AUTHOR OF ROLLO LEARNING TO TALK, TO READ, AT WORK, AT PLAY, AT SCHOOL, AT VACATION, &c.
BOSTON: WEEKS, JORDAN, AND COMPANY. 1839.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839,
By T. H. CARTER,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE BOSTON TYPE AND STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY
THE CANAL 9 A FALSE ALARM 34 THE HEMLOCK-SEED 46 A LITTLE LAW 60 CONFUSION 77 ORGANIZATION 88 CAUGHT,—AND GONE AGAIN 106 THE BAILMENT CASES 120 THE CURIOSITIES 136 THE SEA-SHORE 154 THE CLIFFS 167 THE THREE NORTHMEN 179
It happened one summer, when Rollo was between seven and eight years of age, that there was a vacation at the school which he was attending at that time. The vacation commenced in the latter part of August, and was to continue for four or five weeks. Rollo had studied pretty hard at school, and he complained that his eyes ached sometimes.
The day before the vacation commenced, his father became somewhat uneasy about his eyes; and so he took him to a physician, to see what should be done for them. The physician asked Rollo a good many questions, all of which Rollo endeavored to answer as correctly as he could.
At length, the physician told Rollo's father that all he needed was to let his eyes rest. "I think he had better not use them at all," said he, "for reading or writing, for several weeks; and not to be out much in the hot sun."
Rollo felt very much rejoiced at hearing this prescription, though still he looked very sober; for he felt somewhat awed and restrained by being in the doctor's office. There were a good many large books, in cases upon one side of the room; and strange, uncouth-looking pictures hanging up, which, so far as Rollo could see, did not look like any thing at all. Then there was an electric machine upon a stand in one corner, which he was afraid might in some way "shock" him; and some frightful-looking surgical instruments in a little case, which was open upon the table in the middle of the room.
In fact, Rollo was very glad to escape safely out of the doctor's office; and he was, if possible, still more rejoiced that he had so light and easy a prescription. He had thought that, perhaps, the doctor would put something on his eyes, and bandage them up, so that he could not see at all; or else give him some black and bitter medicines to take every night and morning.
Instead of that, he said to himself, as he came out at the door, "I have only got to keep from studying, and that will be capital. I can play all the time. True, I can't read any story books; but, then, I am willing to give the story books up, if I don't have to study."
Rollo had usually been obliged to read, or study, or write a little, even in vacations; for his mother said that boys could not be happy to play all the time. Rollo, however, thought that she was mistaken in this. It is true that she had sometimes allowed him to try the experiment for a day or two, and in such cases he had always, somehow or other, failed of having a pleasant time. But then he himself always attributed the failure to some particular difficulty or source of trouble, which happened to come up then, but which would not be likely to occur again.
In fact, in this opinion Rollo was partly correct. For it was true that each day, when he failed of enjoying himself, there was some peculiar reason for it, and exactly that reason would not be likely to exist another day. But then the difficulty with playing, or attempting to amuse one's self all the time, is, that it produces such a state of mind, that almost any thing becomes a source of uneasiness or dissatisfaction; and something or other is likely to occur, or there will be something or other wanting, which makes the time pass very heavily along.
It is so with men as well as boys. Men sometimes are so situated that they have nothing to do but to try to amuse themselves. But these men are generally a very unhappy class. The poorest laborer, who toils all day at the hardest labor, is happier than they.
So that the physician's prescription was, in reality, a far more disagreeable one than Rollo had imagined.
When Rollo reached home, he told his mother that he was not to have any thing more to do with books for a month.
"And you look as if you were glad of it," said she, with a smile.
"Yes, mother, I am," said Rollo, "rather glad."
"And what do you expect to do with yourself all that time?" said she.
"O, I don't know," said Rollo. "Perhaps I shall help Jonas, a part of the time, about his work."
"That will be a very good plan for a part of the time," said his mother; "though he is doing pretty hard work just now."
"What is he doing?"
"He is digging a little canal in the marsh, beyond the brook, to drain off the water."
"O, I can dig," said Rollo, "and I mean to go now and help him."
This was about the middle of the forenoon; and Rollo, taking a piece of bread for a luncheon, and a little tin dipper, to get some water with, to drink, out of the brook, walked along towards the great gate which led to the lane behind his father's house. It was a pleasant, green lane, and there were rows of raspberry-bushes on each side of it, along by the fences. Some years before, there had been no raspberries near the house; but one autumn, when Jonas had a good deal of ploughing to do down the lane, he ploughed up the ground by the fences in this lane, making one furrow every time he went up and down to his other work. Then in the spring he ploughed it again, and by this time the turf had rotted, and so the land had become mellow. Then Jonas went away with the wagon, one afternoon, about two miles, to a place where the raspberries were very abundant, and dug up a large number of them, and set them out along this lane, on both sides of it; and so, in a year or two, there was a great abundance of raspberries very near the house.
Rollo stopped to eat some raspberries as he walked along. He thought they would do exceedingly well with his bread, to give a little variety to his luncheon. After he had eaten as many as he wanted, he thought he would gather his dipper full for Jonas, as he was busy at work, and could not have time to gather any for himself.
He got his dipper full very quick, for the raspberries were thick and large. He thought it was an excellent plan for Jonas to plant the raspberry-bushes there; but then he thought it was a great deal of trouble to bring them all from so great a distance.
"I wonder," said he to himself, as he sat upon a log, thinking of the subject, "why it would not have been just as well to plant raspberries themselves, instead of setting out the bushes. The raspberries must be the seeds. I mean to take some of these big ones, and try. I dare say they'll grow."
But then he reflected that the spring was planting time, and he knew very well that raspberries would not keep till spring; and so he determined to ask Jonas about it. He accordingly rose up from the log, and walked along, carrying his dipper, very carefully, in his hand.
At length, he reached the brook. There was a rude bridge over it made of two logs, placed side by side, and short boards nailed across them for a foot-way. It was only wide enough for persons to walk across. The cattle and teams always went across through the water, at a shallow place, just below the bridge.
Rollo lay down upon the bridge, and looked into the water. There were some skippers and some whirlabouts upon the water. The skippers were long-legged insects, shaped somewhat like a cricket; and they stood tiptoe upon the surface of the water. Rollo wondered how they could keep up. Their feet did not sink into the water at all, and every now and then they would give a sort of leap, and away they would shoot over the surface, as if it had been ice. Rollo reached his hand down and tried to catch one, to examine his feet; but he could not succeed. They were too nimble for him. He thought that, if he could only catch one, and have an opportunity to examine his feet, he could see how it was that he could stand so upon the water. Rollo was considering whether it was possible or not, that Jonas might make something, like the skippers' feet, for him, to put upon his feet, so that he might walk on the water, when suddenly he heard a bubbling sound in the brook, near the shore. He looked there, and saw some bubbles of air coming up out of the bottom, and rising to the top of the water. He thought this was very singular. It was not strange that the air should come up through the water to the top, for air is much lighter than water; the wonder was, how the air could ever get down there.
From wondering at this extraordinary phenomenon, Rollo began to wonder at another quite different question; that is, where all the water in the brook could come from. He looked at a little cascade just above the bridge, where the water rushed through a narrow place between two rocks, and watched it a few minutes, wondering that it should continue running so all the time, forever; and surprised also that he had never wondered at it before.
He looked into the clear, transparent current, which poured steadily down between the rocks, and said to himself,
"Strange! There it runs and runs, all the time—all day, and all night; all summer, and all winter; all this year, and all last year, and every year. Where can all the water come from?"
Then he thought that he should like to follow the brook up, and find where it came from; but he concluded that it must be a great way to go, through bushes, and rocks, and marshes; and he saw at once that the expedition was out of the question for him.
Just then he heard another gurgling in the water near him, and, looking down, he saw more bubbles coming up to the surface, very near where they had come up before. Rollo thought he would get a stick, and see if he could not poke up the mud, and find out what there was down there, to make such a bubbling. He thought that perhaps it might be some sort of animal blowing.
He went off of the bridge, therefore, and began to look about for a stick. He had just found one, when all at once he heard a noise in the bushes. He looked up suddenly, not knowing what was coming, but in a moment saw Jonas walking along towards him.
"Ah, Jonas," said Rollo, "are you going home?"
"Yes," said Jonas, "unless you will go for me."
"Well," said Rollo, "what do you want me to get?"
"I want some fire, to burn up some brush. You can bring out the lantern."
"Very well," said Rollo, "I will go; only I wish you would tell me where these bubbles come from out of the bottom of the brook."
"What bubbles?" said Jonas.
So Rollo took his stick, and pushed the end of it down into the mud, and that made more bubbles come up.
"They are bubbles of air," said Jonas.
"But how comes the air down there," said Rollo, "under the water?"
"I don't know," said Jonas; "and besides I must not stay and talk here; I must go back to my work. I will talk to you about it when you come back." So Jonas returned to his work, and Rollo went to the house again after the lantern.
When he came back to the brook, he found that he could not make any more bubbles come up; but instead of that, his attention was attracted by some curiously colored pebbles near the shore. He put his hand down into the water, and took up two or three of them. He thought they were beautiful. Then he took his dipper, which had, all this time, been lying forgotten by the side of a log, on the shore, and walked along—the dipper full of raspberries in one hand, the lantern in the other, and his bright and beautiful pebbles in his pocket.
