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VOL. I.—NO. 2. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR CENTS.
Tuesday, November 11, 1879. Copyright, 1879, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.
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[Begun in No. 1 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, November 4.]
THE BRAVE SWISS BOY.
II.—A PERILOUS ADVENTURE.
It was still early in the day when Walter left the cottage a second time. His heart was cheerful, and his movements light and rapid. Instead, however, of taking the road leading to the inn, he struck off in a zigzag path through the valley toward the Engelhorn, whose jagged and lofty peaks rose far up into the blue sky. After a short time he reached the large and splendid glacier that lies between the Engelhorn and Wellborn, cast a hasty glance at the beautiful masses of ice burnished to prismatic brilliancy by the morning sun, and then turned to the left toward a steep and narrow path leading to the summit. As the road grew more difficult at every step, his progress became much slower, and he purposely reserved his strength, knowing well that it would be severely taxed before he gained the object of his journey. After a toilsome ascent of half an hour he reached the lofty crag called by the mountaineers the Warder of the Glacier, and sat down to recover his breath.
It was very necessary for him to take a little rest; for the way he had come, although long and tiring, was as child's play compared with the difficulties he had yet to overcome. He had to climb the steep and dizzy heights that towered above his head; and instead of walking along a narrow foot-path, he would have to clamber over rocks and loose stones, to pass close to the most dreadful precipices, and across foaming mountain streams, till he reached the height at which the refreshing green disappeared, with nothing visible but huge masses of brown and gray rock; where no other sight met the eye but that of mountain tops covered with perpetual snow and ice—a world dead and deserted, where the familiar voices of nature were almost unknown; where no bird carolled its love-song from the waving branch; where no sound was to be heard save the muttered thunder of the avalanche, the roaring of the cataracts which poured forth from the melting glaciers and made courses for themselves through heaps of rough stones; and now and again the harsh and discordant scream of a solitary vulture that with outspread wings circled slowly aloft, piercing into the valleys with its keen eye in search of prey. Into these wild and lonely regions Walter had to climb in order to reach the lofty crag whereon the vulture—the far-famed Laemmergeier of the Alps—had reared her eyrie.
But these difficulties had little terror for the cool-headed and brave-hearted mountain youth, who had from his earliest days been accustomed to roam on dizzy heights where the slightest false step would have been destruction. He was determined to finish what he had begun; and gratitude to the noble and generous stranger lent new courage to his soul, and strength and endurance to his frame.
After a short rest he jumped up again, and renewed the toilsome ascent, following slowly but steadily the dangerous track that led to the summit of the mountain. His feet often slipped on the bare and polished rock; sometimes he slid ten or twenty paces backward over loose pebbles, and anon sank knee-deep in the snow which here and there filled the hollows; but nothing daunted him or caused him to waver from his purpose. At last he reached a broad sheet of ice with innumerable crevices and chasms, on the further side of which a narrow ridge like the edge of a knife stretched above a wild and lonely valley, the base of which yawned two or three thousand feet below. At the extreme end of this ridge the nest he was in search of was built on a small point of rock, the sides of which descended precipitously into the depths below.
With his eye fixed on the distant crag, Walter commenced the passage of the ice-field. The utmost caution being necessary at every step, he felt carefully with his long staff to ascertain whether the snow that covered the icy mass was fit to bear his weight, or only formed a treacherous bridge over the numerous ravines which yawned beneath. Bending his way round the large chasms, he leaped easily over the smaller ones with the aid of his staff; and after avoiding all the more dangerous spots, he succeeded, by caution and presence of mind, in safely reaching the further side of the glacier, where the last but most perilous part of his journey was to begin.
As he stood there leaning on his alpenstock, out of breath with the exertion he had undergone, and surveyed the fearful path which scarcely any human foot had ever dared to tread; as he cast a glance at the dizzy precipices which yawned on each side of the ridge, which was itself in many places scarcely a foot in breadth; as he considered the inevitable destruction that would follow a single false step, he began to feel his courage fail, and lost for a moment the confidence and contempt of danger which had filled his soul an hour or two before, and sustained him during his perilous journey. "What if I should never return, nor see my father again?" said he to himself, as he drew back from the road which seemed to threaten him with destruction. "Is it not too great a risk to run?"
But these fears only lasted a few moments. He called to mind the generosity of the stranger, and pictured to himself the delight with which he would receive him if he returned laden with such valuable booty; and his determination was renewed on the spot.
"I should be ashamed ever to look him in the face again," said he to himself; "and what would father say if he were to see that I was afraid of climbing a few rocks? No, no. I must and will have the birds; so here goes!"
Laying his alpenstock on the ground, he took off the thick jacket and heavy shoes which would but hinder his progress, and with only his shirt and trousers on, an axe in his belt, and the game bag hung over his shoulder, he started forward with all his former courage and energy, to complete the dangerous undertaking.
His progress was not difficult at first. The ridge along which he had to go was broad enough to begin with, although very rough and wild here and there. But after he had gone a little way, it got so narrow that he found it difficult to secure a foot-hold. At this point the ridge became so attenuated that the youth saw at the first glance that it was impossible to proceed in an upright position; he therefore crept along on all fours, or sat astride the ridge and urged himself on with his hands and feet.
