The Bald *n Library
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PERKINPINE & HIGGIN S
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
AND OTHER STORIES.
PERKINPINE & HIGGINS,
No. 880 ARCH STREET.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
PERKINPINE & HIGGINS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in
and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
WESTCOTT & TrOMsoN,
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.................................. 7
HARRY AND BESSIE................ ............... 16
THE DOOR OF HEAVEN................................... 28
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY....................................... 34
EDDIE MARCY........................................... 47
THE LOST LAMB........................................... 55
OUR AFRICAN PARROT................................. 62
A LITTLE STRANGER........................................ 84
THE BLACK SPECTACLES................................ 92
THREE BAD THINGS...................................... 114
NATE'S GOLD RING.
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS
TWO TOUGH KNOTS.
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
A GORED dress, trimmed with
two rows of blue ribbons, was the
great aim of Pigeon's life till Kate
Farrington came to school in bronze
boots, and after that she had a new
kink in her brain, and nothing but
bronze boots would satisfy her ambi-
"They are so cunning and shiny!
Can't I have a pair of them?" pleaded
"Can't afford it, Pigeonette, unless
they shine enough to save kerosene,"
said her mother.
Oh, papa, I wish you would keep
a candy store and get rich," said
Pigeon, turning her battery against
8 PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
the weaker enemy. I would tend
counter for you."
"I am afraid it would take all the
candy to pay for your services. But
eat your dinner now."
After Pigeon had gone to school
her father and mother talked the
matter over. Her mother, being a
prudent, common-sense woman, was
entirely against buying the shoes,
but her father was very much in-
clined to lower his colors and sur-
render to Pigeon. He was a minister,
and a poor one, but he had the feel-
ings of a father notwithstanding.
Pigeon was the only child left to
him of three, and he could not
bear to refuse her anything. He
remembered how patiently she had
read to him when he was laid up
with inflamed eyes, and he said, de-
cidedly, She must have the shoes."
"But you can't buy boots with-
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS. 9
out money; and besides, what will the
people say?" asked Pigeon's mother.
"As to money, I will brush up my
old hat and make it last another year.
And the people-well, I am not going
to rob them, and if they don't like it,
they must whistle."
It is not wise."
But Mr. Selby had his way, as is
the custom of husbands in the country
of the Gadarenes, where all this came
to pass. He went to the store and
picked out the prettiest pair of shoes
that he ever carried in his coat pocket,
and he walked home as happy as a
bird with a particularly delicious
worm in her mouth for her downy
In process of time eight o'clock
came, and it came a great deal too
soon, according to Pigeon's thinking,
for then she had to go to bed. She
had only been gone a minute or two
10 PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
when there was a shout, and then "a
shower of little thumps all the way
down stairs, and in burst Pigeon in
her flannel petticoat flourishing the
boots over her head.
"Oh, I'm just as glad as-as-"
Well, she never finished it, but dump-
ed down on the floor, and pulled off
her old calfskins, and chucked her
fat toes into the bronze kids. When
she stood up with them on, she was a
pretty enough sight to pay her father
if he had been obliged to wear six old
hats at a time. Her eyes danced like
stars in a running brook, and the
dimples twinkled in and out of her
cheeks, and her hair was in the pret-
tiest tangle, and her neck was like an
almond blossom, so white, and pink,
and sweet, and, take her altogether,"
her father said, she was just fit to
kiss, and if she were bronze shoes
all over, she would not be any more
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS. 11
to his mind." And her mother said,
"If she behaved as well as her shoes
looked, she would do very well. But
she would catch her death of cold if
she stayed around much longer with-
out anything on;" and after much ado
Pigeon was mounted bedward once
Just like a man," her mother said,
"to go and put those shoes on her
pillow, and set the child's eyes wide
open just as she was going to bed."
It seemed to Pigeon as if she lay
broad awake for an hour, but she
really dozed off in less than ten
minutes, and she dreamed that she
was at church, and her bronze boots
were a mile long, and were stuck on
to each side of her head for ears.
Then she was at school, reading out
of one of them, and then President
Johnson took them to shoot Lincoln
with, and just as Lincoln fell over,
12 PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
he cried out, Pigeon, Pigeon, how
could you?" and he looked at her
so sorrowfully that she waked, in an
agony of remorse and terror, to hear
her mother calling "Pigeon, Pigeon,"
and to see the sun blinking into her
eyes with all his might.
If there was ever anything that
Pigeon's mother and father did not
want her to know, that was sure to
be the thing that Pigeon overheard.
This morning she happened to be all
ears when her mother was mourning
over her father's hat, telling him that
he had no business to buy those boots
for Pigeon, and wear such a shabby
old hat a whole year, just for the sake
of rigging up that child.
Pigeon held her breath, and her
heart fluttered up into her throat. She
began to see what a tight squeeze it
was to get the money for those lovely
boots. The first thing she did was to
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS. 13
get her father's hat from the hall table,
and rub it the wrong way, to make it
look new. But the more she rubbed
the worse it looked. So she gave up
trying to ease conscience in that way,
and went up stairs with a book. But
she could not read, for it seemed all
the time as if the bronze boots had
set themselves down opposite the old
hat, and kept saying, "How fine I
shall look next Sunday!" and the old
hat kept groaning, What a sight I
shall be up there in the pulpit!"
"But I really need those boots,"
thought Pigeon, trying to persuade
herself that it really was so, for her
conscience was getting troublesome.
"Oh dear! I suppose if I carried
them back papa could have a hat!"
But this idea was more than Pigeon
could stand alone, so she rushed after
her mother, hoping that she would
say, "Oh no, you must not think
14 PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS.
of such a thing. Your father would
be very much displeased to have you
carry them back."
Instead of this, her mother made
her feel that her father really needed
a hat, while she could get along with-
out the shoes just as well as not.
Now, Pigeon," she said, as a wind
up, don't you think that your father
is not willing to go without the hat,
for he is. You must decide for your-
self. I want you to do just what
you think a generous little girl ought
I might as well carry them back
first as last, for I shall feel as mean
as dirt every time I put them on.
But I could cry a pailful just as easy
as nothing!" sighed Pigeon, starting
for the shoes
She took them to the store. "I
want to sell these boots back to you,"
she said to Mr. Murray.
PIGEON'S BRONZE BOOTS. 15
"Why, your father bought them
only yesterday. Does he know what
you are about ?"
No, sir, but mamma does, and she
says I may."
"But your father was as proud as
could be picking out those shoes."
"Well, you see, my father spent all
his money for these boots, and he
hasn't any hat, but such an old scare-
crow! and he can't have one for a
whole year, because it took so much
money for these boots, but if you will
only buy them back then he can have
one. How much will you give me for
them?" asked Pigeon, earnestly.
Six dollars-just what your father
paid," said Mr. Murray, counting out
Pigeon took the greenbacks, and
laid the boots on the counter. I wish
I could have worn them to meeting
just once," she said.
16 HARRY AND BESSIE.
What should you think if I told
you to take them home again ?"
"Oh, I didn't mean anything.
Won't you let me sell them? Papa
needs a hat so much!" and the tears
came into Pigeon's eyes.
"You shall have the shoes and the
Oh-why-what? you don't mean
so ? Not truly."
"Yes, truly ?"
"But can you afford to ?"
"If I get in a very bad strait, I'll
let you know."
Pigeon walked off, queen of all she
HARRY AND BESSIE.
JUSH, little sister; don't cry so,
-please. Tell me what is the
matter, and see if I can't help you."
