The Baldwin Library
"WHY, MRS. MUFF, IT'S AN ALDERNEY "
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS
MARY LEE ETHERIDGE
DE WOLFE, FISKE & CO.
361 AND 365 WASHINGTON STREET
By DE WOLFE, FISKE & CO.
C. J. PETERS & SON,
TYPOGRAPHERS AND ELECTROTYPERS,
145 HIGH STREET, BOSTON.
A suppliant to Royalty,
For favor and for grace,
Go, little book! Present thyself
Before thy patron's face.
Ask him to read of Mrs. Muff,
Who killed the calf with hay;
To grieve for Mrs. Brindle's grief
Upon that fatal day.
To run away with Contrary
'Because he thought 'twas fun
To stand upon his hinder legs
And learn to fire a gun.
And if His Majesty is pleased,
Perhaps he'll condescend
To other little boys and girls
The book to recommend.
How MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF 1
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS 27
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY 45
THE GRAY PARROT AND THE BLACK NEWFOUNDLAND DOG 77
THE HISTORY OF MRS. MUFF'S THREE BLACK KITTENS 99
MOLLY GARFIELD'S CAT 21
How TOM MILLBURY SAW SANTA CLAUS 131
How CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS VINDICATED HIS RIGHT TO HIS NAME 147
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
" WHY, MRS. MUFF, IT'S AN ALDERNEY Frontispiece
MRS. MUFF BRINGING THE ONIONS 35
" CONTRARY WENT OVER IT, WITH JULIUS CiESAR ON HIS BACK" 69
"THOU SHALT NOT STEAL" 9
"JET WAS ON THE TABLE, STANDING UP IN FRONT OF THE BIRD" 113
" GETTING OVER THE PIGSTY WITH ONE OF THE LITTLE PIGS ". 137
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF.
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF.
SOME years ago there lived in a certain town a farmer
named Haynes, who had a very fine cow of the Alderney breed.
She was a cow so celebrated for her fine qualities as a milker,
that there was a long paper quite full of the names of her
father and mother, and grandmothers and grandfathers, etc., -
they called it her pedigree, and the farmer kept it carefully in
a box in the front parlor, for it was a very important paper,
should the cow ever be sold, or should she ever have any
When she first came to the farm, it was thought, by the rest
of the cows, that she was rather inclined to put on airs, and, as
they were not inclined to submit to it, there was not quite so
much intimacy between them as there might have been; which,
perhaps, was the reason she became so friendly with a large
gray cat, who lived a great deal in the barn, as she was obliged
to do in pursuit of her business, which was to take care of
the rats and the mice, who would, otherwise, have become very
troublesome to the farmer.
The cat, it must be confessed, was very particular in her
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
behavior to the cow, always addressing her as Madam, or else
as Mrs. Brindle. And Mrs. Brindle herself, although she often
heard the farmer's wife call the cat Muffey, never herself, ever
addressed her as anything but as Mrs. Muff, and, when she
wanted to distinguish her from the cat who lived at the farm
hard by, spoke of her to the rest of the cows as Mrs. Tabitha
Muff, which, indeed, was her whole name.
The first few months Mrs. Brindle lived at Farmer Haynes's
there was nothing very remarkable happened; it was winter-
time, and the barn was shut up a good deal, and Mrs. Brindle
did not see as much of what was going on as Mrs. Muff, who
was back and forth from the barn to the house constantly, so
she was always glad when Mrs. Muff came in with a little news.
Sometimes it would be, Good-morning, if it is morning, but,
really, the snow is piled up about the windows of this barn till
I can't tell whether it is day or night."
Yes," Mrs. Muff would reply, it was as much as I could
do to get through the drifts from the house, it has been such
a bad storm; but I felt as if I ought to be here, the rats are
so troublesome if I am not here every day."
And the cat shook every paw very carefully, so as to shake
off the dry snow before it could melt and wet her fur. She
disliked anything wet very much indeed.
It went on pretty much that way all winter, but, one morning
in April, when Mrs. Muff came in as usual, Mrs. Brindle had
something to show her. The most beautiful bossy calf you
ever saw in your life, with soft, chestnut-colored hair, and a
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF. '7
white star on its forehead, and large, soft eyes. Mrs. Muff
was a good deal surprised, and very much pleased.
I declare," said she, I thought there was something up! "
Mrs. Muff did not often use such expressions, but she learned
them, sometimes, from the farmer's nephew, who was quite a
gay young man. Farmer Haynes could hardly eat his break-
fast, and Mrs. Haynes was up half a dozen times to see about
some mess that was cooking for you."
Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Brindle, I should think it likely
there would be a fuss about one of my calves. Why, Mrs.
Muff, it's an Alderney! "
Is it?" said Mrs. Muff, who did -not know one breed of
calves from another. "Well, I declare "
"And what do you think it was, Mrs. Muff, if it wasn't an
Alderney ?" said Mrs. Brindle, who did not feel quite well that
morning, and so was a little cross.
The farmer and his wife now came in, and a neighbor with
them, and there was a great deal of excitement, and some one
told the farmer he might get two hundred dollars for that calf.
After they had gone out, and the barn was all still and quiet,
and Mrs. Muff was sitting on the hay resting, having been out
after a rat, Mrs. Brindle spoke out all of a sudden, -
Mrs. Muff, what did that man mean when he told Farmer
Haynes he could get two hundred dollars for my calf? "
"Oh, I don't know," said Mrs. Muff, there's a good deal of
nonsense talked in my hearing, first and last."
You see Mrs. Muff was out in the world a great deal more
I8 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
than Mrs. Brindle, and knew a great deal more about what was
going on, and she knew very well that there was a cart with
a white cover that was always about in the lanes in June and
July; and she had heard strange noises from it -it was not
always dead meat in it, say what you liked. But she did not
want to frighten Mrs. Brindle when she was not well, so she
You don't suppose he means to take my son from me, do
you, Mrs. Muff?" said Mrs. Brindle, and she turned so pale
that Mrs. Muff had to get a great mullein leaf and fan her,
for fear she should faint away.
For mercy's sake, Mrs. Brindle," said she, don't think of
such a thing. Why, you've hardly got him."
I know that," said Mrs. Brindle; but that couldn't make
any difference. I think that the people who have the care
of us are a selfish set, and I often think we could manage
better for ourselves."
"Well, I don't know," said Mrs. Muff, you see cats are a
great deal sharper than cows, even Alderney cows, I think
I should miss my three meals a day and my comfortable bed;
after all, I don't do much to pay for them."
You catch the rats," said Mrs. Brindle.
"To tell you the truth, my dear," said Mrs. Muff, I should
do that at any rate; I like it -though," she added, looking
round, "I shouldn't like to have them hear me say so,--
it never does to make yourself too cheap."
But Mrs. Brindle, who was a person of much more simplicity
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF. 19
of character than Mrs. Muff, could not take her mind off from
the main subject of conversation, and she said in a thoughtful
Do you always have all your kittens left in the basket? "
Well," said Mrs. Muff, hesitating a little, generally I do,
and if they are not there, they are at Mrs. Wilkins's or Mrs.
Morse's, where I can see them whenever I like; for, you see,"
said Mrs. Muff, drawing herself up, my kittens are excellent
mousers, and they are always welcome."
But are you sure you know just how many you have in
the beginning ?" said Mrs. Brindle.
Just how many I have in the beginning! cried Mrs. Muff
sharply. "Why, do you suppose I am a fool and can't count,
Mrs. Brindle? "
"You see," said Mrs. Brindle apologetically, "it is so
different from having only one,-a person might get con-
Nonsense," said Mrs. Muff, but there was an uneasy look
in her eyes, and she shut them with a snap quite unusual in
her, as she thought of the time when she had never been able
to persuade herself that she had not left five kittens in the
basket, and there were but two when she went back. Mrs.
Wilkins and Mrs. Morse were away that summer.
That ended the conversation for the present, rather to Mrs.
Mrs. Brindle continued to improve in her health, and as for
the calf, he was so strong that it was as much as the boy, who
20 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIE NDS.
had the care of him, could do to catch him when he broke
away from him.
His mother was immensely proud of him, and gave herself
so many airs after she got well enough to go out in the field,
that there was less friendship than ever between her and the
rest of the party; and there were often a few spiteful remarks
made, as to whether she considered herself different from
everybody else, and whether she thought people always had
their children under their own eyes, to do whatever they
pleased with them.
But Mrs. Brindle, who was not specially clever, and was much
taken up with her son, gave no attention to it all, and had, in
fact, quite forgotten all her anxieties, when, one day, a fat,
stout man, looking like an Englishman, came in to the home
pasture with the farmer. The farmer had a piece of parchment
in his hand, and they kept looking at Mrs. Brindle, and then
at her son, and then at the parchment, till every cow in the
field had stopped eating and was looking at them.
I don't think there's a doubt about it," said the man at last.
" I always said there would be a calf, and as for the breed, why,
there can be no mistake about that; and it is the only one too.
Why, he's worth his weight in gold. You won't say anything
about him to any one, will you ? and you'll let me have the
refusal of him ?"
"Well, yes," said the farmer, "I think'so," and then they
Mrs. Brindle could not help being uneasy, but then there was
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF.
her son, they had not taken him yet, and she kept her great
eyes on him all the afternoon, and when she found herself in
the barn at night, she began to breathe freely.
But about eight o'clock, when milking was over and the barn
shut up for the night, Mrs. Muff jumped in at the window that
was left open for air, and asked her, in a very low tone, if she
had seen anybody that afternoon. Then Mrs. Brindle told
her about the man's coming into the field with the farmer, and
Mrs. Muff said, -
When it was about seven o'clock the men came in to get
some supper, and," said she, I meant to have stayed in the
room, but there was broiled salmon on the table, and Mrs.
Haynes has got an idea that I don't like to be in a room with,
fish, and so she. always puts me out. I do like to be in the
room," added Mrs. Muff, with a queer look about her mouth,
"whenever there is any fish about, but she don't understand.
However, before I was put out, I heard the man say he
would be here at eight o'clock to-morrow with the cage. And
Mr. Haynes said he hated to part with Napoleon,"- that was
the calf's name.
"And what shall I do?" said Mrs. Brindle, giving a loud
moan, that might have been heard all over the farm.
"Well," said Mrs. Muff, "we might hide him in the hay.
I've done such things before when people did not mind their
But Napoleon would never lie still," said Mrs. Brindle.
He'd have to lie still if there was hay enough on him," said
22 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS
Mrs. Muff, and I could lie on his head, too; I weigh fourteen
pounds, I heard Mrs. Haynes tell Mrs. Morse so yesterday."
And how could I get the hay down? said Mrs. Brindle.
"Why, pull it down with your horns," said Mrs. Muff; "you
know you have never been tied up since Napoleon came."
