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OR THE ADVENTURES OF
LITTLE FLORA AND JACK.
BY UNCLE JOHN.
WHEN old Time was a few hundred years younger than
he is now, in a far away country, there lived in a
fine old mansion, a very wealthy family. They had an only
daughter, named Flora. She was very pretty, and had long
golden hair; she wore beautiful and costly dresses, and when
she was dressed, she sat with her hands in her lap, admiring
herself in a large mirror. To be brief, and at the same time
truthful, Flora was idle and vain, and that pitiful creature
called a spoiled child.
Whose fault was this ? Partly, but not wholly Flora's. Her
parents indulged her every whim, the servants fawned upon
her, and she had not a single friend who ever told her of a
better way'of living.
Not far distant, in a little cottage, lived a poor and honest
couple; they also had an only child, a boy called Jack. He
had no fine clothes to make him vain, no servants to teach
him idleness. On the other hand he was a bright and willing
servant himself, constantly aiding his father and mother in
their daily struggle with want.
Sometimes Jack would be hired by the rich man's gardener
to do a day's work, in weeding the garden. When Flora saw
him, she used to parade up and down displaying her fine
clothes, with her head very high in the air. Jack used to
take a sly peep at her, and the simple, good-natured boy
thought she was the most beautiful creature in the world.
After a while, Flora was so pleased with his modest and
silent admiration, that she would stand near him, watching
him at his work. One day she put some questions to Jack,
which he readily answered. He was very happy, you may be
sure, to be addressed by the object of his admiration. Poor
fellow! He little knew the capricious nature of vain little
girls. The day following as she walked in the garden, wearing
for the first time an elegant dress, she never so much as looked
But Jack had other things to do and think of, and he did
not brood over his disappointment. He had his good mother's
smile to reward and cheer him, and wisely thought that
Flora's treating him like the ground under her feet, did not
at all lower him in the estimation of those he most dearly
loved and respected.
Then again, much to Jack's surprise, Flora would be very
pleasant and treat him very kindly, and also accepted from
him a very tasteful rustic basket, to hold growing plants and
flowers. It had cost Jack all his spare moments for a month
to construct it.
They were on these varying terms of intercourse, when one
day, Flora being alone and not knowing what to do with
herself, strolled by the shore of a very large and beautiful
lake, near her father's dwelling. In it lay a pretty little boat,
painted white and blue. She had been forbidden ever to get
into it without her father was with her. Fear had hitherto
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THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
induced her to obey; but this day the water looked so calm
and smiling, and the boat rocked so gently, that she stepped
into it and sat down. Looking over the edge of the boat she
saw a pretty face looking up at her, framed in golden ringlets.
"As good as mamma's mirror !" murmured Flora, as she
smiled her approbation of the pretty face, looking at her out
of the water. Perhaps she really thought it was a mirror.
So intent was she in admiring herself that she forgot all
about the boat, and the lake, and her father's injunction.
Suddenly she heard a cry of alarm. Looking around she
saw that the boat was drifting away, and that Jack was run-
ning with all his might to reach the shore of the lake.
0 1 Jack1! Jack," she cried in alarm, what will become
of me. 0 papa! 0 mamma! I shall never see you again."
Jack, on reaching the water side, sprang into the lake and
swam lustily for the drifting boat. A wind had suddenly
arisen, and was blowing the boat rapidly from the shore. It
was no easy task to overtake it, and Flora watched with
anxious, trembling heart, the gallant efforts of Jack. Well
was it those brown arms had been used to labor; that Jack's
chest had been broadened and deepened by constant exertion
in the open air. It was a fearful race. The stake, perhaps
two lives. For Jack's life was also imperilled. He was fast
becoming exhausted, and Flora watched him with pale cheek
and quivering lip. She could not speak-could scarcely
breathe. Was the brave lad gaining or losing, in this watery
Just then there came a little lull, and Jack made a last
desperate effort to reach the boat. Flora felt rather than
saw, his extended hand strike the stern of the boat. Her
gallant rescuer was safe! But he was obliged to hold on for
a few moments, before he had strength to climb in. Then he
clambered in dripping like a great water-dog.
