could catch his little claws. There he would sit, balancing himself cleverly if its occupant chose to swing to and fro, and seeming to be listening to the conversation or reading.Pg 5

Hum had his different moods, like human beings. On cold, cloudy, gray days, he appeared to be somewhat depressed in spirits, hummed less about the room, and sat humped-up with his feathers ruffled, looking as much like a bird in a great-coat as possible. But on hot, sunny days, every feather sleeked itself down, and his little body looked natty and trim, his head alert, his eyes bright, and it was impossible to come near him, for his agility. Then let mosquitos and little flies look about them! Hum snapped them up without mercy, and seemed to be all over the ceiling in a moment, and resisted all our efforts at any personal familiarity with a saucy alacrity.

he would stoop over and dip his bill in the
water in the tumbler

Hum had his established institutions in our room, the chief of which was a tumbler with a little sugar and water mixed in it, and a spoon laid across, out of which he helped himself whenever he felt in the mood,—sitting on the edge of the tumbler, and dipping his long bill, and lapping with his little forked tongue like a kitten. When he found his spoon accidentally dry, he would stoop over and dip his bill in the water in the tumbler,—which caused the prophecy on the part of some of his guardians, that he would fall in some day and be drowned. For which reason it was agreed to keep only an inch in depth of the fluid at the bottom of the tumbler. A wise precaution this proved; for the next morning I was awaked, not by the usual hum over my head, but by a sharp little flutter, and found Mr. Hum beating his wings in the tumbler,—having actually tumbled in during his energetic efforts to get his morning coffee before I was awake.

Hum seemed perfectly happy and satisfied in his quarters,—but one day,Pg 6 when the door was left open, made a dart out, and so into the open sunshine. Then, to be sure, we thought we had lost him. We took the mosquito netting out of all the windows, and, setting his tumbler of sugar and water in a conspicuous place, went about our usual occupations. We saw him joyous and brisk among the honeysuckles outside the window, and it was gravely predicted that he would return no more. But at dinner-time in came Hum, familiar as possible, and sat down to his spoon as if nothing had happened; instantly we closed our windows, and had him secure once more.

At another time I was going to ride to the Atlantic House, about a mile from my boarding-place. I left all secure, as I supposed, at home. While gathering moss on the walls there, I was surprised by a little green humming-bird flying familiarly right towards my face, and humming above my head. I called out, “Here is Hum's very brother.” But, on returning home, I saw that the door of the room was open, and Hum was gone. Now certainly we gave him up for lost. I sat down to painting, and in a few minutes in flew Hum, and settled on the edge of my tumbler in a social, confidential way, which seemed to say, “O, you've got back then.” After taking his usual drink of sugar and water, he began to fly about the ceiling as usual, and we gladly shut him in.

When our five weeks at the seaside were up, and it was time to go home, we had great questionings what was to be done with Hum. To get him home with us was our desire,—but who ever heard of a humming-bird travelling by railroad? Great were the consultings; a little basket of Indian work was filled up with cambric handkerchiefs, and a bottle of sugar and water provided, and we started with him for a day's journey. When we arrived at night, the first care was to see what had become of Hum, who had not been looked at since we fed him with sugar and water in Boston. We found him alive and well, but so dead asleep that we could not wake him to roost; so we put him to bed on a toilet cushion, and arranged his tumbler for morning. The next day found him alive and humming, exploring the room and pictures, perching now here and now there; but, as the weather was chilly, he sat for the most part of the time in a humped-up state on the tip of a pair of stag's horns. We moved him to a more sunny apartment; but, alas! the equinoctial storm came on, and there was no sun to be had for days. Hum was blue; the pleasant seaside days were over; his room was lonely, the pleasant three that had enlivened the apartment at Rye no longer came in and out; evidently he was lonesome, and gave way to depression. One chilly morning he managed again to fall into his tumbler, and wet himself through; and, notwithstanding warm bathings and tender nursings, the poor little fellow seemed to get diptheria, or something quite as bad for humming-birds.

We carried him to a neighboring sunny parlor, where ivy embowers all the walls, and the sun lies all day. There he revived a little, danced up and down, perched on a green spray that was wreathed across the breast of a Psyche, and looked then like a little flitting soul returning to its rest.Pg 7 Towards evening he drooped; and, having been nursed and warmed and cared for, he was put to sleep on a green twig laid on the piano. In that sleep the little head drooped—nodded—fell; and little Hum went where other bright dreams go,—to the Land of the Hereafter.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.



The last days of November, and everything so green!
A finer bit of country my eyes have never seen.
'Twill be a thing to tell of, ten years or twenty hence,
How I came down to Georgia at Uncle Sam's expense.
Four years ago this winter, up at the district school,
I wrote all day, and ciphered, perched on a white-pine stool;
And studied in my atlas the boundaries of the States,
And learnt the wars with England, the history and the dates.
Then little I expected to travel in such haste
Along the lines my fingers and fancy often traced,
To bear a soldier's knapsack, and face the cannon's mouth,
And help to save for Freedom the lovely, perjured South.
That red, old-fashioned school-house! what winds came sweeping through
Its doors from bald Monadnock, and from the mountains blue
That slope off south and eastward beyond the Merrimack!
O pleasant Northern river, your music calls me back
To where the pines are humming the slow notes of their psalm
Around a shady farm-house, half hid within their calm,
Reflecting in the river a picture not so bright
As these verandahed mansions,—but yet my heart's delight.
They're sitting at the table this clear Thanksgiving noon;
I smell the crispy turkey, the pies will come in soon,—
The golden squares of pumpkin, the flaky rounds of mince,
Behind the barberry syrups, the cranberry and the quince.
Be sure my mouth does water,—but then I am content
To stay and do the errand on which I have been sent.
A soldier mustn't grumble at salt beef and hard-tack:
We'll have a grand Thanksgiving if ever we get back!
Pg 8
I'm very sure they'll miss me at dinner-time to-day,
For I was good at stowing their provender away.
When mother clears the table, and wipes the platters bright,
She'll say, “I hope my baby don't lose his appetite!”
But oh! the after-dinner! I miss that most of all,—
The shooting at the targets, the jolly game of ball,
And then the long wood-ramble! We climbed, and slid, and ran,—
We and the neighbor-children,—and one was Mary Ann,
Who (as I didn't mention) sat next to me at school:
Sometimes I had to show her the way to work the rule
Of Ratio and Proportion, and do upon her slate
Those long, hard sums that puzzle a merry maiden's pate.
I wonder if they're going across the hills to-day;
And up the cliffs I wonder what boy will lead the way;
And if they'll gather fern-leaves and checkerberries red,
And who will put a garland of ground-pine on her head.
O dear! the air grows sultry: I'd wish myself at home
Were it a whit less noble, the cause for which I've come.
Four years ago a school-boy; as foolish now as then!
But greatly they don't differ, I fancy,—boys and men.
I'm just nineteen to-morrow, and I shall surely stay
For Freedom's final battle, be it until I'm gray,
Unless a Southern bullet should take me off my feet.—
There's nothing left to live for, if Rebeldom should beat;
For home and love and honor and freedom are at stake,
And life may well be given for our dear Union's sake;
So reads the Proclamation, and so the sermon ran;
Do ministers and people feel it as soldiers can?
When will it all be ended? 'Tis not in youth to hold
In quietness and patience, like people grave and old:
A year? three? four? or seven?—O then, when I return,
Put on a big log, mother, and let it blaze and burn,
And roast your fattest turkey, bake all the pies you can,
And, if she isn't married, invite in Mary Ann!
Hang flags from every window! we'll all be glad and gay,
For Peace will light the country on that Thanksgiving Day.
Lucy Larcom.

Thumbling: A Story for Children


Pg 9



The Introduction.

Dear Old Friend:—We were all sitting round the fire the other evening after dinner. The evening paper had been read and explained, and the Colonel was now nursing his wounded arm, and musingly smoking his old camp-pipe, browned to a rich mahogany in many marches among the sands of Folly Island, through the rose-gardens of Florida, and over the hills and valleys of battle-worn old Virginia; I myself, who have never yet taken kindly to pipes,—though I suppose I shall have to ere many days,—was dreaming over a fragrant Cabañas; Madame was hard at work over a pile of the week's stockings; and the children taking their last frolic about the parlor, preparatory to their unwilling Good-night and fearful departure to the hated regions above stairs;—when our neat-handed Bridget entered the room, staggering under the weight of the monthly parcel of French books, just arrived by express.

You, who live where you can see all the new books as soon as they appear,Pg 10 can hardly imagine the eagerness with which we poor country people, far away from publishing-houses and foreign bookstores, welcome the sight of this monthly parcel. We passed over the green and yellow duodecimos, glancing at Féval, About, Berthel, Sand, and the rest, each looking for his particular favorite among the authors, when the children, whose busy fingers had helped to untie the knots and unwrap the packages, and who were rummaging with as much eagerness as we, suddenly discovered a sober octavo, that seemed to promise well; for, after a hasty look at it, they carried it away to the library-table, and examined it, for a time, in profound silence. After a while, one little boy spoke out:—

“O, papa! this must be a real old-fashioned fairy-book, for it is full of pictures of fairies, and knights, and giants, and dwarfs, and dragons! Do read it to us, please!”

Now, my dear friend, you know that my youngsters have a most insatiate appetite for, and a most thorough appreciation of, real fairy stories, as they call them. But they are pitiless judges; they can hardly tire of Blue Beard, and Beauty and the Beast, and the Arabian Nights; but they turn up their little noses in contempt at the moral fairy stories, which some of their kind aunts have attempted to impose upon them. I myself have a secret dislike for those sham stories which deceive you into believing you are hearing about real fairies and giants, only to tell you, at the end, that the good fairy is no other than Cheerfulness, Industry, or some sister virtue, and that the giant is Luxury, Ill-Temper, or some kindred vice. Yet the children are severer critics than I. They will have nothing whatever to do with the good fairies who have no magical power, and who live in their own little bodies; nor with the wicked giants who, they can see at once, have none of the attributes of the giants of old. They swallow the pill once, thinking it a sugar-plum; but after finding it to be a pill, no amount of sugar coating will make it anything but medicine. And all boys and girls are alike in this, and will be so, let us hope, to the end of time. Even we old fellows recall those old-time stories with something of the same awe-struck admiration, and something of the same unquestioning belief, with which we listened to them, I don't know how many years ago. We sneer at the improbabilities and inconsistencies of modern fiction; but who thinks of being startled at the charming incongruities, the bold but fascinating impossibilities, of Cinderella, and Aladdin, and Puss in Boots? Don't we in our heart of hearts still believe that, a long time ago, before men grew too wicked for them, the gentle fairies really lived in their jewelled palaces under ground, and came out, now and then, to protect the youth and beauty they loved from giants, and dragons, and malicious genii, and all manner of evil things? I declare I should be ashamed of myself if I did not; and I am sure that none of us, who are good for anything, have altogether lost that old belief; and when we look back at those days of young romance, and remember the thrill with which we read of Bluebeard's punishment, and Beauty's reward, we feel that it would be better for us if they had more of that old childlike faith. And so I encourage my youngsters to read and listen to, over and overPg 11 again, the same old stories that, when I was a boy, warmed my young imagination, and to eschew the dismal allegories with which well-meaning but short-sighted writers try to supply the places of Jack the Giant-killer and all his marvellous family. And so I was almost as pleased as the children, when I saw, from its quaint and grotesque pictures, that their treasure-trove was really a book of real old-fashioned fairy stories.

Of course, nothing would do but that the bedtime should be put off, and that I should read one, at least, of the stories to the young folks. As my selection won their unqualified admiration, and they are, as I have said, good critics, I send it to you for the benefit of your little people. Your studies in the Norse languages have perhaps made you familiar with the original of it; but I think it will be new to most boys and girls.

Your old chum,


The Story.



Once upon a time there was a peasant, who had three sons, Peter, Paul, and John. Peter was tall, stout, rosy and good-natured, but a stupid fellow; Paul was thin, yellow, envious, and surly; while Jack was full of mischief, pale as a girl, but so small that he could stow himself away in his father's jack-boots; and so he was called Thumbling.

All the wealth the poor peasant had was his family; and so poor was he, that it was a very feast-day in his cottage if only a penny happened to jingle there. Food was very high then, and wages low; so, as soon as the three boys were big enough to work for themselves, the good father was obliged to urge them to leave the cottage where they were born, and to go out into the world to seek their fortune.

“In foreign lands,” he said, “across the sea, bread could always be had, even if it took hard work to get it; while at home, in spite of all their toil, they were never sure of a crust for the morrow.”

Now it happened that, not a mile from the woodman's hut, there was a magnificent wooden palace, with twenty balconies and six beautiful windows. And directly opposite these windows there sprang up, one fine summer's night, without the least warning, an immense oak, whose leaves and branches were so thickly clustered together, that one could hardly see in the king's house. It was no easy task to cut down this enormous tree, for it was so tough that it turned the edge of every axe that was wielded against it; and for every branch that was lopped off, or root that was plucked up, two instantly grew in its place. In vain did the king promise three bags of golden crowns to any one who would rid him of his troublesome neighbor; it was of no use at all; and he had at last to light his palace with candles, in broad daylight.

Nor was this the poor king's only trouble. Although the surrounding country was so rich in springs and brooks, that they frequently gushed outPg 12 of the solid rock itself, yet in the royal gardens they couldn't get a drop of water. In summer time, the king and all his court had to wash their hands in beer, and their faces with mead, which was not convenient, if it was pleasant. So that at last the king promised broad lands, heaps of money, and the title of Lord Marquis, to anybody who would dig a well in his court-yard deep enough to give a supply of water all the year round. In spite, however, of these magnificent promises, no one could get the reward; for the palace was on a lofty hill, and after digging a foot under ground there was a solid granite rock, as hard as flint.

Now these two troubles disturbed the king so much, that he couldn't get them out of his head. Although he was not a very great monarch, yet he was as obstinate as the Emperor of China himself. So one fine day he hit upon this wise plan. He caused an enormous placard to be prepared, with the royal arms magnificently displayed at the top; and in it he promised, to whoever would cut down the troublesome oak-tree, and dig him a satisfactory well, no less rewards than the hand of his only daughter, and the half of his kingdom. This placard was posted up on the palace-gate, and copies all over the kingdom. Now, as the princess was as beautiful as the morning, and the half of a kingdom by no means to be despised, the offer was enough to tempt any one; and there shortly came to the palace, from Sweden and Norway, from Denmark and Russia, from the continent and from the islands, a host of sturdy suitors, with axe on shoulder and pick in hand, ready to undertake the task. But all that they hacked and hewed, picked and hollowed, was labor lost. At every stroke the oak grew harder, and the granite no softer; so that the most persevering had at last to give up in despair.


One fine day, about this time, when everybody all over the land was talking of this wonderful affair, and everybody's head was full of it, our three brothers began to ask each other why, since their father wished them to do so, they shouldn't go out into the world to seek their fortune. They didn't hope for any great success, nor did they expect the hand of the princess, or the half of the kingdom. All they wished for was a good place and a kind master; and who could say they wouldn't find them both somewhere at the court? So they decided to try their luck; and after receiving the blessing of their good father, they started off, with stout hearts, on their way to the king's palace.

Whilst the two older brothers were slowly trudging along, Thumbling scampered up and down the road like a wild thing, running backwards and forwards like a sportive dog, spying here, there, and everywhere, and noticing everything that was to be noticed. Nothing was too small for his sharp little eyes, and he kept constantly stopping his brothers to ask the why and the wherefore of everything: why the bees dived into the fragrant flower-cups? why the swallows skimmed along the rivers? why the butterflies zigzagged capriciously along the fields? To all these questions PeterPg 13 only answered with a burst of stupid laughter; while the surly Paul shrugged his shoulders, and crossly bade the little Thumbling hold his tongue, telling him he was an inquisitive little simpleton.

As they were going along, they came to a dense forest of pines, that covered the crest of a mountain, on the top of which they heard the sound of a woodman's axe, and the crackling of branches as they fell to the ground.

“That is a very strange thing,” said Thumbling, “to be cutting trees on the top of a mountain like this.”

“It would astonish me very much to find that you were not astonished at everything,” answered Peter, in a sour tone; “everything is wonderful to simpletons. I suppose you never heard of woodcutters.”

“It's all the same to me what you say,” said Thumbling; “but I am going to see what is going on up there.”

“Be off with you!” cried Paul; “tire yourself all out, and that will be a good lesson to you, for wanting to know more than your big brothers.”

Thumbling didn't trouble himself much with what his big brothers said, but started for the place whence the noise seemed to come, and, after much hard climbing and running, he arrived at the top of the mountain. And what do you suppose he found there? You would never guess, and so I will tell you. A MAGIC AXE, that all by itself was hacking away at one of the tallest trees on the mountain.

“Good morning, Mistress Axe,” cried Thumbling. “Doesn't it tire you to be chopping all alone there at that old tree?”

“Many long years I have been waiting for you, my son,” replied the axe.

“Very well, ma'am, here I am!” said Thumbling; and without being astonished at anything, he seized the axe, put it in the stout leather bag he carried over his shoulder, and gayly descended to overtake his brothers.

“What marvel did Master Moonstruck see up there?” asked Paul, looking at Thumbling with a very scornful air.

“It was an axe that we heard,” answered Thumbling, slyly.

“I could have told you so beforehand,” said Peter; “and here you are now, all tired out, for nothing. You had better stay with us another time.”

A little farther along, they came to a place where the road was hollowed with extreme difficulty out of a mass of solid rock; and here, in the distance, the brothers heard a sharp noise, like that of iron striking against stone.

“It is very wonderful that anybody should be hammering away at rocks away up there!” remarked Thumbling.

“Truly,” said Paul, “you must have been fledged yesterday! Didn't you ever hear a woodpecker pecking at the trunk of an old tree?”

“He is right,” added Peter, laughing; “it must be a woodpecker. Stay with us, you foolish fellow.”

“It's all the same to me,” answered Thumbling; “but I am very curious to see what is going on up there.” So he began to climb the rocks on his hands and knees, while his two brothers trudged along, making as much fun of him as possible.Pg 14

When he got up to the top of the rock, which was only after a deal of hard work, what do you suppose he found there? A MAGIC PICKAXE, that, all alone by itself, was digging at the hard stone as if it were soft clay; and digging so well, that at every blow it went down more than a foot in the rock.

“Good morning, Mistress Pickaxe,” said Thumbling. “Doesn't it tire you to be delving alone there, hollowing away at that old rock?”

“Many long years I have been waiting for you, my son,” answered the pickaxe.

“Very well, ma'am! here I am,” replied Thumbling; and, without being astonished at anything, he seized the pick, took it off its handle, put the two pieces in the stout leather bag he carried over his shoulder, and gayly descended to overtake his brothers.

“What miracle did his Worship see this time?” asked Paul, in a surly tone.

“It was a pickaxe that we heard,” answered Thumbling, slyly; and he plodded along, without any more words.

A little farther along, they came to a brook. The water was clear and fresh, and, as the travellers were thirsty, they all stopped to drink out of the hollows of their hands.

“It is very wonderful,” said Thumbling, “that there should be so much water in this little valley. I should like to see where this brook starts from.”

But to this the only answer was from Paul, who said gruffly to his brother, “We shall soon see this inquisitive fellow climbing up to Heaven, and asking questions of the angels themselves.”

