THE ONTARIO READERS
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION
The price of this book to the purchaser is not the total cost. During the present period of abnormal and fluctuating trade conditions, an additional sum, which may vary from time to time, is paid to the Publisher by the Department of Education.
Entered, according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 1909, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture by the Minister of Education for Ontario.
TORONTO: THE T. EATON Co LIMITED
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION is indebted to Rudyard Kipling, Henry Newbolt, Beckles Willson, E. B. Osborn, F. T. Bullen, Flora Annie Steel; Charles G. D. Roberts, W. Wilfred Campbell, Ethelwyn Wetherald, Jean Blewett, Robert Reid, "Ralph Connor," John Waugh, S. T. Wood; Henry Van Dyke, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, and Richard Watson Gilder for special permission to reproduce, in this Reader, selections from their writings.
He is indebted to Lord Tennyson for special permission to reproduce the poems from the works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson; to Lloyd Osbourne for permission to reproduce the selection from the works of Robert Louis Stevenson; and to J. F. Edgar for permission to reproduce one of Sir James D. Edgar's poems.
He is also indebted to Macmillan & Co., Limited, for special permission, to reproduce selections from the works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, and Flora Annie Steel; to Smith, Elder & Co., for the extract from F. T. Bullen's "The Cruise of the Cachalot"; to Elkin Mathews for Henry Newbolt's poem from "The Island Race"; to Sampson Low, Marston & Company for the extract from R. D. Blackmore's "Lorna Doone"; to Thomas Nelson & Sons for the extract from W. F. Collier's "History of the British Empire"; to Chatto and Windus for the extract from E. B. Osborn's "Greater Canada"; to Houghton Mifflin Company for "The Chase" from Charles Dudley Warner's "A-Hunting of the Deer," "Mary Elizabeth" by Mrs. Phelps Ward, and the poems by Celia Thaxter and by Richard Watson Gilder; to The Century Company for Jacob A. Riis' "The Story of a Fire" from "The Century Magazine"; to The Copp Clark Co., Limited, for the selections from Charles G. D. Roberts' works; to The Westminster Co., Limited, for the extract from "Ralph Connor's" "The Man from Glengarry."
The Minister is grateful to these authors and publishers and to others, not mentioned here, through whose courtesy he has been able to include in this Reader so many copyright selections.
Toronto, May, 1909.
To-day Thomas Carlyle 1
Fortune and the Beggar Ivan Kirloff 2
The Lark and the Rook Unknown 4
The Pickwick Club on the Ice Charles Dickens 6
Tubal Cain Charles Mackay 11
Professor Frog's Lecture M. A. L. Lane 14
A Song for April Charles G. D. Roberts 25
How the Crickets Brought Good Fortune P. J. Stahl 26
The Battle of Blenheim Robert Southey 31
The Ride for Life "Ralph Connor" 34
Iagoo, the Boaster Henry W. Longfellow 39
The Story of a Fire Jacob A. Riis 40
The Quest Eudora S. Bumstead 43
The Jackal and the Partridge Flora Annie Steel 44
Hide and Seek Henry Van Dyke 50
The Burning of the "Goliath" Dean Stanley 52
Hearts of Oak David Garrick 55
A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea Allan Cunningham 56
The Talents Bible 57
A Farewell Charles Kingsley 59
An Apple Orchard in the Spring William Martin 60
The Bluejay "Mark Twain" 61
A Canadian Camping Song Sir James David Edgar 65
The Argonauts John Waugh 66
The Minstrel-Boy Thomas Moore 71
Mary Elizabeth Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward 72
The Frost Hannah Flagg Gould 83
Corn-fields Mary Howitt 84
South-West Wind, Esq. John Ruskin 86
The Meeting of the Waters Thomas Moore 97
Love Bible 98
The Robin's Song Unknown 99
Work or Play "Mark Twain" 100
Burial of Sir John Moore Charles Wolfe 106
The Whistle Benjamin Franklin 108
A Canadian Boat Song Thomas Moore 109
The Little Hero of Haarlem Sharpe's London Magazine 110
Father William "Lewis Carroll" 115
David and Goliath Bible 117
Charge of the Light Brigade Alfred, Lord Tennyson 123
Maggie Tulliver George Eliot 125
The Corn Song John G. Whittier 134
Sports in Norman England William Fitzstephen 136
A Song of Canada Robert Reid 140
A Mad Tea Party "Lewis Carroll" 142
The Slave's Dream Henry W. Longfellow 149
The Chase Charles Dudley Warner 152
The Inchcape Rock Robert Southey 158
A Rough Ride Richard D. Blackmore 161
The Arab and His Steed The Honourable Mrs. Norton 169
The Poet's Song Alfred, Lord Tennyson 173
Adventure with a Whale Frank T. Bullen 174
The Maple H. F. Darnell 179
Damon and Pythias Charlotte M. Yonge 181
The Wreck of the Orpheus C. A. L. 184
The Tide River Charles Kingsley 185
Wisdom the Supreme Prize Bible 187
The Orchard Jean Blewett 188
Inspired by the Snow Samuel T. Wood 189
The Squirrel William Cowper 192
Soldier, Rest Sir Walter Scott 192
Fishing Thomas Hughes 193
The Fountain James Russell Lowell 199
Break, Break, Break Alfred, Lord Tennyson 201
The Bed of Procrustes Charles Kingsley 202
"Bob White" George Cooper 208
Radisson and the Indians Beckles Willson 209
The Brook Alfred, Lord Tennyson 212
"Do Seek Their Meat From God" Charles G. D. Roberts 215
A Song of the Sea "Barry Cornwall" 222
Little Daffydowndilly Nathaniel Hawthorne 223
The Sandpiper Celia Thaxter 234
From "The Sermon on the Mount" Bible 236
The Legend of Saint Christopher Helen Hunt Jackson 237
William Tell and His Son Chamber's "Tracts" 241
A Midsummer Song Richard Watson Gilder 244
The Relief of Lucknow "Letter from an officer's wife" 246
The Song in Camp Bayard Taylor 250
Afterglow William Wilfred Campbell 252
King Richard and Saladin Sir Walter Scott 253
England's Dead Felicia Hemans 258
Hohenlinden Thomas Campbell 260
The Dream of the Oak Tree Hans Christian Andersen 262
A Prayer Robert Louis Stevenson 266
The Death of the Flowers William Cullen Bryant 267
'Tis the Last Rose of Summer Thomas Moore 269
A Roman's Honour Charlotte M. Yonge 270
The Fighting Temeraire Henry Newbolt 273
Don Quixote's Fight with the Windmills Miguel de Cervantes 275
The Romance of the Swan's Nest Elizabeth Barrett Browning 281
Moonlight Sonata Unknown 285
The Red-Winged Blackbird Ethelwyn Wetherald 290
To the Cuckoo John Logan 291
The Story of a Stone D. B. 293
The Snow-Storm John G. Whittier 298
The Heroine of Vercheres Francis Parkman 301
Jacques Cartier Thomas D'Arcy M'Gee 307
Ants and Their Slaves Jules Michelet 310
Lead, Kindly Light John Henry Newman 315
The Jolly Sandboys Charles Dickens 316
The Gladness of Nature William Cullen Bryant 324
Old English Life William F. Collier 325
Puck's Song Rudyard Kipling 330
The Battle of Queenston Heights Unknown 332
The Bugle Song Alfred, Lord Tennyson 337
Charity Bible 338
A Christmas Carol James Russell Lowell 339
The Barren Lands E. B. Osborn 341
A Spring Morning William Wordsworth 345
Crossing the Bar Alfred, Lord Tennyson 346
I want you to remember what Empire Day means. Empire Day is the festival on which every British subject should reverently remember that the British Empire stands out before the whole world as the fearless champion of freedom, fair play and equal rights; that its watchwords are responsibility, duty, sympathy and self-sacrifice, and that a special responsibility rests with you individually to be true to the traditions and to the mission of your race.
I also want you to remember that one day Canada will become, if her people are faithful to their high British traditions, the most powerful of all the self-governing nations, not excluding the people of the United Kingdom, which make up the British Empire, and that it rests with each one of you individually to do your utmost by your own conduct and example to make Canada not only the most powerful, but the noblest of all the self-governing nations that are proud to owe allegiance to the King.
Earl Grey. Governor-General of Canada
So here hath been dawning Another blue day; Think, wilt thou let it Slip useless away?
Out of Eternity This new day is born; Into Eternity At night will return.
Behold it aforetime No eye ever did; So soon it forever From all eyes is hid.
Here hath been dawning Another blue day; Think, wilt thou let it Slip useless away?
