NEW-YORK: D. APPLETON & COMPANY, BROADWAY.
LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS.
NEW-YORK: D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY. 1853.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by D. APPLETON & COMPANY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
To the Little Girls and Boys, 5
The Christmas Party, 7
The Spider, 21
The Mischievous Boys, 26
The Brothers, 34
Annie Browne, 48
The Three Bears, 55
About Minding Quickly, 62
The Twins, 71
The Little Boy that was afraid of the Water, 80
The May Queen, 87
The Apple Dumpling, 98
The Dentist, 105
The Wig, 111
The Boys' School, 118
TO THE LITTLE GIRLS AND BOYS.
Once on a time, there lived a little bit of a lady who had a great many nephews and nieces. She was very little indeed, so all the children loved her, and said she was the best little auntie in the world, and exactly the right size to play with them and tell them stories. Sometimes she told them interesting stories about George Washington, and other great and good men; sometimes funny stories, about Frizzlefits and Monsieur Pop, and sometimes she would make them nearly die laughing with stories about the Dutchman, Hansansvanansvananderdansvaniedeneidendiesandeusan.
At last, one day, one of her nieces said to her, "Dear Auntie, do write some stories, and put them in a book for us to read, and keep, as long as we live."
The little Aunt thought this was a very good plan, and here are the stories, dear little children, for all of you. If you like them, just let me know, and you shall have some more next year from
THE CHRISTMAS PARTY.
Mr. and Mrs. Percy had seven grandchildren, all very pretty and very good. These children did not all have the same father and mother, that is, Mr. and Mrs. Percy's eldest son had three children, whose names were Mary, and Carry, and Thomas; and one of their daughters was married, and had three children; their names were Willy, and Bella, and Fanny; and their youngest son was married and had one child. Her name was Sarah. She was the youngest of the children, and they all loved her very much, and her Grandma made a great pet of her.
The children and their parents had been invited to eat a Christmas dinner with their Grandma, and they had been promised a little dance in the evening. Even little Sarah was to go, and stay to the Ball, as she called it. They were glad; for they liked to go to their dear Grandma's very much.
At last Christmas came. It was a bright, frosty day; the icicles that hung from the iron railing sparkled as the sun shone upon them, and the little boys in the streets made sliding ponds of the gutters, and did not mind a bit when they came down on their backs, but jumped up and tried it again; and a great many people were hurrying along with large turkeys to cook for their Christmas dinner, and every body looked very happy indeed.
After these children, about whom I am telling you, came back from church, they were dressed very nicely, and although they lived in three different houses, they all got to their Grandma's very nearly at the same time. The first thing they did was to run up to their Grandma, and wish her a merry Christmas, and kiss her, and say that they hoped she felt quite well. Then they did the same to their Grandpa and Aunties, for they had two dear, kind aunts who lived with their Grandparents. Then they all hugged and kissed each other, and jumped about so much, that some kissed noses and some kissed chins, and little Sarah was almost crazy with delight, for she had never been to so large a party before.
"Grandma," said Willy, "I hung up my stocking last night, and what do you thing I got in it?"
His Grandma guessed that he got a birch rod.
"No," said Willy, laughing, "I got a doughnut in the shape of a monkey with a long tail. I eat the monkey for my breakfast, and it was very good indeed."
The children all laughed at this, and Bella, Willy's sister, who was the oldest of all the children, said she thought Willy had a monkey look about him. So he went by the name of the monkey-eater for the rest of the day.
Soon the bell rang for dinner, and they all went down stairs; for the children and grown people were to dine together. It was now quite dark, and the gas chandelier that hung over the table was lighted, the curtains were drawn close, the fire burnt brightly, and the table-cloth was so white and fine that it looked like satin.
The happy party sat down at a large round table, and the children's eyes looked so bright and their cheeks so rosy, that it was the pleasantest sight in the world to see. Little Sarah could not help having a great many little laughs all to herself. She could not keep them in. She was only four years old, so you may suppose she could not look very grave and stiff on such a delightful occasion.
When Willy saw his little cousin Sarah trying to hide her sparkling eyes, and her funny little laugh behind her mother's arm, he felt just as if somebody was tickling him. So he pinched his lips together very tight indeed, and cast his eyes up to the ceiling, and tried to look as grave as a judge. But it would not do; he burst out into such a fit of laughing, that every body else laughed too, and it was a long time before they could get their faces straight enough to eat their dinner.
Would you like to know what they had for dinner? Well, I will tell you. After their Grandpa had asked a blessing, they had some very nice soup. The children did not care for soup. Then they had a fish stuffed with all sorts of things, and stewed, and the grown people said the fish was very nice; but the little ones did not care for that either. Then they had some roast beef and a boiled turkey with oysters. The children all took turkey; Willy asked for a drum-stick, and his cousin Mary said he wanted it to beat the monkey he eat in the morning. Bella chose a merry-thought; little Sarah liked a hug-me-fast; Carry took a wishing-bone; Thomas said he would have the other drum-stick to help beat the monkey, and Fanny thanked her Grandma for a wing, so that she could fly away when the beating of the monkey took place.
But this was not half the good things, for they afterwards had some delicious game, such as partridges, and woodcocks, and some fried oysters. All this pleased the grown people most. The children saved their appetites for the dessert. Well, after this the cloth was taken off, and under that was another table-cloth just as white and fine as the first.
Then came something that was quite astonishing. What do you think it was? It was a great plum-pudding all on fire! it blazed away terribly, and Willy thought they had better send for the fire-engines to put it out; but it was blown out very easily, and the children each had a very small piece, because it was too rich to eat much of, and their parents did not wish them to get sick.
After that there came ice-cream, and jellies, and sweetmeats, that were perfectly delicious; and then the other white cloth was taken off, and under that was a beautiful red one. Then the servants put on the table what the children liked best of all, and that was a dish of fine mottoes, and oranges and grapes and other nice fine fruits.
The children sent the mottoes to each other, and had a great deal of sport. Some one sent Willy this:
"Oh William, William, 'tis quite plain to see That all your life, you will a monkey be."
He thought his cousin Mary had sent it, because he saw that she was trying very hard to look grave—so he sent this to her:
"Dear Mary, you are too severe, You are too bad, I do declare; Your motto has upset me quite, I shan't get over it to-night."
Mary laughed when she read it, and said she had been just as cruel to Thomas, for she had sent him this—
"The rose is red, the violet blue, The grass is green and so are you."
They had a good laugh at Thomas, but as he laughed as hard as any one, it did no harm. Little Sarah had a great many mottoes. Her Mamma read them to her, and it pleased her very much. She said it was a very nice play, but she was tired with sitting such a long time at table, so her Mother let her slip down from her chair.
Very soon all the rest got up, and went up stairs in the parlor. But what was that in the middle of the room? It seemed to be a large table covered all over with a cloth. What could it be? Willy said, "Grandma, that table looks as if something was on it;" and little Sarah said, "Grandma, I guess Santa Claus has been here."
"Yes, dear children," said their Grandma, "Santa Claus has been here, and this time he looked very much like your Grandpa. He will be up soon, and then we will see what is on the table."
Oh how the children did wish to peep! They could not look at any thing else; they danced and jumped round the table, and were in a great hurry for their Grandpa. In a few minutes he came into the room, and all the children ran up to him and said, "Dear Grandpa, do let us see what you have got on the table."
He smiled, and went to the table and took the cloth off. The children were so astonished that they could not say a single word; the table was covered with beautiful things, and under it was something that looked like a little red-brick house.
"Well," said their kind Grandpa, "my dear children, you did not think you were going to be treated to such a fine show as this; you may go up to the table, and see if you can find out who they are for." The children gathered round the table, and Willy took from the top a fine brig with all her sails set, and colors flying. His eyes sparkled when he saw written on a slip of paper which lay on the deck, these words; "For my dear Willy." The children clapped their hands, and nothing was heard, but "How beautiful!" "What a fine ship!" "It is a brig of war," said Willy: "only look at the little brass guns on her deck! thank you, dear Grandpa; it will shoot all the enemies of America! What is the name of my ship?"
"Her name is painted on her stern," said his Grandpa. Willy looked and saw that she was called the "Louisa." He blushed, and looked very funny, and the other children laughed, for Willy knew a very pretty little girl, whose name was Louisa, and he liked her very much; and that was what made them laugh when they heard the name.
After they had all admired the brig, they went back to the table, and there were two beautiful books, full of engravings or pictures, one for Bella and one for Mary; and next to these was a large wax doll for Carry and another for Fanny. Carry's doll was dressed in blue satin, with a white satin hat and a lace veil, and Fanny's doll was dressed in pink satin with a black velvet hat and feathers—their eyes opened and shut, and they had beautiful faces.
How delighted the little girls were! They hugged their dolls to their little breasts, and then ran to hug and kiss their Grandpa. Carry said, "My dolly's name shall be Rose;" and Fanny said, "My dolly's name shall be Christmas, because I got her on Christmas day."
Well I must hurry and tell you the rest, for I am afraid my story is getting too long. Thomas found for him a splendid menagerie, and all the animals made noises like real animals. There were roaring lions, and yelling tigers, and laughing hyenas, and braying asses, and chattering monkeys, and growling bears, and many other wild beasts. Oh how pleased Thomas was, and all the children!
Little Sarah did nothing but jump up and down and say, "So many things! So many things! I never saw so many things!"
But who was to have the little house under the table, I wonder? There was a little piece of paper sticking out of the chimney, and Sarah pulled it out and carried it to her Grandpa. He took her up in his arms and read it to her. What was written on it was, "A baby-house for my little darling Sarah."
"Why, I guess this must be for you," said he.
"Yes, it is for me," said the little girl; "my name is Sarah, and it must be for me."
Her Grandpa put her down, and led her to the table. He drew the little house out, and opened it. The whole front of the house opened, and there, inside, were two rooms; one was a parlor, and one a bed-room. The children all cried out, "What a fine baby-house! Look at the centre-table, and the red velvet chairs; and only see the elegant curtains! Oh dear! how beautiful it is!"
