The Baldwin LibaryRimOr i);=i- y
)INTE-.R^, ST 0MHARRIET BEECHER STOWEJ -' AUTHORESS 6F 0BURGH 4 WILLIAM P.NIMMO.
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DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
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THEDAISY'S FIRST WINTER,ANDOTHER STORIES.BYHARRIET BEECHER STOWE,AUTHOREIS OF UNCLE TOM'S CABIN,' ETC.EDINBURGH:WILLIAM P. NIMMO.1872.
MURRAY AND GTBB, RDINBURGH,PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
CONTENTS.PACETHE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER, .. ITHE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS, 10MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF, 23THE NUTCRACKERS OF NUTCRACKER LODGE, 32THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP, 43THE SQUIRRELS THAT LIVE IN A HOUSE, .56MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET, 66PRINCE AND PERO, 74AN EVENING IN UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, 3.FRANKNESS, 102HI UM, TIIE SON OBvZ, 110
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THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.OMEWHERE in a garden of this earth,which the dear Lord has planted withmany flowers of gladness, grew a fresh,bright little daisy.The first this little daisy knew, she found herselfgrowing in green pastures and beside the still waterswhere the heavenly Shepherd was leading his sheep.And very beautiful did life look to her, as her brightlittle eyes, with their crimson lashes, opened andlooked down into the deep crystal waters of thebrook below, where the sunshine made every hourmore sparkles, more rings of light, and more brilliantglances and changes of colour, than all the jewellersin the world could imitate. She knew intimately allthe thrushes, and larks, and blackbirds, that sang,piped, whistled, or chattered among the bushes andtrees in the pasture; and she was a favourite withA
2 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.them all. The fish that darted to and fro in thewaters seemed like so many living gems; and theirsilent motions, as they glided hither and thither, werefull of beauty, and told as plainly of happiness as ifthey could speak. Multitudes of beautiful flowersgrew up in the water, or on the moist edges of thebrook; and many beautiful blooming things grewand flourished in that green pasture, where dear littleDaisy was so happy as first to open her bright eyes.They did not all blossom at once, but had theirgraceful changes; but there was always a pleasantflutter of expectation among them-either a sendingforth of leaves, or a making of buds,' or a bursting outinto blossoms; and when the blossoms passed awaythere was a thoughtful, careful maturing of seeds, allpacked away so snugly in their little coffers andcaskets of seed-pods, which were of every quaint anddainty shape that ever could be fancied for a lady'sjewel-box. Overhead there grew a wide-spreadingapple-tree, which in the month of June became agigantic bouquet, holding up to the sun a millionsilvery opening flowers, and a million pink-tippedbuds; and the little winds would come to play in itsbranches, and take the pink shells of the blossoms fortheir tiny air-boats, in which they would go floatinground among the flowers, or sail on voyages ofdiscovery down the stream; and when the time ofits blossom was gone, the bountiful tree from year to
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 3year had matured fruits of golden ripeness whichcheered the hearts of men.Little Daisy's life was only one varied delight fromday to day. She had a hundred playmates among thelight-winged winds, that came to her every hour to tellher what was going on all over the green pasture, andto bring her sweet perfumed messages from the violetsand other flowers of even the more distant regions.There was not a ring of sunlight that danced in thegolden network at the bottom of the brook that didnot bring a thrill of gladness to her heart; not a tinyfish glided in his crystal paths, or played and frolickedunder the water-lily shadows, that was not a well-known friend of hers, and whose pleasures she didnot share. At night she held conferences with thedew-drops that stepped about among the flowers intheir bright pearl slippers, and washed their leavesand faces before they went to rest. Nice little nursesand dressing-maids, these dews and they kept tenderguard all night over the flowers, watching and blink-ing wakefully to see that all was safe; but when thesun arose, each of them spread a pair of little rain-bow wings, and was gone.To be sure, there were some reverses in her lot.Sometimes a great surly, ill-looking cloud wouldappear in the sky, like a cross schoolmaster, andsweep up all the sunbeams, and call in a gruff voiceto the little winds, her play-fellows, to come away
4 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.from their nonsense; and then he would send a greatstrong wind down on them, all with a frightful noiseand roar, and sweep all the little flowers flat to theearth; and there would be a great rush and patteringof rain-drops, and bellowing of thunders, and sharpforked lightning would quiver through the air, as ifthe green pasture certainly were to be torn to pieces.But in about half an hour it would be all over: thesunbeams would all dance out from their hiding-places, just as good as if nothing had happened; andthe little winds would come laughing back, and eachlittle flower would lift itself up, and the winds wouldhelp them to shake off the wet, and plume themselvesas jauntily as if nothing had gone amiss. Daisy hadthe greatest pride and joy in her own pink blossoms,of which there seemed to be an inexhaustible store;for, as fast as one dropped its leaves, another wasready to open its eyes, and there were buds of everysize, waiting still to come on, even down to littlegreen cushions of buds that lay hidden away in themiddle of the leaves, down close to the root.' How favoured I am !' said Daisy; 'I never stopblossoming. Other flowers have their time, but thenthey stop, and have only leaves, while I go onblooming perpetually; how nice it is to be made asI am!''But you must remember,' said a great rough treeto her, 'you must remember that your winter must
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 5come at last, when all this fine blossoming will haveto be done with.'' What do you mean ?' said Daisy, in a tone of pride,eyeing her rough neighbour with a glance of disgust.'You are a rough, ugly old thing, and that's why youare cross. Pretty people like me can afford to begood-natured.'' Ah, well,' said the tree, 'you'll see. It's a prettything if a young chit just out from seed this yearshould be impertinent to me who have seen twentywinters,-yes, and been through them well too!''Tell me, pretty linnet,' said Daisy, 'is there anytruth in what this horrid tree has been saying? Whatdoes she mean by winter?''I don't know-not I,' said the linnet, as he turneda dozen s mersets in the air, and then perched him-self airily on a thistle-head, singing-'I don't know, and I don't care;It's mighty pleasant to fly up there,And it's mighty pleasant to light down here,And all I know is chip, chip, cheer.''Say, swallow, do you know anything about winter?''Winter! I never saw one,' said the swallow; wehave wings, and follow summer round the world, andwhere she is, there go we.''Lark lark have you ever heard of winter?' saidDaisy,
6 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.Lark was sure he never remembered one. 'Whatis winter?' he said, looking confused.'Butterfly! butterfly !' said Daisy, 'come, tell me,will there be winter, and what is winter?'But the butterfly laughed, and danced up and down,and said, 'What is Daisy talking about? I neverheard of winter. Winter ? ha ha What is it ?'' Then it's only one of this tree's spiteful sayings,'said Daisy. 'Just because she isn't pretty, she wantsto spoil my pleasure too. Say, dear lovely tree,that shades me so sweetly, is there such a thing aswinter?'And the tree said, with a sigh through its leaves,'Yes, daughter, there will be winter; but fear not, forthe Good Shepherd makes both summer and winter,and each is good in its time. Enjoy thy summer, andfear not.'The months rolled by. The violets had long agostopped blooming, their leaves were turning yellow;but they had beautiful green seed-caskets, full of rowsof little pearls, which next year should come up inblue violets. The dog-toothed violet and the eye-bright had gone under ground, so that no more wasseen of them; and Daisy wondered whither they couldbe gone. But she had new acquaintances far morebrilliant, and she forgot the others. And still Daisyhad abundance of leaves and blossoms, and felt strongand well at the root. Then the apple-tree cast down
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 7to the ground its fragrant burden of golden apples,and men came and carried them away.By and by there came keen, cutting winds, anddriving storms of sleet and hail; and then at night itwould be so cold, so very cold! and one after anotherthe leaves and flowers fell stiff and frozen, and grewblack, and turned to decay. The leaves loosened andfell from the apple-tree, and sailed away by thousandsdown the brook; the butterflies lay dead with theflowers; but all the birds had gone singing away tothe sunny south, following the summer into otherlands.'Tell me, dear tree,' said Daisy, 'is this winter thatis coming?'SIt is winter, darling,' said the tree; but fear not.The Good Shepherd makes winter as well as summer.'' I still hold my blossoms,' said Daisy; for Daisywas a hardy little flower.But the frosts came harder and harder every night,and first they froze her blossoms, and then they frozeher leaves, and finally all, all were gone: there wasnothing left but the poor little root, with the foldedleaves of the future held in its bosom.'Ah, dear tree !' said Daisy, 'is not this dreadful?''Be patient, darling,' said the tree. 'I have seenmany, many winters; but the Good Shepherd losesnever a seed, never a root, never a flower: they willall come again.'
8 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.By and by came colder days and colder, and thebrook froze to its little heart, and stopped; and thenthere came bitter, driving storms, and the snow laywreathed over Daisy's head; but still from the barebranches of the apple-tree came a voice of cheer.' Courage, darling, and patience Not a flower shallbe lost: winter is only for a season.''It is so dreary!' murmured Daisy, deep in herbosom.' It will be short; the spring will come again,' saidthe tree.And at last the spring did come; and the snowmelted and ran away down the brook, and the sunshone out warm, and fresh green leaves jumped andsprang out of every dry twig of the apple-tree. Andone bright, rejoicing day, little Daisy opened her eyes,and lo there were all her friends once more; onlyever so many more of them than there were last year,because each little pearl of a seed had been nursedand moistened by the snows of winter, and had comeup as a little plant to have its own flowers. The birdsall came back, and began building their nests, andeverything was brighter and fairer than before; andDaisy felt strong at heart, because she had beenthrough a winter, and learned not to fear it. Shelooked up into the apple-tree.'Will there be more winters, dear tree?' she said.'Darling, there will; but fear not. Enjoy the pre.
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 9sent hour, and leave future winters to Him who makesthem. Thou hast come through these sad hours,because the Shepherd remembered thee. He losethnever a flower out of his pasture, but calleth them allby name; and the snow will never drive so cold, orthe wind beat so hard, as to hurt one of his flowers.And look of all the flowers of last year, what one ismelted away in the snow, or forgotten in the numberof green things ? Every blade of grass is counted,and puts up its little head in the right time : so neverfear, Daisy, for thou shalt blossom stronger andbrighter for the winter.''But why must there be winter ?' said Daisy.'I never ask why,' said the tree. My business isto blossom and bear fruit. Summer comes, and Iam joyful; winter comes, and I am patient. But,darling, there is another garden where thou and Ishall be transplanted one day, where there shall bewinter no more. There is coming a new earth; andnot one flower or leaf of these green pastures shall bewanting there, but come as surely as last year's flowerscome back this spring!'