FORTUNE AND THE BEGGAR
One day a ragged beggar was creeping along from house to house. He carried an old wallet in his hand, and was asking at every door for a few cents to buy something to eat. As he was grumbling at his lot, he kept wondering why it was that folks who had so much money were never satisfied but were always wanting more.
"Here," said he, "is the master of this house—I know him well. He was always a good business man, and he made himself wondrously rich a long time ago. Had he been wise he would have stopped then. He would have turned over his business to some one else, and then he could have spent the rest of his life in ease. But what did he do instead? He built ships and sent them to sea to trade with foreign lands. He thought he would get mountains of gold.
"But there were great storms on the water; his ships were wrecked, and his riches were swallowed up by the waves. Now all his hopes lie at the bottom of the sea, and his great wealth has vanished.
"There are many such cases. Men seem to be never satisfied unless they gain the whole world.
"As for me, if I had only enough to eat and to wear, I would not want anything more."
Just at that moment Fortune came down the street. She saw the beggar and stopped. She said to him:
"Listen! I have long wished to help you. Hold your wallet and I will pour this gold into it, but only on this condition: all that falls into the wallet shall be pure gold; but every piece that falls upon the ground shall become dust. Do you understand?"
"Oh, yes, I understand," said the beggar.
"Then have a care," said Fortune. "Your wallet is old, so do not load it too heavily."
The beggar was so glad that he could hardly wait. He quickly opened his wallet, and a stream of yellow dollars poured into it. The wallet grew heavy.
"Is that enough?" asked Fortune.
"Isn't it cracking?"
The beggar's hands began to tremble. Ah, if the golden stream would only pour for ever!
"You are the richest man in the world now!"
"Just a little more, add just a handful or two."
"There, it's full. The wallet will burst."
"But it will hold a little, just a little more!"
Another piece was added, and the wallet split. The treasure fell upon the ground and was turned to dust. Fortune had vanished. The beggar had now nothing but his empty wallet, and it was torn from top to bottom. He was as poor as before.
THE LARK AND THE ROOK
"Good-night, Sir Rook!" said a little lark, "The daylight fades; it will soon be dark; I've bathed my wings in the sun's last ray; I've sung my hymn to the parting day; So now I haste to my quiet nook In yon dewy meadow—good-night, Sir Rook!"
"Good-night, poor Lark," said his titled friend With a haughty toss and a distant bend; "I also go to my rest profound, But not to sleep on the cold, damp ground. The fittest place for a bird like me Is the topmost bough of yon tall pine tree.
"I opened my eyes at peep of day And saw you taking your upward way, Dreaming your fond romantic dreams, An ugly speck in the sun's bright beams, Soaring too high to be seen or heard; And I said to myself: 'What a foolish bird!'
"I trod the park with a princely air; I filled my crop with the richest fare; I cawed all day 'mid a lordly crew, And I made more noise in the world than you! The sun shone forth on my ebon wing; I looked and wondered—good-night, poor thing!"
"Good-night, once more," said the lark's sweet voice, "I see no cause to repent my choice; You build your nest in the lofty pine, But is your slumber more sweet than mine? You make more noise in the world than I, But whose is the sweeter minstrelsy?"
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted? Thrice is he armed, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though locked up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
THE PICKWICK CLUB ON THE ICE
"You skate, of course, Winkle?" said Wardle.
"Ye-yes; oh, yes," replied Mr. Winkle. "I—I—am rather out of practice."
"Oh, do skate, Mr. Winkle," said Arabella. "I like to see it so much."
"Oh, it is so graceful," said another young lady. A third young lady said it was elegant, and a fourth expressed her opinion that it was "swan-like."
"I should be very happy, I'm sure," said Mr. Winkle, reddening; "but I have no skates."
This objection was at once overruled. Trundle had got a couple of pair, and the fat boy announced that there were half a dozen more downstairs, whereat Mr. Winkle expressed exquisite delight, and looked exquisitely uncomfortable.
Old Wardle led the way to a pretty large sheet of ice; and the fat boy and Mr. Weller, having shovelled and swept away the snow which had fallen on it during the night, Mr. Bob Sawyer adjusted his skates with a dexterity which to Mr. Winkle seemed perfectly marvellous, and described circles with his left leg, and cut figures of eight, and inscribed upon the ice, without once stopping for breath, a great many other pleasant and astonishing devices, to the excessive satisfaction of Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Tupman, and the ladies; which reached a pitch of positive enthusiasm, when old Wardle and Benjamin Allen, assisted by the aforesaid Bob Sawyer, performed some mystic evolutions, which they called a reel.
All this time, Mr. Winkle, with his face and hands blue with the cold, had been forcing a gimlet into the soles of his feet, and putting his skates on with the points behind, and getting the straps into a very complicated and entangled state, with the assistance of Mr. Snodgrass, who knew rather less about skates than a Hindoo. At length, however, with the assistance of Mr. Weller, the unfortunate skates were firmly screwed and buckled on, and Mr. Winkle was raised to his feet.
"Now, then, sir," said Sam in an encouraging tone; "off vith you, and show 'em how to do it."
"Stop, Sam, stop," said Mr. Winkle, trembling violently, and clutching hold of Sam's arms with the grasp of a drowning man. "How slippery it is, Sam!"
"Not an uncommon thing upon ice, sir," replied Mr. Weller. "Hold up, sir."
This last observation of Mr. Weller's bore reference to a demonstration Mr. Winkle made at the instant, of a frantic desire to throw his feet into the air and dash the back of his head on the ice.
"These—these—are very awkward skates; ain't they, Sam?" inquired Mr. Winkle, staggering.
"I'm afeerd there's an orkard gen'lm'n in 'em, sir," replied Sam.
"Now, Winkle," cried Mr. Pickwick, quite unconscious that there was anything the matter. "Come, the ladies are all anxiety."
"Yes, yes," replied Mr. Winkle, with a ghastly smile. "I'm coming."
"Just a goin' to begin," said Sam, endeavouring to disengage himself. "Now, sir, start off."
"Stop an instant, Sam," gasped Mr. Winkle, clinging most affectionately to Mr. Weller. "I find I've a couple of coats at home that I don't want, Sam. You may have them, Sam."
"Thank'ee, sir," replied Mr. Weller.
"Never mind touching your hat, Sam," said Mr. Winkle, hastily. "You needn't take your hand away to do that. I meant to have given you five shillings this morning for a Christmas-box, Sam. I'll give it to you this afternoon, Sam."
"You're wery good, sir," replied Mr. Weller.
"Just hold me at first, Sam; will you?" said Mr. Winkle. "There—that's right. I shall soon get into the way of it, Sam. Not too fast, Sam; not too fast."
Mr. Winkle, stooping forward with his body half doubled up, was being assisted over the ice by Mr. Weller, in a very singular and un-swan-like manner, when Mr. Pickwick most innocently shouted from the opposite bank—
"Sir?" said Mr. Weller.
"Here. I want you."
"Let go, sir," said Sam. "Don't you hear the governor a-callin'? Let go, sir!"
With a violent effort, Mr. Weller disengaged himself from the grasp of the agonized Pickwickian; and, in so doing, administered a considerable impetus to the unhappy Mr. Winkle. With an accuracy which no degree of dexterity or practice could have insured, that unfortunate gentleman bore swiftly down into the centre of the reel, at the very moment when Mr. Bob Sawyer was performing a flourish of unparalleled beauty. Mr. Winkle struck wildly against him, and with a loud crash they both fell heavily down. Mr. Pickwick ran to the spot. Bob Sawyer had risen to his feet, but Mr. Winkle was far too wise to do anything of the kind in skates. He was seated on the ice making spasmodic efforts to smile; but anguish was depicted on every lineament of his countenance.
"Are you hurt?" inquired Mr. Benjamin Allen, with great anxiety.
"Not much," said Mr. Winkle, rubbing his back very hard.
"I wish you'd let me bleed you," said Mr. Benjamin, with great eagerness.
"No, thank you," replied Mr. Winkle hurriedly.
"I really think you had better," said Allen.
"Thank you," replied Mr. Winkle "I'd rather not."
"What do you think, Mr. Pickwick?" inquired Bob Sawyer.
Mr. Pickwick was excited and indignant. He beckoned to Mr. Weller, and said in a stern voice:
"Take his skates off."
The command was not to be resisted. Mr. Winkle allowed Sam to obey it in silence.
"Lift him up," said Mr. Pickwick. Sam assisted him to rise.
Mr. Pickwick retired a few paces apart from the bystanders; and, beckoning his friend to approach, fixed a searching look upon him, and uttered in a low but distinct and emphatic tone these remarkable words:
"You're a humbug, sir."