Little Sarah did not say a word. She stood before the baby-house with her hands stretched out, and jumped up and down, her eyes shining like diamonds. She was too much pleased to speak. She looked so funny jumping up and down all the time, that she made Willy laugh again, and then every body laughed.
At last she said, "There is a young lady sitting in the chair with a red sash on. I think she wants to come out."
"Well, you may take her out," said her Grandpa. So Sarah took the young lady out, and then took up the chairs and sofa, one by one, and smoothed the velvet, and looked at the little clock on the mantelpiece, and opened the little drawers of the bureau; and then putting them down, she began to jump again.
There was never such a happy party before. The children hardly wished to dance, they were so busy looking at their presents. But after a little while they had a very nice dance. One of their aunts played for them; she played so well, and kept such nice time, that it was quite a pleasure to hear her.
It was now quite late, and little Sarah had fallen fast asleep on the sofa, with the young lady out of the baby-house clasped tight to her little bosom. So they wrapped her up, doll and all, in a great shawl, and the rest put on their nice warm coats and cloaks; and after a great deal of hugging and kissing, they got into the carriages with their parents, and went home happy and delighted.
Thus ended this joyful Christmas day.
Little Harry was afraid of spiders. He would scream and run to get into his Mother's lap, if he saw the least spider in the world.
The reason he was so afraid was, that his nurse, when he was a very little fellow, had told him very often, that if he did not go to sleep, she would catch a spider and put it on him. Now this was very wicked indeed in the nurse, and when his Mother found out that she had been telling Harry this, she was very angry, and sent her directly out of the house.
Harry's Mother had tried very hard to cure him of his foolish fears about spiders; but he did not get over them, and they often made him miserable.
One day Harry went with his Mother to visit a friend. This lady had a little daughter about two years old, a very pretty and good-humored child. She was sitting on the carpet when Harry came in, playing with a little woolly dog and making it bark. She knew Harry, for he had been there before with his Mother. So she held the dog out to him and said, "Tum here, Henny." She could not speak plain, and what she said sounded very funny.
Harry sat down on the carpet by her, and took the dog, and made it say, "bow wow wow!"
Little Mary laughed and clapped her hands, and said, "Do it aden, Henny."
So Harry pressed the spring again, and made the dog say, "bow wow wow," when just as he was going to give it back to little Mary, she stooped down, and cried, "Look, look, Henny, what a pretty little 'pider, only see the little 'pider."
Harry threw down the dog, and began to scream with all his might. He ran to his Mother and hid his face on her shoulder, and cried, "Take it away! Oh take it away!"
All this time little Mary had been looking at him with surprise. She did not cry, for she was not afraid of the poor spider. It was of the kind that children call a 'daddy long-legs,' and Mary thought it was very funny to see it straddling over the carpet, trying to get away as fast as it could.
"Oh Harry! for shame," said his Mother; "why, which is the biggest—the spider or you? Only see—little Mary is laughing at you."
Henry raised his head from his Mother's shoulder, and looked at Mary. He stopped crying, and began to feel ashamed. He saw the spider crawling over little Mary's frock, and she sat quite still, and let it go just where it wanted to go. His Mother said to him, "Go, Harry, and count the long legs of the spider, and see if you can find his mouth—it cannot hurt you."
But Harry trembled, and said he did not want to go near it, he would not touch it for any thing. His Mother was not angry with him, for she knew he had tried to overcome his fears, and he could not help them; she knew it was the fault of the wicked nurse, who had made him suffer all this pain. So she took his hand and wiped the tears from his cheeks, and went home with him.
As Harry grew older, he was not so much afraid of spiders, but he never could bear to see one near him; even when he was a great boy of fourteen or fifteen years, he would get away from a spider as fast as he could. He knew it was foolish, and tried to overcome his fears, but he never got entirely over them.
Parents cannot be too watchful or careful about their nurses, for sometimes a thoughtless or wicked nurse, will do worse things to a child than Harry's nurse did to him. If parents would forbid nurses when they are first employed from saying or doing the least thing to frighten their children, many a poor little victim would be saved a great deal of present and future misery.
THE MISCHIEVOUS BOYS.
"Horace, come up stairs with, me into Uncle James's room," said Edward one day to his brother.
Horace took hold of Edward's hand, and they ran up stairs together. When they got into their Uncle's room, they shut the door. There was nobody in the room but the two little boys; so Edward thought it was a fine chance to do some mischief. He began to open all the drawers, and look at the things that were in them; he took out a bottle that was full of cologne water, and calling Horace to him, he poured it all out, some of it on his brother's hair and some on his own. Their hair was all wet with the cologne, and it ran down their faces.
After he had done this, he saw a pair of scissors in the same drawer.
"Sit down, Horace," said he, "and I will cut your hair for you: it wants cutting very much."
Horace was a little fellow; he was only three years old; but Edward was six years old, and knew better than to be doing all this mischief.
Horace sat down and Edward cut his hair all over. He cut bunches out in different parts, close to his head, and made it look frightful, but he said, "Dear me! how nice you look! now you cut my hair."
So Horace cut Edward's hair, and almost cut off his ears, and hardly left any hair on his head.
After that, this naughty boy Edward took his Uncle's best coat out of the drawer and put it on. The tails of the coat dragged on the ground, and it made Horace laugh very much to see his brother marching round, with the tails of the coat dragging on the ground.
When he was tired of wearing the coat, he took it off. He did not put it back in the drawer, but threw it on the floor, where all the hair was, that he and his brother had cut.
Presently he ran to the wash-stand. He lifted the pitcher. It was full of water, and very heavy, and he spilled some of the water on the carpet. Then he poured out the water into the slop-jar, which stood by the side of the wash-stand, and in doing it, he spilled the water all round the outside of the slop-jar and wet the carpet.
Did you ever hear of such a naughty boy before? But this is not half as bad as what I am now going to tell you.
Little Horace had done just as he saw his brother do—for little boys will always follow the example of their older brothers. If any little boy reads this, that has a brother younger than himself, I hope he will remember this, and try to set his little brother a good example.
Well, as I was telling you, Horace opened the drawer of the wash-stand, and took out a box of tooth-powder, and then he got a glove out of another drawer, and then he wet the glove and dipped it in the tooth-powder. Some of the powder stuck to the glove, and with this he began to rub the brass tops of the tongs and poker.
"Only see, Edward," cried he, "how nice this cleans the brass! I am rubbing it, just as I saw Jenny do, and I am making it look so clean and bright! don't it make it bright, Edward?"
"Oh yes! very bright," said Edward, "but only look here, what I have found! a beautiful razor! oh my! how sharp it is! Uncle James shaves with it every morning. I'll tell you a first-rate play, Horace. I will be a barber, and you shall come to me to be shaved. You know I will only make believe; I won't really shave you."
"Oh that will be fine," said Horace, throwing down the tooth-powder, "that will be fine! Put some soap on my face, brother."
"Yes," said Edward, "I will make a great lot of soap-suds, and put it all over your face. Oh! won't it be nice? won't it be a grand play?"
So saying, he got out the shaving-brush, and dipped it into the water that was in the slop-jar, and rubbed it on the soap, till he had made a great lather. He called it soap-suds, and then he put it all over Horace's face with the brush, and made him look like a fright.
Then this naughty boy took the sharp and shining razor, and began to shave the soap off his face. At first he only took the soap off, but the next time he took off a piece of the skin from Horace's face.
The little boy said, "Oh, Edward! you hurt me. I don't want to be shaved any more! It isn't a good play at all!"
"Don't be a coward," said Edward; "it always hurts to be shaved; come, let me do it once more."
Horace was not afraid of a little pain, and he did not like to be called a coward. He believed what his brother told him. So he held up his face, and Edward began again to scrape off the lather; but this time Horace moved just as he put the razor on his face, and it took the skin all off of his cheek.
It began to bleed terribly, and smarted so much, that Horace screamed, and ran out of the room, and down stairs into the kitchen where his Mother was.
She was very much frightened when she saw the little boy with his face covered with blood and lather, and cried,
"What is the matter with you, my child? What have you been doing?"
"Oh, Mamma!" said he, crying bitterly, "Edward has been shaving me, and I am all cut to pieces—Oh! how it hurts me—will it kill me, Mamma?"
His Mother got some water quickly and washed his face. She saw that he was very much cut. She was very sorry indeed, and tied up his face, and did every thing she could think of, to relieve the pain. But it hurt him very much all that day and the next.
When Edward came down stairs, he was afraid to come where his Mother was, because he knew he had been a very naughty boy, and he was sure she would punish him. So he went and hid himself under the bed.
His Mother called, "Edward! Edward!" but he was afraid to come. So she had to hunt for him, and found him all curled up as small as possible under the bed.
"Come out instantly," said his Mother.
Edward crept out and began to cry, and beg his Mother not to punish him, but his Mother said:
"Edward, you knew you were doing wrong when you got your uncle's razors to play with, and if I do not punish you, you will always be doing mischief, and grow up to be a very bad man."
So his Mother took a birch-rod out of the closet, and gave Edward a very severe whipping; so severe that he remembered it for a long time, and although after a great while he forgot, and sometimes was tempted to do wrong, he never wanted to play barber again, or make believe shave any body with a razor.
One day Henry came bounding home from school, his face beaming with joy. He was head of his class, and he held fast in his hand a fine silver medal, which had been awarded to him for good behavior.
"Oh!" said he to himself as he ran along, "how happy this will make my dear Mother. I know she will kiss me; perhaps she will kiss me five or six times, and call me her dear, dear boy. Oh! how I love my Mother."
He ran up the steps of the house where he lived as he said this, and pulled the bell very hard, for he was in a great hurry. His Father opened the door. "Hush! Henry," said he, "come in very softly, your Mother is very sick."
"My Mother! Dear Father, what is the matter with her? May I go in to her if I will step very softly?"
"No," said his Father, "you must not see her now; you must be very still indeed. I see, my dear boy, that you have been rewarded for good conduct in school; I am glad that I have so good a son. And now, Henry, I know you love your Mother so much, that you will promise me to be very still, and wait patiently until she is able to see you." As he said this, he drew Henry close to him, and smoothed down his long curling hair, and kissed his cheek.