There were no oars in the boat. Jack tried to paddle it
back with his hands, but the boat drifted on-drifted on,
away from shore-away from home-away from father and
mother, and anxious, loving hearts.
Flora burst into tears when she understood at last their
danger. She did not think it was her disobedience that had
caused their trouble; alas I true to her bringing up, she
thought only of herself. Jack, on the other hand, dismissed
his own cares, to think of some way of softening the discom-
fort to Flora. He cheered her with words of courage and
After wringing out his coat and drying it, he laid it down
on the bottom of the boat, and begged the still weeping Flora
to lie down on it. He then covered her carefully from the
night air and dew, and soon after she sobbed herself to sleep.
The sun sank down and the stars came out, and the brave,
steadfast Jack watched all through the long and weary night.
And still the boat floated on, and when daylight came, the
shore by which stood the rich and the lowly homes of these
children, had disappeared. Land in the opposite direction
was, however, in sight, and in a few hours more they drifted
into a rocky inlet.
Before leaving the boat Jack carefully searched it, and
found in a little box in the bow, a large ball of twine, some
sail needles, a chisel, and a small hatchet. In assisting Flora
to land, Jack had to help her out of the boat, she insisting that
she could never jump on the slippery rocks. In doing this,
she gave a backward impulse to the boat that sent it gliding
out into the lake. There a current caught it, and carried it
rapidly past a jutting rock out of their sight.
At this new misfortune Flora sank down and declared she
could go no further. Jack, with untiring patience consoled
and cheered her. This loss of the boat was clearly her fault.
She did not think of that, and if Jack did, he never reproached
her for it.
At length, Flora stopped crying and really began to think,
for the first time in her life-why should Jack be so kind,
courageous, and unselfish, and she only a burden to him?
Suppose he had not swam after her, but had staid home with
his parents who loved him. And even now how useless she
was; she determined that if she could do nothing else, she
would at least stop whining and crying.
To Jack's surprise and delight she dashed away her tears,
sprang to her feet, and placing her little white hand in Jack's
brown and honest one, said :
"Jack, you are a dear, good fellow; and I am a foolish,
useless girl. Teach me what I can do to be useful."
THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
Full of courage they clambered up the rock. Jack was
surprised at the enormous size of the trees; the grass
in a neighboring meadow was as high as a house; the birds
were like eagles, and a red squirrel running up one of the
great trees, was as tall as Flora. They were evidently in the
land of giants. Flora was on the point of giving up in
despair, when she thought of her lately formed resolution, and
went bravely on.
The ascent of the rocks had tired her, and Jack proposed
looking over their property while they rested; he pro-
duced the ball of twine, the sail needles, the chisel, and
hatchet he had taken from the boat, and took from his pocket
that boy's constant companion a jack-knife, some matches
which needed a little drying, a fish-line, and some marbles.
Flora found in her pocket a pair of scissors, a needle-book, a
spool of thread, and a thimble. After taking an inventory
of their effects they went house-hunting.
It was a tiresome tramp. Finally their perseverance was
rewarded. In a gigantic cornfield they found a monstrous
"It will make a two-story house, basement and attic,"
laughingly said Jack.
With his hatchet he made a front door and two windows,
giving the finishing touches with the faithful jack-knife. Then
he scooped out the seeds, made a chimney up through the
pumpkin stem, and fashioned a fire-place.
Can you cook breakfast?" asked Jack. Flora blushed,
and confessed she had never been taught to do anything
"Teach me, dear Jack," she added.
"That I will," cried the delighted boy. He made a fire in
the fire-place, and in the hot ashes roasted two pumpkin seeds.
He placed his hat on the floor for a table, covering it with
Flora's cambric handkerchief for a table-cloth. He then
went out, and soon returned with two acorns as large as
goblets, filled with pure cold water from a spring. The flat
part of the acorns served as plates, on which Jack finally
dished the roasted pumpkin seeds, and invited Flora to par-
take of this novel repast.
There is no sauce like hunger. Flora was naturally veiy
dainty, but she declared the meal was delicious-the pumpkin
seeds tasting like sweet potatoes. After breakfast, Flora took
her first lesson in washing dishes.
