It hurts to have one's hair pulled, but Johnnie Jones seldom cried or was cross with the baby. He would just laugh and run away when he saw him coming for his hair. Besides, that bad habit did not last long, and you may be sure that Johnnie Jones was glad when it was broken!
The first word the baby learned to say after "Mama" was "Buddy," and he meant Johnnie Jones. He knew when it was time for the big boy to come home from kindergarten, and he would stand at the window watching for him. As soon as he saw him coming he would wave his hand, and run to the steps to meet him. Then they would have a romp. Their favorite game was "I Spy."
One day they were playing "I Spy," and Little Brother was hiding. Usually it was very easy to find him, because his favorite hiding place was the nearest corner. But this time he wasn't there when Johnnie Jones looked, nor anywhere in the room or hall.
"Where can he be?" Johnnie Jones asked Mother.
She came to help him. They called the baby but heard no answer. Then they began to be worried and looked in every room. Suddenly they heard a great splash in the bath-tub. They ran into the bathroom, and there they found the baby.
Little Brother had forgotten he was playing "I Spy." He had wandered into the bath-room, and climbing on a chair dropped the soap into the tub which was full of water. Then, very soon, he dropped himself in, too! That was the splash the others had heard.
Mother and Johnnie Jones lifted him out, wet as he could be, and very much frightened.
"You dear little rascal!" exclaimed Johnnie Jones. "Didn't you know you couldn't swim?"
"It certainly is a good thing," Mother said, "that he has a big brother to take care of him."
* * * * *
Elizabeth with the Children
One day Elizabeth came over to spend the afternoon with Johnnie Jones, who was very glad to see her.
"Let's play horse," suggested Johnnie Jones. "I have a new pair of reins with bells on them."
"No, I don't want to play horse," Elizabeth said. "I want to play "I Spy," and I want to hide. You must find me."
"All right!" answered Johnnie Jones.
But as soon as it was Johnnie Jones's turn to hide, and Elizabeth's to find him, she decided that she would rather play fire-engine. "I'll be the fireman and put out the fire with your real little hose, and you be the horse and engine," she said.
"All right," Johnnie Jones answered again.
After they had extinguished several fires, Elizabeth said: "Now we'll play grocery-store, and I'll be the man who keeps it. We'll borrow some apples and potatoes from the cook, and you come to buy them."
"No," said Johnnie Jones this time, "I'll be the grocery man, and you the lady who comes to buy."
"I won't play if I mayn't be the storekeeper," threatened Elizabeth.
"But that's not fair," said Johnnie Jones. "You have chosen every game, and have taken the best part in each one for yourself. Now it is my turn to choose."
"I'll go home if you won't let me be the grocery man," Elizabeth told him.
"No," he answered, "because that's not a fair way to play."
Then Elizabeth left him. She did not go home, however, but just next door to Katherine's house. She found Katherine and Mary at home, playing with their dolls.
As soon as the little girls saw Elizabeth, they said: "You can't play with us unless you play the right way. You can't be Mother all the time."
"Well, if you won't let me play my way, I won't play at all," said Elizabeth, and ran on until she came to Sarah's house.
Sarah, Tom and Ned were jumping rope, and they called out to Elizabeth: "You can't play with us unless you will turn the rope part of the time."
"I don't like to turn, I like to jump," Elizabeth complained. But when she realized that she would not be allowed to jump until she first turned the rope for the others, she left these children too, and went next door to visit Sammy Smith.
That little boy and Susie were playing with a big wagon. They asked Elizabeth to play with them, and because they were courteous little children, and she was their visitor, they permitted her to take the first ride, and pretended that they were two strong horses hitched to her carriage. When they were tired, they told Elizabeth that it was time for her to become a horse and let one of them ride.
"No," said Elizabeth, "I like to ride better than to pull the wagon."
"We won't let you ride any longer," they answered, "because it's your turn to play that you are a horse."
"Then I'll go home," she said, and this time she did.
"What is the matter?" asked her mother.
"The children won't play the way I want them to, and I don't like them any more because I think they are unkind," she answered. "I wish I could go to fairy-land and be a princess, or else that I were a grown-up lady."
"Even grown-up ladies and princesses cannot always have their own way," her mother said.
Elizabeth stood at the window and looked out across the street. Most of the children had gathered there in front of Johnnie Jones's house, and were jumping rope. Elizabeth could hear them counting, and laughing, and talking. She began to feel very lonely. At last she put on her hat again and ran back to join the children.
"If you will let me play with you," she said, "I'll play anything you like."