:' '- ... C "!i "
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HARRY AND BESSIE. 19
"Oh, Harry, I'm so tired! If I
could only stay with you all the time,
I wouldn't mind so much; but Mrs.
Hogan is so cross, and beats me some-
times when you're away. My head
hurts so, and I want, oh, I want to
see the green fields, and the pretty
flowers! Take me to the green fields,
Harry, or I shall die; I know I will!
Oh, do take me, dear brother, away
from this hateful town !"
The poor little girl clung closer to
her brother, and the tears came faster
and faster down her pale, thin cheeks.
She was not more than seven years
old, and her brother was only ten.
Their father and mother used to live
in the country, but when little Bessie
was four years old they had moved
into the great city. For a short time
they did very well, for the father was
sober and industrious; but before a
year was over the dreadful yellow
20 HARRY AND BESSIE.
fever came into the city and he died.
The fever took also a little brother
and sister younger than Bessie. The
mother was very ill too, and though
she did not die then, her strength
never came back to her.
About three months before the day
I am writing of she died, leaving
Harry and Bessie without a dollar
in the world. A kind carpenter,
named Tim Hogan, had taken the
poor little orphans to live with him;
and Harry, who was a tall, strong
boy of his age, worked in the shop
with him. Bessie was left at home
to mind the baby; and if Mrs. Hogan
had been good and kind like her hus-
band, the children would have found
a comfortable home in spite of its
being such a humble one. But Mrs.
Hogan had never laid to heart these
words from God's own book: "He
that ruleth his own spirit is greater
HARRY AND BESSIE. 21
than he that taketh a city." She
would fly into a passion and abuse
the poor little girl; and often she
would beat her severely. Then she
would tell her if she ever said a
word to Tim or her brother, both
Henry and herself should be driven
into the streets, without a shelter
over their heads; so poor little Bessie
had kept her troubles to herself until
she could bear them no longer.
Poor Harry felt very much shocked,
and very angry too, when he heard
what his sister said; and he held her
very close in his arms, and tried to
stop her sobs and tears. But she
kept on crying, "Promise to take
me to the country, Harry! Oh,
promise to take me back to the
green fields!" until he could resist
no longer, and promised what she
Harry had a silver dollar, which a
22 HARRY AND BESSIE.
kind gentleman had given him that
very morning for finding his pocket-
book and returning it to him un-
opened, and Bessie had two ten-cent
pieces, a present from a kind old man
who kept the little store where Mrs.
Hogan bought her groceries. This
seemed a great deal of money to the
children; so, without going home, for
fear they should be stopped, they
started off at once in the direction
Harry knew the country lay. Pass-
ing where their dear parents were
buried, they stopped to take a linger-
ing look, and then started on their
The sun was setting when they
passed the last houses of the city,
and poor little Bessie was already
very tired, but she kept on bravely.
The high road stretched out as far as
they could see, and the houses which
lay on either side had garden-patches
HARRY AND BESSIE. 23
around them, and here and there
quite a good-sized field of waving
corn. It looked very pleasant to
the children, but it was not the wild,
open country yet; so, when a man
who was passing in a wagon, see-
ing the two children clinging to each
other and looking so strange and tired,
stopped and asked them where they
were going, Harry answered:
We are going to the country, sir."
"To the country, are you?" said the
man. Well, and what part of the
"The country where the green fields,
and the woods, and the flowers are,"
replied Harry, simply.
"Do you know anybody in the
country, my boy ?"
Then why, in the name of wonder,
do you go there ?"
Because Bessie said she would die
24 HARRY AND BESSIE.
if she stayed in the city, and I could
not bear to lose her, sir," answered
Harry, and his blue eyes filled with
tears at the thought.
"Where are your father and mo-
ther, child ?"
"They are dead, sir;" and as Harry
said these words in a trembling voice,
Bessie put her arms around his neck
and sobbed violently.
Thomas Nelson-for that was the
man's name-felt his heart soften, and
he thought of his own snug little cot-
tage, thirty miles away in the very
heart of the country, surrounded by
fields and woods, carpeted by beauti-
ful wild flowers of every color and
fragrance, nestling in the soft, green
grass. And he thought of his good,
kind-hearted wife, who had no chil-
dren now, and would so love and care
for the homeless orphans; and his
dear old mother with no little hands
HARRY AND BESSIE. 25
to caress her, and no little ones to
pet. And then he thought of four
little graves under the oak tree in
the quiet country churchyard, and of
the stillness in the old house, un-
broken by childish steps and voices
and merry laughter.
It all passed quickly through his
mind, and hardly a moment had gone
by when he leaned down from his
wagon and said, in a low, kind voice,
Children, will you go with me into
the beautiful, free country, and live in
my house, and be my little son and
daughter? Please God, I'll be a good
father to you always."
Oh how glad and happy Harry and
Bessie were as they rode along in Tom
Telson's wagon farther and farther
into the country! When night came
on, Tom made a bed in the wagon
of straw covered with some large,
coarse bags for the children to sleep
26 HARRY AND BESSIE.
on, and his heart felt very warm and
thankful when little Bessie came and
put her soft arms round his neck
and kissed him, saying, Good-night,
father." It seemed as if his little
girl in heaven had come back to him
When Tom Nelson got home the
next day, how his good wife and his
gentle old mother wept over the chil-
dren, and kissed them, and set at once
about making them comfortable! How
the little garments that had been put
away so carefully when the angels
came for their own little ones were
brought out and put upon the or-
phans! and how they were taught
to say "mother" and "grandmother,"
as they had already learned to say
"father God had indeed brought
the children to a happy, loving home.
Little Bessie grew strong and well
in the cool, green country; and Harry
HARRY AND BESSIE. 27
made himself so useful on the farm
that his new father used often to
wonder how he evei had done with-
The Nelsons were true Christians
too, and taught the children to know
and love the blessed Saviour; so that,
as they grew in strength and know-
ledge, they grew in goodness as well.
I must not forget to tell you that
Harry wrote at once to good Tim
Hogan, thanking him for his kindness
to them, and telling him of their new
home and loving friends. And when
Tom Nelson went to the city, he took
Harry with him to see Tim, and
carried him all manner of good things
which poor people in the city don't
And so the good God, who is the
father of the fatherless, brought the
little orphans into a happy home, and
there we will leave them.
28 THE DOOR OF HEAVEN.
THE DOOR OF HEAVEN.
IT was a fearful time when the
steamboat Tyro was lost. It was
a long time ago, and almost every
one has forgotten it except the few
who had friends on it, and they are
almost gone. The Tyro was a small
boat, and the passengers were few and
poor, so it has passed from the public
mind. All the day the bright sun
had shone down on the peaceful lake,
and everything seemed safe and se-
cure. The passengers had no thought
of danger as the night came on.
A little boy kneeled down to say
his evening prayers, and as he looked
out and saw the western sky all aglow
with the glory of the going day, he
asked, "Mamma, isn't that the door
of heaven with bright curtains all
THE DOOR OF HEAVEN. 29
"Yes, my boy," said the mother;
" heaven's doors are all around us."
Well, this is the one I want to go
in at, because it is prettiest." And
the child prayed his prayer and went
It has never been known how-
whether the pilot fell asleep at his
post or the lights went out-but when
midnight came there was a crash,
a shiver, and cries of terror. The
steamer had come in collision with a
schooner, and was sinking.
The little boy awoke. He cried,
"Mamma, where are you?" and his
mother's arms held him fast, even
while they sank together in the dark
They came to the surface, and the
mother caught something floating, and
held fast to it.
