• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Opening of the budget
 Our first schoolmaster
 The monkey and his spelling...
 The bonfire; or what disobedience...
 The cold water boy
 Witch woods
 Our huckleberry parties
 Willow lane pic-nics
 Capturing the hornet's nest
 A girl lost in the woods
 Six months at Uncle Miah's; or...
 Close of the budget
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Uncle Frank's home stories
Title: A budget of Willow Lane stories
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002058/00001
 Material Information
Title: A budget of Willow Lane stories
Series Title: Uncle Frank's home stories
Alternate Title: Willow Lane stories
Physical Description: 174 p. 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Woodworth, Francis C ( Francis Channing ), 1812-1859
Scribner, Charles, 1821-1871 ( Publisher )
Benedict, Charles W ( Printer , Stereotyper )
Roberts, William, b. ca. 1829 ( Engraver )
Howland, William ( Engraver )
Publisher: Charles Scribner
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: C.W. Benedict, Stereotyper and Printer
Publication Date: 1852, c1851
Copyright Date: 1851
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1852   ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Uncle Frank.
General Note: Added title page, engraved by Howland.
General Note: "With illustrations."
General Note: Tinted illustrations engraved by W. Roberts.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002058
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002240000
oclc - 08837090
notis - ALJ0539
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Half Title
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
    List of Illustrations
        Page vi
    Opening of the budget
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Our first schoolmaster
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    The monkey and his spelling class
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    The bonfire; or what disobedience cost
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
    The cold water boy
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Witch woods
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
    Our huckleberry parties
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Willow lane pic-nics
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Capturing the hornet's nest
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    A girl lost in the woods
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    Six months at Uncle Miah's; or every-day life on a farm
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
    Close of the budget
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text






















































































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A


BUDGET

OF


WILLOW LANE STORIES.


it) Slluaftrainna.

BY UNCLE FRANK,
AUTHOR OF "A PREP AT OUR 1lIGNMOI," rTO.





NEW YORK:
CHARLES SCRIBNER, 145 NASSAU STREET.
1852.























Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
CHARLES 8CRIBNER,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the
Southern District of New York.


C. W. BENEDICT,
STEREOTYPES,
301 William Street, N. Y.




















CONTENTS.


OPENING OF THE BUDGET, *

OUR FIRST SCHOOLMASTER .

THE MONKEY AND HIS SPELLING CLASS,

THE BONFIRE OR WHAT DISOBEDIENCE COST,

THE COLD WATER BOY, .

WITCH WOODS *


OUR HUCKLEBERRY PARTIES,

WILLOW LANE PIC-NICS,


S 7

14

* 33

40

. 58

73

. 80

87








vi


CONTENTS.


RAGS

CAPTURING THE HORNET'S NEST, 100

A &IRLB LOST IN THE WOODS, 113

SIX MONTHS AT UNCLE MIAEH', 131

CLOSE OF THE BUDGET, 163


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


SOLOMON STARK AND THE MONKEY,

VIGNETTE TITLE PAGE, .

VISIT TO THE TOY STORE, .

T~ BONFIRE, .


NED NOBLE, THE COLD WATER

THE PIC-NIC, .


Frontispiece

S 1

S 29

S 48

65

S 86


FANNY'S TEMPTATION, .

LIFE ON A FARM, .


BO, .








WILLOW LANE STORIES.


CHAPTER I.

OPENING OF THE BUDGET.

IN the very heart of one of the best
States in the Union, there is a district of
country, included within rather narrow
bounds, which goes by the name of Wil-
low Lane. Why it ever received thaz
name is more than I can tell. I never
saw any willow trees in that region, ac-
cording to the best of my recollection,
and I never saw a person that had seen






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


or heard of one. But the place is called
Willow Lane, for all that.
You need not look on the map for it.
You will not find it there. It never has
made much of a figure in the world's his-
tory, and I am by no means sure that it
ever will. There is nothing remarkable
in the appearance of that part of the
country-nothing, perhaps, which would
strike a stranger very favorably. Few,
certainly, would fall in love with it, at
first sight. The scenery, I suppose, may
be called tame, It has been called so,
at any rate.
There is little of interest in the looks
of the few dwellings to be seen at Wil-


8





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


low Lane. Indeed, if my memory does
not mislead me, they used, some years
ago, when I first made their acquaint-
ance, to exhibit a sad want of outside
polish, to say the least.
And the people, too, were plain, every-
day sort of people. There was not much
starch about them, not much buckram,
not much paint, not much varnish. With
few exceptions, they were farmers-not
gentlemen and lady farmers, with kid
gloves; but genuine, hard-working, sun-
burnt, out-and-out farmers, who did their
own work, with their sleeves rolled up-
men who dug their gold, with their
own tough hands, from such "dry dig-


9






10


WrLLOW LNEZ STORIES.


gings" as potato-hills--women who con-
trived to get it out of the churn and
the cheese press, the wheel and the
loom.
As to their learning, they generally
managed to get hold of what they want-
ed, without going to college after it.
There was little Latin and less Greek
afloat among the Willow Lane folks.
The common school-rather too com-
mon, perhaps-had enough wisdom in it
to satisfy them. They were reasonable
people, you see, easily suited, not dis-
posed to find fault with their lot.
I suppose that they did not care much
for worldly honors. At all events, when





WILLOW LNE. STORIES.


presidents, governors, and judges, were
Sto be made, somehow or other, the tim-
ber was never taken from Willow Lane.
This is a sketch of Willow Lane, as it
would appear to a stranger. It would
no doubt appear so to you, boys and
girls. And yet I must confess to you
that it is quite another. spot to Uncle
Frank. Everything in that secluded dis-
trict is interesting to me. Shall I tell
you why ? Because it was my home in
the sunny days of childhood and early
youth. It was in that school house
which stands at the top of the hill, just
after you cross the little brook, that I
stepped on some of the lower rounds of


H






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


the ladder of learning. There the stern
schoolmaster-stern I then thought, but
perhaps I was mistaken-taught me my
A B C. In that pond, which supplied
the water for the grist-mill and the fac-
tory, I used to sail my little boats, and
wait, patiently wait for the sun-fish and
the trout to bite my tempting hook.
That old, brown, time-worn house, with
the moss-covered shingles, and the roof
sloping almost down to the ground in
the rear, was my home. No proud and
lofty palace was ever dearer to a boy
than this humble dwelling was to me.
Aye, and everything in Willow Lane had
then and still has an interest to me, be-


12





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


18


cause it was connected with the sweetest
days of all my life.