"All right!" they answered, "and sometimes we'll play what you like."
"And I won't always ask for the best part any more," she said.
"You may have the part you like when it is your turn to choose," they told her.
"I'll turn the rope now," Elizabeth added.
"You turn until some one trips," the others answered.
Elizabeth spent the remainder of the afternoon with the children, who were glad to have her because she played fair. Elizabeth herself was very happy. She was even glad that she wasn't a princess or a grown-up lady; glad that she was just a little girl who had learned to play with other children.
* * * * *
Johnnie Jones and the Hoop-Rolling Club
One day, all the children of the neighborhood decided to form a hoop-rolling club. Each child was to buy a hoop and decorate it with bells and ribbons. Then, every Saturday morning, all of them were to go to the park and have a procession. They were to try their best to turn square corners, to roll their hoops in a straight line, and to keep them from falling down. No matter where they rolled them, up hill or down hill, over smooth ground or rough, they were not to let the hoops fall.
The one who could do all these things the best was to be the captain and lead the procession wherever he wished. He could go swiftly or slowly, just as he liked, and all the rest were to follow in the same manner. The captain was to remain captain only so long as he could roll his hoop better than anyone else in the club.
The children were delighted with their plan, and ran to the shop to buy the hoops.
All except poor little Johnnie Jones! He was not quite as old as the others, and he could not manage a hoop. He had tried to roll one belonging to Sammy Smith, one day, but he had been unable to prevent its falling down every time he struck it. Of course he wanted to join the club, and he asked Mother what she thought he had better do.
Mother went with him to the grocery-store, and bought a small hoop, much smaller than Sammy Smith's. Then she told Johnnie Jones that no one could teach him to roll it. "You must just try and try until you succeed, little boy," she said.
Johnnie Jones tried, all the way home, but he was as unsuccessful with the new hoop as he had been with Sammy Smith's old one. The other children watched him, but they did not know how to help him, much as they wished to do so. One big boy was rude enough to laugh at him, which hurt his feelings so much that he went out into his back yard to practise. There he tried, and tried again, until he was very tired.
Every day while the other children were decorating their hoops or were playing together, Johnnie Jones would practise all alone in the back yard, where no one could see him. He tried so hard that at last he succeeded in rolling his hoop from the porch to the gate without letting it fall a single time. He was greatly encouraged then, but he had to continue practising, because he could not even yet guide the hoop very well, and he could not turn corners at all.
When Saturday came, he went to the park to watch the first procession. It was a very pretty sight, for the hoops had been decorated with bright ribbons, and with bells which made a merry tinkling sound. Ned was the captain, as he was the oldest and could manage his hoop most skilfully. He led the children through the park, stopping now and then for breath. Whenever anyone dropped his hoop, he had to go to the end of the line, for that was the rule of the club.
All the next week Johnnie Jones worked very hard, learning to guide his hoop in a straight line, and to turn corners. He went to the park to practise now, so that he might have more room.
Mother watched him every day, and after a while she told him that he had become quite skilful enough to join the club. Then he was very happy, and began to decorate his hoop with the bright pink ribbon and shining brass bells which Mother had bought for him.
The next Saturday morning, Johnnie Jones took his hoop with him when he went to the park with the other children, all of whom were glad to hear that he had learned to roll it.
"But you had better be last in the procession," they told him, "because, most likely, you can't manage it very well yet."
They did not know how hard he had worked.
When the procession started off, Johnnie Jones kept up with the other children. Not once did he let his hoop fall, and he made it go so straight, and turned such square corners, that, presently, the children noticed how well he was doing.
"Well, look at little Johnnie Jones!" they said. "He can roll his hoop better than anyone here, even better than Ned!"
After they had watched him for a while, they decided he must be their captain, until Ned, or one of the other children had learned to do better than he.
Then Johnnie Jones was the proudest, happiest little boy in the whole world, as he led the procession through the park.
* * * * *
The Fire at Johnnie Jones's House
One night, while Father was away from home on a business trip, Mother and Johnnie Jones and Little Brother were fast asleep in their beds. Jack had been asleep too, down-stairs in the front hall, but now he was wide awake. He stood up, put back his ears, and sniffed the air. Then he ran quickly up the stairs to Johnnie Jones's room, stood outside his door, and whined, That did not waken anyone, so he barked.
Johnnie Jones woke up and heard him. So did mother, who was in the next room. "Please lie still, Mother," said Johnnie Jones. "I'll see what is the matter." He was trying to help Mother all he could while Father was away.
