The Baldwin Library
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THE FOX AND THE CRAB.
'y "-^ Sw v-- '^
WMlMrT fWONTS AI IIEs .
T'HE DIVING BELL;
PEARLS TO BE SOUGHT FOR.
Wit) 4nth Sllistroia.
BY UNCLE FRANK,
A irOl OF "A ?~P AT OUI IMIOnDOB' WILLOW LANZ ~7no,
"TKN DIVINO N=LL," BTC. Ws.
PHILLIPS, SAMPSON & CO.
Entered, wwcorldng to Act of Congress, In the year 1951, by
PIILLIPS, 8 MPSON & CO.,
In the Clerks Omce of the District Court for tho District of Massachusott
THE NA:iE OF MY BOOK,.
THINKING AND LAUGHING,
THE SCHEMING SPIDER,
GENIUS IN THE BUD, .
PUTTING ON AIRS, .
" TRY THE OTHER END,"
THE FOX AND THE CRAB,
THE GREEDY FLY, .
CAROLINE AND HER KITTEN,
"I DON'T KNOW," .
THE. LEARNED GEESE,
THE WRONG WAY, .
THE RIGHT WAY,
THE OLD GOAT AND HIS PUPIL,
ON BARKING DOGS, .
THE Fox AND THE CRAB,
THE SPIDER'S INVITATION,
THE SPIDER'S TRIUMPH,
KATE AND HER TUTOR,
MY PRETTY KITTEN, .
THE LEARNED GEESE,
THE OLD GOAT AND HIS
THE NAME OF MY BOOK.
HE reader, perhaps, as
-i he turns over the first
pages of this volume, is puzzled, right at
8 THE NAME OF MY BOOK.
the outset, with the meaning of my title,
The Diving Bell. It is plain enough
to Uncle Frank, and possibly it is to you;
but it may not be; so I will tell you what
a diving bell is, and then, probably, you
can guess the reason why I have given
this name to the following pages.
If you will take a common glass
tumbler, and plunge it into water, with
the mouth downwards, you will find that
very little water will rise into the tum-
bler. You can satisfy yourself better
about this matter, if, in the first place,
Syou lay a cork upon the surface of the
water, and then put the tumbler over it.
THE NAME OF MY BOOL 9
Did you ever try the experiment? Try
it now, if you never have done so, and it
you have any doubt on the subject.
You might suppose, that the cork
would be carried down far below the
surface of the water. But it is not so.
The upper side of the cork, after you
have pressed the tumbler down so low
that the upper end of it is even below the
surface of the water-the upper side of
the cork is not wet at all.
"And what is the reason of this,
Uncle Frank ?"
I will tell you. There is air in the
tumbler, when you plunge it into the
10 THE NAME OF MY BOOK.
water. The air stays in the vessel, so
that there is no room for the water.
Oh, yes, sir; I see how that is. But
I see that a little water finds its way into
the tumbler, every time I try the experi-
ment. How is that ?"
You can press air, the same as you
can press wood, or paper, or cloth, so
that it will go into a smaller space than
it occupied before you pressed it. Did
you ever make a pop-gun ?
"Oh, yes, sir, a hundred times."
Well, when you send the wad out of
the pop-gun, you do it by pressing the
air inside the tub.e. Now if your tum-
THE NAME OF MY BOOK 1
bier was a hundred or a thousand tires
as large, the air would prevent the water
from coming in, just as it does in this in-
stance. Suppose I had dropped a purse
full of gold into a very deep river, and it
had sunk to the bottom. Suppose I
could not get it in any other way but by
going down to the bottom after it. I
could go down to that depth, and live
there for some time, by means of a diving
bell made large enough to hold me, pre-
cisely in the same way that a bird might
go down to the bottom of a tub of water,
in a tumbler, and stand there with the
water hardly over his feet.
12 TRE NAME OF MY BOOW.
There is a good deal of machinery
about a diving bell, it is true. But I
need not take up much time in describ-
ing it. It is necessary for the man to
breathe, of course, while he is in the div-
ing bell; and as the air it contains is
soon rendered impure by breathing, fresh
air must be introduced into the bell by
means of a pump, or in some other way.
I am not very familiar with the necessary
machinery, to tell the truth. I never
explored the bottom of a river in this
way, and I think it will be a long time
before I make such a voyage.
The diving bell has been used for a
THE NAME OF MY DOO=. IS
good many useful purposes-to lay the
foundations of docks and the piers of
bridges; to collect pearls at Ceylon, and
coral at other places.
I am not sure but the diving bell is
getting somewhat out of use now. Peo-
ple have found out another way of grop-
ing along on the bottom of rivers and
seas. They do it frequently, I believe,
by means of a kind of armor made of In-
dia rubber. But so far as my book is
concerned, it is of no consequence
whether the diving bell is out of use or
not. I shall use the title, at all events.