“Very well!” says Thumbling; “it's all the same; and I am very curious to see where all this water comes from.”

So saying, he began to follow up the streamlet, in spite of the jeers and scoldings of his brothers. And lo and behold! the farther he went, smaller and smaller grew the brook, and less and less the quantity of water. And when he came to the end, what do you think he found? A simple nut-shell, from the bottom of which a tiny stream of water burst out and sparkled in the sun.

“Good morning, Mistress Spring,” cried Thumbling. “Doesn't it tire you to be gushing away there all alone in your little corner?”

“Many long years I have been waiting for you, my son,” replied the spring.

“Very well, ma'am! here I am,” said Thumbling; and without being astonished at anything, he seized the nut-shell, plugged it up with moss, so that the water shouldn't run out, put it in the stout leather bag he carried over his shoulder, and gayly descended to overtake his brothers.

“Do you know now where the brook starts from?” shouted Peter, as soon as he saw him.

“Yes, brother Peter,” replied Thumbling; “it came out of a little hole.”

“This boy is too bright to live,” grumbled Peter.

But Thumbling quietly said to himself, and rubbed his hands meanwhile, “I have seen what I wanted to see, and I know what I wanted to know; let those laugh who wish.”Pg 15


Shortly after this, the brothers arrived at the king's palace. The oak was stouter and thicker than ever; there was no sign of a well in the court-yard; and at the gate of the palace still hung the imposing placard that promised the hand of the princess, and the half of the kingdom, to whoever, noble, gentleman, or peasant, should accomplish the two things his Majesty so ardently desired. Only, as the king was weary of so many fruitless attempts, which had only resulted in making him more despairing than before, he had ordered a second and smaller placard to be pasted directly above the large one. On this placard was written, in red letters, the following terrible words:

Be it known, by these presents, that, in his inexhaustible goodness, his Majesty, the King, has deigned to order, that whosoever does not succeed in cutting down the oak, or in digging the well, shall have his ears promptly stricken off, in order to teach him the first lesson of wisdom,—TO KNOW HIMSELF.”

And, in order that everybody should profit by this wise and prudent counsel, the king had caused to be nailed around this placard thirty bleeding ears, belonging to the unfortunate fellows who had proved themselves ignorant of the first lesson of wisdom.

When Peter read this notice, he laughed to himself, twisted his mustaches, looked proudly at his brawny arms, whose swollen veins looked like so many pieces of blue whipcord, swung his axe twice around his head, and with one blow chopped off one of the biggest branches of the enchanted tree. To his horror and dismay, however, there immediately sprang forth two more branches, each bigger and thicker than the first; and the king's guards thereupon immediately seized the unlucky woodcutter, and, without any more ado, sliced off both his ears.

“You are an awkward booby, and deserve your punishment,” said Paul to his brother. Saying this, he took his axe, walked slowly around the tree, and, seeing a large root that projected from the soil, he chopped it off with a single blow. At the same instant, two enormous new roots broke from the ground; and, wonderful to relate, each one immediately shot out a trunk, thickly covered with foliage.

“Seize this miserable fellow,” shouted the furious king; “and, since he did not profit by the example of his brother, shave off both his ears, close to his head!”

No sooner said than done. But now Thumbling, undismayed by this double misfortune, stepped bravely forward to try his fortune.

“Drive this little abortion away,” cried the king; “and if he resists, chop off his ears. He will have the lesson all the same, and will spare us the sight of his stupidity.”

“Pardon, gracious Majesty!” interrupted Thumbling. “The king has passed his word, and I have the right to a trial. It will be time enough to cut off my ears when I fail.”

“Away, then, to the trial,” said the king, with a heavy sigh; “but be careful that I don't have your nose cut off to boot.”Pg 16

Thumbling now drew his magic axe from the bottom of his stout leather bag. It was almost as big as he was, and he had no little difficulty and trouble in standing it up, with the handle leaning against the enchanted tree. At last, however, all was accomplished; and stepping back a few steps, he cried out, “Chop! chop!! chop!!!” And lo and behold! the axe began to chop, hew, hack, now right, now left, and up and down! Trunk, branches, roots, all were speedily cut to bits. In fact, it only took a quarter of an hour, and yet there was such a heap, a monstrous heap of wood, that the whole court had nothing else to burn for a whole year.

When the tree was entirely cut down and cleared away, Thumbling approached the king, (who, in the mean time, had sent for the princess, and caused her to sit down by his side, to see the wonderful thing,) and, making them both a low bow, said:—

“Is your Majesty entirely satisfied with his faithful subject?”

“Yes, so far so good,” answered the king; “but I must have my well, or look out for your ears!”

All went then into the grand court-yard. The king placed himself on an elevated seat. The princess sat a little below, and looked with some anxiety at the little husband that Heaven seemed to have sent her. He was not the spouse she had dreamed of, certainly. Without troubling himself the least in the world, Thumbling now drew the magic pickaxe from his stout leather bag, calmly put it together, and then, laying it carefully on the ground in the proper place, he cried:—

“Pick! Pick!! Pick!!!”

And lo and behold! the pick began to burst the granite to splinters, and in less than a quarter of an hour had dug a well more than a hundred feet deep, in the solid rock.

“Does your Majesty think,” asked Thumbling, bowing profoundly, “that the well is sufficiently deep?”

“Certainly,” answered the king; “but where is the water to come from?”

“If your Majesty will grant me a moment longer,” rejoined Thumbling, “your just impatience shall be satisfied.” So saying, he drew from his stout leather bag the nut-shell, all covered as it was with moss, and placed it on a magnificent fountain vase, where, not having any water, they had put a bouquet of flowers.

“Gush! Gush!! Gush!!!” cried Thumbling.

And lo and behold! the water began to burst out among the flowers, singing with a gentle murmur, and falling down in a charming cascade, that was so cold that it made everybody present shiver; and so abundant, that in a quarter of an hour the well was filled, and a deep trench had to be dug to take away the surplus water; otherwise the whole palace would have been overflowed.

“Sire!” now said Thumbling, bending gracefully on one knee before the royal chair, “does your Majesty find that I have answered your conditions?”

“Yes! my Lord Marquis Thumbling,” answered the king; “I am ready to give you the half of my kingdom, or to pay you the value of it, by meansPg 17 of a tax my loyal subjects will only be too happy to pay. As to giving you the princess, however, and calling you my son-in-law, that is another question; for that doesn't depend upon me alone.”

“And what must I do for that?” asked Thumbling proudly, ogling the princess at the same time.

“You shall know to-morrow,” replied the king; “and meanwhile you are my guest, and the most magnificent apartment in the palace shall be prepared for you.”

After the departure of the king and princess, Thumbling ran to find his two brothers, who, with their ears cut off, looked like cropped curs. “Ah! my boys,” said he, “do you think now I was wrong in being astonished at everything, as you said, and in trying to find out the why and wherefore of it?”

“You have had the luck,” answered Paul coldly; “Fortune is blind, and doesn't always choose the most worthy upon whom to bestow her favors.”

But Peter said, “You have done well, brother; and with or without ears, I am delighted at your good fortune, and only wish our poor old father was here to see it also.”

Thumbling took his two brothers along with him, and, as he was in high favor at court, that very day he secured them good situations.


Meanwhile, the king was tossing uneasily on his magnificent bed, and broad awake. Such a son-in-law as Thumbling didn't please him overmuch, so he tried to see if he couldn't think of some way of breaking his word, without seeming to do so. For people that call themselves honest, this is by no means an easy task. Put a thief between honor and interest, you won't find him hesitate; but that is because he is a thief. In his perplexity, the king sent for Peter and Paul, since the two brothers were the only ones who could enlighten him on the birth, character, and disposition of our hero. Peter, who, as you remember, was good-natured, praised his brother warmly, which didn't please the king overmuch; but Paul put the king more at his ease, by trying to prove to him that Thumbling was nothing but an adventurer, and that it would be ridiculous that so great a monarch should be under obligations to such a contemptible fellow.

“The scamp is so vain,” continued the malicious Paul, “that he thinks he is stout enough to manage a giant; and you can use this vanity of his to get rid of him. In the neighboring country there is an ugly Troll, who is the terror of the whole neighborhood. He devours all the cattle for ten leagues about, and commits unheard-of devastation everywhere. Now Thumbling has said a great many times that, if he wanted to, he would make this giant his slave.”

“We shall see about this,” said the king, who caught at the insinuation of the wicked brother, and thereupon sent the two brothers away, and slept tranquilly the rest of the night.Pg 18

The next morning, when the whole court was called together, the king ordered Thumbling to be sent for; and presently he made his appearance, white as a lily, ruddy as a rose, and smiling as the morn.

“My good son-in-law,” said the king, emphasizing these words, “a hero like yourself cannot marry a princess without giving her a present worthy of her exalted rank. Now there is in the neighboring woods a Troll, who, they say, is twenty feet high, and who eats a whole ox for his breakfast. This fine fellow, with his three-cornered hat, his golden epaulettes, his braided jacket, and his staff, fifteen feet long, would make a servant indeed worthy of a king. My daughter begs you to make her this trifling present, after which she will see about giving you her hand.”

“That is not an easy task,” answered Thumbling; “but, if it please your Majesty, I will try.”

So saying, he went down to the kitchen, took his stout leather bag, put in it the magic axe, a loaf of bread, some cheese, and a knife, and then, throwing all over his shoulder, started off for the woods. Peter whimpered, but Paul chuckled, thinking that, his brother once gone, he should never see him back again.

Once fairly in the forest, Thumbling looked around to right and left; but the grass was so thick that he couldn't see anything, so he began to sing at the top of his voice,—

“Master Troll, Master Troll!
I defy you to appear!
I must have you, body and soul,
Master Troll, Master Troll!
Show yourself, for I AM HERE!”

And I am here!” cried the giant, with a terrible shout. “Wait a minute, and I will only make a mouthful of you!”

“Don't be in a hurry, my good fellow,” replied Thumbling, in a little squeaking voice, “I have a whole hour to give you.”

When the Troll came to the place where Thumbling was, he looked around on every side, very much astonished at not seeing anything. At last, lowering his eyes to the ground, he discovered what appeared to be a little child, sitting on a fallen tree, with a stout leather bag between his knees.

“Is it you, pigmy, who woke me up from my nap?” growled the Troll, rolling his great red eyes.

“I am the very one,” replied Thumbling, “I have come to take you into my service.”

“He! he!” laughed the giant, who was as stupid as he was big, “that is a good joke indeed. But I am going to pitch you into that raven's nest I see up there, to teach you not to make a noise in my forest.”

Your forest!” laughed Thumbling. “It is as much mine as it is yours, and if you say a word more, I will cut it down in a quarter of an hour.”

“Ha! ha!” shouted the giant, “and I should like to see you begin, my brave fellow.”

Thumbling carefully placed the axe on the ground, and said, “Chop! chop!! chop!!!”Pg 19

And lo and behold! the axe begins to chop, hew, hack, now right, now left, and up and down, till the branches tumble on the Troll's head like hail in autumn.

“Enough, enough!” said the Troll, who began to be alarmed. “Don't destroy my forest. But who the mischief are you?”

“I am the famous sorcerer Thumbling,” answered our hero, in as gruff a voice as his little body was capable of; “and I have only to say a single word to chop your head off your shoulders. You don't know yet with whom you have to do.”

The giant hesitated, very much disturbed at what he saw. Meanwhile, Thumbling, who began to be hungry, opened his stout leather bag, and took out his bread and cheese.

“What is that white stuff?” asked the Troll, who had never seen any cheese before.

“That is a stone,” answered Thumbling. He began to eat as eagerly as possible.

“Do you eat stones?” asked the giant.

“O yes,” replied Thumbling, “that is my ordinary food, and that is the reason I am not so big as you, who eat oxen; but it is also the reason why, little as I am, I am ten times as strong as you are. Now take me to your house.”

The Troll was conquered; and, marching before Thumbling like a dog before a little child, he led him to his monstrous cabin.

“Now listen,” said Thumbling to the giant, after they were fairly seated, “one of us has got to be the master, and the other the servant. Let us make this bargain: if I can't do whatever you do, I am to be your slave; if you are not able to do whatever I do, you are to be mine.”

“Agreed,” said the Troll; “I should admire to have such a little servant as you are. It is too much work for me to think, and you have wit enough for both; so begin with the trial. Here are my two buckets,—go and get the water to make the soup.”

Thumbling looked at the buckets. They were two enormous hogsheads, ten feet high and six broad. It would have been much easier for him to drown himself in them than to move them.

“O, ho!” shouted the giant, as he saw his hesitation; “and so you are stuck at the first thing, my boy! Do what I do, you know, and get the water.”

“What is the good of that?” replied Thumbling, calmly; “I will go and get the spring itself, and put that in the pot.”

“No! no!” said the Troll; “that won't do. You have already half spoiled my forest, and I don't want you to take my spring away, lest to-morrow I shall go dry. You may attend to the fire, and I will go and get the water.”

After having hung up the kettle, the giant put into it an ox cut into pieces, fifty cabbages, and a wagon-load of carrots. He then skimmed the broth with a frying-pan, tasting it every now and then, to see if it was done. When all was ready, he turned to Thumbling, and said:—Pg 20

“Now to the table. We'll see if you can do what I can there. I feel like eating the whole ox, and you into the bargain. I think I will serve you for dessert.”

“All right,” said Thumbling; but before sitting down to the table, he slipped under his jacket his stout leather bag, which reached down to his feet.

The two champions now set to work. The Troll ate and ate, and Thumbling wasn't idle; only he pitched everything, beef, cabbage, carrots, and all, into his bag, when the giant wasn't looking.

“Ouf!” at last grunted the Troll; “I can't do much more; I have got to unbutton the lower button of my waistcoat.”

“Eat away, starveling!” cried Thumbling, sticking the half of a cabbage into his bag.

“Ouf!” groaned the giant; “I have got to unbutton another button. But what sort of an ostrich's stomach have you got, my son? I should think you were used to eating stones!”

“Eat away, lazy-bones!” said Thumbling, sticking a huge junk of beef into his bag.

“Ouf!” sighed the giant, for the third time; “I have got to unbutton the third button. I am almost suffocated; and how is it with you, sorcerer?”

“Bah!” answered Thumbling; “it is the easiest thing in the world to relieve yourself; and so saying he took his knife, and slit his jacket and the bag under it the whole length of his stomach.

“It is your turn now,” he said to the giant; “do as I do, you know, if you can.”

“Your humble servant,” replied the Troll; “pray excuse me! I had rather be your servant than do that; my stomach don't digest steel!”

No sooner said than done; the giant kissed Thumbling's hand in token of submission, and taking his little master on one shoulder, and a huge bag of gold on the other, he started off for the king's palace.


They were having a great feast at the palace, and thinking no more of Thumbling than if the giant had eaten him up a week before; when, all of a sudden, they heard a terrible noise that shook the palace to its very foundations. It was the Troll, who, finding the great gateway too low for him to enter, had overturned it with a single kick of his foot. Everybody ran to the windows, the king among the rest, and there saw Thumbling quietly seated on the shoulder of his terrible servant.

Our adventurer sprang lightly to the balcony of the second story, where he saw his betrothed, and, bending gracefully on one knee, he said:—

“Princess, you asked me for a slave; I present you two.”

This gallant speech was published the next morning in the Court Gazette; but at the moment it was said it was quite embarrassing to the poor king; and as he didn't know how to reply to it, he drew the princess one side, and thus addressed her:—Pg 21

Large Troll carrying the thumbling on his back

“My child, I have now no possible excuse for refusing your hand to this daring young man; sacrifice yourself, my darling, to your country; remember that princesses do not marry to please themselves.”

“Pardon me, father,” answered the princess, courtesying; “princess or not, every woman likes to marry according to her taste. Let me defend my rights as I think best.”

“Thumbling,” added she, aloud, “you are brave and lucky; but that is not enough alone to please women.”

“I know that,” answered Thumbling; “it is necessary besides to do their pleasure, and submit to their caprices.”

“You are a witty fellow,” said the princess; “and since you understand me so well, I am going to propose another trial to you. You need not be alarmed, for this time you will only have me for an antagonist. Let us try and see who will be the sharpest and quickest, and my hand shall be the prize of the battle.”

Thumbling assented, with a low bow, and followed the court into the great hall of audience, where the trial was to take place. There, to the affright of all, the Troll was found, sprawling on the floor; for, as the hall was only fifteen feet high, the poor fellow couldn't get up. On a sign of his youngPg 22 master, he crawled humbly to him, happy and proud to obey. It was Force itself, in the service of Wit.

“Now,” said the princess, “let us begin with some nonsense. It is an old story that women are not afraid to lie; and we will see which of us will stand the biggest story without objection. The first one who says, 'That is too much,' will be beaten.”

“I am always at the service of your Royal Highness,” answered Thumbling; “whether to lie in sport, or to tell the truth in sober earnest.”

“I am sure,” began the princess, “that you haven't got a farm half as beautiful as ours; and it is so large, that, when two shepherds are blowing their horns at each end of it, neither can hear the other.”

“That is nothing at all,” said Thumbling; “my father's farm is so large, that, if a heifer two months old goes in at the gate on one side of it, when she goes out at the other she takes a calf of her own with her.”

“That don't surprise me,” continued the princess; “but you haven't got a bull half as big as ours; a man can sit on each of his horns, and the two can't touch each other with a twenty-foot pole.”

“That is nothing at all,” replied Thumbling; “my father's bull is so large, that a servant sitting on one of his horns can't see the servant sitting on the other.”

“That don't surprise me,” said the princess; “but you haven't got half so much milk at your farm as we have; for we fill, every day, twenty hogsheads, a hundred feet high; and every week, we make a pile of cheese as high as the big pyramid of Egypt.”

“That is nothing at all,” said Thumbling. “In my father's dairy they make such big cheeses, that once, when my father's mare fell into the press, we only found her after travelling seven days, and she was so much injured that her back was broken. So to mend that I made her a backbone of a pine-tree, that answered splendidly; till one fine morning the tree took it into its head to grow, and it grew and grew until it was so high that I climbed up to Heaven on it. There I looked down, and saw a lady in a white gown spinning sea-foam to make gossamer with. I went to take hold of it, and snap! the thread broke, and I fell into a rat-hole. There I saw your father and my mother spinning; and as your father was clumsy, lo and behold, my mother gave him such a box on the ear, that it made his old wig shake——”

That is too much!” interrupted the princess. “My father never suffered such an insult in all his life.”

“She said it! she said it!” shouted the giant “Now, master, the princess is ours!”


But the princess said, blushing: “Not quite yet. I have three riddles to give you, Thumbling; guess them, and I will obey my father, and become your wife without any more objections. Tell me, first, what that is which is always falling, and is never broken?”Pg 23

“Oh!” answered Thumbling, “my mother told me that a long time ago; it is a waterfall.”

“That is so,” interrupted the giant; “but who would have thought of that.”

“Tell me, next,” continued the princess, with a slight trembling in her voice, “what is that that every day goes the same journey, and yet never returns on its steps?”

“Oh!” answered Thumbling, “my mother told me that a long time ago; it is the sun.”

“You are right,” said the princess, pale with emotion. “And now for my last question, which you will never guess. What is that that you think, and that I don't think? What is that we both think, and what is that we neither of us think?”

Thumbling bent his head, and seemed embarrassed; and the Troll whispered to him: “Master, don't be disturbed. If you can't guess it, just make a sign to me, and I will carry off the princess, and make an end of the matter at once.”