"Jamie! Jamie!" she said, "hold
me very tight."
30 THE DOOR OF HEAVEN.
Mamma, are we going to heaven ?
I don't like this way; I'm afraid."
"Never fear, child, God will meet
you;" and with all her strength the
mother lifted the child upon the float-
ing bale, then dropped it and went
home through the floodgates below.
"Mamma, mamma, where are you?"
cried Jamie, but there came no answer.
No one noticed the child afloat, for
every one sought to save his own life;
and the day was born, ran its race
and was dying when Jamie floated
on shore. The little fellow was hungry,
but there again was the glorious gate
of heaven, and Jamie thought it was
wider open than it was the night be-
fore. As soon as he could crawl off
from the bale to the land he began to
run as fast as he could straight toward
Jamie's feet tottered. He was too
weak to run, so he walked straight on
THE DOOR OF HEAVEN. 31
a long, long way, until the west began
to grow dim in his sight.
Jamie saw a man coming toward
him, but he did not stop. The man
noticed that the child's clothes were
wet, that he had been in the water,
and he tried to stop him.
Little boy, where are you going?"
"I can't stop now," said Jamie;
"I'm afraid I shall be too late."
Too late! where are you going that
way? There is no house," the man cried
after him, for Jamie did not stop an
"Yes, there is," said Jamie; "I'm
afraid the doors will be shut."
"Whose house, boy ?"
"Why, God's beautiful house, to be
sure. Don't you know it ? It is heaven.
See, it grows dark;" and Jamie made
one more effort, and fell to the ground
fainting with hunger.
32 THE DOOR OF HEAVEN.
The man lifted him up in his arms,
and Jamie lisped, "Mamma said God
would come to meet me;" and then he
fell asleep. When he awoke he found
himself in a strange place, with stran-
gers about him.
"Come, my darling, you must eat
some of this," said a soft voice, and
the light of the candle was carefully
shaded from Jamie's eyes.
Jamie's last thought was of heaven,
and his first question was, Did I
get there? Did he meet me?"
And a little girl standing by the
bedside answered, Yes, little boy; fa-
ther met you and brought you home."
God is your father too, is he?"
asked Jamie, not yet fully conscious
of his present state; then we'll go
Jamie recovered and grew to man-
hood-grew to a good and glorious
manhood; and to the time when his
THE DOOR OF HEAVEN. 33
Redeemer called him home, Jamie
never forgot the western door for
which he had striven. He never
looked upon the gorgeous purple,
golden and crimson glory of the
sunset without hearing again in his
mind the words of his mother: "Yes,
my boy; heaven's doors are all about
us." And Jamie's wish was granted
him. One night the shining light
came through the curtains, and Jamie
went home with the day, and Jesus
met him-Jesus, who long years be-
fore had gone down to the dark flood-
gates below to meet Jamie's mother-
Jesus, who always watches and waits
to hear the coming feet of those who
seek the gates of heaven.
34 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
"Do good, do good, there's ever a way-
A way where there's ever a will;
Don't wait till to-morrow, but do it to-day,
And to-day when to-morrow comes still,"
A GROUP of school-girls were con-
gregated under an elm tree in the
playground of the H-- School. The
time was recess, and from their earn-
est talk and the animated expression
of each young face it was evident
something of unusual interest was
"Yes," exclaimed a beautiful girl,
with golden-brown curls and violet
eyes-" only think, girls! papa has
given me one hundred dollars to
spend as I please for my birth-day
party, to come off next Wednesday,
One hundred dollars! What will
4A ---- i----------
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY. 37
you do with it all, Belle?" cried
"Oh, I shall find ways enough to
spend it. We're to have a band of
music; papa has ordered it from the
city. It's to play behind the little
lake in the grove. Won't it sound
fairy-like coming over the water!
Then the table is to be set on the
lawn and covered with flowers; and
we're to have ice cream and-"
"Do tell us what your dress is to
be," chimed in Alice Hall.
My dress? Oh, it's lovely-blue
crape and white flowers, and mamma
is to get me a pair of blue kid boots.
Now, girls, what is yours to be, for of
course you'll come ?"
"Mine will be pink tarlatan," said
And mine, white muslin, with blue
sash," said Hattie Parkhurst.
"Well," said Clara Fischer, "I
38 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
hardly know whether to wear my blue
silk or white tarlatan, but think I
shall wear the silk."
"Mine will be white, with pink
roses," said Mary Lawson.
"And mine, lavender silk," said
"I don't know what I shall wear,"
said little Effie Brooks; "but it will
be whatever mother thinks best and is
the most suitable."
All had now spoken, with the excep-
tion of a pale little girl who sat apart
from the rest, whose name was Dora
I don't suppose Dora will come,"
whispered Bella to Alice, "although
I've given her the invitation. But
wouldn't it be fun to have her come
in that faded gingham of hers! It's
the best dress she's got, I know; and
she earned that one day by picking
berries, so I heard."
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY. 39
Here the ringing of the school-bell
put an end to the conversation, and
each girl hastened in to take her
"Mamma," said Effie Brooks as
she sat hemming a handkerchief for
her brother the Saturday afternoon
after the above conversation, I wish
I could do some good. I know I'm
only a little girl, but I should like to
do good to some one in the world."
Well then, sis, mend this hole in
my glove, as mother is busy," said
her sixteen-year-old brother, throwing
her the glove, and you will do good
to one seedy individual."
Effie smilingly complied, and after
her brother was gone, sat with her
eyes bent on the carpet in deep
"Effie," said her mother, "if you
are to go to the party Wednesday,
40 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
you sadly need a new dress; and,
as I am going out to do some shop-
ping this morning, you may come with
me to select it."
Still Effie did not stir, but sat look-
ing at the same place in the carpet,
some great struggle evidently going
on in her mind.
"Did you hear me, Effie?" asked
"Oh yes, mamma! But I think I
will make my old white muslin do.
But, mamma, will you let me have
the money my new dress would cost
to do with as I please ?"
"If my little girl is willing to give
up her new dress and go in her old
one, and will spend it wisely," said
I think I will go out with you this
morning, mamma," said Effie, "if
you have no objection. There is some-
thing I wish to get."
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY. 41
"What can you want, Effie, when
you have decided to wear your old
dress ?" asked her mother.
"Oh, you will see, mamma!" laugh-
ed Effie, as they sallied forth.
Mrs. Brooks having finished her
purchases, Effie surprised her mother
by going up to the clerk and asking to
look at some white muslin.
Mamma, how much would it take
to make me a dress?" she whispered.
"About seven yards, Effie. So you
have changed your mind ?"
No, mamma. I will tell you when
we are out."
She bought the muslin, and when
in the street, said:
"I did not buy the dress for my-
self, but for a poor little girl in my
class-Dora Lee, mamma. I know
she wants to go to the party, but has
no dress fit to wear, and she has a
sick mother. She is about my size,
42 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
mamma; and don't you think I could
get it all done by Wednesday morn-
"Yes, dear, with my help. I am
glad to see my daughter show such
a benevolent, self-sacrificing spirit.
What passage in the Bible refers to
that, Effie ?"
"Oh, this is one, mamma: 'It is
more blessed to give than to receive.'
And there is another, mamma: He
who giveth to the poor lendeth to the
"And may you always remember
that, Effie. But is there nothing else
you want to go with the dress ?"