"How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view !-
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew;
The wide-spreading pond, and the mill which stood by it,
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell!
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well I'

I have a budget of stories to tell about
matters and things connected with this
Willow Lane. Would you like to hear
some of them ?













CHAPTER II.

OUR FIRST SCHOOLMASTER.

I WISH you could have seen the man
who first pointed out to me the beauties
of Webster's spelling book. He was a
curiosity, that Solomon Stark. Where
he came from, and what was his early
history, are difficult questions. I will not
attempt to answer them. How such a
man ever came to be the teacher of the
Willow Lane school for several winters,






WIL9W LAWfl~ STGR13S1. 15


is.a mystery, too. I have heard it said,
however4 that he did all theteaching and
all the whipping for sixteen dollars a
month and: his board; and I guess the
Willow Lane people liked him partly on
this account-because he was reasonable
in his charges. As a general thing, they
went against high salaries. Parson Da-
ley, our-minister, one of the best men the
world ever saw, seldom had much more
gold and silver than he knew what to do
with. His riches were mostly in heaven.
Parson Daley-the dear old man! how
my heart yearns toward him now, as I
recall to my mind the kindness and love
that always shone in his face. There


16





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


was sometimes, it is true, a shade too
much of gravity in those features-a
shade too much to suit the laughing,
romping, frolicking children of his par-
ish. But I never knew the boy or girl
who could not see ever so many good
things written on the brow of Parson
Daley.
It is the schoolmaster, tphugh, and not
the parson, that I began to talk about.
As I was saying, they did not pay Mr.
Stark a very high salary. And why
should they, indeed? The best mower
in Willow Lane did not pretend to ask
but fifteen dollars a month-so the peo-
ple reasoned-and was not mowing a


16





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


great deal harder work than keeping
school ? Of course it was.
Mr. Solomon Stark was not a great
scholar. Whatever I might have thought
when I first began to go to school, it
seemed plain enough to me, somewhat
later in life, when I accidentally came
across an old letter of his, written to my
father-it seemed plain enough that Solo-
mon the schoolmaster was not so remark-
able for his learning as Solomon the king
of Israel. The letter was full of blun-
ders, to say nothing about the hand-writ-
ing, as it could well be. It was richly
worth putting in the museum.
I was the more surprised to find this


17






18 WILLOW LANE STORIES.


letter so wretchedly put together, as Mr.
Stark took a great deal of pride in his
knowledge of grammar. I remember,
indeed, hearing one of the school, com-
mittee say once, when talking with Dea-
con Slocum about the Willow Lane
school, that Mr. Stark "took to parsing
as a duck took to water;" and the dea-
con seemed to nod assent, I believe. It
may be, however, that the schoolmaster,
being a very prudent man, thought that
grammar was too costly for every day
use, and that a person in his circum-
stances could only afford to use it in
school time, or on some great, out of the
way occasion. Perhaps, in other words,





WILLOW LAxZ STOLiU.


though he might have had a large pond
full of it in store, he was afraid, if he let
the water keep running out of it all the
time, it would, sooner or later, get dry.
In arithmetic he was like some com-
mentaries on the Bible, which I have
come across in my day-good on the
easy spots. It was plain sailing with
him all along the first forty or fifty pages
of Daboll's arithmetic. But it was rough
water in vulgar fractions, and he got
completely swamped in decimals. Bill
Handy, who was called the smartest boy
in school, ciphered clear through the
arithmetic one winter. But after he got
into the middle of the book, he had no
2


19





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


more help from Mr. Stark, in doing the
sums. Bill used to tease the poor man a
good deal, though, by going to him with
the hard sums. Every day, almost-on
purpose, we all knew, to make fun for
us-he would march up to the schoolmas-
ter's desk, with his slate covered with
figures, from top to bottom, and very
likely on both sides, and gravely ask Mr.
Stark to help him out with the hard
places. But Mr. Stark did not help him.
He did not help him, for one of the best
reasons in the world-for the same reason
that John Gilpin did not sit up straight
on his horse, when he was running that
famous race to Edmonton.





WILLOW LANE STORIES. 21

I don't doubt that Mr. Solomon Stark
wished Bill Handy in Guinea, at least
fifty times that winter. I pitied the man.
We all pitied him, while we laughed in
our sleeves-all, perhaps, but Bill Handy.
His heart seemed to have more mischief
than pity in it. Bill was Mr. Stark's evil
genius. The worst of it was, that Mr.
Stark had to contrive such a multitude of
excuses, to get rid of doing the sums.
One day he had a great many pens to
mend. At another time he had lots of
writing copies to get ready. Then he
had half a dozen lazy boys to flog; or
the parsing lesson must be attended to;
or it was time for the first class to spell;





WILLOW. LANE STORIES.


or he had the headache, and couldn't
puzzle his brains with figures. Every
time Bill went up to the desk with his
slate, the boys and girls would look
knowingly into each other's faces, as
much as to say, "There he goes again.
Wonder what excuse the schoolmaster
will trump up this time."
Bill Handy finally got through the
arithmetic, and wasn't it a happy day for
Mr. Solomon Stark? He was board-
ing at our house at the time. We all
thought his appetite was better than
usual the next morning at breakfast; and
my brother and I always believed that
the end of Bill Handy's voyage through





