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DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
DAISY'S FIRST WINTER,
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE,
AUTHORESS OF 'UNCLE TOM'S CABIN,' ETC.
WILLIAM P. NIMMO:
LONDON: 14 KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND;
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER, . I
THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS, 10
MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF, 23
THE NUTCRACKERS OF NUTCRACKER LODGE, 32
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOI-, 43
THE SQUIRRELS THAT LIVE IN A HOUSE, 56
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET, . 66
PRINCE AND PERO, 74
AN EVENING IN UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, 83
HUM, THE SON OP 'Buz, . Io
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
OMEWHERE in a garden of this earth,
which the dear Lord has planted with
many flowers of gladness, grew a fresh,
bright little daisy.
The first this little daisy knew, she found herself
growing in green pastures and beside the still waters
where the heavenly Shepherd was leading his sheep.
And very beautiful did life look to her, as her bright
little eyes, with their crimson lashes, opened and
looked down into the deep crystal waters of the
brook below, where the sunshine made every hour
more sparkles, more rings of light, and more brilliant
glances and changes of colour, than all the jewellers
in the world could imitate. She knew intimately all
the thrushes, and larks, and blackbirds, that sang,
piped, whistled, or chattered among the bushes and
trees in the pasture; and she was a favourite with
2 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
them all. The fish that darted to and fro in the
waters seemed like so many living gems; and their
silent motions, as they glided hither and thither, were
full of beauty, and told as plainly of happiness as if
they could speak. Multitudes of beautiful flowers
grew up in the water, or on the moist edges of the
brook; and many beautiful blooming things grew
and flourished in that green pasture, where dear little
Daisy was so happy as first to open her bright eyes.
They did not all blossom at once, but had their
graceful changes; but there was always a pleasant
"flutter of expectation among them-either a sending
forth of leaves, or a making of buds, or a bursting out
into blossoms; and when the blossoms passed away
there was a thoughtful, careful maturing of seeds, all
packed away so snugly in their little coffers and
caskets of seed-pods, which were of every quaint and
dainty shape that ever could be fancied for a lady's
jewel-box. Overhead there grew a wide-spreading
apple-tree, which in the month of June became a
gigantic bouquet, holding up to the sun a million
silvery opening flowers, and a million pink-tipped
buds; and the little winds would come to play in its
branches, and take the pink shells of the blossoms for
their tiny air-boats, in which they would go floating
round among the flowers, or sail on voyages of
discovery down the stream; and when the time of
its blossom was gone, the bountiful tree from year to
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 3
year had matured fruits of golden ripeness which
cheered the hearts of men.
Little Daisy's life was only one varied delight from
day to day. She had a hundred playmates among the
light-winged winds, that came to her every hour to tell
her what was going on all over the green pasture, and
to bring her sweet perfumed messages from the violets
and other flowers of even the more distant regions.
There was not a ring of sunlight that danced in the
golden network at the bottom of the brook that did
not bring a thrill of gladness to her heart; not a tiny
fish glided in his crystal paths, or played and frolicked
under the water-lily shadows, that was not a well-
known friend of hers, and whose pleasures she did
not share. At night she held conferences with the
dew-drops that stepped about among the flowers in
their bright pearl slippers, and washed their leaves
and faces before they went to rest. Nice little nurses
and dressing-maids, these dews and they kept tender
guard all night over the flowers, watching and blink-
ing wakefully to see that all was safe; but when the
sun arose, each of them spread a pair of little rain-
bow wings, and was gone.
To be sure, there were some reverses in her lot.
Sometimes a great surly, ill-looking cloud would
appear in the sky, like a cross schoolmaster, and
sweep up all the sunbeams, and call in a gruff voice
to the little winds, her play-fellows, to come away
4 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
from their nonsense; and then he would send a great
strong wind down on them, all with a frightful noise
and roar, and sweep all the little flowers flat to the
earth; and there would be a great rush and pattering
of rain-drops, and bellowing of thunders, and sharp
forked lightning would quiver through the air, as if
the green pasture certainly were to be torn to pieces.
But in about half an hour it would be all over: the
sunbeams would all dance out from their hiding-
places, just as good as if nothing had happened; and
the little winds would come laughing back, and each
little flower would lift itself up, and the winds would
help them to shake off the wet, and plume themselves
as jauntily as if nothing had gone amiss. Daisy had
the greatest pride and joy in her own pink blossoms,
of which there seemed to be an inexhaustible store;
for, as fast as one dropped its leaves, another was
ready to open its eyes, and there were buds of every
size, waiting still to come on, even down to little
green cushions of buds that lay hidden away in the
middle of the leaves, down close to the root.
'How favoured I am!' said Daisy; 'I never stop
blossoming. Other flowers have their time, but then
they stop, and have only leaves, while I go on
blooming perpetually; how nice it is to be made as
'But you must remember,' said a great rough tree
to her, 'you must remember that your winter must
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 5
come at last, when all this fine blossoming will have
to be done with.'
What do you mean ?' said Daisy, in a tone of pride,
eyeing her rough neighbour with a glance of disgust.
'You are a rough, ugly old thing, and that's why you
are cross. Pretty people like me can afford to be
'Ah, well,' said the tree, 'you'll see. It's a pretty
thing if a young chit just out from seed this year
should be impertinent to me who have seen twenty
winters,-yes, and been through them well too !'
'Tell me, pretty linnet,' said Daisy, 'is there any
truth in what this horrid tree has been saying? What
does she mean by winter?'
I don't know-not I,' said the linnet, as he turned
a dozen somersets in the air, and then perched him-
self airily on a thistle-head, singing-
'I don't know, and I don't care;
It's mighty pleasant to fly up there,
And it's mighty pleasant to light down here,
And all I know is chip, chip, cheer.'
'Say, swallow, do you know anything about winter?'
'Winter! I never saw one,' said the swallow; 'we
have wings, and follow summer round the world, and
where she is, there go we.'
'Lark lark have you ever heard of winter?' said
6 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
Lark was sure he never remembered one. What
is winter?' he said, looking confused.
'Butterfly! butterfly!' said Daisy, 'come, tell me,
will there be winter, and what is winter?'
But the butterfly laughed, anddanced up and down,
and said, 'What is Daisy talking about? I never
heard of winter. Winter ? ha ha! What is it ?'
'Then it's only one of this tree's spiteful sayings,'
said Daisy. 'Just because she isn't pretty, she wants -
to spoil my pleasure too. Say, dear lovely tree,
that shades me so sweetly, is there such a thing as
And the tree said, with a sigh through its leaves,
'Yes, daughter, there will be winter; but fear not, for
the Good Shepherd makes both summer and winter,
and each is good in its time. Enjoy thy summer, and
The months rolled by. The violets had long ago
stopped blooming, their leaves were turning yellow;
but they had beautiful green seed-caskets, full of rows
of little pearls, which next year should come up ir
blue violets. The dog-toothed violet and the eye
bright had gone under ground, so that no more was
seen of them; and Daisy wondered whither they could
be gone. But she had new acquaintances far more
brilliant, and she forgot the others. And still Daisy
had abundance of leaves and blossoms, and felt strong
and well at the root. Then the apple-tree cast down
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 7
to the ground its fragrant burden of golden apples,
and men came and carried them away.
By and by there came keen, cutting winds, and
driving storms of sleet and -hail; and then at night it
would be so cold, so very cold! and one after another
the leaves and flowers fell stiff and frozen, and grew
black, and turned to decay. The leaves loosened and
fell from the apple-tree, and sailed away by thousands
down the brook; the butterflies lay dead with the
flowers; but all the birds had gone singing away to
the sunny south, following the summer into other
Tell me, dear tree,' said Daisy, 'is this winter that
'It is winter, darling,' said the tree; but fear not
The Good Shepherd makes winter as well as summer.'
'I still hold my blossoms,' said Daisy; for Daisy
was a hardy little flower.
But the frosts came harder and harder every night,
and first they froze her blossoms, and then they froze
her leaves, and finally all, all were gone: there was
nothing left but the poor little root, with the folded
leaves of the future held in its bosom.
'Ah, dear tree !' said Daisy, 'is not this dreadful?'
'Be patient, darling,' said the tree. I have seen
many, many winters; but the Good Shepherd loses
never a seed, never a root, never a flower: they will
all come again.'
8 THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER.
By and by came colder days and colder, and the
brook froze to its little heart, and stopped; and then
there came bitter, driving storms, and the snow lay
wreathed over Daisy's head; but still from the bare
branches of the apple-tree came a voice of cheer.
' Courage, darling, and patience Not a flower shall
be lost: winter is only for a season.'
'It is so dreary murmured Daisy, deep in her
'It will be short; the spring will come again,' said
And at last the spring did come; and the snow
melted and ran away down the brook, and the sun
shone out warm, and fresh green leaves jumped and
sprang out of every dry twig of the apple-tree. And
one bright, rejoicing day, little Daisy opened her eyes,
and lo! there were all her friends once more; only
ever so many more of them than there were last year,
because each little pearl of a seed had been nursed
and moistened by the snows of winter, and had come
up as a little plant to have its own flowers. The birds
all came back, and began building their nests, and
everything was brighter and fairer than before; and
Daisy felt strong at heart, because she had been
through a winter, and learned not to fear it. She
looked up into the apple-tree.
'Will there be more winters, dear tree?' she said.
'Darling, there will; but fear not. Enjoy the pre.
THE DAISY'S FIRST WINTER. 9
sent hour, and leave future winters to Him who makes
them. Thou hast come through these sad hours,
because the Shepherd remembered thee. He loseth
never a flower out of his pasture, but calleth them all
by name; and the snow will never drive so cold, or
the wind beat so hard, as to hurt one of his flowers.
And look of all the flowers of last year, what one is
melted away in the snow, or forgotten in the number
of green things ? Every blade of grass is counted,
and puts up its little head in the right time: so never
fear, Daisy, for thou shalt blossom stronger and
brighter for the winter.'
'But why must there be winter ?' said Daisy.
'I never ask why,' said the tree. 'My business is
to blossom and bear fruit. Summer comes, and I
am joyful; winter comes, and I am patient. But,
darling, there is another garden where thou and I
shall be transplanted one day, where there shall be
winter no more. There is coming a new earth; and
not one flower or leaf of these green pastures shall be
wanting there, but come as surely as last year's flowers
come back this spring !'
THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.
] NCE there was a nice young hen that we
called Mrs. Feathertop. She was a hen
of most excellent family, being a direct
descendant of the Bolton Grays, and as
pretty a young fowl as you should wish to see on a
summer's day. She was, moreover, as fortunately
situated in life as it was possible for a hen to be.
She was bought by young Master Fred Little John,
with four or five family connections of hers, and a
lively young cock, who was held to be as brisk a
scratcher, and as capable a head of a family, as any
half-dozen sensible hens could desire.
I can't say that at first Mrs. Feathertop was a very
sensible hen. She was very pretty and lively, to be
sure, and a great favourite with Master Bolton Gray
Cock, on account of her bright eyes, her finely shaded
feathers, and certain saucy dashing ways that she had,
"THWE IEN THAT HA TCHED DUCKS. 11
which seemed greatly to take his fancy. But old Mrs.
Scratchard, living in the neighboring yard, assured
all the neighbourhood that Gray Cock was a fool for
thinking so much of that flighty young thing,-that
she had not the smallest notion how to get on in life,
and thought of nothing in the world but her own pretty
'Wait till she comes to have chickens,' said Mrs.
Scratchard. 'Then you will see. I have brought up
ten broods myself-as likely and respectable chickens
as ever were a blessing to society-and I think I
ought to know a good hatcher and brooder when I see
her; and I know that fine piece of trumpery, with her
white feathers tipped with grey, never will come down
to family life. She scratch for chickens Bless me, she
never did anything in all her days but run round and eat
the worms which somebody else scratched up for her !'
When Master Bolton Gray heard this he crowed very
loudly, like a cock of spirit, and declared that old Mrs.
Scratchard was envious, because she had lost all her
own tail-feathers, and looked more like a worn-out old
feather-duster than a respectable hen, and that there-
fore she was filled with sheer envy of anybody that was
young and pretty. So young Mrs. Feathertop cackled
gay defiance at her busy rubbishy neighbour, as she
sunned herself under the bushes on fine June after-
Now Master Fred Little John had been allowed to,.
S2 THE HEN THA T HA TCHED D UCKS.
have these hens by his mamma, on the condition that
he would build their house himself, and take all the
care of it; and, to do Master Fred justice, he executed
the job in a small way quite creditably. He chose a
sunny sloping bank covered with a thick growth of
bushes, and erected there a nice little hen-house, with
two glass windows, a little door, and a good pole for
his family to roost on. He made, moreover, a row of
nice little boxes, with hay in them for nests, and he
bought three or four little smooth white china eggs to
put in them, so that, when his hens did lay, he might
carry off their eggs without their being missed. This
hen-house stood in a little grove that sloped down to
a wide river, just where there was a little cove which
reached almost to the hen-house.