If, after my account of the diving bell,
14 THE NAME OF MY BOOK.
you still ask why I choose to give such a
name to the budget I have prepared for
you, I can answer your question very
I think you will find something worth
looking at in the budget-not pearls, or
pieces of coral, or lost treasures, exactly,
but still something which will please you,
and something which, when you get hold
of it, will be worth keeping and laying
up in some snug corner of your memory-
box. I say when you get hold of it; for
the valuable things I have for you do not
all lie on the surface. You will have to
search for them a little. That is, you
THE NAME OF MY BOOK. 15
will have to think. When you have
read one of my stories, or fables, you
may find it necessary to stop, and ask
yourself "What does Uncle Frank mean
by all this ?" In other words, you will
have to use the diving bell, and see if
you can't hunt up something in the story
or the fable, which will be useful to you,
and which will make you wiser and bet-
ter. Now you see why I have called my
book The Diving Bell, don't you I
THINKING AND LAUGHING.
It is Uncle Frank's notion, that it is a
good thing to laugh, but a better thing
to think. A great many people, how-
ever, old as well as young, and young as
well as old, live and die without think-
ing much. They lose three quarters of
the benefit they ought to get from read-
ing, and from what they see and learn as
they go through the world, by never div-
THINKING AND EAUGHING. 17
ing below the surface of things. I don't
suppose it is so with you. I hope not, at
all events. If it is so, then you had bet-
ter shut up this book, and pass it over to
some young friend of yours, who has
learned to think, and who loves to read
books that will help him about thinking.
No, on the whole, you needn't do any
such thing. Just read the book-read it
through. Perhaps you will get a taste
for such reading, while you are going
through the book.
I must tell you an anecdote just here.
You will not refuse to read that, at any
18 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
Not long ago I was in a book store,
looking over some new books which I
saw on the counter, when a fine-looking
boy, who appeared to be about nine
years old, came in. He had a shilling
in his hand, and said he wanted to buy
But what book do you want ?" one
of the clerks asked.
The boy could not tell what it was
exactly. But it was a funny book"-
he was sure of that-and it cost a shil-
Well, it finally turned out that the
book which the little fellow wanted was
THINKING AND LAUGHING. 19
a comic almanac-a book filled with
miserable pictures-pictures of men and
beasts twisted into all sorts of odd
shapes-and vulgar jokes, and scraps of
9" Will you let me look at it ?" I asked
the little boy as the clerk handed the
book to him.
"Yes, sir," said he.
I took the almanac, and turned over
some of its leaves. There was not a
particle of information in the book, ex-
cept what related to the sun, and moon,
and stars, and that formed but a small
portion of the volume. "My son," said
20 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
I, pleasantly, "what do you buy this
book for ?"
To make me laugh," said he.
But is that all you read books for-
to find something to laugh at ?" I in-
"No, sir," he replied, "but then this,#
book is so funny. Giles Manly has got
one, and"-he hesitated.
"He has a great time over it," I in-
terrupted, to which the little boy nodded,
as much as to say,
"Yes, sir, that's it."
"Did your father send you after this
book ?" I asked.
THINKING AND LAUGHING. 21
"Did your mother tell you to get it ?"
"No, sir. But my mother gave me a
shilling, and told me I might buy just
such a book as I liked."
Well, my son," said I, look here.
You have heard Giles read some of the
funny things in this almanac, have you
"And you've seen some of the pic-
"Yes, sir, all of them."
Then you know pretty well what the
book is ?"
22 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
"Yes, sir, all about it, and that's what
makes me want to buy it."
"Well, you have a right to buy just
such a book as you want. But if I were
in your place, I would not buy that
book; and I'll tell you why. There's a
good deal of fun in it, to be sure. No
doubt you would laugh over it, if you
had it. But you can't learn anything
from it. Come, now, I'll make a bar-
gain with you. Here's a book"-I
handed him one of the Lucy books,
written by Mr. Jacob .ibbott--" which
is worth a dozen of that. This will
make you laugh some, as well as the
THINKING AND LAUGHING. 23
other book; and it will do much more
and better than that. It will set you to
thinking. It will instruct, as well as
amuse you. It will sow some good seeds
in your mind, and your heart, too. It
will teach you to be a thinker as well as
a reader. It costs a little more than
that almanac, it is true. But never mind
that. If you'll take this book, and give
the gentleman your shilling, I'll pay him
the rest of the money. Will you do it ?
Will you take the Lucy book, and leave
the funny almanac ?"
He hesitated. He hardly knew whe-
ther he should make or lose by the trade.
24 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
If you will do so," I continued, "and
read the book, when you get through
with it, you may come to my office in
Nassau street, and tell me how you was
pleased with it. Then, if you say that
you did not like Mr. Abbott's book so
well as you think you would have liked
the book with the funny pictures, and
tell me that you made a bad bargain, I'll
take back the Lucy book, and give you
the almanac in the place of it."
