VOL. V. JANUARY, 1878. No. 3.
[Copyright, 1877, by Scribner & Co.]
THE RAVENS AND THE ANGELS.
(A Story of the Middle Ages.)
BY THE AUTHOR OF "CHRONICLES OF THE SCHOeNBERG-COTTA FAMILY."
In those old days, in that old city, they called the cathedral—and they thought it—the house of God. The cathedral was the Father's house for all, and therefore it was loved and honored, and enriched with lavish treasures of wealth and work, beyond any other father's house.
The cathedral was the Father's house, and, therefore, close to its gates might nestle the poor dwellings of the poor,—too poor to find a shelter anywhere besides; because the central life and joy of the house of God was the suffering, self-sacrificing Son of Man; and dearer to Him, now and forever, as when He was on earth, was the feeblest and most fallen human creature He had redeemed than the most glorious heavenly constellation of the universe He had made.
And so it happened that when Berthold, the stone-carver, died, Magdalis, his young wife, and her two children, then scarcely more than babes, Gottlieb and little Lenichen, were suffered to make their home in the little wooden shed which had once sheltered a hermit, and which nestled into the recess close to the great western gate of the minster.
Thus, while inside from the lofty aisles pealed forth, night and day, the anthems of the choir, close outside, night and day, rose also, even more surely to God, the sighs of a sorrowful woman and the cries of little children whom all her toil could hardly supply with bread. Because, He hears the feeblest wail of want, though it comes not from a dove or even from a harmless sparrow, but a young raven. And He does not heed the sweetest anthem of the fullest choir, if it is a mere pomp of sound. Because, while the best love of His meanest creatures is precious to Him, the second-best of His loftiest creatures is intolerable to Him. He heeds the shining of the drops of dew and the rustling of the blades of grass. But from creatures who can love he cannot accept the mere outside offering of creatures which can only make a pleasant sound.
All this, or such as this, the young mother Magdalis taught her babes as they could bear it.
For they needed such lessons.
The troubles of the world pressed on them very early, in the shape little children can understand—little hands and feet nipped with frost, hunger and darkness and cold.
Not that the citizens of that city were hypocrites, singing the praises of God, whilst they let His dear Lazaruses vainly crave at His gates for their crumbs.
But Magdalis was very tender and timid, and a little proud; proud not for herself, but for her husband and his babes. And she was also feeble in health. She was an orphan herself, and she had married, against the will of her kindred in a far-off city, the young stone-carver, whose genius they did not appreciate, whose labor and skill had made life so rich and bright to them while he lived, and whose early death had left them all so desolate.
For his dear sake, she would not complain. For herself it had been easier to die, and for his babes she would not bring the shame of beggary on them. Better for them to enter into this life maimed of strength, she thought, by meager food, than tainted with the taint of beggary.
Rather, she thought, would their father himself have seen them go hungry to bed than deserve that the fingers of other children should be pointed scornfully at them as "the little beggars by the church door," the door of the church in which she gloried to think there were stones of his carving.
So she toiled on, carving for sale little devotional symbols—crosses, and reliquaries, and lilies and lambs—with the skill she had learnt from him, and teaching the little ones, as best she could, to love and work and suffer. Teaching them only, perhaps, not quite enough to hope. For the lamp of hope burnt low in her own heart, and therefore her patience, not being enough the patience of hope, lacked something of sweetness. It never broke downward into murmurs, but it too seldom soared upward into praise.
So it happened that one frosty night, about Christmas-tide, little Gottlieb lay awake, very hungry, on the ledge of the wall, covered with straw, which served him for a bed.
It had once been the hermit's bed. And very narrow Gottlieb thought it must have been for the hermit, for more than once he had been in peril of falling over the side, in his restless tossings. He supposed the hermit was too good to be restless, or perhaps too good for the dear angels to think it good for him to be hungry, as they evidently did think it good for Gottlieb and Lenichen, or they would be not good angels at all, not even as kind as the ravens which took the bread to Elijah when they were told. For the dear Heavenly Father had certainly told the angels always to take care of little children.
The more Gottlieb lay awake and tossed and thought, the further off the angels seemed.
For, all the time, under the pillow lay one precious crust of bread, the last in the house until his mother should buy the loaf to-morrow.
He had saved it from his supper in an impulse of generous pity for his little sister, who so often awoke, crying with hunger, and woke his poor mother, and would not let her go to sleep again.
He had thought how sweet it would be, when Lenichen awoke the next morning, to appear suddenly, as the angels do, at the side of the bed where she lay beside her mother, and say:
"Dear Lenichen! See, God has sent you this bit of bread as a Christmas gift."
For the next day was Christmas Eve.
This little plan made Gottlieb so happy that at first it felt as good to him as eating the bread.
But the happy thought, unhappily, did not long content the hungry animal part of him, which craved, in spite of him, to be filled; and, as the night went on, he was sorely tempted to eat the precious crust—his very own crust—himself.
"Perhaps it was ambitious of me, after all," he said to himself, "to want to seem like a blessed angel, a messenger of God, to Lenichen. Perhaps, too, it would not be true. Because, after all, it would not be exactly God who sent the crust, but only me."
And with the suggestion, the little hands which had often involuntarily felt for the crust, brought it to the hungry little mouth.
But at that moment it opportunely happened that his mother made a little moan in her sleep, which half awakened Lenichen, who murmured, sleepily, "Little mother, mother, bread!"
Whereupon, Gottlieb blushed at his own ungenerous intention, and resolutely pushed back the crust under the pillow. And then he thought it must certainly have been the devil who had tempted him to eat, and he tried to pray.
He prayed the "Our Father" quite through, kneeling up softly in bed, and lingering fondly, but not very hopefully, on the "Give us our daily bread."
And then again he fell into rather melancholy reflections how very often he had prayed that same prayer and been hungry, and into distracting speculations how the daily bread could come, until at last he ventured to add this bit of his own to his prayers:
"Dear, holy Lord Jesus, you were once a little child, and know what it feels like. If Lenichen and I are not good enough for you to send us bread by the blessed angels, do send us some by the poor ravens. We would not mind at all, if they came from you, and were your ravens, and brought us real bread. And if it is wrong to ask, please not to be displeased, because I am such a little child, and I don't know better, and I want to go to sleep!"
Then Gottlieb lay down again, and turned his face to the wall, where he knew the picture of the Infant Jesus was, and forgot his troubles and fell asleep.
The next morning he was awaked, as so often, by Lenichen's little bleat; and he rose triumphantly, and took his crust to her bedside.
Lenichen greeted him with a wistful little smile, and put up her face for a kiss; but her reception of the crust was somewhat disappointing.
She wailed a little because it was "hard and dry," and when Gottlieb moistened it with a few drops of water, she took it too much, he felt, as a mere common meal, a thing of course, and her natural right.
He had expected that, in some way, the hungry hours it had cost him would have been kneaded into it, and made it a kind of heavenly manna for her.
To him it had meant hunger, and heroism, and sleepless hours of endurance. It seemed strange that to Lenichen it should seem nothing more than a hard, dry, common crust.
But to the mother it was much more.
She understood all; and, because she understood so much, she said little.
She only smiled, and said he looked more than ever like his father; and as he sat musing rather sadly while she was dressing, and Lenichen had fallen asleep again, she pointed to the little peaceful sleeping face, the flaxen hair curling over the dimpled arm, and she said:
"That is thy thanks—just that the little one is happy. The dear Heavenly Father cares more, I think, for such thanks than for any other; just to see the flowers grow, just to hear the birds sing to their nestlings, just to see His creatures good and happy, because of His gifts. Those are about the best thanks for Him and for us."
But Gottlieb looked up inquiringly.
"Yet He likes us to say 'Thank you,' too? Did you not say all the Church services, all the beautiful cathedral itself, is just the people's 'Thank you' to God? Are we not going to church just to say 'Thank you,' to-day?"
"Yes, darling," she said. "But the 'thank you' we mean to say is worth little unless it is just the blossom and fragrance of the love and content always in the heart. God cares infinitely for our loving Him, and loves us to thank Him if we do. He does not care at all for the thanks without the love, or without the content."
And as she spoke these words, Mother Magdalis was preaching a little sermon to herself also, which made her eyes moisten and shine.
So she took courage, and contrived to persuade the children and herself that the bread-and-water breakfast that Christmas Eve morning had something quite festive about it.
And when they had finished with a grace which Gottlieb sang, and Lenichen lisped after him, she told him to take the little sister on his knee and sing through his songs and hymns, while she arrayed herself in the few remnants of holiday dress left her.
And as she cleaned and arranged the tiny room, her heart was lighter than it had been for a long time.
"I ought to be happy," she said to herself, "with music enough in my little nest to fill a church."
When Gottlieb had finished his songs, and was beginning them over again, there was a knock at the door, and the face of old Hans, the dwarf, appeared at the door, as he half opened it.
"A good Christmas to thee and thy babes, Mother Magdalis! Thy son is born indeed with a golden spoon in his mouth," croaked old Hans in his hoarse, guttural voice.
The words grated on Magdalis. Crooked Hans' jokes were apt to be as crooked as his temper and his poor limbs, and to give much dissatisfaction, hitting on just the sore points no one wanted to be touched.
She felt tempted to answer sharply, but the sweet Christmas music had got into her heart, and she only said, with tears starting to her eyes:
"If he was, neighbor, all the gold was lost and buried long ago."
"Not a bit of it!" rejoined Hans. "Didn't I hear the gold ring this very instant? The lad has gold in his mouth, I say! Give him to me, and you shall see it before night."