WILLOW LANE STORIES. 3

the arithmetic had something to do with
sharpening the schoolmaster's relish for
my mother's mince meat and sausages.
Perhaps not, though. I shall not stop to
debate the question, at any rate.
Mr. Stark was a very pompous man.
He gave his orders in school very much
after the fashion of a general at the head
of a brigade; and when he placed his
spectacles astride his great nose, or raised
them to his forehead, he did so with an
air of vast importance, which sometimes
seemed ludicrous, considering how little
of the gold dust of learning he had ac-
tually picked up and stowed away. He
was a large, portly man; and I used ac-






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


tually to think that his good opinion of
himself, somehow or other, puffed him
up, as the air puffs up a balloon. There
was a little of the dandy about him, too.
No man in Willow Lane dressed so well
as he. Nobody's boots were so nicely
polished; nobody's cravat so carefully
tied; nobody's hat so smoothly brushed.
If I have given you a glance only at
the dark side of Solomon Stark, you must
not conclude, on this account, that there
was not, likewise, a bright side to the
man. There was a bright side, and I
should do him and my own feelings great
injustice, if I finished my sketch of him
here. There was a good heart in the


24





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


schoolmaster. He generally meant well.
I do believe he would have parted with
one of his fingers--or a small portion of
one of them, at least, say a section of the
nail-rather than he would wrong any
one much. He was rigid in his govern-
ment, to be sure. He did use the ferule
and the seasoned hickory sprouts most
unmercifully. There is no disputing
that. But then it was the fashion in
those days, more than it is now, to
be severe. The more a schoolmaster
whipped the scholars, the better he was
liked by some of the parents at Willow
Lane. Let us hope that Mr. Stark
thrashed the boys and girls because he


25






WILLOW LANQE STORIES.


believed it would do them good. I cer-
tainly never thought he loved to whip
us. He did not rub his hands and
chuckle at the idea that he had got a
good chance to flog a little urchin, as I
have known some schoolmasters do. He
always acted as if he was heartily glad
when any one of his numerous floggings
was fairly over.
Take him all in all, he was a very
clever man, in the Willow Lane sense of
the term; and if he had been engaged
in any other business but school keeping,
I don't doubt but we should all have
loved him heartily, with all his faults. I
never laid up any malice against Mr.





WILLOW APE STORIES.


Stark, and my heart warms kindly
towards him now, as I recall to my
mind the epoch of his monarchy in Wil-
low Lane. I have often thought, while
thinking over the scenes which transpired
in that old school house, while he held
the ferule of dominion,

That e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side."

He never forgot any little act of kind-
ness that was done for him. One after-
noon, I remember, he was changing his
boarding house from my father's to Cap-
tain Parry's, and he had two or three
bundles to carry. I offered to carry one
of them for him. He thanked me, and


7






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


gave me one, which I carried all the way
to Captain Parry's. When I was ready
to return home, and bade him "good
afternoon," 'he thanked me again, and
said, "I'll remember you, Frank-see if
I don't. You'll not lose anything by
your kindness."
I did not lose anything, sure enough,
by doing the little favor. It was not
long, before he came over to our house,
one Saturday, and told my father that he
had got Captain Parry's horse and wagon,
and was going down to Northville; and
he added that he would like to have me
go along. My father consented, and I
went to Northville with the schoolmaster.


































































W VISIT TO THE TOY 9TOBE.


I






L:.






WILLOW LANE STORIES. 31

Northville, you must know, was some six
or seven miles off, and was quite a city,
in the opinion of most of the Willow
Lane people. It was a great treat for
the boys to go to Northville.
What a host of wonderful things I saw
that day. Mr. Stark took me to a toy
store, just before we left to return home;
and after letting me gaze to my heart's
content at the curious things with which
the whole store *ias filled, he bought a
large ball, a top, and a jew's harp, and
gave them to me. 0 how rich I felt, as
we were riding home, with those three
articles in my jacket pocket. It would
have required, at that time, a large heap






82 WILLOW LANE STORIES.

of money to purchase me and my chat-
tels personal, if I had made the bargain.
Mr. Stark was a pretty good school-
master, after all, according to the general
standard which the people judged by in
Willow Lane; though I must be permit-
ted to say that if I was in want of a
teacher, I should not be likely to send
for Solomon Stark.












CHAPTER III.

THE MONKEY AND HIS SPELLING CLASS.

I MUST relate one rather laughable in-
cident connected with this schoolmaster's
history, while he lived in Willow Lane.
It was a great day for the Willow
Lane folks, and especially for the Wil-
low Lane young folks, when a traveling
caravan of wild beasts stopped there, one
afternoon in midsummer. Such a thing
had hardly ever been known in that






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


neighborhood before. Squire Ryal, one
of the very oldest men in all that coun-
try, remembered a caravan something
like this, coming along when he was a
mere lad. But then there were not half
as many animals in that collection as
there were in the one of which I am
speaking. This caravan nearly struck us
all dumb with amazement. There were
the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the
rhinoceros, the laughing hyena, the ele-
phant, and I can't remember how many
animals besides. Some half a dozen
monkeys belonged to the company, of
course; for how is it possible to get
along in such an exhibition as this, with-


34





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


out the antics of the fun-making monkey
tribe ?
Mr. Solomon Stark went to see the
caravan. Everybody went to see it, in-
deed-everybody that could go. Such
an opportunity-the only one in a per-
son's life-time, perhaps-nobody could
afford to lose, and least of all, Mr. Stark.
Well, there was a monkey belonging to
the caravan, whom they called Paul. He
was brimful of mischief. They let Paul
and the other monkeys out of their cage,
and they frolicked about, wherever they
chose to go. Paul seemed to take quite
a fancy to Mr. Stark. He looked at him
from a little distance, for a few moments,


