Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Willow-Lane stories
 The miller of our village

Group Title: Uncle Frank's home stories : with illustrations
Title: Uncle Frank's home stories
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003633/00001
 Material Information
Title: Uncle Frank's home stories with illustrations
Alternate Title: Home stories, Uncle Frank
Physical Description: 188 p., <3> leaves of plates : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Woodworth, Francis C ( Francis Channing ), 1812-1859
G. Routledge & Co ( Publisher )
Levey, Robson, and Franklyn ( Printer )
Publisher: George Routledge and Co.
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Levey, Robson, and Franklyn
Publication Date: 1853
Subject: Teachers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Teacher-student relationships -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Education -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1853   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Christmas stories -- 1853   ( lcsh )
School stories -- 1853   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1853   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Christmas stories   ( lcsh )
School stories   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Statement of Responsibility: <by F.C. Woodworth>
General Note: Added engraved t.p.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003633
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002240042
oclc - 46367669
notis - ALJ0581

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Willow-Lane stories
        Page 1
        Opening of the budget
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
        Our first schoolmaster
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
        The monkey and his spelling-class
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
        The bonfire; or, what disobedience cost
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
        Witch woods
            Page 21
            Page 22
        Our huckleberry parties
            Page 23
            Page 24
        Willow-Lane picnics
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        Capturing the hornets' nest
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
        A girl lost in the woods
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 38a
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
        Six months at Uncle Miah's; or, every-day life on a farm
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
        Close of the budget
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
    The miller of our village
        Page 61
        Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 66a
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
        What I mean by tolls
            Page 71
            Page 72
        My first horseback ride
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
        A queer getting overboard
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
        A talk about lighthouses
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
        On "taking it easy"
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
        Fish and fishermen
            Page 101
            Page 102
        Uncle Jake's notions about fishing
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
        "Take care"
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
        On biting files
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
        The cabin-boy
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
        Temptation; or, Henry Morland
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
        The Christmas visit
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
Full Text



ii;I~ ~ ~II~c11)(;;1 i i iI*




Our First Schoolmaster, p. G.

lNiAlllliin I I 71\









Grcat Netw Street, Fetter Iune.


WiiUowm-ant Storis.


Ge f tilUer of our illtage.



. 1

* 4

* 23
. 25
* 31



* 63
* 71
* 73
. 8i





. 84

* 93

. Io8

. 116
. 126
. I69

^ttlHLob $harn torrcs.

IN the very heart of one of the best American States
there is a district of country, included within rather
narrow bounds, which goes by the name of Willow
Lane. Why it ever received that name is more
than I can tell. I never saw any willow-trees in
that region, according to the best of my recollection,
and I never saw a person that had seen or heard of
one. But the place is called Willow Lane for all
You need not look on the map for it; you will not
find it there. It never has made much of a figure
in the world's history, and I am by no means sure
that it ever will. There is nothing remarkable in
the appearance of that part of the country-nothing
perhaps which would strike a stranger very favour-
ably. Few, certainly, would fall in love with it at
first sight. The scenery, I suppose, may be called
tame ; it has been called so, at any rate.

^ttlHLob $harn torrcs.

IN the very heart of one of the best American States
there is a district of country, included within rather
narrow bounds, which goes by the name of Willow
Lane. Why it ever received that name is more
than I can tell. I never saw any willow-trees in
that region, according to the best of my recollection,
and I never saw a person that had seen or heard of
one. But the place is called Willow Lane for all
You need not look on the map for it; you will not
find it there. It never has made much of a figure
in the world's history, and I am by no means sure
that it ever will. There is nothing remarkable in
the appearance of that part of the country-nothing
perhaps which would strike a stranger very favour-
ably. Few, certainly, would fall in love with it at
first sight. The scenery, I suppose, may be called
tame ; it has been called so, at any rate.


There is little of interest in the looks of the few
dwellings to be seen at Willow Lane. Indeed, if
my memory does not mislead me, they used, some
years ago, when I first made their acquaintance, to
exhibit a sad want of outside polish, to say the least.
And the people too were plain, every-day sort of
people. There was not much starch about them,
not much buckram, not much paint, not much var-
nish. With few exceptions, they were farmers-
not gentlemen and lady farmers, with kid gloves,
but genuine, hard-working, sunburnt, out-and-out
farmers, who did their own work with their sleeves
rolled up-men who dug their gold, with their own
tough hands, from such dry diggings" as potato-
hills-women Who contrived to get it out of the
churn and the cheese-press, the wheel and the
As to their learning, they generally managed to
get hold of what they wanted, without going to col-
lege after it. There was little Latin and less Greek
afloat among the Willow-Lane folks. The common
school-rather too common perhaps-had enough
wisdom in it to satisfy them. They were reason-
able people, you see; easily suited, not disposed to
find fault with their lot.
I suppose that they did not care much for worldly
honours. At all events, when presidents, governors,
and judges were to be made, somehow or other the
timber was never taken from Willow Lane.


This is a sketch of Willow Lane as it would ap-
pear to a stranger. It Would, no doubt, appear so
to you, boys and girls; and yet I must confess to
you that it is quite another spot to Uncle Frank.
Every thing in that secluded district is interesting
to me. Shall I tell you why ? Because it was my
home in the sunny days of childhood and early
youth. It was in that school-house which stands at
the top of the hill, just after you cross the little
brook, that I stepped on some of the lower rounds
of the ladder of learning. There the stern school-
master-stern I then thought, but perhaps I was
mistaken-taught me my A B C. In that pond,
which supplied the water for the grist-mill and the
factory, I used to sail my little boats, and wait, pa-
tiently wait, for the sun-fish and the trout to bite
my tempting hook. That old, brown, time-worn
house, with the moss-covered shingles, and the roof
sloping almost down to the ground in the rear, was
my home. No proud and lofty palace was ever
dearer to a boy than this humble dwelling was to
me. Ay, and every thing in Willow Lane had then,
and still has, an interest to me, because it was con-
nected with the sweetest days of all my life.

" How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view! -
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wildwood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew;


The wide-spreading pond, and the mill which stood by it,
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell;
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well !"

I have a budget of stories to tell about matters
and things connected with this Willow Lane. Would
you like to hear some of them ?


I wisit you could have seen the man who first
pointed out to me the beauties of Mavor's Spelling-
book. He was a curiosity, that Solomon Stark.
Where he came from, and what was his early his-
tory, are difficult questions. I will not attempt to
answer them. How such a man ever came to be
the teacher of the Willow-Lane school for several
winters is a mystery too. I have heard it said, the
Willow-Lane people liked him because he was rea-
sonable in his charges. Parson Daley, our minister,
one of the best men the world ever saw, seldom had
much more gold and silver than he knew what to
do with. His riches were mostly in heaven. Parson
Daley -the dear old man, how my heart yearns
toward him now, as I recall to my mind the kind-
ness and love that always shone in his face There
was sometimes, it is true, a shade too much of gra-


vity in those features-a shade too much to suit the
laughing, romping, frolicking children of his parish,
But I never knew the boy or girl who could not see
ever so many good things written on the brow of
Parson Daley.
It is the schoolmaster though, and not the par-
son, that I began to talk about. Mr. Solomon Stark
was not a great scholar. Whatever I might have
thought when I first began to go to school, it seemed
plain enough to me, somewhat later in life, when I
accidentally came across an old letter of his, written
to my father-it seemed plain enough that Solomon
the schoolmaster was not so remarkable for his
learning as Solomon the king of Israel. The letter
was 1fll of blunders, to say nothing about the hand-
writing, as it could well be. It was richly worth
putting in the Museum.
I was the more surprised to find this letter so
wretchedly put together, as Mr. Stark took a great
deal of pride in his knowledge of grammar. I re-
member, indeed, hearing one of the school committee
say once, when talking with Deacon Slocum about
the Willow-Lane school, that Mr. Stark took to
parsing as a duck took to water ;" and the deacon
seemed to nod assent, I believe. It may be, how-
ever, that the schoolmaster, being a very prudent
man, thought that grammar was too costly for every-
day use, and that a person in his circumstances could
only afford to use it in school-time, or on some great


out-of the-way occasion. Perhaps, in other words,
though he might have had a large pond full of it in
store, he was afraid, if he let the water keep running
out of it all the time, it would, sooner. or later, get

In arithmetic he was like some commentaries on
the Bible which I have come across in my day-
good on the easy spots. It was plain sailing with
him all along the first forty or fifty pages of Walk-
inghame's Arithmetic; but it was rough water in
vulgar fractions, and he got completely swamped
in decimals. Bill Handy, wlo was called the
smartest boy in school, ciphered clear through the
Arithmetic one winter. But after he got into the
middle of the book, he had no more help from
Mr. Stark in doing the sums. Bill used to tease
the poor man a good deal though, by going to him
with the hard sums. Every day, almost,--- pur-
pose, we all knew, to make fun for us,-he would
march up to the schoohnaster's desk, with his slate
covered with figures from top to bottom, and very
likely on both sides, and gravely ask Mr. Stark to
help him out with the hard places. But Mr. Stark
did not help him. lHe did not help him for one of
the best reasons in the world-for the same reason
that John Gilpin did not sit up straight on his
horse when he was running that famous race to
I don't doubt that Mr. Solomon Stark wished


Bill Handy far away, at least fifty times that winter.
I pitied the man. We all pitied him, while we
laughed in our sleeves all, perhaps, but Bill
Handy. His heart seemed to have more mis,
chief than pity in it. Bill was Mr. Stark's evil
genius. The worst of it was, that Mr. Stark had
to contrive such a multitude of excuses to get rid
of doing the sums. One day he had a great many
pens to mend. At another time he had lots of
writing copies to get ready. Then he had half a
dozen lazy boys to flog ; or the parsing lesson must
be attended to; or it was time for the first class to
spell; or he had the headache, and couldn't puzzle.
his brains with figures. Every time Bill went up
to the desk with his slate, the boys and girls would
look knowingly into each other's faces, as much as
to say, There he goes again. Wonder what ex-
cuse the schoolmaster will invent this time."
Bill Handy finally got through the Arithmetic,
and wasn't it a happy day for Mr. Solomon Stark!
He was living at our house at the time. We all
thought his appetite was better than usual the next
morning at breakfast; and my brother and I always
believed that the end of Bill Handy's voyage through
the Arithmetic had something to do with sharpening
the schoolmaster's relish for my mother's mince-meat
and sausages. Perhaps not, though. I shall not
stop to debate the question, at any rate.
Mr. Stark was a very pompous man. He gave


his orders in school very much after the fashion of
a general at the hea4 of a brigade; and when he
placed his spectacles astride. his great nose, or raised
them to his forehead, he did so with an air of vast
importance, which sometimes seemed ludicrous, con-
sidering how little of the gold dust of learning he
had actually picked up and stowed away. He was a
large, portly man; and I used actually to think that
his good opinion of himself, somehow or other, puffed
him up, as the air puffs up a balloon. There was a
little of the dandy about him, too. No man in Wil-
low Lane dressed so well as he. Nobody's boots
were so nicely polished; nobody's cravat so care-
fully tied; nobody's hat so smoothly brushed.
If I have given you a glance only at the dark
side of Solomon Stark, you must not conclude, on
this account, that there was not, likewise, a bright
side to the man. There was a bright side, and I
should do him and my own feelings great injustice
if I finished my sketch of him here. There was a
good heart in the schoolmaster. He generally meant
well. I do believe he would have parted with one
of his fingers-or a small portion of one of them, at
least, say a section of the nail-rather than he would
wrong any one much. He was rigid in his govern-
ment, to be sure. He did use the ruler and the well-
seasoned cane most unmercifully. There is no dis-
puting that. But then it was the fashion in those
days, more than it is now, to be severe. The more


a schoolmaster -whipped the scholars, the better he
was liked by some of the parents at Willow Lane.
Let us hope that Mr. Stark thrashed the boys and
girls because he believed it would do them good. I
certainly never thought he loved to whip us. He
did not rub his hands and chuckle at the idea that
he had got a good chance to flog a little urchin, as
I have known some schoolmasters do. He always
acted as if he was heartily glad when any one of his
numerous floggings was fairly over.
Take him all in all he was a very clever man, in
the Willow-Lane sense of the term; and if he had
been engaged in any other business but school keep-
ing, I don't doubt but we should all have loved hint
heartily, with all his faults. I never laid up any
malice against Mr. Stark, and my heart warms
kindly towards him now, as I recall to my mind the
epoch of his monarchy in Willow Lane. I have
often thought, while thinking over the scenes which
transpired in that old school-house, while he held
the ferule of dominion,
1" That e'en his failings leaned to virtues side."
He never forgot any little act of kindness that
was done for him. One afternoon, I remember, ho
was changing his boarding-house from my father's
to Captain Parry's, and he had two or three bundles
to carry. I offered to carry one of them for him.
He thanked me, and gave me one, which I carried


all the way to Captain Parry's. When I was ready
to return home, and bade him Good afternoon," he
thanked me again, and said, I'11 remember you,
Frank ; see if I don't. You'll not lose any thing by
your kindness."
I did not lose any thing sure enough, by doing
the little favour. It was not long before he came
over to our house, one Saturday, and told my father
that he had got Captain Parry's horse and wagon, and
was going down to Northville; and he added, that
he would like me to go along with him. My father
consented, and I went to Northville with the school-
master. Northville, you must know, was some six
or seven miles off, and was quite a city in the
opinion of most of the Willow-Lane people. It was
a great treat for the boys to go to Northville.
What a host of wonderful things I saw that day I
Mr. Stark took me to a toy-shop just before we left
to return home; and after letting Ime gaze to my
heart's content at the curious things with which the
whole shop was filled, he bought a large ball, a top,
and a Jew's harp, and gave them to me. Oh, how
rich I felt as we were riding home, with those three
articles in my jacket-pocket! It would have re-
quired, at that time, a large heap of money to pur-
chase me and my curiosities, if I had made the
Mr. Stark was a pretty good schoolmaster, after
all, according to the general standard which the



people judged by in Willow Lane; though I must
be permitted to say, that if I was in want of a
teacher, I should not be likely to send for Solomon


