WITH A COLOURED ILLUSTRATION.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,
THE -BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
STORIES BY JACOB ABJOTT.
Price is. each, withi Coloured Frontispiece.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
I.-THE CAVERN ... ... ... I
II.-BOYISHNESS ... ... ... 15
III.-THE PLOUGHING ... ... ... 23
IV.-NEGOTIATIONS ... ... ... 42
V.--PLANS FOR THE SQUIRREL ... 55
VI.-DIFFICULTY ... ... ... 66
VII.-THE WORKSHOP ... ... ... 77
VIII.-A DISCOVERY ... ... ... 92
IX.-THE ACCIDENT ... ... ... 106
X.-GoOD ADVICE ... ... ... 119
XI.-THE JOURNEY HOIF ... ... 130
ONE pleasant summer morning Alphonzo was
amusing himself by swinging on a gate in front
of his mother's house. His cousin Malleville,
who was then about eight years old, was sitting
upon a stone outside of the gate, by the road-
side, in a sort of corner that was formed between
the wall and a great tree which was growing
there. Malleville was employed in telling her
kitten a story.
The kitten was sitting near Malleville, upon
a higher stone. Malleville was leaning upon
this stone, looking the kitten in the face. The
kitten was looking down, but she seemed to be
listening very attentively.
"Now, Kitty," said Malleville, "if you will
sit still and hark, I will tell you a story,-a story
about a mouse. I read it in a book. Once
there was a mouse, and he was white, and he
lived in a cage. No, I forgot-there were three
mice. I'll begin again.
"Once there was a boy, and he had three
white mice, and he kept them in a cage."
Here Malleville's story was interrupted by
Phonny, who suddenly called out:
"Here comes Beechnut, Malleville."
"I don't care," said Malleville; "I'm telling
a story to Kitty, and you must not interrupt
Here the kitten jumped down from the stone
and ran away.
"Now, Phonny!" said Malleville, "see what
you have done;-you have made my Kitty go
I didn't make her go away," said Phonny.
"Yes you did," said Malleville ; you inter-
rupted my story, and that made her go away."
Phonny laughed aloud at this assertion,
though Malleville continued to look very serious.
Phonny then repeated that he did not make the
kitten go away; and besides, he said, he thought
that it was very childish to pretend to tell a
story to a kitten.
Malleville said that she did not think it was
childish at all, for her kitten liked to hear
stories. Phonny, at this, laughed again, and
then Malleville, appearing to be still more dis-
pleased, said that she was not any more childish
than Phonny himself was.
By this time Beechnut, as Phonny called him,
had come up. He was driving a cart. The
cart was loaded with wood. The wood consisted
of small and dry sticks, which Beechnut had
gathered together in the forest.
"Beechnut," said Phonny, "are you going
into the woods again for another load ?"
"Yes," said Beechnut.
"And may I go with you ?" said Phonny.
"Yes, said Beechnut.
"And I?" said Malleville.
"Yes," said Beechnut.
Beechnut drove on into the yard, and at
length stopped near a great wood-pile. Beech-
nut began to throw off the wood. Phonny
climbed up into the cart too, to help Beechnut
unload. Malleville sat down upon a log lying
near, to see.
While they were at work thus, throwing off
the wood, Phonny, instead of taking the smallest
sticks that came in his way, tried always to get
hold of the largest. He had three motives for
doing this, all mingled together. The first was
a pleasure in exercising his own strength; the
second, a desire to show Malleville that he was
no child; and the third, to make a display of
his strength to Beechnut.
After a while, when the load had been about
half thrown off, Phonny stopped his work,
straightened himself up with an air of great
self-satisfaction and said,
Malleville says I am childish; do you think
I am, Beechnut ?"
"No," said Malleville, I did not say so."
She began to be a little frightened at this
appeal to Beechnut.
"Yes," said Phonny, "you certainly did."
"No," said Malleville.
"What did you say?" asked Phonny.
"I said I was not childish myself, any more
Well, that is the same thing," said Phonny.
Malleville was silent. She thought that it
was a different thing, but she did not know very
well how to explain the difference.
In the mean time Beechnut went on unloading
"Do you think I am childish at all, Beech-
nut ?" said Phonny.
Why I don't know," said Beechnut, doubt-
fully. I don't know how many childish things
it is necessary for a boy to do, in order to be
considered as childish in character; but I
have known you to do two childish things within
half an hour."
Phonny seemed a little surprised and a little
confused at this, and after a moment's pause he
I know what one of them is, I think."
"What?" asked Beechnut.
"Swinging on the gate."
"No," said Beechnut, I did not mean that.
You have done things a great deal more childish
"What?" said Phonny.
The first was," said Beechnut, making a
The Cavern. 5
dispute with Malleville, by appealing to me to
decide whether you were childish."
"Why I ought to know if I am childish,"
said Phonny, so that if I am, I may correct
I don't think that that was your motive,
said Beechnut, in asking. If you had wished
to know my opinion in order to correct yourself
of the fault, you would have asked me some
time privately. I think that your motive was a
wish to get a triumph over Malleville."
Oh, Beechnut! said Phonny.
Although Phonny said Oh, Beechnut," he
still had a secret conviction that what Beechnut
had said was true. He was silent a moment,
and then he asked what was the other childish-
ness which Beechnut had seen within half an
In unloading this wood," said Beechnut,
"you tried to get hold of the biggest sticks,
even when they were partly buried under the
little ones, and thus worked to great disad-
vantage. Men take the smaller ones off first,
and so clear the way to get at the larger ones.
But boys make a great ado in getting hold of
the largest ones they can see, by way of showing
the bystanders how strong they are."
"Well," said Phonny, I will throw off the
little ones after this."
So Phonny went to work again, and in
throwing off the remainder of the load, he acted
in a much more sensible and advantageous.
manner than he had done before. The cart
was soon empty. Beechnut then went into the
house and brought out a small chair; this he
placed in the middle of the cart, for Malleville.
He also placed a board across the cart in front,
in such a manner that the ends of the board
rested upon the sides of the cart. The board
thus formed a seat for Beechnut and Phonny.
Beechnut then gave the reins to Phonny, who
had taken his seat upon the board, while he,
himself, went to help Malleville in.
He led Malleville up to the cart behind, and
putting his hands under her arms, he said
"Jump !" Malleville jumped-Beechnut at
the same time lifting to help her. She did not
however quite get up, and so Beechnut let her
down to the ground again.
Once more," said Beechnut.
So Malleville tried again. She went a little
higher this time than before, but not quite high
"That makes twice," said Beechnut. "The
''Try it once, try it twice,
And then once more, and that makes thrice."
The third time Malleville seemed to be
endowed with some new and supernatural
strength in her jumping; for she bounded so
high that her feet rose almost to a level with
the top of the seat, and then, as she came down
gently upon the floor of the cart, Beechnut
released his hold upon her, and she walked
to her chair and sat down. Beechnut then
mounted to his place by the side of Phonny,
and the whole party rode away.
After riding along for some distance, Phonny
asked Beechnut if he really thought that he was
"Why no," said Beechnut, "not particularly.
You are a little boyish sometimes, and I sup-
pose that that is to be expected, since you are
really a boy. But you are growing older every
year, and I see some marks of manliness
in you, now and then. How old are you
now ? "
"I am nine years and five months," said
Phonny. "That is, I am about half-past nine."
"That is pretty old," said Beechnut; "but
then I suppose I must expect you to be a boy
some time longer."
"Beechnut," said Phonny, "did you know
that my couisin Wallace was coming here pretty
"Is he?" said Beechnut. "From college?"
"Yes," said Phonny, "it is his vacation. He
is coming here to spend his vacation."
"I am glad of that," said Beechnut. "I
like to have him here."
And my cousin Stuyvesant is coming too,"
Stuyvesant is my brother," said Malleville.
How old is he?" asked Beechnut.
He is only nine," said Phonny.
Then he is not so old as you are," said
"Not quite," said Phonny.
"And I suppose, of course, he will be more
of a boy than you ? said Beechnut.
"I don't know," said Phonny.
We shall see," said Beechnut.
Just then Phonny heard the sound of wheels
behind him. He turned round and saw a
waggon coming along the road.
"Here comes a waggon," said he. "I am
going to whip up, so that they shall not go
"No," said Beechnut, "turn out to one side
of the road, and walk the horse, and let them
"Why?" asked Phonny.
"I'll tell you presently," said Beechnut,
"after the waggon has got before us."
Phonny turned out of the road and let the
waggon drive by, and then Beechnut told him
that the reason why he was not willing to have
him whip up and keep ahead was, that he
wanted to use the strength of the horse that
day in hauling wood, and not to waste it in
galloping along the road, racing with a waggon.
At length the party reached a place where
there was a pair of bars by the roadside, and
a way leading in, to a sort of pasture. Phonny
knew that this was where Beechnut was going,
and so he turned in. The road was rough, and
Malleville had to hold on very carefully to the
side of the cart as they went along. Presently
the road went into a wood, and after going on
some way in this wood, Beechnut directed
Phonny to stop, and they all got out.
"Now, Phonny," said Beechnut, you can
have your choice either to work or play."
"What do you think that I had better do ?"
"Play, I rather think," said Beechnut.
"I thought you would say work," said
"You had better play, in order to keep
Malleville company," said Beechnut.
"Well," said Phonny, I will."
So while Beechnut went to work to get a new
load of wood, Phonny and Malleville went away
There was a precipice of rocks near the place
where Beechnut was loading his cart, with a
great many large rocks at the foot of it. The
top of the precipice was crowned with trees,
and there were also a great many bushes and
trees growing among the rocks below. It was
a very wild and romantic place, and Phonny
and Malleville liked to play there very much
After a time Phonny called out to Beechnut
to inquire whether he had any matches in his
pocket. He said that he and Malleville were
going to make a fire.
Yes," said Beechnut, I have. Come here
and I will give you some."
So Phonny sent Malleville after the matches,
while he collected dry wood for a fire. When
Malleville returned, she gave Phonny the
matches, and told him that Beechnut said that
they must make the fire on the rocks, some-
where, or in some other safe place, so that it
should not spread into the woods.
"Well," said Phonny, "I will look about and
find a good place."
Accordingly, he began to walk along at the
foot of the precipice, examining every recess
among the rocks, and all the nooks and corners
which seemed to promise well as places of en-
campment. Malleville could not quite keep
up with him, on account of the roughnesses and
inequalities of the way.
At last Malleville, who had fallen a little
behind,, heard Phonny calling to her in tones
of great delight. She hastened on. In a
moment she saw Phonny before her just coming
out from among the bushes and calling to her,
"Malleville Malleville come here quick !
-I have found a cavern."
Malleville went on, and presently she came
in view of what Phonny called a cavern. It
was a place where two immense fragments
of rock leaned over toward each other, so as
to form a sort of roof, beneath which was an
inclosure which Phonny called a cavern. He
might perhaps have more properly called it a
grotto. There was a great flat stone at the
bottom of the cavern, which made an excellent
floor, and there was an open place in the top
behind, where Phonny thought that the smoke
would go out if he should make a fire.
"There, Malleville," said Phonny, when she
came where she could see the cavern, that is
what I call a discovery. We will play that we
are savages, and that we live in a cavern."
Phonny rolled two large stones into the
cavern, and placed them in the back part of
it, where he intended to build his fire. These
stones were for andirons. Then he began to
bring in logs, and sticks, and branches of trees,
such as he found lying upon the ground dead
and dry. These he piled up inside of the
cavern in a sort of corner, where there was a
deep recess or crevice, which was very con-
venient for holding the wood.
Malleville helped him to do all this. When
a sufficient supply of wood was gathered,
Phonny laid some of it across his stone and-
irons, and then prepared to light the fire.
He rubbed one of his matches against a dry
log, and the match immediately kindled.
Phonny looked at the blue flame a moment,
and then, as if some sudden thought had struck
him, he blew it out again, and said,
On the whole, I will go and ask Beechnut.
We may as well be sure."
So he ran down from the entrance of the
cavern, and thence along by the way that they
had come, through the thicket, until he came
in sight of Beechnut.
"Beechnut," said he, calling out very loud,
" we have found a cavern ;-may we build a
fire in it?"
Yes," said Beechnut.
Then Phonny went back, and telling Malle-
ville that Beechnut had said yes, he proceeded
to kindle his fire.