So after the farmer had been in about nine o'clock to see
if all was safe, Mrs. Muff and Mrs. Brindle commenced
Mrs. Brindle coaxed Napoleon out of the stall, towards the
hay, and got him to lie down, and then pulled the hay down
on him, and, finally, Mrs. Muff lay down across his face. Poor
Napoleon struggled a little at first, but, after a time, he did
not struggle at all, and, quite pleased with their success, Mrs.
Brindle and Mrs. Muff went to their several places until
About eight o'clock the farmer came with the Englishman,
and looked about for the calf. Where indeed was he ? But, as
it happened, the upper part of poor Napoleon had been better
covered than his feet, and they soon saw one little white foot
sticking out. It did not take long to uncover him, but, alas!
he was quite dead, and had been for many an hour. Mrs.
Muff weighed all of fourteen pounds.
Bitter was the disappointment, and great the wonder, and
sharp the outcry.
When Mrs. Brindle heard that her son was to have been
carried to the Royal Home Farm at Osborne, for the sake of
the breed, knowing well, being an English cow, what sort
HOW MRS. BRINDLE LOST HER CALF. 23
of a time the royal cows and calves have, she gave a loud
moo, and, as people in misfortune are always unreasonable,
she turned upon Mrs. Muff and called her such terrible names,
accusing her of murdering her own children in the same way,
and telling her she did the whole thing on purpose, that Mrs.
Muff flew at her and scratched her face, and Mrs. Brindle
came near tossing her out of the window on one of her horns;
only Mrs. Muff was too quick for her, and jumped out herself.
It was a long time before the farmer got over it, or Mrs.
Brindle either, for the matter of that, and, though she had
other children, she never forgot Napoleon. And when she
was thinking about it, she remembered what she had said
about being able to manage her affairs better than the people
who had her. Now she began to doubt it. And perhaps it
may be as well for some of us, besides Mrs. Brindle, to be
willing to be guided by those who are older and wiser than
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS.
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS.
I HAVE heard, I dare say you wonder how, that there is a
little boy in Dorchester, who would like to hear something
about Napoleon the calf's mother, Mrs. Brindle. Oddly
enough, I have heard something about her this very week,
and, as I dare say there are other boys and girls who would
like to hear something too, I thought I would write it down
and send it to Dorchester, and, very likely, the boys and
girls may hear it.
You may recollect that at the same farm where Mrs. Brindle
lived, there was also a fine cat, named Mrs. Muff, who, about
the time of Napoleon's death, had some misunderstanding with
his mother, which has been related in a former story. That
difficulty between them might have lasted forever, if it had
not been for the following circumstances :-
In the middle of the winter Mrs. Brindle caught a bad cold,
and it ended in the disease so many cows had at the time,
pleuro-pneumonia. She came very near dying.
You may imagine the disturbance this caused. Farmer
Haynes, or one of his men, sat up with her all night, and
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Mrs. Haynes was down at the barn by five o'clock in the
morning to know how she was; and there was a doctor,
who was famous for his skill, brought from twenty miles'
Mrs. Muff was really in great distress, and sat at the barn-
door mewing half her time; and it was known in the barnyard
that one of a litter of kittens died for want of attention. It
crawled off in the snow and was never found.
When Mrs. Brindle got better, she was quite affected at
the great interest Mrs. Muff had shown, and there was a
reconciliation between them directly.
It was the last of June now, and Mrs. Brindle was as well
as ever, and was out in the field knee-deep in clover and
enjoying herself greatly. Mrs. Muff was there too, catching
grasshoppers; crunching them down as you would sugared
almonds. I do not know that the grasshoppers liked it par-
ticularly-but they did not know beforehand what was going
to happen, and Mrs. Muff knew no better than to eat them,
so we will not trouble ourselves about it, only we who do
know better must be careful and not hurt the grasshoppers
when we find them in the fields.
After having given a very agile leap, and got a very fine
one, Mrs. Muff lay down in the grass and began to make
ready for a little conversation.
"I am sure," said she, Mrs. Brindle, I never expected to
see you here, last January."
I did not expect it myself," returned Mrs. Brindle. And
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS.
I never should have been, only for the great care that was
taken of me."
"That's true," said Mrs. Muff.
"And I-often wish," continued Mrs. Brindle, "that I could
do something for Mr. and Mrs. Haynes in return."
"You do a good deal for them, I think," said Mrs. Muff.
" Your milk is the best about here, and the butter that is made
from it is worth two cents a pound more than any other butter."
"Is it, indeed?" said Mrs. Brindle; "I am sure I am very
glad to hear it. But how do you know?"
Heard Mrs. Haynes tell Mrs. Brown so last night," said
Seems to me," said Mrs. Brindle, "you know pretty much
everything that is said in the house."
"I do know a good deal," returned Mrs. Muff. You see,
I am always there on my cushion, or, at least, very often, and
Mrs. Haynes does not think that I am paying any attention
when she is talking, or I don't suppose she would have told
Mrs. Slater that story about Mrs. Brown's first cousin's being
found in a shop with a pair of red stockings in her pocket."
But I suppose they were paid for," said Mrs. Brindle, who,
being an honest nature herself, and not very clever, was not
in the habit of suspecting any one else.
Indeed they were not," said Mrs. Muff sharply, and I wish
you could have seen Mrs. Haynes's face when she told Mrs.
Slater that Mrs. Brown said they dropped into Selina's pocket."
"'Shall you tell Tabitha Brown?" asked Mrs. Brindle.
30 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
I don't know," said Mrs. Muff;" that depends. Tabitha is
a cat for whom I have a great regard, but sometimes she puts on
too many airs. Their farm is not as large as ours, and they
have not got an English cow, you know."
Oh," said Mrs. Brindle, "that does make a difference; if
poor Napoleon had lived, this farm would have outshone every
farm in the place."
It wasn't to be," said Mrs. Muff, and it is no use crying
over spilt milk."
It was about milking time now, and the cat went up to the
house for her milk, and Jacob, the man, came for Mrs. Brindle,
so there was nothing more said just then.
The next afternoon, when they were down in the field
together, Mrs. Muff said suddenly, "Mrs. Brindle, you know
you said you wanted to do something for the Hayneses ?"
Yes," said, Mrs. Brindle, stopping for a moment chewing
her cud, I did say so, and I wish I could."
"Well, I think you can," said Mrs. Muff, "that is, if you
choose. After the tea table was cleared away last night,
Farmer Haynes went down to the village and brought home
a letter from the post-office for Mrs. Haynes. Mrs. Haynes
took it and said she did wonder who it could be from. If it had
been me, I should have looked inside, but she did not seem to
think of that. Finally, after she had turned it every way, she
did open it. 'Mercy!' said she, 'it's from cousin Eliza Craggs.'
'And what does she want?' said Mr. Haynes. I knew in a
minute that he did not like her. But I knew that before.
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS. 31
"'Why,' said Mrs. Haynes, 'she says she has been sick, and
that the doctor says she must have country, air and new milk,
and that she has never in her life seen any milk like the milk of
our English cow.' I don't suppose she ever did,' said Mr.
Haynes to himself, but I heard him. And she thinks if she
could only come here and drink it warm, she would get well.'
'Write and tell her,' said Mr. Haynes, 'we don't take summer
boarders.' La, Josiah! said Mrs. Haynes, 'she don't want to
come and board.' 'No; that she don't,' said he. 'But what
shall I say?' said Mrs. Haynes. 'Oh, I suppose she must
come,' said Mr. Haynes, there's no help for it.'
And I'm sure," added Mrs. Muff, there's no one dislikes
her more than I do. When she was here before, I wonder how
many times she called out to Mrs. Haynes, 'Cousin Jane, here's
your cat on the crimson cushion,' and if Mrs. Haynes had told
her once, she told her twenty times, it was made expressly for
me. But it never did any good. And once she boxed my
"What were you doing?" said Mrs. Brindle.
I don't remember," said Mrs. Muff.
It makes some difference, though, what it was," said Mrs.
Brindle, who every one: who may .read these stories about
her must see was a very straightforward, conscientious person;
not so clever as Mrs. Muff, but, I am afraid, of better principles.
Well, never mind," said the cat. I wish to my heart she
wasn't coming, and so does the farmer."
But what can I do about it ? said the cow.
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
I'll tell you," said Mrs. Muff. The whole letter was full
of the English cow and the English cow's milk. Now, if she
couldn't drink your milk, she wouldn't stay perhaps."
But what could I do ?" repeated Mrs. Brindle.
You could eat onions; that always spoils milk," said Mrs.
Muff boldly. I've heard Mrs. Haynes say so twenty times."
"But what would the farmer and Mrs. Haynes say?" re-
turned Mrs. Brindle.
He'd be glad of anything to keep her away, and Mrs.
Haynes don't want her to come either," said Mrs. Muff.
"And then where could I get the onions?" asked Mrs.
"I could get 'em for you easy enough," said Mrs. Muff;
" one of the fields is full of them. They're not heavy,- not
half so heavy as a kitten or a big rat, that I have carried many
a time across a field."
I never did eat an onion in all my life," said Mrs. Brindle,
after a short silence.
"There must be a first time for everything," answered Mrs.
Muff., "You think about it, and I'll find out when Eliza
Craggs is coming, and tell you more about it. I dare say
onions are very good, or at least as good as any of those sort
of things,- for my part, I prefer raw meat, or raw fish, to all
the vegetables that ever were cooked. We always have fish of
"Was it Friday that Eliza Craggs boxed your ears?" said
Mrs. Brindle solemnly. But Mrs. Muff was just jumping over
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS.
the stone wall to go up to the house, and she pretended she
did not hear. That was Tuesday, and the next Thursday
morning, Mrs. Muff came leaping into the field in a great
My dear," said she to the cow, Eliza Craggs is coming
to-night. There was a letter this morning that said so. And
it went on, as bad as ever, about the English cow and her milk.
And when the farmer heard it, he said a bad word right out,
that I am afraid to tell you, and he said he wished Brindle
would eat onions all the time Eliza Craggs was here. So now
you can't,hesitate, when I heard him say that," went on Mrs.
Muff. I was lying behind Mrs. Haynes's chair, and I couldn't
help giving a loud mew, and Mrs. Haynes said, 'There, Josiah,
you've trod on Muff's paw, rampaging about the room in such a
passion. I do wonder you ain't ashamed of yourself.' And
then Mr. Haynes told me he was very sorry, but said he, I
should like to tread on Eliza Craggs;' and then he lit his pipe,
and said it was about the last pipe he should have in peace, he
S did not know for how long, and after that he went out. He's
going down to the depot to-night for her."
"What is the depot?" said Mrs. Brindle.
It's the place down there where you see the smoke," said
"And how can the smoke bring her ?" said Mrs. Brindle.
"I don't exactly know," replied Mrs. Muff; "but I know it
comes first, and then there's some long boxes that people get
out of. I went down one day to look."
