Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The hen that hatched ducks
 The nutcrackers of Nutcracker...
 The history of tip-top
 Miss Katy-did and Miss Cricket
 Mother Magpie's mischief
 The squirrels that live in...
 Hum, the son of Buz
 Our country neighbours
 The diverting history of little...
 Back Cover

Title: Queer little folks
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082118/00001
 Material Information
Title: Queer little folks
Physical Description: 122, 6 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1893
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1893   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1893   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1893   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1893
Genre: Children's stories
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: Harriet Beecher Stowe ; with illustrations.
General Note: Also pub. under the title: Queer little people.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082118
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238048
notis - ALH8543
oclc - 01543781

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    List of Illustrations
        Page 9
        Page 10
    The hen that hatched ducks
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    The nutcrackers of Nutcracker Lodge
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The history of tip-top
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Miss Katy-did and Miss Cricket
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    Mother Magpie's mischief
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
    The squirrels that live in a house
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Hum, the son of Buz
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
    Our country neighbours
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    The diverting history of little Whiskey
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Back Cover
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
Full Text

The Baldwin Library


Binningqtam School &oar,).



a-~lcxx~c~rscii ~ OX~i hC7~;

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at the .. i

CrQt ofq the "7za,.
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Page ip.



Page 59.

Ubomas 1Relson an) Sons,








THE HEN THAT HATCHED DUCKS, ... ... .. ... 11


THE HISTORY OF TIP-TOP, ... ... .. .. ... 43


MOTHER MAGPIE'S MISCHIEF, ... ... ... ... 70


HUM, THE SON OF BUZ, ... ... .. ... ... 93

OUR COUNTRY NEIGHBOURS, ... ... .. ... ... 106


JIist of TEsllustrations.

THE BROOD HATCHED, .. .. .. .. Frontispiece

FEEDING THE LAME ROBIN, V. .. .. .. Vignette

ERECTING THE HEN-HOUSE, .. .. .. .. .. 15


ENEMIES IN WAITING, 9.. .. .. . 39


TIP-TOP IN BAD COMPANY, ... .. .. .. 57

VENTUROUS SQUIRRELS, .. .. .. .. .. 89




ONCE there was a nice young hen that we will call
Mrs. Feathertop. She was a hen 'of most excellent
family, being a direct descendant of the Bolton Grays,
and as pretty a young fowl as you could wish to see
of a summer's day. She was, moreover, as fortunately
situated in life as it was possible for a hen to be.
She was bought by young Master Fred Little John,
with four or five family connections of hers, and a
lively young cock, who was held to be as brisk a
scratcher and as capable a head of a family as any
half-dozen sensible hens could desire.
I can't say that at first Mrs. Feathertop was a very
sensible hen. She was very pretty and lively, to be
sure, and a great favourite with Master Bolton Gray
Cock, on account of her bright eyes, her finely-shaded


feathers, and certain saucy dashing ways that she
had which seemed greatly to take his fancy. But
old Mrs. Scratchard, living in the neighboring yard,
assured all the neighbourhood that Gray Cock was a
fool for thinking so much of that flighty young thing;
that she had not the smallest notion how to get on
in life, and thought of nothing in the world but her
own pretty feathers. "Wait till she comes to have
chickens," said Mrs. Scratchard; "then you will see.
I have brought up ten broods myself-as likely and
respectable chickens as ever were a blessing to society
-and I think I ought to know a good hatcher and
brooder when I see her; and I know that fine piece
of trumpery, with her white feathers tipped with
gray, never will come down to family life. She
scratch for chickens! Bless me, she never did any-
thing in all her days but run round and eat the
worms which somebody else scratched up for her."
When Master Bolton Gray heard this he crowed
very loudly, like a cock of spirit, and declared that
old Mrs. Scratchard was envious, because she had lost
all her own tail-feathers, and looked more like a
worn-out old feather-duster than a respectable hen,
and that therefore she was filled with sheer envy of
anybody that was young and pretty. So young Mrs.
Feathertop cackled gay defiance at her busy rubbishy


neighbour, as she sunned herself under the bushes on
fine June afternoons.
Now Master Fred Little John had been allowed to
have these hens by his mamma on the condition that
he would build their house himself, and take all the
care of it; and to do Master Fred justice, he executed
the job in a small way quite creditably. He chose a
sunny sloping bank covered with a thick growth of
bushes, and erected there a nice little hen-house with
two glass windows, a little door, and a good pole for
his family to roost on. He made, moreover, a row of
nice little boxes with, hay in them for nests, and he
bought three or four little smooth white china eggs to
put in them, so that, when his hens did lay, he might
carry off their eggs without their being missed. This
hen-house stood in a little grove that sloped down to
a wide river, just where there was a little cove which
reached almost to the hen-house.
This situation inspired one of Master Fred's boy
advisers with a new scheme in relation to his poultry
enterprise. "Hallo! I say, Fred," said Tom Seymour,
"you ought to raise ducks; you've got a capital place
for ducks there."
Yes; but I've bought hens, you see," said Freddy;
"so it's no use trying."
"No use! Of course there is. Just as if your


hens couldn't hatch ducks' eggs. Now you just -wait
till one of your hens wants to sit, and you put ducks'
eggs under her, and you'll have a family of ducks in a
twinkling. You can buy ducks' eggs, a plenty, of old
Sam under the hill. He always has hens hatch his
So Freddy thought it would be a good experiment,
and informed his mother the next morning that he
intended to furnish the ducks for the next Christmas
dinner; and when she wondered how he was to come
by them, he said mysteriously, Oh, I will show you
how," but did not further explain himself. The next
day he went with Tom Seymour and made a trade
with old Sam, and gave him a middle-aged jack-knife
for eight of his ducks' eggs. Sam, by-the-by, was a
woolly-headed old negro man, who lived by the pond
hard by, and who had long cast envying eyes on
Fred's jack-knife, because it was of extra fine steel,
having been a Christmas present the year before.
But Fred knew very well there were any number
more of jack-knives where that came from, and that,
in order to get a new one, he must dispose of the old;
so he made the purchase and came home rejoicing.
Now about this time Mrs. Feathertop, having laid
her eggs daily with great credit to herself, notwith-
standing Mrs. Scratchard's predictions, began to find


Page 13.


herself suddenly attacked with nervous symptoms.
She lost her gay spirits, grew dumpish and morose,
stuck up her feathers in a bristling way, and pecked
at her neighbours if they did so much as look at her.
Master Gray Cock was greatly concerned, and went
to old Dr. Peppercorn, who looked solemn, and re-
commended an infusion of angle-worms, and said he
would look in on the patient twice a day till she was
"Gracious me, Gray Cock !" said old Goody
Kertarkut, who had been lolling at the corner as he
passed, ain't you a fool ?-cocks always are fools.
Don't you know what's the matter with your wife ?
She wants to sit, that's all; and you just let her sit.
A fiddlestick for Dr. Peppercorn I Why, any good old
hen that has brought up a family knows more than a
doctor about such things. You just go home and tell
her to sit if she wants to, and behave herself."
When Gray Cock came home, he found that Master
Freddy had been before him, and had established Mrs.
Feathertop upon eight nice eggs, where she was sitting
in gloomy grandeur. He tried to make a little affable
conversation with her, and to relate his interview
with the doctor and Goody Kertarkut; but she was
morose and sullen, and only pecked at him now and
then in a very sharp, unpleasant way. So after a few
(18) 2


more- efforts to make himself agreeable he left her,
and went out promenading with the captivating Mrs.
Red Comb, a charming young Spanish widow, who
had just been imported into the neighboring yard.
"Bless my soul," said he, "you've no idea how
cross my wife is."
0 you horrid creature !" said Mrs. Red Comb.
"How little you feel for the weaknesses of us poor
On my word, ma'am," said Gray Cock, "you do
me injustice. But when a hen gives way to temper,
ma'am, and no longer meets her husband with a smile
-when she even pecks at him whom she is bound to
honour and obey-"
"Horrid monster talking of obedience! I should
say, sir, you came straight from Turkey." And Mrs.
Red Comb tossed her head with a most bewitching
air, and pretended to run away; and old Mrs. Scratch-
ard looked out of her coop and called to Goody
"Look how Mr. Gray Cock is flirting with that
widow. I always knew she was a baggage."
"And his poor wife left at home alone," said Goody
Kertarkut. "It's the way with 'em all!"
"Yes, yes," said Dame Scratchard, "she'll know
what real life is now, and she won't go about holding


her head so high, and looking down on her practical
neighbours that have raised families."
"Poor thing what'll she do with a family ?" said
Goody Kertarkut.
"Well, what business have such young flirts to get
married ? said Dame Scratchard. I don't expect
she'll raise a single chick; and there's Gray Cock
flirting about, fine as ever. Folks didn't do so when
I was young. I'm sure my husband knew what
treatment a sitting hen ought to have,-poor old
Long Spur! he never minded a peck or so now and
then. I must say these modern fowls ain't what
fowls used to be."
Meanwhile the sun rose and set, and Master Fred
was almost the only friend and associate of poor little
Mrs. Feathertop, whom he fed daily with meal and
water, and .only interrupted her sad reflections by
pulling her up occasionally to- see how the eggs were
coming on.
At last "Peep, peep, peep," began to be heard in
the nest, and one little downy head after another
poked forth from under the feathers, surveying the
world with round, bright, winking eyes; and gradually
the brood were hatched, and Mrs. Feathertop arose,
a proud and happy mother, with all the bustling,
scratching, care-taking instincts of family-life warm


within her breast. She clucked and scratched, and
cuddled the little downy bits of things as handily and
discreetly as a seven-year-old hen could have done,
exciting thereby the wonder of the community.
Master Gray Cock came home in high spirits, and
complimented her; told her she was looking charm-
ingly once more, and said, "Very well, very nice," as
he surveyed the young brood. So that Mrs. Feather-
top began to feel the world going well with her,
when suddenly in came Dame Scratchard and Goody
Kertarkut to make a morning call.
"Lei's see the chicks," said Dame Scratchard.
Goodness me," said Goody Kertarkut, "what a
likeness to their dear papa !"
"Well, but bless me, what's the matter with their
bills ?" said Dame Scratchard. "Why, my dear, these
chicks are deformed! I'm sorry for you, my dear;
but it's all the result of your inexperience. You
ought to have eaten pebble-stones with your meal
when you were sitting. Don't you see, Dame Ker-
tarkut, what bills they have? That'll increase, and
they'll be frightful !"
"What shall I do ?" said Mrs. Feathertop, now
greatly alarmed.
"Nothing, as I know of," said Dame Scratchard,
"since you didn't come to me before you sat. I could


have told you all about it. Maybe it won't kill 'em,
but they'll always be deformed."
And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting under
the pin-feathers of the poor little hen mamma, who
began to see that her darlings had curious little
spoon-bills, different from her own, and to worry and
fret about it.
"My dear," she said to her spouse, "do get Dr.
Peppercorn to come in and look at their bills, and see
if anything can be done."
Dr. Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrous
pair of spectacles, and said, "Hum! ha! extraordinary
case; very singular."
"Did you ever see anything like it, doctor?" said
both parents in a breath.
"I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlarge-
ment of the vascular bony tissue, threatening ossifi-
cation," said the doctor.
"Oh, dreadful! Can it be possible?" shrieked
both parents. Can anything be done ?"
"Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made of
mosquitoes' horns and bicarbonate of frogs' toes, to-
gether with a powder, to be taken morning and night,
of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be careful
about: they must never wet their feet, nor drink any