It happened that there were two large stones,
tolerably square in form, each of them, and flat
upon the upper side, which were lying in the
cavern in such places as to be very convenient
for seats. When the fire began to burn,
Phonny sat down upon one of these seats, and
gave Malleville the other. The fire blazed up
very cheerily, and the smoke and sparks, wind-
ing their way up the side of the rock, which
formed the back of the cavern, escaped out
through the opening at the top in a very satis-
"There," said Phonny, "this is what I call
comfortable. If we only now had something to
eat, it is all I should want.
I'll tell you what," said he again, after a
moment's pause, "we will send home by Beech-
nut, when he goes with his next load, to get us
something to eat."
"Well," said Malleville, "so we will."
Beechnut very readily undertook the com-
mission of bringing Phonny and Malleville
something to eat. Accordingly, when his cart
was loaded he went away, leaving Phonny and
Malleville in their cavern. While he was gone
The Cavern. 13
the children employed themselves in bringing
flat stones, and making a fireplace by building
walls on each side of their fire.
In due time Beechnut returned, bringing with
him a large round box, which he said that Mrs.
Henry had sent to Phonny and Malleville. It
was too heavy for Phonny to lift easily, and so
Beechnut drove his cart along until it was
nearly opposite the cavern. Then he took the
box out of the cart and carried it into the
cavern, and laid it down upon Malleville's seat.
Phonny opened it, and he found that it con-
tained a variety of nice things. There were four
potatoes and four apples, each rolled up in a
separate paper. There were also two crackers.
These crackers were in a tin mug, just big
enough to hold them, one on the top of the
other. The mug, Phonny said, was for them
to drink from, and as there was a spring by
the side of the cavern, they had plenty of water.
One cracker is for me," said Phonny, and
the other for you, Malleville. I mean to split
my cracker in two, and toast the halves."
At the bottom of the box there was half a pie.
Beechnut stopped to see what the box con-
tained, and then he went away to his work
again. As he went away, he told the children
that Mrs. Henry said that they need not come
home to dinner that day, unless they chose to
do so; but might make their dinner, if they
pleased, in the cavern, from what she had sent
them in the box.
The children were very much pleased with
this plan. They remained in the cavern a long
time. They roasted their potatoes in the fire,
and their apples in front of it. They toasted
their crackers and warmed their pie, by placing
them against a stone between the andirons;
and they got water, whenever they were thirsty,
in the dipper from the spring.
At length, about the middle of the afternoon,
when their interest in the cavern was beginning
to decline, their thoughts were suddenly turned
away from it altogether by the news which
Beechnut announced to them on his return
from the house, after his eighth load, that
Wallace had arrived.
And has my brother Stuyvesant come too ?"
,, I suppose so," said Beechnut; "there was a
boy with him, about as large as Phonny, but I
did not hear what his name was."
Oh, it is he it is he !" said Malleville,
clapping her hands.
Phonny and Malleville mounted upon the top
of the load as soon as Beechnut got it ready,
and rode home. They ran into the house,
while Beechnut went to unload his wood.
Just as Beechnut was ready to go out of the
yard again with his empty cart, Phonny came out.
Cousin Wallace has really come," said
"Ah !" said Beechnut, "and what does he
have to say ?"
"Why, he says," replied Phonny, "that he is
going to make a man of me."
Is he ? said Beechnut. Well, I hope he
will take proper time for it. I have no great
opinion of the plan of making men out of boys
before their time."
So saying, Beechnut drove away, and Phonny
Two or three days after Wallace arrived at
Franconia, he and Phonny formed a plan to go
and take a ride on horseback. They invited
Stuyvesant to go with them, but Stuyvesant
said that Beechnut was going to plough that
day, and had promised to teach him to drive
oxen. He said that he should like better to
learn to drive oxen than to take a ride on
There was another reason which influenced
Stuyvesant in making this decision, and that
was, that he had observed there were only two
horses in the stable, and although he knew that
Beechnut could easily obtain another from some
of the neighbours, still he thought that this would
make some trouble, and he was always very
considerate about causing trouble. This was
rather remarkable in Stuyvesant, for he was a
city boy, and city boys are apt to be very in-
So Wallace and Phonny resolved to go by
themselves. They mounted their horses and
rode together out through the great gate.
Now," said Phonny, when they were fairly
on the way, we will have a good time. This
is just what I like. I would rather have a good
ride on horseback than anything else. I wish
that they would let me go alone sometimes."
"Won't they? asked Wallace.
"No, not very often," said Phonny.
Do you know what the reason is ?" asked
"I suppose because they think that I am
not old enough," replied Phonny ; "but I am."
"I don't think that is the reason," said
Wallace. Stuyvesant is not quite so old as
you are, and yet I shall let him go and ride
alone whenever he pleases."
What is the reason then ?" asked Phonny.
"Because you are not man enough; I sup-
pose," said Wallace. "You might be more
manly, without being any older, and then
people would put more trust in you, and you
would have a great many more pleasures."
Phonny was rather surprised to hear his
cousin Wallace speak thus. He had thought
that he was manly-very manly; but it was
evident that his cousin considered him boyish.
"I do not know," continued Wallace, but
that you are as manly as other boys of your
Except Stuyvesant," said Phonny.
"Yes, except Stuyvesant," said Wallace; "I
think that he is rather remarkable. I do
not think that you are very boyish,-but you
are growing up quite fast, and you are getting
to be pretty large. It is time for you to begin
to evince some degree of the carefulness, and
considerate sense of responsibility, that belong
"There are two kinds of boyishness," con-
tinued Wallace. One kind is very harmless."
What kind is that ? asked Phonny.
"Why, if a boy continues," said Wallace,
"when he is quite old, to take pleasure in
amusements which generally please only young
children, that is boyishness of a harmless kind.
For example, suppose we should see a boy,
eighteen years old, playing marbles a great deal,
we should say that he was boyish. So if you
were to have a rattle or any other such little toy
for a plaything, and should spend a great deal
of time in playing with it, we should say that it
was very boyish or childish. Still that kind of
boyishness does little harm, and we should not
probably do anything about it, but should leave
you to outgrow it in your own time."
What kind of boyishness do you mean then,
that is not harmless ?" asked Phonny.
I mean that kind of want of consideration,
by which boys, when young, are always getting
themselves and others into difficulty and trouble,
for the sake of some present and momentary
pleasure. They see the pleasure, and they grasp
at it. They do not see the consequences, and
so they neglect them. The result is, they get
into difficulty and do mischief. Other people
lose confidence in them, and so they have to
be restricted and watched, and subjected to
limits and bounds, when, if they were a little
more considerate and manly, they might enjoy
a much greater liberty, and many more
I don't think that I do so," said Phonny.
"No," rejoined Wallace, "I don't think
that you do; that is I don't think that you do
so more than other boys of your age. But to
show you exactly what I mean, I will give
you some cases. Perhaps they are true, and
perhaps they are imaginary. It makes no
difference which they are.
"'Once there was a boy," continued Wal-
lace, who came down early one winter morn-
ing, and after warming himself a moment by
the sitting-room fire, he went out in the kitchen.
It happened to be ironing day, and the girl
was engaged in ironing at a great table by
the kitchen fire. We will call the girl's name
"The boy seeing Dorothy at this work,
wished to iron something himself. So Doro-
thy gave him a flat-iron and also something to
"What was it that she gave him to iron?
A towel," said Wallace.
"Well," said Phonny, "go on."
The boy took the flat-iron and went to
work," continued Wallace. Presently, how-
ever, he thought he would go out into the shed
and see if the snow had blown in during the
night. He found that it had, and so he stopped
to play with the drift a few minutes. At last
he came back into the kitchen, and he found,
when he came in, that Dorothy had finished
ironing his towel and had put it away. He
began to complain of her for doing this, and
then, in order to punish her, as he said, he
took two of her flat-irons and ran off with them,
and put them into the snow-drift."
"Yes," said Phonny, "that was me. But
then I only did it for fun."
"Was the fun or yourself or for Dorothy?"
"Why for me," said Phonny.
"And it made only trouble for Dorothy,"
"Yes," said Phonny, I suppose it did."
"That is the kind of boyishness I mean,"
said Wallace, "getting fun for yourself at
other people's expense; and so making them
dislike you, and feel sorry when they see you
coming, and glad when you go away."
Phonny was silent. He saw the folly of such a
course of proceeding, and had nothing to say
"There is another case," said Wallace.
" Once I knew a boy, and his name was-
I'll call him Johnny."
What was his other name ?" asked
"No matter for that now," said Wallace.
" He went out into the barn, and he wanted
something to do, and so the boy who lived
there, gave him a certain corner to take charge
of, and keep in order."
"What was that boy's name ?" asked Phonny.
"Why, I will call him Hazelnut," said
Ah exclaimed Phonny, now I know
you are going to tell some story about me and
Beechnut." Here Phonny threw back his head
and laughed aloud. He repeated the words
Johnny and Hazelnut, and then laughed again,
until he made the woods ring with his merri-
Wallace smiled, and went on with his story.
"Hazelnut gave him the charge of a corner
of the barn where some sets of harness were
kept, and Johnny's duty was to keep them in
order there. One day Hazelnut came home
and found that Johnny had taken out the long
reins from the harness, and had fastened them
to the branches of two trees in the back-yard,
to make a swing, and then he had loaded the
swing with so many children as to break it
"Yes," said Phonny, "that was me too;
but I did not think that the reins would
"I know it," said Wallace. "You did not
think. That is the nature of the kind of boy-
ishness that I am speaking of. The boy does
not think. Men, generally, before they do
any new or unusual thing, stop to consider what
the results and consequences of it are going
to be; but boys go on headlong, and find out
what the consequences are when they come."
While Wallace and Phonny had been con-
versing thus, they had been riding through a
wood which extended along a mountain glen.
Just at this time they came to a place where a
cart-path branched off from the main road, to-
ward the right. Phonny proposed to go into
this path to see where it would lead. Wallace
had no objection to this plan, and so they
turned their horses and went in.
The cart-path led them by a winding way
through the woods for a short distance, along
a little dell, and then it descended into a
ravine, at the bottom of which there was a
foaming torrent tumbling over a very rocky
bed. The path by this time became quite a
road, though it was a very wild and stony road.
It kept near the bank of the brook, continually
ascending, until at last it turned suddenly away
from the brook, and went up diagonally upon
the side of a hill. There were openings in the
woods on the lower side of the road, through
which Wallace got occasional glimpses of the
distant valleys. Wallace was very much in-
terested in these prospects, but Phonny's atten-
tion was wholly occupied, as he went along, in
looking over all the logs, and rocks, and hollow
trees, in search of squirrels.
At last, at a certain turn of the road, the
"riders came suddenly upon a pair of bars which
appeared before them,-directly across the
"Well," said Wallace, "here we are, what
shall we do now? "
"It is nothing but a pair of bars," said
Phonny; "I can jump off and take them
No," said Wallace, I think we may as
well turn about here, and go back. We have
come far enough on this road."
Just then Phonny pointed off under the trees
of the forest, upon one side, and said in a very
"See there "
"What is it ?" said Wallace.
"A trap," said Phonny. "It is a squirrel-
trap and it is sprung There's a squirrel in
it, I've no doubt. Let me get off and see."
"Well," said Wallace, give me the bridle of
So Phonny threw the bridle over his horse's
head and gave it to Wallace. He then dis-
mounted-sliding down the side of the horse
safely to the ground.
As soon as he found himself safely down, he
threw his riding-stick upon the grass, and ran
off toward the trap.
The trap was placed upon a small stone by
the side of a larger one. It was in a very snug
and sheltered place, almost out of view. In
fact it probably would not have been observed
by any ordinary passer-by.
Phonny ran up to the trap, and took hold of
it. He lifted it up very cautiously. He shook it
as well as he could, and then listened. He
thought that he could hear or feel some slight
motion within. He became very much excited.
He put the trap down upon the high rock,
and began opening up the lid a little, very
The trap was of the kind called by the boys a
box-trap. It is in the form of a box, and the
back part runs up high, to a point. The lid of
the box has a string fastened to it, which string
is carried up, over the high point, and thence
down, and is fastened to an apparatus con-
nected with the spindle.
The spindle is a slender rod of wood which
passes through the end of the box into the in-
terior. About half of the spindle is within the
box and half without. There is a small notch
in the outer part of the spindle, and another in
the end of the box, a short distance above the
spindle. There is a small bar of wood, with
both ends sharpened, and made of such a
length as just to reach from the notch in the
end of the box to the notch in the spindle,,
This bar is the apparatus to which the end of
the string is fastened, as before described.