"Yes; I was to have a silk dress,
and you said it would have cost about
fifteen dollars. There will be enough
left to buy a pair of shoes and a
The shoes and sash were bought,,
and the next Monday, with her mo-
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY. 43
their's help, Effie set about making
the dress, and also a white skirt to
go with it.
Wednesday morning, bright and
early, Effie, with the dress and skirt
neatly folded in a basket, along with
the shoes and sash, set out to walk to
the humble home of Dora Lee. Dora
lived about a mile from Effie's, in a
little nest of a three-roomed cottage,
almost hidden by large maple trees.
And how Effie's little heart did beat
as she unlatched the gate and walked
up to the house! for she did not exact-
ly know how her gifts would be re-
Sitting in the doorway, in a little
rocking-chair, was Dora, trying to
hush to sleep her baby-brother; and
there were traces of tears on her
cheeks, and Effie readily guessed the
cause. On seeing Effie she looked
both confused and glad, and the happy
44 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
smile that broke over her face and
lighted up her eyes, that were yet full
of tears, put one in mind of an April
Effie preferred telling her errand
out there under the trees before going
in to see Dora's mother; and when
Dora could be made to believe the
dress was really for her, and the shoes
and sash, her delight was unbounded.
She thanked Effie over and over again,
and running in to her mother, she
cried: "Only see, mamma! Now I
can go to the party. Look at these
beautiful things dear little Effie Brooks
has brought me."
Mrs. Lee seemed as pleased as
Effie, and said: "We must try and
pay her for them in sewing."
"Oh no!" said Effie, coming into
the room. That is my gift to Dora.
I want her to look as nice as any of
the little girls to-night. It was my
THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY. 45
own money, and I was to spend it as I
The dress was tried on and found
to fit perfectly, as did the shoes; and,
having promised to call at seven that
evening (she and her brother) for Dora,
she walked home with a light basket
and a lighter heart, with the conscious-
ness that even she, little girl as she
was, had made one little heart glad
The party came off with all the
honors due to the tenth birth-day of
Belle Brandon. With the music in
the grove, the good things to eat, the
games, and everything that makes up
a child's party, the little ones had a
merry time. They were attired in all
the colors of the rainbow, and seemed
more like bright-hued butterflies flit-
ting from place to place than children.
But two little white-robed figures
seemed to attract most attention as
46 THE BIRTH-DAY PARTY.
they wandered hand in hand-one
with a blue sash, the other pink.
How sweet those two little girls
do look!" said Grandma Brandon to
her daughter. That's the way I like
to see children dressed-so neat and
"I am sure I don't see how Dora
Lee got that pretty dress and sash,"
said Belle to Rose Sheldon. "Some
one must have given them to her."
Well, I'm not going to trouble my
head about her," said Rose. Only
look at my new lavender silk with
that great spot on it! I dropped some
ice cream on it, and even a drop of
water will spot it awfully. I'm sure
my comfort is gone for this evening
thinking what mother will say."
So, by talking, eating, playing
games, etc., the evening wore away,
and by ten o'clock each weary little
head was laid on its pillow.
EDDIE MARUY. 47
"Well, Effie," said Mrs. Brooks, as
Effie came down to breakfast next
morning, looking as fresh as a rose,
"how did you enjoy yourself last
Oh, mamma, so much! I was so
happy-so was Dora Lee; and, mamma,
she did look sweet."
Now, young reader, who among
the little girls. think you, was the
THE world I live in is a little differ-
ent from any other world I ever
heard of; instead of being round it is
square. I can see nothing except
what comes within its four walls and
the little I can command from the
outlook of its windows; can hear
48 EDDIE MARCY.
nothing from without except what
other ears and voices bring to me.
It has more sunshine than other
worlds, I believe-or rather than
the world in general-the sunshine
of loving hearts and kind deeds,
and though I have lost some precious
things, though clouds and sorrows
have come within it, yet there is ever
to me a mild radiance, an abiding
sense of God's love and presence, and
in the three years I have lived in it
I have at least learned to make the
most of everything I do see and hear,
be it ever so little, which perhaps may
prove a useful lesson to some of you
children, boys particularly, who are
always wanting to hear something new
I was enjoying my precious season of
Bible reading one rainy morning when
the door quietly opened, and in walk-
ed Eddie Marcy and Willie Gaylord.
EDDIE MARCY. 49
I was very glad to see them, for they
are as nice boys as you will see any-
where. They told me many pleasant
things, amused themselves looking at
the pictures about the room, the books
and little curiosities, were careful to
return things to their proper places,
and I am glad to notice that the
little people of my world generally do
There was a bird's wing on my
table; I asked them if they knew from
what bird it came. No, they didn't;
neither should I if the little friend
who gave it me hadn't told me that
it was a quail's wing. I asked them
if they could remember anything in
the Bible about quails, but their
heads were so full of the pictures in
the big almanac just then that they
couldn't stop to think; so I told them
that after the children of Israel had
escaped from the cruel hand of Pha-
50 EDDIE MARCY.
raoh, and Moses, meek, patient man
that he was, was leading them about
in that great wilderness, there was no
food to be found, and of course they
could not have brought enough with
them, so the Lord rained down manna
from heaven. Every day except the
Sabbath they could go out and gather
enough for all. It was "white like
coriander seed," and is thought to
have had a variety of tastes, or tasted
differently according to the different
tastes of the people, and the supply
never failed-" he that gathered much
had nothing over, and he that gather-
ed little had no lack ;" but they grew
sick of it, just as we do sometimes of
our daily blessings, because they are
so common, when that is the very
reason why we should be more grate-
ful for them. They said their soul
loathed this light food, and fretted
and complained at Moses that he had
EDDIE MARCY. 51
brought them away from the flesh-
pots of Egypt "to kill the whole
assembly with hunger." Moses laid
the matter before the Lord-just as
we always should our troubles and
perplexities-and he was angry with
the people because their murmurings
were against him also, and he de-
termined to silence their complaints
and show them their folly. So present-
ly he caused a strong wind to go forth,
and brought quails from the sea, and
" they lay a day's journey on this side,
and a day's journey on that side the
camp, and as it were two cubits high
upon the face of the earth," and they
were more than satisfied with the
meat, and the Lord sent leanness into
their souls because the desires of
their hearts were not according to
Then the boys bade me good-bye
and went away, and I returned to
52 EDDIE MARCY.
my reading, quite rested and refresh-
ed with the pleasant little call.
Now I will tell you what a friend
of mine told me. She was passing
through the village in the mail-coach
one day last winter, and while wait-
ing at the post-office, she noticed an
elderly man sitting in a sleigh, ap-
parently waiting for some one. A
boy standing near called out:
"Anybody't wants to ride with old
T- come aboard," repeating it
several times. The man sat so quiet-
ly that he hardly seemed to consider
it as having any reference to him.
Soon, however, the school-children
came trooping out with their mails
and dinner-baskets, and huddled into
the roomy sleigh, this boy among the
Get out of here!" said the man, in
a way that made the boy look around
EDDIE MARCY. 53
"Get out of here, I say;" and he
did get out, and the merry load drove
off to their homes a mile and more
away, while he made the best of
his way on foot, and all said, "glad
of it," "good enough for him."
Now, boys, never get yourselves up
on that plan-never. It won't pay;
besides that, it will stick to you all
the way through life; to be sure, it
may be said, some time in the years,
"Mr. is a rather agreeable, re-
fined man; don't you think so ?" But
it will be very apt to be met with,
"Why, is he? I knew him as a rude
Not a bit that style of boy (re-
member I call you all boys until you
vote) was one who carried some wild
ducks to his mother one day.