86






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


and then he ran up to him, jumped upon
his shoulder, took off his spectacles, and
ran away with them, as fast as he could
run. The rogue did all this in a shorter
space of time than I have been telling
about it. If he had been more delib-
erate, Mr. Stark would have got out of
the fellow's way, perhaps. As it was,
his spectacles were stolen before he had
time to think what the monkey was
about.
But the joke did not end here. Paul
jumped upon the top of the elephant's
cage, where no one could easily get at
him, and there he put the spectacles on
his own nose, exactly in Solomon Stark's


36






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


pompous fashion. And he was not satis-
fied with this feat. He picked up a piece
of an old newspaper, and made as if he
was reading it. Then the rogue set up a
noisy chattering, as if he was aware how
much fun he was making at Mr. Stark's
expense. The chattering, or something
else, brought the other monkeys up where
he was, and they all joined in the sport.
They sat down in a row, and Paul, lift-
ing up the spectacles to his forehead, pre-
cisely like Mr. Stark, for all the world,
went to exercising his brother monkeys-
so we boys all declared, and so it really
seemed-in the spelling lesson. Once in
a while he would look for a moment
3


3T





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


upon the piece of newspaper he held in
his paw, and then he would look toward
the monkeys, when they all commenced
chattering. You never heard such a bois-
terous roar of laughter as there was among
the Willow Lane people, when they
saw Paul, with the schoolmaster's spec-
tacles on, before the spelling class. Mr.
Stark did not enjoy the joke, however.
He felt something as the frogs did in the
fable, when some bad boys pelted them
with stones. It was anything -but sport
to him. He was thankful enough when
the keeper caught the ugly-looking ras-
cal, and put an end to the spelling lesson.
But, oh, what a tittering there was





WILLOW LANE STORIES. 39

among the boys at school, when they
took their places the next Monday
morning.











CHAPTER IV.

THE BONFIRE;

OR WHAT DISOBEDIENCE COST.

WHEN a child, I had a great passion
for a large fire. Nothing pleased me so
well as to go into the pasture with my
father's hired men, at a particular season
of the year, and see them set fire to the
heaps of brush which they had collected.
One winter, when I was quite young,
the old Willow Lane school house burned





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


down. It caught fire in the night, and a
pretty dark night, too, according to my
present recollection. I saw the fire from
our parlor windows-for the school house
was only a few rods from my father's,
just up the hill. To be sure, I was sorry
to have the building destroyed, and pos-
sibly a stray tear or two found their way
down my cheeks, as I heard the crack-
ling of the flames, saw the leaves of the
children's spelling books, burned to ashes,
rising above that mass of ruin, until they
were lost in the darkness, and as I heard
the lamentations of the almost frantic
schoolmaster, who, as I recollect, had
been drawn to the scene, without having





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


very carefully dressed himself. Of course
I was sorry to have the old school house
burned down. But I will own that I
thought I never had beheld a more
splendid sight than the flames presented.
The event figured in my recollection,
with a good deal of distinctness, -for a
long time; and while I hoped that no
more school houses would take fire, I
devoutly wished that, in case any one
should get into such an unfortunate con-
dition, and should withal make so re-
spectable a blaze as ours did, I might,
by some means, be within sight of it at
the time.
I suppose there was nothing wrong in


dB





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


this passion of mine to see a large fire.
It was right enough in itself, perhaps.
But there was something wrong in the
mode I took to indulge the passion; and
that is what I am coming at.
One windy day, in the fall of the year,
I asked my mother to let me go into
the lot back of the barn, and make a
little bonfire. She was not willing. I
pleaded with her, however-just as chil-
dren should not do, when their parents
deny them anything. I only wanted to
make a little bonfire, a very little one-
so I told her. It would not do the least
harm in the world, I should be so care-
ful. Still my mother refused. She was


48





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


not willing to trust me with fire on such
a windy day, and so near the barn. So
she utterly refused her consent to my
darling scheme of making a little bonfire.
Now, reader, what do you think I did,
in this case ?
"You gave up the scheme," I think
I hear you say-" you gave it up, and
amused yourself in some other way."
That is just exactly what I ought to
have done, but-I grieve to be obliged to
say it, and I am ashamed to think of
it-it is exactly what I did not do.
There was a sort of dialogue going on
in my mind for the space of several
minutes.' Two spirits-so it seemed--


44





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


were whispering to me in turn; one tell-
ing me to obey my mother, and the other
urging me to gratify my foolish whim in
the matter of the bonfire. One made me
feel that it was wrong to disobey my
mother; that God would see me kindle
the fire, if no one else did, and that I
should offend him; that on the whole,
my mother understood the matter better
than I could possibly understand it, and
that she denied my request, not for want
of love to me, but because she was afraid
that I might do some mischief, even if I
was ever so careful.
The other spirit used a very different
set of arguments. They were such as


45





46 WILLOW LANE STORIES.


these: that it was unjust for my mother
to deny me so small a favor; that the fire
would not do the least harm in the world;
that it would afford me a great deal of
amusement; that nobody would see the
fire, as my father and all the hired men
were out in the field at work on the
other side of the great brook; that, as to
its being a sin, that was all nonsense; it
was such a small affair, that it was not
worth thinking about; so that I had bet-
ter go and kindle the fire at once.
Alas! I closed my ears to the voice
that urged me to do right, and yielded to
the suggestions of the tempter. Like a
thief, I stole into the kitchen, when no



































THE BONFIRE.


i\\\ !ii


;i.

rl-LL -1i/ '-


48


v


-~C~ ~-~





WmIsOw LANE S1'ORI19.


