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VOL. I.—NO. 28. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, May 11, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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"Why must I learn to sing? Why learn to fly?" Said a young bird to its mother— "Why, oh, why?"
"All birdies learn to sing; All learn to fly," To the young bird said its mother; "And that's 'why.'"
HUNTING IN ARCTIC REGIONS.
Although in the remote and dreary ice regions of the extreme North a variety of game, including bear, whale, walrus, seal, reindeer, foxes, wolves, ptarmigan, ducks, and geese, is found and pursued by the hardy Esquimau, or Innuit, it is upon the capture of the seal that he expends the most time and labor. The seal is everything to him, and without it life could hardly be sustained. In the words of Captain Hall: "To the Innuit the seal is all that flocks and herds, grain fields, forests, coal mines, and petroleum wells are to dwellers in more favored lands. It furnishes him with food, fuel, and clothing."
"Nutchook" (the seal) is one of the most wary and suspicious of animals, and to capture him when he is on his guard requires an almost incredible amount of skill and perseverance. The Innuits say that "Ninoo" (the bear) taught them to capture the seal, and that if they could talk to Nutchook as cleverly as Ninoo does, they would capture him much oftener than they do. When Ninoo sees, at a distance upon the ice, a black spot that he knows to be Nutchook taking a nap beside his air-hole, he makes up his mind that he will dine that day off seal.
Nutchook's nap is a series of "cat-naps," each lasting about ten seconds, and after each he lifts his head and looks around. Ninoo crouches low upon the ice, and creeps along when the seal is napping. The moment his head is raised, the bear stops short and begins to talk to Nutchook. The sound that he utters while thus talking is quite different from his ordinary voice, and seems to charm the seal, who lays his head down for another nap, during which Ninoo again advances. At last the bear is within springing distance, and in a moment all is over with poor Nutchook.
Although seals are caught at all seasons of the year, the great hunts take place in the spring and early summer months. At this time the fur is in the best possible condition, and as they play in the open water lanes near the coast, or bask in great numbers on the ice, their capture is comparatively easy. During the summer the glare of the sun so affects the eyes of the seal that he becomes almost blind, and is easily approached.
Hundreds of vessels, many of them steamers, are engaged in the seal fishery, and on the first page of this number is a picture of the boats belonging to one of these "sealers" drifting cautiously down upon a number of seals that have been basking and frolicking on the ice, heedless of the approach of danger. Hundreds of thousands of seals are thus killed every year for the sake of their skins, which are shipped to every part of the world, and from which are made the beautiful sacques, muffs, tippets, and gloves with which most of our readers are so familiar. Only last month a disaster occurred that vividly illustrates the danger of sealing. A huge ice-field a hundred miles long, and bringing with it thousands of seals, drifted down from the North, and stranded on the coast of Newfoundland near St. Johns. For several days the people living along the coast ventured far out on the ice, and captured great numbers of the seals.
Suddenly, on the 4th of April, the northeast wind that had been blowing steadily for two weeks, and keeping the ice packed, changed to a warm southerly breeze. The ice-pack broke, became intersected in every direction by lanes of water, and began to drift out to sea, carrying with it more than two hundred of the hardy hunters. Many of these were rescued by steamers, but others were borne away into the fog, beyond the hope of rescue, far out to sea, where they have perished from starvation, freezing, or drowning. For weeks past dead bodies have been cast upon the rugged coast by the sea, but the fate of many of the lost will never be known.
Mr. Ninoo, who hunts the seal so successfully, is hunted in turn for the sake of his thick soft fur, and often falls a victim both to white men and Esquimaux. The latter sometimes kill him by rolling a thick piece of whalebone, about two feet long and four inches wide, into a small coil, and wrapping it in a piece of seal blubber so that it forms a ball. Placed outside the hut, it soon freezes hard. Provided with this frozen bait, the natives search for Ninoo. When they find him, they run away, and he chases them; but they drop the ball of blubber, and he, meeting with it, greedily swallows it whole. In a few minutes the heat of his body thaws the blubber and releases the whalebone. It uncoils with terrible force, and so tears his stomach that the great bear falls down in helpless agony, to which an end is quickly put by the hunter, who now hurries to the spot.
[Begun in Harper's YOUNG PEOPLE No. 24, April 13.]
THE STORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON.
BY EDWARD CARY.
So now the war was as good as finished. There was no more fighting. The British government was nearly ready to give up to the United States, and own that they "were, and of right ought to be, free and independent," as the great Declaration had said more than five years before. But such things take a long time to settle, and General Washington thought that the Americans could make a great deal better terms of peace if they kept ready for war. How tired he was of the war! How he longed to get back to Mount Vernon, and to his peaceful farmer's life! His letters written about this time are full of these desires. He was a great General; and the whole country honored and loved him as a man whose courage and skill had made his countrymen free, but he often said that he would give all the glory he had won if he could go back to his crops and his trees, his horses and his hounds, and his beloved family, and rest. Yet he stood by his post to the very last. He begged his countrymen to keep up the army, and not to lay down their arms till everything was sure. He begged his officers and soldiers to be patient and stay with him, though they had much reason to complain. They had been poorly paid, or not paid at all. Many of them were actually ruined for their country, and, when they left the army, did not know where or how they should get a living. At this moment some of them thought they would be happier and better off under a King, if that King were Washington. They said to themselves: "It is all very well to be free, but here is a free nation which turns its old soldiers out to starve, which does not pay its debts, which hardly deserves freedom. We should have greater justice, and more peace and safety, with this wise, strong man as King." One of Washington's officers hinted as much to him. The General was filled with sorrow and anger and shame at the very thought. What had he done, that men should think he would consent to such treason? He wrote to the man who had suggested the plan, "If you have any regard for your country, or respect for me, banish these thoughts from your mind."
At last, in the spring of 1783, word came that a treaty of peace had been signed, and that the independence of the United States was no longer disputed. This joyful news was read to the American army on the 19th of April, just eight years after the first gallant fight at Concord in 1775. Washington wrote a farewell address to the army which he had led so long. It was like the wise and loving speech of a good father. He thanked them warmly for the noble spirit with which they had upheld him during the tedious and cruel years of war; he reminded them of the end for which they had fought, that the United States might be a free nation, with the right to govern itself as it thought best; and he prayed them to do all that they could to make their country just and wise in peace, as it had been brave and fortunate in war. It was winter before Washington had the affairs of his command settled so that he could leave the army and return to his home. On the 4th of December he met the principal officers of the army at New York to bid them farewell. They were gathered for that purpose at Fraunce's Tavern when he entered. Filling a glass, he turned to them, and said: "With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable." Then one by one, as the officers came to him, he clasped hands with each, and embraced him in silence. These brave men, who had faced death together, and had cheerfully borne untold privation, were not ashamed to weep at parting with their beloved friend and chief. When he had saluted them all, he passed through a corps of soldiers outside the door, and walked to the river-side, followed by the officers in solemn silence. He entered the barge, and raising his hat, he waved them farewell; and they, with the same loving gesture, watched the barge push off, and turned away. Washington took his journey to Annapolis, in Maryland, gave up his commission to Congress, and returned to Mount Vernon.
He reached his home on Christmas-eve, 1783. It was more than eight years and a half since he had left it to join the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and he had seen it but twice in that long interval. When he went away he was forty-three years old—in the very prime of manhood; when he returned he was fifty-one, and felt that he was growing old. Constant labor, constant care, exposure in the camp and on the march, and the sad and fearful experience of battle, had told upon his naturally strong frame, and he welcomed the prospect of rest as simply and as gladly as a tired child. He wrote to his dear friend Lafayette, who had returned to France: "At length I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac; and under the shadow of my own vine and fig-tree, free from the bustle of a camp and the busy scenes of public life, I am solacing myself with tranquil enjoyments.... I have not only retired from all public employments, but I am retiring within myself, and shall be able to view the solitary walk and tread the paths of private life with heart-felt satisfaction."
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
THE MAGIC SPINET.
BY MRS. J. E. McCONAUGHY.
The gay people of Paris were one day invited to attend a musical entertainment, in which "a magic spinet" was to be the chief attraction. Its wonders were set forth in glowing terms, and a large audience gathered at the appointed time to witness its performance. The poor musician, whose all was at stake, looked on the assembly with rejoicing eyes, but perhaps with a little trembling lest his "magic" should not work as perfectly as at rehearsals.
After some playing by himself and his two little children, all stepped back, and, at the word of command, the instrument repeated the whole symphony. This marvel was well received, when the musician pretended to wind up his machine by a very hard-working winch, which made a terrible racket.
Now the wise ones thought it all explained. "Only a foolish contrivance of weights and springs, like a barrel-organ," they said. That was just what the musician wished them to think, as it would make his triumph more decided. He now proceeded to show them that the instrument had a mind capable of hearing and obeying. Calling his children away, he waved his wand, and in an authoritative voice commanded, "Spinet, play"—such a tune.
The instrument obediently played the tune. Then the order was given, "Spinet, be silent," and all was quiet.
"Spinet, give us a light flourish," and it instantly warbled forth the gayest melody, which was received with rapturous applause. Then the whole sentiment of the audience was changed, and all admitted that Jean Baptiste Raisin, the musician, was also a great magician.
Evening after evening he repeated his performance, and the gold poured in beyond his fondest dreams. His reputation spread far and wide, and at last reached the King. He would have this novelty brought to court, and let the Queen and the royal ladies enjoy such a wonderful entertainment.
Jean was not used to courts, but his passion for money was growing fast, and he determined fairly to outdo himself in such a golden harvest field. His instrument was "instructed" to a most unusual degree, and at the appointed time was in good working order at the palace of Versailles. Everything proceeded famously until the organist carried on his old trick of "winding up." Royal ears were not used to such horrid discords as followed the working of that winch. The delicate nerves of all the ladies were dreadfully shocked, the Queen's in particular.