This situation inspired one of Master Fred's boy
advisers with a new scheme in relation to his poultry
enterprise. Hullo I say Fred,' said Tom Seymour,
' you ought to have ducks; you've got a capital place
for ducks there.'
'Yes, but I've bought hens, you see,' said Freddy;
'so it's no use trying.'
'No use! Of course there is! Just as if your hens
couldn't hatch ducks' eggs. Now, you just wait till
one of your hens wants to set, and you put ducks' eggs
under her, and you'll have a family of ducks in a twink.
ling. You can buy ducks' eggs, plenty, of old Sam
under the hill; he always has hens hatch his ducks.'
THE HEN THA T HA TCHED DUCKS. 3
So Freddy thought it would be a good experiment,
and informed his mother the next morning that he
intended to furnish the ducks for the next Christmas
dinner; and when she wondered how he was to come
by them, he said, mysteriously, 0, I will show you
how !' but did not further explain himself. The next
day he went with Tom Seymour, and made a bargain
with old Sam, and gave him a middle-aged jack-knife
for eight of his ducks' eggs. Sam, by-the-by, was an
old labouring man, who lived by the pond hard by,
and who had long cast envying eyes on Fred's jack-
knife, because it was of extra-fine steel, having been a
Christmas present the year before. But Fred knew
very well there were any number more of jack-knives
where that came from, and that, in order to get a new
one, he must dispose of the old; so he made the
bargain, and came home rejoicing.
Now about this time Mrs. Feathertop, having laid
her eggs daily with great credit to herself, notwith-
standing Mrs. Scratchard's predictions, began to find
herself suddenly attacked with nervous symptoms.
She lost her gay spirits, grew dumpish and morose,
stuck up her feathers in a bristling way, and pecked
at her neighbours if they did so much as look at her
Master Gray Cock was greatly concerned, and went tc
old Doctor Peppercorn,who looked solemn, and recom
mended an infusion of angle-worms, and said he would
look in on the patient twice a day till she was better.
14 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.
Gracious me, Gray Cock!' said old Goody, who
had been lolling at the corner as he passed, 'you are
a fool!-cocks always are fools. Don't you know
what's the matter with your wife ? She wants to set-
that's all; and you just let her set! A fiddlestick for
Doctor Peppercorn Why, any good old hen that
has brought up a family knows more than a doctor
about such things. You just go home and tell her to
set, if she wants to, and behave herself.'
When Gray Cock came home, he found that Mastel
Freddy had been before him, and established Mrs.
Feathertop upon eight nice eggs, where she was sitting
in gloomy grandeur. He tried to make a little affable
conversation with her, and to relate his interview with
the Doctor and Goody, but she was morose and
sullen, and only pecked at him now and then in a
very sharp, unpleasant way; so, after a few more
efforts to make himself agreeable, he left her, and
went out promenading with the captivating Mrs. Red
Comb, a charming young Spanish widow, who had
just been imported into the neighboring yard.
'Bless my soul!' said he, 'you've no idea how
cross my wife is.'
'0 you horrid creature!' said Mrs. Red Comb;
'how little you feel for the weaknesses of us poor
'On my word, ma'am,' said Gray Cock, 'you do
me injustice. But when a hen gives way to temper,
THE HEN THAT HA TCHED DUCKS. 5
ma'am, and no longer meets her husband with a
smile,-when she even pecks at him whom she is
bound to honour and obey-'
Horrid monster! talking of obedience I should
say, sir, you came straight from Turkey!' and Mrs. Red
Comb tossed her head with a most bewitching air,
and pretended to run away, and old Mrs. Scratchard
looked out of her coop, and called to Goody-
'Look how Mr. Gray Cock is flirting with that
widow. I always knew she was a baggage.'
'And his poor wife left at home alone,' said Goody.
SIt's the way with 'em all !'
'Yes, yes,' said Dame Scratchard, 'she'll know
what real life is now, and she won't go about holding
her head so high, and looking down on her practical
neighbours that have raised families.'
'Poor thing, what'll she do with a family?' said
'Well, what business have such young flirts to get
married?' said Dame Scratchard. 'I don't expect
she'll train a single chick; and there's Gray Cock
flirting about fine as ever. Folks didn't do so when
I was young. I'm sure my husband knew what treat-
ment a setting hen ought to have-poor old Long
Spur: he never minded a peck or so now and then.
I must say these modem fowls are not what fowls
used to be.'
Meanwhile the sun rose and setk and Master Fred
16 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.
was almost the only friend and associate of poor little
Mrs. Feathertop, whom he fed daily with meal and
water, and only interrupted her sad reflections by
pulling her up occasionally to see how the eggs were
At last, 'Peep, peep, peep!' began to be heard in
the nest, and one little downy head after another
poked forth from under the feathers, surveying the
world with round, bright, winking eyes; and gradu-
ally the brood were hatched, and Mrs. Feathertop
arose, a proud and happy mother, with all the bustling,
scratching, care-taking instincts of family life warm
within her breast. She clucked and scratched, and
cuddled the little downy bits of things as handily and
discreetly as a seven-year-old hen could have done,
exciting thereby the wonder of the community.
Master Gray Cock came home in high spirits, and
complimented her; told her she was looking charm-
ingly once more, and said, 'Very well, very nice!'
as he surveyed the young brood,-so that Mrs.
Feathertop began to feel the world going well with
her; when, suddenly, in came Dame Scratchard and
Goody to make a morning call.
'Let's see the chicks,' said Dame Scratchard.
'Goodness me,' said Goody, 'what a likeness to
their dear papa!'
'Well, but bless me, what's the matter with their
bills?' said Dame Scratchard. 'Why, my dear, these
THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS. 17-
chicks are deformed! I'm sorry for you, my dear,
but it's all the result of your inexperience; you
ought to have eaten pebble-stones with your meal
when you were setting. Don't you see, dame, what
bills they have? That'll increase, and they'll be
'What shall I do?' said Mrs. Feathertop, now
Nothing that I know of,' said Dame Scratchard,
'since you didn't come to me before you set. I could
have told you all about it. Maybe it won't kill 'em,
but they'll always be deformed.'
And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting under
the pin-feathers of the poor little hen mamma, who
began to see that her darlings had curious little
spoonbills, different from her own, and to worry and
fret about it.
'My dear,' she said to her spouse, 'do get Dr.
Peppercorn to come in and look at their bills, and
see if anything can be done.'
Dr. Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrous
pair of spectacles, and said, 'Hum! Ha! Extra-
ordinary case-very singular!'
Did you ever see anything like it, doctor?' said
both parents, in a breath.
'I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlarge.
ment ot the vascular bony tissue,-threatening ossifica-
tion,' said the doctor.
18 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.
Oh, dreadful !-can it be possible?' shrieked both
parents. Can anything be done ?'
Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made of
butterfly's horns and bicarbonate of frogs' toes, to-
gether with a powder, to be taken morning and night,
of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be careful
about: they must never wet their feet, nor drink any
Dear me, doctor, I don't know what I siall do,
for they seem to have a particular fancy for getting
Yes, a morbid tendency often found in these cases
of bony tumification of the vascular tissue of the
mouth; but you must resist it, ma'am, as their life
depends upon it;'-and with that Dr. Peppercorn
glared gloomily on the young ducks, who were
stealthily poking the objectionable little spoonbills
out from under their mother's feathers.
After this poor Mrs. Feathertop led a weary life of
it; for the young fry were as healthy and enterpris-
ing a brood of young ducks as ever carried saucepans
on the ends of their noses, and they most utterly
set themselves against the doctor's prescriptions,
murmured at the muriate of fleas and the bicarbo-
nate of frogs' toes, and took every opportunity to
waddle their little ways down to the mud and water
which was in their near vicinity. So their bills
grew larger and larger, as did the rest of their
THE HEN THAT HA TCHED DUCKS. 19
bodies, and family government grew weaker and
You'll wear me out, children, you certainly will,'
said poor Mrs. Feathertop.
'You'll go to destruction-do ye hear?' said Master
'Did you ever see such frights as poor Mrs. Feather-
top has got ?' said Dame Scratchard. I knew what
would come of her family,-all deformed, and with a
dreadful sort of madness, which makes them love to
shovel mud with those shocking spoonbills of theirs.'
It's a kind of idiocy,' said Goody. 'Poor things!
they can't be kept from the water, nor made to take
powders, and so they get worse and worse.'
'I understand it's affecting their feet so that they
can't walk, and a dreadful sort of net is growing
between their toes. What a shocking visitation !'
'She brought it on herself,' said Dame Scratchard.
'Why didn't she come to me before she set ? She was
always an upstart, self-conceited thing, but I'm sure I
Meanwhile the young ducks throve apace. Their
necks grew glossy, like changeable green and gold
satin; and though they would not take the doctor's
medicine, and would waddle in the mud and water-
for which they always felt themselves to be very
naughty ducks-yet they grew quite vigorous and
hearty. At last one day the whole little tribe waddled
20 THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS.
off down to the bank of the river. It was a beautiful
day, and the river was dancing, and dimpling, and
winking, as the little breezes shook the trees that hung
Well,' said the biggest of the little ducks, in spite
of Dr. Peppercorn, I can't help longing for the water.
I don't believe it is going to hurt me,-at any rate,
here goes ;'-and in he plumped, and in went every
duck after him, and they threw out their great brown
feet as cleverly ao if they had taken rowing lessons all
their lives, and sailed off on the river, away, away
among the ferns, and through reeds and rushes, the
happiest ducks that ever were born; and soon they
were quite out of sight.
'Well, Mrs. Feathertop, this is a dispensation!'
said Mrs. Scratchard. Your children are all drowned
at last, just as I knew they'd be. The old music-
teacher, Master Bullfrog, that lives down in Water-
Dock Lane, saw 'em all plump madly into the water
together this morning; that's what comes of not know-
ing how to bring up a family.'
Mrs. Feathertop gave only a shriek and fainted dead
away, and was carried home on a cabbage-leaf; and
Mr. Gray Cock was sent for, where he was waiting on
Mrs. Red Comb through the hedge.
It's a serious time in your family, sir,' said Goody,
Sand you ought to be at home supporting your wife.
Send for Dr. Peppercorn without delay.'
THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS. 21
Now as the case was a very dreadful one, Dr.
Peppercorn called a council from the barn-yard of
the Squire, two miles off, and a brisk young Dr. Part-
lett appeared, in a fine suit of brown and gold, with
tail-feathers like meteors. A fine young fellow he
was, lately from Paris, with all the modern scientific
improvements fresh in his head.
When he had listened to the whole story, he
clapped his spur into the ground, and, leaning back,
laughed so loud that all the cocks in the neighbour-
Mrs. Feathertop rose up out of her swoon, and Mr.
Gray Cock was greatly enraged.
What do you mean, sir, by such behaviour in the
house of mourning?'
My dear sir, pardon me, but there is no occasion
for mourning. My dear madam, let me congratulate
you. There is no harm done. The simple matter is,
dear madam, you have been under a hallucination all
along. The neighbourhood and my learned friend
the doctor have all made a mistake in thinking that
these children of yours were hens at all. They are
ducks, ma'am, evidently ducks, and very finely formed
ducks I dare say.'
At this moment a .quack was heard, and at a dis-
tance the whole tribe were seen coming waddling
home, their feathers gleaming in green and gold, and
they themselves in high good spirits.
22 THE HEN THAT HA TIHED DUCKS.
'Such a splendid day as we have had!' they all
cried in a breath. And we know now how to get
our own living; we can take care of ourselves in
future, so you need have no further trouble with us.'
'Madam,' said the doctor, making a bow with an
air which displayed his tail-feathers to advantage,
'let me congratulate you on the charming family you
have raised. A finer brood of young healthy ducks
I never saw. Give claw, my dear friend,' he said,
addressing the elder son. 'In our barn-yard no
family is more respected than that of the ducks.'
And so Madam Feathertop came off glorious at
last; and when after this the ducks used to go
swimming up and down the river like so many nabobs
among the admiring hens, Dr. Peppercorn used to
look after them and say, 'Ah I had the care of their
infancy!' and Mr. Gray Cock and his wife used to
say,' It was our system of education did that!'
MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF.
LD Mother Magpie was the busiest character
in the forest. But you must know that
there is a great difference between being
busy and being industrious. One may be
very busy all the time, and yet not in the least indus-
trious; and this was the case with Mother Magpie.
She was always full of everybody's business but her
own,-up and down, here and there, everywhere but
in her own nest, knowing every one's affairs, telling
what everybody had been doing or ought to do,' and
ready to cast her advice gratis at every bird and beast
of the woods.
Now she bustled up to the parsonage at the top of
the oak tree, to tell old Parson Too-whit what she
thought he ought to preach for his next sermon,
and how dreadful the morals of the parish were
24 MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF.
becoming. Then, having perfectly bewildered the
poor old gentleman, who was always sleepy on a
Monday morning, Mother Magpie would take a peep
into Mrs. Oriole's nest, sit chattering on a bough
above, and pour forth floods of advice, which, poor
little Mrs. Oriole used to say to her husband, be-
wildered her more than a hard north-east storm.