She looked up reproachfully, the tears fairly falling at what she thought such a cruel mockery from Hans, who knew her poverty, and had never had from her or hers the rough words he was too used to from every one.
"The golden days are over for me," was all she said.
"Nay! They have yet to begin," he replied. "Your Berthold left more debtors than you know, Frau Magdalis. And old Hans is one of them. And Hans never forgets a debt, black or white. Let the lad come with me, I say. I know the choir-master at the cathedral. And I know he wants a fine high treble just such as thy Gottlieb's, and will give anything for it. For if he does not find one, the Cistercians at the new convent will draw away all the people, and we shall have no money for the new organ. They have a young Italian, who sings like an angel, there; and the young archduchess is an Italian, and is wild about music, and lavishes her gifts wherever she finds it good."
Magdalis looked perplexed and troubled.
"To sell the child's voice seems like selling part of himself, neighbor," she said at length; "and to sell God's praises seems like selling one's own soul."
"Well, well! Those are thy proud burgher notions," said Hans, a little nettled. "If the Heavenly Father pleases to give thee and the little ones a few crumbs for singing His matins and evensong, it is no more than He does for the robins, or, for that matter, for the very ravens, such as me, that croak to Him with the best voice they have."
At these words, Gottlieb, who had been listening very attentively, gently set little Lenichen down, and, drawing close to Hans, put his little hand confidingly in his.
"I will go with neighbor Hans, mother!" he said, decisively. "The dear Lord himself has sent him."
"Thou speakest like a prophet," said the mother, smiling tenderly at his oracular manner, "a prophet and a king in one. Hast thou had a vision? Is thy will indeed the law of the land?"
"Yes, mother," he said, coloring, "the dear Lord Jesus has made it quite plain. I asked Him, if we were not good enough for Him to send us an angel, to send us one of His ravens, and He has sent us Hans!"
Hans laughed, but not the grim, hoarse laugh which was habitual to him, and which people compared to the croaking of a raven; it was a hearty, open laugh, like a child's, and he said:
"Let God's raven lead thee, then, my lad, and the mother shall see if we don't bring back the bread and meat."
"I did not ask for meat," said Gottlieb, gravely, "only for bread."
"The good God is wont to give more than we either desire or deserve," croaked Hans, "when He sets about giving at all."
There was no time to be lost.
The services of the day would soon begin, and Hans had set his heart on Gottlieb's singing that very day in the cathedral.
The choir-master's eyes sparkled as he listened to the boy; but he was an austere man, and would not utter a word to make the child think himself of value.
"Not bad raw material," he said, "but very raw. I suppose thou hast never before sung a note to any one who understood music?"
"Only for the mother and the little sister," the child replied in a low, humbled tone, beginning to fear the raven would bring no bread after all, "and sometimes in the litanies and the processions."
"Sing no more for babes and nurses, and still less among the beggars in the street-processions," pronounced the master, severely. "It strains and vulgarizes the tone. And, with training, I don't know but that, after all, we might make something of thee—in time, in time."
Gottlieb's anxiety mastered his timidity, and he ventured to say:
"Gracious lord! if it is a long time, how can we all wait? I thought it would be to-day! The mother wants the bread to-day."
Something in the child's earnest face touched the master, and he said, more gently:
"I did not say you might not begin to-day. You must begin this hour, this moment. Too much time has been lost already."
And at once he set about the first lesson, scolding and growling about the child setting his teeth like a dog, and mincing his words like a fine lady, till poor Gottlieb's hopes more than once sank very low.
But, at the end of a quarter of an hour's practice, the artist in the choir-master entirely overcame the diplomatist.
He behaved like a madman. He took the child in his arms and hugged him, like a friendly bear; he set him on the table and made him sing one phrase again and again, walking round and round him, and rubbing his hands and laughing with delight; and, finally, he seized him and bore him in triumph to the kitchen, and said to his housekeeper:
"Ursula, bring out the finest goose and the best preserves and puddings you have. We must feast the whole choir, and, may be, the dean and chapter. The archduke and the young archduchess will be here at Easter. But we shall be ready for them. Those beggarly Cistercians haven't a chance. The lad has the voice of an angel, and the ear—the ear—well, an ear as good as my own."
"The child may well have the voice of an angel," scolded old Ursula; "he is like to be among the angels soon enough."
For the hope, and the fear, and the joy had quite overcome the child, enfeebled as he was by meager fare; his lips were quite pale, and his cheeks.
Moreover, the last order of the choir-master had not been quite re-assuring to him. The fat goose and the puddings were good, indeed; but he would have preferred his mother and Lenichen being feasted in his honor, rather than the choir and the chapter.
And besides, though little more than seven years old, he was too much of a boy quite to enjoy his position on the master's shoulder. He felt it too babyish to be altogether honorable to the protector of Lenichen and incipient bread-winner of the family. And, therefore, he was relieved when he found himself once more safely on the ground.
But when Ursula set before him a huge plate of bread and meat, his manly composure all but gave way. It was more of an approach to a feast than any meal he had ever participated in, and he was nearly choked with repressed tears of gratitude.
It was so evident now that Hans was altogether an orthodox and accredited raven!
At first, as the child sat mute and wondering before the repast, with a beautiful look of joy and prayer in his blue eyes, Ursula thought he was saying his grace, and respected his devotion. But as the moments passed on, and still he did not attempt to eat, she became impatient.
"There is a time for everything," she murmured, at length. "That will do for thy grace! Now quick to the food! Thou canst finish the grace, if thou wilt, in music, in the church by and by."
But then the child took courage, and said:
"The ravens—that is, the good God—surely do not mean all this for me. Dear, gracious lady, let me run with the plate to the mother and Lenichen; and I will be back again in two minutes, and sing all day, if the master likes."
Ursula was much moved at the child's filial love, and also at his politeness.
"The little one has discrimination," she said to herself. "One can see he is of a good stock. He recognizes that I am no peasant, but the daughter of a good burgher house."
And, in spite of the remonstrances of her master, she insisted on giving the lad his way.
"I will accompany him, myself," said she.
And, without further delay or parley, she walked off, under the very eyes of the master, with the boy, and also with a considerable portion of his own dinner, in addition to the plate she had already set before Gottlieb.
* * * * *
A very joyful and miraculous intervention it seemed to Mother Magdalis when Gottlieb re-entered the hermit's cell, under the stately convoy of the choir-master's housekeeper, and with food enough to feed the frugal little household for a week.
The two women greeted each other ceremoniously and courteously, as became two German housewives of good burgher stock.
"The little lad has manners worthy of a burgomaster," said Ursula. "We shall see him with the gold chain and the fur robes yet,—his mother a proud woman."
With which somewhat worldly benediction, she left the little family to themselves, conjuring Gottlieb to return in less than an hour, for the master was not always as manageable as this morning.
And when they were alone, Gottlieb was not ashamed to hide his tears on his mother's heart.
"See, darling mother!" he said, "the dear Savior did send the raven! Perhaps, one day, He will make us good enough for Him to send the angels."
Then the simple family all knelt down and thanked God from their hearts, and Gottlieb added one especial bit of his own of praise and prayer for his kind Hans, of whom, on account of his grim face and rough voice, he had stood in some dread.
"Forgive me, dear Lord Jesus," he said, "that I did not know how good he was!"
And when they had eaten their hasty Christmas feast, and the mother was smoothing his hair and making the best of his poor garments, Gottlieb said, looking up gravely in her face:
"Who knows, mother, if Hans is only a raven now, that the good God may not make him, his very self, the angel?"
"Perhaps God is making Hans into the angel even now," replied the mother.
And she remembered for a long time the angelic look of love and devotion in the child's eyes.
For she knew very well the cathedral choir was no angelic host.
She knew she was not welcoming her boy that morning to a haven, but launching him on a voyage of many perils. But she knew, also, that it is only by such perils, and through such voyages, that men, that saints, are made.
(To be continued.)
HOW THE PONY WAS TAKEN.
BY C. W.
One morning, last August, Jimmie Wood was sitting on the gate-post making a willow whistle, when a remarkable wagon, drawn by a lean, gray horse, came up over the hill. The wagon looked like a big black box with a window in it. In front was a man driving, and this man seemed rather peculiar too. He had a long, pointed mustache and very curly hair. He was not a cigar and candy peddler, nor a patent medicine man, nor a machine agent, for Jim could recognize any of these in a minute. The curly-haired man stopped directly in front of the gate.
"Good morning," said he.
"Morning," answered Jim, shutting up his knife.
"My name's Leatherbee," continued the curly-haired man.
"Is it?" said Jim, unconcernedly, and then slid off the gate-post and started for the house.
Jim turned quickly.
"Ask your pa whether he wouldn't like to have his house took!" called out the stranger.
Jim nodded, and went across the grass-plot meditating upon what the man meant by proposing to take the house. His father was in the sitting-room writing a letter.
"Papa," said Jim, leaning up against the table, "there's a man out there in the road that wants to take the house."
"Wants to take the house!" exclaimed Mr. Wood, making a blot in his astonishment.
"Yes," continued Jim, "and he has the funniest-looking wagon you ever saw in your life."
"Ah!" said Mr. Wood, "I understand now; he wants to take some photographs, I suppose. Well, tell him I don't want any," and Mr. Wood went on with his letter, while Jim proceeded across the front yard again. He noticed his pony over in the orchard. A thought struck him, and he wheeled around and went back in the sitting-room again in some haste.
"Papa," said he, "can't I have the pony taken?"
"She wont stand still long enough," answered Mr. Wood, sealing up his letter.
"But, papa, can't the man try?" pleaded Jim.
Mr. Wood thought for a minute. Then said:
"Yes. He may try."