But I suppose a Queen's curiosity is much like other people's. She must have a view of the evil spirit inside the instrument, which seemed to play so unwillingly, judging from the shrieks it gave out on being wound up. The poor organist protested he had "lost the key." But that was of no avail.
"Can not some one break it open?" asked the King. Royalty has a very persuasive way, so Jean was forced at last to open the box; and what do you think they found within? A poor trembling little lad, not six years old, who operated a set of keys inside, which his father had constructed for him. The whole instrument was planned with this performance in view, the lad's small size and wonderful musical talent making the deception possible.
It was plain that the little one was half fainting with the stifled air he had breathed so long; and ready hands reached out to help him, and kind voices soothed and comforted him. When he was refreshed, all wished to hear him play in fair sight, and the praising and petting and confections and gold coins showered upon him would have turned a wiser head. Defeat was turned into a grand victory.
His father now invented a comedy, in which little Louis acted an important part.
A company appeared seated about a table, with a big black-pudding before them. When the pudding was cut, a great outcry was heard within. Soon it began to roll about the plates, and at last out hopped a little pig. They chased it about awhile with skewers, and finally, just as it was caught, it changed into an imp, with horns and hoofs, and a sabre by its side. Of course the company were greatly frightened, and tumbled down on the stage, pell-mell, all in a heap. But one sad day a performer thrust too hard with his sharp skewer, and poor little Louis performed and played no more. They laid him away in the pleasant cemetery, and very soon a heartbroken little sister, who could not be comforted, was laid beside him.
[Begun in No. 19 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, March 9.]
ACROSS THE OCEAN; OR, A BOY'S FIRST VOYAGE.
A True Story.
BY J. O. DAVIDSON.
FIGHTING A WATER-SPOUT.
"Anything wrong below, Smith?"
"Well, sir, she's got a precious list to port, and the water's runnin' into the fire-room like anythin'. Seems to come from under the coals."
"Have them shifted at once, then, and see what's wrong."
"Ay, ay, sir."
Frank had overheard the fireman's report to the first officer, and a thought struck him. Walking aft till he was right over the engine-room, he climbed out under the "guard," and looked keenly along the port quarter. Aha! There, just as he had expected, was a port-hole standing wide open, and letting in water at every plunge of the vessel.
"Well done, my boy! that's twice you've got us all out of a scrape," said Mr. Hawkins, to whom Frank hastily reported what he had seen. "How did you come to think of that port-hole?"
"I'd noticed it when I was shovelling down there, sir, and I thought that must be it."
"Good! I like to see a youngster keep his wits about him. Send up the carpenter to fix it, will you? I won't forget to tell Captain Gray what you've done, depend upon it."
This, of itself, would have been a sufficient "event" for the first day out from Malta; but another was still to come. The next morning Frank noticed two new faces among the firemen, and asked Herrick who they were.
"Stowaways, lad," said the old tar. "We found 'em hid away among the cargo last night, and now we're making 'em work their passage. There was three on 'em altogether, but them two Britishers are all that's any good. The third was a Maltee lubber, who'd never done nothin' but wait at table, and sich; so we jist sent him aft to sarve the officers."
That evening there was a sudden cry of "Fire!" and Frank, to whom the mere thought of a fire at sea had always been a perfect nightmare, was amazed to see how coolly the men got out their hose-pipes and took their appointed stations, without the slightest flurry or confusion. In three minutes all was ready; but happily it proved to be a false alarm.
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Ha! what is this long gray band along the southern sky, with one tall white line standing up from it like a mast, and two black bars stretching from its edge far into the bright blue waters? Can it be the coast of Egypt already? It is nothing else. The white streak is Port Said Light-house; the black bars are the walls of its breakwater, running their huge piled-up blocks of "concrete" nearly two miles out to sea.
Frank was greatly amused with the quaint little toy town of 5000 inhabitants, perched between the desert and the sea, where everybody shut up their stores and went to sleep in the middle of the day; where, thanks to the deep soft sand, carriages and horsemen went by as noiselessly as shadows; and where every gust of wind raised a dust-storm that hid people, houses, and everything else. Here, for the first time, he saw a punka, or monster fan, worked by a rope, and hung from the ceiling of a room. He was shown over the light-house by a trim little Arab boy and girl, who, to his great surprise, turned out to be man and wife; and altogether he had plenty of new impressions to think over when he at last found himself fairly afloat upon the Suez Canal.
A narrow ribbon of light green water between two interminable sand-banks, growing gradually higher as they advanced southward; a huge "dredger" every here and there, lying like a castle upon the water, with a clamorous garrison of blue-shirted men and red-capped boys; an occasional tug-boat, disdainfully greeted by Herrick as "Puffing Billy"; a distant caravan, with its endless file of camels and horses and men, melting away in curve after curve, like some mighty serpent, far back into the quivering haze that hovered over the hot brassy desert—such were the main features of the famous passage, begun by Pharaoh-Necho, and finished by Lesseps. The sun was sinking as they cast anchor for the night before Ismailia, and saw the mouth of the Sweetwater Canal, and the docks and houses of the brand-new town which the late sovereign of Egypt built and named after himself, fading into the fast-falling darkness.
Starting again next morning, they passed Suez about noon (fortunately without having to halt at one of the ugliest and dirtiest towns in the world), and headed down the Red Sea. Frank took a good look, in passing, at the bold headland of Ras Attakah, which is said by the best authorities to mark the scene of the Israelite passage, and where, according to a grim Arab legend, the shrieks of Pharaoh's drowning host may still be heard at times mingling with the roar of the storm. Farther on, a break in the sea-board hills gave him one glimpse of the huge square dark gray mass of Sinai, far away to the east; and then they were in the open sea once more.
Keeping well out to sea, they escaped the net-work of coral reefs which beset the Arabian coast for forty-five miles together; but they could not escape the heat, which overpowered not a few even of the old hands. Again and again strong men were carried fainting from the engine-room, to be tended by a surgeon almost as sick as themselves. The stiff breeze that was blowing, instead of refreshing them, seemed to bring with it the heat of all the African deserts at once, and a passing steamer signaled that she had lost sixteen men by it in two days.
"See that lubber of a mountain spoutin' fire, as if 'twarn't hot enough already!" growled Herrick, pointing to the volcanic islet of Jebel Teer. "That other island yonder's where the Arabs think their spirits go when they die; but I guess if I was a spirit, I'd like to have a cooler berth."
But once through the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb (Gate of Tears) into the Indian Ocean, Frank's ideas of a tropical voyage were fully realized. Bright skies, smooth seas, a steady breeze abeam keeping all cool, porpoises frolicking around the ship by hundreds, gay-plumaged birds alighting in the rigging, and a dance on deck every night to the music of fiddle and concertina, with a roaring accompaniment of sea-chorus that might have pleased Captain Marryat himself. Frank's throat was sore for a whole day after his patriotic efforts to "give full mouth" to one of these, which began thus:
"May our good ship Arizona have fair winds to fill her sails! She can race the King of Sharks, not to say the Prince of Whales; And she'll laugh at Arab roaches and at crawling British snails, As she goes sailing on."
The guns were got ready as they ran through the pirate-haunted Straits of Malacca; and though no pirate ventured to attack them, they had to face an enemy quite as dangerous that very afternoon. Frank, who had been looking at the blue Sumatra hills, with here and there a curl of smoke above the trees to show where the sandalwood gatherers were at work, was suddenly startled by the cry of, "A water-spout!"
There it was, sure enough, the long dark pillar, topped by a mass of black cloud, moving swiftly over the sea. Two native fishing-boats were flying before it, one of which was speedily drawn into the swirling foam at the base of the column. The other, more fortunate, got under the lee of the steamer.
"Give him a shot, Herrick," shouted the Captain, and the old quartermaster obeyed. The first shell missed, though so narrowly that the spout was seen to quiver; but the second burst right upon the thinnest part of the column, which broke and fell, with a noise that might have been heard for miles. For a moment the whole air was dark as night with spray and smoke; then a torrent of rain burst upon them, and when it cleared away, not a trace of their terrible enemy was to be seen.
The morning after her water-spout adventure the Arizona sighted the light-ship marking the approach to Singapore; and after an exciting race with an English screw-steamer, ran safely over the bar into the harbor. This was certainly rather hard upon the native pilot-boat, which had put out to her in the hope of a job; and the six black, half-clothed scarecrows who pulled it vented their feelings in a prolonged howl and a clatter of their diamond-shaped oar blades, to which Jack Dewey replied by asking, with an air of deep interest, how much they would take to "come on board and new pitch the boats with the tar off their elegant black hides."
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
 Of the eighty-six miles of the canal, nearly thirty lie through the shallow lakes of Menzaleh, Timsah, and "Bitter Water," the channel being marked by posts or mounds. Its depth is twenty-six and a quarter feet, its mean breadth about seventy, and in the "sidings" nearly one hundred.
 Called by the Arabs "Jebel Mousa" (Mountain of Moses).
STORIES FROM THE MINES.
Many stories are told of the manner in which the first discoveries of gold in California were turned to account by ingenious speculators, and among them are the following: In one district the gold-dust was mixed with large quantities of fine black sand, which the miners—most of whom were raw hands—blew off from the gold in their anxiety to arrive at the ore itself. A keen old man turned their impatience to account by shamming lameness, and pretending that in his weakly state he was not equal to the toil of mining, and was thus compelled to resort to the poor and profitless branch of gathering the black sand, which he sold as a substitute for emery. He used to go about of an evening with a large bag and a tin tray, requesting the miners to blow their black sand upon it, and returning with it to his hut. By the aid of quick-silver he was able to extract the gold, double in quantity to that which was obtained by the hardest-working miner at the washings.
