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VOL. I.—NO. 38. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, July 20, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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THE BIGGEST BLACKBERRY PICKER.
BY W. O. STODDARD.
Dot Calliper had come out on the mountain-side, with all the rest of them, after blackberries.
She had picked her little pail full industriously, but she was too fat and too small to climb any further among the rocks and stumps and bushes, so they had left her there, in the shade of the great chestnut-tree, to watch the milk-pails.
Not that there was any milk in them just now, for all three of them were more than half full of great, plump, overgrown berries—blackberries, and the best and largest anybody had ever seen among those mountains. Such a season for berries!
There had been a great fire three years before, and it had burned the woods away, and nobody knew where the blackberry bushes had come from, but they had moved right in as if the country belonged to them, and they had climbed all over everything.
Dot sat by her pails and looked around, and she was half sorry all the berries near her had been picked and put into the big pails.
All the rest, even Johnny Coyne and Pen Burke, had little pails or else baskets, except Dot's big brother Bob, and he was now away up the mountain-side with a pail that would hold almost as much as a milk-pail.
Dot knew where the others were picking, for they didn't keep still a minute. Jessie Mack and Betsy were down among the rocks at her right, and Molly Calliper was with the boys up there on the left.
Dot was not in the least afraid at being alone, but she did wish she was hungry enough to eat some more berries.
She thought of it, and she tried to, but it was of no use, for all the while she had been picking she had put one berry in her rosy little mouth every time she had put another in her little tin pail.
"Oh, so much berries!" sighed Dot. "They're all our berries, too."
Yes, and Mrs. Calliper meant to dry them all and sell them, and buy some things for Dot and Molly and the baby. Bob had said that he meant to sell his own berries and buy him a new gun.
Want of appetite was the trouble with Dot; but there was somebody else in there, among the thickest of those bushes, picking, picking, picking, and eating every one he picked, and that fellow had never seen an hour in all his life when he could not have eaten some more blackberries.
An enormous fellow he was, and fatter for his size than Dot Calliper was for hers. He did not look at all ill-natured, and there was even a sort of funny twinkle in his little black eyes, as he pulled the branches full of fruit to his mouth with his great clumsy-looking paws.
They were not half so clumsy as they looked, and they were armed with long, sharp, cruel claws that were bent in a curve, like the teeth of the big shell comb Dot's mother bought of the peddler for her back hair. Then, too, when his mouth opened wide, as it did when he made one of his lazy, sleepy yawns, the teeth he showed were something dreadful to look at. Teeth of that size were never needed for eating such things as blackberries. They looked a great deal more as if they were meant for eating Dot Callipers.
He was evidently very fond of berries, and did not seem to have any doubt but what they all belonged to him. It was just as if he had offered a prize that summer for the bush that would bear the most blackberries, and was now going around among them to see which had won it. Every bush he came to just held out its branches for him to look at; but if Dot had been watching him, she would have seen at once that the fat old rascal never seemed to count the berries at all, but just gathered and swallowed them. How would he be able to tell, when he was done, which bush had done the best for him?
But Dot was not watching him. She had not even seen him yet, and she did not know he was there till he made a great crash among the bushes, when his foot slipped, and he rolled down through half a dozen of them.
"Bob," exclaimed Dot, "is that you? Did you tumble down?"
There was no answer, and she asked again, "Bob, did you 'pill your berries?"
Then she thought she heard something like a grunt, such as the pigs made when they were rooting in the garden, and she and Bob went to drive them out, and she said, "Oh, the pids are come! they'll pick all our berries."
Then there came more rustling and crashing among the bushes, and then Dot jumped up and got behind the three big pails, for it was not anything like a pig that came out and began to walk toward the chestnut-tree.
"Oh dear me!" whispered the frightened Dot. "I daren't 'peak to him."
Neither did he say a word to her. He did not even tell her his name was Bruin, and that he was fond of blackberries, but he walked straight forward, and his little black eyes were twinkling more brightly than ever.
As fast as he came forward Dot stepped back, till she stood right against the tree, and then she slipped around behind it, and began to feel that she was perfectly safe.
Bruin looked into one pail after another, as if he saw at once that all the bushes were beaten, and was trying to decide to which of the pails the prize belonged.
"Bob! Bob!" screamed Dot, at the top of her little voice, "there's a bear come, and he's 'tealing our berries."
He was eating them up very fast, that was a fact—for all the world as if they had been picked for his benefit.
Perhaps he would have liked them better with plenty of milk and sugar, but he did not ask Dot for anything of the kind. He just sat down on the grass, and took a big pail up in his lap with his clumsy fore-paws, and then lifted it high enough to bury half his head in it.
Dot saw that he knew exactly how to eat blackberries out of a milk-pail, and she felt sure they would not last him long.
"Molly! Jessie! Betsy! Johnny Coyne! Pen Burke! the bear's 'tealing the berries!"
The other children heard her, and they all began to scream together: "Bear! bear! He's eating up Dot and the berries."
Bruin had not so much as said a cross word to Dot, although it was true that he had not thanked her for the berries; but he was just lifting the second pail to his mouth, when Dot's big brother Bob heard the screaming, and came hurrying down the hill toward the chestnut-tree.
"Der's one pail left, but he's eat up the odders," said Dot, excitedly, as Bob sprang out of the nearest bushes; but to her surprise he did not pay the least attention to the berries or the bear. He just caught up Dot herself in his strong arms, and ran away with her.
"Bob, did you lose your pail?"
"Boys! Betsy! Molly!" shouted Bob, "run! run!"
They did run; but they were not like Bob, for every one of them kept tight hold of their berry pails. They could not run fast among so many rocks and bushes, but they could scramble, and they had not gone far before they heard a great rough voice near them shouting,
"Hullo! What's arter ye all? Did ye git skeered?"
"Joe—Joe Mix!" exclaimed Bob. "The biggest bear you ever saw in your life. Ain't I glad you've got your gun along!"
"Up among the blackberries."
"And I haven't a bullet nor a buckshot; nothin' but small shot. Tell ye what, Bob. Drap that little one. The bar won't foller ye. You jest run for the house and git yer gun, and tell yer father, and have him come along, and bring some buckshot and slugs for me. Bars is fat now, and we'll jest gather this one."
Bob was putting Dot on the ground, when she said to him,
"Make the bear div back the pails, too."
While Bob was gone, Joe Mix made Dot tell him all about it, but he said,
"I guess I won't go ahead and scare him off; he'll stay and pick around."
"He'll pick all our berries."
"Now, Dot, there's berries enough. We'll pick him. It won't do to have him come and pick some of your father's pigs."
"Would he pick me?"
"Not unless the berries were all gone, and the nuts too, and the pigs. But I'm glad Bob got away with ye. He might have mistaken ye for a berry."
"I wasn't in a pail; I got behind a tree."
Dot had been pretty well scared, but Bruin had behaved very well, except about the berries, and she was not half so much frightened as the older children were. Molly and Betsy came and hugged her ever so hard, and Johnny Coyne exclaimed,
"Tell you what, Joe, if I'd had a gun!"
"Oh, don't I wish I'd had a gun!" echoed Pen Burke; and then they both said they'd bring guns with them the next time they came after berries.
Bob Calliper must have been a good runner, and his father too, for it was wonderful how soon the noise they made among the bushes below told that they were coming.
That was not all, either, for a little distance behind them was Mrs. Calliper herself, all out of breath, with the baby in her arms, and she was not nearly so careful as usual in handing the baby to Molly, she was in such a hurry to hug Dot, and kiss her, and exclaim, "Dear! dear! dear! My pet! Bears! Oh, Dot, bears! Berries! My precious!"
"The bear dot the berries, mamma."
"Berries indeed! Who cares for berries!"
Joe Mix asked, the moment Bob came near enough, "Any slugs for me?"
And Bob held out to him a handful of buckshot and rifle-bullets.
Joe had been drawing the old charge out of his gun, and loading it again with more powder, and now he poured in half a dozen big buckshot and three bullets.
"They'll do for slugs. Got yer rifle, Mr. Calliper?"
"No, Bob's brought that. I've got my double-barrelled deer gun, and I've stuck an awful charge into it."
"Mary Jane," said her husband to Mrs. Calliper, "you and the children go on down the hill. Pen, you and Johnny see if you can't haul out that old stone-boat. It lies up this way, close to the foot of the mountain. We'll need it to get the bear home."
"Oh, mamma," exclaimed Dot, "is the bear comin' to our house?"
She knew very well that if he did, he would eat up all the berries that were spread out on the roof to dry, but her father and Joe Mix and Bob hurried away in the direction of the big chestnut.
Mrs. Calliper would not let any of the children go, but she put down Dot to carry the baby.
Pen and Johnny were a little sulky at not being allowed to help hunt the bear, but they were glad to have something to do, and went on after the stone-boat.
That was a kind of flat sled, made of a thick piece of plank, and used to haul stones on, and they found it just where Mr. Calliper said.
He and Joe and Bob went on up the mountain-side more and more carefully, but they had not far to go, and pretty soon Bob whispered, "There he is; he hasn't gone."
"Got a pail on each side of him, and another in his lap," said his father.
"Now," said Joe, "we've got him. We must all shoot together. Keep yer second barrel a moment, Mr. Calliper. Then give it to him."
