I _~I I
The Baldwn Librar
f i 2, LctuaJ
.Frontispiece. A JERSEY TRIO.
MY PLEASURE BOOK
witb numerous IIlustrations
J. S. VIRTUE & CO., LIMITED, 26, IVY LANE
PRINTED BY J. S. VIRTUE AND CO., LIMITED,
IT is my object, in giving this collection of stories to our
young friends, first to amuse them; and, more than this,
to teach them to know that there are stories in everything,
chiefly, that there are stories in Nature:
And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying, Here. is a story book
Thy father hath written for thee.
"' Come wander with me,' she said,
Into regions yet untrod,
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God.'
"And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
Who sang to him night and day
The rhymes of the universe."
That the child is father to the man, also is so trite a truism that no one
can underrate the great importance of teaching our young friends to love
all things, to see around them friends at every turn, to learn that Nature is a
great open story-book which they can read if they will. And so, whether the
stories given in this collection are of people, of animals, of places, or of the
green fields and the snow-mantled landscape, they will grow to know that
everything has its tale to tell. If we succeed in amusing their leisure hours
we have done much; if, through them, they gain an added interest in
the things that surround their young lives, we have done more.
At no former period in the annals of literary adventure have the wants
of children been better served than at present, and in adding this new
volume to the list we have striven to combine stories of real interest with
such illustrations as, but a few years back, would have been considered too
good" for our young friends. Nothing is "too good" for them, we know;
and in issuing our new book we have striven to make every page,
whether written or drawn, witness to the great strides that this class of
literature has made in late years.
A JERSEY TRIO 1
THE ROBIN 2
KING TNIP 5
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS 9
MY FRIEND THE BLACKCOCK .31
UNITY IS STRENGTH 34
IT is so BEATTIFUL TO LVE 38
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 43
A VIRGINIAN PRINCESS 56
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME 58
Two PLAYMATES .. 73
MAY'S DREAM 84
THE POTTER'S DAUGHTER 95
LITTLE PARTRIDGES 126
ON SHP-BOARD 132
LONGING FOR GREAT DEEDS 143
THE SHRIMP GIRL 158
AN UGLY CUSTOMER 162
So GooD-LoorING 182
A HUSHED VOICE 190
A FEATHERED FAMILY 192
FORGETFUL RANK ... 221
A JERSEY TRIO.
N EA the shore of the beautiful country of France, if you
will look at your map, you will find a group of islands
called the Channel Islands. The one furthest away from
England and nearest the French coast is called Jersey.
All these islands, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark,
are famous for their beautiful soft-eyed, smooth-coated
cows, and one of these is seen in our frontispiece. The old
cow, tethered by the horns, is being led home by the farm
girl, whilst the merry little calf walks by her other side. It is on the
sea-shore, with the blue sea in the distance, and the rich grass is gay with
bright buttercups and daisies; overhead the wild sea-gulls are flying, darting
hither and thither in merry rounds. The summer day is drawing to its
close, and soon the calf will be nestling with its mother in the manger; and
to-morrow, perhaps, if we should pass by this meadow again, we shall see
them contentedly browsing near the same bright spot.
Sa northern country, a good
many years ago, there dwelt
a rich man. Although
he was sick, he was not
unhappy; far from it,
for he was of a real
happy spirit; his was
a loving heart, and he
took the best, as it
passed, of every
pleasant thing. And,
Sweak and weary as he
was, he was never
heard to complain,
seldom to confess his
Sorry state. To this
good man the gentlest
things were the sweetest; the simplest his greatest joy. They needed no
exertion on his part; their quiet simplicity gave him joy and rest.
And as he lay on 'his couch, no hasty thoughts disturbed, no regret for his
lot crossed his simple mind. And so, from the Heaven, one day a sweet com-
panion was sent him, a little redbreasted robin. He was a merry fellow, full
of song, of freedom, and of joy. He came, as welcome as a sunbeam, into
that sick man's room, to utter all the joy of his own content. The air with-
out was wintry cold, and he had no fear as he sought this sick man in his
room. Great was the joy of the man, and very welcome was the robin to his
couch, safe from the cold and care. He was a cautious robin, too, for when
footsteps sounded on the oaken floor, he never ventured to show even the tip
of his beak, but waited, unsuspected by any save his friend, in a hiding-place,
until he heard them go. He had no wish that any but himself and his kind
host should know what happiness was his, and when these two friends were
left alone, and no one else could see, Robin left .his hiding-place, and happy in
the happiness of his true friend, came to cheer his solitary hours. Yes, they
* THE ROBIN.
were indeed great friends. At meal-times they ate off the same dish, the
sick man of his dainties and the robin of the fruits, and they drank out of
one cup. This was the sick man's welcome, and, although the snow and ice
lay white without, whilst Robin was here he seemed to fancy that he was back
in the orchards on a summer's day, so good was his feast. He had no fear of
his friend, and no movement of that trusted man caused a flutter in his breast.
When he had finished his hearty meal, he was in no haste to leave, but,
proud of his friendship and of himself, he dressed his feathers, like a well-
ordered robin, in the warm glow of the sick man's fire, and then, tuning his
sweetest note, sang-with all his little robin heart. This was a happy time!
Happy for himself and twice happy for his friend. Every note that trilled
from his throat welled up from his heart and spoke of his love and friend-
ship for his host. How sweetly he sang! and how every note seemed to tell
his thanks It was a great love that taught him to sing as surely no robin
ever sang before. And the sick man, how he loved this merry happy little-
fellow! He came to him from the free outside world, where he himself dare
not venture, except, perchance on some distant summer evening, when the
sweet hushed breeze has only strength enough to stir the leaves into one soft
murmur. And whilst the Robin's song-story touched him with one gentle
regret, it soothed him all the same, for it breathed into his heart of hearts a
message of the one mighty gentle name, and taught him something, of that
Great Love. Yes; that robin and that sick man were real friends.
Have you a "robin," reader? W. L. C.
ITHE history pf a turnip may not sound
a very inviting story, but if you will
listen to me I will tell you how a
poor man became rich in honour
and in wealth through a mighty
//I It was a great many years ago,
when men walked about with glit-
tering swords at their sides, and
Ji-.. .. feathers in their caps. It was in
the land across the sea called
Saxony, and in the great city of that country there dwelt two brothers, one
name Fritz and the other called, among his intimate friends, thriftlesss
Joe." Now Fritz was a great man, proud and rich, with his armed ser-
vants and his fine city house. Poor Joe, however, was not so lucky-
some say that he was born on a Friday, a sad fate in those days-and
only owned one small turnip-field. But though, when they chanced to
meet, the proud Fritz only muttered a recognition of his thriftless brother,
Joe never envied him his riches. He was always merry, and like Rip Van
Winkle in the old story, a great favourite with the neighbours, for his gay
laugh and ready smile was welcome everywhere. One day, as Joe was
watching his good wife preparing his dinner, the good lady asked him to
go and fetch her a turnip. Off he ran, and taking down his spade from the
hook where it always hung, set off for his turnip patch. Bravely he dug
away, until one large root he tugged at all in vain. But Joe was not to be
beaten; when he took it into his head to do a thing he did it. He tugged
and tugged, but the root was mighty tough. He worked away with a will,
and at last, with one great heave, up came the turnip, and poor Joe lay panting
with the effort. It was a turnip Such a size, nearly three times as big as
his head. Now, in all the years he had been growing turnips, Joe never
saw one half so big. It was immense; and while he sat there he thought that
PROUD FRITZ AND THRIFTLESS JOE.
it was a great pity to have this king turnip all to himself, and he determined
to take it to the King. So up he got, and putting his treasure in a sack,
after many tries, at last got it on to his back and set out for the town, and
went straight up to the castle gate, where His Majesty dwelt with his
courtiers. After a while poor Joe, nearly tired out with carrying this great
weight, gained the hall, where the King and all the court sat in the finest
state. It was enough to dazzle a braver man than Joe, for the monarch sat
on his gilded throne surrounded by the wise men and the mighty men of
that ancient city. On his right stood the learned doctors, and "black-rod"
stood at the back, just in front of "my Lord Chamberlain." As' he had
got so far poor Joe did not see why he should not state his errand; so he took
from the sack the mighty root, and without more ado said, 0 please, your
Majesty, this turnip is for you." Then the learned doctor shook his head,
and "black-rod" shook his head, and "my Lord Chamberlain" shook his
JOE PRESENTS HIS KING TUIRNIP.
head also. The turnip was indeed a mighty one, quite a king turnip; but
was it fit for His Majesty? Then the good old King did a rare thing; he
actually laughed! The oldest lord of the chamber had not known His
Majesty to laugh so merrily before. Then he clapped his hands and gave
commands that his courtiers should not shake their heads. Poor Joe did not
know what to make of it all, but now the King turned to him and let him
know by thanks and gold to boot how much he prized this wonderful turnip-
root. He made poor Joe the thriftless Inspector General of Turnips on the
spot. Poor Joe, a minute ago shaking in his shoes, now felt as proud, as he
was almost as rich, as his wealthy brother Fritz.
When the King had gazed his fill at the mighty turnip, Joe strode away
with his sack as heavy as before, but this time, instead of the turnip, his
bag was full of gold. As he went along all the townspeople followed him
and made a noisy din, calling out, There's Joe 0 my, the king has talked
to him." As he passed his brother's house, that proud man poked his head
out of the window to learn what the noise meant; and wasn't he surprised and
jealous to see Joe so famous! "This won't do," says he, "to be outdone by
thriftless Joe, with his stupid turnip." So he packs all sorts of precious
things into a bag and off he sets for the castle. Not a bit afraid was he,
for he knew that he had got much more valuable things in his bag than Joe
ever had in all his house. So when he got to the King he offered all his
presents to the monarch. His Majesty was, no doubt, pleased, and he said,
"0 Fritz, you bring us things so rich and rare, we scarcely know what to
bestow on you;' but we will not spare, and give you what we deem most to
be a treasure-this turnip rare." Proud Fritz, what did he care about his
brother's king turnip! So away he rode, so terribly vexed and upset that
he pined away, and shortly died, some say out of sheer vexation.
Thriftless Joe became a famous man with wealth and children blest, and
lived many a long day to tell his friends how his good fortune came from
digging turnips, and one "King Turnip" in particular.
W. L. C.
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
BOUT ten miles from Salisbury, and
near the Downs, there is a cele-
brated establishment for breeding
and training racehorses. Of the
boys engaged here a few years ago
was one of the name of Jack Sim-
mons. He was an intelligent, well-
conducted lad about fifteen years
of age, and much liked both by his
seniors and his companions. He
was quiet and good-natured, of a
generous disposition, and very
rarely out of humour, although,
S when anything did happen to pro-
--y--- voke him, he was very apt to use
physical force in showing his dis-
pleasure. This tendency, however, had been considerably subdued during his
residence ih the establishment, where he had then been about three years.
His partial reformation could hardly be attributed to any conviction of its
impropriety, but rather to the care taken of. him by the official who had the
boys under his control. The same measures Jack employed towards his
companions this official used towards him in expressing any disapprobation.
Jack, to do him justice, admitted the force of these arguments, and the result
was that at last he became a very good companionable sort of fellow.
Io THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
The less said about Jack's education and his capacity for learning, the
better for his reputation. He was very fond of reading, however; but then
the books he chose were hardly calculated to improve his mind. Although
very fascinating to boys some years younger than he was, they were not such
as lads of fifteen are apt to select either for their improvement or instruction.
They came under the category of fairy tales; and if he ever quitted these
for what might be termed a higher class of books, he never departed from
the legendary and absurd, but would gloat over the legends of King Arthur
and the Knights of the Round Table, of King Alfred's adventures in the
Cottage, and other things of the same kind.
