And wise he must have been, to do more Than ever a genius did before, Excepting Daedalus of yore And his son Icarus, who wore Upon their backs Those wings of wax He had read of in the old almanacs. Darius was clearly of the opinion That the air is also man's dominion, And that, with paddle or fin or pinion, We soon or late Shall navigate The azure as now we sail the sea. The thing looks simple enough to me; And if you doubt it, Hear how Darius reasoned about it.
"Birds can fly, An' why can't I? Must we give in," Says he with a grin, "'T the bluebird an' phoebe Are smarter'n we be? Jest fold our hands an' see the swaller An' blackbird an' catbird beat us holler? Does the leetle, chatterin', sassy wren, No bigger'n my thumb, know more than men Jest show me that! Er prove't the bat Has got more brains than's in my hat, An' I'll back down, an' not till then!"
He argued further: "Ner I can't see What's th' use o' wings to a bumblebee, Fer to git a livin' with, more'n to me; Ain't my business Importanter'n his'n is? That Icarus Was a silly cuss— Him an' his daddy, Daedalus. They might 'a' knowed wings made o' wax Wouldn't stan' sun-heat an' hard whacks; I'll make mine o' luther, Er suthin' er other."
And he said to himself, as he tinkered and planned: "But I ain't goin' to show my hand To mummies that never can understand The fust idee that's big an' grand. They'd 'a' laft an' made fun O' Creation itself afore 'twas done!" So he kept his secret from all the rest, Safely buttoned within his vest; And in the loft above the shed Himself he locks, With thimble and thread And wax and hammer and buckles and screws, And all such things as geniuses use; Two bats for patterns, curious fellows! A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows; An old hoop-skirt or two, as Well as Some wire and several old umbrellas; A carriage-cover, for tail and wings; A piece of harness; and straps and strings; And a big strong box, In which he locks These and a hundred other things.
His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke And Nathan and Jotham and Solomon, lurk Around the corner to see him work— Sitting cross-legged, like a Turk, Drawing the waxed end through with a jerk, And boring the holes with a comical quirk Of his wise old head, and a knowing smirk. But vainly they mounted each other's backs, And poked through knot-holes and pried through cracks; With wood from the pile and straw from the stacks He plugged the knot-holes and calked the cracks; And a bucket of water, which one would think; He had brought up into the loft to drink When he chanced to be dry, Stood always nigh, For Darius was sly! And whenever at work he happened to spy At chink or crevice a blinking eye, He let a dipper of water fly. "Take that! an' ef ever ye get a peep, Guess ye'll ketch a weasel asleep!" And he sings as he locks His big strong box: "The weasel's head is small an' trim, An' he is leetle an' long an' slim, An' quick of motion an' nimble of limb, An' ef yeou'll be Advised by me, Keep wide awake when ye're ketchin' him!"
So day after day He stitched and tinkered and hammered Till at last 'twas done— The greatest invention under the sun! "An' now," says Darius, "hooray fer some fun!"
'Twas the Fourth of July, And the weather was dry, And not a cloud was on all the sky Save a few light fleeces, which here and there. Half mist, half air, Like foam on the ocean went floating by; Just as lovely a morning as ever was seen For a nice little trip in a flying-machine.
Thought cunning Darius: "Now I shan't go Along 'ith the fellers to see the show. I'll say I've got sich a terrible cough! An' then, when the folks 'ave all gone off, I'll hev full swing For to try the thing, An' practyse a leetle on the wing."
"Ain't goin' to see the celebration?" Says Brother Nate. "No; botheration! I've got sich a cold—a toothache—I— My gracious!—feel's though I should fly!"
Said Jotham, "Sho! Guess ye better go." But Darius said, "No! Shouldn't wonder 'f yeou might see me, though, 'Long 'bout noon, ef I git red O' this jumpin', thumpin' pain 'n my head."
For all the while to himself he said: "I'll tell ye what! I'll fly a few times around the lot, To see how 't seems; then soon's I've got The hang o' the thing, ez likely's not, I'll astonish the nation, And all creation, By flyin' over the celebration! Over their heads I'll sail like an eagle; I'll balance myself on my wings like a sea-gull; I'll dance on the chimbleys; I'll stan' on the steeple; I'll flop up to winders an' scare the people!
I'll light on the libbe'ty-pole, an' crow; An' I'll say to the gawpin' fools below, 'What world's this 'ere That I've come near?' Fer I'll make 'em believe I'm a chap f'm the moon! An' I'll try a race 'ith their ol' bulloon." He crept from his bed; And, seeing the others were gone, he said, "I'm a gittin' over the cold 'n my head." And away he sped To open the wonderful box in the shed.
His brothers had walked but a little way When Jotham to Nathan chanced to say, "What on airth is he up to, hey?" "Don'o'—the' 's suthin' er other to pay, Er he wouldn't 'a' stayed to hum today." Says Burke, "His toothache's all 'n his eye! He never'd miss a Fo'th-o'-July Ef he hedn't got some machine to try. Le's hurry back an' hide in the barn, An' pay him fer tellin' us that yarn!" "Agreed!" Through the orchard they creep back, Along by the fences, behind the stack, And one by one, through a hole in the wall, In under the dusty barn they crawl, Dressed in their Sunday garments all; And a very astonishing sight was that, When each in his cobwebbed coat and hat Came up through the floor like an ancient rat And there they hid; And Reuben slid The fastenings back, and the door undid. "Keep dark!" said he, "While I squint an' see what the' is to see."
As knights of old put on their mail— From head to foot An iron suit, Iron jacket and iron boot, Iron breeches, and on the head No hat, but an iron pot instead, And under the chin the bail (I believe they called the thing a helm); And the lid they carried they called a shield; And, thus accoutered, they took the field, Sallying forth to overwhelm The dragons and pagans that plagued the realm— So this modern knight Prepared for flight, Put on his wings and strapped them tight; Jointed and jaunty, strong and light; Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip— Ten feet they measured from tip to tip! And a helm had he, but that he wore, Not on his head like those of yore, But more like the helm of a ship.
"Hush!" Reuben said, "He's up in the shed! He's opened the winder—I see his head! He stretches it out, An' pokes it about, Lookin' to see 'f the coast is clear, An' nobody near; Guess he don'o' who's hid in here! He's riggin' a spring-board over the sill! Stop laffin', Solomon! Burke, keep still! He's a climbin' out now—of all the things! What's he got on? I van, it's wings! An' that 'tother thing? I yum, it's a tail! An' there he sets like a hawk on a rail! Steppin' careful, he travels the length Of his spring-board, and teeters to try its strength. Now he stretches his wings, like a monstrous bat; Peeks over his shoulder, this way an' that, Fer to see 'f the' 's anyone passin' by; But the' 's on'y a ca'f an' a goslin' nigh. They turn up at him a wonderin' eye, To see—the dragon! he's goin' to fly! Away he goes! Jimminy! what a jump! Flop—flop—an' plump To the ground with a thump! Flutt'rin' an' flound'rin', all in a lump!"
As a demon is hurled by an angel's spear, Heels over head, to his proper sphere— Heels over head, and head over heels, Dizzily down the abyss he wheels— So fell Darius. Upon his crown, In the midst of the barnyard, he came down, In a wonderful whirl of tangled strings, Broken braces and broken springs, Broken tail and broken wings, Shooting-stars, and various things! Away with a bellow fled the calf, And what was that? Did the gosling laugh? 'Tis a merry roar From the old barn-door, And he hears the voice of Jotham crying, "Say, D'rius! how de yeou like flyin'?" Slowly, ruefully, where he lay, Darius just turned and looked that way, As he stanched his sorrowful nose with his cuff. "Wal, I like flyin' well enough," He said; "but the' ain't sich a thunderin' sight O' fun in 't when ye come to light."
I just have room for the moral here, And this is the moral: Stick to your sphere. Or if you insist, as you have the right, On spreading your wings for a loftier flight, The moral is: Take care how you light.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916), an American writer, lived in Cambridge. He and Lucy Larcom were for a time editors of Our Young Folks' Magazine. Trowbridge first saw a flying-machine sixty years after he wrote "Darius Green and His Flying-Machine." He was then eighty-three years old.
Discussion. 1. What did Darius Green believe that men would soon be able to do? 2. What did Darius determine to use as material for his machine? 3. Why did he not tell his brothers what he was trying to do? 4. When did he plan to try his machine? 5. Find the lines that tell what he imagined he would do. 6. Find the lines that tell what he really did. 7. What did he say was the unpleasant part of flying? 8. Mention some inventions that people once thought were as impossible as the boys thought this flying-machine was. 9. Mention some inventors at whom people once laughed but who are now honored. 10. In what way does the author make his story humorous? 11. Notice Darius's language on pages 67 and 68. The writer shows by such words that Darius was not a well-educated boy; are persons often judged by the way they talk? 12. In Wildman's Famous Leaders of Industry, you will find interesting facts about Orville and Wilbur Wright..You will enjoy reading The Boys' Airplane Book, Collins. 13, Report any current news on airplane development, airplane mail routes, etc., that you can find. 14. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: soaring; lank; gimlet; yore; pinion; tinkered; mummies; quirk; smirk; crevice; weasel; cunning; ancient; helm; ruefully. 15. Pronounce: Darius; aspiring; genius; awry; grimace; droll; Daedalus; Icarus; almanacs; phoebe; calked; breeches; accoutered; pagans; jaunty; stanched.
