The Baldwin Library
MIKE'S CROTCRETS IN WAR-TIME.
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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852,
BY PHILLIPS, SAXMPON & CO.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District
BILLION & BROTHERS,
No. 10 NORTH WILLIAM STRIUT, N T.
WRIGHT & HASTY,
Prlaten, 8 Water Street, Bortom
ABOUT CROTCHETS .
CROTCHETY FOLKS .
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS .
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS .
A PAIR OF THIEVES .
PAYING HIM OFF .
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIMU .
CHAPTER VIII. PAG.
THE BUMBLE-BEES' NEST 109
HOW A BARN WAS BUILT 127
ANOTHER BLOCK OF MARBLE 134
MIKE MARBLE'S LAST DAYS 150
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME
THE BOY IN THE WOODS
OLD IRONSIDES AND THE CHILDREN
A CRYING SPELL .
PAYING FOR MISCHIEF .
MIKE MARBLE AND THE BEGGAR
MIKE MARBLE IN HIS OLD AGE
e CHAP. I.
DON'T be frightened, reader, at what
you see on the title-page of this book,'
or at the head which I have given to
my first chapter. Don't let tI&Ideas-
creep into your head, that I am going
to give you a dull and sleepy essay on V
music. It is not the crotchets which
8 ABOUT CROTCHETS.
you find in the singing-book, that I
intend to talk about; I leave them to
those who know more about them than
I do. There is a man of my acquaint-
ance, whom I could hunt up without
much trouble, and who, if you should
ever choose to give him a chance, Tould
talk you deaf, and write you blind,
about this sort of crotchets, together
with all the members of that noisy
family-breves, semibreves, minims, and
what not! I'll refer you to hinm, for
all t'fe mysteries of the gamut. When-
ever you want to learn them, I assure
you he would like no better fun than
ABOUT CROTCHETS. 9
to teach them to you. I'll not inter-
fere with his trade.
My business is with another .family
of crotchets. Webster--Noah Webster,
the man 'who made the spellilg-book,
out of which Uncle Frank learned to
say, or rather to drawl his Ietters-
gives, in his large dictionary, as one
of the definitions of the word crotchet,
this: a peculiar turn of mind, a'
whim, a fancy." Here you have jarst
*4t~ kind of crotchet that I amn going
to deal with. Mr. Webster oouR not
have hit my crotchet more exactly, if
ha4 haim at it on purpose.
10 ABOUT CROTCHETS.
It is a peculiar turn of mind, or, if you
prefer it, a whim, or a fancy, that I
shall talk about, for an hour or so,
perhaps longer. Indeed, I am not
perfectly sure but I shall find a whole
flock of whims and fancies, because,
you know, "birds of a feather flock
together," and, in that case, I shall
give you a peep at a score or two of
whims and fancies.
Now, who knows but these crotchets
will be worth hearing about? People- 4
write large, thick volumes, on drier
topics than whims and fancies-that
is, in my way of thinking--and I
ABOUT CROTCHETS. 11
suppose their books are read. Cer-
tainly they expect to have them read,
or they would not make them. Then
why may not my book on crotchets
find readers ?
If I were to write a book on warts
and com*s, don't you think the book
would get read? I do. I have not
the least doubt of it. Suppose, fow,
it were published in the newspapers,
that Messrs. Phillips, Sampson &C Com-
pany, one of the largest and most
respectable publishing houses in the
Union, are about to issue a volume,
entitled Freaks of the Wart Family,
12 ABOUT CROTCHETS.
from the pen of Uncle Frank, a man
who, first and last, has printed a
good deal of sense, together with some
nonsense, and who, in this volume, has
succeeded in stringing together some
of the strangest things that ever saw
the light. Suppose that some news-
paper should give that item of news,
don't you think folks would get the
book, when it was published? and
don't you think they would read it,
or, at all events, skim it over, to see
what kind of stuff Uncle Frank had
been emptying out of his brain? I
ABOUT CROTCHETS. 13
Well, warts and corns are to the
body what whims and crotchets are
to the mind. The body has freaks-
the mind has freaks. Warts don't
exactly belong to the body. That -is,
there could be a very good sort of a
body, without a single wart on it; and
indeed, if you please, a man would be
a more perfect man, if there were no
warts about him, from head to foot.
So of crotchets. I don't pretend that
a person has any thing to boast of,
because his head is full of crotchets.
Perhaps he would be better without
them. Perhaps he.would. But warts
14 ABOUT CROTCHETS.
and crotchets are both found among
mankind. Both are freaks of nature,
so to speak; of course, both are worth
examining. One thing at a time,
though. Let us turn our attention,
at present, to crotchets.
A CROTCH rson, according to
this sane Noah Webster, whom I
have quoted before, is one who has
whims or crotchets in the brain. Now
a word about these crotchety folks.
I'll tell you what it is, my friend.