Thus with extreme difficulty he pursued his perilous way toward the end of the ridge on which he knew the eyrie was built. But presently he saw the nest, and could hear the young birds piping, which gave him new strength and determination. At this juncture a loud scream overhead caused him to look up, and he was alarmed to see the female vulture wheeling round the nest with a young goat in her talons. With this new danger menacing him, the young cragsman lay flat down on the rock, and remained motionless, while he offered up an earnest prayer to Heaven that the bird might not discover him. He knew the peril which threatened him, for he had often heard of the fury with which the vulture attacks any one who attempts to rob its nest. He had heard of many cragsmen who had lost their lives in that way, and his own position was by no means the most favorable to defend himself against attack. His short and earnest prayer was not in vain. The young birds screeched louder and louder as they saw the prey in their mother's talons; and after the vulture had further tempted their appetite by one or two more majestic sweeps, she dropped the dainty morsel into the nest, where it was at once seized. After assisting her young ones to make a good beginning of their meal, the mother-bird unfolded her powerful wings, and glided into the valley beneath with the speed of an arrow.
"Heaven be thanked, I am saved!" murmured Walter, as he rose from his uncomfortable position and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. "I must lose no time now, or perhaps one or both the old birds may return."
He pressed on with redoubled energy till an event occurred, unimportant in itself, but which caused him some uneasiness, and reminded him of the need of caution. The rock in places was fragile and split up by the weather, and with a slight touch of his foot he loosened an immense fragment of stone, which went rolling down the side of the mountain till it reached a projecting ledge hundreds of feet below. A pang of terror shot through the boy's heart, and his face blanched, as he watched the stone thundering over the obstacles in its way until it disappeared in a cloud of dust. It seemed as if the whole mountain trembled beneath him; a mist bleared his eyes; and as the blood rushed to his head, a deadly giddiness threatened to overpower him. He felt an impulse to throw himself over, which he could scarcely resist; and it was only by falling on his face and shutting his eyes that he recovered his presence of mind. After thus lying for several minutes, with beating heart and quaking limbs, until by degrees he became more at ease, he ventured to look around him once more, and fixed his eyes on the nest, which was now only about fifty paces farther on.
After waiting a few minutes longer, to be sure that his courage had returned, he made a fresh start, determining not to allow anything to alarm him again; and soon reached the end of the ridge, and viewed the nest with the young vultures before him. But here still another difficulty presented itself. The rock, which up to this point had been quite level, rose at the extreme end about eight feet above the ridge, and formed a sort of projecting platform, which the parent birds, with their wonderful sagacity, had deemed the most suitable spot on which to take up their abode. As he measured the height with his eye, Walter began to fear that after all he would be obliged to return without accomplishing his object, for the rock was so smooth as scarcely to afford the least hold to either his hands or feet. Fortunately, however, he recollected his little axe, which might do him good service if the stone, as he hoped, proved soft. Raising himself cautiously, he drew the axe from his belt, and while supporting himself with the left hand, dealt the rock several vigorous blows with the right, and to his great delight succeeded in making notches, by which, if he only went carefully to work, he could accomplish his object.
With renewed courage he clambered up the almost perpendicular rock, and his curly hair and sunburned face soon appeared above the edge of the nest. The next moment he leaned over, seized the young birds in spite of their angry cries, transferred them one after the other to his bag, and throwing it across his shoulder, began to return on the dangerous road by which he had come. In common, however, with the experience of all who have ascended precipitous heights, he soon found that going down was much more difficult than had been the coming up; but ignoring the fact that he had beneath him a precipice two thousand feet deep, he devoted all his attention to the work immediately before him, and carefully descended the rocky wall step by step, till he reached the level ridge once more. He then turned slowly round, slung his bag in front of him, and leaning back against the wall, surveyed the giddy road which he must traverse to reach the glacier and the steep declivities of the Engelhorn, and thereafter his native valley.
It was a difficult and dangerous road; but the young mountaineer's heart was now full of joy and confidence, for he had surmounted the greatest difficulty, and the prize of his bold and daring venture was in his possession. He uttered an exclamation of triumph; then, thanking God for the help he had received, he implored the Divine protection on his homeward journey. The sharp ridge made it necessary for him, as before, to work his way forward astride on the rock for some time; but he soon got within sight of a part where it would be possible to go on his hands and knees, and was just about to change his straddling position for the more comfortable one of crawling, when the constant shrieking of the young vultures in his bag was answered by a piercing cry from above, followed the next moment by the loud rushing of powerful wings close to his ear. The boy uttered an exclamation of horror, and clung with all his might to the rock to prevent himself from falling.
In an instant he perceived the fearful danger that threatened him. One, or perhaps both the old birds had been attracted by the cries of the young ones, and were about to avenge themselves on the robber of their nest. Walter guessed that a hard fight would probably take place, and his first impulse was to throw the bag with the young birds into the valley beneath, and then try to make his escape as well as he might. But he soon found that this plan was more readily formed than it could be executed; for before he could make a single movement, he felt the blast of the wings just above his head, while the screaming of the enraged bird so confused his senses that he had great difficulty to avoid being hurled from his narrow resting-place into the ravine below. This sudden danger, although it alarmed him for the moment, awoke the next moment the courage and determination of the brave-hearted boy. It was a case of life or death, and it was vain to think of retiring from the contest. So, snatching his axe from his belt, he aimed a powerful blow at the old vulture as she swept down upon him for the third time. He succeeded beyond his expectation, for the blow, made almost at random, struck the wing of the bird, which, after vainly attempting to continue the struggle, fell helplessly into the abyss.
