Infomotions, Inc.Holiday Stories for Young People / Various



Author: Various
Title: Holiday Stories for Young People
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): amy; little redcap; aunt hetty; miss muffet; aunt; joanna porter
Contributor(s): Sangster, Margaret Elizabeth, 1838-1912 [Editor]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 69,862 words (short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 70 (easy)
Identifier: etext16648
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Title: Holiday Stories for Young People

Author: Various

Editor: Margaret E. Sangster

Release Date: September 4, 2005 [EBook #16648]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HOLIDAY STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ***




Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Janet Blenkinship
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
http://www.pgdp.net









Holiday Stories

FOR

YOUNG PEOPLE.

[Illustration]

Compiled and Edited by

MARGARET E. SANGSTER.

PUBLISHED BY
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
LOUIS KLOPSCH, Proprietor,
BIBLE HOUSE, NEW YORK.


Copyright, 1896, BY LOUIS KLOPSCH.




   DEDICATION.


  To John and Jane, to Fred and Frank,
    To Theodore and Mary,
  To Willie and to Reginald,
    To Louis, Sue and Gary;
  To sturdy boys and merry girls,
    And all the dear young people
  Who live in towns, or live on farms,
    Or dwell near spire or steeple;
  To boys who work, and boys who play,
    Eager, alert and ready,
  To girls who meet each happy day
    With faces sweet and steady;
  To dearest comrades, one and all,
    To Harry, Florrie, Kate,
  To children small, and children tall,
    This book I dedicate.




PREFACE.


Boys and girls, I am proud to call a host of you my personal friends,
and I dearly love you all. It has been a great pleasure to me to arrange
this gift book for you, and I hope you will like the stories and
ballads, and spend many happy hours over them. One story, "The Middle
Daughter," was originally published in Harper's "Round Table," and is
inserted here by consent of Messrs. Harper and Brothers. Two of the
ballads, "Horatius," and "The Pied Piper," belong to literature, and you
cannot afford not to know them, and some of the fairy stories are like
bits of golden coin, worth treasuring up and reading often. Miss Mary
Joanna Porter deserves the thanks of the boys for the aid she has given
in the making of this volume, and the bright stories she has contributed
to its pages.

A merry time to you, boys and girls, and a heart full of love from your
steadfast friend,

                                                           M.E.S.



                           CONTENTS.


                                                               PAGE
   1. The Clover Leaf Club of Bloomdale. By M.E. Sangster        9

   2. The Lighthouse Lamp. By M.E. Sangster.                    71

   3. The Family Mail-bag. By Mary Joanna Porter                73

   4. A Day's Fishing. By Mary Joanna Porter                    79

   5. Why Charlie Didn't Go. By Mary Joanna Porter              85

   6. Uncle Giles' Paint Brush. By Mary Joanna Porter           91

   7. The Pied Piper of Hamelin. By Robert Browning             95

   8. A Girl Graduate. By Cynthia Barnard                      104

   9. A Christmas Frolic. By M.E. Sangster                     116

  10. Archie's Vacation. By Mary Joanna Porter                 119

  11. A Birthday Story. By M.E. Sangster                       124

  12. A Coquette. By Amy Pierce                                130

  13. Horatius. Ballad. By T.B. Macaulay                       131

  14. A Bit of Brightness. By Mary Joanna Porter               151

  15. How Sammy Earned the Prize. By M.E. Sangster             157

  16. The Glorious Fourth                                      162

  17. The Middle Daughter. By M.E. Sangster                    163

  18. The Golden Bird. By the Brothers Grimm.                  226

  19. Harry Pemberton's Text. By Elizabeth Armstrong           239

  20. Our Cats                                                 246

  21. Outovplace                                               252

  22. The Boy Who Dared to be a Daniel. By S. Jennie Smith     254

  23. Little Red Cap. By the Brothers Grimm.                   259

  24. New Zealand Children                                     266

  25. The Breeze from the Peak                                 271

  26. The Bremen Town Musicians. By the Brothers Grimm         276

  27. A Very Queer Steed and Some Strange Adventures.
        Told after Ariosto, by Elizabeth Armstrong             282

  28. Freedom's Silent Host. By M.E. Sangster                  292

  29. Presence of Mind. By M.E. Sangster                       294

  30. The Boy Who Went from the Sheepfold to the Throne.
        By M.E. Sangster                                       312




Holiday Stories for Young People




The Clover Leaf Club of Bloomdale

BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.




CHAPTER I.

THE HEROINE PRESENTS HERSELF.


My name is Milly Van Doren, and I am an only child. I won't begin by
telling you how tall I am, how much I weigh, and the color of my eyes
and hair, for you would not know very much more about my looks after
such an inventory than you do without it, and mother says that in her
opinion it is pleasantest to form one's own idea of a girl in a story
book. Mother says, too, that a good rule in stories is to leave out
introductions, and so I will follow her advice and plunge into the
middle of my first morning. It was early summer and very lovely, and I
was feeling half-sad and half-glad, with the gladness surpassing the
sadness, because I had never before been half so proud and important.

Father and mother, after talking and planning and hesitating over it a
long while, were actually going on a journey just by themselves and
without me; and I, being now considered old enough and steady enough,
was to stay at home, keep house, and take care of dear grandmamma. With
Aunt Hetty at the helm, the good old servant, whose black face had
beamed over my cradle fifteen years ago, and whose strong arms had come
between mother and every roughness during her twenty years of
housekeeping, it really looked as if I might be trusted, and as if
mother need not give me so many anxious directions. Did mother think me
a baby? I wondered resentfully. Father always reads my face like an open
page.

"Thee may leave something to Milly's discretion, dear," he said, in his
slow, stately way.

"Thee forgets her inexperience, love," said my gentle mother.

Father and mother are always courtly and tender with one another, never
hasty of speech, never impatient. They have been lovers, and then they
are gentlefolk. Father waited, and mother kept on telling me about
grandmamma and the cat, the birds and the best china, the fire on the
hearth in cool evenings, and the last year's canned fruit, which might
as well be used up while she was away, particularly the cherries and
plums.

"May the girls come over often?" I asked.

"Whenever you like," said mother. "Invite whom you please, of course."

Here father held up his watch warningly. It was time to go, if they
were to catch the train. Arm in arm they walked down the long avenue to
the gate, after bidding me good-bye. Grandmamma watched them, waving her
handkerchief from the window of her room over the porch, and at the last
moment I rushed after them for a final kiss and hug.

"Be good, dear child, and let who will be clever," said father, with a
twinkle in his eye.

"Don't forget to count the silver every morning," said mother.

And so my term of office began. Bloomdale never wore a brighter face
than during that long vacation--a vacation which extended from June till
October. We girls had studied very diligently all winter. In spring
there had been scarlet fever in the village, and our little
housekeepers, for one cause or another, had seldom held meetings; and
some of the mothers and older sisters declared that it was just what
they had expected, our ardor had cooled, and nothing was coming of our
club after all that had been said when we organized.

As president of the Bloomdale Clover Leaf Club I determined that the
club should now make up for lost time, and having _carte-blanche_ from
mother, as I supposed, I thought I would set about work at once.
Cooking was our most important work, and there's no fun in cooking
unless eating is to follow; so the club should be social, and give
luncheons, teas and picnics, at which we might have perfectly lovely
times. I saw no reason for delay, and with my usual impulsiveness,
consulted nobody about my first step.

And thus I made mistake number one. Cooking and housekeeping always look
perfectly easy on paper. When you come to taking hold of them in real
earnest with your own hands you find them very different and much
harder.

Soon after I heard the train whistle, and knew that father and mother
were fairly gone, I harnessed old Fan to the phaeton, and set out to
visit every one of the girls with an invitation to tea the very next
evening. I did put my head into grandmamma's chamber to tell her what I
thought of doing, but the dear old lady was asleep in her easy-chair,
her knitting lying in her lap, and I knew she did not wish to be
disturbed. I closed the door softly and flew down stairs.

Just as I was ready to start, Aunt Hetty came to the kitchen door,
calling me, persuasively: "Miss Milly, honey, what yo' done mean to hab
for dinner?"

"Oh, anything you please, aunty," I called back, gathering up the reins,
chirping to Fan, and taking the road to the Curtis girls' house.
Certainly I had no time to spend consulting with Aunt Hetty.

Mother knew me better than father did. I found out later that this
wasn't at all a proper way to keep house, giving no orders, and leaving
things to the discretion, of the cook. But I hadn't really begun yet,
and I was wild to get the girls together.

Bloomdale is a sort of scattered up-hill and down-dale place, with one
long and broad street running through the centre of the village, and
houses standing far apart from each other, and well back from the
pavement in the middle of the green lawns, swept into shadow by grand
old trees. The Bloomdale people are proud of the town, and keep the
gardens beautiful with flowers and free from weeds. Life in Bloomdale
would be perfectly delightful, all the grown-up people say, if it were
not for the everlasting trouble about servants, who are forever changing
their places and going away, and complaining that the town is dull, and
their church too distant, and life inconvenient; and so every one envies
my mother, who has kept Hetty all these years, and never had any trouble
at all.

At least I fancied that to be so, till I was a housekeeper myself, and
found out that Aunt Hetty had spells of temper and must be humored, and
was not perfect, any more than other people vastly above her in station
and beyond her in advantages.

I stopped for Linda Curtis, and she jumped into the phaeton and went
with me. We asked Jeanie Cartwright, Veva Fay, Lois Partridge, Amy
Pierce and Marjorie Downing to tea the next day, and every girl of them
promised to come bright and early.

When I reached home I ran to grandmamma to ask her if I had done right,
and to get her advice about what I would better have for my bill of
fare.

"Thee is too precipitate, dear child," said grandmamma. "Why not have
waited two or three days before having a company tea? I fear much that
Hetty will be contrary, and not help as she ought. And I have one of my
headaches coming."

"Oh, grandmamma!" I exclaimed. "Have you taken your pills?" I was
aghast.

"Thee needn't worry, dear," replied grandmamma, quite unruffled. "I have
taken them, and if the headache does not vanish before dark, I'll sleep
in the south chamber to-night, and be out of the way of the stir
to-morrow. I wish, though, Aunt Hetty were not in a cross fit."

"It is shameful," I said. "Aunt Hetty has been here so long that she
does not know her place. I shall not be disturbed by her moods."

So, holding my head high, I put on my most dignified manner and went to
the kitchen. Aunt Hetty, in a blue gingham gown, with a gay kerchief
tied on her head, was slowly and pensively rocking herself back and
forth in her low chair. She took no notice of me whatever.

"Aunt Hetty!"

No answer.

"Aunt Hetty!" This time I spoke louder.

Still she rocked back and forth, apparently as deaf as a post. I grew
desperate, and, going up to her, put my hand on her shoulder, saying:

"_Aunt Hetty_, aren't we to have our dinner? The fire seems to be out."

She shook off my hand and slowly rose, looking glum and preoccupied.

"Didn't hear no orders for dinner, Miss Alice."

"Now, Aunt Hetty," I remonstrated, "why will you be so horrid? You know
I am the housekeeper when mother is away, and you're going to spoil
everything, and make her wish she hadn't gone. _How_ can I manage if you
won't help? Come, be good," I pleaded.

But nothing moved her from her stony indifference, and I went back to
grandmamma in despair. I was about to pour all my woes in her ear, but a
glance at her pale face restrained me.

She was going to have a regular Van Doren headache.

"We never have headaches like other people."

How many times I have heard my aunts and uncles say this in just these
words! They do not think me half a Van Doren because, owing to my
mother's way of bringing me up, I have escaped the family infliction. In
fact, I am half a Neilson, and the Neilsons are a healthy everyday set,
who do not have aches and pains, and are seldom troubled with nerves.
Plebeian, perhaps, but very comfortable.

I rushed back to the den of Aunt Hetty, as I now styled the kitchen. She
was pacing back and forth like a lioness in a cage at a show, singing an
old plantation melody. That was a sign that her fit of temper was worse
than ever. Little I cared.

"Hetty Van Doren," I said, "stop sulking and singing! There isn't time
for either. Poor grandmamma has a fearful headache, and you and I will
have to take care of her. Put some water on to boil, and then come up to
her room and help me. And don't sing 'Go down, Moses,' another minute."

I had used two arguments which were powerful with Aunt Hetty. One was
calling her Hetty Van Doren. She liked to be considered as belonging to
the family, and no compliment could have pleased her more. She often
said she belonged to the Kentucky _noblesse_, and held herself far above
common trash.

The other was my saying you and I. She was vexed that mother had left
me--a baby, in her opinion--to look after the house, and rather resented
my assuming to be the mistress. By my happy form of speech I pleased the
droll old woman, who was much like a child herself. Then, too, she was
as well aware as I was that grandmamma's pain would grow worse and worse
every hour until it was relieved.

It was surprising how quickly aunty moved when she chose. She had a fire
made and the kettle on to boil in five minutes; and, almost before I
knew it, she had set cold chicken, and nice bread and butter and a great
goblet of creamy milk on the table for me.

"There, honey," she said, "don't mind dis hateful ole woman. Eat your
luncheon, while I go up and help ole miss to bed."

A hot-water bag for her feet, warm bandages laid on her head, some
soothing medicine which she always took, and Hetty and I at last left
grandmamma more comfortable than we found her. It was funny, as I
thought of it afterward. In one of her worst paroxysms the dear lady
gasped, a word at a time:

"Aunt--Hetty,--Miss--Milly--has--asked--friends--to--tea--to-morrow.
Put--some--ham--and--tongue--on--to--boil--directly!"

Aunt Hetty looked as if she thought grandmamma must be raving. I nodded
that it was all right, and up went the two black hands in expostulation
and amazement.

But a while later a savory smell of boiling ham came appetizingly wafted
up the stairs. I drew a free breath. I knew the girls would at least
have something to eat, and my hospitality would not be shamed.

So toward evening I made grandmamma a cup of tea. It is not every one
who knows how to make tea. The water must boil and bubble up. It isn't
fully boiling when the steam begins to rise from the spout, but if you
will wait five minutes after that it will be just right for use. Pour a
very little into the teapot, rinse it, and pour the water out, and then
put in your tea. No rule is better than the old one of a teaspoonful for
every cup, and an extra one for the pot. Let this stand five minutes
where it will not boil, and it will be done. Good tea must be steeped
not boiled. Mother's way is to make hers on the table. I have been
drilled over and over in tea making, and am skillful.

I made some dainty slices of toast in this way: I cut off the crust and
put it aside for a pudding, and as the oven was hot, I placed the bread
in a pan, and let it lean against the edge in a slanting position. When
it was a pale golden brown I took it out, and carried it to grandmamma.
The object of toasting bread is to get the moisture out of it. This is
more evenly done in the oven than over the fire. Toast should not be
burned on one side and raw on the other; it should be crisp and delicate
all through.

My tea and toast were delicious, and tasted all the better for being
arranged in the prettiest china we had and on our daintiest salver.

The next morning grandmamma was better, and I had my hands full.




CHAPTER II.

COMPANY TO TEA, AND SOME RECEIPTS.


You remember that grandmamma in the very middle of her headache gave
orders about boiling the ham and the tongue.

We made a rule after that, and Veva, who was secretary, wrote it in the
club's book: "Always begin getting ready for company the day before."

I had not noticed it then, but it is mother's way, and it saves a great
deal of confusion. If everything is left for the day on which the
company is expected, the girl who is hostess will be much too tired to
enjoy her friends. She ought to have nothing on her mind which can worry
her or keep her from entering into their pleasure. A hurried, worried
hostess makes her guests feel somehow in a false position.

Our house was, fortunately, in excellent order, so I had nothing to do
except, in the morning, to set the table prettily, to dust the parlors,
to put fresh flowers in the vases, and give a dainty finishing touch
here and there to the rooms. There were plenty of pleasant things to do.
I meant to have tea over early, and then some of the club's brothers
would be sure to come in, and we could play tennis on our ground, and
perhaps have a game of croquet. Then, when it was too dark for that sort
of amusement, we could gather on the veranda or in the library, and have
games there--Dumb Crambo and Proverbs, until the time came for the girls
to go home.

First, however, the eating part of the entertainment had to be thought
of.

Aunt Hetty was in a wonderful good humor, and helped with all her might,
so that my preparations went on very successfully. Grandmamma felt so
much better that I asked her advice, and this was the bill of fare
which she proposed:

  Ham Sandwiches.
  Cold Sliced Tongue.
  Quick Biscuits.
  Apple-Sauce.
  Strawberries and Cream.
  Tapioca Blanc-Mange.
  Cup-Cake.
  Cookies.
  Cocoa.

The ham, having been boiled till tender the afternoon before, was
chopped very fine, a tiny dash of mustard added to it, and then it was
spread smoothly between two pieces of the thinnest possible
bread-and-butter. Around each of the sandwiches, when finished, I tied a
very narrow blue ribbon. The effect was pretty.

The tongue was sliced evenly, and arranged on a plate with tender leaves
of lettuce around its edge.

The biscuits I made myself. Mother taught me how. First I took a quart
of flour, and dropped into it two teaspoonfuls of our favorite
baking-powder. This I sifted twice, so that the powder and flour were
thoroughly blended. Mother says that cakes and biscuits and all kinds of
pastry are nicer and lighter if the flour is sifted twice, or even three
times. I added now a tablespoonful of lard and a half teaspoonful of
salt, and mixed the biscuit with milk. The rule is to handle as little
as possible, and have the dough very soft. Roll into a mass an inch
thick, and cut the little cakes apart with a tin biscuit-cutter. They
must be baked in a very hot oven.

No little housekeeper need expect to have perfect biscuits the first
time she makes them. It is very much like playing the piano. One needs
practice. But after she has followed this receipt a half dozen times,
she will know exactly how much milk she will require for her dough, and
she will have no difficulty in handling the soft mass. A dust of flour
over the hands will prevent it from sticking to them.

Mother always insists that a good cook should get all her materials
together before she begins her work.

The way is to think in the first place of every ingredient and utensil
needed, then to set the sugar, flour, spice, salt, lard, butter, milk,
eggs, cream, molasses, flavoring, sieves, spoons, egg-beaters, cups,
strainers, rolling-pins, and pans, in a convenient spot, so that you do
not have to stop at some important step in the process, while you go to
hunt for a necessary thing which has disappeared or been forgotten.

Mother has often told me of a funny time she had when she was quite a
young housekeeper, afflicted with a borrowing neighbor. This lady seldom
had anything of her own at hand when it was wanted, so she depended upon
the obliging disposition of her friends.

One day my mother put on her large housekeeping apron and stepped
across the yard to her outdoor kitchen. The kitchens in Kentucky were
never a part of the house, but always at a little distance from it, in a
separate building.

"Aunt Phyllis," said my mother to the cook, who was browning coffee
grains in a skillet over the fire, "I thought I told you that I was
coming here to make pound cake and cream pies this morning. Why is
nothing ready?"

"La, me, Miss Emmeline!" replied Aunt Phyllis. "Miss 'Tilda Jenkins done
carried off every pie pan and rolling-pin and pastry-board, and borrowed
all de eggs and cream fo' herself. Her bakin' isn't mo'n begun."

This was a high-handed proceeding, but nothing could be done in the
case. It was Mrs. Jenkins' habit, and mother had always been so amiable
about it that the servants, who were easygoing, never troubled
themselves to ask the mistress, but lent the inconvenient borrower
whatever she desired.

Sometimes just as we were going to church, I was too little at the time
to remember, mother said that a small black boy with very white teeth
and a very woolly head, would pop up at her chamber door, exclaiming,

"Howdy, Miss Emmeline. Miss 'Tilda done sent me to borrow yo'
Prayer-book. She goin' to church to-day herself."

Or, of a summer evening, her maid would appear with a modest request for
Miss Emmeline's lace shawl and red satin fan; Miss 'Tilda wanted to make
a call and had nothing to wear.

All this, I think, made mother perfectly _set_ against our ever
borrowing so much as a slatepencil or a pin. We were always to use our
own things or go without. I never had a sister, but cousins often spent
months at the house, and were in and out of my room in the freest way,
forever bringing me their gloves to mend or their ties to clean, as
cousins will.

"Never borrow," said my mother. "Buy, or give away, or do without, but
be beholden to nobody for a loan."

Another rule for little housekeepers is to wash their hands and faces
and have their hair in the nicest order before they begin to cook. The
nails should be cleaned and the toilet attended to as carefully as if
the girl were going to a party, before she begins any work in the
kitchen.

I suppose you think my bill of fare for a company tea very plain, but I
hadn't time for anything elaborate. Besides, if what you have is very
good, and set on the table prettily, most people will be satisfied even
if the fare is simple.

"Apple-sauce," said Amy one day, "is a dish I never touch. We used to
have it so often at school that I grew tired at the sight of it."

But Amy did eat apple-sauce at our house. Aunt Hetty taught me how to
make it, and I think it very good. We always cook it in an earthenware
crock over a very quick fire. This is our receipt: Pare and slice the
apples, eight large ones are sufficient for a generous dish, and put
them on with a very little water. As soon as they are soft and pulpy
stir in enough granulated sugar to make them as sweet as your father and
brothers like them. Take them off and strain them through a fine sieve
into a glass dish. Cook the apple-sauce about two hours before it is
wanted on the table. Put beside it a bowl of whipped cream, and when you
help to the sauce add a heaping spoonful of the cream to every dish.

People spoil apple-sauce by making it carelessly, so that it is lumpy
and coarse, or has seeds or bits of the core sticking in it, and mother
says that both apple-pies and apple-sauce should be used the day they
are made. They lose their _bouquet_, the fine delicate flavor is all
gone if you keep them long before using. A great divine used to say that
"the natural life of an apple pie is just twelve hours."

_Tapioca Blanc-Mange._--This is the receipt: One pint of fresh milk,
three-quarters of a cupful of sugar, half a pound of tapioca soaked in
cold water four hours, a small teaspoonful of vanilla, a pinch of salt.
Heat the milk and stir in the tapioca previously soaked. Mix well and
add the sugar. Boil it slowly fifteen minutes, then take it off and beat
until nearly cold. Pour into moulds, and stand upon the ice.

This is very nice served with a teaspoonful of currant or raspberry
jelly to each helping, and if cream is added it makes a beautiful
dessert. This ought to be made the day before it is needed. I made mine
before noon and it was quite ready, but you see it tired me to have it
on my mind, and it _might_ have been a failure.

_Cup-Cake._--Three teacups of sifted sugar and one cup and a half of
butter beaten to a cream, three eggs well beaten (white and yolks
separately), three teacupfuls of sifted flour. Flavor with essence of
lemon or rose water. A half teaspoonful is enough. Dissolve a
teaspoonful of cream of tartar and a half teaspoonful of baking soda in
a very little milk. When they foam, stir them quickly into the cake.
Beat well until the mixture is perfectly smooth, and has tiny bubbles
here and there on the surface. Bake in a very quick oven.

_Cookies._--These were in the house. We always keep a good supply. One
cup of butter, one of sugar, one of sour milk, half a nutmeg grated,
one teaspoonful of saleratus dissolved in a little boiling water, flour
enough to roll out the cookies. Cut into small round cakes and bake.
Keep these in a close tin. They will last a long time unless the house
is supplied with hungry school-boys.

_Cocoa._--Two ounces of cocoa and one quart of boiling water. Boil
together for a half hour on the back of the stove, then add a quart of
milk and two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Boil for ten minutes and serve.

Everything on the table was enjoyed, and we girls had a very merry time.
After tea and before the brothers came, we arranged a plan for learning
to make bread. I forgot to speak of the strawberries, but good
strawberries and rich cream need no directions. A pretty way of serving
them for breakfast, or for people who prefer them without cream, is
simply to arrange the beautiful fruit unhulled on a cut glass dish, and
dip each berry by its dainty stem into a little sparkling mound of
powdered sugar.

As for our games, our talk, our royally good time, girls will understand
this without my describing it. As Veva said, you can't put the soul of a
good time down on the club's record book, and I find I can't put it down
here in black and white. But when we said good-night, each girl felt
perfectly satisfied with the day, and the brothers pleaded for many
more such evenings.




CHAPTER III.

A FAIR WHITE LOAF.


"It's very well," said Miss Clem Downing, Marjorie's sister, "for you
little housekeepers to make cakes and creams; anybody can do that; but
you'll never be housekeepers in earnest, little or big, my dears, till
you can make good eatable bread."

"Bread," said Mr. Pierce to Amy, "is the crowning test of housewifery. A
lady is a loaf-giver, don't you know?"

"When Jeanie shall present me with a perfect loaf of bread, I'll present
her with a five-dollar gold piece," said Jeanie's father.

"I don't want Veva meddling in the kitchen," observed Mrs. Fay, with
emphasis. "The maids are vexatious enough, and the cook cross enough as
it is. If ever Veva learns breadmaking, it must be outside of this
house."

"Don't bother me, daughter," said Mrs. Partridge, looking up from the
cup she was painting. "It will be time for you to learn breadmaking when
the bakers shut their shops."

As for the writer of this story, her mother's way had been to teach her
breadmaking when she was just tall enough to have a tiny moulding-board
on a chair, but Milly did not feel qualified to take hold of a regular
cooking class. It was the same with Linda Curtis. Grandmamma suggested
our having a teacher, and paying her for her trouble.

"Miss Muffet?" said Veva.

"Miss Muffet," we all exclaimed.

"And then," said Jeanie, "our money will enable her to buy the winter
cloak she is so much in need of, and she will not feel as if she were
accepting charity, because she will earn the money if she teaches us."

"Indeed, she will," exclaimed Veva. "I know beforehand that she will
have one fearfully stupid pupil, and that is Veva Fay."

Breakfast was no sooner over next morning, and grandmamma dressed and
settled in comfort, than away we flew to our friend. "We," means Linda
and myself. She is my nearest neighbor, and we often act for the club.

Miss Muffet lived by herself in a bit of a house, her only companions
being a very deaf sister and a very noisy parrot.

"Passel o' girls! Passel o' girls!" screamed the parrot, as we lifted
the latch and walked up the little bricked pathway, bordered with
lady-slippers and prince's feather, to the porch, which was half hidden
by clematis.

Miss Muffet was known to every man, woman and child in Bloomdale. She
was sent for on every extra occasion, and at weddings, christenings and
funerals, when there was more work than usual to be done, the little
brisk woman, so quiet and so capable, was always on hand. She could do a
little of everything, from seating Tommy's trousers to setting patches
in Ellen's sleeves; from making lambrequins and table scarfs to
laundrying lace curtains and upholstering furniture. As for cooking,
preserving and canning, she was celebrated for miles around and beyond
our township.

"Would Miss Muffet undertake to show a few girls how to make bread and
rolls and biscuit and sally-lunn, and have patience with them till they
were perfect little housekeepers, so far as bread was concerned."

It was some little time before we could make Miss Muffet understand our
plan, and persuade her to let us pay for our lessons; but when she did
understand, she entered into the plan with enthusiasm.

"La me! What a clever notion to be sure! Sister Jane, poor dear, would
approve of it highly, if she weren't so deaf. Begin to-day? Well, well!
You don't want the grass to grow under your feet, do you? All right!
I'll be at your house, Milly, at six o'clock this evening to give the
first lesson. Have the girls there, if you can. It's as easy to teach a
dozen as one."

"Milly," said Linda, "the club ought to have a uniform and badges. I
don't think a club is complete that hasn't a badge."

"We all have white aprons," I said.

"Yes; ordinary aprons, but not great kitchen aprons to cover us up from
head to foot."

"Well, if the club adopts the plan it will not be hard to make such
aprons. We must certainly have caps, and those should be thought of at
once."

Grandmamma was always my resort when I was at my wits' end, and so I
went to her with a question: "Had she anything which would do for our
caps?"

"There must be something in my lower left-hand wardrobe drawer," said
grandmamma, considering. "Thee may bring me a green bag, which thee will
see in the far corner, and then we will talk about those caps in
earnest."

That wonderful green bag proved a sort of fairy find. There were
remnants of mull, Swiss, jaconet and other fabrics--white, plain and
barred. Grandmamma cut us a pattern. At four the seven girls were
assembled in her room. Jeanie on a hassock at her feet, the remainder
grouped as they chose.

How our fingers flew! It was just a quarter to six when every cap was
finished, and each girl had decided upon her special color. We hadn't
the ribbon to make our bows, and were obliged to wait till somebody
should go to the city to procure it; but each girl knew her favorite
color, and that was a comfort. Linda Curtis chose blue, and I would wear
rose-tints (my parents did not insist on my wearing Quaker gray, and I
dressed like "the world's people"), Veva chose old gold, and each of the
others had a preference.

"You will look like a field of daisies and clover, dearies," said
grandmamma.

"There!" cried Jeanie. "Why not have a four-leaved clover as our badge?
There isn't anything prettier."

The four-leaved clover carried the day, though one or two did speak for
the daisy, the maiden-hair fern and the pussy willow. All this was
before the subject of the national flower had been agitated.

"Where are my pupils?" Miss Muffet appeared promptly at the hour, and
wore a most business-like air as she began her instructions. "Compressed
yeast has found its way to Bloomdale, my dears," she said, "so that I
shall not have to begin by telling you how to make yeast. That useful
lesson may wait till another day. Before we do anything, I will give you
some rules for good family bread, and you may write them down, if you
please.

"1. Always sift your flour thoroughly."

Seven pencils wrote that rule in seven notebooks.

"2. Mix the dough as soft as it can be handled. You must never have it
too stiff.

"3. Set it to rise in a moderately warm place.

"4. You cannot knead bread too much. The more it is kneaded the firmer,
sweeter and lighter it will be."

When we had written this down Miss Muffet remarked:

"Mrs. Deacon Ead's bread always takes the prize at the county fair. It
looks like pound-cake. I don't want you girls to make flabby, porous
bread, full of air-holes. I want you to learn how to knead it till it is
just like an India-rubber cushion."

"If the dough is soft won't it stick to our fingers?" said Marjorie,
with a dainty little shiver.

"Powder your hands very lightly with flour. That will keep the dough
from sticking," said Miss Muffet, "and you will gain a knack after a
while.

"5. The oven must be steadily hot, but not too quick, for bread. Hold
your hand in it while you count thirty, and it will be right for putting
in your bread.

"6. Grease your pans.

"7. When taking bread from the oven loosen the loaves from the pans,
stand them upright, and let them lean against something to keep them in
that position. Cover them lightly with a cloth.

"8. Do not put them away until they are cold."

We all gathered about the table, but were disappointed that there was
nothing for us to do except look on.

She took two quarts of flour and sifted it thoroughly into a large
wooden bowl. In one pint of tepid water she dissolved a
half-tablespoonful of salt and half a yeast cake. Pouring this into a
hollow in the middle of the flour she gradually drew the flour into it
from all sides, working it with swift, light touches until it was a
compact mass. She pounced and pulled and beat this till it was as smooth
and round as a ball, dusted a little flour over it, covered it with a
thick cloth and set it aside.

"That is all that can be done to-night, girls," she said. "Be here every
one of you at six in the morning, if Milly can be up so early. The bread
will be ready then for another kneading. You must not overlook the fact,
girls, that bread is not accommodating. It has to be attended to when
the proper time comes, whether it is convenient for the maker or not. If
neglected, it will be too light, or else heavy. Bread which is too light
has a sour taste, and is just as unpalatable as that which is heavy,
_i.e._, not raised enough, I mean."

In the morning our bread had risen to the top of the bowl, and had
cracks running in a criss-cross manner over its surface. Miss Muffet was
the first one to appear on the scene. She gave us a lesson in kneading.
Such patting and pounding, throwing over, tossing back and forth, as she
gave that poor dough. But the dough must have enjoyed it, for it seemed
to grow lighter every minute.

After a full twenty minutes of this process the bread was set near the
fire for a second rising. A half-hour passed. Miss Muffet took it in
hand again, and again she pounced and patted, beat and pounded the
helpless mass, this time dividing it into three small loaves, which she
set near the fire for the final rising.

"Bread is nicer made in little loaves," she told us. "More convenient
for use on the table, easier to bake, and less likely to become dry."

And now let me give you a receipt for Ingleside waffles. Mother
considers these very good, and so do we girls who have tried them.

"Make one pint of Indian meal into mush the usual way, which is by
stirring the meal into boiling water and letting it boil until it is
thick. While hot put in a small lump of butter and a dessertspoonful of
salt. Set the mush aside to cool. Beat separately the whites and yolks
of four eggs until very light; add the eggs to the mush, and cream in by
degrees one quart of wheat flour; add half a pint of buttermilk or sour
cream, in which you have dissolved a half-teaspoonful of bicarbonate of
soda; add sweet milk enough to make a thin batter.

"Have the waffle-irons hot. They should be heated in advance, not to
keep the batter waiting. Butter them thoroughly and half fill them with
the batter. Bake over a quick fire."

I never eat waffles without thinking of a pleasant home where two girls
and a boy who read this paper have good times every summer. They often
go out on the bay for an afternoon sail, and come home in the rosy
sunset in time for waffles. Waffles, with sugar and cream, are a very
nice addition to a supper table.

Another receipt of Miss Muffet's:

_Delicious Corn Muffins._--One pint of corn meal sifted, one egg, one
pint of sweet milk, a teaspoonful of butter, and half a teaspoonful of
salt. Pour this mixture into muffin-rings and bake in a very quick oven.

This receipt is one that mother sometimes uses on a cold winter evening
when she has nothing else hot for supper. They are great favorites in
our household.




CHAPTER IV.

HOW TO SWEEP.


In the first chapter of this story I spoke of the trouble housekeepers
in Bloomdale had to get and keep good servants.

We Clover Leaf girls made up our minds that we would learn to be
independent. We resolved to know how to do every sort of housework, so
that we might assist our mothers whenever they needed us, and be ready
for any emergency as it came along.

Aunt Hetty's daughter-in-law in Boston sent the poor old soul a letter
which made her rather uneasy, and grandmamma thought that I might better
let her go and pay Sally a visit while mother was away than to wait till
her return.

"The fall dressmaking and cleaning will be coming on then," said
grandmother, "and thee will be busy with school again. So if Hetty takes
her vacation now, she will be here to help the dear mother then."

I agreed to this, for the chance of having the kitchen to myself was
very tempting. The club was charmed; they said they would just live at
our house and help me with all their might.

"Then you won't have Hetty's moods to worry you," said Veva,
consolingly.

We had a good time. Nevertheless it was a happy day for me when Aunt
Hetty, bag and baggage, came home a week sooner than she was expected.
Nobody was looking for her; but the good old soul, having seen her
relations, felt restless, and wanted to get home.

"Somefin done tole me, honey," she said, "that Aunt Hetty am wanted
hyar, and sure enuf it's so. Yo' pa an' ma off on dey trabbles, and
nobody but one pore lamb lef' to take car' ob de house an' de ole madam.
I wouldn't hab gone only for dat no-account Sal anyhow."

I felt like a bird set free from a cage when Aunt Hetty appeared, and
she came in the very nick of time, too, for that same day up rolled the
stage, and out popped my great-aunt Jessamine (grandmamma's sister) from
Philadelphia. The two old ladies had so much to tell one another that
they had no need of me. So I went to the Downings', where the club was
to hold a meeting, armed with brushes and brooms, taking a practical
lesson in sweeping and dusting.

The Downings were without a maid, and we all turned in to help them.
Alice, Nell, and Clem, the older sisters, accepted our offer joyfully,
though I think their mother had doubts of the wisdom of setting so many
of us loose in her house at once. But Linda Curtis and Jeanie Cartwright
found that they were not needed and went home; Veva had a music lesson
and was excused; Linda's mamma had taken her off on a jaunt for the day;
and Amy could not be spared from home. Only Lois and I were left to help
Marjorie, and, on the principle that many hands make light work, we
distributed ourselves about the house under the direction of the elder
Downing sisters.

Now, girls all, let me give you a hint which may save you lots of time
and trouble. If sweeping and dusting are thoroughly done, they do not
need to be done so very often. A room once put in perfect order,
especially in a country village, where the houses stand like little
islands in a sea of green grass, ought to stay clean a long time.

It is very different in a city, where the dust flies in clouds an hour
after a shower, and where the carts and wagons are constantly stirring
it up. Give me the sweet, clean country.

Mother's way is to carefully dust and wipe first with a damp and then
with a dry cloth all the little articles of bric-a-brac, vases, small
pictures, and curios, which we prize because they are pretty, after
which she sets them in a closet or drawer quite out of the way. Then,
with a soft cloth fastened over the broom, she has the walls wiped down,
and with a hair brush which comes for the purpose she removes every
speck of dust and cobweb from the cornices and corners. A knitted cover
of soft lampwick over a broom is excellent for wiping a dusty or a
papered wall.

Next, all curtains which cannot be conveniently taken down are shaken
well and pinned up out of the way. Shades are rolled to the top. Every
chair and table is dusted, and carried out of the room which is about to
be swept. If there are books, they are dusted and removed, or if they
are arranged on open shelves, they are first dusted and then carefully
covered.

Mother's way is to keep a number of covers of old calico, for the
purpose of saving large pieces of furniture, shelves and such things,
which cannot be removed from their places on sweeping days.

It is easier, she says, to protect these articles than to remove the
dust when it has once lodged in carvings and mouldings.

We girls made a frolic of our dusting, but we did it beautifully too. I
suppose you have all noticed what a difference it makes in work whether
you go at it cheerfully or go at it as a task that you hate. If you keep
thinking how hard it is, and wishing you had somebody else to do it for
you, and fretting and fuming, and pitying yourself, you are sure to have
a horrid time. But if you take hold of a thing in earnest and call it
fun, you don't get half so tired.

In sweeping take long light strokes, and do not use too heavy a broom.

"Milly," said Lois, "do you honestly think sweeping is harder exercise
than playing tennis or golf?"

I hesitated. "I really don't know. One never thinks of hard or easy in
any games out of doors; the air is so invigorating, they have a great
advantage over house work in that way."

"Well, for my part," said Marjorie, "I like doing work that tells. There
is so much satisfaction in seeing the figures in the carpet come out
brightly under my broom. Alice, what did you do to make your
reception-room so perfectly splendiferous? Girls, look here! You'd think
this carpet had just come out of the warehouse."

"Mother often tells Aunt Hetty," said I, "to dip the end of the broom in
a pail of water in which she has poured a little ammonia--a teaspoonful
to a gallon. The ammonia takes off the dust, and refreshes the colors
wonderfully. We couldn't keep house without it," I finished, rather
proudly.

"Did you bring some from home?" asked Marjorie, looking hurt.

"Why, of course not! I asked your mother, and she gave me the bottle,
and told me to take what I wanted."