Phrases for Study
aspiring genius, like a Turk, riveted his attention, knights of old, Daedalus of yore, thus accoutered, man's dominion, plagued the realm, navigate the azure, his proper sphere, beat us holler, stick to your sphere.
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS C. L. DODGSON ("Lewis Carroll") Christ Church, Oxford October 13, 1875
My Dear Gertrude:
I never give birthday presents, but you see I do sometimes write a birthday letter; so, as I've just arrived here, I am writing this to wish you many and many a happy return of your birthday tomorrow. I will drink your health, if only I can remember, and if you don't mind—but perhaps you object? You see, if I were to sit by you at breakfast, and to drink your tea, you wouldn't like that, would you? You would say "Boo! hoo! Here's Mr. Dodgson's drunk all my tea, and I haven't any left!" So I am very much afraid, next time Sybil looks for you, she'll find you sitting by the sad sea-wave, and crying "Boo! hoo! Here's Mr. Dodgson has drunk my health, and I haven't got any left!" And how it will puzzle Dr. Maund, when he is sent for to see you! "My dear Madam, I'm very sorry to say your little girl has got no health at all! I never saw such a thing in my life!" "Oh, I can easily explain it!" your mother will say. "You see she would go and make friends with a strange gentleman, and yesterday he drank her health!" "Well, Mrs. Chataway," he will say, "the only way to cure her is to wait till his next birthday, and then for her to drink his health."
And then we shall have changed healths. I wonder how you'll like mine! Oh, Gertrude, I wish you wouldn't talk such nonsense!
Your loving friend,
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by his pen name, "Lewis Carroll," was an English author. He was the son of a clergyman. For four years he attended the famous school at Rugby, after which he entered college at Oxford. He became an excellent scholar and mathematician and was appointed a lecturer on mathematics at Oxford University, a position that he held for many years. His keen sympathy with the imagination of children and their sense of fun led him to tell of the adventures of Alice, in a book called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This book made Lewis Carroll's name famous. His delightful humor is well illustrated in his letter of "Birthday Greetings" to Gertrude Chataway.
Discussion. 1. What is usually meant by "drink your health"? 2. What play on the meaning of these words gives a humorous turn to them? 3. What remedy does the author suggest the doctor will prescribe for Gertrude? 4. What does the author call this humor? 5. The author was a serious man, yet he believed in the value of wholesome fun; of what great poet did you read, on page 57, who also believed in the value of a hearty laugh?
Phrases for Study
many a happy return, sad sea-wave.
THE WIND AND THE MOON
Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out. You stare in the air Like a ghost in a chair, Always looking what I am about. I hate to be watched; I will blow you out."
The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon. So, deep on a heap Of clouds, to sleep Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon— Muttering low. "I've done for that Moon."
He turned in his bed; she was there again. On high in the sky, With her one ghost eye, The Moon shone white and alive and plain. Said the Wind, "I will blow you out again."
The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim. "With my sledge and my wedge I have knocked off her edge. If only I blow right fierce and grim, The creature will soon be dimmer than dim."
He blew and he blew, and she thinned to a thread. "One puff more's enough To blow her to snuff! One good puff more where the last was bred, And glimmer, glimmer glum will go the thread."
He blew a great blast, and the thread was gone; In the air nowhere Was a moonbeam bare; Far off and harmless the shy stars shone; Sure and certain the Moon was gone!
The Wind he took to his revels once more: On down, in town, Like a merry-mad clown, He leaped and hallooed with whistle and roar— "What's that?" The glimmering thread once more.
He flew in a rage—he danced and blew; But in vain was the pain Of his bursting brain; For still the broader the moon-scrap grew, The broader he swelled his big cheeks and blew.
Slowly she grew—till she filled the night, And shone on her throne In the sky alone, A matchless, wonderful, silvery light, Radiant and lovely, the queen of the night.
Said the Wind: "What a marvel of power am I With my breath, good faith, I blew her to death— First blew her away right out of the sky— Then blew her in; what a strength am I!"
But the Moon she knew nothing about the affair, For, high in the sky, With her one white eye, Motionless, miles above the air, She had never heard the great Wind blare.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. George Macdonald (1824-1905), a Scotch poet, wrote many entertaining poems and stories for children. "The Wind and the Moon" is a good illustration of the fact that he knew how to interest boys and girls.
Discussion. 1. Why did the wind want to blow out the moon? 2. What natural changes in the shape of the moon take place each month? 3. What really caused it to disappear? 4. What did the wind do when he thought he had succeeded? 5. Find the lines that tell how the wind felt when he saw the moon grow broader and bigger. 6. Find the lines which tell that the moon did not know that the wind was blowing. 7. What qualities does this story give to the wind? 8. Do you know any person who has these qualities? 9. The poet aims in this poem to amuse us; by what means does he do this? 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: muttering; sledge; wedge; grim; matchless; blare. 11. Pronounce: revels; hallooed; radiant.
Phrases for Study
thinned to a thread, took to his revels, where the last was bred, filled the night.
STORIES IN LIGHTER VEIN
A BACKWARD LOOK
Why is it good for us, even in the midst of serious work, to read humorous stories from time to time? An interesting anecdote is told of Abraham Lincoln that shows how he would have answered this question. One day when the Civil War was at its height, President Lincoln opened his cabinet meeting by saying, "Gentlemen, I am going to read you something that will make you laugh." He then read a chapter from a humorous book, laughing heartily as he read. When he saw that none of the members of his cabinet joined in the laughter, he said with a sigh, "Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that is put on me day and night, if I did not laugh once in a while I should die; and you need this medicine as much as I do," What did you read in the Forward Look on page 57 about another serious-minded man who believed that wholesome humor is a "medicine"?
Which selection in this group gave you the heartiest laugh? Often some sensible truth is taught through a little nonsense; of which selections is this particularly true? It is interesting to stop for a moment and think just why certain stories make us laugh. One story is humorous because of its wild exaggeration; another because it makes us see how ridiculous it is to be a boaster or to be conceited or to jump at conclusions; and still another because it has an interesting little play upon words. What is the source of humor in "The Savage Boar"; "A Narrow Escape"; "How the Baron Saved Gibraltar"; "The Blind Men and the Elephant"; "Birthday Greetings"; "The Wind and the Moon"?
How does the present-day newspaper furnish fun for its readers? Which newspaper cartoons do you look at regularly, and which are your favorites? Bring to class examples of cartoons, and then divide the collection into three groups—those that you think drive home a truth; those that you think are funny and clever; and those that you think are merely silly. Prepare an exhibit for "Cartoon Day" in your school, selecting the material from these examples. Clip and bring to class newspaper jokes that you and your family particularly enjoyed. Recommend to your classmates humorous stories that you have read in The Junior Red Cross News, Life, St. Nicholas, The Youth's Companion, or in some other magazine.
In previous pages you have found occasional suggestions for problems similar to those of the preceding paragraph. Like suggestions will be found later in the book. The working out of these problems and reporting on them in class will add greatly to the value and pleasure of your reading.
Some of these suggested problems are: (a) Silent Reading—Making a report showing comparisons month by month of individual and class progress in silent reading; (b) Books I Have Read—Reviewing a favorite book, giving title, author, time and scene of story, principal characters, and a brief outline of the story, with readings of the selected passages that will give your classmates most pleasure; (c) Magazine Reading—Reporting monthly on current numbers of magazines, telling your classmates what you have found that is interesting; in this way you will help each other to become acquainted with a number of magazines; (d) Newspaper Reading—Reporting current events, and showing in the newspapers that you read the place of general news, of editorials, society news, sports, the joke column, cartoons, advertisements, etc.; (e) Dramatizing—Planning and presenting before your class some selection or some incident from a selection that you think will make an interesting play; (f) Good Citizenship—Making a list of the suggestions you find in this Reader that help you to be a useful home-member and a good citizen, and preparing a program from selections in this book for "Citizenship Day" in your school.
Which of the problems that you have worked out did you find most interesting?
HOME AND COUNTRY
A Forward Look
One of the most famous stories in American literature tells about a man who spoke of his country with sneers and insults and acted in such a way that he was forbidden ever to set foot on American soil again. So he became a wanderer. He saw how men from other countries looked upon their homelands with pride and affection, and how his countrymen loved America better even than their lives. He came to be known as "the man without a country," and he lived a wretched and lonely life. At last he came to the hour of death, and he wrote these words for all Americans to think about if the temptation should ever come to speak scornfully of their country:
"If you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing that shall put a bar between you and your country, pray God in his mercy to take you that instant home to his own heaven. Stick by your family, boy; forget you have a self, while you do everything for them. Think of your home, boy; write and send, and talk about it. Let it be nearer and nearer to your thoughts, the farther you have to travel from it; and rush back to it when you are free. And for your country, boy"—and the words rattled in his throat—"and for that flag"—and he pointed to the ship—"never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you, though the service carry you through a thousand hells. No matter what happens to you, no matter who flatters you or who abuses you, never look to another flag, never let a night pass but you pray God to bless that flag. Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with, behind officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to your mother. Stand by Her, boy, as you would stand by your mother."
