Baby Nightcaps
by Frances Elizabeth Barrow
Home - Random Browse





ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.












You dear little darling:

A long time ago, that is, long for such a little speck of a child as you, just before last Christmas, I wrote a story book called "Nightcaps." I called it this funny name, because poor little lame Charley to whom all the stories were told, called them his "nightcaps," as he and his sisters and brothers had to go to bed, the moment a story was finished for the evening.

Did you read them? I am afraid they were too old for you, you dear little kitten!

But since last Christmas, I have heard some of the funniest little bits of stories! funny enough to make all the dimples in your round face come out, or rather come in, and cause you to look perfectly lovely: for the happy laughing face of a little child, is the loveliest sight in the world; and if I should see those dimples, do you know what I would do? why I would just catch you up in my arms, and give you a good kissing.

Then I have heard other little stories, that are sad; because you know in this world we cannot always have perfect happiness: things will sometimes happen to grieve even a tender little child; but although your sweet lip may tremble as mine does when I am writing, or listening to a sad story, you will not love me less, I hope, because I have told the truth; for remember, every thing is true in this little book, and all the dear little boys and girls are living at this very moment. What would you say if you knew some of them? Wouldn't it be funny if you should exclaim, while your mamma was reading:

"Why, mamma, I know Lily; why that's the very Lily that lives next door:" or, "Oh, mamma! stop! look here! that very Willy goes to my school, he's got a kite as big as any thing! and he said he would let me fly it, as soon as kite time came. Won't he stare, when I tell him he's in a book? I wish Aunt Fanny knew me."

You precious pet! Just ask Mr. Appleton to tell you where I live, then come with a hop, skip, and jump to my house, and you and I will have a nice little talk, and after that, take care! you will find yourself in my next "Nightcap book." Won't that be funny?

I have a little daughter, named Alice; once upon a time she gave away all the clothes she had on to a poor little shivering child, without any clothes, only old rags. You see, Alice felt so sorry for her; she had plenty of clothes in her drawer, but she did not think of those, she just took off all she had on. She is a dear "little Alice," and I call her by a great many pet names; sometimes she is "my rosebud," sometimes I say, "Come here, Mrs. Frizzlefits." When she is sick, it is always "darling," and when she is well and hopping about, it is "you precious little old toad." But they all mean the same thing. She likes to be my "old toad" just as much as my "rosebud," for she knows perfectly well, that they all mean LOVE.

One day, when I felt as if I could not find a word to express how much I loved her, I came out with, "Come and kiss me, you dear little donkey!" How she laughed! and how I laughed! You may be sure she told her papa the moment he came home, that now she was a dear little donkey, as well as a precious old toad. Does your mamma ever call you funny names? I hope so.

I will tell you how I came to hear these stories. Lame Charley has a sister, that last year was about as large as a pretty large doll. I suppose you know how large I mean. She pattered about on her cunning little feet all day long; she only sat down long enough to eat her bread and milk; and so when the sun went to bed, and the chickens went to bed, and the little birds said chip! chip! to each other, meaning "good night," Minnie (that was her name) would begin to poke her fingers in her blue eyes, and say, "Pease mamma cake Minnie: Minnie so tired." Then her mamma would lift her tenderly into her lap and say, "Poor little kitten! so tired:" and she would unfasten her clothes quickly, and slip on her little night-dress, and then she would kiss her four or five times to waken her, and say, "Come, darling, kneel in mamma's lap and say your little prayer." Then Minnie would smile and tumble about in a funny way, till she got on her knees, and then she would fold her hands and say, "God bess my dear mamma and papa, my bedders and sisters, and poor lame Charley, my dear bedder; God bess me, and make me a good little chile, for Jesus' sake, Amen."

What a sweet little prayer that was! After the prayer her mamma would kiss her again, and lay her gently in her pretty crib; and before you could count one! two! three! Minnie was fast asleep.

But one evening lame Charley had crept sooner than usual into his mamma's lap, and was resting his head against her kind breast, and all his brothers and sisters had come out of the corners and closets, and from under the tables and chairs, and were chuckling and laughing, and saying, "Hush! take seats everybody! mamma is going to tell us something real nice to-night," when little Minnie, (who I forgot to tell you, always went to bed before the story began; because she was such a little bit of a thing, and did not know how to sit still and listen,) little Minnie, all of a sudden trotted up to her mamma, and taking hold of Charley's leg, began pulling it and crying, "Get down bedder, get down 'ight away; let me tome, I want a nightcat too, 'cause I's old now."

"Why, Minnie!" said her mamma, "don't pull poor Charley; if you are so old you can sit in Charley's arm-chair, and let him stay here; can't you?"

The honor of sitting in Charley's arm-chair was something to be proud of; so Minnie climbed into it, and turned round, with a little sideways tumble into the seat, her eyes sparkling with delight; then, when she had twitched herself straight, and had settled her feet and elbows quite to her mind, her mamma made this little speech:

"Dear Charley, and all my children, I meant to have told you a story to-night, about a lady who went to teach in a ragged school. This is a school where poor little children are washed and fed and taught; who have scarcely any clothes to wear; sometimes no shoes or stockings; and are so very, very poor and dirty, that they cannot go to any other school. Minnie is so young, she will not understand it all. Now, shall I tell a baby story instead?"