That pleased the little fellow. The
bargain was struck. Mr. Abbott's book
was bought, and the boy left the store,
and ran home.
THINKING AND LAUGHING. 25
I think it was about a week after that,
or it might have been a little longer,
that I heard my name spoken, as I was
sitting at my desk. I turned around,
and, sure enough, there was the identi-
cal boy with whom I had made the trade
at the book store.
"Well, my little fellow," I said,
"' you've got sick of your bargain, eh 1"
S( No, sir," he said, I'm glad I made
it;" and he proceeded to tell me his er-
rand. It seemed that he had been so
pleased with the book, that he "wanted
a few more of the same sort," as the
razor strop man says; and his father had
26 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
told him that he might come to me, a&d
ask me to get all the Lucy books for
Now you see how it was with that lit-
tle fellow, before he read the book I
gave him. He had got the notion that
a child's book could not be amusing-
could not be worth reading-unless it
was filled with such nonsense as there
was in the "funny book" he called for.
He had not got a taste for reading any-
thing else. As soon as he did get such
a taste, he liked that kind of reading
the best; because, besides making him
laugh a little now and then, it put some
THINKING AND LAUGHING. 27
thoughts into his head-gave him some
hints which would be worth something
to him in after life.
Now, I presume there are a great
many boys and girls, who love to read
such nonsense as one finds in comic al-
manacs, and books like "Bluebeard,"
and Jack the Giant Killer," but who,
like the youth I met in the book store,
could very easily learn to like useful
books just as well, and better too, if they
would only take them up, and read them.
Why, my little friends, a book need
not be dull and dry, because it is not all
nonsense. Uncle Frank don't mean to
28 THINKING AND LAUGHING.
have a long face on, when he writes for
young people. He believes in laughing.
He likes to laugh himself, and he likes
to see his young friends laugh, too, some-
I hope, indeed, that you will find this
little book amusing, as well as useful;
though I should be very sorry if it were
not useful, as well as amusing.
THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
A FABLE FOR MANY IN GENERAL, AND A FEW IN
A BEE who had chased after pleasure all
And homeward was lazily wending his
Fell in with a Spider, who called to the
"Good evening! I trust you are well,"
32 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
The bee was quite happy to stop awhile
He always had leisure enough and to
"Good day, Mr. Spider," he said, with
"I thank you, I feel rather poorly, just
"'Tis nothing but work, with all one's
'Tis nothing but work, from morning till
I wish I were dead, Mr. Spider; you know
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 33
I might as well die as to drag along
The Spider pretended to pity the
For a cunning old hypocrite spider was
"I'm sorry to see you so poorly," he
And he whispered his wife, "He will
have to be bled."
"'Tis true sir,"-the knave! every word
is a lie-
34 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
" That rather than live so, 'twere better
'Twere better to finish the thing, as you
Than to live till you're old, and die
"The life that you lead, it may do very
For the beaver's rude hut, or the honey
But it never would suit a gay fellow like
I love to be merry-I love to be free."
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 35
"In hoarding up riches you're wasting
And-pray, sir, excuse me-such waste
is a crime.
And then to be guilty of avarice, too!
Alas! how I pity such sinners as you !"
Strange, strange that the Bee was so
stupid and blind;
"Amen!" he exclaimed, "you have
spoken my mind;
I've been very wicked, I know it, I feel
36 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
The bees have no right to their honey-
they steal it.
"But how in the world shall I manage
to live ?
Should I beg of my friends, not a mite
would they give;
'Tis easy enough to be idle and sing,
But living on air is a different thing."
Our Spider was silent, and looked very
'Twas a habit he had, the cunning old
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 37
No Spider, pursuing his labor of love,
Had more of the serpent, or less of the
At length, "I believe I have hit it," said
"Walk into my palace, and tarry with me.
We spiders know nothing of labor and
Come in; you are welcome our bounty
"I live like a king, and my wife like a
38 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
We wander where flowers are blooming
And then on the breast of the lily we
And list to the stream running merrily
"With us you shall mingle in scenes of
All summer, all winter, from morn until
And when neathh the hills sinks the sun
in the west,
Your head on a pillow of roses shall
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 39
"When miserly bees shall return from
He winked as he said it--" we'll feast
on the spoils;
I'll lighten their loads"-said the Bee,
So will I."
And the Spider said, "Well, if you live,
you may try."
The Bee did not wait to be urged any
But nodded his thanks, as he entered the
40 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
c" Aha !" said the Spider, I have you at
And he seized the poor fellow, and tied
him up fast.
The Bee, when aware of his perilous
Recovered his wit, though a moment too
"0 treacherous Spider! for shame!"