“Be silent, slave!” answered Thumbling. “Force alone can do nothing, my poor friend, and no one ought to know it better than you. Let me have my own way.”

“Madame,” said he then to the princess, in the midst of a profound silence, “I hardly dare guess; and yet in this riddle I plainly perceive my own happiness. I dared to think that your questions would have no difficulty for me, while you thought the contrary; you have the goodness to believe that I am not unworthy to please you, while I have hardly the boldness to think so; finally,” added he, smilingly, “what we both think is, that there are bigger fools in the world than you and I; and what we neither of us think is, that the king, your august father, and this poor giant have as much—”

“Silence!” interrupted the princess; “here is my hand.”

“What were you thinking about me?” asked the king; “I should be delighted to know.”

“My dear father,” said the princess, embracing him, “we think that you are the wisest of kings, and the best of fathers.”

“It is well!” replied the king, loftily; “and now I must do something for my subjects. Thumbling, from this moment you are a Duke!”

“Long live Duke Thumbling! long live my master!” shouted the giant, with a terrific roar, that sounded like a clap of thunder breaking over the palace. But, luckily, there was no harm done, save badly frightening everybody, and breaking all the windows.


It would be unnecessary to give a full account of the wedding of the princess and Duke Thumbling. All weddings are alike; the difference is in what follows after them. Nevertheless, it would be improper in a truthful historian not to say that the presence of the Troll added a great deal to thePg 24 magnificent display. For instance, when the happy couple were returning from the church, the giant, in the excess of his joy, found nothing better to do than to take the royal carriage on the top of his head, and to carry the wedded pair back to the palace. This is an incident worth noting, because it doesn't happen every day.

At night there was a splendid feast at the palace, with suppers, orations, poems, fireworks, illuminations, and everything. Nothing was wanting, and the joy was universal. Everybody in the palace laughed, sung, ate, or drank, save one man, who, seated sullenly alone in a dark corner, amused himself in a very different way from everybody else. It was the surly Paul, who rejoiced that his ears had been cut off, because he had become deaf, and consequently couldn't hear the praises all were showering on his brother. On the other hand, he was unhappy, because he couldn't help seeing the happiness of the bride and bridegroom. So he rushed out into the forest, where the bears speedily made an end of him; and I wish a like punishment to all envious people like him.

Thumbling was such a little fellow that it was hard work for his subjects to respect him; but he was so wise, so affable, and so kind, that he very soon conquered the love of his wife, and the affection of all his people.

After the death of his father-in-law, he succeeded to the throne, which he occupied fifty-two years, without anybody ever having thought of a revolution; a fact that would be incredible, if it were not attested by the official records of his reign. He was so wise, says history, that he always divined what could best serve or please the humblest of his subjects, while he was so good, that the pleasures of others constituted his greatest happiness. He only lived for others.

But why praise his goodness? Is not that the virtue of all men of intelligence and wit? Whatever others may say, I don't believe there are such things as good brutes here on earth; I speak now of featherless brutes that go on two legs. When a man is brutal, he cannot be kind and good; when a man is good, he cannot be brutal;—believe my long experience, which has learned it. If all blockheads are not vicious,—and I think they are,—all wicked men are necessarily foolish. And that is the moral of this story, if you can't find a better one. If you will find me a better, I will go and tell it to the Pope of Rome himself.

From the Finnish.



Pg 25


There was commotion in Leafland. All the cities of the Great Republic were smitten with sudden dismay. Oakwich, Mapleton, Ashby, Elmthorpe, Beechworth, Sumachford, Nutham, trembled from centre to circumference. There were hurried consultations, desperate resolutions rejected as soon as adopted, eager inventories taken of domestic property, and a fearful looking-for of coming calamity. For, on the fine September morning when the sun poured out golden showers, and Leafland sat fair and smiling in robes of green, and so the whole universe was golden-green, there came a messenger flying from the North country,—a wandering Wood-thrush, deserted, draggled, and forlorn, faltering on weary wing through the lovely lanes of Leafland. The men begged him to tarry; the women promised him the daintiest tidbit in the sweetest bower on the sunniest bough; and the little Leaf-people clapped their tiny hands, and danced on the tips of their tiny toes for glee. For so admirably managed in Leafland are the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Foreign Affairs, that you might think the Leaflanders had solved the great problem of universal brotherhood. The stranger that is within their gates is all one with him who is bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh. No sooner does a foreigner enter their borders, than he is presented with the freedom of all their cities. They provide for his wants, protect him from danger, and cherish his home as tenderly as if he were one of themselves. Robin the Red-breast and shy little Veery, Pewee the plaintive and cheerful Chewink, Long-sparrow, Bluebird, and sweet Chickadee, all glide freely in and out of their green and golden halls, flit through their winding streets, and take part in all their delights. Nor have the Leaflanders any trouble to understand bird-language. They have not, like the old Ger-men, eaten the hearts of birds, but by a more excellent way have they entered into all their secrets. Through long summer days and the silence of dewy nights, they lean so lovingly over them, they stir so softly around the still bird-cradles, they coo so tenderly to the sweet egg-nestlings and the helpless baby-birds, that one heart-language springs up between them, and shines familiarly through all foreign phrase. Nor is it the birds alone who take out naturalization-papers in Leafland. All manner of nations and peoples partake of its hospitalities and remember it for blessing. You have only to be pure-hearted, and you may become at once a Leaflander.

So it came to pass that the Leaflanders were sore grieved at heart to see the weary Wood-thrush deaf to all their entreaties, and bent alone on pursuing his solitary way. But as he wheeled slowly above their heads, as he seemed just about to vanish into the blue distance, they heard his faint voice—whether in terror or weakness they could not tell—only the words fell distinctly on their ears,—

I see! I see! I see! The Red-coats are coming!

Faint and far and clarion-clear, it trembled through Leafland, low but ominous.Pg 26 Mapleton heard it and wondered; Elmthorpe and Ashby and Nutham repeated it, looking into one another's eyes for a meaning. Proud old Oakwich tried to assume a grave aspect, but was inwardly at her wits' end. “The Red-coats are coming.” All the ancient men and women, great-great-great-great-grandfathers and grandmothers, whose childhood lay wellnigh lost in the infinite past of April days, said it over to each other with thin, quavering voices; but all their experience gave them no key to the mysterious message. Then the post-riders were brought into requisition. The whole corporation of Gale, Breeze, Zephyr, & Co., Express Company, all their clerks, agents, and errand-boys, were sent to and fro through the Commonwealth, to see if any one anywhere had a little light to bestow upon the subject. Alas! the light came all too soon, and brought infinite sighing and sobbing. A thought suddenly broke loose in Oakwich, and up spake an old Oakwichian. “Oh! and oh! and woe is me for my miserable land now, now about to be bereft of her children! All her strength destroyed, all her loveliness laid desolate!”

Straightway throughout Leafland rose the voice of wailing, “Woe! woe! woe! for the miserable land!” but none of them knew what they were crying for; only the Oakwichian began it, and nothing better occurred to them to do than to join in; which soon made the sunny day overcast, and all the people walking in Netherworld where it approaches Leafland wrapped their old cloaks about them, and said spitefully, “What a disagreeable, raw east-wind it is, to be sure!”

But by and by, when their throats were quite dry and sore with wailing, one of the Mapletonians, a very sensible young woman, quite famous indeed for her wisdom, bethought herself to inquire what it was all about. Then there was a very pretty outburst of indignation. For a moment they forgot their grief, and, what was still worse, their good manners, and turned upon the unfortunate young woman.

“And so you set yourself above your betters, and fiddle while Leafland is burning!” cried one.

“And pray, Miss Wiseacre,” asked another, “how came you to know so much more than any one else? Who told you that nothing was the matter?”

“Oh! if women would only mind the house, and not meddle with what does not belong to them!” exclaimed a third.

All very unjust as you see, for surely the destruction of Leafland concerned the women as much as the men, and poor “Miss Wiseacre” had not so much as made an assertion,—only asked a question. However, the Leaflanders must be excused, because they were quite beside themselves with terror, and, moreover, a question is sometimes more exasperating than fire and sword.

But the old Oakwichian was more reasonable, and, ever glad, even in the article of death, to disseminate useful knowledge, interposed. “I will tell you what the matter is,” he said. “Well I remember in the far-away past, in the sunny summer-days that will return, alas! no more,”—here a burstPg 27 of sorrow prevented speech, but he presently recovered himself,—“how a little maid used to walk in Netherworld, and rest under the shadow of our greatness, toying with the light. She was a favorite with every one hereabouts. Gold was her hair like a spun sunbeam, blue her eyes like our own June sky, and her voice might sing the lowest lullaby of the Red Mavis, or his song to his love in her nest. Sometimes the little maiden looked up wistfully to us, her eyes all a-gleam with her glowing fancies. Then we pelted her with sunshine, and caressed her with shade, and then she was happiest of all. But sometimes she brought with her hateful things, tasks and tools, useless, awkward, bungling, sharp weapons, that hurt her tender fingers, long cords that she pulled aimlessly back and forth, huge books with harsh names, that blurred her dear eyes and gloomed her bright face. First we tried to shame and then to woo her away from them, but some invisible old dragon stood over her, and forced her on; and so we learned at length to watch and wait till the hated task was over. Thereby we learned many strange and wonderful things; but this alone is to the purpose, that I surely recall how for many days she kept reading about the Red-coats, and I peeped down over her shoulder, as we swayed in the dance one afternoon, and saw pictures of these same Red-coats, a great destroying army, fierce and fell, who burn villages, and talk piously, and slay men, women, and children. Them has friend Wood-thrush verily seen, and against them he strove to warn us. But, ah! what avails it? What can we do, or whither shall we flee! Can a nation take wing like a Wood-thrush? Can Leafland flit about like a Swallow? And who should warrant us that the Red-coats should not pursue us to remotest fastnesses? Nay, they may be even now upon us. Woe! woe is me! We were Leaflanders; Oakwich was, and the great glory of the Elmthorpians! But now we be all dead men!”

At this, the Leaflanders only paused long enough to upbraid the young woman. “See now whether anything is the matter!” and immediately fell to upon their despair.

“A nation in ruins!” cried the statesman. “Leafland falls from its lofty summit, and I live to see the day.”

“I behold the gods departing from Leafland,” spake the scholar. “This is the end of the fates of Leafland.”

“Now I do not care for your gods and your fates and your what-all,” sobbed a nervous little lady. “I never could see that they were of any use in housekeeping; but who shall watch over the tender birdlings when we are gone?”

“And never any more dances! Forever, never, never, forever!” You may know it was a belle said that.

“Dances are but the vanity of this world,” moaned a sedate matron; “but woe for my dear pet Aphides, with their six hundred thousand children, who will be dead before they are born!”

“Bother your six hundred thousand children!” growled a crusty philosopher. “If they are dead, it is the only good thing ever I heard about them. It might be worth while to have one's country crashing about one's earsPg 28 occasionally, for the sake of being well rid of such trash. Here are all our laboratories broken up, and the sun's occupation gone, and you making a to-do about a parcel of babies!”

“O the sweet sunshine!” wept a poet, but most musically,—“the warm, delicious sunshine, that our hungry souls can feed upon no more, nor ever fill our drinking-cups with nectared dew!”

And so in Mapleton and Sumachford and through all Leafland was nothing heard but the voice of lamentation, and nothing seen but floods of tears, and nothing thought of but how to avert or escape the threatened calamity; and, in their terror and trouble, the Leaflanders almost lost their fine tempers, and were often on the brink of quarrelling; and the people walking in Netherworld met each other under blue cotton umbrellas, and exclaimed, “What a spell of weather!” and altogether it was very uncomfortable, both in Leafland and Netherworld.

Just at this time a gay young Chipmonk appeared upon the scene,—a careless, dashing, saucy fellow, very popular among the young Leaflanders of the rapid sort. He came skipping and frisking into Nutham, as his manner was, both pockets full of corn which he had confiscated, he remarked significantly, from a field down yonder. He nodded jauntily right and left, and then disposed himself comfortably in a corner, and began cracking his dainties in a very free-and-easy manner, not noticing the woe-begone aspect of his friends. All at once, however, he awoke to a realizing sense of things, and showed his sympathy after his own fashion, by giving a sudden flirt with his tail, and calling out, irreverently, “What's the row?”

Amid tears and sighs, the sad story was related to him, in all its length and breadth and thickness; but, instead of the answering tear and sigh which his auditors expected, he only thrust his paws into his pockets, and whisked his tail over his back in frantic convulsions of laughter; muttering, as breath came to him in the pauses, “O, what a gony! For that matter, O, what a pack of gonies!”

Now the Leaflanders were quite too well-bred ever to have used or heard so barbarous a word as “gony.” Nevertheless, reason and instinct both taught them, as it will teach all people of refined sensibilities, that to be called a gony is to be called something very disagreeable; and if anything can heighten the unpleasant sensation, it is to be called “a pack of gonies.” Consequently the Leaflanders began to look at each other blankly, and even to suspect that possibly they had been making fools of themselves. But Chipmonk did not leave them long in suspense. “Your terrible Red-coats are your own selves,” he cried. “I have heard of people being frightened by their own shadow; but never, in all my born days, did I hear of any one being frightened by his own shine.”

“Now will you explain yourself?” cried one of the young ladies, her curiosity getting the better of her chagrin. All the old men and the young men were longing to know, but were too proud to ask; but the question being asked for them, they were glad enough to crowd in, and hear the answer.Pg 29

“It is only this, and nothing more,” answered Chipmonk, ejecting a pine-seed from his mouth. “You are all going to have a new suit of clothes, more splendid than you ever saw in your lives,—yellow and brown and spotted, and all manner of magnificent colors, but chiefly red; and then you will be Red-coats, won't you? Wood-thrush came from north, where the tailoring began; and he saw it, and told you. It is a sign for him to be up and flying. He thought it would be his excuse for declining your invitation, instead of which you all went thrusting your heads into a bramble-bush. O my!”

“But say, Chipmonk, do you know this? Are you sure of it? It seems too good news to be true.”

“Well, all I can say is, I have lived here, man and boy, nigh on to forty months; and I know it always has happened about this time. I am young for a Chipmonk; but I was in full career long before the oldest crone among you was born; and if there is anything hereabouts that I don't know, you may take your affidavit it isn't worth knowing.” And he sat back, and betook himself once more to his “confiscated” corn with the most indifferent superiority.

Oh! but there was gladness then in Leafland, you may be sure. All their sadness was turned to rejoicing; and even then the work of transformation—called, in squirrelicular, “tailoring”—began. Old and young, men and maids, felt a glory in their blood. All the essence of the summer-long sunshine seemed to pour itself into their hearts. From one end of Leafland to another was only singing and dancing and delight. Mapleton crowned herself with a golden crown, and Oakwich wreathed her brows with the sunset. All the beauty of the past was dull and sombre to this new splendor, this royal magnificence, born of the ineffable light.

A poet and a publisher walked through the Essex woods one October afternoon; and they remarked that the foliage was very brilliant this year, which was quite true; but if I had not been born, you never would have known all about it.

Gail Hamilton.


Pg 30



The color-bearer The color-bearer

Was a fortress to be stormed:
Boldly right in view they formed,
All as quiet as a regiment parading:
Then in front a line of flame!
Then at left and right the same!
Two platoons received a furious enfilading.
To their places still they filed,
And they smiled at the wild
“'T will be over in an hour!
'T will not be much of a shower!
Never mind, my boys,” said he, “a little drizzling!”
Then to cross that fatal plain,
Through the whirring, hurtling rain
Of the grape-shot, and the minie-bullets' whistling!
But he nothing heeds nor shuns,
As he runs with the guns
Brightly bristling!
Pg 31
Leaving trails of dead and dying
In their track, yet forward flying
Like a breaker where the gale of conflict rolled them,
With a foam of flashing light
Borne before them on their bright
Burnished barrels,—O, 't was fearful to behold them!
While from ramparts roaring loud
Swept a cloud like a shroud
To enfold them!
O, his color was the first!
Through the burying cloud he burst,
With the standard to the battle forward slanted!
Through the belching, blinding breath
Of the flaming jaws of Death,
Till his banner on the bastion he had planted!
By the screaming shot that fell,
And the yell of the shell,
Nothing daunted.
Right against the bulwark dashing,
Over tangled branches crashing,
'Mid the plunging volleys thundering ever louder!
There he clambers, there he stands,
With the ensign in his hands,—
O, was ever hero handsomer or prouder?
Streaked with battle-sweat and slime,
And sublime in the grime
Of the powder!
'T was six minutes, at the least,
Ere the closing combat ceased,—
Near as we the mighty moments then could measure,—
And we held our souls with awe,
Till his haughty flag we saw
On the lifting vapors drifting o'er the embrasure!
Saw it glimmer in our tears,
While our ears heard the cheers
Rend the azure!
Through the abatis they broke,
Through the surging cannon-smoke,
And they drove the foe before like frightened cattle!
O, but never wound was his,
For in other wars than this,
Pg 32Where the volleys of Life's conflict roar and rattle,
He must still, as he was wont,
In the front bear the brunt
Of the battle.
He shall guide the van of Truth!
And in manhood, as in youth,
Be her fearless, be her peerless Color-Bearer!
With his high and bright example,
Like a banner brave and ample,
Ever leading through receding clouds of Error,
To the empire of the Strong,
And to Wrong he shall long
Be a terror!
J. T. Trowbridge.




Part I.


We—grandma, “our young folks,” and I—live up here among the hills, in a quaint, old-fashioned farm-house,—older than any of the “old folks” now living; and every day, when the sun goes down, we gather around the great wood fire in the sitting-room, and talk and tell stories by the hour together. I tell the most of the stories; for, though I am only a plain farmer, going about in a slouched hat, a rusty coat, and a pair of pantaloons so old and threadbare that you would not wear them if you were in the ash business, I have mingled with men, seen a great many places, and been almost all over the world.

My own children like my stories, because they think they are true, and because they are all about the men I have met, and the places I have seen, and so give them some glimpses of what is going on in the busy life outside of our quiet country home; but I do not expect other young folks to like them as well as my own do,—for their own father will not tell them. However, I am going to write out a few of the many I know, in the hope that they may give some trifling pleasure and instruction to boys and girls I have never seen, and who gather of evenings around firesides far away from the one where all my stories are first told.

As I sit down to write by this bright, blazing fire, the clouds are scudding across the moon, and the wind is moaning around the old house, shaking the doors, and rattling the windows, and snapping the branches of the greatPg 33 trees as if a whole regiment of young giants were cracking their whips in the court-yard. On just such a night a wounded boy lay out on the Wilderness battle-ground!

You have heard of that great battle; how two hundred thousand men met in a dense forest, and for two long days and nights, over wooded hills, and through tangled valleys, and deep, rocky ravines, surged against each other like angry waves in a storm. And you have heard, too—what is very pitiful to hear—how, when that bloody storm was over, and the sun came out, dim and cold, on the cheerless May morning which followed, thirty thousand men—every one the father, brother, or friend of some young folks at home—lay dead and dying on that awful field. Amid such a host of dead and dying men, you might overlook one little boy, who, all that starless Friday night, lay there wounded in the Wilderness. I do not want you to overlook him, and therefore I am going to tell you his story.