Relieved of his antagonist, Walter felt completely exhausted, and was obliged to lie down at full length for several minutes until he regained his breath and self-possession. He then made the best of his way along till he reached the steep road leading to the glacier, and had got about half way down, when just in the most dangerous part he heard the ominous scream again, and saw with a shrinking horror that the male vulture, attracted, like its mate, by the continued cries of the young birds, had discovered him. In a fury of rage the angry bird darted downward, and sweeping past with outstretched talons, tried to hurl him headlong from the crag.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
My uncle has brought me a little alligator from Florida, and mamma says I may keep it if I can take care of it. It is in a big tin pan of water now, and every day it jumps out and hides in some corner. I have given it crumbs of bread and cake, but it does not eat them. Please tell me how I can keep it, and what it will eat.
WILLIE J. H.
A small aquarium would serve as a comfortable home for your alligator, only you must provide a board on to which he can crawl to dry himself, for he does not like to spend all his time in the water. To feed him, take very tiny pieces of raw beef, and hold them toward him. If he is lively, he will dart after them with wide-open mouth. If you are afraid he will nip your finger—if he is very young he can not bite you—put the bits of meat on the end of a wire. If you do not wish to have a hunt for him every morning, you must cover your aquarium with coarse wire netting, for young alligators are always eager to escape from confinement.
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Are you going to give a work-box department for little girls? I and five others are going to have a fair to raise money to make a Christmas-tree for a little sick school-mate whose mother is very poor, and we want to make everything for the fair ourselves. One of us has a lot of pretty cards with pressed sea-weed she arranged last summer, and we thought they would be prettier if we could make them into little books or baskets. Could you tell us how to do it?
We shall not give a special department to fancy-work, but we shall now and then have short papers, like the one on page 14, telling how to make pretty things. Meanwhile perhaps some of our young correspondents will give you some new suggestions for fancy articles for your fair, for the success of which you have our best wishes.
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LIFE ON THE "ST. MARY'S."
By a Young Tar.
[The following sprightly account of life on the school-ship St. Mary's was written for HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE by one of the recent graduates. We give the portraits of three of the four boys who recently graduated with the highest honors. That of the fourth, Master J. B. Stone, we were unable to obtain.]
The New York Nautical School on board the ship St. Mary's must not be confounded with the school-ship Mercury, which formerly existed at this port; the latter was a floating reformatory, while the former was established for the purpose of training American boys to officer and man our merchant ships. The course of instruction embraces a short review of arithmetic, grammar, and geography, a thorough drill in marline-spikework, handling sails, boats, oars, etc.
When the St. Mary's leaves her dock for the annual cruise, the school routine is changed, the first-class boys having lessons in navigation, steering, heaving the log and lead, passing earings, etc., while the second class are aloft "learning gear," i. e., following up the different ropes which form a ship's machinery, and fixing in the mind their lead and use, and a sure method of finding them in the darkest night. This last is absolutely necessary, for if a squall should strike the ship, and the order, "Royal clew-lines, flying-jib down-haul—Smith, let go that royal-sheet" were given, it would be very mortifying, as well as dangerous, if he had to answer, "I don't know where it is, Sir."
The boys, assisted by a few able sea-men, form the crew of the ship. They stand watch, make, reef, and take in sail; do all the dirty work, tarring down, painting, scraping, and slushing. They stand watch and watch, keep at night a look-out on the cat-heads, gangways, quarters, and halliards, where they are required to "sing out" their stations every half hour, to be sure that they are awake. Many are the instances of boys falling asleep, and being awakened by a lurch of the ship, singing out at the wrong time, and once a sleepy look-out reported "Light, ho!" and to the officer's "Where away?" was obliged to answer, "It's the moon, Sir!"
Then there is the excitement of reefing topsails. Your hammock seems especially comfortable as you drowsily feel the accelerated pitching of the ship and the rattle of rain on deck, when the boatswain's shrill call rings through the ship, "All hands, reef topsails; tumble out, and up with you, everybody!" On deck Egyptian darkness, driving rain, and salt spray, the ship staggering under a press of sail, or, as happened in her last cruise, the topsail sheets were parted, and the great sails flapping and slatting out to leeward like a thunder-cloud, orders given in quick succession, then rally of men at the clew-lines, then a rush aloft and out on the straining yard, every movement of the vessel intensified, your feet sliding on the slippery foot-rope, with nothing to hold on to but the flapping sail, which threatens to knock you overboard every moment. The weather earing is passed, and then, "Light out to leeward;" you have your point barely tied when the yard gives a terrible swing, and you faintly hear the order, "Lay down from aloft, for your lives; the braces are gone!"
When Lisbon is reached, you almost know the city—the queer little donkeys with very large loads of oranges, the queerer river craft, the windmills, and even the dress of the natives seem familiar as you recall the pictures in your primary geography. The return voyage home in the "trades" is delightful—a warm sun and a good steady breeze, not a brace touched for a week or more, a water-spout and a rain-squall to vary the monotony of the every-day routine. Then the colder weather as you near Hatteras, a glimpse of old Montauk through the fog, a sharp look-out for beacons and buoys, the song of the leads-man, the quick tramp of men clewing up sail, a heavy splash and the rattle of chain, and we are anchored fast in New London mud. "All hands furl sail," now; no noise, for the Saratoga lies right ahead, and on board of a man-of-war it is considered disgraceful to make a clatter in doing any kind of work. There is an eager race up the rigging, and every nerve and muscle is strained to get your sail up first.
