The Nursery, January 1873, Vol. XIII. - A Monthly Magazine for Youngest People
Author: Various
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A Monthly Magazine




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


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.




The Story of the Sparrow 1

The Little Teacher 3

Katy's Christmas-Presents 6

Little Mischief 9

Becky 13

Robert's Promise to Santa Claus 16

Piggy's Visit 18

Stopping the Express 22

How Smart managed the Sheep 25

How Two Boys passed Christmas Morning 27

Why the Horses jumped Overboard 30


Christmas Morning 5

Santa Claus 12

The Johnny-Cake 20

What the Ship brought 24

The Lady-Bird (with music) 32


E are little English sparrows. We have been two years in America. We were brought over by Mr. Wakefield's gardener. He let us loose in the grove; and there we have been ever since.

Mr. Wakefield has built little houses for us, and put them on the boughs of the trees. We go into these houses when it rains hard or blows. Once the doors of our houses were all blocked up with snow.

The winters here are much colder than in England, where we were born. More snow falls, and thicker ice forms here. But we like our new home very well.

Many young sparrows have been born to us. They are proud of being Americans. They think they are cleverer than their parents, because their parents, you see, are English. Pride is not right, is it?

There is a bird called the butcher-bird,—a very savage bird,—that tries to kill us. We have to look out for these butcher-birds. But they cannot get into our houses: the doors are too small for them.

There is a little bird called the snow-bird, that comes in winter. We are not afraid of him. He is afraid of us. We drive him away when Emily feeds us all. Emily calls us naughty when we do this: she threatens to punish us for it.

Emily and her folks live not far from our grove. Emily has a father and mother, a grandfather, a brother Philip, and a baby sister, whose name is Nelly. Grandfather and Nelly are great friends. Grandfather brings Nelly in his arms to see Emily and Philip feed us.

One day, just as it had begun to snow, we thought we would fly over and make a call on Emily. She saw us from the window, and came out. Philip came too. They gave us crumbs and seed. Grandfather brought baby to see us. We did not fly off when baby said, "Goo!" We were not afraid.

By and by two saucy snow-birds came, and tried to get some of our seed. We flew at them, and drove them off. But Emily said, "You naughty sparrows! Let those snow-birds be! They are as good as you are, any day."

Now, that was not kind in Emily. We think we are better and handsomer than snow-birds. We were so much offended, that we all flew away, and left her with her precious snow-birds.

But the next day we were hungry: so we forgave her, and made her a visit. She was glad enough to see us. So were grandfather and baby. Those hateful snow-birds kept out of the way.



LITTLE MARY is seven years old. She loves "The Nursery." She has read it for nearly three years; and her mother says she has learned more from it than she has learned at school.

At first she used to look at the pictures, and ask her brother Cecil to read to her about them. Oh, how happy they were reading together! By and by she began to try to read the story she had just heard; and soon she learned to read to herself very well.

A black man named John has lived with Mary's father many years. He could not read. Mary felt sorry for John. She thought he would like to read nice stories too.

One day she said, "Mamma, may I teach John to read?" "Yes, dear," said her mother, "if you can."

After tea, Mary's mother looked into the kitchen; and what do you think she saw? John was holding little Mary on his knee, and she was teaching him to read.

She was pointing to the letters, one by one, and trying patiently to make him remember his A, B, C; and John, with his eyes fixed upon the book, was giving close attention to the words of his little teacher. It was a pretty picture.

Mary did not give up trying until John had learned to read, though it took a long time, and she had to give him many lessons. He tried hard to learn; and now he is glad that he can read, and Mary is glad too.



STOCKINGS in the kitchen, hung up in a row; Santa Claus has filled them,—yes, from top to toe; Purple, gold, and crimson, paint the fallen snow,— On Christmas Day, so early in the morning.

Earnest little whispers from the cosey bed; Busy little footsteps pattering overhead; Down the stairs they wander, to sweet music wed,— On Christmas Day, so early in the morning.

