The Baldwin Library
OLD CHLIOF AND THE CHICKENS. Page 1i
MRS. Ma rfJOHNSON,
AUTHOR OF LINWOOD; OR, THE CHRISTMAS GIFT," "THE
CENTURY PLANT," ETC.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
THE JOURNEY........... ............. ........................... 7
THE PLAY-HOUSE.............................................. 23
THE RIDE................. ... ......... ........................ 33
THE SEWING-CIRCLE....... .................................. 39
PEA-POD BOATS.................. ............................ 48
PUSSY AND HER FAMILY ................ ........... ........ 58
A VISIT.................................. ........................ 64
HUCKLEBERRYING ............................................. 70
THE BIRTH-DAY.................................................. 83
SUNDAY .......................................................... 103
HOME............. ....... .................................... 119
ENNY, Jenny !'. shouted little Grace Went-
Sworth as she danced into the pleasant
nursery, mother is packing up !"
"Packing up !" said Jenny as she sprang from
her little rocking-chair, tipping it over, and toss-
ing into a confused heap the doll's clothes in her
lap. Dolly, however, was put carefully, but half
dressed, into her cradle, and away went the chil-
dren, as fast as their feet could carry them, to their
"When are we going, Gracie?" asked Jenny
as they scampered through the entry. '
8 Elms Homestead.
"To-morrow, if it is pleasant, mother said."
And then followed a buzz and chatter, too long to
write, about Grandpa's," in the midst of which
they threw open the door. Two trunks stood in
the middle of the floor, the bureau-drawers were
open, and the bed covered with folded articles of
clothing with which Mrs. Wentworth was quietly
engaged. She smiled pleasantly as the little girls
came in, for their fingers were not of the meddle-
some stamp and their busy tongues were never
"Can we help you, mother?" they asked,
"Yes, pets," Mrs. Wentworth answered. "Look
here a moment. The clothes to be first packed
are on this side of the bed. If you will hand
them to me, carefully, so as not to unfold or dis-
arrange them, while I pack, it will save me time
This they did quite handily, talking in merry
"Mother, will grandpa know us? we have grown
so much. Will pussy be there, do you think?
Oh won't Kitty Clover miss us while we're away?
The Yourney. 9
Only think-three months But she won't forget
us, will she ? Won't she be glad to see us when
we get home? Rover will miss us, too, won't he?
I wish he could go with us! Oh! I wonder if I
can milk? I tried last summer, but I couldn't.
Won't you go huckleberrying with us, mother?
I wonder how many little chickens there are?
Will the hens eat out of our hands, as they used
to? and the pigeons? What will grandma say
when we ride up to the house? Oh, mother, our
And away they flew, without waiting for a reply,
to the nursery, and began gathering up their toys
in great haste. With aprons full, they scampered
back, and unloaded their freight on the carpet.
"Stop, children," said Mrs. Wentworth as they
were running off for more. "You know we can-
not carry all your things, and you have not made
a good selection. You will be out-doors most of
the time in pleasant weather, and will need only a
few of your toys. Try to think what you would
be likely to use most, and bring them to me."
"We always carry the dolls, mother."
"Yes, the dolls and their summer clothes,"
I0 Elms Homestead.
answered Mrs. Wentworth. "Take your work-
boxes and your pieces for patch-work-not any
that is already sewed."
"Can we take our dishes, mother, and our
"Not your china tea-set," Mrs. Wentworth re-
plied, but your wooden dishes and cooking uten-
sils. The bedsteads can be uncorded and put in
very well. These, I think, will be enough."
"No, dear. You won't care to read so much
as you do in winter, when you stay more in the
house, and we shall probably have some new ones-
enough for the summer. What you leave will seem
almost fresh when we come home."
"You're almost through, are you not, mother?"
"Yes, pets; and you have helped me a good
deal. Ah! there's father come home!" as the
front door opened and a long, clear whistle
wound up the stairs.
Off went the children like two birds, and Mrs.
"Oh, father, father! Mother's almost done
packing, and she let us help !"
The journey. i
"That's a good report," said Mr. Wentworth,
pleasantly. "And now who wants dinner?"
In the afternoon the packing was speedily con-
cluded, and before bed-time the children, as their
mother advised them, put away very neatly the
books and playthings they were to leave at home.
Margaret, the cook, promised to take good care
of Rover and Kitty Clover. And if Grace and
Jenny slept less than usual that night, their dreams
were very pleasant.
Grace and Jenny were twins. They lived in
the pleasant city of Philadelphia, but every sum-
mer they went to their grandfather's farm, in a
pretty town near Boston. The trip was about
two hundred miles. Anne Werner, who had
lived with Mrs. Wentworth ever since they were
born, always went with them, and she and the
little girls almost lived out-doors when in the
country. All the party anticipated the visit with
The next morning was bright and cool, and
the children were roused by their mother's pleas-
ant voice and loving kiss. At first, they rubbed
their eyes drowsily, but recollecting the important
12 Elms Homestead.
fact that they were to start this morning, they
sprang up, and were soon neatly dressed.
"Now, my children," said their father as he
kissed them, "I want you to try to keep your
thoughts on the holy words I am going to read,
and not let the excitement of your feelings draw
them away till we have acknowledged our Father's
loving care, and sought His protection and help
to do His will."
Grace and Jenny listened reverently while their
father read the psalm closing with the words,
"The Lord shall keep thy going out and thy
coming in, from this time forth, and even for
evermore." And when the family knelt, and to-
gether repeated the prayer given us by a loving
Saviour, their young hearts truly entered into its
petitions, and a feeling of trust in His all-per-
vading care made them doubly happy. They sat
down to breakfast, talking in gleeful tones about
their journey and the delight of seeing grandpa
The meal was over, father, mother, children
and Anne all ready, the trunks, carpet-bag and
lunch-basket in the entry, and Margaret, Rover
The .ourney. 13
and Kitty Clover all there to receive their good-
bye, when the carriage came, and in ten minutes
the party reached the wharf. Here all was bustle,
noise and confusion.
"Keep fast hold of my hand, dear," said
Mrs. Wentworth to Jenny, "and you, Gracie, of
Anne's; we might lose you in this crowd." Mr.
Wentworth gave his arm to his wife, carrying the
carpet-bag in one hand, and Anne followed with
"What a pretty boat this is !" said Grace, after
Mr. Wentworth had found nice places on deck
and gone to check the trunks. "It is so white
and clean, with its bright green blinds. Isn't it a
new one, mother?"
"I think not," replied Mrs. Wentworth, "only
newly painted; we went in this boat, if I mistake
not, last year and year before."
"Oh, Anne," said Jenny, "did you read the
name? I tried to, but we were in such a hurry,
and the sun shone so bright on the gilt letters, I
"Yes, dear," said Anne. "She is called the
14 Elms Homestead.
"Oh what a pretty name !" exclaimed the little
girls. "Don't you like it, mother?"
"Yes, it is very pretty."
"How soon will the boat start, father?" asked
Jenny as Mr. Wentworth returned.
"In about five minutes," he replied. "What-
a beautiful morning it is !" he said to his wife.
The sunbeams were dancing on the waves, cover-
ing them with silver spangles, as the children
watched their ceaseless roll. Several large ves-
sels lay at anchor, their white sails just moving
in the breeze, while one with canvas full-spread
was gliding out of sight. Little boats sped quickly
by, and as the Snow-bird began to move off an-
other large steamboat touched the landing. Once
unmoored, there was occupation enough for Grace
and Jenny in watching the swiftly-changing scenery
of the shores, and the boat-ride seemed very
short. The cars were a different matter. There
was a good deal of interest for the children in the
different stopping-places and the wayside scenery;
but besides the tediousness of the four or five
hours on the road, poor little Jenny was nearly
sick from the motion of the cars. Her mother's
The ourney. 15
vinaigrette, however, relieved her in part, and her
father took her on his knee, laid her head on his
shoulder and gently rubbed her temples. After
a little time she went to sleep, and when she
awoke, the train had reached Jersey City. Cross-
ing the ferry was a pleasant change, and all the
party felt far more comfortable when fairly on
board the Norwich boat. After a plain dinner,
when the little girls felt quite refreshed, their
father took them a short walk that they might
see a little of New York, but there was so much
noise and turmoil that they thought their own
quiet city far preferable. At five in the afternoon
the boat left the wharf. Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth,
the little girls and Anne all remained on deck till
tea was ready. There was always a charm to
Grace and Jenny in taking supper on board a
steamboat. The long table with its numerous
lights, the many people, the white-aproned stew-
ards, were all novelties; and the supper itself,
after a hard day's traveling, carried with it an
Very tired little heads nestled in the white
pillows when the evening prayer had been said
16 Elms Homestead.
and the next thing the children knew Anne was
beside their berths, and there was quite a stir in
the boat, for people were getting up to go on
board the cars, though it was but one o'clock.
It was rather hard to rouse themselves sufficiently
to get ready, but, after all, the children enjoyed
the novelty of taking a walk in the middle of
"Oh, Gracie," said Jenny, "did you ever
think there were so many stars in the sky?"
They found the "night-cars" were cushioned
very differently from those used during the day,
and their father arranged a sort of bed for them
with traveling-shawls, so that they slept comfort-
ably the rest of the night. When they awoke,
the sun was rising, and they enjoyed that glorious
sight which city children so seldom see. About
an hour later, the cars reached the place where
their grandfather's home was located, but his house
was a mile and a half from the station. The ride,
however, was very charming, especially in the early
morning; the sky was a clear, bright, beautiful
blue; the foliage and grass a brilliant green; the
birds warbling as they blithely flitted from bough
The y.ourney. 17
to bough; the cows were in the pastures; here and
there a flock of sheep; horses, dogs, chickens
and kittens in plenty at the different farms they
passed; and it seemed a very short time after they
left the cars when the party alighted at grandpa's
It was an old-fashioned, plain but roomy house,
on a hill, and standing some distance back from
the road, shaded closely by grand old trees, with
a front yard enclosed by a neat white fence, and
beyond that a grassy sweep, terminated by a
hedge of purple lilac. At a little distance flowed
the Concord river, and beyond it could be seen
the village spires and several of its dwellings.
