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VOL. I.—NO. 39. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, July 27, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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PODDIE AND DICK AT THE FREE BATH.
BY UNCLE FRANK.
"Dick, Uncle Fritz'll never come!" exclaimed Poddie Monell, with an impatient stamp of his foot, and once more he peered anxiously through the bars of the gate at the South Ferry.
"Hold on; don't be so sure, old fellow; there he comes now," said Dick; "look just beyond the Elevated. Let's go meet him."
"Keep cool, boys, keep cool; don't rush; there's plenty of time," said the gentleman, kindly, giving a hand to each; and crossing the street, they sauntered leisurely along one of the broad walks of the Battery.
"Which of the free baths are we going to, and what are they like?" asked Dick, whose mind was always travelling ahead of time in a curious fashion.
"We are going to the Battery bath, because it is nearest. They are all pretty much alike, however," replied his uncle.
"Do tell us all about them," begged Poddie, earnestly, "for I want to know if they're anything like our bath at Central Park—whether they have hanging rings, a flying trapeze, and places to dive off of."
"Well, no, they don't indulge in the first two luxuries, but they have plenty of space, ropes, diving places, and a fair depth of water. But let me tell you how much good they do.
"There are four free baths stationed on the East River—at One-hundred-and-twelfth Street, Thirty-seventh Street, Fifth Street, and Gouverneur Street; and three on the North River—at the Battery, Bethune Street, and Fifty-first Street; and one floating around without any home at all—that is, it is built, and the authorities have not decided where to anchor it."
"Well?" exclaimed both boys, interestedly.
"Now, boys, in order to understand thoroughly how much these free baths are to the people who use them, you must put yourselves in some other boys' boots, or perhaps I should say jackets, so many of them have no boots at all.
"You and Dick live in a very lovely home. Just imagine yourselves in a dingy tenement-house, shut up for the night, with three or four other boys, to sleep in a dark room where never sunlight or breeze enters through the whole year; the heat is suffocating; you toss uneasily back and forth, more than likely on the floor. You have heard during the day that to-morrow the Gouverneur Street or some other bath will be open. What do you do?
"Before the day breaks you leap from your bed, waken your brothers or comrades, fling on your jackets and trousers, rush down the rickety stairways out into the cooler air of the morning, and scud down to the docks.
"When you arrive there you find already quite a line of boys and men ahead of you. You can not go above them—the policemen won't allow it—so you take your places at the foot of the line, glad that it is no longer. Poddie is number fifty-one, Dick fifty-two. By twos and threes the line grows to be three hundred strong. At five o'clock the doors open, the keepers appear, and one hundred are admitted. But here we are: you shall begin to judge for yourselves."
"Whew!" exclaimed Dick, looking up and down a long line of ragged, grimy urchins, who were tiptoeing in impatience to enter. "How will all those fellows get in? Shall we have to foot the line?"
"Not while I have my 'open, sesame,' with me," replied Uncle Fritz, pointing to a small silver badge on his coat lapel.
The keeper just glanced at it, and Dick was greatly surprised to see how politely they were invited to walk in, "all through a bit of shiny silver," as he expressed it afterward.
"What a crowd of boys!" thought Poddie, as his eye roved from one to another of the hundred ducking, diving, splashing little and big fellows, who were laughing and shouting with delight. "What a jolly time they're having!" said he, turning to his uncle.
"Yes," said that gentleman. "I don't believe you have more fun at the Central Park bath, Poddie."
"Don't know as we do," replied Poddie, dubiously. "But what does that mean?" added he, startled by the brazen clangor of a large bell that rung high above the noises a warning "Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding."
"Time's up!" shouted the keeper, almost as loud as his bell. Silence fell upon the gleeful throng instantly. With downcast faces and slow, reluctant feet the bathers commenced to crawl up the wet steps, tumble over the railings, and trailing little brooks of water behind them, sought the bath-rooms, whence they slowly emerged, some fairly well dressed, but the majority in rags and tatters.
"The boys is putty fair to-day, along o' you visitors, sir," said the keeper; "but we mostly has to hunt 'em out o' the dark corners—where they dart to as soon as the bell rings—with this rattan, or they'd stay in all the day."
"How about the girls—do they enjoy the privileges of these free baths?" inquired Uncle Fritz?
"Yes, sir, they does, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, an' a lively lot they is, too; the women keepers has their hands full."
No sooner had the first crowd of boys disappeared than pell-mell in rushed a tumultuous throng, pushing and jostling in spite of the shouting keepers.
Begrimed and perspiring, and panting with impatience to enjoy the blessing of the cooler element, it is the work of but a moment in the bath-rooms; the doors fly open, and down they plunge from steps and railings into the cool green depths.
The water splashes and dashes and foams, lashed by scores of active hands and feet, until the boys are fairly deafened by the roar.
"Gracious! you'd think they hadn't seen water in a year, wouldn't you, Dick?" said Poddie.
"Half o' them's repeaters," said the keeper, overhearing the remark.
"Beg pardon—did you call them repeaters? what's that?" inquired Poddie, politely.
"Repeaters? Why, repeaters is boys who go from bath to bath, only waiting to get their heads dry; then they rubs mud on their faces to make 'em dirty, so we can't know 'em, consequentially they gets in half a dozen times at different baths. How are we to know them? bless your eyes!"
"Have you any fine swimmers among them?" inquired Uncle Fritz, pleasantly.
"Yes, sir," replied the keeper, "some o' these chaps are reg'lar fishes—nat'ral-born eels, you may say. Here, Patsy Miller, 'Roxy,' 'Spider,' come along and show these young gentlemen some o' your tricks."
The three boys, hearing their names shouted by the keeper and their playmates, come forward, looking sheepishly pleased at their momentary importance.
"Go to the roof and dive," commands the keeper.
In a few seconds they appear on the pebbled roof opposite, thin-limbed, brown, and lithe as Arabs.
One after another the heads are bowed, hands are clasped palm to palm and pointed forward, and away they go, head-first like frogs. Three splashes mark where they go under; three lines of bubbles across the bath tell where the glossy heads will come up.
"Bravo! bravo! well done!" cries Uncle Fritz.
"Dive backward, and swim oar stroke," directs the keeper.
Nothing loath, the boys mount the railings, the swimmers making way for them. One, two, three. Down they go on their backs, come up like corks, throw their arms high in air, bring them down full length behind their heads, draw back their feet, and with an oar-like sweep of their limbs make long darts through the water.
"How splendid!" observes Dick, turning to his uncle.
"Turn somersaults," shouts the keeper.
"Goody gracious! that's what they do up at the Central," says Dick, laughing heartily, as now six heels, then three heads, alternately appear on the surface of the water.
"Make a raft," orders the keeper. Immediately Patsy and "Spider" and "Roxy" are on their backs again; they lock arms, paddle with their feet, and make quite a respectable raft as they cross the bath.
Suddenly the raft goes to pieces, the swimmers dive, and stay under so long that Poddie thinks they are gone for good; but no, they are up again, ready for more fun.
A game of "leap-frog" and "playing porpoise" are both entered into with fine spirit, for the boys all wish to show off.
A boat-race, in which a dozen boys either "sculled" or swam "oar stroke," as they fancied, Dick and Poddie declared "quite the best thing" they had ever seen in the swimming line.
Once more the great bell sounded its notes of doom, and the dripping crowd gave place to a dry one.
"We're obliged to do this in midsummer," remarked the keeper, alluding to the clearing-out process, "to give the largest numbers a chance; we must git through with the boys, for after six the men'll be comin' along, tired and dusty, from their work."
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"What do you think of the free baths, boys?" asked Uncle Fritz, as they crossed the Battery.
"I'm mighty glad that poor boys have as good a chance as we rich fellows," replied Dick, clinking some silver in his pocket, with the air of a banker.
"Then it keeps them from the sharks," remarked Poddie, thoughtfully.
"And makes them clean and healthy, besides giving them any amount of innocent pleasure," added their uncle.
ROSE AND CATERPILLAR.
"Oh, caterpillar," said a rose One lovely summer day, "Your constant eating drives me wild; I wish you'd go away. I really can not see what use You and your kind can be; You naught but mischief do, and are Unpleasant things to see."
A moment after that same rose Smiled on a butterfly That stopped to show his rainbowed wings As he was passing by. Oh, if she only could have known— The pretty, dainty rose— He was a caterpillar too, Arrayed in splendid clothes!
VISITING A TEA PLANTATION.—PREPARATION OF TEA.
FROM ADVANCE SHEETS OF "THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST." PART SECOND.
BY THOMAS W. KNOX.