. .-a, i XS- " ''--~ -JTHE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.NCE there was a nice young hen that wecalled Mrs. Feathertop. She was a henof most excellent family, being a directdescendant of the Bolton Grays, and aspretty a young fowl as you should wish to see on asummer's day. She was, moreover, as fortunatelysituated in life as it was possible for a hen to be.She was bought by young Master Fred Little John,with four or five family connections of hers, and alively young cock, who was held to be as brisk ascratcher, and as capable a head of a family, as anyhalf-dozen sensible hens could desire.I can't say that at first Mrs. Feathertop was a verysensible hen. She was very pretty and lively, to besure, and a great favourite with Master Bolton GrayCock, on account of her bright eyes, her finely shadedfeathers, and certain saucy dashing ways that she had,10
STE IEN TAT HA TCHED DUCKS. 1which seemed greatly to take his fancy. But old Mrs.Scratchard, living in the neighboring yard, assuredall the neighbourhood that Gray Cock was a fool forthinking so much of that flighty young thing,-thatshe had not the smallest notion how to get on in life,and thought of nothing in the world but her own prettyfeathers.' Wait till she comes to have chickens,' said Mrs.Scratchard. 'Then you will see. I have brought upten broods myself-as likely and respectable chickensas ever were a blessing to society-and I think Iought to know a good hatcher and brooder when I seeher; and I know that fine piece of trumpery, with herwhite feathers tipped with grey, never will come downto familylife. She scratch for chickens! Bless me, shenever did anything in all her days but run round and eatthe worms which somebody else scratched up for her !iWhen Master Bolton Gray heard this he crowed veryloudly, like a cock of spirit, and declared that old Mrs.Scratchard was envious, because she had lost all herown tail-feathers, and looked more like a worn-out oldfeather-duster than a respectable hen, and that there-fore she was filled with sheer envy of anybody that wasyoung and pretty. So young Mrs. Feathertop cackledgay defiance at her busy rubbishy neighbour, as shesunned herself under the bushes on fine- June after-noons.Now Master Fred Little John had been allowed to
12 THE HEN THA T HA TCHED DUCKS.have these hens by his mamma, on the condition thathe would build their house himself, and take all thecare of it; and, to do Master Fred justice, he executedthe job in a small way quite creditably. He chose asunny sloping bank covered with a thick growth ofbushes, and erected there a nice little hen-house, withtwo glass windows, a little door, and a good pole forhis family to roost on. He made, moreover, a row ofnice little boxes, with hay in them for nests, and hebought three or four little smooth white china eggs toput in them, so that, when his hens did lay, he mightcarry off their eggs without their being missed. Thishen-house stood in a little grove that sloped down toa wide river, just where there was a little cove whichreached almost to the hen-house.This situation inspired one of Master Fred's boyadvisers with a new scheme in relation to his poultryenterprise. 'Hullo I say Fred,' said Tom Seymour,' you ought to have ducks; you've got a capital placefor ducks there.'' Yes, but I've bought hens, you see,' said Freddy;'so it's no use trying.'' No use Of course there is! Just as if your henscouldn't hatch ducks' eggs. Now, you just wait tillone of your hens wants to set, and you put ducks' eggsunder her, and you'll have a family of ducks in a twink-ling. You can buy ducks' eggs, plenty, of old Samunder the hill; he always has hens hatch his ducks.'
THE HEN THAT HA TCHED UCKS. 13So Freddy thought it would be a good experiment,and informed his mother the next morning that heintended to furnish the ducks for the next Christmasdinner; and when she wondered how he was to comeby them, he said, mysteriously, '0, I will show youhow !' but did not further explain himself. The nextday he went with Tom Seymour, and made a bargainwith old Sam, and gave him a middle-aged jack-knifefor eight of his ducks' eggs. Sam, by-the-by, was anold labouring man, who lived by the pond hard by,and who had long cast envying eyes on Fred's jack-knife, because it was of extra-fine steel, having been aChristmas present the year before. But Fred knewvery well there were any number more of jack-kniveswhere that came from, and that, in order to get a newone, he must dispose of the old; so he made thebargain, and came home rejoicing.Now about this time Mrs. Feathertop, having laidher eggs daily with great credit to herself, notwith-standing Mrs. Scratchard's predictions, began to findherself suddenly attacked with nervous symptoms.She lost her gay spirits, grew dumpish and morose,stuck up her feathers in a bristling way, and peckedat her neighbours if they did so much as look at her.Master Gray Cock was greatly concerned, and went toold Doctor Peppercorn, who looked solemn, and recom-mended an infusion of angle-worms, and said he wouldlook in on the patient twice a day till she was better.
14 THE HEN THAT HA TCHED DUCKS.'Gracious me, Gray Cock!' said old Goody, whohad been lolling at the comer as he passed, 'you area fool !-cocks always are fools. Don't you knowwhat's the matter with your wife ? She wants to set-that's all; and you just let her set! A fiddlestick forDoctor Peppercorn! Why, any good old hen thathas brought up a family knows more than a doctorabout such things. You just go home and tell her toset, if she wants to, and behave herself.'When Gray Cock came home, he found that MasterFreddy had been before him, and established Mrs.Feathertop upon eight nice eggs, where she was sittingin gloomy grandeur. He tried to make a little affableconversation with her, and to relate his interview withthe Doctor and Goody, but she was morose andsullen, and only pecked at him now and then in avery sharp, unpleasant way; so, after a few moreefforts to make himself agreeable, he left her, andwent out promenading with the captivating Mrs. RedComb, a charming young Spanish widow, who hadjust been imported into the neighboring yard.'Bless my soul!' said he, 'you've no idea howcross my wife is.''0 you horrid creature !' said Mrs. Red Comb;'how little you feel for the weaknesses of us poorhens!'S'On my word, ma'am,' said Gray Cock, 'you dome injustice. But when a hen gives way to temper,
THE HEN THAT HA TCHED D UCKS. 15ma'am, and no longer meets her husband with asmile,-when she even pecks at him whom she isbound to honour and obey-''Horrid monster! talking of obedience! I shouldsay, sir, you came straight from Turkey !' and Mrs. RedComb tossed her head with a most bewitching air,and pretended to run away, and old Mrs. Scratchardlooked out of her coop, and called to Goody-'Look how Mr. Gray Cock is flirting with thatwidow. I always knew she was a baggage.'' And his poor wife left at home alone,' said Goody.SIt's the way with 'em all!''Yes, yes,' said Dame Scratchard, 'she'll knowwhat real life is now, and she won't go about holdingher head so high, and looking down on her practicalneighbours that have raised families.''Poor thing, what'll she do with a family?' saidGoody.'Well, what business have such young flirts to getmarried?' said Dame Scratchard. 'I don't expectshe'll train a single chick; and there's Gray Cockflirting about fine as ever. Folks didn't do so whenI was young. I'm sure my husband knew what treat-ment a setting hen ought to have-poor old LongSpur: he never minded a peck or so now and then.I must say these modern fowls are not what fowlsused to be.'Meanwhile the sun rose and set, and Master Fred
16 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.was almost the only friend and associate of poor littleMrs. Feathertop, whom he fed daily with meal andwater, and only interrupted her sad reflections bypulling her up occasionally to see how the eggs werecoming on.At last, 'Peep, peep, peep!' began to be heard inthe nest, and one little downy head after anotherpoked forth from under the feathers, surveying theworld with round, bright, winking eyes; and gradu-ally the brood were hatched, and Mrs. Feathertoparose, a proud and happy mother, with all the bustling,scratching, care-taking instincts of family life warmwithin her breast. She clucked and scratched, andcuddled the little downy bits of things as handily anddiscreetly as a seven-year-old hen could have done,exciting thereby the wonder of the community.Master Gray Cock came home in high spirits, andcomplimented her; told her she was looking charm-ingly once more, and said, 'Very well, very nice!'as he surveyed the young brood,-so that Mrs.Feathertop began to feel the world going well withher; when, suddenly, in came Dame Scratchard andGoody to make a morning call.'Let's see the chicks,' said Dame Scratchard.'Goodness me,' said Goody, 'what a likeness totheir dear papa !''Well, but bless me, what's the matter with theirbills?' said Dame Scratchard. 'Why, my dear, these
THE HEN THA T HA TCHED D UCKS. 17chicks are deformed! I'm sorry for you, my dear,but it's all the result of your inexperience; youought to have eaten pebble-stones with your mealwhen you were setting. Don't you see, dame, whatbills they have? That'll increase, and they'll befrightful!''What shall I do?' said Mrs. Feathertop, nowgreatly alarmed.'Nothing that I know of,' said Dame Scratchard,'since you didn't come to me before you set. I couldhave told you all about it. Maybe it won't kill 'em,but they'll always be deformed.'And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting underthe pin-feathers of the poor little hen mamma, whobegan to see that her darlings had curious littlespoonbills, different from her own, and to worry andfret about it.'My dear,' she said to her spouse, 'do get Dr.Peppercorn to come in and look at their bills, andsee if anything can be done.'Dr. Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrouspair of spectacles, and said, 'Hum! Ha! Extra-ordinary case-very singular!''Did you ever see anything like it, doctor?' saidboth parents, in a breath.'I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlarge-ment or the vascular bony tissue, threatening ossifica-tion,' said the doctor.LI
i8 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.' Oh, dreadful !-can it be possible?' shrieked bothparents. Can anything be done ?''Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made ofbutterfly's horns and bicarbonate of frogs' toes, to-gether with a powder, to be taken morning and night,of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be carefulabout: they must never wet their feet, nor drink anywater.'' Dear me, doctor, I don't know what I shall do,for they seem to have a particular fancy for gettinginto water.'SYes, a morbid tendency often found in these casesof bony tumification of the vascular tissue of themouth; but you must resist it, ma'am, as their lifedepends upon it;'-and with that Dr. Peppercornglared gloomily on the young ducks, who werestealthily poking the objectionable little spoonbillsout from under their mother's feathers.After this poor Mrs. Feathertop led a weary life ofit; for the young fry were as healthy and enterpris-ing a brood of young ducks as ever carried saucepanson the ends of their noses, and they most utterlyset themselves against the doctor's prescriptions,murmured at the muriate of fleas and the bicarbo-nate of frogs' toes, and took every opportunity towaddle their little ways down to the mud and waterwhich was in their near vicinity. So their billsgrew larger and larger, as did the rest of their
THE HEN THAT HA TCHED DUCKS. 19bodies, and family government grew weaker andweaker.'You'll wear me out, children, you certainly will,'said poor Mrs. Feathertop.'You'll go to destruction-do ye hear?' said MasterGray Cock.' Did you ever see such frights as poor Mrs. Feather-top has got ?' said Dame Scratchard. 'I knew whatwould come of her family,-all deformed, and with adreadful sort of madness, which makes them love toshovel mud with those shocking spoonbills of theirs.'It's a kind of idiocy,' said Goody. 'Poor things!they can't be kept from the water, nor made to takepowders, and so they get worse and worse.''I understand it's affecting their feet so that theycan't walk, and a dreadful sort of net is growingbetween their toes. What a shocking visitation !'' She brought it on herself,' said Dame Scratchard.'Why didn't she come to me before she set ? She wasalways an upstart, self-conceited thing, but I'm sure Ipity her.'Meanwhile the young ducks throve apace. Theirnecks grew glossy, like changeable green and goldsatin; and though they would not take the doctor'smedicine, and would waddle in the mud and water-for which they always felt themselves to be verynaughty ducks-yet they grew quite vigorous andhearty. At last one day the whole little tribe waddled
20 THlE HlEN T-HAT HA TCHED DUCKS.off down to the bank of the river. It was a beautifulday, and the river was dancing, and dimpling, andwinking, as the little breezes shook the trees that hungover it.' Well,' said the biggest of the little ducks, 'in spiteof Dr. Peppercorn, I can't help longing for the water.I don't believe it is going to hurt me,-at any rate,here goes;'-and in he plumped, and in went everyduck after him, and they threw out their great brownfeet as cleverly ao if they had taken rowing lessons alltheir lives, and sailed off on the river, away, awayamong the ferns, and through reeds and rushes, thehappiest ducks that ever were born; and soon theywere quite out of sight.'Well, Mrs. Feathertop, this is a dispensation!'said Mrs. Scratchard. Your children are all drownedat last, just as I knew they'd be. The old music-teacher, Master Bullfrog, that lives down in Water-Dock Lane, saw 'em all plump madly into the watertogether this morning; that's what comes of not know-ing how to bring up a family.'Mrs. Feathertop gave only a shriek and fainted deadaway, and was carried home on a cabbage-leaf; andMr. Gray Cock was sent for, where he was waiting onMrs. Red Comb through the hedge.' It's a serious time in your family, sir,' said Goody,'and you ought to be at home supporting your wife.Send for Dr. Peppercorn without delay.'
THE HEN THAT HA ETCHED DUCKS. 21Now as the case was a very dreadful one, Dr.Peppercorn called a council from the barn-yard ofthe Squire, two miles off, and a brisk young Dr. Part-lett appeared, in a fine suit of brown and gold, withtail-feathers like meteors. A fine young fellow hewas, lately from Paris, with all the modern scientificimprovements fresh in his head.When he had listened to the whole story, heclapped his spur into the ground, and, leaning back,laughed so loud that all the cocks in the neighbour-hood crowed.Mrs. Feathertop rose up out of her swoon, and Mr.Gray Cock was greatly enraged.' What do you mean, sir, by such behaviour in thehouse of mourning?''My dear sir, pardon me, but there is no occasionfor mourning. My dear madam, let me congratulateyou. There is no harm done. The simple matter is,dear madam, you have been under a hallucination allalong. The neighbourhood and my learned friendthe doctor have all made a mistake in thinking thatthese children of yours were hens at all. They areducks, ma'am, evidently ducks, and very finely formedducks I dare say.'At this moment a quack was heard, and at a dis-tance the whole tribe were seen coming waddlinghome, their feathers gleaming in green and gold, andthey themselves in high good spirits.
