Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Group Title: Island, or, Learning without books
Title: The Island, or, Learning without books
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00004055/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Island, or, Learning without books
Alternate Title: Learning without books
Physical Description: 32 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: unknown
Bross, Robert S., b. ca. 1831 ( Engraver )
Bookhout, Edward ( Engraver )
American Tract Society ( Publisher )
Publisher: American Tract Society
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1859
Copyright Date: 1859
Subject: Glory of God -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1859   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' paper bindings (Binding) -- 1859   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1859
Genre: Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' paper bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
General Note: Date from inscription.
General Note: "The beauties of creation"--P. 32, in verse, signed: Heber.
General Note: Half t.p., engraved and signed by R.S. Bross; some ill. engraved and signed by R.S. Bross or E. Bookhout.
General Note: Both R.S. Bross and E. Bookhout were active in New York from 1850 to 1860. Cf. Groce, G. N.Y. Hist. dict. of artists in Amer., 1957.
General Note: Publisher's advertisement: p. 4 of cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00004055
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA5775
notis - ALK2492
oclc - 47660772
alephbibnum - 002250740

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text




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MRs. BERRY was the mother of a large family of
happy, rosy children, to whom she devoted almost
all her time and attention.
Mrs. Berry's house was small, and the upper rooms
were so low, that when the hot summer weather came,
the children, instead of quietly sleeping in their beds,
rolled and tossed about in the heat, and were very
uncomfortable. Mrs. Berry was not a woman to fret
and complain about her trials. If she could remove
a difficulty, she did so; and if she could not, she bore
it patiently. There was no such thing as making the
rooms bigger when the hot weather began, so Mrs.


Berry hit upon the next best thing that could be
done: she would take her family to some country
place where they could enjoy the sea-breezes, and
have space enough to play in all day, and space
enough to breathe in at night. To Martha's Vineyard
Mrs. Berry resolved to go, and there she engaged
board for the whole family for the summer months.
Did you ever see an island? You know that an
island is land with water all round it. Some islands
in little brooks are so small that a daisy can hardly
fasten its roots upon one of them; others, in the great
sea, are large enough to have mountains, lakes, and
rivers of their own.
If you look upon your map of the United States,
you will see a group of islands south of Cape Cod,
and painted of the same color as Massachusetts, be-
cause they belong to that state. One of these islands
is Martha's Vineyard. With the salt water on all
sides, Mrs. Berry knew there could be no lack of sea-
breezes on that island,


It was a great deal of trouble for the mother to
leave tier home, and pack up garments for all her
flock for so long a time; but trouble was a thing that
Mrs. Berry never thought-of, where the good of her
children was concerned.
A mother is such a common blessing, that chil-
dren hardly realize that she is a blessing at all. Yet
it is the heavenly Father who gives to children a'
mother, tender, affectionate, and full of love, to watch
over them while they are helpless and ignorant. Who
but a mother would bear patiently with the fretful-
ness of the infant, that will neither sleep itself nor
suffer others to do so? Who but a mother would
continue to love the mischievous, contrary, trouble-
some boy, that is the torment'of the house? Who
comforts, guards, and loves, from the cradle to the
grave, but the true mother? Thank God for your
mother, little children. She is among the choicest
blessings your heavenly Father can bestow.
Mrs. Berry was just such a mother. She did


every thing so pleasantly and cheerfully, that her
children hardly realized that they gave her any
trouble at all. Her sweet sp )irit spread itself through
the house, and it was a rate thing to hear fretting or
jquarrelling among all that rosy group.
Kate, the oldest child, was now in her ninth year;
and she was already of great assistance in taking care
of her little brothers and sisters. Mrs. Berry could
trust them with Kate almost as safely as with her-
self. Kate was very fond of study; and it was often
amusing to see her sitting among the children, with
her book in her hand, and managing to go on with
her lesson while she kept the little circle about her
cheerful and ha ppy.
Kate was delighted with the idea of the visit to
Martha's Vineyard, and when the work of packing
commenced, she joined heartily in it. She would
gladly have seen all her school-books go into the
.reat trunks that were filling in the nursery; but
Mrs. Berry quietly put them aside, saying as she did


so, "You are to learn without books this summer, so
these old friends can rest until we return in the fall."
Kate then laid away her geography, spelling-book,
and arithmetic in the closet, wondering all the while
what her mother could mean by learning without
books. Few things worry grown-up people more
than being talked to when they are busy. This Kate
very well knew; and much as she wished to ask her
mother to explain what she had just said, she would
not trouble her now. The packing was done in due
time. Soon after the children were borne in the
swift cars to New Bedford. There they took the
steam-boat, and after a charming sail, they were land-
ed on the island of Martha's Vineyard.
Edgartown is the largest town in Martha's Vine-
yard, and there they were to pass the summer. The
sunbonnets and stout calico dresses were soon drawn
out of the great trunks, and the children were made
ready for a stroll to see the place.
"Is this a real harbor, Kate ?" said Maggy, the