The older I grow, the more I feel
inclined to let every man and woman,
every boy and girl, act out himself,
16 CROTCHETY FOLKS.
or herself. "That is a singular fel-
low," we often hear it said. "He's
as odd as Dick's hat-band. I don't
know what to think of him. He
seems to be a good sort of a man.
But he is dfd. His head is as full
of crotchets as it c'40 hold."
When I hear a person talk in this
style, I feel like saying, "Stop a mo-
ment, my dear sir. He's 'a good sort
Sof a man--but,' you say. That shows
you are not precisely satisfied with
his goodness; and pray, what is the
matter with it? Why don't you like
it, sir? What particular fault have
CROTCHETY FOLKS. 17
you to find with it? Come, out with
Press a man, who is talking in this
way about a crotchety neighbor, right
up to the point, and you will generally
find that the reason he does not like
him is because has a different way
of saying and doing 'things from his
Now I believe that some folks are
odd because they cannot help it.
True, there are a great many who are
odd, just for the sake of being odd.
They are ambitious to be known as
singular people. 'We will let them
18 CROTCHETY FOLKS.
pass. They certainly work hard to
earn the name they love to be known
by; and perhaps we ought not to try
to rob them of it, or to say any thing
very severe about their taste. We
will let them pass.
But there are a multitude of other
people who are odd, and whose oddi-
ties cannot be accounted for in the
same way. They are odd, because they
were born so. They are odd, because
they cannot help being odd. If they
should try, with all their might, to do
as most of their neighbors do, they
would make perfect dunces of them-
CROTCHETY FOLKS. 19
selves; for every body, old or young,
makes a dunce of himself, and nothing
else, whenever he undertakes to be
what he is not-whenever he under-
takes to be somebody else. "He is not
very well acquainted with the race he
belongs to, who, as he goes through
the world, does not get this truth ham-
mered into him.
Why, at this very moment, I can
thinktof C least a dozen odd people,
whom I am in the habit of meeting
every day, and who, I verily believe,
could no more help their oddities and
crotchets than some of their neighbors
20 CROTCHETY FOLKS. *
could help having warts come out on
their hands. The crotchets are natural
and unavoidable in one case-the
warts are natural and unavoidable in
These are my notions about crotch-
ety people, in general, and I have
thrown them out, as one throws out
feather beds from the garret windows,
when the house is on fire-so that
the articles that are to *e whi
afterward may find a good soft spot
. to alight on, and not get damaged
by their fall.
The truth is, I am going to intro-
CROTCHETY FOLKS. 21
duce to you an old gentleman, who
had a large head, tolerably well filled
with crotchets; and as it is such a
common thing for people to raise a
hue and~ry against every 'body who
.-haMiy odd ts about him, I thought
I would put you on your guard a
little, by a word of apology for that
entire race of people, who are odd be-
cause $hey cannot be any thing else.
I% M4 gentleman, who, by the
way, was a great friend of the little
folks, is Mike Marbd. I introduce him
Sto you as an old gentlenlu. But, al-
though he was old, when I first saw
22 CROTCHETY FOLKS.
him, I must not forget that he was
young once-as young as any of my
readers-and that he played his part
as a boy, as well as his part as a
man. There are a good mn*h anec-
dotes afloat about hi nd h
way of doing things, before he irew
up to manhood. My grandfather knew
him when he was a lad at school.
I believe he and Mike were nly .of
the same age.
That grandfather of mine, now I
think of it, was a great story-teller.
I have soi.times nearly half made
S up my mind, while casting about me,
* CROTCHETY FOLKS. 23
to find some new mine of stories for
myryoung readers, that I would put
my thinking cap on, and see if I could
not recollect a budget of my grand-
*father's l4st stories, large enough to
AlN p book. I am not sure but I will
do so one of tgese days; and, if I do,
I shall print the budget, depend up-
My grandfather and Mike Marble 7
w-rg s dear to each other as if they
had been brothers. They lived not
far apart, and went to school together.
For some of Mike's crotchets I am
indebted to this old friend of his.
24 CROTCHETY FOLKS.
Others I picked up, here and there,
among old people that knew him,1dnd
others still I got from a personal ac-
quaintance with him in his old age.
You will excuse me, if I call him
Mike sometimes. He was always so
called, when he was a boy, I believe.
And while you are excusing me for
calling him Mike-you see I take you
to be very kind and obliging-you
will please excuse me, also, if Aap-
pen to prefix the title of Uncle to that
nickname; for he was known, far and
near, as Uncle Mike, in his later days.
It is true that Michael was his name
CROTCHETY FOLKS. 25
correctly and honestly spelled out. But
it H equally true that Michael was a
name to which he seldom had to answer.
At school, and among his playmates,
it was always Mike. I really believe,
from what I have heard my grand-
father say, that not half the boys and
girls in his neighborhood could have
been convinced, by any common ar-
guments, that his name was Michael.
Ind&d, I remember having heard that
once, when a schoolmate called the
fellow by the long name, just to see
how it would seem, he and the other
boy both burst right out into a perfect
26 CROTCHETY FOLKS.
roar of laughter over the sound of it.
