. . .
~9~ a,, ~,,~
BY HO WE BENNING,
AUTHOR OF "HESTER LENOX," "QUIET CORNERS," ETC.
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
10 EAST 23d STREET, NEW YORK.
BY AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED . .
HOW BENNY COMES .
DAISY'S TEMPTATION .
ROBIN IS NAUGHTY . .
THE TEA-PARTY .
MAMMA'S BATTLE STORY
DAISY'S HOUSEKEEPING .
ROBIN'S LESSON . .
BAB HELPS ALONG . .
A MOUNTAIN DAY . .
WHAT WINS THE PRIZE .
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED.
DAISY, Bab and Robin came tumbling down the attic stairs,
with as great a clatter and racket as though there was not in all
the world such a thing as a doctor with his dreadful forefinger
raised, and saying, Hush, hush, naughty children! Your mo-
ther must be quiet; must be: do you hear?"
But the doctor was in the village four miles away just now,
and mamma smiled a little faintly from the lounge in the sitting-
room as the racket came near.
"What are the children up to ?" said Niece Margie, who was
"grown up," and came every morning to comb mamma's beauti-
ful long hair.
We shall soon know," Mamma Rose answered softly, and
then the door was opened with a rush.
"Oh, mamma, mamma!" called Daisy, "you know that old
desk that stands on the floor up in the attic-"
And has nothing but old, dirty papers in it-" put in Robin.
"They aren't all dirty, Robin," corrected his sister; but
may we have it, mamma, for our very own ?-in our playroom, you
know. It would be so nice!"
So nice!" repeated Robin like an echo.
"You know it would hold all our books and papers, and
there would n't be so much diffusion, mamma," went on Daisy.
Confusion, daughter, you mean."
Yes, mamma. Well, I'd never have anything out of place
then, you see."
Nor I," put in Robin.
Little Bab said nothing. She had slipped around to the
other side of the lounge and was dropping soft little bits of kisses
on mamma's cheek and eyes and forehead.
What desk do they mean, Aunt Mary ?" asked Margie.
It was your great-grandpa's counting-desk, and used to
stand on the counter when he had a store in the north wing, at
the time this house was a hotel."
"Was this ever a hotel, mamma ?"
"Oh, yes. It was built for that, one hundred and twenty
.years ago, and had a great deal of custom when this was the stage
road between Boston and Troy. Afterward they made a shorter
route a few miles south, and then this was given up as a hotel, or
tavern they called it then."
I thought hotels were always in villages," said Robin.
"Villages used to be a good way apart in those days, Robin,
and the travellers wanted dinners and suppers and beds. But I
will see about it, children. Run away now, quite out of doors for
a while, till I have my rest. I must ask papa."
The children knew that almost meant yes, and ran off con-
tent to the orchard.
S"I think, Margie," Mamma Rose said, after a few minutes'
quiet, I can make that desk of some use as well as pleasure to
these little folks. If you will be kind enough to go up stairs and
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED.
remove all the papers from it, and pack them into an empty hair-
trunk you will find up there, I will see to it. If you are going
to take the children out strawberrying this afternoon I will get
papa to attend to it while they are gone."
"All right," said Margie, I will. Anything more, auntie ?"
No, dear, thank you."
So Margie went off to her work in the attic. She found the
old-fashioned counting-desk filled with packages of papers, written
over in a neat, clear hand, but faded and brown as you would
expect papers of such goodly age to be. When she had removed
all these, and the account books, and some rolls of wall paper,
she thought the children were going to-have a very fine plaything
The desk was a deep cherry red. It was quite long and
about a foot high in the middle. On top there was a row of little
posts quite across, that you could stand books between, and a
shelf above that. On each side was a slanting lid that could be
raised. But the beauty of all was that under the broader lid,
quite at the back part, was a row of small compartments, that
looked just like a bird-house," Robin had declared.'
"And they are called 'pigeon-holes,'" papa told him.
To have those "pigeon-holes" for a hiding-place for their
treasures each child thought would be a most wonderful thing.
For fifty years children who had played in that attic had
thought the same thing, but Mamma Rose was the first to really
look it all out.
Perhaps that was why God let 'Mamma Rose have that fever,
and then nervous prostration, this summer-to give her more time
to think. She could think harder when her hands were not churn-
ing and ironing and baking so much.
Because the doctor had put up that forefinger and said,
" Mamma must be kept quiet," papa had cleared out part of a
long room at the end of the woodshed and given the children a
playroom. The north end was his workshop. Their playroom
had large south doors, wide enough to let in a sleigh or machine.
These were hardly ever closed, and the children could run out at
any minute into the orchard that came quite up to this end of the
house. Indeed, only a short time before, one wide old apple-tree
insisted on shaking its pretty white and pink blossoms right in on
the floor, making the young housekeepers a great deal of pretty
work. The green lawn sloped down to a bustling brook, and the
hills beyond had chestnuts and walnuts and berries.
When the children came running in that night with their
tin dishes of fragrant strawberries Mamma Rose was quite rested
by the long quiet, and told them, after they had eaten their sup-
pers, there was a lovely surprise for them before they had their
Of course they found the "surprise" to be the desk that
papa had fastened upon a stout frame, just high enough for small
folks, and only a little way from the large doors.
Not to-night, dearies," mamma said when they came with
eager questioning about her lounge. "To-morrow you may ar-
range; to-night we will talk."
There are seven pigeon-holes, mamma," said Robin; that's
two each and one over."
Or else three for one," remarked Daisy. "You know,
mamma, I draw and the others do not."
Humph! she does n't draw very often !" put in her brother.
"Well, I should, mamma, if my materials were more inve-
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED.
"Convenient, daughter, you should say. I have been think-
ing, children, of a plan for that desk, and here it is. I am going
to give each of you two of the pigeon-holes for your own; that is,.
one your own and one to keep for others."
Mamma never has anything without putting others into it,"
Daisy said in a dissatisfied tone.
"Rather hard work for all a fellow's marbles and balls to go
into one, I reckon," said Robin good-naturedly.
"Mamma, where will we find the others?" Bab asked ear-
There never is any place, Bab, where we cannot find others
if we only have our eyes open and looking."
I wish there was," said Daisy. I get so tired of thinking
and hearing about others all the time. I 'd like to do something
for myself sometimes."
Mamma sighed a little. It seemed to her that Daisy's ten
years had been pretty well filled with Self.
I mean," she went on, that in one of them you may each
keep what you please."
"Toads and tadpoles ?" asked Robin.
And in the other you are only to put your best gifts-what
will make others either wiser or better or happier. Over the first
one you may each place your own name, and over the second
some word or ,motto, whatever you choose, that will show what
you are going to do for your little world this summer."
You mean, mamma," asked little Bab, if I want to put the
marker I'm working for black Hitty in there, I can?"
I guess it '11 stay there all summer, then," said the little girl
dolefully; it pricks up my fingers dreadfully."
Well, I 'm not working markers," said Robin.
Suppose someone had a bad habit that was very trouble-
some," said Mamma Rose, "and wrote out a resolution to conquer
it, and put it in that place, and every day read it over, until it was
conquered; how would that do ?"
"Guess 't would pull my hands out of my pockets pretty
often," Robin answered, straightening up and drawing out two
hands that had been hiding deep in those receptacles.
Then if you wish to make a little gift, or an apology-"
What's that?" asked Bab.
"The same thing as saying you are sorry for doing a thing-
you can place it there, and hang a name to it by a thread. The
one to whom it belongs can draw it out."
"Like a postoffice, kind of," said Rob. Mamma, who's
going to look into our boxes? I wouldn't want everybody peek-
ing into mine."
None but yourselves and mamma. I must trust to your
honor, children, never to look into each other's boxes. It's a
good thing to have near neighbors and learn not to meddle with
them. The seventh pigeon-hole is for mamma, and that we will
keep for a real postoffice, Robin. Every Sabbath morning while
papa is at church you shall place there a letter for mamma, telling
her, not what you have done with your box for others, but any-
thing good that you know the others to have done in their boxes.
I will find it and sometime we may talk them over."
There had been a great deal of contagious disease in the
village, and the little folks from Rose Farm were not allowed
to go there at all, even for church or Sabbath-school; and the
Sabbaths seemed pretty long.
How funny, mamma!" Daisy said, looking up quickly.
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED.
Not write about ourselves at all?" Robin asked in quite a
Oh, yes, dear. Write all you please about yourself, but do
not tell me anything that you have done with your part of the
desk for 'others.' Leave that for someone else."
Someone else never'll see anything good about me. Why,
it's more than I can do myself, mamma !" said Robin.
Daisy looked very dissatisfied, but said nothing, and Mamma
Rose went on.
"At the end of summer-papa's birthday, in September, we
will say-we will have another talk about this, and then to what-
ever act you children shall decide has been the most helpful to
others, or the most unselfish, we will adjudge a prize."
What ? Oh, what, mamma?"
I will give that silver star I once won for a spelling prize.
And whoever wins it will have something by which to remember
the old desk and this summer's lessons. How will that do ?"
"It wont be me," said Robin with a shrug. "My good
things never come in sight. I wish you had said brave, mamma."
I meant that too, Robin."
Here goes then, girlies. Just wait till some big animal, a
bear, or puma, or-or-something, comes out of the woods at you,
and wont you see me, though! Right at him with my bow and
"You may go now, children, I am getting tired. And to-
morrow you may arrange your desk. ,Daisy may have the two
places at the right end and Robin the two at the left end. I will
take the middle place and Bab one on each side of me."
Oh, both sides of mamma!" squealed the little girl, with a
great hug; "and I guess, mamma, I understand all you mean."
Mamma Rose looked after them a little anxiously. It was
so hard to know just what to do when she could do so little.
The next morning Daisy went about her morning duties
with a face full of deep thought, and Robin was trying a pencil
on pieces of paper or shingle, just as it happened. But before
noon work seemed over.
I 'm through," Rob announced, while Bab whispered, I've
just put a title over mine, mamma."
That afternoon, after the children had gone berrying, papa
drew mamma in her chair through the kitchen, then the shed,
into the sunny and shady playroom. Then they smiled together
over the carefully piled books and slates, the pads and blotters
and writing-books between the posts, and the pencils and crayons
in the pigeon-holes under their owner's names. But it was at the
writing over the other pigeon-holes that they looked longest, and
this was what they saw:
Written in Daisy's neat, tidy hand was,
What I do is my kingdom."
Robin had evidently struggled with his pen, but finally made out
BAttLE FoR tHe
RiGHt, BoYS! !
While little five-year-old Bab, whose knowledge of writing was
very limited, had written with inky fingers just one word,
and then under it BAB.
THE DESK IS INTRODUCED. 13
"Dear little heart," Mamma Rose said softly, "she has got
at the very heart of it," and then papa and mamma smiled
Old heads have to grow on young shoulders," papa said,
" and I guess the desk is going to be one feeding-place for these
little folks. We shall see."
HOW BENNY COMES.
THAT night something happened at Rose Farm. Daisy was
always wishing something would happen, and often nothing did.
Two years ,before this summer, when Mamma Rose was
quite well, such an urgent call came from the Fresh-Air man-
agers of a great city that the people from Mill Falls told them to
send a party of poor little children there. Mamma Rose said she
would take two girls and Cousin Margie two boys. Cousin Mar-
gie lived with Uncle Frank in a small farmhouse only a little way
up the road on the opposite side. It was the only house in sight
from their front windows.
When the party came, there were so many homes opened
that there were not enough children to go around, and all they
had up on the hill was one boy at Cousin Margie's. But Sammie
Nutt, who had been in the country before, and who was not a
bad boy, had been much enjoyed by the Rose Farm children
during the four weeks of his visit, and now, just after supper,
Margie came running over with an open letter in her hand.
A letter from Sammie," she called, and the children ran in
after her to mamma.
Is he coming again ?" they all shouted.-
Not quite. I will read his letter:
dear friend: I have n't forgot you, never, nor the cows, nor
Billy, nor your pa. You was all awful good to me. And now
HOW BENNY COMES.
there's another feller, his name is Benny. He's small and he's bin
drefful sick: all last winter 'most in the hospital, numony he had.
they sent him Out in the spring but he's shakier now than some
o' the chaps that lean up agin the lamp post o' nights.
I'm doin' well in the blackin' line and can give him some
grub, but fresh air's drefful short down here.
He do n't swear of any 'count, and never hooks. there's a
lot next week going up past your place. ef you'd only let the
little cove come awhile he'd get as stout as these beer sellers.
he ain't got nobody but me to look after him. Write, and send
care of boys lodging House, east 44th st. I belong there now.
study Writing and Numbers.
Benny never seed the country.
Your respectable Servant,
Cousin Margie had to supply all the pauses; those were not
in the letter, but the plain, round writing and the fair spelling
showed what a wonderful thing for the poor working b6ys those
night schools are.
Oh, mamma, mamma, may he come ?" cried the children,
for they knew Cousin Margie's eyes were asking the same ques-
Mamma looked very thoughtful for a few minutes. Of
course, it seemed God's word to her that the poor little waif
should come, and yet there was her own boy.
"Robin," she said then, "if you had a pail of good, clean
water, and should throw into it a spoonful of ink, what would it
do to it?"
Make it look black," answered Robin promptly.