I MUST relate one rather laughable incident con-
nected with this schoolmaster's history, while he
lived in Willow Lane.
It was a great day for the Wllow-Lane folks,
and especially for the Willow-Lane young folks,
when a travelling caravan of wild beasts stopped
there one afternoon in midsummer. Such a thing
had hardly ever been known in that neighbourhood
before. Squire Ryal, one of the very oldest men in
all that country, remembered a caravan something
like this coming here when he was a mere lad. But
then there were not half as many animals in that
collection as there were in the one of which I am
speaking. This caravan nearly struck us all dumb
with amazement. There were the lion, the tiger,
the leopard, the rhinoceros, the laughing hyena, the
elephant, and I can't remember how many animals
besides. Some half a dozen monkeys belonged to
the company, of course; for how is it possible to



get along in such an exhibition as this, without the
antics of the fun-making monkey tribe ?
Mr. Solomon Stark went to see the caravan.
Every body went to see it, indeed--every body that
could go. Such an opportunity-the only one in a
person's lifetime, perhaps-nobody could afford to
lose, and least of all Mr. Stark. Well, there was
a monkey belonging to the caravan, whom they
called Paul. IHe was brimful of mischief. They
let Paul and the other monkeys out of their cage,
and they frolicked about, wherever they chose to go
Paul seemed to take quite a fancy to Mr. Stark.
He looked at him from a little distance for a few
moments, and then he ran up to him, jumped upon
his shoulder, took off his spectacles, and ran away
with them as fast as he could run. The rogue did
all this in a shorter space of time than I have been
telling about it. If he had been more deliberate,
Mr. Stark would have got out of the fellow's way,
perhaps. As it was, his spectacles were stolen be-
fore he had time to think what the monkey was
But the joke did not end here. Paul jumped
upon the top of the elephant's cage, where no one
could easily get at him, and there he put the spec-
tacles on his own nose, exactly in Solomon Stark's
pompous fashion. And he was not satisfied with
this feat. He picked up a piece of an old news-
paper, and made as if he was reading it. Then the



rogue set up a noisy chattering, as if he was aware
how much fun he was making at Mr. Stark's ex-
pense. The chattering, or something else, brought
the other monkeys up where he was, and they all
joined in the sport. They sat down in a row, and
Paul, lifting up the spectacles to his forehead, pre-
cisely like Mr. Stark, for all the world, went to
exercising his brother monkeys-so we boys all de-
clared, and so it really seemed--in the spelling
lesson. Once in a while he would look for a moment
upon the piece of newspaper he held in his paw, and
then he would look toward the monkeys, when they
all commenced chattering. You never heard such a
boisterous roar of laughter as there was among the
Willow-Lane people, when they saw Paul, with the,
schoolmaster'ss spectacles on, before the spelling class.
Mr. Stark did not enjoy the joke, however. He felt
something as the frogs (lid in the fable, when some
bad boys pelted them with stones. It was any thing
but sport to him. He was thankful enough when
the keeper caught the ugly-looking rascal, and put
an end to the spelling lesson. But, oh, what a
tittering ti.re,: was among the boys at school, when
they took their places the next Monday morning I



WHEN a child, I had a great passion for a large fire.
Nothing pleased me so well as to go into the pasture
with my father's hired men, at a particular season of
the year, and see them set fire to the heaps of brush
which they had collected.
One winter, when I was quite young, the old
Willow-Lane school-house was burned down. It
caught fire in the night, and a pretty dark night too,
according to my present recollection. I saw the fire
from our parlour-windows, for the school-house was
only a short distance from my father's, just up the
hill. To be sure, I was sonry to have the building de-
stroyed, and possibly a stray tear or two found their
way down my cheeks, as I heard the crackling of
the flames, saw the leaves of the children's spelling
books, burned to ashes, rising above that mass of
ruin, until they were lost in the darkness, and as I
heard the lamentations of the almost frantic school-
master, who, as I recollect, had been drawn to the
scene, without having very carefully dressed himself.
Of course I was sorry to have the old school-house
burned down. B3ut I will own that I thought I
never had beheld a more splendid sight than the
flames presented. The event figured in my recol-
lection, with a good deal of distinctness, for a long



time; and while I hoped that no more school-houses
would take fire, I devoutly wished that, in case any
one should get into such ain unfortunate condition,
and should withal make so respectable a blaze as
ours did, I might, by some means, be within sight
of it at the time.
I suppose there was nothing wrong in this passion
of mine to see a large fire, It was right enough in
itself, perhaps. But there was something wrong in
the mode I took to indulge the passion; and that is
what I am coming at.
One windy day, in the fall of the year, I asked
my mother to let me go into the meadow at the
back of the barn, and make a little bonfire. She
was not willing. I pleaded with her, however-
just as children should not do, when their parents
deny them any thing. I only wanted to make a little
bonfire, a very little one-so I told her, It would
not do the least harm in the world, I should be so
careful, Still my mother refused. She was not
willing to trust me with fire on such a windy day,
and so near the barn. So she utterly refused her
consent to my darling scheme of making a little
Now, reader, what do you think I did, in this
case ?
You gave up the scheme," I think I hear you
say; you gave it up, and amused yourself in some
other way."



That is just exactly what I ought to have done,
but-I grieve to be obliged to say it, and I am
ashamed to think of it-it is exactly what I did
not do.
There was a sort of dialogue going on in my mind
for the space of several minutes. Two spirits-so
it seemed-were whispering to me in turn; one
telling me to obey my mother, and the other urging
me to gratify my foolish whim in the matter of the
bonfire. One made me feel that it was wrong to
disobey my mother; that God would see me kindle
the fire, if no one else did, and that I should offend
Him; that on the whole, my mother understood the
matter better than I could possibly understand it,
and that she denied my request, not for want of love
to me, but because she was afraid that I might do
some mischief, even if I was ever so careful.
The other spirit used a very different set of argu-
ments. They were such as these: that it was un-
just for my mother to deny me so small a favour ;
that the fire would not do the least harm in the
world; that it would afford me a great deal of
amusement; that nobody would see the fire, as my
father and all the hired men were out in the field
at work on the other side of the great brook ; that,
as to its being a sin, that was all nonsense, it was
such a small affair, that it was not worth thinking
about; so that I had better go and kindle the fire
at once.



Alas! I closed my ears to the voice that urged
me to do right, and yielded to the suggestions of
the tempter. Like a thief, I stole into the kitchen,
when no one saw me, took a coal from the hearth,
and ran with it to the place where I had determined
to make my bonfire.
How foolish, as well as wicked, was the course I
pursued! The ground, for a considerable distance
in the rear of the barn, was covered, to a greater
or less depth, with dry straw. The spot which I
chose for my fire-a little fire it was to be, you
know, a very little fire--was on the extreme edge
of this straw, several rods, I think, it might have
been, from the barn. I gave myself credit for a
great deal of smartness in selecting a spot so far
from the barn as not to endanger it in the least,
though, but for this caution, I might have had a
much larger fire. I collected a small heap of the
straw, and set fire to it.
It burned very readily; there was no difficulty
on that score. The bonfire did not need any coax-
ing ; the straw was dry as tinder, and the wind was
very accommodating. I put on a little more straw
-a very little; it was only a little bonfire that I
wished for. It burned finely; my brightest hopes
were realized. By and by it began to spread over
more ground. Ah, I thought, I must put a stop to
that! I was a cunning boy; I had not the least
doubt of that.



I went to work, trying to stop the progress of the
fire; but the harder I laboured, the faster the flames
spread. The wind was blowing towards the barn
too; there was danger. When that truth flashed
upon my mind, I burst into a flood of tears. What
could I do ? It took but a moment to make up my
minl; and I ran with all my might to the house,
and told my mother the whole story. She was
greatly frightened, but she went coolly enough to
work. I think women are often cooler and calmer
than men, when danger suddenly stares them in the
We had two horns in the house, each of which
was used, At different times, in calling my father
and his men to dinner, when they were at work in
the field. One of these was a tin horn, made on
purpose for such a use, and the other was a large
sea-shell. My mother took one of these horns, and
gave the other to Mary, the hired girl, when these
two individuals blew a blast which, according to the
best of my recollection, must have had a great deal
more noise than melody in it. It was not a bad
imitation, I should think, as far as it went, of the
blowing of the rams' horns near the city of Jericho,
just before the walls fell down,
These horns, blown both at once, and at an hour
when it was not possible that dinner could be ready,
sounded oddlly enough to my father and his men.
They listened a moment, and made up their winds



that there was something the matter at bome. As
soon as they looked toward the beuse, they saw
plainly enough what the matter was ; and you may
be sure they did not lose much time in running to
the scene of danger. One of them, I recollect, was
in such haste, that he swam across the great pond,
which was situated between the field where they
were at work and the homestead, Other men too,
besides those at work for my father, alarmed by the
sound of the horns, and the sight of the flames,
rushed to the spot; and all together made a most
vigorous effort to prevent the barn from burning up,
which, by the way, was at the time full of hay and
grain, and would certainly have been consumed if it
had taken fire.
Well, the barn was saved. The men had to work
very hard to save it, however. Some of them got
badly burned too; for they were obliged to rush
into the flames, in order to place wet blankets on
the side of the building which was most exposed.
The barn was saved ; but oh, what pain I suffered
while the result. was doubtful I I cried nearly all
the time. I would have given every thing I had
in the world, if I could have undone what I had so
foolishly commenced.
After the fire was put out, the men all came into
the house to take some refreshment; and, as they
occasionally looked toward me, I felt as if it would
have been r very pleasant thing indeed could I have


sunk into some potato-hole or other, where I could
have covered myself up, and where no mortal eye
could see me. Oh, what mortification, and shame,
and remorse had my disobedience occasioned me !
Neither my father nor my mother punished me
for my fault. They did not, indeed, speak one word
of reprimand ; they thought I had had sufficient
punishment. They were right: so I thought then,
.ind so I think now. Nothing they could have said
or done to me would at all have deepened the con-
viction in my mind of the foly and sin of disobedi-
ence to parents, or have tended to strengthen my
resolution to obey in future. I inwardly felt the
truth of that sentiment of Scripture, that the way
of transgressors is hard."
Dear reader, I have here given you a sort of
looking-glass, in which you can see your face. You
can see exactly where the danger lies, when you
are tempted to disobey your parents. It is in allow-
ing the tempter, as it were, not only to come into
your mind, but to stay there, and to repeat his wicked.
suggestions a hundred times over. How easy I
could at first have resisted the temptation to make
my bonfire, contrary to the command of my mother!
But I did not resist it ; I cherished it; I turned it
over and over in my thoughts, until my soul was full
of it. After that, I could no more control my wicked
inclinations than I could control the fire after I had
lighted it, and fed it bountifully with fueL