34 .MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
I wish I knew as much as you do," said Mrs. Brindle,
looking admiringly at her.
"Oh, I don't know such a great deal," said Mrs. Muff
modestly; and, besides, I go about more than you do."
But let Mrs. Brindle say what she might, I must say I prefer
such a character as hers to that of Mrs. Muff, who I have always
thought had, like all cats, .too much cunning. It is a very good
thing to have knowledge, but it is a better thing to be quite
honest and open about whatever you mean to do.
I must say, in justice to Farmer Haynes, that there was some
reason for his disliking Eliza Craggs. She was a very selfish,
disagreeable person, who never thought there was enough done
for her, no matter how much was done, and the farmer did not
like to see his good, kind wife tired out with working for such a
person. As it happened, too, Mrs. Haynes always had a rose
cold, as it is called, when the roses are in blow, and she did
not feel very well at that time. She had been working about
all day, putting up white curtains, and making cake, and she
was very tired at the end of the day, when the wagon .drove up
with Eliza Craggs; and as ill luck seldom comes alone, in step-
ping off the broad stone in front of the door to meet her, she
twisted her ankle so badly, that the farmer had to carry her
back into the house, and she could not stand when she got
Here was a fine state of affairs truly! But very little notice
had Eliza Craggs to bestow on poor Mrs. Haynes.. The first
question was about the English cow, and what time they milked.
N b 1 / !I
MSMU BRNI- T
MRS" M F BI GI G HE O ION 3
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS. 37
In the meantime, Mrs. Muff had not been idle. At the first
sound of the wagon wheels, off she went for the onions. And
Mrs. Brindle ate as many of them as she could, and Mrs. Muff
sat by watching.
"They don't taste so badly after all, do they?" said she.
"No," said Mrs. Brindle. They are not so good as carrots,
to be sure, or apples, but then they are fresh, and that makes a
deal of difference."
"And besides," said Mrs. Muff, you are doing your duty,
and that's a great point."
Perhaps Eliza Craggs wouldn't think I was," returned Mrs.
"Who cares what she thinks ?" said Mrs. Muff. She'll be
down to see you to-morrow, as sure as you are alive. There
was something in the letter about cow's breath being something
or other, but it was a long word, and I have forgotten it."
When the cow was milked that night, the onions had not
had time to take effect, and Eliza Craggs drank two tumblers
of it, and said there was never such milk before, and she thought
she had better send for her sister's two children to come up
and drink it, it would be so good for them.
Mrs. Muff heard the poor farmer groan to himself at that.
Oh, thought she, there'll be a different story to-morrow. There
was: in the morning poor Mrs. Haynes could not put her foot
to the ground, and could by no means get into the dairy.
The moment the farmer began to milk, he found out what
had happened. By George!" said he, Brindle has eaten
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
onions after all. Where could she have got them? But so
long as she has got them, it is no matter." So he milked as
usual, and carried in the milk to the breakfast table. It was
quite warm, for the milking was later than usual, owing to Mrs.
The moment Eliza Craggs tasted it, she screamed out and
asked, "What was the matter with the English cow's milk?
Do taste it, Cousin Jane," said she.
"I can't, Eliza," said Mrs. Haynes. I don't like milk by
itself, even when I am well, and I could not swallow a
teaspoonful, feeling as I do."
Well, smell it then," said Eliza Craggs.
I can't smell," said poor Mrs. Haynes. You know I can't
with this cold."
Well, I never! said Eliza Craggs; it's too horrid for any-
"What is the matter, Josiah?" said Mrs. Haynes to the
farmer, who had just come in to breakfast. Is there anything
the matter with Brindle?"
"No," said the farmer, nothing at all; she's as fresh as a
Here's Cousin Eliza says she can't drink the milk."
Oh," said he, Cousin Eliza, you don't know what good
milk is. You come from Boston. This is cow's milk you
have been drinking milkman's milk."
But Eliza Craggs protested it was horrible, and finally asked
if the English cow had ever been sick.
WHY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS. 39
"Yes," said Mrs. Haynes, last January we thought we
should have lost her by the cow disease."
Has she had the cow disease?" screamed Eliza Craggs.
"Yes," said the farmer.
"And does it come on quickly?" said she.
Very quickly," said he, beginning to see that Eliza Craggs
was getting frightened, and hoping that she would go away.
"Then," cried out Eliza Craggs, it's coming on now, and I
drank her milk last night, and I shall have another attack of
pneumonia, and the doctor said I should never live through
another one. Oh! what shall I do? I must go home; I
must go home to-day."
In vain the farmer and his wife told her there was nothing
the matter with the English cow. It was all of no use, and the
end of it was the farmer harnessed the wagon once more,
this time with right good will, and drove Eliza Craggs down to
the depot for the ten o'clock train.
Before the wagon was well out of the yard, Mrs. Muff came
flying over the stone wall with such a leap that she quite
startled Mrs. Brindle, who was waiting for her onions. She's
gone, she's gone," cries Mrs. Muff as soon as she could speak
- she was a little subject to cat-asthma.
"Who is gone? said Mrs. Brindle.
Eliza Craggs," said Mrs. Muff.
"What! already?" said Mrs. Brindle.
"Yes," said Mrs. Muff, and she thinks you have got what
you had last winter I can't say the name and have given it
40 MARS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
to her." And then Mrs. Muff could bear it no longer, and she
lay down on the grass, and rolled over and over with delight.
"Well, well," said Mrs. Brindle, how quick it was done, and
I didn't have to eat many onions after all. And I was willing
to eat twice as many for the Haynes people."
She did not go any too quick," said Mrs. Muff. Spiteful
old thing! she had hardly got into the house, when I heard her
ask Mrs. Haynes if she had got the old cat still. Old, indeed!"
went on Mrs. Muff in a great passion. "I should say Eliza
Craggs was full fourteen times as old as I am; I should like to
see her try to do this; and then Mrs. Muff jumped up into the
'air, and caught and ate a large grasshopper, that unluckily for
himself was taking a flying leap in the air close to her.
When the farmer got back after driving down to the village,
Mis. Haynes said to him, "Josiah, is there anything the matter
Nothing at all," said he.
But does the milk taste queerly? tell me now."
Yes," said he, it does."
"And what makes it taste so ?"
She's been eating onions," said he.
Did you give 'em to her, Josiah ?" said Mrs. Haynes.
I didn't take 'em away from her," said he. After that they
both had a hearty laugh.
What puzzles me is," said Mr. Haynes, "where she could.
have got those onions."
Mrs. Muff happened to come in at that moment with so
WIIY MRS. BRINDLE ATE HER ONIONS. 41
knowing a look in her yellow topaz eyes that the farmer cried
out, I do believe that Muff knows all about it: but one thing
I am sure of, that if there was not a carrot or an apple in
Massachusetts I would go to California to get them for Brindle,
to pay her for eating those onions."
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY.
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY.
I HOPE that no one has forgotten the Haynes Farm, where
Mrs. Muff and Napoleon's mother, Mrs. Brindle, lived, as the
Shetland pony, whose history I am about to relate, lived there
when he was very little.
Mr. Haynes had a sister who lived in Ohio, and she wanted
a pony for her little boy. Now Mr. Haynes came from New
Hampshire, where they know a great deal about horses, so
she wrote to her brother to look out for a pony for her. Her
little boy was only four or five years old, and she wanted her
brother to buy a pony and educate him-break him, as the
horse-dealers say- properly for her little boy to ride.
Ponies take a great deal of breaking in, or educating, like
little boys. And Mr. Haynes told his wife he would go to
Boston, to the places where they sold horses, and look about
very carefully, to be sure that he got an obedient; teachable
pony. But when people are buying ponies, they are some-
times deceived in what they are getting, just the same as when
people take little boys and girls to educate; those who they
think will turn out the best, sometimes turn out the worst.
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Only, people can sell the ponies, and you can't sell the little
boys and girls.
When Mr. Haynes got into the stable, where he had been
directed to go to find the ponies, he was quite attracted by a
pretty Shetland pony, and asked the horse-dealer his price
directly. It was quite reasonable, and then he wanted to know
what sort of a pony he was.
Well," said the man, pushing his fur cap back on his head,
" I hardly know what to say about him. He's very young, you
see, has not got his first shoes on. He can do very well if he
wants to, but then he is so obstinate. He's a bad feeder -
when he gets in a fit of temper, he won't touch anything all day."
Now this is a great fault in a horse, and Mr. Haynes knew
it, so he stopped to think a little.
Perhaps," said he, you don't give him what he likes."
Yes, I do," said the man, but when he has got one of his
temper fits, he gnaws on the wooden bar and won't eat any-
"Well," said Mr. Haynes, "after all, he's a likely-looking
pony, and I have taken a fancy to him, and I don't know but
what I will try him for a month or so."
Just then the pony shook his head, and gave a sidelong look
out of his bright eyes at Mr. Haynes, as much as to say, Sup-.
pose you do ?"-- which quite completed his conquest over the
farmer, and he took him on trial.
"What's his name," said he to the horse-dealer, "or hasn't
he got any yet?"
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY
Well," said the man, laughing, we've got a way of calling
I guess that will do as well as anything," said the farmer,
laughing too; so Contrary was brought out and rubbed down,
and Mr. Haynes took him out to the farm that night.
Mrs. Muff was sitting in the pasture with Mrs. Brindle. It
was a fine May afternoon, about six o'clock, and the moment
Mrs. Muff saw the farmer coming up the road, she called to
Mrs. Brindle, who was quietly drinking at the brook, -
Here's the pony!"
What pony?" said Mrs. Brindle.
Didn't I tell you ?" said Mrs. Muff. I meant to tell you.
Mr: Haynes told his wife this morning he had got a letter from
his sister Martha, hurrying him about the pony."
What pony?" said Mrs. Brindle again.
"Oh! why, a pony," said Mrs. Muff, who, to tell the truth,
had never heard the first letter that came from Ohio, and really
understood but little of the whole thing, but she would not have
owned it for the world to Mrs. Brindle.
Is it going to live here ?" said Mrs. Brindle.
To be sure," said Mrs. Muff, and, upon the whole, I think
you'll see more of him than I shall. He'll certainly be down at
the barn a good deal."
Mrs. Brindle raised her head slowly as Contrary came up the
road, and, after looking at him gravely for a few minutes, said
with a sigh, that he put her in mind of Napoleon.
Did I ever hear such a thing! screamed Mrs. Muff; why,
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Napoleon had very different hair, and if he had lived would
have had horns."
Perhaps the pony will have horns if he lives long enough,"
said Mrs. Brindle.
Never," said Mrs. Muff sharply, if he should live to the
age of Methusa."
Who was Methusa?" said Mrs. Brindle.