As the walls and floors of Pumpkin House were still very
moist, and trying to Flora's nice clothes, Jack strewed the
floor with dry leaves at night, and gave her his coat for a
coverlet to her leafy couch.
PUMPKIN HOUSE had done well enough for a first night's
shelter, but Jack was far from satisfied with it. He labored
constantly to improve it, for there was not an idle fibre in his
whole body. He made a door and window-shutters, put in
a stone fire-place, added a porch and door-steps, and after-
wards constructed a table and two chairs.
While Jack attended to all this, Flora was cook, and it
must be confessed a rather poor one; her unvarying meal
was roasted pumpkin seeds. Her experience did not extend
beyond them. Jack, more for her sake than his, climbed up a
corn-stalk one day, and with his hatchet cut off an ear of corn;
it lasted a week; and then pumpkin seeds came on again
after that, as something new.
The floors of Pumpkin House were now quite dry. Flora
missed carpets, and Jack said he must see their landlord about
it, as they had taken the house furnished. Jack had been
taught to weave rushes into baskets, mats, &c., and having
found some growing near, he soon completed, first a carpet for
Flora's boudoir, and finally every room was covered in like
The walls then proved an eyesore to the luxury-loving Flora;
they looked blank and dingy. Jack set his wits at work,
and while he was thinking, something came between him and
the sun; looking up, he saw an immense butterfly.
"Flora, I've got your wall covering!" he exclaimed; or
rather, "I will have it."
While this new kind of decoration was floating in the air,
Jack fashioned a bow and arrows, and having a keen eye, and
steady aim, he soon shot a large number of butterflies. He
-- -- ..
THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
did not plaster these wings on at random, beautiful as they
were, but formed' them into figures, matching the colors, and
contrasting them, until the walls of Pumpkin House would
have done no discredit to a fresco painter.
Flora was delighted with this improvement, and requested
Jack to make window curtains and bed spreads also, out of
butterflies' wings, which he gladly did; and Flora in turn
surprised him by adding a new dish to their usual fare of
pumpkin seeds and corn; this was roasted butterfly.
The house was now furnished in such a resplendent man-
ner that Flora began to notice her dress. The lake trip, the
clambering over the rocks, the "house-hunting" through
briars and brambles, had reduced it to a sorry plight.
Jack with his bow and arrows, shot butterflies enough to
make Flora a dazzling dress. Then with the skin of a bat
he captured for her, she made for herself a rich sacque, and
trimmed her hat with the plumage of a humming-bird.
FLORA was now quite happy-not altogether owing to her
fine dress, but that she had finally overcome her idle habits.
She loved now to make herself useful, and time passed
rapidly and pleasantly when she had employment for every
hour. Her fondness for her fine dress was a very innocent
thing compared to her old vanity; she loved it now for the
sake of the kindness that Jack had shown in procuring it
Jack's clothes, too, were nearly worn out. Flora certainly
had commenced with something, for she was nicely dressed
when she stepped into that fatal boat. But Jack had only
his work-day clothes, and what a trial they had undergone!
Butterfly wings, bat skins, and humming-bird's plumage were
of no use to him.
Now there was a remarkably well dressed gentleman Jack
had seen in a suit of green and gold that would fit him to a
nicety, and he determined, on the next occasion, he would use
his bow and arrows. It had been a pleasant fiction with
them when the house wanted fixing, that Jack would "see
the landlord." He now mysteriously intimated to Flora that
he was going to see his tailor."
Still on Sunday the hours passed slowly with Flora. At
home she had been used to going to church with her mamma,
dressed in her finest clothes, but there was no church
One Sunday, however, Flora was surprised to hear some-
thing unusual, and going to her front door, saw a huge frog
that had crawled out of a spring in front of the house and
was croaking slowly and solemnly; she sat down on the door-
step facing him and listened.
"Croak I Croak! Croak!"
Flora could not understand a word of frog talk, but the
gentleman looked so wise and spoke so solemnly, that Flora
was certain she was missing much useful information. Still
she fancied it was of some benefit to her, and if there had
only been some other well dressed persons present, so
there could have been a mutual interchange of observation
and criticism, it would have been a very fair imitation of
" Sunday at Home."
