The Nursery, December 1873, Vol. XIV. No. 6
Author: Various
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A Monthly Magazine




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.




Clear the Coast 161

A Letter to Santa Claus 165

The Boy and the Nuts 166

Eddy's Thanksgiving 167

Benny's Arithmetic Lesson 170

Grandpa's Boots 171

What Jessie Cortrell did 173

The Balloon 178

The Starling and the Sparrows 181

The Sprained Ankle 187



Who is it? 164

The Acorns 175

Grandmother's Birthday 176

What the Cat said to the Monkey 180

The Tea-Party 185


"LEAR the coast! clear the coast!" cried Albert and Frank, as they came down hill swiftly on Frank's new sled.

"Look out for that woman!" cried little Harry, who was standing at the top of the hill.

A poor German woman was crossing the road. She had a large basket full of bundles, which she carried on her head. In her right hand she had an umbrella and a tin pail, and on her arm another basket. Truly, seeing that the roads were slippery, she had more than her share of burdens.

She tried to get out of the way; but Frank's new sled was such a swift runner, that it came near striking her, and caused her to nearly lose her balance, putting her at the same time into a great fright.

"You bad boys, you almost threw me down!" she exclaimed, when she recovered from the start they had given her, and looked around to see if she had dropped any of her bundles.

But down the hill they rushed on their sled, Frank losing his hat in their descent, but little caring for that in his delight. The two boys, after reaching the foot of the hill, turned, and began to drag their sled up again.

"That woman," said Frank, "called us bad boys. Let us tell her that we are not bad boys. We did not mean to run her down."

"Here comes Harry, running. What has he got to say?" asked Albert.

"I tell you what, boys," said Harry, "you'll be taken up if you run people down in that way."

"Why didn't she clear the coast when I told her to?" said Albert.

"Why didn't you steer your sled out of the way?" returned Harry.

"I didn't hit her, did I?" said Albert.

"No; but you were trying to see how near you could come without hitting her," replied Harry. "It's too bad to treat a poor old woman so!"

"So it was," said Frank. "What shall we do about it?"

"That's for Albert to say," exclaimed Harry.

"Well," replied Albert, "the right thing will be to offer to drag her bundles for her on the sled."

"That's it!" said the other two boys.

By this time they had reached the place where the poor woman was moving slowly along under her heavy burdens. She seemed very tired, and sighed often as she picked her way timidly over the frozen snow.

"We are sorry we frightened you," said Albert. "We did not mean to do any harm. Put your baskets on this sled, and we will drag them for you as far as you want to go."

"Well, you are little gentlemen, after all," said the woman, "and I'm sorry I was so vexed with you."

"You had cause," said Frank: "we were to blame."

Then she put her two baskets and the tin pail on the sled; and the three boys escorted her to her home, where she thanked them heartily for the way in which they had made amends for Albert's bad steering.



SURELY a step on the carpet I hear, Some quiet mouse that is creeping so near. Two little feet mount the rung of my chair: True as I live, there is somebody there! Ten lily fingers are over my eyes, Trying to take me by sudden surprise; Then a voice, calling in merriest glee, "Who is it? Tell me, and you may go free."

"Who is it? Leave me a moment to guess. Some one who loves me?" The voice answers, "Yes." "Some one who's fairer to me than the flowers, Brighter to me than the sunshiny hours? Darling, whose white little hands make me blind Unto all things that are dark and unkind; Sunshine and blossoms, and diamond and pearl,— Papa's own dear little, sweet little girl!"



THE little boy who got his aunt to write this letter for him wishes to have it appear in "The Nursery," so that Santa Claus may be sure to read it. When it is printed, the little boy says he can read it himself. Here is the letter:—

DEAR MR. SANTA CLAUS,—Please, sir, could you not bring me a team of goats next Christmas? I do want them so much! Other little boys no bigger than I am have a pair of goats to play with.

When I ask my mother to get me a pair, she says she will see, but thinks I shall have to wait a little while. Now, dear Mr. Santa Claus, I do not feel as if I could wait.

Besides, ma's "little while" seems like a great while to me, and when I get older I shall have to go to school; but now I could play almost all the time with my little goats, if I had them. Oh, dear! I wish I had them now! I can hardly wait till Christmas.

I will be very kind to them, and give them plenty to eat, and a good warm bed at night. Brother Charley says he will get me a wagon, if you, good Mr. Santa Claus, will give me the goats.

Folks say, that, although you are an old man, you love little children; especially little boys with black eyes, and who obey their mother. Well, my eyes are very black; and I love my mother dearly, and try to obey her.