"Oh, yes! yes! yes!" shouted all the good brothers and sisters, "let Minnie have a nightcap, or a 'nightcat' as she calls it; dear little darling! isn't she a darling, mamma?"

"And what do you say, my Charley?"

He lifted his curling head, and put up his sweet pale lips for a kiss, and said: "Dear mamma, I love Minnie dearly; I love all my brothers and sisters more than I can tell; I think a little baby story will be lovely."

Then what happened? I only wish you had been there to see all the children rush up to Charley, when he stopped speaking. Such a kissing, and laughing, and tumbling over each other! I should think Minnie was called a "darling," about fifty times; and Charley a "darling," about a hundred; because he was sick and lame, you know, and of course ought to be loved about twice as much as anybody else, to make up for it; and their mamma was hugged till her daycap was all pulled over one eye, with the lace border resting on the end of her nose, which made her look so funny, that the children laughed till some of them tumbled down again; so what with the daycaps, nightcaps and madcaps of children, it was quite a capital party. It took a long time for them to settle down again; a great many little short laughs had to be got rid of, and the dimples would hardly go away.

But at last they all sat quiet, and the baby story began. It was so interesting, that you might almost have thought the children had forgotten to breathe, or wink their eyes, they were so still.

When it was ended, Minnie kissed her mamma, and said: "I very much 'bliged; I love you five dollars, and Charley five dollars," and then she bade them all good night, and went skipping and singing to bed, her dear little face all smiles and dimples.

After this, one of these little stories was told every evening; then, if there was time, after Minnie pattered off to bed, her mother would tell another to the older children; but all the little nightcaps I have put in this book, by themselves, on purpose for you, you sweet little thing! If you cannot read, and I am almost sure you are too young, you must ask your mamma, or some one that loves you, very politely, (don't forget that,) to read them to you; because these nightcaps are for the inside of your cunning little head.

And now, just here, on the paper is a kiss from your loving



I know a little boy, named Johnny. He is a fat, rosy little fellow, as round as a dumpling. He has two large black eyes, two small pink ears, two sweet red lips, and only one little white nose.

"Oh, what a pity!" said Minnie.

How the children did laugh, when they heard little Minnie sigh, and say this; but their mamma kindly continued. Put your hand up to your face, Minnie, or look in the glass, and you will find that Johnny had just as many noses as you.

"I'm so glad," said Minnie, with a merry little laugh: "tell more mamma."

I suppose you use your two bright eyes, to look at every thing with. So did Johnny.

When he was quite a little baby, his eyes sometimes got him into trouble; if he saw a pin, or a button, or little bit of thread on the carpet, he would creep up to it as well as he could, pick it up with a good deal of trouble, because his fingers were so fat, and he did not know very well how to use them; and pop! it would go right into his mouth.

You see, he had been here in this world such a very little while, that he thought every thing in the world was made to eat. Sometimes he would try to eat his own toes; and once he got the end of his nurse's nose in his mouth, and gave it a good nip with his two little white teeth; and was very angry, and cried very loud, because she pulled it away. He was only a baby you know. Such a dear little fellow.

Johnny liked, of all things, to be put in his little bath-tub, half full of water. The moment he saw the bath-tub, he would begin to jump and crow and laugh, and when he was undressed, and lifted up to be put in, his little feet would kick in the air, as if he meant to jump over the moon! When he was in the water, Oh! then was the time for fun! such a splashing and dashing and thrashing as the water got! Such a noise! you could hear him squealing with delight all over the house, and very often every body in the house would come up to look at him; even the cross old cook. She was never cross to Johnny; she would come in the room, and opening her eyes would exclaim: "My Sirs! if Johnny don't look just like the gold Koopid, straddling over the top of the looking glass in the parlor." He did look like a little fat Cupid. Any picture of a little fat Cupid will show you how Johnny looked when he was a baby.

When Johnny was almost a year old, his mamma and papa took him to church to be christened. Do you know what that means? It means that they would promise before all the people in church, and what is a great deal more solemn, before God, our Father in Heaven, to do their best to make little Johnny a good child, to teach him to love, fear, and serve Him all the days of his life. They would give their dear child to God.

When the time came for them to go to the church, Johnny had clasped tight in his fat fingers, a little wooden horse, about half as long as Minnie's arm, with only one leg, and a very short stump of a tail. The little fellow had managed to break off the long tail and three legs, but he didn't care, not he! one leg was enough for him; he loved the horse dearly, and sucked his head very often and banged it against the floor, and kissed it and took it to bed with him every night, and plunged it, sometimes head-first, sometimes tail-first, into his cup of milk every day, so that the old horse had a very nice time.