22 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.' Such a splendid day as we have had !' they allcried in a breath. And we know now how to getour own living; we can take care of ourselves infuture, so you need have no further trouble with us.'' Madam,' said the doctor, making a bow with anair which displayed his tail-feathers to advantage,'let me congratulate you on the charming family youhave raised. A finer brood of young healthy ducksI never saw. Give claw, my dear friend,' he said,addressing the elder son. 'In our barn-yard nofamily is more respected than that of the ducks.'And so Madam Feathertop came off glorious atlast; and when after this the ducks used to goswimming up and down the river like so many nabobsamong the admiring hens, Dr. Peppercorn used tolook after them and say, 'Ah! I had the care of theirinfancy!' and Mr. Gray Cock and his wife used tosay, It was our system of education did that !'
X_.oMOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF.LD Mother Magpie was the busiest characterin the forest. But you must know thatthere is a great difference between beingbusy and being industrious. One may bevery busy all the time, and yet not in the least indus-trious; and this was the case with Mother Magpie.She was always full of everybody's business but herown,-up and down, here and there, everywhere butin her own nest, knowing every one's affairs, tellingwhat everybody had been doing or ought to do, andready to cast her advice gratis at every bird and beastof the woods.Now she bustled up to the parsonage at the top ofthe oak tree, to tell old Parson Too-whit what shethought he ought to preach for his next sermon,and how dreadful the morals of the parish were23
24 MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF.becoming. Then, having perfectly bewildered thepoor old gentleman, who was always sleepy on aMonday morning, Mother Magpie would take a peepinto Mrs. Oriole's nest, sit chattering on a boughabove, and pour forth floods of advice, which, poorlittle Mrs. Oriole used to say to her husband, be-wildered her more than a hard north-east storm.'Depend upon it, my dear,' Mother Magpie wouldsay, that this way of building your nest, swinginglike an old empty stocking from a bough, isn't at allthe thing. I never built one so in my life, and Inever have headaches. Now you complain always?that your head aches whenever I call upon you. It'sall on account of this way of swinging and swayingabout in such an absurd manner.''But, my dear,' piped Mrs. Oriole, timidly, theOrioles always have built in this manner, and it suitsour constitution.'' A fiddle on your constitution! How can you tellwhat agrees with your constitution unless you try?You own you are not well; you are subject to head-aches; and every physician will tell you that a tiltingmotion disorders the stomach, and acts upon thebrain. Ask old Dr. Kite. I was talking with himabout your case only yesterday, and says he, " Mrs.Magpie, I perfectly agree with you."''But my husband prefers this style of building.''That's only because he isn't properly instructed.
MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF. 25Pray, did you ever attend Dr. Kite's lectures on thenervous system?''No, I have no time to attend lectures. Whowould set on the eggs ?'' Why, your husband, to be sure; don't he take histurn in setting? If he don't, he ought to. I shallspeak to him about it. My husband always setregularly half the time, that I might have time to goabout and exercise.'' Oh, Mrs. Magpie, pray don't speak to my husband;he will think I've been complaining.''No, no, he won't! Let me alone. I understandjust how to say the thing. I've advised hundreds ofyoung husbands in my day, and I never give offence.''But I tell you, Mrs. Magpie, I don't want anyinterference between my husband and me, and I willnot have it,' says Mrs. Oriole, with her little roundeyes flashing with indignation.'Don't put yourself in a passion, my dear; themore you talk, the more sure I am that your nervoussystem is running down, or you wouldn't forget goodmanners in this way. You'd better take my advice,for I understand just what to do.' And away sailsMother Magpie; and presently young Oriole comeshome, all in a flutter.' I say, my dear, if you will persist in gossipingover our private family matters with that old motherMagpie--'
26 MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF.'My dear, I don't gossip; she comes and boresme to death with talking, and then goes off andmistakes what she has been saying for what I said.''But you must cut her.'' I try to, all I can; but she won't be cut.''It's enough to make a bird eae. said TommyOriole.Tommy Oriole, to say the truth, had as good aheart as ever beat under bird's feathers; but then hehad a weakness for concerts and general society,because he was held to be, by all odds, the hand-somest bird in the woods, and sung like an angel;and so the truth was, he didn't confine himself somuch to the domestic nest as Tom Titmouse or BillyWren. But he determined he wouldn't have oldMother Magpie interfering with his affairs.' The fact is,' quoth Tommy, I am a society bird,and nature has marked out for me a course beyondthe range of the commonplace, and my wife mustlearn to accommodate. If she has a brilliant husband,whose success gratifies her ambition and places her ina distinguished public position, she must pay some-thing for it. I'm sure Billy Wren's wife would giveher very bill to see her husband in the circles where Iam quite at home. To say the truth, my wife was allwell enough content till old Mother Magpie inter-fered. It is quite my duty to take strong ground,and show that I cannot be dictated to.'
MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF. 27So, after this, Tommy Oriole went to rather moreconcerts, and spent less time at home than ever hedid before, which was all that Mother Magpie effectedin that quarter. I confess this was very bad inTommy; but then birds are no better than men indomestic matters, and sometimes will take the mostunreasonable courses, if a meddlesome magpie getsher claw into their nest.But old Mother Magpie had now got a new busi-ness in hand in another quarter. She bustled offdown to Water-Dock Lane, where lived the old music-teacher, Dr. Bullfrog. The poor old doctor was asimple-minded, good, amiable creature, who hadplayed the double-bass and led the forest choir onall public occasions since nobody knows when.Latterly some youngsters had arisen, who sneered athis performances as behind the age. In fact, since agreat city had grown up in the vicinity of the forest,tribes of wandering boys broke up the simple tastesand quiet habits which old Mother Nature had alwayskept up in those parts.This was not the worst of it. The little varlets hada way of jeering at the simple old doctor and hisconcerts, and mimicking the tones of his bass viol.'There you go, Paddy-go-donk, Paddy-go-donk-umph-chunk,' some rascal of a boy would shout,while poor old Bullfrog's yellow spectacles would bebedewed with tears of honest indignation. In time,
28 MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF.the jeers of these little savages began to tell on thesociety in the forest, and to corrupt their simplemanners; and it was whispered among the youngerand more heady birds and squirrels, that old Bullfrogwas a bore, and that it was time to get up a newstyle of music in the parish, and to give the charge ofit to some more modem performer.Poor old Dr. Bullfrog knew nothing of this, how-ever, and was doing his simple best in peace, whenMother Magpie called in upon him one morning.'Well, neighbour, how unreasonable people are!Who would have thought that the youth of our gene-ration should have no more consideration for esta-blished merit ? Now, for my part, I think your music-teaching never was better; and as for our choir, Imaintain constantly that it never was in better order;but-well one may wear her tongue out, but one cannever make these young folks listen to reason.''I really don't understand you, ma'am,' said poorDr. Bullfrog.'What! you haven't heard of a committee that isgoing to call on you to ask you to resign the care ofthe parish music?'' Madam,' said Dr. Bullfrog, with all that energy oftone for which he was remarkable, I don't believe it-I can't believe it. You must have made a mistake.''I mistake! No, no, my good friend; I nevermake mistakes. What I know, I know certainly
MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIIEF. 29Wasn't it I that said I knew there was an engage-ment between Tim Chipmunk and Nancy Nibble,who are married this blessed day? I knew thatthing six weeks before any bird or beast in our parts;and I can tell you, you are going to be scandalouslyand ungratefully treated, Dr. Bullfrog.'' Bless me, we shall all be ruined!' said Mrs. Bull-frog; 'my poor husband--' Oh, as to that, if you take things in time, and listento my advice,' said Mother Magpie, 'we may yet pullyou through. You must alter your style a little-adaptit to modern times. Everybody now is a little touchedwith the operatic fever, and there's Tommy Oriole hasbeen to Paris and brought back a touch of the artistic.If you would try his style a little-something Tyrolean,you see.'' Dear madam, consider my voice. I never couldhit the high notes.''How do you know? It's all practice; TommyOriole says so. Just try the scales. As to yourvoice, your manner of living has a great deal to dowith it. I always did tell you that your passion forwater injured your singing. Suppose Tommy Orioleshould sit half his days up to his waist in water, asyou do, his voice would be as hoarse and rough asyours. Come up on the bank, and learn to perch, aswe birds do. We are the true musical race.'And so poor Dr. Bullfrog was persuaded to forego
30 MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF.his pleasant little cottage under the rushes, where hisgreen spectacles and honest round back had excited,even in the minds of the boys, sentiments of respectand compassion. He came up into the garden, andestablished himself under a tree, and began to prac-tise Italian scales.The result was, that poor old Dr. Bullfrog, insteadof being considered as a respectable old bore, gothimself universally laughed at for aping fashionablemanners. Every bird and beast in the forest had agibe at him; and even old Parson Too-whit thoughtit worth his while to make him a pastoral call, andadmonish him about courses unbefitting his age andstanding. As to Mother Magpie, you may be surethat she assured every one how sorry she was thatdear old Dr. Bullfrog had made such a fool of him-self: if he had taken her advice, he would have kepton respectably, as a nice old Bullfrog should.But the tragedy for the poor old music-teachergrew even more melancholy in its termination; forone day as he was sitting disconsolately under acurrant-bush in the garden, practising his poor oldnotes in a quiet way, thump came a great blow of ahoe, which nearly broke his back.' Hullo what ugly beast have we got here?' saidTom Noakes, the gardener's boy. 'Here, here, Wasp,my boy.'What a fright for a poor, quiet, old Bullfrog, as
AfOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF. 31little wiry, wicked Wasp came at him, barking andyelping. He jumped with all his force sheer over apatch of bushes into the river, and swam back to hisold home among the rushes. And always after thatit was observable that he was very low-spirited, andtook very dark views of life; but nothing made himso angry as any allusion to Mother Magpie, of whom,from that time, he never spoke except as Old MotherMischief.