Tricks of every kind were played upon new-comers in search of the golden treasures. One story is told of some American associates who had been working at an unprofitable spot, putting up a notice that their "valuable site" was for sale, as they were going elsewhere. A few Germans who had just arrived offered themselves as purchasers. The price asked was exorbitant, as the proprietors stated that the "diggings" returned a large amount of gold, and the following day was appointed for the Germans to come and see what could be produced in the course of a few hours' working. The sellers went during the night and secreted the gold-dust in the banks, so that it would come to light, as a natural deposit, when the earth was turned up. The following morning the poor Germans were so delighted with the apparent richness of the place that they gave a large sum of money and two valuable gold watches for the property. The Germans were laughed at; but they went to work, and actually succeeded in raising a large amount of gold beneath the spot where the others had left off. The Americans were thus outwitted in turn, and endeavored to get repossession of the place by force; but another company of Germans arriving, they were obliged to decamp.
An old miner relates this story: "While working on Rock Creek, the weather being very hot, we always had near us a can of water, and close to it we put a tea-cup to hold the particles of gold as we collected them. One morning as we were at work a thirsty digger came by, who asked permission to take a draught of water, which being granted, he filled up the cup, and quaffed off the costly drink, without either drinking our healths or leaving the least sediment at the bottom. I suspected at first that some trick had been played upon us, and he had secreted the gold; but from the evident distress of the man, and the earnest manner in which he promised to repay us when he got work, I firmly believe that he had swallowed the gold, not having noticed it in the cup."
Scarcely twenty-three years have elapsed since the gold yield in California became an undoubted fact, and within that period many millions of dollars' worth of gold-dust has been added to the wealth of the world. But even these results have been eclipsed by the wonderful discoveries of gold in Australia. So extensively are the gold deposits distributed throughout that great country, that Melbourne, the capital, has been said to be paved with the rich metal, the broken quartz rocks which have been used to make the streets being found to contain gold.
A BOAT-RACE AT YARROW.
BY H. L. TALBOT.
Yarrow is the place where I am at school while my father and mother are in Europe. My father was ordered to the Mediterranean: that's an awful word to spell. My chum, Sandy, says, "Remember from the Latin Medi-terra," but that's harder than the spelling. I am glad every day that I was sent here, because I don't believe there is another school in the world where you can have such fun. Mr. May is our teacher; and though he is pretty strict always, and sometimes, if a fellow tries to cheat or play sick, he's awful hard on him, yet when everybody is trying to do his best, Mr. May is the quickest to find it out, and it makes him mighty good-natured. Perhaps I should not think Yarrow such a good place to send a boy if it wasn't for the river that is within a stone's-throw from Mr. May's barn. We skate there in winter, and in summer row, swim, and drive logs. Last year we had nothing to row in but the old Pumpkin Seed, broad as she is long, and rows like a ship's yawl. Now she might fill and go to the bottom, for all we cared, for Nate Niles and I have had birthdays, and my uncle Tom sent us each the prettiest double shell, cedar decks, outriggers, spoon oars, and all. I tell you, they were beauties! My uncle knows what's what in a boat, as he used to row, and beat, too, when he was in college. He is always sending me things, because I'm his favorite relation, and my middle name is Thomas. Lately he gives things to Nate, because he is going to marry his sister. Before Nate got his boat, he said he'd a million times rather have her an old maid than have such a chap for a brother. Now, though, he's all right, he likes his boat so much.
Mr. May made a bargain that we were to study hard for a month, and he would give us boards and timber enough to build a boat-house. We couldn't leave such valuable boats as the Arrow and the Edith out-of-doors, and Nate said the cows would hook 'em if we left them in the barn. Mick Murphy (he's Mr. May's man) did most of the carpentering, but we boys helped. Sam Fish got so he could shingle as well as Mick, and keep the nails in his mouth. I pounded my thumb the first day I tried, and the biggest blood-blister I ever saw grew; so I had to give up hammering. Sam says if he can't be a Congressman, he means to be a first-rate shingler, and get the job of shingling all the spires in the country. I sha'n't be that, anyway. If I can't get on better with my arithmetic, and get to be an Admiral, I shall keep a stable, and let my father ride my horses—regular circus horses, and calico-spotted ones—very cheap. Sandy King (he's my chum) helped me that month over my lessons, so I got on swimmingly. Sandy can read Latin as quick as lightning, and knows horse in eight languages, not counting pigeon English. He's a splendid fellow, besides, and I shall never forget how good he was to me when I came to Yarrow, and was the only Democrat, except Mick and his family.
I painted the boat-house, because I had hurt my eyes when Sam's gun burst when I went after a partridge. It turned out to be one of Stuffy Wilson's hens, who lives just across the river, and I had to pay a dollar and a half, and she only weighed four pounds. I thought I was dead, sure, when I dropped the gun, and Mick's boy said he thought so too. I only burned off my eye-winkers, and got some powder in my cheek. Mr. May was awfully severe, and said I broke one of the rules of the school. I guess he always says that when a fellow almost kills himself. He did when Nate lassoed the pig, and she hit him. I only knew the dog and smoking rules. You can't keep one, because, Mr. May says, it eats what would keep a poor human being. I think, though, if I could find a dog that would eat only fat, I could keep him, because I always leave that, and no human being could live on that. Bridget hopes there isn't any such dog to be found, because she is so stingy over her old soap stuff.
When the house was done, the red roof just showing above the alders, and looking so pretty just at the bend in the river, we didn't feel a mite sorry for all the hard work we had put into it; though I do wish I hadn't let Sam try and get the paint off my trousers, for he took cloth and all. I have been mighty unlucky lately with my clothes. I scalded my best shoes, and Polly Burr didn't notice, and wore my best jacket common for two days, and got gravy on it. He's such a funny fellow! He used to use any boy's tooth-brush. We put salt on ours, and cured him of that, though we couldn't use ours for ever so long. My uncle wrote me a solemn letter a little while ago, and said, "Robert Ames, you must never forget you are a poor man's son." That was because I sawed my new gray trousers. I felt solemn for a long while, and now I'm afraid he will write another.
Nate named his boat the Arrow, because he said it went so well with Yarrow. He chose Sam Fish for his stroke, as he is the strongest fellow in the school. I named mine Edith, after my mother, and took Sandy for bow oar. Sandy said he wasn't half so strong as Polly, and wanted to give up; but I wanted just no fellow but Sandy. And then Polly has been scared of boats, and rather a land-lubber, ever since his aunt got blown up on a steamer. Besides, he cares more about his menagerie, and was busy training his ant-eater.
We decided to have a race the 18th of June, as it was Mr. May's birthday. Sam wanted a silver cup for a prize, but we couldn't get money enough. Polly was mighty generous, and gave fifty cents for the prize. We appreciated Polly's generosity, for we knew he didn't care a pin for boating, and the express on his ant-eater cost him ninety cents. The three Freshmen, Fritz Davis, Phil Hayes, and Billy Butler, each gave twenty-five cents toward the prize, Sam a dollar, Nate all he had, forty-three cents, Sandy fifty, and I eighty-three. I hope it wasn't too much for a poor man's son. The boys made me captain and Polly treasurer of the Yarrow Boat Club.
Sandy and I rowed every minute we could get. Every time we got into the boat we liked her better and better: she rowed so easily, and sat like a duck in the water. Sandy got so he didn't dip too deep nor jerk, as he did first. We found out that Sam and Nate were training. They ate rare beef and ran two miles a day. Sandy wanted to train too, but I told him I couldn't, as I only liked the outside of beef, and my only shoes hurt my feet.
"Let them try one way, and we another; the 18th will prove which is best." Sandy and I were getting ready to anchor the Pumpkin Seed up the river for the turning stake on the day of the race, when Polly and his ant-eater came down the hill.
"Any more money, Polly?"
"Yes; great luck. Mick and Bridget each gave ten, and Mick's boy gave twenty-five for a chance to sell corn balls."
"Didn't you see the Sunday-school?"
"I forgot all about it until after they had put their money into the contribution box; but they all said they were coming, sure pop."
We anchored the Pumpkin Seed up the river just a quarter of a mile from the boat-house; that made the distance to be pulled half a mile. Sam sent to Boston for shirts and crimson handkerchiefs for his crew. They both looked splendidly, but Sam's broad back and long stroke rather scared us. Mrs. May fixed us shirts, but they wrinkled round the neck. Then we had two yellow handkerchiefs that Mr. May used to use. The day before the race the small boys made a grand stand at the Oxbow for the spectators. It looked strong, but Mr. May said it wasn't, so Mick had to do it over.
Polly told me the night before that he had kept the time of the two boats for a week, and ours had been the best every time. That would have been grand, if I only could have trusted Polly's watch. But it was a bad one, and he used to set it three times a day.
I walked to the village, and brought back the blue and yellow flag, with the letters Y. B. C. on it, which was to be the prize. The grand stand was to be saved for adults and girls, and Mick was to be in the Pumpkin Seed at the turn. He knows a good deal about races, as his brother owns a trotter. Mr. May was to keep the time, as he had some kind of a thermometer watch. Such a dinner as Mrs. May gave us! I had Sam's and Nate's pieces of lemon pie, as they couldn't eat anything but meat. Mr. May looked over his spectacles, and asked if I was the boy who was to row a race that afternoon.