Frank and Fred had long wished to visit a tea plantation, and while they were in Java this wish was gratified. The following extract from their journal describes what they saw and learned during their visit:
"The first thing the tea-planter has to do after getting possession of his lease is to clear the land and get ready for planting. The outlay for this is considerable, and not much unlike clearing up a farm in New England, or in the backwoods of Canada. Then the young plants are set out; after this has been done, the ground must be kept clear of weeds, just as in raising corn or potatoes. It must be frequently stirred, so that the plant can get as much nourishment as possible from the earth; and when this is done, the planter has the satisfaction of seeing the bushes grow with considerable rapidity.
"We walked through the fields where the plants were growing, and found them of different ages and sizes. If we had not known where we were, we might have thought we were in a field of English myrtle bushes, as the tea-plant is much like the myrtle in general appearance. It grows from two to six feet high, and has white blossoms that resemble small dogroses.
"One of us asked which were the plants that produced green tea, and which the black. The owner of the plantation smiled, and said there was no difference.
"We laughed at our own ignorance, as he explained that the difference of the teas was entirely owing to the manipulation. We asked why it was that some districts in China produced only green teas, while others were reputed to make none but black; and he told us it was because the workmen in those districts had been accustomed to follow only one form of manipulation.
"It takes three years to get a plantation in condition to produce tea. The seeds are sown in a nursery bed, and the young plants are not ready to be set out till they are a year old. They are then about nine inches high, and covered with leaves, and the first crop is taken when they have been growing two years in the field. The leaves are the lungs of the plant, and it would die if all of them were stripped off. Consequently only a part of them are removed at a picking; and if a plant is sickly, it is not disturbed at all. The plants will last from ten to twelve years, and are then renewed; and on all the large plantations it is the custom to make nursery beds every year, so that there will be a constant succession of new plants for setting out in place of the old ones.
"At the first gathering the half-opened buds are taken, and from them the finest teas are made. Then they have another gathering when the leaves are fully opened, and then another and another, till they have five or six gatherings in the course of the year. Each time the leaves are coarser than those of the previous gathering, and consequently the tea is not of so fine a quality. A well-managed plantation produces all kinds of tea; and it was a wise requirement of the Dutch government, when they started the tea-culture in Java, that the planters should produce proportionate quantities of both black and green, and not less than four qualities of each."
"The gathering takes place only in clear weather; and for the best teas the picking is confined to the afternoon, when the leaves are thoroughly dry, and have been warmed by the sun. Only the thumb and forefinger are used in plucking the leaves from the bush; the pickers are generally women and children, who can gather on the average about forty pounds of leaves in a day. It takes nearly four pounds of leaves to make one pound of dry tea; and the usual estimate is that a plantation of one hundred thousand plants can send ten thousand pounds of tea to market in the course of a year."
"Different kinds of tea require different treatment, as we have already seen. For green tea the leaves are roasted as soon as they have been gathered, and are then rolled and dried; but the leaves intended for black teas are spread on bamboo trays five or six inches deep, and placed on frames where they can have plenty of sun and air. They remain here from noon till sunset; and if the weather is damp they are further dried by artificial heat. For this purpose they are placed on frames over shallow pans containing burning charcoal, and are tossed and stirred with the hand until they emit a certain fragrance. The heat should be very slight; and the frames are made so high that it is necessary for a man to mount a small ladder in order to reach the trays.
"The sense of smell in the skillful workers of tea is very acute, and they can tell, to almost a minute, the exact time when the drying should cease, and the next process begin. The Chinese workmen are better than any others for this branch of the business, and on many plantations most of the manipulation is performed by Chinese, though their labor is more expensive than that of the Malays. Our host showed us through his factory, where the men were busy in the various processes; and as he told us about each step of the business, he took us to the department where that particular work was going on.
"After showing the leaves spread out on the frames, he led the way to a sort of stove, where a man was manipulating some tea in a pan over a charcoal fire."
"'This is what we call roasting,' he said, 'and the great object of the roaster is to dry the leaves without burning them. You see he does not allow them to be quiet a single instant, but tosses and turns them in all directions, so that none may stick to the bottom of the pan, which they might easily do, owing to the moisture they contain.'
"We watched the roasting till we thought we understood it well, and as the place was hot, we did not care to stay there a great while. The leaves lose their fragrance when first thrown into the roasting pan, and give out a rank smell, but they gradually recover their perfume, and are ready for the next process, which is called rolling.
"The tea from the roasting pan was given to a couple of men, who stood in front of a table or bench, with bamboo mats before them. One had a large mustache, the largest we had ever seen on a Chinese face, and the other consoled himself for the absence of that hairy ornament by smoking a pipe.
"The roller takes as much tea as he can cover with both his hands, and places it on the mat in a sort of ball. He keeps the leaves closely together, and rolls them from right to left; this motion gives each leaf a twist on itself, and rolls it so firmly that it retains the shape when dry. This part of the work requires peculiar dexterity, and can only be performed successfully after long practice. When a man becomes skillful in it, he can roll the tea with wonderful rapidity; and when his work is done, every leaf will be found separate from the others, and twisted as though it had been passed through a machine.
"The work of rolling the tea is very tiresome, and so the men sometimes perform it with their feet when they wish to give their hands a rest. We saw one man at his occupation in this way, and he certainly seemed to enjoy it.
"After they have been properly rolled, the leaves are spread on trays, and exposed to the sun and air for several hours, and then they are once more roasted. The second roasting is milder than the first, and is done over a slower fire; and afterward the leaves are rolled again, to make sure that none of them have become spread out. For the black tea the roasting is done in a shallow pan, the same as the first; but the green teas are put in a deep pan, and subjected to a very high heat.
"While the green tea is being roasted there must be a great deal of care on the part of everybody concerned. The pan is nearly red-hot when the tea is put into it, about a pound at a time, and the operator in charge keeps it in rapid motion. One boy tends the fire, while another stands by with a fan to prevent the burning of the tea.
"After their final roasting the teas are put in a long basket, shaped like an hour-glass, and having a sieve in the centre. This basket is placed over a charcoal fire and submitted to the heat for several minutes, when the tea is poured out and receives another rolling. This operation is repeated several times, till the tea is thoroughly tired of it, and also thoroughly dry. Then it is passed through sieves, to separate the different qualities from each other; and finally it is winnowed, to remove all the dust and dirt. Then it is 'fired,' or dried, once more, to drive away the last particle of moisture; and in this condition it is ready to go into the chests in which it is carried to the lands where it is to be used."
[Begun in No. 31 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, June 1.]
THE MORAL PIRATES.
BY W. L. ALDEN.
The boat was in a shallow part of the river, between the shore and a long row of piles that marked the steamboat channel. Harry sounded with an oar, and found that the water was only two feet deep. "We'll have to get overboard and drag the boat over the piles," said he, "and it's going to be a mighty hard job too. That swell threw us over as neat as the bull threw Joe over the fence up at Lenox last summer."
"When I got pitched over that fence I staid there," said Joe. "I didn't try to get back into the field where the bull was, and I don't see what we want to get back where the steamboats are for."
"That's so," exclaimed Harry. "We're safe enough here. Let's get the water out of the boat, and keep on this side of the piles."
When the boat was made dry, and the lighted lantern was hoisted to the top of the mast, Tom resumed his place at the helm, and Harry and Joe prepared to take another nap. "I don't want to grumble," said Joe, "but I wish I didn't have to lie on the coffee-pot and a tin cup. I don't feel comfortable on that kind of bed."
"I'll change with you if you like," replied Harry. "I'm sleeping on a beautiful soft bottle of oil, and some sardine boxes; but I don't want to be selfish and keep the best bed for myself."
"Oh, never mind," returned Joe. "I'll manage to sleep if Jim don't step on my face. I always did hate to have anybody step on my face when I was asleep."
"Well, good-night, everybody," said Harry. "I'm going straight to sleep. Tom, be sure you wake me up if a steamboat tries to climb over these piles."
This time Tom did not fall asleep at the helm, but the wind gradually died away, and the sail hung limp and useless. Jim got out the oars without stepping on anybody, and rowed slowly on. In a little while they came to the end of the shallow lagoon into which the swell had so unexpectedly cast them. A sand-bank stretched from the shore to the line of piles, and it was impossible to go any farther. Tom decided to make the boat fast to the limb of a willow-tree that projected over the water, and to go ashore and sleep on the sand. Neither he nor Jim thought it worth while to wake the other boys; so they gathered up their blankets, crept quietly out of the boat, and were soon asleep on the soft, warm sand. When Harry and Joe awoke at daylight, stiff and cramped, they were disposed to be rather indignant at Tom and Jim, who were sleeping so comfortably on the sand; but Tom soon convinced them that he had acted from the best of motives, and they readily forgave him.