The June roses were just opening, and the bees
humming busily among them. Wide open stood
the doors and windows--wide open were grandpa's
and grandma's hearts; and after the cheeriest,
kindest welcome, they all sat down to a genuine
country breakfast, another term for real home-
Then, after breakfast and morning prayer, what
a multitude of things to be seen and done! Pussy
had already made her appearance in her usual
18 Elms Homestead.
place beside grandma's chair, and been warmly
greeted. All over the house, hand in hand, went
Grace and Jenny, thinking it must have been
changed some way, they could not tell how, since
last summer. Their mother's chamber, however,
seemed very natural. The snowy coverlet of old-
fashioned marseilles, the spotless dimity window
curtains, the chintz-covered chairs and lounge,
with the three-cornered wash-stand dark with age,
the polished bureau, the broad window-sills and
low walls, covered with a paper whose design was
a series of little pictures-birds, flowers and chil-
dren-the queer-shaped closet back of the chimney,
and over the mantel a portrait of a very old man
with snow-white hair flowing over his shoulders,
a broad, high, white forehead and blue eyes full
of kindness, the portrait of Grade's and Jenny's
great-grandfather,-all were the same, yet seemed'
to wear a somewhat new aspect. Then the room
opening from this-a. trifle smaller, but equally
pleasant, where they were to sleep with Anne-
with its pretty carpet of scarlet and green, its
paper, with pictures of little girls in immense
gypsy hats watering plants, and with pet lambs
The Yourney. 19
beside them, its old, high-post bedstead and
yellow wash-stand, the magnificent trees that grew
so near each window that the summer wind swayed
their foliage against the glass, and what the little
girls' eyes eagerly searched for, the robin's nest
amid the branches The kitchen, with its wide
fireplace, its rows of crockery and shining tins,
and puss curled lazily down on the hearth; the
old "buttery," with its glistening milk-pans, its
golden lumps of fresh butter, its loaves of white,
brown and rye bread, its tin box of cake, and
for centre ornament a great yellow churn. Old
Chloe, too, who though she had given her wel-
come at the threshold, as the presiding genius of
this domain is entitled to special notice here.
She was a tall, stoutly-built colored woman, with
a warm, honest heart, sparkling black eyes and
ever-ready laugh. She usually wore a dark calico
dress and apron, with a gay-colored turban; and
everything about her must be faultlessly neat, or,
as she was wont to express it, she "should have a
fit!" She offered to show them the chickens, and
led the way to three different coops, containing as
many broods. She carried a small tin dish of
20 Elms Homestead.
Indian dough, with which the little girls fed the
tiny fledglings. The cows were out at pasture,
but in the barn were three spotted calves, so tame
that Grace and Jenny stroked their brown faces
and patted their sides. The horse held up his
head for the tit-bit he always expected when
Chloe's voice and footstep were heard about the
barn, and as she did not at first notice him, he
very quietly pushed his nose into her pocket, and
seized a nice parsnip, which he munched with
"Well, little folks, I must go back to my work,"
said Chloe. "You're going to stay out a while
and play, I suppose?"
"Yes," said Grace. "Mother said we might
play anywhere near the house."
"Oh, Gracie," asked Jenny, eagerly, "can
Anne go with us down the lane to the pasture?
I want to see the cows and sheep."
"Anne is going to help mother unpack and
put away the clothes," Grace replied. She said
she should be very busy this morning, but she
would go out with us toward night."
"What shall we do now, Gracie?"
The Yourney. 21
"Suppose we play hide-and-seek in the hay?
Do you want to?"
Jenny readily agreed to this, and they were
having a .merry time when Anne came out to
look for them.
"Children," said she, "Uncle James and Aunt
Carrie are in the house, and have brought the
"Oh, I am so glad !" exclaimed both the little
girls, in a breath. And they ran, as fast as they
could, to the house.
Cordial greetings met them from their uncle
and aunt; and the baby, just unrolled from her
blanket, opened her large blue eyes very wide,
and cooed as the little girls caressed and talked
to her. She was a pleasant little creature, about
eight months old; and as Gracie and Jenny only
came to their grandfather's once a year, they, of
course, had not seen her. Dr. James Caswell was
Mrs. Wentworth's youngest brother. He had been
married nearly two years, and lived in a pretty
cottage a mile from his father's farm.
"Come, Carrie," said he, when half an hour
had passed, "you know I have a long drive to-
22 Elms Homestead.
day, after taking you and baby home. I shall
have no more than time to get round before
"Oh," said grandma, with her usual kindly
thoughtfulness, "let Carrie and baby stay here to-
day, James, and come round this way to dinner,
and take them home."
So auntie and baby spent the day.
A LARGE apple-orchard lay back of grandpa's
house, and at one side of it ran a grassy
lane, through which the cows came up every
evening from pasture. The gate of the cow-yard
opened into the lane, and the barn was beyond.
The little girls enjoyed standing at the bars which
separated the lane from the orchard and watching
the cows as they came up, but often they would
go all the way to the pasture with Anne, and she,
instead of Tiff, the hired man, would bring home
the cows. They were all gentle, having always
been used to kind treatment, and the little girls
could pat and stroke them, and they would eat
from their hands. One was spotted, and went by
the name of Mottle, and sometimes Tiff would
speak of her as the "calico cow." Three were
24 Elms Homestead.
a bright, pretty brown, and one was almost wholly
white. She was called Daisy, and the other three,
Brownie, Floss and Bessie.
"Are those boards to be used soon, Tiff?"
asked Anne as she pointed to a large pile beside
the bars, where she was standing with the children.
"Not till fall," he answered.
Anne said nothing more, but the next morning,
when the children went out to play in the orchard,
she lifted one of the boards from the pile, drew
it along to a large apple tree and set it up, slant-
ing, with one end resting on a strong branch.
The boards were very thin and of pine, so that
they were quite light, and she could manage them
"What are you going to do, Anne?" asked
Grace and Jenny, eagerly, as she went back for
You will see pretty soon," she replied.
She went on arranging the boards around the
tree, in the shape of a tent or wigwam, with an
open space in front, making a wide door-way.
Then she laid down several more for a floor, and
despatched the children to the house for their little
The Playhouse. 25
rocking-chairs, dolls and bedsteads. She brought
out a wicker sewing-chair for herself, and a small
cherry table for the children to put their dishes
on when they wanted to play with them; and
when all the things were nicely arranged in the
playhouse, it began to look quite habitable for
sunny weather. The children were wild with
pleasure, and grandpa and grandma, father and
mother, all came out to see the result of Anne's
labor. They all thought it an excellent plan,
though grandpa said, jocosely, as he turned to go
back to the house:
"What do you charge a day for building,
Anne? I am expecting to have the wood-house
rebuilt in the fall, and I think I'll engage you,
Sam Ellis is so slow."
"Holloa there !" shouted a clear, ringing voice,
and a broad-brimmed straw hat alighted on Jenny's
head, for her own lay on the grass beside her. In
another instant, the owner of the hat clasped Mrs.
Wentworth in his arms and drew her to his heart,
saying, in low, fervent tones, "Dear, dear sister!
It seems good to have you all here again !" He
lifted each little girl in his arms, and kissed her
26 Elms Homestead.
affectionately; and grandma, seated in Anne's
cosy rocking-chair, came in for her share.
"Are Emily and the children well, Arthur?"
asked Mrs. Wentworth.
"Yes," he answered. "They are waiting in
the carriage. I had to come and find you, you
know. We stopped at the house," he added,
roguishly, "as we used to in old times, not aware
that the whole family were camping out."
Very quickly "the whole family" made their
way to the door-yard. Aunt Emily sat in the
carriage, with the baby in her lap, and Josey, a
little girl of three years, was climbing up and
sliding off the cushion. Charlie, the horse, stood
quite contentedly in the shade of a large elm tree,
and his patience was soon rewarded by his being
turned into the lane to browse at his liberty till
four o'clock, when it would be time to start for
home. Mr. Arthur Caswell resided in Newton,
about twelve miles from his father's, and often
came with his family for short visits.
"Oh, auntie, do come and see our playhouse !"
said the little girls.
"Perhaps Aunt Emily would rather go into the
The Playhouse. 27
house for a while, and see that afterward," Mrs.
"Oh no," rejoined Mrs. Caswell. "I can just
as well go now, and they will like it better."
"Let me take the baby, Emily," said grandma.
Auntie was as much surprised and pleased as
the rest, and the little girls spent the day mostly
in the orchard with Anne, having a very nice
"Tell us a story, Anne, please," said Grace
when they were tired of running about. Josey
had seen all the playthings, and her long ride
and play made her sleepy; Anne took her in her
lap and rocked her while she talked, and the
little girl was soon asleep.
The story was,
BERTHA AND THE FAWN.
Far away, in a country over the sea, a little
child lived in a cottage in a forest clearing. Her
father was a woodcutter. They were poor people
there, but they were happy, for they were well
and loved one another. Bertha was too young
to do much work, but she helped her mother by
28 Elms Homestead.
always doing as she was told. She used to wander
alone in the forest, for she was so well accustomed
to the path that her parents had no anxiety lest
she should mistake it. She would take her little
basket on her arm, and in spring and early sum-
mer gather wild flowers for her mother. In au-
tumn she would bring day by day stores of ripe
nuts and late-blooming, bright-colored flowers
and moss. She had a tin cup which she carried
with her, and when she was thirsty, she knew just
where to find the cool spring that gushed musically
forth -in the shadow of the old forest trees. But
one day she found something more beautiful and
precious than she had ever brought home before.
