HotFreeBooks.com
Caleb in the Country
by Jacob Abbott
1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Transcriber's note:

The table of contents has been added for the reader's convenience.

Punctuation and obvious printer's errors have been corrected.



CALEB IN THE COUNTRY.

A Story for Children.

by

JACOB ABBOTT,

Author of "The Child at Home."



Halifax: Milner and Sowerby. 1852.



PREFATORY NOTICE.

The object of this little work, and of others of its family, which may perhaps follow, is, like that of the "Rollo Books," to furnish useful and instructive reading to young children. The aim is not so directly to communicate knowledge, as it is to develop the moral and intellectual powers,—to cultivate habits of discrimination and correct reasoning, and to establish sound principles of moral conduct. The "Rollo Books" embrace principally intellectual and moral discipline; "Caleb," and the others of its family, will include also religious training, according to the evangelical views of Christian truth which the author has been accustomed to entertain, and which he has inculcated in his more serious writings.

J. A.



CALEB IN THE COUNTRY



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I Caleb's Discovery 5

CHAPTER II Trouble 30

CHAPTER III Building the Mole 43

CHAPTER IV A Discussion 54

CHAPTER V The Story of Blind Samuel 61

CHAPTER VI Engineering 68

CHAPTER VII The Sofa 74

CHAPTER VIII The Cart Ride 90

CHAPTER IX The Fire 101

CHAPTER X The Captive 123

CHAPTER XI Mary Anna 129

CHAPTER XII The Walk 148

CHAPTER XIII The Junk 166

POETRY 189



CHAPTER I.

CALEB'S DISCOVERY.

Caleb was a bright-looking, blue-eyed boy, with auburn hair and happy countenance. And yet he was rather pale and slender. He had been sick. His father and mother lived in Boston, but now he was spending the summer at Sandy River country, with his grandmother. His father thought that if he could run about a few months in the open air, and play among the rocks and under the trees, he would grow more strong and healthy, and that his cheeks would not look so pale.

His grandmother made him a blue jacket with bright buttons. She liked metal buttons, because they would wear longer than covered ones, but he liked them because they were more beautiful. "Besides," said he, "I can see my face in them, grandmother."

Little Caleb then went to the window, so as to see his face plainer. He stood with his back to the window, and held the button so that the light from the window could shine directly upon it.

"Why grandmother," said Caleb, "I cannot see now so well as I could before."

"That is because your face is turned away from the light," said she.

"And the button is turned towards the light," said Caleb.

"But when you want to see any thing reflected in a glass, you must have the light shine upon the thing you want to see reflected, not upon the glass itself; and I suppose it is so with a bright button."

Then Caleb turned around, so as to have his face towards the light; and he found that he could then see it reflected very distinctly. His grandmother went on with her work, and Caleb sat for some time in silence.

The house that Caleb lived in was in a narrow rocky valley. A stream of water ran over a sandy bed, in front of the house, and a rugged mountain towered behind it. Across the stream, too, there was a high, rocky hill, which was in full view from the parlour window. This hill was covered with wild evergreens, which clung to their sides, and to the interstices of the rocks; and mosses, green and brown, in long festoons, hung from their limbs. Here and there crags and precipices peeped out from among the foliage, and a grey old cliff towered above, at the summit.

Caleb turned his button round again towards the window, and of course turned his face from the window. The reflection of his face was now dim, as before, but in a moment his eye caught the reflection of the crags and trees across the little valley.

"O, grandmother," said he again, "I can see the rocks in my buttons, and the trees. And there is an old stump," he continued, his voice falling to a low tone, as if he was talking to himself,—"and there is a tree,—and,—why—why, what is that? It is a bear, grandmama,"—calling aloud to her,—"I see a bear upon the mountain."

"Nonsense, Caleb," said the grandmother.

"I do certainly," said Caleb, and he dropped the corner of his jacket, which had the button attached to it, and looked out of the window directly at the mountain.

Presently Caleb turned away from the window, and ran to the door. There was a little green yard in front of the house, with a large, smooth, flat stone for a door-step. Caleb stood on this step, and looked intently at the mountain. In a moment he ran back to his grandmother, and said,

"Grandmother, do come and see this black bear."

"Why, child," said she, smiling, "it is nothing but some old black stump or log."

"But it moves, grandmother. It certainly moves."

So his grandmother smiled, and said, "Well, I suppose I must come and see." So she laid down her work, and took off her spectacles, and Caleb took hold of her hand, and trotted along before her to the step of the door. It was a beautiful sunny morning in June.

"There," said Caleb, triumphantly pointing to a spot among the rocks and bushes half-way up the mountain,—"there, what do you call that?"

His grandmother looked a moment intently in silence, and then said,

"I do see something there under the bushes."

"And isn't it moving?" said Caleb.

"Why, yes," said she.

"And isn't it black?"

"Yes," said she.

"Then it is a bear," said Caleb, half-delighted, and half afraid, "Isn't it, grandmother? I'll go and get the gun."

There was an old gun behind the high desk, in the back sitting-room; but it had not been loaded for twenty years, and had no back upon it. Still Caleb always supposed that some how or other it would shoot.

"Shall I, grandmother?" said he eagerly,

"No," said she. "I don't think it is a bear."

"What then?" said Caleb.

"I think it is Cherry."

"Cherry!" said Caleb.

"Yes, Cherry," said she. "Run and see if you can find the boys."

Cherry was the cow. She had strayed from the pasture the day before, and they could not find her. She was called Cherry from her colour; for although she had looked almost black, as Caleb had seen her in the bushes, she was really a Cherry colour. Caleb saw at once, as soon as his grandmother said that it was Cherry, that she was correct. In fact, he could see her head and horns, as she was holding her head up to eat the leaves from the bushes. However he did not stop to talk about it, but, obeying his grandmother immediately, he ran off after the boys.

He went out to the back door, where the boys had been at play, and shouted out, "David! DA—VID! DWI—GHT! DA—VID!" But there was no reply, except a distant echo of "David" and "Dwight" from the rocks and mountains.

So Caleb came back, and said that he could not find the boys, and that he supposed that they had gone to school.

"Then we must call Raymond," said she.

"And may I ring for him, grandmother?" said Caleb.

Grandmother said he might: and so Caleb ran off to the porch at the back door, and took down quite a large bell, which was hanging there. Caleb stood upon the steps of the porch, and grasping the great handle of the bell with both hands, he rang it with all his might. In a minute or two he stopped; and then he heard a faint and distant "Aye-aye" coming, from a field. Caleb put the bell back into its place, and then went again to his grandmother.

In a few minutes Raymond came in. He was a thick-set and rather tall young man, broad-shouldered and strong,—slow in his motions, and of a very sober countenance. Caleb heard his heavy step in the entry, though he came slowly and carefully, as if he tried to walk without making a noise.

"Did you want me, Madam Rachel?" said he, holding his hat in his hand.

Caleb's grandmother was generally called Madam Rachel.

"Yes," said she. "Cherry has got up on the rocks. Caleb spied her there; he will shew you where, and I should like to have you go and drive her down."

Caleb wanted to go too; but his grandmother said it would not do very well, for he could not keep up with Raymond; and besides, she said that she wanted him. So Caleb went out with Raymond under the great elm before the house, and pointed out the place among the rocks, where he had seen Cherry. She was not there then, at least she was not in sight; but Raymond knew that she could not have gone far from the place, so he walked down over the bridge, and soon disappeared.

While Caleb stood watching Raymond, as he walked off with long strides towards the mountain, his grandmother came to the door and said,

"Come, Caleb."

Caleb turned and ran to his grandmother. She had in her hand a little red morocco book, and taking Caleb's hand, she went slowly up stairs, he frisking and capering around her all the way. There was a bed in the room, with a white covering, and by the window an easy chair, with a high back, and round well-stuffed arms. Madam Rachel went to the easy chair and sat down and took Caleb in her lap. Caleb looked out upon the long drooping branches of the elm which hung near the window.

Caleb's countenance was pale; and he was slender in form, and delicate in appearance. He had been sick, and even now, he was not quite well. His little taper fingers rested upon the window-sill, while his grandmother opened her little Bible and began to read. Caleb sat still in her lap, with a serious and attentive expression of countenance.

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a pharisee, the other a publican."

"What is a pharisee and a publican?" asked Caleb.

"You will hear presently. 'And the pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers."

"What are all those?" asked Caleb.

"O, different kinds of crimes and sins. The pharisee thanked God that he had not committed any of them."

"Was he a good man, grandmother?"

"Very likely he had not committed any of these great crimes."

"Very well, grandmother, go on."

"'Or even as this publican.' A publican, you must know, was a tax-gatherer. He used to collect the taxes from the people. They did not like to pay their taxes, and so they did not like the tax-gatherers, and despised them. And thus the pharisee thanked God that he was not like that publican. 'I fast twice in the week. I pay tithes of all that I possess.'

"Tithes?" said Caleb.

"Yes, that was money which God had commanded them to pay. They were to pay in proportion to the property they had. But some dishonest men used to conceal some of their property, so as not to have to pay so much; but this pharisee said he paid tithes of all that he possessed."

"That was right, grandmother," said Caleb.

"Yes," said his grandmother, "that was very well."

"If he really did it," continued Caleb doubtfully. "Do you think he did, grandmother?"