"A little coarse salt or some damp tea-leaves strewed over a carpet
before sweeping adds ease to the cleansing process," said Mrs. Downing,
appearing on the scene and praising us for our thoroughness. "The reason
is that both the salt and the tea-leaves being moist keep down the light
floating dust, which gives more trouble than the heavier dirt. But now
you will all be better for a short rest; so come into my snuggery, and
have a gossip and a lunch, and then you may attack the enemy again."

"Mrs. Downing, you are a darling," exclaimed Lois, as we saw a platter
of delicate sandwiches, and another of crisp ginger cookies, with a
great pitcher of milk. "We didn't know that we were hungry; but now that
I think about it, I, for one, am certain that I could not have lived
much longer without something to supply the waste of my failing cellular
tissue."

"I think," replied Mrs. Downing, "that we would often feel much better
for stopping in our day's work to take a little rest. I often pause in
the middle of my morning's work and lie down for a half-hour, or I send
to the kitchen and have a glass of hot milk brought me, with a crust or
a cracker. You girls would not wish to lie down, but you would often
find that you felt much fresher if you just stopped and rested, or put
on your jackets and hats and ran away for a breath of out-door air. You
would come back to your work like new beings."

"Just as we did in school after recess," said Marjorie.

"Precisely. Change of employment is the best tonic."

Our luncheon over, and our rooms swept, rugs shaken, stairs and passages
thoroughly brushed and wiped, we polished the windows with cloths dipped
in ammonia water and wrung out, and followed them by a dry rubbing with
soft linen cloths. Then it was time to restore the furniture to its
place, and bring out the ornaments again from their seclusion.

Now we saw what an advantage we had gained in having prepared these
before we began the campaign. In a very little while the work was done
and the house settled, and so spotless and speckless we felt sure it
would keep clean for weeks.

Mother's way is to use a patent sweeper daily in rooms which are
occupied for sewing and other work, and she says that she does not find
it necessary to give her rooms more than a light sweeping oftener than
once in six weeks. Of course it would be different if we had a large
family.

Paint should be wiped, door-knobs polished, and a touch of the duster
given to everything on these sweeping days.

The Clover Leaves voted that feather-dusters, as a rule, were a
delusion. One often sees a girl, who looks very complacent as she
flirts a feather-duster over a parlor, displacing the dust so that it
may settle somewhere else. All dusted articles should be wiped off, and
the dust itself gotten rid of, by taking it out of the house, and
leaving it no chance to get back on that day at least.

When I reached home in time for our one o'clock dinner, I found
Great-aunt Jessamine and grandmamma both waiting for me, and the former,
who was a jolly little old lady, was quite delighted over the Bloomdale
girls and their housekeeping.

"All is," she said, "will those Downings do as well when there are no
other girls to make them think the work is play?"

"Oh!" answered grandmamma, "I never trouble my head about what folks
will do in the future. I have enough to do looking after what they do in
the present. Alice here gets along very well all by herself a great part
of the time. By-the-way, child, did Aunt Hetty give thee mother's
letter?"

I rushed off to get my treasure. It would soon be the blessed day when I
might expect a letter telling me when my father and mother would be at
home again.




CHAPTER V.

A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING.


Just as I began to be a wee little bit tired of housework, and to feel
that I would like nothing so much as a day with my birds, my fancy-work,
and a charming story-book, what should happen but that grandmamma's
headache and Aunt Hetty's "misery in her bones" should both come at
once.

Tap, tap, tap on the floor above my head in the early dawn came
grandmamma's ebony stick.

Veva Fay and Marjorie Downing were both spending the night with me. Veva
had slept on the wide, old-fashioned lounge in the corner, and Marjorie
in the broad couch with me, and we had all talked till it was very late,
as girls always do when they sleep in one room, unless, of course, they
are sisters, or at school, and used to it.

I had a beautiful room. It ran half across the front of the house, and
had four great windows, a big fire-place, filled in summer with branches
of cedar, or bunches of ferns, growing in a low box, and filling the
great space with cool green shade, and in winter the delight of the
girls, because of the famous hickory fires which blazed there, always
ready to light at a touch.

In one corner stood my mahogany desk, above it a lovely picture of the
Madonna and Child. Easy-chairs were standing around, and there were
hassocks and ottomans in corners and beside the windows. My favorite
engraving--a picture representing two children straying near a
precipice, fearing no danger, and just ready to fall, when behind them,
sweeping softly down, comes their guardian angel--hung over the mantel.

How much pleasure I took in that room, in the book shelves always full,
in the pretty rugs and the cool matting and the dainty drapery, all
girls can imagine. It was my own Snuggery, and I kept it in the
loveliest good order, as mother liked me to.

Tap, tap, tap.

"Goodness!" cried Veva, only half awake.

"What is that? Mice?" said Marjorie, timidly.

"Burglars!" exclaimed Veva.

"Hush, girls!" I said, shaking off my drowsiness. "It's poor grandmamma,
and she has one of her fearfulest headaches. It's two weeks since she
had the last, so one may be expected about now. The tap means, 'Come to
me, quickly.'"

I ran to the door, and said, "Coming, grandmamma!" slipped my feet into
my soft knitted shoes, and hurried my gray flannel wrapper on, then
hastened to her bedside. I found that grandmamma was not so very ill,
only felt unable to get up to breakfast with us, and wanted some gruel
made as soon as possible.

"I've been waiting to hear some stir in the house," she said, "but
nobody seemed to be awake. Isn't it later than usual, girlie?"

I tiptoed over to grandmamma's mantel, and looked at her little French
clock. It _was_ late! Eight, and past, and Hetty had not called us. What
could be the matter?

Down I flew to find out what ailed Aunt Hetty. She was usually an early
riser.

Before I reached her room, which was on the same floor with the kitchen,
I heard groans issuing from it, and Hetty's voice saying: "Dear me! Oh,
dear me!" in the most despairing, agonizing tones. Hetty always makes
the most of a "misery in her bones."

"What is it, aunty?" I asked, peering into the room, which she _would_
keep as dark as a pocket.

"De misery in my bones, child! De ole king chills! Sometimes I'm up!
Sometimes I'm down!"

The bed shook under the poor thing, and I ran out to ask Patrick to go
for the doctor, while I made the fire, and called the girls to help
prepare breakfast.

First in order after lighting the fire, which being of wood blazed up
directly that the match was applied to the kindlings, came the making of
the corn-meal gruel.

A tablespoonful of corn meal wet with six tablespoonfuls of milk, added
one by one, gradually, so that the meal is quite free from lumps. One
pint of boiling water, and a little salt. You must stir the smooth
mixture of the meal and milk into the boiling water. It will cool it a
little, and you must stir it until it comes to a boil, then stand it
back, and let it simmer fifteen minutes.

The doctor was caught by Patrick just leaving his house to go to a
patient ten miles off. He prescribed for Aunt Hetty, looked in upon
grandmamma, and told me to keep up my courage, I was a capital little
nurse, and he would rather have me to take care of him than anybody else
he knew, if he were ill, which he never was.

He drove off in his old buggy, leaving three little maids watching him
with admiring eyes. We all loved Doctor Chester. "Now, girls," I said,
"we must get our breakfast. We cannot live on air."

Marjorie brought the eggs and milk. Veva cut the bread and picked the
blackberries. I put the pan on to heat for the omelette, and this is the
way we made it:

Three eggs, broken separately and beaten hard--

    "In making an omelette,
      Children, you see,
    The longer you beat it,
      The lighter 'twill be,"

hummed Marjorie, add a teaspoonful of milk, and beat up with the eggs;
beat until the very last moment when you pour into the pan, in which you
have dropped a bit of butter, over the hot fire. As soon as it sets,
move the pan to a cooler part of the stove, and slip a knife under the
edge to prevent its sticking to the pan; when it is almost firm in the
middle, slant the pan a little, slip your knife all the way round the
edge to get it free, then tip it over in such a way that it will fold as
it falls on the plate.

You should serve an omelette on a hot plate, and it requires a little
dexterity to learn how to take it out neatly.

Veva exclaimed, "Oh, Milly, you forgot the salt!"

"No," I explained; "French cooks declare that salt should never be mixed
with eggs when they are prepared for omelette. It makes the omelette
tough and leathery. A little salt, however, may be sprinkled upon it
just before it is turned out upon the dish."

Here is another receipt, which Jeanie copied out of her mother's book:

"Six eggs beaten separately, a cup of milk, a teaspoonful of corn-starch
mixed smoothly in a little of the milk, a tablespoonful of melted
butter, a dash of pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Beat well together,
the yolks of the eggs only being used in this mixture. When thoroughly
beaten add the foaming whites and set in a very quick oven."

It will rise up as light as a golden puff ball, but it must not be used
in a family who have a habit of coming late to breakfast, because, if
allowed to stand, this particular omelette grows presently as flat as a
flounder.

After breakfast came the task of washing the dishes. Is there anything
which girls detest as they do this everyday work? Every day? Three times
a day, at least, it must be done in most houses, and somebody must do
it.

Veva said: "I'd like to throw the dishes away after every meal. If a
fairy would offer _me_ three wishes the first one I'd make would be
never to touch a dishcloth again so long as I lived."

"Oh, Veva!" exclaimed Marjorie. "Think of the lovely china the Enderbys
have, and the glass which came to Mrs. Curtis from her
great-grandmother. Would you like a piece of that to be broken if it
were yours?"

"No-o-o!" acknowledged Veva. "But our dishes are not so sacred, and our
Bridgets break them regularly. We are always having to buy new ones as
it is. Mamma groans, and sister Constance sighs, and Aunt Ernie scolds,
but the dishes go."

"Mother thinks that the old-fashioned gentlewomen, who used to wash the
breakfast things themselves, were very sensible and womanly."

Eva shrugged her plump shoulders, but took a towel to wipe the silver. I
had gathered up the dishes, and taken my own way of going about this
piece of work.

First I took a pan of hot water in which I had dissolved a bit of soap,
and I attacked the disagreeable things--the saucepans and broilers and
pots and pans. They are very useful, but they are not ornamental. All
nice housekeepers are very particular to cleanse them thoroughly,
removing every speck of grease from both the outside and the inside, and
drying them until they shine.

It isn't worth while to ruin your hands or make them coarse and rough
when washing pots and pans. I use a mop, and do not put my hands into
the hot, greasy water. Mother says one may do housework and look like a
lady if she has common sense.

I finished the pots and pans and set my cups and saucers in a row, my
plates scraped and piled together, my silver in the large china bowl,
and my glasses were all ready for the next step. I had two pans, one
half-filled with soapy, the other with clear water, and having given my
dainty dishes a bath in the first I treated them to a dip in the
second, afterward letting them drain for a moment on the tray at my
right hand. Veva and Marjorie wiped the silver and glass with the soft
linen towels which are kept for these only; next I took my plates, then
the platters, and finally the knives. Just as we finished the last dish
I heard grandmother's tap, tap on the floor over my head.

There's an art in everything, even in washing dishes. I fancy one might
grow fond of it, if only one took an interest in always doing it well.

Perhaps it is because my parents are Friends, and I have been taught
that it is foolish to be flurried and flustered and to hurry over any
work, but I do think that one gets along much faster when one does not
make too much haste.

I do hope I may always act just as mother does, she is so sweet and
peaceful, never cross, never worried. Now, dear grandmamma is much more
easily vexed. But then she is older and she has the Van Doren headaches.

Tap, tap came the call of the ebony stick. I ran up to grandmamma's
room.




CHAPTER VI.

A CANDY PULL.


Of all things in the world, what should grandmamma propose but my
sending for Miss Muffet! Great-aunt Jessamine had gone away long before.

"I believe it was to-day that the girls meant to have the candy pull at
Jeanie's, wasn't it?" grandmamma asked.

"Yes, darling grandmamma," I said, "they may have it; but I am not going
to desert you."

"Thee is very kind, dearie," replied grandmamma; "but I need only quiet,
and Hetty will come out of her attack just as well without thee as with
thee. I particularly wish that thee would go. How is thee to have the
fair unless thee has the candy pull? The time is passing, too. It will
soon be school and lessons again."

So, at grandmamma's urging, I went for Miss Muffet. The little woman
came without much delay, and took hold, as she expressed it, looking
after both our invalids; and in the meantime telling me how to broil a
steak for my grandmamma's and our own dinner, and how to fry potatoes so
that they should not be soaked with grease.

A girl I know gained a set of Dickens' works by broiling a steak so as
to please her father, who was a fastidious gentleman, and said he
wanted it neither overdone nor underdone, but just right.

For broiling you need a thick steak, a clear fire, and a clean gridiron.
Never try to broil meat over a blaze. You must have a bed of coals, with
a steady heat. The steak must not be salted until you have turned each
side to the fire; and it must be turned a good many times and cooked
evenly. It will take from five to seven minutes to broil it properly,
and it will then have all the juices in, and be fit for a king.

I don't know that kings have any better food than other gentlemen, but
one always supposes that they will have the very best.

A steak may be cooked very appetizingly in the frying pan; but the pan
must be very hot, and have no grease in it. Enough of that will ooze
from the fat of the steak to keep it from sticking fast. A good steak
cooked in a cold frying-pan and simmering in grease is an abomination.
So declares Miss Muffet, and all epicures with her.

To fry potatoes or croquettes or any other thing well, one must have
plenty of lard or butter or beef drippings, as she prefers, and let it
boil. It should bubble up in the saucepan, and there should be enough of
it to cover the wire basket in which the delicately sliced potatoes are
laid--a few at time--to cook. They will not absorb fat, because the
heat, when the first touch of it is given, will form a tight skin over
them, and the grease cannot pierce this. They will be daintily brown,
firm and dry.

But this isn't telling of our candy pull.

We had set our hearts on having fun and doing good--killing two birds
with one stone, as Al Fay said. But I do not approve of that proverb,
for certainly no _girl_ ever wishes to kill a bird; no more does a
decent boy think of such a thing.

We resolved to have a fair and to sell candy at it, making every bit
ourselves.

Therefore we had sent out some invitations to girls not of the club, and
to some of the nicest boys. They were as follows:

     The Clover Leaf Club of Bloomdale requests the pleasure of your
     company at the house of Miss Jeanie Cartwright, on Friday evening,
     September 8, at eight o'clock. Candy pull.

                                                MILLY VAN DOREN,
                                                     _President._

     LOIS PARTRIDGE,
         _Secretary._

I had my doubts all day as to whether it would be right for me to go;
but about four o'clock Aunt Hetty, looking as well as ever, came out of
her room in a stiffly starched gingham gown, and proceeded to cook for
herself a rasher of bacon and some eggs. Grandmamma was up and reading
one of her favorite books; and Miss Muffett, who had stepped over to her
house to attend to her sister and the parrot, came back declaring her
intention to stay all night.

"So, my darling child, you may go, and welcome."

Away went my doubts and fears, and I tripped merrily down the street to
Jeanie's, feeling the happier for a letter from mother, which I found at
the post office.

Our candy was to be sold for a cent a stick, but the sticks were not
scanty little snips by any means. Mrs. Cartwright made us a present of
the molasses, Lois brought the sugar from home, Al Fay brought the
saleratus, Patty remembered about the vinegar, and Marjorie produced the
butter.

These were the ingredients: a half-gallon of New Orleans molasses, a cup
of vinegar, a piece of butter as large as two eggs, a good teaspoonful
of saleratus dissolved in hot water.

We melted the sugar in the vinegar, stirred it into the molasses, and
let it come to the boil, stirring steadily. The boys took turns at this
work.

When the syrup began to thicken we dropped in the saleratus, which makes
it clear; then flouring our hands, each took a position, and pulled it
till it was white.

The longer we pulled, the whiter it grew. We ate some of it, but we
girls were quite firm in saving half for our sale.

Then we made maple-sugar caramels. Have you ever tried them? They are
splendid. You must have maple sugar to begin with; real sugar from the
trees in Vermont if you can get it. You will need a deep saucepan. Then
into a quart of fresh sweet milk break two pounds of sugar. Set it over
the fire. As the sugar melts, it will expand. Boil, boil, boil, stir,
stir, stir. Never mind if your face grows hot. One cannot make candy
sitting in a rocking-chair with a fan. One doesn't calculate to, as
Great-aunt Jessamine always says.

The way to test it when you _think_ it is done is to drop a portion in
cold water. If brittle enough to break, it is done. Pour into square
buttered pans, and mark off while soft into little squares with a knife.

Some people like cream candy. It is made in this way: three large
cupfuls of loaf-sugar, six tablespoonfuls of water. Boil, without
stirring, in a bright tin pan until it will crisp in water like molasses
candy. Flavor it with essence of lemon or vanilla; just before it is
done, add one teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Powder your hands with
flour, and pull it until it is perfectly white.

_Plain Caramels_.--One pound of brown sugar, a quarter of a pound of
chocolate, one pint of cream, one teaspoonful of butter, two
tablespoonfuls of molasses. Boil for thirty minutes, stirring all the
time; test by dropping into cold water. Flavor with vanilla, and mark
off as you do the maple caramels.

Home-made candy is sure to be of good materials, and will seldom be
harmful unless the eater takes a great quantity. Then the pleasure of
making it counts for something.

Our little fair was held the day after the candy pull, and the boys put
up a tent for us in Colonel Fay's grounds. Admission to the tent was
five cents. We sold candy, cake, ice-cream, and--home-made bread, and
our gains were nineteen dollars and ten cents. There were an apron
table, and a table where we sold pin-cushions and pen-wipers; but our
real profits came from the bread, which the girls' fathers were so proud
of that they bought it at a dollar a loaf. With the money which came
from the fair, we sent two little girls, Dot and Dimpsie, our poorest
children in Bloomdale, where most people were quite comfortably off, to
the seaside for three whole weeks.

I do not know what we would have done in Bloomdale if Dot and Dimpsie
had not had a father who would rather go off fishing, or lounge in the
sun telling stories, than support his family. Everybody disapproved of
Jack Roper, but everybody liked his patient little wife and his two dear
little girls, and we all helped them on.

There was no excuse for Jack. He was a tall, strong man, a good hunter,
fisher and climber, a sailor whenever he could get the chance to go off
on a cruise; but he would not work steadily. He did not drink, or swear,
or abuse his wife; but he did not support her, and if people called him
Shiftless Jack, he only laughed.

As he was the only person in Bloomdale who behaved in this way, we did
what mother calls condoning his offences--we called on him for odd jobs
of repairing and for errands and extra work, such as lighting fires and
carrying coals in winter, shoveling snow and breaking paths, weeding
gardens in summer, and gathering apples in the fall. We girls determined
to take care of Dot and Dimpsie, and help Mrs. Roper along.

They were two dear little things, and Mrs. Roper was very glad of our
assistance.

       *       *       *       *       *




CHAPTER VII.

KEEPING ACCOUNTS.


Mother's way in one particular is different from that of some other
people. Veva Fay and Lois Partridge never have any money of their own.
They always ask their parents for what they want. If Lois' papa is in a
happy frame of mind, he will give her a five-dollar gold piece, and say:
"There, go along, little girl, and buy as many bonbons as you please.
When that's gone, you know where to come for more."

If he happens to be tired, or if something in the city has gone wrong
that day, he will very likely meet her modest request with a "Don't
bother me, child! I won't encourage your growing up in foolish
extravagance."

Veva's father and mother make such a pet of her that they cannot bear to
deny her anything, and she will often order pretty things when she goes
to town, and is out walking with her cousins, just because they are
pretty, and not because she has any real use for them. If there were any
beggars here, Veva would empty that little silken purse of hers every
time she saw them, but the club has forbidden her to spoil Dot and
Dimpsie in that way. And she is too much of a lady to outshine the rest
of us.

Mother and father both believe in keeping an exact account of expenses.
Money is a great trust, and we must use it with care. Economy, which
some people suppose to be another name for saving, is a beautiful
picture word which signifies to guide the house. Mother thinks economy
cannot be learned in a day. So when I was little she began by giving me
ten cents every Saturday morning. At the same time she put in my hand a
little book and a pencil.

"See, daughter," she said, "thee is to set thy ten cents down on one
page, and that will show how much thee has to spend. On the other thee
is to put down the penny given in church, the penny for taffy, for
fines."

For fines? What could she mean?

Well, perhaps you will laugh; but my mother's way is never to let a
child in her care use slang, or slam doors, or leave things lying about
in wrong places, or speak unkindly of the absent. Half a cent had to be
paid every time I did any of these things, and I kept my own account of
them, and punished myself. I always knew when I had violated one of
mother's golden rules by her grieved look, or father's surprised one, or
by a little prick from my conscience.

"And what was done with the fines?" asked Jeanie, when I told her of
this plan.

"Oh, they went into our hospital fund, and twice a year--at midsummer
and Christmas--they were sent away to help some good Sisters who spent
their lives in looking after poor little cripples, or blind children, or
who went about in tenements to care for the old and sick."

At every week's end I had to bring my book to mother, add up what I had
spent, and subtract the amount from my original sum. If both were the
same, it was all right. If I had spent less than I received last
Saturday, then there was a balance in my favor, and something was there
all ready to add to my new ten cents. But if I had gone into debt, or
fallen short, or borrowed from anybody, mother was much displeased.

As I grew older my allowance was increased, until now I buy my gowns and
hats, give presents out of my own money, and have a little sum in the
savings-bank.

My housekeeping account while mother was absent was quite separate from
any other of my own. Mother handed me the housekeeping books and the
housekeeping money, with the keys, and left me responsible.

"Thee knows, Milly love," she said, "that I never have bills. I pay
everybody each week. Thee must do the same. And always put down the
day's expenses at the end of the day. Then nothing will be forgotten."

At the close of the year mother knows where every penny of hers has
gone. Even to the value of a postage-stamp or a postal-card.

As the Clover Leaf Club girls were not all so fortunate as I in having
an allowance, they took less interest in learning how to shop.

There are two ways of shopping. One is to set out without a very
definite idea of what you wish to buy, and to buy what you do not want,
if the shopman persuades you to do so, or it pleases your fancy.

The other is to make a list of articles before you leave home,
something like this: Nine yards of merino for gown; three yards of
silesia; two spools of cotton, Nos. 30 and 50; one spool of twist; one
dozen crochet buttons; a dozen fine napkins and a lunch cloth; five
yards of blue ribbon one inch wide; a paper of pins; a bottle of
perfumery; five-eighths of a yard of ruching for the neck.

Provided with such a memorandum, the person who has her shopping to do
will save time by dividing her articles into classes. The linen goods
will probably be near together in the shop, and she will buy them first;
then going to the counters where dress goods are kept, she will choose
her gown and whatever belongs to it; the thread, pins, twist and other
little articles will come next; and last, her ruching and ribbon.

She will have accomplished without any trouble, fuss, or loss of temper
what would have wearied an unsystematic girl who has never learned how
to shop.

Then, before she set out, she would have known very nearly how much she
could afford to spend--that is, she would have known if _my_ mother's
way had been her mother's--and on no account would she have spent more
than she had allowed herself in thinking it over at home.

When the club undertook charge of all Dot's and Dimpsie's expenses, it
was rather a puzzle to some of us to know how we were to pay our share.
I set apart something from my allowance. Lois watched for her papa's
pleasant moods. Veva danced up to her father, put her arms around his
neck, and lifted her mouth for a kiss, coaxed him for some money to give
away, which she always received directly. Others of the girls were at a
loss what to do.

Jeanie and Linda had a happy thought, which they carried out. They said:
"We have learned how to make bread and biscuits and cake and candy, and
we all know how often our friends cannot persuade cooks to stay in their
houses. We will make bread or cake on Saturday mornings for anybody who
is good enough to pay for it."

They could not see why it was not just as sensible a thing to make and
sell good bread as to paint scarfs or embroider tidies, and mother,
after she heard of their proposal, quite agreed with them.

Through our efforts, combined as they were, we sent our little girls to
Kindergarten, kept warm shoes and stockings on their feet, and brought
them up respectably, though Jack Roper was as odd and indolent as ever,
and never showed by so much as a look that he imagined anybody took an
interest in his children.




CHAPTER VIII.

WE GIVE A RECEPTION.


Everything pleasant comes to an end, even pleasant vacations, and when
the golden-rods were bowing to the asters, like gallant knights to their
ladyloves, and the red sumachs were hanging out the first flags of
autumn, we girls had to think of school once more.

The books which had been closed for almost three months beckoned us
again, and delightful as the Clover Leaf meetings had grown, we knew
that for the next nine months we should hold them only on Saturdays,
perhaps not always then.

"Girls," said Linda Curtis, "what shall we do for a wind-up to the
summer? Something which has never been done in Bloomdale. Something
which will be remembered when we are grown up and have forgotten our
girlish pranks?"

Linda's suggestion was approved unanimously, but nobody could propose
anything which everybody liked.

Finally Jeanie and Amy, who had been putting their heads together, and
whispering until the Chair had to call them to order, showed by their
smiling faces that they had a bright idea.

"Miss President," said Jeanie, "if I may, I should like to make a
motion."

"Miss Cartwright has the floor," said the President, gravely.

"I move that the Bloomdale Clover Leaf Club give a reception in the
Academy to all the Bloomdale neighbors and friends, _with a programme_,
and refreshments afterward."

"Is the motion seconded?" inquired the President.

"I second the motion," exclaimed Miss Amy Pierce, rapturously.

"It is moved and seconded that we give a reception at the Academy, with
a programme and refreshments. Are there any remarks?"

I should think there were. Why, they flew about like snow-flakes in a
hurricane.

"Why in the Academy?"

"Why not in somebody's parlor?"

"What sort of a programme?"

"Tableaux would be splendid!"

"Not tableaux! Charades?"

"Why not have a little play? That would be best, and we could all act."

"What sort of refreshments? A regular supper, or lemonade and cake, or
cake and ice-cream?"

At last it was resolved to carry out the reception idea, and to have a
little play in which Dot and Dimpsie could be brought in, also a very
magnificent Maltese cat belonging to Patty Curtis, and Miss Muffet's
parrot. The cat, arrayed in a lace ruff, with a red ribbon, would be an
imposing figure, and the parrot would look well as one of the
properties. Miss Muffet herself, in some character, probably as a Yankee
school-mistress, must be persuaded to appear.

Well, you may imagine what a flutter we were in! We trimmed the old
Academy with ferns and running pine and great wreaths of golden-rod,
while feathery clematis was looped and festooned over the windows and
around the portraits of former teachers, which adorned the walls.

Our play was written for us by Mr. Robert Pierce, Amy's brother, who
goes to Harvard, and he brought in both our pets, and the cat and
parrot, and had in ever so many hits which Bloomdale folks could enjoy,
knowing all about them.

The only thing which interfered with my pleasure was that mother was not
here, and I had expected her home. I nearly cried into the lemonade, and
almost blistered the icing of the pound-cake with tears; but seeing
grandmamma gaze at me with a whole exclamation point in her eyes, I gave
myself a mental shake, and said, not aloud, but in my mind: "Don't be a
baby, Milly Van Doren! A big girl like you! Be good! There, now!"

But I was not the most unhappy girl when, just after my part in the
play was over, I heard a little movement in the audience, and saw a
stirring as of surprise at the other end of the room.

Who was that? A sweet face in a Quaker bonnet, a white kerchief folded
primly over a gown of dove-colored satin, a pure plain dress, looking
very distinguished, for all its simplicity, among the gay toilet of the
"world's people."

Surely, no--yes, it was, it could be no one but mother!

I threaded my way through the crowded aisles, gentlemen and ladies
opening a path for me, and before everybody I was clasped in her dear
arms. And there was father smiling down at me, and saying, as mother
told me, to be composed, for I was half crying, half laughing: "Of
course she'll be composed. I have always said thee could trust our
little lass."

I squeezed myself into a seat between the two darlings, forgetful that I
was the President of the Clover Leaf Club; and there I sat till the play
was over, when something happened that was not on the programme.

A tall shabby form advanced to the front of the room, and mounted the
stage.

It was Jack Roper! We held our breath. What did this mean?

"I want, fellow-townsmen and ladies," said Jack, with the utmost
coolness, "to return thanks to the Clover Leaf young ladies for the good
example they've been a settin' our wives and darters. Them girls is
trumps!"

Down sat Jack in a storm of applause. This speech, if not elegant, was
at least sincere.

He was followed by a very different personage. No less a man than Judge
Curtis arose and gave us a little address, after which Amy Pierce and
Lois Partridge played a duet on the piano.

Then the refreshments were distributed. There was a merry time talking
and laughing over the feast, and we all went home. Miss Muffet looked
radiant, she had so many compliments, and Aunt Hetty, who appeared in
her stiffest calico, was not backward in accepting some for herself.
Though what she had done, except try my patience, it was puzzling to us
to tell.

My precious mother had the very prettiest surprise of all for us when
her trunks were opened. It is her way to make people happy, and she goes
through the world like an angel.

For every girl in the club she had brought home a silver pin in the
shape of a four-leaved clover. "Whether you keep up the club or not,"
she said, "it will be a pretty souvenir of a very happy summer."

I don't know whether I have made mother's way plain to all my readers,
but I hope they see it is a way of taking pains, of being kind, of being
honest and diligent, and never doing with one hand what ought to be done
with both. If I learn to keep house in mother's way I shall be perfectly
satisfied.

Father says: "Thee certainly may, dear child! For my part, I trust my
little lass."




    The Lighthouse Lamp.

    BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.


    The winds came howling down from the north,
      Like a hungry wolf for prey,
    And the bitter sleet went hurtling forth,
      In the pallid face of the day.

    And the snowflakes drifted near and far,
      Till the land was whitely fleeced,
    And the light-house lamp, a golden star,
      Flamed over the waves' white yeast.

    In the room at the foot of the light-house
      Lay mother and babe asleep,
    And little maid Gretchen was by them there,
      A resolute watch to keep.

    There were only the three on the light-house isle,
      But father had trimmed the lamp,
    And set it burning a weary while
      In the morning's dusk and damp.

    "Long before night I'll be back," he said,
      And his white sail slipped away;
    Away and away to the mainland sped,
      But it came not home that day.

    The mother stirred on her pillow's space,
      And moaned in pain and fear,
    Then looked in her little daughter's face
      Through the blur of a starting tear.

    "Darling," she whispered, "it's piercing cold,
      And the tempest is rough and wild;
    And you are no laddie strong and bold,
      My poor little maiden child.

    "But up aloft there's the lamp to feed,
      Or its flame will die in the dark,
    And the sailor lose in his utmost need
      The light of our islet's ark."

    "I'll go," said Gretchen, "a step at a time;
      Why, mother, I'm twelve years old,
    And steady, and never afraid to climb,
      And I've learned to do as I'm told."

    Then Gretchen up to the top of the tower,
      Up the icy, smooth-worn stair,
    Went slowly and surely that very hour,
      The sleet in her eyes and hair.

    She fed the lamp, and she trimmed it well,
      And its clear light glowed afar,
    To warn of reefs, and of rocks to tell,
      This mariner's guiding star.

    And once again when the world awoke
      In the dawn of a bright new day,
    There was joy in the hearts of the fisher folks
      Along the stormy bay.

    When the little boats came sailing in
      All safe and sound to the land,
    _To the haven the light had helped them win,
      By the aid of a child's brave hand._




The Family Mail-bag.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


The family mail-bag was made of black and white straw arranged in
checks. It was flat and nearly square, was lined with gray linen and
fastened at the top with narrow black ribbon. It had two long handles,
finely made of straw, and these handles Luella and Francis were
accustomed to grasp when, twice a day regularly, at half-past eight in
the morning and at half-past three in the afternoon, they went for the
family mail.

Their instructions were always to go back and forth to the post-office
without stopping, always to tie the bag securely after putting the mail
inside, and never to open it after it was thus fastened. They were to
take turns in carrying the bag, and upon returning to their home were
always to take it at once to the study of their father, Rev. Mr.
Robinson.

So important a personage as a public mail-carrier had never been seen in
the small village in which they lived. In his absence the two children
performed their service well. At least they always did excepting on one
unfortunate day, and that is the day of which our story is to tell.

The children went to the office as usual, and were quite delighted at
finding there a registered letter addressed to "Luella and Francis
Robinson." Luella felt very proud when the postmaster asked her, as the
elder, to sign the registered receipt.

"What's that for?" asked Francis.

"It's for proof that you've received the letter. You see that a
registered letter usually contains something valuable."

"I wonder what it can be? It's from Aunt Maria. See, her address is
written on the side of the envelope?"

"Yes," said the postmaster, who was a very good friend of the children.
"It's certainly from your aunt, and it probably contains something for
you both, but, you'd better put it in your bag now and tie it up,
according to your father's wish."

The children obediently acted upon this suggestion and started for home.
On their way they talked constantly of their letter, trying vainly to
guess what it might contain.

"It's something small, anyway," said Luella, "for it doesn't seem to
take any room."

"Maybe 'tisn't anything, after all," said Francis.

"Oh, yes, it is; for the letter is registered, you know."

So they went on talking and wondering until they had gone about half the
distance toward home. Then they reached a spreading apple tree which
grew by a fence near the sidewalk, and beneath which was a large stone,
often used as a resting-place for pedestrians.

"Let's sit down a while," said Francis. "I feel tired; don't you?"

"Yes, but father wouldn't like us to stop."

"Oh, yes, he would, if he knew how tired we are. I'm going to rest a
moment, anyway. That can't be any harm."

Luella allowed herself to follow her brother's example. So they took the
first step in disobedience.

Next Luella said: "I wonder if we couldn't just unfasten the bag and
look at that letter again. It's our letter, you know."

"Of course, it is. Give me the bag. I'll open it."

Then, without more ado, Francis deliberately opened the bag. Thus the
second step in wrong-doing was taken.

They examined the letter closely and leisurely, not one minute, but many
minutes, passing while they were thus engaged. Then Luella said: "I'm
going to read the letter. It's all the same whether we read it here or
at home."

It proved to be a very kind letter from Aunt Maria, who had lately made
them a visit. She concluded by saying: "While I was with you I took
pleasure in noticing your constant obedience. As a sort of reward, I
enclose for you each a five-dollar gold piece. Please accept the gift
with my love."

"Where are the gold pieces?" asked Francis, taking the envelope from
Luella, "Oh! here's one in the corner of this thing. I'll take this; but
where's the other?"

Where was the other? It was easier to ask the question than to reply.
The two children folded and unfolded the letter. They turned the
envelope inside out. They searched through their clothing. They
inspected the grass and the path. If it had been possible, they would
have lifted the stone upon which they had been sitting; but that would
have been an herculean task. At length they reluctantly gave up the
search and sadly went on their way homeward.

"I wish we hadn't opened the letter," said Luella. "What are we going to
tell mother and father anyhow?"

"Well, I think we'd better tell them the whole story. Perhaps they'll
help us look for the other gold piece."

Francis, with the one coin in his hand, naturally took a more hopeful
view of the situation than his sister did.

"Perhaps Aunt Maria only put one in the letter," he suggested.

"Oh, no; she's too careful for that. She never makes mistakes," said
Luella, positively. "I only wish we'd minded. That's all."

Francis echoed the wish in his heart, though he did not repeat it aloud.
Thus, a repentant couple, they entered the house and the study. Mother
was upstairs attending to baby, and father was evidently out. The
brother and sister awaited his return in silence, Luella meanwhile
grasping the letter, and Francis the single coin.

"What's that you have?" asked Mr. Robinson; "a letter? How did it get
out of the bag?"

"It's ours," answered Luella, trembling while she spoke. "We--we--we--"
then she burst into tears.

"Let me have it," commanded Mr. Robinson.

Luella obeyed, and went on weeping while her father read. Francis wanted
to cry, too, but he thought it was unmanly, and choked back the tears.

"I need ask you no more questions," said their father. "The truth is
that I was calling on old Mrs. Brown when you stopped under the apple
tree, and I saw the whole thing from her window. You don't know how
sorry I felt when I found that my boy and girl couldn't be trusted. I
saw that you had lost something, and after you had left I examined the
grass about the stone and found the other gold piece. But I shall have
to punish you by putting the money away for a whole month. At the end of
that time I will return it to you, if I find that you are obedient
meanwhile. I do not intend to be severe, but I think that ordinarily you
are good children, and I understand how strong the temptation was. Are
you not sorry that you yielded to it?"

"Yes, sir, we are," exclaimed both children, emphatically.

"And now, what am I going to do about the mail-bag? Can I let you have
it after this?"

"Yes, father, you can," they both replied once more; and after that they
were always worthy of their trust.

When Aunt Maria made her next visit they told her the story of their
misdoing. Her only comment was: "You see, children, that it is necessary
always to pray, 'Deliver us from evil,' for even when we want to do
right, without help from above, we shall fail."




A Day's Fishing.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


Six lively boys had been spending their vacation at Clovernook Farm,
and, as any one may imagine, they had been having the liveliest sort of
a time.

There were Mr. Hobart's two nephews, James and Fred; and Mrs. Hobart's
two nephews, John and Albert, and two others, Milton and Peter, who,
though only distant cousins, were considered as part of the family.

To tell of all the things that these six had been doing during the eight
weeks of their stay would be to write a history in several volumes. They
had had innumerable games of tennis and croquet; had fished along the
banks of streams; helped in the harvest field; taken straw-rides by
moonlight; traveled many scores of miles on bicycles; taken photographs
good and bad; gone out with picnic parties; learned to churn and to work
butter; picked apples and eaten them, and they had plenty of energy left
still.

The climax of their enjoyment was reached on the very last day of their
visit. Mr. Hobart had promised to take them for a day's fishing on a
lake about ten miles distant from his house. On this fair September day
he redeemed his promise. A jolly load set out in the gray of the early
morning, equipped with poles, lines, bait, and provisions enough for the
day. Having no other way to give vent to their spirits, they sang
college songs all along the road. Of course, they surprised many an
early riser by their vigorous rendering of familiar airs. Even cows and
chickens and horses and pigs gazed at them with wondering eyes, as if to
say, "Who are these noisy fellows, disturbing our morning meditations?"

As the boys approached the lake they saw a strange-looking object on the
water. What it might be they could not for a while decide. Certainly it
was not a boat, and what else could be floating so calmly several feet
out from the land?

At length their strained eyes solved the mystery. It was a rudely built
raft with a stool upon it, and upon the stool sat a ragged urchin ten or
twelve years of age.

"Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!" shouted the six boys in unison.

"Fine rig you have there!" called one.

"What will you take for your ship?" shouted another.

For all response the stranger simply stared.

"Don't hurt his feelings, boys," said Mr. Hobart kindly, "he's getting
enjoyment in his own way, and I suspect that it's the best way he knows
of."

Conscious of impoliteness, the boys subsided, and nothing more was
thought of the stranger for several hours.

About noon, however, as they were resting on the shore, he appeared
before them with an old cigar box in his hand.