Jim galloped across the front yard in a second.
"Well?" said the curly-haired man, raising his eyebrows.
"Papa doesn't want the house taken," said Jim, with some dignity. "But can you take my pony over there in the orchard?"
The man looked at Baby, who was calmly crunching harvest apples under the trees.
"Purty little beast," he said, getting out of his wagon and leading his horse up to the fence.
"Can you take her?" asked Jim again, anxiously.
"Course I kin," answered Mr. Leatherbee. He then tied his horse to the fence and lifted his apparatus out of the wagon, and arranged it in the orchard. The pony immediately kicked up her heels and trotted off to a far-away corner. Mr. Wood came out of the house and talked to the photographer, while Jim, after chasing around for some time trying to catch the pony, went to the stable and put a quart of oats in a measure. As soon as Baby spied that round, yellow box under Jim's arm, she trotted up to him with a gentle neigh. He caught her by the fore-top and led her to where Mr. Leatherbee was standing.
"Jest put her there," said he, pointing to a place under a big tree. Jim led her to the place and held her while Mr. Leatherbee made all his arrangements.
"Now we're ready," said he.
Baby looked pleased at this announcement, but waved her tail wildly.
Mr. Wood smiled.
"Tell Baby to keep perfectly quiet," said he to Jim, "and ask her to lower her chin a little, cast a pleasant expression around her eyes, and breathe gently."
Mr. Leatherbee laughed at this. So did Jim; for it was exactly what the photographer always told him when he had his picture taken.
The pony thought this all very pleasant, but she wanted the oats, and, consequently, was trying to thrust her nose through Jim's back in her efforts to get at the measure.
The photographer looked despairing.
"Here, I'll fix it," said Mr. Wood, stepping up to the pony. "No, Jim, stand back; Mr. Leatherbee, are you ready?"
"Yes," answered Mr. Leatherbee, with one hand on the velvet that covered his camera.
Mr. Wood poured the oats on the ground and let go of the pony's head. For a while Baby grabbed the oats up in great haste, but finally she stood with her nose to the ground quietly eating. Mr. Leatherbee drew away the velvet from the camera, and looked at his watch for some breathless minutes. Then he slipped the velvet on again, and said:
"That's all right."
Jim drew a long sigh.
"Will it be good, do you think?" he asked, anxiously.
"Not a doubt of it," said Mr. Leatherbee, in such a cheerful tone that Jim immediately made up his mind that the pony should have an extra quart of oats all winter for her fine behavior. He expected the picture would be done right away, but Mr. Leatherbee said he would have to send the plates to Poughkeepsie to his partner, and the pictures would come soon by the mail. Mr. Leatherbee then put all his apparatus in his wagon again, and jogged on as he had come.
For the next four days Jimmie went to the post-office about every two hours.
"Expectin' a love-letter?" said old Mr. Halloway, the postmaster. At this all the loafers who were sitting on the counter laughed loudly. Jim made up his mind that Mr. Halloway was a very unpleasant old gentleman, and vowed all sorts of threats against him. His revengeful plans melted away, however, when Mr. Halloway handed him a big envelope, and said: "Here, Bub, yer letter's come."
Jim tore it open, and six photographs dropped out all alike, all representing Baby eating under a tree. He privately showed one to her that afternoon. She evidently thought it very handsome, for she delicately chewed it up out of Jim's hand, to his great amazement. He says nothing about this when telling how the pony's picture was taken.
BY FLETA FORRESTER.
Merry Mike, from his door, bounded out to his play, With his head in his hat, on a blustering day; When the wind, of a sudden, came frolicking down, And lifted Mike's hat from his little round crown. "He-he!" said Mike, and he said "Ho-ho! Do you call that funny, I'd like to know?"
Then he made up his mind to return to the house, But the merry wind pushed itself under his blouse; And it roared and it roared, as he puffed and he ran, Till it just knocked over this queer little man. "Ho-ho!" said Mike, and he said "He-he! I'll get up again, Old Wind, you'll see!"
Then the wind, with a flurry of bluster and racket, Went crowding and crowding right under his jacket; And it lifted him off from his two little feet, And it carried him bodily over the street. Mike laughed "He-he!" and he laughed "Ho-ho! Do you call this flying, I'd like to know?"
But the wind with its antics was plainly not through, For fiercer and fiercer and fiercer it blew, Till making one effort of fury intense It carried Mike neatly right over a fence. Mike said "Ho-ho!" and "He-he!" together, "Do you think I am naught but a little hen's-feather?"
He met there a somewhat discouraged old cow, That had blown thither too, though she failed to see how; And he smiled and said, "Make yourself easy, my friend— Only keep your mind quiet, and things'll soon mend!" And he laughed "He-he!" and he laughed "Ho-ho! The wind is just playing, old cow, you know!"
As he scampered off home, what above should he see But the roof of a shed, that had lodged in a tree; So he laughed and he laughed, till his sides they did ache, For he said, "This is better nor wedding nor wake!" And he roared "Ho-ho!" and he roared "He-he!" For he was as tickled as tickled could be.
"That boy," say the terrified folks of the town, "He would laugh just the same if the sky tumbled down!" "Indeed, an' I would," fancied Mike, with a grin, "For I might get a piece with a lot of stars in!" And he chuckled "He-he!" and he chuckled "Ho-ho!" The very idea delighted him so!
His father complained to the priest, "Now, I say, Mike never stops laughing, by night or by day!" "Let him laugh," spoke the priest; "he will change by and by, And 't is better to laugh than to grumble or cry! It's the way with the lad; let him laugh, if he like; And be glad you've a son that's as merry as Mike!"
AN AGREEABLE GUEST.
BY SUSAN A. BROWN.
The longest visit that we read of in modern days was one which Dr. Isaac Watts made at Lord Abney's in the Isle of Wight. He went to spend a fortnight, but they made him so happy that he remained a beloved and honored guest for forty years.
Few of us would care to make so long a visit as that, but it might be worth the while for us all to try and learn the secret of making ourselves agreeable and welcome guests. To have "a nice time" when one is visiting is delightful, but to leave behind us a pleasant impression is worth a great deal more.
An agreeable guest is a title which any one may be proud to deserve. A great many people, with the best intentions and the kindest hearts, never receive it, simply because they have never considered the subject, and really do not know how to make their stay in another person's home a pleasure instead of an inconvenience. If you are one of these thoughtless ones, you may be sure that, although your friends are glad to see you happy, and may enjoy your visit on that account, your departure will be followed with a sigh of relief, as the family settle down to their usual occupations, saying, if not thinking, that they are glad the visit is over.
A great many different qualities and habits go to make up the character of one whom people are always glad to see, and these last must be proved while we are young, if we expect to wear them gracefully. A young person whose presence in the house is an inconvenience and a weariness at fifteen, is seldom a welcome visitor in after-life.
The two most important characteristics of a guest are tact and observation, and these will lead you to notice and do just what will give pleasure to your friends in their different opinions and ways of living. Apply in its best sense the maxim—"When you are in Rome, do as the Romans do."
Unless you have some good reason for not doing so, let your friends know the day, and, if possible, the hour when you expect to arrive. Surprises are very well in their way, but there are few households in which it is quite convenient to have a friend drop in without warning for a protracted visit. If they know that you are coming, they will have the pleasure of preparing for you and looking forward to your arrival, and you will not feel that you are disturbing any previous arrangements which they have made for the day.
Let your friends know, if possible, soon after you arrive, about how long you mean to stay with them, as they might not like to ask the question, and would still find it convenient to know whether your visit is to have a duration of three days or three weeks. Take with you some work that you have already begun, or some book that you are reading, that you may be agreeably employed when your hostess is engaged with her own affairs, and not be sitting about idle, as if waiting to be entertained, when her time is necessarily taken up with something else. Make her feel that, for a small part at least of every day, no one needs to have any responsibility about amusing you.
A lady who is charming as a guest and as a hostess once said to me: "I never take a nap in the afternoon when I am at home, but I do when I am visiting, because I know what a relief it has sometimes been to me to have company lie down for a little while, after dinner."
Try, without being too familiar, to make yourself so much like one of the family that no one shall feel you to be in the way; and, at the same time, be observant of those small courtesies and kindnesses which all together make up what the world agrees to call good manners.
Regulate your hours of rising and retiring by the customs of the house. Do not keep your friends sitting up until later than usual, and do not be roaming about the house an hour or two before breakfast. If you choose to rise at an early hour, remain in your own room until near breakfast-time, unless you are very sure that your presence in the parlor will not be unwelcome. Write in large letters, in a prominent place in your mind, "BE PUNCTUAL." A visitor has no excuse for keeping a whole family waiting, and it is unpardonable negligence not to be prompt at the table. Here is a place to test good manners, and any manifestation of ill-breeding here will be noticed and remembered. Do not be too ready to express your likes and dislikes for the various dishes before you. The wife of a certain United States Senator once visiting acquaintances at some distance from her native wilds, made a lasting impression upon the family by remarking at the breakfast-table that "she should starve before she would eat mush," and that she "never heard of cooking mutton before she came East."
If you are tempted to go to the other extreme, and sacrifice truth to politeness, read Mrs. Opie's "Tale of Potted Sprats," and you will not be likely to be insincere again.
It is well to remember that some things which seem of very little importance to you may make an unpleasant impression upon others, in consequence of a difference in early training. The other day two young ladies were heard discussing a gentleman who had a great many pleasant qualities. "Yes," said one, "he is very handsome, but he does eat pie with his knife." Take care that no trifle of that kind is recalled when people are speaking of you.