She was walking quietly along, the birds warbling
among the branches and flying fearlessly near
her, the squirrels gathering their winter stores all
around her path, glancing up in her face with
their bright eyes, as if they meant, "You won't
hurt us! No, we're not afraid," for all things
seemed to love the child, and to know she was
gentle, and kind. A dear little fawn There it
lay beneath a large tree, half covered with the
falling leaves, and their slight rustling, as it moved
The Playhouse. 29
its head, showed the child its hiding-place. There
it lay, its large, beautiful eyes gazing into her face
with a confiding yet pleading expression as she
bent over it. She stroked its. soft golden-brown
sides and patted its graceful head. But the little
thing moaned, and great tears filled its dark eyes,
for oh, it had been sorely hurt, and was quite
lame. Bertha coaxed and tried to soothe it.
"Dear little fawn !" she said. Lie here, and
I will get you some water."
Away she ran to the little spring, and brought
back the cup filled with its pure water.- The
fawn drank it and licked her hands. She stayed
by its side a long time, petting and talking to it,
and then, with the thought that she must go home,
came another into her mind, that she would take
the fawn and nurse it and feed it with new, warm
milk. She knew her mother was always glad to
see her kind. She tried to lift it gently in her
arms and carry it, but her strength was too small,
as yet, for that. Then she thought of waiting till
her father came home, and she knew he would
willingly come here with her and carry the fawn
in his arms. But he had gone to a distant part
30 Elms Homestead.
of the forest, taking his dinner of cold meat and
bread with him, and she knew he would come
home late, and be very tired. Besides, her mother
would hardly like to have her out so late, and he
might not be able to find the fawn. Then, too,
the little thing moved uneasily and moaned when-
ever she turned toward the path, and looked earn-
estly in her eyes, as if it besought her not to leave
it, and she thought some fox or dog might find it
if she left it there. So, with a prayer in her heart,
she coaxed the little animal with voice and hand
till it arose and limped after her. Many times the
fawn stopped from pain or weariness, and seemed
inclined to lie down again. But the child's gentle
voice and touch and loving eyes drew it onward
again, and she reached her home followed closely
by the fawn. Her mother was pleased to see the
4t gentle animal, and she made a soft bed of moss
anI fresh grass for it close to the cottage door.
Then she gave Bertha some sweet, warm milk,
and the little girl sat down by the fawn and held
the dish while it drank eagerly. Her mother
came with some freshly-gathered herbs that she
knew were healing, and prepared a bandage for
The Playhouse. 31
the poor wounded foot. She lifted it up tenderly,
and found a thorn still in it. She drew it out
gently and quickly, so as to hurt the poor animal
as little as possible, bathed the foot in warm milk
and water, and bandaged it nicely with the heal-
ing herbs. The fawn looked up in their faces
with its earnest eyes, as if it knew they were doing
all they could for its relief, and licked their kind
hands to thank them. The father came home at
evening hungry and tired, but he would look at
the fawn and caress it; and he kissed and blessed
his little daughter with even more than his usual
tenderness. "Be ever innocent and kind as thou
art now, dear little child," he said, low and fer-
vently, "and God's great love shall enfold thee
for ever !"
The fawn, with kind feeding and nursing, soon
grew well, and she would bound away in wild
freedom through the woods, but never failed to
return to her friends. She slept in her little bed,
often made up freshly for her, just within the
cottage doorway. She would often feed near the
cottage, and linger around it for hours, and al-
ways let these her friends caress her as they
32 Elms Homestead.
would. When the sunset's crimson mantle en-
wrapped the mountains, and the old woods stood
resplendent in its glory, she would come bounding
home; and Bertha would say good-bye to her in
the morning, as if she had been a human friend,
with full hope that she would return at evening,
if not before. But one night in the spring-time
she did not come. The child watched and waited
for her by the low cabin door till long after the
stars twinkled, and went in to lay her head on
her mother's bosom and sob out her grief there.
They comforted her as best they could when days
grew into weeks and the fawn did not come, but
she sorely missed her pet.
She was sitting at the cottage door a glorious
June morning when the doe came again, and at
her side a little fawn. She had not forsaken the
friend who loved her so dearly-only been absent
for a while, and brought a treasure home.
Sometimes we grieve for what we think a lost
blessing, while our Father treasures it for us some-
where, and will give it again redoubled if we
wait in trustful patience. It may be here-it will
surely be in heaven.
THE next day was rainy, and the children
played in the house. Toward night, how-
ever, it cleared away, and a brilliant rainbow gave
promise of a bright morning.
Directly after breakfast, Uncle James called,
and took Grace and Jenny to ride with him.
They passed through the village, the doctor
stopping at two or three places, and turning by
the grist-mill, took a road which led through
pine woods redolent of fragrance. Tufts of wood-
violets bloomed all along the sides of their path,
and in some places there were perfect beds of
them. The doctor said he must hasten on, but he
would return this way, and the children might
gather as many as they pleased to carry home.
The birds warbled, as if filled with the very spirit
34 Elms Homestead.
of joy; the squirrels darted across the way and
climbed the branches, where they sat peeping out
from their leafy covert with their bright eyes, as
if they would say, "Come and catch me-if you
can !" Once, a wild rabbit, startled by the horse's
tread, sprang from its dainty breakfast of checker
bush leaves, and ran with all speed into the depths
of the woods, to return, probably, when the noise
had ceased. And another time, Dr. Caswell
stopped his horse so suddenly as quite to startle
Grace and Jenny, but barely in time to avoid
running over a tortoise crossing the way,, and
waited patiently till the slow animal was safe on
the other side.
Soon after they came out from the woods they
crossed a bridge over a deep and beautiful though
not large river, flowing on with many windings
and turnings till lost to sight among the far-away
hills. Dr. Caswell pointed out to the children a
tiny peninsula formed by a sudden bend of the
river, whereon stood what one with eye and heart
for nature's beauty might call "a gem of a cot-
tage." Cool, roomy, and tastefully built, green
blinds in pretty contrast with nut-brown walls, al-
The Ride. 35
most covered with climbing plants, and nestled in
a group of linden trees.
Oh how pretty !" exclaimed Grace and Jenny.
"Who lives there, Uncle James?"
"Young people by the name of Cheviot," he
replied. "They have three dear little children,
and I shall stop there a few minutes on my return.
I am going about a mile farther up the road."
They soon stopped at a large old-fashioned
farm-house, where the doctor made his call, Grace
and Jenny meanwhile comfortably settled in the
chaise, and then returning took a side road lead-
ing off to the cottage-home they so much ad-
A very pretty lady came to the door with a
baby in her arms as the doctor stood tying his
horse, and gave them a pleasant, cheery welcome.
She wore a nicely-fitting dress of pink calico,
with snowy collar and apron; her dark hair was
simply but neatly arranged, and her bright eyes
were so full of kindness that a little child would
love her at a glance.
"These are my nieces, Mrs. Cheviot," said the
doctor after he had returned her pleasant "good-
36 Elius Homestead.
morning.." "I have taken the liberty to bring
them to see your little folks.'
"I am very glad to see them," answered Mrs.
Cheviot. "'Ida and Bertie are in the barn, but
will come presently. Come in;" and she led the
way to her parlor. Everything was in order, and
the breath of flowers and song of birds came in
through the open windows.
The baby was very pretty, playful and not
afraid, and Ida and Bertie.came at their mother's
call, and Grace and Jenny went out-doors with
them and had a nice play. Bertie was three
years old, Ida seven. They had two tame rab-
bits, one perfectly white and the other gray.
They would come at a call, eat from the hand,
and allow the children to take them up and stroke
their soft, clean fur. There were pigeons, too,
and chickens, and when Ida threw some bread-
crumbs, they came all around her, pecking fear-
lessly from her hand, and the doves lighted on
"Pet! Pet!" called Ida, and a lamb as white
as snow presently came running up to her and
rubbed its nose against her.
The Ride. 37
"You want some milk, darling?" said she;
and then turning to Grace and Jenny: "Wait a
minute, and I'll ask mother for some."
She went into the house, and soon returned
with a tin dish, and the little girls in turn fed the
lamb and petted it.
Then they went to see the garden and the bee-
hives, and in what seemed a very short time,
though really a good half hour, Dr. Caswell came
out and said he must be on the road. Good-
byes were exchanged; Dr. Caswell invited Mrs.
Cheviot to bring her children to see Grace and
Jenny, and also to his house, and Mrs. Cheviot
asked them all to come again, which they thought
they should be very glad to do.
The little girls arrived at home just in good
time for dinner, and with excellent appetites.
They brought large bunches of violets, "mother
loves them so much," they said, and a story of
their ride and visit which kept their little tongues.
busy at least half the dinner-time. They were
always quiet at table when company were present,
but when only the family were there they well
knew that their voices were very welcome.
38 Elms Homestead.
They were in the midst of their merry recital
when a sudden sound made them all start. It was
a horse's whinny close to the dining-room win-
dow. In another instant, old Chickery, grandpa's
petted horse, put his head through the open case-
ment, and stood looking from one to another, in
a way that plainly said,
"Haven't you something for me?"
Grandpa rose, and taking a piece of bread from
the table, gave it to his favorite and gently rubbed
The bread was followed by a handful of lettuce,
which Chickery received with great satisfaction;
but when he began pawing and nodding his head
for more, grandpa said,
"Scamper off, old Never-had-enough I want
my dinner;" and clapped his hands.
Away went Chickery through the open gate,
into the field where he had been feeding, till Tiff
had come and watered him, and as the man came
up and fastened the gate, the horse turned with
a loud snort and whinny, and rushed off like a
colt to the farther part of the field.
THE SE WING-CIRCLE.
M R. WENTWORTH'S leave of absence, as
he termed it, from business, was between
two and three weeks. These passed very rapidly
with all the family at grandpa's, and during this
time Grace and Jenny became acquainted with
two very pleasant little girls about their own age-
Emily and Kitty Stanwood.
One pleasant morning, Mr. and Mrs. Went-
worth, with Grace and Jenny, went in the cars to
Newton. They spent the day with Uncle Arthur's
family, and then Mr. Wentworth took the steam-
boat train at half-past six, leaving his wife and
little girls for a week's visit. Anne had remained
at home, and helped grandma with her sewing.
