Margaret Sydney, Susan Coolidge, Joaquin Miller, Mrs. Amy Therese Powelson, Etc.
We went to the show one night, And it certainly was a great sight, This tiger to see, Fierce as he could be, And roaring with all his might.
The Christmas chimes are pealing high Beneath the solemn Christmas sky, And blowing winds their notes prolong Like echoes from an angel's song; Good will and peace, peace and good will Ring out the carols glad and gay, Telling the heavenly message still That Christ the Child was born to-day.
In lowly hut and palace hall Peasant and king keep festival, And childhood wears a fairer guise, And tenderer shine all mother-eyes; The aged man forgets his years, The mirthful heart is doubly gay, The sad are cheated of their tears, For Christ the Lord was born to-day. SUSAN COOLIDGE.
They sat on the curbing In a crowded row— Two little maids And one little beau,— Watching to see The big Elephant go By in the street parade; But when it came past, Of maids there were none, For down a by-street They cowardly run, While one little beau Made all manner of fun— Of the Elephant he wasn't afraid.
THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE TOWN.
One hundred years' and one ago, in Boston, at ten of the clock one April night, a church steeple had been climbed and a lantern hung out.
At ten, the same night, in mid-river of the Charles, oarsmen two, with passenger silent and grim, had seen the signal light out-swung, and rowed with speed for the Charlestown shore.
At eleven, the moon was risen, and the grim passenger, Paul Revere, had ridden up the Neck, encountered a foe, who opposed his ride into the country, and, after a brief delay, rode on, leaving a British officer lying in a clay pit.
At mid-night, a hundred ears had heard the flying horseman cry, "Up and arm. The Regulars are coming out!"
You know the story well. You have heard how the wild alarm ran from voice to voice and echoed beneath every roof, until the men of Lexington and Concord were stirred and aroused with patriotic fear for the safety of the public stores that had been committed to their keeping.
You know how, long ere the chill April day began to dawn, they had drawn, by horse power and by hand power, the cherished stores into safe hiding-places in the depth of friendly forest-coverts.
There is one thing about that day that you have NOT heard and I will tell you now. It is, how one little woman staid in the town of Concord, whence all the women save her had fled.
All the houses that were standing then, are very old-fashioned now, but there was one dwelling-place on Concord Common that was old-fashioned even then! It was the abode of Martha Moulton and "Uncle John." Just who "Uncle John" was, is not now known, but he was probably Martha Moulton's uncle. The uncle, it appears by record, was eighty-five years old; while the niece was ONLY three-score and eleven.
Once and again that morning, a friendly hand had pulled the latch-string at Martha Moulton's kitchen entrance and offered to convey herself and treasures away, but, to either proffer, she had said: "No, I must stay until Uncle John gets the cricks out of his back, if all the British soldiers in the land march into town."
At last, came Joe Devins, a lad of fifteen years—Joe's two astonished eyes peered for a moment into Martha Moulton's kitchen, and then eyes and owner dashed into the room, to learn, what the sight he there saw, could mean.
"Whew! Mother Moulton, what are you doing?"
"I'm getting Uncle John his breakfast to be sure, Joe," she answered. "Have you seen so many sights this morning that you don't know breakfast, when you see it? Have a care there, for hot fat WILL burn," as she deftly poured the contents of a pan, fresh from the fire, into a dish.
Hungry Joe had been astir since the first drum had beat to arms at two of the clock. He gave one glance at the boiling cream and the slices of crisp pork swimming in it, as he gasped forth the words, "Getting breakfast in Concord THIS morning! MOTHER MOULTON, you MUST be crazy."
"So they tell me," she said, serenely. "There comes Uncle John!" she added, as the clatter of a staff on the stone steps of the stairway outrang, for an instant, the cries of hurrying and confusion that filled the air of the street.
"Don't you know, Mother Moulton," Joe went on to say, "that every single woman and child have been carried off, where the Britishers won't find 'em?"
"I don't believe the king's troops have stirred out of Boston," she replied, going to the door leading to the stone staircase, to open it for Uncle John.
"Don't believe it?" and Joe looked, as he echoed the words, as though only a boy could feel sufficient disgust at such want of common sense, in full view of the fact, that Reuben Brown had just brought the news that eight men had been killed by the king's Red-coats, in Lexington, which fact he made haste to impart.
"I won't believe a word of it," she said, stoutly, "until I see the soldiers coming."
"Ah! Hear that!" cried Joe, tossing back his hair and swinging his arms triumphantly at an airy foe. "You won't have to wait long. THAT SIGNAL is for the minute men. They are going to march out to meet the Red-coats. Wish I was a minute man, this minute."
Meanwhile, poor Uncle John was getting down the steps of the stairway, with many a grimace and groan. As he touched the floor, Joe, his face beaming with excitement and enthusiasm, sprang to place a chair for him at the table, saying, "Good morning!" at the same moment.
"May be," groaned Uncle John, "youngsters LIKE YOU may think it is a good morning, but I DON'T, such a din and clatter as the fools have kept up all night long. If I had the power" (and now the poor old man fairly groaned with rage), "I'd make 'em quiet long enough to let an old man get a wink of sleep, when the rheumatism lets go."
"I'm real sorry for you," said Joe, "but you don't know the news. The king's troops, from camp, in Boston, are marching right down here, to carry off all our arms that they can find."
"Are they?" was the sarcastic rejoined. "It's the best news I've heard in a long while. Wish they had my arms, this minute. They wouldn't carry them a step farther than they could help, I know. Run and tell them mine are ready, Joe."
"But, Uncle John, wait till after breakfast, you'll want to use them once more," said Martha Moulton, trying to help him into the chair that Joe had placed on the white sanded floor.
Meanwhile, Joe Devins had ears for all the sounds that penetrated the kitchen from out of doors, and he had eyes for the slices of well-browned pork and the golden hued Johnny-cake lying before the glowing coals on the broad hearth.
As the little woman bent to take up the breakfast, Joe, intent on doing some kindness for her in the way of saving treasures, asked, "Shan't I help you, Mother Moulton?"
"I reckon I am not so old that I can't lift a mite of cornbread," she replied with chilling severity.
"Oh, I didn't mean to lift THAT THING," he made haste to explain, "but to carry off things and hide 'em away, as everybody else has been doing half the night. I know a first-rate place up in the woods. Used to be a honey tree, you know, and it's just as hollow as anything. Silver spoons and things would be just as safe in it—" but Joe's words were interrupted by unusual tumult on the street and he ran off to learn the news, intending to return and get the breakfast that had been offered to him.
Presently he rushed back to the house with cheeks aflame and eyes ablaze with excitement. "They're a coming!" he cried. "They're in sight down by the rocks. They see 'em marching, the men on the hill, do!"
"You don't mean that its really true that the soldiers are coming here, RIGHT INTO OUR TOWN," cried Martha Moulton, rising in haste and bringing together with rapid flourishes to right and to left, every fragment of silver on the table. Uncle John strove to hold fast his individual spoon, but she twitched it without ceremony out from his rheumatic old fingers, and ran next to the parlor cupboard, wherein lay her movable valuables.
"What in the world shall I do with them," she cried, returning with her apron well filled with treasures, and borne down by the weight thereof.
"Give 'em to me," cried Joe. "Here's a basket, drop 'em in, and I'll run like a brush-fire through the town and across the old bridge, and hide 'em as safe as a weasel's nap."
Joe's fingers were creamy; his mouth was half filled with Johnny-cake, and his pocket on the right bulged to its utmost capacity with the same, as he held forth the basket; but the little woman was afraid to trust him, as she had been afraid to trust her neighbors.
"No! No!" she replied, to his repeated offers. "I know what I'll do. You, Joe Devins, stay right where you are till I come back, and, don't you ever LOOK out of the window."
"Dear, dear me!" she cried, flushed and anxious when she was out of sight of Uncle John and Joe. "I WISH I'd given 'em to Col. Barrett when he was here before daylight, only, I WAS afraid I should never get sight of them again."
She drew off one of her stockings, filled it, tied the opening at the top with a string-plunged stocking and all into a pail full of water and proceeded to pour the contents into the well.
Just as the dark circle had closed over the blue stockings, Joe Devin's face peered down the depths by her side, and his voice sounded out the words: "O Mother Moulton, the British will search the wells the VERY first thing. Of course, they EXPECT to find things in wells!"
"Why didn't you tell me before, Joe? but now it is too late."
"I would, if I'd known what you was going to do; they'd been a sight safer, in the honey tree."
"Yes, and what a fool I've been—flung MY WATCH into the well with the spoons!"
"Well, well! Don't stand there, looking," as she hovered over the high curb, with her hand on the bucket. "Everybody will know, if you do, there."
"Martha! Martha?" shrieked Uncle John's quavering voice from the house door.
"Bless my heart!" she exclaimed, hurrying back over the stones.
"What's the matter with your heart?" questioned Joe.
"Nothing. I was thinking of Uncle John's money," she answered.
"Has he got money?" cried Joe. "I thought he was poor, and you took care of him because you were so good."
Not one word that Joe uttered did the little woman hear. She was already by Uncle John's side and asking him for the key to his strong box.
Uncle John's rheumatism was terribly exasperating. "No, I won't give it to you!" he cried, "and nobody shall have it as long as I'm above ground."
"Then the soldiers will carry it off," she said.
"Let 'em!" was his reply, grasping his staff firmly with both hands and gleaming defiance out of his wide, pale eyes. "YOU won't get the key, even if they do."
At this instant, a voice at the doorway shouted the words, "Hide, hide away somewhere, Mother Moulton, for the Red-coats are in sight this minute!"