I BELIEVE I have spoken of the brook that rai
through Willow Lane, have I not ? I do not mean
the little brook, for we had two of them ; I mean the
great brook. This stream, sometimes called by the
rather unpoetical name of Eel Brook, contributed a
large fund to the sum total of the amusements of my
boyhood. How many fish I have hooked up, as
they were quietly reposing at the bottom of that
stream! After all, I don't know that I ever knew
a keener pleasure than I felt when, after long pains-
taking, I hooked up a huge flat fish from the Willow-
Lane Brook.
You must know, if you do not already know, that
the flat fish is one which does not often bite at a
hook. Some of the boys used to tell stories about
their biting ; but I never could provide a bait suffi-
ciently dainty to tempt their appetite. The mouth of
the flat fish is peculiar: it opens on the under side
of the head. There are no jaws about it, like those
of most other fish. The mouth consists of a round
fleshy opening; and when the fish is at rest on the
bottom of the stream, it affords the skilful fisher-
man a good chance to capture the fellow, provided
the fellow will let him, which, as he is a little con-
trary, he does not al--ays incline to do.
The way to catch the flat fish, on account of his



anti-biting habits, is to guide the hook under his
nose, and then give the line a sudden jerk. If it
was not a rather lazy fish, this method of getting
him out of the water would not often succeed. But
he is lazy. He takes the world easy, and does not
believe in fretting one's life out-not he.
Yes, that brook in Willow Lane afforded me a
great share of enjoyment. There, as well as in the
great pond-great we used to call it, but it seems
quite a little sleet of water now-I caught pike,
pickerel, and perch. There I performed my first rude
feats in swimming; and there I hunted after water-
cresses. I want you to get acquainted with that
brook, reader; I want you to think kindly of it for
my sake.
Wel, if you should follow that stream upward
about half or three quarters of a mile from ftae
factory at Wilfow Lane, you would find yourself ap-
proaching a large tract of woodland. This forest iB
called Witch Woods.
How superstitious people are, and how very often
we find grown folks, as well as children, who be-
lieve in witches and fairies, ghosts and spectres I
wish it was not so common as it is foi cAildren to
hear and to read stories about witches and fairies.
It does them no good, and sometimes, I am sure,
it injures them. When I was a boy, I can well
remember these stories hurt me. I got hold of a
book, when I was eight or nine years old, full of



fairy tales. I read it aloud, too, to two or three
little listeners, *ho were quite as much interested
in it as I was; and out heads were so full of thbse
fairies for months afterwards, that we were almost
afraid of otr shadows.
It is strange that there should be so many witch
stories and fairy stories set afloat and put into the
heads of children. I wonder how such things ever
got into circulation in the first place. There must
be factories where such things are woven, I think,
Go where you will, in any part of the world, and
you will find some spot noted for its having been, at
some time or other, the abode of ghosts, ot witches,
ot fairies, or something of that sort, What folly
Young friend, never believe a word of what you
hedr about such things. It is all nonsense, depend
upon it. But I mtst go back to the woods.
These woods got their name before I was born.
I have heard how they came to 1 called Witch
Woods; Ibt as I do not believe the story myself, it
is hardly fair to trouble you with it.

TfItA were multitudes of huckleberries in Witch
Wordds. I say hucklebef-ries. Othr people &ay
itak akbtut tbhortlebrries, if they like. I shall not


quarrel with them. But we had no such berries in
Witch Woods; and if you had mentioned the name
of such things to our boys and girls, they would not
have dreamed of what you meant. So I must be
allowed to say that there were lots of huckleberries
in those woods. When they were ripe, the Willow-
Lane people had great delight in picking them. We
used to get up huckleberry parties, and sometimes
a whole army of us-men and women, and boys and
girls-almost all the neighbourhood, would go out
into the woods, and pick huckleberries all day.
Sometimes, however, the party was more select,
consisting of only a single family in some instances.
We carried our dinner with us, and had a merry
pic-nic under the shadow of some venerable oak-
an oak, perhaps, that had been standing there for
more than a century. How we made those old
woods ring with our merry laugh How we scared
the skipping squirrels and the timid rabbits I What
a saucy set of creatures the wild birds must have
thought us, when they saw how completely we had
got possession of their country, and how vastly at
home we made ourselves in it!
One of these huckleberry parties-one in par-
ticular-I will describe. My parents, my brother,
and myself, with one or two of Captain Parry's
children, and Squire Noble's George, composed the
party. My father's large wagon was first plentifully
laden with all sorts of good things to eat, together



with sundry huckleberry baskets, pots and kettles,
knives and forks, spoons and plates; and off we
started, just as the sun was rising, some of us in the
wagon, and the rest on foot. It was a beautiful
day. The weather was warm, though not too warm
for such an excursion.
I cannot begin to tell you how many huckle-
berries we children picked, and I will not attempt
to tell how many we ate.
If you were to tell how many you all ate, Uncle
Frank, we could give a pretty near guess as to how
many you picked."
You are a shrewd little fellow, that's a fact. You
have guessed pretty near the truth, though you have
not quite hit it. Picking huckleberries, it must be
confessed, was not the only amusement which we
found in Witch Woods, not by a good deal.
We were tolerably industrious all the forenoon;
but I should not wonder if all the berries we picked
after dinner might have been put into a very small

THE dinner we used to get up at our huckleberry
parties deserves more than a passing remark. It
was a dinner indeed--every inch a dinner. At the
time I have just been speaking of, we had our pic-nic



a little way out bf the Witoh Woods, under a large
tree, which really seemed to have grown up there,
with the green grass all around it and beneath it,
on pwrpese to furnash us with its shade. And who
shall say that God did not plant it there; and teach
it to grow to such a noble height, that it might af-
fotd as a shelter front the heat of the stm ? How
kind that great Being is-did you ever think of it,
little friend-who made us, and who made all things!
We cannot go any where without observing the evi-
dences of His goodness and love.
When the signal was given for getting dinner, a
fire was made, and three tall sticks were placed up-
right, and tied together at the top, with the other
ends resting on the ground. The object of this con-
trivance was to afford a way to hang the tea-kettle
over the fire. My father, I remember, had nothing
to dCrwith making these arrangements for the d'ner.
He was busy about something else. We children
put the stieks together, to make a place for the tea-
kettle to hang upon.
We did not put them together right, though.
Something must have been wrong in the arrange-
ment ; for after the fire had been burning some time,
and the water was beginning to shew some signs of
boiling, down the kettle fell into the fre, and the
hot water flew in every direction, No one got very
badly scalded, I believe. Pomp, our family dog,
who was lying lazily by the fire at the time, dream-



ing, perhaps, of the rabbits he was gbiig te ttch,
if they would only let him, or possibly meietatiW g,
half awake, on the probability of his getting a bone
or two from the diimner wlich was about to be cooked
-Pomp made considerable ago about the iffar.
He ran, and yelpe&, And whined, a~ if he was sodded
out of his senses.
But this was Pomp~ s way. He wa~ one of those
personages who make a gVeat hue and cry about any
thing. I don't think he was scaMed much. He
acted, I am sure, as if he was more frightened rthi
hurt. Pomp had some good qualities. B~D he was
lazy, very lazy, and he had a hobit besides of look-
ing on the dark side of things. He was always just
about to be kiled and ma0e into tin e-mett, or
something almost as dreadful wa to hNppen to him
-so he thought, and so he would thirM in spite of
al we eould do. How nuch Pom~ e felt and aeted
like a great many footsh men and women, and boys
aad girls, that I have seen in my diay Seoe pee-
ple, like this dog, are all the time borfrwing trouble.
They take no comfort, when they ae re&aly well Wf,
because they are looking aiead, a&d frmueyis% som-e-
thig dreadful is going to happen to tlfeff. They
are lke Mr. FeArih-g-I think Biunyawn Gse the man
Mr. Fearing, does he ne o?-in the Pilgis Pre-
gress," always about to be tora in pieel b6y B6ie
huiw y lion, or to get into some othei quite Mh bad



When the dinner was ready, and we sat down on
the green carpet that nature-or rather the God
of nature-had provided for us, we had as keen
an appetite as any body bould desire. It was not
the custom in our part of the country in those days
to have poor appetites at all. People did not have
" delicate constitutions" then and there. Such
things were not in the fashion. But at a huckle-
berry pic-nic, we had a better appetite even than
usual. I have never eaten a meal in my life that
tasted so good as that dinner in Witch Woods.
The female portion of the party, new I think of
it, got badly frightened that day while we were at
dinner. All at once we heard a strange rustling in
the bushes close by, and a moment after, what should
make its appearance but a striped snake, about as
long as your arm! The fellow was frightened, I
guess. He certainly seemed a little out of his wits;
for, strange as it may appear to you, he came up to
the place where we were sitting, and ran right
across the table-cloth. If the ladies did not scream
and scamper away from the table, or the place
where the table would have been if we had had one,
I am a poor historian. The snake, however, was
quite as much frightened as any of the pic-nic party
were; and on this account perhaps, not being exactly
aware of what he was about, he happened to run in
the same direction with the ladies. Of course they
thought the snake was chasing them, and they ran



the faster and screamed the louder. In the con-
fusion that took place, one of the girls trod on the
poor snake, another lost one of her shoes, and my
mother tumbled down into a large ant-hill, and
alarmed a whole battalion of black ants.
While the ladies were performing these feats, the
rest of the company were enjoying the fun. We
boys knew that striped snakes were the most inno-
cent and harmless creatures in the world; and we
were not at all afraid that this one would do any
other mischief than to frighten the ladies, for the
time being, about half out of their wits. It was,
indeed, a very common thing then, and it is a very
common thing now, to see people afraid of a snake,
no matter to what family he happens to belong.
But for myself, I cannot remember the time, in the
history of my childhood, much less in riper years,
when the sight of a striped snake gave me the least
fear. I do remember, on the other hand, that Mary
Lawton, the maid of all work who lived with my
mother, once came very near going into a fit of
hysterics, or a fit of amazement, or some other fit
of that class and order, when she happened to go
out into the garden where my brother and I were
playing, and discovered us earnestly disputing aS t6
the ownership of a certain live striped snake which
we had captured, and which one of us held bv the
head, and the other by the tail. From that day to
this, I have cherished no other than the kindest


feelings for the striped snake. It is my firm belief
that he is a very good snake indeed, and that he has
been, and is now, a great deal more sinned against
than signing. I should like to hear of the first act
of mischief to the human family that he has ever
been guilty of. Apart from the fact, wbich he can-
not very well help, that he happens to belong to a
family who have got a bad name, he certainly has
fewer faults than virtues; and he is a beautiful
creature into the bargain. Why such general en-
mity against the poor fellow? Why does almost
every body consider himself licensed to kill a striped
snake, without so much as stopping to ask the ques-
tion, What evil hath he done ?" Is not the world
wide enough for man and the snake too ? But be
frightens women and children." Of course he does,
and of course he always will, as long as you call him
hard names and persecute him. But that is not
the snake's fault. It is your own fault. When peo,
ple have right notions about different members of
ths family, nobody will be frightened so by a poor,
innocent, powerless striped snake. Stop killing and
stop abusing the snake tribe, when they behave
themselves properly, if you don't want them to
frighten folks,