Of course breakfast was the first business of the day, and after that was finished the boat had to be entirely unloaded before she could be lifted over the piles into the channel. For the first time since they had started on the cruise the breeze was ahead, but it was so light that it was of very little consequence. The sky was cloudy, and the day promised to be a cool one; so the boys resolved to take to their oars, and try, if possible, to reach Albany before night. When the boat was loaded, Tom and Jim each took a long oar, and Harry took his usual seat in the stern-sheets. They all felt fresh, in spite of their night's adventure, and started gayly on their intended long day's row.
By this time they had found out that although round tin boxes were very well to keep things dry, they are by no means handy to carry in a boat. Their shape made it impossible to stow them compactly. Joe, who sat at the bow, always had to pick his way over these tin boxes in going to or coming from his station; and he was constantly catching his foot in the spaces left between the boxes, and falling down on them. This smashed in the covers, and tried Joe's temper sorely. Once he sat down so violently on the box which held the sugar, that he went completely through the cover, and was fastened in the box as securely as a cork in a bottle. He was only released after a great deal of work, and just in time to enable the boys to have sugar in their coffee at night. Harry resolved that he would never cruise again with round boxes, but would have small rubber bags made, in which to put everything that required to be kept dry.
The boys took turns at the oars every hour, and rowed steadily until noon. They gave themselves an hour for lunch and resting, and then resumed their work. Late in the afternoon they came in sight of Albany, and went ashore, so as to get their dinner before reaching the city. After dinner they again pulled away at the oars, and at about nine o'clock they stopped at a lumber-yard on the outskirts of Albany, and, creeping in among the lumber, wrapped their blankets around them, and dropped asleep, completely worn out, but proud of their long day's row.
Before sunrise the next morning, Tom was awakened by a stick which was thrust into his ribs. Without opening his eyes, he muttered, "You quit that, or I'll get up and pound you," and immediately dropped asleep again. Somebody then kicked him so sharply that he roused himself up, and, opening his eyes, was dazzled by the gleam of a bull's-eye lantern. He could not at first imagine where he was; but as he presently found that a big policeman had him by the collar, and was calling him "an impudent young thief," he began to imagine that something was wrong.
"I've got you this time," said the policeman, "and the whole gang of you. Where did you steal that property in your boat from, you precious young river pirate?"
"We're not river pirates," replied Tom. "We're Moral Pirates, and we brought those things in the boat with us from New York."
"Well, I like your cheek!" said the officer; "owning up that you're pirates. Now just you and your gang take everything out of that boat and let me see what you've got. If any of you try to escape, I'll put a bullet into you. You hear me?"
The other boys had been awakened by the loud voice of the policeman, and were staring at him in utter astonishment.
"He thinks we're river thieves," said Tom. "Harry, we'll have to show him what we've got in the boat, and then he'll see his mistake."
Harry eagerly assured the policeman that they had come from New York on a pleasure cruise, and had nothing in the boat except provisions and stores. "That's a pretty story," said the officer. "You can tell that to the court. Your boat's full of junk that you've stolen from somewhere; and you'd better hand it out mighty quick."
The boys were thus compelled to unload their boat, while the policeman stood over them with his club in one hand and his lantern in the other. He was not a stupid man, and he soon perceived that the boys had told him the truth; they were not the gang of river thieves for whom he had mistaken them. He therefore apologized, in a rough way, and even helped the boys repack the boat.
"What I can't understand," said he, "is why you boys come here and sleep in a lumber-yard, when you might be sleeping at home in your beds. Now if you were thieves, you couldn't get any better lodgings, you know; but you're gentlemen's sons, and you ought to know better. Why don't you go down to the hotel, and live like gentlemen? Where's the fun in being arrested, and taking up my valuable time?"
The boys assured him that they had never enjoyed themselves more than they had while on the cruise, and after a little more talk the officer turned slowly away.
"By-the-bye," he exclaimed, suddenly turning back again, "one of you told me you were pirates. I ought to take you in after all. I believe you're a lot of boys that have been reading dime novels, and have run away from home."
"I didn't say we were pirates," replied Tom. "I said we were Moral Pirates. That's a very different thing."
"Of course it is," said Joe. "A Moral Pirate is a sort of missionary, you know. I'm afraid you don't go to Sunday-school, officer, or you'd know better."
The policeman could not quite make up his mind whether Joe was in joke or in earnest; but as he could find no real reason for arresting the boys, he contented himself with telling them to leave the lumber-yard as soon as the sun rose. "And you'd better look out," he added, "that you don't come across any real river thieves. They'll make no bones of seizing your boat, and knocking you on the head if you make any noise." When he was fairly out of sight, the boys crept back to their shelter among the lumber, and coolly went to sleep again. They were so tired that neither policemen nor river thieves had any terrors for them.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
BY GEORGE N. LOVEJOY.
"Do you love me?" stammered Benny To a bright-eyed little maid; "Do you love me, love me, Jenny?— I'll not tell; don't be afraid."
"Yes, I love you," answered Jenny; "But 'twas only yesterday That I said the same thing, Benny" (And she blushed), "to Robbie Gray."
BY SYDNEY DAYRE.
"Ha, Uncle Dud, I've found your lady-love's curl!"
His uncle drew near Hal, as he rummaged in an old desk.
"Ah," he said, "is that there? I haven't seen it for many a year, but now I remember putting it there."
He took the short brown lock of hair in his hand, and looked at it with almost a tender interest.
"He saved my life when I was a boy, Hal."
"The one who wore this curl."
"Oh, tell me all about it; come, do, Uncle Dud;" and Hal laid his hand coaxingly on his uncle's arm. "Was he one of your playmates?"
"How old was he when he did it?"
"I didn't know exactly his age. Ten or twelve, perhaps, or thereabouts. But there is the tea-bell. I'll tell you about it after tea."
Uncle Dudley found his audience increased by four or five expectant boys and girls, who gathered around him on the broad piazza, attracted by the rumor that "one of Uncle Dud's stories" was in prospect. Little Elsie crept into his lap as he began:
"I don't think I have ever told you anything of my poor friend Ben, but he played a very important part in many of the pranks and sports and joys and sorrows of my earlier boyhood. I think that, outside of my own family, my attachment to him was the strongest I have ever formed. People used to laugh at us, and call him my younger brother, we showed so much affection for each other."
"Was he a son of your neighbor?" asked Hal.
"No, not his son, but his home was with our nearest neighbor. It was never known who his parents were. He came to Mr. Washburn's house one day, nobody knew where from; but he attracted the attention of all by his fine bright, honest face. I shall never forget the look of his great earnest brown eyes; I used to think they expressed more in a minute than some folks could talk in an hour. Then he had soft hair—this you see—brown, with the least tinge of auburn through it, and was most graceful in his movements. He would strike any one as a handsome fellow."
"What did he come for, uncle? Do you mean that he was a beggar? Did he ask for food?"
"He didn't ask for anything, but it was easy to see what he needed, and country hospitality was not likely to wait till he asked. He staid about there a few days, and made friends with every one. Before long he seemed to have quietly grown to be almost one of the family, and I think they would have been as sorry to lose him as he would to go. He and I 'took to' each other at once, and I owe many of the happiest hours of my boy life to his companionship, for I had no brother near my own age."
"And did your parents really allow you to make a companion of such a little tramp?" asked Hal, with a slight sniff, and a toss of the head which he conceived to be rather aristocratic. "How did they know what kind of a fellow he might have been?"
"Well, they never seemed to fear any harm coming to me through him. Ben showed a much better disposition than I ever did. He was very gentle in his manners, always inclined to yield to me in everything, giving me my own way to an extent which unfortunately fostered my tendency to be domineering and overbearing. It was this trait in my character which led to the incident I am about to tell you of.
"In the summer vacations he and I—"
"Excuse me for interrupting you, Uncle Dud; but how did this Ben get along at school?"
"Well, he never went to school—"
"Never went to school? Why, didn't those folks he lived with give him any advantages?"
"—But I don't think any one seemed to consider him neglected. He was naturally very quick of perception, and had a wonderful faculty of gathering information from his surroundings. He seemed so well fitted for whatever duties fell to him, that I don't believe any one thought it necessary to send him to school."
"What was he good for, anyhow?"
"He made himself generally useful and agreeable. He used to drive cows, dig in the garden, etc., and as the family grew fond of him, they used to take him out with them a great deal."
"They must have been a queer set, though, to let him grow to be a man in ignorance."