"Dear me, doctor, I don't know what I shall do,
for they seem to have a particular fancy for getting
into water."
"Yes, a morbid tendency often found in these cases
of bony tumification of the vascular tissue of the
mouth; but you must resist it, ma'am, as their life
depends upon it." And with that Dr. Peppercorn
glared gloomily on the young ducks, who were
stealthily poking the objectionable little spoon-bills
out from under their mother's feathers.
After this poor Mrs. Feathertop led a weary life of
it; for the young fry were as healthy and enterpris-
ing a brood of young ducks as ever carried saucepans
on the end of their noses, and they most utterly set
themselves against the doctor's prescriptions, mur-
mured at the muriate of fleas and the bicarbonate of
frogs' toes, and took every opportunity to waddle
their little ways down to the mud and water which
was in their near vicinity. So their bills grew larger
and larger, as did the rest of their bodies, and family
government grew weaker and weaker.
"You'll wear me out, children, you certainly will,"
said poor Mrs. Feathertop.
"You'll go to destruction, do ye hear ?" said Master
Gray Cock.
"Did you ever see such frights as poor Mrs. Feather-


top has got ? said Dame Scratchard. I knew what
would come of her family-all deformed, and with a
dreadful sort of madness which makes them love to
shovel mud with those shocking spoon-bills of theirs."
It's a kind of idiocy," said Goody Kertarkut.
"Poor things they can't be kept from the water, nor
made to take powders, and so they get worse and
"I understand it's affecting their feet so that they
can't walk, and a dreadful sort of net is growing
between their toes. What a shocking visitation !"
"She brought it on herself," said Dame Scratchard.
"Why didn't she come to me before she sat ? She
was always an upstart, self-conceited thing; but I'm
sure I pity her."
Meanwhile the young ducks throve apace. Their
necks grew glossy, like changeable green and gold
satin, and though they would not take the doctor's
medicine, and would waddle in the mud and water-
for which they always felt themselves to be very
naughty ducks-yet they grew quite vigorous and
hearty. At last one day the whole little tribe
waddled off down to the bank of the river. It was a
beautiful day, and the river was dancing and dimpling
and winking as the little breezes shook the trees that
hung over it.


"Well," said the biggest of the little ducks, "in
spite of Dr. Peppercorn, I can't help longing for the
water. I don't believe it is going to hurt me; at
any rate, here goes," and in he plumped, and in went
every duck after him, and they threw out their great
brown feet as cleverly as if they had taken swim-
ming lessons all their lives, and sailed off on the river,
away, away among the ferns, under the pink azaleas,
through reeds and rushes, and arrow-heads and
pickerel-weed, the happiest ducks that ever were
born; and soon they were quite out of sight.
"Well, Mrs. Feathertop, this is a dispensation!" said
Mrs. Scratchard. "Your children are all drowned at
last, just as I knew they'd be. The old music-teacher,
Master Bullfrog, that lives down in Water-Dock Lane,
saw 'em all plump madly into the water together this
morning. That's what comes of not knowing how to
bring up a family !"
Mrs. Feathertop gave only one shriek and fainted
dead away, and was carried home on a cabbage-leaf;
and Mr. Gray Cock was sent for, where he was wait-
ing on Mrs. Red Comb through the squash-vines.
"It's a serious time in your family, sir," said Goody
Kertarkut, and you ought to be at home support-
ing your wife. Send for Dr. Peppercorn without



Page r7.


Now as the case was a very dreadful one, Dr.
Peppercorn called a council from the barn-yard of the
squire, two miles off, and a brisk young Dr. Partlett
appeared, in a fine suit of brown and gold, with tail-
feathers like meteors. A fine young fellow he was,
lately from Paris, with all the modern scientific im-
provements fresh in his head.
When he had listened to the whole story, he
clapped his spur into the ground, and leaning back
laughed so loudly that all the cocks in the neighbour-
hood crowed.
Mrs. Feathertop rose up out of her swoon, and Mr.
Gray Cock was greatly enraged.
"What do you mean, sir, by such behaviour in the
house of mourning?"
My dear sir, pardon me; but there is no occasion
for mourning. My dear madam, let me congratulate
you. There is no harm done. The simple matter is,
dear madam, you have been under a hallucination all
along. The neighbourhood and my learned friend
the doctor have all made a mistake in thinking that
these children of yours were hens at all. They are
ducks, ma'am, evidently ducks, and very finely-formed
ducks I daresay."
At this moment a quack was heard, and at a
distance the whole tribe were seen coming waddling


home, their feathers gleaming in green and gold, and
they themselves in high good spirits.
"Such a splendid day as we have had !" they all
cried in a breath. "And we know now how to get
our own living; we can take care of ourselves in
future, so you need have no further trouble with us."
Madam," said the doctor, making a bow with an
air which displayed his tail-feathers to advantage,
"let me congratulate you on the charming family you
have raised. A finer brood of young, healthy ducks
I never saw. Give me your claw, my dear friend," he
said, addressing the eldest son.. "In our barn-yard
no family is more respected than that of the ducks."
And so Madam Feathertop came off glorious at
last. And when after this the ducks used to go
swimming up and down the river like so many nabobs
among the admiring hens, Dr. Peppercorn used to
look after them and say, "Ah, I had the care of their
infancy! and Mr. Gray Cock and his wife used to
say, "It was our system of education did that!"


MR. and Mrs. Nutcracker were as respectable a pair
of squirrels as ever wore gray brushes over their backs.
They were animals of a settled and serious turn of
mind, not disposed to run after vanities and novelties,
but filling their station in life with prudence and
sobriety. Nutcracker Lodge was a hole in a sturdy
old chestnut overhanging a shady dell, and was held
to be as respectably kept an establishment as there
was in the whole forest. Even Miss Jenny Wren, the
greatest gossip of the neighbourhood, never found
anything to criticise in its arrangements; and old Par-
son Too-whit, a venerable owl who inhabited a branch
somewhat more exalted, as became his profession, was
in the habit of saving himself much trouble in his
parochial exhortations by telling his parishioners in
short to "look at the Nutcrackers" if they wanted to
see what it was to live a virtuous life. Everything


had gone on prosperously with them, and they had
reared many successive families of young Nutcrackers,
who went forth to assume their places in the forest
of life, and to reflect credit on their bringing up,-so
that naturally enough they began to have a very
easy way of considering themselves models of wis-
But at last it came along, in the course of events,
that they had a son named Featherhead, who was
destined to bring them a great deal of anxiety. No-
body knows what the reason is, but the fact was, that
Master Featherhead was as different from all the for-
mer children of this worthy couple as if he had been
dropped out of the moon into their nest, instead of
coming into it in the general way. Young Feather-
head was a squirrel of good parts and a lively dis-
position, but he was sulky and contrary and unreason-
able, and always finding matter of complaint in
everything his respectable papa and mamma did.
Instead of assisting in the cares of a family,-picking
up nuts and learning other lessons proper to a young
squirrel,-he seemed to settle himself from his earliest
years into a sort of lofty contempt for the Nutcrackers,
for Nutcracker Lodge, and for all the good old ways
and institutions of the domestic hole, which he declared
to be stupid and unreasonable, and entirely behind the


times. To be sure, he was always on hand at meal-
times, and played a very lively tooth on the nuts
which his mother had collected, always selecting the
very best for himself; but he seasoned his nibbling
with so much grumbling and discontent, and so many
severe remarks, as to give the impression that he con-
sidered himself a peculiarly ill-used squirrel in having
to "eat their old grub," as he very unceremoniously
called it.
Papa Nutcracker, on these occasions, was often
fiercely indignant, and poor little Mamma Nut-
cracker would shed tears, and beg her darling to be
a little more reasonable; but the young gentleman
seemed always to consider himself as the injured party.
Now nobody could tell why or wherefore Master
Featherhead looked upon himself as injured or ag-
grieved, since he was living in a good hole, with
plenty to eat, and without- the least care or labour of
his own; but he seemed rather to value himself upon
being gloomy and dissatisfied. While his parents and
brothers and sisters were cheerfully racing up and
down the branches, busy in their domestic toils, and
laying up stores for the winter, Featherhead sat
gloomily apart, declaring himself weary of existence,
and feeling himself at liberty to quarrel with everybody
and everything about him. Nobody understood him, he


