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Save the pieces, boys."-Page 164.
"Like to see her do that again."- Page 49.
F. GRANT & CO.,
A STORY FOR THE BOYS WHO "MEAN BUSINESS."
BY GEORGE L. CHANEY.
AUNTV PATCH'S HOUSI.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
GEORGE t. CHANEY,
In the Offce of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED IY
RAND, AVERY, & CO.
DEDICATION TO FREDERIC READ
PREFACE TO READER.
DEAR FRED,- I wish you would read this book;
and, if you honestly can, tell the other boys to read
it. I want you and all the boys to learn now, before
it is too late, how to be honest partners in business,
and how to keep to your legitimate business, what-
ever it may be. Fred Grant had to learn this wis-
dom by a rough experience. How glad I shall be
if the story of his misfortunes helps you to escape
the like !
Always your friend,
G. L. C.
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET? .
FRESH EGGS ...
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS
BUBBLE, BURST, & CO. ....
WAKING UP. .....
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER
AFLOAT AND ASHORE
SOLON AND LYSANDEB
THE NEW "Co."
GoING TO "MAASH"
S . .251
F. GRANT & CO.
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET ?
" T- ULLO, Jimmy! "
L ,," Hullo, Fred "
"Where you going?"
Don't know. Half a mind to go tom-codding.
Piles of them down on Thayer's Wharf. Worst
of it is, my net has a hole in it big enough for a
whale to go through. Tom-cods don't know
when they're in, or when they're out."
"Why don't you mend it? Hullo, there's
Frank Carter coming down Oak Street! Wonder
what he has got in that basket ? Oranges, I bet
you! The Imaum' is just in; and Frank's uncle
goes mate. I say, Frank, give us one, won't
you? cried Fred, as the third boy drew near.
"Yes, if you'll eat it raw," answered Frank,
laughing, at the same time holding his basket
F. GRANT & CO.
with both hands, as if its contents were very
heavy, or very precious.
What is it, though?" said Fred and Jimmy
together, beginning to see that they were on the
"Don't you wish you knew ?" said Frank, en-
joying his secret too well to let it out at the first
challenge. The boys guessed and guessed,--
oranges, dates, peanuts, gum-copal, every thing
they could think of that was nice, and likely to
come home in the Imaum."- All wrong; and each
new guess was received with great satisfaction by
Frank Carter. There is no knowing how long he
might have kept his curious friends in the dark,
if a sudden movement had not.let the cat out of
the bag, or, rather, the hen out of the basket.
Yes, it was a hen that was in the basket. The
merriment of the boys was no fun to her, that
was plain; for she immediately thrust her head
out of the basket, and uttered a piercing protest
against the whole business.
Where did you get her, Frank ?" "What you
going to do with her ? " Let us go with you, will
you? And, amid a multitude of excited ques-
tions, the three boys went round to Frank Carter's
house, whither the hen was to be taken, and saw
the safe landing of the feathered biped into her
coop. She was not a captivating creature at that
precise moment, being very cross, very fussy, and
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET?
not a little indignant at the close carriage in which
she had made her last trip. She did not know
how much more kindly she had been treated than
many of her family are; for Frank was a kind-
hearted boy, and refused to take the hen by the
legs, as the poultry-men do, and as her previous
owner had recommended. He had just bought
the hen, because she wanted to set; and in the
inner coop there was as perfect a nest as Frank
could make, with thirteen eggs in it, pure Brah-
mas; and Biddy was expected to believe that this
was the same nest which she had stolen under
Farmer Green's barn, and that these were her
identical dozen and one, and nothing else.
Whether in ignorance or in pity, I cannot tell;
but certainly, in an incredibly short time, to the
delight of the boys, who were eagerly watching
the experiment, Biddy did find the nest, and did
graciously accept it. And, when Jimmy and Fred
peeped into the corner where she had settled
herself most contentedly, the funny old hen looked
at them out of her half-closed eye; and the boys
declared she winked at them in the best-natured
I say, Fred," said Jimmy, as they went home
that afternoon, "wouldn't it be fun to keep
hens? But what can a fellow do in these
mean old city houses, with no good yards?
Frank's father has a good yard, and so have
F. GRANT f CO.
you; but there isn't room to turn around in
Fred did not say much in answer to Jimmy;
but he was thinking and thinking, just as eagerly
as his companion, about the delights of a poultry-
yard. The truth is, both boys had taken the hen-
fever: the only difference between them was,
that Jimmy had broken out with it, and Fred had
it internally as yet.
Now, my young reader, do not be funny, and
ask if the hen-fever is any relation to the chicken-
pox. Not the least in the world. The chicken-
pox is a mere baby-sickness, soon come, and soon
gone. The hen-fever is never cured: once get
it, and you never lose it. You may think, for a
time, that you have been cured of it; but let a
neighboring agricultural fair advertise a poultry-
show, and off you will go, as wild as ever, to see,
admire, covet, and, unless some discreet friend
goes with you to hold you in check, to buy and
set up a coop again. There are various stages in
the disease. You begin by seeing a brood of
chickens running around in their soft flannel
dresses, in a neighbor's yard, or in front of a
farmer's doorway. You stop to watch their
pretty ways. How obedient they are to their
mother, who walks about, and governs them by
her short, authoritative cluck You despise the
suggestion that their obedience is prompted by
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET?
greed or self-defence. To you it is a perfect
picture of motherly care and filial devotion.
" Pretty little chickens! said a sentimental victim
of the fever: "do they bite?" Farther on in
the distemper, you grow abstracted in society.
You are thinking how you can make these chick-
ens, or their equals, your own. Your castles in
the air begin to take the shape of wonderful coops,
filled with every variety of fowl, and furnished
with all the modern improvements. But why
take the time to describe the symptoms of the
complaint, when our young friends are prepared
to show us the fever in its typical form, as the
doctors say ?
Fred did not say much in answer to Jimmy's
suggestion about the hens; but he brooded over
it. Brooding is one of the early processes in the
hen-fever. That very evening, just after supper,
when his father was taking a look about the gar-
den to see how the tulips were coming up, Fred
suddenly broke out, O father! I wish I could
keep hens! Frank Carter does. He has two
broods of chickens already; and he set another
hen to-day, real Brahmas, father, with feathered
legs, and roosters that can eat, off the top of a
flour-barrel. I wish I could! "
Wish you could eat, off the top of a flour-
barrel, Fred? Well, you can, I think, if you try
F. GRANT 1 CO.
"No, I don't mean that. You know what I
mean. Won't you let me keep hens, father, in
the backyard ? There's room enough. That
piece between the barn and the fence is large
enough. It isn't used for any thing but rubbish.
I wish I could build a coop there, and cut a hole
into the* old tool-room for the hens to go and lay
"Look out, my boy! don't step on that tulip."
Fred was jumping about in the excitement of
his new idea, forgetting the rule to keep in the
walk. If he had been possessed by a hundred
hens, he could not have scratched up the garden
any more than he did in these first stages of the
Oh, I didn't see it! cried Fred, really sorry
for his carelessness; for the boy liked flowers,
and took pride in the fine display of early tulips
which made his father's garden a bright spot
to the neighbors and the weary people in the
street. Only the day before, he had been more
interested in these tulips than in any thing else.
But now nothing would please him perfectly, but
a "good fat hen."
Father, mayn't I? he said, again returning
to the former question.
"Mayn't you step on tulips? No, thank you."
Oh, now, father, you're too bad You know
what I mean as well as can be. I'm in real ear-
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET?
nest. Do let me keep hens, -just one, father.
Jimmy Pratt will go shares with me; and, if we
put our savings-bank money together, we can get
enough to begin with. I know the coop will cost
something. But we boys can make almost the
whole of it. Any boy can nail on laths. Won't
you, father ? "
Mr. Grant was as kind a father as any boy ever
had. He would much rather indulge his children
in every wish they might express than deny them.
It hurt his feelings more than his children's to
disappoint them in any plan of theirs.
But he could not always consent to their wishes
as soon as they were expressed. Many things needed
to be considered, which young heads did not think
of. If Fred had been willing to trust his father's
affection and judgment, he might have gone to bed
that night a happier boy. But he could not wait.
He wanted to press his father to a promise on the
spot. So he kept teasing and fretting, Oh!
mayn't I? I should think you might! Prom-
ise, father; at the same time, leaping and kick-
ingabout the garden, like corn in a popper.
The end of it was, that he was sent into the
house, and told to go early to bed; which he did
in the following manner: first he ran down to
the oval bed, just for a look at the crocuses; then
he skipped towards the garden-gate, --
F. GRANT Y CO.
"Yes, sir: I'm going."
Then, passing through the gate, he went shuf-
fling along the brick pavement as if he were anx-
ious to wear out the soles of his shoes. And
finally he went in at the side-door, giving it an
ugly slam. That was his good-night to the best
of fathers, because Mr. Grant did not say at once,
" Certainly, my boy, you shall have the hens."
The truth was, Mr. Grant was a victim of the
hen-fever himself. He took it early in life, when
he lived upon a Vermont farm, and fed the chickens
every night and morning. And, as we have said,
once is always with this complaint. The cares of
business in the city, and the pressure for room,
had hitherto prevented the indulgence of this
inbred taste. But now that he found himself in
a larger house than at first, with good yard-room,
and a family of children to take the chief care of
them, he greatly enjoyed the thought of having a
colony of hens and chickens on his domain. He
knew the objections, however, as well as the at-
tractions, of the plan; and he was not willing to
promise until he had consulted others, whose com-
fort was more at stake than his own in such a
matter as this. There was sick Miss Pleasant
across the street. Would the uproar of the coop
trouble her? There was his wife, priding her-
self on her tidy housekeeping, and Norah her
chief of staff: what would they say? Besides all
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET?
else, there was the expense, not of one hen or
two, or of one small coop. Mr. Grant knew very
well that the fever grew by what it fed on, quite
as rapidly as the chickens grew by the same pro-
cess. But, in spite of all these objections, there
was a lurking inclination towards the poultry-
yard in his mind. Somehow the eager crowing of
his young son for Fred had told how he meant
to supply the family with eggs, and spring chickens
of the tenderest description had provoked an
answering crow from his own heart; just as one
rooster starts another afar off. This sensible man
really believed, for the moment, that a judicious
keeping of hens might be made profitable as well
as pleasant. Oh that fever! how it blinds the eyes,
and consumes the purses, of its victims !
Mr. Grant would have been ashamed to confess
how much he really wished to keep hens himself.
If there had been no other objection, Fred's teas-
ing and ill-temper were enough to discourage it.
His father did not come to any conclusion that
night. Still the proposition haunted him; and he
awoke the next morning with the distinct sound
of a rooster, a monstrous Brahma, crowing in his
ears. It was only a dream. Fred's desire Lad
been the theme of a lively discussion between
father and mother the last thing the night before;
and the dream was the echo of their speech. Mrs.
Grant had received a tearful account from Fred.
F. GRANT Y CO.
of his longing for the society of a good fat hen,
and, with mother's fondness, had agreed to plead
for him. One objection was closed by her consent.
Then Fred looked so eager that morning at break-
fast, and yet so painfully anxious not to tease or
show any ugliness His mother. had warned him
against that. "Good-morning, father!" did not
sound much like his slam-bang good-night of the
evening before. It was the voice of Jacob, and
the hair of Esau. This rough-and-tumble little
fellow was as soft spoken as a girl this morning.
O you mothers! how well you understand us hus-
bands and fathers !
Mr. Grant's heart was almost won. At any
rate, he would go over to Miss Pleasant's, and
inquire how she was, and whether the poultry-yard
would annoy her. He did not say this out aloud,
he said it to himself: not a bad sign. But Fred
would have been better pleased if he had said it
aloud. Boys do not know what kind things their
fathers are thinking when they say very little.
Mr. Grant went to his business without a word on
the all-important subject. Alice and Mary, Fred's
two older sisters, hurried away to their school,
which was quite a long walk from their home.