When the trap is to be set, the bar is fitted to
the notches in such a manner as to catch in
them, and then the weight of the lid, being
sustained by the string, the lid is held up so
that the squirrel can go in. The front of the
box is attached to the lid, and rises with it, so
that when the lid is raised a little the squirrel
can creep directly in. The bait, which is
generally a part of an ear of corn, is fastened
to the end of the spindle, which is within the
trap. The squirrel sees the bait, and creeps in
to get it. He begins to nibble at the corn.
The ear is tied so firmly to the spindle that he
cannot get it away. In gnawing to get it off the
corn, he finally disengages the end of the
spindle from the bar, by working the lower end
of the bar out of its notch ; this lets the string
up, and of course the lid comes down, and the
squirrel is shut in, a captive.
When the lid first comes down, it makes so
loud a noise as to terrify the poor captive very
much. He runs this way and that, around the
interior of the box, wondering what has hap-
pened, and why he cannot get out as he came
in. He has no more appetite for the corn, but
is in great distress at his sudden and unac-
After trying in vain on all sides to escape, by
forcing his way, and finding that the box is too
strong for him in every part, he finally con-
eludes to gnaw out. He accordingly selects
the part of the box where there is the widest
crack, and where, consequently, the brightest
light shines through. He selects this place,
partly because he supposes that the box is
thinnest there, and partly because he likes to
work in the light.*
There was a squirrel in the trap which
Phonny had found. It was a large and hand-
some gray squirrel. He had been taken that
morning. About an hour after the trap sprung
upon him, he had begun to gnaw out, and he
had got about half through the boards in the
comer when Phonny found him. When
Phonny shook the trap the squirrel clung to the
bottom of it by his claws, so that Phonny did
not shake him about much.
When Phonny had put the trap upon the
great stone, he thought that he would lift up
the lid a little way, and peep in. This is a
very dangerous operation, for a squirrel will
squeeze out through a very small aperture, and
many a boy has lost a squirrel by the very
means that he was taking to decide whether he
had got one.
Phonny was aware of this danger, and so he
was very careful. He raised the lid but very
little, and looked under with the utmost caution.
To prevent the squirrels that are caught from
gnawing out, the boys sometimes line the inside of their
traps with tin.
He saw two little round and very brilliant eyes
peeping out at him.
"Yes, Wallace," said he; "yes, yes, here
he is. I see his eyes."
Wallace sat very composedly upon his horse,
holding Phonny's bridle, while Phonny was
uttering these exclamations, without appearing
to share the enthusiasm which Phonny felt,
He is here, Wallace," said Phonny. He
"I do not doubt it," said Wallace; "but
what are we to do about it ?"
"Why-why-what would you do ?" asked
I suppose that the best thing that we could
do," said Wallace, "is to ride along."
"And leave the squirrel ?" said Phonny, in a
tone of surprise.
Yes," said Wallace. I don't see anything
else that we can do."
"Why, he will gnaw out," said Phonny.
He will gnaw out in half an hour. He has
gnawed half through the board already. Espy
ought to have tinned his trap." So saying,
Phonny stooped down and peeped into the
trap again, through the crack under the lid.
"Who is Espy? asked Wallace.
"Espy Ransom," said Phonny. "He lives
down by the mill. He is always setting traps
for squirrels. I suppose that this road goes
down to the mill, and that he came up here
and set his trap. But it won't do to leave the
squirrel here," continued Phonny, looking at
Wallace in a very earnest manner. "It never
will do in the world."
"What shall we do, then ?" asked Wallace.
"Couldn't we carry him down to Espy ?
I don't think that we have any right to
carry him away. It is not our squirrel, and it
may be that it is not Espy's."
Phonny seemed perplexed. After a moment's
pause he added, "Couldn't we go down and
tell Espy that there is a squirrel in his trap ?"
"Yes," said Wallace, that we can do."
Phonny stooped down and peeped into the
"The rogue," said he. "The moment that I
am gone, he will go to gnawing again, I sup-
pose, and so get out and run away. What a
little fool he is."
"Do you think he is a fool for trying to
gnaw out of that trap? asked Wallace.
"Why, no"-said Phonny, "but I wish he
wouldn't do it. We will go down quick and
So Phonny came back to the place where
Wallace had remained in the road, holding the
horses. Phonny let down the bars, and Wal-
lace went through with the horses. Phonny
immediately put the bars up again, took the
bridle of his own horse from Wallace's hands,
threw it up over the horse's head, and then by
the help of a large log which lay by the side of
the road, he mounted. He did all this in a
hurried manner, and ended with saying:
"Now, Cousin Wallace, let's push on. I
don't think it's more than half a mile to the
WHILE Wallace and Phonny were taking their
ride, as described in the last chapter, Stuy-
vesant and Beechnut were ploughing !
Beechnut told Stuyvesant that he was ready
to yoke up, as he called it, as soon as the
horses had gone.
Well," said Stuyvesant, I will come. I
have got to go up to my room a minute first."
So Stuyvesant went up to his room, feeling
in his pockets as he ascended the stairs, to find
the keys of his trunk. When he reached his
room, he kneeled down before his trunk and
He raised the lid and began to take out the
things. He took them out very carefully, and
laid them in order upon a table which was near
the trunk. There were clothes of various kinds,
some books, and several parcels, put up neatly
The Ploughing. 29
in paper. Stuyvesant stopped at one of these
parcels, which seemed to be of an irregular
shape, and began to feel of what it contained
through the paper.
"What is this?" said he to himself. "I
wonder what it can be. Oh, I remember now,
it is my watch-compass."
What Stuyvesant called his watch-compass,
was a small pocket-compass made in the form
of a watch. It was in a very pretty brass case,
about as large as a lady's watch, and it had a
little handle at the side, to fasten a watch-ribbon
to. Stuyvesant's uncle had given him this
compass a great many years before. Stuyvesant
had kept it very carefully in his drawer at home,
intending when he should go into the country
to take it with him, supposing that it would be
useful to him in the woods. His sister had
given him a black ribbon to fasten to the
handle. The ribbon was long enough to go
round Stuyvesant's neck, while the compass
was in his waistcoat pocket.
Stuyvesant untied the string, which was
around the paper that contained his compass,
and took it off. He then wound up this string
into a neat sort of coil, somewhat in the man-
ner in which fishing-lines are put up when for
sale in shops. He put this coil of twine, to-
gether with the paper, upon the table. He
looked at the compass a moment to see which
was north in his chamber, and then putting
the compass itself in his pocket, he passed the
ribbon round his neck, and afterwards went on
taking the things out of his trunk.
When he came pretty near to the bottom of
his trunk, he said to himself,
"Ah here it is."
At the same moment he took out a garment,
which seemed to be a sort of frock. It was
made of brown linen. He laid it aside upon a
chair, and then began to put the things back
into his trunk again. He laid them all in very
carefully, each in its own place. When all
were in, he shut down the lid of the trunk,
locked it, and put the key in his pocket. Then
he took the frock from the chair, and, opening
it, put it on.
It was made somewhat like a carter's frock.
Stuyvesant had had it made by the seamstress
at his mother's house, in New York, before he
came away. He was a very neat and tidy boy
about his dress, and always felt uncomfortable
if his clothes were soiled or torn. He con-
cluded, therefore, that if he had a good, strong,
serviceable frock to put on over his other
clothes, it would be very convenient for him at
As soon as his frock was on, he hastened
down stairs, and went out to the barn in search
of Beechnut. He found him. yoking up the
"Why, Stuyvesant," said Beechnut, when he
saw him, "that is a capital frock that you have
got. How much did it cost ?"
The Plougking. 3I
"I don't know," said Stuyvesant; "'Mary
made it for me."
"Who is Mary? asked Beechnut.
"She is a seamstress," said Stuyvesant,
" and lives at our house in New York."
"Do you have a seamstress there all the
time? said Beechnut.
"Yes," said Stuyvesant.
"And her name is Mary ?" said Beechnut.
"Yes," said Stuyvesant.
"Well, I wish she would take it into her
head to make me such a frock as that," said
During this conversation, Beechnut had been
busily employed in yoking up the oxen. Stuy-
vesant looked on, watching the operations
carefully, in order to see how the work of
yoking up was done. He wished to see
whether the process was such that he could
learn to yoke up oxen himself; or whether any-
thing that was required was beyond his strength.
Can boys yoke up cattle?" said Stuyve-
sant at length.
"It takes a pretty stout boy," said Beechnut.
Could aboyas stout as I am do it?" asked
"It would be rather hard work for you,"
said Beechnut; "the yoke is pretty heavy."
The yoke was indeed quite heavy, and it
was necessary to lift it-one end at a time-
over the necks of the oxen. Stuyvesant ob-
served that the oxen were fastened to the yoke,
3 2 Stuyvesant.
bymeans of bows.shapedlike the letter U. These
bows were passed up under the necks of the
oxen. The ends of them came up through
the yokes and were fastened there by little
pegs, which Beechnut call keys. There was a
ring in the middle of the yoke on the under-
side to fasten the chain to, by which the cattle
were to draw.
When the oxen were yoked, Beechnut drove
them to the corner of the yard, where there
was a drag with a plough upon it. Beechnut
put an axe also upon the drag.
What do you want an axe for," asked Stuyve-
sant, "in going to plough ?"
"We always take an axe," said Beechnut,
"when we go away to work. We are pretty
sure to want it for something or other."
Beechnut then gave Stuyvesant a goad-stick,
and told him that he might drive. Stuyvesant
had observed very attentively what Beechnut
had done in driving, and the gestures which he
had made, and the calls which he had used, in
speaking to the oxen; and though he had never
attempted to drive such a team before, he
succeeded quite well. His success, however,
was partly owing to the sagacity of the oxen,
who knew very well where they were to go and
what they were to do.
At length, after passing through one or two
pairs of bars, they came to the field.
"Which is the easiest," said Stuyvesant,
"to drive the team or hold the plough.?"
The Ploughing. 33
"That depends," said Beechnut, upon
whether your capacity consists most in your
strength or your skill."
Why so?" asked Stuyvesant.
Because," said Beechnut, it requires more
skill to drive than to hold the plough, and
more strength to hold the plough, than to drive.
I think, therefore, that you had better drive,
for as between you and me, it is 1 that have the
most strength, and you that have the most skill."
"Why you ought to have the most skill,"
said Beechnut--"coming from such a great
Beechnut took the plough off from the drag,
and laid the drag on one side. He then at-
tached the cattle to the plough. They were
standing, when they did this, in the middle of
one side of the field.
"Now," said Beechnut, "we are going first
straight through the middle of the field. Do
you see that elm-tree, the other side of the
fence ? "
"I see a large tree," said Stuyvesant.
"It is an elm," said Beechnut.
"There is a great bird upon the top of it,"
"Yes," said Beechnut, "it is a crow. Now
you must keep the oxen headed directly for
that tree. Go as straight as you can, and I
shall try to keep the plough straight behind
you. The thing is to make a straight furrow."
When all was ready, Stuyvesant gave the
word to his oxen to move on, and they began
to draw. Stuyvesant went on, keeping his
eye alternately upon the oxen and upon the
tree. He had some curiosity to look round
and see how Beechnut was getting along with
the furrow; but he recollected that his business
was to drive, and so he gave his whole atten-
tion to his driving, in order that he might go
as straight as possible across the field.
The crow flew away when he had got half
across the field. He had a strong desire to
know where she was going to fly to, but he
did not look round to follow her in her
flight. He went steadily on attending to his
When he was about two-thirds across the
field, he saw a stump at a short distance be-
fore him, with a small hornets' nest upon one
side of it. His course would lead him, he
saw, very near this nest. His first impulse
was to stop the oxen and tell Beechnut about
the hornets' nest. He did in fact hesitate a
moment, but he was instantly reassured by
hearing Beechnut call out to him from behind,
"Never mind the hornets' nest, Stuyvesant.
Drive the oxen right on. I don't think the
hornets will sting them."
Stuyvesant perceived by this, that Beechnut
thought only of the oxen when he saw a
hornets' nest, and he resolved to follow his
The Pioughing. 35
example in this respect. So he drove steadily
When they got to the end of the field the
oxen stopped. Beechnut and Stuyvesant then
looked round to see the furrow. It was very
You have done very well," said he, and
you will find it easier now, for one of the
oxen will walk in the furrow, and that will
So Stuyvesant brought the team around and
then went back, one of the oxen in returning
walking in the furrow which had been made
before. In this manner they went back to
the place from which they had first started.