Joe was an old hunter, and he wasn't good for anything else; but he knew all about bears.
Mrs. Calliper and the children heard the guns go off pretty quickly after that—bang! bang! bang! and then another bang.
"Oh dear! I hope they won't either of them get hurt!"
There was no danger of that, for the distance had been short, and ever so many slugs and buckshot had struck Dot's bear almost at the same time. He dropped the pail and rolled over on the ground, and he could not have hurt any one after that. He could not have picked a blackberry.
There came a great shout of triumph down the mountain-side. "Mary Jane! come and look at him!"
The boys heard it, and they tugged harder than ever at the stone-boat.
Such a bear that was!
"Such a berry big bear!" said Dot.
It was hard enough work to get him upon the stone-boat after it came, and Mr. Calliper and Joe Mix and Bob were so long in dragging that load to Mr. Calliper's house that the children had time to pick the three big pails full of berries again.
Joe Mix sat down on a log in front of the door, and mopped his face with his handkerchief, and Pen and Johnny took a useless pull at the stone-boat with the bear on it, and Mrs. Calliper stood behind her husband and hugged the baby.
They had put the three pails of berries down only a few feet from the nose of the bear as he lay on the stone-boat, and Jessie Mack and Betsy went and stood behind the pails, where they were safe, but Dot wasn't a bit afraid of that bear now. She toddled close up to her father, as he stood at the head of the stone-boat, and looked down on the great furry berry picker.
"He didn't pick me, papa."
"No, Dot," remarked Joe Mix; "he couldn't sit up now ef you brung him all the berries you've got."
"He's a poor, dood, dead bear," said Dot, pityingly. "Poor bear!"
"Wa'al, no, Dot," said Joe, "he's the fattest bar I ever hauled on. It's all along of thar being sech heaps and heaps of berries this year."
IN THE SWING.
BY M. M.
Oh, swing me high, and swing me low, Under the linden-tree, Whose fragrant blossoms, like a shower, Fall down and cover me.
The sunshine flickers through the leaves As to and fro I swing; Gay butterflies go flashing by; Birds in the tree-top sing.
The brook tells stories to the flowers The livelong summer day; And everywhere the earth is bright, And all the world is gay.
So swing me high, and swing me low, Under the linden-tree, And let the blossoms, like a shower, Fall down and cover me.
PEARLS—REAL AND IMITATION.
FROM ADVANCE SHEETS OF "THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST." PART SECOND.
BY THOMAS W. KNOX.
While on their way from Bangkok to Singapore, Frank and Fred were much interested in accounts of some of the wonders of the Eastern seas given them by Captain Johnson, a fellow-passenger. In answer to some of their inquiries about pearls, he gave them the following information:
"One of the favorite fishing grounds for pearls is at Bahrein, on the Persian Gulf. The divers bring in the oysters from the fishing banks in the Gulf, and pile them on the shore in great heaps. Here they lie till they are rotted; and the stench that arises is enough to turn any inexperienced stomach. When the substance of the oyster is quite decomposed, the shells are opened, and the mass of matter they contain is thrown into tubs, and washed with water. It is necessary to pass the pulp very carefully through the fingers, for fear that some of the pearls will be lost, and consequently the washing is very slow. When a pearl beyond a certain size is found, the washer receives a handsome present; but below the regulation figure he gets nothing but his daily wages. Large pearls are very rare, and consequently the chances that a pearl-washer will make a fortune by a lucky find are exceedingly small.
"There is a belief quite current through the East that the pearl is a drop of rain-water which has fallen into the shell of the oyster when he was at the surface, and been afterward hardened. This is a pretty bit of sentiment; but as the oyster never goes to the surface unless he is carried there, the story does not have much foundation to rest upon."
"If the pearl is so valuable, and so difficult to get, I should think there would be men who would try to imitate it," Frank remarked.
"You are quite right," was the reply; "and men have tried a great many times to make false pearls."
"Have they succeeded?"
"Partially, but not altogether. No counterfeit pearls have yet been made that could pass all the tests of the genuine; but their lustre is quite equal sometimes to the best pearls of Ceylon, and they can be made to deceive anybody but an expert."
"How do they make them?"
"The best of the false pearls," said the Captain, "are made by what is known as Jaquin's process. M. Jaquin was a manufacturer of beads in France, and he spent a great deal of time and money in trying to make his beads better than any other man's. One day he was walking in his garden, and observed a remarkably silvery lustre on some water in a basin. It instantly occurred to him that if he could put that lustre on his beads, he would have something decidedly new.
"So he called his old servant, and asked what had been in the water. She answered that it was nothing but some little fish called ablettes, that had been crushed in the basin, and she had neglected to throw the water out.
"M. Jaquin was very glad, for once, that she had neglected her duty. He began experimenting with the scales of the ablette, or bleak—a little fish about the size of a sardine, and very abundant in certain parts of Europe. After several trials he adopted the plan of washing the scales several times in water, and saving the sediment that gathered at the bottom of the basin. This was about the consistency of oil, and had the lustre he desired. Next, he blew some beads of very thin glass, and after coating the inside of a bead with this substance, he filled it up with wax, so as to give it solidity. Thus the fish scales gave the lustre, the glass gave the polish and brilliancy that we find on the genuine pearl, and the wax furnished a solid backing to the thin glass. It is fortunate that the bleak is very abundant, or he would run the risk of extermination."
"Is the manufacture of false pearls so great as that?" Fred inquired.
"It is pretty extensive," was the Captain's response, "but not enormously so. The fact is, it requires more than a thousand of these little fish to make an ounce of the 'essence d'Orient,' as the French call it, or essence of pearl. Other substances have been tried, in the hope of obtaining the same result for a smaller outlay, but none of them have been entirely successful.
"In China and Japan the natives have long followed the practice of putting small beads of porcelain inside the oyster, and then returning him to the water, where he is left undisturbed for three or four years. At the end of that time he is taken up and opened, and the beads are found to be coated with the pearly substance. They also have the trick of putting little images or idols into the oyster, and in course of time these become coated over in the manner I have described."
[Begun in No. 31 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, June 1.]
THE MORAL PIRATES.
BY W. L. ALDEN.
The next morning the boys awoke early, having had a thoroughly good night's rest. Tom, whose turn it was to go for milk, found a well-stocked farm-house, where he obtained not only milk, bread, and eggs, but a supply of butter, and a chicken all ready for cooking. After breakfast the boat was put in the water, and, to the delight of all, proved to be almost as tight as she was before running into the rock. A little water came in at first under the edges of the zinc, but in a short time the wood swelled, and the leak entirely ceased.
The boat was loaded, and the boys were ready to start soon after six o'clock. There was no wind, but the two long oars, pulled one by Tom and the other by Jim, sent her along at a fine rate. They rowed until ten o'clock, resting occasionally for a few moments, and then, as there were no signs of a breeze, and as it was growing excessively hot, they went ashore, to wait until afternoon before resuming their journey.
The sun became hotter and hotter. The boys tried to fish, but there was no shade near the bank of the river, and it was too hot to stand or sit in the sunshine and wait for fish to bite. They went in swimming, but the sun, beating on their heads, seemed hotter while they were in the water than it did when they were on the land. Jim and Joe tried a game of mumble-to-peg, but they gave it up long before they had reached "cars." It was probably the hottest day of the year; and as it was clearly impossible to row or to do anything else while the heat lasted, the boys brought their blankets from the boat, and going to a grove not far from the shore, lay down and fell asleep.
They were astonished to find, when they awoke, that it was two o'clock. None of them had been accustomed to sleep in the daytime, and they could not understand how it came about that they had all slept for fully two hours. They had yet to learn that one of the results of "camping out," or living in the open air, is an ability to sleep at almost any time. All animals and wild creatures, whether they are beasts or savages, have this happy faculty of sleeping in the daytime. It is one of the habits of our savage ancestors that comes back to us when we abandon civilization, and live as Aryan tribes, from whom we are descended, lived in the far East, before they marched with their wives and children and cattle from India, and made themselves new homes in Europe.
After lunch the boys prepared to start, although there was still no wind; but when they went down to the boat they found that the sun was as hot as ever. So they returned to the shade of the grove, and made up their minds to stay there until the end of the afternoon.
"Harry," said Tom, "we've been on the river three days, and we are only a little way above Hudson. How much longer will it be before we get to Albany?"
"We ought to get there in two days more, even if we have to row all the way," replied Harry.
"And after we get to Albany, what are we to do next?"
"We are going up the Champlain Canal to Fort Edward. There we will have a wagon to carry us and the boat to Warrensburg, on the Schroon River, and will go up the river to Schroon Lake. Uncle John laid out the route for us."
"How many days will it take us to get to the lake?" asked Tom.
Harry thought awhile. "There's two days more on the Hudson, two on the canal, and maybe two on the Schroon River. And then there's a Sunday, which don't count. It'll be just a week before we get to the lake."
"I've got to be home by two weeks from next Monday," continued Tom, "so I sha'n't have much time on the lake. Can't we get along a little faster? There's a full moon to-night, and suppose we sail all night—or row, if the wind doesn't come up?"
"That's a first-rate idea," exclaimed Harry. "We can take turns sleeping in the bottom of the boat. Why, if the breeze comes up in the night, we might make twenty or thirty miles before morning."