"For pity's sake," said he, whe# he
got over his laughing fit, "don't call
me by that hard name again, as long
as I live;" and, as he seemed to be
quite in earnest, none of the boys ever
addressed him by any other name than
'Mike, after that.
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
"BUT who is Mike Marble ? where
does he live ? what sort of a man is
he? what kind of oddities has he
My little friend, your questions come
out so fast, and there is such a long
string of them, that they make me
think of the way a whole pack of fire
crackers go off, when you touch'a coal
28 LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
to one of them, and throw the whole
into the street. Lam going to tell 'you
ever so many things about this same
Mike Marble. Before I get through
with him, you will get very well ac-
quainted with him, I think. But
Uncle Frank, you know, has got some
oddities himself. When he has got
any thing to do, he, too, has his own
way of doing it. *
Some people, I suppose, if they were
treating you to a few chapters in the
history of this singular man, would
we've the threads together in a dif-
ferent i er from mine. They would
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS. 29
begin, very likely, by telling where the
chap was born, w were his father
and mother, how ma brothers and
sisters he had, what their names were,
whether he had any uncles and aunts,
and if he had, what kind of uncles and
aunts they were, and all that sort of
thing. And they would describe Mike's
appearance exactly-tell you whether
he had back eyes or blue, gray eyes
or brown, red eyes or green. But I
don't see much use in that.
Indeed, I am not sre but I shall
keep you ignorant as to how he looked,
and let you learn what the.j rth
30 LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
learning in his character-for charac-
ter is the great thing, after all, you
know-by the stories I shall tell of
him. I might, it is true, take every
branch, and leaf, and bud, and flower,
of his character, and pick it all to
pieces, and show you, in this way,
what he was made of. But you would
get tired of all that. So I'll take an-
other course. I'll tell you what he
said and did-what he said and did
at different times, at different periods
in his life, and in different circum-
. stances. Don't you think this is the
best way to make you acquainted
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS. 31
with him? I do; for, if you find out
what a person say, and does, and
thinks, you find out-what he is.
One or two things, however, I must
say about this Mike Marble, by way
of general introduction.
He was born at a very interesting
period-about nine years before the
breaking out of the American Revo-
lution. He was quite an old man
before he went to his final rest.
Indeed, it is but a few years since
I saw his weather-beaten face, all
lighted up with smiles. Unlike many
other men, when they get o be old,
32 LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
he never niade a practice of carping
at every thing he saw about him, be-
cause it was not exactly in the style
of 1776. He believed that there was
wisdom among our grandfathers and
grandmothers, but that there is wis-
dom, also, among their grand-children.
I have told you that he had some
oddities. I have hinted, too, in a sort
of whisper, that I do not consider a
man an absolute Pagan, because he
happens to be a little odd. Some-
thing more than this I could say of
Uncle Mike, odd as he was; but I
guess you will find out what I think
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS. 33
of him, before I get through. Suffice
it to say, that, while I didn't like
him because he was odd, I did like
him, in spite of his oddities. He was
a fine old man. As the world goes,
he was a most excellent man.. He
had his faults, a plenty of them;
though I have sometimes thought
"That e'en his failings lean'd to virtue's side."
Some of them did, I know. He had
his faults, nevertheless. I confess that.
He always had them, no doubt. Faults
are common things among mankind
and womankind. But, with your con-
34 LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.
sent, we will trip lightly over all that
part of our hero's history which is
shaded with blemishes.
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
ONE of the worst things I ever heard
of in the history of Mike, according
to the best of my recollection, was
the way he served Billy Birch's dog.
You must know something about this
Billy Birch. Burt was his real name.
But it was changed into Birch by his
neighbors, for a reason which I will
give you by and bye.
36 CHIPU FROM BICH WOODS.
Mr. Burt was a pretty good sort
of a man, in his own estimation, but
not greatly or generally beloved by his
neighbors. He was a church-going
man, and had a knack, somehow or
other, of getting along decently with
the forms-the outside garments, so
1 to speak-of religion. It was really
astonishing how glibly he would talk
about religion. But as to the prac-
tical part of it, he did not succeed as
ell. That was up-hill work for the
He found it exceedingly difficult to
keep himself unspottedd from the
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 31
world." Some of his nearest neigh-
bors thought they could count a great
many worldly spots upon him. I
don't know how that was, as I never
was acquainted with the man, and
ought not to judge him too harshly.
Indeed, Uncle Frank must endeavor
to keep in mind, that with what meas-
ure we mete it shall be measured to
us again. But from all the shreds and
patches of his history that have come
down to the present day, Mr. Birch
does seem to have been a selfish man,
and a great deal too fond of money.
My young friend, it is one of the
38 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
most difficult things in this world, to
act up to the spirit of the golden
rule of our Lord, and do to others
as we would have them do to us,
when we are as full as we can hold
of selfishness. You may lay that
thought up in your memory.
Billy Birch found that truth out.