Depend upon it, my dear,' Mother Magpie would
say, that this way of building your nest, swinging
like an old empty stocking from a bough, isn't at all
the thing. I never built one so in my life, and I
never have headaches. Now you complain always
that your head aches whenever I call upon you. It't
all on account of this way of swinging and swaying
about in such an absurd manner.'
'But, my dear,' piped Mrs. Oriole, timidly, the
Orioles always have built in this manner, and it suits
A fiddle on your constitution! How can you tell
what agrees with your constitution unless you try?
You own you are not well; you are subject to head-
aches; and every physician will tell you that a tilting
motion disorders the stomach, and acts upon the
brain. Ask old Dr. Kite. I was talking with him
about your case only yesterday, and says he, Mrs.
Magpie, I perfectly agree with you."'
'But my husband prefers this style of building.'
"That's only because he isn't properly instructed.
MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF. 25
Pray, did you ever attend Dr. Kite's lectures on the
'No, I have no time to attend lectures. Who
would set on the eggs ?'
Why, your husband, to be sure; don't he take his
turn in setting? If he don't, he ought to. I shall
speak to him about it. My husband always set
regularly half the time, that I might have time to go
about and exercise.'
Oh, Mrs. Magpie, pray don't speak to my husband
he will think I've been complaining.'
'No, no, he won't! Let me alone. I understand
just how to say the thing. I've advised hundreds of
young husbands in my day, and I never give offence.'
'But I tell you, Mrs. Magpie, I don't want any
interference between my husband and me, and I will
not have it,' says Mrs. Oriole, with her little round
eyes flashing with indignation.
'Don't put yourself in a passion, my dear; the
more you talk, the more sure I am that your nervous
system is running down, or you wouldn't forget good
manners in this way. You'd better take my advice,
for I understand just what to do.' And away sails
Mother Magpie; and presently young Oriole comes
home, all in a flutter.
'I say, my dear, if you will persist in gossiping
over our private family matters with that old mother
26 MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIE
'My dear, I don't gossip; she comes and bores
me to death with talking, and then goes off and
mistakes what she has been saying for what I said.'
'But you must cut her.'
'I try to, all I can; but she won't be cut.'
'It's enough to make a bird swear,' said Tommy
Tommy Oriole, to say the truth, had as good a
heart as ever beat under bird's feathers; but then he
had a weakness for concerts and general society,
because he was held to be, by all odds, the hand-
somest bird in the woods, and sung like an angel;
and so the truth was, he didn't confine himself so
much to the domestic nest as Tom Titmouse or Billy
Wren. But he determined he wouldn't have old
Mother Magpie interfering with his affairs.
'The fact is,' quoth Tommy, 'I am a society bird,
and nature has marked out for me a course beyond
the range of the commonplace, and my wife must
learn to accommodate. If she has a brilliant husband,
whose success gratifies her ambition and places her in
a distinguished public position, she must pay some-
thing for it. I'm sure Billy Wren's wife would give
her very bill to see her husband in the circles where I
am quite at home. To say the truth, my wife was all
well enough content till old Mother Magpie inter-
fered. It is quite my duty to take strong ground,
and show that I cannot be dictated to.'
MO IHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF. 27
So, after this, Tommy Oriole went to rather more
concerts, and spent less time at home than ever he
did before, which was all that Mother Magpie effected
in that quarter. I confess this was very bad in
Tommy; but then birds are no better than men in
domestic matters, and sometimes will take the most
unreasonable courses, if a meddlesome magpie gets
her claw into their nest.
But old Mother Magpie had now got a new busi-
ness in hand in another quarter. She bustled off
down to Water-Dock Lane, where lived the old music-
teacher, Dr. Bullfrog. The poor old doctor was a
simple-minded, good, amiable creature, who had
played the double-bass and led the forest choir on
all public occasions since nobody knows when.
Latterly some youngsters had arisen, who sneered at
his performances as behind the age. In fact, since a
great city had grown up in the vicinity of the forest,
tribes of wandering boys broke up the simple tastes
and quiet habits which old Mother Nature had always
kept up in those parts.
This was not the worst of it. The little varlets had
a way of jeering at the simple old doctor and his
concerts, and mimicking the tones of his bass viol.
'There you go, Paddy-go-donk, Paddy-go-donk-
umph-chunk,' some rascal of a boy would shout,
while poor old Bullfrog's yellow spectacles would be
bedewed with tears of honest indignation. In time,
28 MIOT1HER MAGPIES MISCHIEF.
the jeers .of these little savages began to tell on the
society in the forest, and to corrupt their simple
manners; and it was whispered among the younger
and more heady birds and squirrels, that old Bullfrog
was a bore, and that it was time to get up a new
style of music in the.parish, and to give the charge of
it to some more modern performer.
Poor old Dr. Bullfrog knew nothing of this, how-
ever, and was doing his simple best in peace, when
Mother Magpie called in upon him one morning.
Well, neighbour, how unreasonable people are!
Who would have thought that the youth of our gene-
ration should have no more consideration for esta-
blished merit ? Now, for my part, I think your music-
teaching never was better; and as for our choir, I
maintain constantly that it never was in better order;
but-well one may wear her tongue out, but one can
never make these young folks listen to reason.'
'I really don't understand you, ma'am,' said poor
'What you haven't heard of a committee that is
going to call on you to ask you to resign the care of
the parish music?'
Madam,' said Dr. Bullfrog, with all that energy of
tone for which he was remarkable, I don't believe it
-I can't believe it. You must have made a mistake.'
'I mistake! No, no, my good friend; I never
make mistakes. What I know, I know certainly
MOTHER MA4GPIES MISCHIEF 29
Wasn't it I that said I knew there was an engage-
ment between Tim Chipmunk and Nancy Nibble,
who are married this blessed day? I knew that
thing six weeks before any bird or beast in our parts;
and I can tell you, you are going to be scandalously
and ungratefully treated, Dr. Bullfrog.'
Bless me, we shall all be ruined !' said Mrs. Bull-
frog; 'my poor husband- '
Oh, as to that, if you take things in time, and listen
to my advice,' said Mother Magpie, we may yet pull
you through. You must alter your style a little-adapt
it to modern times. Everybody now is a little touched
with the operatic fever, and there's Tommy Oriole has
been to Paris and brought back a touch of the artistic.
If you would try his style a little-something Tyrolean,
Dear madam, consider my voice. I never could
hit the high notes.'
'How do you know? It's all practice; Tommy
Oriole says so. Just try the scales. As to your
voice, your manner of living has a great deal to do
with it. I. always did tell you that your passion for
water injured your singing. Suppose Tommy Oriole
should sit half his days up to his waist in water, as
you do, his voice would be as hoarse and rough as
yours. Come up on the bank, and learn to perch, as
we birds do. We are the true musical race.'
And so poor Dr. Bullfrog was persuaded to forego
30 MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF.
his pleasant little cottage under the rushes, where his
green spectacles and honest round back had excited,
even in the minds of the boys, sentiments of respect
and compassion. He came up into the garden, and
established himself under a tree, and began to prac-
tise Italian scales.
The result was, that poor old Dr. Bullfrog, instead
of being considered as a respectable old bore, got
himself universally laughed at for aping fashionable
manners. Every bird and beast in the forest had a
gibe at him; and even old Parson Too-whit thought
it worth his while to make him a pastoral call, and
admonish him -about courses unbefitting his age and
standing. As to Mother Magpie, you may be sure
that she assured every one how sorry she was that
dear old Dr. Bullfrog had made such a fool of him
self: if he had taken her advice, he would have kept
on respectably, as a nice old Bullfrog should.
But the tragedy for the poor old music-teacher
grew even more melancholy in its termination; for
one day as he was sitting disconsolately under a
currant-bush in the garden, practising his poor old
notes in a quiet way, thium came a great blow of a
hoe, which nearly broke his back.
Hullo what ugly beast have we got here?' said
Tom Noakes, the gardener's boy. Here, here, Wasp,
What a fright for a poor, quiet, old Bullfrog, as
MOTHER MAGPIES MISCHIEF. 31
little wiry, wicked Wasp came at him, barking and
yelping. He jumped with all his force sheer over a
patch of bushes into the river, and swam back to his
old home among the rushes. And always after that
it was observable that he was very low-spirited, and
took very dark views of life; but nothing made him
so angry as any allusion to Mother Magpie, of whom,
from that time, he never spoke except as Old Maoler
THE NUTCRACKERS OF NUTCRACKER
R. and Mrs. Nutcracker were as respectable
a pair of squirrels as ever wore grey
bushes over their backs. They were
animals of a settled and serious turn of
mind, not disposed to run after vanities and novelties,
but filling theii station in life with prudence. and
sobriety. Nutcracker Lodge was a hole in a sturdy
Dld chestnut overhanging a shady dell, and was held
to be as respectably kept an establishment as there
was in the whole forest. Even Miss Jenny Wren,
the greatest gossip of the neighbourhood, never found
anything to criticise ifi its arrangements, and old
Parson Too-whit, a venerable owl, who inhabited a
branch somewhat more exalted, as became his pro-
fession, was in the habit of saving himself much
trouble in his parochial exhortations, by telling his
THE NUTCRACKERS. 33
parishioners in short to look at the Nutcrackers,' if
they wanted to see what it was to live a virtuous life.
Everything had gone on prosperously with them, and
they had reared many successive families of young
Nutcrackers, who went forth to assume their places in
the forest of life, and to reflect credit on their bring-
ing-up,-so that, naturally enough, they began to have
a very easy way of considering themselves models of
But at last it came along, in the course of events,
that they had a son named Featherhead, who was
destined to bring them a great deal of anxiety.
Nobody knows what the reason is; but the fact was,
that Master Featherhead was as different from all the
former children of this worthy couple as if he had
been dropped out of the moon into their nest, instead
of coming into it in the general way. Young Feather-
head was a squirrel of good parts and a lively disposi-
tion, but he was sulky, and contrary, and unreasonable,
and always finding matter of complaint in everything
hiis respectable papa and mamma did. Instead of
assisting in the cares of a family-picking up nuts
and learning other lessons proper to a young squirrel-
he seemed to settle himself from his earliest years into
a sort of lofty contempt for the Nutcrackers, for
Nutcracker Lodge, and for all the good old ways and
institutions of the domestic hole, which he declared
to be stupid and unreasonable, and entirely behind
34 THE NUTCRACKERS OF
the times. To be sure, he was always on hand at
meal-times, and played a very lively tooth on the nuts
which his mother had collected, always selecting the
very best for himself; but he seasoned his nibbling
with so much grumbling and discontent, and so many
severe remarks, as to give the impression that he
considered himself a peculiarly ill-used squirrel in
having to 'eat their old grub,' as he very uncere-
moniously called it.
Papa Nutcracker, on these occasions, was often
fiercely indignant, and poor little Mamma Nutcracker
would shed tears, and beg her darling to be a little
more reasonable; but the young gentleman seemed
always to consider himself as the injured party.
Now nobody could tell why or wherefore Master
Featherhead looked upon himself as injured and
aggrieved, since he was living in a good hole, with
plenty to eat, and without the least care or labour of
his own; but he seemed rather to value himself upon
being gloomy and dissatisfied. While his parents and
brothers and sisters were cheerfully racing up and
down the branches, busy in their domestic toils, and
laying' up stores for the winter, Featherhead sat
gloomily apart, declaring himself weary of existence,
and feeling himself at liberty to quarrel with every-
body and everything about him. Nobody understood
him, he said: he was a squirrel of a peculiar nature.
and needed peculiar treatment, and nobody treated
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 35
him in a way that did not grate on the finer nerves
of his feelings; he had higher notions of existence
than could be bounded by that old rotten hole in a
hollow tree; he had thoughts that soared far above
the miserable, petty details of every-day life, and he
could not, and would not, bring down these soaring
aspirations to the contemptible toil of laying up a few
chestnuts for winter.
'Depend upon it, my dear,' said Mrs. Nutcracker
solemnly, that fellow must be a genius.'
'Fiddlestick on his genius!' said old Mr. Nut-
cracker; 'what does he do '
Oh, nothing, of course; that's one of the first marks
of genius. Geniuses, you know, never can come
down to common life.'
He eats enough for any two,' remarked old Nut-
cracker, 'and he never helps to gather nuts.'
My dear, ask Parson Too-whit; he has conversed
with him, and quite agrees with me that he says very
uncommon things for a squirrel of his age; he has
such fine feelings-so much above those of the
'Fine feelings be hanged !' said old Nutcracker.
'When a fellow eats all the nuts that his mother gives
him, and then grumbles at her, I don't believe much
in his fine feelings. Why don't he set himself about
something? I'm going to tell my fine young gentle-
man, that if he doesn't behave himself, I'll tumble
36 THE NUTCRACKERS OF
him out of the nest, neck and crop, and see if hunger
won't do something towards bringing down his fine
But then Mrs. Nutcracker fell on her husband's
neck with both paws, and wept, and besought him so
piteously to have patience with her darling, that old
Nutcracker, who was himself a soft-hearted old
squirrel, was prevailed upon to put up with the airs
and graces of his young scapegrace a little longer;
and secretly in his silly old heart he revolved the
question, whether possibly it might not be that a great
genius was actually to come of his household.