said;-he was a squirrel of a peculiar nature, and
needed peculiar treatment, and nobody treated him in
a way that did not grate on the finer nerves of his
feelings. He had higher notions of existence than
could be bounded by that old rotten hole in a hollow
tree; he had thoughts that soared far above the
miserable, petty details of every-day life, and he could
not and would not bring down these soaring aspirations
to the contemptible toil of laying up a few chestnuts
or hickory-nuts for winter.
"Depend upon it, my dear," said Mrs. Nutcracker
solemnly, "that fellow must be a genius."
"Fiddlestick on his genius!" said old Mr. Nut-
cracker; what does he do ?"
"Oh, nothing, of course; that's one of the first
marks of genius. Geniuses, you know, never can
come down to common life."
"He eats enough for any two," remarked old Nut-
cracker, "and he never helps to gather nuts."
"My dear, ask Parson Too-whit. He has conversed
with him, and quite agrees with me that he says very
uncommon things for a squirrel of his age; he has
such fine feelings,-so much above those of the
common crowd."
"Fine feelings be hanged!" said old Nutcracker.
"When a fellow eats all the nuts that his mother


gives him, and then grumbles at her, I don't believe
much in his fine feelings. Why don't he set himself
about something ? I'm going to tell my fine young
gentleman that, if he doesn't behave himself, I'll
tumble him out of the nest, neck and crop, and see if
hunger won't do something towards bringing down his
fine airs."
But then Mrs. Nutcracker fell on her husband's
neck with both paws, and wept, and besought him so
piteously to have patience with her darling, that old
Nutcracker, who was himself a soft-hearted old squirrel,
was prevailed upon to put up with the airs and graces
of his young scapegrace a little longer; and secretly
in his silly old heart he revolved the question whether
possibly it might not be that a great genius was
actually to come of his household.
The Nutcrackers belonged to the old-established
race of the Grays, but they were sociable, friendly
people, and kept on the best of terms with all branches
of the Nutcracker family. The Chipmunks of Chip-
munk Hollow were a very lively, cheerful, sociable
race, and on the very best of terms with the Nutcracker
Grays. Young Tip Chipmunk, the oldest son, was in
all respects a perfect contrast to Master Featherhead.
He was always lively and cheerful, and so very alert
in providing for the family, that old Mr. and Mrs.
(18) 3


Chipmunk had very little care, but could sit sociably
at the door of their hole and chat with neighbours,
quite sure that Tip would bring everything out right
for them, and have plenty laid up for winter.
Now Featherhead took it upon him, for some reason
or other, to look down upon Tip Chipmunk, and on
every occasion to disparage him in the social circle, as
a very common kind of squirrel, with whom it would
be best not to associate too freely.
"My dear," said Mrs. Nutcracker one day, when
he was expressing these ideas, "it seems to me that
you are too hard on poor Tip; he is a most excellent
son and brother, and I wish you would be civil to
"Oh, I don't doubt that Tip is good enough," said
Featherhead carelessly; "but then he is so very
common! he hasn't an idea in his skull above his nuts
and his hole. He is good-natured enough, to be sure,-
these very ordinary people often are good-natured,
-but he wants manner; he has really no manner at
all; and as to the deeper feelings, Tip hasn't the
remotest idea of them. I mean always to be civil to
Tip when he comes in my way, but I think the less
we see of that sort of people the better; and I hope,
mother, you won't invite the Chipmunks at Christmas,
-these family dinners are such a bore!"


"But, my dear, your father thinks a great deal of
the Chipmunks; and it is an old family custom to
have all the relatives here at Christmas."
"And an awful bore it is! Why must people of
refinement and elevation be for ever tied down because
of some distant relationship ? Now there are our
cousins the High-Flyers,-if we could get them, there
would be some sense in it. Young Whisk rather
promised me for Christmas; but it's seldom now you
can get a flying squirrel to show himself in our parts,
and if we are intimate with the Chipmunks it isn't to
be expected."
Confound him for a puppy!" said old Nutcracker,
when his wife repeated these sayings to him. "Feather-
head is a fool. Common, forsooth I wish good, in-
dustrious, painstaking sons like Tip Chipmunk were
common. For my part, I find these uncommon people
the most tiresome. They are not content with letting
us carry the whole load, but they sit on it, and scold
at us while we carry them."
But old Mr. Nutcracker, like many other good old
gentlemen squirrels, found that Christmas dinners and
other things were apt to go as his wife said, and his
wife was apt to go as young Featherhead said; and
so, when Christmas came, the Chipmunks were not
invited, for the first time in many years. The Chip-


munks, however, took all pleasantly, and accepted poor
old Mrs. Nutcracker's awkward apologies with the
best possible grace; and young Tip looked in on
Christmas morning with the compliments of the
season and a few beech-nuts, which he had secured as
a great dainty. The fact was, that Tip's little striped
fur coat was so filled up and overflowing with cheerful
good-will to all, that he never could be made to under-
stand that any of his relations could want to cut him;
and therefore Featherhead looked down on him with
contempt, and said he had no tact, and couldn't see
when he was not wanted.
It was wonderful to see how, by means of persisting
in remarks like these, young Featherhead at last got
all his family to look up to him as something un-
common. Though he added nothing to the family,
and required more to be done for him than all the
others put together,-though he showed not the
smallest real perseverance or ability in anything use-
ful,-yet somehow all,his brothers and sisters, and
his poor foolish old mother, got into a way of regard-
ing him as something wonderful, and delighting in his
sharp sayings as if they had been the wisest things in
the world.
But at last old papa declared that it was time for
Featherhead to settle himself to some business in life,


roundly declaring that he could not always have him
as a hanger-on in the paternal hole.
"What are you going to do, my boy ?" said Tip
Chipmunk to him one day. We are driving now a
thriving trade in hickory-nuts, and if you would like
to join us-"
"Thank you," said Featherhead; "but I confess
I have no fancy for anything so slow as the hickory
trade; I never was made to grub and delve in that
The fact was that Featherhead had lately been
forming alliances such as no reputable squirrel should
even think of. He had more than once been seen
going out evenings with the Rats of Rat Hollow,-a
race whose reputation for honesty was more than
doubtful. The fact was, further, that old Longtooth
Rat, an old sharper and money-lender, had long had
his eye on Featherhead as just about silly enough for
their purposes,-engaging him in what he called a
speculation, but which was neither more nor less than
downright stealing.
Near by the chestnut-tree where Nutcracker Lodge
was situated was a large barn filled with corn and
grain, besides many bushels of hazel-nuts, chestnuts,
and walnuts. Now old Longtooth proposed to young
Featherhead that he should nibble a passage into this


loft, and there establish himself in the commission
business, passing the nuts and corn to him as he
wanted them. Old Longtooth knew what he was
about in the proposal, for he had heard talk of a brisk
Scotch terrier that was about to be bought to keep
the rats from the grain; but you may be sure he kept
his knowledge to himself, so that Featherhead was
none the wiser for it.
"The nonsense of fellows like Tip Chipmunk!"
said Featherhead to his admiring brothers and sisters
-" the perfectly stupid nonsense! There he goes,
delving and poking, picking up a nut here and a
grain there, when I step into property at once."
"But I hope, my son, you are careful to be honest
in your dealings," said old Nutcracker, who was a very
moral squirrel.
With that, young Featherhead threw his tail saucily
over one shoulder, winked knowingly at his brothers,
and said, "Certainly, sir! If honesty consists in
getting what you can while it is going, I mean to be
Very soon Featherhead appeared to his admiring
companions in the height of prosperity. He had a
splendid hole in the midst of a heap of chestnuts, and
he literally seemed to be rolling in wealth; he never
came home without showering lavish gifts on his

.- --=

Page 4r.

10 ."--c~*~;rS~/


mother and sisters; he wore his tail over his back
with a buckish air, and patronized Tip Chipmunk
with a gracious nod whenever he met him, and
thought that the world was going well with him.
But one luckless day, as Featherhead was lolling in
his hole, up came two boys with the friskiest, wiriest
Scotch terrier you ever saw. His eyes blazed like
torches, and poor Featherhead's heart died within him
as he heard the boys say, "Now we'll see if we can't
catch the rascal that eats our grain."
Featherhead tried to slink out at the hole he had
gnawed to come in by, but found it stopped.
"Oh, you are there, are you, mister?" said the boy.
"Well, you don't get out; and now for a chase !"
And, sure enough, poor Featherhead ran distracted
with terror up and down, through the bundles of hay,
between barrels, and over casks, but with the barking
terrier ever at his heels, and the boys running, shout-
ing, and cheering his pursuer on. He was glad at
last to escape through a crack, though he left half of
his fine brush behind him; for Master Wasp the
terrier made a snap at it just as he was going, and
cleaned all the hair off of it, so that it was bare as a
rat's tail.
Poor Featherhead limped off, bruised and beaten
and bedraggled, with the boys and dog still after him;


and they would have caught him, after all, if Tip
Chipmunk's hole had not stood hospitably open to
receive him. Tip took him in, like a good-natured
fellow as he was, and took the best of care of him;
but the glory of Featherhead's tail had departed for
ever. He had sprained his left paw, and got a chronic
rheumatism, and the fright and fatigue which he had
gone through had broken up his constitution, so that
he never again could be what he had been; but Tip
gave him a situation as under-clerk in his establish-
ment, and from that time he was a sadder and a wiser
squirrel than he ever had been before.


UNDER the window of a certain pretty little cottage
there grew a great old apple-tree, which in the spring
had thousands and thousands of lovely pink blossoms
on it, and in the autumn had about half as many
bright red apples as it had blossoms in the spring.
The nursery of this cottage was a little bower of a
room, papered with mossy-green paper, and curtained
with white muslin; and here five little children used
to come, in their white nightgowns, to be dressed and
have their hair brushed and curled every morning.
First, there were Alice and Mary, bright-eyed,
laughing little girls, of seven and eight years; and
then came stout little Jamie, and Charlie; and finally
little Puss, whose real name was Ellen, but who was
called Puss, and Pussy, and Birdie, and Toddlie, and
any other pet name that came to mind.
Now it used to happen, every morning, that the
five little heads would be peeping out of the window,


together, into the flowery boughs of the apple-tree;
and the reason was this. A pair of robins had built
a very pretty, smooth-lined nest in a fork of the
limb that came directly under the window, and the
building of this nest had been superintended, day by
day, by the five pairs of bright eyes of these five
children. The robins at first had been rather shy of
this inspection; but as they got better acquainted,
they seemed to think no more of the little curly heads
in the window than of the pink blossoms about them, or
the daisies and buttercups at the foot of the tree.
All the little hands were forward to help; some
threw out flossy bits of cotton,-for which, we grieve
to say, Charlie had cut a hole in the crib quilt,-
and some threw out bits of thread and yarn, and
Allie ravelled out a considerable piece from one of her
garters, which she threw out as a contribution; and
they exulted in seeing the skill with which the little
builders wove everything in. Little birds, little
birds," they would say, you shall be kept warm, for
we have given you cotton out of our crib quilt, and
yarn out of our stockings." Nay, so far did this
generosity proceed, that Charlie cut a flossy, golden
curl from Toddlie's head and threw it out; and when
the birds caught it up the whole flock laughed to see
Toddlie's golden hair figuring in a bird's-nest.