THE NUTCRACKERS OF NUTCRACKERLODGE.R. and Mrs. Nutcracker were as respectablea pair of squirrels as ever wore greybushes over their backs. They wereanimals of a settled and serious turn ofmind, not disposed to run after vanities and novelties,but filling their station in life with prudence andsobriety. Nutcracker Lodge was a hole in a sturdyold chestnut overhanging a shady dell, and was heldto be as respectably kept an establishment as therewas in the whole forest. Even Miss Jenny Wren,the greatest gossip of the neighbourhood, never foundanything to criticise in its arrangements, and oldParson Too-whit, a venerable owl, who inhabited abranch somewhat more exalted, as became his pro-fession, was in the habit of saving himself muchtrouble in his parochial exhortations, by telling his3;
THE NUTCRACKERS. 33parishioners in short to 'look at the Nutcrackers,' ifthey wanted to see what it was to live a virtuous life.Everything had gone on prosperously with them, andthey had reared many successive families of youngNutcrackers, who went forth to assume their places inthe forest oi life, and to reflect credit on their bring-ing-up,-so that, naturally enough, they began to havea very easy way of considering themselves models ofwisdom.But at last it came along, in the course of events,that they had a son named Featherhead, who wasdestined to bring them a great deal of anxiety.Nobody knows what the reason is; but the fact was,that Master Featherhead was as different from all theformer children of this worthy couple as if he hadbeen dropped out of the moon into their nest, insteadof coming into it in the general way. Young Feather-head was a squirrel of good parts and a lively disposi-tion, but he was sulky, and contrary, and unreasonable,and always finding matter of complaint in everythinghis respectable papa and mamma did. Instead ofassisting in the cares of a family-picking up nutsand learning other lessons proper to a young squirrel-he seemed to settle himself from his earliest years intoa sort of lofty contempt for the Nutcrackers, forNutcracker Lodge, and for all the good old ways andinstitutions of the domestic hole, which he declaredto be stupid and unreasonable, and entirely behindc
34 THE NUTCRACKERS OFthe times. To be sure, he was always on hand atmeal-times, and played a very lively tooth on the nutswhich his mother had collected, always selecting thevery best for himself; but he seasoned his nibblingwith so much grumbling and discontent, and so manysevere remarks, as to give the impression that heconsidered himself a peculiarly ill-used squirrel inhaving to 'eat their old grub,' as he very uncere-moniously called it.Papa Nutcracker, on these occasions, was oftenfiercely indignant, and poor little Mamma Nutcrackerwould shed tears, and beg her darling to be a littlemore reasonable; but the young gentleman seemedalways to consider himself as the injured party.Now nobody could tell why or wherefore MasterFeatherhead looked upon himself as injured andaggrieved, since he was living in a good hole, withplenty to eat, and without the least care or labour ofhis own ; but he seemed rather to value himself uponbeing gloomy and dissatisfied. While his parents andbrothers and sisters were cheerfully racing up anddown the branches, busy in their domestic toils, andlaying up stores for the winter, Featherhead satgloomily apart, declaring himself weary of existence,and feeling himself at liberty to quarrel with every-body and everything about him. Nobody understoodhim, he said: he was a squirrel of a peculiar nature.and needed peculiar treatment, and nobody treated
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 35him in a way that did not grate on the finer nervesof his feelings; he had higher notions of existencethan could be bounded by that old rotten hole in ahollow tree; ne had thoughts that soared far abovethe miserable, petty details of every-day life, and hecould not, and would not, bring down these soaringaspirations to the contemptible toil of laying up a fewchestnuts for winter.' Depend upon it, my dear,' said Mrs. Nutcrackersolemnly, that fellow must be a genius.'' Fiddlestick on his genius!' said old Mr. Nut-cracker; what does he do ?'' Oh, nothing, of course; that's one of the first marksof genius. Geniuses, you know, never can comedown to common life.'' He eats enough for any two,' remarked old Nut-cracker, 'and he never helps to gather nuts.'' My dear, ask Parson Too-whit; he has conversedwith him, and quite agrees with me that he says veryuncommon things for a squirrel of his age; he hassuch fine feelings-so much above those of thecommon crowd.'' Fine feelings be hanged!' said old Nutcracker.'When a fellow eats all the nuts that his mother giveshim, and then grumbles at her, I don't believe muchin his fine feelings. Why don't he set himself aboutsomething? I'm going to tell my fine young gentle-man, that if he doesn't behave himself, I'll tumble
36 THE NUTCRACKERS OFhim out of the nest, neck and crop, and see if hungerwon't do something towards bringing down his fineairs.'But then Mrs. Nutcracker fell on her husband'sneck with both paws, and wept, and besought him sopiteously to have patience with her darling, that oldNutcracker, who was himself a soft-hearted oldsquirrel, was prevailed upon to put up with the airs'and graces of his young scapegrace a little longer;and secretly in his silly old heart he revolved thequestion, whether possibly it might not be that a greatgenius was actually to come of his household.The Nutcrackers belonged to the old establishedrace of the Grays; but they were sociable, friendlypeople, and kept on the best of terms with allbranches of the Nutcracker family. The Chipmunksof Chipmunk Hollow were a very lively, cheerful,sociable race, and on the very best of terms with theNutcracker Grays. Young Tip Chipmunk, the oldestson, was in all respects a perfect contrast to MasterFeatherhead. He was always lively and cheerful, andso very alert in providing for the family, that old Mr.and Mrs. Chipmunk had very little care, but could sitsociably at the door of their hole and chat with neigh-bours, quite sure that Tip would bring everything outright for them, and have plenty laid up for winter.Now Featherhead took it upon him, for some reasonor other, to look down upon Tip Chipmunk, and on
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 37every occasion to disparage him in the social circle,as a very common kind of squirrel, with whom itwould be best not to associate too freely.' My dear,' said Mrs. Nutcracker one day, when hewas expressing these ideas, 'it seems to me that youare too hard on poor Tip; he is a most excellentson and brother, and I wish you would be civil tohim.'' Oh, I don't doubt that Tip is good enough,' saidFeatherhead, carelessly; 'but then he is so verycommon! he hasn't an idea in his skull above hisnuts and his hole. He is good-natured enough, to besure-these very ordinary people often are good-natured,-but he wants manner; he has really nomanner at all; and as to the deeper feelings, Tip hasn'tthe remotest idea of them. I mean always to be civilto Tip when he comes in my way, but I think the lesswe see of that sort of people the better; and I hope,mother, you won't invite the Chipmunks at Christmas,these family dinners are such a bore!''But, my dear, your father thinks a great deal ofthe Chipmunks; and it is an old family custom tohave all the relatives here at Christmas.''And an awful bore it is! Why must people ofrefinement and elevation be for ever tied downbecause of some distant relationship? Now thereare our cousins the High-Flyers-if we could getthem, there would be some sense in it. Young
38 THE NUTCRACKERS OFWhisk rather promised me for Christmas; but it'sseldom now you can get a flying squirrel to showhimself in our parts, and if we are intimate with theChipmunks it isn't to be expected.'' Confound him for a puppy!' said old Nutcracker,when his wife repeated these sayings to him.'Featherhead is a fool. Common, forsooth! I wishgood, industrious, painstaking sons like Tip Chip-munk were common. For my part, I find theseuncommon people the most tiresome; they are notcontent with letting us carry the whole load, but theysit on it, and scold at us while we carry them.'But old Mr. Nutcracker, like many other good oldgentlemen squirrels, found that Christmas dinnersand other things were apt to go as his wife said, andhis wife was apt to go as young Featherhead said;and so, when Christmas came, the Chipmunks werenot invited, for the first time in many years. TheChipmunks, however, took all pleasantly, and acceptedpoor old Mrs. Nutcracker's awkward apologies withthe best possible grace, and young Tip looked in onChristmas morning with the compliments of the sea-son and a few beech-nuts, which he had secured as agreat dainty. The fact was, that Tip's little stripedfur coat was so filled up and overflowing with cheerfulgood-will to all, that he never could be made tounderstand that any of his relations could want to cuthim; and therefore Featherhead looked down on him
NUTCIRA CKER LODGE. 39with contempt, and said he had no tact, and couldn'tsee when he was not wanted.It was wonderful to see how, by means of persistingin remarks like these, young Featherhead at last gotall his family to look up to him as something uncom-mon. Though he added nothing to the family, andrequired more to be done for him than all the othersput together-though he showed not the smallestreal perseverance or ability in anything useful-yetsomehow all his brothers and sisters, and his poorfoolish old mother, got into a way of regarding himas something wonderful, and delighting in his sharpsayings as if they had been the wisest things in theworld.But at last old papa declared that it was time forFeatherhead to settle himself to some business in life,roundly declaring that he could not always have himas a hanger-on in the paternal hole.'What are you going to do, my boy?' said TipChipmunk to him one day. We are driving now athriving trade in nuts, and if you would like to joinus-'US---''Thank you,' said Featherhead, 'but I confess Ihave no fancy for anything so slow as the nut trade;I never was made to grub and delve in that way.'The fact was, that Featherhead had lately beenforming alliances such as no reputable squirrel shouldeven think of. He had more than once been seen
40 THE NUTCRACKERS OFgoing out evenings with the Rats of Rat Hollow,-arace whose reputation for honesty was more thandoubtful. The fact was, further, that old LongtoothRat, an old sharper and money-lender, had long hadhis eye on Featherhead as just about silly enough fortheir purposes, engaging him in what he called aspeculation, but which was neither more nor less thandownright stealing.Near by the chestnut-tree where Nutcracker Lodgewas situated, was a large barn filled with corn andgrain, besides many bushels of hazel-nuts, chestnuts,and walnuts. Now old Longtooth proposed to youngFeatherhead that he should nibble a passage into thisloft, and there establish himself in the commissionbusiness, passing the nuts and corn to him as hewanted them. Old Longtooth knew what he wasabout in the proposal, for he had heard talk of abrisk Scotch terrier that was about to be bought tokeep the rats from the grain; but you may be sure hekept his knowledge to himself, so that Featherheadwas none the wiser for it.'The nonsense of fellows like Tip Chipmunk!'said Featherhead to his admiring brothers andsisters. 'The perfectly stupid nonsense Therehe goes, delving and poking, picking up a nuthere and a grain there, when I step into propertyat once.''But I hope, my son, you are careful to be honest
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 41in your dealings,' said old Nutcracker, who was avery moral squirrel.With that, young Featherhead threw his tail saucilyover one shoulder, winked knowingly at his brothers,and said, 'Certainly, sir! If honesty consists in get-ting what you can while it is going, I mean to behonest.'Very soon Featherhead appeared to his admiringcompanions in the height of prosperity. He had asplendid hole in the midst of a heap of chestnuts, andhe literally seemed to be rolling in wealth; he nevercame home without showering lavish gifts on hismother and sisters; he wore his tail over his backwith a buckish air, and patronized Tip Chipmunkwith a gracious nod whenever he met him, andthought that the world was going well with him.But one luckless day, as Featherhead was lolling inhis hole, up came two boys with the friskiest, wiriestScotch terrier you ever saw. His eyes blazed liketorches; and poor Featherhead's heart died withinhim as he heard the boys say, Now we'll see if wecan't catch the rascal that eats our grain.'Featherhead tried to slink out at the hole he hadgnawed to come in by, but found it stopped.'Oh, you are there, are you, mister?' said the boy.'Well, you don't get out; and now for a chase !'And, sure enough, poor Featherhead ran distractedwith terror up and down, through the bundles of hay,
42 THE NUTCRACKERS.between barrels, and over casks ; but with the bark-ing terrier ever at his heels, and the boys running,shouting, and cheering his pursuer on. He was gladat last to escape through a crack, though he left halfof his fine brush behind him ; for Master Wasp theterrier made a snap at it just as he was going, andcleaned all the hair off it, so that it was bare as arat's tail.Poor Featherhead limped off, bruised and beatenand bedraggled, with the boys and dog still after him,and they would have caught him, after all, if TipChipmunk's hole had not stood hospitably open toreceive him. Tip took him in, like a good-naturedfellow as he was, and took the best of care of him;but the glory of Featherhead's tail had departed forever. He had sprained his left paw, and got a chronicrheumatism, and the fright and fatigue which hehad gone through had broken up his constitution, sothat he never again could be what he had been. ButTip gave him a situation as under-clerk in his esta-blishment, and from that time he was a sadder anda wiser squirrel than he ever had been before.
CTHE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.NDER the window of a certain pretty littlecottage there grew a great old apple-tree,which in the spring had thousands andthousands of lovely pink blossoms on it,and in the autumn had about half as many bright redapples as it had blossoms in the spring.The nursery of this cottage was a little bower of aroom, papered with mossy-green paper, and curtainedwith white muslin; and here five little children usedto come, in their white nightgowns, to be dressed andhave their hair brushed and curled every morning.First, there were Alice and Mary, bright-eyed, laugh-ing little girls, of seven and eight years; and then camestout little Jamie, and Charlie; and, finally, little Puss,whose real name was Ellen, but who was called Puss,and Pussy, and Birdie, and Toddlie, and any otherpet name that came to mind.43
44 THIE IISTOR Y OF TIP-TOP.Now it used to happen, every morning, that the fivelittle heads would be peeping out of the windowtogether into the flowery boughs of the apple-tree;and the reason was this. A pair of robins had built avery pretty, smooth-lined nest in a fork of the limbthat came directly under the window, and the build-ing of this nest had been superintended, day by day,by the five pairs of bright eyes of these five children.The robins at first had been rather shy of this inspec-tion; but as they got better acquainted, they seemedto think no more of the little curly heads in thewindow, than of the pink blossoms about them, orthe daisies and buttercups at the foot of the tree.All the little hands were forward to help; somethrew out flossy bits of cotton-for which, we grieveto say, Charlie had cut a hole in the crib quilt-andsome threw out bits of thread and yarn, and Allieravelled out a considerable piece from one of hergarters, which she threw out as a contribution; andthey exulted in seeing the skill with which the littlebuilders wove everything in.'Little birds, little birds,' they would say, 'you shallbe kept warm, for we have given you cotton out of ourcrib quilt, and yarn out of our stockings.' Nay, so fardid this generosity proceed, that Charlie cut a flossy,golden curl from Toddlie's head and threw it out; andwhen the birds caught it up, the whole flock laughedto see Toddlie's golden hair figuring in the bird's nest.