Dolls and drums and trumpets, what a sight to see! Whips and tops and tea-sets,—one for you and me; Blooming in the corner, such a Christmas-tree,— On Christmas Day, so early in the morning.

Bells up in the steeples; hark! they sweetly tell How the blessed Saviour loves the children well; And they sing the glories that long since befell On Christmas Day, so early in the morning.

Wee, soft, fairy footsteps outside in the hall, Then the words of baby musically fall,— "Going to kiss my papa, first one of them all!" On Christmas Day, so early in the morning.



POOR Katy Carr was an invalid. She had to lie in bed all the time; for not long ago she had a bad fall from a swing, and hurt her spine.

But Katy had brothers and sisters. There was Clover, the little girl, who, in the picture, is seen looking over the head of the bed, behind the pillow. There was Elsie, who is seen hugging Katy.

Sister Joanna is the girl with black curls, who stands with a stocking in her hand. Brother Phil, not yet old enough for trousers, stands at her side; and that boy with his hand on the knob of the bedpost is Dorry.

It is Christmas morning; and the children have brought in presents for poor sick Katy. Observe that nice large chair with a long-cushioned back, ending in a footstool, and which tips back so as to be just like a bed: that is a present from Katy's father.

See that little evergreen-tree planted in a red flower-pot: the boughs are hung with oranges and nuts, and shiny red apples, and pop-corn balls, and strings of bright berries. These are all presents from the children. A little silver bell, with "Katy" engraved on the handle, is among the pretty things.

Then there is a new book, which you may spy out if you will look sharp. How the children do enjoy seeing dear Katy happy! They have all had presents themselves; and they will soon show them to her. They hope she will be well enough to play with them before spring.

These children used to have rare frolics among themselves. On St. Valentine's eve, they had many letters, most of which, I think, must have been written by Katy.

But among them there was one from Little Red Riding Hood, over whose sad fate Joanna used to cry. As many other children have heard about Red Riding Hood, they will be glad to have good news of her. Here is her letter:—

I send you my picture, dear Johnnie, to show that I'm just as alive as you, and that you needn't cry over my fate any more, as you used to do. The wolf didn't hurt me at all that day; for I kicked and fought and cried, till he dropped me out of his mouth, and ran away in the woods to hide.

And grandma and I have lived ever since in the little brown house so small, and churned fresh butter, and made cream-cheeses, nor seen the wolf at all. So cry no more for fear I'm eaten: the naughty wolf is shot, and, if you will come to tea some evening, you shall see for yourself, I'm not.


If you would like to hear more about the Carr children, you will find their full history most charmingly written in a book called "What Katy Did;" a story by Susan Coolidge, nicely illustrated by Addie Ledyard, and published by Roberts Brothers.



I SHALL tell you some stories about a little girl whose name was Bessie Allen. She was so fond of being busy, that she sometimes got into sad scrapes. So people called her Little Mischief.

One day she thought her papa's hat looked rough and rusty: so what did she do but wash it with a sponge wet in water. She thought she was making the hat look quite nice and shiny; but she nearly spoiled it.

Her father did not like it at all when he found what she had done. He loved his little girl; but he thought her much too meddlesome.


One day Bessie was at her aunt's house when the folks were away. But Carlo the dog was at home; and Bessie had her doll Cornelia to play with. At last she placed Cornelia up on the arm-chair with her arms over the back.

Then seeing near by an inkstand, and a bottle of gum with a brush in it, Bessie thought she would amuse herself by painting Carlo's face with ink. This was very silly, and Carlo seemed to think so; for he struggled, and tried to get away.

The brush tickled him; he did not like to taste of the ink: at last he broke away, and hid himself under the sofa.


Bessie had a piece of biscuit in her pocket. She took it out, and offered it to Carlo. It was so nice to get biscuit without having to stand on his hind-legs first, or jump a great height, or do something funny to earn it, that Carlo came out.

