The Baldwin Library
SLOVE-TOKEN FOR CHILDREN.
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A LOVE-TOKEN FOR CHILDREN.
MISS C. M. SEDGWICK.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD, ... ... ... ...7
THE BANTAM, ... ... ... ... ... 26
OUR ROBINS, ... ... ... ... 31
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE, ... ... 41
AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS, ... .. ... ...58
A LOVE-TOKEN FOR CHILDREN.
bertom @bil tith orob.
HAVE known few happier people than the
SWidow Ellis and her son William-or Willie,
as he was called in the neighbourhood. Do
you imagine Widow Ellis was rich ? Do you
think she lived in a big house, and that she
had plenty of handsome furniture, and horses,
and carriages, and a large garden, and plenty
of people to serve her, and rich relations, and troops of
friends? And do you think Willie-my bright, happy
little friend Willie-had quantities of clothes, new books
whenever he desired them, a printing-press, paint-box,
pencils, a magic-lantern, and all the toys, useful and use-
less, that are lavished by loving friends on rich boys?
Think you he had a pony to ride, a Newfoundland dog to
play with, and allowance-money in his purse to buy what
he liked ? No; none of these things made the happiness
of the Widow Ellis and her son Willie. On the contrary,
they were almost the poorest people-save those miser-
able beings, the town's poor-in our village.
When Mrs. Ellis was first married, many years ago,
she left our village. She had six children. She lived in
8 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
a sickly place, and one after another died, and last of all
her husband. None of her family were left but the
youngest, Willie. Her own health was wretched; and
believing nothing could cure her but coming back to the
old place, she sold her little property, paid her debts,
doctor and all, came back to our village, and had just
enough to buy that little old brown house on the slope,
at the turn above the river, where those noble elm-trees
hang their sweeping branches over the road, so embower-
ing it that our village girls-who always choose that way
for their twilight walks-call it the arbour. There is a
"& small patch of land on the east side of the widow's house
-it may be the tenth of an acre-which she made into a
garden. She often says, it is well for her it is no larger,
for it is just big enough for her and William to plant, and
sow, and keep in order. It is wonderful how much she
gets out of it. Plenty of potatoes for breakfast and din-
ner all the year round, and often a good mess for the cow.
The widow's money held out to buy a cow; and well for
her that it did, for this cow, till she lost it, half supported
But I was telling you how full her garden was. Be-
sides potatoes, which occupied the most of the ground,
she had parsnips, carrots, onions, turnips, cabbages, and
various other vegetables. How could I forget the aspa-
ragus, which Mrs. Ellis said was "something to give
away; for everybody did not raise asparagus, and folks-
especially old folks-were very fond of it." There was a
row of currant-bushes, and, latterly, a bed of strawberries.
In one corner there were medicinal herbs. Country
people make great use of these ; and when sage and balm
could be found nowhere else, Widow Ellis had always
"some to spare." There was a row of never-to-be-for-
gotten, caraway, dill, and fennel. The old women and
children who passed that way were in the habit occasion-
ally of asking a few heads of these aromatic seeds, and
Widow Ellis always gave them with a smile. Round the
widow's door-the side-door opens into the garden-there
were rose-bushes, pinks, and heart's-ease; and throughout
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 9
the garden, here and there, from May till October, you
might see a flower, looking as pleasant among the cab-
bages, turnips, &c., as a smile on a labourer's face. In-
deed, the Widow Ellis's garden put to shame the waste
places, called (by courtesy) by our farmers gardens. They
make many excuses for these slovenly places, which we
cannot now stop to examine; but, in passing along to the
story of little Willie, we will just repeat what Widow
Ellis often said when busy in her garden.
"I call this women's work. I have been weakly for
many years, and, but for my garden, I believe I should
not have been alive now. There's nothing does me so
much good as smelling the fresh earth. I believe, if our
farmers' girls would take care of their gardens, they would
look fresher than they do now, and feel a deal better,
besides getting a world of comfort for the family, and a
nice present for a neighbour, now and then, out of it.
Besides," added the Widow Ellis, it's so teaching. I
seem to see God's power and goodness in everything that
The next house to the Widow Ellis-between her and
the river, a large brick building-is Captain Nicholas
Stout's. You may see by the good fences round it, and
the big barns, corn-crib, sheds, &c., behind it, all snug
and sound, that the captain is a wealthy, industrious,
painstaking farmer. An honest man, too, is the captain
-that is, as honest as a man can be who is selfish, and
crabbed, and thinks so much of his own property and
rights as to care very little for his neighbour's. A man
is called honest that pays his debts, and does not cheat
his neighbours; but there is a higher, nobler honesty
than that, and a short rule for the practice of it-namely,
" Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto
you." The captain did not come up to this, as we shall
see. He was a rough, hard-favoured man, and had a
crusty way of speaking, particularly to children, that
made them all dislike him; and, I believe, this was the
reason the captain was so apt to have his early apples
and his water-melons stolen. The Widow Ellis had one
10 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
pear-tree in her garden-delicious pears it bore, too-and
I have heard her say, she didn't believe one pear had ever
been stolen from it; indeed, I think the boys in our vil-
lage would as soon have cut off their fingers as have stolen
one of her pears. Was it right to steal cross Captain
Stout's? Oh no; but the fact that his were stolen and
hers were not, shows how one person doing wrong leads
to another doing it too.
The captain had a large garden, or rather a large garden-
spot. Like most of our farmers' gardens, it was much
overgrown with weeds, and had little besides potatoes,
cabbages, and a few flaunting hollyhocks in it. To have
seen the vegetables on the Widow Ellis's table and the
captain's, you would have taken her to be the richer per-
son of the two.
Some years ago, when Willie was about eleven, his
mother let him hire himself to one of our farmers for a
few of the busy spring weeks. The people who employed
him were much pleased with his industry and kindness;
and when he was coming away, Mrs. Hart, the farmer's
wife, said, Willie, you have always been very good-
natured and obliging to me, and you have set an excellent
example to my boys. I want to make you some little
present that will please you." Then she brought out of
her pantry four duck's eggs, carefully laid on wool, in a
basket. "You know," she continued, that our ducks are
a rare breed. They were sent to me by my cousin from
the sea-shore. I have but the one pair; and the duck is
just, as you know, going to sit upon ten eggs. I have
taken four of them out for you, Willie."
"Oh! oh! Mrs. Hart, how much I thank you. I had
rather have these than almost anything you could have
I thought they would please you, Willie, and I wanted
to give you something you would value; and now, if you
have good luck with them, they may be worth a great
deal to you, for Squire Clifford has offered me five shil-
lings a pair for ducks of this breed."
"Has he? Five shillings a pair ?" Willie looked at
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 11
the eggs, and he thought of something he wanted very
much to buy for his mother; and his thoughts jumped
forward to the time when the ducks would be hatched
and sold, and a little black silk shawl bought for mother
to wear to meeting in the place of that old one she had
worn every Sunday since father died.
Well, he took his eggs home with him, and showed
them to his mother, and she was full as pleased as he was
when she heard that they were given to him as the re-
ward of his good behaviour; and Willie said, Mother,
you never saw such handsome ducks. When they turn
their necks to the sun, they look as if they were made of
"They will look more beautiful than precious stones to
me, Willie; for they will put me in mind of my little
son's good conduct. And what are precious stones to a
mother compared with that? They have come just in
time. The old white hen is just going to set. You must
take away her own eggs, and put these under her. Hens
are like the very best of stepmothers,-they are just as
kind to others' offspring as to their own."
Willie, like other little boys, was impatient for the
time to arrive when the ducks should come forth from
their shells; but, cautioned by his mother, he did not
worry the hen with going to the nest. He only took care
she should find food and water at hand when she came
off the nest in search of it. At the end of four weeks, the
faithful stepmother came forth with four ducklings, each
egg having produced a healthy living bird. I cannot de-
scribe Willie's joy. A proud and happy boy he was that
day. Gladly did he go a mile, morning and night, with
Mrs. Gray's cow to pasture, to earn money to buy food
for his little pets. They were, like all ducklings, very
greedy, and led their mother about from morning till
night scratching for food for them; but the little vaga-
bonds, above all things, delighted in going to the river,
and running into it, while the poor mother would stand
fluttering by, calling them in vain to come back. Willie
would clap his hands, and call the hen an old goose, and
12 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
wonder that, when she had seen them, time after time,
return in safety, she could be so frightened. And then
Willie remembered he had read in a book that animals
could not reason, that their minds were made of instincts,
and that they obeyed this instinct better than man obeyed
There is no having possessions in this world without
trials coming along with them. So Willie found; for his
young family, on passing Captain Stout's garden on their
way to the river, would sometimes run under the fence,
and had once or twice been seen by the captain himself
on his premises.
Once, finding them helping themselves to a few of his
peas, he flew into a passion; and calling to Willie, who was
passing by, he told him if he did not keep his ducks out
of his garden, he would wring their necks for them. The
bare thought of such a catastrophe made Willie tremble;
and that very hour, with the help of a kind friend, he
made a coop for his hen, and shut her up. Willie, now
seeing the ducklings persecuted, loved them better than
ever. His leisure moments were spent with them. He
watched their different dispositions, and named them ac-
cordingly; and one cross one, who was for getting all the
food to himself, and pecking at the others, he named
Captain Stout. Every day they grew larger and hand-
somer; and Willie thought their colours were even
brighter than their parents', at Mrs. Hart's. His favour-
ite among them, by the way, he had named Mrs. Hart,
and the most generous of little ducks she seemed, always
sharing her portion, or giving it all up rather than quar-
rel for it. After a few days, Willie took it into his head
that the young things were getting poor and pining to go
to the river; and he let the hen out, taking care to attend
them, lest they should trespass on the captain.
One day, as he was returning from watering his ducks,
his mother called him to go in haste on an errand. He
left the ducks on their way home. When he was return-
ing, he saw Captain Stout, with a club in his hand, run-
ning through his garden. Willie's heart misgave him.
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 13
"Oh, my poor little ducks !" thought he, and he hastened
forward. Bob Smith and Sam Briggs, two of his best
friends, called after him that they had something to tell
him, but he did not even turn his head; and they,
wondering what could be the matter, followed after
Willie reached the garden fence just in time to see the
old hen fly over it, calling, in her own way, with all her
might and main, to the young ones to follow. But they,
poor things, could not fly so high; and in attempting to
run under the fence, they were entangled in some currant-
bushes that grew very thickly there, and before they could
extricate themselves, before Willie could get his breath
to plead for them, the captain caught one after the other,
and, wringing their necks, tossed them, gasping, over the
fence; and then, merely saying, I gave you warning,"
he turned and walked back to his house.
Willie said not one word. It seemed to him as if he
should choke. He took up his darlings, one after the
other, and put them in his apron. They were warm, and
their little breasts yet heaving; and Willie ran towards
his home. He did not stop to hear Sam and Bob, who,
enraged at the captain's cruelty, called him all sorts of
I'd kill him said Sam.
"I'd burn down his house for him!" said Bob.