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
Of all these tales and legends none made a stronger impression on our
hero's mind than the story of Jack and the Seven-leagued Boots. This he
read over and over again till he could have repeated it word for word.
Indeed when out in the morning with the other boys exercising the horses
he would turn over in his mind during the gallop the story of the seven-
=ING ARTHMIIRS BOUND TABLE.
league boots, and draw comparisons, much to the disadvantage of his horse,
on the superior speed obtained by the wearer of the boots, reducing to insig-
nificance the pace of the sluggish animal he rode. He brought forward the
wonders of the seven-leagued boots on every conceivable opportunity, till at
last his companions became tired of it. Whenever Jack began the story they
teased him so unmercifully that at length he ceased to speak of it.
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
But although Jack ceased to speak of his favourite story, it pertinaciously
kept its place in his memory, till at length a circumstance occurred which
proved the utter absurdity of the whole story. One day when the boys were
out exercising the horses, the stud-groom saw, or fancied he saw, some
indications of a swelling in the pastern joint of Peter the Great, the horse
on which Jack was mounted. As this horse was engaged to run in a race in
a few days' time, he told Jack to pull up. Jack immediately obeyed, and
the stud-groom, dismounting from his own horse, and giving the bridle to
Jack, carefully examined the suspected joint. But he had apparently some
difficulty in making up his mind whether or not there was a tendency
to swelling; and he stood for some moments looking at the horse's hoof
without being able to come to a settled conclusion. At length he
determined that the most prudent plan would be not to fatigue the horse
any more that day, but to send him home, and let him rest in his stable,
and then examine the swelling after the animal had rested for a short
Taking the bridle from the boy's hand, he mounted his own horse. Then,
telling Jack to dismount, he ordered him to lead the horse quietly back to the
stables, taking care to keep as much as possible on the greensward on his
way, and to lead the horse gently over the short distance of the high road he
would have to pass. Jack did as he was told, and commenced to lead the
horse slowly home. On his road he had to pass the little cottage of a poor
old widow from whom the boys occasionally bought apples and ginger-beer,
and similar luxuries. As the morning had been warm, and Jack had under-
gone a considerable amount of exertion, he naturally felt thirsty. So he
determined to diverge a little from his direct homeward course, and buy a
bottle of ginger-beer from the poor woman. On arriving at the house he
called to her somewhat loudly to. bring him a bottle of ginger-beer. The
woman, who was in the garden, on hearing Jack's voice, hastened to obey
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
him, and entering the cottage came out of it again a few moments afterwards,
bringing with her an earthen mug and the bottle of beer.
"Come, be quick said Jack, "there's a good old soul! How can you
be so slow when I'm dying with thirst ?"
KING ALFRED IN THE NEATHERD'S COTTAGE.
Ah my dear," said the woman, "if you suffered from rheumatism as
bad as I do, you'd think I went quite fast enough, I can tell you."
There, come now, don't chatter in that way," said Jack imperiously;
"give me the beer. By the bye, whose boots are those I see ? he continued
THE'SEVEN-LEA GUED BOOTS.
pointing to a pair of those hob-nailed, inflexible-looking articles worn by
ploughmen, hung up inside the cottage. "Whose boots are those ? Why,
you haven't got a husband, have you, and never told us anything about it? "
No, my dear, they're my sister's son's. He's been out of work for some
time past, and to-morrow he's got a job, so he sent his boots to be mended,
and they came here this morning. Now, my dear, you hold the mug while
I draw the cork." So saying, she put the mug in Jack's hand, while she
untied the string that fastened the cork.
"Now, I say," said Jack, still joking with her, "are you quite certain
that the boots are your sister's son's, and that you haven't got married after
Ah! no- Bang went the cork with a report almost as loud as
when a pistol is fired off, 'and the ginger-beer followed it, flowing over on
The horse, startled at the sound, jerked the bridle out of Jack's hand,
and galloped off over the downs, leaving Jack utterly aghast.
"Here, Tom," cried the old woman to her nephew, who was in the garden
at the back of the house, here's the horse run away. Come and .help to
catch it, will you?"
Tom, a fine-looking farm-labourer, kicked off a pair of miserable old
slippers, and, without stopping to put on his boots, rushed with Jack over
the down to catch the horse.
This was a work of no little difficulty. True, the horse, as soon as his
first alarm was over, stopped, and commenced nibbling the short grass on the
downs; but the moment his pursuers got within a few yards of him, he again
started off, and running some distance further commenced browsing. In this
manner things went on for more than two hours. The horse apparently haji
a malicious pleasure in allowing his pursuers to come within a few yards of
him, and then darting off- again as swiftly as before.. At length they came
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
near a farm-house, when a labourer in the stables, seeing what was going on,
came forward with a sieve of corn in his hand. He held it out in such a
manner as to attract the attention of the horse, and at last succeeded in getting
close enough to catch hold of the bridle, which he held fast till Jack and his
companion came up.
Jack was now some distance from home, and was thirsty, hungry, and
fatigued, as well as dispirited and
out of humour. Disobeying the
instructions which had been given =
him to lead the horse, he mounted
it (though he had the good sense
to dismount again before he came
in sight of the stables) and took
the road homeward, though only
at a walk, so as to let the horse,
when he should arrive, show as
little symptom as possible of hav-
ing been overdriven. At length -
he reached the stables, where he
found the other horses had already
arrived, and the stud-groom
watching in a state of great .
anxiety for Jack's approach.
Jack narrated his disaster with tolerable truthfulness, taking care, how-
ever, to give the full measure of blame to the unskilfulness of the widow in
drawing the cork of the ginger-beer bottle. The groom listened attentively
to Jack's story, and examining the horse found that, although it had under-
gone a considerable amount of exercise, there was no further appearance of
swelling; so he ordered it to be taken into the stable, and, good-naturedly
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
treating the whole affair as an accident, allowed Jack to go without
Having been much fatigued during his morning's occupation, Jack
would willingly have stayed indoors during the remainder of the day. This
indulgence, however, was not accorded him, and he was obliged to con-
tinue his duties till the evening. Before supper he stretched himself on a
bench to pass the time till the meal should be ready, and closing his eyes he
turned over in his mind the events of the morning. He compared the speed of
his gallop on the downs with that which could be obtained by the fortunate
wearer of the seven-leagued boots. He then remembered the stud-groom
stopping him and examining the hoof of the horse, and giving him the order
to walk the horse quietly home. He traced his course as far as the cottage
of the widow, and once again he saw inside it a pair of boots; but they were
no longer the hob-nailed abominations worn by agricultural labourers, but a
neater pair of jockey-boots than had ever been turned out of the workshop of
Hoby or any other celebrated boot-maker. While he was looking with
admiration at the boots, earnestly wishing that he had such a pair, and
thinking of the envy such an acquisition would cause in the breasts of the
other boys, the old woman-whose appearance now strongly resembled that
of a witch, the resemblance still further increased by her carrying a large
broom in her hand-ran from, the back of the house, and angrily, demanded
what he wanted. Jack, greatly surprised at her altered appearance, was
about to ask her for a bottle of ginger-beer, when his horse, frightened at
the broom the old woman carried in her hand, started off at a furious gallop
over the downs.
Jack, utterly aghast at the occurrence, and quite deprived of the power
of moving, watched his horse till it had disappeared. The full extent of his
misfortune now came before him. Not only might the horse-a very valu-
able one-meet with some accident, but he became alarmed at the thought
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
of the reception he would receive from the stud-groom when he returned
"See what you've done with that broom, of yours! he exclaimed at last
to the old woman. "What do you mean by carrying such a thing about
with you ? Why, its enough to frighten any high-spirited horse out of its
skin, without that ugly face of yours, you old witch !"
Mind what you say," said the woman. "If you don't, I'll punish you."
"You punish me said Jack,
looking at her with contempt. "If
I'd no more to fear than any punish-
ment you could give me, I should
be well off."
"If you get a sound beating
when you get home," said the
woman, "it will serve you right,
lazy fellow that you are, standing
there abusing a poor old creature
like me instead of trying to catch
"What's the use of my trying
to catch it?" said Jack, sulkily.
" Do you think I should ever be able to do so ?"
Come," said the old woman good-naturedly, "shall I help you ?"'
Vexed as he was, Jack could not help laughing at her remark, for the
idea of the decrepit old woman he saw before him catching a runaway race-
horse had something irresistibly ludicrous in it.
"Ah you may laugh," she said, guessing his thoughts; "I don't mean
that I could run fast enough to catch the horse myself, but if I chose I could
put you in the way of running a good deal faster."
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
I wish you would, then," said Jack, in a much more civil tone than he
had yet used; "you'd do me a very great service."
"Oh said the old woman, "you can speak civilly enough, like most
persons, when they want to get anything, I can see that."
"Well, then," said Jack, coaxingly, "now just think for yourself the
trouble I shall get into if I go back without the horse ; and as you frightened
him away, isn't it only fair play on your part to help me to catch him
"Well," said the woman, I don't mean to say I can insure your catching
him again. What I did say was, that I could give you the faculty of running
a good deal faster than he can. And as you've now managed to get a civil
tongue in your head, I'll give you the power if you wish it."
Jack assured her that he should be eternally obliged to her if she would.
Then I will," said the woman. "Look at those boots," she continued,
pointing to the pair of jockey boots already mentioned. "I've no doubt
that, as a young gentleman of education, you've heard of the celebrated
seven-leagued boots that Jack wore."
"I have," said the lad, his eyes sparkling with pleasure.
"Well, those are the identical boots," said the old woman, "and very
wonderful they are. They fit every person who puts them on-no matter
whether their feet be large or small. If you put them on, they'd fit you as
if you'd been born in them, and every step you then took would be seven
leagues long. They have also another peculiarity, that the person who puts
them on in the daytime cannot take them off till after nightfall."
That at any rate would be no hardship," said Jack. "I wish you'd
lend them to me for a day or two, and you'd oblige me very much."
"Well, my dear, I will, since you speak so civilly," said the old woman,
and going into the cottage she brought out the boots.
Jack immediately pulled off his own shoes, and drew on the boots the old
'FEWER THE OGEAT.!'
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
woman had lent him. He had immediate proof that in one respect at least
she had spoken the truth. Although they had appeared somewhat large
for him, he had no sooner put them on than he found they fitted him like a
Now," said the old woman, who appeared to read his thoughts instinc-
tively, you see what I told you as to their fitting you is true. You'd better
try their speed now, and start off after your horse."
Jack immediately obeyed, and taking two steps found himself in a cemetery,
with two smart modern Gothic chapels in it, as well as the ruins of an old
church. Greatly surprised, he asked an old man who was standing near him
if he had seen a race-horse running loose.
"Well," said the man, looking at him with astonishment, I can't say I
have; and, what's more than that, if I was looking for one, Basingstoke
churchyard ain't exactly the place I should choose to find him in."
"Basingstoke churchyard! said Jack, greatly astonished. "Why, how
far am I from Salisbury ?"
"A matter of more than forty-two miles, I should calculate," said the
Jack was thunderstruck at this intelligence, and, striking his forehead
with his hand, remained for some moments in doubt what he should do. At
last the very reasonable idea occurred to him, that his best plan would be to
go back again. So he asked the man in what direction Salisbury lay. .The
old man merely pointed with his finger, looking at Jack the while as if he
thought him crack-brained. Jack immediately took two steps back again,
but having from the commencement made a slight variation from the direct
line to Salisbury, he stopped at a locality on the downs about six miles from
the spot where he had lost the horse. Here he saw a farm labourer, and
beckoning to him, inquired whether he had seen anything of a race-horse
with a saddle and bridle on him, running about the country.
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
I can't say I have," said the man, but I heard a mate of mine say he'd
met somebody that had seen one galloping about the downs without a rider,
about eight or nine miles that way there over yonder."