Tom Grant, the oldest son, a young man of twenty,
followed his father to the store. Twenty years
earlier, it was the other way in business: then
the young man went first. Mrs. Grant had a hun-
WHAT WAS IN THAT BASKET? 17
dred things to do before night; and poor Fred
was left with nothing to console him but the
hard necessity of being at school promptly at half-
past eight, and reciting his arithmetic at nine. He
hadn't looked at his sums.
H OW strange it is, that, the instant you get a
new idea, every thing you see reminds you
of it! Mr. Grant had passed Towle's grocery-
store every morning for the previous month; and
every morning, from the same pane in the corner-
window, a showy advertisement of White's Cham-
pion Game Blacking had looked out at him. But
it was not until this morning that he noticed the
design. There was an immense boot, highly pol-
ished, and a game-cock, with neck-feathers stand-
ing out like the fierce rays of an angry sun,
driving at his own reflection in the boot. A boy
as black and shining as the boot- the result of
Nature's blacking stood by, highly delighted
with the scene. Mr. Grant fairly stopped.in the
street to admire the picture, and passed on, smil-
ing. It was the game-cock that stopped him.
What did he care for White's Blacking?
An hour later, when Mrs. Grant was stopping at
the market on her way down town, to order some
butter, she remembered that Norah wanted some
fresh eggs. Have you any fresh eggs ? she
asked Mr. Porter. "Yes 'um," said Porter, point-
ing to a huge box: "them's fresh." Just think of
it, a hundred dozen eggs all fresh! There was
nothing better: so Mrs. Grant took a dozen. But
she said to herself as she went away, NoT, if we
only had hens, how nice it would be!"
It certainly looks as if Fred would get his wish.
But he, poor fellow, does not see it. At that
very moment he was up in arithmetic. Grant,"
said Miss Rush, you may take the eleventh ex-
If a dozen and a half of eggs cost a dollar
and a half, how much will one egg cost ?"
The blood rushed to Fred's face as he read the
question. It seemed as if the old 'rithmetic was
telling his secret. He repeated the question, ac-
cording to rule, and then started on the solution.
If a dozen and a half cost a dollar and a half,
one dozen will cost no, one egg will cost as
many no, as much as one and a half is con-
tained And then, thinking he had better dis-
pose of the question in parts, he suddenly dropped
the fraction, and tried to get at the value of one
egg from the whole numbers. But you cannot
drop half a dozen eggs without getting into
trouble; and Fred had to pick them up again,
rather the worse for the fall. To complete his
F. GRANT CO.
misery, he began to talk, by slip of tongue, about
half an egg being worth so much. All the boys
laughed; and Fred sat down in disgrace.
He did not go out to play at recess. He knew
the boys would be teasing him about his blunder.
It was a sensitive subject for more reasons than
the boys knew. He had to take their raillery
after school, however. Even Jimmy, his best
friend, joined the crowd, and wanted to know the
value of "a half an egg." Jimmy little knew
what flattering business-prospects were imperilled
by his love of a joke. Fred had resolved to take
Jimmy into partnership, if his proposals to his
father about the hen-trade were favorably re-
ceived. The day was coming when the value of
half an egg would be a serious question to Jim-
There, I have as much as told you how it all
turned out, and how the famous firm of F.
Grant & Co." came into existence.
That evening, when the family were taking tea,
the talk running upon the various doings of the
day, Mr. Grant said to his wife, "I called on
our sick neighbor, Miss Pleasant, as I was coming
home from the store."
Did you? said Mrs. Grant : "I am very glad.
I intended to go there myself; but my errands
down town took all the time. How is she? "
No worse, I think, but no better, either. I fear
she will never be well. She was very grateful
for the fresh sponge-cake you sent her to-day."
Oh, yes Norah took it over. She is very good
to praise it, I am sure. Norah was not satisfied
with her luck, or rather with the eggs she was
obliged to use. She privately informed me that
she believed they were laid in the ark, mum.' "
She judged by internal evidence, I suppose,"
said young Tom, stealing a phrase from Dr. Bles-
sum's sermon of the previous Sunday.
A dry smile about the corners of Mr. Grant's
mouth, and a look of quiet reproof from Mrs.
Grant, were the only answers Tom received.
Meantime Fred, who had taken no interest in the
visit to Miss Pleasant, not seeing its connection with
his heart's desire, suddenly entered into the dis-
cussion with an earnest statement that Frank
Carter's folks had new-laid eggs every day." His
father smiled such a promising smile at this, that
Fred began at once to take courage. Yes, Mr.
Grant had seen Miss Pleasant, and, among other
things, had asked if the noise of roosters crowing
and hens cackling in the next yard would
trouble her. Not at all," the good-natured in-
valid replied. It would remind her of the dear
home in the country where she lived when a girl.
She would enjoy it above all things.
"Miss Pleasant shall have the first egg that's
laid! cried Fred, jumping at once to the conclu-
F. GRANT 6- CO.
sion that father would let him have the hens.
He could scarcely restrain himself long enough to
eat his supper. No: all he wanted was a bit of
sponge-cake, and he was running away from the
table with that. But this was contrary to rule:
so he hurriedly ate the cake, and gasped out a
request that he might be excused.
Where are you going, Fred ? said his father.
"Oh! into Jimmy Pratt's, to see if he will go
partners with me."
Better not be too hasty, my boy. Partners
are more easily got than got rid of."
But Jimmy wants to keep hens awfully. And
his father hasn't any good yard. I should like to
ask him father; mayn't I? "
Mr. Grant never discouraged any generous pur-
pose in his children, if he could avoid it. When
he found that Fred wished to give his friend pleas-
ure, and not merely to make gain from him, he let
him go, only saying: "Be home in an hour,
Fred. I will furnish the coop. You and Jimmy
shall buy the first hens with your box-money, if
Jimmy agrees. But you understand, Fred, if you
go into partnership, you must always act for your
partner's good as well as your own; and you can
take no important step without his consent."
Of course, Fred knew that. Hadn't he been
doing business all his life in partnerships ? Was
not he a partner in the variety-store of Wells,
Smith, & Co.," a year or two before? and had not
he held a leading interest in the great combination
show of Bubble, Burst, & Co. ? If I should tell
you about these once noted business combinations,
you would understand the reason of Mr. Grant's
warning. His son had indeed been a prominent
member of each of these firms; and I regret to say
that he had not come out of them with either profit
or honor. The variety-store had been opened in
Fred's barn, because it had a window on the street.
Wells was the senior partner, both because he was
older in years, and because he contributed most of
the stock in trade. Smith was a smart, driving
young fellow, born with an instinct for trade, a
valuable member; and Fred was the Co." It
would take too much time to give you an account
of their stock. It embraced nearly every thing
that could be bought for pins. Yes, pins were the
currency among boys in those days: no mere
paper slips, which might be counterfeited. When
you see a pin, you know it. If it is bent, you can
see it. If its head is off, you see it. If you are in
doubt about its point, a very simple experiment
will test that question. Why do not men use
pins for money? As I was saying, Wells, Smith,
& Co. kept almost every thing that could be
bought for pins. The window fronting on Pine
Street showed to the public, or would have done
so if its panes had been clean, a tempting array.
F. GRANT & CO.
There were fly-catchers made of old writing
books, little square boxes, with a front-door for
the flies to enter, and a brown spot of molasses
just inside the door, looking like a door-mat, on
which the flies were expected, not exactly to wipe
their feet, but to stick them in the forgetfulness
of their sweet repast. There were windmills,
their sails made of the same old writing-books, and
pinned to the end of a stick. Held against the
wind in the hands of a swift boy, they would whizz
around so briskly, that you could hardly tell
whether it was the boy who ran them, or they who
ran the boy. Rosy-cakes, in the season of roses,
were also a choice commodity. The square enve-
lopes, made again out of old writing-books, con-
tained sugar and rose-petals in nearly equal parts,
and so compounded by a gentle application of the
hammer, that they came out like a cake on open-
ing the paper-shell. Some of the older customers
had scruples about eating cakes baked in this
manner by friction in inky paper; but the boys
despised such superior nicety. There were other
refreshments of a more substantial character: gin-
gerbread in fanciful shape, Jim Crows, elephants,
goats, and cats. Norah had been teased into fur-
nishing this department, after designs procured at
the tinman's. There was a strange resemblance
between the cat and the elephant, and the goat
and Jim Crow, which Norah explained by saying
that the critturs run together after she put 'em
into the oven." If they did, it was the only life-
like thing about them. They never ran anywhere
else, or looked as if their legs could hold them
upright, much less run.
But the liveliest trade of Wells, Smith, & Co.,
was in liquid refreshments, -lemonade, ginger-
water, molasses-water, licorice-water, currant-ale,
and raspberry-shrub, all in tall black bottles,
standing at one end of the counter, and politely
lifting their cork hats to every customer who
could pay as high as ten pins. As one tumbler
had to serve for the distribution of these various
drinks, and neither seller nor customer was over
nice about the rinsing, it often happened that he
who called for one flavor found himself the happy
sharer in all. Thus a tumbler of licorice-water
would catch a speck of ginger from its preceding
draught, and find its too much sweetness im-
proved by the addition; or a stray lemon-seed or
bit of peel would, after the lemonade had been
well disposed of, still hang around the bewitching
tumbler. These were some of the features in the
great variety-store, of which Fred had been the
It is worth our while to recall this previous
business-venture of Fred's, because it illustrates
at once his fondness for partnerships, and his early
inability to be perfectly fair in such relations.
F. GRANT f CO.
For one day in an interval of business, such
intervals, by the way, were not infrequent, after
the novelty wore off, the two younger members
of the firm might have been seen in a carpenter's
yard on Pine Street, disporting themselves among
the timber there, while the senior partner had
gone away on an errand for his mother. Smith &
Co., i.e., Smith and Fred, were having a lively
time on a teeter, which they had made by placing
a stout board, not too rough, upon a wooden horse
that stood in the yard. There had already been
some unpleasantness between the boys on the
subject of their chances for the presidency of
the United States; Smith blasting Fred's political
hopes by quoting a newspaper paragraph, which
said that nobody whose name began with G would
ever be president. Oh, how- happy Fred would
have been, if he could have foreknown that U. S.
Grant would be twice elected president -" a man
whose name not only began with G,' but was
followed by an R' and an A' and an N' and a
'T.' So !" That is the way in which he would
have demolished Smith's argument, if he had
foreknown. But, not having this defence, he was
obliged to defer to the newspaper, that great
authority with small boys. He was still smarting
from the disaster his presidential hopes had suf-
fered, when an uncommonly hard bump of Smith's
end of the teeter pitched him forward, bringing
his hands into sharp contact with some splinters
on the sides of the board, and bringing him down
again in an emphatic manner, not at all soothing
to his ruffled feelings.
"Now, stop that, Smith! That's mean. Let
me down, or it will be worse for you!" cried Fred.
Don't get mad, Co.," said the provoking Smith,
giving his end a gentle thud upon the ground,
and making Fred take another pitch forward.
The junior, never remarkable for an easy temper,
became furious at this. There is no knowing
what he would have done to Smith, if he had had
him at the elevation where he was himself. But
when his feet touched the ground, after a little
more teasing, a sudden thought seized him, which
quite changed his purpose of striking Smith.
Now, what do you think he did, boys?
Went off mad, and wouldn't speak to- Smith
again as long as he lived!"
There is no doubt that he went away mad. I
believe he seriously intended not to speak to Smith
for the remainder of his natural life. But he had
a far more definite plan of revenge in his mind
than that. He went straight to the shop on Pine
Street, and drank up all the licorice-water.
Fortunately for Smith and Wells, and still more
fortunately for Fred, the other bottles were nearly
empty. Such was the boy's rage, that I believe he
would have disposed of the entire stock in trade,
28 F. GRANT Y CO.
if the licorice-water had not proved a surfeit.
The next day he and Smith were as good friends
as ever; and Fred had to make the loss good,
which was all he gained by getting angry.