"I think it very probable. I presume he was a pretty good man, outside."

"What do you mean by that, grandmother?"

"Why, his heart might have been bad, but he was probably pretty careful about all his actions, which could be seen of men. But we will go on."

"'And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.'"

"Which man?" said Caleb.

"The publican."

"The publican was justified?" said Caleb, "what does justified mean?"

"Forgiven and approved. God was pleased with the publican, because he confessed his sins honestly; but he was displeased with the pharisee, because he came boasting of his good deeds."

Here there was a pause. Caleb sat still and seemed thoughtful. His grandmother did not interrupt him, but waited to hear what he would say.

"Yes; but, grandmother, if the pharisee really was a good man, it wasn't right for him to thank God for it?"

"It reminds me of Thomas's acorns," said Madam Rachel.

"Thomas's acorns!" said Caleb, "tell me about them, grandmother."

"Why, Thomas and his brother George were sent to school. They stopped to play by the way, until it was so late that they did not dare to go in. Then they staid playing about the fields till it was time to go home. They felt pretty bad and out of humour, and at last they separated and went home different ways.

"In going home, Thomas found an oak-tree with acorns under it. 'Ah!' said he, 'I will carry mother home some acorns.' He had observed that his mother was pleased whenever he brought her things; and he had an idea of soothing his own feelings of guilt, and securing his mother's favour, by the good deed of carrying her home some acorns. So, when he came into the house, he took off his hat carefully, with the acorns in it, and holding it in both hands, marched up to his mother with a smiling face, and look of great self-satisfaction, and said, 'Here, mother, I have got you some acorns.'"

"And what did his mother say?" asked Caleb.

"She shook her head sorrowfully, and told him to go and put the acorns away. She knew where he had been.

"Then presently George came in. He put away his cap, walked in softly, and put his face down in his mother's lap, and said, with tears and sobs, 'Mother, I have been doing something very wrong.' Now, which of these do you think came to his mother right?'"

"Why,—George," said he, "certainly."

"Yes, and that was the way the publican came; but the pharisee covered up all his sins, being pleased and satisfied himself, and thinking that God would be pleased and satisfied with his acorns."

Here Madam Rachel paused, and Caleb sat still, thinking of what he had heard.

Madam Rachel then closed her eyes, and, in a low, gentle voice, she spoke a few words of prayer; and then she told Caleb that he must always remember in all his prayers to confess his sins fully and freely, and never cover them up and conceal them, with an idea that his good deeds made him worthy. Then she put Caleb down, and he ran down stairs to play.

He asked his grandmother to let him go over the bridge, so as to be ready to meet Raymond, when he should come back with the cow. She at first advised him not to go, for she was afraid, she said, that he might get lost, or fall into the brook; but Caleb was very desirous to go, and finally she consented. He had a little whip that David had made for him. The handle was made from the branch of a beach-tree, which David cut first to make a cane of, for himself; but he broke his cane, and so he gave Caleb the rest of the stick for a whip-handle. The lash was made of leather. It was cut out of a round piece of thick leather, round and round, as they made leather shoe-strings, and then rolled upon a board. This is a fine way to make lashes and reins for boys.

Caleb took his whip for company, and sauntered along over the bridge. When he had crossed the bridge, he walked along the bank of the stream, watching the grass-hoppers and butterflies, and now and then cutting off the head of a weed with the lash of his whip.

The banks of the brook were in some places high, and the water deep; in other places, there was a sort of beach, sloping down to the water's edge; and here, the water was generally shallow, to a considerable distance from the shore. Caleb was allowed to come down to the water at these shallow places; but he had often been told that he must not go near the steep places, because there was danger that he would fall in.

Now, boys are not very naturally inclined to obey their parents. They have to be taught with great pains and care. They must be punished for disobedience, in some way or other, a good many times. But neglected children, that is, those that are left to themselves, are almost always very disobedient and unsubmissive. Caleb, now, was not a neglected child. He had been taught to submit and obey, when he was very young, and his grandmother could trust him now.

Besides, Caleb, had still less disposition now to disobey his grandmother than usual, for he had been sick, and was still pale and feeble; and this state of health often makes children quiet, gentle, and submissive.

So Caleb walked slowly along, carefully avoiding all the high banks, but sometimes going down to the water, where the shore was sloping and safe. At length, at one of these little landing places he stopped longer than usual. He called it the cotton landing. David and Dwight gave it that name, because they always found, wedged in, in a corner between a log and the shore, a pile of cotton, as they called it. It was, in reality, light, white froth, which always lay there; and even if they pushed it all away with a stick, they would find a new supply the next day. Caleb stood upon the shore, and with the lash of his whip, cut into the pile of "cotton." The pile broke up into large masses, and moved slowly and lightly away into the stream. One small tuft of it floated towards the shore, and Caleb reached it with his whip-handle, and took a part of it in, saying, "Now I will see what it is made of."

On closely examining it, he found to his surprise, that it was composed of an infinite number of very small bubbles, piled one upon another, like the little stones in a heap of gravel. It was white and beautiful, and in some of the biggest bubbles, Caleb could see all the colours of the rainbow. He wondered where this foam could come from, and he determined to carry some of it home to his grandmother. So he stripped off a flat piece of birch bark from a neighbouring tree, and took up a little of the froth upon it, and placed it very carefully upon a rock on the bank, where it would remain safely, he thought, till he was ready to go home.

Just above where he stood was a little waterfall in the brook. The current was stopped by some stones and logs, and the water tumbled over the obstruction, forming quite a little cataract, which sparkled in the sun.

Caleb threw sticks and pieces of bark into the water, above the fall, and watched them as they sailed on, faster and faster, and then pitched down the descent. Then he would go and whip them into his landing, and thus he could take them out, and sail them down again. After amusing himself some time in this manner, he began to wonder why Raymond did not come, and he concluded to take his foam, and go along. He went to the rock and took up his birch bark; but, to his surprise, the foam had disappeared. He was wondering what had become of it, when he heard across the road, and at a little distance above him, a scrambling in the bushes, on the side of the mountain. At first, he was afraid; but in a moment more, he caught a glimpse of the cow coming out of the bushes, and supposing that Raymond was behind, he threw down his birch bark, and began to gallop off to meet him, lashing the ground with his whip.

At the same time, the cow, somewhat worried by being driven pretty fast down the rocks, came running out into the road, and when she saw Caleb coming towards her, and with such antics, began to cut capers too. She came on, in a kind of half-frolicsome, half-angry canter, shaking her horns; and Caleb, before he got very near her, began to be somewhat frightened. At first he stopped, looking at her with alarm. Then he began to fall back to the side of the road, towards the brook. At this instant Raymond appeared coming out of the bushes, and, seeing Caleb, called out to him to stand still.

"Stand still, Caleb, till she goes by: she will not hurt you." But Caleb could not control his fears. His little heart beat quick, and his pale cheek grew paler. He could not control his fears, though he knew very well that what Raymond said must be true. He kept retreating backwards nearer and nearer to the brook, as the cow came on, whipping the air, towards her to keep her off. He was now at some little distance above the cotton landing, and opposite to a part of the bank where the water was deep. Raymond perceived his danger, and as he was now on the very brink, he shouted out suddenly,

"Caleb! Caleb! take care!"

But the sudden call only frightened poor Caleb still more; and before the "Take care" was uttered, his foot slipped, and he slid back into the water, and sank into it until he entirely disappeared.

Raymond rushed to the place, and in an instant was in the water by his side, and pulling Caleb out, he carried him gasping to the shore. He wiped his face with his handkerchief, and tried to cheer and encourage him.

"Never, mind, Caleb," said he; "it won't hurt you. It is a warm sunny morning." Caleb cried a few minutes, but, finally, became pretty nearly calm, and Raymond led him along towards home, sobbing as he went, "O dear me!—what will my grandmother say?"



CHAPTER II.

TROUBLE.

As Caleb walked along by the side of Raymond, and came upon the bridge, he was seen both by his grandmother, who happened to be standing at the door, and also at the same instant, by the two boys, Dwight and David, who were just then coming home from school. Dwight, seeing Caleb walking along so sadly, his clothes and hair thoroughly drenched, set up a shout, and ran towards him over the bridge. David was of a more quiet and sober turn, and he followed more slowly, but with a face full of surprise and curiosity.

Madam Rachel, too, perceived that her little grandson had been in the brook, and she said, "Can it be possible that he has disobeyed?" Then, again, the next thought was, "Well, if he has, he has been punished for it pretty severely, and so I will treat him kindly."

David and Dwight came eagerly up, with exclamations, and questions without number. This made poor Caleb feel worse and worse—he wanted to get home as soon as possible, and he could not tell the boys all the story there; and presently Raymond, finding that he could not get by them very well, took him up in his arms, and carried him towards the house, David and Dwight following behind. Caleb expected that his grandmother would think him very much to blame, and so, as he came near enough to speak to her, he raised his head from Raymond's shoulder, and began to say,

"I am very sorry, grandmother; but I could not help it. I certainly could not help it."

But he saw at once, by his grandmother's pleasant-looking face, that she was not going to find any fault with him.

"You have not hurt yourself, Caleb, I hope," said she, as Raymond put him down.

"No," said he, "but I feel rather cold."