Grandpa and grandma, Anne, Chloe and Tim
welcomed them back most heartily when the
40 Elms Homestead.
week was over, and, except that they missed
"dear father," they were all very happy. But
Mrs. Wentworth said to her little girls:
It is always best to bear as cheerfully as we
can what we cannot change." She, most of all,
felt her husband's absence; but as he could not
leave his business for a long stay, she always made
her summer arrangements with the utmost care
for his comfort, wrote often, and was away from
home but little at any other time than her annual
One pleasant morning Grace and Jenny were
busy in their play-house, cooking their dollies'
dinner, when there was a light "tap, tap" at the
door, and in came "real company," as Jenny
said-Emily and Kitty Stanwood. The little girls
were all glad to meet, and Grace asked what they
"Mother said we might stay an hour," said
Emily, "but we came mostly to do an errand.
Won't you come to our sewing-circle?"
"I should like to, I'm sure." "And I," re-
sponded the little girls. "What is it for?"
The Sewing-Circle. 41
"You know about the freedmen," answered
Emily-" how poor and destitute they are, and
the sewing-circles the ladies have for them?"
"Yes," said Grace, "mother belongs to one at
"Well, there is one here," continued Emily,
"and mother is a member. But we little girls
have one of our own. We meet at one another's
homes, and make up dresses and aprons and skirts
for the colored children. Then we have tea after
we have done sewing-supper, I mean, you know,
for of course we drink milk; then the boys come,
and we have a dance and go home just before
night. The circle will meet at our house this
Grace and Jenny were very much pleased, for
they had no doubt of their mother's permission.
They knew she never failed to grant them every
indulgence she thought right, and that she would
cordially approve a plan of this sort. Jenny ran
off to tell her about it, and came back with the
ready consent she expected.
"We meet at two o'clock," said Emily.
"There are only a dozen of us, and we all know
42 Elms Homestead.
one another well. You'll get acquainted very
soon, too, and I guess you'll like all the girls."
"What shall we wear, mother?" asked Grace
".Your pink muslins and white aprons," she
replied. "I mean those without waists."
"With the pretty rose-bud border," added
Jenny. "Oh,. that will be nice!" And away
they ran to Anne, and weredsoon dressed.
The day was a beautiful one, sunny, but not too
warm for comfort; and Mrs. Stanwood suggested
to Emily and Kitty that they should give their
company the choice between the parlor and the
pleasant well-shaded lawn sloping down the west
side of the house to the border of a beautiful pond.
The little girls were all old enough to keep out of
danger and could be trusted; so, with a promise
to Mrs. Stanwood not to go too near the water,
they took their bundles of work and were soon
busily sewing and talking in the shade of the
grand old trees. At one side of the lawn was a
flower-garden, separated from it by a hedge of
arbor vitse, and the soft western breeze came to
them laden with fragrance.
The Sewing-Circle. 43
The little girls were social and disposed to
make one another happy, and Grace and Jenny
soon became acquainted with their companions.
Ida Cheviot was there, glad to see them and with
little stories to tell about her pets at home. Grace
and Jenny told about grandpa's old Chickery, and
what a time Tiff had to catch the spotted calf that
Lily Shelburne had a nice brood of wee yellow
chicks, which she took care of herself, and she
had made them very tame. But she found she
must watch her kitten, as Miss Tibby seemed to
think they were very nice playthings, or perhaps
that one would make a good breakfast.
"I don't know but I shall have to give her
away," said she; "but she is so pretty and play-
ful, I don't want to: she is a good mouser, too."
"What color is she ?" asked Susie Coan.
"She's gray, with white paws and feet," Lily
"That's just like my kitty," said Carrie May.
"Yesterday grandma laid down her knitting to
go to the front door, and little kit stood up on
two feet and caught hold of the yarn. She pulled
44 Elms Homestead.
the ball out of the chair and rolled it quite out of
sight under the sofa. But the needles were not
pulled out, so grandma did not care much. I
found it for her. One day kit put her paw into
her saucer of milk, and she drew it out so quick
and shook it so hard that she spattered the milk
into her face, and that frightened her."
The little girls were quite amused at this; and
presently Kitty Stanwood asked Florrie Palmer,
whose brother had just come home from a voyage,
to tell them some of his stories. She did so very
willingly, and mentioned the presents he had
brought her. There were shells, sea-weed and
coral, a sandal-wood fan and a pretty little box
of camphor wood.
If you will come and see me, girls," said she,
"I will show them to you-I mean all of you," she
added. And they all thought they should like it
very much, for Florrie was a very pleasant little
"I am glad Frank has come in time for the
flag-raising," said she; and that started a new
topic. The town had bought a splendid flag, and
it was to be raised the Fourth of July.
The Sewing-Circle. 45
The time passed so rapidly, sewing and talking,
that the children were surprised when the tea-bell
rang at five o'clock. The work was neatly put
away, and they had a very nice supper of but-
tered biscuit, strawberries and cream, and cake.
About six o'clock the little boys came, and they
all- spent a merry hour in dancing, while Mrs.
Stanwood played for them.
Grace and Jenny came home tired, -but very
happy; and many more "good times" of similar
nature followed this one in the course of the sum-
mer. Grandma proposed having the sewing-circle
meet at her house, and thought that, with Mrs.
Wentworth, Anne and Chloe to attend to the
preparation and clearing away, she would not get
over-tired. But Aunt Carrie said, she- preferred to
have them come to her house; it would be better
for grandma, and she could play for them-grand-
ma, of course, had no piano. This arrangement
was made, and Mrs. Wentworth and Anne went
over to Aunt Carrie's and helped her, so that the
party was quite easily managed, and Chloe at-
tended to grandpa's and grandma's supper.
Grandpa had a large strawberry-bed, which he
46 Elms Homestead.
took care of himself, and he was very particular
about it. But Grace and Jenny were so careful
and trustworthy that he was always glad to let
them pick the berries, and Chloe taught them to
take off the hulls very nicely. They liked to do
useful things, and they enjoyed the fruit far more
for having helped to get it.
The birds liked the strawberry bed and the old
cherry tree too, but grandpa never complained
of this. Let them feast !" he would say. Our
kind Father sends enough for them and for us.
We won't be so mean as to begrudge their little
pickings. It is a small return for the sweet music
they bring us and the sight of the dear little
things; and besides, they catch the bugs."
Grandpa's strawberry bed, raspberry bushes and
cherry tree always managed to grow fruit enough
to spare many a little basketful for a poor, feeble
old woman and a lame child in the neighborhood.
And perhaps nothing, the summer through, pleased
Grace and Jenny more than to gather the berries,
arrange them tastefully with bright green leaves,
and carry them to these poor and needy ones,
who had fewer pleasures than they.
The Sewing-Circle. 47
The Fourth of July rose bright and clear, and
not nearly so warm as usual. Grace and Jenny
had a very pleasant time at the flag-raising, as
they met there all the children with whom they
had lately become acquainted. Their young hearts
joined in the prayer and the grand national hymn
which they loved to sing. Loyal hearts thrilled,
and hundreds of voices pealed forth in the chorus
of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the beautiful
symbol unfurled its bright waves in the breeze.
" T THINK," said grandpa one morning at
breakfast, "there are enough ripe peas for
dinner to-day. I looked at the vines last even-
"I'm glad of it," grandma replied; "we'll
"Oh, let us pick them, grandma, do!" said
the little girls in a breath.
"And shell them too," added Grace.
"Very well, pets," answered grandma. "Chloe
will be thankful for so much help."
"Anne had better go with you, children," said
Mrs. Wentworth. "She will know best what are
ready to pick."
And a great many very pleasant pickings and
PEA-POD BOATS. Page 48.
Pea-pod Boats. 49
shellings they had with Anne during the summer.
Grandpa's rule was to plant his garden at several
different times, a few seeds of a kind at once.
Then, as one crop of peas grew too old for the
table, another would be just ready, and, so on
from very early in the season till very late. So
with beans, beets and other vegetables. When the
string-beans were ripe, Grace and Jenny learned
to string them very nicely. They did not like it
quite so well as shelling peas, but they knew it
helped Chloe, and they were glad to do her a
kindness. Soon shell-beans came on, and this,
too, brought work for little fingers.
The dinners which they helped to get always
seemed to have a peculiar relish. And on wash-
ing-days, Anne would let her tub of rinsing-water
stand for them to sail pea-pod boats. This was
a merry pastime, and Mrs. Wentworth allowed it
on condition that they should always wear their
dark gingham aprons and be careful not to get
Grace went one side of the tub, Jenny the
other, and they played first at launching their
vessels. They had been with their father and
50 Elms Homestead.
mother to see a ship-launch two or three times,
and understood the matter very well, as, in fact,
they did understand everything they went to see
with him. He was so observant and patient, so
interesting in his explanations, and entered so
cordially into his children's pleasures, that it was
easy for them to learn thoroughly what he taught.
0 Sometimes they played a pleasure-party were
out on a river or bay, and then the pods were
sail-boats. At other times they were steamers,
and there was a very bustling time with passen-
gers going on board and coming on shore. But
oftenest they were trading-vessels, sailing between
American and foreign ports. For instance, Jenny's
side of the tub would be America, Gracie's side
China, and Jenny would receive and unload a
cargo of tea, while home exports went to Grace.
Plantain seeds and chickweed stood for the cargoes.
The green-painted vessels went merrily across,
for the most part, though sometimes one would
stray out of its course, and they would call it a
ship in distress, and Grace would put up a chick-
weed leaf as a signal-flag, pushing the stem through
a pinhole she made in the pod. Then some other
Pea-pod Boats. 51
vessel would be sent to her relief, and the wan-
derer brought safely into port, though sometimes
it would be the nearest one, where she would get
repairs and new supplies, and whence she would
soon push off to her first destination. Sometimes,
too, one would be capsized, and another ship
must send out a boat to take up the passengers.