All the boys liked the plan of sailing at night, and they resolved to adopt it. While they were yet discussing it, a light breeze sprang up, from the south as usual, and they hastened to take advantage of it. In the course of an hour more the sun began to lose its power; and when they went ashore at six o'clock to cook their supper, they had sailed about fifteen miles.
As they expected to make so much progress during the night, they were in no hurry about supper, and it was not until after seven o'clock that they again made sail. Harry divided the crew into watches—one consisting of himself and Joe Sharpe, and the other of Tom and Jim. Each watch was to have charge of the boat for three hours, while the other watch slept. At eight o'clock Tom and Jim lay down in the bottom of the boat, and Joe came aft to take Tom's customary place at the sheet. Harry, of course, steered.
All went well. The breeze was light but steady, and Harry kept the boat in the middle of the river to avoid another shipwreck. The watch below did not sleep much, for they had had a long nap at noon, and, besides, the novelty of their position made them wakeful. They had just dropped asleep when eleven o'clock arrived, and they were awakened to relieve the other watch. Tom went sleepily to the helm, and Harry and Joe gladly "turned in," and were soon fast asleep.
Tom always declares that he never closed his eyes while he was at the helm, and Jim also asserts that he was wide-awake during his entire watch, though neither he nor Tom spoke, for fear of waking up the other boys. It was strange that these two wide-awake young Moral Pirates did not notice that a large steamboat—one of the Albany night boats—was in sight, until she was within a mile of them, and it is just possible that, without knowing it, they were a little too drowsy to keep a proper look-out.
As soon as Tom saw the steamboat, he remarked, "Halloo! there's one of the Albany boats," and steered the boat over toward the east shore. The breeze had nearly died away, and the Whitewing moved very slowly. The steamboat came rapidly down the river, her paddles throbbing loudly in the night air. Jim began to get a little uneasy, and said, "I hope she won't run us down."
"Oh, there's no danger!" replied Tom; "we shall get out of her way easy enough."
But, to his dismay, the steamboat, instead of keeping in the middle of the river, presently turned toward the east shore, as if she were bent upon running down the Whitewing. Tom was now really alarmed; and as he saw that the sail was doing very little good, he hurriedly told Jim to take down the mast and get out the oars as quick as possible. Jim rapidly obeyed the order, dropping the mast on Harry's head, and catching Joe by the nose in his search for the oars. By this time Tom had begun to hail the steamboat at the top of his lungs; but no attention was paid to him by the steamboat men, since the noise of the paddles drowned Tom's voice. Harry and Joe, who were now wide-awake, saw what danger they were in, and they sprang to the oars. The steamboat was frightfully near, and still hugging the shore; but Tom called on the boys to give way with their oars, and steered straight for the shore, knowing that there must be room for the boat between the steamboat and the bank of the river, and fearing that if he steered in the opposite direction the steamboat might change her course and run them down, when they would have little chance of escape by swimming.
It was certainly very doubtful if they could avoid the steamboat, and Tom was well aware of it. He told the other boys that, if they were sure to be run down, they must jump before the steamboat struck them, and dive, so as to escape the paddles. "I'll tell you when to jump, if worst comes to worst," said he; "but don't you look around now, nor do anything but row. Row for your lives, boys."
And the boys did row gallantly. Harry had a pair of sculls, and Jim had a long oar, and between them they made the boat fly through the water. As they neared the shore, it seemed to them that there was not more than three feet of space between the steamboat and the land; and Tom had almost made up his mind that the cruise was coming to a sudden end, when the great steamboat swung her head around, and drew out toward the middle of the river. She did not seem to be more than a rod from them as she changed her course, though in reality she was probably much farther off. At the same moment the Whitewing reached what appeared to be the shore, but what was really a long row of piles projecting about a foot above the water. The boys had just ceased rowing, and Tom had given the boat a sheer with the rudder, so as to bring her alongside of the piles, when the steamboat's swell, which the boys, in their excitement over their narrow escape, had totally forgotten, came rushing up, seized the boat, and threw it over the piles into a shallow and muddy lagoon.
It was almost miraculous that the boat was not capsized; but she was actually lifted up and thrown over the piles, without taking more than a few quarts of spray into her. When they saw that they were absolutely safe, the boys began to wonder how in the world they could get the boat back into the river, and Jim proposed to light the lantern and see if anything was missing out of the boat, and if she had been injured.
"Now I see why the steamboat did not notice us," exclaimed Tom.
"Why?" asked all the others together.
"Because," he replied, "we have been such everlasting idiots as to sail at night without showing a light."
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
HOW GIL PLAYED VENTRILOQUIST.
BY JAMES B. MARSHALL.
It was before Dora and Gil Norman came back to the city last fall with their mamma from Farmer Jonathan's, where their papa joined them every Saturday afternoon and staid until Monday morning. If you had asked Dora or Gil what the farmer's full name was, the answer would probably have been, "Why, Farmer Jonathan, of course." Every one called him Farmer Jonathan, but his letters were usually directed, "Mr. Jonathan Wainwright."
One morning he came to the house from his great barn, and told Dora and Gil to go down there and see the largest load of hay that he had ever had on his hay-wagon.
Going to the barn, they saw the huge load of hay waiting for the horses to be put to the wagon tongue, and a long ladder reared against the wagon, by which the farm men had descended from the top of the load after completing it.
"I'm going to the top to see how high it looks," said Gil, beginning to climb.
Dora watched him until he was about half way up the ladder, and then thought that she too would like to see how high it looked. Gil had not thought of Dora following him, nor of the danger she would run, even more than his own small self, climbing to that considerable height, until he had reached the top, and saw that she was half way up. Then he did wisely, encouraging her to continue to climb rather than frightening her by sending her back, and he joyfully caught her in his arms, drawing her to the middle of the broad top of the load of hay. When Farmer Jonathan should come down to the barn to see the horses put to the load, or when Sam should come with the horses, Gil intended to call out, and have Dora carried down the ladder. Gil couldn't see over the sides of the hay, but he knew he would hear Farmer Jonathan or Sam the moment that either of them should come into the barn.
It was so very pleasant to lie half buried on the sweet hay, watching the swallows darting and circling among the barn rafters away above them, that while Gil was wondering why Dora should be taking a nap, his own head nodded in sleep.
When Gil awoke, the whole load was shaking, and he called out, "Are you there, Farmer Jonathan?" Receiving no answer, he rubbed his eyes, and found that he was not in the barn at all. "I've been asleep," said Gil, sitting up, "and Farmer Jonathan is taking us to town on top of his hay, and don't know it. That's jolly. When we get to town, and stop, I can make him hear me, if I can't now, and he will take us down. Then we can see him sell the hay, and afterward, as we ride home, perhaps he will let us take turns driving."
"Oh, won't that be just splendid!" said Dora, having awakened in time to hear nearly all that Gil had been saying to himself.
When they began to pass houses, though they could see nothing of them below the second-story windows, Gil and Dora knew that Farmer Jonathan had reached the town, and was driving along the streets. Directly Dora discovered the steeple of the church that stood just below their aunt Mary's house. Then Gil, looking ahead, saw the very house, and, what was more, Cousin Will eating from a paper of buns while he leaned out of the window to watch the great load of hay coming down the street. Before the wagon came opposite the window it was going on a noisy trot; Will caught sight of Dora and Gil on top, and he was so much surprised that, when Gil made a motion to him to throw them a bun, he threw the whole paperful right on the hay.
While the hay-wagon rolled on, Gil and Dora began eating the buns, and Will disappeared from the window. He went down stairs four steps at a jump, tumbled into the dining-room, and astonished Aunt Mary, his mother, very much by demanding, "Oh, mamma dear, can I go and take a ride on an awful big load of hay?" Aunt Mary was for some time puzzled to know just what her excited boy meant; but when she did understand, she told him he might go and invite Farmer Jonathan, Gil, and Dora to dinner. The hay-wagon had then disappeared down the street, and Will had to stop every few minutes to inquire which way it had gone, for many persons had noticed how large the load was.
As it was market-day in town, a number of people soon collected around the wagon, when Farmer Jonathan stopped in front of Grocer Bacon's, and went into the store to ask Bacon if he wouldn't buy the hay. Gil didn't like to call to Farmer Jonathan while the people stood around, though by getting as close to the edge of the hay as he dared, Gil could just have a peep at him through the loose hay, as he stood in the store door talking with Dionysius Bacon.
As Dionysius considered himself a pretty smart fellow, and enjoyed cracking jokes with people, particularly when the joke was on his side, he went on chaffing Farmer Jonathan about the hay. He offered to trade brooms, clothes-lines, etc., for it, while those standing around laughed, and those passing along the street paused to see what the fun was.
"Now is this all nice hay?" asked Dionysius, speaking as though he was done joking, and was very much in earnest. At the same time he was slyly working a clothes-peg into the hay, which he intended to find in a moment after, and then go on joking again.
"Every spear of it sweet and dry," was the answer.
"That's so, Grocer Bacon," exclaimed Gil, earnestly, and then lying very quiet, so as not to be discovered, and also cautioning Dora.
Dionysius Bacon jumped away from the hay, dropped the clothes-peg, and looked foolish, for the voice seemed to him, as well as to others, to come right out of the middle of the load of hay.