When they tried to take it away from him, Johnny began to cry as loud as he could. He was only a baby you know, and did not know that an old broken wooden horse ought not to go to church, so he puckered up his face in such a dismal manner, that his mamma thought it best to let him keep it; and he carried it to church in a state of perfect delight, sucking the head all the way.

When Johnny's mamma and papa stood up with him before the minister, what do you think happened? Something surprising! for he let his nurse take the old horse out of his hand and never missed it. He kept perfectly still.

The truth is, that he was wondering very much what in the world the good minister had on the top of his nose. It shone like a looking-glass every time he turned his head. The fact is, that it was a pair of gold spectacles, and as none of Johnny's family wore spectacles, the minister's face astonished him very much indeed, and he stared at him with all his eyes.

And now I shall have to tell you what Johnny did with his little fat fingers, when the kind minister took him tenderly in his arms, to christen him. You know I must tell the truth. He did not cry; he was not the least mite afraid, because the good minister smiled, and a baby knows very well what a kind smile means; he just put up those little fat fingers, and in a moment! he had twitched the spectacles off of the minister's nose, and began to suck them.

The good minister smiled, and the people smiled, and Johnny laughed loud in church. He was such a little baby, you know, he did not know he must not laugh in church, and he was so delighted with his new play-thing, that the minister let him keep the spectacles, and as he put the water on his face, and gave him to God, Johnny did not cry; oh no! he smiled; and all the people in the church looked with loving eyes on the innocent child.

As the minister handed Johnny back to his mamma, he bent down his kind face and kissed him, and said: "I hope your dear little boy will live and be a comfort to you. I have a sweet little boy too, but he is not here. God is taking care of him for me." Do you know what he meant? He meant, that his dear little boy was dead, and had gone to heaven to live with Jesus, the Son of God, who loves little children so dearly.

Johnny soon gave up the spectacles, when he caught sight of his dear old horse, with one leg and no tail; such a darling as that old thing was! and he showed his joy at getting him back, by sucking his head all the way home; once in a while trying to poke it into his nurse's mouth to give her a taste.

The nurse had a straw hat on, and Johnny, in his desire to get at her mouth, pulled the hat as hard as he could, and tore it nearly in two pieces. He did not mean to, you know; but when he had done it he thought it a very funny caper, and laughed, and put his hand through the rent, and snatched the comb out of her hair, laughing all the time and jumping almost out of her arms. What a baby!

The poor nurse looked as if she had been in the wars; she did not get angry, she loved Johnny so much; she only held fast with one hand to her ragged old hat, and hurried home, laughing as hard as Johnny.

Let me tell you that the old horse and the baby had a fine supper that night, and went to bed hugging each other, that is, Johnny hugged the horse.

Soon his beautiful black eyes were closed in sleep, and his little fat fingers, that had done so much mischief without meaning any wrong, were resting quietly on his breast.

Those bright eyes and busy fingers wanted rest, don't you think so? I do. So; good night, little Johnny.




Of all the precious, bright-eyed fairies I ever knew, little Lillie was one of the very first and foremost. She was always doing or saying something charming or funny; and sometimes, of course, she was mischievous; but if you were ever so much provoked at her mischief and its effects, one look at her sweet, innocent face, so unconscious of wrong meaning, with the long golden curls floating round it, one look, and the great frown on your brow would soften into a little one; another look at the dimpled cheeks, and imploring blue eyes, and the little frown would disappear entirely; but when the sweet voice said, "Mamma, shall I put myself in the corner? I ought to go," why, one, two, three, presto!! all the angry feelings would come right out of your heart, and fly away up the chimney! and a very good riddance they were!

Don't you wish, little reader, that angry feelings of all sorts and sizes against everybody, would adopt the fashion of flying up the chimney, and never come back again? I do.

Lillie was five years old. She had two sisters older than herself. One had already gone "home," and was now a little white-robed angel in heaven, safe forever in Jesus' arms, from the temptations and dangers of this sorrowful life. The other was a dark-haired, dark-eyed little maiden, five years older than Lillie, and the grave dignity of all these years caused Annie to be impressed with a lively sense of the great necessity that rested upon her, of setting a good example to her sister, and brother Willie, a curly headed little fellow, not quite three years of age. I will tell you how Annie came to feel this responsibility so deeply.

One day her mother asked her to go down stairs, and get a book that she wanted; but Annie was very busy with her paper dolls, and she answered in a low voice, for she hardly meant her mother to hear her, "I shan't do it." When, what was her amazement and sorrow, to hear her little Lillie say, right after her, "Mamma, if you tell me, I sant do it, too."

Oh! my dear little reader, this was worse than the most dreadful punishment to Annie, to think that she had been so naughty, and that her example had caused Lillie to be naughty too, and her heart sank, as she looked up and saw her kind mother sitting there, the great tears falling one by one upon her clasped hands, and her sorrowful eyes fixed upon her children.