His grandmother said she would soon warm him, and she led him into a little bedroom, where he was accustomed to sleep, and undressed him, talking good-humouredly with him all the while, so as to relieve his fears, and make him feel more happy. She wiped him dry with soft flannel, and gave him some clean, dry clothes, and made him very comfortable again. She did not ask him how he happened to fall in the water, for she knew it would trouble him to talk about it. So she amused him by talking about other things, and at last let him out again into the parlour.

The wetting did Caleb no injury; but the fright and the suddenness of the plunge gave him a shock, which, in his feeble state of health, he was ill able to bear. A good stout boy, with red cheeks and plump limbs, would not have regarded it at all, but would have been off to play again just as soon as his clothes were changed. But poor Caleb sat down in his little rocking chair by the side of his grandmother, and began to rock back and forth, as if he was rocking away the memory of his troubles, while his grandmother went on with her work.

Presently he stopped to listen to the voices of Dwight and David, who were out before the house.

"Grandmother," said he, "is that the boys?"

"Yes," said she, "I believe it is."

Then Caleb went on rocking, and the voices died away.

Presently, they came nearer again. The boys seemed to be passing down in front of the house, with a wheelbarrow, towards the water.

"Grandmother," said Caleb, stopping again, "what do you suppose the boys are doing?"

"I don't know," said she, "should not you like to go and see? You can play with them half an hour before dinner, if you please."

Caleb did not answer, but began to rock again. He did not seem inclined to go.

Soon after he heard a splash, as of stones thrown into the water. Caleb started up and said,

"Grandmother, what can they be doing?"

"I don't know," said she, "if you want to know very much, you must go and see."

Caleb rose slowly, put his rocking chair back into its place, and went to the door. He looked down towards the bank of the brook before the house, and saw Dwight and David there. They had a wheelbarrow close to the edge of the water, with a few stones in it, some as big as Caleb's head. Each of the boys had a stone in his hand, which he was just throwing into the brook. Caleb had a great desire to go down and see what they were doing; but he felt weak and tired, and so, after looking on a moment, he said to himself, "I had rather sit down here." So he sat down upon the step of the door, and looked on.

After the boys had thrown one or two large stones into the water, they took hold of the wheelbarrow, and, then, tipping it up, the whole load slid down into the water, close to the shore. The boys then came back, wheeling the great wheelbarrow up into the road.

They went after another load of stones, and Caleb's curiosity was so far awakened, that he rose slowly, and walked down towards the place. In a few minutes, the boys came back with their load; David wheeling, and Dwight walking along by his side, and pushing as well as he could, to help. As soon as he saw Caleb, he began to call out,

"O Caleb, you were afraid of a cow!"

Caleb looked sad and unhappy. David said,

"I would not laugh at him, Dwight. Caleb, we are building a mole."

"A mole!" said Caleb. "What is that?"

"Why, it is a kind of wharf, built out far into the water, to make a harbour for our shipping. We learned about it in our geography."

"Yes," said Dwight, coming up, eagerly, to Caleb, "you see the current carries all our vessels down the stream, you know, Caleb, and we are going to build out a long mole, out into the middle of the brook, and that will stop our vessels; and then we are going to make it pretty wide, so that we can walk out upon it, and the end of it will do for a wharf."

"Yes, it will be a sort of harbour for 'em," said David.

Caleb looked quite pleased at this plan and wanted the boys to let him help; and Dwight said he might go and help them get their next load of stones.

But Caleb did not help much, although he really tried to help. He kept getting into the other boys' way. At last Dwight got out of patience, and said,

"Caleb, you don't help us the least mite. I wish you would go away."

But Caleb wanted to help; and Dwight tried to make him go away. Presently, he began to laugh at him for being afraid of a cow.

"I suppose I could frighten you by moo-ing at you, Caleb."

Caleb did not answer, but walked along by the side of the wheelbarrow. David was wheeling it; for they had now got it loaded, and were going back to the shore of the brook, Caleb on one side, and Dwight upon the other. Dwight saw that Caleb hung his head, and looked confused.

"Moo! moo!" said Dwight.

Caleb walked along silent as before.

"Moo! moo!" said Dwight, running round to Caleb's side of the wheelbarrow, and moo-ing close into his ear.

Caleb let go of the wheelbarrow, turned around, burst into tears, and walked slowly and sorrowfully away towards the house.

"There, now," said David, "you have made him cry. What do you want to trouble him so for?"

Dwight looked after Caleb, and seeing that he was going to the house, he was afraid that he would tell his grandmother. So he ran after him, and began to call to him to stop; but, before he had gone many steps, he saw his grandmother standing at the door of the house, and calling to them all to come.

Caleb had nearly stopped crying when he came up to his grandmother. She did not say any thing to him about the cause of his trouble, but asked him if he was willing to go down cellar with Mary Anna, and help her choose a plateful of apples for dinner. His eye brightened at this proposal, and Mary Anna, who was sitting at the window, reading, rose, laid down her book, took hold of his hand with a smile, and led him away.

Madam Rachel then went to her seat in her great arm-chair, and David and Dwight came and stood by her side.

"I am sorry, Dwight, that you wanted to trouble Caleb."

"But, mother," said Dwight, "I only moo-ed at him a little."

"And what did you do it for?"

"O, only for fun, mother."

"Did you suppose it gave him pain?"

"Why,—I don't know."

"Did you suppose it gave him pleasure?"

"Why, no," said Dwight, looking down.

"And did not you know that it gave him pain? Now, tell me, honestly."

"Why, yes, mother, I knew it plagued him a little; but then I only did it for fun."

"I know it," said Madam Rachel; "and that is the very thing that makes me so sorry for it."

"Why, mother?" said Dwight in a tone of surprise.

"Because if you had given Caleb four times as much pain for any other reason, I should not have thought half so much of it, as to have you trouble him for fun. If it had been to do him any good, or to do any body else any good, or from mistake, or mere thoughtlessness, I should not have thought so much of it; but to do it for fun!"

Here Madam Rachel stopped, as if she did not know what to say.

"I rather think, mother, it was only thoughtlessness," said David, by way of excusing Dwight.

"No; because he knew that it gave Caleb pain, and it was, in fact, for the very purpose of giving him pain, that Dwight did it. If he had been saying moo accidentally, without thinking of troubling Caleb, that would have been thoughtlessness; but it was not so. And what makes me most unhappy about this," continued Madam Rachel, putting her hand gently on Dwight's head, "is that my dear Dwight has a heart capable under some circumstances, of taking pleasure in the sufferings of a helpless little child."

David and Dwight were both silent, though they saw clearly that what their mother said was true.

"And yet, perhaps, you think it is a very little thing after all," she continued, "just moo-ing at Caleb a little. The pain it gave him was soon over. Just sending him down cellar to get apples, made him forget it in a moment; so that you see it is not the mischief that is done, in this case, but the spirit of mind in you, that it shews. It is a little thing, I know; but then it is a little symptom of a very bad disease. It is very hard to cure."

"Well, mother," said Dwight, looking up, and speaking very positively, "I am determined not to trouble Caleb any more."

"Yes, but I am afraid your determinations won't reach the difficulty. As long as the spirit of mind remains, so that you are capable of taking pleasure in the sufferings of another, your determinations not to indulge the bad spirit, will not do much good. You will forget them all, when the temptation comes. Don't you remember how often I have talked with you about this, and how often you have promised not to do it, before?"

"Why, yes, mother," said Dwight, despondingly.

"So, you see determinations will not do much good. As long as your heart is malicious, the malice will come out in spite of all your determinations."

Just at this moment Caleb came in, bringing his plate of apples, with an air of great importance and satisfaction. He had nearly forgotten his troubles. Soon after this, dinner was brought in, and Madam Rachel said no more to the boys about malice. After dinner, they went out again to play.



CHAPTER III.

BUILDING THE MOLE.

Caleb sat down upon the step of the door, eating a piece of bread, while Dwight and David returned to their work of building the mole. They got the wheelbarrow, and loaded it with stones.

Caleb sat a few minutes more at the door, and then he went into the house, and got his little rocking chair, and brought it out under the elm, and sat down there, looking towards the boys, who were at work near the water. At last, David spied him sitting there, and said,

"There is Caleb, sitting under the great tree."

Dwight looked around, and then, throwing down the stone that he had in his hands, he said,

"I mean to go and get him to come here."

So he ran towards him, and said,

"Come, Caleb, come down here, and help us make our mole."

"No," said Caleb, shaking his head, and, turning away a little; "I don't want to go."

"O, do come, Caleb," said Dwight; "I won't trouble you any more."

"No," said Caleb: "I am tired, and I had rather stay here in my little chair."

"But I will carry your chair down to the brook; and there is a beautiful place there to sit and see us tumble in the stones."

So Caleb got up, and Dwight took his chair, and they walked together down to the shore of the brook. Dwight found a little spot so smooth and level, that the rocking-chair would stand very even upon it, though it would not rock very well, for the ground was not hard, like a floor. Caleb rested his elbow upon the arm of his chair, and his pale cheek in his little slender hand, and watched the stones, as, one after another, they fell into the brook.

The brook at this place, was very wide and shallow, and the current was not very rapid, so that they got along pretty fast; and thus the mole advanced steadily out into the stream.

"Well, Caleb," said Dwight, as he stopped, after they had tossed out all the stones from the wheelbarrow, "and how do you like our mole?"