"A what?" said Mr. Winkle, starting.
"A humbug, sir. I will speak plainer, if you wish it. An impostor, sir."
With these words, Mr. Pickwick turned slowly on his heel and rejoined his friends.
DICKENS: "The Pickwick Papers."
Old Tubal Cain was a man of might, In the days when earth was young; By the fierce red light of his furnace bright, The strokes of his hammer rung: And he lifted high his brawny hand On the iron glowing clear, Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers, As he fashioned the sword and spear. And he sang—"Hurrah for my handiwork! Hurrah for the spear and sword! Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well, For he shall be king and lord!"
To Tubal Cain came many a one, As he wrought by his roaring fire; And each one prayed for a strong steel blade, As the crown of his desire; And he made them weapons sharp and strong, Till they shouted loud for glee; And they gave him gifts of pearls and gold, And spoils of the forest free. And they sang—"Hurrah for Tubal Cain, Who hath given us strength anew! Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire, And hurrah for the metal true!"
But a sudden change came o'er his heart, Ere the setting of the sun; And Tubal Cain was filled with pain For the evil he had done: He saw that men, with rage and hate, Made war upon their kind, That the land was red with the blood they shed, In their lust for carnage blind. And he said—"Alas! that I ever made, Or that skill of mine should plan, The spear and the sword for men whose joy Is to slay their fellow-man!"
And for many a day old Tubal Cain Sat brooding o'er his woe; And his hand forbore to smite the ore, And his furnace smouldered low. But he rose at last with a cheerful face, And a bright courageous eye, And bared his strong right arm for work, While the quick flames mounted high. And he sang—"Hurrah for my handiwork!" And the red sparks lit the air; "Not alone for the blade was the bright steel made," And he fashioned the first ploughshare.
And men, taught wisdom from the past, In friendship joined their hands; Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall, And ploughed the willing lands: And sang—"Hurrah for Tubal Cain! Our stanch good friend is he; And for the ploughshare and the plough, To him our praise shall be. But while oppression lifts its head, Or a tyrant would be lord; Though we may thank him for the plough, We'll not forget the sword!"
PROFESSOR FROG'S LECTURE
Bobby was not quite sure that he was awake, but when he opened his eyes there was the blue sky, with the soft, white clouds drifting across it, the big pine waving its spicy branches over his head, and beyond, the glint of sunshine on the waters of the pond. Presently Bobby heard voices talking softly.
"This is a good specimen," said one voice. "See how stout and strong he looks!"
"I wonder who that is, and what he has found," thought Bobby. "I wish it wasn't such hard work to keep my eyes open." He made a great effort, however, and raised his heavy lids. At first he could see nothing. Then he caught a glimpse of a mossy log, with a row of frogs and toads sitting upon it. They were looking solemnly at him. Bobby felt a little uncomfortable under that steady gaze.
"The toads are making their spring visit to the pond to lay their eggs," thought the boy. "I forgot that they were due this week."
"He must have done a good deal of mischief in his day," said an old bull-frog, gravely. A chill crept over Bobby. "In his day."—What did that mean?
A toad hopped out from the line and came so close to Bobby that he could have touched her but for the strange spell which held him fast.
"Yes," said she; "this is one of the species. We are very fortunate to have caught him. Now we shall be ready to listen to Professor Rana's remarks."
Still Bobby could not move. What were they going to do? In a moment there was a rustling among the dry leaves and dozens of frogs and toads were seen hurrying towards the pine tree. Among them was a ponderous frog, carrying a roll of manuscript under his arm. He wore huge goggles, and looked so wise that Bobby did not dare to laugh.
"I am very sleepy," murmured a portly toad near Bobby's left ear. "I laid over eight thousand eggs last night, and I have a long journey before me. But I must stay to hear this. We may never have such a chance again."
"Ladies and gentlemen," began the professor, in a sonorous tone that was easily heard for several feet, "this is a specimen of the creature known to us as the human tadpole. You will kindly observe his long legs. They were doubtless given to him for the purpose of protection. Being possessed of a most mischievous and reckless spirit, the species is always getting into difficulties, and would probably become extinct if it had not the power to run away."
"Nonsense!" said Bobby under his breath. There was a murmur of interest and curiosity among the crowd. Bobby felt his legs twitch nervously, but his power over them was gone.
"Otherwise," went on the lecturer, "he is not at all adapted to his surroundings. Observe how carefully we are dressed. The frogs have the green and brown tints of their homes by the water-side. The toads look like lumps of dirt, so that they may not be too readily snapped up by birds of prey. But the Boy—to call him by his scientific name—has no such protection. Look at this red shirt and these white trousers, and this hat as big as a trout pool! Could anything be more ridiculous? Even a giraffe does not look so absurd as this."
A red flush mounted to Bobby's freckled cheeks, but this time he did not try to speak.
"Now," said the professor, "as far as we have been able to learn, the human tadpole is absolutely useless. We are, therefore, doing no harm in experimenting upon this specimen. There are plenty of them, and this one will not be a serious loss."
"Stop!" said Bobby, so unexpectedly that everybody jumped. "What are you going to do with me?"
"You will be so kind as to lie still," said the professor severely. "At present you are only a specimen."
There was no help for it. Bobby found it impossible to move hand or foot. He could wriggle a little,—but that was all.
"Not only is the Boy entirely useless," went on the professor, "but he is often what might be called a pest, even to his own kind. He is endured in the world for what he may become when he is full-grown, and even then he is sometimes disappointing. You are familiar with many of his objectionable ways towards the animal world, but I am sure you would be surprised if you knew what a care and trouble he frequently is to his own people. He can be trusted to do few kinds of work. It is difficult to keep him clean. He doesn't know how to get his own dinner. He has a genius for making weaker things miserable. He likes fishing, and he longs for a gun; he collects birds' eggs; he puts butterflies on pins; he teases his little sisters."
"Why isn't the species exterminated?" asked another frog angrily.
Then the toad near Bobby's ear spoke timidly: "I think you are a little unjust, Professor. I have known boys who were comparatively harmless."
"It is true there may be a few, Mrs. Bufo," said the professor with great politeness, "but as a class they may be fairly set down as of very doubtful value. Speak up, Tadpole, and say if I have made any false statements so far."
Bobby fairly shouted in his eagerness to be heard.
"We do work," he said. "We have to go to school every day."
"What a help that must be to your parents and to the world at large!" said the frog with sarcasm. "I am surprised that we never see the results of such hard labour. Do you know how useful even our smallest tadpoles are? Without them this pond would be no longer beautiful, but foul and ill-smelling. As for what we do when we are grown up, modesty forbids me to praise the frogs, but you know what a toad is worth to mankind?"
"No," said Bobby. "About two cents, I guess." Bobby didn't intend to be rude. He thought this a liberal valuation.
"Twenty dollars a year, as estimated by the Department of Agriculture!" cried the frog triumphantly. "What do you think of that?"
"I should like to know why," said Bobby, looking as if he thought Professor Rana was making fun of him.
"What are the greatest enemies of mankind?" asked the professor, peering over his goggles at poor Bobby.
"Tigers," said Bobby, promptly; "or wolves."
"Wrong," said the lecturer. "Insects. Insects destroy property on this continent to the amount of over four hundred million dollars annually. Insects destroy the crops upon which man depends for his food. Going to school hasn't made you very wise, has it? Well, the toads are insect destroyers. That's their business. If the State only knew enough to make use of them, millions of dollars might be saved every year. Does it seem to you that the human animal is so clever as it might be, when it allows such numbers of toads to be destroyed?"
"It's a shame!" chimed in a voice from the front seats. "We keep out of the way as much as we can; we eat every kind of troublesome worm and insect,—the cutworm, canker-worm, tent caterpillar, army-worm, rose-beetle, and the common house-fly; we ask for no wages or food or care,—and what do we get in return? Not even protection and common kindness. If we had places where we could live in safety, who could tell the amount of good we might do? Yet I would not have this poor boy hurt if a word of mine could prevent it."
"This is a scientific meeting," observed the professor; "and benevolent sentiments are quite out of place. We will now proceed to notice the delicate nervous system of the creature. Stand closer, my friends, if you please."
"Nervous system, indeed!" said Bobby. "Boys don't have such silly things as nerves!"
Suddenly Bobby felt a multitude of tiny pin pricks over the entire surface of his body. The suffering was not intense, but the irritation made him squirm and wince. He could not discover the cause of his discomfort, but at the professor's command it suddenly ceased.
"That will do," said the frog. "Each hair on his head is also connected with a nerve. Pull his hair, please!"
"Oh, don't!" said Bobby. "That hurts!"