Rollo followed the path along the banks of the brook under the trees, until at length he came out to the open ground where Jonas was at work. There was a broad meadow, or rather marsh, which extended back to some distance from the brook, and beyond it the land rose to a hill. Just at the foot of this high land, at the side of the marsh farthest from the brook, was a pool of water, which had been standing there all summer, and was half full of green slime. Jonas had been at work, cutting a canal, or drain, from the bank of the brook back to this pool, in order to let the water off. The last time that Rollo had seen the marsh, it had been very wet, so wet that it was impossible for him to walk over it; it was then full of green moss, and sedgy grass, and black mire, with tufts of flags, brakes, and cranberry-bushes, here and there all over it. If any person stepped upon it, he would immediately sink in, except in some places, where the surface was firm enough to bear one up, and there the ground quivered and fluctuated under the tread, for some distance around, showing that it was all soft below.
When Rollo came out in view of the marsh, he saw Jonas at work away off in the middle of it, not very far from the pool. So he called out to him in a very loud voice,
[Footnote A: See Frontispiece.]
Jonas, who had been stooping down at his work, rose up at hearing this call, and replied to Rollo.
Rollo asked him how he should get across to him.
"O, walk right along," said Jonas; "the ground is pretty dry now. Go up a little farther, and you will find my canal, and then you can follow it directly along."
So Rollo walked on a little farther, and found the canal where it opened into the brook. He then began slowly and cautiously to walk along the side of the canal, into the marsh; and he was surprised to find how firm and dry the land was. He thought it was owing to Jonas's canal.
"Jonas," said he, as he came up to where Jonas was at work, "this is an excellent canal; it has made the land almost dry already."
"O, no," said Jonas, "my canal has not done any good yet."
"What makes the bog so dry, then?" said Rollo.
"O, it has been drying all summer, and draining off into the brook."
"Draining off into the brook?" repeated Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas.
"But there is not any drain," said Rollo; "at least there has not been, until you began to make your canal."
"But the water soaks off slowly through the ground, and oozes out under the banks of the brook."
"Does it?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas; "and the only use of my canal is to make it run off faster."
"Ah! now I know," said Rollo, half talking to himself.
"Know what?" asked Jonas.
"Why, where all the water of the brook comes from; at least, where some of it comes from."
"How?" said Jonas. "I don't know what you mean."
"Why, I could not think where all the water came from, to keep the brook running so fast all the time. But now I know that some of it has been coming all the time from this bog. Does it all come from bogs?"
"Yes, from bogs, and hills, and springs, and from the soakings of all the land it comes through, from where it first begins."
"Where does it first begin?" said Rollo.
"O, it begins in some bog or other, perhaps; just a little dribbling stream oozing out from among roots and mire, and it continually grows as it runs."
"Is that the way?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas, "that is the way."
During all this time Rollo had been standing with his lantern and his dipper in his hands, while Jonas had continued his digging. Rollo now put the lantern down, and handed the dipper to Jonas, telling him that he had brought him some raspberries.
Jonas seemed quite pleased with his raspberries. While he was eating them, Rollo asked him if a raspberry was a seed.
"No," said Jonas. "The whole raspberry is not, the seeds are in the raspberry. They are very small. When you eat a raspberry, you can feel the little seeds, by biting them with your teeth."
Rollo determined to pick some seeds out, and see how they looked; but Jonas told him that the way to get them out was to wash them out in water.
"Take some of these raspberries," said he, "in the dipper to the brook, and pour in some water over them. Then take a stick and jam the raspberries all up, and stir them about, and then pour off the water, but keep the seeds in. Next, pour in some more water, and wash the seeds over again, and so on, until the seeds are all separated from the pulp, and left clean."
"Is that the way they get raspberry seeds?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas, "I believe so. I never tried it myself; but I have heard them say that that is the way they do with raspberries, and strawberries, and all such fruits."
Rollo immediately went and washed out some seeds as Jonas had directed, and when he came back he spread them out upon a piece of birch bark to dry. While they were there, Jonas let him kindle the pile of brush wood, which he had been intending to burn. It had been lying all summer, and had got very dry. In the mean time, Jonas continued digging his canal, and was gradually approaching the pool of water. When he had got pretty near the pool, he stopped digging the canal, and went to the pool itself. He rolled a pretty large log into the edge of it, for him to stand upon; and with his hoe he dug a trench, beginning as far in the pool as he could reach with his hoe, while standing upon his log, and working gradually out towards where he had left digging the canal. The bottom of the pool was very soft and slimy; but he contrived to get a pretty deep and wide trench out quite to the margin, and a little beyond.
"Now," said he to Rollo, "I am going to dig the canal up to the end of this trench, and then the water will all run very freely."
There was now a narrow neck of land between the end of the canal and the beginning of the trench; and as Jonas went on digging the canal along, this neck grew narrower and narrower. Rollo began to be impatient to see the water run. He wanted Jonas to let him hoe a little passage, so as to let it begin to run a little.
"No," said Jonas.
"Why not?" said Rollo.
"There are two good reasons," he replied. "The first is, it will spoil my work, and the second is, it will spoil your play."
"What do you mean by that?" said Rollo.
"Why, if I let the water run a little now, it will flood me here, where I am digging, and make all muddy; and I cannot finish my canal so easily; so it will spoil my work. Then, besides, we want to see the water run in a torrent; but if I let you dig a little trench along across the neck, so as to let it off by degrees, you will not take half as much pleasure in seeing it run, as you will to wait until it is all ready. So it will spoil your play."
Rollo did not reply to this, and Jonas went on digging.
"Well," said Rollo, after a short pause, "I wish, Jonas, you would tell me how the bubbles of air get down into the mud, at the bottom of the brook."
"I don't know," said Jonas.
"It seems to me it is very extraordinary," said Rollo.
"It is somewhat extraordinary. I have thought of another extraordinary phenomenon somewhat like it."
"What is that?" said Rollo.
"The rain," replied Jonas.
"The rain?" said Rollo; "how?"
"Why, the rain," replied Jonas, "is water coming down out of the air; and the bubbles are air coming up out of the water."
"Then it is exactly the opposite of it," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas.
"But you said it was like it."
"Well, and so it is," Jonas replied.
"Like it, and yet exactly opposite to it! Jonas, that is impossible."
"Why, yes," said Jonas, "the air gets down into the water, and you wonder how it can, when it is so much lighter than water. So water gets up into the air, and I wonder how it can, when it is so much heavier. So that the difficulty is just about the same."
"No," said Rollo, "it is just about opposite."
"Very well," said Jonas. Jonas never would dispute. Whenever any body said any thing that he did not think was correct, he would sometimes try to explain it; but then, if they persisted, he would generally say "Very well," and that would prevent all dispute. This is an excellent way to prevent disputes, or to end them when they are begun.
While Jonas was digging slowly along through the neck of land, Rollo was rambling about among the bushes, and at length Jonas heard a sudden scream from him. Jonas looked up, and saw Rollo scrambling away from a little thicket, and then presently stopping to look back, apparently frightened.
"What now, Rollo?" said Jonas.
"Here is a great hornets' nest," said Rollo.
Jonas laid down his spade, and went to where Rollo was. Rollo pointed to a little bush, where Jonas saw, hanging to a bough, not far from the ground, a small hornets' nest, about as big as a common snow-ball, and as round. Jonas walked slowly up towards it, watching it very attentively, as he advanced.
"O Jonas! Jonas!" exclaimed Rollo, "you'd better be careful. Jonas! Jonas! you'll get stung."
Jonas paid no attention to what Rollo was saying, but still kept moving slowly on towards the bush. When he got pretty near, he took his knife out of his pocket, and advancing one step more, he took hold of the end of the branch with one hand, and cut it off close to the tree, with the other. Rollo, in the mean time, had run backwards several steps to avoid the danger; still, however, keeping his eyes fixed upon Jonas.
Jonas brought the nest out of the thicket.
"Jonas!" said Rollo, in a tone of strong remonstrance, "you are crazy."
"There are no hornets in it," said Jonas, quietly.
He brought out the nest, and held it so that he and Rollo could see it.
"The hornets have made it of brown paper," said he.
"Brown paper," said Rollo. "Where do they get the brown paper?"
"O, they make the brown paper too."
"Ho!" said Rollo; "hornets can't make paper."
"Think not?" said Jonas. Jonas was always careful not to contradict, even when he supposed that Rollo was mistaken.
Rollo said he was sure that hornets could not make paper. Then Jonas took off a little shred from the hornets' nest, and compared it with some brown paper which he had in his pocket; and he explained to Rollo that the hornets' nest was made of little fibres adhering to each other, just as the fibres of the paper did.
"It is the same article," he said, "and made of the same materials; only they manufacture it in a different way. So I don't see why it is not proper to call it paper."
"I don't think it is paper," said Rollo; "nothing is paper but what men make."
"Very well," said Jonas, "we won't dispute about the name."
So Jonas returned to his work, and Rollo said that he meant to carry the hornets' nest home, and show it to Nathan. He accordingly laid it down by the side of his fire, near the dipper and the raspberry seeds.
In a short time, Jonas reduced the neck of ground, where he was digging, to a very narrow wall, and he called Rollo to come and see him let out the water. He took the shovel, and he told Rollo to take the hoe, so that, as soon as he should break down this wall, they could both be at work, digging out the passage way, so as to get it cleared as soon as possible.