Such was the dying message of "the man without a country" to the Americans of his time; such is his message to us. When we were at war, it was to be expected that all men would answer the call of patriotism. But now that peace has come, it is not so easy to forget self in a loyalty to our country and its flag. It is easy to be on guard when we know that an armed enemy is close by; it is not easy when the enemy is hidden, and the guns are silent. These hidden enemies of our country do not fight in armies; they are the bad citizens who are scattered about; often you do not realize who they are.
Generally these bad citizens, who are enemies of our country, possess one or all of the following characteristics:
In the first place, they have no love for home and its festivals. Now, our nation is a collection of homes. The government was formed to protect these homes. The good citizen is a lover of his native soil, a lover of his home, a lover of Thanksgiving and Independence Day and Christmas. These festivals bind men more closely together, make them one, join them to their native land. But there are many bad citizens, enemies of America, who seek to destroy these influences that lead men to work together to make the community a better place in which to live.
Second, the history of the United States, the stories of the founding of our nation, the stories about our flag and its defenders, have no interest for these bad citizens. You remember how mother used to tell you stories about when she was a little girl, and how these stories made you love her the more. It is the same with the stories about the days when our country was young: how the young George Washington showed the kind of man he was, or how the young Abraham Lincoln struggled to fit himself to become a leader of men. Through these stories we learn what the flag really means and what it has cost, and we love our country as we love our mother. But the enemy, the bad citizen, laughs at these things. He just thinks of himself. He thinks he has a right to do as he likes because this is, he says, "a free country." He doesn't think that he owes anything to Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln, or to those who kept the flag at the masthead when it was in peril.
And the third test of a man's loyalty to our country is met only if he has the true feeling of democracy in his heart. This feeling of democracy means service, willingness to help others. The man or woman who thinks only of his own good time or his own fortune is a bad citizen.
You see, it is this way. In olden times men had no part in the government unless they were born into a high place in society. The ordinary man did as he was told, went to the wars at the king's pleasure, and paid taxes that often took all he could save. He had little opportunity to make money or collect property. If he did, very probably the king would hear of it and would take away from him all that he had saved. But America was founded with a different idea of these matters. Here men got together and set up the kind of government they wished. They taxed themselves in order to support this government. They worked together to drive away hostile Indians, to kill wild beasts, to conquer the forests, to plant their crops, to make their lives safe and happy. In this cooperation, or working together, in government and in all the ways of living we find the spirit of democracy.
This spirit has made America what it is today. It has opened up farms, built railways and ships and great industries, built also mighty cities, and made laws for the protection of property and life. All this men have done through the cooperation that means democracy.
If any man thinks that this freedom gives him the right to trample on others, he is no better than one of the wicked kings of former times. If he thinks that under this freedom he may devote himself wholly to the selfish gain of wealth without giving a share of his money, his time, and his skill to making his community a better place to live in and his nation stronger and more secure, he cheats his fellows, because he takes, without making any return, the blessings that the founders and defenders of the Republic established with their lives.
In the old stories the youth who was ready to be made a knight had to do certain things. He had to take the vow of knighthood, that he would lead a pure and blameless life. He had to render a service to someone in distress. And he had to watch, his arms beside him, through a night.
You boys and girls, lovers of America, her defenders if need be, her guardians in the years to come, must also watch by your arms. These arms are not guns and bayonets; they belong to your heart and mind. They are three in number: the love of home, the inheritance of freedom, and the will to work with others. The first is a foundation to make strong your heart; the second is a bulwark to make safe your life; the third is a sword wherewith to slay the enemies of the Republic.
This foundation in the love of home, this bulwark of our inheritance of freedom, and this sword of unselfish service are subjects often dealt with by great writers. In the pages that follow you will find pieces selected in order to bring out these ideas. You should read each of these selections not only for itself but also as a member of the group to which it belongs; and you should try to get the central idea that unites all the pieces that make up the group. Thus, little by little, you will come to see how your joy in Thanksgiving, the thrill that Old Glory can give you, and the service that you can render to someone else, are all related to each other. To defend home and country by being a good citizen is to be your mission in life. It is more important than a successful career, or than great personal happiness. For both your career and your happiness will depend upon the way in which you, and the other boys and girls of America, thousands upon thousands, keep watch by these arms, keep faith with home and country.
HOME AND ITS FESTIVALS
HOME, SWEET HOME
John Howard Payne
'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home! A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there, Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere. Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home! There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!
An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain; Oh! give me my lonely thatched cottage again! The birds, singing gayly, that came at my call— Give me them—and the peace of mind dearer than all! Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home! There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!
How sweet 'tis to sit 'neath a fond father's smile, And the cares of a mother to soothe and beguile! Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam, But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home! Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home! There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!
To thee I'll return, overburdened with care; The heart's dearest solace will smile on me there; No more from that cottage again will I roam; Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home! There's no place like Home! there's no place like Home!
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. John Howard Payne (1792-1852) was born in New York City. He became an actor and also a writer of plays and operas. He died at Tunis, Africa, to which place he had been sent as United States consul. When Jenny Lind, the celebrated Swedish singer, visited the United States in 1850, she sang in Washington before a large audience. John Howard Payne sat in one of the boxes, and at the close of her wonderful concert the singer turned toward the box in which the poet sat, and sang "Home, Sweet Home" with so much sweetness and power that many of the audience cried like children.
Discussion. 1. What words in the first stanza are repeated in the refrain, or chorus? 2. What is it that the poet says "hallows," or blesses, us when we are in our homes? 3. With what word in the second stanza is "cottage" contrasted? 4. What does the second stanza tell us that the poet had at home and missed afterwards? 5. What is it that really makes home beautiful? 6. What great service do our mothers perform? 7. What does page 84 tell you of the value the love of home is to a nation? 8. Explain the expression "splendor dazzles in vain". 9. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: humble; hallow; charm; fond; soothe; beguile; roam. 10. Pronounce: exile; solace.
THE GRAPEVINE SWING
SAMUEL MINTURN PECK
When I was a boy on the old plantation, Down by the deep bayou— The fairest spot of all creation Under the arching blue— When the wind came over the cotton and corn, To the long, slim loop I'd spring With brown feet bare, and a hat-brim torn, And swing in the grapevine swing.
Swinging in the grapevine swing, Laughing where the wild birds sing, I dream and sigh For the days gone by, Swinging in the grapevine swing.
Out—o'er the water lilies bonny and bright Back—to the moss-green trees; I shouted and laughed with a heart as light As a wild rose tossed by the breeze. The mocking bird joined in my reckless glee; I longed for no angel's wing; I was just as near heaven as I wanted to be Swinging in the grapevine swing.
Swinging in the grapevine swing, Laughing where the wild birds sing— Oh, to be a boy With a heart full of joy, Swinging in the grapevine swing!
I'm weary at noon, I'm weary at night, I'm fretted and sore of heart, And care is sowing my locks with white As I wend through the fevered mart. I'm tired of the world with its pride and pomp, And fame seems a worthless thing. I'd barter it all for one day's romp, And a swing in the grapevine swing.
Swinging in the grapevine swing, Laughing where the wild birds sing— I would I were away From the world today, Swinging in the grapevine swing.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Samuel Minturn Peck (1854-1886) is a native of the South. He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and spent most of his early years in that city. He was gifted in music and became an excellent amateur pianist. His published works include Cap and Bells, Rhymes and Roses, and Rings and Love-Knots, from which "The Grapevine Swing," one of his most musical poems, is taken.
Discussion. 1. Why does the poet call the old plantation "The fairest spot of all creation"? 2. What does he mean by "the long, slim loop"? 3. For what "days gone by" does the poet sigh? 4. What picture do lines 6, 7, and 8, page 89, give you? 5. What tells you that the swing was near the bayou? 6. What is compared to the wild rose? 7. Why do you think the poet would "barter it all for one day's romp"? 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: creation; bonny; reckless; fretted; wend; pomp; fame. 9. Pronounce: bayou; arching; laughing.
Phrases for Study
arching blue, care is sowing, moss-green trees, fevered mart, sore of heart, barter it all.
LULLABY OF AN INFANT CHIEF
SIR WALTER SCOTT
O hush thee, my babie! thy sire was a knight, Thy mother a lady, both lovely and bright; The woods and the glens, from the towers which we see, They are all belonging, dear babie, to thee.
O fear not the bugle, though loudly it blows; It calls but the warders that guard thy repose; Their bows would be bended, their blades would be red, Ere the step of a foeman draws near to thy bed.
O hush thee, my babie! the time soon will come When thy sleep shall be broken by trumpet and drum; Then hush thee, my darling, take rest while you may, For strife comes with manhood, and waking with day.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was born in Scotland. He was a famous novelist and poet. When a child, he learned the Scottish legends and ballads, and later he wove them into his writings. Discussion. 1. What things mentioned in the first stanza show that the baby has great possessions? 2. How would the warders protect the baby? 3. What word could be used instead of "blades"? 4. What will this baby have to do when he becomes a man? 5. What will the trumpet and drum mean to him then? 6. How could you tell that this baby lived a long time ago? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: sire; knight; lady; glens; towers.
Phrases for Study
calls but the warders, sleep shall be broken, guard thy repose, strife comes with manhood.
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY
MARGARET JUNKIN PRESTON
"And now," said the Governor, gazing abroad on the piled-up store Of the sheaves that dotted the clearings and covered the meadows o'er, "'Tis meet that we render praises because of this yield of grain; 'Tis meet that the Lord of the harvest be thanked for his sun and rain.