Nobody listened to him. It did hurt, more than you would think, for tiny hands were pulling each hair separately. When the ordeal was over, Bobby heard a faint noise in the grass as if some very small creatures were scurrying away, but he could see nothing. He was winking his eyes desperately to keep from crying.
"The assistants may go now," said the professor; and the sound of little feet died away in the distance.
"How interesting this is!" murmured a plain-looking toad who had been watching the experiments attentively.
"I think it's mean," protested poor Bobby, "to keep a fellow fastened up like this, and then torment him."
"Does it hurt as much as being skinned, or having your legs cut off?" demanded the professor.
"Or should you prefer to be stepped on, or burned up in a rubbish pile?" asked Mrs. Bufo.
"How should you like to be stoned or kicked, for a change?" said another toad sharply.
"Perhaps you would choose a fish-hook in the corner of your mouth?" said a voice from the pond.
"Or one run the entire length of your body?" came a murmur from the ground under Bobby's head.
"Wait a minute," said the professor, more gently. "We will give you a chance to defend yourself. It is not customary to inquire into the moral character of specimens, but we do not wish to be unjust. Perhaps you can explain why you made a bonfire the very week after the toads came out of their winter-quarters. Dozens of lives were destroyed before that fire was put out."
"I forgot about the toads," began Bobby.
"Carelessness!" said the professor. "Now you may tell us why you like to throw stones at us."
"To see you jump," said Bobby, honestly.
"Thoughtlessness!" said the professor. "That's worse."
"Why do you kick us, instead of lifting us gently when we are in your way?" inquired a toad in a stern voice.
"Because you will give me warts if I touch you," said Bobby, pleased to think that he had a good reason at last.
"Ignorance!" cried the professor. "The toad is absolutely harmless. It has about it a liquid that might cause pain to a cut finger or a sensitive tissue like that of the mouth or eye, but the old story that a toad is poisonous is a silly fable."
"Will you tell me, please," asked a toad in a plaintive voice, "if you are the boy who, last year, carried home some of my babies in a tin pail and let them die?"
"I'm afraid I am," said Bobby, sorrowfully.
"Do explain why you dislike us!" said Mrs. Bufo in such a frank fashion that Bobby felt that he must tell the truth.
"I suppose it's your looks," said the boy, unable to frame his answer in more polite terms.
"Well, upon my word!" interrupted the professor. "I thought better of a boy than that. So you prefer boys with pretty faces and soft, curling hair, and nice clothes, to those who can climb and jump and who are not afraid of a day's tramp in the woods."
"Of course I don't," said indignant Bobby. "I hate boys who are always thinking about their clothes."
"Oh, you do!" said the frog. "Now answer me a few more questions. Have you ever stolen birds' eggs?"
"Yes," said truthful Bobby.
"Have you collected butterflies?"
"Yes," said Bobby.
"Have you taken nuts from the squirrels' cupboards?"
"Yes," said Bobby.
"Do you think we ought to have a very friendly feeling towards you?" went on the questioner.
"No," said Bobby; "I don't."
"We have shown that you are not only useless, but careless and thoughtless and ignorant," said the frog. "Is there any very good reason why we should let you go?"
Poor Bobby racked his brains to think of something that should appeal to his captors.
"I have a right to live, haven't I?" he said at last.
"Because you are so pretty?" suggested the professor, and Bobby's eyes fell with shame.
"Any better right than we have?" came a chorus of voices. Bobby was silent. He felt very helpless and insignificant. There was a long pause. Then the frog professor smiled broadly at Bobby.
"Come," he said; "I like you. You are not afraid to be honest, and that's something."
"If you will let me go," said Bobby, "I'll see that the boys don't hurt you any more."
"I felt pretty sure that we'd converted you," said the professor; "and I'm going to let you go back and preach to the heathen, as the grown people say. You can see for yourself how much harm a boy can do if he doesn't think."
Bobby felt that he was free, and scrambled to his feet, rubbing first one arm and then the other to take the prickly feeling out of them. The frogs had vanished; there was only the blue sky, the waving pine tree, and the quiet pond.
"Well!" said Bobby with a long breath of amazement.
"Kerjunk!" came the warning voice of a frog, somewhere near the water's edge.
"Yes sir, I'll remember," said Bobby in the meekest of meek tones.
M. A. L. LANE
A SONG FOR APRIL
List! list! The buds confer. This noonday they've had news of her; The south bank has had views of her; The thorn shall exact his dues of her; The willows adream By the freshet stream Shall ask what boon they choose of her.
Up! up! The world's astir; The would-be green has word of her; Root and germ have heard of her, Coming to break Their sleep and wake Their hearts with every bird of her.
See! see! How swift concur Sun, wind, and rain at the name of her, A-wondering what became of her; The fields flower at the flame of her; The glad air sings With dancing wings And the silvery shrill acclaim of her.
CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS
HOW THE CRICKETS BROUGHT GOOD FORTUNE
My friend Jacques went into a baker's shop one day to buy a little cake which he had fancied in passing. He intended it for a child whose appetite was gone, and who could be coaxed to eat only by amusing him. He thought that such a pretty loaf might tempt even the sick. While he waited for his change, a little boy six or eight years old, in poor but perfectly clean clothes, entered the baker's shop.
"Ma'am," said he to the baker's wife, "Mother sent me for a loaf of bread." The woman took from the shelf a four-pound loaf, the best one she could find, and put it into the arms of the little boy.
My friend Jacques then first observed the thin and thoughtful face of the little fellow. It contrasted strongly with the round, open countenance of the large loaf, of which he was taking the greatest care.
"Have you any money?" said the baker's wife.
The little boy's eyes grew sad.
"No, ma'am," said he, hugging the loaf closer to his thin blouse; "but mother told me to say that she would come and speak to you about it to-morrow."
"Run along," said the good woman; "carry your bread home, child."
"Thank you, ma'am," said the poor little fellow.
My friend Jacques came forward for his money. He had put his purchase into his pocket, and was about to go, when he found the child with the big loaf, whom he had supposed to be half-way home, standing stock-still behind him.
"What are you doing there?" said the baker's wife to the child, whom she also had thought to be fairly off. "Don't you like the bread?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am!" said the child.
"Well, then, carry it to your mother, my little friend. If you wait any longer, she will think you are playing by the way, and you will get a scolding."
The child did not seem to hear. Something else absorbed his attention.
The baker's wife went up to him and gave him a friendly tap on the shoulder. "What are you thinking about?" said she.
"Ma'am," said the little boy, "what is that that sings?"
"There is no singing," said she.
"Yes!" cried the little fellow. "Hear it! Queek, queek, queek, queek!"
My friend and the woman both listened, but they could hear nothing, unless it was the song of the crickets, frequent guests in bakers houses.
"It is a little bird," said the dear little fellow; "or perhaps the bread sings when it bakes, as apples do?"
"No, indeed, little goosey!" said the baker's wife; "those are crickets. They sing in the bake-house because we are lighting the oven, and they like to see the fire."
"Crickets!" said the child; "are they really crickets?"
"Yes, to be sure," said she, good-humouredly. The child's face lighted up.
"Ma'am," said he, blushing at the boldness of his request, "I would like it very much if you would give me a cricket."
"A cricket," said the baker's wife, smiling; "what in the world would you do with a cricket, my little friend? I would gladly give you all there are in the house, to get rid of them, they run about so."
"O, ma'am, give me one, only one, if you please!" said the child, clasping his little thin hands under the big loaf. "They say that crickets bring good luck into houses; and perhaps if we had one at home, mother, who has so much trouble, wouldn't cry any more."
"Why does your poor mamma cry?" said my friend, who could no longer help joining in the conversation.
"On account of her bills, sir," said the little fellow. "Father is dead, and mother works very hard, but she cannot pay them all."
My friend took the child, and with him the large loaf, into his arms, and I really believe he kissed them both. Meanwhile the baker's wife, who did not dare to touch a cricket herself, had gone into the bake-house. She made her husband catch four, and put them into a box with holes in the cover, so that they might breathe. She gave the box to the child, who went away perfectly happy.
When he had gone, the baker's wife and my friend gave each other a good squeeze of the hand. "Poor little fellow!" said they both together. Then she took down her account-book, and, finding the page where the mother's charges were written, made a great dash all down the page, and then wrote at the bottom, "Paid."
Meanwhile my friend, to lose no time, had put up in paper all the money in his pockets, where fortunately he had quite a sum that day, and had begged the good wife to send it at once to the mother of the little cricket-boy, with her bill receipted, and a note, in which he told her that she had a son who would one day be her pride and joy.