He accordingly began, and soon made a breach, through which the water rushed with considerable force into the canal, and then wandered along rapidly towards the outlet into the brook. Rollo pulled away with his hoe, hauling out mud, moss, grass, and water, up upon the bank where he stood; and Jonas also kept at work clearing the passage with the spade. In a short time they had got a fine, free course for the water, and then they stood still, one on each side of the bank, watching the torrent as it poured through.
At length, the water in the pool began to subside gradually, and then it did not run so fast through the canal; and pretty soon after this, Jonas said he thought it was time for them to go home to dinner. So Rollo put up his raspberry seeds in a paper, and put them into his pocket, and carried his hornets' nest in his hand. Jonas took the dipper and the lantern, and thus the boys walked along together.
A FALSE ALARM.
As Rollo and Jonas walked along towards home, Rollo told Jonas that he thought he had been very successful in collecting curiosities that day.
"Why, what curiosities have you got besides your hornets' nest?" asked Jonas.
"Why, there are my raspberry seeds," said Rollo; "I think they are a curiosity; and besides that, I have got some very beautiful, bright pebbles in my pocket."
"Let us see them," said Jonas.
So Rollo put his hand into his pocket, and drew forth several pebbles; but they were by no means as beautiful as he had imagined. They looked rough and dull.
"They were very bright, when I got them," said Rollo.
"That is because they were wet," said Jonas. "Pebbles always look brightest and most beautiful when they are in their own proper place, in the brook; and that is the reason why I think it is generally best to leave them there."
Rollo looked at his faded pebbles with an air of disappointment. He asked Jonas if there was no way of keeping them bright all the time.
"I think it probable that they might be oiled, and the oil would not dry."
"Ho!" said Rollo, "I should not like to have them oiled."
"Nor I," said Jonas; "I should rather leave them in the brook."
"But is not there any other way?"
"They might be varnished," said Jonas. "That would bring out the colors; and the varnish would dry, so that you could handle them."
"That would do," said Rollo, "if I only had some varnish."
"But the best way is to polish them," said Jonas.
"How is that done?" asked Rollo.
"O, it is very hard to do," replied Jonas. "They grind them on stones, and then they polish them on polishing wheels."
"I wish I could do it," said Rollo.
"It is not worth while to take so much pains with any of your curiosities," said Jonas, "because you very soon get tired of them, and throw them away."
"O, no," said Rollo, "I never throw them away."
"You leave them lying about the house and yard, then, and so other people throw them away."
Rollo knew that this was true, and so he did not contradict Jonas.
"It's not of much use to collect curiosities," said Jonas, "unless you have a museum."
"A museum?" said Rollo.
"Yes, that is a cabinet to put them in, and keep them safe. Then, when you have done looking at them yourself, you put them away safely; and, after a time, you get a great many collected, and you take pleasure in looking them over from time to time, and showing them to other boys that come to see you."
"Well," said Rollo, "I should like to have a museum."
"O, you could not keep one," said Jonas.
"Why not?" said Rollo.
"You have not patience and perseverance enough. You would be very much pleased with it for a day or two; but then you would get interested in other plays, and let your museum all get into disorder."
Rollo was silent. He knew that what Jonas said was true.
"I don't know but that your cousin Lucy might keep a museum," said Jonas; "she is more careful than you are."
"And cousin James could help us find the curiosities," said Rollo.
"So he could," said Jonas. "I think it might be a very good plan."
"But what shall we have for our cabinet to put them in?" said Rollo.
"Why, sometimes they have something like a book-case," replied Jonas, "with shelves and glass doors. Then the curiosities are all put upon the shelves, and you can see them through the glass doors. But this can only be done with very valuable curiosities."
"Why?" asked Rollo.
"Because such a case, with glass doors, costs a good deal of money; and it is not worth while to pay so much money only to keep common things, such as your pebble stones."
"But we have got such a book-case, already made; it is in mother's chamber," said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas; "but it is full of books. Sometimes they keep a museum in the drawers of a bureau; but that is not a very good plan."
"Why not?" said Rollo.
"Because, when you open and shut the drawers, it joggles the curiosities about."
"Does it?" said Rollo.
"Yes," replied Jonas. "But there is one thing you can do—I did not think of it before. There is a good large box in the barn, and I can put some shelves into it, and make the cover into a door; and if you want to collect a museum, you can do it in that. You can keep it out in the play room, and so it will not trouble any body in the house."
Jonas meant, by the play room, a pretty large room, in the barn, made originally for a sort of granary, but which the children were accustomed to use for a play room.
Rollo was very much pleased with this plan. He determined to collect a museum, and to put his hornets' nest in it for the first thing. As soon as he got home, as he found that dinner was not quite ready, he and Jonas went out into the barn to look at the box. It was a large box, which had been made to pack up a bureau in, so that the bureau should not get injured in the wagon which it was brought home in. As it happened, the box was smooth inside and out, and the cover of it was made of two boards, which Jonas had taken off carefully, when he took the bureau out, and had then tacked them on again; thinking that he might perhaps want it some time or other,—box, covers, and all.
Now it happened, as it generally does to persons who take care of things, that the article which Jonas thus preserved, came into use exactly. The box, he said, would be just the thing. He showed Rollo how he could place it so that it would make a convenient sort of cabinet.
"I can put it upon its end," said he, "and then I can put on the two cover boards with hinges,—one pair of hinges on each side; then the covers will make little doors, and it will open like a book case, only it will not be quite so elegant."
"I think it will be very elegant indeed," said Rollo; "and you can make it for us this afternoon."
"No," said Jonas; "not this afternoon."
"Why not?" said Rollo.
"O, I must attend to my work in the meadow."
"O, no," said Rollo. "I mean to ask my father to let you make it this afternoon."
"No; I'd rather you wouldn't," said Jonas.
"Why not?" asked Rollo. "I know he will let you."
"Yes, I suppose he would let me, if you were to ask him; but that would spoil the museum."
"Spoil it?" said Rollo.
"Yes," said Jonas. "The way to spoil any pleasure is to neglect duty for the sake of it. Work first, and play afterwards. That's the rule."
"Well, but, Jonas, we want to begin our museum this afternoon."
"Very well," said Jonas; "you may begin collecting your curiosities, you know; and you can put them all in a safe place, and have them all ready to put in when I get the case made."
Rollo did not quite like this plan; but he knew that Jonas was always firm when it was a question of right and wrong, and so he said no more; only, after a moment's pause, he asked Jonas when he would make the cabinet.
"The first rainy day," replied Jonas.
"Then I hope it will rain to-morrow," said Rollo; and he went out of the barn to see if it was not cloudy. But the sun shone bright, and the sky was clear and serene.
* * * * *
While Rollo was looking up at the sky, trying to find some appearance of rain, he heard a chaise coming, and looking out into the road, he saw that his cousin James was in it.
"Ah," said he to himself, "there comes cousin James! Now I will have a frolic with him, by means of my hornets' nest."
So Rollo ran into the garden, and slyly fixed his hornets' nest up in a lilac bush; and then ran out to the front of the house to find his cousin. But his cousin was nowhere to be found. The chaise was at the door, the horse being fastened to a post; but nobody was near it. So Rollo went into the house to see if he could find James.
They told him in the house that James had gone through the house into the yard, in pursuit of Rollo.
Rollo then ran out again, and at length found James, and after talking with him a minute, he said,
"Come, James, let us go into the garden."
So they walked along towards the garden, Rollo telling James, by the way, about the canal which Jonas had made that day. At length, when they reached the lilac bush, Rollo looked up, and started in pretended fright, saying,
"O James! look there!"
"O!" exclaimed James; "it is a hornets' nest."
"So 'tis," said Rollo; "run! run!"
James and Rollo started off at these words, and away they ran down the alley, Rollo convulsed with laughter at the success of his stratagem. At length they stopped.
"Now, how shall we get back?" said James. For the lilac, upon which Rollo had put the hornets' nest, was close to the garden gate.
"I am not afraid to go," said Rollo.
So Rollo walked along boldly; James following slowly and with a timid air, remonstrating with Rollo for his temerity.
"Rollo!" said he, "Rollo! take care. You had better not go."
But what was his surprise and astonishment at seeing Rollo go deliberately up to the bush, and take down the twig that had the hornets' nest attached to it, and hold it out towards him!
"I put it up there," said Rollo. "There are no hornets in it."
Still, James was somewhat afraid. He knew of course, now, that there could be no hornets in it; but, still, the association of the idea of danger was so strong with the sight of a hornets' nest, that he could not feel quite easy. At length, however, he came up near to it, and examined it attentively.
"What made you frighten me so, Rollo?" said he.
"O, only for fun," said Rollo.
"But you deceived me," said James; "and I don't think that that was right. It is never right to deceive."
"O, I only did it for fun," said Rollo.
James insisted upon it that it was wrong, and Rollo that it was not wrong; and finally they concluded to leave it to Jonas. So they both went to him, and told him the story.
"Wasn't it wrong?" asked James.
"It wasn't—was it?" said Rollo.
"It was deception," added James.
"But it was only in fun," said Rollo.
"One or the other of you must be to blame," said Jonas.
"How?" asked Rollo.
"Why, James seems displeased with you for frightening him so; and now, either you must have done wrong, and given him just cause for his displeasure, or else, if you did right, then his displeasure is unreasonable, and so it is ill humor."