But Grace and Jenny always played that no lives
were lost, only the cargo.
But one morning they got into trouble by neg-
lecting their mother's caution. Anne was busy
putting out her wash, and as they came home
from a ride with grandpa, they saw the tub set
in a clean, grassy, well-shaded place near the
kitchen door. They sprang from the chaise and
ran into the kitchen. The basket of pea-pods
stood on the table, just as they had left it after
shelling the peas. They snatched it up and ran
out again, never thinking of their clean white
aprons, with the pretty border and sleeve-bind-
ings. Chloe would, no doubt, have reminded
them had she been in the kitchen, but she was
busy in the wash-room.
The dinner-bell was always rung five minutes
52 Elms Homestead.
beforehand, that no one need wait for brushing
hair and washing hands after the dishes were put
on table. Grace and Jenny left their play when
the bell rang, but they were far from being ready
Oh, Grace, our aprons !" said Jenny, pitifully.
"Only see how they look !"
"Yes," said Grace, sadly. "I wish we had
remembered what mother said."
"What shall we do?" asked Jenny.
"We must go to mother and tell her all about
it, the first thing," replied Grace, "and then get
ready for dinner as fast as we can. It is the only
Jenny knew this, but she felt very much ashamed,
and wished she did not need to "tell mother."
"I'll tell you something about that by and
by," said Grace; "we must hurry, or we shall
be late for dinner, and that won't mend the
"My children," said Mrs. Wentworth, when
she had listened kindly to their story and words
of regret, you have never told me a falsehood;
therefore, I can trust you now. I know you, have,
Pea-pod Boats. 53
not disobeyed me willfully, but you have been
thoughtless. And I want you always to remember
that one may oftentimes do as much mischief by
thoughtlessness as by wrong intention. You did
not mean to disobey me or give Anne trouble,
but you have done so. Now run and get ready
"What were you going to tell me, Grace?"
asked Jenny, when they went out to their play-
house after dinner.
"About something I did once," replied Grace.
"You were staying at Uncle Arthur's, but you
were coming back that evening. It was the day
before our birth-day. I was playing with my doll,
in mother's room, and she was putting away the
clothes from the wash. By and by, she had to
go down stairs to see some one who came, and left
the drawer open. She never let us meddle with
her drawers, you know. I did not mean to touch
anything, but I just looked in, and away down
under her handkerchiefs I saw something pink
and shining,-but I could not tell what it was. I
wanted to know very much, and I put down one
finger and lifted up a corner of the pile of hand-
54 Elms Homestead.
kerchiefs. It was such a pretty little box, all
covered with pink and silver paper, that I thought
I couldn't help taking it out, just for a minute,
and I would put it right away as it was. I opened
it in a great hurry, for I was afraid mother would
come back, and there were half a dozen beautiful
little tea-spoons, just the right size for my tea-set,
and laid in so nicely on pink cotton. I knew in a
minute that mother had bought them for a birth-
day present. I had wished often that we had some
real spoons. We used to play with some little
things that father whittled for us out of a pine
stick. They looked a good deal like spoons, but
these were so much prettier."
"The same you have now, that we play with?"
"Yes," replied Grace, "and the box is safe,
too; but I asked mother afterward to keep it
for me. Where was I? Oh! where I found the
spoons in the box. I was so sorry and ashamed
to think I had disobeyed dear mother, when she
was so kind, and spoiled the surprise she had-
planned for me! I put them all away, just as I
found them, and went and sat down by the win-
Pea-pod Boats. 55
dow. I did not feel as if I could ever play with
them, and I could not bear to have mother give
them to me. I could hardly help crying, but I
knew she would ask me what was the matter, and
I was ashamed to tell her. Pretty soon she game
in, and went straight to her drawer. I felt afraid,
all the time, that something might be a little dif-
ferent from the way she left it, and she would
know I had not minded her; but she did not
say anything, only she went on putting away the
clothes, and then sat down with her sewing. I
felt uncomfortable. I could not play with dolly
any longer, and I went down stairs and out-doors.
I tried hoop and running races with Taff, but I
couldn't enjoy anything."
"Was it grandpa's little curly-haired Taff?"
asked Jenny. "I wish he had him now."
"So do I," said Grace. "He was only a few
months old then, and full of play; but I gave it
up pretty soon. I went into the house again and
tried my playthings and books, but it wouldn't do.
And, Jenny, you see I had not done any mis-
chief. I had not broken or lost or soiled any-
thing. It was just that I had disobeyed mother,
56 Elms Homestead.
and wouldn't tell her. It went on so all day.
Anne asked me if I felt well, and I told her I did.
But I couldn't relish my dinner, and every time
father and mother spoke to me I felt as if they
were going to find fault with me. Tea wasn't
much better, but it was over sooner, and then
you came home, with Uncle Arthur, but I did
not feel half as glad as I thought I should. It
seemed a long while to bed-time. Anne was out
spending the evening, and mother put us to bed.
She read a verse in the Bible, as she always does
at night, you know, and talked just a little bit
"Do you remember what it was, Grace ?" said
"Yes," answered Grace, "I shall never forget
that. It was, 'Thou, God, seest me !'
"I knew that He had seen it all, and saw my
heart then that was holding back the fault from
mother, and I could not say Our Father' with-
out telling her.
"I tried to tell her, but I began to cry, and she
drew my head on her breast and waited till I
could speak. I told her all about it, and how
Pea-pod Boats. 57
sorry I was, and she kissed me and said she
would overlook it. She did not talk much to me
about it. She said she thought my trouble all
day was punishment enough, and she hoped I
would not disobey her so again. I could say
' Our Father' then, and I went to bed feeling
ever so much better. The next morning mother
gave me the box of spoons and you a transpa-
rent slate, and father gave us each a beautiful
book, and in the afternoon he took us all to ride.
It was a very happy day, but it would have been
all spoiled if I had not told mother. And when
I have done wrong since I have never wanted
to keep it from her. The longer you wait, the
harder it seems; it must come some time, and I
would rather have it over as soon as I can."
PUSSr AND HER FAMILY.
USSY! pussy! pussy!"
S Jenny stood on the kitchen door-step,
holding a round earthen dish half filled with
milk for pussy's supper.
"Pussy! pussy! pussy!" But no pussy ap-
peared. "Where can she be?" said Jenny. And
she put down the dish and ran to the barn. But
she could not find her, though she went every-
where that she could safely, calling her in most
"Jenny! Jenny! Where are you?"
It was Gracie's voice, and Jenny answered,
"Here I am, Gracie, in the barn."
Grace came bounding in, but stopped as she
saw her sister's troubled face, and asked,
"What is the matter?"
Pussy and her Family. 59
"I have looked everywhere for pussy, and I'm
afraid she is lost," answered Jenny, almost ready
"Oh, I don't believe she is," said Grace.
"Let's ask Chloe about her."
The little girls scampered to the house, and
came so suddenly upon Chloe as she was mixing
her bread at the kitchen table that she nearly let
fall the cup of yeast she had in hand.
"For pity's sake, children," she said, "don't
be in quite so much flurry. Where's pussy? I
don't know, but not far off, I reckon. She'll
come in by morning, never fear! She didn't
want any supper, I suppose. There! don't worry,"
she added, as she saw some symptoms of wet
eyes; "just wait till to-morrow, and we'll hunt
her up; you'll see she'll come home safe and
The little girls were comforted, for they knew
Chloe always told them the truth, and they went
to bed. But at sunrise they were up, and sur-
prised Chloe as she was moulding her biscuit for
"Bless you, children !" she said. "You down
60 Elms Homestead.
stairs at this time? You're in a hurry for these
biscuits, I reckon," her eyes sparkling with fun.
"And they'll be good, too," she added as she
slid the pan into the oven.
"Oh, Chloe, have you seen pussy?" the little
girls asked in such earnest tones that Chloe could
not find it in her kind heart to tease them; and
"Yes, pussy's been in, and had her breakfast;
and if you'll just wait till I get the coffee on, I'll
show you something."
In a very few minutes Chloe was ready, and
the children followed her into the wood-house,
where curled up on a piece of old carpet in one
corner lay pussy, and beside her three tiny kittens.
The children were pleased enough, and Chloe
went back to her cookery. Pussy purred and
stretched her paws, while the little girls rubbed
her head and talked to her, and when Anne came
to call them to breakfast, they threw their aprons
over the family, and asked her to guess what was
there. Anne guessed various things, but nothing
right, and they were very merry for a minute, till
Pussy and her Family. 61
"Come, children, it is not right to keep the
folks waiting;" and they jumped up, pulling off
their aprons from pussy, much to her pleasure,
for, she had been rather uneasy, and to Anne's
surprise, for Chloe had said nothing, thinking the
little folks would like it to be their secret.
The story was eagerly told at breakfast; and
grandma said they might keep the kittens through
the summer, if they would give them away just
before they went home. "Anne and Chloe will
help you to find places for them," she added;
and the little girls were very well pleased.
As the kittens grew older they were very pretty
and playful, and all the family enjoyed their
antics. One was white, and named Snowball;
another was gray, and called Minnie; and one
was gray and white. This was rather the prettiest,
and the children gave her the name of Tiny, be-
cause she was so small.
"Children, shall I tell you a story?" said
grandpa one day as he sat watching the funny
pets in a great frolic.
"Oh yes, if you please," said the little girls,
always eager for a story.
62 Elms Homestead.
"You know that the eagle is the strongest of
birds, having its nest on high rocks, and coming
down to the valleys in search of prey. He has a
special liking for lambs, kids and fresh fish, and
has even carried off children. His eyesight, too,
is so strong that it is said he can gaze at the sun.
You know, perhaps, that he is called the king of
birds,' as the lion is called 'king of beasts.'