"I didn't know that you pretended to be a ventriloquist, Farmer Jonathan," said he, laughing; "but if you can't imitate a boy's voice better than that, you should take some more lessons in the art."
Farmer Jonathan only smiled, and looked about him to see if he could discover who the ventriloquist was.
"Mr. Dionysius Bacon, don't stand in the sun without your hat," said Gil, in a queer voice. At this every one laughed and shouted, except Dionysius. Gil and Dora laughed, because the people did, and this made the others laugh and shout harder than ever.
"Good for you, Farmer Jonathan!" said half a dozen persons. "You ought to hire the Music Hall, and start a show."
"I don't know anything about ventriloquism," said he, putting his hands into his pockets, and chuckling at the very idea.
"But you can't imitate this," said Dionysius, trying not to appear provoked: "'If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.'"
"'If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,'" said Gil, imitating the grocer's voice as near as he could. At which you could have heard the people's ha! ha! has! and their shouts of delight a block away.
"Now do you still mean to tell me, Farmer Jonathan, that you are not playing this trick?" asked the grocer.
"Certainly I do. But why don't you suspect some of these gentlemen?"
Then Dionysius appealed to each one separately, not even missing the boys and girls who had been drawn to the spot by the merriment; but all denied being able to ventriloquize, and said that they were sure it had been Farmer Jonathan.
Still, of course, the farmer had to deny it.
"See here," said Dionysius, "I'll buy your hay, and treat every man, girl, and boy present to Smith's best twenty-five-cent oyster stews, if you're not the man; and if you are, you are to pay for the stews."
"One, two, three," said Farmer Jonathan, beginning to number those who stood around.
"It don't matter if there are fifty of them," quickly interposed Dionysius; "will you accept my wager or not?"
"I accept it, of course," said Farmer Jonathan.
Will, having sighted the hay-wagon, just then came running up the street. "Please, Farmer Jonathan," said he, "mother wants you to come to our house to dinner, and bring Gil and Dora. May I too climb up on your hay?"
"Why, my little man, I left Gil and Dora out in the country, at my farm," answered Farmer Jonathan.
"Oh no, you didn't. I saw them on top of your hay-wagon here when you went past our house."
"How are you, Will?" shouted Gil, standing up on the hay.
Then, though the people could see nothing of Gil but his head, they knew at once that Dionysius Bacon had lost his wager. When Farmer Jonathan and some others had lifted Gil and Dora down to the sidewalk, they told how they came to be on the hay. Afterward, Farmer Jonathan, Dionysius, Dora, Gil, and Will headed a procession to Smith's oyster saloon of those who had heard Dionysius make the wager.
It took forty-two oyster stews to supply all, and if it hadn't been a market-day, and just about dinner-time, Smith wouldn't have known how to have served them quickly. Forty-two stews, at a quarter each, you see, would amount to $10.50, and though Smith only charged Dionysius an even ten-dollar bill, the latter seemed to think that he wouldn't make any more wagers that day.
The hay having been unloaded in the mean time, Farmer Jonathan drove around by Will's home, stopping long enough to tell Aunt Mary about the ventriloquist, and then continued on to the farm with Gil and Dora.
But the children hadn't been missed, because mamma thought that they were over at the next farm-house, and she was looking for their return every moment.
The great family of beetles is one of the most important in the insect world. In burning sandy plains, in tropical jungles, in fresh green fields, in bogs and swamps—wherever there is a bit of earth or water—there are beetles of one kind or another, following out the instincts assigned to them by nature.
The beetle known as the sacred scarabaeus was held in great veneration by the ancient Egyptians, and is carved in great profusion on their tombs. Small gold and porcelain figures of the scarabaeus, which were strung on necklaces, and used in other ways for personal ornaments, have also been found in Egyptian sarcophagi.
The way the sacred scarabaeus deposits its eggs is a wonderful exhibition of animal instinct. First collecting an ample supply of the material which the young larvae will need for food, she places her eggs in the middle of it. She then rolls it into a lump, and starts with it on a voyage of discovery. She works backward, pushing the ball containing her eggs behind her, until she finds soil in which she can burrow and conceal her precious burden. It is said to be for this peculiarity that the scarabaeus was venerated by the ancient Egyptians. The lump of earth containing the eggs was considered an emblem of fruitfulness, and the devotion of the scarabaeus, which would lose its life rather than its precious eggs, was thought to symbolize the exceeding love of the Creator toward men.
The tiger-beetles, of which there are many varieties, are one of the most important branches of the family. They have great hooked jaws, formed to seize the small insects upon which they live. They can not exist in very cold countries, and they are rarely found in cultivated land, as they prefer burrowing in loose, sandy soil, where their little homes are not in danger of being disturbed by the gardener's spade. A remarkable tiger-beetle is the gold-cross of India, which has a deep velvety black body, and a golden mark on its wings in shape like a St. Andrew's cross. The prevailing colors of the tiger-beetle are black, green, and blue; but there is a little Brazilian member of the family of a glistening metallic crimson. It has very long legs, and prefers climbing among the foliage to living on the ground, like most varieties of the tiger-beetle. Its movements are very quick. It will pounce like lightning on a fly, which can rarely escape the grasp of this formidable enemy.
A very curious beetle is the bombardier, a brown creature with green gloss on its wings. It carries a little bomb-shell, which it uses as a weapon of defense when disturbed by an enemy. It is a very sociable little bug, and will gather in a crowd under big flat stones in damp places. If the stone is suddenly overturned, the bombardiers at once begin a cannonade like the explosion of a grain of gunpowder, and throw out a puff of whitish vapor resembling smoke. The bombardiers of South America, China, and other warm countries, are much larger than those found in England, and the fluid they eject, which causes the tiny explosion, is capable of making a black stain, and leaving an unpleasant burning sensation upon the hand of any one trying to capture them.
A large member of the beetle family is found in Nicaragua. It is about five inches long, and is called the big-bodied elephant. It is black in color, but appears of a yellowish-chestnut, as it is entirely covered with a thick, soft fur, something like the down on a butterfly's wing, which rubs off very easily, and shows the scaly black surface beneath. The big-bodied elephant is armed with a formidable black horn, forked at the end, which curves upward like the horn of a white rhinoceros.
Certain species of the elater beetles are familiar to every school-boy. Elater signifies striking or bounding. Boys will know better what is meant by an elater beetle if they are told that it is the same thing as a skip-jack, or snapping-bug. If this beetle is laid on its back, its legs are unable to reach to either side and gain a foot-hold, and it can not roll over. It accordingly goes through a gymnastic movement. Curling its legs closely to its body, it arches itself a little, and suddenly springs into the air, landing on its feet, in which position it is again master of itself.
The most remarkable among the elater beetles is the cuculio, or fire-fly, of the tropics. It is a very common-looking dark brown beetle in the daytime, the two beads, one on each side of its head, which at night are so luminous and beautiful, being dull white. But, wait until night comes, and then what countless pairs of tiny yellow-green lanterns are flying over the fields, and creeping about among the foliage! Boys and girls in Cuba make cages of stout reeds, and fill them with cuculios. If the cage is hung in a dark room, the light from the cuculios is strong enough to enable one to read print, if the book is held near the cage. There is also a small place underneath the body from which this singular beetle emits light, but the effect is not so beautiful as that of the two beads on the head. If the cuculio is disturbed by being shaken in its cage, or in any other way, the light it throws out intensifies until it is fairly dazzling.
These beautiful beetles may easily be brought across the ocean in their little cages, and if guarded from cold air, and fed plentifully with sugar-cane, from which they suck the juice, or even with coarse brown sugar moistened a little, they will live a long time.
These varieties of beetles mentioned are only a small handful among thousands, for there are more members of this great family than naturalists have yet been able to count. There are beetles that fly by night, and beetles that fly by day; some that live in the ground, others in the water, and yet others on trees and among the leaves and flowers. They are of all colors, and of varied appetites, some living solely on insects, others on fruits and vegetables and leaves of different kinds.
[Begun in HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE No. 37, July 13.]
THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN NAVY.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING.
There was war on the bosom of Lake Champlain, in Northern New York, in the fall of 1776. The British were about to invade the colonies from Canada by way of that lake. To meet the danger, the Americans built a small flotilla of gun-boats and gondolas in its upper waters. The British constructed a flotilla at its foot. The former sailed from Ticonderoga, under the command of Benedict Arnold, to confront the foe at the foot of the lake. They met not far from Plattsburg, fought desperately, but not decisively, and during the ensuing dark night Arnold with his vessels escaped up the lake. The British pursued, and gained a complete victory, but did not begin the invasion until the next year.
In May, 1777, Captain Conyngham sailed from Dunkirk, France, in the brig Surprise, with one of Franklin's commissions, and soon returned to port with a British brig and packet as prizes. The French were embarrassed. They desired to help the Americans, but did not wish to provoke an open quarrel with the English just then. The English Ambassador at Paris protested, and Conyngham and his crew were imprisoned. They were soon released, and sailed in the Revenge for British waters, where they spread havoc among the English shipping. The British were so scared that they were at their wits' end. Insurance rose to twenty per centum; and so unwilling were English merchants to risk their goods in British bottoms that at one time forty French vessels were taking in cargoes in the Thames. The Revenge tried to intercept the British transports taking hired German troops to America, but failed.