My name is Francis Lincoln Noble: I live at 214, South 8th Street, Williamsburgh, L.I. The house is quite high; but, dear Mr. Santa Claus, I think your nimble deer can climb to the top of it.

You can put the little goats right down through the chimney in ma's room. I will take away the fireboard, so they can come out at the fireplace. Oh, how happy I shall be when I wake in the morning, and see them! I shall say, "Merry Christmas!" to everybody; and everybody will say, "Merry Christmas!" to me.

But dear, good Mr. Santa Claus, if you cannot get to the top of the house to put them down the chimney, please to bring them up the front-steps, and tie them to the door-knob; and then blow your whistle, and I will run right down to the door; and, dear Mr. Santa Claus, could you not stop long enough for me to say, "Thank you!" for my mother says all good boys say, "Thank you!" when they receive a present?



A BOY once found some nuts in a jar. Like all boys, he was fond of nuts, and was glad to hear that he might put his hand once in the jar, and have all the nuts he could then take out. He thrust his hand down the neck of the jar, and took hold of all the nuts he could. When his hand was quite full, he did his best to draw it out of the jar.

But the neck of the jar was small, and his hand was so full of nuts, that he could not draw it out. He felt so sad, that tears fell from his eyes. His friend who stood near told him to let go half the nuts. He did so, and then drew out his hand with ease.

We shall find it so in life: men lose all, if they try to get too much.

T. C.


LAST year Eddy spent Thanksgiving Day at his grandpa's. For a week before the time came, he chattered about going. He wanted to take with him his drum and his rocking-chair, and Frisk his dog. But mamma said he would have plenty of playthings and playmates without them.

You would have thought so too, if you had seen the sleighs full of uncles and aunts and cousins that came driving up to grandpa's door the day before Thanksgiving; and, if you had heard the laughing and shouting, you would have said they were as merry a set of people as ever were got together.

Thanksgiving morning, grandpa said they must all go to church,—every one of them, big and little,—except Aunt Susan, who had a bad cold. So mamma dressed Eddy for church, and told him to be careful to keep himself looking nice; for he was one of the worst boys to tear and soil his clothes that you ever saw.

Eddy took a seat in the parlor, intending to be very careful; but pretty soon he heard his cousins Harry and John talking in the kitchen, and went out to see what was going on there.

As he passed along, he saw Towzer, grandpa's great shaggy dog, on the porch, and thought he must have a romp with him. He made Towzer sit up and shake hands, and perform other tricks that had been taught him. Then he thought Towzer would make a good horse.

So he straddled Towzer's back with his short fat legs, and told him to "go 'long." But Towzer did not like to play horse, and tried to shake Eddy off. Eddy held fast, and wriggled and shouted to make Towzer go. All at once the dog gave a spring, and threw Eddy off into a puddle of water.

Poor Eddy went into the house, muddy and dripping, and found that everybody was ready to start for church. Of course, there was not time to dress him again; so he had to stay with Aunt Susan.

He did not think that was very hard; for, after he was dressed clean again, Aunt Susan gave him a cooky to eat, and a picture-book to look at.

When he had got through with the book, she took him down cellar with her to get some apples. Aunt Susan soon filled her pan, and started back; but Eddy stopped to taste the apples in every barrel.

"Come, Eddy," called Aunt Susan from the head of the cellar-stairs.

"In a minute," answered Eddy, straining to reach the apples in a barrel that was nearly empty. Just then he slipped, and fell into the barrel head first, with his feet sticking up.

How he squealed! Aunt Susan's cold had made her so deaf, that she did not hear him. He kept on squealing and kicking until the barrel tipped over; and then he backed out of it, and went slowly up to the kitchen, very red in the face.

He was pretty quiet after that until dinner was ready. After dinner the children cracked nuts, and parched corn, and played merry games; and Eddy had his share of all the fun. When he went to bed, his Aunt Susan asked him whether he had had a good time.

"Splendid!" said Eddy.

"How did you like being thrown into the puddle?" said Aunt Susan.

"First rate!" said Eddy.

"Did you think it good fun to dive into the barrel?"

"Jolly!" said the little rogue. "I'd like to do it again."



LITTLE BENNY has just begun to go to school.

Some boys as young and active as he is would rather play all day long than to spend part of the time in the school-room; but he seems to like it.

Almost every day he comes running home, saying, "I've learned something more to-day;" and, after he has told us about it, we send him out of doors with his little cousins, who live close by.

We know that all work and no play would make Benny a dull boy.

To-day he felt very proud, because he had been learning to add. He said that he could say the first table.