There, mother, I'd like those nicely
dressed, and the fattest one sent down
54 EDDIE MARCY.
to Miss H-. I know she'll relish
Now, do you suppose it was simply
the taste of game-though always de-
licious-which made that so very
welcome? Not wholly; it was the
kind thoughtfulness for the wants
and privations and delicate taste of
an invalid. Not for that act alone,
but for the spirit that suggested it, we
can trust that boy, and many others of a
like stamp whom we know anywhere.
We expect to find them noble, manly
and good in all the relations and
transactions of life. Those boys, and
girls too, who are attentive to the
wants and thoughtful for the cares
and troubles of others, respectful to
the aged, gentle and kind to the little
ones, will be more apt in manhood to
fulfill the bright promise of youth, to
fear their God, to grow up into the
image of Christ, to know how to prac-
THE LOST LAMB. 55
tice that precious precept, "All things
whatsoever ye would that men should
do to you, do ye even so to them,"
and if they do not all walk on the
high places of the earth, they may be
great in the sight of Him who sees not
as man sees, but who looketh at the
heart, and verily rewardeth every man
according to his work.
THE LOST LAMB.
"How sweet wouldd be at evening
If you and I could say,
Dear Saviour, I've been seeking
One lamb that went astray.
Alone upon the mountain
I heard it making moan,
And lo I I came, at nightfall,
Bearing it safely home."
I USED to read the story of a little
lamb who broke away from the
56 THE LOST LAMB.
pleasant, shady fold it had in the
valley. His little brother lay fast
asleep on the soft, grassy bed be-
side the little brook which rippled
on down. into the valley, and the
naughty lamb never woke him to
say good-bye. Some wicked sheep
and goats, who did not love the little
lamb's good shepherd," were wait-
ing just outside, urging him to join
their company. They promised him
all kinds of delight, and, above all,
perfect freedom to go and come when
he chose. And so the foolish lamb
forsook his little shelter, and bounded
off with his tempters. They led him
on and on, toward the mountains that
looked so pleasant in the distance.
But he found the way rough to his
tender feet; the sharp stones wounded
them, and the thorns tore his white
fleece. Then the fresh grass and gay
flowers he had so longed to taste
II II Id
"- --- -
r : 6 e ,, I
-- .,: ,' ,. : .
,,.:i: '. .:...: . !:.;.. .'J'' o ...." T :;
. "1 ,,I, II ,I
, .., ,.., i,; ...I. ,, "
t '!I-LJ' y', I"
THE LOST LAMB. 59
proved so bitter that he could not
eat them. The waters too that had
sparkled and rippled down the hill-
side were so nauseous he could scarce-
ly drink them, and they made his
thirst ten times fiercer than it was
before. So he wandered on for many
days. The sheep and goats, who had
so rejoiced to lead him astray, now
seemed to care little about him.
They were selfish and unkind, and
only laughed at him when he spoke
of his disappointments.
But there was something more ter-
rible than this which the little lamb
had to distress him. Often, at night,
he heard a fierce lion growling among
the hills, and he knew that a great
many sheep and lambs had been torn
to pieces by him. He could not tell
when it would come his turn. One
night, when his heart was very wretch-
ed, he heard the lion coming. Which
60 THE LOST LAMB.
way to flee he could not tell, but flee
he must. On his way he met a wound-
ed sheep, who lay dying on the cold
mountains. He was one of the lion's
victims, and the poor lamb trembled
with deadly fear as he looked upon
him. The dying sheep could only
bid him flee to the fold again. It
was too late for him, for his life-blood
was ebbing fast away.
"Oh, whither shall I flee?" cried
the unhappy lamb.
"Toward the sunrising," said the
poor sheep, and presently he was
struggling with death.
"Oh, peace, my brother !" cried the
lamb; "how I long to be safe in the
fold with you! Why did I ever
stray from it?"
But there was no time to lose, for
the enemy was close upon him. On,
on, over rocks and cliffs, he pressed
with bleeding feet, and he was with-
THE LOST LAMB. 61
in sight of the fold, when the lion was
on the hill above his head. Just then
the shepherd came out of the fold;
and when the lamb saw him, he made
one desperate bound and fell down
at his feet. The shepherd lifted him
gently in his arms, and laid his beat-
ing heart upon his own, and thus the
lamb was saved.
Dear children, are you in the fold?
Never think the world, that looks so
fair outside, is what it seems. All the
flowers of sin are bitter to the taste,
all its sparkling waters poisoned at
the fountain. Do not imagine you
can sin and be happy. Worst of
all, Satan, like a great lion, is prowl-
ing about these mountains, and you
will surely fall into his power if you
are not in the fold. He can never get
in there. The Shepherd is stronger
than he. And oh, if you love Jesus,
will you not tell other little lambs
62 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
about him ?-those who are wander-
ing on the mountains? Try to win
them in, for Jesus loves dearly all
his child-workers, and he is always
willing to give them his strong arm
and his great wisdom to help them.
OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
I WAS bargaining for the bird at a
stall in Leadenhall market some
time during the spring of 1855. She
was a gray African parrot, with sleek
plumage, set off by a dash of red at
the tip of her tail, about the size of a
large wood-pigeon, well formed, par-
ticularly about the head and neck,
but with a white feather cropping
out here and there that indicated
approaching old age. The dealer-
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 63
who, with his father and grandfather
before him, had sold parrots in the
same place ever since the year 1798,
as the sign over his stall indicated,
and whose statements bore all the
appearance of truth-thought she must
be seventy years old at least, from
what he knew of her history.
"Was she healthy ?"
Perfectly so, and would probably
live twenty years longer."
"The best talker I ever owned; has
more words at command than any
parrot in London, and if she were
not bashful, would fetch me twenty
"And you say she has learned no
bad word ?"
No, sir. You may hang her cage
in your parlor, and she will never
bring a blush to the cheek of the
most modest maiden in Britain."
64 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
"How long have you had her for
"Nearly two years. To tell you
the truth, sir, her age is against her.
Gentlemen don't like to purchase an
old bird. They make a mistake there,
sir. She'll live till they are tired of
her, and she hasn't got to be taught.
She knows enough now. Old Mr.
Price, of Wales, the great Welsh
scholar, who died seven years ago,
had her of his father in 1802, who had
purchased her of an African trader at
Bristol fifteen years before, and she
was then a full-grown bird. She can
talk both Welsh and English, sir, and
you will never regret buying her."
You are quite sure she is free from
"Bring her back, sir, if she has
anything beyond a touch of the gout
in the next year, and I'll return the
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 65
I thereupon closed the bargain for
Polly and her cage, and calling a
cab, took her home to Porchester
Polly-though presented as a gift
to a young miss, whose title to her
ownership was never in dispute-be-
came at once the pet of all the house-
hold. Her first greeting to her new
friends was on the evening of her ar-
rival, as we were all standing around
her cage, by the simple and brief
"Pretty Polly," spoken in pleasant
tones, as if modestly introducing her-
self to our acquaintance. She would
say nothing further; so with special
directions to the servants of safe-keep-
ing from the cat and dog-directions
we often laughed about afterward
when we better knew her abilities of
self-protection-she was left for the
The next morning gave promise of
66 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
one of those unusual April days in
London which, though the mercury
in Fahrenheit never reaches seventy-
five degrees, the English people call
"hot," and Polly was placed upon the
loads in the rear of the first flight of
stairs. All efforts to coax her into a
talking mood had failed, and the three
ladies had left her to her mumps,
when a clear, mellow whistle, with a
prolonged cadence that rose and fell
like the reveille of a bugle, was heard
through every part of the house,
followed by a soliloquy, so rapid,
and yet human-like, that everybody
ran to the windows. Pretty Polly!