The boys did not answer.
"So that the question is, Did Rollo do wrong? or, Is James out of humor?"
"Why, I think deception is always wrong," said James.
"Did you ever play blind-man's-buff?" asked Jonas.
"Yes," replied James.
"And did you ever go and squeak in a corner, and then creep away, to make the blind man think you were there, and so go groping after you?"
"Why, yes," said James; "but that is not deception."
"Why, don't you try to make the blind man think you are in the corner, when, in fact, you have gone?"
"Yes," said James.
"And is not that trying to deceive him?"
"Yes—" said James, hesitating, "but,—I think that that is a very different thing."
"How is it different?" said Jonas.
It is probable that James would have found some difficulty in answering this question; but, in fact, he did not have the opportunity to try, for, just then, he heard some one calling him, and he and Rollo went into the house. They wanted him to go, and so he got into the chaise and rode away, promising to come and see Rollo in the afternoon, if he could get permission. Soon after this, Rollo sat down, with the rest of the family, to dinner. He determined to commence in earnest the work of collecting curiosities that afternoon.
James came to play with Rollo that afternoon, and Rollo explained to him his plan of collecting a museum of curiosities. James was very much interested in it indeed, and he said that he had some shells and some Guinea peas at home, which he would put into it.
Rollo went to show him the box out of which Jonas was going to make the cabinet the first rainy day. Then the boys went out again to see if there were yet any signs of a storm. But they looked in vain. There were no clouds to be seen, except here and there a few of those white, fleecy tufts floating in the heavens, which indicate fair weather rather than rain.
The boys played together in the yard for some time. Among other things, they amused themselves by collecting some flowers, and pressing them in a book. Suddenly James said,
"O Rollo, let us go and get some blue-bells to press; they will be beautiful."
"Where?" said Rollo.
"Among the rocks by the road, beyond the bridge," said James. "There are plenty of them among those rocks."
The place which James referred to, was a rocky precipice by the road side, about a quarter of a mile from the house; just at the entrance of a small village. Rollo approved of the proposal, and he went in and asked his mother's permission to go.
She consented, and Rollo, when he came back through the kitchen, said to Dorothy, who was sitting at the window, sewing,
"Dorothy, we are going to get some blue-bells to press."
"Ah!" said Dorothy. "Where are you going for them?"
"O, out by the bridge," said Rollo, as he passed on to go out at the door.
"O Rollo!" said she, calling out to him suddenly, as if she recollected something; "stop a minute."
So Rollo came back to hear what she had to say.
"You are going pretty near the village."
"Yes," said Rollo.
"And could you be so kind as to do an errand for me?"
"Yes," said Rollo; "what is it?"
Then Dorothy went to her work-table, and began to open it, saying all the time,
"I want you to get some medicine for Sarah, for she is sick."
Sarah was a friend of Dorothy's, who lived at another house, not far from Rollo's; and Rollo used sometimes to see her at his father's, when she came over to see Dorothy. She was in very feeble health, and now wanted some medicines. Dorothy had been over at the house where she lived that day, and had found that the doctor had left her a prescription; but she had nobody to send for it, and she was not quite able to go herself. So Dorothy told her that if she would let her have the money, she would ask Rollo or Jonas to go.
So Sarah gave her a dollar bill, and in order to keep it safe, she put it in a little morocco wallet, and tied it up securely with a string. This wallet was what Dorothy was looking for, in her work-table. She took it out, and untied the string. She opened the wallet, and showed Rollo the money in one of the pockets, and a small piece of white paper, upon which was written the names of the medicines which the doctor wished Sarah to take. Such a writing is called a prescription.
Rollo looked at the prescription to see what sort of medicines it was that he was to get, but he could not read it. The words were short and strange, and had periods at the end of them,—which Rollo told Dorothy was wrong, as periods ought to be only at the end of a sentence. Then there were strange characters and marks at the ends of the lines; and Rollo, after examining it attentively, said he could not read a word of it, and he did not believe that the apothecary could. However, he said he was willing to take it to him, and let him try.
He accordingly put the prescription back again carefully into the wallet, and Dorothy tied it up. Then he put it into his pocket, and went out to James. He found James waiting by the gate, and they both walked along together.
He and James had each a book to put their blue-bells in. They walked along, talking about their flowers, until at length they reached the bridge. Just beyond it was the rocky precipice, with shrubs and evergreens growing upon the shelves and in the crevices, and spaces between the rocks. It towered up pretty high above the road, and the declivity extended also down to the brook below the bridge, forming one side of the deep ravine across which the bridge was built. There was a very large, old hemlock-tree growing upon a small piece of level ground between the ravine and the higher part of the precipice. Under this hemlock-tree was a large, smooth, flat stone, where the boys used very often to come and sit, when they came to play among these rocks.
The boys rambled about among the rocks, sometimes down in the ravine and near the brook, and sometimes very high up among the rocks. They were both pretty good climbers, and there were no very dangerous places, for there were no high, perpendicular precipices. They found blue-bells in abundance, and several other flowers. They also found a variety of brakes, of different forms and colors. They determined to gather as many flowers as they could, and then go down to the hemlock-tree, and there look them over, and select those best to be pressed; and then put them carefully into their books there. Then they could carry them home safely; they would, in fact, be in press all the way.
After rambling and climbing about for half an hour, the boys went down to the flat rock, under the hemlock, with large bunches of plants and flowers in their hands. Here they sat another half hour, looking over their specimens, and putting them into their books. At length, Rollo picked up a singular-looking thing, which was lying down by the side of the stone under the tree. It was about as big as his thumb, and somewhat pointed at the ends. It was black, and rather glossy, and the surface was marked regularly with little ridges. James could not imagine what it was; but Rollo told him that he thought it must be a hemlock-seed. The truth was, that it was a great chrysalis, though Rollo did not find it out till long afterwards.
"A hemlock-seed!" said James.
"Yes," said Rollo; "I have seen the cones which grow on fir-trees, and they are a good deal like this."
"But they are not so handsome," said James.
"I know it," said Rollo; "they are not so handsome. This is the most beautiful one I ever saw."
"We can plant it," said James, "next spring."
"Yes," said Rollo; "and then we can have a great hemlock-tree near our house."
"But we shall have to wait a great many years," said James.
"O, no, not a great many," said Rollo. "It is such a great seed, I think it would grow pretty fast."
But James did not like the idea of planting it very well. He proposed that they should keep it, for a curiosity, in their museum. Rollo insisted, at first, upon planting it; but at length, reflecting that it was not then the right season to plant it, he concluded to put it into the museum, with his raspberry-seeds, until the next spring, and to plant it then.
So Rollo put the hemlock-seed into his pocket, and he and James took their books under their arms, with a great many flowers and plants carefully placed between the leaves, and walked along towards the village. When they arrived at the apothecary's, Rollo put his book down upon the counter, and then took the wallet from his pocket, and untied the string, and took the prescription out, and handed it to the apothecary. The apothecary was talking with another man, at the time; but he took the prescription, and Rollo watched his countenance to see how perplexed and puzzled he would look, when he tried to read it. Instead, however, of appearing perplexed and puzzled, the apothecary only glanced his eye over it, and laid it down upon the counter, and immediately began to look upon his shelves to find the articles.
"That's strange!" said Rollo to himself. "He reads it as easily as I should a guide board."
While the apothecary was weighing out his medicines, Rollo was very much interested in looking at the little pair of scales in which he weighed them. Rollo never had seen so small a pair of scales. The weights, too, were small, square weights of brass, with little figures stamped upon them. He asked the apothecary what such scales as those would cost. He answered that they were of various prices, from one dollar to five. Rollo thought that that was too much for him to give; but while he was thinking whether his father would probably be willing to let him have a dollar to buy a pair with, James said that he wished he had such a pair of scales.
"So do I," said Rollo; "then we could play keep store. We could have our store out in the play room, and weigh things."
"So we could," said James. "We could put a long board upon two barrels for a counter."
"O, you must make your scales, boys," said the apothecary.
"How can we make them?" said Rollo.
"Why, you can get a good, stout knitting-needle for a beam. Tie a silk thread around the middle of it to hold it up by, and slip it along until you get it so that the needle will exactly balance. Then for scales, you must cut out two round pieces of thin pasteboard. Then take three threads for each scale, and run them through the pasteboard, near the edge, and at equal distances from each other. You must tie knots at the lower ends of the threads to keep them from drawing through. Then you must gather the other ends of the threads together, about half a foot from the pasteboard, and tie them to the ends of the knitting-needle, one on each side; and that will make a very respectable pair of scales for you."
"But what shall we do for weights?" asked Rollo.
"O, weights!—yes, you must have some weights. You must make them of lead. I will show you how."
So the apothecary took a small piece of sheet lead, rather thin, and cut off a little square of it. He then put it into one of his scale balances, and put a thin, square weight of brass, similar to it, into the other scale. The lead weight was a little too heavy. He then clipped off a very little with his scissors. This made it about right. Then, with the point of his scissors, he scratched a figure 1 upon it. "There," said he, "boys, there is a standard for you."
"What is a standard?" said Rollo, taking up the weight.