He opened the door, and cried out: "Oh, Mother, the hall is full of smoke!"
Mother came to the door. She saw that smoke was pouring out from the hall below. "I am afraid the house is on fire," she said. "You must be very brave and help me. Put on your wrapper and slippers and run up to Maggie's room, and tell her and Kathie to come down here."
Johnnie Jones was a bit frightened, but without another word he ran up those long, dark steps, and aroused the two girls. It was brave of the little boy.
Meanwhile Mother had given the fire alarm through the telephone, slipped on her wrapper, and bundled the baby in a blanket. When the others had come down to her room, she closed the door into the hall.
"It would be dangerous to go downstairs," she said; "we must just wait here at the window until the firemen bring us a ladder."
"Oh, Mother!" Johnnie Jones said, "do you think they'll come soon?"
"Listen!" Mother answered.
Then Johnnie Jones heard a sound that made him clap his hands with joy. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! Galloping down the street came the splendid big fire-horses drawing the hook-and-ladder. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! Down the street came the fire-engine, the hose carriage, and the salvage corps wagon.
Quick as a flash the firemen saw Mother and the children at the window! Quicker than you can think, they had two long ladders placed against the two window sills. Then two strong firemen climbed up. One of them helped Mother and the baby to reach the ground, the other looked after Johnnie Jones.
Maggie and Kathie did not wait to be helped, they stepped down the ladder faster than one would have thought possible, and reached the ground first of all.
Jack did not know how to use a ladder, so he was thrown out of the window by one fireman, and caught in a blanket by two others. He wasn't hurt in the least, though Johnnie Jones had been worried for fear he might be, but ran straight to his little master.
"If it had not been for Jack's telling us there was a fire, we might not have been able to leave the house so quickly," said Mother, as she caressed the dog.
Elizabeth's mother, who lived across the street, asked Mrs. Jones and the children to come into her house. They went, and stood at the window watching the fire until it was out.
It was a beautiful sight, for the flames flashed out of the thick smoke and made the whole neighborhood bright. Poor Mother felt too sad at seeing her home burn to enjoy the beauty of the fire, but as it was the very first fire he had ever seen, Johnnie Jones did enjoy it, although he was sorry, too.
"Never mind, Mother dear," he said, trying to comfort her. "Father will build us a new house if this one burns down."
All this time the brave firemen were working to extinguish the fire. They had unhitched the horses, and tied them, at a safe distance from the house. Some of them had fixed the hose to the engine and were pumping great streams of water onto the flames. Others were inside the house fighting the fire; and the salvage men were trying to save the furniture and pictures and curtains.
Soon the flames became lower, and lower, until at last they died away, and the fire was out. Then the horses were hitched again to the engine, and hose carriage, and the other wagons. The whistle in the engine was blown, and all went back to the engine houses where they belonged. Not as they had come, in a swift gallop, but slowly, for now men and horses were tired.
Soon the neighborhood was quiet again, and everyone returned to bed. The Jones's passed the rest of the night in Elizabeth's house.
Next morning, they drove to Grandmother's home to visit her until they could go into the country to spend the summer.
When Father came home he was very much grieved to find his home so badly burned, but he felt very grateful to Jack for arousing the family, and he was very thankful to the brave firemen and good horses, for coming so quickly and doing their work so well. He was distressed that he had not been at home, to save Mother from worry and care, but he was glad to hear that Johnnie Jones had been a help and comfort to her, and had behaved as a manly boy should.
* * * * *
Johnnie Jones and Fanny
Johnnie Jones enjoyed the country because he could be out of doors all the day long, and because there were so many interesting things to do. This summer he liked it even better than ever before, for Little Brother was old enough to run about and play with him, in the soft grass under the trees.
Then there was Fanny.
Fanny was a small brown pony which lived in the country all the year round, and which had belonged to Johnnie Jones ever since he was a tiny boy only two years old. The little pony and the little boy loved each other, and spent a great deal of their time together. Each morning, directly after breakfast, Johnnie Jones and Little Brother would go down to the field where Fanny and the horses lived, taking with them an apple or some sugar.
"Here, Fanny! Here, Fanny!" they would call.
As soon as she heard their voices, the little brown pony would come running to them and eat out of their hands, always being very careful not to nip their fingers. Then she would poke her nose into Johnnie Jones's pockets to see if there were anything hidden away, that was good to eat. She was so sweet tempered and gentle that she would let the children do anything with her that pleased them, and often romped with Johnnie Jones like a big dog.