What did he care how many newly-
planted hills of corn and rows of peas
his hens might scratch up, provided
the corn was not his corn, and the
peas were not his peas, and provided
he did not have jo suffer for the
scratching? Not a mill. He would
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 39
sit, smoking his pipe-for he was a
great smoker-in the old, straight-
backed oak chair on the stoop, as
cool as a cucumber, while the biggest
rooster on his premises, the lord of
the whole barn-yard, was leading a
regiment of hens and petty roosters
in a crusade upon Squire Chapman's
corn-field across the way; and if the
Squire or one of his boys came over
to inform him what havoc the hens
were making, and to ask him what
to do with the troublesome creatures,
the old man wouW perhaps take his
pipe out of his mouth, and, after slowly
40 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
puffing out a cloud of smoke, would
say, "Why, drive them out, to be
What did he care, if his old mare-
who, by the way, was a very nervous
sort of a mare, and could not stay
long in one spot-what did he care,
if the old creature did jump over the
six-rail fence around the good par-
son's field of clover, and eat what she
wanted, and trample down, in her ner-
vous way of doing things, a good share
of the rest of the clover? Why, it
didn't hurt him an!. The old misetI
It wasn't his field of clover that Katy
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 41
trampled down. And besides, didn't
he pay his minister's tax? and didn't
the minister and his family live in
better style than he and his family
could afford to live in ?
Katy loved clover. He wasn't to
blame for that, and he didn't know
that Katy was to blame. It was a
very natural taste, that of his old
mare. And why didn't the parson,
he should like to know, build his fence
higher, if he didn't want his clover .
eaten up by other people's horses?
SWhat was it 4 Billy Birch, if his
dog did kill a neighbor's sheep, now
42 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
and then? What did he care, what
should he care? If they were his
own sheep, that would alter the case.
But Casar never killed his master's
sheep. Wasn't that kind in Caesar?
And as to this sheep-biting habit of
his, why it is the nature of dogs to
kill sheep. Caesar must kill some-
body's sheep; and if he hadn't picked
out a good fat one from this flock, it
would have been somebody else's flock.
What is the use in making such a
fuss about a sheep or two ? The loss
*of one sheep won't. break any body.
What can't be cured, must be. en-
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 43
dured. People must take care of their
sheep, if they don't want them to be
That is the way this selfish, nrrow-
minded farmer reasoned and talked.
You can see, plainly enough, that he
was not the sort of man to be very
much respected in the neighborhood.
He was not respected. In fact, there
was not, in all the parish, a more
generally unpopular man than Billy
The boys, I have heard, bore him
a grudge of long standing. It related
to the huckleberries and hazel nuts
44 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
in the old man's birch woods. There
were bushels of huckleberries, and al-
most as many hazel nuts, in those
woods. But would you have thought
of such a thing? Mr. Birch forbade
the boys picking any of his huckle-
berries or hazel nuts. Ever so many
huckleberries decayed on the bushes
every year, or were left to be har-
vested by the birds, because Mr.
Birch's family could not pick them all
themselves, and he was so tight that
he would not let any body else pick
them. He was like the dog in the
manger, you see. He could not eat
CsIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 45
the hay himself, and he would not let
any body else eat it.
But the meanest thing that I ever
heard of his doing, was this: In these
same woods-the woods where the
huckleberries and ihzel nuts grew-
there were great multitudes of birc"
trees, of different species, and among
the rest, some of that species which
goes by the name, among childri,
of black birch. I need not tell any
of my country readers about this kind
of birch. They know it well enough.
They have eaten birch bark, inany
a titne; and, for ought I know, some
46 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
of them have felt a tingling sensa-
tion in the region .of the back and
o:legs, brought abt by the use of birch
--- in the. heads of some school-
Well, Moses 4Lble was crossing
S Billy Birch's woods one day in the
spring of the year. For awhile, he
whistled along, as merry-hearted as
blue birds that had just returned
m their southern tour, and who were
,chirping on the branches over his head,
Breaking off, now and then, a few
sprigs of birch, from the trees along
his path. By and bye, he sat down
THE BOY IN THE WOODS.
raIPs ROMII IBaoH WOODS. A49
on the fence, to rest self, stil
ing on with his whistling, at int~e':a
when .is moth was not too :mtcb
occupied with the birch to inte
with the music.
While the merry iung fellow was
sitting here, feeling at peace with all
the world, and not dreaming but all
the wor.d was at peace with him, he
heard a slight rustling behind him4 #
and, lookingI over his shoulder, whom;:
should he see but Billy Bireh hinisel
leaning against a chestnut tree, ad a
looking as if he were angry enough
to bite in two ar*hoe handle.
^ ^feitf **^
50 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
What on earth the man was doing
there, history does not inform us,
though it used to be more than
hinted among the younger citizens in
that neighborhood, that he was prowl-
ing about in those woods as a spy on
the movements of the boys. They said
he was just the man for such business.