At the end of the year the Chamber of Commerce examines the boys, and an exhibition drill is given. The graduates are usually fitted to ship in a merchantman as "ordinary," and are aided in their efforts to find a good ship and a good captain by many of New York's most prominent merchants and ship-owners, who take a deep interest in the school. The instruction on board the St. Mary's is so thorough that graduates have very little trouble, if they are diligent and smart, in finding situations, and after a voyage or two they generally rise to the position of second mate.
FRIENDSHIPS OF ANIMALS.
A very sharp fox-terrier belonging to the writer never could be induced to regard a cat in any other light than that of an enemy. Having to go and live in a house where a cat was kept, the first thing the dog did was to turn the cat out. As mice, however, were troublesome, and as the terrier, even with the best intentions, could not banish them, another cat was considered necessary; so a kitten was secured, and in due time introduced to its future companion the fox-terrier.
The little cat put up its back and spat at the dog, which was at last made to understand that it was to leave the kitten alone. For some days the two animals regarded one another with suspicion; at length the cat came up and licked the dog's nose. From that hour their friendship was established. They became inseparable; then the kitten soon discovered that the dog's tail and ears made excellent play-things, and in the meekest and most submissive manner the dog allowed the kitten to pull it about as much as it pleased. Very often, however, the dog felt inclined to play; then for about five or ten minutes the two would rush round the room; but it generally ended in the cat retiring under part of the furniture, to escape being somewhat roughly upset by the impetuous rushes of its canine playmate. Sometimes, when the kitten wanted to play, nothing could induce the dog to get up, and at other times the kitten would take no notice of the dog's pressing offers of a romp.
When lying still and dozing, the two were generally to be found close together, and at night the cat invariably curled itself up on the dog's back, and so went to sleep; but curiously enough, although the dog made no objection to this arrangement, it would not on any account get up into its bed if the cat was there first. On one occasion, and one only, the two were seen in a very comical position. The dog was sitting up on the hearth-rug, solemnly gazing into the fire. The cat, which was still in its kittenhood, went up and jumped on to the dog's head. There it sat, with its tail curled round its front paws, likewise looking into the fire. For a few minutes the pair were quite still; then the dog moved, and the kitten sprang down. A more curious sight has probably seldom been witnessed.
It was noticed that the fox-terrier always knew its feline friend in the dark, and was always able to distinguish it from other cats. These, when they appeared, were always ferociously charged and driven away; and one day, in its eagerness to get at a strange cat, the dog nearly hurt its little companion. It happened in this way. The two friends were out together in the yard behind the house. The cat got up on a wall, and soon afterward another cat appeared at the other end. The two stood looking at one another about ten yards apart, when the dog became aware of the presence of the stranger. Knowing a way up on to the wall, it immediately ascended, but when it got up, its companion was between it and the other cat. However, the dog rushed along the wall to get at the interloper, and as there was no room to pass, simply knocked its little friend over, and then made a great effort to catch the enemy.
It was curious to see a dog perpetually rushing at cats, and then returning from the chase to gambol about in the most friendly manner with another cat. The friendly intercourse with the one never had the slightest effect in changing its animosity to others. The dog's affection even went so far as to cause it to show resentment whenever the cat was punished. When the cat was touched with the whip, it would turn up its eyes, and look as much annoyed as it was possible for a dog to be. Animals have keener susceptibilities, and show more feeling, than many people imagine.
Sea-gulls are not often met with as domestic pets; but the great bird-fancier Morris, in his work on natural history, mentions a tame sea-gull which struck up a great friendship with a terrier which spent a great part of its time in the garden where the gull was kept. Here is an anecdote contributed some years ago to the Naturalist, on the authority of Mr. Donaldson. His gull was quite an epicure in its way, and fancied sparrows' flesh for dinner. But as it had to cater for its own luxuries, the question of catching the sparrows became an important one. However, the gull thought the matter over, and soon devised an excellent scheme for capturing the four or five sparrows which it required as a daily bonne bouche. It fraternized with a number of pigeons which were fed in the yard where the gull was kept. The crafty bird had made a note of the fact that several sparrows always came down at feeding-time to get some of the food spread for the pigeons. "By getting among the pigeons, and keeping my head down," reasoned the gull, "I shall get close enough to catch some of these nice little fellows easily."
And this is how the gull made use of its friends the pigeons. It went among them, and, by stooping, avoided detection. Then, to use the words of the eye-witness, the gull "set at a sparrow as a pointer dog would do at its game." In an instant it had the luckless victim by the back, and swallowed it without giving it time to shut its eyes. But this was an unlovely friendship. The motives were altogether mercenary and low. The story affords, however, a curious instance of the power of reasoning possessed by some animals.
Halt! Not a step farther! Don't move for your life! You're a very nice squirrel, I haven't a doubt (Although you've forgotten, I see, to put on Your kilt and your jacket before you came out), But where you now are you must stop for an hour Or two, and quite silent meanwhile you must keep, For a weary long way we have travelled to-day, And my dear little master lies there fast asleep.