Keep your own room in order, and do not scatter your belongings all over the house. If your friends are orderly, it will annoy them to see your things out of place; and if they are not, their own disorder will be enough without adding yours.
Make up your mind to be entertained with what is designed to entertain you. If your friends invite you to join them in an excursion, express your pleasure and readiness to go, and do not act as though you were conferring a favor instead of receiving one. No visitors are so wearisome as those who do not meet half way whatever proposals are made for their pleasure. Be contented to amuse yourself quietly in the house, or to join in any outside gayeties to which you are invited, and show by your manner that you enjoy both.
If games are proposed, do not say that you will not play, or "would rather look on;" but join with the rest, and do the best you can. Never let a foolish feeling of pride, lest you should not make so good an appearance as the others, prevent your trying.
If you are not skillful, you will at least show that you are good-natured, and that you do not think yourself modest when you are only proud.
If you have any skill in head or fingers, you will never have a better time to use it than when you are visiting; only, whatever you do, do well, and do not urge your offers of assistance after you see that it is not really desired. Mrs. Poyser, who is one of George Eliot's best characters, says: "Folks as have no mind to be o' use have allays the luck to be out o' the road when there's anything to be done." If you do not find any place to be useful, you may be tolerably sure that it is your own fault.
I heard a gentleman say of a young lady whose small affectations were undergoing a sharp criticism, "Well, whatever you may say of her, she is certainly more ready to make herself useful than any other young lady who visits here. If I lose my glasses, or mislay the newspaper, or want a stitch taken, she is always ready." And I shall never forget the impression which a young lady made upon me, as I saw her sit idly rocking backward and forward, complacently surveying the young friends she was visiting as they were hurrying to finish peeling a basket of peaches.
While visiting, remember that you meet many who are strangers to you, and do not seem to you especially attractive, but who may still be dear and valued friends of the family; and be cautious about making criticisms upon them. Be friendly and cordial toward those whom you meet, and try to show that you are ready to like them. Whatever peculiarities you may observe, either in the family or its guests, which strike you as amusing, be careful that you do not sin against the law of love, by repeating little things, to their disadvantage, which you have found out while you were admitted to the sanctuary of the home.
Do not ask questions which people would rather not answer, and be careful not to speak of anything which will bring up painful recollections, or be likely to cause unpleasant forebodings. The old proverb expresses this in few words: "Never mention a rope in the family of a man who has been hanged."
If your own home is in any way better and handsomer than your friends', do not say anything which may seem like making invidious comparisons, or allow them to see that you miss any of the conveniences to which you have been accustomed.
Be careful about making any unnecessary work for others, and do not ask even the servants to do for you anything which you ought to do for yourself. The family had their time filled up before you came, and, do what you will, you are an extra one, and will make some difference.
Provide yourself, before you leave home, with whatever small supplies you are likely to need, so that you need not be borrowing ink, pens, paper, envelopes, postage-stamps, etc.
It may seem unnecessary to speak of the need of taking due care of the property of others, but having just seen a young lady leaning forward with both elbows upon the open pages of a handsome volume which was resting upon her knees, I venture to suggest that you do not leave any marred wall, or defaced book, or ink-stains, or mark of a wet tumbler, to remind your friends of your visit long after it has ended.
Do not forget, when you go away, to express your appreciation of the kindness which has been shown you, and when you reach home inform your friends by letter of your safe arrival.
If you follow faithfully these few suggestions, you will probably be invited to go again; and if you do not thank ST. NICHOLAS for telling you these plain truths, perhaps the friends whom you visit will be duly grateful.
(Drawn by Miss L. GREENAWAY.)
HOW KITTY GOT HER NEW HAT.
BY E. P. W.
It was all because of Polly, and this was the way of it.
Ma had gone 'cross lots to Aunt Mari's, to stay till milking-time, to see the new things Aunt Mari had brought from Boston, and Polly and I were alone at home. Polly is our hired help, and she is Irish, and has got red hair, but she's as good as gold; and I am Kitty, my Pa's little chatterbox.
Polly was in the buttery, washing the dinner-dishes, and I was on the kitchen floor, playing with Queen Victoria, our old yellow cat, trying to teach her to stand on her hind-legs and beg, like Johnny Dane's dog. But Vic was cross, and wouldn't learn; and when I boxed her ears, she scratched me on my chin, and bounced over my shoulder, and was off to the barn in less than no time.
You needn't suppose I cried, because I didn't, for I shall be ten years old next July. I don't ever cry any more; only when I have the earache, and then I can't help it. Except the other day when Tom stepped on my Rachel Tryphena, and jammed her forehead in, I did. But Tom's going to buy her a new head with the money he gets from selling Jake Lawrence some of his guinea-hen's eggs, so I don't mind about that now. I was just thinking how much better I should feel if I'd had a chance to pull old Vic's tail, when Polly called, "What yer doin', honey!" and said if I would come and wipe the plates for her, that by and by, when she had "set the sponge" for to-morrow's baking, she would take her sewing and sit under the maple-tree, and tell me a story.
I like Polly's stories, and I like wiping dishes, too, sometimes—and I can do them first-rate, if I'm not but nine years old, and never let one drop, neither! So Polly gave me a towel, and we both wiped with all our might and main, and 'most as quick as you can say Jack Robinson, we had them piled in shining rows on the kitchen dresser. Then I did twelve and a half rows on the suspenders I was knitting for Pa's birthday, while Polly finished the rest of her work.
About four o'clock it was all done, and the table set for supper, and everything; so Polly got her needle and thread, and the pink calico she was making into an apron, and we went out through the front entry.
As we were passing the closet door, I saw Pa's new green umbrella, that he had bought when he was in town the day before, hanging inside, and I thought it would be a good thing for us to carry it out with us, because the sun was so piping hot that afternoon; so I asked Polly if we mightn't. She said, "To be shure, darlint," and reached it down for me.
You know our big maple-tree grows close by the front gate, and stretches its branches all around, across the fence and into the road; and it's always cool under it, no matter how hot the sun shines everywhere else. Polly settled herself on the bench at the foot of the tree, and I climbed up and sat on the gate-post, where I could see along the road as far as the turning by Deacon Stiles's, and clear to the five-acre lot, where Tom and Jed were hoeing corn.
Then Polly sewed, and told a story about a beautiful maiden in a lonely tower, and an old banshee that went about nights, howling, and knocking at folks' windows.
And she talked about when she was a little girl in Ireland, and how she and her sisters and Pat Maloney used to wade together in the river, that wasn't so very much bigger than our "crick."
And then she folded her hands on her work, and gazed away into the lower meadow, where we could spy a spot of white moving against the green, that was Pat's shirt, with Pat inside of it, mowing, and began to tell what a fine "b'y" Pat was (Aunt Mari's Pat is the one), and how he had raked and scraped and gone without things ever since he had been in America, so as to save enough money to buy a snug little home over here for his old mother, and get her everything she wants before she dies.
But just as Polly was saying that she was laying by her money, too, and that when the old woman had come she had promised to go and live with them, all at once I heard an awful racket, and looked toward the road, and oh cricky! what do you think I saw? Tearing round Deacon Stiles's corner, lickety-split, was a span of horses and a buggy, with the reins dragging in the dust, and the buggy spinning from one side of the road to the other, and in it was a lady with great wide-open eyes, and a face as white as a sheet, clutching a little girl in her arms like death!
I knew right off that it was the lady who was staying at Judge Gillis's, in the village, because I had seen her and her little girl in meeting, Sunday; but my heart flew into my throat and almost choked me, and at first I couldn't speak a word. Then I screamed, "Polly! Polly!"
Polly jumped as if she was shot—for, if you will believe it, she had been so busy thinking of Pat that she hadn't heard a sound—and got to the gate in two leaps, scattering her spools and scissors and pieces of pink calico on the grass. When she saw the horses, she stood stock-still for a minute, and stared with all her eyes. Then she gave a screech like a wild Indian, and stooped and grabbed Pa's umbrella from where I had thrown it on the ground, and rushing into the middle of the road, she opened and shut it as fast as she could work her arms, and shouted as loud as she could yell!
At that the horses slacked up a bit. The road is pretty narrow, and they didn't seem to know how to get past the frightful-looking creature that was blocking their way of a sudden, with a big green thing flippety-flopping before her.
Anyhow, they went slower and slower, till they got to the beginning of our fence, when they tried to turn. Then Polly dropped the umbrella, and ran and caught them by the bridles, and brought them to a dead stop.
They were shaking from top to toe, and their glossy black breasts were streaked and spotted with foam. Polly stroked and patted their necks, and said, "Be aisy now, me b'ys—be aisy!" and led them to the hitching-post and made them fast. Then she lifted out the little girl, whose beautiful sky-blue hat was all smashed in at the crown, and taking the poor lady in her arms as tender as though she was a baby, sat her on the bench under the maple. The lady lay back so white and still that I thought she was going to faint, like Miss Clarissa Lovett, that boarded with us last summer, did once, because of Tom's putting a mouse in her work-box.
Polly was dreadfully scart, and fanned her with a breadth of her new apron.
"Run, darlint," said she to me, "run for yer life and fetch a dipper of water!"
But the lady smiled, and said: "No, don't, my dear. I shall be better presently."
And sure enough she was, and in a little while she let Polly help her to the house; and when she had drunk a tumbler of water, and had lain on the sitting-room lounge for a spell, she appeared as smart as ever.
The horses were some new ones of Judge Gillis's, she said, and were very skittish. The judge was going to drive her to Mrs. Colonel Givens's, a mile beyond the village; but as he was stepping into the buggy he noticed there was no whip, so he went to the barn to get one. While he was gone, the horses shied at something and started "two-forty."
