The original print starts with a list of novels from the "Rollo series". This information has been moved to the back of the book.
Unusual spellings that are used consistently have been kept as they were found in the source. Some punctuation errors have been corrected silently. All other corrections are declared in the TEI master file, using the usual TEI elements for corrections.
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Boston, Phillips, Sampson, & Co.
Rollo At Work
The Way to Be Industrious
NOTICE TO PARENTS.
Although this little work, and its fellow, "ROLLO AT PLAY," are intended principally as a means of entertainment for their little readers, it is hoped by the writer that they may aid in accomplishing some of the following useful purposes:—
1. In cultivating the thinking powers; as frequent occasions occur, in which the incidents of the narrative, and the conversations arising from them, are intended to awaken and engage the reasoning and reflective faculties of the little readers.
2. In promoting the progress of children in reading and in knowledge of language; for the diction of the stories is intended to be often in advance of the natural language of the reader, and yet so used as to be explained by the connection.
3. In cultivating the amiable and gentle qualities of the heart. The scenes are laid in quiet and virtuous life, and the character and conduct described are generally—with the exception of some of the ordinary exhibitions of childish folly—character and conduct to be imitated; for it is generally better, in dealing with children, to allure them to what is right by agreeable pictures of it, than to attempt to drive them to it by repulsive delineations of what is wrong.
Story 1. Labor Lost Elky. Preparations. A Bad Beginning. What Rollo Might Do. A New Plan. Hirrup! Hirrup! An Overturn. Story 2. The Two Little Wheelbarrows. Rides. The Corporal's. The Old Nails. A Conversation. Rollo Learns to Work at Last. The Corporal's Again. Story 3. Causey-Building. Sand-Men. The Gray Garden. A Contract. Instructions. Keeping Tally. Rights Defined. Calculation. Story 4. Rollo's Garden. Farmer Cropwell. Work and Play. Planting. The Trying Time. A Narrow Escape. Advice. Story 5. The Apple-Gathering. The Garden-House. Jolly. The Pet Lamb. The Meadow-Russet. Insubordination. Subordination. The New Plan Tried. A Present. The Strawberry-Bed. The Farmer's Story. Story 6. Georgie. The Little Landing. Georgie's Money. Two Good Friends. A Lecture On Playthings. The Young Drivers. The Toy-Shop.
Rollo Digging Holes in the Ground. Too Heavy. The Corporal's. Rollo Took Hold of His Wheelbarrow. The Cows. The Bull Chained by the Nose. Work in the Rain. The Harvesting Party. There, Said He, See How Men Work. Georgie's Apples.
When Rollo was between five and six years old, he was one day at work in his little garden, planting some beans. His father had given him a little square bed in a corner of the garden, which he had planted with corn two days before. He watched his corn impatiently for two days, and, as it did not come up, he thought he would plant it again with beans. He ought to have waited longer.
He was sitting on a little cricket, digging holes in the ground, when he heard a sudden noise. He started up, and saw a strange, monstrous head looking at him over the garden wall. He jumped up, and ran as fast as he could towards the house.
It happened that Jonas, the boy, was at that time at work in the yard, cutting wood, and he called out, "What is the matter, Rollo?"
Rollo had just looked round, and seeing that the head remained still where it was, he was a little ashamed of his fears; so at first he did not answer, but walked along towards Jonas.
"That's the colt," said Jonas; "should not you like to go and see him?"
Rollo looked round again, and true enough, it was a small horse's head that was over the wall. It looked smaller now than it did when he first saw it.
Now there was behind the garden a green field, with scattered trees upon it, and a thick wood at the farther side. Jonas took Rollo by the hand, and led him back into the garden, towards the colt. The colt took his head back over the fence as they approached, and walked away. He was now afraid of Rollo. Jonas and Rollo climbed up upon a stile which was built there against the fence, and saw the colt trotting away slowly down towards the wood, looking back at Rollo and Jonas, by bending his head every minute, first on one side, and then on the other.
"There comes father," said Rollo.
Jonas looked and saw Rollo's father coming out of the wood, leading a horse. The colt and the horse had been feeding together in the field, and Rollo's father had caught the horse, for he wanted to take a ride. Rollo's father had a little basket in his hand, and when he saw the colt coming towards him, he held it up and called him, "Elky, Elky, Elky, Elky," for the colt's name was Elkin, though they often called him Elky. Elkin walked slowly up to the basket, and put his nose in it. He found that there were some oats in it; and Rollo's father poured them out on the grass, and then stood by, patting Elky's head and neck while he ate them. Rollo thought his head looked beautifully; he wondered how he could have been afraid of it.
Rollo's father led the horse across the field, through a gate, into a green lane which led along the side of the garden towards the house; and Rollo said he would run round into the lane and meet him. So he jumped off of the stile, and ran up the garden, and Jonas followed him, and went back to his work.
Rollo ran round to meet his father, who was coming up the green lane, leading the horse with a rope round his neck.
"Father," said Rollo, "could you put me on?"
His father smiled, and lifted Rollo up carefully, and placed him on the horse's back. Then he walked slowly along.
"Father," said Rollo, "are you going away?"
"Yes," said he, "I am going to ride away in the wagon."
"Why did not you catch Elky, and let him draw you?"
"Elky? O, Elky is not old enough to work."
"Not old enough to work!" said Rollo, "Why, he is pretty big. He is almost as big as the horse. I should think he could draw you alone in the wagon."
"Perhaps he is strong enough for that; but Elky has never learned to work yet."
"Never learned!" said Rollo, in great surprise. "Do horses have to learn to work? Why, they have nothing to do but to pull."
"Why, suppose," said his father, "that he should dart off at once as soon as he is harnessed, and pull with all his strength, and furiously."
"O, he must not do so: he must pull gently and slowly."
"Well, suppose he pulls gently a minute, and then stops and looks round, and then I tell him to go on, and he pulls a minute again, and then stops and looks round."
"O no," said Rollo, laughing, "he must not do so; he must keep pulling steadily all the time."
"Yes, so you see he has something more to do than merely to pull; he must pull right, and he must be taught to do this. Besides, he must learn to obey all my various commands. Why, a horse needs to be taught to work as much as a boy."
"Why, father, I can work; and I have never been taught."
"O no," said his father, smiling, "you cannot work."
"I can plant beans," said Rollo.
Just then, Rollo, who was all this time riding on the horse, looked down from his high seat into a little bush by the side of the road, and saw there a little bunch that looked like a birdsnest; and he said, "O, father, please to take me down; I want to look at that birdsnest."
His father knew that he would not hurt the birdsnest; so he took him off of the horse, and put him on the ground. Then he walked on with the horse, and Rollo turned back to see the nest. He climbed up upon a log that lay by the side of the bush, and then gently opened the branches and looked in. Four little, unfledged birds lifted up their heads, and opened their mouths wide. They heard the noise which Rollo made, and thought it was their mother come to feed them.
"Ah, you little dickeys," said Rollo; "hungry, are you? I have not got any thing for you to eat."
Rollo looked at them a little while, and then slowly got down and walked along up the lane, saying to himself, "They are not big enough to work, at any rate, but I am, I know, and I do not believe but that Elky is."
When Rollo got back into the yard, he found his father just getting into the wagon to go away. Jonas stood by the horse, having just finished harnessing him.
"Father," said Rollo, "I can work. You thought I could not work, but I can. I am going to work to-day while you are gone."
"Are you?" said his father. "Very well; I should be glad to have you."
"What should you like to have me do?" asked Rollo.
"O, you may pick up chips, or pile that short wood in the shed. But stand back from the wheel, for I am going to start now."
So Rollo stood back, and his father drew up the reins which Jonas had just put into his hands, and guided the horse slowly and carefully out of the yard. Rollo ran along behind the wagon as far as the gate, to see his father go off, and stood there a few minutes, watching him as he rode along, until he disappeared at a turn in the road. He then came back to the yard, and sat down on a log by the side of Jonas, who was busily at work mending the wheelbarrow.
Rollo sat singing to himself for some time, and then he said,
"Jonas, father thinks I am not big enough to work; don't you think I am?"
"I don't know," said Jonas, hesitating. "You do not seem to be very industrious just now."
"O, I am resting now," said Rollo; "I am going to work pretty soon."
"What are you resting from?" said Jonas.
"O, I am resting because I am tired."
"What are you tired of?" said Jonas. "What have you been doing?"
Rollo had no answer at hand, for he had not been doing any thing at all. The truth was, it was pleasanter for him to sit on the log and sing, and see Jonas mend the wheelbarrow, than to go to work himself; and he mistook that feeling for being tired. Boys often do so when they are set to work.
Rollo, finding that he had no excuse for sitting there any longer, presently got up, and sauntered along towards the house, saying that he was going to work, picking up chips.