"FOUND HIM ELF IN A CEMETERY."
Jack immediately took two steps in the direction indicated, and found
himself on the top of a beautifully-wooded hill, looking down on a large and
flourishing town, with more than one church in it, and several fine buildings.
22 THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
Fairly perplexed what to do, he threw himself on the grass and began to cry.
Indeed he sobbed so loudly, that he attracted the attention of a female servant
who was passing. Going up to him she asked what was the matter, and if
she could do anything for him. Jack, soothed by her kind tone, turned
round, and, sitting upon the grass, said to her with tears streaming down
his eyes, "I've lost a race-horse, and can't find him anywhere."
"Well," said the girl, "I don't know much about race-horses, but from
what I've heard of them I should judge that the worst possible way of
catching them when they've run away is to lay down with your face on the
grass and cry."
"There's some truth in that," said Jack; but what can I do ?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you," she replied; "I would if I could. But
I'm going down into Sherborne, and I'll ask everybody I meet who comes
from the country, if they've seen a race-horse running about, and if they
say they have I'll send you word."
Thank you," said Jack. "But tell me, did you say that place was
Yes, it is," said the girl.
And how far is Sherborne from Salisbury ?"
"Well," she replied, "a matter of. forty or forty-two miles. I don't
know exactly, but that's what people say."
Jack, when he heard this, fairly bellowed aloud.
"Why, you great simpleton," said the girl, "what do you mean by
crying in that manner, as if you were a little boy of four years old in a
parish school ? I'm ashamed of you. I was going to say you ought to have
been a girl instead of a boy; but no girl of your age would make such a fool
of herself." So saying, she gave her head a toss, and continued her road to
No sooner had she gone, than Jack began to consider what steps he had
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
better take. He had now fairly discovered that a pair of seven-leagued boots
were by no means so desirable for human wear as he had hitherto imagined;
on the contrary, they were a nuisance, and the best thing he could do would
be to get rid of them again as quickly as possible. He now determined to
pull them off, and, being actuated by a spirit of philanthropy, to throw them
into the stream as he crossed the bridge on entering Sherborne, so that no
unfortunate individual might in ignorance put them on. He now set
"A BEAUTIFUL WOODED HILL."
vigorously to work to get them off, but found that in this respect, as well as
in every other, the old woman had told him the truth. By no exertions on
his part could he succeed; they clung to his legs as pertinaciously as his
Jack now remained for some moments the picture of hopeless despair.
He then began to abuse the witch for having deceived him ; but, on a
moment's consideration, he was obliged to desist, for he could not help
1~ -L --~
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
admitting that the boots. only possessed the properties she had mentioned.
They fitted him exactly: at each step they carried him seven leagues ;' and
now he discovered that those who put them on in the day could not take
them off again during daylight. The only consolation he experienced arose
from the assurance she had given him, that the wearer, if he pleased, could
take them off at night ; and, from her other statements having come true,,
he had no reason to doubt that when evening arrived he -should be able to
get rid of them. But when evening came, where should he then be ? He
must either remain where he was on the hill overlooking Sherborne, or be in
some other locality where he had perhaps never been in his life before, and
far away from his home.
Jack remained for more than an hour seated on the grass, a prey to the
most melancholy thoughts. The very natural idea at last occurred to him,
that whether he resolved on making further attempts to catch Peter the
Great, or on returning to the stables and candidly explaining to the stud-
groom what had happened, neither could be accomplished by sitting where
he was. He now rose from his seat, and was about to leave the spot, when
he remembered that he could not take a step which reached less than twenty-
one miles, whether it was in the proper direction or not.
The idea so terrified him that he immediately reseated himself, and
clutched his knee tightly so as to prevent his moving; for he dreaded going
in a wrong direction, and began to calculate how Salisbury stood in relation
to Sherborne. Before he had come to a conclusion, he saw a groom in livery
approaching him from the direction of the town. The groom, who was passing
at a few paces from him, saw him, and came towards him.
"Where did you get those boots ?" the groom said, looking at them with
an expression of intense admiration. "I never saw a better-made pair in
my life. Tell me the maker's name, and I'll get my master to give him an
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS. 25
"I don't know the maker's name," said Jack, evading the question, "or
I would tell you willingly. They were got for me."
I never saw anything like them in my life; why, they are just the
I'm glad you like them," said Jack; "I'd willingly give them to you,
if I could get them off."
Jack said this with so much appearance of truth, that the groom fully
Get them off ? he said. "Why, they don't seem to be such a tight
fit, after all."
"But they are," said Jack, and I can't get them off."
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
Let me help you," said the groom; and he and Jack together made
violent efforts to pull them off. But all in vain. The boots remained as
tightly fixed on Jack's legs as if they had been nailed to them.
"Well, I never saw such a tight fit in my life," said the groom.
"But now," said Jack, "I want you to give me a little advice. I was
leading a race-horse home, when he got loose and ran away, and I want to
"Well," said the groom, "you seem to have uncommon ideas of the way
to catch a runaway race-horse. Do you think you are likely to find him
by sitting still on the grass, nursing your knee ? What's the horse's
Peter the Great."
"Why, he's entered to run at Newmarket the day after to-morrow. If
I were you, I would go there."
Jack determined to follow the man's advice, and, rising, asked him if he
could tell him the way to Newmarket.
"The way to Newmarket ? Why, how should I know? It's hundreds
of miles from here! "
"No matter," said Jack; "which is the way?."
"Somewhere out there, I suppose," said the groom, pointing in a north-
easterly direction. "But I don't know rightly."
Jack, without bidding his new acquaintance good-bye, started off, and,
after a series of strides, stopped and asked a man if he was anywhere near
"No," said the man, "it's at least twelve miles off."
"Which way ? asked Jack.
"That way, due west," said the man, who had something of the appear-
ance of a sailor.
Jack immediately took a stride, and, on inquiring, found he had passed it
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
by about nine miles. He now began a somewhat abstruse calculation to
determine, if he made a series of equilateral triangles-the first step being
towards the north-east, the second south-east, and the third due west-
whether by repeating the process, and each time slightly altering the direc-
tion of the base of the triangle, he might not in time reach Newmarket. He
- aw A
determined to try the experiment, and having three times completed the
triangles he stopped to ask a man if he was far from Newmarket.
Don't know rightly," said the man, "but I suspect it's a matter of five
Here was encouragement for Jack to persevere with his triangular system.
YbL .'-~- ~s=~-a
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
He did so, and with so much success, that in less than an hour he found
himself on Newmarket race-course. Being now fairly out of breath, he
stopped for some moments to recover himself. Then, seeing a jockey
approaching, Jack asked if he had heard anything of Peter the Great.
".The horse, do you mean?"
Yes, he's entered to run here, isn't he ?"
ABOUTHEE ==LES FROM CAAI.S."
"Run here! No. What are you talking about? He's to run at Dover
races the day after to-morrow."
And which is the way to Dover ? inquired Jack.
How should I know ?" said the jockey; "somewhere in the south."
Jack's ideas of geography were by no means profound. Still, he knew
that Dover was on the coast, so that when he reached the sea, it would be
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
time for him to stop to ask his way, so he started again as fast as he could.
Indeed, so fast was his, pace and so great was his impetus, that when he
reached the cliffs of Dover, he could not stop himself. To prevent himself
falling into the sea, he took another stride right across the Channel, and
landed about three miles to the east of Calais.
Jack now determined to rest for a moment and collect his scattered senses,
but a new adventure awaited him. He found himself collared by a French
custom-house officer, who said to
him in very broken English, Ah,
I've caught you, have I? You want
to smuggle something, do you ?"
Jack protested his innocence,
but the officer would take no excuse.
He told Jack to come with him to
be locked up for the night, and that
the next morning he should be
taken before the Maire of Calais to
give an account of himself. But as
he still kept a firm hold of his collar,
Jack could not, with the officer's
weight added to his own, move one
step. The officer thought Jack was obstinate, and being a very powerful man
he placed his arm round his prisoner's waist, and lifting him from the ground
carried him to his house, and locked him up in a little room, there to
remain. till the next day.
Jack was now perfectly miserable, and he remained there bewailing his
unhappy fate till night had set in. Then he remembered the witch had told
him that he could take off his boots if he pleased. He made the trial, and
they came off his feet with the greatest ease. Jack's mind was now consider-
THE SEVEN-LEAGUED BOOTS.
ably relieved, for the idea of being immured in a French dungeon sunk into
insignificance when compared to the misery he had got rid of. He now slept
quietly through the night, and next morning, when the officer ordered him to
accompany him to' Calais, Jack immediately prepared to obey him, carrying
his seven-leagued boots in his hand.
Why do you not put on your boots ? said the officer; "are you afraid
of wearing them out ?"
"No, they hurt me, and I'm going to throw them into the sea."
"Are you mad ? asked the officer. If jou don't want them, give them
to me. I think they would just fit me, and my own are nearly worn out."
"Take them and welcome," said Jack.
The officer took him at his word,.and kicking off his own shoes put on
Why, they fit me capitally. I wonder whether they are easy to walk
"Try," said Jack, and the officer took one step and was out of sight in a
Jack, without shoes, now started off as fast as he could run towards
Calais, guided by the masts of the shipping he saw in the harbour. He
contrived to enter the town and reach the port, where he found a steamboat
about to start for England. Jack immediately rushed on board, and was in
the act of descending to the cabin when some one caught hold of him, and
said, Come, we can't stand this snoring any longer."
Jack looked round him, and found himself at home with his companions,
*who had supped while he slept. Although the whole had been a dream, it
made a strong impression on Jack's memory. For the future he was fully of
opinion that a more cruel punishment could not be imagined than condemning
a man to wear a pair of seven-leagued boots.
MY FRIEND THE BLACKCOCK.
SWAS sitting on a moor, one August day,
under the shade of a small clump of ash,
and well screened by the bracken which
rose high around me, when I sud-
denly heard the whirr-r-r of wings,
and looking up cautiously, saw a
Fine old blackcock skimming along.
His pinions were now almost motion-
less, and I noticed, by the gradual
S- alteration of the angle of his body,
'- that he meant to alight on a rock on
the other side of the valley in which
I was, and not more than thirty-five yards from my seat. This he did, dropping
his legs neatly down just at the right moment to break the fall, and clapping
his wings to his side. Fortunately for my observation, his head was turned
away from me, and such wind as there was blew from his direction. Quietly
-he walked to the .edge of the rock, drew himself up with dignity and began
to discourse. He was very portly and sleek, and reminded me irresistibly of
a city magnate, ambitious of parliamentary honours, addressing his consti-
tuents: there was a great deal of chuckling in his throat, and he fussed' and
fumed as he stepped from side to side; then there was more gurgling and his
neck was yet more swollen, and if his face had not already been purple and
black, I feel sure it would have become so from the excessive excitement under
which he was labouring. But it soon ended, and he then calmly rubbed his
beak on the moss and began prosaically to search cracks'and crannies for any-
thing suitable for a mid-day meal. -He was apparently in high spirits, and
desirous of rehearsing a little, so as to be in grand voice for the forthcoming
32 MY FRIEND THE BLACKCOCK.
spring. In the picture he is represented advancing to the edge of the natural
platform, and, as it were, commencing his discourse with, Friends, we are here
to-day before you to redress the wrongs of the whole blackcock race," &c., &c.
UNITY IS STRENGTH.
A VERY curious case of a combination on the part of animals to rid them-
selves of a foe occurred near the Winterberg, a mountain to the north of the
eastern frontier of the Cape of Good Hope.
In this locality there were several troops of baboons, young and old, which
resided in the deep rocky ravines, and gambolled among the fearful precipices
around. Very human were these creatures in their appearance and habits,
especially when suddenly alarmed; the mammas were then seen to catch up
their young ones, who clung round their parents' necks, and were thus carried
rapidly to the summit of the rocks, where they would grimace and cough out
their defiance at the intruder, who had ventured into their domain.