So Flora listened and Froggy croaked.
And so it came to pass, as Flora listened, and as Froggy
croaked, Jack, concealed in a neighboring bush, let fly an
arrow that pierced the preacher's neck. He turned over on
his side, gave two or three convulsive kicks, and croaked his
0 Jack! what have you done ? "
An explanation soon followed and Flora appeared pacified,
but there are yet grave doubts whether she ever fully forgave
Jack for killing her preacher.
Jack, although sorry for Flora's loss, was delighted with
his success, and stripped Froggy of his green and gold suit,
and got into it himself. He had an elegant form, and his
handsome suit became him well; and he said to himself:
" Now I will not be ashamed to appear in Flora's presence
when she is dressed in her finest."
It was the first time that poor Jack had felt anything like
pride in his personal appearance.
THE P UMPI
One day, while Jack was absent trying to shoot something
more to Flora's taste, than had been his last effort in that line,
and when Flora was busily intent on home duties, a huge
"stump-tailed" cow, belonging to the giant who raised the
mammoth corn and pumpkins, broke into the cornfield, and
catching a glimpse of Pumpkin House, ended by catching it
in her enormous jaws.
Flora, seeing nothing, could not imagine what was the matter,
until she was pitched out of the window, into the humane
bosom of a cabbage growing near by. From that sheltered
place, she witnessed the total destruction of their once happy
home with all its furniture, decorations, and table crockery.
Yes! this voracious,,milky mother "left not a trace behind ";
for when the giant appeared and drove her out of the field,
she carried away everything in her capacious stomach, not
excepting even the chimney-to wit, the pumpkin stem.
When Jack returned, he looked in vain for Pumpkin House,
but hearing Flora sobbing somewhere, at last climbed up into
the cabbage, where he found her half concealed. She soon
explained the awful catastrophe brought about by the cow.
Jack consoled her for the loss of their home, and told her
it would be useless to build another such habitation, for the
next time she might possibly play Jonah in the cow's
stomach. For what a cow does once, she can do again.
We must go further West, Flora 1" added Jack, and as
they had no Saratoga trunks and nothing to put in them, they
were soon on their journey toward the setting sun. Before
getting there, however, they reached a broad and deep river,
which they could not cross.
It was a beautiful place, and Flora proposed looking for a
house in the neighborhood. As they wandered about a little
distance from each other, Jack heard Flora calling him to
come and tell her what this was. This turned out to be an
immense shoe that some tired and footsore giant had left on
the river's bank before wading across.
Jack's trusty hatchet was soon in his active hand, and a
door was fashioned on the river side of the shoe. After cut-
ting a hole, there was a larger hole to close over-the one the
giant had used to put his foot in. Making a waterproof roof
is no easy matter, and it required a great deal of patching
after the first rain.
Flora sighed, in spite of herself, for their lost Pumpkin
House. Old leather is not the most delicate perfume in
Lubin's assortment, and then this new house was decidedly
low. Jack, in order to make Flora forget what she had lost
in her late lovely abode, in Pumpkin Villa, set about making
up a new dress, for her butterfly dress was nearly worn out.
He wove for her a skirt out of the green flags that grew by
the river's side, and, having shot a mole, he, with her assist-
ance, turned its skin into a sacque. He secured, one day,
when alone, a mammoth lily, which, with a little ingenuity and
much patience, he transformed into a parasol.
This shielded her from the sun, but not from the air; and
Jack, recalling the wealth of smiles Flora had lavished on him
for this surprise of the sunshade, determined to out-do him-
self. He actually made her a cobweb veil of lace-like fineness
and showing in the sun all the colors of the rainbow. As the
spiders in that country were very large, their webs were of
course very strong.