"And, therefore, I, William Bradford (by the grace of God today, And the franchise of this good people), Governor of Plymouth, say, Through virtue of vested power—ye shall gather with one accord, And hold, in the month of November, thanksgiving unto the Lord.
"He hath granted us peace and plenty, and the quiet we've sought so long; He hath thwarted the wily savage, and kept him from wrack and wrong; And unto our feast the Sachem shall be bidden, that he may know We worship his own Great Spirit, who maketh the harvests grow.
"So shoulder your matchlocks, masters—there is hunting of all degrees; And, fishermen, take your tackle, and scour for spoils the seas; And, maidens and dames of Plymouth, your delicate crafts employ To honor our First Thanksgiving, and make it a feast of joy!
"We fail of the fruits and dainties—we fail of the old home cheer; Ah, these are the lightest losses, mayhap, that befall us here; But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie; Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie!"
So, bravely the preparations went on for the autumn feast; The deer and the bear were slaughtered; wild game from the greatest to least Was heaped in the colony cabins; brown home-brew served for wine, And the plum and the grape of the forest, for orange and peach and pine.
At length came the day appointed; the snow had begun to fall, But the clang from the meeting-house belfry rang merrily over all, And summoned the folk Of Plymouth, who hastened with glad accord To listen to Elder Brewster as he fervently thanked the Lord.
In his seat sate Governor Bradford; men, matrons, and maidens fair, Miles Standish and all his soldiers, with corselet and sword, were there; And sobbing and tears and gladness had each in its turn the sway, For the grave of the sweet Rose Standish o'ershadowed Thanksgiving Day.
And when Massasoit, the Sachem, sate down with his hundred braves, And ate of the varied riches of gardens and woods and waves, And looked on the granaried harvest—with a blow on his brawny chest, He muttered, "The good Great Spirit loves his white children best!"
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biographical and Historical Note. Margaret J. Preston (1820-1897) was one of the leading poets of the South. She wrote many poems and sketches. "The First Thanksgiving Day" gives a good picture of the life in the old Pilgrim days.
The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth December 21, 1620. During the long, hard winter fifty-one of the one hundred Pilgrims died, among them being Rose Standish, wife of Captain Miles Standish. As soon as spring came, the colonists planted their fields, and by the end of summer a plentiful harvest was gathered in. When provisions and fuel had been laid in for the winter, Governor Bradford appointed a day of thanksgiving. Venison, wild fowl, and fish were easy to obtain. We are told, "there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many." For three days a great feast was spread, and Massasoit, the Indian Sachem, or chief, and many of his people enjoyed it with the colonists.
Discussion. 1. When did the events related in this story take place? 2. Who was the governor of Plymouth at this time? 3. What proclamation did he make? 4. What did the governor say that God had done for the colony? 5. Who did he say should be invited to the feast? 6. What meat did the Pilgrims have at their first Thanksgiving dinner? 7. What fruits did they have for the feast? 8. What fruit is meant by "pine" in line 12, page 93? 9. What did the colonists do "with glad accord" before they sat down to their feast? 10. Find the lines that tell what Massasoit said when he ate of the feast. 11. Why is it a good thing for America to have a day set apart each year for us to give thanks for our blessings? 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: store; sheaves; clearings; wrack; dames; mayhap; befall; slaughtered; appointed; summoned; fervently; sate; braves; brawny. 13. Pronounce: therefore; franchise; wily; Sachem, pumpkin; matrons; corselet; Massasoit; granaried.
Phrases for Study
'tis meet, scour for spoils, franchise of this good people, delicate crafts employ, virtue of vested power, fail of the fruits, with one accord, home-brew served for wine, thwarted the wily savage, each in its turn the sway, Great Spirit, o'ershadowed Thanksgiving Day, shoulder your matchlocks, of all degrees, varied riches.
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS
CLEMENT C. MOORE
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugarplums danced through their heads; And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap—
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash; The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave a luster of midday to objects below; When what to my wondering eyes should appear But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!— To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, Now, dash away, dash away, dash away, all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So, up to the housetop the coursers they flew, With a sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas, too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound; He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face, and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump—a right jolly old elf; And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere they drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Clement C. Moore (1779-1863) was am American poet and author. He lived in New York City, where for many years he was engaged in educational work.
Discussion. 1. What picture do the first eight lines of this poem give you? 2. Does this picture seem real to you? 3. Of what were the children dreaming? 4. What word do you use instead of sugarplums? 5. What picture do you find in lines 7-10, page 96? 6 What is the next picture? Find the lines that make it. 7. To what is the swiftness of the reindeer compared? 8. What words show how lightly the reindeer flew through the air? 9. Find the lines that picture St. Nicholas after he came down the chimney. 10. Which of all the pictures in the entire poem can you see most distinctly? 11. Which do you like best? 12. What did you read in "A Forward Look," pages 83-86, about the value of the home festivals? What does a love of these festivals do for us? What should we lose if we did not celebrate them? 13. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: clatter; coursers; hurricane; obstacle; twinkling; tarnished; encircled; elf. 14. Pronounce: miniature; tiny; chimney; droll.
OUR COUNTRY AND ITS FLAG
THE LAND OF LIBERTY
I love my country's pine-clad hills, Her thousand bright and gushing rills, Her sunshine and her storms; Her rough and rugged rocks, that rear Their hoary heads high in the air In wild, fantastic forms.
I love her rivers, deep and wide, Those mighty streams that seaward glide To seek the ocean's breast; Her smiling fields, her pleasant vales, Her shady dells, her flow'ry dales, The haunts of peaceful rest.
I love her forests, dark and lone, For there the wild bird's merry tone I hear from morn till night; And there are lovelier flowers, I ween, Than e'er in Eastern lands were seen, In varied colors bright.
Her forests and her valleys fair, Her flowers that scent the morning air— All have their charms for me; But more I love my country's name, Those words that echo deathless fame, "The Land of Liberty."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Discussion. 1. What parts of our country are noted for pine forests? 2. What things about America call forth the love of the poet? 3. Does he have all parts of America in mind, or some part that he knows well? 4. What name does he give America? Why does this "echo deathless fame"? 5. Name one of the "mighty streams that seaward glide." 6. What does the poet say makes the forests beautiful? 7. This poem is similar in many ways to the national hymn, "America." Compare it with the words of the hymn in as many ways as you can. 8. Commit to memory the last three lines of the poem. 9. Why is our country called "The Land of Liberty"? 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: gushing; rills; rugged; rear; vales; dells; lone; ween. 11. Pronounce: hoary; fantastic; haunts; echo.
Phrases for Study
pine-clad hills, smiling fields, fantastic forms, flow'ry dales, seaward glide, Eastern lands, ocean's breast, deathless fame.
THE FLAG OF OUR COUNTRY
There is the national flag. He must be cold indeed who can look upon its folds, rippling in the breeze, without pride of country. If he be in a foreign land, the flag is companionship and country itself, with all its endearments. Its highest beauty is in what it symbolizes. It is because it represents all, that all gaze at it with delight and reverence.
It is a piece of bunting lifted in the air; but it speaks sublimely, and every part has a voice. Its stripes of alternate red and white proclaim the original union of thirteen states to maintain the Declaration of Independence. Its stars of white on a field of blue proclaim that union of states constituting our national constellation, which receives a new star with every new state. The two together signify union past and present.
The very colors have a language which was officially recognized by our fathers. White is for purity, red for valor, blue for justice; and all together, bunting, stripes, stars, and colors, blazing in the sky, make the flag of our country to be cherished by all our hearts, to be upheld by all our hands.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Charles Sumner (1811-1874), an American statesman and orator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He became United States senator in 1851. "The Flag of Our Country" is taken from an address delivered in 1867 at Cooper Institute in New York.
Discussion. 1. Each paragraph in this selection has a separate message. Does the first paragraph fit America only, or could an Englishman say the same thing about his national flag, and a Frenchman of his? What then is the thing that any flag represents to the citizen of the country to which he belongs? 2. What facts peculiar to America does the second paragraph give you? 3. How many stripes has the flag? 4. How many stars were in the first American flag? How many are there now? 5. What is meant by "union past and present"? 6. "White is for purity"—in what way does this express the ideals of the founders of our country? 7. Do you know the rules for the raising and lowering of the flag? 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: rippling; reverence; bunting; proclaim; original; maintain; constituting; valor; cherished. 9. Pronounce: symbolizes; sublimely; alternate; constellation.
Phrases for Study
he must be cold, national constellation, all its endearments, signify union, speaks sublimely, officially recognized, every part has a voice, blazing in the sky.
THE NAME OF OLD GLORY
James Whitcomb Riley
Old Glory! say, who, By the ships and the crew, And the long, blended ranks of the gray and the blue,— Who gave you, Old Glory, the name that you bear With such pride everywhere As you cast yourself free to the rapturous air And leap out full-length, as we're wanting you to?— Who gave you that name, with the ring of the same, And the honor and fame so becoming to you?— Your stripes stroked in ripples of white and of red, With your stars at their glittering best overhead— By day or by night Their delightfulest light Laughing down from their little square heaven of blue!— Who gave you the name of Old Glory?—say, who— Who gave you the name of Old Glory? The old banner lifted, and altering then In vague lisps and whispers fell silent again.