And suppose Benny should come and say some bad words,
will you let them drop down into your heart and make it all black
and dirty ?"
No, mamma, I '11 shut 'em all out; honor bright; see if I
So then mamma said he might come.
Of course, the time between Friday and the next Thursday,
when Benny was to reach them, seemed very long to.the children,
but it wore away at last.
Benny was to come up with the party on the boat Wednes-
day night to a place about forty miles distant, and from there in
the morning on the cars to Mill Falls; and Papa Rose, who went
every morning down to the creamery, would bring him back with
After papa had driven away that morning and the children
had watched Billy quite out of sight down the hill, little Bab
stole softly in to the lounge and slipped her hand into mamma's
Do I 'sturb you, mamma?" she whispered.
Not a bit, darling."
Mamma, I did it this morning."
Did what, dearie?"
For answer Bab held out a tiny bit of paper that looked as
though it had seen much of dirt if not of tribulation.
Mamma looked at it closely. What is it, dearie?"
Do n't you see ? it's my name," Bab said with a tremble in
her voice. I took it off and put Benny there 'stead."
"Oh!" and mamma began to understand; "from your place
in the desk, you mean ?"
Yes, mamma. Do n't you think, mamma, we ought to be
'pared for our friends when we aspects them ?"
HOW BENNY COMES.
Certainly, dear. Which place did you take it from ?"
My own, of course, mamma. You did n't s'pose I 'd give
'way my place for others ?"
What will you do with your pencils, and things you had in
I've packed them all in the corner of my part under the
other lid, you know."
All right, my dear; Benny will enjoy it I have no doubt."
Mamma," and Bab hung back almost out of sight now,
" mamma, will I have to be in-tro-duced, do you think ?"
Mamma smiled; she knew what a trial that was to poor
Bab. Do n't fret, my dear; wait and see," cheerily.
The sun came up higher and higher in the sky: all the
dewdrops hid themselves quite out of sight, or perhaps the
grasses grew warm and thirsty and drank them up; the small
birds had all had their breakfasts and now gave little sleepy chirps
from their cosy nests when a breeze came along and swayed the
tree branches; one or two hens were making a great cackling on
the barn floor, telling what lovely secret places they had found to
hide their'eggs; and the children had grown tired of both work
and play, and were all seated on the ground under a lilac bush,
when Billy's brown head appeared above the hill.
Has he come ? has he ?" cried Robin excitedly, springing to
his feet. "Yes, there 's somebody small beside papa. Oh!" and
his feelings so overcame him that he had to stand on his head to
restore his balance. When he came up to his usual position
again Cousin Margie had come out on the. stoop and Bab's
gingham apron was just fluttering out of sight behind a clump of
Mr. Rose drove up into the large, pleasant yard and stopped.
"Here we are," he called to the waiting group, "safe and
sound and with eyes as large as saucers. Jump out now, bubby,
I'm in a hurry to get to the lot. These little folks will look after
you, and that lady is Miss Margie. Mind you're a good boy for
her now. Go along, Billy," and he drove away.
Benny had climbed out over the wheel as quickly as a cat
and stood now before Miss Margie, answering her questions, while
his eyes were glancing in every direction upon the new and
strange scenes. Mamma from her lounge by the window, Daisy
from the kitchen porch, Robin a few steps nearer, and Bab from
behind the rosebushes, were all taking a mental photograph of the
little stranger. What they saw was this:
A boy, small for his nine years, with a pinched, hungry little
face in which were set bright, black eyes that looked straight at
Miss Margie in a way that she liked. His face and hands may
have been clean at some time in the past, but just now they were
smoky and dusty from his journey. His clothes did not seem
exactly to match; for while his shoes were sizes too large for his
small feet, his trousers, originally "short pants," were now almost
hidden by his coat, that must have been at least five years too
large. But he wore his coat strangely, for, instead of having his
arms in the sleeves, the garment was simply thrown over the left
shoulder and held well in front by his right hand.
How funny!" thought Miss Margie. Then she saw some-
thing was moving under the coat.
"What have you there?" she asked.
Benny fixed his eyes upon her face intently, loosened his
coat and drew out a small, half-starved, yellow dog. I could n't
leave Watch; he'd die of lonesomeness. Sammie said he guessed
you would n't care; do you ?" said Benny in a most pleading tone.
HOW BENNY COMES.
Miss Margie was not very fond of dogs herself, but the chil-
dren, who mourned every day for "dear old Shep," who had died
in the spring, were interested at once and drew near. Even Bab
nearly forgot that she was hiding.
As for Watch, who would not have been bad-looking at all
if he had only had a little more covering on his ribs and a turn
under the pump, he turned his soft brown eyes upon each as
amiably as though he had been a specially invited guest.
He seemed pleased with the appearance of all, and every-
thing might have gone well, and to his great credit, had not a
new character suddenly appeared in the person of Tom, the large
house cat, who having finished his morning nap in the shed, and
wakened from a very vivid dream of a nest full of fat young
robins, came slowly stretching himself along through the green
Watch pricked up his ears in surprise. He thought he had
left that old gray enemy of his away back in that dismal Frog
Alley. Why, it was only yesterday that he had chased him on to
the roof of an old shed down there, and then he was almost too
thin to cast a shadow. Now, see how sleek and fat he had
Everybody was looking at Watch. Watch was looking only
at the cat. He could stand it no longer. There was a sudden
spring, a low growl, a spitting and sputtering, a cat with one tail
large enough for two, and then a vision of two animals making
a rapid "line of march through the centre of the yard. The
leader found a table, filled with tin pails and pans turned up to
dry, in the way, and made a flying leap over it. Watch, less for-
tunate, upset some with a great clatter and himself among them;
gathered up his four feet again and reached the foot of a tree one
20 GRANDPA'S DESK
instant too late. Tom looked at him, serenely and safely, from a
Oh, my kitty, my kitty!" cried Daisy, running with all her
"Watch! Watch !" called his master, joining in the race.
Robin ran too, just because he was a boy and could not
Mamma and Cousin Margie from their places, and Martha
with broom in hand at the stoop door, looked on and laughed.
Two or three hens cackled and ran out of the way, and one
motherly white duck, that had just found a choice bit she was
sharing with her downy, fluffy family around her, was fright-
ened out of her wits, and ran, squawking in her harshest
tones, with her long train of snowy darlings behind her, for the
All these things Watch had met before, but a turkey he had
never seen. And when an immense gobbler, disturbed, by all the
clatter, came sailing towards him with outspread tail and making
a queer chir-r-r in his throat, just as the cat was out of reach,
Watch dropped his tail between his legs and turned about, in his
turn running from an enemy. The children were still after him,
but in his fright the dog could not distinguish his little master's
voice from the others.
In his race he made a circle around the rosebushes, saw
little Bab, curved around her and stopped, trembling.
Not so Benny, who could see nothing but his little yellow
dog and had no eyes for small girls in hiding. He tumbled over
Bab on to his hands and knees, picked up himself and his dog
at the same time, and looked around.
Oh !" he said then, with a stare at Bab.
HO W BENNY COMES. 21
Oh !" said Bab, smoothing her ruffled apron. "You got him;
did n't you!"
Then, with a sudden memory of lessons upon good man-
ners taught her in the past, she extended a small hand in a most
gracious manner to the stranger, saying, I guess now, boy, we've
been in-tro-duced, and so we '11 get acquainted now."
IT was a few days after the stirring events of the last chap-
ter that Daisy was sitting alone one morning in the playroom.
It was a rule that each one of the children should spend one hour
each morning in study of some kind, and from her lounge mam-
ma directed and looked after the duties of the hour, so that at
least it was not lost.
This morning the three younger ones had done their tasks
early and gone off on the large wagon, expecting to ride -back on
the first load of hay of the season.
Benny was now counted'in" in all the work and play that
went on at the farm. He had a seat beside Bab at the desk, and
a writing-book over which he toiled until the sweat fairly dropped
from his face in his earnestness, while his letters looked like
nothing ever seen on the earth, except in some other boy's
copy-book. As for Watch, he had become entirely at home,
and probably never even thought of Frog Alley and his enemy
there unless in his dreams. He was learning to drive the cows
as well as so small a specimen could drive anything, not to bark
at the hens, to be distantly polite to Tom as a part of the family,
and even to hear the "gobble, gobble" of the strutting turkey
without a shiver-if he was quite away from it.
Daisy was a girl with a great many ambitions. Perhaps you
would know that from the ambitious motto she chose as her own
from one of her Christmas books and placed in the desk. She
liked to do a great many things. Perhaps to-day she wished to
surprise all her friends by some housekeeping performances very
annoying to Martha. Then there would be a day of extreme
politeness, perfect lady days papa called them.
All the things she should do when grown up she had not
yet decided, but of one thing she was certain-she should write a
book. Not so wonderful a one, perhaps, as Uncle Tom's Cabin,"
that she had enjoyed so much the year before, but still it should
be fine enough to bring her fame and fortune. Then people
would want to know her and she could give handsome presents
to papa and mamma, Robin and Bab, and ride around in a nice
carriage with presents for the poor.
She is dreaming, perhaps, of these future gifts as she sits
now in front of the old desk looking out through the wide doors.
At any rate she is very still.
It is very warm everywhere; the leaves hang motionless on
shrub and tree; the phlox and bachelor's buttons in her flower-
bed hang limp and drooping; the hens are digging holes in the
ground and trying to bury themselves in the cooler earth. Over
the hillsides beyond a soft mid-summer haze veils each harsh
outline. It is just the time for poets to dream, if not to work.
That is what Daisy is thinking now. Poor little Daisy, with
so many lessons in life to learn!
When her mamma promised the prize, of course Daisy made
up her mind to win it. And so busy had she been in thinking
what fine thing to do that she had only half heard the words,
wise, helpful or loving, that mamma used.
Now it was almost mamma's birthday and Daisy had deter-
mined to write for her a poem. She would take it to her on her
breakfast-tray, and what surprise and pleasure it would give!
Bab was pricking out a motto-and Robin painting a horse with
more than Arabian spots; but those would be as nothing to her
gift. It was already commenced. She had headed it, From my
Desk." That sounded like other authors, and would remind her
mamma of the prize.
There were to be four verses of four lines each. She had
counted out one of Longfellow's that she liked. The first verse
was almost finished, only there was trouble about the last line.
It was waiting in the pigeon-hole now, but Daisy did not need to
look at it to say it softly to herself. This was it:
"Oh, mamma dear, my mamma sweet,
In whom all lovely things do meet,
This morn I thank the Lord who gave,
And wish -"
Oh dear!" She could wish things enough, but none of them
would rhyme with gave. She had been foolish enough to read it
over to Robin and ask him if he could think of anything.
Why, of course I can. Here 't is-' Long may your banner
wave.' Wave and gave, do n't you see ? That's all right."
Daisy heard Martha pounding the shed floor with unneces-
sary vigor with her mop. Probably she was thinking that Daisy
might come and wash the potatoes for dinner. Well, Daisy
wouldn't: people never could do great things if they had to
drudge all the time.
Then she heard wagon-wheels drivel into the yard and stop.
The grocer, probably, from the Falls.
How funny that there was not a word in her head to go
with "gave." After all, perhaps it was not so very easy to write
poetry. Mamma may have been right when she told her one day
that she would need to study and know a great deal more first.
"And is this your playroom, Daisy?" and the little girl
turned quickly and looked at the shed doorway. There stood
pretty little Mrs. Park, her minister's wife.
"Your mamma seems to be quietly sleeping just now, and
Mr. Park has driven on further, so Martha told me you were
here and I thought I would like to see your room. My little girls
often wish for such a nice place."
"Yes, ma'am," Daisy said politely. "Wont you please to
come in?" although Mrs. Park was half-way across the room
already. How are your family?"
All quite well now, we are thankful to say. Ellen has a
new book her uncle sent her and she thought perhaps you and
Robin and Bab would enjoy it. It is Stories of Animals.' You
can read it, perhaps, to the others."
"I like to read to myself best. One gets along so much
Strange, is n't it ?" Mrs. Park said, how we have to learn
to like to do things that we do not like to do."
"Why! can we learn to like them ?"
Oh, yes, my dear. We have to train the heart and feelings
or we should have a very rough time of life. Are you near-
sighted ?" for Daisy was holding the book quite near to her eyes.
"Yes'm, that is one of my defections."
"Oh dear," thought Mrs. Park, turning to the outer door to
hide a smile; "the child means imperfections, I suppose."
How pretty it is from this door, Daisy. You must learn to
sketch, my dear."
"I am going to," Daisy said promptly. "I mean to learn
everything. I mean to do things, Mrs. Park."
All right, dear, only be sure and ask God about it."
Why, of course He wants me to."
What would you like to be, Daisy? A missionary ?"
I guess I'd rather be a teacher."
Be sure and make a good, unselfish one, then. It's a grand
thing to be a good teacher. One of the grandest places in the
world. There is Martha calling me to your mamma. Good-by,
dear," and she was gone.
Daisy thought of the wooden chair in the small district
schoolhouse and could not see anything very grand about that.