She heard the warning, and giving one glance at Uncle John, which look was answered by another, "no, you won't have it," she grasped Joe Devins by the collar of his jacket and thrust him before her up the staircase, so quickly that the boy had no chance to speak, until she released her hold at the entrance to Uncle John's room.
The idea of being taken prisoner in such a manner, and by a woman, too, was too much for the lad's endurance. "Let me go!" he cried, the instant he could recover his breath. "I won't hide away in your garret, like a woman, I won't. I want to see the militia and the minute men fight the troops, I do."
"Help me first, Joe. Here, quick now; let's get this box out and up garret. We'll hide it under the corn and it'll be safe," she coaxed.
The box was under Uncle John's bed.
"What's in the old thing any how?" questioned Joe, pulling with all his strength at it.
The box, or chest, was painted red, and was bound about by massive iron bands.
"I've never seen the inside of it," said Mother Moulton. "It holds the poor old soul's sole treasure, and I DO want to save it for him if I can."
They had drawn it with much hard endeavor, as far as the garret stairs, but their united strength failed to lift it. "Heave it, now!" cried Joe, and lo! it was up two steps. So they turned it over and over with many a thudding thump; every one of which thumps Uncle John heard, and believed to be strokes upon the box itself to burst it asunder, until it was fairly shelved on the garret floor.
In the very midst of the overturnings, a voice from below had been heard crying out, "Let my box alone! Don't break it open. If you do, I'll—I'll—" but, whatever the poor man MEANT to threaten as a penalty, he could not think of anything half severe enough to say and so left it uncertain as to the punishment that might be looked for.
"Poor old soul!" ejaculated the little woman, her soft white curls in disorder and the pink color rising from her cheeks to her fair forehead, as she bent to help Joe drag the box beneath the rafter's edge.
"Now, Joe," she said, "we'll heap nubbins over it, and if the soldiers want corn they'll take good ears and never think of touching poor nubbins"; so they fell to work throwing corn over the red chest, until it was completely concealed from view.
Then he sprang to the high-up-window ledge in the point of the roof and took one glance out. "Oh, I see them, the Red-coats. True's I live, there go the militia UP THE HILL. I thought they was going to stand and defend. Shame on 'em, I say." Jumping down and crying back to Mother Moulton, "I'm going to stand by the minute men," he went down, three steps at a leap, and nearly overturned Uncle John on the stairs, who, with many groans was trying to get to the defense of his strong box.
"What did you help her for, you scamp," he demanded of Joe, flourishing his staff unpleasantly near the lad's head.
"'Cause she asked me to, and couldn't do it alone," returned Joe, dodging the stick and disappearing from the scene, at the very moment Martha Moulton encountered Uncle John.
"Your strong box is safe under nubbins in the garret, unless the house burns down, and now that you are up here, you had better stay," she added soothingly, as she hastened by him to reach the kitchen below.
Once there, she paused a second or two to take resolution regarding her next act. She knew full well that there was not one second to spare, and yet she stood looking, apparently, into the glowing embers on the hearth. She was flushed and excited, both by the unwonted toil, and the coming events. Cobwebs from the rafters had fallen on her hair and home-spun dress, and would readily have betrayed her late occupation, to any discerning soldier of the king.
A smile broke suddenly over her face, displacing for a brief second every trace of care. "It's my only weapon, and I must use it," she said, making a stately courtesy to an imaginary guest and straightway disappeared within an adjoining room. With buttoned door and dropped curtains the little woman made haste to array herself in her finest raiment. In five minutes she reappeared in the kitchen, a picture pleasant to look at. In all New England, there could not be a more beautiful little old lady than Martha Moulton was that day. Her hair was guiltless now of cobwebs, but haloed her face with fluffy little curls of silvery whiteness, above which, like a crown, was a little cap of dotted muslin, pure as snow. Her erect figure, not a particle of the hard-working-day in it now, carried well the folds of a sheeny, black silk gown, over which she had tied an apron as spotless as the cap.
As she fastened back her gown and hurried away the signs of the breakfast she had not eaten, the clear pink tints seemed to come out with added beauty of coloring in her cheeks; while her hair seemed fairer and whiter than at any moment in her three-score and eleven years.
Once more Joe Devins looked in. As he caught a glimpse of the picture she made, he paused to cry out: "All dressed up to meet the robbers! My, how fine you do look! I wouldn't. I'd go and hide behind the nubbins. They'll be here in less than five minutes now," he cried, "and I'm going over the North Bridge to see what's going on there."
"O Joe, stay, won't you?" she urged, but the lad was gone, and she was left alone to meet the foe, comforting herself with the thought, "They'll treat me with more respect if I LOOK respectable, and if I must die, I'll die good-looking in my best clothes, anyhow."
She threw a few sticks of hickory-wood on the embers, and then drew out the little round stand, on which the family Bible was always lying. Recollecting that the British soldiers probably belonged to the Church of England, she hurried away to fetch Uncle John's "prayer-book."
"They'll have respect to me, if they find me reading that, I know," she thought. Having drawn the round stand within sight of the well, and where she could also command a view of the staircase, she sat and waited for coming events.
Uncle John was keeping watch of the advancing troops from an upper window. "Martha," he called, "you'd better come up. They're close by, now." To tell the truth, Uncle John himself was a little afraid; that is to say he hadn't quite courage enough to go down, and, perhaps, encounter his own rheumatism and the king's soldiers on the same stairway, and yet, he felt that he must defend Martha as well as he could.
The rap of a musket, quick and ringing on the front door, startled the little woman from her apparent devotions. She did not move at the call of anything so profane. It was the custom of the time to have the front door divided into two parts, the lower half and the upper half. The former was closed and made fast, the upper could be swung open at will.
The soldier getting no reply, and doubtless thinking that the house was deserted, leaped over the chained lower half of the door.
At the clang of his bayonet against the brass trimmings, Martha Moulton groaned in spirit, for, if there was any one thing that she deemed essential to her comfort in this life, it was to keep spotless, speckless and in every way unharmed, the great knocker on her front door.
"Good, sound English metal, too," she thought, "that an English soldier ought to know how to respect."
As she heard the tramp of coming feet she only bent the closer over the Book of Prayer that lay open on her knee. Not one word did she read or see; she was inwardly trembling and outwardly watching the well and the staircase. But now, above all other sounds, broke the noise of Uncle John's staff thrashing the upper step of the staircase, and the shrill tremulous cry of the old man defiant, doing his utmost for the defense of his castle.
The fingers that lay beneath the book tingled with desire to box the old man's ears, for the policy he was pursuing would be fatal to the treasure in garret and in well; but she was forced to silence and inactivity.
As the King's troops, Major Pitcairn at their head, reached the open door and saw the old lady, they paused. What could they do but look, for a moment, at the unexpected sight that met their view; a placid old lady in black silk and dotted muslin, with all the sweet solemnity of morning devotion hovering about the tidy apartment and seeming to centre at the round stand by which she sat, this pretty woman, with pink and white face surmounted with fleecy little curls and crinkles and wisps of floating whiteness, who looked up to meet their gaze with such innocent prayer-suffused eyes.
"Good morning, Mother," said Major Pitcairn, raising his hat.
"Good morning, gentlemen and soldiers," returned Martha Moulton. "You will pardon my not meeting you at the door, when you see that I was occupied in rendering service to the Lord of all." She reverently closed the book, laid it on the table, and arose, with a stately bearing, to demand their wishes.
"We're hungry, good woman," spoke the commander, "and your hearth is the only hospitable one we've seen since we left Boston. With your good leave I'll take a bit of this, and he stooped to lift up the Johnny-cake that had been all this while on the hearth.
"I wish I had something better to offer you," she said, making haste to fetch plates and knives from the corner-cupboard, and all the while she was keeping eye-guard over the well. "I'm afraid the Concorders haven't left much for you to-day," she added, with a soft sigh of regret, as though she really felt sorry that such brave men and good soldiers had fallen on hard times in the ancient town. At the moment she had brought forth bread and baked beans, and was putting them on the table, a voice rang into the room, causing every eye to turn toward Uncle John. He had gotten down the stairs without uttering one audible groan, and was standing, one step above the floor of the room, brandishing and whirling his staff about in a manner to cause even rheumatism to flee the place, while, at the top of his voice he cried out:
"Martha Moulton, how DARE you FEED these—these—monsters—in human form!"
"Don't mind him, gentlemen, please don't," she made haste to say, "he's old, VERY old; eighty-five, his last birthday, and—a little hoity-toity at times," pointing deftly with her finger in the region of the reasoning powers in her own shapely head.
Summoning Major Pitcairn by an offer of a dish of beans, she contrived to say, under covert of it:
"You see, sir, I couldn't go away and leave him; he is almost distracted with rheumatism, and this excitement to-day will kill him, I'm afraid."
Advancing toward the staircase with bold and soldierly front, Major Pitcairn said to Uncle John:
"Stand aside, old man, and we'll hold you harmless."
"I don't believe you will, you red-trimmed trooper, you," was the reply; and, with a dexterous swing of the wooden staff, he mowed off and down three military hats.
Before any one had time to speak, Martha Moulton adroitly stooping, as though to recover Major Pitcairn's hat, which had rolled to her feet, swung the stairway-door into its place with a resounding bang, and followed up that achievement with a swift turn of two large wooden buttons, one high up, and the other low down, near the floor.
"There!" she said, "he is safe out of mischief for awhile, and your heads are safe as well. Pardon a poor old man, who does not know what he is about."
"He seems to know remarkably well," exclaimed an officer.
