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VOL. I.—NO. 12. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, January 20, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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Poor pussy comes at break of day, And wakes me up to make me play; But I am such a sleepy head, That I'd much rather stay in bed!
OUR OWN STAR.
"As we have already," began the Professor, "had a talk about the stars in general, let us this morning give a little attention to our own particular star."
"Is there a star that we can call our own?" asked May, with unusual animation. "How nice! I wonder if it can be the one I saw from our front window last evening, that looked so bright and beautiful?"
"I am sure it was not," said the Professor, "if you saw it in the evening."
"Is it hard to see our star, then?" she said.
"By no means," replied the Professor; "rather it is hard not to see it. But you must be careful about looking directly at it, or your eyes will be badly dazzled, it is so very bright. Our star is no other than the sun. And we are right in calling it a star, because all the stars are suns, and very likely give light and heat to worlds as large as our earth, though they are all so far off that we can not see them. Our star seems so much brighter and hotter than the others, only because it is so much nearer to us than they are, though still it is some ninety-two millions of miles away."
"How big is the sun?" asked Joe.
"You can get the clearest idea of its size by a comparison. The earth is 7920 miles in diameter, that is, as measured right through the centre. Now suppose it to be only one inch, or about as large as a plum or a half-grown peach; then we would have to regard the sun as three yards in diameter, so that if it were in this room it would reach from the floor to the ceiling."
"How do they find out the distance of the sun?" asked Joe.
"Until lately," replied the Professor, "the same method was pursued as in surveying, that is, by measuring lines and angles. An angle, you know, is the corner made by two lines coming together, as in the letter V. But that method did not answer very well, as it did not make the distance certain within several millions of miles. Quite recently Professor Newcomb has found out a way of measuring the sun's distance by the velocity of its light. He has invented a means of learning exactly how fast light moves; and then, by comparing this with the time light takes to come from the sun to us, he is able to tell how far off the sun is. Thus, if a man knows how many miles he walks in an hour, and how many hours it takes him to walk to a certain place, he can very easily figure up the number of miles it is away."
"Why," said Gus, "that sounds just like what Bob Stebbins said the other day in school. He has a big silver watch that he is mighty fond of hauling out of his pocket before everybody. A caterpillar came crawling through the door, and went right toward the teacher's desk at the other end of the room. 'Now,' said Bob, 'if that fellow will only keep straight ahead, I can tell how long the room is.' So out came the watch, and Bob wrote down the time and how many inches the caterpillar travelled in a minute. But just then Sally Smith came across his track with her long dress, and swept him to Jericho. We boys all laughed out; Sally blushed and got angry; and the teacher kept us in after school."
"Astronomers have the same kind of troubles," said the Professor. "They incur great labor and expense to take some particular observation that is possible only once in a number of years, and then for only a few minutes. And after their instruments are all carefully set up, and their calculations made, the clouds spread over the sky, and hide everything they wish to see. People, too, are very apt to laugh at their disappointment.
"There would, however, be no science of astronomy if those who pursued it were discouraged by common difficulties. To explain the heavenly bodies they sometimes try to make little systems or images of the sun and the planets; but they are never able to show the sizes and distances correctly. If they were to begin by making the sun one inch in diameter, then the earth would have to be three yards off, and as small as a grain of dust; some of the planets would have to be across the street, and others away beyond the opposite houses. So when you look at these little solar systems, as they are called, you must remember that the sizes and distances are all wrong.
"Still, you can get from them some idea how the sun stands in the middle, and the earth and other planets go round, and how the earth, while going round the sun, keeps also turning itself around. You have seen how a top, while spinning, sometimes runs round in a circle. That is just the way our earth does. And if you imagine a candle in the centre of the circle that the top makes, you will see why it is sometimes day and sometimes night. When the side of the earth we are on is turned toward the sun, we have day; and when we have spun past the sun, night comes.
"The sun seems to go past us, and people used to think it really did. But we know now that it is as if we were in a rail-car, and the trees and houses seemed to be rushing along, when we ourselves are the ones that are moving. The sun and all the stars seem to move through the sky from east to west; but it is only our earth that is turning itself the other way, and carrying us with it."
"What makes summer and winter?" asked Joe.
"I think that the top will help you to understand that too. You have noticed that when it spins it does not always stand straight up, but often leans over to one side. So sometimes the upper part of it would be over toward the candle, and sometimes over away from it. The earth leans over too in this same manner; and that is the reason why we have summer and winter. When by this leaning our part of the earth is toward the sun, we get more heat, and have a warm season; when we are leaning away from the sun, and are more in the shadow, the cold weather comes, and continues until we get into a good position to be warmed up again.
"A kind Providence brings this all around very regularly, and there is no danger of our being kept so long in the cold that we would freeze to death. Everything works like a clock that is never allowed to run down or get out of order. In spinning, the earth carries us round twelve or fifteen times as fast as the fastest railway train has ever yet been made to run; and in making its circle round the sun, it moves as fast as a shot from a gun."
"Oh! oh!" exclaimed the children; and Joe asked, "Why are we not all dashed to pieces?"
"Because," said the Professor, "we do not run against anything large enough to do any harm; and we do not realize how fast we are moving, or that we are moving at all, because we do not pass near anything that is standing still. You know that in riding we look at the trees and fences by the road-side to see how rapidly we are going. The hills in the distance do not show our speed, but seem to be following us. Unless we look outside we can not know anything about it, excepting, perhaps, we may guess from the noise and jostling of the vehicle. But as the earth moves smoothly and without the least noise, we would think it stood entirely still did not astronomers assure us of its wonderfully rapid motion. It took them a great while to find it out. When they began to suspect it there was a great dispute over it. Some said it moved; others said it did not. The two parties were for a time very bitter against each other; but now all agree in the belief of its rapid motion."
"A queer thing to quarrel about, I must say," remarked Gus. "I wouldn't have cared a straw whether it moved or not, if I could only have been allowed to move about on it as I pleased."
"I hope you are not getting uneasy, Gus," said Joe.
"There is evident reason," observed Jack, "to suspect that his appreciation of the marvels of science is insufficient to preserve—"
"Oh, bother! Jack, don't give us your college stuff now, after the Professor has told us so much. We like to hear him, of course. I do, for one, a great deal better than I thought I should. But then a fellow can't help getting tired."
When the baby's eyes are blue, Think we of a summer day, Violets, and dancing rills. When the baby's eyes are gray, Doves and dawn are brought to mind. Brown—of gentle fawns we dream, And ripe nuts in shady woods. Black—of midnight skies that gleam With bright stars. But blue or gray, Black or brown, like flower or star, Sweeter eyes can never be To mamma than baby's are.
[Begun in No. 11 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, January 13.]
BY FLETCHER READE.
"Infinite riches in a little room."
The words of the wise old woman of Hollowbush were true, then. Here was a place where gems were more abundant than flowers; and as the child stood on the threshold gazing into the diminutive but wondrously beautiful apartment that had opened so suddenly before her, she saw that she was indeed in the presence-chamber of a king.
The walls were of pure white marble, studded with diamonds, and from the ceiling, which she could almost touch with her hand, hung slender chandeliers of the same material. In each of these, instead of lamps, were innumerable sapphires, throwing a soft blue light over all the place. In every stone a star seemed to be burning steady and clear and wonderfully brilliant. It was the asteria, or star sapphire, which was alone considered worthy to light even the outer courts of the king over a country so rich in gems as this.
The child clapped her hands, and would no doubt have shouted with delight if she had not found herself encircled by tiny men, all looking exactly alike, and all winking and blinking at her just as the gate-keeper had done.
Before she could speak, or even clap her hands a second time, they had entirely surrounded her, joining hands, and wheeling round and round, singing as they went:
"Workers are we—one, two, three— And merry men all, as you see, as you see; Deep under the ground, Where jewels are found, We work, and we sing While we dance in a ring. But a mortal has come to the caves below, So, merry men all, bow low, bow low, For our sister she'll be—one, two, three."
Three times did these strange and merry little people sing their song, and three times did they whirl around the new-comer, thus introducing themselves and welcoming her to their dominions.
Then one of them, but whether the gate-keeper or another she could not tell, stepped forward, and making a low bow, said. "I am the king of the mineral-workers and the workers in stone. These are my people; but because you are a mortal, we one and all bow before you."
At these words all the little people bowed and waved their hands. Then the king continued:
"Henceforth you are to be known as the Princess Bebe;" and he mounted a marble footstool that stood close by, standing on tiptoe, and placing on the head of the new-made princess a tiny coronet of pearls. Dumb with astonishment, the Princess Bebe listened quietly to all that was said to her, and allowed herself to be led away by one of the little men, who had been appointed her chamberlain.