Of course you don't know—you've grown up in the woods, With no one to teach you—how fine 'tis to be Great artists as we are! You've heard but the birds, And seen only squirrels jump round in a tree. My master the sweetest of music can make (Sh! you rustled a leaf—he half-opened his eyes), And a gun I can handle, a drum I can beat, And I dance like a fairy—I tell you no lies.
My dear little master! full oft he has shared, Bite for bite, with me, squirrel, his very last crust, And he's patiently carried me many a mile, And that now I guard him I am sure is but just. Curl your tail up still tighter, and don't let it fall Lest a noise it should make—it's remarkably big— And, if you are good, by-and-by we may all Have a right merry tune and a right merry jig.
THE LITTLE GENIUS.
Little five-year-old Bertie was very fond of sitting at the study table with his brothers and sisters, especially when they were doing their drawing lessons. But he was not satisfied with watching them. He too wanted to draw and paint, and the older children, who were very fond of him, were always glad to indulge him by lending him their brushes, paints, and pencils. But they soon found that he was very wasteful of their materials, and would use up colors and paper faster than they could be supplied. At last they thought of a better plan. As Bertie was too young to draw nicely, they bought him some wonderful picture-books, all in outline, a box of cheap water-colors, and some brushes. Then Bertie was happy. He would sit for hours painting the pictures in Jack the Giant-killer, Mother Goose, and other story-books for little folks. When he had finished all his little books his mamma brought out some old papers which she had saved, and cutting out the nice pictures, gave them to him to paint. This he did very beautifully. Sometimes he would make funny mistakes, putting green on the horses, and blue on the little dogs and pussy-cats, but this did not happen often. In a little while he had so many nice things painted that his sisters made him a big scrap-book to keep them in, to look at when he grows up.
Bertie may not become a great artist, but his sisters evidently regard him as a little genius.
THE FLOWER THAT GREW IN A CELLAR.
It was the evening of flower-day in the Child's Hospital, and the kind ladies of the Flower Mission had brought many lovely posies to gladden the eyes and the hearts of the sick children, and the whole place was bright with their beauty and sweet with their fragrance. Queenly roses, gay gladioluses, pure white lilies, bunches of star-like daisies and their soft round white little buds, gaudy marigolds, brown, yellow, and orange, crimson cock's-combs, branches of honeysuckle vines filled with honey, rich fairy trumpets, saucy elf-faced pansies, spicy pinks, hollyhocks in satiny dresses of many colors, bright-eyed verbenas and sweet-williams, brilliant geranium blossoms, and even great honest faithful sunflowers—those flowers that love the sun so dearly that they turn to gaze upon him when he is bidding the earth "good-night"—were all there, bringing with them Love and Hope and a troop of gentle spirits.
All day had the sick and maimed little ones rejoiced in their presence; and now when they were placed in the wee pitchers and vases that stood on the shelves above each snow-white little bed, and the sunshine faded, and the stars came out, their loveliness and fragrance floated into the dreams of the sleeping children. The dreams of all but one, I should say; for one dear little girl, with great gray eyes and tangled brown curls, who had fallen and hurt her back so badly a few days before that it was feared she would never walk again, was wide-awake, trying hard to keep back the tears that filled her eyes and the sobs that rose in her throat when she thought of the dear father and mother and the darling baby brother she had left in the poor home from which she had been brought. A small lamp hung from the ceiling near by, and cast a faint light upon the flowers that were crowded into a quaint jug on the shelf above her bed. There were some roses, some lilies, some daisies, and one very pale pink geranium blossom in the midst of a group of pretty shy buds; and as the little girl stifled a great sob that seemed determined to break out, she became conscious of several very small voices whispering softly together; and listening intently for a few moments, she discovered these voices came from the flowers in the quaint jug.
"I came," said a lovely crimson rose, when the whispering had ceased, and the flowers were apparently satisfied that the children were all asleep, "from a most beautiful garden, where birds sing and fountains play all day long, and the rarest of our race are tended with the greatest love and care."
"I came," said a daisy, "from a happy meadow, where the bees and butterflies roam from morning till night, where thousands and thousands of my sisters look up and smile at the bright blue sky, and the cheery green grass nods—on every side."
"I came," said a stately water-lily, "from a great lake, where the waves flash like precious gems in the day, and like purest silver at night, where glancing fish swim merrily to and fro, where tall, graceful, drooping trees standing upon the mossy banks cast their shadows upon the water, where, when the air begins to tremble with the earliest songs of the birds, the broad, faint light of morn steals from sleeping lily to sleeping lily, and wakes them with a touch."
"I came," said the pale pink geranium blossom, "from a cellar."
"A cellar!" repeated the others, moving a little away from her.
"Yes, a cellar."
"I never met a flower from a cellar before," said the rose.
"Nor I," said the daisy.
"Nor I," said the lily. "There are no cellars in lakes."
"I thought they were all cellar," said the daisy, slyly; but the lily made no reply.
"Would you mind telling us how you came there?" asked the rose. "Being full-blown, I couldn't sleep much, if I tried."
"I am perfectly willing to tell you, if the others care to listen," said the pink flower, modestly.
"Pray go on," begged the daisy.
And "I have no objection," added the water-lily, in a gracious manner.