Not one word said poor Willie; but his cheeks looked
as if the blood would burst from them, and he bit his lips
till they bled. And so he appeared before his mother,
and, dropping his apron, the dead ducks fell at her feet,
and he burst into loud cries,-
"Captain Stout has killed them all! He is a cruel
wretch! mother, he is! I wish he was dead !-I do wish
he was dead !"
"I can't help it, mother. I do wish so. He is an
awful, hateful man! He might have left me one-just
one;" and then, throwing himself down on the floor, he
took one after the other, stroked down their feathers,
14 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
held up their poor broken necks, and burst out into a
fresh peal of crying.
As soon as she could soothe him into a little composure,
his mother inquired into all the particulars, and she too
shed some tears, for it grieved her to see Willie grieved;
and she certainly did think he had been most unjustly as
well as unkindly treated.
It is a pity," she said, stroking Willie's head with one
hand, and laying her other hand on the favourite duck,
poor little Mrs. Hart, whom Willie was holding fast to
Willie felt a little comforted when he saw that his
mother felt with him, and he stopped his loud crying;
but his tears still came as fast as he could wipe them.
"If he had only killed the Captain," he said, I would
not have minded it; but Big-breast and Fanny, and dear,
dear little Mrs. Hart! I am sure he ought to be hung-
and I wish he was."
"Well, mother, was not it just like murder ?"
"No, my son, not nearly so bad as murder."
"I'm sure I think it was; they did not mean to do
him any harm, and they were the prettiest little ducks
that ever lived, and the best, especially Mrs. Hart. I
think it was just as bad as Herod killing the innocents.
They were just as good, and ten times handsomer than
any babies that ever lived. Can't Captain Stout be pun-
ished any way, mother ?"
"I believe not, Willie."
"I am sure he ought to be. Mrs. Hart told me my
ducks would be worth five shillings a pair, and I meant
to have sold one pair of them-oh dear !" and Willie
thought of the silk shawl he meant to have bought for his
mother, and he burst into a fresh flood of tears, and said
he should hate Captain Stout as long as he lived.
Willie," said his mother, let us go and bury the poor
little ducks under the pear-tree, and when they are out
of your sight you will feel better." Willie did not think
he ever should feel better ; but he began to busy himself
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 15
about nailing up a box to put the ducks in, and digging
a grave, and his mother helped him, and they covered
the grave with green sods, and Willie's mother took up
some violets and set round the sods, and Willie did feel
a little better. When they went back to the house his
mother asked him which he had rather be, the man that
killed the little ducks, or the little boy whose ducks were
"I had rather be myself, a million times, mother."
Then the person that suffers wrong, my son, is much
better off than he that does it ?"
"Yes, mother, I suppose so, but it's dreadful to bear."
"Then should not you be sorry for Captain Stout ?"
"Sorry for him! I can't feel so, if I ought."
"Perhaps you will, Willie, when you think a little
more about it. Captain Stout was angry when he killed
your little ducks, and the moment the deed was done he
felt-I am sure he did-that he had done as one neighbour
should not do to another, as an old man should not do to
a little boy, and whenever he sees you or thinks of you,
he will feel uncomfortable."
"I hope he will! I hope he will feel awfully!"
"Don't say so, my son, or, rather, don't feel so. Do
you remember those texts you wrote off into the first leaf
of your Bible ?"
"What were they ?"
"Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, pray
for those that despitefully use you, overcome evil with
good, and so on."
What did you copy them off for ?"
"So that I might remember them."
"Why did you wish to remember them ?"
"You told me I must, mother, so as to act accordingly,
if ever I had a chance."
Have not you a chance now, Willie ?"
Willie did not reply, and his mother went on. "We
never should lose the opportunity of obeying these laws
which Christ has given us. You have now a great occa-
16 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
sion. This is a great trial to you ; and, if you can
earnestly and sincerely pray God to bless Captain Stout,
this trial, that seems so grievous to you, will prove a
blessing; and, after you have so prayed, you will feel
better, and you will be prepared to return good for
Captain Stout's evil, if ever you have a chance. But
don't pray for him because I have told you this, Willie ;
for it is not saying the words God cares for, but he looks
into your heart to see whether the feeling is there."
William considered for some time in silence, and at last
he said, "I hope I shall pray for Captain Stout, but I
don't feel as if I could now." When a child hopes he
shall do right, he has taken the first step towards it.
Willie was very much in the habit of doing what he
thought was his duty, and all day he was thinking over
his troubles ; he often repeated to himself those texts he
had copied, and he ended with, I hope I shall feel like
praying for him." At night, as usual, he knelt down by
the bedside. His mother saw he remained on his knees
longer than usual, and, when he crept into bed, Come
here, mother," he said. She went to the bedside. "Oh,
mother," said he, it is just as you always tell me. I
feel a great deal better for doing right. It seems as if a
load was taken off from me ; and now I really don't want
Captain Stout to be punished, and I do feel almost sorry
for him, for I know he must feel awfully when he thinks
of the little ducks. I was not sure even when JI knelt
down that I could sincerely and earnestly pray for him;
but when I was saying that part of my prayer, 'forgive
us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against
us,' I seemed, for the first time, to feel what it was to be
forgiven, and that we could not be if we did not forgive,
and how much God every day forgave me ; and I remem-
bered what a dreadful passion I was in to-day, and it
seemed to me a very little thing, when God is all the
time forgiving me, to forgive Captain Stout just for one
bad thing ; and, as soon as I had done praying for myself,
I did pray for him-real prayer, mother-and now I don't
hate him a bit, nor wish anything bad to happen to him."
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 17
"My dear son, I am glad and thankful, and I hope
you will always look to your heart; for, when that is
right, all goes well, let others do us good or evil. If we
only obey the Divine laws which Jesus Christ has given
to us, we shall, in all probability, overcome the evil of
others with our good; and, if not, we shall certainly
build up the kingdom of heaven in our own hearts."
Not many days after the affair of the ducks, Mrs. Ellis
asked Willie to take his basket full of salt to the pasture,
to salt the cow ; and may be," she said, Willie, you
will find a little calf beside her." Willie went off eagerly,
running and whistling. The cow, I believe, he loved
better than anything in the world but his mother. He
had taken care, and good care, of her for two years, driven
her to pasture morning and night in summer, and in
winter foddered her, and carried her out her little mess
of boiled potatoes and carrots, and such messes as his
careful mother could save in her small and frugal family.
The cow was a gentle creature, and kind-tempered-there
is as much difference in the disposition of cows as of
children; and besides, the cow was the best property the
Widow Ellis owned. Nearly all the money she got was
from the sale of the butter and milk of this good cow,
and Willie often heard her say, when any new thing was
bought, We must thank the cow for this, Willie." On
Willie went, thinking how pleasant it would be to have
a calf with the cow, and how much pleasure the cow
would take with it, for cows are fond mothers. As soon
as he got over the bars into the pasture he saw the cow,
but she seemed to be lying very stupidly; he saw, too,
the little calf, walking feebly and slowly about the mother,
and making a low sound. He ran forward, calling, Co,
co ;" but the cow did not, as usual, obey the call, and
Willie's heart sank within him. He ran on, and, when
he came to the poor animal, he found her stretched on
the grass, quite dead. Poor boy! you would have pitied
him if you had seen how sorrowful he was ; how he sat
down by the cow, and thought of his mother, and burst
into tears, and said, Now all is gone-my pretty ducks
18 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
and mother's cow!-what shall we do? Poor Mooly 1
never shall drive you home any more I never again shall
keep my fingers warm holding on to your nice warm tail!
I never shall feed you again! you never again will look
round at me and lick my hand! Oh dear! I must go home
and tell mother-that is the worst of it. What shall we
do with the poor calf ? we've no milk to give her ;" and,
thus pondering, Willie went slowly homeward. As he
came to the turn in the road by Captain Stout's field of
winter wheat, he saw that several young cattle had broken
into the field, and were making their way rapidly towards
the wheat,-Captain Stout's beautiful wheat, the most
promising in the county, and already put up by the cap-
tain for the prize to be given by the agricultural society
for the best winter wheat.
Willie looked at the cattle. He saw they were about
to do great injury to Captain Stout. And do you think
there was a voice at the very bottom of his heart, saying,
" Well, let them; it's just good enough for him ?" No,
Willie had for ever silenced such a voice when he made
that real prayer for Captain Stout. Willie was a quick-
witted boy. He thought, if he ran after the cattle, they
would trample down the wheat in spite of all he could
do; then it occurred to him to lure them back with the
basket of salt. So he let down the bars they had leaped
over, and, going gently towards them, he called to them
and showed them the salt. They came towards him.
Just at that moment Sam Briggs, his friend, who had
witnessed the wringing of the ducks' necks, appeared in
sight. What are you about, Will ?" he cried out.
"Getting these steers out of the captain's wheat-field."
"The more fool you don't you remember the ducks?"
"Oh yes; I never shall forget them."
"Then why don't you let the cattle be? I am sure it's
none of your business to get them out. If I was in your
place I would like no better fun than to see the captain's
wheat trod down, every blade of it; I would not budge
an inch to drive them out."
"But, then, I should lose the opportunity, Sam," replied
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 19
Willie, who, all the time his friend was speaking, was
luring the cattle towards the bars, and now, having got
them on the outside, was putting them up while they
were licking up the salt he had strewed around.
"'Lose the opportunity !' Will; what do you mean "
"Mother says-I mean the Bible says you should take
the first opportunity to return good for evil, and then you
will overcome other. people's evil with your good."
"Tl.at's sound doctrine, I declare !" said Sam's father,
who at this moment joined them. "You are a good boy,
Willie, and I wish Sam would take pattern by you-Sam
and all the other boys; as to that, there's many a man
might be the better for such an example. A pretty spot
of vork, Master Sam, I should have had if Willie had gone
according to your advice ; I suppose you did not see they
are our cattle, and I should have had the damages to pay.
But how in the world, Will, did you contrive to get them
out so nicely ? Willie explained, and this led to telling
the news of the cow's death.
"I declare !" said Mr. Briggs, "I am sorry for your
loss, Willie, and your mother's. One good turn deserves
another. Our old dun has lost her calf; so you drive
yours up to my little pasture, and she may run with her;
she'll have plenty of milk, and be worth raising by the
time she is six weeks old."
"Oh, thank you-thank you, sir," said William; and,
his heart lightened of half its load, he ran home to tell
all his news, bad and good, to his mother.
William was scarcely out of sight before Captain Stout
came down to look at his darling wheat-field ; and when
he saw the prints of the cattle's hoofs, he sputtered away
as he always did when in a passion. It was some time
before he could listen to Mr. Briggs' account of how skil-
fully they had been driven out by William Ellis.
" William Ellis! William Ellis!" exclaimed the old man.
"Yes, sir," said Sam Briggs; "may be you know some-
thing about William Ellis's ducks, if you don't know
William Ellis. I know some boys that, in Willie's place,
would have turned the cattle in instead of out "
20 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD
"You are a saucy boy !" said the captain, turning on
his heel and walking briskly away. Though he said this,
I rather think that, on reflection, he was much of Sam's
Willie found that his mother submitted to the calamity
of losing the cow with that gentleness and patience with
which she took all the inevitable evils, small and great, of
her lot. This was a better lesson to her child than if she
had talked to him a month about the duty of submission.