"Ben never got to be a man. But I agree with you, Hal, that a man without education, or a boy either, is a poor thing."
"Oh, did Ben die young?" said Hal, with a soberer face.
"Yes. I did take him to school with me once—what a tricky young rascal I must have been! He walked to the school-house door with me, and I forced him in—much against his will it was, but I always made him mind me. I seated him in the master's chair, and ordered him to stay there, while I went to my seat. Of course the boys all laughed, and poor Ben trembled and looked imploringly at me, but I shook my fist at him to make him sit still. Presently the master came in. He was a quick-tempered man, and when he saw what was going on, how mad he was! He snatched up a rule, but Ben was too smart for him. He sprang from the chair and went out of the half-open window at one bound, with an awful crash of glass and sash, and was off swift as the wind. Then the master tried to find out who was in fault, but could get no further than the truth that he belonged to none of us. No one told of me, so I missed the thrashing which would have been so willingly bestowed."
"I think it was right mean of you to treat Ben so, uncle."
"I think so too, and that wasn't my worst treatment of him, as you shall hear.
"A small river formed the boundary of one side of my father's farm. On its bank, in one spot which was surrounded and sheltered by a thick growth of willows, Ben and I used to spend many an hour. He was an excellent swimmer, and very fond of the water. One morning we were having a merry time; we swam, dived, and rowed in the lovely sunshine. At last I picked up a piece of wood and threw it to the other side of the stream, trying to hit a water-rat. As it left my hand, I saw that it was a piece I had selected for the hull of a miniature boat, just suitable for that purpose, being straight-grained and exactly the right thickness. I told Ben to go and get it for me, but he was probably tired of play, for, for the first time, he refused to do my bidding, and went and lay down under a tree. I was angry, and ordered him loudly and roughly, picking up a stone and threatening him. He looked reproachfully at me, and turned and walked quickly toward his home.
"Now throwing stones was one of my great faults. I can not tell how often my mother had scolded, threatened, and punished me for it. Even at that moment there came vividly before me the remembrance of a time when I had killed a robin, and brought it and showed her what I had done—for I must do myself the justice to say I was always frank in confessing my faults. She took the poor dead bird in her hands, and with tears in her eyes talked to me in a tone of deeper anger and sorrow than I had ever heard from her.
"'They are God's little creatures. They are dumb, except for the sweet songs they bring us. They are helpless, except as their helplessness appeals to human beings for pity and protection. I believe the Lord's blessing will never rest on those who are cruel to things weaker than themselves.'
"I was really sorry, and wanted to tell her so, but a spirit of pride tempted me to 'brave it out,' so I said, with a poor attempt at a laugh, 'Oh, I'm sorry, of course, but you know it comes natural to boys to throw stones.'
"If I had been at all decent about it, she would have forgiven me at once; but, ah me! I never saw her move so quickly as when she went out the back door and broke off a supple green apple switch. After making most vigorous use of it she sent me to my room, with the remark, 'It fortunately comes natural to mothers to punish.'
"I spent the rest of the day there, and as I feasted on bread and water, and realized that there was company to tea, and that my whole being craved spring chicken, jelly cake, and quince preserves, I made up my mind that in future there would be one boy to whom it would come less 'natural' to throw stones.
"All this passed through my mind as I stood with the stone in my hand. But my tyrannical temper mastered me, and as Ben turned and looked back, I flung it at him. I did not mean to hit his head, but there was where it struck, in the brown hair just above one eye. I saw the blood trickle from a cut, as with a sharp cry of pain he ran away and disappeared. I was shocked at what I had done, but you know there are some conditions of mind in which self-reproach only makes anger hotter. I did not obey my impulse to follow the poor fellow, but threw off my jacket and plunged into the stream to recover the block I wanted. I suppose I had already been too long in the water, for when about half way over I was seized with a cramp. In a moment I became helpless, and screamed wildly as I felt myself going down—down—down. I arose to the surface again too nearly drowned to scream any more, but with just sense enough left to feel myself seized by something. That was the last I knew.
"But I was afterward told how my father and some of the farm hands came rushing down just in time to see Ben panting, almost exhausted, as he drew me to the shore. There was blood on my face, which added to my mother's great alarm when I was carried to her. Not my blood, as you may guess, but poor Ben's—the result of my cruel blow.
"There is not much more to tell. I was in bed several days after it. The first time Ben came to see me I put my arms around his neck, and begged him to forgive me."
"What did he say?"
"Not a word. He never was a talker. But I knew by his clear, earnest eyes that he had never harbored a hard thought of me. I need not tell you I treated him more kindly after that. We continued, if possible, closer friends than ever, till I was sent away to school."
"And you say Ben did not live to be a man, uncle?" said Hal, whose interest in the "little tramp" had greatly increased. "How old was he when he died? Tell us about it, please."
"His death was a very sad occurrence, taking place the same season I left home. One night a suspicious-looking person came prowling about Mr. Washburn's place. Ben was the first to hear him—he always seemed to have one ear open when the interests of his friends were concerned—and ran toward him, making all the noise he could to arouse the family. The brave fellow seized hold of the marauder, who drew a revolver, and beat him about the head, and as he still held on, shot him."
A murmur of regret and indignation arose from the little audience.
"The man made off, and Ben was found to be not dead, but terribly injured: a leg was broken, and his head fearfully bruised. All that kind care could do for him was done, but it soon appeared that he was beyond all hope of recovery, and to put an end to his sufferings another bullet—this time aimed in sorrowful kindness—did its quick work on the life of poor Ben."
"What's that?" cried Hal, starting up. "Do you mean that they shot him? Killed a boy because he was badly hurt? I never heard of such—"
"Boy?" said his uncle, looking at him in great surprise. Then he went on: "When I heard of it, it almost broke my heart; and the first time I went home after it, and no Ben came bounding to meet me, wagging his tail, and with a face beaming welcome, I felt as though I had—"
"Hey, uncle! Wagging his tail? Whose tail? What are you talking about? Haven't you been telling us about a boy all this time?"
"Yes. I was a boy. But Ben was not."
Hal threw himself on the grass-plot and shouted with laughter, all his sympathy for Ben lost in his amusement at this unexpected disclosure.
"Oh, Uncle Dud! you're too much for me. 'Never went to school,' 'never grew to be a man'—oh no. 'No talker,' 'didn't ask for anything'—modest fellow! Oh, that's too good!"
Boys and girls had a hearty laugh, and ran away to play hide-and-seek in the summer twilight—all but little Elsie, who tenderly stroked the brown curl, and laid it against her soft cheek, sighing, "Poor Ben! poo-oor doggie!"
[Begun in HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE No. 31, July 13.]
THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN NAVY.
BY BENSON J. LOSSING.
"North African pirates are out on the Mediterranean Sea; our budding commerce there is in danger; we must have a navy to protect it," wrote a distinguished American in Europe to Alexander Hamilton. President Washington called the attention of Congress to the matter, and in the spring of 1794 he was authorized to have six frigates built, each carrying not less than thirty-two cannon. The keel of the Constitution (yet afloat) was soon laid at Boston, and so the creation of the Navy of the United States was begun.
To the heroes of the Continental Navy the people looked for commanders of the new frigates, and Barry, Nicholson, Talbot, Barney, Dale, and Truxton, all of whom had done gallant service in the war for independence, were chosen.
The building of the frigates was unwisely suspended in the fall of 1795. "Pay me so many hundred thousand dollars every year, and I will let your ships alone," said the piratical ruler of Algiers. The terms were agreed to. Congress seemed to think that now all danger to commerce was overpast, and a navy would be an extravagant toy. But when, not long afterward, French cruisers seized American ships, and English cruisers claimed the right (and exercised it) to take seamen from our vessels without leave, Congress perceived the folly of their humiliating action.
War with France was threatened in the spring of 1798. The startled Congress ordered the six frigates to be finished, and more to be built or purchased. A Navy Department was organized, and a Secretary of the Navy appointed. Recruits were called for. The navy became very popular, and the ships were soon filled, with the sons of the best families in the land holding the rank of midshipmen.
The first vessel of the new navy that went to sea was the Ganges, twenty-four guns. She was to protect the ports of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore against French cruisers. Toward midsummer (1798), Congress authorized the seizure of French armed vessels found prowling along our coasts. For this purpose Truxton, with the Constellation, and Decatur the elder, with the Delaware, immediately went to sea. Decatur soon returned with the French cruiser Le Croyable as a prize. She was added to the navy, named Retaliation, and put under the command of Lieutenant Bainbridge. Captain Barry, with the frigate United States, soon followed, with many young men who afterward became distinguished in their country's service. Before the end of the year nearly the whole American navy was among the West India Islands, engaged in convoying merchantmen to and from the United States. This sudden appearance on the sea of a new naval power astonished the English and the French, and made both more cautious.