I mention this to show you that F. Grant had
not always been perfectly just in his co-partner-
It was exactly the same in the great combina-
tion show of Bubble, Burst, & Co. But I cannot
stop to tell about that, or it will be long past bed-
time before I get Fred safely back from Jimmy
Pratt's, whither he was running when we saw him
last, with the joyful news that he was going to
keep hens, and "how would Jimmy like to go
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
OF course you know what makes more noise
than a pig under a gate, two pigs. Well,
then, you know what is a happier sight than a boy
who is allowed to keep hens, two boys who are
allowed to keep hens. Jimmy was in such a state
of delight at the opportunity of engaging in this
profitable pastime, that he instantly ran to his
sleeping-room, where his savings-bank-a tin
house, with an open chimney, into which his
pennies flew like swallows, but out of which they
came like turtles -was kept in the right-hand
back corner of the bureau-drawer, and returned
with all the money he was worth in the world.
After much coaxing and shaking, and, in very
obstinate cases, some assistance with a knitting-
needle, Jimmy succeeded in emptying his bank
without breaking it; a thing which cannot be done
with a real bank, you know. His entire fortune
was found to consist of fifty-two cents, or, more
exactly, forty-two cents in coppers, and two half-
F. GRANT 6" CO.
dimes. "Enough to buy one hen, any way," he
said; and father would give him a quarter, he
guessed. Fred did not know the amount of his
worldly possessions exactly, but was sure his father
would make up whatever was lacking. Boys
always think their fathers are made of gold. And
thus on the strength, partly of their own capital,
but largely in the expectation of help from their
fathers, they entered into partnership.
It was as good a beginning as half the young
men who enter upon more serious business engage-
ments make. I wonder if more of them would
not succeed, if they had nothing to back them but
a good backbone. There were no legal formali-
ties in the formation of this new firm. The possi-
bility of trouble in such a glorious business never
occurred to these young enthusiasts. Each boy
would own one hen, and half the rooster, at the
beginning; and of course the expenses of keeping
would be shared equally between them. But that
would not amount to any thing: the eggs would
pajr for the "keep." Mr. Grant would furnish
the coop without rent, and all would be smoc th
sailing when the stock was secured.
What a pity it was so late The boys would
have set out on a poultry-hunt that very moment,
had it not been past the hour when all sensible hens
went to roost. Where should they buy their
hens? Where did Frank Carter get his setting-
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS. 31
hen ? they wondered. Oh! I remember: at Far-
mer Green's," said Jimmy; "over in South
Jeruh, you know, Fred, where we went for violets
Hepaticas, you mean," said Fred in his supe-
rior way. Catch Fred, or any public-school boy,
conscious from his second copy-book that knowl-
edge is power, losing a chance of correcting any-
body Fred's better knowledge of flowers came
from having two sisters who knew all the wild-
flowers, and encouraged his fondness for them.
Well, hepaticas, then, or shepatikas; any thing
you like," said Jimmy, to whom every wild flower
was a violet, unless it was a dandelion. "But
don't you remember the old farmhouse just beyond
Stanley's, on the other side, in back, behind some
old buttonwood-trees? You must remember the
barn, and the great red ox for a weathercock."
Oh, yes! is that Green's? I remember. Does
he sell hens ? We'll go and see his coops to-mor-
row. Does he keep Brahmas, I wonder? "
"He keeps hens, if that is what you mean,"
said Jimmy, whose knowledge of the various
breeds of poultry was on a par with his knowledge
Oh, yes, of course! but I meant, does he keep
Brahmas, or or or some other kind of hens,"
said Fred; his own knowledge of the varieties
stopping short with this famous breed.
F. GRANT f CO.
Some other kind, I guess," answered Jimmy.
"We'll go and see. For my part, I want the kind
that lays eggs."
The young partners might have talked on until
midnight, in the warmth of their new hopes, if
Mrs. Pratt had not called Jimmy to come and
study his arithmetic for the morrow.
Oh, bother!" said the boy to his visitor; at
the same time calling to his mother, Yes, in a min-
ute. I say, Fred," added Jimmy in a laughing
tone, so good-natured that nobody could take
offence, "if a dozen and a half of eggs cost"-
"Get out!" cried Fred. "I'll let you know
what half an egg will cost, one of these days."
Unconscious prophet! he meant nothing by his
threat. He only uttered it to ward off a joke.
Nevertheless, his word was prophecy.
Shall we go to-morrow afternoon, Fred? "
"Yes, I should like to; but, no, we can't get
the hens till we have the coop. Let us wait until
Saturday. I think we can get the old tool-room
ready by that time, and perhaps the outside coop
too. Good-night, Jimmy."
It was not a difficult task to raake the coop.
Two hens and a rooster do not need a big house
in which to begin housekeeping. It being once
decided that the thing was to be done, Mr. Grant
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS. 33
made his arrangements with the carpenter at once;
and, on Saturday of that week, the coop was
Be ready to start at two o'clock," had been
Fred's last word to Jimmy, when they parted at
his gate, after the morning session on this same
Saturday. At ten minutes before two, Jimmy
might have been seen in Fred's yard, peering
through the slats of the empty coop, and joyously
imagining how it would look when the hens
arrived. Fred had got their supper ready for
them, a handful of corn in a saucer, and a cup of
water; both cup and saucer borrowed from the
family breakfast-set. The carpenter having for-
gotten the roosts, Fred had put up a rake-handle,
whose smooth surface would be about as easy a
resting-place for ordinary hens as for Fred him-
self, if he had undertaken to keep his footing
upon it. But, say what one would of the roost,
the nests were perfection. Fred had made them
himself, and no hen but a Dorking could have
equalled his workmanship; unless it be some other
hen with five toes. The five fingers of Fred's
right hand, spread out as much like a hen's claw
as Fred could make them, had run themselves
through and through and round and about that
hay, till it looked as snug and convenient, for all
practical purposes, as a door-mat.
Come along, Jimmy," was Fred's prompt sum-
F. GRANT CO.
mons, as he came running from the side-doorstep:
"have you brought your money ? "
Yes, seventy-five cents. Father made me earn
the other twenty-three chopping kindling-wood.
He said he didn't believe in young folks going into
business on borrowed capital, or on their father's
I'm going to pay father back in eggs," said
Fred. "I had to borrow twenty-five cents of him."
South Jeruh, whither the boys were going, was
a suburb of Old Jeruh. One of the city streets
came to a stand-still by the town-pump, just below
Pine Street, as if to refresh itself for further prog-
ress. Three streets besides Pine might have con-
tended for the honor of its name when it passed the
pump; and probably would, if, fortunately, each
of these connecting streets had not had a good
name of its own. The long one, named for Wash-
ington because he had come into town over it
when he visited Jeruh, stretched along rather dis-
mally for a while, flanked by a dock on one side,
and planing-mills on the other, which kept up a
deafening scream to the terror of horses, and the
agony of those who were driving them. The
boys passed these lions on either hand, at the en-
tiance to the palace of their young desires, Far-
mer Green's hennery; and came to a drawbridge,
which fortunately was not up. If it had been up,
both boys in their impatience would have declared
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
that it was just their luck. But as it was down,
and did no interfere in the least with their plans,
but carried them safely over the stream, they
forgot to say that it was their luck.
Once over the bridge, Washington Street, or
Avenue as the people now call it (it was nothing
but Squam Road before Washington came over
it), began to improve. Fred and Jimmy had a
stretch of a full mile between them and Stanley's,
the old manorial seat of one of Jeruh's old aris-
tocracy; and Green's farmhouse was beyond
that. But it was pleasant walking. What could
be pleasanter, on a warm spring day, than a walk
to Stanley's?--the street broad and lively with
people taking their afternoon drives; the neat
houses on either side, each attended by pretty
yards or gardens. Hyacinths and crocuses were
up and blooming in sunny exposures, and the lilac
buds were bursting with eager life. Elm-trees,
now and then varied with horse-chestnuts or lin-
dens, adorned both sides of the long avenue; and,
as it approached Stanley's, as if conscious of their
mighty neighborhood, the elms towered into mag-
nificent proportions, and made a grand archway.
At least, the Stanleys were proud of the elms, if
the elms were not proud of the Stanleys; and when
one knows that these trees have been planted by
the Stanley family, and are still sacredly defended
from the axe of improvement by their descend-
F. GRANT 6- CO.
ants, it seems just and natural that they should
be proud of one another. But proud or not, be
your name Stanley or Smith, I do not envy you,
if you could walk along this glorious highway,
and not feel delighted with it. Fred and Jimmy,
for all their minds were bent on bargains and
trade, could not escape the charm of the journey.
The robins, singing away up in the tall elms,
seemed to say to them, "Go it, boys, go it, boys "
And they did go it, as fast as their feet would
carry them; now stopping a minute to look at
Parkman's garden, and again making up for their
loss of time by wild races to see which would
reach the corner or the next elm-tree first.
" Just look at that schooner, Jimmy! And the
boys looking across the road, and down a sloping
green field, could see the waters of the harbor
sparkling with a thousand eyes, and chased with
swimming vessels of every description. Beyond the
waters, the land offered its arm to the sea, which
was very promptly taken by the same, and a likely
couple they made of it. I do not know but I
have made the man take the woman's arm in this
fine figure. If I have, I beg pardon; for of all
absurd, not to say indecent customs now coming
into practice among certain classes of the people,
this one of having the man take the woman's arm
is the worst. It reminds me of poor Fred's blun-
der, the first party he ever attended. When sup-
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
per was announced, he ran up to pretty Sadie
Balch, and, without so much as "By your leave,"
took her by the arm to lead her to supper. If
you could have seen the blush and flash with
which that young lady reversed arms, you would
be sure never to make that mistake with a lady.
Fred never did such a thing again.
But the sea. It was splendid that day; just
like a coop of Jersey Blues with white combs, as
Fred might have said later on in the hen-fever.
As it was, he merely enjoyed it because it was
like itself. That was enough. A quarter of a
mile farther on, and the sea-view is lost behind a
rocky bluff; and under the bluff, sheltered from
the raw north-easters, that sometimes made Jeruh
harbor, and shielded from the full beams of the
sun by some ancient shade-trees, stood Farmer
But something better than Farmer Green's
house was standing in front of it, as the boys ap-
proached. Little Molly Green was there, looking
in the strip of garden which surrounded the house
to see if she could find any Cupid's Delights in
bloom. Cupid's Delights, indeed! She only
needed to look in the glass any day to see a face
which Cupid would have delighted in at first
sight. No, boys! I shall not tell you whether
her eyes were brown or blue, or what color her
hair was, or any thing about her. I am not writ-
F. GRANT 6f CO.
ing a love-story, and I will not have you falling
in love, and interfering with the business in hand.
My work is to describe the business transactions
of F. Grant & Co., and Molly Green was not a
partner in that firm. I will not say that the boys
would not have taken her in with gladness, if she
had chosen to enter into partnership; but she
gave them no opportunity to make any such pro-
posals. Looking up as she caught the sound of
their footsteps, she stopped an instant; and, before
they could inquire for her father, she had bounded
into the farmhouse door, like a wild young crea-
ture of nature, as, indeed, she was. The boys
came up to the door, in no way disconcerted by
this rather ungracious reception, and knocked. A
woman with a flushed but pleasant face, only a
little disturbed at the interruption of a visitor on
Saturday afternoon, opened the door, and asked
the boys what they wanted.
To see. Mr. Green, and buy some of his hens,"
"Well, I donno' about selling the hens, jest as
they're coming' on to lay," said Mrs. Green, for it
was the farmer's wife; "but you can come in,
and set down, boys."
I give you her very words. Come in, and set
down," said Mrs. Green, just as if she was talking
to hens, and not to boys, and father will be up
in a minute. He's gone down the lane a little
RICHES BEGIN TO. TAKE WINGS. 39
The boys were not at all unwilling to come in,
and "set down." But whether it was the cheer-
ful kitchen, with its rich smell of the good things
that went into the Saturday baking, or something
else, that drew them, somebody else must decide.
A pair of bright eyes were looking out of the
pantry doorway at the time: that is all that I
0 Jiminy! What a nice kitchen said Fred.
He did not say Jimmy," or I should have writ-
ten it so. He said "Jiminy." I do not pretend
that the expression is- elegant. I only say it was
what Fred said.