Pretty Polly! Polly wants a shirt!
Scratch her poll! Scratch her poll!
Going, going, going, Polly going for
twenty pounds! Going! Going!
Twenty pounds! Twenty pounds!
Mr. Price! Mr. Price! Who are
you? Going for twenty pounds!" the
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 67
last repeated in the prolonged, despair-
ing notes of an auctioneer unwillingly
sacrificing the lot he has for sale,
and all spoken in such varieties of
intonation and natural cadences as fill-
ed the listeners with wonder. While re-
peating these sentences with a volu-
bility and distinctness that defy de-
scription, Polly stood balancing her-
self on one leg-" teetering," the chil-
dren afterward called it-swaying her
body back and forth, her head cocked
on one side, her small, round eyes
watching against the approach of an
intruder, and her attitude and bear-
ing full of independence and noncha-
lance. The shouts of delight that
followed this first essay of her powers
of utterance checked her at once, and
we soon learned that it was only when
left to herself, and that during the
warmest days in the open air, that
her loquaciousness was indulged to its
68 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
vent. Then, exposed to the full rays
of the sun, without company, better in
the stillness of the country than in the
town, full fed, her feathers smooth and
glossy, her morning exercise of climb-
ing the rounds and bars of her cage
and swinging upon her ring finished,
her ablutions thoroughly performed,
and her poll scratched by the one
whom she had chosen to consider
her best friend-this last favor she
never failed to ask on Mrs. G- 's ap-
proach, Scratch her poll, scratch her
poll, pretty, pretty Polly, scratch her
poll!"-would she pour forth her
melody of language. Beginning with
a sharp rebuking tone to Mr. Price,"
followed by a beseeching request,
"Polly wants her beer," she would
call the cat: "Pussy! poor pussy!
mew! mew! poor pussy!" whistle
to the dog, ask of the onlookers who
stood below wondering, "Who, who
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 69
are you ?" and then composing her-
self to the dignity of surging to and
fro, repeat with infinite variety her
In two respects she was remarkable:
she never ceased to learn new words,
old as she was, and she never forgot
what she had already learned. But
you could not teach her; she taught
herself. Unceasing efforts to make
her say Harrie or Thiddie fail-
ed, but the rebuking call to "George"
and the welcome back to Roy," the
prolonged whistle of the oldest son
returning at evening from the office
and the cant phrase of an hostler in the
neighboring mews-" I'll warm ye"-
she adopted at once.
It happened one noon, during her
first summer with us, that a strange
cat, attracted either by Polly's mimic-
ry of her call or the hope of a sweet
morsel of bird, had stolen on to the
70 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
leads. No person whom either could
see was near. The former, a full-
grown "Tom," crouching stealthily
and slowly, amid long and doubtful
pauses approached the cage. Polly,
confident in her power, for she was
a stranger to fear, and as if possessed
of reason, began her call of "puss,
puss, puss, poor pussy, poor pussy,"
in her most winning tones, and follow-
ed it by her perfect imitation of the
cry of a kitten for its mother. For
ten minutes or more, while the changes
of "mew! mew!" sometimes quick
and sharp, sometimes prolonged wail-
ings, and the endearing "poor, poor
pussy," were rung by the bird, the
cat, now and then shifting her line
of approach, kept drawing nearer the
cage. Her eyes were fixed upon the
strange object before her, her tail
waved stiffly to and fro, her move-
ment forward was so slow as to be
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 71
almost imperceptible, and her crouch,
and pointed ears, and lithe back, and
frequently protruded tongue, and
whiskers instinct with life, indicated
her fell purpose. A minute more,
and her paw, thrust between the bars
of the cage, was about to fix its claw
in the bird's flesh, when a yell startled
the house. Polly's beak, that terri-
ble weapon which neither man nor
beast dared encounter twice, with the
quickness of an arrow had transfixed
the cat's paw, and she was struggling
with cries of pain to be free. It was
a fair fight for championship, in which
Polly was the victor, and by what-
ever means the result may have been
known, it is certain that no animal of
the feline species on either side of the
Atlantic ever afterward disputed her
One of the earliest acquaintances
Polly made in our house-an ac-
72 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
quaintance that quickly ripened into
intimacy-was with Flora, a small
white German dog, in whose blood
there was a dash of the Esquimaux
dog brought to England by Captain
Parry from Lancaster Sound in 1818.
Without unusual sagacity or strong
antipathies, Flora was easily won by
attention and kindness, so that no
sooner had Polly learned to call "Flo,
Flo, Flo," than the former acknow-
ledged a tie of friendship between her-
self and the bird. Twenty times in a
day would she rush from the area at
Polly's call, tear up the stairs, and giv-
ing two short barks, as much as to say,
"Well, I'm here," curl down near
the cage, and engage in catching flies,
at which she was an expert, until she
fell asleep, Polly meanwhile looking
contentedly on. She was the only
animal at whom the bird never struck
when she found an opportunity. When
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 73
Flora died Polly ceased to call her,
and it is not remembered that she
has spoken her name once in nine
years. Even the stuffed skin of Flora,
which was shortly brought home and
placed in a glass case near her cage,
failed to awaken in the bird remem-
brances of her lost friend.
As has been stated already, one of
her most emphatic calls was "George."
From the top of the stairs, through the
halls and rooms, to the most distant
parts of the house, the short, sharp
and decisive George! George!
George!" would ring, every repeti-
tion of the name being made increas-
ingly severe and emphatic. Confound
you, Polly," said the subject of this
call one morning, "I've a great mind
to wring your neck." Come along,"
replied the bird.
A smith, who was called in to re-
pair the handle of her cage, was warn-
74 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
ed against her bite. While working
warily at the job with wire and
pincers, Polly, after eyeing him for
a time, gave vent to her indignation
in a quick, angry "George!" The
man started as if shot, and turning
pale, said, "Why, that's my name!
She's a witch!" and was with difficul-
ty persuaded to complete his work.
Two foppish young men were en-
deavoring one Sunday afternoon, from
a neighboring window, to attract her
attention. "Say something, Polly!
Sell at auction, Polly! Do talk!"
Polly, who was apparently interested
in some stable talk overheard among
the hostlers, and always manifested
contempt for fine outsides, for a long
time paid no attention to their re-
quests, until, as if wearied by their
importunity, she turned upon them
with, "Who are you?" and imme-
diately resumed her attitude of lis-
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 75
tening, refusing to speak another
The name of her mistress she never
called aloud, and indeed never spoke
except during the half hour they spent
together daily. Then, courting every
demonstration of fondness which hand
or voice or look could give, bending
her head to be scratched, stretching
her back to be smoothed, kissing,
shaking hands, giving back and re-
ceiving again her lump of sugar,
and rollicking in the overflow of
gladness on swing and perch and bar,
sometimes rattling off words too rap-
idly for full pronunciation, as, Pretty
Polly, pret, pret, pret Poll, Polly
wants; pretty Poll," or subsiding into
a gentler mood, accompanied by a
"Hush, hush," lengthening the aspi-
rate like a mother quieting her child,
"'sh, 'sh ;" and breathing the low coo-
ing she had caught from the doves,
76 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
she would begin, "Mary! Mary!