I told him to begin, and I would tell him if he was right.

So he began; and this is the way it went on:—

BENNY.—One and one are two. MAMMA.—That is very true. BENNY.—Two and one are three. MAMMA.—Nought could better be. BENNY.—Four and one are five. MAMMA.—True as I'm alive. BENNY.—Five and one are six. MAMMA.—That's a pretty fix. BENNY.—Six and one are seven. MAMMA.—Thought you'd say eleven. BENNY.—Seven and one are eight. MAMMA.—Bless your curly pate! BENNY.—Eight and one are nine. MAMMA.—Why, how very fine! BENNY.—Nine and one are ten. MAMMA.—Pretty good for Ben.

We had a good hearty laugh when we got through; for Benny's earnest way of reciting pleased me, and he enjoyed the emphatic manner in which I replied to his additions. How many of the little "Nursery" boys can say the table that Benny did?

C. H.


HOW the stars did snap that December night! The moon was up too; and how cold and white she looked!

And how busy Jack Frost was! No one saw him swing a hammer; no one heard him drive a nail: but, by the time morning had come, he had laid right across the ponds and the river a floor of ice smoother than any wooden floor ever put down by the joiners of Norridgewock.

All the boys were out sliding. Ed Peet had come from over the river; Fred Danforth was there from the tavern; and George Sawtelle came running up from the big house under the willow. Others were there too, slipping along on Jack Frost's floor.

Little Albert looked out of the window, and saw the boys at their play. Why couldn't he go out too?

"Shall I go, mother?" he asked.

"Your slippers are too thin, Albert."

"Oh! I can put on grandpa's boots."

"Yes, you can go, but be careful. You are too young for such rough sport."

Off scampered the eager feet, and on went the big boots. A smile must have lighted up the mother's eyes as she heard her little boy tramping over the floor in the heavy boots.

The boys were taking their turn at sliding. Away down at the end of the line stood Albert. They were sliding carefully, not running too hard; for a little way out the ice was thin. After a while, it was Albert's turn. "I'll beat those big, clumsy boys," he thought.

Taking a long run, driving ahead with all his force, he shouted, "Now see your grandpa go!" And, sure enough, grandpa's boots went and went, out where the ice was thin, and down went Albert into the water! The water was not deep, though. He was out again in a moment; and there he stood, cold and dripping like an icicle in a January thaw.

I can hear the boys laughing, and I seem to see the smile lighting up the mother's brown eyes still more merrily, when her little boy came home. Albert never forgot it. In after-years he would say, "Whenever I am inclined to show off, I think of grandpa's boots."

E. A. R.


POOR little Johnny Cortrell's eyes kept growing dimmer; and one day in May-time they failed altogether, and Jessie, his sister, led him home from school stone blind.

His father and mother were greatly distressed at this. Dr. James held a candle to the poor blind eyes; but they never blinked. He said he was not enough of an oculist to determine whether they could be cured; but there was a doctor in Boston—Dr. Williamson, 33 Blank Street—who would be able to pronounce with certainty.

Now, the Cortrells lived thirty-five miles away from Boston, and were quite poor. The father did not see how he could afford the expense of sending Johnny to Boston yet a while, but hoped to do it in the autumn.

Little Jessie overheard her parents talking on the subject, and made up her mind to try and see what she could do. She thought she could not wait three, four, or five months, to have Johnny cured: it ought to be done at once.

The next day she told her plan to Johnny, and they made their preparations; and one bright morning, when it was school-time, she and Johnny stole out of the house hand in hand, quite unnoticed by any one.

They met a little girl named Jane Anderson; and by her Jessie sent the following letter to her parents:—

DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,—I didn't ask you, for fear you would say No; but Johnny and I are going to Boston to see Dr. Williamson. I heard all the reasons why you couldn't take Johnny till fall, and I couldn't wait. 'Twon't hurt us to walk this nice spring weather; and I don't think any one will refuse to give a poor blind boy and his sister a place to sleep, or a bowl of bread and milk to eat. We shall ask our road, and we won't get lost. Our Father in heaven will go with us all the way.

Mr. Cortrell was much alarmed. "I must start after them, wife," said he. "Those children on the road to Boston all alone! Jessie is crazy."

But Mrs. Cortrell said, "What if God put it into her heart, John?" And so they concluded to do nothing about it.

Well, the children walked and walked, and now and then they got a drive; and, on the third morning, Jessie led Johnny into Boston over the Brighton road.

They found Dr. Williamson. He received them kindly. He examined Johnny's eyes, and then said to Jessie, "I think there are nine chances in ten that I can cure your brother."