one saw me, took a cal from the hearth,
and ran with it to the place where I had
determined to make my bonfire.
How foolish, as well as wicked, was
the course I pursued! The ground, for
a considerable distance in the rear of the
barn, was covered, to a greater or less
depth, with dry buckwheat straw. The
spot which I chose for my fire---a little
fire it was to be, you know, a very little
fire-was on the extreme edge of this
straw, several rods, I think it might have
been, from the barn. I gave myself
credit for a great deal of smartness in
selecting a spot so far from the barn as
not to endanger it in the least, though,





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


but for this caution, I might have had a
much larger fire. I collected a small
heap of the straw, and set fire to it.
It burned very readily. There was no
difficulty on that score. The bonfire did
not need any coaxing; the straw was dry
as tinder, and the wind was very accom-
modating. I put on a little more straw,
a very little-it was only a little bonfire
that I wished for. It burned finely.
My brightest hopes were realized. By
and by, it began to spread over more
ground. Ah! I thought, I must put a
stop to that. I was a cunning boy-I
had not the least doubt of that.
I went to work, trying to stop the pro-


50





WILLOW LAt* STORIEs.


gress of the fire. But the harder I la-
bored, the faster the flames spread. The
wind was blowing towards the barn, too.
There was danger. When that truth
flashed upon my mind, I. burst into a
flood of tears. What could I do? It
took but a moment to make up my mind;
and I ran with all my might to the house,
and told my mother the whole story.
She was greatly frightened, but she went
coolly enough to work. I think women
are often cooler and calmer than men,
when danger suddenly stares them in the
face.
We had two horns in the house, each
of which was used, at different times, in


51





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


calling my father and his men to dinner,
when they were at work in the field.
One of these was a tin horn, made on
purpose for such a use,. and the other was
a large sea-shell. My mother took one
of these horns, and gave the other to
Mary, the hired girl, when these two in-
dividuals blew a blast, which, according to
the best of my recollection, must have had
a great deal more noise than melody in
it. It was not a bad imitation, I should
think, as far as it went, of the blowing
of the rams' horns near the city of
Jericho, just before the walls fell down.
These horns, blown both at once, and
at an hour when it was not possible that


52





WILLOW LANE STOiAES.


dinner could be ready, sounded odd
enough to my father and his men. They
listened a moment, and made up their
minds that there was something the mat-
ter at home. As soon as they looked
toward the house, they saw plainly
enough what the matter was; and you
may be sure they did not lose much time
in running to the scene of danger. One
of them, I recollect, was in such haste
that he swam across the great pond,
which was situated between the field
where they were at work and the home-
stead. Other men, too, besides those at
work for my father, alarmed by the
sound of the horns, and the sight of the


6a





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


flames, rushed to the spot; and all to-
gether made a most vigorous effort to
prevent the barn from burning up, which,
by the way, was at the time full of hay
and grain, and would certainly have been
consumed, if it had taken fire.
Well, the barn was saved. The men
had to work very hard to save it, how-
ever. Some of them got badly burned,
too; for they were obliged to rush into
the flames, in order to place wet blankets
on the side of the building which was
most exposed. The barn was saved;
but, O! what pain I suffered while the
result was doubtful! I cried nearly all
:he time. I would have given every-


54





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


thing I had in the world, if I could have
rowed back a few rods in the stream of
time, or could have undone what I had
so foolishly done.
After the fire was put out, the men
all came into the house, to take some
refreshments; and, as they occasionally
looked toward me, I felt as if it would
have been a very pleasant thing indeed
could I have sunk into some potato-hole
or other, where I could have covered
myself up, and where no mortal eye
could see me. O, what mortification,
and shame, and remorse, had my disobe-
dience occasioned me!
Neither my father nor my mother
4


55





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


punished me for my fault. They did not,
indeed, speak one word of reprimand.
They thought I had. had sufficient
punishment. They were right. So I
thought then, and so I think now.
Nothing they could have said or done
to me would at all have deepened the
conviction in my mind of the folly and
sin of disobedience to parents, or have
tended to strengthen my resolution to
obey in future.- I inwardly felt the
truth of that sentiment of Scripture, that
"the way of transgressors is hard."
Dear reader, I have here given you a
sort of looking-glass, in which you can
see your face. You can see exactly


56





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


where the danger lies, when you are
tempted to disobey your parents. It is
in allowing the tempter, as it were, not
only to come into your mind, but to stay
there, and to repeat his wicked sugges-
tions a hundred times over. How easy
I could at first have resisted the tempta-
tion to make my bonfire, contrary to the
command of my mother. But I did not
resist it. I cherished it. I turned it over
and over in my thoughts, until my soul
was full of it. After that, I could no
more control my wicked inclinations
than I could control the fire after I had
lighted it, and fed it bountifully with
fuel.


57













CHAPTER V.

THE COLD WATER BOY.

As long ago as the time when I was
a boy, the drinking of rum, brandy,
and other sister spirits, was a much
more general thing in every part of the
country than it is now. It certainly
was so in Willow Lane. Indeed, almost
everybody drank there-drank a little,
more or less, and quite as often more,
perhaps, as less. At that time, in our





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


neighborhood, composed, as it was, for
the most part, of farmers, if a man had
agitated the question whether it were
a possible thing to get safely through
the important season of haying without
the use of New England rum, or some-
thing of a similar nature, he would have
been set down as a very proper subject
for an inmate of a lunatic asylum.
Even Deacon Penfield, one of the best
men, we all thought, that ever lived,
and to whom we used to look up as a
sort of oracle in all matters of faith and
practice, once set up a laugh so loud,
that he was heard for nearly a quarter
of a mile, when Squire Noble told him


59






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


he had a great mind to give his hired
men root beer and coffee, instead of rum.
"Why," said the good deacon, "your
men will melt down, if you don't give
them rum. They can't endure the heat,
without a little of the good creature.
You are crazy, squire; you are crazy."
I must not stop here, I suppose, to
moralize. But I cannot help wondering
how it came to pass in those days that
rum was such an excellent thing in sum-
mer to keep the heat out," and that it
was just as good in winter, "to keep
out the cold." Are not these opposite
effects really astonishing? Are they
not a little too astonishing for bplipf