There," said Beechnut, now we have
got our work well laid out. But before we
plough any more, we must destroy that hornets'
nest, or else, when we come to plough by that
stump, the hornets will sting the oxen. I'll
go and get some straw. You may stay here
and watch the oxen while I am gone."
In a short time Beechnut came back, bring-
ing his arms full of hay. He walked directly
toward that part of the field where the hor-
nets' nest was, calling Stuyvesant to follow
him. Stuyvesant did so. When he got near
to the stump, he put the hay down upon the
ground. He then advanced cautiously to the
stump with a part of the hay in his arms. This
hay he put down at the foot of the stump,
directly under the hornets' nest, extending a
portion of it outward so as to form a sort of
train. He then went back and took up the
remaining portion of the hay and held it in
"Now, Stuyvesant," said Beechnut, "light
a match and set fire to the train."
Beechnut had previously given Stuyvesant a
small paper containing a number of matches.
How shall I light it? asked Stuyvesant.
Rub it upon a stone," said Beechnut.
"Find one that has been lying in the sun,"
continued Beechnut, and then the match will
catch quicker, because the stone will be warm
So Stuyvesant lighted a match by rubbing
it upon a smooth stone which was lying upon
the ground near by. He then cautiously ap-
proached the end of the train and set it on fire.
Beechnut then came up immediately with
the hay that he had in his hands, and placed
it over and around the hornets' nest, so as to
envelop it entirely. He and Stuyvesant then
retreated together to a safe distance, and
there stood to watch the result.
A very dense white smoke immediately be-
gan to come up through the hay. Presently
the flame burst out, and in a few minutes the
whole mass of the hay was in a bright blaze.
Stuyvesant looked very earnestly to see if he
could see any hornets, but he could not. At
last, however, when the fire was burnt nearly
down, he saw two. They were flying about
The Ploughing. 37
the stump, apparently in great perplexity and
distress. Stuyvesant pitied them; but as he
did not see what he could do to help them, he
told them that he thought they had better go
and find some more hornets and build another
nest somewhere. Then he and Beechnut went
back to the plough.
Stuyvesant had quite a desire to try and
hold the plough, after he had been driving the
team about an hour; but he thought it was
best not to ask. In fact he knew himself that
it was best for him to learn one thing at a time.
So he went on with his driving.
When it was about a quarter before twelve,
Beechnut said that it was time to go in. So
he unhooked the chain from the yoke, and
leaving the plough, the drag, the axe, and the
chain in the field, he let the oxen go. They
immediately ran off into a copse of trees and
bushes, which bordered the road on one side.
"Why, Beechnut !" said Stuyvesant, "the
oxen are running away."
No," said Beechnut, "they are only going
down to drink. There is a brook down there,
where they go to drink when they are at work
in this field."
Oxen appear to possess mental qualifications
of a certain kind in a very high degree. They
are especially remarkable for their sagacity in
finding good places to drink in the fields and
pastures where they feed or are employed at.
work, and for their good memory in recollecting
where they are. An ox may be kept away
from a particular field or pasture quite a long
time, and yet know exactly where to go to
find water to drink when he is admitted to it
Stuyvesant looked at the oxen as they went
down the path, and then proposed to follow
Let us go and see," said he.
So he and Beechnut walked along after the
oxen. They found a narrow, but very pretty
road, or rather path, overhung with trees and
bushes, which led down to the water. The
road terminated at a broad and shallow place
in the stream, where the sand was yellow and
the water very clear. The oxen went out into
the water, and then put their heads down to
drink. Presently they stopped, first one and
then the other, and stood a moment consider-
ing whether they wanted any more. Finding
that they did not, they turned round in the
water, and then came slowly out to the land.
They walked up the bank, and finally emerging
from the wood at the place where they had
entered it, they went toward home.
When they reached the house, the cattle
went straight through the yard, toward the
barn. Beechnut and Stuyvesant followed them.
Beechnut was going to get them some hay.
Stuyvesant went in with Beechnut, and stood
below on the barn floor, while Beechnut went
up the ladder to pitch the hay down.
The Ploughing. 39
During all the time that Beechnut and
Stuyvesant had been coming up from the field,
conversation had been going on between them,
about various subjects connected with farming.
Stuyvesant asked Beechnut if Phonny could
drive oxen pretty well.
"Pretty well," said Beechnut.
Does he like to drive ?" asked Stuyvesant.
He likes to begin to drive," said Beechnut.
What do you mean by that?" asked Stuy-
Why, when there is any driving to be done,"
replied Beechnut, "he thinks that he shall like
it, and he wants to take a goad-stick and begin.
But he very soon gets tired of it, and goes
away. You seem to have more perseverance.
In fact, you seem to have a great deal of per-
severance, which I think is very strange, con-
sidering that you are a city boy."
City boys," continued Beechnut, "I have
always heard said, are good for nothing at all."
But you said, a little while ago," replied
Stuyvesant, "that city boys had a great deal of
Yes," said Beechnut, they are bright
enough, but they have generally no steadiness
or perseverance. They go from one thing to
another, following the whim of the moment.
The reason of that is, that, living in cities,
they are brought up without having anything
"They can go of errands," said Stuyvesant.
"Yes," said Beechnut, "they can go of
errands, but there are not many errands to be
done, so they are brought up in idleness.
Country boys, on the other hand, generally
have a great deal to do. They have to go for
the cows, and catch the horses, and drive oxen,
and a thousand other things, and so they are
brought up in industry."
Is Phonny brought up in industry ?" asked
"Hardly," said Beechnut. "In fact he is
scarcely old enough yet to do much work."
"He is as old as I am," said Stuyvesant.
"True," said Beechnut, "but he does not
seem to have as much discretion. Do you
see that long shed out there, projecting from
the barn ?"
This was said just at the time when Beech-
nut and Stuyvesant were passing through the
gate which led into the yard, and the barns and
sheds were just coming into view.
"The one with that square hole by the side
of the door ? asked Stuyvesant.
Yes," said Beechnut, that was Phonny's
hen-house. He bought some hens, and was
going to be a great poulterer. He was going
to have I don't know how many eggs and
chickens; but finally he got tired of his brood,
and neglected them, and at last wanted to
sell them to me. I bought them the day before
The Plougbhig. 41
"How many hens are there?" asked Stuy-
"About a dozen," said Beechnut. I gave
him a dollar and a half for the whole stock.
I looked into his hen-house when I bought him
out, and found it. all in sad condition. I have
not had time to put it in order yet."
"I will put it in order," said Stuyvesant.
"Will you ?" said Beechnut.
Yes," said Stuyvesant, "and I should like
to buy the hens of you, if I were only going
to stay here long enough."
"I don't think it is worth while for you to
buy them," said Beechnut, "but I should like
to have you take charge of them. I would pay.
you by giving you a share of the eggs."
"What could I do with the eggs?" asked
"Why you could sell them, or give them
away, just as you pleased. You might give
them to Mrs. Henry, or sell them to her, or
sell them to me. If you will take the whole
care of them while you are here, I will give
you one-third of the eggs after all expenses are
What do you mean by that ?" asked Stuy-
"Why, if we have to buy any grain, for in-
stance, to give the hens, we must sell eggs
enough first to pay for the grain, and after
that, you shall have one-third of the eggs that
Stuyvesant was much pleased with this pro-
posal, and was just about to say that he
accepted it, when his attention was suddenly
turned away from the subject by hearing a
loud call from Phonny, who just then came
running round a corner, with a box-trap under
his arm, shouting out,
"Stuyvesant! Stuyvesant! Look here I've
got a gray squirrel ;-a beautiful, large gray
IT is necessary in this chapter to return to
Phonny and Wallace, in order to explain how
Phonny succeeded in getting his squirrel.
He was quite in haste, as he went on after
leaving the squirrel, in order to get down to
the mill where Espy lived, before the squirrel
should have gnawed out. The road, he was
quite confident, led to the mill.
"I should like to buy the squirrel, if Espy
will sell him," said Phonny.
Do you think that your mother would be
willing 1 asked Wallace.
"Why, yes," said Phonny, "certainly. What
objection could she have ? "
"None, only the trouble that it would occa-
sion her," replied Wallace.
Oh, it would not make her any trouble,"
said Phonny. "I should take care of it my-
"It would not make her much trouble, I
know," said Wallace, if you were only con
siderate and careful. As it is, I think it may
make her a great deal."
"No," said Phonny, "I don't think that it
will make her any trouble at all."
"Where shall you keep your squirrel I"
In a cage in the back room," said Phonny,
Have you got a cage ?" asked Wallace.
No," said Phonny, "but I can make one."
I think that in making a cage," replied
Wallace, "you would have to give other people
a great deal of trouble. You would be inquir-
ing all about the house, for tools, and boards,
and wire,-that is unless you keep your tools
and materials for such kind of work in better
order than boys usually do."
Phonny was silent. His thoughts reverted
to a certain room in one of the out-buildings,
which he called his shop, and used for that
purpose, and which was, as he well knew, at
this time in a state of great confusion.
Then," continued Wallace, "you will leave
the doors open, going and coming, to see your
squirrel, and to feed him."
"No," said Phonny, I am very sure that
I shall not leave the doors open."
"And then," continued Wallace, after a
time you will get a little* tired of your squirrel,
and will forget to feed him, and so your mother,
or somebody in the house, must have the care
of reminding you of it."
Oh, no," said Phonny, "I should not for-
get to fed him, I am sure."
"Did not you forget to feed your hens?"
Why yes," said Phonny, hesitatingly;
"but that is a different thing."
"Then, besides," said Wallace, "you will
have to go and beg some money of your
mother to buy the squirrel with. For I sup-
pose you have not saved any of your own
from your allowance. It is very seldom that
boys of your age have self-control enough to
lay up any money."
As Wallace said these words, Phonny, who
had been riding along with the bridle and
his little riding-stick both in his right hand,
now shifted them into his left, and then put-
ting his right hand into his left vest pocket, he
drew out a little wallet. He then extended his
hand with the wallet in it to Wallace, saying,
Look in there."
Wallace took the wallet, opened it as he rode
along, and found that there was a quarter of a
dollar in one of the pockets.
"Is that your money? said Wallace.
"Yes," said Phonny.
"Then you are not near as much of a boy
as I thought you were. To be able to save
money, so as to have a stock on hand for any
unexpected emergency, is one of the greatest
proofs of manliness. I had no idea that you
were so much of a man."
Phonny laughed. At first Wallace supposed
that this laugh only expressed the pleasure
which Phonny felt at having deserved these
praises; but as he gave back the wallet into
Phonny's hands, he perceived a very mysterious
expression upon his countenance.
That's the money," said Phonny, '" that my
mother just gave me for my next fortnight's
Then you have had no opportunity to spend
it at all "
"No," said Phonny.
Phonny thought that he was sinking him-
self in his cousin's estimation by this avowal,
but he was in fact raising himself very much by
evincing so much honesty.
He is not willing to receive commendation
that he knows he does not deserve," thought
Wallace to himself "That is a good sign.
That is a great deal better trait of character
than to be able to lay up money."
Wallace thought this to himself as he rode
along. He did not, however, express the
thought, but went on a minute or two in si
lence. At length he said,
"So, then, you have got money enough to
buy the squirrel "
Yes," said Phonny, if a quarter of a dollar
"It is enough," said Wallace, "I have no
doubt. So that one difficulty is disposed of.
As to the second difficulty," he continued,
"that is, troubling the family about making
the cage, we can dispose of that very easily
too, for I can help you about that myself.
What shall we do about the third, leaving the
doors open and making a noise when you go
back and forth to feed him 1"
Oh, I will promise not to do that," said
Promise! repeated Wallace, in a tone of
"Yes," said Phonny, "I'll promise, posi-
"Is it safe to rely on boys' promises about
here?" said Wallace. "They would not be
considered very good security in Wall Street, in
"I don't know," said Phonny; "I always
keep my promises."
"Are you willing to agree, that if you make
any noise or disturbance in the family with
your squirrel, that he is to be forfeited ? "
"Forfeited said Phonny, "how do you
"Why, given up to me, to dispose of as I
please," said Wallace.
"And what should you do with him ?" asked
I don't know," said Wallace. "I should
dispose of him in some way, so that he should
not be the means of any more trouble. Per-
haps I should give him away; perhaps I should
open the cage and let him run."