Meanwhile, behind the strong door, Uncle John's wrath knew no bounds. In his frantic endeavors to burst the fastenings of the wooden buttons, rheumatic cramps seized him and carried the day, leaving him out of the battle.
Meanwhile, a portion of the soldiery clustered about the door. The king's horses were fed within five feet of the great brass knocker, while, within the house, the beautiful little old woman, in her Sunday-best-raiment, tried to do the dismal honors of the day to the foes of her country. Watching her, one would have thought she was entertaining heroes returned from the achievement of valiant deeds, whereas, in her own heart, she knew full well that she was giving a little to save much.
Nothing could exceed the seeming alacrity with which she fetched water from the well for the officers: and, when Major Pitcairn gallantly ordered his men to do the service, the little soul was in alarm; she was so afraid that "somehow, in some way or another, the blue stocking would get hitched on to the bucket." She knew that she must to its rescue, and so she bravely acknowledged herself to have taken a vow (when, she did not say), to draw all the water that was taken from that well.
"A remnant of witchcraft!" remarked a soldier within hearing.
"Do I look like a witch?" she demanded.
"If you do," replied Major Pitcairn, "I admire New England witches, and never would condemn one to be hung, or burned, or—smothered."
Martha Moulton never wore so brilliant a color on her aged cheeks as at that moment. She felt bitter shame at the ruse she had attempted, but silver spoons were precious, and, to escape the smile that went around at Major Pitcairn's words, she was only too glad to go again to the well and dip slowly the high, over-hanging sweep into the cool, clear, dark depth below.
During this time the cold, frosty morning spent itself into the brilliant, shining noon.
You know what happened at Concord on that 19th of April in the year 1775. You have been told the story, how the men of Acton met and resisted the king's troops at the old North Bridge, how brave Captain Davis and minute-man Hosmer fell, how the sound of their falling struck down to the very heart of mother earth, and caused her to send forth her brave sons to cry "Liberty, or Death!"
And the rest of the story; the sixty or more barrels of flour that the king's troops found and struck the heads from, leaving the flour in condition to be gathered again at nightfall, the arms and powder that they destroyed, the houses they burned; all these, are they not recorded in every child's history in the land?
While these things were going on, for a brief while, at mid-day, Martha Moulton found her home deserted. She had not forgotten poor, suffering, irate Uncle John in the regions above, and, so, the very minute she had the chance, she made a strong cup of catnip tea (the real tea, you know, was brewing in Boston harbor).
She turned the buttons, and, with a bit of trembling at her heart, such as she had not felt all day, she ventured up the stairs, bearing the steaming peace-offering before her.
Uncle John was writhing under the sharp thorns and twinges of his old enemy, and in no frame of mind to receive any overtures in the shape of catnip tea; nevertheless, he was watching, as well as he was able, the motions of the enemy. As she drew near he cried out:
"Look out this window, and see! Much GOOD all your scheming will do YOU!"
She obeyed his command to look, and the sight she then saw caused her to let fall the cup of catnip tea and rush down the stairs, wringing her hands as she went and crying out:
"Oh, dear! what shall I do? The house will burn and the box up garret. Everything's lost!"
Major Pitcairn, at that moment, was on the green in front of her door, giving orders.
Forgetting the dignified part she intended to play, forgetting everything but the supreme danger that was hovering in mid-air over her home—the old house wherein she had been born, and the only home she had ever known—she rushed out upon the green, amid the troops, and surrounded by cavalry, and made her way to Major Pitcairn.
"The town-house is on fire!" she cried, laying her hand upon the commander's arm.
He turned and looked at her. Major Pitcairn had recently learned that the task he had been set to do in the provincial towns that day was not an easy one; that, when hard pressed and trodden down, the despised rustics, in home-spun dress, could sting even English soldiers; and thus it happened that, when he felt the touch of Mother Moulton's plump little old fingers on his military sleeve, he was not in the pleasant humor that he had been, when the same hand had ministered to his hunger in the early morning.
"Well, what of it? LET IT BURN! We won't hurt you, if you go in the house and stay there!"
She turned and glanced up at the court-house. Already flames were issuing from it. "Go in the house and let it burn, INDEED!" thought she. "He knows me, don't he? Oh, sir! for the love of Heaven won't you stop it?" she said, entreatingly.
"Run in the house, good mother. That is a wise woman," he advised.
Down in her heart, and as the very outcome of lip and brain she wanted to say, "You needn't 'mother' me, you murderous rascal!" but, remembering everything that was at stake, she crushed her wrath and buttoned it in as closely as she had Uncle John behind the door in the morning, and again, with swift gentleness, laid her hand on his arm.
He turned and looked at her. Vexed at her persistence, and extremely annoyed at intelligence that had just reached him from the North Bridge, he said, imperiously, "Get away! or you'll be trodden down by the horses!"
"I CAN'T go!" she cried, clasping his arm, and fairly clinging to it in her frenzy of excitement. "Oh stop the fire, quick, quick! or my house will burn!"
"I have no time to put out your fires," he said, carelessly, shaking loose from her hold and turning to meet a messenger with news.
Poor little woman! What could she do? The wind was rising, and the fire grew. Flame was creeping out in a little blue curl in a new place, under the rafter's edge, AND NOBODY CARED. That was what increased the pressing misery of it all. It was so unlike a common country alarm, where everybody rushed up and down the streets, crying "Fire! fire! f-i-r-e!" and went hurrying to and fro for pails of water to help put it out. Until that moment the little woman did not know how utterly deserted she was.
In very despair, she ran to her house, seized two pails, filled them with greater haste than she had ever drawn water before, and, regardless of Uncle John's imprecations, carried them forth, one in either hand, the water dripping carelessly down the side breadths of her fair silk gown, her silvery curls tossed and tumbled in white confusion, her pleasant face aflame with eagerness, and her clear eyes suffused with tears.
Thus equipped with facts and feeling, she once more appeared to Major Pitcairn.
"Have you a mother in old England?" she cried. "If so, for her sake, stop this fire."
Her words touched his heart.
"And if I do—?" he answered.
"THEN YOUR JOHNNY-CAKE ON MY HEARTH WON'T BURN UP," she said, with a quick little smile, adjusting her cap.
Major Pitcairn laughed, and two soldiers, at his command, seized the pails and made haste to the court-house, followed by many more.
For awhile the fire seemed victorious, but, by brave effort, it was finally overcome, and the court-house saved.
At a distance Joe Devins had noticed the smoke hovering like a little cloud, then sailing away still more like a cloud over the town; and he had made haste to the scene, arriving in time to venture on the roof, and do good service there.
After the fire was extinguished, he thought of Martha Moulton, and he could not help feeling a bit guilty at the consciousness that he had gone off and left her alone.
Going to the house he found her entertaining the king's troopers with the best food her humble store afforded.
She was so charmed with herself, and so utterly well pleased with the success of her pleading, that the little woman's nerves fairly quivered with jubilation; and best of all, the blue stocking was still safe in the well, for had she not watched with her own eyes every time the bucket was dipped to fetch up water for the fire, having, somehow, got rid of the vow she had taken regarding the drawing of the water.
As she saw the lad looking, with surprised countenance, into the room where the feast was going on, a fear crept up her own face and darted out from her eyes. It was, lest Joe Devins should spoil it all by ill-timed words.
She made haste to meet him, basket in hand.
"Here, Joe," she said, "fetch me some small wood, there's a good boy."
As she gave him the basket she was just in time to stop the rejoinder that was issuing from his lips.
In time to intercept his return she was at the wood-pile.
"Joe," she said, half-abashed before the truth that shone in the boy's eyes, "Joe," she repeated, "you know Major Pitcairn ordered the fire put out, TO PLEASE ME, because I begged him so, and, in return, what CAN I do but give them something to eat. Come and help me."
"I won't," responded Joe. "Their hands are red with blood. They've killed two men at the bridge."
"Who's killed?" she asked, trembling, but Joe would not tell her. He demanded to know what had been done with Uncle John.
"He's quiet enough, up-stairs," she replied, with a sudden spasm of feeling that she HAD neglected Uncle John shamefully; still, with the day, and the fire and everything, how could she help it? but, really, it did seem strange that he made no noise, with a hundred armed men coming and going through the house.
At least, that was what Joe thought, and, having deposited the basket of wood on the threshold of the kitchen door, he departed around the corner of the house. Presently he had climbed a pear-tree, dropped from one of its overhanging branches on the lean-to, raised a sash and crept into the window.
Slipping off his shoes, heavy with spring-mud, he proceeded to search for Uncle John. He was not in his own room; he was not in the guest-chamber; he was not in any one of the rooms.
On the floor, by the window in the hall, looking out upon the green, he found the broken cup and saucer that Martha Moulton had let fall. Having made a second round, in which he investigated every closet and penetrated into the spaces under beds, Joe thought of the garret.
Tramp, tramp went the heavy feet on the sanded floors below, drowning every possible sound from above; nevertheless, as the lad opened the door leading into the garret, he whispered cautiously: "Uncle John! Uncle John!"
All was silent above. Joe went up, and was startled by a groan. He had to stand a few seconds, to let the darkness grow into light, ere he could see; and, when he could discern outlines in the dimness, there was given to him the picture of Uncle John, lying helpless amid and upon the nubbins that had been piled over his strong box.
"Why, Uncle John, are you dead?" asked Joe, climbing over to his side.
"Is the house afire?" was the response.
"House afire? No! The confounded red-coats up and put it out."
"I thought they was going to let me burn to death up here!" groaned Uncle John.
"Can I help you up?" and Joe proffered two strong hands, rather black with toil and smoke.