Oh, never mind who she was," said Mrs. Muff, who did not
know, herself. Mrs. Haynes talks about her sometimes, I
guess she was her sister; but I can't stop now; it's tea-time,
and I want to hear about the pony," and away went Mrs. Muff,
who was the most curious creature in the world.
Mrs. Muff was like a great many other people who are con-
ceited. She talked about things she did not understand at
all. What she ought to have said was Methuselah, not
Methusa; and he was a man, so he could not have been
Mrs. Haynes's sister.
The pony was put at night into the barn, and Mrs. Haynes
told the farmer she would like to go down with him and see
him when he went to take him out into the field. Contrary
had been rather tired the night before, but he had had two good
feeds, and now he was as fresh as a rose, and Mrs. Haynes was
quite delighted with him, and he went trotting and galloping
round the field in the fine spring sunshine.
"Are you going to leave him in this pasture?" said Mrs.
"Well, yes, I guess I will," said Mr. Haynes. "They say
CONTRARY Y, THE SHEIZAND PONY
animals like company, and Brindle is out here, and Muff, too,
pretty much all the time, if it is fair weather."
For two or three days, Mr. Haynes did not do much of any-
thing with Contrary, letting him get acquainted with things
about him by degrees. He did very well, except at night. He
was not good about being caught. He would not come at the
call of Jacob, the man who lived on the farm; and as Jacob had
a great many things to do, it hindered him very much, and
Contrary would have kept on with that bad trick, only he saw
Jacob bringing out a rope one morning, to tie him to the fence,
so that he could only run round just so far. And he would
have been tied that day, only Farmer Haynes happened to
come along, and told Jacob to try him once more, and then if
he would not come, he should be tied regularly every day for a
week. So when it came sundown that night, Contrary, who
did not want for sense, came directly Jacob called him, and
Mrs. Haynes gave him three lumps of sugar to reward him
For two days there was no more trouble, but then Contrary
had a new trick. He took to running round the field just as
fast as he could go, and then when he came where Mrs. Muff
lay asleep, jumping right over her, making a loud neigh at the
same time. Mrs. Muff was, as we know, an excitable person,
and when she was waked up all of a sudden, to see Contrary's
heels just clearing her head, and flourishing in the air, before
she could even touch him, made her very angry.
There had never been anything of the kind before. Farmer
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Haynes's horse, who lived mostly in the other field, always
treated her with a great deal of respect, and she sometimes got
up on his back, and sat there, when she wanted a good view of
the stable, to find the rat-holes.
"I shall have to give up sleeping in your field, Mrs.
Brindle," said she one day. "It's a mercy Contrary hasn't
knocked my brains out before now, and after he gets his shoes
on, I shall have no chance at all."
No, you won't," said Mrs. Brindle. "Why don't you ask
Mr. Dobbin to speak to him?"
I did ask him," said Mrs. Muff; and one time when Con-
trary was standing up by Mr. Dobbin's wall, he said something
to him, but I never could find out what Contrary answered
back, for Mr. Dobbin never would tell me; but I know it was
something very bad, for Mr. Dobbin said, if it had been a colt
of his, he would have given him a good biting. But he said
Shetlands were made so much of, that they were always spoiled,
and that it made him sick to see Mrs. Haynes giving Contrary
sugar as she often did. It is what I cannot understand, why so
sensible a man as Mr. Haynes should put iron shoes on Con-
trary. It is as much as your life's worth to come near him now,
and I don't know what it will be then, I'm sure."
Whatever Mrs. Muff might think, though, the time came for
Contrary to have his first shoes put on. But, alas the morn-
ing he was to be taken, he had what Farmer Haynes used to
call a tantrum," and go down the road he would not. First,
he was coaxed, and then he was whipped, and all to no purpose.
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 51
It was so foolish of Contrary, because he knew he should have
to give up in the end. But he got from bad to worse, and, as
he was a strong little beast, knocked Farmer Haynes down and
tore his coat.- Of course such behavior did no good. Jacob
came, and brought some rope, and Contrary was tied to a tree,
and Mr. Haynes whipped him till he was quite subdued, and
then the farmer went up to the house, and got another coat,
and there was a halter put on Contrary, and he was led down to
All the while the contest was going on, Mrs. Muff was up at
the stable window, standing on her hind legs, on a barrel, with
her fore paws resting on the window-sill, and her head out of
the window; and she told Mrs. Brindle afterwards that she
only wished she had had the whip, she would have given it to
him twice as hard. You see, Mrs. Muff had not forgotten h'ow
Contrary broke in on her afternoon naps.
But will it be believed that when Contrary got down to the
blacksmith's, he had, as the farmer said, another tantrum,"
and had to have another whipping, before he would keep still,
to have his shoes fastened on !
But then we must remember that Contrary was only a pony.
No little boy, of course, would ever be so foolish; not only for
those who take care of him, and who have to pay money for his
food and clothes, but for himself.
At last the shoes were put on, and his master led him home,
and by this time his ill temper had worn itself out, and he
could not hinder himself from feeling great pride in his shoes;
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
and in the barn that night, he disturbed Mr. Dobbin greatly by
kicking frequently, to listen to the noise his shoes made on the
planks of the floor. The next thing Contrary had to be taught
was to wear a saddle, and to carry a little boy on his back.
And this was a serious piece of business.
He was left a few days to get used to his shoes; and then one
morning, Mrs. Muff, as she was lying on her cushion, while the
farmer was eating his breakfast, heard him ask his wife if she
thought Willy Brown would be willing to help train the pony
by riding him.
"Willy Brown will be willing enough," said Mrs. Haynes,
" that I am certain of; but I don't know what Mrs. Brown will
There can't anything happen," said the farmer. I shall be
there all the time, and, of course, I shall have a leading rein;
however, there's no hurry. Contrary has got to learn to put
up with a saddle, and then the boy will have to learn to ride
with only a horse-blanket, so as to get a good seat."
So the next day there was a blanket strapped round Contrary,
and the farmer held him by a long rein, and he was made to go
through all his paces, which the farmer knew a great deal more
about than I do. For three or four days he did very well, and
his master was quite pleased and began really to hope that
Contrary was getting to have some sense as he grew older, and
was going to give up. his terrible fits of obstinacy. Mr.
Dobbin, however, told Mrs. Muff privately, that the farmer did
not know Shetlands as well as he did, and that there would be
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 53
trouble yet. And he was right. The next day, Mr. Haynes was
four hours making Contrary fall into a canter, and when he had
been made to do it, he was in such a passion that he would not
eat his supper, and gnawed his crib all night and swallowed
some of the wood, and made himself sick, and had to have
medicine, and could not be trained for a week.
Mrs. Muff told Mr. Dobbin she thought some of the trouble
came from eating too much sugar, and she hoped now Mrs.
Haynes would get over that silly fashion of giving Contrary a
lump of sugar, whenever he was brought up for her to see how
well he could pace. And she went so far as to say that if she
had been as foolishly managed, when she was a kitten, she
guessed Mrs. Haynes would not have the rats and mice taken
care of quite so well as they were, to say nothing of the fine
mousers she had sent out into the neighborhood from her
But all this was nothing to what came when there was a
saddle made and brought home for Contrary. Why he should
have taken such a dislike to it, no one ever knew; but he did
take a dislike to it, and when it was first put on, kicked and
tried to bite, and finally lay down and rolled in the muddiest
place.he could find, after he had broken away from his master.
This went on for three or four days. At last, after a good
whipping, he wore it tolerably for an hour; but after jt was
taken off, upon Mr. Dobbin's speaking to him, as he was
standing sulking by the wall, and kindly trying to make him
understand that it was quite an advance in a pony's life to get
54 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
to having a saddle bought for him, Contrary turned round and
kicked up his heels in Mr. Dobbin's face, and came near
breaking his jaw. After that Mr. Dobbin gave him up.
He told Mrs. Muff and Mrs. Brindle, when they were all out
together the next Sunday afternoon, the rest of the family being
at church, that from the first he had been very sorry to see Mr.
Haynes wasting his time on a Shetland, as he had a nephew of
his own that he could have recommended as a good-tempered,
teachable pony; but it was too late now, and he should never
try to do. anything with Contrary again, for he did not believe
he would ever behave well or be a credit to anybody.
After this it seemed as if Contrary got worse and worse. He
would not have the saddle on at all; he would not eat any of
his food, not even oats; he gnawed his crib whenever he had a
chance; and one day, in one of his kicking fits, knocked over
a large pail of milk that had just been set down beside Mrs.
Brindle after Jacob had milked her. The weather was very hot,
and it really seemed as if Contrary meant to kill his master by
his dreadful behavior. Every one on the farm was speaking
about it. Mrs. Haynes used to pray her husband to sell him;
but good, kind Mr. Haynes used to reply, If I try to sell him,
no one will take him if I tell the truth about him, and it
would not be right to sell him without letting the man who
was going to take him, know how troublesome he is. And
then," continued he, if any one did take him, I do believe he
would be whipped to death before he would give up, he is so
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY, 55
"And serve him right too," said Mrs. Haynes. He'll kill
you, I do believe, before he has done with you."
Well, I don't know," said Mr. Haynes slowly. "Sometimes,
I must say, I pity Contrary. He might be so happy, if he
would only behave himself, and try and get over his obstinacy.
I have done everything for him. He has plenty of good food,
and Jacob curries him every day, and I went to the best black-
smith in these parts to have his shoes put on, and his saddle
is as pretty a saddle as can be, and the stirrups are as bright
as a dollar. And he spoils it all," said his master sadly,
" by his own bad temper. And he knows better too, I am
Contrary worried his good master so much that he really
could not drink his cup of tea, tired as he was by fighting with
him. The next morning there came a stop to Mr. Haynes's
fatigue at last. Contrary had been left out all night in the field
on account of the heat of the weather, and in the morning he
was gone Of course, there was a great wondering, and going
in every direction. Mr. Haynes had him advertised in every
way he could think of, supposing, of course, that he was stolen.
But I wish I could say for Contrary's sake that he had been
stolen; but, sad to say, Contrary had run away. Run away
from his good, kind master, who had taken so much pains with
him; who had felt so sorry for him when he was obliged to
whip him; who had spent so much money on him.
There was somebody, however, who, if she could have made
her master understand, could have told something about
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Contrary very different from what Farmer Haynes was thinking
about. Mrs. Muff had gone out into the pasture to catch field
mice. It was a beautiful, bright moonlight night, and Mrs. Muff
was very fond of young field mice, and she was sitting quietly
watching for them, supposing that Contrary was asleep, for she
knew he was in the field. Suddenly she saw him dart past her,
and leap the stone wall, and in a minute he was far down the
road. Mrs. Muff got up on the wall and looked after him so
long as she could see him, and when he was out of sight, she
got slowly and thoughtfully off the wall, and sat herself down
to think. To do Mrs. Muff justice, though she was not so
-honest and truthful as her friend Mrs. Brindle, she had some
sense of right and wrong, and she was shocked at Contrary's
ingratitude. But what could she do? When the morning
came, and she thought Mrs. Brindle was awake to hear it, she
went over to her, and roused her up. Didn't you see any-
thing in the night ?" said she.