I TOLD you q little while ago that it was not a com-
mon thing, at these blackberry parties, for the boys
and gilrl to pick many bmekleberries after dinner.
When that was ovir, we performed *ome other feats
besides those connected with the picking of huickle-
bernes. Honesty compels me to say that. The fact
is, we wandered about the woods in every direction,
like a band of gipsies. We imitated Don Quixote
in our frolicking, and went in pursuit of adyen-
tures, We found some, too, occasionally, now I think
ef it, which we were not looking after, and which did
not exactly belong to the sort we liked best.
The adventure wye had with a hornet's nest, on
one of these huckleberry excursions, belonged to thb
class last hinted at. It certainly deserves to be re-
corded for the sake of the lesson it teaohes, if for no
other reason,
Betsy Goodman was with us this time, and had
strayed away from the rest of the company some
disrnuce, when she discovered what turned out to
be the residence of a very numerous colony of hor-
nets. The nest was on the top of an apple-bush,
about as high as a man's head from the grinud.
Betsy did not kpww what it was, and called the
rest of us to look at it. We boys kmw what it wa
well enough, We had seen score of uch thBm


before. We knew, too, what savage little rascals
the hornets were, and how, when they got a chance,
they always avenged the insults they got from the
boys, by giving them a terrible stinging. Indeed, it
used to be a common notion among the younger
portion of the Willow-Lane folks, that the hornet,
at the time he stung his victim, had been known to
fly with such force against the head as to knock a
man down flat as a flounder. That was my notion,
I know; and it would have taken a cart-load of
logic to have beaten it out of my head.
Yes, we knew well enough that hornets were
dangerous fellows to deal with. We knew all about
that; and some people--some aged people, with
their heads full of wisdom, who have forgotten what
sort of chaps children are, and what capers they
used to cut themselves when they were a good
deal younger-some people might conclude that we
gave these hornets "a wide berth," as the sailor
would say, and that we gave them a thorough letting
alone. There never was a greater mistake. We
did quite another thing. I declare I cannot help
laughing now, when I think of the way we took to
shew our wisdom.
Did you ever see a hornet's nest ? If you have
not, I cannot so well make you understand the feat
we performed. A hornet's nest is made of layers of
thin scales. There are a great many of these layers,
and there is a space wide enough for the hornet to



pass between each layer. The substance of which
the nest is composed is as much like paper as any
thing, though the hornet himself is the paper-maker,
as well as the builder. The nest is round, or oval,
of the size, frequently, of a boy's hat. The one we
found was of the largest class. There is a large
hole through which the hornets go in and come out.
This hole leads to all the different chambers.
Now a bright thought occurred to us, while we
were standing there, at a little distance from the
bush on which the hornet's nest hung. It was this:
that it would be just about the sharpest thing that
had ever been done in those parts, since Adam's time,
to stop up the hole in that nest with a pocket hand-
kerchief, and make prisoners of the whole army of
naughty hornets. We clapped our hands so that
they smarted, to think how sharp we must be, to
have thought of such a thing in the first place. To
be sure, it was not quite so easy a matter to find the
person to march up to the nest, and stop up the hole.
It is always easy to get people to make eloquent
speeches about a dangerous exploit. To get them
to perform such exploits is quite another thing, and
not half so easy. The rats, you know, when they
held their famous council, ever so many years ago,
to see what it was best to do with the cat, agreed
well enough as to the thing to be done ; though, to
this day, I believe they have not made up their


minds as to the rat who should brave the danger,
and have the glory of doing that thing.
For myself-I own it--I was always, in such
circumstances as these, more or less a coward-
rather more than less, it is to be feared. You may
be sure I did not sigh for the glory of capturing the
hornets enough to run the risk of getting stung; for
although it seemed quite impossible that the scheme
could fail, yet somehow or other, when they proposed
that I should be the hero, my blood seemed to grow
several degrees cooler. The matter was finally
arranged, however. Bill Durkee consented to cap-
ture the nest. He did not stop many minutes to
think of the best mode of doing the business. Per-
haps he thought it possible that his courage would
ooze out of the ends of his fingers, if he waited too
long. Poor fellow I see him now, with my mind's
eye, as he took the handkerchief out of his pocket,
and marched up to the hornets' nest. His face was
a little paler than usual; but it was dark enough,
even then.
Carefully and slowly he bent down the bush from
one of the highest twigs on which the nest was
Look out, Bill 1" said Betsy. There's a hor-
net flying round the nest."
And so there was. I wonder if he was on the
look-out, to see what Bill was at. I don't know.



But I do know that as soon as Bill bad bent the
bush down low enough to reach the nest, he stuffed
his handkerchief tight into the hole, and broke off
the twig to which the nest was fastened.
Didn't we set up a shout, as the victor marched
back to the place where we were standing, with the
trophy of victory in his hand ? We thought Bill
Durkee would make a Napoleon, or a Duke of Wel-
lington, when he got to be old enough.
Bill, however, did not enjoy his triumph long.
The hornets, it appeared, were not prisoners, after
all. There were a good many little sly holes, in
different parts of the nest, through which they could
escape. They were not the stupid creatures we had
taken them to be. We were fairly outwitted;
there was no denying it. The first evidence any of
us had of this fact, came in a shape which could not
possibly be mistaken. Bill felt something strike his
head. At first, he said afterwards, he thought a
bullet bad hit him. The next instant, however, he
was stung. Oh, how he screamed! and the scream-
ing was not all done by his throat, neither. There
was a pretty general panic among us. Of course
we ran, as fast as our legs would carry us, and of
course the hornets gave chase too. Bill got stung
half-a-dozen times; and I believe we were all served
very much in the same way, though I had quite as
much as I could do at the time to look after my own
affairs. My face swelled to almost twice its usual



size, and I did not get over the stinging for a
I have always had a strange dread of a hornet's
nest, ever since that adventure in Witch Woods. I
recollect, some two or three years since, a country
friend of mine made me a present of one for my
cabinet of curiosities. It had not been inhabited for
months before that. But in spite of all the judgment
I could muster, I had a sort of secret suspicion that
some of those cunning rascals were concealed in the
nest. The proverb says, "A burnt child dreads the
fire." So does a stung boy dread a hornet. I speak
from experience.


I KNEW a girl who got lost in Witch Woods once.
I will tell you how it was.
But, Uncle Frank," I can almost hear you say,
" isn't it a witch story ?"
Oh, no It is not a story which I got from
some one else, who learned it from some other per-
son, who perhaps hardly heard it at all. I knew
the girl who got lost, and I knew all about the
Fanny Morgan was one of the best-natured girls
in Willow Lane. Every body loved her I shouldn't



think any one could help loving her; I couldn't, I
am quite sure. I thought Fanny was as near like
a little angel as one could be, without a very great
deal of trouble. But she was not an angel, that is
plain; she had one fault-one, at least; and angels
don't have faults: she did not always mind her
mother. It was strange enough too, she was such a
very good girl in most other respects. I suppose she
was forgetful, and that the reason she did not always
mind was, that she forgot what had been told her.
But that is not a good excuse at all. Children ought
to remember what their parents tell them ; and if
they do not remember, it is a pretty good sign that
they do not care much about what is told them.
Well, one day when the huckleberries were ripe,
and Witch Woods were full of them, Fanny took a
notion into her head that she would like to go and
pick a basketful of them.
Certainly, my dear," her mother said, we are
all going next week."
"But I should like to go now," said Fanny.
No, I should not be willing to have you go there
alone," said Mrs. Morgan; and I don't know of
any one who can go with you. I'm afraid you would
lose the way, unless some one went with you."
Fanny thought there was no danger of that; she
knew the way well enough. So she told her mother.
But Mrs. Morgan did not consent to let her
daughter go to the woods. I'll tell you what you



may do though," said she; "you may put on your
sun-bonnet, and go down into the large pasture, and
pick a basketful of blackberries. But take care you
do not get your clothes torn with the briars. There
are a good many briars in the pasture."
Fanny ran and got her bonnet and a large basket.
She was not satisfied with the permission which her
mother had given her; still she thought it was better
than nothing, and off she started for the large pas-
She did not find many ripe blackberries; it was
hardly time for them, or else somebody had been
into the pasture a little while before her, and picked
most of the ripe ones.
Oh, how she wished then-this is her own story
-that she might cross the brook, and go over to
the huckleberry woods! She was quite certain that
she could soon fill her basket there, with something
better than blackberries too.
She sat down on the bank of the stream, to get
rested a little; for it was a warm day, and she was
fatigued ; and there she debated the question in her
mind, whether it was best, on the whole, to cross
over the brook, and visit the huckleberry woods.
She wondered if, in case she should come home with
a basketful of huckleberries, her mother would think
it was so very wrong to go into the woods. On the
whole, she thought not.
Here was the beginning of Fanny's error: it was



.-' _----

Fanny crossing the Stream, p. 38.




in listening to temptation. It is always dangerous
to do so-dangerous for every body, young and old.
There is a great deal better way than that: it is,
not to listen a moment to the voice of the tempter.
How much better it would have been for Fanny, if
she had taken that course! But she took quite
another one: she turned the question over in her
mind until she was persuaded to go; so she found
a shallow place in the brook, where the water hardly
covered the stones, and easily got across. The woods
were some distance off, on the other side of the
brook; but she had no difficulty in finding her way
to them, for they were in plain sight from the bank
of the stream where she crossed over.
She reached the woods, Huckleberries were not
so plenty as ie expected to find them, and so she
went on further. Poor girl, how little was she
aware of her danger, and how much better her
mother knew the perils of a little girl alone in the
woods than she knew herself I Fanny was greatly
to blame for disobeying her mother, and her punish-
ment was very severe.
I will tell you how severe it was. The huckle-
berries she found, at last, just as plenty as she cared
for, and she picked a good many; some she ate,
and some she put into her basket to carry home.
Toward night she began to think it was time to
retrace her steps. It was time; she never got hold
of a more sensible idea than that in her life.



She started for home-for home, as she supposed;
for quite a different spot, as it afterwards turned
out. She went on, and on, until she began to wonder
if she was never coming to the brook. Poor Fanny
had lost her way; that was the true state of the
case. You may think it strange that she could not
find her way back to the spot where she crossed
the stream; but it is not at all wonderful to me.
She had been busy for a good while picking huckle-
berries, and had got her head turned," as the
term is. She thought she was returning in the same
direction that she came; but she was really going
right the other way. You must recollect that she
had nothing to guide her in finding her way out of
the woods. The trees were so high, that she could
not see over the tops of them. If it had not been
for that, she might have seen where the brook was ;
or at any rate she might have seen where the sun
was setting, and then she would have been likely
to find her way home. As it was, however, she
had no marks to guide her, and she was lost -lost
in Witch Woods!
When she discovered the fact, she said she sat
down and cried. But she soon recollected herself,
and reflected that crying would not get her out of
the woods.
It became dark ; not very dark, but too dark to
see things very distinctly in the woods, where the
boughs of the trees shut out a great deal of the twi-



light. By and by, she stumbled over a log of wood,
and spilled all her huckleberries. She did not care
much for the loss of the berries, though. The most
she thought of then, was how to get out of the
woods, and find her way home. Home was a dear
place to her about that time.
Well, Fanny did not see her home, dear as it was,
that night. She went until she was too tired to go
another step; and then she sank down on a bed of
moss, and had a fresh crying spell. The thought
that she must stay out in the woods, all alone, until
morning, was any thing but pleasant. And the
worst of it all-so it really seemed to her then,
though she had shut her eyes to the truth before-
was the thought that she had so foolishly and wick-
edly disobeyed her mother. She was not afraid.
Other thoughts and feelings took the place of fear
and terror in her mind. Fanny was not a super-
stitious girl. She did not believe in witch stories.
She had no faith at all in what she had heard about
witches living in the huckleberry woods. But she
did wish she was at home, with her father and
mother, and dear little Edgar.
She cried herself to sleep, at last; and sir slept
soundly till long after daylight in the morning. She
was completely tired out, you see; so that her sleep
was as sound, for aught that I kiow, as if she had
been in her nice comfortable bed at home. The
night was warm.




Of course, all the people in Willow Lane had
heard of what had happened the next morning, and
a good many of them went out, with Fanny's father,
as soon as it was light, to hunt after the lost girl.
It was nearly noon before Fanny was found; and
then, perhaps, she would not havo been discovered
if she had not screamed so loudly that one of the
men heard her voice, and ran in the direction it
came from.
It is due to Fanny Morgan to say, that she never
forgot the lesson she learned in Witch Woods. She
had got it by heart.


THE life of a fanner is, on the whole, a very happy
one. He has every thing to make him happy. The
cows, the horses, the ducks, the pigs; the bees, the
squirrels, the rabbits, the birds; the flowers, the
trees, the brooks, the hills; there are charms in all
these. Hoeing corn, holding plough, laying stone
wall, and mowing herd's grass and clover, are
pleasant occupations -pleasant to those who like
them. It is pleasant to see a man hard at work on
a farm, at any rate. How delightful it is, for in-
stance, to look on while a man is mowing I How


beautifully the grass falls before his sharp scythe!
How nice it is, too, when at work in the field, to
sit down under the shade of a great oak tree at
luncheon-time, to eat gingerbread and cheese, and
drink pure water from a wooden cask I Still, I hope
none of my young friends who live in the city will
envy the country boys too much. There are shadows
as well as lights in the picture of every-day life on a
farm. You might like the business of farming, and
you might not. If a man or a boy has no taste for
farming, there is not much use in trying to make
him love it: that is my notion. There is a great
deal of time lost-so it seems to me-in trying to
teach boys what they have no heart for, and what
they never could have any heart for, if they should
drive at it for a century. They tried hard to make
a farmer of me at one time. At home, somehow or
other, I learned very little of the art of tilling the
soil. I suspect the reason was a twofold one-that
I did not care much about the business, and that my
father was rather too indulgent to urge me to work.
Some things about the farm I was very fond of.
Oh, what delight I took in looking after the hens
and chickens, and the geese and goslings! Feeding
the pigs two or three times a day was rather a plea-
sant task. It is astonishing, really-some of you
will wonder at it, I know-how a person will get
attached to a family of pigs, if he takes care of them
long, and watches their growth fiom day to day.