About nine o'clock, Sam, the hired man, would hitch Fanny to a small cart, and Johnnie Jones would take Mother, or Maggie, and Little Brother, for a drive. Johnnie Jones could both drive and ride so very well that he was often allowed to go out with Fanny quite alone.
One morning, after he had taken the others home, he started to the village shop to buy some butter. On the road he met a boy named Charley, who asked to go with him.
"All right! Jump in," Johnnie Jones told him, glad to have company.
"Let me drive?" Charley asked. So Johnnie Jones changed places with him, and gave him the reins.
Charley was older than Johnnie Jones and considered himself a much better driver, but he did not know and love horses in the same way that Johnnie Jones did, though he had always lived in the country.
"Watch me!" he said. "I'll show you how to make a pony run."
Before Johnnie Jones could stop him, he seized the whip and with it gave Fanny a sharp cut. The little pony had never before been whipped, and was so surprised and hurt, that she began to run as fast as ever she could. Bump! Bump! She dragged the cart over rocks and stones so fast that the little boys were almost thrown out on the road.
Johnnie Jones was just as surprised as Fanny.
"Give me that whip," he said to Charley. "I don't allow anyone to use it on my pony. You've hurt her and made her run away. Give me the reins. I will never again let you drive."
"Leave me alone," Charley answered. "I'll teach her a good lesson."
He struck Fanny once more, and then began pulling on the reins with all his might, hurting the pony's tender mouth, and making her toss her head and even kick.
Johnnie Jones was very angry and commanded Charley to give him the reins. Charley was beginning to be frightened, so he obeyed.
"Whoa! Fanny, don't be afraid," Johnnie Jones said to the little pony, as he took the reins and held them loosely in his hands.
As soon as Fanny heard the voice of her little master, she stopped running, and soon stood still. Then Johnnie Jones jumped out of the cart and began to pat her. Fanny was very much ashamed of herself, and rubbed her nose against his sleeve, as if to say: "I am sorry, Johnnie Jones, but that boy surprised me. I'll never act so again."
Johnnie Jones drove on to the shop and then back home, but he was so angry with Charley that he would not let him ride any further.
"I don't like you any more," he told him.
And I do not blame Johnnie Jones, do you? For I could not like a boy who would be so cowardly and unkind as to hurt an animal.
* * * * *
Fanny and Little Brother
One day, Elizabeth came with her mother to spend the day in the country with Mrs. Jones and the little boys. The children had enjoyed themselves very much, playing all the morning. Just before lunch they ran down to the field where Fanny and Tim, the carriage horse, were, to pick some wild flowers for the table. Little Brother was with them, and while the others were gathering the flowers, he toddled away, and lay down in the tall grass.
The two mothers were sitting under the trees near the house. From where they sat they could see the children in the field.
"Aren't you afraid to let the children play there where the horses are?" Elizabeth's mother asked Mrs. Jones.
"No indeed," she answered. "Tim and Fanny love them too well to hurt them."
But just then Tim and Fanny began to play "Tag," as they often did, for they were great friends. Fanny pretended to bite Tim, and came galloping up the field as fast as ever she could. She did not see Little Brother, lying directly in front of her, hidden by the tall grass. On she came, galloping rapidly towards him.
Mother saw her, and was so frightened she could hardly stand, for she thought the baby would be trampled down by the pony. She started to run, but of course she could not run as fast as Fanny, and besides, she was much further away.
Fanny rushed on until she was within a few feet of the baby. Then she saw him! She tried to stop, but was moving too rapidly. Being a wise little pony, she saw there was but one thing to do, and she did it. She jumped and landed on the other side of the baby without touching him, though her foot just did miss his head.
Mother caught Little Brother up in her arms, and examined him carefully. She could scarcely believe he had escaped without any injury, and was very happy indeed, when she found that such was the case.
"I don't believe any other pony would have had so much sense," she said.
That evening, when Father had heard of Little Brother's narrow escape, he told Mother and Johnnie Jones about an experience he had had when a baby.
His father had owned a wise old horse whose name was Charley. One day Charley was eating the grass in the yard, and Johnnie Jones's father, who was then only a baby three years old, was lying on the ground, playing with the leaves After a while old Charley had eaten all the grass near by, except the very long delicious blades underneath the baby. He couldn't ask the little boy to move away, because he couldn't talk. So, very carefully, he took hold of the baby's dress with his teeth, lifted him up, and set him down on the other side of the yard. He did not even frighten him, but the mother, who was looking out of the window, was very much frightened, until she saw that the baby had not been harmed.