Moses did not like the appearance
of the face that was lowering on him;
Sand, although he was innocent of the
slightest intention of doing any harm
on the man's premises, he thought it
would be safer for him to walk off than
it would be to stay there. So he
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 51 ,
leaped from the fence, and began, lei-
surely, to walk home.
"Stop, you young heathen!" said
The little fellow did stop, and stood
as still as the old chestnut tree,
against which the lord of those woods
What are you munching there,
Moses, having no suspicion at all
that he had been doing any harm'
to the estate of the old man, replied,
frankly and plainly, that he was eat-
52 CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS.
"Aha!" said the farmer, "you are,
eh ? I'll teach you to eat my birch.
I'll give you as much birch as you will
want for a fortnight!"
And he took the twig which Moses
was gnawing out of his hands, and
whipped him with it, until he made
the poor fellow cry out with pain and
"There, you thief!" he saN, after
flogging him to his heart's content,
"that will teach you to steal my birch,
From that day the selfish farmer
began to be called Birch, in that sec-
CHIPS FROM BIRCH WOODS. 53
tion of the country; and it was not
many months before his name was
almost as effectually changed as if he
had applied to the legislature of the
state to have that body change it for
A PAIR OF THIEVES.
ABOUT that dog of Billy Birch.
Have I not promised to tell you
something about him, and tl acci-
dent that happened to him, which
accident Mike Marble might have pre-
vented, if he had made the attempt?
I have a good mind to tell you about
these matters, at any rate, whether I
have made such a promise or not.
A PAIR OF THIEVES. 55
Mind now, reader, that, in telling
this story, I don't mean to have it
understood that I think Mike did
right. I'll grant that he did wrong.
But I mention the fact to show what
sort of mischief Mike was up to, and
what sort of blemishes those were,
which I confess he had in his char-
acter ;9or, as I think I said before,
this trick was about as bad a thing
as I ever heard of his being guilty of.
Caesar got to be a great hero in the
sheep-killing business-a perfect Nim-
rod of a dog. It sometimes happens,
.I fancy, that soldiers who spend more
56 A PAIR OF THIEVES.
of their time in war, actually shooting
people and cutting their throats, after
a while, get to liking the trade, and
take pleasure in slaughtering human
beings, just as a carpenter or a print-
er might take pleasure in his trade.
Well, it got to be somewhat so with
Caesar, it would seem; for it often
came to pass that two or three sheep
would be killed in one night, when,
of course, a single fat one would sup-
ply his appetite bountifully for several
days, at least. He must have liked
the business, or he would have con-
tented himself with killing only a suf-
A PAIR OF THIEVES. 57
ficient number of sheep to keep him
The neighbors who suffered from Cae-
sar's favorite amusement, complained,
now and then, to his master. But it
did no good. They must keep their
sheep out of the way," the selfish man
would say. Caesar is a capital fam-
ily dog. I don't know what I should
do without him-he is so faithful."
That was as much satisfaction as they
could ever get. Billy Birch would not
shut up his dog at night, and as for
killing him, that was out of the ques-
tion. He would rather lose his best
58 A PAIR OF THIEVES.
horse than Casar. True, the neigh-
bors might have sued the owner of
the dog, and have got the value of
their lost sheep in that way. But
they were generally peaceable folks,
and had a great dread of going to
law, especially with one of their own
neighbors. The result was, that Cae-
sar's business prospered more and
more every day.
It was in the full tide of his success
as a sheep-killer, that he came, one
day, into Mr. Marble's door yard, and
took his station near the wood pile.
Mike saw him, and knew well enough
A PAIR OF THIEVES. 59
what he came for. His father had
just been slaughtering an ox, and
some of the dainty pieces of the ani-
mal were lying on the wood pile, the
scent of which had brought Caesar to
the spot. No doubt, having feasted
on mutton so long, he had got a little
sick of it, and thought he would make
a dinner on beef. He was a dainty
fellow, you perceive.
I don't know what put it into Mike's
head to play the trick he did on Caesar.
But he had no sooner seen him smell-
ing around among the refuse pieces of
the ox's carcass, than he determined to
60 A PAIR OF THIEVES.
punish him, if possible, for his noto-
rious crimes. So, without saying a
word to any body, he gathered up
all the choice bits which had tempted
the dog to the yard, and placed them
within a few feet of the heels of Mr.
Marble's old chaise horse, who was
standing there, hitched to a gate post,
waiting patiently for somebody to come
and harness him.
Now this horse, who was called
Old Ironsides, was as famous for his
kicking habits as Caesar was for his
sheep-killing. He seemed to take up
kicking as a sort of amusement, to
A PAIR OF THIEVES. 61
while away his leisure hours. It was
a wonder that Mr. Marble kept him;
for he had kicked the old chaise to
pieces several times; and as to his
stable, he made nothing of kicking
off all the boards within reach of his
heels, every few nights, just for the
fun of the thing, and to show what
mighty deeds he could do with his
It is no more than an act of sim-
ple justice to Old Ironsides, however,
to say, that he was as gentle as a -
lamb to the children of his master.