The pleasantest of all the tasks I had to perform,
though by far the most tedious, was hunting after
liens' nests. Ah what sport it was to go out in
the morning with my brother, and look all over the
barn-yard, and under the barn-floor, and in the
manger, and on the hay-mow, for the places where
the hens had made their nest. And when we heard
a particularly noisy cackling, and our search was
rewarded by the discovery of a nest, with perhaps
half a hatful of eggs in it, our joy was too great
for utterance.
I said I did not get along at all fast with my
agricultural education at home. Well, it was deemed
best to send me where I could get along faster. So
I was put under the tuition of one Deacon Neheniiah
Brooks. The deacon was familiarly called Uncle
Miah in the neighbourhood. There were a great
many uncles in Willow Lane by the way -every
body's uncles in general, and nobody's uncles in
particular. Deacon Miah lived about half a mile
from my father's, in what might be called the
suburbs of Willow Lane.
Every possible effort was made to let me into the
secrets of Uncle Miah's profession. But I never
liked the details of farming at all ; and it must be
confessed that I succeeded rather poorly in learning
the art.
There were many things about the farm that I
found pleasant enough ; but I never could fall in



love~with a hoe or a rake, much less a scythe. I
wonder those who had the charge of me in my boy-
hood did not find out earlier than they did, that I
wasn't made for a farmer, or that if I was made for
one, Uncle Miah was not exactly the right man to
get the material into shape. From first to last, I
made-, I suppose, very awkward work of the more
scientific parts of farming, such as navigating a cart
drawn by a yoke of oxen. I generally managed to
break one of the shafts. My heart was not in the
work. That was the secret of my bungling efforts.
They called me lazy. It may be. I have never
denied that there was a little chronic laziness in
my system. But if I had been as free from this
disease as the hard-working Uncle Miah himself, I
never could have succeeded in that line of business.
In justice to my tutor, however, I ought to say,
that my poor success was not owing to any want of
faithful instruction on his part. What I might have
been, if the old gentleman had mingled more kind-
ness and gentleness in his treatment of me, and
strained out some of his harshness, and sternness,
and severity, I cannot say. I should have done
better, no doubt; but very likely not remarkably
well, even then.
Uncle Miah was called one of the best farmers in
Willow Lane. He knew perfectly every branch of
the business. He was just the man for my tutor-
so every body thought, What a farmer Frank will



make under Uncle Miah's training 1" the neighbours
said. But alas I the neighbours were mistaken this
time. Uncle Miah was not the man for Frank's
tutor, and Frank did not make a first-rate farmer
under his training.
My first lesson began the same day I arrived at
my new home. It was not delayed long after I had
got my luggage unpacked, and that unpacking ope-
ration did not take a great deal of time, for mine
was not very numerous.
Uncle Miah was what might be called a hard-
working man. Some of the neighbours called him
close-fisted. One or two went so far as to say that
he was a perfect miser. But the latter of these
terms was not perhaps a just one. The deacon was
economical, to be sure, thoroughly, totally, religiously
economical. No one who had any dealings with him
could doubt that. IHe always wanted what belonged
to him, if not a little more. His gold came rather
slowly. It did not flow into his pocket in a steady
stream, as it would do into some other people's
pockets. He had a hard farm to till. There were
multitudes of rocks and stones on it. A great deal
of work had to be done for a little profit. Money
came hard, and as is natural enough, I suppose, it
went somewhat grudgingly when he was called to
part with it.
Every body that enlisted under the banner of
Deacon Brooks had to work like a dog. Still none



of us were required to work much harder than the
deacon himself; and accustomed as he had been
from his childhood to work steadily, all the year
round, three hundred and ten days, deducting for
other purposes, fifty-two Sundays, the fourth of
July, Thanksgiving-day, and Fast-day-fifty-five in
all-it is not strange that he should have exacted
something like tho same industry from those in his
employ. Work with him was a virtue. I do ho-
nestly believe that if the time had ever come on his
farm when there was nothing to do, he would have
given orders to pitch all the loose hay off from one
of the great stacks in the meadow, and then to pitch
it back again. Ay, and lie would have tugged as
lustily at the pitch-fork as any of us, I warrant. lHe
was of the opinion, decidedly, that,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy;"
though he seemed not to have adopted the notion
contained in the other line belonging to the couplet.
I used sometimes, I must confess, to be puzzled
to see why Uncle Miah wanted me to be at work so
constantly. Could it have been to keep me out of
mischief ? I was a tolerably good boy, and not par-
ticularly inclined to be sowing wild oats." So I
thought then; and so, I must add, I think now.
Why did he want me to be delving at something,
from early morning till night, and some time after
that too ? and why did he seem to be in such distress,
when, for a half hour there happened to be no work



for me ? Perhaps this intense anxiety was owing to
his strong desire to make a great farmer of me. Per-
haps, regarding industry as a virtue, he thought it
a vice to have an idle moment. Let us hope, for
his credit, that one or the other of these keys unlocks
the secret.
After all, though, Uncle Miah was generous, in
his way. A striking example of the kind and
degree of generosity he used to exhibit, ever and
anon, at this moment occurs to me. Our geese had
been missing for several days. Inquiries had been
made for them all over the neighbourhood, but no
one had seen them; no one had heard any thing
about them. Could they have taken it into their
heads to travel ? Were they making a summer tour
for the benefit of their health ? It was thought, in
the circumstances, not improbable, for they were
naturally migratory in their habits. Besides, they
had at this time just been picked ; and under the
picking operation, one of the veteran ganders be-
longing to the flock had uttered some noisy cack-
lings, the meaning of which was understood to be,
that this species of indignity was carrying the joke
quite too far, and that the deacon would repent of
it before long.
There was very little doubt that the geese had
gone abroad, for reasons connected with the picking
they had undergone, or on some other account; and
it seemed to be necessary to despatch a messenger



after them, with full powers to arrest them and
bring them home. I was chosen for this important
It was a fine day in Midsummer, just after din-
ner, when I was called to receive my charge and
outfit. Frank," said Uncle Miah, with rather less
than usual of that dignity for which he was so re-
markable, and which sometimes was a pretty good
imitation of sternness and severity, so that it really
frightened me--" Frank, have you raked up that
clover in the orchard ?" Yes, sir." Well,
that's right. You have been a good boy lately.
You may go a-fishing this afternoon." Good !" I
thought; that is just what I have been wanting
for a long time." The flat fish were plenty just
below the factory-dam; and I knew it well. More
than that; the trout were biting in the Willow-
Lane brook about those days; and one day, when
we had changed works" with Mr. Morgan-
Fanny MIorgan's father, by the way--and I was
raking hay in his meadow, near the deep hole, I
had more than a dozen times seen- the trout come
to the surface of the stream, and catch the grass-
hoppers which had fallen into the water.
Nothing could have been proposed more accept-
able to me than this visit to the Squire's meadow;
and I was running with all my might to get my
hook and line, when Uncle Miah called pleasantly
after me, Stop a moment, Frank. Those geese I



they ought to be found, that's a fact. Let me see.
You may go and hunt them up-- it won't take long,
I guess; I don't believe they have gone very far-
and when you drive them home, you may go a-fish-
ing, and stay all the afternoon, till milking-time."
Now the truth was, that we had been hunting all
over Willow Lane, for at least a fortnight, for those
stray geese ; and I leave you to guess what chance
there was for my finding them, and what number of
trout I brought home that night.
There is another specimen of Uncle Miah's in-
dulgence which is still fresh in my mind. One
Saturday afternoon, the hay being all raked up,
and there being a most lamentable scarcity of work
on hand, I was permitted to walk two miles to the
village store, with a tolerably fat chicken in each
hand, to buy a knife. Just as I was starting off,
in high spirits, "You may wait in the village till
they stop work in the factory," said Uncle Miah,
and then you can see Mr. Smith, and ask him
about that wool. I want to know if he has made
up his mind to take it."
I went to the store, and bartered away my
chickens for the knife. It was one of the Sheffield"
manufacture, I believe, warranted not to cut any
body's fingers. I had to wait two full hours after
the purchase, for the factory to close. I liked that.
It would not have been at all unpleasant to me, if
the time had been twice as long. I was very patient,



in the circumstances, and found means to amuse my-
self every moment, till the factory-bell rang, when I
went to find Mr. Smith, did my errand touching the
wool, and started homeward, on a pretty brisk trot,
for it looked a little like rain.
It was nearly nine o'clock when I entered Uncle
MIiah's door, and as dark as pitch. I expected the
good man would have prayer pretty soon--I secretly
hoped it would be at least ten minutes briefer than
usual--and that then I might be permitted to go to
bed. But I was quite mistaken in my reckoning.
The milking had not been done. Moreover, the cows
had not been brought home. While I had been
waiting at the store, it seemed, Uncle Miah had been
waiting at home. So, after I had eaten my supper
-an operation which did not require many minutes,
for we did not fare very sumptuously at Uncle Miah's,
it being one of Aunt Sally's maxims, that the way
for a farmer to be healthy and happy, especially in
the case of a boy who was growing fast, was to eat
plain food, rather sparingly-after I had drained the
last drop of skimmed milk from my bowl, and began
to look anxiously at the shelf where the big Bible
was lying, almost hoping the old man would ask me
to read a chapter, in which case I had fully made
up my mind to hit upon a pretty short Psalm, for I
was very tired,-I was posted off after the cows, and
told to hurry, as there was a storm coming up in a
few minutes.



I had to go half a mile after the cows. Some
time before I found them, sure enough, the whole
sky was darkened by a dense thunder-cloud, and it
lightened almost incessantly. The lightning fright-
ened me a good deal, for, like most children, I was
always afraid in a thunder-storm ; but it was of
great service to me in my search after the cows. I
am sure I could not have found them, if it had not
been for the flashes of lightning. After getting the
cows into the yard, and milking two of them, as may
be conjectured, I was so tired that I could scarcely
drag myself to the garret I occupied in common with
the rats.
This milking, by the way, I never fancied much.
We hear a great deal about it in poetry, and it
sounds well enough there ; but I would much rather
write half a dozen couplets about the sweet breath
of the evening," and the lowing kine, returning
from the dewy mead," and matters of that sort, than
to sit on a crazy stool, and milk a cow, with her tail
frisking in my face, to say nothing about a habit
wiich some of her race have, of kicking over the
milk-pail in sport. Still I don't blame any body else
for liking the exercise. Far from it. Indeed, I
admit, as I think I did at the outset, that this task,
like a hundred others which the farmer has to per-
form, is very pleasant-for those who take a fancy
to it. But for my part, I must say that I did not
take any such fancy ; and I am inclined to think



that a good many city boys-though not all of them,
perhaps- who sigh to be farmers, would agree with
me, if they should really go to work on a farm.
I don't think I should ever have made a good
farmer, if I had lived to the age of Methuselah, even
if Uncle Miah had been on the earth all that time,
and I had enjoyed the benefit of his skill and his
discipline. The old man was finally convinced of
that, I believe. He pronounced me, with some
reason, a bad student. Shall I tell you how the
deacon came to make up his mind on that point ?
Two things, more than any others, tended to
hasten the conclusion which the deacon came to.
One was the result of my first efforts with the
scythe. Uncle Miah had been thinking, for a week
or two, that I ought to have some lessons in mowing.
So, one morning, he rigged up a scythe for my par-
ticular use, and took me into the meadow with the
men, to set me to work. The grass was in fine
order, they said.
I mowed a little. Reader, it was prodigiously
hard. You may have thought otherwise, as you
have seen the strong man swing his scythe ; but I
tell you, my friend, you never were more mistaken
in your life, and you had better make up your mind
to believe it. Daniel Webster, in his boyhood,
found fault with the hanging of his scythe, when his
father set him to mowing, and kept finding fault



with it, until it was hung up on an apple-tree; and
I never could find it in my heart to blame him.
I mowed a little. Things did not go right, how-
ever. The grass did not fall very nicely. The
swath I made was nothing to boast of, that is a fact.
Put on more steam," said Uncle Miah. I did
so, of course-I always obeyed the stern old farmer.
But the next moment I struck my scythe against a
huge rock which was hidden in the grass, and broke
the point short off. There, that will do, I guess,"
said my tutor; and I stopped short.
The other thing that helped the deacon a good
deal to make up his mind that he could get along
without my assistance on the farm, was my exploit
in the department of sheep-washing. A sheep, not
very large, but somewhat strong and active for her
size, I thought, was entrusted to me. I managed
to get her into the water, though not altogether by
"moral persuasion." She. went quite against her
will, and made a good deal of fuss about the ducking,
Now it so happened, though I did not know it then,
that there was a deep holo in the Willow-Lane
brook, pretty close to the spot where the sheep-
washing was going on; and my victim, struggling
with all her might, gradually reached the deep hole,
pulling me with her.
I found myself where I could not touch bottom,
hanging to the sheep, who was flouncing at a great



rate. The men, after a laughing fit-somewhat too
noisy for the occasion, I thought-finaUy came to
my assistance. They were in season, so far aa I
was concerned; though, as to the poor sheep, they
were a moment too late. I am sorry to say that I
had drowned her I She had ceased to breathe.
After milking that night, Uncle Miah and Auut
Sally had a long talk in the pantry. As they sat
with closed doors, I could not be sure what subject
occupied their attention. But this I know, that,
after the adjournment of that session of the court,
and the pantry doors were again thrown open, I was
called in, and Uncle Miah gave a decision to the
effect that Frank would never do for a farmer.