It was now getting late, and she was glad enough to be shown to her own room, that she might think over the many wonderful things which she had seen.
But here were new wonder and new riches.
Instead of being covered with a carpet, the floor was laid in squares of jasper, the windows were of pure white crystal instead of glass, and the curtains were made of a fine net-work of gold, caught back with a double row of amethysts.
The furniture was of gold and silver, exquisitely carved, and the quilt, which lay in stiff folds over the bed, was a marvel of beautiful colors that seemed to be now one thing and now another.
The Princess Bebe held her breath. "It will be like going to sleep on a rainbow," she said to herself, for the opal bed was full of changing colors, now red, now green, and then purple and soft rose-pink, and then, perhaps, green again. "There was never anything so beautiful as this!" exclaimed the princess, throwing herself down; but the next moment she was ready to cry with vexation, for there was neither warmth nor softness in the opal bed, and she lay awake all night, alternately shivering and crying.
"I won't stay in this place another moment," she said, the next morning, when the chamberlain knocked at her door.
The chamberlain bowed, and held before her a silver cup filled with jewels. "These are a present from the king to the Princess Bebe," he said, holding it up for her inspection.
There was first of all a diamond necklace, just what she had been wishing for; then there were ear-rings and bracelets of lapis lazuli of a beautiful azure color; string after string of pearls; emeralds set in buckles for her shoes; amethysts; sapphires as blue as the sea; and last of all a large topaz, which shone with a brilliant yellow light, as if it had been sunshine which some one had caught and imprisoned for her.
The Princess Bebe forgot for a moment her hard bed and sleepless night, and ran to the king to thank him for his presents.
"I am glad to find that you are pleased with your new home," said the king, graciously. "Did the princess sleep well during the night?"
"Oh, not at all well," she answered, forgetting her errand. "And I was very cold, besides."
"Cold? cold?" said the king, sharply. "We must see to that."
Turning to one of his attendants, who held a crystal cup on which were engraved the arms of the royal family, he took from it a stone of a dark orange color, and said,
"This is a jacinth, my dear princess. Whenever you are cold, you have only to rub your hands against it, and you will feel a delicious sense of warmth stealing through your limbs."
The princess rubbed her hands against the smooth stone as the king suggested; but she almost immediately threw it away again, crying out with pain.
"Oh, I don't like it at all," she exclaimed. "It pricks and hurts."
"It is nothing but the electricity," answered the king. "You will soon get accustomed to it, and I have no doubt will be quite fond of your electrical stove."
"I don't want to get accustomed to it," answered the princess. "I want to go home."
Then the king's face grew dark, and his pale blue eyes winked and blinked until they shone like two blazing lights.
"No one comes into our country to go away again," he said at length. "You are the Princess Bebe, adopted daughter of the king of the mineral-workers and the workers in stone, and with him you must stay for the rest of your life."
In spite of her diamond necklace, the princess was actually crying, although it is almost past belief that any one with a diamond necklace could cry; but the merry little mineral-workers, seeing the tears in her eyes, crowded around her, and tried their best to comfort her.
"Come into the garden," said one; and "Come to the gold chests," said another, "and see the diamonds."
"Diamonds!" exclaimed the princess, angrily and ungratefully: "I hate the very sight of them. But I would like to see the garden," she added, more gently.
Aleck, the gate-keeper, offered to act as escort, and the princess dried her eyes. He at least was her friend, she thought; and on the way to the garden, being very hungry, she ventured to ask him when they were to have breakfast.
"Breakfast!" he said. "Why, we don't have breakfasts here."
"Well, then, dinner," suggested the princess, meekly.
"Nor dinners either," replied the little man. "Why should we have dinners?"
"But at least you have suppers," said the princess, desperately, and feeling ready to cry again.
"What are you thinking of?" asked the gate-keeper, with an air of surprise.
Then the princess grew angry.
"What am I thinking of?" she cried, at the top of her voice. "I am thinking of something to eat—that's what I'm thinking of, and I'm almost starved."
The little gate-keeper looked up, with a curious smile on his face, and answered:
"Well, then, my dear princess, if that is what makes you unhappy, pray don't think of it any more. No one ever eats anything here. Indeed, I can not imagine anything more absurd."
Then, being at heart a very kind and obliging little person, he came close to the princess, and said:
"I am sorry for you—indeed I am, but don't give way to tears. They won't turn stones into bread. I beseech you, my dear Princess Bebe, to look at our fruit trees and flowers. They are considered very beautiful. I have no doubt but the sight of them will help you to bear this strange feeling which you call hunger." Then, kissing the princess's hand, he added: "I must leave you now and go to the gate. Amuse yourself in the garden, my dear princess, till I return."
It was a wondrously beautiful garden, as any one could see, but somehow the Princess Bebe did not get much comfort from it.
"Oh, if those were only real apples!" she sighed, for there were what seemed to be apple-trees in great abundance. But the apples were of malachite—a hard opaque stone of two shades of green—and when she tried to taste the grapes, she found they were only purple amethysts arranged in graceful clusters. The cherries were all of stone, instead of having a stone in the middle; and the plums were just as bad and just as beautiful—the cherries were deep red rubies, and the plums were made of chrysoprase. Nothing but hard glittering gems wherever she turned her eyes.
The poor princess seemed likely to die of starvation in spite of her riches, but she thought she would be almost willing to endure hunger if she could only have a rose that would smell like the sweet-brier roses which grew in Hollowbush in her own little garden. For what she had at first taken to be roses were, after all, nothing but pink coral cunningly carved, the daffodils were of amber, and the forget-me-nots were one and all made of the pale blue turquoise.
"It is very certain that I must die," said the princess, sadly, and she covered her face with her hands, crying bitterly, and praying that if death must come to her, it might come quickly.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
JOE AND BLINKY.
Blinky was a poor dirty little puppy whom somebody had lost, and somebody else had stolen, and whose miserable little life was a burden to himself until Joe found him. It happened one warm day in July that Joe, whose bright eyes were always pretty wide open, saw a group of youngsters eagerly clustering about an object which appeared to interest them very much. This object squirmed, gasped, and occasionally kicked, to the great amusement of the little crowd, who liked excitement of any sort. Joe put his head over the shoulders of the children, and saw a wretched little dog in the agonies of a convulsion. Now, instead of giving him pleasure, this sight pained him grievously, as did any suffering, and Joe pushed his way through the crowd, asking whose dog it was. No one claimed it; and Joe was watched with great interest, and warned most zealously, as he took the poor little creature by the nape of its neck to the nearest pump.
"You'd better look out. He's mad. See if he isn't."
"What yer goin' to do?—kill him? My father's got a pistol; I'll run and get it."
"No, you needn't," said Joe.
There was no pound in the town, and so the dog was worthless, and after a while the crowd of children found something else to interest them.
Joe bathed the little dog, and rubbed it, and soothed its violent struggles, and carried it away to a quiet corner on the steps of a house where a great elm-tree made a refreshing shade. Here he sat a long time, watching his little patient, and glad to find it getting quieter and quieter, until it fell fast asleep in his arms. Joe did not move, so pleased was he to relieve the poor little creature, whose thin flanks revealed a long course of suffering. There were few passers in the street, and Joe had no school duties, thanks to its being vacation, so he was free to do as he chose. After more than an hour the poor little dog opened its eyes, which were so dazzled by the light that Joe at once named him Blinky, and presently a hot red little tongue was licking Joe's big brown hand. That was enough for Joe; it was as plain a "thank you" as he wanted, and he carried his stray charge home to share his dinner.
From that day Joe was seldom seen without Blinky; and after many good dinners, and plenty of sleep without terrible dreams of tins tied to his tail, Blinky began to grow handsome, and Joe to be very proud of him. Blinky slept under Joe's bed, woke him every morning with a sharp little bark, as much as saying, "Wake up, lazy fellow, and have a frolic with me," and then bounced up beside him for a game. And how he frisked when Joe took him out! The only thing he did not enjoy was his weekly scrubbing, and the combing with an old coarse toilet comb which followed. But he bore it patiently for Joe's sake. Vacation came to an end, and school began. This was as sore a trial to Blinky as to Joe, for of course he could not be allowed in school, though he left Joe at the door with most regretful and downcast looks, which said plainly, "This is injustice; you and I should never be parted," and he was always waiting when school was out.
Joe hated school; he would much rather have been chestnutting in the woods, gay with their crimson and yellow leaves, or chasing the squirrels with Blinky; but he knew he had to study, if ever he was to be of any use in the world, and so he tried to forget the delights of roaming, or the charms of Blinky's company. But when the first snow came, how hard it was to stick at the old books! How delicious was the frosty air, and how pure and fresh the new-fallen snow, waiting to be made use of as Joe so well knew how!