"One day," began the geranium blossom, growing a little pinker as its companions all turned toward it, "a servant-maid tossed from a window a withered bouquet into the street, and in the centre of this bouquet was a slip of geranium which had been placed there because its crumpled young leaves were so fresh and green. A poor little girl passing by picked up this slip, and carried it to a wretched cellar, where she lived in the greatest untidiness with her mother—a poor, weak, complaining woman—and her two small sisters and eight-year-old brother. Here she found a battered tin pail, which she filled with dirt from the street, and in this dirt she planted the slip of geranium. 'See, mommy,' she said, holding it up, as her mother raised her eyes from the coarse garment she was making, 'I mean to take awful good care of this, and some day it may grow a flower, a beautiful flower, like those I see in the windows of the big houses. Wouldn't that be lovely, mommy?' And she climbed up on the shaky old wooden table, and placed the pail on the ledge of the four-paned cellar window.
"But the window-panes were so covered with cobwebs and dirt that the little of the blessed sunlight that found its way down there could not get in at all. So Polly got the broom, and carefully swept away the dust and the spider-webs, and then she washed and polished the four panes until they shone again, and the very next afternoon a sunbeam came to visit the geranium, and a tiny new leaf peeped out to greet it. When the window was cleaned, the shelf (holding a few old tin pans) that hung below it looked so dingy that Polly could not rest until she had scrubbed it well. Nor did she stop there, but also scoured the old tin things before she put them back in their places, until they almost looked like new. And thus, from the very moment of my mother-plant's arrival there, a change for the better began in that dreary cellar. It seemed so natural, when Polly had the basin of water ready to sprinkle the geranium, to wash the faces and hands of her little sisters and brother first; and then, of course, the room must be swept and put in order, so that the bright clean faces might not seem out of place in it. And when at last a cluster of wee pink buds crowned the green stem, Polly's joy knew no bounds. Her poor mother laughed aloud, which was a rare thing for her to do, to see her little daughter dancing about and clapping her hands in glee. 'Oh, mommy,' she cried, 'we must make it as nice as we can for them here, the pretty darlings, for flowers are not used to living in a cellar; and we must never say or do any wicked things before them, or they'll be scared, and die right away. And if we are all very, very good, they'll grow, and grow, and grow, till they look like a whole garden.'
"And the mother, catching the spirit of the child, grew more cheerful and hopeful and industrious, and the under-ground home became neater and neater, until it was neatness itself. And when any of the smaller children were tempted, as the best of children often are, to quarrel and call each other naughty names, Polly would say, with warning voice and finger, 'Hush! the flowers will hear you;' and the little ones kissed and made up again.
"And this morning, when the lady of the Flower Mission was passing by with a basket of roses and lilies in her hand, Polly ran up the cellar steps and begged her to wait a moment, 'For,' said she, bashfully, 'I have a flower to send to some sick child.'
"'You have!' said the lady, in surprise, for she thought when she first saw the little girl that she came to beg a flower, not to offer one. 'Pray where did you get it, my dear?'
"And Polly told her the whole story, just as I have told it to you, and the lady went down into the dark room, and talked for almost an hour in the kindest manner with Polly's mother, and smiled brightly upon the beautiful geranium, now filled with round pink bunches of buds and blossoms. And I shouldn't wonder if some of those buds opened in a much pleasanter home than that cellar. But I'm glad I grew there; for my heart is filled with happiness when I think that through me and mine dear little Polly has become a better girl, made a happier home, and gained in the pretty flower lady a lovely friend."
"All the same, I'd rather come from a garden," said the rose.
"And I from a meadow," said the daisy.
"And I from a lake," murmured the water-lily.
"But I wouldn't," said the lame girl, forgetting her pain, with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes—"I wouldn't, if I were a flower. I think the flower that grew in a cellar the best and sweetest of you all."
All was silence when she ceased speaking, and from that day to this never has she heard lily or daisy, rose or geranium blossom, speak again.
* * * * *
The holiday season is approaching, and little girls, who have generally more time than money, are employing their leisure moments in making pretty gifts for their papas and mammas, and brothers and sisters, which will give double pleasure as being the work of their own hands. Here is a pretty holiday gift, which our young friends can readily make with the help of the following description: Cut of Bordeaux velvet one piece eleven inches and three-quarters long and six inches wide for the outside, and cut three pieces of white satin of the same size for the lining. Apply embroidery worked on white cloth to the velvet. Having transferred the design to the material, which is pinked on the edges and inside of the figures, work the flowers in chain stitch with coral red silk in several shades, the stamens in knotted stitch and point Russe with yellow silk, and the spray in herring-bone stitch with olive silk in several shades. For the buds in knotted stitch use pink silk. Having bordered the application with olive-colored satin ribbon half an inch wide laid in box pleats, chain-stitch it on the foundation along the inner edges with gold thread. Underlay the velvet with wadding, and line it with satin; join the two pieces of satin designed for the bottom over wadding, and edge the bottom with a ruffle of Bordeaux satin ribbon seven-eighths of an inch wide. The case is joined with narrow white satin ribbon. Bows of olive and Bordeaux satin ribbon trim the case as shown by the illustration. A full-sized design of the embroidery was given on page 120 of Harper's Bazar, No. 8, Vol. XII. It is a good plan to perfume the wadding with sandal-wood, violet, or some of the many fragrant powders sold by druggists for this purpose. This pretty glove case can be varied by making it of plain silk or velvet, and trimming it in any style our young readers may fancy.