"Why, it is a weight made exactly correct, for you to keep, and make yours by. It is a one-grain weight. I will give you some sheet lead, and when you get home and have made your scales, you can cut off another piece, and weigh it by that, and so you will have two one-grain weights. Then you can put those two into one scale, and a piece of lead as big as both of them into the other scale, and when you have made it exactly as heavy as both of the others, you must mark a figure 2 upon it, and then you will have a two-grain weight. In the same way you can make a five-grain weight, and a ten-grain weight, and a pennyweight."
"What is a pennyweight?" said Rollo.
"It is a weight as heavy as twenty-four grains."
"The pennyweight will be very big, then," said Rollo.
"Yes," said the apothecary; "but you can take a little strip of lead like a ribbon, and then roll it up, when you have made it just heavy enough, and then it will not take up much room. So you can make another roll for two pennyweights, and another for five pennyweights, and another for ten pennyweights."
"And another for twenty pennyweights," said James.
"Yes; only twenty pennyweights make an ounce. So you will call that an ounce weight. But you cannot weigh more than an ounce, I should think, in your knitting-needle scales."
By this time the apothecary had put up the medicines, and he gave them to Rollo. There was a middle-sized parcel, and a very small parcel, and small, round box. Rollo put them all into the pocket of his pantaloons. Then he opened his wallet, and took out the bill, and gave it to the apothecary. The apothecary handed him the change. It was half a dollar, and one small piece of silver besides. Rollo put the change back into the wallet, and tied it up just as it had been before, and then crowded the wallet back into his pocket, by the side of the parcels which the apothecary had given him.
A LITTLE LAW.
That evening, when Rollo's father came home, he went out at the door leading to the garden yard, and looked into the yard to see if Rollo was there. He was not to be seen.
His father then took the bell which always hung in the entry, and began to ring it at the door. This bell was the one that was rung for breakfast, dinner, and supper; and when Rollo was out, they generally called him in, by ringing it at the door.
While Rollo's father was ringing the bell, Dorothy opened the door which led from the kitchen into the entry, and said to Rollo's father,
"Are you ringing for Rollo, sir?"
"Yes," he replied.
"He has gone to the village," said Dorothy. "He has gone back to look for a pocket-book, which he dropped, coming home, or else left at the apothecary's."
"A pocket-book?" said his father, with surprise.
"Yes, sir," said Dorothy. "He went to get some medicine for Sarah, and, when he came home, the pocket-book was missing."
"Was there any money in it?" said he.
"Yes, sir," replied Dorothy.
"I don't know, sir, how much."
Rollo's father then put the bell back into its place, and walked again into the parlor. He was afraid that there was a good deal of money in the pocket-book, and that it was all lost.
He, however, went on attending to his own business, until by and by he heard Rollo's voice in the kitchen. He called him in. Rollo and James came in together.
"Have you found the pocket-book?" asked Mr. Holiday.
"No, sir," said Rollo; "I have looked all along the road, and inquired at the apothecary's; but I can't find any thing of it."
"Well, now, I want you to tell me the whole story; and especially, if you have done wrong about it, in any way, don't attempt to smooth and gloss it over, but tell me that part more plainly and distinctly and fully than any other."
"Well, sir," said Rollo, with a very serious air, "I will.
"We went to the apothecary's to get some medicines for Sarah. When I was there, I put the change in the wallet, and put the wallet in this pocket."
"It was a wallet, then," said his father.
"Yes," replied Rollo, "a wallet, or a small pocket-book. I suppose now, that it would have been better to have put it in some other pocket; because that was pretty full. So in that, I suppose, I did wrong. Then James and I came home, only we did not walk along directly; we played about a little from one side of the road to the other, and then we went under the great hemlock-tree, to see if we could not find another hemlock-seed."
"Another hemlock-seed?" said his father.
"Yes, sir," said Rollo; "I suppose it is a hemlock-seed."
"What was it? a sort of a cone?"
"Yes, sir," said Rollo; "with ridges upon it."
Now it is true that pines, firs, and other evergreens bear a sort of cone, which contains their seed; and Rollo's father thought, from Rollo's description, that it was one of these cones which Rollo had found. In fact, the cone was somewhat similar in shape, though, if he had shown it to his father, he would have known immediately that it was a very different thing. Rollo put his hand into his pocket to show the supposed hemlock-seed to his father, but it was not there. He had left it out in the play room.
"Very well," said his father, "I don't know that I ever saw the cone of the hemlock; but, very probably, this is one of them. But go on, about the pocket-book."
"Well, sir,—when we got home, I took out the medicines, but the pocket-book was nowhere to be found; and I have been back with James, and we have looked all along the road, and under the hemlock-tree, and we have inquired at the apothecary's; but we cannot find it any where."
"How much money was there in the wallet?" said his father.
"Half a dollar, and a little more," said Rollo.
Rollo's father felt somewhat relieved at finding that the loss was, after all, not very large. He placed confidence in Rollo's account of the facts, and having thus ascertained how the case stood, he began to consider what was to be done.
"It is a case of bailment," said he to Rollo, "and the question is, whether you are liable."
"A case of what?" said Rollo.
"Bailment," said his father. "When one person intrusts another with his property for any purpose, it is called bailing it to him. The wallet and the money were bailed to you. The law relating to such transactions is called the law of bailment. And the question is, whether, according to the law of bailment, you ought to pay for this loss."
Rollo seemed surprised at such a serious and legal view of the subject being taken; he waited, however, to hear what more his father had to say.
"I don't suppose," continued his father, "that Sarah will commence an action against you; but law is generally justice, and to know what we ought to do in cases like this, it is generally best to inquire what the law requires us to do."
"Well, sir," said Rollo, "and how is it?"
"Why, you see," said his father, "there are various kinds of bailments. A thing may be bailed to you for your benefit; as, for instance, if James were to lend you his knife, the knife would be a bailment to you for your benefit. But if he were to ask you to carry his knife somewhere to be mended, and you should take it, then it would be a bailment to you for his benefit."
"Well, sir, I took the wallet for Sarah's benefit, not mine," said Rollo.
"The law requires," continued his father, "that you should take greater care of any thing, if it is bailed to you for your benefit, than it does if it is for the benefit of the bailor. For instance, if you were to borrow James's knife for your own benefit, and were to lose it, even without any special carelessness, you ought to get him another; for it was solely for your advantage, that you took it, and so it ought to be at your risk. But if he asked you to take the knife to get it mended for his benefit; then, if you accidentally lose it, without any particular carelessness, you ought not to pay for it; for it was placed in your hands for his advantage, and so it ought to be at his risk."
"Well," said Rollo, "the wallet was given to me for Sarah's advantage, not mine; and so I ought not to pay for it."
"That depends upon whether it was lost through gross carelessness, or not. For when any thing is bailed to you for the benefit of the owner, if it is lost or injured through gross carelessness, then the law makes you liable. As, for instance, suppose you take James's knife to get it mended, and on your way you throw it over the fence among the grass, and then cannot find it, you ought to pay for it; for you were bound to take good ordinary care of it."
"Well, sir," said Rollo.
"Well," repeated his father, "now as this property was bailed to you solely for the advantage of the bailor, the question whether you ought to pay for the loss of it, depends on whether you was grossly careless, or not. If you took good ordinary care, and it was lost by accident, then you are not liable."
"Well, father, I think it was accident; I do, truly."
"I rather think so myself," said his father, with a smile, "and I am inclined to think that you are not responsible. If any body asks a boy like you to carry money for them, gratuitously, then they take themselves the ordinary risks of such a conveyance, and I think that, on the whole, this accident comes within the ordinary risks. There was not such gross carelessness as to make you liable. But then I am very sorry to have Sarah lose her money."
"So am I," said Rollo. "And the wallet is gone too."
"How good a wallet was it?" asked his father.
"O, pretty good; only it was considerably worn."
"Haven't you got one that is pretty much the same, that you don't care a great deal about?"
"Yes, sir," said Rollo; "it is in my desk. I had as lief that she would have it as not."
"Very well," said his father; "you give her your wallet, and I will replace the money."
So Rollo went to his desk, and soon came back, bringing his little wallet. He unfastened its steel clasp, and opened the wallet, and took out some little pictures which he had treasured up there, and some small pieces of white paper, which he said were marks. They were to put into his books to keep the place, when he was reading. He had got quite a quantity of them all prepared for use. When Rollo had got his wallet ready, his father took out half a dollar from his pocket, and also another small silver coin, about as large as Rollo said the one was, which was lost; and then sent Rollo to carry it to Dorothy.
In a few minutes, Rollo came back with the money in his hand, and said,
"She won't take it. She said I must bring it back. It was as much as I could do to get her to take the wallet."
"But she must take it," replied his father. "You carry it to her again, and tell her she has nothing to do with the business. The money is for Sarah, and she must not refuse it, but take it and give it to her the first opportunity."
So Rollo carried the money again to Dorothy. She received it this time, and put it in the wallet, and then deposited both in a safe place in her work-table. Then Rollo came back to his father to ask him a little more about bailments.
"Father," said Rollo, when he came back, "if James should give me his knife, or any thing, for my own, would that be a bailment?"
"No," said his father. "A bailment is only where property is intrusted to another, for a certain purpose, to be returned again to the possession of the owner, when the purpose is accomplished. For instance, when Jonas is sawing wood with my saw, the saw is a bailment from me to him; it remains my property; but he is to use it for a specific purpose, and then return it to my possession."
"He does not bring it back to you," said Rollo.