Then Bessie seized him, and tried once more to ink his face; but this time Carlo tore himself loose, and ran out of the room, knocking over the stool on which stood the inkstand, as he went.

In trying to stop him, Bessie soiled her nice white frock; and the ink streamed over the carpet. Here was mischief.

Next month I will tell you more stories about Bessie Allen.


SANTA CLAUS came here last night On his flight. Down the chimney-top he flew: He had lots of work to do, Well he knew.

So he heaped the stockings high, Said "Good-by." Now, of toys he had no lack: They were carried on his back, In a sack.

What did little Flora find?— Flora kind. Why, a doll with golden hair, Candies, and a tiny chair, I declare!

What did bright-eyed Georgie get?— Mamma's pet. Can't you guess? A tiny gun; But you see it's only one Made for fun.

Here's what lazy Joseph found, Looking round. It was shocking! In his stocking, There was nothing, you must know, But a big hole at the toe! Lazy Joe!




AFTER I had finished reading "The Nursery" to my little Willy to-night, he said, "Please, mamma, now tell me the story about the cat you had when you were a little girl; then I will go to bed."

When I had told him the story, as I have told it a great many times before, he said, "Mamma, why don't you send that story to 'The Nursery,' so that some other little boy can hear it too?"

"Why, Willie!" said I: "do you think it is enough of a story to put in print?"

"Of course I do!" said he. "I like it; and I ought to know what little boys like. Now, promise me to send it; and then I will go to bed." So I promised.

And now that my little boy has said his prayers, and is nicely tucked in bed, I will write out the story, hoping it will amuse some other little Willy as much as it does mine.

Here it is, just as I tell it to him:—

When I was quite young, I had a cat to which I gave the name of Becky. I know nothing of her very early history, for she was a sober pussy when she was given to me; but she soon became a great pet in the family, and seemed very fond of us all, particularly of my father.

She always showed great delight when he came home after a long absence. She would put her paws on his shoulders, and rub his face, and purr in a most contented manner. She would never eat a mouse until she had first carried it to him; and after he had stroked her, and called her a good pussy, she would go away quite happy.

After a time she had two beautiful kittens. When they were large enough to follow her about, I used to give them warm milk from the pail that was brought in from milking; but one morning, when the pail was set on the floor, the kittens were too hungry to wait for the milk to be dipped out for them, and, putting their paws on the side of the pail, began to lap from the top

Becky sat quietly washing her face; but she saw what the kittens were doing, and thought it was her duty to give them a lesson in good manners: so she walked up to them, and boxed their ears till they ran away mewing piteously. They never again tried to lap milk from the pail.

"Tell me something else about Becky," Willy always says when I get to this point. So I go on:—

Becky was not so strict about her own manners. She would often surprise us by walking into our rooms without stopping to rap, or even to say mew; for she could open any door in the house by raising the latch with her paw.

She had several families of kittens. Once her whole family was one poor little thing, which lived only a few days. Becky was grieved sadly at its death; but, after mourning for some time, she went into the field and caught a mouse, which she adopted, and treated like a kitten.

After Becky had been with us a long time, my brother was taken sick; and, as he reclined in an easy-chair, she used to lie for hours beside him.

One day, a short time after he died, she entered the room, and, jumping up in the chair, examined it all over. Then she jumped down and sat on the floor, looking at the chair, and mewing sorrowfully. Then she went away; and we never saw poor Becky again, or knew what became of her.

"What do you suppose became of her?" is Willy's question here. "Ah, little boy! you can suppose as well as I."



ROBERT'S hope was that he should have a sled. "O Santa Claus!" said he, "if you will only bring me a sled, I will promise to give all your other presents away to those who need them most."

Uncle Charles heard this speech, and said, "May I send word to Santa Claus of your promise?"