Henry threw his arms around his Father's neck, and promised him, and then putting away his medal, he went softly on tiptoe up to his play-room, and shutting the door, began to work on a sloop that he was rigging. He did not get on very fast, for he could not help thinking of his dear Mother, and wishing he could see her. She had hemmed all the sails of the sloop for him, and he was going to name it the "Eliza," after her.
The next morning, Susan, the old nurse, knocked very early at the door of the room where Henry slept. "Master Henry," said she, "what do you think happened last night?"
"What did?" said Henry, sitting up in the bed; "is my Mother better?"
"Yes, she is better," replied Susan, "but do guess what has come. Something that you have wished for very often. Something you can play with, and take care of, and love more than you love your dog Hector."
"Is it alive?" said Henry.
"Yes," replied Susan, "it is alive, and in your mother's room."
"Can it be a brother, a real live brother?" cried Henry, jumping out of bed, and running up to Susan.
"Yes, it is a brother, a real live brother," said Susan, laughing.
"I've got a brother, I've got a brother, a real brother!" shouted Henry, running up and down the room, clapping his hands, jumping over the chairs, and making a terrible noise, for in his joy he hardly knew what he was about.
"Oh hush, Master Henry!" said Susan. "What a crazy little fellow! Your Mother is still very ill. Now dress yourself quickly and quietly, and you shall see your little brother."
Henry trembled with joy, and in his haste he put his feet into the arms of his jacket, and his arms into the legs of his trousers; but after a while he managed to get them on right, and though he washed his face and hands in a minute, and brushed his hair with the back of the brush, yet he did not look so bad as you might suppose.
He went very softly into his Mother's room. It was darkened, and he could not see very well. He went up to the side of the bed. His Mother smiled and said, "Come here, my son." Her face was pale, but it had a very happy look, for in her arms, sweetly sleeping, was the little brother that Henry had longed for. He had a sister, who was nearly his own age, but he had always wished for a brother, and the brother had come at last.
"Dear Mother, may I help you take care of my little brother?" said Henry; "you know I am strong enough to hold him. I would not let him fall for the world."
"Yes, dear boy," replied his Mother, "when he is a little older, I shall have a great deal of comfort in trusting this dear little brother with you. It is more necessary now than ever, my son, that you should try always to be good, and to set a good example before your brother. He will be sure to do just as you do. If you are a good boy, you will be a good man; and how happy you will be, when you are grown up, to think that your good example will have made your brother a good boy, and a good man too. Now kiss me, and go get your breakfast."
Henry kissed his Mother, and told her of his good conduct in school, at which she was very glad, and then stooping down, he kissed the soft cheek of the little sleeping baby, and went gently out of the room.
In a few weeks, his Mother got quite well, and Charles (that was the baby's name) began to laugh and play with his brother. Henry was never so happy as when he was with Charles. He always put him to sleep at night. The dear little fellow would clasp his little hand tight round one of Henry's fingers, and fall to sleep in his bed, while his brother sang to him.
One day when Charles was about four years old, he said, "Dear brother, will you ride me on your back?" Henry was very busy just then; he was making a bow and arrow. He looked down, and saw a sweet little face, and two bright blue eyes, looking at him, and saying as plainly as eyes could say, "Do, dear brother." So he said, "Yes, Charley, I will, if you will help me to put away my things." Charles ran about, and helped Henry put his play-room in nice order, and then climbing on his back, and holding fast to a ribbon, for a bridle, which Henry held between his teeth, he gave him a little tap on the shoulder, and crying "Get up, old fellow," away they went around the room, Henry galloping so hard, that Charles bounced about almost as much as if he was on a real pony.
"Let us go in the parlors, they are a great deal larger," said Charles; "do, dear brother."
"I am afraid it would not be right," replied Henry; "we may break something. Mother has said that we had better never play there."
"But we will be so careful," said the little boy; "we can play circus so nice. I want to go in the parlor."
Henry's Father and Mother had gone out riding, so he could not ask leave to play in the parlors. He was almost sure it was wrong to go there, but he wanted to gratify his brother; so promising himself to be very careful, he trotted down stairs into the parlor, with Charles on his back. At first he went slowly round the two rooms, but Charles began to whip his horse and cry, "Get up, old boy, you are getting lazy. You shall be a race-horse—you shall be Boston. Now go faster, faster; go round the room like lightning."
So round he went, fast and faster, shaking his head, and taking great jumps, and kicking his legs up behind, with Charley holding on, laughing and screaming with delight, till alas! sad to tell, his elbow brushed against a beautiful and costly vase, which stood upon a little table, knocked it off, and broke it into a hundred pieces.
Henry stopped short, and let Charles slide down from his back. He looked at the broken vase, and then at his brother, and Charles looked at Henry, and then at the pieces on the floor.
"It is all broken," said he. "It can't be mended at all, can it, brother?"
"No, it is past mending," said Henry; "and the first thing we must do will be to tell Mother."
"Oh no!" said the little boy, "I am afraid to tell her."
"We must never be afraid to tell the truth, dear Charley. I will set you a good example. You shall never learn to tell a lie from me." Henry had always remembered what his Mother had said to him, the very first time he ever saw his little brother; and very often, when he was tempted to be naughty, or get in a passion, the words "Your brother will do just as you do," would seem to come from his heart, and he would conquer his passion.
In a few moments the boys heard the wheels of the carriage. Henry went to the hall door, and opened it. He held Charles by the hand. He had to hold him pretty tight, for Charles tried to get away. His face was pale. He waited until his Mother got out of the carriage and came up the steps—and taking hold of her hand and looking up in her face, he said in a firm voice, "Mother, I have broken your vase."
"And I too," said the little boy, "and it is broken all to pieces."
Henry was glad to hear his little brother say this, and oh! how happy it made him feel, to think that he had learned to speak the truth from him.
Their Mother kissed them both and said, "My darling boys, I am rejoiced that you are not afraid to speak the truth. I would rather lose twenty vases than have you tell a lie; but you knew it was wrong to play in the parlors, did you not?"
"Yes, dear Mother, it was wrong, and I knew it was," replied Henry. "I will submit to any punishment you think right. I ought to have remembered that you advised us not to go there."
"If you think you ought to be punished," said his Mother, "Charley shall go to bed to-night without your singing to him. This will make you both remember. Is that right?"
"Yes, dear Mother," said Henry; but he looked very sorry; and little Charles made up a long face, for he loved his brother so much, that he could not bear to think that he must go to sleep without holding his finger and hearing him sing.
When bed-time came, Charley wanted to beg his Mother to think of some other punishment for him. He wanted his dear brother so much. He looked at Henry, but Henry said, "Good-night, little fellow. We deserve this. Come!—one night will soon be over. Now, let us see how well you can behave;" and he gave him a smile, and a kiss so full of love, that the little fellow put his lips tight together, and marched off to bed without a tear. It was pretty hard to do it, but he had this kind brother to set him a good example, and he was determined to be as good a boy as Henry.
Not many weeks after this, poor little Charles was taken sick. He was very sick indeed, and every day he grew worse. The doctor did all he could for him, and Henry staid with him night and day, and would hardly take any rest. He gave him all his medicine, and sang to him very often when he was in pain. But Charles did not get any better, and at last, the doctor said that he could not make him well—the little boy must die.
When Henry heard this, the tears burst from his eyes, and he sobbed out, "Oh my brother! Oh my brother! I cannot part with you, my little precious brother."
The poor little fellow had become so weak and thin that he could scarcely lift his hands from the bed where he lay.
The last night came. He knew that he would not live many hours, for his dear Mother had told him so; and now she told him, that as he had always tried to be a good boy, he would go to Heaven, and Jesus would take him into his bosom, and love him, and keep him, until they came to him.
His little pale face grew bright. "Dear Mother," said he, "will Jesus let my brother come to me? I want my brother in Heaven. Come here close to me," said he to Henry. His brother leaned his face down close to the little boy's face, and helped him clasp his arms around his neck, and then he whispered, in a soft weak voice, "Do not cry, dear brother, do not cry any more. I will pray to Jesus, to let you come very soon and sing me to sleep in Heaven."
These were the last words he spoke, for his breath grew shorter and shorter, and soon after his little hand dropped away from his brother's, and he was dead.
His Father had him buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
It was in the summer time that he died, and his brother Henry planted a white rose-bush at the foot of the little grave, and a red rose-bush at the head, and often in the pleasant summer afternoons he would go alone to Greenwood, and sit upon little Charley's grave, and think how he might now be praying for him in Heaven.
Henry is now a man. He was always a good boy. He is now a good man; and although many years have passed since he lost his little brother, he goes every summer to Greenwood to visit his grave; and the tears always come into his eyes when he speaks of him, and tells that little Charley's last words were, that he would pray to Jesus to let his darling brother come soon, and sing him to sleep in Heaven.
Little Annie Browne was an only child, that is, her parents had no little boys at all, and only this one little girl; so you may be sure they loved this little girl very much indeed, and were all the time doing every thing to make her happy. Now I wonder if the dear little boy, or girl, who is reading this, can guess the means that Annie's Father and Mother took to make her happy.
Did they give her plenty of candy? No. Did they buy new play things for her every day? No. Did they take her very often to the Museum, or the Circus, or the Menagerie? No. This was not the way. I will tell you what they did; and I will tell you what Annie did, for one whole day, when she was about five years old, and that will give you a very good idea of the way they took to make her good, for then she was sure to be happy.
Well, one day Annie woke up very early in the morning, and, sitting up in her little bed, which was close by the side of her Mamma's, she first rubbed her eyes, and than she looked all round the room, and saw a narrow streak of bright light on the wall. It was made by the sun shining through a crack in the shutter. She began to sing softly this little song, that she had learned in school—
"What is it shines so very bright, That quick dispels the dusky night? It is the sun, the sun, Shedding around its cheerful light—- It is the sun, the sun."