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 45When the little thing was finished, it was so neat,and trim, and workman-like, that the children allexulted over it, and called it our nest,' and the tworobins they called our birds.' But wonderful was thejoy when the little eyes, opening one morning, saw inthe nest a beautiful pale-green egg ; and the joy grewfrom day to day, for every day there came anotheregg, and so on, till there were five little eggs ; and thenthe oldest girl, Alice, said, 'There are five eggs; thatmakes one for each of us, and each of us will have alittle bird by and by;'-at which all the childrenlaughed and jumped with glee.When the five little eggs were all laid, the mother-bird began to sit on them ; and at any time of day ornight, when a little head peeped out of the nurserywindow, might be seen a round, bright, patient pair ofbird's eyes contentedly waiting for the young birds tocome. It seemed a long time for the children towait; but every day they put some bread and cakefrom their luncheon on the window-sill, so that thebirds might have something to eat; but still there shewas patiently watching !' How long, long, long she waits !' said Jamie, im.patiently. I don't believe she's ever going to hatch.'' Oh yes, she is!' said grave little Alice. Jamie,you don't understand about these things; it takes along, long time to hatch eggs. Old Sam says his hensset three weeks ; only think, almost a month 1'
46 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.Three weeks looked a long time to the five brightpairs of little watching eyes; but Jamie said, the eggswere so much smaller than hen's eggs, that it wouldn'ttake so long to hatch them, he knew. Jamie alwaysthought he knew all about everything, and was so sureof it that he rather took the lead among the children.But one morning, when they pushed their five headsout of the window, the round, patient little bird-eyeswere gone, and there seemed to be nothing in the nestbut a bunch of something hairy.Upon this they all cried out, Oh mamma, do comehere the bird is gone and left her nest !' And whenthey cried out, they saw five wide little red mouthsopen in the nest, and saw that the hairy bunch of stuffwas indeed the first of five little birds.'They are dreadful-looking things !' said Mary; 'Ididn't know that little birds began by looking so badly.''They seem to be all mouth,' said Jamie.'We must feed them,' said Charlie.'Here, little birds, here's some gingerbread foryou,' he said; and he threw a bit of gingerbread,which, fortunately, only hit the nest on the outside, andfell down among the buttercups, where two cricketsmade a meal of it, and agreed that it was as excel-lent gingerbread as if old Mother Cricket herself hadmade it.' Take care, Charlie,' said his mamma; 'we do notknow enough to feed young birds. We must leave it
THE HISTORY Y OF TIP-TOP. 47to their papa and mamma, who probably started outbright and early in the morning to get breakfast forthem.'Sure enough, while they were speaking, back cameMr. and Mrs. Robin, whirring through the greenshadows of the apple-tree; and thereupon all the fivelittle red mouths flew open, and the birds put some-thing into each.It was great amusement, after this, to watch thedaily feeding of the little birds, and to observe how,when not feeding them, the mother sat brooding onthe nest, warming them under her soft wings, whilethe father-bird sat on the tip-top bough of the apple-tree and sang to them. In time they grew and grew,and, instead of a nest full of little red mouths, therewas a nest full of little, fat, speckled robins, withround, bright, cunning eyes, just like their parents;and the children began 'o talk together about theirbirds.'I'm going to give my robin a name,' said Mary.'I call him Brown-Eyes.'' And I call mine Tip-Top,' said Jamie, because Iknow he'll be a tip-top bird.''And I call mine Singer,' said Alice.'I call mine Toddy,' said little Toddlie, who wouldnot be behindhand in anything that was going on.' Hurrah for little Toddlie !' said Charlie, 'her's isthe best of all. For my part, I call mine Speckle.'
48 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.So then the birds were all made separate characters,by having each a separate name given it. Brown-Eyes, Tip-Top, Singer, Toddy, and Speckle made, asthey grew bigger, a very crowded nestful of birds.Now the children had early been taught to say, ina little hymn :SBirds in their little nests agree,And 'tis a shameful sight"When children of one familyFall out, and chide, and fight;'and they thought anything really written and printedin a hymn must be true; therefore they were verymuch astonished to see, from day to day, that theirlittle birds in their nest did not agree.Tip-Top was the biggest and strongest bird, and hewas always shuffling and crowding the others, andclamouring for the most food; and when Mrs. Robincame in with a nice bit of anything, Tip-Top's redmouth opened so wide, and he was so noisy, that onewould think the nest was all his. His mother used tocorrect him for these gluttonous ways, and sometimesmade him wait till all the rest were helped before shegave him a mouthful; but he generally revenged him-self in her absence, by crowding the others and makingthe rest generally uncomfortable. Speckle, however,was a bird of spirit, and he used to peck at Tip-Top ;so they would sometimes have a regular sparring-match across poor Brown-Eyes, who was a meek,
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 49tender little fellow, and would sit winking and blink.ing in fear while his big brothers quarrelled. As toToddy and Singer, they turned out to be sister birds,and showed quite a feminine talent for chattering;they used to scold their badly behaving brothers in away that made the nest quite lively.On the whole, Mr. and Mrs. Robin did not findtheir family circle the peaceable place the poet repre-sents.' I say,' said Tip-Top one day to them, 'this oldnest is a dull, mean, crowded hole, and it's quite timesome of us were out of it. Just give us lessons inflying, won't you, and let us go !''My dear boy,' said Mother Robin, 'we shall teachyou to fly as soon as your wings are strong enough.''You are a very little bird,' said his father, 'andought to be good and obedient, and wait patientlytill your wing-feathers grow; and then you can soaraway to some purpose.''Wait for my wing-feathers ?-humbug!' Tip-Topwould say, as he sat balancing with his little short tailon the edge of the nest, and looking down throughthe leaves and grass below, and up into the blueclouds above. 'Father and mother are slow oldbirds; keep a fellow back with their confoundednotions. If they don't sharpen up, I'll take mattersinto my own claws, and be off some day before theyknow it. Look at those swallows, skimming andD
50 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.diving through the blue air! That's the way I wantto do.'' But, dear brother, the way to learn to do that is tobe good and obedient while we are little, and wait tillour parents think it best for us to begin.'' Shut up your preaching,' said Tip-Top; 'what doyou girls know of flying?''About as much as you,' said Speckle. 'However,I'm sure I don't care how soon you take yourself off,for you take up more room than all the rest puttogether.'' You mind yourself, Master Speckle, or you'll getsomething you don't like,' said Tip-Top, still struttingin a very cavalier way on the edge of the nest, andsticking up his little short tail quite valiantly.'Oh my darlings,' said the mamma, now flutteringhome, cannot I ever teach you to live in love?'' It's all Tip-Top's fault,' screamed the other birdsin a flutter.' My fault ? Of course, everything in this nest thatgoes wrong is laid to me,' said Tip-Top; 'and I'llleave it to anybody, now, if I crowd anybody. I'vebeen sitting outside, on the very edge of the nest, andthere's Speckle has got my place.'' Who wants your place ?' said Speckle. I'm sureyou can come in, if you please.'' My dear boy,' said the mother, do go into the nestand be a good little bird, and then you will be happy.'
THE HIS TOR Y OF TIP-TOP. 51'That's always the talk,' said Tip-Top. 'I'm toobig for the nest, and I want to see the world. It'sfull of beautiful things, I know. Now there's the mostlovely creature, with bright eyes, that comes under thetree every day, and wants me to come down in thegrass and play with her.''My son, my son, beware!' said the frightenedmother; 'that lovely seeming creature is our dreadfulenemy, the cat,-a horrid monster, with teeth andclaws.'At this, all the little birds shuddered and cuddleddeeper in the nest; only Tip-Top in his heart dis-believed it. I'm too old a bird,' said he to himself,'to believe that story; mother is chaffing me. ButI'll show her that I can take care of myself.'So the next morning, after the father and motherwere gone, Tip-Top got on the edge of the nest again,and looked over and saw lovely Miss Pussy washingher face among the daisies under the tree, and herhair was sleek and white as the daisies, and her eyeswere yellow and beautiful to behold, and she lookedup to the tree bewitchingly, and said, Little birds,little birds, come down; Pussy wants to play withyou!''Only look at her 1' said Tip-Top; 'her eyes arelike gold.''No, don't look,' said Singer and Speckle. 'Shewill bewitch you and then eat you up.'