They gave it to a baker's boy with long legs, and told him to make haste. The child, with his big loaf, his four crickets, and his little short legs, could not run very fast, so that when he reached home, he found his mother, for the first time in many weeks, with her eyes raised from her work, and a smile of peace and happiness upon her lips.
The boy believed that it was the arrival of his four little black things which had worked this miracle, and I do not think he was mistaken. Without the crickets, and his good little heart, would this happy change have taken place in his mother's fortunes?
P. J. STAHL
THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM
It was a summer evening, Old Kaspar's work was done, And he before his cottage door Was sitting in the sun, And by him sported on the green His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
She saw her brother Peterkin Roll something large and round, Which he beside the rivulet In playing there had found: He came to ask what he had found, That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Old Kaspar took it from the boy, Who stood expectant by: And then the old man shook his head, And, with a natural sigh, "'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he, "Who fell in the great victory.
"I find them in the garden, For there's many here about; And often when I go to plough, The ploughshare turns them out! For many thousand men," said he, "Were slain in that great victory."
"Now tell me what 'twas all about," Young Peterkin, he cries; And little Wilhelmine looks up With wonder-waiting eyes; "Now tell us all about the war, And what they fought each other for."
"It was the English," Kaspar cried, "Who put the French to rout; But what they fought each other for, I could not well make out; But everybody said," quoth he, "That 'twas a famous victory.
"My father lived at Blenheim then, Yon little stream hard by; They burnt his dwelling to the ground, And he was forced to fly; So with his wife and child he fled, Nor had he where to rest his head.
"They say it was a shocking sight After the field was won; For many thousand bodies here Lay rotting in the sun; But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory.
"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won, And our good prince Eugene." "Why 'twas a very wicked thing!" Said little Wilhelmine. "Nay, nay, my little girl," quoth he, "It was a famous victory.
"And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win." "But what good came of it at last?" Quoth little Peterkin. "Why, that I cannot tell," said he, "But 'twas a famous victory."
THE RIDE FOR LIFE
Away off towards the swamp, which they were avoiding, the long, heart-chilling cry of a mother-wolf quavered on the still night air. In spite of herself, Mrs. Murray shivered, and the boys looked at each other.
"There is only one," said Ranald in a low voice to Don, but they both knew that where the she-wolf is there is a pack not far off. "And we will be through the bush in five minutes."
"Come, Ranald! Come away, you can talk to Don any time. Good-night, Don." And so saying she headed her pony toward the clearing and was off at a gallop, and Ranald, shaking his head at his friend, ejaculated:
"Man alive! what do you think of that?" and was off after the pony.
Together they entered the bush. The road was well beaten and the horses were keen to go, so that before many minutes were over they were half through the bush. Ranald's spirits rose and he began to take some interest in his companion's observations upon the beauty of the lights and shadows falling across their path.
"Look at that very dark shadow from the spruce there, Ranald," she cried, pointing to a deep, black turn in the road. For answer there came from behind them the long, mournful hunting-cry of the wolf. He was on their track. Immediately it was answered by a chorus of howls from the bush on the swamp side, but still far away. There was no need of command; the pony sprang forward with a snort and the colt followed, and after a few minutes' running, passed her.
"Whow-oo-oo-oo-ow," rose the long cry of the pursuer, summoning help, and drawing nearer.
"Whw-ee-wow," came the shorter, sharper answer from the swamp, but much nearer than before and more in front. They were trying to head off their prey.
Ranald tugged at his colt till he got him back with the pony.
"It is a good road," he said, quietly; "you can let the pony go. I will follow you." He swung in behind the pony, who was now running for dear life and snorting with terror at every jump.
"God preserve us!" said Ranald to himself. He had caught sight of a dark form as it darted through the gleam of light in front.
"What did you say, Ranald?" The voice was quiet and clear.
"It is a great pony to run," said Ranald, ashamed of himself.
"Is she not?"
Ranald glanced over his shoulder. Down the road, running with silent, awful swiftness, he saw the long, low body of the leading wolf flashing through the bars of moonlight across the road, and the pack following hard.
"Let her go, Mrs. Murray," cried Ranald. "Whip her and never stop." But there was no need; the pony was wild with fear, and was doing her best running.
Ranald meantime was gradually holding in the colt, and the pony drew away rapidly. But as rapidly the wolves were closing in behind him. They were not more than a hundred yards away, and gaining every second. Ranald, remembering the suspicious nature of the brutes, loosened his coat and dropped it on the road; with a chorus of yelps they paused, then threw themselves upon it, and in another minute took up the chase.
But now the clearing was in sight. The pony was far ahead, and Ranald shook out his colt with a yell. He was none too soon, for the pursuing pack, now uttering short, shrill yelps, were close at the colt's heels. Lizette, fleet as the wind, could not shake them off. Closer and ever closer they came, snapping and snarling. Ranald could see them over his shoulder. A hundred yards more and he would reach his own back lane. The leader of the pack seemed to feel that his chances were slipping swiftly away. With a spurt he gained upon Lizette, reached the saddle-girths, gathered himself into two short jumps, and sprang for the colt's throat. Instinctively Ranald stood up in his stirrups, and kicking his foot free, caught the wolf under the jaw. The brute fell with a howl under the colt's feet, and next moment they were in the lane and safe.
The savage brutes, discouraged by their leader's fall, slowed down their fierce pursuit, and hearing the deep bay of the Macdonalds' great deer-hound, Bugle, up at the house, they paused, sniffed the air a few minutes, then turned and swiftly and silently slid into the dark shadows. Ranald, knowing that they would hardly dare enter the lane, checked the colt, and wheeling, watched them disappear.
"I'll have some of your hides some day," he cried, shaking his fist after them. He hated to be made to run.
He had hardly set the colt's face homeward when he heard something tearing down the lane to meet him. The colt snorted, swerved, and then dropping his ears, stood still. It was Bugle, and after him came Mrs. Murray on the pony.
"Oh, Ranald!" she panted, "thank God you are safe. I was afraid you—you—" Her voice broke in sobs. Her hood had fallen back from her white face, and her eyes were shining like two stars. She laid her hand on Ranald's arm, and her voice grew steady as she said: "Thank God, my boy, and thank you with all my heart. You risked your life for mine. You are a brave fellow! I can never forget this!"
"Oh, pshaw!" said Ranald, awkwardly. "You are better stuff than I am. You came back with Bugle. And I knew Liz could beat the pony." Then they walked their horses quietly to the stable, and nothing more was said by either of them; but from that hour Ranald had a friend ready to offer life for him, though he did not know it then nor till years afterward.
RALPH CONNOR: "The Man from Glengarry."
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
ST. JOHN, XV. 13
IAGOO, THE BOASTER
And Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the friend of old Nokomis, Saw in all the eyes around him, Saw in all their looks and gestures, That the wedding guests assembled, Longed to hear his pleasant stories, His immeasurable falsehoods.
Very boastful was Iagoo; Never heard he an adventure But himself had met a greater; Never any deed of daring But himself had done a bolder; Never any marvellous story But himself could tell a stranger.
Would you listen to his boasting, Would you only give him credence, No one ever shot an arrow Half so far and high as he had; Ever caught so many fishes, Ever killed so many reindeer, Ever trapped so many beaver!
None could run so fast as he could, None could dive so deep as he could, None could swim so far as he could; None had made so many journeys, None had seen so many wonders, As this wonderful Iagoo, As this marvellous story-teller!
Thus his name became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastful hunter Praised his own address too highly, Or a warrior, home returning, Talked too much of his achievements, All his hearers cried: "Iagoo! Here's Iagoo come among us!"
THE STORY OF A FIRE
Thirteen years have passed since, but it is all to me as if it had happened yesterday,—the clanging of the fire-bells, the hoarse shouts of the firemen, the wild rush and terror of the streets; then the great hush that fell upon the crowd; the sea of upturned faces with the fire glow upon it; and up there, against the background of black smoke that poured from roof to attic, the boy clinging to the narrow ledge, so far up that it seemed humanly impossible that help could ever come.
But even then it was coming. Up from the street, while the crew of the truck company were labouring with the heavy extension ladder that at its longest stretch was many feet too short, crept four men upon long, slender poles with cross-bars, iron-hooked at the end. Standing in one window, they reached up and thrust the hook through the next one above, then mounted a story higher. Again the crash of glass, and again the dizzy ascent. Straight up the wall they crept, looking like human flies on the ceiling, and clinging as close, never resting, reaching one recess only to set out for the next; nearer and nearer in the race for life, until but a single span separated the foremost from the boy. And now the iron hook fell at his feet, and the fireman stood upon the step with the rescued lad in his arms, just as the pent-up flames burst lurid from the attic window, reaching with impotent fury for their prey. The next moment they were safe upon the great ladder waiting to receive them below.