"No, but he hangs it up in its place in my shed, which is putting it again in my possession. And so all the things which Dorothy uses in the kitchen are bailments."
"And if she breaks them, must she pay for them?"
"No, not unless she is grossly careless. If she exercises good ordinary care, such as prudent persons exercise about their own things, then she is not liable, because she is using them mainly for my benefit, and of course it must be at my risk. But if Sarah should come and borrow a pitcher to carry some milk home in, and should let it fall and break it by the way, even if it was not gross carelessness, she ought to pay for it; that is, the person that sent her ought to pay for it, for it was bailed to her for her benefit alone; and therefore it was at her risk."
"I should not think you would make her pay for it," said Rollo.
"No, I certainly should not. I am only telling what I should have a right to do if I chose.
"Sometimes a thing is bailed to a person," continued Rollo's father, "for the benefit of both persons, the bailor and the bailee."
"The bailee?" said James.
"Yes, the bailee is the person the thing is bailed to. For instance, if I leave my watch at the watchmaker's to be mended, and I am going to pay him for it, in that case you see it is for his advantage and mine too."
"And then, if it is lost, must he pay for it?"
"Yes; unless he takes good care of it. If it is for his benefit alone, then he must take special care of it, or else he is liable for the loss of it. If it is for my benefit alone, then he must take ordinary care of it. For instance, suppose I had a very superior repeater watch, which the watchmaker should come and borrow of me, in order to see the construction of it. Then suppose I should leave another watch of mine,—a lever,—at his shop to be repaired. Suppose also I should have a third watch, a lady's watch, which I had just bought somewhere, and I should ask him to be kind enough to keep it for me, a day or two, till my watch was done. These would be three different kinds of bailments. The repeater would be bailed to him for his benefit; the lever for his and mine jointly, and the lady's watch for my benefit alone.
"Now, you see," continued Rollo's father, "that if these watches should get lost or injured in any way, the question whether the watchmaker would have to pay for them or not, would depend upon the degree of care it would have required to save them. For instance, if he locked them all up with special care, and particularly the repeater, and then the building were struck with lightning and the watches all destroyed, he would not have to pay for any of them; for this would be an inevitable accident, which all his care could not guard against. It would have been as likely to have happened to my repeater, if I had kept it at home.
"But suppose now he should hang all three watches up at his window, and a boy in the street should accidentally throw a stone and hit the window, so that the stone should go through the glass and break one of the watches. Now, if the repeater was the one that was hit, I should think the man would be bound to pay for it: because he was bound to take very special care of that, as it was borrowed for his benefit alone. But if it was the lady's watch, which he had taken only as an accommodation to me, then he would not be obliged to pay; for, by hanging it up with his other watches, he took ordinary care of it, and that was all that he was obliged to take."
"I should think," said James, "that the boy would have to pay, if he broke the watches."
"Yes," said Rollo's father; "but we have nothing to do with the boy now, we are only considering the liabilities of the watchmaker."
"And if it had been the lever that was broken," asked Rollo, "what then?"
"Why, as to the lever," said his father, "he was bound to take good care of it,—something more than mere ordinary care; and I don't know whether the law would consider hanging watches up at a window as good care or not. It would depend upon that, I suppose. But the watches might be lost in another way. Suppose the watchmaker had sent the repeater home to me, and then, at night, had put the lever and the lady's watch into a small trunk with his other watches, and carried them to his house, as watchmakers do sometimes. Now suppose that, when he got home, he put the trunk of watches down in a corner of the room; and suppose that there was a leak in the roof of his house, so that the water could come in sometimes when it rained. In the night there comes up a shower, and the water gets into the trunk, and rusts and spoils the watches. Now I think it probable that he would not have to pay for the lady's watch, for he took ordinary care of that,—that is, the same care that he was accustomed to take of his own watches. But he might have to pay for the other; for he was bound to take good care of that one, as it was partly for his benefit that it was bailed to him; and putting them where they were at all exposed to be wet, would be considered, I suppose, as not taking good care of them."
"And so he would not have to pay for the lady's watch, in any case," said Rollo.
"Yes, he would, if he did not take ordinary care of it; that is, if he was grossly negligent. For instance, if he should take all the rest of his watches home, and leave that in his shop upon the counter, where I had laid it down, and somebody should come in the night and steal it, then, perhaps he would be liable."
By this time, Rollo's father began to think that his law lecture had been long enough for such young students, and so he said that he would not tell them any more about it then. "But now," said he, in conclusion, "I want you to remember what I have said, and practise according to it. Boys bail things to one another very often, and a great many disputes arise among them, because they don't understand the law of bailment. It applies to boys as well as men. It is founded on principles of justice and common sense, and, of course, what is just and equitable among men, is just and equitable among boys.
"You must remember that whenever any thing belonging to one boy is intrusted to another in any way, if it is for the benefit of the bailee, if any accident happens to it, he must make it good; unless it was some inevitable accident, which could not have been prevented by the utmost care. If it is for the benefit of the bailor, that is, the boy who intrusts it, then he can't require the other to pay for it, unless he was grossly negligent. And if it was for the common benefit of both, then if the bailee takes what may be called good care of it, he is not liable to pay; if he does not take good care, he is."
Here ended the lecture on the law of bailment. James soon after went home, and Rollo in due time went to bed. The next morning, when he got up and began to dress himself, he thought one of the legs of his pantaloons felt somewhat heavy. He put his hand down to ascertain what was there, and he felt something at the bottom, between the cloth and the lining. It was Sarah's pocket-book. When Rollo put it into his pocket, as he thought, he in reality slipped it inside of the lining, and it worked itself down to the bottom, as he was playing about. He pulled it out, and then, after he had dressed himself, he ran very joyfully to his father, to show it to him. His father was very glad that it was found, and told Rollo to carry it to Dorothy. Dorothy was very glad, too, for she was very sorry to have Rollo lose his own wallet, or his father lose his money. So she gave him back his wallet, and he replaced it in his desk where it was before, after giving his father back his money.
Rollo explained his plan of collecting a museum of curiosities to his cousins Lucy and James, and to his sister Mary, who was a good deal older than he was. He also informed Henry, a playmate of his, who lived not a great way from his father's house. All the children took a great deal of interest in the scheme, and promised to help him collect the curiosities.
At length, after a few days, Rollo, to his great joy, observed one evening signs of an approaching storm. The wind sighed through the trees, and thick, hazy clouds spread themselves over the sky.
"Don't you think it is going to rain?" said Rollo to his father, as he came in to tea.
"I don't know," said his father. "Which way is the wind?"
"I'll go and see," said Rollo.
He went out and looked at the vane which Jonas had placed upon the top of the barn.
When he came in, he told his father that the wind was east. Then his father said he thought it would rain, and Rollo clapped his hands with delight.
And it did rain. The next morning, when Rollo awoke, he heard the storm driving against the window of his chamber. After breakfast, he took an umbrella, and went out into the barn, and found Jonas already at work upon the cabinet. In the course of the morning he finished it. He put three good shelves into it, which, together with the bottom of the box, made four shelves. He also put the two covers on, with hinges, so as to make doors of them; and put a little hasp upon the doors, outside, to fasten them with. He then put it up in one corner of the play room, all ready for the curiosities. Rollo put in his hornets' nest, his pebble stones, and his hemlock-seed, as he called it; and then went to the barn door, and began to be as eager to have it clear up, as he had been before to have it rain. He wanted to go out and collect some more curiosities.
After a time it did clear up, and Rollo obtained his mother's leave to go and ask all the children who were going to have a share in the museum, to come one afternoon and begin to collect the curiosities. They all came—Lucy, James, and Henry. And when Rollo saw them all collected in the garden yard, with baskets in their hands all ready to go forth after curiosities, he capered about full of anticipations of delight.
"Now," said Henry, "let us go down to the hemlock-tree."
"No," said Rollo, "it will be better to go to the brook, where I found the pebbles."
"But I want to go and see if I can't find another hemlock-seed," said Henry.
Rollo was, however, very unwilling to go that way, and yet Henry insisted upon it. Lucy listened to the dispute with a countenance expressive of distress and anxiety. First, she proposed to Rollo to yield to Henry, and then to Henry to yield to Rollo; but in vain. Henry said that Rollo ought to let him decide, because he was the oldest; and Rollo said that he himself ought to decide, because it was his museum. They were both wrong. Neither ought to have insisted upon having his own way so strenuously. At length, after quite a long and unpleasant altercation, Lucy proposed that they should draw lots for it. The boys consented.
"I'll tell you a better plan than that," said a voice above them. They looked up, and saw Mary sitting at the window of the chamber. She had been reading, but, on hearing this dispute, she had closed her book, and now interposed to do what she could to aid in settling it.
When Rollo heard his sister Mary's voice, he felt a little ashamed of his pertinacity. Lucy asked Mary what the plan was.
"Why," said she, "in all expeditions where there are several children, it is very desirable to have a regent."
"A regent?" said Lucy.
"Yes," said Mary, "a commander, to take the lead, and decide the thousand little questions which are likely to occur. Unless there is somebody to decide them, there will be endless disputes."
"Well," said Henry, "I'll be regent."
"No," said Mary, "you must choose one. I'll tell you how. You must choose the regent by ballot. Lilac leaves make good ballots. Each one of you must consider who you think will be best for regent,—that is, who will have the most discretion and judgment, to decide wisely, and at the same time be mild and gentle, and amiable in manner, so as to be a pleasant commander. Of course, no one must vote for himself."