"Duty first," said Joe to himself, as with shovel and broom he cleared the path in the court-yard, and shovelled the kitchen steps clean. He did it so well that his father tossed him some pennies—for he was saving up to buy Blinky a collar—and he turned off with a light heart for school, with Blinky at his heels.
The school-mistress had a hard time that day; all the boys were wild with fun, one only of them not sharing the glee. This one was a little chap whose parents had sent him up North from Georgia to his relatives, the parents being too poor after the war to maintain their family. He was a skinny little fellow, always shivering and snuffling, and his name was Bob.
Now Bob wasn't a favorite. The boys liked to tease him, called him "Little Reb," and he in turn disliked them, and was ever ready to report their mischievous pranks to the teacher. If there was anything pleasant about the boy, no one knew it, because no one took the trouble to find out. Bob did not relish the snow; he was pinched and blue, and whenever he had the chance was huddling up against the stove; besides, he liked to read, and would rather have staid in all day with a book of fairy tales than shared the gayest romp they could have suggested. This afternoon Joe had made so many mistakes in his arithmetic examples that he was obliged to stay late, and do them over; but he was sorely annoyed and tempted at hearing the shouts and cries of joy with which the boys saluted each other as they escaped from the school-room, and he spoke very crossly when a little voice at his elbow said,
"Please may I go home with you?"
"No," said Joe.
Joe turned, and saw that it was Bob. This provoked him still more. "I said no, 'tell-tale.' What do I want to be bothered with you?"
Bob turned away, disappointed. Joe kept on at his lesson; it was very perplexing, and he was out of humor. Besides, the fun outside was increasing; he could hear the roars of laughter, the whiz of the flying snow-balls, and the gleeful crows of the conquering heroes. He was the only one in the school-room. Presently there was a hush, a sort of premonitory symptom of more mischief brewing outside, which provoked his curiosity to the utmost.
"Five times ten, divided by three, and— Oh, I can't stand this," said Joe, as he gave a push to his slate, and ran to the window.
The boys had gone off to the farthest corner of the vacant lot on which the school-house stood, and by the appearance of things were preparing to have an animated game of foot-ball; but by the gestures and general drift of motions Joe saw, to his horror, that poor little Bob was evidently to be the victim. Already they were rolling him in the snow, and cuffing him about as if he were made of India rubber, and deserved no better treatment.
Joe's conscience woke up in a minute, for he knew that if he had allowed Bob to wait for him as he had wanted to do, the boys would not have dared to touch him, and he felt ashamed of his unkindness and ill humor as he saw the results.
The child was getting fearfully maltreated, as Joe saw, not merely on account of their dislike for him, but because in their gambols the boys were lost to all sense of the cruelty they were practicing, and they tossed him about regardless of the fact that his bones could be broken or his sinews snapped.
Cramming his books in his bag, and snatching up his cap, Joe dashed out of the door. Blinky was ready for him, and did not know what all this haste meant, but dashed after his master, as in duty bound.
"I say, fellers, stop that!" he shouted, repeating the "stop that!" as loud as his lungs could make the exertion. The din was so great that it was some moments before they heard him, but Blinky barked at their heels, and helped to arrest their attention.
"Stop! what shall we stop for?" asked one of the bigger and rougher ones.
"You are doing a mean, hateful thing—that's why."
"Oho! that's because you haven't a share in it," was the sneering reply.
"If you'll stop, I'll run the gauntlet for you," said Joe. There was a pause. Perhaps that would be better than foot-ball; besides, Joe never got mad, and little Bob was crying hard. "Let Bob go home, fair and square, and I'll run," repeated Joe.
"All right," they shouted. "Come on, then."
Joe helped to uncover Bob, shook the snow off his clothes, wiped his eyes with the cuff of his coat, and sent him on his way. Then the boys formed two lines, each with as many snow-balls as he could hurriedly make, and Joe prepared for the run. Blinky was furious, and as Joe shouted, "Fire away!" and started down the line, he barked himself hoarse. Hot and heavy came the balls, or rather cold and fast they fell on Joe's back and head and school bag. But he was a good runner, and tore like mad from his pursuers, screaming, as he ran, "Fire away! fire away!" until he reached a cellar door, where he knew he could take refuge. Here he halted; but Blinky was in a rage at having his master thus used. Joe did not mind it in the least, and was as full of fun as he could be. When he got home he found his mother making apple pies; she had baked one in a saucer for him. It looked delicious, but as he was about to bite it, he said, "Mother, may I just run over to Mrs. Allen's for a minute?"
"Oh yes," was the reply.
Wrapping up the pie in a napkin, he carried it with him. By the side of the stove, with his head aching and bound up in a handkerchief, he found poor little Bob. Without a word, he stuffed the nice little pie in Bob's hands, and then rushed out again.
It is hardly necessary to say that in the future Blinky had a rival, and that rival was Bob.
A SAIL ON THE NILE.
BY SARA KEABLES HUNT.
Did you ever go sailing on the Nile? Come, then, and imagine yourselves, on a clear warm January day, afloat on the river of which you have so often heard. What a sensation we should create if we could go sailing up the Hudson some sunny morning, our broad lateen-sail swelling in the breeze, and the Egyptian flag flying behind!
Let us take a walk over the boat which for two months will be to us a floating home, and to which we shall become really attached before we leave its deck, and the shores of the Nile. It is a queerly shaped vessel, entirely different from any other which has ever carried you over the waters. The length is about seventy-two feet, and the width between fourteen and fifteen feet at the broadest part; it has a sharp prow, and stands deep in the water forward; it is flat-bottomed, like all Nile boats, on account of the shallow water in the spring.
Here, a little way from the bow, is the kitchen—a small square place, where the cook holds undisputed sway, and gratifies your palate with novel and delicious dishes. This little spot is a very important part of the boat, I assure you, for sailing on the Nile gives you a keen relish for good dinners.
Somewhat back of here is the mast, rising thirty feet or more, and the long yard, suspended by ropes, large at the lower part, but tapering toward the extreme point, where floats the pennant which you have secured for the occasion.
This long yard bears the large triangular lateen-sail, its huge dimensions necessary to catch the wind when the river is low and the banks high. The sides of the boat are protected by a low railing not more than six inches in height, over which the sailors can easily step, as they will have occasion to do many times during the voyage. The main-deck is usually occupied by the crew, and from here are stairs leading to the quarter-deck, over the cabin and saloon, where we will take seats under the awning by-and-by, and watch the scenery on the banks of the river.
Let us go down these few steps leading to the saloon. We find ourselves in a room occupying the breadth of the boat; there are windows on each side, with long divans, below them, a round table in the centre, chairs, cupboards, and book-cases completing the furniture. Now let us open these glass doors, walk along this narrow passage, and take a look at the sleeping-cabins. They measure six feet by four, half of which is filled by the bed, which gives you girls little room in which to arrange your toilet; but you will not care to devote many hours to that while here.
Such is our floating home, and though limited in space, you can be most comfortable if you have a contented disposition, and a heart and mind to appreciate the wonders around and above you.
And now let us ascend to the quarter-deck. It looks very cheerful, with its centre table loaded with books and papers, its bright-colored divan and easy-chairs; so we will be seated while I introduce you to the crew.
There is the reis, or captain—Hassaneen by name—a grave, quiet little old man, standing there at the bow of the boat, with a long pole in hand, sounding the water now and then, and reporting the depth. You will always find him there, reserved, thoughtful, his whole attention apparently fixed on his employment.
Do you see that old gray-bearded man with his hand on the rudder? That is Abdullah, always there, even when we are at anchor. Then a heap of blue and a gray burnoose in the same place tell us Abdullah is asleep. We need never fear while that old man is at the helm, for he will guide us safely by sand-banks and bowlders to the destined port.
Of the remainder of the crew I can not give so good a report. They are a curious assemblage of one-eyed, forefingerless, toothless men, bare-legged, in robes of dark blue, and gay turbans, it being a common custom to render themselves thus maimed in order to escape military conscription. There is Mohammed, a good-natured fellow, ready to do just as his companions do, whether it be good or bad. There is Said, a cunning, deceitful-looking man, but a good sailor. Just to the right is Hassan, black as coal, with glittering eyes, a tall form, and tremendous muscle; he is a faithful fellow, willing to obey to the letter, but without any judgment. There are Sulieman and Ali, the laziest ones on board, strong as any, but the first to cry out, "Halt," and the sleepiest couple on the Nile. There is Yusuf, always at his prayers, and more willing to pray than work. There is Achmet, watching his chance to run away. Then comes Mustapha, whose duty it is to clean the decks, scour the knives, and wait on the travellers generally. And last but not least is little Benessie, called "el wallad" (the boy), who does more work and takes more steps than all the rest of the crew together. Ah, these boys!—they're worth a dozen men sometimes. He makes the fires, waits on the crew, and is at everybody's beck and call, from the howadji to the sailor. He is a dark-eyed, shy little fellow, not particularly neat in his appearance, and always sucking sugar-cane, which probably is one of the attractions to the flies that gather continually on his face and eyes.