When the little thing was finished, it was so neat,
and trim, and workman-like, that the children all
exulted over it, and called it our nest," and the two
robins they called "our birds." But wonderful was
the joy when the little eyes, opening one morning, saw
in the nest a beautiful pale-green egg; and the joy
grew from day to day, for every day there came
another egg, and so on till there were five little eggs;
and then the oldest girl, Alice, said, "There are five
eggs: that makes one for each of us, and each of us
will have a little bird by-and-by;"-at which all the
children laughed and jumped for glee.
When the five little eggs were all laid, the mother-
bird began to sit on them; and at any time of day or
night, when a little head peeped out of the nursery
window, might be seen a round, bright, patient pair of
bird's eyes contentedly waiting for the young birds to
come. It seemed a long time for the children to wait;
but every day they put some bread and cake from their
luncheon on the window-sill, so that the birds might
have something to eat; but still there she was, pa-
tiently sitting !
"How long, long,, long she waits!" said Jamie
impatiently. "I don't believe she's ever going to
"Oh, yes she is !" said grave little Alice. "Jamie,


you don't understand about these things; it takes a
long, long time to hatch eggs. Old Sam says his hens
sit three weeks ;-only think, almost a month "
Three weeks looked a long time to the five bright
pairs of little watching eyes; but Jamie said the eggs
were so much smaller than hens' eggs that it wouldn't
take so long to hatch them, he knew. Jamie always
thought he knew all about everything, and was so
sure of it that he rather took the lead among the
children. But one morning, when they pushed their
five heads out of the window, the round, patient little
bird-eyes were gone, and there seemed to be nothing
in the nest but a bunch of something hairy.
Upon this they all cried out, O mamma, do come
here! the bird is gone and left her nest And
when they cried out, they saw five wide little red
mouths open in the nest, and saw that the hairy
bunch of stuff was indeed the first of five little
"They are dreadful -looking things," said Mary;
"I didn't know that little birds began by looking so
They seem to be all mouth," said Jamie.
"We must feed them," said Charlie.-" Here, little
birds, here's some gingerbread for you," he said; and
he threw a bit of his gingerbread, which fortunately

Page 4S.


only hit the nest on the outside, and fell down among
the buttercups, where two crickets made a meal of
it, and agreed that it was as excellent gingerbread
as if old Mother Cricket herself had made it.
Take care, Charlie," said his mamma; "we do not
know enough to feed young birds. We must leave
that to their papa and mamma, who probably started
out bright and early in the morning to get breakfast
for them."
Sure enough, while they were speaking, back came
Mr. and Mrs. Robin, whirring through the green
shadows of the apple tree; and thereupon all the five
little red mouths flew open, and the birds put some-
thing into each.
It was great amusement, after this, to watch the
daily feeding of the little birds, and to observe how,
when not feeding them, the mother sat brooding on
the nest, warming them under her soft wings, while
the father-bird sat on the topmost bough of the apple-
tree and sang to them. In time they grew and grew,
and, instead of a nest full of little red mouths, there
was a nest full of little, fat, speckled robins, with round,
bright, cunning eyes, just like their parents; and the
children began to talk together about their birds.
"I'm going to give my robin a name," said Mary.
"I call him Brown-Eyes."
(is) 4


And I call mine Tip-Top," said Jamie, "because I
know he'll be a tip-top bird."
"And I call mine Singer," said Alice.
I 'all mine Toddy," said little Toddlie, who would
not be behindhand in anything that was going on.
"Hurrah for Toddlie! said Charlie; "hers is the
best of all. For my part, I call mine Speckle."
So then the birds were all made separate characters
by having each a separate name given it.
Brown-Eyes, Tip-Top, Singer, Toddy, and Speckle
made, as they grew bigger, a very crowded nestful of
Now the children had early been taught to say in
a little hymn:-

Birds in their little nests agree;
And 'tis a shameful sight
When children of one family
Fall out, and chide, and fight;"-

and they thought anything really written and printed
in a hymn must be true; therefore they were very
much astonished to see, from day to day, that their
little birds in their nest did not agree.
Tip-Top was the biggest and strongest bird, and he
was always shuffling and crowding the others, and
clamouring for the most food; and when Mrs. Robin
came in with a nice bit of anything, Tip-Top's red


mouth opened so wide, and he was so noisy, that one
would think the nest was all his. His mother used
to correct him for these gluttonous ways, and some-
times made him wait till all the rest were helped
before she gave him a mouthful; but he generally
revenged himself in her absence by crowding the
others and making the nest generally uncomfortable.
Speckle, however, was a bird of spirit, and he used to
peck at Tip-Top; so they would sometimes have a
regular sparring-match across poor Brown-Eyes, who
was a meek, tender little fellow, and would sit winking
and blinking in fear while his big brothers quarrelled.
As to Toddy and Singer, they turned out to be sister
birds, and showed quite a feminine talent for chatter-
ing; they used to scold their badly behaving brothers
in a way that made the nest quite lively.
On the whole Mr. and Mrs. Robin did not find their
family circle the peaceable place the poet represents.
"I say," said Tip-Top one day to them, "this old
nest is a dull, mean, crowded hole, and it's quite time
some of us were out of it. Just give us lessons in
flying, won't you ? and let us go."
"My dear boy," said Mother Robin, we shall teach
you to fly as soon as your wings are strong enough."
"You are a very little bird," said his father, "and
ought to be good and obedient, and wait patiently till


your wing-feathers grow; and then you can soar away
to some purpose."
Wait for my wing-feathers ? Humbug Tip-Top
would say, as he sat balancing with his little short tail
on the edge of the nest, and looking down through
the grass and clover-heads below, and up into the blue
clouds above. "Father and mother are slow old
. birds; they keep a fellow back with their confounded
notions. If they don't hurry up, I'll take matters into
my own claws, and be off some day before they know
it. Look at those swallows, skimming and diving
through. the blue air! That's the way I want to
But, dear brother, the way to learn to do that is
to be good and obedient while we are little, and wait
till our parents think it best for us to begin."
Shut up your preaching," said Tip-Top; "what do
you girls know of flying ?"
"About as muchl.s you," said Speckle. "However,
I'm sure I don't care how soon you take yourself off,
for you take up more room than all the rest put
"You mind yourself, Master Speckle, or you'll get
something you don't like," said Tip-Top, still strutting
in a very cavalier way on the edge of the nest, and
sticking up his little short tail quite valiantly.


0 my darlings," said their mamma, now fluttering
home, "cannot I ever teach you to live in love ?"
"It's all Tip-Top's fault," screamed the other birds
in a flutter.
My fault? Of course, everything in this nest
that goes wrong is laid to me," said Tip-Top; "and
I'll leave it to anybody, now, if I crowd anybody.
I've been sitting outside, on the very edge of the nest,
and there's Speckle has got my place."
"Who wants your place ?" said Speckle. "I'm sure
you can come in, if you please."
"My dear boy," said the mother, "do go into the
nest and be a good little bird, and then you will be
"That's always the talk," said Tip-Top. "I'm too
big for the nest, and I want to see the world. It's
,full of beautiful things, I know. Now there's the
most lovely creature, with bright eyes, that comes
under the tree every day, and wants me to come down
in the grass and play with her."
My son, my son, beware!" said the frightened
mother; "that lovely-seeming creature is our dreadful
enemy, the cat,-a horrid monster, with teeth and
At this, all the little birds shuddered and cuddled
deeper in the nest; only Tip-Top in his heart disbe-


lived it. "I'm too old a bird," said he to himself,
"to believe that story; mother is chaffing me. But
I'll show her that I can take care of myself."
So the next morning, after the father and mother
were gone, Tip-Top got on the edge of the nest again,
and looked over and saw lovely Miss Pussy washing
her face among the daisies under the tree, and her
hair was sleek and white as the daisies, and her eyes
were yellow and beautiful to behold, and she looked up
to the tree bewitchingly, and said, "Little birds, little
birds, come down; Pussy wants to play with you."
"Only look at her !" said Tip-Top; "her eyes are
like gold."
"No, don't look," said Singer and Speckle. "She
will bewitch you, and then eat you up."
I'd like to see her try to eat me up," said Tip-Top,
again balancing his short tail over the nest. "Just as
if she would. She's just the nicest, most innocent
creature going, and only wants us to have fun. We
never do have any fun in this old nest! "
Then the yellow eyes below shot a bewildering light
into Tip-Top's eyes, and a voice sounded sweet as
silver: "Little birds, little birds, come down; Pussy
wants to play with you."
Her paws are as white as velvet," said Tip-Top,
"and so soft! I don't believe she has any claws."