Now there was, in a certain corner of the yard, a considerable space covered with chips, which were the ones that Rollo had to pick up. He knew that his father wished to have them put into a kind of a bin in the shed, called the chip-bin. So he went into the house for a basket.
He found his mother busy; and she said she could not go and get a basket for him; but she told him the chip-basket was probably in its place in the shed, and he might go and get that.
"But," said Rollo, "that is too large. I cannot lift that great basket full of chips."
"You need not fill it full then," said his mother. "Put in just as many as you can easily carry."
Rollo still objected, saying that he wanted her very much to go and get a smaller one. He could not work without a smaller one.
"Very well," said she, "I would rather that you should not work then. The interruption to me to get up now, and go to look for a smaller basket, will be greater than all the good you will do in picking up chips."
Rollo then told her that his father wanted him to work, and he related to her all the conversation they had had. She then thought that she had better do all in her power to give Rollo a fair experiment; so she left her work, went down, got him a basket which he said was just big enough, and left him at the door, going out to his work in the yard.
A Bad Beginning.
Rollo sat down on the chips, and began picking them up, all around him, and throwing them into his basket. He soon filled it up, and then lugged it in, emptied it into the chip-bin, and then returned, and began to fill it again.
He had not got his basket more than half full the second time, before he came upon some very large chips, which were so square and flat, that he thought they would be good to build houses with. He thought he would just try them a little, and began to stand them up in such a manner as to make the four walls of a house. He found, however, an unexpected difficulty; for although the chips were large and square, yet the edges were so sharp that they would not stand up very well.
Some time was spent in trying experiments with them in various ways; but he could not succeed very well; so he began again industriously to put them into his basket.
When he got the basket nearly full, the second time, he thought he was tired, and that it would be a good plan to take a little time for rest; and he would go and see Jonas a little while.
Now his various interruptions and delays, his conversation with his mother, the delay in getting the basket, and his house-building, had occupied considerable time; so that, when he went back to Jonas, it was full half an hour from the time when he left him; and he found that Jonas had finished mending the wheelbarrow, and had put it in its place, and was just going away himself into the field.
"Well, Rollo," said he, "how do you get along with your work?"
"O, very well," said Rollo; "I have been picking up chips all the time since I went away from you."
Rollo did not mean to tell a falsehood. But he was not aware how much of his time he had idled away.
"And how many have you got in?" said Jonas.
"Guess," said Rollo.
"Six baskets full," said Jonas.
"No," said Rollo.
"No; not so many."
"How many, then?" said Jonas, who began to be tired of guessing.
"Two; that is, I have got one in, and the other is almost full."
"Only two?" said Jonas. "Then you cannot have worked very steadily. Come here and I will show you how to work."
What Rollo Might Do.
So Jonas walked along to the chips, and asked Rollo to fill up that basket, and carry it, and then come back, and he would tell him.
So Rollo filled up the basket, carried it to the bin, and came back very soon. Jonas told him then to fill it up again as full as it was before.
"There," said Jonas, when it was done, "now it is as full as the other was, and I should think you have been less than two minutes in doing it. We will call it two minutes. Two minutes for each basket full would make thirty baskets full in an hour. Now, I don't think there are more than thirty baskets full in all; so that, if you work steadily, but without hurrying any, you would get them all in in an hour."
"In an hour?" said Rollo. "Could I get them all in in an hour?"
"Yes," said Jonas, "I have no doubt you can. But you must not hurry and get tired out. Work moderately, but steadily;—that is the way."
So Jonas went to the field, leaving Rollo to go on with his thirty baskets. Rollo thought it would be a fine thing to get the chips all in before his father should come home, and he went to work very busily filling his basket the third time.
"I can do it quicker," said he to himself. "I can fill the basket a great deal faster than that. I will get it all done in half an hour."
So he began to throw in the chips as fast as possible, taking up very large ones too, and tossing them in in any way. Now it happened that he did fill it this time very quick; for the basket being small, and the chips that he now selected very large, they did not pack well, but lay up in every direction, so as apparently to fill up the basket quite full, when, in fact, there were great empty spaces in it; and when he took it up to carry it, it felt very light, because it was in great part empty.
He ran along with it, forgetting Jonas's advice not to hurry, and thinking that the reason why it seemed so light was because he was so strong. When he got to the coal-bin, the chips would not come out easily. They were so large that they had got wedged between the sides of the basket, and he had hard work to get them out.
This fretted him, and cooled his ardor somewhat; he walked back rather slowly, and began again to fill his basket.
A New Plan.
Before he had got many chips in it, however, he happened to think that the wheelbarrow would be a better thing to get them in with. They would not stick in that as they did in the basket. "Men always use a wheelbarrow," he said to himself, "and why should not I?"
So he turned the chips out of his basket, thus losing so much labor, and went after the wheelbarrow. He spent some time in looking to see how Jonas had mended it, and then he attempted to wheel it along to the chips. He found it quite heavy; but he contrived to get it along, and after losing considerable time in various delays, he at last had it fairly on the ground, and began to fill it.
He found that the chips would go into the wheelbarrow beautifully, and he was quite pleased with his own ingenuity in thinking of it. He thought he would take a noble load, and so he filled it almost full, but it took a long time to do it, for the wheelbarrow was so large that he got tired, and stopped several times to rest.
When, at length, it was full, he took hold of the handles, and lifted away upon it. He found it very heavy. He made another desperate effort, and succeeded in raising it from the ground a little; but unluckily, as wheelbarrows are very apt to do when the load is too heavy for the workman, it tipped down to one side, and, though Rollo exerted all his strength to save it, it was in vain.
Over went the wheelbarrow, and about half of the chips were poured out upon the ground again.
"O dear me!" said Rollo; "I wish this wheelbarrow was not so heavy."
He sat down on the side of the wheelbarrow for a time in despair. He had a great mind to give up work for that day. He thought he had done enough; he was tired. But, then, when he reflected that he had only got in three small baskets of chips, and that his father would see that it was really true, as he had supposed, that Rollo could not work, he felt a little ashamed to stop.
So he tipped the wheelbarrow back, which he could easily do now that the load was half out, and thought he would wheel those along, and take the rest next time.
By great exertions he contrived to stagger along a little way with this load, until presently the wheel settled into a little low place in the path, and he could not move it any farther. This worried and troubled him again. He tried to draw the wheelbarrow back, as he had often seen Jonas do in similar cases, but in vain. It would not move back or forwards. Then he went round to the wheel, and pulled upon that; but it would not do. The wheel held its place immovably.
Rollo sat down on the grass a minute or two, wishing that he had not touched the wheelbarrow. It was unwise for him to have left his basket, his regular and proper mode of carrying the chips, to try experiments with the wheelbarrow, which he was not at all accustomed to. And now the proper course for him to have taken, would have been to leave the wheelbarrow where it was, go and get the basket, take out the chips from the wheelbarrow, and carry them, a basket full at a time, to the bin, then take the wheelbarrow to its place, and go on with his work in the way he began.
But Rollo, like all other boys who have not learned to work, was more inclined to get somebody to help him do what was beyond his own strength, than to go quietly on alone in doing what he himself was able to do. So he left the wheelbarrow, and went into the house to try to find somebody to help him.
He came first into the kitchen, where Mary was at work getting dinner, and he asked her to come out and help him get his wheelbarrow out of a hole. Mary said she could not come then, but, if he would wait a few minutes, she would. Rollo could not wait, but went off in pursuit of his mother.
"Mother," said he, as he opened the door into her chamber, "could not you come out and help me get my wheelbarrow along?"
"What wheelbarrow?" said his mother.
"Why, the great wheelbarrow. I am wheeling chips in it, and I cannot get it along."
"I thought you were picking up chips in the basket I got for you."
"Yes, mother, I did a little while; but I thought I could get them along faster with the wheelbarrow."
"And, instead of that, it seems you cannot get them along at all."
"Why, mother, it is only one little place. It is in a little hole. If I could only get it out of that little hole, it would go very well."
"But it seems to me you are not a very profitable workman, Rollo, after all. You wanted me very much to go and get you a small basket, because the common basket was too large and heavy; so I left my work, and went and got it for you. But you soon lay it aside, and go, of your own accord, and get something heavier than the common chip-basket, a great deal. And now I must leave my work and go down and wheel it along for you."
"Only this once, mother. If you can get it out of this hole for me, I will be careful not to let it get in again."
"Well," said his mother at length, "I will go. Though the common way with wagoners, when they get their loads into difficulty, is to throw a part off until they lighten it sufficiently, and then go on. I will go this time; but if you get into difficulty again, you must get out yourself."
So Rollo and his mother went down together, and she took hold of the wheelbarrow, and soon got it out. She advised Rollo not to use the wheelbarrow, but to return to his basket, but yet wished him to do just as he thought best himself.