"No, no! You can't help me. If the house isn't afire, I'll stand it till the fellows are gone, and then, Joe you fetch the doctor as quick as you can."
"YOU can't get a doctor for love nor money this night, Uncle John. There's too much work to be done in Lexington and Concord to-night for wounded and dying men; and there'll be more of 'em too afore a single red-coat sees Boston again. They'll be hunted down every step of the way. They've killed Captain Davis, from Acton."
"You don't say so!"
"Yes, they have, and—"
"I say, Joe Devins, go down and do-do something. There's my niece, a-feeding the murderers! I'll disown her. She shan't have a penny of my pounds, she shan't!"
Both Joe and Uncle John were compelled to remain in inaction, while below, the weary little woman acted the kind hostess to His Majesty's troops.
But now the feast was spent, and the soldiers were summoned to begin their painful march. Assembled on the green, all was ready, when Major Pitcairn, remembering the little woman who had ministered to his wants, returned to the house to say farewell.
'Twas but a step to her door, and but a moment since he had left it, but he found her crying; crying with joy, in the very chair where he had found her at prayers in the morning.
"I would like to say good-by," he said; "you've been very kind to me to-day."
With a quick dash or two of the dotted white apron (spotless no longer) to her eye, she arose. Major Pitcairn extended his hand, but she folded her own closely together, and said:
"I wish you a pleasant journey back to Boston, sir."
"Will you not shake hands with me before I go?"
"I can feed the enemy of my country, but shake hands with him, NEVER!"
For the first time that day, the little woman's love of country seemed to rise triumphant within her, and drown every impulse to selfishness; or was it the nearness to safety that she felt? Human conduct is the result of so many motives that it is sometimes impossible to name the compound, although on that occasion Martha Moulton labelled it "Patriotism."
"And yet I put out the fire for you," he said.
"For your mother's sake, in old England, it was, you remember, sir."
"I remember," said Major Pitcairn, with a sigh, as he turned away.
"And for HER sake I will shake hands with you," said Martha Moulton.
So he turned back, and across the threshold, in presence of the waiting troops, the commander of the expedition to Concord, and the only woman in the town, shook hands at parting.
Martha Moulton saw Major Pitcairn mount his horse; heard the order given for the march to begin,—the march of which you all have heard. You know what a sorry time the Red-coats had of it in getting back to Boston; how they were fought at every inch of the way, and waylaid from behind every convenient tree-trunk, and shot at from tree-tops, and aimed at from upper windows, and beseiged from behind stone walls, and, in short, made so miserable and harassed and overworn, that at last their depleted ranks, with the tongues of the men parched and hanging, were fain to lie down by the road-side and take what came next, even though it might be death. And then THE DEAD they left behind them!
Ah! there's nothing wholesome to mind or body about war, until long, long after it is over, and the earth has had time to hide the blood, and send it forth in sweet blooms of liberty, with forget-me-nots springing thick between.
The men of that day are long dead. The same soil holds regulars and minute-men. England, who over-ruled, and the provinces, that put out brave hands to seize their rights, are good friends to-day, and have shaken hands over many a threshold of hearty thought and kind deeds since that time.
The tree of Liberty grows yet, stately and fair, for the men of the Revolution planted it well and surely. God himself HATH given it increase. So we gather to-day, in this our story, a forget-me-not more, from the old town of Concord.
When the troops had marched away, the weary little woman laid aside her silken gown, resumed her homespun dress, and immediately began to think of getting Uncle John down-stairs again into his easy chair; but it required more aid than she could give to lift the fallen man. At last Joe Devins summoned returning neighbors, who came to the rescue, and the poor nubbins were left to the rats once more.
Joe climbed down the well and rescued the blue stocking, with its treasures unharmed, even to the precious watch, which watch was Martha Moulton's chief treasure, and one of very few in the town.
Martha Moulton was the heroine of the day. The house was beseiged by admiring men and women that night and for two or three days thereafter; but when, years later, she being older, and poorer, even to want, petitioned the General Court for a reward for the service she rendered in persuading Major Pitcairn to save the court-house from burning, there was granted to her only fifteen dollars, a poor little forget-me-not, it is true, but JUST ENOUGH to carry her story down the years, whereas, but for that, it might never have been wafted up and down the land.
Sweep, sweep, sweep! Up all this dirt and dust, For Mamma is busy today and help her I surely must. Everything now is spick and span; away to my play I will run. It will be such a 'sprise to Mamma to find all this work is done.
THE CONQUEST OF FAIRYLAND.
There reigned a king in the land of Persia, mighty and great was he grown, On the necks of the kings of the conquered earth he builded up his throne.
There sate a king on the throne of Persia; and he was grown so proud That all the life of the world was less to him than a passing cloud.
He reigned in glory: joy and sorrow lying between his hands. If he sighed a nation shook, his smile ripened the harvest of lands.
He was the saddest man beneath the everlasting sky, For all his glories had left him old, and the proudest king must die.
He who was even as God to all the nations of men, Must die as the merest peasant dies, and turn into earth again.
And his life with the fear of death was bitter and sick and accursed, As brackish water to drink of which is to be forever athirst.
The hateful years rolled on and on, but once it chanced at noon The drowsy court was thrilled to gladness, it echoed so sweet a tune.
Low as the lapping of tile sea, as the song of the lark is clear, Wild as the moaning of pine branches; the king was fain to hear.
"What is the song, and who is the singer?" he said; "before the throne Let him come, for the songs of the world are mine, and all but this are known."
Seven mighty kings went out the minstrel man to find: And all they found was a dead cyprus soughing in the wind.
And slower still, and sadder still the heavy winters rolled, And the burning summers waned away, and the king grew very old;
Dull, worn, feeble, bent; and once he thought, "to die Were rest, at least." And as he thought the music wandered by.
Into the presence of the king, singing, the singer came, And his face was like the spring in flower, his eyes were clear as flame.
"What is the song you play, and what the theme your praises sing? It is sweet; I knew not I owned a thing so sweet," said the weary king.
"I sing my country," said the singer, "a land that is sweeter than song." "Which of my kingdoms is your country? Thither would I along."
"Great, O king, is thy power, and the earth a footstool for thy feet; But my country is free, and my own country, and oh, my country is sweet!"
As he heard the eyes of the king grew young and alive with fire "Lo, is there left on the earth a thing to strive for, a thing to desire?
"Where is thy country? tell me, O singer, speak thine innermost heart! Leave thy music! speak plainly! Speak-forget thine art!"
The eyes of the singer shone as he sang, and his voice rang wild and free As the elemental wind or the uncontrollable sobs of the sea.
"O my distant home!" he sighed; "Oh, alas! away and afar I watch thee now as a lost sailor watches a shining star.
"Oh, that a wind would take me there! that a bird would set me down Where the golden streets shine red at sunset in my father's town!
"For only in dreams I see the faces of the women there, And fain would I hear them singing once, braiding their ropes of hair.
"Oh, I am thirsty, and long to drink of the river of Life, and I Am fain to find my own country, where no man shall die."
Out of the light of the throne the king looked down: as in the spring The green leaves burst from their dusky buds, so was hope in the eyes of the king.
"Lo," he said, "I will make thee great; I will make thee mighty in sway Even as I; but the name of thy country speak, and the place and the way."
"Oh, the way to my country is ever north till you pass the mouth of hell, Past the limbo of dreams and the desolate land where shadows dwell.
"And when you have reached the fount of wonder, you ford the waters wan To the land of elves and the land of fairies, enchanted Masinderan."
The singer ceased; and the lyre in his hand snapped, as a cord, in twain; And neither lyre nor singer was seen in the kingdom of Persia again.
And all the nobles gazed astounded; no man spoke a word Till the old king said: "Call out my armies; bring me hither a sword!"
As a little torrent swollen by snows is turned to a terrible stream, So the gathering voices of all his countries cried to the king in his dream.
Crying, "For thee, O our king, for thee we had freely and willingly died, Warriors, martyrs, what thou wilt; not that our lives betide
"The worth of a thought to the king, but rather because thy rod Is over our heads as over thine Is the changeless will of God.
"Rather for this we beseech thee, O master, for thine own sake refrain From the blasphemous madness of pride, from the fever of impious gain."
"You seek my death," the king thundered; "you cry, forbear to save The life of a king too old to frolic; let him sleep in the grave.
"But I will live for all your treason; and, by my own right hand! I will set out this day with you to conquer Fairyland."
Then all the nations paled aghast, for the battle to begin Was a war with God, and a war with death, and they knew the thing was sin.
Sick at heart they gathered together, but none denounced the wrong, For the will of God was unseen, unsaid, and the will of the king was strong.
So the air grew bright with spears, and the earth shook under the tread Of the mighty horses harnessed for battle; the standards flaunted red.
And the wind was loud with the blare of trumpets, and every house was void Of the strength and stay of the house, and the peace of the land destroyed.
And the growing corn was trodden under the weight of armed feet, And every woman in Persia cursed the sound of a song too sweet,
Cursed the insensate longing for life in the heart of a sick old man; But the king of Persia with all his armies marched on Masinderan.
Many a day they marched in the sun till their silver armour was lead To sink their bodies into the grave, and many a man fell dead.
And they passed the mouth of hell, and the shadowy country gray, Where the air is mist and the people mist and the rain more real than they.
And they came to the fount of wonder, and forded the waters wan, And the king of Persia and all his armies marched on Masinderan.
And they turned the rivers to blood, and the fields to a ravaged camp, And they neared the golden faery town, that burned in the dusk as a lamp.
And they stood and shouted for joy to see it stand so nigh, Given into their hands for spoil; and their hearts beat proud and high.