WiELL, my young friends, it is time now to shut up
this budget of stories about Willow Lane. Some of
you, I allow myself to hope, would be quite willing
to have Uncle Frank talk on a little longer. But I
guess I will stop, though, and let you ponder a while
over what I have told you.
It is better, I think, to get up from the dinner-
table with your appetite not quite satisfied, than it is
to eat as long as the food tastes good, and perhaps
a little longer. If you leave the table with a good



appetite, the food will be more likely to taste good
the next time you eat.
Besides, if you eat too much at once, your dinner
will not do you half as nmich good. For myself, I
would rather read one book carefully and thought-
fully, than a dozen so hastily that I can hardly re-
member any of their contents.
Some people do their reading a good deal as
hungry pigs do their eating; and when they get
through with a book, they have scarcely any more
idea of what there is in it than if it had been printed
in the Hottentot language. People who read books
after this fashion, by the way, I have generally
remarked, do every thing in a hurry. They seem
to be in a hurry to get through the world in the
shortest possible space of time. They make so
much fuss, and dodge about with so much rapidity,
and are blowing and striking so many irons at
once, that they think they are doing a great deal,
while, in fact, they are doing nothing of any conse-
quence. If I was a farmer or a mechanic, and
wanted some one to work for me, I would not give
a pin for a man of this sort. I should expect, if I
had one about me, that he would do as much harm
as good, in the long-run, by his furious way of
doing things; and besides, I should be afraid of him
all the time. I should be afraid he would run against
somebody or something, and upset, and tumble about,
and smash things at a great rate. Now, as to read-


ing, I would as soon a person should not read at all
as to read on a gallop without thought.
Among all the excellent forms of prayer in the
Episcopal Prayer-Book, there is none, I often think,
of more importance than the one that we may have
the Divine aid, so as to read, mark, learn, and
inwardly digest" the truth. To read or to learn is,
of itself, worth very little indeed, almost nothing at
all, unless we mark (or give attention to) and learn,
and, as far as we can, make use of what we read or
There are lessons scattered along, all through
these stories. True, I have told them for your
amusement in part ; but that is not all I have told
them for. It has been a part of my task, as I went
along, to scatter handfuls of instruction here and
there ; something which, if you pick it up and keep
it, will be likely to make you wiser, and perhaps
better boys and girls.
I say better, for you yourself, my friend-you
whose eyes are now reading this page are not
quite as faultless as you might be, and as you ought
to be. Do you think you are ? Don't you see how
you could have done better yesterday than you
did do ? And last week can't you remember a
good many little things, as well as some not quite
so small, that you did, which you were heartily
ashamed of and sorry for after they were done ?
And were there not, too, many other things which



you could have done and ought to have done, but
which you failed to do, and afterwards, when the
opportunity for doing them was passed, sighed over
because they were not done ?
Well, may I not hope, then, that you will be
better, as well as wiser, for what you have found in
my budget of stories ? May I not hope, too, that
you will study carefully, from day to day, to learn
your duty--your duty to those around you, and
your duty to God-and that you will try earnestly
and prayerfully to perform those duties ?
May God help you to be faithful to yourselves
and to Him, and so to live in this world as to inherit
eternal life in the world to come,
I frankly confess to you, that, although I have
thought it better, on the whole, to close this budget
of stories now, I have not emptied it by any means.
There are a good many more which I should like to
tell you, and which, perhaps, you would like as well
as any in this budget. I'll tell you what I have
thought of doing. I have thought of sitting down,
one of these days (or nights, as the case may be), and
of giving you some more of the contents of the same
budget. I think, on the whole, I will do it.
But when will you do it, Uncle Frank ?"
Well, let me see. I guess I will allow you to
wait a few weeks, and get your appetite sharpened
a little.
<" What are you going to tell us, Uncle Frank ?"



Oh, I can't answer that question without going
right through the rest of the stories in the budget;
and that, you know, I must do some other time.
Shall you tell us any more about Uncle Miah,
and Mr. Solomon Stark, and the rest of the folks in
Willow Lane ?"
I don't know about Uncle Miah and the school-
master. Perhaps we have given them. as much
attention as they have any right to ask for. But I
shall make you better acquainted with some of-those
people whom you have already shaken hands with,
I mean to introduce you, also, to some others whose
names you have not yet heard, and to tell you some
stories about them, as well as about matters and
things in general.
You must know more of Parson Daley; for the
more you know him, the better you will like him.
There was one of my schoolmates, too, whom we
used to call Laughiny Bill, because he kept his
laughing machinery in almost perpetual motion. I
want to give you a little sketch of him, and shew
you what a terrible end he came to by doing wrong.
Uncle Elijah-my own uncle, and not every body's
-we must have a glimpse at him, and some of his
queer ways. VWe must take a peep at the premises
of the Ball Family, and study their singular habits,
and see what became of those spoiled children, and
how their cousin got drowned in the Willow-Lane
brook. And Doctor Windman, the Latin volcano,"



as he was sometimes called; you must have a few
scraps of his history and a glance at his character, of
all things. I would not have you miss him for a
good deal; nor the legends connected with the doses
and drugs which he used to carry in his saddle-bags
and deal out to his patients; nor his half comic and
half tragic adventure with the saucy turkey, and
what it cost him.
But I cannot stop now to give you any more par-
ticulais. For the rest you must wait till I bring
you the new budget, which I mean to call A Peep at
our Neighbours; or the Sequel to the Willow-Lane







WHEN a person writes a book, and treats his readers
to a chapter which he calls an Introduction, I sup-
pose it is either the book or himself that he aims to
introduce. But Uncle Frank does not care to intro-
duce his book, as he is pretty sure it will introduce
itself, if it only gets a chance; and as to his own
introduction, he fancies that most of his readers are
a little acquainted with him already, and he is sure
that they will know him, at any rate, before they
have turned over many of the leaves of his book.
Such being the case, my introduction will not be
cut exactly according to the common pattern; and
I should not wonder if it were slightly out of fashion.
I am going to introduce to you neither the book nor
myself, but the quaint, and jovial, and agreeable old
man, whose familiar conversations furnish so large a
share of the threads out of which these tales and
sketches are woven.


In other words, I mean to give you a glance at the
history and some of the traits of character of JACOB
GRIMEs, the miller of our village, and the hero of
these pages.
Just take a peep at the old man. His face is a
pretty good picture of the soul he had; or, in other
words, it was a tolerably good window through
which to look at the disposition and character of the
man. lie was frank, honest, open-hearted, generous.
He was, besides, always in good humour, and never
so well pleased as when he had a dozen children
about him, sitting on his knees, and hanging about
his chair.
True, he was rough-as rough as a nutmeg-
grater. But as the roughest and hardest shells and
husks often cover the finest nuts and fruits, so under
a rough and almost harsh and forbidding outside
you often find the purest and noblest, the sweetest
and best characters the world ever saw ; and Mr.
Grimes was none the worse at heart for his want of
outward polish.
He was born in the north of England, so near the
border of Scotland, that he had almost as much
Scotch as English about him.
He came over to America when he was twenty-
five years of age. He was strongly attached to the
old country, and left it only because a western world
seemed to promise a better reward for his labour.
His father was a miller. He was pretty well



off," as the phrase is. But he had quite a large fa-
mily of children; and as they became of age, the
portion of this world's goods that fell to the lot of
each was not uncomfortably large-not enough to
spoil them, by any means.
Jacob followed the trade of his father, and was
brought up in the mill. His education, so far as
the schools were concerned, was nothing to boast of.
But he managed to pick up a good deal of know-
ledge, here and there. His eyes and ears, it would
seem, were always open, as he jogged along in the
world. That is the great thing, after all. No matter
how good the schools are, where they undertake to
educate boys, nor how learned the schoolmasters are,
the boys and girls will be dunces, if they set out to
be, in spite of all the schools and schoolmasters on
the globe; and on the other hand, the chap who deter-
mines to know something, and to be something, and
to do something in the world, will succeed-that is,
if he sticks to that notion, and makes the most and
the best of what advantages God has given him.
It was one of the rules o his man, when I koew
him (and he must have had the same rule when be
was a boy) never to lose a chance of learning some-
thing. He did not care where he picked up his
knowledge. So that he got it, and got it honestly,
that was enough. He would stop just as soon to
talk to a poor ragged beggar, if he thought the man
could teach him any thing worth knowing, as he



would to have a chat with a judge. Mainly, as I
suppose, in consequence of this habit of his, he had
gained a vast amount of personal information. There
was hardly a person in our village who could stand
his ground in argument with him.
Uncle Jake--for every body called him Uncle
Jake, and though I did not mean to use this familiar
title in my sketch of him, it is so natural to do so,
that I can hardly help it-had a good many oddi-
ties. Sometimes I thought he tried to be odd, just
for the sake of the oddity. But perhaps not. Some
people are odd by nature, I suppose; and no matter
what happens to them, or what sort of education
they have, they will always shew it.
Uncle Jake was never in the fashion. His clothes,
even those he wore on Sunday, were strangely un-
fashionable. As for his hat, I remember once hear-
ing the schoolmaster learnedly say that it was a
relic of the dark ages." It resembled a brass kettle
with a narrow rim to it.
I have told you he was fond of children. This,
indeed, was one of the most prominent traits of his
character. I have known him, many a time in the
summer season, when he was on lis way either
from his house to the miU, or from the mill to his
house, I have often known him actually besieged by
a troop of urchins, who would clamour, perhaps, until
he stopped and told them some story.
Of all the story-tellers that our village could ever

Xa J. M.-

Uncle Jake, p. 66.

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boast of, Uncle Jake was the most popular certainly
among the little folks; and there were those who
resolutely and obstinately maintained that he dressed
up some of his stories for the occasion. It cannot be
denied that many of them seemed to be such capital
ones, and to have a moral at the end of them fitting
so nicely, that sometimes we could hardly conceive
of their being woven out of pure and unmixed facts.
Uncle Jake, is that a true story?" I have heard
that question asked more than once by some little
boy, as he stood, with his mouth open, listening to
the thrilling narratives of the old miller; and when
the question was answered in the affirmative-for it
invariably was so answered-the Oh" which went
round the audience was dwelt upon as the bass
singers in our choir used to dwell upon the last
notes in a chant, swelling right over the double bar.
The question may possibly occur to you, as to the
relationship that existed between Uncle Jake and
that good old man who used to wear the blue
surtout all buttoned down before," and who had a
hen almost as noted as himself. I frankly confess
that I have never been able to get hold of any satis-
factory information on that point. Uncle Jake did
not pretend to trace any relation himself to that
remarkable character;
And history, so warm on meaner themes,
Is dumb on this."
But of one thing I am sure, that if Uncle Jake.