An enemy, however, once found his way into their stronghold, and this
was an enemy hungry, cunning, and powerful. It was a Cape leopard. '
UNITY IS STRENGTH.
Crouching down among the long grass, or amidst the crevices of the
rocks, the leopard would suddenly spring upon a young baboon, and actually
devour it before the eyes of its screeching parents. Strong as is a baboon,
the leopard is yet far stronger, and with its terrible claws could soon tear to
pieces the largest male baboon.
A LEOPARD REPOSING.
During some days the leopard feasted on baboons, but at length these
creatures combined, and jointly attacked the leopard. They did not really
mean to risk a pitched battle with him, for these creatures evidently knew
and respected his great powers. T ey had, too, as the result proved, deter-
mined on a safer and more crafty method of proceeding.
The leopard, fearing the combined strength of his adversaries, left their
UNITY IS STRENGTH.
neighbourhood, and retreated across country, but he was followed by nearly
all the large baboons.
On went the leopard; on followed the baboons. The day was hot, and
the leopard disliked this perpetual tramping, and so tried to seek a retreat
and lie down and rest. Then it was that the baboons closed round and
worried him. Soon, too, he began to thirst, his tongue hanging out of his
mouth, and the white foam covering his jaws.
Water was soon scented by the hunted brute, and to this it rapidly made
its way: but now the baboons became frantic; they closed on to the leopard
some by their great activity actually tearing him with their sharp teeth, and
the creature could not drink. The baboons could relieve one another, and
some could eat and drink too, whilst their companions continued worrying
During two days and a night the country for several miles along the
course of these creatures was startled by the cries of pursuer and pursued,
and several farmers were witnesses from a distance of portions of the scene
here described. They would not interfere, but watched the baboons' method
of administering justice.
Worn out with exhaustion and thirst, the leopard at length could totter.
on no further, and sank to the ground a prey to the baboons, who, in spite of
his claws and teeth, which were yet formidable, attacked him with their
whole force and soon tore him to pieces, they themselves escaping with only
a few severe scratches.
Assembling their forces, the baboons returned rapidly to their stronghold,
where they. were welcomed by their females and young with choruses of loud
and triumphant barks, which were continued during the greater part of the
night, whilst for several days the excitement did not seem to calm down,
but was shown by the unusual noises which proceeded from this curious.
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE.
STwas little Marie's birthday,-the most beautiful of all days,
she thought. All her small girl-friends and.boy-friends
came to play with her, and she wore her finest frock: this
had been given to her by Grandmother, who was now with
the good God; but Grandmother had cut it, and made it
herself before she went up into the bright beautiful
heavens. The table in Marie's room was shining with
-presents: there was the prettiest little kitchen, with
all-the belongings of a kitchen; and a doll that could twist its eyes, and
cry "ugh !" when you pinched its stomach; ah! and there was a picture-
book too, full of the prettiest stories, to be read when somebody could read.
But it was more beautiful than all the stories in the world to live to see many
Oh, it is so beautiful to live! said the little Marie. Godfather said
that was the most beautiful fairy tale."
In the room next her were both her brothers; they were big boys, one of
them nine years old, and the other eleven. They thought it beautiful to live
A HAPPY FAMILY.
40 IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE.
too, to live in their way; not to be babies like Marie, but thorough-going
schoolboys; to get their high mark in class, to fight their schoolfellows, and
like them all the better for it; to skate in the winter, and ride velocipedes in
summer; to read of baronial castles, with drawbridges and dungeons, and to
read of discoveries in Central Africa. On this subject, though, one of the
boys had a misgiving-that all might be discovered before he was grown a
man: then he was to go out on adventures. Life is the most beautiful fairy
tale, said Godfather, and one takes a part in it oneself.
It was on the parlour-floor these children played and lived; on the flat
above them dwelt another branch of the family. .And here too were children,
but they had slipped their leading strings, they were so big; one son was
seventeen, and another twenty; but one of them was very old indeed, said
little Marie: he was twenty-five, and-engaged to be married. All of them
were well off; had good parents, good clothes, good attainments; and they
knew their own minds.
"Clear the way! down with the old hoardings!" said they: "a free
look-out into the wide world: that is the finest thing we know of! God-
father is right; life is the most beautiful fairy tale of all! "
Father and mother, both elderly people (older than the children, naturally)
said with smiles on their lips, in their eyes, and in their hearts, "How young
they are, the young folk! things won't go on in the world just as they
fancy; still, they will go on! Life is a wonderful, beautiful fairy tale!"
Higher up-a little nearer the sky, as we say when people occupy the
attics-lived Godfather. Old was he, and yet so young in mind; always in
good spirits. Many.a long story could he tell. Far and wide had he been
in the world, and from all the lands of the world were pretty tokens standing
in his room. There were pictures from floor to ceiling, and some of the
window-panes were of red or yellow glass; if one looked through them, the
whole world lay in sunshine, however grey it might be outside. There were
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE.
green plants growing in a great glass case, and in a globe attached to it
there were gold fish swimming-they looked at one as if they knew many
things they would not talk about. There was a sweet smell of flowers here
always, even in the winter; and in winter-time a great fire blazed on the
hearth; it was so amusing to sit looking into it, and to hear how it cracked
"It reads old memories out loud to me," said Godfather: and it seemed
to little Marie moreover as if many pictures showed themselves in the fire.
But in the large carved bookcase close by stood the real books: and the one
which Godfather read oftenest he called the book of books; it was the Bible.
There was pictured the history of the world, and all mankind; of the
Creation, the Flood, the Kings, and the King of kings.
All that has happened, and all that will happen, is written in this
book! said Godfather. "So infinitely much in one single- book! Ay, and
all that man has to pray for, is entered there, in the prayer Our Father.'"
It is the drop of mercy said Godfather; it is the pearl of comfort
from God. It is laid as a gift on the child's cradle, is laid on the child's
heart. Little child, keep it carefully! never lose it, however big thou
mayest grow; and thou wilt not be forsaken on life's changeful way-it will
beam bright within thee-and thou wilt never be lost.".
42 IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE.
Godfather's eyes were brightened by it, till they shone with joy; once in
his years of youth they had wept, and this, too, was good," he said. "That
was the time of trial; then all looked dark: now I have sunshine within and
around me. The older one grows the clearer one sees, in adversity and pros-
perity, that Our Lord is in it all, that life is the most beautiful fairy tale:
that this only He can give us, and that this goes on into eternity "
"It is beautiful to live !" said the little Marie; so, too, said the small
and big boys; father and mother, the whole family, and chief of all God-
father: and he had experience; he was the oldest of them all; knew all
stories: and he said, Life is the most beautiful fairy tale."
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
"SAIL ho!" The cheering cry from the masthead aroused the slumbering
watch of Her Majesty's brig Pantaloon, and
dispelled the waking dreams in which I, the
Officer of the watch, was indulging.
SWe were cruising -looking out for
nl slavers-off the mouth of the Congo; and
-- as a pleasant change in the middle of the
B rainy season, the night was starlight. Send-
ing word to the captain, I made all sail on
Sthe ship, and in a few minutes our spars
| i were covered with canvas, and the brig
Sliding through the smooth water under the
Slll~ influence of a land wind which had just
Our men clustered forward in the bows, eagerly trying to discover the
:'- i;-- ----F
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
chase, which was as yet visible to no eyes except those of the Krooman at the
masthead who had first reported the strange sail. As a coloured man's power
of vision in the night-time is generally superior to that of a white person, the
suspense was endured for nearly a quarter of an hour, but at length the
captain, fearing lest the anticipated prize should prove a myth, hailed in
dialect suited to the Krooman, King Tom! You sure you see him ?"
Yes, captain, him live out dere," replied the individual bearing the regal
cognomen, pointing right ahead. In a few more minutes the good faith of
King Tom was verified, the strange sail being plainly seen on the line of
the horizon, and the distance between the Pantaloon and her prey rapidly
"Clear away the gun forward and give her a blank cartridge," was an
order obeyed as soon as given. The long thirty-two pounder bellowed forth,
and the flash illumined momentarily the excited faces on deck. As the report
died away, all eyes were bent on the chase to discover if she obeyed that
authoritative signal to heave to ;" but her white sails still gleamed in the
moonlight, and she pursued her course regardless of the mandate. This
perseverance in attempting to escape gave good assurance that we were in
pursuit of a slave-ship. Many of the crew began already in imagination to
spend their prize-money; the Kroomen especially were chuckling with
delight, for the very day preceding, at their earnest request-made in con-
sequence of no slaver having been seen for some months-the figure-head of
the Pantaloon (a capital reproduction of the well-known personage in the
pantomime) had had his spectacles repainted, to make him see better."*
The proverbial" slip between cup and lip had, however, yet to be illus-
trated. The gun having been again loaded, this time with shot, the gunner
was standing, lanyard in hand, awaiting the order to fire, when the captain's
attention was attracted by the flapping of the sails-which hitherto had kept
A WRECK AT SEA.
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
full-against the masts; the land wind had suddenly subsided, and a hot
stifling calm succeeded. On looking round he discovered in one quarter of
the horizon the small cloud, literally as a man's hand, which to experienced
eyes betokens the quick approach of a tornado; and he knew well that, if one
of these awful tropical storms struck the ship while all sail was set, nothing
but the loss of her masts could save her.
No time now to think of aught but the safety of the ship. "Hands
shorten sail! Quick, men,-quick,-for your lives!" shouted the captain.
The crew, aware of the danger, worked well; sail after sail was taken in,
until, instead of a cloud of canvas, the cruiser showed nothing aloft but the
clear tracery of spars and rigging. In time, and only just in time, was the
work completed, the ship made snug and the men down from aloft.
Meanwhile the cloud had rapidly increased in volume until now it over-
spread half the horizon, the remainder of the heavens being yet bright and clear.
Notwithstanding all our precautions, the first shock threw the Pantaloon
nearly on her beam-ends; for a few moments of painful suspense she remained
in that position, then suddenly righting-all her timbers groaning-
gradually yielded to her helm. Immediate danger was now over, it being
only necessary to keep the ship driving before the wind until the storm should
Two hours passed thus, and the fury of the tornado began to decrease,
when-with a simultaneous crash of thunder-the lightning struck our fore-
mast. On reaching the deck the electric fluid was first attracted by the chain
cable, along which it ran hissing until, reaching the quarter-deck, it leaped
with a loud report to the nearest gun, flashing from gun to gun until it
plunged into the water astern, the old helmsman as it passed him ducking
his head as he would to an enemy's shot. Happily no one was seriously hurt,
although some men standing round .the mast were partially stunned. The
thunder now ceased, and the wind fell.
THE F=LL FURY 02 A TOIWADO.
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
It .being now. midnight, I was. stepping, wearily enough, towards the
companion-ladder, intending to go below, when I was met by an officer who
rushed violently up the ladder and attempted to pass me. Recognising our
surgeon-who was suffering from a severe attack of yellow fever-I
attempted to stop him, but, tearing himself from my grasp with the strength
of delirium, he forced his way overboard.