Presently she looked round again, and saw her Mamma sleeping. She said in her soft little voice—"Mamma, Mamma, good morning, dear Mamma."
But her Mamma did not wake up. Then she crept over her to where her Papa was sleeping, and said—
"Papa, Papa, good morning, dear Papa."
But her Papa was too fast asleep to hear her. So she gave her Papa a little kiss on the end of his nose, and laid gently down between them.
In a few minutes, her Papa woke up, and said—
"Why! what little monkey is this in the bed?" which made Annie laugh very much. She then jumped out of bed, and put on her stockings and shoes herself, as all little boys and girls of five years old ought, and put on her clothes; and her Mamma, who was now awake, fastened them, and brushed her hair nicely, and washed her face and hands. After that, she said some little prayers, that her Mamma had taught her—and then ran down stairs, singing as gay as a lark, and dancing as light as a fairy.
After breakfast, her Mamma got her school basket, (it was a cunning little basket,) and put in it a nice slice of bread and butter, and a peach, and gave her a little bouquet of flowers to present to her teacher, whom little Annie loved dearly; and then her Mamma said, "Good bye, my darling," and Annie made her such a funny little curtsey, that she nearly tumbled over, and off she went to school with her Papa, who always saw her safe to the door.
Annie staid in school from nine o'clock until two. When she came home, her Mother kissed her, and said—
"Have you been a good little girl in school to-day?"
"I think I have," said Annie; "Miss Harriet said that I was very diligent. What is diligent, Mamma?"
"To be diligent, my dear," answered her Mamma, "means to study your lesson all the time, without thinking of play, or any thing else, until you know it perfectly."
Annie said she was glad it meant such good things, and added, "Mamma, will you play I am a lady, coming to see you, if you are not too busy?"
Her Mamma said she would. So Annie got her two dollys. One was a very pretty wax doll, with eyes that could open and shut. Her name was Emily; and the other was not wax, but was larger. Her name was Augusta. She put on their hats and visites, and dressed herself in an old hat, with a green veil, and came near her Mamma, and made believe ring a bell, and said, "Ting a ling, ting a ling."
"Come in," said her Mamma.
Little Annie shook hands with her Mamma, and said, "How do you do, Mrs. Browne?"
"Thank you, I am very well," said her Mamma. "Take a seat, my dear Mrs. Frisby," that was Annie's name. "How are your children, Mrs. Frisby?"
"Oh! they are very sick," answered Annie; "one has the toothache, and the other has a little square hole in the back of her head, and it has made her head ache."
"Dear me, Mrs. Frisby," said her Mamma, "I am very sorry to hear it; you ought to go to the doctor with them."
Then Annie pretended to go to the doctor, and she took out of the drawer a little bit of sugar for medicine. She eat the medicine up herself, and said that it had done the dollys a great deal of good. In this pleasant way she amused herself until dinner time.
After dinner, her Papa and Mamma took her to Union Park, as it was pleasant; and there Annie jumped the rope with other little girls, or rolled a great hoop. She could roll the hoop very well.
Then she came skipping home, and had her tea; and after that her Mother undressed her and heard her say her prayers, and kissed her for good night; and she jumped into bed, and in a moment was fast asleep. Don't you think Annie was a happy little girl? I think she was, for all her days passed in this pleasant manner. Some other time, perhaps, I will tell you more about little Annie Browne.
THE THREE BEARS.
Laura and Fanny came one Saturday to spend the day with their Grandmamma. The moment they got into the house, little Laura ran to the book-case, to get a book to read; and Fanny asked for a needle and thread, and began to sew up a corner of the red cloth that was on the work-table.
Both these little girls were very fond of coming to see their Grandmamma, and she liked to have them come; for they gave her no trouble, and were very good and polite to every body.
Pretty soon Laura said, "Oh, dear! this is not a very interesting book, I am tired of reading it. I wonder where Aunt Fanny is. I believe I will go find her, and get her to tell me a story."
"A story!" said Fanny, "then I will go too." So she stuck her needle in her work, and they both ran out of the room.
They found their Aunt Fanny in the next room. She was sitting at her writing-desk, writing a letter.
"Oh, Auntie!" said Laura, coming up to the desk, "how much you have written; I am sure you must be tired. Suppose you stop a little while, and rest yourself by telling us a story."
Her Aunt laughed, and said that was a very clever way of getting a story out of her, and asked the children what kind of a story they would like.
"I like a fairy tale," said little Fanny.
"And I like a ghost story," said Laura. "I think a ghost story is great fun, for I never believe a word of it."
"But you know I never tell ghost stories," replied her Aunt; "they are very silly things. I will tell you a story about three bears, which I read a long while ago. I do not remember it exactly, but I think I can make it do for you."
"Oh, yes! yes!" cried the children, "three bears!—that will be funny I know."
So their kind Aunt laid down her pen, and took little Fanny upon her lap, and told Laura to get a bench and sit by her side, and commenced her story.[A]
[Footnote A: This story should be read aloud. When the reader comes to the "great big bear," or to any thing he says or does, he (the reader) should read in a loud gruff voice; all about the "middling sized bear," in the ordinary voice; and all about the "tiny bit of a bear," in a high small squeaking voice.]
"Once upon a time there were three bears, that lived in a thick wood. One was a GREAT BIG BEAR, one a MIDDLING SIZED BEAR, and the third a tiny bit of a bear. The GREAT BIG BEAR lived in a GREAT BIG HOUSE; the MIDDLING SIZED BEAR lived in a MIDDLING SIZED HOUSE; and the tiny bit of a bear lived in a little speck of a house; and the houses were close together.
"Well, one day the bears went off to take a walk; and, while they were gone, a little ragged dirty old woman came through the wood. All at once, she spied the three houses; so she hobbled up to see who lived in them. First she went into the great big bear's house, and there she saw a great big bowl of porridge on the table. She tasted it. It was a great deal too hot. Then she came out of the house, and went into the middling sized bear's house, and there she saw a middling sized bowl of porridge. So she tasted it, and found it was a little to hot. She came out, and went into the tiny bit of a bear's house, and there she saw a little mite of a bowl of porridge. She tasted it, and it was just right, so the little ragged dirty old woman eat it all up. Then she went up stairs and laid down on the tiny bit of a bear's bed, and was very soon fast asleep.
"By and by, the bears came home. The great big bear went into his house, and looked on the table. Then he said, in a tremendous voice—
"'Somebody has been at my bowl of porridge.'
"The middling sized bear went into his house, and, looking on the table, he said in a middling sized voice—
"'Somebody has been at my bowl of porridge.'
"Then the tiny bit of a bear went into his house, and, looking on the table, he said, in a little squeaking voice—
"'Somebody has been at my bowl of porridge, and eat it all up.'
"Oh, how angry he was. He went to the door, and called the other bears, and they all three went up stairs together, to search for the thief; and there they found the thief, in the shape of the little ragged dirty old woman that was fast asleep, and snoring like a trumpeter, on the bed. The great big bear went and stood at the head of the bed; the middling sized bear went and stood at the middle of the bed; and the tiny bit of a bear went and stood at the foot of the bed. Then the great big bear said—
"'Who is this in the bed?'
"The middling sized bear said—
"'It looks like a dirty old woman.'
"'And there's some of my porridge sticking on her lips,' said the tiny bit of a bear. As he said this, the old woman awoke, and opened her eyes.
"When she saw the bears, she was frightened almost out of her wits; so she started up, and jumped right out of the window, that was close to the bed, and ran off with all her might and main. Then the bears tumbled down stairs head over heels, pell-mell, and rushed out of the house, to catch her and eat her up; but they were so fat, they could not run as fast as she could; so the little ragged dirty old woman got off, all out of breath, but safe and sound."
"What did the tiny bit of a bear do for his dinner?" asked Fanny.
"He had to suck his paws, I suppose," answered her Aunt; "but I do not know, for that was the end of the story."
The children had laughed very much at this story, because their Aunt had told it to them in a way that made it very amusing. They thanked her, and said they hoped she would tell it to them again, the next Saturday. She promised she would, and told them to run off, as she wanted to finish her letter. So the little girls went off, and spent the rest of the day in various ways, taking care not to be troublesome or noisy; and when they went home, they told their Mother, as well as they could, the funny story of the three bears.
ABOUT MINDING QUICKLY.
Emma was one day sitting by the fire, on a little bench. She was trying to cut a mouse out of a piece of paper. She had a pair of scissors, with round ends. Her Mother had given her these scissors for her own, because they were safer for her to use than scissors with pointed ends.
Presently her Mother said, "Come here to me, Emma."
"Wait a minute, Mother," said Emma.
"Do you know," said her Mother, "that it was naughty for you to say that?"
"Why, you can wait a little minute," said Emma; "I am very busy. Don't you see that I am making a mouse?"
"Emma," replied her Mother, "do you know that I ought to punish you, because you do not mind?"
"I am coming right away," cried Emma, dropping her scissors and her paper mouse, and running up to her Mother.
Her Mother took her up on her lap, and said, "My little girl, this will never do. You must learn to come at once when you are called; you must obey quickly. If you continue in this very naughty habit of not minding until you are told to do a thing two or three times, you will grow up a very disagreeable girl, and nobody will love you."
Emma looked up mournfully into her Mother's face, and said, "Mother, I will try to do better."
She was a good-tempered child, and was seldom cross or sullen; but she had this one bad habit, and it was a very bad habit indeed—she waited to be told twice, and sometimes oftener, and many times she made her kind Mother very unhappy.
For a few days after this Emma remembered what her Mother had said to her, and always came the first time she was called. She came pleasantly, for it is very important to mind pleasantly, and did every thing she was told to do right away, and her Mother loved her dearly, and hoped she was quite cured of her naughty ways.
But I am very sorry to have to say that a time came when Emma entirely forgot her promise. You shall hear how it happened.
One morning Emma's Mother said to her, "Emma, it is time for you to get up, and put on your stockings and shoes."
Emma did not move. She lay with her eyes wide open, watching a fly on the wall, that was scrubbing his thin wings with his hind legs.
"Did you hear me, Emma? Put on your stockings and shoes."