"Yes, you may," said Robert; "for I am in earnest about it. If Santa Claus will only bring me a sled, I shall be content."

"And you will bestow his other Christmas-gifts on those who need them most,—is that the bargain?" asked Uncle Charles.

"Yes, that is it," said Robert.

The little boy went to sleep that night, wondering who Mr. Santa Claus was, and whether he would heed a hint from Uncle Charles.

Early Christmas morning, Robert woke; and what do you think he saw by the side of his bed? Well, it was a fine sled, painted red, with thick iron runners.

Robert could hardly believe his eyes. He jumped out of bed, and dressed himself. Then, as the morning light grew clearer, he saw other presents,—a beautiful pair of skates, a rabbit that could hop out of a box, but was not alive, a bat and ball, a bag of marbles, a fine pocket-knife, a silver pencil-case, a ship all rigged, a paint-box, and many more things that I cannot name.

"And all these things are mine!" cried Robert. But he then remembered his promise to Santa Claus, and sighed. "What a nice pair of skates!" thought he. "And this knife and this pencil-case,—they are just what I want. Will Santa Claus ever find it out, I wonder, if I keep them?"

It was only for a moment that the little boy hesitated. Then he put his hand on his sled, and said, "No! a promise is a promise. Here is what I asked for. I sent word to Mr. Santa Claus what I would do; and it would be mean now if I were to break my promise."

I am glad to say that Robert distributed all the presents, except the sled, among the boys and girls of his acquaintance, whose parents were too poor to spend money on Christmas-gifts.

Uncle Charles was so much pleased with Robert's conduct, that he bought the prettiest pair of skates he could find, and put them on Robert's feet, and told him they were his own.



MARY stood by the table kneading dough. Annie was washing Dolly's apron. Bobby was making a pasteboard wagon for Dolly. Clara was rocking the cradle, which was baby Dan's carriage to the land of Nod. Cook was paring the "taters," as she called them. Mother sat quietly sewing on Annie's sack. How still every thing was!

All at once piggy put his nose in at the door with an "Ugh, ugh! May I come in?"

Mary let some flour fall; Annie hugged Dolly closely, perhaps to keep piggy from eating her; cook got the broom; baby screamed; and Clara laughed aloud.

Mother took the baby, and sat still. Where was piggy? and where was Bob?

Down came the broom where piggy had been; but piggy was scampering down the path, with Bob at his heels, and in a few minutes piggy was in his pen in the far corner of the lot, grunting with fear and weariness.

Bob came up, and closed the door of the pen, "Piggy," said Bob, "naughty piggy, to come where you are not wanted! I should think you would like to stay in your own house, so neat and comfortable."

"Ugh, ugh!" said piggy.

"Oh! you were lonesome, were you?" said Bob. "You thought it was no more than civil to call on your neighbors. You wanted to show us that you were not too proud to be sociable. Next time please to send in your card first."

"Ugh, ugh!" said piggy.

That was more than a week ago; and piggy has staid at home since then. Perhaps he is waiting for us to return his call.

Now, how many persons have I told you about?


THIS is the seed, So yellow and round, That little John Homer hid in the ground.

These are the leaves, So graceful and tall, That grew from the seed so yellow and small.

This is the stalk, That came up between The leaves so pretty and graceful and green.

These are the tassels, So flowery, that crowned The stalk, so smooth, so strong, and so round.

These are the husks, With satin inlaid, That grew 'neath the tassels that drooped and swayed.

This is the silk, In shining threads spun: A treasure it hides from the frost and the sun.

This is the treasure,— Corn yellow as gold,— That satin and silk so softly unfold.

This is the cake, For Johnny to eat, Made from the corn so yellow and sweet.


CHARLES had a small flag which his father gave him. It was fine fun for a while to march about and wave it; but it did not seem to be of much use. So at last Charles hit upon a plan of making his flag do some good. This was the plan: When his father had any bundles to send to Boston, Charles ran down to the street, and put his flag in the fence.