At one o'clock boys began coming, and took seats on the stand. Mick had to tell them about the girls and adults. Those mean Wilson boys had built a stand in the night, and let the crowd in for five cents! So both banks were full. They are the meanest family in America. They promised to keep every one out of their field. We were mad enough, but we couldn't do anything then.
Sam and Nate were in the Arrow when we got to the river, and they cheered us as we got into our boat, and Polly shoved off our bow. I gave the stroke, and we pulled into the middle of the river, where the prize flag was waving, and looking pretty enough to pull a dozen races for.
"Lay on your oars, and wait the signal." It seemed an hour before Mr. May said, "One, two, three—go!" and Sandy and I began our work, not rowing as we meant to later. The Arrow was to hug the Wilsons' shore, and we our bank. I heard a cheer for the Arrow, and knew she was ahead. It was a strong temptation to look round and see how far ahead she was, and by a spurt bring our boat up with her if possible. I didn't, though, and just rowed away as well as I could, and tried to keep cool.
The boys on the bank kept shouting, "Go it, Arrow!" "You're ahead!" "Brace up, Edith!" We had passed the alders, and were nearing Mick and the turn. We held our port oars, and rounded neatly, and heard Mick say, "Well done, Bob!" Then I told Sandy to "give it to her," and by the spring in the boat I knew that Sandy had been saving his strength for the homestretch. We were doing our best. If we could not get ahead at that rate, the race was lost. But we weren't going to be badly beaten. "The Edith's ahead!" "Good for you, Bob!" That was Polly's voice near us on the bank. When I knew we were ahead, I felt all right. We could row that way long enough, and if Sam and Nate hadn't been saving their strength, we could win. I could see we held our lead; if anything, we added to it.
"You're bating, Robert, you're bating." Bridget had promised to stand near the bars; so we knew we were nearing the boat-house. For saying that, Bridget should come in free, and I meant to return her ten cents.
"Handsomely, Sandy!" and we both put on a little extra muscle that we didn't know was left over, and shot by the flag, about three lengths ahead of the Arrow.
"Three cheers for Captain Bob!" "Well done, Edith!" "Now, Sandy!" Such yells as the boys gave! I've never heard anything like 'em since.
The girls waved their handkerchiefs, and Fritz Davis played his hand-organ. Sam handed the flag to me, and I put Sandy's brown hand on it, and we waved it, and started cheers for the Arrow, as loud as we could. When we rowed ashore, the boys put Sandy and me on their shoulders, and rode us up to the house. Polly waved the Yarrow flag, and Fritz ought to have played the "Conquering Hero," but he made a mistake, and played the "Cruel War." Mr. May says he has no ear. That isn't the matter though, for he has two, and big ones, too.
When we were changing our clothes, we four talked it all over. "By thunder! Bob, I thought we had lost when you ate those corn balls, after all that pie." I never saw Sandy so excited. He's a minister's son, and pretty calm.
"Stuff! Bob has it in him, and nothing he eats makes any odds." Sam thinks, because my father is a sailor, I can row. But father never rows a stroke.
"Well, Sam, the next one, don't let us go into training. I've been hungry ever since we began." Poor Nate had had a hard time of it, because he and I have the biggest appetites at school, and he didn't like rare beef, so he ate mighty little. He says he is always hungry, excepting Thanksgiving afternoons.
"When shall we try again, boys?"
"Fourth of July; and I'll get my father to give a prize," and Sam hit on the thing we all wanted—to try it again.
Mr. May invited all the boys and girls on our side of the river to stay and have lemonade and cake. Sam bought all the corn balls Pat had left, to celebrate the opening race and Mr. May's birthday. That's the way Mr. May served the sneaking Wilsons and their five-cent crowd. But Sam heard they said the cake was molasses gingerbread and the lemonade bitter, and we are going to make the mean sneaks take back every word the next time they bring the milk.
Mick said it was as well conducted a race as he ever saw; and Mr. May said his birthday never had been so honored before; and Sandy and I want to row just such another the coming Fourth of July.
THE LAST BATTLE OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING.
Dr. Alexander Anderson, the father of wood-engraving in this country, died in Jersey City, in 1870, a few weeks before his ninety-fifth birthday. He was born in New York two days after the skirmish at Lexington, and had vivid recollections of some of the closing incidents of the Revolution in that city. From his lips the writer heard many narratives of those stirring scenes. One of them was an account of the last battle of the Revolution, of which young Anderson, then a boy between eight and nine years of age, was an eye-witness.
Anderson's parents lived near the foot of Murray Street, not far from the Hudson River. There were very few houses between them and Broadway. Opposite Anderson's dwelling was a boarding-house kept by a man named Day. His wife was a comely, strongly built woman, about forty years of age, and possessed a brave heart. She was an ardent Whig, and having courage equal to her convictions, she never concealed her sentiments.
On the morning of the day (November 25, 1783) when the British troops were to evacuate the city of New York, and leave America independent, Mrs. Day unfurled her country's flag over her dwelling. The British claimed the right to hold possession of the city until noon on that day. Cunningham, the notorious British Provost-Marshal, was informed of this impudent display of the "rebel banner" in the presence of British troops, and sent a sergeant to order it to be taken down. Mrs. Day refused compliance.
At about nine o'clock in the morning, while young Anderson was sitting on the porch of his father's house, and Mrs. Day was quietly sweeping in front of her own, he saw a burly, red-faced British officer, in full uniform, with a powdered wig, walking rapidly down the street. He halted before Mrs. Day, and roughly inquired,
"Who hoisted that rebel flag?"
"I raised that flag," coolly answered Mrs. Day, looking the angry officer full in the face.
"Pull it down!" roared the Briton.
"I shall not do it," firmly answered Mrs. Day.
"You don't know who I am," angrily growled the officer.
"Yes, I do," said the courageous woman.
Cunningham (for it was he) seized the halyards, and attempted to pull down the flag, when Mrs. Day flew at him with her broom, and beat him so severely over the head that she knocked off his hat, and made the powder fly from his wig. "I saw it shine like a dim nimbus around his head in the morning sun," said Anderson.
Cunningham was an Irishman, detested by everybody for his cruelty to American prisoners in his charge. Mrs. Day had often seen him. He stormed, and swore, and tugged in vain at the halyards, for they had become entangled; and Mrs. Day applied her broomstick so vigorously that the blustering Provost-Marshal was finally compelled to beat a retreat, leaving the American flag floating in triumph in the crisp November air over the well-defended Day castle.
This was the last battle between the British and Americans in the old war for independence.
MARABOUS AND HYENAS.
The ugliest storks in the world are found in Southern Asia and Central Africa. Their flesh-colored heads are only partially covered with stiff, wiry feathers, and hanging on the breast they bear a disgusting pouch, which answers the purpose of a crop. One of the largest of these storks is the marabou. It stalks about the great sandy plains of Central Africa with a composure and lordly grandeur, as if it were the most beautiful bird in the world. Its body feathers are of a dull metallic green color, and its wings and tail are dingy black. Looking at the awkward creature, no one would suspect that under its ungainly wings it carried the most exquisite and fairy-like little plumes, so airy that it takes basketfuls of them to weigh an ounce. They are pure white, and so much desired for trimming that the bird is vigorously hunted by the natives, who sell these dainty feathers to traders for a very large price.
Hunting the marabou is attended with great difficulty, as the bird possesses wonderful cunning, and often contrives to outwit the most skillful hunter. With laughable dignity it measures the ground between itself and its pursuer, and takes very good care not to exhaust itself by too rapid flight. If the hunter moves slowly, the bird at once adopts an equally easy pace, but if the hunter quickens his steps, the bird is off like an arrow. It is very difficult to get within gun-range of this calculating creature, but the natives adopt a novel means of capturing it, which the bird, with all its astuteness, is unable to comprehend, and falls an easy victim. A tempting morsel of meat is tied to the end of a long stout cord, which the skillful hunter flings to a great distance, as he would a lasso, the bait falling as near the fleeing bird as he can aim it. He then conceals himself hastily behind a bush, or crouches low on the sand. The marabou, which always keeps its eye on the hunter, seeing him vanish, quietly stops and devours the bait, when it is easily secured by the hunter, who runs toward it, coiling the rope as he goes.
The marabou feeds on carrion, like the vulture. Its throat is very large, and it will greedily eat everything that comes in its way. In the swamps and plains around Khartoom, on the Nile, are immense flocks of marabous, and they are so daring as to come to the slaughter-houses on the outskirts of the city in search of food, and whole ox ears, and shin-bones with hoof attached, have been found in the crop of specimens which have been killed.
This bird is a very skillful fisher. It haunts the low marshy islands in the rivers and lakes of Central Africa, with elephants, monkeys, flamingoes, and many varieties of birds for its companions, and gains its principal food from the water. It often goes in companies of ten or twelve to fish. Wading in the water, the birds form a circle which they gradually draw together, gathering the frightened fish in the centre as with a net, when with their long bills and quick movement they speedily provide themselves with a hearty meal.
Although marabou mammas have been seen proudly parading round with a brood of diminutive downy young ones, so shy and retiring is this bird in its domestic habits that naturalists have been unable to determine when and how it builds its nest. The natives assert that it nests in high trees, but their statement is not confirmed.
In captivity the marabou is lord of the inclosure, and in zoological gardens where specimens have been confined no other birds, nor even small beasts, dare approach the feeding trough until the hunger of this impudent bird is satisfied, and it has retired to the warmest corner for a nap. The immense strength of its bill makes it a formidable enemy, and when fighting for food it will often overcome the largest vultures, and wage successful battle with beasts of prey.
The hyena inhabits the same portions of Asia and Africa as the marabou, and travellers give accounts of terrible contests between these two singular members of the animal kingdom. The hyena is called the vulture among beasts, as it prefers carrion for its food, and as long as it can find dead animals to devour, it leaves the flocks and herds in peace. Cowardly by nature, it rarely attacks man or beast unless driven to desperation by hunger.