With a grieved cry, Annie rushed to her mother and threw her arms around her neck, and kissed her, and wiped the tears away, and said, "Hush! hush! dear mother. Oh! do stop crying! and I will never, never do so again," and little Lillie, who was only three years old then, and hardly knew how wrong she had acted, in her desire to imitate her sister, in everything, clung to her mother and said, "What for you ki, mamma? don't ki," and so it came to pass that Annie never forgot this terrible lesson, but strove with all her might to set her sister and brother a good example, and begged her good and pious mother to make a little prayer for her, that she might be strengthened from above.

This is the prayer her mother made, which Annie said every night and morning, with her other prayers, and Aunt Fanny who is writing this, begs you, dear little readers, to learn this prayer; if you only say it from your heart, I know it will help you.

"O God, my Heavenly Father, send thy Holy Spirit to help me to be good myself, and to set a good example to others. Take all the wicked disobedient thoughts out of my heart. Make me a comfort and a joy to my dear parents, and prepare me to live with Thee and my dear little sister now in Heaven. For Jesus, my Saviour's sake, Amen."

You have no idea how good and lovely Annie became after this. God answered her prayer.

In the summer time Lillie and the rest would go into the country to see her grandfather, of whom she was very fond, and well she might be, for he was one of the best and dearest grandfathers in the whole world. He was a gentleman of the old school, and treated even children with a stately courtesy; but while, at the same time, the children nestled to him with the most fearless confidence and love, they would as soon have thought of cutting their heads off, as of giving him one disrespectful word or look.

In the very next house to Lillie's grandfather's, lived "little Alice," about whom you have heard in "Nightcaps."

Alice always knew when Lillie had arrived. Every sweet summer morning Alice would jump out of bed, and her mother would throw the window open, letting in the delicious perfume from the strawberry bed next door, and the joyous morning hymns of the little birds, and then, if Lillie had come all at once, 'midst the songs of the birds, a small clear musical voice would be heard, singing (for she made a little song of it)—"Al—lie! Al—lie!" Then Alice would give a jump, and answer, imitating her song, "What—ee! What—ee!" and then the bird outside would sing, "Where's you? Where's you?" and Alice would answer, "Here's I, Here's I!" and that would finish the duet, for Alice would run to the window, and there, just below, would be Lillie, standing on the daisy-spangled grass-plot, looking, in her white dress and golden curls under that blue sky, fairer and lovelier far, than any lily ever looked, in any earthly gardener's conservatory. It is true, that God made them both, but this Lillie was a flower blooming for immortality, while the others would perish in one short summer.

Then Alice would run down stairs, and out of the house, and scramble through a little hole in the fence at the back of the house, and rush up to Lillie, and Lillie would rush up to Alice, and they would knock each other down, without meaning to, on the soft grass, and roll over together, and jump up again, as good as new, and laugh! you never heard any thing sweeter! and report themselves ready for any play that Annie might propose.

Lillie was very fond of singing. She could sing most delightfully, "Old Dog Tray," "I want to be an Angel," "Pop goes the Weasel," and many other beautiful airs. She had taught Willie to sing "Pop—go—a—dee—sell," as he called it, and was unwearied in her efforts to amuse him, for he was a delicate little fellow, and had been sick a great deal. In this, Lillie was imitating her sister Annie, (do you see the importance of a good example?) and it was perfectly beautiful to observe the care she took of him: she would tie the bib round his neck, when he was to eat his dinner, so tight, as almost to choke him to death, but with the most loving intentions, and would comb his soft curls down on his face, and nearly scratch his eyes out with the comb, but Willie never cried; not he! because he knew perfectly well, baby as he was, from the sweet affectionate expression beaming from Lillie's blue eyes, that she did it all in love, and it is really amazing what a deal of knocking about, children will stand and laugh at, if they know it to be done in love or play, when a slight touch in punishment will set them crying.

One pleasant morning, just before last Christmas, Lillie was conversing with Willie while they were eating their breakfast with the family; for Willie had been promoted to the dignity of a high chair, and had commenced the business of feeding himself, and did it very well, considering. About once in five times he would stick the spoonful of hominy in the middle of his cheek, or on the tip of his chin, expecting to find an extra mouth or two, I suppose; so that in a little while his face would be ornamented with a variety of white patches, which made Lillie laugh, and Willie laugh back; so upon the whole he fed himself in what might be called an entertaining manner, and began to grow fat upon it.

Lillie was older, and of course ate her breakfast like a dainty little maiden, as she was, in the neatest possible way, but for all that, she liked plenty to eat, and presently she held out her plate for some more cakes.

"Why, Lillie!" said her father, pretending to be astonished, "more cakes? you're just like Oliver! I am sure you must be full up to here," and he pointed to his throat.

"Oh! no, papa, you are mistaken, only look here, how loose my skin is," and she grasped the skin of her white neck, and pulled it up, and cried, "see papa, quite a big room left."

Her father laughed, and gave her the cakes, and while she was enjoying them, she cried to Willie:

"I'm learning to spell and read, Mr. Willie."

"Is you?" answered Willie, "why for?" and in his earnest attention to this announcement, he forgot the way to his mouth again, and landed a spoonful of hominy on the end of his nose.