After the treaty of alliance with France was signed, the French openly assisted the Americans, whose cruisers and privateers became more active than ever. The story of their exploits in detail forms a most romantic chapter of American history.
In the spring of 1778, John Paul Jones first appeared in European waters. With the Ranger, of eighteen guns, he went up the western coast of England to Whitehaven; seized the fort, spiked the cannons, set fire to the shipping, and departed as quickly as he came. Then he attempted to make his father's old friend, the Scotch Earl of Selkirk, a prisoner, but failed. His men carried off the family plate, which Jones restored to Lady Selkirk. Sweeping around Ireland, he made several prizes, and sailed for France. This raid greatly frightened the people of the English coasts. To their imagination Jones seemed like a revived old Sea King of the North.
Jones was again in British waters in September, 1779. Dr. Franklin and the French King had jointly fitted out an expedition to cruise in the British Channel and the German Ocean, and placed Jones in command. His flagship was the Bon Homme Richard. With his little squadron he went far up the eastern coast of Great Britain; and on a moon-lit evening had a desperate battle with the Serapis, the larger of two armed vessels just started to convoy the English Baltic fleet across the German Ocean.
Jones ran the Richard alongside the Serapis, lashed them together; and so, muzzle to muzzle, they poured destructive broadsides into each other for an hour and a half. Sometimes both vessels were on fire. When for a minute the Richard ceased firing, the Captain of the Serapis called out, "Have you struck your colors?" "I have not yet begun to fight," answered Jones. The struggle was fierce for a few minutes longer, when the colors of the Serapis were hauled down. When the vessels were separated, the Richard was sinking, and soon went to the bottom of the sea. Her people took refuge on the Serapis, and she and her consort were taken into the Texel, in Holland. When, afterward, Jones heard that the King had knighted the commander of the Serapis, he said, "He deserves it; and if I fall in with him again, I'll make a lord of him."
The fame of this victory soon spread abroad. The Congress gave Jones a gold medal. European monarchs gave him tokens of high regard. At a grand court banquet the King of France made him a Knight of the "Military Order of Merit," and decorated him with its jewel. He is known in history as the "Chevalier John Paul Jones."
Among the younger naval heroes of the war for independence, who afterward became renowned, was Joshua Barney. At the close of 1780, when he was less than twenty-two years of age, he was made Captain, put in command of the frigate Alliance, and conveyed to France John Laurens, a special envoy of the Congress. On his return Barney was attacked by two armed English vessels, and after a severe engagement captured both of them.
In the spring of 1782, Barney, in command of the Hyder Ali, a Pennsylvania cruiser keeping the Delaware clear of English marauders, honored the infant American navy by a brilliant exploit. He was convoying some merchant vessels, and while at anchor near Cape May was attacked by an English cruiser with two companions. He sent the merchantmen up the river, and by an expert movement got the Hyder Ali entangled with her antagonist in such a way that her great guns swept the decks of the foe with a destructive raking fire. In less than half an hour the British vessel (which proved to be the brig General Monk) surrendered. She was badly bruised, and had lost fifty men. This was "one of the most brilliant actions that ever occurred under the American flag," wrote Cooper, fifty years afterward.
The war for independence was now about to close with triumph for the Americans and their cause. The little Continental Navy had fully justified the faith of the stout-hearted people by its grand performances. This little David had fought the Goliath of England most valiantly for seven years, and in the might of right its "pebbles from the brook" had been equal in efficiency to the huge "spear" of the boastful oppressor. Divine help gave final victory to the patriots.
During the war the Americans had thirty-six public vessels afloat, besides swarms of active and efficient privateers. They had also built a large 74-gun ship (the America), but before she was put to sea she was presented to the French government. The veteran Manly, the pioneer of the naval warfare on the part of the Americans, after a long captivity, cruised in the Hague among the West India Islands, until the preliminary treaty of peace was signed in the fall of 1782. He there closed the regular maritime operations which he had opened in 1775. The cruisers were recalled, the commissions of the privateers were revoked, and of all the vessels of the remarkable little Continental Navy only the Alliance remained in 1783. Nothing but the recollection of the services and sufferings of the navy was left behind. The Alliance was reluctantly sold in 1785 to save the expense of repairs. The exhausted Americans craved the enjoyment of peace, and felt no need of a navy.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
MR. MARTIN'S EYE.
BY JIMMY BROWN.
I've made up my mind to one thing, and that is, I'll never have anything to do with Mr. Martin again. He ought to be ashamed of himself, going around and getting boys into scrapes, just because he's put together so miserably. Sue says she believes it's mucilage, and I think she's right. If he couldn't afford to get himself made like other people, why don't he stay at home? His father and mother must have been awfully ashamed of him. Why, he's liable to fall apart at any time, Mr. Travers says, and some of these days he'll have to be swept up off the floor, and carried home in three or four baskets.
There was a ghost one time who used to go around, up stairs and down stairs, in an old castle, carrying his head in his hand, and stopping in front of everybody he met, but never saying a word. This frightened all the people dreadfully, and they couldn't get a servant to stay in the house unless she had the policeman to sit up in the kitchen with her all night. One day a young doctor came to stay at the castle, and said he didn't believe in ghosts, and that nobody ever saw a ghost, unless they had been making beasts of themselves with mince-pie and wedding cake. So the old lord of the castle he smiled very savage, and said, "You'll believe in ghosts before you've been in this castle twenty-four hours, and don't you forget it." Well, that very night the ghost came into the young doctor's room, and woke him up. The doctor looked at him, and said, "Ah, I perceive: painful case of imputation of the neck. Want it cured, old boy?" The ghost nodded, though how he could nod when his head was off I don't know. Then the doctor got up and got a thread and needle, and sewed the ghost's head on, and pushed him gently out of the door, and told him never to show himself again. Nobody ever saw that ghost again, for the doctor had sewed his head on wrong side first, and he couldn't walk without running into the furniture, and of course he felt too much ashamed to show himself. This doctor was Mr. Travers's own grandfather, and Mr. Travers knows the story is true.
But I meant to tell you about the last time Mr. Martin came to our house. It was a week after I had scalped him; but I don't believe he would ever have come if father hadn't gone to see him, and urged him to overlook the rudeness of that unfortunate and thoughtless boy. When he did come, he was as smiling as anything; and he shook hands with me, and said, "Never mind, Bub, only don't do it again."
By-and-by, when Mr. Martin and Sue and Mr. Travers were sitting on the piazza, and I was playing with my new base-ball in the yard, Mr. Martin called out, "Pitch it over here; give us a catch." So I tossed it over gently, and he pitched it back again, and said why didn't I throw it like a man, and not toss it like a girl. So I just sent him a swift ball—a regular daisy-cutter. I knew he couldn't catch it, but I expected he would dodge. He did try to dodge, but it hit him alongside of one eye, and knocked it out. You may think I'm exaggelying, but I'm not. I saw that eye fly up against the side of the house, and then roll down the front steps to the front walk, where it stopped, and winked at me.
I turned, and ran out of the gate and down the street as hard as ever I could. I made up my mind that Mr. Martin was spoiled forever, and that the only thing for me to do was to make straight for the Spanish Main and be a pirate. I had often thought I would be a pirate, but now there was no help for it; for a boy that had knocked out a gentleman's eye could never be let to live in a Christian country. After a while I stopped to rest, and then I remembered that I wanted to take some provisions in a bundle, and a big knife to kill wolves. So I went back as soon as it was dark, and stole round to the back of the house, so I could get in the window and find the carving knife and some cake. I was just getting in the window, when somebody put their arms around me, and said, "Dear little soul! was he almost frightened to death?" It was Sue, and I told her that I was going to be a pirate and wanted the carving knife and some cake and she mustn't tell father and was Mr. Martin dead yet? So she told me that Mr. Martin's eye wasn't injured at all, and that he had put it in again, and gone home; and nobody would hurt me, and I needn't be a pirate if I didn't want to be.
It's perfectly dreadful for a man to be made like Mr. Martin, and I'll never come near him again. Sue says that he won't come back to the house, and if he does, she'll send him away with something—I forget what it was—in his ear. Father hasn't heard about the eye yet, but if he does hear about it, there will be a dreadful scene, for he bought a new rattan cane yesterday. There ought to be a law to punish men that sell rattan canes to fathers, unless they haven't any children.
BY FIDELIA REES MORTON.
"It's no use to tell me Polly Clark's only young and flighty, and that she's got a good heart, and she'll be all right when she gets older, and all that kind of thing. That's all stuff and nonsense. I tell you she's the wickedest child I ever laid eyes on, and if she were a boy, I'd know she'd be hung afore she died; as it is, she's sure to get her death in some queer way, with all them outlandish goings on of her'n." Having given vent to her feelings, and settled poor Polly's fate to her own satisfaction, Deacon Jones's wife proceeded to relate the particulars of the latest scandal to Sallie Perkins, the village gossip.