And the armies longed for the morrow, to conquer the shining town, For there was no death in the land, neither any to strike them down.
The hosts were many in numbers, mighty, and skilled in the strife, And they lusted for gold and conquest as the old king lusted for life.
And, gazing on the golden place, night took them unaware, And black and windy grew the skies, and black the eddying air
So long the night and black the night that fell upon their eyes, They quaked with fear, those mighty hosts; the sun would never rise.
Darkness and deafening sounds confused the black, tempestuous air, And no man saw his neighbor's face, nor heard his neighbor's prayer.
And wild with terror the raging armies fell on each other in fight, The ground was strewn with wounded men, mad in the horrible night
Mad with eternal pain, with darkness and stabbing blows Rained on all sides from invisible hands till the ground was red as a rose.
And, though he was longing for rest, none ventured to pause from the strife, Lest haply another wound be his to poison his hateful life
And the king entreated death; and for peace the armies prayed; But the gifts of God are everlasting, his word is not gainsaid;
Gold and battle are given the hosts, their boon is turned to a ban, And the curse of the king is to reign forever in conquered Masinderan. A. MARY F. ROBINSON.
Handy Spandy, Jack-a-Dandy, Loved plum cake and sugar candy; He bought some at a grocer's shop And out he come with a hop. hop, hop.
Jocko is a monkey, Dressed just like a clown; With the grinding-organ man He travels round the town.
Jocko, Jocko, climb a pole, Jocko climb a tree, Jocko, Jocko, tip your cap, And make a bow to me.
Summer of 'sixty-three, sir, and Conrad was gone away— Gone to the county-town, sir, to sell our first load of hay— We lived in the log-house yonder, poor as ever you've seen; Roschen there was a baby, and I was only nineteen.
Conrad, he took the oxen, but he left Kentucky Belle; How much we thought of Kentucky, I couldn't begin to tell— Came from the Blue-Grass country; my father gave her to me When I rode north with Conrad, away from Tennessee.
Conrad lived in Ohio—a German he is, you know— The house stood in broad corn-fields, stretching on, row after row; The old folks made me welcome; they were kind as kind could be But I kept longing, longing, for the hills of Tennessee.
O, for a sight of water, the shadowed slope of a hill! Clouds that hang on the summit, a wind that is never still But the level land went stretching away to meet the sky— Never a rise, from north to south, to rest the weary eye!
From east to west, no river to shine out under the moon, Nothing to make a shadow in the yellow afternoon; Only the breathless sunshine, as I looked out, all forlorn; Only the "rustle, rustle," as I walked among the corn.
When I fell sick with pining, we didn't wait any more, But moved away from the corn-lands out to this river shore— The Tuscarawas it's called, sir—off there's a hill, you see— And now I've grown to like it next best to the Tennessee.
I was at work that morning. Some one came riding like mad Over the bridge and up the road—Farmer Rouf's little lad; Bareback he rode; he had no hat; he hardly stopped to say; "Morgan's men are coming, Frau; they're galloping on this way;
"I'm sent to warn the neighbors. He isn't a mile behind; He sweeps up all the horses—every horse that he can find; Morgan, Morgan, the raider, and Morgan's terrible men, With bowie-knives and pistols, are galloping up the glen."
The lad rode down the valley, and I stood still at the door; The baby laughed and prattled, playing with spools on the floor; Kentuck was out in the pasture; Conrad, my man, was gone; Nearer, nearer, Morgan's men were galloping, galloping on!
Sudden I picked up the baby, and ran to the pasture-bar; "Kentuck!" I called; "Kentucky!" She knew me ever so far! I led her down the gully that turns off there to the right, And tied her to the bushes; her head was just out of sight.
As I ran back to the log-house, at once there came a sound— The ring of hoofs, galloping hoofs, trembling over the ground— Coming into the turnpike out from the White Woman Glen— Morgan, Morgan the raider, and Morgan's terrible men.
As near they drew and nearer, my heart beat fast in alarm! But still I stood in the doorway, with baby on my arm. They came; they passed; with spur and whip in haste they sped along— Morgan, Morgan the raider, and his band six hundred strong.
Weary they looked and jaded, riding through night and through day; Pushing on east to the river, many long miles away, To the border-strip where Virginia runs up into the West, To ford the Upper Ohio before they could stop to rest.
On like the wind they hurried, and Morgan rode in advance; Bright were his eyes like live coals, as he gave me a sideways glance; And I was just breathing freely, after my choking pain, When the last one of the troopers suddenly drew his rein.
Frightened I was to death, sir; I scarce dared look in his face, As he asked for a drink of water, and glanced around the place: I gave him a cup, and he smiled—'twas only a boy, you see; Faint and worn; with dim blue eyes, and he'd sailed on the Tennessee.
Only sixteen he was, sir—a fond mother's only son— Off and away with Morgan before his life had begun! The damp drops stood on his temples; drawn was the boyish mouth; And I thought me of the mother waiting down in the South!
O, pluck was he to the backbone; and clear grit through and through; Boasted and bragged like a trooper; but the big words wouldn't do; The boy was dying sir, dying, as plain as plain could be, Worn out by his ride with Morgan up from the Tennessee.
But, when I told the laddie that I too was from the South, Water came into his dim eyes, and quivers around his mouth; "Do you know the Blue-Grass country?" he wistfully began to say; Then swayed like a willow sapling, and fainted dead away.
I had him into the log-house, and worked and brought him to; I fed him, and I coaxed him, as I thought his mother'd do; And, when the lad got better, and the noise in his head was gone, Morgan's men were miles away, galloping, galloping on.
"O, I must go," he muttered; "I must be up and away! Morgan, Morgan is waiting for me! O, what will Morgan say?" But I heard the sound of tramping, and kept him back from the door— The ringing sound of horses' hoofs that I had heard before.
And on, on came the soldiers—the Michigan cavalry— And fast they rode, and back they looked, galloping rapidly; They had followed hard on Morgan's track; they had followed day and night; But of Morgan and Morgan's raiders they had never caught a sight.
And rich Ohio sat startled through all these summer days; For strange, wild men were galloping over her broad highways; Now here, now there, now seen, now gone, now north, now east, now west, Through river-valleys and corn-land farms, sweeping away her best.
A bold ride and a long ride! But they were taken at last; They had almost reached the river by galloping hard and fast; But the boys in blue were upon them ere ever they gained the ford, And Morgan, Morgan the raider, laid down his terrible sword.
Well, I kept the boy till evening—kept him against his will— But he was too weak to follow, and sat there pale and still; When it was cool and dusky—you'll wonder to hear me tell— But I stole down to the gully, and brought up Kentucky Belle.
I kissed the star on her forehead—my pretty, gentle lass— But I knew that she'd be happy, back in the old Blue-Grass: A suit of clothes of Conrad's, with all the money I had, And Kentucky, pretty Kentucky, I gave to the worn-out lad.
I guided him to the southward, as well as I knew how: The boy rode off with many thanks, and many a backward bow; And then the glow it faded, and my heart began to swell; And down the glen away she went, my lost Kentucky Belle!
When Conrad came in the evening, the moon was shining high, Baby and I were both crying—I couldn't tell him why— But a battered suit of rebel gray was hanging on the wall, And a thin old horse with drooping head stood in Kentucky's stall.
Well, he was kind, and never once said a hard word to me, He knew I couldn't help it—'twas all for the Tennessee; But, after the war was over, just think what came to pass— A letter, sir, and the two were safe back in the old Blue-Grass.
The lad got across the border, riding Kentucky Belle; And Kentuck she was thriving, and fat, and hearty, and well; He cared for her, and kept her, nor touched her with whip or spur; Ah! we've had many horses, but never a horse like her!
CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON.
Moses was a camel that traveled o'er the sand. Of the desert, fiercely hot, way down in Egypt-land; But they brought him to the Fair, Now upon his hump, Every child can take a ride, Who can stand the bumpity-bump.
Little blue egg, in the nest snug and warm, Covered so close from the wind and the storm, Guarded so carefully day after day, What is your use in this world now, pray? "Bend your head closer; my secret I'll tell: There's a baby-bird hid in my tiny blue shell."
Little green bud, all covered with dew, Answer my question and answer it true; What were you made for, and why do you stay Clinging so close to the twig all the day? "Hid in my green sheath, some day to unclose, Nestles the warm, glowing heart of a rose."
Dear, little baby-girl, dainty and fair, Sweetest of flowers, of jewels most rare, Surely there's no other use for you here Than just to be petted and played with, you dear! "Oh, a wonderful secret I'm coming to know, Just a baby like me, to a woman shall grow."
Ah, swiftly the bird from the nest flies away, And the bud to a blossom unfolds day by day, While the woman looks forth in my baby-girl's eyes, Through her joys and her sorrows, her tears and surprise— Too soon shall the years bring this gift to her cup, God keep her, my woman who's now growing up! BY KATHRINE LENTE STEVENSON.
Who said that I was a naughty dog, And could not behave if I tried? I only chewed up Katrina's French doll, And shook her rag one until it cried.
WHY HE WAS WHIPPED.
He was seven years old, lived in Cheyenne, and his name was Tommy. Moreover he was going to school for the first time in his life. Out here little people are not allowed to attend school when they are five or six, for the Law says: "Children under seven must not go to school."