Lillie laughed, and polished his nose with her napkin; and rubbed it so hard, that it made Willie wink, and said:

"Because people must learn to read and spell, and you must learn too—I'm going to teach you; come, spell 'cat.'"

"But I tant," said Willie.

"But you must," said Lillie, "you must spell 'cat,' and you must learn to read the Bible; and you and I will read the Bible every single morning, and a great many times besides."

"Come, begin: spell 'cat.'"

Willie looked gravely down, with very large eyes, at the cat, as if he thought that she might tell him; then lifted his mug, on which was elegantly painted, with about twenty-seven flourishes, the words, "For Willie," to his lips, and took a long drink of milk, staring over the top of it at the cat the whole time, but the blinking old tabby only dozed away with one eye opened, and slapped her tail on the carpet as if to say, "you'll find no spell in me," so Willie put his mug down, and drawing a long breath, lisped again, "But I tant."

"Well," said Lillie, a little provoked, "if you can't spell 'cat,' spell 'kitten:' that's littler."

This made a great laugh round the table, and finally Lillie had to teach Willie how to spell this difficult word, and she repeated the lesson so often, and so kindly, that before an hour, Willie could spell "cat" just as well as Mr. Appleton himself! think of that! and he (Willie, not Mr. Appleton) was so proud of his new accomplishment, that he took an opportunity to run away, and his nurse went hunting after him, and found that he had scrabbled down the stairs backwards, which was his way of getting down in the world, (and I'm sure it is better than plunging headlong, as some people do,) and trotted into the kitchen to teach the cook and a little butcher boy who had just brought in the dinner, to spell "cat," and asked her in return for this kindness, to make him a "turnover pie," which you may be sure she did.

A few days after this, the joyous Christmas came, the day on which our blessed Saviour was born, when everybody ought to be grateful and joyful, if they possibly can.

On this day, Annie, Lillie, and Willie were in perfect ecstasies, so many kisses, and so many presents poured in upon them, and all tokens of so much love; that made the charm.

Lillie, especially, was enchanted with two rings she received; a pretty gold ring, and one of red cornelian. Only think! the grandeur and dignity of two rings at once, on her little white fingers! the very idea set her singing and skipping with joy. "Dear me," she said, "two wedding rings! how delightful! I shall begin a play 'mediately. Come, Annie and Willie, let's play I was a grand lady dressed in two rings, coming to make you a visit." Accordingly, Annie spread herself out as wide as she could, and Willie, as he didn't happen to wear a hoop, concluded to spread himself up as high as he could, which he effected by putting on a "sojer cap" with a long feather, and they sat up in state to receive the company, and had a splendid time, when the two rings, and the lady, walked majestically in.

The next day, a lady called upon Lillie's mother, and said, "How did Annie like the ring I sent her?"

"Annie? Lillie, you mean."

"Oh, no," said the lady, "I sent the cornelian ring to Annie."

This announcement troubled Lillie's mother. She knew her little girl thought more of this cornelian ring, than of all the rest of her presents; but she promised the lady, who was their cousin, it should be given to the rightful owner.

Now, this good mother would gladly have bought another ring for Annie, and let Lillie keep her treasure, but that would not have been the right thing; so she took Lillie out walking with her, and as the little girl skipped and danced along, (for a little happy creature like that, scarcely ever walks,) she began her painful duty by saying, "Lillie, what is the golden rule?"

"I know," said Lillie, "Do as you would wish to be done by."

"Well, do you understand what it means?"

"Why, yes, mamma; papa says the golden rule means, that I must be good and kind to everybody, because I always want everybody to be good and kind to me."

"Well, Lillie," said her mother, in a very kind tone, "I must tell you about a mistake I have made. I am very, very sorry for it. I gave you two rings on Christmas day, and your cousin tells me, that she meant the cornelian ring for Annie. Now, Lillie, what will you do?"

"Oh, mamma!" exclaimed Lillie, and then she stopped, while a painful flush came all over her face, her little breast heaved, and her large and lovely blue eyes filled with tears. She felt very miserable, for a moment, then checking a rising sob, she said, softly—

"Mamma, you made two 'steaks. You said Christmas day, that I had too many presents; that was one 'steak, and Annie had too few, that was two 'steaks. I—I must give this ring to sister Annie. It is her ring. I shall only have one ring, but, never matter," and she sighed——and then she smiled.

"That is right, my darling," answered her mother, "that is doing just as you would wish to be done by."

So Lillie, with her great resolution filling her noble little heart, said not a word more, but hastened home with her mother, and walked straight up to Annie, with such a heaven-sent smile illuminating her sweet face, and took the precious ring off her finger, and said, "Here, Annie; this is your ring, take it; it was meant for you all the time, but mamma didn't know it," and here the rosy lips began to tremble, and Lillie was silent.

"Would you rather I should take it?"

"Yes," said Lillie.

"Well, then, I will. If I had got the two rings by mistake, I should have given one to you right away! indeed I would, Lillie."