"I am very glad you ain't sorrier, mother," said William;
"I was afraid you would feel dreadfully."
I am sorry, Willie-very sorry; it is a great loss to
us: but it is not that distressing kind of sorrow I should
feel if you had been doing wrong; nor that heart-sickness
I should have felt if anything evil had happened to you,
my dear boy."
Instead of that, something good has happened to me,
mother." William then told his mother how lucky he
had been in seeing the cattle just in the nick of time.
"Sam says," concluded Willie, "that the captain will never
so much as thank me; but I don't care for that, for it's
just as you say, mother,-it makes you feel somehow so
happy to feel you have done right because it was right,
not because you want anybody to pay you, or thank you,
or praise you for it."
"That happy feeling, my dear child, is God's reward,
and it is not like men's pay, and thanks, and praise: they
may fail us, but this happy feeling we are sure of when
conscience tells us we have done right; and it is quite
reward enough for our best actions."
So I know it is, mother."
Not long after this Mrs. Ellis asked William to go to
the fulling-mill to get their cloth. This was a piece of
cloth for a cloak for Mrs. Ellis, and a new suit of clothes
for William. Mrs. Ellis had spun the yarn, dyed it,
and woven it herself. No one can feel the worth of a
garment as the diligent woman does who has manufac-
tured it herself ; I believe it gives her ten times the plea-
sure a fine lady gets from a new dress from Paris, so,
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 21
though its cost is far less, the poor woman is the richer of
the two. Willie fancied he knew the value of the home-
made cloth. "You and I, mother," he said, will know
well how to prize our new things. I shall think how
many clothes you washed for Miss Seaman to buy the
wool, and then how we picked it by the light of the pine
knots, then how you carded it nights when you were
teaching me hymns, and so on, and so on, and so on. Oh,
it seemed to me as if everything never would be done to
it; but, as you say, mother, brick upon brick builds the
house at last." Off Willie set at a quick pace, for he had
a long way to go, and he knew it would be night before
he could get home. He had to wait a long time, and
when he got the cloth-a stout roll it was-he trudged
homeward with it a happy boy. Before he got to Cap-
tain Stout's the clouds gathered and shut in the stars, and
the wind rose and roared, and the naked trees cracked in
the blast; but Willie feared nothing. What should he
have feared ? He saw the candle shining through his
mother's window; a pleasant light is that which comes
from a kind mother's home. But what bright light is
that flashing through Captain Stout's stable-door ? That
stable-door opened towards the street, the barn-yard gate
opened upon the street, and Willie was just passing it.
The stable was at one end of the barn, and the barn was
connected with the house by a shed and wood-house.
Willie screamed with all his might, "Fire fire !" and
ran towards the barn. The stable-door was ajar. Luckily,
Captain Stout had sent away one pair of horses that day
with a load, so that two of the stalls were empty, and the
manger where the fire had taken hold had but a whiff of hay
in it, but that would soon have communicated with the
full manger where the horses were. They were already
terrified with the sudden light, and pulling back and
Willie entered the stable, and shut the door after him;
he then unrolled his cloth and threw it down upon the
manger. The flames had not yet reached the hay at the
horses' heads, nor blazed up to the loft above. As well
22 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
as he could, he pressed down the cloth; but, in spite of
him, the flames would flash out, first at one end, then at
the other. His cries, however, had alarmed Captain
Stout and his family, and they were soon on the spot
with pails of water. The fire was quickly extinguished,
but fire and water had ruined poor Willie's new cloth.
Captain Stout bade him come into the house, and in-
quiries and explanations followed. It seemed that Nat
Boyle, a careless little fellow who lived with the captain,
remembered after dark that, instead of hanging up the
bridle as he had been told always to do when he put up a
horse, he had left it on the stable-floor ; and so, taking a
candle without a lantern (which he had been bidden
never to do), he crept out to hang up the bridle, and thus
save himself from the scolding or, perchance, whipping he
might breakfast on next morning. He could not reach
the nail to hang the bridle on without setting down the
candle, and he set it in the manger "just for a quarter of
a second,' he said; "he had no thought it could do any
harm." Oh, this no thought, how many buildings it burns !
"And how came you, Willie Ellis, to be out at this
time of night ?" asked Captain Stout.
Willie told his errand, and said the clothier had de-
tained him. "Lucky for me he did," said the captain;
"but now tell me how such a boy as you knew how to
go the right way to work to put out the fire ?"
"I can tell you that, sir," replied Willie, smiling, the
first time he had smiled since he saw the scorched
ruined cloth. You know, sir, there is only mother and
I; and when I was a little boy, she had sometimes to
leave me alone in the house, and she was dreadfully
afraid of fire, so she often told me how to manage in case
anything took fire. She bade me not to open a door, for
that would make a draught, and, if possible, I was to throw
some woollen thing on the fire. If my clothes caught, she
bade me throw myself flat on the floor and wrap myself
in the hearth-rug; and she has often taken a cotton rag,
and showed me how much quicker it burned when you
held it up than when you laid it down."
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 23
"Well, well, your mother is a wonderful woman, and
you are a wonderful child to remember all this in time
of need. I might have told Nat forty million of times,
and he never would have thought of it. I say, Will Ellis,
you are a boy worth having, and I have thought so ever
since you turned them steers out of my field. Come in
here, Will." William followed to an inner room. "I
ain't always so cross-grained as I seem," continued the
captain; "you've made me feel, William Ellis, you've
made me respect you, and that is more than ever I could
say of any other boy in the universe, for I never could
surmise what boys were good for. But I do respect you,
and your mother too. Here, take this cloth home," and he
gave him a roll larger and better than his own, "and tell
your mother I shall be down by sunrise to see her. Good-
night, my boy." William thanked Captain Stout, but
the captain fancied he did not look quite satisfied; and
he said, "Don't think, Will, this is all I mean to do for
you; I believe in my conscience you have saved barn,
house, and all, for all would soon have gone this gusty
night, and I tell you I'll reward you; I don't do my jobs,
good or bad, by halves, as you knew once to your cost
and mine too, for I've wished the plaguy little ducks alive
a hundred times since. But what is the matter, boy ?
"I don't wish any more reward, sir," said Willie; "but
there is one thing, Captain Stout, if you would only please
to do-" Willie paused and hesitated.
"What do you boggle about, boy ? don't be afraid."
Thus encouraged, Willie ventured to say, "I wish, sir,
when you say your prayers to-night, you would pray God
to forgive Nat's carelessness, and then you would feel
like forgiving him yourself, and retu cning 'good for his
Captain Stout walked twice across the room, and then,
suddenly stopping, he said, "Did you pray for me, Willie
Ellis, when I wrung your ducks' necks ?"
"Did you? You are a wonderful boy !" The tears
24 OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
rolled down Captain Stout's cheeks, and, for the first time
in his life, he did that night, before he went to bed, pray
for one who had offended and injured him.
The next morning, bright and early, Mrs. Ellis heard
footsteps; and looking out, she saw coming towards her
door the captain, attended by Nat, who was driving be-
fore him one of the captain's best cows. "The captain
seems," thought she, "to be walking and talking with
Nat in a friendly way; if the captain has taken the right
turn, I shall be glad for the poor boy."
The poor boy, Nat Boyle, who thus excited the com-
miseration of the kind widow's heart, was the son of a
miserable vagrant woman who, five years before, had died
in passing through our village, and left this boy to the
charities of the public. He had been a neglected, un-
taught child, but he was honest and good-tempered, and
Captain Stout had taken him a few months before from
the poorhouse on trial. Good-morning to you, widow,"
said the captain, in a pleasanter voice than Mrs. Ellis had
ever heard from him before; "Nat Boyle has driven
down a cow for you, widow, as something towards settling
accounts with your boy." Mrs. Ellis began to express
her thanks. Hush up, widow," said the captain, inter-
rupting her, "it's only a debt I am paying, and that don't
require thanks ;" and then, after relating over and over
again every particular of the fire, he said, "You have
reason to be proud of your boy, widow, and thankful too
-and as to that, so has Nat Boyle, for he has saved him
from worse than a thrashing. And I am bound to him far
more than any of you; for, old as I am, I have learned
the best lesson from that young babe, as it were, that
ever I learned in my life. He has learned me to return
goodfor evil. So, after taking Will's advice, I don't feel
like turning off this desolate boy ; and, if you'll spare me
your son, I think, with my teaching and his sort of ex-
amples, we may make something of Nat Boyle yet."
Captain Stout then proposed that William should live
with him. He offered many privileges, but that which
William valued above every other was the promise that
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD. 25
he should sleep at his mother's. Mrs. Ellis gladly accepted
the captain's offer. She knew William would be thoroughly
taught farming at Captain Stout's. She was not one of
those who expect their children will be taught morals and
manners away from home; this, she knew, was home
work. Neither did she expect the captain's present
happy state of mind would be invariable. She knew that
a temper in which a man has stiffened for years cannot
be changed by a single impulse, but she relied on William
to bear and forbear with the captain's infirmities. Good
Mrs. Ellis had found out, from her own observation, the
truth expressed by a great moral writer, that "the nearer
we approach perfection, the easier do we bear with the
imperfections of others."
The captain concluded with reiterating the praises of
William. Mrs. Ellis listened with tears, and, in reply to
the old man's repeated asseveration that Will "was a
wonderful boy," she meekly said, "I have long thought,
captain, if people would but practise the laws of Christ,
they would make a change in this world that would seem
We assure those of our young friends who are anxious
to know how Willie Ellis fared at Captain Stout's, that
the old man's temper did soften by degrees under the
constant influence of his fidelity and gentleness. The
soft south wind will melt the hardest ice. We advise
any who may have crusty-tempers to deal with to imitate
"DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE BY."
HERE was once a very little boy whose name
was Willie. Willie's mother read the Bible to
him before he could read himself, and when he
did not understand, she explained it to him. She
talked to Willie about Jesus Christ, and Willie
knew he came from God to teach men, and
women, and little children, and that the oldest
and the youngest ought to obey what he commanded. One
of the first of Jesus' rules which Willie learned was, that
you should do to others what you would have others do to
you. When Willie first learned this golden rule from the
Bible, he thought it would be very easy to obey it; but he
soon found it was not so very easy.
A little way from Willie's father there lived an old
woman quite alone. She had not one child, not so much
even as one grandchild, to live with her. Willie felt sorry
for her, and so did Willie's mother; and if she got a plea-
sant new book, she would send it to Mrs. Bemis (that was
the old lady's name) to read. And often, when she baked,
she would send her a pie or a custard. Willie's father,
too, was kind to Mrs. Bemis, and often sent her a basket
of strawberries, or a mess of early peas, or some other
rarity from his garden. Mrs. Bemis was not poor; she
had plenty to eat. But Willie's parents knew that it is a
THE BANTAM. 27
great pleasure to the old and lonely to be remembered by
the young and happy.
One day Willie's mother gave him a large cooky. Willie
was not hungry, but he began eating, and ate on just be-
cause it tasted good. A foolish reason for eating, is it
not ? When he had eaten half the cake his father came
in with a basket of early lettuces, and asked Will if he
would carry them up to Mrs. Bemis.