had turned out to have been a descendant of the
identical old Grimes of antiquity, the fame of the
former could hardly have been increased among the
little folks in our neighbourhood. We thought him
one of the most wonderful men of any age. How
his head could contain such a multitude of stories
seemed little short of a miracle. And then he knew
every thing, too-so it appeared to our young minds.
It was far enough from being true, to be sure. We
had not got hold of the key to the old man's popu-
larity with us. He did not charm us as he did
because he knew so much, but rather because he
knew how to tell his young friends what he knew,
and because he was so willing to tell it to them; and
withal was so good-natured a d humorous in tell-
ing it.
Mr. Grimes was a bachelor when he came to
America, and a bachelor he remained till he ended
his days. Nobody, I think, certainly nobody on this
side of the ocean, ever really knew the reason why
he did not get married. People laughed at him,
and let off, first and last, a great many capital jokes
at him, on account of his remaining single so long;
that is the commonest thing in the world, you know.
Old bachelors and old maids are often-far too often
-set up as targets at which all sorts of folks are
expected to shoot all sorts of jests. But he let
the people laugh, and went on his own way. Once
or twice-so the story goes-when he was in a



mood rather more serious than usual, and when an
intimate friend happened to allude to his single life
as something extremely wonderful, considering his
fondness for society, he sighed, and said that there
was a reason why he never married, and that the
reason was a sad one. So much as this, but nothing
more definite, relating to the mystery, had formed
itself into something like a vague legend, in our
neighbourhood, at the time of which I am writing.
But Betsy Doughty, the deaf old housekeeper of
the miller, has been heard to say that she "knew a
thing or two about it ;" that Uncle Jake had a
picture of a young lady in his bed-room; that he
looked at it a good deal; that it was no doubt an
English lady; that the lady had a very sweet coun-
tenance; that she was just as sure as she could
be that this lady was once engaged to be married
to Uncle Jake; and that she died when she was
Betsy had another tale, too, connected with this
mysterious subject. I give it for what it is worth,
which, I imagine, is all it would fetch. John-this
is the housekeeper's story, not mine-John Jones, a
man who worked in Uncle Jake's mill and did jobs.
about the house, one day went into the best room"
aAer something, when he saw a letter lying on the
table. It had just come xal the post-office, it
appIaed, uad the seal was Mroken. John ex-
amifed the post-mark. WV a vast amount of



curiosity, in one form and another, there is afloat
among mankind as well as womankind! John took
a careful look at the post-mark. The letter proved
to have been posted in England.
Aba!" thought the man, thirsting for know-
ledge, and especially for the kind of knowledge the
letter was likely to contain; I must dive into this
secret;" and just as Betsy was passing the door of
the best room, which stood open, she caught a glance
at John prying into the letter, to get a peep at its
The saucy, impertinent fellow I He deserved to
be turned out of the house; and I am not sure but
he would have been dealt with after this fashion, if
Uncle Jake had found out what he had been doing.
The housekeeper, however-which is not much to
her credit, I should think-according to her story,
encouraged John to go on with his peeping, and
from that day until his death, the old miller was
ignorant of the mean and cowardly way in which
John had acted in the matter of tile English letter.
Well, the amount of what was discovered by the
spy was simply this: that there was some unhappy
incident connected with Mr. Grimes' history. The
English correspondent alluded to the old wound,"
and hoped that it had been "healed up."
But I have detained you long enough with this
general sketch of the funny old miller. I want
you to become better acquainted with him, howr



ever; and I think you will find out a good deal
more of his character, and perhaps get an insight
into other particulars connected with his history,
while you are reading the following pages.

WrrN a farmer brings a bag of corn, or rye, or
wheat, or oats, to the grist-mill to be ground, he
does not pay the miller in money for grinding his
grist. The miller takes his pay out of the bag of
grain. That is the rule, or, at any rate, that was
the rule in our village when I was a boy; and I
think that is pretty much the same now-a-days.
'The portion of grain which thus falls to the miller's
share, from each of the grists ground at his mill,
is called his toll.
Now, as it is hardly necessary to tell you, stores
of grain and stores of knowledge are a good deal
alike in some respects. The stores of wheat, an
rye, and corn nourish the body; and the stores of
knowledge nourish the mind. Well, while our good
fiend the miller was taking his tolls from the grain
wbich the farmers brought to him to grind, he was
alSs as you have already learned, taking tolls of
another sort. He was storing his mind with valu-



able things. He was learning a little here, and a
little there, and laying it all up in some snug place,
where he could use it when he wanted it.
As I think I have said before, he always went
with his eyes and ears wide open, and never let
an opportunity slip of adding to his tolls of know-
He had an excellent memory. Very few grains
of information that came into his mind were ever
lost. Nor were they covered up with all sorts of
rubbish, so that he could never get at them.
I am going to give you some of Uncle Jake's tolls.
I shall not treat you with any of the contents of the
bags which were brought to the old gentleman's
mill. That kind of toll would hardly be acceptable
to you, I presume, even if the old gentleman had
made me a present-which he never did-of a suffi-
cient quantity to give you all a treat.
The tolls I have to offer you are from the store-
house of the mind. In other words, it is my inten-
tion to bring together here, in this little book, some
of the tolls which the old gentleman used to tell-
some of the lessons he was continually learning from
what he saw and heard around him--some of the
interesting facts which I gleaned from him-some
of the conversations that occurred between him and
his young friends-and some of the pithy sayings
that seemed to lie so loose in his mind that they
sometimes dropped from him, in his familiar prat-



tlings, as kernels of over-ripe wheat fall from the
head where they grew.

IT always amused me exceedingly to hear the old
man tell anecdotes about what happened to him
when he was a boy. The account he gave of his
first ride on horseback is still fresh in my memory.
I do believe so he said -that the time when I
was first lifted upon the back of my father's old
horse, whom we called Arab, was the proudest hour
of my whole life. I'm sure Napoleon couldn't have
felt prouder after one of his grandest battles. I was
quite young at the time-a mere child almost; but
I felt as if I were a man-a man from head to foot.
Thel 3 more than one reason why I should
remember that first ride so well. Something turned
-or perhaps I should with more propriety say
lething turned down---on that occasion, which
joggled my brain so that I could not help remember-
ing all about the ride. A pretty deep impression
was made upon me. In other words, I fell from my
horse, and my little head was sadly bruised by the
fall. Shall I tell you how it was ?
My father, after lifting me upon the saddle, held
me on, while my sister Kate, a little older than



myself, led the horse, taking hold of the bridle near
the bit. Well, we travelled some distance in this
way. Oh, how I enjoyed the sport! As I said
before, I felt disposed to look upon myself as one of
the men, and a pretty important man too.
When my father gave me the reins, I was in a
perfect ecstacy of delight. But happy as I was, I
did not feel quite satisfied that I was treated so
much like a child. I burned to manage the horse
all alone, and I had not the slightest doubt but that
I was abundantly able to do that thing. What a
shallow-pated little fellow I must have been! Pride
must have turned topsy-turvy the lit ins I had,
it would seem.
I did one of the silliest things, Lfore I got
through with that ride, which any frolicking little
boy could dream of. I jerked the reins suddenly
from the hands of my sister, and yelled out Get
up!" so lustily, that old Arab---rather contrary to
his usual custom, for he was a grave and sober
horse, snorted-and started off upon a gallop before
my father could catch hold of the rein. I did not
ride far, I assure you, before I lost my balance, and
fell headlong into the road. Here was "a pretty
kettle of fish," as my grandfather used to say, when
he found himself, or saw any body else, up to the
arm-pits in trouble. My head was cut very badly,
and I had to pay dearly enough, as you may im-
agine, for that piece of mischief.



I have been lukocked about in the world a good
deal, first and last; and once in a while a grain or
two of sense has been knocked into my head. But I
don't think of any blow I ever got in my life, which
made a more lasting or a better impression upon me.
It is said that "a burnt child dreads the fire." It is
true; and so is the notion which that proverb is
designed to teach. The lessons that are burnt and
beaten into the mind of childhood or youth are likely
to stay there. Not that I approve of the burning or
the beating; but when such accidents happen to a
poor fellow, if he gets off with his life, they do him
a world of good.
But you will want to know, perhaps, what the
lesson was which got beaten so deeply into my mind,
when I happened to fall from off the back of old
Arab. Why don't you see what it was ? It was
this :
That little folks are not fit to manage the reins.
Every body can see that I was not fit to guide old
Arab. That is as plain as the nose on you- face.
I thought I could do it. I had confidence enough.
A lion could not have been bolder than I was when
I jerked away the reins from my dear sister's hand;
but I was no more fit to ride alone on horseback than
an infant. I saw that after my fall; though if I
had been told so before I fell, I should not have
believed it.
Children never take the reins into your own



hands. Never try to do it. It is foolish ; it is
dangerous; it is wicked.
Why, Uncle Frank," says one, I never thought
of doing such a thing. I haven't had a chance yet.
I never was on horseback in my life, and I don't
expect to be very soon."
You don't get hold of my meaning exactly. When
I speak of the reins now, I don't mean the reins
which we use to govern the horse. I mean the
reins which we use to govern you.
Ah, that's another thing."
Yes, but it is a thing which concerns you all. I
tell you little girl, you never did a more foolish
thing since you was born than you did the other day,
when you twitched the reins away from your mother,
and tried to get along without her government.
Why, I didn't do it, as I recollect."
Well, so much the better, if you didn't. It was
some other girl, though, if it was not you. Chil-
dren are too apt to want to have their own way.
They cannot bear to be governed. They are rest-
less under the bit. They need curbing in: but it is
hard to make them think so. They don't know
how much they need restraining. They want to set
up for themselves. How common a thing it is to
see a child act as if he was impatient to get the
reins into his own hands! After all," he thinks,
" if I only got a chance to manage the reins, what
a time I would have of it !" Yes, what a time he



would have of it, sure enough Very likely he
would run a race a good deal like the one I had on
the back of old Arab.
When I see a boy going into bad company, after
his parents have warned him, again and again, of
the danger of such company, I want to say a few
words in his ear: I want to tell him the story about
that horseback ride. Take care, sir," I would say,
if I got a chance, take care; you can't be trusted
with the reins: you will get into trouble the moment
you undertake to control yourself, without the aid of
those who have older and wiser heads than the one
which you have got on your shoulders."
When I hear a girl complaining that she cannot
do this thing or that thing, because her mother
thinks it is not best for her to do it, I say to myself,
" What a pity that girl is so anxious to get the reins
into her own hands! The silly creature I does she
want to get run away with ? Does she want to
get her little head thumped against the hard ground,
or a stone wall ? If she don't, then she had better
yield to the wish of her mother, and not fret in this
way because she feels the bit a little."
When I hear of a girl who grumbles because she
is not allowed to read certain books which she takes
a fancy to- some foolish, miserable novel, for in-
stance, which she says is all the rage"-and when
I have reason to believe that, in spite of the objec-
tions of-those who have a right to control her, she



manages to get and read such a book, without the
knowledge of her parents, I tremble for her. I
tremble, not for fear that a horse will run away
with her, but that she will run away with herself.
I tell you, young people are not the best judges of
what sort of books they ought to read, and what
they ought not to read ; and they had better not
take the reins into their own hands in this matter.
I have known more than one youth ruined for this
life, and I fear for the life to come, by getting his
head and his heart crammed with such stuff as too
often finds its way into works of fiction intended for the
young. I don't condemn every book which has any
fiction in it. Far from it. But a great many books
which go by the name of novels have poison in them.
You can't have any thing to do with them without
getting hurt by them. I would rather you should swal-
low arsenic than read such things. I would, I assure
you. Why, is it not as dangerous to take poison into
the mind as to take it into the body ? Is it not worse
to allow it to enter the heart than to receive it into
the stomach ? Now what I am pleading for is, that
parents know how to select books for their children
better than the children do, and that their judgment
ought to be relied upon. What if a certain book is
"all the rage ?" What if it should seem that almost
every body is reading it ? What if your companions
have read it, and are pleased with it, and see no-
thing wrong in it? No matter for that. Take



the advice of your father or your mother. They
may be wrong, it is true. But then they may be
right too; and it is probable they are right. The
poison is often so completely mixed up with other
things-good things, perhaps-in these books, that
it is very difficult to perceive that it is there at all.
But it is just as hurtful as if it was given to you in
a separate dose, and as if it was called by its right
name. It is more likely to hurt you, is it not ? for,
if it was not covered up, and called by a wrong
name, and made to appear harmless, it would
hardly hurt you at all. If it had a label on it, with
the word poison printed in large letters, you would
be pretty sure not to touch the book, and then it
could certainly not injure you. But where the poi-
son is concealed, you cannot tell how much danger
there is, and so you can hardly help being harmed
by the paltry stuff.
I have sometimes seen a lad (for I have seen lots
of strange things in my day),-I have sometimes seen
a lad, who, though he had got pretty safely along
on the highway of life, quite through the pleasant
valley of childhood, into a country abounding with
rocks, called the teens, began to feel that he was a
man to all intents and purposes, and might as well
take the reins then, as to wait a year or two longer.
But I have generally made up my mind that such a
lad ought not to jerk the reins out of the hands of
his parents, and I have told him so. He is the last



one to have the reins who thinks he knows how to
use them better than his seniors. I remember once
having a long talk with a lad who was just getting
into the teens. My dear fellow, don't run off with
the reins in this style," said I. "Why the bit chafes
my mouth, sir," said he. But I told him that it
would be a hundred times better for him to have a
sore mouth than to break his neck. And he thought
so too, I guess, a little while after that. Instead of
going to school one fine day in the fall of the year,
he took it into his head to start off into Witch
Woods, with a basket on his arm, after chestnuts.
He thought he had learning enough, I presume.
Well, he was fortunate in the matter of the chest-
nuts. But I must tell you what he had to pay for
a basketful of them. Before night, he fell in with
one of the worst boys in the neighbourhood, who
robbed him of more than half of his chestnuts. And
that was not the worst of the affair. When he got
home, he learned that his father had found out what
he had done, the consequence of which was, that he
got one of the worst whippings he had ever smarted
under in his life. Nor was this all. The next day,
almost as soon as the school began, he took another
whipping from the schoolmaster, who had received
a note, informing him how matters stood, from the
boy's father.