"Is it thus you betray a poor innocent
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 43
The cunning old rascal then laughed
My friend !" he said, grinning, "you're
in a sad plight.
Ha! ha! what a dunce you must be to
That the heart of a Spider could pity
"I never could boast of much honor or
Though slightly acquainted with both by
44 THE SCHEMING SPIDER.
But I think if the Bees can a brother
We Spiders are quite as good people as
"I guess you have lived long enough,
And, now, with your leave, I will eat
you for dinner.
You'll make a good morsel, it must be
And the world, very likely, will pardon
THE SCHEMING SPIDER. 45
This lesson for every one, little and
Is taught in that vagabond's tragical
Of him who is scheming your friend to
Unless you've a passion for bleeding,
GENIUS IN THE BUD.
GENIUS, in its infancy, sometimes puts
on a very funny face. The first efforts
of a painter are generally rude enough.
So are those of a poet, or any other artist.
I have often wished I might see the first
picture that such a man as Titian, or
Rubens, or Reynolds, or West, ever
drew. It would interest me much, and,
I suspect, would provoke a smile or
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 47
two, at the expense of the young
History does not often transmit such
sketches to the world. But I wish it
would. I wish the picture of the sheep
that Giotto was sketching, when Cima-
bue, one of the greatest painters of his
age, came across him, could be pro-
duced. I would go miles to see it.
And I wish West's mother had carefully
preserved, for some public gallery, the
picture that her son Benjamin made of
the little baby in the cradle. You have
heard that story, I dare say.
Benjamin, you know, showed a taste
48 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
for drawing and painting, when he was
a very little boy. His early advantages
were but few. But he made the most of
these advantages; and the result was
that he became one of the first painters
of his day, and before he died, he was
chosen President of the Royal Society in
London. How do you think he made
his colors? You will smile when you
hear that they were formed with char-
coal and chalk, with an occasional
sprinkling of the juice of red berries.
His brush was rather a rude one. It
was made of the hair he pulled from the
tail of Pussy, the family cat. Poor old
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 49
cat! she lost so much of her fur to sup-
ply the young artist with brushes, that
the family began to feel a good deal of
anxiety for her pussyship. They thought
her hair fell off by disease, until Ben-
jamin, who was an honest boy, one
day informed them of their mistake.
What a pity that the world could not
have the benefit of one of the pictures
that West painted with his cat-tail
And then, what a treat it would be, to
get hold of the first rhymes that Watts
and Pope ever made. I believe that
Watts had been rhyming some time
50 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
when he got a fatherly flogging for this
exercise of his genius, and he sobbed out,
between the blows,
"Dear father, do some pity take,
And I will no more verses make."
That couplet was not his first one, by a
good deal. The habit, it would seem,
had taken a pretty strong hold of him,
when the whipping drew that out of
It seems to me that the childhood and
early youth of a genius are more inter-
esting than any riper periods of his life;
or rather, that they become so, when
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 51
time and circumstances have developed
what there was in the man, and when
from the stand-point of his fame in man-
hood, we look back upon his early his-
tory. What small beginnings there have
been to all the efforts of those who have
made themselves masters of the particu-
lar art to which they have directed their
I wonder what kind of a thing Wash-
ington Irving's first composition was.
There must have been a first one; and,
without doubt, it was a clumsy affair
enough. If I were going to write his
history, I would find those who knew
52 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
him when he was a mere child, and I
would pump from them as many anec-
dotes about his little scribblings as I pos-
sibly could, and I would print them, lots
of them. I hardly think I could do the
reader of his biography a better service.
I wonder what his first experience was
with the editors. These editors, by the
way, are often very troublesome to the
young sprig of genius. Placed, as they
are, at the door of the temple of fame,
they often seem to the unfledged author
the most disobliging, iron-hearted men in
the world. He could walk right into
the temple, and make himself perfectly
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 53
at home there, if they would only open
the door. So he fancies; and he won-
ders why the barbarians don't see the
genius sticking out, when he comes along
with his nicely-written verses, and why
they don't just give him, at once, a ticket
of admission to the honors of the world.
"These editors are slow to perceive
merit," he says to himself.
' Your old friend Uncle Frank once set
himself up for a genius. Don't laugh-
pray, don't laugh. I was young then,
and as green as a juvenile gosling. Age
has branded into me a great many truths,
which, somehow or other, were very
54 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
slow in finding their way to my young
mind. The notion that I am a genius
does not haunt me now, and a great
many years have passed since such a
vision flitted across my imagination.