Old Glory,—speak out!—we are asking about How you happened to "favor" a name, so to say, That sounds so familiar and careless and gay As we cheer it and shout in our wild breezy way— We—the crowd, every man of us, calling you that— We—Tom, Dick, and Harry—each swinging his hat And hurrahing "Old Glory!" like you were our kin, When—Lord!—we all know we're as common as sin! And yet it just seems like you humor us all And waft us your thanks, as we hail you and fall Into line, with you over us, waving us on Where our glorified, sanctified betters have gone,— And this is the reason we're wanting to know— (And we're wanting it so!— Where our own fathers went we are willing to go.)— Who gave you the name of Old Glory—O-ho!— Who gave you the name of Old Glory? The old flag unfurled with a billowy thrill For an instant, then wistfully sighed and was still.
Old Glory: the story we're wanting to hear Is what the plain facts of your christening were,— For your name—just to hear it. Repeat it, and cheer it, 's a tang to the spirit As salty as a tear;— And seeing you fly, and the boys marching by, There's a shout in the throat and a blur in the eye And an aching to live for you always—or die, If, dying, we still keep you waving on high. And so, by our love For you, floating above, And the sears of all wars and the sorrows thereof, Who gave you the name of Old Glory, and why Are we thrilled at the name of Old Glory? Then the old banner leaped, like a sail in the blast, And fluttered an audible answer at last.—
And it spake, with a shake of the voice, and it said:— By the driven snow-white and the living blood-red Of my bars, and their heaven of stars overhead— By the symbol conjoined of them all, skyward cast, As I float from the steeple, or flap at the mast, Or droop o'er the sod where the long grasses nod,— My name is as old as the glory of God. ...So I came by the name of Old Glory.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. James Whitcomb Riley (1852-1916) was a native of Indiana. Most of his life was spent in Indianapolis, where he lived on the quiet Lockerbie Street which he celebrated in one of his poems. He is called "The Hoosier Poet." He wrote several volumes of poems, the first being The Old Swimmin' Hole and 'Leven More Poems. The school children of Indiana celebrated Riley's birthday on October 7, 1911, and have each year since made this a festival day.
Discussion. Because of the many figurative expressions used in this selection it should be read and studied in class.
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER
FRANCIS SCOTT KEY
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming; And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? On that shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam— In full glory reflected now shines in the stream; 'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner; O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where are the foes who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave; And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war desolation; Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, And this be our motto, "In God is our trust"; And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biographical and Historical Note. Francis Scott Key (1780-1843), a native of Maryland, was a lawyer and poet. His patriotic poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," which has become a national song, made him famous.
The incidents referred to in this poem occurred during the War of 1812. In August, 1814, a strong force of British entered Washington and burned the Capitol, the White House, and many other public buildings. On September 13, the British admiral moved his fleet into position to attack Fort McHenry, near Baltimore. The bombardment of the fort lasted all night, but the fort was so bravely defended that the flag was still floating over it when morning came.
Just before the bombardment began, Francis Scott Key was sent to the admiral's frigate to arrange for an exchange of prisoners, and was told to wait until the bombardment was over. All night he watched the fort, and by the first rays of morning light he saw he Stars and Stripes still waving. Then, in his joy and pride, he wrote the stirring words of the song which is now known and loved by all Americans—"The Star-Spangled Banner."
Discussion. 1. What lines in the poem are explained by the historical note above? 2. The poem expresses the love and reverence felt by patriots when the flag is endangered by the attacks of armed men in war. What is said on page 84 about the danger to our country in a time of peace? From what people? Can you do anything to prevent this danger? 3. Where was the reflection of the flag seen? 4. What is the meaning of "thus" in line 1, page 105? 5. What land is the "heav'n-rescued land"? 6. What does the poet mean when he speaks of the "Power that hath made and preserved us a nation," line 4, page 105? 7. Find the words that must be our country's motto. 8. Do you think this national song cheered the American soldiers in the recent World War? 9. Explain why you think the picture on page 98 aptly illustrates "Our Country and Its Flag." 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: dawn; gleaming; host; discloses; beam; triumph. 11. Pronounce: haughty; vauntingly; pollution; hireling; desolation.
Phrases for Study
proudly we hailed, fitfully blows, gallantly streaming, catches the gleam, Star-Spangled, full glory reflected, mists of the deep, havoc of war, dread silence reposes, foul footsteps' pollution.
THE BOYHOOD OF LINCOLN
ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS
The future president of the United States was eight years old when he spent the winter with his father, mother, and sister in the "half-faced camp" on Little Pigeon Creek. It was indeed rough living in the Lincoln home on Little Pigeon Creek. When he was "good and ready," the father, Thomas Lincoln, set about building a better shelter for his family than the forlorn "half-faced camp." The new building was not such a great improvement, but it was more like a house. It was a rough cabin of logs, without door, window, or floor. But it seemed so much better than the shanty in which they had been living that Abraham felt quite princely.
His life was lonely enough in that wilderness; but, before many months, he had company. His Uncle and Aunt Sparrow and his boy cousin, Dennis Hanks came from Kentucky to try their luck in Indiana. Abraham's father gave them the old "half-faced camp" as a home, and so the Lincolns had near neighbors.
But before the winter set in, there came sad days to both houses. A terrible sickness—what we call an epidemic—visited that section of Indiana. Many people died from it, and among these were first, Uncle and Aunt Sparrow, and then Mrs. Lincoln, the mother of Abraham.
It was a poor kind of housekeeping they had in that shiftless home on Little Pigeon Creek after the mother of the home had been taken away. Sarah, the eldest child, was only twelve; Abraham was but ten, and little Dennis Hanks was eight. Sarah tried to keep house; and her father, in his careless way, tried to help her. But about all they could do was to keep from going hungry. Deer-meat broiled on the coals of the wood-fire, ash-cakes made of cornmeal, with now and then a slab of pork, was their only bill of fare. About all the pleasure Abraham found when he was not trying to keep from being cold and hungry, was in his books.
How many do you think he had? Just three: the Bible, Aesop's Fables, and The Pilgrim's Progress. Think of that, you boys and girls who have more books than you can read, and for whom the printing presses are always hard at work. The boy knew these three books almost by heart. He could repeat whole chapters of the Bible, many parts of The Pilgrim's Progress, and every one of Aesop's Fables; and he never forgot them.
Thomas Lincoln knew that the uncomfortable state of affairs in his log cabin could not long continue, or his home, such as it was, would go to ruin. So one day he bade the children good-by and told them he was going back to Kentucky on a visit. He was away for three weeks; but when he returned from his Kentucky visit in December, 1819, he brought back a new wife to look after his home and be a mother to his motherless children.
Mrs. Lincoln seemed to take an especial liking to the little ten-year-old Abraham. She saw something in the boy that made her feel sure that a little guidance would do wonders for him. Having first made him clean and comfortable, she next made him intelligent, bright, and good. She managed to send him to school for a few months. The little log schoolhouse, close to the meeting-house, to which the traveling schoolmaster would come to give four weeks' schooling, was scarcely high enough for a man to stand straight in; it had holes for windows and greased paper to take the place of glass. But in such a place Abraham Lincoln "got his schooling" for a few weeks only in "reading, writing, and ciphering"; here he was again and again head of his class; and here he "spelled down" all the big boys and girls in the exciting contests called "spelling matches."
He became a great reader. He read every book and newspaper he could get hold of, and if he came across anything in his reading that he wished to remember, he would copy it on a shingle, because writing paper was scarce, and either learn it by heart or hide the shingle away until he could get some paper to copy it on.
Lamps and candles were almost unknown in his home, and Abraham, flat on his stomach, would often do his reading, writing, and ciphering in the firelight, as it flashed and flickered on the big hearth of his log-cabin home.
One day Abraham found that a man for whom he sometimes worked owned a copy of Weems's Life of Washington. This was a famous book in its day. Abraham borrowed it at once. When he was not reading it, he put it away on a shelf—a clapboard resting on wooden pins. There was a big crack between the log behind the shelf, and one rainy day the Life of Washington fell into the crack and was soaked almost into pulp. Young Abraham went at once to the owner of the book and, after telling him of the accident promised to "work the book out."
The old farmer kept him so strictly to his promise that he made him "pull fodder" for the cattle three days as payment for the book. And that is the way that Abraham Lincoln bought his first book. For he dried the Life of Washington and put it in his "library." What boy or girl of today would like to buy books at such a price?
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Elbridge S. Brooks (1846-1902) was a native of Massachusetts. He was always interested in stories of history, for his mother descended from the Monroes, who fought bravely at Lexington. He was for a time one of the editors of St. Nicholas.
Discussion. 1. What were the hardships suffered by the young Lincoln in the Indiana wilderness? 2. What do you learn about Lincoln's reading? About his school life? 3. What was the first book Lincoln owned, and how did he get it? 4. What do you suppose Lincoln learned from the life of Washington? 5. How did Lincoln fix in his memory things that he wished to remember? 6. What characteristics of the boy help to explain why he afterwards became such a great man? 7. You will enjoy reading The True Story of Lincoln, from which this selection is taken. 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: forlorn; shanty; princely; wilderness; epidemic; shiftless; ash-cakes; slab; guidance; ciphering; clapboard; pulp. 9. Pronounce: Aesop; bade.
Phrases for Study
half-faced camp, spelled down, uncomfortable state, work the book out, traveling schoolmaster, pull fodder.