Early in 1799, Truxton, with the Constellation, captured the famous French frigate L'Insurgente, near the island of Nevis, after a severe battle for an hour. This triumph made Truxton famous. His praises were on every lip. A song called "Truxton's Victory" was sung everywhere in public and private. A year later his fame was increased by his combat with another French frigate, which he had searched for among the islands of the West Indies. Off Guadeloupe he fell in with a large French vessel at twilight, and they fought desperately in the darkness that followed. Suddenly the stranger disappeared in the gloom of night. Some time afterward Truxton learned that the ship was the very one he was searching for—the frigate La Vengeance; that he had shattered her terribly; and that she ran away in the darkness to a friendly port to save her life.
These victories made the navy very popular. Truxton was the hero of this war with the French on the ocean. It soon ceased, and the little navy found ample employment in the Mediterranean.
In the year 1800 Bainbridge was sent, in command of the George Washington, to pay tribute to the Algerine ruler. The Dey, as he was called, commanded the Captain to take an Ambassador to Constantinople. Bainbridge refused. "You pay me tribute, and are my slave," said the haughty Dey; "you must do as I bid you;" and he pointed to the guns of the castle. The Captain was compelled to obey. The Sultan received him kindly, for the crescent moon on the Turkish banner, and the stars on the American flag, seemed to prophesy good-will between the two nations. He gave Bainbridge an order that made the insolent Dey tremble. With it in his hand, the Captain said to the turbaned ruler, "Release every Christian captive you have, without ransom." The astonished and humbled Dey obeyed, and Bainbridge sailed away with threescore liberated captives under the American flag.
Meanwhile the rulers of Tunis and Tripoli—other North African robbers—had exacted and received tribute from the United States. The treatment of Bainbridge made the latter resolve to pay tribute no longer, but to humble the piratical powers. In the spring of 1801 Commodore Dale was sent with a squadron on that errand. He captured a Tripolitan pirate ship, and appeared before Tunis, where the flag-staff before the house of the American Consul had been cut down. Dale threatened the ruler with chastisement. He was astonished and perplexed. Dale cruised in the Mediterranean until fall, effectually protecting American commerce, for the half-barbarian powers were made timid and cautious.
The following year a relief squadron was sent to the Mediterranean under Commodore Morris. The Constellation blockaded the harbor of Tripoli. A flotilla of Tripolitan gun-boats tried to drive her away, but failed. At one time the Constellation successfully fought seventeen of them, as well as troops of cavalry on shore. The other vessels of the squadron cruised along the northern shores of the Mediterranean, effectually protecting American commerce; and in January, 1803, all the vessels collected at Malta. In the spring they appeared off the ports of the Barbary States, as these African provinces were called, and effectually imprisoned their corsairs, or pirate ships, in their harbors. In May the John Adams, which had been blockading the harbor of Tunis, had a severe combat with Tunisian gun-boats and land batteries, and was much bruised. Very soon Tripolitan and Algerine corsairs appeared, and the whole American squadron was compelled to abandon the blockade of the African ports, after they had destroyed a cruiser from Tripoli. The squadron left the coast, the Africans regained their spirits, and very soon American commerce was again suffering from the depredations of corsairs.
The government of the United States, annoyed by the failure of this naval campaign in the Mediterranean, resolved to act with more vigor in that direction. A squadron of seven vessels was placed under the command of Commodore Preble, and sent to the Mediterranean in 1803.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
THE STORY OF THE DAISIES.
BY MRS. MARGARET EYTINGE.
Daisies, golden-hearted, star-like, smiling daisies, all over the fields and meadows, all along the highways and by-ways—bonny wee flowers looking bravely up at the dazzling sun, and giving with child-like generosity their beauty to the loneliest spots and most desolate places. Close up to a fence that surrounded a garden where bloomed hundreds of rare and lovely blossoms they crowded, praising with sweet artlessness the grace and fragrance of their more precious sisters, and wondering every morning when the gardener came out at early dawn and collected many young plants together, and gathered roses, and pansies, and gladioles, and verbenas, and pinks, and other flowers by the basketful, to carry away, where he took them and what became of them.
"I will tell you," said a tall, graceful white lily that grew near the garden gate, one day, as she inclined her fair head toward them. "I have been where they are going—I and the tuberoses over yonder. (We are growing in pots sunk in the ground, and therefore can be taken up and moved from place to place without harm.) Once I helped deck a large, sunshiny room—I was a very young bud then—where a great many little children, looking like flowers themselves in their gay dresses, sang, and played, and laughed, and danced for joy, because a baby friend was three years old that day; and once I stood at the right hand of a gray-haired minister, in a crowded church, and heard him say, 'Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' But, dear, simple, wee things, you don't understand that, do you? I forgot to whom I was talking. They go to a large city, where nothing is seen but brick and stone buildings and hosts of people, and nothing is heard but the sound of voices and footsteps, and the ringing of bells, and the tramping of horses, and rolling of wagons, and where there are no bees, nor butterflies, nor birds, save canaries that live in cages, and sparrows that can live anywhere."
"But the daisies are never taken to the city," said the daisies, after a short pause, "and they are flowers as well as the verbenas and pinks."
"Bless your innocent little hearts! I know they are," said the lily. "But the fact is, no one cares to buy daisies."
"So nobody cares for us in the big city," said the daisies to each other, "and yet the butterflies and birds tell us we are very pretty."
But the lily was mistaken, for the very next morning the gardener came out into the meadow with a trowel in his hand, and digging up some of the largest daisy plants, replanted them in a large flower-pot.
"Somebody wants us after all," they called to the grass, and the dandelions, and the other daisies, as they were carried away, "and we shall see the fine houses, and perhaps live with lilies, roses, and geraniums all the rest of our lives. Good-by, dear friends, good-by."
In a short time the daisies found themselves in a market-place—not among cabbages and tomatoes, but at the end of a row of blooming plants from the garden at which they had so often peeped through the fence. But they had scarcely had time to look about them when they saw a shabbily dressed boy coming slowly toward them—slowly, poor fellow, because one of his feet was sadly misshapen, and in his arms he carried a heavy bundle of newspapers. He looked eagerly at the gardener as he came near.
"I've got your daisies, my boy," the man called, cheerily. "Here they are, still wet with the dew, as handsome daisies as ever I saw. You must keep them in the shade a day or two, giving them a drink now and then, and I don't doubt they'll do finely. Will you take them now?"
"Yes, sir, thank you," said the boy, his whole face lighting up, and his pale cheeks flushing, "if you will let me leave my papers here a few minutes until I can run home with them. But you've brought so many—and they're in a nice pot, too—I'm afraid I haven't money enough to pay for them."
"Five cents was the price agreed on yesterday," said the good-natured gardener, "and I always stick to a bargain. And if there's more than you expected, all the better for you—some of 'em'll be sure to thrive anyhow. As for the pot, you're welcome to that. A flower-pot more or less won't make me or break me."
The boy threw down his bundle, took the daisies with another "thank you," and hurried away as fast as his poor foot would let him to an old, queer-looking wooden house near the market, where, hugging his treasure closely to his breast, he mounted the shaky stairs until he reached the garret. Pushing open a door here, he entered a neat little room with only one window in it, but that a dormer facing the south. The floor of this room was bare, with the exception of two or three round rag mats, and the walls were decorated in the oddest manner with pictures cut from old papers and magazines, bits of colored glass, strips of glittering tin twisted into grotesque shapes, and red and green motto-papers fashioned into some semblance of flowers.
On a bed near the window lay a little pale-faced, brown-haired girl, with wistful gray eyes, and a smile like sunshine breaking through a cloud. In her hands she held a pair of knitting-needles, with which she was knitting with marvellous quickness some coarse thread into wide, strong lace. Beside the bed stood a small table, holding a box of water-colors, a camel's-hair brush or two, a lead-pencil, a cup filled with water, and a piece of paper on which was a rude attempt at a painting of a bunch of daisies.
"See what I've brought you, Phemie!" cried her brother, joyfully. "To-day's your birthday: thirteen years old—almost as old as I am. Bet you thought I'd forgotten it; but I didn't, dearie; no, indeed."
"Daisies! daisies!" cried the girl, with a sweet glad laugh, dropping her work, and holding out her pretty slender hands. "Oh, brother—dear, good, darling brother—will they live and grow?"