"Oh yes, father," answered Willie; "and, mother, I
will carry her this half of my cooky; and that," he added,
tossing up his head and feeling very grand and generous,
" will be following the rule-' doing as Iwould be done by.'
Won't it, mother ?"
Yes, my dear boy; but it is very easy for you to follow
it now, and give away what you do not want. But, Willie,
I hope you will obey it when there is something which
you ought to do for others and do not like to do."
Oh yes, mother, I will," replied William, feeling quite
sure he should always be as good as he ought to be. Willie
had forgotten, perhaps he never knew, that it is sometimes
very difficult to do the thing we ought; but the harder
it is, the better we feel when it is done.
Well, up Willie went to Mrs. Bemis. She was very
glad to get the lettuces; they were the first she had seen
that summer; and she was very much pleased with Willie's
present of the half cooky, and she kissed him, and thanked
him, and told him she had been looking out for him.
Willie could not think why she had looked out for him,
and he asked her why.
I will tell you, Willie. You know my little bantams?"
"Oh yes, ma'am. They are the prettiest bantams in
In the world, Willie Iow many places in the world
did you ever hear of ?"
Willie named the principal places he knew, and then
asked, Is not that all the world ? "
Mrs. Bemis laughed. She did not say that was all the
world; but she said she was quite satisfied if her bantams
were the prettiest in all the world that Willie knew.
28 THE BANTAM.
"The old bantam left her chickens yesterday, Willie,"
she said. "You know the mother always leaves the
chickens as soon as they are able to take care of them-
"Do they?" said Willie. "I am glad boys' mothers
don't. I am old enough, to be sure, to take care of my-
self; but I am not old enough to part with my mother."
"Not quite old enough for either, Willie," said Mrs.
Bemis, smiling. "Boys at four years old can't take as
good care of themselves as chickens at four weeks. But,
Willie, I was going to tell you that I took two of the
chickens off the roost last evening, and put them in a
covered basket. One I mean for you, and the other for
your little Cousin George."
"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Bemis. I like bantams, and I
like white bantams above all things-they look so cun-
Well, here they are, Willie," said Mrs. Bemis, bring-
ing the basket from the door-step. "Carry them home,
deary, and take one out; and ask your father to carry the
other to Cousin George, when he goes to his office. Go
straight home, Willie, and don't take off the cover."
"Oh yes, ma'am," said Willie; and he was so full of
delight, and so full of the surprise and pleasure that
George would have, that he ran off without thanking
Mrs. Bemis. But he soon recollected himself, and ran
back, saying, "Thank you, Mrs. Bemis, a thousand times,
for my bantam, and thank you for George's too. But
how shall I know which is George's?"
Oh, it's no matter which. They look just alike."
Away again Willie ran. When he was half way home
he met Russel Sloane.
"Oh, Russel! he said, "guess what is in this basket."
"Guess! I guess it's nothing."
"Well, I guess, Master Russel, it is two of the com-
pletest little bantams you ever saw."
"I don't believe it, Will."
"Then you may just look for yourself," replied Willie,
and he pulled up the cover. There, ain't they bantams!
THE BANTAM. 29
See how white they are, and what cunning short legs and
web feet! Do you see, Russel ?"
While Willie lifted up the foot of one, the other hopped
out, and would have escaped, but Russel caught it.
Here, just put it in my apron, Russel. I won't lift
up the cover again. Mrs. Bemis told me not to do so, but
Russel did as Willie asked him; and Willie ran on, till,
stumbling against a stone, he fell flat on his face, and the
basket dropped and rolled some way down the hill.
Willie was a little hurt, and more frightened, for he was
afraid the bantam would get out of the basket; but it
did not, and on he went.
"Oh, mother!" he screamed, as soon as he saw his mother,
"Mrs. Bemis has given me one of her little white ban-
tams, and one for George too. #s not she kind ? Here
is one in the basket, and one in my apron. See, mother!"
and he opened his apron to show it. Why, what ails
it ?" he said. "Do see, mother, how its head hangs down.
It don't move. Mother, do look! What is the matter ? "
Willie's mother took the little bantam in her hands;
and, seeing it could not move, she said, I am afraid you
held it too tight. You have smothered it, my child."
She blew in its mouth: that did no good. And then
she saw its neck was broken. She told Willie so, and
asked how it could have happened. Willie burst into
tears, and said it must have happened when he fell down.
He cried bitterly, and his mother tried to comfort him.
Suddenly he stopped crying, and said, The dead bantam
Did Mrs. Bemis say that was George's, Willie?"
"No, mother; but she said it was no matter which."
"But it is now a great deal of matter which."
"I know it is, mother."
"Willie, supposing Mrs. Bemis had given George the
chickens to bring home, instead of you; and supposing he
had run carelessly, as you did, and fallen down, and killed
the chicken, what would you think he ought to do?"
Willie hesitated-he blushed. Tears again came into
30 THE BANTAM.
his eyes, and rolled over his cheeks. He looked at the
dead bantam, he looked up in his mother's face, and then
he said, I should think, mother, he ought to give me the
chicken; and, mother, I will do as I would be done by.
George shall have the live bantam. But, mother," he
added, sobbing, "it is just as you said-it is not always
very easy to do as we would be done by."
No, my child," replied his mother, kissing him; but,
now, which would you rather have, the remembrance
that, when it seemed very hard, you did as you would be
done by, or the bantam ?"
The remembrance, mother, a thousand times; for that
will last always, you know, and the live bantam must die
some time or other."
The bantam was sent to George; and which, think
you, was the happiest, Willie in sending, or George in
receiving it ?
T a short distance from the village of S- on
the top of a hill, and somewhat retired and
sheltered from the roadside, lives a farmer,
by the name of Lyman. He is an industrious,
intelligent, and honest man; and though he
has but a small farm, and that lying on bleak
stony hills, he has, by dint of working hard,
applying his mind to his labour, and living
frugally, met many losses and crosses without
being cast down by them, and has always had a comfort-
able home for his children, with plenty to satisfy the
wants of his own family, with plenty to give to the few
wandering poor, and plenty wherewith to welcome to his
board the friend that comes to his gate. And, added to
this, he has books to read, a weekly newspaper, a school
for his children, a church in which to worship, and kind
neighbours to take part in his joy and gather about him
in time of trouble. Such a man is sheltered from many
of the wants and discontents of those that are richer than
he, and secured from the wants and temptations of those
that are poorer.
Late last winter, Mr. Lyman's daughter, Mrs. Bradly,
returned from 0--, a widow with three children. Mrs.
Bradly and I were old friends. When we were young
girls we went to the same school, and we had always
loved and respected one another.' Neither she nor I
32 OUR ROBINS.
thought it any reason why we should not, that she lived
on a little farm, and in an old, small house, and I in one
of the best in the village; nor that she dressed in very
common clothes, and that mine, being purchased in the city,
were a little better and smarter than any bought in the
country. It was not the bonnets and gowns we cared for,
but the heads and hearts those bonnets and gowns covered.
The very morning after Mrs. Bradly's arrival in S-,
her eldest son, Lyman, a boy ten years old, came to ask
me to go and see his mother. "Mother," he said, "was
not very well, and wanted very much to see Miss S-."
So I went home with him. -
After walking half a mile along the road, I proposed
getting over the fence and going across the field. So we
got into the field, and pursued our way along the little
noisy brook that, cutting Lyman's farm in two, winds its
way down the hill,-sometines taking a jump of five or
six feet; then murmuring over the stones, or playing
round the bare roots of the old trees, as a child fondles
about its parent,-and finally steals off among the flowers
it nourishes, the brilliant cardinals and snow-white cle-
matis, till it mingles with the river that winds through
our meadows. I would advise my young friends to choose
the fields for their walks. Nature has always something
in store for those who love her and seek her favours.
You will be sure to see more birds in the green fields than
on the roadside. Secure from the boys who may be idling
along the road, leady to let fly stones at them, they rest
longer on the perch and feel more at home there. Then,
as Lyman and I did, you will find many a familiar flower
that, in these by-places, will look to you like the face of
a friend. And you may chance to make a new acquaint-
ance; and, in that case, you will take pleasure in picking
it, and carrying it home, and learning its name of some
one wiser than you are. Most persons are curious to
know the names of men and women whom they never saw
before, and never may see again. This is idle curiosity;
but often in learning the common name of a flower or
plant, we learn something of its character or use.
OUR ROBINS. 33
You like flowers, Lyman," I said, as he scrambled up
a rock to reach some pink columbines that grew from its
Oh yes! indeed I do like them," he said. "But I am
getting these for mother. She loves flowers above all
things-all such sort of things," he added, with a smile.
"I remember very well," said I, "your mother loved
them when she was a little girl; and she and I once at-
tended together some lectures on botany-that is, the
science that describes plants and explains their nature."
Oh, I know, ma'am," said he. Mother remembers
all about it; and she has taught me a great deal she
learned then. When we lived at I used to find her
a great many flowers she never saw before. But she
could class them, she said, though they seemed like stran-
gers; and she loved best the little flowers she had known
at home, and those we used to plant about the door; and
mother said she took comfort in them in the darkest
Dark times, I knew, my poor friend had had-much
sickness, many deaths, many, many sorrows in her family;
and I was thankful that she had continued to enjoy such
a pleasure as flowers are to those that love them.
As we approached Mrs. Lyman's, I looked for my
friend, expecting she would come out to meet me, but I
found she was not able to do so; and, when I saw her, I
was struck with the thought that she would never living
leave the house again. She was at first overcome at meet-
ing me; but, after a few moments, she wiped away her
tears, and talked cheerfully.
"I hoped," she said, "my journey would have done
me good; but I think it has been too much for me. I
have so longed to get back to father's house, and to look
over these hills once more; and though I am weak and
sick, words can't tell how contented I feel. I sit in this
.chair, and look out of this window, and feel as a hungry
man sitting down to a full table. Look there," she con-
tinued, pointing to a cherry-tree before the window, "do
you see that robin? Ever since I can remember, every
34 OUR ROBINS.
year a robin has had a nest in that tree. I used to write
to father and inquire about it when I was gone; and
when he wrote to me, in the season of bird-nesting, he
always said something about the robins. So that this
morning, when I heard the robin's note, it seemed to me
like the voice of one of the family."
"Have you taught your children, Mary," I asked, "to
love birds is well as flowers ?"
"I belie e it is natural to them," she replied; but, I
suppose, they take more notice of them from seeing how
much I love them. I have not had much to give my
children, for we have had great disappointments in worldly
matters, and have been what are called very poor folks;
so I have been more anxious to give them what little
knowledge I had, and to make them feel that God has
given them a portion in the birds and the flowers, his
good and beautiful creation."
Mother always says," said Lyman; and there, seeming
to remember that I was a stranger, he stopped. "What
does mother always say?" I asked.
"She says we can enjoy looking out upon beautiful
prospects, and smelling the flowers, and hearing the birds
sing, just as much as if we could say 'they are mine!'"