"Would you?" answered Lillie, brightening wonderfully, "well, then, I am glad I have given it to you," and the painful shadow passed away from her face, and Willie was so impressed with this interesting scene, that he forthwith brought out one of his dearest treasures, a horse with a tail like a water-spout, drawn for him by his father, which he had painted such a bright apple green, that it set your very teeth on edge only to look at it, and bestowed it then and there upon Lillie, with a hug and a kiss, that was worth all the green horses, and brown ones too, in the universe; and thus happiness was restored to the hearts of these three lovely children, and Lillie got along like other people, with only one wedding ring, and came to think it quite enough; but that I believe is the general opinion, though I am not absolutely certain.

And now, if you little folks cannot see by this story, the good effects of setting a good example, and how great the responsibility even little children incur in their relation to each other, Aunt Fanny will have a heart-ache, and she will be brought to wish, that instead of writing stories that do no good, she had taken to growing pumpkins or hard-hearted cabbages, and that's all.


Once upon a time, there was a little boy, named Jack. He lived in a house with his papa and mamma, who were so fat that they had to be very good-natured, because you know, it don't answer at all for fat people to be cross, it makes them feel so very uncomfortable. So it does everybody else, for the matter of that! Who likes to see any one cross or angry, with a face flaming with rage, and talking in so sharp a voice that it sounds like a pack of fire-crackers, going off? Why, nobody. So, suppose you and I try which can keep the brightest and sweetest face all this next year. Will you? you dear little thing!

Well, Jack had a pretty little brown dog, named Carlo, and a nice little white cat, named Minnie; and Jack the boy, and Carlo the dog, and Minnie the cat, were the best friends, and had the greatest fun together, that ever a boy, and a cat, and a dog had, since the world began, and a little before.

When Jack had eaten his pudding, and Carlo had munched his bones, and Minnie had lapped her milk, they would all rush out in the garden together, as if they were distracted with joy; and then such a hurrying, and a scurrying, and a scampering, and a scattering, and a cutting round corners, and a hiding under bushes, and a jumping out of unexpected places, was never seen or heard of, I do believe. Wasn't it funny? Did you ever have such fun?

One day, Jack's father and mother had gone out to spend the day with Mr. and Mrs. Thingumbob, and the cook forgot to give the poor little boy his dinner.

Into the kitchen he rushed, and nearly tumbled head first into a tub full of soap-suds. If he had, I couldn't have finished this story, which would have been a pity. But he did not fall in; for he immediately shouted out—"Mary! Mary! Mary! I want a piece of bread and butter! I want my dinner!"

"But you can't have your dinner yet," said the cook; "I'm just making the dumpling; the baker has not come, and there isn't a speck of bread in the house."

"Well, give me a piece of cake then," said Jack.

"Haven't got any cake," said the cook.

"Well, candy then," said Jack.

"Haven't got any candy," said the cook.

"Well, sugar, or sweetmeats, or something; I'm just as hungry as a little bear," said Jack.

"Haven't got 'em, Master Jack," said the cook; "but I tell you what! here is a penny; go to the baker that lives on top of the hill, and buy a loaf of bread for yourself."

"Oh, yes! so I will!" shouted Jack, jumping over a chair and upsetting the knife-board, and all the knives which the cook had just been cleaning; and this provoked her so, that she caught up the broomstick, and ran after him, and fell over the wash-tub herself; so Jack got off safe. Aren't you glad?

Then he called Carlo, the dog, and said—"Look here, Carlo; do you want to go to the baker's with me to buy a loaf of bread?"

"Bow, wow, wow," said Carlo; which meant, "Of course I do. Hurrah!"

Then he called Minnie, the cat, and said—"Look here, Minnie, do you want to go to the baker's with us to buy a loaf of bread?"

Minnie opened her eyes, stiffened her tail, and made her back as round as a hoop, and said, miau! miau! miau! which was cat-talk for "Of course I do. Hurrah!"

So they all started off together in a state of perfect delight. Presently, they came to where Bunny the rabbit lived.

"Bunny, Bunny," called Jack. Out popped little Bunny, flapping his long ears, and winking his red eyes, and gave a funny little squeak; which meant, "How-de-do, Jack, what do you want?"

"Bunny," said Jack, "do you want to go to the baker's with us to buy a loaf of bread?"

"Oh! of course I do," squeaked Bunny. So Jack the boy, and Carlo the dog, and Minnie the cat, and Bunny the rabbit, made quite a party.

Pretty soon they came to Jenny Wren's house, high up in a tree. "Jenny, Jenny," called Jack.

Out she popped from her nest, where she was sitting on top of her children, and jumped on a branch, and wagged her little head, and fluttered her little wings, and cocked up her little tail in the air, to show how glad she was to see her friend Jack.

"Jenny," said Jack, "do you want to go to the baker's with us to buy a loaf of bread?"

"Chip, chip, chip," said Jenny; which was bird-talk for "Oh! of course I do."