When she had returned to the house, Rollo went on with his load, slowly and with great difficulty. He succeeded, however, in working it along until he came to the edge of the platform which was before the shed door, where he was to carry in his chips. Here, of course, he was at a complete stand, as he could not get the wheel up such a high step; so he sat down on the edge of the platform, not knowing what to do next.
He could not go to his mother, for she had told him that she could not help him again; so, on the whole, he concluded that he would not pick up chips any more; he would pile the wood. He recollected that his father had told him that he might either pick up chips or pile wood; and the last, he thought, would be much easier.
"I shall not have any thing to carry or to wheel at all," said he to himself, "and so I shall not have any of these difficulties."
So he left his wheelbarrow where it was, at the edge of the platform, intending to ask Jonas to get it up for him when he should come home. He went into the shed, and began to pile up the wood.
It was some very short, small wood, prepared for a stove in his mother's chamber, and he knew where his father wanted to have it piled—back against the side of the shed, near where the wood was lying Jonas had thrown it down there in a heap as he had sawed and split it.
He began to lay the wood regularly upon the ground where his pile was to be, and for a few minutes went on very prosperously. But presently he heard a great trampling in the street, and ran out to see what it was, and found that it was a large herd of cattle driving by—oxen and cows, and large and small calves. They filled the whole road as they walked slowly along, and Rollo climbed up upon the fence, by the side of the gate, to look at them. He was much amused to see so large a herd, and he watched all their motions. Some stopped to eat by the road side; some tried to run off down the lane, but were driven back by boys with long whips, who ran after them. Others would stand still in the middle of the road and bellow, and here and there two or three would be seen pushing one another with their horns, or running up upon a bank by the road side.
Presently Rollo heard a commotion among the cattle at a little distance, and, looking that way, saw that Jonas was in among them, with a stick, driving the about, and calling out, HIRRUP! HIRRUP! At first he could not think what he was doing; but presently he saw that their own cow had got in among the others, and Jonas was trying to get her out.
Some of the men who were driving the herd helped him, and they succeeded, at length, in getting her away by herself, by the side of the road. The rest of the cattle moved slowly on, and when they were fairly by, Jonas called out to Rollo to open the gate and then run away.
Rollo did, accordingly, open the gate and run up the yard, and presently he saw the cow coming in, with Jonas after her.
"Jonas," said Rollo, "how came our cow in among all those?"
"She got out of the pasture somehow," said Jonas, in reply, "and I must go and drive her back. How do you get along with your chips?"
"O, not very well. I want you to help me get the wheelbarrow up on the platform."
"The wheelbarrow!" said Jonas. "Are you doing it with the wheelbarrow?"
"No. I am not picking up chips now at all. I am piling wood. I did have the wheelbarrow."
In the mean time, the cow walked along through the yard and out of the gate into the field, and Jonas said he must go on immediately after her, to drive her back into the pasture, and put up the fence, and so he could not stop to help Rollo about the chips; but he would just look in and see if he was piling the wood right.
He accordingly just stepped a moment to the shed door, and looked at Rollo's work. "That will do very well," said he; "only you must put the biggest ends of the sticks outwards, or it will all tumble down."
So saying, he turned away, and walked off fast after the cow.
Rollo stood looking at him for some time, wishing that he was going too. But he knew that he must not go without his mother's leave, and that, if he should go in to ask her, Jonas would have gone so far that he should not be able to overtake him. So he went back to his wood-pile.
He piled a little more, and as he piled he wondered what Jonas meant by telling him to put the largest ends outwards. He took up a stick which had a knot on one end, which made that end much the largest, and laid it on both ways, first with the knot back against the side of the shed, and then with the knot in front, towards himself. He did not see but that the stick lay as steadily in one position as in the other.
"Jonas was mistaken," said he. "It is a great deal better to put the big ends back. Then they are out of sight; all the old knots are hid, and the pile looks handsomer in front."
So he went on, putting the sticks upon the pile with the biggest ends back against the shed. By this means the back side of the pile began soon to be the highest, and the wood slanted forward, so that, when it was up nearly as high as his head, it leaned forward so as to be quite unsteady. Rollo could not imagine what made his pile act so. He thought he would put on one stick more, and then leave it. But, as he was putting on this stick, he found that the whole pile was very unsteady. He put his hand upon it, and shook it a little, to see if it was going to fall, when he found it was coming down right upon him, and had just time to spring back before it fell.
He did not get clear, however; for, as he stepped suddenly back, he tumbled over the wood which was lying on the ground, and fell over backwards; and a large part of the pile came down upon him.
He screamed out with fright and pain, for he bruised himself a little in falling; though the wood which fell upon him was so small and light that it did not do much serious injury.
Rollo stopped crying pretty soon, and went into the house; and that evening, when his father came home, he went to him, and said,
"Father, you were right, after all; I don't know how to work any better than Elky."
THE TWO LITTLE WHEELBARROWS.
Rollo often used to ride out with his father and mother. When he was quite a small boy, he did not know how to manage so as to get frequent rides. He used to keep talking, himself, a great deal, and interrupting his father and mother, when they wanted to talk; and if he was tired, he would complain, and ask them, again and again, when they should get home. Then he was often thirsty, and would tease his father and mother for water, in places where there was no water to be got, and then fret because he was obliged to wait a little while. In consequence of this, his father and mother did not take him very often. When they wanted a quiet, still, pleasant ride, they had to leave Rollo behind. A great many children act just as Rollo did, and thus deprive themselves of a great many very pleasant rides.
Rollo observed, however, that his uncle almost always took Lucy with him when he went to ride. And one day, when he was playing in the yard where Jonas was at work setting out trees, he saw his uncle riding by, with another person in the chaise, and Lucy sitting between them on a little low seat. Lucy smiled and nodded as she went by; and when she had gone, Rollo said,
"There goes Lucy, taking a ride. Uncle almost always takes her, when he goes any where. I wonder why father does not take me as often."
"I know why," said Jonas.
"What is the reason?" said Rollo.
"Because you are troublesome, and Lucy is not. If I was a boy like you, I should manage so as almost always to ride with my father."
"Why, what should you do?" said Rollo.
"Why, in the first place, I should never find fault with my seat. I should sit exactly where they put me, without any complaint. Then I should not talk much, and I should never interrupt them when they were talking. If I saw any thing on the road that I wanted to ask about, I should wait until I had a good opportunity to do it without disturbing their conversation; and then, if I wanted any thing to eat or drink, I should not ask for it, unless I was in a place where they could easily get it for me. Thus I should not be any trouble to them, and so they would let me go almost always."
Rollo was silent. He began to recollect how much trouble he had given his parents, when riding with them, without thinking of it at the time. He did not say any thing to Jonas about it, but he secretly resolved to try Jonas's experiment the very next time he went to ride.
He did so, and in a very short time his father and mother both perceived that there was, some how or other, a great change in his manners. He had ceased to be troublesome, and had become quite a pleasant travelling companion. And the effect was exactly as Jonas had foretold. His father and mother liked very much to have such a still, pleasant little boy sitting between them; and at last they began almost to think they could not have a pleasant ride themselves, unless Rollo was with them.
They used to put a little cricket in, upon the bottom of the chaise, for Rollo to sit upon; but this was not very convenient, and so one day Rollo's father said that, now Rollo had become so pleasant a boy to ride with them, he would have a little seat made on purpose for him. "In fact," said he, "I will take the chaise down to the corporal's to-night, and see if he cannot do it for me."
"And may I go with you?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said his father, "you may."
Rollo was always very much pleased when his father let him go to the corporal's.
But perhaps the reader will like to know who this corporal was that Rollo was so desirous of going to see. He was an old soldier, who had become disabled in the wars, so that he could not go out to do very hard work, but was very ingenious in making and mending things, and he had a little shop down by the mill, where he used to work.
Rollo often went there with Jonas, to carry a chair to be mended, or to get a lock or latch put in order; and sometimes to buy a basket, or a rake, or some simple thing that the corporal knew how to make. A corporal, you must know, is a kind of an officer in a company. This man had been such an officer; and so they always called him the corporal. I never knew what his other name was.
That evening Rollo and his father set off in the chaise to go to the corporal's. It was not very far. They rode along by some very pleasant farm-houses, and came at length to the house where Georgie lived. They then went down the hill; but, just before they came to the bridge, they turned off among the trees, into a secluded road, which led along the bank of the stream. After going on a short distance, they came out into a kind of opening among the trees, where a mill came into view, by the side of the stream; and opposite to it, across the road, under the trees, was the corporal's little shop.
The trees hung over the shop, and behind it there was a high rocky hill almost covered with forest trees. Between the shop and the mill they could see the road winding along a little way still farther up the stream, until it was lost in the woods.
As soon as Rollo came in sight of the shop, he saw a little wheelbarrow standing up by the side of the door. It was just large enough for him, and he called out for his father to look at it.
"It is a very pretty little wheelbarrow," said his father.
"I wish you would buy it for me. How much do you suppose the corporal asks for it?"