Then I think you ought to pay me what I
gave for him," said Phonny.
No," said Wallace, because I don't take
him for any advantage to myself, but only to
prevent your allowing him to make trouble.
If you make noise and disturbance with him,
it is your fault, and you lose the squirrel as the
penalty for it. If you do your duty and make
no trouble with him, then he would not be
"Well," said Phonny, "I agree to that.
But perhaps you will say that I make a disturb-
ance with him when I don't."
We will have an umpire then," said Wal-
"What is an umpire ?" asked Phonny.
"Somebody to decide, when there is a dis-
pute," replied Wallace. "Who shall be the
"Beechnut," said Phonny.
"Agreed," said Wallace.
"And now there is one point more," he
continued, and that is, perhaps you will neg-
lect to feed him, and then we shall be uncom-
fortable, for fear that the squirrel is suffering."
No," said Phonny, shaking his head; "I
shall certainly feed him every day, and some-
times twice a day."
Are you willing to agree to forfeit him, if
you fail to feed him ?"
"Why-I don't know," said Phonny. "But
I certainly shall feed him, I know I shall."
Then there will be no harm in agreeing
to forfeit him if you fail," rejoined Wallace;
" for if you certainly do feed him, then your
agreement to forfeit him will be a dead letter."
"But I might accidentally omit to feed him
some one day," said Phonny. "I might be
sick, or I might be gone away, and I might ask
Stuyvesant to feed him, and he forget it, and
then I should lose my squirrel entirely."
No," said Wallace, "you are not to forfeit
him except for neglect. It must be a real and
inexcusable neglect on your part, Beechnut
Well," said Phonny, I agree to it."
And I will give you three warnings," said
Wallace, "both for making trouble and dis-
turbance with your squirrel, and for neglecting
to feed him. After the third warning, he is
forfeited, and I am to do what I please with,
Well," said Phonny, I agree to it."
A short time after this conversation, the road
in which Wallace and Phonny were riding
emerged from the wood, and there was opened
before them the prospect of a wide and bcauti-
ful valley. A short distance before them down
the valley, there was a stream with a mill. By
the side of the mill, under some large spreading
elms, was a red house, which Phonny said was
the one where Espy lived.
They rode on rapidly, intending to go to
the house and inquire for Espy. Just before
reaching the place, however, Phonny's atten-
tion was arrested by his seeing some boys
fishing on the bank of the stream, just below
the mill. It was at a place where the road lay
along the bank of the stream, at a little distance
from it. The stream was very broad at this
place, and the water quite deep and clear.
The ground was smooth and green between the
road and the water, and there were large trees
on the bank overshadowing the shore, so that
it was a very pleasant place.
There were two boys standing upon the bank
in one place fishing. Two other boys were
near the water at a little distance, trying to
make a dog jump in, by throwing in sticks and
Just as Wallace and Phonny came along,
one of the boys who was fishing, called out in
a loud and authoritative tone to one of those
who were trying to make the dog jump in,
"Hey-e-e, there Oliver, don't throw sticks
into the water; you scare away all the fish."
"Ned !" said Phonny, calling out to the boy
who was fishing.
The boy looked round, without, however,
moving his fishing-pole.
"Is Espy down there anywhere?" said
Here the boy turned his head again toward
the water, without directly answering Phonny,
though he called out at the same time in an
In answer apparently to his call, a boy came
suddenly out of a little thicket which was near
the water, just below where Ned was fishing,
and asked Ned what he wanted.
There's a fellow out here in the road," said
Ned, calling for you."
Hearing this, the boy came out of the thicket
entirely, and scrambled up the bank. He stood
at the top of the bank, looking toward Wallace
and Phonny, but did not advance. His hand
was extended toward a branch of the tree which
he had taken hold of to help him in climbing
up the bank. He continued to keep hold of
this tree, showing by his attitude that he did
not mean to come any farther.
He was in fact a little awed at the sight of
Wallace, who was a stranger to him. He did
not know whether he was wanted for any good
purpose, or was going to be called to account
for some of his misdeeds.
Come here a minute," said Phonny.
Espy did not move.
Negotiations. 5 I
"Is that your trap up in the woods?" asked
"Yes," said Espy.
"There is a squirrel in it," rejoined Phonny
"and I want to buy him."
Hearing this, the boys who had been playing
with the dog began to move up toward Wallace
and Phonny. Espy himself taking his hand
down from the tree, came forward a few steps.
Wallace and Phonny too advanced a little with
their horses toward the stream; and thus the
whole party came nearer together.
"There is a squirrel in your trap," repeated
Phonny, "if he has not gnawed out;-and I
want to buy him. What will you sell him for ?"
"What kind of a squirrel is it ? asked Espy.
I don't know," said Phonny; "I couldn't
see anything but his eyes."
"If it's a gray squirrel," said Espy, "he is
worth a quarter. If it's a red squirrel, you may
have him for fourpence-
Or for nothing at all," continued Espy, after
a moment's pause, "just as you please."
"What will you sell him for just as he is ?"
asked Wallace, "and we take the risk of his
being red or gray? "
"Don't you know which it is ?" asked Espy.
"No," said Wallace, "I do not. I did not
go near the cage, and Phonny did not open it.
He says he could only see his eyes."
"And his nose," said Phonny, "I saw his
nose,-but I don't know at all what kind of a
squirrel it is."
You may have him for eighteen cents," said
But perhaps he has gnawed out," said
Phonny. "He was gnawing out as fast as he
could when we saw him."
"Why, if he has gnawed out," said Espy,
"you will not have anything to pay, of course;
because then you won't get him."
Or," continued Espy, you may have him
for ten cents, and you take the risk of his gnaw-
ing out. You give me ten cents now, and you
may have him if he is there, red or gray. If he
is not there, I keep the ten cents, and you get
"Well," said Phonny. "Would you, Wal-
I don't know," said Wallace. "You must
decide. There is considerable risk. I can't
I have not got any ten cents," said Phonny
-" only a quarter of a dollar."
Oh, I can pay," said Wallace, "and then
you can pay me some other time."
"Well," said Phonny, I believe I will take
You must lend me the trap," said Phonny,
again addressing Espy,-" to carry the squirrel
home in, and I will bring it back here some
"Very well," said Espy.
So Wallace took a ten-cent piece from his
pocket, and gave it to Espy, and then he and
Phonny rode away.
Now," said Phonny, "we must go ahead."
They rode on rapidly for some time. At
length, on ascending a hill, they were obliged
to slacken their pace a little.
"If it should prove to be a gray squirrel,"
said Phonny, "what a capital bargain I shall
have made. A squirrel worth a quarter of a
dollar for ten cents."
I don't see why a gray squirrel is so much
more valuable than a red one," said Wallace.
" Is gray considered prettier than red ? "
"Oh, it is not his colour," said Phonny, it
is the shape and size. The gray squirrels are
a great deal larger, and then, they have a
beautiful bushy tail, that lies all the time over
their back, and curls up at the end, like a
plume. The red squirrels are very small.
Besides," continued Phonny, "they are not
red exactly. They are a kind of reddish brown,
so that they are not very pretty, even in colour.
I am afraid that my squirrel will be a red
I am afraid so, too," said Wallace.
The red squirrels are altogether the most
common," said Phonny.
"There are the bars," said Wallace; "now
we shall soon see."
They had arrived, in fact, at the bars. Phonny
jumped off his horse and gave Wallace the bri-
dle, and then went to take down the bars. As
soon as he had got them down, he left Wallace
to go through with the horses at his leisure,
and he himself ran off toward the rock where he
had left the trap, to see what sort of a squirrel
Wallace went through the bars in a deliberate
manner, as it was in fact necessary to do in
conducting two horses, and then dismounted,
intending to put the bars up. He had just got
off his horse when he saw Phonny coming from
the direction of the place where the trap had
been left, with a countenance expressive of
great surprise and concern.
"Wallace," exclaimed Phonny, "the squirrel
has gone, trap and all."
Has it ?" said Wallace.
"Yes," said Phonny; "I left it on that rock,
and it is gone."
So saying, Phonny ran to the- place, and put
his foot upon the rock, looking up to Wallace,
"There is the very identical spot where I
put it, and now it is gone."
Wallace seemed at a loss what to think.
"Somebody must have taken him away,"
Hark !" said Phonny.
Wallace and Phonny listened. They heard
the voices of some boys in the woods.
"There they are now," said Phonny.
Mount the horse," said Wallace, "and we
will go and see."
Phonny mounted his horse as expeditiously
as possible, and he and Wallace rode off
through the woods in the direction of the
voices. They followed a path which led down
a sort of glen, and after riding a short distance
they saw the boys before them, standing in a
little open space among the trees. The boys
had stopped to see who was coming.
There were three boys, one large and two
small. The large boy had the trap under his arm.
Halloa!" said Phonny, calling out aloud
to the boys, "stop carrying off that trap."
The boys did not answer.
I have bought that squirrel," said Phonny;
you must give him to me."
"No," said the great boy; "it belongs to
Espy, and I am going to keep it for him."
"Hush," said Wallace, in a low tone to
Phonny; "I will speak to him."
Then calling out aloud again, he said, "We
have just been down to Espy's and have
bought the squirrel, and have now come to
take him home."
The boy did not move from the place where
he stood, and he showed very plainly by his
countenance and his manner, that he did not
mean to give the squirrel up. Presently they
heard him mutter to the small boys,
I don't believe they have bought him, and
they shan't have him."
"Let us go down and take the squirrel
away from them," said Phonny, in a low tone
to Wallace; I don't believe they will give
him up unless we do."
"We cannot do that," said Wallace. "We
might take the trap away, perhaps; but they
would first open the trap and let the squirrel
"What shall we do, then?" asked Phonny.
Wallace did not answer this question directly,
but called out again to the boy who held the
We found the squirrel here in the woods,
and then went down to tell Espy, and we
bought the squirrel of him. But we can't
carry him home very well on horseback, at
least till we get out of the woods, because the
road is so steep and rough. Now if you will
carry him down the road for us, till we get
out of the woods, I will give you six cents."
"Well," said the boy, "I will."
He immediately began to come toward
Wallace and Phonny, so as to go back with
them into the road which they were to take.
Wallace and Phonny led the way, and he fol-
lowed. As soon as he came within convenient
distance for talking, Phonny asked him what
sort of a squirrel it was.
"A gray squirrel," said he; "the prettiest
gray squirrel that ever I saw."
Phonny was very much elated at hearing
this intelligence, and wanted to get off his
horse at once, and take a peep at the squirrel;
but Wallace advised him to do no such thing.
In due time the whole party got out of the
woods. Wallace gave the boy his six cents,
and the boy handed the trap up to Phonny.
Phonny held it upon the pommel of the
saddle, directly before him. He found that
the squirrel had gnawed through the board
so as to get his nose out, but he could not
gnaw any more, now that the box was all the
time in motion. So he gave it up in despair,
and remained crouched down in a corner of
the trap during the remainder of the ride,
wondering all the time what the people outside
were doing with him.
You managed that boy finely," said
Phonny. "He is one of the worst boys in
It is generally best," said Wallace, "in
dealing with people, to contrive some way to
make it for their interest to do what you want,
rather than to quarrel with them about it."
For the rest of the way, Phonny rode on
without meeting with any difficulty, and arrived
Sat home, with his squirrel all safe, just at the
time when Beechnut and Stuyvesant were talk-
ing about the poultry.
PLANS FOR THE SQUIRREL.
As soon as Phonny had told Stuyvesant
about his squirrel and had lifted up the lid of
the trap a little, so as to allow him to peep in
and see, he said that he was going in to show
the squirrel to the people in the house, and
especially to Malleville. He accordingly hurried
away with the box under his arm. Stuyvesant
went back toward the barn.
Phonny hastened along to the house. From
the yard he went into a shed through a great door.
He walked along the platform in the shed,
and at the end of the platform he went up three
steps, to a door leading into the back kitchen.
He passed through this back kitchen into the
front kitchen, hurrying forward as he went, and
leaving all the doors open.
Dorothy was at work at a table ironing.
"Dorothy," said Phonny, "I've got a squirrel
-a beautiful squirrel. If I had time I would
stop and show him to you."
I wish you had time to shut the doors," said
"In a minute ;" said Phonny; "I am coming
back in a minute, and then I will."