I mean to be in a big seminary or college," she said to her-
self, "with young ladies who wear pretty dresses and feathers, and
who will say,' Miss Rose, had I better read this book, or some
other?' And I shall be very dignified always, and never get out
of temper; and they will say, 'Oh, is n't she just lovely! I mean
to be just like her.' And then- Oh my! The hateful, hateful
boy! It's that Robin did that-"
For when Daisy had seated herself at the desk and lifted the
lid and put in her hand to her own pigeon-hole that was to hold
good things for others, to draw out her poem" and go to work
on it, something else, that was entirely unexpected, came out with
it. Something that was very lively too-nothing more nor less
than a half-grown hop-toad.
Daisy hated toads and Robin knew it; but Robin was a boy,
and could n't help teasing sometimes.
Down went the lid with a bang. It hit a book Daisy had
stood up, the book hit the toad, and poor toadie lay, limp and
still, as though his last leap had been made.
Daisy managed to slip it on to a piece of pasteboard and
carried it out to the grass. Then, because she was a tender-
hearted little girl, she watched to see if there was any life in it.
Soon its back twitched, then its head was lifted, -and Daisy
Going back to the desk she drew out the precious paper in
which toadie had nestled and carried it to the kitchen fire. She
could easily write that over. Then she washed her place in the
desk, and all was clean again-all but one place: that was inside
the little girl, right in the middle of her heart; and that spot was
so full of angry feelings it really ached.
And all the time she was busy the sore spot grew worse.
She looked around to see what was the worst thing she could
do to pay up Robin.
Of course there was not any poetry in her in such a mood.
In fact she was very uncomfortable, and concluded she would go
out and be alone in "the tree." The tree" was an old apple-
tree in the orchard, bent so that one could walk up its large
trunk. Among its crooked branches the children found many a
safe seat, and here Daisy dreamed away many an hour.
I do n't see what boys are good for, anyway," the little girl
grumbled as she made her way through the long grass. "They're
never still, and they're always' bothering, and they have n't any
heart anyway. All Rob cares about is play and boys, and some-
times Bab. It's never me."
She was almost at the tree. Her eyes were full of pitying
tears: so full that she could not at first see what it was her
foot had hit. Something soft and yet hard. She stooped
and picked up Robin's lost ball. The rubber ball with a
hard centre that had been the most precious thing among the
How he had played by the hour bounding it against the side
of the barn!
28 GRANDPA'S DESK.
How he had cried the week before when it was lost!
Daisy set her lips tightly together. She ran up the sloping
trunk. She knew a small hollow place high up. Now she found
it, dropped the ball out of her shaking fingers and scrambled
She .was not in any mood now to stay and dream about
ROBIN IS NAUGHTY. 29
ROBIN IS NAUGHTY.
"WHAT'S the matter with Daisy? I should like to know."
The children had come in on the second load of hay in the
middle of the afternoon, and it was so very warm up in the field
Papa Rose said they should not go again.
Robin had forgotten all about the hop-toad. Daisy had not.
The little girl was sitting under the lilac-bushes now, reading
the Life of Livingstone."
"Oh, such a lark!" Robin said, dropping on the ground and
wiping the drops from his red face.
Drefful 'ark," echoed Bab.
"You see, Benny never saw a snake in all his life."
Never, never," from the echo.
"And there was one; Pat pitched it right up on the last fork
"The latest one," from echo.
"And when Benny saw it, just as we were coming down the
hill, he slided right off back, and pulled a lot of hay and the snake
Benny shivered at the thought.
Watch went off too," went on Robin, "and he at the snake
two-forty, you better believe!"
"Two-forty," chimed in the echo, stooping to kiss Watch, who
was having rather hard times with his thin yellow coat and the
Now was the time that Robin came in with his question-
"What's the matter with Daisy ?"
She did not look her prettiest. Her lips were set to-
gether so tightly they resembled Aunt Hitty Dawson's, who had
lost every tooth in her head; and there were fine, separate ridges
across her forehead. She gave Robin one look out of the corner
of her eyes as he finished his question, and it was such a sharp
one that it seemed to tumble him right over into the grass.
While he stood on his head a moment something hopped
into it. He got up with a bit of a whistle, then muttering about
being thirsty went in at the kitchen door.
After he had rattled the dipper at the pail he looked around,
to make sure no one was watching, then stole softly on tiptoe
through the shed to the playroom, lifted the lid of the desk and
Yes, Daisy had been there. Toadie was gone; so was the
paper he had slipped it behind. Everything looked very clean.
Well, she need n't be so dreadful cross about it, anyway!
And then and there one of the worst kind of imps took right
hold of Robin.
I 've got a new play," he called to Bab and Benny, who
were rolling over Watch in the grass.
What is it ?" What is it ?" they asked.
For answer, Robin possessed himself of a tangled bunch of
string and led his three subjects to the barn. There they were
busy for some time, and the dearest little gurgles of laughter came
out the wide barn doors along with the fragrance of newly cut
grass, and floated over the little girl who could hear it all and yet
was not in it."
Finally a procession came out, and mamma from her window
ROBIN IS NAUGHTY.
smiled, and wondered what animal that Noah had left out of his
ark had made its appearance.
First Rob, then Benny, then Bab, last of all Watch, not quite
certain of keeping in a straight line of march," came into view.
Each of the children had bunches of hay tied to the top of the
arms, giving a high appearance to the shoulders like fashionable
ladies. They had bunches too on their heads,, and Watch was
trimmed up with what he evidently thought was a host of his
tormentors, for the soft tips of hay tickled every part of his body.
They were all quadrupeds, however, and their manner of
getting along was as new as their appearance.
First they would-all but Watch-stretch out their fore limbs,
then draw up the back ones. It was like a hop, skip, and jump.
Watch evidently tried to keep step with them, but after two or
three unsuccessful movements would stop and look at the funny
animals, as if wondering in his doggy brain what had got into
his playmates; then he would catch up again.
It was hard work.
Might as well be up berrying in the hillside pasture," thought
Rob; but then this was play, and the other wouldn't be.
The yard never seemed so large, and to the lilac-bushes where
Daisy sat was a journey.
When they got there at last she did not seem to see them.
Probably Livingstone was just under the paw of a lion, then.
So the procession moved painfully on to the next station, the
Now we '11 go back," Robin said after they had cooled off a
I do n't want to," demurred Bab; it's too hot."
Oh, be a baby, and spoil all the fun !" Robin said half angrily.
But it heats our blood," insisted Bab, "and mamma said
that would humor us."
"It's wuss nor work," put in Benny.
All great leaders are guided by circumstances. Robin saw
that the time had come to yield.
"Well, sis," he said patronizingly, "you run in and bring out
a couple of aprons, Martha's you know, or shawls or something,
and we '11 play dress up; will you ?"
Away flew little Bab, and soon returned with a generous load.
Again came the bubbles and gurgles of laughter, this time from
behind the rose-bushes. And again the small procession swept
out, this time dressed up, even to Watch, in some long apron or
shawl that spread out in an ample train in the rear.
Switch now, switch," Rob commanded in a loud whisper.
His followers "switched" from side to side, and the long
trains made tangled up half circles on the ground.
Switch harder," whispered the captain.
The trains were swept about as though in a gale. Watch
barked furiously. The excitement was intense.
The procession was just opposite Daisy now. Every flaunt
of those long trains meant insult to her. The little girl could
bear it no longer. She sprang up, threw her book straight at
Robin, crying out,
"You bad, hateful boy, you're always plaguing me, so you
are, and I'll pay you up yet, so I will-" then ran into the kitchen
door and out of sight.
The play was stopped. Robin was rubbing his shoulder
where the book had struck it pretty hard.
Bab gazed in round-eyed wonder for a minute, then began to
unfasten the wrap on Watch.
ROBIN IS NAUGHTY.
1 guess Daisy did n't like it 'cause Watch had on her red
shawl," she said out of her innocent little heart.
Benny looked around as though reminded of Frog Alley,
and as if expecting somebody would catch hold of his shoulder,
then with a low whistle started on a run for Cousin Margie's,
Watch, like a yellow shadow, close behind.
Up in her own little room Daisy had her cry out. Bab tried
the door, but the button was turned and it would not open. An
hour later, when the elder sister came out, it was to find the baby
form curled like a kitten on the mat, with flushed face and soft
light curls damp from tears.
But Daisy had been saying over and over to herself, "Nobody
loves me or thinks I am worth anything," until her heart was so
hard she could walk right over poor little Bab and leave her
She was very stiff and prim all the evening; but she called
And whenever she thought of telling mamma, that ball lying
in the hollow of the old apple-tree seemed to come between.
She wished she had not found it anyway, wished it would
not roll itself under her eyelids and keep them open half the night.
It was one of the longest days of the year, and still light
enough to read when Robin lifted the lid of the desk to get his
knife he had left there. With his hand upon it his eye caught
sight of the motto above:
Battle for the right, boys!"
Wouldn't he like to be a soldier, though! What was it
mamma had said?
Be a soldier every day, my boy. A brave soldier, and fight
for the right."
Very brave he had been, had n't he, bothering a girl all day!
Guess he had better fight a little now.
So he wrote this note:
Daisy-i am awful sorry you was mad withe the hop Toad.
Plees excuse us. ROB.
Mamma Rose seldom, asked questions, so the first she really
knew of the trouble was a note in her pigeon-hole, the next
I think it is my duty to tell you that Robin wrote a note and.
put in my desk. He was very hateful to me with a toad, and
apologized, and I forgave him and told him so. But I haven't
forgotten it yet. DAISY.
"Poor childie," mamma said softly; "that's the way we older
people often forgive-being very sure not to forget. I am glad
the dear Lord does so much better by us all."
THE next afternoon Bab decided to have a tea-party. The
hour was early, being only three o'clock, but then, if one is upon
the hills in the country in the summer-time, it is very easy to get
up a good appetite in three hours.
The place was under the large lilac-bushes, of course. There
she placed the little table papa had made for her from an old
stand the last Christmas, and spread it with a table-cloth hemmed
by her own fingers in stitches not made to be hid, and the dishes
(Cousin Margie's gift) of blue and white, with a bouquet of mari-
golds in the centre.
The invited guests were Benny and Watch, who arrived
more than promptly, Susan Araminta, the one-armed doll, who
came in her mistress' arms, and Natty Bumpo.
You have not been introduced to Natty Bumpo ?
Well, Natty was the dearest little chicken, about one-third
as large as a hen, that you ever saw, in a lovely suit of gray
A few weeks before, one Sabbath afternoon, when Bab was
out near the barn she heard a faint "peep, peep," and saw a wee
bit of a chickie trying to get away in the grass. Picking it up
quickly she found one tiny leg hung drooping.
"Broken its leg, sure enough," Papa Rose said, gravely
settling his spectacles when the patient was laid in his hand; do
you think you can hold it, Puss, while I set it ?"
Oh, papa! will it hurt?"
Yes, of course. But that will be better than leaving it to
hop on one foot, or perhaps die, wont it?"
Yes, sir," faintly.
So Papi Rose shaved some thin sticks for splints, got a rag,
and laid the patient upside down in Bab's two little hands.
Now chickie was only two or three days old, but it was wise
enough to know that to lie flat on its back and be held tightly
in two trembling hands, while a broken leg was pulled out straight
and bound up in sticks, just hurts; so it kicked with one foot
and pecked with all its might at the tiny fingers, that held fast for
all their shaking, with its sharp bill.
"There," papa said at last, as pleased as any doctor with his
success. "I think we have, done a very good job, sis. What!
crying?. Well, I will tell you, if chickie lives it shall be your own,
to have and to hold. Ah, I thought that would dry the tears!"
And chickie had no other intention than to live. Though it
pecked off all its fine bandages and splints in a few hours, and
took its own way of healing, yet in a week it was able to hop out
of its basket and limp after its little mistress in a lively fashion.
"Natty Bumpo," Cousin Margie named it, and Natty was
really quite a pet with all. It had never mourned in the least for
its hen-mamma," but seemed to think cotton as good as feather-
down, and would nestle and sing itself to sleep with a soft cooing
murmur like a bird. It was very sociable, with no fancy for being
left alone. If Martha was busy kneading bread, a soft chirp and
twitter warned her to step carefully, for Natty was taking a nap
under the hem of her robe. Sometimes it would come peeping"
out from Bab's apron-pocket under the table-cloth at the dinner-
table. Oh, one never knew where to expect Natty!
It was just so at the tea-party. Susan Araminta sat up stiff
and straight, with dignity enough for all; but Natty was under
foot, or on the low table -wherever there was a chance for a
crumb; and, for that matter, so was Watch.
"Will you have tea or coffee, Mr. Benny ?" asked the hostess,
drawing a cup smaller than a thimble near and holding over it
the pot of milk.
I '11 take them mixed," said Benny, who, poor boy, had been
Yes, sir," politely, I have just that for you. Do you like
the country ?"
"I guess I do!" burst out Benny. Guess ef you'd ever tried
livin' in a hole of a cellar and sleeping' in barrels o' nights, you'd
Benny," said his hostess, leaning forward eagerly, did you
ever sleep in a barrel all night ?"
Lots o' times."
Out of doors ?"
Why, o' course."
Oh, how I wish I could !" and Bab clasped her small hands
"Why, a bed's a 'nuff sight better, I tell you."
"Yes, but, you see, I want to see things."
"I guess I'd be 'fraid out in the country," said Benny,
"there's such lots of room all round you."