"But I don't understand," said Rollo. "What are the lilac leaves for?"
"For ballots; that is, for you to write your votes upon. You can write on the under side of a lilac leaf with the point of a pin."
"Can we?" said Lucy, with a look of curiosity and pleasure.
"Yes," said Mary, "you need not write the whole name. You can write the first letter—that will be enough. R. stands for Rollo, L. for Lucy, H. for Henry, J. for James, and N. for Nathan."
"Ho!" said Rollo, "Nathan won't do for a regent."
"Perhaps not," said Mary; "each one of you must vote for the one you think best. Now get your lilac leaves, and I will drop you down some pins."
The children ran off very eagerly to get the leaves, and then came back, and Mary dropped down four pins. They each took one, and, with the point of it, wrote a letter upon the back of the leaf. Then Mary asked Nathan to carry around his cap, and let them all drop their leaves into it, and then bring them up to her, and she would see who was chosen.
So Nathan, highly pleased with his office, collected the votes in his cap, and brought them up to his sister Mary. She looked them over as she sat at the window, the children all looking up from below, eagerly awaiting the result. At length, Mary told them that there were four leaves in Nathan's cap, and that three of them had the letter L upon it. "So," said she, "you see you have chosen Lucy for regent."
"Yes, I voted for Lucy," said Rollo. "I thought she would be the best."
"And so did I," said James and Henry.
Lucy looked down, and felt a little embarrassed at finding herself raised so suddenly to the dignity of regent; and she asked Mary what she was to do.
"O, walk along with them just as you would if you had not been chosen; only you will decide all the questions that come up, such as where you shall go, and how long you shall stay in the different places. The others may give you their opinions, if you ask them; but they must let you decide, and they must all submit to your decisions."
"Well, come," said Lucy; "we'll go down the lane first." So she took hold of Thanny's hand, and walked along, the other children following. They passed through the great gate, and soon disappeared from Mary's view.
They were gone two or three hours. At length, when the sun had nearly gone down, Mary heard voices in the front of the house. She left her back window, and went around to a front window to see. She found them returning, and all talking together with the greatest volubility. They had their baskets full of various commodities, and large bouquets of flowers and plants in their hands. They did not see Mary at the window, and as they all seemed to be good-natured and satisfied with their afternoon's work, Mary did not speak to them; and so they passed along into the yard undisturbed. They proceeded immediately to the cabinet in the play room, and then began to take out their treasures from their baskets, and pockets, and handkerchiefs, and to spread them out upon the floor, and upon the bench. In a short time, the floor was covered with specimens of plants and minerals, with shells, and pebbles, and little papers of sand, and nuts, and birds' nests which they had found deserted, and all sorts of wonders. The room was filled with the sound of their voices; questions, calls to one another, expressions of delight, exclamations of surprise, or of disappointment or pleasure. It was all,—"James, you are treading on my flowers!" "O Lucy, Lucy, see my toadstool!" "O, now my prettiest shell is broken!" "Move away a little, Rollo—I have not got room for all my pebbles"—"Where's my silk worm? now where's my silk worm?" "O Henry, give me some of your birch bark, do,"—and a hundred other similar ejaculations, all uttered together.
They soon began, one and another, to put their curiosities into the cabinet,—and then it was, as the old phrase is, confusion worse confounded. Lucy had some discretion and forbearance, and kept a little back, looking, however, uneasy and distressed, and attempting in vain to get an opportunity to put some of her things in. The boys crowded around the cabinet, each attempting to put his own curiosities into the most conspicuous places, and arranging them over and over again, according as each one's whims or fancies varied.
"O dear me," said Rollo, "I wish you would not keep moving these pebbles away, Henry."
"Why, you put them too far this way," said Henry; "I want my shells to go here."
"No," replied Rollo, "put your shells down on the next shelf. James! James! take care; don't touch that birds' nest."
"Yes, I want room for my silver stone," said James. He had found a shining stone, which he called a silver stone. And thus they disputed, and talked loudly and vociferously, and contradicted, interrupted, pushed, and crowded each other. Still, they were all good-natured; that is, they were not angry; the difficulty only arose from their eagerness and their numbers,—and their disorganization.
"O dear me," said Rollo, at length, "I wish we had a regent again; we got along very well, while Lucy was a regent. Let me be regent now. Come, Henry and James, let me be regent, and I will direct, and then we shall have order again."
"Well," said James.
"No," said Henry, "you have not been elected. You can't be regent, unless you are chosen regularly."
Lucy said nothing, but stood behind the others in despair.
"Well, then, let Lucy be regent; she was chosen."
"But I was only chosen regent for the walk," said Lucy.
"O never mind," said Rollo, "let her be regent now."
But Henry was not disposed to submit to any doubtful authority. He kept at work putting things in, in the way that pleased him most, without any regard to Rollo's proposal for prolonging Lucy's authority. As Henry did not acquiesce in this proposed measure, Rollo and James seemed to think it was useless for them to do so, and so they went much as they had begun, until they had pretty well filled up Jonas's cabinet with a perfect medley of specimens, the worthy and the worthless all together. They were at length interrupted by the sound of the bell, calling Rollo in to tea; Henry then went home, and James, Lucy, and Rollo went into the house.
James and Lucy staid and took tea with Rollo that evening; and, during tea time, Rollo's father and mother were talking, and the boys were all still. At last, just before they had finished their supper, Rollo's father asked them how they had got along collecting curiosities.
"O, we had a very good time," said Rollo, "till we came to put our curiosities away; and then we should have had a good time if the boys had not pushed so, and made such a noise."
"What made them do so?" asked his mother.
"I don't know, unless it was because we did not have any regent."
"Any what?" said his father.
"Any regent," said Rollo. "We had Lucy for a regent while we were walking, and then we got along very well; but she would not be regent any longer, when we got home."
Rollo's father and mother scarcely knew what to make of this; for they had never heard before of a regent in children's plays. But as they looked towards Mary, and observed that she was smiling, they at once understood that it was one of her plans. Rollo's father said he thought it was an excellent idea.
"But why did not you have a regent when you were putting your things away, just as you had before?" he asked.
"Why, Lucy said she was only chosen for the walk."
"And so she would not serve any longer?"
"That was right, Lucy. Never attempt to command without a commission.
"But, Rollo," added his father, "I should think it would be best for you to have some sort of organization, if you are going to attempt to do any thing in company. Men never think that they can accomplish any thing in company, without organization; and I should certainly think that children would not be able to."
"Organization?" said Rollo; "what is that?"
"Why, some plan for investing some persons with authority. There must always be authority to decide little questions without debate, and for getting the opinions of all, on great questions, regularly.
"If a number of men," he continued, "were going to form a cabinet of curiosities, they would form a society. They would choose one to be president, and one to be secretary, and one to be cabinet keeper."
"What does the president do?" asked Lucy.
"The president decides who shall speak, when several want to speak at the same time; and so he prevents all confusion. Nobody must speak without his leave."
"Do they have to ask him?" said Rollo.
"Yes, in fact, they ask him, though not formally in words. They ask him by rising. In large meetings among men, whoever wants to speak, stands up, and then the president calls their name, and that is giving him permission to speak. If more than one stand up at a time, then he calls the name of one of them, and he has leave to speak, and the other must sit down."
"Which one does he call?" asked Rollo.
"The one whom he happens to notice first. He must be careful not to call his friends more than he does other persons. He must be impartial. Then, besides, the president puts the question."
"Puts the question?" asked Rollo; "what is putting the question?"
"Why, after all has been said about the plan that they want to say, the president asks all that are in favor of it, to hold up their hands; and he counts them. Then he asks all that are against it to hold up their hands. He counts these too. And it is decided according to the number of votes."
"Is that the way they do?" said Rollo.
"Yes," replied his father, "that is the way that men do; but boys all talk together, and dispute. If some want to play ball, and some want to play horses, they all talk together, and dispute; it is all,—'I say we will,' and 'I say we won't,'—and those that make the most noise get the victory."
"The men's way is the best," said Rollo.
"I think so myself," replied his father.
"And what does the secretary do?" asked Mary.
"The secretary keeps the record. He writes an account of every meeting."
"Does he write all that every body says?" asked Rollo.
"No," said his father, "only the decisions."
"Well," said Rollo, with a tone of satisfaction, "and the cabinet keeper keeps the cabinet, I suppose."
"Yes," said his father, "and so all disputings about where the things are to be placed in the cabinet, are avoided; for he decides the whole. He must be a person of judgment and skill."
"Jonas would be a good cabinet keeper for us," said Rollo.
"I think you had better form a regular society, Rollo," said Mary.
"Well," said Rollo, "will you belong to it?"
"Yes," said Mary.
"And we can choose our officers by lilac ballots," said James.
"We'll have the first meeting to-morrow afternoon," said Rollo. "I will go in the morning, and ask Henry to come,—if mother will let me."
* * * * *
His mother did let him, and the next afternoon the children all collected in the yard, intending to form their society, and proceed regularly. Mary promised to meet with them, and help them make their arrangements. They were to meet in the play room.