"Want some crickets and grasshoppers?" he asked timidly. "I've been
catching them for you, if you want them."

"Yes, they are exactly the things we need," replied Mr. Hobart. "How
much do you want for the lot?"

"Oh, you're welcome to them. I hadn't nothin' else to do."

"Well, that's what I call returning good for evil. Didn't you hear these
chaps laugh at you this morning?"

"Yes, but that's nothin'. I'm used to that sort of thing. Folks has
laughed at me allus."

"Well, we won't laugh at you now. Have some dinner, if you won't have
any pay."

The boy had refused money, but he could not refuse the tempting
sandwiches and cakes which were offered to him. His hungry look appealed
to the hearts of the other boys quite as forcibly as his comical
attitude had before appealed to their sense of the ludicrous.

Now they shared their dinner with him in most hospitable manner.
Fortunately Mrs. Hobart was of a generous disposition, and had provided
an abundance of food. Otherwise the picnic baskets might have given out
with this new demand upon their contents.

"What shall we call you?" said Mr. Hobart to the unexpected guest.

"Sam Smith's my name. I am generally called Sam for short."

"Well, Sam, I think you're right down hungry, and I'm glad you happened
along our way. Where do you live, my boy?"

"I've been a-workin' over there in the farmhouse yonder, but they've got
through with me, and I'm just a-makin' up my mind where to go next."

"Seems to me you're rather young to earn your own living. Have you no
father or mother?"

"Yes, in the city. But they have seven other boys and it's pretty hard
work to get along. I'm the oldest, I am, so I try to turn a penny for
myself. A gentleman got me this place, and paid my way out here, but
he's gone back to town now. I s'pose he hoped the folks would keep me,
but they don't need me no longer."

Mr. Hobart was a man of kindly deeds. More than that, he was a
Christian. As he stood talking with the stranger lad the words of the
Master ran through his mind: "The poor ye have with ye always, and
whensoever ye will ye may do them good."

Certainly here was an opportunity to help a friendless boy. It should
not be thrown away.

"How would you like to engage yourself to me for the fall and winter?
These boys are all going off to-morrow, and I need a boy about your size
to run errands and help me with the chores."

"Really? Honest?"

"Yes, really I do. I want a good boy who will obey me and my wife, and I
have an idea that you may suit."

"I'll try to, sir."

"Then jump into that boat and help us fish and I'll take you home with
me to-night."

Sam cast a farewell glance at his raft, just then floating out of sight.
He had nothing else to take leave of, and no further arrangements to
make; no packing to do and no baggage to carry. He had simply himself
and the few clothes he wore. At evening he went home with Mr. Hobart in
the most matter-of-course way. When the load of fishermen drew up at the
barn-door he jumped out and began to unhitch as though that had been his
lifelong work.

Mrs. Hobart, coming out to give a welcome to the chattering group,
appeared rather puzzled as she counted heads in the twilight. Mr. Hobart
enjoyed the surprise which he had been expecting.

"Yes, wife," said he aside, answering her thoughts, "I took out six this
morning and I've brought back seven to-night. We've been for a day's
fishing, you know, and I rather guess I've caught something more
valuable than bass or perch, though they're good enough in their way."

"Where did you find him?" asked Mrs. Hobart.

"Sitting on a raft out on the lake."

"He's a poor, homeless fellow, and I reckon that there's room in our
house for one of Christ's little ones. Isn't that so, wife?"

"Yes, Reuben, it is."

"Then we'll do the best we can for this young chap. I mean to write to
his parents, for he has given me their address. I think there will be no
trouble in arranging to have him stay with us. We'll see what we can
make out of him."

"Reuben, I believe you're always looking out for a chance to do some
good!"

"That's the way it ought to be, wife."

This conversation took place behind the carryall. None of the boys heard
it. The six visitors, however, all caught the spirit of benevolence from
their host. Before departing next day each one had contributed from his
wardrobe some article of clothing for Sam, and they all showered him
with good wishes as they left.

"Hope to find you here next summer," they shouted in driving off.

"Hope so," responded Sam.




Why Charlie Didn't Go.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


"Dear me! There come Uncle Josh and Aunt Jane, and not a bed in the
house is made!" Mrs. Upton glanced nervously at the clock--then about to
strike eleven--surveyed with dismay the disordered kitchen, looked
through the open door into the dining-room, where the unwashed breakfast
dishes were yet standing, took her hands out of the dough and ran to
wash them at the faucet.

"Maria, Maria, stir around. See what you can pick up while they're
getting out of the cab. Isn't it always just so?"

Maria, the daughter of fifteen, hastily laid aside her novel and did her
best to remove the cups and saucers from the breakfast table, not
omitting to break one in her hurry. Meanwhile her mother closed the
kitchen door, caught up from the dining-room sofa a promiscuous pile of
hats, coats, rubbers and shawls, threw them into a convenient closet,
placed the colored cloth on the table and hastened to open the front
door to admit her guests.

"Come in! Come in! I'm ever so glad to see you, but you must take us
just as we are. Did you come on the train?"

"Yes, and got Jenkins to bring us up from the station. He's to take us
back at three o'clock this afternoon. We can't make a long visit, but
we're going to take dinner with you, if it's perfectly convenient."

"Oh, yes! of course. It's always convenient to have you. We don't make
strangers of you at all."

While Mrs. Upton spoke these hospitable words her heart sank within her
at the remembrance of her unbaked bread and her neglect to order meat
for dinner.

"Here, Maria, just help Aunt Jane to take off her wraps, I'll be right
back."

Mrs. Upton darted up-stairs, carrying with her a pair of trousers which
she had been over an hour in mending. For want of them Charlie had been
unable to go to school that morning. He was reading in his room.

"Here, Charlie! Put these on and run down to the butcher's and get some
steak, and stop at the baker's and get some rolls and a pie, and tell
them I'll pay them to-morrow. I don't know where my pocketbook is now."

"Ma," drawled Charlie in reply, "I haven't my shoes up here, only my
slippers and rubbers."

"Well, wear them then and keep out of the mud. I don't want you sick
to-night. Be sure to come in the back way so that Uncle Josh won't see
you. He'll think we're always behindhand."

If Uncle Josh had thought so he would have been near the truth. Mrs.
Upton was one of those unfortunate persons who seem to be always hard at
work and always in the drag. She had the undesirable faculty of taking
hold of things wrong end first.

As water does not rise higher than its level, so children are not apt to
have better habits than their parents. Charlie and Maria and the rest of
the family lived in a state of constant confusion.

At noon Mr. Upton came to dinner. It was not unusual for him to be
forced to wait, and he had learned to be resigned; so he sat down
patiently to talk with the visitors. Soon three children came in from
school, all eager to eat and return. What with their clamorous demands,
and the necessity for preparing extra vegetables and side-dishes, and
anxiety to please all around, and to prevent her bread from growing
sour, Mrs. Upton was nearly distracted. Yet Maria tried to help, and
Aunt Jane invariably looked upon matters with the kindly eye of charity.
Things were not so bad as they might have been, and dinner was ready at
last.

After the meal was over the two visitors found a corner in which to
hold a conference.

"Wife," said Uncle Josh, "Charlie's too bright a young fellow to be left
to grow up in this way. Suppose we take him home with us for a while?"

"There's nothing I would like better," responded Aunt Jane, whose
motherly heart was yet sore with grief for her own little Charlie, who
had been laid in the church-yard years before.

When Mrs. Upton again emerged from the depths of the kitchen they
repeated the proposal to her, and gained her assent at once.

Charlie was next to be informed, but that was not an easy matter. The
boy could nowhere be found.

"Perhaps he's gone to school," suggested Aunt Jane.

"No, I told him that since he had to be absent this morning he might as
well be absent all day. He's somewhere about."

A prolonged search ended in the barn, where Charlie at last was found,
trying to whittle a ruler out of a piece of kindling-wood. He wished to
draw maps and had mislaid or lost most of the articles necessary for the
work.

"Charlie!" exclaimed his mother, "Uncle Josh and Aunt Jane want to take
you home with them for a long visit. We've been looking all over for
you. I've been putting your best clothes in a bag, but you'll have to
be careful about holding it shut, because I can't find the key. Now
hurry and dress yourself if you want to go."

Charlie gave a loud whistle of delight and hastened to the house to
arrange his toilet. He washed his face and hands, brushed his hair, put
on a clean collar, and then went to the kitchen to blacken his shoes. He
expected to find them on his feet, but lo! there were only the slippers
and rubbers, donned in the forenoon and forgotten until now.

"Ma! where are my shoes?" he called in stentorian tones. Mrs. Upton
replied from above stairs, where she was putting a stitch in her son's
cap: "I don't know--haven't seen them."

"Well, I left them in the kitchen last night. Here, Maria, help a
fellow, won't you? I can't find my shoes and it's nearly train time.
There's Jenkins at the door now."

The united efforts of all present resulted in finding the shoes
entangled in an afghan which Mrs. Upton had unintentionally placed in
the heap in the closet when she relieved the sofa of its burden.

"Here they are at last. Bravo!" shouted Charlie. Yet his joy was short
lived. One shoe wouldn't go on. He had slipped it off on the previous
night without unfastening. There were several knots in the string, and
all were unmanageable. He struggled breathlessly while Uncle Josh and
Aunt Jane were getting into the cab, then broke the string in
desperation just as Jenkins, hearing the car-whistle, drove off to reach
the train.

"Very sorry! Can't wait another instant!" called out Uncle Josh.
Charlie, having repaired damages as best he could, reached the front
door in time to see the back of the carriage away down the street.

"Time and tide wait for no man," observed his mother exasperatingly.
Perhaps her quotation of the proverb carried with it the weight of her
experience. Perhaps she thought it her duty to give moral lessons to her
son, regardless of illustrations.

Charlie's disappointment was rendered bitterer still, when the following
week there came a letter from Uncle Josh saying that he and Aunt Jane
were about taking a trip to the West.

"Tell Charlie," said the letter, "that if we only had him with us we
should certainly take him along."

"Isn't it too bad," said Charlie, "to think I've missed so much, and all
through the want of a shoe-string?"




Uncle Giles' Paint Brush.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


It was a rainy day in summer. A chilly wind swept about the house and
bent the branches of the trees, and reminded every one who encountered
it that autumn, with its gales, would return as promptly as ever.

A bright fire was blazing in the sitting-room, and near it were Mrs.
Strong with her two little girls, and also Aunt Martha Bates, whom they
were visiting. Rufus Strong, aged fourteen, stood by a closed window,
listlessly drumming on a pane.

He was tired of reading, and tired of watching the ladies sew, and tired
of building toy houses for his sisters.

"I guess I'll go out to the barn and find Uncle Giles," said he at
length.

Mrs. Strong, who had found the music on the window pane rather
monotonous, quickly responded in favor of the plan.

"Just the one I want to see!" exclaimed Uncle Giles, as Rufus made his
appearance at the barn door. "I'm getting my tools in order, and now you
can turn the grind-stone while I sharpen this scythe."

Rufus cheerfully agreed to this proposal, and performed his part with a
hearty good will.

"Do you always put your tools in order on rainy days?" he asked.

"Well, yes; I always look over them and see if they need attention. Then
when I want them they are ready for use. Now, since this job is done,
suppose you undertake another. Wouldn't this be a good time to paint
those boxes for Aunt Martha's flowers? You know you promised to paint
them for her, and if you do it now, they'll be good and dry when she
wants to pot her plants in September?"

"I think you believe in preparing for work beforehand, don't you, Uncle
Giles?"

"Yes, indeed, that I do. It saves ever so much time when you have any
work to do to have things all ready. What's the matter, can't you find
the paint brush?"

"No, Uncle, and I'm sure that I saw it in its place not very long ago."

This reminded Uncle Giles that neighbor Jones had borrowed the brush a
few days previous and had not yet returned it.

"He promised to bring it home that day," said Mr. Bates, "but he's not
apt to do things promptly. I guess you'll have to step over to his house
and ask him if he's through with it."

Rufus started off on the errand and soon, returned carrying the brush in
a small tin pail, half-full of water.

"Mr. Jones is much obliged to you for the use of it," he said to his
uncle, "and he's sorry that he hasn't had time to wash out the brush."

Mr. Bates looked rather annoyed. Accustomed to perfect order himself, he
was often irritated by the slovenly ways of his neighbor.

"Then there's nothing for you to do but repair damages as well as you
can. What color of paint is in the brush?"

"Red, sir."

"And you want to use green. You'll have to go to the house and get some
warm soap-suds and give the brush a thorough washing."

Rufus found that he had plenty of occupation for some time after that.
The brush was soaked up to the handle in the bright red paint, and it
was a work of patience to give it the necessary cleaning. Indeed, dinner
time found him just ready to begin the task which might have been easily
accomplished in the morning had it not been for that long delay.

After dinner he and Uncle Giles again repaired to the barn, where the
elder cleaned harness while the younger painted.

"I think I begin to realize," said Rufus, "that your plan of having
tools ready is a good one."

"Yes, it's good, no matter what sort of work you're going to do. I
believe you wish to be a minister one of these days, don't you, Rufus?"

"Yes, I think so now, Uncle."

"Then you are getting some of your tools ready when you are studying
Latin and history and other things in school. And you are getting others
ready when you read the Bible, and when you study your Sunday-school
lesson, and when you listen to the preaching of your minister. You need
to take pains to remember what you learn in these ways, for the good
things in your memory will be the tools that you will have constant use
for.

"I know a young man who is now studying for the ministry. I think he
will succeed, for he is very much in earnest and he has natural ability,
too. Yet he finds his task rather difficult, because he had no
opportunity to study when he was younger. He has not been trained to
think or to remember, and the work he is doing now is something like
your washing the paint brush this morning. It must all be done before he
can go on to anything better, and he regrets that it was not done at the
proper time."

"I suppose that the moral for me is to improve my privileges."

"Yes, that's just it. Improve your privileges by getting ready
beforehand for the work of life. If the paint brush teaches you this
lesson, you may be glad that you had to stop to get it clean."




    The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    (_A Child's Story._)

    BY ROBERT BROWNING.


    I.

    Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
    By famous Hanover city;
    The river Weser, deep and wide,
    Washes its wall on the southern side;
    A pleasanter spot you never spied;
    But, when begins my ditty,
    Almost five hundred years ago,
    To see the townsfolk suffer so
    From vermin, was a pity.

    II.

       Rats!
    They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
    And bit the babies in their cradles,
    And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
    And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
    Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
    Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
    And even spoiled the women's chats
    By drowning their speaking
    With shrieking and squeaking
    In fifty different sharps and flats.

    III.

    At last the people in a body
    To the Town Hall came flocking:
    "'Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy:
    And as for our Corporation--shocking
    To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
    For dolts that can't or won't determine
    What's best to rid us of our vermin!
    You hope, because you're old and obese,
    To find in the furry civic robe ease!
    Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
    To find the remedy we're lacking,
    Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
    At this the Mayor and Corporation
    Quaked with a mighty consternation.

    IV.

    An hour they sat in council,
    At length the Mayor broke silence:
    "For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell,
    I wish I were a mile hence!
    It's easy to bid one rack one's brain--
    I'm sure my poor head aches again,
    I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
    Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!"
    Just as he said this, what should hap
    At the chamber door, but a gentle tap!
    "Bless us," cried the Mayor, "what's that?"
    (With the Corporation as he sat
    Looking little though wondrous fat;
    Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
    Than a too-long-opened oyster,
    Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
    For a plate of turtle green and glutinous).
    "Only a scraping of shoes on the mat
    Anything like the sound of a rat
    Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!"

    V.

    "Come in!" the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
    And in did come the strangest figure!
    His queer long coat from heel to head
    Was half of yellow and half of red,
    And he himself was tall and thin,
    With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
    And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin
    No tuft on cheek, nor beard on chin,
    But lips where smiles went out and in;
    There was no guessing his kith and kin!
    And nobody could enough admire
    The tall man and his quaint attire.
    Quoth one: "It's as if my great-grandsire,
    Starting up at the trump of Doom's tone,
    Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!"

    VI.

    He advanced to the council-table:
    And "Please your honors," said he, "I'm able,
    By means of a secret charm, to draw
    All creatures living beneath the sun,
    That creep, or swim, or fly, or run
    After me so as you never saw!
    And I chiefly use my charm
    On creatures that do people harm,
    The mole and toad and newt and viper;
    And people call me the Pied Piper."
    (And here they noticed round his neck
    A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
    To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
    And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
    And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
    As if impatient to be playing
    Upon his pipe, as low it dangled
    Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
    "Yet," said he, "poor piper as I am,
    In Tartary I freed the Cham,
    Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
    I eased in Asia the Nizam
    Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats:
    And as for what your brain bewilders,
    If I can rid your town of rats
    Will you give me a thousand guilders?"
    "One? Fifty thousand!" was the exclamation
    Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

    VII.

    Into the street the Piper stept,
    Smiling first a little smile,
    As if he knew what magic slept
    In his quiet pipe the while;
    Then, like a musical adept,
    To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
    And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
    Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
    And ere three shrill notes the pipe had uttered,
    You heard as if an army muttered;
    And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
    And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
    And out of the houses the rats came tumbling--
    Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
    Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
    Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
    Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
    Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
    Families by tens and dozens,
    Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives--
    Followed the Piper for their lives.
    From street to street he piped, advancing,
    And step for step they followed dancing,
    Until they came to the river Weser
    Wherein all plunged and perished,
    Save one who, stout as Julius Caesar,
    Swam across and lived to carry
    (As _he_, the manuscript he cherished)
    To Rat-land home his commentary:
    Which was, "At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
    I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
    And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
    Into a cider-press's gripe:
    And a moving away of pickle-tub boards,
    And a leaving ajar of conserve cupboards
    And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
    And a breaking the hoops of butter casks:
    And it seemed as if a voice
    (Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
    Is breathed) called out, 'Oh, rats, rejoice!
    The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
    So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
    Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
    And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
    All ready staved, like a great sun shone
    Glorious scarce an inch before me,
    Just as methought it said, 'Come bore me!'--
    I found the Weser rolling o'er me."

    VIII.

    You should have heard the Hamelin people
    Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
    "Go," cried the Mayor, "and get long poles,
    Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
    Consult with carpenters and builders,
    And leave in our town not even a trace
    Of the rats!"--when suddenly, up the face
    Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
    With a--"First, if you please, my thousand
    guilders!"

    IX.

    A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
    So did the Corporation too.
    For council dinners made rare havoc
    With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
    And half the money would replenish
    Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
    To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
    With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
    "Beside," quoth the Mayor, with a knowing wink,
    "Our business was done at the river's brink;
    We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
    And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
    So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
    From the duty of giving you something for drink,
    And a matter of money to put into your poke;
    But as for the guilders, what we spoke
    Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
    Beside, our losses have made us thrifty:
    A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!"

    X.

    The Piper's face fell, and he cried,
    "No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
    I've promised to visit by dinner-time
    Bagdad, and accept the prime
    Of the head-cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
    For having left, in the caliph's kitchen,
    Of a nest of scorpions, no survivor:
    With him I proved no bargain-driver,
    With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
    And folks who put me in a passion
    May find me pipe to another fashion."

    XI.

    "How?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I'll brook
    Being worse treated than a cook?
    Insulted by a lazy ribald
    With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
    You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
    Blow your pipe there till you burst!"

    XII.

    Once more he stept into the street,
    And to his lips again
    Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
    And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
    Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
    Never gave the enraptured air)
    There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
    Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
    Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
    Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
    And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
    Out came the children running.
    All the little boys and girls,
    With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
    And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
    Tripping and skipping ran merrily after
    The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

    XIII.

    The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
    As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
    Unable to move a step, or cry
    To the children merrily skipping by--
    --Could only follow with the eye
    That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
    And now the Mayor was on the rack,
    And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
    As the Piper turned from the High Street
    To where the Weser rolled its waters
    Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
    However he turned from south to west,
    And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed
    And after him the children pressed;
    Great was the joy in every breast.
    "He never can cross that mighty top!
    He's forced to let the piping drop,
    And we shall see our children stop!"
    When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
    A wondrous portal opened wide,
    As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
    And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
    And when all were in to the very last,
    The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
    Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
    And could not dance the whole of the way;
    And in after years, if you would blame
    His sadness, he was used to say,--
    "It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
    I can't forget that I'm bereft
    Of all the pleasant sights they see,
    Which the Piper also promised me.
    For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
    Joining the town and just at hand,
    Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
    And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
    And everything was strange and new;
    The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
    And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
    And honey-bees had lost their stings,
    And horses were born with eagles' wings:
    And just as I became assured
    My lame foot would be speedily cured,
    The music stopped and I stood still,
    And found myself outside the hill,
    Left alone against my will,
    To go now limping as before;
    And never hear of that country more!"

    XIV.

    Alas, alas for Hamelin!
    There came into many a burgher's pate
    A text which says that heaven's gate
    Opes to the rich at as easy rate
    As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
    The Mayor sent East, West, North and South,
    To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
    Wherever it was man's lot to find him,
    Silver and gold to his heart's content,
    If he'd only return the way he went,
    And bring the children behind him.
    But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavor,
    And Piper and dancers were gone forever,
    They made a decree that lawyers never
    Should think their records dated duly
    If, after the day of the month and year,
    These words did not as well appear:
    "And so long after what happened here
    On the twenty-second of July,
    Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:"
    And the better in memory to fix
    The place of the children's last retreat,
    They called it the Pied Piper's Street--
    Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
    Was sure for the future to lose his labor.
    Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
    To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
    But opposite the place of the cavern
    They wrote the story on a column,
    And on the great church-window painted
    The same, to make the world acquainted
    How their children were stolen away,
    And there it stands to this very day.
    And I must not omit to say
    That in Transylvania there's a tribe
    Of alien people that ascribe
    The outlandish ways and dress
    On which their neighbors lay such stress,
    To their fathers and mothers having risen
    Out of some subterraneous prison
    Into which they were trepanned
    Long time ago in a mighty band
    Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
    But how or why, they don't understand.

    XV.

    So, Willy, let me and you be wipers
    Of scores out with all men--especially pipers!
    And, whether they pipe us free from rats or from mice,
    If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise!




A Girl Graduate.

BY CYNTHIA BARNARD.

I.


It was examination week at Mount Seward College, but most of the work
was over, and the students were waiting in the usual fever of anxiety to
learn the verdict on their papers, representing so much toil and pains.
Some of the girls were nearly as much concerned about their graduating
gowns as about their diplomas, but as independence was in the air at
Mount Seward, these rather frivolous girls were in the minority. During
term time most of the students wore the regulation cap and gown, and
partly owing to the fact that Mount Seward was a college with traditions
of plain living and high thinking behind it, and partly because the
youngest and best-loved professor was a woman of rare and noble
characteristics, a woman who had set her own stamp on her pupils, and
furnished them an ideal, dress and fashion were secondary considerations
here. There were no low emulations at Mount Seward.

A group of girls in a bay-window over-looking the campus were discussing
the coming commencement. From various rooms came the steady, patient
sound of pianos played for practice. On the green lawn in front of the
president's cottage two or three intellectual looking professors and
tutors walked up and down, evidently discussing an affair that
interested them.

The postman strolled over the campus wearily, as who should say, "This
is my last round, and the bag is abominably heavy."

He disappeared within a side door, and presently there was a hurrying
and scurrying of fresh-faced young women, bright-eyed and blooming under
the mortar-caps, jauntily perched over their braids and ringlets,
rushing toward that objective point, the college post-office. One would
have fancied that letters came very seldom, to see their excitement.

Margaret Lee received two letters. She did not open either in the
presence of her friends, but went with a swift step and a heightened
color to her own suite of rooms. Two small alcoves, curtained off from a
pleasant little central sitting-room, composed the apartment Margaret
shared with her four years' chum Alice Raynor. Alice was not there, yet
Margaret did not seat herself in the room common to both, but entered
her own alcove, drew the portiere, and sat down on the edge of the iron
bed, not larger than a soldier's camp cot. It was an austere little
cell, simple as a nun's, with the light falling from one narrow window
on the pale face and brown hair of the young girl, to whom the unopened
letters in her hand signified so much.

Which should she read first? One, in a large square envelope, addressed
in a bold, business-like hand, bore a Western postmark, and had the
printed order to return, if not delivered in ten days, to Hilox
University, Colorado. The other, in a cramped, old-fashioned hand, bore
the postmark of a hamlet in West Virginia. It was a thin letter,
evidently belonging to the genus domestic correspondence, a letter from
Margaret's home.

Which should she open first? There was an evident struggle, and a
perceptible hesitation. Then she laid the home letter resolutely down on
the pillow of her bed, and, with a hair-pin, that woman's tool which
suits so many uses, delicately and dexterously cut the envelope of the
letter from Hilox. It began formally, and was very brief:

     "MY DEAR MISS LEE:--The trustees and faculty of Hilox
     University have been looking for a woman, a recent graduate of
     distinction from some well-established Eastern college, to take the
     chair of Greek in our new institution. You have been recommended as
     thoroughly qualified for the position. The salary is not at present
     large, but our university is growing, and we offer a tempting
     field to an energetic and ambitious woman. May we write you more
     fully on the subject, if you are inclined to take our vacancy into
     your favorable consideration?

                                        "Very respectfully yours."

Then followed the signature of the president of Hilox, a man whose name
and fame were familiar to Margaret Lee.

The girl's cheek glowed; her dark eyes deepened; a look of power and
purpose settled upon the sweet full lips. For this she had studied
relentlessly; to this end she had looked; with this in view her four
years' course had been pursued with pluck and determination. The picture
of Joanna Baker, as young as herself, climbing easily to the topmost
round of the ladder, had fired and stimulated _her_, and she had allowed
it to be known that her life was dedicated to learning, and by-and-by to
teaching.

All the faculty at Mount Seward knew her aspirations, and several of the
professors had promised their aid in securing her a position, but she
had not expected anything of this kind so soon.

Why, her diploma would not be hers until next week! Surely there must be
some benignant angel at work in her behalf. But--Hilox? Had she ever met
any one from Hilox?

Suddenly the light went out of the ardent face, and a frown crinkled the
smooth fairness of her brow. This, then, _he_ had dared to do!

Memory recalled an episode two years back, and half-forgotten. Margaret
had been spending her vacation at home in the West Virginia mountains,
and a man had fallen in love with her. There was nothing remarkable in
this, for a beautiful girl of seventeen, graceful, dignified,
accomplished, and enthusiastic, is a very lovable creature. A visiting
stranger in the village, the minister's cousin, had been much at her
father's house, had walked and boated with her, and shared her rides
over the hills, both on sure-footed mountain ponies. As a friend
Margaret had liked Dr. Angus, as a comrade had found him delightful, but
her heart had not been touched. What had she, with her Greek
professorate looming up like a star in mid-heaven before her--what had
she to do with love and a lover? She had managed to make Dr. Angus know
this before he had quite committed himself by a proposal; but she had
understood what was in his thought, and she knew that he knew that she
knew all about it. And Dr. Angus had remained and settled down as a
practitioner in the little mountain town. The town had a future before
it, for two railroads were already projected to cross it, and there were
coal mines in the neighborhood, and, altogether, a man might do worse
than drive his roots into this soil. She had heard now and then of Dr.
Angus since that summer--her last vacation had been passed with cousins
in New England--and he was said to be courting a Mrs. Murray, a rich and
charming neighbor of her father's.

Dr. Angus had friends in Colorado. Now she remembered he had a relative
who had helped to found Hilox, and had endowed a chair of languages or
literature; she was not certain which. So it must be to _him_ she was
indebted, and, oddly, she was more indignant than grateful. The natural
intervention of a friendly hand in the matter took all the satisfaction
out of her surprise.

Not that she loved Dr. Angus! But she did not choose to be under an
obligation to him. What girl would in the circumstances?




II.


All this time the letter from home lay overlooked on the pillow. If it
could have spoken it would have reproached the daughter for her
absorption in its companion, but it bided its time. Presently Margaret
turned with a start, saw it, felt a remorseful stab, and tore it open,
without the aid of a hair-pin.

This is what the home letter had to say. It was from Margaret's father,
and as he seldom wrote to her, leaving, as many men do, the bulk of
correspondence with absent members of the family to be the care of his
wife and children, she felt a premonitory thrill.

The Lees were a very affectionate and devoted household, clannish to a
degree, and undemonstrative, as mountaineers often are. The deep well of
their love did not foam and ripple like a brook, but the water was
always there, to draw upon at will. "The shallows murmur, but the deeps
are dumb." It was so in the house of Duncan Lee.

     "MY DEAR DAUGHTER MARGARET" (the letter began),--"I hope
     these lines will find you well, and your examination crowned with
     success. We have thought and talked of you much lately, and wished
     we could be with you to see you when you are graduated. Mother
     would have been so glad to go, but it is my sad duty to inform you
     that she is not well. Do not be anxious, Margaret. There is no
     immediate danger, but your dear mother has been more or less ailing
     ever since last March, and she does not get better. We fear there
     will have to be a surgical operation--perhaps more than one. She
     may have to live, as people sometimes do, for years with a knife
     always over her head. We want you to come home, Margaret, as soon
     as you can. I enclose a check for all expenses, and I will see that
     you are met at the railway terminus, so you need not take the long
     stage-ride all by yourself. But I am afraid I have not broken it to
     you gently, my dear, as mother said I must. Forgive me; I am just
     breaking my heart in these days, and I need you as much almost as
     your mother does.

                                  "Your loving father, "DUNCAN LEE."

A vision rose before Margaret, as with tear-blurred eyes she folded her
father's letter and replaced it in its cover. She brushed the tears away
and looked at the date. Four days ago the letter had been posted. Her
home, an old homestead in a valley that nestled deep and sweet in the
heart of the grand mountain range, guarding it on every side, rose
before her. She saw her father, grizzled, stooping-shouldered,
care-worn, old-fashioned in dress, precise in manner, a gentleman of the
old school, a man who had never had much money, but who had sent his
five sons and his one daughter to college, giving them, what the Lees
prized most in life, a liberal education. She saw her mother, thin,
fair, tall, with the golden hair that would fade but would never turn
gray, the blue child-like eyes, the wistful mouth.

"Mother!" she gasped, "mother!"

The horror of the malady that had seized on the beautiful, dainty,
lovely woman, so like a princess in her bearing, so notable in her
housewifery, so neighborly, so maternal, swept over her in a hot tide,
retreated, leaving her shivering.

"I must go home," she said, "and at once!" With feet that seemed to her
weighted with lead she went straight to the room of the Dean, knowing
that in that gracious woman's spirit there would be instant
comprehension, and that she would receive wise advice.

"My dear!" said the Dean, "you have heard from Hilox, haven't you? We
are so proud of you; we want you to represent our college and our
culture there. It is a magnificent opportunity, Margaret."

The Dean was very short-sighted, and she did not catch at first the look
on Margaret's face.

"Yes," she answered, in a voice that sounded muffled and lifeless, "I
have heard from Hilox; I had almost forgotten, but I must answer the
letter. Dear Mrs. Wade, I have heard from home, too. My mother is very
ill, and she needs me. I must go at once--to-morrow morning. I cannot
wait for Commencement."

The Dean asked for further information. Then she urged that Margaret
should wait over the annual great occasion; so much was due the college,
she thought, and she pointed out the fact that Mr. Lee had not asked her
to leave until the exercises were over.

But Margaret had only one reply: "My mother needs me; I must go!"

A week later, at sunset, the old lumbering stage, rolling over the steep
hills and the smooth dales drew up at Margaret's home. Tired, but with a
steadfast light in her eyes, the girl stepped down, received her
father's kiss, and went straight to her mother, waiting in the doorway.

"I am glad--glad you have come, my darling!" said the mother. "While you
are here I can give everything up. But, my love, this is not what we
planned!"

"No, my dearest," said the girl, "but that is of no consequence. I wish
I had known sooner how much, how very much, I was wanted at home!"

"But you will not be a Professor of Greek!" said the mother that night.
It was all arranged for the operation, which was to take place in a
week's time, the surgeons to come from the nearest town. The mother was
brave, gay, heroic. Margaret looked at her, wondering that one under the
shadow of death could laugh and talk so brightly.

"No. I will be something better," she said, tenderly. "I will be your
nurse, your comfort if I can. If I had only known, there are many things
better than Greek that I might have learned!"

Hilox did not get its Greek professor, but the culture of Mount Seward
was not wasted. Mrs. Lee lived years, often in anguish unspeakable,
relieved by intervals of peace and freedom from pain. The daughter
became almost the mother in their intercourse as time passed, and the
bloom on her cheek paled sooner than on her mother's in the depth of
her sympathy. But the end came at last, and the suffering life went out
with a soft sigh, as a child falls asleep.

On a little shelf in Margaret's room her old text-books, seldom opened,
are souvenirs of her busy life at college. Her hand has learned the
cunning which concocts dainty dishes and lucent jellies; her
housekeeping and her hospitality are famous. She is a bright talker,
witty, charming, with the soft inflections which make the vibrant
tunefulness of the Virginian woman's voice so tender and sweet a thing
in the ear. Mount Seward is to her the Mecca of memory. If ever she has
a daughter she will send her there, and--who knows?--that girl may be
professor at Hilox.

For though Margaret is not absent from her own household, she is not
long to be Margaret Lee. The wedding-cake is made, and is growing rich
and firm as it awaits the day when the bride will cut it. The
wedding-gown is ordered. Dr. Angus has proposed at last; he had never
thought of wooing or winning any one except the fair girl who caught his
fancy and his heart ten years ago, and when Margaret next visits her New
England relations it will be to present her husband.

The professor, who had been her most dearly beloved friend during those
happy college days, her confidante and model, said to one who recalled
Margaret Lee and spoke of her as "a great disappointment, my dear:"

"Yes, we expected her to make a reputation for herself and Mount Seward.
She has done better. She has been enabled to do her duty in the station
to which it has pleased God to call her--a good thing for any girl
graduate, it seems to me."




    A Christmas Frolic.

    BY MRS. M.E. SANGSTER.


    We had gone to the forest for holly and pine,
      And gathered our arms full of cedar,
    And home we came skipping, our garlands to twine,
      With Marcus, the bold, for our leader.

    The dear Mother said we might fix up the place,
      And ask all the friends to a party;
    So joy, you may fancy, illumined each face
      And our manners were cordial and hearty.

    But whom should we have? There were Sally and Fred,
      And Martha and Luke and Leander;
    There was Jack, a small boy with a frowsy red head,
      And the look of an old salamander.

    There was Dickie, who went to a college up town,
      And Archie, who worked for the neighbors;
    There were Timothy Parsons and Anthony Brown,
      Old fellows, of street-cleaning labors.

    And then sister had friends like the lilies so fair,
      Sweet girls with white hands and soft glances;
    At a frolic of ours these girls must be there,
      Dear Mildred and Gladys and Frances.

    At Christmas, my darlings, leave nobody out,
      'Tis the feast of the dear Elder Brother,
    Who came to this world to bring freedom about,
      And whose motto is "Love one another."

    When the angels proclaimed Him in Judea's sky
      They sang out His wonderful story,
    And peace and good will did they bring from on high,
      And the keystone of all laid with glory.

    A frolic at Christmas must needs know not change
      Of fortune, or richer or poorer;
    If any one comes who is lonesome and strange,
      Why, just make his welcome the surer.

    We invited our friends and we dressed up the room
      Till it looked like a wonderful bower,
    With starry bright tapers, and flowers in bloom,
      And a tree with white popcorn a-shower.

    And presents and presents, for every one there,
      In stockings, and bags full of candy,
    And old Santa Claus (Uncle William) was fair,
      And--I tell you, our tree was a dandy.

    Then, when nine o'clock struck, and the frolic and fun
      Had risen almost to their highest,
    And pleasure was beaming, and every one
      Was happy, from bravest to shyest.

    Our dear Mother went to the organ and played
      A carol so sweet and so tender;
    We prayed while we sang, and we sang as we prayed,
      To Jesus, our Prince and Defender.

    Oh! Jesus, who came as a Babe to the earth,
      Who slept 'mid the kine, in a manger;
    Oh! Jesus, our Lord, in whose heavenly birth
      Is pledge of our ransom from danger.

    Strong Son of the Father, divine from of old,
      And Son of the race, child of woman;
    Increasing in might as the ages unfold,
      Redeemer, our God, and yet human.

    We sang to His Name, and we stood in a band,
      Each pledged for the Master wholly,
    To work heart to heart, and to work hand to hand,
      In behalf of the outcast and lowly.

    Then we said "Merry Christmas" once more and we went
      Away from the holly and cedar,
    And home we all scattered, quite glad and content,
      And henceforward our Lord is our Leader.



Archie's Vacation.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


"Papa has come," shouted Archie Conwood, as he rushed down stairs two
steps at a time, with his sisters Minnie and Katy following close
behind, and mamma bringing up the rear. Papa had been to Cousin
Faraton's to see if he could engage summer board for the family.

Cousin Faraton lived in a pleasant village about a hundred miles distant
from the city in which Mr. and Mrs. Conwood were living. They had agreed
that to board with him would insure a pleasant vacation for all.

Papa brought a good report. Everything had been favorably arranged.

"And what do you think!" he asked, in concluding his narrative. "Cousin
Faraton has persuaded me to buy a bicycle for you, Archie. He thought it
would be quite delightful for you and your Cousin Samuel to ride about
on their fine roads together. So I stopped and ordered one on my way
home."

"Oh, you dear, good papa?" exclaimed Archie, "do let me give you a hug."

"Are you sure it's healthful exercise?" asked Mrs. Conwood, rather
timidly. After the way of mothers, she was anxious for the health of
her son.

"Nothing could be better, if taken in moderation," Mr. Conwood
positively replied, thus setting his wife's fears at rest.

The order for the bicycle was promptly filled, and Archie had some
opportunity of using it before going to the country. When the day for
leaving town arrived, he was naturally more interested in the safe
carrying of what he called his "machine" than in anything else connected
with the journey.

He succeeded in taking it to Cousin Faraton's uninjured, and was much
pleased to find that it met with the entire approbation of Samuel, whose
opinion, as he was two years older than himself, was considered most
important.

The two boys immediately planned a short excursion for the following
day, and obtained the consent of their parents.

Breakfast next morning was scarcely over when they made their start. The
sunshine was bright, the sky was cloudless; they were well and strong.
Everything promised the pleasantest sort of a day. Yet, alas! for all
human hopes. Who can tell what sudden disappointment a moment may bring?

The cousins had just disappeared from view of the group assembled on the
piazza to see them start, when Samuel came back in breathless haste,
exclaiming:

"Archie has fallen, and I think he's hurt."

The two fathers ran at full speed to the spot where Archie was, and
found him pale and almost fainting by the roadside. They picked him up
and carried him tenderly back to the house, while Samuel hurried off for
the village doctor. Fortunately he found him in his carriage about
setting forth on his morning round and quite ready to drive at a rapid
rate to the scene of the accident.