Emma got up very slowly. She put one foot out of bed, and then looked again at the fly. This time he was scrubbing his face with his fore legs. So she sat there, and said to herself, "I wonder how that funny little fly can stay upon the wall. I can't walk up the wall as the fly can. What a little round black head he has got."
"Emma!" said her Mother, and this time she spoke in a very severe tone.
Emma started, and put her other foot out of bed, and took up one of her stockings.
Her Mother got out of her bed, which was close to Emma's crib, and began to dress herself. When she was dressed, she looked round, and saw Emma, with one stocking half on, and the other rolled up in a little ball, which she was throwing up in the air.
Her Mother was angry with her. She went up to her, and took her stocking away from her, and told her to get into bed again, for if she would not dress herself when her Mother bid her, she should be punished by being made to lie in bed. She shut up the window shutters, and took all the books out of the room, and telling Emma not to get up until she gave her leave, she went down stairs to breakfast.
Now children don't like to be put to bed in the daytime; at least I have never heard of anyone that did; and Emma was soon tired of lying in bed, in a dark room, wide awake, with nothing to do, and no pleasant thoughts, for she could think of nothing but her naughty behavior. So this was a very severe punishment, and she began to cry, and wish she had minded quickly, and then she would have been down stairs, where the sun was shining brightly into the windows. She would have been sitting in her chair, with her dear little kitten in her lap, and a nice bowl of bread and milk for her breakfast. She always saved a little milk in the bottom of the bowl for Daisy her kitten, and after she had done, she would give the rest to Daisy. So you see that Emma lost a great deal by not minding quickly and what was worse than all, she had displeased her Mother and made her unhappy.
Oh, how weary she got. How she longed to get up. She did not dare to disobey her Mother, and she lay in her crib a long, long time, and thought she never could be so naughty again.
At last her Mother came in the room. She opened the shutters, and said, "Emma, you may get up and put on your stockings and shoes."
Emma jumped up quickly, and had them on in two minutes, and then she took off her night-gown and put on her day clothes, which hung over the back of the chair by her crib, and went to her Mother to have them fastened, for she could not fasten them herself. Her Mother fastened her clothes, and then taking her little girl's hand, she said, "My dear little Emma, you have made me feel very unhappy this morning. I do not like to punish you, but it is my duty to try to cure you of all your naughty ways, and it is your duty to try to overcome them. If you do not, some day you may meet with some terrible misfortune, like that which happened to a boy I used to know when I was young. I will tell it to you. This boy, like you, grieved his parents often, by not minding quickly; and he suffered for it in a way that he will never forget, as long as he lives. He was one day standing on the steps of the house where he lived, and I was standing at the window of the house opposite, where I lived. I was watching some men that were on the top of this boy's house, fixing the roof. The roof was covered with loose pieces of slate, and nails, and rubbish.
"Presently one of the men on the roof cried out, 'Go in, little boy; go in.' But the boy was looking at a kite that some other boys had in the street, and he did not choose to go in. The man thought that he had minded what he told him, and without looking again, he tumbled down a great heap of slates and rubbish. The house was quite high, and a large and sharp piece of slate came down very swiftly, and struck the boy on the side of his head, and cut off nearly the whole of his ear. In a moment the blood poured down his neck and over his clothes, and I thought he would bleed to death. Oh Emma! what a dreadful punishment for not minding quickly!
"For a long time he went about with his head bound up, and when he got well again the side of his face looked very bad indeed, for where his ear had been there was a dreadful scar that never went away. Now he is a man, and he often tells children how he got this dreadful scar, and all because he did not mind quickly."
The tears had rolled down Emma's face, while her Mother was telling her this story. When she had finished it, Emma put her arms around her mother's neck, and told her that indeed she would try to obey at once, and be a good little girl, so that her dear Mother would never be unhappy about her again.
Her Mother kissed her, and took her down stairs, and gave her some breakfast, and all this day, and ever after, she did try very hard to be good. Whenever she felt herself going about any thing slowly, the thought of the poor boy who had lost his ear would come into her mind, and she would jump up at once, when her Mother called her, and do whatever she wanted her to do, pleasantly and quickly.
"Well, Susan," said her Father one day, as she came home from school, "I am glad to see you; I wish to inform you that two young gentlemen arrived here to-day."
"What are their names, Father?" asked Susan.
"I do not know," answered her Father—"I do not believe they have got any names. They are very small—so small, that at this moment they are both asleep in the great chair."
"Both asleep in the great chair?" cried Susan, astonished at what her Father had said. "I do believe you have been buying two little monkeys."
"No, I have not," said her Father, laughing.
"Now come with me, and I will show you these strangers, and then see if you will say they are monkeys."
Susan went with her Father. He took her hand, and led her into her Mother's room. The room was dark, and her Mother was lying in the bed. Susan was afraid that she was sick. She went to her and said—
"Dear Mother, are you sick? You look very pale."
Her Mother kissed her, and said, "I am very weak, my dear child; but do you not want to see your little brothers?"
"Brothers?—where?" cried Susan. "Have I a brother?"
"Two of them," said her Father. "Come here, Susan, here they both are, fast asleep."
Susan went up to the great easy chair, and in the seat of it she saw, all tucked up warm, two little round fat faces lying close together. Their noses nearly touched each other, and they looked funny enough.
"Well, Susan," said her Father, "do you like the monkeys?"
"Oh Father!" answered the little girl, clasping her hands, "I am so glad—I am so happy! They are exactly alike—how I shall love them, the dear little toads."
"Toads," said her Father, laughing; "they don't look a bit like toads."
"Well, I said that because I loved them so," replied Susan, "just as you sometimes call me your little mouse."
For two weeks, the little twins slept together in the great chair, and there was no end to Susan's wonder and delight. Her Mother had to tie a bit of red silk around the wrist of one of them, to tell them apart. They grew very fast, and were the dearest little fellows in the world, they had such bright merry black eyes, and were always ready to have a frolic with Susan. As they grew up, they were so good, and so pretty, that every body loved them, and a great many people came to see them. I forgot to tell you that one was named George and the other James.
One day, when the twins were three years old, they were left alone in the breakfast room. The things on the breakfast table had been cleared away, except a bowl nearly full of sugar, which was standing on the table.
Presently the little fellows spied the bowl of sugar. "George," said James, "if you will help me with this chair, I will give you some sugar."
So both the boys took hold of the heavy chair, and dragged it to the table. Then James helped George to climb upon it, and from that he scrambled up on the table. He walked across, to where the sugar was, and sat down on the table, and took the sugar bowl in his lap.
"Now you get the bench," said George.
So James got the bench, and put it close to the side of the table where George was, and stood upon it.
You should have seen how their merry black eyes sparkled, at the fine feast they were going to have. They did not think that they were doing wrong, for their Mother had often given them a little sugar.
So George took the spoon that was in the sugar, and helped James to a spoonful, and then took one himself. He was very particular to give James exactly as many spoonfuls as he took himself.
They were having such a delightful time, that, for some moments, they did not speak a single word. George began first—
"This is nice," said George.
"I like sugar," said James.
"It is so sweet," said George.
"And so good," said James.
"We will eat it all up," said George.
"We won't leave a bit," said James.
"It is most all gone," said George.
"There is hardly any left," said James.
All this time they were talking, George had been stuffing his brother and himself with the sugar.
Just then their Mother opened the door. She had opened it softly, and the little boys had not heard her. When she saw them so busy—with their round faces stuck all over with crumbs of sugar, and George sitting on the table, dealing it out so fairly—she could not keep from laughing.
The twins heard her laugh, so they laughed too; and George cried out—"Mother, this sugar is nice—I like it."
"And so do I," said James.
Their Mother lifted George from the table, and told them they must not do so again, for so much sugar would make them sick. She washed their faces, and sent them to play in the garden. There was a fine large garden at the back of the house, where they could play without danger.
Three years after this, the twins were sent to school, where they soon became great favorites, because they were amiable, and good, and always willing to do as they were told. They looked so exactly alike, and were dressed so exactly alike, that often very funny mistakes were made. I will tell you something that happened, that was not funny, but it will show you how hard it was to tell which was George, and which was James.
One day, the teacher gave the twins a spelling lesson, and told them that they must know it perfectly that morning.
Now George, for the first time, was naughty, and instead of learning the lesson, he was making elephants and giraffes on his slate; but James studied his lesson, and soon knew it. Presently the teacher said, "James, do you know your lesson?"
"Yes, sir," said James. He went up to the desk and said it very well.
"You know it perfectly," said his teacher; "you are a good boy. Now go to your seat."
In a few moments he said, "George, come and say your lesson."
But George did not know a word of it; and James whispered to him, "I don't want you to be punished, brother; I will go for you and say it again."
So James went and repeated his lesson. The teacher thought of course it was George; he said, "Very well indeed, George; you know it just as well as James: you are both good boys."
When George heard this praise, which he did not deserve, he was troubled. He had been taught never to deceive. He did not think at first how wrong he had been; now, he saw plainly, that it was very wrong; that he and his brother had been acting a lie.
He whispered to James, "Brother, I can't bear to cheat, so I will go right away and tell the teacher."
So he went directly up to the desk, and said, "Sir, I have not yet said my lesson."
"Why, yes you have," replied the teacher, "I have just heard you say it."
"No, sir, if you please," said George, "I do not know it at all. James said it twice, to save me from being punished."
"Well, George," replied his teacher, "I am very glad you have told me this. I never should have found it out. But your conscience told you that you were doing wrong; and I am thankful you have listened to its warnings, and made up your mind at once, to be an honest boy. I will not punish you, or James, for I am sure neither of you will do so again."
The little boys promised him they never would—and they never did. They grew up honest and good.
Some other day, I will tell you more about them.
THE LITTLE BOY THAT WAS AFRAID OF THE WATER.
Once on a time, there were two little boys. William was five years old, and Johnny was not quite three. The weather was very warm, and these little boys got very weak, and looked so pale and sick, that the doctor said their parents had better take them to Newport, and let them bathe in the surf. So their Mother packed up their clothes, and some books, for she did not wish them to be idle; and, one pleasant afternoon, they all went on board of the steamboat that was going to Newport.