He was a bright-eyed, fair-haired boy of twelve, the only son of his mother, who was a widow. He used to read at home of how little boys had gone to the war, how they had been in the great battles, and how great generals had praised them; and he longed to go to the war too, and to do something to make himself as famous as the little boy who fought on the Rappahannock. For a long time his mother was deaf to his entreaties,—and he would not go without her consent; but at last, when a friend of his father raised a company of hundred-days men in his native town, she let him join as a drummer-boy in the regiment.

The first battle he was in was the terrible one in the Wilderness. His regiment shared in the first day's fight, but he escaped unharmed; and all that night, though tired and hungry, he went about in the woods carrying water to the wounded. The next morning he snatched a few hours' sleep, and that and a good breakfast refreshed him greatly. At ten o'clock his regiment moved, and it kept moving and fighting all that day, until the sun went down; but, though a hundred of his comrades had fallen around him, he remained unhurt.

The shadows were deepening into darkness, and the night was hanging its lanterns up in the sky, when the weary men threw themselves on the ground to rest. Overcome with fatigue, he too lay down, and, giving one thought to his mother at home, and another to his Father in heaven, fell fast asleep. Suddenly the sharp rattle of musketry and the deafening roar of cannon sounded along the lines, and five thousand rebels rushed out upon them. Surprised and panic-stricken, our men broke and fled; and, roused by the terrible uproar, James—that was his name—sprang to his feet, but only in time to catch in his arms the captain, who was falling. He was shot through and through by a minie ball.

James laid him gently on the ground, took his head tenderly in his lap; and listened to the last words he had to send to his wife and children. Meanwhile, yelling like demons, the Rebels came on, and passed them. Then he could have escaped to the woods, but he would not leave his father's friend when he was dying.Pg 34

Soon our men rallied, and in turn drove the enemy. Slowly and sullenly the Rebels fell back to the hill where James and his friend were lying. There they made a stand, and for half an hour fought desperately, but were at last overborne and forced back again. As they were on the eve of retreating, a tall, ragged ruffian came up to James, and demanded the watch and money of the captain.

“You will not rob a dying man?” said the little boy, looking up to him imploringly.

“Wall, I woan't!” was the Rebel's brutal reply, as he aimed his bayonet straight at the captain's heart.

By a quick, dexterous movement, James parried the blow; but, turning suddenly on the poor boy, the ruffian, with another thrust of his bayonet, ran him directly through the body. His head sunk back to the ground, and he fainted.

How long he lay there unconscious he does not know, but when he came to himself the moon had gone down, and the stars had disappeared, and thick, black clouds were filling all the sky. It did not rain, but the cold wind moaned among the trees, and chilled him through and through. He tried to rise, but a sharp pain came in his side, and for the first time he thought of his wound. Passing his hand to it, he found it was clotted with blood. The cold air had stopped the bleeding, and thus saved his life. Though the bayonet had gone clear through him, his hurt was not mortal, for no vital part was injured.

He thought of the captain, and spoke his name; but no answer came. Then he reached out his hand to find him. He was there, but his face was cold,—colder than the cold night that was about them. He was dead.

The wounded lay all around, and all this while their cries and groans, as they called piteously for water, or moaned aloud in their agony, came to his ear, and went to his very soul. He had heard their cries the night before, as he crept about among them in the thick woods; but then they had not sounded so sad, so pitiful, as now, and that night was not so cold, so dark, so cheerless as this was. Soon he knew the full extent of their agony. An intolerable thirst came upon him. Hot, melted lead seemed to run along his veins, and a burning heat, as of a fire of hot coals kindling in his side, almost consumed him. He cried out for help, but no help came,—for water, but still he thirsted. Then he prayed,—prayed to the Good Father, who he knew was looking pitifully down on him through the thick darkness, to come and help him.

And He came. He always comes to those who ask for Him. Soon the clouds grew darker, the wind rose higher, and the rain—the cooling, soothing, grateful rain—poured down in torrents. It wet him through and through, but it eased his pain, cooled the fever in his blood, and he slept! In all that cold and pelting storm he slept!

It was broad day when he awoke. The sun was shining dimly through the thick masses of gray clouds which floated in the sky, but the wind had gone down, and the rain was over. The moans of the wounded still camePg 35 to him, but they were not so frequent, nor so terrible, as they were the night before. Many had found relief from the rain, and many had ceased moaning forever.

He could not rise, but, after long and painful effort, he succeeded in turning over on his side. Then he had a view of the scene around him. He lay near the summit of a gentle hill, at whose base a little brook was flowing. At the north it was crowned with a dense growth of oaks and pines and cedar thickets, but at the south and west it sloped away into waving meadows and pleasant cornfields, already green with the opening beauty of spring. Beyond the meadows were other hills, and knolls, and rocky heights, all covered with an almost impenetrable forest, and there the hardest fighting of those terrible days was done. A narrow road, bordered by a worm-fence (Western boys know what a worm-fence is), wound around the foot of the hill, and led to a large mansion standing half hidden in a grove of oaks and elms, not half a mile away. Before this mansion were pleasant lawns and gardens, and in its rear a score or more of little negro houses, whose whitewashed walls were gleaming in the sun. This was the plantation—so James afterwards learned—of Major Lucy, one of those wicked men whose bad ambition has brought this dreadful war on our country.

The scene was very beautiful, and, looking at it, James forgot for a moment the darker picture, drawn in blood, on the grass around him. But there it was. Blackened muskets, broken saddles, overturned caissons, wounded horses snorting in agony, and fair-haired boys and gray-haired men mangled and bleeding,—some piled in heaps, and some stretched out singly to die,—lay all over that green hillside! Here and there a crippled soldier was creeping about among the wounded, and, close by, a stalwart man, the blood dripping from his dangling sleeve, was wrapping a blue-eyed, pale-faced boy in his blanket. “Don't cry, Freddy,” he said; “ye sha'n't be cold! Yer mother'll soon be yere!” But the boy gave no answer, for—he was dead!

“He don't hear you,” said James. “He isn't cold now!”

“I'se afeard he ar',—he said he war. Oh! ef his mother know'd he war yere! 't would break her heart,—break her heart!” moaned the man, still wrapping the blanket about the boy.

James closed his eyes to shut out the painful scene, and the thought of his own mother came to him. Would it not break her heart to know he was wounded? to hear, perhaps, that he was dead? He must not die; for her sake, he must not die! One only could help him, and so he prayed. Again he prayed that the Good Father would come to him, and again the Good Father came!

“What is ye a doin' yere, honey,—a little one loike ye?” asked a kind voice at his side.

He looked up. It was an old black woman, dressed in a faded woollen gown, a red and yellow turban, and a pair of flesh-colored stockings which Nature herself had given her. She was very short, almost as broad as she was long, and had a face as large round as the moon,—and it looked veryPg 36 much like the moon when it shines through a black cloud; for, though darker than midnight, it was all over light,—that kind of light which shines through the faces of good people.

“I am wounded; I want water,” said the little boy, feebly.

“Ye shill hab it, honey,” said the woman, giving him some from a bucket she had set on the ground.

“Guv some ter my lad,” cried the man who sat by the dead boy; “he's been a cryin' fur it all night—all night! Didn't ye yere him?”

“No, I didn't, massa. I hain't been yere more'n a hour, and a tousand's a heap fur one ole ooman ter 'tend on,” she replied, filling a gourd from the bucket, and going with it to the dead boy.

She stooped down and held the water to his lips, but in a moment started back, and cried out in a frightened way,—“He'm dead! He can't drink no more!”

“He hain't dead!” yelled the man, fiercely; “he sha'n't die! Guv me the water, ole 'ooman.”

With a trembling hand, he tried to give it to his son. He held it to the boy's lips for a moment, then, dropping the gourd, and sinking to the ground, he cried out,—“It'll kill his mother,—kill his mother! Oh! oh!”

“He'm better off, massa,” said the woman, in a voice full of pity; “he'm whar he kin drink foreber ob de bery water ob life.”

“Gwo away, ole 'ooman,—gwo away,—doan't speak ter me!” moaned the man, throwing his arms around the body of his boy, and burying his face in the blanket he had wrapped about him.

Brushing her tears away with her apron, the woman turned to James, and said,—“Whar is ye hurted, honey? Leff aunty see.”

The little boy opened his jacket, and showed her his side. She could not see the wound, for the blood had glued his shirt, and even his waistcoat, to his body; but she said, kindly,—“Don't fret, honey. 'Tain't nuffin ter hurt,—it'll soon be well. Ole Katy'll borrer a blanket or so frum some o' dese as is done dead, and git ye warm; and den, when she's gub'n a little more water ter de firsty ones, she'll take a keer ob you,—she will, honey; so neber you f'ar.”

She went away, but soon came again with the blankets, and, wrapping two about him, and putting another under his head, said,—“Dar, honey, now you'll be warm; and neber you keer ef ole Katy hab borrer'd de blankets. Dey'll neber want 'em darselfs; and she knows it'll do dar bery souls good, eben whar dey is, ter know you's got 'em. So neber keer, and gwo ter sleep,—dat's a good chile. Aunty'll be yere agin in a jiffin.”

James thanked the good woman, and, closing his eyes again, soon fell asleep. The sun was right over his head, when old Katy awoke him, and said,—“Now, honey, Aunty's ready now. She'll tote you off ter de plantation, and hab you all well in less nur no time, she will; fur massa's 'way, and dar haint no 'un dar now ter say she sha'n't.”

“You can't carry me; I'm too heavy, Aunty,” said James, making a faint effort to smile.Pg 37

“Carry you! Why, honey chile, ole Katy could tote a big man, forty times so heaby as you is, ef dey was only a hurted so bad as you.”

Taking him up, then, as if he had been a bag of feathers, she laid his head over her shoulder, and, cuddling him close to her bosom, carried him off to the large mansion he had seen in the distance.

What befell him there I shall tell “our young folks” in the next number of this, their own Magazine.

Edmund Kirke.




The portrait given with the present number of “Our Young Folks” is that of one of England's cleverest writers and best men,—Thomas Hughes. Mr. Hughes is well known throughout all America as the author of those most spirited and truthful books, “School Days at Rugby,” and “Tom Brown at Oxford,”—books which all young people, girls as well as boys, ought to read, and which their elders cannot fail to find delightful and profitable. Another volume, “The Scouring of the White Horse,” has also been republished in this country, but as its interest is quite local,—the scene being laid in the county of Kent, England, and the principal incidents relating to a festival which took place there,—it has not been so extensively circulated.

Mr. Hughes is the second son of John Hughes, Esq., of Donington Priory, near Newbury, Berks Co., England. He was born October 20, 1823, and received his early education at Rugby under the instruction of the noble Dr. Arnold, who is depicted so beautifully in “School Days at Rugby.” In 1841 he entered Oriel College, Oxford, and received his degree of B. A. in 1845. He immediately registered himself as a student at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in January, 1848.

Mr. Hughes still pursues the profession of a barrister, in which he stands prominent, and devotes much of his time to the writing and doing of good things. He has been a strong helper in plans for the education and assistance of workmen in his own country, and has always advocated the principles of liberty and justice everywhere. He is one of the truest friends that the United States has in England, and his voice and his pen have never failed to support her cause against that of Rebeldom.



Pg 38



The great war will end. Then what magnificent expansion! But what immense responsibilities! Soon they must rest upon you,—your manhood and womanhood. God and the nations will watch you.

A great and good nation is made up of great and good men and women. A strong building cannot be made of weak timbers.

A complete man is composed of a healthy body, a cultured brain, and a true heart. Wanting either he fails. Is his heart false? His strong head and body become instruments of evil. Is his head weak? His strong body and true heart are cheated. Is the body sick? His noble head and heart are like a great engine in a rickety boat.

Our Young Folks are strong and good.

I have studied the life of the young among the better peoples of Europe. It is not flattery to say, that you, my young fellow-countrymen, have the best heads and hearts in the world. The great size of your brains is noticed by every intelligent stranger. The ceaseless activity of those brains is one of the most striking features of American life. American growth, as seen in railways, telegraphs, and agriculture, is tame and slow when compared with the achievements of our schools. And where else among the young are there such organizations for the spread of the Gospel, for temperance, for the relief of the sick and wounded?

But our Young Folks are weak.

Fig. 1 John. Fig. 2 Thomas.

Your weakness is in your bodies. Here lies your danger. I see nothing which distresses me so much as the physique of the children in our public schools. Great heads, beautiful faces, brilliant eyes; but with that attenuated neck, thin, flat chest, and languid gait. Look at these two boys, John and Thomas. John is a native Yankee. I found him, without long searching, in one of our public schools. Thomas is an imaginary boy, composed by the artist.

Fig. 1 John.                        Fig. 2 Thomas.

Pg 39

Causes of John's Deformity.

He has lain several hours every night in the position seen in Fig. 3. Much of that ugly pushing forward of the head among girls is produced by thick pillows.

Fig. 3 Fig. 3

Young people should sleep on hair pillows two inches thick. Ambitious girls and boys throw the pillow aside. This is the other extreme, and wrong. It is unhealthy to lie constantly on the back. You must frequently change to the side. But when you turn upon the side, if you have no pillow, you must either twist the shoulders into a mischievous attitude, or let the head fall down to the level of the shoulder, as seen in Fig. 4. This disturbs the circulation in the neck.

Fig. 4 Fig. 4

False Positions while sitting.

Another cause of the bad shape of John's spine we find in his bad positions while sitting. Fig. 5 represents the position in which he should sit. You observe his feet rest on the floor. His hips are against the back of the chair. His spine is erect. In this position he may sit two hours without fatigue, provided the chair be a good one. About chairs I shall presently say something.

Fig. 5 Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 6

Pg 40Fig. 6 shows a position in which I often see John. Do you observe how, with his legs crossed, he must push forward on the seat? The small of the back is no longer supported. The strain will soon produce weakness and pain.

Fig. 7 represents a still worse position. The strain upon the small of the back must not only produce weakness there, but must soon incline the spine to bend backward, while its natural shape at that point is a beautiful curve forward.

Writers on manners say the positions seen in Figs. 6 and 7 are vulgar. In this case, as in most others, propriety and physiology are in harmony.

Positions in School.

Fig. 8 shows a bad posture. Sitting thus three hours a day must soon produce round shoulders. Various devices have been proposed to help the pupil out of this difficulty. Our booksellers furnish a simple rack, which is shown in Fig. 9. It holds one or two books. In Fig. 10 two books are seen resting upon it. Fig. 11 shows the position of the pupil while using the book-rack. An eminent professor in a New-England college said to the assembled students, the other day, “This book-holder will add years to a literary man's life.”

Fig. 7 Fig. 7 Fig. 8 Fig. 8


I promised a word about chairs. Our manufacturers do not consider health in designing the shape of chairs. The seats are too high, and too nearly horizontal. Boys and girls occupy seats seventeen inches high. A girl twelve years old should have a chair with the seat not more than twelve inches high. For a man even, it should not be more than fifteen or sixteen inches. (These dimensions apply to the front of the seat.) The back part should be at least two inches lower. With this inclination, thePg 41 sitter will slide backward, against the back of the chair, instead of sliding forward, as he generally does. This sliding forward produces a strain upon the small of the back, and is, in fact, the cause of most of the fatigue in sitting. The width of the chair-seat from front to back should be the same as the height in front.

Fig. 9 Fig. 9 Fig. 10 Fig. 10

The chair-back should project farthest forward at that point which corresponds to the small of the back. Instead of this, there is generally at that point a hollow. This error is the cause of much pain and weakness in the lower part of the spine.

Fig. 12 shows an unphysiological chair. It is a fashionable parlor-chair. Fig. 13 is a physiological chair. Two hours in this will fatigue less than half an hour in that.

Fig. 11 Fig. 11 Fig. 12 Fig. 12 Fig. 13 Fig. 13

Pg 42


Americans are bad walkers. It is rare to find an exception, even in our army. Among Europeans, and the aborigines of our own continent, a noble mien is not uncommon. I understand the causes of this ugly defect, among our people, but my present purpose is simply to call attention to it, and to point out the remedy.

In English and French books on the military drill and physical training, whole chapters discuss the subject of walking. We are told that this or that part of the foot must touch the ground first,—that the angles must be so and so, &c., &c. I will not say this advice is not right, but I will say that very few have been helped by it.

Look at a good walker. Shoulders, head, and hips drawn well back, and the chest thrown forward. What a firm, vigorous tread! Such a walk may easily be secured by carrying a weight upon the head. An iron crown has been devised for this purpose. It consists of three crowns, one within the other, each weighing about nine pounds. One or all three may be worn at a time.

The water-carriers of Southern Europe, although belonging to the lowest class, have a noble bearing. Certain negroes in the South, who “tote” burdens upon the head as a business, can be readily pointed out in a crowd. The effort required to keep the burden directly over the spine so develops the muscles of the back and neck, that in the absence of the burden the head is carried in a noble, erect attitude.

By carrying one of these crowns upon the head half an hour two or three times a day, while walking in the garden or through the halls of the house, one may soon become a fine walker. One tenth of the time occupied in learning a few tunes on the piano, given to this exercise, would insure any girl a noble carriage. The crown is not necessary. Any weight which does not press upon the very crown of the head, but about it, will answer the purpose equally well.

Fig. 14 exhibits John as the photographer took him the first time he wore the crown. You observe how his form is changed.

False Positions while walking, in Schools.

Fig. 15 shows the worst of them. This is no exaggeration of what I have seen in our New-England schools. It is not common among scholars to join the hands thus, and carry the body erect. Fig. 16 shows a still worse position. If you stand erect, with your arms hanging by the sides, and then deliberately fold the arms, as in this figure, you will find the points of the shoulders are drawn forward two inches, and the chest much contracted. Experiments prove that the amount of air which the lungs can inhale is reduced fifteen to eighteen per cent when the arms are thus folded.

Fig. 17 secures a good position of the spine, and opens the chest. Fig. 18 is not very seemly, but, practised five minutes two or three times a day, would do much to develop the muscles of the spine, and particularly thosePg 43 of the back of the neck, whose weakness permits the head to droop. This subject I commend to teachers and school-committees.

Fig. 14, 15 and 16 Fig. 14                        Fig. 15                      Fig. 16

Fig. 17 and 18 Fig. 17                        Fig. 18

The Muff.

It draws the shoulders forward, and produces an ugly gait. Let a boy wear a shawl, and hold it together in front with his hands, and he will have the same disagreeable waddle. If he wears it even for one winter, he will learn to stoop. Muffs, shawls, and those cloaks which do not allow the armsPg 44 to swing freely, should all be thrown overboard. Over-coats should be worn by both sexes.

The arms are almost as necessary in walking as the legs. The first time you are walking with your arms at liberty, stop moving them and hold them by your sides. You will be surprised to find how soon your companion will leave you behind, although you may hurry, twist, wriggle, and try very hard to keep up. One reason for the slow walk among girls is to be found in this practice of carrying the arms motionless. Three miles an hour with the arms still, is as hard work as four miles with the arms free.

I have seen the queens of the stage walk. I have seen a few girls and women of queenly bearing walk in the street and drawing-room. They moved their arms in a free and graceful manner. Could this habit become universal among girls, their chests would enlarge and their bearing be greatly improved. See that girl walking with both hands in her muff. How she wriggles and twists her shoulders and hips! This is because her arms are pinioned. Give them free swing, and her gait would soon become more graceful.