"Don't go, brother, don't !" screamed both sisters.
All we know about it is, that a moment after a
direful scream was heard from the nursery window.
" mamma, mamma, do come here! Tip-Top's fallen
out of the nest, and the cat has got him!"
Away ran Pussy with foolish little Tip-Top in her
mouth, and he squeaked dolefully when he felt her
sharp teeth. Wicked Miss Pussy had no mind to eat
him at once; she meant just as she said, to play with
him." So she ran off to a private place among the
currant-bushes, while all the little curly heads were
scattered up and down looking for her.
Did you ever see a cat play with a bird or a mouse?
She sets it down, and seems to go off and leave it;
but the.moment it makes the first movement to get
away,-pounce! she springs on it, and shakes it in her
mouth; and so she teases and tantalizes it, till she
gets ready to kill and eat it. I can't say why she
does it, except that it is a cat's nature; and it is a
very bad nature for foolish young robins to get
acquainted with.
Oh, where is he? where is he ? Do find my poor
Tip-Top," said Jamie, crying as loud as he could scream.,
"I'll kill that horrid cat,-I'll kill her !"
Mr. and Mrs. Robin, who had come home meantime,
joined their plaintive chirping to the general confusion;


and Mrs. Robin's bright eyes soon discovered her poor
little son, where Pussy was patting and rolling him
from one paw to the other under the currant-bushes;
and settling on the bush above, she called the little
folks to the spot by her cries.
Jamie plunged under the bush, and caught the cat
with luckless Tip-Top in her mouth; and, with one or
two good thumps, he obliged her to let him go. Tip-
Top was not dead, but in a sadly draggled and torn
state. Some of his feathers were torn out,.and one of
his wings was broken, and hung down in a melancholy
"Oh, what shall we do for him? He will die.
Poor Tip-Top !" said the children.
Let's put him back into the nest, children," said
mamma. "His mother will know best what to do
with him."
So a ladder was got, and papa climbed up and put
poor Tip-Top safely into the nest. The cat had
shaken all the nonsense well out of him; he was a
dreadfully humbled young robin.
The time came at last when all the other birds
in the nest learned to fly, and fluttered and flew
about everywhere; but poor melancholy Tip-Top
was still confined to the nest with a broken wing.
Finally, as it became evident that it would be

I 3-~'- r-- -xA --~ ~-.I"

Page 55.


long before he could fly, Jamie took him out of
the nest, and made a nice little cage for him, and
used to feed him every day, and he would hop
about and seem tolerably contented; but it was
evident that he would be a lame-winged robin all
his days.

Jamie's mother told him that Tip-Top's history was
an allegory.
"I don't know what you mean, mamma," said
When something in a bird's life is like something
in a boy's life, or when a story is similar in its mean-
ing to reality, we call it an allegory. Little boys,
when they are about half grown up, sometimes do just
as Tip-Top did. They are in a great hurry to get
away from home into the great world; and then
temptation comes, with bright eyes and smooth velvet
paws, and promises them fun; and they go to bad
places; they get to smoking, and then to drinking;
and, finally, the bad habit gets them in its teeth and
claws, and plays with them as a cat does with a mouse.
They try to reform, just as your robin tried to get
away from the cat; but their bad habits pounce on
them and drag them back. And so, when the time
comes that they want to begin life, they are miserable,


broken down creatures, like your broken winged
"So, Jamie, remember, and don't try to be a man
before your time, and let your parents judge for you
while you are young; and never believe in any soft
white Pussy, with golden eyes, that comes and wants
to tempt you to come down and play with her. If a
big boy offers to teach you to smoke a cigar, that is
Pussy. If a boy wants you to go into a billiard-saloon,
that is Pussy. If a boy wants you to learn to drink
anything with spirit in it, however sweetened and dis-
guised, remember Pussy is there. And Pussy's claws
are long, and Pussy's teeth are strong; and if she
gives you one shake in your youth, you will be like a
broken-winged robin all your days."


MIss KATY-DID sat on the branch of a flowering
azalea, in her best suit of fine green and silver, with
wings of point lace from Mother Nature's finest
Miss Katy was in the very highest possible spirits,
because her gallant cousin, Colonel Katy-did, had
looked in to make her a morning visit. It was a fine
morning, too, which goes for as much among the
Katy-dids as among men and women. It was, in
fact, a morning that Miss Katy thought must have
been made on purpose for her to enjoy herself in.
There had been a patter of rain the night before,
which had kept the leaves awake talking to each
other till nearly morning; but by dawn the small
winds had blown brisk little puffs, and whisked the
heavens clear and bright with their tiny wings, as
you have seen Susan clear away the. cobwebs in your
mamma's parlour; and so now there were only left a


thousand blinking, burning water-drops, hanging like
convex mirrors at the end of each leaf, and Miss Katy
admired herself in each one.
"Certainly I am a pretty creature," she said to
herself; and when the gallant colonel said something
about being dazzled by her beauty, she only tossed
her head and took it as quite a matter of course.
"The fact is, my dear colonel," she said, "I am
thinking of giving a party, and you must help me
to make out the lists."
My dear, you make me the happiest of Katy-
"Now," said Miss Katy-did, drawing an azalea-leaf
towards her, "let us see-whom shall we have ? The
Fireflies, of course; everybody wants them, they are
so brilliant,-a little unsteady, to be sure, but quite
in the higher circles."
"Yes, we must have the Fireflies," echoed the
"Well, then, and the Butterflies and the Moths.
Now, there's a trouble. There's such an everlasting
tribe of those Moths; and if you invite dull people
they're always sure all to come, every one of them.
Still, if you have the Butterflies, you can't leave out
the Moths."
"Old Mrs. Moth has been laid up lately with a


gastric fever, and that may keep two or three of the
Misses Moth at home," said the colonel.
S "Whatever could give the old lady such a turn ?"
said Miss Katy. "I thought she never was sick."
"I suspect it's high living. I understand she and
her family ate up a whole ermine cape last month,
and it disagreed with them."
For my part, I can't conceive how the Moths can
live as they do," said Miss Katy, with a face of
disgust. "Why, I could no more eat worsted and fur,
as they do-"
"That is quite evident from the fairy-like delicacy
of your appearance," said the colonel. One can see
that nothing so gross or material has ever entered
into your system."
"I'm sure," said Miss Katy, "mamma says she
don't know what does keep me alive; half a dewdrop
and a little bit of the nicest part of a rose-leaf, I
assure you, often last me for a day. But we are
forgetting our list. Let's see-the Fireflies, Butter-
flies, Moths. The Bees must come, I suppose."
The Bees are a worthy family," said the colonel.
"Worthy enough, but dreadfully humdrum," said
Miss Katy. "They never talk about anything but
honey and housekeeping; still, they are a class of
people one cannot neglect."


"Well, then, there are the Bumble-Bees."
"Oh, I dote on them General Bumble is one of
the most dashing, brilliant fellows of the day."
"I think he is shockingly corpulent," said Colonel
Katy-did, not at all pleased to hear him praised;
"don't you ?"
I don't know but he is a little stout," said Miss
Katy; "but so distinguished and elegant in his
manners-something quite martial and breezy about
"Well, if you invite the Bumble-Bees, you must
have the Hornets."
"Those spiteful Hornets! I detest them!"
"Nevertheless, dear Miss Katy, one does not like
to offend the Hornets."
No, one can't. There are those five Misses Hornet
-dreadful old maids!-as full of spite as they can
live. You may be sure they will every one come,
and be looking about to make spiteful remarks. Put
down the Hornets, though."
"How about the Mosquitoes !" said the colonel.
"Those horrid Mosquitoes-they are dreadfully
plebeian! Can't one cut them ?"
"Well, dear Miss Katy," said the colonel, "if
you ask my candid opinion as a friend, I should say
_not. There's young Mosquito, who graduated last


year, has gone into literature, and is connected with
some of our leading papers, and they say he carries
the sharpest pen of all the writers. It won't do to
offend him."
And so I suppose we must have his old aunts,
and all six of his sisters, and all his dreadfully
common relations."
It is a pity," said the colonel: "but one must pay
one's tax to society."
Just at this moment the conference was inter-
rupted by a visitor, Miss Keziah Cricket, who came
in with her work-bag on her arm to ask a subscrip-
tion for a poor family of Ants who had just had their
house hoed up in clearing the garden-walks.
"How stupid of them," said Katy, "not to know
better than to put their house in the garden-walk;
that's just like those Ants."
"Well, they are in great trouble; all their stores
destroyed, and their father killed-cut quite in two
by a hoe."
"How very shocking! I don't like to hear of such
disagreeable things; it affects my nerves terribly.
Well, I'm sure I haven't anything to give. Mamma
said yesterday she was sure she didn't know how our
bills were to be paid; and there's my green satin
with point-lace yet to come home." And Miss Katy-
(18) 5


did shrugged her shoulders and affected to be very
busy with Colonel Katy-did, in just the way that
young ladies sometimes do when they wish to signify
to visitors that they had better leave.
Little Miss Cricket perceived how the case stood,
and so hopped briskly off, without giving herself even
time to be offended. Poor extravagant little thing!"
said she to herself, "it was hardly worth while to
ask her."
"Pray, shall you invite the Crickets ?" said Colonel
"Who? I ? Why, colonel, what a question!
Invite the Crickets? Of what can you be think-
ing ?"
"And shall you not ask the Locusts, and the
Grasshoppers ?"
Certainly. The Locusts, of course,-a very old
and distinguished family; and the Grasshoppers are
pretty well, and ought to be asked. But we must
draw a line somewhere,-and the Crickets! why, it's
shocking even to think of! "
"I thought they were nice, respectable people."
"Oh, perfectly nice and respectable,-very good
people, in fact, so far as that goes. But then you
must see the difficulty."
My dear cousin, I am afraid you must explain."


"Why, their colour, to be sure. Don't you
see ?"
Oh !" said the colonel. "That's it, is it? Excuse
me, but I have been living in France, where these
distinctions are wholly unknown, and I have not yet
got myself in the train of fashionable ideas here."
"Well, then, let me teach you," said Miss Katy.
"You know we republicans go for no distinctions
except those created by Nature herself, and we found
our rank upon colour, because that is clearly a thing
that none has any hand in but our Maker. You see ?"
"Yes; but who decides what colour shall be the
reigning colour ?"
"I'm surprised to hear the question! The only
true colour-the only proper one-is our colour, to
be sure. A lovely pea-green is the precise shade on
which to found aristocratic distinction. But then we
are liberal;-we associate with the Moths, who are
gray; with the Butterflies, who are blue-and-gold
coloured; with the Grasshoppers, yellow and brown;
and society would become dreadfully mixed if it
were not fortunately ordered that the Crickets are
black as jet. The fact is, that a class to be looked
down upon is necessary to all elegant society; and if
the Crickets were not black, we could not keep them
down, because, as everybody knows, they are often a


great deal cleverer than we are. They have a vast
talent for music and dancing; they are very quick
at learning, and would be getting to the very top of
the ladder if we once allowed them to climb. But
their being black is a convenience; because,-as long
as we are green and they black, we have a superiority
that can never be taken from us. Don't you see now?"
"Oh yes, I see exactly," said the colonel.
"Now that Keziah Cricket, who just came in here,
is quite a musician, and her old father plays the
violin beautifully;-by the way, we might engage
him for our orchestra."