"And, you good, noble girl, but for you we certainly should have been killed," she ended, squeezing Polly's hand.
Polly grew as red as fire, and said she "must be afther a-seein' about supper."
At that moment Ma came in the kitchen-way, and, hearing voices in the sitting-room, walked in, very much surprised, because the sitting-room was generally kept shut, on account of the flies and the new window-shades.
She was more surprised on hearing what had been going on, and said the lady must stay to supper, and that afterward Pa would drive her into the village. And she blew the horn for Tom, and told him to saddle Jerry and ride to Judge Gillis's and say to the folks that the lady and little girl were all right, and at our house, and that Pa would bring them home after supper.
Then Ma hurried to the pantry to open some of her best preserve-jars, and Polly to the barn to milk the cows, and I was left to entertain the lady.
I couldn't think how to, exactly, and I thought it wouldn't do for her to talk, being still so pale; so I laid the photograph-album on the corner of the table nearest to her, and asked her little girl if she didn't want to go to the barn and see my four cunning little Maltese kittens.
"Yes, I would, dear," said the lady. "Go with the little girl."
So she put her hand in mine, and we scampered down the hill to the barn as tight as we could go.
We were not very long getting acquainted when we were alone together, and the little girl talked as much as I did.
I asked her what her name was, and she said, "Jessie."
"That's a real pretty name," said I. "Mine's Kitty."
"Why, is it?" said she. "I've got a cousin Kitty. But she isn't near as nice as you are."
And with that we both laughed, and felt as if we had lived next door to each other all our lives.
I showed her the four kittens, and she said they were perfectly lovely, but liked most the one with a white breast and a sweet dot of a white nose. I told her she might have it for hers as quick as it was old enough to leave its mother. But she has never sent for it since. I guess she must have forgotten.
When she had seen the guinea-pigs, and Tom's rabbits, and fed them all they would eat, we clambered into the hay-mow, and had a fine time playing on the hay, till the supper-horn blew.
There was no end of goodies for supper, but Jessie's Ma didn't eat scarcely a thing. But she drank two tumblers of Daisy's milk, and said she hadn't tasted anything so delicious in a year. But Jessie and I could eat, and Tom too,—after he had spilt a cup of tea and a pitcher of water, and knocked a piece of pie under the table. He said, when Jessie and her Ma had gone, that the lady's black eyes "discombobolated" him so that he had more than half a mind to dive under the table himself.
Soon as we were through supper, Pa brought up the horses (which Tom had driven to the barn, and watered and fed), for it was growing late, and the lady wanted to be home before dark. I put on Jessie's hat for her, and tried to straighten the crown, and pin on the long white feather, that was broken in two in the middle.
"It's 'most spoilt," I said. "Isn't it a pity?"
"Poh! I don't care," said Jessie. "I've got three more at home, prettier 'n this."
"Why-e-e-e!" said I. "Truly honest?"
"Why, yes!" said Jessie. "How many've you?"
"Just a horrid old Leghorn!" said I. "And it's been pressed over and over, and the trimmings washed, and I can't bear it!"
And I was telling her about the chip jockey hat that Sally Carroll's aunt bought her for a birthday present, when the buggy came to the door.
"Come, say good-bye to the little girl, my love," said the lady, smiling down at me.
Jessie threw her arms around my neck and whispered that I was the best girl she ever knew, and that she should write me a letter when she got to Boston, and hopped in.
The lady shook hands with Ma, and thanked her for being so kind, and then turned to Polly and said, softly:
"You good Polly, I must do something for you. Wont you let me?"—and put her hand in her pocket.
I never saw Polly so mad but once before, and that was when Tom chucked Queen Victoria into the churn, because she wouldn't let him have but a quarter of an apple-pie to take to school. I mean Polly wouldn't. She walked into the buttery, and banged the door behind her as hard as ever she could.
The lady didn't say anything, but her cheeks were rather pink, and she bent and kissed me as if to hide them. Then Pa helped her into the buggy, and they drove away.
The next week, Jed went to the grist-mill, the other end of the village, with some buckwheat to be ground, and, calling at the post-office coming home, he found an express-box from Boston, with "Miss Mary Ann Murphy, Redfield, Massachusetts," printed on it in large black letters. He knew that was Polly's name, he said; and never having heard tell of but one Mary Ann Murphy in these parts, he hoisted it into the wagon.
Polly was washing by the kitchen-door as he rattled in at the gate.
"Hullo, there!" he sang out. "Here's a box that's a-wantin' Miss Mary Ann Murphy!"
"Git along wid yer nonsinse!" Polly said, scrubbing at one of Tom's blue gingham shirts. For Jed is such a fellow for fooling that you never can be sure when to believe him, and Polly thought it was a box of starch, or else of soap, that Ma had ordered from the grocery, and that Jed was only trying to get her to come and lug it into the house for him, so he could drive straight on to the barn.
Ma had set me to picking currants for jelly that morning, and I was getting over the vegetable-garden fence with a heaping pail on each arm when Jed spoke. In a minute, one pail was this side of the fence, and one was rolling along the path the other side, and I was in the wagon, reading the big black letters!
"Oh, Polly, 't is!" I hollered. "True's you live and breathe, a box from Boston! Oh, hurry up!"
Polly stopped short in "The Wearing of the Green," that she had commenced to sing at the top of her voice, and whirled about, her mouth and eyes as round as three pepper-box covers.
"Heh!" said she.
"An express-box for Polly, Jed?" called Ma, sticking her head from the kitchen-window. "You don't say so! Fetch it right in here." And Ma whisked the clothes-basket from before the door.
Jed threw the lines on Jerry's back, and shouldered me and the box, and dumped us both on the kitchen-floor.
"There you be, marm!" he said. "Want I should open it? Them nails appear to be driv' in pretty tight." For Jed was on tenter-hooks to know what was in it.
"No, I guess not," said Ma. "I'm afraid Jerry wont stand. Polly and I can open it."
"Oh, bless your soul and body, marm, he'll stand!" said Jed. "Best hoss I ever see fer that."
But Ma wouldn't hear to his losing the time; so Jed had to make himself scarce, looking mournfuller than when his grandmother died last spring.
"Come, here's the hatchet, Polly! Be a little spry!" Ma said. For Polly stood with her arms akimbo, and didn't budge an inch.
"Shure, an' who sint it?" she asked. And that was the only word she had spoken.
"Why, I don't know," said Ma. "But I can imagine. Can't you?"
Polly marched to her tub, her head high in the air.
"I wont tech the ould thing!" said she.
"Then I will for you," said Ma, and had it open in a jiffey.
Underneath the cover was a piece of paper, with this written on it:
Will Polly please accept these few articles in token that she forgives me for having justly offended her by offering pay for a service which can never be paid for?
MRS. E. G. EDSON.
When she heard that, Polly wasn't quite so riled. She said Jessie's Ma was a rale lady, anyway, and she might as well see what she had sent. So, wiping her hands on her apron, she planted herself in the door-way, while Ma went to work to empty the box.
First, there were six calico dress-patterns,—one purple, sprinkled with little black rings, and another pink, with a criggly vine running through it, and a black-striped white one, and the rest mixed colors.
Then beneath were three more dresses, of some sheeny stuff,—alapaca, Ma called it,—black, purple and brown, that took every inch of dander out of Polly. She wiped her hands extra clean, and came and twisted them this way and that, and crinkled them and smoothed them, and puckered the ends into folds, and laying them across the ironing-table, backed toward the wall with her head cocked sideways, and her eyes squinted together like Mr. Green's, the portrait-painter, when he looks at pictures.
"Shure, the Quane 'u'd be proud to wear thim!" she said; and said she should have the purple for a wedding-gown.
Then, besides, there was a red and black plaid shawl, and a whole piece of white muslin, such as you buy by the yard mostly, and a work-box, with cases of scissors and needles, and spools of thread and sewing-silk. And last was a bandbox tied with string, and that, Ma said, Polly must open.
So Polly pulled a pin from her belt and puttered at the knot till I 'most had a fit. For Ma wont ever have a string cut; she says it is a sinful waste. I thought it never would untie. Polly's fingers were all thumbs, and twice she dropped the pin. But it did—all knots do if you pick at them long enough—and in the box was a splendiferous bonnet, with green ribbon bows and three pink roses.
"Well, I declare!" said Ma. "What more can you want, Polly?"
Polly put the bandbox on the floor, and the bonnet on her head, and started for the sitting-room looking-glass.
"Sakes alive! Here's another!" Ma said, and held up by one of its bows the sweetest little hat you ever laid eyes on! It was light straw, trimmed with black velvet and blue silk, and had white daisies fastened to the velvet. Pinned to one of the streamers was a slip of paper, and on it was written, "For Kitty."
I just squealed! It was all I could do! To think of that beautiful little hat being for me, Kitty Hazel! Why, I never counted on having anything half so fine, unless I got to be the Grand Mogul, or something of that sort!
"The lady is very kind, I'm sure," said Ma, seeming as pleased as could be. "Try it on, child. You can squeal afterward." And she set it on my head.
I ran and looked in one of Polly's bright milk-pans that were sunning outside the door, and I hardly knew myself!
"Aint you smart!" said I, nodding to the girl in the pan. She smiled and nodded back, and looked so jolly that I came near turning a summer-set, new hat and all!
I wore it to meeting the next Sunday, with my new blue cambric; and I tell you what it is—it's enough sight easier to be good in an old hat than it is in a new one! I tried not to feel stuck-up, and I kept saying to myself: "Kitty Hazel, you're the same girl that sat here last Sunday, with an old Leghorn on. You aint any different!"