But I will tell you how I was cooled off,
once on a time, when I got into a raging
fever of authorship, and was burning up
with a desire to make an impression on
the world. I had written some verses-
written them with great care, and with
ever so many additions, subtractions, and
divisions. They were perfect, at last-
that is, I could not make them any more
perfect-and off they were posted to the
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 55
editor of the village newspaper. I de-
clare I don't remember what they were
about. But I dare say, they were
"Lines" to somebody, or "Stanzas" to
something; and I remember they were
signed "Theodore Thinker," in a very
large, and as I then thought, a very fair
"Well, did the editor print them,
Hold on, my dear fellow. You are
quite too fast. As I said, when the lines
to somebody or something were sent to
the editor, I was in a perfect fever. I
could hardly wait for Wednesday to
56 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
come, the day on which the paper was
to be issued-the paper which was to be
the medium of the first acquaintance of
my muse with "a discerning public."
"Well, how did you feel when the
lines were printed ?"
When they were printed! Alas, for
my fame! they were not printed at all.
The editor rejected then. "Theodore's
lines," said he-the great clown! what
did he know about poetry ?-" Theo-
dore's lines have gone to the shades.
They possessed some merit,"-some
merit! that's all he knows about poetry;
the brute !--' but not enough to entitle
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 57
them to a place. Still, whenever age
and experience have sufficiently devel-
oped his genius,"-mark the smooth and
oily manner in which the savage knocks
a poor fellow down, and treads on his
neck-" whenever age and experience
have sufficiently developed his genius,
we shall be happy to hear from him
If you can fancy how a man feels,
when he is taken from an oven, pretty
nearly hot enough to bake corn bread,
and plunged into a very cold bath, in-
deed-say about forty degrees Fahren-
heit-you can form some idea of my
58 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
feelings when I read that paragraph in
the editorial column, under the notice
I am inclined to think there are a
great many little folks climbing up the
stairs of the stage of life, who verily be-
lieve that genius has got them by the
hand, leading them along, but who, in
fact, are not a little mistaken. It is
rather important that one should know
whether he has any genius or not; and
if he has, in what particular direction he
will be likely to distinguish himself.
I don't believe in the old-fashioned
notion that people all come into the
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 59
world with minds and tastes so unlike,
that, if you educate one ever so carefully,
he never will make a poet, or a painter,
or a musician, as the case may be; while
the other will be a master in one of these
branches, with scarcely any instruction.
But I do believe there is a great differ-
ence in natural capacities for a particular
art; and that some persons learn that art
easily, while others learn it with diffi-
culty, and could, perhaps, never excel in
it, if they should drive at it for a life-
Ralph Waldo, a boy who lived near
our house, when I was a child, was the
60 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
sport of all the neighborhood, on account
of the high estimate in which he held his
talent at drawing pictures. Now it so
happened that Ralph's pictures, to say
the least, were rather poor specimens of
the art. Some of them, according to
the best of my recollection, would never
have suggested the particular animal or
thing for which they were made, if they
had not been labeled, or if Ralph had
not called them by name.
Such dogs and cats, such horses and
cows, such houses and trees, such men
and women, were never seen since the
world began, as those which figured on
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 61
his slate. And yet he thought a great
deal of his pictures. How happy it used
to make him, when some of the boys in
the neighborhood, perhaps purely out of
sport, would say, "Come, Ralph, let's
see you make a horse now." With what
zeal he used to set himself about the task
of making a horse. When it was done,
and ready for exhibition, though it was a
perfect scare-crow of a thing, he used to
hold it up, with ever so much pride ex-
pressed in the rough features of his face,
as if it were an effort worthy of being
hung up in the Academy of Design, or
the Gallery of Fine Arts.
62 GENIUS IN THE BUD.
This state of things lasted for some
years. But Ralph did not make much
progress in the art. His horses continued
to be the same stiff, awkward things that
they were at first. So did his cows, and
oxen, and dogs, and cats, and men. It
became pretty evident, at least to every-
body except the young artist himself,
that he never would shine in his favorite
profession. He was not "cut out for
it," apparently, though it took a great
while to beat the idea out of his head,
that he was going to make one of the
greatest painters in the country. When
he became a young man, however, he
GENIUS IN THE BUD. 63
had sense enough to choose the carpen-
ter's trade, instead of the painter's art.
I think he showed a great deal more
judgment than many other people do,
who imagine they are destined to as-
tonish two or three continents with their
wonderful productions in some depart-
ment of the fine arts, but who, unfortu-
nately, are not much better fitted for
either of them than a goose or a sheep.
PUTTING ON AIRS;
OR, HOW I TRIED TO WIN RESPECT.
READER-young reader, for I take it
for granted you are young, though if you
should not happen to be, it does not mat-
ter-I have about three quarters of a
mind to let you know what I think of
the practice of putting on airs. The
best way to do the thing perhaps, will be
in the form of a story, and a story it shall
PUTTING ON AIRS. 65
be-a story about a friend of mine who
is sometimes called Aunt Kate, and who
has been known to call herself by that
It is true that some of the incidents in
this story are not much to my friend's
credit. But I am sure she cannot blame
me for mentioning them to you; for she
gave me the whole story, and I shall tell
it almost exactly in her own words.