They could do any thing with him.
63 A PADM oNr rnsiBV.
&tn, when he was t at the
door, or in his stable, they would go
close to him, and pat him on his neck,
Sand play with him, as if he eib e one
of their own number; and the oldefel-
low would take all their :fn good-
humoredly. Among# *i sins in
the kicking lin ie hihd a great
many, first and last, to answer for-
I-: never kicked either of the children.
Tliy all loved him, in fait; and many
is the dainty morsel he received from
Well, to go on with the story of
Mike's piece of mischief. The dog,
OLD IRONSIDES AND THE CHILDREN
.A PAIR OF THIREVI. 65
as he hated trotted al af
the piee sof meat, and
eating, without any suspicions of harm,
right under the batWy of the old horeef
There he remained fasome mom ets,
as Mike says, taking as much oafort
eating his dinner, as if he were dining
on one of his father'* sheep.
Old Ironsides took no notice of
dog. Indeed, he rather appeared'
asleep. He. A shut his e
the way,. as 4i was. standing at a
post, and dosed, and nodded, much
after the fashion of some me, when
they set o to listen i &ermon, on
66 A PAIR OF THEVES.
Sunday. All the time, however, Mike
had a crotchet in his head.
"Halloo, old fellow !" he shouted,
"what are you about there ?"
In an instant Old Ironsides was
wide awake, and, seeing at a glance
what was going on behind, he pricked
up his ears, uttered one brief snort,
and away went his heels like lightning.
Poor Caesar! When he touched this
planet again-for Old Ironsides had
sent him up towards the moon, much
farther than I should want to go, in
that style-he was a lost dog. Old
Ironsides, who proved to be as great
A PAIR OF THIEVES. 67
a hero, in his way, as Caesar was, had
killed him. The great enemy of sheep-
dom had ceased to breathe.
- -~-------~-----~-I- --~~~
"PAYING HIM OFF;"
OR, AN ODD WAY OF SHOWING REVENGE.
JACOB GRUMLEY, who was sometimes
nicknamed Grumble, on account of a
habit he had of finding fault with
every thing and every body, went to
the same school with Mike Marble.
Now Mike was as remarkable for his
cheerful and amiable disposition, as
Jacob was for his ill nature. In half
PAYING HIM OFF. 69
of the cases where the latter would
get angry, and storm, and rage, and
fret, and foam, like a hyena, or a Ben-
gal tiger, the other would remain as
cool as a cucumber, or, perhaps, burst
out into a hearty laugh.
One day, when several of the school-
boys, including Michael and Jacob,
were playing ball on the fine lawn in
front of the school house, a dispute
occurred between the young grumbler"
and another boy, and Mike ventured
to suggest to Jacob, as kindly as he
could, that he was in the wrong.
You little meddlesome dunce !"
70 PAYING HIM OFF.
said Jacob, all in a blaze of anger,
"I'll teach you to mind your own
business, and let other people's quar-
rels alone." And, suiting his action
to his words, he struck Mike in the
face so hard that the blood ran from
his nose in a stream.
Well, what do you think Mike did,
then ? I know what some boys would
have done, if they had been in his
place. They would have struck Ja-
cob, at any cost. That is the way
they would have taken their revenge.
That is the way, indeed, that Mike's
school-fellows advised him to take his
PAYING HI OFF. l1
revenge. Half a dozen of them, at
least, surrounded him, and urged him
to flog Jacob.
"I'd pay him off for it," said one.
"The rascal!" said another. "I'd
make him smart for it."
"And we'll all stand by you,", said
one, "if you'll flog him."
"Mike wasn't a bit to blame, ei-
ther," added another. "If I were in
his place, if I wouldn't make Jake see
The remainder of the speech was
lost to every body but the speaker,
as all the boys, by this time, were
12 PAYING HIM OFF.
talking at once. It is a wonder to
me that they did not take the mat-
ter altogether into their own hands,
and give Jake the flogging which they
thought he so richly deserved; for
Michael was a great favorite among
them, and they could not bear to see
him abused. But I believe they con-
tented themselves with letting off ever
so many vials of wrath, in the shape
of words; and Jake Grumble, finding
how matters stood, walked sulkily
"Now, Mike, what are you going to
do ?" asked one of the boys.
PAYING HIM OFF. 73
"Do about what ?" asked the in-
About the bloody nose that Jake
gave you," was the reply.
"I'm going to see if I can't stop
its bleeding," said Mike.
"No, I don't mean that," said the
other. "I mean what are you going
to do to Jake ?"
"Oh," said Mike, "I guess I'll pay
him off, one of these days."
And why not now?" the boy
"I've got as much on my hands as
I can attend to, just now," said Mike.
74 PAYING HIM OFF.
How do you suppose Jake felt, that
day, after his cruel treatment of one
of his playmates ? What do you sup-
pose were his feelings, when he found
out what all the boys thought of his
conduct; and when he had time to
reflect upon the folly and wickedness
of what he had done? Perhaps you
can guess pretty well how he felt.