"Well, come along, then," said Jack. Down flew Jenny, and hopped along with the rest. So Jack the boy, and Carlo the dog, and Minnie the cat, and Bunny the rabbit, and Jenny the wren, made a jolly little party, all going to the baker's together. I wish I had been there, don't you?

Pretty soon they came to where Ninny the goose lived. "Ninny, Ninny," called Jack; "do you want to go to the baker's with us to buy a loaf of bread?"

"Gabble, gabble, gabble," said Ninny; which was goose-talk for "Oh! of course I do;" and she flapped her wings, and stretched out her long neck, and made more of a goose of herself than ever, and was so glad at getting the invitation, that she created quite a hullabaloo with her gabbling; but for all that, Jack the boy, and Carlo the dog, and Minnie the cat, and Bunny the rabbit, and Jenny the wren, and Ninny the goose, all talking together, made a most enchanting party. They were all nice people; no owls, or tigers, or cross old cooks with broomsticks, or grisly bears. No, indeed! They were all perfect darlings; and were quite ready to travel to the very top of the North Pole, if there was any fun to be found there.

But the baker lived considerably this side of the North Pole, on the very top of a steep hill; and up they all ran, and hopped, and leaped, and jumped, till they got to the house.

But when they arrived there, they found the front door locked.

So Jack began to knock, and Carlo began to bark, and Minnie began to mew, and Bunny began to squeak, and Jenny began to chip, and Ninny began to gabble; but for all the knocking, and barking, and mewing, and squeaking, and chipping, and gabbling, nobody came to the door; and poor little Jack began to think he would never get his loaf of bread after all.

All of a sudden, Jack thought of the back door. Off they hopped, and ran, and leaped, and jumped, to the back of the house.

The hill went down on this side perfectly straight, like the side of a house, and there was scarcely room for them to stand.

Dear me! that door was locked too. So they each began again to knock, and bark, and mew, and squeak, and chirp, and gabble, as hard as ever they could; all crowding round the door in a bunch.

Just as they were making all the noise they could, suddenly—open flew the door! and out jumped a TREMENDOUS DOG!!! right into the middle of them, growling, and barking, and making his great white teeth snap together like a pistol shot!!

Frightened to death, Jack tumbled backwards over Carlo; Carlo tumbled backwards over Minnie; Minnie tumbled backwards over Bunny; Bunny tumbled backwards over Jenny; Jenny tumbled backwards over Ninny; and they all tumbled head over heels down the steep hill, with the TREMENDOUS DOG on top of the heap; and that's the last I ever heard of them.

"Oh! aren't you sorry?"


One day last spring when Aunt Fanny was in Charleston, she was walking up Meeting Street. Just before her she saw a pretty little girl, almost as white as snow, carried in the arms of a tall black woman, nearly as black as ink.

Aunt Fanny went softly up behind them, and heard the old nurse say—"You make nurse shame, for carry such a big girl."

"But I so tired," said the little thing. "O my!"

"How much you tired?" said the old black nurse.

"I tired a dollar," said the child.

Then Aunt Fanny laughed, and went up to her, and said—"Get down my little kitten, and walk with me."

So the nurse put her down, and she took hold of Aunt Fanny's finger, and trotted along, quite pleased.

"What is your name little one?" said Aunt Fanny.

"My name Helen, and I'm mamma's dear little baby. Here's my house; come in my house, do, please?"

So she pulled Aunt Fanny in; and there at the side of the house was a large yard, and in it was such a lot of little children! all playing soldiers together; some were white;—they were Helen's sisters and little brother;—and some were black; they were old nurse's children; and they were having such a nice time; and the last little black boy was ringing the dinner bell. Aunt Fanny was glad enough to see them, but she could not stay; so she kissed Helen, her little new friend, and went away down the street, and that's the whole of this story—there!


Once upon a time there was a little old gentleman, very old indeed; his hair was as white as snow, his eyes were dim, and he had no more teeth than a baby. As to his ears, they were no use to him at all, for he could not hear a single word that was said. You might have fired off twenty cannons close to him, and he would not start half as much as when some one comes behind you, and says—Boo!!!

What a pity! because he was such a kind, little old gentleman. If he saw a little child like you, he would smile, and put his hand in his pocket, and take out a piece of candy, and say—"Do you love candy?" then the child would say—just what you would say, if anybody should ask you—you know. Then the little old gentleman would say—"I can't hear you, but I know you love it, so here is a famous piece for you."

One day the little old gentleman thought he would take a walk; so he put his hat on his head, his great coat on his back, his spectacles on his nose, took his cane in his right hand, and off he went.

It was a bright, cold day in spring; the little birds were very busy building their nests, but he could not hear them chirping to each other so sweetly. Indeed, he could hardly see them. Poor little old gentleman!

As he was walking quietly along, he felt something very soft take hold of his hand, and grasp it tight. What do you think it was? He looked down, and there walking by his side, and holding his hand, was a tiny little girl.

She was looking up in his face, with her sweet blue eyes; her little bonnet had fallen back, and the fresh wind was blowing her pretty curls all about.