Flora was so delighted with her outfit that she ceased re-
pining, and was fast getting reconciled to Shoe House, when
one day, as she was sitting near their front stoop, under a
toadstool, watching Jack in the distance angling for their
dinner, she heard a rush like a tornado, and looking around
saw to her horror an enormous dog running off at full speed
with their house in his mouth, scattering things out of the
window. It was very fortunate that Flora was not one of the
" things," for there were no benevolent cabbages around to
catch her. The poor child did not think of this, but only
of their new loss; although she was a little consoled when
she recollected that her parasol and cobweb veil were with
Jack returned from his fishing with only a good appetite,
but no fish. He looked so disappointed at his ill luck that
Flora thought it was her turn now to cheer up Jack. So with
a charming smile she asked :
"Jack, have you caught anything ?"
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THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
Well," added Flora, gaily, the giant's dog, and I fancy
an intimate friend of his cow, has-"
What has he caught?" inquired the astonished Jack.
Shoe House, to be sure. See if you can see it."
Jack was so surprised and pleased to find that Flora bore
this new grief with so much cheerfulness, that he scarcely
regretted the loss of their house. He thought if he had only
caught a fish for their supper, they would be quite happy.
At that moment a fish fell at his feet. As he looked up to
see where such curious but welcome rain fell from, he saw a
bird which had carelessly dropped its prey that it had just
taken out of the river.
Thank you !" gaily exclaimed Jack; "you are a better
fisher than I am."
Give me back my fish," screamed the bird. As Jack did
not understand bird language, the fish was soon broiling
over the fire, and the bird wisely concluded to seek for
another, for he did not fancy an encounter with such a stout
lad as Jack, fighting for a supper.
A good meal gives good courage; and any one hearing how
gaily they chatted would never have imagined that they had
met with such a sudden and serious loss.
Now, although the weather was clear and pleasant, Jack had
no idea of letting Flora pass the night with no covering
nearer than the sky. The wonderful hatchet was soon at
work, and before the sun had put on his nightcap, Jack had
built what he called only a hut," but what Flora called a
leafy bower. It was made of boughs cut from the surround-
ing trees. Her bed was made of dry leaves, covered with
Jack's old coat, which had answered many a useful purpose
before. At its entrance Jack made a porch, in which he lay,
her faithful guardian. The next morning Flora declared she
had never slept better in her life. Jack put a few improve-
ments on their new dwelling in the way of strengthening it in
case of a sudden gust of wind.
"It will answer pretty well in fair weather, Flora, but we
must go house-hunting again. It is a pity houses are so easily
carried off in this country.'
This remark set Jack thinking that their next house must
be more secure. Flora had escaped twice, but she might
not the third time. After some minutes of profound medita-
tion, Jack exclaimed *
"I've got it!"
"What! another house ? "
"Yes! and one that will be permanent, this time. There
is a big hollow tree not far away. Neither the stump-tailed
cow, nor her friend the dog, nor even the whole race of
giants will be able to carry that off."
Jack, having the day before him, and his faithful hatchet
with him, went to work. He cleared out the decayed wood,
and found, much to their mutual delight, that the aperture
extended some distance into this mammoth tree. The trunk
near the ground was as large around as a good sized house.
Jack managed, by putting in some partitions, to make three
good sized rooms; in that intended for Flora, he put in a
window, about eight feet from the ground.
They spent three nights more in what Flora called their
bower home, before they were ready to take possession
of their Giant Tree House. Jack designed and carried out
many improvements, for he felt there was no danger this
time, of having their house carried off in a cow's stomach
or a dog's mouth.
Besides the rooms. Jack made some nice little pantries,
much to Flora's delight, who had become quite an accom-
plished little housekeeper. They had quite a number of
dishes now, and cups and plates fashioned out of wood.
Still they had hard work to get food to put on the dishes.
Jack had poor luck at fishing, and the birds kept what
they got. Occasionally, he shot what was considered in that
country a little chippee, but was, in fact, larger than a turkey,
and lasted them much longer than they liked.
Did Flora ever think of her parents ? Yes, every day of
her life, and Jack too. But there was this difference in their
thoughts, however. Flora had not been a dutiful daughter,
and she felt it keenly; she longed bitterly for home, and
thought now how differently she would treat her parents and
little friends. Jack's regrets were, that he was not at home
to help his parents, but then he felt he was doing his duty
now in taking care of Flora, and so had little trouble in
keeping up a stout and cheerful heart.