"Well, one day this monarch of the air went
hunting, and pouncing on what he probably took
for a fine, large hare, carried it in triumph to
'Here, my children,' said he in bird-dialect,
'is a rich dinner for you. I've been highly suc-
cessful to-day. Come, enjoy it, and I will soon
be home again;' and away he flew to find some-
thing for himself.
"Ah! the king had made a mistake, and
brought up a nice, large cat !
"'Not so fast,' said pussy, in cat-language;
'your majesty has provided me with a good
"She leisurely ate up the young eaglets, every
one, and when she had finished and washed her
Pussy and her Family. 63
face, she cautiously picked her way, by her sharp
claws, down the steep rocks to her valley-home.
"What his majesty said when he returned has
never been written, but the story carries With it
a meaning not hard to read.
"In some time and way, sooner or later, injury
done reacts on him who does it. Those who seek
to enrich themselves at the expense of others, or
deprive them of their rights and happiness, will
surely find, whatever may be their worldly estate,
that they have taken into their souls' fastnesses
enemies who will rob them of their richest treas-
O NE pleasant cool afternoon, Mrs. Cheviot
drove over to grandpa's with her children,
and left Ida and Bertie with Grace and Jenny
while she went to pay a visit to Aunt Carrie, for
Mrs. James Caswell and Mrs. Cheviot were inti-
The little girls were delighted, and did all they
could to please their company.
"Would you rather go to the playhouse now,
or see our pets first ?" asked Grace.
"The pets, please," Ida answered.
"Let's get the kitties first, Gracie," said
"Oh I have you little kittens ?" asked Ida.
"Yes," answered Jenny-"three little kittens,
as pretty as can be."
A Visit. 65
They found pussy lying down in the shade of
a large apple tree, and the three kittens frolicking
all about her, climbing over her back, pulling her
tail, boxing her ears, and playing all manner of
antics, which she took very patiently, though she
was quite sleepy, and they gave her no chance
for a nap.
"Oh how pretty they are!" exclaimed Ida;
and little Bertie echoed, 'Es, how pretty!"
The children sat down on the grass and played
with the kittens a long time. They took them up
in their laps, stroked their soft fur and talked to
them. Grace took a spool from her pocket, with
a long twine string tied. round it, and threw it
on the grass. The kittens sprang to catch it, and
ran after it as she drew it along. The childreri
laughed heartily, and Grace put the string into
Ida's hand. They all took turns in holding it,
and had a great deal of sport. Sometimes they
would draw it along a little way, and when the
kits were in full chase, would lift it suddenly a
foot or more from the ground and let them jump
for it. Sometimes the little things would tumble
one another over in their eagerness to catch it.
66 Elms Homestead.
Then they would sit down demurely, when they
had stopped playing, and wash their faces with
their tiny paws.
S"I should like to have a kitten," said Ida,
longingly, as she watched them.
"An' I should 'ike to have a titten," repeated
"You may have one of these," replied Grace,
"when we go home. Grandma said we might
keep them a while if we would give them away
before we went."
"May we?" said Ida. "Oh, thank you! I
am very sure mother will let us have it.'
"Which do you like best?" asked Jenny.
"Which do you like best, Bertie?" said his
"I don't know," Bertie answered, slowly, as
he stood looking at all the kittens in turn "I 'ike
"That one is Minnie, the white one's Snowball
and this is Tiny," said Jenny.
"Oh, are those their names?" said Ida.
"They're pretty ones. Well, I think I'll take
A Visit. 67
"Don't you want to go into the barn and feed
Chickery?" asked Jenny.
"What's Chickery?" said Ida.
"Grandpa's horse," answered Jenny. "I
thought you knew. Don't you recollect, we told
you at the sewing-circle about his coming to the
window, and grandpa's giving him bread and
"Oh yes, I remember now," said Ida. "I
want to see him."
"Me too!" said Bertie.
The children went to the barn, fed Chickery
and petted the calves. The three which were in
the barn when Grace and Jenny came were out
at pasture with their mothers, but there were
two new ones, equally pretty and tame.
Then came a romp on the hay, jumping into
the soft mows, and hide-and-seek. Ida and Bertie
hid together and hunted together, as he was too
young to play in any other way.
When the children tired of this, they went to
feed the chickens and doves, and then to the play-
house. They had a very good time with the dolls
and dishes till the tea-bell rang. Soon after tea
68 Elms Homestead.
Mrs. Cheviot returned, as she had to start early
in order to have her baby home in season. She
readily consented to the children's request for
Touldn't we take it now?" asked Bertie.
"They're not old enough yet, dear," replied
his mother. "It will come in good time. Say
"Good-night," said Ida; and "Dood-night,"
"What a good time we've had, haven't we?"
said Grace as they watched the horse and chaise
going down the hill.
"Yes, indeed," replied Jenny. "Let's go and
tell mother all about it."
"Don't you think, mother," said Grace when
they had finished their story, "Jamie West would
like one of the kittens very much? You know
he cannot play as we do, and he has only his
chickens and afew books and playthings."
Jamie West was the lame boy mentioned in a
Mrs. Wentworth thought it most likely he
would; and the little girls concluded that they
A Visit. 69
would offer him one the next time they went
to see him, and let him ask his mother's con-
They did "so, and Jamie was highly pleased.
" C'OME, children," said Anne, one bright
Morning, "huckleberries are quite ripe,
and your mother says we may have a pic-nic over
by the pond. She wants you to go and ask Emily
and Kitty Stanwood while I am getting our lunch
Away went the little girls in high glee. Mrs.
Stanwood was perfectly willing, and Emily and
Kitty were but a few minutes tying on their hats
and getting their tin pails. Anne was only just
ready when they all came' into the door-yard.
It was a beautiful morning, and their way was
as pleasant as could be desired. They went across
the orchard into the lane, down the hill, and
turned to the left by a little brook, where frogs
and minnows sported; then to the right, past an
old tree most singularly shaped, its trunk, having
been in some manner turned out of its course,
lying for several feet on a line with the ground,
and then ascending like other trees. The children
wondered and conjectured a great deal as to what
had so changed its course of growth, but no one
at grandpa's could tell them what had happened,
and Jenny was wont to refer it to some long-ago
influence of fairies or brownies. On the right
of the path were woods, their foliage of brilliant
green glancing in the sunlight, and through its
openings could be seen strips of meadow and
hills in the distance, mantled by changing clouds.
After a little the path was crossed by another
and prettier brook, and beyond this lay the pas-
ture, with woods and hills on either hand. Still
farther, on the other side of a piece of woodland,
was the pond, broad and beautiful, with an abun-
dance of water-lilies.
By the time the little party had reached this
pleasant spot their pails and baskets were well
filled, and they were quite hungry. Anne opened
the lunch-basket, and took out, first, a bottle of
milk and a tin-cup, then a plentiful supply of
72 Elms Homestead.
nicely-made sandwiches and a brown paper bag,
which had greatly excited Jenny's curiosity as
she caught a glimpse of it when she came back
from Mrs. Stanwood's. When the sandwiches
were disposed of, it was found to contain five
large cream-cakes. These were a special treat, as
they were all very fond of them, and the children
had not known that there were any in the house.
Grandma had proposed having some made the
day before, and Mrs. Wentworth and Chloe were
busy about them while Grace and Jenny were
out at play.
"Oh how nice!" exclaimed the little girls;
and Grace added,
"I think it is a great deal pleasanter to have it
a surprise, don't you ?"
"Yes." "Oh yes," said the other children;
though after a moment Jenny added,
"I should have liked to butter the pans for
"Oh well," said Anne, "your mother will
make some huckleberry pies to-morrow. She said
she should if we picked a great many, more
than we all want to eat with milk, and I am sure
we have. You can butter the plates for those,
and there was only one large tin for the cream-
So Jenny was well pleased.
There was a rustling in the underbrush, and
"Look look quick !" said Kitty. A little chip-
squirrel darted out, stopped an instant, and then,
as its bright eyes caught sight of the party, it
whisked away, climbed a tree so fast that it seemed
to fly, and springing from one branch to another,
was soon out of sight among the leaves.
"What a pretty squirrel!" Grace exclaimed.
"Yes, and how fast he ran !" rejoined Kitty.
"Oh," said Jenny, "I wonder where he
Perhaps he has a nest and some little squirrels,"
said Emily. "We had tame squirrels once."
"Tell us about it, do, Emily!" said Grace
and Jenny together. "Where did you get them?
And what became of them?"
"We never kept them in a cage," replied
Emily. "My brother Frank wanted a squirrel
very much, but mother would not allow him to
have one shut up. She said she thought he might
74 Elms Homestead.
tame one, but it must live out-doors, in freedom.
Frank searched the woods near our house almost
every day for two or three weeks. He watched
and watched a great deal, though, before he saw
a squirrel go to its nest. He marked the tree, so
that he should know it again, and after that he
went every day, except when it was very stormy,
and threw kernels of corn quite near the tree.
Then he would sit down on a large stone and
wait. The squirrels were, at first, afraid to come
down while he was there, but they wanted the
corn so much that after a while they ventured to
run down and snatch a kernel, and run back
again. But as Frank did not move or make any
noise they came again, and so it went on for
several days. Father told him to be sure not to
go too fast-it would spoil it all if he did, be-
cause it would frighten the squirrels-so he was
very careful. After a while he began to talk to
them, then to whistle, and after a few weeks they
would come close to him, and he could walk
about without frightening them. Pretty soon the
young squirrels were able to come out of the nest,
and they grew tame very soon, for they would
follow their parents. There were four or five
young ones. By and by Frank caught two of
the little squirrels in his hat, and carried them
home. He put them in the flower-garden. There
was a high board fence around it then-the hedge
we have now was just beginning to grow-and he
thought they would stay. He had made a nice
little house for them, that they could go into and
come out of any time, and he put it in the garden
and made a good, soft bed for them of grass. He
scattered corn and crumbs of bread about it, and
by the time night came, the squirrels had begun
to go in, and they seemed to like it. very much.