"The gardener says they will, and he ought to know," answered her brother. "And now you needn't be aching your poor little head any more trying to think exactly how they look, for you can study them all day long. But, good gracious! I must go and sell my papers, or we'll have no berries for dinner, and that would be dreadful." And giving his sister a kiss, he hurried away again, as happy, I believe, as any boy in that great city on that pleasant summer day.
"I am so glad, so very, very glad that you have come," said Phemie to the daisies as soon as he was gone, as she set them on the table, and gazed at them with tears in her eyes, "and I beg of you to live, dear daisies. I am a poor weak little girl, and I can sit up but a few hours each day. But a long while ago I could run about like other little girls, and I lived in the country, where thousands of daisies grew, and I have never forgotten them. Mamma was alive then, but she's dead now, and father left us here a year after she died, and we have never seen him since. He didn't care for daisies or us. How good of Brother Frank to bring you to me, daisies! I shall knit so much better and faster, and earn so much more money, with your bright faces smiling at me. And some day I shall make a picture of you—I have been trying to paint one from memory—that shall be almost as pretty as your own dear selves." And she leaned back against her pillow, singing softly to herself; and while her fingers plied the knitting-needles, her spirit, led by the spirits of the meadow flowers, wandered to green fields, and listened to the hum of the bees and the song of the birds, and grew lighter and happier every moment. And Frank, coming in quietly at noon, saw her with closed eyes and clasped hands, and heard her say, "Dear God, a helpless child thanks Thee for daisies!"
And the daisies all lived, and increased in numbers until the room overflowed with them. On floor and shelves they bloomed in cracked pitchers, broken jars, old fruit cans, everything that Frank could find to fill with them. And Phemie did paint a beautiful picture of them at last, and through this picture came much good fortune to that garret home. For Frank, showing it, in his brotherly love and pride, to a kind gentleman whom he served with papers, was surprised to learn that it was worth more than his sister knitting lace for three long months could earn.
And now to end the story. The very prettiest New-Year's card that appeared to celebrate the birth of 1880 was one on which the New-Year's greeting was printed on a ribbon encircling the stems of a bunch of daisies. Those daisies are Phemie's daisies. And the young flower painter, growing stronger day by day, is the happy mistress of two pleasant rooms and a mite of a studio.
BY WILLIAM O. STODDARD.
"No, mother," said Colonel Dunway to his wife, at the breakfast table, "I shall ride the black colt on parade to-day. Hannibal is too fat and too old."
"Too old? He and Barry are just of an age."
"And Barry's only a little colt yet? Well, you may bring him and Prue out to the grand review in the afternoon, but I guess I'll ride the black this morning. You can put Hannibal in the carry-all. Perhaps he'd like to take a look again at a regiment of troops in line."
Barry and Prue listened with all their ears.
They knew there was to be a grand parade of soldiers that day, and they were prouder than they knew how to tell of the fact that their father was to wear a uniform, and ride a horse, and give orders to some of the men.
"Prue," said Barry, "father's going to 'spect them."
"In-speck them," whispered Prue, correcting him. "Nobody else knows how."
That might be, for Colonel Dunway had been an officer of the regular army, and he was now Colonel of a regiment of militia; but there was one thing he had said that puzzled Barry and Prue dreadfully.
"Barry," said Prue, after breakfast, "is Nibble old?"
"Father says he is."
"And he said he was fat."
"Dr. Barnes is old, and he's fat."
"But his head's bare."
"Nibble isn't bald, and he isn't gray either."
Mrs. Dunway had told the exact truth about Hannibal, or Nibble, as the children called him. He and Barry were just of an age, and he had been a mere two-year-old colt when Prue was a baby in her cradle.
It was after that that Colonel Dunway had taken Hannibal with him to the army, and brought him home again.
He had been a war-horse, the Colonel said, and so it would not do to turn him into a plough-horse, and the consequence was that Nibble did not have enough work to do, and he grew fat too fast.
Yet he and Barry were only nine years old apiece. That made eighteen years between them; and if you added seven years for Prue, it would only have made twenty-five, and everybody knows that is not very old, if you had given them all to Hannibal.
Barry and Prue would have given him almost anything they had, for he was a great friend and crony of theirs.
"Prue," said Barry, "let's go out to the barn. I've got an apple."
"He can have my bun."
What there was left of it, that meant, for Prue's little white teeth had been at work on that bun.
That had been a troubled morning for Hannibal. Before he had finished his breakfast a party of men rode by the house, and one of them was playing on a bugle. He had set Hannibal's mind at work upon army matters and war; so when Barry and Prue came to see him, he would not even nibble. He smelled of the apple, and he looked at the bun, but that was all.
"He's getting old," said Barry.
"And fat," added Prue.
"Tell you what, Prue, let's take him out into the lot. I know mother'd let us."
That was likely, for Mrs. Dunway always felt safer about them if Nibble were keeping them company.
"I'll get on his back."
"And I'll lead him. Wait till I fix the halter."
Prue climbed up on the side of the stall where Nibble was, and he stood perfectly still while she clambered over to her place on his back.
Barry knew exactly what to do, and the old war-horse began to think he did himself. He must have been thinking, for he half closed one eye as he was walking out, and opened the other very wide, with a wonderfully knowing look.
He was looking down the lane, and he saw that the front gate was open, and just at that moment there came up the road, very faint and sweet, the music of the cavalry bugle.
"Nibble! Nibble!" exclaimed Barry, "where are you going?"
Hannibal did not answer a word, but walked on down the lane very fast indeed, and Barry lost hold of the halter.
As for Prue, she was not scared a particle, for she had ridden in that way many a time, and her confidence in herself and old Nibble was unbounded.
"Cluck, cluck, cluck—get-ap."
"Stop, Prue, stop. He's going faster."
"Get-ap! Come, Barry. Oh, there's mother at the window!"
Mrs. Dunway was not frightened any more than Prue, for she said to herself, "Too old, indeed! Well, they're more like three children, when they're together, than anything else. I'm glad he is fat. He won't go too fast for Prue."
He was in the road now, and he seemed disposed to keep Barry from again getting hold of that halter.
"Oh dear," said Barry, "the parade-ground's down there."
Hannibal knew that, by the music, and he was almost trotting now.
In fact, he was looking younger and younger, somehow, every minute, and Barry felt more and more as if he ought to have hold of the halter, instead of merely running along-side and shouting to Prue.
The regiment was drawn up on the great bare field where the review was to be that afternoon, and they looked splendidly.
Colonel Dunway was saying so, as he sat in front of them, on his handsome black colt, and a number of other officers who were riding with him said the same, and so did the ladies who were keeping them company.
Just then the bugle sounded again, from the head of the column, and Prue had to hold on hard, for Hannibal suddenly began to canter, and he answered the music with a loud, clear whinny of delight.
Barry was half out of breath with running, but he kept up with the other two, and in a moment more Hannibal halted, proudly arching his neck, and treading daintily upon the grass, right in front of the regiment.
"I declare," exclaimed Colonel Dunway, "the old fellow has come to review the troops."
"So has Prue," said one of the officers.
Barry hardly knew whether to laugh or to cry, but the soldiers suddenly broke out in a grand "hurrah."
They were cheering Prue and her war-horse, and Colonel Dunway himself was compelled to let the "three children" stay and keep the place Hannibal chose for them at the head of the regiment.
There was plenty of apples for Nibble that day.
LETTER No. 2 FROM BESSIE MAYNARD TO HER DOLL.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH, July, 1880.
The days must seem very long and lonely to you, my sweet Clytemnestra, and I will send you another letter, to "cheer you up a bit," as nursie used to say when she gave me a lump of sugar, after pulling my curls 'most out of my head, trying to get out the tangles.
How are you getting along all this time? and what do you find to amuse yourself with? Do you sit still in your own corner of the baby-house day after day, or does some kind fairy come in once in a while and wind you up, so that you can run round the room and get a little exercise? We will have lots of walks and talks when I get home, my Clytie. I heard mamma telling Cousin Frank last night that we should proberly go next month. If I did not know that you were at home expecting and wanting me, it would be awfully hard to think of leaving this place; for life by the sad sea waves is truly (as I heard a lady say yesterday) "fassernating and terancing."
There are so many people here it seems like a party all the time. There are not many children, though—at least not at our hotel; only Fanny, Dora, and me for girls; Randolph Peyton, Jack Hunter, Charley Phillips, and Hal Davis for boys; Snip and Moppet for dogs; and the cunningest wee little mite of a pussykin, named Whitetoes, for cats. Not that cats and dogs are exactly children, either, but they are just as good, and sometimes better. I'm sure I would rather play any time with Snip and Whitetoes than with that horrid Randolph. He is the very unpolitest boy I ever knew. Let me tell you something he did yesterday, and then I guess you will agree with me. We seven children and the dogs had planned a beautiful picnic down on "the island," as we call it.