52 2THE HISTORY Y OF TIP-TOP.'I'd like to see her try to eat me up,' said Tip-Top,again balancing his short tail over the nest. Just asif she would! She's just the nicest, most innocentcreature going, and only wants us to have fun. Wenever do have any fun in this old nest!'Then the yellow eyes below shot a bewildering lightinto Tip-Top's eyes, and a voice sounded sweet assilver: 'Little birds, little birds, come down; Pussywants to play with you.''Her paws are as white as velvet,' said Tip-Top;'and so soft I don't believe she has any claws.'' Don't go, brother, don't!' screamed both sisters.All we know about it is, that a moment after a dire-ful scream was heard from the nursery window. Ohmamma, mamma, do come here! Tip-Top's fallenout of the nest, and the cat has got him !'Away ran Pussy with foolish little Tip-Top in hermouth, and he squeaked dolefully when he felt hersharp teeth. Wicked Miss Pussy had no mind to eathim at once; she meant just as she said, 'to playwith him.' So she ran off to a private place amongthe currant-bushes, while all the little curly heads werescattered up and down looking for her.Did you ever see a cat play with a bird or a mouse?She sets it down, and seems to go off and leave it;but the moment it makes the first movement to getaway,-pounce she springs on it, and shakes it in hermouth; and so she teases and tantalizes it, till she
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 53gets ready to kill and eat it. I can't say why she doesit, except that it is a cat's nature; and it is a verybad nature for foolish young robins, to get acquaintedwith.' Oh, where is he ? where is he ? Do find my poorTip-Top !' said Jamie, crying as loud as he couldscream. I'll kill that horrid cat,-I'll kill her !'Mr. and Mrs. Robin, who had come home mean-time, joined their plaintive chirping to the generalconfusion; and Mrs. Robin's bright eyes soon dis-covered her poor little son, where Pussy was pattingand rolling him from one paw to the other under thecurrant-bushes; and, settling on the bush above, shecalled the little folks to the spot by her cries.Jamie plunged under the bush, and caught the catwith luckless Tip-Top in her mouth; and, with oneor two good thumps, he obliged her to let him go.Tip-Top was not dead, but in a sadly draggled andtorn state. Some of his feathers were torn out, andone of his wings was broken, and hung down in amelancholy way.'Oh, what shall we do for him? He will die.Poor Tip-Top !' said the children.'Let's put him back into the nest, children,' saidmamma. 'His mother will know best what to dowith him.'So a ladder was got, and papa climbed up andput poor Tip-Top safely into the nest. The cat had
54 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.shaken all the nonsense well out of him; he was adreadfully humbled young robin.The time came at last when all the other birds inthe nest learned to fly, and fluttered and flew abouteverywhere; but poor melancholy Tip-Top was stillconfined to the nest with a broken wing. Finally, asit became evident that it would be long before hecould fly, Jamie took him out of the nest, and made anice little cage for him, and used to feed him everyday, and he would hop about and seem tolerably con-tented; but it was evident that he would be a lame-winged robin all his days.Jamie's mother told him that Tip-Top's history wasan allegory.'I don't know what you mean, mamma,' said Jamie.'When something in a bird's life is like somethingin a boy's life, or when a story is similar in its meaningto reality, we call it an allegory. Little boys, whenthey are about half grown up, sometimes do just asTip-Top did. They are in a great hurry to get awayfrom home into the great world ; and then Temptationcomes, with bright eyes and smooth velvet paws, andpromises them fun; and they go to bad places; theyget to smoking, and then to drinking; and, finally,the bad habit gets them in its teeth and claws, andplays with them as a cat does with a mouse. Theytry to reform, just as your robin tried to get away from
THIE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 55the cat; but their bad habits pounce on them anddrag them back. And so, when the time comes thatthey want to begin life, they are miserable, broken-down creatures, like your broken-winged robin.'So, Jamie, remember and don't try to be a manbefore your time; and let your parents judge for youwhile you are young, and never believe in any softwhite pussy, with golden eyes, that comes and wantsto tempt you to come down and play with her. If abig boy offers to teach you to smoke a cigar, that isPussy. If a boy wants you to go into a billiard-saloon, that is Pussy. If a boy wants you to learn todrink anything with spirit in it, however sweetenedand disguised, remember Pussy is there, and Pussy'sclaws are long, and Pussy's teeth are strong, and ifshe gives you one shake in your youth, you will belike a broken-winged robin all your days.'c" ... -. : ., ^ I-
THE SQUIRRELS THAT LIVE IN A HOUSE.CE upon a time a gentleman went outinto a great forest, and cut away the trees,and built there a very nice little cottage.It was set very low on the ground, andhad very large bow-windows, and so much of it wasglass that one could look through it on every sideand see what was going on in the forest. You couldsee the shadows of the fern-leaves, as they flickeredand wavered over the ground, and the scarlet berriesand purple plums that matted round the roots of thetrees, and the bright spots of sunshine that fell throughtheir branches, and went dancing about among thebushes and leaves at their roots. You could see thelittle chipping sparrows and thrushes and robins build-ing their nests here and there among the branches,and watch them from day to day as they laid theireggs and hatched their young. You could also sees6
THE SQ UIRRELS. 57red squirrels, and grey squirrels, and little stripedsquirrels, darting and springing about, here and thereand everywhere, running races with each other frombough to bough, and chattering at each other in thegayest possible manner.You may be sure that such a strange thing as agreat mortal house for human beings to live in did notcome into this wild wood without making quite a stirand excitement among the inhabitants that lived therebefore. All the time it was building, there was thegreatest possible commotion in the breasts of all theolder population; and there wasn't even a black ant,or a cricket, that did not have his own opinion aboutit, and did not tell the other ants and crickets justwhat he thought the world was coming to in con-sequence.Old Mrs. Rabbit declared that the hammering andnoise made her nervous, and gave her most melancholyforebodings of evil times.'Depend upon it, children,' she said to her long-eared family, 'no good will come to us from thisestablishment. Where man is, there comes alwaystrouble for us poor rabbits.'The old chestnut-tree, that grew on the edge of thewoodland ravine, drew a great sigh which shook allhis leaves, and expressed it as his conviction that nogood would ever come of it,-a conviction that atonce struck to the heart of every chestnut-burr. The
58 THE SQ UIRRELS T.HFATsquirrels talked together of the dreadful state of thingsthat would ensue.'Why!' said old Father Gray, 'it's evident thatNature made the nuts for us ; but one of these greathuman creatures will carry off and gormandize uponwhat would keep a hundred poor families of squirrelsin comfort.' Old Ground-mole said it did not requirevery sharp eyes to see into the future, and it wouldjust end in bringing down the price of real estate inthe whole vicinity, so that every decent-minded andrespectable quadruped would be obliged to move away;for his part, he was ready to sell out for anything hecould get. The birds, it is true, took more cheerfulviews of matters ; but then, as old Mrs. Ground-moleobserved, they were a flighty set,-half their timecareering and dissipating in Southern climes,-andcould not be expected to have that patriotic attach-ment to their native soil that those had who hadgrubbed in it from their earliest days.' This race of man,' said the old chestnut-tree, isnever ceasing in its restless warfare on Nature. Inour forest solitudes hitherto, how peacefully, howquietly, how regularly, has everything gone on i Nota flower has missed its appointed time of blossoming,or failed to perfect its fruit. No matter how hard hasbeen the winter, how loud the winds have roared, andhow high the snow-banks have been piled, all hascome right again in spring. Not the least root has
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 59lost itself under the snows, so as not to be ready withits fresh leaves and blossoms when the sun returns tomelt the frosty chains of winter. We have stormssometimes that threaten to shake everything to pieces,the thunder roars, the lightning flashes, and the windshowl and beat; but, when all is past, everythingcomes out better and brighter than before,-not abird is killed, not the frailest flower destroyed. Butman comes, and in one day he will make a desolationthat centuries cannot repair. Ignorant boor that heis, and all incapable of appreciating the glorious worksof Nature, it seems to be his glory to be able todestroy in a few hours what it was the work of ages toproduce. The noble oak, that has been cut away tobuild this contemptible human dwelling, had a lifeolder and wiser than that of any man in this country.That tree has seen generations of men come and go.It was a fresh young tree when Shakespeare was born;it was hardly a middle-aged tree when he died; andhundreds and hundreds of those whom they callbravest, wisest, strongest,-warriors, statesmen, ora-tors, and poets,-have been born, have grown up,lived, and died, while yet it has outlived them all. Ithas seen more wisdom than the best of them; buttwo or three hours of brutal strength sufficed to lay itlow. Which of these dolts could make a tree ? I'dlike to see them do anything like it. How noisy andclumsy are all their movements,-chopping, pounding,
60 THE SQUIRRELS TIIATrasping, hammering! And, after all, what do theybuild? In the forest we do everything so quietly.A tree would be ashamed of itself that could not getits growth without making such a noise and dust andfuss. Our life is the perfection of good manners.For my part, I feel degraded at the mere presence ofthese human beings; but, alas I am old;-a hollowplace at my heart warns me of the progress of decay,and probably it will be seized upon by these rapaciouscreatures as an excuse for laying me as low as mynoble green brother.'In spite of all this disquiet about it, the little cot-tage grew and was finished. The walls were coveredwith pretty paper, the floors carpeted with prettycarpets; and, in fact, when it was all arranged, andthe garden walks laid out, and beds of flowers plantedaround, it began to be confessed even among the mostcritical, that it was not after all so bad a thing as wasto have been feared.A black ant went in one day and made a tour of ex-ploration up and down, over chairs and tables, over theceilings and down again, and, coming out, wrote anarticle for the Cricket's Gazette, in which he describedthe new abode as a veritable palace. Several butter-flies fluttered in and sailed about and were wonderfullydelighted, and then two or three honey-bees flew in,and afterwards expressed themselves well pleased withthe house, but more especially enchanted with the
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 61garden. In fact, when it was found that the pro-prietors were very fond of the rural solitudes ofNature, and had come out there for the purpose ofenjoying them undisturbed,-that they watched andspared the violets, and little woolly rolls of fern thatbegan to grow up under the trees in spring,-that theynever allowed a gun to be fired to scare the birds, andwatched the building of their nests with the greatestinterest,-then an opinion in favour of human beingsbegan to gain ground, and every cricket and bird andbeast was loud in their praise.' Mamma,' said young Tit-bit, a frisky young squirrel,to his mother one day, 'why won't you let Frisky andme go into that pretty new cottage to play ?''My dear,' said his mother, who was a very waryand careful old squirrel, 'how can you think of it?The race of man are full of devices for traps and pit-falls, and who could say what might happen, if youput yourself in their power ? If you had wings likethe butterflies and bees, you might fly in and outagain, and so gratify your curiosity; but, as mattersstand, it's best for you to keep well out of their way.'' But, mother, there is such a nice, good lady livesthere I believe she is a good fairy, and she seemsto love us all so; she sits in the bow-window andwatches us for hours, and she scatters corn all roundat the roots of the tree for us to eat.'' She is nice enough,' said the old mother squirrel,
62 TIE SQUIRRELS THAT' if you keep far enough off; but I tell you, you can'tbe too careful.'Now this good fairy that the squirrels discoursedabout was a nice little old lady that the children usedto call Aunt Esther, and she was a dear lover of birdsand squirrels, and all sorts of animals, and had studiedtheir little ways till she knew just what would pleasethem; and so she would every day throw out crumbsfor the sparrows, and little bits of thread and wooland cotton to help the birds that were building theirnests, and would scatter corn and nuts for thesquirrels; and while she sat at her work in the bow-window, she would smile to see the birds flying awaywith the wool, and the squirrels nibbling their nuts.After a while the birds grew so tame that they wouldhop into the bow-window, and eat their crumbs off thecarpet.' There, mamma,' said Tit-bit and Frisky, 'only see !Jenny Wren and Cock Robin have been in at thebow-window, and it didn't hurt them, and why can'twe go ?'' Well, my dears,' said old Mother Squirrel, youmust do it very carefully. Never forget that youhaven't wings like Jenny Wren and Cock Robin.'So, the next day, Aunt Esther laid a train of cornfrom the roots of the trees to the bow-window, andthen from the bow-window to her work-basket, whichstood on the floor beside her; and then she put quite
LI VE I A HO USE. 63a handful of corn in the work-basket, and sat down byit, and seemed intent on her sewing. Very soon,creep, creep, creep, came Tit-bit and Frisky to thewindow, and then into the room, just as sly and as stillas could be, and Aunt Esther sat just like a statue forfear of disturbing them. They looked all around inhigh glee, and when they came to the basket it seemedto them a wonderful little summer-house, made on pur-pose for them to play in. They poked their noses aboutin it, and turned over the scissors and the needle-book,and took a nibble at her white wax, and jostled thespools, meanwhile stowing away the corn in each sideof their little chops, till they both of them looked asif they had the mumps.At last, Aunt Esther put out her hand to touchthem, when, whisk-frisk, out they went, and up thetrees, chattering and laughing before she had timeeven to wink.But after this they used to come in every day, andwhen she put corn in her hand and held it very still,they wiuld eat out of it; and, finally, they would getinto her hand, until one day she gently closed itover them, and Frisky and Tit-bit were fairly caught.Oh, how their hearts beat! but the good fairyonly spoke gently to them, and soon unclosed herhand and let them go again. So, day after day, theygrew to have more and more faith in her, till theywould climb into her work-basket, sit on her shoulder,
b4 THE SQ UIRRELS TH-A Tor nestle away in her lap as she sat sewing. Theymade also long exploring voyages all over the house,up and through all the chambers, till finally, I grieveto say, poor Frisky came to an untimely end by beingdrowned in the water-tank at the top of the house.The dear good fairy passed away from the house intime, and went to a land where the flowers never fade,and the birds never die; but the squirrels still con-tinued to make the place a favourite resort.' In fact, my dear,' said old Mother Red one winterto her mate, what is the use of one's living in thiscold, hollow tree, when these amiable people haveerected this pretty cottage, where there is plenty ofroom for us and them too? Now I have examinedbetween the eaves, and there is a charming placewhere we can store our nuts, and where we can whipin and out of the garret, and have the free range ofthe house; and, say what you will, these human beingshave delightful ways of being warm and comfortablein winter.'So Mr. and Mrs. Red set up housekeeping in thecottage, and had no end of nuts and other good thingsstored up there. The trouble of all this was, that asMrs. Red was a notable body, and got up to begin herhousekeeping operations, and woke up all her children,at four o'clock in the morning, the good people oftenwere disturbed by a great rattling and fuss in thewalls, while yet it seemed dark night. Then some-