But now Tommy was seven and had been to school two weeks, and such delightful weeks! Every day mamma listened to long accounts of how "me and Dick Ray played marbles," and "us fellers cracked the whip." There was another thing that he used to tell mamma about, something that in those first days he always spoke of in the most subdued tones, and that—I am sorry to record it of any school, much more a Cheyenne school—was the numerous whippings that were administered to various little boys and girls. There was something painfully fascinating about those whippings to restless, mischievous little Tommy who had never learned the art of sitting still. He knew his turn might come at any moment and one night he cried out in his sleep: "Oh, dear, what will become of me if I get whipped!" But as the days passed on and this possible retribution overtook him not, his fears gradually forsook him, and instead of speaking pitifully of "those poor little children who were whipped," he mentioned them in a causal off-hand manner as, "those cry-babies, you know?" One afternoon mamma saw him sitting on the porch, slapping his little fat hand with a strap. "Tommy, child, what in the world are you doing?" she asked.
Into his pocket he thrust the strap, and the pink cheeks grew pinker still as their owner answered:
"I—I—was just seeing—how hard I could hit my hand—without crying;" and he disappeared around the side of the house before mamma could ask any more questions.
The next day Tommy's seatmate, Dicky Ray, was naughty in school, and Miss Linnet called him up, opened her desk, took out a little riding whip—it was a bright blue one—and then and there administered punishment. And because he cried, when recess came, Tommy said: "Isn't Dick Ray just a reg'lar girl cry-baby?" (He had learned that word from some of the big boys, but, mind you! he never dared to say it before his mother.)
Dick's face flushed with anger. "Never you mind, Tommy Brown," said he, "Just wait till you get whipped and we'll see a truly girl-cry-baby then, won't we, Daisy?"
And blue-eyed Daisy, who was the idol of their hearts, nodded her curly little head in the most emphatic manner, and said she "wouldn't be one bit s'prised if he'd holler so loud that hey would hear him way down in Colorado."
Tommy stood aghast! for, really and truly, he wasn't quite so stony-hearted a little mortal as he appeared to be; he had been secretly rather sorry for Dick, but—he wanted Daisy to think that he himself was big and manly, and he had the opinion that this was just the way to win her admiration. But all this time HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT DAISY DID—that Dick's pockets were full of sugar-plums; tiptop ones too, for Daisy had tasted them, and knew that little packets of them would from time to time find their way into her chubby hand.
All the rest of the morning Tommy kept thinking, thinking, thinking. One thing was certain: the present situation was not to be endured one moment longer than was absolutely necessary. But what could he do? Should he fight Dicky? This plan was rejected at once, on high, moral grounds. Well, then, supposing some dark night he should see Daisy on the street, just grab her, hold on tight and say: "Now, Daisy Rivers, I won't let you go till you promise you'll like me a great deal betterer than you do Dick Ray." There seemed something nice about this plan, very nice; the more Tommy thought of it, the better he liked it; only there were two objections to it. Firstly: Daisy never by any chance ventured out doors after dark. Secondly: Neither did Tom.
Both objections being insurmountable, this delightful scheme was reluctantly abandoned, and the thinking process went on harder than ever, till at last—oh, oh! if he only dared! What a triumph it would be! But then he couldn't—yes, he could too. Didn't she say that she "wouldn't be one bit s'prised if he hollered so loud that they would hear him way down in Colorado?" Colorado, indeed! He'd show her there was one boy in the school who wasn't a girl-cry-baby!
Yes, actually, foolish Tommy had decided to prove his manhood by being whipped, and that that interesting little event should take place that very afternoon!
What did he do? He whispered six times!
Had it been any other child, he would surely have been punished; but Miss Linnet knew both Tommy and his mamma quite well, and therefore she knew also, quite well, that only a few days ago the one horror of Tommy's life had been the thought that he might possibly be whipped. Then too, it was his first term at school, and hitherto he had been very good. So she decided to keep him after school and talk to him of the sinfulness of bad conduct in general, and of whispering in particular. This plan she faithfully carried out, and the little culprit's heart so melted within him that he climbed up on his teacher's lap, put his arms around her neck and kissed her, crying he would never be so naughty again. He was just going to tell her all about Daisy, when in walked a friend of Miss Linnet's, so he went home instead. The next morning he started for school with the firm determination to be a good child, and I really believe he would have been had not that provoking little witch of a Daisy marched past him in a very independent manner, her saucy nose away up in the air, and a scornful look in the pretty blue eyes. It was more than flesh and blood could stand. All Tom's good resolutions flew sky-high.
When twelve o'clock came Miss Linnet's list of delinquents begun in this wise:
WHISPER MARKS. Thomas Brown..... 15 Melinda Jones..... 11
There was great excitement among the little people. How dared any one be so dreadfully bad! Tommy's heart sank, sank, sank, when Miss Linnet said: "When school begins this afternoon I shall punish Tommy and Melinda."
And she did! She called them both up on the platform, made them clasp hands and stand with their backs against the blackboard, then wrote just above their heads:
Thomas Brown and Partners in disgrace. Melinda Jones 15 plus 11 = 26.
Oh, how mortified and ashamed Tommy was! If only she had whipped him, or if it had been some other girl. But MELINDA JONES!!! At the end of ten minutes Miss Linnet let them take their seats; but Tommy's heart burned within him. DAISY HAD LAUGHED WHEN HE STOOD THERE HOLDING MELINDA'S HAND! There were deep crimson spots on Tommy's cheeks all that afternoon and a resolute, determined look in his bright brown eyes, but he was very still and quiet.
Later in the day the children were startled by a sudden commotion on the other side of the room. Daisy was writing on her slate and Melinda Jones, in passing to her seat, accidentally knocked it out of her hands; without a moment's hesitation, Daisy, by way of expressing her feelings, snatched her slate and promptly administered such a sounding "whack!" on Melinda's back and shoulders as brought a shriek of anguish from that poor, little unfortunate who began to think that if all the days of her life were to be like unto this day, existence would certainly prove a burden.
Just about two minutes later Miss Linnet was standing by her desk, a ruler in one hand and Daisy's open palm in the other, while Daisy herself, miserable little culprit, stood white and trembling before her. As she raised the ruler to give the first blow, Tommy sprang forward, placing himself at Daisy's side, put his open palm over hers, and with tears in his eyes, pleaded in this wise:
"Please, Miss Linnet, whip me instead! She is only just a little girl and I KNOW she'll cry, it will hurt her so! I'd rather it would be me every time than Daisy—truly I won't cry. Oh, please whip me!"
And Miss Linnet did whip him, while Daisy, filled with remorse, clung to him sobbing as if her heart would break. To be sure, somebody who ought to know, told me it was the lightest "feruling" ever child received; but Daisy and Tommy both assured their mothers that it was the "dreadfulest, cruelest, hardest whipping ever was."
"And did my little man cry?" asked mamma.
"No, indeed! I stood up big as I could, looked at Daisy and smiled, 'cause I was so glad it wasn't her."
Then that proud and happy mamma took him in her arms and kissed him; and right in the midst of the kissing in walked Daisy.
"Would Tommy please come and take supper with her?"
Of course he would, and they walked off hand in hand. When they passed Dicky's house Tommy suggested. "S'posing they forgive Dick and let him go 'long too." And Daisy agreeing, they called that young gentleman out and magnanimously informed him that he was forgiven and might come and have supper with them.
What in the world they had to forgive, nobody knows; but then, so long as forgiveness proved such an eminently satisfactory arrangement, all round—why, nobody need care.
The children waited outside the gate while Dick coaxed his mother to let him go, and standing there, hand in hand, Daisy plucked up heart of grace and with very rosy cheeks and an air about her of general penitence, said something very sweet in a very small voice:
"I'm sorry you were whipped, and oh, Tommy, I wish I hadn't said you'd holler!"
Mrs. AMY TERESE POWELSON.
Baby thinks it fine, In the summer-time, To wade in the brook clear and bright. But a big green frog Jumped off of a log, And gave Baby Charlotte quite a fright.
THE THREE FISHERS.
Three fishers went sailing away to the West— Away to the West as the sun went down; Each thought on the woman who loved him best, And the children stood watching them out of the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And there's little to earn and many to keep, Though the harbor-bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the light-house tower And trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower, And the night-wrack came rolling up, ragged and brown. But men must work and women must weep, Though storms be sudden and waters deep, And the harbor-bar be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands In the morning gleam as the tide went down, And the women are weeping and wringing their hands, For those who will never come back to the town; For men must work, and women must weep— And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep— And good-by to the bar and its moaning.
Lion with your shaggy mane, Tell me, are you wild or tame? On little boys do you like to sup, If I come near, will you eat me up?
"APPLES FINKEY"—THE WATER-BOY.
"Apples Finkey!" Many a name Has a grander sound in the roll of fame;
Many a more resplendent deed Has burst to light in the hour of need;
But never a one from a truer heart, Striving to know and to do its part.
Striving, under his skin of tan, With the years of a lad to act like a man.
And who was "Apples?" I hear you ask. To trace his descent were indeed a task.
Winding and vague was the family road— And, perhaps, like Topsy, "he only growed."
But into the camp he lolled one noon, Barefoot, and whistling a darky tune,
Into the camp of his dusky peers— The gallant negro cavaliers—
The Tenth, preparing, at break o' day, To move to the transport down in the bay.
Boom! roared the gun—the ship swung free, With her good prow turned to the Carib Sea.
"Pity it was, for the little cuss, We couldn't take 'Apples' along with us,"
The trooper said, as he walked the deck, And Tampa became a vanishing speck.
What's that? A stir and a creak down there In the piled-up freight—then a tuft of hair,
Crinkled and woolly and unshorn— And out popped "Apples" "ez shore's yer born!"
Of course he wasn't provided for In the colonel's roll or the rules of war;
But somehow or other the troop was glad To welcome the little darky lad.