[CONTINUED FROM NO. 1, PAGE 6.]
THE STORY OF A PARROT.
A baby parrot who has just burst forth from his shell is not pretty to look at; indeed, I dare say you would have thought me exceedingly ugly. Like my brother and sister, I had a big bald head and a tremendous beak, while my wrinkled body was very small. I seemed to be all head, beak, and claws. Yet I remember perfectly well hearing our parents say to the many friends who came flying from all parts to offer them congratulations that we were the three most beautiful children ever born. I believe parents always think their children beautiful, and of course no one is ever so impolite as to contradict them.
We were very hungry babies, and poor papa had very hard work to bring home enough food to fill our three big beaks, which we kept wide open from morning till night. Mamma was very particular that our food should be of the most delicate kind, and papa often had to make long journeys through the forest to gather seeds and berries. He was a very kind papa, and if, as sometimes happened, he complained that his wings ached from flying so much, and that we made so much noise he could not sleep, mamma had only to call his attention to our rapid growth, and the beauty of our soft gray feathers, to put him at once in the best of humor. "They are magnificent children," he would say at such times, "and when they grow up I shall do as well by them as my father has done by me." Little did he think in those happy days that I, his eldest son, would soon be lost to him forever.
Our life was indeed peaceful, although we were subject at times to some anxiety from the attacks of certain wicked creatures which haunted the shores of our beautiful river. I remember, as if it had taken place yesterday, what happened one beautiful morning while papa had gone out to find our breakfast. Mamma had nestled down with us, and had soothed us into taking a little nap, when we were all startled by loud, shrill cries. Mamma recognized papa's voice at once. She was naturally very brave, and I think, to protect her children, she would have flown in the face of a lion. She now rushed to the door of our nest, where she stood, her feathers bristling, ready to give fight to whatever might try to enter. As she filled the whole doorway with her spread wings, we could not peep out to see what was the danger, although we stood on tiptoe and tried with all our strength to push our heads through her feathers. She gave us some smart taps with her claw, and ordered us back to the interior of the nest; and when she at length told us in a frightened whisper that papa was fighting with a ferocious serpent, we huddled together as close as we could in the very bottom of our hole. We knew that serpents murdered young parrots and ate them, for only the day before we had heard a neighbor telling mamma that one of these monsters had eaten six little parrots, children of a dear friend of hers, for his breakfast. Although mamma had said, after she went away, that she was only a gossip, and said such things to frighten us, now we were sure it was the truth, and we expected to see the serpent's head thrust into our nest, his mouth open to devour us. My brother and sister were half dead with fright. I tried to cheer them, assuring them that papa was strong enough to drive away a whole army of monsters, and when mamma suddenly flew away from the door, I crept up cautiously and peeped out. What was my relief to see papa flying rapidly toward the river, with an enormous serpent hanging dead in his claws! I screamed the good news to my brother and sister, but they refused to be comforted. In vain I assured them that the danger was over, that the serpent was conquered—was dead, in fact;—and that papa had thrown the loathsome body into the river, that we might not be frightened at the horrible sight. My brother and sister continued crying and trembling until papa and mamma returned.
When at last we heard their joyful cries as they approached the nest, all three of us crept up to the doorway to welcome them. I shall never forget the tenderness with which they regarded us. Papa, who was still trembling with excitement, kissed us gently, while my poor mamma exclaimed, "Saved! my darlings are saved!" and her eyes shone with pride at the courage of her husband.
My feathers grew so rapidly that papa, who was very proud of me, I being much larger than my brother, would often say, "Bravo, my boy! You will soon be strong enough to go out with me into the forest."
In our first attempts to fly we were guided by mamma, who assisted us to hop about on the branches near our nest. After several of these short trials of strength papa took my brother and myself to visit our grandparents, who lived in a noble tree not far away. Never shall I forget my joy and pride when I first spread my wings and flew through the air at papa's side.
We had already made several short excursions, when one day—the most sorrowful day of my life—a boat, which we had been watching anxiously as it came up the river, stopped at the very roots of our tree. There were two men in it. As I peeped from the door I saw one man leave the boat and begin to climb up the trunk toward our nest. Mamma had told us only that morning that robbers had been seen on the opposite shore of our river, and that they were searching for young parrots, whom they tore away from their parents, and sent far away to a foreign country to be sold. "At the least danger," mamma had said to us, "fly. Man is a more formidable enemy than the serpent."
The man climbed nearer and nearer to our nest. Our parents were both away from home, and upon me, as the strongest and oldest, fell the responsibility of saving the family. There was not a moment to be lost. Aided by my brother, I threw my little sister, who was half dead with fright, headlong from the nest, and had the satisfaction to see her fly safely into the neighboring thicket. She used her little wings with strength and courage which would have been impossible for her to show except under the excitement of such terrible circumstances.
When my sister was saved, I hurried my brother after her, and he too escaped. Faithful to my duty, I remained the last in the nest, and at the instant when I spread my wings to fly away, the cruel hand of the robber closed tight around me. At that dreadful moment I fainted, and I remember nothing more until I found myself in a large cage with a number of other parrots, prisoners like myself.