"Well, is it not just so?" said Mrs. Lyman; "has not
our Father in heaven given his children a share in all his
works ? I often think, when I look out upon the beauti-
ful sky, the clear moon, the stars, the sunset clouds, the
dawning day; when I smell the fresh woods and the per-
fumed air; when I hear the birds sing, and my heart is
glad,--I think, after all, that there is not so much difference
in the possessions of the rich and poor as some think:
'God giveth to us all liberally, and withholdeth not.'"
"Ah !" thought I, "the Bible says truly, 'As a man,
thinketh, so is he.' Here is my friend, a widow and poor,
and with a sickness that she well knows must end in
death; and yet, instead of sorrowing and complaining, she
is cheerful and enjoying those pleasures that all may
enjoy if they will, for the kingdom of nature abounds
with them. Mrs. Bradly was a disciple of Christ; this
OUR ROBINS. 35
was the foundation of her peace; but, alas! all the disciples
of Christ do not cultivate her wise, cheerful, and grateful
I began with the story of the robin-family on the
cherry-tree, and I must adhere to that. I went often to
see my friend, and I usually found her in her favourite
seat by the window. There she delighted to watch, with
her children, the progress of the little lady bird that was
preparing for her young. She collected her materials for
building, straw by straw, and feather by feather; for, as
I suppose all little people know, birds line their nests with
some soft material, feathers, wool, shreds, or something
of the sort that will feel smooth and comfortable to the
little unfledged birds. Strange, is it not, that a bird
should know how to build its nest and prepare for house-
keeping? How, think you, did it learn? who teaches it?
Some birds work quicker and more skilfully than others.
A friend of mine who used to rear canaries in cages, and
who observed their ways accurately, told me there was as
much difference between them as between housewives.
Some are neat and quick, and others slatternly and slow.
Those who have not observed much are apt to fancy that
all birds of one kind, for instance, that all hens, are just
alike; but each, like each child in a family, has a character
of its own. One will be a quiet, patient little body,
always giving up to its companions; and another for ever
fretting, fluttering, and pecking. I know a little girl who
names the fowls in her poultry-yard according to their
characters. A lordly fellow, who has beaten all the other
cocks in regular battle, who cares for nobody's rights, and
seems to think that all his companions were made to be
subservient to him, she calls Napoleon. A pert, handsome
little coxcomb, who spends all his time in dressing his
feathers and strutting about the yard, is named Narcissus.
Bessie is a young hen, who, though she seems very well
to understand her own rights, is a general favourite in
the poultry-yard. Other lively young fowls are named
after favourite cousins, as Lizzy, Susy, &c. But the best
loved of all is one called "Mother," because she never
36 OUR ROBINS.
seems to think of herself, but is always scratching for
others; because, in short, she is, in this respect, like that
best, kindest, and dearest of parents, the mother of our
little mistress of the poultry-yard.
To return to the robin. She seemed to be of the
quietest and gentlest, minding her own affairs, and never
meddling with other people's; never stopping to gossip
with other birds, but.always intent on her work. In a
few days the nest was done, and four eggs laid in it. The
faithful mother seldom left her nest. Her mate, like a
good husband, was almost always to be seen near her.
Lyman would point him out to me as he perched on a
bough close to his little lady, where he would sit and sing
most sweetly; Lyman and I used to guess what his notes
might mean. Lyman thought he might be relating what
he saw when he was abroad upon the wing, his narrow
escapes from the sportsman's shot, and from the stones
which the thoughtless boy sends, breaking a wing or a
leg, just to show how he can hit. I thought he might be
telling his little wife how much he loved her, and what
good times they would have when their children came
forth from the shells. It was all guess work, but we
could only guess about such matters, and I believe there is
more thought in all the animal creation than we dream of.
Once, when he had been talking in this playful way,
Lyman's.mother said, God has ever set the solitary birds
in families. They are just like you children; better off
and happier for having some one to watch over them and
provide for them. Sometimes they lose both their parents,
and then the poor little birds must perish. But it is not
so with children; there are always some to take pity on
orphan children, and besides, they can make up, by their
love to one another, for the love they have lost."
I saw Lyman understood his mother; his eyes filled
with tears, and, putting his face close to hers, he said,
" Oh no, mother! they never can make it up; it may help
them to bear it."
When the young birds came out of their shells it was
our pleasure to watch the parents feeding them. Some-
OUR ROBINS. 37
times the father bird would bring food in his bill, and the
mother would receive it and give it to her young. She
seemed to think, like a good, energetic mother, that she
ought not to sit idle and let her husband do all the pro-
viding, and she would go forth and bring food for the
young ones; and then a pretty sight it was to see them
stretch up their little necks to receive it.
Our eyes were one day fixed on the little family. Both
parents were perched on the tree. Two young men from
the village, who haa been out sporting, were passing
along the road. "I'll bet you a crown, Tom," said one of
them, "I'll put a shot into that robin's head." "Done !"
said the other; and done it was for our poor little mother.
Bang went the gun, and down to the ground, gasping and
dying, fell the bird. My poor friend shut her eyes and
groaned; the children burst out into cries and lamenta-
tions; and, I must confess, I shed some tears-I could
not help it. We ran out and picked up the dead bird,
and lamented over it. The young man stopped, and said
he was very sorry; that if he had known we cared about
the bird he would not have shot it; he did not want it;
he only shot to try his skill. I asked him if he could not
as well have tried his skill by shooting at a mark. "Cer-
tainly !" he answered, and laughed, and walked on. Now
I do not think this young man was a monster, or any
such thing, but I do think that, if he had known as much
of the habits and history of birds as Lyman did, he would
not have shot this robin at the season when it is known
they are employed in rearing their young, and are enjoy-
ing a happiness so like what human beings feel; nor, if
he had looked upon a bird as a member of God's great
family, would he have shot it, at any season, just to show
his skill in hitting a mark. We have no right to abate in-
nocent enjoyment nor inflict unnecessary and useless pain.
The father bird, in his first fright, darted away, but he
soon returned and flew round and round the tree, uttering
cries which we understood as if they had been words; and
then he would flutter over the nest, and the little mother-
less birds stretched up their necks and answered with
38 OUR ROBINS.
feeble, mournful sounds. It was not long that he stayed
vainly lamenting. The wisdom God had given him taught
him that he must not stand still and suffer, for there is
always something to do; a lesson that some human beings
are slow to learn. So off he flew in search of food; and
from that moment, as Lyman told me, he was father and
mother to the little ones; he not only fed them, but
brooded over them just as the mother had done; a busy,
busy life he had of it. "Is it not strange," said Lyman
to me, "that any one can begrudge birds their small
portion of food? They are all summer singing for us,
and I am sure it is little to pay them to give them what
they want to eat. I believe, as mother says, God has
provided for them as well as for us, and mother says she
often thinks they discern it better, for they do just what
God means them to do." It was easy to see that Lyman
had been taught to consider the birds, and therefore he
Our attention was, for some days, taken off the birds.
The very night after the robin's death, my friend, in a fit
of coughing, burst a blood-vessel. Lyman came for me
early the next morning. She died before evening. I
shall not now describe the sorrow and the loss of the poor
children. If any one who reads this has lost a good
mother, he will know, better than I can tell, what a grief
it is; and, if his mother be still living, I pray him to be
faithful, as Lyman was, so that he may feel as Lyman
did when he said, "Oh, I could not bear it if I had not
done all I could for mother!"
The day after the funeral I went to see the children.
As I was crossing the field and walking beside the little
brook I have mentioned, I saw Sam Sibley loitering along.
Sam is an idle boy, and, like all idle boys I ever knew,
mischievous. Sam was not liked in the village; and, if
you will observe, you will see that those children who are
in the habit of pulling off flies' wings, throwing stones at
birds, beating dogs and kicking horses, are never loved;
such children cannot be, for those that are cruel to
animals will not care for the feelings of their companions.
OUR ROBINS. 39
At a short distance from the brook there was a rocky
mound, and shrubbery growing around it, and an old
oak-tree in front of it. The upper limbs of the oak were
quite dead. Sam had his Land full of pebbles, and, as he
loitered along, he threw them in every direction at the
birds that lighted on the trees and fences. Luckily for
the birds, Sam was a poor marksman, as he was poor in
everything else; so they were unhurt, till, at length, he
hit one perched on the dead oak. As Sam's stone whistled
through the air, Lyman started from behind the rocks,
crying, "Oh, don't-it's our robin!" He was too late;
our robin fell at his feet. He took it up and burst into
tears. He did not reproach Sam; he was too sorry to be
angry. As I went up to him he said, in a low voice,
"Everything I love dies!" I did not reply, I could not.
"How sweetly," resumed Lyman, "he sung only last
night after we came home from the burying-ground, and
this morning the first sound Mary and I heard was his
note; but he will never sing again!"
Sam had come up to us. I saw he was ashamed, and
I believe he was sorry too; for, as he turned away, I
heard him say to himself, "I'll never fling another stone
at a bird so long as I live."
It must have done something towards curing his bad
habits to see the useless pain he had caused to the bird
and the bird's friend; and the lesson sank much deeper
than if Lyman had spoken one angry or reproachful word,
for now he felt really sorry for Lyman. One good feeling
makes way for another.
To our great joy, the robin soon exhibited some signs
of animation; and, on examination, I perceived he had
received no other injury than the breaking of a leg. A
similar misfortune had once happened to a canary-bird of
mine, and I had seen a surgeon set its leg; so, in imitation
of the doctor, I set to work and splinted it, and then des-
patched Lyman for an empty cage in our garret. We
moved the little family from the tree to the cage. The
father bird, even with the young ones, felt strange and
unhappy for some time. It was a very different thing
40 OUR ROBINS.
living in this pent-up place from enjoying the sweet
liberty of hill and valley; and he did not know our good
reason for thus afflicting him, any better than we some-
times do of our troubles when we impatiently fret and
grieve. In a short time he became more contented. The
family said he knew Lyman's footstep, and would reply
to his whistle; sure am I Lyman deserved his love and
"gratitude, for he was the faithful minister of Providence
to the helpless little family. They never wanted food
nor drink. When, at the end of a very few weeks, he
found them all able to take care of themselves, he opened
the door of the cage and said, Go, little birds, and be
happy, for that is what God made you for."
The birds could speak no word of praise or thanks; but
happiest are those who find their best reward, not in the
praise they receive, but the good they do.
hmrnng, anb her Thrg frpntun.
" , F-l^-AMMA, may Sarah and I go down to Violet
"Yes, if you will promise me not to go to
any dangerous places, and if you will take
S Neptune with you."
I need not promise that, mamma; for
Neptune always will go with me, and I
always want him to go. Neptune Neptune !
here, Neptune!" At this call from his little
mistress, Fanny Dale, a large black Newfoundland dog,
with spotted feet, long, soft, black curly hair, and a physiog-
nomy that expressed the virtues of his race, affectionate-
ness and resolution, came bounding after the two little
girls, who were bending their steps from a country house
in the vicinity of N- to a low bit of ground near the
margin of the river, a sort of basin, called, from the
flowers that abounded there from early spring-time,
Violet Cove. Fanny Dale was a hardy little girl, who
was permitted by her mother to enjoy to the full the
happiness of country life. As soon as she had finished
her lessons and done her tasks, she ran out of doors,
scrambled over rocks, and chased over fields, often with
no companion but Neptune. Some of Mrs. Dale's friends
wondered that she could let Fanny get so tanned; but
Mrs. Dale thought the health, and strength, and innocent
pleasure she gained were an over-payment for a pretty
42 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
deep embrowning. Indeed, if the truth must be told,
there was far more beauty, in Mrs. Dale's eye, in Fanny's
blooming cheeks, round limbs, free and light step, than
in the delicate forms and lily complexions of her city
It is natural to children to love the country and the
freedom that belongs to it. "Does your mother let you
go out often without your nurse, Fanny?" asked her
companion and cousin, Sarah Tileson.