You know how our brave men, white and black, Landed and followed the Spaniard's track;
And the Tenth was there in the very front, Seeking and finding the battle's brunt.
Onward they moved through the living hell Where the enemy's bullets like raindrops fell,
Down through the brush, and onward still Till they came to the foot of San Juan hill—
Then up they went, with never a fear, And the heights were won with a mad, wild cheer!
And where was "the mascot Finkey" then? In the surging ranks of the fighting men!
Wherever a trooper was seen to fall, In the open field or the chaparral;
Wherever was found a wounded man; "Apples" was there with his water and can.
About him the shrapnel burst in vain— He was up and on with his work again.
The sharpshooters rattled a sharp tattoo, The singing mausers around him flew.
But "Apples" was busy—too busy to care For the instant death and the danger there.
Many a parched throat burning hot, Many a victim of Spanish shot,
Was blessed that day; ere the fight was won Under the tropical, deadly sun,
By the cool drops poured from the water-can Of the dusky lad who was all a man.
In the forward trenches, at close of day, Burning with fever, "Finkey" lay.
He seemed to think through the long, wet night, He still was out in the raging fight,
For once he spoke in his troubled sleep; "I'se comin', Cap., ef my legs'll keep!"
Next day—and the next—and the next—he stayed In the trenches dug by the Spaniard's spade,
For the sick and wounded could not get back Over the mountainous, muddy track.
But the troopers gave what they had to give That the little mascot might stick and live.
Over him many a dark face bent, And through it all he was well content—
Well content as a soldier should Who had fought his fight and the foe withstood.
Slowly these stern beleaguered men Nursed him back to his strength again,
Till one fair day his glad eyes saw A sight that filled him with pride and awe,
For there, as he looked on the stronghold down, The flag was hoisted over the town,
And none in that host felt a sweeter joy Than "Apples Finkey," the water-boy. —JOHN JEROME ROONEY, in New York Sun.
Down at the pond in zero weather, To have a fine skate the girls and boys gather. Even the Baby thinks it a treat, But somehow cannot stay upon his feet.
Tom, Tom, the piper's son, Stole a pig and away he run! The pig was eat, And Tom was beat, And Tom went roaring down the street.
THE SOLDIER'S REPRIEVE.
"I thought, Mr. Allen, when I gave my Bennie to his country, that not a father in all this broad land made so precious a gift—no, not one. The dear boy only slept a minute, just one little minute at his post; I know that was all, for Bennie never dozed over a duty. How prompt and reliable he was! I know he only fell asleep one little second—he was so young and not strong, that boy of mine. Why, he was as tall as I, and only eighteen! And now they shoot him because he was found asleep when doing sentinel duty. "Twenty-four hours," the telegram said, only twenty-fours hours. Where is Bennie now?"
"We will hope with his heavenly Father," said Mr. Allen soothingly.
"Yes, yes; let us hope; God is very merciful! 'I should be ashamed, father,' Bennie said, 'when I am a man to think I never used this great right arm'—and he held it out proudly before me—'for my country when it needed it. Palsy it, rather than keep it at the plow.' 'Go, then, my boy, and God keep you!' I said. God has kept him, I think, Mr. Allen!" And the farmer repeated these last words slowly, as if in spite of his reason his heart doubted them.
"Like the apple of the eye, Mr. Owen; doubt it not."
Blossom sat near them listening with blanched cheek. She had not shed a tear. Her anxiety had been so concealed that no one had noticed it. She had occupied herself mechanically in the household cares. Now, she answered a gentle tap at the door, opening it to receive from a neighbor's hand a letter. "It is from him," was all she said.
It was like a message from the dead! Mr. Owen took the letter, but could not break the envelope on account of his trembling fingers, and held it toward Mr. Allen, with the helplessness of a child. The minister opened it and read as follows:
"Dear Father:—When this reaches you I shall be in eternity. At first it seemed awful to me, but I have thought so much about it that now it has no terror. They say they will not bind me, nor blind me, but that I may meet death like a man. I thought, father, that it might have been on the battle field, for my country, and that when I fell, it would be fighting gloriously; but to be shot down like a dog for nearly betraying it—to die for neglect of duty! O, father! I wonder the very thought does not kill me! But I shall not disgrace you; I am going to write you all about it, and when I am gone you may tell my comrades. I cannot, now.
"You know I promised Jemmie Carr's mother I would look after her boy; and when he fell sick I did all I could for him. He was not strong when he was ordered back into the ranks, and the day before that night, I carried all his luggage besides my own on our march. Towards night we went in on double quick, and though the luggage began to feel very heavy, everybody else was tired, too; and as for Jemmie, if I had not lent him an arm now and then he would have dropped by the way. I was all tired out when we came into camp, and then it was Jemmie's turn to be sentry. I would take his place; but I was too tired, father. I could not have kept awake if a gun had been pointed at my head; but I did not know it until—well, until it was too late."
"God be thanked" interrupted Mr. Owen, reverently, "I knew Bennie was not the boy to sleep carelessly at his post."
"They tell me to-day that I have a short reprieve, 'time to write to you,' the good Colonel says. Forgive him, Father, he only does his duty; he would gladly save me if he could; and do not lay my death against Jemmie. The poor boy is heart-broken, and does nothing but beg and entreat them to let him die in my place.
"I can't bear to think of mother and Blossom. Comfort them, Father! Tell them I die as a brave boy should, and that, when the war is over, they will not be ashamed of me, as they must be now. God help me! It is very hard to bear! Good-bye, father, God seems near and dear to me; not at all as if he wished me to perish forever, but as if he felt sorry for his poor sinful, broken-hearted child, and would take me to be with him and my Savior in a better life."
A deep sigh burst from Mr. Owen's heart. "Amen," he said, solemnly, "amen."
"To-night, in the early twilight, I shall see the cows all coming home from the pasture, and precious little Blossom standing on the back stoop, waiting for me! But I shall never, never come! God bless you all! Forgive your poor Bennie!"
Late that night the door of the "back stoop" opened softly and a little figure glided out and down the footpath that led to the road by the mill. She seemed rather flying than walking, turning her head neither to the right nor left, looking only now and then to heaven, and folding her hands is if in prayer. Two hours later the same young girl stood at the mill depot, watching the coming of the night train; and the conductor, as he reached down to lift her into the car, wondered at the tear-stained face that was upturned toward the dim lantern he held in his hand. A few questions and ready answers told him all; and no father could have cared more tenderly for his only child than he for our little Blossom. She was on her way to Washington to ask President Lincoln for her brother's life. She had stolen away, leaving only a note to tell them where and why she had gone.
She had brought Bennie's letter with her; no good, kind heart like the President's could refuse to be melted by it. The next morning they reached New York, and the conductor hurried her on to Washington. Every minute, now, might be the means of saving her brother's life. And so, in an incredibly short time, Blossom reached the Capitol and hastened to the White House.
The president had just seated himself to his morning task of overlooking and signing important papers, when without one word of announcement the door softly opened, and Blossom, with down-cast eyes and folded hands, stood before him.
"Well, my child," he said in his pleasant, cheerful tones, "what do you want so bright and early this morning?"
"Bennie's life, sir," faltered Blossom.
"Who is Bennie?"
"My brother, sir. They are going to shoot him for sleeping at his post."
"O, yes," and Mr. Lincoln ran his eye over the papers before him. "I remember. It was a fatal sleep. You see, my child, it was a time of special danger. Thousands of lives might have been lost by his culpable negligence."
"So my father said," replied Blossom, gravely. "But poor Bennie was so tired, sir, and Jemmie so weak. He did the work of two, sir, and it was Jemmie's night, not his; but Jemmie was too tired, and Bennie never thought about himself that he was tired too."
"What is this you say, child? Come here, I do not understand," and the kind man caught eagerly as ever at what seemed to be a justification of the offense.
Blossom went to him; he put his hand tenderly on her shoulder and turned up the pale face toward his. How tall he seemed! And he was the President of the United States, too! A dim thought of this kind passed for a minute through Blossom's mind, but she told her simple, straightforward story and handed Mr. Lincoln Bennie's letter to read.
He read it carefully; then taking up his pen, wrote a few hasty lines, and rang his bell.
Blossom heard this order: "Send this dispatch at once!"
The President then turned to the girl and said: "Go home, my child, and tell that father of yours, who could approve his country's sentence even when it took the life of a child like that, that Abraham Lincoln thinks the life far too precious to be lost. Go back, or—wait until tomorrow. Bennie will need a change after he has so bravely faced death; he shall go with you."
"God bless you, sir!" said Blossom; and who shall doubt that God heard and registered the request?
Two days after this interview, the young soldier came to the White House with his little sister. He was called into the President's private room and a strap fastened upon his shoulder. Mr. Lincoln then said: "The soldier that could carry a sick comrade's baggage and die for the act so uncomplainingly deserves well of his country." Then Bennie and Blossom took their way to their Green Mountain home. A crowd gathered at the mill depot to welcome them back; and as Farmer Owen's hand grasped that of the boy, tears flowed down his cheeks, and he was heard to say fervently:
"The Lord be praised!"
—From the New York Observer
If I had a horse I would call him "Gay," Feed and curry him well every day, Hitch him up in my cart and take a ride, With Baby Brother tucked in at my side.
LITTLE BROWN THRUSHES.
Little brown thrushes at sunrise in summer After the May-flowers have faded away, Warble to show unto every new-comer How to hush stars, yet to waken the Day: Singing first, lullabies, then, jubilates, Watching the blue sky where every bird's heart is; Then, as lamenting the day's fading light, Down through the twilight, when wearied with flight, Singing divinely, they breathe out, "good-night!"