Pretty Mary! May, May, May !" with
a continually-decreasing volume of
sound, till it reached a confidential
whisper. She made friends of others,
and perhaps was as pleased with their
attentions, but the name of Mary she
never uttered except to her mistress.
More remarkable in some respects
than her power of speech was her
whistle. It was a full, loud, clear
note of great power, as melodious as
that of the piping bullfinch, and
various as the mocking-bird's. Usually
whistling in scales, with a compass of
more than two octaves, she would run
up and down her semi-wild, semi-
cultivated gamut by the hour, intro-
ducing now and then as variations
snatches caught from the violin or
overheard in the street. A gentle-
man calling to introduce a friend
one evening had passed her cage on
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 77
the landing when she gave one of
her wild scales, the echo of which
rang through the house. Thinking
the whistle to have proceeded from his
companion, who was following him,
the gentleman turned angrily around,
saying, "Smith, do you know where
you are ?"
Though Polly's words and phrases
were imitative, they were, beyond
doubt, often associated with ideas. If
the person fetching her food were
stopped on the way, she would cry,
" Come along, come along!" If one
she liked (never to one she disliked)
approached her cage, putting her head
through the bars, she asked, "Scratch
her poll," repeating the request till
granted; and to boys, who in the
country stood wondering at her
through the palings, she invariably
cried, "Who are you?" To Hexier,
the dog succeeding Flora, but with
78 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
whom she formed no friendship, she
barked; to the cat, and also to a muff
or other furs, she either mewed or
called Puss;" to a stranger she ad-
dressed "Mr. Price;" to two ladies
who were accustomed to stand admir-
ing her, Pretty, pretty Polly," dwell-
ing on the adjective with a voice of
feminine softness; and only when
alone in the joy of a hot midsummer's
sun, selling herself to some mythical
buyer, "Going, going, going; Polly
going for twenty pounds !"
It was charged that she was treach-
erous, but only by those who had in-
curred her anger and were afraid of
her terrible beak. She never struck
a friend but once, and then because
the hand that caressed her was gloved,
and she never lost an opportunity to
inflict a blow upon an enemy. To her
favorite next to her mistress, a lady
of great gentleness and equipoise of
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 79
character, she would come to be petted
with the greatest eagerness, bending
her neck, softening her voice, offering
her claw, and in many ways manifest-
ing her affection. She knew every
member of the family, calling four of
them by name, and what, considering
the difference she made in every other
demonstration between friend and foe,
is remarkable, two of the four were
her special dislike.
In all Polly's wonderful vocabulary
there were no words which she used
more effectively or appropriately than
those intended to excite a conscious-
ness of wrong. Nothing irregular
ever came within her notice, noth-
ing disobedient by the children, or
evasive by the servants, or rude by
visitors, or undignified by the elders
of the family, which was not followed
by an instant expression of scorn.
"For shame! for shame!" spoken in
80 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
those low grave tones, with the fall-
ing inflection that gives to our Saxon
idiom an intensity of rebuke beyond
most modern tongues, fell upon the
unwilling ears of wrong-doers not
without good. Where she caught
the words, or why she never mis-
applied them, was alike mysterious.
To the attempt to terrify her by
menace or to punish her by blows-
to the worrying of dog or cat-to
the boisterous crying of boys or girls
-to hasty words of anger spoken in
her hearing,-she applied the solemn,
dignified rebuke, For shame! for
shame!" In this respect she was,
in fact, the mentor of the household,
many a door having been shut and
many a scene of disturbance removed
from hall to study or parlor to escape
from hearing her reiterated rebuke.
Like most domestic animals, she
was strongly under the law of habit.
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 81
She insisted upon the cleansing of
her cage, supply of her food, change
of her water for drinking or bathing,
removal to the open air from the
house, and her daily lumps of sugar
at certain hours, any omission or
postponement of which she knew both
how to make known and to punish.
The only exception to this which her
twelve years' membership in our
family afforded was her escape one
morning to a neighboring roof in
London, and her unwillingness to be
captured and brought back. We at
one time furnished her with a com-
panion of her own breed-an African
parrot, younger and sprightlier than
she, but she refused all acquaintance
or any introduction that should lead
to it, not according even the recogni-
tion which she gave to dog, cat or
canary bird. Age had made her
celibate habits a second nature, and,
82 OUR AFRICAN PARROT.
she bridled up with the dignity of an
ancient spinster at any purpose of in-
Of Polly's faults it is best to say
nothing, nor draw her frailties from
their dread abode." Even humanity
is imperfect, and the god Pan, who
was more than human, sometimes
changed the music that caused all
the wood-nymphs to dance into cries
that drove every one mad. With all
her winning blandishments, Polly had
the power of making herself infinitely
disagreeable. At the approach of cold
weather her gayety disappeared, her
spirits sunk, and her sulks came on,
lasting the whole winter. This change
of disposition was accompanied by
shrieks-the country folk call them
squawks-uttered at intervals of every
few seconds, and continued for hours.
Nothing availed to stop them-food,
the warmest place in the house or
OUR AFRICAN PARROT. 83
threats-except the total exclusion of
light from her cage, and this was ac-
complished by drawing over it a thick
covering of drugget.
Polly came to this country in 1861.
She bore the voyage impatiently, mak-
ing our state-room hideous by her
complaining, and was so ill-natured
that, to warn visitors not to approach
too near, we hung a placard-" she
bites "-upon her cage. Under the
July sun of Columbia county, New
York, however, she shortly recovered
her good temper, and barring an
occasional attack of gout in her feet,
continued in good health up to this
last winter. She had then reached
the age of eighty years. Without
considering the exhausted resources
of advanced life to meet severe cold,
she was committed to Adams' Ex-
press to be taken on to Washington
City during the severest night of the
84 A LITTLE STRANGER.
season, and froze to death on the way.
The taxidermist of the Smithsonian
Institute has done his best to pre-
serve the bird's mortal part and re-
store it to our sight. But he had
never seen Polly alive, and has fail-
ed. As her form, perched on a spray,
rises above the bracket before me, it
is but the mockery of the queenly
bird-the arched neck, and knowing
look, and graceful posture, and prince-
ly bearing are no longer there.
A LITTLE STRANGER.
T HOUGH a man of very strict
principles, no man ever enjoyed
a joke more than Dr. Byron. He
had a vast fund of humor and ready
wit, and with children particularly
A LITTLE STRANGER. 87
he loved to chat familiarly and draw
them out. As he was one day pass-
ing into the house he was accosted by
a very little boy, who asked him if he
wanted any sauce, meaning vegetables.
The doctor inquired if such a tiny
thing was a market man. "No, sir;
my father is," was the prompt answer.
The doctor said, "Bring me in some
squashes," and passed into the house,
sending out the change. In a few
minutes the child returned, bringing
back part of the change. The doctor
told him he was welcome to it, but the
child would not take it back, saying
his father would blame him. Such
strange manners in a child attracted
his attention, and he began to ex-
amine the boy attentively. He was
evidently poor; his jacket was pieced
and patched with every kind of cloth,
and his trousers darned with so many
colors that it was difficult to tell the
88 A LITTLE STRANGER.
original fabric, but scrupulously neat
and clean withal. The boy very quiet-
ly endured the scrutiny of the doctor
while holding him at arm's length
and examining his face. At last he
You seem a nice little boy. Won't
you come and live with me, and be a
"Yes, sir," said the child.