WASHINGTON WITH GENERAL BRADDOCK
ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS
The King of England and his advisers determined to make a stand in America against the French. So they sent over two regiments of British troops under command of a brave soldier whose name was Braddock, and told him to get what help he could in Virginia and drive out the French.
General Braddock came to Virginia with his splendid-looking fighting men. When he had studied the situation there, one of the first things he did was to ask Colonel George Washington of Mount Vernon to come with him as one of his chief assistants. Washington at once accepted. He saw that now the King of England "meant business," and that if General Braddock were as wise as he was brave, the trouble in the Ohio country might be speedily ended and the French driven out.
But when he had joined General Braddock, he discovered that that brave but obstinate leader thought that battles were to be fought in America just the same as in Europe, and that soldiers could be marched against such forest-fighters as the French and Indians as if they were going on a parade. Washington did all he could to advise caution. It was of no use, however. General Braddock said that he was a soldier and knew how to fight, and that he did not wish for any advice from these Americans who had never seen a real battle.
At last everything was ready, and in July, 1755, the army, led by General Braddock, marched off to attack Fort Duquesne, which the French had built at Pittsburgh.
Washington had worked so hard to get things ready that he was sick in bed with fever when the soldiers started; but, without waiting to get well, he hurried after them and caught up with them on the ninth of July, at a ford on the Monongahela, fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne.
The British troops, in full uniform, and in regular order as if they were to drill before the King, marched straight on in splendid array. Washington thought it the most beautiful show he had ever seen; but he said to the general: "Do not let the soldiers march into the woods like that. The Frenchmen and the Indians may even now be hiding behind the trees ready to shoot us down. Let me send some men ahead to see where they are, and let some of our Virginians who are used to fighting in the forest go before to clear them away." But General Braddock told him to mind his own business, and marched on as gallantly as ever.
Suddenly, just as they reached a narrow part of the road, where the woods were all about them, the Frenchmen and Indians who were waiting for them behind the great trees and underbrush opened fire upon the British troops, and there came just such a dreadful time as Washington had feared. But even now Braddock would not give in. His soldiers must fight as they had been drilled to fight in Europe; and when the Virginians who were with him tried to fight as they had been accustomed to, he called them cowards and ordered them to form in line.
It was all over very soon. The British soldiers, fired upon from all sides and scarcely able to see where their enemies were, became frightened, huddled together, and made all the better marks for the bullets of the French and Indians hiding among the trees and bushes. Then General Braddock fell from his horse, mortally wounded; his splendidly-drilled redcoats broke into panic, turned, and ran away; and only the coolness of Washington and the Virginia forest-fighters who were with him saved the entire army from being cut to pieces.
Washington fought like a hero. Two horses that he rode were killed while he kept in the saddle; his coat was shot through and through, and it seemed as if he would be killed any moment. But he kept on fighting, caring nothing for danger. He tried to turn back the fleeing British troops; he tried to bring back the cannon, and, when the gunners ran away, he leaped from his horse and aimed and fired the cannon himself. Then with his Virginians, that Braddock had so despised as soldiers, he protected the rear of the retreating army, carried off the dying general and, cool and collected in the midst of all the terrible things that were happening, saved the British army from slaughter, buried poor General Braddock in the Virginia woods, and finally brought back to the settlements what was left of that splendid army of the King. He was the only man in all that time of disaster who came out of the fight with glory and renown.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Discussion. 1. Tell what you can of the contest for territory in America between the French and the English. 2. Who was General Braddock and for what was he sent to America? 3. Compare Washington and General Braddock in as many ways as you can. 4. Why did Washington do all he could to help General Braddock in spite of the fact that he knew Braddock was not acting wisely? 5. How did Washington gain glory from the engagement? 6. What are you told on page 84 about the value to us of studying the lives of great Americans? What do you owe to Washington and Lincoln? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: advisers; situation; caution; ford; array; gallantly; huddled; collected; disaster; renown. 8. Pronounce: Duquesne; Monongahela; mortally; wounded.
The woman was old and ragged and gray And bent with the chill of the winter's day. The street was wet with the recent snow, And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long Alone, uncared for, amid the throng Of human beings who passed her by, Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street with laughter and shout. Glad in the freedom of "school let out," Came the boys like a flock of sheep, Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray Hastened the children on their way, Nor offered a helping hand to her, So meek, so timid, afraid to stir, Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop, The gayest laddie of all the group; He paused beside her and whispered low, "I'll help you across if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm She placed, and so, without hurt or harm, He guided her trembling feet along, Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went, His young heart happy and well content. "She's somebody's mother, boys, you know, For all she's aged and poor and slow;
"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand To help my mother, you understand, If ever she's poor and old and gray, When her own dear boy is far away."
And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head In her home that night, and the prayer she said Was, "God be kind to the noble boy Who is somebody's son and pride and joy."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Discussion. 1. Here is a story about a boy who saw a chance to do a service and did it; how was he different from his companions? 2. What were they interested in? 3. Wasn't he also eager to do what they did? 4. Why did he stop and help the old woman? 5. How did the woman feel toward the boy? 6. How do you think his own mother would have felt if she had seen him? 7. Why is this incident a splendid example of service? How was this boy doing his part as a good citizen?
THE LEAK IN THE DIKE
The good dame looked from her cottage At the close of the pleasant day, And cheerily called to her little son Outside the door at play: "Come, Peter, come! I want you to go, While there is light to see, To the hut of the blind old man who lives Across the dike, for me; And take these cakes I made for him— They are hot and smoking yet; You have time enough to go and come Before the sun is set."
And Peter left the brother With whom all day he had played, And the sister who had watched their sports In the willow's tender shade; And told them they'd see him back before They saw a star in sight, Though he wouldn't be afraid to go In the very darkest night! For he was a brave, bright fellow With eye and conscience clear; He could do whatever a boy might do, And he had not learned to fear.
And now with his face all glowing And eyes as bright as the day With the thoughts of his pleasant errand, He trudged along the way; And soon his joyous prattle Made glad a lonesome place— Alas! if only the blind old man Could have seen that happy face! Yet he somehow caught the brightness Which his voice and presence lent; And he felt the sunshine come and go As Peter came and went.
And now as the day was sinking, And the winds began to rise, The mother looked from her door again, Shading her anxious eyes, And saw the shadows deepen And birds to their homes come back, But never a sign of Peter Along the level track. But she said: "He will come at morning, So I need not fret or grieve— Though it isn't like my boy at all To stay without my leave."
But where was the child delaying? On the homeward way was he; And across the dike while the sun was up An hour above the sea; He was stopping now to gather flowers, Now listening to the sound, As the angry waters dashed themselves Against their narrow bound. "Ah! well for us," said Peter, "That the gates are good and strong, And my father tends them carefully, Or they would not hold you long! You're a wicked sea," said Peter; "I know why you fret and chafe; You would like to spoil our land and homes; But our sluices keep you safe."
But hark! through the noise of waters Comes a low, clear, trickling sound; And the child's face pales with terror, And his blossoms drop to the ground. He is up the bank in a moment And, stealing through the sand He sees a stream not yet so large As his slender childish hand. 'Tis a leak in the dike! He is but a boy, Unused to fearful scenes; But, young as he is, he has learned to know The dreadful thing that means.
A leak in the dike! The stoutest heart Grows faint that cry to hear. And the bravest man in all the land Turns white with mortal fear, For he knows the smallest leak may grow To a flood in a single night; And he knows the strength of the cruel sea When loosed in its angry might.
And the boy! he has seen the danger And, shouting a wild alarm, He forces back the weight of the sea With the strength of his single arm! He listens for the joyful sound Of a footstep passing nigh; And lays his ear to the ground, to catch The answer to his cry. And he hears the rough winds blowing, And the waters rise and fall, But never an answer comes to him Save the echo of his call.
So, faintly calling and crying Till the sun is under the sea, Crying and moaning till the stars Come out for company, He thinks of his brother and sister, Asleep in their safe warm bed; He thinks of his father and mother, Of himself as dying—and dead; And of how, when the night is over, They must come and find him at last; But he never thinks he can leave the place Where duty holds him fast.
The good dame in the cottage Is up and astir with the light, For the thought of her little Peter Has been with her all the night. And now she watches the pathway, As yester eve she had done; But what does she see so strange and black Against the rising sun? Her neighbors are bearing between them Something straight to her door; Her child is coming home, but not As he ever came before!
"He is dead!" she cries; "thy darling!" And the startled father hears, And comes and looks the way she looks, And fears the thing she fears; Till a glad shout from the bearers Thrills the stricken man and wife— "Give thanks, for your son has saved our land, And God has saved his life!" So, there in the morning sunshine They knelt about the boy; And every head was bared and bent In tearful, reverent joy.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Phoebe Cary (1824-1871) was an American poet. She was born in Cincinnati and lived with her sister, Alice, in New York City. She wrote many poems of beauty and charm, but none is more widely read than "The Leak in the Dike." Note. A large part of Holland consists of meadow-land so low and flat that the sea would overflow it during high tide if it were not protected, partly by natural sand hills but more by a wonderful system of diking. The dikes are long mounds, or thick walls, of earth and stone, broad at the base and gradual in slope.