"We will talk with him about it," said his father.
So saying, they drove up to the side of the road near the mill, and fastened the horse at a post. Then Rollo clambered down out of the chaise, and he and his father walked into the shop.
They found the corporal busily at work mending a chair-bottom. Rollo stood by, much pleased to see him weave in the flags, while his father explained to the corporal that he wanted a small seat made in front, in his chaise.
"I do not know whether you can do it, or not," said he.
"What sort of a seat do you want?"
"I thought," said he, "that you might make a little seat, with two legs to it in front, and then fasten the back side of it to the front of the chaise-box."
"Yes," said the corporal, "that will do I think; but I must have a little blacksmith work to fasten the seat properly behind, so that you can slip it out when you are not using it. Let us go and see."
So the corporal rose to go out and see the chaise, and as they passed by the wheelbarrow at the door, as they went out, Rollo asked him what was the price of that little wheelbarrow.
"That is not for sale, my little man. That is engaged. But I can make you one, if your father likes. I ask three quarters of a dollar for them."
Rollo looked at it very wishfully, and the corporal told him that he might try it if he chose. "Wheel it about," said he, "while your father and I are looking at the chaise."
So Rollo trundled the wheelbarrow up and down the road with great pleasure. It was light, and it moved easily. He wished he had such a one. It would not tip over, he said, like that great heavy one at home; he thought he could wheel it even if it was full of stones. He ran down with it to the shore of the stream, where there were plenty of stones lying, intending to load it up, and try it. But when he got there, he recollected that he had not had liberty to put any thing in it; and so he determined at once that he would not.
Just then his father called him. So he wheeled the wheelbarrow back to its place, and told the corporal that he liked it very much. He wanted his father to engage one for him then, but he did not ask him. He thought that, as he had already expressed a wish for one, it would be better not to say any thing about it again, but to wait and let his father do as he pleased.
As they were going home, his father said,
"That was a very pretty wheelbarrow, Rollo, I think myself."
"Yes, it was beautiful, father. It was so light, and went so easy! I wish you would buy me one, father."
"I would, my son, but I think a wheelbarrow will give you more pleasure at some future time, than it will now."
"When do you mean?"
"When you have learned to work."
"But I want the wheelbarrow to play with."
"I know you do; but you would take a great deal more solid and permanent satisfaction in such a thing, if you were to use it for doing some useful work."
"When shall I learn to work, father?" said Rollo.
"I have been thinking that it is full time now. You are about six years old, and they say that a boy of seven years old is able to earn his living."
"Well, father, I wish you would teach me to work. What should you do first?"
"The first lesson would be to teach you to do some common, easy work, steadily."
"Why, father, I can do that now, without being taught."
"I think you are mistaken about that. A boy works steadily when he goes directly forward in his work, without stopping to rest, or to contrive new ways of doing it, or to see other people, or to talk. Now, do you think you could work steadily an hour, without stopping for any of these reasons?"
"Why—yes," said Rollo.
"I will try you to-morrow," said his father.
The Old Nails.
The next morning, after breakfast, Rollo's father told him he was ready for him to go to his work. He took a small basket in his hand, and led Rollo out into the barn, and told him to wait there a few minutes, and he would bring him something to do.
Rollo sat down on a little bundle of straw, wondering what his work was going to be.
Presently his father came back, bringing in his hands a box full of old nails, which he got out of an old store-room, in a corner of the barn. He brought it along, and set it down on the barn floor.
"Why, father," said Rollo, "what am I going to do with those old nails?"
"You are going to sort them. Here are a great many kinds, all together. I want them all picked over—those that are alike put by themselves. I will tell you exactly how to do it."
Rollo put his hand into the box, and began to pick up some of the nails, and look them over, while his father was speaking; but his father told him to put them down, and not begin until he had got all his directions.
"You must listen," said he, "and understand the directions now, for I cannot tell you twice."
He then took a little wisp of straw, and brushed away a clean place upon the barn floor, and then poured down the nails upon it.
"O, how many nails!" said Rollo.
His father then took up a handful of them, and showed Rollo that there were several different sizes; and he placed them down upon the floor in little heaps, each size by itself. Those that were crooked also he laid away in a separate pile.
"Now, Rollo," said he, "I want you to go to work sorting these nails, steadily and industriously, until they are all done. There are not more than three or four kinds of nails, and you can do them pretty fast if you work steadily, and do not get to playing with them. If you find any pieces of iron, or any thing else that you do not know what to do with, lay them aside, and go on with the nails. Do you understand it all?"
Rollo said he did, and so his father left him, and went into the house. Rollo sat down upon the clean barn floor, and began his task.
"I don't think this is any great thing," said he; "I can do this easily enough;" and he took up some of the nails, and began to arrange them as his father had directed.
But Rollo did not perceive what the real difficulty in his task was. It was, indeed, very easy to see what nails were large, and what were small, and what were of middle size, and to put them in their proper heaps. There was nothing very hard in that. The difficulty was, that, after having sorted a few, it would become tedious and tiresome work, doing it there all alone in the barn,—picking out old nails, with nobody to help him, and nobody to talk to, and nothing to see, but those little heaps of rusty iron on the floor.
This, I say, was the real trouble; and Rollo's father knew, when he set his little boy about it, that he would soon get very tired of it, and, not being accustomed to any thing but play, would not persevere.
And so it was. Rollo sorted out a few, and then he began to think that it was rather tiresome to be there all alone; and he thought it would be a good plan for him to go and ask his father to let him go and get his cousin James to come and help him.
He accordingly laid down the nails he had in his hand, and went into the house, and found his father writing at a table.
"What is the matter now?" said his father.
"Why, father," said Rollo, "I thought I should like to have James come and help me, if you are willing;—we can get them done so much quicker if there are two."
"But my great object is, not to get the nails sorted very quick, but to teach you patient industry. I know it is tiresome for you to be alone, but that is the very reason why I wish you to be alone. I want you to learn to persevere patiently in doing any thing, even if it is tiresome. What I want to teach you is, to work, not to play."
Rollo felt disappointed, but he saw that his father was right, and he went slowly back to his task. He sorted out two or three handfuls more, but he found there was no pleasure in it, and he began to be very sorry his father had set him at it.
Having no heart for his work, he did not go on with alacrity, and of course made very slow progress. He ought to have gone rapidly forward, and not thought any thing about the pleasantness or unpleasantness of it, but only been anxious to finish the work, and please his father. Instead of that, he only lounged over it—looked at the heap of nails, and sighed to think how large it was. He could not sort all those, possibly, he said. He knew he could not. It would take him forever.
Still he could not think of any excuse for leaving his work again, until, after a little while, he came upon a couple of screws. "And now what shall I do with these?" said he.
He took the screws, and laid them side by side, to measure them, so as to see which was the largest. Then he rolled them about a little, and after playing with them for a little time, during which, of course, his work was entirely neglected, he concluded he would go and ask his father what he was to do with screws.
He accordingly walked slowly along to the house, stopping to look at the grasshoppers and butterflies by the way. After wasting some time in this manner, he appeared again at his father's table, and wanted to know what he should do with the screws that he found among the nails.
"You ought not to have left your work to come and ask that question," said his father. "I am afraid you are not doing very well. I gave you all the necessary instructions. Go back to your work."
"But, father," said Rollo, "as he went out, I do not know what I am to do with the screws. You did not say any thing about screws."
"Then why do you leave your work to ask me any thing about them?"
"Why,—because,—" said Rollo, hesitating. He did not know what to say.
"Your work is to sort out the nails, and I expect, by your coming to me for such frivolous reasons, that you are not going on with it very well."
Rollo went slowly out of the room, and sauntered along back to his work. He put the screws aside, and went on with the nails, but he did very little. When the heart is not in the work, it always goes on very slowly.
Thus an hour or two of the forenoon passed away, and Rollo made very little progress. At last his father came out to see what he had done; and it was very plain that he had been idling away his time, and had accomplished very little indeed.
His father then said that he might leave his work and come in. Rollo walked along by the side of his father, and he said to him—
"I see, Rollo, that I shall not succeed in teaching you to work industriously, without something more than kind words."
Rollo knew not what to say, and so he was silent. He felt guilty and ashamed.
"I gave you work to do which was very easy and plain, but you have been leaving it repeatedly for frivolous reasons; and even while you were over your work, you have not been industrious. Thus you have wasted your morning entirely; you have neither done work nor enjoyed play.
"I was afraid it would be so," he continued. "Very few boys can be taught to work industriously, without being compelled; though I hoped that my little Rollo could have been. But as it is, as I find that persuasion will not do, I must do something more decided. I should do very wrong to let you grow up an idle boy; and it is time for you to begin to learn to do something besides play."
He said this in a kind, but very serious tone, and it was plain he was much displeased. He told Rollo, a minute or two after, that he might go, then, where he pleased, and that he would consider what he should do, and tell him some other time.