The Nutcrackers belonged to the old established
race of the Grays; but they were sociable, friendly
people, and kept on the best of terms with all
branches of the Nutcracker family. The Chipmunks
of Chipmunk Hollow were a very lively, cheerful,
sociable race, and on the very best of terms with the
Nutcracker Grays. Young Tip Chipmunk, the oldest
son, was in all respects a perfect contrast to Master
Featherhead. He was always lively and cheerful, and
so very alert in providing for the family, that old Mr.
and Mrs. Chipmunk had very little care, but could sit
sociably at the door of their hole and chat with neigh-
bours, quite sure that Tip would bring everything out
right for them, and have plenty laid up for winter.
Now Featherhead took it upon him, for some reason
or other, to look down upon Tip Chipmunk, and on
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 37
every occasion to disparage him in the social circle,
as a very common kind of squirrel, with whom it
would be best not to associate too freely.
My dear,' said Mrs. Nutcracker one day, when ht
was expressing these ideas, 'it seems to me that yot
are too hard on poor Tip; he is a most excellent
son and brother, and I wish you would be civil to
Oh, I don't doubt that Tip is good enough,' said
Featherhead, carelessly; 'but then he is so very
common! he hasn't an idea in his skull above his
nuts and his hole. He is good-natured enough, to be
sure-these very ordinary people often are good-
natured,-but he wants manner; he has really no
manner at all; and as to the deeper feelings, Tip hasn't
the remotest idea of them. I mean always to be civil
to Tip when he comes in my way, but I think the less
we see of that sort of people the better; and I hope,
mother, you won't invite the Chipmunks at Christmas,
these family dinners are such a bore !'
'But, my dear, your father thinks a great deal o
the Chipmunks; and it is an old family custom tc
have all the relatives here at Christmas.'
'And an awful bore it is! Why must people of
refinement and elevation be for ever tied down
because of some distant relationship ? Now there
are our -cousins the High-Flyers-if we could get
them, there would be some sense in it. Young
38 THE NUTCRACKERS OF
Whisk rather promised me for Christmas; but it's
seldom now you can get a flying squirrel to show
himself in our parts, and if we are intimate with the
Chipmunks it isn't to be expected.'
'Confound him for a puppy !' said old Nutcracker,
when his wife repeated these sayings to him.
' Featherhead is a fool. Common, forsooth! I wish
good, industrious, painstaking sons like Tip Chip-
munk were common. For my part, I find these
uncommon people the most tiresome; they are not
content with letting us carry the whole load, but they
sit on it, and scold at us while we carry them.'
But old Mr. Nutcracker, like many other good old
gentlemen squirrels, found that Christmas dinners
and other things were apt to go as his wife said, and
his wife was apt to go as young Featherhead said;
and so, when Christmas came, the Chipmunks were
not invited, for the first time in many years. The
Chipmunks, however, took all pleasantly, and accepted
poor old Mrs. Nutcracker's awkward apologies with
the best possible grace, and young Tip looked in on
Christmas morning with the compliments of the sea-
son and a few beech-nuts, which he had secured as a
great dainty. The fact was, that Tip's little striped
fur coat was so filled up and overflowing with cheerful
good-will to all, that he never could be made to
understand that any of his relations could want to cut
him; and therefore Featherhead looked down on him
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 39
with contempt, and said he had no tact, and couldn't
see when he was not wanted.
It was wonderful to see how, by means of persisting
in remarks like these, young Featherhead at last got
all his family to look up to him as something uncom-
mon. Though he added nothing to the family, and
required more to be done for him than all the others
put together-though he showed not the smallest
real perseverance or ability in anything useful-yet
somehow all his brothers and sisters, and his poor
foolish old mother, got into a way of regarding him
as something wonderful, and delighting in his sharp
sayings as if they had been the wisest things in the
But at last old papa declared that it was time for
Featherhead to settle himself to some business in life,
roundly declaring that he could not always have him
as a hanger-on in the paternal hole.
'What are you going to do, my boy?' said Tip
Chipmunk to him one day. 'We are driving now a
thriving trade in nuts, and if you would like to join
'Thank you,' said Featherhead, 'but I confess I
have no fancy for anything so slow as the nut trade;
I never was made to grub and delve in that way.'
The fact was, that Featherhead had lately been
forming alliances such as no reputable squirrel should
even think of. He had more than once been seen
40 THE NUTCRACKERS OF
going out evenings with the Rats of Rat Hollow,--a
race whose reputation for honesty was more than
doubtful. The fact was, further, that old Longtooth
Rat, an old sharper and money-lender, had long had
his eye on Featherhead as just about silly enough for
their purposes, engaging him in what he called a
speculation, but which was neither more nor less than
Near by the chestnut-tree where Nutcracker Lodge
was situated, was a large barn filled with corn and
grain, besides many bushels of hazel-nuts, chestnuts,
and walnuts. Now old Longtooth proposed to young
Featherhead that he should nibble a passage into this
loft, and there establish himself in the commission
business, passing the nuts and corn to him as he
wanted them. Old Longtooth knew what he was
about in the proposal, for he had heard talk of a
brisk Scotch terrier that was about to be bought to
keep the rats from the grain; but you may be sure he
kept his knowledge to himself, so that Featherhead
was none the wiser for it.
'The nonsense of fellows like Tip Chipmunk!'
said Featherhead to his admiring brothers and
'sisters. The perfectly stupid nonsense There
he goes, delving and poking, picking up a nut
here and a grain there, when I step into property
'But I hope, my son, you are careful to be honest
NUTCRACKER LODGE. 41
in your dealings,' said old Nutcracker, who was a
very moral squirrel.
With that, young Featherhead threw his tail saucily
over one shoulder, winked knowingly at his brothers,
and said, 'Certainly, sir! If honesty consists in get-
ting what you can while it is going, I mean to be
Very soon Featherhead appeared to his admiring
companions in the height of prosperity. He had a
splendid hole in the midst of a heap of chestnuts, and
he literally seemed to be rolling in wealth; he never
came home without showering lavish gifts on his
mother and sisters; he wore his tail over his back
with a buckish air, and patronized Tip Chipmunk
with a gracious nod whenever he met him, and
thought that the world was going well with him.
But one luckless day, as Featherhead was lolling in
his hole, up came two boys with the friskiest, wiriest
Scotch terrier you ever saw. His" eyes blazed like
torches; and poor Featherhead's heart died within
him as he heard the boys say, 'Now we'll see if we
can't catch the rascal that eats our grain.'
Featherhead tried to slink out at the hole he had
gnawed to come in by, but found it stopped.
'Oh, you are there, are you, mister ?' said the boy.
'Well, you don't get out; and now for a chase!'
And, sure enough, poor Featherhead ran distracted
with terror up and down, through the bundles of hay,
42 THE NUTCRACKERS.
between barrels, and over casks; but with the bark
ing terrier ever at his heels, and the boys running,
shouting, and cheering his pursuer on. He was glad
at last to escape through a crack, though he left half
of his fine brush behind him; for Master Wasp the
terrier made a snap at it just as he was going, and
cleaned all the hair off it, so that it was bare as a
Poor Featherhead limped off, bruised and beaten
and bedraggled, with the boys and dog still after him,
and they would have caught him, after all, if Tip
Chipmunk's hole had not stood hospitably open to
receive him. Tip took him in, like a good-natured
fellow as he was, and took the best of care of him;
but the glory of Featherhead's tail had departed for
ever. He had sprained his left paw, and got a chronic
rheumatism, and the fright and fatigue which he
had gone through had broken up his constitution, so
that he never again could be what he had been. But
Tip gave him a situation as under-clerk in his esta-
blishment, and from that time he was a sadder and
a wiser squirrel than he ever had been before.
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
SNDER the window of a certain pretty little
cottage there grew a great old apple-tree,
which in the spring had thousands and
thousands of lovely pink blossoms on it,
and in the autumn had about half as many bright red
apples as it had blossoms in the spring.
The nursery of this cottage was a little bower of a
room, papered with mossy-green paper, and curtained
with white muslin; and here five little children used
to come, in their white nightgowns, to be dressed and
have their hair brushed and curled every morning.
First, there were Alice and Mary, bright-eyed, laugh-
ing little girls, of seven and eight years; and then came
stout little Jamie, and Charlie; and, finally, little Puss,
whose real name was Ellen, but who was called Puss,
and Pussy, and Birdie, and Toddlie, and any other
pet name that came to mind.
44 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
Now it used to happen, every morning, that the five
little heads would be peeping out of the window
together into the flowery boughs of the apple-tree;
and the reason was this. A pair of robins had built a
very pretty, smooth-lined nest in a fork of the limb
that came directly under the window, and the build-
ing of this nest had been superintended, day by day,
by the five pairs of bright eyes of these five children.
The robins at first had been rather shy of this inspec-
tion; but as they got better acquainted, they seemed
to think no more of the little curly heads in the
window, than of the pink lilossoms about them, or
the daisies and buttercups at the foot of the tree.
All the little hands were forward to help; some
threw out flossy bits of cotton-for which, we grieve
to say, Charlie had cut a hole in the crib quilt-and
some threw out bits of thread and yarn, and Allie
ravelled out a considerable piece from one of her
garters, which she threw out as a contribution; and
they exulted in seeing the.skill with which the little
builders wove everything in.
'Little birds, little birds,' they would say, you shall
be kept warm, for we have given you cotton out of our
crib quilt, and yar out of our stockings.' Nay, so far
did this generosity proceed, that Charlie cut a flossy,
golden curl from Toddlie's head and threw it out; and
when the birds caught it. up, the whole flock laughed
to see Toddlie's golden hair figuring in the bird's nest.
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 45
When the little thing was finished, it was so neat,
and trim, and workman-like, that the children all
exulted over it, and called it' our nest,' and the two
robins they called our birds.' But wonderful was the
joy when the little eyes, opening one morning, saw in
the nest a beautiful pale-green egg; and the joy grew
from day to day, for every day there came another
egg, and so on, till there were five little eggs ; and then
the oldest girl, Alice, said, 'There are five eggs; that
makes one for each of us, and each of us will have a
little bird by and by;'-at which all the children
laughed and jumped with glee.
When the five little eggs were all laid, the mother.
bird began to sit on them ; and at any time of day or
night, when a little head peeped out of the nursery
window, might be seen a round, bright, patient pair of
bird's eyes contentedly waiting for the young birds to
come. It seemed a long time for the children to
wait; but every day they put some bread and cake
from their luncheon on the window-sill, so that the
birds might have something to eat; but still there she
was patiently watching !
How long, long, long she waits !' said Jamie, im.
patiently. I don't believe she's ever going to hatch.
Oh yes, she is!' said grave little Alice. 'Jamie,
you don't understand about these things; it takes a
long, long time to hatch eggs. Old Sam says his hens
set three weeks; only think, almost a month I'
46 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
Three weeks looked a long time to the five bright
pairs of little watching eyes; but Jamie said, the eggs
were so much smaller than hen's eggs, that it wouldn't
take so long to hatch them, he knew. Jamie always
thought he knew all about everything, and was so sure
of it that he rather took the lead among the children.
But one morning, when they pushed their five heads
out of the window, the round, patient little bird-eyes
were gone, and there seemed to be nothing in the nest
but a bunch of something hairy.
Upon this they all cried out, Oh, mamma, do come
here the bird is gone and left her nest !' And when
they cried out, they saw five wide little red mouths
open in the nest, and saw that the hairy bunch of stuff
was indeed the first of five little birds.
They are dreadful-looking things !' said Mary; 'I
didn't know that little birds began by looking so badly.'
'They seem to be all mouth,' said Jamie.
SWe must feed them,' said Charlie.
'Here, little birds, here's some gingerbread for
you,' he said; and he threw a bit of gingerbread,
.which, fortunately, only hit the nest on the outside, and
fell down among the buttercups, where two crickets
made a meal of it, and agreed that it was as excel-
lent gingerbread as if old Mother Cricket herself had
Take care, Charlie,' said his mamma; 'we do not
know enough to feed young birds. We must leave it
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 47
to their.papa and mamma, who probably started out
bright and early in the morning to get breakfast for
Sure enough, while they were speaking, back came
Mr. and Mrs. Robin, whirring through the green
shadows of the apple-tree ; and thereupon all the five
little red mouths flew open, and the birds put some
thing into each.
It was great amusement, after this, to watch the
daily feeding of the little birds, and to observe how,
when not feeding them, the mother sat brooding on
the nest, warming them under her soft wings, while
the father-bird sat on the tip-top bough of the apple
tree and sang to them. In time they grew and grew,
and, instead of a nest full of little red mouths, there
was a nest full of little, fat, speckled robins, with
round, bright, cunning eyes, just like their parents;
and the children began to talk together about their
I'm going to give my robin a name,' said Mary.
'I call him Brown-Eyes.'