The first thing to be done was to administer a restorative, for Archie
had had a severe shock. The next thing was an examination, which
resulted in the announcement of a broken leg.

Surely there was an end to all plans for a pleasant vacation.

The doctor might be kind, sympathetic and skillful, as indeed he was.
The other children might unite in trying to entertain their injured
playfellow. They might bring him flowers without number, and relate to
him their various adventures, and read him their most interesting
story-books--all this they did. Mother might be tireless in her
devotion, trying day and night to make him forget the pain--what mother
would not have done all in her power?

Still there was no escape from the actual suffering, no relief from the
long six weeks' imprisonment; while outside the birds were singing and
the summer breezes playing in ever so many delightful places that might
have been visited had it not been for that broken leg.

Archie tried to be brave and cheerful, and to conceal from every one the
tears which would sometimes force their way to his eyes.

He endeavored to interest himself in the amusements which were within
his reach, and he succeeded admirably. Yet the fact remained that he was
having a sadly tedious vacation.

The kind-hearted doctor often entertained him by telling of his
experiences while surgeon in a hospital during the war.

"Do you know," he said one day in the midst of a story, "that the men
who had been bravest on the field of battle were most patient in bearing
suffering? They showed what we call fortitude, and bravery and fortitude
go hand in hand."

This was an encouraging thought to Archie, for he resolved to show that
he could endure suffering as well as any soldier. Another thing that
helped him very much was the fact, of which his mother reminded him,
that by trying to be patient he was doing what he could, to please the
Lord Jesus.

"It was He," she said, "who allowed this trial to come to you, because
He saw that through it you might grow to be a better and a nobler boy.
And you will be growing better every day by simply trying to be
patient, as I see you do."

"I want to be, mamma," Archie answered; "and there's another thing about
this broken leg, I think it will teach me to care more when other people
are sick."

"No doubt it will, Archie, and if you learn to exercise patience and
sympathy, your vacation will not be lost, after all."




A Birthday Story.

BY MRS. M.E. SANGSTER.


Jack Hillyard turned over in his hand the few bits of silver which he
had taken from his little tin savings-bank. There were not very many of
them, a ten cent piece, a quarter, half a dollar and an old silver
six-pence. And he had been saving them up a long, long time.

"Well," said Jack to himself, soberly, "there aren't enough to buy
mother a silk dress, but I think I'll ask Cousin Susy, if she won't
spend my money and get up a birthday party for the darling little
mother. A birthday cake, with, let me see, thirty-six candles, that'll
be a lot, three rows deep, and a big bunch of flowers, and a book.
Mother's never had a birthday party that I remember. She's always been
so awfully busy working hard for us, and so awfully tired when night
came, but I mean her to have one now, or my name's not Jack."

Away went Jack to consult Cousin Susy.

He found her very much occupied with her dressmaking, for she made new
gowns and capes for all the ladies in town, and she was finishing up
Miss Kitty Hardy's wedding outfit. With her mouth full of pins, Cousin
Susy could not talk, but her brown eyes beamed on Jack as she listened
to his plan. At last she took all the pins out of her mouth, and said:

"Leave it all to me, Jack. We'll give her a surprise party; I'll see
about everything, dear. Whom shall we ask?"

"When thou makest a dinner or a supper," said Jack, repeating his golden
text of the last Sunday's lesson, "call not thy friends, nor thy
kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors, lest they also bid thee again and a
recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor,
the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed, for they
cannot recompense thee."

"Jack! Jack! Jack!" exclaimed Cousin Susy.

"I was only repeating my last golden text," answered Jack. "We don't
often have to give a feast, and as it was so extraordinary," said Jack,
saying the big word impressively, "I thought of my verse. I suppose we'd
better ask the people mother likes, and they are the poor, the halt, the
blind, and the deaf; for we haven't any rich neighbors, nor any kinsmen,
except you, dear Cousin Susy."

"Well, I'm a kinswoman and a neighbor, dear, but I'm not rich. Now, let
me see," said Miss Susy, smoothing out the shining white folds of Kitty
Hardy's train. "We will send notes, and you must write them. There is
old Ralph, the peddler, who is too deaf to hear if you shout at him ever
and ever so much, but he'll enjoy seeing a good time; and we'll have
Florrie Maynard, with her crutches and her banjo, and she'll have a
happy time and sing for us; and Mrs. Maloney, the laundress, with her
blind Patsy. I don't see Jackie, but you'll have a Scripture party after
all. Run along and write your letters, and to-night we'll trot around
and deliver them."

This was the letter Jack wrote:

     "DEAR FRIEND:--My mother's going to have a birthday next
     Saturday night, and she'll be thirty-six years old. That's pretty
     old. So I'm going to give her a surprise birthday party, and Cousin
     Susy's helping me with the surprise. Please come and help too, at
     eight o'clock sharp.

                          "Yours truly,
                                                            "JACK."

When this note was received everybody decided to go, and, which Jack did
not expect, everybody decided to take a present along.

"You'll spend all my money, won't you?" said Jack.

"Certainly, my boy, I will, every penny. Except, perhaps, the old silver
sixpence. Suppose we give that to the mother as a keepsake?"

"Very well, you know best. All I want is that she shall have a good
time, a very good time. She's such a good mother."

"Jack," said Susy, "you make me think of some verses I saw in a book
the other day. Let me read them to you." And Cousin Susy, who had a way
of copying favorite poems and keeping them, fished out this one from her
basket:

    LITTLE HANS.

    Little Hans was helping mother
      Carry home the lady's basket;
    Chubby hands of course were lifting
      One great handle--can you ask it?
    As he tugged away beside her,
      Feeling oh! so brave and strong,
    Little Hans was softly singing
      To himself a little song:

    "Some time I'll be tall as father,
      Though I think it's very funny,
    And I'll work and build big houses,
      And give mother all the money,
    For," and little Hans stopped singing,
      Feeling oh! so strong and grand,
    "I have got the sweetest mother
      You can find in all the land."

Now, some people couldn't do very much with the funds at Cousin Susy's
disposal, but she could, and when Jack's money was spent for
refreshments what do you think they had? Why, a great big pan of
gingerbread, all marked out in squares with the knife, and raisins in
it; and a round loaf of cup cake, frosted over with sugar, with
thirty-six tiny tapers all ready to light, and a pitcher of lemonade, a
plate of apples, and a big platter of popped corn.

Jack danced for joy, but softly, for mother had come home from her day's
work and was tired, and the party was to be a surprise, and she was not
to be allowed to step into the little square parlor.

That parlor was the pride of Jack and his mother. It had a bright rag
carpet, a table with a marble top, six chairs, and a stool called an
ottoman. On the wall between the windows hung a framed picture of Jack's
dear father, who was in heaven, and over the mantelpiece there was a
framed bouquet of flowers, embroidered by Jack's mother on white satin,
when she had been a girl at school.

"Seems to me, Jack," said Mrs. Hillyard as she sat down in the kitchen
to her cup of tea, "there is a smell of fresh gingerbread; I wonder
who's having company."

Jack almost bit his tongue trying not to laugh.

"Oh!" said he grandly, "gingerbread isn't anything, mamma. When I'm a
man you shall have pound-cake every day for breakfast."

By and by Mrs. Maloney and Patsy dropped in.

"I thought," said Mrs. Maloney, "it was kind o'lonesome-like at home,
and I'd step in and see you and Jack to-night, ma'am."

"That was very kind," replied Mrs. Hillyard.

"Why, here comes Mr. Ralph," she added. "Well the more the merrier!"

Tap, tap, tap.

The neighbors kept coming, and coming, and Jack grew more and more
excited, till at last when all were present, Cousin Susy, opening the
parlor door, displayed the marble-top of the table covered with a white
cloth, and there were the refreshments.

"A happy birthday, mother."

"Many returns."

"May you live a hundred years."

One and another had some kind word to say, and each gave a present, a
card, or a flower, or a trifle of some sort, but with so much good will
and love that Mrs. Hillyard's face beamed. All day she stood behind a
counter in a great big shop, and worked hard for her bread and Jack's,
but when evening came she was a queen at home with her boy and her
friends to pay her honor.

"And were you surprised, and did you like the cake and the thirty-six
candles, dearest, darling mamma?" said Jack, when everybody had gone
home.

"Yes, my own manly little laddie, I liked everything, and I was never so
surprised in my life." So the birthday party was a great success.




    A Coquette.

    BY AMY PIERCE.


    I am never in doubt of her goodness,
      I am always afraid of her mood,
    I am never quite sure of her temper,
      For wilfulness runs in her blood.
    She is sweet with the sweetness of springtime--
      A tear and a smile in an hour--
    Yet I ask not release from her slightest caprice,
      My love with the face of a flower.

    My love with the grace of the lily
      That sways on its slender fair stem,
    My love with the bloom of the rosebud,
      White pearl in my life's diadem!
    You may call her coquette if it please you,
      Enchanting, if shy or if bold,
    Is my darling, my winsome wee lassie,
      Whose birthdays are three, when all told.




    Horatius.[1]

    _A Lay Made About the Year of the City CCCLX._

    By T.B. MACAULAY.


    I.

    Lars Porsena of Clusium
      By the Nine Gods he swore
    That the great house of Tarquin
      Should suffer wrong no more.
    By the Nine Gods he swore it,
      And named a trysting-day,
    And bade his messengers ride forth,
    East and west, and south and north,
      To summon his array.

    II.

    East and west, and south and north,
      The messengers ride fast,
    And tower and town and cottage
      Have heard the trumpet's blast.
    Shame on the false Etruscan
      Who lingers in his home,
    When Porsena of Clusium
      Is on the march for Rome!

    III.

    The horsemen and the footmen
      Are pouring in amain,
    From many a stately market-place,
      From many a fruitful plain;
    From many a lonely hamlet,
      Which, hid by beech and pine,
    Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest
      Of purple Apennine;

    IV.

    From lordly Volaterrae,
      Where scowls the far-famed hold
    Piled by the hands of giants
      For godlike kings of old;
    From sea-girt Populonia,
      Whose sentinels descry
    Sardinia's snowy mountain-tops
      Fringing the southern sky;

    V.

    From the proud mart of Pisae,
      Queen of the western waves,
    Where ride Massilia's triremes
      Heavy with fair-haired slaves;
    From where sweet Clanis wanders
      Through corn and vines and flowers;
    From where Cortona lifts to heaven
      Her diadem of towers.

    VI.

    Tall are the oaks whose acorns
      Drop in dark Auser's rill;
    Fat are the stags that champ the boughs
      Of the Ciminian hill;
    Beyond all streams Clitumnus
      Is to the herdsman dear;
    Best of all pools the fowler loves
      The great Volsinian mere.

    VII.

    But now no stroke of woodman
      Is heard by Auser's rill;
    No hunter tracks the stag's green path
      Up the Ciminian hill;
    Unwatched along Clitumnus
      Grazes the milk-white steer;
    Unharmed the water-fowl may dip
      In the Volsinian mere.

    VIII.

    The harvests of Arretium
      This year old men shall reap;
    This year young boys in Umbro
      Shall plunge the struggling sheep;
    And in the vats of Luna
      This year the must shall foam
    Round the white feet of laughing girls
      Whose sires have marched to Rome.

    IX.

    There be thirty chosen prophets,
      The wisest of the land,
    Who always by Lars Porsena
      Both morn and evening stand;
    Evening and morn the Thirty
      Have turned the verses o'er,
    Traced from the right on linen white
      By mighty seers of yore.

    X.

    And with one voice the Thirty
      Have their glad answer given:
    "Go forth, go forth, Lars Porsena;
      Go forth, beloved of Heaven:
    Go, and return in glory
      To Clusium's royal dome,
    And hang round Nurscia's altars
      The golden shields of Rome."

    XI.

    And now hath every city
      Sent up her tale of men;
    The foot are fourscore thousand,
      The horse are thousands ten.
    Before the gates of Sutrium
      Is met the great array.
    A proud man was Lars Porsena
      Upon the trysting-day.

    XII.

    For all the Etruscan armies
      Were ranged beneath his eye,
    And many a banished Roman,
      And many a stout ally;
    And with a mighty following
      To join the muster came
    The Tusculan Mamilius,
      Prince of the Latian name.

    XIII.

    But by the yellow Tiber
      Was tumult and affright:
    From all the spacious champaign
      To Rome men took their flight.
    A mile around the city
      The throng stopped up the ways;
    A fearful sight it was to see
      Through two long nights and days.

    XIV.

    For aged folk on crutches,
      And women great with child,
    And mothers sobbing over babes
      That clung to them and smiled;
    And sick men borne in litters
      High on the necks of slaves,
    And troops of sunburnt husbandmen
      With reaping-hooks and staves;

    XV.

    And droves of mules and asses
      Laden with skins of wine,
    And endless flocks of goats and sheep,
      And endless herds of kine,
    And endless trains of wagons
      That creaked beneath the weight
    Of corn-sacks and of household goods,
      Choked every roaring gate.

    XVI.

    Now, from the rock Tarpeian,
      Could the wan burghers spy
    The line of blazing villages
      Red in the midnight sky,
    The Fathers of the City,
      They sat all night and day,
    For every hour some horseman came
      With tidings of dismay.

    XVII.

    To eastward and to westward
      Have spread the Tuscan bands;
    Nor house nor fence nor dovecot
      In Crustumerium stands.
    Verbenna down to Ostia
      Hath wasted all the plain;
    Astur hath stormed Janiculum,
      And the stout guards are slain.

    XVIII.

    I wis, in all the Senate,
      There was no heart so bold
    But sore it ached and fast it beat
      When that ill news was told.
    Forthwith up rose the Consul,
      Up rose the Fathers all;
    In haste they girded up their gowns
      And hied them to the wall.

    XIX.

    They held a council standing
      Before the River Gate;
    Short time was there, ye well may guess,
      For musing or debate.
    Out spake the Consul roundly,
      "The bridge must straight go down,
    For, since Janiculum is lost,
      Naught else can save the town."

    XX.

    Just then a scout came flying,
      All wild with haste and fear:
    "To arms! to arms! Sir Consul;
      Lars Porsena is here!"
    On the low hills to westward
      The Consul fixed his eye,
    And saw the swarthy storm of dust
      Rise fast along the sky.

    XXI.

    And nearer fast, and nearer,
      Doth the red whirlwind come;
    And louder still, and still more loud,
    From underneath that rolling cloud,
    Is heard the trumpet's war-note proud,
      The trampling and the hum.
    And plainly and more plainly
      Now through the gloom appears,
    Far to left and far to right,
    In broken gleams of dark-blue light,
    The long array of helmets bright,
      The long array of spears.

    XXII.

    And plainly and more plainly,
      Above that glimmering line,
    Now might ye see the banners
      Of twelve fair cities shine;
    But the banner of proud Clusium
      Was highest of them all,
    The terror of the Umbrian,
      The terror of the Gaul.

    XXIII.

    And plainly and more plainly.
      Now might the burghers know,
    By port and vest, by horse and crest,
      Each warlike Lucumo.
    There Cilnius of Arretium
      On his fleet roan was seen;
    And Astur of the fourfold shield,
    Girt with the brand none else may wield,
    Tolumnius with the belt of gold,
    And dark Verbenna from the hold
      By reedy Thrasymene.

    XXIV.

    Fast by the royal standard,
      O'erlooking all the war,
    Lars Porsena of Clusium
      Sat in his ivory car.
    By the right wheel rode Mamilius,
      Prince of the Latian name;
    And by the left false Sextus,
      That wrought the deed of shame.

    XXV.

    But when the face of Sextus
      Was seen among the foes,
    A yell that rent the firmament
      From all the town arose.
    On the house-tops was no woman
      But spat toward him and hissed,
    No child but screamed out curses
      And shook its little fist.

    XXVI.

    But the Consul's brow was sad,
      And the Consul's speech was low,
    And darkly looked he at the wall,
      And darkly at the foe.
    "Their van will be upon us
      Before the bridge goes down;
    And if they once may win the bridge
      What hope to save the town?"

    XXVII.

    Then out spake brave Horatius,
      The Captain of the Gate:
    "To every man upon this earth
      Death cometh soon or late.
    And how can man die better
      Than facing fearful odds,
    For the ashes of his fathers
      And the temples of his gods.

    XXVIII.

    "And for the tender mother
      Who dandled him to rest,
    And for the wife who nurses
      His baby at her breast,
    And for the holy maidens
      Who feed the eternal flame,
    To save them from false Sextus
      That wrought the deed of shame?

    XXIX.

    "Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
      With all the speed ye may;
    I, with two more to help me,
      Will hold the foe in play.
    In yon strait path a thousand
      May well be stopped by three.
    Now who will stand on either hand,
      And keep the bridge with me?"

    XXX.

    Then out spake Spurius Lartius,
      A Ramnian proud was he:
    "Lo, I will stand at thy right hand
      And keep the bridge with thee."
    And out spake strong Herminius,
      Of Titian blood was he:
    "I will abide on thy left side,
      And keep the bridge with thee."

    XXXI.

    "Horatius," quoth the Consul,
      "As thou sayest, so let it be."
    And straight against that great array
      Forth went the dauntless Three.
    For Romans in Rome's quarrel
      Spared neither land nor gold,
    Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
      In the brave days of old.

    XXXII.

    Then none was for a party;
      Then all were for the State;
    Then the great man helped the poor,
      And the poor man loved the great;
    Then lands were fairly portioned;
      Then spoils were fairly sold;
    The Romans were like brothers
      In the brave days of old.

    XXXIII.

    Now Roman is to Roman
      More hateful than a foe;
    And the Tribunes beard the high,
      And the Fathers grind the low.
    As we wax hot in faction,
      In battle we wax cold;
    Wherefore men fight not as they fought
      In the brave days of old.

    XXXIV.

    Now while the Three were tightening
      Their harness on their backs,
    The Consul was the foremost man
      To take in hand an axe;
    And Fathers mixed with Commons
      Seized hatchet, bar, and crow,
    And smote upon the planks above,
      And loosed the props below.

    XXXV.

    Meanwhile the Tuscan army,
      Right glorious to behold,
    Came flashing back the noonday light,
    Rank behind rank, like surges bright
      Of a broad sea of gold.
    Four hundred trumpets sounded
      A peal of warlike glee,
    As that great host, with measured tread,
    And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
    Rolled slowly toward the bridge's head,
      Where stood the dauntless Three.

    XXXVI.

    The Three stood calm and silent
      And looked upon the foes,
    And a great shout of laughter
      From all the vanguard rose;
    And forth three chiefs came spurring
      Before that deep array:
    To earth they sprang, their swords they drew,
    And lifted high their shields, and flew
      To win the narrow way.

    XXXVII.

    Aunus from green Tifernum,
      Lord of the Hill of Vines;
    And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves
      Sicken in Ilva's mines;
    And Picus, long to Clusium
      Vassal in peace and war,
    Who led to fight his Umbrian powers
    From that gray crag where, girt with towers,
    The fortress of Nequinum lowers
      O'er the pale waves of Nar.

    XXXVIII.

    Stout Lartius hurled down Aunus
      Into the stream beneath;
    Herminius struck at Seius,
      And clove him to the teeth;
    At Picus brave Horatius
      Darted one fiery thrust,
    And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms
      Clashed in the bloody dust.

    XXXIX.

    Then Ocnus of Falerii
      Rushed on the Roman Three;
    And Lausulus of Urgo,
      The rover of the sea;
    And Aruns of Volsinium,
      Who slew the great wild boar,
    The great wild boar that had his den
    Amidst the reeds of Cosa's fen,
    And wasted fields and slaughtered men
      Along Albinia's shore.

    XL.

    Herminius smote down Aruns;
      Lartius laid Ocnus low;
    Right to the heart of Lausulus
      Horatius sent a blow.
    "Lie there," he cried, "fell pirate!
      No more, aghast and pale,
    From Ostia's walls the crowd shall mark
    The track of thy destroying bark.
    No more Campania's hinds shall fly
    To woods and caverns when they spy
      Thy thrice accursed sail."

    XLI.

    But now no sound of laughter
      Was heard among the foes;
    A wild and wrathful clamor
      From all the vanguard rose.
    Six spears' length from the entrance
      Halted that deep array,
    And for a space no man came forth
      To win the narrow way.

    XLII.

    But hark! the cry is Astur;
      And lo! the ranks divide,
    And the great Lord of Luna
      Comes with his stately stride.
    Upon his ample shoulders
      Clangs loud the fourfold shield,
    And in his hand he shakes the brand
      Which none but he can wield.

    XLIII.

    He smiled on those bold Romans
      A smile serene and high;
    He eyed the flinching Tuscans,
      And scorn was in his eye.
    Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter
      Stand savagely at bay;
    But will ye dare to follow,
      If Astur clears the way?"

    XLIV.

    Then, whirling up his broadsword
      With both hands to the height,
    He rushed against Horatius,
      And smote with all his might.
    With shield and blade Horatius
      Right deftly turned the blow.
    The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh;
    It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh;
    The Tuscans raised a joyful cry
      To see the red blood flow.

    XLV.

    He reeled and on Herminius
      He leaned one breathing-space,
    Then, like a wild cat mad with wounds,
      Sprang right at Astur's face.
    Through teeth and skull and helmet
      So fierce a thrust he sped,
    The good sword stood a hand-breadth out
      Behind the Tuscan's head.

    XLVI.

    And the great Lord of Luna
      Fell at that deadly stroke,
    As falls on Mount Alvernus
      A thunder-smitten oak.
    Far o'er the crashing forest
      The giant arms lie spread;
    And the pale augurs, muttering low,
      Gaze on the blasted head.

    XLVII.

    On Astur's throat Horatius
      Right firmly pressed his heel,
    And thrice and four times tugged amain
      Ere he wrenched out the steel.
    "And see," he cried, "the welcome,
      Fair guests that wait you here!
    What noble Lucumo comes next
      To taste our Roman cheer?"

    XLVIII.

    But at his haughty challenge
      A sullen murmur ran,
    Mingled of wrath and shame and dread,
      Along that glittering van.
    There lacked not men of prowess,
      Nor men of lordly race;
    For all Etruria's noblest
      Were round the fatal place.

    XLIX.

    But all Etruria's noblest
      Felt their hearts sink to see
    On the earth the bloody corpses,
      In the path of the dauntless Three;
    And, from the ghastly entrance
      Where those bold Romans stood,
    All shrank, like boys who, unaware,
    Ranging the woods to start a hare,
    Come to the mouth of the dark lair
    Where, growling low, a fierce old bear
      Lies amidst bones and blood.

    L.

    Was none who would be foremost
      To lead such dire attack;
    But those behind cried "Forward!"
       And those before cried "Back!"
    And backward now and forward
      Wavers the deep array;
    And on the tossing sea of steel
    To and fro the standards reel,
    And the victorious trumpet-peal
      Dies fitfully away.

    LI.

    Yet one man for one moment
       Strode out before the crowd;
    Well known was he to all the Three,
       And they gave him greeting loud.
    "Now welcome, welcome, Sextus!
      Now welcome to thy home!
    Why dost thou stay and turn away?
      Here lies the road to Rome."

    LII.

    Thrice looked he at the city,
      Thrice looked he at the dead;
    And thrice came on in fury,
      And thrice turned back in dread;
    And, white with fear and hatred,
      Scowled at the narrow way
    Where, wallowing in a pool of blood,
      The bravest Tuscans lay.

    LIII.

    But meanwhile axe and lever
      Have manfully been plied,
    And now the bridge hangs tottering
      Above the boiling tide.
    "Come back, come back, Horatius!"
      Loud cried the Fathers all.
    "Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
      Back, ere the ruin fall!"

    LIV.

    Back darted Spurius Lartius,
      Herminius darted back;
    And, as they passed, beneath their feet
      They felt the timbers crack.
    But when they turned their faces,
      And on the farther shore
    Saw brave Horatius stand alone,
      They would have crossed once more.

    LV.

    But with a crash like thunder
      Fell every loosened beam,
    And, like a dam, the mighty wreck
      Lay right athwart the stream;
    And a long shout of triumph
      Rose from the walls of Rome,
    As to the highest turret tops
      Was splashed the yellow foam.

    LVI.

    And, like a horse unbroken
      When first he feels the rein,
    The furious river struggled hard,
      And tossed his tawny mane,
    And burst the curb and bounded,
      Rejoicing to be free,
    And, whirling down in fierce career
    Battlement and plank and pier,
      Rushed headlong to the sea.

    LVII.

    Alone stood brave Horatius,
      But constant still in mind,
    Thrice thirty thousand foes before
      And the broad flood behind.
    "Down with him!" cried false Sextus,
      With a smile on his pale face.
    "Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
      "Now yield thee to our grace."

    LVIII.

    Round turned he, as not deigning
      Those craven ranks to see;
    Naught spake he to Lars Porsena,
      To Sextus naught spake he;
    But he saw on Palatinus
      The white porch of his home,
    And he spake to the noble river
      That rolls by the towers of Rome:

    LIX.

    "O Tiber! father Tiber!
      To whom the Romans pray,
    A Roman's life, a Roman's arms,
      Take thou in charge this day!"
    So he spake, and speaking sheathed
      The good sword by his side,
    And with his harness on his back
      Plunged headlong in the tide.

    LX.

    No sound of joy or sorrow
      Was heard from either bank,
    But friends and foes in dumb surprise,
    With parted lips and straining eyes,
      Stood gazing where he sank;
    And when above the surges
      They saw his crest appear,
    All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry,
    And even the ranks of Tuscany
      Could scarce forbear to cheer.

    LXI.

    But fiercely ran the current,
      Swollen high by months of rain;
    And fast his blood was flowing,
     And he was sore in pain,
    And heavy with his armor,
      And spent with changing blows;
    And oft they thought him sinking,
      But still again he rose.

    LXII.

    Never, I ween, did swimmer,
      In such an evil case,
    Struggle through such a raging flood
      Safe to the landing-place;
    But his limbs were borne up bravely
      By the brave heart within,
    And our good father Tiber
      Bore bravely up his chin.

    LXIII.

    "Curse on him!" quoth false Sextus;
      "Will not the villain drown?
    But for this stay, ere close of day,
      We should have sacked the town!"
    "Heaven help him!" quoth Lars Porsena,
      "And bring him safe to shore;
    For such a gallant feat of arms
      Was never seen before."

    LXIV.

    And now he feels the bottom;
      Now on dry earth he stands;
    Now round him throng the Fathers
      To press his gory hands;
    And now, with shouts and clapping
      And noise of weeping loud,
    He enters through the River Gate,
      Borne by the joyous crowd.

    LXV.

    They gave him of the corn-land,
      That was of public right,
    As much as two strong oxen
      Could plow from morn till night;
    And they made a molten image
      And set it up on high,
    And there it stands unto this day
      To witness if I lie.

    LXVI.

    It stands in the Comitium,
      Plain for all folk to see,
    Horatius in his harness
      Halting upon one knee;
    And underneath is written,
      In letters all of gold,
    How valiantly he kept the bridge
      In the brave days of old.

    LXVII.

    And still his name sounds stirring
      Unto the men of Rome,
    As the trumpet-blast that cries to them
      To charge the Volscian home;
    And wives still pray to Juno
      For boys with hearts as bold
    As his who kept the bridge so well
      In the brave days of old.

    LXVIII.

    And in the nights of winter,
      When the cold north winds blow,
    And the long howling of the wolves
      Is heard amidst the snow;
    When round the lonely cottage
      Roars loud the tempest's din,
    And the good logs of Algidus
      Roar louder yet within;

    LXIX.

    When the oldest cask is opened,
      And the largest lamp is lit;
    When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
      And the kid turns on the spit;
    When young and old in circle
      Around the firebrands close;
    When the girls are weaving baskets,
      And the lads are shaping bows;

    LXX.

    When the goodman mends his armor,
      And trims his helmet's plume;
    When the goodwife's shuttle merrily
      Goes flashing through the loom;
    With weeping and with laughter
      Still is the story told,
    How well Horatius kept the bridge
      In the brave days of old.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Lord Macaulay's ballad should be known by heart by every
schoolboy. It is the finest of the famous "Lays of Ancient Rome."]




A Bit of Brightness.

BY MARY JOANNA PORTER.


It not only rained, but it poured; so the brightness was certainly not
in the sky. It was Sunday, too, and that fact, so Phoebe thought,
added to the gloominess of the storm. For Phoebe had left behind her
the years in which she had been young and strong, and in which she had
no need to regard the weather. Now if she went out in the rain she was
sure to suffer afterward with rheumatism, so, of course, a day like this
made her a prisoner within doors. There she had not very much to occupy
her. She and her husband, Gardener Jim, lived so simply that it was a
small matter to prepare and clear away their meals, and, that being
attended to, what was there for her to do?

Phoebe had never been much of a scholar, and reading even the
coarse-print Bible, seemed to try her eyes. Knitting on Sunday was not
to be thought of, and there was nobody passing by to be watched and
criticised. Altogether Phoebe considered it a very dreary day.

As for Gardener Jim, he had his pipe to comfort him. All the same he
heaved a sigh now and then, as if to say, "O dear! I wish things were
not quite so dull."

In the big house near by lived Jim's employer, Mr. Stevens. There
matters were livelier, for there were living five healthy, happy
children, whose mother scarcely knew the meaning of the word quiet. When
it drew near two o'clock in the afternoon they were all begging to be
allowed to go to Sunday-school.

"You'll let me go, won't you, ma?" cried Jessie, the oldest, and Tommy
and Nellie and Johnny and even baby Clara echoed the petition. Mrs.
Stevens thought the thing over and decided that Jessie and Tommy might
go. For the others, she would have Sunday-school at home.

"Be sure to put on your high rubbers and your water-proofs and take
umbrellas." These were the mother's instructions as the two left the
family sitting-room. A few moments after, Jessie looked in again. "Well,
you are wrapped up!" exclaimed Mrs. Stevens, "I don't think the storm
can hurt you." "Neither do I, ma, and Oh! I forgot to ask you before,
may we stop at Gardener Jim's on the way home?"

"Yes, if you'll be careful not to make any trouble for him and Phoebe,
and will come home before supper-time."

Tommy, who was standing behind Jessie in the doorway, suppressed the
hurrah that rose to his lips. He remembered that it was Sunday and that
his mother would not approve of his making a great noise on the holy
day.

He and Jessie had quite a hard tramp to the little chapel in which the
school was held. The graveled sidewalks were covered with that
uncomfortable mixture of snow and water known as slush, which beside
being wet was cold and slippery, so that walking was no easy thing. Yet
what did that matter after they had reached the school?

Their teachers were there, and so was the superintendent, and so were
nearly half of the scholars. Theirs was a wide-awake school, you see,
and it did not close on account of weather.

Each of the girls in Jessie's class was asked to recite a verse that she
had chosen through the week. Jessie's was this:

"To do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God
is well pleased."

The teacher talked a little about it and Jessie thought it over on her
way to Gardener Jim's. The result was that she said to her brother:

"Tommy, you know mother said we must not trouble Jim and Phoebe."

"Yes, I know it, but I don't think we will, do you?"

"No, I'm sure they'll be glad to see us, but I was thinking we might do
something to make them very glad. Suppose that while we're in there, I
read to them from the Bible, and then we sing to them two or three of
our hymns."

"What a queer girl you are, Jess! Anybody would think that you were a
minister going to hold church in the cottage. But I'm agreed, if you
want to; I like singing anyway. It seems to let off a little of the 'go'
in a fellow."

By this time they had reached the cottage, and if they had been a prince
and princess--supposing that such titled personages were living in these
United States--they could not have had a warmer welcome. Gardener Jim
opened the door in such haste that he scattered the ashes from his pipe
over the rag-carpet on the floor. Phoebe, too, contrived to drop her
spectacles while she was saying "How do you do," and it took at least
three minutes to find them again.

At length, however, the surprise being over, the children removed their
wraps, Jim refilled his pipe, and Phoebe settled herself in her chair.
She was slowly revolving in her mind the question whether it would be
best to offer her visitors a lunch of cookies or one of apples, when
Jessie said:

"Phoebe, wouldn't you like to have me read you a chapter or two?"

"'Deed and I would, miss, and I'd be that grateful that I couldn't
express myself. My eyes, you see, are getting old, and Jim's not much
better, and neither of us was ever a scholard."

So Jessie read in her sweet, clear voice the chapters beloved in palace
and in cottage, about the holy city New Jerusalem, and about the pure
river of water of life, clear as crystal; about the tree whose leaves
are for the healing of the nations; about the place where they need no
candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light;
and they shall reign for ever and ever.

"Dear me, dear me!" exclaimed Phoebe, "it seems almost like being
there, doesn't it? Now I'll have something to think of to-night if I lie
awake with the rheumatism."

"We're going to sing to you, too," was Tommy's rejoinder.

Then he and Jessie sang "It's coming, coming nearer, that lovely land
unseen," and "O, think of the home over there" and Phoebe's favorite:

    "In the far better land of glory and light
    The ransomed are singing in garments of white,
    The harpers are harping and all the bright train
    Sing the song of redemption, the Lamb that was slain."

Jim wiped his eyes as they finished. He and Phoebe had once had a
little boy and girl, but both had long, long been in the "better land."
Yet though he wept it was in gladness, for the reading and singing had
seemed to open a window through which he might look into the streets of
the heavenly city.

Thus Tommy and Jessie had brought sunshine to the cottage on that rainy
Sunday afternoon. They had given the cup of cold water--surely they had
their reward.




How Sammy Earned the Prize.

BY MRS. M.E. SANGSTER.


"And now," said the Principal, looking keenly and pleasantly through his
spectacles, "I have another prize offer to announce. Besides the prizes
for the best scholarship, and the best drawing and painting, and for
punctuality, I am authorized by the Trustees of this Academy to offer a
prize for valor. Fifty dollars in gold will be given the student who
shows the most courage and bravery during the next six months."

Fifty dollars in gold! The sum sounded immense in the ears of the boys,
not one of whom had ever had five dollars for his very own at one time,
that is in one lump sum. As they went home one and another wondered
where the chance to show true courage was to come in their prosaic
lives.

"It isn't the time when knights go round to rescue forlorn ladies and do
brave deeds," said Johnny Smith, ruefully.

"No, and there never are any fires in Scott-town, or mad dogs, or
anything," added Billy Thorne.

"But Sammy Slocum said nothing at all," Billy told his mother. "Old
Sammy's a bit of a coward. He faints when he sees blood. Of course he
knows he can't get the prize for valor, or any prize for that matter.
His mother has to take in washing."

"William," said Billy's father, who had just entered, "that is a very
un-American way of speaking. If I were dead and buried your mother might
have to take in washing, and it would do her no discredit. Honest work
is honest work. Sammy is a very straight sort of boy. He's been helping
at the store Saturday mornings, and I like the boy. He's got pluck."

"Six months give a fellow time to turn round, any way," said Billy, as
the family sat down to supper.

It was September when this conversation took place, and it was December
before the teachers, who were watching the boys' daily records very
carefully, had the least idea who would get the prize for valor.

"Perhaps we cannot award it this year," said the Principal. "Fifty
dollars should not be thrown away, nor a prize really bestowed on
anybody who has not merited it."

"There are chances for heroism in the simplest and most humble life,"
answered little Miss Riggs, the composition teacher.

That December was awfully cold. Storm and wind and snow. Blizzard and
gale and hurricane. You never saw anything like it. In the middle of
December the sexton was taken down with rheumatic fever, and there
wasn't a soul to ring the bell, or clear away the snow, or keep fires
going in the church, and not a man in the parish was willing to take the
extra work upon him. The old sexton was a good deal worried, for he
needed the little salary so much that he couldn't bear to give it up,
and in that village church there was no money to spare.

Sammy's mother sent bowls and pitchers of gruel and other things of the
sort to the sick man, and when Sammy took them he heard the talk of the
sexton and his wife. One night he came home, saying:

"Mother, I've made a bargain with Mr. Anderson, I'm going to be the
sexton of the church for the next three months."

"You, my boy, you're not strong enough. It's hard work shoveling snow
and breaking paths, and ringing the bell, and having the church warm on
Sunday, and the lamps filled and lighted. And you have your chores to do
at home."

"Yes, dear mammy, I'll manage; I'll go round and get the clothes for
you, and carry them home and do every single thing, just the same as
ever, and I'll try to keep Mr. Anderson's place for him too."

"I don't know that I ought to let you," said his mother.

But she did consent.

Then began Sammy's trial. He never had a moment to play. Other boys
could go skating on Saturday, but he had to stay around the church, and
dust and sweep, and put the cushions down in the pews, and see that the
old stoves were all right, as to dampers and draughts, bring coal up
from the cellar, have wood split, lamps filled, wicks cut, chimneys
polished. The big bell was hard to ring, hard for a fourteen-year-old
boy. At first, for the fun of it, some of the other boys helped him pull
the rope, but their enthusiasm soon cooled. Day in, day out, the stocky,
sturdy form of Samuel might be seen, manfully plodding through all
varieties of weather, and he had a good-morning or a good-evening ready
for all he met. When he learned his lessons was a puzzle, but learn them
he did, and nobody could complain that in anything he fell off, though
his face did sometimes wear a preoccupied look, and his mother said that
at night he slept like the dead and she just hated to have to call him
in the morning. Through December and January and February and March,
Sammy made as good a sexton as the church had ever had, and by April,
Mr. Anderson was well again.

The queer thing about it all was that Sammy had forgotten the prize for
valor altogether. Nothing was said about it in school, and most of the
boys were so busy looking out for brave deeds to come their way, that
if one had appeared, they would not have recognized it. In fact,
everybody thought the prize for valor was going by the board.

Till July came. And then, when the visitors were there, and the prizes
were all given out, the President looked keenly through his spectacles
and said:

"Will Master Samuel Slocum step forward to the platform?"

Modestly blushing, up rose Sammy, and somewhat awkwardly he made his way
to the front.

"Last winter," said the President, "there was a boy who not only did his
whole duty in our midst, but denied himself for another, undertook hard
work for many weeks, without pay and without shirking. We all know his
name. Here he stands. To Samuel Slocum the committee award the prize for
valor."

He put five shining ten-dollar pieces into Sammy's hard brown hand.




    The Glorious Fourth.


    Hurrah for the Fourth, the glorious Fourth,
      The day we all love best,
    When East and West and South and North,
      No boy takes breath or rest.
    When the banners float and the bugles blow,
      And drums are on the street,
    Throbbing and thrilling, and fifes are shrilling,
      And there's tread of marching feet.

    Hurrah for the nation's proudest day,
      The day that made us free!
    Let our cheers ring out in a jubilant shout
      Far over land and sea.
    Hurrah for the flag on the school-house roof,
      Hurrah for the white church spire!
    For the homes we love, and the tools we wield,
      And the light of the household fire.