Giving orders to the boatswain's mate to call away the lifeboat's crew, I
sprang aft and let go the life-buoy. The portfire attached to the apparatus
blazed up, and by its light the form of the doctor was visible, floating rapidly
astern. Not a moment was to be lost, and divesting myself of coat and
waistcoat, I was quickly in the water at his side. Being a good swimmer,
there was little difficulty in supporting him; the shock of the plunge had
apparently restored his senses, for he recognized me, and feebly syllabled my
name. A few strokes brought us to the life-buoy, and resting my feet on the
lower part under water, one.arm clinging to the upper rod, and the other
round the waist of my friend, I awaited with impatience the. approach of
succour from the ship. The situation .was by no means agreeable; the half-
drowned man soon lost the little consciousness that remained, and hung a
dead weight on my arm. The recent tornado had occasioned a heavy, sea;
and, though the life-buoy bore our weight well, yet frequently the waves,
'dashing over our faces, half-choked me. I was also myself much weakened,
having only lately recovered from an attack of-yellow fever; and as the light
at the Pantaloon's masthead dimmed and faded to my eye as we drifted more
and more from the ship, so also fainter and more faint waned my hopes, of
deliverance. The portfire was quickly burning out, already its brilliancy had
much lessened, and the fine volume of light it had at first given was dwind-
ling into a fitful gushing of sparks, as in a badly prepared school-boy's squib.
I knew well that, if the light should indeed go out. entirely, the boat sent to
our aid would row in vain quest of such a speck as the life-buoy; when
I ______ r
II K Iitt~~tt~
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
morning broke it might be discovered, but long before that time my exhausted
arms would have loosened their hold, and our bodies found the sailor's grave.
With despair in my heart I gazed upwards at the portfire, which now sud-
denly shot forth an expiring gleam-tinting with a blue unearthly glare the
closed eyes and senseless form of my companion: and then all was darkness.
But, even at that moment, I heard the welcome sound of the measured beat
of oars. Gathering all my strength, I hailed; the hail was answered cheerily
by many strong voices, and guided by my shout the boat discovered our posi-
tion. Soon friendly hands grasped us, and in another minute I was safely
seated in the boat, with the doctor, still unconscious, by my side.
The boat's crew gave way cheerily for the brig, towing the life-buoy
astern. Overhead the sky was clearing, the stars again shone out; and as
the black form of our floating home once more became visible-her hull
looming large in the obscurity of night-I revelled in anticipation of the
comforts and of the rest in my own little cabin, which a few moments more
would bring. But not easily were these enjoyments to be gained-not yet
were the dangers of this eventful night passed.
As we neared the ship it became perceptible that she was rolling heavily
in the trough of the sea, and that the act of getting on board and hoisting up
the boat would be a perilous one. Nothing, however, could be gained by
delay, so seizing what appeared to be a favourable moment, during a tem-
porary lull in the ship's motion, we pulled up alongside. Just as the boat
came abreast of the.gangway, we rose on the crest of an immense wave: a
crowd of men were on deck ready to assist us, and into their outstretched
arms we literally threw the insensible form of the doctor. Two of our men
also leaped on the deck and were safe, but the danger to us who still remained
was imminent. Our boat sank with the receding wave, the ship at the same
time rolling heavily over to starboard, away from us. With the return roll
-would come the danger. In vain with desperate efforts we tried with oars to
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
force the boat away from her dangerous proximity. Closer and closer yet
the power of attraction pressed her to the ship's side. The return roll came.
I looked up, saw the heavy dark mass descending remorseless upon our
heads; then a crash, a cry of agony-a few struggling, breathless moments
in the dark depths; and I was
floating, half-stunned, but un-
hurt, on the surface, amidst
oars and fragments of the
wreckedboat. One poor fellow,
whose death-shriek we had
heard, had sunk to rise no
more, but the others were
And now the safest way of
regaining the ship had to be
considered. The "falls," or
ropes by which the lost boat
had been lowered, were hang-
ing from the projecting davits,
their ends trailing in the water
some six or eight feet from the -
side; and to climb up by their
assistance was an easy mode BUYING NEGRO SLAVES.
of escape for trained sailors.
Swimming therefore to these ropes, I directed my men to go up first, and
soon had the satisfaction of seeing them all safely on board, the ship at this
time being tolerably steady. Then grasping the falls I began my own ascent
hand over hand. Scarcely had my feet left the water, however, when the
rolling motion once more commenced. .As the ship inclined gradually over,
A NIGHTS AD VENTURE.
my feet again touched the surface; still I descended until the waters closed
over my head, and then lower and lower yet-clinging the while to the rope
as my only chance of ultimate safety-until at length I felt the downward
motion cease. Quickly succeeded a sudden jerk, nearly wrenching my hands
from their hold; and with a velocity far exceeding that of the descent, a roll
of the ship in an opposite direction was dragging me into upper air. It
required all my remaining strength to retain my grasp, .the opposing pressure
of water as I was carried upwards being enormous. At last, panting and
exhausted, but with presence of mind still unimpaired, I emerged, and with
desperate haste-dreading the coming downward roll-began again to clamber
up the rope.
I succeeded in gaining a point about two feet higher than my former
position; another foot or two and I should be safe-already had several men
lipped down the ropes, whose hands nearly touched mine. I struggled hard,
but with all my efforts could not gain another inch-again the horrible
downward motion recommended, and, while breathless from the last descent,
again I was plunged beneath the waters.
The agony of this second immersion was almost insupportable. As in the
first instance, I sank slowly, then after a momentary pause was dragged
violently upwards, the resisting body of water clinging to me as if loth to
lose its prey. Once more my face reached the surface; I gave a deep gasp
for breath. But nature had been too heavily tried. A loud booming in my
ears-flashes of light before my eyes-and I knew no more.
When consciousness returned, I was in my own cabin, the assistant-
surgeon bending over the bed. Although too feeble for conversation, I could
understand from him that my rescue had been effected by the men who had
descended the rope; they had seized my hands just as insensibility was un-
locking their grasp. He also informed me that, contrary to all expectation
the shock experienced by the surgeon was likely to prove beneficial-that,
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
all fever having left him, he was now sleeping clamly and peaceably. With
strict injunctions to follow so good an example, I was left to my repose.
In these southern latitudes no soft intervening twilight exists; the
change from obscure night to glaring broiling day is almost instantaneous. No
sooner did day break on the following morning, and the sun appear, than all
of encountering the
lost slaver. Fifty w .
voices quickly ex-
cla ned, "There
she is!" and there
indeed, not two _
miles off, was the --
which even the tor-
nado had failed to
save. The sea was
calm; not a ripple
disturbed its glassy
smoothness as it ---
gently heaved in ------_
the long low swell
which prevailed. It was evident to the crew of the slave-ship that no chance
of escape remained; although armed, they were no match for the English
cruiser. Soon a Brazilian ensign fluttered up to her masthead, waved there
for a moment, and then slowly and reluctantly descended,.in token of sur-
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE.
Our boats, well manned and armed, now pulled towards the prize, passing
through some dozens of empty wine and ale bottles recently thrown over-
board, demonstrating that the slave-crew had begun to drown their sorrows
in the good liquor the cabin stores afforded, determined it should not .be
wasted down the throats of their captors.
On boarding and taking possession, the prize proved to be the Aventureiro,
a fine yacht-like schooner, carrying one long swivel gun amidships. Small
need was there to inquire of her sullen commander whether the cargo was
lawful or "contraband," and our sailors at once proceeded to open the closely-
covered hatchways. On removing them. a dense steaming mist of foul
sickening air ascended from the slave-deck below; and three hundred unhappy
beings of both sexes were discovered lying down, their feet manacled to long
iron bars placed "fore and aft" throughout the ship. From this piteous
writhing mass of humanity arose strange voices and shouts of joy, as the
irons were unloosed and the fact of their deliverance dawned upon their
minds. Half the number were brought on deck to breathe the purer atmo-
sphere, and the rest, unfettered, roamed about at will below,
The crew of the slaver, twenty-four in all, were transferred to the
Pantaloon, and a lieutenant and party of men detailed to convey the prize to
Sierra Leone. Before parting company, however, an exciting scene of
plunder was enacted; officers and sailors keenly searching after comestibles
which-although articles of daily consumption on shore-were luxuries to
men shut up for months in an African cruiser.
Tins of preserved meats, sardines, potted salmon and lobster, boxes of
crystallized sugar, raisins, potatoes, butter, wine, and bottled pale ale
rewarded the laughing plunderers; and were passed into the ship under the
very eye of the slave-captain, who, as he leaned over the side, muttered the
not inappropriate word, "Ladrones !" Soon, however; his face cleared up,
and ejaculating Fortuna de la guerra!" he smoked his paper cheroot with
A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE. 55
calmness, consoled doubtless by the recollection of former successful trips;
for slave-traders confess that if only one vessel out of four escapes, they are
And now, all arrangements being complete, the prize-crew gave a hearty
farewell cheer as the AventUreiro, with England's flag of liberty waving at
the peak, bore away to the westward, a cheer returned as heartily by their
comrades in the Pantaloon,. as that vessel's head was once more turned
towards her cruising ground.
A VIRGINIAN PRINCESS.
HAVE you ever heard of the fair country of Virginia ? It is far away across
the seas, where beautiful palms grow in the open air, like our own bracken-
ferns, and pine-apples ripen in the glorious sun. Nearly three hundred
years ago, when the brave sailors first discovered the new land, there dwelt
amongst the wild Indians who inhabited the land the young and beautiful
princess Pocahontas. The Indians in those far-off days did not love to see
the white men visit'their shores, and ofttimes, when they came across a party
of Englishmen, they would fall upon them with their tomahawks and clubs
A VIRGINIAN PRINCESS.
and kill them all. But the Princess Pocahontas was not at all pleased with
this, and ofttimes saved their lives. On one occasion, when the great sailor,
Captain John Smith, had been taken prisoner, he was condemned to death
in the hut of her father, the King of Virginia. Then the true heroic spirit
of the Princess Pocahontas showed itself, for when the blow of the heavy
club was about to fall upon the kneeling figure, she placed her own head over
the neck of the captain, and stopped the hand of the executioner and gained
the boon of his life. Was not this brave? Yet her own end was a sad one,
..for she died on the edge of the spores of England, whither she had come to
learn the manners and customs of the English and to be presented at court, on
board the vessel that was to carry her back to her home in Virginia. Her
physical strength, no longer sustained as in childhood by the rich sunshine
and the bracing air of her native country, gave way under the damps of a
country so different to her own. Great was the sorrow of her friends, and of
her subjects in Virginia, for her brave and generous spirit towards strangers
was rare indeed in the old .days. Many are the records of her timely pro-
tection of the English colonists from the wrath and plots of their Indian
enemies. The Princess was married to a young Englishman named John
Rolfe, she being taught to believe that Captain Smith was dead, and it is
said that when Smith visited her in London, after saluting him she turned
away her face and hid it in her hands, and remained in this position for two
or three hours.
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
OF all the heroes whose deeds have obtained for them
a renown greater than they deserved, there is not
one to be named .before our own Jack the Giant-
killer. Many of the heroic feats he is said
to have performed were simple impossibilities,
and those founded on anything like reliable
tradition are all marked with gross exaggera-
~tion. Among these may especially be quoted
his fight with the tremendous two-headed
giant Thunderstone. In the account of it, of
course, Jack is described as a hero, while
Thunderstone is a monster of iniquity, agile
as a stag, and powerful as six cart-horses put
-" / 'g i' together. Now, as far as regards the giant's
"'. agility and strength, the direct contrary is
the fact. When he fought with Jack, he
was at the time as weak as a child. He had been suffering from a sharp
attack of illness, and when he went out to accept Jack's challenge, he had not
sufficient strength left to carry his unwieldy body without tottering. As
for his arms, they had so fallen away, from the effect of his malady, that
it was with great difficulty he could raise his club from the ground.
Again, Thunderstone was by no means so cruel a monster as Jack's
admirers represent him. That he might have been so before his marriage
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
is possible, but his wife was a very clever, shrewd little woman, possessing
great tact; and before two months after their marriage there was not a
more docile or obedient giant to be found in the three kingdoms. There
was something very worthy of admiration in the way that that fragile little
woman contrived to manage her gigantic husband.