That evening, when Rollo was just going to bed, his father took him up in his lap, and told him he had concluded what to do.
"You see it is very necessary," said he, "that you should have the power of confining yourself steadily and patiently to a single employment, even if it does not amuse you. I have to do that, and all people have to do it, and you must learn to do it, or you will grow up indolent and useless. You cannot do it now, it is very plain. If I set you to doing any thing, you go on as long as the novelty and the amusement last, and then your patience is gone, and you contrive every possible excuse for getting away from your task. Now, I am going to give you one hour's work to do, every forenoon and afternoon. I shall give you such things to do, as are perfectly plain and easy, so that you will have no excuse for neglecting your work or leaving it. But yet I shall choose such things as will afford you no amusement; for I want you to learn to work, not play."
"But, father," said Rollo, "you told me there was pleasure in work, the other day. But how can there be any pleasure in it, if you choose such things as have no amusement in them, at all?"
"The pleasure of working," said his father, "is not the fun of doing amusing things, but the satisfaction and solid happiness of being faithful in duty, and accomplishing some useful purpose. For example, if I were to lose my pocket-book on the road, and should tell you to walk back a mile, and look carefully all the way until you found it, and if you did it faithfully and carefully, you would find a kind of satisfaction in doing it; and when you found the pocket-book, and brought it back to me, you would enjoy a high degree of happiness. Should not you?"
"Why, yes, sir, I should," said Rollo.
"And yet there would be no amusement in it. You might, perhaps, the next day, go over the same road, catching butterflies: that would be amusement. Now, the pleasure you would enjoy in looking for the pocket-book, would be the solid satisfaction of useful work. The pleasure of catching butterflies would be the amusement of play. Now, the difficulty is, with you, that you have scarcely any idea, yet, of the first. You are all the time looking for the other, that is, the amusement. You begin to work when I give you any thing to do, but if you do not find amusement in it, you soon give it up. But if you would only persevere, you would find, at length, a solid satisfaction, that would be worth a great deal more."
Rollo sat still, and listened, but his father saw, from his looks, that he was not much interested in what he was saying; and he perceived that it was not at all probable that so small a boy could be reasoned into liking work. In fact, it was rather hard for Rollo to understand all that his father said,—and still harder for him to feel the force of it. He began to grow sleepy, and so his father let him go to bed.
Rollo Learns to Work at Last.
The next day his father gave him his work. He was to begin at ten o'clock, and work till eleven, gathering beans in the garden. His father went out with him, and waited to see how long it took him to gather half a pint, and then calculated how many he could gather in an hour, if he was industrious. Rollo knew that if he failed now, he should be punished in some way, although his father did not say any thing about punishment. When he was set at work the day before, about the nails, he was making an experiment, as it were, and he did not expect to be actually punished if he failed; but now he knew that he was under orders, and must obey.
So he worked very diligently, and when his father came out at the end of the hour, he found that Rollo had got rather more beans than he had expected. Rollo was much gratified to see his father pleased; and he carried in his large basket full of beans to show his mother, with great pleasure. Then he went to play, and enjoyed himself very highly.
The next morning, his father said to him,
"Well, Rollo, you did very well yesterday; but doing right once is a very different thing from forming a habit of doing right. I can hardly expect you will succeed as well to-day; or, if you should to-day, that you will to-morrow."
Rollo thought he should. His work was to pick up all the loose stones in the road, and carry them, in a basket, to a great heap of stones behind the barn. But he was not quite faithful. His father observed him playing several times. He did not speak to him, however, until the hour was over, and then he called him in.
"Rollo," said he, "you have failed to-day. You have not been very idle, but have not been industrious; and the punishment which I have concluded to try first, is, to give you only bread and water for dinner."
So, when dinner time came, and the family sat down to the good beefsteak and apple-pie which was upon the table, Rollo knew that he was not to come. He felt very unhappy, but he did not cry. His father called him, and cut off a good slice of bread, and put into his hands, and told him he might go and eat it on the steps of the back door. "If you should be thirsty," he added, "you may ask Mary to give you some water."
Rollo took the bread, and went out, and took his solitary seat on the stone step leading into the back yard, and, in spite of all his efforts to prevent it, the tears would come into his eyes. He thought of his guilt in disobeying his father, and he felt unhappy to think that his father and mother were seated together at their pleasant table, and that he could not come because he had been an undutiful son. He determined that he would never be unfaithful in his work again.
He went on, after this, several days, very well. His father gave him various kinds of work to do, and he began at last to find a considerable degree of satisfaction in doing it. He found, particularly, that he enjoyed himself a great deal more after his work than before, and whenever he saw what he had done, it gave him pleasure. After he had picked up the loose stones before the house, for instance, he drove his hoop about there, with unusual satisfaction; enjoying the neat and tidy appearance of the road much more than he would have done if Jonas had cleared it. In fact, in the course of a month, Rollo became quite a faithful and efficient little workman.
The Corporal's Again.
"Now," said his father to him one day, after he had been doing a fine job of wood-piling,—"now we will go and talk with the corporal about a wheelbarrow. Or do you think you could find the way yourself?"
Rollo said he thought he could.
"Very well, you may go; I believe I shall let you have a wheelbarrow now, and you can ask him how soon he can have it done."
Rollo clapped his hands, and capered about, and asked his father how long he thought it would be before he could have it.
"O, you will learn," said he, "when you come to talk with the corporal."
"Do you think it will be a week?"
"I think it probable that he could make one in less than a week," said his father, smiling.
"Well, how soon?" said Rollo.
"O, I cannot tell you: wait till you get to his shop, and then you will see."
Rollo saw that, for some reason or other, his father was not inclined to talk about the time when he should have his wheelbarrow, but he could not think why; however, he determined to get the corporal to make it as quick as he could, at any rate.
It was about the middle of the afternoon that Rollo set off to go for his wheelbarrow. His mother told him he might go and get his cousin James to go with him if he chose. So he walked along towards the bridge, and, instead of turning at once off there to go towards the mill, he went on over the bridge towards the house where James lived. James came with him, and they walked back very pleasantly together.
When they got back across the bridge again, they turned off towards the mill, talking about the wheelbarrow. Rollo told James about his learning to work, and about his having seen the wheelbarrow at the corporal's, and how he trundled it about, and liked it very much.
"I should like to see it very much," said James. "I suppose I can, when we get to the corporal's shop."
"No," said Rollo, "he said that that wheelbarrow was engaged; and I suppose it has been taken away before this time."
Just then the corner of the corporal's shop began to corner into view, and presently the door came in sight, and James called out,
"Yes, yes, there it is. I see it standing up by the side of the door."
"No," said Rollo, "that is not it. That is a green one."
"What color was the wheelbarrow that you saw?" asked James.
"It was not any color; it was not painted," said Rollo. "I wonder whose that wheelbarrow can be?"
The boys walked along, and presently came to the door of the shop. They opened the door, and went in. There was nobody there.
Various articles were around the room. There was a bench at one side, near a window; and there were a great many tools upon it, and upon shelves over it. On another side of the shop was a lathe, a curious sort of a machine, that the corporal used a great deal, in some of his nicest work. Then there were a good many things there, which were sent in to be mended, such as chairs, a spinning-wheel, boys' sleds, and one or two large wheelbarrows.
The boys walked around the room a few minutes, looking at the various things; and at last Rollo spied another little wheelbarrow, on a shelf. It was very much like the one at the door, only it was painted green.
Rollo said that that one looked exactly like the one he trundled when he was there before, only it was green.
"Perhaps he has painted it since," said James; "let us go to the door, and look at the other one, and see which is the biggest."
So they went to the door, and found that the blue one was a little the biggest.
Just then they saw the corporal coming across the road, with a hatchet in his hand. He had been to grind it at the mill, where there was a grindstone, that went round by water.
"Ah, boys," said he, "how do you do? Have you come for your wheelbarrow, Rollo."
"Yes, sir," said Rollo; "how soon can you get it done?"
"Done? it is done now," said he; "there it is." And he took the blue wheelbarrow, which was at the door, and set it down in the path.
"That is not mine," said Rollo, "is it?"
"Yes," said the corporal; "your father spoke for it a week ago."
Rollo took hold of his wheelbarrow, and began to wheel it along. He liked it very much.
James said he wished he could have one too, and while Rollo was talking with the corporal, he could not help looking at the green one on the shelf, which he thought was just about as big as he should like.
The corporal asked him if he wanted to see that one, and he took it down for him. James took hold of the handles, and tried it a little, back and forth on the floor, and then he said it was just about big enough for him.
"Who is this for?" said he to the corporal.
"I do not know," said the corporal; "a gentleman bespoke it some time ago. I do not know what his name is."
Just then he seemed to see somebody out of the window.
"Ah! here he comes now!" he exclaimed suddenly.
Just then the door opened, and whom should the boys see coming in, but their uncle George!