    Hurrah, hurrah for the Fourth of July,
      The day we love and prize,
    When there's wonderful light on this fair green earth,
      And beautiful light in the skies.




The Middle Daughter.

BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.




CHAPTER I.

AT THE MANSE.


"I am troubled and low in my mind," said our mother, looking pensively
out of the window. "I am really extremely anxious about the
Wainwrights."

It was a dull and very chilly day in the late autumn. Fog hid the hills;
wet leaves soaked into the soft ground; the trees dripped with moisture;
every little while down came the rain, now a pour, then a drizzle--a
depressing sort of day.

Our village of Highland, in the Ramapo, is perfectly enchanting in clear
brilliant weather, and turn where you will, you catch a fine view of
mountain, or valley, or brown stream, or tumbling cascade. On a snowy
winter day it is divine; but in the fall, when there is mist hanging its
gray pall over the landscape, or there are dark low-hanging clouds with
steady pouring rain, the weather, it must be owned, is depressing in
Highland. That is, if one cares about weather. Some people always rise
above it, which is the better way.

I must explain mamma's interest in the Wainwrights. They are our dear
friends, but not our neighbors, as they were before Dr. Wainwright went
to live at Wishing-Brae, which was a family place left him by his
brother; rather a tumble-down old place, but big, and with fields and
meadows around it, and a great rambling garden. The Wainwrights were
expecting their middle daughter, Grace, home from abroad.

Few people in Highland have ever been abroad; New York, or Chicago, or
Omaha, or Denver is far enough away for most of us. But Grace
Wainwright, when she was ten, had been borrowed by a childless uncle and
aunt, who wanted to adopt her, and begged Dr. Wainwright, who had seven
children and hardly any money, to give them one child on whom they could
spend their heaps of money. But no, the doctor and Mrs. Wainwright
wouldn't hear of anything except a loan, and so Grace had been lent, in
all, eight years; seven she had spent at school, and one in Paris,
Berlin, Florence, Venice, Rome, the Alps. Think of it, how splendid and
charming!

Uncle Ralph and Aunt Hattie did not like to give her up now, but Grace,
we heard, would come. She wanted to see her mother and her own kin;
maybe she felt she ought.

At the Manse we had just finished prayers. Papa was going to his study.
He wore his Friday-morning face--a sort of preoccupied pucker between
his eyebrows, and a far-away look in his eyes. Friday is the day he
finishes up his sermons for Sunday, and, as a matter of course, we never
expect him to be delayed or bothered by our little concerns till he has
them off his mind. Sermons in our house have the right of way.

Prayers had been shorter than usual this morning, and we had sung only
two stanzas of the hymn, instead of four or five. Usually if mamma is
anxious about anybody or anything, papa is all sympathy and attention.
But not on a Friday. He paid no heed either to her tone or her words,
but only said impressively:

"My love, please do not allow me to be disturbed in any way you can
avoid between this and the luncheon hour; and keep the house as quiet as
you can. I dislike being troublesome, but I've had so many interruptions
this week; what with illness in the congregation, and funerals, and
meetings every night, my work for Sunday is not advanced very far.
Children, I rely on you all to help me," and with a patient smile, and a
little wave of the hand quite characteristic, papa withdrew.

We heard him moving about in his study, which was over the sitting-room,
and then there came a scrape of his chair upon the floor, and a
creaking sound as he settled into it by the table. Papa was safely out
of the way for the next four or five hours. I would have to be a
watchdog to keep knocks from his door.

"I should think," said Amy, pertly, tossing her curls, "that when papa
has so much to do he'd just go and do it, not stand here talking and
wasting time. It's the same thing week after week. Such a martyr."

"Amy," said mamma, severely, "don't speak of your father in that
flippant manner. Why are _you_ lounging here so idly? Gather up the
books, put this room in order, and then, with Laura's assistance, I
would like you this morning to clean the china closet. Every cup and
saucer and plate must be taken down and wiped separately, after being
dipped into hot soap-suds and rinsed in hot water; the shelves all
washed and dried, and the corners carefully gone over. See how thorough
you can be, my dears," said mamma in her sweetest tones. I wondered
whether she had known that Amy had planned to spend the rainy morning
finishing the hand-screen she is painting for grandmother's birthday.
From her looks nothing could be gathered. Mamma's blue eyes can look as
unconscious of intention as a child's when she chooses to reprove, and
yet does not wish to seem censorious. Amy is fifteen, and very
headstrong, as indeed we all are, but even Amy never dreams of hinting
that she would like to do something else than what mamma prefers when
mamma arranges things in her quiet yet masterful fashion. Dear little
mamma. All her daughters except Jessie are taller than herself; but
mother is queen of the Manse, nevertheless.

Amy went off, having with a few deft touches set the library in order,
piling the Bibles and hymn books on the little stand in the corner, and
giving a pat here and a pull there to the cushions, rugs, and curtains,
went pleasantly to begin her hated task of going over the china closet.
Laura followed her.

Elbert, our seventeen-year-old brother, politely held open the door for
the girls to pass through.

"You see, Amy dear," he said, compassionately, "what comes on reflecting
upon papa. It takes some people a long while to learn wisdom."

Amy made a little _moue_ at him.

"I don't mind particularly," she said. "Come, Lole, when a thing's to be
done, the best way is to do it and not fuss nor fret. I ought not to
have said that; I knew it would vex dear mamma; but papa provokes me so
with his solemn directions, as if the whole house did not always hold
its breath when he is in the study. Come, Lole, let's do this work as
well as we can." Amy's sunshiny disposition matches her quick temper.
She may say a quick word on the impulse of the moment, but she makes up
for it afterward by her loving ways.

"It isn't the week for doing this closet, Amy," said Laura. "Why didn't
you tell mamma so? You wanted to paint in your roses and clematis before
noon, didn't you? I think it mean. Things are so contrary," and Laura
sighed.

"Oh, never mind, dear! this won't be to do next week. I think mamma was
displeased and spoke hastily. Mamma and I are so much alike that we
understand one another. I suppose I am just the kind of girl she used to
be, and I hope I'll be the kind of woman she is when I grow up. I'm
imitating mother all I can."

Laura laughed. "Well, Amy, you'd never be so popular in your husband's
congregation as mamma is--never. You haven't so much tact; I don't
believe you'll ever have it, either."

"I haven't yet, of course; but I'd have more tact if I were a grown-up
lady and married to a clergyman. I don't think, though, I'll ever marry
a minister," said Amy, with grave determination, handing down a
beautiful salad-bowl, which Laura received in both hands with the
reverence due to a treasured possession. "It's the prettiest thing we
own," said Amy, feeling the smooth satiny surface lovingly, and holding
it up against her pink cheek. "Isn't it scrumptious, Laura?"

"Well," said Laura, "it's nice, but not so pretty as the tea-things
which belonged to Great-aunt Judith. They are my pride. This does not
compare."

"Well, perhaps not in one way, for they are family pieces, and prove we
came out of the ark. But the salad-bowl is a beauty. I don't object to
the care of china myself. It is ladies' work. It surprises me that
people ever are willing to trust their delicate china to clumsy maids. I
wouldn't if I had gems and gold like a princess, instead of being only
the daughter of a poor country clergyman. I'd always wash my own nice
dishes with my own fair hands."

"That shows your Southern breeding," said Laura. "Southern women always
look after their china and do a good deal of the dainty part of the
housekeeping. Mamma learned that when she was a little girl living in
Richmond."

"'Tisn't only Southern breeding," said Amy. "Our Holland-Dutch ancestors
had the same elegant ways of taking care of their property. I'm writing
a paper on 'Dutch Housewifery' for the next meeting of the
Granddaughters of the Revolution, and you'll find out a good many
interesting points if you listen to it."

"Amy Raeburn!" exclaimed Laura, admiringly, "I expect you'll write a
book one of these days."

"I certainly intend to," replied Amy, with dignity, handing down a fat
Dutch cream-jug, and at the moment incautiously jarring the step-ladder,
so that, cream-jug and all, she fell to the floor. Fortunately the
precious pitcher escaped injury; but Amy's sleeve caught on a nail, and
as she jerked it away in her fall it loosened a shelf and down crashed a
whole pile of the second-best dinner plates, making a terrific noise,
which startled the whole house.

Papa, in his study, groaned, and probably tore in two a closely written
sheet of notes. Mamma and the girls came flying in. Amy picked herself
up from the floor; there was a great red bruise and a scratch on her
arm.

"Oh, you poor child!" said mother, gauging the extent of the accident
with a rapid glance. "Never mind," she said, relieved; "there isn't much
harm done. Those are the plates the Ladies' Aid Society in Archertown
gave me the year Frances was born. I never admired them. When some
things go they carry a little piece of my heart with them, but I don't
mind losing donation china. Are you hurt, Amy?"

"A bruise and a scratch--nothing to signify. Here comes Lole with the
arnica. I don't care in the least since I haven't wrecked any of our
Colonial heirlooms. Isn't it fortunate, mother, that we haven't broken
or lost anything _this_ congregation has bestowed?"

"Yes, indeed," said mamma, gravely. "There, gather up the pieces, and
get them out of the way before we have a caller."

In the Manse callers may be looked for at every possible time and
season, and some of them have eyes in the backs of their heads. For
instance, Miss Florence Frick or Mrs. Elbridge Geary seems to be able to
see through closed doors. And there is Mrs. Cyril Bannington Barnes, who
thinks us all so extravagant, and does not hesitate to notice how often
we wear our best gowns, and wonders to our faces where mamma's last
winter's new furs came from, and is very much astonished and quite angry
that papa should insist on sending all his boys to college. But, there,
this story isn't going to be a talk about papa's people. Mamma wouldn't
approve of that, I am sure.

Everybody sat down comfortably in the dining-room, while Frances and
Mildred took hold and helped Amy and Laura finish the closet. Everybody
meant mamma, Mildred, Frances, Elbert, Lawrence, Sammy and Jessie.
Somehow, a downright rainy day in autumn, with a bit of a blaze on the
hearth, makes you feel like dropping into talk and staying in one place,
and discussing eventful things, such as Grace Wainwright's return, and
what her effect would be on her family, and what effect they would have
on her.

"I really do not think Grace is in the very least bit prepared for the
life she is coming to," said Frances.

"No," said mamma, "I fear not. But she is coming to her duty, and one
can always do that."

"For my part," said Elbert, "I see nothing so much amiss at the
Wainwrights. They're a jolly set, and go when you will, you find them
having good times. Of course they are in straitened circumstances."

"And Grace has been accustomed to lavish expenditure," said Mildred.

"If she had remained in Paris, with her Uncle Ralph and Aunt Gertrude
she would have escaped a good deal of hardship," said Lawrence.

"Oh," mamma broke in, impatiently, "how short-sighted you young people
are! You look at everything from your own point of view. It is not of
Grace I am thinking so much. I am considering her mother and the girls
and her poor, worn-out father. I couldn't sleep last night, thinking of
the Wainwrights. Mildred, you might send over a nut-cake and some soft
custard and a glass of jelly, when it stops raining, and the last number
of the "Christian Herald" and of "Harper's Monthly" might be slipped
into the basket, too--that is, if you have all done with it. Papa and I
have finished reading the serial and we will not want it again. There's
so much to read in this house."

"I'll attend to it, mamma," said Mildred. "Now what can I do to help you
before I go to my French lesson."

"Nothing, you sweetest of dears," said mother, tenderly. Mildred was her
great favorite, and nobody was jealous, for we all adored our tall, fair
sister.

So we scattered to our different occupations and did not meet again till
luncheon was announced.

Does somebody ask which of the minister's eight children is telling this
story? If you must know, I am Frances, and what I did not myself see was
all told to me at the time it happened and put down in my journal.




CHAPTER II.

AT WISHING-BRAE.


Grace Wainwright, a slender girl, in a trim tailor-made gown, stepped
off the train at Highland Station. She was pretty and distinguished
looking. Nobody would have passed her without observing that. Her four
trunks and a hat-box had been swung down to the platform by the
baggage-master, and the few passengers who, so late in the fall, stopped
at this little out-of-the-way station in the hills had all tramped
homeward through the rain, or been picked up by waiting conveyances.
There was no one to meet Grace, and it made her feel homesick and
lonely. As she stood alone on the rough unpainted boardwalk in front of
the passenger-room a sense of desolation crept into the very marrow of
her bones. She couldn't understand it, this indifference on the part of
her family. The ticket agent came out and was about to lock the door. He
was going home to his mid-day dinner.

"I am Grace Wainwright," she said, appealing to him. "Do you not suppose
some one is coming to meet me?"

"Oh, you be Dr. Wainwright's darter that's been to foreign parts, be
you? Waal, miss, the doctor he can't come because he's been sent for to
set Mr. Stone's brother's child's arm that he broke jumping over a
fence, running away from a snake. But I guess somebody'll be along soon.
Like enough your folks depended on Mr. Burden; he drives a stage, and
reckons to meet passengers, and take up trunks, but he's sort o'
half-baked, and he's afraid to bring his old horse out when it
rains--'fraid it'll catch the rheumatiz. You better step over to my
house 'long o' me; somebody'll be here in the course of an hour."

Grace's face flushed. It took all her pride to keep back a rush of
angry, hurt tears. To give up Paris, and Uncle Ralph and Aunt Hattie,
and her winter of music and art, and come to the woods and be treated in
this way! She was amazed and indignant. But her native good sense showed
her there was, there must be, some reason for what looked like neglect.
Then came a tender thought of mamma. She wouldn't treat her thus.

"Did a telegram from me reach Dr. Wainwright last evening?" Grace
inquired, presently.

The agent fidgeted and looked confused. Then he said coolly: "That
explains the whole situation now. A dispatch did come, and I calc'lated
to send it up to Wishin'-Brae by somebody passing, but nobody came along
goin' in that direction, and I clean forgot it. Its too bad; but you
step right over to my house and take a bite. There'll be a chance to
get you home some time to-day."

At this instant, "Is this Grace Wainwright?" exclaimed a sweet, clear
voice, and two arms were thrown lovingly around the tired girl. "I am
Mildred Raeburn, and this is Lawrence, my brother. We were going over to
your house, and may we take you? I was on an errand there for mamma.
Your people didn't know just when to look for you, dear, not hearing
definitely, but we all supposed you would come on the five o'clock
train. Mr. Slocum, please see that Miss Wainwright's trunks are put
under cover till Burden's express can be sent for them." Mildred stepped
into the carryall after Grace, giving her another loving hug.

"Mildred, how dear of you to happen here at just the right moment, like
an angel of light! You always did that. I remember when we were little
things at school. It is ages since I was here, but nothing has changed."

"Nothing ever changes in Highland, Grace. I am sorry you see it again
for the first on this wet and dismal day. But to-morrow will be
beautiful, I am sure."

"Lawrence, you have grown out of my recollection," said Grace. "But
we'll soon renew our acquaintance. I met your chum at Harvard, Edward
Gerald at Geneva, and he drove with our party to Paris." Then, turning
to Mildred, "My mother is no better, is she? Dear, patient mother! I've
been away too long."

"She is no better," replied Mildred, gently, "but then she is no worse.
Mrs. Wainwright will be so happy when she has her middle girl by her
side again. She's never gloomy, though. It's wonderful."

They drove on silently. Mildred took keen notice of every detail of
Grace's dress--the blue cloth gown and jacket, simple but modish, with
an air no Highland dressmaker could achieve, for who on earth out of
Paris can make anything so perfect as a Paris gown, in which a pretty
girl is sure to look like a dream? The little toque on the small head
was perched over braids of smooth brown hair, the gloves and boots were
well-fitting, and Grace Wainwright carried herself finely. This was a
girl who could walk ten miles on a stretch, ride a wheel or a horse at
pleasure, drive, play tennis or golf, or do whatever else a girl of the
period can. She was both strong and lovely, one saw that.

What could she do besides? Mildred, with the reins lying loosely over
old Whitefoot's back, thought and wondered. There was opportunity for
much at the Brae.

Lawrence and Grace chatted eagerly as the old pony climbed hills and
descended valleys, till at last he paused at a rise in the path, then
went on, and there, the ground dipping down like the sides of a cup, in
the hollow at the bottom lay the straggling village.

"Yes," said Grace, "I remember it all. There is the post-office, and
Doremus' store, and the little inn, the church with the white spire, the
school-house, and the Manse. Drive faster, please, Mildred. I want to
see my mother. Just around that fir grove should be the old home of
Wishing-Brae."

Tears filled Grace's eyes. Her heart beat fast.

The Wainwrights' house stood at the end of a long willow-bordered lane.
As the manse carryall turned into this from the road a shout was heard
from the house. Presently a rush of children tearing toward the
carriage, and a chorus of "Hurrah, here is Grace!" announced the delight
of the younger ones at meeting their sister. Mildred drew up at the
doorstep, Lawrence helped Grace out, and a fair-haired older sister
kissed her and led her to the mother sitting by the window in a great
wheeled chair.

The Raeburns hurried away. As they turned out of the lane they met Mr.
Burden with his cart piled high with Grace's trunks.

"Where shall my boxes be carried, sister?" said Grace, a few minutes
later. She was sitting softly stroking her mother's thin white hand,
the mother gazing with pride and joy into the beautiful blooming face of
her stranger girl, who had left her a child.

"My middle girl, my precious middle daughter," she said, her eyes
filling with tears. "Miriam, Grace, and Eva, now I have you all about
me, my three girls. I am a happy woman, Gracie."

"Hallo!" came up the stairs; "Burden's waiting to be paid. He says it's
a dollar and a quarter. Who's got the money? There never is any money in
this house."

"Hush, Robbie!" cried Miriam, looking over the railing. "The trunks will
have to be brought right up here, of course. Set them into our room, and
after they are unpacked we'll put them into the garret. Mother, is there
any change in your pocketbook?"

"Don't trouble mamma," said Grace, waking up to the fact that there was
embarrassment in meeting this trifling charge. "I have money;" and she
opened her dainty purse for the purpose--a silvery alligator thing with
golden clasps and her monogram on it in jewels, and took out the money
needed. Her sisters and brother had a glimpse of bills and silver in
that well-filled purse.

"Jiminy!" said Robbie to James. "Did you see the money she's got? Why,
father never had as much as that at once."

Which was very true. How should a hard-working country doctor have money
to carry about when his bills were hard to collect, when anyway he never
kept books, and when his family, what with feeding and clothing and
schooling expenses, cost more every year than he could possibly earn?
Poor Doctor Wainwright! He was growing old and bent under the load of
care and expense he had to carry. While he couldn't collect his own
bills, because it is unprofessional for a doctor to dun, people did not
hesitate to dun him. All this day, as he drove from house to house, over
the weary miles, up hill and down, there was a song in his heart. He was
a sanguine man. A little bit of hope went a long way in encouraging this
good doctor, and he felt sure that better days would dawn for him now
that Grace had come home. A less hopeful temperament would have been apt
to see rocks in the way, the girl having been so differently educated
from the others, and accustomed to luxuries which they had never known.
Not so her father. He saw everything in rose-color.

As Doctor Wainwright toward evening turned his horse's head homeward he
was rudely stopped on a street corner by a red-faced, red-bearded man,
who presented him with a bill. The man grumbled out sullenly, with a
scowl on his face:

"Doctor Wainwright, I'm sorry to bother you, but this bill has been
standing a long time. It will accommodate me very much if you can let me
have something on account next Monday. I've got engagements to
meet--pressing engagements, sir."

"I'll do my best, Potter," said the doctor. Where he was to get any
money by Monday he did not know, but, as Potter said, the money was due.
He thrust the bill into his coat pocket and drove on, half his pleasure
in again seeing his child clouded by this encounter. Pulling his gray
mustache, the world growing dark as the sun went down, the father's
spirits sank to zero. He had peeped at the bill. It was larger than he
had supposed, as bills are apt to be. Two hundred dollars! And he
couldn't borrow, and there was nothing more to mortgage. And Grace's
coming back had led him to sanction the purchase of a new piano, to be
paid for by instalments. The piano had been seen going home a few days
before, and every creditor the doctor had, seeing its progress, had been
quick to put in his claim, reasoning very naturally that if Doctor
Wainwright could afford to buy a new piano, he could equally afford to
settle his old debts, and must be urged to do so.

The old mare quickened her pace as she saw her stable door ahead of
her. The lines hung limp and loose in her master's hands. Under the
pressure of distress about this dreadful two hundred dollars he had
forgotten to be glad that Grace was again with them.

Doctor Wainwright was an easy-going as well as a hopeful sort of man,
but he was an honest person, and he knew that creditors have a right to
be insistent. It distressed him to drag around a load of debt. For days
together the poor doctor had driven a long way round rather than to pass
Potter's store on the main street, the dread of some such encounter and
the shame of his position weighing heavily on his soul. It was the
harder for him that he had made it a rule never to appear anxious before
his wife. Mrs. Wainwright had enough to bear in being ill and in pain.
The doctor braced himself and threw back his shoulders as if casting off
a load, as the mare, of her own accord, stopped at the door.

The house was full of light. Merry voices overflowed in rippling speech
and laughter. Out swarmed the children to meet papa, and one sweet girl
kissed him over and over. "Here I am," she said, "your middle daughter,
dearest. Here I am."




CHAPTER III.

GRACE TAKES A HAND.


"Mother, darling, may I have a good long talk with you to-day, a
confidential talk, we two by ourselves?"

"Yes, Grace, I shall be delighted."

"And when can it be? You always have so many around you, dear; and no
wonder, this is the centre of the house, this chair, which is your
throne."

"Well, let me see," said Mrs. Wainwright, considering. "After dinner the
children go to Sunday-school, and papa has always a few Sunday patients
whom he must visit. Between two and four I am always alone on Sunday and
we can have a chat then. Mildred and Frances will probably walk home
with Miriam and want to carry you off to the Manse to tea."

"Not on my first home Sunday, mamma," said Grace. "I must have every
littlest bit of that here, though I do expect to have good times with
the Manse girls. Is Mrs. Raeburn as sweet as ever? I remember her
standing at the station and waving me good-bye when I went away with
auntie, and Amy, the dearest wee fairy, was by her side."

"Amy is full of plans," said Mrs. Wainwright. "She is going to the
League to study art if her mother can spare her. Mildred and Frances
want to go on with their French, and one of the little boys, I forget
which, has musical talent; but there is no one in Highland who can teach
the piano. The Raeburn children are all clever and bright."

"They could hardly help being that, mamma, with such a father and
mother, and the atmosphere of such a home."

All this time there was the hurry and bustle of Sunday morning in a
large family where every one goes to church, and the time between
breakfast and half-past ten is a scramble. Grace kept quietly on with
the work she had that morning assumed, straightening the quilts on the
invalid's chair, bringing her a new book, and setting a little vase with
a few late flowers on the table by her side. Out of Grace's trunks there
had been produced gifts for the whole household, and many pretty things,
pictures and curios, which lent attractiveness to the parlor, grown
shabby and faded with use and poverty, but still a pretty and homelike
parlor, as a room which is lived in by well-bred people must always be.

"Well, when the rest have gone to Sunday-school, and papa has started on
his afternoon rounds, I'll come here and take my seat, where I used to
when I was a wee tot, and we'll have an old-fashioned confab. Now, if
the girls have finished dressing, I'll run and get ready for church. I'm
so glad all through that I can again hear one of Dr. Raeburn's helpful
sermons."

Mrs. Wainwright smiled.

"To hear Frances' and Amy's chatter, one would not think that so great a
privilege, Grace."

"Oh, that amounts to nothing, mamma! Let somebody else criticise their
father and you'd hear another story. Ministers' families are apt to be a
little less appreciative than outsiders, they are so used to the
minister in all his moods. But Dr. Raeburn's "Every Morning" has been my
companion book to the Bible ever since I was old enough to like and need
such books, and though I was so small when I went that I remember only
the music of his voice, I want to hear him preach again."

"Grace," came a call from the floor above, "you can have your turn at
the basin and the looking-glass if you'll come this minute. Hurry, dear,
I'm keeping Eva off by strategy. You have your hair to do and I want you
to hook my collar. You must have finished in mother's room, and it's my
belief you two are just chattering. Hurry, please, dear!"

"Yes, Miriam, I'm coming. But let Eva go on. It takes only a second for
me to slip into my jacket. I never dress for church," she explained to
her mother. "This little black gown is what I always wear on Sundays."

"I wish you could have a room of your own, daughter. It's hard after
you've had independence so long to be sandwiched in between Miriam and
Eva. But we could not manage another room just now." The mother looked
wistful.

"I'm doing very well, mamma. Never give it a thought. Why, it's fun
being with my sisters as I always used to be. Miriam is the one entitled
to a separate room, if anybody could have it."

Yet she stifled a sigh as she ran up to the large, ill-appointed chamber
which the three sisters used in common.

When you have had your own separate, individual room for years, with
every dainty belonging that is possible for a luxurious taste to
provide, it is a bit of a trial to give it up and be satisfied with a
cot at one end of a long, barnlike place, with no chance for solitude,
and only one mirror and one pitcher and basin to serve the needs of
three persons. It can be borne, however, as every small trial in this
world may, if there is a cheerful spirit and a strong, loving heart to
fall back on. Besides, most things may be improved if you know how to go
about the task. The chief thing is first to accept the situation, and
then bravely to undertake the changing it for the better.

"Doctor," said the mother, as her husband brushed his thin gray hair in
front of his chiffonier, while the merry sound of their children's
voices came floating down to them through open doors, "thank the dear
Lord for me in my stead when you sit in the pew to-day. I'll be with you
in my thoughts. It's such a blessed thing that our little middle girl is
at home with us."

The doctor sighed. That bill in his pocket was burning like fire in his
soul. He was not a cent nearer meeting it than he had been on Friday,
and to-morrow was but twenty-four hours off. Yesterday he had tried to
borrow from a cousin, but in vain.

"I fail to see a blessing anywhere, Charlotte," he said. "Things
couldn't well be worse. This is a dark bit of the road." He checked
himself. Why had he saddened her? It was not his custom.

"When things are at the very worst, Jack, I've always noticed that they
take a turn for the better. 'It may not be my way; it may not be thy
way; but yet in His own way the Lord will provide.'" Mrs. Wainwright
spoke steadily and cheerfully. Her thin cheeks flushed with feeling. Her
tones were strong. Her smile was like a sunbeam. Doctor Wainwright's
courage rose.

"Anyway, darling wife, you are the best blessing a man ever had." He
stooped and kissed her like a lover.

Presently the whole family, Grace walking proudly at her father's side,
took their way across the fields to church.

Perhaps you may have seen lovely Sunday mornings, but I don't think
there is a place in the whole world where Sunday sunshine is as clear,
Sunday stillness as full of rest, Sunday flowers as fragrant, as in our
hamlet among the hills, our own dear Highland. Far and near the roads
wind past farms and fields, with simple, happy homes nestling under the
shadow of the mountains. You hear the church bells, and their sound is
soft and clear as they break the golden silence. Groups of people,
rosy-cheeked children, and sturdy boys and pleasant looking men and
women pass you walking to church, exchanging greetings. Carriage loads
of old and young drive on, all going the same way. It makes me think of
a verse in the Psalm which my old Scottish mother loved:

    "I joyed when to the house of God
      'Go up,' they said to me,
    'Jerusalem, within thy gates
      Our feet shall standing be.'"

"Oh, Paradise! oh, Paradise!" hummed Amy Raeburn that same Sunday
morning as, the last to leave the Manse, she ran after her mother and
sisters. The storm of the two previous days had newly brightened the
landscape. Every twig and branch shone, and the red and yellow maple
leaves, the wine-color of the oak, the burnished copper of the beech,
were like jewels in the sun.

"If it were not Sunday I would dance," said Amy, subduing her steps to a
sober walk as she saw approaching the majestic figure of Mrs. Cyril
Bannington Barnes.

"You are late, Amy Raeburn," said this lady. "Your father went to church
a half-hour ago, and the bell is tolling. Young people should cultivate
a habit of being punctual. This being a few minutes behind time is very
reprehensible--very rep-re-hen-sible indeed, my love."

"Yes, ma'am," replied Amy, meekly, walking slowly beside the also tardy
Mrs. Barnes.

"I dare say," continued Mrs. Barnes, "that you are thinking to yourself
that I also am late. But, Amy, I have no duty to the parish. I am an
independent woman. You are a girl, and the minister's daughter at that.
You are in a very different position. I do hope, Amy Raeburn, that you
will not be late another Sunday morning. Your mother is not so good a
disciplinarian as I could wish."

"No, Mrs. Barnes?" said Amy, with a gentle questioning manner, which
would have irritated the matron still more had their progress not now
ceased on the church steps. Amy, both resentful and amused, fluttered,
like an alarmed chick to the brooding mother-wing, straight to the
minister's pew. Mrs. Barnes, smoothing ruffled plumes, proceeded with
stately and impressive tread to her place in front of the pulpit.

Doctor Raeburn was rising to pronounce the invocation. The church was
full. Amy glanced over to the Wainwright pew, and saw Grace, and smiled.
Into Amy's mind stole a text she was fond of, quite as if an angel had
spoken it, and she forgot that she had been ruffled the wrong way by
Mrs. Cyril Bannington Barnes. This was the text:

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

"You are a hateful, wicked girl, Amy," said Amy to herself. "Why, when
you have so much to make you happy, are you so easily upset by a fretful
old lady, who is, after all, your friend, and would stand by you if
there were need?"

Amy did not know it, but it was Grace's sweet and tranquil look that had
brought the text to her mind. One of the dearest things in life is that
we may do good and not know that we are doing it.

When the Sunday hush fell on the house of which Mrs. Wainwright had
spoken Grace came softly tapping at the door.

"Yes, dear," called her mother; "come right in."

"Mamma," said Grace, after a few minutes, "will you tell me plainly, if
you don't mind, what is worrying papa? I don't mean generally, but what
special trouble is on his mind to-day?"

"Potter's bill, I have no doubt," said the mother, quietly. "Other
troubles come and go, but there is always Potter's bill in the
background. And every little while it crops up and gets into the front."

"What is Potter's bill, dear mamma, and how do we come to owe it?"

"I can't fully explain to you, my child, how it comes to be so large.
When Mr. Potter's father was living and carrying on the business, he
used to say to your father: 'Just get all you want here, doctor; never
give yourself a thought; pay when you can and what you can. We come to
you for medical advice and remedies, and we'll strike a balance
somehow.' The Potters have during years had very little occasion for a
doctor's services, and we, with this great family, have had to have
groceries, shoes, and every other thing, and Potter's bill has kept
rolling up like a great snowball, bit by bit. We pay something now and
then. I sold my old sideboard that came to me from my grandparents, and
paid a hundred dollars on it six months ago. Old Mr. Potter died. Rufus
reigns in his stead, as the Bible says, and he wants to collect his
money. I do not blame him, Grace, but he torments poor papa. There are
two hundred dollars due now, and papa has been trying to get money due
him, and to pay Rufus fifty dollars, but he's afraid he can't raise the
money."

Grace reflected. Then she asked a question. "Dear mamma, don't think me
prying, but is Potter's the only pressing obligation on papa just now?"

Mrs. Wainwright hesitated. Then she answered, a little slowly, "No,
Grace, there are other accounts; but Potter's is the largest."

"I ask, because I can help my father," said Grace, modestly. "Uncle
Ralph deposited five hundred dollars to my credit in a New York bank on
my birthday. The money is mine, to do with absolutely as I please. I
have nearly fifty dollars in my trunk. Uncle and auntie have always
given me money lavishly. Papa can settle Potter's account to-morrow. I'm
only too thankful I have the money. To think that money can do so much
toward making people happy or making them miserable! Then, mother dear,
we'll go into papa's accounts and see how near I can come to relieving
the present state of affairs; and if papa will consent, we'll collect
his bills, and then later, I've another scheme--that is a fine,
sweet-toned piano in the parlor. I mean to give lessons."

"Grace, it was an extravagance in our circumstances to get that piano,
but the girls were so tired of the old one; it was worn out, a tin pan,
and this is to be paid for on easy terms, so much a month."

Grace hated to have her mother to apologize in this way. She hastened to
say, "I'm glad it's here, and don't think me conceited, but I've had the
best instruction uncle could secure for me here, and a short course in
Berlin, and now I mean to make it of some use. I believe I can get
pupils."

"Not many in Highland, I fear, Grace."

"If not in Highland, in New York. Leave that to me."

Mrs. Wainwright felt as if she had been taking a tonic. To the lady
living her days out in her own chamber, and unaccustomed to excitement,
there was something very surprising and very stimulating too in the
swift way of settling things and the fearlessness of this young girl.
Though she had yielded very reluctantly to her brother's wish to keep
Grace apart from her family and wholly his own for so many years, she
now saw there was good in it. Her little girl had developed into a
resolute, capable and strong sort of young woman, who could make use of
whatever tools her education had put into her hands.

"This hasn't been quite the right kind of Sunday talk, mother," said
Grace, "but I haven't been here three days without seeing there's a
cloud, and I don't like to give up to clouds. I'm like the old woman who
must take her broom and sweep the cobwebs out of the sky."

"God helping you, my dear, you will succeed. You have swept some cobwebs
out of my sky already."

"God helping me, yes, dear. Thank you for saying that. Now don't you
want me to sing to you? I'll darken your room and set the door ajar, and
then I'll go to the parlor and play soft, rippling, silvery things, and
sing to you, and you will fall asleep while I'm singing, and have a
lovely nap before they all come home."

As Grace went down the stairs, she paused a moment at the door of the
big dining-room, "large as a town hall," her father sometimes said.
Everything at Wishing-Brae was of ample size--great rooms, lofty
ceilings, big fire-places, broad windows.

"I missed the sideboard, the splendid old mahogany piece with its deep
winy lustre, and the curious carved work. Mother must have grieved to
part with it. Surely uncle and aunt couldn't have known of these
straits. Well, I'm at home now, and they need somebody to manage for
them. Uncle always said I had a business head. God helping me, I'll pull
my people out of the slough of despond."

The young girl went into the parlor, where the amber light from the
west was beginning to fall upon the old Wainwright portraits, the
candelabra with their prisms pendent, and the faded cushions and rugs.
Playing softly, as she had said, singing sweetly "Abide with me" and
"Sun of my soul," the mother was soothed into a peaceful little
half-hour of sleep, in which she dreamed that God had sent her an angel
guest, whose name was Grace.




CHAPTER IV.

TWO LITTLE SCHOOLMARMS.


"And so you are your papa's good fairy? How happy you must be! How
proud!" Amy's eyes shone as she talked to Grace, and smoothed down a
fold of the pretty white alpaca gown which set off her friend's dainty
beauty. The girls were in my mother's room at the Manse, and Mrs.
Raeburn had left them together to talk over plans, while she went to the
parlor to entertain a visitor who was engaged in getting up an autumn
_fete_ for a charitable purpose. Nothing of this kind was ever done
without mother's aid.

There were few secrets between Wishing-Brae and the Manse, and Mrs.
Wainwright had told our mother how opportunely Grace had been able to
assist her father in his straits. Great was our joy.

"You must remember, dear," said mamma, when she returned from seeing
Miss Gardner off, "that your purse is not exhaustless, though it is a
long one for a girl. Debts have a way of eating up bank accounts; and
what will you do when your money is gone if you still find that the wolf
menaces the door at Wishing-Brae?"

"That is what I want to consult you about, Aunt Dorothy." (I ought to
have said that our mother was Aunt Dorothy to the children at the Brae,
and more beloved than many a real auntie, though one only by courtesy.)
"Frances knows my ambitions," Grace went on. "I mean to be a money-maker
as well as a money-spender; and I have two strings to my bow. First, I'd
like to give interpretations."

The mother looked puzzled. "Interpretations?" she said. "Of what,
pray?--Sanscrit or Egyptian or Greek? Are you a seeress or a witch, dear
child?"

"Neither. In plain English I want to read stories and poems to my
friends and to audiences--Miss Wilkins' and Mrs. Stuart's beautiful
stories, and the poems of Holmes and Longfellow and others who speak to
the heart. Not mere elocutionary reading, but simple reading, bringing
out the author's meaning and giving people pleasure. I would charge an
admission fee, and our dining-room would hold a good many; but I ought
to have read somewhere else first, and to have a little background of
city fame before I ask Highland neighbors to come and hear me. This is
my initial plan. I could branch out."

To the mother the new idea did not at once commend itself. She knew
better than we girls did how many twenty-five-cent tickets must be sold
to make a good round sum in dollars. She knew the thrifty people of
Highland looked long at a quarter before they parted with it for mere
amusement, and still further, she doubted whether Dr. Wainwright would
like the thing. But Amy clapped her hands gleefully. She thought it
fine.

"You must give a studio reading," she said. "I can manage that, mother;
if Miss Antoinette Drury will lend her studio, and we send out
invitations for 'Music and Reading, and Tea at Five,' the prestige part
will be taken care of. The only difficulty that I can see is that Grace
would have to go to a lot of places and travel about uncomfortably; and
then she'd need a manager. Wouldn't she, Frances?"

"I see no trouble," said I, "in her being her own manager. She would go
to a new town with a letter to the pastor of the leading church, or his
wife, call in at the newspaper office and get a puff; puffs are always
easily secured by enterprising young women, and they help to fill up the
paper besides. Then she would hire a hall and pay for it out of her
profits, and the business could be easily carried forward."

"Is this the New Woman breaking her shell?" said mother. "I don't think
I quite like the interpretation scheme either as Amy or as you outline
it, though I am open to persuasion. Here is the doctor. Let us hear what
he says."

It was not Dr. Wainwright, but my father, Dr. Raeburn, except on a
Friday, the most genial of men. Amy perched herself on his knee and ran
her slim fingers through his thick dark hair. To him our plans were
explained, and he at once gave them his approval.

"As I understand you, Gracie," Dr. Raeburn said, "you wish this reading
business as a stepping-stone. You would form classes, would you not? And
your music could also be utilized. You had good instruction, I fancy,
both here and over the water."

"Indeed, yes, Dr. Raeburn; and I could give lessons in music, but they
wouldn't bring me in much, here at least."

"Come to my study," said the doctor, rising. "Amy, you have ruffled up
my hair till I look like a cherub before the flood. Come, all of you,
Dorothy and the kids."

"You don't call us kids, do you, papa?"