So there they are—a lazy set of fellows, take them all together; lazy in general when there is no present labor on hand. I think they work well, though, when a necessity arises. It is not an Arab's nature to look ahead; he sees only the present.
And now our sail is shaken out—we are off, the American flag floating aloft at the point of our tapering yard, and we seated in our easy-chairs or reclining on the divan of our decks, watching the scenery as we glide along. There before us are endless groups of masts and sails. The western shore is like a rich painting, with its palms and Pyramids, while opposite, half hidden in shining dark acacias, are palaces of the pashas, with their silent-looking harems and latticed windows. Cangias (small row-boats) are fastened to the banks, and the moan and creak of the sakias (water-wheels) tell us we are indeed upon the enchanted Nile.
Behind us rise the shining minarets of the city, and the Pyramids follow us as we go, photographing their outlines on our memory forever; the soft green plain slopes gently to the river; and as if stirred to life by the witchery of the surroundings, our bird-like boat flings her great wings to the breeze, and skims the waters, bounding along, as if with conscious joy, between the green plains of the Nile Valley.
The river is alive with boats, all bound southward, fine diahbeehs sweeping along, and looking proudly down on the lesser craft, and huge lumbering country boats laden with grain.
The landscape is not monotonous, though there is a sameness in its character, for the lines in that crystal air are always changing, and day after day the panorama unrolls, with its fields of waving tobacco and blossoming cotton, where workers are lazily busy.
We are passing the ruins of ancient cities as we sail onward, or are dragged along by the crew harnessed together by ropes, which task they call tracking. They never perform this labor reluctantly, or with any ill temper, but always accompanying their work with a monotonous sing-song in a slightly nasal twang, till the air is filled with these perpetual sounds of "Allah, haylee sah. Eiya Mohammed."
We see in this a relic of by-gone days, for the ancient Egyptians are painted on the tombs accompanying their work with song and clapping of hands.
As we are borne on through and into the creamy light of this glowing atmosphere, where the sunshine seems to pour into and blend with everything, we can hardly wonder that sun worship was an instinct of the earliest races, or that the little child believes that the East lies near the rising sun.
On, on we go, past the ruins of ancient cities, never pausing in the upward journey: it is only on the return that you visit the places of renown.
There lies Karnac, with its myriads of gigantic columns. Yonder sits Memnon, "beloved of the morning," which was said to give forth a note of music when the rising sun shone upon it. There is Luxor, Dendereh, Thebes. Sometimes amid the warm light your thoughts will go away thousands of miles, where the frosts shiver upon the windows, the snows lie heavy upon the hills, and warm hearts are praying for the traveller; but the days will creep swiftly by on the Nile, and too soon will come the hour when, the journey ended, we must leave the river, the palms, the Pyramids, and bid a long adieu to our pleasant floating home.
THE WHITE BEAR OF THE ARCTIC REGIONS.
The polar bear, the nannook of the Esquimaux, has its home in the desolate and icy wastes which border the northern seas. It has many characteristics in common with its brothers which live in warmer countries. It is very sagacious and cunning, sometimes playful, but is not a very savage beast, and will rarely attack a hunter unless in self-defense, or when driven by hunger to fall upon everything which comes in its way. Dr. Kane, the great arctic traveller, says he has himself shot as many as a dozen bears near at hand, and never but once received a charge in return. The hair of the polar bear is very coarse and thick, and white like the snow-banks among which it lives. Its favorite food is the seal, which abounds in the northern regions; it will also eat walrus, but as that animal is very strong, and possesses a pair of formidable tusks, bears are sometimes beaten in their attempts to capture it. Wonderful stories are told of bears mounting to the top of high cliffs and pushing heavy stones down upon the head of some unwary walrus sleeping or sunning himself at the foot, and then rushing down to dispatch the stunned and bruised animal, but arctic travellers disagree upon this point. A very hungry bear will sometimes attack a walrus in the water, for the polar bear is a powerful swimmer; but in his peculiar element—and he is never far from it—the walrus is the best fighter, and his tough hide serves as an almost impenetrable armor.
As seal hunter the polar bear displays much cunning. It will watch patiently for hours in the vicinity of a seal hole in the ice, and the instant its prey comes out to bask in the sun, the sly bear crouches, with its fore-paws doubled up under its body, while with its hind-legs it slowly and noiselessly pushes and hitches itself along toward the desired game. Does the seal raise its head to look around, the bear remains motionless, its color making it hardly distinguishable, until the unsuspecting seal takes another nap. When the bear is near enough, with a sudden movement it seizes the innocent and defenseless victim, and makes a fat feast. Unless it is very hungry, it eats little besides the blubber, leaving the rest for the foxes. It is said that arctic foxes often follow in the path of bears, and gain their entire living from the refuse of the bear's feast.
The nest of the she-bear is a wonderful illustration of instinct, and a proof of the fact that a thick wall of snow is an excellent protection against cold. Toward the month of December the bear selects a spot at the foot of some cliff, where she burrows in the snow, and, remaining quiet, allows the heavy snow-storms to cover her with drifts. The warmth of her body enlarges the hole so that she can move herself, and her breath always keeps a small passage open in the roof of her den. Before retiring to these winter-quarters she eats voraciously, and becomes enormously fat, so that she is able to exist a long time without food. In this snuggery the bear remains until some time in March, when she breaks down the walls of her palace, and comes out to renew her wandering life, with some little white baby bears for her companions, which have been born during her long seclusion.
Many funny and exciting stories are told by arctic travellers of encounters with bears. During Dr. Kane's expedition a scouting party who were away from the ship, and sleeping in a tent on the ice, were awakened by a scratching in the snow outside. On looking out they saw a huge bear reconnoitring the circuit of the tent. Their fire-arms were stacked on the sledge a short distance off, as had they been kept inside the tent, the frost from the men's breath would have clogged them and rendered them useless. There was nothing to be done but to keep quiet, and hope his bearship would go away. But the bear was bent on discovery, and his big head soon appeared through the fold of the tent. Volleys of lucifer matches and burning newspapers which were thrown at him did not disturb him in the least, and he quietly proceeded to make his supper upon the carcass of a seal. One of the men then cut a hole in the rear of the tent, and crawling cautiously out, was able to reach the guns, and soon sent a bullet through the body of the huge beast.
The mother bear's affection for her little ones is so strong that she will lose her life defending them. Two arctic huntsmen once saw a bear taking a promenade on an ice island with two little cubs. Chase was given at once, but the bear did not perceive the hunters until they were within five hundred yards of her. She then stood up on her hind-legs like a dancing bear, gave one good look at her pursuers, and started to run at full speed over the smooth ice, her cubs close at her heels. She had the advantage of the hunters, as the feet of the polar bear are thickly covered with long hair—nature's wise provision to keep the animal from slipping; but the ice soon broke up into a vast expanse of slush, and here the little cubs stuck fast. The faithful mother seized first one and then the other, but proceeded with so much difficulty that the hunters were soon near enough to fire at her. The little ones clung to their mother's dead body, and it was with great difficulty that the hunters succeeded in dragging them to the camp, where they stoutly resisted all friendly advances, and bit and struggled, and roared as loud as they could.
Bears often annoy arctic travellers by breaking open the caches, or store-houses, left along the line of march for return supplies. Dr. Kane relates that he found one of his caches, which had been built with heavy rocks laid together with extreme care, entirely destroyed, the bears apparently having had a grand frolic, rolling about the bread barrels, playing foot-ball with the heavy iron cases of pemmican, and even gnawing to shreds the American flag which surmounted the cache.
Roast bear meat is very palatable and welcome food to travellers in the dreary frozen arctic regions, and at the cry of "Nannook! nannook!" ("A bear! a bear!") from the Esquimaux guides, both men and dogs start in eager pursuit. The bear being white like the snow, it often escapes detection, and Dr. Kane mentions approaching what he thought was a heap of somewhat dingy snow, when he was startled by a "menagerie roar," which sent him running toward the ship, throwing back his mittens, one at a time, to divert the bear's attention.