No," said Mrs. Brindle, who to be sure had been in quite
another part of the field; for it was a very large pasture, and
there was quite a rising in the ground, which made a hill about
the middle of it, so that you could not see from one side to the
Well," said Mrs. Muff, Contrary has gone."
"Gone !" said Mrs. Brindle, getting up on her feet. Have
you put him in the hay too ? "
Oh, nonsense !" said Mrs. Muff fretfully. I do believe
you will never forget that hay scrape."
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY, 57
I never shall," said Mrs. Brindle.
Well, well, let it rest for now," said Mrs. Muff. I tell you,
Contrary has run away."
How do you know?" said Mrs. Brindle.
"Saw him," said Mrs. Muff; saw him jump over the wall
in the night, and go down the road galloping as fast as he
"And what are you going to do ?"
I don't know," said Mrs. Muff, "for I might mew till I
couldn't mew any longer, before I could make those creatures
that walk about on two legs understand me. If ever I do mew,
Mrs. Haynes thinks that I want the door open, or else that I
want something to eat, milk or something else. You know I
told you about the time the kitten fell in the cistern, when it
was found drowned, Mrs. Haynes said she guessed that was
what I had been making such a fuss about. It is very strange
that when I understand her she don't understand me, and it is
wonderful to see how stupid she is: shutting me up in a place,
sometimes, where I can't get at a rat to save my life, and I
telling her all the time where I want to go, as plain as I can
mew. But here comes Mr. Haynes, and I guess he'll be
Indeed, he was. He came to the field and looked round for
Contrary, and then he went to the other side of the hill to see
if he was there. But all in vain; he was gone. It is time
now to tell where he was gone. When Contrary first found
himself quite at liberty in the early morning, he thought there
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
never was anything so delightful. He galloped on and on:
it was a lonely part of the country, and the few people who
did see him, only caught a glimpse of him, and forgot all about
it, so that no one interfered, as might have happened if any one
had given any attention to so good-looking a pony, rushing
along the roads without saddle or bridle, quite by himself.
Contrary went along for some time, but by and by he began to
feel hungry and tired. He had not had the good breakfast that
Jacob always had ready for him, and the sweet clear water that
he always placed by it in a nice clean pail. He turned into a
place by the roadside, and there he found a pool of water. It
was not very clean, and there was but a little of it; but it was
better than none, so he drank it, and then stood still looking
about him. It was a desolate-looking place enough. There
was an old tumble-down-looking farm-house in the midst of a
badly ploughed field, with a pig-sty close by, and an old barn
that looked in worse repair than the house. Very different from
the nice home that Contrary had run away from. However, he
thought he would go up to the barn, in the hopes of finding
something to eat. Two or three boys were playing behind the
barn, but Contrary had not noticed them. They kept quite still
as Contrary drew nearer and nearer; finally he ventured inside
the half-opened barn door. In a minute or two it grew quite
dark; there was a slam from the door behind him, and there he
was in the middle of the old barn, without any power of getting
out. The boys had caught him. Two of these boys lived in
the old house that Contrary had seen. They were bad boys,
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 59
but then I do not know that they were so much to be blamed
after all, for their father was a bad man, who never tried to
teach them any good thing, and their mother was a poor sick
woman, ,who had suffered too much from ill treatment, to be able
to do much for her children.
These boys, Tom and Jack, were very much in the habit
of bringing home anything they could pick up, whether a
live animal or any article of property. No one told them
it was wrong; and if it was of any value, their father took
it away from them, and sold it, and kept the money for
He was often away from home for some time. They did not
know where he was, nor what he did; and when he came home,
he often beat them, and they were afraid of him. If they did
get anything by stealing, they hid it when they could, and if he
was not at home, they frequently did manage to sell things
without his knowing it.
This pony was a great prize. They could scarcely believe
they had got him. Their father was away, and though they
could not tell when he would be back for certain, yet they
thought they might count on his being gone for a week cer-
tainly because the policeman had taken him this time, and he
was never gone in such cases for less than a week.
They tied up Contrary as well as they could. He was too
much frightened to kick, as well as being very hungry and very
tired. The next thing to be done, the boys thought, was to
get him something to eat. Of course there was nothing in the
60 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
barn,-and, equally of course, they had no money. So all day
long, Contrary was in the dark, dirty barn, tied to an old
broken manger, with nothing to eat or drink.
Oh, how often he thought of his pleasant home, and the
beautiful green pasture, where he could run about as much as he
liked; and of his kind master, and of Mrs. Haynes coming out
with lumps of white sugar in her pocket for him when he had
Towards ten o'clock at night, the boys came in, each with an
armful of hay. It was not theirs, they had stolen it, and they
had been so frightened while they were stealing it, they had
not been able to get much. But, little as it was, Contrary was
only too glad to get it, and by and by one of the boys brought
in some water in ., broken pail, and they fastened the barn
door as well as they could, and went away.
All night long, Contrary kept waking up, and thinking how
hungry he was, but it was of no use. There he was tied up, so
that he could not run away again. He had run away from a
very nice place, when he ought not to have run away; and now
when there would have been no harm in running away, he
could not manage it.
It often happens so. The next day passed very much like
the night, quite as tediously, except that about sunset Jack
brought in, two or three turnips. Contrary disliked them very
much, would never touch them at home, but now he thought
nothing ever tasted so good.
The next morning, about seven o'clock, Contrary heard voices
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 61
outside, and presently the old barn door opened, and a boy two
or three years older than Tom and Jack came in.
I'll bet you," said the biggest boy, that's the pony that the
bills are.stuck up about, on the posts, and down at the store.
I guess you'll catch it for stealing him."
But we didn't steal him," said both the boys. He came
into the field himself."
This was true, but Tom and Jack were such liars that no one
could believe them. It is very inconvenient to be a liar. So
the big boy told Jack and Tom he did not believe one word
they said, and he meant to go down to the constable, and bring
him up to the barn, to take them off to jail.
When the boys heard this, and saw the big boy go off down
the road on his errand, they lost all courage, and thought the
best thing they could do was to untie Contrary, turn him out on
the road, and then run and hide in the woods, as they had done
many a time before.
As for Contrary, the moment he got out on the road, he
turned his back on the hateful place, where he had suffered so
much, and went as fast as he could over the road he had come.
He could not go very fast, for he was weak with hunger, and
he had not been curried, and there was no nice clean bedding
in the old barn. He had lain in nothing but dirt and mud
since he had been away, .and no one would have taken that
dirty, miserable-looking fellow, for the fine, clean, spirited pony
that had galloped down the road a few days ago.
And then, worse than all, he was ashamed of himself, for he
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
knew well how he had behaved; how bad and obstinate he
had been for three or four days before he had run away, and
then had put the seal to his bad conduct by the last thing he
So when he got within sight of the farm, he began to go
slower and slower, and the first thing he saw was Mrs. Muff's
head out of the stable window, where she was standing on her
barrel, looking up and down the road, as she often did. Mrs.
Muff saw him too, directly, and she sprang off her barrel, and
dashed up the path to the house. Farmer Haynes was just
coming out after breakfast.
I guess Muff has caught that large rat, wife," said he,
" that's been getting Dobbin's corn this last two nights. She
seems so excited."
So he went down to the stable, and there, sure enough, was
Contrary. Oh, how ashamed he felt, when his good, kind
master opened the gate for him, and led him in, with his long
hair all over his face, and as dirty as he could be.
By this time, Mrs. Haynes had come out to see what was
"Where do you suppose he has been?" said she to her
I don't know," said Mr. Haynes, "but I think he has had
a hard time of it, and we must get him curried as soon as
possible; but first he must have something to eat, poor
So Jacob was called, and some nice corn and oats were got,
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 63
and Contrary ate and ate, till they were afraid to let him have
any more. And then Jacob rubbed him down and made him look
fit to be seen, and then he was turned out into the pasture once
more. He was very conscious how little he deserved all this
kindness, but, after all, he was only a pony, not a little boy, and
he soon forgot it. I hope a little boy would not have forgot-
ten so soon.
At any rate, after this he did behave well. The next morning,
when the saddle was brought, instead of running to the further
end of the field, as he always had done, he came directly he was
called, and wore it as he was told to do; and before a week was
over, little Willy Brown had had a ride on his back, and he car-
ried him so well that Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Willy's aunt
from Dorchester came over to see him ride, and Willy thought
there was never such a kind man as Farmer Haynes, and he
was sure there never was such a pony as Contrary.
This went on all through June, much to Willy's delight, who
could now be trusted to ride without a leading rein, and Mr.
Haynes had already written to his sister that he thought in a
couple of months Contrary could be sent out to her.
Fourth of July was now near at hand, and the shows were
beginning to come into the country places, and, unfortunately,
the next neighbor of Farmer Haynes had a large piece of waste
land that he was in the habit of letting to the showmen to set
up their tents upon.
The bottom of Mr. Haynes's pasture joined this piece of
ground, and the first week in July a man brought there a show
64 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
of trained ponies. And it really seemed as if Contrary lived
down at that end of the pasture. There were one or two Shet-
land ponies, and the man was in the habit of turning all his
ponies out on the grass to rest themselves after they had been
performing. They did not dare to run away.
With these ponies Contrary got acquainted. Willy Brown
went to see them perform, and Contrary heard plenty about
the tricks they performed and the fine trappings they had on;
and how they were fed by the people with lumps of sugar and
sugar candy, and how one was named Antony and the other
Cleopatra, till he began to think, foolish fellow! that there was
nothing he should like so well as to be a performing pony.
He had a great deal of vanity, and he was apt to think he
could do whatever any one else did, and he thought how
delightful it would be to stand on his hind legs and fire off a
pistol, and tricks of that nature.
Mrs. Muff, as usual, saw a great deal of what was going on,
and she told Mrs. Brindle she was sure that there was going to
be trouble with Contrary.
I can't see how," said Mrs. Brindle; "what do you mean ?"
"Why, he's down at the show place all the time, looking at
the ponies and getting acquainted with them, and I feel sure
he'll go off with them."
I can't believe it," said Mrs. Brindle.
"That's what people always say when they don't mean to
believe anything," returned Mrs. Muff. "When he's gone
you'll have.to believe it."
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 65
At the end of the third day the man was evidently packing up
things and getting ready to go away, and Contrary stood look-
ing at the other ponies, as if he could not take his eyes off
them. It was not the first time the man had noticed him; he
was a dishonest fellow, and he wanted another pony very much,
to perform with Antony and Cleopatra, and did not at all care
how he got him.