THE P UMP A
Poor Flora had many a crying time when Jack was away
hunting for food. The very stability of this new house, its
completeness, seemed to say to her-" This is your home for
One day, when Jack was away doing his best to entice the
fish to eat a little, that Flora and he might eat them in
return, she was having what girls call a "real good cry."
What was her surprise to hear a voice above her, saying:
Little girl, what are you crying for ? "
Looking up, she saw a red squirrel on the tree above her
head. Though the squirrel was quite as tall as herself, she
had such a kind eye that Flora felt no fear, but answered :
"I am a good deal home-sick, and a little hungry."
"I don't know what kind of sickness that is, but I know
all about hunger. I would like to help you, but we are very
"You have a family, then?" asked Flora, forgetting her
troubles in anticipation of a chat with a neighbor.
0 yes," replied the lady, with pardonable pride; I have
six infants. I nurse them all. My husband is away now
trying to find some nuts for our young family. He is a
colored gentleman. My family, who are all very proud, were
opposed to my marrying a black squirrel, and since my
marriage, they have disowned me, simply on account of my
Flora listened so attentively to Madame Red Squirrel, and
showed so much sympathy for her, that she finally concluded
she could spare Flora a few nuts out of their winter's store.
Flora thanked her, and slipped them in her pocket.
Why don't you eat them, if you are hungry ?" asked Mrs.
Because I cannot crack them with my teeth."
The new neighbor laughed outright.
"A fig for such teeth. Why, my four teeth are better
than your whole mouthful. But wait! Perhaps you would
rather have roots. My cousin, Chipmunk, who lives under
this tree, has some roots and things in his cellar; he might
exchange some of them for your nuts. There are my babies
crying for their supper, so I must go; remember Mr. Chip-
munk, under the tree."
Flora had no disposition to make acquaintance with any
more strangers till Jack came home. She thought a stone
would help her to the meat inside the nuts, as well as squir-
rels' teeth; looking around for one, she saw a pair of bright
black eyes peering at her out of a hole beneath the tree.
Are you Mr. Chipmunk, that keeps roots and things down
He acknowledged the name, but was very guarded as to
the contents of the cellar, till he knew Flora's reasons for
Flora explained she had "nuts to exchange for roots."
Then Cousin Chipmunk grew more communicative, and
admitted he had some roots and things laid up for winter,
and that, to accommodate a lady, he would make an ex-
Flora, unused to barter, said it would accommodate her
very much, as her teeth were not strong enough to crack the
nuts. Mr. Chipmunk, on this, went down and brought up
some sweet potatoes. Poor Flora made another mistake in
saying how dearly she loved sweet potatoes, roasted.
She tried to recover lost ground by a great deal of hag-
gling. Finally, a bargain was struck. To be sure the
potatoes were large, but the nuts were, too. Flora was con-
vinced that Mr. Chipmunk had overreached her, and that he
was a snarp, tricky fellow.
She soon started a fire, preparatory to roasting the sweet
potatoes in the hot ashes, before Jack's return; and was
quite happy in the thought of the joyful surprise that await-
ed him, when, suddenly, she was recalled from her pleasant
revery by an uproar in the tree above her, caused by the
crying, coughing, and sneezing of the infant squirrels. At
last, above this din, Flora heard Madame cry:
"Little girl! what on earth are you doing down there?
You have nearly killed my babies, to say nothing of myself.
I was up nearly all night with one of them who had the
colic, and how this is going to affect him, I am sure I
Flora apologized very humbly and prettily: she said she
was very thoughtless and careless, but would take more care
in future, as she was desirous of living on the very best of
THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
terms with all her neighbors. She further excused herself
by saying it was the first time she had ever lived in a tene-
Madame Squirrel accepted Flora's apology, with the grace
belonging to a lady of good family, and wished Flora to tell
her what was good for the colic.
Flora confessed her ignorance of any cure for this formid-
able complaint, never having had it within her recollection.
She had had a great deal of trouble with her teeth, so her
mother told her.
You seem to have it yet, little girl, since you cannot crack
Flora was determined not to take offence, and so inquired
if the little squirrels ever ran away.