Discussion. 1. What purpose do the dikes of Holland serve? 2. There were no Boy Scouts in those days, but here is a story of a boy who would have been a good member of the Scouts. Why? 3. What service did Peter's mother call him to render? 4. Had he done such things before? 5. How did the blind man think of Peter? 6. How did Peter find the danger? 7. What would many boys have done? 8. How did he stop the leak in the dike? 9. What would have happened if he had grown afraid, or tired? 10. Peter saw a duty to be performed and was brave enough to do it, though it was not easy, and might have cost him his life. What were the results of his quick wit and courage? 11. How was Peter doing his part as a good citizen? 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: prattle; presence; anxious; trickling; stoutest; save; astir; yester; stricken. 13. Pronounce: chafe; sluices; loosed.
Phrases for Study
narrow bound, sun is under the sea, mortal fear, duty holds him fast.
FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but him had fled; The flame that lit the battle's wreck Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet, beautiful and bright he stood, As born to rule the storm— A creature of heroic blood, A proud, though childlike, form.
The flames rolled on—he would not go Without his father's word; That father, faint in death below, His voice no longer heard.
He called aloud: "Say, father, say If yet my task is done!" He knew not that the chieftain lay Unconscious of his son.
"Speak, father!" once again he cried, "If I may yet be gone!" And but the booming shots replied, And fast the flames rolled on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath, And in his waving hair, And looked from that lone post of death In still, yet brave, despair;
And shouted but once more aloud, "My father! must I stay?" While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud, The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapped the ship in splendor wild, They caught the flag on high, And streamed above the gallant child Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound— The boy—oh! where was he? Ask of the winds that far around With fragments strewed the sea— With mast, and helm, and pennon fair. That well had borne their part; But the noblest thing which perished there Was that young, faithful heart!
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biographical and Historical Note. Felicia Hemans, (1793-1835), an English poet, was born in Liverpool, but spent much of her life in North Wales. "Casabianca" and "The Landing of the Pilgrims" are her best known poems. The hero of this poem was the son of Louis Casabianca, the captain of L'Orient, the flagship of the fleet that carried Napoleon Bonaparte and his army to Egypt. The incident narrated in this poem occurred during the Battle of the Nile. The powder magazine exploded, the ship was burned, and the captain, and his son perished. Discussion. 1. How did it happen that the boy was alone on the "burning deck"? 2. Find two lines in the third stanza that tell how the boy showed his faithfulness and his "heroic blood." 3. Why is his father called the "chieftain"? 4. What did the boy ask his father? 5. Why did he remain in such great danger when he might have saved himself? 6. What was it that "wrapped the ship in splendor wild"? 7. What made the "burst of thunder sound"? 8. What things are mentioned as fragments which "strewed the sea"? 9. Why is it good for us to read such a poem as this? 10. What service did Casabianca do for all of us? 11. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: chieftain; unconscious; booming; despair; fragments; pennon. 12. Pronounce: heroic; shroud; helm.
Phrases for Study
born to rule the storm, wreathing fires, heroic blood, splendor wild, lone post of death, borne their part.
Old Tubal Cain was a man of might In the days when the earth was young; By the fierce red light of his furnace bright The strokes of his hammer rung; And he lifted high his brawny hand On the iron glowing clear. Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers, As he fashioned the sword and spear. And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork! Hurrah for the spear and sword! Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well! For he shall be king and lord."
To Tubal Cain came many a one. As he wrought by his roaring fire. And each one prayed for a strong steel blade, As the crown of his desire; And he made them weapons, sharp and strong, Till they shouted loud in glee. And gave him gifts of pearls and gold, And spoils of forest free. And they sang, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain, Who hath given us strength anew! Hurrah for the smith! hurrah for the fire! And hurrah for the metal true!"
But a sudden change came o'er his heart Ere the setting of the sun, And Tubal Cain was filled with pain For the evil he had done. He saw that men, with rage and hate, Made war upon their kind; That the land was red with the blood they shed In their lust for carnage, blind. And he said, "Alas, that ever I made, Or that skill of mine should plan, The spear and the sword for men whose joy Is to slay their fellow-man!"
And for many a day old Tubal Cain Sat brooding o'er his woe; And his hand forbore to smite the ore, And his furnace smoldered low; But he rose at last with a cheerful face And a bright, courageous eye, And bared his strong right arm for work, While the quick flames mounted high; And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork!" And the red sparks lit the air— "Not alone for the blade was the bright steel made"— And he fashioned the first plowshare.
And men, taught wisdom from the past, In friendship joined their hands, Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall, And plowed the willing lands; And sang, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain! Our stanch good friend is he.
And, for the plowshare and the plow, To him our praise shall be. But, while oppression lifts its head, Or a tyrant would be lord, Though we may thank him for the plow, We'll not forget the sword."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Charles Mackay (1814-1889) was a Scotch poet. For some years he was editor of the Glasgow Argus, and afterwards he became editor of the Illustrated London News. During the Civil War he was the special correspondent of the London Times at New York. He wrote many poems of interest to young people. Historical Note. Tubal Cain was one of the sons of Lamech, a descendant of Cain. He was an "instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," that is, he was the first smith. All that we really know of his history is given in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Discussion. 1. What did Tubal Cain first make on his forge? 2. Why did he think that his work was good? 3. What did men say about him? 4. How did Tubal Cain feel when he saw what men were doing with the products of his forge? 5. What did he do then? 6. What made his face "cheerful" at last? 7. Is it better to make instruments of war or tools for industry? 8. Why was Tubal Cain happy when he made plows? 9. Was he working for money, or for service? 10. Explain the last four lines. 11. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: fashioned; handiwork; wrought; anew; lust; brooding; forbore; plowshare. 12. Pronounce: hurrah; wield; carnage; smoldered; stanch.
Phrases for Study
man of might, smite the ore, earth was young, taught wisdom from the past, crown of his desire, spoils of forest free, willing lands, metal true, oppression lifts its head, upon their kind, tyrant would be lord, whose joy is to slay.
THE INCHCAPE ROCK
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea; The ship was still as she could be; Her sails from Heaven received no motion; Her keel was steady in the ocean.
Without either sign or sound of their shock, The waves flowed over the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell, They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The holy Abbot of Aberbrothok Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung, And over the waves its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the surge's swell, The mariners heard the warning bell; And then they knew the perilous rock And blessed the Abbot of Aberbrothok.
The sun in heaven was shining gay; All things were joyful on that day; The sea-birds screamed as they wheeled around, And there was joyance in their sound.
The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen, A darker speck on the ocean green; Sir Ralph the Rover walked his deck, And he fixed his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring; It made him whistle, it made him sing; His heart was mirthful to excess, But the Rover's mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the Inchcape float; Quoth he, "My men, put out the boat And row me to the Inchcape Rock, And I'll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok."
The boat is lowered, the boatmen row, And to the Inchcape Rock they go; Sir Ralph bent over from the boat, And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.
Down sank the bell, with a gurgling sound; The bubbles rose and burst around; Quoth Sir Ralph, "The next who comes to the Rock Won't bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok!"
Sir Ralph the Rover sailed away; He scoured the seas for many a day; And now grown rich with plundered store, He steers his course for Scotland's shore.
So thick a haze o'erspreads the sky They cannot see the sun on high; The wind hath blown a gale all day; At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the Rover takes his stand; So dark it is they see no land. Quoth Sir Ralph, "It will be lighter soon, For there is dawn of the rising moon."
"Canst hear," said one, "the breakers roar? For methinks we should be near the shore." "Now where we are I cannot tell, But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell."
They hear no sound; the swell is strong; Though the wind hath fallen, they drift along Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock— "O Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock!"
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biographical and Historical Note. Robert Southey (1774-1843) was an English poet. From 1813 until his death he was Poet Laureate of England. Bell Rock, or Inchcape, is a reef of red sandstone near the Firth of Tay, on the east coast of Scotland. At the time of the spring tides part of the reef is uncovered to the height of four feet. Because so many vessels were wrecked upon these rocks the Abbot of Aberbrothok is said to have placed a bell there, "fixed upon a tree or timber, which rang continually, being moved by the sea."
Discussion. 1. What picture do you see when you read the first stanza? The second stanza? 2. This story tells about a man who failed. You have read about Peter's heroism and the lives he saved, about the service a schoolboy rendered to a poor old woman, about a blacksmith who joyously made the tools by which men raised fruit and grain for food, and about a boy who was faithful to orders, even though it cost his life. Here you see how men sometimes try to make of no effect all the good deeds that others perform. 3. The Abbot of Aberbrothok was a man who lived up to the ideal of service; how did he do this, and why did men bless him? 4. Ralph the Rover was a pirate; why did he destroy the bell? 5. All the others in the stories you have read, boys and men, thought less of themselves than of others; of what did Ralph think? 6. Is a merchant who raises the price of food as high as he can, who makes huge profits while others suffer or starve, any better than Ralph the Rover? 7. What test of loyalty to our country, would prove such a man to be a "bad citizen"? 8. Ralph was a free man—what did "liberty" mean to him? 9. What happened to Ralph the Rover? 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: keel; abbot; perilous; joyance; breakers; methinks. 11. Pronounce: buoy; mariners; excess; scoured.
Phrases for Study
sound of their shock, mirthful to excess, surge's swell, plague the Abbot, cheering power of spring, plundered store.