"Why, James," said he, "have you got hold of your wheelbarrow already?"
"My wheelbarrow!" said James. "Is this mine?"
"Yes," said his uncle, "I got it made to give to you. But when I found that Rollo was having one made, I waited for his to be done, so that you might have them both together. So trundle them home."
So the boys set off on the run down the road, in fine style, with their wheelbarrows trundling beautifully before them.
Next to little wooden blocks, I think that good, clean sand is an excellent thing for children to play with. When it is a little damp, it will remain in any shape you put it in, and you can build houses and cities, and make roads and canals in it. At any rate, Rollo and his cousin James used to be very fond of going down to a certain place in the brook, where there was plenty of sand, and playing in it. It was of a gray color, and somewhat mixed with pebble-stones; but then they used to like the pebble-stones very much to make walls with, and to stone up the little wells which they made in the sand.
One Wednesday afternoon, they were there playing very pleasantly with the sand. They had been building a famous city, and, after amusing themselves with it some time, they had knocked down the houses, and trampled the sand all about again. James then said he meant to go to the barn and get his horse-cart, and haul a load of sand to market.
Now there was a place around behind a large rock near there, which the boys called their barn; and Rollo and James went to it, and pulled out their two little wheelbarrows, which they called their horse-carts. They wheeled them down to the edge of the water, and began to take up the sand by double handfuls, and put it in.
When they had got their carts loaded, they began to wheel them around to the trees, and stones, and bushes, saying,
"Who'll buy my sand?"
"Who'll buy my white sand?"
"Who'll buy my gray sand?"
"Who'll buy my black sand?"
But they did not seem to find any purchaser; and at last Rollo said, suddenly,
"O, I know who will buy our sand."
"Who?" said James.
"So she will," said James. "We will wheel it up to the house."
So they set off, and began wheeling their loads of sand up the pathway among the trees. They went on a little way, and presently stopped, and sat down on a bank to rest. Here they found a number of flowers, which they gathered and stuck up in the sand, so that their loads soon made a very gay appearance.
Just as they were going to set out again, Rollo said,
"But, James, how are we going to get through the quagmire?"
"O," said James, "we can step along on the bank by the side of the path."
"No," said Rollo; "for we cannot get our wheelbarrows along there."
"Why, yes,—we got them along there when we came down."
"But they were empty and light then; now they are loaded and heavy."
"So they are; but I think we can get along; it is not very muddy there now."
The place which the boys called the quagmire, was a low place in the pathway, where it was almost always muddy. This pathway was made by the cows, going up and down to drink; and it was a good, dry, and hard path in all places but one. This, in the spring of the year, was very wet and miry; and, during the whole summer, it was seldom perfectly dry. The boys called it the quagmire, and they used to get by on one side, in among the bushes.
They found that it was not very muddy at this time, and they contrived to get through with their loads of sand, and soon got to the house. They trundled their wheelbarrows up to the door leading out to the garden; and Rollo knocked at the door.
Now Rollo's mother happened, at this time, to be sitting at the back-parlor window, and she heard their voices as they came along the yard. So, supposing the knocking was some of their play, she just looked out of the window, and called out,
"Some sand-men," Rollo answered, "who have got some sand to sell."
His mother looked out of the window, and had quite a talk with them about their sand; she asked them where it came from, what color it was, and whether it was free from pebble-stones. The boys had to admit that there were a good many pebble-stones in it, and that pebble-stones were not very good to scour floors with.
The Gray Garden.
At last, Rollo's mother recommended that they should carry the sand out to a corner of the yard, where the chips used to be, and spread it out there, and stick their flowers up in it for a garden.
The boys liked this plan very much. "We can make walks and beds, beautifully, in the sand," said Rollo. "But, mother, do you think the flowers will grow?"
"No," said his mother, "flowers will not grow in sand; but, as it is rather a shady place, and you can water them occasionally, they will keep green and bright a good many days, and then, you know, you can get some more."
So the boys wheeled the sand out to the corner of the yard, took the flowers out carefully, and then tipped the sand down and spread it out. They tried to make walks and beds, but they found they had not got as much sand as they wanted. So they concluded to go back and get some more.
In fact, they found that, by getting a great many wheelbarrow loads of sand, they could cover over the whole corner, and make a noble large place for a sand-garden. And then, besides, as James said, when they were tired of it for a garden, they could build cities there, instead of having to go away down to the brook.
So they went on wheeling their loads of sand, for an hour or two. James had not learned to work as well as Rollo had, and he was constantly wanting to stop, and run into the woods, or play in the water; but Rollo told him it would be better to get all the sand up, first. They at last got quite a great heap, and then went and got a rake and hoe to level it down smooth.
Thus the afternoon passed away; and at last Mary told the boys that they must come and get ready for tea, for she was going to carry it in soon.
So Rollo and James brushed the loose sand from their clothes, and washed their faces and hands, and went in. As tea was not quite ready, they sat down on the front-door steps before Rollo's father, who was then sitting in his arm-chair in the entry, reading.
He shut up the book, and began to talk with the boys.
"Well, boys," said he, "what have you been doing all this afternoon?"
"O," said Rollo, "we have been hard at work."
"And what have you been doing?"
Rollo explained to his father that they had been making a sand-garden out in a corner of the yard, and they both asked him to go with them and see it.
They all three accordingly went out behind the house, the children running on before.
"But, boys," said Rollo's father, as they went on, "how came your feet so muddy?"
"O," said James, "they got muddy in the quagmire."
The boys explained how they could not go around the quagmire with their loaded wheelbarrows, and so had to pick their way through it the best way they could; and thus they got their shoes muddy a little; but they said they were as careful as they could be.
When they came to the sand-garden, Rollo's father smiled to see the beds and walks, and the rows of flowers stuck up in the sand. It made quite a gay appearance. After looking at it some time, they went slowly back again, and as they were walking across the yard,
"Father," said Rollo, "do you not think that is a pretty good garden?"
"Why, yes," said his father, "pretty good."
"Don't you think we have worked pretty well?"
"Why, I think I should call that play, not work."
"Not work!" said Rollo. "Is it not work to wheel up such heavy loads of sand? You don't know how heavy they were."
"I dare say it was hard; but boys play hard, sometimes, as well as work hard."
"But I should think ours, this afternoon, was work," said Rollo.
"Work," replied his father, "is when you are engaged in doing any thing in order to produce some useful result. When you are doing any thing only for the amusement of it, without any useful result, it is play. Still, in one sense, your wheeling the sand was work. But it was not very useful work; you will admit that."
"Yes, sir," said Rollo.
"Well, boys, how should you like to do some useful work for me, with your wheelbarrows? I will hire you."
"O, we should like that very much," said James. "How much should you pay us?"
"That would depend upon how much work you do. I should pay you what the work was fairly worth; as much as I should have to pay a man, if I were to hire a man to do it."
"What should you give us to do?" said Rollo.
"I don't know. I should think of some job. How should you like to fill up the quagmire?"
"Fill up the quagmire!" said Rollo. "How could we do that?"
"You might fill it up with stones. There are a great many small stones lying around there, which you might pick up and put into your wheelbarrows, and wheel them along, and tip them over into the quagmire; and when you have filled the path all up with stones, cover them over with gravel, and it will make a good causey."
"Causey?" said Rollo.
"Yes, causey," said his father; "such a hard, dry road, built along a muddy place, is called a causey."
They had got to the tea-table by this time; and while at tea, Rollo's father explained the plan to them more fully. He said he would pay them a cent for every two loads of stones or gravel which they should wheel in to make the causey.
They were going to ask some more questions about it, but he told them he could not talk any more about it then, but that they might go and ask Jonas how they should do it, after tea.
They went out into the kitchen, after tea, to find Jonas; but he was not there. They then went out into the yard; and presently James saw him over beyond the fence, walking along the lane. Rollo called out,
"Jonas! Jonas! where are you going?"
"I am going after the cows."
"We want you!" said Rollo, calling out loud.
"What for?" said Jonas.
"We want to talk with you about something."
Just then, Rollo's mother, hearing this hallooing, looked out of the window, and told the boys they must not make so much noise.
"Why, we want Jonas," said Rollo; "and he has gone to get the cows."
"Well, you may go with him," said she, "if you wish; and you can talk on the way."
So the boys took their hats and ran, and soon came to where Jonas was: for he had been standing still, waiting for them.
They walked along together, and the boys told Jonas what their father had said. Jonas said he should be very glad to have the quagmire filled up, but he was afraid it would not do any good for him to give them any directions.
"Why?" said James.
"Because," said Jonas, "little boys will never follow any directions. They always want to do the work their own way."
"O, but we will obey the directions," said Rollo.
"Do you remember about the wood-pile?" said Jonas.
Rollo hung his head, and looked a little ashamed.
"What was it about the wood-pile?" said James.