Jimmy made no answer, unless the pleasure
that beamed from his face was an answer. He
sat looking at every thing,-and trying to take it all
in. But he couldn't do it. No boy could. Twenty
boys together couldn't take in the contents of one
of Mrs. Green's Saturday bakes. It was as much
as the great oven itself could do; and after the
pies, and ceteras," as Mrs. Green called the at-
tendant turnovers and tarts, there were the Sun-
day pudding and beans' to go in and pass the
night.. Oh! mustn't they have slept warm ? She
was taking out th6 pies and ceteras when the
boys knocked at the door; and she returned to her
occupation without ceremony, thrusting a long
shovel into the oven, and drawing the plates to
the mouth, and then seizing them with a coarse
F. GRANT A CO.
towel, and placing them on the brick hearth, be-
fore one could say Jack Robinson."
Molly called her mother, as she landed the
last beauty of a pie upon the hearth, can't you
hand the boys a tart ? I guess these young gen-
tlemen wouldn't be the worse for a bit of our bak-
ing. Would you, boys ? Bring in those turnovers
that we tried the oven with, Molly: they must be
cool by this time."
A bang of the pantry-door was the only answer
from Molly; followed by a subdued bang of another
door farther away, which said, as plainly as words,
that Molly had gone. Mrs. Green only laughed
at her child's disobedience. She seemed accus-
tomed to it. "She's a bashful little goose," said
Mrs. Green, half apologizing for Molly's shyness,
and more than half admiring it. The boys looked
as if their sympathies were divided between ad-
miration for the pretty girl, and concern lest they
should lose their treat by her refusal to bring it.
The latter feeling was uppermost however, as
their significant glances from the good housewife
to the pantry and back again clearly showed.
But they did not know Mrs. Green if they
thought that there was any doubt about her gen-
erous intention to treat them. She went herself
to the pantry, and brought out a platter of flaky
turnovers all tucked in around the edge, and trying
in vain to keep the secret of their delicious con-
RICHES BEGIN TO .TAKE WINGS. 41
tents. It would come out; but the smell would
have betrayed them if the mince had not. Don't
be bashful, boys," said that delightful woman: the
boys loved her already as if they had known her
all their lives, instead of only fifteen minutes.
And they did eat. Try a crooked S, boys," said
Mrs. Green, after each had despatched a mince
turnover. Try a tart," after that; and so I be-
lieve that woman would have kept them eating all
night if the pantry-door had not suddenly opened,
when they were hesitating about another tart, and
a girl's voice cried out, Pap's coming! A loud
bang of the door following this announcement
almost drowned, the sentence; but the farmer's
step in the doorway told the same story, and con-
firmed Molly's clamorous report.
Here's some young gentlemen wanting to buy
hens," explained the woman, as her husband came
into the kitchen, and looked in a surprised but
kindly way at the boys.
Oh! ah! I didn't know but they was going
into the baking business," said Farmer Green jok-
ingly. They seem to take to the ceteras,'
"Now, ain't you ashamed, Mr. Green? Any-
body'd think you'd never been a boy yourself, and
eat turnovers by the dozens. Don't you mind him,
boys. Take another, do; now, don't you be
F. GRANT Sf CO.
So you're going into the hen-business, boys,"
said the farmer. How much cash shall you put
Oh! we have got seventy-five cents apiece,"
said Fred; and father gives us the coop, and the
eggs will pay for the corn, you know."
Oh, yes, to be sure! said Mr. Green, just as
if he saw it with Fred's eyes; but his own eyes
had a merry twinkle in them which seemed to say,
" Oh, yes, you think so! but I'm not so sure
"Well, how many hens do you expect to buy
with your money?" he went on.
We don't know: as many as you will let us
have," said Fred.
Frank Carter told us that you let him have a
hen for thirty cents," said Jimmy, whose eye for
a bargain was clearer than Fred's.
Yes," said the farmer, but that was a setting-
hen: she was in my way. I couldn't sell another
'z cheap as that."
Suppose you go and look at the hens," said
Mrs. Green: perhaps you can find some to suit
you. Don't you be skeered, boys: he'll let you
have some; he never says Yes' till he's said
Wall, I declare, Hannah, if that ain't a pretty
thing for you to say about me! Who was it said
' No,' and kept saying it, till the minister made her
say Yes,' I should like to know ? "
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
Come, go along," said Mrs. Green, redder than
the oven ever made her: I want to clean up the
So the farmer and the boys went out; and there
in the centre of the yard was a sight that made
their eyes shine brighter than they shone at the
pies. Molly had found out by listening at the
door that the boys wanted to buy some hens: so,
nothing loath to show them any favor which would
not bring her too near them, she had filled her
apron with corn; and there she stood with hens,
chickens, and roosters all around her, ready for
the customers to make their choice. She knew
they would not touch her hen: nobody wanted
" Whitey but herself; for poor "Whitey" had
once broken her leg, and was terribly lame.
Molly had saved her life when Farmer Green was
about to kill her, and that was the reason Molly
loved her. Boys, if you want to love anybody
go and do them a kindness. Seeing the boys
coming nearer, Molly quickly scattered all the
corn she had, and ran to the woodshed, which
was near by, and from which she could see and
hear without being seen or heard herself.
It was a goodly show; "fifty hens at least,
counting the roosters," as Fred said that evening
at the supper-table, when he was describing the
scene. But he didn't count them: who could?
You might as well attempt to count the drops in a
F. GRANT 1& CO.
shower as a crowd of feeding hens. It is almost
as bad as counting the votes in a corrupt ward of
a great city. The same specimen gets counted so
many times! Now, if any three or four of these
hens, taken at random, had been left at Fred's door
by Farmer Green, he would have been perfectly
satisfied. But, standing with the whole assort-
ment before him, it was hard to choose; that is,
it was hard to suit, at the same time, his taste, and
the rather slender capital which he proposed to
invest in the poultry-business. At one time it
looked as if he would lay out his whole fortune
in roosters, he was so much delighted with their
fine feathers. And really one of them was worth
a small fortune. The curve of that cock's neck
was like the sweep of Niagara, a glorious flood of-
brown and yellow, of every possible shade and.
combination. He had a breastplate of steel
chased with gold, finer than Ivanhoe's. His
wings seemed to scatter emeralds and sapphires
and topazes every time he flapped them; and the
rich flood of feathers that fell down his neck ran
streaming over his back in amber currents. But
the tail was the splendidest. Imagine a fountain
of jet-black breaking into an emerald spray, and
the wind catching the topmost shoot, and flinging
it off like a double pennon in the air. Oh, he was
a beauty and when he shook his mighty head, and
let his tallest tail-feather touch the ground, and
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS. 45
crowed, it seemed as if he were the Donnybrook
Irishman himself, who went round at the fair trail-
ing his coat-tail on the ground, and begging any-
body that dared jist to tread upon the tail of his
coat." The boys were loud in admiration of this
magnificent creature, and wanted to know how
much would buy him. If their united capital had
been sufficient, they would not have hesitated a
minute. At least Fred would not: his eye for
beauty was so much stronger than his eye for busi-
ness. But this rooster was out of the question.
He could not be bought, not even if the boys had
been willing to take an inferior hen as his only
companion. Fred would have been satisfied to
take that rooster and old Whitey, and said so. But
this bargain was soon knocked on the head. For
the proposal was no sooner made, than a sudden
terror seized all the hens; and amid fearful cries
from the great-throated rooster, of "Hawk!
hawk run, run, r-r-un! Molly dashed into
the group, and carried Whitey off to a place of
But Saturday is a busy day, boys. Farmer
Green cannot wait all night for Fred and Jimmy
to choose a pair of hens. So the young mer-
chants decide at once upon a Number 2
rooster, and two hens to match. Jimmy chose a
trim, compact little hen with a copple-crown, war-
ranted to lay; and Fred a coal-black, long-necked,
F. GRANT & CO.
long-legged pullet, which he imagined to be a bird
of some rare breed, stolen away by gypsies, per-
haps, from some royal coop, and dropped down
among those common fowls.
"Never mind the string, Mr. Green: we can
hold them," said the boys, as the struggling biddies
were caught, and handed to them; "and you will
be sure to bring the cock in on Monday."
Yes: never you fear boys. Better keep a tight
hold of those critters' drumsticks, or they'll be
giving you leg-bail."
Oh, we'll fix 'em! said Fred, giving his long-
legged crow an admonitory clutch, as she lay on
one arm with her feet tightly clasped by the hand
of the other. Another moment, and he would
have lost her, as with a piercing shriek, and des-
perate flap of the wings, she started to free her-
Well, good luck to you, boys," said Farmer
Green. It'll be your loss, and not mine, if they
get away from you. Hadn't you better wait till
Monday, and let me bring 'em all together? "
"No." The boys would not hear of it. They
must have the hens that night. Their coop was
all ready for them, supper and all. They could
Come again, boys," said Mrs. Green as she
came to the door with broom in hand, pleasantly
sweeping out the mud which they themselves had
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
brought in with their boots. Molly, can't you
ask the young gentlemen to come again ? "
The shy little figure behind her mother, still
holding Whitey in her arms, as if she were not safe
till those horrid boys were gone, flushed very red
at being thus appealed to, and with an indignant
"No, I don't want 'em," vanished from sight.
She thinks you want her tame chicken, boys,"
said Mrs. Green, laughing at Molly's fears, and
apologizing for her rudeness. "She'll make friends
with you another day."
Good afternoon, Mrs. Green; thank you very
much for the treat you gave us," said Fred. "Yes,
thank you very much," added Jimmy.
Oh, you're welcome, boys! Don't forget to
come again, and come Saturday, mind."
Thank you, thank you!" said both boys, and
went down the path to the road which led to town,
as happy as the king of Cochin China; or perhaps
I ought to say, as happy as that king must be if he
really has as many hens of that breed as he wants.
But how often it happens that the moment of
purest happiness precedes immediately the moment
of deepest distress! Just as the boys hadgoneby
Stanley's, and were passing an open field enclosed
by a stone wall, a troop of noisy children came
rushing round the corner, shouting as if they were
possessed. Both boys started, and so did both
hens, who up to this time had been wonderfully
48 F. GRANT f CO.
quiet. Jimmy held tight hold of Copple-crown,
but poor Fred was not so fortunate. With a fear-
ful cry that rung in Fred's ears like a watchman's
rattle, the high-bred fowl he was carrying left his
arms, and, mounting the stone-wall, disappeared in
the field beyond, in much quicker time than it
takes to tell the story.
The look of dismay that filled Fred's counte-
nance when he saw fifty cents' worth of live stock
going in the poetical way which his copy-book de-
scribed, Riches take to themselves wings,"
was a curious blending of the pitiful with the lu-
dicrous. Even the sense of partnership in the
loss could not keep Jimmy from laughing out
aloud. Go for her, quick," he cried. And Fred
did go for her with all speed, mounting the wall
as if, for the occasion, he were endowed with
wings. Not a sight or sign of the creature could
he discern. Where could she have gone ? Up a
tree? But he would have seen her. Down a
hole? But hens can't burrow. Into the stone-
wall? No, she was not a squirrel. Where, then?
Along the edge of the field there was a tangle
of last year's grass mixed with weeds; and what
was that black thing sticking up in the midst of
them? A burnt log, I guess. An old hat, per-
haps. "Iguess a lost hen," said Fred, making a
bold dash for it; and, seizing the struggling legs, he
drew the frightened waif out of the hole, into
RICHES BEGIN TO TAKE WINGS.
which, like an ostrich, she had thrust her head, and
restored her to her place on his arm. Who'll
crow now ? said Fred as he climbed back into the
road, and joined Jimmy. Like to see her do that
"Like to see you do that again," said Jim-
And so the boys went on, fore-armed by this
warning against the dangers of the way. Other
children followed them, calling out after them,
" Oh, ho, ho got a hen, got a hen! "- Little
fools," said Fred. "Suppose they think that's
funny." When they came to the bridge, the
draw was up. "Just our luck," said Fred. I
told you he would, boys. Then the captive hens
had a great fright at the planing-mill. They
seemed to think it was some mighty rooster
screaming, HAWKS! r-r-r-r-r-r-r-un," at the
top of his lungs. But, this danger passed, it was
safe going up Pine Street to Fred's yard. Their
last peril was over when Mary Grant, who was
playing on the sidewalk, opened the gate for
them, and they passed in triumph to the
Shut the door! quick!" cried the boys, as
they tossed their spry booty into the house pre-
pared for its reception. A push of the lath-door,
a turn of the button, and then, if Fred and Jimmy
had possessed the power, I believe they would
50 F. GRANT 6- CO.
have crowed like fifty roosters all at once. The
deed was done. Two live hens were bought,
transported, and delivered; and the firm of F.