Not yet," replied Madame, they are too little." They
were larger than the cats Flora had seen at home.
"Perhaps they will when they grow up."
"Mamma tied me up when I ran away," confessed Flora.
"Did that cure you?"
"Yes," innocently answered Flora.
Then I'll try that way." And the good mother hurried
back to her little ones.
Flora moved her fire away from the tree, and by the time
Jack came back, hungry, tired and disappointed, for he had
returned empty-handed, an ample dish of roasted sweet
potatoes was set before him, by the delighted little cook.
Such a gay and happy meal as it proved to be! It was
a glorious dinner of herbs, with contentment.
THE important question of food-supply, now no longer
troubled them. Either Jack had acquired more skill, or else
the season had changed for the better. They always had
enough and to spare.
Jack and Flora made the acquaintance of Mr. Squirrel,
the colored husband of Madame, who had so shocked the
prejudices of her family. Jack declared he was a fine fellow,
an affectionate father, and faithful husband; and often made
him a present of nuts.
Mr. Chipmunk rather improved on further acquaintance.
He was as sharp as ever at a bargain, but Jack said that was
no great fault. Where he procured sweet potatoes he kept
a profound secret. He was always ready for a trade. Much
to Flora's delight, Jack discovered his weak spot. He was
immoderately fond of a certain root he found it very difficult
to procure. To Jack it was much easier. When he suc-
ceeded in finding this coveted nicety, he paid Mr. Chipmunk
off for the sharp bargain he had made with Flora.
Within doors Jack had improved things almost to hollow-
tree perfection. Flora's boudoir, as she called it, was a
triumph of skill. Jack never tired of working on it.
Still it was not home. But it was shelter and comfort,
and they were thankful for it. Jack had contrived a stout
door, and when it was closed at night, they were safe from
One day, Flora was in her little room looking out of the
window, and longing, it must be confessed, for parents and
home. Suddenly the light failed, owing to a large white ball
flying through the air. Looking up, she saw it had caught in
the branches opposite to where Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel lived.
In an instant she was out of the house, and pointing it out to
Jack, asking what the wonder was.
He told her it was a monster thistle down.
Why, if we can get it down, we can make some nice soft
beds of it," said Flora.
We will do better than that, Flora. We will not get it
down, but if I can carry out my idea it will take us up, and
then away to our lost homes again."
Tears came into Flora's eyes from joy. Oh! if her gallant
preserver and guardian could do that, she would love him
and be proud of him all her life.
"Now, first to fasten our carriage, for it must not run
away till we and the wind are ready."
All this was Greek to Flora. All she understood was home.
Jack had promised that, if he succeeded, and she had great
faith in him. So far, Jack had always done what he said he
THE P UMP A
She watched the fastening of the huge ball to the strong
limbs of the tree. Mr. and Madame Squirrel helped in this,
they carrying the strings, and Jack fastening them.
"Now, you are safe, so far," said Jack, as he descended the
tree, and lighted softly on the earth.
Then he brought out the great ball of twine, and they com-
menced weaving a net, as some fishermen had taught Jack
to do at home. In the old days, Flora would have despised
such work. Now it was working out for them, a blessed
deliverance from exile, and restoration to home.
When the net was finished, Jack procured some ash slips
from a tree near by, and made of them a basket large and
strong enough to hold Flora and himself.
And now Flora's eyes were opened. The big white ball
was to be a balloon. The network was to enclose it, and to
that, the basket or car was to be fastened.
"But oh! dear Jack, what shall we do for ropes?'
"Do without, since we cannot get them; and take these
stout vines instead."
And suiting the action to the word, Jack stripped from a
tree, a vine that had grown around it; twisting this into
cords, he found it strong enough to sustain more than their
All had succeeded so far. The network had been passed
over and around the ball, the car was fastened and hung at
a few feet distance from the earth. The balloon tugged at
its fastenings as if it would break loose. All that was now
needed, was a North 'West wind.
When the wind comes, we will go," said Jack.
They waited several days. At length, early one morning
the wished-for wind appeared, blowing very softly at first.
Jack waited till it gained more strength, which it soon did.