"To be sure she does. Don't you know, Sarah, I have
not had any nurse ever since we came to Rose Lane ?"
Oh, I wish I had not any. I never can stir out with-
out Becky ; and she never wants to go where we children
do-you know grown people never do. And then she
walks so slow, and as sure as we want to stop and look at
anything pretty, she is in a hurry. I do think a nurse is
"I should think so too; and, if I were you, I would
persuade my mother to get such a dog as Neptune.
Mamma says she always feels perfectly easy when Nep-
tune is with me; and he is a great deal funnier com-
panion than a nurse, you know." Fanny was interrupted
by Sarah's drawing close to her, and touching her arm
to attract her observation to a shabby-looking man who
had just got over the fence and was approaching them.
" Oh," said Fanny, in reply to Sarah's movement, which
expressed inquiry and fear, "it is only some one crossing
the field to go by a nearer way to Manhattanville ; but
see, now, what Neptune will do." Neptune was appar-
ently, at this moment, pursuing his own pleasures with-
out heeding his mistress. He was running on in advance,
now and then turning from his course and snuffing the
earth. He retraced his steps, and approached the
stranger with a low, suspicious bark, as much as to say,
"Who are you, sir ?" He never likes shabby-looking
people," whispered Fanny. "Be quiet, Neptune; now
just see what he will do." Neptune walked slowly round
the man, as if thoroughly to reconnoitre, then marched
to Fanny's side, and stalked along step by step with her,
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 43
with all the dignity of an appointed guardian, till the
stranger was quite out of sight, when he ran on as before.
"Does he really know that he has to take care of you?"
"I don't know what he really knows, because he can't
speak; but he seems to know almost everything."
"Oh, I wish we had such a dog! Where did you get
"Why, two summers ago, Mr. Wilson came out here to
make papa a visit ; and he got very ill, and it was ever
so hot; and I sat by him to keep off the flies, and used to
bring him drinks, and so on. And he thought it was a
great deal for a little girl to do-you know, two summers
ago I was a little girl, Sarah" (Fanny was now eight
years old); "and when he got well and went away, he
sent me a present of a pair of emerald ear-rings."
Oh, did he ? My mother has promised me a pair for
my next birth-day."
Yes, he did; but mamma does not mean I shall ever
wear ear-rings. She says it is not fitting for civilized
people to pierce their flesh to put in ornaments like
savages, and so mamma sent them back to Mr. Wilson."
Was not he affronted ?"
"Oh no; mamma wrote him a note, and I suppose she
told him-what she told me-that she did not wish me
to have any other reward than the pleasure of doing him
a service; but Mr. Wilson would not let it run on so, and
he brought me Neptune-he was a pup then. Mr. Wil-
son said mamma must not refuse him, because, as we
lived so near the river, mamma was always getting frights
about me, and she need not have any anxiety if I had a
Newfoundland dog to attend me. So mamma was glad
enough to take him, and now he seems just like one of
the family; and when Beverly Thompson offered papa ten
pounds for him, papa said he might as well offer to buy
me; and besides, papa told him the dog was mine."
But would not you sell him for ten pounds, Fanny?"
No, indeed, I would not."
"Oh, Fanny! Only think, with ten pounds you could
44 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
buy a baby-house completely furnished-chambers, draw-
ing-rooms, parl6ur, and everything-even to a little stove
in the hall."
And do you think for that I would give up a creature
that loves me ? No, indeed, Neptune-good fellow, Nep-
tune !-not to get all the baby-houses in the wide world
would I sell you."
Thus talking, the girls reached the Cove, where, to
their great disappointment, they found the early violets
were all out of blow. "We could get plenty of roses," said
Fanny, "and wild geraniums, and purple columbines, on
the rocks a little further up, close on the bank of the
river; but the rocks are steep and slippery just after the
tide is down, and you know we promised mamma we
would not go in any dangerous places."
"You promised, Fanny; I did not."
"But mamma understood the promise was for both,
and so that is just the same."
Sarah Tileson's notions of the obligation of a promise
were not quite so strict as Fanny's.
"Nonsense !" she cried; "come along, Fan; you
know I don't want to go in any dangerous places; we
can only look and see where the flowers grow. Oh, what
a pretty place this is !" she exclaimed, as Fanny led her
into a li l de footpath that followed the course of the river's
bank, running down to the very edge of the river where
the descent of the shore would allow it, and, where the
bank was too rocky or precipitous, ascending to the level
of the adjacent grounds. Now and then they would get
entangled in wild shrubbery, when Neptune would push
on before them and clear the way for them. Now they
would sit down on the bare roots of some old tree, whose
branches threw their deep shadow on the water below ;
and there they would watch the sloops that were passing up
and down the river, their sails glistening in the rays of the
unclouded sun of one of the brightest afternoons of June.
The steamers, just finishing their short day's voyage, were
in sight of their haven. Fanny, accustomed to walk with
her mother, and to observe the beautiful features on the
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 45
face of nature, tried to make Sarah enjoy these passing
objects, and the deep shadow that the opposite shore cast
on the water, and how it looked like melted silver where
the sun's rays lay upon it; but Sarah was impatient to
get the flowers which she had promised herself the plea-
sure of making into a wreath, and she urged Fanny to
show her the place where they grew. "Well, come
along," said Fanny, "and I will show you ; but we can't
get them, Sarah."
Can't / Our tutor says we should always leave the
last letter out of can't." Thus applying rules when they
served her purpose, and discarding them when they
opposed it, Sarah followed, bent on getting the flowers.
They soon reached a wild-looking place, where the bank
was steep and rocky. "There, you see the roses," said
Fanny, "and all along those pretty blue flowers, with
such delicate leaves, growing out of the very crevices
of the rocks, and higher up are the columbines; but
you see we can't get any of them. Don't they look as
if they knew we could not get them? so quiet and con-
"Yes; how provoking! But see there, Fanny-just
round there is a very good stepping-place, and we can
hold by the rosebush, you know."
"But my promise to mamma, Sarah-and I know she
would call that a dangerous place."
"Well, calling it so don't make it so. I know I can
walk there as well as here-at any rate, I can get the
roses." And, without more hesitation, she proceeded to
the spot; and, when there, she broke off the roses, and
cried exultingly that it was just as safe there as on the
floor at home. "Now," said she, "Fanny, there are some
lovely little white flowers a little lower down, just like
white stars-I can get them perfectly well."
Oh, don't go there, Sarah; don't you see the rocks
are wet and slippery ?"
But Sarah was too much accustomed to having her
own way to give heed to her cousin, and, after some diffi-
culty, she descended the rock. In going down, she
46 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
found too late that the rocks were slippery, and, becoming
alarmed, she did not dare to retrace her steps; but seeing
another place where she fancied she could get up safely,
she proceeded a little further, and found herself in a still
more difficult position. "Oh, Fanny !" she said, "I never
in the world can get back unless you will give me your
hand. Just come down that first rock; there is a dry
place for you to stand, and my feet slip so."
"That is not a very dangerous place," thought she. "I
am sure I can stand perfectly well there; I am sure I
ought to help Sarah, and mamma would say so too;" and
she had advanced to the position Sarah had pointed out.
Neptune stood beside Fanny, and when she moved fur-
ther down, if he could have spoken it seemed that he
would. He wagged his tail and whined, but did not move.
"Now, Sarah, stop crying, and don't be frightened.
Well-there, Sarah," she said, grasping the bush with
one hand, and stooping towards Sarah so as to give her
the other; there-set your foot hard down."
Fanny, without being aware of it, had put herself in a
most perilous position. By leaning towards Sarah, her
weight inclined towards the water. Sarah had no pres-
ence of mind to enable her to obey Fanny's instructions.
She was almost blinded by her tears, and, instead of
planting her foot firmly in the best place, she set it in a
weak, shelving spot; and, the moment she raised the
other foot, she slipped, and, losing her foothold entirely,
and holding Fanny's hand in hers like a vice, she fell
back into the river and dragged Fanny after her. This
was all the work of an instant; there was no time for a
shriek; and even if they had screamed, there was no one
near enough to hear. No one but Neptune; but he
needed no cry to spur him. The instant Fanny fell he
sprang from the rock, dived as she sank, and taking her
clothes in his mouth, he swam with her several yards.
It would have been impossible to ascend where Fanny
fell without bruising and tearing her against the face of
the rock; with unerring instinct, he selected a point
where he took her up without injury. He laid her on the
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 47
grass, and after howling over her, and licking her, and
assuring himself that she was not quite insensible-for her
recovery from the water had been so quick that she never
lost her consciousness-he returned to the river in search
of poor Sarah. In the meantime, Fanny raised herself
up, look around her, became fully aware where and how
she was, and that Sarah was not with her. She screamed
for help, but her cries were feeble. She attempted to
approach the bank; but weak, stiffened, and faint, she
sank down again, and in another moment Neptune reap-
peared with Sarah, and laid her at her cousin's feet. And
then, as if overcome with joy at finding Fanny moving,
he stretched himself beside her, licked her hands and face,
wagged his tail as if he would wag it off, and did all that
dog could do to express his joy.
Fanny could not then express her gratitude to him.
Her feelings and thoughts were all given to poor Sarah;
and the necessity of acting for her at once restored life
and activity to Fanny. The poor girl lay stretched on
the grass; the limbs that but a few minutes before were
so active, were now motionless and powerless; the face, so
lately bright with exercise, was white and fixed as marble;
and the ruby lips, that were curled with smiles, were
stiff and blue. Fanny raised Sarah's head and laid it on
her bosom, and laid her cheek to her cousin's, crying,
" Sarah Sarah dear Sarah !" but no sound, no motion
was returned; the body was lifeless and silent. She
looked around in the hope of seeing some human help,
and at the only point where she had a glimpse of the road
she saw a man passing.
She sprang up and ran towards him, screaming and
beckoning; but at the distance he was he could not hear
her feeble cries, and would not, if Neptune, inspired by
his mistress, had not set up a barking, or rather howling,
that attracted the man's attention, and Fanny had the in-
expressible relief of seeing him get over the fence and run
But few words were necessary to communicate her
48 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
She has not spoken yet, nor moved," said Fanny. The
man made no reply, but lifted Sarah from the ground,
shook her violently, struck the palms of her hands, rubbed
her limbs with all his might, and then, looking up to
Fanny, he said,-
Och, my childer, she'll never move nor spake again,-
she is dead!"
"Dead! Oh she can't be dead; it is such a few
moments. Oh, pray carry her home to mamma; she will
know what to do for her."