second daughter, who had got as far as the defini-
tions in her geography.
Kate looked at the quiet sheet of water in front
of the town and gravely answered, "Yes, it is a
real harbor. Don't you see the vessels lying at
anchor ?"
There were vessels truly, of all sizes. There was
a great whaler, that had been far, far away among
the ice of the Northern ocean, and had come back
with a cargo of oil that filled all Edgartown with de-
light. Wonderful stories the sailors had to tell when
they returned from that long voyage. Some were
full of the storm that had well-nigh blown the vessel
to pieces as she went round Cape Horn. Some would
rather dwell on the strength of the last great whale
they had killed, and of his plunges of rage and dis-
tress when he felt the sure harpoon fixed in his sides.
Among those sailors there were a few who would
rather listen than speak; they wanted to hear how
the lonely wife had toiled and hoped and watched


during their long absence. They would rather take
their little ones on their knees, and listen to their
pretty prattle.
Among the hardy men who had been three years


on the great ocean, preserved by day and night, in
storm and in calm, there were few, very few, alas,
who thought, on their safe return, of thanking God
for his watchful care, or giving him the lives he had
saved from so many dangers. But the number of
pious sailors is growing greater every year; and we
hope that the time will come when there shall be
prayer on every ship, and a Bible in every seaman's
chest. We must not forget, when we are giving,
to give something to spread good books among the
Now the little girls who stood by the water-side
at Edgartown did not think any thing about all we
have been saying, yet they were learning something
without books. All the definitions in the world could
not have made Kate and Maggy understand what a
harbor was as well as they did, now that they saw
the deep water lying so still and calm before them,
and the ships resting so safely on its bosom, pro-
tected from the winds on all sides by surrounding



land. Even the little children took the idea, and
Jemmy said in his baby way, "Jemmy know a har-
bor now; Jemmy know geography too."

A few evenings after this a sudden storm was
rising, Then into the harbor came vessels, by twos



and threes, all anxious to escape the angry wind that
would soon be lashing the ocean outside. A pleasure
yacht from Boston, a fishing smack from Nantucket,
a government vessel out on the coast survey, and
another great whaler, just returned from its four
years' cruise, came into the harbor together. There
they all lay in safety, while beyond the quiet harbor
the waves roared and rose higher and higher, till even
a strong ship could scarcely have outlived the fear-
ful storm.
Heaven is often spoken of as the "sure harbor."
There people of all nations, men of all occupations
will be gathered together at last, safe from every
"There, anchored safe, my peaceful soul
Shall find eternal rest;
No storms shall beat or illows roll

Ka. l;Ard a- gg. id i~ ver i hear that hymn
again without better understanding what it meant to



have such a harbor for the soul, in the love and
mercy of their dying Redeemer.
Mrs. Berry's children found every day some-
thing new to interest them at Edgartown. They soon
had any number of acquaintances, for the happy,
merry little group attracted attention. It was a
pleasure to Kate and Maggy to see the sailors' wives
in their neat homes. It often happened that two of
these lonely women, during their husbands' absence,
lived in the same house; upstairs there would be a
neat parlor, bed-room, and kitchen, exactly like
those below. These rooms were ornamented with
various curiosities, brought home from time to time
by the much-loved wanderers on the sea. Great
branches of coral towered above the wooden mantle-
pieces, while on them were ranged rows of shells
that many a city collector would- have been delight-
ed to own. Here a shark's tooth, and there a South
Sea islander's boat was treasured as a curiosity.
With the forms of some of the shells Kate and



Maggy soon became quite familiar, and the paper
nautilus was at once established as their particular
favorite. They were never weary of admiring the
beautiful colors of the haliotis, or the curious tinting
of the strawberry trochus and the music-shell. It
seemed strange to them that God should have made
things so beautiful in the ocean, where they might
never meet a human eye. Did they forget the wild
flowers on the mountain-side, and the bright birds of
the wilderness? God's works are all perfect, whether
they are seen by man or by the great Creator alone.
He does nothing carelessly or clumsily. He doeth
all things well." Surely we should try, in our poor
way, to imitate him in this. We should think noth-
ing too small, or too much out of sight, to be well
and faithfully done. A habit of doing carefully
whatever is attempted, is well worth cultivating.
Kate and Maggy had learned the names of a great
many shells, without books; and now they resolved
to begin a collection of their own. Along the shore



they wandered day after day, picking up shells, not,
it is true, as beautiful as those foreign shells they
had seen, but well worth preserving. Little Jemmy
and the other children lent their aid, and very proud