The striped hyena inhabits the northern latitudes of Africa, Persia, and Syria, while the spotted species, which is easily tamed, and is sometimes called hyena-dog, is found in large numbers in the vast plains of South Africa.
The hyena is a strange-looking beast. It has a big head and a heavy shaggy mane. The hind part of its body is much lower than its shoulders, and its hind-legs are short. This odd formation gives it an awkward shambling manner of walking, which is both ludicrous and hideous.
This creature rarely shows itself by day, but when the shadows of night fall on the plains and forests, it comes out from its home among the rocks and caverns in search of food. African travellers are much annoyed by it. When the camp is silent, and all are sleeping, the hyena comes prowling round, uttering hoarse human cries; and should it fail to find sufficient camp refuse to satisfy its hunger, some poor donkey is sure to be torn in pieces by its terribly strong jaws.
Few animals have been the subject of so much superstition. In ancient times it was believed that a dog went mad if a hyena turned its evil-eye upon it, and the beast was believed by many to be a wicked sorcerer who went about in human form by day, and at night assumed the shape of a hyena. The poor and ignorant peasantry of Arabia, even at the present day, believe in the evil-eye of this beast, and are afraid to shoot it lest they should incur the wrath of the wicked spirit which they imagine walks the earth in this ugly form.
The poor hyena, however, far from being an evil spirit, is a real blessing to the regions it inhabits, as it is a natural scavenger, provided by the kind wisdom of nature to clear the ground of much loathsome and decaying matter, thereby rendering the air sweeter and purer and more healthful.
CHATTER-BOX AND CHATTER-BAG.
BY A. P. C.
Doubtless you all know what a chatter-box is, but are any of you acquainted with a chatter-bag? I do not think the word is in the dictionary, and yet the article exists. Perhaps you would like to hear how it came to be invented.
Once upon a time a young lady, whom we will call Miss Matilda, entered upon her duties as teacher in a large school. There were about fifty girls in her department, and she had to be somewhat of a disciplinarian to keep them all in order. But things, on the whole, went quietly, until one morning a pleasant-faced old lady appeared, and introduced as a new pupil her granddaughter Anna Maria Spilkins.
Anna Maria S. was eleven years of age. She was a graceful little person, with large round blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and a quantity of short, curly, golden hair. Her face was very bright; she had the appearance of being uncommonly clever. But she was eminently a chatter-box.
This fact soon made itself felt. Miss Matilda had scarcely placed her at a desk, and bowed Madam Grandma out of the school-room, when the chattering commenced. Anna Maria leaned over and whispered something to the girl on her right hand, then something to the one on the left, then a word to the one in front of her, then a word to the one behind her. Miss Matilda looked at her gently, then gently reprovingly, then reprovingly, then sternly, and all the glances were totally lost on Anna Maria. Miss Matilda benevolently thought, Perhaps this child has never been to school before.
"Anna Maria," she said, in a serious tone.
"What, ma'am?" said Anna Maria, looking up with perfect innocence in her clear blue eyes.
"Did you ever attend school before?"
"Oh dear yes! Why, I went when I was only three years old. First I went to Mrs. McToole's, and then I went to Miss Smith's, and then I went to Mr. Brown's, and then—"
"There, that will do," exclaimed Miss Matilda. "You can tell me the rest some other time. What I wish to know now is, were you allowed to talk as much as you pleased in those schools?"
"Well, I don't know as I was," replied Anna Maria, looking down, and blushing a little.
"The rule here," continued Miss Matilda, "is silence. I hope, my dear, that you will never speak except when it is absolutely necessary."
"Yes, ma'am," said Anna Maria, in a subdued tone, after which she closed her lips very tightly.
Miss Matilda called up the first class in geography, and proceeded to hear the lesson. In about five minutes her keen ear became conscious of a faint whispering sound. She glanced quickly in the direction of Anna Maria: evidently it was her little tongue that was wagging. But it was wagging very gently, and its waggery was addressed to one of the best girls in school. Miss Matilda thought, Perhaps she is asking some necessary questions: I will not be severe with her the first day. So she said nothing. But in five minutes more the whisper had risen to quite a buzz, and Miss Matilda detected distinctly the words, "White, with three flounces, and a new pink sash."
"Anna Maria!" she exclaimed.
"Did I not tell you that you were not to speak unless it was absolutely necessary?"
"Oh dear yes! I beg your pardon, teacher. I forgot all about it."
"Well, my dear, I trust you will be perfectly quiet now."
"Yes, ma'am," said Anna Maria, very meekly. She closed her lips tightly again, and was quiet—for about five minutes.
Miss Matilda thought, To-morrow, when she has her lessons to recite, it will be different.
But Miss Matilda was mistaken; to-morrow, when she had lessons to recite, it was exactly the same.
Chatter, chatter, chatter, Anna Maria kept it up day after day, from one end of the week to the other. The industrious girls were seriously annoyed by it. To the idle pupils it was a new excuse for idleness; to the silly ones, a new excuse for giggling. And punishment seemed to make no impression on Anna Maria. Again and again she was ordered to stand up in the corner. She went meekly and stood there, and in two minutes was chattering with the girl who sat nearest to her. She was told to stay in after school a quarter of an hour; half an hour; an hour; an hour and a half. She never put her head down on the desk and cried, as some of the girls did when they were kept in; she staid her time out quite cheerfully, and chattered with all her fellow-culprits. Miss Matilda thought, This child is simply distracting.
Then she made a rule that Anna Maria was not to speak to any person in the school excepting her teacher. And what was the result? At all hours of the day, in the midst of the most important business, Miss Matilda would be interrupted with talk similar to the following:
"Oh, teacher, may I speak to you one minute?"
"Certainly. What is it?"
"I just want to tell you about my cousin Susie's new doll. You ought to see it; it is perfectly splendid!—wax face and hands and feet, and real hair, and—"
"Anna Maria, have I not told you repeatedly that you were not to speak about anything except what was absolutely necessary? Now do you think that such conversation is necessary?"
Anna Maria hung her head a little, and then she said, in a sort of apologetic way, "Well, teacher, it may not seem so, but really it is necessary for me. You see, I get thinking about something, and I can't stop thinking about it until I have told it to somebody else."
"Well, and when you have relieved your mind in this manner, at the expense of peace and quiet to the whole school, what then?"
"Oh, then I think about something else."
"Yes, and then you wish to chatter about that."
"But really, teacher, I can't help it. I always was so. Grandma says I talk more than all the rest of the family put together. In fact, the family have to be quiet because I talk so much. I always did, you know. It is one of those things that can't be altered."
"Ah," said Miss Matilda, a little dryly, "I was not aware of that. Thank you for the information. I am sorry you did not tell me before."
One bright December afternoon, when school was about to be dismissed, Miss Matilda arose and said:
"Girls, I have decided that this class is to receive a Christmas present—something which will be useful and agreeable to you all. As this article (which I will not at present name) requires some very neat sewing, I have further decided that Miss Anna Maria Spilkins, whom I heard mentioned as an excellent needle-woman, shall have the honor of making it."
The girls applauded, and Anna Maria looked very proud.
"Anna Maria," continued Miss Matilda, "do you think your grandmother has a nice piece of calico at home, about a yard and a half long, which she could let us have?"
"Oh dear yes," replied Anna Maria. "Why, she has lots. Last winter she made a patchwork quilt, and she went down to New York and bought everything new for it. Aunt Jemima thought she could have used some things that were in the house, but she thought she couldn't—and you never saw the like! One yard of this, and two yards of that, and three yards of the other—enough to make half a dozen quilts—and every bit of it perfectly lovely. Oh, there is one piece that is just splendid! It is pink, with flowers of every color you can think of all over it. It is so bright you can hardly look at it."
"That would be the very thing. Do you think she will let us have it?"
"Oh, I guess so. I'll talk her into it; you depend on me for that."
"Very well. And to-morrow you will bring with you the calico, a yard and a half of alpaca braid to match, and your sewing materials."
"Also, a large brass-headed nail and a hammer."
"Why, what is that for?"
"You will see when the time comes. And you will be excused from your lessons in the last hour on Thursday and Friday, so that you can do this piece of sewing in school."
"Thank you, ma'am."
Anna Maria was delighted. She felt herself a very important personage: besides, she had something new about which to chatter. Some of the other girls, however, were quite sulky over the affair. "I don't see why one of us couldn't do it," said one. "Miss Matilda is dreadfully partial," said another. "Yes, she lets Anna Maria Spilkins do anything she likes," said a third. But all were equally curious about it. "I do wonder what it can be," was heard on all sides.
The next morning Anna Maria arrived, bundle in hand. With great pride she spread out its contents. The girls were fairly dazzled with the beauty of the pink calico. In the afternoon, at the beginning of the last school hour, Miss Matilda said, "Anna Maria, have you brought the things we spoke of yesterday?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Anna Maria, stepping up to the desk.
Miss Matilda examined them with satisfaction. "Now, Anna Maria, take that brass-headed nail in your left hand, and the hammer in your right."
"Do you notice that bar of wood along the wall, about five feet from the floor?"
"Now measure carefully, and find the spot exactly over the middle of your desk; then drive the nail in."
Anna Maria obeyed. The hammering resounded strangely through the quiet school-room. When this piece of work was over, Miss Matilda folded down the pink calico, and marked out two long seams to be run and felled. Anna Maria took the sewing to her seat, and stitched away complacently, while the other girls fretted and growled over "that horrid grammar lesson." When school was over, she brought the work to Miss Matilda, who put it away carefully in her desk.