So saying Phonny went into a sort of hall or
entry which passed through the house, and
which had doors in it leading to the principal
Plans for the Squirrel. 59
rooms. There was a staircase here. Phonny
supposed that Malleville was up in his mother's
chamber. So he stood at the foot of the stairs
and began to call her with a loud voice.
Malleville said he, Malleville Where
are you? Come and see my squirrel."
Presently a door opened above, and Phonny
heard some one stepping out.
"Malleville," said Phonny, "is that you ?"
"No," said a voice above, "it is Wallace; I
have come to give you your first warning."
Why, I only wanted to show my squirrel to
Malleville," said Phonny.
You are making a great disturbance," said
Wallace; "and besides, though I don't know
anything about it, I presume that you came in
a noisy manner through the kitchen and left all
the doors open there."
"Well," said Phonny, I will be still."
So Phonny turned round and went away on
tiptoe. When he got into the kitchen he first
shut the doors, and then carried the trap to
Dorothy, and let her peep through the hole
which the squirrel had gnawed and see the
Do you see him ?" asked Phonny.
"I see the tip of his tail," said Dorothy,
"curling over. The whole squirrel is there
somewhere, I've no doubt."
Phonny then went out again to find Stuy-
vesant. He was careful to walk softly, and to
shut all the doors after him.
He found Stuyvesant and Beechnut in the
barn. Beechnut was raking up the loose hay
which had been pitched down upon the barn
floor, and Stuyvesant was standing beside him.
"Beechnut," said Phonny, "just look at my
squirrel. You can peep through this little hole
where he was trying to gnaw out."
Phonny held the trap up, and Beechnut
peeped through the hole.
"Yes," said he, "I see the top of his head.
His name is Frink."
"Frink?" repeated Phonny, "how do you
I think that must be his name," said Beech-
nut. If you don't believe it try and see if you
can make him answer to any other name. If
you can I'll give it up."
Nonsense, Beechnut," said Phonny. "That
is only some of your fun. But Frink will be a
very good name for him, nevertheless. Only I
was going to call him Bunny."
I don't think his name is Bunny," said
Beechnut. "I knew Bunny. He was a squir-
rel that belonged to Rodolphus. He got away
and ran off into the woods, but I don't think
that this is the same one."
"I'll call him Frink," said Phonny. "But
what would you do with him if you were in my
Me ?" said Beechnut.
Yes," said Phonny.
"Well, I think," said Beechnut, stopping his
Plans for the Squirrel. 6r
work a moment, and leaning on his rake, and
drawing a long breath, as if what he was about
to say was the result of very anxious delibera-
tion, I think that on the whole, if that squir-
rel were mine, I should put two large baskets up
in the barn-chamber, and send him into the
woods this fall to get beechnuts, and hazelnuts,
and fill the baskets,-one basket for beechnuts
and one for hazelnuts, and I would give him a
month to fill them."
Nonsense, Beechnut," said Phonny, you
are only making fun. If I were to let him go
off into the woods, he never would come back
Why, do you suppose," said Beechnut,
"that he would rather be running about in the
woods than to live in that trap ?"
"Yes," said Phonny.
"Then," said Beechnut, "you must make
him a beautiful cage, and have it so convenient
and comfortable for him, that he shall like it
better than he does the woods. That would
not be difficult, one would suppose, because he
has nothing but holes in the ground and old
hollow logs in the woods."
"I know that," said Phonny; "but then I
don't think he would like any house that I
could make him so well as he does the old
Then I don't know what you will do," said
Beechnut, to make him contented."
So saying Beechnut went away, leaving
Phonny and Stuyvesant together. They talked
a few minutes about the squirrel, and then be-
gan to walk along toward the house.
As they walked along, they heard the bell
ring for dinner.
There," said Phonny, there is the dinner-
bell, what shall we do now? Where shall I
put my squirrel while we are in at dinner? "
"Haven't you got some sort of cage to put
him in ? said Stuyvesant.
No," said Phonny, I was going to make
one after dinner in my shop. I have got a
shop; did you know it? "
"Yes," said Stuyvesant, "Beechnut told
"Only my tools are rather dull," added
Phonny; "but I think I can make a cage with
You might put the trap in the shop, on the
bench," said Stuyvesant, "till after dinner, and
then make your cage."
"Well," said Phonny, "so I will."
So the two boys went into the shop. The
room was indeed in great confusion. The floor
was covered with chips and shavings. The
tools were lying in disorder on the bench.
There was a saw-horse in the middle of the
room, tumbled over upon one side, because one
of the legs was out. The handle was out of the
hatchet, and one of the claws of the hammer
While Stuyvesant was surveying this scene of
Plans for the Squirrel. 63
disorder, Phonny advanced to the bench, and
pushing away the tools from one corner of it, he
put the trap down.
"There !" said he, "he will be safe there till
Only," said Stuyvesant, "he may finish
"I will stop him up," said Phonny.
So saying he took the foreplane, which is a
tool formed of a steel cutter, set in a pretty
long and heavy block of wood, and placed it
directly before the hole in the trap. "There "
said he, "now if he does gnaw the hole big
enough, he can't get out, for he can't push the
"Perhaps he will be hungry," said Stuy-
No," said Phonny, for there was half an
ear of corn tied to the spindle for bait, and he
has not eaten but a very little of it yet, I can
see by peeping in."
"Then, perhaps, he will be thirsty," said
"I will give him something to drink," said
Yes," said Beechnut.
The boys turned and saw Beechnut standing
at the door of the shop, looking at them. He
"His name is Frink,
And so I think,
I'd give him a little water to drink."
So saying, Beechnut went away. Phonny
took up an old tin cover which lay upon a shelf
behind the bench, and which had once belonged
to a tin box. The box was lost, but Phonny
had kept the cover to put nails in. He now
poured the nails out upon the bench, and went
out to the pump, to fill the cover with water.
In a minute or two he came back, walking
carefully, so as not to spill the water. He
raised the lid of the trap a little, very cautiously,
and then pushed the cover in underneath it, in
such a manner that about half of it was inside
"There That's what I call complete. Now
he can have a drink when he pleases, and we
will go in to dinner."
At the dinner-table, Phonny and Stuyvesant
sat upon one side of the table, and Malleville
sat on the other side, opposite to them. Mrs.
Henry sat at the head, and Wallace opposite
to her, at the foot of the table. The dinner
consisted that day of roast chickens, and after
it an apple pudding.
Wallace carved the chickens, and when all
had been helped, Phonny began to talk about
"I suppose you consider it as boyishness in
me, Cousin Wallace, to like to have a squirrel,"
"It is a very harmless kind of boyishness, at
any rate," replied Wallace.
Plans for the Squirrel. 65
"Then you have no objection to it?" said
"None at all," said Wallace. "In one sense
it is boyishness, for it is boys, and not men, that
take pleasure in possessing useless animals."
"Useless," said Phonny, do you call a gray
squirrel useless ?"
He is not useful in the sense in which the
animals of a farm-yard are useful," said Wallace.
"He gives pleasure, perhaps; but cows, sheep,
and hens are a source of profit. Boys don't
care much about profit, but like any kind of
animals, if they are pretty, or cunning in their
motions and actions."
I like gray squirrels," said Phonny, "very
much indeed, if it is boyishness."
"It is a very harmless kind of boyishness, at
all events," replied Wallace. It is not like
some other kinds of boyishness, such as I told
you about the other day."
"Well, Cousin Wallace," said Phonny,
"what would you do, if you were in my case,
for a cage ?"
I would take some kind of box, without any
top to it," replied Wallace, "and lay it down
uponits side, and then make front to it of wires.'
Yes," said Phonny, that will be an excel-
lentplan. But howcan I make thefrontofwires?"
"I will come and show you," said Wallace,
"when you get the box all ready. You must
look about and find a box, and carry it into the
shop. Is your shop in order ?"
"No," said Phonny, "not exactly; but I can
put it in order in a few minutes."
"Very well," said Wallace. "Put your shop
all in order, and get the box, and then come
and call me."
"Well," said Phonny, "I will."
AFTER dinner, Stuyvesant told Phonny that he
should be glad to help him about his cage, were
it not that he was engaged to go with Beechnut
that afternoon to plough. Phonny was very
sorry to hear this. In fact he had a great mind
to go himself, and help plough, and so put off
making his cage until the next day. It is very
probable that he would have decided upon this
plan, but while he was hesitating about it,
Beechnut came to tell Stuyvesant that he should
not be able to finish the ploughing that day,
for he was obliged to go away. Then Stuy-
vesant said that he would help Phonny. So
they went together into the shop.
They found the squirrel safe. Phonny ex-
amined the water very attentively, to see
whether Frink had been drinking any of it.
He was very confident that the water had
diminished quite sensibly. Stuyvesant could
not tell whether it had diminished or not.
"And now," said Phonny, the first thing
is to put the shop in order."
So saying, he took the plane away from
before the trap, and looked at the hole to see
whether Frink had gnawed it any bigger. He
had not. Phonny then carried the trap to the
back part of the shop and put it upon a great
chopping-block which stood there. He did
this for the purpose of having the bench clear,
so as to put the tools in order upon it.
"I am glad that you are going to put this
shop in order," said Stuyvesant,-" that is, if
you will let me use it afterwards."
Yes," said Phonny, I will let you use it.
But what should you want to make in it? "
Why, Beechnut has given me charge of the
hen-house," said Stuyvesant, "and I am to
have one-third of the eggs."
Here Phonny stopped suddenly in his work,
and looked up to Stuyvesant as if surprised.
"What, my hen-house !" said he.
"The one that you used to have," said
Stuyvesant. "He said that you sold it to
"So I did," said Phonny, thoughtfully. As
he said this, he laid down his saw, which he
had just taken to hang upon a nail where it
belonged, and ran off out of the shop.
He was in pursuit of Beechnut. He found
him harnessing a horse into a waggon.
Beechnut," said he, "have you given Stuy-
vesant the charge of my hen-house ? "
I have offered it to him," said Beechnut,
"but he has not told me yet whether he ac-
cepted the offer or not."
"You are going to let him have half the
eggs if he takes care of the house and the
hens ? inquired Phonny.
One-third of them," said Beechnut.
"I did not know that you would do that,"
said Phonny. "If I had known that you
would be willing to let it out in that way, I
should have wanted it myself."
I am not certain that it would be safe to
let it to you," said Beechnut.
"Why not?" asked Phonny.
I am not sure that you would be persever-
ing and faithful in taking care of the hens."
"Why should not I as well as Stuyvesant ?"
asked Phonny. Stuyvesant is not so old as I
He may have more steadiness and perse-
verance, for all that," said Beechnut.
"I think you might let me have it as well as
him," said Phonny.
"Very well," said Beechnut, either of you.
It shall go to the one who has the first claim."
You say he did not accept your offer of it
to him ?"
No," said Beechnut, I believe he did not."
"Then I agree to accept it now," said
Phonny, "and that gives me the first claim."
Beechnut did not answer to this proposal, but
went on harnessing the horse. When the horse
was all ready, he gathered up the reins and stood
a moment, just before getting into the waggon,
in a thoughtful attitude.
"Well now, Phonny," said he, "here is a
great law question to be settled, whether you
or Stuyvesant has the best right to the contract.
Go andask Stuyvesant to come to the shop-door."
So Beechnut got into the waggon and drove
out of the shed, and along the yard, until he
came to the shop-door, and there he stopped.
Phonny and Stuyvesant were standing in front
of the door.
"Stuyvesant," said Beechnut, here is a
perplexing case. Phonny wants to have the
care of the hen-house on the same terms I
offered it to you. You did not tell me whether
you would take it or not."
"No," said Stuyvesant, "I was going to
tell you that I would take it; but if Phonny
wants it, I am willing to give it up to him."
"And you, Phonny," said Beechnut, "are
willing, I suppose, if Stuyvesant wants it, to give
it up to him ?"
Why-yes," said Phonny. In saying this,
however, Phonny seemed to speak quite re-
luctantly and doubtfully.
"That's right," said Beechnut. "Each of
you is willing to give up to the other. But
now before we can tell on which side the giv-
ing up is to be, we must first decide on which
side the right is. So that, you see, we have got
the quarrel into a very pretty shape now. The
question is, which of you can have the pleasure
and privilege of giving up to the other, instead of
which shall be compelled to give up against his
will. So you see it is now a very pleasant sort
of a quarrel."
"No," said Phonny, "it is not any such
thing. A quarrel is not pleasant, ever."