"My name is Susy," said the little girl; "please take me home; mamma will say—'Where is little Susy?'"

"I can't hear a word you say," answered the little old gentleman.

"Well, then, take me home 'ight away," said Susy; "mamma can hear what I say. Please take me home, grandpa."

The dear little thing called him "Grandpa," because she thought all old gentlemen must be grandfathers.

"I can't hear a word, my poor child; I am deaf. Oh dear! what is it she wants? she must be lost," said the poor little old gentleman.

"Yes, I am lost," said the child; "and mamma wants Susy. She can't do without me. Papa, too. I'm his little mouse. I bring him his slippers when he comes home, and I sing to him about 'Three little kittens, lost their mittens.' Come, grandpa, take Susy home; ah, do;" and she looked up into his face with a sweet, coaxing smile, and clasped his hand tighter with her soft and pretty fingers.

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" said the little old gentleman, "if I only could hear! But I can't! I am deaf."

So they walked along quite a distance, through the green lane, where the tender grass looked so dewy and fresh, and the first spring violets were peeping up; but no one came in sight, and the little old gentleman in his trouble, looked north, south, east and west, for somebody to come that could hear what the little one said.

All at once he thought, I will ask God to help me; and he said aloud, in a voice trembling with age—"Oh, my Heavenly Father! help me to find assistance for this tender little lamb."

When Susy heard him say that, her rosy lip began to tremble, and a great tear came into each of her blue eyes. Poor little darling! She knew something was wrong, but she did not understand why he could not hear her. She could hear him, and she did not know what it meant, to be deaf.

But now, as if in answer to the prayer, a carriage was seen approaching; and the little old gentleman said—"Don't cry, my little one; here, eat this candy, and don't cry. I will get you home safely."

As the carriage came near, he saw that there were two ladies inside, and he held up his hand and beckoned them to stop. One of them was a kind-looking lady, with soft gray hair; and he said to her—

"Madam, I am deaf. I cannot hear a single word. I was taking a walk, when this little child came up and put her hand into mine. I think she is lost; but I cannot hear what she says. Will you take her with you, and restore her to her home?"

"Certainly, I will, poor little darling," said the kind lady; and the door was opened, and Susy tenderly lifted in, and placed on the lady's lap.

The little old gentleman kissed Susy, and thanked the ladies; then taking off his hat, he made them a low bow, and then they drove away.

"Can you tell me where you live?" said the lady.

"Oh, yes; I live with mamma and papa," said Susy, "and my kitty, and my doll; we all live together."

The lady smiled, and said—"Well, dear, we'll try to find them." So they rode on a little way, and soon came where the houses were nearer each other. Susy looked out of the carriage window, and did not cry any more; because she thought she would very soon see her dear mamma.

Suddenly she screamed—"Mamma! mamma! here is Susy." Sure enough! there was a lady hurrying along; looking in every direction. As soon as she heard Susy, her face lost its troubled expression, and she ran to the carriage door, and opened it, caught her little child, and hugged her to her breast, and said—"Oh, my darling! my darling! Thank God you are safe!" and then she burst into tears—tears of joy and gratitude.

The kind ladies told her how Susy had strayed away into the green lane; and how the little deaf old gentleman had given her to them to take home; and Susy's mother thanked them again, and again; and carried her precious child home.

What a kissing Susy got that evening from her father! and how glad he was that his little girl was there to bring him his slippers! They did not get angry with her—of course not! Dear me! who ever heard of such a thing? She did not mean to do wrong; she had just wandered off, singing a little song, and talking to herself, and picking the pretty butter-cups that grew in the grass; and when she looked up, she could not see her home; she only saw the little old gentleman that she called "Grandpa."

So her papa and mamma talked kindly to her, and kissed her, and made her promise that she would not go so far again—never! never! never! which little Susy was very glad to do, for she had no idea of losing her dear parents. No, indeed.

But after that, she saw the little deaf old gentleman very often; and he grew to love little Susy dearly; and though they did not talk to each other, they smiled; and he always had something in his pocket for her. Guess what it was? Candy? Yes, that was the very thing.

Sometimes he would come to her house, riding on a nice old white horse; and Susy would run out and smooth down his nose; the horse's nose I mean; and the old white horse liked it very much; he would not have bitten her little hand for a thousand dollars; and ever after that Susy, and the little old gentleman, and the old white horse, were called—"The Three Friends;" and that's the end of this story; rorum corum torum. How do you like it?


* * * * *


The following have been identified as typographical errors and have been emended. All other colloquialisms, typographical, spelling and punctuation errors have been left as in the original book.

Page 23—added closing quotation mark to Now, shall I tell a baby story instead?["]

Page 111—changed "tp" to "to" in The hill went down on this side perfectly straight, like the side of a house, and there was scarcely room for them [tp] stand.

Page 112—changed "caowling" to "growling" in and out jumped a TREMENDOUS DOG!!! right into the middle of them, [caowling], and barking,

Home - Random Browse