"Why, I told Rollo," said Jonas, "that he ought to pile wood with the big ends in front, but he did not mind it; he thought it was better to have the big ends back, out of sight; and that made the pile lean forward; and presently it all fell over upon him."
"Did it?" said James. "Did it hurt you much, Rollo?"
"No, not much. But we will follow the directions now, Jonas, if you will tell us what to do."
"Very well," said Jonas, "I will try you.
"In the first place, you must get a few old pieces of board, and lay them along the quagmire to step upon, so as not to get your feet muddy. Then you must go and get a load of stones, in each wheelbarrow, and wheel them along. You must not tip them down at the beginning of the muddy place, for then they will be in your way when you come with the next load.
"You must go on with them, one of you right behind the other, both stepping carefully on the boards, till you get to the farther end, and there tip them over both together. Then you must turn round yourselves, but not turn your wheelbarrows round. You must face the other way, and draw your wheelbarrows out."
"Why?" said James.
"Because," said Jonas, "it would be difficult to turn your wheelbarrows round there among the mud and stones, but you can draw them out very easily.
"Then, besides, you must not attempt to go by one another. You must both stop at the same time, but as near one another as you can, and go out just as you came in; that is, if Rollo came in first, and James after him, James must come up as near to Rollo as he can, and then, when the loads are tipped over, and you both turn round, James will be before Rollo, and will draw his wheelbarrow out first. Do you understand?"
"Yes," said James.
"Must we always go in together?" asked Rollo.
"Yes, that is better."
"Because, if you go in at different times, you will be in one another's way. One will be going out when the other is coming in, and so you will interfere with one another. Then, besides, if you fill the wheelbarrows together, and wheel together, you will always be in company,—which is pleasanter."
"Well, we will," said Rollo.
"After you have wheeled one load apiece in, you must go and get another, and wheel that in as far as you can. Tip them over on the top of the others, if you can, or as near as you can. Each time you will not go in quite so far as before, so that at last you will have covered the quagmire all over with stones once."
"And then must we put on the gravel?"
"O no. That will not be stones enough. They would sink down into the mud, and the water would come up over them. So you must wheel on more."
"But how can we?" said James. "We cannot wheel on the top of all those stones."
"No," said Jonas; "so you must go up to the house and get a pretty long, narrow board, as long as you and Rollo can carry, and bring it down and lay it along on the top of the stones. Perhaps you will have to move the stones a little, so as to make it steady; and then you can wheel on that. If one board is not long enough, you must go and get two. And you must put them down on one side of the path, so that the stones will go into the middle of the path and upon the other side, so as not to cover up the board.
"Then, when you have put loads of stones all along in this way, you must shift your boards over to the other side of the path, and then wheel on them again; and that will fill up the side where the boards lay at first. And so, after a while, you will get the whole pathway filled up with stones, as high as you please. I should think you had better fill it up nearly level with the bank on each side."
By this time the boys came to the bars that led into the pasture, and they went in and began to look about for the cows. Jonas did not see them any where near, and so he told the boys that they might stay there and pick some blackberries, while he went on and found them. He said he thought that they must be out by the boiling spring.
This boiling spring, as they called it, was a beautiful spring, from which fine cool water was always boiling up out of the sand. It was in a narrow glen, shaded by trees, and the water running down into a little sort of meadow, kept the grass green there, even in very dry times; so that the cows were very fond of this spot.
James and Rollo remained, according to Jonas's proposal, near the bars, while he went along the path towards the spring. Rollo and James had a fine time gathering blackberries, until, at last, they saw the cows coming, lowing along the path. Presently they saw Jonas's head among the bushes.
When he came up to the boys, he told them it was lucky that they did not go with him.
"Why?" said Rollo.
"I came upon an enormous hornet's nest, and you would very probably have got stung."
"Where was it?" said James.
"O, it was right over the path, just before you get to the spring."
The boys said they were very sorry to hear that, for now they could not go to the spring any more; but Jonas said he meant to destroy the nest.
"How shall you destroy it?" said Rollo.
"I shall burn it up."
"But how can you?" said Rollo.
Jonas then explained to them how he was going to burn the hornet's nest. He said he should take a long pole with two prongs at one end like a pitchfork, and with that fork up a bunch of hay. Then he should set the top of the hay on fire, and stand it up directly under the nest.
The boys continued talking about the hornet's nest all the way home, and forgot to say any thing more about the causey until just as they were going into the yard. Then they told Jonas that he had not told them how to put on the gravel, on the top.
He said he could not tell them then, and, besides, they would have as much as they could do to put in stones for one day.
Besides, James said it was sundown, and time for him to go home; but he promised to come the next morning, if his mother would let him, as soon as he had finished his lessons.
Rollo and James began their work the next day about the middle of the forenoon, determined to obey Jonas's directions exactly, and to work industriously for an hour. They put a number of small pieces of board upon their wheelbarrows, to put along the pathway at first, and just as they had got them placed, Jonas came down just to see whether they were beginning right.
He saw them wheel in one or two loads of stones, and told them he thought they were doing very well.
"We have earned one cent already," said Rollo.
"How," said Jonas; "is your father going to pay you for your work?"
"Yes," said Rollo, "a cent for every two loads we put in."
"Then you must keep tally," said Jonas.
"Tally," said Rollo, "what is tally?"
"Tally is the reckoning. How are you going to remember how many loads you wheel in?"
"O, we can remember easily enough," said Rollo: "we will count them as we go along."
"That will never do," said Jonas. "You must mark them down with a piece of chalk on your wheelbarrow."
So saying, Jonas fumbled in his pockets, and drew out a small, well-worn piece of chalk, and then tipped up Rollo's wheelbarrow, saying,
"How many loads do you say you have carried already?"
"Two," said Rollo.
"Two," repeated Jonas; and he made two white marks with his chalk on the side of the wheelbarrow.
"There!" said he.
"Mark mine," said James; "I have wheeled two loads."
Jonas marked them, and then laid the chalk down upon a flat stone by the side of the path, and told the boys that they must stop after every load, and make a mark, and that would keep the reckoning exact.
Jonas then left them, and the boys went on with their work. They wheeled ten loads of stones apiece, and by that time had the bottom of the path all covered, so that they could not wheel any more, without the long boards. They went up and got the boards, and laid them down as Jonas had described, and then went on with their wheeling.
At first, James kept constantly stopping, either to play, or to hear Rollo talk; for they kept the wheelbarrows together all the time, as Jonas had recommended. At such times, Rollo would remind him of his work, for he had himself learned to work steadily. They were getting on very finely, when, at length, they heard a bell ringing at the house.
This bell was to call them home; for as Rollo and Jonas were often away at a little distance from the house, too far to be called very easily, there was a bell to ring to call them home; and Mary, the girl, had two ways of ringing it—one way for Jonas, and another for Rollo.
The bell was rung now for Rollo; and so he and James walked along towards home. When they had got about half way, they saw Rollo's father standing at the door, with a basket in his hand; and he called out to them to bring their wheelbarrows.
So the boys went back for their wheelbarrows.
When they came up a second time with their wheelbarrows before them, he asked how they had got along with their work.
"O, famously," said Rollo. "There is the tally," said he, turning up the side of the wheelbarrow towards his father, so that he could see all the marks.
"Why, have you wheeled as many loads as that?" said his father.
"Yes, sir," said Rollo, "and James just as many too."
"And were they all good loads?"
"Yes, all good, full loads."
"Well, you have done very well. Count them, and see how many there are."
The boys counted them, and found there were fifteen.
"That is enough to come to seven cents, and one load over," said Rollo's father; and he took out his purse, and gave the boys seven cents each, that is, a six-cent piece in silver, and one cent besides. He told them they might keep the money until they had finished their work, and then he would tell them about purchasing something with it.
"Now," said he, "you can rub out the tally—all but one mark. I have paid you for fourteen loads, and you have wheeled in fifteen; so you have one mark to go to the new tally. You can go round to the shed, and find a wet cloth, and wipe out your marks clean, and then make one again, and leave it there for to-morrow."
"But we are going right back now," said Rollo.
"No," said his father; "I don't want you to do any more to-day."
"Why not, father? We want to, very much."
"I cannot tell you why, now; but I choose you should not. And, now, here is a luncheon for you in this basket. You may go and eat it where you please."
So the boys took the basket, and, after they had rubbed out the tally, they went and sat down by their sand-garden, and began to eat the bread and cheese very happily together.
After they had finished their luncheon, they went and got a watering-pot, and began to water their sand-garden, and, while doing it, began to talk about what they should buy with their money. They talked of several things that they should like, and, at last, Rollo said he meant to buy a bow and arrow with his.
"A bow and arrow?" said James. "I do not believe your father will let you."
"Yes, he will let me," said Rollo. "Besides, it is our money, and we can do what we have a mind to with it."
"I don't believe that," said James.
"Why, yes, we can," said Rollo.