Of the monotonous misery of the long sea-voyage that followed I can not even now endure to think. More than half my companions perished; and when at last we reached this great city, which I hear men call New York, I myself was nearly dead from confinement and sea-sickness.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
Here, Bunny! Now for lots of fun; Get down, and have a jolly run. I've moped about the house all day with The want of somebody to play with.
How stupid on the floor you lie! Come, jump about, and let's be spry. What, can't you even lift a paw?— The dullest beast I ever saw!
I won't be patient any more, But drag you all about the floor; I'll make you run, I'll make you jump— How do you like that?—bump, bump, bump.
What, haven't yet a mind to play? I'll quickly teach you to obey. You needn't hope now to get clear off: Look out there, or I'll bite your ear off!
I'm certain nothing can be done To make you join in any fun; It does no good to shake or beat you, So now I've half a mind to eat you.
Well, there! you're done for now! Oh dear! What makes me feel so very queer? What were you good for, anyway, Not fit to eat, and wouldn't play?
TABLE TACTICS.—Old Francis was a wag; and once, when early peas were on the table, he emptied the contents of his snuff-box over them. "Francis! Francis!" they exclaimed, "what are you about?" "I like them that way," was the answer. He, of course, had the dish to himself, and when he had concluded, remarked: "You thought it was snuff, did you? Nothing but black pepper."
* * * * *
A cat caught a sparrow, and was about to devour it; but the sparrow said, "No gentleman eats till he washes his face." The cat, struck with this remark, set the sparrow down and began to wash his face with his paw, but the sparrow flew away. This vexed puss extremely, and he said, "As long as I live I will eat first and wash my face afterward"—which all cats do even to this day.
* * * * *
"What dogs are these?" inquired a gentleman of a lad who was drawing a couple of terriers along. "I dinna ken, Sir," replied the boy; "they cam' wi' the railway, and they ate the direction, and dinna ken where to gang."
* * * * *
NUMERICAL CHARADE.—I am a word of 8 letters. My 1, 6, 3 is a domestic animal; my 8, 6, 3 is a grain; my 7, 4, 3 is an adverb; my 5, 2, 3 is damp; my 4, 5, 2 is an animal; my 1, 8, 3 is a dwelling; and my whole a black man very notorious of late.
* * * * *
Say this correctly without stopping: "Bandy-legged Borachio Mustachio Whiskerifusticus the bold and brave Bombardino of Bagdad helped Abomilique Blue-beard Bashaw of Babelmandeb to beat down an abominable Bumble-Bee at Balsora."
* * * * *
A lady making inquiries of a boy about his father, an intemperate man, who had been sick for some time, asked whether he had regained his appetite. "No, ma'am," said the boy, "not exactly; his appetite is very poor, but his drinkatite is as good as ever."
* * * * *
There is one thing which a man with two eyes can never see with one of them, and that is the other one.
* * * * *
"I expend a good deal of panes at my work," as the glazier said to the window-sash.
* * * * *
Miss Jemima Wilhelmina, when her parents refuse to allow her to go to a ball, sets to and has a bawl at home.
* * * * *
The man who was lost in slumber found his way out on a nightmare.
* * * * *
A school-master asked one of his boys, on a cold winter morning, what was the Latin word for cold. The boy hesitated a little, when the master said, "What, sirrah, can't you tell?" "Yes, Sir," said the boy, "I have it at my finger-ends."
* * * * *
Two countrymen were going along the road, each driving sheep.
Said one, "Hi, neighbor, give me one of your sheep, and then I shall have twice as many as you will have."
"Nay, neighbor," replied the other, "give me one of your sheep, and then we shall both have the same number."
How many sheep did each have?
An old man lived in a little hut by a bridge which crossed a deep river.
One day a wicked water-spirit appeared to him and said: "My friend, I know you are very poor. Now I will increase whatever money you may have twofold, asking only in return this small favor, that every time you cross the bridge you will throw twenty-four cents into the water, and at the same time the money you have left shall be doubled." The poor old man was delighted at what he thought a generous offer of the water-spirit, and faithfully fulfilled all the conditions; but, to his sorrow and astonishment, when he had three times thrown the tribute of twenty-four cents to the water-spirit, he found himself penniless.
How much money did he have when the water-spirit first appeared to him?
A good mother went to buy eggs for her children, for the Easter season was approaching, and the eggs were to be colored red and blue. She bought from a grocer half of his entire stock and half an egg more. Then a second woman came, and she bought half of what the grocer had remaining and half an egg more. A third woman and a fourth woman did the same thing, and in the end the grocer had one egg left.
How many had he in the beginning?
A man had seven sons, and a property of $49,000. Now the younger sons were jealous because their father spent more for the elder brother than he did for them, and they entreated him to make his will in their favor. To satisfy their demands he made his will, and the younger sons were contented. This is the will: The oldest son to have $1000 and an eighth of what remained; the second son to have $2000 and an eighth of what remained; the third, $3000 and an eighth of what remained; the fourth, $4000 and an eighth of what remained; the fifth, $5000 and an eighth of what remained; the sixth, $6000 and an eighth of what remained; the seventh and youngest to have all that remained when the sixth had taken his share.
What share of the $49,000 did each receive?
* * * * *
A NEW SERIAL
BY GEORGE MACDONALD.
A brilliant serial story by GEORGE MACDONALD, with illustrations by ALFRED FREDERICKS, will shortly be begun in HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE.
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