"Young ladies, then, at your service," said the doctor, with a low bow.
"I've a letter from my old friend, Vernon Hastings. I'll read it to you
when I can find it," said the good man, rummaging among the books,
papers, and correspondence with which his great table was littered.
"Judge Hastings," the doctor went on, "lost his wife in Venice a year
ago. He has three little girls in need, of special advantages; he cannot
bear to send them away to school, and his mother, who lives with him and
orders the house, won't listen to having a resident governess. Ah, this
is the letter!" The doctor read:

     "I wish you could help me, Charley, in the dilemma in which I find
     myself. Lucy and Helen and my little Madge are to be educated, and
     the question is how, when, and where? They are delicate, and I
     cannot yet make up my mind to the desolate house I would have
     should they go to school. Grandmamma has pronounced against a
     governess, and I don't like the day-schools of the town. Now is not
     one of your daughters musical, and perhaps another sufficiently
     mistress of the elementary branches to teach these babies? I will
     pay liberally the right person or persons for three hours' work a
     day. But I must have well-bred girls, ladies, to be with my trio of
     bairns."

"I couldn't teach arithmetic or drawing," said Grace. "I would be glad
to try my hand at music, and geography and German and French. I might
be weak on spelling."

"I don't think that of you, Grace," said mother.

"I am ashamed to say it's true," said Grace.

Amy interrupted. "How far away is Judge Hastings' home, papa?"

"An hour's ride, Amy dear. No, forty minutes' ride by rail. I'll go and
see him. I've no doubt he will pay you generously, Grace, for your
services, if you feel that you can take up this work seriously."

"I do; I will," said Grace, "and only too thankful will I be to
undertake it; but what about the multiplication table, and the straight
and the curved lines, and Webster's speller?"

"Papa," said Amy, gravely, "please mention me to the judge. I will teach
those midgets the arithmetic and drawing and other fundamental studies
which my gifted friend fears to touch."

"You?" said papa, in surprise.

"Why not, dear?" interposed mamma. "Amy's youth is against her, but the
fact is she can count and she can draw, and I am not afraid to recommend
her, though she is only a chit of fifteen, as to her spelling."

"Going on sixteen, mamma, if you please, and nearly there," Amy
remarked, drawing herself up to her fullest height, at which we all
laughed merrily.

"I taught school myself at sixteen," our mother went on, "and though it
made me feel like twenty-six, I had no trouble with thirty boys and
girls of all ages from four to eighteen. You must remember me, my love,
in the old district school at Elmwood."

"Yes," said papa, "and your overpowering dignity was a sight for gods
and men. All the same you were a darling."

"So she is still." And we pounced upon her in a body and devoured her
with kisses, the sweet little mother.

"Papa," Amy proceeded, when order had been restored, "why not take us
when you go to interview the judge? Then he can behold his future
schoolma'ams, arrange terms, and settle the thing at once. I presume
Grace is anxious as I am to begin her career, now that it looms up
before her. I am in the mood of the youth who bore through snow and ice
the banner with the strange device, 'Excelsior.'"

"In the mean time, good people," said Frances, appearing in the doorway,
"luncheon is served."

We had a pretty new dish--new to us--for luncheon, and as everybody may
not know how nice it is, I'll just mention it in passing.

Take large ripe tomatoes, scoop out the pulp and mix it with finely
minced canned salmon, adding a tiny pinch of salt. Fill the tomatoes
with this mixture, set them in a nest of crisp green lettuce leaves, and
pour a mayonnaise into each ruby cup. The dish is extremely dainty and
inviting, and tastes as good as it looks. It must be very cold.

"But," Doctor Raeburn said, in reply to a remark of mother's that she
was pleased the girls had decided on teaching, it was so womanly and
proper an employment for girls of good family, "I must insist that the
'interpretations' be not entirely dropped. I'll introduce you, my dear,"
he said, "when you give your first recital, and that will make it all
right in the eyes of Highland."

"Thank you, doctor," said Grace. "I would rather have your sanction than
anything else in the world, except papa's approval."

"Why don't your King's Daughters give Grace a boom? You are always
getting up private theatricals, and this is just the right time."

"Lawrence Raeburn you are a trump!" said Amy, flying round to her
brother and giving him a hug. "We'll propose it at the first meeting of
the Ten, and it'll be carried by acclamation."

"Now," said Grace, rising and saying good-afternoon to my mother, with a
courtesy to the rest of us, "I'm going straight home to break ground
there and prepare my mother for great events."

Walking over the fields in great haste, for when one has news to
communicate, one's feet are wings, Grace was arrested by a groan as of
somebody in great pain. She looked about cautiously, but it was several
minutes before she found, lying under the hedge, a boy with a broken
pitcher at his side. He was deadly pale, and great drops of sweat rolled
down his face.

"Oh, you poor boy! What is the matter?" she cried, bending over him in
great concern.

"I've broke mother's best china pitcher," said the lad, in a despairing
voice.

"Poof!" replied Grace. "Pitchers can be mended or replaced. What else is
wrong? You're not groaning over a broken pitcher, surely!"

"You would, if it came over in the _Mayflower_, and was all of your
ancestors' you had left to show that you could be a Colonial Dame.
Ug-gh!" The boy tried to sit up, gasped and fell back in a dead faint.

"Goodness!" said Grace; "he's broken his leg as well as his pitcher.
Colonial Dames! What nonsense! Well, I can't leave him here."

She had her smelling salts in her satchel, but before she could find
them, Grace's satchel being an _omnium gatherum_ of a remarkably
miscellaneous character, the lad came to. A fainting person will usually
regain consciousness soon if laid out flat, with the head a little lower
than the body. I've seen people persist in keeping a fainting friend in
a sitting position, which is very stupid and quite cruel.

"I am Doctor Wainwright's daughter," said Grace, "and I see my father's
gig turning the corner of the road. You shall have help directly. Papa
will know what to do, so lie still where you are."

The lad obeyed, there plainly being nothing else to be done. In a second
Doctor Wainwright, at Grace's flag of distress, a white handkerchief
waving from the top of her parasol, came toward her at the mare's
fastest pace.

"Hello!" he said. "Here's Archie Vanderhoven in a pickle."

"As usual, doctor," said Archie, faintly. "I've broken mother's last
pitcher."

"And your leg, I see," observed the doctor, with professional
directness. "Well, my boy, you must be taken home. Grace, drive home for
me, and tell the boys to bring a cot here as soon as possible. Meanwhile
I'll set Archie's leg. It's only a simple fracture." And the doctor from
his black bag, brought out bandages and instruments. No army surgeon on
the field of battle was quicker and gentler than Doctor Wainwright,
whose skill was renowned all over our country-side.

"What is there about the Vanderhovens?" inquired Grace that night as
they sat by the blaze of hickory logs in the cheery parlor of
Wishing-Brae.

"The Vanderhovens are a decayed family," her father answered. "They were
once very well off and lived in state, and from far and near gay parties
were drawn at Easter and Christmas to dance under their roof. Now they
are run out. This boy and his mother are the last of the line. Archie's
father was drowned in the ford when we had the freshet last spring. The
Ramapo, that looks so peaceful now, overflowed its banks then, and ran
like a mill-race. I don't know how they manage, but Archie is kept at
school, and his mother does everything from ironing white frocks for
summer boarders to making jellies and preserves for people in town, who
send her orders."

"Is she an educated woman?" inquired Grace.

"That she is. Mrs. Vanderhoven is not only highly educated, but very
elegant and accomplished. None of her attainments, except those in the
domestic line, are available, unhappily, when earning a living is in
question, and she can win her bread only by these housekeeping efforts."

"Might I go and see her?"

"Why yes, dear, you and the others not only might, but should. She will
need help. I'll call and consult Mrs. Raeburn about her to-morrow. She
isn't a woman one can treat like a pauper--as well born as any one in
the land, and prouder than Lucifer. It's too bad Archie had to meet with
this accident; but boys are fragile creatures."

And the doctor, shaking the ashes from his pipe, went off to sit with
his wife before going to bed.

"I do wonder," said Grace to Eva, "what the boy was doing with the old
Puritan pitcher, and why a Vanderhoven should have boasted of coming
over in the _Mayflower_?"

Eva said: "They're Dutch and English, Grace. The Vanderhovens are from
Holland, but Archie's mother was a Standish, or something of that sort,
and her kinsfolk, of course, belonged to the _Mayflower_ crowd. I
believe Archie meant to sell that pitcher, and if so, no wonder he broke
his leg. By-the-way, what became of the pieces?"

"I picked them up," said Grace.




CHAPTER V.

CEMENTS AND RIVETS.


"How did we ever consent to let our middle daughter stay away all these
years, mother?" said Dr. Wainwright, addressing his wife.

"I cannot tell how it happened, father," she said, musingly. "I think we
drifted into the arrangement, and you know each year brother was
expected to bring her back Harriet would plan a jaunt or a journey which
kept her away, and then, Jack, we've generally been rather out at the
elbows, and I have been so helpless, that, with our large family, it was
for Grace's good to let her remain where she was so well provided for."

"She's clear grit, isn't she?" said the doctor, admiringly, stalking to
and fro in his wife's chamber. "I didn't half like the notion of her
giving readings; but Charley Raeburn says the world moves and we must
move with it, and now that her object is not purely a selfish one, I
withdraw my opposition. I confess, though, darling, I don't enjoy the
thought that my girls must earn money. I feel differently about the
boys."

"Jack, dear," said his wife, tenderly, always careful not to wound the
feelings of this unsuccessful man who was still so loving and so full of
chivalry, "you needn't mind that in the very least. The girl who doesn't
want to earn money for herself in these days is in the minority. Girls
feel it in the air. They all fret and worry, or most of them do, until
they are allowed to measure their strength and test the commercial worth
of what they have acquired. You are a dear old fossil, Jack. Just look
at it in this way: Suppose Mrs. Vanderhoven, brought up in the purple,
taught to play a little, to embroider a little, to speak a little
French--to do a little of many things and nothing well--had been given
the sort of education that in her day was the right of every gentleman's
son, though denied the gentleman's daughter, would her life be so hard
and narrow and distressful now? Would she be reduced to taking in fine
washing and hemstitching, and canning fruit?"

"Canning fruit, mother dear," said Miriam, who had just come in to
procure fresh towels for the bedrooms, "is a fine occupation. Several
women in the United States are making their fortunes at that. Eva and I,
who haven't Grace's talents, are thinking of taking it up in earnest. I
can make preserves, I rejoice to say."

"When you are ready to begin, you shall have my blessing," said her
father. "I yield to the new order of things." Then as the pretty elder
daughter disappeared, a sheaf of white lavender-perfumed towels over her
arm, he said: "Now, dear, I perceive your point. Archie Vanderhoven's
accident has, however, occurred in the very best possible time for
Grace. The King's Daughters--you know what a breezy Ten they are, with
our Eva and the Raeburns' Amy among them--are going to give a lift to
Archie, not to his mother, who might take offence. All the local talent
of our young people is already enlisted. Our big dining-room is to be
the hall of ceremonies, and I believe they are to have tableaux, music,
readings and refreshments. This will come off on the first moonlight
night, and the proceeds will all go to Archie, to be kept, probably, as
a nest-egg for his college expenses. That mother of his means him to go
through college, you know, if she has to pay the fees by hard work,
washing, ironing, scrubbing, what not."

"I hope the boy's worth it," said Mrs. Wainwright, doubtfully. "Few boys
are."

"The right boy is," said the doctor, firmly. "In our medical association
there's one fellow who is on the way to be a famous surgeon. He's fine,
Jane, the most plucky, persistent man, with the eye, and the nerve, and
the hand, and the delicacy and steadiness of the surgeon born in him,
and confirmed by training. Some of his operations are perfectly
beautiful, beautiful! He'll be famous over the whole world yet. His
mother was an Irish charwoman, and she and he had a terrible tug to
carry him through his studies."

"Is he good to her? Is he grateful?" asked Mrs. Wainwright, much
impressed.

"Good! grateful! I should say so," said the doctor. "She lives like
Queen Victoria, rides in her carriage, dresses in black silk, has four
maids to wait on her. She lives like the first lady in the land, in her
son's house, and he treats her like a lover. He's a man. He was worth
all she did. They say," added the doctor, presently, "that sometimes the
old lady tires of her splendor, sends the maids away to visit their
cousins, and turns in and works for a day or two like all possessed.
She's been seen hanging out blankets on a windy day in the back yard,
with a face as happy as that of a child playing truant."

"Poor, dear old thing," said Mrs. Wainwright. "Well, to go back to our
girlie, she's to be allowed to take her own way, isn't she, and to be as
energetic and work as steadily as she likes?"

"Yes, dearest, she shall, for all I'll do or say to the contrary. And
when my ship comes in I'll pay her back with interest for the loans
she's made me lately."

The doctor went off to visit his patients. His step had grown light,
his face had lost its look of alert yet furtive dread. He looked twenty
years younger. And no wonder. He no longer had to dodge Potter at every
turn, and a big package of receipted bills, endorsed and dated, lay
snugly in his desk, the fear of duns exorcised thereby. A man whose path
has been impeded by the thick underbrush of debts he cannot settle, and
who finds his obligations cancelled, may well walk gaily along the
cleared and brightened roadway, hearing birds sing and seeing blue sky
beaming above his head.

The Ten took hold of the first reading with enthusiasm. Flags were
borrowed, and blazing boughs of maple and oak, with festoons of crimson
blackberry vine and armfuls of golden rod transformed the long room into
a bower. Seats were begged and borrowed, and all the cooks in town made
cake with fury and pride for the great affair. The tickets were sold
without much trouble, and the girls had no end of fun in rehearsing the
tableaux which were decided on as preferable in an entertainment given
by the King's Daughters, because in tableaux everybody has something to
do. Grace was to read from "Young Lucretia" and a poem by Hetta Lord
Hayes Ward, a lovely poem about a certain St. Bridget who trudges up to
heaven's gate, after her toiling years, and finds St. Peter waiting to
set it wide open. The poor, modest thing was an example of Keble's
lovely stanza:

    "Meek souls there are who little dream
    Their daily life an angel's theme,
    Nor that the rod they bear so calm
    In heaven may prove a martyr's palm."

Very much astonished at her reception, she is escorted up to the serene
heights by tall seraphs, who treat her with the greatest reverence. By
and by along comes a grand lady, one of Bridget's former employers. She
just squeezes through the gate, and then,

    "Down heaven's hill a radiant saint
    Comes flying with a palm,
    'Are you here, Bridget O'Flaherty?'
    St. Bridget cries, 'Yes ma'am.'

    "'Oh, teach me, Bridget, the manners, please,
    Of the royal court above.'
    'Sure, honey dear, you'll aisy learn
    Humility and love.'"

I haven't time to tell you all about the entertainment, and there is no
need. You, of course, belong to Tens or to needlework guilds or to
orders of some kind, and if you are a member of the Order of the Round
Table why, of course, you are doing good in some way or other, and good
which enables one to combine social enjoyment and a grand frolic; and
the making of a purseful of gold and silver for a crippled boy, or an
aged widow, or a Sunday-school in Dakota, or a Good Will Farm in Maine,
is a splendid kind of good.

This chapter is about cements and rivets. It is also about the two
little schoolmarms.

"Let us take Mrs. Vanderhoven's pitcher to town when we go to call on
the judge with father," said Amy. "Perhaps it can be mended."

"It may be mended, but I do not think it will hold water again."

"There is a place," said Amy, "where a patient old German frau, with the
tiniest little bits of rivets that you can hardly see, and the stickiest
cement you ever did see, repairs broken china. Archie was going to sell
the pitcher. His mother had said he might. A lady at the hotel had
promised him five dollars for it as a specimen of some old pottery or
other. Then he leaped that hedge, caught his foot, fell, and that was
the end of that five dollars, which was to have gone for a new lexicon
and I don't know what else."

"It was a fortunate break for Archie. His leg will be as strong as ever,
and we'll make fifty dollars by our show. I call such a disaster an
angel in disguise."

"Mrs. Vanderhoven cried over the pitcher, though. She said it had almost
broken her heart to let Archie take it out of the house, and she felt it
was a judgment on her for being willing to part with it."

"Every one has some superstition, I think," said Amy.

Judge Hastings, a tall, soldierly gentleman, with the bearing of a
courtier, was delighted with the girls, and brought his three little
women in their black frocks to see their new teachers.

"I warn you, young ladies," he said, "these are spoiled babies. But they
will do anything for those they love, and they will surely love you. I
wish them to be thoroughly taught, especially music and calisthenics.
Can you teach them the latter?"

He fixed his keen, blue eyes on Grace, who colored under the glance, but
answered bravely:

"Yes, Judge, I can teach them physical culture and music, too, but I
won't undertake teaching them to count or to spell."

"I'll take charge of that part," said Amy, fearlessly.

Grace's salary was fixed at one thousand dollars, Amy's at five hundred,
a year, and Grace was to come to her pupils three hours a day for five
days every week, Amy one hour a day for five days.

"We'll travel together," said Amy, "for I'll be at the League while you
are pegging away at the teaching of these tots after my hour is over."

If any girl fancies that Grace and Amy had made an easy bargain I
recommend her to try the same tasks day in and day out for the weeks of
a winter. She will discover that she earns her salary. Lucy, Helen and
Madge taxed their young teachers' utmost powers, but they did them
credit, and each month, as Grace was able to add comforts to her home,
to lighten her father's burdens, to remove anxiety from her mother, she
felt that she would willingly have worked harder.

The little pitcher was repaired so that you never would have known it
had been broken. Mrs. Vanderhoven set it in the place of honor on top of
her mantel shelf, and Archie, now able to hobble about, declared that he
would treasure it for his children's children.

One morning a letter came for Grace. It was from the principal of a
girls' school in a lovely village up the Hudson, a school attended by
the daughters of statesmen and millionaires, but one, too, which had
scholarships for bright girls who desired culture, but whose parents had
very little money. To attend Miss L----'s school some girls would have
given more than they could put into words; it was a certificate of good
standing in society to have been graduated there, while mothers prized
and girls envied those who were students at Miss L----'s for the
splendid times they were sure to have.

"Your dear mother," Miss L---- wrote, "will easily recall her old
schoolmate and friend. I have heard of you, Grace, through my friend,
Madame Necker, who was your instructress in Paris, and I have two
objects in writing. One is to secure you as a teacher in reading for an
advanced class of mine. The class would meet but once a week; your
office would be to read to them, interpreting the best authors, and to
influence them in the choice of books adapted for young girls."

Grace held her breath. "Mother!" she exclaimed, "is Miss L---- in her
right mind?"

"A very level-headed person, Grace. Read on."

"I have also a vacant scholarship, and I will let you name a friend of
yours to fill it. I would like a minister's daughter. Is there any dear
little twelve-year-old girl who would like to come to my school, and
whose parents would like to send her, but cannot afford so much expense?
Because, if there is such a child among your friends, I will give her a
warm welcome. Jane Wainwright your honored mother, knows that I will be
too happy thus to add a happiness to her lot in life."

Mother and daughter looked into each other's eyes. One thought was in
both.

"Laura Raeburn!" they exclaimed together.

Laura Raeburn it was who entered Miss L----'s, her heart overflowing
with satisfaction, and so the never-shaken friendship between
Wishing-Brae and the Manse was made stronger still, as by cements and
rivets.




CHAPTER VI.

THE TOWER ROOM.


As time went on, Grace surely did not have to share a third part of her
sisters' room, did she? For nothing is so much prized by most girls as a
room of their very own, and a middle daughter, particularly such a
middle daughter as Grace Wainwright, has a claim to a foothold--a wee
bit place, as the Scotch say--where she can shut herself in, and read
her Bible, and say her prayers, and write her letters, and dream her
dreams, with nobody by to see. Mrs. Wainwright had been a good deal
disturbed about there being no room for Grace when she came back to
Highland, and one would have been fitted up had there been an extra cent
in the family exchequer. Grace didn't mind, or if she did, she made
light of her sacrifice; but her sisters felt that they ought to help her
to privacy.

Eva and Miriam came over to the Manse to consult us in the early days.

I suggested screens.

"You can do almost anything with screens and portieres," I said. "One
of the loveliest rooms I ever saw in my life is in a cottage in the
Catskills, where one large room is separated into drawing-room, library,
and dining-room, and sometimes into a spare chamber, as well, by the
judicious use of screens."

"Could we buy them at any price we could pay?" said Miriam.

"Buy them, child? What are you talking about? You can make them. You
need only two or three clothes-horses for frames, some chintz, or even
wall-paper or calico, a few small tacks, a little braid, a hammer and
patience."

After Grace was fairly launched on her career as teacher, mother
suggested one day that the tower-room at Wishing-Brae could be
transformed into a maiden's bower without the spending of much money,
and that it would make an ideal girl's room, "just the nest for Grace,
to fold her wings in and sing her songs--a nest with an outlook over the
tree-tops and a field of stars above it."

"Mother dear, you are too poetical and romantic for anything, but I
believe," said Amy, "that it could be done, and if it could it ought."

The tower at Wishing-Brae was then a large, light garret-room, used for
trunks and boxes. Many a day have I spent there writing stories when I
was a child, and oh! what a prospect there was and is from those
windows--prospect of moors and mountains, of ribbons of rivers and white
roads leading out to the great world. You could see all Highland from
the tower windows. In sunny days and in storms it was a delight beyond
common just to climb the steep stairs and hide one's self there.

We put our heads together, all of us. We resolved at last that the
tower-room should be our birthday gift to Grace. It was quite easy to
contrive and work when she was absent, but not so easy to keep from
talking about the thing in her presence. Once or twice we almost let it
out, but she suspected nothing, and we glided over the danger as over
ice, and hugged ourselves that we had escaped. We meant it for a
surprise.

First of all, of course, the place had to be thoroughly cleaned, then
whitewashed as to the ceiling, and scoured over and over as to the
unpainted wood. Archie Vanderhoven and all the brothers of both families
helped manfully with this, and the two dear old doctors both climbed up
stairs every day, and gave us their criticism. When the cleanness and
the sweetness were like the world after the deluge, we began to furnish.
The floor was stained a deep dark cherry red; Mrs. Raeburn presented the
room with a large rug, called an art-square; Mrs. Vanderhoven made
lovely ecru curtains of cheese-cloth, full and flowing, for the windows
and these were caught back by cherry ribbons.

We had a regular controversy over the bed, half of us declaring for a
folding bed, that could be shut up by day and be an armoire or a
book-case, the others wanting a white enameled bed with brass knobs and
bars. The last party carried the day.

The boys hung some shelves, and on these we arranged Grace's favorite
books. Under the books in the window were her writing-table and her
chair and foot-stool. The Vanderhovens sent a pair of brass andirons for
the fireplace, and the little Hastings children, who were taken into the
secret, contributed a pair of solid silver candlesticks.

Never was there a prettier room than that which we stood and surveyed
one soft April morning when it was pronounced finished. Our one regret
was that dear Mrs. Wainwright could not see it. But the oldest of the
Raeburn boys brought over his camera and took a picture of the room, and
this was afterwards enlarged and framed for one of Mrs. Wainwright's own
birthdays.

"Mother dear," said Grace one evening, as they sat together for a
twilight talk, "do you believe God always answers prayers?"

"Always, my child."

"Do you think we can always see the answers, feel sure He has heard
us?"

"The answers do not always come at once, Grace, nor are they always what
we expect, but God sends us what is best for us, and He gives us
strength to help answer the prayers we make. Sometimes prayers are
answered before they leave our lips. Don't you know that in every 'Oh,
my Father,' is the answer, 'Here, my child?'"

"I used to long, years ago," said Grace, "when I was as happy as I could
be with dear uncle and auntie, just to fly to you and my father. It
seemed sometimes as if I would die just to get home to Highland again,
and be one of the children. Uncle and auntie want me to go abroad with
them this summer, just for a visit, and they are so good they will take
one of my sisters and one of the Raeburns; but I hate to think of the
ocean between you and me again even for a few weeks."

"You must go, dearie," said Mrs. Wainwright. "The dear uncle is part
owner of you, darling, and he's very generous; but he can never have you
back to keep."

"No, indeed."

"Which of the Raeburns do you suppose they can best spare?"

"I don't know which they would choose to spare, but Amy will be the one
to go. She was born under a fortunate star, and the rest will help to
send her."

"I'd like Frances myself."

"Frances is the stay-at-home daughter. She cannot be spared. It will be
Amy, and I will let Miriam go with you, and Eva, who is the youngest,
can wait for her turn some other day."

"Is that Burden's cart going down the lane?" inquired Grace, looking out
of the window. "It's queer how many errands Mr. Burden's had here
lately. I believe he's been investing in another cart, or else he has
painted the old one. Business must be brisk. There come papa, and Dr.
Raeburn with him. Why, mother, all the Raeburns are coming! If there is
to be company, I might have been told."

"So might I," said Mrs. Wainwright, with spirit. "Hurry, Grace, bring me
some cologne and water to wash my face and hands, and give me my
rose-pink wrapper. Turn the key in the door, dearie. An invalid should
never be seen except looking her best. You can slip away and get into a
tea gown before you meet them, if they are coming to supper. Whose
birthday is it? This seems to be a surprise party."

"Why, mamma--it's my birthday; but you don't think there's anything on
foot that I don't know of--do you, dearest?"

"I wouldn't like to say what I think, my pet. There, the coast is
clear. Run away and change your gown. Whoever wished to see me now may
do so. The queen is ready to give audience. Just wheel my chair a little
to the left, so that I can catch the last of that soft pink after-glow."

"And were you really entirely unprepared, Grace," said the girls later,
"and didn't you ever for a single moment notice anything whatsoever we
were doing?"

"Never for one instant. I missed my Tennyson and my French Bible, but
thought Eva had borrowed them, and in my wildest imagination I never
dreamed you would furnish a lovely big room at the top of the house all
for me, my own lone self. It doesn't seem right for me to accept it."

"Ah, but it is quite right!" said her father, tenderly, "and here is
something else--a little birthday check from me to my daughter. Since
you came home and set me on my feet I've prospered as never before. Eva
has collected ever so many of my bills, and I've sold a corner of the
meadow for a good round sum, a corner that never seemed to me to be
worth anything. I need not stay always in your debt, financially, dear
little woman."

"But, papa."

"But, Grace."

"Your father is right, Grace," said the sweet low tones of Mrs.
Wainwright, even and firm. "Through God's goodness you have had the
means and disposition to help him, but neither of us ever intended to
rest our weight always on your shoulders. You needn't work so hard
hereafter, unless you wish, to."

"Thank you, dear papa," said Grace. "I shall work just as hard, because
I love to work, and because I am thus returning to the world some part
of what I owe it; and next year, who knows, I may be able to pay Eva's
bills at Miss L----'s."

Eva jumped up and down with delight.

Then came supper, served in Mrs. Wainwright's room, and after that music
and a long merry talk, and at last, lest Mrs. Wainwright should be
weary, the Raeburns took their way homeward over the lane and across the
fields to the Manse.

Grace from the tower window watched them going, the light of the moon
falling in golden clearness over the fields and farms just waiting for
spring,

    "To serve the present age
     My calling to fulfill,

she whispered to herself. "Good-night, dear ones all, good-night," she
said a little later climbing up the tower stair to her new room.

"God bless you, middle daughter," said her father's deep tones.

Soft, hushed footsteps pattered after the girl, step by step. She
thought herself all alone as she shut the door, but presently a cold
nose was thrust against her hand, a furry head rubbed her knee. Fido,
the pet fox-terrier, had determined for his part to share the
tower-room.




The Golden Bird.[2]

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM.


In times gone by there was a king who had at the back of his castle a
beautiful pleasure garden, in which stood a tree that bore golden
apples. As the apples ripened they were counted, but one morning one was
missing. Then the king was angry, and he ordered that a watch should be
kept about the tree every night. Now the king had three sons, and he
sent the eldest to spend the whole night in the garden; so he watched
till midnight, and then he could keep off sleep no longer, and in the
morning another apple was missing. The second son had to watch the
following night; but it fared no better, for when twelve o'clock had
struck he went to sleep, and in the morning another apple was missing.
Now came the turn of the third son to watch, and he was ready to do so;
but the king had less trust in him, and believed he would acquit himself
still worse than his brothers, but in the end he consented to let him
try. So the young man lay down under the tree to watch, and resolved
that sleep should not be master. When it struck twelve something came
rushing through the air, and he saw in the moonlight a bird flying
towards him, whose feathers glittered like gold. The bird perched upon
the tree, and had already pecked off an apple, when the young man let
fly an arrow at it. The bird flew away, but the arrow had struck its
plumage, and one of its golden feathers fell to the ground; the young
man picked it up, and taking it next morning to the king, told him what
had happened in the night. The king called his council together, and all
declared that such a feather was worth more than the whole kingdom.

"Since the feather is so valuable," said the king, "one is not enough
for me; I must and will have the whole bird."

So the eldest son set off, and, relying on his own cleverness, he
thought he should soon find the golden bird. When he had gone some
distance he saw a fox sitting at the edge of a wood and he pointed his
gun at him. The fox cried out:

"Do not shoot me and I will give you good counsel. You are on your way
to find the golden bird, and this evening you will come to a village in
which two taverns stand facing each other. One will be brightly lighted
up, and there will be plenty of merriment going on inside; do not mind
about that, but go into the other one, although it will look to you
very uninviting."

"How can a silly beast give anyone rational advice?" thought the king's
son, and let fly at the fox, but he missed him, and he stretched out his
tail and ran quick into the wood. Then the young man went on his way,
and toward evening he came to the village and there stood the two
taverns; in one singing and revelry were going on, the other looked
quite dull and wretched. "I should be a fool," said he, "to go into that
dismal place while there is anything so good close by." So he went into
the merry inn and there lived in clover, quite forgetting the bird and
his father and all good counsel.

As time went on, and the eldest son never came home, the second son set
out to seek the golden bird. He met with the fox, just as the eldest
did, and received good advice from him without attending to it. And when
he came to the two taverns his brother was standing and calling to him
at the window of one of them, out of which came sounds of merriment; so
he could not resist, but went and reveled to his heart's content.

And then, as time went on, the youngest son wished to go forth and to
try his luck, but his father would not consent.

"It would be useless," said he; "he is much less likely to find the bird
than his brothers, and if any misfortune were to happen to him he would
not know how to help himself, his wits are none of the best."

But at last, as there was no peace to be had, he let him go. By the side
of the wood sat the fox, begged him to spare his life and gave him good
counsel. The young man was kind and said:

"Be easy, little fox, I will do you no harm."

"You shall not repent of it," answered the fox, "and that you may get
there all the sooner get up and sit on my tail."

And no sooner had he done so than the fox began to run, and off they
went over stock and stone, so that the wind whistled in their hair. When
they reached the village the young man got down and, following the fox's
advice, went into the mean looking tavern without hesitating, and there
he passed a quiet night. The next morning, when he went out into the
field, the fox, who was sitting there already, said:

"I will tell you further what you have to do. Go straight on until you
come to a castle, before which a great band of soldiers lie, but do not
trouble yourself about them, for they will be all asleep and snoring;
pass through them and forward into the castle, and go through all the
rooms until you come to one where there is a golden bird hanging in a
wooden cage. Near at hand will stand empty a golden cage of state, but
you must beware of taking the bird out of his ugly cage and putting him
into the fine one; if you do so you will come to harm."

After he had finished saying this the fox stretched out his tail again,
and the king's son sat him down upon it; then away they went over stock
and stone, so that the wind whistled through their hair. And when the
king's son reached the castle he found everything as the fox had said;
and he at last entered the room where the golden bird was hanging in a
wooden cage, while a golden one was standing by; the three golden
apples, too, were in the room. Then, thinking it foolish to let the
beautiful bird stay in that mean and ugly cage, he opened the door of
it, took hold of it and put it in the golden one. In the same moment the
bird uttered a piercing cry. The soldiers awaked, rushed in, seized the
king's son and put him in prison. The next morning he was brought before
a judge, and, as he confessed everything, condemned to death. But the
king said that he would spare his life on one condition, that he should
bring him the golden horse whose paces were swifter than the wind, and
that then he should also receive the golden bird as a reward.

So the king's son set off to find the golden horse, but he sighed and
was very sad, for how should it be accomplished? And then he saw his
old friend, the fox, sitting by the roadside.

"Now, you see," said the fox, "all this has happened because you would
not listen to me. But be of good courage, I will bring you through, and
will tell you how to get the golden horse. You must go straight on until
you come to a castle, where the horse stands in his stable; before the
stable-door the grooms will be lying, but they will all be asleep and
snoring, and you can go and quietly lead out the horse. But one thing
you must mind--take care to put upon him the plain saddle of wood and
leather, and not the golden one, which will hang close by, otherwise it
will go badly with you."

Then the fox stretched out his tail and the king's son seated himself
upon it, and away they went over stock and stone until the wind whistled
through their hair. And everything happened just as the fox had said,
and he came to the stall where the golden horse was, and as he was about
to put on him the plain saddle he thought to himself:

"Such a beautiful animal would be disgraced were I not to put on him the
good saddle, which becomes him so well."

However, no sooner did the horse feel the golden saddle touch him than
he began to neigh. And the grooms all awoke, seized the king's son and
threw him into prison. The next morning he was delivered up to justice
and condemned to death, but the king promised him his life, and also to
bestow upon him the golden horse if he could convey thither the
beautiful princess of the golden castle.

With a heavy heart the king's son set out, but by great good luck he
soon met with the faithful fox.

"I ought now to leave you to your own fate," said the fox, "but I am
sorry for you, and will once more help you in your need. Your way lies
straight up to the golden castle. You will arrive there in the evening,
and at night, when all is quiet, the beautiful princess goes to the
bath. And as she is entering the bathing-house go up to her and give her
a kiss, then she will follow you and you can lead her away; but do not
suffer her first to go and take leave of her parents, or it will go ill
with you."

Then the fox stretched out his tail, the king's son seated himself upon
it, and away they went over stock and stone, so that the wind whistled
through their hair. And when he came to the golden castle all was as the
fox had said. He waited until midnight, when all lay in deep sleep, and
then as the beautiful princess went to the bathing-house he went up to
her and gave her a kiss, and she willingly promised to go with him, but
she begged him earnestly, and with tears, that he would let her first
go and take leave of her parents. At first he denied her prayer, but as
she wept so much the more, and fell at his feet, he gave in at last. And
no sooner had the princess reached her father's bedside than he, and all
who were in the castle, waked up and the young man was seized and thrown
into prison.

The next morning the king said to him:

"Thy life is forfeit, but thou shalt find grace if thou canst level that
mountain that lies before my windows, and over which I am not able to
see; and if this is done within eight days thou shalt have my daughter
for a reward."

So the king's son set to work and dug and shoveled away without ceasing,
but when, on the seventh day, he saw how little he had accomplished, and
that all his work was as nothing, he fell into great sadness and gave up
all hope. But on the evening of the seventh day the fox appeared and
said:

"You do not deserve that I should help you, but go now and lie down to
sleep and I will do the work for you."

The next morning when he awoke and looked out of the window the mountain
had disappeared. The young man hastened full of joy to the king and told
him that his behest was fulfilled, and, whether the king liked it or
not, he had to keep his word and let his daughter go.

So they both went away together, and it was not long before the
faithful fox came up to them.

"Well, you have got the best first," said he, "but you must know that
the golden horse belongs to the princess of the golden castle."

"But how shall I get it?" asked the young man.

"I am going to tell you," answered the fox. "First, go to the king who
sent you to the golden castle and take to him the beautiful princess.
There will then be very great rejoicing. He will willingly give you the
golden horse, and they will lead him out to you; then mount him without
delay and stretch out your hand to each of them to take leave, and last
of all to the princess, and when you have her by the hand swing her upon
the horse behind you and off you go! Nobody will be able to overtake
you, for that horse goes swifter than the wind."

And so it was all happily done, and the king's son carried off the
beautiful princess on the golden horse. The fox did not stay behind, and
he said to the young man:

"Now, I will help you to get the golden bird. When you draw near the
castle where the bird is let the lady alight, and I will take her under
my care; then you must ride the golden horse into the castle yard, and
there will be great rejoicing to see it, and they will bring out to you
the golden bird; as soon as you have the cage in your hand you must
start off back to us, and then you shall carry the lady away."

The plan was successfully carried out, and when the young man returned
with the treasure the fox said:

"Now, what will you give me for my reward?"

"What would you like?" asked the young man.

"When we are passing through the wood I desire that you should slay me,
and cut my head and feet off."

"That were a strange sign of gratitude," said the king's son, "and I
could not possibly do such a thing."

Then said the fox:

"If you will not do it, I must leave you; but before I go let me give
you some good advice. Beware of two things; buy no gallows-meat, and sit
at no brookside." With that the fox ran off into the wood.

The young man thought to himself, "that is a wonderful animal, with most
singular ideas. How should any one buy gallows-meat? and I am sure I
have no particular fancy for sitting by a brookside."

So he rode on with the beautiful princess, and their way led them
through the village where his two brothers had stayed. There they heard
great outcry and noise, and when he asked what it was all about, they
told him that two people were going to be hanged. And when he drew near
he saw that it was his two brothers, who had done all sorts of evil
tricks, and had wasted all their goods. He asked if there were no means
of setting them free.

"Oh, yes! if you will buy them off," answered the people; "but why
should you spend your money in redeeming such worthless men?"

But he persisted in doing so; and when they were let go they all went on
their journey together.

After a while they came to the wood where the fox had met them first,
and there it seemed so cool and sheltered from the sun's burning rays
that the two brothers said:

"Let us rest here for a little by the brook, and eat and drink to
refresh ourselves."

The young man consented, quite forgetting the fox's warning, and he
seated himself by the brookside, suspecting no evil. But the two
brothers thrust him backwards into the brook, seized the princess, the
horse, and the bird, and went home to their father.

"Is not this the golden bird that we bring?" said they; "and we have
also the golden horse, and the princess of the golden castle."

Then there was great rejoicing in the royal castle, but the horse did
not feed, the bird did not chirp, and the princess sat still and wept.

The youngest brother, however, had not perished. The brook was by good
fortune dry, and he fell on the soft moss without receiving any hurt,
but he could not get up again. But in his need the faithful fox was not
lacking; he came up running and reproached him for having forgotten his
advice.

"But I cannot forsake you all the same," said he. "I will help you back
again into daylight." So he told the young man to grasp his tail and
hold on to it fast, and so he drew him up again.

"Still you are not quite out of all danger," said the fox; "your
brothers, not being certain of your death, have surrounded the woods
with sentinels, who are to put you to death if you let yourself be
seen."

A poor beggar-man was sitting by the path and the young man changed
clothes with him, and went clad in that wise into the king's courtyard.
Nobody knew him, but the bird began to chirp, and the horse began to
feed, and the beautiful princess ceased weeping.

"What does this mean?" said the king, astonished.

The princess answered:

"I cannot tell, except that I was sad and now I am joyful; it is to me
as if my rightful bridegroom had returned."