If he could steal him, so much the better. So he put some
corn close down by Antony, who knew well what he was
expected to do, and, before long, Contrary had leaped the
stone wall, and was standing by Antony, eating it. There was
no sort of trouble in getting him to go along with them, so
soon as the moon went down, for, alas Contrary wanted to go.
And so in the morning it was the old scene over again.
Contrary was not to be found.
Strangely enough, no one thought of the performing ponies,
and as for Mrs. Muff, who had thought of them, she, as she had
remarked before now, had such stupid people round her, that
all she did know was of no manner of use.
Perhaps he'll come back as he did before," said Mrs. Haynes.
Perhaps he will," said the farmer, but I feel as if I ought
to do something; if I only knew what. I think I will have
some bills printed, as I had before--perhaps they were the
cause of our getting him back, though we did not know it."
Which was quite true, if you remember.
In the meantime Contrary was being taken as fast as possible
out of the way of the town where he had been stolen. As soon
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
as the man thought he was far enough off to be quite safe, he
stopped and made arrangements as usual for a performance.
Contrary had never had an idea but what he should go on with
the rest of the ponies, when he was so anxious to join the show,
but a little conversation with Antony and Cleopatra soon cor-
rected that notion.
The first thing Antony asked him was, why he was so silly
as to let himself be caught.
To which Contrary replied that he had come of his own
accord, he wanted to come.
Do you tell me," said Antony, looking him full in the face,
" that you wanted to come here, away from that good home,
and learn tricks to be a performing pony?"
"Why, it's fun, isn't it ?" said poor, Contrary.
Fun! said Antony, you wait till you're tired standing on
your hind legs, with your fore legs on a high block, ten times a
day, a quarter of an hour at a time, and then see whether you
think it's fun."
I wouldn't do it," said Contrary.
"Oh, wouldn't you?" said Antony. "When you see Mr.
Thompson's whip, I guess you will."
"Who is Mr. Thompson?" said Contrary.
He's the man that trains performing ponies. You'll find
out who he is, before long," answered Antony.
Cleopatra said just the same, and she told Contrary he had
better get back home as fast as he could. But that was not so
easy. He was a fine pony, and he was wanted.
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 67
The next day Contrary did find out who Mr. Thompson was.
And, as he was very obstinate by nature, and Mr. Thompson
was very obstinate too, there was a pretty hard time. Mr.
Thompson's whip was a very different whip from Farmer
Haynes's; and after three or four days Contrary found it out,
and was obliged to be obedient. And, in truth, he was con-
quered by fear to such a degree that Mr. Thompson told the
master of the show .that, though at first he thought he would
be whipped to death before he learned anything, yet now he
began to have some hopes of him. Then he did not have
enough to eat, because they were afraid of making him too fat
to stand well on his hind legs; and altogether Contrary did not
find that the life of a performing pony was all fun by any
By and by a monkey was bought, and as Contrary did not
get on so well as was expected with the tricks they were
teaching him, they thought they would try how he would get on
in public with a monkey on his back. And one of the perform-
ances became the means of his rescue from the hard life he was
When it was feared that Contrary was lost, without any hope
of finding him, little Willy Brown grieved so much that Mrs.
Brown was quite glad when the time came in August for her
to take Willy to see his little cousins, in her brother's house, in
a town about fifty miles off.
Of course, when they got there, Willy naturally told of Con-
trary's loss, and how he had cried about it; and his uncle said
68 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
there were some performing ponies coming to the town in a
few days, and all the children should go, to console Willy for
the loss of Contrary. Willy thanked his uncle, but he said he
knew there would never be a pony so pretty as Contrary.
"What a strange name said Willy's aunt Maria.
"Well," said Willy, sometimes Contrary would not do what
he was told, and that was the reason he had that name; but,"
added Willy, I think he was always sorry for it afterwards."
You see that Willy could not bear that Contrary should be
blamed by any one. I think there must have been something
good about Contrary after all, so many people liked him.
"Should you know him if you should see him, Willy? said
Yes, indeed," said Willy. Uncle, I should know him
"Then keep your eyes open at the show," said his uncle;
" sometimes these showmen steal a likely-looking pony."
The day came to go to the show, and Willy did not forget
what his uncle said to him.
After Antony and Cleopatra had fired off pistols, and danced
a minuet, and performed various tricks, it was announced that
Julius Caesar would perform his great act of crossing the
I-don't suppose that most of the people knew what crossing
the Rubicon meant, any more than the monkey knew. But
that was of no consequence. The Rubicon in this instance was
a high bar, and Contrary went over it, with Julius Caesar on his
Ii I'''''' I IIi
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 71
back, in great style. He did not mind a high bar, -he was
fond of leaping walls at home, the higher the better. But the
moment Willy saw him, he cried out, -
Uncle, there's Contrary!"
Are you sure, Willy ?" said his uncle.
Yes, yes! cried Willy. -" Contrary Contrary! "
At the sound of his name, Contrary turned and trotted up
towards Willy, in spite of all Julius Caesar could do..
At any rate, he answers to the name," said Willy's uncle.
By this time there was quite an excitement : Willy standing
up and calling out Contrary as loudly as he could, and Contrary
trying to get out of the ring to go to Willy. The showman
came forward, and said the little boy was quite mistaken, that
the pony's name was Jack, and he had bought him in South
But if his name is Jack, why does he answer to the name of
Contrary? It is not a common name."
And then Willy's mother, being able to look at him more
nearly, supported Willy, and said she was sure it was Farmer
Haynes's pony, and she was positive that he had never been
Finally, a policeman was called in, and, for all the lies the
showman could manufacture, the pony was given into the sheriff's
charge, till Mr. Haynes could be sent for to claim his property.
Imagine the excitement at Mr. Haynes's, when there came a
letter from Mrs. Brown, wanting Mr. Haynes to come as quickly
as possible to Wareham, for Contrary was found.
72 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Mrs. Muff went a full trot down to the barn, to tell Mrs.
Brindle that she was sure that there was some news about
," And what is it?" said Mrs. Brindle, in her usual calm way.
It is something about his being with those performing
ponies," said Mrs. Muff; "but I could not make out all of it.
But you see I was right in what I said about Contrary getting
into trouble with them. I generally am right," said Mrs. Muff,
sitting up very straight on the barrel that stood under the
"I know you are," said Mrs. Brindle, "and that is what
astonishes me, that a person so sensible as you are should
have put all that hay over poor But Mrs. Muff had jumped
out of the window, and was gone.
Mrs. Brindle looked after her a moment with her great, calm
I wonder," said she to Mr. Dobbin, "what it is in the word
hay that always makes her angry." Mr. Dobbin, who had
heard the story, and indeed remembered the whole thing very
well, prudently said nothing.
Meanwhile Mr. Haynes was getting ready to go to Wareham
as quickly as possible, and when he got there you can imagine
what a meeting there was. Mr. Haynes knew Contrary directly,
of course, and said that he had never sold himn to the man; and
the man was arrested for stealing him. Only think how
Contrary felt, when he heard this man accused of stealing him;
when he knew that he had gone to him of his own accord,
CONTRARY, THE SHETLAND PONY. 73
because he was so ungrateful, besides being foolish, as to wish to
run away from so good a master as Mr. Haynes. No doubt
the man had stolen him to all intents and purposes, because he
knew a pony so well cared for must belong to somebody. But
that did not make Contrary any more innocent. But we know
he was only a pony, not a boy, so he could not be expected to
remember anything long, except the joy of getting back to Mr.
Haynes, and leaving forever the life of a performing pony, which
had once seemed so very delightful.
Mr. Haynes, in the goodness of his heart, told the showman
that as he had got Contrary without his having been injured at
all, he would not have him punished, and he hoped he would be
a more honest man in the future.
Contrary was then taken back home, and I am glad to be
able to say that this was the last freak he ever had. He had
learned that it was far better to be a good, obedient pony, and
to stay in a good home, and where he was taught the things
proper for a pony to know, than to perform foolish tricks for
the benefit of a man, who gave him as little to eat as he possibly
could, and did not mind how much he was whipped so long as
he could be made to do what was required of him.
Willy Brown and Contrary had many a pleasant canter
together the remainder of the time that Contrary was on the
About the first of October, as he was in excellent condition,
he was sent out to Ohio, to Mr. Haynes's little nephew, where
he gave great satisfaction in every way. Mr. Haynes often
74 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
hears of him, and, in one of the letters, Mrs; Barker said her
little George thought he ought not to be called Contrary any
more he was so tractable. But that she had told her little
boy that it would be very difficult to make him come when he
was called by any other name, and so she thought they had
better still call him by his name of Contrary, only that now it
must be understood to mean that all his wishes were contrary to
what was wrong instead of contrary to what was right, as had
once been the case.
And this is the history of Contrary, the Shetland Pony.
THE GRAY PARROT AND THE BLACK
THE GRAY PARROT AND THE BLACK
AFTER Contrary had been sent to his little master in Ohio,
there was quite a peaceful time at the farm, and the work was
all done to Mr. Haynes's satisfaction. And when it came to
Thanksgiving week, Mrs. Haynes asked the farmer how he
would like to go to a town on the coast of Massachusetts, and
make a visit to her sister Hannah ?
This sister was a great deal younger than Mrs. Haynes, and
had come to live in Massachusetts. Mr. Haynes had never
seen her. She had married a sailor, who was master of a
fishing schooner, and had settled in this town, already mentioned,
on the seacoast.
Do you think your sister will like to have us come ?" said
Oh, yes, indeed," returned Mrs. Haynes. "Hannah has
asked me a dozen times to come and see her, and her husband
has just gone away to sea, and I know she will be delighted to
have us come."
"Well," said the farmer; "but hadn't you better write and
tell her we are coming?"
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Oh, no," said Mrs. Haynes, Hannah is a very good house-
keeper, I know, and there is always plenty to eat in the house,
if people do come in unexpectedly."
So the next morning Mrs. Muff was down at the barn with
the news that the farmer and his wife had gone away in the
carryall, and that Mrs. Brown's sister, Martha, was to keep
house for a week till they returned. "And I shall be glad
enough when they get back," said Mrs. Muff. "Mrs. Haynes
told Martha Williams to keep my cushion always in the window
seat, where I can see out; but she's forgotten it, and there it
is in the back of the room, where I- can see nothing. Hannah
Williams is fond enough of looking out of the window herself,"
added Mrs. Muff.
In the meantime, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes had had a pleasant
drive to Mrs. Haynes's sister's house. The roads were good, and
the weather was fine, and at about five o'clock they-got to Mrs.
Britton's. Mrs. Haynes sat down with her sister, and Mr.
Haynes went down to the barn with the horse.
Mrs. Britton said she was sorry her uncle Barker, who lived
with her, was out, but she would show Mr. Haynes where to go,
and she hoped he would be able to manage.