But it wasn't much use; for whenever I'd raise my eyes there was Phil Gillis smiling at me from the judge's pew, and opposite were Dave and Aggie Stebbins, staring as though they had never seen the like of me before, and every now and then old Deacon Pettengil, who sits in front of us, would turn and peer at me through his green spectacles so funny that once I nearly giggled.
This all happened last summer, but my hat is as pretty now as it ever was. Ma says she should have supposed the blue would have faded some by this time—blue is such a poor color to wear; but it hasn't a bit. When it does, I shall take it off, and have it for a sash for Rachel Tryphena, and the hat will be 'most as nice as it is now.
N.B.—I asked Polly how she thought of the umbrella. She said that when she was visiting her sister, that works for a dress-maker in Boston, she saw a picture of an old lady who was chased by a mad bull, and just as the bull was coming at her like sixty, the old lady turned and opened her umbrella square in his face. Polly said she always thought it was so cute of the old lady, and had meant to do the same when a mad bull chased her, if she had an umbrella with her. She said it all popped into her head when she saw the horses.
THE STORK AND THE CRANE: A FABLE.
BY HOWARD PYLE.
A Stork and a Crane once frequented the same marsh. The Stork was a quiet, dignified individual, with a philosophical countenance. One would never have thought, from his deeply reflective look, of the number of frogs and pollywogs, eels and small fish, that had disappeared in his meditative mouth. For the Stork was like many another philosopher, and in spite of his supernaturally wise external appearance, inside he was just as selfish, and just as voracious, as all the rest of his kind.
Although he never mentioned the subject, he was secretly very proud to recall the former grandeur of his ancestors, one of whom, in old Greek days, had been a famous king over the frogs, eels, and snakes, in a Spartan marsh.
The Crane was a lively little fellow, and not at all philosophical. He ate his dinner without moralizing over it, and felt thankful when he had enough. He had not a particle of aristocratic blood in his veins, and, in consequence, rather ridiculed the possession of that indescribable material by the Stork. Ridicule as he would, however, he was really secretly proud of his acquaintance with the other, and used to say to his friends and relatives sometimes:
"There is no one in the world that more despises pretentiousness than myself. One only too frequently hears an animal boast of its aristocratic acquaintances. I never do that. Now, there is John Stork, of one of our highest families, and although I am not only on friendly but intimate terms with him, and even have been invited to call upon his estimable family, and make the acquaintance of Miss Stork (I have never had an opportunity to do so yet), one never hears me boast of his friendship and intimacy."
To tell the truth, the conversations he held with the philosophical Stork were frequently so deep, that he found himself floundering beyond his depth. For instance, "Do you always stand upon one leg?" said he, one day.
The Stork reflected so long over this question that the Crane thought he had gone to sleep. Finally, however, the philosopher said:
"No; I do not. I always stand upon the other."
The Crane meditated for a space over this, but as it was completely beyond his comprehension, he gave the matter up and changed the subject. His respect for the Stork's wisdom was vastly increased by such conversations, for one often takes for wisdom what one cannot understand.
These two friends, however, did not always dwell together in perfect amity. The Stork was so proud that he frequently galled his humbler companion, and bitter disputes often arose. It was under the influence of such a feeling that the Crane burst forth one day:
"And what are you that you should boast? You have blue blood in your veins, indeed! Perhaps it is that blue blood that makes you so sluggish and stupid."
The Stork meditated a long while over this speech; finally, he said:
"When you accuse me of sluggishness and stupidity you judge by external appearances, and, consequently, by deductive logic. Beside, you do not take collateral matter into the case from which you draw your inference. You have never seen me when my physical energies have been aroused, consequently, your conclusion is both hollow and baseless—Q. E. D."
The Crane was rather taken aback by this speech, and, not comprehending it, he felt somewhat humbled. At length he said:
"I am no philosopher, but as they say 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it,' I am willing at any time to run a foot-race with you, and so prove who is the more agile."
"I do not know," answered the Stork, meditatively, "whether my family would altogether approve of my entering into the lists with such a vulgar creature as yourself." Here he shut one eye, and looked reflectively with the other at a frog that sat on a tussock near by. "Still, I recollect that one of my ancestors proved his valor upon a turbulent duckling once, so I see no logical reason why I should not compete with you."
And so the matter was settled.
All was hubbub and excitement among the birds when the coming race was announced. The racecourse was so constructed that the larger birds stood upon one side, and the smaller birds and animals upon the other. This was so arranged, chiefly at the request of a deputy of frogs, because, at a mass meeting once, an albatross had eaten twenty-seven of these animals in a fit of absent-mindedness, as he said. Still the frogs desired to prevent the recurrence of so painful a scene.
The Cassowary was chosen director of the race, chiefly because he was a famous traveler as well as a pedestrian himself, and so was a judge of such matters. He was the same of whom the Gander, the poet-laureate, had written the poem commencing—
"It was a noble cassowary, On the plains of Timbuctoo, That gobbled up a missionary Body, bones, and hymn-book too."
All were assembled. The champions stood neck to neck, while the spectators looked on, breathless with excitement.
"Go!" cried the Cassowary, and they went.
For a long time they continued neck and neck, and the excitement rose to fever heat. At this juncture a mouse attempted to cross the racecourse, and was instantly devoured by an owl, who acted as police of the course. At length the two racers re-appeared coming toward the grand stand,—that is, the place where the Cassowary stood with the signal-gun or, rather, pistol. The shouts and cries became more agitated and violent; there was no doubt about it,—the Stork was ahead! It was in vain that the gallant little Crane strained every sinew; the Stork came into the stand a good three lengths ahead of his adversary. Bang! went the pistol, and the Stork had won. His adherents crowded around him cheering vociferously, and raising him aloft upon their shoulders above the crowd. Even the Cassowary came forward and shook hands with him.
"Recollect, hereafter," said the successful Stork to the poor Crane, who stood dejectedly to one side, "not to scorn and undervalue qualities in any one, because they are not flaunted in the eyes of the world."
The Crane's adherents maintained that it was a foul start, while the Stork's friends answered that when two birds ran a race, it could not well be anything else.
The frogs, the mice, and most of the small birds, were divided among the successful betters; and, altogether, it was a day of rejoicing, except to the frogs, the mice, and most of the small birds.
* * * * *
BY MRS. W. N. CLARKE.
One by one appearing In their lower sky, Come a host uncounted Like the stars on high, Flashing lights uncertain, Ever changing place,— Tricksy constellations That we cannot trace!
Throbbing through the elm-tree Little heart of fire!— One in lonely longing Rises ever higher; Flits across the darkness, Like a shooting star, While the changeless heavens Calmly shine afar.
When the flames are lighting All the chimney dark, When the green wood hisses, And the birchen bark In the blaze doth redden, Glow and snap and curl, Fire-flies, freed from prison, Merrily dance and whirl.
Children on the hearth-stone, Peering up the flue, See a mimic welkin, Lights that twinkle through,— Sparks that flash and flicker, Little short-lived stars, On the sooty darkness Glowing red as Mars!
Eager eyes a-watching Fain would have them pause. Catch these fire-flies—can you?— In a web of gauze! Ever upward flying Toward the chimney's crown— Up to meet the snow-flakes As they flutter down!
THE ARMS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
BY SUSAN ARCHER WEISS.
My young readers have doubtless often observed upon familiar objects, such as books, china and steelware, etc., the device of a lion and a horse (sometimes represented as a unicorn) supporting between them a shield, surmounted by a crown. On the shield are certain divisions called "quarterings," in one of which you will observe two lions and a horse. Attached to the whole is the motto, Dieu et mon droit,—French words, whose meaning is, "God and my right."
If you inquire, you will be told that this device is the "coat-of-arms" of Great Britain,—as the eagle, shield and olive branch is that of the United States,—and that all articles thus marked are of British manufacture.
In old times the national symbol of England was the rose, of Scotland the thistle, of Ireland the shamrock, or clover. When England claimed Ireland and Scotland, these three were united on the British royal shield, as we find them in the time of Queen Elizabeth. On a victory over France, the symbol of France, a unicorn, was also added, the unicorn wearing a chain, to denote the subjection of France to England. This explains the nursery rhyme which you have no doubt often heard—
"The lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown; The lion whipped the unicorn all around the town."
The sovereignty of Great Britain is by law hereditary, but sometimes there are disputes and wars for possession of the crown, and it passes into a new family. Thus some of the kings and queens of Great Britain have belonged to the family of Plantagenet, others to that of Tudor, and still others to the Stuarts. George the First of England was of a family named Guelph, and all the sovereigns of Great Britain succeeding him, down to Queen Victoria, have been of this family and name.
When a new sovereign succeeds to the crown, he has a right to place his own family coat-of-arms on the royal shield of Great Britain. George the First did this. The two lions and the white horse, which you see on one of the quarterings, is the coat-of-arms of the Guelphs, who were dukes of Brunswick and Hanover in Germany. It is therefore called the arms of the House of Brunswick, and it is about this that I now design to tell you.
In order to begin at the beginning, we must go far back into past ages—almost to the time when our Savior was upon earth. At that period the whole northern portion of Europe was inhabited by wild and barbarous tribes who had never heard of Christ, but were Pagans and worshiped imaginary gods, of whom Woden was chief. Among these races were the Saxons, a fair-haired, fair-complexioned people, of great size and strength, who inhabited that portion of country now known as north Germany. They have never been permanently driven out of this country, which is to this day occupied by their descendants, the Germans. This latter name signifies a "war-like people."