Then she told him all that happened, although the two brothers had
threatened to put her to death if she betrayed any of their secrets. The
king then ordered every person who was in the castle to be brought
before him, and with the rest came the young man like a beggar in his
wretched garments; but the princess knew him and greeted him lovingly,
falling on his neck and kissing him. The wicked brothers were seized and
put to death, and the youngest brother was married to the princess and
succeeded to the inheritance of his father.

But what became of the poor fox? Long afterward the king's son was going
through the wood and the fox met him and said:

"Now, you have everything that you can wish for, but my misfortunes
never come to an end, and it lies in your power to free me from them."
And once more he prayed the king's son earnestly to slay him and cut off
his head and feet. So at last he consented, and no sooner was it done
than the fox was changed into a man, and was no other than the brother
of the beautiful princess; and thus he was set free from a spell that
had bound him for a long, long time.

And now, indeed, there lacked nothing to their happiness as long as they
lived.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 2: This is a fairy tale, pure and simple, but we must have a
little nonsense now and then, and it does us no harm, but on the
contrary much good.]




Harry Pemberton's Text.

BY ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG.


"He that hath clean hands and a pure heart."

Harry Pemberton went down the street whistling a merry tune. It was one
I like very much, and you all know it, for it has been played by street
bands and organs, and heard on every street corner for as many years as
you boys have been living on the earth. "Wait till the clouds roll by,
Jenny, wait till the clouds roll by." The lads I am writing this story
for are between ten and fourteen years old, and they know that the
clouds do once in a while roll around a person's path, and block the
way, because fogs and mists _can_ block the way just as well as a big
black stone wall.

At the corner of the street a red-headed, blue-eyed lad, a head taller
than Harry, joined the latter. He put his hand on Harry's shoulder and
walked beside him.

"Well," said this last comer, whose name was Frank Fletcher, "will your
mother let you go, Harry, boy? I hope she doesn't object."

"But she does," said Harry, quickly "Mother doesn't think it right for
us to start on such an expedition and she says all parents will say the
same."

"Of all things, where can the harm be? Only none of the rest of us have
to ask leave, as you do."

"Mother," said Harry, disregarding this speech, "is of the opinion that
to enter a man's garden by the back gate, when the family are all away,
is breaking into his premises and going where you haven't a right, and
is burglary, and if you take flowers or anything, then it's stealing.
Mere vulgar stealing, she says."

"Why, Harry Pemberton, how dare you say _stealing_ to me?" And Frank's
red hair stood up like a fiery flame.

"I'm only quoting mother. Don't get mad, Frank."

"Does your mother know it's to decorate the soldiers' graves that we
want the flowers, and that Squire Eliot won't be home till next year,
and there are hundreds 'n hundreds of flowers fading and wasting and
dying on his lawn and garden, and furthermore that he'd _like_ the
fellows to decorate the cemetery with his flowers? Does she know that, I
say?" and the blue-eyed lad gesticulated fiercely.

"All is," replied Harry, firmly, "that you boys can go ahead if you
like, but mother won't let me, and you must count me out."

"All is," said Frank, mimicking Harry's tone, "you're a mother-boy, and
we fellows won't have anything more to do with you." So they sent him to
Coventry, which means that they let him alone severely. They had begun
to do it already, which was why he whistled so merrily to show he did
not mind.

I never for my part could see that there was any disgrace in being a
mother-boy. But I suppose a boy thinks he is called babyish, if the name
is fastened on him. As Harry went on his errand, he no longer whistled,
at least he didn't whistle much. And as he went to school next day, and
next day, and next day, and found himself left out in the cold, he would
have been more than the usual twelve-year-old laddie if he had not felt
his courage fail. But he had his motto text to bolster him up.

"Clean hands, Harry, and a pure heart," said Mrs. Pemberton, cheerfully.
"It cannot be right to steal flowers or anything else even to decorate
the graves of our brave soldiers."

And so the time passed--kite time, top time, hoop time, marble time.

It was the evening before Memorial Day, at last.

There was a good deal of stirring in the village. It was splendid
moonlight. You could see to read large print. A whole crowd of boys met
at the store and took their way across lots to the beautiful old Eliot
place. The big house, with its broad porch and white columns, stood out
in the glory of the moon. The gardens were sweet in the dew. Violets,
lilies, roses, lilacs, snow-drops, whole beds of them.

Every boy, and there were ten of them, had a basket and a pair of
shears. They meant to get all the flowers they could carry and despoil
the Eliot place, if necessary, to make the cemetery a grand looking spot
to-morrow, when the veterans and the militia should be out with bands of
music and flying flags, and the Governor, no less, coming in person to
review the troops and make a speech in the very place where his own
father was buried.

In went the boys. Over the stile, up the paths, clear on toward the
front portico. They separated into little groups and began to cut their
flowers, the Eliots' flowers, all the Eliots in Europe, and not a soul
on hand to save their property.

Suddenly the boys were arrested and paralyzed with fright.

An immense form leaped from behind the house and a deep-throated, baying
bark resounded in a threatening roar. Juno, Squire Eliot's famous
mastiff, the one that had taken a prize at the dog show, bounded out
toward the marauders. They turned to fly, when a stern voice bade them
stop.

"You young rapscallions! You trespassers! You rascals! Stop this
instant or I'll thrash every one of you! Humph!" said Squire Eliot,
brandishing his cane, as the boys stopped and tremblingly came forward.
"This is how my neighbors' sons treat my property when I'm away. Line up
there against the fence, every one of you. _Charge_, Juno! _Charge_,
good dog!"

Squire Eliot looked keenly at the boys, every one of whom he knew.

"Solomon's methods are out of fashion," he said, "and if I send you boys
home the chances are that your fathers won't whip you as you deserve to
be whipped, so I'll do the job myself. Fortunate thing I happened to
change my plans and come home for the summer, instead of going away as I
expected. I heard there was a plan of this sort on foot, but I didn't
believe it till I overheard the whole thing talked of in the village
this afternoon. Well, boys, I'll settle with you once for all, and then
I'll forgive you, but you've got to pay the penalty first. Frank, hold
out your hand."

But just then there was an interruption. Lights appeared in the windows
and a dainty little lady came upon the scene. The boys knew Grandmother
Eliot, who wore her seventy years with right queenly grace, and never
failed to have a kind word for man, woman and child in the old home.

"Eugene," she called to the Squire, imperatively, "I can't allow this,
my son. The boys have been punished enough. Their fault was in not
seeing that you cannot do evil that good may come. Let every one of
these young gentlemen come here to me. I want to talk with them."

Now it is probable that most of the boys would have preferred a sharp
blow or two from the Squire's cane to a reproof from his gentle old
mother, whose creed led her to heap coals of fire on the heads of those
who did wrong. But they had no choice. There was no help for it. They
had to go up, shears, baskets and all, and let old Lady Eliot talk to
them; and then, as they were going away, who should come out but a
white-capped maid, with cake and lemonade, to treat the young
depredators to refreshments.

"There's only one fellow in our class who deserves cake and lemonade,"
exclaimed Frank, "and he isn't here. We've all treated him meaner than
dirt. We've been horrid to him, because he wouldn't join us in this. Now
he's out of this scrape and we're in."

"Harry Pemberton," said Squire Eliot, who had locked up his cane, and
was quite calm, "Harry Pemberton, that's Lida Scott's boy, mother. Lida
would bring him up well, I'm sure. Well, he shall have a lot of roses
to-morrow to lay on Colonel Pemberton's grave. Isn't that fair, boys?"

"Yes, yes," assented they all, with eagerness.

"And as you have by your own admission treated Harry rather badly,
suppose you make it up to him by coming here in the morning, carrying
the roses to his house, and owning that you regret your behavior."

It was rather a bitter pill, but the boys swallowed it bravely.

Next day, as Harry and his mother, laden with dog-wood boughs and
branches of lilac, set out for the little spot most sacred to them on
earth, they met a procession which was headed by Frank Fletcher. The
procession had a drum and a flag, and it had roses galore.

"Honest roses, Harry," said Frank. "The Squire is at home and he gave
them to us for you. Let me tell you about it."

The story was told from beginning to end. Then Mrs. Pemberton said,
"Now, boys, take for your everlasting motto from this time forth, 'Clean
hands and a pure heart.'"




Our Cats.


The first cat of our recollection was a large, sleek, black and white
animal, the pet and plaything of our very early childhood. Tom, as we
called him, seemed much attached to us all, but when we moved from the
house of his kittendom and attempted to keep him with us, we found that
we had reckoned without our host; all our efforts were in vain; the cat
returned to its former home and we gave it up as lost to us.

The months sped along and we children had almost forgotten our late
favorite, when one day he came mewing into the yard, and in so pitiable
a condition that all our hearts were moved for him. He was in an
emaciated state distressing to behold, and then one of his hind legs was
broken so that the bone protruded through the skin. The dear old cat was
at once fed, but it was soon seen that his injury was incurable, and our
truly humane father said the only thing to do with Tom was to put him
out of his misery. This was done, but we have ever kept in mind the cat
that would not go from its first home, even with those it loved, and yet
remembered those friends and came to them in trouble. I should have
stated above, that the two homes were less than a mile apart.

Morris was another black and white cat, named Morris from our minister,
who gave him to brother. He was a fine fellow, and would jump a bar four
feet from the floor. But brother obtained a pair of tiny squirrels, the
striped squirrels, and feared that Morris would catch them, for he was
all alert when he spied them, and so the cat was sent to the house of a
friend, as this friend wished to possess him. Morris was let out of the
basket in which he was carried into our friend's kitchen, and giving one
frightened look at his surroundings he sprang up the chimney and was
never seen by any of his early friends again. Poor Morris, we never knew
his fate!

One cat we named Snowball, just because he was so black. This cat was an
unprincipled thief, and all unknown to us a person who disliked cats in
general, and thieving cats in particular, killed Snowball.

We once owned an old cat and her daughter, and when the mother had
several kittens and the daughter had but one, the grandmother stole the
daughter's kitten, and though the young mother cried piteously she never
regained possession of her child. Again, once when our brother was
ploughing he overturned a rabbit's nest, and taking the young rabbits
therefrom he gave them to the cat, who had just been robbed of her
kittens. Pussy was at once devoted to these babies, and cared for them
tenderly, never for a moment neglecting them. Nevertheless, they died,
one by one; their foster mother's care was not the kind they needed.

Of all our cats we speak most tenderly of Friskie. She was brought when
a kitten to our farm home, and if ever cat deserved eulogy it was she. A
small cat with black coat and white breast and legs, not particularly
handsome, but thoroughly good and very intelligent. The children played
with her as they would; she was never known to scratch them, but would
show her disapproval of any rough handling by a tap with her tiny velvet
paw. She was too kind to scratch them.

Friskie grew up with Trip, our little black and tan dog, and though Trip
was selfish with her, Friskie loved him and showed her affection in
various ways. If the dog came into the house wet with dew or rain the
dear little cat would carefully dry him all off with her tongue, and
though he growled at her for her officiousness she would persevere till
the task was accomplished, and then the two would curl up behind the
stove and together take a nap.

When we became the owner of a canary, Friskie at once showed feline
propensities; she wanted that bird, and saw no reason why she should be
denied it. But when, from various tokens, Friskie learned that we
valued it, she never again evinced any desire for the canary. And when,
afterward, we raised a nest of birdlings, the little cat never attempted
to touch them; no, not even when one flew out of doors and alighted
almost at her feet. Instead of seizing it, Friskie watched us as we
captured and returned it to the cage.

The writer of this story became ill with extreme prostration, and now
Friskie showed her affection in a surprising manner. Each morning she
came into our room with a tidbit, such as she was sure was toothsome:
Mice, rats, at one time a half-grown rabbit, and, at length, a bird.

It was warm weather, the room windows were open, and being upon the
first floor, when Friskie brought in her offerings they were seized and
thrown from the window to the ground. At this she would spring after the
delicacy and bring it back in a hurry, determined that it should be
eaten, mewing and coaxing just as she might with her kittens. That the
food was not accepted evidently distressed her. When she came with the
little bird, she uttered her usual coaxing sound, and then, when it was
unheeded, she sprung upon the bed and was about to give it to the
invalid, who uttered a scream of fright. At this dear Friskie fled from
the room and, we think, she never brought another treat. It was useless
to try to treat a person so unappreciative.

At one time, when Friskie was the proud mother of four pretty kittens,
she was greatly troubled with the liberties that young Herbert, aged
three, took with her family. The little boy didn't want to hurt the tiny
creatures, but he would hold them and play with them.

Mother cat bore this for a time, and then carried the kittens away to
the barn, and hid them where no one but herself could find them.

While these babies were yet young Herbert was taken away for a visit.
Strange to say, that upon the morning of the child's departure Friskie
came leading the little ones down to the house. They could walk now, and
at first she came part of the distance with three of them, stopped,
surveyed her group and went back for the remaining kitten. All we have
told is strictly true; it was evident that the cat knew when the
disturber of her peace was gone, and also evident that she knew how many
were her children.

Friskie died at the age of twelve, the most lovable and intelligent cat
we have ever known.

Of late we have had two maltese cats in our kitchen, one old, the other
young. The old cat has been jealous and cross with the young one, while
the young cat has been kind and pleasant with her companion. One day the
young cat, Friskie's namesake, sat and meowed piteously. We were
present, and for a time did not notice her, for she is very
demonstrative. What was our surprise to see her go to a low closet in
the room and lie down, stretch her paws over her head, and by an effort
pull open the door to release the old cat, who had accidentally been
shut up in this closet.

The old cat is always very reticent, and would not ask to be let out.
Her usual way of asking to have a door open is to tap upon it with her
paw. She scarcely ever meows.

We might have enlarged upon these incidents, but have simply told facts.




    Outovplace.


    There's a very strange country called Outovplace,
      (I've been there quite often, have you?)
    Where the people can't find the things they want,
      And hardly know what to do.

    If a boy's in a hurry, and wants his cap,
      Or a basin to wash his face,
    He never can find that on its nail,
      Or this in its proper place.

    His shoe hides far away under the lounge;
      His handkerchief's gone astray;
    Oh! how can a boy get off to school,
      If he's always bothered this way?

    Oh! a very queer country is Outovplace--
      (Did you say you had been there?)
    Then you've seen, like me, a slate on the floor
      And a book upon the stair.

    You think they are easy to find, at least!
      O, yes! if they would but stay
    Just there till they're wanted; but then they don't;
      Alas! that isn't the way.

    When a boy wants his hat, he sees his ball,
      As plain as ever can be;
    But when he has time for a game, not a sign
      Of bat or a ball finds he.

    Sometimes a good man is just off to the train,
      (That is, it is time to go);
    And he can't put his hand on his Sunday hat!
      It surely must vex him, I know.

    If somebody wants to drive a nail,
      It's "Where is the hammer, my dear?"
    And so it goes, week in, week out,
      And truly all the year.

    How 'twould gladden the women of Outovplace,
      If the boys and girls themselves
    Should wake up some morning determined quite
      To use hooks, closets and shelves.




The Boy Who Dared to Be a Daniel.

BY S. JENNIE SMITH.


Sunday-school was dismissed and the children were going, some in one
direction, some in another, to their homes. The majority of them were
chatting merrily of the proposed strawberry festival, but one little
fellow seemed to be engrossed with more serious thoughts. He was alone
and apparently unconscious of the nearness of his companions until a lad
about his own age joined him and inquired, "Say, Ralph, what are you
thinking of? You look as wise as an owl."

"I should hope I was a little bit wiser than a bird," answered Ralph,
with a smile. "But I was just awondering, Ned, if I could be brave
enough to go into the lion's den like Daniel did. I wouldn't like to
stop praying to God, but it would be pretty hard to make up your mind to
face a lot of lions."

"Yes, indeed; but then father says that we don't need grace to do those
hard things until we are called upon to do them, and then if we ask God,
He will give us the strength we require. All we've got to do is to
attend to the duty nearest us, and seek for strength for that."

Ned was the minister's son and had enjoyed many an instructive talk with
his kind father.

"He says, too, that we are often called upon to face other kinds of
lions in this life, if we persist as we ought in doing the right. But
here we part, Ralph, good-bye," and the boy turned off into a side road,
leaving Ralph again alone.

Ralph's way led through a quiet country lane, for his home was beyond
the village where nearly all of his companions lived.

"Well, I won't have to go into the lion's den to-day," he said to
himself, as he sauntered along; "and when I do I guess God will give me
the strength," and with this thought a gayer frame of mind came to him.
"But it must be grand to be a Daniel."

Just then two large boys crept stealthily from the bushes that lined one
side of the road and looked anxiously around. "Say, John, there's
Ralph," one of them muttered. "He'll tell we didn't go to Sunday-school.
Let's frighten him into promising not to."

"Hello!" cried John, in a loud voice.

Ralph turned and was surprised to see his brothers approaching him.

"Going home?" one of them asked.

"Why, yes, Tom, ain't you?"

"No, not yet; and if any one inquires where we are, just mention that
we've been to Sunday-school and will be home soon."

Ralph's eyes opened wide in astonishment. "But you didn't go to
Sunday-school," he replied, "because your teacher came and asked me
where you were, and I told her I didn't know; I thought you were
coming."

"Well, it isn't any of your business whether we went or not," growled
John. "All you've got to do is to say we were there if you're asked."

"I can't tell a lie about it, can I?"

"Yes, you can, if you just make up your mind to do it."

"But I won't tell a lie about it," said Ralph, sturdily.

"No, I suppose you'd rather get your brothers in a scrape. You know what
will happen if we're found out."

Ralph hesitated. He was an affectionate child and disliked to see
anybody in trouble, especially his own brothers, but he had a very
decided opinion that he was in the right, and therefore concluded to
speak the truth at all hazards.

"I'm just as sorry as I can be," he returned, sadly, "and I'll beg papa
to forgive you and say I know you won't ever do it again, but if they
ask me I can't tell a lie about it."

"You won't, eh, little saint?" cried John, angrily, grabbing his
brother's arm. "Now just promise to do as we say, or we'll pitch you
into that deep pond over there."

Ralph was too young to realize that this was only an idle threat, and he
was very much frightened, yet in that moment of terror the thought of
Daniel in the lion's den flashed through his mind and gave him the
strength that he had not dared to hope for. He saw in an instant that he
had come to his temptation and his den of lions, and he felt that as God
had protected Daniel in that far-away time, He would now protect him.
Ralph had never learned to swim, and he was in fear of the big frogs and
other creatures that inhabit ponds, but he did not flinch. With a
boldness that surprised even himself, he looked steadily at his brother
and replied, "You cannot frighten me into doing that wrong thing. I will
not pray to the image of falsehood that you have set up."

It was now his brothers' turn to be astonished. They had never thought
of Ralph as anything but a timid, little boy who could be overcome by
the slightest threat, and for a moment they were at a loss what to say.
Of course, Ralph was merely repeating some of his teacher's words, but
they were not aware of that fact, and consequently wondered at his
remarks. Finally John managed to stammer, "Do--do you want to go in that
pond?"

"No manner of hurt was found upon him because he believed in his God,"
continued Ralph, with his mind still on his Sunday-school; "God delivers
His faithful ones in time of trouble."

Turning away, John was about to walk off, but Tom detained him. "Wait a
moment, John," he said, and then the others noticed that there were
tears in his eyes. "I want to tell my brave little brother that I honor
him for sticking to the truth. As for me, I shall confess to father, and
promise not to repeat the offence."

"I am with you," John replied. "Come Ralph, we'll go together now and
hereafter. We need never be afraid to go where a Daniel leads."




Little Redcap.[3]

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM.


There was once a sweet little maid, much beloved by everybody, but most
of all by her grandmother, who never knew how to make enough of her.
Once she sent her a little cap of red velvet, and as it was very
becoming to her, and she never wore anything else, people called her
Little Redcap. One day her mother said to her:

"Come, Little Redcap, here are some cakes and a flask of milk for you to
take to your grandmother; she is weak and ill, and they will do her
good. Make haste and start before it grows hot, and walk properly and
nicely, and don't run, or you might fall and break the flask of milk and
there would be none left for grandmother. And when you go into her room,
don't forget to say, 'Good morning' instead of staring about you."

"I will be sure to take care," said Little Redcap to her mother, and
gave her hand upon it. Now the grandmother lived away in the wood, half
an hour's walk from the village, and when Little Redcap had reached the
wood, she met the wolf; but as she did not know what a bad sort of
animal he was, she did not feel frightened.

"Good day, Little Redcap," said he.

"Thank you kindly, Wolf," answered she.

"Where are you going so early, Little Redcap?"

"To my grandmother's."

"What are you carrying under your apron?"

"Cakes and milk; we baked yesterday; and my grandmother is very weak and
ill, so they will do her good, and strengthen her."

"Where does your grandmother live, Little Redcap?"

"A quarter of an hour's walk from here; her house stands beneath the
three oak trees, and you may know it by the hazel bushes," said Little
Redcap. The wolf thought to himself:

"That tender young thing would be a delicious morsel, and would taste
better than the old one; I must manage somehow to get both of them."

Then he walked beside little Redcap for a little while, and said to her
softly and sweetly:

"Little Redcap, just look at the pretty flowers that are growing all
round you, and I don't think you are listening to the song of the
birds; you are posting along just as if you were going to school, and it
is so delightful out here in the wood."

Little Redcap glanced round her, and when she saw the sunbeams darting
here and there through the trees, and lovely flowers everywhere, she
thought to herself:

"If I were to take a fresh nosegay to my grandmother, she would be very
pleased, and it is so early in the day that I shall reach her in plenty
of time;" and so she ran about in the wood, looking for flowers. And as
she picked one she saw a still prettier one a little farther off, and so
she went farther and farther into the wood. But the wolf went straight
to the grandmother's house and knocked at the door.

"Who is there?" cried the grandmother.

"Little Redcap," he answered, "and I have brought you some cake and some
new milk. Please open the door."

"Lift the latch," cried the poor old grandmother, feebly; "I am too weak
to get up."

So the wolf lifted the latch, and the door flew open, and he fell on the
grandmother and ate her up without saying one word. Then he drew on her
clothes, put on her cap, lay down in her bed and drew the curtains, the
old wretch that he was.

Little Redcap was all this time running about among the flowers, and
when she had gathered as many as she could hold; she remembered her
grandmother, and set off to go to her. She was surprised to find the
door standing wide open, and when she came inside she felt very strange
and thought to herself:

"Oh, dear, how uncomfortable I feel, and I was so glad this morning to
go to my grandmother!"

And when she said "Good morning!" there was no answer. Then she went up
to the bed and drew back the curtains; there lay the grandmother with
her cap pulled over her eyes, so that she looked very odd.

"Oh, grandmother, what large ears you have got!"

"The better to hear you with."

"Oh, grandmother, what great eyes you have got!"

"The better to see you with."

"Oh, grandmother, what large hands you have got!"

"The better to take hold of you with, my dear."

"But, grandmother, what a terrible large mouth you have got!"

"The better to devour you!" And no sooner had the wolf said this than he
made one bound from the bed and swallowed up poor Little Redcap.

Then the wolf, having satisfied his hunger, lay down again in the bed,
went to sleep and began to snore loudly. The huntsman heard him as he
was passing by the house and thought:

"How the old lady snores--I would better see if there is anything the
matter with her."

Then he went into the room and walked up to the bed, and saw the wolf
lying there.

"At last I find you, you old sinner!" said he; "I have been looking for
you for a long time." And he made up his mind that the wolf had
swallowed the grandmother whole, and that she might yet be saved. So he
did not fire, but took a pair of shears and began to slit up the wolf's
body. When he made a few snips Little Redcap appeared, and after a few
more snips she jumped out and cried, "Oh, dear, how frightened I have
been, it is so dark inside the wolf!"

And then out came the old grandmother, still living and breathing. But
Little Redcap went and quickly fetched some large stones, with which she
filled the wolf's body, so that when he waked up, and was going to rush
away, the stones were so heavy that he sank down and fell dead.

They were all three very much pleased. The huntsman took off the wolf's
skin and carried it home to make a fur rug. The grandmother ate the
cakes and drank the milk and held up her head again, and Little Redcap
said to herself that she would never again stray about in the wood
alone, but would mind what her mother told her, nor talk to strangers.

It must also be related how a few days afterward, when Little Redcap was
again taking cakes to her grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and
wanted to tempt her to leave the path; but she was on her guard, and
went straight on her way, and told her grandmother how that the wolf had
met her and wished her good-day, but had looked so wicked about the eyes
that she thought if it had not been on the high road he would have
devoured her.

"Come," said the grandmother, "we will shut the door, so that he may not
get in."

Soon after came the wolf knocking at the door, and calling out, "Open
the door, grandmother, I am Little Redcap, bringing you cakes." But they
remained still and did not open the door. After that the wolf slunk by
the house, and got at last upon the roof to wait until Little Redcap
should return home in the evening; then he meant to spring down upon her
and devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother discovered his plot.
Now, there stood before the house a great stone trough, and the
grandmother said to the child: "Little Redcap, I was boiling sausages
yesterday, so take the bucket and carry away the water they were boiled
in and pour it into the trough."

And Little Redcap did so until the great trough was quite full. When
the smell of the sausages reached the nose of the wolf he snuffed it up
and looked around, and stretched out his neck so far that he lost his
balance and began to slip, and he slipped down off the roof straight in
the great trough and was drowned. Then Little Redcap went cheerfully
home and came to no harm.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: Every boy and girl should read this pretty fairy story.]




New Zealand Children.


New Zealand children are pretty, dark-eyed, smooth-cheeked little
creatures, with clear skins of burnt umber color, and the reddest mouths
in the world, until the girl grows up and her mother tattooes her lips
blue, for gentility's sake.

All day they live in the open air, unless during a violent storm. But
they are perfectly healthy and very clean, for the first thing they do
is to plunge into the sea water. Besides this, they take baths in warm
springs that abound everywhere, and which keep their skins in good
order. As to their breakfast, I am afraid that often they have some very
unpleasant things to eat--stale shark, for instance, and sour corn
bread--so sour that you could not swallow it, and boiled fern root, or
the pulp of fern stems, or crawfish.

Even if their father had happened to cut down a tall palm the day
before, in order to take what white people call the "palm cabbage" out
of it's very top, I'm afraid he would not share this dainty with the
children. I am not sure he would offer even their mother a bite. It
would be literally a bite if he did, for when people get together to
eat in New Zealand, one takes a piece of something from the basket in
which food is served, bites out a mouthful and hands it to the next, who
does the same, and passes it to his neighbor, and so on until it is all
gone, and some other morsel is begun upon.

Sixty or seventy years ago New Zealanders had never seen a pig or any
animal larger than a cat. But about that time, one Captain King, feeling
that a nation without pork and beans and succotash could never come to
any good, brought them some Indian corn and some beans, and taught them
how to plant and cultivate them, and shortly sent them some fine pigs,
not doubting but that they would understand what to do with them without
instruction.

However, the New Zealanders had no idea what the pigs were sent for, and
everybody asked everybody else about it, until one--the smart fellow who
knows it all--said that he had heard all about them from a sailor, and
that they were horses! Oh, certainly they were horses! The sailor had
described them perfectly--long heads, pointed ears, broad backs, four
legs, and a tail. They were to ride upon. Great chiefs always rode them
where the sailors lived.

So the New Zealand chiefs mounted the pigs, and when Captain King came
to see how everything was going on, they had ridden them to death--all
but a few obstinate ones, who had eaten up the maize as soon as it grew
green, and finished up the beans by way of dessert before the vines were
halfway up the poles.

Captain King did not despair, however. He took two natives home with
him, taught them all about the cultivation of maize, and the rearing of
pigs; and pork is now as popular in New Zealand as it is in Cincinnati.
You can hardly take a walk without meeting a mother-pig and a lot of
squealing piglets; and people pet them more than they ever did or ever
will in their native lands. Here, you know, when baby wants something to
play with, some one finds him a kitten, a ball of white floss, or a
little Maltese, or a black morsel with green eyes and a red mouth; but
in New Zealand they give him a very, very young pig, smooth as a kid
glove, with little slits of eyes, and his curly tail twisted up into a
little tight knot; and the brown baby hauls it about and pulls its ears
and goes to sleep hugging it fast; and there they lie together, the
piglet grunting comfortably, the baby snoring softly, for hours at a
time.

It is pleasanter to think of a piggy as a pet than as pork, and
pleasanter still to know that the little New Zealanders have something
really nice to eat--the finest sweet potatoes that grow anywhere.

They say that sweet potatoes, which they call _kumere_, is the food
good spirits eat, and they sing a song about them, and so do the
mothers, which is very pretty. The song tells how, long ago, Ezi-Ki and
his wife, Ko Paui, sailing on the water in a boat, were wrecked, and
would have been drowned but for good New Zealanders, who rescued them.
And Ko Paui saw that the children had very little that was wholesome for
them to eat, and showed her gratitude by returning, all by herself, to
Tawai, to bring them seeds of the _kumere_. And how storms arose and she
was in danger, but at last arrived in New Zealand safely and taught them
how to plant and raise this excellent food. And every verse of the song
ends with: "Praise the memory of beautiful Ko Paui, wife of Ezi-Ki,
forever."

Little New Zealanders run about with very little on, as a general thing,
but they all have cloaks--they call them "mats." Their mother sits on
the ground with a little weaving frame about two feet high before her,
and makes them of what is called New Zealand flax. The long threads hang
down in rows of fringes, one over the other, and shine like silk. They
have also water-proofs, or "rain-mats," made of long polished leaves
that shed the water. When a little New Zealand girl pulls this over her
head she does not mind any shower. You may see a circle of these funny
objects sitting in the pelting rain, talking to each other and looking
just like tiny haystacks.

New Zealand children have, strange to say, many toys. They swim like
ducks, and, as I have said, revel in the natural hot baths, where they
will sit and talk by the hour. In fact, the life of a New Zealand child
is full of occupation, and both girls and boys are bright,
light-hearted, and intelligent.




The Breeze from the Peak.


A stiff Sea Breeze was having the wildest, merriest time, rocking the
sailboats and fluttering the sails, chasing the breakers far up the
beach, sending the fleecy cloudsails scudding across the blue ocean
above, making old ocean roar with delight at its mad pranks, while all
the little wavelets dimpled with laughter; the Cedar family on the
shore, old and rheumatic as they were, laughed till their sides ached,
and the children shouted and cheered upon the beach. How fresh and
strong and life-giving it was. The children wondered why it was so
jolly, but never guessed the reason; and its song was so wonderfully
sweet, but only the waves understood the words of the wild, strange
melody.

"I have come," it sang, "from a land far across the water. My home was
on the mountain top, high up among the clouds. Such a white, white world
as it was! The mountain peak hooded in snow-ermine, and the gray-white
clouds floating all around me; and it was so very still; my voice, the
only sound to be heard, and that was strange and muffled. But though the
fluffy clouds were so silent, they were gay companions and full of fun;
let them find me napping once, and, puff! Down they would send the
feathery snow, choking and blinding me, then would come a wild chase;
once in a mad frolic my breath parted the clouds and I saw down the
mountain side! Never shall I forget the picture I saw that day, framed
by the silvery clouds. I, who had known nothing but that pale stillness
and bitter cold, for the first time saw life and color, and a
shimmering, golden light, resting on tree and river and valley farm; do
you wonder I forgot the mountain peak, the clouds--_everything_ that was
behind, and, without even a last farewell, spread my wings and flew
swiftly down the mountain side? Very soon I was far below that snowy
cloud world, with a bright blue sky above me, and patches of red gravel
and green moss and gray lichens beneath. Once I stopped to rest upon a
great rock, moss-covered, and with curling ferns at its base; from its
side flowed a crystal spring, so clear and cool that I caught up all I
could carry to refresh me on my journey; but it assured me I need not
take that trouble, for it was also on its way down the mountain side.

"'But you have no wings,' I said. 'Are you sure of that?' answered the
spring, and I thought she looked up in an odd way at some of my cloud
friends, who had followed in my track; then she added: 'And, even if you
are right, there is more than one way to reach the foot of the
mountain; I am sure you will find me there before you.'

"I could not but doubt this, for I am swifter than any bird of the air,
but she only laughed at me as I flew on, and once, looking back, I saw
she had started on her journey, and was creeping slowly along a tiny
thread of water, almost hidden in the grass. I next floated upon some
dark green trees, that sent out a spicy odor as I touched their boughs,
and when I moved they sang a low, tuneful melody; their song was of the
snowy mountain peak, the clouds, the bubbling spring, the sunshine and
the green grass; yes, and there was something else, a deep undertone
that I did not then understand, and the melody was a loom that wove them
all into a living harmony; some of my breezes are there still, listening
to the Pine Trees' song; but I hurried on, the grass grew green and
luscious along my way, and the sheep, with their baby lambs, were
pastured upon it; rills and brooks joined hands, and went racing faster
and faster down between the rocks; one of the brooks had grown quite
wide and deep, and as it leaped and sparkled and sang its way into the
valley, where it flowed into a wide, foaming stream, it looked back with
a gay laugh, and I saw in its depths the face of the little spring I had
left far up the mountain side.

"It was summer in the valley, and the air was scented with roses and
ripening fruits. It was very warm and sultry, and I fanned the
children's faces until they laughed and clapped their hands, crying out:
'It's the breeze from the mountain peak! How fresh and sweet and cool it
is.'

"I rocked the baby-birds to sleep in their leafy cradles. I entered the
houses, making the curtains flutter, and filling the rooms with my
mountain perfume. I longed to stay forever in that beautiful summer
land, but now the mountain stream beckoned me on. Swiftly I flew along
its banks, turning the windmills met on the way, and swelling out the
sails of the boats until the sailors sang for joy. On and on we
journeyed; my mountain friend, joined by a hundred meadow-brooks, grew
deeper and wider as it flowed along, and its breath began to have a
queer, salty odor. One day I heard a throbbing music far off that
sounded like the undertone in the Pine Trees' melody; then very soon we
reached this great body of water, and, looking across, could see no sign
of land anywhere; but still we journeyed on. I feared at first that my
friend was lost to me, but often she laughed from the crest of the wave,
or glistened in a white cap, cheering my way to this sunny shore; and
now, at last, we are here, laden with treasure for each one of you. Take
it, and be glad!"

But the children did not understand the song of the Sea Breeze, nor did
they know what made its breath so wonderfully sweet. But all day long
they breathed in its fragrance, and gathered up the treasures brought to
their feet by the tiny spring born up in the clouds.

"It's a beautiful world," they cried.

And at night, when the Sea Breeze was wakeful, and sang to the waves of
the mountain peak, the children would lift their heads from the white
pillows to listen, whispering softly to one another:

"Hear the Sea Breeze and the ocean moaning on the shore. Are they lonely
without us, I wonder?"




The Bremen Town Musicians.

BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM.

     [When I was a child I used to love the story which is coming next.
     It is very funny and I like it still.]


There was once an ass whose master had made him carry sacks to the mill
for many a long year, but whose strength began at last to fail, so that
each day as it came found him less capable of work. Then his master
began to think of turning him out, but the ass, guessing that something
was in the wind that boded him no good, ran away, taking the road to
Bremen; for there he thought he might get an engagement as town
musician. When he had gone a little way he found a hound lying by the
side of the road panting, as if he had run a long way.

"Now, Holdfast, what are you so out of breath about!" said the ass.

"Oh, dear!" said the dog, "now I am old, I get weaker every day, and can
do no good in the hunt, so, as my master was going to have me killed, I
have made my escape; but now, how am I to gain my living?"

"I will tell you what," said the ass, "I am going to Bremen to become
town musician. You may as well go with me, and take up music too. I can
play the lute, and you can beat the drum."

The dog consented, and they walked on together. It was not long before
they came to a cat sitting in the road, looking as dismal as three wet
days.

"Now, then, what is the matter with you, old friend?" said the ass.

"I should like to know who would be cheerful when his neck is in
danger?" answered the cat. "Now that I am old, my teeth are getting
blunt, and I would rather sit by the oven and purr than run about after
mice, and my mistress wants to drown me; so I took myself off; but good
advice is scarce, and I do not know what is to become of me."

"Go with us to Bremen," said the ass, "and become town musician. You
understand serenading."

The cat thought well of the idea, and went with them accordingly. After
that the three travelers passed by a yard, and a cock was perched on the
gate crowing with all his might.

"Your cries are enough to pierce bone and marrow," said the ass; "what
is the matter?"

"I have foretold good weather for Lady-day, so that all the shirts may be
washed and dried; and now on Sunday morning company is coming, and the
mistress has told the cook that I must be made into soup, and this
evening my neck is to be wrung, so that I am crowing with all my might
while I can."

"You had better go with us, Chanticleer," said the ass. "We are going to
Bremen. At any rate that will be better than dying. You have a powerful
voice, and when we are all performing together it will have a very good
effect."

So the cock consented, and they went on, all four together.

But Bremen was too far off to be reached in one day, and toward evening
they came to a wood, where they determined to pass the night. The ass
and the dog lay down under a large tree; the cat got up among the
branches, and the cock flew up to the top, as that was the safest place
for him. Before he went to sleep he looked all around him to the four
points of the compass, and perceived in the distance a little light
shining, and he called out to his companions that there must be a house
not far off, as he could see a light, so the ass said:

"We had better get up and go there, for these are uncomfortable
quarters."

The dog began to fancy a few bones, not quite bare, would do him good.
And they all set off in the direction of the light, and it grew larger
and brighter until at last it led them to a robber's house, all lighted
up. The ass, being the biggest, went up to the window and looked in.

"Well, what do you see?" asked the dog.

"What do I see?" answered the ass; "here is a table set out with
splendid eatables and drinkables, and robbers sitting at it and making
themselves very comfortable."

"That would just suit us," said the cock.

"Yes, indeed, I wish we were there," said the ass. Then they consulted
together how it should be managed so as to get the robbers out of the
house, and at last they hit on a plan. The ass was to place his forefeet
on the window-sill, the dog was to get on the ass' back, the cat on the
top of the dog, and lastly the cock was to fly up and perch on the cat's
head. When that was done, at a given signal, they all began to perform
their music. The ass brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock
crowed; then they burst through into the room, breaking all the panes of
glass. The robbers fled at the dreadful sound; they thought it was some
goblin, and fled to the wood in the utmost terror. Then the four
companions sat down to the table, and made free with the remains of the
meal, and feasted as if they had been hungry for a month. And when they
had finished they put out the lights, and each sought out a
sleeping-place to suit his nature and habits. The ass laid himself down
outside on the dunghill, the dog behind the door, the cat on the hearth
by the warm ashes, and the cock settled himself in the cockloft, and as
they were all tired with their long journey they soon fell fast asleep.