Oh, not with the moon."
The moon looks right through you," went on Benny.
" Nights when 't was out I used to put my head in first so's not
to have it see me."
"Benny, do you. know where part of the moon goes to, some-
"You see," went on Bab in a low tone, once, a long time
ago, I was up drefful late one night, much as eight o'clock, I
guess, an' out riding with my papa, and I looked up and such a
funny moon was in the sky. And I said: 'Oh papa, somebody's
tored the moon! There's a piece gone; where is it?' And. he
did n't answer, only laugh. It's very strange, Benny, how much
older folks laugh and do n't answer. I do n't think it's quite
nice; but then my papa is just right. Will you have another
sandwich, Mr. Benny ?" suddenly rousing to duty.
Benny looked longingly at the last morsel on the plate.' It
takes a good while to fill-up Frog Alley boys.
You need n't mind manners this time," Bab said graciously,
"'sides, I guess Martha '11 give us some more. Martha's always
good tp me. When she gets puckers in her forehead I kiss 'em
out. Benny, do you expect to go to heaven when you die ?"
Do n't know. Do n't want to die."
We'll see up the other side of the moon, then. Did you
ever have a mamma, Benny?"
Yes. She was real good too. She'd give me the last bit
Do you suppose she's up the other side of the moon ?"
She's in the best place there is," said the boy sturdily. I
hope she's got lots of flowers, lots and lots, red and yellow and
all kinds. I found one in the street one day when she was sick,
't was a dandy too, an' she kissed and kissed it. Then she kissed
me too. Nobody kisses me now but Watch."
"Would you like a kiss ?" Bab asked seriously.
Guess you would-would n't you ?-if nobody ever gave you
one," the boy replied just as earnestly.
For answer, little Bab rose off her stick-of-wood seat, and
coming around to her playmate, with a soft flush on her face,
pressed her dear little lips to his in the longed-for token. Then
out of the fulness of her generous heart she gave Watch as good
as his master, and resumed her seat with Natty nestling and twit-
tering in her neck.
"The tea-party's 'most over," she announced; then looking
the table over carefully, here 's a little milk left for Watch, and
two, free, four crumbs for Natty. Now let's play tag."
All agreed to this and the two children ran, and shouted, and
hid, while Watch snapped and barked at their heels, and Natty
fluttered about as excitedly as the rest. Only Susan Araminta
kept up the dignity of the party, and sat stiff and straight, propped
against the tree.
Finally, tired out, they all dropped down in the grass behind
Where's Robin gone ?" asked Bab.
Your papa sent him on an errand over to Mr. Brown's."
"Why did n't you go too ?"
He did n't ask me."
"Oh! Why ?"
Rob's mad at me."
What for ?"
I'11 tell you," and Benny burst into a fit of crying, "'cos you
Oh dear !" cried Bab, with the tears running over her own
cheeks, "what is it, Watch ?"
He says, he says," stammered the boy, turning his face away,
"that I hooked his ball."
That I took it, then."
"But you did n't; did you, Benny ?" very softly.
"No," and Benny turned square about now. "My mother
told me never to hook, and I aint, never; but he do n't believe me,
so what's the use?"
"I believe you, Benny. Now do n't cry any more."
You wont tell now, will you, Bab ?"
Just mamma, Benny. I always tell her things."
And perhaps she '11 think just as Rob does; wait a little,"
urged the boy, perhaps he'll find it."
I'll wait just two, free days," Bab said wisely; but my mam-
ma knows everything, an' perhaps she could tell us how to find
it. Let's go look; will you ? Where is-it?"
In the orchard, I s'pose. We was knocking it around with
a bat there, and it hit a tree hard, and bounded. It's a flier, I tell
you, that ball!"
",I must do up my dishes first," remarked the young house-
keeper; everything will all dry up, I s'pose. That's what Martha
says. Let's go to the trough and wash them."
There was always running water flowing into the trough, and
then trickling over the sides and down the slope in a miniature
brook, and there the dishes were washed and rinsed and left in
the sun to dry, while the two friends and their pets went off to
look up the missing ball.
Of course we know they did not find it.
That night a very tired and sleepy little girl snuggled close
up to mamma before she set off for Noddy town.
Mamma, do you care very much if I have a secret all away
from you ?" whispered Bab.
"Is it a good secret, dearie ?"
Would it be good, mamma, if it made somebody cry ?"
Not very pleasant, certainly."
In free days, mamma, I can tell you. How many hours is
A good many, dear."
Oh dear! I'm glad I'11 forget some of 'em, sleeping. Can
,God see lost things, mamma?"
"Yes, my dear."
"Would it be 'telling' to tell Him ?"
And perhaps He 'd let me find it, and not let anybody be
cross to Benny. Benny's mamma told him never to take things.
I do n't believe he would; do you, mamma?"
No, I would trust Benny. Now you must go, dear; Martha
is waiting. Good night!"
Good night, booful Mamma Rose. Mamma," lingering by
the door, "did you know Robin had lost his ball ?"
Yes, he told me. Now run on, dear," and mamma smiled
softly in the twilight shadows. Blessed are the pure in heart,"
MAMMA S BATTLE STORY.
Now do not think that the good times were all over at Rose
Farm because you have seen a few tears.
There was not one of these children sullen or cross, and
they loved one another dearly; and if they had some sore spots in
their hearts they did not very often stop to look at them or pet
Sore spots in the heart get well a.great deal sooner if they do
not have any petting.
For one good thing, Mamma Rose was really getting better.
The doctor had been seen to smile on the children two or three
times, and that was one of the most encouraging of signs. One
afternoon he stopped to laugh with them over Watch and Jim
Watch was trying to eat an afternoon lunch from his wooden
plate in the yard, and Jim, cousin Margie's pet crow, was attending
to the matter in his own way.
Just as Watch would get his lips on a choice bit of meat Jim
would nip the tip of his tail with a sharp tweak, and Watch would
whirl about just too late to catch him. No wonder the doctor
But the very next day mamma walked, all by herself, into the
playroom. Cousin Margie came after with the easy rocking-
chair, and when mamma was comfortably seated with her feet on
a stool it seemed almost too good to be true.
It was a very rainy morning. The drops came down, patter,
MAMMA'S BATTLE STORY.
patter upon the shed roof, and then dripped from the projection
over the wide door, and made a real canal," as Robin said, below
the sloping plank at the threshold. The doors were wide open,
and the drops made a little mist among' the trees, where the green
apples were having their dusty faces well washed, and not crying
about it. at all as some small boys do.
Daisy was busy at one side of the desk; Bab and Benny
were cutting paper dolls and ships at the other side; Robin was
trimming a kite in the corner, and Watch sleeping with one eye,
keeping the other open for a frolic, while Natty was perched on
the shelf over the centre of the desk, blinking as wisely as Poe's
Bab ran over to squeeze mamma just a little, then back to
"Are you very comfortable, mamma ?" asked Daisy, smiling
Of course, my dear; I ought to be, with my four small folks
Benny looked up with a shy smile of delight at being
Just think what it was for a "street boy" to have a place
"I know where there's some blackberries to get for you.
mamma, soon's it stops raining," put in Robin.
"Oh, I am glad. They will be very welcome."
Then mamma sat quiet for a while. Have you had any his-
tory lately, children ?" she asked.
What's history, mamma ?" questioned Bab.
Would you like a story about old times-long, long ago ?"
"Oh, mamma!" and Bab hopped on one foot ecstatically,
while Rob bundled his kite in short time out of the way, and took
up a position close to mamma's feet.
That desk makes me think of old times," mamma said to
her small audience, so eager to hear one of mamma's stories again,
when I was a little girl and your great-grandfather used to tell
me stories of the days when he and the desk were young
How old was he now, mamma?" came from Bab.
He died when he was eighty-four. How white his hair was,
and what a dear smile he kept for us children All my life since,
whenever I read the Epistles of John-that are so full of love, you
know-I always think'of grandpa's dear face."
"And you are going to tell us one of his stories now?"
About the Revolutionary times; yes," went on mamma.
What's those, mamma ?" asked Bab, who, with Natty Bum-
po cuddling and peeping in her neck, was leaning on mamma's
Do n't bother so with questions," broke out Rob impa-
Perhaps Rob will tell his little sister what it means. Can
you, Rob ?" but the boy hung his head.
"I will tell you both, then, sometime. Now I will only say
that it means a long, hard war. Your great-grandpa was fifteen
years old, and he was the oldest of five children. His father be-
longed to the town militia-that is soldiers-and'one day he
received word to join his company at the Centre. At the small
village there, high up on the hill where the monument is now,
there was a building filled with arms, and powder, and stores of
food. Word had come that a small army of British and Hessians
MAMMA'S BATTLE STORY.
were on their way to take all these necessary things for them-
Oh, my! Do n't I wish I had lived in those days, though!"
broke out Rob, taking one roll over in his outburst of feeling.
I do n't," said Bab shivering.
Oh, well, you're a girl, anyway. Go on, go on, mamma!"
Mamma smiled. The next morning he came home with
serious tidings. The enemy were approaching, and there were
Indians with them, and the hired Hessian soldiers were very
rough, and it would not be safe for the women and children to
stay in their path. They must go away as quickly as possible,
take the 'blazed path through the woods, and find a safer place
in the Fort at Williamstown.
"'But I have just put eight loaves of bread in the oven,'
Can't help that,' said great-grandpa. 'Better lose bread
So great-grandma hurried about to get ready. There was
not a great deal she could do, only snatch baby out of the wooden
cradle and wrap him up; roll her six silver teaspoons in a paper
and put them in the neck of her dress, and fill a bottle with milk
for the children. By that time great-grandpa was at the door
with Black Dick saddled and ready.
"'But I do hate to leave my one silk dress and best shawl
for the Indians to burn or cut up,' great-grandma said, holding
them up in the doorway.
"'We do n't intend they shall ever get here,' great-grandpa
answered,' but it may be quite as well to hide things. There are
my papers-deeds of land, and others. I will tell you, mother:
you just roll up your silk finery there and put it in one side of
my counting-desk. I will put my papers in the other, and Will
and I will carry the desk out and hide it under the rocks among
the bushes. Better take the chance of rain than of savages.'
So it was done, and this old desk was hidden. Then great-
grandma climbed on her horse, took baby in her arms and put
Aunt Isabel in front. Great-grandpa took the other horse, and
Anna, seven years old, with him, and William, our grandpa, led
his mother's horse and John ran beside him. But when they
reached the Centre great-grandpa left them, and the others had
to go on alone through the woods, over brooks, sometimes
trees' lying across their way, seeing tracks of wild animals, and
once, from a hill, they saw two Indians. They did not dare to
go on for a long while. The little girls got tired and cried, John
cut his foot, and they found Anna had tucked her kitten under
her shawl, so when it grew very warm it would not stay there, but
ran off in the woods. But great-grandma kept up a good heart
and at last they reached the Fort."
And was there a battle, really ?" asked Benny;
Yes. That same day our own soldiers moved down from
the Centre to keep the enemy from entering the State, and that
night they camped about a half mile from here, and early the
next morning moved on. Down by the Darley Bridge they
stopped. There was no bridge there then, only a ford."
What's that ?" from Robin.
"A shallow place in the stream that men could wade through.
The high hill on the other side was covered with thick woods, and
on its very top the stories had thrown up earth as high as their
waists, and placed their large guns behind, ready to shoot down
our soldiers, who they knew were coming."
And did our soldiers go on ?" Robin asked breathlessly.
MAMMA'S BATTLE STORY.
"Yes, in the afternoon. The day was very hot even among
the trees, but our boys stopped for nothing until they reached the
breastworks. The enemy fired their cannon all the time, but
the hill was so steep the large balls went right over our soldiers'
heads, and only a few were hurt. At the top they made a great
rush, and a long fight, until they drove the enemy back and took
the cannon and a good many prisoners. The next morning they
marched back to the Center, taking their trophies with them and
four of our own town boys who were killed in battle. So there
were tears, you see, too. But that was the first real victory our
army had won in the Revolution."
"And when did great-great-grandma and the children get
home again ?" asked Daisy.
The next day."
And did she find her bread ?"
No; the bread was all gone," mamma said laughing. She
went straight to the oven and looked in, then asked, 'Where
are my eight loaves of bread?' Great-grandpa told her that
after the battle, when our soldiers were on the way home, they
found it and ate it all up in a hurry. Great-grandma said, All
right; our boys were welcome to it, but not the stories Then she
asked if they did n't say it was good bread."
Must have been a big oven," said Robin.
"Oh, it was; very large. Made of brick. They had a bed
of live coals in it, and when -it was well heated drew those out
and put the loaves in."
And the silk dress was all right ?" questioned Daisy.
Yes, I have seen part of it myself."
S"And, mamma," said Bab earnestly, "do you think the
Indians got kitty ?"
48 GRANDPA'S DESK.
No, my dear; the kitty was at home before the children
were, and glad enough to see them."
I'm so glad," and Bab kissed Natty Bumpo's shining crown
Mis' Rose," said Martha appearing in the doorway, "Sam's
been here on his way to the Centre, and says Mandy and the
children are coming over to-morrow to spend the day, and he'd
stop for me to-night to go too. S'pose you could get along one
day without me ?"