Now, according to the pagan belief, the god Woden had a favorite white or light-gray horse, created by magic art, and upon which he bestowed the power of assisting and protecting warriors. This horse was regarded as sacred, and shared in the worship given to Woden. The pagan priests had no temples; the art of building was unknown to them; but, instead, their religious ceremonies were performed in thick groves of oak which were set apart for the purpose. In these gloomy woods the priests reared beautiful white horses, which no man was ever permitted to mount, and which, being from their birth solemnly dedicated to Woden, were believed to be gifted by him with the power of foretelling events by means of certain signs and motions. Before going into battle these sacred steeds were consulted, and occasionally one was sacrificed to Woden or to his white horse, and the bloody head was then mounted upon a pole, and borne aloft in the van of the Saxon army, they believing that it possessed the power of vanquishing the enemy and protecting themselves. We read in history that when the great emperor, Charlemagne, conquered the northern countries, one of the Saxon leaders, named Wittikind, refused to submit to him, and that, in consequence, many bloody battles were fought, wherein the Saxons bore in their van a tall pole surmounted by a wooden horse's head. This was their ensign; and when they afterward became more civilized, they retained the same emblem,—a white horse painted upon a black ground,—which remains to this day the standard or banner of the little kingdom of Saxony.
In the year 861,—just about one thousand years ago,—Bruno, the son of a Saxon king, founded a city in Saxony which he called after himself, Brunonis Vicus, now known as Brunswick. He retained as the standard of Brunswick the white horse of Saxony, and thus it remained until the end of the three succeeding centuries. About that time the reigning prince of Brunswick was a certain Henry Guelph, a leader in the Crusades, noted for his strength and daring, which acquired for him the title of "Henry the Lion." This prince refused to own allegiance to the great Emperor of Germany, Frederic Barbarossa. He declared himself independent, and as a token of defiance set up a great stone lion in Brunswick, and had the same symbol placed upon his standard, two lions supporting a shield beneath the white horse.
Thus you now know the origin of the Brunswick coat-of-arms. But how came the banner of a small German country to be adopted on the arms of Great Britain? This I will now explain.
About the year 1650, the then reigning Duke of Brunswick, afterward also Elector of Hanover, married the granddaughter of King James the First of England. Their eldest son was named George Louis. When, on the death of Queen Anne, the English were in want of a successor, they looked about among those nearest of kin to the royal family, and decided to choose this great-grandson of King James I. Thus it was that George Louis Guelph—a Saxon-German—came to be King George the First of England, and this was how the "lion-and-horse" arms of Brunswick and Hanover came to be also part of the arms of Great Britain. His successors were George the Second, George the Third (against whose rule the American colonies rebelled), George the Fourth, William, and lastly Victoria, the present queen, who is granddaughter to George the Third. Thus you understand how Queen Victoria is descended from the princes of Brunswick,—how she happens to be of German instead of English blood,—and why her name is Guelph.
Now, whenever you look upon "The lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown," you will reflect how strange it is that this great and enlightened Christian nation should bear on its proud standard a symbol of pagan superstition. You will think of the bold Crusader, Henry the Lion; of Wittikind, the brave Saxon duke who, after a twenty years' resistance, was finally conquered and baptized into Christianity; of the wild, half-clad Saxons, with their bloody horse-head ensign; of the Druid priests, who sacrificed human beings as well as white horses; and so, far back to the god Woden himself, who was probably merely some great hero or warrior who lived in a period so remote that we have no record of it in history.
And yet, while you are wondering at England and her relic of Woden-worship, shall I tell you that here, in America, we too possess relics of this very pagan god to which some people accord a superstitious regard? Look on the threshold, or above the door of some cottage or cabin, and you will see nailed there a common horse-shoe as a protection against evil. Examine your grown-up sister's watch-chain, and you will find attached to it a tiny gold horse-shoe, studded with diamond nail-heads, which some friend has given her as a "charm" to secure "good luck." These are simply remnants of the old pagan Woden-worship which we inherit from our English ancestors, who are partly descended from the Saxons, as you have probably learned from your school history. And the word Wednesday is a corruption of Woden's-Day, a name given by our Saxon ancestors to the fourth day of the week in honor of their god.
When I was recently in Germany, I noticed upon the gable-end of every cottage and farm-house in Brunswick and Hanover a curious ornament, consisting of two horses' heads, roughly carved in wood, mounted upon poles, and placed above the entrance-doors, in the form of a cross. This was first done by order of Wittikind, who, upon professing Christianity, changed the pagan symbols above the doors of dwellings to the sign of Christianity—the cross. The ignorant peasants do not know the origin of the custom, but will tell you that the crossed-heads are placed there "to keep out evil spirits, and to bring good luck to the house."
I saw in Brunswick the great stone lion which Henry Guelph placed there seven hundred years ago; and in Hanover, the old palace in which George the First was born, with the lion and the horse above the entrance. Once, too, in the Hartz mountains, I visited a grand-looking ancient castle of the old dukes of Brunswick, in which was born the wife of George the Second of England. It stood on the summit of a lofty precipice, up which we had to climb; then crossing a deep moat by a narrow bridge, we entered through a great arched gate-way, surmounted by the Brunswick coat-of-arms, cut in the stone wall. The moat was dry, and ivy and tall trees growing in it far below, thrust the tips of their branches over the walls. I stopped and took a sketch of the old gate-way, which I here present my young readers.
UNDER THE LILACS.
BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.
"I ran away from a circus," began Ben, but got no further, for Bab and Betty gave a simultaneous bounce of delight, and both cried out at once—
"We've been to one! It was splendid!"
"You wouldn't think so if you knew as much about it as I do," answered Ben, with a sudden frown and wriggle, as if he still felt the smart of the blows he had received. "We don't call it splendid; do we, Sancho?" he added, making a queer noise, which caused the poodle to growl and bang the floor irefully with his tail, as he lay close to his master's feet, getting acquainted with the new shoes they wore.
"How came you there?" asked Mrs. Moss, rather disturbed at the news.
"Why, my father was the 'Wild Hunter of the Plains.' Didn't you ever see or hear of him?" said Ben, as if surprised at her ignorance.
"Bless your heart, child, I haven't been to a circus this ten years, and I'm sure I don't remember what or who I saw then," answered Mrs. Moss, amused, yet touched by the son's evident admiration for his father.
"Didn't you see him?" demanded Ben, turning to the little girls.
"We saw Indians and tumbling men, and the Bounding Brothers of Borneo, and a clown and monkeys, and a little mite of a pony with blue eyes. Was he any of them?" answered Betty, innocently.
"Pooh! he didn't belong to that lot. He always rode two, four, six, eight horses to oncet, and I used to ride with him till I got too big. My father was A No. 1, and didn't do anything but break horses and ride 'em," said Ben, with as much pride as if his parent had been a President.
"Is he dead?" asked Mrs. Moss.
"I don't know. Wish I did," and poor Ben gave a gulp as if something rose in his throat and choked him.
"Tell us all about it, dear, and may be we can find out where he is," said Ma, leaning forward to pat the shiny dark head that was suddenly bent over the dog.
"Yes, ma'am, I will, thank y'," and with an effort the boy steadied his voice and plunged into the middle of his story.
"Father was always good to me, and I liked bein' with him after granny died. I lived with her till I was seven, then father took me, and I was trained for a rider. You jest oughter have seen me when I was a little feller all in white tights, and a gold belt, and pink riggin', standin' on father's shoulder, or hangin' on to old General's tail, and him gallopin' full pelt, or father ridin' three horses with me on his head wavin' flags, and every one clappin' like fun."
"Oh, weren't you scared to pieces?" asked Betty, quaking at the mere thought.
"Not a bit. I liked it."
"So should I!" cried Bab, enthusiastically.
"Then I drove the four ponies in the little chariot, when we paraded," continued Ben, and I sat on the great ball up top of the grand car drawed by Hannibal and Nero. But I didn't like that, 'cause it was awful high and shaky, and the sun was hot, and the trees slapped my face, and my legs ached holdin' on."
"What's hanny bells and neroes?" demanded Betty.
"Big elephants. Father never let 'em put me up there, and they didn't darst till he was gone; then I had to, else they'd 'a' thrashed me."
"Didn't any one take your part?" asked Mrs. Moss.
"Yes'm, 'most all the ladies did; they were very good to me, 'specially 'Melia. She vowed she wouldn't go on in the Tunnymunt act if they didn't stop knockin' me round when I wouldn't help old Buck with the bears. So they had to stop it, 'cause she led first rate, and none of the other ladies rode half as well as 'Melia."
"Bears! oh, do tell about them!" exclaimed Bab, in great excitement, for at the only circus she had seen the animals were her delight.
"Buck had five of 'em, cross old fellers, and he showed 'em off. I played with 'em once, jest for fun, and he thought it would make a hit to have me show off instead of him. But they had a way of clawin' and huggin' that wasn't nice, and you couldn't never tell whether they were good-natured or ready to bite your head off. Buck was all over scars where they'd scratched and bit him, and I wasn't going to do it, and I didn't have to, owin' to Miss St. John's standin' by me like a good one."
"Who was Miss St. John?" asked Mrs. Moss, rather confused by the sudden introduction of new names and people.
"Why, she was 'Melia,—Mrs. Smithers, the ring-master's wife. His name wasn't Montgomery any more'n hers was St. John. They all change 'em to something fine on the bills, you know. Father used to be Senor Jose Montebello, and I was Master Adolphus Bloomsbury after I stopped bein' a flying Coopid and a Infant Progidy."
Mrs. Moss leaned back in her chair to laugh at that, greatly to the surprise of the little girls, who were much impressed with the elegance of these high-sounding names.