"Ah, teacher, do tell us what it is!" some of the girls exclaimed.
"I think you will see to-morrow," Miss Matilda answered, quietly.
The next afternoon Anna Maria resumed her work.
"I do believe it is going to be a bag," whispered one of the girls, who was watching her.
"Why, yes, so it is," said another. "But what can it be for?"
"Do you think Miss Matilda could mean to have a Christmas grab-bag for us?" asked a third.
"I don't know why she should," said a fourth; "I don't see that we have been so awfully good as all that."
But a bag undoubtedly it was. Half an hour before school was over, Anna Maria had finished the string-case, and run the piece of pink alpaca braid through it. The work was done. She walked to the desk triumphantly, and presented it to her teacher. Miss Matilda examined it, commended the sewing, and then handed it back to her.
"And now, Anna Maria," she asked, "do you know what this bag is for?"
"Have you no idea?"
"It is to put your head in! In future I shall never reprove you for talking. You may talk as much and as often as you please, but all you say must go into this bag. When it is quite full of talk, draw the string tight, so that not one word escapes, and bring it to me. Then I will empty the chatter out of the window, where it will disturb no one, and return you the bag, to be refilled whenever you choose."
A wild shout of laughter rang through the school-room. Anna Maria turned crimson, and dropped the bag. She would have been glad if the floor had opened and swallowed her. She could make no answer—for once in her life she was dumb.
"Pick up the bag, Anna Maria," said Miss Matilda, "and hang it on the nail above your desk."
Very slowly and unwillingly the little girl obeyed. She took her seat, and then, for the first time since she came to school, put her head down on her desk and cried. Miss Matilda took no notice; she merely called the second class in grammar, and resumed the lessons.
When school was over, and all the other girls had gone, Anna Maria lifted her head, and exclaimed, "Oh, teacher, teacher, I can't stand it! Do let me take that hateful bag away!"
"No, my dear," said Miss Matilda, gently. "For three months you have disturbed the entire school with your perpetual chatter, and now for three months that bag is to hang over your desk. If by the end of that time you have learned to control your tongue, the bag shall be removed—not otherwise."
But it was strange to see how the three months changed her. Miss Matilda never again needed to say one word to her about talking: one glance at the bag was more efficacious than a dozen scoldings had been formerly.
Moreover, when her grandmother met her teacher, she said, "Oh, Miss Matilda, how Anna Maria has improved of late! She used to be such a terrible chatter-box; we sent her to school when she was only three years old, because we could not endure the noise of her tongue, but now she is growing so pleasant and sensible that we all enjoy her company."
THE WAYWARD DONKEY.
BY W. H. BEARD.
There was once a little donkey who gave his poor mother no end of trouble, he was so stubborn, unreasonable, exacting, and dreadfully saucy. Why, when angry, he didn't hesitate at all to call his mother an old donkey, right out. One day, when crossed in some particularly absurd desire, he declared he would run away. Immediately putting his threat into execution, off he trotted, heedless of his poor fond mother's entreaties. Away he went, sustained at first by his temper and pride.
But as the day wore on, he became weary, faint, and hungry. The matter of food and shelter became a question of serious alarm, and how to obtain them was a problem too great for his little donkey brain to solve. He now remembered that he had never had to trouble himself with all this before, all the needs and comforts of life having been provided for him without thought or care on his part.
The land over which he was travelling was quite poor, and only afforded a few little stunted thistles, which seemed to consist more of prickers than anything else, which pierced his tender little nose, and made it bleed. He saw plenty of oats and other grains, as well as nice vegetables, growing in fields, but so well guarded by high fences that he could not hope to get at them. Many times, when hunger and fatigue had subdued his pride, would he have returned home; but he had wandered so far that he had not the least idea which way he had come. To add to his distress, he saw the sun was fast declining. Already he felt the chills of evening. But there was no use bemoaning his fate, and he must make the best of it.
At length, too weary to travel farther, he was forced to lie down to rest, and selected for the purpose an unfenced overgrown piece of ground of considerable extent. Here, as he lay among the weeds, nothing was visible of him above their tops but his two ears, which might easily have been taken for two stakes, or the roots of an upturned stump. As he lay shivering in the damp grass, he felt anything but comfortable. The sun went down, the moon arose and shed a cold light over the face of nature, which made him feel lonely indeed.
Suddenly there appeared above the grass several other pairs of ears, bobbing about, quite like his own. The sight thrilled him with something akin to pleasure, for he asked himself, "To whom can such ears belong but to little donkeys? and if young donkeys are around, they must have mothers, or a mother, near by, who, no doubt, would be very glad to adopt such a fine specimen of the race as I." The reader has already seen that he was a conceited little donkey.
So saying, he arose quickly to his feet; the others stood up also, though not as he did on their four feet, but on their hind-legs—that is to say, they stood up on their haunches—and looked at him in blank amazement; but as he approached them they bounded away so fast that it was useless to try to overtake them. When he stood still, they also stopped, and again stood upon their haunches, and peered at him over the tops of the weeds. Master Donkey did not try again to go to them, but expostulated with them upon their ill-breeding and unkind behavior, called them cousins, told them he was tired and hungry, and asked for food and shelter. This touched their tender little hearts, and they cautiously drew near, and made the acquaintance of their supposed cousin.
On a close scrutiny, however, they doubted his claim to relationship, and flatly told him so. But they good-naturedly said if he was hungry, it was no more than common humanity to first relieve his wants, and discuss the question afterward. Even murderous man would do as much as that, so they brought him carrots and other vegetables in abundance from a farm garden near by, from which they were accustomed to supply their own wants.
When his appetite was satisfied, his humility, such as it was, oozed out, and he became as arrogant as ever, and stoutly claimed that he was their big cousin, though, he said, he was not particularly anxious to be acknowledged by such a pack of little dwarfish thieving creatures as they were, who would steal through the farmer's fence to purloin vegetables for a cousin whom they impudently refused to recognize.
Their spokesman retorted, and said they claimed a right to a share, sufficient for their needs, of whatever grew upon the earth. To be sure, they were obliged to obtain it stealthily at night, as man claimed it all for himself, and it would be almost certain death to be found by him within his inclosure. Indeed, many of their unfortunate fellows had already suffered death for the exercise of this natural right. If, however, he regarded their act as a crime, he was himself a criminal, inasmuch as he had accepted the fruits, and profited by the act, knowing how the food had been obtained. To this the donkey could make no answer; at least he did not think it prudent to try, as night was still before him, and the question of shelter still unsolved.
Good-nature was soon restored, and the discussion renewed. The rabbits could see many points of difference, but two only of resemblance. It certainly could not be denied that the ears were remarkably like, and the complexion was very nearly the same; but the hard feet were so widely different from their own soft paws! And the tail, too, long and dangling like a cow's—what a tail for a rabbit! Then, again, they had observed that he stood while eating, whereas a true rabbit always crouched comfortably near the ground while taking his food. In the matter of voice, too, they flattered themselves there was a wide difference. However, all this might be changed or improved by judicious training, except the feet. The hoofs they despaired of. The tail they proposed to nibble off at a proper length from the body. This operation the donkey positively refused to submit to, but finally consented to hold his tail up over his back as much like a rabbit as possible, and, moreover, would at once set about his lessons to learn their ways, so that he might the sooner adapt himself to their habits, and become one of them.
Accordingly, one of the cleverest of their number was charged with his instruction, and immediately began with the important art of sitting on the haunches with his tail curled up upon his back. In this, though he strained every nerve to perform it, he made an ignominious failure. He could only maintain the position for a moment, and then pitch forward or fall backward, seeming to rock over on his curved tail, and cutting such a ridiculous figure that it made all the rabbits laugh. This made him very angry, and he began to use his heels in a most vigorous and unrabbitlike manner. All ran for their lives, but not all escaped unhurt. The "spraggly" forms of two or three of those nearest to him showed dark against the moon-lit sky before they limped off, and, joining their fellows, gathered in a little knot at a distance from their fractious pupil, and discussed his merits with great freedom. They voted him an ill-natured brute, a stupid dolt—in short, a perfect donkey. Scarcely had they arrived at this unanimous conclusion, when—pop! pop! bang! bang!—four loud reports, and four little rabbits lay in the agonies of death.
The farmer and his son, seeing by the moonlight strange movements in the field, had stolen upon them, in the unguarded moment of their excitement, with their double-barrelled guns, and, as the boy expressed it, bagged four rabbits and a donkey; for poor little donkey stood paralyzed with fear. He had never looked upon death before, and was an easy captive. Without troubling himself to inquire who the rightful owner was, the farmer took him for his own, housed him that night in a stall by himself, where he passed almost the entire night, notwithstanding the fatigues of the day, in such reflections as he was capable of; and though he grew up to be a great donkey, to be sure, the lessons of that day were never forgotten by him.
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILLINOIS.
I thought you would like to know how spring advances in this part of the country. There are a great many snowy little bloodroots in the woods on the island already (April 22), the mandrakes are coming up, and the spring beauties are in bloom. The snakes are here also, for a friend of mine and I saw a little garter-snake in the woods the other day. It hissed at us in a vicious little way. Yesterday I saw some pretty butterflies flitting about, and there are numerous graceful dragon-flies in the air. Last Sunday, just after a thunder-storm, I was on the front porch, and I saw about eighteen worms, most of them of a kind that is called "hundred-legs," but there were a few of another kind. They were crawling up on the porch to get out of the wet. The robins, bluebirds, cat-birds, woodpeckers, blackbirds, and others are here. This spring some of the gulls from the great lakes were fishing on the river. In YOUNG PEOPLE No. 24 Arthur L. H. wrote about his caterpillar that turned into a butterfly, and I thought he might like to hear about ours. My brother found a caterpillar that had different-colored cross-bands on it, like a Roman sash. He brought it home, and we fed it on leaves till it made a beautiful cocoon of a thin veil-like material of a pale sea-green color, with a line and a few dots of gold on it near the middle. We expected from all this that it would be a very remarkable butterfly; but it was only one of the common large brown butterflies that we see almost every day in summer.