I NEVER think of Uncle Jake, without recalling to
my mind a most laughable adventure, and which
took place on the occasion of one of my pilgrimages
to Uncle Jake's cider-mill; for he was something of
a farmer as well as a miller, and had a cider-mill
for grinding apples as well as the mill for grinding
grain. As was the custom in those days, the old
man offered up the greater portion of the apples on
his farm at the shrine of the cider-mill. It was
rare sport, for my brother and I, in the fall of the
year, after the cider-making had commenced, to go
over to Uncle Jake's, and help ourselves to the
delicious beverage.
The tub which was set under the cider-press (as
most boys who have been in the country in the
season of making cider know very well,) is usually
one half of a hogshead sawed in two crosswise. The
tub at Uncle Jake's mill was made in this way.
Well, there were two methods of getting at the
cider. One was to drink it from a wooden dipper,
which was always kept in the tub, ready for dipping
the cider into the large tunnel which communicated
with the bung-hole of the barrel. Another method,
and the one which was usually regarded as prefer-
able, was to take a rye-straw, as large around and



as long as could conveniently be found, to insert one
end of it into the tub, and to suck the cider leisurely
through the tube.
One day, my brother and I, each armed with a
long straw, were regaling ourselves with sweet cider
at Uncle Jake's mill. The tub was not much more
than half-full at the time ; and of course we had to
bend over the tub, at rather an uncomfortable angle,
to reach the cider. There were, I recollect, an
unusually large number of hornets, bees, and yellow
wasps floating, in a half-drowning state, on the
surface of the cider.
I am coming now to the tragic part of my story.
But I don't expect you to cry much over it, as there is
rather too much of the comic mixed up in the story,
for a very large deluge of tears. I leaned over the
tub a little too far, and-down I went, head first,
into the cider-tub! Oh, what a floundering there
was in that red sea! I can't recollect much of my
experience while there. But there is a distinct
impression upon my mind that I thought I should
inevitably be drowned in the cider, and stung to
death by the wasps and hornets into the bargain.
It so happened that there was no one but my
brother at the mill when I fell overboard. He,
however, called lustily for help. Some of Uncle
Jake's men were at work digging potatoes not far
off; and when they heard the little fellow crying at
the very top of his voice, A man in the ciderttub I



a manr in the cider-tub I" they ran to my assistance.
It was well that they got there as quickly as they
did. If they had delayed many minutes, I am not
sure but I should have made a rather inglorious exit
from the world. As it was, however, there was
any thing but glory connected with the disaster. I
think that I must have presented a most provokingly
ludicrous spectacle, when I was lifted out of the tub,
and carried over to Uncle Jake's house, all dripping
with sweet cider. At all events, every body that
saw me laughed. Uncle Jake even, who generally
had a very cool and quiet way of enjoying a joke,
laughed on this occasion, until he grew red in the
face. "Frank," said he, you were itt liquor that
time, weren't you ? Ha! ha! ha!"
But that was not the worst of it. I did honestly
think, considering the vast amount of breath that
was spent in laughing over me on the day of the
accident, that people would certainly spare their
lungs any further trouble on my behalf; but, alas
I was wofully mistaken. It was the standing joke
of the neighbourhood for a long time. The boys at
school did ndt get fairly over their giggling about the
(ducking for a long time, I believe; and even after
that it was not uncommon to see people look at each
other and laugh when they saw me in the street,
which look and laugh I learned to translate in these
words, Yonder goes the boy that tumbled into the



As for Mr. Solomon Stark, the schoolmaster, he
made a conundrum on the occasion-he was great
at conundrums-which went all over the neighbour-
hood, and was received as a very nice little morsel
of wit. I never saw any wit in it though. It was
made at my own expense to be sure; and possibly,
though I had no suspicion of it at the time, that
tended slightly to blunt my perception of the sharp-
ness of the point of the conundrum. It was some-
thing like this : Why was Frank, when he took that
famous bath, like a man riding in the stage ?" How
mightily Mr. Stark loved to give the answer to this
conundrum, after the people had given it up, which
was, Because he was an insider (in cider)!

UNCLE JAKE once entertained a knot of boys and
girls by some rambling thoughts on lighthouses. I
wish I could give them to you exactly as he uttered
them. But I cannot do that. None of us wrote
short-hand in those parts ; so that Uncle Jake's fa-
miliar remarks were seldom or never chronicled for
the press. Indeed, they never made any figure on
paper, that I know of; and I must depend, for the
most part, on my memory alone in these sketches.



You can't think (this is the substance of what the
old miller said,) how much a lighthouse is worth,
sometimes. Many a sea-captain, when he is coming
near the shore, in very foggy weather, if the wind
blows hard, would give all he is worth, if he could
only see the faintest ray of light from the lighthouse
which he knows cannot be far off.
Lighthouses are built on the shore, or on some
rock in the water. They are built to shew those
who have the charge of vessels where the harbour
is, and so that they can tell what course to steer, to
avoid the rocks and shallow water. A great many
vessels have been saved by the shining of a lamp in
a lighthouse, which would have been dashed to
pieces on the rocks, if it had not been for that lamp.
Did you ever hear of the Eddystone lighthouse,
boys and girls ? It is on the coast of England, and
is built on some rocks in the sea. I have seen it
many a time, and once I went out to it in a little
boat, when the water was calm, and went up to the
top of it. I said, when the water was calm. It -was
calmer than usual, I suppose. But it was quite as
rough as I wanted to see it. The waves dashed
against the rocks on which the lighthouse is built,
with such fury that the water flew to the very top of
the lighthouse where I was standing, and that was
as high as the steeple of our church.
Before this lighthouse was built, there used to be
a great many shipwrecks on the Eddystone rocks.



They are very dangerous indeed. When the tide
is high, they are completely covered with water, so
that it was dillicult to tell exactly where the rocks
In pleasant weather, it is a fine sight to go out
into the British Channel in a vessel, aud to watch
the waves as they dash against the base of the
JFddystoij lighthouse, and send the spray mountain-
high into the air. What a dreary place it must be
for people to live in! But men have to stay there
day and night, and some of them nmust be awake,
too, trimming the lamps, all through the night, and
listening to the thundering of the wild waves.
The first lighthouse that was ever built on these
rocks was swept away in a dreadful storm. It was
first lighted, I think, in the year 1606. It stood
six or seveni years, and then it needed some repairs.
The gentleman who built it accordingly visited it,
with some workmen, intending to stay there some
days; but a terrible storm came on. Many ships
were wrecked on tlou lpglish coast. The Eddystone
lightltouse could not bear up against the violence of
the waves; it fell; every person in it perished ; not
a vestige was afterwards seen or heard of one of
those unfortunate men.
The next lighthouse which was erected on these
rocks stood forty-seven years, when it was destroyed
by fire. In the dead of night, when the keeper who
was on the watch went to snuff the lamps, he found



the light-room full of smoke; and when he opened
the door of the balcony, a flame burst from the in-
side, and the whole of the upper part of the building
was soon in a blaze. The man who discovered the
fire instantly ran to wake his companions. Poor
fellows they all came very near being burned to
death; but all escaped except one, who was killed
by the melted lead that fell into his mouth while he
was looking up towards the ceiling of the room
where the lamps were burning.
There-are a great many lighthouses in different
parts of the world, some of which are almost as
remarkable, and many quite as useful, as the one on
the JEddystone rocks. You see plainly enough what
they are all built for : there is danger in the vicinity
where they stand. There is danger that the ship,
coming in from a voyage, instead of sailing safely
into the harbour, should be wrecked on a beach of
aund, or on a reef of rockB.
Now, did it ever pop into your minds, young
friends, that there are lots of reefs and sand-beaches,
and very dangerous ones too, besides those on the
coasts of the ocean and along the shores of the rivers
and lakes that you fnd laid down in your map?
Well, there are such, and they are provided with
lighthouses, too; and, what is more, you may have
something to do with more or less of them, all of
you, before you get through the world.
I must make what I am saying a little plainer. I



am very anxious that you should understand me;
for, unless I am greatly out of my reckoning, these
thoughts about lighthouses will be worth something
to you one of these days, if you get them snugly
stowed away in some safe chamber of your brain
As you go along through life, you will be sure, first
and last, to encounter multitudes of dangers; and,
among them all, there will be some, no doubt, which
you cannot escape, and could not escape, if you were
ever so wide-awake, and ever so well prepared for
them beforehand. But there are others, which you
can escape, if you know you will have to meet them,
and if you take good care of yourself when they
come across your path, or when you come across
theirs. There are lighthouses to guide you as you
go along; and when you see the twinkling of the
lamps in them, though you may be a good way off
from the dangerous rocks or sand-beach, you can see
how to steer clear of the danger.
Let me point out to you some of the dangerous
spots, and shew you where the lighthouses are.
There are the Nevermind rocks, for instance.
You had better look out sharp for them. Many a
man and woman has struck on them, ay, and many
a boy and girl likewise. Reckless, headstrong people
are the ones who ever get wrecked on them. A
headstrong person is just like a ship without a rud-
der. He does not mind his helm at all. He is at
the mercy of the wind, and the tide, and the waves.



There is no telling where he will go, or what will
become of him. Perhaps he will be driven out to
sea, and perhaps he will come to the land. Most
likely, some time or other, he will run on to the
Nevermind reef; for that reef stretches along the
shore a great distance.
So look out, boys and girls, look out for the
Nevermind lighthouse. You can't afford to lose
your brains: they are too valuable to you. Don't
break your head. Don't dash on, through thick and
thin, without seeing where you are going. It is well
enough to go a-head; but you had better be sure
you are right," before you consent to stir an inch.
But dangerous as the Nevermind reef is, I don't
know that it is a whit more to be dreaded than one
which lies a good many hundred miles from it, and
which is called on my chart the Waitawhile rock.
Those who are in danger of getting wrecked here
are the people who are for ever making up their
minds. They are never ready to do any thing, or
to go any where. They can't decide. The plainest
cases in the world cost such folks oceans of thought.
They think, and think, and think; and that is all
they do. Ask them what their opinion is about
any matter under the sun, and they will say, I'll
think about it." But they will never give you their
decision. They can't give it -they have none to
give. Ask them to do any thing, and their answer
is, Wait awhile, until I have time to think."



Think; why, my dear fellow, you'll spend your life
thinking. Thinking never did any thing.
You may wonder how people that never stir from
their places, because they cannot make up their
nainds which way to go, can ever get wreaked any
where. I'll tell you how that is. The world, recol-
lect, is rolling op, whether they go or not; and as it
rolls round, it brings in its train multitudes of cir-
cumstances in which every body is interested-your
people who never make up their minds, as well as
the rest of mankind. There must be some action in
reference to these things, or tlie things themselves
will act. If you see a mad bUl coming right at you,
and bellowing qut his madness, you must do your
thinking up pretty quick, and get out of the mad
bull's way. If you don't, the bull will be pretty
likely to make you pay for your stupidity. He will
not wait, if you do.
When I was a boy, there was a good-natured
chap, of about my own age, who used often to be
mpy playmate. I liked him; so did every one who
knew him. J3ut there was one blemish in his cha-
racter, ie never could say No," and scarcely
ever could say '' Yes." He was one of those people
who find it so dirfult to come to a decision about
any thing. Wel, see what came of this habit in his
case. He was on his way home from school one
afternoon, when he met a number of the worst boys
in the whole parish. They were going off some-




where to steal peaches, and prowl around the neigh-
bours' barns after hens' eggs, and, in short, to do all
kinds of mischief that they got a chance to do.
Come, Jim," they said to my young friend,-
whose name, by the way, was James Morgan,-
come along with us."
Where are you going ?" James asked.
Now there was no need of his asking that question.
lie knew they were bad boys i and be might have
known they were going on some harwn- scaruna
We are going down to the squire's farm-house,"
one of them said.
What for ?" asked James.
Oh)," said one of the gang with a loud laugh, in
which they all joined, we are going to have bags
full of fun over there."
James wanted to know more about all those bags
full of fun. But they wouldn't tell him any more;
and while the foolish fellow was thinking what kind
of fun it was, and whether it were best to go over
and find out, or go home in ignorance, they caught
hold of him, and pulled him along with them.
I am not at aW sure but James was glad they had
decided the matter for him, and saved him the trou-
ble of it. It was such hard work for him to make
up his mind.
Well, the expedition turned out to be an unpro,
fitable one, as most of that class are. The boys

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