And I call mine Tip-Top,' said Jamie, 'because I
know he'll be a tip-top bird.'
'And I call mine Singer,' said Alice.
'I call mine Toddy,' said little Toddlie, who would
not be behindhand in anything that was going on.
Hurrah for little Toddlie !' said Charlie, 'her's is
the best of all. For my part, I call mine Speckle.'
48 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
So then the birds were all made separate characters,
by having each a separate name given it. Brown-
Eyes, Tip-Top, Singer, Toddy, and Speckle made, as
they grew bigger, a very crowded nestful of birds.
Now the children had early been taught to say, in
a little hymn :
'Birds in their little nests agree,
And 'tis a shameful sight
When children of one family
Fall out, and chide, and fight;'
and they thought anything really written and printed
in a hymn must be true; therefore they were very
much astonished to see, from day to day, that their
little birds in their nest did not agree.
Tip-Top was the biggest and strongest bird, and he
was always shuffling and crowding the others, and
clamouring for the most food; and when Mrs. Robin
came in with a nice bit of anything, Tip-Top's red
mouth opened so wide, and he was so noisy, that one
would think the nest was all his. His mother used to
correct him for these gluttonous ways, and sometimes
made him wait till all the rest were helped before she
gave him a mouthful; but he generally revenged him-
self in her absence, by crowding the others and making
the rest generally uncomfortable. Speckle, however,
was a bird of spirit, and he used to peck at Tip-Top;
so they would sometimes have a regular sparring-
match across poor Brown-Eyes, who was a meek,
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 49
tender little fellow, and would sit winking and blink.
ing in fear while his big brothers quarrelled. As to
Toddy and Singer, they turned out to be sister birds,
and showed quite a feminine talent for chattering;
they used to scold their badly behaving brothers in a
way that made the nest quite lively.
On the whole, Mr. and Mrs. Robin did not find
their family circle the peaceable place the poet repre-
I say,' said Tip-Top one day to them, this old
nest is a dull, mean, crowded hole, and it's quite time
some of us were out of it. Just give us lessons in
flying, won't you, and let us go !'
My dear boy,' said Mother Robin, 'we shall teach
you to fly as soon as your wings are strong enough.'
'You are a very little bird,' said his father, 'and
ought to be good and obedient, and wait patiently
till your wing-feathers grow; and then you can soal
away to some purpose.'
'Wait for my wing-feathers ?-humbug!' Tip-Top
would say, as he sat balancing with his little short tail
on the edge of the nest, and looking down through
the leaves and grass below, and up into the blue
clouds above. 'Father and mother are slow old
birds; keep a fellow back with their confounded
notions. If they don't sharpen up, I'll take matters
into my own claws, and be off some day before they
know it. Look at those swallows, skimming and
50 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
diving through the blue air! That's the way I want
But, dear brother, the way to learn to do that is to
be good and obedient while we are little, and wait till
our parents think it best for us to begin.'
Shut up your preaching,' said Tip-Top; 'what do
you girls know of flying ?'
'About as much as you,' said Speckle. 'However,
I'm sure I don't care how soon you take yourself off,
for you take up more room than all the rest put
You mind yourself, Master Speckle, or you'll get
something you don't like,' said Tip-Top, still strutting
in a very cavalier way on the edge of the nest, and
sticking up his little short tail quite valiantly.
Oh my darlings,' said the mamma, now fluttering
home, cannot I ever teach you to live in love ?'
It's all Tip-Top's fault,' screamed the other birds
in a flutter.
'My fault ? 'Of course, everything in this nest that
goes wrong is laid to me,' said Tip-Top; 'and I'll
leave it to anybody, now, if I crowd anybody. I've
been sitting outside, on the very edge of the nest, and
there's Speckle has got my place.'
'Who wants your place ?' said Speckle. 'I'm sure
you can come in, if you please.'
My dear boy,' said the mother, do go into the nest
and be a good little bird, and then you will be happy.'
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 51
'That's always the talk,' said Tip-Top. 'I'm too
big for the nest, and I want to see the world. It's
full of beautiful things, I know. Now there's the most
lovely creature, with bright eyes, that comes under the
tree every day, and wants me to come down in the
grass and play with her.'
'My son, my son, beware!' said the frightened
mother; that lovely seeming creature is our dreadful
enemy, the cat,-a horrid monster, with teeth and
At this, all the little birds shuddered and cuddled
deeper in the nest; only Tip-Top in his heart dis-
believed it. I'm too old a bird,' said he to himself,
'to believe that story; mother is chaffing me. But
I'll show her that I can take care of myself.'
So the next morning, after the father and mother
were gone, Tip-Top got on the edge of the nest again,
and looked over and saw lovel) Miss Pussy washing
her face among the daisies under the tree, and her
hair was sleek and white as the daisies, and her eyes
were yellow and beautiful to behold, and she looked
up to the tree bewitchingly, and said, 'Little birds,
little birds, come down; Pussy wants to play with
'Only look at her !' said Tip-Top; 'her eyes are
'No, don't look,' said Singer and Speckle. 'She
will bewitch you and then eat you up.'
52 TIHE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
'I'd like to see her try to eat me up,' said Tip-Top,
again balancing his short tail over the nest. 'Just as
if she would! She's just the nicest, most innocent
creature going, and only wants us to have fun. We
never do have any fun in this old nest !'
Then the yellow eyes below shot a bewildering light
into Tip-Top's eyes, and a voice sounded sweet as
silver: 'Little birds, little birds, come down; Pussy
wants to play with you.'
'Her paws are as white as velvet,' said Tip-Top;
'and so soft I don't believe she has any claws.'
'Don't go, brother, don't!' screamed both sisters.
All we know about it is, that a moment after a dire-
ful scream was heard from the nursery window. Oh
mamma, mamma, do come here! Tip-Top's fallen
out of the nest, and the cat has got him !'
Away ran Pussy with foolish little Tip-Top in her
mouth, and he squeaked dolefully when he felt her
sharp teeth. Wicked Miss Pussy had no mind to eat
him at once; she meant just as she said, 'to play
with him.' So she ran off to a private place among
the currant-bushes, while all the little curly heads were
scattered up and down looking for her.
Did you ever see a cat play with a bird or a mouse ?
She sets it down, and seems to go off and leave it;
but the moment it makes the first movement to get
away,-pounce she springs on it, and shakes it in her
mouth; and so she teases and tantalizes it, till she
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP. 53
gets ready to kill and eat it. I can't say why she does
it, except that it is a cat's nature; and it is a very
bad nature for foolish young robins, to get acquainted
'Oh, where is he ? where is he ? Do find my poor
Tip-Top !' said Jamie, crying as loud as he could
scream. I'll kill that horrid cat,-I'll kill her !'
Mr. and Mrs. Robin, who had come home mean-
time, joined their plaintive chirping to the general
confusion; and Mrs. Robin's bright eyes soon dis-
covered her poor little son, where Pussy was patting
and rolling him from one paw to the other under the
currant-bushes ; and, settling on the bush above, she
called the little folks to the spot by her cries.
Jamie plunged under the bush, and caught the cat
"with luckless Tip-Top in her mouth; and, with one
or two good thumps, he obliged her to let him go.
Tip-Top was not dead, but in a sadly draggled and
torn state. Some of his feathers were torn out, and
one of his wings was broken, and hung down in a
'Oh, what shall we do for him? He will die.
Poor Tip-Top !' said the children.
'Let's put him back into the nest, children,' said
mamma. 'His mother will know best what to do
So a ladder was got, and papa climbed up and
put poor Tip-Top safely into the nest. The cat had
54 THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP.
shaken all the nonsense well out of him; he was a
dreadfully humbled young robin.
The time came at last when all the other birds in
the nest learned to fly, and fluttered and flew about
everywhere; but poor melancholy Tip-Top was still
confined to the nest with a broken wing. Finally, as
it became evident that it would be long before he
could fly, Jamie took him out of the nest, and made a
nice little cage for him, and used to feed him every
day, and he would hop about and seem tolerably con-
tented; but it was evident that he would be a lame-
winged robin all his days.
Jamie's mother told him that Tip-Top's history was
I don't know what you mean, mamma,' said Jamie.
'When something in a bird's life is like something
in a boy's life, or when a story is similar in its meaning
to reality, we call it an allegory. Little boys, when
they are about half grown up, sometimes do just as
Tip-Top did. They are in a great hurry to get away
from home into the great world ; and then Temptation
comes, with bright eyes and smooth velvet paws, and
promises them fun; and they go to bad places; they
get to smoking, and then to drinking; and, finally,
the bad habit gets them in its teeth and claws, and
plays with them as a cat does with a mouse. They
try to reform, just as your robin tried to get away from
THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP." 55
the cat; but their bad habits pounce on them and
drag them back. And so, when the time comes that
they want to begin life, they are miserable, broken-
down creatures, like your broken-winged robin.
'So, Jamie, remember and don't try to be a man
before your time; and let your parents judge for you
while you are young, and never believe in any soft
white pussy, with golden eyes, that comes and wants
to tempt you to come down and play with her. If a
big boy offers to teach you to smoke a cigar, that is
Pussy. If a boy wants you to go into a billiard-
saloon, that is Pussy. If a boy wants you to learn to
drink anything with spirit in it, however sweetened
and disguised, remember Pussy is there, and Pussy's
claws are long, and Pussy's teeth are strong, and if
she gives you one shake in your youth, you will be
like a broken-winged robin all your days.'
X ll ---.. -. -
THE SQUIRRELS THAT LIVE IN A HOUSE.
CE upon a time a gentleman went out
into a great forest, and cut away the trees,
and built there a very nice little cottage.
It was set very low on the ground, and
had very large bow-windows, and so much of it was
glass that one could look through it on every side
and see what was going on in the forest. You could
see the shadows of the fern-leaves, as they flickered
and wavered over the ground, and the scarlet berries
and purple plums that matted round the roots of the
trees, and the bright spots of sunshine that fell through
their branches, and went dancing about among the
bushes and leaves at their roots. You could see the
little chipping sparrows and thrushes and robins build-
ing their nests here and there among the branches,
and watch them from day to day as they laid their
eggs and hatched their young. You could also see
THE SQUIRRELS. 57
red squirrels, and grey, squirrels, and little striped
squirrels, darting and springing about, here and there
and everywhere, running races with each other from
bough to bough, and chattering at each other in the
gayest possible manner.
You may be sure that such a strange thing as a
great mortal house for humaT beings to live in did not
come into this wild wood without making quite a stir
and excitement among the inhabitants that lived there
before. All the time it was building, there was the
greatest possible commotion in the breasts of all the
older population; and there wasn't even a black ant,
or a cricket, that did not have his own opinion about
it, and did not tell the other ants and crickets just
what he thought the world was coming to in con-
Old Mrs. Rabbit declared that the hammering and
noise made her nervous, and gave her most melancholy
forebodings of evil times.
'Depend upon it, children,' she said to her long-
eared family, 'no good will come to us from this
establishment. Where man is, there comes always
trouble for us poor rabbits.'
The old chestnut-tree, that grew on the edge of the
woodland ravine, drew a great sigh which shook all
his leaves, and expressed it as his conviction that no
good would ever come of it,-a conviction that at
once struck to the heart of every chestnut-burr. The
58 THE SQUIRRELS THAT
squirrels talked together of the dreadful state of things
that would ensue.
'Why !' said old Father Gray, 'it's evident that
Nature made the nuts for us; but one of these great
human creatures will carry off and gormandize upon
what would keep a hundred poor families of squirrels
in comfort.' Old Ground-mole said it did not require
very sharp eyes to see into the future, and it would
just end in bringing down the price of real estate in
the whole vicinity, so that every decent-minded and
respectable quadruped would be obliged to move away;
for his part, he was ready to sell out for anything he
could get. The birds, it is true, took more cheerful
views of matters ; but then, as old Mrs. Ground-mole
observed, they were a flighty set,-half their time
careering and dissipating in Southern climes,-and
could not be expected to have that patriotic attach-
ment to their native soil that those had who had
grubbed in it from their earliest days.
This race of man,' said the old chestnut-tree, is
never ceasing in its restless warfare on Nature. In
our forest solitudes hitherto, how peacefully, how
quietly, how regularly, has everything gone on Not
a flower has missed its appointed time of blossoming,
or failed to perfect its fruit. No matter how hard has
been the winter, how loud the winds have roared, and
how high the snow-banks have been piled, all has
come right again in spring. Not the least root has
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 59
lost itself under the snows, so as not to be ready with
its fresh leaves and blossoms when the sun returns to
melt the frosty chains of winter. We have storms
sometimes that threaten to shake everything to pieces,
the thunder roars, the lightning flashes, and the winds
howl and beat; but, when all is past, everything
comes out better and brighter than before,-not a
bird is killed, not the frailest flower destroyed. But
man comes, and in one day he will make a desolation
that centuries cannot repair. Ignorant boor that he
is, and all incapable of appreciating the glorious works
of Nature, it seems to be his glory to be able, to
destroy in a few hours what it was the work of ages to
produce. The noble oak, that has been cut away to
build this contemptible human dwelling, had a life
older and wiser than that of any man in this country.