Grant & Co., dealers in poultry live or dead, and
eggs at retail or wholesale," was established.
BUBBLE, BURST, AND CO.
T UT what about Bubble, Burst & Co. ? You
Shave never told us about that," I 1 etir my
young reader say. Yes, I remember; and, if you
will spare me a chapter for the subject, I will
describe that great combination of which Fred
Grant had been business partner and manager,
exhibiter, prestigiator, and bright, particular star.
You may imagine, from the variety of his offices,
that this was no common enterprise in which Fred
had embarked. Of course, it will be understood
that Bubble, Burst, & Co.," is only a blind name.
It would never do to tell the real names of the
boys who took part in it. In its day it was a
novelty. Barnum has succeeded in almost doing
something like it since. I wonder if he got his
idea of the New-York Museum from this early
effort of the Jeruh boys. The Boston Museum
shall have the credit of almost equalling the great
combination show of Bubble," &c., before it
rounded out into its full orb of beauty from the
F. GRANT f CO.
pipe of Fred Grant and his partners. But our
show was much more varied. See if it was not.
In the first place, there was a museum proper.
That is to say, there was a pine-table in one cor.
ner of the barn-chamber of Charley Bubble, sen-
ior partner; and on that table there were bits of
rock from very famous places. Plymouth Rock,
of course, was there. Is there any spot in America
where it is not? Bits of mica-schist from Mount
Washington, warranted. Charley had picked it
himself on a summer visit to the mountains.
Agate from Lake Superior. A little mug of the
yellow and white Niagara stone, looking strangely
human among the ruder forms of nature. There
was some dispute about admitting this into the
collection of minerals. Was it natural, or was
it artificial? that was the question. Of course
it was both; but on the whole, as it was really
rather less a mug than a stone, it was passed.
But why linger on the pebbles of the shore, when
the whole ocean is before you ? Enough to say,
there were quarts of rocks, and rocks of quartz, on
this small table; and small slips of paper scattered
among the specimens told their natural history.
Sometimes the specimens changed places. Indeed,
a gust of wind had scattered the slips far and
wide, on the day before the first exhibition; and
an uneasy doubt existed in the boys' minds,
whether Plymouth Rock was Mount Washington,
BUBBLE, BURST, CO.
or the agate was the quartz, or the mica was some-
thing else. But the mug they were urTe of.
Happy rock thus saved from Nature's indiscrimi-
nate marking, by the touch of man! The boys
knew the Niagara mug, "any way."
On another table, near by, were treasures from
the sea. Pieces of coral, shells from the Indies, a
junk-bottle incrusted with shells (the sensible
mollusks had contented themselves with the out-
side of the bottle: I wish men were as wise);
some five-fingered jacks, baked to a turn in the
warm sun; two or three horse-shoes, past service
now; and a book of sea-mosses kindly loaned to
the museum by Miss Alice Grant, sister of the
junior partner. 0 creation! how shall I ever
describe the specimens of thy three kingdoms,
that were displayed in Charley Bubble's barn?
Two small tables held them all; but a library of
books would not contain all that might be said
about them. One specimen more, and I shall have
done. A stuffed owl was perched above the ta-
bles, looking as wise as if he knew all creation.
That bird ought to have been a professor of nat-
ural science. His face would have atoned for all
he did not know.
So much for the museum.
Now take seats, gentlemen! Ladies, will you..
please be seated? Two or three rough boards.
very transiently lodging on casks and crickets of
F. GRANT S CO.
unequal heights, a stray chair or two, and an
upturned butter-tub, were the seating accommo-
dations of the little theatre. At the command of
a bell violently rung three times, the curtain, or,
rather, the booking, for that is what it was, slowly
rose. Let me explain that the graceful '.a:-in,,
of the curtain in the centre was designed. At
least, the booking would do so; and the managers,
not being able to change it, agreed that it was a
very pretty effect, and let it bag. It certainly did
not hurt the spectacle which was first exhibited,
"A country scene." No! not acting, but a nat-
ural tableau; a miniature tableau. Very pretty it
was too, and easily made by a boy of taste. Any
board four feet square will do for a foundation,
if you put a rim around it.
Then cover the board with earth, spreading it
about, and making hills and valleys with it. Then
get some nice green moss, and sod the whole over.
Take sprigs of spruce, or any other evergreen, and
stick them along the sides of the hills for forests.
Get a bit of broken looking-glass for a lake. Put
a glass duck or two on the lake. Never mind if
the ducks are nearly as large as the lake: no
danger of their getting drowned. Of course, you
can find some wooden houses up garret, in the
old crib where the cast-off playthings are stored:
scatter them over the country. And, while you
are about it, bring along some of those wooden
BUBBLE, BURST, 3- CO.
cattle that have survived the ark they used to live
in. They will do to stock the pastures.
It was such a scene as this on which the visitors
at Bubble's Theatre were asked to gase, after the
excitement of the exhibition of curiosities was
over. To add to the naturalness of the spectacle,
an ingenious boy, concealed behind the table,
squeezed a specimen or two of that dry fungus
which comes up in gardens in the spring, and
made a cloud of smoke rise gracefully from behind
the mimic forests. Put a blue curtain, with a
round, illuminated hole in it for the sun, behind
this stretch of field, wood, mountain, valley, and
flood, and the effect isn't bad: at least, the man-
agers thought so. "If only the blue curtain,
which stood for the sky, wouldn't look green in
the candle-light by which the scene was illumin-
ated," as Charley Bubble said. But it would
and did; and one malicious spectator drew atten-
tion to the green sky, in a whisper so ldud that
Fred, who was acting as showman before the
curtain, heard it, and hastened to assure the
audience that the sky was a real sky-blue, for his
sister had matched it herself. Took a piece of
the sky to the shop with her, I suppose," muttered
the critical spectator. "Guess she bought it in
the evening; don't you, Smith? For the credit
of human nature, let me say that these ungener-
ous remarks were not liked by the audience, who
F. GRANT & CO.
had come determined to be pleased; and their
warm applause of the scene soothed Fred for the
abuse of that "mean fellow Jones, who was
always spoiling folks' fun."
If anybody would like any thing to eat, cakes
and lemonade can be purchased at the counter,
between the acts." This was announced by Fred,
just after the blocking had come down like the
blanket of the night," and hid the blushing face
of the cambric sun in its sky of dazzling green.
It was a happy hit, having refreshments be-
tween the performances. The audience were sure
to be hungry before another scene appeared. Can
it be that these shrewd managers purposely
delayed their scenes in order to dispose of their
eatables at paying prices? They either did, or
they did not: either way, they reaped the benefit
of the arrangement. It is often so in business suc-
cess. About as many men get rich by sheer clum-
siness as by thrift and foresight. But only the
latter kind know enough to keep their gains.
I really wish I could give my young readers a
taste of those cakes. Norah had made them for
Fred; and I tell you they had some snap in them.
There was a glazing on them that would take the
shine off any thing this side of the sun; and tiny
sugar-plums, white, red, and yellow, clung all over
the shiny side. Any one of them was worth a
whole cent; and they could be bought for ten
BUBBLE, BURST, & CO.
pins each. Think of it! Only ten pins! and a
cake that couldn't be beat, after it was baked, -it
was well beat before,-by any confectioner on
the street, not excepting Mrs. Peters herself; and
everybody in Jeruh knew what cake she could
make. There was only one drawback to these
cakes: they would make the eater dry. But
that was no misfortune, when lemonade like Bub-
ble's could be bought for a small outlay of pins.
If any wealthy patron of the company chose to
settle in coin, cents were not refused. But pins
would admit the bearer to all the sights and privi-
leges of the mammoth show. And such were the
attractions of these refreshing interludes, that many
of the audience spent the last pin about them, to
share the treat, and went home with their collars
riding up their necks, and their sashes dragging
disgracefully, for want of the pin that had gone to
pay for cakes and ade.
The Lion and the Traveller! shouted Fred,
in the midst of this feast.
"Tinkle, tink, tink! tinkle, tink, tink! tinkle,
tinkle, tinkle!" went the bell, and slowly the
heavy curtain rose to its full height. This time,
however, the bag in the middle was really in the
way; and it became necessary to arrange with the
lion and the traveller a slight delay of proceeding,
while the curtain was clewed to its supporting-
beam. The lion, who was no other than Charley
F. GRANT 6- CO.
Bubble himself, encased in a buffalo robe, was
well on his way for the unhappy traveller, when
the curtain rose. How to restrain his appetite,
and keep up the ravenous character he had as-
sumed, while the curtain was mending, might have
troubled a more experienced actor than Charley
pretended to be. But it is an ill wind that blows
nobody good; and the poor traveller had none too
much time, while the lion was chafing and roaring
a yard off, -the stage would not allow of any
greater distance, to arrange his hat and coat
upon his cane on the edge of the precipice, and
retreat behind a tool-chest which stood for a rock.
"All right! cried Fred, as the knot was fastened
which kept the middle of the curtain up. That
lion must have understood English; for, at the
word, he bounded at the figure before him, and
went dashing down the precipice, at least three
feet deep, into a bed of shavings which had been
prepared to receive him. Then the traveller
came from behind the tool-chest, in his shirt-
sleeves, and without his hat, but perfectly safe
otherwise, and was heartily received by the au-
dience. But, strangely enough, the sympathies of
the people seemed to go with the lion more
strongly than the man; and they would not be satis-
fied until Charley Bubble appeared, no longer in
the buffalo-robe, but in a round jacket with
brass buttons, his customary dress, and bowed
BUBBLE, BURST, S CO.
to the deafening applause. "Did you hurt you,
Charley ?" cried his sister from the front seat.
"Keep still, you little goose! was the only
answer she got, in a whisper that went farther
than any shout would have gone. And so, after
unclewing the bag, the curtain was let down.
But the friendly spectators had hardly recovered
from their anxiety about the lion, when their at-
tention was claimed for a new sensation. Master
Frederic Grant, who had improved the time while
the lion and the traveller were performing, to
array himself in a dazzling costume, came tripping
before the curtain in his new character of pres-
tigiator. It is a long word for a short boy like
Fred. Perhaps that was the reason Fred stood on
his toes so airily, as if he were trying to lengthen
himself out to match his big name. After balan-
cing himself on-the tips of his toes a while, as if he
were really sorry there was such a thing as floor to
stand upon, a cloud, or air itself, being quite suf-
ficient for his purposes, Fred consented to stand
down, like a sensible fellow, and begin his tricks.
There was the string-trick. A double string was
cut in two by one of the audience, in the sight of
everybody; and then two ends were tied together,
and the other two ends were shown all untied.
The loose ends were put into Fred's mouth; and
in less than a minute the string was taken out, and
there was the string whole and complete, no tie
F. GRANT & CO.
either, a real, strong, even cord just as it came from
the shop. Oh, the triumph of that moment!
When Fred looked up at the astonished audience,
it seemed as if his eyes were saying, Where is
Alexander now? Does anybody know? He could
cut a knot, but it takes me to tie it up again."
Then, with all the boldness of a highwayman,
Fred demanded of one of the spectators, a pretty
girl of eleven, her pocket-handkerchief. It was
given without a word. Instantly it was thrown
into a tin-box; alcohol was then thrown into the
same box, and set on fire. A burnt mass of cotton
was shown to the audience, and a shudder of in-
dignation passed through the company. The
pretty girl of eleven was just beginning to cry at
the loss of her property, when, lo from the same
box came the handkerchief as good as ever, and
Fred politely handed it to her in season to catch the
first tear. The child was more than repaid for her
trouble by finding in the handkerchief two sugar-
hearts pinned together with a Cupid's arrow,
What will this marvellous exhibitor do next?