"O, not very well," said Caleb.

"Why not?" said Dwight, surprised.

"It is so stony."

"Stony?" said Dwight.

"Yes," said Caleb, "I don't think I could walk on it very well."

"O," said Dwight, "we are going to make the top very smooth, when we get it done."

"How?" said Caleb.

"Why, we are going to haul gravel on it, and smooth it all down."

"Why can't we do it now?" said David, "as we go along: and then we can wheel our wheelbarrow out upon it, and tip our stones in at the end."

"Agreed," said Dwight; and they accordingly leveled the stones off on the top, and put small stones in at all the interstices, that is, the little spaces between the large stones, so as to prevent the gravel from running down through. Then they went and got a load of gravel out of a bank pretty near, and spread it down over the top, and it made a good, smooth road; only, it was not trodden down hard at first, and so it was not very easy wheeling over it.

They found one difficulty, however, and that was that the gravel rolled over each side of the mole, and went into the water. To prevent this, they arranged the largest stones on each side, in a row, for the edge, and then filled in with gravel up to the edge, and thus they gradually advanced towards the middle of the stream, finishing the mole completely as they went on. Caleb then said he liked it very much, and wanted to walk on it. So the boys let him. He went out to the end, and stood there a minute, and then said that he wished he had his whip there, to whip in a stick which was sailing down a little way off.

"Where is your whip?" said David.

"I suppose it is hanging up on its nail," said Caleb, "I mean to go and get it."

So Caleb walked off the mole, and went slowly up towards the house, singing by the way, while David and Dwight went after another load of gravel. While they were putting down this load, and spreading it on, Caleb came back, looking disappointed and sorrowful, and saying that he could not find his whip.

"Where did you put it when you had it last?" asked David.

"I put it on the nail," said Caleb, "I always put it on the nail."

"O, no, Caleb," said Dwight; "you must have left it about somewhere."

"No," said Caleb, shaking his head with a positive air, "I am sure I put it on my nail."

"When did you have it last?"

"Why,—let me see," said Caleb, thinking. "I had it yesterday, playing horses on the wood-pile: and then I had it this morning,—I believe,—when I went up the brook to meet Raymond."

"Then you left it up there, I know," said Dwight.

"No," said Caleb, "I am sure I put it on my nail."

"You did not have it, Caleb," said David, mildly, "when we met you on the bridge."

"Didn't I?" said Caleb, standing still and trying to think.

"No," replied Dwight, decidedly.

"I wish you would go up there with me, and help me find it."

"Why, we want to finish our mole," said David.

"I'll go," said Dwight, "while you, David, get another load of gravel. Come, Caleb," said he, "go and shew me where it was."

So Dwight and Caleb walked on. They went down to the bridge, crossed the stream upon it, then turned up, on the opposite bank, and walked on until they came to the cotton landing. Caleb then pointed to the place where he had fallen in; and they looked all about there, upon the bank, and in the water, but in vain. No whip was to be found.

Before they returned, they stopped a moment at the cotton landing, and Caleb shewed Dwight that the cotton was all made of little bubbles. They got some of it to the shore and examined it, and then, just as they were going away. Dwight exclaimed, suddenly,

"There is your whip, now, Caleb."

Caleb looked round, and saw that Dwight was pointing towards the little fall or rather great ripple of water, and there, just in the fall, was the whip-handle floating, and kept from drifting away by the lash, which had got caught in the rocks. There the handle lay, or rather hung, bobbing up and down, and struggling as if it was trying to get free.

After various attempts to liberate it, by throwing sticks and stones at it, Dwight took off his shoes, turned up his pantaloons to his knees, and waded in to the place, and after carefully extricating the whip, brought it safely to the shore.

"I am very glad I have got my whip again," said Caleb, while Dwight was putting on his shoes.

"I am glad too," said Dwight. "But you told a lie about it, Caleb."

"A lie!" said Caleb.

"Yes: you said you certainly hung it up upon the nail," said Dwight, as they began to walk along.

"Well, I thought I did," said Caleb.

"That makes no difference. You did not say you thought you hung it up, but that you were sure you did."

"Well, I certainly thought I did," said Caleb; "and I am sure it wasn't a lie."

Dwight insisted that it was, and Caleb determined to ask his grandmother.

They returned to the mole.

It was not long after this, that David, on looking towards the house, called out that his mother was coming. It was true. She put on her bonnet, and was coming slowly down to the brook, to see how the boys got on with their work. They were rejoiced to see her coming. They took Caleb's chair, and laid it down upon its side, and then put one of the side-pieces of the wheelbarrow upon it with the clean side up; and this made quite a comfortable seat for her, though it was a little unsteady. She sat down upon it, and made a good many enquiries about their plan and the progress of the work.

"Well, boys," said she, "that is a capital plan, and you will have a great eddy above your mole."

"An eddy!" said Dwight, "what is that?"

"Why, the water coming down, will strike upon the outer end of your mole, and be turned in towards the shore, and then will go round, and will come into the stream again. There, you can see it is beginning to run so already."

So the boys looked above the mole, and they saw the little bubbles that were floating in the water, sailing round and round slowly, in a small circle, between the upper side of the mole and the shore.

"When you get it built away out," said Madam Rachel, "there will be quite a whirlpool; you might call it the Maelstrom. There, you see, Caleb can have a little harbour up there on the shore, and one of you can go out to the end of the mole, and put a little ship into the water, and the eddy will carry it round to him. Then he can take out the cargo, and put in a new one, and then set the ship in the water, and the current will carry it back again, round on the other side of the whirlpool."

The boys were very much delighted at this prospect, and they determined to build out the mole very far, so as to have "a great sweep," as Dwight called it, in the eddy. Caleb went out upon the part of the mole which was finished, and put in a piece of wood, and watched it with great delight as it slowly sailed round.



CHAPTER IV.

A DISCUSSION.

While Caleb stood upon the mole, he began to whip the water; and, in doing so, he spattered David and Dwight a little.

Dwight said, "Take care, Caleb—don't spatter us;" and he went up to him, and was going gently to take hold of his whip, to take it away. "Let me have the whip," said he.

"No," said Caleb, holding it firmly, "I want it."

"Let go of it, Dwight," said Madam Rachel.

"Why, mother, he ought to let me have it, for I went and got it for him. He would not have had it at all without me."

"You must not take it by violence," said his mother, "if you have ever so good a right to it. But did you get it for him?"

"Yes, mother; and he told a lie about it."

"O, Dwight," said his mother, "you ought not to say so. I can't think Caleb would tell a lie."

"He did, mother; he said he was sure he hung it up, when, after all, he dropped it in the water; and we agreed to leave it to you if that was not telling a lie."

"Did you know, Caleb, when you said you hung it up, that you had really left it in the water?"

"No, grandmother," said Caleb, very earnestly; "I really thought I had hung it up."

"Then it was not telling a lie, Dwight. A lie is told with an intention to deceive. To make it a lie it is necessary that the person who says a thing, must know distinctly at the time that he says it, that it is not true; and he must say it with the particular intention to deceive. Now, Caleb did not do this."

"Well, mother," said Dwight, "I am sure you have told us a good many times that we must never say any thing unless we are sure it is true."

"So I have. I admit that Caleb did wrong in saying so positively that he had hung his whip up, when he did not know certainly that he had. But this does not prove that it was telling a lie. You know there are a great many other faults besides telling lies; and this is one of them."

"What do you call it, mother?" said David.

"I don't know," said she, hesitating. "It is a very common fault,—asserting a thing positively, when you do not know whether it is true or not. But if you think it is true, even if you have no proper grounds for thinking so, and are entirely mistaken, it is not telling a lie."

"In fact," she continued, "I once knew a case where one boy was justly punished for falsehood when what he said was true; and another was rewarded for his truth, when what he said was false."

"Why, mother?" said Dwight and David together, with great surprise.

"Yes," said Madam Rachel; "the case was this. They were farmers' boys, and they wanted to go into the barn, and play upon the hay. Their father told them they might go, but charged them to be careful to shut the door after them in going in, so as not to let the colt get out. So the boys ran off to the barn in high glee, and were so eager to get upon the hay, that they forgot altogether to shut the door. When they came down they found the door open, and to their great alarm, the colt was nowhere to be seen. Josy, one of the boys, said, 'Let us shut the door now, and not tell father that we let the colt out, and he will think somebody else did it.'

"'No,' said James, the other, 'let us tell the truth.'

"So about an hour afterwards, Josy went into the house, and his father said, 'Josy, did you let the colt out?'

"'No, sir,' said Josy.

"Not long after he met James.

"'James,' said he, 'you had a fine time upon the hay, I suppose. I hope you did not let the colt out.'

"James hung his head, and said, 'Why, yes, sir, we did. We forgot to shut the door, and so he got away.'

"Now, which of these boys, do you suppose, was guilty of telling a lie?"

"Why, Josy, certainly," said David, Dwight, and Caleb, all together.

"Yes, and yet the colt had not got away."

"Hadn't he?" said Dwight.

"No, he was safely coiled up in a corner upon some hay, out of sight; and there the farmer found him safe and sound, when he went in to look. But did that make any difference in Josy's guilt, do you think?"

"No, mother," said Dwight. David, at the same time shook his head, shewing that he entertained the same opinion.