Mr. Haynes said, Oh, yes," he should have no trouble, and
Mrs. Britton went back to her sister. After he had put up the
horse and seen that all was right, he came back to the house.
But, never having been there before, he missed his way and
came round to another door than the one from which he had
THE GRAY PARROT.
While he was considering how he should get back to the
front of the house, he heard a voice saying, -" Nothing to eat
in the pantry--what did they come for? What did they come
for?"' He could not see any one, but he saw there was a
window open in a sitting-room near him, and the person, who-
ever it was, happened to be speaking inside that room.
Mr. Haynes felt quite disturbed. There," said he to him-
self, that comes of not writing; I have a great mind to go
Just then Mrs. Britton came out, and told him she was afraid
he could not find the way up to the front door -so she had
come out to see what had detained him. It seemed he had
taken the wrong turning. Now of course Mrs. Britton set him
right, and he went back where Mrs. Haynes was.
Mrs. Britton was very much pleased to see them, and got
them everything nice for their tea that could be thought of;
and by and by Mr. Barker got home, and Mr. Haynes, in talk-
ing with him, forgot all about what he had heard when he was
coming up from the barn.
But when he and Mrs. Haynes had gone up to the best
bedchamber, he told his wife that he really did not know
what to do about staying; and then told her what he had
Why, Mr. Haynes," said Mrs. Haynes, "you must have
made a mistake! "
"Oh, no, I didn't, Jane," said Mr. Haynes. "I heard it as
plainly as I hear you speak."
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Well," said Mrs. Haynes, "at any rate, there was a great
mistake about there being nothing to eat, wasn't there ?"
Yes," said Mr. Haynes, that's true, to be sure; but then
perhaps they don't want us to eat the good things, perhaps
they are for some one else."
Well, Mr. Haynes," said Mrs. Haynes, we can't go away
to-night, at any rate, and before to-morrow night I'll know
the truth of it all. My sister Martha must be very much
changed if she doesn't want her own sister to come and see
her at Thanksgiving time. It couldn't have been Martha her-
self, Mr. Haynes, because she was with me."
Didn't she go out of the room while I was gone?" said
Mrs. Haynes stopped a moment before she answered,
Well, now I think of it, she did, Joshua; but, after all, that's
no proof that she said such a thing as that, Thanksgiving
week too! But I'll find out all about it to-morrow, you may be
"Are you going to ask your sister, my dear?" said Mr.
Haynes, who began to feel a little frightened.
Certainly I shall, Mr. Haynes," said his wife. She's my
sister; and do you go to sleep, and leave me to settle it."
The next day, when they came down to breakfast, Mrs.
Britton seemed as pleasant as possible, and there was everything
good to eat on the table, and she told them more than once how
glad she was to see them, especially as she was so lonely now
her husband was away at sea. And Mr. Haynes did not know
THE GRAY PARROT.
what to think, but still he was sure he had heard the very
words he had repeated to Mrs. Haynes.
After breakfast Mrs. Britton said she would take them over
the house, and she walked through the entry to what she called
the sitting-room, and just as she threw open the door of the
room, a voice from the farther end of the room, which was a
long one, cried out, What do you want here?"
Oh, Queen Elizabeth !" said Mrs. Britton, I do wish any-
thing could teach you to be civil," and she walked up to a large
cage, in which was a good-sized gray parrot with a scarlet head
and scarlet-tipped wings.
Mrs. Haynes looked at Mr. Haynes, as much as to say, I
don't think we shall have to go home.
Mrs. Britton then went on to tell them that her husband had
brought the parrot home from England last year; that she was
so famous a talker that it was quite astonishing how she learned
whole sentences when they least expected it. She said they
had been offered seventy-five dollars for her, but that they
would not part with her on any account.
And then she told them some stories about her talking. She
said the family where the parrot lived in England always had
prayers read every morning before breakfast; and they were
very careful to have the parrot taken out of the room before
the prayers began, for fear she should say something to make
the children laugh; but one day the parrot was forgotten, and
when she heard them say Amen, at the end of the prayers, she
called out as loud as she could, Cheer, boys! cheer! "
82 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
At this some one told the butler to take her out, and she was
quiet till she got to the door, and then she looked back and
said, Sorry I spoke."
Mr. Haynes laughed so much at this that Mrs. Haynes
thought it would be a good time to speak of what he.had heard
the night before, since there could be no doubt by this time
that it was the parrot. So she told her sister about it, and they
had a great laugh over it.
Then Mrs. Britton told them that she and her uncle were going
to make a visit of about a fortnight, and that they did not know
what to do with the parrot while their house was shut up.
"Well, now," said Mr. Haynes, I tell you what you can do.
We'll take Polly home with us, and then you can come and
make us a visit, and take her back with you."
So it was settled in that way, to every one's satisfaction.
When it was spoken of that night at the tea-table, Mr. Haynes
said that he had not expected to take home a parrot, but that
he had thought it likely he might take home a dog, as he had
been looking out for some time for a good Newfoundland.
Mr. Barker told him he knew of a very fine one, that the
man who owned him had been training carefully to sell for
the last two years, but he asked a good price for him, and
he would not sell him unless he could get it.
Mr. Haynes said the price would be no objection if the dog
was worth it. So it was agreed they should go down the next
day, which was the day they were going home, and look at the
THE GRAY PARROT. 83
When they saw him, Mr. Haynes was very much pleased
with him. He was a beautiful glossy black, with his hair
slightly curling, or rather waving; very powerful paws, and a
fine lift to his head.
The man who owned him said he had taken every pains with
him, and he was thoroughly well trained. He had already
saved two little boys from drowning, and his master said, if he
were told to take care of anything, he would suffer no one to
touch it, try as they would. For this he was named Fidus,
which means faithful.
Mr. Haynes thought he could not do better than to buy him.
And his master explained it all to Fidus, who seemed to under-
stand it, and walked off with Mr. Haynes very willingly, after
he had stood by him for a few moments, and examined him
So the next day Mr. and Mrs. Haynes set off for home,
accompanied by Fidus and the gray parrot.
It is easy to imagine the excitement at the farm, when out of
the carryall got first Mi. Haynes, then Mrs. Haynes, then Fidus,
and last of all the great cage appeared with the parrot in it.
Mrs. Muff was really beside herself. She arched up her back,
and made her eyes glare, when she saw Fidus walking into the
room; but Fidus was very well trained, and took no notice of
But all this was nothing to what was to come. In a few
minutes, Mr. Haynes, who had remained outside, came in with a
great gray bird, that called out, as soon as it got into the room,-
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Poor place, poor place nothing to eat on the table "
Mrs. Muff was.so frightened that she made a dash out of
the open door, and never stopped till she got down to the barn.
Mrs. Brindle was just finishing a carrot, but she stopped
chewing, and looked at Mrs. Muff in amazement.
"What is the matter? said she.
I don't know," said Mrs. Muff. "There's a bird up at the
house that talks like Mr. and Mrs. Haynes."
You must be mistaken," said Mrs. Brindle mildly.
Oh, no, I'm not," said Mrs. Muff. I heard with my own
ears, and Mr. Haynes laughed till you could have heard him
down in the pasture."
Well," said Mrs. Brindle, that can't hurt you. It's noth-
ing but talking after all."
Yes," said Mrs. Muff, "but if that bird is going to tell
everything that is done, to Mrs. Haynes! "
I shouldn't care if she did," said good, honest Mrs. Brindle.
"Well, then, I should," said Mrs. Muff, "for there are a
great many little things that a person does that there is no use
in talking about. When Eliza Craggs was here, I shall never
forget the fuss she made because I got up in a chair to see if
the fish was brought in for Mr. Haynes."
But whether Mrs. Muff liked it or not, Polly was there all
the time in the room where Mrs. Haynes sat, and where the
table was set. And instead of talking less, she talked more, for
she was quite excited at coming to a new place, and learned
new words every day, without forgetting the old ones.
THE GRAY PARROT.
Amongst other things that she remembered were some of the
Sunday lessons that the children of the English family with
whom she had been, used to be taught. She knew some of the
Commandments very well, and used to call out, Thou shalt
not kill," Thou shalt not steal," in quite a startling manner
Meantime, Fidus was making friends everywhere. He was
so well behaved, obeyed directly he was told to do anything;
and no matter what was committed to his charge, he allowed no
one to touch it.
One day, Mr. Haynes was going to a town about ten miles
off, to see his lawyer, and as it was also the town where Mrs.
Haynes bought her bonnets, she told Mr. Haynes to call at the
milliner's, and bring home her new velvet bonnet.
Only," said she, if you get the bonnet before you go to
your lawyer's, you mustn't leave it in the wagon in the street,
for some one may steal it. You know you often stay some
time in Mr. Barstow's office."
I'll take Fidus with me, then," said Mr. Haynes. I don't
want to go in to Mr. Barstow's office carrying a bandbox.
I'll engage no one will touch your bonnet while Fidus is
So Fidus was called up from the barn, and taken into town.
His master went and got Mrs. Haynes's bonnet, and then went
to the lawyer's office. He was detained rather longer than he
expected, and when he came out, what should he see but the
bandbox out on the sidewalk, at some distance from the wagon,
86 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
and Fidus lying across a boy, who was lying very still indeed, I
"Why, Fidus," said Mr. Haynes, walking up to him, what's
the matter ? "
Fidus looked up to his master as much as to say, I am glad
you are come. What shall I do with this boy ?"
Mr. Haynes told Fidus to get up, and then he took the boy
by the collar, and asked him what he had been doing.
It was plain enough that he had been trying to steal the
bandbox; and if Mr. Haynes had only known it, it was that very
Tom who had helped with his brother to steal Contrary. Poor
boy he was going from bad to worse. Of course he did not
tell the truth; but it was not possible to prove that he had
pulled the box out of the wagon, for Fidus could not speak,
and so Mr. Haynes let him go, and told him if ever he found
him knocked down by Fidus again, he should send for a police-
Then Mr. Haynes told Fidus to jump into the wagon, and
he picked up the bandbox, which was not hurt at all, and drove
home. And you may be sure Fidus had a good supper that
night, and the story was told all round the neighborhood,
though Mrs. Muff, who did not like Fidus, and perhaps was a
little vexed because he never took any notice of her, said that,
listen as she would, she could not find out that any one saw
Fidus throw the boy down.
But this was nothing to what was to happen; nothing to what
Fidus and Queen Elizabeth together were to do, as you will see.
THE GRAY PARROT., 87
The last time that Mr. Haynes came home, he had brought
with him twenty or thirty silver dollars that he had been obliged
to take in payment for something; and he had had it in his
hand when he came out of Mr. Barstow's office. Tom could
not help seeing it, when Mr. Haynes called Fidus off, and he
also saw Mr. Haynes put it in the wagon. And, after he had
been set at liberty, having no one to teach him any better, and
also having nothing to do, he kept thinking of this bag of
dollars all the time, and wondering how he could get them.