MY BOYHOOD ON THE PRAIRIE
The cabin faced a level plain with no tree in sight. A mile away to the west stood a low stone house, and immediately in front of us opened a half-section of unfenced sod. To the north, as far as I could see, the land billowed like a russet ocean, with scarcely a roof to fleck its lonely spread. I cannot say that I liked or disliked it. I merely marveled at it; and while I wandered about the yard, the hired man scorched some cornmeal mush in a skillet, and this, with some butter and gingerbread, made up my first breakfast in Mitchell County.
For a few days my brother and I had little to do other than to keep the cattle from straying, and we used our leisure in becoming acquainted with the region round about.
To the south the sections were nearly all settled upon, for in that direction lay the county town; but to the north and on into Minnesota rolled the unplowed sod, the feeding ground of the cattle, the home of foxes and wolves, and to the west, just beyond the highest ridges, we loved to think the bison might still be seen.
The cabin on this rented farm was a mere shanty, a shell of pine boards, which needed reinforcing to make it habitable, and one day my father said, "Well, Hamlin, I guess you'll have to run the plow-team this fall. I must help neighbor Button reinforce the house, and I can't afford to hire another man."
This seemed a fine commission for a lad of ten, and I drove my horses into the field that first morning with a manly pride which added an inch to my stature. I took my initial "round" at a "land" which stretched from one side of the quarter section to the other, in confident mood. I was grown up!
But alas! My sense of elation did not last long. To guide a team for a few minutes as an experiment was one thing—to plow all day like a hired hand was another. It was not a chore; it was a job. It meant moving to and fro hour after hour, day after day, with no one to talk to but the horses. It meant trudging eight or nine miles in the forenoon and as many more in the afternoon, with less than an hour off at noon. It meant dragging the heavy implement around the corners, and it meant also many shipwrecks; for the thick, wet stubble often threw the share completely out of the ground, making it necessary for me to halt the team and jerk the heavy plow backward for a new start.
Although strong and active, I was rather short, even for a ten-year-old, and to reach the plow handles I was obliged to lift my hands above my shoulders; and so with the guiding lines crossed over my back and my worn straw hat bobbing just above the cross-brace I must have made a comical figure. At any rate nothing like it had been seen in the neighborhood; and the people on the road to town, looking across the field, laughed and called to me, and neighbor Button said to my father in my hearing, "That chap's too young to run a plow," a judgment which pleased and flattered me greatly.
Harriet cheered me by running out occasionally to meet me as I turned the nearest corner, and sometimes Frank consented to go all the way around, chatting breathlessly as he trotted along behind. At other times he brought me a cookie and a glass of milk, a deed which helped to shorten the forenoon. And yet plowing became tedious.
The flies were savage, especially in the middle of the day, and the horses, tortured by their lances, drove badly, twisting and turning in their rage. Their tails were continually getting over the lines, and in stopping to kick their tormentors they often got astride the traces, and in other ways made trouble for me. Only in the early morning or when the sun sank low at night were they able to move quietly along their way.
The soil was the kind my father had been seeking, a smooth, dark, sandy loam, which made it possible for a lad to do the work of a man. Often the share would go the entire "round" without striking a root or a pebble as big as a walnut, the steel running steadily with a crisp, crunching, ripping sound which I rather liked to hear. In truth, the work would have been quite tolerable had it not been so long drawn out. Ten hours of it, even on a fine day, made about twice too many for a boy.
Meanwhile I cheered myself in every imaginable way. I whistled. I sang. I studied the clouds. I gnawed the beautiful red skin from the seed vessels which hung upon the wild rose bushes, and I counted the prairie chickens as they began to come together in winter flocks, running through the stubble in search of food. I stopped now and again to examine the lizards unhoused by the share, and I measured the little granaries of wheat which the mice and gophers had deposited deep under the ground, storehouses which the plow had violated. My eyes dwelt enviously upon the sailing hawk and on the passing of ducks. The occasional shadowy figure of a prairie wolf made me wish for Uncle David and his rifle.
On certain days nothing could cheer me. When the bitter wind blew from the north, and the sky was filled with wild geese racing southward with swiftly-hurrying clouds, winter seemed about to spring upon me. The horses' tails streamed in the wind. Flurries of snow covered me with clinging flakes, and the mud "gummed" my boots and trouser legs, clogging my steps. At such times I suffered from cold and loneliness—all sense of being a man evaporated. I was just a little boy, longing for the leisure of boyhood.
Day after day, through the month of October and deep into November, I followed that team, turning over two acres of stubble each day. I would not believe this without proof, but it is true! At last it grew so cold that in the early morning everything was white with frost, and I was obliged to put one hand in my pocket to keep it warm, while holding the plow with the other; but I didn't mind this so much, for it hinted at the close of autumn. I've no doubt facing the wind in this way was excellent discipline, but I didn't think it necessary then, and my heart was sometimes bitter and rebellious.
My father did not intend to be severe. As he had always been an early riser and a busy toiler, it seemed perfectly natural and good discipline that his sons should also plow and husk corn at ten years of age. He often told of beginning life as a "bound boy" at nine, and these stories helped me to perform my own tasks without whining.
At last there came a morning when by striking my heel upon the ground I convinced my boss that the soil was frozen. "All right," he said; "you may lay off this forenoon."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) was born in Wisconsin. His father was a farmer-pioneer, who was always eager to be on the border line of the farming country; consequently, he moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota, from Minnesota to Iowa, and from Iowa to Dakota. The hope of cheaper land, better soil, and bigger crops led him on. When Hamlin Garland turned his attention to literature, he decided to write truthfully of the western farmer's life and its great hardships in pioneer days, as well as its hopes and joys. In A Son of the Middle Border, an autobiography, from which "My Boyhood on the Prairie" is taken, he has given a most interesting record of experiences in the development of the Middle West. Mitchell County, where this scene is laid, is in Iowa.
Discussion. 1. Describe the boy's new home. 2. What work did the boy have to do? 3. In what spirit did he start the plowing? 4. Why did his "sense of elation" soon disappear? 5. Was his task harder than that of Peter or of the boy who helped "Somebody's Mother"? 6. Must a boy do some marvelous thing to be a hero? 7. How did the boy try to keep himself in good cheer? 8. In The World of Nature, A Forward Look you are told that if you have eyes to see, "the world of Nature is a fairyland." Why do you think this boy had "eyes to see"? Find your answer by reading the last two lines on page 131 and the first ten lines on page 132. 9. What made him wish for freedom? 10. Class reading: Page 131, line 8, to the end of the story. 11. Outline for testing silent reading. Tell the story briefly, using these topics: (a) the region and the cabin; (b) what plowing meant to a boy; (c) how the boy was cheered. 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: marveled; scorched; skillet; ridges; reinforcing; habitable; commission; stature; implement; stubble; share; cross-brace; judgment; tormentors; tolerable; unhoused; deposited; clog ging; evaporated. 13. Pronounce: chore; tedious; loam; imaginable; gopher; leisure.
Phrases for Study
billowed like a russet ocean, guiding lines, fleck its lonely spread, tortured by their lances, county town, astride the traces, initial round, go the entire round, confident mood, plow had violated, sense of elation, bound boy.
WOODMAN, SPARE THAT TREE
GEORGE P. MORRIS
Woodman, spare that tree! Touch not a single bough; In youth it sheltered me, And I'll protect it now. 'Twas my forefather's hand That placed it near his cot; There, woodman, let it stand; Thy ax shall harm it not;
That old familiar tree, Whose glory and renown Are spread o'er land and sea— And wouldst thou hack it down? Woodman, forbear thy stroke! Cut not its earth-bound ties; Oh, spare that aged oak Now towering to the skies.
When but an idle boy, I sought its grateful shade; In all their gushing joy, Here, too, my sisters played. My mother kissed me here; My father pressed my hand— Forgive this foolish tear, But let that old oak stand!
My heart-strings round thee cling, Close as thy bark, old friend! Here shall the wild-bird sing, And still thy branches bend. Old tree! the storm still brave! And, woodman, leave the spot; While I've a hand to save, Thy ax shall harm it not.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. George P. Morris (1802-1864) was born in Philadelphia. He was an editor and a poet and was connected with a number of newspapers in New York City.
Discussion. 1. To whom is the poet speaking in these verses? 2. What does he wish to prevent? 3. Why is the tree dear to him? 4. Whom does he remember seeing under the tree? 5. What did they do there? 6. How will the poet protect the tree? 7. How does the American Forestry Association protect trees? 8. Why should trees be cared for and protected? 9. Why do we celebrate Arbor Day? 10. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: forefather; renown; towering; heart-strings.
Phrases for Study
near his cot, earth-bound ties, forbear thy stroke, storm still brave.
THE AMERICAN BOY
What we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now the chances are strong that he won't be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean lived, and able to hold his own against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud.
No boy can afford to neglect his work, and, with a boy, work as a rule means study. A boy should work, and should work hard, at his lessons—in the first place, for the sake of what he will learn, and in the next place, for the sake of the effect upon his own character of resolutely settling down to learn it. Shiftlessness, slackness, indifference in studying are almost certain to mean inability to get on in other walks of life. I do not believe in mischief-doing in school hours, or in the kind of animal spirits that results in making bad scholars; and I believe that those boys who take part in rough, hard play outside of school will not find any need for horseplay in school. While they study they should study just as hard as they play football. It is wise to obey the homely old adage, "Work while you work; play while you play."