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


Well, there was in our neighborhood
an odd kind of a fellow, who got the
name of the "cold water boy." He
was a son of Squire Noble, by the way.
Whether his principles were due, in
part or entirely, to the queer notions
respecting rum-drinking which his father
had, I do not know. The old man was
not what is ordinarily called now-a-days
a "tee-totaller," by any means. He
drank cider, and allowed his family to
drink it, as freely as they chose. Nor
did he hesitate, now and then, when he
thought he needed "a little something,"
to go to the cupboard, and drink mod-
erately from one of three or four de-


61





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


canters which always stood there. Still,
his notions about drinking were widely
different from those of most of the peo-
ple in Willow Lane, including the good
deacon aforenamed, and he often took
occasion to warn his children of the
evils which came from the free use of
liquor. He had not quite come to the
conclusion that every one was better off,
on the whole, without it than with it,
though he seemed to have been on the
highway to that conclusion.
Ned Noble, however, his second son,
strode along that turnpike with quicker
steps than the old man was able to take.
In that dark age--dark, I mean, as far


62






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


as the sentiment on the subject of dram-
drinking was concerned-Ned had in
some way or other ciphered out the
result to which many good men have
come in this day-namely, that, if it is
better to drink a little than to drink a
good deal, it is better to drink none at
all than to drink a little. Ned was
something of a reasoner, I presume.
The next summer after the conversa-
tion between Deacon Penfield and the
Squire about giving up liquor in haying-
time, proved to be a very trying season
with the latter. He had a large amount
of grass to cut, and needed some eight
or ten men in the midst of the haying


68





WILLOW L.NE STORIES.


season. He found the men, and set
them to work. He furnished the New
England rum-of course he did. Very
likely he could not have obtained the
men, if he had not provided it. At any
rate, he honestly thought so. The result
of the rum drinking this year was a
great deal worse than usual. There
was scarcely a day during the haying
season that one of his men did not
get drunk, and sometimes, before night
came, two or three, if not more, were
too drunk to work. One Saturday after-
noon, though there was a thunder storm
coming up, and several acres of hay
needed securing, three of his men got so


64














































W THE COLD WATER BOY.


1-o

*'i i











-.._
: .:: 4
_.
















8.









I
B


i5.
p






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


drunk that they could not stand, in con-
sequence of which the Squire lost an
amount of hay which he thought was
worth at least twenty dollars.
Ned saw how things went on, and he
was not slow in drawing the right con-
clusion from what he saw.
"I declare, father," said he, as he
went to work in the field the next Mon-
day morning after the loss of the hay,
I declare I'll never drink a drop of
grog again in my life, unless I need it
for medicine."
"Tut, tut I" said the old man, "you
are too fast. It won't do to leave it off
altogether. You had better--"


6-7





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


"I tell you what it is, father," inter-
rupted the boy, I'm down on New
England rum, and 'everything else like
it. I'm not going to drink any more of
the stuff. Other folks may get just as
drunk as they like, and just as often as
they like; but I've no fancy that way."
And here the matter ended. Ned
drank no more grog that season. The
men all made a great deal of sport about
the "cold water boy," as they were
pleased to call him. But he did not
mind their fun. Let those laugh that
win," said he. One of the first things
that he did, after making known his
novel determination, was to go down to


68





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


the store, and purchase a new wooden
bottle, (called a rundlet, I believe,
among the Willow Lane farmers,) and
on this bottle he had his name painted.
The reason for this, he said, was that he
did not wish to smell the odor of rum,
as he invariably had to do, when he
drank from the other bottle. Ned was
always the merriest fellow on the farm;
and he was more full of life and enjoy-
ment after he left off his grog, than he
was before. He never seemed to con-
sider any part df the business of farming
as a hard task. I can see him now, in
imagination, with his rundlet of water in
his hand, and with his straw hat, per-


69





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


haps, all trimmed with flowers, or heads
of wheat, singing some merry air, as he
stopped to rest a moment, under the
shadow of a tree.
But I am spinning out my story too
long, and must get to the end of it, if I
have to bite off the thread somewhat
abruptly.
Twenty-five years have passed since
Ned's declaration in the matter of dram-
drinking. He has been as good as his
word-aye, better than his word. He
has not only abstained himself, but he
has persuaded scores of others to do the
same. More than this; he is now the
sole owner of the farm that was once his





WILLOW LANE STORIME8


father's, and is perhaps more respected
and beloved than any other man in the
neighborhood.
Who will say, now, that Ned's pledge
was of no advantage to himn ? Some will
say so, and to all such I commend, for
careful consideration, the following facts,
which do not need any comment.
Of the nine men who were in the em-
ploy of Ned's father, at the time of the
drunken affair, seven have died a drunk-
ard's death, and three of these of that
worst of all diseases, the delirium tre-
mens. The other two are living ; one is
now a temperate man; of the other
I have no knowledge. Ned's oldev


71





72 WILLOW LANE STORIES.

brother, who used to laugh as heartily as
any one at the droll notions of the cold
water boy," died in a drunken scrape,
and not a few of those farmers who,
twenty-five years ago, were accustomed
to take a little," occasionally, took
more afterward, and have long since
reeled through this world to the other.













CHAPTER VI.

WITCH WOODS.