"That will I; but first, though I think there's none
but He that raises the dead can put breath in the poor
thing again, we'll be after giving her a chance." So say-
ing, he took off her wet clothes and wrapped her in his
woollen roundabout. "This will warm her," he added,
"if it's warmth can come to this little cold body again."
To Fanny it seemed impossible that life should so soon
be extinct. Wet and heavy as her clothes were, and
swashing round her feet at every step, she ran forward as
if she had nothing to encumber her. Neptune bounded
on before her. At the gate opening into Rose Lane she
was met by her mother, who, anxious at her prolonged
stay, had come out to meet her.
Fanny did not scream or faint at sight of her mother,
as some girls would have done after such a scene of terror,
danger, and distress. She thought not of herself, of her
past danger and escape, but only of the possibility of
relief for Sarah. She had learned that thoughtfulness for
others from the example of her mother, which Mrs. Dale
manifested, even in this moment of surprise and terror,
by returning immediately to the house to prepare Sarah's
mother, a poor, sickly woman, for the spectacle that might
kill her if seen without any preparation, and to get ready
all possible means for Sarah's recovery. Even with this
precaution, Mrs. Tileson was thrown into fainting fits,
from which she did not recover till the usual remedies
for drowned persons had been resorted to for Sarah,-but
in vain. Life never returned.
This event had a remarkable effect on Fanny Dale's
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 49
character. She never saw death before she saw the life-
less body of her cousin and playmate; she had never
realized it before. "Oh, how suddenly death may come!"
she thought; "how soon we may pass from this world to
another. I have often heard them say so, but it seems
to me I never knew it-at least, I never felt it till now.
This world always seemed to me so far from the other
world; but now they appear to me to be joined together,
and God seems far nearer than before."
Fanny's meditations were interrupted by her mother's
entrance. Mrs. Dale drew a chair to the footstool on
which Fanny was sitting, and, taking her hand, said,
"What are you thinking, my child ?" Fanny told her.
Well, my dear, if the other world is so near, should
we not always be preparing for it, and praying to our
heavenly Father to guard us from the sin of this world,
and fit us for inheriting the mansions prepared for all
who love him and keep his commandments? The greatest
of all the gifts we enjoy is life, and we must try how best
to use that precious gift for the glory of God in seeking
our own everlasting happiness and the good of those around
us. Then when the summons comes for us we need not
be afraid of the terrors of death, but rejoice that we are
leaving this world of trials and sorrows to be for evermore
in our Father's house."
Fanny was touched by the solemnity of her mother's
manner, and, after a little hesitation, she said, "Oh,
mother, I wish we could go to those mansions now. It
seems to me there is a great deal of danger and distress
in this world. Only think of poor Aunt Tileson !"
"Yes, my dear child, we are exposed to danger and
distress while we live. But remember, it is a part of the
work given us to do, to meet the danger with courage,
and to endure the distress with patience."
The courage and patience of both mother and child
were, before long, put to a painful test.
Fanny's father had been born to a large fortune. While
many men, who had started in life with Mr. Dale without
one penny, were every year, by their industry, becoming
50 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
rich, he was getting poorer and poorer. He was an idle
and a selfish man, and he loved pleasure. To the experi-
enced, this would sufficiently explain the waste of his pro-
perty. Our young friends must live and learn. Mrs.
Dale had persuaded him to remove from N- to Rose
Lane, where she thought they might live in retirement
with great economy on the small remnant of their fortune;
but she did not know how bad her husband's affairs were
till about a year after Sarah Tileson's death, when Mr.
Dale died very suddenly. On an examination of her
concerns, Mrs. Dale found that she and Fanny, after her
husband's debts were paid, would be left penniless. The
debts, she resolved, should be paid to the uttermost far-
thing; and, to accomplish this, she was obliged to sell
her furniture, her ornaments, and, indeed, every article
of value she possessed, even to a beautiful dressing-case,
a writing-desk, and a work-table, that had been her bridal
gifts. Fanny never heard her mother express one repin-
ing word that she was obliged to do this. On the contrary,
she cheerfully expressed her gratitude that she was able
to do it; and thus she gave her child a lesson of integrity,
of resolution, and of submission, that sank deeper into
Fanny's heart than if her mother had talked about those
virtues for a month.
The preparations for leaving Rose Lane went on rapidly.
Mrs. Dale had engaged a place as book-keeper with Mrs.
Smith, a woman who conducted a large millinery, and
very near to whom was the school at which Fanny was to
be placed. They were to leave Rose Lane the following
day. Fanny took her last walk with Neptune, and was
coming up the steps on to the piazza with him, talking, as
usual, as if he understood and could reply to her. Poor
Neptune," said she, do you know this is to be our last
walk together for many a day ? But they will be kind to
you at Mr. Thorne's, for they are kind to everything that
lives; and every Saturday I shall come out to see you,
and Mr. Thorne says, Neptune, the meeting of friends
pays for the parting."
Mr. Thorne, a neighbour, and very kind friend of Mrs.
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 51
Dale, had offered to keep Neptune as long as she had not
a home of her own for him; and this arrangement being
so much better than any Fanny had expected, her heart
was too full of gratitude to leave any room for regret.
She brought from the kitchen the bones and remnants
daily set aside for her to dispense to Neptune. Here is
your dinner, Neptune," she said. Oh dear, to-morrow
you'll take it from strangers' hands; but I know you'll be
thinking of me, and that is some comfort. You'll miss
our walks to the river, won't you ? But we'll go down to
Violet Cove sometimes when I come to Mr. Thorne's, just
to show you we don't forget; won't we, Neptune ? And so
we shall have good times after all "
Thus wisely looking on all that was pleasant and cheer-
ing before her, Fanny left Neptune munching his bone,
and went in to her mother. She found her, not busily oc-
cupied as she had left her, but languidly leaning on her
hand, and evidently intent on some painful subject, for
her eyes were red with weeping. Fanny put her arm
around her mother's neck and kissed her. You are too
tired, mother," she said.
"No, Fanny, I am not tired."
"I suppose, then, mother, it is because you feel so bad
at leaving Rose Lane ?"
No, my dear child; you know we have made up our
minds to that long ago."
"Then I suppose, mother, you are thinking how dis-
agreeable it will be for you to go among strangers to earn
our living ?"
"No, no, Fanny. It is painful to me to go away from
a home; but Mrs. Smith seems more like a friend than a
stranger to me; and you know, my dear child, how truly
thankful I am for an opportunity of earning our living,
instead of living with any of our relatives, as we might
have done, in indolent dependence. And I feel it to be
such a blessing that we are not to be separated, except
while you are at school and I am at work, that I find
reason enough in going for gratitude and cheerfulness-
none for tears."
52 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
"Then, mother, what is it that ails you? You have
been crying, and you won't tell me why."
Mrs. Dale was in the habit of telling Fanny everything
of her concerns that the child could fully comprehend.
She wished the sympathy, communion, and companionship
between them, which was her greatest earthly pleasure,
should be as perfect as is possible between a mother and
a child of ten years ; and after a little hesitation, she said,
"You know, Fanny, I thought I had paid our debts to
the last penny, and now here is a bill sent in to me,
amounting nearly to ten pounds, and we have but twenty
shillings in the world, and, certainly, there is nothing left
to be sold."
"No, I am sure there is not," said Fanny, looking
mournfully around the empty apartments, of which the
doors were all open. As she spoke, as if to remind her
there was yet one unsold thing, Neptune walked slowly
in. All the blood in her body seemed to gush into her
head and neck as the truth that she might pay this debt
darted through her mind. She did not speak. She even
turned away her head, as if, by not seeing Neptune, she
could exclude the thought.
"The recollection of this bill," continued Mrs. Dale,
"will be a continual torment to me, for I see no better
prospect of paying it in future than now. My salary at
Mrs. Smith's, with the strictest economy, will barely meet
our necessary expenses, and your school-bills, most neces-
sary of all, since your education is to qualify you to earn
your future living."
"And yours too, dear mother," said Fanny, glancing
her tearful eyes at Neptune, and for the first time think-
ing it possible, for her mother's sake, she might part with
her preserver. "But what is the bill for ?" she asked,
turning her mind eagerly from the consideration of how
it was to be paid.
"For some purchases of your father," replied Mrs.
Dale, hastily thrusting the bill, which was lying on the
table, into her portfolio. The bill was from Delmonico,
the restaurateur, and for sundry bottles of champagne and
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 53
Burgundy, for pat6s, omelets, souffles, fruit, &c., luxuries
in which Mr. Dale had indulged when his wife and child
were living with the strictest self-denial. Mrs. Dale could
not bear that Fanny should be obliged to sigh over her
Oh, if young persons could but realize the multiform
injustice and selfishness to which the indulgence of the
animal appetites lead, they would early subdue them by
wholesome discipline. Children early accustomed to deny
themselves cakes, sweetmeats, candies, &c., find it after-
wards a very easy matter to control their appetites, when
health, economy, or any other reason, renders it important
to do so.
Purchases of father's," resumed Fanny, as if thinking
aloud; "they should be paid for. How badly we should
feel to know that any one was blaming him. I don't
think, mother, you will be happy a minute till that debt
is paid; and I am sure," she added, throwing her arms
round her mother's neck, and bursting into a flood of tears,
" you would sell anything in the world-anything but me,
mother, to pay it."
Mrs. Dale, who little suspected the struggles in Fanny's
mind, was surprised at her emotion.
"My dear child," she said, "we must neither of us
waste our feelings in tears, but keep them for action. If
either of us should be able to obtain this money at any
sacrifice, I trust we shouldfeel enough to make it."
These words, uttered without reference to any particu-
lar sacrifice, sank deep into Fanny's heart, and decided
the conflict going on there.
She wiped away her tears, and tried hard to smile, as
she said, "I am going down to Emma Blake's, mother.
I promised to call before I went to town. I shall soon
come home again." So saying, she again put on her
bonnet, and followed as usual by Neptune, left the house.
She proceeded slowly, and patting and stroking Neptune,
dropping tear after tear, but speaking not a word till she
reached a certain beech-tree, her favourite resting-place.
This tree had a limb which, having been distorted by
54 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
some accident, grew out horizontally near the bottom of
the trunk for some inches, and then rounding upward,
formed a sort of swinging seat, particularly attractive to
Fanny. Here, in her walks with Neptune, it was her
custom to sit and hold discourse with him; but now she
rather sank than sat T16wn; and when Neptune laid his
head upon her lap, she dropped hers on him, and sobbed
To explain her emotion and the resolution under which
she was acting, we must go back and remind our readers
that one Mr. Beverly Thompson had, even before Nep-
tune's renown as Fanny's preserver, offered Mr. Dale ten
pounds for him. Now it had so happened most
strangely, just at that time, as Fanny thought-that, as
she was that very day returning from her walk to Violet
Cove, she met Mr. Beverly Thompson, who had come
from town to pass the day with the father of her friend
Emma Blake. He stopped his gig. Ah, Miss Fanny
Dale," said he, how are you ? and there is my old friend
Neptune; as good a fellow as ever, I suppose ?"
"Ten times better, sir," said Fanny.