When the weather grew cold, mother said they
might stay in the barn-chamber, and Frank
watched for them to go into their house, and
carried house and all into the barn and up stairs.
He fed them very faithfully all winter, and they
grew so tame that we could take them up and
stroke their fur. It was sport to see them crack
nuts! We went nutting several times in the fall,
and had a great supply on hand. We used to
carry up a basketful sometimes, and stay and
watch Bunny and Puck, as we called them. They
76 Elms Homestead.
would catch up the nuts, and run off, and store
them in their house, just as if they had been in
the woods. Well, when the spring grew warm
and pleasant, mother said we must let the squir-
rels out. So we set their house in the garden
again, and they stayed there awhile; but we went
to the seashore for two months for father's health,
and when we came home they had run off to the
Oh what a pleasant time you must have had
with them !" said Grace. "I should like to have
"Yes," said Kitty, "but I couldn't help cry-
ing when we found they had run away."
"We had Fido pretty soon afterward," said
Emily, "and then we cared less about it."
"Was Fido little when you first had him?"
"Yes," answered Kitty. "A friend of father's
gave Fido to him when he was quite small, and
we used to play with him in the nursery in cold
weather. We let him come in sometimes now,
but not very often, and mother won't allow him
in the parlor."
"Fido is a good dog," said Emily. "He
never chases chickens or birds or squirrels or
rabbits. Kitty and I save the crumbs from break-
fast every day to feed the birds. There are a
great many in the trees and hedges near the house,
especially robins; and they have grown so tame
that they hop on the door-step and window-sill,
and once or twice they have come into the entry.
But they may perch on Fido's head if they want
to, and he won't move a paw. Mother don't let
us keep birds in cages, but she says we may have
all the pets we can draw to us by kindness with-
out depriving them of liberty."
As our little party crossed the foot-bridge over
the brook, on their homeward way, Grace asked,
"Do you remember my getting into the water
"Yes," replied Anne, "I remember it very
"How did it happen, Grace?" asked Emily.
"Were you hurt?"
"I was not hurt at all," replied Grace; "only
a little frightened. There was a single plank,
then, across the brook. The cows could walk
78 Elms Homestead.
through the water to pasture, you know, and we
used to come down here often with Anne to see
them wade across. One day, we started with
Anne to get some huckleberries. I thought I
could cross the plank alone, and I wouldn't let
Anne help me. I slipped off, but you see the
water is very shallow, and I only wet my feet.
Anne said I must go right home for dry stockings
and boots, or I should take cold. So we had to
turn round. I always let her help me across after-
ward, till grandpa had this foot-bridge laid, and
there was no need."
"Are there any fish in this brook, Anne?"
"No, dear, I think not," Anne answered. "I
suppose it is too small to have fish. There are a
few little minnows in the other brook-the one
you passed just as you turned the first corner of
"Oh yes," said Kitty. "There are gold-fish
in our pond. You've seen them, haven't you?"
she asked of Grace and Jenny.
"Yes," they replied. "The day we stopped
at your house with Uncle James," added Grace,
"when you had a severe cold, Kitty, and couldn't
come out. Emily went to the pond with us."
"Did she tell you about Fido and the gold-
fish ?" asked Kitty, eagerly.
"No, I did not think of it," said Emily. "It
was the only piece of mischief Fido ever did, I
guess. Mother never would keep gold-fish in a
globe, but father had to bring them home, you
know, in a glass jar. He put it down on the
edge of the pond, and waited for us all to see
them before he took them out. Fido came along,
rubbing against us, but we were so busy looking
at the fish we did not notice him, and he dashed
his great paw into the jar. The water splashed
into his eyes, and the fish were frightened and
flounced about. Then he tried to get his paw
out, but the neck of the jar was small and he
couldn't; so he grew quite flurried, and pulled
and struggled. In a minute he smashed the glass
all to pieces, and the poor fish were struggling on
the grass. Father caught them up, and put them
into the pond; and poor doggie walked off, ears
and tail down, looking very much ashamed of
himself, though all that father or any one had
80 Elms Homestead.
said was, Go away, Fido,' when we were hurry-
ing to get the gold-fish."
Anne and the children laughed heartily at the
idea of Fido fast in a glass jar, though they said
they should have pitied him at the time, and the
fish still more.
"Did you know," asked Kitty, "that one has
to be very careful, in feeding fish or young birds,
not to give them too much? It will destroy them
if you do."
"Yes," Grace replied. "Mother has told
"I did not know it," said Jenny. "Why don't
they eat what they want, and leave the rest?"
"They do eat what they want," said Anne,
"but more than they need. Children would do
so sometimes, if their friends did not restrain
them. But the fish is not to blame. It has only
appetite, not reason to govern it, while human
beings have appetite and reason too, and there-
fore are responsible."
"That is a very long word, Anne," said
"I know it, dear," she replied. "But you all
understand it, and I don't know any shorter word
that expresses it so well."
The party reached home some time before
dinner, for they had started immediately after
breakfast, which in summer was at six o'clock
at grandpa's; and they were glad to sit down
quietly in the playhouse, after Emily and Kitty
had said good-bye, and sew patch-work till the
Grandma and Mrs. Wentworth were quite sur-
prised and pleased when they saw the well-filled
baskets and pails. That evening the children
had a nice supper of brown bread, huckleberries
and milk; and the next day the pies were made,
Grace, and Jenny buttering plates to their full
This berry-gathering, however, was only the first
of a great many. Chloe made delicious huckle-
berry cakes for breakfast, and the huge berry-
puddings which frequently topped the dinner
were quite a marvel. Grace and Jenny loved to
watch Chloe while compounding breakfast-cakes,
and Grace said, one morning,
"I've seen you make huckleberry cakes so many
82 Elms Homestead.
times, Chloe, I don't believe but that I could do
"I don't doubt you can, honey," Chloe an-
swered. "And you may try, if your mother is
Mrs. Wentworth said she should be very glad
to have Grace, and Jenny too, learn to make berry
cakes, and accordingly Chloe taught them, one
at a time.
With bare arms, and grandma's apron on, each
little girl took her lesson at Chloe's side, and
The cakes they made were as good as aliy-so
Chloe was very ready to assert-and it might be
difficult to say which were the more pleased,
Grace and Jenny themselves, or their friends.
But certainly, with the cakes and cooking, the
glad sunshine and tuneful birds, and everything
else that makes up pure, fresh country mornings,
one might vainly look for a happier family than
the one at Elms Homestead.
"A LETTER, mother! A letter from father !"
said the little girls as they came in from a
walk to the post-office with Anne. They brought
their little rocking-chairs and sat down, one on
each side of Mrs. Wentworth, waiting quietly till
she had glanced over the letter and was ready to
read aloud. This one contained news which was
received with great delight. Mr. Wentworth wrote
that he had made arrangements with a view to
absence from his business between two and three
weeks, and if nothing unforeseen should occur to
prevent, would be with his beloved ones the morn-
ing of the children's birth-day.
"What day of the month is this, mother?"
"The nineteenth, dear."
84 Elms Homestead.
"And our birth-day is the twenty-first of July,"
said Grace. "Then father '11 be here day after
"Sha'n't we be glad to see him?" said Jenny,
eagerly. "But it seems so long till day after
to-morrow. Oh, mother! I don't know how to
"The time will soon come, pets, if you busy
yourselves just as usual," replied Mrs. Wentworth,
pleasantly. "There's grandpa coming up from
"Oh! let us tell him, mother, please," said
Grace. "Come, Jenny, let's run and meet
A visit from Emily and Kitty Stanwood, the
next day, made the time seem considerably shorter.
The. children played so much that when night
came they were very tired, and soon went to
"Wake up, little ones," said Mrs. Wentworth;
"you know father is coming this morning, and
grandpa said last night that if the weather were
pleasant you might ride with him to the station.
I thought I wouldn't tell you beforehand, lest you
The Birth-day. 85
might be disappointed. But it is a lovely morn-
Grace and Jenny were, at first, too much ex-
cited to know very well what they were doing.
Anne found Jenny pulling on her stockings inside
out, and Grace hurrying her hair-brushing in a
way that would do very little service. "Stop,
children," she said; "you won't ever get ready
at this rate. There is plenty of time."
This was true, though the steamboat train was
due at half-past five, but they only needed to start
twenty minutes beforehand, and it was but little
past four when they were called.
"All ready, birdies ? that's right," said grandpa,
as he drew up the reins at the side-porch, where
two neatly-dressed little girls awaited him, with
bright, eager faces looking out from beneath their
broad-brimmed hats. In half a minute Chickery
was trotting down hill; and a very pleasant ride
they had in the early morning air and lovely
sunshine, with the birds warbling in every
Very pleasant, for the sunshine and music of
innocent affections were in their hearts, and there-
86 Elms Homestead.
fore the outward beauty and harmony met a glad
They arrived at the station nearly five minutes
before the train was due; and grandpa said, as he
stopped the horse in the shade of a large oak tree
a little distance from the crossing-
"You had better sit in the carryall, I guess,
little folks; father will be sure to see us."
"Yes, grandpa," was the answer, but his quick
eye caught a little shadow that crept over the faces
he loved to see unclouded, and he said kindly,
"If you would rather go and meet father, and
think you can find him, you may; only you must
be very careful at the crossing."
The shadow flitted away as quickly as it had
come, and the little girls sprang from the carriage.
In a few moments they came back with their
father, and grandpa's cordial greeting given and
returned, the valise was tucked safely away and
Chickery's head turned homeward. Margaret,
Rover and Kitty Clover were all duly inquired
for, and Grace and Jenny had plenty of stories
for father about their summer pastimes and pleas-
ures, and their little friends. The kittens, cows,
The Birth-day. 87
chickens and old Chickery all came in for a share.
Also,- Mr. Stanwood's Fido and Ida Cheviot's
pets. But the size of this budget of news and
the length of the ride, though grandpa very con-
tentedly gave up all the time to the "little folks,"
were quite disproportioned. A little before six
Chickery stopped in the elm tree's shade, where
Mrs. Wentworth, grandma and Anne stood in the
porch with ready welcome. When the family
gathered around the breakfast-table, they brought
keen appetites and happy hearts.