"Go on with your story, Ben, and tell why you ran away and what became of your Pa," she said, composing herself to listen, really interested in the child.
"Well, you see, father had a quarrel with old Smithers and went off sudden last fall, just before the tenting season was over. He told me he was goin' to a great ridin' school in New York, and when he was fixed he'd send for me. I was to stay in the museum and help Pedro with the trick business. He was a nice man and I liked him, and 'Melia was good to see to me, and I didn't mind for awhile. But father didn't send for me, and I began to have horrid times. If it hadn't been for 'Melia and Sancho I would have cut away long before I did."
"What did you have to do?"
"Lots of things, for times was dull and I was smart. Smithers said so, anyway, and I had to tumble up lively when he gave the word. I didn't mind doin' tricks or showing off Sancho, for father trained him and he always did well with me. But they wanted me to drink gin to keep me small, and I wouldn't, 'cause father didn't like that kind of thing. I used to ride tip-top, and that just suited me till I got a fall and hurt my back; but I had to go on all the same, though I ached dreadful, and used to tumble off, I was so dizzy and weak."
"What a brute that man must have been! Why didn't 'Melia put a stop to it?" asked Mrs. Moss, indignantly.
"She died, ma'am, and then there was no one left but Sanch, so I run away."
Then Ben fell to patting his dog again, to hide the tears he could not keep from coming at the thought of the kind friend he had lost.
"What did you mean to do?"
"Find father; but I couldn't, for he wasn't at the ridin' school, and they told me he had gone out West to buy mustangs for a man who wanted a lot. So then I was in a fix, for I couldn't go to father, didn't know jest where he was, and I wouldn't sneak back to Smithers to be abused. Tried to make 'em take me at the ridin' school, but they didn't want a boy, and I traveled along and tried to get work. But I'd have starved if it hadn't been for Sanch. I left him tied up when I ran off, for fear they'd say I stole him. He's a very valuable dog, ma'am, the best trick dog I ever see, and they'd want him back more than they would me. He belongs to father, and I hated to leave him, but I did. I hooked it one dark night, and never thought I'd see him ag'in. Next mornin' I was eatin' breakfast in a barn miles away and dreadful lonesome, when he came tearin' in, all mud and wet, with a great piece of rope draggin'. He'd gnawed it, and came after me and wouldn't go back or be lost; and I'll never leave him again; will I, dear old feller?"
Sancho had listened to this portion of the tale with intense interest, and when Ben spoke to him he stood straight up, put both paws on the boy's shoulders, licked his face with a world of dumb affection in his yellow eyes, and gave a little whine which said as plainly as words—
"Cheer up, little master; fathers may vanish and friends die, but I never will desert you."
Ben hugged him close and smiled over his curly, white head, at the little girls who clapped their hands at the pleasing tableau, and then went to pat and fondle the good creature, assuring him that they entirely forgave the theft of the cake and the new dinner-pail. Inspired by these endearments and certain private signals given by Ben, Sancho suddenly burst away to perform all his best antics with unusual grace and dexterity.
Bab and Betty danced about the room with rapture, while Mrs. Moss declared she was almost afraid to have such a wonderfully intelligent animal in the house. Praises of his dog pleased Ben more than praises of himself, and when the confusion had subsided he entertained his audience with a lively account of Sancho's cleverness, fidelity, and the various adventures in which he had nobly borne his part.
While he talked Mrs. Moss was making up her mind about him, and when he came to an end of his dog's perfections, she said, gravely:
"If I can find something for you to do, would you like to stay here awhile?"
"Oh yes, ma'am, I'd be glad to!" answered Ben, eagerly; for the place seemed home-like already, and the good woman almost as motherly as the departed Mrs. Smithers.
"Well, I'll step over to the Judge's to-morrow to see what he says. Shouldn't wonder if he'd take you for a chore-boy, if you are as smart as you say. He always has one in the summer, and I haven't seen any round yet. Can you drive cows?"
"Hope so;" and Ben gave a shrug, as if it was a very unnecessary question to put to a person who had driven four calico ponies in a gilded chariot.
"It mayn't be as lively as riding elephants and playing with bears, but it is respectable, and I guess you'll be happier switching Brindle and Buttercup than being switched yourself," said Mrs. Moss, shaking her head at him with a smile.
"I guess I will, ma'am," answered Ben, with sudden meekness, remembering the trials from which he had escaped.
Very soon after this, he was sent off for a good night's sleep in the back bedroom, with Sancho to watch over him. But both found it difficult to slumber till the racket overhead subsided, for Bab insisted on playing she was a bear and devouring poor Betty in spite of her wails, till their mother came up and put an end to it by threatening to send Ben and his dog away in the morning if the girls "didn't behave and be as still as mice."
This they solemnly promised, and they were soon dreaming of gilded cars and moldy coaches, run-away boys and dinner-pails, dancing dogs and twirling tea-cups.
BEN GETS A PLACE.
When Ben awoke next morning, he looked about him for a moment half bewildered, because there was neither a canvas tent, a barn roof, nor the blue sky above him, but a neat white ceiling, where several flies buzzed sociably together, while from without came, not the tramping of horses, the twitter of swallows, or the chirp of early birds, but the comfortable cackle of hens and the sound of two little voices chanting the multiplication table.
Sancho sat at the open window watching the old cat wash her face, and trying to imitate her with his great ruffled paw, so awkwardly that Ben laughed, and Sanch, to hide his confusion at being caught, made one bound from chair to bed and licked his master's face so energetically that the boy dived under the bedclothes to escape from the rough tongue.
A rap on the floor from below made both jump up, and in ten minutes a shiny-faced lad and a lively dog went racing down-stairs—one to say, "Good-morning, ma'am," the other to wag his tail faster than ever tail wagged before, for ham frizzled on the stove, and Sancho was fond of it.
"Did you rest well?" asked Mrs. Moss, nodding at him, fork in hand.
"Guess I did! Never saw such a bed. I'm used to hay and a horse-blanket, and lately nothing but sky for a cover and grass for my feather bed," laughed Ben, grateful for present comforts and making light of past hardships.
"Clean, sweet corn-husks aint bad for young bones, even if they haven't got more flesh on them than yours have," answered Mrs. Moss, giving the smooth head a motherly stroke as she went by.
"Fat aint allowed in our profession, ma'am. The thinner the better for tight-ropes and tumblin'; likewise bareback-ridin' and spry jugglin'. Muscle's the thing, and there you are."
Ben stretched out a wiry little arm with a clenched fist at the end of it, as if he were a young Hercules ready to play ball with the stove if she gave him leave. Glad to see him in such good spirits, she pointed to the well outside, saying pleasantly:
"Well, then, just try your muscle by bringing in some fresh water."
Ben caught up a pail and ran off, ready to be useful; but while he waited for the bucket to fill down among the mossy stones, he looked about him, well pleased with all he saw,—the small brown house with a pretty curl of smoke rising from its chimney, the little sisters sitting in the sunshine, green hills and newly planted fields far and near, a brook dancing through the orchard, birds singing in the elm avenue, and all the world as fresh and lovely as early summer could make it.
"Don't you think it's pretty nice here?" asked Bab, as his eye came back to them after a long look, which seemed to take in everything, brightening as it roved.
"Just the nicest place that ever was. Only needs a horse round somewhere to be complete," answered Ben, as the long well-sweep came up with a dripping bucket at one end, an old grind-stone at the other.
"The Judge has three, but he's so fussy about them he wont even let us pull a few hairs out of old Major's tail to make rings of," said Betty, shutting her arithmetic, with an injured expression.
"Mike lets me ride the white one to water when the Judge isn't 'round. It's such fun to go jouncing down the lane and back. I do love horses!" cried Bab, bobbing up and down on the blue bench to imitate the motion of white Jenny.
"I guess you are a plucky sort of a girl," and Ben gave her an approving look as he went by, taking care to slop a little water on Mrs. Puss, who stood curling her whiskers and humping up her back at Sancho.
"Come to breakfast!" called Mrs. Moss, and for about twenty minutes little was said as mush and milk vanished in a way that would have astonished even Jack the Giant-killer with his leather bag.
"Now, girls, fly round and get your chores done up; Ben, you go chop me some kindlings; and I'll make things tidy. Then we can all start off at once," said Mrs. Moss, as the last mouthful vanished, and Sancho licked his lips over the savory scraps that fell to his share.
Ben fell to chopping so vigorously that chips flew wildly all about the shed, Bab rattled the cups into her dish-pan with dangerous haste, and Betty raised a cloud of dust "sweeping-up," while mother seemed to be everywhere at once. Even Sanch, feeling that his fate was at stake, endeavored to help in his own somewhat erratic way,—now frisking about Ben at the risk of getting his tail chopped off, then trotting away to poke his inquisitive nose into every closet and room whither he followed Mrs. Moss in her "flying round" evolutions; next dragging off the mat so Betty could brush the door-steps, or inspecting Bab's dish-washing by standing on his hind-legs to survey the table with a critical air. When they drove him out he was not the least offended, but gayly barked Puss up a tree, chased all the hens over the fence, and carefully interred an old shoe in the garden, where the remains of a mutton-bone were already buried.
By the time the others were ready, he had worked off his superfluous spirits and trotted behind the party like a well-behaved dog accustomed to go out walking with ladies. At the cross-roads they separated, the little girls running on to school, while Mrs. Moss and Ben went up to the Squire's big house on the hill.
"Don't you be scared, child. I'll make it all right about your running away; and if the Squire gives you a job, just thank him for it, and do your best to be steady and industrious; then you'll get on, I haven't a doubt," she whispered, ringing the bell at a side-door on which the word "Allen" shone in bright letters.