Come, Flora, all is ready." Hasty adieus were made.
Flora, like the good little housekeeper she had grown, ap-
peared promptly, having in her hand a nice little lunch
basket, well filled. The rest of the eatables were given to
the Squirrel family.
As a faithful historian I am obliged to add, that while the
Squirrel family were making tearful adieus, Mr. Chipmunk,
with dry eyes, but very intent ones to his own interest,
transferred a portion of these eatables to his cellar under
Jack carefully lifted Flora into the basket, and then fol-
Now hold on fast, Flora, and have a stout heart. We are
As the words were uttered he had cut the cords. Up
sprang the balloon like a living, palpitating thing.
Bump Bump went the car in its contact with the trees.
Flora held fast from very fear.
Scratch! Scratch! went Flora's head through the branches,
while high up above the tree shot the balloon into the clear
Flora was too happy to have kept her head on, after such
a rush. She looked over the side of the basket, and was
dazzled by the magnificent prospect.
Far, far below, away down through the clear air, she saw
at a glance all the country they had traveled over. There
was the river looking like a silver thread, and near must be
their Tree House. Now just beneath them is the cornfield
where Pumpkin House had stood and disappeared, and look!
that is the giant pulling weeds as large as trees out of his
garden, but from here he looks like a little boy.
That shining piece of silver over there is the lake. Now
it is under us. "If the cords should break," said Flora,
with anxious heart. Jack removed her fears by saying
"they are stronger than ropes."
Then it grew cold. Flora trembled with cold and fear.
Lie down in the bottom of the basket," said Jack, and
I'll cover you with my old coat."
She obeyed. The rocking motion of the car lulled her at
last to sleep, and Jack watched alone.
By noon the opposite shore of the lake was reached. Then
Jack awakened his companion, and told her they were near
home. Flora could not think for a moment where she was.
The word home soon roused her. She watched with trem-
bling lip and strained eye to catch the first glimpse of her
Soon the outlines of a large mansion came into view. The
delighted Flora clapped her hands for joy. Yes, it was home.
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THE PUMPKIN HOUSE.
See! there is the garden-that is the observatory on the
house-there are the tall poplars !
"Home! dear, dear home!" and Flora fairly wept for
They had crossed the lake, and the balloon was settling
fast. Now they were over the garden, and so near the earth
that Flora could recognize old Job the gardener, with his
face as usual toward the ground.
When they came between him and the sun, he, thinking
it a cloud, kept on his work without looking up. When
bump the bottom of the basket smashed his hat down over
his eyes and then danced up as if it was playing with the
With such a hint he got his eyes clear, and saw his little
mistress with Jack, in a curious looking dress, coming from
goodness knows where, in a goodness knows what sort of
carriage, without horses.
Flora's parents now hastened from the house, and soon
they had their lost darling clasped in their arms.
Jack, not waiting to hear the thanks Flora's parents show-
ered on him, when they understood they owed their daughter's
safety to his untiring and unselfish care, hastened away to
his lowly home, to reassure his parents, by his safe return.
Jack was too modest to make himself the hero of a story,
but Flora told it to his parents, as to her own, and the worthy
couple shed tears of joy, and thanked Heaven for giving
them such a son.
Flora never "put on airs" again with her friend Jack.
She felt in her heart that he had not only saved her life and
cared for her comfort, by the sacrifice of his own, but had
taught her to lead a better and more useful life.
Her parents were delighted with the improvement in her.
She became gentle, obedient, and always glad and willing to
do good to others.
As for Jack, he needed very little to make him a gentleman,
in the best sense of the word. Flora's father sent him to
school, and he made such progress that his benefactor re-
solved to give him a collegiate education.
He graduated with high honors, and became one of the
most eloquent, wise, and good lawyers of the country in
which he lived.
It seems to me that I heard my grandmother tell of a
wedding she went to, when a young lady. The bride was
very beautiful, and amiable, and the bridegroom was distin-
guished for talent and goodness of heart. If I recollect right,
the name of the bride was Flora. She wore a very singular
veil, fine as a cobweb, and showing all the colors of the
rainbow when the sun shone on it.
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