1 BELIEVE I have spoken of the brook
that ran through Willow Lane, have I
not ? I do not mean the little brook, for
we had two of them. I mean the great
brook. This stream, sometimes called
by the rather unpoetical name of Eel
Brook, contributed a large fund to the
sum total of the amusements of my boy-
hood. How many suckers I have hooked
5





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


up, as they were quietly reposing at the
bottom of that stream. After all, I don't
know that I ever knew a keener plea-
sure than I felt when, after long pains-
taking, I hooked up a huge sucker from
the Willow Lane brook.
You must know, if you do not already
know, that the sucker is a fish that does
not often bite at a hook. Some of the
boys used to tell stories about their
biting; but I never could provide a bait
sufficiently dainty to tempt their appe-
tite. The mouth of the sucker is pecu-
liar. It opens on the under side of the
head. There are no jaws about it, like
those of most other fish. The mouth






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


consists of a round, fleshy opening; and
when the fish is at rest, on the bottom of
the stream, it affords the skillful fisher-
man a good chance to capture the fellow,
provided the fellow will let him, which,
as he is a little contrary, he does not
always incline to do.
The way to catch the sucker, on ac-
count of his anti-biting habits, is to guide
the hook under his nose, and then give
the line a sudden jerk. If the sucker
was not a rather lazy fish, this method
of getting. him out of the water would
not often succeed. But he is lazy. He
takes the world easy, and does not be-
lieve in fretting one's life out, not he.


75





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


Yes, that brook in Willow Lane af-
forded me a great share of enjoyment.
There,. as well as in the great pond-
great we used to call it, but it seems
quite a little sheet of water now-I
caught suckers, and pickerel, and sun-
fish. There I performed my first rude
feats in swimming; and there I hunted
after water-cresses. I want you should
get acquainted with that brook, reader.
I want you to think kindly of it, for my
sake.
Well, if you should follow that stream
upward about half or three quarters of a
mile from the factory at Willow Lane,
you would find yourself approaching a






T7


WILLOW LANE STORIES.


large tract of woodland. This forest is
called Witch Woods.
How superstitious people are, and how
very often we find grown folks, as well
as children, who believe in witches, and
faires, and ghosts, and spectres. I wish
it was not so common as it is for chil-
dren to hear and to read stories about
witches and fairies. It does them no
good, and sometimes, I am sure, it in-
jures them. When I was a boy, I can
well remember these stories hurt me. I
got hold of a book, when I was eight or
nine years old, full of fairy tales. I
read it aloud, too, to two or three little
listeners, who were quite as much inter-






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


ested in it as I was; and our heads were
so full of those fairies for months after-
ward, that we were almost afraid of our
shadows.
It is strange that there should be so
many witch stories and fairy stories set
afloat and put into the heads of children.
I wonder how such things ever got into
circulation, in the first place. There
must be factories where such things are
woven, I think. Go where you will, in
any part of the world, and you will find
some spot noted for its having been, at
some time or other, the abode of ghosts,
or witches, or fairies, or something of that
sort. What folly! Young friend, never


78






WILLOW LANE STORIES. 79

believe a word of what you hear about
witch bugbears. It is all nonsense, de-
pend upon it. But I must go back to
the woods.
These woods got their name before I
was born. I have heard how they came
to be called Witch Woods; but as I do
not believe the story myself, it is hardly
fair to trouble you with it.












CHAPTER VII.

OUR HUCKLEBERRY PARTIES.

THERE were multitudes of huckleber-
ries in Witch Woods. I say huckleberries.
Other people may talk about whortle-
berries, if they like. I shall not quarrel
with them. But we had no such berries
in Witch Woods; and if you had men-
tioned the name of such things to our
boys and girls, they would not have
dreamed of what you meant. So I must






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


be allowed to say that there were lots of
huckleberries 'in those woods. When
they were ripe, the Willow Lane people
had a great time in picking them. We
used to get up huckleberry parties, and
sometimes a whole army of us-men and
women, and boys and girls-almost all
the neighborhood, would go out into the
woods, and pick huckleberries all day.
Sometimes, however, the party was more
select, consisting of only a single family,.
in some instances. We carried our din-
ner with us, and had a merry pick-nic
under the shadow of some venerable
oak-an oak, perhaps, that had been
standing there for more than a century.


81





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


How we made those old woods ring
with our merry laugh! How we scared
the chipping squirrels and the rabbits!
What a saucy set of creatures the wild
birds must have thought us, when they
saw how completely we had got posses-
sion of their country, and how vastly at
home we made ourselves in it.
One of these huckleberry parties-one
in particular-I will describe. My pa-
rents, my brother and myself, with one
or two of Captain Parry's children, and
Squire Noble's George, composed the
party. My father's large wagon was
first plentifully laden with all sorts of
good things to eat, together with sundry


82






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


huckleberry baskets, pots and kettles,
knives and forks, spoons and plates; and
off we started, just as the sun was rising,
some of us in the wagon, and the rest
on foot. It was a beautiful day. The
weather was warm, though not too warm
for such an excursion.
I cannot begin to tell you how many
huckleberries we children picked, and I
will not attempt to tell how many w.e
ate.
"If you were to tell how many you
all ate, Uncle Frank, we could give a
pretty near guess as to how many you
picked."
You are a shrewd little fellow, that's





84 WILLOW LANE STORIES.

a fact. You have guessed pretty near
the truth, though you have not quite hit
it. Picking huckleberries, it must be
confessed, was not the only amusement
which we found in Witch Woods, not by
a good deal.
We were tolerably industrious all the
forenoon; but I should not wonder if all
the berries we picked after dinner might
have been put into a very small measure.








































































w


THE PIO-NIC PARTY.


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CHAPTER V.

WILLOW LANE PIC-NICS.