"I think it did not," continued Madam Rachel, "and the farmer thought so too; for he very properly punished Josy, and rewarded James."

Dwight seemed to assent to this rather reluctantly, as if he was almost sorry that Caleb had not been proved guilty of telling a lie.

"Well, mother," he said presently, with a more lively tone, "at any rate he disobeyed you; for you told him not to go near the brook where the bank was high; and he did, or else he never would have fallen in."

"But I could not help it," said Caleb, "the cow frightened me so."

"Yes, you could help it," said Dwight; "for the cow did not come up and push you; you walked back yourself, of your own accord."

Madam Rachel observed that Caleb appeared more pale and languid than usual; and this new charge which Dwight brought against him, made him more sad and melancholy still.

Madam Rachel accordingly then said she would not talk any more about it then, for she must go in, and she asked Caleb whether he would rather go in with her, or remain out there with the boys. He said he would rather go in. So he took hold of Madam Rachel's hand, and walked along by her side. David said he would bring his rocking-chair for him, when he and Dwight should come in.



CHAPTER V.

THE STORY OF BLIND SAMUEL.

Madam Rachel went into the house, and sat down in her large rocking-chair, by a window, in a back parlour that looked out upon a little garden, and began to sew. Caleb played around a little while, rather languidly, and at last came up to his grandmother, and leaning upon her lap, asked her if she would not take him up, and rock him a little. She could not help pitying him, he looked so feeble and sad; and she accordingly laid down her work, and lifted him up,—he was not heavy.

"Well Caleb, you have not asked me to take you up, and tell you a story so, for a long time. This is the way I used to do when you were quite a little boy; only then you used to kneel in my lap, and lay your head upon my shoulder, so that my mouth was close to your ear. But you are too big now."

Caleb smiled a little, for he was glad to find that he was growing big; but it was rather a faint and sad smile.

"But I don't grow any stronger, grandmother," said he. "I wish I was well and strong, like the other boys."

"You don't know what would be best for you, my little Caleb. God leads you along in his own way through life, and you must go patiently and pleasantly on, just where he thinks best. You are like blind Samuel, going through the woods with his father."

"How was that, grandmother?" said he, sitting up, and turning round to look at her.

"You sit still," said she, gently laying him back again, "and I will tell you."

"Samuel was a blind boy. He had been away, and was now going home with his father. His father led him, and he walked along by his side. Presently, they came to a large brook, and, before they got near it, they heard it roaring. His father said, 'Samuel, I think there is a freshet.' 'I think so too,' said Samuel, 'for I hear the water roaring.' When they came in sight of the stream, his father said, 'Yes, Samuel, there has been a great freshet, and the bridge is carried away.' 'And what shall we do now?' said Samuel. 'Why we must go round by the path through the woods.' 'That will be bad for me,' said Samuel 'But I will lead you,' said his father, 'all the way; just trust every thing to me.' 'Yes, father,' said Samuel, 'I will.'

"So his father took a string out of his pocket, and gave one end of it to Samuel. 'There, Samuel,' said he, 'take hold of that, and that will guide you; and walk directly after me.'"

"How long was the string?" said Caleb.

"O not very long," replied Madam Rachel; "so as just to let him walk a step or two behind."

"After he had walked on a short distance, he said, 'Father, I wish you would let me take hold of your hand.' 'But you said,' replied his father, 'that you would trust every thing to me.' 'So I will, father,' said Samuel; 'but I do wish you would let me take hold of your hand, instead of this string.' 'Very well,' said his father, 'you may try your way.'

"So Samuel came and took hold of his father's hand, and tried to walk along by his father's side. But the path was narrow; there was not more than room for one, and though his father walked as far on one side as possible, yet Samuel had not room enough. The branches scratched his face, and he stumbled continually upon roots and stones. At length he said, 'Father, you know best. I will take hold of the string, and walk behind.'

"So, after that, he was patient and submissive, and followed his father wherever he led. After a time his father saw a serpent in the road directly before them. So he turned aside, to go round by a compass in the woods."

"A compass?" said Caleb.

"Yes," said his grandmother; "that is a round-about way. But it was very rough and stony. Presently, Samuel stopped and said, 'Father, it seems to me it is pretty stony; haven't we got out of the path?'

"'Yes,' said his father; 'but you promised to be patient and submissive, and trust every thing to me.'

"'Well,' said Samuel, 'you know best, and I will follow.'

"So he walked on again. When they had got by, his father told him that the reason why he had gone out of the road was, that there was a serpent there. And so, when God leads us in a difficult way, Caleb, that we don't understand at the time, we often see the reason of it afterwards."

Caleb did not answer, and Madam Rachel went on with her story.

"By and by, his father came within the sound of the brook again, and stopped a minute or two, and then he told Samuel that he should have to leave him a short time, and that he might sit down upon a log, and wait until he came back. 'But, father,' said Samuel, 'I don't want to be left alone here in the woods, in the dark.' 'It is not dark,' said his father. 'It is all dark to me,' said Samuel. 'I know it is,' said his father, 'and I am very sorry; but you promised to leave every thing to me, and be obedient and submissive.' 'So I will, father; you know best, and I will do just as you say.' So Samuel sat down upon the log, and his father went away. He was a little terrified by the solitude, and the darkness, and the roaring of the water; but he trusted to his father, and was still.

"By and by, he heard a noise as of something heavy falling into the water. He was frightened, for he thought it was his father. But it was not his father. What do you think it was, Caleb?"

Caleb did not answer. Madam Rachel looked down to see why he did not speak, and as she moved him a little, so as to see his face, his head rolled over to one side; and, in short, Madam Rachel found that he was fast asleep.

"Poor little fellow!" said she; and she rose carefully, and carried him to the bed, and laid him down. He opened his eyes a moment, when his cheek came in contact with the cool pillow, but turned his face over immediately, shut his eyes again, and was soon in a sound sleep.



CHAPTER VI.

ENGINEERING.

When Caleb awoke it was almost evening. The rays of the setting sun were shining in at the window. Caleb opened his eyes, and, after lying still a few moments, began to sing. He thought it was morning, and that it was time for him to get up. Presently, however, he observed that the sun was shining in at the wrong window for morning: then he noticed that he was not undressed; and, finally, he thought it must be night; but he could not think how he came to be asleep there at that time.

Caleb went out into the parlour. David and Dwight were just putting the chairs around the tea table. At tea time, the boys talked a good deal about the mole, and they asked Mary Anna if she would help them rig some vessels to sail in the Maelstrom.

"Sail in the Maelstrom!" said Mary Anna; "whoever heard of sailing in the Maelstrom? That is a great whirlpool, which swallows up ships; they never sail in it. You had better call it the Gulf Stream."

"Well," said Dwight, "we will; and will you help us rig some vessels?"

"Yes," said Mary Anna, "when you get the mole done."

Mary Anna was a beautiful girl, about seventeen years old, with a mild and gentle expression of countenance, and very pleasant tone of voice. She helped the children in all their plays, and they were always pleased when she was with them. She had great stores of pasteboard and coloured papers, to make boxes, and portfolios, and little pocket-books, and wallets of; and she had a paint-box, and pencils, and drawing-books, and portfolios of pictures and drawing lessons.

She rigged the boys' vessels, and covered their balls, and made them beautiful flags and banners out of her pieces of coloured silk. She advised them to have a flag-staff out at the end of the mole, as they generally have on all fortifications and national works. She told them she would make them a handsome flag for the purpose.

After tea she went down with them to see the works. She seemed to like the mole very much. The whirlpool was moving very regularly, and she advised them to build the mole out pretty far.

"Yes," said Dwight; "and we are going to have a piece across up and down the stream, at the end of it, so as to make a T of it."

"I think you had better make a Y of it," said Mary Anna.

"A Y!" said Dwight, "how?"

"Why instead of having the end piece go straight across the end of the mole, let the two parts of it branch out into the stream, one upwards and the other down."

"What good will that do?" said David.

"Why, if you make it straight like a T, the current will run directly along the outer edge of it, and so your vessels will not stay there. But if you have it Y-shaped, there will be a little sort of harbour in the crotch, where your vessels can lie quietly, while the current flows along by, out beyond the forks."

"That will be excellent," said Dwight, clapping his hands.

"And besides," said she, "the upper part of the Y will run out obliquely into the stream, and so turn more of the current into your eddy, and make the whirlpool larger."

"Well, and we will make it so," said David; "and then it will be an excellent mole."

"Yes," said Mary Anna, "there will be all sorts of water around it;—a whirlpool above, a little harbour in the crotch, a current in front, and still water below. It will be as good a place for sailing boats as I ever saw."

But the twilight was coming on, and they all soon returned to the house.

Madam Rachel had a little double-bedroom, as it was called, where she slept. It was called a double-bedroom, because it consisted, in fact, of two small rooms, with a large arched opening between them, without any door. In one room was the bed, which moved in and out on little trucks, for Caleb. In the other room was a table in the middle, with books and papers upon it. There was a window in one side, and opposite the arched opening which led to the bedroom was a small sofa.