Mother and Johnnie Jones agreed that Charley had shown almost as much sense as Fanny, but that it wasn't very safe to leave little children alone when there were horses and ponies about.
* * * * *
When Johnnie Jones Learned to Swim
One summer, when Johnnie Jones was six, he and the other members of the family spent a month in the woods. They lived in a small log house which was close to a beautiful lake, and almost completely surrounded by trees. Johnnie Jones enjoyed the life there immensely. He learned to row a light boat on the water, and every day he went for a long walk through the woods, meeting many birds and small wild animals on the way. Sometimes, in the distance, he caught a glimpse of the beautiful, graceful deer, which were too timid to permit him to come very near them.
Just in front of the house was a wooden dock where Johnnie Jones liked to play, but where he was never allowed to go alone as the water about it was very deep. "Teach me to swim," he said to his father. "Then I shall be able to play wherever I please."
Father had been intending to give Johnnie Jones lessons in swimming and was only waiting for a warm, sunshiny day. Such a day came very soon, and, about twelve o'clock, he and Johnnie Jones, dressed in their bathing suits, went in the water. The little boy considered bathing great fun as long as he remained close to shore where the water was shallow but he did not like it so well when Father carried him out to the raft, where the water was so deep that it reached the shoulders of the grown people standing in it.
"Now, son," Mr. Jones said, "I want you to stand on the raft, and jump when I count three. I will catch you in my arms, let you go down under the water, and bring you up again. Remember to hold your breath, so that you will not take any of the water into your nose or mouth. Perhaps you had better keep one hand over your face for fear you might forget and try to breathe before you reach the surface. Now jump, I am quite ready to catch you."
Johnnie Jones stood on the raft and looked down at the water. He did not want to jump into it, but neither did he want to disappoint his father. Besides he wished very much to learn to swim.
"Will you be certain to catch me?" he asked Father.
"I promise you I will," he answered.
Johnnie Jones knew that Father always kept his promise, so, after a moment or two, he said he was ready.
"One, two, three, jump!" said Father. And Johnnie Jones obeyed.
As soon as he touched the water he felt Father's strong arms about him, and then he did not mind going down, down, into it. In a second he came to the surface again, of course dripping wet, but without having swallowed any water, as he had remembered to hold his breath.
After the first plunge, he enjoyed taking others, and jumped into the water as many times as Father would catch him. Next day they went in bathing again, and Father carried Johnnie Jones out to the raft as before. But when the little boy was ready to jump, Father said: "To-day, I shall not catch you when you first touch the water; I shall wait until you come to the surface by yourself, and then I shall hold you up."
After he had jumped into the water, Johnnie Jones was surprised to find that he came up again just as quickly as when Father's arms had been under him. Then while Father held him he lay flat on the water and paddled himself about with his hands and feet.
In a few days the little boy learned to swim a short distance, quite alone, although he was not allowed to go into the water unless an older person were with him.
One day, before Johnnie Jones had learned to swim very well, he had an exciting experience. He was on the dock with his uncle, and a very high wind was blowing the water into waves, which dashed against the dock with a roaring sound. Indeed the waves were so noisy, that when Johnnie Jones suddenly slipped and fell off the dock, his uncle, whose back was turned, did not hear the splash.
However, a boatman at the boat-house saw Johnnie Jones fall, and he ran as fast as possible, towards the dock.
Meantime Johnnie Jones sank down into the water, and came up to the surface again. The brave little fellow remembered what to do. He closed his mouth, and holding one hand over his nose, he paddled with the other, until he was able to grasp the dock, against which the wind was blowing him. He held on bravely, never opening his mouth to cry, nor taking his hand from his face.
In less than a minute, though it seemed much longer to Johnnie Jones, his uncle and the boatman had drawn him from the water. He was not in the least harmed by his unexpected bath because he had remembered, even while he was falling, the proper thing to do.
Mother stripped off his wet clothing, and after she had rubbed him until he was all in a glow, she wrapped him in blankets so that he should not take cold.
Johnnie Jones went to sleep. When he awoke he felt very well, and was glad when he heard Father say: "You were a brave boy and I am proud of you."
Johnnie Jones's uncle was sorry he had been so careless as to turn his back when the wind was blowing such a gale, and promised that it should never happen again.
Johnnie Jones was more careful, too, and had no further trouble in the water. Every day, Father gave him a swimming lesson, and before the time came to return to the city, Johnnie Jones felt very much at home in the water. He could swim very well, and could float, lying flat on his back, but another summer passed before he had quite learned to dive.