Polar bears are sometimes found upon floating ice-cakes a hundred miles from land, having been caught during some sudden break up of the vast ice-fields of arctic seas, and every year a dozen or more come drifting down to the northern shores of Iceland, where, ravenous after their long voyage, they fall furiously upon the herds. Their life on shore, however, is very brief, as the inhabitants rise in arms and speedily dispatch them.
A NORSK STORY.
On one of the fjords, or bays, which so deeply indent the coast of Norway lived two lads, sons of well-to-do farmers, who, besides their fields of rye and wheat, their marks, or pasture fields, and their saeters, or hay-making fields, farther away, had also an interest in the fisheries for which Norway is so famous. The salmon, the herring, and the cod are all caught in great numbers; so also is the shark, and used for its oil, which passes for cod-liver oil.
The fathers of Lars and Klaus were, however, peasants. They worked on their farms, and above their green pastures rose lofty mountains clad in fir-trees, dusky pines, mottled beeches, and silver birches. Klaus and Lars explored together the recesses of these mountains; together they hunted for bears; together they sailed over the blue waters of the fjord, in and out of the swift currents, and on and up into the streams fed by the great ice fjelds. They were always together. If any one wanted Klaus, he asked where Lars had gone; and if one had seen Lars, he knew Klaus would soon follow. It was their delight to see which could excel the other in the management of their fishing jagts, those square-sailed slow craft, and for days they would cruise about the haunts of the eider-duck—not to kill it, for that is forbidden, the bird being too valuable, but to filch from the sides of its nest the lovely down which the birds pluck from their own breasts.
They went to school, too, in the winter, and both were confirmed by the village pastor as soon as they had been well prepared for that solemn rite, which is of so much social as well as religious importance in their country.
In the short hot summer they helped the fishermen split the cod and spread them on the rocks to dry, or they made lemming traps and sought to see how many of the hated vermin they could capture.
In short, their life was active, hardy, and full of keen enjoyment; they were good-natured, and did not quarrel. Both were tall, finely grown as to muscle, but they would have been handsomer had they eaten less salt fish and more beef.
In a quaint little house at the foot of the mountains, near where tumbled in snowy foam a beautiful foss, lived an old woman and her grandchild Ilda. They were really tenants of Klaus's father; and in their wanderings the boys often stopped for a glass of milk or a slice of fladbroed (oat-cake), which the old woman was glad to give them. Ilda, too, in her red bodice and white chemisette, and her pretty, shy ways, was almost as attractive as the birds or beasts they were seeking. Neither the old woman nor Ilda often left their cottage, and so the boys were the more welcome for the news they carried.
They were able to give them the latest bit of gossip—how many men were off on the herring catch; if any strangers had come through the town in their carrioles on their way to the noted and beautiful Voring Foss and Skjaeggedal Foss (two water-falls of great renown); or who had the American fever, and were going to emigrate. Or they talked about the ducks and geese of which Ilda was so proud, and of the pigeons which Klaus had given her when they were wild, but which had grown tame and lovable under her gentle care. Then the old woman related in turn many a legend and fable, tales of the saintly King Olaf, or the doings of Odin and Thor.
Thus the days glided by, and the boys became men, and still they were together in their work as they had been in their play. In the rye fields and the potato patches they toiled side by side, and in the last nights of summer—the three August nights which they call iron nights, because of the frosts which sometimes come and blight all the wheat crop—they watched and waited, hoping for the good luck which did not always come to them; for the soil is a hard one to cultivate, and many are the trials which farmers have to meet in that bleak land. Soon after they became of age they were called upon to share the grief of their friend Ilda, whose grandmother died. After this they did not go so often to the cottage. One bright evening, however, as Lars was on his way up the mountain, he saw Klaus emerging from the little door beneath the shed of which they had so often sat. As they met, Klaus turned his face away, remarking, however, upon the beauty of the evening. Lars thought his friend's manner somewhat strange, and asked him if Ilda was well. Klaus said she was quite well—was he going to see her?
"Yes," said Lars. "I have some fresh currants from our garden, the only fruit which will grow in it, and I thought perhaps she might care for them, poor little thing. She is so lonely now!"
Klaus turned off down the road, whistling, while Lars went into the cottage. To his surprise he found Ilda crying, but supposing that the sight of Klaus had revived recollections which were painful, some sad thoughts of her grandmother, he tried to soothe her. She shook her head mournfully at his kind words, and told him that she had just done a cruel thing, that Klaus had asked her to be his wife, and she had said no to him. This came upon Lars very much like a thunder-bolt, for he had no idea that Klaus had any such wish; and much as he pitied his friend, he was not entirely sorry that Ilda had said no. So he asked her why she had refused to be Klaus's wife, when, with much embarrassment, she told him that she cared more for some one else.
Lars did not urge her to say any more, but leaving his currants, he followed Klaus down the mountain.
A few days after this, to the surprise of every one, Klaus bade his friends good-by, and took passage on the little steamer to Christiansand, from whence he would cross the Skagerrack, and sailing down the coast of Denmark, past Holland and Belgium, through the English Channel, he would be on the broad Atlantic, which was to bear him to a new home in the far western land.
Lars was not merely surprised, he was stunned, and thought his friend almost an enemy to go in that manner without consulting him, without even asking his advice or company. They had never before been separated. He could not understand it; and when Klaus bade him good-by he looked into his face as if to seek the reason for this strange conduct, but Klaus gave him no chance to ask it. He simply grasped his hand in silence, giving it a close clasp, and then he was off.
Days, weeks, months, went by, and no one heard from Klaus; at last his mother had a letter from him. He wrote cheerfully; said he liked America, but that he could not make up his mind to go far away to the prairies, where he could never see the blue ocean or the white gulls, or hear the splash of oars.
Meanwhile Lars was very unhappy. Everything seemed to go wrong with him—the crops failed, his share in the fisheries was small, and his father was hard and close with him. He missed his friend sadly; he cared no longer to do the daring things they had attempted together. He had never been to see Ilda since the day she had told him that she did not love his friend Klaus. As the spring advanced into summer, he met her one day in the pine woods near her cottage, and she looked so pleased to see him that he was tempted to tell her of all his troubles, especially of how disappointed and hurt he was by the departure of Klaus; and this reminded him of what she had told him about caring for some one else; but when he asked her who it was, to, his great happiness she told him that he, Lars, was the one, and that was the reason why Klaus had gone away. Then, for the first time, he saw how generously his friend had acted; he had gone away that he might not interfere with his friend, for Klaus had found out that Ilda loved Lars. So in due time they were married in the simple fashion of the Norwegian people. But the crops were not more nourishing; and work as hard as he would, Lars could not do as well for himself as he would have liked. So he took all his money and bought a bigger jagt, and carried klip (or split) fish to the south, from whence they would be sent to Spain.
This separated him from Ilda and the little yellow-haired Hanne, his child; and his voyages were not very prosperous, so at last they determined to do as did the Norsemen and Vikings of old, set sail for the land of the setting sun.
It was hard to give up Norway, but Ilda was willing to do that which was for the best, and quietly filled the big boxes and chests with the linen she had spun herself, and made stout flannel clothes for little Hanne, and said "good-by" to every one she knew, and then they got off as fast as the slow jagt would carry them: off, out of the beautiful fjord with its green banks and snowy-topped mountains, away from the rocks and fjelds so dear to them, on to the broad, the mighty ocean.
They sailed and sailed for many a day, and Ilda knit while the little lassie, Hanne, played at her feet, and Lars smoked his pipe, and talked of the glorious land of liberty and fertile fields which they were approaching.
They had pleasant weather for a long while, and it did seem as if the kind words, the lycksame resa, or lucky journey, which their friends had wished them, was really to be experienced. Little Hannchen was a merry, bright little companion, and made all the rough sailors love her. Her evening meal was milk and fladbroed, and she always threw some over the ship's side for the "poor hungry fishes," while she prattled in Norsk to the sailors, who were mostly Swedes and Finns. But whether they understood her or not, they liked to watch her blue eyes sparkle, and her yellow hair fly out like freshly spun flax, as she merrily danced about the slow old jagt; and they called her "Heldig Hanne," or "happy Hanne." But they were now approaching land, and fogs set in which were more to be dreaded than high winds, and the helmsman looked anxious, and Lars could not sleep. The atmosphere seemed to get thicker and thicker, and where they could for a while see the faint yellow twinkle of the stars all was now an opaque film.
One night as Ilda was singing a little song to Hanne a great crash came, a terrible thump, and then a queer grating sound. All had been still on deck, but now came hoarse shouts and cries, and Lars rushed down to the cabin, saying, "We are on the rocks! we are lost, Ilda!"