"Oh, yes, Martha; you need a day out, and Daisy and I
can do all that's necessary; can't we, dear ?"
It's bread night," said Martha.
All right; you make it up and we can bake it."
So Martha went back, and mamma followed her.
"IT 's 'most too delightful for anything under the sun. I shall
just explode with happiness. To think of Martha being gone
out. of that kitchen for a whole day! I '11 show mamma what I can
do; see if I do n't."
It' was the next morning, and Daisy sat, with one shoe off
and one shoe on, planning great things as usual.
Daisy," said papa's voice close to the door.
Mamma is sick," the voice went on, with one of her hard
headaches, this morning. Do you think you can get a little
Oh, of course."
Be as spry as you can, then. We are in a hurry to get to
"Just boil some eggs, and warm over the potatoes, and make
coffee," mamma said wearily from her pillow. I am so sorry,
dear," but Daisy's ambitious little heart was only half as full of
pity as she knew it ought to be.
I shall have griddle-cakes too," she whispered to herself as
she saw the sour milk in the pantry. It's nothing to stir those
up. I 've seen Martha lots and lots of times. I '11 do that right
now and have them ready."
SThen she took a large tin basin and filled it nearly full with
the thick sour milk. Next a tablespoon of soda was dissolved
and turned in. What sizzling and fussing went on in that basin.
And how it began to come to the top! Daisy hurried to stir in
flour and keep it down, but it was no use-it foamed just like
a glass of soda-water; over on to Martha's bread board, down
Daisy's clean cambric dress and dripped on her new shoes, and
Daisy all the while stirring with one hand and pouring in floir
with the other to try and keep the stuff down. When at last it
did make up its mind to stay in the basin it did not seem that
there could be much left, there was so much lying around every-
Daisy was glad to hurry out of sight of it, even if hei father
was calling a little impatiently,.
Nothing ready yet, daisy ?"
Yes, sir, something. ,T4n going to make the coffee, now
the water boils, and put on the/eggs."
She saw the men washing at the pump and flew for the
Robin, you cut the potatoes into that spider," she called,
" and, Bab, get the butter and set up the chairs."
Is it griddle-cakes, Daisy ?" asked Rob, who had found the
Goody! May I fry 'em ?"
No, you can't," sharply.
Cut your own potatoes then," and Rob dropped the knife and
went off whistling. Bab took it up, cut a potato and her finger
at the same time but gave never a whine.
Mamma says three spoons of coffee. I '11 have five and have
it extra nice, and a whole egg," breaking that into the boiling pot;
then, hurrying to fill her griddle with cakes Daisy scraped up the
half-warm potatoes, set on the over-done eggs, and breakfast began.
But it was a funny breakfast. When they tried to turn the
muddy coffee, pieces of hard egg filled the spout and stuck out
like yellow dandelions at the end. The cakes had no salt and were
very yellow with soda. Nobody ate much. Robin pushed away
his plate saying,
"Those are the funniest cakes I ever saw in my life, any-
"Mamma says it's very rude to talk about your food all the
time," Daisy answered with as wise an air as her very much heated
face would allow.
Guess she'd talk some,', VIMartha anyway, if she should
see that pantry of hers d o'--.i;then Rob followed the men
away, to his sister's great re i .
I'm going to have a little' fee this morning," Daisy said
when left to herself. "If I have got all the work to do to-day I
think I ought to have things same as grown folks."
She succeeded in pouring some and made her breakfast from
that and a doughnut. Even her enthusiasm could not call the
It was a very warm morning and Daisy had been quite tired
out with her unusual excitement and work, but the coffee and a
little rest soon brightened her up, so that when Bab put her head'
in at the door and asked, Can I help you, sister ?" she was quite
prepared to say, Oh, no, indeed."
"It's dinner next, I suppose," thought the young house-
keeper. Well, there's beef to boil; that's easy enough: just
put it in a pot of water; but how long, I wonder. Bab, how long
do you suppose they boil a piece of beef ?"
Ask mamma," Bab said wisely, as she went out with Natty
Bumpo on her shoulder.
But Daisy never asked advice if she could help it. She liked
to do things "by herself."
Well, Martha never has fire any more than she can help,
these hot days, I know, so I'll let it out now for a while. Meat
will boil in an hour, of course; same as potatoes. I '11 clean up.
I'm glad Martha concluded we could get along 'thout bread
to-day. I '11 make a Johnny-cake. ,But I may as well finish my
story first. I do n't see any need of folks always rushing so in a
The fire went out, the sun rose higher and peeped through
the lilac bush at the kitchen window upon an untidy floor, dirty
dishes and a small girl reading .a story-book, until finally the
clock struck nine and the book"came to an end at the same
Then Daisy sprang up and rubbed her tired eyes with a
guilty feeling. She knew, when she looked around on all the
neglected work, that she had been betraying a trust some one had
put in her. That made her cross to begin with. Then the wa-
ter was hardly warm, the dishes were sticky, the cakestuff seemed
to have spread all about the pantry. Daisy hurried and grew
crosser. At eleven o'clock the fire was made up, the meat, that
should have been on three hours sooner, plumped into cold water,
and onions and beets in other kettles; a corn cake stirred up,
that, if it could have had anything but a cold oven to go into,
might really have been quite good; and then Daisy, all impor-
tance again, hurried about, setting table and getting ready for
those six hungry people who would be sure to be on hand at the
stroke of twelve. How they would enjoy the dinner-and-down
in their hearts-they would think, What a smart little girl !"
Well, everybody was on hand promptly. Papa and the two
hired men, Robin, Bab and Benny. But the dinner-what a dis-
appointment! Not the sharpest teeth could penetrate that meat,
the beets and onions from their positions on the back of the stove
were as hard, and the corn cake had sulked over its cool recep-
tion and sunk down too flat to rise again.
I'11 be glad when we get something to eat again," Robin
Hush, Rob," papa said, pitying poor Daisy, who was having
hard work to keep the tears back.
And this Johnny-cake is 'most very good," piped up Bab
from her loving little heart; if it only would rise up just a little
more between the crusts 't would be real nice."
I've seen lots worse nor this-bones and such," helped on
Can Bab go over the hill- blackberrying with us?" asked
Rob when the poor dinner was over.
"No, she can't," Daisy answered crossly; "she's got to stay
and help me do the work. I 'm tired of it."
My! You thought 't was going to be dreadful fun this
morning. I'm sorry for you, Bab," he whispered; "she's cross
enough to bite sticks."
Poor, tired Daisy!
That plate is just a little sticky, sister," Bab said, slipping
one back into the dish-water.
"I don't believe it. It's your own fingers. You have not
washed them at all this noon."
That was all true enough, and Bab surveyed the grimy hands
"Just because mamma is sick," went on the elder sister, "and
could not see you, you've neglected her advice and wishes. You
are not to be trusted, Bab Rose, and you may put down the dish-
towel and go now. I do n't need you any longer." Which, con-
sidering that Bab was on almost the last dish, was very true.
However, the little girl's heart was nearly broken, and she
retired to the playroom, laid her curly head in her apron on the
desk and sobbed herself to sleep, while her sister, in a very satis-
fied frame of mind, and with considerable clatter, put the kitchen
into afternoon order.
When Bab awoke there was no noise in the kitchen, but
overhead she could hear Daisy moving about; so the little girl
crept to the trough and with a piece of soap and a towel put her
face and hands into such a shining cleanness that anyone seeing
would want to snatch her up and kiss her on the spot. Then
she went softly to mamma's door. Mamma had been having a
nap too, and was feeling better. Bab crept into her arms and
found the kisses.'
How is Daisy, dear? Getting tired out ?"
She is getting lines in her forehead, mamma."
Tired lines. Poor little girl!" said mamma.
"Poor littlee girl," echoed Bab, who had a way of going back
to her baby speech when much excited. "Mamma, what makes
puckery lines come in folks' foreheads?"
Sometimes because the person has lived a good many years,
and sometimes they grow from inside," mamma answered.
But how ?"
Bad thoughts, cross thoughts, unkind thoughts of others,"
Oh dear! Then I mean to keep washed up just as clean in-
side as I can," Bab returned with a shiver, "so there wont ever,
ever, be any on mine."
"Yes, dear, I hope so. Now, do you know if there is any
fire? I think I would like a cup of tea."
Bab stole out softly and lifted the stove-lid. Yes, there was
a small bed of bright coals. She ran back and told mamma.
"Just the right thing, dearie," said Mamma Rose; "now I
will be out directly, and you shall help me make tea and toast.
Then I will be all right."
In an ecstasy of joy the child flew back, but in her delight
she could not resist just peeping into the stove to make sure the
coals were still there and all right, and this -time Daisy heard her
and was down in a minute.
"What are you doing, Bab ?" she asked sharply.
Mamma wants-some tea and toast," Bab answered meekly.
Why did n't you call me, then ?"
But she said I might help her."
Great help you'd be. Here; let me put in some shingles
and make up a good fire."
But mamma said the coals were just right," persisted the
little tot, the big tears beginning to fall as she saw her precious
pleasure slipping away.
"Oh, well, cry baby, probably you know more about cooking
than I do. I am the oldest, and of course it's my privilege to
attend to mamma," Daisy returned in her most disagreeable tone;
that proved altogether too much for Bab, who again retired from
sight, taking her checked apron for her needs.
When, a moment later, Mamma Rose came to the kitchen
she found Daisy there alone, a roaring fire in the stove, and a
thick slice of bread being held over the blaze.
"Where's Bab?" she asked.
Gone out, I guess. I told her I would get your lunch."
Mrs. Rose sighed a little; she was not fond of smoky toast,
and she would rather not have her tea boiled for five minutes,
and she had a strong suspicion that Bab had been hurt, and she
did wish Daisy was not so fond of her own way in everything.
I hope you have not hurt little sister," she said after a little;
"you see, I told her she could help me."
Well, you must have some pity for tired Daisy. Every sin-
gle thing had gone wrong that day, and now mamma found fault.
I must not tell you just what she said, but it was something about
mamma thinking more of Bab than of her, that made Mamma
Rose sigh again and go away looking very sad.
They were all glad enough to see Martha drive into the yard
Seems as though I'd been gone a week and a day," she de-
clared; "what folks do that are forever visiting I'm sure I can't
see. I'm as tired as though 't was washing day. What's this ?"
as she lifted the cover from the flour barrel, and found some of
Daisy's unfortunate cakes. Some sour stuff of that child's experi-
ments, I s'pose. Did you have an extra good dinner ?" she asked
The child looked at the piece of undone meat in Martha's
hand and answered as truthfully as she could-
What we ate was real good, Martha."
As for Daisy, she let care slip from her like a mantle, and
betook herself to her desk. There in her own compartment she
saw a paper. It was a note from mamma, and read:
DEAR LITTLE DAISY:
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
DAISY S HOUSEKEEPING.
"Cherish what is good, and drive
Evil thoughts and feelings far;
For, as sure as you're live,
You will show for what you are." ALICE CAREY.
The house was very quiet. There were callers in with papa
and mamma. Robin and Bab were in their beds. Daisy and the
voices of the twilight seemed alone together. And they whispered,
softly, but very distinctly, of the selfishness that had ruled her
heart through all the day; making her care only to please herself,
to have her own way, to have a heart full of vain longings. She
:saw herself now as others had seen her, and Daisy's head sank
low and her heart whispered, "Please; dear Lord, help me not to
be so selfish, and to have more love for everybody."
And it was a penitent little girl that stole in to give mamma
a good-night kiss, and then went up to hug sleeping Bab as tightly
as she could.
And the weary day went out in a little halo of peace and
EACH of these beautiful summer days had been a wonder
day to our friend Benny. The only trouble was they were slip-
ping away too fast. No one knew how the little fellow dreaded
even the thought of going back to the city; how' he counted
the remaining days till Fall, for he had, heard Miss Margie
say she should keep him until then, or with what a shiver he
wakened in the night from some dread dream of his old sleeping
He had learned a great many lessons through these days.
"Wasn't it funny, Miss Margie," he said one morning,
"what queer things I thought when I first came here? Why,
I said,' What a cute little grass-hopper,' the first time I saw a
"Who heard you ?"
Only Bab, and she said, Poor little boy, you ain't 'spected
to know much, you didn't ever live out in God's world before.'
She's funny; is n't she, Miss Margie ?"
"She's a darling, every inch of her,"' answered Cousin
"Of course she is," returned the boy. "I should think
she had always lived right in God's very own house; should n't
"Yes; now give me your other hand," for Miss Margie, who
did not believe in.dirt, was given to considerable more scrubbing
than the small boy thought exactly necessary.
You washed those hands last night," he remarked now.
I know it. It's perfectly unaccountable to me where you
find so much dirt."
.' I was just digging bait in the garden before breakfast, that's
all. Me and Rob's going fishing, you know."
Say 'Rob and I,' -then."
"Rob and I, then. Miss Margie, has God really got a
"He lives in heaven, Benny."
That's up in the sky, Daisy says. Are the stars holes for
the light to come through ?"
Why, no, child. What a question !"
That's what Bab's vi'let verse says, Miss Margie."
What do you mean ?"
This is what she said, Miss Margie," and in an eager voice
the little boy recited the memory gem Mamma Rose had taught
Bab with the spring violets:
I know, blue, modest violets,
Gleaming with dew at morn,
I know the place you came from
And the way that you were born :
When God cut holes in heaven,
The holes the stars look through,
He let the scraps fall down to earth :
The little scraps were you !"