Possibly you have yourself wronged
some one of your playmates, and recol-
lect how you felt about it, when you
had a chance to get away somewhere,
alone, to think over your conduct. If
so, you can give a pretty rational guess
PAYING HIM OFF. 75
as to the kind of feelings that were
at work in Jake's bosom, on his way
home from school that day.
He did not go home in company with
the rest of the boys and girls who
went in the same direction. He was
in the habit of doing so. But he felt
so much ashamed on account of what
he had done, that he could not bear
to see the faces of any of the chil-
Instead of taking the public road
that led directly to his father's house,
he went through the gate that led
into Deacog Stark's pasture, and fol-
76 PAYIG HIM OFF.
lowed the eart-path through the woods.
It was a great deal farther that way.
But he went through the woods so as
to get clear of his playmates. One
of the deacon's hired men saw the
boy, leaning against the fence, just at
the edge of the woods. Poor fellow!
he was crying, as if his heart would
break. So heman said. Jake got
the worst of it, in that affair. Don't
you think he did ?
But I have not got, through with
the story yet, and I must go on
Time passed on-daysreeks, a&
A CRYING SPELL.
PAYING HIM OFF.
even months, came *ad went -bat
Mike did not "payIff the boy wsh
had so unjustly abused i,
compions urged him to do it, q
they got out, of patience, and4 ,
eluded to give the matter up.
As for Jake, it was as much a he.
could do to look Mike ih the
He avoided im, as as h.
and -to.-e -
he ca u him. But ike, on hiso
part, the boy 1o had inir
him just as i# thing happened'
I have often note f here
thber s been any JUbeee an
80 PAYING HIM OFF.
two persons, the one who was at
fault is more apt to cherish unkind
feelings than the one who was inno-
cent. It was so in this case. Jacob
treated Michael as if it were Michael
rather than himself, who had been in
the wrong. He never spoke to him,
when he could help it; and when he
did say any thing to him, he spoke
peevishly, and pressed the words be-
tween his teeth, as if he haf the lock-
One day, during that interesting
season of the year when the-farmers
are busy making hay, Jake had occa-
PAYING HIM OFF. 81
sion to pass through Mr. Marble's
meadow, with his fishing rod, on his
way to the "deep hole," where, as
every body in the neighborhood knew,
multitudes of sun fish and perch were
always to be found, ready for a nice
bit of an angle-worm.
Jake, being a little thirsty-for it
was a very warm day-went up to
the tree under which Mr. Marble kept
the refreshments for his hired men,
and took up the.wooden bottle to
drink. plere was nothing wrong, per-
haps, in the liberty he took, though
I think it would have- been quite as
82 PAYING IIM OFF.
well, if he had asked Mr. Marble's
consent in the first place. But we
will let that pass. Jake had a dif-
ferent way of doing things.
As I said, he took up the bottle
to drink. But the moment he did
so, Ranter, Mr. Marble's old dog,
who lay under the tree, where he had
been stationed to keep watch, think-
ing his master's property was in dan-
ger, flew at the boy, and caught him
by the arm. Poor Jake he yelled
lustily, you may be sure. Byt it did
no good. Ranter held him in his
jaws, as tight as if he were a wood-
PAYING HIM OFF. 88
chuck or a rabbit, instead of a school-
Mike was spreading hay, at the
time, some twenty yards off, or more,
and hearing the boy crying for help,
and looking in the direction from
which the voice came, he saw Jake
fast in the clutches of the dog. In
an instant he shouted, as loud as he
could scream, "Here, RanterI here,
Ranter and in another instant, Rant-
er let go of the poor boy, and bounded
away towards his young master.
Jake, as you may suppose, and as
Mike found, when he went to hing
84 PAYING HIM OFF.
was very badly bitten. The blood ran
from his arm quite as freely as it did
from Mike's nose, some time before
"Did Ranter hurt you much ?" asked
Very badly, I'm afraid," said Jake,
almost frantic with pain and fright.
Mike said he was sorry, and ex-
pressed his wonder that Ranter could
be so cruel. Then he ran and called
his father, who was busy in another
part of the meadow, when the acci-
dent happened, and who did not hear
Jake's call for help. Mr. Marble had
PAYING HIM OFF. 85
the boy taken to his house, where
his wound was nicely dressed, and
where the utmost care was, taken of
him by the whole family, among whom
Mike was the foremost. It was two
or three days before it was thought
prudent to remove the sufferer to his
father's house; and during th* time
there was no one, not even Jab's
own mother, who was more kind and
attentive to him than Mike Marble.o,
The time came when the wounded
boy was able to go home. An hour
or two -before the wagon was to come
for him, he was sitting in an easy
86 PAYING HIM OFF.
chair, with the wounded arm lying
on a pillow, and Mike, as usual, was
at his side. There happened to be
no one else in the chamber besides
the two boys.
"Mike," said the other, "I want to
say something to you."
"What is it ?" asked Mike.