And so Miss Katy's ball came off, and the per-
formers kept it up from sundown till daybreak, so
that it seemed as if every leaf in the forest were alive.
The Katy-dids and the Mosquitoes, and the Locusts,
and a full orchestra of Crickets made the air perfectly
vibrate, insomuch that old Parson Too-Whit, who was
preaching a Thursday evening lecture to a very small
audience, announced to his hearers that he should
certainly write a discourse against dancing for the
next weekly occasion.
The good doctor was even with his word in the
matter, and gave out some very sonorous discourses,
without in the least stopping the round of gaieties kept


up by these dissipated Katy-dids, which ran on, night
after night, till the celebrated Jack Frost epidemic,
which occurred somewhere about the first of September.
Poor Miss Katy, with her flimsy green satin and
point-lace, was one of the first victims, and fell from
the bough in company with a sad shower of last
year's leaves. The worthy Cricket family, however,
avoided Jack Frost by emigrating in time to the
chimney-corner of a nice little cottage that had been
built in the wood that summer.
There good old Mr. and Mrs. Cricket, with sprightly
Miss Keziah and her brothers and sisters, found a
warm and welcome home; and when the storm howled
without, and lashed the poor naked trees, the Crickets
on the warm hearth would chirp out cheery welcome
to papa as he came in from the snowy path, or
mamma as she sat at her work-basket.
"Cheep, cheep, cheep little Freddy would say.
" Mamma, who is it says 'cheep' ?"
"Dear Freddy, it's our own dear little cricket, who
loves us and comes to sing to us when the snow is on
the ground."
So when poor Miss Katy-did's satin and lace were
all swept away, the warm home-talents of the Crickets
made for them a welcome refuge.


OLD Mother Magpie was about the busiest character
in the forest. But you must know that there is a
great difference between being busy and being indus-
trious. One may be very busy all the time, and
yet not in the least industrious; and this was the
case with Mother Magpie.
She was always full of everybody's business but
her own-up and down, here and there, everywhere
but in her own nest, knowing every one's affairs, tell-
ing what everybody had been doing or ought to do,
and ready to cast her advice gratis at every bird and
beast of the woods.
Now she bustled up to the parsonage at the top of
the oak-tree, to tell old Parson Too-Whit what she
thought he ought to preach for his next sermon, and
how dreadful the morals of the parish were becoming.
Then, having perfectly bewildered the poor old gentle-
man, who was always sleepy of a Monday morning,


Mother Magpie would take a peep into Mrs. Oriole's
nest, sit chattering on a bough above, and pour forth
floods of advice, which, poor little Mrs. Oriole used to
say to her husband, bewildered her more than a hard
north-east storm.
"Depend upon it, my dear," Mother Magpie would
say, "that this way of building your nest, swinging
like an old empty stocking from a bough, isn't at all
the thing. I never built one so in my life, and I
never have headaches. Now you complain always
that your head aches whenever I call upon you. It's
all on account of this way of swinging and swaying
about in such an absurd manner."
"But, my dear," piped Mrs. Oriole timidly, "the
Orioles always have built in this manner, and it suits
our constitution."
"A fiddle on your constitution How can you tell
what agrees with your constitution unless you try ?
You own you are not well; you are subject to head-
aches; and every physician will tell you that a tilting
motion disorders the stomach and acts upon the brain.
Ask old Dr. Kite. I was talking with him about
your case only yesterday, and says he, 'Mrs. Magpie,
I perfectly agree with you.'"
"But my husband prefers this style of building."
That's only because he isn't properly instructed.


Pray, did you ever attend Dr. Kite's lectures on the
nervous system ?"
"No, I have no time to attend lectures. Who
would sit on the eggs ?"
"Why, your husband, to be sure; don't he take
his turn in sitting? If he don't, he ought to. I
shall speak to him about it. My husband always sits
regularly half the time, that I may have time to go
about and exercise."
0 Mrs. Magpie, pray don't speak to my husband;
he will think I've been complaining."
"No, no, he won't. Let me alone. I understand
just how to say the thing. I've advised hundreds of
young husbands in my day, and I never gave of-
"But I tell you, Mrs. Magpie, I don't want any
interference between my husband and me, and I will
not have it," says Mrs. Oriole, with her little round
eyes flashing with indignation.
"Don't put yourself in a passion, my dear; the
more you talk, the more sure I am that your nervous
system is running down, or you wouldn't forget good
manners in this way. You'd better take my advice,
for I understand just what to do,"-and away sails
Mother Magpie; and presently young Oriole comes
home all in a flutter.


"I say, my dear, if you will persist in gossiping
over our private family matters with that old Mother
"My dear, I don't gossip. She comes and bores
me to death with- talking, and then goes off and
mistakes what she has been saying for what I said."
"But you must cut her."
"I try to, all I can; but she won't be cut."
It's enough to make a bird swear," said Tommy
Tommy Oriole, to say the truth, had as good a
heart as ever beat under bird's feathers; but then he
had a weakness for concerts and general society,
because he was held to be, by all odds, the hand-
somest bird in the woods, and sung like an angel; and
so the truth was he didn't confine himself so much to
the domestic nest as Tom Titmouse or Billy Wren.
But he determined that he wouldn't have old Mother
Magpie interfering with his affairs.
"The fact is," quoth Tommy, "I am a society bird,
and Nature has marked out for me a course beyond
the range of the commonplace, and my wife must
learn to accommodate. If she has a brilliant husband,
whose success gratifies her ambition and places her in
a distinguished public position, she must pay some-
thing for it. I'm sure Billy Wren's wife would give


her very bill to see her husband in the circles where
I am quite at home. To say the truth, my wife was
all well enough content till old Mother Magpie inter-
fered. It is quite my duty to take strong ground,
and show that I cannot be dictated to."
So, after this, Tommy Oriole went to rather more
concerts, and spent less time at home than ever he
did before, which was all that Mother Magpie effected
in that quarter. I confess this was very bad in
Tommy; but then birds are no better than men in
domestic matters, and sometimes will take the most
unreasonable courses, if a meddlesome Magpie gets her
claw into their nest.
But old Mother Magpie had now got a new business
in hand in another quarter. She bustled off down to
Water-Dock Lane, where, as we said in a former
narrative, lived the old music-teacher, Dr. Bullfrog.
The poor old doctor was a simple-minded, good, amiable
creature, who had played the double-bass and led the
forest choir on all public occasions since nobody knows
when. Latterly some youngsters had arisen who
sneered at his performances as behind the age. In
fact, since a great city had grown up in the vicinity
of the forest, tribes of wandering boys broke up the
simple tastes and quiet habits which old Mother
Nature had always kept up in those parts. They


pulled the young checkerberry before it even had
time to blossom, rooted up the sassafras shrubs and
gnawed their roots, fired off guns at the birds, and on
several occasions, when old Dr. Bullfrog was leading
a concert, had dashed in and broken up the choir by
throwing stones.
This was not the worst of it. The little varlets
had a way of jeering at the simple old doctor and his
concerts, and mimicking the tones of his bass-viol.
"There you go, Paddy-go-donk, Paddy-go-donk-
umph-chunk," some rascal of a boy would shout,
while poor old Bullfrog's yellow spectacles would be
bedewed with tears of honest indignation. In time,
the jeers of these little savages began to tell on the
society in the forest, and to corrupt their simple
manners; and it was whispered among the younger
and more heavy birds and squirrels that old Bullfrog
was a bore, and that it was time to get up a new
style of music in the parish, and to give the charge
of it to some more modern performer.
Poor old Dr. Bullfrog knew nothing of this, how-
ever, and was doing his simple best, in peace, when
Mother Magpie called in upon him one morning.
"Well, neighbour, how unreasonable people are!
Who would have thought that the youth of our
generation should have no more consideration for


established merit ? Now, for my part, I think your
music-teaching never was better; and as for our
choir, I maintain constantly that it never was in better
order, but- Well, one may wear her tongue out, but
one can never make these young folks listen to reason."
"I really don't understand you, ma'am," said poor
Dr. Bullfrog.
What! you haven't heard of a committee that is
going to call on you, to ask you to resign the care of
the parish music?"
Madam," said Dr. Bullfrog, with all that energy
of tone for which he was remarkable, "I don't believe
it,-I can't believe it. You must have made a
- "I mistake! No, no, my good friend; I never
make mistakes. What I know, I know certainly.
Wasn't it I that said I knew there was an engage-
ment between Tim Chipmunk and Nancy Nibble, who
are married this very day ? I knew that thing six
weeks before any bird or beast in our parts; and I
can tell you, you are going to be scandalously and
ungratefully treated, Dr. Bullfrog."
"Bless me, we shall all be ruined !" said Mrs. Bull-
frog; "my poor husband-"
"Oh, as to that, if you take things in time, and
listen to my advice," said Mother Magpie, we may