That is pretty," said Miss Margie. Benny, do you know
that if you fill your mind and heart full of these good things there
wont be room for the bad ones then ?"
"Yes, 'm, I s'pose so. But where am I going to get them ?
There ain't any such folks as you folks in the city.'
Oh, yes, there are; better ones too."
They never come along my way, then," persisted the boy.
" Are you through ?"
"Yes. Now I'11 put up your dinner. Some sandwiches,. and
doughnuts, and cottage cheese, and a piece of pie. Is that
I should think so! You're awful good to me, Miss Margie,"'
and the boy caught her hand with a little ecstatic squeeze.
Someway, I never can let that child go back to those dread-
ful places, in' the world," Miss Margie said to herself as she spread
slices of bread by the pantry window, and looked out on Benny
soiling his clean hands with that dreadful bait."
"See, I've got enough for Rob and I both," he said holding
up his tin can, and remembering his lesson on language, "and I
aspects Miss Margie, to get fish enough for your breakfast to-
Generous little soul!" thought the lady.
The two boys were going off for the day on a fishing ex-
pedition. Not so very far; only a mile or two up Trout Brook,
a stream hardly deep enough to wade in, but they were to take
their dinner and camp out in the "sugar bush," just like older
folks. There was to be older company at Rose Farm and these
could be spared as well as not.
The affair of the ball was not yet made plain, but Robin
wanted a playmate too much to stand upon his dignity any longer
Bab and Mamma Rose had had their little talk about the
affair, and Bab's generous soul had been satisfied with mamma's
I do not believe, Bab dear, that Benny took the ball: we
ROBIN'S LESSON. 61
have never known him to tell an untruth, and it is only fair to
trust him until we do. But we will not say anything to the boys
or any one else, dearie."
Just our own little secret, mamma?"
They were off at last, the three, for, of course, wherever Rob
and Bennie went there also was Watch. Indeed, it was almost
difficult to tell who was his real master. Neither Miss Margie nor
her father was very fond of dogs or ever gave them much atten-
tion, while little yellow Watch's sensitive heart soon learned that
at Rose Farm he could find any number of friends and any amount
of attention; and for Robin, who was passionately fond of a dog,
he soon manifested almost as much affection as for his own
master. Indeed, Benny had had one or two little cries about
the matter up in the hay-mow, out of sight.
This morning the little yellow ball, sleek and smooth now,
bounded about the two boys, then raced off with short, sharp yelps
after some bird or squirrel, until it seemed as though he must be
made of india-rubber.
They went down the slope to the brook and then turned to
follow up its course. Shoes and stockings were left at home, and
short pants were rolled still higher so that a dash could be made
at any instant through the stony stream. The sun shone out clear
and hot, but there were shading trees and bushes scattered all
along. They had all day before them, good dinners in their
baskets, fishing-poles over their shoulders, and Watch. What
more could boys ask to make them happy!
By and by, as they got further back among the hills, they
found bushes laden with berries, and stopped for many a little
"We 'll fill our dishes when we come back," said Robin.
"Oh my," exclaimed Benny, with his mouth full of the ripe
fruit, don't I wish some of the other boys, Sammy and Pete, could
be out here just one day! Why, if they could just come and smell
it all 't would be drefful nice. And oh, there's Cripple Jim, how
he do love such things! I saw him lose a dandy chance once for
keeps, when we was playing marbles, 'cause somebody 'd thrown a
flower down in -the street. He-caught it right up and kissed it.
And 'twas only one of those you call dandypowers here, you
"Dandelions, you mean," corrected Rob. "But, see here,
Benny, do you play marbles for keeps ?" and Rob seated himself,
as grave as a judge, on a stone, and looked at the delinquent
"Why, of course. Every boy does."
"No, they do n't: I do n't."
I mean, every boy I know."
"You know me, do n't you ?"
Well, why do n't you ?" asked Benny, ignoring the question
'Cause it's wicked."
Who said so ?"
"'Cause it's stealing."
They ain't your marbles and you get them for nothing."
Is that the same as hooking?"
"Not quite, hooking's out of sight: but it's cheating;
mamma says so."
Then I sha' n't play so any more. But do n't you ever cheat,
Of course not," answered Rob virtuously.
"'Cause all the boys I ever knew did," Benny remarked as
they walked on.. "Cripple, Jim does, and he's awful good too;
went without his dinner once and gave it all to me and Watch.
How I wish he could just see things out here once! He asked
Sammy one day if a little calf looked any different from a goat.
Rob, do n't you s'pose somebody 'd hire me, and let me stay out in
the country and not go back any more ?"
What could you do ?" asked Rob doubtfully.
"Lots of things. Bring in wood, and water the horse,
and put down hay, and I can 'most milk some, if the cow do n't
Benny," asked Rob suddenly, are you going to take Watch
back with you ?"
"Why, of course," Benny said, startled.
How'11 you keep him ?"
He can have part of my dinners."
S'posin' you did n't have any ?'"
The child looked frightened. Come here, Watch," he called,
and when the dog bounded into his arms he hugged him so tight-
ly that Watch whined. He's the only thing I've got in the
world," he said piteously.
Oh, well, never mind," said Rob. "I just thought, if you
was n't going to, I'd keep him, you know. But I guess we '11 never
get any fish."
It did seem very much like that. Noon time came and there
was still no bite."
"Let's set our lines in that deep place while we eat," said
Rob, and so the two hooks were left to bob in.a deep place among
some rocks while they ate their lunch near.
I 'd like to find one on my hook," said Benny, so's to tell
the boys-Cripple Jim and Pete. They never caught a fish in
The. boys lingered over their lunch for some time, amus-
ing themselves with making Watch "beg," and then, just as
they were through at last, Benny spied a ground bird starting
up from the bushes near, and he and Watch went in a hunt for
Rob sauntered back to where they had left the lines. He
pulled up his own. The bait had not even been nibbled. Then
he looked at Benny's and it seemed to him something was moving
it. He looked about, but Benny was out of sight and he could
hear his voice'spme distance away.
"I 'm going to see, anyway," Rob declared. Then- he pulled
up the line and almost shouted aloud, for there at the end dangled
a fine speckled trout.
It was the work of a minutelto take it from the hook, then
throw the line back and fasten down the pole with stones, as it
But Rob did not call Benny'then. Instead he sat quite still.
until Benny, with Watch at his heels, came up.
See what I pulled out," he said then, holding up the prize.
"Oh," said Benny wistfully,-"do -you s'pose I've got one
Look and see," was the answer, and Benny with trembling
hand drew up.his line.: Of course we know that it was empty. For
a minute he held it out, then with a little sigh lowered it to its
It's awful nice," he said then, "and I 'd like. to have told
Sammy and Jim. But your folks '11 be glad too-wont they?-
and mebbe I '1l get one yet."
But h did not. Some way, fishing seemed to have lost its
attraction for Robin.
It's too hot to do anything," he said stretching himself at
full length 'i the shade.
Benny found some late wintergreens and began gathering the
bertes for Daisy and Bab.
Ihe pretty speckled trout was in Rob's basket, with the cover
down, but'he seemed to see it every minute.
"I do n't care," he muttered to himself, it is mine, anyway.
Th 're both my lines and hooks. I just let Benny take one, and
I skowed'-him where to set it. And I guess I want to tell the
folks at home just as much as he does the boys. And likely
wouldd 'a' got away anyhow, if I had n't come and took it off just
when I.did. So there !"
And having thus at last silenced the "small. voice." that was
sotroublesome inside he concluded to have a good time, and for
the rest of the afternoon the hillside rang with boys' shouts and a
small dog's bark.
They found a woodchuck in an old stone wall, and for some
two hours the three worked busily and noisily to drive it out and
catch it-only at last, when excitement was at the highest, to see
the pretty brown animal slip out the other side, and into his hole
inthe hillside, with a parting whisk of his tail that meant several
It was a dirty and tired looking trio that made its appearance
at the farm-house'door just before the supper hour. But' with the
appearance of the fish they roused up.
"Why, what a beauty !" said Mamma Rose.
It's for you," Robin said, but his voice sounded kind of
"Ain't it a beauty, though!" Benny exclaimed, "and Rob
Oh, such a beauty !" came from Bab.
What a fuss over a fish," Rob said almost crossly. If
there had only been a bushel, now."
The trout was cooked for supper and everybody tasted it
Is 'oo afraid it will choke ?" Bab asked, peering into her
It was growing shadowy in the playroom that night when
Robin lifted the lid of the oldfdesk, and fastened it back, to find
his knife. But it vwas.*stig light enough for his eyes to see and
read the familiar motto ,
Battle for the right, boys.-
Poor little boy! Ali the afternoon he had been fighting
but it had been on the other side. He knew and felt that now.
The knife was quickly found, but still Robin sat there.
Mamma said that mearnt, not just being good when I felt
like it, but when I had to fight like everything, just as they did
in the battle down here when great-great-grandpa went. Fight
the bad inside me, not just sit down and give up easy as--easy
as-an old shoe," that being the only simile that occurred to his
"Well, I s'pose I '11 have to tell mamma," he concluded at last
with a tremendous sigh that seemed to have come from the region
of his boots.
Fortunately Mrs. Rose was alone when Robin found her.
Mamma, how I wish I could have a bicycle," he said sitting
on the arm of her chair.
I wish you could, dear."
It seems as though I must, mamma. Do you think I 'll
have one when I get to be a little older?"
"I guess I wouldn't ever be naughty then, if I had one,
Are you now ?" for mamma understood boys pretty well.
Oh, I s'pose so, sometimes."
To-day ?" questioned mamma.
ti" Mebbe so. It's likely d' take care all the
"When did you stop off.?"
"Oh, a little while about e fi s. You see "-
and then slipping down into m -a' ith the twilight mak-
ing it easier, the little boy unbur lii sore heart of its sin
and wrong, and found comfort.
And to think Benny had just asked me if I would cheat,
and I said, 'of course not'! "
You will tell Benny now," mamma said in a matter-of-fact
Oh,. mamma !"
"And not let the enemy come right out of the breastworks
and get you again."
That 's so; he sha'n't."
Write him a note."
And put it in his place in the desk ? I will."
So the next morning Benny found this short note from
Robin in his drawer:
The fish was n't on my hook, but on yours. And you can
tell the boys all about it. I told mamma.
Robin," said Benny that noon, "do n't tell Bab and Daisy;
it was yours, really. You're drefful good, Rob; ain't you?
Here's that alley back you gave me the other day, and I ain't
ever going to play for keeps again, no matter what the boys
BAB HELPS ALONG.
BAB HELPS ALONG.
AUNT Dolly Stillman had come to spend the day with Cousin
Margie. Not that she was really her aunt, or any relative at all
unless it was a very distant one, but almost every one called her
so and the Roses with others.
Miss Stillman lived in a cosey home of her own about a half
mile out of the village. Mariette, a woman whom she had taken
from the poor-house, lived with her, and also Kitsey, the black cat.
In the stable lived Cherry and Moolly, the two cows, and hens and
chickens and pigeons, and they were all wide awake and stirring.
She had come at this time to make a parting visit. For in
the early Fall Cousin Margie was to marry Mr. Fred Dunlap and
go to Boston to live.
Then her brother, with his wife and two little children, were
coming here to live with her father.
None of the Rose children but Daisy knew this as yet, as it
had only recently been decided upon.
As soon as Aunt Dolly was seated in the large cushioned
rocker she drew out from her ample bag a long wool stocking
and set her needles for work.
"Whom are you knitting for now, Aunt Dolly?" asked
"Cousin Seth's children. There are four of them, you know,
and all boys, and their ma has hard work to keep their bare
knees out o' sight. Marbles are dreadful hard on boys, but then
they've got to go through them-and kites, and fishing with bent
pins, I suppose-same as they have ever since the days of Noah,"
and Aunt Dolly settled back with a pleasant chuckling laugh.
Boys must do something,"'said Margie.
Of course; and they can't roll out of their cradles into old
men's frock coats. They 've got to have time, and patience, and
then it's astonishing how well they do turn out."
You ought to have one or two boys in your own house, you
have such a good word for them," went on Margie.
"And you might have Benny to begin with," piped up a
small voice behind them.
Both ladies turned, to see Bab's fresh smiling face in the
doorway, her arms tightly clasping the battered Susan Araminta
and her eyes shining with eagerness.
Bless her heart," the elder lady exclaimed dropping her
work, "come kiss your auntie this minute, you darling."
Bab obeyed, and in a moment more was seated in the ample
lap with a large lump of maple-sugar in hand, drawn from the bag.
Then she went,gravely on.
'Cause, you see, Benny's a good boy; and his papa and mam-
ma both went to heaven long ago, and there isn't anybody left
but him and Watch. And Benny can't bear to go back to the
city. He cries and cries; he told me so."
"Bless her heart, what is the child talking about?" asked
the old lady.
"About Benny," explained Bab. He 's Cousin Margie's
He is a little Fresh Air boy from the city," Cousin Margie
said laughing, "who has been staying with us nearly all the sum-
"' And do n't you want him, Aunt Dolly, for your own boy ?"