You know the geography says (or you would know if you had ever been to school, poor child!) that "an island is a portion of land entirely surrounded by water." Well, this "portion of land" runs out ever so far into the sea, and has a pretty grove on it; and at high tide the water covers the little strip of land where it really joins the beach, so that for a little while it is an island, but the rest of the time it is a peninsula. That is a big word, and you don't know a bit what it means, and I can't tell you now; you shall learn about it when we begin our lessons.
But, oh dear, I was going to tell you about the picnic, and Randolph Peyton, the great disagreeable boy. Somehow or other, when I begin to write to you, there are so many things to essplain that I never seem to "come to the point," as papa says.
We had planned to start at eight o'clock, but what with Moppet's running away, and Snip's taking a nap behind a hay-cock down in the orchard, where we only found him by accident at the very last minute, we were not fairly on our way till almost nine. The boys carried the lunch baskets, Fan wheeled her baby carriage, with poor invalid Jane lying back on the pillows, looking too forlorn for anything, but really Fan seems to love her even more than she loved Lucille; and I do think, considering what Jane has been through, that she is the very best child in the world.
Sometimes when I look at her woe-begone face, and her poor little head without a single hair on it (she wears a lace cap, but we can see the bald right through), and remember her cheeks as they used to be, and her lovely golden curls, and then think how gentle and kind she is, never complaining, nor speaking a single cross word, I can't help saying' right out to her, "You poor little dear thing. Solomon was right when he said 'Handsome is, that handsome does.'" Well, Fan wheeled her along, and I carried Moppet curled up in my arms like a white puff-ball, while Dora ran races all along the beach with Snip.
I forgot to tell you that Randolph had been behaving badly all the way, teasing us girls, pinching the dogs, and making fun of Jane; but the terrible thing of all did not happen till we were crossing over to the island. We always lay a board across from a rock on the beach side to a rock on the island side, and over that we girls walk, though the boys generally wade right through the water.
Fan and Jane went first on the board, then Dora and Snip, and last Moppet and me.
Now listen, my Clytie, though, without having seen it, you never can quite know how perfectly terrible it was. Just as Dora and Snip were in the very middle of the board, and all of us were on it, Randolph, who was standing in the water, gave a most unearthly screech, and at that very minute— But, mercy me! there's the tea-bell, and you must excuse me, my lamb, for leaving you right here, for how can I help it when I smell waffles?—waffles, and muffins too, I think.
In greatest haste, Your own mamma, BESSIE.
P.S.—It was waffles I smelled, and I thought of you, dear Clytie, as I ate them. Now I shall have to leave my story of Randolph at its very smilax (or climax, which is it?), and finish it in my next letter, for I have written so much my fingers are all cramped up; so good-night.
THE PITIFUL HARE.
FROM THE JAPANESE, BY W. E. GRIFFIS.
Hares are always treated kindly by the Chinese and Japanese people, who make household pets of them. The Chinese believe that the hare lives to be a thousand years old, and that at the end of five centuries its hair becomes white. Instead of seeing a man in the moon, they imagine they see a hare standing on its hind-legs, and pounding drugs in a mortar. There are great creatures like gigantic men, called genii, who live in the moon, and make "the elixir of life," a draught of which confers very long life. The hare is their steward, and spends his time in pounding the precious roots and bark of the "tree of the king of drugs," from which the elixir is made. In the Japanese fairy tales, whoever smells, touches, or tastes of this tree is immediately healed of all disease.
The country folks in Japan believe a great deal more in the influence of the moon on crops, and good luck, and the weather, than our farmers do, and some of the Japanese almanacs are very funny to read. It is for these reasons that the people do not injure the hare, for fear of hindering the good influence of the moon.
The hare is considered above all others the faithful animal, and in the story which the picture tells he is comforting his master.
It would seem very queer to you, my readers, to see tame hares running about the house instead of your pet dogs and cats? But this is what the little Japanese see.
MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
I thought some of the readers of YOUNG PEOPLE would like to hear about a young robin my papa found under a cherry-tree near the house. He thought I could raise him, and take him back to New York for a pet. But after I had kept him two days in my room, he would chirp so mournfully when he heard the other birds singing merrily outside that it made me feel so sorry, I took him and put him on a branch of the tree. Oh, I wish you could have seen him flap his wings with delight. Then the old birds came, so glad to greet him. And how glad I was then that I had given him his freedom!
ALBERTO A. DAL M.
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I am a subscriber to YOUNG PEOPLE, and am much pleased with it. It is the only pet I have.
I live near the Alleghany College, and I like to see the students drilling. On Commencement afternoon they had a regular sham battle. The military is composed of four companies, all under the command of Major H——. The Major ordered out two companies for the sham battle. One company he sent around the base of a hill, and up through a ravine. The other company turned the cannon round, and made the attacking party surrender as they came out in sight.
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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI.
I caught some turtles, which I keep in a tub. I feed them on meat, bread, and carrots. Last summer I hatched out two land turtles. Now I have fifteen turtles' eggs, and I think they will hatch. We found a land turtle that had July 3, 1776, carved on its back. I hope "The Moral Pirates" will catch some turtles. I am nine years old.
C. G. R.
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WELLSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA.
I was up in the woods a few days ago, and I saw a woodchuck go in a hole. Having heard that they had a great deal of curiosity, I hid behind a heap of dirt real close to the hole, and in a minute out the woodchuck came to get a better look at me. Just then Dick, a little dog, came scampering up, ran by the hole, turned round, and crept softly back and stopped, watching, with eyes and ears on the alert. But I made a noise, so the woodchuck did not come out again.
Once Dick was watching on the top of a steep bank, and a great big woodchuck stuck its head out of a hole. Dick grabbed it, and together they rolled to the bottom of the bank, where, if somebody had not killed the woodchuck, Dick would have had the worst of the fight, as he was the smallest.
Are ground-squirrels, chipmunks, and gophers the same kind of animals?
I have a barrel sunk in the ground, with cold water running in and out, and about two hundred minnows in it. Please tell me something good to feed them on.
The ground-squirrel and chipmunk are the same animal, but the gopher, or Canada pouched rat, belongs to a different family.—Feed your minnows by throwing bread-crumbs, and flies, and other small insects on the surface of the water.
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CHIMACUM VALLEY, WASHINGTON TERRITORY.
I live on a farm. I take YOUNG PEOPLE, and I think it is a very nice little paper.
I have had the rheumatism since Christmas so bad that I could not walk nor turn myself in bed. Do you know what will get me well? I am thirteen years old.
A lady gave me eight ducks' eggs. I set them under a hen, and now I have five little ducks. The old hen looks so frightened when her little ones go swimming in a pan of water! I suppose she thinks they are strange chickens. I have a dog named Prince. He knows so much he comes very near talking. Whenever I go away and come back, he will pick up a stick in his mouth and run toward me. I have a hen with nine little chicks. Whenever they get hungry, the mamma hen will come to the door of the house and cluck. My father milks twenty-eight cows. They give a bucket of milk apiece.
ARTHUR S. R.
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YOSEMITE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA.
I live in Philadelphia, but it is so hot there in the summer that we decided to spend a few weeks in this beautiful Californian valley, camping out.
We travelled from Merced to this place in our own wagons, pitching our tents every night. I like camp life very much, sleeping in tents and eating in the open air. Sometimes we build a camp fire in the evening, and all sit around it, telling stories and singing. It is very warm in the daytime here, and cold at night; and there is such a strong wind almost all the time that if you go too near the water-falls the spray is blown over you like rain. We make excursions every day to mountains and water-falls near by.
On the way here we saw a tree so large that it took fourteen of us to get our arms round it.
If any of the readers of YOUNG PEOPLE ever get a chance to go camping, I advise them to do it, for I think it is a great deal of fun.
I like to read YOUNG PEOPLE very much, and I am so glad I take it. I am twelve years old.
ALICE W. S.
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My grandma gives YOUNG PEOPLE to my brother and myself, and we like it very much. I have no pets to write about, for my little pet deer, named Nettie, died. We live in the country, on the banks of a beautiful lake, and have a nice time fishing and taking skiff rides. I wish you could see the lovely magnolia-trees in my grandma's yard; and she has so many pretty roses too.