Ilda clasped little Hanne still closer as she said, tremulously, "Is it true, Lars? is there no way of escape? are we so near land?"
"Yes; come up on deck. The ship is already settling. We must try to get you and the child off in one of the boats."
"Not without you, Lars; we will not move an inch without you."
"See," he replied, as he helped her up the steps, "the gulls are flying over our heads: land must be near."
It was horribly true that the vessel was thumping and bumping on the rocks; the surf was roaring, and it seemed impossible for a boat to be launched. The sailors were making ready to cast themselves into the sea. Some were cursing, others praying, and others tying and lashing themselves to spars which they had taken from their fastenings. Two of them came up to Lars.
"Sir, for the sake of the child there, we will swim, if we can, to the shore, and get help."
"It would be useless," said Lars.
"Oh no," said Ilda; "let them try. They are brave. Perhaps they will succeed."
They nodded, and went off, Lars looking after them hopelessly as he muttered: "I might have known this; it is just my luck. Oh, Ilda! Ilda! why did I bring you with me?—and poor little Hanne!"
The child clung to her mother, her blue eyes dilated with fear, and her little hands about her mother's neck.
"Hush, Lars," said Ilda; "where thou art, there I would be, and so would Hannchen. God is yet able to save us."
The moments seemed like days; presently the vessel gave a great lurch to one side, and Lars had just time to tie Ilda to him as the waves broke over the jagt.
"Farvael!" was all he said to her, as they were plunged into the water; but as he saw the waves closing about them, he heard a cry from the sailors—a cry of joy, of welcome—and he felt a strong hand reached out to him, and a coil of rope flung about them. He had his arm under the fainting Ilda, but surely he had seen the face of the brave fellow who took Hanne in his arms from Ilda's clasp. He could not think; he only knew that they were saved at last—that a dozen strong men, some on land, some in the water, were dragging them to shore.
* * * * *
Ah! what rest and peace and thankfulness after a night like that! and with what strange and solemn emotions did Lars and Ilda look about them when they discovered that the house they were in belonged to the one who had carried their little Hanne in his arms from the ocean, and was none other than their old friend Klaus. Klaus the fisherman, Klaus the sailor, as he was known on that shore. The same Klaus, merry and brave, with a house of his own and a wife of his own, ready to share all he possessed with Lars, if Lars would only stay and settle near him. The jagt had gone down with all Lars's worldly goods; but Ilda was safe and Hanne was safe, and with so good a friend as Klaus, surely Lars could begin the world anew. And so he staid; and the tide turned, and fair weather prevailed.
CADDY'S CLOCK PARTY.
The great hall clock was not asked to the party, but it was there, all the same. It was Milly Holland's birthday party. Milly was just fourteen years old, and most of the boys and girls near her own age whom she knew had been invited, and among them little Caddy Podkins, too little and young to care for at all, Milly thought; but kind Mrs. Holland had asked Caddy, because she was the only child of her nearest neighbor, and used to sit for hours in the bay-window across the way as if she did not have anything to amuse her.
The Hollands lived in a large, handsome house, and to-day it was pleasanter than usual, there were so many flowers about the rooms, and pretty moss baskets, and vines twisted around the chandeliers.
At half past five, the hour set for the party to begin, Milly's guests began to come; and Milly herself, in a soft white merino dress, came down the wide stairs to the polished oaken landing, and received them as they came up the lower steps from the big hall doors. There were nearly fifty boys and girls—more girls than boys—and as the party would be over at ten o'clock, they wisely lost no time, and came almost all at once. It made a pretty sight as they shook back their wrappings from their gay dresses, and crowded around Milly. It was as if a good-natured giant had spilled a huge basket of red and white rose-buds over the oaken landing and stairs, up which the children followed Milly to the dressing-room and the parlors, where the fires glowed in the cheerful grates, and the lamps in beautiful tinted globes made a brightness that seemed to the children more wonderful than day.
Now it is not so much about Milly's party as about one little girl who was in it that I am going to tell you; because parties are very commonplace things, and little girls, at least some little girls, are not.
When the party had been going on for a long time, and the children were being taken in to supper—and a very nice supper, too, with plenty of milk, white bread, and sparkling jellies—one of the largest girls stopped with Milly Holland for a moment where the staircase turned and looked down upon the oaken landing. There stood the tall, old-fashioned clock, looking very old and rather proud in its rich dark case, and against it leaned a very little girl, not more than eight years old, with a good deal of brown hair, and big gray eyes. Her folded hands and her little cheek were pressed against the edge of the clock case. The hall lamp from the bracket overhead shone on her hair and her crumpled dress, and left her face in the shadow.
"Who's that?" asked the other girl of Milly.
"What! don't you know Caddy Podkins?" said Milly. "The idea of mother asking such a baby as that to my party!"
Then the two girls went to supper. The supper-room was farther from the landing than the parlors, and when the door had closed, the hall became quite still. All at once Caddy thought the clock ticked louder than she had ever heard a clock tick in all her life before. And she was quite right, for the clock was trying to speak to Caddy, and except just to state, without a single needless-word, the hour, this clock had never tried to speak before. But the clock liked Caddy very much. It had seen that Caddy was very bashful, and that the other children took hardly any notice of her, or any care for her pleasure, and it liked the feeling of Caddy's little cheek and warm hands upon its side.
Now Caddy had a little invisible key. It was finer than refined gold, and stronger than adamant (which is the very hardest kind of stone there is, you know), and there was not a lock—no, not even the lock of the tongue of a clock—which could help opening to Caddy's little key. Caddy herself knew nothing about this key, not even its long name—Im-ag-i-na-tion. But the key did not need to have Caddy know; it staid in a little pearl of a room full of the brightest thoughts of Caddy's mind, and whenever these thoughts began to stir about and say, "I wonder," away the little key would fly, and open some new delightful secret to Caddy. There are thousands and thousands of children who have keys of this sort; but, oh! there's such a difference in the keys and in the secrets that they find! Caddy's key was one of the very best, and even while she was noticing that the clock ticked so loud, her little key had turned itself in the very centre of the wheels, and the clock whispered, close in her ear, "Caddy, little Caddy, shall I—tick-a-tock—talk to you?"
Caddy was not at all surprised or bashful with the clock, but asked, quickly, "Were you ever at a party?"
"Hundreds of them," said the clock. "Tiresome things, parties are."
"Guess you don't get any supper, perhaps," said Caddy, with a queer little smile.
"Guess you are hungry, perhaps," laughed the clock, with a dozen little sharp ticks all together. "Now, you dear little Caddy, I'm a clock of a very good family. As far back as I can remember—and that's a very long time—there has never been a clock in my family which did not keep perfect time, and tell the truth exactly to a second every time it spoke, and I know how a little girl who is invited to a party ought to be treated, so I invite you now, Caddy Podkins, to my party."
"What! a really, truly clock party?" exclaimed Caddy, and in the same moment the big clock had swung its long pendulum wire around her waist, and lifted Caddy as if she were a feather, whirled her so fast that Caddy saw nothing at all, and then set her down very gently in a room whose floor was shaped like the flat side of a wheel, and the edges of the floor were notched just like the edges of the wheels in a clock. The walls of the room were like brass that has been rubbed very bright, and were covered with net-work of fine curling wire. In the middle of the room was a long table, set with wheel-shaped plates, which were heaped with large sweet raisins and nut meats, fresh flaky biscuits, and there were the most delicious fruits, so ripe you could see through to the seeds and stones in their cores. Over the table hung a chandelier, shaped like a pendulum, which gave a soft yellow light. The big clock stood at the head of the table, tapping her forehead with her long minute-finger. She smiled at Caddy's wonder, and ticked out, merrily,
"Well, Caddy, Caddy, Caddy, Tick-a-tock-tick-tock! How's this for a clock? Ha! ha! It's not so bad—eh?"
Caddy leaned against her tall friend, and asked, very comfortably, "Are your little clocks coming?"
At this question the old clock ticked slowly off on her minute-finger,
"Inty-minty-cuty-corn, Ap-ple seeds and ap-ple thorn, Wire bri-er, lim-ber lock, Three wheels in a clock!"
At that last word suddenly the curling wires all over the walls gave out a curious tinkling, and letting themselves swiftly down in long slender spirals, like the dandelion curls you make in the spring, each set a tiny little clock on the floor. Then all the wires snapped back to their places on the wall. There were as many as fifty of these little clocks, beautifully made, and no two of them alike, though they all had little brass hands reaching out of the sides of their cases, and they all had little brass feet, on which they hopped about nimbly, and they all ticked together in the funniest way.