yet pull you through. You must alter your style a
little,-adapt it to modern times. Everybody now is
a little touched with the operatic fever, and there's
Tommy Oriole has been to New Orleans and brought
back a touch of the artistic. If you would try his
style a little,-something Tyrolean, you see."
"Dear madam, consider my voice. I never could
hit the high notes."
"How do you know ? It's all practice; Tommy
Oriole says so. Just try the scales. As to your
voice, your manner of living has a great deal to do
with it. I always did tell you that your passion
for water injured your singing. Suppose Tommy
Oriole should sit half his days up to his hips in
water, as you do,-his voice would be as hoarse and
rough as yours. Come up on the bank and learn
to perch, as we birds do. We are the true musical
And so poor Mr. Bullfrog was persuaded to forego
his pleasant little cottage under the cat-tails, where
his green spectacles and honest round back had excited,
even in the minds of the boys, sentiments of respect
and compassion. He came up into the garden, and
established himself under a burdock, and began to
practise Italian scales.
The result was, that poor old Dr. Bullfrog, instead


of being considered as a respectable old bore, got him-
self universally laughed at for aping fashionable
manners. Every bird and beast in the forest had a
gibe at him; and even old Parson Too-Whit thought
it worth his while to make him a pastoral call, and
admonish him about courses unbefitting his age and
standing. As to Mother Magpie, you may be sure
that she assured every one how sorry she was that
dear old Dr. Bullfrog had made such a fool of
himself; if he had taken her advice, he would
have kept on respectably as a nice old Bullfrog
But the tragedy for the poor old music-teacher
grew even more melancholy in its termination; for
one day, as he was sitting disconsolately under a
currant-bush in the garden, practising his poor old
notes in a quiet way, thump came a great blow of a
hoe, which nearly broke his back.
"Hallo what ugly beast have we got here ?" said
Tom Noakes, the gardener's boy. "Here, here, Wasp,
my boy."
What a fright for a poor, quiet, old Bullfrog, as
little wiry, wicked Wasp came at him, barking and
yelping. He jumped with all his force sheer over a
patch of bushes into the river, and swam back to his
old home among the cat-tails. And always after that


it was observable that he was very low-spirited, and
took very dark views of life; but nothing made him
so angry as any allusion to Mother Magpie, of whom,
from that time, he never spoke except as Old Mother


ONCE upon a time a gentleman went out into a great
forest, and cut away the trees, and built there a very
nice little cottage. It was set very low on the ground,
and had very large bow-windows, and so much of it
was glass that one could look through it on every
side and see what was going on in the forest. You
could see the shadows of the fern-leaves, as they
flickered and wavered over the ground, and the scarlet
partridge-berry and winter-green plums that matted
round the roots of the trees, and the bright spots of
sunshine that fell through their branches and went
dancing about among the bushes and leaves at their
roots. You could see the chirping sparrows and the
thrushes and robins and bluebirds building their nests
here and there among the branches, and watch them
from day to day as they laid their eggs and hatched
their young. You could also see red squirrels, and
gray squirrels, and little striped chip-squirrels, darting


and springing about, here and there and everywhere,
running races with each other from bough to bough,
and chattering at each other in the gayest possible
You may be sure that such a strange thing as a
house for human beings to live in did not come into
this wild wood without making quite a stir and ex-
citement among the inhabitants that lived there be-
fore. All the time it was building, there was the
greatest possible commotion in the breasts of all the
older population; and there wasn't even a black ant,
or a cricket, that did not have his own opinion about
it, and did not tell the other ants and crickets just
what he thought the world was coming to in con-
Old Mrs. Rabbit declared that the hammering and
pounding made her nervous, and gave her most
melancholy forebodings of evil times. "Depend upon
it, children," she said to her long-eared family, "no
good will come to us from this establishment. Where
man is, there comes always trouble for us poor
The old chestnut-tree, that grew on the edge of the
woodland ravine, drew a great sigh which shook all
his leaves, and expressed it as his conviction that no
good would ever come of it,-a conviction that at once
(18) 6


struck to the heart of every chestnut-burr. The
squirrels talked together of the dreadful state of
things that would ensue. "Why!" said old Father
Gray, "it's evident that Nature made the nuts for us;
but one of these great human creatures will carry off
and gormandize upon what would keep a hundred
poor families of squirrels in comfort." Old Ground-
mole said it did not require very sharp eyes to see
into the future, and it would just end in bringing
down the price of real estate in the whole vicinity, so
that every decent-minded and respectable quadruped
would be obliged to move away;-for his part, he
was ready to sell out for anything he could get. The
bluebirds and bobolinks, it is true, took more cheerful
views of matters; but then, as old Mrs. Ground-mole
observed, they were a flighty set,-half their time
careering and dissipating in the Southern States,-and
could not be expected to have that patriotic attachment
to their native soil that those had who had grubbed
in it from their earliest days.
"This race of man," said the old chestnut-tree, "is
never ceasing in its restless warfare on Nature. In
our forest solitudes hitherto how peacefully, how
quietly, how regularly has everything gone on! Not a
flower has missed its appointed time of blossoming, or
failed to perfect its fruit. No matter how hard has


been the winter, how loud the winds have roared,
and how high the snow-banks have been piled, all has
come right again in spring. Not the least root has
lost itself under the snows, so as not to be ready with
its fresh leaves and blossoms when the sun returns to
melt the frosty chains of winter. We have storms
sometimes that threaten to shake everything to pieces,
-the thunder roars, the lightning flashes, and the
winds howl and beat; but, when all is past, every-
thing comes out better and brighter than before,-not
a bird is killed, not the frailest flower destroyed.
But man comes, and in one day he will make a deso-
lation that centuries cannot repair. Ignorant boor
that he is, and all incapable of appreciating the glorious
works of Nature, it seems to be his glory to be able
to destroy in a few hours what it was the work of
ages to produce. The noble oak, that has been cut
away to build this contemptible human dwelling, had
a life older and wiser than that of any man in this
country. That tree has seen generations of men come
and go. It was a fresh young tree when Shakespeare
was born; it was hardly a middle-aged tree when he
died; it was growing here when the first ship brought
the white men to our shores, and hundreds and
hundreds of those whom they call bravest, wisest,
strongest,-warriors, statesmen, orators, and poets,-


have been born, have grown up, lived, and died, while
yet it has outlived them all. It has seen more wisdom
than the best of them; but two or three hours of
brutal strength sufficed to lay it low. Which of these
dolts could make a tree ? I'd like to see them do
anything like it. How noisy and clumsy are all their
movements,-chopping, pounding, rasping, hammering.
And, after all, what do they build ? In the forest we
do everything so quietly. A tree would be ashamed
of itself that could not get its growth without making
such a noise and dust and fuss. Our life is the per-
fection of good manners. For my part, I feel degraded
at the mere presence of these human beings; but,
alas! I am old; a hollow place at my heart warns
me of the progress of decay, and probably it will be
seized upon by these rapacious creatures as an excuse
for laying me as low as my noble green brother."
In spite of all this disquiet about it, the little cottage
grew and was finished. The walls were covered with
pretty paper, the floors carpeted with pretty carpets;
and, in fact, when it was all arranged, and the garden
walks laid out, and beds of flowers planted around, it
began to be confessed, even among the most critical,
that it was not after all so bad a thing as was to have
been feared.
A black ant went in one day and made a tour of


exploration up and down, over chairs and tables, up
the ceilings and down again, and, coming out, wrote
an article for the Crickets' Gazette, in which he
described the new abode as a veritable palace. Sev-
eral butterflies fluttered in and sailed about and were
wonderfully delighted, and then a bumble-bee and two
or three honey-bees, who expressed themselves well
pleased with the house, but more especially enchanted
with the garden. In fact, when it was found that
the proprietors were very fond of the rural solitudes
of Nature, and had come out there for the purpose of
enjoying them undisturbed; that they watched and
spared the anemones, and the violets, and bloodroots,
and dog's-tooth violets, and little woolly rolls of fern
that began to grow up under the trees in spring;
that they never allowed a gun to be fired to scare the
birds, and watched the building of their nests with
the greatest interest,-then an opinion in favour of
human beings began to gain ground, and every cricket
and bird and beast was loud in their praise.
"Mamma," said young Tit-bit, a frisky young
squirrel, to his mother one day, "why won't you let
Frisky and me go into that pretty new cottage to
play ?"
My dear," said his mother, who was a very wary
and careful old squirrel, how can you think of it ?


The race of man are full of devices for traps and
pitfalls, and who could say what might happen if
you put yourself in their power? If you had wings
like the butterflies and bees, you might fly in and
out again, and so gratify your curiosity; but, as
matters stand, it's best for you to keep well out of
their way."
"But, mother, there is such a nice, good lady lives
there! I believe she is a good fairy, and she seems
to love us all so; she sits in the bow-window and
watches us for hours, and she scatters corn all round
at the roots of the tree for us to eat."
"She is nice enough," said the old mother-squirrel,
"if you keep far enough off; but I tell you, you can't
be too careful."
Now this good fairy that the squirrels discoursed
about was a nice little old lady that the children used
to call Aunt Esther, and she was a dear lover of birds
and squirrels, and all sorts of animals, and had studied
their little ways till she knew just what would please
them; and so she would every day throw out crumbs
for the sparrows, and little bits of bread and wool and
cotton to help the birds that were building their
nests, and would scatter corn and nuts for the squir-
rels; and while she sat at her work in the bow-window
she would smile to see the birds flying away with


the wool, and the squirrels nibbling their nuts. After
a while the birds grew so tame that they would hop
into the bow-window and eat their crumbs off the
"There, mamma," said Tit-bit and Frisky, "only
see! Jenny Wren and Cock Robin have been in at
the bow-window, and it didn't hurt them, and why
can't we go ?"
"Well, my dears," said old Mother Squirrel, "you
must do it very carefully; never forget that you
haven't wings like Jenny Wren and Cock Robin."
So the next day Aunt Esther laid a train of corn
from the roots of the trees to the bow-window, and
then from the bow-window to her work-basket, which
stood on the floor beside her; and then she put quite
a handful of corn in the work-basket, and sat down
by it, and seemed intent on her sewing. Very soon,
creep, creep, creep, came Tit-bit and Frisky to the
window, and then into the room, just as sly and as
still as could be, and Aunt Esther sat just like a statue
for fear of disturbing them. They looked all around
in high glee, and when they came to the basket it
seemed to them a wonderful little summer-house, made
on purpose for them to play in. They nosed about in
it, and turned over the scissors and the needle-book,
and took a nibble at her white wax, and jostled the


spools, meanwhile stowing away the corn on each side
of their little chops, till they both of them looked as
if they had the mumps.
At last Aunt Esther put out her hand to touch
them, when, whisk-frisk, out they went, and up the
trees, chattering and laughing before she had time
even to wink.
But after this they used to come in every day,
and when she put corn in her hand and held it very
still they would eat out of it; and finally they would
get into her hand, until one day she gently closed it
over them, and Frisky and Tit-bit were fairly caught.
Oh, how their hearts beat! but the good fairy only
spoke gently to them, and soon unclosed her hand and
let them go again. So day after day they grew to
have more and more faith in her, till they would
climb into her work-basket, sit on her shoulder, or
nestle away in her lap as she sat sewing. They
made also long exploring voyages all over the house,
up and through all the chambers, till finally, I grieve
to say, poor Frisky came to an untimely end by being
drowned in the water-tank at the top of the house.
The dear good fairy passed away from the house
in time, and went to a land where the flowers never
fade and the birds never die; but the squirrels still
continue to make the place a favourite resort.