When midnight drew near, and the robbers from afar saw that no light was
burning, and that everything appeared quiet, their captain said to them
that he thought that they had run away without reason, telling one of
them to go and reconnoitre. So one of them went and found everything
quite quiet; he went into the kitchen to strike a light, and taking the
glowing fiery eyes of the cat for burning coals, he held a match to them
in order to kindle it. But the cat, not seeing the joke, flew into his
face, spitting and scratching. Then he cried out in terror, and ran to
get out at the back door, but the dog, who was lying there, ran at him
and bit his leg; and as he was rushing through the yard by the dunghill
the ass struck out and gave him a great kick with his hindfoot; and the
cock, who had been awakened with the noise, and felt quite brisk, cried
out, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

Then the robber got back as well as he could to his captain, and said,
"Oh dear! in that house there is a gruesome witch, and I felt her breath
and her long nails in my face; and by the door there stands a man who
stabbed me in the leg with a knife, and in the yard there lies a black
spectre, who beat me with his wooden club; and above, upon the roof,
there sits the justice, who cried, 'bring that rogue here!' And so I ran
away from the place as fast as I could."

From that time forward the robbers never returned to that house, and the
four Bremen town musicians found themselves so well off where they were,
that there they stayed. And the person who last related this tale is
still living, as you see.




A Very Queer Steed, and Some Strange Adventures.

TOLD AFTER ARIOSTO BY ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG.


An Italian poet named Ariosto, who lived before our grandfathers were
born, has told some very funny stories, one of which I will tell you.
Not contented with mounting his heroes on ordinary horses, he gave one
of them a splendid winged creature to ride; a fiery steed with eyes of
flame, and the great pinions of an eagle. This creature's name was
Hippogrif. Let me tell you how Prince Roger caught the Hippogrif, and
then you will want to know something about his queer journey. I may as
well tell you that Prince Roger belonged to the Saracens, and that he
loved a lady of France named Bradamante, also that an old enchanter had
captured both the prince and the lady and gotten them into his power.
They of course were planning a way of escape, and hoped to go off
together, and be married, and live happily ever after, but this was not
the intention of their captor. The two prisoners, who were allowed a
good deal of liberty, were standing together one day, when Bradamante
said to Roger:

"Look! there is the old man's Hippogrif still standing quietly by us. I
have a mind to catch him and take a ride on him, for he is mine by
right of conquest since I have overcome his master." So she went toward
the winged steed and stretched out her hand to take him by the bridle;
but the Hippogrif darted up into the air, and flew a hundred yards or so
away before he settled again upon the ground. Again and again she tried
to catch him, but he always flew off before she could touch him, and
then came down to earth a little distance away, where he waited for her
to get near him again, just as you may see a butterfly flit from one
cabbage-row to another, and always manage to keep a yard or two ahead of
the boy who chases it. At last, however, he alighted close by the side
of Roger, whereupon the Prince cried to his lady: "I will catch him and
give him a ride to break him in for you;" and, seizing hold of the
bridle in his left hand, he vaulted on to the back of the Hippogrif, who
stood still without attempting to escape, as if to acknowledge that here
he had found his proper master. But the Prince was no sooner fairly in
the saddle than his strange steed shot up fifty feet straight into the
air, and, taking the bit between his teeth, with a dozen flaps of his
mighty wings carried his unwilling rider far away over the mountains and
out of sight of the unfortunate Bradamante.

You must know that though Roger was quite unable to hold his Hippogrif,
and soon gave up the attempt in despair, the winged monster was really
guided by something stronger than bit or bridle, and every motion of his
headlong flight was controlled by the will of an invisible master. The
whole affair, in fact, was the work of the wonderful enchanter Atlas,
who was still persuaded that great dangers awaited his beloved Prince in
the land of France, and determined to use all his cunning to remove him
to a place of safety. With this design he had watched the noble lovers
from his hiding place, and guided every movement of the Hippogrif by the
mere muttering of spells; and by the same means he still steered the
creature's course through the air, for he was so powerful an enchanter
that he could make his purpose take effect from one end of the earth to
the other. In the old days of fairy lore, enchanters were very numerous,
and always found plenty to do.

Roger had a firm seat and a heart that knew no fear, and at any other
time would have enjoyed nothing better than such an exciting adventure;
but now he was terribly vexed at being separated again from his beloved
Bradamante, and at being carried away from the land where Agramant his
King and the Emperor Charlemagne were mustering all their forces for the
great struggle. However, there was no help for it, for the Hippogrif
flew through the air at such a pace that he soon left the realms of
Europe far behind him, and after a flight of a few hours he had carried
the Prince half round the globe. Roger in fact found himself hovering
over the Fortunate Islands, which lie in the far Eastern seas beyond the
shores of India. Here he checked his course, and descended in wide
circles to the earth, and at length alighted on the largest and most
beautiful island of all the group. Green meadows and rich fields were
here watered by clear streams; and lovely groves of palm and myrtle,
cedar and banyan, spread their thick shade over the gentle slopes of
hill, and offered a refuge from the heat of the mid-day sun. Birds of
paradise flashed like jewels in the blazing light, and modest brown
nightingales sang their sweet refrain to the conceited parrots, who sat
admiring themselves among the branches; while under the trees hares and
rabbits frisked merrily about, and stately stags led their graceful does
to drink at the river banks. Upon this fertile tract, which stretched
down to the very brink of the sea, the Hippogrif descended; and his feet
no sooner touched the ground than Prince Roger leaped from his back, and
made fast his bridle to the stem of a spreading myrtle-bush. Then he
took off his helmet and cuirass, and went to bathe his face and hands in
the cool waters of the brook; for his pulses were throbbing from his
swift ride, and he wanted nothing so much as an hour or two of repose.
Such rapid flying through the air is very wearying.

Could he have retained his wonderful horse, there is no knowing what
splendid adventures might have befallen him, but at a critical moment,
the Hippogrif vanished, and Prince Roger had to fare as best he could on
foot. After a time he met Bradamante again, he left the Saracen religion
and became a Christian, and he and Bradamante were united in wedlock. He
had formerly been a heathen.

Bradamante had a cousin named Astulf, who finally by a series of events
became the owner of the winged steed, and on this animal he made the
queerest trip ever heard of, a journey to the Mountains of the Moon. The
Hippogrif soared up and up, and up, till tall palms looked like bunches
of fern beneath him, and he penetrated belts of thick white clouds, and
finally drew his bridle rein on summits laid out in lovely gardens,
where flowers and fruit abounded, and the climate was soft and balmy as
that of June. The traveler walked through a fine grove, in the centre of
which rose a stately palace of the purest ivory, large enough to shelter
a nation of kings within its walls, and ornamented throughout with
carving more exquisite than that of an Indian casket.

While Astulf was gazing on this scene of splendor he was approached by
a man of noble and courteous aspect, dressed in the toga of an ancient
Roman, and bound about the brows with a laurel chaplet, who gave him
grave and kindly salutation, saying: "Hail, noble Sir Duke, and marvel
not that I know who you are, or that I expected you to-day in these
gardens. For this is the Earthly Paradise, where poets have their
dwelling after death; and I am the Mantuan VIRGIL, who sang the
deeds of AEneas, and was the friend of the wise Emperor Augustus. But if
you wish to know the reason of your coming hither, it is appointed for
you to get back the lost wits of the peerless Count Roland, whose senses
have been put away in the moon among the rest of the earth's missing
rubbish. Now the mountains on the top of which we stand are called the
Mountains of the Moon, because they are the only place from which an
ascent to the moon is possible; and this very night I intend to guide
you thither on your errand. But first, I pray you, take your dinner with
us in our palace, for you have need of refreshment to prepare you for so
strange a journey." I need hardly tell you that Astulf was delighted at
being chosen to go to the moon on so worthy a mission, and thanked the
noble poet a thousand times for his courtesy and kindness. But Virgil
answered: "It is a pleasure to be of any service to such valiant
warriors as Count Roland and yourself;" and thereupon he took the Duke
through the shady alleys to the ivory palace which stood in the midst of
the garden.

Here was Astulf conducted with much ceremony to a refectory where a
banquet was spread. The great doors were thrown open, and the company of
poets ranged themselves in two rows, while their King passed down
between their ranks. He was a majestic old man with curly beard and
hair, and his broad forehead was furrowed with lines that betokened a
life of noble thought; but alas! he was totally blind, and leaned upon
the shoulder of a beautiful Greek youth who guided him. Every head was
bowed reverently as he passed, and Virgil whispered to his guest: "That
is HOMER, the Father and King of poets."

At the end of the refectory was a dais with a table at which Homer took
his seat, while another long table stretched down the middle of the
hall; but Astulf saw with surprise that three places were laid on the
upper board, though the King was apparently to sit there alone. But
Virgil explained the reason, and said: "You must understand, Sir Duke,
that it is our custom to lay a place for every poet who will ever ascend
to this Earthly Paradise; and as yet there is none here worthy to sit
beside our Father Homer. But after some five hundred and fifty years the
seat at his left hand will be taken by the Florentine DANTE,
who will find here the rest and happiness denied to him in his lifetime.
The place on the right of the King, however, will remain vacant three
hundred years more; but then it will be filled by a countryman of your
own, and SHAKESPEARE will receive the honor due to him as the
third great poet of the world." With these words Virgil took his seat at
the head of the lower table, and motioned Astulf to an empty place at
his right hand, saying: "This seat also will remain a long while vacant,
being kept for another of your countrymen, who will come hither after
more than a thousand years. He will be reviled and slandered in his
lifetime; but after his death the very fools who abused him will pretend
to admire and understand him, while here among his brethren he will be
welcomed with joy and high honor." So Astulf sat in the seat of this
poet to be honored in the future, and made a hearty dinner off nectar
and ambrosia, "which are mighty fine viands," as he afterward told his
friends at home; "but a hungry man, on the whole, would prefer good
roast beef and a slice of plum pudding for a steady diet." Dinner being
over, the pilgrim was led by the obliging poet to a pathway past the
silent and lonesome River of Oblivion, where most mortal names and fames
are forever lost, only a few being rescued from its waves and set on
golden scrolls in the temple of Immortality.

Now when they had looked on for a while at this notable sight they left
the River Oblivion and proceeded to the Valley of Lost Lumber. It was a
long though narrow valley shut in between two lofty mountain ridges, and
in it were stored away all the things which men lose or waste on earth.
Here they found an infinite number of lovers' sighs, beyond which lay
the useless moments lost in folly and crime, and the long wasted leisure
of ignorant and idle men. Next came the vain desires and foolish wishes
that can never take effect, and these were heaped together in such
quantities that they blocked up the greater part of the valley. Here,
too, were mountains of gold and silver which foolish politicians throw
away in bribing voters to return them to Congress; a little farther on
was an enormous pile of garlands with steel gins concealed among their
flowers, which Virgil explained to be flatteries; while a heap of
grasshoppers which had burst themselves in keeping up their shrill,
monotonous chirp, represented, he said, the dedications and addresses
which servile authors used to write in praise of unworthy patrons. In
the middle of the valley lay a great pool of spilt broth, and this
signified the alms which rich men are too selfish to give away in their
lifetime but bequeath to charities in their wills, to be paid out of
money they can no longer use. Next Astulf came upon numbers of beautiful
dolls from Paris, which little girls throw aside because they prefer
their dear old bundles of rags with beads for eyes; and one of the
biggest hillocks in all the place was formed of a pile of knives lost
out of careless schoolboys' pockets.

Now, when Astulf grew old and had boys and girls of his own, they used
to clamber on his knee in the twilight and ask for a story, and oh! how
they wished for the Hippogrif. Sometimes the old knight said that the
Hippogrif was dead, but I have known people to shut their eyes and climb
on his back, and cling to his mane, and go flying over the ocean and the
hills clear through to the other end of the world. For Hippogrif is only
a name for Fancy, and the Valley of Lost Lumber and the River of
Oblivion and the Temple of Immortality exist for every one of us.




    Freedom's Silent Host.

    BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.


    There are many silent sleepers
      In our country here and there,
    Heeding not our restless clamor,
      Bugle's peal nor trumpet's blare.
        Soft they slumber,
      Past forever earthly care.

    O'er their beds the grasses creeping
      Weave a robe of royal fold,
    And the daisies add their homage,
      Flinging down a cloth of gold.
        Soft they slumber,
      Once the gallant and the bold.

    Oft as Spring, with dewy fingers,
      Brings a waft of violet,
    Sweet arbutus, dainty primrose,
      On their lowly graves we set.
        Soft they slumber,
      We their lives do not forget.

    Childish hands with rose and lily
      Showering the furrows green,
    Childish songs that lift and warble
      Where the sleepers lie serene
         (Soft they slumber)
      Tell how true our hearts have been.

    Wave the dear old flag above them,
      Play the sweet old bugle call,
    And because they died in honor
      O'er them let the flowerets fall.
        Soft they slumber,
      Dreaming, stirring not at all.

    Freedom's host of silent sleepers,
      Where they lie is holy ground,
    Heeding not our restless clamor,
      Musket's rattle, trumpet's sound.
        Soft they slumber,
      Ever wrapped in peace profound.




Presence of Mind.

BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.


Such a forlorn little sunbonnet bobbing here and there among the bean
poles in the garden back of Mr. Mason's house! It seemed as if the blue
gingham ruffles and the deep cape must know something about the troubled
little face they hid away, for they hung in a limp fashion that was
enough to tell anybody who saw them just how badly the wearer of the
sunbonnet was feeling. She had, as she thought, more than her share of
toil and trouble in this busy world, and to-day she had a specially good
reason to carry a heavy heart in her little breast.

All Morningside was in a perfect flutter of anticipation and excitement.
There had never been a lawn party in the little village before, and
Effie Dean, twelve years old to-day, was to have a lawn party, to which
every child for miles, to say nothing of a gay troop of cousins and
friends from the city, had been invited. Everybody was going, of course.

The Deans had taken for the season a beautiful old homestead, the owners
of which were in Europe. They were having gala times there, and they
managed to draw all the young folks of the village in to share them.
All, indeed, except one little girl. Cynthia Mason did not expect to go
to many festivities, but with her whole heart she longed to see what a
lawn party might be. The very name sounded beautiful to her, and she
said it over and over wistfully as she went slowly down the door-yard
between the tigerlilies and the hollyhocks, through the rough gate which
hung so clumsily on its leathern hinges, and, with her basket by her
side, began her daily task of picking beans.

Cynthia Mason had no mother. Her father loved his little daughter and
was kind to her, but he was a silent man, who was not very successful,
and who had lost hope when his wife had died. People said he had never
been the same man since then. His sister, Cynthia's Aunt Kate, was an
active, stirring woman, who liked to be busy herself and to hurry other
people. She kept the house as clean as a new pin, had the meals ready to
the moment, and saw that everybody's clothing was washed and mended; but
she never felt as if she had time for the kissing and petting which is
to some of us as needful as our daily food.

In her way she was fond of Cynthia, and would have taken good care of
the child if she had been ill or crippled. But as her niece was
perfectly well, and not in want of salts or senna, Aunt Kate was often
rather tried with her fondness for dreaming in the daytime, or dropping
down to read a bit from the newspaper in the midst of the sweeping and
dusting.

There were, in truth, a good many worries in the little weather-beaten
house, and Miss Mason had her own trouble in making both ends meet. She
was taking summer boarders now to help along, and when Cynthia had asked
her if she might go to Effie's party, the busy woman had been planning
how to crowd another family from New York into the already well-filled
abode, so she had curtly replied:

"Go to a lawn party! What nonsense! Why, no child. You cannot be
spared." And she had thought no more about it.

"Step around quickly this morning, Cynthy," she called from the buttery
window. "Beans take for ever and ever to cook, you know. I can't imagine
what's got into the child," she said to herself. "She walks as if her
feet were shod with lead."

The blue gingham sunbonnet kept on bobbing up and down among the bean
poles, when suddenly there was a rush and a rustle, two arms were thrown
around Cynthia's waist, and a merry voice said:

"You never heard me, did you, till I was close by? You're going to the
party, of course, Cynthy?"

"No, Lulu," was the sad answer. "There are new boarders coming, and
Aunt Kate cannot do without me."

"I never heard of such a thing!" cried eleven-year old Lulu. "Not going!
Cannot do without you! Why, Cynthy, it will be just splendid: tennis and
croquet and games, and supper in a _tent_! ice cream and everything
nice, and a birthday cake with a ring, and twelve candles on it. And
there are to be musicians out of doors, and fireworks in the evening.
Why, there are men hanging the lanterns in the trees now--to see where
they ought to be hung, I suppose," said practical Lulu. "Not let you go?
I'm sure she will, if I ask her." Lulu started bravely for the house,
intent on pleading for her friend.

But Cynthia called her back. "Don't go, Lulu, dear. Aunt Kate is very
busy this morning. She does not think I care so much, and she won't like
it either, if she thinks I'm spending my time talking with you, when the
beans ought to be on the fire. A bean dinner," observed Cynthia, wisely,
"takes so long to get ready."

"Does it?" said Lulu, beginning to pick with all her might. She was a
sweet little thing, and she hated to have her friend left out of the
good time.

As for Cynthia, the sunbonnet fell back on her neck, showing a pair of
soft eyes swimming with tears, and a sorrowful little mouth quivering
in its determination not to cry.

"I won't be a baby!" she said to herself, resolutely. Presently there
came a sharp call from the house.

"Cynthia Elizabeth! are you never coming with those beans? Make haste,
child, do?"

Aunt Kate said "Cynthia Elizabeth" only when her patience was almost
gone; so, with a quick answer, "Yes, Aunt Kate, I'm coming," Cynthia
left Lulu and ran back to the buttery, sitting down, as soon as she
reached it, to the weary task of stringing the beans.

Lulu, meanwhile, who was an idle little puss--her mother's
pet--sauntered up the road and met Effie Dean's mother, who was driving
by herself, and had stopped to gather some late wild roses.

"If there isn't Lulu Pease!" she said. "Lulu dear, won't you get those
flowers for me? Thank you so much. And you're coming this afternoon?"

"Yes, 'm," said Lulu, with a dimple showing itself in each plump cheek;
"but I'm so very sorry, Mrs. Dean, that my dearest friend, Cynthy Mason,
has to stay at home. Her Aunt Kate can't spare her. Cynthy _never_ can
go anywhere nor do anything like the rest of us."

"Cynthia Mason? That's the pretty child with the pale face and dark
eyes who sits in the pew near the minister's, isn't it?" said Mrs. Dean.
"Why, she must not stay at home to-day." And acting on a sudden impulse,
the lady said good morning to Lulu, took a brisk turn along the road and
back, and presently drew rein at Mr. Mason's door.

She came straight into the buttery, having rapped to give notice of her
presence, and with a compliment to Miss Mason on the excellence of her
butter, she asked whether that lady could supply her with a few more
pounds next week; then her eyes falling on the little figure on the
doorstep, she said: "By-the-way, Miss Mason, your niece is to be one of
Effie's guests to-day, is she not? Can you, as a great favor, let her
come home with me now? I have to drive to the Centre on some errands,
and Cynthia, who is a helpful little woman, I can see, can be of so much
use if you will part with her for the day. It will be very neighborly of
you to say yes. I know it's a good deal to ask, but my own girls are
very busy, and I wish you would let me keep Cynthia until to-morrow.
I'll take good care of her, and she shall be at home early. Lend her to
me, please?"

Mrs. Dean, with much gentleness of manner, had the air of a person to
whom nobody ever says no, and Cynthia could hardly believe she heard
aright when her aunt said, pleasantly:

"Cynthia's a good girl, but she's like all children--she needs to be
kept at her work. She can go if you really wish it, Mrs. Dean, and I'll
send for my cousin Jenny to stay here to-day. There are new boarders
coming," she said, to explain her need of outside assistance. Miss Mason
prided herself on getting through her work alone; hired help she
couldn't afford, but she would not have had any one "under-foot," as she
expressed it, had money been plenty with her.

"You are a wonderful woman," said Mrs. Dean, surveying the spotless
tables and walls. "You are always so brisk, and such a perfect
housekeeper! I wish, dear Miss Mason, you could look in on us yourself
in the evening. It will be a pretty sight."

Miss Mason was gratified. "Run away, Cynthia; put on your best frock,
and don't keep Mrs. Dean waiting," she said. In spite of her
independence, she was rather pleased that her boarders should see the
low phaeton at her door, the brown horse with the silver-mounted
harness, and the dainty lady, in her delicate gray gown and driving
gloves, chatting affably while waiting for Cynthia to dress. She offered
Mrs. Dean a glass of her creamy milk, and it was gratefully accepted.

Cynthia came back directly. Her preparations had not taken her long. Her
"best frock" was of green delaine with yellow spots--"a perfect horror"
the lady thought; it had been purchased at a bargain by Mr. Mason, who
knew nothing about what was suitable for a child. Some lace was basted
in the neck, and her one article of ornament, an old-fashioned coral
necklace with a gold clasp, was fastened just under the lace. The stout
country-made shoes were not becoming to the child's feet, nor was the
rim of white stocking visible above them at all according to the present
styles. She was pretty as a picture, but not in the least arrayed as the
other girls would be, whether from elegant city homes or the ample farm
houses round about.

How her eyes sparkled and her color came and went when Mrs. Dean told
her to step in and seat herself, then, following, took the reins, while
Bonny Bess, the sagacious pony, who knew every tone of his mistress'
voice, trotted merrily off!

Having secured her little guest, Mrs. Dean thought she would give her as
much pleasure as she could. So they took a charming drive before pony's
head was turned to the village. The phaeton glided swiftly over smooth,
hard roads, between rich fields of corn, over a long bridge, and at last
rolled into Main Street, where Mrs. Dean made so many purchases that the
vehicle was soon quite crowded with packages and bundles.

"Now for home, my little one," said the lady, turning; and away they
flew over hill and hollow till they reached the broad, wide open gates
of the place known to everybody as Fernbrake, and skimming gaily down
the long flower-bordered avenue, they stopped at the door of the
beautiful house. The verandas looked inviting with their easy chairs and
rockers, but no one was sitting there, so Cynthia followed her hostess
shyly up the wide stairway, into a cool, airy room with white drapery at
the windows, an upright piano standing open, and books everywhere,
showing the taste of its occupants. Oh, those books! Cynthia's few
story-books had been read until she knew them by heart. Though in these
days it was seldom she was allowed to sit with a book in her hand, a
book-loving child always manages somehow to secure a little space for
the coveted pleasure. And here were shelves just overflowing with
dainty, gaily covered volumes, and low cases crowded, and books lying
about on window-seats and lounges.

Mrs. Dean observed the hungry, eager gaze, and taking off the
wide-brimmed hat with its white ribbon bow and ends, she seated the
little girl comfortably, and put a story into her hands, telling her to
amuse herself until Effie and Florence should come.

A half-hour sped by, and then, answering the summons of a bell in the
distance, the two daughters of the house appeared, and Cynthia was asked
to go with them to luncheon.

Mrs. Dean was a little worried about Cynthia's dress, and was revolving
in her mind whether she might not make her look more like the other
children by lending her for the occasion a white dress of Florrie's,
when, to her regret, she observed that Florrie's eyes were resting very
scornfully on the faded green delaine and the stout coarse shoes.

Now if there is anything vulgar and unpardonable, it is this,
children--that, being a hostess, you are ashamed of anything belonging
to a guest. From the moment a guest enters your door he or she is
sacred, and no true lady or gentlemen ever criticises, much less
apologizes for, the dress of a visitor. Mrs. Dean was sorry to observe
the sneer on Florrie's usually sweet face, and glancing from it to
Cynthia's, she was struck with the contrast.

Never had Cynthia in her life been seated at a table so beautiful. The
tumblers of ruby and amber glass, the plates with their delicate fruit
and flower decoration, every plate a picture, the bouquet in the centre
reflected in a beautiful little round mirror, the pretty silver tubs
filled with broken ice, the shining knives and forks, and the dainty tea
equipage, were so charming that she felt like a princess in an enchanted
castle. But she expressed no surprise. She behaved quietly, made no
mistakes, used her knife and fork like a little lady, and was as
unconscious of herself and her looks as the carnation pink is of its
color and shape.

Mrs. Dean meditated. She did not quite like to ask this child to wear a
borrowed dress, and she felt that Florrie needed to take a lesson in
politeness. Drawing the latter aside, she said, "My darling, I am sorry
you should treat my little friend rudely; you have hardly spoken to
her."

"I can't help it, mamma. She isn't one of the set we go with. A little
common thing like that! See what shoes she has on. And her hands are so
red and coarse! They look as if she washed dishes for a living."

"Something very like it is the case, I'm afraid, Florrie dear. I fear
she has a very dull time at home. But the child is a little lady. I
shall feel very much ashamed if she is more a lady than my own
daughters. See, Effie has made friends with her."

"And so will I," said Florrie. "Forgive me, mamma, for being so silly."
And the three girls had a pleasant chat before the visitors came, and
grew so confidential that Cynthia told Effie and Florrie about the one
great shadow of her life--the mortgage which made her papa so unhappy,
and was such a worry to poor Aunt Kate. She didn't know what it was; it
seemed to her like some dreadful ogre always in the background ready to
pounce on the little home. Neither Effie nor Florrie knew, but they
agreed with her that it must be something horrid, and Effie promised to
ask her own papa, who knew everything, all about it.

"Depend upon it, Cynthia," said Effie, "if papa can do anything to help
you, he will. There's nobody like papa in the whole world."

By and by the company began to arrive, and the wide grounds were gay
with children in dainty summer costumes and bright silken sashes.
Musicians were stationed in an arbor, and their instruments sent forth
tripping waltzes and polkas, and the children danced, looking like
fairies as they floated over the velvet grass. When the beautiful old
Virginia reel was announced, even Cynthia was led out, Mr. Dean himself,
a grand gentleman with stately manners and a long brown beard, showing
her the steps. Cynthia felt as if she had been dancing with the
President. Cinderella at the ball was not less delighted, and this
little Cinderella, too, had a misgiving now and then about to-morrow,
when she must go home to the housework and the boarders and the
gathering of beans for dinner. Yet that should not spoil the present
pleasure. Cynthia had never studied philosophy, but she knew enough not
to fret foolishly about a trouble in the future when something agreeable
was going on now.

In her mother's little well-worn Bible--one of her few
treasures--Cynthia had seen this verse heavily underscored: "Take
therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought
for the things of itself." She did not know what it meant. She would
know some day.

I cannot tell you about the supper, so delicious with its flavor of all
that was sweet and fine, and the open-air appetite the children brought
to it.

After supper came the fireworks. They were simply bewildering. Lulu, the
staunch little friend who had gone to Cynthia's in the morning, speedily
found her out, and was in a whirl of joy that she was there.

"How did you get away?" she whispered.

"Oh, Mrs. Dean came after me herself," returned Cynthia, "And Aunt Kate
couldn't say no to _her_."

Lulu gave Cynthia's hand a squeeze of sympathy.

"What made you bring your mamma's shawl?" asked Cynthia, as she noticed
that Lulu was encumbered with a plaid shawl of the heaviest woolen,
which she kept on her arm.

"Malaria," returned the child. "Mamma's _so_ afraid of it and she said
if I felt the teentiest bit of a chill I must wrap myself up. Horrid old
thing! I hate to lug it around with me. S'pose we sit on it, Cynthy."

They arranged it on the settee, and complacently seated themselves to
enjoy the rockets, which soared in red and violet and silvery stars to
the sky, then fell suddenly down and went out like lamps in a puff of
wind.

Suddenly there was a stir, a shriek, a chorus of screams following it,
from the group just around the fireworks. A pinwheel had exploded,
sending a shower of sparks in every direction.

All in a second, Florrie Dean flew past the girls, her white fluffy
dress on fire. And quick as the fire itself, Cynthia tore after her.
Well was it that the shabby green delaine was a woolen dress, that the
stout shoes did not encumber the nimble feet, that the child's faculties
were so alert. In a second she had seized the great shawl, and almost
before any of the grown people had realized the child's peril, had
smothered the flames by winding the thick folds over and over, round and
round, the fleecy dress and the frightened child.

Florrie was only slightly burned, but Cynthia's little hands were so
blistered that they would neither wash dishes nor pick beans for many a
day.

Mrs. Dean bathed them in sweet oil and bandaged them from the air, then
put Cynthia to bed on a couch in a chamber opening out of her own room.
From time to time in the night she went to see if the dear child was
sleeping quietly, and Mr. Dean, standing and looking at her, said, "We
owe this little one a great debt; her presence of mind saved Florrie's
life."

Early the next morning Bonny Bess trotted up to Mr. Mason's door without
Cynthia. Aunt Kate was feeling impatient for her return. She missed the
willing little helper more than she had supposed possible. She had
arranged half a dozen tasks for the day, in everyone of which she
expected to employ Cynthia, and she felt quite disappointed when she saw
that Mr. Dean was alone.

"Another picnic for to-day, I suppose," she said to herself. "Cynthia
may just as well learn first as last that we cannot afford to let her go
to such junketings often."

But Mr. Dean broke in upon her thoughts by saying, blandly: "Good
morning, madam. Will you kindly tell me where to find Mr. Mason?"

"He's in the south meadow," she answered, civilly, pointing in that
direction. "I see you've not brought Cynthia home, Mr. Dean. I need her
badly. Mrs. Dean promised to send her home early."

"Mrs. Dean will call on you herself in the course of the day; and it is
about Cynthia that I wish to consult her father, my good lady," said Mr.
Dean, lifting his hat, as if to a queen, as he drove toward the meadow.

"Well! well! well!" said Aunt Kate, feeling rather resentful, but on the
whole rather pleased with the "good lady" and the courteously lifted
hat. A charming manner is a wonderful magician in the way of scattering
sunshine.

The boarders, observing the little scene from the side porch, hoped that
Cynthia's outing was to be prolonged. One and all liked the handy,
obliging little maiden who had so much womanly work to do and so scanty
a time for childish play.

When, however, at noon, Mr. Mason came home, holding his head up proudly
and looking five years younger, and told how brave Cynthia had been;
when neighbor after neighbor, as the news flew over the place, stopped
to congratulate the Masons on the possession of such a little
heroine--Miss Mason was at first puzzled, then triumphant.

"You see what there is in bringing up," she averred. "I've never spoiled
Cynthy: I've trained her to be thoughtful and quick, and this is the
result."

When Mrs. Dean first proposed that Cynthia should spend the rest of the
summer at Fernbrake, sharing the lessons and play with her own girls,
Aunt Kate opposed the idea. She did not know how one pair of hands and
feet was to do all that was to be done in that house. Was she to send
the boarders away, or how did her brother think she could get along.

Mr. Mason said he could afford to hire help for his sister if she wished
it, and in any event he meant that Cynthia after this should go to
school and study; for "thanks to her and to God"--he spoke
reverently--"the mortgage was paid." Mr. Dean had taken that burden away
because of Florrie's life which Cynthia had saved.

Under the new conditions Cynthia grew very lovely in face as well as in
disposition. It came to pass that she spent fully half her time with the
Deans; had all the books to read that she wanted, and saw her father and
Aunt Kate so happy that she forgot the old days of worry and care, when
she had sometimes felt lonely, and thought that they were cross. Half
the crossness in the world comes from sorrow and anxiety, and so
children should bear with tired grown people patiently.

As for Lulu, she never ceased to be glad that her mamma's terror of
malaria had obliged her to carry a great shawl to Effie's lawn party.
Privately, too, she was glad that the shawl was so scorched that she
never was asked to wear it anywhere again.




The Boy Who Went from the Sheepfold to the Throne.

BY MARGARET E. SANGSTER.


A great many years ago in the morning of the world there was a boy who
began by taking care of flocks, and ended by ruling a nation. He was the
youngest of a large family and his older brothers did not respect him
very much nor think much of his opinion, though they were no doubt fond
of the ruddy, round-faced little fellow, and proud of his great courage
and of his remarkable skill in music. For the boy did not know what fear
was, and once when he was alone in the high hill pasture taking care of
the ewes and the lambs, there came prowling along a lion of the desert,
with his soft padding steps, intent on carrying off a sheep for Madam
Lioness and her cubs. The boy did not run, not he; but took the lamb out
of the lion's mouth, seized the creature by the beard and slew him, and
thus defended the huddling, frightened flock from that peril. He served
the next enemy a big, blundering old bear, in the same way. When there
were no wild beasts creeping up to the rim of the fire he made near his
little tent, the lad would amuse himself by playing on the flute, or
the jewsharp he carried; and at home, when the father and sons were
gathered around in silence, he used to play upon his larger harp so
sweetly that all bad thoughts fled, and everybody was glad and at peace
with the world.

One day an aged man with snowy hair and a look of great dignity and
presence came to the boy's father's house. He proved to be a great
prophet named Samuel, and he was received with much honor. In the course
of his visit he asked to see the entire family, and one by one the tall
and beautiful sons were presented to him until he had seen seven young
men.

"Is this all your household? Have you not another son?" he inquired.

"Yes," said Jesse the Bethlehemite, who by the way was a grandson of
that beautiful maiden, Ruth, who came out of Moab with Naomi, "yes, I
have still a son, but he is only a youth, out in the fields; you would
not wish to see _him_." But this was a mistake.

"Pray, send for him," answered the prophet.

Then David, for this was his name, came in, modest yet eager, with his
pleasant face and his dark kindling eyes. And the prophet said, "This is
the Lord's anointed," and then in a ceremony which the simple family
seem not to have quite understood, he set the boy apart by prayer and
blessing, poured the fragrant oil of consecration on his head, and said
in effect that in days to come he would be the King of Israel.

David went back to his fields and his sheep and for a long while nothing
happened.

But there arose against Israel in due time a nation of warlike people,
called "The Philistines." Nearly all the strong young men of the country
went out to fight against these invaders, and among them went the sons
of old Jesse. Nobody stayed at home except the old men, the women and
the younger boys and little ones. The whole country was turned into a
moving camp, and there arrived a time before long when Israel and the
Philistines each on a rolling hill, with a valley between them, set
their battle in array.

I once supposed that battles were fought on open plains, with soldiers
confronting one another in plain sight, as we set out toy regiments of
wooden warriors to fight for children's amusement. But since then, in my
later years, I have seen the old battlefields of our Civil War and I
know better. Soldiers fight behind trees and barns and fences, and in
the shelter of hedges and ditches, and a timbered mountain side makes a
fine place for a battle ground.

Now I will quote a passage or two from a certain old book, which tells
this part of the story in much finer style than I can. The old book is a
familiar one, and is full of splendid stories for all the year round. I
wish the young people who read this holiday book would make a point
hereafter of looking every day in that treasure-house, the Bible.

     And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines,
     named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

     And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a
     coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels
     of brass.

     And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass
     between his shoulders.

     And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his
     spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a
     shield went before him.

     And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto
     them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a
     Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and
     let him come down to me.

     If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be
     your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then
     shall ye be our servants, and serve us.

     And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give
     me a man, that we may fight together.

     When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they
     were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

     Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose
     name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men
     for an old man in the days of Saul.

     And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the
     battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle
     were Eliab the first-born, and next unto him Abinadab, and the
     third Shammah.

     And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.

     But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at
     Beth-lehem.

     And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented
     himself forty days.

     And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an
     ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the
     camp to thy brethren;

     And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and
     look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.

     Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley
     of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

     And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a
     keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came
     to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and
     shouted for the battle.

     For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army
     against army.

     And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the
     carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.

     And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the
     Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the
     Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard
     them.

     And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him,
     and were sore afraid.

     And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up?
     surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man
     who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and
     will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in
     Israel.

     And David spake to the men that stood by him saying, What shall be
     done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the
     reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine,
     that he should defy the armies of the living God?

By "carriage" is meant luggage, the things David had brought for his
brothers, not a conveyance as in our modern sense.

The brothers were angry when they found David putting himself forward,
in a way which they thought absurd, but their taunts did not deter him
from presenting himself to King Saul, who was pleased with the gallant
boy, and proposed to arm him with his own armor, a coat of mail, greaves
of brass and the like. But "no," said David, "I would feel clumsy and
awkward in your accoutrements, I will meet the giant with my shepherd's
sling and stone, in the name of the Lord God of Israel whom he has
defied."

The giant came blustering out with a tread that shook the ground. When
he saw his little antagonist he was vexed, for this seemed to him no
foeman worthy of his spear. But when the conflict was really on, lo! the
unerring eye and hand of David sent his pebble from the brook straight
into the giant's head, and the victory was with Israel.

And after that, David went to the palace and played sweetly on the harp
to charm and soothe the madness of King Saul, on whom there came by
spells a fierce and terrible malady. He formed a close friendship with
Jonathan, the king's son, a friendship which has passed into a proverb,
so tender it was and so true. After a while he married the king's
daughter. He had a great many wonderful adventures and strange
experiences, and in time he became king himself, as the Lord by his
prophet Samuel had foretold and chosen him to be.

But better than all, David's deeds of valor and the great fame he had
among the nations, which abides to this day, was, in my mind, the fact
that he wrote many of the psalms which we use in our public worship,
this, the twenty-third, is one of the very sweetest of them all:

     The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

     He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside
     the still waters.

     He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
     for his name's sake.

     Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
     will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they
     comfort me.

     Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
     thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

     Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
     and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

You must not think that David's life was ever an easy one. He always
had hard battles to fight. Once, for quite a long period, he was an
outlaw, much like Robin Hood of a later day, and with a band of brave
young men he lived in the woods and the mountains, defending the
property of his friends from other outlaws, and sometimes perhaps making
forays against his foes, sweeping off their cattle and burning their
tents and houses. Those were wild and exciting days, when the battle was
for the strongest to win, and when many things were done of which in our
modern times we cannot wholly approve. The thing about David which
pleases me most is that he had a rare quality called magnanimity; he did
not take a mean advantage of an enemy, and when, as occasionally it must
be owned, he did commit a great sin, his repentance was deep and
sincere. He lived in so much communion with God, that God spoke of him
always as his servant, and he has been called, to distinguish him from
other heroes in the Bible gallery, "The man after God's own heart."
Whatever duties or trials came to David, they were met in a spirit of
simple trust in the Lord, and with a child-like dependence on God's
will.

David had many children, some very good and some very bad. His son
Absalom was renowned for his beauty and for his wickedness, while
Solomon became famous, and so continues to this day as the wisest among
men, a man rich, far-sighted and exalted, who reigned long in Jerusalem
after the death of David, his father, who passed away in a good old age.
Wonderful lives are these to read and to think of, full of meaning for
every one of us. And many, many years after both these men and their
successors were gone there came to our earth, One born of a Virgin, who
traced His mortal lineage back to David of Bethlehem, and who brought
goodwill and peace to men. Even Christ our Blessed Lord.






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