Are you ready for it ? Well, then, here
Reader, have you ever been from
home ? Of course you have. Every-
body goes from home in these days; but
66 PUTTING ON AIRS.
in the days of my childhood such an
event was not a matter of course affair,
as it now is. Most people stayed at
home then, more then they do now-the
very aged, and the very young, espe-
When I was a child, my parents some-
times took me with them, when they
went to visit their city friends. These
journeys used to excite the envy of all
my young companions, none of whom, if
I recollect right, had ever been to a city.
But times have changed even in my
native village; and the juvenile por-
tion of its inhabitants begin their travels
PUTTING ON AIRS. 67
much earlier in life now, than they did
But the first time I went from home
alone-that was an event! Went alone,
did I say? I am too fast. My father
saw me safely to the place where I was
to go, and left me to spend a few days
and come home in the stage.
When he left me, he gave me a bright
half dollar, for spending money. Now
would you give anything, my little friend,
to know how I spent it? If you had
known me in those days, you could have
easily guessed, even if not much of a
Yankee. I bought a book with it, of
68 PUTTING ON AIRS.
course. I thought I could not purchase
anything to be compared with that in
value. Since then I have learned there
are other things in the world besides
books, although I must own that I still
cling to not a little of my old friendship
for them. How long seemed the few
days I was absent from my father's house.
I had seen a great deal of the world,
I thought, during that time. There
seemed to be an illusion about it-a feel-
ing as if I had been from home for
weeks; and when I returned, and found
some of the good things upon the table
which were baked before I left home, I
PUTTING ON AIRS. 69
thought they must be very old-very old
I should like to know how long you
think you have been gone," said some
member of the family.
Sure enough! How long had I been
away ? Not quite a week. But you
need not smile, for that week was a long
one. We do not always measure time
by minutes and hours. That is not the
only week of my life that has appeared
long. I have seen other weeks that
seemed as long as some months. We
sometimes live very fast, and at other
times, more slowly.
70 PUTTING ON AIRS.
But this is not the journey I am going
to tell you about. I was young then,
and a little green, no doubt; but before
I left home again, I had got rid of my
ignorance on some points. Miss Tomp-
kins, a maiden lady, who sometimes
came to our house to sew, and who laid
claim to more personal experience in
such matters than myself, had received
from some one a chapter of instructions
about traveling-a kind of traveler's
guide-and as she did not wish to be so
selfish as to keep all her knowledge for
her own use, she very freely gave away
some of it for my benefit.
AUNT KATE AND HER TI:'lR.
PUTTING ON AIRS. 73
"T When you travel," said my instruc-
tor, "you must not be too modest and
retiring. You must always help yourself
to the best things that come within your
reach, as if you considered them yours,
as a matter of course. If you only act
as if you think yourself a person of con-
sequence, you will be treated as such.
But if you stand one side, and seem to
think that anything is good enough for
you, every one will be sure to think so
too. It is as much as saying that you
don't think yourself of much importance.
Others, of course, will conclude that you
ought to be the best judge, and that you
74 PUTTING ON AIRS.
are a sort of nobody, who may be dis-
posed of to suit anybody's convenience."
Now as these items of advice were
given as the result of the experience of
those who had seen a great deal of the
world, and as I was very ready to admit
my own ignorance, I resolved to lay up
these hints for future service, when I
should travel again.
The time came, at length, for another
journey. The stage, which passed regu-
larly through our village once a day,
accommodating those who wished to go
north one day, and those who wished to
go south the next, picked me and my
PUTTING ON AIRS. 75
baggage up, at my father's door. A
very young lady, an acquaintance of
mine, and two stranger gentlemen, were
the only passengers besides myself, until
we reached the next town, five miles dis-
tant, where we stopped to change horses.
When we got into the coach again, at
this place, we found a new passenger
safely stowed away in one corner of the
This passenger was an old lady, of a
class sometimes found in our country vil-
lages, who are aunts to everybody, and
claim the greater part of the younger
portion of the community as sheer boys
76 PUTTING ON AIRS.
and girls. It seems the driver was one
of her boys, and, on account of his being
so nearly related, she claimed a free pas-
sage. She was already there, and the
driver had to choose between these two
things-either to admit her claim, or to
turn her out. He wisely concluded to
make a virtue of necessity. It would
not answer to be rude to Aunt Polly, he
thought. Some of the other nephews
and neices might think him cruel.
But there was another question to be
settled. She had possession of the back
seat. This would hardly do on the
strength of a free ticket, when it was
PUTTING ON AIRS. 77
claimed by those who had paid their
"( You must get up, Aunt Polly," said
the driver, "and let these ladies have
the back seat."