The little boys were very much amused at all they saw. There were a good many other boys in the boat, and William and Johnny looked very hard at them, and wished they knew what their names were, and whether they had a Noah's Ark and Velocipede like theirs.
After they had had their supper, their Mamma put them to bed in a berth. I suppose you all know what a berth is. It is a narrow bed, fastened to the side of the cabin. Sometimes there are three, one above the other; and sometimes two. These little boys got into one of the under ones, so that, if they rolled out, they would not be as likely to hurt themselves. They thought it was very funny to be squeezed up in such a little bed. William counted twenty babies in the cabin. Some of these babies cried a great deal; yet, for all that, the boys were fast asleep in a very few minutes, and slept very soundly all night.
The next morning, their Mamma came to their berth and said, "Come, William—come, Johnny, it is time to get up—for we are at Newport, and must go on shore as quickly as we can."
"Are you going to put me into the water now?" said Johnny, beginning to look very much frightened, for Johnny was afraid of the water.
"Oh, Johnny, don't be so foolish," cried William: "why, I should like to go in head over heels. Mamma, don't they duck us?"
"I believe they do," replied his Mother.
William now begged his Mother to let him go out of the cabin, as he was all dressed. She said he might stand just outside of the door, and, if he saw his Father, he might go to him, but he must never run about the boat alone.
In a few minutes they all went on shore, and got into a carriage, and were driven up to the Hotel.
After breakfast, William and Johnny walked down to the smooth and beautiful beach with their parents, where a great many people, some of them children, were bathing. They seemed to like it very much; and it really did look very inviting, for the sun made the water sparkle like diamonds, and the waves seemed dancing and leaping, and looked as if they longed to give every body a good splashing.
William was delighted. He could hardly wait for his Father to undress and put on his bathing clothes, he was in such a great hurry to be ducked; and when his Father took him and plunged him under the water, although he gasped for breath, he laughed, and kicked, and splashed the water at his Father, and cried, "Duck me again, duck me again, Papa," and he looked so pleased, that some other children, with their parents, came to where he was, and they all had a grand frolic together.
Little Johnny laughed too, as he stood on the dry ground; but, when his Father said, "Come, Johnny, now it is your turn," he made a terrible face, and cried "Dear Papa, dear Mamma, please let me go home. I shall never see you again if you put me in that great big water." But his Mamma said he must go in, because it would do him a great deal of good, and she undressed him, and put him into his Father's arms.
Johnny now began to scream as loud as he could, and cried out, "Mamma, Mamma, I want to go back to you." But his Father did not mind him a bit, and holding him by his arms, he plunged him under the water.
The poor little fellow came up gasping and panting, and sobbed out, "Oh! my dear Mamma, come and kiss me 'fore I die."
Every body laughed—for there was no danger—except his kind Mother. A tear stared to her eye, for she knew her dear little son really thought he was dying, and would never see her again. But in a little while he felt better, and, after his Mother had taken him, and had rubbed him all over and dressed him, and he had run up and down the beach with William and the other children, he felt such a nice warm glow all over him, that he forgot all about his fright.
Pretty soon he said, "Mamma, I am so hungry—I am as hungry as a little bear."
"That is because you have been in the water," replied his Mother.
"Are the fishes always hungry?—does the water make them hungry too?" said Johnny.
"I believe they are always ready to eat," replied his Mother; "you know that they are caught by bait. This bait is a bit of a clam or a little worm, put upon a sharp hook. The fish snap at the bait, and the hook catches them in the mouth. Come, little hungry fish," added his Mother, "and I will give you something to eat; but I will not put it on a hook to hurt you."
The next day the little boys went into the water again, and, although Johnny made up a doleful face, he did not think he should die this time; and, when he saw the other children laughing and splashing each other, and crying "Duck me again—what fun we are having," he tried to like it too, and after a little while did begin to like it; for, when children try to overcome their foolish fears, they will almost always succeed, and be rewarded as Johnny was, by the pleasure they enjoy, and the happiness they give to their parents.
After a few days, Johnny got to be so brave, that he was the first to run down to the beach and jump into his Father's arms, and he cried louder than any, "Duck me again," and splashed every body that came near him; and both William and Johnny got so strong, and ate so heartily, and had such great red cheeks, that when they went home to New-York, a few weeks after, their friends hardly knew them, and Johnny never again had any foolish fears about going into the water.
THE MAY QUEEN.
"Mother," said Frederick Stanley, "is it not wrong to treat servants unkindly?"
"What makes you ask that question?" answered his Mother. "What can have put that into your head?"
"Nothing—I don't know," replied he, looking at his sister Kate, who was sitting near him, working a pair of slippers.
Mrs. Stanley saw that there was something on their mind, so she laid down her book, and tried to draw it out. She began:
"What is the reason that your little Scottish friend Jessie has not been here lately? I thought that you, Kate, could not take a walk, with any pleasure, without her, and Fred has become quite a beau, since her arrival. I am afraid you have done or said something to offend her."
"Fred," said Kate,—who was two years younger than her brother, and much smaller, and had a great respect for him,—"Fred, do you tell Mother."
Fred gave his pantaloons a little pull, shook the hair away from his face, half laughed, and did not speak a word; but Kate, like a real little woman, could not keep the secret a moment longer. "We have had a quarrel, Mother; that's all!"
"'A quarrel! that's all!'" said her Mother. "That's a great deal too much; but what did you find to quarrel about?"
"Why, Mother," answered Fred, getting over his bashfulness, now that the secret was out, "it was all about treating those who were beneath us with kindness."
"Well done!" exclaimed his Mother. "Let us hear what you had to say upon the subject."
"I said it was a shame to abuse those who were poorer than we were; that in God's eyes all were equal. I could not bear to hear Jessie say that she had her own servant at home, and when this servant did any thing to displease her she would pinch and slap her. I told her she was a downright wicked girl."
"Oh, shocking! shocking!" said Mrs. Stanley. "And my sweet little Kate, did you too stand up for kindness to servants?"
"I did all I could, dear Mother," she replied, "but Fred did the most."
"Well, tell me, what else did you say."
"I told her," said Fred, hesitating a little, "that here in our own country, we said 'if you please' and 'thank you,' when a servant did any thing for us, and that she had better go back to Scotland, and not stay another day in a place where she was deprived of the pleasure of pinching people."
"Oh, Frederick! Frederick! how could a boy of your politeness be so rude to a young lady? That was a great mistake."
Frederick looked mortified, and Kate hung her head. "But what happened after that?" asked Mrs. Stanley.
"Oh, she was so angry that she went away, and we have not seen her since. I am very sorry; but it can't be helped now."
"No," said Kate, "we can't help it now."
"But, my dear children," said their Mother, "I think you owe Jessie an apology."
"I have no objection," said Fred, after reflecting a moment, "if you think I have been so very impolite; but it will do no good."
"Well," said Mrs. Stanley, "it must be done. Perhaps I can assist you in making up the quarrel. Next Thursday, you know, is the first of May. You shall have a little party, and Jessie shall be Queen of May. That will be certain to please her."
"Jessie! Queen!" exclaimed Kate. "You can't, Mother, you can't. Jessie will not come; I am sure she will not come. I do not believe she will ever speak to us again."
"I tell you she will come," said her Mother; "and she will be Queen. I will manage it for you."
"Ah, well, Mother," said Fred, looking at his sister, "you don't know Jessie as well as we do. She won't forgive us so easily."
Company now came in, and the children went to their studies. In the afternoon Mrs. Stanley sent a polite invitation to Jessie and her parents to pass the next Thursday evening at her house, and as they were sitting at the tea-table, the answer was returned.
"There," said Mrs. Stanley, "one point is gained; they will all come."
"They may come," said Frederick, "but she won't be civil to us, I know."
The next day was spent in preparing the crown, throne, and flowers, &c., and Frederick set himself to work to learn by heart some lines his Mother had written for the occasion.
Thursday evening arrived, and the children, though afraid of Jessie's cold looks, were in good spirits. Kate came into the parlor, and found Fred before a large glass, making his speech, and practising the most graceful bows and gestures.
"Goodness!" she exclaimed, "how light and beautiful the room looks! Oh, Fred, I hope we shall have a pleasant time."
The arrival of the company now interrupted them, and when nearly all had come, Mrs. Stanley told her plan with regard to Jessie; and this important matter was just settled, when that young lady and her parents entered.
Jessie, not knowing the honor awaiting her, was very stiff and grave in her salutations. Her large dark eyes were turned away from Fred and Kate, yet an expression about her pretty mouth seemed to say,
"I am not so very angry as you think."
"She looks like a Queen, don't she?" whispered Fred to his sister.
"She is stiff enough, at any rate," said Kate.
"I wonder who she will choose for her King?" said Fred.
"I am sure I don't know," answered Kate, looking round. "I suppose the biggest boy."
"Dear me!" said Fred, "I forget that I must go out until it is time for the Address," and he left the room, to await his Mother's signal.
Refreshments were now handed round the room, and many a sly glance was cast upon the unconscious Jessie, who was still looking very grave, and almost cross, till, at a hint from his Mother, Fred made his appearance, and with blushing face, but firm voice, pronounced the following lines:
"O! valiant knights, and ladies fair! I'm very glad to see you here; Your happy looks and eyes so bright, Have quite inspired me to-night. Though I'm unused to courtly ways, My choice from you will meet with praise. Our Western land, so brave and free, Where waves the flag of liberty, Can yet, while all our hearts approve, The British stranger fondly love. (No looks of grave distrust are seen,) Fair Jessie! I proclaim you Queen! And kneeling lowly at your feet, To be your knight I do entreat. Now deign to say what happy one Amongst us all shall share your throne."
Fred rose from his knees, and awaited Jessie's reply.
Her anger was all gone, but she was so surprised that she looked down and did not say a word.
"Well," thought Fred, "I knew she would act so. I suppose every body is laughing at me."
"Jessie," said her Mother, "speak quickly." "Whom will you have for King?"