This was a signal for the expressman to stop. When the man saw the flag in the fence, he knew that he was to stop and take a bundle.

Here he is, waiting while Charles brings out the bundle. He knows that Charles is on the watch for him, and that there is no need of driving through the gate. Charles likes to do errands for his father.

Here is Charles, carrying out the bundle. He is running fast, because the man cannot wait long. "Hurry up, little boy!" says the man (who is fond of a joke); "there's no time to play marbles. This wagon must get to the station by nine o'clock."

W. O. C.


OH, a happy new year to you all, Good children, a happy new year! To your fathers and mothers, Your sisters and brothers, To your grandpas and grandmas so dear.

It's a long way good wishes to send,— Three thousand miles over the sea; When the wild winds are roaring, The rainstorms are pouring, And the waves are like mountains to see.

May the good ship speed safe on its way, Though the moon and the stars be unseen! May the compass be steady, The helmsman be ready, And the captain all watchful and keen!

Oh, it's pleasant, dear children, the sea, When the sky is all fair and serene, With the breeze blowing lightly, The sun shining brightly, Or at night, when the clear moon is seen.

But now, at this "happy new year," In your homes and your nurseries bright, Pray think how the vessel With wild waves must wrestle, Through the cold winter day and black night.

When you read the good wishes I send Three thousand miles over the sea, I would have you remember 'Twas in dreary December The ship brought this greeting from me.

LEEDS, ENG., December, 1872. GEO. BENNETT.


SMART was a sheep-dog that belonged to a Mr. Scott, who lived in Scotland. On the large sheep-farms of that country a single shepherd often has the charge of from three to six thousand sheep.

The shepherd has with him usually two dogs; of these, one is the driving-out, the other the bringing-in dog. To the first the shepherd points out a number of sheep, and informs him by voice and action that he wishes him to drive them to a distant hill. The dog at once does as he is bid.

In the same way the shepherd informs the second dog that a lot of sheep on a distant hill are to be brought to the spot on which he then stands; and off runs the second dog, and brings the sheep to his master.

Mr. Scott's dog Smart was so trained, that he would never frighten the sheep. In driving a flock from one pasture to another, the sheep would often take a wrong turn, and then scamper off as fast as they could go.

At such times it is the custom of shepherds to send a dog after them at the top of his speed. He is not long in overtaking them, when, if the weather be warm, and the lanes narrow and dusty, the sheep are much frightened, and not infrequently are hurt.

Now, to prevent this, Mr. Scott would order his dog Smart to go the other side of the hedge or fence, saying, "Now, go ahead, and bring them back, and take care not to frighten them."

Smart would trot off so that the sheep should not see him, and in a short time would peep over or through the hedge. At length, when he had satisfied himself that he had got ahead of the sheep, he would come out gently in advance of them, and drive them back down the lane so quietly as not to give them the least alarm.

Smart would never attempt to go ahead of a flock in the usual way: he would manage so that the sheep should not know he was trying to get ahead of them. The picture will show you how he did. Was he not a wise dog?



THERE were two little boys who were cousins. One was named Richard; the other was named Paul. Richard lived where he could see from his chamber-window the Atlantic Ocean. There was a thick clump of trees at the back of his house; and in winter the ground in front would be often covered with snow.

Paul lived in Southern California, where, from his chamber-window, he could see the Pacific Ocean. He had a brother Harry and two sisters. It never snowed where he was: and he had no use for skates; for the water never froze.

Richard had a sister Mary, of whom he was very fond. Here is what Richard wrote to his Cousin Paul about his way of passing Christmas morning:—

"I wish you and Harry and the girls had been with us; for we had a good time on the ice. I'll tell you what we did. As soon as we had breakfasted, I got out my sled 'Dauntless,' and told Mary to wrap up, and bring her skates along.