Mrs. Jones—alas that I am forced to say it!—was not alone in her convictions. The majority of the inhabitants of L—— would have assured you, with a solemn shake of the head, that Polly Clark was, without exception, the "most ornery youngster" that ever was born, and "sech a pity, too, that Squire Clark's only child should be sech an everlastin' worrit to him." And yet a look at Polly would disarm suspicion. A more gentle, lovable-looking girl it would be difficult to find; but then we all know that appearances are deceitful. At church on Sunday she looked so fair and innocent, always paying such good attention to the sermon, and gazing so earnestly at the minister with those clear, soft brown eyes of hers, as if so anxious to understand every word he uttered, that the uninitiated would be ready to declare that hers was indeed a heart without guile. But those who knew her best were well aware that behind this calm exterior was a mind in which the love of mischief reigned supreme, and for aught they knew, at the very moment when she seemed most impressed by the minister's arguments, she had unexpectedly thought of some brilliant plan that promised ill for the peace of mind of some intended victim. Indeed, as poor nervous little Mrs. Clark said, "No one ever knows what Polly is going to do next. I never get up in the morning but I dread what may happen before night. I don't even feel safe about her after she goes to bed, since the time she went into the woods in the middle of the night to try some trick or other with a dead cat, thinking, silly child, that in that way she could cure a wart she had on her thumb. But then," Mrs. Clark always adds, "Polly is always so good-tempered when she is scolded for doing wrong, and seems really to be so sorry about it, that I can't help forgiving her, and hoping she will do better next time. But she don't; she keeps on doing the most dreadful things, and—" And here the poor little woman generally broke down completely, and wept bitterly over the unaccountable depravity of her only child.
As her mother said, Polly did indeed do "dreadful things." Many were the sermons the kind-hearted old minister had preached, which, although delivered to the congregation at large, were expressly intended to move Polly's heart, while she would sit calmly unconscious through them all, wondering what old Aunt Cassy would say when she found her pet Tabby gayly decorated with red, white, and blue paint in honor of the glorious Fourth; or whether Granny Lukens would enjoy the flavor of Cayenne pepper in her tea.
All the old ladies in the neighborhood stood in wholesome awe of her, and Mrs. Jones's melancholy predictions for her future were called forth by the remembrance of how, a week before, Polly had presented her with a batch of doughnuts of her own making, which, when partaken of by some friends invited to tea, were found to be filled with cotton; and that was not the worst of it, for when Mrs. Jones attempted to pull the cotton from her mouth, her teeth came with it, which unexpected letting of the cat out of the bag, so to speak, was more than a nine days' wonder in L——. It is hardly necessary to add that from that time forth there was open warfare between Mrs. Jones and Polly.
It would be too great a task for me to tell you of all my heroine's adventures. How, for instance, she frightened the servant-girl into convulsions one night by suddenly appearing to her in a dark hall, after having, with the aid of some sulphur matches, succeeded in making her face bear a startling resemblance to a grinning, ghastly-looking skull; and how she tied a bunch of fire-crackers to the tail of her father's best mule, and set them off, in return for which doubtful favor that agile animal bestowed upon her a kick that broke two ribs, and confined her to her bed for many weeks, during which period the old ladies of L—— were allowed to rest in peace.
These are but samples of the dozens of tricks with which Polly busied her active brain, and by means of which she was enabled to keep those around her in a continual state of uncertainty as to what unheard-of thing she would attempt next.
But Polly, like Napoleon, was doomed to meet her Waterloo. Her last and most disastrous exploit ended sadly both for herself and others. It happened in this way. Polly went to the circus. From that time forth her daring acrobatic feats supplied the gossips of L—— with plenty of material for conversation. They would tell how Polly broke her horse's leg by urging him to jump over a stone wall, and how she almost dislocated her collar-bone in turning a double somersault off a hay-rick; and in fact, they argued, "If she was any one else but Polly Clark, she'd 'a been dead long ago; but them that's born to be hanged will never be drowned," though in what way that proverb was appropriate in Polly's case they themselves could not have told you.
One day Polly conceived a brilliant idea. She would get up a circus of her own. The little boys of the town eagerly agreed to Polly's plan of proceedings. They were to meet and rehearse in her father's barn on Wednesday night, while Mr. and Mrs. Clark were attending the Lyceum meeting.
The appointed hour drew near, and so did the boys. With Polly at their head, they marched in grim silence past the house, and when they reached the barn, she informed them that Bridget, thinking she had gone to bed, was entertaining her beau in the front parlor, so they could make all the noise they wanted to, without fear of detection.
After a moment's search Polly unearthed a couple of candles, which Tommy Briggs lighted; and while he and Polly adjusted the trapeze he had constructed in stolen moments, the other actors in the drama rigged up a remarkably insecure tight-rope.
At last all was ready. "Down in front!" shouted Tommy, in an imperative manner, to the imaginary audience. "The performance is a-goin' to begin. First, Mr. Adolphus Popinjay is goin' to do some gymnastics with the trapeze."
Mr. Adolphus Popinjay, otherwise Jack Hybbed, after many attempts, and with much assistance, succeeded in getting into the trapeze, where he went through a number of extraordinary antics, the most difficult of which was that of standing on one foot, the other leg being extended stiffly behind him, while with both hands he clutched convulsively to the sides of the trapeze. Polly felt a keen sense of disappointment over Jack's performance. Somehow or other it lacked the ease and grace that the man in the circus had exhibited. She was impatient for her turn to come, that she might show them her idea of acrobatism. She was delighted when Tommy announced that "Pauline, the great unbeaten tight-rope walker, is now a-goin' to come out."
Polly advanced majestically toward the tight-rope, which was fastened at one end to a big hook in the side of the barn, and at the other end to the loft, against which was placed a ladder, which she proceeded to ascend. There was a beam overhead, which Polly was to hold on to in order to keep herself from falling, and assisted by it, she started out quite bravely; but she had taken but four steps when Tommy shouted, "Hold on fast, Polly! the hook's comin' out." Alas! the warning came too late. Before she could get hold of the beam securely, the hook came out, and with a cry of terror poor Polly fell with a dull thud to the floor. Her dress knocked over the candle as she fell, and in a second the hay that was scattered on the floor was in a blaze. All the boys except Tommy Briggs rushed screaming from the barn, but he, by straining every muscle, succeeded in dragging Polly out of the now blazing building, and then, the necessity for exertion on his part being over, he fell in a dead faint by the side of the unconscious girl.
Help soon arrived, and the doctor being summoned, Polly was found to be severely injured, while Tommy escaped with some slight burns and an attack of brain-fever. Poor Polly! for weeks she suffered the most intense pain, and when at last she was able to leave her bed, she rose up a sadder and a wiser girl.
Polly is a young woman now, but she still bears the mark of her last frolic in the shape of a long scar on her cheek, where she struck on the rake when she fell.
Polly has one peculiarity. She is the confidential friend of every wild tom-boy of a girl in town, because, as she says, she has such unbounded sympathy with them, and also because she is so anxious to keep them from trying any such dangerous experiments as the one to which she fell a victim.
HOW TROTTY GOT HIS JUMPING-JACK.
BY AGNES CARR.
Trotty sat on the nursery floor, gazing sadly at a broken jumping-jack, with only one leg, no arms, and not much of a head to speak of. It was weeks since Christmas, and all the toys Santa Claus had stuffed into Trotty's little striped stocking were cracked and broken, and now this jumping-jack, the last and dearest of all, had gone to pieces too.
"I sink it's time Santa Tlaus tomed aden," remarked Trotty at last.
"Oh no," said nurse, who was holding baby by the window; "he is busy now, making toys to give the good children next Christmas."
"Where does he live?" asked Trotty.
"In a house set in a garden of Christmas trees," began nurse; but just then somebody called her from the room.
"I b'lieve I'll try and find dat house," thought Master Four-year-old, "and ask Santa Tlaus to div me anodder jumping-jack."
To think, with Trotty, was to do, and five minutes later he had on his beloved new rubber boots, and was running down the road as fast as his little fat legs would carry him, with a big apple in his hand to eat on the way.
He came first to a pond where a duck was swimming. "Quack, quack," said the duck; which meant, "What a nice red apple! I wish I had some."
"I will div you a bite," said Trotty, "if you will show me the way to Santa Tlaus's house."
"I don't know the way," said Ducky; "but give me some, and I will take you to the cat, and she will tell you."
So Trotty gave her a bite, and the duck came out of the water, and waddled along in front of Trotty till they came to a barn, where the cat and her five kittens were playing in the door.
"Please, Mrs. Pussy," said Trotty, "show me the way to Santa Tlaus's house, and I will div you a bite of my apple."
"Mew, mew," said the pussy cat; which was, "I don't know the way; but give me some, and I will take you to the dog, and he will tell you."
So Trotty gave her a bite, and she led him to the dog-kennel, where Towser the dog was snapping at flies in the sun.
"Please, doggy," said Trotty, "show me the way to Santa Tlaus's house, and I'll div you a bite of my apple."
"Bow, wow, wow," said Towser; which meant, "I don't know the way; but give me some, and I will take you to the horse, who can tell you."
So Trotty gave him a bite, and together they went on to a green field, where a horse was feeding, and Trotty asked him to show him the way.
"Neigh, neigh," said Horsy, "I don't know; but give me a piece of your apple, and I will take you to the boy, who will surely tell you."
So Trotty gave him a bite, and the horse took him on his back, and galloped away, until they came to a nice little boy sitting on a fence whistling. There was nothing now left of the apple except the core; but Trotty said, "Please, boy, show me the way to Santa Tlaus's house, and I'll div you the tore of my apple."