You have seen pictures of our muscles. Those of the upper part of the body, you remember, spread out from the shoulder, in all directions, like a fan. Now if you hold the shoulder still, the muscles of the chest will shrink, the shoulders stoop, and the whole chest become thin and ugly.

But some girls will say, “Swinging the arms must be very slight exercise.” True, it is very slight, if you swing the arms but once or ten times, but if you swing them ten thousand times in a day, you will obtain more exercise of the muscles of the chest than by all other ordinary movements combined. Indeed, if I were asked what exercise I thought most effective for developing the chests of American girls, I should reply at once, swinging the arms while walking.

Dio Lewis.





Andy's folks had gone to town, and left him at home to take care of the house, watch the garden, and amuse himself.

Andy had a new bow and arrow, and he thought it would be great sport to have nothing to do all the afternoon but to shoot at the robins and woodpeckers.

So, as soon as the wagon was out of sight, and the gate shut, he ran into the orchard, and began the fun. He kept near enough to the house to see if anybody came to the door, and near enough to the garden to see if thePg 45 pigs got into it; and whenever he saw a bird, he sent an arrow after it. But the robins soon found out what he wanted, and flew away when they saw him coming. Their beautiful red breasts would have been capital marks, if they had only waited for him to get a good shot. The wrens were not afraid, but they were so small he could not hit them. And the swallows kept flying about so, twittering and darting here and there, that he knew he would have to practise a long time before he could take them on the wing. The yellow-birds and blue-birds were so shy, that he could hardly see one in sight of the house. So there was no game left but the woodpeckers.

But woodpeckers are cunning fellows. They run up the trees, and stick in their bills, and hop about, and fly from one tree to another so fast, that it takes a pretty smart boy to hit one. They were tame enough, and would sometimes let Andy come quite near; they would stop pecking a moment, and hold up their red heads to take a good look at him; then they would begin to drum again in the merriest way, making little holes in the old peach-trees, which began to look like wooden soldiers that had gone through the wars and been shot in hundreds of places. But the instant Andy drew the bowstring and took aim, they knew well enough what it meant; and it was provoking to see them dodge around on the bark and get out of sight just in time to let the arrow whiz by them. Then they would go to pecking and drumming again so near, that he wished a dozen times that he had some kind of an arrow that would shoot around a tree and hit on the other side.

At length Andy grew tired of this fun; and he had lost his arrow so many times in the grass, and had to hunt for it, that he got vexed, and thought it would be much better sport to go and shoot a chicken.

Now he did not mean to kill a chicken, and he did not really think he would be able to hit one. But often we do things more easily when we are not trying very hard, than when we are too anxious. So it happened with Andy. He tried his luck on the speckled top-knot, which everybody considered the handsomest chick that had been hatched that summer. He drew his bow, let go the string, and the speckled top-knot keeled over. He ran up to it, very proud, at first, of his good shot, but frightened enough when he found that the chicken only just kicked a little, and then lay quite still.

Andy turned it over, and tried to stand it upon its legs, and thought what he should tell his parents.

“I'll say a hawk flew down and killed it! But I shot at the hawk, and he let it drop, just as he was flying away with it.”

This was the story he made up, as he took poor top-knot and laid it down by the well-curb.

He was still wishing to shoot something that was alive, and, seeing the cat creeping along on the fence watching for a mouse, he concluded to try his luck with her. So he drew up, aimed, and fired. Puss was so intent on watching the mouse that she paid no attention at all to the arrow, which struck the rail a little behind her, and glanced off towards the house. Andy heard a sound like shivered glass, and, running up, saw to his dismay that he had broken a window.Pg 46

Now he had been told never to shoot his arrow towards the house; and how to conceal the accident and avoid punishment he couldn't at first imagine. The glass lay scattered on the pantry shelf, and the hole in the pane was large enough to put his hand through.

“I'll say Joe Beals came and wanted my bow, and because I wouldn't let him have it, he threw a stone at me, and broke the window.”

And having made up this story, he searched for such a stone as Joe would be apt to throw, and, having found one, placed it on the pantry floor, to appear as if it had fallen there after passing through the glass.

These accidents made him dislike his bow, and he hung it up in the wood-shed. Then he made a lasso of a string, and caught the cat by throwing the noose over her head. But Puss did not like the sport as well as he did, and gave him such a scratch that he was glad to let her run off with the lasso. Then he thought he would plague the old sow by getting one of her little pink-white pigs; but the instant he had caught it up in his arms, it began to squeal; and the mother, hearing it, ran after him with such a frightful noise, throwing up her great, savage tusks at him, that he dropped it, and ran for his life. She stopped to smell of Piggy, and see if it was hurt; and so he got away, though he was terribly frightened.

Then Andy thought of his toy ship; and having stopped the holes in the sink, and pumped it full of water, he called it his ocean, and launched the “Sea-bird.” With a pair of bellows he made wind, and with a dipper he made waves; and by placing a kettle bottom upwards in the middle of the sink he made an island; and the good ship pitched, and tossed, and rolled in a very exciting manner. At length he resolved to have a shipwreck. This he managed, not by putting the ship on a rock, but by putting a rock on the ship. He used for the purpose the stone Joe Beals did not throw through the pantry window, and the “Sea-bird” went down, with all her crew on board. He then opened the holes in the sink, and the tide, going out, left the vessel on her beam-ends, stranded.

It would have been well for Andy if he had been contented with such innocent pastimes, without doing mischief to the cat, or chickens, or pigs, or trying to shoot the pretty birds that fly about the orchards, singing so sweetly, and eating the worms that destroy the trees.

But nothing satisfied him; and to have some better fun than any yet, he determined to stand in the door and scream, “Fire!” He could not imagine greater sport than to see the neighbors come running to put out the fire, and then laugh at them for being duped. He did not consider that they would have to leave their work, and run a long distance, till they were quite out of breath; or that his laughter would be a very mean and foolish return for the good-will they would show in hastening to save his father's house; or that, in case the house should really take fire some day, and he should call for help, people might think it another silly trick, and stay away.

He stood in the door, filled his lungs with a long breath, opened his mouth as wide as he could, and screamed,—“Fire! fire! fire!”

Three times. He thought it so funny, that he had to stop and laugh.Pg 47 Then he took another breath, and screamed again, louder than before,—“Fire! fire! fire! fire! fire!”

Five times; and he heard the echoes away off among the hills; and, looking across the lot, he saw old Mother Quirk hobbling on her crutch.

Old Mother Quirk was just about the queerest woman in the world. She had a nose as crooked as a horn, and almost as long. It crooked down to meet her chin, and her chin crooked up to meet her nose. And some people said she could hold the end of a thread between them, when she wished to twist a cord with both hands,—although I doubt it. Her face was so full of wrinkles, that the smallest spot you could think of had at least twenty in it. Her eyes were as black as charcoal, and as bright as diamonds. She was very old; and her back was bent like a bow; and her hair was perfectly white, and as long and fine as the finest kind of flax; and she was so lame that she could never walk without her crutch.

She was a good woman though, people said, and knew almost everything. She could tell when it would rain to-morrow, and when it would be fair. She would shut her eyes, and tell you all about your friends at a distance; describe them as plainly as if she saw them, and inform you if anything pleasant or unpleasant had happened to them. She knew more about curing the sick than the doctors did; and once when Andy had hurt his foot by jumping upon a sharp stub, and it was so sore for a week that he could not step, and it had been poulticed and plastered till it was as white and soft as cheese-curd, Mother Quirk had cured it in three days, by putting on to it a bit of dried beef's gall, which drew out a sliver that the doctors had never thought of. She was always ready to help people who were in trouble; and now, when Andy screamed fire, she was the first to come hobbling on her crutch.

“What is burning, Andy?” she cried, as she came through the gate. “Where is the fire?”

“In the bottom of the well!” replied Andy, laughing till his side ached. “O, ho, ho! why don't you bring some water in a thimble, and put the well out? O, ho, ho! Mother Quirk!”

There was fire in the old woman's eyes just then, if not in the well. It flashed out of them like two little streams of lightning out of two little jet-black clouds. She lifted her crutch, and I am not sure but she would have struck Andy with it, if she had not been too lame to catch him.

“Put the well out, ho, ho, ho!” laughed Andy, hopping away.

“I would put you in, if I could get hold of you!” said Mother Quirk, shaking her crutch at him. “You wouldn't be dancing around so on that foot of yours, if I hadn't cured it for you, and this is the thanks I get for it!”

That made Andy feel rather ashamed; for he began to see how ungrateful it was in him to play the old woman such a trick.

“It isn't the first time you've made me run for nothing, with my poor old crutch,” she went on, as he stopped laughing. “The other day you told me your mother was sick abed, and wanted to see me; and I left everything and hobbled over here; and didn't I find her ironing clothes in the kitchen, as well a woman as she ever was in her life, you little rogue!”Pg 48

Andy laughed again at the recollection. “You was smoking your pipe,” said he, “with your old black cat in your lap, and 't was fun to see you jump up and catch your crutch!”

“Fun to you! but do you think of my poor old bones? I'm almost a hundred years old,” said Mother Quirk; “and shall I tell you what I've learnt all this time? I've learnt that the meanest thing in the world is to treat ill those who treat you kindly; and that the worst thing is lying.”

Andy was sobered again, and the old woman continued:—

“What if everybody and everything should lie? What if we could never know when to believe what our friends and neighbors tell us? What if my crutch should lie, and, when I lean on it, break and let me fall?”

“I think it would be fun!” said Andy.

“And what if the ground you stand on should not be the ground it appears to be, but a great pit, and should let you fall into it when you think you are walking on the grass? Suppose that everything was a lie, that nothing was what it pretends to be, that the whole world should trick and cheat us?” cried the old woman, raising her voice.

“I should like to see the spot!” said Andy, giggling again.

“Should you?” almost shrieked the old woman, with a terrible look.

“Yes!” and Andy grinned at a safe distance.

“Then try it!” exclaimed Mother Quirk.

And holding her crutch under her shoulder, she brought her hands together with a loud slap. Although Andy was at least three yards off, it seemed to him exactly as if she had boxed his ear. He was almost knocked down, and his head hummed like a beehive; but he could not, to save his life, tell which ear had been boxed, nor which he ought to rub. For a minute, he kept whirling around, as dizzy as a top. Then a voice cried, “Catch that rabbit!”

J. T. Trowbridge.

(To be continued.)





Many years ago, before railroads were thought of, a company of Connecticut farmers, who had heard marvellous stories of the richness of the land in the West, sold their farms, packed up their goods, bade adieu to their friends, and with their families started for Ohio.

After weeks of travel over dusty roads, they came to a beautiful valley, watered by a winding brook. The hills around were fair and sunny. TherePg 49 were groves of oaks, and maples, and lindens. The air was fragrant with honeysuckle and jasmine. There was plenty of game. The swift-footed deer browsed the tender grass upon the hills. Squirrels chattered in the trees and the ringdoves cooed in the depths of the forest. The place was so fertile and fair, so pleasant and peaceful, that the emigrants made it their home, and called it New Hope.

They built a mill upon the brook. They laid out a wide, level street, and a public square, erected a school-house, and then a church. One of their number opened a store. Other settlers came, and then, as the years passed by, the village rang with the shouts of children pouring from the school-house for a frolic upon the square. Glorious times they had beneath the oaks and maples.

One of the jolliest of the boys was Paul Parker, only son of Widow Parker, who lived in a little old house on the outskirts of the village, shaded by a great maple. Her husband died when Paul was in his cradle. Paul's grandfather was still living. The people called him “Old Pensioner Parker,” for he fought at Bunker Hill, and received a pension from government. He was hale and hearty, though more than eighty years of age.

The Pensioner was the main support of the family; but by keeping a cow, a pig, turkeys and chickens, by selling milk and eggs, which Paul carried to their customers, they brought the years round without running in debt. Paul's pantaloons had a patch on each knee, but he laughed just as loud and whistled just as cheerily for all that.

In summer he went barefoot. He did not have to turn out at every mud-puddle, and he could plash into the mill-pond and give the frogs a crack over the head without stopping to take off stockings and shoes. Paul did not often have a dinner of roast beef, but he had an abundance of bean porridge, brown bread, and milk.

“Bean porridge is wholesome food, Paul,” said his grandfather. “When I was a boy we used to say,—

'Bean porridge hot,
Bean porridge cold,—
Bean porridge best
Nine days old.'

The wood-choppers in winter used to freeze it into cakes and carry it into the woods. Many a time I have made a good dinner on a chunk of frozen porridge.”

The Pensioner remembered what took place in his early years, but he lost his reckoning many times a day upon what was going on in the town. He loved to tell stories, and Paul was a willing listener. Pleasant winter-evenings they had in the old kitchen, the hickory logs blazing on the hearth, the tea-kettle singing through its nose, the clock ticking soberly, the old Pensioner smoking his pipe in the arm-chair, Paul's mother knitting,—Bruno by Paul's side, wagging his tail and watching Muff in the opposite corner rolling her great round yellow eyes. Bruno was always ready to give Muff battle whenever Paul tipped him the wink to pitch in.Pg 50

The Pensioner's stories were of his boyhood,—how he joined the army, and fought the battles of the Revolution. Thus his story ran.

“I was only a little bigger than you are, Paul,” he said, “when the red-coats began the war at Lexington. I lived in old Connecticut then; that was a long time before we came out here. The meeting-house bell rung, and the people blew their dinner-horns, and ran up to the meeting-house and found the militia forming. The men had their guns and powder-horns. The women were at work melting their pewter porringers into bullets. I wasn't old enough to train, but I could fire a gun and bring down a squirrel from the top of a tree. I wanted to go and help drive the red-coats into the ocean. I asked mother if I might. I was afraid that she didn't want me to go. 'Why, Paul,' says she, 'you haven't any clothes.' 'Mother,' says I, 'I can shoot a red-coat just as well as any of the men can.' Says she, 'Do you want to go, Paul?' 'Yes, mother!' 'You shall go; I'll fix you out.' As I hadn't any coat she took a meal-bag, cut a hole for my head in the bottom, and made holes for my arms, cut off a pair of her own stocking-legs, and sewed them on for sleeves, and I was rigged. I took the old gun which father carried at Ticonderoga, and the powder-horn, and started. There is the gun and the horn, Paul, hanging up.

“The red-coats had got back to Boston, but we cooped them up. Our company was in Colonel Knowlton's regiment. I carried the flag, which said, Qui transtulit sustinet. I don't know anything about Latin, but those who do say it means that God who hath transported us will sustain us, and that is true, Paul. He sustained us at Bunker Hill, and we should have held it if our powder had not given out. Our regiment was by a rail-fence on the northeast side of the hill. Stark, with his New Hampshire boys, was by the river. Prescott was in the redoubt on the top of the hill. Old Put kept walking up and down the lines. This is the way it was, Paul.”

The Pensioner laid aside his pipe, bent forward, and traced upon the hearth the positions of the troops.

“There is the redoubt; here is the rail-fence; there is where the red-coats formed their lines. They came up in front of us here. We didn't fire a gun till they got close to us. I'll show you how the fire ran down the line.”

He took down the horn, pulled out the stopper, held his finger over the tip, and made a trail of powder.

“There, Paul, that is by the fence. As the red-coats came up, some of us began to be uneasy and wanted to fire, but Old Put kept saying, 'Don't fire yet! Wait till you can see the white of their eyes! Aim at their belts!'”

While Pensioner was saying this, he took the tongs and picked a live coal from the fire.

“They came up beautifully, Paul,—the tall grenadiers and light-infantry in their scarlet coats, and the sun shining on their gun-barrels and bayonets. They wer'n't more than ten rods off when a soldier on top of the hill couldn't stand it any longer. Pop! went his gun, and the fire ran down the hill quicker than scat! just like this!”Pg 51

He touched the coal to the powder. There was a flash, a puff of smoke rising to the ceiling, and filling the room.

“Hooray!” shouted Paul, springing to his feet. Muff went with a jump upon the bureau in the corner of the room, her tail as big as Paul's arm, and her back up. Bruno was after her in a twinkling, bouncing about, barking, and looking round to Paul to see if it was all right.

He touched the coal to the powder

“There, grandpa, you have made a great smut on the hearth,” said Mrs. Parker, who kept her house neat and tidy, though it was a crazy old affair.

“Well, mother, I thought it would please Paul.”

“S-s-s-s-si'c!” Paul made a hiss which Bruno understood, and went at Muff more fiercely. It was glorious to see Muff spit fire, and hear her growl low and deep like distant thunder. Paul would not have Muff hurt for anything, but he loved to see Bruno show his teeth at her, and see how gritty she was when she was waked up.

“Be still, Paul, and let Muff alone,” said Paul's mother.

“Come, Bruno, she ain't worth minding,” said Paul.Pg 52

“They have got good courage, both of 'em,” said the pensioner; “and courage is one half of the battle, and truth and honor is the other half. Paul, I want you to remember that. It will be worth more than a fortune to you. I don't mean that cats and dogs know much about truth and honor, and I have seen some men who didn't know much more about those qualities of character than Muff and Bruno; but what I have said, Paul, is true for all that. The men who win success in life are those who love truth, and who follow what is noble and good. No matter how brave a man may be, if he hasn't these qualities he won't succeed. He may get rich, but that won't amount to much. Success, Paul, is to have an unblemished character,—to be true to ourselves, to our country, and to God.”

He went on with his story, telling how the British troops ran before the fire of the Yankees,—how they re-formed and came on a second time, and were repulsed again,—how General Clinton went over from Boston with reinforcements,—how Charlestown was set on fire,—how the flames leaped from house to house, and curled round the spire of the church,—how the red-coats advanced a third time beneath the great black clouds of smoke,—how the ammunition of the Yankees gave out, and they were obliged to retreat,—how General Putnam tried to rally them,—how they escaped across Charlestown Neck, where the cannon-balls from the British floating batteries raked the ranks! He made it all so plain, that Paul wished he had been there.

The story completed, Paul climbed the creaking stairway to his narrow chamber, repeated his evening prayer, and scrambled into bed.

“He is a jolly boy,” said the pensioner to Paul's mother, as Paul left the room.

“I don't know what will become of him,” she replied, “he is so wild and thoughtless. He leaves the door open, throws his cap into the corner, sets Bruno and Muff to growling, stops to play on his way home from school, sings, whistles, shouts, hurrahs, and tears round like all possessed.”

If she could have looked into Paul's desk at school, she would have found whirligigs, tops, pin-boxes, nails, and no end of strings and dancing dandy-jims.

“Paul is a rogue,” said the Pensioner. “You remember how he got on top of the house awhile ago and frightened us out of our wits by shouting 'Fire! fire!' down the chimney; how we ran out to see about it; how I asked him 'Where?' and says he, 'Down there in the fireplace, grandpa.' He is a chip of the old block. I used to do just so. But there is one good thing about him, he don't do mean tricks. He don't bend up pins and put them in the boys' seats, or tuck chestnut-burs into the girls' hoods. I never knew him to tell a lie. He will come out all right.”

“I hope so,” said Mrs. Parker.

Paul could look through the crevices between the shingles, and the cracks in the walls, and behold the stars gleaming from the unfathomable spaces. He wondered how far they were away. He listened to the wind chanting a solemn dirge, filling his soul with longings for he knew not what. HePg 53 thought over his grandfather's stories, and the words he had spoken about courage, truth, and honor, till a shingle clattering in the wind took up the refrain, and seemed to say, Truth and honor,—truth and honor,—truth and honor,—so steadily and pleasantly, that while he listened the stars faded from his sight, and he sailed away into dream-land.