That tree has seen generations of men come and go.
It was a fresh young tree when Shakespeare was born;
it was hardly a middle-aged tree when he died; and
hundreds and hundreds of those whom they call
bravest, wisest, strongest,-warriors, statesmen, ora-
tors, and poets,-have been born, have grown up,
lived, and died, while yet it has outlived them all. It
has seen more wisdom than the best of them; but
two or three hours of brutal strength sufficed to lay it
low. Which of these dolts could make a tree? I'd
like to see them do anything like it. How noisy and
clumsy are all their movements,-chopping, pounding,
60 THE SQ UIRRELS THAT
rasping, hammering! And, after all, what do they
build? In the forest we do everything so quietly.
A tree would be ashamed of itself that could not get
its growth without making such a noise and dust and
fuss. Our life is the perfection of good manners.
For my part, I feel degraded at the mere presence of
these human beings; but, alas I am old ;-a hollow
place at my heart warns me of the progress of decay,
and probably it will be seized upon by these rapacious
creatures as an excuse for laying me as low as my
noble green brother.'
In spite of all this disquiet about it, the little cot-
tage grew and was finished. The walls were covered
with pretty paper, the floors carpeted with pretty
carpets; and, in fact, when it was all arranged, and
the garden walks laid out, and beds of flowers planted
around, it began to be confessed even among the most
critical, that it was not after all so bad a thing as was
to have been feared.
A black ant went in one day and made a tour of ex-
ploration up and down, over chairs and tables, over the
ceilings and down again, and, coming out, wrote an
article for the Cricket's Gazette, in which he described
the new abode as a veritable palace. Several butter-
flies fluttered in and sailed about and were wonderfully
delighted, and then two or three honey-bees flew in,
and afterwards expressed themselves well pleased with
the house, but more especially enchanted with the
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 61
garden. In fact, when it was found that the pro-
prietors were very fond of the rural solitudes of
Nature, and had come out there for the purpose of
enjoying them undisturbed,-that they watched and
spared the violets, and little woolly rolls of fern that
began to grow up under the trees in spring,-that they
never allowed a gun to be fired to scare the birds, and
watched the building of their nests with the greatest
interest,-then an opinion in favour of human beings
began to gain ground, and every cricket and bird and
beast was loud in their praise.
Mamma,' said young Tit-bit, a frisky young squirrel,
to his mother one day, 'why won't you let Frisky and
me go into that pretty new cottage to play ?'
'My dear,' said his mother, who was a very wary
and careful old squirrel, 'how can you think of it?
The race of man are full of devices for traps and pit-
falls, and who could say what might happen, if you
put yourself in their power ? If you had wings like
the butterflies and bees, you might fly in and out
again, and so gratify your curiosity; but, as matters
stand, it's best for you to keep well out of their way.'
But, mother, there is such a nice, good lady lives
there I believe she is a good fairy, and she seems
to love us all so; she sits in the bow-window and
watches us for hours, and she scatters corn all round
at the roots of the tree for us to eat.'
SShe is nice enough,' said the old mother squirrel,
62 THE SQUIRRELS THAT
'if you keep far enough off; but I tell you, you can't
be too careful.'
Now this good fairy that the squirrels discoursed
about was a nice little old lady that the children used
to call Aunt Esther, and she was a dear lover of birds
and squirrels, and all sorts of animals, and had studied
their little ways till she knew just what would please
them; and so she would every day throw out crumbs
for the sparrows, and little bits of thread and wool
and cotton to help the birds that were building their
nests, and would scatter corn and nuts for the
squirrels; and while she sat at her work in the bow-
window, she would smile to see the birds flying away
with the wool, and the squirrels nibbling their nuts.
After a while the birds grew so tame that they would
hop into the bow-window, and eat their crumbs off the
'There, mamma,' said Tit-bit and Frisky, 'only see!
Jenny Wren and Cock Robin have been in at the
bow-window, and it didn't hurt them, and why can't
Well, my dears,' said old Mother Squirrel, you
must do it very carefully. Never forget that you
haven't wings like Jenny Wren and Cock Robin.'
So, the next day, Aunt Esther laid a train of corn
from the roots of the trees to the bow-window, and
then from the bow-window to her work-basket, which
stood on the floor beside her; and then she put quite
LIVE IN- A HOUSE. 63
a handful of corn in the work-basket, and sat down by
it, and seemed intent on her sewing. Very soon,
creep, creep, creep, came Tit-bit and Frisky to the
window, and then into the room, just as sly and as still
as could be, and Aunt Esther sat just like a statue for
fear of disturbing them. They looked all around in
high glee, and when they came to the basket it seemed
to them a wonderful little summer-house, made on pur-
pose for them to play in. They poked their noses about
in it, and turned over the scissors and the needle-book,
and took a nibble at her white wax, and jostled the
spools, meanwhile stowing away the corn in each side
of their little chops, till they both of them looked as
if they had the mumps.
At last, Aunt Esther put out her hand to touch
them, when, whisk-frisk, out they went, and up the
trees, chattering and laughing before she had time
even to wink.
But after this they used to come in every day, and
when she put corn in her hand and held it very still,
the) would eat out of it; and, finally, they would get
into her hand, until one day she gently closed it
over them, and Frisky and Tit-bit were fairly caught.
Oh, how their hearts beat! but the good fairy
only spoke gently to them, and soon unclosed her
hand and let them go again. So, day after day, they
grew to have more and more faith in her, till they
would climb into her work-basket, sit on her shoulder,
b4 THE SQ UIRRELS THA
or nestle away in her lap as she sat sewing. They
made also long exploring voyages all over the house,
up and through all the chambers, till finally, I grieve
to say, poor Frisky came to an untimely end by being
drowned in the water-tank at the top of the house.
The dear good fairy passed away from the house in
time, and went to a land where the flowers never fade,
and the birds never die; but the squirrels still con-
tinued to make the place a favourite resort.
In fact, my dear,' said old Mother Red one winter
to her mate, 'what is the use of one's living in this
cold, hollow tree, when these amiable people have
erected this pretty cottage, where there is plenty of
room for us and them too ? Now I have examined
between the eaves, and there is a charming place
where we can store our nuts, and where we can whip
in and out of the garret, and have the free range of
the house ; and, say what you will, these human beings
have delightful ways of being warm and comfortable
So Mr. and Mrs. Red set up housekeeping in the
cottage, and had no end of nuts and other good things
stored up there. The trouble of all this was, that as
Mrs. Red was a notable body, and got up to begin her
housekeeping operations, and woke up all her children,
at four o'clock in the morning, the good people often
were disturbed by a great rattling and fuss in the
walls, while yet it seemed dark night. Then some-
LIVE IN A HOUSE. 65
times, too, I grieve to say, Mrs. Squirrel would give
her husband vigorous curtain lectures in the night,
which made him so indignant that he would rattle off
to another quarter of the garret to sleep by himself;
and all this broke the rest of the worthy people who
built the house.
What is to be done about this we don't know.
What would you do about it? Would you let the
squirrels live in your house, or not? When our good
people come down of a cold winter morning, and see
the squirrels dancing and frisking down the trees, and
chasing each other so merrily over the garden-chair
between them, or sitting with their tails saucily over
their backs, they look so jolly, and jaunty, and pretty,
that they almost forgive them for disturbing their
night's rest, and think that they will not do anything
to drive them out of the garret to-day. And so it goes
on; but how long the squirrels will rent the cottage in
this fashion, I'm sure I dare not undertake to say.
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.
ISS KATY-DID sat on the branch of a
flowering azalia, in her best suit of fine
green and silver, with wings of point-lace
from Mother Nature's finest web.
Miss Katy was in the very highest possible spirits,
because her gallant cousin, Colonel Katy-did, had
looked in to make her a morning visit. It was a fine
morning, too, which goes for as much among the
Katy-dids as among men and women. It was, in
fact, a morning that Miss Katy thought must have
been made on purpose for her to enjoy herself in.
There had been a patter of rain the night before,
which had kept the leaves awake talking to each other
till nearly morning; but by dawn the small winds had
blown brisk little puffs, and whisked the heavens
clear and bright with their tiny wings, as you have
seen Susan clear away the cobwebs in your mamma's
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET. 67
parlour; and so now there were only left a thousand
blinking, burning water-drops, hanging like convex
mirrors at the end of each leaf, and Miss Katy
admired herself in each one.
'Certainly I am a pretty creature,' she said to her-
self; and when the gallant Colonel said something
about being dazzled by her beauty, she only tossed
her head and took it as quite a matter of course.
'The fact is, my dear Colonel,' she said, 'I am
thinking of giving a party, and you must help me
make out the lists.'
'My dear, you make me the happiest of Katy-dids.'
'Now,' said Miss Katy-did, drawing an azalia-leaf
towards her,' Let us see-whom shall we have? The
Fireflies, of course; everybody wants them, they are
so brilliant,-a little unsteady, to be sure, but quite
in the higher circles.'
'Yes, we must have the Fireflies,' echoed the
'Well, then-and the Butterflies and the Moths.
Now, there's a trouble. There's such an everlasting
tribe of those Moths; and if you invite dull people,
they're always sure all to come, every one of them.
Still, if you have the Butterflies, you can't leave out
'Old Mrs. Moth has been laid up lately with a
gastric fever, and that may keep two or three of
the Misses Moth at home,' said the Colonel
68 MISS KA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET
'Whatever could give the old lady such a turn?'
said Miss Katy. 'I thought she never was sick.'
I suspect it's- high living. I understand she and
her family ate up a whole ermine cape last month,
and it disagreed with them.'
'For my part, I can't conceive how the Moths can
live as they do,' said Miss Katy, with a face of disgust.
'Why, I could no more eat worsted and fur, as they
'That is quite evident from the fairy-like delicacy
of your appearance,' said the Colonel. One can see
that nothing so gross and material has ever entered
into your system.'
I'm sure,' said Miss Katy, Mamma says she don't
know what does keep me alive; half a dew-drop and
a little bit of the nicest part of a rose-leaf, I assure
you, often last me for a day. But we are forgetting
our list. Let's see-the Fireflies, Butterflies, Moths.
The Bees must come, I suppose.'
'The Bees are a worthy family,' said the Colonel.
'Worthy enough, but dreadfully hum-drum,' said
Miss Katy. 'They never talk about anything but
honey and housekeeping; still they are a class of
people one cannot neglect.'
'Well, then, there are the Bumble-Bees.'
'Oh, I doat on them General Bumble is one of
the most dashing, brilliant fellows of the day.'
'I think he is shockingly corpulent,' said Colonel
MISS KA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET 69
Katy-did, not at all pleased to hear him praised.
'I don't know but he is a little stout,' said Miss
Katy; 'but so distinguished and elegant in his
manners-something martial and breezy about him.'
'Well, if you invite the Bumble-Bees you must
have the Hornets.'
'Those spiteful Hornets I detest them !'
'Nevertheless, dear Miss Katy, one does not like
to offend the Hornets.'
'No, one can't. There are those five Misses
Hornet-dreadful old maids !-as full of spite as they
can live. You may be sure they will every one come,
and be looking about to make spiteful remarks. Put
down the Hornets, though.'
Just at this moment the conference was interrupted
by a visitor, Miss Keziah Cricket, who came in with
her work-bag on her arm to ask a subscription for a
poor family of Ants who had just had their house
hoed up in clearing the garden-walks.
'How stupid of them,' said Katy, 'not to know
better than to put their house in the garden-walk!
That's just like those Ants !'
'Well they are in great trouble-all their stores
destroyed, and their father killed-cut quite in two
by a hoe.'
How very shocking! I don't like to hear of such
disagreeable things; it affects my nerves terribly.
70 MISS KA TY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.
Well, I'm sure I haven't anything to give. Mamma
said yesterday she was sure she didn't know how our
bills were to be paid; and there's my green satin with
point-lace yet to come home.' And Miss Katy-did
shrugged her shoulders and affected to be very busy
with Colonel Katy-did, in just the way that young
ladies sometimes do when they wish to signify to
visitors that they had better leave.
Little Miss Cricket perceived how the case stood,
and so hopped briskly off without giving herself even
time to be offended. Poor extravagant little thing !'
said she to herself; 'it was hardly worth while to ask
'Pray, shall you invite the Crickets?' said Colonel
'Who? I? Why, Colonel, what a question! In-
vite the Crickets? Of what can you be thinking?'
'And shall you not ask the Grasshoppers?'
'Certainly-a very old and distinguished family;
the Grasshoppers ought to be asked. But we must
draw a line somewhere, and the Crickets-why, it's
shocking even to think of '
'I thought they were nice, respectable people.'
'Oh, perfectly nice and respectable-very good
people, in fact, so far as that goes. But then ybu
must see the difficulty.'
My dear cousin, I am afraid you must explain.'
'Why, their colour, to be sure. Don't you see?'
MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET 71
'Oh!' said the Colonel, 'That's it, is it? Excuse
me, but I have been living in France, where these
distinctions are wholly unknown, and I have not ye'
got myself in the train of fashionable ideas here.'