"I don't know the road," answered the boy; "but give it to me, and I will take you to the little old woman who lives under the hill, and she will tell you."
So Trotty gave him the core, and the boy took him to a wee bit of a cottage, where an old woman was spinning, and a girl with yellow hair was stirring something in a pot over the fire.
"Please, ma'am, will you show me the way to Santa Tlaus's house?" asked Trotty. But now he had no more apple to offer.
"Yes, my little dear," said the old woman, sweetly. "Come in and rest, and then I will take you there."
But the moment he was inside, she caught hold of him, took off all his pretty clothes, and dressed him in old rags, and would have cut off his curls, but the yellow-haired girl said the scissors were rusty, and she must wait till they were sharpened.
Trotty was dreadfully frightened, and thought he should never get home again; but when it grew dark the old woman went to sleep on a bed in the corner, and then the girl with yellow hair dressed him in his own clothes again, opened the door, and let him run away.
Trotty ran along in the dark until he saw a light, and found it came from a large house, and all around the house grew beautiful evergreen trees.
"Dis must be Santa Tlaus's house," thought Trotty, "for there are the Tismas trees." So he trotted up to the door, and knocked. It was opened by a big man with bushy whiskers.
"Is you Santa Tlaus?" asked Trotty.
"Bless us!" said the man. "And if I am, what do you want?"
"I wants a jumping-jack," sobbed Trotty. "And oh! I's tired, and I wants my supper."
"Bless us!" said the man again. But he caught Trotty up in his arms, carried him in, and set him in a high chair in front of a great bowl of bread and milk.
Trotty went to eating right away, for he was very hungry; but before he came to the bottom of the bowl his head nodded, his eyes closed, and he was fast asleep.
He never knew how long he slept; but when he woke up he was in his own little white bed at home, and papa, mamma, and nurse were hugging and kissing him.
But on the pillow by his side lay a beautiful new jumping-jack; so he knew he had found the house in the garden of Christmas trees, and seen good old Santa Claus himself.
BY C. L.
Pussie and Kittie strolled out one day Into the garden to walk and play; They rolled on the grass, and jumped so high That the old drake "quacked" as he passed by. Said he, "I wish I could hop so light," And on he hobbled with all his might.
Above, little Susie's Birdie swung; His cage from a lofty window hung. As soon as he heard the drake's lament, His head on mischief was quickly bent.
"Oho, Mister Drake, you soon shall see That Mistress Puss can not outjump me; And although my legs are short and thin, I'll wager that in a race I'll win." So saying, he flapped against the door Till his pretty wings were getting sore.
At last, with a snap, the door came loose, And Birdie flew out—the little goose! He flew right down to the very ground Where Pussie and Kittie played around. And now there began a lively race, Which gained excitement at every pace.
Little Birdie chirped, and hopped about, And Pussie followed him in and out, Under the rose-tree and through the hedge, Until they came to the garden's edge; And then Mister Birdie, full of pride, Mounted a tree by the water's side; And there he perched, with a proud delight, Boasting and singing with all his might, Until, quite weary and worn, at last He drooped his head, and soon slept fast.
Then up jumped Puss from her hiding-place, And mounted the tree with nimble grace; But so gently did her footsteps fall, Not a sound the sleeper heard at all.
And now, alas! Pussie crouches low: Poor Birdie will soon be gone. But no! A shrill little scream is heard to rise, And there stands Susie with frightened eyes. Old Pussie scampers with might and main, And Birdie pops wide his eyes again.
Now think of his horror when he saw How near he had been to Pussie's paw! I really think he deserved the pain, Because he had been so very vain; And I'll venture that he did not seek Another frolic within a week.
Our exchange department is increasing so rapidly that we find it necessary to offer a few suggestions to our young correspondents. In the first place, if you desire to exchange with other correspondents, always give your full address. If you live in a large city, like Brooklyn, New York, or Philadelphia, you should state your residence, street and number, or the number of your post-office box, as otherwise it is not probable that you will ever receive an answer to your request. You have all heard about hunting for a needle in a haymow; and if you stop to think, you will see it would be just as useless to hunt for any little boy in New York city, unless you knew the street in which he lived; and the faithful "little man in gray" who hurries from house to house with his load of letters certainly can not be expected to know the residence of every Johnny Smith in the city. With many of you who live in the country the case is different. Probably the postmaster himself knows you, and will give you your letter, even if it is not addressed to your father's care. In future we trust you will be careful always to give your residence or your father's address, otherwise, as Uncle Sam's postman does not keep a directory of every little boy and girl in the land, many of you may wait in vain for a chance to exchange your pretty pressed flowers and other objects of interest.
One thing more. When any correspondent offers exchange, and gives a full address, as many have done, it would simplify matters very much, and save us unnecessary trouble, if any one desirous of accepting the offer would write at once to the given address instead of to us. As we can in no case take charge of the transfer of specimens, which must always be directly between yourselves, it is useless for you to write and tell us you are willing to accept the offer of exchange made by any particular boy or girl. Write directly to them, and you will gain time, and save yourself unnecessary postage.
As our exchange department is intended to develop in our readers a knowledge of the flowers, trees, butterflies, birds' eggs, minerals, and other natural products of different sections of their own country, we pay no attention to requests for exchanges of useless things, which could lead at best to nothing higher than the gratification of an idle curiosity.
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The following communication was written in Danish, but as we fear that language is not understood by many of our readers, we publish only the translation:
RISERUP PARSONAGE, FALSTER, DENMARK.
I am seven years old, and I live in Denmark. I like the pictures in YOUNG PEOPLE very much, and my aunt translates the stories to me, for I can not read English. We have made a drawing of Wiggle No. 11, and send it to you. I have a little white cat, and a big black dog called Sagax. Just outside of our garden there is a wood dove on its nest. I can stand close by it, and it is not at all afraid of me.
We are very sorry your Wiggles came too late to be printed among our answers to No. 11, for they are very pretty.
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I take YOUNG PEOPLE, and I don't know what I should do without it. I am eleven years old, and I have three brothers, all older than myself. We have two colts. One of them kicked me on the hip, but did not hurt me very much. I wish some little girl would send a nice recipe for making cookies.
NELLIE E. O.
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YONKERS, NEW YORK.
I have read every number of YOUNG PEOPLE, from the first to the last one published. I enjoy reading the letters sent by the correspondents, and I like to read all the recipes for candy and cake. During vacation I am going to try them all. I have a pet canary-bird, which was a birthday gift.
I am pressing a few leaves that I gathered on the Palisades, and I am going to press a good many this summer. When they are ready, I shall try to exchange with some little girl.
EDITH L. G.
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ST. HENRYS, OHIO.
I like YOUNG PEOPLE better than any other paper I have ever taken.
I have a pet 'coon, a squirrel, a canary, a dog, and two cats. And I have a large doll. She is three feet and eight inches tall. Her name is Gervaise. I got her at the Centennial Exhibition.
I love to read the letters in the Post-office Box.
I went fishing this spring for the first time, and caught six fish. I am eleven years old, and now in the summer I am not going to school.
Will any little girl send me a recipe for cream candy?
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I am a little girl six years old, and I can not write very well yet. I do not go to school, but mamma teaches me at home. I like YOUNG PEOPLE so much! I have a little dog named Snip. I live in the South, and it is pretty warm here now.
Two mocking-birds have a nest and four little baby birds in a rose-bush near our sitting-room window.
Mamma and I are going to Michigan in a few weeks to see my grandma and grandpa. My papa is a preacher. I have no brother or sister.
BESSIE M. MCL.
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BELLE PLAINE, IOWA.
Captain William Eaton, the subject of the sketch, "An American Soldier of Fortune," in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 34, was my mother's great-uncle on her father's side. So on her mother's side was Colonel William Knowlton.
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CEDAR FALLS, IOWA.
I thought I would write about my pets. They are two old cats, three kittens, and a dog. Two of the kittens are gray, the other one is Maltese. My dog meets me every night when I come home from school, and always accompanies me when I go after wild flowers. I live in the country, and I think it is a very pretty place to live. I have no canary, but the birds sing very sweetly out-of-doors, and I like that much better than having one in a cage. I think Misfits are very amusing. I have no sister, and only one brother.
JOSIE M. J.
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I tried the recipe for kisses sent by C. H. S., and printed in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 35, and the kisses were splendid.
B. H. T.
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EXCELSIOR FARM, KANSAS.
A pair of mocking-birds are rearing a nest of young birds in our front yard, and I would like to tame two of them. Can you tell me how to feed them and care for them?
SIDNEY B. P.
Directions for feeding mocking-birds were given in Post-office Box No. 13, but no doubt some of our young correspondents in the South can give farther particulars respecting the care of young birds. We will gladly print any information they will kindly send.
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WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA.
In the summer we go to the sea-shore, about eight miles from where we live. We ride there in carriages, and see many pretty flowers along the road. There is a very curious one among them. It is called Venus's-flytrap. If you put a fly in it, it will kill it and eat it.
I think YOUNG PEOPLE is the best paper I ever read. I am ten years old, and my name is
LOTTIE MAY W.
The Venus's-fly trap does not eat the fly, but at the end of each leaf, which springs from the root, it has a kind of appendage, armed on the edge by glands resembling hairs, which contain a sweet liquid attractive to insects. No sooner does a fly alight upon this sensitive leaf, than, with a sudden spring, it closes, and crushes its victim to death. When the fly is dead, the leaf again unfolds. This singular plant is a native of North Carolina.