Paul was twelve years old, stout, hearty, and healthy,—full of life, and brimming over with fun. Once he set the village in a roar. The people permitted their pigs to run at large. The great maple in front of the Pensioner's house was cool and shady,—a delightful place for the pigs through the hot summer days.

Mr. Chrome, the carriage-painter, lived across the road. He painted a great many wagons for the farmers,—the wheels yellow, the bodies blue, green, or red, with scrolls and flowers on the sides. Paul watched him by the hour, and sometimes made up his mind to be a carriage-painter when he became a man.

“Mr. Chrome,” said Paul, “don't you think that those pigs would look better if they were painted?”

“Perhaps so.”

“I should like to see how they would look painted as you paint your wagons.”

Mr. Chrome laughed at the ludicrous fancy. He loved fun, and was ready to help carry out the freak.

“Well, just try your hand on improving nature.”

Paul went to work. Knowing that pigs like to have their backs scratched, he had no difficulty in keeping them quiet. To one he gave green legs, blue ears, red rings round its eyes, and a red tail. Another had one red leg, one blue, one yellow, one green, with red and blue stripes and yellow stars on its body. “I will make him a star-spangled pig,” Paul shouted to Mr. Chrome. Another had a green head, yellow ears, and a red body. Bruno watched the proceedings, wagging his tail, looking now at Paul and then at the pigs, ready to help on the fun.

“Si'c!—si'c!—si'c!” said Paul. Bruno was upon them with a bound. Away they capered, with Bruno at their heels. As soon as they came into the sunshine the spirits of turpentine in the paint was like fire to their flesh. Faster they ran up the street squealing, with Bruno barking behind. Mr. Chrome laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks. All the dogs, great and small, joined Bruno in chase of the strange game. People came out from the stores, windows were thrown up, and all hands—men, women, and children—ran to see what was the matter, laughing and shouting, while the pigs and dogs ran round the square.

“Paul Parker did that, I'll bet,” said Mr. Leatherby, the shoemaker, peeping out from his shop. “It is just like him.”

An old white horse, belonging to Mr. Smith, also sought the shade of the maple before the Pensioner's house. Bruno barked at him by the hour, but the old horse would not move for anything short of a club or stone.

“I'll see if I can't get rid of him,” said Paul to himself.Pg 54

He went into the barn, found a piece of rope, tied up a little bundle of hay, got a stick five or six feet long, and some old harness-straps. In the evening, when it was so dark that people could not see what he was up to, he caught the old horse, laid the stick between his ears and strapped it to his neck, and tied the hay to the end of the stick; then it hung a few inches beyond old Whitey's nose. The old horse took a step ahead to nibble the hay,—another,—another,—another! “Don't you wish you may get it?” said Paul. Tramp,—tramp,—tramp. Old Whitey went down the road. Paul heard him go across the bridge by the mill, and up the hill the other side of the brook.

“Go it, old fellow!” he shouted, then listened again. It was a calm night, and he could just hear old Whitey's feet,—tramp,—tramp,—tramp.

The next morning the good people of Fairview, ten miles from New Hope, laughed to see an old white horse, with a bundle of hay a few inches beyond his nose, passing through the place.

“Have you seen my horse?” Mr. Smith asked Paul in the morning.

“Yes, sir, I saw him going down towards the bridge last evening,” Paul replied, chuckling to himself.

Mr. Smith went down to the mill and inquired. The miller heard a horse go over the bridge. The farmer on the other side heard a horse go up the hill. Mr. Smith looked at the tracks. They were old Whitey's, for he had a broken shoe on his left hind foot. He followed on. “I never knew him to go away before,” he said to himself, as he walked hour after hour, seeing the tracks all the way to Fairview.

“Have you seen a white horse about here?” he asked of one of the villagers.

“Yes, sir; there was one here this morning trying to overtake a bundle of hay,” the man replied, laughing. “There he is now!” he added.

Mr. Smith looked up and saw old Whitey, who had turned about, and was reaching forward to get a nibble of the hay. Mr. Smith felt like being angry, but the old horse was walking so soberly and earnestly that he couldn't help laughing.

“That is some of Paul's doings, I know. I'll give him a blessing when I get back.”

It was noon before Mr. Smith reached New Hope. Paul and Bruno were sitting beneath the maple.

“Where did you find old Whitey?” Paul asked.

“You was the one who did it, you little rascal?”

“Did what?”

“You know what. You have made me walk clear to Fairview. I have a mind to horsewhip you.”

Paul laughed to think that the old horse had tramped so far, though he was sorry that Mr. Smith had been obliged to walk that distance.

“I didn't mean any harm, Mr. Smith, but old Whitey has made our door-yard his stamping-place all summer, and I thought I would see if I could get rid of him.”Pg 55

“Well, sir, if you do it again I'll trounce you,” said Mr. Smith as he rode away, his anger coming up.

“Wouldn't it be better for you to put him in a pasture, Mr. Smith? Then he wouldn't trouble us,” said Paul, who knew that Mr. Smith had no right to let old Whitey run at large. Paul was not easily frightened when he had right on his side. The people in the stores and at the tavern had a hearty laugh when they heard how old Whitey went to Fairview.

Mr. Cipher taught the village school. He was tall, slim, thin-faced, with black eyes deeply set in his head, and a long, hooked nose like an eagle's bill. He wore a loose swallow-tailed coat with bright brass buttons, and pants which were several inches too short. The Committee employed him, not because he was a superior teacher, but they could get him for twelve dollars a month, while Mr. Rudiment, who had been through college, and who was known to be an excellent instructor, asked sixteen.

There was a crowd of roistering boys and rosy-cheeked girls, who made the old school-house hum like a beehive. Very pleasant to the passers-by was the music of their voices. At recess and at noon they had leap-frog and tag. Paul was in a class with Philip Funk, Hans Middlekauf, and Michael Murphy. There were other boys and girls of all nationalities. Paul's ancestors were from Connecticut, Philip's father was a Virginian. Hans was born in Germany, and Michael in Ireland. Philip's father kept a grocery, and sold sugar, molasses, tobacco, and whiskey. He was rich, and Philip wore good clothes and calf-skin boots. Paul could get his lessons very quick whenever he set about them in earnest, but he spent half his time in inventing fly-traps, making whirligigs, or drawing pictures on his slate. He could draw admirably, for he had a quick eye and natural ability. Philip could get his lessons also if he chose to apply himself, but it was a great deal easier to get some one to work out the problems in arithmetic than to do them himself.

“Here, Paul, just do this question for me; that is a good fellow.”

It was at recess.

“No; Cipher has forbid it. Each one has got to do his own,” said Paul.

“If you will do it, I will give you a handful of raisins,” said Philip, who usually had his pockets full of raisins, candy, or nuts.

“It wouldn't be right.”

“Come, just do that one; Cipher never will know it.”

“No!” Paul said it resolutely.

“You are a mean, sneaking fellow,” said Philip with a sneer, turning up his nose.

Philip was a year older than Paul. He had sandy hair, white eyelashes, and a freckled face. He carried a watch, and always had money in his pocket. Paul, on the other hand, hardly ever had a cent which he could call his own. His clothes were worn till they were almost past mending.

“Rag-tag has got a hole in his trousers,” said Philip to the other boys.

Paul's face flushed. He wanted to knock Philip's teeth down his throat. He knew that his mother had hard work to clothe him, and felt the insult.Pg 56 He went into the school-house, choked his anger down, and tried to forget all about it by drawing a picture of the master. It was an excellent likeness,—his spindle legs, great feet, short pants, loose coat, sunken eyes, hooked nose, thin face, and long bony fingers.

Philip sat behind Paul. Instead of studying his lesson, he was planning how to get Paul into trouble. He saw the picture. Now was his time. He giggled aloud. Mr. Cipher looked up in astonishment.

“What are you laughing at, Master Funk?”

“At what Paul is doing.”

Paul hustled his slate into his desk.

“Let me see what you have here,” said Cipher, walking up to Paul, who spat in his fingers, and ran his hand into the desk, to rub out the drawing; but he felt that it would be better to meet his punishment boldly than to have the school think that he was a sneak. He laid the slate before the master without a line effaced.

“Giving your attention to drawing, are you, Master Paul?” His eyes flashed. He knit his brows. The blood rushed to his cheeks. There was a popping up of heads all over the school-room to get a sight of the picture.

The boys laughed aloud, and there was a tittering among the girls, which made Cipher very angry. “Silence!” he roared, and stamped upon the floor so savagely that the windows rattled. “Come out here, Sir. I'll give you a drawing-lesson of another sort.” He seized Paul by the collar, and threw him into the space in front of his own desk. “Hold out your hand.”

Paul felt that he was about to receive a tremendous thrashing; but he determined that he would not flinch. He held out his right hand, and spat! came the blow from a heavy ferule. His hand felt as if he had been struck by a piece of hot iron.

“The other, sir.”

Whack! it fell, a blow which made the flesh purple. There was an Oh! upon his tongue; but he set his teeth together, and bit his lips till they bled, and so smothered it. Another blow,—another,—another,—which were hard to bear; but his teeth were set like a vice. There was a twitching of the muscles round his lips; he was pale. When the blows fell, he held his breath, but he did not snivel.

“I'll see if I can't bring you to your feeling, you good-for-nothing scape-grace,” said the master, mad with passion, and surprised that Paul made no outcry. He gave another round, bringing the ferule down with great force. Blood began to ooze from the pores. The last blow spattered the drops around the room. Cipher came to his senses. He stopped.

“Are you sorry, sir?”

“I don't know whether I am or not. I didn't mean any harm. I suppose I ought not to have drawn it in school; but I didn't do it to make fun. I drew you just as you are,” said Paul,—his voice trembling a little in spite of his efforts to control it.

The master could not deny that it was a perfect likeness. He was surprised at Paul's cleverness at drawing, and for the first time in his life sawPg 57 that he cut a ridiculous figure wearing that long, loose, swallow-tailed coat, with great, flaming brass buttons, and resolved upon the spot that his next coat should be a frock, and that he would get a longer pair of pants.

“You may take your seat, sir!” he said, puzzled to know whether to punish Paul still more, and compel him to say that he was sorry, or whether to accept the explanations, and apologize for whipping him so severely.

Paul sat down. His hands ached terribly; but what troubled him most was the thought that he had been whipped before the whole school. All the girls had witnessed his humiliation. There was one among them,—Azalia Adams,—who stood at the head of Paul's class, the best reader and speller in school. She had ruby lips, and cheeks like roses; the golden sunlight falling upon her chestnut hair crowned her with glory; deep, thoughtful, and earnest was the liquid light of her hazel eyes; she was as lovely and beautiful as the flower whose name she bore. Paul had drawn her picture many times,—sometimes bending over her task, sometimes as she sat, unmindful of the hum of voices around her, looking far away into a dim and distant dream-land. He never wearied of tracing the features of one so fair and good as she. Her laugh was as musical as a mountain-brook; and in the church on Sunday, when he heard her voice sweetly, softly, and melodiously mingling with the choir, he thought of the angels,—of her as in heaven and he on earth.

“Run home, sonny, and tell your marm that you got a licking,” said Philip when school was out.

Paul's face became livid. He would have doubled his fist and given Philip a blow in the face, but his palms were like puff-balls. There was an ugly feeling inside, but just then a pair of bright hazel eyes, almost swimming with tears, looked into his own. “Don't mind it, Paul,” said Azalia.

The pain was not half so hard to bear after that. He wanted to say, “I thank you,” but did not know how. Till then his lips had hardly quivered, and he had not shed a tear; now his eyes became moist; one great drop rolled down his cheeks, but he wiped it off with his coat-sleeve, and turned away, for fear that Azalia would think that he was a baby.

On his way home the thought uppermost in his mind was, “What will mother say?” Why tell her? Would it not be better to keep the matter to himself? But then he remembered that she had said, “Paul, I shall expect you to tell me truthfully all that happens to you at school.” He loved his mother. She was one of the best mothers that ever lived, working for him day and night. How could he abuse such confidence as she had given him? He would not violate it. He would not be a sneak.

His mother and the Pensioner were sitting before the fire as he entered the house. She welcomed him with a smile,—a beautiful smile it was, for she was a noble woman, and Paul was her darling, her pride, the light, joy, and comfort of her life.

“Well, Paul, how do you get on at school?” his grandfather asked.

“I got a whipping to-day.” It was spoken boldly and manfully.

“What! My son got a whipping!” his mother exclaimed.Pg 58

“Yes, mother.”

“I am astonished. Come here, and tell me all about it.”

Paul stood by her side and told the story,—how Philip Funk tried to bribe him, how he called him names,—how, having got his lessons, he made a picture of the master. “Here it is, mother.” He took his slate from his little green bag. The picture had not been effaced. His mother looked at it and laughed, notwithstanding her efforts to keep sober, for it was such a perfect likeness. She had an exquisite sense of the ludicrous, and Paul was like her. She was surprised to find that he could draw so well.

“We will talk about the matter after supper,” she said. She had told Paul many times, that, if he was justly punished at school, he must expect a second punishment at home; but she wanted to think awhile before deciding what to do. She was pleased to know that her boy could not be bribed to do what his conscience told him he ought not to do, and that he was manly and truthful. She would rather follow him to the church-yard and lay him in his grave beneath the bending elms, than to have him untruthful or wicked.

The evening passed away. Paul sat before the fire, looking steadily into the coals. He was sober and thoughtful, wondering what his mother would say at last. The clock struck nine. It was his bedtime. He went and stood by her side once more. “You are not angry with me, mother, are you?”

“No, my son. I do not think that you deserved so severe a punishment. I am rejoiced to know that you are truthful, and that you despise a mean act. Be always as you have been to-night, and I never shall be angry with you.”

He threw his arms around her neck, and gave way to tears, such as Cipher could not extort by his pounding. She gave him a good-night kiss,—so sweet that it seemed to lie upon his lips all through the night.

“God bless you, Paul,” said the Pensioner.

Paul climbed the creaking stairs, and knelt with an overflowing heart to say his evening prayer. He spoke the words earnestly when he asked God to take care of his mother and grandfather. He was very happy. He looked out through the crevices in the walls, and saw the stars and the moon flooding the landscape with silver light. There was sweet music in the air,—the merry melody of the water murmuring by the mill, the cheerful chirping of the crickets, and the lullaby of the winds, near at hand and far away, putting him in mind of the choirs on earth and the choirs in heaven. “Don't mind it, Paul!” were the words they sung, so sweetly and tenderly that for many days they rang in his ears.




Pg 59 Top
Old man with a cape and walking stick.
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Little children, down the turnpike goes the year,
Down through every dell,
All the bells of all the country in its ear:
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Through the meadows and the woods, o'er the plain,
Past where children dwell,
All the children, some in joy and some in pain:
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Is it from a belfry, or the beating heart
Of the year, this swell,
Solemn like the steps of friends who have to part?
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Little children's homes in heaven and on earth,
All have hearts to tell
How good actions overflow the year with mirth:
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Pg 60
Ding, Dong, Bell!
And it needeth not a steeple's voice to say,
What a dreary knell
Hearts are ringing as their goodness flies away:
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Ding, Dong, Bell!
Down the turnpike for you comes another year;
Children, treat it well:
Naught but goodness brings to homes right jolly cheer:
Ding, Dong, Bell!
John Weiss.





No. I.

There is an old farm-house in the State of New Jersey, not a hundred miles from the city of Trenton, having the great railroad which runs between New York and Philadelphia so near to it that one can hear the whistle of the locomotive as it hurries onward every hour in the day, and see the trains of cars as they whirl by with their loads of living freight. The laborers in the fields along the road, though they see these things so frequently, invariably pause in their work and watch the advancing train until it passes them, and follow it with their eyes until it is nearly lost in the distance. The boy leans upon his hoe, the mower rests upon his scythe, the ploughman halts his horses in the furrow,—all stop to gaze upon a spectacle that has long ceased to be either a wonder or a novelty. Why it is so may be difficult to answer, except that the snorting combination of wheels, and cranks, and fire, and smoke, thundering by the quiet fields, breaks in upon the monotonous labor of the hand who works alone, with no one to converse with,—for the fact is equally curious, that gangs of laborers make no pause on the appearance of a locomotive. They have companionship enough already.

This old wooden farm-house was a very shabby affair. To look at it, one would be sure that the owner had a particular aversion to both paint and whitewash. The weather-boarding was fairly honeycombed by age and exposure to the sun and rain, and in some places the end of a board had dropped off, and hung down a foot or two, for want of a nail which everybodyPg 61 about the place appeared to be too lazy or neglectful to supply in time. One or two of the window-shutters had lost a hinge, and they also hung askew,—nobody had thought it worth while to drive back the staple when it first became loose.

Then there were several broken lights of glass in the kitchen windows. As the men about the house neglected to have them mended, or to do it themselves by using the small bit of putty that would have kept the cracked ones from going to pieces, the women had been compelled to keep out the wind and rain by stuffing in the first thing that came to hand. There was a bit of red flannel in one, an old straw bonnet in another, while in a third, from which all the glass was gone, a tolerably good fur hat, certainly worth the cost of half a dozen lights, had been crammed in to fill up the vacancy. The whole appearance of the windows was deplorable. Some of them had lost the little wooden buttons which kept up the sash when hoisted, and which anybody could have replaced by whittling out new ones with his knife; but as no one did it, and as the women must sometimes have the sashes raised, they propped them up with pretty big sticks from the wood-pile. It was not a nice sight, that of a rough stick as thick as one's arm to hold up the sash, especially when, of a sultry day, three or four of them were always within view.

Then the wooden step at the kitchen door, instead of being nailed fast to the house, was not only loose, but it rested on the ground so unevenly as to tilt over whenever any one stepped carelessly on its edge. As the house contained a large family, all of whom generally lived in the kitchen, there was a great deal of running in and out over this loose step. When it first broke away from the building, it gave quite a number of severe tumbles to the women and children. Everybody complained of it, but nobody mended it, though a single stout nail would have held it fast. One dark night a pig broke loose, and, snuffing and smelling around the premises in search of forage, came upon the loose step, and, imagining that he scented a supper in its neighborhood, used his snout so vigorously as to push it clear away from the door. One of the girls, hearing the noise, stepped out into the yard to see what was going on; but the step being gone, and she not observing it, down she went on her face, striking her nose on the edge of a bucket which some one had left exactly in the wrong place, and breaking the bone so badly that she will carry a very homely face as long as she lives. It was a very painful hurt to the poor girl, and the family all grieved over her misfortune; but not one of the men undertook to mend the step. Finally, the mother managed to drive down two sticks in front of it, which held it up to the house, though not half so firmly as would have been done by a couple of good stout nails.

Things were very much in the same condition all over the premises. The fence round the garden, and in fact all about the house, was dropping to pieces simply for want of a nail here and there. The barn-yard enclosure was strong enough to keep the cattle in, but it was a curious exhibition of hasty patch-work, that would hurt the eye of any mechanic to look at. As to the gates, every one of them rested at one end on the ground. It was hard work even for a man to open and shut them, as they had to be lifted clear up before theyPg 62 could be moved an inch. For a half-grown boy to open them was really a very serious undertaking, especially in muddy weather. The posts had sagged, or the upper staples had drawn out, but nobody attended to putting them to rights, though it would not have been an hour's job to make them all swing as freely as every good farm-gate ought to. The barn-yard was a hard place for the boys on this farm.