'Well, then, let me teach you,' said Miss Katy.
'You know we go for no distinctions except those
created by Nature herself, and we found our rank
upon colour, because that is clearly a thing that none
has any hand in but our Maker. You see?'
'Yes; but who decides what colour shall be the
I'm surprised to hear the question The only true
colour-the only proper one-is our colour, to be
sure. A lovely pea-green is the precise shade on
which to found aristocratic distinction. But then we
are liberal; we associate with the Moths, who are
grey; with the Butterflies, who are blue-and-gold-
coloured; with the Grasshoppers, yellow and brown.
And society would become dreadfully mixed if it were
not fortunately ordered that the Crickets are black as
jet. The fact is, that a class to be looked down upon
is necessary to all elegant society; and if the Crickets
were not black, we could not keep them down,
because, as everybody knows, they are often a great
deal cleverer than we are. They have a vast talent
for music and dancing; they are very quick at learn-
ing, and would be getting to the very top of the
ladder if we once allowed them to climb. But their
72 MISS KATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET.
being black is a convenience, because, as long as we
are green and they black, we have a superiority that
can never be taken from us. Don't you see now?'
'Oh yes, I see exactly,' said the Colonel.
'Now that Keziah Cricket, who just came in
here, is quite a musician, and her old father plays the
violin beautifully;--by the way, we might engage him
for our orchestra.'
And so Miss Katy's ball came off, and the per-
formers kept it up from sundown till daybreak, so
that it seemed as if every leaf in the forest were alive.
The Katy-dids and a full orchestra of Crickets made
the air perfectly vibrate, insomuch that old Parson
Too-Whit, who was preaching a Thursday evening
lecture to a very small audience, announced to his
hearers that he should certainly write a discourse
against dancing for the next weekly meeting.
The good doctor was even with his word in the
matter, and gave out some very sonorous discourses,
without in the least stopping the round of gaieties
kept up by these dissipated Katy-dids, which ran on,
night after night, till the celebrated Jack Frost epi-
demic, which occurred somewhere about the first of
Poor Miss Katy, with her flimsy green satin and
point-lace, was one of the first victims, and fell from
the bough in company with a sad shower of last year's
MISS RATY-DID AND MISS CRICKET. 73
leaves. The worthy Cricket family, however, avoided
Jack Frost by emigrating in time to the chimney-
corner of a nice little cottage that had been built in
the wood that summer.
There good old Mr. and Mrs. Cricket, with sprightly
Miss Keziah and her brothers and sisters, found a
warm and welcome home; and when the storm howled
without, and lashed the poor naked trees, the Crickets
on the warm hearth would chirp out cheery welcome
to papa as he came in from the snowy path, or mamma
as she sat at her work-basket.
'Cheep, cheep, cheep!' little Freddy would say.
'Mamma, who is it says "cheep"?'
'Dear Freddy, it's our own dear little Cricket, who
loves us and comes to sing to us when the snow is on
So when poor Miss Katy-did's satin and lace were
all swept away, the warm home-talents of the Crickets
made for them a welcome refuge.
PRINCE AND PERO.
UNT ESTHER used to be a constant at.
tendant upon us young ones whenever
we were a little ill, or any of the nume-
rous accidents of childhood overtook us.
In such seasons of adversity she always came to sit
by our bedside, and take care of us. She did not,
as some do, bring a long face and a doleful whining
voice into a sick-room, but was always so bright, and
cheerful, and chatty, that we began to think it was
almost worth while to be sick to have her about us.
I remember that once when my throat was so swollen
that it brought the tears to my eyes every time I
swallowed anything, Aunt Esther talked to me so
gaily, and told me so many stories, that I found my-
self laughing heartily, and disposed to regard my
aching throat as on the whole rather an amusing cir-
Aunt Esther's stories were not generally fairy tales,
but stories about real things,-and more often on her
PRINCE AND PERO. 75
favourite subject of the habits of animals, and the
different animals she had known, than about anything
One of these was a famous Newfoundland dog,
named Prince, which belonged to an uncle of hers in
the country, and was, as we thought, a far more use-
ful and faithful member of society than many of us
youngsters. Prince used to be a grave, sedate dog,
that considered himself put in trust of the farm, the
house, the cattle, and all that was on the place. At
night he slept before the kitchen door, which, like all
other doors in the house in those innocent days, was
left unlocked all night; and if such a thing had ever
happened as that a beggar or an improper person of
any kind had even touched the latch of the door,
Prince would have been up attending to him as
master of ceremonies.
At early dawn, when the family began to stir, Prince
was up and out to superintend the milking of the cows,
after which he gathered them all together, and started
out with them to the pasture, padding steadily along
behind, dashing out once in a while to reclaim some
wanderer that thoughtlessly began to make her break-
fast by the roadside, instead of saving her appetite
for the pastures, as a properly behaved cow should.
Arrived at the pasture field, Prince would take down
the bars with his teeth, drive in the cows, put up the
bars, and then soberly turn tail and trot off home, and
76 PRINCE AND PERO.
carry the dinner-basket for the men to the men who
were mowing, or in the potato-field, or wherever the
labours of the day might be. There arrived, he was
extremely useful to send on errands after anything
forgotten or missing. Prince the rake is missing;
go to the barn and fetch it !' and away Prince would
go, and come back with his head very high, and the
long rake very judiciously balanced in his mouth.
One day a friend was wondering at the sagacity of
the dog, and his master thought he would show off
his tricks in a still more original style; and so, calling
Prince to him, he said, 'Go home and bring puss
to me !'
Away bounded Prince towards the farm-house, and,
looking about, found the younger of the two cats, fair
Mistress Daisy, busy cleaning her white velvet in the
summer sun. Prince took her gently up by the nape
of her neck, and carried her, hanging head and heels
together, to the fields, and laid her down at his
How's this, Prince?' said the master; 'you didn't
understand me. I said the cat, and this is the kitten.
Go back and bring the old cat.'
Prince looked very much ashamed of his mistake,
and turned away, with drooping ears and tail, and
went back to the house.
The old cat was a venerable, somewhat portly old
dame, and no small weight for Prince to carry; but
PRINCE AND PERO. 77
he reappeared with old puss hanging from his jaws,
and set her down, a little discomposed, but not a whit
hurt, by her unexpected ride.
Sometimes, to try Prince's skill, his master would
hide his gloves or riding-whip in some out-of-the-way
corner, and when ready to start, would say, 'Now,
where have I left my gloves? Prince, good fellow,
run in, and find them;' and Prince would dash into
the house, and run hither and thither with his nose to
every nook and corner of the room; and, no matter
how artfully they were hid, he would upset and tear
his way to them. He would turn up the comers of
the carpet, snuff about the bed, run his nose between
the feather-bed and mattress, pry into the crack of a
half-opened drawer, and show as much zeal and in-
genuity as a policeman, and seldom could anything be
so hid as to baffle his perseverance.
Many people laugh at the idea of being careful of
a dog's feelings, as if it were the height of absurdity;
and yet it is a fact that some dogs are as exquisitely
sensitive to pain, shame, and mortification, as any
human being. See, when a dog is spoken harshly to,
what a universal droop seems to come over him His
head and ears sink, his tail drops and slinks between
his legs, and his whole air seems to say, 'I wish I
could sink into the earth to hide myself.'
Prince's young master, without knowing it, was the
means of inflicting a moFt terrible mortification on
78 PRINCE AND PERO.
him at one time. It was very hot weather, and
Prince, being a shaggy dog, lay panting, and lolling
his tongue out, apparently suffering from the heat.
'I declare,' said young Master George, 'I do
believe Prince would be more comfortable for being
sheared.' And so forthwith he took him and began
divesting him of his coat. Prince took it all very
obediently; but when he appeared without his usual
attire, every one saluted him with roars of laughter,
and Prince was dreadfully mortified. He broke away
from his master, and scampered off home at a despe-
rate pace, ran down into a cellar and disappeared
from view. His young master was quite distressed
that Prince took the matter so to heart; he followed
him in vain, calling, 'Prince! Prince !' No Prince
appeared. He lighted a candle and searched the
cellar, and found the poor creature cowering away in
the darkest nook under the stairs. Prince was not to
be comforted; he slunk deeper and deeper into the
darkness, and crouched on the ground when he saw
his master, and for a long time refused even to take
food. The family all visited and condoled with him,
and finally his sorrows were somewhat abated; but
he would not be persuaded to leave the cellar for
early a week. Perhaps by that time he indulged the
hope that his hair was beginning to grow again; and
all were careful not to destroy the illusion by any jests
or comments on his appearance.
PRINCE AND PERO. 79
Such were some of the stories of Prince's talents
and exploits which Aunt Esther used to relate to us.
What finally became of the old fellow we never heard.
Let us hope that, as he grew old, and gradually lost
his strength, and felt the infirmities of age creeping
on, he was tenderly and kindly cared for, in memory
of the services of his best days,-that he had a warm
corner by the kitchen fire, and was daily spoken to in
kindly tones by his old friends. Nothing is a sadder
sight than to see a poor old favourite, that once was
petted and caressed by every member of a family, now
sneaking and cowering as if dreading every moment
a kick or a blow,-turned from the parlour into the
kitchen, driven from the kitchen by the cook's broom-
stick, half starved and lonesome.
Oh, how much kinder if the poor thread of life were
at once cut by some pistol-shot, than to have the
neglected favourite linger only to suffer! Now, boys,
I put it to you, is it generous or manly, when your
old pet and playmate grows sickly and feeble, and
can no longer amuse you, to forget all the good old
sport you have had with him, and let him become a
poor, trembling, hungry, abused vagrant? If you
cannot provide comforts for his old age, and see to
his nursing, you can at least secure him an easy and
painless passage from this troublesome world. A
manly fellow I once knew, who, when his old hound
became so diseased that he only lived to suffer, gave
do PRINCE AND PERO.
him a nice meal with his own hand, patted his head,
got him to sleep, and then shot him,-so that he was
dead in a moment, felt no pain, and knew nothing
but kindness to the last.
And now to Aunt Esther's stories of a dog I must
add one more which occurred in a town where I once
lived. I have told you of the fine traits of Prince,
and his sagacity; I will now tell you about a poor
The dog I am going to tell you about belonged to
a man who had not, in one respect, half the sense
that his dog had. A dog will never eat or drink a
thing that has once made him sick, or injured him;
but this man would drink, over and over again, a
deadly draught, that took away his senses and unfitted
him for any of his duties. Poor little Pero, however,
set her ignorant dog's heart on her drinking master,
and used to patter faithfully after him, and lick his
hand respectfully, when nobody else thought he was
in a condition to be treated with respect.
One bitter cold winter day, Pero's master went to a
grocery, at some distance from home, on pretence of
getting groceries, but in reality to fill a very dreadful
bottle, that was the cause of all his misery; and little
Pero trotted after him through the whirling snow,
although she left three poor little pups of her own in
the barn. Was it that she was anxious for the poor
man who was going the bad road, or was there some
PRINCE AND PERO. 81
secret thing in her dog's heart that warned her that
her master was in danger? We know not, but the
sad fact is, that at the grocery the poor man took
enough to make his brain dizzy, and coming home he
lost his way in a whirling snow-storm, and fell down
stupid and drunk, not far from his own barn, in a
lonesome place, with the cold winter's wind sweeping
the snow-drift over him. Poor little Pero cuddled
close to her master and nestled in his bosom, as ii
trying to keep the warm life in him.
Two or three days passed, and nothing was seen or
heard of the poor man. The snow had drifted over
him in a long white winding-sheet, when a neighbour
one day heard a dog in the barn crying to get out.
It was poor Pero, that had come back and slipped in
to nurse her puppies while the barn-door was open,
and was now crying to get out and go back to her
poor master. It suddenly occurred to the man that
Pero might find the body; and in fact, when she
started off, he saw a little path which her small paws
had worn in the snow, and tracking after her, found
the frozen body. This poor little friend had nestled
the snow away around the breast, and stayed watching
and waiting by her dead master, only taking her way
back occasionally to the barn to nurse her little ones.
I cannot help asking whether a little animal that can
show such love and faithfulness has not something
worth respecting and caring for in its nature.
82 PRINCE AND PERO.
I hope, if my two stories fall under the eye of any
boy who may ever witness, or be tempted to take part
in, the hunting down and killing a poor dog, that he
will remember of how much faithfulness, and affection,
and constancy these poor brutes are capable, and,
instead of being their tyrant and persecutor, will try
to make himself their protector and friend.
AN EVENING IN UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
HE cabin of Uncle Tom was a small log
building, close adjoining to 'the house,'
as the negro par excellence designates his
master's dwelling. In front it had a neat
garden patch, where, every summer, strawberries,
raspberries, and a variety of fruits and vegetables,
flourished under careful tending. The whole front of
it was covered by a large scarlet bignonia and a native
'nultiflora-rose, which, entwisting and interlacing, left
scarce a vestige of the rough logs to be seen. Here,
also, in summer, various brilliant annuals, such as
marigolds, petunias, four-o'clocks, found an indulgent
corer in which to unfold their splendours, and were
the delight and pride of Aunt Chloe's heart.