Thunderstone, it is said, made many other offers
of marriage to Cornish maidens, and had eaten
the papas of several who had refused him their
daughters' hands (actions much to be reprehended,
it is true); and everybody thought that the maiden
who had accepted him would soon die a horrible
death. Some prophesied that when her husband
came home from the chase, and found no dinner
ready, he would put his wife into the copper, and
boil her; and many other suggestions of the kind
were made, all of which turned out to be without
Now the means which Mrs. Thunderstone took
to -gain' sway over her husband were as follows.
At first she was obedient to his every whim,
though at the same time she was keenly bent on
noting his mental peculiarities. Mrs. Thunder-
stone, before her wedding, had easily perceived that
the two.heads of her husband differed considerably. Both, it is true, had a
very stern expression of countenance; but there the similarity ended. The
right head was of a dark complexion, with dark eyes;' the left was fair, with
light curly hair and blue eyes. She also perceived that when Nature pro-
vided him with two heads, she had at the same time given each a brain, and,
by a wise provision, each of these brains had the power of thinking inde-
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
pendently of the other. Otherwise, 'if the thoughts which emanated from
each were the same, where would be the use of two brains? Again, each
head had a tongue to give expression to its thoughts, and as each tongue
possessed considerable volubility-and her husband was very candid in his
expressions-she soon determined on her plan of action.
Noticing the extreme dissimilarity of the dispositions of her husband's
heads, she invariably sided with the one whose views coincided with her own,
changing from one to the other with great readiness, so as to show that she
regarded neither with any special favour. In this way, without appearing
to be anxious to govern her husband, she soon became as perfect and
absolute a mistress in her own house as any well-conditioned wife could wish
Let us take an instance. The right head had contracted a habit of
smoking tobacco, and the greatest luxury of his life was a pipe. The left
head detested smoking, saying that the odour of the tobacco got into his
hair (of which he was particularly proud), and into his nostrils and mouth,
and made him feel sick. One day a violent altercation had arisen between
them, and Mrs. Thunderstone stepped in to calm it. Now she detested
smoking, and had resolved to put a stop to the practice. When therefore
the right head complained of his brother being fastidious and a molly-coddle
in objecting to the smell of tobacco, and pretending that it made him sick,
she immediately took the other's part, saying he had not in any way over-
stated the case, and that she sympathised with him, and was determined to
put a stop to the disgraceful habit.
Although in this instance Mrs. Thunderstone had sided with Fair-head,
it must not be imagined that she held him in greater favour than Dark-skin
(for thus she used playfully to designate the two heads when in conversation).
So far from this being the case, though she could not close her eyes to his
superior beauty, she took good care not to show him the slightest partiality;
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
and, by keeping rigidly to her determination, she managed so happily that
no jealousy ever existed in the mind of Dark-skin at the superior attractions
of Fair-head. An exception, however, is to be made in cases where either
had displeased her, and then she would give two kisses to the cheek of the
one whose behaviour she approved of, and none to the other. By this
conduct, as soon as the first burst of ill-temper had subsided, she invariably
succeeded in bringing the rebellious head to reason.
But, like a good wife, she was not content with establishing her sway
* over her husband solely by tact and ingenuity. She knew enough of the
characters of giants to be aware that the greatest accomplishment a wife
could possess in their eyes was a good knowledge of cooking. She rightly
calculated that if this accomplishment bore good fruits with giants possessing
only one head, how much more highly would it be held in estimation by a
giant with two heads, each having a mouth, teeth, and a sensitive and
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT BOME.
delicate palate of its own! And here again existed a peculiarity in her
husband which is worthy of. notice, as showing the great difficulties the
clever little woman managed to overcome. Fair-head was fond of sweets;.
Dark-skin, on the contrary, liked acids. Fair-head revelled in puddings;
Dark-skin held them in disgust, his taste being for solid meat. And even
on the subject of meat a strong discrepancy existed between them, Fair-head
liking lean meat made into well-cooked and delicate little dishes, while
Dark-skin liked underdone meat with plenty of fat.
Although, in the case of Jack Sprat, who could eat no fat, while his wife
could eat no lean, a joint of mutton could be very easily disposed of by both
indulging their own peculiar tastes, in Mrs. Thunderstone's establishment it
was very different. If Dark-skin chose for his dinner the leg of a bull,
underdone, with plenty of fat, of course at first sight it would appear
difficult for her to oblige him without disregarding the tastes of Fair-head;
and if the latter desired a delicate beef-steak pie without fat, made in
the copper, Dark-skin was not likely to have much appetite for his dinner.
In cases such as these Mrs. Thunderstone showed herself an excellent
manager. If the dinner was to be fat and underdone, she generally sent her
husband out upon some long and difficult hunting excursion in the morning,
so'as by excessive fatigue to create an enormous appetite. Now, as the two
heads suffered equally from fatigue or exhaustion of the body, it naturally
followed that, when they sat down to dinner, Fair-head would be scarcely
less ravenous than Dark-skin; and as hunger is the best sauce," he ate of
the fat and underdone meat without much objection. If, on the other hand,
it was a dull rainy morning, with little attraction for outdoor exercise, Mrs.
Thunderstone would make a delicate beef-steak pie, and Dark-skin, who
from the want of exercise had but little appetite, grumbled much less than
might have been expected at the dish set before him. And here it is but
justice to Mrs. Thunderstone emphatically to state, that while: on all other
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME. 63
subjects she managed, by supporting the views of the head whose ideas
corresponded with her own, to mould her husband to her wishes, on the
subject of cooking she never allowed her own tastes to interfere, her sole
desire being to please her husband to the utmost extent of her power.
By these and similar means did this clever little woman become the
absolute mistress in her own house. True,, you may say, gentle reader, that
to become mistress in their own
houses is a very common thing with
clever little women; but at the same
time you must bear in mind that
Mrs. Thunderstone had difficulties. .-
to surmount rarely met with in
society, but which any lady having
a husband with two heads can
thoroughly appreciate. In spite, -
however, of the difficulties she had
to' contend with, she not only suc-
ceeded in'keeping her house in per-- ,-
feet order, with an appearance of .
comfort and cleanliness about it
which Thunderstone had been but b '
little accustomed to-in his bachelor- v
hood, but she succeeded in smooth-
ing his naturally wicked temper so completely, that a more amiable, affectionate,
or docile husband was not to be found in the whole of Cornwall.
For more than two years after their marriage, with the exception of
having no family, nothing arose to mar the happiness of this estimable
couple. But, alas! Mrs.'Thunderstone was no more destined to go through
life without sorrow and trouble than other Cornish ladies. Although during
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
the whole of that time her husband had enjoyed perfect health, he was
afterwards thrown on a bed of sickness, and here Mrs. Thunderstone's
troubles began. If, gentle reader, you are of the fair sex, you will agree
with me when I state that a husband with one head is, when sick, quite as
much as any wife can manage with peace and comfort to herself. What
then must have been Mrs. Thunderstone's lot when she had to nurse her
husband, a giant with two heads, each having a decided will of its own,
and that generally differing diametrically from the other? In the first
appearance of sickness her case was even the more difficult, inasmuch as one
head only was taken ill, while the other remained in perfect health; and of
course their tempers, generally but little sympathetic, were then worse than ever.
Mrs. Thunderstone's troubles began in the following manner. As has
been before stated, Fair-head was the handsomer of the two, and took great
pains with his appearance. Now it happened one night that, during a
violent gale of wind, a pane of glass was broken in the casement at the head
of the bed, though without awaking either Mrs. Thunderstone or her
husband. The pane of glass which had been broken was exactly over Fair-
head, and the result was that a strong current of air blew on him all night
without reaching Dark-skin. Next morning Mrs. Thunderstone discovered
from Fair-head's sneezing that he had caught a violent cold, and she insisted
that he should have his breakfast in bed. Dark-skin, however, had that
morning set his mind on a hunting excursion; and, as the weather had now
cleared up and everything seemed propitious, he resolved he would not be
disappointed. So he told his wife that stay indoors he would not, and that
no argument on her part could induce him. Even Fair-head on this occasion
seemed to be of the same opinion as his brother, and insisted-although he
sneezed violently as he did so-that it was making a simpleton of him to
keep him indoors on such a fine day, and that hunt he would, whatever she
might say to the contrary.
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME
Great indeed was Mrs. Thunderstone's sorrow at the obstinate conduct of
her husband, and she felt it the more keenly that she was much better
versed in medical matters than he was, and could easily perceive that the
cold he had taken was a far more violent one than he imagined. However,
even in her time the proverb A wilful man must have his way," was as
well known and appreciated by ladies as at present. So making no further
remark, 'she wrapped up Fair-head
with all the shawls and comforters
she could find, and allowed her hus-
band to depart, advising him to
expose himself as little as possible
to the cold air, and to be sure to
return at an early hour to dinner.
Of started Thunderstone on his
hunting excursion. For some time
he saw no game, and began to feel
very much annoyed. At last he
perceived on a hill at a short dis- -
tance from him a magnificent stag,
large enough to serve him and his
wife for dinner for three days. He
now crept cautiously forward, and
then lay in ambush, watching its
movements. Presently he saw the stag advance near a hedge, and running
round, he crept up to it on the other side as stealthily as possible, not to
allow it to see him. He hoped that he might be able to kill it with one
blow of his club. Everything seemed to promise success. He had, unper-
ceived, succeeded in arriving within almost arm's length of the stag, when
Fair-head suddenly sneezed; the animal caught the alarm, and bounded off
at a swift gallop across the plain.
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
It would be impossible to describe to ears polite the language Dark-skin
made use of to his brother head. Suffice it to say that he abused him in
every term he could think of. Fair-head retaliated, and the quarrel con-
tinued for some time, when they saw another stag at a considerable
The heads now resolved for the moment to cease their quarrel, and the
giant rushed after the prey, which was browsing quietly upon the green-
sward. As soon as Thunderstone had got within a few yards he slackened
his pace, when unfortunately Fair-head was seized with another attack of
sneezing, and as a reward was subjected to a second volley of abuse from
It would be useless to go over the different misfortunes of that day's
hunting. Suffice it to say that Fair-head's attacks of sneezing invariably
came on when the giant was near the game, the result being that nothing
was caught. Mrs. Thunderstone, when her husband returned home, easily
judged by the expression of his countenances that some ill-feeling existed
between the two heads, in which, conclusion she was further confirmed by his
bringing with him no game. However, like a prudent little woman, she
made no remark, but set before him the dinner, which she had prepared
expressly to put him into good humour should he arrive at home out of temper.
For Dark-skin she had prepared a fat rump-steak hardly warmed through;
and for Fair-head a basin of delicious gruel.
After dinner, Thunderstone seated himself by the fire, with the evident
intention of digesting his dinner, as well as of resting after the fatigues
and misfortunes of the morning. He was doomed, however, to be disap-
pointed. Fair-head still continued to sneeze, and that so violently and
incessantly, that no sooner did Dark-skin close his eyes than he was
immediately awakened again. In this state they remained squabbling
together till night came on; while Mrs. Thunderstone, the tear in her eye
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
at the unhappy frame of her husband's mind, seated herself on a stool by the
other side of the fire, and silently continued her knitting.
At last it was time to go to bed, and Mrs. Thunderstone began to make
preparations for the night.
"My dear," she said to her husband, "let me advise you to put your feet
in warm water before you get into bed. It will draw the cold out of. your
head, and you will feel much
better for it to-morrow morn-
Fair-head immediately re-
solved to follow her advice,
but Dark-skin objected, and
'said he didn't see why he
should put his feet in warm
water, as he'd got no cold, and
h'e wouldn't do anything of the
kind. Fair-head insisted that
he would, and the result was a
violent quarrel between the
two heads, and they continued
scolding each other for some a DooCTOR o PAI A-HEA AND A DOCTOR FOR
time, while poor Mrs. Thunder- DARX-S=.
stone, whose usual tact seemed on the present occasion to have deserted her,
was unable to make peace between them. At last her woman's ingenuity
came to her aid, and the affair was arranged. It was agreed that the left foot
-the one on Fair-head's side-should be placed in hot water, while that of
Dark-skin should remain out.