No touch of whitewash had been spread over either house, or fence, or outbuilding, for many years, though lime is known to everybody as being one of the surest preservers of wood-work, as well as the very cheapest, while it so beautifully sets off a farm-house to see its surroundings covered once a year with a fresh coat of white. The hen-house was of course equally neglected, though whitewash is so well known to be an indispensable purifier of such places, materially helping to keep away those kinds of vermin that prevent poultry from thriving. In fact, the absence of lime was so general, that the hens could hardly pick up enough to make egg-shells. Had they laid eggs without shells, the circumstance would have mortified the hens as much as it would have surprised the family. As it was, their only dependence was on the pile of lime rubbish which was left every spring after whitewashing the kitchen. The women who presided there did manage to fix up things once a year. They thought lime was good to drive away ants and roaches, and so they and the hens were the only parties on the premises who used it.

There were many other things about this farm-house that were quite as much neglected,—more than it is worth while at present to mention, unless it be the wood-pile. Though there were two men on the farm, and several well-grown boys, yet the women could rarely prevail on any of them to split a single stick of wood. The wood for the house caused great trouble,—it was difficult to get it at all. Then when it did come, it was crooked and knotty, much of it such as a woman could not split. Yet whenever a stick or two was wanted, the females of the family must run out into the shed to chop and split it. They never could get an armful ahead, such was the strange neglect of one of the most indispensable comforts of housekeeping. If the female head of the family had only thought of letting the male portion go a few times without their dinners, it is more than likely they would have brought them to terms, and taught them that it was quite as much their duty to split the wood as it was hers to cook their dinners. But she was a good, easy creature, like most of the others. They had all been brought up in the same neglectful way, just rubbing along from day to day, never getting ahead, but everything getting ahead of them.

This farmer's name was Philip Spangler, and he was unlucky enough to have a hundred acres in his farm. The word unlucky is really a very proper one; because it was unlucky for such a man as Philip that he should have so much more land than he knew how to manage, and it was equally unlucky for the land that it should have so poor a manager. The man was perfectly sober, and in his own way was a very industrious one. He worked hard himself, and made every one about him do the same. He was what is known as a “slaving farmer,”—up by daylight, having all hands up and outPg 63 of doors quite as early as himself, and he and they stuck to it as long as they could see to work. With him and them it was all work and no play. He had no recreations; he took no newspaper, had no reading in the house except the children's school-books, the Bible, and an almanac,—which he bought once a year, not because he wanted it, but because his wife would have it.

What was very singular in Mr. Spangler's mode of managing things, when a wet day came on, too rainy for out-of-door work, he seemed to have no indoor employments provided, either for himself or hands to do, having apparently no sort of forethought. On such occasions he let everything slide,—that is, take care of itself,—and went, in spite of the rain, to a tavern near by on the railroad, where he sat all day among a crowd of neighboring idlers who collected there at such times; for although it might be wet enough to stop all work in the fields, it was never too wet to keep them away from the tavern. There these fellows sat, drinking juleps, smoking pipes, or cigars that smelt even worse, and retailing among each other the news of their several neighborhoods.

What Spangler thus picked up at the tavern was about all the news he ever heard. As to talking of farming, of their crops, or what was the best thing to raise, or how best to carry on this or that branch of their business,—such matters were rarely spoken of. They came there to shake off the farm. Politics was a standing topic,—who was likely to be nominated on their ticket,—whether he would be elected,—and whether it was true that so-and-so was going to be sold out by the sheriff. It was much to Spangler's credit, that, if at this rainy-day rendezvous he learned nothing useful, he contracted no other bad habit than that of lounging away a day when he should have been at home attending to his business. It was much after the same fashion that he spent his long winter's evenings,—dozing in the chimney-corner,—for the tavern was too far away, or he would have spent them there.

Now it somehow happens that there are quite as many rainy days in the country as in the city. But those who live in the latter never think of quitting work because it snows deep or rains hard. The merchant never closes his counting-house or store, nor does the mechanic cease to labor from such a cause; they have still something on hand, whether it rain or shine. Even the newsboys run about the streets as actively, and a hundred other kinds of workers keep on without interruption.

If the laboring men of a large city were to quit work because of a hard rain, there would be a loss of many thousand dollars for every such day that happened. So also with a farmer. There is plenty of rainy-day work on a farm, if the owner only knew it, or thought of it beforehand, and set his men or boys to do it,—in the barn, or cellar, or wood-shed. If he had a bench and tools, a sort of workshop, a rainy day would be a capital time for him to teach his boys how to drive a nail, or saw a board, or push a plane, to make a new box or mend an old one, to put a new handle in an axe or hoe, or to do twenty such little things as are always wanted on a farm. BesidesPg 64 saving the time and money lost by frequent running to the blacksmith or wheelwright, to have such trifles attended to, things would be kept always ready when next wanted, and his boys would become good mechanics. There is so much of this kind of light repairing to be done on a farm, that, having a set of tools, and knowing how to use them, are almost as indispensable as having ploughs and harrows, and the boys cannot be too early instructed in their use. Many boys are natural mechanics, and even without instruction could accomplish great things if they only had a bench and tools. The making of the commonest bird-box will give an ambitious boy a very useful lesson.

It seemed that Mr. Spangler was learning nothing while he lived. His main idea appeared to be, that farming was an affair of muscle only,—that it was hands, not heads, that farmers ought to have; and that whoever worked hardest and longest, wasted no time in reading, spent no money for fine cattle or better breeds of pigs, or for new seeds, new tools or machines, and stuck to the good old way, was the best farmer. He never devoted a day now and then to visiting the agricultural exhibitions which were held in all the counties round him, where he would be sure to see samples of the very best things that good farmers were producing,—fine cattle, fine pigs, fine poultry, and a hundred other products which sensible men are glad to exhibit at such fairs, knowing that it is the smart men who go to such places to learn what is going on, as well as to make purchases, and that it is the agricultural drones who stay at home. The fact was, he had been badly educated, and he could not shake off the habits of his early life. He had been taught that hard work was the chief end of man.

Of course such a farmer had a poor time of it, as well as the hands he employed. He happened to be pretty well out of debt, there being only a small mortgage on his farm; but he was so poor a manager that his hard work went for little, in reality just enough to enable his family to live, with sometimes very close shaving to pay interest. As to getting rich, it was out of the question. He had a son whose name was Joe, a smart, ambitious boy of sixteen years old; another son, Bill, two years younger; and an orphan named Tony King, exactly a year younger than Joe; together with a hired man for helper about the farm.

Mr. Spangler had found Tony in the adjoining county. On the death of his parents, they being miserably poor, and having no relations to take care of him, he had had a hard time among strangers. They kept him until old enough to be bound out to a trade. Mr. Spangler thinking he needed another hand, and being at the same time in such low repute as a farmer and manager that those who knew him were not willing to let their sons live with him as apprentices, he was obliged to go quite out of the neighborhood, where he was not so well known, in order to secure one. In one of his trips he brought up at the house where Tony was staying, and, liking his looks,—for he was even a brighter boy than Joe Spangler,—he had him bound to him as an apprentice to the art and mystery of farming.

In engaging himself to teach this art and mystery to Tony, he undertookPg 65 to impart a great deal more knowledge than he himself possessed,—a thing, by the way, which is very common with a good many other people. Altogether it was a hard bargain for poor Tony; but when parents are so idle and thriftless as to expose their children to such a fate as his, they leave them a legacy of nothing better than the very hardest kind of bargains.

In addition to this help, about a year after Tony took up his quarters with Mr. Spangler, there came along an old man of seventy, a sort of distant relation of the Spanglers, who thenceforward made the farm his home. Mr. Spangler and his wife called him “Benny,” but all the younger members of the family, out of respect for his age, called him “Uncle,” so that in a very short time he went by no other name than that of “Uncle Benny,” and this not only on the farm, but all over the neighborhood.

Uncle Benny turned out to be the pleasantest old man the boys and girls had ever been acquainted with. It was no wonder they liked him, for he was very fond of children, and like generally begets like. He was a very different sort of character from any about the farm. He had been well educated, and being in his younger days of a roving, sight-hunting disposition, he had travelled all over the world, had seen a multitude of strange men and strange things, and had such a way of telling what he had thus picked up as never to fail of interesting those who heard him. Sometimes of a long winter evening, when he was giving accounts of foreign countries, or how people lived in our great cities, or how they carried on farming in other parts of our country, he talked so pleasantly that no one thought of being sleepy. On such evenings, before he came to live on the farm, Mr. Spangler would often fall asleep on his chair in the chimney corner, and once or twice actually tipped over quite into the ashes; but now, when Uncle Benny got fairly under way, there was no more going to sleep. Mr. Spangler pricked up his ears, and listened better than if any one had been reading from a book.

Then Uncle Benny had a way of always putting in some good advice to both men and boys, and even to the girls. He had read and travelled so much, that he had something appropriate for every event that turned up. Indeed, every one was surprised at his knowing so much. Besides this, he was very lively and cheerful, and as fond of fun as could be, and seemed able to make any one laugh whenever he chose to indulge in a joke.

In addition to all this, he was uncommonly handy with tools. Though an old man, and not strong enough to do a full day's work at mowing or hay-making, because of stiff joints, yet he could potter about the house and barns, with a hatchet, and saw, and a nail-box, and mend up a hundred broken places that had been neglected for years before he came to live there. If he saw anything out of order, a gate with no latch, a picket loose in the garden fence, or any other trifling defect about the premises, he went to work and made all right again. He even mended the broken lights in the kitchen windows, and got rid of all the old hats and bonnets that had been stuffed into them. He put on new buttons to keep up the sashes, and so banished the big sticks from the wood-pile that had been used to prop them up. He said they were too ugly even to look at.Pg 66

It was Uncle Benny who nailed up the loose door-step which the pig had rooted away from its place, causing Lucy Spangler to fall on the edge of a bucket and break her nose. Lucy came out to thank him for doing the thing so nicely; for ever since the accident to her nose, she had been very skittish about putting her foot on the step.

“Ah, Lucy,” said Uncle Benny, “I wish I could mend your nose as easily.”

“Indeed I wish so too,” replied Lucy.

Inside of the house were numerous things that wanted looking after in the same way. There was not a bolt or a latch that would work as it ought to. All the closet locks were out of order, while one half the doors refused to shut. In fact there were twenty little provocations of this kind that were perpetual annoyances to the women. Uncle Benny went to work and removed them all; there was no odd job that he was not able to go through with. Indeed, it was the luckiest day in the history of that farm when he came to live upon it, for it did seem that, if the farm were ever to be got to rights, he was the very man to do it. Now, it was very curious, but no one told Uncle Benny to do these things. But as soon as he had anchored himself at Mr. Spangler's he saw how much the old concern was out of gear, and, providing himself with tools, he undertook, as one of his greatest pleasures, to repair these long-standing damages, not because he expected to be paid for it, but from his own natural anxiety to have things look as they ought.

The boys watched the old man's operations with great interest, for both Joe and Tony were ambitious of knowing how to handle tools. One day he took hold of the coffee-mill, which some clumsy fellow had only half nailed up in the kitchen, so that, whenever the coffee was ground, whoever turned the crank was sure to bruise his knuckles against the wall. Mrs. Spangler and her daughters of course did all the grinding, and complained bitterly of the way the mill was fixed. Besides, it had become shockingly dull, so that it only cracked the grains, and thus gave them a miserably weak decoction for breakfast. Now, Uncle Benny had been used to strong coffee, and couldn't stand what Mrs. Spangler gave him. So he unshipped the mill, took it to pieces, with a small file sharpened up the grinders, which by long use had become dull, oiled its joints, and screwed it up in a new place, where it was impossible for the knuckles to be bruised. It then worked so beautifully, that, instead of every one hating to put his hand on the crank, the difficulty was to keep the children away from it,—they would grind on it an hour at a time. Such a renovation of damaged goods had never before been seen on Spangler's premises.

Author of “Ten Acres Enough.”

(To be continued.)


Pg 67 Top




Twenty years ago, not twenty miles from the Land's End, there lived a Cornish gentleman named Trevannion. Just twenty years ago he died, leaving to lament him a brace of noble boys, whose mother all three had mourned, with like profound sorrow, but a short while before.

“Squire” Trevannion, as he was called, died in his own house, where his ancestors for hundreds of years before him had dispensed hospitality. None of them, however, had entertained so profusely as he; or rather improvidently, it might be said, since in less than three months after his death the old family mansion, with the broad acres appertaining to it, passed into the hands of an alien, leaving his two sons, Ralph and Richard, landless, houseless, and almost powerless. One thousand pounds apiece was all that remained to them out of the wreck of the patrimonial estates. It was whispered that even this much was not in reality theirs, but had been given to them by the very respectable solicitor who had managed their father's affairs, and had furthermore managed to succeed him in the ownership of a property worth a rental of three thousand a year.

Any one knowing the conditions under which the young Trevannions received their two thousand pounds must have believed it to be a gift, since it was handed over to them by the family solicitor with the private understanding that they were to use it in pushing their fortunes elsewhere,—anywhere except in Cornwall!

The land-pirate who had plucked them—for in reality had they been plucked—did not wish them to stay at home, divested, as they were, of their valuable plumage. He had appropriated their fine feathers, and cared not for the naked bodies of the birds.

There were those in Cornwall who suspected foul play in the lawyer's dealings with the young Trevannions,—among others, the victims themselves. But what could they do? They were utterly ignorant of their late father's affairs,—indeed, with any affairs that did not partake of the nature of “sports.” A solicitor “most respectable,”—a phrase that has become almost synonymous with rascality,—a regular church-goer,—accounts kept with scrupulous exactness,—a man of honest face, distinguished for probity of speech and integrity of heart,—what could the Trevannions do? What more than the Smiths and the Browns and the Joneses, who, notwithstanding their presumed greater skill in the ways of a wicked lawyer world, are duped every day in a similar manner. It is an old and oft-repeated story,—a tale too often told, and too often true,—that of the family lawyer and his confiding client, standing in the relationship of robber and robbed.Pg 68

The two children of Squire Trevannion could do nothing to save or recover their paternal estate. Caught in the net of legal chicanery, they were forced to yield, as other squire's children have had to do, and make the best of a bad matter,—forced to depart from a home that had been held by Trevannions perhaps since the Phœnicians strayed thitherward in search of their shining tin.

It sore grieved them to separate from the scenes of their youth; but the secret understanding with the solicitor required that sacrifice. By staying at home a still greater might be called for,—subsistence in penury, and, worse than all, in a humiliating position; for, notwithstanding the open house long kept by their father, his friends had disappeared with his guests. Impelled by these thoughts, the brothers resolved to go forth into the wide world, and seek fortune wherever it seemed most likely they should find it.

They were at this period something more than mere children. Ralph had reached within twelve months of being twenty. Richard was his junior by a couple of years. Their book-education had been good; the practice of manly sports had imparted to both of them a physical strength that fitted them for toil, either of the mind or body. They were equal to a tough struggle, either in the intellectual or material world; and to this they determined to resign themselves.

For a time they debated between themselves where they should go, and what do. The army and navy came under their consideration. With such patronage as their father's former friends could command, and might still exert in favor of their fallen fortunes, a commission in either army or navy was not above their ambition. But neither felt much inclined towards a naval or military life; the truth being, that a thought had taken shape in their minds leading them to a different determination.

Their deliberations ended by each of them proclaiming a resolve,—almost sealing it with a vow,—that they would enter into some more profitable, though perhaps less pretentious, employment than that of either soldiering or sailoring; that they would toil—with their hands, if need be—until they should accumulate a sufficient sum to return and recover the ancestral estate from the grasp of the avaricious usurper. They did not know how it was to be done; but, young, strong, and hopeful, they believed it might be done,—with time, patience, and industry to aid them in the execution.

“Where shall we go?” inquired Richard, the younger of the two. “To America, where every poor man appears to prosper? With a thousand each to begin the world with, we might do well there. What say you, Ralph?”

“America is a country where men seem to thrive best who have nothing to begin the world with. You mean North America,—the United States,—I suppose?”

“I do.”

“I don't much like the United States as a home,—not because it is a republic, for I believe that is the only just form of government, whatever our aristocratic friends may say. I object to it simply because I wish to goPg 69 south,—to some part of the tropical world, where one may equally be in the way of acquiring a fortune.”

“Is there such a place?”

“There is.”

“Where, brother?”

“Peru. Anywhere along the Sierra of the Andes from Chili to the Isthmus of Panama. As Cornish men we should adopt the specialty of our province, and become miners. The Andes mountains will give us that opportunity, where, instead of gray tin, we may delve for yellow gold. What say you to South America?”

“I like the thought of South America,—nothing would please me better than going there. But I must confess, brother, I have no inclination for the occupation you speak of. I had rather be a merchant than a miner.”

“Don't let that penchant prevent you from selecting Peru as the scene of mercantile transactions. There are many Englishmen who have made fortunes in the Peruvian trade. You may hope to follow their example. We may choose different occupations and still be near each other. One thousand pounds each may give both of us a start,—you as a merchant of goods, I as a digger for gold. Peru is the place for either business. Decide, Dick! Shall we sail for the scenes rendered celebrated by Pizarro?”

“If you will it—I'm agreed.”

“Thither then let us go.”

In a month from that time the two Trevannions might have been seen upon a ship, steering westward from the Land's End, and six months later both disembarked upon the beach of Callao,—en route first for Lima, thence up the mountains, to the sterile snow-crested mountains, that tower above the treasures of Cerro Pasco,—vainly guarded within the bosom of adamantine rocks.



This book is not intended as a history of the brothers Ralph and Richard Trevannion. If it were so, a gap of some fifteen years—after the date of their arrival at Cerro Pasco—would have to be filled up. I decline to speak of this interval of their lives, simply because the details might not have any remarkable interest for those before whom they would be laid.

Suffice it to say, that Richard, the younger, soon became wearied of a miner's life; and, parting with his brother, he crossed the Cordilleras, and descended into the great Amazonian forest,—the “montaña,” as it is called by the Spanish inhabitants of the Andes. Thence, in company with a party of Portuguese traders, he kept on down the river Amazon, trading along its banks, and upon some of its tributary streams; and finally established himself as a merchant at its mouth, in the thriving “city” of Gran Pará.

Richard was not unsocial in his habits; and soon became the husband of a fair-haired wife,—the daughter of a countryman who, like himself, hadPg 70 established commercial relations at Pará. In a few years after, several sweet children called him “father,”—only two of whom survived to prattle in his ears this endearing appellation, alas! no longer to be pronounced in the presence of their mother.

Fifteen years after leaving the Land's End, Richard Trevannion, still under thirty-five years of age, was a widower, with two children,—respected wherever known, prosperous in pecuniary affairs,—rich enough to return home, and spend the remainder of his days in that state so much desired by the Sybarite Roman poet,—“otium cum dignitate.”

Did he remember the vow mutually made between him and his brother, that, having enough money, they would one day go back to Cornwall, and recover the ancestral estate? He did remember it. He longed to accomplish this design. He only awaited his brother's answer to a communication he had made to him on this very subject.

He had no doubt that Ralph's desire would be in unison with his own,—that his brother would soon join him, and then both would return to their native land,—perhaps to dwell again under the same roof that had sheltered them as children.