"I don't believe we can," said James.
"Well, I mean to go and ask my father," said Rollo, "this minute."
So he laid down the watering-pot, and ran in, and James after him. When they got into the room where his father was, they came and stood by his side a minute, waiting for him to be ready to speak to them.
Presently, his father laid down his pen, and said,
"What, my boys!"
"Is not this money our own?" said Rollo.
"And can we not buy what we have a mind to with it?"
"That depends upon what you have a mind to buy."
"But, father, I should think that, if it was our own, we might do any thing with it we please."
"No," said his father, "that does not follow, at all."
"Why, father," said Rollo, looking disappointed, "I thought every body could do what they pleased with their own things."
"Whose hat is that you have on? Is it James's?"
"No, sir, it is mine."
"Are you sure it is your own?"
"Why, yes, sir," said Rollo, taking off his hat and looking at it, and wondering what his father could mean.
"Well, do you suppose you have a right to go and sell it?"
"No, sir," said Rollo.
"Or go and burn it up?"
"Or give it away?"
"Then it seems that people cannot always do what they please with their own things."
"Why, father, it seems to me, that is a very different thing."
"I dare say it seems so to you; but it is not—it is just the same thing. No person can do anything they please with their property. There are limits and restrictions in all cases. And in all cases where children have property, whether it is money, hats, toys, or any thing, they are always limited and restricted to such a use of them as their parents approve. So, when I give you money, it becomes yours just as your clothes, or your wheelbarrow, or your books, are yours. They are all yours to use and to enjoy; but in the way of using them and enjoying them, you must be under my direction. Do you understand that?"
"Why, yes, sir," said Rollo.
"And does it not appear reasonable?"
"Yes, sir, I don't know but it is reasonable. But men can do anything they please with their money, can they not?"
"No," said his father; "they are under various restrictions made by the laws of the land. But I cannot talk any more about it now. When you have finished your work, I will talk with you about expending your money."
The boys went on with their work the next day, and built the causey up high enough with stones. They then levelled them off, and began to wheel on the gravel. Jonas made each of them a little shovel out of a shingle; and, as the gravel was lying loose under a high bank, they could shovel it up easily, and fill their wheelbarrows. The third day they covered the stones entirely with gravel, and smoothed it all over with a rake and hoe, and, after it had become well trodden, it made a beautiful, hard causey; so that now there was a firm and dry road all the way from the house to the watering-place at the brook.
On counting up the loads which it had taken to do this work, Rollo's father found that he owed Rollo twenty-three cents, and James twenty-one. The reason why Rollo had earned the most was because, at one time, James said he was tired, and must rest, and, while he was resting, Rollo went on wheeling.
James seemed rather sorry that he had not got as many cents as Rollo.
"I wish I had not stopped to rest," said he.
"I wish so too," said Rollo; "but I will give you two of my cents, and then I shall have only twenty-one, like you."
"Shall we be alike then?"
"Yes," said Rollo; "for, you see, two cents taken away from twenty-three, leaves twenty-one, which is just as many as you have."
"Yes, but then I shall have more. If you give me two, I shall have twenty-three."
"So you will," said Rollo; "I did not think of that."
The boys paused at this unexpected difficulty; at last, Rollo said he might give his two cents back to his father, and then they should have both alike.
Just then the boys heard some one calling,
Rollo looked up, and saw his mother at the chamber window. She was sitting there at work, and had heard their conversation.
"What, mother?" said Rollo.
"You might give him one of yours, and then you will both have twenty-two."
They thought that this would be a fine plan, and wondered why they had not thought of it before. A few days afterwards, they decided to buy two little shovels with their money, one for each, so that they might shovel sand and gravel easier than with the wooden shovels that Jonas made.
One warm morning, early in the spring, just after the snow was melted off from the ground, Rollo and his father went to take a walk. The ground by the side of the road was dry and settled, and they walked along very pleasantly; and at length they came to a fine-looking farm. The house was not very large, but there were great sheds and barns, and spacious yards, and high wood-piles, and flocks of geese, and hens and turkeys, and cattle and sheep, sunning themselves around the barns.
Rollo and his father walked into the yard, and went up to the end door, a large pig running away with a grunt when they came up. The door was open, and Rollo's father knocked at it with the head of his cane. A pleasant-looking young woman came to the door.
"Is Farmer Cropwell at home?" said Rollo's father.
"Yes, sir," said she, "he is out in the long barn, I believe."
"Shall I go there and look for him?" said he.
"If you please, sir."
So Rollo's father walked along to the barn.
It was a long barn indeed. Rollo thought he had never seen so large a building. On each side was a long range of stalls for cattle, facing towards the middle, and great scaffolds overhead, partly filled with hay and with bundles of straw. They walked down the barn floor, and in one place Rollo passed a large bull chained by the nose in one of the stalls. The bull uttered a sort of low growl or roar, as Rollo and his father passed, which made him a little afraid; but his attention was soon attracted to some hens, a little farther along, which were standing on the edge of the scaffolding over his head, and cackling with noise enough to fill the whole barn.
When they got to the other end of the barn, they found a door leading out into a shed; and there was Farmer Cropwell, with one of his men and a pretty large boy, getting out some ploughs.
"Good morning, Mr. Cropwell," said Rollo's father; "what! are you going to ploughing?"
"Why, it is about time to overhaul the ploughs, and see that they are in order. I think we shall have an early season."
"Yes, I find my garden is getting settled, and I came to talk with you a little about some garden seeds."
The truth was, that Rollo's father was accustomed to come every spring, and purchase his garden seeds at this farm; and so, after a few minutes, they went into the house, taking Rollo with them, to get the seeds that were wanted, out of the seed-room.
What they called the seed-room was a large closet in the house, with shelves all around it; and Rollo waited there a little while, until the seeds were selected, put up in papers, and given to his father.
When this was all done, and they were just coming out, the farmer said, "Well, my little boy, you have been very still and patient. Should not you like some seeds too? Have you got any garden?"
"No, sir," said Rollo; "but perhaps my father will give me some ground for one."
"Well, I will give you a few seeds, at any rate." So he opened a little drawer, and took out some seeds, and put them in a piece of paper, and wrote something on the outside. Then he did so again and again, until he had four little papers, which he handed to Rollo, and told him to plant them in his garden.
Rollo thanked him, and took his seeds, and they returned home.
Work and Play.
On the way, Rollo thought it would be an excellent plan for him to have a garden, and he told his father so.
"I think it would be an excellent plan myself," said his father. "But do you intend to make work or play of it?"
"Why, I must make work of it, must not I, if I have a real garden?"
"No," said his father; "you may make play of it if you choose."
"How?" said Rollo.
"Why, you can take a hoe, and hoe about in the ground as long as it amuses you to hoe; and then you can plant your seeds, and water and weed them just as long as you find any amusement in it. Then, if you have any thing else to play with, you can neglect your garden a long time, and let the weeds grow, and not come and pull them up until you get tired of other play, and happen to feel like working in your garden."
"I should not think that that would be a very good plan," said Rollo.
"Why, yes," replied his father; "I do not know but that it is a good plan enough,—that is, for play. It is right for you to play sometimes; and I do not know why you might not play with a piece of ground, and seeds, as well as with any thing else."
"Well, father, how should I manage my garden if I was going to make work of it?"
"O, then you would not do it for amusement, but for the useful results. You would consider what you could raise to best advantage, and then lay out your garden; not as you might happen to fancy doing it, but so as to get the most produce from it. When you come to dig it over, you would not consider how long you could find amusement in digging, but how much digging is necessary to make the ground productive; and so in all your operations."
"Well, father, which do you think would be the best plan for me?"
"Why, I hardly know. By making play of it, you will have the greatest pleasure as you go along. But, in the other plan, you will have some good crops of vegetables, fruits, and flowers."
"And shouldn't I have any crops if I made play of my garden?"
"Yes; I think you might, perhaps, have some flowers, and, perhaps, some beans and peas."
Rollo hesitated for some time which plan he should adopt. He had worked enough to know that it was often very tiresome to keep on with his work when he wanted to go and play; but then he knew that after it was over, there was great satisfaction in thinking of useful employment, and in seeing what had been done.
That afternoon he went out into the garden to consider what he should do, and he found his father there, staking out some ground.
"Father," said he, "whereabouts should you give me the ground for my garden?"
"Why, that depends," said his father, "on the plan you determine upon. If you are going to make play of it, I must give you ground in a back corner, where the irregularity, and the weeds, will be out of sight. But if you conclude to have a real garden, and to work industriously a little while every day upon it, I should give it to you there, just beyond the pear-tree."
Rollo looked at the two places, but he could not make up his mind. That evening he asked Jonas about it, and Jonas advised him to ask his father to let him have both. "Then," said he, "you can work on your real garden as long as there is any necessary work to be done, and then you could go and play about the other with James or Lucy, when they are here."