During the night a circumstance occurred which again roused the anger
of the two heads. Fair-head snored violently, so much so that it was nearly,
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
-morning before Dark-skin closed his eyes; and he had hardly done so when
he was awakened by what he imagined to be a stranger talking in the room.
Rousing himself, Thunderstone leaped out of bed, and glared furiously around
him, but could see no one.
"What is the matter with you, my dear?" said Mrs. Thunderstone,
astonished at her husband's behaviour.
Dark-skin replied that there was a stranger in the room, and, whether
alive or dead, he'd grind his bones to make his bread." Mrs. Thunderstone
in vain looked round the room for the stranger, but seeing no one, she told
her husband he must be mistaken.
"Nonsense," said Thunderstone; "I heard his voice as plainly as I hear
"I don't believe a word of it," said a hoarse voice.
Dark-skin now looked fairly astonished, and somewhat sheepish, for the
voice he had heard was no other than Fair-head talking in his sleep; only he
was now so hoarse that Dark-skin did not detect his voice.
Fair-head, now completely angry at being disturbed in his sleep, wickedly
:said to Dark-skin, You are a cruel pitiless miscreant, and have no feeling
for those in misfortune. I hope that in your turn you will have some
terrible fit of illness, and then perhaps you'll learn to have some sympathy
In a few days this wicked wish came true. No sooner did Fair-head
recover from his cold, than Dark-skin was seized with some mysterious
ailment, which at first sight completely baffled Mrs. Thunderstone's medical
;skill. In vain did she try all the nostrums she had ever heard of. None of
-them seemed to do him any good; and during the first day and night he
appeared each hour to become worse,. His appetite fell off, and he was
fractious and irritable. So she called in a doctor for Fair-head and a doctor
for Dark-skin. Fair-head's patience was greatly tested in his turn, and it
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
must be admitted he showed no more pity than Dark-skin had done.
He would not listen to Mrs. Thunderstone's suggestions that he ought to be
patient, since he had himself experienced how cruel it was for one head to be
indifferent to the misfortunes of the other. No, instead of profiting by her
excellent advice, Fair-head merely replied that he was in Dark-skin's debt,
and he was now going to pay
Dark-skin's malady increased,
and Mrs. Thunderstone became
terribly alarmed. After conjur-
ing up in her mind all the differ-
ent remedies she had heard of,
she at last determined, with the
spirit of a true wife, that Thun-
derstone had eaten something
which had disagreed with him.
She also knew that the first step
to be taken in every malady is
to remove, if possible, the excit-
ing cause; and in the present
case the best way in which it
could be effected would be to .
administer an emetic. No
sooner, however, had she sug-
gested this remedy, than Fair-head flew into a violent passion. He could
not see, he said, why he should suffer because Dark-skin chose to be ill. She
ought to bear in mind that although each of them had a mouth of his own,
they had but one stomach between them; and why he should suffer from the
nausea of Dark-skin's emetic, he couldn't understand, and he wouldn't allow
70 GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
it under any pretence whatever. In vain did Mrs. Thunderstone implore
Fair-head to allow Dark-skin to take the emetic. Fair-head was inex-
orable, and would permit nothing of the kind, saying he had already put up
with inconvenience enough, and that to go partners in an emetic was
an infliction that no giant, having a proper respect for himself, could
But terribly was Fair-head punished for his cruelty. The emetic was
not given, and the next day the small-pox in its most virulent form attacked
Dark-skin. Possibly this might have been prevented, had Mrs. Thunder-
stone's medical directions been followed. Great indeed now became the
terror of Fair-head, lest his handsome features should be disfigured by the
disease; and this was rendered the more terrible, that he was fixed on the
same pair of shoulders with Dark-skin. The giant now earnestly implored
his wife to place between his two heads whatever appliances she could think
of, so that at least one of his faces might continue good-looking; and
strenuous and unceasing indeed were the amiable little woman's exertions to
please him. Night and day did she sit up with him, endeavouring by every
means in her power to prevent the spread of the infection, till at last fatigue
seemed to have lost all power over her.
By degrees the malady spread over the body of the giant, though, thanks
to the care taken by his wife, there was no appearance of its passing from
one head to the other. So skilful were her precautions, that they deserve to
be recorded, as worthy to be followed should a case of the kind occur in any
of our large hospitals. She seated Thunderstone upright in his bed (for
Fair-head was now so terrified that he objected to nothing she proposed),
and placed a thin pillow covered with parchment between the heads,
feeding them herself, and giving to each the particular condiments their case
All her precautions, however, were in vain. The malady had taken a
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
firm hold of the giant's constitution, and, spreading upwards, at last attacked
the handsome features of Fair-head as remorselessly as it had done those of
And here again the admirable beauties of Mrs. Thunderstone's character
developed themselves to their fullest. Nothing daunted, she continued her
ministrations with unflagging energy and kindness; and her sympathies
were so fully enlisted in her hus-
band's welfare as to close her eyes
to the very unattractive appear-
ance he presented. If you have
ever, dear reader, seen a person
suffering under a violent attack
of small-pox, you must be fully "
aware that, unless either in the
eye of science or of affection, the
patient usually presents a somewhat
repulsive appearance. But imagine,
if you can, what that appearance ,
must have been in the case of an
enormous giant with two heads,
and their faces in a state of
violent eruption. Yet had he
been the most lovely man that ever existed, he could not have appeared
more beautiful in Mrs. Thunderstone's eyes than did her husband during
the time she nursed him through his terrible malady.
A misfortune of the kind such as we have narrated would appear to be a
sufficient infliction on any wife; but greater trouble was in store for Mrs.
Thunderstone, and at the time when she imagined herself on the point of
enjoying the reward of her anxiety, labour, and affection. Her husband was
GIANT THUNDERSTONE AT HOME.
slowly approaching to a state of convalescence, when that boastful little
sham hero Jack the Giant-killer made his appearance before the castle.
He had heard of Thunderstone's dangerous illness,'and how he had not yet
fully recovered from its effects; and he meanly calculated that now was the
time to challenge him to mortal combat.
He did so; and Thunderstone, who was naturally of a chivalrous
disposition, accepted the challenge. Snatching up his club (which he was
obliged to drag after him, being too weak to lift it), he quitted his castle,
and advanced to meet Jack,. but, alas! fell an easy prey to his boastful
adversary, while Mrs. Thunderstone, in a state of indescribable horror,
witnessed the combat from the castle window. Let us 'drop a veil over the
heart-rending scenes, and her sorrows. Those who wish to be better
acquainted -with the pseudo particulars of the battle as narrated by Jack
himself may easily do so by purchasing for a few half-pence the so-called
history of his life and adventures.
And now for the moral of our story-that is to say, if one can be drawn
from it. It may point out that a clever and amiable little woman can make
a home almost a paradise, even though she has a ferocious two-headed giant
for her husband. But this must certainly be learnt from it-that the
proverb, "Two heads are better than one," is not always to be depended
-- WHEN I was a little girl, I was never tired of
iii reading a book, which has now become quite
old-fashioned, about "Our Village" in Berk-
shire. Kind, good Miss Mitford! How many
Happy hours I spent with her and her grey-
Shound; with the mole-catchers and little Harry
Grover; with Lady Mary H--, "a professed
tea-drinker" (and green tea too!), and Hop-
Sping Bob. Their very names are warm to my
1,E heart. Never was picture so .full, so true, as
these stories of Three Mile Cross near Reading.
That was the name of Miss Mitford's village.
It still stands, of course; farms and cottages, the forge and the inn, and
the hedge where Master Tom pulled the papers off Fanny's fairings.
But dear Miss Mitford is not there. She is gone where pretty Lizzie
went before, and the old French Abbe, and God-mother, and the good old
Judge, her father. They are all gone together; but you, dear children,
can read about what they did in the world, if your mamma will ask
at her circulating library for the old brown volumes which I read some
thirty years ago. Or you can buy them in a bran new edition at the
bookseller's. I have got them in keeping for my daughter Polly, that when
she learns to read, she may know what Old England was like before any
railway went to Reading.
TWO PL AYMA TES.
This village where I write is a French village, and so different to an
English one, that I could never make you understand it by mere description.
But I can tell you something about the people. The greatest house is called
the. chateau, or the castle, but it is not in the least what we call a castle in
England. It has neither towers, nor a moat, nor a drawbridge, and it would
not stand a siege of half an hour, even if all the shutters were put up. It is
a large, handsome white house, about 200 years old, with a beautiful sloping
park, and an orangery where the orange-trees live in tubs, like Diogenes.
They are brought out every _summer, and put like sentinels all along the
broad terrace just underneath the house on the park-side. There is also a
sort of winter garden, with walks and parterres and a little pond, all covered
over with glass; and a row of conservatories full, of splendid flowers. Our
windows look right over these, and we always know when frost is expected
in autumn by the lighting of the fires. This chateau is handsomer within
than I can tell you; such carpets and curtains and mirrors; and I am .sure
if you saw the place you would think nothing sad or uncomfortable could
come near it. But all the upholstery in the world will not keep out sorrow,
and so you will think when I tell you what happened here only fourteen
This chateau belongs to an old bachelor, one of the most learned men in
France. He has just finished a translation of Homer, all about the siege of
Troy. It sounds very odd in French rhyme; but everybody says it is ex-
tremely well done. This old gentleman sometimes gives great dinner-
parties to a number of other old gentlemen, and then he has a great show of
silver-plate; and it takes the cook all day cooking, and the Intendant all day
scolding, before things are in order. The Intendant is something like an
English butler, and manages everything in a great house.
So one day in August, 1868, M. le Comte de X. had sent out fourteen
invitations to fourteen learned old gentlemen, who were coming, some from
Paris, which is an hour off by rail, and some from neighboring chateaux,
and. early in the morning of this day the Intendant had a great deal to see
to, and his wife also, she being the housekeeper. Now he and his wife were
rather oldish. They had two grown-up daughters who were married long
since. One kept the lodge of the park, and the other lived in Paris; but
though the father and mother were very fond of them, there was some one
they loved still more-their one little son Paul, born so long after his sisters
that he was still only a boy of eight years old. He lived at the chateau with
his parents, and went to school in the village.
So in the morning his father gave him a slice of bread and jam, and sent
him out to play till lunch time. Paul set off, munching his tartine, and went
past the dairy farm buildings, which are very handsome, and built just like
Swiss chalets. The dairy-woman saw him go by, and called to him to come
and take a cup of new milk. She was very fond of little Paul; as indeed
TWO PLAYMA TES.
were all the people about the place. Then Paul came to a great sheet of
grass, not exactly a lawn, nor yet a field, where a couple of men were mowing
the August after-crop,-they told him to get out of the way of their scythes
and he went on, always eating his bread and jam, till he came to where a
little boy of his own age, or a little older, was pulling up weeds. One of
Ihe gardeners was there too; but apparently he did not think little Jean very
necessary, for he made no objection to the two little boys running off together;
because Paul said he wanted to play at horses.
Now Jean, I should tell you, was a year and a half older than Paul. He
was the son of a drunken cobbler in the village, whose family were all in
dirt and rags, and very ill brought up. Usually none but very respectable
people were employed at the chateau, but Paul's mother, who was a kind-
hearted woman, had taken pity on the wretched vagabond, and had got the
gardener to give him some work.