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I am seven years old. My grandpa and grandma live in Canada, and send me YOUNG PEOPLE. We have a donkey and panniers. My baby brother and sister ride in the panniers, and my other brother and I take turns in riding on the donkey's back. We call the donkey Jinny. I went on a visit to Canada when I was two years old. I would like to go again.
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I enjoy reading the letters in the Post-office Box very much. In No. 24 a little girl asks for some cooking recipes. I will send her a recipe for a very nice doll's cup-cake. My little sister and I make it often. We made it once when grandpa came to see us, and he liked it so much that he had to be helped twice. This is the recipe: One doll's cup of butter; two of sugar; three of flour; one of sweet milk; one egg; a few scrapings of nutmeg; one salt-spoonful of baking powder. When well mixed, put it into a buttered pan. When it draws away from the side of the pan, it is done.
BESSIE L. S.
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STUYVESANT SQUARE, NEW YORK CITY.
Some other girls and myself have formed a Wiggle Club. We are going to get some papers printed with the heading, "Stuyvesant Square Wiggle Club," on which we will all send in our Wiggles, and we are going to have prizes for the best. The one of our Wiggles that is published in YOUNG PEOPLE will take the prize. We can not draw very well yet, but we will try to improve, and to be the champions. Our names are Bertha, Toonie, Sarah, Nonie, Blanche.
Unfortunately your drawings of Wiggle No. 10 came too late to be engraved. Your ideas were all excellent. In YOUNG PEOPLE No. 27 we gave you a new Wiggle, which you can practice upon, and send us what you make of it. The plan of your club is good, as it will afford you much amusement, and at the same time give you good exercise in drawing.
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I like YOUNG PEOPLE very much. I can read the children's letters, and I thought I would write myself. I have got a great family of dolls—thirteen in all—and I like to look at the picture, on the first page of YOUNG PEOPLE No. 7, of the two little girls and the basket of dolls. My black cat is named Hippopotamus, but I call him Pot for short. My papa at Christmas-time was dressed up like Santa Claus, and brought us a bagful of presents. I did not know it was papa till weeks afterward. I am seven years old.
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BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
I wonder if any of the readers of YOUNG PEOPLE have ever seen a tarantula. It is a large hairy spider that lives in the tropics, and its bite is very poisonous. I had one, with its nest. The nest is made in clay, and is long, like a tube. It is closed by a trap-door, and is a skillful piece of workmanship.
A. R. J.
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My father and brother commenced seeding the 14th of April, as it had been very warm for several days. The morning of April 16 the ground was covered with snow, and it continued snowing hard all day.
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FORT WAYNE, INDIANA.
The other night I took my round in the chicken coop to see that all the chickens were in. Three little chicks, four weeks old, deserted by their mother, were just coming in. They jumped on the first roosting lath, and then on the second, and began to walk toward the rooster. One little chap jumped on his back, and the two others crept under his wings. What surprised me most was that the rooster took it very kindly, and has allowed the chicks to continue their tricks every night.
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ROCHESTER, NEW YORK.
I have a little kitty that we took with us to the beach last summer. When we went out rowing, she used to come with us in the boat, and if she didn't like it, she would jump into the water and swim ashore. When we walked up the beach for shells, she would always follow us, even if we went two or three miles. I am eleven years old, and my name is
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We have had such hard winds in Kansas this spring that the air would be so filled with thick clouds of dust and sand that we could not see a square away for hours at a time, and the air seemed charged with electricity. They were called electric storms, and the telegraph operators could hardly use their batteries at all. Can any one tell me what caused the electricity?
CHARLEY H. G.
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I am a lame boy, and can not go to school. I have been taking music lessons, and I can play on the piano and the organ. Papa and mamma are going to send me to the Conservatory of Music. I am eleven years old.
WILLIE H. H.
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BELLE PLAINE, IOWA.
We have just found some buttercups for the first time this spring (April 15). I want to tell you about my pets. I have a dog named Watch, and I love him ever so much. He is black and white. We have a red and white calf. It butted me once, but I like it all the same.
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YARMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA.
I am eight years old. Papa takes YOUNG PEOPLE for me, and I am going to have it bound as mamma has her BAZAR. She did not have it bound last year, for she sent it to Edinburgh to my aunt Annie. I go to school every day, and like to go. One of our large school-houses was burned down the other night. It cost about nine thousand dollars, and nearly three hundred children went to school there. We had a spelling match at my school just before Christmas, and I beat. We have a mare named Nell, and a cow named Maud. We had a pig named Aubrey Percival, but now we call him Pork.
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ST. JOHNS, MICHIGAN.
I am seven years old. Yesterday (April 14) I saw a butterfly in our yard. It was a blue-black with light spots. I tried to catch it, but couldn't. The same day I saw a bumble-bee. I have a shepherd dog named Punch, and when I go anywhere, he always squeals to go too. He is my best playmate, as I have no brothers or sisters. I think the Post-office Box in YOUNG PEOPLE is very interesting.
ROBERT E. C.
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My father is a harness-maker, and I help him morning and evening, before and after school, and at night I read YOUNG PEOPLE. I saw in No. 24 a little letter from Joseph D. asking how to tame wild rabbits. My brother was out hunting one day, and his dog caught a rabbit by the leg. The leg was broken, so my brother took some pine splinters and cut them into pieces about two inches long and a quarter of an inch wide, and bound them round the leg, and it got well. He tamed the rabbit by reaching his hand into the cage where he kept it, and rubbing it gently. It soon became so tame it would eat out of his hand.
J. L. G. L.
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BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
I read a letter in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 13 from a boy who hatched a little chicken by putting the egg in ashes. I wish he would tell me how he kept the egg warm.
NETTIE M. T.
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I have a recipe for Puss Hunter's cooking club: One cup of molasses; three-quarters of a cup of sugar; one-quarter of a cup of butter; four tea-spoonfuls of vinegar; a little vanilla. It makes very nice candy. I have tried the recipe very often, and have never known it to fail. I would like to be a member of the cooking club.
R. C. W.
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My papa takes YOUNG PEOPLE for us children, and I am very much interested in the stories, especially in "Across the Ocean." My brother likes to sing "I am the lad in the blue and white." I like to go to school. We are going to have a picnic in May, and are learning pretty pieces to sing and speak. I expect we will have a fine time; and if any of the young correspondents of Our Post-office Box would like to hear about it, I will write and tell them what kind of a time we really do have.
ELSIE J. S.
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HOHEN SOLMS, LOUISIANA.
I am a little Southern girl. My father is a sugar-planter, and we have a nice home on the banks of the Mississippi River. We have a very fine pointer. In reply to the question of Joseph D. in No. 24 about taming wild rabbits, I will say that he must put them in a cage, not too small, and feed and pet them every day.
M. A. B.
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I have a coach-dog named Beauty. When I play a French harp, she will cry and act very sad. She comes and lays her head in my lap, and seems to wish me to keep on playing. I can not tell whether she likes music or not, but she always howls when I play. I have a dear little brother named Lynn, a year and a half old. He kisses me good-by every morning when I go to school. I am nearly ten years old.
JESSE L. B.
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I thought I would tell you how much I like to have them hand me my paper at the post-office. My brother subscribed for it for me. I live in the Rocky Mountains. We own one-half interest in a gold and silver mine. We came here for my mother's health. She was very sick, and now she is well. I can have all the specimens from the mine that I wish for.
E. PALMER G.
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In the piece about Easy Botany in No. 24, YOUNG PEOPLE, I read that bloodroot grows in New England. It grows out here in Illinois too, and I found some a few days ago. We have a pet dog named Maria. She runs after the chickens and pigs.
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I thought I would write to you about gophers. The gopher is a little animal which lives in the ground. It digs a hole about two feet deep, and it eats corn and other grain. Gophers destroy so many crops that the farmers do not like them, and they pay boys for killing them. I earned forty-eight cents last year killing gophers. I would take a club and a pail of water, and go to their holes. When I poured in some water, they would run out, and I would kill them with the club.
ARTHUR N. T.
The gopher, or Canada pouched rat, is a very remarkable burrower, as it will dig under-ground passages extending in lateral galleries in all directions. It is difficult to capture, as it keeps open a means of escape on every side. The mischief done by this creature is very extensive. It delights to burrow among the roots of fruit trees, which it gnaws, until often a large tree dies from the under-ground attacks of this troublesome animal.
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E. A. C.—It is impossible for us to comply with your request.
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W. B. B.—Flowers are beautiful pets, and repay well the attention bestowed upon them. The large plant, with its wide-spreading bluish-green leaves, which bears the castor-bean, is raised from the seed, like any other bean. It is an annual, but it grows so rapidly that by midsummer it is already several feet high. In some countries this plant is called palm-of-Christ, and is much valued as a garden ornament, as its pale green leaves form a beautiful contrast when growing among masses of dark shrubbery.
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ADDIE P.—Your beautiful wild flower was so faded and crushed when it reached us that it was impossible to identify it.
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G. H. FISHER and "NUCTUM."—In an article soon to be published in YOUNG PEOPLE you will find all your questions fully answered.
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"SUBSCRIBER," BROOKLYN.—For directions for preserving insects, see answer to Katie R. P., Post-office Box, No. 27.