"Spoken like a man," said the doctor,
patting his head as he dismissed him.
A few weeks passed on, when one
day Jim came to say there was a little
boy with a bundle down stairs waiting
to see the doctor, and would not tell
his business to any one else.
"Send him up," was the answer;
and in a few moments he recognized
the boy of the squashes (but no
squash himself, as we shall see); he
was dressed in a new, though coarse,
suit of clothes, and his hair very
A LITTLE STRANGER. 89
nicely combed, his shoes brushed up,
and a little bundle tied in a home-
spun checked handkerchief on his
arm. Deliberately taking off his hat,
and laying it down with his bundle,
he walked up to the doctor, saying,
I have come, sir."
"Come for what, my child ?"
To live with you, and be a doctor,"
said the child with the utmost naivete.
The first impulse of the doctor was
to laugh immoderately; but the im-
perturbable gravity of the little thing
rather sobered him, as he recalled,
too, his former conversations, and he
vowed he never felt so perplexed in
his life. At the time he felt he need-
ed no addition to his family.
"Did your father consent to your
coming?" he asked.
"What did he say?"
I told him that you wanted me to
90 A LITTLE STRANGER.
come and live with you and be a
doctor; and he said you were a very
good man, and I might come as soon
as my clothes were ready."
And your mother, what said she ?"
"She said Dr. Byron would do just
what he said he would, and God had
provided for me. And," he said, I
have on a new suit of clothes," sur-
veying himself, and here is another
in the bundle," undoing the hand-
kerchief and displaying them, with
two shirts white as snow, and a
couple of neat checked aprons, so
carefully folded it was plain none
but a mother would have done it.
The sensibilities of the doctor were
awakened to see the fearless, the
undoubting trust with which the poor
couple had bestowed their child upon
him, and such a child. His cogita-
tions were not long; he thought of
Moses in the bulrushes, abandoned
A LITTLE STRANGER. 91
to Providence; and, above all, he
thought of the child that was car-
ried into Egypt, and that the divine
Saviour had said: "Blessed be little
children;" and he took him to the
wife of his bosom, saying, "Susan
dear, I think we pray in church that
God will have mercy upon all young
"To be sure we do," said the
wondering wife, and what then ?"
"And the Saviour said, Whoso-
ever receiveth one such little child in
my name receiveth me.' Take this
child in his name and take care of
him." And from that hour this good
couple received him to their hearts
and home. It did not then occur to
them that one of the most eminent
physicians and best men of the age
stood before them in the person of
that child; it did not occur to them
that this little creature, thus thrown
92 THE BLACK SPECTACLES.
upon their charity, was destined to be
their staff and stay in declining age
-a protector and more than son to
themselves; all this was then un-
revealed, but they cheerfully received
the child they believed Providence
had committed to their care; and if
ever beneficence was rewarded it was
in this instance.
THE BLACK SPECTACLES.
" OOP back the curtains, nurse,"
said Bella, after she was in bed,
"for I know, I feel sure, that to-morrow
will be a stormy day."
"Why, look out now, Bella," said
her sister Grace. How can you say
so? The stars are shining as bright
as bright can be."
THE BLACK SPECTACLES. 93
"That may be so, too; but the sun
went down behind a cloud of yellow,
and there wasn't a bit of red in the
sky, for I was watching to see it."
"Well, we will see, Belle, when to-
morrow comes;" and the two girls
fell asleep, thinking of the next day's
The curtain that had been looped
back by the nurse let in the first rays
of the bright morning sun, and, after
traveling quietly toward them, finally
lighted upon the faces of the two
sisters, waking them to the fact that
it was some time past broad daylight.
"Yes, and a bright day too, Bella.
Where's your rain?" Grace asked,
while she dressed.
"Come here-only look! Red in
the morning, the sailor's warning.'
Don't you see there has been a bright
streak of red over in the east, but it
has faded out? I am sure it will
94 THE BLACK SPECTACLES.
storm. We will have rain before
Grace peered anxiously out, search-
ing for the obnoxious red line pre-
dicting bad weather. When she found
out where it was, she pronounced it
yellow-decidedly yellow; but, as
Bella persisted in calling it crimson,
she only said, as she left the room:
Very well; you know we will start
at nine, if it is pleasant."
"Yes, and it isn't six o'clock yet.
Oh dear! how deadful it will be if the
rain spoils all our fun !"
But Grace was halfway down stairs,
hurrying to prepare the luncheon;
and when Bella joined her, half of
the things were packed.
Oh dear me!" she exclaimed. I
hope the pickles and vinegar won't
tumble all over the pies and cakes,
like they did last year. The girls
told me everything was ruined; they
THE BLACK SPECTACLES. 95
couldn't eat anything they carried.
Do you see how dark it is growing?"
The sun went under a cloud for an
instant, and then came out brighter
than ever. "It is all clouding over
already; I declare, it is too bad !"
"There, it is shining again!" ex-
claimed Grace. "It is as clear as
possible. I think we could not have
a more charming day for our picnic."
"But, Grace, you know you never
think it will rain."
They were to start for the grove at
nine, under the care of their teacher;
and at that hour a large wagon with
four horses drove up. The ride was
not more than three or four miles, but
the twenty boys and girls already
seated thought this the best part
of the day's pleasure, and the two
girls were received and welcomed
with warm exclamations of delight.
As their basket was handed in, a
96 THE BLACK SPECTACLES.
number of voices cried, "Here, Gracie,
sit by me;" and, though room was
instantly made for Bella, it was very
evident that she was not the favorite.
Bella's thoughts were entirely too
much occupied to notice this, how-
ever; and after she was fairly seated
in the wagon, she found that Jessie,
the youngest of the party, was on one
side, and Rufus, the greatest tease in
the school, on the other.
How pleasant it is now !" she said.
"I thought the rain would come down
in showers before nine o'clock."
Is it going to rain ?" asked Jessie,
opening wide her blue eyes.
"It looked like it this morning,
and last night there was a rainy
Jessie's face fell.
"I am so sorry," she sighed.
"Sorry! who's sorry? What's up?
what's the matter?" said Rufus,
THE BLACK SPECTACLES. 97
catching a glimpse of Jessie's dis-
Bella says it is going to rain; is
Of course-of course it will rain,"
said Rufus. "I shouldn't be one bit
surprised if it rained more and harder
than ever before."
Several of the others heard this,
and anxiously scanned the bright
blue sky for some appearance of rain.
Take care of your bonnets and fine
frocks," continued Rufus. "There's a
storm coming. It will certainly rain
-yes, rain a good deal between now"
-he hesitated-" and Christmas."
He laughed heartily at his own joke,
and the others joined in readily.
"So don't look downcast, Jess,
until you hear or see the first drops."
Bella, much relieved, now appeared
to be enjoying the drive with the
others, when suddenly one of the
98 THE BLACK SPECTACLES.
wheels jolted over a large stone in
the road, and bounced the wagon up
higher than usual.
"Hurrah! that's fun!" exclaimed
"How dreadful it would be if the
wheel should run off!" said Bella in
a low voice to Jessie. "I should
think a jolt like that would make it,
and how dreadful it would be! Just
think of it, if this large wagonful of
girls and boys should be tumbled
over! Oh dear! I wish we hadn't
jolted over that stone so hard."
Jessie began to look pale at this
suggestion, and just then the driver
whipped up his horses a little faster
than they had been going, and her
fears increased when Bella continued:
"Oh dear! I never thought about
it before we started, but what would
become of us if those great horses
should run away with us? How