The hours went on that hot August morning; M. le Comte de X. sat in
his study, in a great wide dressing-gown, drinking chocolate out of a fine
china cup; the Intendant put out all the silver for the great dinner; his
wife looked up her maids all over the house, and took the covers off the blue
satin chairs of the best drawing-room. The dairy-woman pottered among
her sweet-smelling pans; the two men finished their mowing and made little
cocks of hay on the shorn grass; the gardener tidied up his walk and carried
all his tools off in his brouette, or wheelbarrow, and put them into a tool-house.
Just as he shut the door, the great breakfast bell rang in the courtyard for
the servants' meal. It was eleven o'clock, and fifteen indoor and outdoor
servants came flocking together to eat eggs, and bouilli, and salad made of
cold vegetables chopped up with oil and vinegar, and to drink thin red wine
out of long black bottles.
"Where's Paul?" said the Intendant's wife, setting her capeline straight,
and hanging a great bunch of keys on a nail in her own sitting-room.
I gave him a piece of bread and jam, and told him to go and play in
the park," said the Intendant.
"It's very odd the child does not come," said the mother. Whereat the
father went to the garden front and called as loudly as he dared, being
afraid of disturbing his master. Five minutes passed, and no Paul made his
appearance, and as, like most little boys, he was generally hungry, everybody
wondered where he could be; The dairy-woman said- she had given him a
cup of new milk at half-past eight, and the two mowers told of having sent
him away eating his bread and jam, and one of them said he thought he had
seen little Paul talking to Etienne the gardener..
Now Etienne was a married man, who lived in the village and went
home to all his meals; and as it was agreed by all present that Paul must
have gone home with- him, the stable-boy was sent round to fetch him; but
the stable-boy came back in ten minutes, and Etienne with him, who said
that, so far from having taken Paul home, he had not been with him for any
time at all; but had run off with little Jean the cobbler's son to play at
horses. At. this, Paul's mother, looking uneasy, said the boys must have gone
farther than they intended, down to the very bottom of the park; and his
father, laying down his knife and fork, left the head of the table, and taking
his hat went round to the garden front. The park is not very large; it took
Paul's father about twenty minutes to walk round it. The ground slopes
from the chateau into a deep wooded valley; once upon a time the trees were
all planted in double semicircles, just as they were at the king's palace at
Marly. But A. le Comte de X.'s father had had a great fancy for English
planting and gardening, and so during the last fifty years many thick tufts
of shrubs and quick-growing trees had been interspersed among the stately
old rows of limes 'and chestnuts. Paul's father, getting more and more
uneasy, shouted as he went along, "Paul! Jean! Jean! Paul!" But no
answer came. He went up to several of the thickets and struck at them with
his stick, thinking that the children might be purposely hiding. So he
made the round till he came up again near the house, when he crossed the
lawn near the Long Pond. Now hard by the Long Pond (there were two
others in the grounds, all of them near the chateau) was a great tuft of
i.. ., i
pampas grass, its feathering spikes towering up above the leaves, and as he
came near it he thought he saw these feathery spikes trembling more
than they need; for the day was very calm and hot. Paul's father, struck
with a sudden hope, hurried up and struck his stick vigorously into the tuft,
saying somewhat angrily, "Paul, come out this instant! you are frightening
your mother and behaving very badly. You shall not have any breakfast,
sir." As the stick went poking into the pampas grass, a little voice gave a
yell of dismay; and Paul's father, plunging into the middle, pulled out, not
Paul, but Jean! A sickening fear. came over the poor man's heart as he saw
the little boy's frightened" and scowling face-" Oh-oh-h-h," howled Jean,
twisting his ragged blouse in his dirty hands.
Paul's father, impetuous like his nation, and terribly frightened by the
child's expression, seized Jean and gave him a succession of shakes, saying,
"Where's Paul? where's Paul?"
Jean, blubbering and sulky, tried to say nothing; but cowed by the repe-
tition of the shakes, he at last pointed to the Long Pond, and muttered
"There!" said Paul's father, bursting into' a torrent of unintelligible
words, and flinging his arms into the air. He rushed to the pond, and stood
for an instant looking at its unruffled depths; but he knew it was at
least six feet deep; and the- banks were steep, and he himself a short stout
man, far from young, and with neither rope nor pole at hand. So dragging
Jean with him, he ran panting and choking to the house, where for a moment
he stood with his hand on his heart unable to speak. At last he said the
word "pond," and pointing to Etienne, who had remained in the servants'
hall, he fell in a heap on the floor. His wife sprang towards him, quite
bewildered, poor woman, with her double fright; all the men and maids left
their chairs and ran out calling for water, for ropes, for blankets; and M. le
Comte de X., astounded at the noise, came out of his study, holding his pink
cup of chocolate in one hand, and pushing his wig over his left ear with the
other. But while all this was going on, Etienne, who had that excellent
quality which we call presence of mind, ran quickly out of the house to the
shed where he kept his tools, and got a long strong rake. When the other
--.-l: ., -..g '; _-
NER THE CHATEAU
servants, with M. le Comte de X. at their head, came flocking down to the
pond, calling out for a pole, or for some one who could dive, Etienne was
already up to his waist in the water, where it was shallowest, and feeling
about carefully with his rake. It was not long before he touched the body
of poor little Paul, and then Etienne plunged in under the water and brought
him up in his arms. The string with which he had played at horses was
still twisted round his fingers, and dragged along the grass as he was carried
into the house and laid before the kitchen fire. When Jean was asked how
long Paul had been in the water, he said sulkily, about two hours ;" which
reply made M. le Comte de X. so angry, that I am soriy to say he said a
great many things which he should not, though he had reason to be terribly
indignant at the boy's wretched cowardice in not instantly coming to tell
what had happened. After this everybody said that there must have been a
quarrel between the two lads, and that Jean had probably given Paul an
ugly push. It was very sad to think of how easily he might have been
restored, even after he had fallen in, for there were three people close by in
the grounds, and if Jean had even called out loud, they must have heard
So the matter remains.somewhat of a mystery to this hour.
I am not going to make you miserable by describing the misery of those
poor people. They tried all they could, by rubbing and warming the poor
little boy before the fire; but nobody had any hope when they heard how
long he had been in the water. And when it was all in vain, they laid him
on his little bed, and his mother and sisters strewed flowers over him. Two
days after-for burials-take place much sooner in France than in England,
and the time is fixed by law-Paul was carried in his coffin into the village
church; and after the prayers the coffin was borne to the grave-yard on the
hill; the old cur4 walking in front and all the village following after. They
laid him in a little grave close under an ivy-covered wall, where a baby sister
had been buried long ago. Her mound was planted over with white peri-
winkles, and looked quite snowy.
When all the servants went sadly back to the chateau, Paul's father and
mother walking at theii head, and crying sadly, they found M. le Comte de
TWO PLAYMATES. 83
X. telling the Maire of the village that Jean's father, the drunken cobbler,
must be turned out of his cottage and sent away. He was so apt to quarrel
and fight that it was not difficult to do this; and the Maire, a fat peasant
proprietor in a blouse (the village maires are generally like that in France),
was promising it should be done. But who do you think put in a word ? It
was poor Paul's mother; the kind woman, who said, M. le Comte, I had
rather nothing was done. My son loved little Jean; and if he is sent away
with that drunken father, he will only go from bad to worse."
So Jean stayed; and for a long time.to come he was always sulky. But
sometimes he looked at Paul's mother as if he were going to speak. I can
hardly tell you whether the dreadful thing in which he was somehow mixed
up will, in the end, make him repentant and be a better boy. But I think
so; and I am sure Paul's mother deserves that he should.
LITTLE May Whittingham was just recovering from
an illness. The doctor said she had got through it
wonderfully; and he smiled and kissed her in the
sweetest possible manner when he came to see her
now that she was getting better. For a long while
she had only been allowed to sit up in bed; and
she used to feel as if her legs were running races,
in spite of her being kept lying there so still; and
when the old doctor
brought the little hand
looking-glass to let her see
how fast her cheeks were
getting round and plump
again, she could not help
thinking that they were
like the doctor's own, for
he was fresh and bright-
looking, in spite of his
white hair; and although
May knew that the doctor
had boys and girls of his own, and had long since laid his wife in the grave
beside the two children that died within a day or two of each other when the
fever was so bad, she thought to herself she would prefer a sweetheart like
him to one like little dark Joe Benson they had teased her so much about,
because he used always to give her the flowers he brought from home.
THE BEOWN COW.
But May felt herself different in several ways from what she was before
she lay down in that long. illness. She would lie awake through the long
hours of the night, and close her eyes so as to tempt her mamma into lying
down on the couch beside her, and then she would listen to the clock of St.
Asaph's striking the hours, and think of the strange old stories she had heard
before her illness came. What made her like so much to do this was that
everything came back to her different and much clearer, though often mixed
up with other things: what had happened to her long ago and been quite
forgotten would come back to her mind along with the fairies and the giants
and strange people she had begun to read about before she was taken ill.
She would sometimes fall asleep just as the lamp's tiny light began to fade
before the dawn that came stealing coldly through the window, and touching
the spire of St. Asaph's, that glittered and seemed to glide nearer and nearer
to her as she looked. She would gaze at the bright spire till she fell into a
dream, and in the morning she would try and try to recollect it all, just as
she was wont to do with her lessons; and her mother would wonder to herself
what it could be that the child was thinking about, and would. be afraid to
ask in case it was anything disagreeable, and the telling of it make her still
more uncomfortable. And May, who had a tender conscience, was not sure
whether it was quite right of her to hide such things from her mother ; but
then, when she tried to think it all over, it was-so strange she was afraid she
could never tell it half; and her dreams lay on her conscience and did not let
her get better so quickly as she might have done. But the doctor had a
notion of his own, and said to May one day that the only thing for her now
was to get to the country. The only.doctor who could do her the good she
needed lived there and nowhere else. She must rise for an hour or two the
day after to get strong. .So next day, when her mother had lifted her into
the arm-chair, so nicely lined with pillows that it looked exactly like a big
nest in a tree, May was so overcome with joy that she cried, and when her
mamma had dried her tears and kissed her, she felt she must tell about her
dream. So she rather suddenly said-
Mamma dear, was I ever across the sea in a ship ?"
MAY'S DREAM. 87
"What makes you think of that, child ?." said her mamma, rather taken
aback at the sudden question.
Because I had such a strange dream, and I feel sure, now I'm awake,
that it must be very like something that happened once-very long ago,
though I was just a baby at the time."
"Everybody's dreams are like that sometimes, dear; but you shouldn't
think about it. The doctor says you are to get up every day now, you know,
and then you won't have to much time for dreaming and thinking."
"Oh, but I'm sure this is real, mamma, and isn't like any other dream,
.and it has come to me twice, and both times so much alike, you. wouldn't
"Well, I hope it was a pleasant dream, May."
"Yes, it was pleasant," said May, with a slight pause over the word
"pleasant;" "it would have been delightful, if it hadn't been for'the
"The brown cow, May'! I don't understand you."
"Well, mamma dear, come quite close to me and sit down and listen, and
I'll tell you."
May's mamma was good and kind, and she could not refuse to grant the
.sick child's wish, so she sat down beside the arm-chair; for though she would
much rather have kept May quiet, as you can easily fancy a mother desiring to
-do at such a time, still she had a notion that perhaps the speaking might be
.a relief to her, as she found her think-think-thinking so often now, and
.didn't know very well what to do with her. So May, by help of her mother's
questions and.remarks, managed to tell her dream.
Although she could not say how she got there, she suddenly found herself
in a green field with a little stream of water running through it; and there
was just one big brown cow in the field, and the cow pursued her whenever
she tried- to run, and stood stock still when she -stood, and' looked at her with
such strange black eyes, the breath all the while coming out of her wide
nostrils like smoke. At last May made a great effort to run, and the cow
THE STEAMER FRUM SCOTLAND.