BAB HELPS ALONG.
persisted the child with grave earnestness ; "you must need a little
boy, I should think."
What for ?" questioned Aunt Dolly.
To keep you from being lonesome. Mamma says nobody
gets lonesome when there's a boy around."
I should presume not. Is Benny good?"
He's very good inside, and he gets better outside all the
time. He do n't say bad words any more, and he washes his
hands three times 'most every day."
"Well, well, there must be something in that boy," said
Aunt Dolly. "Now I want to know when a small girl, of just
about your size, is coming to spend a whole long day with me
and play with my two kitties, and talk with my pretty Poll ?"
Engaged in this charming prospect Bab forgot all other
subjects, and after asking numerous questions declared she and
Susan Araminta must go home at once and see when mamma
would let them go.
After the child had left them Aunt Dolly's knitting lay un-
That's the first time I ever had a boy offered to me," she
said at last, rousing from thought.
Is that so ?" queried Margie.
I've thought often about taking a girl; one with curls I've
wanted. Does Benny's hair curl ?"
No, it is as straight as an Indian's."
I've thought a girl .would be nice, only nobody ever offered
me one: but a boy! Why, I 'd be afraid of one."
"You might enjoy it," said Margie, in whose heart the sudden
thought was becoming a wish; and I do think Benny is a nice
Aunt Dolly said no more just then, but she seemed to be
doing less talking and more quiet thinking than usual in her visits,
.and during dinner there were some very keen but kindly glances
bent upon Benny.
Do you like old ladies ?" she asked the little boy abruptly
Yes, 'm, I guess so. Out here I do," with a beaming smile.
In the afternoon the two ladies went over to the "other
house to call. They found Mrs. Rose in the sitting-room, and
Robin was there also, in a rocking-chair, with his foot wrapped up
and laid up on a high stool before him.
"Why, what is the matter with Robin?" asked Aunt
He met with an accident yesterday," said mamma.
But how ?"
You see, Benny and I were fixing a kite down by the barn
*when the thunder storm came up yesterday," explained Rob,
" and all at once the big door came whack! right against me, and
sent me flying."
Oh dear! That was too bad."
His limb was quite badly bruised," said Mrs. Rose, but it is
nothing serious, and the wormwood and vinegar it is wrapped in
will soon take out the soreness. We are thankful that his leg was
"You see," remarked Bab, who was nursing her doll in the
corner, Robin has three hands."
What does the child mean ?" asked Aunt Dolly.
Why, he has the two hands you see, and one little behind-
hand. Papa says so," went on Bab gravely.
She means," Mamma Rose said just as gravely, that Robin
BAB HELPS ALONG.
is sometimes a little behindhand in starting when called. Yes-
terday I saw the shower coming quickly over the hill, and called
to the boys to run to the house. Benny did so, and the big door
did not catch him. I think Rob will be out of the way next time,"
with a smile toward the little boy's crimson face.
Of course he will," said Aunt Dolly, sweetening her words
by passing him a cake of maple-sugar; and that reminds me of
the time when I was a little girl, a great many years ago, and lost
a very fine day because my 'third hand,' as Bab calls it, got so in
Oh, tell us about it, do, please," begged both the children,
and Susan Araminta was tumbled upon the 'floor while her little
mistress pressed close to the old lady.
"Well, you see, in those days we did n't have everything
under the sun, as children do now-a-days. A Sunday-school picnic
once a year, and occasionally a menagerie, was all we had."
What's a 'nagerie-?" interrupted Rob.
A collection of wild animals, elephants, lions, tigers, and
-others. This made the children all wild, of course. And now
there was one coming to our village, three miles away, and father
had promised to take us four older children, Harry and Nat, and
Martha and me, to see it. We could hardly sleep the night before,
.and were awake with the birds I assure you. And what a beauti-
ful June morning it was. I can remember even now how the dew
*glistened in the sunlight, and how the sweetbrier-rose nodded in
.at the kitchen window while we were at breakfast. Father's hired
man had not come, and, in my zeal to help the work along, I had
milked two cows-something I had never done before and have
not done since. After breakfast father said he must go and water
the colts in a back pasture, and then we would start.
Now, the night before, I had found over in a lot behind the
orchard some very nice strawberries, and I was sure they would
be picked in our absence, and wanted to go berrying while father
"'You wont have time,' said mother. But I was sure we
should, for it was not seven yet, and teased very hard. At last
mother said that Nat and Martha and I might go for a few
"' I will blow the horn for you,' she said, 'the moment father
comes, and you must run at the very first toot, or you will not be
So we ran as fast as we could to the lot; that was not very
far away, though it was out of sight behind the orchard. We
found the berries thick enough in the long grass, but it did not
seem any time at all before the sound of the horn broke, loud and
clear, into the morning air.
"' There 'tis; good good!' shouted Nat.
Come on, quick,' urged Martha, following after Nat's bare
"'In a minute,' I answered; 'time enough.'
"'Dolly always thinks there's time enough,' was Martha's
remark as she flew out of sight.
I cannot understand to this hour, with the prospect of such
a day before me, why I stayed to pick those berries: but I did. I
had just come upon a bed of very fine ones, my dish was almost
full, and I wanted these for toppers.' I picked away, just a little
while, you know, then suddenly realizing that my minute was
stretching altogether too far I sprang up, tripped over a stone,
spilt my berries, and hurt my knee so that I cried while limping
home as fast as I could. The yard seemed very quiet as I hurried
BAB HELPS ALONG. 75
through, but I was sure I heard wheels rattling down the stony
road. There was no one but mother and baby in the kitchen.
"' Where are they ?' I asked with a terrible fear creeping into
"'Just gone,' mother answered, stooping to put a loaf of
bread in the oven.
"'And left me?' I wailed.
"' Yes, dear; I am very sorry, but father said you never came
when called and he would not wait. I did not see him when he
came, and they harnessed before coming in; the others had to
hurry as fast as they could, or they would be too late to see the
procession. I am so sorry, dearie,' for I had sunk, such a poor
little wilted heap, in the middle of the floor.
How good mother was all that day! She made me a jam
tart all my own for dinner, but it choked me. I was only nine
years old then, but it was a life-long lesson, for, do you know, I
have never seen a collection of wild animals in my life!"
Never ?" from surprised Robin.
No, never. Never saw a live lion, or tiger, or camel. I
have seen a dancing bear, and once saw two elephants. But, you
see, of later years, they are all attached to circuses, and I am not
fond of such crowds."
Did you love your papa ?" questioned Bab seriously.
Dearly. He was good as gold, and kind too."
"Aunt Dolly," said Robin, who had evidently been doing
some thinking, I did not know as big folks who are good now
were ever naughty when they were little."
"Oh dear, yes, they were !" and Aunt Dolly laughed heartily.
"Well, I guess the most of them forget it, then, for they do n't
tell of it," persisted the boy.
I think you must be just the one, Aunt Dolly, to take a
boy," said Margie as they walked back, "since you can remember
being naughty when you were small."
And I think Benny must be the boy for me to take, since he
can mind promptly," Aunt Dolly answered, with her cheery laugh.
"Oh, Aunt Dolly, do you think you will, really?" Margie
:' Yes, I do. But I ain't going to say for certain to-day, so
you need n't whisper of it. I '11 go home and talk with Mariette
about it. I do n't s'pose she's been carrying a boy around on her
mind any more than I have; but then the Lord made them, and
there must be places for them as well as girls."
He will find a good place with you," Margie exclaimed.
People will say I 'm getting pretty old to begin bringing up
a boy; but then, you see, if it ain't but a little while, I'11 push him
along straight so far, and that '11 be better than sleeping in barrels
as you tell of."
It was quite sundown when Aunt Dolly reached her own yel-
low cottage. Mariette met her, full of the importance of finding a
new brood of chickens that had appeared from a stolen nest.
Mariette, I've adopted a boy," was Aunt Dolly's announce-
For the land's sake, Miss Stillman! Are you took crazy ?"
May be so," Aunt Dolly returned; but if taking a poor
little starved chap out of the dirty, swearing streets of New York
is a craze, perhaps the dear Lord that's given us good homes and
clean air to breathe would like to have more of us have it. That's
What's his name ?"
BAB HELPS ALONG.
Why, that was my little brother's name. Died when he was
a baby. How old is he ?"
Eight ? Do you s'pose he could climb up to the loft fo.r
eggs? I'm dreadful stiff for climbing."
Being as he's a boy, I make no doubt he can climb any-
where," said Aunt Dolly, and so the family change was amicably
arranged. Aunt Dolly was to make her usual annual visit to
sister Martha's, forty miles distant, and would return soon after
Margie's wedding. Benny would remain at the hill farm until
her return, and Bennie was not to know of the plan for his
new home until near the time for the wedding.
"People will have chance enough then to talk," said Aunt
Dolly, but I shall not be here to hear it all, and they will have
it: over before I get back."
But she and Mariette had very good times in fixing up a small
room that the kitchen pipe warmed, and getting it ready for "our
Benny," as they began to call him.
A MOUNTAIN DAY.
IT was the first of September and Mamma Rose's birthday,
and the children were wild to know what unusual thing they could
do for its celebration.
They had generally had a family picnic somewhere on the
farm, so that papa could lunch with them, and mamma had given
up the entire day to wandering out of doors with them. ,But
this year Mrs. Rose was using all the little strength she as yet
had in preparations for the wedding, and told her young folks
they must manage without her.
But may we do just as we please, mamma ?" asked Daisy at
the breakfast table.
Can I trust you as far as that ?"
Of course, mamma. You never trust me at all."
And you are such a very large woman," put in papa.
Can't we go to the Hollow, berrying, and take our dinners,
and be gone all day ?" put in Robin boldly.
Oh, mamma! do," joined in the others.
Why, Bab could never walk so far as that," said mamma.
Why, mamma, I could walk miles and miles," put in Bab.
"All you have to do is just put one foot before the other."
And Benny and I can make a chair and carry her some,"
"The team is going up to the woods this morning," said
Mr. Rose, "and that would take them half way."
Now Mrs. Rose and Martha had planned a vigorous day of
A MOUNTAIN DAY.
" Fall cleaning," and to have three hungry children eating out of
tin pails, two miles and more away, instead of at the table in the
usual fashion, would be quite a relief, and consent was given.
A half-hour later, and the hay-rack wagon, with its party of
five, for of course Watch was barking away in the middle of things,
rattled out of the yard and up the hilly road to the woods. Just
at the edge of these they got out. There was a strip of rowen "
or "second crop" of grass there, cut and made up into "cocks."
This must be spread again, to dry off the dew, and then carried
The children ran like so many squirrels into the wood path,
and for a while their voices were heard echoing from the trees,
then were lost in the distance. They had left the shade with their
arms loaded with woodland treasures, only to drop them one by
one, in their new interest in the brooklet that babbled or leaped
beside their path. The day was very warm and they lingered often
in shady places, so that it was several hours before they reached
the foot of the mountain, from which the brook made its way, and
the receding banks of which formed the Hollow," where the large
ripe berries waited to fill mouths and pails.
The mountain was not a large one, and its wooded sides were
well cut off and fields of yellowing grain had taken the place of
forests, or the sticks were piled in cords and all about them a
tangle of briery bushes loaded with the juicy fruit. But in the
Hollow there was still shade, and no voices broke the stillness save
those of our little folks, and that of Watch, who ought to have
been as "hoarse as a frog," from the amount of exercise he had
given his throat.
"Oh my! see the big ones," exclaimed Rob.
Now," said Daisy with her airiest air, let's play we 're lost
and have got to build us a house first thing, so that the wild
animals can't get us."
Bab scrambled up from the stones she was looking over.
" Are there animals here ?" she gasped.
Of course not; none to hurt," Daisy answered wisely.
There was a bear up here once; I heard Jim tell about it,"
put in Robin. He saw it, and they took guns and came after it."
"Did they shoot it ?" questioned Benny, whose eyes were as
wide open as Bab's.
Oh, I suppose so," answered Rob, "but I should n't be afraid
if I saw six of 'em."
What would you do ?" asked Benny.
Oh, I 'd at them like everything, with a big stick. I tell
you they'd run!"
"May be .they would run right toward you," said Daisy
Then I 'd climb a tree, pell-mell."
Bears can climb trees faster than you," went on Daisy.
"Oh, well, there ain't any up here," said Rob, to whom the
conversation was becoming too personal.
Mamma says you must not say ain't," corrected his sister.
"Let's build our house," Rob remarked coolly; I'll take
care of you, Sis," he whispered to Bab, who was almost crying.
" Where shall we have it ?"
After considerable running and shouting the children found
what seemed a suitable place. Around the immense stump of a
tree, that had been sawed off near the ground, smaller trees had
sprung up and had grown to a height of eight or ten feet. With
much effort they managed to bend some of their tops and upper
branches and fasten them together. Then, with Rob's knife they
A MOUNTAIN DAY.
cut leafy branches, and wove quite skilfully around three sides and
over the top. The fourth and open side was nearly filled by the
stump, but it looked eastward and the sun was getting away from
Near them the brook sang on its way, and beyond they had
a view, for miles and miles, of fertile fields, or scattered homes or a
Now we 'll have dinner," Daisy said when all was completed
to her liking.
I hope so," answered Rob. I 'm sure I 'm hollow clear to
Rob, take your pail, and get some water; out of a good
shady place, please."