See, he is lighting half-a-dozen small candles, that
stand upon the table What funny little candles!
And how queerly they burn As I live, the man,
I mean the boy, is going to swallow them, wicks
and all! And, sure enough, Fred takes them, one
after the other, and deliberately eats them all,
looking up at the end, and saying, Rather a light
BUBBLE, BURST, &( CO.
supper." He learned that joke at Signor Donner's
show, and the trick too. The candles were very
good eating. They were made of apples cut to
look like candles; a bit of almond was stuck into
the top for the wick. The almond would burn long
enough to keep up the character of a wick; and,
for the matter of eating, everybody knows that
burnt almonds are not to be despised.
"Tinkle, tinkle, tink! went the bell, and off
went Fred like the going-out of one of his candles.
It was the signal for a new play. This time a real
tragedy was on the stage. Capt. John Smith was
stretched upon a green carpet: a big Indian, look-
ing as if he had just stepped up from a tobacco-
shop, where he had stood for a sign, was lifting a
hatchet, in the act of killing him; but between
Smith and his murderer was a "nearer one still,
and a dearer one." That is to say, Pocahontas,
the daughter of the chief, was leaning over the
prostrate man in a protecting way, and shielding
him from death. You might have heard a pin
drop, if anybody in the audience had had one to
drop, so intense was the interest. Amid the death-
like silence, Capt. Smith murmured something to
Pocahontas, which the audience could not quite
make out. "What did he say? What was that ?"
one whispered to another. Nobody was sure; but
a sharp-eared little girl in front reported that he
told her to get her hair out of his eyes. I can
F. GRANT 4- CO.
hardly think he would have been so ungrateful,
and yet there are such brutes in the world. A
sigh of relief passed around the room when the
curtain went down instead of Powhatan's hatchet,
and the scene was gone.
There is no tonic like excitement. Everybody
was ravenous for food after this scene; and the
appearance of a fresh plate of seed-cakes, and a
new supply of lemonade, made the pinless audi-
ence eager to buy. Happy the boy or girl who
had cents to fall back upon! There was lavish
spending on their parts, and generous treats to
their less fortunate companions. And thus the
company were sustained between the tragedy of
Capt. John Smith, and the next and last scene of
this great combination show. It was already tea-
time on Wednesday afternoon, and one or two of
the older members of the audience were starting
to go home; but, the manager assuring them that
the last and best scene was almost ready, they
consented to stay a few minutes longer.
"Hark! did you not hear it?" Yes, but it
was a false alarm. Somebody had dropped the bell.
Another interval of suspense, and hope deferred,
and the real signal was given. Three times three
it went, in a sort of musical hurrah; as if in cele-
bration of patriotic valor. Slowly the curtain
rose, and, having been adjusted, exposed to full
view the harrowing spectacle of William Tell
BUBBLE, BURST, CO.
shooting at an apple on the head of his innocent
son. The haughty Gessler stood by, enjoying the
sport. Bubble took the part of Tell, and Fred
was the pretty, harmless boy." He looked the
character charmingly, holding -up his head, on
which a big Baldwin apple rested steadily, and
looking into his father's face with a smiling confi-
dence in his skill. There was no reason why he
should not. The apple was only six inches from
the end of the crossbow, and it seemed as if
nothing could well be safer than the boy's head,
under these circumstances. Fortunately, the stage
would not allow any greater distance; but, if it
had, Fred would not. He only consented to take
the part of Tell's son on condition of having the
archer at a perfectly safe nearness.
Under these conditions, even the audience felt
no anxiety about the result. If the apple had
been stuck on the end of the arrow, it could not
have seemed a much surer thing than it did to
mortal sight. But there's many a slip between
other things than the cup and the lip; for in-
stance, between an arrow, and an apple six inches
off. And when the drawn bow twanged, and the
arrow went, there was real surprise, and momen-
tary terror, at the effect it produced upon young
Tell. Rubbing his scalp, whence the Baldwin
had fallen safely to the floor, the young hopeful
began to address his father in.any thing but com-
F. GRANT CO.
plimentary terms. He begged to know if he
could hit an elephant a foot off, and asked what
in time he meant by shooting the top of his head
off? These inquiries, put in a grieved and in-
dignant tone, and enforced by a drop of blood on
Fred's forehead, made the elder Tell half mad and
half sorry. He and Gessler instantly examined
the wound together, in the most friendly manner;
and, finding it only a slight scratch, tried to
resume their former hatred, and looked daggers at
each other. But it would not do. The tragedy
was too real to be enjoyed. Fred left the stage,
sulking and smarting a little from his scratch, and
declaring that he would not play with such a
"butter-fingers" as old Tell. Whereupon the
stage-manager, with the assistance of Gessler and
Tell, who kindly volunteered their services, let
down the curtain for the last time, and the show
was over. It was never repeated. The breach
between the partners proved to be too wide to be
healed. Fred insisted on a distribution of the
proceeds that very night, and went home looking
like a walking pincushion, with his jacket all
shining with spoils, five cents in coppers in his
pantaloons-pocket, and the remainder of Norah's
seed-cakes wrapped in a piece of newspaper, and
tucked under his arm. Poor young actor, show-
man, vender of ade and such, prestigiator shut
up like a spyglass now, how clearly distant scenes
BUBBLE, BURST, CO. 65
appear through your lengthened experience! and
your future course is brought near in the brief
history of Bubble, Burst, & Co." Now you see
why I gave the firm that name, boys.
B UT that whole business described in the last
chapter was a thing of the past. When I
was a child, I thought as a child," Fred might
have truly said, in defence of this early venture.
A growing boy learns something in three years,
especially between ten and thirteen. And yet
do boys learn so much at this period of their lives ?
I sometimes fear they grow more at this season in
the conceit of knowledge than in knowledge itself.
At any rate, Fred did not learn so much in these
three years that he had nothing to learn after-
wards. He awoke, on the morning after his suc-
cessful purchase and transportation of the hens,
with a confused sense that something pleasant
had happened. He could not remember what it
was. There was an unusual sound in his ears;
something like an alarm-clock only half wound
up, and running down in an irregular fashion; as
Fred would have expressed it, steady by jerks."
"Bother take that clock! thought Fred; "I
sha'n't get up yet." And, turning his pillow over
to get at the cool side, he laid his head down
again, and prepared to take another nap.
Q-u-a-w-k quawk! quawk quawk I quawk!
quawk! went the alarm again. Oh, bother!
can't you stop that ? thought Fred, still only half
awake. Somehow the pillow was not just right,
after all; so he raised himself to double it up,
when the third alarm sounded; and then the truth
blazed in upon Fred's mind as brightly as the sun
that was shining into his window with its rising
That was no clock running down! Hath a
clock legs? Hath it wings? Hath it plumage?
Hath it a copple-crown ? Can it leap stone-walls ?
Doth it eat corn? Doth it lay eggs? "No?"
Well, then, it was no clock running down, but
a hen running up and down, and chanting the
praises of early rising. Fred knew it as soon as
he was enough awake to know any thing. If he
had had any doubt of it, one look from his window
would have settled it. Fred was up and dressing
in a moment. He took a look into the yard the
first thing, and could easily see the two hens rin-
Sning to and fro in the coop. They seemed to be
counting the laths, or the spaces between them.
Fred could see them running up and down, and
thrusting their bills through every opening, in the
oddest way. Presently it dawned upon him that
F. GRANT 4- CO.
they must be hungry. He remembered that they
had eaten the supper he provided for them the
evening before with a good appetite; and doubtless
they were ready for their breakfast. One incident
that took place the night before is too good to be
lost. Just before going to bed, Fred had received
permission from his father to take the close lan-
tern, and go to the barn, for a good-night look at
the hens. He turned the light full upon the rake-
handle which he had put up for a roost; and, lo!
no hens were there. It gave his heart a turn at
first, not finding them. But, looking towards the
nests, he saw two figures squatting just above
them, which looked like hens. Only there was
one fearful lack. What had become of their
heads ? Had some prowling cat, or thieving rat,
got into the coop, and nipped them off ? Before
Fred could account for the terrible omission, presto!
with a suddenness that astonished him rather more
than the disappearance of the hens' heads, they
were there again; and a note of alarm from Cop-
ple-crown showed that she, at least, hlad not lost
her tongue. When Fred came back to the house,
and told the amazing story, his father laughed as
if it were a capital joke. Alice kindly explained
that the hens' heads were under their wings.
What for? demanded Fred.
"Why, to keep them warm, I suppose," said
"Surely you didn't forget to provide the hens
with nightcaps, Fred," said lazy Tom mockingly.
Stop chaffing," said Fred: the coop is as
warm as toast, Alice."
"My boy," said Mr. Grant, who did not enjoy
having his children tease one another, although
they came honestly by the habit, "hens always
sleep in that way."
That night, when Fred was in bed, and it was
dark, and nobody could see, he tried the experi-
ment of putting his head under his arm, or his
arm over his head, and thought it immensely un-
comfortable. Did hens really sleep in that way ?
Father said so, and he wasn't joking; well, he
But, as I was saying, it occurred to Fred as
he was dressing, that morning, that the hens
might be hungry: so he hurried on his jacket and
trousers, and, not stopping for a collar, ran down
the back stairway to the side-door, and was out
in the yard in a twinkling. Hungry I should
say they were, rather! Poor Copple-crown
was making piteous attempts to reach a kernel of
corn that had dropped just outside the coop, near
enough to tempt her appetite, but too far to be
reached. The other bird, the bird of high degree,
- Fred afterwards decided that she was a pure
Guilderland, the bird that hid her head in a hole
the day before, like an ostrich, was standing before
F. GRANT & CO.
the empty breakfast-saucer, which had held the
scanty supper of the night before, and looking
very intently at it. She seemed to be measuring
it, apparently with a view of giving another sign
of her relationship to the bird of the desert. If
Fred had not arrived as he did, I dare not say
that he would ever have seen that breakfast-saucer
again. Guilderland had about concluded to gob-
ble it up. Fred rescued the saucer just in time,
and, filling it heaping full with corn, put it back
into the coop. He was standing, and enjoying the
sight of the happy creatures taking their break-
fast, although I regret to say that Copple-crown
got more than her share, and pecked fiercely at
her royal sister, whenever she came near the dish,
when a voice behind him cried out, "Hallo,
Fred!" It was Jimmy. How ain't they, this
"All right!" said Fred.
Oh, they ain't all right, ain't they ? What's the
matter? answered Jimmy.
He liked to tease Fred. Everybody did, and
it was simply because he was so easily teased.
It takes two to make a tease. If a boy will not
show that he is bothered, nobody will try to
bother him. Remember that. Oh, yes! it is easy
enough to say, "Remember that;" and easy
enough to remember, except at the moment when
you are teased. Fred always remembered it, but
always got teased, because he could not control
his irritation. He was too happy, however, this
morning, to resent Jimmy's catch.
"Ain't they hunky, Jimmy ?" said Fred.
Yes, they're that," said Jimmy, as if he knew
what that was. He must have some other dictionary
than mine. So the boys stood, and delighted their
souls in live poultry and lively talk, for half an hour,
until Norah came to the kitchen-door, and warned
Fred that he had not brought home the beans.
Sure enough! It was Sunday morning, and every
family in Jeruh had baked beans for breakfast
that morning. The boys both started at the sum-
mons, for both had the same errand at the bak-
er's. Mr. Pharaoh baked for all the country
round, and to his bakery the boys hurried. What
a sight was there! Deep earthen pots, enough
for forty, yes, for a hundred thieves, and quite
big enough if the thieves were only small enough,
stood on the great bake-house table; and oh the
delicious odor! Talk about a thousand flowers!