Page 97.


"In fact, my dear," said old Mother Red one winter
to her mate, what is the use of one's living in this
cold, hollow tree, when these amiable people have
erected this pretty cottage, where there is plenty of
room for us and them too ? Now I have examined
between the eaves, and there is a charming place
where we can store our nuts, and where we can whip
in and out of the garret, and have the free-range of
the house; and, say what you will, these humans
have delightful ways of being warm and comfortable
in winter."
So Mr. and Mrs. Red set up housekeeping in the
cottage, and had no end of nuts and other good things
stored up there. The trouble of all this was, that, as
Mrs. Red was a notable body, and got up to begin her
housekeeping operations, and woke up all her children,
at four o'clock in the morning, the good people often
were disturbed by a 'great rattling and fuss in the
walls, while yet it seemed dark night. Then some-
times, too, I grieve to say, Mrs. Squirrel would give
her husband vigorous curtain lectures in the night,
which made him so indignant that he would rattle off
to another quarter of the garret to sleep by himself;
and all this broke the rest of the worthy people who
built the house.
What is to be done about this we don't know.


What would you do about it? Would you let the
squirrels live in your house or not ? When our good
people come down of a cold winter morning, and see
the squirrels dancing and frisking down the trees,
and chasing each other so merrily over the garden
chair between them, or sitting with their tails saucily
over their backs, they look so jolly and jaunty and
pretty that they almost forgive them for disturbing
their night's rest, and think that they will not do
anything to drive them out of the garret to-day. And
so it goes on; but how long the squirrels will rent
the cottage in this fashion, I'm sure I dare not under-
take to say.


AT Rye Beach, during our summer's vacation, there
came, as there always will to seaside visitors, two or
three cold, chilly, rainy days,-days when the skies
that long had not rained a drop seemed suddenly to
bethink themselves of their remissness, and to pour
down water, not by drops, but by pailfuls. The
chilly wind blew and whistled, the water dashed
along the ground and careered in foamy rills along
the roadside, and the bushes bent beneath the constant
flood. It was plain that there was to be no sea-bathing
on such a day, no walks, no rides; and so, shivering
and drawing our blanket-shawls close about us, we
sat down at the window to watch the storm outside.
The rose-bushes under the window hung dripping
under their load of moisture, each spray shedding a
constant shower on the spray below it. On one of
these lower sprays, under the perpetual drip, what
should we see but a poor little humming-bird, drawn


up into the tiniest shivering ball, and clinging with a
desperate grasp to his uncomfortable perch. A hum-
ming-bird we knew him to be at once, though his
feathers were so matted and glued down by the rain
that he looked not much bigger than a honey-bee,
and as different as possible from the smart, pert, airy
little character that we had so often seen flirting with
the flowers. He was evidently a humming-bird in
adversity, and whether he ever would hum again
looked to us exceedingly doubtful. Immediately,
however, we sent out to have him taken in. When
the friendly hand seized him, he gave a little, faint,
watery squeak, evidently thinking that his last hour
was come, and that grim death was about to carry
him off to the land of dead birds. What a time we
had reviving him,-holding the little wet thing in
the warm hollow of our hands, and feeling him shiver
and palpitate! His eyes were fast closed; his tiny
claws, which looked slender as cobwebs, were knotted
close to his body, and it was long before one could
feel the least motion in them. Finally, to our great
joy, we felt a brisk little kick, and then a flutter of
wings, and then a determined peck of the beak, which
showed that there was some bird left in him yet,
and that he meant at any rate to find out where he


Unclosing our hands a small space, out popped the
little head with a pair of round brilliant eyes. Then
we bethought ourselves of feeding him, and forthwith
prepared him a stiff glass of sugar and water, a drop
of which we held to his bill. After turning his head
attentively, like a bird who knew what he was about
and didn't mean to be chaffed, he briskly put out a
long, flexible tongue, slightly forked at the end, and
licked off the comfortable beverage with great relish.
Immediately he was pronounced out of danger by the
small humane society which had undertaken the charge
of his restoration, and we began to cast about for
getting him a settled establishment in our apartment.
I gave up my work-box to him for a sleeping-room,
and it was medically ordered that he should take a
nap. So we filled the box with cotton, and he was
formally put to bed, with a folded cambric handker-
chief round his neck, to keep him from beating his
wings. Out of his white wrappings he looked forth
green and grave as any judge with his bright round
eyes. Like a bird of discretion, he seemed to under-
stand what was being done to him, and resigned him-
self sensibly to go to sleep.
The box was covered with a sheet of paper per-
forated with holes for purposes of ventilation; for
even humming-birds have a little pair of lungs, and


need their own little portion of air to fill them, so
that they may make bright scarlet little drops of
blood to keep life's fire burning in their tiny bodies.
Our bird's lungs manufactured brilliant blood, as we
found out by experience; for in his first nap he
contrived to nestle himself into the cotton of which
his bed was made, and to get more of it than he
needed into his long bill. We pulled it out as care-
fully as we could, but there came out of his bill two
round, bright scarlet, little drops of blood. Our chief
medical authority looked grave, pronounced a probable
hemorrhage from the- lungs, and gave him over at
once. We, less scientific, declared that we had only
cut his little tongue by drawing out the filaments of
cotton, and that he would do well enough in time,-
as it afterwards appeared he did, for from that day
there was no more bleeding. In the course of the
second day he began to take short flights about the
room, though he seemed to prefer to return to us;
perching on our fingers or heads or shoulders, and
sometimes choosing to sit in this way for half an hour
at a time. "These great giants," he seemed to say to
himself, "are not bad people after all; they have a
comfortable way with them; how nicely they dried
and warmed me Truly a bird might do worse than
to live with them."


So he made up his mind to form a fourth in the
little company of three that usually sat and read,
worked and sketched, in that apartment, and we
christened him Hum, the son of Buz." He became
an individuality, a character, whose little doings formed
a part of every letter, and some extracts from these
will show what some of his little ways were:-
"Hum has learned to sit upon my finger, and eat
his sugar and water out of a teaspoon with most
Christian-like decorum. He has but one weakness-
he will occasionally jump into the spoon and sit in
his sugar and water, and then appear to wonder where
it goes to. His plumage is in rather a drabbled state,
owing to these performances. I have sketched him
as he sat to-day on a bit of Spirmea which I brought
in for him. When absorbed in reflection, he sits with
his bill straight up in the air, as I have drawn him.
Mr. A- reads Macaulay to us, and you should see
the wise air with which, perched on Jenny's thumb,
he cocked his head now one side and then the other,
apparently listening with most critical attention. His
confidence in us seems unbounded: he lets us stroke
his head, smooth his feathers, without a flutter; and
is never better pleased than when sitting, as he has
been doing all this while, on my hand, turning up
his bill, and watching my face with great edification.
(18) 7


I have just been having a sort of maternal struggle
to make him go to bed in his box; but he evidently
considers himself sufficiently convalescent to make a
stand for his rights as a bird, and so scratched in-
dignantly out of his wrappings, and set himself up to
roost on the edge of the box, with an air worthy of a
turkey, at the very least. Having brought in a lamp,
he has opened his eyes round and wide, and sits
cocking his little head at me reflectively."
When the weather cleared away, and the sun came
out bright, Hum became entirely well, and seemed
resolved to take the measure of his new life with us.
Our windows were closed in the lower part of the
sash by frames with mosquito gauze, so that the sun
and air found free admission, and yet our little rover
could not pass out. On the first sunny day he took
an exact survey of our apartment from ceiling to
floor, humming about, examining every point with his
bill-all the crevices, mouldings, each little indentation
in the bed-posts, each window-pane, each chair and
stand; and, as it was a very simply furnished seaside
apartment, his scrutiny was soon finished. We won-
dered at first what this was all about; but on
watching him more closely, we found that he was
actively engaged in getting his living, by darting out
his long tongue hither and thither, and drawing in all


the tiny flies and insects which in summer time are
to be found in an apartment. In short, we found
that, though the nectar of flowers was his dessert, yet
he had his roast beef and mutton-chop to look after,
and that his bright, brilliant blood was not made out
of a simple vegetarian diet. Very shrewd and keen
he was, too, in measuring the size of insects before he
attempted to swallow them. The smallest class were
whisked off with lightning speed; but about larger ones
he would sometimes wheel and hum for some minutes,
darting hither and thither, and surveying them warily,
and if satisfied that they could be carried, he would
come down with a quick, central dart which would
finish the unfortunate at a snap. The larger flies
seemed to irritate him, especially when they intimated
to him that his plumage was sugary, by settling on
his wings and tail; when he would lay about him
spitefully, wielding his bill like a sword. A grass-
hopper that strayed in, and was sunning himself on
the window-seat, gave him great discomposure. Hum
evidently considered him an intruder, and seemed to
long to make a dive at him; but, with characteristic
prudence, confined himself to threatening movements,
which did not exactly hit. He saw evidently that
he could not swallow him whole, and what might ensue
from trying him piecemeal he wisely forbore to essay.

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