But Aunt Polly, alas! declared, in the
most positive manner, that she could not
ride on the middle seat.
"Yes you can," said the driver, "and
you must; so get up."
But Aunt Polly was by no means
easily moved. She still, to the no small
vexation of the driver, kept on saying
that she could not ride on the middle
seat. In this state of things, one of the
78 PUTTING ON AIRS.
gentlemen undertook the task of settling
matters, and, addressing me, inquired
which seat I preferred. All the instruc-
tions which I had received at once rush-
ed to my mind. Now was the time to
put them in practice-to let it be known
that I was not going to give up my seat
to any one, certainly not to one who had
no claim to it. So drawing myself up to
my full height-which was nothing to
boast of, by the way-I answered with
becoming dignity, I prefer the back
He then turned to my companion, and
said, "Which seat do you prefer ?"
PUTTING ON AIRS. 79-
( It makes no difference with me,
sir," was the modest reply.
A smile passed over the face of the
gentleman-a smile which evidently in-
dicated one of two things; either that
he thought my companion showed her
ignorance of the world, in making her-
self of so little consequence, and seeming
to say, You may do what you please
with me ;" or he thought my reply very
old for one of my years. Which was it ?
Ah, that was the question. I could not
forget that peculiar smile. In fact, you
see I have not forgotten it yet. It seem-
ed to mean something; but what did it
zJ PUTTING ON AIRS.
mean? Oh, how I wanted to know ex-
actly what it meant, and how carefully I
watched, to see if I could not find out.
The matter of seats was soon arranged
to the satisfaction of all parties. The
old lady and myself had the back seat,
while my companion took the middle
seat. I observed that the above-named
gentleman passenger offered several polite
attentions to my companion, while he
did not seem to notice me at all, although
I had let him know that I was a person
of so much consequence. This might be
accounted for by the fact that she was
seated very near him, while my seat was
PUTTING ON AIRS. 81
more distant, or there might be some
other cause for it.
The opinion of a stranger whom I
never expected again to meet, was not
in itself of any great importance; yet it
certainly had a bearing on the question
whether or not my traveling instructions
were of the right kind. If they were,
my answer was certainly the right one,
and calculated to make a favorable im-
pression upon the minds of my fellow
passengers. But when I tried to look at
the affair in this light, I was disturbed by
a secret thought that I should have had
a more comfortable feeling of self-re-
82 PUTTING ON AIRS.
spect, if I had given up the back seat-
for which, after all, I did not care a
straw-to an aged female, who really
thought she could not ride on the middle
When I returned home, I related the
incident to Miss Tompkins, the seam-
stress whose directions I had undertaken
to follow, and also frankly owned that I
was not quite sure which reply had
caused that peculiar smile.' She assured
me there could be no doubt on that point.
" The gentleman was amused at the
ignorance of the world which that other
girl showed. He thought she was not
PUTTING ON AIRS. 83
much, or she would not so readily step
aside, and give up her rights to any one
who might choose to claim them."
But I was by no means convinced of
the truth of this statement of the case;
and when I was a little older, I came to
such conclusions on the subject that I be-
lieve I have never tried, since that time,
to establish my claim to be a person of,
consequence by similar means.
Indeed, to tell the truth, I have not
thought much of the wisdom of these in-
structions, from that day to this; and I
certainly would not recommend to you,
my young friend, that which I have
84 PUTTING ON AIRS.
turned out of my own service, as useless
lumber. Seriously, I do not think you
will ever suffer in the opinion of your
fellow travelers, by being kind and
obliging, and showing that you do not
think yourself of so much consequence as
to forget there is any one else in the
world. When a person takes pains to
impress others with a sense of his im-
portance, it almost always excites a sus-
picion that he is trying to pass for some-
thing more than he really is. It does
not require all this show and pretension
to keep the place which really belongs
to him, and to attempt more than this,
PUTTING ON AIRS. 85
will only draw upon him neglect and
To this chapter in the experience of
Aunt Kate, I feel very much like adding
a word or two, "by way of improve-
ment," as the ministers say. But on
second thought, I guess it will be as well
to let you use the diving bell, and see if
you cannot bring out the improvement
"TRY THE OTHER END."
THE other day I came across a man
who was tugging with all his might at
the wrong end of a lever. That is, he
had a great crowbar, almost as large as
he could lift, and was bearing down on
one end of it, while the block of wood
which he had put under it for a purchase,
was at the same end. He was trying to
pry up a large stone in that way. But
TRY THE OTHER END." 87
the stone would not be pryed up. It was
a very obstinate stone, the good old far-
mer thought. He had no notion of giv-
ing up the project, however. So he
pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves,
and went to work in right good earnest.