Now, it was Madam Rachel's custom every evening, before the children went to bed, to take them into her bedroom, and hear them read a few verses of the Bible; and then she would explain the verses, and talk with them a little about what had occurred during the day, and give them good advice and good instruction. At such times the children usually sat upon the sofa, on one side of the table, and Madam Rachel took her seat on the other side of the table, in the chair, so as to face them. The children generally liked this very much; and yet she very seldom told them any stories at these times. It was almost all reasonings and explanations; and yet the children liked it very much.



CHAPTER VII.

THE SOFA.

The boys took their places on the sofa, and afterwards laid their books upon the table. After that Madam Rachel began to talk about the occurrences of the day, as follows:—

"There are two or three things, boys, that I have been keeping to talk with you about this evening. One is the question you asked, Dwight, about Caleb's disobeying me, when he fell into the water."

"Yes, mother," said Dwight, looking up at once, very eagerly; "you told him never to go near the bank; and yet he went, and so he fell in."

"But I could not help it," said Caleb.

"Why, yes, mother, he certainly could help it; for he walked there himself of his own accord."

"Very well; that is the question for us to consider; but, first, we must all be in a proper state of mind to consider it, or else it will do us no good. Now, Dwight, I am going to ask you a question, and I want to have you answer it honestly:—Which way do you wish to have this question, about Caleb's disobedience, decided?"

"Why,—I don't know," said Dwight.

"Suppose I should come to the conclusion that Caleb did right, and should prove it by arguments, should you feel a little glad, or a little sorry?"

Dwight hung his head, and seemed somewhat confused, but said, doubtfully, that he did not know.

"Now, I think, myself," said his mother, "that you have a secret wish to have it appear that Caleb is guilty of disobedience. You said he disobeyed, at first, from unkind feelings, which you seemed to feel towards him at the moment; and now, I suppose, you wish to adhere to it, so as to get the victory. Now, honestly, isn't it so?"

Dwight did not answer at first. He looked somewhat ashamed. Presently, however, he concluded, that it was best to be frank and honest; so he looked up and acknowledged that it was so.

"Yes," said his mother; "and while you are under the influence of such a prejudice, it would do no good for us to discuss the subject, for you would not be convinced; so you had better give it up."

Madam Rachel saw, while she was speaking, that Dwight did not look sullen and dissatisfied, but good-natured and pleasant; and so she knew that he had concluded to listen, candidly, to what she had to say.

"I think that Caleb was not to blame at all," said Madam Rachel, "for two reasons. One is, that he was probably overwhelmed with terror. To be sure, as you say, the cow did not push him. He walked himself,—yet still he was impelled as strongly as if he had been pushed, though in a different manner."

"Then there is another reason why Caleb is innocent of any disobedience. When I told him that he must not go to the high banks, I did not mean that he never must go, in any case whatever."

"I thought you said he never must," said David.

"I presume I did say so, and I made no exceptions; but still some exceptions are always implied in such a case. In all commands, however positive they may be, there is always some exception implied."

"Why, mother?" said Dwight with surprise.

"It is so," said his mother. "Suppose, for instance, that I were to tell you to sit down by the parlour fire, and study a lesson, and not to get out of your chair on any account. And suppose that, after I had gone and left you, the fire should fall down, and some coals roll out upon the floor, would it not be your duty to get up, and brush them back?"

"Why, yes," said Dwight.

"So in all cases, very extreme and extraordinary occurrences, that could not, by possibility, have been considered, make exceptions. And Caleb, thinking, as he did, that he was in great danger from the cow, if he had thought of my command at all, he would have done perfectly right to have considered so extraordinary a case an exception, and so have retreated towards the brook, notwithstanding my commands. And now that question is settled."

Here little Caleb, who had been sitting up very straight, and looking eagerly at his grandmother and at the other boys, during the progress of the conversation, drew a long breath, and leaned back against the sofa, as if he felt a good deal relieved.

"And now, Dwight, there is one thing I have seen in you to-day, which gave me a great deal of pleasure, and another which gave me pain."

"What, mother," said Dwight.

"Why, after I talked with you at noon, about teasing Caleb, you began to treat him very kindly. That gave me a great deal of pleasure. I saw that your heart was somewhat changed in regard to Caleb; for you seemed to take pleasure in making him happy, while before you took delight in making him miserable."

Dwight looked gratified and pleased while his mother was saying these things.

"But then, in the course of the afternoon," she continued, "the old malignant heart seemed to come back again. When I came down to see the mole, I found you in such a state of mind as to take pleasure in Caleb's suffering. You wanted to prove that he had told a lie, and looked disappointed when I shewed you that he had not. Then you wanted to prove he had disobeyed me, when, after all, you knew very well that he had not."

"O, mother," said Dwight.

"Yes, Dwight, I am very sorry to have to say so; but you undoubtedly had no real belief that Caleb had done wrong. Suppose I had told you I was going to punish him for disobeying me in retreating to the brook, should you have thought that it would have been right?"

"Why, no, mother," said Dwight.

"You would have been shocked at such an idea. And now don't you see that all your attempts to prove that he had done wrong, was only the effect of the ill-will you felt towards him at the time. It was malice triumphing over your judgment and your sense of right and wrong. I told you, you know, that your resolutions would not reach the case."

"Well, mother, I am determined," said Dwight, very deliberatively and positively, "that I never will tease or trouble Caleb any more."

"The evil is not so much in teasing and troubling Caleb, as in having a heart capable of taking any pleasure in it. That is the great difficulty."

"Well, mother, I am determined I never will feel any pleasure in his trouble again."

"I am afraid that won't depend altogether upon the determination you make. For instance, when you went to Caleb to-day, and kindly tried to persuade him to go down, and offered to carry his rocking-chair for him, your heart was then in a state of love towards him. Do you think you could then, by determination, have changed it from love to hate, and begun to take pleasure in teasing him?"

Dwight remembered how kindly and pleasantly he had felt towards Caleb at that time, and he thought that it would have been impossible for him then to have found any pleasure in tormenting him; and so he said, "No, mother, I could not."

"And so, when you are angry with a person, and your heart is in a state of ill-will and malice towards him, does it seem to you that you can merely by a determination change it all at once, and begin to be filled with love, so as to feel pleasure in his happiness?"

Dwight was silent at first; he presently answered, faintly, that he could not.

"And if you cannot change your heart by your mere determination at the time, you certainly cannot by making one general determination, now beforehand, for all time to come."

Dwight saw his helpless condition, and sighed. After a pause, he said,

"Mother, it seems to me you are discouraging me from trying to be a better boy."

"No, Dwight; but I don't want you to depend on false hopes that must only end in your disappointment. Your determination will help in not indulging the bad feelings; but I want to have your heart changed so that you could not possibly have such feelings. I hope mine is. I once shewed the same spirit that you do; but now I don't think it would be possible for me to take any pleasure in teasing Caleb, or you, or David.

"I hope," added Madam Rachel, "that God will give you a benevolent and tender heart, so that there shall be no tendency in you to do wrong. He will change yours, if you pray to him to do it. In fact, I hope, and sometimes I almost believe, that he has begun. I do not think you would have gone to Caleb to-day so pleasantly, and acknowledged your fault, as you did by your actions, and felt so totally different from what you had done, if God had not wrought some change in you. I have very often talked with children about such faults, as plainly and kindly as I did with you, and it produced no effect. When they went away, I found, by their looks and actions afterwards, that their hearts were not changed at all. And so, Dwight," said she, "I have not been saying this to discourage you, but to make you feel that you need a greater change than you can accomplish, and so to lead you to God that you may throw yourself upon him, and ask him, not merely to help you in your determinations not to act out your bad feelings, but to change the very nature of them, or rather, to carry on the change, which I hope he has begun."

Dwight remembered, while his mother was talking, how full his heart had been of kindness and love to Caleb, while he was helping him that afternoon, and he perceived clearly that he had not produced that state of mind by any of his own determinations that he would feel so before he actually did. He remembered how happy he had been at that time, and how discontented and miserable after he had been troubling Caleb; and he had a feeling of strong desire that God would change his heart, and make him altogether and always benevolent and kind.

Now, it happened that Caleb had not understood this conversation very well, and he began to be weary and uneasy. Besides just about this time he began to recollect something about his grandmother's beginning a story for him, when she took him up in her lap, after he came in from the mole. So, when he noticed that there was a pause in the conversation, he said,

"Grandmother, you promised to tell me a story about blind Samuel."

"So I did," said his grandmother smiling, "and I began it; but before I got through you got fast asleep."

David and Dwight laughed, and so in fact did Caleb; and Madam Rachel then said that if he would tell David and Dwight the story as far as she had gone, she would finish it.

"Well," said Caleb, "I will. Once there was a blind boy, and his name was Samuel; and, you see, he was going through the woods, and his father was with him. And his father walked along, and he walked along, and it was stony, and he said he would do just what his father said, because his father knew best,—and—and so he took hold of the string again."

"What string?" said Dwight.

"Why, it was his father's string," said Caleb, eagerly, looking up into Dwight's face.

"What did he have a string for?" said David.

"Why to lead him along by," said Caleb.

"Yes—but why did not he take hold of his father's hand?" asked Dwight.

"Why,—why,—there was a snake in the road, I believe,—wasn't there, grandmother?"

His grandmother smiled,—for Caleb had evidently got bewildered, in his drowsiness, so that he had not a very distinct recollection of the story. She, therefore, began again, and told the whole. When she got to the place where she left off before, that is, to the place Samuel heard a splash in the water, Dwight started up, and asked, eagerly,

"What was it?"