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 65times, too, I grieve to say, Mrs. Squirrel would giveher husband vigorous curtain lectures in the night,which made him so indignant that he would rattle offto another quarter of the garret to sleep by himself;and all this broke the rest of the worthy people whobuilt the house.What is to be done about this we don't know.What would you do about it? Would you let thesquirrels live in your house, or not? When our goodpeople come down of a cold winter morning, and seethe squirrels dancing and frisking down the trees, andchasing each other so merrily over the garden-chairbetween them, or sitting with their tails saucily overtheir backs, they look so jolly, and jaunty, and pretty,that they almost forgive them for disturbing theirnight's rest, and think that they will not do anythingto drive them out of the garret to-day. And so it goeson; but how long the squirrels will rent the cottage inthis fashion, I'm sure I dare not undertake to say.K
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.ISS KATY-DID sat on the branch of aflowering azalia, in her best suit of finegreen and silver, with wings of point-lacefrom Mother Nature's finest web.Miss Katy was in the very highest possible spirits,because her gallant cousin, Colonel Katy-did, hadlooked in to make her a morning visit. It was a finemorning, too, which goes for as much among theKaty-dids as among men and women. It was, infact, a morning that Miss Katy thought must havebeen made on purpose for her to enjoy herself in.There had been a patter of rain the night before,which had kept the leaves awake talking to each othertill nearly morning; but by dawn the small winds hadblown brisk little puffs, and whisked the heavensclear and bright with their tiny wings, as you haveseen Susan clear away the cobwebs in your mamma's66
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET 67parlour; and so now there were only left a thousandblinking, burning water-drops, hanging like convexmirrors at the end of each leaf, and Miss Katyadmired herself in each one.' Certainly I am a pretty creature,' she said to her-self; and when the gallant Colonel said somethingabout being dazzled by her beauty, she only tossedher head and took it as quite a matter of course.'The fact is, my dear Colonel,' she said, 'I amthinking of giving a party, and you must help memake out the lists.''My dear, you make me the happiest of Katy-dids.''Now,' said Miss Katy-did, drawing an azalia-leaftowards her,' Let us see-whom shall we have ? TheFireflies, of course; everybody wants them, they areso brilliant,-a little unsteady, to be sure, but quitein the higher circles.''Yes, we must have the Fireflies,' echoed theColonel.'Well, then-and the Butterflies and the Moths.Now, there's a trouble. There's such an everlastingtribe.tf those Moths; and if you invite dull people,they're always sure all to come, every one of them.Still, if you have the Butterflies, you can't leave outthe Moths.''Old Mrs. Moth has been laid up lately with agastric fever, and that may keep two or three ofthe Misses Moth at home,' said the Colonel
68 MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.'Whatever could give the old lady such a turn?'said Miss Katy. I thought she never was sick.''I suspect it's high living. I understand she andher family ate up a whole ermine cape last month,and it disagreed with them.'' For my part, I can't conceive how the Moths canlive as they do,' said Miss Katy, with a face of disgust.'Why, I could no more eat worsted and fur, as theydo-'' That is quite evident from the fairy-like delicacyof your appearance,' said the Colonel. One can seethat nothing so gross and material has ever enteredinto your system.'' I'm sure,' said Miss Katy, Mamma says she don'tknow what does keep me alive; half a dew-drop anda little bit of the nicest part of a rose-leaf, I assureyou, often last me for a day. But we are forgettingour list. Let's see-the Fireflies, Butterflies, Moths.The Bees must come, I suppose.''The Bees are a worthy family,' said the Colonel.'Worthy enough, but dreadfully hum-drum,' saidMiss Katy. 'They never talk about anything buthoney and housekeeping; still they are a class ofpeople one cannot neglect.''Well, then, there are the Bumble-Bees.''Oh, I doat on them General Bumble is one ofthe most dashing, brilliant fellows of the day.''I think he is shockingly corpulent,' said Colonel
MISS KA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET. 69Katy-did, not at all pleased to hear him praised.'Don't you?''I don't know but he is a little stout,' said MissKaty; but so distinguished and elegant in hismanners-something martial and breezy about him.''Well, if you invite the Bumble-Bees you musthave the Hornets.''Those spiteful Hornets! I detest them!''Nevertheless, dear Miss Katy, one does not liketo offend the Hornets.'' No, one can't. There are those five MissesHornet-dreadful old maids !-as full of spite as theycan live. You may be sure they will every one come,and be looking about to make spiteful remarks. Putdown the Hornets, though.'Just at this moment the conference was interruptedby a visitor, Miss Keziah Cricket, who came in withher work-bag on her arm to ask a subscription for apoor family of Ants who had just had their househoed 'up in clearing the garden-walks.'How stupid of them,' said Katy, 'not to knowbetter than to put their house in the garden-walk!That's just like those Ants !''Well they are in great trouble-all their storesdestroyed, and their father killed-cut quite in twoby a hoe.'' How very shocking! I don't like to hear of suchdisagreeable things; it affects my nerves terribly.
70 MISS KA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.Well, I'm sure I haven't anything to give. Mammasaid yesterday she was sure she didn't know how ourbills were to be paid; and there's my green satin withpoint-lace yet to come home.' And Miss Katy-didshrugged her shoulders and affected to be very busywith Colonel Katy-did, in just the way that youngladies sometimes do when they wish to signify tovisitors that they had better leave.Little Miss Cricket perceived how the case stood,and so hopped briskly off without giving herself eventime to be offended. 'Poor extravagant little thing!'said she to herself; 'it was hardly worth while to askher.''Pray, shall you invite the Crickets?' said ColonelKaty-did.'Who? I? Why, Colonel, what a question! In-vite the Crickets? Of what can you be thinking?''And shall you not ask the Grasshoppers?''Certainly-a very old and distinguished family;the Grasshoppers ought to be asked. But we mustdraw a line somewhere, and the Crickets-why, it'sshocking even to think of!''I thought they were nice, respectable people.''Oh, perfectly nice and respectable-very goodpeople, in fact, so far as that goes. But then youmust see the difficulty.'' My dear cousin, I am afraid you must explain.''Why, their colour, to be sure. Don't you see?'
MISS XA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET. 71'Oh!' said the Colonel, 'That's it, is it? Excuseme, but I have been living in France, where thesedistinctions are wholly unknown, and I have not yetgot myself in the train of fashionable ideas here.''Well, then, let me teach you,' said Miss Katy.'You know we go for no distinctions except thosecreated by Nature herself, and we found our rankupon colour, because that is clearly a thing that nonehas any hand in but our Maker. You see ?''Yes; but who decides what colour shall be thereigning colour?''I'm surprised to hear the question The only truecolour-the only proper one-is our colour, to besure. A lovely pea-green is the precise shade onwhich to found aristocratic distinction. But then weare liberal; we associate with the Moths, who aregrey; with the Butterflies, who are blue-and-gold-coloured; with the Grasshoppers, yellow and brown.And society would become dreadfully mixed if it werenot fortunately ordered that the Crickets are black asjet. The fact is, that a class to be looked down uponis necessary to all elegant society; and if the Cricketswere not black, we could not keep them down,because, as everybody knows, they are often a greatdeal cleverer than we are. They have a vast talentfor music and dancing; they are very quick at learn-ing, and would be getting to the very top of theladder if we once allowed them to climb. But their
72 ?ISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.being black is a convenience, because, as long as weare green and they black, we have a superiority thatcan never be taken from us. Don't you see now?''Oh yes, I see exactly,' said the Colonel.'Now that Keziah Cricket, who just came inhere, is quite a musician, and her old father plays theviolin beautifully;-by the way, we might engage himfor our orchestra.'And so Miss Katy's ball came off, and the per-formers kept it up from sundown till daybreak, sothat it seemed as if every leaf in the forest were alive.The Katy-dids and a full orchestra of Crickets madethe air perfectly vibrate, insomuch that old ParsonToo-Whit, who was preaching a Thursday eveninglecture to a very small audience, announced to hishearers that he should certainly write a discourseagainst dancing for the next weekly meeting.The good doctor was even with his word in thematter, and gave out some very sonorous discourses,without in the least stopping the round of gaietieskept up by these dissipated Katy-dids, which ran on,night after night, till the celebrated Jack Frost epi-demic, which occurred somewhere about the first ofDecember.Poor Miss Katy, with her flimsy green satin andpoint-lace, was one of the first victims, and fell fromthe bough in company with a sad shower of last year's
MISS rA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET. 73leaves. The worthy Cricket family, however, avoidedJack Frost by emigrating in time to the chimney-corner of a nice little cottage that had been built inthe wood that summer.There good old Mr. and Mrs. Cricket, with sprightlyMiss Keziah and her brothers and sisters, found awarm and welcome home; and when the storm howledwithout, and lashed the poor naked trees, the Cricketson the warm hearth would chirp out cheery welcometo papa as he came in from the snowy path, or mammaas she sat at her work-basket.'Cheep, cheep, cheep!' little Freddy would say.' Mamma, who is it says " cheep "?''Dear Freddy, it's our own dear little Cricket, wholoves us and comes to sing to us when the snow is onthe ground.'So when poor Miss Katy-did's satin and lace wereall swept away, the warm home-talents of the Cricketsmade for them a welcome refuge.
PRINCE AND PERO.UNT ESTHER used to be a constant at.tendant upon us young ones wheneverwe were a little ill, or any of the nume-rous accidents of childhood overtook us.In such seasons of adversity she always came to sitby our bedside, and take care of us. She did not,as some do, bring a long face and a doleful whiningvoice into a sick-room, but was always so bright, andcheerful, and chatty, that we began to think it wasalmost worth while to be sick to have her about us.I remember that once when my throat was so swollenthat it brought the tears to my eyes every time Iswallowed anything, Aunt Esther talked to me sogaily, and told me so many stories, that I found my-self laughing heartily, and disposed to regard myaching throat as on the whole rather an amusing cir-cumstance.Aunt Esther's stories were not generally fairy tales,but stories about real things,-and more often on her"4
PRINCE AND PERO. 75favourite subject of the habits of animals, and thedifferent animals she had known, than about anythingelse.One of these was a famous Newfoundland dog,named Prince, which belonged to an uncle of hers inthe country, and was, as we thought, a far more use-ful and faithful member of society than many of usyoungsters. Prince used to be a grave, sedate dog,that considered himself put in trust of the farm, thehouse, the cattle, and all that was on the place. Atnight he slept before the kitchen door, which, like allother doors in the house in those innocent days, wasleft unlocked all night; and if such a thing had everhappened as that a beggar or an improper person ofany kind had even touched the latch of the door,Prince would have been up attending to him asmaster of ceremonies.At early dawn, when the family began to stir, Princewas up and out to superintend the milking of the cows,after which he gathered them all together, and startedout with them to the pasture, padding steadily alongbehind, dashing out once in a while to reclaim somewanderer that thoughtlessly began to make her break-fast by the roadside, instead of saving her appetitefor the pastures, as a properly behaved cow should.Arrived at the pasture field, Prince would take downthe bars with his teeth, drive in the cows, put up thebars, and then soberly turn tail and trot off home, and
"76 PRINCE AND PERO.carry the dinner-basket for the men to the men whowere mowing, or in the potato-field, or wherever thelabours of the day might be. There arrived, he wasextremely useful to send on errands after anythingforgotten or missing. Prince the rake is missing;go to the barn and fetch it !' and away Prince wouldgo, and come back with his head very high, and thelong rake very judiciously balanced in his mouth.One day a friend was wondering at the sagacity ofthe dog, and his master thought he would show offhis tricks in a still more original style; and so, callingPrince to him, he said, Go home and bring pussto me !'Away bounded Prince towards the farm-house, and,looking about, found the younger of the two cats, fairMistress Daisy, busy cleaning her white velvet in thesummer sun. Prince took her gently up by the napeof her neck, and carried her, hanging head and heelstogether, to the fields, and laid her down at hismaster's feet.' How's this, Prince ?' said the master; 'you didn'tunderstand me. I said the cat, and this is the kitten.Go back and bring the old cat.'Prince looked very much ashamed of his mistake,and turned away, with drooping ears and tail, andwent back to the house.The old cat was a venerable, somewhat portly olddame, and no small weig'lt for Prince to carry; but
PRINCE AND PERO. 77he reappeared with old puss hanging from his jaws,and set her down, a little discomposed, but not a whithurt, by her unexpected ride.Sometimes, to try Prince's skill, his master wouldhide his gloves or riding-whip in some out-of-the-waycorner, and when ready to start, would say, 'Now,where have I left my gloves? Prince, good fellow,run in, and find them;' and Prince would dash intothe house, and run hither and thither with his nose toevery nook and corner of the room; and, no matterhow artfully they were hid, he would upset and tearhis way to them. He would turn up the corners ofthe carpet, snuff about the bed, run his nose betweenthe feather-bed and mattress, pry into the crack of ahalf-opened drawer, and show as much zeal and in-genuity as a policeman, and seldom could anything beso hid as to baffle his perseverance.Many people laugh at the idea of being careful ofa dog's feelings, as if it were the height of absurdity;and yet it is a fact that some dogs are as exquisitelysensitive to pain, shame, and mortification, as anyhuman being. See, when a dog is spoken harshly to,what a universal droop seems to come over him! Hishead and ears sink, his tail drops and slinks betweenhis legs, and his whole air seems to say, 'I wish Icould sink into the earth to hide myself.'Prince's young master, without knowing it, was themeans of inflicting a mot terrible mortification on
78 PRINCE AND PERO.him at one time. It was very hot weather, andPrince, being a shaggy dog, lay panting, and lollinghis tongue out, apparently suffering from the heat.'I declare,' said young Master George, I dobelieve Prince would be more comfortable for beingsheared.' And so forthwith he took him and begandivesting him of his coat. Prince took it all veryobediently; but when he appeared without his usualattire, every one saluted him with roars of laughter,and Prince was dreadfully mortified. He broke awayfrom his master, and scampered off home at a despe-rate pace, ran down into a cellar and disappearedfrom view. His young master was quite distressedthat Prince took the matter so to heart; he followedhim in vain, calling, 'Prince! Prince!' No Princeappeared. He lighted a candle and searched thecellar, and found the poor creature cowering away inthe darkest nook under the stairs. Prince was not tobe comforted; he slunk deeper and deeper into thedarkness, and crouched on the ground when he sawhis master, and for a long time refused even to takefood. The family all visited and condoled with him,and finally his sorrows were somewhat abated; buthe would not be persuaded to leave the cellar fornearly a week. Perhaps by that time he indulged thehope that his hair was beginning to grow again, andall were careful not to destroy the illusion by any jestsor comments on his appearance.