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My papa is in Europe this summer, and he writes me very funny letters. His last one was from Paris, and he told me what people did when they wanted to take a bath in their room at the hotel. You touch an electric bell, and the man in the office telegraphs to a station, and a cart carrying a round boiler with hot and cold water, and drawn by a horse, comes dashing up to the hotel just like a fire engine; a man rushes up to your room with a tub and towels, and before you know it you are taking a nice warm bath. Papa said one day, just for fun, he rang for two baths at the same time, and it was very comical to see the two Frenchmen fight to see which bath should be used first. Papa makes little sketches all through his letters, so I know just how things look. I guess we shall all go to Europe another year, and then I will write you a letter from London or Paris.
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DANSVILLE, NEW YORK.
I am four and a half years old, and I can not read or write, but mamma is writing this for me. Papa has taken HARPER'S WEEKLY since 1865, and binds it himself, and now he takes YOUNG PEOPLE for me, and is going to bind that too. I love to look at the pictures and hear mamma read the stories in my paper as soon as it is sewed and cut.
I have many nice toys and playthings, and two pet kittens; their names are Dick and Spot.
Papa plays on the violin, and mamma plays the organ, and I play on my triangle with them. I have a little violin, too, that grandpa gave me, but I don't play on it much when papa and mamma play. I can sing a great many pieces. I like music.
We live in a pleasant farm-house south of Dansville. I do lots of chores for papa and mamma, and I ride our horse to water nearly every day. We have plenty of nice fruit and flowers.
I think the Post-office Box is nice.
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I take YOUNG PEOPLE, and I like it so much. I always read the letters the very first thing when I get my paper. Almost all the boys and girls write about their pets. I have no pets except my dolls. I have eight dolls. The largest is wax, and I call her Bessie.
As I was trying to paint, the other day, I saw a large ant run along. I touched it with my brush, and then it was a green ant instead of a black one.
I tried the recipe for cup-cake that Bessie L. S. sent, and it was just splendid.
I think the story of "The Moral Pirates" is very nice. When I get a whole volume of YOUNG PEOPLE, I am going to have it bound. I am ten years old.
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Our school closed on the last day of June, and the 1st of July we had a picnic, and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.
I like YOUNG PEOPLE, especially the Post-office Box. The story of "The Moral Pirates" is splendid, and I hope it will be a good long one.
I have no tame pets, but there are some chipping sparrows around our house. One pair built a nest in the honeysuckles by the kitchen door, and another pair built in the grape arbor.
Here is a recipe for cake for the Cooking Club: One and a half cups of sugar; one egg; two table-spoonfuls of butter; three cups of sifted flour; one cup of sweet milk; two tea-spoonfuls of cream of tartar; one of soda; a little essence of either lemon or almond—I like almond best. This will make a good big cake.
ELLA B. R.
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I found fifty-five new flowers in June. Among them was the Ceanothus americanus, or New Jersey tea, the leaves of which, mamma read to me, were used for tea during the American Revolution. It is a pretty shrub with white flowers.
I have two pet kittens, named Puck and Blossom.
I would like to send Carrie Harding some pressed arbutus, but it has done blooming for this year. I would be glad to exchange other kinds of pressed flowers with her, if she would like to do so.
HARRY H. MOORE, Windsor, Connecticut.
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ANACOSTIA, D. C.
On the 10th of July I was nine years old. Although it is vacation now, I practice writing in my copy-book, for it is very important to be a good writer.
I have a butterfly net, and have caught some very pretty specimens. If Walter H. P. would use benzine to kill his butterflies, he would find it quite as good as cyanide of potassium, which is so poisonous. Benzine can be bought by the quart at the paint shops at a low price, and one or two drops on the head of a butterfly will kill it at once.
I have a bantam rooster so tame that he will allow me to pick him up and carry him in my arms. I have a kitchen-garden, too. In it there are potatoes, corn, tomatoes, water-melons, a pea-nut vine, and two fine tobacco plants. One of my tomato vines has fruit on it. There are no weeds in my garden.
I think HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE is the best paper published for children.
WILLIE C. S.
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Papa takes HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE for my brother. Mamma made him a pie from Helen's recipe. It was very nice. Mamma says some little girls are born cooks.
When my brother reads the fairy stories in YOUNG PEOPLE, he says he would like to wade the Atlantic Ocean, and put a few whales in his pocket for his minnow tank. Now he wants to go fishing in a boat. He is almost ten, and I am seven.
Mamma says, Tell Puss Hunter to set her bread to rise in a deep vessel, as the less surface exposed, the better it is, as the gas is kept confined in the dough. A flannel cloth to cover it with is best, for the same reason. Mamma says she is a friend to all little bakers.
MYRTIE BELLE E.
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I would like to exchange dried grasses, Southern moss, birds' eggs and nests, for sea-shells, with any reader of YOUNG PEOPLE.
HORACE L. BARLOW, Refugio, Refugio County, Texas.
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I would be glad to exchange birds' eggs with any correspondent of YOUNG PEOPLE.
S. E. STRONG, 1394 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
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I am eleven years old. I have a pony, some rabbits, guinea-pigs, and ferrets. Not long ago my pony went into the bantam-house, and ate up a whole boxful of oats which was standing there. Then he pulled down a bag of oats, and scattered them all over the floor. I have two canaries which have set twice this spring, but have not raised a bird.
I would like to exchange pressed flowers with some little girl in California.
WINNIE WALDRON, Care of Mr. E. H. Waldron, Lafayette, Indiana.
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Will Harry Starr Kealhofer, of Memphis, Tennessee, please send his full address, and a list of stamps he wishes to exchange, to M. C. Stryker, corner of Argyle Avenue and Biddle Street, Baltimore, Maryland?
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Will you please tell me the origin of the name of strawberries? I take YOUNG PEOPLE, and like it very much, and my little cousins in Louisiana take it too. I am eight years old.
WINNIE S. G.
The word strawberry is from the Anglo-Saxon, and was formerly written streawberie. The reason for applying the name to the delicious little fruit is undecided. Some authorities hold that it should be written strayberry, and that it refers to the creeping or straying habit of the vines.
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C. L. B.—Alwur, sometimes written Alwar or Alvar, is a town of India, eighty-five miles southwest of Delhi.
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I have heard that there are a great many towns in the United States named Vicksburg. Can you tell me how many?
My sister tried Helen's recipe for lemon pie, in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 32, and it was very nice.
F. M. G.
There are five towns and cities named Vicksburg, one in each of the following States: Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Mississippi.
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WILLIE M.—Directions for making an ordinary kite were given in Post-office Box No. 19. "Sim Vedder's Kite," in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 25, also contained some valuable suggestions.
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WAVE.—Common sunfish can not injure the gold-fish and other inhabitants of your aquarium.
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I am nine years old, and I have two sisters and one brother, Ruth, Alonzo, and baby Vera.
There was a boy who wrote to YOUNG PEOPLE and said he was very fond of history. So am I. I have read Peter Parley's History of the United States five times, and now I am reading Charles Dickens's Child's History of England. I don't know what to read next. I wish you would tell me the names of some child's histories, for I do not understand very well those written for older people.
All of Abbott's Illustrated Histories would interest you. Then there are some good histories for young readers by Miss Yonge; and child's histories of the United States, of Greece, and of Rome, by Bonner; an interesting child's history of the United States, by T. W. Higginson; and many other books referring to special periods, like Mr. Coffin's Story of Liberty and Boys of '76, where you will find much valuable information. The works by Abbott, Bonner, and Coffin are published by Harper & Brothers.
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ELLA W.—The date of the invention of gun-powder is unknown. Tradition says that it was used in China as early as A.D. 85, for fire-works and blasting, and that the Arabs employed it at the siege of Mecca in 690. Roger Bacon is supposed to allude to its explosive force, and it is said that Berthold Schwartz, a monk, about 1336, discovered the mode of manufacturing it. It is also said that the knowledge of it was conveyed to Europe by the returning Crusaders.
Tempt your parrot with English walnuts, bits of apple and pear, and canary and hemp seed, and also give it a red pepper to pick to pieces. Let it out of its cage to climb about an hour or more every morning. A parrot can not be healthy without some exercise.
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GEORGE F.—Directions for "Model Yacht Building" were given in YOUNG PEOPLE No. 23.
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F. H. L.—Any hardware merchant will send to New York city for a catalogue of toy steam-engines for you, which will give you full information in regard to styles, prices, and how and where the engine you require can be obtained.
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FRED H. H.—You can purchase turtles at any store where gold-fish and materials for an aquarium are sold. They will cost you very little—ten or fifteen cents apiece, perhaps, for small ones. If you are going to the country, you can catch plenty of them yourself. By reading former numbers of Our Post-office Box you will find many directions for the care of turtles. A water turtle needs clean water, and also stones to climb up on.