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MARIE S.—Ocean Grove, Squan, or Seagirt, New Jersey; Vineyard Grove, Dukes County, Massachusetts; and many places along the New England coast.
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SHELTON A. H.—Turtles should have a big tub of earth in which to bury themselves in the winter. Or if they are let loose in a yard, they will take care of themselves, and appear again in the spring. Read the answer to Lyman C. in Post-office Box, No. 5, where you will find full directions for the care of turtles.
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CHARLIE W. M.—Your charade is gracefully made, but too personal to be printed in YOUNG PEOPLE. Thanks for your pretty compliments.
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Favors are acknowledged from Frank Graves, Lepine Rice, "Carlo Vite," Katherine Hall, Arthur Morse, Fanny Pierce, Lucy Emmons, Paul R. H., Edith E. G., Evelyn D., "Sister," Graham Herford, Willie D., P. Roodhouse, Bessie MacLachlan, Mamie W. Perrin, Frank H., Lawrence Pugh, Minnie Hilton, J. H. Loewen, C. K. Shelby, Garland S., Jacob Sehen, Wallace Stephens, Harry MacGraw, Agnes S. MacInnes, Dioma Russell, Aubrey C. Smith, Fred Zoller.
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Correct answers to puzzles received from Pierre Jay, Edmund Taylor, E. Clark, Lillie MacCrea, J. T. S., Robert R. S., John Whelan, Annie and C. H. MacB., Mary Greene, George H. Radley, Ruth Montague, Clarence Howard, Minnie H. Ingham, Philip D. Rice, Willie G. Springer, Claude and Bessie Comstock, Eugene and Maud Watson, Charley H. Gibson, Paul J. H., Eddie A. Leet, Mamie E. F., Shelton A. H., "Fatinitza," William G. Macdonald.
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PUZZLES FROM YOUNG CONTRIBUTORS.
In silent. To tear. A flowering shrub. To stuff. In skeptic.
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GEOGRAPHICAL DOUBLE ACROSTIC.
A French city. A town near the mouth of the Dnieper River. An Italian city. A town in Ireland. A city in Spain. A Mexican province. Answer—Two countries in Europe.
C. P. T.
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I am composed of 11 letters. My 9, 10, 1, 5, 8 is a boy's name. My 4, 7, 2, 8 is an animal. My 3, 11, 6 is to entreat. My whole is beautiful and sweet.
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A familiar proverb:
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My first is in beam, but not in shine. My second is in grape, but not in vine. My third is in crying, but not in scream. My fourth is in fleeting, but not in dream. My fifth is in glove, but not in hand. My sixth is in shore, but not in land. My seventh is in glow, but not in burn. My eighth is in vase, but not in urn. My ninth is in run, but not in motion. My whole came over the stormy ocean.
J. A. W.
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I am a little word of four letters, yet you will find in me a preposition, a negation, and an exclamation. I am as old as the sun, and he could not possibly fulfill his daily course without me. I am a rest to the weary laborer, and a delight to school-children, who greet me with a shout of welcome. I aid in construction and consolation—indeed, they could not exist without me; and although they break me to pieces, I am never in bad temper. Who can find me out?
C. S. N.
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ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN NO. 25.
S A N N S N A I L N I P L
H O S T O B O E S O A R T E R M
M oras S A ffra Y G iganti C N evad A O verwhel M L ass O I nsula R A cced E
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Charade on page 344—Cross-bow.
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We offer a fine 3 Joint Fly Rod, 15 yard Brass Reel, 100 ft. Linen Line, 3 Flies, 3 Hooks to gut, & Leader, complete, by express for $5.00; by mail, postpaid, $5.50; sample Flies by mail, postpaid, 10c. each; per doz., $1.00; complete Catalogue Free.
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OUR CHILDREN'S SONGS.
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Our Children's Songs. Illustrated. 8vo, Ornamental Cover, $1.00.
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The best compilation of songs for the children that we have ever seen.—New Bedford Mercury.
This is a large collection of songs for the nursery, for childhood, for boys and for girls, and sacred songs for all. The range of subjects is a wide one, and the book is handsomely illustrated.—Philadelphia Ledger.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
HARPER & BROTHERS will send the above work by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
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The Child's Book of Nature.
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The Child's Book of Nature, for the Use of Families and Schools: intended to aid Mothers and Teachers in Training Children in the Observation of Nature. In Three Parts. Part I. Plants. Part II. Animals. Part III. Air, Water, Heat, Light, &c. By WORTHINGTON HOOKER, M.D. Illustrated. The Three Parts complete in One Volume, Small 4to, Half Leather, $1.31; or, separately, in Cloth, Part I., 53 cents; Part II., 56 cents; Part III., 56 cents.
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A beautiful and useful work. It presents a general survey of the kingdom of nature in a manner adapted to attract the attention of the child, and at the same time to furnish him with accurate and important, scientific information. While the work is well suited as a class-book for schools, its fresh and simple style cannot fail to render it a great favorite for family reading.
The Three Parts of this book can be had in separate volumes by those who desire it. This will be advisable when the book is to be used in teaching quite young children, especially in schools.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
Old Books for Young Readers.
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Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
The Thousand and One Nights; or, The Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Translated and Arranged for Family Reading, with Explanatory Notes, by E. W. LANE. 600 Illustrations by Harvey. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3.50.
The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner. By DANIEL DEFOE. With a Biographical Account of Defoe. Illustrated by Adams. Complete Edition. 12mo, Cloth, $1.50.
The Swiss Family Robinson.
The Swiss Family Robinson; or, Adventures of a Father and Mother and Four Sons on a Desert Island. Illustrated. 2 vols., 18mo, Cloth, $1.50.
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Sandford and Merton.
The History of Sandford and Merton. By THOMAS DAY. 18mo, Half Bound, 75 cents.
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Square 4to, about 300 pages each, beautifully printed on Tinted Paper, embellished with many Illustrations, bound in Cloth, $1.50 per volume.
The Children's Picture-Book of Sagacity of Animals.
With Sixty Illustrations by HARRISON WEIR.
The Children's Bible Picture-Book.
With Eighty Illustrations, from Designs by STEINLE, OVERBECK, VEIT, SCHNORR, &c.
The Children's Picture Fable-Book.
Containing One Hundred and Sixty Fables. With Sixty Illustrations by HARRISON WEIR.
The Children's Picture-Book of Birds.
With Sixty-one Illustrations by W. HARVEY.
The Children's Picture-Book of Quadrupeds and other Mammalia.
With Sixty-one Illustrations by W. HARVEY.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
BY MARGARET EYTINGE.
A Mullingong met an Echidna one day, And he cried, "What a very odd nose! So exceedingly sharp. Why, it's funnier far Than your porcupine coat and your toes." Then most rudely he made all the echoes resound With "he-hees!" and "haw-haws!" and "ho-hoes!"
The Echidna made answer, "My merry young friend, If your own comic nose you could see, Like a juvenile shovel exceedingly flat, I am sure you'd stop laughing at me; For perfectly lovely, beside it, is mine. Ho! ho! and haw! haw! and he! he!"
A PERSONATION: WHO AM I?
There have been few people more written about, and yet there is very little known of me. I wish I had known, during my life, that I was to become so famous, for I might have taken pains to leave accurate accounts of myself. I wrote a great deal, yet there is much discussion even over my signature. I was born and brought up in the country, as you can easily judge from the many allusions to country pleasures and sights in my works. My parents were poor, and I had to depend on myself; and when still young decided to go to London—many say because I could not live happily with my wife, whom I had married when but eighteen. I sought and found employment in London in the theatres. I was anxious to return home (which I had left a poor lad) a rich man; so I worked early and late, and about twelve years after leaving home was able to buy one of the best houses in my native place. It has always been supposed I did not like my wife very much, because in my will I left her only my "second-best bed"; but then people forget that she also had her dower. I wrote over thirty-seven books, though some of the writings attributed to me are not mine, and scholars will dispute about me probably to the end of time.
Except that I was born, married, went to London, wrote, returned home, made a will, and died, there is nothing certainly known about me: everything else is conjecture, for, alas! I had no Boswell. My books have been translated into all civilized tongues, my sayings are as familiar in men's mouths "as household words," and though about me the world may know little, no one can be considered well educated who is not conversant with my books.
I forgot to tell you I was born on the 23d of April, 1564, and died on the 23d of April, 1616—not an old man, you see, to have gained such fame; yet every year many pilgrims visit my birth-place and my grave, the epitaph on which has alone enabled me to lie quietly in the country church-yard, for many would like to see me in Westminster Abbey, where there is a fine monument to me.
THE ABSURD PENGUIN PUZZLE.
This Puzzle appeared in No. 25, page 344. It was, with two straight cuts of the scissors, to change the fish, Fig. 1, into an absurd penguin catching a herring, as is shown in Fig. 2.
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A Spider's Instinct.—Spiders crawling more abundantly and conspicuously than usual upon the in-door walls of houses foretell the near approach of rain; but the following anecdote shows that some of their habits are the equally certain indication of frost being at hand. Quartermaster Disjouval, seeking to beguile the tedium of his eight years of prison life at Utrecht, had studied attentively the habits of the spider. In December of 1794 the French army, on whose success his restoration to liberty depended, was in Holland, and victory seemed certain if the frost, then of unprecedented severity, continued. The Dutch Envoy had failed to negotiate a peace, and Holland was despairing, when the frost suddenly broke. The Dutch were now exulting, and the French Generals prepared to retreat; but the spider warned Disjouval that the thaw would be of short duration. He contrived to communicate with the army of his countrymen, and its Generals relied upon his assurance that within a few days the water would again be passable by troops. They delayed their retreat. Within twelve days the frost had returned, and the French army triumphed.