Oh, yes," said Beechnut, one of the
greatest pleasures of life is to quarrel. We can-
not possibly get along without quarrels. The
only thing that we can do is to get them in as
good shape as possible.
Have you got a pencil and paper in your
shop ?" continued Beechnut.
"Yes," said Phonny.
"Bring them out to me."
Phonny brought out a pencil and a small
piece of paper, and held them up to Beechnut
in the waggon.
Now, boys," said Beechnut, are you will-
ing to submit this case to Mr. Wallace, for his
"Yes," said Phonny.
"I am, too," said Stuyvesant.
"Then I'll write a statement of it," said
Beechnut accordingly placed the paper upon
the seat of the waggon beside him, and began
to write. In a few minutes he held up the
paper and read as follows :-
"A. has a certain contract which he is willing
to offer to either B. or C., whichever has the
prior right to it. He first offered it to B., but
before B. accepted the offer C. made application
for it. C. immediately accepted the offer, before
A. decided upon B.'s application. Now the
question is whose claim is best, in respect simply
of priority,-the one to whom it was first offered,
or the one who first signified his willingness to
accept of it."
"There," said Beechnut, "there is a simple
statement of the case."
I don't understand it very well," said
Don't you ?" said Beechnut; "then I'll read
So Beechnut began again.
A. has a certain contract- "
Here Beechnut paused and looked up at the
"A. means Beechnut," said Stuyvesant.
"Then why don't you say Beechnut 1" said
"And the contract," continued Stuyvesant,
"is the agreement about the hens."
"Which he is willing to offer," continued
Beechnut, to either B. or C."
"That is, either to you or me," said Stuy-
Yes," said Phonny, "I understand so far.
But what is that about priority ? "
"Priority," said Beechnut, "means precedence
in respect to time."
"That is harder to understand than priority,"
"The question is," continued Beechnut,
"which must be considered as first in order
of time, the one who had the offer first, or the
one who accepted first."
"The one who accepted first," said Phonny.
"You are not to decide the question," said
Beechnut. I was only explaining to you what
the question is. You must carry the paper to
Mr. Wallace, and get his opinion."
"But, Beechnut," said Phonny, "why don't
you tell him all about it, just as it was, instead
of making up such a story about A. B. and C.
Why, when we refer a case to an umpire for
decision," said Beechnut, "it is always best, when
we can, to state the principle of the question in
general terms, so that he can decide it in the
abstract, without knowing who the real parties
are, and how they are to be affected by his
decision. Here's Mr. Wallace now, who would
not like very well to decide in favour of his
brother and against you, even if he thought that
his brother was in the right. But by not letting
him know anything but the general principle; he
can decide just as he thinks, without fear that
you would think him partial."
"Well," said Phonny, "I will carry him the
"You must only give him the paper," said
Beechnut, "and not tell him anything about the
No," said Phonny, I will not."
"For if you do," continued Beechnut, "he
will know who the parties are, and then he will
not like to decide the question."
Well," said Phonny, "I will not tell him."
"Let Stuyvesant go with you," said Beechnut.
"Well," said Phonny.
Phonny accordingly took the paper and went
into the house with Stuyvesant. He led the
way up into his cousin Wallace's room. He
found Wallace seated at his table in his alcove,
where he usually studied. The curtains were
both up, which was the signal that Phonny
might go and speak to him.
Phonny and Stuyvesant accordingly walked
up to the table, and Wallace asked them if they
wished to speak to him.
Phonny handed him the paper.
"There," said he, "is a case for you to de-
Wallace took the paper and read it. He said
nothing, but seemed for a moment to be think-
ing on the subject, and then he took his pen
and wrote several lines under the question.
Phonny supposed that he was writing his
After his writing was finished, Wallace folded
up the paper, and told Phonny that he must not
read it until he had given it to Beechnut.
How did you know that it was from Beech-
nut?" said Phonny.
I knew by the handwriting," said Wallace.
"Besides, I knew that there was nobody else
here who would have referred such a question
to me in such a scientific way."
So Phonny took the paper and carried it
down to Beechnut.
Beechnut opened it, and read aloud as fol-
My judgment is, that it would depend upon
whether B. had a reasonable time to consider
and decide upon the offer, before C. came for-
ward. In all cases of making an offer, it is
implied that reasonable time is allowed to con-
"The question is, then, boys," said Beechnut,
"whether Stuyvesant had had a reasonable time
to consider my offer, before Phonny came for-
ward. What do you think about that, Phonny?"
Why, yes," said Phonny, "he had an hour."
Stuyvesant said nothing.
I will think about that while I am riding,"
said Beechnut, "and tell you what I conclude
upon it when I return. Perhaps we shall have
to refer that question to Mr. Wallace too."
So Beechnut drove away, and the boys went
back into the shop. Here they resumed their
work of putting the tools in order, and while
doing so, they continued their conversation about
the question of priority.
"I think," said Phonny, "that you had
abundance of time to consider whether you
would accept the offer."
We might leave that question to Wallace,
too," said Stuyvesant.
"Yes," said Phonny, "let's go now and ask
"Well," said Stuyvesant, I am willing."
Only," said Phonny, "we mustnot tell him
what the question is about."
No," said Stuyvesant.
So the boys went together up to Wallace's
room. They found him in his alcove as before.
They advanced to the table, and Wallace
looked up to them to hear what they had to say.
B. had an hour to consider of his offer,"
said Phonny, "don't you think that that was
Phonny was very indiscreet, indeed, in asking
the question in that form, for it showed at once
that whatever might be the subject of the discus-
sion, he was not himself the person represented
by B. It was now no longer possible for Wal-
lace to look at the question purely in its abstract
"Now I know," said Wallace, "which is B., and
of course you may as well tell me all about it."
Phonny looked at Stuyvesant with an expres-
sion of surprise and concern upon his counte-
"No matter," said Stuyvesant, "let us tell
him the whole story."
Phonny accordingly explained to Wallace,
that the contract related to the care of the hen-
house and the hens,-that it was first offered
to Stuyvesant, that Stuyvesant did not accept
it for an hour or two, and that in the course
of that time he, Phonny, had himself applied
for it. He concluded by asking Wallace if
he did not think that an hour was a reasonable
"The question," said Wallace, "how much it
is necessary to allow for a reasonable time,
depends upon the nature of the subject that
the offer relates to. If two persons were writing
at a table, and one of them were to offer the
other six wafers in exchange for a steel pen,
five minutes, or even one minute, might be a
reasonable time to allow him for decision. On
the other hand, in buying a house, two or three
days would not be more than would be reason-
able. Now, I think in such a case as this, any
person who should receive such an offer as
Beechnut made, ought to have time enough to
consider the whole subject fairly. He would
wish to see the hen-house, to examine its con-
dition, to consider how long it would take him
to put it in order, and how much trouble the
care of the hens would make him afterwards.
He would also want to know how many eggs he
was likely to receive, and to consider whether
these would be return enough for all his trouble.
Now, it does not seem to me that one hour,
coming too just when Stuyvesant was called
The Workshop. 77
away to dinner, could be considered a reason-
able time. He ought to have a fair opportunity,
when the offer is once made to him, to consider
it and decide understandingly, whether he
would accept it or not."
"Well," said Phonny, with a sigh, I sup-
pose I must give it up."
So he and Stuyvesant walked back to the
WHEN the boys entered the shop door ,the
first thing for Phonny to do was to look and
see if his trap was safe. It was safe. It re-
mained standing upon the horse-block where he
had placed it.
"And now," said Phonny, "the question is,
where I am to find a box for a cage. I must
go and look about."
"And I must go and look at my hen-house,"
Phonny proposed that Stuyvesant should go
with him to find a box, and then help him
make a cage, and after that, he would go, he
said, and help Stuyvesant about the repairs of
I must go and look at the hen-house first,"
said Stuyvesant. I can -do that while you
are finding the box, and then I will help you."
"Well," said Phonny. "But-on the whole,
I will go with you to look at it, and then you
can go with me to find the box."
So the boys walked along toward the hen-
When they came to the place, they went in,
and Stuyvesant proceeded to examine the pre-
mises very thoroughly. There were two doors
of admission. One was a large one, for men
and boys to go in at. The other was a very
small one, a square hole in fact, rather than a
door, and was intended for the hens.
This small opening had once been fitted with
a sort of lid, which was attached by leather
hinges on its upper edge to a wooden bar or
cleat nailed to the side of the house, just over
the square hole. This lid formed, of course, a
sort of door, opening outward and upward.
When up, it could be fastened in that position
by means of a wooden button. The button
and the bar of wood remained in its place, but
the door was gone.
"Where is the door?" asked Stuyvesant,
after he had examined all this very carefully.
Why, I took it off," said Phonny, to make
a little stool of. I wanted a square board just
about that size."
"And did you make a stool ?" asked Stuy-
The Workshop. 79
"No," said Phonny. "I found that I could
not bore the holes for the legs. I tried to bore
a hole, but I split the board."
"Then I must find another piece of board,
somewhere," said Stuyvesant.
Stuyvesant next turned his attention to the
great door. He swung it to and fro, to see if
the hinges were in order. They were. Next
he shut it, but he found there was nothing to
keep it shut.
"There used to be a button," said Phonny.
"Where is the button now?" asked Stuy-
I don't know," said he. "Let me see;-
it must be about here somewhere."
So saying, Phonny began to look around
upon the ground. There was some litter upon
the ground, formed of sticks, straws, &c., and
Phonny began to poke this litter about with
"I saw it lying down here somewhere, once,"
said he ; "but I can't find it now."
"Why didn't you pick it up and put it away
in some safe place ? said Stuyvesant, or get
it put on ? "
"Why, I don't know," said Phonny. "You
see we don't want to shut up the hens much
in the summer."
"No," replied Stuyvesant; "but it is a
great deal better to have the doors all in
"Why is it better ? asked Phonny.
It is more satisfactory," said Stuyvesant.
"Satisfactory !" repeated Phonny. "Hoh !"
Stuyvesant went into the hen-house. Phonny
followed him in.
It was a small room, with a loft upon one
side of it. The floor was covered with sticks,
straw, and litter. In one corner was a barrel,
three-quarters filled with hay. There were
two or three bars overhead for the hens to
roost upon. Stuyvesant looked around upon
all these objects for a few minutes in silence,
and then pointing up to the loft, he asked,
"What is up there? "
"That is the loft," replied Phonny. "There
is nothing up there."
How do you get up to see? asked Stuy-
"I can't get up, except when Beechnut is
here to hoist me," said Phonny.
"I mean to make a ladder," said Stuy-
Hoh !" said Phonny, "you can't make a
I will try, at any, rate," said Stuyvesant.
Then after a short pause and a little more
looking around, he added,
Well, I am ready now to go and help you
find your box. I see what I have got to do
"What is it? asked Phonny.
"I have got a small door to make, and a
button for the large door, and a ladder to get
The Workshop. 81
up to the loft. Then I have got to clear the
hen-house all out, and put it in order. What
is in this barrel? "
That is where the hens lay sometimes,"
said Phonny, "when they don't lay in the
So saying, Phonny walked into the corner
where the barrel stood, and there he found
three eggs in the nest.
"Three eggs," said he. "I think Dorothy
has not been out here to-day. That is the be-
ginning of your profits. You can take two
of them; we have to leave one for the nest-
Phonny proposed that Stuyvesant should
carry the eggs in, and give them to Dorothy;
but he said he would not do it then. He
would leave them where they were for the pre-
sent, and go and look for the box. Stuyvesant
was intending to look, at the same time, for
the materials necessary for his door, his ladder,
and his button.
Phonny, accordingly, led the way, and Stuy-
vesant followed, into various apartments in the
barns and sheds, where lumber was stored, or
where it might be expected to be found.
There were several boxes in these places, but
some were too large, and others too small, and
one, which seemed about right in respect to
size, was made of rough boards, and so Phonny
thought that it would not do.
At last he found some boxes under a corn-
barn, one of which he thought would do very
well. It was about two feet long when laid
down upon its side, and one foot wide and
high. The open part was to be closed by a
wire front, which was yet to be made.
Now," said Phonny, help me to get the
box to the shop, and then Wallace is coming
down to help me make it into a cage."