"Tick-a-tock-tarty, It's Caddy's party,"
said the old clock, and the little clocks instantly made a circle around Caddy, and each bent one knee and slid back one little brass foot in the most polite courtesy to Caddy. One of the oldest of the little clocks then hopped off to a tiny wire harp that stood in a corner, and began to play a sweet lively waltz with her queer brass fingers. The rest of the clocks came one after another and led Caddy out and waltzed with her. Caddy had never danced so much in all her life, and had never liked it half so well.
"Tick-a-tock, stop feet, Little Caddy must eat,"
said the old clock. And, oh! what a supper that was to hungry, happy little Caddy! and how happy the little clocks were to have such a good little girl as Caddy with them! They gave her the best of everything upon the table, and waited to see that she had all she wished before they even thought of eating for themselves. They told her all sorts of droll stories, and one little clock astonished Caddy very much by opening her little silver tunic and showing Caddy—who had not quite believed it before—that the little wheels actually did eat up the juicy fruits. "I wonder if I am full of little wheels," said Caddy. Then Caddy's little key sighed, for it was just the least bit tired, and Caddy's "I wonder" meant work for the key. But the old clock suddenly exclaimed,
"Tick-a-tock, 'most ten, Little Caddy, come again."
"Caddy! Caddy Podkins!" said Mrs. Holland, in great surprise. The children were putting on their things in the dressing-room up stairs, and Mrs. Holland had just noticed that Caddy was not with them, and coming hastily down stairs, saw Caddy, just as we did, leaning against the tall old clock. "My poor little dear, why, how cold you are! Have you been asleep? Milly ought to have taken care of you. I'm afraid you have not had a good time."
"I've had a clock party," said Caddy, rubbing her eyes, while Mrs. Holland tied on her hood, "and I'm to come again."
Dear little May sat grieving alone, With a pout on her lip and a tear in her eye, Till kind old grandmamma chanced to pass, And soon discovered the reason why. "The children are planning a fair," sobbed she, "And 'cause I'm so little, they won't—have—me!"
So grandmamma thought of a beautiful plan, And whispered a secret in little May's ear— Something which brought out the dimples and smiles, And scattered with sunshine the pitiful tear. Then off to grandmamma's room they went, On something important very intent.
Well, the fair came off on a certain day, And what do you think was the first thing sold? A beautiful pair of worsted reins, All knit in scarlet and green and gold. The "big girls" wondered how came they there— "The prettiest thing in the children's fair!"
Then out stepped May, with her cheeks so red: "You said there was nothing that I could do, 'Cause I was little; but I made those, And now, I guess, I'm as big as you!" So little May at the fair that day Was the reigning queen, it is fair to say.
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The White Pebble Pit.—It has frequently happened that miners have discovered curious traces of former workings, hundreds of years ago, and tools have been found which belonged to the ancient miners, and many other relics.
A singular discovery was made, a few years since, by some workmen engaged in the Spanish silver mine known as the White Pebble Pit. Whilst digging their subterranean passages they suddenly found a series of apartments, in which were a quantity of mining tools, left there from a very remote period, but still in such good preservation that there were hatchets, and sieves for sifting the ore, a smelting furnace, and two anvils, which proved that the earliest miners had great experience in their operations.
In one of the caverns there was a round building, with niches, in which were three statues, one sitting down, and half the size of life; the other two were in a standing position, and about three feet in height. This building is supposed to have been the temple of the god who was believed, in pagan times, to preside over mines. Several objects of art, and some remarkable instruments, were also found, which have led scientific persons to think that the workings might have been made by the Phoenicians, the people who, as is well known, were, in the time of Solomon, famous for their manufacturing and commercial genius.
In 1854 a discovery was also made by some miners excavating on the other side of the mountain on which the White Pebble Pit is situated; this was a fine figure of the heathen god Hercules, which was found in an old working.
In digging for copper on the shores of Lake Superior, in this country, the miners have made many similar discoveries, showing that the mines were worked ages ago.
The curious fishes with the tremendous name, the last part of which means snipe-billed, are very long and defenseless, and are invariably found among the leaves of a long sea-grass, which very nearly resembles them in form and color. Their head is quite long, and they always seem to stand on it, and when a hungry fish comes along, he would have to look long and well to tell which was the grass and which the fish. These grass-fish well earn their right to be called "mimics." These strange features in such low animals teach an interesting lesson: they show more strongly the wise governing of the great Maker, and correct the mistake, often thoughtlessly made, that the lower animals have no feelings, thoughts, or pleasures. If they do not show them as we do, it is none the less true that they possess them, but in different degrees.
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Little Jack Horner.—The origin of the nursery rhyme has been said to be as follows: When monasteries and their property were seized, orders were given that the title-deeds of the abbey estates of Mells, which were very valuable, should be given up to the commissioners. The mode chosen of sending them was in the form of a pasty to be sent as a present from the abbot to one of the commissioners in London. Jack Horner, a poor lad, was chosen as the messenger. Tired, he rested in as comfortable a corner as he could on his way. Hungry, he determined to taste the pasty he was carrying. Inserting his thumb into the pie, he found nothing but parchment deeds. One of these he pulled out and pocketed, as likely to be valuable. The Abbot Whiting of Mells was executed for having withheld the missing parchment. In the Horner family was discovered years afterward the plum that Jack had picked out, one of the chief title-deeds of Mells abbey and lands.
Our heartiest thanks are due to our youthful readers who have sent us pretty and gracefully written New-Year's wishes from all parts of the United States. We would like to print every one of these welcome letters, but they are so numerous it would be impossible. Our young friends, however, may be sure that whether we print them or simply acknowledge them, they are alike pleasing and gratifying to us.
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Robie Lozier (eleven years) writes that he punches a hole in his Young People, and ties the numbers together with a ribbon, adding the new numbers as fast as they come. This is an excellent suggestion, as it preserves the numbers from getting scattered and lost.
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SOUTH EVANSTON, ILLINOIS.
I have a little canary-bird. He is quite young, but is a beautiful singer, and almost always when he sings he says, "Pretty, pretty," so plain you could not mistake it. He is also very tame, and when I let him out of his cage he comes and stands on my shoulder, and hops around me. If I put my finger in his cage, he gets very cross, and waves his wings and pecks at me, and makes a queer noise as if he were scolding.
EFFIE T. (twelve years).
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I am a little girl nine years old, and I live in Southbridge, Massachusetts. I see that one little girl has written about her pet pigeon. I have a pet squirrel. He is so tame he will run all over me. Last summer we let him run out in the front yard, and papa put him in a tree, but he would not climb it. Papa has subscribed for Young People for me. I like it very much, and look forward with pleasure to the time for it to come. Thank you for making it larger; it is just nice.
JOSIE S. E.
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FORT WAYNE, INDIANA.
I received Young People for Christmas, and like the stories very much. I like "Photogen and Nycteris" so much that I can hardly wait till the next number comes. The engravings are very nice. I think that there was never a paper so interesting. I thank you for the "Wiggles" and other games. Happy New-Year.
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I am ten years old. I like Young People the best of any paper I ever saw. It is the first paper my papa has ever taken for me. He takes the Weekly. I think the Young People is just the right size for binding, and I am going to have it bound at the end of the year.
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I am very much interested in your paper. I am going to save up my money to take it. I am nine years old. I have a pony named Coby. I enjoy him very much. He is a Texas pony. I live in Richmond, Kentucky, where the grass is so blue.
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Letters are acknowledged from Maude J. W., Dayton, Washington Territory; Dannie Bullard, Schuylerville, New York; Lurean C., Mazomanie, Wisconsin; Fred E. B., Cambridge, Massachusetts; Harry R., Winona, Minnesota; H. W. Singer, Cincinnati, Ohio; Minnie W. Jacobs, Indiana, Pennsylvania; Percy W. Shedd, Attlebury, New York; Lizzie C., Utica, New York; Willie Hamilton, Alleghany City, Pennsylvania; Zella Thompson, Boston, Massachusetts; O. R. Heinze, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Frederick L. B., Brooklyn, Long Island; and Lyman C., M. C. S., and William F. B., New York city.
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"DEL," Zanesville, Ohio.—Flat cribbage-boards can be bought at a very low price, and folding ones which hold the cards are not expensive. You might make one from a piece of thick pasteboard, but as there must be sixty-one peg-holes for each player, it would not be easy to cut them neatly.—It is more customary to leave a card for each person called upon, especially where the visit is formal.
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GEORGE H. H.—Harper's new School Geography gives Wheeling as the capital of West Virginia.
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FREDIE G.—Even if you are only seven years, you are old enough to read a boys' book about wild animals. Lions will catch and eat nearly all beasts that come in their way. They will even overpower a giraffe or a buffalo. The elephant and rhinoceros are almost the only quadrupeds a lion dare not meddle with.