Jessie blushed, and smiled, and whispered in a soft little voice, "Frederick."
Astonished and delighted by this kindness, Fred again kneeled down, then rising he took her little white hand, and led her in triumph, followed by all the company, to the next room, where a splendid throne had been erected. A beautiful crown of flowers was placed on Jessie's head, and gave new beauty to her soft and curling brown hair. Frederick also had a handsome crown. Sceptres were placed in their hands, and then they arranged their court. Kate was made a Duchess, at which she grew quite dignified; there were plenty of Earls and Countesses, and the sweet little maids of honor and the pages stood behind the throne.
They then formed a procession, to return to the parlor, and in an instant a march burst forth from a band of music which had been concealed for the purpose.
At this unexpected event, his Majesty jumped so high that his crown tumbled off, and the Queen was in such a delightful agitation that she could not confine her steps to a walk, and so the King, and the Queen, and the Duchess, and all the maids of honor and pages, ran helter-skelter, as fast as they could, and took places for dancing.
Never were merrier hearts or brighter eyes than now leaped and shone in that little party. The Queen was the gayest of all, and the King was nearly out of his wits with joy, to find himself and Jessie once more friends. Little Kate got so tired of being a Duchess that she skipped about like a little fairy, and all the lords and ladies, and maids of honor and pages, were so merry and so full of innocent fun, that they looked a great deal more like little republicans. And so the happy evening concluded, to the satisfaction of all.
The next morning, Mrs. Stanley asked her children if they had had a pleasant party.
"Oh, yes!" they both answered; "it was perfectly delightful; and Jessie was as pleasant as she could be, and seemed to have forgotten all about the quarrel."
"She behaved very well indeed," said Mrs. Stanley, "and I think after this you will not allow any thing to disturb your friendship. Jessie is a good, warm-hearted girl, but she has been allowed to indulge sometimes in fits of ill-temper, and has not been taught to be good to those who wait upon her. If you were to talk to her with kindness and forbearance, you would convince her that this was wrong. Her own heart would soon tell her so. You must not expect her to do better all at once; but no doubt, with a little patience on your part, and a little trying on hers, she will find her happiness much increased by being kind to those beneath her, and in time she will feel that in this country all are equals, though for one night she was a May Queen."
THE APPLE DUMPLING.
A long time ago, there was a little old woman that lived away off in the woods. She lived all by herself, in a little cottage with only two rooms in it, and she made her living by knitting blue woollen stockings, and selling them.
One morning the old woman brushed up the hearth all clean, and put every thing in order; then she went to the pantry and took out a great black pot, and filled it full of water, and hung it over the fire, and then she sat down in her arm-chair by the fire. She took her spectacles out of her pocket and put them on her nose, and began to knit on a great blue woollen stocking.
Pretty soon she said to herself, "I wonder what I shall have for dinner? I believe I will make an apple dumpling." So she put her knitting down, and took her spectacles off of her nose, and put them in her pocket, and getting out of her arm-chair, she went to the cupboard and got three nice rosy-cheeked apples. Then she went to the knife-box and got a knife, and then she took a yellow dish from the dresser, and sat down in her arm-chair, and began to pare the apples.
After she had pared the apples, she cut each one into four quarters. Then she got up again, and set the dish of apples on the table, and went to the cupboard, and got some flour and a lump of butter. Then she took a pitcher, and went out of doors to a little spring of water close by, and filled the pitcher with clear, cold water. So she mixed up the flour and butter, and made them into a nice paste with the water; and then she went behind the door and took down a rolling-pin that was hung up by a string, and rolled out the paste, and put the apples inside, and covered the apples all up with the paste. "That looks nice," said the old woman. So she tied up the dumpling in a nice clean cloth, and put it into the great black pot that was over the fire.
After she had brushed up the hearth again, and put all the things she had used away, she sat down in her arm-chair by the fire, and took her spectacles out of her pocket and put them on her nose, and began to knit on the big blue woollen stocking.
She knit eight times round the stocking, and then she said to herself, "I wonder if the dumpling is done?" So she laid down her knitting, and took a steel fork from the mantelpiece, and lifted the lid of the pot and looked in.
As she was looking in, her spectacles tumbled off of her nose, and fell into the pot.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!—that's bad, that's bad," said the old woman.
She got the tongs, and fished up her spectacles, and wiped them with the corner of her apron, and put them on her nose again, and then she stuck the fork into the apple dumpling.
The apples were hard. "No, no, no," she said, "it is not done yet."
So she put on the lid of the pot, and laid the fork on the mantelpiece, and sat down in her arm-chair, and began to knit again on the big blue woollen stocking.
She knit six times round the stocking, and then she said to herself—"I wonder if the dumpling is done?"
So she put her knitting down, and took the fork from the mantelpiece, and lifted the lid of the pot, and looked in.
As she was looking in, her spectacles tumbled off of her nose, and fell into the pot.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!—that's bad, that's bad," said the old woman.
She got the tongs and fished up her spectacles, and wiped them with the corner of her apron, and put them on her nose again, and took the fork and stuck it into the dumpling. The apples were just beginning to get soft.
"No, no, no; it is not quite done yet," said the old woman.
So she put on the lid of the pot, and laid the fork on the mantelpiece, and sat down in her arm-chair, and began to knit again on the big blue woollen stocking.
She knit twice round the stocking, and then she said to herself—"I wonder if the dumpling is done?"
So she laid down her knitting, and took the fork from the mantelpiece, and lifted the lid of the pot, and looked in.
As she was looking in, her spectacles tumbled off of her nose, and fell into the pot.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!—that's bad, that's bad," said the old woman.
She got the tongs and fished up her spectacles, and wiped them with the corner of her apron, and put them on her nose again, and took the fork and stuck it into the dumpling.
The apples were quite soft. "Yes, yes, yes; the dumpling is done," said the old woman.
So she took the dumpling out of the pot, and untied the cloth, and turned it into a yellow dish, and set it upon the table.
Then she went to the cupboard and got a plate, and then to the knife-box and got a knife; then she took the fork from the mantelpiece, and drew her arm-chair close up to the table, and sat down in it, and cut off a piece of the dumpling, and put it on her plate.
It was very hot, and it smoked a great deal, so the old woman began to blow it. She blew very hard. As she was blowing, her spectacles tumbled off of her nose, and fell into the dumpling.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!—that's bad, that's bad," said the old woman.
She took her spectacles out of her plate, and wiped them with the corner of her apron, and said to herself—"I must get a new nose. My nose is so little, that my spectacles will not stick on my nose."
So she put her spectacles into her pocket, and began to eat the dumpling.
It was quite cool now. So the old woman ate it all up, and said it was very good indeed.
One day little Emily's Grandma said to her—"My dear child, you must go with me to-day to the dentist's, and have some of those teeth pulled out. They are growing so fast and so crooked, that you have not room enough in your mouth for them all."
"Dear Grandma," said the little girl, "will it hurt me very much?"
"Yes, my dear," replied her Grandma, "it will hurt you a great deal, but you must try to bear the pain; it will not be long."
Poor little Emily sighed, and the tears stood in her eyes. She knew that her Grandmother always told her the exact truth. She knew that she would suffer a great deal of pain, because her Grandma had told her so.
It is always the best way to tell a little boy or girl the exact truth. If Emily's Grandma had said that it would not hurt her to have her teeth pulled out, it would have been very wrong, and Emily would not have believed her another time, when she was to have any thing done to her.
This little girl had no Mother. Her Mother was dead, and her Grandma took care of her, and was very kind to her, and Emily loved her dearly, and so she made up her mind to go and have her teeth out, without any trouble, because her Grandma was in bad health, and she knew that if she cried and made a great fuss about it, it would trouble her, and perhaps make her sick.
Now was not this thoughtful and good, in a little girl, only seven years old? I hope all the little boys and girls that read this will try to be as good.
After dinner, Emily and her Grandma put on their things, and went to the dentist's house. The little girl trembled when the door was opened, but she walked in without saying a word.
They went into the parlor, for there were some persons up stairs in the dentist's room, and they had to wait.
"Grandma," said Emily, "may I look at the books on the table? It will keep me from thinking about my teeth."
Her Grandma said she might, and the little girl was soon quite interested in looking at the pictures in the books, and showing them to her Grandma.
In a little while the servant came to tell her she could go upstairs. Her heart beat fast, but she went up to her Grandmother, and said, "Dear Grandma, you are not well; you look quite pale to-day. Do not go with me; I will go alone, and I promise you I will be a brave little girl."
She kissed her Grandma, and ran out of the room.
When she entered the room up stairs, she saw two ladies there. She stopped; but the dentist said, "Come in, my little girl, do not be afraid, I will be as gentle as I can."
The ladies saw that she was alone, so one of them went up to her and took her hand. She was an old lady, and wore spectacles, and she looked very kind and good. So the dear little girl let the dentist lift her into the great chair, and take off her hat, and the old lady kept hold of her hand, and said, "It will be over in a minute, my dear child," and then she pressed her little hand so kindly, that Emily felt quite comforted.
The other lady was a young lady, and she too felt sorry that Emily was to suffer. She wanted to smooth her hair, and give her a kiss; but she thought that the little girl might be afraid of so many strangers, so she sat down very quietly.
When the dentist had looked into Emily's mouth, he saw that four teeth must come out. So he got the instrument, and held her head tight with his arm.
Emily turned pale, but she kept quite still, and did not cry or scream; and the dentist pulled out the four teeth, one after the other, without a sound from her lips.
When they were all out, some large tears came from her eyes, and rolled down her cheeks; but she only said "Thank you," to the lady that held her hand; and, putting her handkerchief to her mouth, she ran down stairs.
"My darling child," said her Grandma, "how well you have behaved; I did not hear the least noise."
"No, Grandma," replied Emily, "I tried very hard not to scream; I was determined to be quite still; and a good old lady like you, Grandma, held my hand, which was a great comfort. But, oh! Grandma, it did hurt me.
"My dear child, I know it did," said her Grandma; "you are the best little girl in the world, and a happiness and a treasure to me."