"A stone, I suppose," said David, coolly.

"No," said Madam Rachel, "it was only the end of the stem of a small tree, which Samuel's father was trying to fix across the brook, so that he could lead his blind boy over. It was lying upon the ground, and he took it and raised it upon its end, near the edge of the bank, on one side, and then let it fall over, in hopes that the other end would fall upon the opposite bank. But it did not happen to fall straight across, and so the end fell into the water, and this was the noise that Samuel heard.

"He drew the stick back again, and then contrived to raise it on its end once more; and this time he was more successful. It fell across, and so extended from bank to bank. In a few minutes he succeeded in getting another by its side, and then he came back to Samuel.

"'Samuel,' said he, 'I have built a bridge.'

"'A bridge!' said Samuel.

"'Yes,' said he, 'a sort of a bridge; and now I am going to try to lead you over.'

"'But, father, I am afraid.'

"'You said you would trust yourself entirely to me, and go wherever I should say.'

"'Well, father,' said Samuel, 'I will. You know best, after all.'

"So Samuel took hold of his father's hand, and, with slow, and very careful steps, he got over the roaring torrent, and then they soon came out into a broad smooth road, and so got safely home."

"Now, Caleb," continued Madam Rachel, after she had finished her story, "do you remember what I meant to teach you by this story?"

"Yes, Grandmother; you said that I was like blind Samuel, and that God knew what was best for me, and that I must let him lead me wherever he pleases."

"Yes; and what was it that you said that reminded me to tell you the story?"

"I said that I wished that I was well and strong, like the other boys."

"Yes," said his grandmother, "I do not think you said it in a fretful or impatient spirit; but I thought that this story of Samuel would help to keep you patient and contented."

"Yes, grandmother, it does," said Caleb.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE CART RIDE.

A week after this, Caleb had his whip to mend. He had broken off the lash, by whipping in sticks and little pieces of drift-wood to the mole. David and Dwight worked a little every day upon the mole, and had carried it out pretty far into the stream, and had almost finished the lower branches of the Y. So, one morning, after the boys had gone to school, and Caleb had had his reading lesson, he sat down upon the steps of the door, behind the house, and began to tie on his lash with a piece of twine which Mary Anna had given him.

Behind the house where Caleb's grandmother lived, there was a lane which led to the pasture. At the head of the lane, where you entered it from the yard, were a pair of bars. While Caleb was mending his whip, he accidentally looked up, and noticed that the bars were down.

"There, Mr. Raymond," said Caleb, talking to himself, as he went on winding his twine round and round the whip-handle; "for once in your life, you have been careless. You have left your bars down. Now we shall have the cattle all let out, unless I go and stop the mischief."

Caleb thought he would go and put the bars up again, as soon as he had tied the ends of his twine; but before he got quite ready, he heard a noise, as of something coming in the lane. He could not see down the lane far, from the place where he sat, for the barn was in the way. But he wondered what could be coming, and he looked towards the bars, and sat waiting for it to appear.

In a moment, the head and horns of a great ox came into view, and, immediately after, the body of the ox himself, walking slowly along towards the bars.

"There now," said Caleb, "there comes Lion, and he'll get away." So he jumped up, and ran towards the ox a few steps, brandishing his whip, and shouting out to drive him back. Old Lion, however, seemed to pay no attention, but came steadily forward, stepping carefully over the ends of the bars, and then, advancing a little way into the yard, began quietly to feed upon the grass. Before Caleb got over his surprise at the entire indifference which old Lion seemed to feel towards him and his whip, he heard the bars rattling again, and looking there, he saw Star, Lion's mate, following on.

"O dear me," said Caleb, "what shall I do? All our oxen are getting away. I'll run and call Raymond."

So he began to shout out "RAYMOND," as loud as he could call; and immediately afterwards, he heard Raymond's voice answering just down the lane and, looking that way, he saw him coming over the bars himself, as if he had been following the oxen along up the lane.

"Raymond, Raymond," he cried out, "come quiet; all your oxen are getting away."

"O, no," said Raymond, quietly, as he was putting up the bars after the oxen, "they cannot get away—I have fastened the outer gate."

Then Caleb looked around and observed that the outer gate was fastened, so that they could not get out of the yard.

"O, very well," said he. "I did not know you were driving them up;" and so he quietly returned to his seat, and went on playing with his whip. Raymond, in the mean time, proceeded to yoke up the cattle.

"Raymond," said Caleb, at length, "where are you going with the cattle?"

"Out into the woods," said Raymond.

"What are you going to do in the woods?" said Caleb.

"I am going to make a piece of fence."

"May I go with you?"

"I don't think you can help me much about the fence," said Raymond.

"I can pull bushes along," said Caleb.

Raymond made no reply, but began to drive the oxen towards a cart that was standing in a corner of the yard, and, after a few minutes, Caleb renewed his request.

"Raymond, I wish you would let me go with you."

"Well—it is just as your grandmother says," replied Raymond.

So Caleb ran to ask his grandmother; and she came to the window, and enquired of Raymond how long he expected to be gone. He said it would take him more than half a day to make the piece of fence, and he was going to take his dinner with him. This was an objection to Caleb's going; but yet his grandmother concluded on the whole to consent. So they put up some bread and butter, and some apples, with Raymond's dinner, for Caleb. These things were all put in paper parcels, and the parcels put into a bag, which was thrown into the bottom of the cart.

Then Caleb wanted to take his hatchet.

His grandmother thought it would not be safe.

"I'll be very careful," said he: "and if I don't have my hatchet, how can I help to make the fence?"

Raymond smiled, and Madam Rachel seemed at a loss to know what to say.

"It won't do,—will it Raymond?" said she.

"He might cut himself," said Raymond.

"But there is a small key-hole saw in the barn, that I filed up the other day. Perhaps he might have that, to saw the bushes down with."

"Can you saw, Caleb?" said his grandmother.

"Not very well," said Caleb, looking somewhat disappointed; "the saw sticks so."

"I can set it pretty rank," said Raymond, speaking to Madam Rachel at the window, "and then, I think, he can make it run smooth."

Madam Rachel did not understand what Raymond meant by setting it rank, and so she said,

"How will that help it, Raymond?"

"Why, then it will cut a wide kerf," said Raymond, "and so the back will follow in easily."

She did not understand from this much better than she did before; but, as she had great confidence in Raymond, she concluded to let him manage in his own way. She accordingly told him that he might fix the saw, and take Caleb with him.

So Raymond went out into the barn, and took down the saw from a nail. The teeth looked bright and sharp.

"Why, Raymond, how sharp it looks. And the teeth are of different shape from what they were before."

"Yes," said Raymond, "I have made a cutting saw of it."

"A cutting saw?" said Caleb. "Can you cut with a saw? I thought they always sawed with a saw."

"I mean, cut across the grain," said Raymond, smiling. "When a saw is filed so as to saw along the board, then it is called a splitting saw; but when it is to saw across the board, then I call it a cutting saw."

Caleb looked carefully at the teeth, so as to see how the teeth of a cutting saw were shaped. And while he looked on, he observed that Raymond had a little instrument in his hand, and he took hold of the first tooth of the saw with it, and bent it over a little to one side, and then he took hold of the next one, and bent it over to the other side; and so he went on, bending them alternately to the right and left, until he passed along from one end of the saw to the other.

"There," said he, "that is set pretty rank."

"What do you mean by that?" said Caleb, as he followed Raymond out of the barn.

"Why, the teeth are set off, a good way, each side, and it will cut a good wide kerf; and so your saw will run easy."

By this time they had reached the cart. Raymond took hold of Caleb under the arms, and jumped him up into the cart behind, and then handed him his saw. Then he put in an axe and an iron bar for himself, and one or two spare chains; and then he went to open the great gate. Just at this moment, Mary Anna appeared at the window, and said,

"Caleb, are you going into the woods?"

"Yes," said Caleb.

"Then, if you see any good, smooth birch bark, won't you bring me home some!"

"I will," said Caleb; and then Raymond opened the gate, and started the oxen on. Caleb stood up in front, holding on by a stake, and wondering all the while what Raymond could mean by a kerf.

One would think that he might have known by the connection in which Raymond used it,—for he said that he had bent the teeth out so as to make the saw cut a good wide kerf, and so he might have supposed that the kerf was the cut in the wood which a saw makes in going in. The reason why boys find it so difficult to saw, is because the teeth do not generally spread very much, and so the kerf is narrow. Still, the back of the saw would run in it well enough, without sticking, if they were to saw perfectly straight. But they generally make the saw twist or wind a little, and then the back of the saw rubs upon one side or the other; and sticks. Now, Raymond's plan was to make the teeth set off, each side, so far as to make the kerf very wide, and then he thought that Caleb would be able to make it go, especially as the saw was very narrow.

Raymond got into the cart, and took his seat upon a board which passed across from side to side, and they rode along.

They reached, at length, a place where there was a small cart path leading off from the main road into the woods. Raymond turned off into this path; but it was so narrow that both he and Caleb had sometimes to lean away to one side or the other to avoid the bushes. At length he stopped and unfastened the oxen from the tongue. When all was right he started the oxen on before him, Caleb trotting on behind with his saw in his hand.