"I don't know how to say it," was
And there was a pause. Jacob had
undertaken a task which was entirely
new to him, and he did not know how
to begin it. At length he tried again:
"Mike," said he, "I struck you
PAYING G HM OFF. 87
once-it was a good while ago-do
you remember it ?"
"Yes," Mike said.
"Well, I am sorry I struck you,"
said Jacob, and burst into tears.
I knew you were sorry," said Mike,
"and I have forgiven you, long ago."
"Do you forgive me?" asked Jacob,
"I do, from my heart," said Mike.
Then followed another flood of tears.
This time it was a good while before
Jacob could speak, so as to be under-
stood, and when he did speak, it was
only to say,
88 PAYING HIM OFF.
Oh, Mike, you are so kind! You
seem like a brother to me."
Jacob's father came into the room
just at this moment, and nothing more
was said by either of the boys on the
subject which so deeply affected Ja-
cob. But Mike saw, plainly enough,
that the heart of the boy who had
injured him was melted, and he was
How warmly Jacob pressed Mike's
hand, when he bade him "good bye,"
and started for home.
Not long after that, Mike met one
of the boys who had urged him so
PAYING HIM OFF. 89
strongly to return the blow that Jacob
"Well," said Mike, "I've done it."
"Done what ?" asked the other boy.
"Paid him off," said Mike.
"What, Jake Grumble ?"
Good. Tell me all about it."
And Mike did tell him all about it.
"Well, I do say for it, Mike," said
the other boy, after listening to the
whole story, "you are just the queer-
est fellow that I 'ever saw or heard
"But' don't you think that was
90 PAYING HIM OFF.
about the best way to pay him off,
after all?" asked Mike.
"Well," said the other boy, after a
moment's pause, "I declare I don't
know but it was, when I coine to
think of it."
And don't you think it was the best
way to pay him off, reader? I do,
and I should be glad if every body
would learn to pay such debts in very
much the same way. It may be a
very queer mode of taking revenge.
But it seems to me quite a sensible
one; and I am sure it is a thousand
times better than the mode that peo-
PAYING HI OFF. 91
pie so often choose. If I am not
greatly mistaken, indeed, it is just
the mode that is recommended in the
word of God, which says, "If thine
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,
give him to drink; for, in so doing,
thou shalt heap coals of fire on his
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME.
You have heard a great deal about
the Revolutionary War. You have
heard what hardships our forefathers
went through, while they were fight-
ing the battles of liberty. But I doubt
if you can form, in your own mind,
any thing like a true picture of what
those brave men suffered. Why, many
of them had to go barefoot, for whole
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME. 93
weeks at a time, right in the heart
of winter. They could hardly get food
to eat; and many and many a time,
if it had not been for the thought
that they were engaged in a good
cause, and that God was on their side,
they must have been discouraged, and
given up all as lost. But they did
not give up. They stood firm at their
post, until they either fell before their
enemies, or perished by fatigue and
When the tidings came to the neigh-
borhood where Mike Marble lived, that
Washington's noble band were suffer-
94 MIKE'S COTCHETS IN WAR-MTE.
ing every thing but death at Valley
Forge, every man and woman, that
could boast of any thing in the shape
of a heart, were moved with pity. And
they were not the people to let their
kind feelings go off in fog and smoke.
They were not blustering people. They
believed in acting, as well as in talking.
When they had heard the sad news,
the next question was, "Can we do
any thing ?" That question was soon
answered. The next was, What can
we do?" Well, it was pretty soon
found out that all could do some-
thing-that some could do one thing,
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME. 95
and some another; but that every
family in the parish could do some-
So they went to work. The mothers
and daughters went to knitting stock-
ings, and making under garments for
the soldiers. Every chest of drawers,
and wardrobe, and closet in the house
was ransacked, to. find bed-quilts and
blankets for the army. And the fa-
thers and sons, they went to work,
with a right good will, to get shoes,
and hats, and coats, and other arti-
cles of wearing apparel, so as to have
them retly at the time the agent from
96 MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME.
the commander-in-chief should pass
through the place.
The younger branches of the families
in that neighborhood, too, caught the
spirit of their fathers and mothers. I
must tell you a story about the agency
of the little folks in furnishing supplies
for the army.
Mike Marble asked his father, one
day, if he might call a meeting of the
boys and girls at his house, to talk
over war matters. The old man
laughed, and said he might, if he
chose. "But what do you children
expect to do for the army, Mike ?" he
MIKE'S CROTCHETS IN WAR-TIME. 97
added. What can you do, I should
like to know?"
I don't know, father," was the re-
ply, "but I guess we can all do some-
thing; I'm pretty sure I can, for one."
Well, the meeting was called. The
schoolmaster gave out notice, one after-
noon, that all the boys and girls were
invited to Mr. Marcus Marble's house,
the next Wednesday, at "early candle-
light," and, to quote the precise lan-
guage of Mike's invitation-for he had
it all written out, and the schoolmaster
read it word for word-that business
of importance would be brought before