"She got ready, and took her seat on the sled. Tiger began to bark; for he saw that a frolic was on foot. Off we started to the pond. A dozen boys and girls were there before us. They had made a fire on an island in the middle of the pond. It was a cool, bracing day; but the wind didn't blow.

"Our island we called 'The Isle of Refuge,' Julia Peters named it. She has a knack at inventing names. The island is fifteen feet long by twelve wide; and it has a rock that makes a capital fireplace.

"We had a fine time. All the girls could skate well. Nobody broke through the ice; but some of us had falls. No harm done. We thought of you, and wondered what you and the rest of our cousins in California might be about. I hope you will write me as you promised."

Well, Paul did write; and here is an extract from his letter: "We all woke early; for father had been out in a boat with some friends all night, and we were expecting them back. We dressed, and went down to the beach; and there, right in the face of the sun, we saw father's boat.

"Harry had a spyglass; and he knelt on the beach, and spied out father on the deck of the boat. Mother and the girls waved their handkerchiefs, while I jumped and shouted.

"It was a mild, lovely, morning,—so mild, that we wore our straw hats and light clothing. We thought of you; and I said, 'Wouldn't Richard like to be here, where Christmas morning opens as soft and warm as a day in June?'

"But Harry cried out, 'Don't you believe it! Richard is either coasting or skating; and I wish I were with him. How I would enjoy a high old time on the ice, and then a coast down hill over the snow! That's the fun for me!'

"'Well,' said mother, 'I am well content with this bright sunrise and this delicious air. I shall not sigh for the snow and ice.' 'Nor I!' 'Nor I!' shouted Laura and Kate: so you see Harry was in a minority.

"Father soon landed in his boat; and then we all went back to the house and had breakfast. After breakfast we had a merry time at croquet, and then a still merrier time at foot-ball.

"As Kate will write her Cousin Mary all about the Christmas-tree, and the things that Santa Claus brought, I shall not touch on that subject. Now I hope, Cousin Richard, you have not forgotten your promise to write me."

Here were two little boys belonging to the same grand country,—one writing from the shore of the Pacific, where all was balm and sunshine on Christmas morning; and the other writing from the shore of the Atlantic, where it was cold enough to skate. What an idea does this give of the extent of our favored land, and the wonderful variety of its climates and its products!



THERE were two fine horses. Here is a picture of them. One was named Albion, and the other Erin. Albion was the white horse, of course; for the word "Albion" is derived from the Latin albus, white; and England got the name of Albion because of its white chalky cliffs by the sea.

Well, these two fine horses belonged to Mr. Ducrow, who kept a circus. They were on board a steamer bound for Newhaven in England. They had been out at sea several days; and they longed to have a frolic on the green land, and have a bite at some good crisp grass.

So, when they saw the land quite near, what did they do but leap overboard, and swim towards it! But the groom who took care of them sprang instantly after them, and kept swimming beside them, guiding and cheering them.

As soon as they got out of the water, and felt the green turf under them, they snorted and gambolled, and showed their joy in various ways. How nice the green grass must have tasted to them! and what fun it must have been to lie down and have a good roll on the ground!


Words by MRS. A. M. WELLS.

Music by T. CRAMPTON.

1. Lady-bird, lady-bird, with a red wing! What are you doing? Poor little thing! Flies are no longer heard Buzzing around, Spiders have hid themselves, Wasps are not found.

2 Spring is not coming yet; Why are you here? Insects don't come about This time of year. Up the cold window-pane Why do you roam? Lady-bird, lady-bird, Fly away home!

3 Come when the flowers come, Come with the spring, Dear little lady-bird With a red wing! In the cold winter-days Why wilt thou roam? Lady-bird, lady-bird, Fly away home.

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Transcriber's Notes:

This issue was part of an omnibus. The original table of contents covered the first six months of 1873. The remaining text of the table of contents can be found in the other issues.


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