Give me the smell of a hundred bean-pots, some
bearing beans with their crown of striped pork;
oh the crackling! oh the crispy, brown things
on top! some running over with brown bread,
that cracked across the upper surface like the rich
land in spring; some holding the famous New-
England Sunday pudding, with "a little Indian"
in it, as the receipt says. And really it seemed as
F. GRANT 6 CO.
if something as lively as a little Indian were bub-
bling up and down under the heaving crust, as the
pudding came out of the fiery furnace. It was a
scene like this which greeted the boys as they
came into Mr. Pharaoh's bakery. But they did
not stop to realize the feast of rich smells that was
spread before them. They began at once to hunt
for the particular pot of beans which belonged
to them. They had marked it, the day before,
with a curious sign. A picture of a hen, roughly
drawn with chalk, was the device. That was the
way people knew their property. Everybody
chalked some sign or letter on his pot of beans,
and in the morning the sign was still there. After
long hunting, the beans of the Pratt and Grant
families were recognized, and borne away in safety;
and the boys reached home in good season.
They could hardly be late on Sunday morning.
Mr. Grant and Mr. Pratt were hard-working men,
and they liked to lie later on Sunday morning.
They were never kept from church by it, however,
as some people are. When the nine-o'clock bells
rang out the warning to prepare for church, break-
fast was well out of the way; and the boys had
ample time for putting on their Sunday-go-to-
meeting" clothes. And, when the bells pealed forth
again, Jimmy and Fred were both on the street, on
their way to church. Not to the same church, how-
ever. One went to the North, and the other to
the South Church; and the creeds of these
churches were not alike. The North was Trini-
tarian Congregational, and the South was Unita-
rian Congregational, and the churches were
separated from each other by a broad street; but
the people who worshipped in different houses, on
one day in the week, lived together all the rest of
the time, trusting, respecting, and loving one an-
other. I like to remember that all real worship,
the whole world around, makes one harmony in
heaven; just as the bells in all the churches in
Jeruh, as they rung out that Sunday morning,
blended their voices in mid-air, and made one call
to many worshippers. I never heard the chimes
in a single steeple make such music as those Sun-
day bells of Jeruh, bringing north and south and
east and west into musical accord.
It must be confessed that Fred's mind wan-
dered a little on that Sunday morning.
His heart was with his treasure, and that was
in a certain coop on Pine Street. Those birds so
colored his thoughts that the very worship of the
church was filled with them. When the choir
Oh'ed that they had wings, Fred thought of the
swift flight of his bird of high degree over the
stone-wall, the day before. For all he could do,
these images would come up before him. Some-
times they helped him. For when Dr. Blessum
read the chapter which tells of Jesus lamenting
F. GRANT 3, CO.
over Jerusalem, and saying, "How often would 1
have gathered thy children as a hen gathereth her
chickens under her wings," it made Fred feel the
protecting love of Christ in a new way, to remem-
ber the snow-white hen he had seen at Farmer
Green's, the day before, with her downy brood
warmly tucked away under her feathers. Did
he really love the children of Jerusalem like
that? thought Fred: "how mean they must
have been to kill him Fred did not think that
he himself was just as mean, if he shut his heart
against the loving appeal of Jesus. But it was
something gained to get a better knowledge of the
love of Christ. It helped to make the earnest
exhortation of the minister, at the close of the
sermon, reallytouch Fred, with the wish that he
might do something to show his gratitude for such
There was barely time for dinner, and a run-
ning look over the day's lesson, between the morn-
ing-service and the afternoon Sunday-school.
But Fred contrived to crowd in a visit to his pets.
He found them in a sunny corner of the coop,
apparently intent on burying themselves alive.
There they were sprawling on the ground, and
burrowing like moles. They would peck the
earth with their bills, and then scratch the ground
under them, throwing it into the air above them
like young volcanoes. The sound of rattling corn,
however, seemed to call them back to life, if they
really intended to bury themselves. They stood
up, looking like feather-dusters that were the
worse for wear, shook off a cloud of dust, and
came running for their dinner, without the least
regard to their toilets.
Fred did not know his Sunday-school lesson
very well that afternoon. Worse still, he got into
disgrace. His mind would run on the new business
he had taken up. And, when the teacher asked
him where the Holy Land was, he astonished the
whole class, himself most of all, by saying, "In
Cochin China." His blunder had one good effect.
It made him so ashamed that he gave his whole
mind to the remainder of the lesson, and was able,
that evening, to tell the family at home something
of Miss Speedwell's teaching. It was a custom at
Mr. Grant's, after the tea, which came earlier on
Sunday than on other days, to sit together, father,
mother, and children, in the back-parlor, and sing
hymns. The teaching of the day in church and
Sunday school also came in for its share of com-
ment; and it often happened that the fragments
of good thought, which were gathered up in this
way after the feast, were more than the original
supply. It is always so with the bread which
comes down from heaven. The more it is shared
among many, the more there is of it.
The best service of the day was this family
F. GRANT CO.
meeting in the cosey back-parlor; and yet it de-
pended on the ministry in church and Sunday
school for its best life. Parents and children
talked of the lessons of the day, and discussed
with free, yet reverent speech, the teaching they
had received. And, whenever their conversation
led to differences of opinion, the beautiful hymns,
sung by all to sweet, familiar tunes, made them of
" one heart and one soul." What matter whether
they were of one mind, or not?
If the church-service sowed the good seeds,
it was the home-service which harrowed them in,
and made them take root. The singing was home-
made, and far more hearty than the choir's at
the church, if it was not so artistic. Alice played
the tunes, and sung the air; Mary took the second,
with a sweet, true voice; Tom sustained the bass
when it was easy; and Mr. Grant, who had sung
in the choir in his youth, gave out the tenor with
a voice that had gained in feeling, if it had lost
something of its old-time freshness. Mrs. Grant
never could sing in tune; but her religious sen-
sibility made her keenly enjoy the Sunday-evening
singing. She knew all the hymns by heart, and
was always able to prompt the singers when they
forgot a verse; and sometimes, in the warmth of
her sympathy, she would give out the lost lines,
in a thin, quavering voice that set the children
laughing at mother's solo. Fred's voice, being un
certain where it would locate, was only of service
in a few simple tunes: but he gave promise of
supplying a more active bass than Tom's in a few
years. There was never any formality in this
Sunday-evening singing. It came like the wind,
and died away like the wind. The family met in
the back-parlor, on that evening, by simple force
of habit. And when all the standard hymns were
sung, and each of the family had called for his
favorite tune, the singing came to a close naturally.
The piano sometimes sounded on after the songs
were past, as Alice turned over the leaves of the
hymn-book, and tried one or another. But she
soon gave it up, and joined in the conversation
which always followed. Mr. Grant did not take
pains to shut out every-day subjects from this
hallowed season. It would be hard to say why
this intercourse between parents and children was
so much more fruitful on Sunday evening than on
any other. The topics of conversation were not
so different, but there was a different tone.
On this particular Sunday which we are describ-
ing, Mr. Grant and his wife were very much
concerned for a friend of theirs, who had been
unfortunate in his business.
Do you say he has lost every thing ? said Mrs.
"Yes, that is the talk down town. He trusted
Leger to keep the books, and had such confidence
F. GRANT 4S CO.
in him that he never suspected the scamp of steal-
ing; but Leger made way with fifty thousand dol-
lars, and then absconded."
Cannot Leger be overtaken, and compelled to
restore the money ? "
No: he has fled the country. There is no help
for James but to lose every thing, and begin again;
a hard task at his time of life."
"And what will Fanny and Arthur do ?" said
Alice, anxious for her young friends, the children
of Mr. James Fairplay, the man her parents were
"All they can to help their father bear his loss
happily, I hope," said Mr. Grant.
"And dear Lydia," said Mrs. Grant, speaking
of Mrs. Fairplay. She will suffer most from her
inability to help others. Only think how like a
mother she was to Leger's children when their
own mother died, and this is her- reward," Mrs.
Grant was on the point of saying; but she checked
the word, and said instead, this is Leger's return
for her kindness. Frederic, I am glad you have
"Yes, partnership is a hazardous thing. There
must be perfect openness, a generous spirit, and
a love of just dealing, in partners, if there is to
be success or happiness in such a relation; but,
for that matter, so must there be among all men
who deal with one another. We are all partners,
whether we will, or not; and every dishonest man
betrays some innocent partner, whether he goes
by that name, or not."
What was the trouble with Quarles, father? "
said Tom. The men at the counting-room were
talking about it yesterday."
Oh, that was another matter!" said Mr. Grant.
" Quarles had no dishonest intention, but he was
wrong: he did not stand by the terms of his part-
nership. Partners ought to make their agreement
plain at the start, and then stand by it."
"But they said Quarles had tried to get out of
the business a year ago," said Tom.
"Very likely; but that is no excuse for acting
contrary to agreement while the compact stands,"
said Mr. Grant. A man can't release himself
from obligations to other men: they must release
him. Quarles had no right to go against his part-
There was more talk on these and other subjects
that night; and, without knowing it, Mr. and Mrs.
Grant had really impressed upon their children
lessons that would color their whole lives. We
shall see how one young boy, who sat in the cor-
ner of the sofa that evening, took in the lesson on
"partnerships." It came home to him; for was
not he already a partner in the firm of "F. Grant
& Co., Poulterers ?
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
W HETHER or not "a watched pot never
boils," may be questioned; but it admits
of no question that a watched hen never lays.
Fred and Jimmy had to learn this by a hard
experience of hope deferred. For the first week,
school-hours excepted, there was scarcely a min-
ute that the boys were not posted near the coop,
eying their captives with all the intentness of a
detective. Stealing a nest under these circum-
stances was out of the question, even if any nest
in that close coop had been worth stealing. The
boys meant no harm: they watched their hens
out of the fulness of their interest in them. Still
there was a natural desire to get something be-
sides cackle, in return for the corn and shorts
which were daily lavished upon them. And when,
in their restless cruising, the hens approached the
nests Fred had made for them, an eager hope that
"they might enter, and possess the land," made
the boys' hearts beat quick with expectation. In-
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
deed, I am not sure but Fred had some hope, at
last, that his prolonged gaze might mesmerize the
unwilling biddies, and make them obedient to his
will; in which case they would of necessity have
gone at once to their nests. But Copple-crown
and Guilderland were not good subjects for such
influence; and, with all the watching and wishing,
nothing came to encourage the young merchants
in their hope of profits. Thus the first week
went slowly by, and nothing happened. There
was outlay enough. The amount of grain those
hens consumed would have kept a pair of oxen,
I believe. And the boys' fathers were in danger
of financial ruin, if this state of things continued
But the longest lane has a turn," they
say; and on the tenth day, to the unspeakable
delight of Fred, who made the discovery on
his thirteenth visit to the nest on that day, there
was found, close beside the porcelain sham that
served as a decoy, a real, original, bona-fide egg.
Guilderland was stepping .around the inner coop,
at the time of Fred's visit, as proud and confident
as Queen Mary; and her consort beyond the wall
(of course you know Farmer Green brought the
rooster all right) was chanting in lively response
to her triumphant song. It was evident to Fred
which hen had laid that egg; and it was highly
satisfactory to believe that his own noble bird had
F. GRANT & CO.
brought this blessing to the coop. In the joy of
his young heart, he could have hugged Guilderland,
but the hen declined the honor; remembering,
perhaps, her former experience in Fred's arms.
Finding himself rebuffed in this direction, Fred
turned to the house, egg in hand, to receive the
congratulations of the family. But nobody was
at home except Norah, who was shure she was
glad to hear it. "A good stout one, too, for a
firster," she said; "and indade she hoped it
wouldn't be the last of the likee"
Of course not," said Fred. Who ever heard
of a litter of one egg ? "
"Norah is just so ignorant," thought Fred, and
ran off to find Jimmy, whose satisfaction, he knew,
would be as great as his own. He found his part-
ner in his father's shed, hard at work chopping
wood. The expenses of the poultry-business had
wholly exhausted his savings; and it was neces-
sary for him to earn more money, or fall in debt.
He left his hatchet where it fell, in the heart of a
tough knot, as Fred entered with the longed-for
prize; and for a few moments Jimmy was all eyes,
until he had taken in the size, the shape, the
creamy white, and the perfect finish, of the won-
drous egg. Both boys agreed, that it was a
remarkable specimen, larger and finer every way
than any they had ever seen before.
"How much does it weigh? asked Jimmy.