The history of the elder brother during this period of fifteen years, if less eventful, was not less distinguished by success. By steadily following the pursuit which had first attracted him to Peru, he succeeded in becoming a man of considerable means,—independent, if not wealthy.

Like his brother, he got married at an early period,—in fact, within the first year after establishing himself in Cerro Pasco. Unlike the latter, however, he chose for his wife one of the women of the country,—a beautiful Peruvian lady. She too, but a short while before, had gone to a better world, leaving motherless two pretty children, of twelve and fourteen years of age,—the elder of the two being a daughter.

Such was the family of Ralph Trevannion, and such the condition of life in which his brother's epistle reached him,—that epistle containing the proposal that they should wind up their respective businesses, dispose of both, and carry their gains to the land that had given them birth.

The proposition was at once accepted, as Richard knew it would be. It was far from the first time that the thing had been discussed, epistolary fashion, between them; for letters were exchanged as often as opportunity permitted,—sometimes twice or thrice in the year.

In these letters, during the last few years of their sojourn in South America, the promise made on leaving home was mutually mentioned, and as often renewed on either side. Richard knew that his brother was as eager as himself to keep that well-remembered vow.

So long as the mother of Ralph's children was alive, he had not urged his brother to its fulfilment; but now that she had been dead for more than a year, he had written to say that the time had come for their return to their country and their home.

His proposal was, that Ralph, having settled his affairs in Peru,—which, of course, included the selling out of his share in the mines,—should joinPg 71 him, Richard, at Pará, thence to take ship for England. That instead of going round by Cape Horn, or across the isthmus, by Panama, Ralph should make the descent of the great Amazon River, which traverse would carry him latitudinally across the continent from west to east.

Richard had two reasons for recommending this route. First, because he wished his brother to see the great river of Orellana, as he himself had done; and secondly, because he was still more desirous that his own son should see it.

How this last wish was to be gratified by his brother making the descent of the Amazon, may require explanation; but it will suffice to say that the son of Richard Trevannion was at that time residing with his uncle at the mines of Cerro Pasco.

The boy had gone to Peru the year before, in one of his father's ships,—first, to see the Great Ocean, then the Great Andes,—afterwards to become acquainted with the country of the Incas, and last, though not of least importance, to make the acquaintance of his own uncle and his two interesting cousins, the elder of whom was exactly his own age. He had gone to the Pacific side by sea. It was his father's wish he should return to the Atlantic side by land,—or, to speak more accurately, by river.

The merchant's wish was to be gratified. The miner had no desire to refuse compliance with his proposal. On the contrary, it chimed in with his own inclinations. Ralph Trevannion possessed a spirit adventurous as his brother's, which fourteen years of mining industry, carried on in the cold mountains of Cerro Pasco, had neither deadened nor chilled. The thought of once more returning to the scenes of his youth quite rejuvenated him; and on the day of receiving his brother's challenge to go, he not only accepted it, but commenced proceedings towards carrying the design into execution.

A month afterwards and he might have been seen descending the eastern slope of the Cordilleras on mule-back, and accompanied by his family and followers; afterwards aboard a balsa,—one of those curious crafts used in the descent of the Huallaga; and later still on the montaria, upon the bosom of the great river itself.

With the details of his mountain travels, interesting as they may be, we have naught to do. No more with his descent of the Huallaga, nor his long voyage on the Amazon itself, in that up-river portion of the stream where it is called the “Marañon.” Only where it becomes the stupendous “Solimoës” do we join Ralph Trevannion on his journey, and remain with him as long as he is “Afloat in the Forest,” or making a voyage among the tree-tops.Pg 72



On an evening in the early part of December, a craft of singular construction might have been seen descending the Solimoës, and apparently making for the little Portuguese port of Coary, that lies on the southern side of the river.

Floating down the river in a boat. Floating down the river in a boat.

When we say of singular construction, we mean singular to one unaccustomed to the navigation of Amazonian waters. There the craft in question was too common to excite curiosity, since it was nothing more than a galatea, or large canoe, furnished with mast and sail, with a palm-thatched cabin, or tolda, rising over the quarter, a low-decked locker running from bow to midships,—along each side of which were to be seen, half seated, half standing, some half-dozen dark-skinned men, each plying, instead of an oar, a paddle-blade.

Perhaps the most singular sight on board this embarkation was the group of animated beings who composed its crew and passengers. The former, as already stated, were dark-skinned men, scantily clad,—in fact, almost naked, since a single pair of white cotton drawers constituted the complete costume of each.

For passengers there were three men, and a like number of individuals of younger age. Two of the men were white, apparently Europeans; the otherPg 73 was as black as soot could have made him,—unquestionably an African negro. Of the young people two were boys, not much differing in size, and apparently not much in age, while the third was a half-grown girl, of dark complexion, raven-colored hair, and beautiful features.

One of the white men appeared to be, and was, the proprietor of the montaria, and the employer of its swarthy crew. He was Ralph Trevannion.

The young girl was his daughter, and bore her Peruvian mother's name, Rosa, more often pronounced by its diminutive of endearment, Rosita. The younger of the two boys—also of dark complexion—was his son Ralph, while the older, of true Saxon physiognomy and hue, was the son of his brother, also bearing his father's Christian name, Richard.

The second white man was unmistakably of European race,—so much so that any one possessing the slightest knowledge of the hibernian type, would at once have pronounced him a “Son of the Sod.” A pure pug nose, a shock of curled hair of the clearest carrot color, an eternal twinkle in the eye, a volume of fun lying open at each angle of the mouth,—were all characteristics by which “Tipperary Tom”—for such was his sobriquet—might be remembered.

About the negro there was nothing special, more than that he was a pure negro, with enormously thick lips, flattened nose, long protruding heels, teeth white as hippopotamus ivory, and almost always set in a good-humored grin. The darkey had been a sailor, or rather ship-steward, before landing in Peru. Thither had he strayed, and settled at Cerro Pasco after several years spent aboard ship. He was a native of Mozambique, on the eastern coast of Africa, to which circumstance was he indebted for the only name ever given him,—Mozey.

Both he and the Irishman were the servants of the miner, or rather his retainers, who served him in various ways, and had done so almost ever since his establishing himself among the rocks of Cerro Pasco.

The other creatures of the animated kingdom that found lodgment upon the craft, were of various shapes, sizes, and species. There were quadrupeds, quadrumana, and birds,—beasts of the field, monkeys of the forest, and birds of the air,—clustering upon the cabin top, squatted in the hold, perched upon the gangway, the tolda, the yard, and the mast,—forming an epitomized menagerie, such as may be seen on every kind of craft that navigates the mighty Amazon.

It is not our design to give any description of the galatea's crew. There were nine of them,—all Indians,—four on each side acting as rowers, or more properly “paddlers,” the ninth being the pilot or steersman, standing abaft the tolda.

Our reason for not describing them is that they were a changing crew, only attached to the craft for a particular stage of the long river voyage, and had succeeded several other similar sets since the embarkation of our voyagers on the waters of the Upper Amazon. They had joined the galatea at the port of Ega, and would take leave of her at Coary, where a fresh crew of civilized Indians—“tapuyos”—would be required.Pg 74

And they were required, but not obtained. On the galatea putting into the port of Coary, it was found that nearly every man in the place was off upon a hunting excursion,—turtle and cowfish being the game that had called them out. Not a canoe-man could be had for love or money.

The owner of the galatea endeavored to tempt the Ega crew to continue another stage. It was contrary to their habit, and they refused to go. Persuasion and threats were tried in vain. Coaxing and scolding proved equally unavailable; all except one remained firm in their refusal, the exception being an old Indian who did not belong to the Ega tribe, and who could not resist the large bribe offered by Trevannion.

The voyagers must either suspend their journey till the Coary turtle-hunters should return, or proceed without paddlers. The hunters were not expected for a month. To stay a month at Coary was out of the question. The galatea must go on manned by her own people, and the old Indian, who was to act as pilot. Such was the determination of Ralph Trevannion. But for that resolve,—rash as it was, and ending unfortunately for him who made it,—we should have no story to tell.



The craft that carried the ex-miner, his family and following, once more floated on the broad bosom of the Solimoës. Not so swift as before, since, instead of eight paddlers, it was now impelled by only half the number,—these, too, with less than half the experience of the crew who had preceded them.

The owner himself acted as steersman, while the paddles were plied by “Tipperary Tom,” Mozey, the old Indian,—who, being of the Mundurucú tribe, passed by the name of “Monday,”—and Richard Trevannion.

The last, though by far the youngest, was perhaps the best paddler in the party. Brought up in his native place of Gran Pará, he had been accustomed to spend half his time either in or upon the water; and an oar or paddle was to him no novelty.

Young Ralph, on the contrary, a true mountaineer, knew nothing of either, and therefore counted for nothing among the crew of the galatea. To him and the little Rosa was assigned the keeping of the pets, with such other light duties as they were capable of performing.

For the first day the voyage was uninterrupted by any incident,—at least any that might be called unpleasant. Their slow progress, it is true, was a cause of dissatisfaction; but so long as they were going at all, and going in the right direction, this might be borne with equanimity. Three miles an hour was about their average rate of speed; for half of which they were indebted to the current of the river, and for the other half to the impulsion of their paddles.

Considering that they had still a thousand miles to go before reachingPg 75 Gran Pará, the prospect of a protracted voyage was very plainly outlined before them.

Could they have calculated on making three miles an hour for every hour of the twenty-four, things would not have been bad. This rate of speed would have carried them to their destination in a dozen days,—a mere bagatelle. But they knew enough of river-navigation to disregard such data. They knew the current of the Solimoës to be extremely slow; they had heard of the strange phenomenon, that, run which way the river might, north, south, east, or west,—and it does keep bending and curving in all these directions,—the wind is almost always met with blowing up stream!

For this reason they could put no dependence in their sail, and would have to trust altogether to the paddles. These could not be always in the water. Human strength could not stand a perpetual spell, even at paddles; and less so in the hands of a crew of men so little used to them.

Nor could they continue the voyage at night. By doing so, they would be in danger of losing their course, their craft, and themselves!

You may smile at the idea. You will ask—a little scornfully, perhaps—how a canoe, or any other craft, drifting down a deep river to its destination, could possibly go astray. Does not the current point out the path,—the broad water-way not to be mistaken?

So it might appear to one seated in a skiff, and floating down the tranquil Thames, with its well-defined banks. But far different is the aspect of the stupendous Solimoës to the voyager gliding through its gapo.

I have made use of a word of strange sound, and still stranger signification. Perhaps it is new to your eye, as your ear. You will become better acquainted with it before the end of our voyage; for into the “Gapo” it is my intention to take you, where ill-luck carried the galatea and her crew.

On leaving Coary, it was not the design of her owner to attempt taking his craft, so indifferently manned, all the way to Pará. He knew there were several civilized settlements between,—as Barra at the mouth of the Rio Negro, Obidos below it, Santarem, and others. At one or other of these places he expected to obtain a supply of tapuyos, to replace the crew who had so provokingly forsaken him.

The voyage to the nearest of them, however, would take several days, at the rate of speed the galatea was now making; and the thought of being delayed on their route became each hour more irksome. The ex-miner, who had not seen his beloved brother during half a score of years, was impatient once more to embrace him. He had been, already, several months travelling towards him by land and water; and just as he was beginning to believe that the most difficult half of the journey had been accomplished, he found himself delayed by an obstruction vexatious as unexpected.

The first night after his departure from Coary, he consented that the galatea should lie to,—moored to some bushes that grew upon the banks of the river.Pg 76

On the second night, however, he acted with less prudence. His impatience to make way prompted him to the resolution to keep on. The night was clear,—a full moon shining conspicuously above, which is not always the case in the skies of the Solimoës.

There was to be no sail set, no use made of the paddles. The crew were fatigued, and wanted rest and repose. The current alone was to favor their progress; and as it appeared to be running nearly two miles an hour, it should advance them between twenty and thirty miles before the morning.

The Mundurucú made an attempt to dissuade his “patron” from the course he designed pursuing; but his advice was disregarded,—perhaps because ill-understood,—and the galatea glided on.

Who could mistake that broad expanse of water—upon which the moon shone so clearly—for aught else than the true channel of the Solimoës? Not Tipperary Tom, who, in the second watch of the night,—the owner himself having kept the first,—acted as steersman of the galatea.

The others had gone to sleep. Trevannion and the three young people under the tolda; Mozey and the Mundurucú along the staging known as the “hold.” The birds and monkeys were at rest on their respective perches, and in their respective cages,—all was silent in the galatea, and around,—all save the rippling of the water, as it parted to the cleaving of her keel.



Little experienced as he was in the art of navigation, the steersman was not inattentive to his duty. Previously to his taking the rudder, he had been admonished about the importance of keeping the craft in the channel of the stream, and to this had he been giving his attention.

It so chanced, however, that he had arrived at a place where there were two channels,—as if an island was interposed in the middle of the river, causing it to branch at an acute angle. Which of these was the right one? Which should be taken? These were the questions that occurred to Tipperary Tom.

At first he thought of awakening his master, and consulting him, but on once more glancing at the two channels, he became half convinced that the broader one must be the proper route to be followed.

“Bay Japers!” muttered he to himself. “Shure I can't be mistaken. The biggest av the two ought to be the mane sthrame. Anyway, I won't wake the masther. I'll lave it to the ship to choose for hersilf.” Saying this he relaxed his hold upon the steering oar, and permitted the galatea to drift with the current.

Sure enough, the little craft inclined towards the branch that appeared the broader one; and in ten minutes' time had made such way that the other opening was no longer visible from her decks. The steersman, confident of being on the right course, gave himself no further uneasiness; but, oncePg 77 more renewing his hold upon the steering oar, guided the galatea in the middle of the channel.

Notwithstanding all absence of suspicion as to having gone astray, he could not help noticing that the banks on each side appeared to be singularly irregular, as if here and there indented by deep bays, or reaches of water. Some of these opened out vistas of shining surface, apparently illimitable, while the dark patches that separated them looked more like clumps of trees half submerged under water, than stretches of solid earth.

As the galatea continued her course, this puzzling phenomenon ceased to be a conjecture; Tipperary Tom saw that he was no longer steering down a river between two boundary banks, but on a broad expanse of water, stretching as far as eye could reach, with no other boundary than that afforded by a flooded forest.

There was nothing in all this to excite alarm,—at least in the mind of Tipperary Tom. The Mundurucú, had he been awake, might have shown some uneasiness at the situation. But the Indian was asleep,—perhaps dreaming of some Múra enemy,—whose head he would have been happy to embalm.

Tom simply supposed himself to be in some part of the Solimoës, flooded beyond its banks, as he had seen it in more places than one. With this confidence, he stuck faithfully to his steering oar, and allowed the galatea to glide on. It was only when the reach of water—upon which the craft was drifting—began to narrow, or rather after it had narrowed to a surprising degree, that the steersman began to suspect himself of having taken the wrong course.

His suspicions became stronger, at length terminating in a conviction that such was the truth, when the galatea arrived at a part where less than a cable's length lay between her beam-ends and the bushes that stood out of the water on both sides of her. Too surely had he strayed from the “mane sthrame.” The craft that carried him could no longer be in the channel of the mighty Solimoës!

The steersman was alarmed, and this very alarm hindered him from following the only prudent course he could have taken under the circumstances. He should have aroused his fellow-voyagers, and proclaimed the error into which he had fallen. He did not do so. A sense of shame at having neglected his duty, or rather at having performed it in an indifferent manner,—a species of regret not uncommon among his countrymen,—hindered him from disclosing the truth, and taking steps to avert any evil consequences that might spring from it.

He knew nothing of the great river on which they were voyaging. There might be such a strait as that through which the galatea was gliding. The channel might widen below; and, after all, he might have steered in the proper direction. With such conjectures, strengthened by such hopes, he permitted the vessel to float on.

The channel did widen again; and the galatea once more rode upon open water. The steersman was restored to confidence and contentment. OnlyPg 78 for a short while did this state of mind continue. Again the clear water became contracted, this time to a very strip, while on either side extended reaches and estuaries, bordered by half-submerged bushes,—some of them opening apparently to the sky horizon, wider and freer from obstruction than that upon which the galatea was holding her course.

The steersman no longer thought of continuing his course, which he was now convinced must be the wrong one. Bearing with all his strength upon the steering oar, he endeavored to direct the galatea back into the channel through which he had come; but partly from the drifting of the current, and partly owing to the deceptive light of the moon, he could no longer recognize the latter, and, dropping the rudder in despair, he permitted the vessel to drift whichever way the current might carry her!

Before Tipperary Tom could summon courage to make known to his companions the dilemma into which he had conducted them, the galatea had drifted among the tree-tops of the flooded forest, where she was instantly “brought to anchor.”

The crashing of broken boughs roused her crew from their slumbers. The ex-miner, followed by his children, rushed forth from the tolda. He was not only alarmed, but perplexed, by the unaccountable occurrence. Mozey was equally in a muddle. The only one who appeared to comprehend the situation was the old Indian, who showed sufficient uneasiness as to its consequences by the terrified manner in which he called out: “The Gapo! The Gapo!”

Mayne Reid.

(To be continued.)


Round the Evening Lamp


Pg 79

NO. 1
An old man lay on a bed of death,
Slowly drawing each labored breath;
His pulse was felt by a friendly hand,
While the doctor issued a stern command
To swallow my first without delay,
If he wished to live till another day.
At this the patient looked my second,
And slowly spoke: “When Death has beckoned,
In vain the doctor's healing art;
I now am called, and I depart;
I'm glad I've lasted till my third.”
The listeners scarcely caught the word
With which escaped the unfettered soul,
And finished then his long—my whole.
H. C.
NO. 2
When I'm my first, I lie in bed;
My second wins me gold;
My third I keep safe in my head;
My fourth you may behold
In all its pride, when victory
Shall bid my whole light up the sky.


NO. 1.

In a gale of wind, the top part of a flagstaff in my neighbor's garden was broken off, and struck the ground in my garden at a distance of 15 feet from the bottom of the pole, and in its fall broke two vases, worth $63.25 apiece. My neighbor, in paying for these vases, made four payments. The second payment was twice as much as the first; the third amounted to three times as much as the first; and the last amounted to five times as much as the first.

Supposing the broken piece of flagstaff to measure 39 feet, what was the length of the whole pole, and what did my neighbor pay at each payment?

NO. 2.


This is what all young people ought to be.

ENIGMA. No. 1.

I am composed of 13 letters.
My 8, 10, is an abrupt dismissal.
My 11, 5, 7, 8, is not short.
My 9, 1, 3, 12, goes well with a knife.
My 13, 12, 6, 7, 12, is an unpleasant animal.
My 13, 1, 3, 3, 4, is what you will be if
you can't discover me.
My 4, 1, 11, 12, is part of an egg.
My 9, 3, 5, 8, 13, a Frenchman would eat.
My 9, 2, 7, you like now.
My whole I hope you will always like.
Pg 80



H. M. T.


There was an old Dutchman, Von Rail,
Who had an ambition to sail,
So he put out to sea,
In a fit of high glee,
That hilarious old person, Von Rail.

Transcriber's Note:

Hyphenated words have been standardized. Inconsistencies in spellings have been left as in the original except those listed below.

Page 75—Typo corrected from Para to Pará.

[End of Our Young Folks, Vol. I, No. I, January 1865]