Presently they struck off from the cart path directly into the woods, and in a few minutes came to the place where the fence was to be made.



CHAPTER IX.

THE FIRE.

Raymond let the cattle browse about, while he went to work, cutting down some small, but yet pretty tall and bushy trees. He then brought up the team, and hooked a long chain into the ring which hung down from the middle of the yoke, upon the under side. The end of the chain trailed upon the ground, as the oxen came along, and Caleb was very much interested to see how they would trample along, any where, among the rocks, roots, mire, logs, bushes, stumps, and, in fact, over and through almost any thing, chewing their cud all the time, patient and unconcerned. When they were brought up near to one of the trees that had been cut down, Raymond would hook the chain around the butt end of it, and then, at his command, they would drag it out of its place in the line of the fence. After looking on for some time, Caleb began to think that he would go to work; and he went to a little tree, with a stem about as big round as his arm, and began to saw away upon it. He found that the saw would run very well indeed; and in a short time, he got the tree off, and then undertook to drag it to the fence.

Raymond was always a very silent man; he seldom spoke, unless to answer a question; and while Caleb had been watching him, when he first began to work, instead of talking with Caleb, as Caleb would have desired, he was all the time singing,

"Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do."

The truth was, that Raymond had just begun to go to a singing school, and he was taking this opportunity to rise and fall the notes, as he called it. When Caleb asked him any question about his work, he would just answer it in a few words, and then, a minute after, begin again with his 'Do, Re, Mi,' and all the rest.

Caleb became tired of this singing; and when, at length, his tree got wedged fast, so that he could not move it any farther, he sat down discouraged upon a log, and looked anxiously towards Raymond, as if he wished that he would come and help him.

Raymond had just hooked his chain to another tree, and taking up his goad stick, called out,

"Ha', Star! ha', Lion!" and then as his oxen started on, he followed them with his—

"Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do."

"Dear me!" said Caleb, with a deep sigh.

"Do, Si, La, Sol, Fa, Mi, Re, Do," sang Raymond, coming down the scale.

Caleb got up, and walked along towards Raymond a little way, and called out,

"Raymond?"

"What?" said Raymond.

"When do you think you shall be done singing that tune?"

Raymond smiled, and asked "Why?"

"Why," said Caleb, in rather a timid voice, "I don't think it is a very pretty tune."

"Don't you?" said Raymond. "Well, I don't admire it much myself."

"Then what do you sing it so much, for, Raymond?"

"O, that's my lesson," said Raymond, "but how does your saw do, Caleb?"

"Very well; only I can't get my tree along."

"Where do you want to get it?"

"O, out to the fence," said Caleb.

"You had better not try to make a fence. You had better build a fire."

"But I have not got any fire to light it with?"

"Yes," said Raymond, "I brought a tinder-box, because I thought you would want a fire; and I forgot to give it to you."

So Raymond pointed to a place among some rocks off at a little distance before him, near the line in which he was coming along with his fence, and advised Caleb to make a fire there. Caleb liked this plan very much. He said he would play "camp out," and so build a camp, and have a fire before the camp. Raymond told him that so soon as he should get his pile of sticks ready, he would come and strike fire for him.

Caleb went to the place and began to work. He cut down bushes, and placed them up against the rocks, in such a manner as to make a little hut which he should get into. He then collected a pile of sticks in front of it. First, he picked up all the dry sticks he could find near, and then he sawed off branches from the old dead trees which were lying around in the forest.

In an hour, with Raymond's help in lighting his fire, Caleb had a very good camp. His hut was quite a comfortable one, with a blazing fire near it, and three large apples roasting before the fire. By and by, Caleb saw Raymond coming towards him, with the bag over his arm. He opened it, and took out one parcel after another, and then laying the mouth of the bag down upon the ground, he took hold of the bottom of it, and raised it in the air; while Caleb watched to see what was coming out. It proved to be potatoes; and Raymond told Caleb he might roast them in his fire.

"Cover them up well with hot ashes and coals, Caleb, and then build a fire upon the top."

So Caleb dug out the bottom of his fire with a pole;—for the fire had pretty much burnt down to ashes;—and he put the potatoes in. There were five of them. Raymond helped him to cover them up, and then he put more sticks upon the top. When that was done, and just as he was going back to his work, Raymond said, "See there, Caleb;—there is a fine chimney for you to burn out."

Caleb looked where Raymond pointed, and saw a very tall and large hollow tree, or rather trunk of a tree,—for the top had long since decayed and dropped away. There it stood, desolate, with a great hole in the side near the bottom, and the bark hanging loosely about it all the way up to the top. The boys always liked to find such hollow trees in the woods, to build fires in; they called it "burning out a chimney."

"Now," said Raymond, "all you have got to do is to go to work while your potatoes are roasting, and fill up that old hollow tree at the bottom with sticks and brush, and old pieces of bark. Pack them in close; then, when I come to dinner, I will help you to light it."

Raymond then went back to the fence, and Caleb began his work as Raymond had directed. He got all the dried branches that he could find, and carried them to the foot of the tree. Others he sawed; and he packed all the pieces in the hollow of the tree as closely as he could.

By this time Caleb saw Raymond coming along towards the camp, and he went there to meet him. They raked open the fire, and took out the potatoes. Raymond turned a stone upon its edge, towards the fire, so as to keep them warm. He also cut some square pieces of birch bark from a neighbouring tree, for plates, and gave one to Caleb, and took one himself, and then they both sat down upon a smooth log which Raymond drew up to the fire, and took their birch bark plates in their lap.

Raymond took a little paper of salt out of his pocket, and poured the salt out upon another square piece of birch bark, which he placed upon a stone between himself and Caleb, so that both could reach it.

"What shall I do for a spoon?" said Caleb.

"O, you don't need a spoon," said Raymond; and he took up a potatoe himself, broke it in two, sprinkled some salt upon it, and began to eat it as a boy would eat an apple.

"O, I can't eat my potatoes so," said Caleb.

"Why not," said Raymond, putting a little more salt upon his own potatoe.

"It is too hot," said Caleb.

"Then you must wait until it cools."

"But I want a spoon very much," said Caleb.

"Well," said Raymond, "I will make you one."

So Raymond took out his knife and cut off a piece from a dry pine branch, which lay near him. He split this so as to get a flat piece out of it, which he fashioned into a rude sort of spoon, that answered Caleb's purpose very well. But before Caleb had much more than begun his dinner, Raymond had finished his, and, rising, said that he must go back to his work.

"But, first, I will set your chimney a-fire," said he.

"No," said Caleb, "I want you to let me kindle it."

"You can't."

"Yes, I can," said Caleb; "I can get some birch bark."

"Very well; only if I go away to my work now, you must not come and trouble me to come back again, because you can't get the fire a-going."

"No," said Caleb, "I won't."

So Raymond went back to his work, and Caleb finished his dinner.

At length, however, his potatoes and bread and butter were all gone, and his apple cores he had pretty thoroughly scraped with his wooden spoon, and thrown into the fire. So he got up from his seat, and prepared to light his chimney. He took his plate for a slow match. It was pretty large and stiff, and he thought it would burn long enough for him to carry it from the fire to his chimney. He accordingly took hold of it by one corner, and held the other corner into the flame, which was curling up from a brand by the side of his fire.

But before the birch bark took fire, the flame of the brand went out, and then Caleb looked around for another. The fire had, however, burnt nearly down, so as to leave a great bed of embers, with the brands all around it, the burnt ends pointing inwards, Caleb pushed some of these into the fire, and soon made a blaze again, and then once more attempted to set the corner of his plate on fire.

He succeeded. The corner began to blaze and curl, and Caleb rose and moved along carefully, lest the wind should blow it out. This precaution was, however, scarcely necessary, for the little wind that his motion occasioned, only fanned the flame the more, and the part which was on fire curled round upon that which was not, and thus formed a round and solid mass, which burned fiercely.

Caleb walked along, the bark blazing higher and higher, and curling in upon itself more and more, until, at length, he began to be afraid it would reach his fingers before he could get to his chimney. He walked faster and faster, and presently began to run. This fanned the fire the more, until, just as he came within a few steps of his chimney, the curling bark reached his fingers, and he tripped over a great root at the very instant when he was dropping the piece of bark from his hands. He came down upon all-fours, and the bark which was now a compact roll, rolled down a little slope, crackling and blazing by the way.

Caleb got up and looked at the blazing mass a minute or two, in despair; but finding that it kept on burning, his eye suddenly brightened, and he said aloud,

"I'll poke it up."

So he looked around for a stick. He readily found one, and began to push the blazing roll up the acclivity; but as fast as he pushed it up, it rolled down again, and all his efforts were consequently vain.

"O dear me!" said Caleb, at length throwing down his stick, "what shall I do?"

In the meantime the roll continued blazing, and Caleb, looking at it steadily, observed that it was hollow.

"Ah," said he, "I'll stick him."

So he took up his stick again, and tried to thrust the end of the stick into the roll. After one or two ineffectual attempts, he succeeded, though by this time the bark was pretty well burnt through, and was all ready to fall to pieces. He, however, succeeded in raising it into the air, upon the end of his pole; but before he got it to the hollow tree, it dropped off again in several blazing fragments, which continued to burn a moment upon the ground, and then went out entirely.

1  2     Next Part
Home - Random Browse