Then such a shout went up! Men fell on each other's necks, and cried and laughed at once. Strangers slapped one another on the back with glistening faces, shook hands, and behaved generally like men gone suddenly mad. Women wept in the street. The driver of a car stalled in the crowd, who had stood through it all speechless, clutching the reins, whipped his horses into a gallop and drove away, yelling like a Comanche, to relieve his feelings. The boy and his rescuer were carried across the street without anyone knowing how. Policemen forgot their dignity and shouted with the rest. Fire, peril, terror, and loss were alike forgotten in the one touch of nature that makes the whole world kin.
Fireman John Binns was made captain of his crew, and the Bennett medal was pinned on his coat on the next parade day.
JACOB A. RIIS
Whene'er a noble deed is wrought, Whene'er is spoken a noble thought, Our hearts in glad surprise To higher levels rise.
There once was a restless boy Who dwelt in a home by the sea, Where the water danced for joy, And the wind was glad and free; But he said: "Good mother, O let me go! For the dullest place in the world, I know, Is this little brown house, This old brown house, Under the apple tree.
"I will travel east and west; The loveliest homes I'll see; And when I have found the best, Dear mother, I'll come for thee. I'll come for thee in a year and a day, And joyfully then we'll haste away From this little brown house, This old brown house, Under the apple tree."
So he travelled here and there, But never content was he, Though he saw in lands most fair The costliest homes there be. He something missed from the sea or sky, Till he turned again with a wistful sigh To the little brown house, The old brown house, Under the apple tree.
Then the mother saw and smiled, While her heart grew glad and free. "Hast thou chosen a home, my child? Ah, where shall we dwell?" quoth she. And he said: "Sweet mother, from east to west, The loveliest home, and the dearest and best, Is a little brown house, An old brown house, Under an apple tree."
EUDORA S. BUMSTEAD
THE JACKAL AND THE PARTRIDGE
A Jackal and a Partridge swore eternal friendship; but the Jackal was very exacting and jealous. "You don't do half as much for me as I do for you," he used to say, "and yet you talk a great deal of your friendship. Now my idea of a friend is one who is able to make me laugh or cry, give me a good meal, or save my life if need be. You couldn't do that!"
"Let us see," answered the Partridge; "follow me at a little distance, and if I don't make you laugh soon you may eat me!"
So she flew on till she met two travellers trudging along, one behind the other. They were both foot-sore and weary, and the first carried his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, while the second had his shoes in his hand.
Lightly as a feather the Partridge settled on the first traveller's stick. He, none the wiser, trudged on; but the second traveller, seeing the bird sitting so tamely just in front of his nose, said to himself: "What a chance for a supper!" and immediately flung his shoes at it, they being ready to hand. Whereupon the Partridge flew away, and the shoes knocked off the first traveller's turban.
"What a plague do you mean?" cried he, angrily turning on his companion. "Why did you throw your shoes at my head?"
"Brother!" replied the other, mildly, "do not be vexed. I didn't throw them at you, but at a Partridge that was sitting on your stick."
"On my stick! Do you take me for a fool?" shouted the injured man, in a great rage. "Don't tell me such cock-and-bull stories. First you insult me, and then you lie like a coward; but I'll teach you manners!"
Then he fell upon his fellow-traveller without more ado, and they fought until they could not see out of their eyes, till their noses were bleeding, their clothes in rags, and the Jackal had nearly died of laughing.
"Are you satisfied?" asked the Partridge of her friend.
"Well," answered the Jackal, "you have certainly made me laugh, but I doubt if you could make me cry. It is easy enough to be a buffoon; it is more difficult to excite the higher emotions."
"Let us see," retorted the Partridge, somewhat piqued; "there is a huntsman with his dogs coming along the road. Just creep into that hollow tree and watch me; if you don't weep scalding tears, you must have no feeling in you!"
The Jackal did as he was bid, and watched the Partridge, who began fluttering about the bushes till the dogs caught sight of her, when she flew to the hollow tree where the Jackal was hidden. Of course the dogs smelled him at once, and set up such a yelping and scratching that the huntsman came up and, seeing what it was, dragged the Jackal out by the tail. Whereupon the dogs worried him to their hearts' content, and finally left him for dead.
By and by he opened his eyes—for he was only foxing—and saw the Partridge sitting on a branch above him.
"Did you cry?" she asked anxiously. "Did I rouse your higher emo—"
"Be quiet, will you!" snarled the Jackal; "I'm half-dead with fear!"
So there the Jackal lay for some time, getting the better of his bruises, and meanwhile he became hungry.
"Now is the time for friendship!" said he to the Partridge. "Get me a good dinner, and I will acknowledge you are a true friend."
"Very well!" replied the Partridge; "only watch me, and help yourself when the time comes."
Just then a troop of women came by, carrying their husbands' dinners to the harvest-field.
The Partridge gave a little plaintive cry, and began fluttering along from bush to bush as if she were wounded.
"A wounded bird!—a wounded bird!" cried the women; "we can easily catch it!"
Whereupon they set off in pursuit, but the cunning Partridge played a thousand tricks, till they became so excited over the chase that they put their bundles on the ground in order to pursue it more nimbly. The Jackal, meanwhile, seizing his opportunity, crept up, and made off with a good dinner.
"Are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.
"Well," returned the Jackal, "I confess you have given me a very good dinner; you have also made me laugh—and cry—ahem! But, after all, the great test of friendship is beyond you—you couldn't save my life!"
"Perhaps not," acquiesced the Partridge, mournfully. "I am so small and weak. But it grows late—we should be going home; and as it is a long way round by the ford, let us go across the river. My friend, the crocodile, will carry us over."
Accordingly, they set off for the river, and the crocodile kindly consented to carry them across; so they sat on his broad back, and he ferried them over. But just as they were in the middle of the stream the Partridge remarked: "I believe the crocodile intends to play us a trick. How awkward if he were to drop you into the water!"
"Awkward for you, too!" replied the Jackal, turning pale.
"Not at all! not at all! I have wings, you haven't."
On this the Jackal shivered and shook with fear, and when the crocodile, in a grewsome growl, remarked that he was hungry and wanted a good meal, the wretched creature hadn't a word to say.
"Pooh!" cried the Partridge, airily, "don't try tricks on us—I should fly away, and as for my friend, the Jackal, you couldn't hurt him. He is not such a fool as to take his life with him on these little excursions; he leaves it at home locked up in the cupboard."
"Is that a fact?" asked the crocodile, surprised.
"Certainly!" retorted the Partridge. "Try to eat him if you like, but you will only tire yourself to no purpose."
"Dear me! how very odd!" gasped the crocodile; and he was so taken aback that he carried the Jackal safe to shore.
"Well, are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.
"My dear madam!" quoth the Jackal, "you have made me laugh, you have made me cry, you have given me a good dinner, and you have saved my life; but upon my honour I think you are too clever for a friend: so, good-bye!"
And the Jackal never went near the Partridge again.
FLORA ANNIE STEEL: "Tales from the Punjab."
HIDE AND SEEK
All the trees are sleeping, all the winds are still, All the flocks of fleecy clouds have wandered past the hill; Through the noonday silence, down the woods of June, Hark! a little hunter's voice comes running with a tune.
"Hide and seek! "When I speak, "You must answer me: "Call again, "Merry men, "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Now I hear his footsteps, rustling through the grass: Hidden in my leafy nook, shall I let him pass? Just a low, soft whistle,—quick the hunter turns, Leaps upon me laughing, rolls me in the ferns.
"Hold him fast, "Caught at last! "Now you're it, you see. "Hide your eye, "Till I cry, "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Long ago he left me, long and long ago: Now I wander through the world and seek him high and low; Hidden safe and happy, in some pleasant place,— Ah, if I could hear his voice, I soon should find his face.
Far away, Many a day, Where can Barney be? Answer, dear, Don't you hear? "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
Birds that in the spring-time thrilled his heart with joy, Flowers he loved to pick for me, 'mind me of my boy. Surely he is waiting till my steps come nigh; Love may hide itself awhile, but love can never die.
Heart be glad, The little lad Will call some day to thee: "Father dear, "Heaven is here, "Coo-ee, coo-ee, coo-ee!"
HENRY VAN DYKE
THE BURNING OF THE "GOLIATH"
(Owing to the excellent discipline which Captain Bourchier had established, and to the courage of the boys, only twelve lives were lost out of the crew of five hundred).
Let me give you an example of self-denial which comes from near home. I will speak to you of what has been done by little boys of seven, of eight, of twelve, of thirteen;—little English boys, and English boys with very few advantages of birth; not brought up, as most of you are, in quiet, orderly homes, but taken from the London workhouses. I will speak to you of what such little boys have done, not fifteen hundred, or even two hundred years ago, but last week—last Wednesday, on the river Thames.