Jessie bounded with joy. The good doctor accommodated them in his own house while the cure was going on; and after not many days he sent the children home in the cars, and, as he left them, placed a sealed envelope in the hand of Jessie.

"My bill for your father: there is no haste about it," said he kindly; and then he bade them good-by.

The journey was a short one. Happy enough were the parents to see their dear children back again, and Johnny quite cured of his blindness.

Then Jessie handed her father the bill. "Whatever it is, I shall pay it cheerfully," said he. He opened it, and read,—

"For services rendered Johnny and Jessie Cortrell. "Received payment in full, "CHARLES WILLIAMSON."

So Johnny got his eyes again, and the doctor's bill was settled; and Jessie had done it all.[1]


[1] From Bed-Time Stories, by Louise Chandler Moulton, published by Roberts Brothers, Boston.


"TALL oaks from little acorns grow." Yes, darling children, that is so: Then plant your acorns; do not fear; And fruit will by and by appear. The line you learn to-day may be The very seed of Wisdom's tree.



GRANDMA'S birthday is to-day! This we all have come to say, Lest she should forget the time, Wondering at this joyful rhyme.

Welcome, welcome, happy day! Love shed brightness on her way! And for her may many more Just such birthdays be in store!

We have come with fruits and flowers, Tokens of this love of ours; But our love shall flourish bright When these flowers are faded quite.

Take them, grandma, and be sure We are rich, though we are poor,— Rich in love, though poor in gold: So to greet you we make bold.

Blessings be around your way! Love surround you every day! Pleasant thoughts be with you still, Gently going down the hill!

And may your example bright Keep us always in the right! So, "Hurrah, hurrah!" we say: "Grandma's birthday is to-day!"



A BALLOON was going up from Boston Common, and two children were out upon a hill in the country watching for it. "There it is!" said Willy, as he pointed to a black speck right over the State House.

The speck seemed to grow larger every moment. "The balloon is coming this way," said Willy. "I can see a man in it waving a flag." By and by it seemed to be coming down on a hill close by where the children stood. They ran to meet it, shouting as they went; but it was a great deal farther off than they thought it was.

A good many other people were looking at the balloon at the same time; and it came down in a pasture where some children were picking berries. When it got almost down, the man looked out and said, "Have you any blueberries for sale?"

The children held out their baskets, and said, "Yes, plenty of them."—"Well, then," said the man, "I think this is a good place to stop at."

W. O. C.


YOU cowardly monkey, come out if you dare! I'll teach you my dear little kittens to scare. Because I had gone a few moments away, You thought that to plague them was good monkey play.

But when I came back, just in season, I saw What was up, and I gave you a pat with my paw: It didn't set well, might I judge from your face. What ails your poor arm? and why that grimace?

Now, here hangs my paw; and, if you're inclined To try it again, 'twill be ready, you'll find. And mark, Mr. Monkey, if up to your fun, I'll show, to your sorrow, I have more than one.

So Velvetpaw, Whitefoot, and Darkey, don't fear! No monkey shall harm you while mother is near. The rascal who plagued you has found I am rough: Of my paw and my claw he has had quite enough.


THE starling is a trim little bird, measuring from seven to eight inches in length. He goes dressed in black, and his coat glistens like satin in the sunlight. In autumn, however, after moulting, he looks as if bedecked with white pearls.

This is his travelling-suit, and in it he prepares to take his flight southward to a warmer region. He is a European bird; and so he goes from Germany as far south as Spain, Italy, and Greece. Now and then he ventures as far as Africa.

But, as soon as spring begins to appear, the starling is sure to come back northward to his old haunts. He comes with merry songs and chatterings, and seems determined that no one shall be sad while he is about.

Flying to the topmost bough of some tree in the neighborhood of his old home, he proclaims to all the world that the Good Fellow (as the Germans call him) has come back, and that all the people may be glad accordingly.

After this, his first business will be to see how it stands with his summer lodgings; for he wants to be spared the trouble of finding a new mansion if he can help it. Somewhere about, there is, perhaps, a starling's tub or bucket, that some friends of his have placed on a tree for his accommodation, in their garden or yard, after making a hole or door by which he may enter.

But, dear me! what is his indignation, when he finds that a family of saucy sparrows, going upon the old maxim of "might makes right," have taken up their abode in his house, without so much as saying, "By your leave"!

"Quit this!" cries the starling in tones that cannot be mistaken.

"Go away, you black rogue!" cries the sparrow. "I shall not quit this nice house for you."