PRINCE AND PERO. 79Such were some of the stories of Prince's talentsand exploits which Aunt Esther used to relate to us.What finally became of the old fellow we never heard.Let us hope that, as he grew old, and gradually losthis strength, and felt the infirmities of age creepingon, he was tenderly and kindly cared for, in memoryof the services of his best days,-that he had a warmcomer by the kitchen fire, and was daily spoken to inkindly tones by his old friends. Nothing is a saddersight than to see a poor old favourite, that once waspetted and caressed by every member of a family, nowsneaking and cowering as if dreading every momenta kick or a blow,-turned from the parlour into thekitchen, driven from the kitchen by the cook's broom-stick, half starved and lonesome.Oh, how much kinder if the poor thread of life wereat once cut by some pistol-shot, than to have theneglected favourite linger only to suffer! Now, boys,I put it to you, is it generous or manly, when yourold pet and playmate grows sickly and feeble, andcan no longer amuse you, to forget all the good oldsport you have had with him, and let him become apoor, trembling, hungry, abused vagrant? If youcannot provide comforts for his old age, and see tohis nursing, you can at least secure him an easy andpainless passage from this troublesome world. Amanly fellow I once knew, who, when his old houndbecame so diseased that he only lived to suffer, gave
80 PRINCE AND PERO.him a nice meal with his own hand, patted his head,got him to sleep, and then shot him,-so that he wasdead in a moment, felt no pain, and knew nothingbut kindness to the last.And now to Aunt Esther's stories of a dog I mustadd one more which occurred in a town where I oncelived. I have told you of the fine traits of Prince,and his sagacity; I will now tell you about a poormongrel dog.The dog I am going to tell you about belonged toa man who had not, in one respect, half the sensethat his dog had. A dog will never eat or drink athing that has once made him sick, or injured him;but this man would drink, over and over again, adeadly draught, that took away his senses and unfittedhim for any of his duties. Poor little Pero, however,set her ignorant dog's heart on her drinking master,and used to patter faithfully after him, and lick hishand respectfully, when nobody else thought he wasin a condition to be treated with respect.One bitter cold winter day, Pero's master went to agrocery, at some distance from home, on pretence ofgetting groceries, but in reality to fill a very dreadfulbottle, that was the cause of all his misery; and littlePero trotted after him through the whirling snow,although she left three poor little pups of her own inthe barn. Was it that she was anxious for the poorman who was going the bad road, or was tiere some
PRINCE AND PERO. 81secret thing in her dog's heart that warned her thather master was in danger? We know not, but thesad fact is, that at the grocery the poor man tookenough to make his brain dizzy, and coming home helost his way in a whirling snow-storm, and fell downstupid and drunk, not far from his own barn, in alonesome place, with the cold winter's wind sweepingthe snow-drift over him. Poor little Pero cuddledclose to her master and nestled in his bosom, as iitrying to keep the warm life in him.Two or three days passed, and nothing was seen orheard of the poor man. The snow had drifted overhim in a long white winding-sheet, when a neighbourone day heard a dog in the barn crying to get out.It was poor Pero, that had come back and slipped into nurse her puppies while the barn-door was open,and was now crying to get out and go back to herpoor master. It suddenly occurred to the man thatPero might find the body; and in fact, when shestarted off, he saw a little path which her small pawshad worn in the snow, and tracking after her, foundthe frozen body. This poor little friend had nestledthe snow away around the breast, and stayed watchingand waiting by her dead master, only taking her wayback occasionally to the barn to nurse her little ones.I cannot help asking whether a little animal that canshow such love and faithfulness has not somethingworth respecting and caring for in its nature.F
82 PRINCE AND PRO.I hope, if my two stories fall under the eye of anyboy who may ever witness, or be tempted to take partin, the hunting down and killing a poor dog, that hewill remember of how much faithfulness, and affection,and constancy these poor brutes are capable, and,instead of being their tyrant and persecutor, will tryto make himself their protector and friend.l"
AN EVENING IN UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.HE cabin of Uncle Tom was a small logbuilding, close adjoining to 'the house,'as the negro par excellence designates hismaster's dwelling. In front it had a neatgarden patch, where, every summer, strawberries,raspberries, and a variety of fruits and vegetables,flourished under careful tending. The whole front ofit was covered by a large scarlet bignonia and a nativemnultiflora-rose, which, entwisting and interlacing, leftscarce a vestige of the rough logs to be seen. Here,also, in summer, various brilliant annuals, such asmarigolds, petunias, four-o'clocks, found an indulgentcorner in which to unfold their splendours, and werethe delight and pride of Aunt Chloe's heart.Let us enter the dwelling. The evening meal atthe house is over, and Aunt Chloe, who presided overits preparation as head cook, has left to inferior officersW
84 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.in the kitchen the business of clearing away and wash.ing dishes, and come out into her own snug territories,to get her old man's supper:' therefore, doubt notthat it is her you see by the fire, presiding with anxiousinterest over certain frizzling items in a stewpan, andanon with grave consideration lifting the cover of abake-kettle, from whence steam forth indubitable inti-mations of something good.' A round, black, shiningface is hers, so glossy as to suggest the idea that shemight have been washed over with white of eggs, likeone of her own tea-rusks. Her whole plump counte-nance beams with satisfaction and contentment fromunder her well-starched checked turban, bearing onit, however, if we must confess it, a little of thattinge of self-consciousness which becomes the firstcook of the neighbourhood, as Aunt Chloe was uni-versally held and acknowledged to be.A cook she certainly was, in the very bone andcentre of her soul. Not a chicken, or turkey, or duckin the barnyard but looked grave when they saw herapproaching, and seemed evidently to be reflectingon their latter end; and certain it was that she wasalways meditating on trussing, stuffing, and roasting,to a degree that was calculated to inspire terror intoany reflecting fowl living. Her corn-cake, in all itsvarieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins, and otherspecies too numerous to mention, was a sublimemystery to all less practised compounders; and she
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 85would shake her fat sides with honest pride andmerriment, as she would narrate the fruitless effortsthat one and another of her compeers had made toattain to her elevation.The arrival of company at the house, the arrangingof dinners and suppers in style,' awoke all theenergies of her soul; and no sight was more wel-come to her than a pile of travelling trunks launchedon the verandah; for then she foresaw fresh effortsand fresh triumphs.Just at present, however, Aunt Chloe is lookinginto the bake-pan; in which congenial operation weshall leave her till we finish our picture of the cottage.In one corner of it stood a bed, covered neatly witha snowy spread; and by the side of it was a piece ofcarpeting, of some considerable size. On this pieceof carpeting Aunt Chloe took her stand, as beingdecidedly in the upper walks of life; and it and thebed by which it lay, and the whole corner, in fact,were treated with distinguished consideration, andmade, so far as possible, sacred from the maraudinginroads and desecrations of little folks. In fact, thatcorner was the drawing-room of the establishment. Inthe other corner was a bed of much humbler preten-sions, and evidently designed for use. The wall overthe fireplace was adorned with some very brilliantscriptural prints, and a portrait of General Wash-ington, drawn and coloured in a manner which would
86 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.certainly have astonished that hero, if ever he hadhappened to meet with its like.On a rough bench in the corner, a couple of woolly-headed boys, with glistening black eyes, and fat shiningcheeks, were busy in superintending the first walkingoperations of the baby, which, as is usually the case,consisted in getting up on its feet, balancing a moment,and then tumbling down-each successive failure beingviolently cheered, as something decidedly clever.A table, somewhat rheumatic in its limbs, was drawnout in front of the fire, and covered with a cloth, displaying cups and saucers of a decidedly brilliantpattern, with other symptoms of an approaching meal.At this table was seated Uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby's besthand, who, as he is to be the hero of our story, wemust daguerreotype for our readers. He was a large,broad-chested, powerfully-made man, of a full glossyblack, and a face whose truly African features werecharacterized by an expression of grave and steadygood sense, united with much kindliness and benevo-lence. There was something about his whole air self-respecting and dignified, yet united with a confidingand humble simplicity.He was very busily intent at this moment on aslate lying before him, on which he was carefullyand slowly endeavouring to accomplish a copy ofsome letters, in which operation he was overlookedby young Mas'r George, a smart, bright boy of
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 87thirteen, who appeared fully to realize the dignity ofhis position as instructor.' Not that way, Uncle Tom-not that way,' said he,briskly, as Uncle Tom laboriously brought up the tailof his g the wrong side out; that makes a q, yousee.''La sakes, now, does it ?' said Uncle Tom, lookingwith a respectful, admiring air, as his young teacherflourishingly scrawled q's and g's innumerable for hisedification; and then, taking the pencil in his big,heavy fingers, he patiently recommended.' How easy white folks al'us does things!' saidAunt Chloe, pausing while she was greasing a griddlewith a scrap of bacon on her fork, and regardingyoung Master George with pride. 'The way he canwrite now and read too and then to come out hereevenings and read his lessons to us,-it's mightyinteresting' !'' But, Aunt Chloe, I'm getting mighty hungry,' saidGeorge. Isn't that cake in the skillet almost done?'' Mose done, Mas'r George,' said Aunt Chloe, lift-ing the lid, and peeping in; 'browning beautiful-areal lovely brown. Ah, let me alone for dat! Misseslet Sally try to make some cake t'other day, jest tolarn her, she said. "Oh, go way, misses!" says I; "itreally hurts my feelings, now, to see good vittles spileddat ar way Cake ris all to one side-no shape atall, no more than my shoe-go way !"
88 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.And with this final expression of contempt for Sally'sgreenness, Aunt Chloe whipped the cover off thebake-kettle, and disclosed to view a neatly-bakedpoundcake, of which no city confectioner need tohave been ashamed. This being evidently the centralpoint of the entertainment, Aunt Chloe began now tobustle about earnestly in the supper department.'Here you, Mose and Pete, get out de way, youniggers! Get away, Polly, honey; mammy'll giveher baby somefin by-and-by. Now, Mas'r George,you jest take off dem books, and set down, now, withmy old man, and I'll take up de sausages, and havede first griddle full of cakes on your plates in less danno time.''They wanted me to come to supper in the house,'said George; 'but I knew what was what too well forthat, Aunt Chloe.''So you did-so you did, honey,' said Aunt Chloe,heaping the smoking batter-cakes on his plate; 'youknow'd your old aunty'd keep the best for you. Oh,let you alone for dat-go way !'And with that Aunty gave George a nudge withher finger, designed to be immensely facetious, an(turned again to her griddle with great briskness.' Now for the cake,' said Mas'r George, when theactivity of the griddle department had somewhat sub-sided ; and, with that, the youngster flourished a largeknife over the article in question.