Do you know of whom I am thinking? I am thinking of the little boys, nearly five hundred, who were taken from different workhouses in London, and put to school to be trained as sailors on board the ship which was called after the name of the giant whom David slew—the training-ship Goliath.
About eight o'clock on Wednesday morning that great ship suddenly caught fire, from the upsetting of a can of oil in the lamp-room. It was hardly daylight. In a very few minutes the ship was on fire from one end to the other, and the fire-bell rang to call the boys to their posts. What did they do? Think of the sudden surprise, the sudden danger—the flames rushing all around them, and the dark, cold water below them! Did they cry, or scream, or fly about in confusion? No; they ran each to his proper place.
They had been trained to do that—they knew that it was their duty; and no one forgot himself; no one lost his presence of mind. They all, as the captain said: "behaved like men." Then, when it was found impossible to save the ship, those who could swim jumped into the water by order of the captain, and swam for their lives. Some, also at his command, got into a boat; and then, when the sheets of flame and the clouds of smoke came pouring out of the ship, the smaller boys for a moment were frightened, and wanted to push away.
But there was one among them—the little mate: his name was William Bolton: we are proud that he came from Westminster: a quiet boy, much loved by his comrades—who had the sense and courage to say: "No; we must stay and help those that are still in the ship." He kept the barge alongside the ship as long as possible, and was thus the means of saving more than one hundred lives!
There were others who were still in the ship while the flames went on spreading. They were standing by the good captain, who had been so kind to them all, and whom they all loved so much. In that dreadful crisis they thought more of him than of themselves. One threw his arms round his neck and said: "You'll be burnt, Captain;" and another said: "Save yourself before the rest." But the captain gave them the best of all lessons for that moment. He said: "That's not the way at sea, my boys."
He meant to say—and they quite understood what he meant—that the way at sea is to prepare for danger beforehand, to meet it manfully when it comes, and to look at the safety, not of oneself, but of others. The captain had not only learned that good old way himself, but he also knew how to teach it to the boys under his charge.
HEARTS OF OAK
Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer, To add something more to this wonderful year, To honour we call you, not press you like slaves, For who are so free as the sons of the waves? Hearts of oak are our ships, hearts of oak are our men, We always are ready, Steady, boys, steady, We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.
Still Britain shall triumph, her ships plough the sea, Her standard be justice, her watchword "Be free;" Then, cheer up, my lads, with one heart let us sing Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, our king. Hearts of oak are our ships, hearts of oak are our men, We always are ready, Steady, boys, steady, We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.
A WET SHEET AND A FLOWING SEA
A wet sheet and a flowing sea, A wind that follows fast, And fills the white and rustling sail, And bends the gallant mast; And bends the gallant mast, my boys, While, like the eagle free, Away the good ship flies, and leaves Old England on the lee!
"O for a soft and gentle wind!" I heard a fair one cry; But give to me the snoring breeze And white waves heaving high; And white waves heaving high, my boys, The good ship tight and free,— The world of waters is our home, And merry men are we.
There's tempest in yon horned moon, And lightning in yon cloud; And hark the music, mariners, The wind is piping loud! The wind is piping loud, my boys, The lightning flashes free,— While the hollow oak our palace is, Our heritage the sea.
The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents saying, "Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more." His lord said unto him, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
He also that had received two talents came and said, "Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them." His lord said unto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine." His lord answered and said unto him, "Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
ST. MATTHEW, XXV. 14-30
My fairest child, I have no song to give you; No lark could pipe to skies so dull and gray; Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you For every day.
I'll tell you how to sing a clearer carol Than lark who hails the dawn or breezy down, To earn yourself a purer poet's laurel Than Shakespeare's crown.
Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever; Do noble things, not dream them, all day long: And so make life, death, and that vast forever, One grand, sweet song.
AN APPLE ORCHARD IN THE SPRING
Have you seen an apple orchard in the spring? In the spring? An English apple orchard in the spring? When the spreading trees are hoary With their wealth of promised glory, And the mavis sings its story, In the spring.
Have you plucked the apple blossoms in the spring? In the spring? And caught their subtle odours in the spring? Pink buds pouting at the light, Crumpled petals baby white Just to touch them a delight— In the spring.
Have you walked beneath the blossoms in the spring? In the spring? Beneath the apple blossoms in the spring? When the pink cascades are falling, And the silver brooklets brawling, And the cuckoo bird soft calling, In the spring.
If you have not, then you know not, in the spring, In the spring, Half the colour, beauty, wonder of the spring, No sweet sight can I remember Half so precious, half so tender, As the apple blossoms render, In the spring.
Said Jim Baker: "There's more to a bluejay than to any other creature. He has more kinds of feeling than any other creature; and mind you, whatever a bluejay feels, he can put into words. No common words either, but out-and-out book-talk. You never see a jay at a loss for a word.
"You may call a jay a bird. Well, so he is, because he has feathers on him. Otherwise, he is just as human as you are.
"Yes, sir; a jay is everything that a man is. A jay can laugh, a jay can gossip, a jay can feel ashamed, just as well as you do, maybe better. And there's another thing: in good, clean, out-and-out scolding, a bluejay can beat anything alive.
"Seven years ago the last man about here but me moved away. There stands his house—a log house with just one big room and no more: no ceiling, nothing between the rafters and the floor.
"Well, one Sunday morning I was sitting out here in front of my cabin, with my cat, taking the sun, when a bluejay flew down on that house with an acorn in his mouth.
"'Hello,' says he, 'I reckon here's something.' When he spoke, the acorn fell out of his mouth and rolled down on the roof. He didn't care; his mind was on the thing he had found.
"It was a knot-hole in the roof. He cocked his head to one side, shut one eye, and put the other to the hole, like a 'possum looking down a jug.'
"Then he looked up, gave a wink or two with his wings, and says: 'It looks like a hole, it's placed like a hole—and—if I don't think it is a hole!'
"Then he cocked his head down and took another look. He looked up with joy, this time winked his wings and his tail both, and says: 'If I ain't in luck! Why it's an elegant hole!'
"So he flew down and got that acorn and dropped it in, and was tilting his head back with a smile when a queer look of surprise came over his face. Then he says: 'Why, I didn't hear it fall.'
"He cocked his eye at the hole again and took a long look; rose up and shook his head; went to the other side of the hole and took another look from that side; shook his head again. No use.
"So after thinking awhile, he says: 'I reckon it's all right. I'll try it, anyway.'
"So he flew off and brought another acorn and dropped it in, and tried to get his eye to the hole quick enough to see what became of it. He was too late. He got another acorn and tried to see where it went, but he couldn't.
"He says: 'Well, I never saw such a hole as this before. I reckon it's a new kind.' Then he got angry and walked up and down the roof. I never saw a bird take on so.
"When he got through, he looked in the hole for half a minute; then he says: 'Well, you're a long hole, and a deep hole, and a queer hole, but I have started to fill you, and I'll do it if it takes a hundred years.'
"And with that away he went. For two hours and a half you never saw a bird work so hard. He did not stop to look in any more, but just threw acorns in and went for more.
"Well, at last he could hardly flap his wings he was so tired out. So he bent down for a look. He looked up, pale with rage. He says: 'I've put in enough acorns to keep the family thirty years, and I can't see a sign of them.'
"Another jay was going by and heard him. So he stopped to ask what was the matter. Our jay told him the whole story. Then he went and looked down the hole and came back and said: 'How many tons did you put in there?' 'Not less than two,' said our jay.
"The other jay looked again, but could not make it out; so he gave a yell and three more jays came. They all talked at once for awhile, and then called in more jays.
"Pretty soon the air was blue with jays, and every jay put his eye to the hole and told what he thought. They looked the house all over, too. The door was partly open, and at last one old jay happened to look in. There lay the acorns all over the floor.
"He flapped his wings and gave a yell: 'Come here, everybody! Ha! Ha! He's been trying to fill a house with acorns!'
"As each jay took a look, the fun of the thing struck him, and how he did laugh. And for an hour after they roosted on the housetop and trees, and laughed like human beings. It isn't any use to tell me a bluejay hasn't any fun in him. I know better."
SAMUEL L. CLEMENS (Mark Twain)
A CANADIAN CAMPING SONG
A white tent pitched by a glassy lake, Well under a shady tree, Or by rippling rills from the grand old hills, Is the summer home for me. I fear no blaze of the noontide rays, For the woodland glades are mine, The fragrant air, and that perfume rare, The odour of forest pine.