Oh dear!" groaned Rob. "I 'm 'most too stiff to move."
"And, Benny, you get some flat stones and nice white chips
for our dishes; and, Bab, you can pick a bouquet of blue asters
and golden-rod for the centre of the stump-I mean table.
Everybody felt too tired to move but too hungry to sit still,
so the feast was soon spread and the party seated about it, Watch
looking quite as expectant of his share as the rest.
This is a perfect bower; is n't it!" Daisy remarked when,
hunger being somewhat appeased, she could take time to lean back
and look around their leafy nest. I 'd like to be a bird."
Would n't stay where cats lived, then," said Benny, re-
membering a raid he had seen Tom making the day before.
Or a gipsy," went on -Daisy, and live out of doors all the
"Out on the prairies then," put in Rob, "where we 'd see
Indians and buffaloes, and have a broncho to ride all the time.
Tell you! would n't I just skim, though!"
I wish some of the boys from the Alley were here," remarked
And some of the nice little girls too," added Bab. Watch,
you are a naughty dog, to snatch. He took my last bit of frosting;
I 'd like to stay up here all night," resumed Daisy. I 'd
just like to sleep out of doors one night."
"Oh, so would I," cried Bab.
My, would n't I!" from Rob.
Benny said nothing. He had tried it many a time and knew
all about it.
"Let's stay; we've got a house," ventured Robin.
"They would come for us," Daisy said, shaking her head
wisely; if it wa'n't for that I would."
Mamma would be too lonesome," Bab whispered softly.
The hour of dinner and rest was a long one. Even Daisy's
ambition for full pails yielded to the soothing influence of the
softly swaying branches and the piping of crickets in the grass,
and it must have been full time for "school to be out" before
they were really at work among the high and tangling bushes.
However the berries were -large and plenty, and work went
bravely on. But no one noticed, among the high vines, how
far they were wandering from their Rest Cottage," as they
had christened their green hut, nor how swiftly the shadows
were gathering under the trees. They only thought the woods
were thicker. Only one of the party heard a low, distant rumble
at first. That was Watch. When he crept up close to his
master's feet, and stood there, shrinking and trembling, Benny
stood up straight and looked about him.
"It's going to rain," he shouted then. "Yes, there's the
A MOUNTAIN DAY
thunder," as a low rumble began in the distance. I knew some-
thing was the matter when Watch crept up to me like that. He
So do I," said Daisy. "Oh dear! what shall we do ?"
I'se 'fraidest of lightning," cried poor little Bab. I wish
I had mamma's apron right here."
Pshaw! girls are always 'fraid-cats," Robin remarked stand-
ing up very straight and tall.
"Well, it's going to rain, anyway," said Benny looking up
at the dark clouds that were rapidly gathering from the west.
And we shall get wet as rats," cried Daisy. "Let's hurry
somewhere. Here, Bab, take my hand."
I 'd like to know where we are," came from Rob as he gath-
ered himself up from a fall over a projecting root in which he
had spilled all his berries.
Why, on the mountain, of course," answered Daisy.
But where ?" persisted Robin.
The children stopped their heedless flight, and looked about
Sure enough, where were they? In a tangle of briery
bushes, stumps of large trees, and dense underbrush, that was
certain-no outlook or path on any side. Overhead it. was
growing deeper blackness, illumined all too frequently with the
swift, dazzling flashes of light.
I do n't know where we are," moaned Daisy at last.
At that Bab broke down and sobbed aloud-" Are we lost
for ever ?" she wailed.
Nobody answered, unless it was the wind, that rushed past in
gusts, bending the tree tops and sending last year's dead leaves in
whirling circles. An occasional drop of rain too struck their faces.
Well, we must go somewhere," Daisy exclaimed, dragging
Bab on, and the rest of the party followed.
"I wish we had n't ever come," broke out Rob, after a
sharp brier had scratched the whole length of his face.
"You were the one, yourself, that asked," Daisy returned
"I don't care if I did; you said one day you wished we
could," Robin returned as hotly.
Benny had called Watch to his side and was stumbling along
too frightened to speak. He had never minded thunder-showers
in the narrow city streets, where the tall houses seemed to protect
him, but out here on the mountain side the thunder seemed
to roll just over his head, and the lightning to envelop him like
a flame. But he had learned in his short life to keep quiet in
The rain was coming now, too, no longer in great scattered
drops, but in steady sheets. It was well that just then they stum-
bled upon a place where a large tree had fallen over in some pre-
vious storm and struck across a high rock in such a manner as to
press part of its branches closely together and so form a thick
roof. Under this the children quickly cuddled. It was not
really great protection, for the storm was a very severe one, but
it was better than standing up with nothing between them and
it. Bab had cried herself hoarse, and Rob and Benny both lay
with their faces on the ground, shaking and sobbing.
Suddenly after a very sharp flash there came a tremendous
clap of thunder, that seemed to shake the very earth around,
and amid its roll there came another noise; a crash, and then a
"We 'll all be killed," cried Daisy.
A MOUNTAIN DAY
Oh! it's bears! I know it is," sobbed Robin, and at that
both Rob and Benny rolled over and clutched hold of Daisy, and
hid their fades beside Bab's in her dress.
Poor Daisy had to sit up and cover her face with her hands,
but her trembling fingers could not shut out the blinding glare,
and in that light the little girl seemed to see all the sins of her
How selfish and full of Daisy she had always been-not
always perfectly obedient, very often doing wrong. And then
there was that ball, Rob's ball, that he told her he thought Benny
had taken, and she knew where it was all the time.
Another roll of thunder louder than any yet.
"We shall all be killed," thought Daisy. Dear Jesus, -I am
sorry I have been so riaughty; please forgive me," she whispered;
and with the very words a feeling as though she had a friend
near came to her heart and gave her courage. She ventured to
take her hands from her face and look out.
"Don't cry so, children," she said then. "I believe it is
growing lighter; I guess the worst is over."
The boys started up quickly, and though they all shivered
several times after, yet it was not long before the thunder was
really rolling into the distance, and rifts of sky were breaking
between the clouds above them.
I do n't believe I can ever stand straight again," Rob said
as they stretched their cramped limbs after crawling out from
their place of shelter.
Which way shall we go, I wonder ?" Daisy said, looking
I 'm going to try this way," Rob answered, dashing off
through the bushes, followed by Benny and Watch.
Daisy lifted little drenched Bab in her arms and tried to
You can't carry me, sister," said Bab.
"Well, I can hug you, anyway," Daisy returned, and in an
instant the two sisters' arms were around one another in.a close
"Were you afraid, Daisy?" Bab asked as the two stumbled
on hand in hand.
"Yes, dreadfully, at first."
I was all the.time," went on Bab. I guess God wont like
me to be so 'fraid of his thunder."
Just then came a shout from the boys only a little ahead.
".Oh, Daisy, here's a road," cried Rob as the girls came in
sight, to draw wood, you know. Now we'll get out."
Only a little way further there was another and a merry
shout; for there, just below them, was Rest Cottage," the house
they had built in the morning and where they had eaten their din,
ner.; and'beyond that was the brook and the Hollow and home!
They stopped only a minute at the "Cottage;" but while
Benny and Bab were gathering up some stony treasures they had
left there Daisy drew Rob aside and whispered to him,
Rob, I know where your ball is."
What ball ?" in surprise.
"'Your nice one Uncle John gave you, and you thought
Benny took it."
Did n't he ?"
No; I did. Anyway, I hid it and wouldn't tell, 'cause I
"-Oh !" and Rob opened his eyes wide in surprise.
"Well, never mind," he went on generously after a minute;
A MOUNTAIN DAY.
"maybe if you had n't I'd really have lost it long before this. I
do n't care. Come on."
After that; in spite of wet clothes and sore feet, Daisy ran
and sang and laughed all the way down the stony brook way, and
of course the others caught her spirit and joined in.
The sun was shining out brightly when they reached the
public road and tramped along, "drying themselves."
Shall we go this way ?" Rob asked as they came to a pair of
bars that led to the path they had come by in the morning.
It's shorter, but it will be dreadful wet," Daisy answered.
"We are about as wet as can be," said Benny, laughing.
Oh, please do n't go in any more woods," begged Bab pite-
Well, we wont, dear," Daisy said gently, and they turned to
the road-to see in the distance a horse and wagon approaching.
Benny's eyes were the sharpest. It's Billy and your pa,"
he cried; and in an instant the two boys ran shouting like wild
Indians down the road with Watch at their heels, while the girls
followed as fast as they could. '
That night, after being well rubbed and eating a good supper,
Daisy and Rob slipped through the short grass of the orchard to
the bent tree.
It's up in the hollow, Rob, where you stuck the kitten once,
Robin ran his hand down into the hole in the branch. It
struck into a pool of water, but drew out the ball, damp, but safe
Then, in the twilight, tired little Daisy nestled by mamma's
side and told her all the story.
And, mamma," she whispered at last, "may I choose another
88 GRANDPA'S DESK.
motto for my desk?-more like Bab's, you know. Hers is best,
after all; is n't it ?"
Yes, dear; the good Book says,' Let us love one another,
for love is of God.'"
May I have that, then, mamma? I will put it there to-
And mamma kissed Daisy "good night" with a glad heart,
for she trusted that she was beginning to turn toward a life that
would lead away from self and on to all things that are sweet and
, WHAT WINS THE PRIZE.
WHAT WINS THE PRIZE.
THE days were growing shorter, though still warm and
bright. September had passed the middle, and papa's birth-
day was drawing near. Only to wait until Tuesday, and on
Wednesday school would begin in the red schoolhouse at the
The wonderful wedding, in which each child gave important
help, was over. Cousin Margie had gone, and Benny was spend-
ing the few days until Aunt Dolly's return at Rose Farm.
The day before the wedding Mamma Rose gathered her own
three little folks about her and told them all about Miss Stillman's
offer to give Benny a home, and what a good and pleasant one it
would be; "and, Bab, dear," she said in concluding, "Aunt Dolly
left word that you should be the one to tell Benny, because you
were the one who first spoke of it."
Oh dear! I wish she had said me," exclaimed Daisy.
Bab had sprung up with shining eyes. Now she stopped
and leaned a moment on mamma's shoulder.
"You can do it, sister," she said; then softly, "you know
my motto, mamma," she whispered.
But Daisy caught the whisper. And mine, too," she said
quickly; "no, Bab, you shall."
You go too, then," urged the little one, and Daisy took the
baby hand and they went into the yard, where Benny and Watch
had just made their appearance.
Where's Rob ?" asked Benny.
I do n't know," said Daisy, for Rob had suddenly disap-
Oh, Benny," exclaimed Bab, clasping her hands before him,
" we 've got such a beautiful secret for you."
"A what ?"
"A secret; and we 'll both tell you," cried Bab. Daisy, you
tell him first he is n't to go away ever any more to live in that
Why, I should think you had told him yourself," Daisy said,
But I did n't say it was with Aunt Dolly," Bab returned,
"Oh, you little goose !" and Daisy laughed more than before,
" you have now; have n't you ?"
Benny looked from one to the other until Daisy's laugh was
Yes, you are to stay with her; just as Bab says," she said
then in answer to the eager question of his eyes.
Now Benny had not had a thought but that he must go back
as soon as Miss Margie had gone away-back to the dirty streets,
the cold nights, the crusts and bones of the old days. It took
him a minute to take in all the thought of such a glad surprise.
"Benny, are n't you glad ?" questioned Bab, pressing close to
the boy. "'Cause you do n't say anything," she added in a tone
"Glad!" echoed Benny; "well, I guess!" and then his voice
broke, and he turned his face away that "girls" might not see the
tears rolling down it. Only for a minute, and then he was rolling
over and over with Watch in the grass.
"And you'll have Watch, too; wont you?" Bab cried catch-
WHAT WINS THE PRIZE
ing his spirit, "and I can see'him every time I come down
there. Oh, I 'm so glad."
Up in the barn another small boy, with very red eyes and
a snuffling nose, was peeping through a crack upon the scene
in the yard. When Benny finally came upright with the yellow
dog in his arms it quite broke down the boy looking on.
Oh dear!" he wailed with his face in the hen's nest again,
"and Watch'll go there with him of course; and he'd 'most
said I might keep him here, this winter anyway."
Then he peeped through the crack again. Watch was
walking on his hind paws with a stick in his mouth; indeed,
his little master was putting him through all his tricks, to the
great enjoyment of the two girls, whose merry laughter was
more than the sore heart of Rob could bear.
Down went his face in the hay again. "And I never saw
so cute a dog in my life," he sobbed, and I never wanted any-
thing half so much, not even a bicycle. And if old Aunt Dolly
had n't said she'd take him he'd have had to go back. I 'most
wish she had n't. But I guess I had n't better say that before
mamma. My! would n't she look at a fellow though !"
It was half an hour or more before Rob sauntered round
the corner of the house, hands in pockets and with a very clean
face, to the little side porch where the children sat.
Where have you been, Rob Rose ?" asked Daisy promptly.
Oh, round," was the answer.
Benny's been waiting and waiting, ever so long," continued
"We've got to get those flowers for Miss Margie, up in
the woods, you know," Benny added.
Come on, then," and Rob turned square about and marched off.