He did know it was wicked to steal, because he was always
trying to conceal that he stole, and it was not altogether
because he was afraid of the policeman. But when he began
to think it was wrong, he put that thought out of his mind,
instead of trying to remember it, and only thought how he
could contrive to get what he wanted.
So he went on following the wagon at a distance, and falling
back among the bushes at the roadside whenever he thought Mr.
Haynes was going to look back, and after a while he found
where Mr. Haynes was going. But then he remembered how
strong Fidus was, and how fierce he looked when he was
standing over him on the ground, and he thought that perhaps
he had better give it all up. So he turned off towards his own
wretched home. But still he did not try to put the bag of
dollars out of his head.
He was quite a large, strong boy of his age, and now Fidus
was out of sight, he did not seem quite so formidable; and the
next day Tom was wandering round the farm, and looking at
88 MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
the windows, and thinking how he could get inside the house.
As it happened, without much thinking about it, he had climbed
up into a tree that overlooked the house, and found he could
see into Mr. Haynes's sitting-room. Presently he saw the farmer
unlock an old-fashioned piece of furniture, with a sort of desk
to it, and then, in one of the recesses, he saw the same bag
lying that he had seen in the farmer's hand the day he tried to
steal the bandbox. Now, at any rate, he knew where it was
kept. He got down from the tree, and when he got back that
night he told his brother all about it, for he could not keep so
important a chance to himself any longer.
It seemed to them a great deal more money than it really
was, and they thought, poor, foolish boys, that they could go to
California or to the diamond mines or, in short, half over the
world, with a bag of silver dollars. But they both agreed that
they must be quite certain that Mr. Haynes had gone away
before they should dare get into the house, and then there was
Fidus. They knew nothing about Queen Elizabeth, who was
to give them quite as great a fright as Fidus.
After hanging about in the fields for two or three days, they
saw the farmer go off in the wagon, and for a further piece of
luck, as they thought it, they saw Jacob, the farm man, go with
him. To be sure, they did not know where Fidus was, but
they thought it likely that he was in the wagon, where he
had been before. But to be a little more certain about it,
they went down to the barn, and threw stones against the
door, being certain Fidus would bark if he were inside. And
THE GRAY PARROT.
as they heard nothing, they were sure he had gone with his
Mrs. Muff, indeed, got up on her barrel and put her head out
of window, when she heard the stones, but they did not care
Now what really had happened was this. That day, in the
morning, Mr. Haynes told Mrs. Haynes that he was obliged to
go in to Mr. Barstow again in the afternoon.
I am sorry for that," said Mrs. Haynes, for the afternoons
are so short; it is dark before you get back, and I don't like to
stay here alone, and then you have got to go and see about
that hay you spoke of the other day, and it will be later than
I might take Jacob with me," said Mr. Haynes, and he
can go down and see about the hay, while I am at Mr.
Barstow's, and that will save time. You won't be afraid to stay
here, if Fidus is brought up from the barn ?"
Oh, no," said Mrs. Haynes.
And then," said Mr. Haynes, laughing, there's Queen
Elizabeth. She'll talk enough to make company for anybody."
Shouldn't wonder, shouldn't wonder," called out the parrot.
Just then Mr. Haynes saw Jacob coming with the wagon, and
as he was to go with his master, Mr. Haynes wanted to tell him
to go back and get his thick outside coat, for it was a cold night.
Now there was a casement window that opened like a door
on the side where the piazza was, and, to save time, Mr.
Haynes opened it, and called out to Jacob to go back for his
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
coat. He did not stop to fasten the window, but told Mrs.
Haynes to fasten it, because it was late, and he wanted to get
The,room was a long one, and this window was at one end
of it, and the fireplace at the other.
Mrs. Haynes was just going to fasten it, when the parrot
called out, Don't be late, Mr. Haynes," so exactly as she
spoke herself, that she burst out laughing, and went to get
Queen Elizabeth a hard-baked ginger cake that she was very
fond of; and forgot all about the window, especially as she had
just then to open the back door for Fidus, who had just been
sent up from the barn.
After Mr. Haynes had gone, it grew dark very soon, and Mrs.
Haynes sat down on the large sofa towards the fireplace, and
told Fidus to take care of the house till his master came.
Fidus understood very well what he was to do, and, after
walking about for a few moments to choose a proper place to
keep guard, lay down at the end of the room where the case-
ment window was, which he presently saw was a little open-
the wind having stirred it.
Now, when a person is going to do wrong, it often seems as
if every circumstance was in his favor for some time; and
then, all of a sudden, the one thing that upsets all his plans
happens when he least expects it. It was so now. Tom and
Jack had been prowling about all the afternoon, and just at
nightfall a window was not only left unfastened in the room
where the bag of money was, but Mr. Haynes's old-fashioned
jI I ri- I i I
ii rP. ~: I~~i ?
"THOU SHALT NOT STEAL!"
THE GRAY PARR OT
desk, that stood not far from the window, had been left open,
because Mr. Haynes had been writing until the last moment,
and had gone off, as we have seen, in a hurry.
In that desk was the bag of dollars, and, as the boys came
creeping up the piazza, they felt as if it was almost in their
hands. But, softly as they came, it was not so softly but that
Fidus, who was watching the window, heard them. There
was a bright moon, and the shadows of the boys came stealing
slowly across the piazza, Fidus watching so intently, he
When Tom put his hand on the window to push it open, it
gave a creak which waked up the parrot, whose cage was at
that end of the room; she immediately called out in a loud
"Thou shalt not steal!"
Tom's foot was across the sill of the window, but he was
so stiffened by fear that he could not take another step; and
just as the parrot spoke, Fidus made his spring, and Tom lay
across the window in a dead faint. He was all but frightened
Poor Mrs. Haynes, who had fallen asleep on the sofa, woke
to find the parrot screaming with excitement, and Fidus lying
across something which looked in the moonlight like a dead
boy. Seeing a carriage coming up the street, she ran out on
the piazza and called as loudly as she could for help.
The carriage seemed to be going to stop at the house, as
it was, and it proved to be Mrs. Britton and her uncle, Mr.
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
Barker, who had come a day or two before they were expected;
but who could not have arrived when they would have been
With Mr. Barker's assistance the boy was taken up, Fidus
seeming to understand all about it, and to know that there
was no necessity of his holding him down any more; but he
went outside, and kept watch till he saw his master driving into
the yard, and then rushed down and made him come up to the
house as quickly as possible.
"There's something the matter, Jacob," cried Mr. Haynes,
seizing his heavy whip, and following Fidus as fast as he
Jacob jumped out of the wagon and ran up the steps after
his master, and there was a great state of excitement. Mr.
Haynes did not at first recognize Mrs. Britton and Mr. Barker,
for there was no lamp in the room, and of course he did not
know who Tom was, as he had forgotten him entirely.
So soon as Mrs. Haynes could speak for fright, she told
them all she knew about what had happened. She said the first
thing that woke her was the parrot calling out, "Thou shalt not
steal," and then she saw Fidus spring and heard Tom fall.
After the light was brought, and they had time to examine
Tom, Mr. Haynes remembered him. It was some time before
he was recovered enough to speak, and then he made a full
confession of everything. Jack, meantime, had run away. As
he seemed very penitent, they determined to secure him for the
night, and take him over the next day to a gentleman who had
THE GRA Y PARROT.
a good deal to do with managing bad boys like Tom, and see
what could be done for him. So they gave him a good supper,
better than he had ever had in his life, and locked him up
safely, with Fidus and Jacob to keep guard.
One can imagine what an evening there was, how Fidus
was petted and praised, and how many ginger cakes were given
to Queen Elizabeth. She knew her mistress very well, and kept
saying all the evening, How do you do? Glad to see you."
Mrs. Britton and Mr. Barker stayed a week, and when they
went away took the parrot, with the promise of bringing her in
the summer to pay another visit.
Mrs. Haynes had ready for them to take home a large box
of hard-baked ginger cakes, which Queen Elizabeth was very
fond of biting with her strong, sharp bill.
The day after Tom was caught, Mr. Haynes took him over
where he had intended to take him, and he seemed so sorry
for what he had done, and so anxious that his brother should
be brought out of the sad home their father had given them,
that the gentleman and Mr. Haynes thought it was worth
while to look for Jack, and place him and Tom in a place
where they could be taught and taken care of by people fit
for the purpose.
Which, I am glad to say, was done, and there is now really
a good hope that they may become honest men, for Tom and
Jack will never forget the fright they got from the gray parrot
and the black Newfoundland dog.
THE HISTORY OF MRS. MUFF'S THREE
THE HISTORY OF MRS. MUFF'S THREE
SOON after Contrary went to Ohio, there was a great event
happened at the Haynes farm. Mrs. Muff had three very fine
There was one remarkable circumstance about them. They
were so exactly alike that even their own mother could not tell
them apart. They were coal-black, there was not one white
hair on any part of them, and they were exactly of a size, and
quite equal in strength and agility.
Mr. Haynes was very much pleased when he went down to
the barn, and found them in the barrel. And he named them
directly in a way he thought quite the most appropriate to
them: Jet and Charcoal and Night. Mrs. Haynes came down
to see them, and she immediately began to think what families
of her acquaintance would like a kitten. There could be no
difficulty in disposing of such fine kittens, with such a reputa-
tion as mousers, which Mrs. Muff's kittens always bore.
For the first six weeks of their lives, there did not seem to be
much difference in their characters; but after a while, as they
grew older, it might be observed that Jet was a far more honest
MRS. MUFF AND HER FRIENDS.
kitten than his brothers, Charcoal and Night. If Jet was up on
the table where the milk-pan was, he stood boldly by the pan;
and though he did get a cuff on his ears from his mistress, that
was better than the way Charcoal and Night, particularly Night,
would turn round and pretend that they were looking out of the
dairy-room window, or, after they got older, that they were
looking for a mouse.
Mrs. Muff was not a very honest-hearted cat herself, as the
readers of these stories must know, but even she trusted Jet
more than she trusted his brothers.
After she had washed them in her way in a morning, and
she was very particular about that, she was very angry if she
came back and found they had been chasing each other about,
and rolling over in the dusty road, instead of playing on the
grass in front of the house.
There was no fence in front of the house, only a long green
slope down to the road, and there was nothing the three
kittens liked better than to chase each other down the slope,
and catch each other, and roll over and over; and when they
rolled into the dusty road, their glossy black fur presented a
-One morning Mrs. Muff had washed them very carefully, and
left them all on the slope, in front of the house, and went
off for a little rest herself to the pasture, to her good friend,
She had not been gone five minutes before Jet began to roll
over Charcoal, and Night over both of them. And a grand