Little brown thrushes with birds yellow-breasted Bright as the sunshine that June roses bring, Climb up and carol o'er hills silver-crested Just as the bluebirds do in the spring, Seeing the bees and the butterflies ranging, Pointed-winged swallows their sharp shadows changing; But while some sunset is flooding the sky, Up through the glory the brown thrushes fly, Singing divinely, "good-night and good-by!" BY Mrs. WHITON-STONE.
This tall Giraffe, Measures ten feet and a half, And I wonder if his neck Of rubber is made. Out of the sun He thinks he has run But only his feet Are in the shade.
THE STORY OF THE EMPTY SLEEVE.
Here, sit ye down alongside of me; I'm getting old and gray; But something in the paper, boy, has riled my blood today. To steal a purse is mean enough, the most of men agree; But stealing reputation seems a meaner thing to me.
A letter in the Herald says some generals allow That there wa'n't no fight where Lookout rears aloft its shaggy brow; But this coat sleeve swinging empty here beside me, boy, to-day, Tells a mighty different story in a mighty different way.
When sunbeams flashed o'er Mission Ridge that bright November morn, The misty cap on Lookout's crest gave token of a storm; For grim King Death had draped the mount in grayish, smoky shrouds— Its craggy peaks were lost to sight above the fleecy clouds.
Just at the mountain's rocky base we formed in serried lines, While lightning with its jagged edge played on us from the pines; The mission ours to storm the pits 'neath Lookout's crest that lay; We stormed the very "gates of hell" with "Fighting Joe" that day.
The mountain seemed to vomit flames; the boom of heavy guns Played to Dixie's music, while a treble played the drums: The eagles waking from their sleep, looked down upon the stars Slow climbing up the mountain side, with morning's broken bars.
We kept our eyes upon the flag that upward led the way Until we lost it in the smoke on Lookout side that day; And then like demons loosed from hell we clambered up the crag, "Excelsior," our motto, and our mission, "Save the flag."
In answer to the rebel yell we gave a ringing cheer; We left the rifle-pits behind, the crest loomed upward near; A light wind playing 'long the peaks just lifted death's gray shroud; We caught the gleam of silver stars just breaking through the cloud.
A shattered arm hung at my side that day on Lookout's crag, And yet I'd give the other now to save the dear old flag. The regimental roll when called on Lookout's crest that night Was more than doubled by the roll Death called in realms of light.
Just as the sun sank slowly down behind the mountain's crest, When mountain peaks gave back the fire that flamed along the west, Swift riding down along the ridge upon a charger white, Came "Fighting Joe," the hero now of Lookout's famous fight. He swung his cap as tears of joy slow trickled down his cheek, And as our cheering died away, the general tried to speak.
He said, "Boys, I'll court-martial you, yes, every man that's here; I said to take the rifle pits," we stopped him with a cheer, "I said to take the rifle pits upon the mountain's edge, And I'll court-martial you because—because you took the ridge"
Then such a laugh as swept the ridge where late King Death had strode! And such a cheer as rent the skies, as down our lines he rode! I'm getting old and feeble, I've not long to live, I know, But there WAS A FIGHT AT LOOKOUT. I was there with "Fighting Joe."
So these generals in the Herald, they may reckon and allow That there warn't no fight at Lookout on the mountain's shaggy brow, But this empty coat-sleeve swinging here beside me, boy, to-day Tells a mighty different tale in a mighty different way. R. L. CARY, JR.
A race! A race! Which will win, Thin little Harold or chubby Jim? Surely not Harold for there he goes Down so flat he bumps his nose, While Jimmy stops short. The fat little elf, Says he can't run a race all by himself.
FACING THE WORLD.
"Glad I am, mother, the holidays are over. It's quite different going back to school again when one goes to be captain—as I'm sure to be. Isn't it jolly?"
Mrs. Boyd's face as she smiled back at Donald was not exactly "jolly." Still, she did smile; and then there came out the strong likeness often seen between mother and son, even when, as in this case, the features were very dissimilar. Mrs. Boyd was a pretty, delicate little English woman: and Donald took after his father, a big, brawny Scotsman, certainly not pretty, and not always sweet. Poor man! he had of late years had only too much to make him sour.
Though she tried to smile and succeeded, the tears were in Mrs. Boyd's eyes, and her mouth was quivering. But she set it tightly together, and then she looked more than ever like her son, or rather, her son looked like her.
He was too eager in his delight to notice her much. "It is jolly, isn't it, mother? I never thought I'd get to the top of the school at all, for I'm not near so clever as some of the fellows. But now I've got my place; and I like it, and I mean to keep it; you'll be pleased at that, mother?"
"I should have been if—if—" Mrs. Boyd tried to get the words out and failed, closed her eyes as tight as her mouth for a minute, then opened them and looked her boy in the face gravely and sadly.
"It goes to my heart to tell you—I have been waiting to say it all morning, but, Donald, my dear, you will never go back to school at all."
"Not go back; when I'm captain! why, you and father both said that if I got to be that, I should not stop till I was seventeen—and now I'm only fifteen and a half. O, mother, you don't mean it! Father couldn't break his word! I may go back!"
Mrs. Boyd shook her head sadly, and then explained as briefly and calmly as she could the heavy blow which had fallen upon the father, and, indeed, upon the whole family. Mr. Boyd had long been troubled with his eyes, about as serious a trouble as could have befallen a man in his profession—an accountant—as they call it in Scotland. Lately he had made some serious blunders in his arithmetic, and his eyesight was so weak that his wife persuaded him to consult a first-rate Edinburgh oculist, whose opinion, given only yesterday, after many days of anxious suspense, was that in a few months he would become incurably blind.
"Blind, poor father blind!" Donald put his hand before his own eyes. He was too big a boy to cry, or at any rate, to be seen crying, but it was with a choking voice that he spoke next: "I'll be his eyes; I'm old enough."
"Yes; in many ways you are, my son," said Mrs. Boyd, who had had a day and a night to face her sorrow, and knew she must do so calmly. "But you are not old enough to manage the business; your father will require to take a partner immediately, which will reduce our income one-half. Therefore we cannot possibly afford to send you to school again. The little ones must go, they are not nearly educated yet, but you are. You will have to face the world and earn your own living, as soon as ever you can. My poor boy!"
"Don't call me poor, mother. I've got you and father and the rest. And, as you say, I've had a good education so far. And I'm fifteen and a half, no, fifteen and three-quarters—almost a man. I'm not afraid."
"Nor I," said his mother, who had waited a full minute before Donald could find voice to say all this, and it was at last stammered out awkwardly and at random. "No; I am not afraid because my boy has to earn his bread; I had earned mine for years as a governess when father married me. I began work before I was sixteen. My son will have to do the same, that is all."
That day the mother and son spoke no more together. It was as much as they could do to bear their trouble, without talking about it, and besides, Donald was not a boy to "make a fuss" over things. He could meet sorrow when it came, that is, the little of it he had ever known, but he disliked speaking of it, and perhaps he was right.
So he just "made himself scarce" till bedtime, and never said a word to anybody until his mother came into the boys' room to bid them good-night. There were three of them, but all were asleep except Donald. As his mother bent down to kiss him, he put both arms round her neck.
"Mother, I'm going to begin to-morrow."
"Begin what, my son?"
"Facing the world, as you said I must. I can't go to school again, so I mean to try and earn my own living."
"I don't quite know, but I'll try. There are several things I could be, a clerk—or even a message-boy. I shouldn't like it, but I'd do anything rather than do nothing."
Mrs. Boyd sat down on the side of the bed. If she felt inclined to cry she had too much sense to show it. She only took firm hold of her boy's hand, and waited for him to speak on.
"I've been thinking, mother, I was to have a new suit at Christmas; will you give it now? And let it be a coat, not a jacket. I'm tall enough—five feet seven last month, and growing still; I should look almost a man. Then I would go round to every office in Edinburgh and ask if they wanted a clerk. I wouldn't mind taking anything to begin with. And I can write a decent hand, and I'm not bad at figures; as for my Latin and Greek—"
Here Donald gulped down a sigh, for he was a capital classic, and it had been suggested that he should go to Glasgow University and try for "the Snell" which has sent so many clever young Scotsmen to Balliol College, Oxford, and thence on to fame and prosperity. But alas! no college career was now possible to Donald Boyd. The best he could hope for was to earn a few shillings a week as a common clerk. He knew this, and so did his mother. But they never complained. It was no fault of theirs, nor of anybody's. It was just as they devoutly called it, "The will of God."
"Your Latin and Greek may come in some day, my boy," said Mrs. Boyd cheerfully. "Good work is never lost. In the meantime, your plan is a good one, and you shall have your new clothes at once. Then, do as you think best."
"All right; good-night, mother," said Donald, and in five minutes more was fast asleep.
But, though he was much given to sleeping of nights—indeed, he never remembered lying awake for a single hour in his life—during daytime there never was a more "wide awake" boy than Donald Boyd. He kept his eyes open to everything, and never let the "golden minute" slip by him. He never idled about—play he didn't consider idling (nor do I). And I am bound to confess that every day until the new clothes came home was scrupulously spent in cricket, football, and all the other amusements which he was as good at as he was at his lessons. He wanted "to make the best of his holidays," he said, knowing well that for him holiday time as well as school time was now done, and the work of the world had begun in earnest.
The clothes came home on Saturday night, and he went to church in them on Sunday, to his little sister's great admiration. Still greater was their wonder when, on Monday morning, he appeared in the same suit, looking quite a man, as they unanimously agreed, and almost before breakfast was done, started off, not saying a word of where he was going.