Still the stone did not stir; or if it did
it was only just enough to aggravate the
What could be the matter ? The stone
was not a very large one. It did not look
as if it could stand a great deal of pry-
ing. What was the matter ?
There happened to be a school-boy
passing that way at the time. He was
88 TRY THE OTHER END."
not huch of a farmer, and still less of a
mechanic, I should think; but he thought
he saw what the trouble was. It did not
seem to be so much the lever itself, or
the farmer, or the stone to be moved, as
in the way the man went to work. The
boy ventured to hint this idea to the
Why, my dear sir," he said, there
is no use in your breaking your neck in
that style. You are at the wrong end
of the lever. You haven't purchase
The good-natured farmer (for he was
good-natured, and did not get into a pas-
"TRY THE OTHER END." 89
sion because a mere boy, young enough
to be his grand-child, attempted to help
him out of his difficulty) the good-na-
tured farmer stopped a moment, looked
at the matter carefully, and frankly ac-
knowledged that he had gone the wrong
way to work.
"I wonder what on earth I think-
ing of," said he, in his uL lan-
guage. Of course he shifted is crow-
bar immediately, so as to get a good pur-
chase. The trouble was all over then.
The stone came up easily enough, of
It came into my mind while I was
90 "TRY THE OTHER END."
thinking about this farmer's mistake in
the use of his lever, that certain people-
myself included, perhaps-might profit
by this blunder.
A great many, for instance, use the
lever of truth-a very good crow-bar,
the best to be had-in overturning moral
evils. But they do not accomplish any-
thing, because they take hold of the
wrong end of the lever. They have no
Here is a man, who, as I think, is in
the habit of wrong doing every day.
Well, I settle it in my mind that I will
talk to him, and see if I cannot make a
"TRY THE OTHER END." 91
better man of him. I look him up, and
go to prying at his sin, like a man dig-
ging up pine stumps by the job. I call
him hard names. Why not? He de-
serves them. Everybody knows that. I
do not mince the matter with him at all.
But what I say seems to have no good
effect upon him. It makes him angry,
and he advises me to mind my own busi-
ness, assuring me, at the same time, that
he shall take good care to mind his.
I see plainly enough that I have been
working half an hour or more to no pur-
pose, and that very likely I have made
matters worse. Yet what was my error ?
92 "TRY THE OTHER END."
Simply this: that I spent all my strength
at the short arm of the lever. If I had
gone to work with a kind and tender
spirit, something as Nathan went to work
at David, once on a time, and used the
other end of the lever, I should have got
a good purchase, at least, and I am not
sure but the stone would have yielded.
As it is, however, the troublesome thing
is there yet, and it seems to be settling
into the ground deeper than ever.
I know some good people, among
whom I can count half a score of minis-
ters, who try very hard to keep bad books
and periodicals out of the family circle,
"TRY THE OTHER END." 93
There is no end to their talk against these
things. They tell their children that
they must never read such and such
books, and that if they ever catch one of
them reading these books, they shall
take good care to punish them for it.
But in spite of all the efforts of these
people, they don't succeed in keeping
these bad books out of the family. In
some way or other, they are smuggled
into the hands of a boy or girl, and they
are read, while the parent, perhaps,
knows nothing of it. That is all wrong,
of course. I don't mean to say anything
to excuse the boy or girl-nothing of the
94 "TRY THE OTHER END."
kind. But why didn't these parents go
another way to work ? Why, instead of
preaching all those long sermons on bad
books, and threatening their children
with punishment in case they read these
books, why did they not provide other
books, equally interesting, though inno-
cent and useful? That would have
been a wiser course, methinks. That
would have been the right end of the
crow-bar to work at. The way to get
rid of an evil is to find something else to
put in its place. So I think.
But some of these very fathers and
mothers, though they cry out so loudly
"TRY THE OTHER END." 95
against immoral books and periodicals,
say they cannot afford to buy books for
their children. It was only last week
that I heard one of them tell a friend,
who asked him to subscribe for a maga-
zine for his daughter, that he was poor,
and could not afford it. Poor he gave
one party last winter, on this same daugh-
ter's account, which cost him more than
a hundred dollars. He cannot afford it!
Well, if he does not afford to furnish
reading for those children, I am afraid
they will afford it themselves.
I have seen a little girl, when her sis-
ter had been doing something wrong,
96 "TRY THE OTHER END."
run straight to her mother, and tell her
of it. But it only made the little mis-
chief-maker worse. She went the wrong
way to work. She labored hard enough
to come at her sister's fault; but her
labor was all thrown away. She was at
the wrong end of the crow-bar. If, in-
stead of posting off, as fast as she could
run, to her mother, every time that sister
did wrong, as if she really liked to be a
tell-tale, she had said, as kindly as
she could, "Susy, don't do so; that's
naughty," or something of the kind, I
presume it would all have been well