When Mr. Wentworth opened his valise he
took out two parcels nicely done up in brown
paper, and gave one to Grace and another to
Jenny. They contained a beautiful book for each
little girl, and the gift was received with so much
delight and grateful affection that the father felt
fully repaid for his act of thoughtful kindness.
He took out another package and laid it in his
wife's lap. She looked up with a bright smile
and thanked him, and on opening it was evi-
dently very much pleased with his selection of
her present. It was a new volume of poems by a
favorite author, and bound in handsome style.
88 Elms Homestead.
Come, Jenny," said Grace; don't you want
to go down stairs and show grandpa and grandma
"Yes," -answered Jenny, quickly; but Mrs.
"Wait one moment," she said as she arose
and went to her bureau. She opened a drawer,
and took out two pretty rose-wood work-boxes,
precisely alike, except the names Grace and Jenny
in gilt letters on the covers.
"Oh, thank you, darling mother !" exclaimed
the children. Our work-baskets were almost
worn out," said Jenny.
"And these are prettier than the baskets ever
were," said Grace. "Oh, mother, you couldn't
have bought anything else we should have liked
so much. Are they not beautiful, father?"
"Yes, daughters; and I know that the little
baskets have been worn through use, not careless-
ness. These, with your careful handling, will last
a long time, and be very useful."
"Oh, father, you don't know how fast our
patch-work grows," exclaimed Jenny, eagerly.
"We make a block every day. You would
The Birth-day. 89
like to see it I know. Please get the box,
mother, and let me show father how much we've
Mrs. Wentworth readily took a large paste-board
box from the closet shelf, and handed it to Jenny,
who quickly turned out its contents upon the bed,
and began arranging the pretty blocks so that they
would show to advantage.
"There, father," said she; "that's the way
they'll look when the blocks are put together.
And, you see, we've sewed all this since we came
here. We left all that was sewed at home."
You have done very well, indeed, my chil-
dren," said Mr. Wentworth, "and the blocks are
"Mother and Anne cut all the pieces, father,
and arranged them for us," said Grace.
"And oh, father," put in Jenny, with great
eagerness, mother says we shall soon have enough
for a quilt, and after we go home and have all
the blocks, Anne may baste them together for us,
and she will give us some dark, pretty chintz to
make a deep border. Then mother and Anne are
going to line it with some of our old dresses, and
90 Elms Homestead.
quilt it for us. Won't it be pretty for our bed,
"Yes, dear, very pretty, indeed; and you two
will value it all the more as the result of your own
labor. It will remind you of mother's and Anne's
"And yours, father," said Grace. "You see
that piece of pink chintz?" pointing out a rather
singular but very pretty pattern; "you bought
those dresses for us; don't you remember? And
that plum-colored check-oh, mother was so
pleased when you brought that home; and that
tiny crimson figure on the white ground-we were
three years old the summer we had that; and
then there's that pretty buff and brown."
"There are pieces of mother's dresses, too, and
Anne's," said Jenny. "And that dark brown,
sewed with the pink, is grandma's."
"Oh, father, we wore that blue check when we
went with you to the glass-blower's," said Grace.
"And we've those pretty little glass birds you
bought for us now. Wasn't it funny, Jenny, to
see them come out?"
"Yes, indeed," said Jenny. "I liked it as
The Birth-day. 91
much as anything we ever went to see, unless
it were the ships the time we stopped a day in
New York coming on here and father took us
to the Battery."
"Oh, that was beautiful, wasn't it?" exclaimed
"And do you know, Jenny, there is a picture
in my new book of a ship and a little boat
fastened on? Have you seen it?"
"Yes," said Jenny, "it is very pretty; but,
Grace, grandpa and grandma haven't seen our
"Oh no; and we haven't shown them to
Anne," rejoined Grace. "Let's go right down
They were hurrying off, but Mrs. Wentworth
again stopped them. Put away your patch-work
neatly first, pets," she said. For a few minutes
little hands were very busy, and the blocks were
all laid nicely into the box, with the remaining
pieces in another pile, when the little feet pat-
tered down stairs. Grandpa and grandma liked
the birth-day gifts very much. They looked the
books all through carefully; and as grandma handed
92 Elms Homestead.
the work-boxes back to their owners, she put some-
thing into each one. Grace and Jenny looked
eagerly, and nestling cosily in their soft crimson
cushions lay two bright silver thimbles, marked
with each little girl's initials. Grandpa, at the
same time, opened his desk and took out two
small, thin parcels in pink tissue paper, and gave
one to each little girl. They were tiny silver
pencils, also marked with their owner's initials.
"Oh, thank you, grandma! Thank you,
grandpa!" exclaimed Grace and Jenny in a
"Do they suit you, pets?" inquired grandpa,
quite earnestly, as though he had somewhat dis-
trusted his choice of presents.
"Oh yes, indeed," was the reply. "They are
beautiful, and we can keep them always; and you
are as kind as can be !"
Anne and Chloe had just been shown the pres-
ents (Tiff was off at "the ten-acre lot" haying)
when Uncle James drove into the door-yard with
Aunt Carrie and baby. Grandma had asked them
to spend the day; and Uncle Arthur's family, too,
were expected from Newton, but they had so many
The Birth-day. 93
miles to travel over that they could not come
quite so early. Dr. Caswell came in, stayed ten
minutes, and then said he must hurry round and
see his patients and would try to return by din-
ner-time. "But," said he, "if I should have
extra calls on the way and am late, don't wait for
"Where's that parcel, Carrie?"
"I did not take it," she replied. "I thought
you had it."
"You forgot, pussy, that I brought baby in,
and I've one pair of hands instead of two," said
the doctor. "I've left it in the chaise, no doubt;"
and out he went.
In a few seconds he returned with the package.
It contained another new book for each little girl,
and on the fly-leaf was written in a clear, hand-
some hand, in one, "Grace," in the other, "Jen-
ny," and afterward in both,
"From Uncle James and Aunt Carrie, July 21,
The books were handsomely bound and illus-
trated, and as the little girls guessed from their
appearance on looking them over, and found af-
94 Elms ITHomstead.
terward when they read them, very interesting.
They were received with grateful feeling and a
great deal of pleasure.
Uncle Arthur's and Aunt Emily's present was
of the same kind, but, fortunately, no two of these
half dozen new books were alike, or what the chil-
dren already owned. They were all so good, too,
that it would have been difficult to choose between
them, and books were great favorites with Grace
and Jenny. They were very glad that they had
not brought any of theirs from home, and won-
dered if mother knew of all this when she told
them they would probably have new books enough
for their summer reading. The fact was that Mrs.
Wentworth had received an intimation of some-
thing of the kind. Grandma had said in a letter,
enclosing some money to buy Christmas gifts,
"But we all mean to celebrate Gracie's and Jen-
ny's birth-day, because then you will be here, and
we can have a family dinner. We want all our
children and grandchildren with us, and some of
our thinkingg' may be held in reserve for that
In the midst of a mirthful talk grandpa rose
-The Birth-day. 95
quietly, and stopping in the entry for his broad-
brimmed straw hat, went into the kitchen. In a
few moments Grace saw him pass the window with
a large basket on his arm.
"Jenny," she said in a low tone, "grandpa is
going for the vegetables. Let's go quick and
"Yes," said Jenny, and she stopped frolicking
with the baby. "But, Gracie," she said in the
entry, "why didn't he tell us?"
"Oh, because he thought we wouldn't like to
go when they were all here," replied Grace; "not
because he did not want us."
"Ah, you rogues!" said grandpa with his
kindly smile as the little girls came up; "you've
caught me, have you? Your peepers are pretty
Down the hill, south-west from the house, they
went to the vegetable garden. Uncle Arthur, who
had arrived only a few minutes before, was taking
care of his horse; but on the way they met Mr.
Wentworth, and he held his hand at once for the
"Let me do this, father, if you please."
96 Elms Homestead.
"You're welcome to come too, if you like,"
grandpa answered roguishly. "But I'm going for
Mr. Wentworth took the basket, and, in fact,
they all found enough to do, for there were peas
and beans to pick, beets, and nearly all the early
vegetables, for grandpa's garden was one of the
best-stocked and best-kept in all the place, and he
meant to have, as he said, "as good a dinner as
he could, and enough of everything." A pair of
chickens were in the refrigerator, and a huge
huckleberry pudding, too, was in prospect.
On their return to the house the children went
to the kitchen to get a dish for the peas.
Oh, honeys, I'll get along without your help-
ing to-day," said Chloe. "Anne and I can man-
age, I reckon, when you've company."
"But, Chloe, there are so many of us to get
dinner for to-day," said Grace, "that you've a
great deal to do, you know, and we want to help
you. We're going to take the peas out to the
play-house, and Josey's going with us."
"And I'll take the beans," said Anne.
"Stop a moment, honeys, please," said Chloe
The Birth-day. 97
as they were going to scamper back to the parlor
for little Josey, and she went to the cupboard and
took out two small packages. She handed one to
Grace and the other to Jenny, saying,
"You won't refuse this, chickabids, from Chloe
The little girls were pleasantly surprised as they
pulled off the wrappings and found two very pretty
"Ah!" said Chloe, laughing heartily, "you're
wondering how old Chloe could get those? Well,
I'll just tell you, and I've had a hard time with
myself not to tell you before the day came. When
your Aunt Carrie went to Boston a fortnight ago-
you remember the day she brought the baby over
here, and your mother and Anne and I tended it
while' she was away ?-I asked her to get a pretty
plaything for Tiff and me to give each of you, and
Mrs. Caswell's a kind lady as ever was, and said
she would get it with pleasure; and I reckon she
asked your mother what playthings you had so as
not to buy the same, and she knows what's pretty,
too, she does."
Tiff just then came in for his lunch of brown