Ah, that's right; you are a good, constant girl; good-
morning to you, my dear;" and he was driving on, when
suddenly it occurred to him that he had heard the Dales
were ill off, and that they might wish to dispose of the
dog; at any rate, that in their circumstances ten pounds
must be acceptable. So, halting again, he said, "Miss
Fanny, I once offered you ten pounds for Neptune; will
you sell him now?"
"Sell Neptune! No, indeed, sir, I could not sell
But why not, Miss Fanny ?"
I could not, sir. I would as soon sell a human being.
How could anybody sell a creature that has feeling and
affection like Neptune ? No, Mr. Thompson; I can't sell
"Oh, very well; good-bye, my dear; only remember, if
you should change your mind, I still stand ready to give
you the ten pounds."
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 55
It was with this offer fresh in her mind that she had
been made acquainted with her mother's unhappiness about
the unpaid bill; and a devoted child as she was, and with
her mind always set on doing the right thing, it was, per-
haps, no great wonder that she should make up her mind
to part with Neptune; but that she should do it so
promptly, and without paining her mother by communi-
cating her struggles and grief, we think was what few
girls of ten years would have done.
Once resolved, her resolution did not waver. She cried
heartily, but there was no bitterness in her tears; and
when, as she soon did, she began to talk out her feelings
to Neptune, she was greatly relieved. You never would
blame me for it, Neptune," she said, still sobbing; I am
sure you would not, if you knew all. I would not sell
you for anything in the world, Neptune, but just be-
cause I ought; no, not for as many ten pounds as could
lie between here and London. I am only trying, Nep-
tune, to be as good as you have been-as faithful to my
mother as you have been to me. But come along, Nep-
tune; I dare say we shall both feel better when it's over."
Fanny could not help feeling as if Neptune knew all
about it, so wistfully did he look up in her face, no doubt
struck by the unusual sadness of her voice.
Fanny proceeded to Mr. Blake's, and after passing a
few moments with her friend Emma, she made known
her errand to Mr. Thompson. He was struck as much
with the change in her countenance as the change in her
determination since he had seen her bounding along with
Neptune; and imagining that Mrs. Dale's necessities had
made her urge this sacrifice upon Fanny, he was too deli-
cate to make any inquiries, and made no explanations,
though Emma Blake exclaimed, "Oh, Fanny Dale how
can you part with Neptune ?" and all the Blake children
gathered about her, expressing their surprise and horror.
Mr. Thompson saw Fanny's moist eyes and trembling
lips, and with how much difficulty she suppressed her
emotion; and, being a very kind-hearted man, as soon as
he had given her a cheqve for ten pounds, he silenced the
56 FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE.
children, and said, My dear Miss Fanny, you will oblige
me if you will take Neptune home with you, and, when
you come to town, fetch him to my house yourself. That
will be the best way of introducing him to his new home;
and, after he gets a little acquainted there, I shall send
him to pay you a daily visit."
"Oh, thank you, sir, thank you," said Fanny, greatly
relieved to have the moment of parting deferred, and
dreading to expose her feelings before so many spectators.
Those-and we trust there are many-of our young
readers who know the full delight of performing well a
painful duty, will easily imagine Fanny's happiness when
she returned to her mother with the means of paying
Delmonico's bill. My dear child," said her mother, after
her first emotion was over, it is a great joy to me to be
able to discharge this painful debt, but a far greater to see
you capable of making a sacrifice in obedience to a sense
of duty, without any suggestion or persuasion of mine."
Mrs. Dale was soon established in her new occupation,
and Fanny became a day scholar at Madame C---'s
school. Neptune, after receiving two or three lessons,
learned to go to Mrs. Dale for Fanny's lunch, and to carry
it safely to school, and present it safely to her at the hour
Mrs. Dale continued in her employment for three
years. Some of her former friends, honouring her for her
exertions, were more attentive to her than they had been
in the time of her greatest prosperity; others fell off and
forgot her; but for this she did not care, for she had only
time for her real friends.
At the expiration of three years she was enabled, by a
legacy left her by an uncle, again to hire the cottage at
Rose Lane, and to live there with independence and com-
fort. She returned there about Christmas.
On New-Year's morning, as Fanny was passing through
the entry, there was an unusually loud ring at the door.
She sprang to open it, and in bounded Neptune, with a
letter in his mouth, addressed to her. She opened it, and
read as follows :--
FANNY, AND HER DOG NEPTUNE. 57
"6MY DEAR Miss FANNY,-My master, Beverly Thompson,
having, without any reference to my well-being (as might be ex-
pected from a master who buys his servant), decided on going
abroad, I have, with his full consent, come to throw myself at
your feet, and beg you to take me back into your possession and
service.--Yours ever to command,
The letter was, of course, in Beverly Thompson's hand;
subjoined was this postscript :-
"DEAR MISs FANNY,-As this is the season of all good offices,
you will allow me to enjoy, in restoring to you Neptune, some
faint resemblance of the happiness you had in transferring him
to me.-Your friend,
Fanny ran upstairs, followed by Neptune, her cheeks
and eyes glowing, to communicate her letter. "Here,
mother," she said, "is a finish to Neptune's story fit to
put in a book!"
We have availed ourselves of Fanny's hint, and put it
in a boor.; and we assure our readers that, though we
may have committed some errors in unimportant par-
ticulars, our story, so far as Neptune is concerned, is
strictly true. For one portion of it we might get
vouchers from some of Fanny's school-mates, who still
remember the daily excitement of Neptune's arrival with
Fanny's lunch in a little covered basket, with a card ad-
dressed to "1V iss Fanny Dale, Houston Street."
Aunt Jffiaria'-e Stoaltaoa^s.
WAS in the spring-time of the year,
The latter part of May,
SWhen two small birds, with merry cheer,
Came to our house one day.
I watched them with a loving smile,
As they glanced in and out,
And in their busy, chirping style,
Went peering all about.
I knew that they would build a nest;
And joy it was to me
That the plade they liked the best
Beneath our roof should be.
In the crotch of a sheltering beam
They found a cozy spot;
And never before or since, I ween,
Chose birds a better lot.
The green boughs of a tall old tree
Gave them a pleasant shade;
While, through an arch, they well could see
Where sun and river played.
AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS. 59
And here they came in sunny hours,
And here their nest they made,
Safe, as if hid in greenwood bowers,
For none their will gainsayed.
I think theyfelt a friendly sphere,
And knew we loved them dearly;
For they seemed to have no thought of fear,
And planned their household cheerily.
They fanned me with their busy wings,
And buzzed about my head;
Never were such familiar things
In field or forest bred.
The father was a gentle bird
Right gracefully he wooed,
And softer notes were never heard
Than to his mate he cooed.
And when their clay-built nest she lined,
He'd go, in sunny weather,
And search and search, till he could find
Some little downy feather.
Then high would swell his loving breast,
He felt so very proud,
And he would sidle to the nest,
And call to her aloud.
And she would raise her glossy head,
And make a mighty stir,
To see if it were hair or thread
That he had brought for her.
And she would take it from his bill
With such an easy grace,
As courtly beauties sometimes will
Accept a veil of lace.
60 AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS.
They did not know, the pretty things,
How beautiful they were;
Whether they moved with rapid wings,
Or balanced on the air.
And yet they almost seemed to know
They had a winsome grace;
As if they meant to make a show,
They'd choose their resting-place.
On a suspended hoop they'd swing,
Swayed by the buoyant air,
Or, perched on upright hoe, would sing
Songs of a loving pair.
Swiftly as rays of golden light
They glanced forth to and fro,-
So rapid, that the keenest sight
Could scarcely see them go.
The lover proved a husband kind,
Attentive to his mate;
He helped her when the nest was lined,
And never stayed out late.
And while she hatched, with patient care
He took his turn to brood,
That she might skim along the air
To find her needful food.
He did it with an awkward hop,
And the eggs seemed like to break,-
Just as some clumsy man would mop,
Or thread and needle take.
But there with patient love he sat,
And kept the eggs right warm,
And sharply watched for dog or cat,
Until his mate's return.
AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS. 61
And when the young birds broke the shell,
He took a generous share
In her hourly task to feed them well
With insects from the air.
But when they taught the brood to fly,
'Twas curious to see
How hard the parent birds would try,
And twitter coaxingly.
From beam to beam, from floor to nest,
With eager haste they flew;
They could not take a moment's rest,
They had so much to do.
For a long while they vainly strived,
Both male and female swallow;
In vain they soared, in vain they dived,-
The young ones would not follow.
The little helpless timid things
Looked up, and looked below,
And thought, before they tried their wings,
They'd take more time to grow.
The parents seemed at last to tire
Of their incessant labours,
And forth they went, to beg or hire
Assistance from their neighbours.
And soon they came, with rushing noise,
Some eight or ten, or more,
Much like a troop of merry boys
Before the school-house door.
They flew about, and perched about,
In every sort of style,
And called aloud with constant shout,
And watched the nest the while.
62 AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS.
The little birds, they seemed half crazed,
So well they liked the fun;
Yet were the simple things amazed
To see how it was done.
They gazed upon the playful flock
With eager, beaming eyes,
And tried their winged ways to mock,
And mock their twittering cries.
They stretched themselves with many a shake;
And oft, before they flew,
Did they their feathery toilet make,
And with a great ado.
Three times the neighbours came that day,
To teach their simple rules,
According to the usual way
In all the flying schools.
The perpendicular they taught,
And the graceful parallel;
And sure I am, the younglings ought
To learn their lessons well.
Down from the nest at last they dropped,
As if half dead with fear;
And round among the logs they hopped,
Their parents hovering near.
Then back again they feebly flew,
To rest from their great labours,
And twittered a polite adieu
To all their friendly neighbours.
Next day they fluttered up and down;
One perched upon my cap,
Another on the old loose gown
In which I take my nap.
AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS. 63
Each day they practised many hours,
Till they mounted up so high,
I thought they would be caught in showers,
And never get home dry.
But when the sun sank in the west,
My favourites would return,
And sit around their little nest
Like figures on an urn.
And there they dropped away to sleep,
With heads beneath their wings.
I would have given much to keep
The precious little things;
But soon the nest became too small-
They grew so big and stout;
And when it would not hold them all,
They had some falling out.
Three of the five first went away
To roost on the tall old tree;
But back and forth they came all day,
Their sisterkins to see.
My heart was sad to find one night
That none came back to me;
I saw them, by the dim twilight,
Flock to the tall old tree.
But still they often met together
Near that little clay-built nest;
'Twas in the rainiest weather
They seemed to like it best.
Yet often, when the sun was clear,
They'd leave their winged troops,
Again to visit scenes so dear,
And swing upon the hoops.
64 AUNT MARIA'S SWALLOWS.
Just as when human beings roam.
The busy absent brother
Loves to revisit his old home,
Where lived his darling mother.
Months passed away, and still they came,
When stars began to rise,
And flew around our window-pane,
To catch the sleepy flies.
Into our supper-room they flew,
And circled round my head;
For well the pretty creatures knew
They had no cause for dread.
But winter comes, and they are gone
After the Southern sun,
And left their human friends alone,
To wish that spring would come.
L. MARIA CHILD.
7'. 1') i Ct i I