A cooling plunge at the break of day, A paddle, a row, or sail, With always a fish for a mid-day dish, And plenty of Adam's ale. With rod or gun, or in hammock swung, We glide through the pleasant days; When darkness falls on our canvas walls, We kindle the camp fire's blaze.
From out the gloom sails the silv'ry moon, O'er forests dark and still, Now far, now near, ever sad and clear, Comes the plaint of the whip-poor-will; With song and laugh, and with kindly chaff, We startle the birds above, Then rest tired heads on our cedar beds, To dream of the ones we love.
SIR J. D. EDGAR: "This Canada of Ours."
Now, when the building of the ship Argo was finished, the fifty heroes came to look upon her, and joy filled their hearts. "Surely," said they, "this is the greatest ship that ever sailed the sea."
So eager were they to make trial of the long oars that some, leaping on the shoulders of their comrades and grasping the shrouds, clambered over the bulwarks upon the thwarts and drew the rest in after them. Orpheus, upon the mighty shoulders of Jason the leader of the expedition, seized hold of the arm of the azure-eyed goddess, the figure-head of the ship, and, as he climbed on board, her whisper reached his ear. "Orpheus, sing me something." This was the song:
"How sweet upon the surge to ride, And leap from wave to wave, While oars flash fast above the tide And lordly tempests rave. How sweet it is across the main, In wonder-land to roam, To win rich treasure, endless fame, And earn a welcome home."
Then the good ship Argo stirred in all her timbers and longing for the restless sea came upon her and she rushed headlong down the grooves till the lips of the goddess tasted the salt sea spray.
Many a day they sailed through laughing seas and ever they spoke together of the glory of the Golden Fleece which they hoped to bring home from far off Colchis.
When they were come to the land of Colchis, King AEetes summoned them to his palace. Beside him was seated his daughter, the beautiful witch maiden, Medea. She looked upon the Greeks and upon Jason, fairest and noblest of them all, and her spirit leaped forth to meet his. And knowing what lay before them, "surely," she thought, "it were an evil thing that men so bold and comely should perish."
When Jason demanded the Golden Fleece, the rage of the King rushed up like a whirlwind, but he curbed his speech and spake a fair word. "Choose ye now him who is boldest among you and let him perform the labours I shall set."
That night Medea stole from the palace to warn the hero of the toils and dangers that awaited him,—to tame a span of brazen-footed fire-breathing bulls, with them to plough four acres of unbroken land in the field of Ares, to sow the tilth with serpents' teeth, to slay its crop of warriors, to cross a river, and climb a lofty wall, to snatch the Fleece from a tree round which lay coiled the sleepless dragon. "How can these things be accomplished and that before the setting of another sun?" But Jason used flattering words, singing the song of Chiron:
"No river so deep but an arm may swim, No wall so steep but a foot may climb, No dragon so dread but a sword may slay, No fiend so fierce but your charms may stay."
Medea, seeing that he knew not fear, gave him a magic ointment which should give him the strength of seven men and protect him from fire and steel.
All the people assembled at sunrise in the field of Ares. When the fire-breathing bulls saw Jason standing in the middle of the field, fury shot from their eyes. Fierce was their onset and the multitude waited breathless to see what the end would be. As the bulls came on with lowered heads, and tails in air, Jason leaped nimbly to one side, and the monsters shot past him with bellowings that shook the earth. They turned and Jason poised for the leap. As they passed a second time, he grasped the nearest by the horn and lightly vaulted upon its back. The bull, unused to the burden, sank cowering to the ground. Jason patted its neck caressing it, and gladly it shared the yoke with its fellow.
When the ground was ploughed and sown with the teeth of the serpent, a thousand warriors sprang full-armed from the brown earth. Then King AEetes greatly rejoiced, but Medea, trembling at the sight, laid a spell upon them that they might not clearly distinguish friend from foe.
One among them came forth and Jason advanced to meet him, walking with a halt. His adversary laughed aloud, but Jason with a mighty bound sprang upon the shoulders of his enemy and bore him helmetless to the ground. The hero quickly replaced the fallen helmet with his own, giving a golden helmet for a brazen. The other rose and fled back among his fellows who, thinking it was Jason come among them, fell upon and slew him and strove with each other for the golden helmet until all were slain but one who, wounded unto death, rose up from the fray and shouting "Victory" sank upon knee and elbow never to rise again.
The rest of the task was quickly accomplished, for Medea by her spells cast a deep sleep upon the dragon. So the Golden Fleece was won and brought once more to Iolchos with a prize still more precious, for Jason bore home with him Medea, the beautiful witch maiden, who became his bride and ruled with him, let us hope, many happy years.
In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere. Let us do our work as well, Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire and clean.
The Minstrel-boy to the war is gone, In the ranks of death you'll find him; His father's sword he has girded on, And his wild harp slung behind him. "Land of song!" said the warrior-bard, "Tho' all the world betrays thee, One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard, One faithful harp shall praise thee!"
The Minstrel fell! but the foeman's chain Could not bring his proud soul under; The harp he loved ne'er spoke again, For he tore its chords asunder; And said: "No chains shall sully thee, Thou soul of love and bravery! Thy songs were made for the pure and free, They shall never sound in slavery."
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside.
Mary Elizabeth was a little girl with a long name. She was poor, she was sick, she was ragged, she was dirty, she was cold, she was hungry, she was frightened. She had no home, she had no mother, she had no father. She had no supper, she had had no dinner, she had had no breakfast. She had no place to go and nobody to care where she went.
In fact, Mary Elizabeth had not much of anything but a short pink calico dress, a little red cotton-and-wool shawl, and her long name. Besides this, she had a pair of old rubbers, too large for her.
She was walking up Washington Street. It was late in the afternoon of a bitter January day.
"God made so many people," thought Mary Elizabeth, "He must have made so many suppers. Seems as if there'd ought to be one for one extry little girl."
But she thought this in a gentle way. She was a very gentle little girl. All girls who hadn't anything were not like Mary Elizabeth.
* * * * *
So now she was shuffling up Washington Street, not knowing exactly what to do next,—peeping into people's faces, timidly looking away from them, heart-sick (for a very little girl can be very heart-sick), colder, she thought, every minute, and hungrier each hour than she was the hour before.
The child left Washington Street at last, where everybody had homes and suppers without one extra one to spare for a little girl, and turned into a short, bright, showy street, where stood a great hotel.
Whether the door-keeper was away, or busy, or sick, or careless, or whether the head-waiter at the dining-room was so tall that he couldn't see so short a beggar, or whether the clerk at the desk was so noisy that he couldn't hear so still a beggar, or however it was, Mary Elizabeth did get in; by the door-keeper, past the head-waiter, under the shadow of the clerk, over the smooth, slippery marble floor the child crept on.
She came to the office door and stood still. She looked around her with wide eyes. She had never seen a place like that. Lights flashed over it, many and bright. Gentlemen sat in it smoking and reading. They were all warm. Not one of them looked as if he had had no dinner and no breakfast and no supper.
"How many extry suppers," thought the little girl, "it must ha' taken to feed 'em all. I guess maybe there'll be one for me in here."
Mary Elizabeth stood in the middle of it, in her pink calico dress and red plaid shawl. The shawl was tied over her head and about her neck with a ragged tippet. Her bare feet showed in the old rubbers. She began to shuffle about the room, holding out one purple little hand.
One or two of the gentlemen laughed; some frowned; more did nothing at all; most did not notice, or did not seem to notice, the child. One said: "What's the matter here?"
Mary Elizabeth shuffled on. She went from one to the other, less timidly; a kind of desperation had taken possession of her. The odours from the dining-room came in, of strong, hot coffee, and strange roast meats. Mary Elizabeth thought of Jo.
It seemed to her she was so hungry that, if she could not get a supper, she should jump up and run and rush about and snatch something and steal like Jo. She held out her hand, but only said: "I'm hungry!"
A gentleman called her. He was the gentleman who had asked: "What's the matter here?" He called her in behind his daily paper which was big enough to hide three of Mary Elizabeth, and when he saw that nobody was looking he gave her a five-cent piece in a hurry, as if he had committed a sin, and said quickly: "There, there, child! go now, go!"
Then he began to read his newspaper quite hard and fast and to look severe, as one does who never gives anything to beggars, as a matter of principle.
But nobody else gave anything to Mary Elizabeth. She shuffled from one to another, hopelessly. Every gentleman shook his head. One called for a waiter to put her out. This frightened her and she stood still.
Over by a window, in a lonely corner of the great room, a young man was sitting apart from the others. He sat with his elbows on the table and his face buried in his arms. He was a well-dressed young man, with brown, curling hair.