Let us enter the dwelling. The evening meal at
the house is over, and Aunt Chloe, who presided over
its preparation as head cook, has left to inferior officers
84 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
in the kitchen the business of clearing away and wash.
ing dishes, and come out into her own snug territories,
to get her old man's supper:' therefore, doubt not
that it is her you see by the fire, presiding with anxious
interest over certain frizzling items in a stewpan, and
anon with grave consideration lifting the cover of a
bake-kettle, from whence steam forth indubitable inti-
mations of' something good.' A round, black, shining
face is hers, so glossy as to suggest the idea that she
might have been washed over with white of eggs, like
one of her own tea-rusks. Her whole plump counte-
nance beams with satisfaction and contentment from
under her well-starched checked turban, bearing on
it, however, if we must confess it, a little of that
tinge of self-consciousness which becomes the first
cook of the neighbourhood, as Aunt Chloe was uni,
versally held and acknowledged to be.
A cook she certainly was, in the very bone and
centre of her soul. Not a chicken, or turkey, or duck
in the barnyard but looked grave when they saw her
approaching, and seemed evidently to be reflecting
on their latter end; and certain it was that she was
always meditating on trussing, stuffing, and roasting,
to a degree that was calculated to inspire terror into
any reflecting fowl living. Her corn-cake, in all its
varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins, and other
species too numerous to mention, was a sublime
mystery to all less practised compounders; and she
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 85
would shake her fat sides with honest pride and
merriment, as she would narrate the fruitless efforts
that one and another of her compeers had made to
attain to her elevation.
The arrival of company at the house, the arranging
of dinners and suppers 'in style,' awoke all the
energies of her soul; and no sight was more wel-
come to her than a pile of travelling trunks launched
on the verandah; for then she foresaw fresh efforts
and fresh triumphs.
Just at present, however, Aunt Chloe is looking
into the bake-pan; in which congenial operation we
shall leave her till we finish our picture of the cottage.
In one corner of it stood a bed, covered neatly with
a snowy spread; and by the side of it was a piece of
carpeting, of some considerable size. On this piece
of carpeting Aunt Chloe took her stand, as being
decidedly in the upper walks of life; and it and the
bed by which it lay, and the whole corner, in fact,
were treated with distinguished consideration, and
made, so far as possible, sacred from the marauding
inroads and desecrations of little folks. In fact, that
comer was the drawing-room of the establishment. In
the other corner was a bed of much humbler preten-
sions, and evidently designed for use. The wall over
the fireplace was adorned with some very brilliant
scriptural prints, and a portrait of General Wash-
ington, drawn and coloured in a manner which would
86 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
certainly have astonished that hero, if ever he had
happened to meet with its like.
On a rough bench in the corer, a couple of woolly-
headed boys, with glistening black eyes, and fat shining
cheeks, were busy in superintending the first walking
operations of the baby, which, as is usually the case,
consisted in getting up on its feet, balancing a moment,
and then tumbling down-each successive failure being
violently cheered, as something decidedly clever.
A table, somewhat rheumatic in its limbs, was drawn
out in front of the fire, and covered with a cloth, dis
playing cups and saucers of a decidedly brilliant
pattern, with other symptoms of an approaching meal.
At this table was seated Uncle Tom, Mr. Shelby's best
hand, who, as he is to be the hero of our story, we
must daguerreotype for our readers. He was a large,
broad-chested, powerfully-made man, of a full glossy
black, and a face whose truly African features were
characterized by an expression of grave and steady
good sense, united with much kindliness and benevo-
lence. There was something about his whole air self-
respecting and dignified, yet united with a confiding
and humble simplicity.
He was very busily intent at this moment on a
slate lying before him, on which he was carefully
and slowly endeavouring to accomplish a copy of
some letters, in which operation he was overlooked
by young Mas'r George, a smart, bright boy of
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 87
thirteen, who appeared fully to realize the dignity of
his position as instructor.
'Not that way, Uncle Tom-not that way,' said he,
briskly, as Uncle Tom laboriously brought up the tail
of his g the wrong side out; 'that makes a q, you
La sakes, now, does it ?' said Uncle Tom, looking
with a respectful, admiring air, as his young teacher
flourishingly scrawled q's and g's innumerable for his
edification; and then, taking the pencil in his big,
heavy fingers, he patiently recommended.
How easy white folks al'us does things!' said
Aunt Chloe, pausing while she was greasing a griddle
with a scrap of bacon on her fork, and regarding
young Master George with pride. The way he can
write now and read too and then to come out here
evenings and read his lessons to us,-it's mighty
But, Aunt Chloe, I'm getting mighty hungry,' said
George. 'Isn't that cake in the skillet almost done ?'
Mose done, Mas'r George,' said Aunt Chloe, lift-
ing the lid, and peeping in; 'browning beautiful-a
real lovely brown. Ah, let me alone for dat! Misses
let Sally try to make some cake t'other day, jest to
larn her, she said. "Oh, go way, misses!" says I; "it
really hurts my feelings, now, to see good vittles spiled
dat ar way Cake ris all to one side-no shape at
all, no more than my shoe-go way!"'
88 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
And with this final expression of contempt for Sally's
greenness, Aunt Chloe whipped the cover off the
bake-kettle, and disclosed to view a neatly-baked
poundcake, of which no city confectioner need to
have been ashamed. This being evidently the central
point of the entertainment, Aunt Chloe began now to
bustle about earnestly in the supper department.
Here you, Mose and Pete, get out de way, you
niggers! Get away, Polly, honey; mammy'll give
her baby somefin by-and-by. Now, Mas'r George,
you jest take off dem books, and set down, now, with
my old man, and I'll take up de sausages, and have
de first griddle full of cakes on your plates in less dan
They wanted me to come to supper in the house,'
said George; 'but I knew what was what too well for
that, Aunt Chloe.'
So you did-so you did, honey,' said Aunt Chloe,
heaping the smoking batter-cakes on his plate; you
know'd your old aunty'd keep the best for you. Oh,
let you alone for dat-go way !'
And with that Aunty gave George a nudge with
her finger, designed to be immensely facetious, and
turned again to her griddle with great briskness.
Now for the cake,' said Mas'r George, when the
activity of the griddle department had somewhat sub-
sided; and, with that, the youngster flourished a large
knife over the article in question.
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 89
'La bless you, Mas'r George !' said Aunt Chloe,
with earnestness, catching his arm; you wouldn't be
for cutting' it wid dat ar great heavy knife Smash all
down-spile all de pretty rise of it Here, I've got a
thin old knife I keeps sharp a purpose. Dar now,
see-comes apart light as a feather Now eat away
-you won't get anything to beat dat ar !'
'Tom Lincoln says,' said George, speaking with his
mouth full, 'that their Jinny is a better cook than
'Dem Lincons an't much count, no way!' said
Aunt Chloe, contemptuously; I mean, set alongside
our folks. They's 'spectable folks enough in a kinder
plain way; but as to getting up anything in style, they
don't begin to have a notion on't. Set Mas'r Lincon,
now, alongside Mas'r Shelby! Good Lor! and Misses
Lincon-can she kinder sweep it into a room like my
missis-so kinder splendid, yer know? Oh, go way !
don't tell me nothing' of dem Lincons !' and Aunt
Chloe tossed her head as one who hoped she did
know something of the world.
'Well, though, I've heard you say,' said George,
'that Jinny was a pretty fair cook.'
'So I did,' said Aunt Chloe; 'I may say dat.
Good, plain, common cooking Jinny'll do: make a
good pone o' bread-bile her taters far-her corn-
cakes isn't extra-not extra, now, Jinny's corn-cakes
isn't, but then they's far; but, Lor, come to de higher
90 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
branches, and what can she do? Why she makes
pies-sartin she does; but what kinder crust? Can
she make your real flecky paste, as melts in your
mouth and lies all up like a puff? Now, I went over
thar when Miss Mary was gwine to be married, and
Jinny she jest showed me de weddin' pies. Jinny
and I is good friends, ye know. I never said nothing ;
but go long, Mas'r George Why, I shouldn't sleep
a wink for a week, if I had a batch of pies like dem
ar. Why, dey wan't no 'count't all.'
"' I suppose Jinny thought they were ever so nice ?'
Thought so !-didn't she? Thar she was, show-
ing 'em, as innocent! Ye see, it's jest here, Jinny
don't know. Lor, the family an't nothing! She can't
be 'spected to know 'Tan't no fault o' hern. Ah,
Mas'r George, you doesn't know half your privileges
in yer family and bringing' up !' Here Aunt Chloe
sighed, and rolled up her eyes with emotion.
I'm sure, Aunt Chloe, I understand all my pie and
pudding privileges,' said George. Ask Tom Lincoln
if I don't crow over him, every time I meet him.'
Aunt Chloe sat back in her chair, and indulged in
a hearty guffaw of laughter, at this witticism of young
mas'r's, laughing till the tears rolled down her black
shining cheeks, and varying the exercise with playfully
slapping and poking Mas'r Georgey, and telling him
to go way, and that he was a case-that he was fit to
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 91
kill her, and that he sartin would kill her one of these
days; and, between each of these sanguinary predic-
tions, going off into a laugh, each longer and stronger
than the other, till George really began to think that
he was a very dangerously witty fellow, and that it
became him to be careful how he talked as funny as
'And so ye telled Tom, did ye? 0 Lord! what
young uris will be up ter! Ye crowed over Tom?
0 Lor Mas'r George, if ye wouldn't make a hornbug
'Yes,' said George, I says to him, "Tom, you
ought to see some of Aunt Chloe's pies; they're the
right sort," says I.'
'Pity, now, Tom couldn't,' said Aunt Chloe, on
whose benevolent heart the idea of Tom's benighted
condition seemed to make a strong impression. Ye
oughter jest ask him here to dinner, some o' these
times, Mas'r George,' she added; 'it would look quite
pretty of ye. Ye know, Mas'r George, ye oughten ter
feel abovee nobody, on 'count yer privileges, 'cause all
our privileges is gi'n to us; we ought always to 'mem-
ber that,' said Aunt Chloe, looking quite serious.
'Well, I mean to ask Tom here some day next
week,' said George; and you do your prettiest, Aunt
Chloe, and we'll make him stare. Won't we make
him eat so he won't get over it for a fortnight ?'
'Yes, yes-sartin,' said Aunt Chloe, delighted;
92 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.
' you'll see. Lor to think of some of our dinners !
Yer mind dat ar great chicken pie I made when we
guv de dinner to General Knox ? I and missis, we
come pretty near quarrelling about dat ar crust. What
does get into ladies sometimes I don't know; but
sometimes, when a body has de heaviest kind o' 'spon-
sibility on 'em, as ye may say, and is all kinder series "
and taken up, dey takes dat ar time to be hangin'
round and kinder interferin'! Now, misses, she
wanted me to do dis way, and she wanted me to do
dat way; and, finally, I got kinder sarcy, and, says I,
"Now, misses, do jist look at dem beautiful white
hands o' yourn, with long fingers, and all a sparkling
with rings, like my white lilies when de dew's on 'em;
and look at my great black stumpin' hands. Now,
don't ye think dat de Lord must have meant me to
make de pie-crust, and you to stay in de parlour?"
Dar! I was jist so sarcy, Mas'r George,'
'And what did mother say?' said George.
'Say? why she kinder larfed in her eyes-dem
great handsome eyes o' hem; and, says she, "Well,
Aunt Chloe, I think you are about in the right on't,"
says she; and she went off in de parlour. She
oughter cracked me over de head for bein' so sarcy;
but dar's whar 'tis-I can't do nothing' with ladies in
de kitchen !'
'Well, you made out well with that dinner, I
remember everybody said so,' said George.
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. 93
'Didn't I? And wasn't I behind de dinin'-room
door dat bery day ? and didn't I see de General pass
his plate three times for some more dat bery pie?
and, says he, "You must have an uncommon cook,
Mrs. Shelby." Lor I was fit to split myself.'
'And de Gineral, he knows what cooking' is,' said
Aunt Chloe, drawing herself up with an air. 'Bery
nice man, de Gineral! He comes of one of the
bery fustest families in Old Virginny! He knows
what's what, now, as well as I do-de Gineral! Ye
see, there's pints in all pies, Mas'r George; but tan't
everybody knows what they is, or orter be. But the
Gineral, he knows; I knew by his 'marks he made.
Yes, he knows what de pints is !'
By this time Master George had arrived at that
pass to which even a boy can come (under uncom-
mon circumstances), when he really could not eat
another morsel, and, therefore, he was at leisure to
notice the pile of woolly heads and glistening eyes
which were regarding their operations hungrily from
the opposite corner.
'Here, you Mose, Pete,' he said breaking ofl
liberal bits, and throwing it at them; 'you wan
some, don't you? Come, Aunt Chloe, bake them
And George and Tom moved to a comfortable
seat in the chimney-corner, while Aunt Chloe, after
baking a goodly pile of cakes, took her baby on her