So Phonny and Stuyvesant, working together,
got the box into the shop. The bench had
been cleared off, so that there was a good
space there to put the box upon. Phonny and
Stuyvesant placed it there, and then Phonny
went to the trap to see if his squirrel was
Now, Frink," said he, "we are going to
make you a beautiful cage. Wait a little longer,
and then we will let you out of that dark
Phonny said this as he passed across the
floor toward the horse-block. As soon, how-
ever, as he came near to the trap, he suddenly
called out to Stuyvesant,
Why, Stuyvesant, see how big this hole is."
He referred to the hole which the squirrel
had begun to gnaw. Somehow or other the
opening had grown very large. Phonny
stooped down with his hands upon his knees
and peeped into the trap.
The squirrel was gone.
He's gone !" said Phonny. He's gone !"
So saying he lifted up the lid gradually, and
The Workshop. 83
then holding out the empty trap to Stuyve-
sant, he exclaimed again, in a tone ot despair,
-"He's gone "
He gnawed out," said Stuyvesant.
"Yes," said Phonny.
There were two windows in Phonny's shop.
One was over the work-bench and was an
ordinary window, formed with sashes. The
other was merely a large square hole with a
sort of lid or shutter opening upward and
outward, like the small door of the hen-house.
Phonny used to call this his shutter window.
It was the place where he was accustomed to
throw out his shavings.
Of course there was no glass in this win-
dow, and nothing to keep out the wind and
rain when it was open. In stormy weather,
therefore, it was always kept shut. The shav-
ings which Phonny threw out here formed a
little pile outside, and after accumulating for
some time, Phonny used to carry them away
and burn them.
As Phonny stood showing the empty cage to
Stuyvesant, his back was turned toward this
window, but Stuyvesant was facing it. .Hap-
pening at that instant to glance upward, behold,
there was the squirrel, perched at his ease
upon a beam which passed along just over the
Stuyvesant did not say a word, but pointed
to the place. Phonny looked up and saw the
"Oo-oo-oo !-" said Phonny.
"Shut the window," he exclaimed. "Let
us shut the window quick," he added impa-
tiently; and then creeping softly up to the
place, he took hold of the prop which held the
shutter up, and gently drawing it in, he let the
shutter down into its place.
"Shut the other window," said Phonny.
"Climb up on the bench, Stivy, and shut the
other window as quick as you can."
Stuyvesant clambered up upon the bench
and shut down the sash of the window.
"Now for the door," said Phonny; and he
ran to the door and shut it, looking round as
he went, toward the squirrel. As soon as he
got the door shut he seemed relieved.
"There," said he, "we have got him safe.
The only thing now is to catch him."
Here followed quite a long consultation be-
tween the two boys, in respect to the course
which it was now best to pursue. Phonny's
first plan was to put the trap upon the table
and then for him and Stuyvesant to drive the
squirrel into it. Stuyvesant however thought
that that would be a very difficult operation.
If the squirrel were a horse," said he, and
the trap a barn, we might possibly get him in;
but as it is, I don't believe the thing can be
Phonny next proposed to chase the squirrel
round the shop until they caught him. Stuy-
vesant objected to this too.
The Workshop. 85
"We should frighten him," said he, "and
make him very wild; and besides, we might
hurt him dreadfully in catching and holding
him. Very likely we should pull his tail off."
After considerable consultation, the boys
concluded to let the squirrel remain for a time
at liberty in the shop, taking care to keep the
door and windows shut. They thought that
by this means he would become accustomed to
see them working about, and would grow tame;
perhaps so tame that by-and-by, Phonny might
catch him in his hand.
"And then, besides," said Phonny, "we
can set the trap for him here to-night, when we
go away, and perhaps he will go into it, and
get caught so before morning."
"Then we mustn't feed him any this after-
noon," said Stuyvesant. He won't go into
the trap to-night unless he is hungry."
"Well," said Phonny, we won't feed him.
I will leave him to himself, and let him do
what he pleases, and I'll go to work and make
Phonny's plan for his cage was this. Stuy-
vesant helped him form it. He was to take
some wire, a coil of which he found hanging
up in the shed, and cut it into lengths suitable
for the bars of his cage. Then he was going
to bore a row of holes in the top of his box,
near the front edge, with a small gimlet.
These holes were to be about half an inch
apart, and to be in a line about half an inch
from the front edge of the top of the box. The
wires were to be passed down through these
holes, and then in the bottom of the box, at the
points where the ends of these wires would
come, respectively, he was to bore other holes,
partly through the board, to serve as sockets
to receive the lower ends of the wires.
This plan being all agreed upon, Phonny
climbed up upon the bench, with his gimlet in
his hand, and taking his seat upon the box, was
beginning to bore the holes.
Stop," said Stuyvesant, you ought to
draw a line and mark off the places first."
Oh no," said Phonny, I can guess near
"Well," said Stuyvesant, though I don't
think that guessing is a good way."
Phonny thought that it would take a great
while to draw a line and measure off the dis-
tances, and so he went on with his boring,
looking up however, continually from his
work, to watch the squirrel.
And now," said Stuyvesant, I will begin
Stuyvesant accordingly went out, taking
great care, as he opened and shut the door,
not to let the squirrel escape. Presently he
returned, bringing his materials. There was
a short board for the small door, two long strips
for the sides of the ladder, and another long
strip, which was to be sawed up into lengths for
The Workshop. 87
Stuyvesant began first with his door. He
went out to the hen-house, carrying with him
an instrument called a square, on which feet
and inches were marked. With this he mea-
sured the hole which his door was to cover, and
then making proper allowance for the extension
of the door, laterally, beyond the hole, he de-
termined on the length to which he would saw
off his board. He determined on the breadth
in the same way.
He then went to the shop and sawed off the
board to the proper length, and then, with the
hatchet and plane, he trimmed it to the proper
breadth. Next he made two hinges of leather,
and nailed them on in their places, upon the
upper side of the board. He then carried his
work out to the hen-house, and nailed the ends
of the hinges to the cross-bar provided for them.
When this was all done, he turned the lid up
and hastened it into its place.
Then, standing up, he surveyed his work
with a look ot satisfaction, and said,
He returned to the shop again. When he
came to the door he opened it a very little way,
and paused, calling out to Phonny, to know if
the squirrel was anywhere near.
No," said Phonny, "come in."
So he went in. The squirrel had run along
the beams to the back part of the shop, and
was nibbling about there amo.-g some blocks of
"I have a great mind to feed him," said
Phonny. He is hungry."
"Well," said Stuyvesant.
So Phonny took the ear of corn out of the
trap, and breaking it into two or three pieces,
he carried the parts into the back part ot the
shop, and put them at different places on the
beams. Then he crept back to his work again.
Stuyvesant went to work making his button.
He selected a proper piece of wood, sawed it
off of the proper length, and then shaped it
into the form of a button by means of a chisel,
working, in doing this, at the bench. As soon
as this operation was completed, he took a large
gimlet and bored a hole through the centre of
the button. He measured very carefully to
find the exact centre of the button, before he
began to bore.
When the button was finished, Stuyvesant
looked in Phonny's nail-box to find a large
screw and when he had found one, he took
the screw-driver and went out to the hen-house
and screwed the button on. When the screw
was driven home to its place, Stuyvesant shut
the door and buttoned it. Then standing be-
fore it with his screw-driver in his hand, he sur-
veyed his work with another look of satisfaction,
There there are two good jobs done."
He then opened and shut his two doors, both
the large and the small one, to see once more
whether they worked well. They did work
The Workshop. 89
perfectly well, so he turned away and went
back toward the shop again, saying,
Now for the ladder."
He went back to the shop and entered cau-
tiously as before. He found that Phonny had
bored quite a number of holes, and was now
engaged in cutting his wire into lengths. He
used for this purpose a pair of cutting-plyers,
as they are called, an instrument formed much
like a pair of nippers. The instrument was
made expressly for cutting off wire.
Stuyvesant came to the place where Phonny
was at work, and stood near him a few minutes
looking on. He perceived that the holes were
not in a straight line, nor were they equidistant
from each other. He, however, said nothing
about it, but soon went to his own work again.
He took the piece of wood which he had
selected to make his cross-bars of, and began
to consider how many cross-bars he could make
"What is that piece of wood for?" asked
It is for the cross-bars of my ladder," said
"The cross-bars of a ladder ought to be
round," said Phonny. "They always make
them round. In fact they call them rounds."
"Yes," said Stuyvesant, I know they do,
but I can't make rounds very well. And be-
sides, if I could, I could not make the holes
in the side-pieces to put them into. So I am
going to make them square, and nail them right
Hoh !" said Phonny, "that is no way to
make a ladder. You can bore the holes easily
enough. Here. I'll show you how. I've got an
So saying, Phonny jumped down from the
bench and went and climbed up upon the
chopping-block to get down an auger. Phonny
had two augers, and they both hung over the
block. He took down one and began verS
eagerly to bore a hole into the side of the
chopping-block. He bored in a little way, and
then, in attempting to draw the auger out, to
clear the hole of chips, the handle came of,
leaving the auger itself fast in the hole.
"Ah this auger is broken," said Phonny;
"I forgot that. I could bore a hole if the
auger was not broken."
Never mind," said Stuyvesant, "I don't
think I could make a ladder very well in that
way, and don't like to undertake anything
that I can't accomplish. So I will make it my
Stuyvesant went out to the hen-house, and
measured the height of the loft. He round it
to be seven feet. He concluded to have his
ladder eight feet long, and to have six cross-
bars, one foot apart, the upper and lower cross-
bars to be one foot from the ends of the ladder.
The cross-bars themselves being about two
inches wide each, the breadth of the whole six
The Workshop. 91
would be just one foot. This Stuyvesant calcu-
lated would make just the eight feet.
Stuyvesant then went back to the shop. He
found that the pieces which he had chosen for
the sides of the ladder were just about eight
Phonny came to him while he was measur-
ing, to see what he was going to do.
How wide are you going to have your lad-
der?" said he.
"I don't know," said Stuyvesant. I am
going to have it as wide as I can."
So saying, Stuyvesant took down the piece
which he had intended for the cross-bars.
"I am going to divide this into six equal
parts," said he, "because I must have six
So Stuyvesant began to measure. The piece
of wood, he found, was eight teet long,-the
same as the side-pieces of the ladder.
And now, how are you going to divide it ?"
"Why, eight feet," said Stuyvesant, "make
ninety-six inches. I must divide that by six."
So he took a pencil from his pocket and
wrote down the figures 96 upon a board; he
divided the number by 6.
"It will go 16 times," said he. "I can have
16 inches for each cross-bar."
Stuyvesant then measured off sixteen inches,
and made a mark; then he measured off sixteen
inches more, and made another mark. In the
same manner he proceeded until he had divided
the whole piece into portions of sixteen inches
each. He then took a saw and sawed the
piece off at every place where he had marked.
"There," said he, "there are my cross-
What good cross-bars," said Phonny.
"That was an excellent way to make them."
WHILE the boys were at work in this manner,
Stuyvesant making his ladder, and Phonny his
cage, they suddenly heard some one opening
the door. Wallace came in. Phonny called
out to him to shut the door as quickly as pos-
sible. Wallace did so, while Phonny, in ex-
planation of the urgency of his injunction in
respect to the door, pointed up to the squirrel,
which was then creeping along, apparently quite
at his ease, upon one of the beams in the back
part of the shop.
"Why, Bunny," said Wallace.
"His name is not Bunny," said Phonny.
His name is Frink."
A Discovery. 93
"Frink," repeated Wallace. "Who invented
that name ? "
"I don't know," replied Phonny, "only
Beechnut said that his name was Frink. See
the cage I am making for him."
Wallace came up and looked at the cage He
stood a moment surveying it in silence. Then
he turned toward Stuyvesant.
And what is Stuyvesant doing?" said he.
"He is making a ladder."
"What is it for, Stuyvesant ?" said Wallace.
"Why, it is to go upon the loft, in the hen-
house," said Phonny, "though I don't see what
good it will do, to go up there."
So it is settled, that you are going to have
the hen-house," said Wallace, looking towards
Yes," said Stuyvesant.
Here there was another long pause. Wallace
was looking at the ladder. He observed how
carefully Stuyvesant was making it. He saw
that the cross-bars were all exactly of a length,
and he knew that they must have been pretty
accurately measured. While Wallace was
looking on, Stuyvesant was measuring off the
distances upon the side-pieces of the ladder,
so as to have the steps of equal length. Wal-
lace observed that he did this all very carefully.
Wallace then looked back to Phonny's work.
He saw that Phonny was guessing his way
along. The holes were not equidistant from
each other, and then they were not at the same