But the starling has a sharp bill, and he hits the poor sparrow with it. Sparrow calls him all the hard names he can think of, and summons the whole sparrow community to his assistance against the mean fellow who has come to deprive him of his home.

The cries grow louder and wilder. Such an uproar of sparrows as there is before the door! At last comes Madam Starling flying to the rescue; and then the battle is quickly decided. The sparrows are driven off, and the starlings remain in full possession.

Madam Starling looks about with her clear, bright little eyes, and sees that the troublesome sparrows have all gone away; and her faithful mate lights on the topmost bough of a tree near by, and pours forth a song of rejoicing and of triumph.

But soon the wind blows cold from the north. Ah! old Winter comes back a moment or two just to see what Spring is about. The flakes descend on their black coats; and the starlings come out from their little house, and look about to see what's the matter.

Have they made a mistake? Oh, no! Soon the sun will be out. April has come, and the snow will not last long. They first go to work, and clean their little house, pitching out all the rubbish the sparrows have left there.

Straw, feathers, and hay must now be got for a nice fresh nest. This they soon make; and one day Madam Starling shows her mate five or six clear blue eggs in the nest. For nearly sixteen days she must sit brooding on these eggs; and then—what joy!—half a dozen bright little starlings make their appearance.

But, dear me, how hungry they are! Father and mother have just as much as they can do to feed them. The little ones seem to be crying all the time for "more, more!" Will they never get enough?

In a few weeks the children grow so strong and sleek, that Papa Starling says to them, "Now, boys and girls, you must learn to fly, and get your own living. Come, tumble out!"

So the young ones have to venture out; and soon they find they can pick up worms and seeds enough for themselves. What joy to fly from tree to tree! How pleasant to light among the green stalks and the flowers on the warm summer days! The starlings have a merry time of it; and, when winter comes, all they have to do is to fly southward.

No sooner are they gone than the sparrows again take possession of the forsaken house, in great delight at having such a nice warm dwelling for the winter.



THE dolls had a tea-party: wasn't it fun! In ribbons and laces they came, one by one. We girls set the table, and poured out the tea; And each of us held up a doll on our knee.

You never saw children behave half so well: Why, nobody had any gossip to tell! And (can you believe it?) for badness, that day, No dolly was sent from the table away.

One dolly, however, the proudest one there, Was driven almost to the verge of despair, Because she had met with a simple mishap, And upset the butter-plate into her lap.

The cups and the saucers they shone lily-white: We helped all the dollies, they looked so polite. We had cake and jam from our own pantry-shelves: Of course, we did most of the eating ourselves.

But housewives don't know when their cares may begin. The window was open, and pussy popped in: He jumped on the table; and what do you think? Down fell all the crockery there, in a wink.

We picked up the pieces, with many a sigh; Our party broke up, and we all said good-by: Do come to our next one; but then we'll invite That very bad pussy to keep out of sight.



HARRY has been a long, long time at the window, watching the boys as they go past on their sleds. It is a bright afternoon, and they are enjoying the coasting very much.

Harry draws a long sigh, which makes his mamma look up from her work, and say,—

"I know it is hard for you, darling; but think what might have happened to Johnny if you had not saved him."

Would you like to know what it is which keeps Harry in-doors while there is so much fun outside?

Well, while he is counting the sleds as they go down the long hill in front of the house, I will tell you.

It was on Saturday afternoon, a week ago. He was out coasting with the other boys. Johnny Ware, a little fellow only five years old, was with them.

Harry and several other boys were going very swiftly down the hill as Johnny was coming up.

"Get out of the way!" shouted one boy.

"Look out, Johnny, turn to the right!" cried another. But the little fellow did not know which was right, and, being bewildered, stood still. The sleds were almost upon him, and it seemed as if he must be run over, when Harry caught him, and threw him one side, but not in season to save his own ankle.

It was badly sprained, and he had to be carried home. But when Harry remembers the danger, and how near Johnny came to being run over, he does not complain. He can even watch the boys cheerfully, and clap his hands in joy as he hears their ringing laugh and merry shouts.

Johnny Ware is among them, but does not stay long. He comes into Harry's house to warm his fingers. After standing by the stove a few minutes, he comes to the window, and, slipping his little cold hand into Harry's, says, "May I stay with you, Harry?"

Don't you think our little lame boy is happy now?


* * * * *

Transcriber's Note:

This issue was part of an omnibus. The original text for this issue did not include a title page or table of contents. This was taken from the July issue with the "No." added. The original table of contents covered the second half of 1873. The remaining text of the table of contents can be found in the rest of the year's issues.


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