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OUR CHRISTMAS PUZZLE.
I think I have correctly worked the Christmas Puzzle in Young People. I had to study some time over "ray," never having heard of such a fish. It was only by finding what letters I needed in the columns 11, 9, 9 that I saw they were r a y. On looking in the dictionary I found there was a fish called by that name. "Yard" also puzzled me a great deal. The other words were easily found.
M. T. C.
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My brother Bertie and I have had a nice time finding the answer to your Christmas Puzzle in No. 8 of Young People. We thank you very much for your kind wish, and wish you the same in return. Can your young readers tell what it is we wish you?
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All these boys and girls have also told our Christmas Puzzle wish correctly: Maynard A. M., M. A. S., and F. V. B., Alexina K. D., F. E. Coombs, Willie J. M., Virgil C. M., Amy L. H., Etta Douglass, Annie G. Long, Willie H. S., Lilian Forbes, Jamie D. H., Huntington W., A. A. B., Mamie M., Nellie P., Essie B., Fred D. H., Zadie H. D., Edna Heinen, Seabury G. P., E. A. De Lima, Claudie M. Tice, Louie A., J. M. Wolfe, Carroll O. B., George F. D., S. K. S., Effie K. T., G. M. B., Ada and Clara, Florence D., Alice P., E. C. Repper, and George Henry.
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The answer to Christmas Puzzle in Young People No. 8 is, "I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New-Year."
HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE.
HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE will be issued every Tuesday, and may be had at the following rates—payable in advance, postage free:
SINGLE COPIES $0.04 ONE SUBSCRIPTION, one year 1.50 FIVE SUBSCRIPTIONS, one year 7.00
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Address HARPER & BROTHERS, Franklin Square, N. Y.
A LIBERAL OFFER FOR 1880 ONLY.
HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE and HARPER'S WEEKLY will be sent to any address for one year, commencing with the first Number of HARPER'S WEEKLY for January, 1880, on receipt of $5.00 for the two Periodicals.
Is a composition of the purest and choicest ingredients of the vegetable kingdom. It cleanses, beautifies, and preserves the TEETH, hardens and invigorates the gums, and cools and refreshes the mouth. Every ingredient of this Balsamic dentifrice has a beneficial effect on the Teeth and Gums. Impure Breath, caused by neglected teeth, catarrh, tobacco, or spirits, is not only neutralized, but rendered fragrant, by the daily use of SOZODONT. It is as harmless as water, and has been indorsed by the most scientific men of the day. Sold by druggists.
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Latest style now all the Rage. One dozen, Finest Gilt Edged, Round Cornered, with Name and Photograph, only 60 cents; 2 doz. $1. Sample and MAMMOTH 148-Page Book FREE. H. B. MATHEWS' SONS, 220 Lake Street, Chicago.
PLAYS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, with Songs and Choruses, adapted for Private Theatricals. With the Music and necessary directions for getting them up. Sent on receipt of 30 cents, by HAPPY HOURS COMPANY, No. 5 Beekman Street, New York. Send your address for a Catalogue of Tableaux, Charades, Pantomimes, Plays, Reciters, Masks, Colored Fire, &c., &c.
"Learning made pleasant."
N. Y. EVENING POST.
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SCIENCE FOR THE YOUNG.
By JACOB ABBOTT.
4 volumes, 12mo, Cloth, $1.50 each.
I. HEAT. II. LIGHT. III. WATER AND LAND. IV. FORCE.
If a mass-meeting of parents and children were to be held for the purpose of erecting a monument to the author who has done most to entertain and instruct the young folks, there would certainly be a unanimous vote in favor of Mr. Jacob Abbott. Two or three generations of American youth owe some of their most pleasant hours of recreation to his story-books; and his latest productions are as fresh and youthful as those which the papas and mammas of to-day once looked forward to as the most precious gifts from the Christmas bag of old Santa Claus. The series published under the general title of "Science for the Young" might be called "Learning made Pleasant." An interesting story runs through each, and beguiles the reader into the acquisition of a vast amount of useful knowledge under the genial pretence of furnishing amusement. No intelligent child can read these volumes without obtaining a better knowledge of physical science than many students have when they leave college.—N. Y. Evening Post.
Jacob Abbott is almost the only writer in the English language who knows how to combine real amusement with real instruction in such a manner that the eager young readers are quite as much interested in the useful knowledge he imparts as in the story which he makes so pleasant a medium of instruction.—Buffalo Commercial Advertiser.
Mr. Abbott has avoided the error of slurring over the difficulties of the subject through the desire of making it intelligible and attractive to unlearned readers. The numerous illustrations which accompany every chapter are of unquestionable value in the comprehension of the text, and come next to actual experiment as an aid to the reader.—N. Y. Tribune.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
"A book beyond the pale of criticism."
N. Y. DAILY GRAPHIC.
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Boy Travellers in the Far East.
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ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY TO JAPAN AND CHINA.
Illustrated, 8vo, Cloth, $3.00.
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A more attractive book for boys and girls can scarcely be imagined.—N. Y. Times.
The best thing for a boy who cannot go to China and Japan is to get this book and read it.—Philadelphia Ledger.
Juvenile literature seems to have come to a climax in this book. In literary quality and in material form it is a decided improvement on anything of the kind ever before produced in America.—N. Y. Journal of Commerce.
One of the richest and most entertaining books for young people, both in text, illustrations, and binding, which has ever come to our table.—Providence Press.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, N. Y.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
Old Books for Young Readers.
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Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
The Thousand and One Nights; or, The Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Translated and Arranged for Family Reading, with Explanatory Notes, by E. W. LANE. 600 Illustrations by Harvey. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3.50.
The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner. By DANIEL DEFOE. With a Biographical Account of Defoe. Illustrated by Adams. Complete Edition. 12mo, Cloth, $1.50.
The Swiss Family Robinson.
The Swiss Family Robinson; or, Adventures of a Father and Mother and Four Sons on a Desert Island. Illustrated. 2 vols., 18mo, Cloth, $1.50.
The Swiss Family Robinson—Continued: being a Sequel to the Foregoing. 2 vols., 18mo, Cloth, $1.50.
Sandford and Merton.
The History of Sandford and Merton. By THOMAS DAY. 18mo, Half Bound, 75 cents.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
HARPER & BROTHERS will send any of the above works by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
The Fairy Books.
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THE PRINCESS IDLEWAYS. By Mrs. W. J. HAYS. Illustrated. 16mo, Cloth, 75 cents.
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THE CATSKILL FAIRIES. By VIRGINIA W. JOHNSON. 8vo, Illuminated Cloth, Gilt Edges, $3.00.
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FAIRY BOOK ILLUSTRATED. l6mo, Cloth, $1.50.
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PUSS-CAT MEW, and other New Fairy Stories for my Children. By E. H. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN, M.P. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, $1.25.
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FAIRY BOOK. The Best Popular Fairy Stories selected and rendered anew. By the Author of "John Halifax." Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, $1.25.
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FAIRY TALES. By JEAN MACE. Translated by MARY L. BOOTH. Illustrated. 12mo, Bevelled Edges, $1.75; Gilt Edges, $2.25.
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FAIRY TALES OF ALL NATIONS. By E. LABOULAYE. Translated by MARY L. BOOTH. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, Bevelled Edges, $2.00; Gilt Edges, $2.50.
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THE LITTLE LAME PRINCE. By the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman." Illustrated. Square 16mo, Cloth, $1.00.
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FOLKS AND FAIRIES. Stories for Little Children. By LUCY CRANDALL COMFORT. Illustrated. Square 4to, Cloth, $1.00.
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THE ADVENTURE OF A BROWNIE, as Told to my Child. By the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman." Illustrated. Square 16mo, Cloth, 90 cents.
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Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.
Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of the price.
"A most enchanting story for boys."
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AN INVOLUNTARY VOYAGE.
By LUCIEN BIART, Author of "Adventures of a Young Naturalist."
TRANSLATED BY Mrs. CASHEL HOEY and Mr. JOHN LILLIE.
ILLUSTRATED. 12mo, Cloth, $1.25.
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A very charming book, brimming full of adventures, and has not an uninteresting page between its covers.—Baltimore Gazette.
A book that is at once novel and entertaining. * * * All the book is lively, and the voyagers have some adventures, the telling of which is as entertaining as any book of Jules Verne's, besides having nothing in them that is improbable or extravagant.—Philadelphia Bulletin.
A most enchanting story for boys. * * * It is a story of adventure, and also contains much interesting and useful information.—Pittsburgh Telegraph.