After Emily had gone, the ladies who had witnessed her good conduct, and admired her courage, asked her name and where she lived, and one of them, the young lady, sent her a pretty little gold ring with a blue stone in it, and a little note containing these words:
"For the dear little girl, who had the courage to bear a great pain nobly."
Emily was very much pleased with this little present; it was so unexpected. She could not find out who had sent it to her.
I hope all the little boys and girls will read this story with attention, and when they go to the dentist's they will think of Emily, and try to imitate her good conduct.
Julia and her brother James were very early, one cold winter morning, sitting in the basement. They were not wicked children, but they were very thoughtless, and sometimes they did a great deal of mischief.
I am afraid they were doing mischief now, for Julia was sitting by the window, cutting up Mamma's apron to make a dress for her doll; and James was kneeling on the rug, pulling pieces of worsted out of it and throwing them into the fire, and seemed very much amused as he watched them rolling about and curling up with the heat.
While they were thus employed, two children passed the window.
"Only look, brother," said Julia, "at these poor children. How cold they must be! see, the little boy has no hat on, and his toes are coming out of his shoes, and the little girl's frock is all ragged."
"Let us call them in," said James, "and they can warm themselves by the fire."
As James said this, he tapped on the window, and the little children came to the basement door. James ran and opened the door, and said, "Come in, poor children, and warm yourselves." He placed his own and his sister's little chair for them by the fire, and then Julia and he went into a corner of the room to consult together what they should give them, to make them warm.
Now the Father of these children had had the misfortune to lose his hair, and he was obliged to wear a wig. Every night, when he went to bed, he used to take off his wig, and hang it upon a nail in his dressing-room, and put on a white night-cap with a long tassel at the end of it.
The morning that I am telling about, he was not yet up, as it was very early; and the wig was hanging on the nail, as I have told you.
James looked at the poor little boy. He saw that his ears were very red with the cold, and he said to his sister, "I will go up stairs, and find something to put on his head."
So he ran up stairs very fast, and went into his Father's dressing-room and looked all round. Presently he saw the wig hanging on the nail. "Oh!" said he to himself, "that is just the thing. It will come all over the poor boy's ears, and keep them very warm indeed."
So this thoughtless little fellow climbed up on a chair, and pulled the wig off the nail, and then went into the closet and got a pair of new boots of his own; and running down as fast as he could, he pulled the wig over the poor boy's ears, and helped him on with the boots. They fitted exactly, for James and he were very nearly of the same size.
While he was doing this, Julia had dressed the little girl in a nice warm frock of her own, and also made her a present of her school muff, and the little beggar children went away, highly delighted with their good fortune, and were out of sight long before any one had come into the room to prevent all this mischief.
When their Father got up, he opened the door of his bed-room, which led into the dressing-room, and began to dress himself. Presently he went to the side of the room where he had hung up his wig the night before. The nail was empty. There was no wig on it. He looked down on the carpet, and on all the chairs, and in all the drawers, but there was no wig to be found. He rang the bell, and said to the servant, "Do you know any thing about my wig?"
But the servant said she had not been in the room. She did not know where it was.
Now only see, what trouble these children had made for their kind Father; and how ashamed and frightened they were, when they saw him come into the basement room with his night-cap on, and their Mother with him, looking very grave, for she was afraid that the children knew more about the wig than any body else.
"James," said his Father, "do you know where my wig is?"
At first James was afraid to speak; but although these children were heedless, and fond of doing mischief, they were not liars. So James came close to his Father, and said, "Dear Papa, I will tell you the truth. I am afraid I have been very naughty. I gave your wig to a poor boy who had no hat, and I gave him my new boots too, for his shoes were full of holes. I am very sorry, Papa. Please to punish me, and forgive Julia."
"Why, what has Julia been doing?" said her Mamma and Papa at the same time.
"I gave the little girl my new frock, and my school muff," said Julia, "she looked so cold. Her little hands were nearly frozen."
"My dear children," said their Father, "I do not blame you for wishing to be kind to the poor, but do you not see how wrong it is to be so thoughtless, and what trouble you give your Mother and me by such conduct? If you do not think before you act, you will always be in mischief, and perhaps do a great deal of injury. To make you remember this—you, Julia, must go to school for two weeks without a muff, and wear your old dress; and you, James, must have your old boots patched, and wear them instead of the new ones which you gave to the poor boy."
The children submitted to this punishment without a murmur; but they were dreadfully grieved when they saw the trouble they had made for their dear Father, who could not leave the house, or attend to his business for two whole days, as it took all that time to have another wig made for him. They even could not laugh when the kitten climbed up the back of his chair, and tried to play with the tassel of his night-cap; and ever after, when they were going to do a thoughtless thing, they would recollect their Father's wig in time to stop; and at last they got to be as careful and thoughtful, as they were before heedless and mischievous.
THE BOYS' SCHOOL.
Not very long ago, Mr. Harrison kept a boarding-school for little boys, in a delightful village in Connecticut. He took twenty boys to educate, and he was so kind, and had such a pleasant way of teaching, that the boys were happier with him than they would have been at home.
When the boys came in the spring, Mr. Harrison gave to each of them a little plot of ground for a garden; and the little fellows were very busy during play-hours, in preparing and arranging their gardens. They had permission to go to the gardener and get just what seeds they wanted; so some of the boys planted melons and cucumbers, and some pumpkins and radishes, and two of them made an elegant flower-garden. They put their ground together, and erected a little hill in the centre, with a path all round it, and all the borders they planted with lady-slippers, and coxcombs, and mignonette, and sweet alysum, and many other pretty flowers; and when the flowers came out, their garden gave quite a brilliant appearance to the place.
The boys had also a very large play-ground, and in it, their kind teacher had had a number of gymnastic fixtures put up, for their healthy exercise and amusement. There was a very high pole, with four strong ropes fastened to the top of it, and an iron ring at the ends of the ropes. The boys would take hold of the rings, and run round as fast as they could; then lifting their feet off the ground, away they would fly in the air, round and round, like so many little crazy monkeys. There was one little chap that could climb up one of the ropes like a cat, and hang upon the top of the pole.
Then they had swinging bars, and jumping bars, with a spring-board to jump from, and wooden horses, and a climbing pole, and several other things; but what was better than all, they had a funny little ragged pony, and a short-legged, long-eared donkey, for their especial use, and many were the fine rides they had on their backs.
Sometimes, to be sure, the pony had a fashion of dancing a slow jig on his hind legs, with his fore feet in the air; but the boys were used to that, and stuck on like wax, until the dance was finished; then the pony would trot off very peaceably.
The donkey, too, had a way of putting his nose to the ground, and pitching his rider, head over heels, on the grass. But the boys were used to that too, and did not mind it in the least. They would jump up and shake themselves, and try again, and by dint of poking and punching the sides of the sulky little animal, he would after a while make up his mind to go. When he had once done that, it was all right. You would think he was the most amiable donkey in the world. The pony's name was Napoleon, and the boys called the donkey "Old Pudding-head."
Twice a week, during the summer, Mr. Harrison took the boys to bathe in a fine pond, where such as could would swim, and the rest would tumble about in the water; and altogether, he was so kind to them that the boys thought there never was a better teacher, or such a famous boarding-school.
I have not yet told you that they learned any thing. I suppose you all think that playing was the principal thing they went to that school for. But if you do, you make a great mistake, for the greater part of every day was spent in the school-room.
Mr. Harrison made school-time very pleasant. He seldom had to punish a boy for bad conduct or neglect in getting his lessons. He always encouraged them to ask questions about their studies, and told them never to learn any thing by rote, like a parrot, but to come to him when they did not understand a lesson; and he always made it so clear that it was a pleasure to learn. Sometimes a boy would ask a foolish question, which would make the rest laugh; but then Mr. Harrison would say it was better to be laughed at for trying to learn, than to grow up a dunce.
In this way the boys would improve so much, both in mind and body, that their parents left them with Mr. Harrison as long as he could keep them; and both the boys and their parents were very sorry when the time came for them to leave, for Mr. Harrison would not take any boy after he was fourteen years of age.
One afternoon, after school, the boys were all busy weeding in their gardens, when one of them suddenly cried out, "Phil, do you know how long it is to the Fourth of July?"
"To be sure I do," answered Philip; "it is just four weeks and four days."
"So it is, I declare," said Thomas, the first boy who had spoken. "Boys, I'll tell you what we will do. Let us all write to our parents, for an immense lot of fireworks; then, we will club together, and keep all, except the crackers, for a grand display of fireworks, in the evening."
"Oh yes, yes," cried all the boys, "that is an excellent idea."
"I will ask Mr. Harrison," said Phil, "to help us fix the wheels and so forth, for all I ever fixed myself, stuck fast, and would not go round at all."
"I mean to write for lots of Roman candles," said Frank, "they look so beautiful going up. They look like planets with wings."
"I will go largely into the snakes and grasshoppers," said another boy; "it is such fun to see the boys cutting round to get out of the way."
"We'll make some wooden pistols, to put the crackers in," said another boy.
"Yes, and I will send for a little brass cannon that my uncle Major Brown gave me," said another.
Just then the bell rang for tea, and the boys, putting their little rakes and hoes into their tool-house, ran in to wash their faces and hands, and brush their hair. Then they took off their overalls or coarse pantaloons, which they wore when at work in the garden, and hung them up in the play-room. They had a nice large play-room for playing when the weather was unpleasant.
It was astonishing what large quantities of bread and butter, and apple-sauce, these boys consumed for their supper, for working out of doors in the fresh country air, is sure to make people hungry, and boys especially are always ready for eating. After supper Mr. Harrison made a prayer, while all the boys knelt at their chairs around the table. Then they were permitted to play out of doors again until the sunset. Phil and Frank allowed themselves to be harnessed to a hand-wagon, and galloped off at full speed, with two of the smaller boys in it. The rest had a game at leap-frog, and Mr. Harrison and his family sat in the porch watching and admiring the gorgeous tints lent to the clouds by the rays of the setting sun, and sometimes laughing heartily at the capers of the boys.