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
Fred could only guess. He had not weighed
it; but he was bold to guess that it weighed fully
half a pound.
Copple-crown's, of course," said Jimmy.
"Not a bit of it!" and Fred described the
cackling of Guilderland, and her loud claim upon
her owner's belief.
"Pooh! she's always r'".!.r'. ',. especially if
anybody goes into the coop," said Jimmy. "I
know it was Copple-crown."
I know it wasn't. You can come and see,"
How he supposed Jimmy was to settle the ques-
tion by a visit to the coop at this late hour, did
not appear. But this controversy showed where
the break must come some day. Instead of hold-
ing their stock in common, each boy held exclu-
sive ownership in one hen, and a common interest
in the rooster. The very first product of the coop
thus became an apple of discord; and the selfish-
ness of human nature, undisciplined by experience,
seemed likely soon to break the shell of their
agreement. Alas! All the king's horses, and all
the king's men, could never pick Humpty-Dumpty
Fred kept the egg, "possession being nine
points of the law;" and on his return to his
house, the whole family being assembled around
the supper-table, he argued the question of owner-
F. GRANT & CO.
ship with all the eagerness of youthful greed, un-
hampered by the restraints of far-sighted judgment.
Of course it's mine, because my hen laid it."
How did he know?
:' Because Guilderland said so as plain as a hen
But, Fred," said his father, when you go into
partnership, you must hold all the stock in com-
mon, and share all the profits, according to agree-
Oh! but I never agreed to give Jimmy my
But suppose it should turn out to be Copple-
crown's, what then? Is Jimmy to have all that
his hen gives? "
Fred had not considered that. He thought it
time enough to arrange that when it happened.
He knew that was Guilderland's egg.
It was no more than fair that he should have it,
any way. Had not his father furnished the coop?
And how much of the cost of keeping, and the
trouble of feeding, came upon the Grants? Every
thing Fred had done for the hens was made the most
of; and Jimmy's contributions of labor, money, and
help were counted at their least valuation.
"Besides, I want to give this egg to Miss
Pleasant. I said I would, father. You know, I
promised her the first egg because she was so good
about having me keep hens. I think she ought
to have it. I sha'n't give it up, any way."
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
Mr. Grant saw that Fred was not calm enough
to think justly, or reason fairly, on the subject at
that moment: so he only advised him to wait a few
days, and see if he did not get more eggs. It
would then be easier to arrange a just division,
especially if it were discovered that Fred's hen was
not the layer after all.
But the next day brought no relief: no second
egg appeared on that day, nor yet on the day after;
and again the Grant family found itself in session
around the supper-table as a sort of informal board
of arbitration between the contending partners.
The property had only risen in value by the failure
of another egg to appear; and Fred was more
determined than ever not to part with that one
anyway. Indeed, it was a difficult thing to settle.
Even Mr. Grant was puzzled to know how to
divide an egg. If it had only been an apple, now,
or a pie, or a pickled-lime, or a stick of candy,
how easily the trouble might have been relieved!
but it would have beaten Solomon to dispense jus-
tice on this occasion. If he had ordered the egg
to be cut in two, neither Fred nor Jimmy could
have proved ownership by any instinctive agony.
Besides, who could cut an egg in two? Tom sug-
gested, with provoking cold-bloodedness, that the
egg be boiled hard, and then halved, each partner
taking his half. He might have remembered that
Fred could not bear a hard-boiled egg.
F. GRANT 6 CO.
"Toss up a copper, then," said Tom, "or the
egg itself: big end, I win; little end, you lose;
"That's all you know!" was the only reply
Fred dared to allow himself.
Why not invite Jimmy to breakfast with you
to-morrow morning?" said Mrs. Grant. And
I will get Norah to cook the egg any way you like
best. Then you can dispose of it together."
No, that would not do: Fred's mind was set upon
giving it to Miss Pleasant. He didn't want it
himself, oh, no!
Well, then," said Mr. Grant, why don't you
and Jimmy unite in the gift, both go over, and
present it to Miss Pleasant, with best wishes for a
No, Jimmy would not agree to that. He
wanted to keep the egg as a curiosity: he meant
to blow it, and put the shell in his cabinet.
"Never mind, Fred," said good-natured Alice.
"Let Jimmy have it. What's an egg? I will get
you a dozen fresh ones from Farmer Green, when
he comes to town again, and you can give them all
to Miss Pleasant."
But no. Alice lost any hold she might have
had on Fred's mind, by her giddy question,
"What's an egg?" as though that were a com-
mon specimen, or as if the only thing involved
in the controversy were a hen's egg. Right, jus-
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
tice, liberty, religion, all the things in the Consti-
tution, were at stake. Suppose the fathers had
said, What's a cup of tea ? we might have been
drinking the condemnation of colonial slavery to
the present hour.
Very well, Fred, then you must wait a little
longer," said his father. They used to say, One
berry never grows alone,' when I went berrying.
There must be more eggs where there's one.
Wait a little longer."
And Fred did wait four days, five days, six
days, a whole week; and Norah's foolish hope that
that egg might not be the last of the like of
it," began to seem like a prophecy.
I won't wait another day," Fred declared on
the evening of the seventh day. "It will be as
old as Methuselah before Miss Pleasant gets it, at
this rate. I mean to carry it over to-morrow,
Norah was bringing in a plate of delicious rice
griddle-cakes, when Fred made this announce-
ment. She set them down as if the plate were
hot, and went back to the kitchen with a queer
wrinkle in her face, which looked as if it would
have been a broad grin if it had dared to. What
in the world should she do ? Master Fred would
certainly carry the thing to Miss Pleasant to-mor-
row, and no mistake. The poor sick lady might
eat it, out of the "swateness of her heart, jist to
F. GRANT CO.
be able to thank Fred;" and what-if it should turn
out a bad egg, after all ?
Only a week old," do you say ? what chance
for it to be bad ?"
Oh! but you don't know all that Norah does
about this matter. The good-natured girl meant
no harm. She had seen Master Fred getting thin
with watching and longing for something, and she
thought it might cheer him up to find an egg in
the nest; and so she had taken one out of the cup-
board, and laid it by the side of the crockery nest-
egg. And that was what Norah knew, and what
nobody else knew at that moment.
Should she tell Fred ? It would be a pity to
disappoint the boy, shure." But what if the egg
were not good? He might hear of that in some
way. Miss Pleasant might let Mrs. Grant know,
and the secret would come out somehow. Besides,
Norah had the best of reasons for believing in the
worthlessness of that particular egg. It swam
like a duck, when she tried it with others in a
dish of water. The unnatural cratur, to swim
afore it was hatched," said Norah to herself, and
it a hen's egg too!" She was morally certain
that it was addled. Oh, if it should get broken
in Fred's hand, and the secret come out! But
even that would be better than for poor, dear Miss
Pleasant to be made the victim of this treacherous
compliment. Norah decided that she must tell
BUSINESS IN FULL FEATHER.
Mrs. Grant. That evening after tea she told her
story, with such hearty sorrow for the unhappy
consequences of her good-natured deception, that
her mistress could not find it in her heart to chide
her. Indeed, I think Mrs. Grant rather enjoyed
the joke herself. When she told her husband
that evening, after the children had gone to bed,
Mr. Grant laughed enough to raise the house.
"How shall we manage ? said Mrs. Grant. It
will never do to let Fred take that dreadful thing
to Miss Pleasant. Shall we tell him the fact ?"
"Yes, I think so," said Mr. Grant. It will do
him no harm. He has not behaved generously in
the affair. It may make him ashamed of his
meanness. Better tell him."
The next morning, as Fred was hurrying to
make his visit to Miss Pleasant before school-
time, Mrs. Grant said, Fred, have you ever tried
that egg in water, to see if it is sound? "
What nonsense, mother! said Fred. "Who
ever heard of an egg spoiling in a week ?"
"But perhaps that has had a longer time to
spoil. Don't be vexed with Norah, Fred. The
truth is, she saw that you were anxious to find an
egg in the nest, and so she put one there. She
meant it kindly. But she thinks it may not be
good, because it floated when she tried it."
If Norah's face was a puzzle last night, a sort
of cross between a smile and a cry, inclining to a
F. GRANT CO.
broad grin, Fred's face this morning was equally
dubious. I think the tendency to cry was rather
stronger than the other, however. But he didn't
cry, not he. The Spartan boy with the stolen
fox under his apron was not more brave than
There were two striking things, one of which
he did, and the other he did not do. He did not
go to Miss Pleasant's. He did go straight over to
Jimmy's, and tell him how they had been fooled.
You ought to have heard Jimmy's laugh, and
Fred's too. There was a duet of laughing. No
settlement of their quarrel could have been more
thorough. They were both rather ashamed of
themselves down deep in their hearts. But shame
is a good thing when boys have done a mean thing,
and it is easier to bear when two are ashamed
"I guess you were right, Fred, about that egg,"
said Jimmy, his eyes brimful of quiet fun. I
guess Guilderland did lay it."
"I guess not."
"What shall we do with it, Fred ? said Jimmy.
"Smash it ?"
"Well, then, throw it overboard?"
"Won't sink! "
"Bury it ?"
ONE day, about three months after the conver-
sation which closed the last chapter, there
was an unusual uproar in Pine Street. Fred and
Jimmy were there looking hot and excited; and
all the boys of the neighborhood were swarming
around the corner like bees. I suppose my reader
thinks he knows what was the matter: the
hens had got out of their coop, and were loose in
the street. No: the hens were safe enough, but
the children had broken loose. It was the last
day of school; and the clamor of the children,
loud enough on any day after three hours' bot-
tling, was like an explosion of nitro-glycerine on
this last day of school. No more lessons for four
weeks, -blissful thought! A whole month of
vacation! Six weeks in August" was face-
tiously given, in those days, as the length of the
summer vacation. What fun! The boys were
hugging their books and slates and atlases in
their arms as if they loved them. They did not.
F. GRANT S CO.
They were taking them home as in duty bound.
But it was like taking care of your neighbor's
baby: you do not dare to drop him, but are per-
fectly willing to give him into responsible hands.
The air was full of eager voices saying Good-
by and asking Where you going ? " How
long you going to stay?" "Ain't it jolly, I tell
Jimmy and Fred stopped a few minutes by Mr.
Grant's gate, resting their pile of books upon.the
fence, and talked of the great event. "When
shall you go ?" asked Jimmy.
Not before Wednesday. Mother says Norah
must have Monday and Tuesday to get my
clothes ready. Do you go earlier? "
No: I have some jobs to finish first. I must
chop a pile of wood for spending-money, and then
I must find somebody to take care of my chick-
"Father and Norah will take care of mine,"
said Fred. "They will do."
Suppose we go together, then, on Wednesday
in the morning train," said Jimmy. I think I
can be ready."
"All right: we will."
I will tell you, by and by, where the boys were
going; but I must stop here to explain the boys'
talk about the chickens. Anybody would think,
from their talk, that Fred and Jimmy were not in
VA CA TION.
partnership. Anybody who thought so would
think about right. The firm of F. Grant & Co.
was no more. At least, that particular partner-
ship was over, although the name remained with
other partners. In the three months just gone by,
Jimmy had withdrawn with Copple-crown, and
thirty-seven and a half cents, his share of the
rooster; and Fred had taken his father into the
business, and enlarged his stock. Mr. Grant had
to pay handsomely for his admittance to the firm.
The business having been established, the honor
was greater than at first; and it is generally sup-
posed, in such cases, the risks would be less. To
be sure, old firms sometimes take in new men for
the very purpose of saving themselves alive; and
the new partners find out, to their cost, that they
have bought a thistle for a rose.
If Fred's business needed strengthening, it was
certainly not on account of the weakness of age.
But Mr. Grant was a willing victim. He made
liberal advances of corn and money, out of the
sincerity of his interest in the hens; and at the
time we have now reached, Aug. 1, 1849, there
were at least a dozen hens in Fred's coop, and
three broods of chickens scratching up the back-
Poor Jimmy was not so prosperous. His father's
premises offered no such paradise for hens; and
his father had not taken the fever as Mr. Grant