Before the time of the meeting, Mary went in, and, with Rollo's help, made some seats of boards, not far from the cabinet, so that all the members of the society might sit down. The children played about in the yard, some gathering lilac leaves for ballots, and some talking about the curiosities they meant to collect, until, at length, Mary came down and told them it was time to go and have their meeting. She had a great many little papers in one hand, and some pencils in the other. James asked her what she was going to do with those papers. She said they were for ballots.
"O, we have been getting lilac leaves for ballots," said Lucy.
"Papers are better," said Mary, "when there is a good deal of balloting to be done."
Then the children threw down the lilac leaves they had gathered, and followed Mary into the play room. They all came around the cabinet, and began to open it and talk about the curiosities. But Mary told them that, if they were going to have a society, they must not touch the cabinet until they had appointed a cabinet keeper—they ought all to go and sit down.
So they went and sat down.
"And now you must not talk at all, until the president is chosen," said Mary. "You must all write upon these papers the name of the person you think best for president, and then bring them to me. You see," she continued, as she distributed the papers around, to the other children, "that I am acting as president just now, until we get one chosen. That is the way men do. I asked father about it. He said that the oldest person, or one of the oldest, generally took charge of the proceedings, until a chairman was chosen."
"A chairman?" said Rollo.
"Yes, or president; sometimes they call him a chairman."
So the children took their papers, and began to prepare for writing their ballots.
"What shall we put our papers on, cousin Mary, to write?" said Lucy.
"O, you must write on the seat by the side of you,—or on this book; here is a book for one."
"I can write on my cap," said James; and he placed his cap upon his knees, and began to use that for a desk. One of the children took the book, and others leaned over to one side, and put their papers upon the seat, and prepared to write there. Some began to write very soon. Others looked around mysteriously, considering which one of the company would make the best president. Henry stood up by the great work bench, and made that his writing-desk; keeping a sharp look-out all the time lest Rollo should see what he should write. And thus the children prepared their votes for president.
When the votes were all ready, the children brought them all together to Mary, who put them on the corner of the great bench near which she was standing; and the children all came up around them, to see who was chosen.
But Mary gently put her hand over the votes, and told them that that was not the way to count votes. "You must all go and sit down again," she said, "and appoint some one to count them; and then he or she must come alone, and look them over and tell you who is chosen."
"Well," said the children; and so they went back to their seats.
"I propose that Henry count them," said Mary.
"Well," said the children.
"No, let James," said Rollo.
"That is not right, Rollo," said Mary, "because it is of very little consequence who counts the votes, and in societies the best way is to let things that are of little consequence go according to the first proposal. That saves time."
So Henry came up, and began to look over the votes.
"They are all for Mary but one, and that is for Lucy," said Henry.
"Then cousin Mary is president," said James, clapping his hands.
"Yes," said Mary, "it seems you have chosen me president; and I will be president for a time, until I think that some of the rest of you have learned how to preside, and then I shall resign, and leave you to manage your society yourselves. Now you must write the votes for secretary." So Mary took her seat in the chair which she had provided for the president, and which, until this time, had been empty.
So the children began to write votes again, and as fast as they had written them they brought them to Mary, and dropped them in her lap. As soon as each one had put in his vote, he went back and took his seat. When the votes were all in, Mary looked them over, and said,
"There are two votes for Lucy, and one for Rollo, and one for Henry."
"Then Lucy is chosen secretary," said James.
"No," said Mary, "because she has only half. The person that is chosen must have more than half of all the votes. Lucy has two, and there are two scattering."
"Scattering!" said Rollo, looking somewhat puzzled.
"Yes; that is, for other persons."
"What shall we do, then?" said Rollo.
"Why, you must vote again."
So the children wrote votes again, and brought them in to the president. She smiled as she looked them over. Then she said,
"Now there is a tie."
"A tie, Mary!" said Rollo; "what is a tie?"
"Why, there are two votes for Rollo, and two for Lucy; that makes it exactly balanced, and they call that a tie."
"And now what shall we do with the tie?" said Rollo.
"Why, you must vote again."
Just as the children were preparing to vote again, they heard a noise of footsteps at the door, and, looking up, they saw Nathan coming in. He had his little straw hat upon his head, and his whip in his hand. He was playing market-man, and wanted to know if they wished to buy any potatoes.
The children all laughed. Mary said, "No, Thanny, this is a society; come, don't you want to belong to the society?"
"Yes," said Nathan; and down went his whip upon the floor, and he came trotting along towards Mary. Mary told him to sit down upon the seat next to Rollo.
Nathan took his seat, and began to look around with an air of great curiosity, wondering what they were going to do; and by this time the votes were ready. Mary looked them over and counted them, and then said that they were just as they were before, two for Rollo, and two for Lucy.
"What shall we do now?" said Rollo.
"We must vote again," said James.
"That won't do any good," said Henry.
"There's Thanny," said Lucy; "let him vote."
"Well," said Mary, "and that will break the tie."
"O, Thanny can't vote," said Rollo; "he can't write a word."
"He can vote without writing," said Mary. "Thanny, come here. Which do you think will make the best secretary, Rollo, or Lucy?"
"Why—Lucy," said Thanny, after some hesitation.
"Lucy, he says; so Lucy is chosen," said Mary. "Now, Lucy, you must be secretary; but I forgot to bring out some paper."
Rollo looked a little disappointed. He had hoped to have been secretary himself. So when Nathan came back to his seat, he began to punch him a little, good-naturedly, with his thumb, saying, "Me—why didn't you say me, Thanny? Hey, Thanny! Why did not you say me?"
Just then, Mary asked Rollo to go into the house and get a sheet of paper for the secretary; and when he came back, Lucy asked her what she should write. Mary gave her the necessary directions, and then Lucy went to the bench, and standing there, near the president's chair, she went on writing the record, while the rest of the society proceeded with their business. The next thing was to choose a cabinet keeper.
"You may prepare your votes for cabinet keeper."
"I think Jonas would be the best cabinet keeper," said Henry; "he made the cabinet."
"O, Jonas does not belong to the society," said Rollo.
"But we can let him in," said Lucy.
"No, he can't belong to the society," said Rollo; "he has too much work to do."
The fact was, that Rollo wanted to be cabinet keeper himself, and so he was opposed to any arrangement which would be likely to result in the election of Jonas. But Mary said that it was not necessary that any one should be a member of the society, in order to be chosen cabinet keeper. She said he might be chosen, if the children thought best, even if he was not a member. "But then," said she, "you must consider all the circumstances, and vote for the one who, you honestly think, will take the best care of the curiosities, and arrange them best."
The children then wrote their ballots, and brought them to Mary. Mary asked Lucy to count them. Lucy said she had not written her vote herself yet.
"Well, write it quick then," said Mary.
"But I can't think," said Lucy, "whether I had better vote for Jonas or Rollo."
"Well," said Mary, "you have only to consider whether it will be best for the museum to be in Jonas's hands, or in Rollo's."
"But I have been thinking," said Lucy, "that it is all Rollo's plan, and his museum; and that he ought to be cabinet keeper, if he wants to be."
"There is something in that," said Mary; "though generally, in choosing officers, we ought to act for the good of the society, not for the good of the officers."
"But it is my cabinet," said Rollo; "Jonas made it for me."
"That may be," said Mary; "that is, it may have been yours at the beginning; but when you invite us all to come and form a society, you give up your claim to it, and it comes to belong to the society; at any rate, the right to manage it belongs to the society, and we must do what will be best for the whole."
Rollo did not look very much pleased at these remarks of his sister's; but Lucy immediately wrote her vote, and put it with the others. She then examined and counted them, and immediately afterwards, she said there were three votes for Jonas, and one for Rollo. So Jonas was chosen. The children did not know who wrote the vote which was given for Rollo; but the fact was, he wrote it himself. He wanted to be cabinet keeper very much indeed.
CAUGHT,—AND GONE AGAIN.
Rollo was sadly disappointed at not being chosen cabinet keeper. Older and wiser persons than he have often been greatly vexed from similar causes. When the society meeting was ended, Mary told Lucy that she must tell Jonas that they had chosen him cabinet keeper, for she was secretary, and it was the secretary's duty to do that. Mary then went into the house. The children gathered around the cabinet, and began to look at the things which had been put in the day before. Rollo undertook to arrange one of the shelves differently from what it had been; but Henry told him he must not touch the things, for Jonas was cabinet keeper, and nobody but the cabinet keeper had any right to touch the things.
"O, I am only going to change them a little," said Rollo.
"But you have no right to touch them at all," said Henry, pushing Rollo back a little.
"Yes, I have," said Rollo, standing stiffly, and resisting Henry's push. "It's my cabinet, and I have a right to do what I please with it."
"No, it is not your cabinet," said Henry; "it belongs to the society."
"No, it doesn't," said Rollo.
"It does," said Henry.
Rollo was wrong—and, in fact, Henry was wrong. In disputes, it almost always happens that both boys are wrong. Lucy stood by, looking distressed. She was very sorry to have any disputing about the cabinet.
"O, never mind, Henry," said she; "let him move them. Jonas will put them all right afterwards."
"No," said Rollo, "I am going to keep the cabinet myself."
This was not at all like Rollo, to be so unreasonable and angry. But Henry's roughness had irritated and vexed him, and that, in connection with his own determination to keep the charge of his cabinet, had got him into a very wrong state of mind.
Lucy did not know what to do. She walked slowly along to the door, and after standing there a moment, while Rollo was at work upon the cabinet, she said,