THE dinner we used to get up at our
huckleberry parties, deserves more than
a passing remark. It was a dinner, in-
deed-every inch a dinner. At the
time I have just been speaking of, we
had our pic-nic a little way out of the
Witch Woods, under a large tree, which
really seemed to have grown up there,
with the green grass all around it and





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


beneath it, on purpose to furnish us with
its shade. And who shall say that God
did not plant it there, and teach it to
grow to such a noble height, that it
might afford us a shelter from the heat
of the sun ? How kind that great Being
is-did you ever think of it, little friend-
who made us, and who made all things!
We cannot go anywhere, without observ-
ing the evidences of his goodness and
love.
When the signal was given for getting
dinner, a fire was made, and three tall
sticks were placed upright, and tied to-
gether at the top, with the other ends
resting on the ground. The object of


88





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


this contrivance was to afford a way to
hang the tea-kettle over the fire. My
father, I remember, had nothing to do
with making these arrangements for the
dinner. He was busy about something
else. We children put the sticks to-
gether, to make a place for hitching on
the tea-kettle.
We did not put them together right,
though. Something must have been
wrong in the arrangement; for after the
fire had been burning some time, and
the water was beginning to show some
signs of boiling, down the kettle fell into
the fire, and the hot water flew in
every direction. No one got very


89





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


badly burned, I believe. Pomp, our
family dog, who was lying lazily by the
fire at the time, dreaming, perhaps, of
the rabbits he was going to catch, if
they would only let him, or possibly
meditating, half awake, on the proba-
bility of his getting a bone or two from
the dinner which was about to be cook-
ed-Pomp made considerable ado about
the affair. He ran, and yelped, and
whined, as if he was scalded out of his
senses.
But this was Pomp's way. He was
onr of those personages who make a
great hue and cry about anything. I
don't think he was scalded much. He


90





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


acted, I am sure, as if he was more
scared than hurt, Pomp had some good
qualities. But he was lazy, very lazy,
and he had a habit, besides, of looking
on the dark side of things. He was
always just about to be killed and made
into mince meat, or something almost as
dreadful was to happen to him-so he
thought, and so he would think, in spite
of all we could do. How much Pomp
felt and acted like a great many foolish
men and women, and boys and girls,
that I have seen in my day. Some peo-
ple,. like this dog, are all the time bor-
rowing trouble. They take no comfort,
when they are really well off, because
6


91






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


they are looking ahead, and fancying
something dreadful is going to happen to
them. They are like Mr. Fearing-I
think Bunyan calls the man Mr. Fearing,
does he not ?-in the Pilgrim's Pro-
gress," always about to be torn in pieces
by some hungry lion, or to get into some
other quite as bad a scrape.
When the dinner was ready, and we sat
down on the green carpet that nature-
or, rather the God of nature-had pro-
vided for us, we had as keen an appetite
as anybody could desire. It was not the
custom in our part of the country, in
those days, to have poor appetites at all.
People did not have "delicate constitu-


92





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


tions" then and there. Such things were
not in the fashion. But at a huckleberry
pic-nic, we had a better appetite, even,
than usual. I have never eaten a meal
in my life, that tasted so good as that
dinner in Witch Woods.
The female portion of the party, now
I think of it, got badly frightened that
day, while we were at dinner. All at
once, we heard a strange rustling in the
bushes close by, and a moment after what
should make its appearance but a striped
snake, about as long as your arm The
fellow was frightened, I guess. He cer-
tainly seemed a little out of his head;
for, strange as it may appear to you, he


98






WILLOW LANE STORIES.


came up to the place where we were sit-
ting, and ran right across the table cloth.
If the ladies did not scream, and scamper
away from the table--or the place where
the table would have been, if we had
had one-I am a poor -historian. The
snake, however, was quite as much
scared as any of the pic-nic party were;
and on this account, perhaps, not being
exactly aware of what he was about, he
happened to run in the same direction
with the ladies. Of course they thought
the snake was chasing them, and they
ran the faster and screamed the louder.
In the confusion that took place, one of
the girls trod on the poor snake--an-


94





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


other lost one of her shoes--and my
itother tumbled down into a large ant-
hill, and alarmed a whole battalion of
black ants.
While the ladies were performing these
feats, the rest of the company were en-
joying the fun. We boys knew that
striped snakes were the most innocent
and harmless creatures in the world, and
we were not at all afraid that this one
would do any other mischief than to
scare the ladies, for the time being,
about half out of their wits. It was, in-
deed, a very common thing then, and it
is a very common thing now, to see peo-
ple afraid of a snake, no matter to what


96





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


family he happens to belong. But for
myself, I cannot remember the time, in
the history of my childhood, much less in
riper years, when the sight of a striped
snake gave me the least fear. I do
remember, on the other hand, that Mary
Lawton, the maid of all work who lived
with my mother, once came very near
going into a fit of hysterics, or a fit of
amazement, or some other fit of that
class and order, when she happened to
go out into the garden where my brother
and I were playing, and discovered us
earnestly disputing as to the ownership
of a certain live striped snake which we
had captured, and which one of us.held





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


by the head, and the other by the tail.
From that day .to this, I have cherished
no other than the kindest feelings for the
striped snake. It is my firm belief, that
he is a very good snake indeed, and
that he has been and is now a great deal
more sinned against than sinning. I
should like to hear of the first act of mis-
chief to the human family that he has
ever been guilty of. Apart from the
fact, which he cannot very well help,
that he happens -to belong to a family
who have got a bad name, he certainly
has fewer faults than virtues; and he is
a beautiful creature into the bargain.
Why such general enmity against the


97





WILLOW LANE STORIES.


poor fellow ? Why does almost every-
body consider himself licensed to kill a
striped snake, without so much as stop-
ping to ask the question, "what evil
hath he done ?" Is not the world wide
enough for man, and the snake, too ?
" But he frightens women and children."
Of course he does, and of course he
always will, as long as you call him hard
names, and persecute him. But that is
not the snake's fault. It is your own
fault. When people have right notions
about different members of this family,
nobody will be frightened so by a poor,
innocent, powerless striped snake. Stop
killing and stopgbusing the snake tribe,


98





WILLOW LANE STORIES. 99

when they behave themselves properly,
if you don't want them to frighten
folks.


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