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Papa and I took a ride early this morning, before six o'clock. We saw three little squirrels, and we passed many chestnut-trees in full bloom (June 28), and saw wild raspberry bushes covered with ripe fruit.
My canaries have hatched, but one egg broke, and one tiny birdling died, but out of five eggs I have three fine young birds. Their names are Ganarra, Goldie, and Downy. They are hopping around on the perches now. The mother bird behaved so badly that I took her out of the cage, and now the father takes care of the little ones. Is such an action common on the father's part, or is my Neddy the sweetest, dearest little bird in the world?
I have tried almost all the recipes sent to the cooking club, and I send one myself, for white cake: Half a cup of butter; one cup of sugar; the whites of three eggs; half a cup of sweet milk; one and a half cups of flour; one tea-spoonful cream of tartar; half a tea-spoonful soda. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, and froth the whites of the eggs before stirring in.
I think the Tree Album is very nice, and I would like to exchange specimens of our trees for some of other localities as soon as I have enough ready.
ALTIA R. AUSTIN, Portland, Connecticut.
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I varnish leaves with rosin. I sprinkle fine powdered rosin on the leaf, and then pass a hot iron over it. The rosin melts and spreads over the leaf, varnishing it beautifully. The method is both cheap and easy.
Here is a recipe for cream candy for the cooking club: Three pounds of sugar; one cup of rich cream. Stew until the syrup candies when dropped in cold water. Flavor with lemon, and pour into buttered tins, or pull, as you prefer.
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Rodetta F. Bartlett and Margery R. H. send the cooking club recipes for sugar-candy. We acknowledge them with thanks, but do not print them, as they vary only slightly from recipes given in previous numbers.
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WATERVLIET CENTRE, NEW YORK.
Here is a recipe for citron cake for Puss Hunter's cooking club: One tea-cup of sugar; two-thirds of a tea-cup of butter; two tea-cups of flour; half a tea-cup of milk; one tea-spoonful of soda dissolved in the milk; a little essence of lemon. Stir in bits of citron cut thin, and bake in hearts and rounds.
I have taken YOUNG PEOPLE since Christmas, and I look eagerly for it every week. I have two dolls, Nellie and Pearl. I am eleven years old.
ANNA W. C.
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I have a few specimens of trees arranged according to the directions given in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 31. I would like to exchange them with some little girl living in any locality except San Francisco.
As I live in the city, I do not have many opportunities to get specimens, but when I do go to the country I make good use of my time, and in spite of being very much afraid of cows, snakes, and lizards, I sometimes venture in pretty wild places for good specimens.
This year we went out to Napa Valley with a friend, who drove us all over the valley. We saw hundreds and hundreds of acres of vineyards, and passed lots of places where they were laying out more.
I am an only child, and I have no pets now except my flowers and dolls, and my own lovely piano.
IDA BELLE DISERENS, 734 Grove Street, San Francisco, California.
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I would like to exchange pressed flowers with some little girl, and when the seeds are ripe I will exchange seeds. I have some nice flowering beans, and different kinds of larkspurs. I will exchange larkspur seed for pink seed. There are many varieties of ferns here.
Can any one tell me how to varnish leaves, and also if there is any way to keep pressed flowers from fading?
MARY LOWRY, Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Illinois.
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As a great many of the other little girls write to Our Post-office Box, I thought I would write too. Papa takes YOUNG PEOPLE, and we children like it very much. I guess he does too.
I have no pets, but my older sister has a pet calf, and it is very pretty. Its name is Lily May. She feeds it on meal and water. I have three dolls. Two are china, and one is a large wax doll, with beautiful brown hair.
I would like to exchange pressed flowers with any little girl.
SALLIE M. BROWN, London, Kentucky.
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Since my letter was published in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 33, I have received so many letters from different States—several of them accompanied with eggs—that it is impossible for me to answer them all promptly. I wish to tell the correspondents, through the Post-office Box, that I will surely answer all their letters and return them eggs, but they must not be surprised if it is not immediately, for nearly all asked me for the same kind of eggs, and I can only send them as fast as my agents, who are colored children, find them and bring them to me.
ALICE I. PAINE, Ingleside Farm, Cherokee County, Georgia.
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I would like to exchange birds' eggs with some one in a distant State or Territory.
GEORGE L. RUSBY, Franklin, Essex County, New Jersey.
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I am eleven years old. My papa is a doctor, and my mamma teaches a Kindergarten school. I have a little sister we call Fredie. We each have a kitten, and I have a canary.
I am making a collection of bugs, butterflies, shells, and minerals, and I would like to exchange with "Wee Tot" Brainard, or any other little girl. I have not a very large collection yet, but I am adding to it fast.
JESSIE MAY ALLEN, Charlotte, Michigan.
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SALT LAKE STATION, UTAH.
My new telescope works a great deal better than my first one. We had to exclude about half of the light by putting a piece of pasteboard with a hole in it in front of the object-glass, which has a diameter of two inches, and a focus of sixty inches. It magnifies the moon about forty times, as near as we can judge. How can I tell exactly how many times a glass magnifies?
How many of the other boys have tried to make a telescope according to the directions given in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 1?
How can I make a cheap camera obscura?
Is it injurious to the eyes to look at the moon through the telescope without smoked glasses?
The oculist from whom you obtained your lenses will tell you their magnifying power.—You do not need smoked glass when looking at the moon.—A simple form of the camera obscura (dark chamber) is a box furnished with a lens whose focal length is equal to the length and height of the box. At the opposite end of the box from the lens a mirror is placed at an angle of forty-five degrees, from which the image received through the lens is reflected upon a piece of glass, the under side of which should be ground, placed flat directly above the mirror. The image will of course be inverted. It will be more distinct if the ground glass be shaded from the light.
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GEORGE L. R.—You will see by the letter of Alice Paine in this Post-office Box that she did give her right address. Why your letter miscarried we can not explain.
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H. SCOTT.—Send your full address, and we will gladly publish your request for exchange.
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W. CHAPMAN, MARY L. L., AND OTHERS.—Write directly to the address given by those with whom you desire to exchange.
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MAUD W.—Paste your leaves firmly to the paper, and leave them under heavy pressure until they are dry, and you will not be troubled by their curling up. When you take them from the press varnish them, and they will give you more satisfaction.
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G. W. DAVIS.—A projectile kaleidoscope may be of any convenient size, varying from six to ten inches in length, fitted with two lenses—one at the object end, to throw light from a lamp through the instrument, and the other at the eye end, through which the image is projected on a screen, placed at the proper focal distance. Any ingenious boy can fit these lenses to an ordinary kaleidoscope, and fit it to a stand, which may be placed on a table.
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H. T. WILSON.—The correspondent you inquire about did not desire exchange, and we have no authority to give full address. Any short communication you may wish to make in reference to minerals will be printed in Our Post-office Box.
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Favors are acknowledged from Bertha B. Allen, "Dick Deadeye," Elsie H. Tatum, George Empey, S. F. W., Lizzie Allie Hill, Jessie H. R., May Bell and Laura Milles, John R.
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Correct answers to puzzles are received from A. H. Ellard, Warren S. Banks, Frank E. Hayward, Anna W. Cragier, Jennie F. S., C. B. Howard, L. M. Fobes, Maud Mathewson, Eddie S. Hequembourg, R. D. C.
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PUZZLES FROM YOUNG CONTRIBUTORS.
In Reynard. A performance. A seed. To attempt. In Reynard.
C. P. T.
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First, an animal. Second, a border. Third, a sickness. Fourth, an aquatic plant.
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My first is in vain, but not in proud. My second is in wind, but not in cloud. My third is in cat, but not in dog. My fourth is in timber, but not in log. My fifth is in foot, but not in head. My sixth is in silver, but not in lead. My seventh is in ink, but not in pen. My eighth is in cave, but not in den. These hidden letters, set in place, Reveal a lady of royal race.
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Behead an article of dress, and leave an animal. Behead a fastening, and leave a light. Behead skillful, and leave a mechanical power. Behead to dart, and leave a noise. Behead cunning, and leave a float. Behead clear, and leave suitable. Behead an article of dress, and leave a farmer's implement. Behead a small portion, and leave a boy's name. Behead an inclosure for animals, and leave ancient. Behead a learned man, and leave a period of time. Behead a support, and leave a contest. Behead affectation, and leave an insect.
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My first is in slipper, but not in shoe. My second is in chop, but not in hew. My third is in pistol, but not in gun. My fourth is in hop, but not in run. My fifth is in cap, but not in glove. My sixth is in hate, but not in love. My seventh is in turnips, but not in corn. My eighth is in day, but not in morn. My ninth is in cape, but not in coat. My tenth is in vessel, but not in boat. My eleventh is in tape, but not in lace. My twelfth is in lip, but not in face. My whole arises, mighty and grand, Above the plains of a sunny land.
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ANSWERS TO PUZZLES IN NO. 35.
T U R K U P O N R O S E K N E W
S S I R S I O U X R U M X
P R O S P E R L E P E R N E T N A S H D E E D S B E A R I N G
R omanof F O versko U B oabdi L E gber T R odrig O T ennyso N
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