they were when Kate or Maggy would accept, from
the sandy heaps in their hands, a single specimen.
The whole party were learning daily to notice every
thing in their walks. They were learning to observe,
a habit which you perhaps think is natural to every-
body. This is by no means the case. There are
people who are so much taken up with their own
thoughts, that they could travel from Maine to
Georgia without being able to tell any thing worth
hearing about their journey.
This is not the way to live in the beautiful world
God has made; and Mrs. Berry knew it. She want-
ed her children to learn early to notice and admire
the wonderful works of their Creator. There are
times when all other pleasures fail, and yet the love
of nature remains. The poor old woman, weak in
body and mind, has been known to smile at the sight
of a flower, when she has ceased to notice any thing
else in the world. The sorrowful mourner can en-
joy the works of God, when she cannot even hear a



human ,friend at her side. It is right that children
should know something of the world they live in,
and get that knowledge by observation, as well as
from books.
Bathing in the salt water was a new thing to the
little Berrys. The bathing-house to which they daily
resorted had a movable floor; so that they could have
the water up to their necks, or so deep that they
could swim in it.
Some of them would dash about in it like ducks,
as fit to live in the water as on the land; but to others
the hour for the bath was a dreaded time, which they
would gladly have escaped. To make a good swim-
mer, one must have some courage to begin. Children
who are so frightened that they put out their limbs
tremblingly, seldom learn to swim. Some children are
not afraid in the water because they have their moth-
er or a kind friend near them, to hold them up at
first, or to save them if they should afterwards be-
come frightened or be about to sink.



Such trust, even in a human friend, may help us
to understand and to feel our own need of a much
better thing. Those who thus love and trust God,
can go into the midst of the greatest danger without
anxious thought. They know that they have a heav-
enly Friend who is almighty in love, and "strong to
If you look on the map, you will see that there
is nothing between the southern shore of Martha's
Vineyard and the West India islands, but the ever-
moving waves of the Atlantic ocean. Mrs. Berry's
children had heard much of the south shore," as it
was called among the people at Edgartown, and they
were very anxious to visit it. Great was their de-
light therefore when they understood that their moth-
er had arranged a plan for their spending the day
there. You may be sure that none of the children
but the babe were willing to be left at home; even
little Jemmy was allowed to go. Two young ladies,
friends of Mrs. Berry, were to take charge of the



party, while the ever self-denying mother remained
with the babe. So very sweet and cheerful looked
that mother when she bade them good-by, that not
one of them guessed that she too would have liked to
see the south shore.
Children forget, when they see their mothers make
sacrifices easily, that it is not always a pleasure for
them to stay at home to attend to duties, that others
may enjoy themselves. Can a child do too much to
show affection and gratitude to a mother?
Probably you think the party to the south shore
drove off in a handsome carriage, or at least in a re-
spectable wagon. There you are mistaken. Perhaps
some of you would not fancy riding in a heavy two-
wheeled cart. The little Berrys were not of this opin-
ion. Laughingly they sat down on the blankets and
bedquilts laid in the bottom of the cart, and the two
young ladies who were to go with them followed their
example in the same merry spirit.
The road over which they were to go was so cov-



ered with deep sand, that this odd kind of conveyance
was the best they could have chosen for the purpose.
Not even the cheerful voices behind him could induce
the strong horse to go out of a walk; and as the dri-
ver did not seem inclined to use a whip, the little
party had to make up their minds to moving at a
slower rate than if they were in the wheelbarrow of
a prompt porter in town. But there were no grum-
blers among the Berrys. Their good mother knew
how to put a stop to all such things at once. A fret-
ful exclamation was enough to send the one who
chanced to utter it away from the group at her side.
So the children had learned to take all trifling dis-
comforts cheerfully, a most important lesson. Chil-
dren brought up in this manner are not likely to be
discontented when the greater trials of life come upon
them. God sends the little troubles as well as the
great, that we may learn patience as well as resig-
The grumblers are unwelcome everywhere. No-



body wants their company. Children who have made
up their minds to fret every time they are not per-
fectly comfortable, had better shut themselves up;
for if they go about in the world, they will be avoid-
ed and disliked, and so have more and more to grum-
ble about as the years go by. How much better it
is to start with a cheerful spirit, resolved to make
the best of all that happens.
By and by the road entered upon a wide plain,
that stretched far away in the distance, with not a
tree upon it, or even a clump of bushes to attract
the eye. A few sheep were grazing here and there,
and their slow movements from place to place alone
broke up the quiet of the scene. There was a real
plain, and the young geography scholars looked at it
with delight. This was surely "a flat, level portion
of land." They could never forget that definition

How dreary the earth would have been if it had
been all one dull plain! How much more beautiful



are the valleys and the mountains, and the hill-sides
of a rolling country. Even the variety that God has
made in the surface of the earth is a blessing.

Before the children were fairly across the wide
plain, they c-gan to hear a heavy roar, like that of



distant thunder. The roar grew louder as they rode
on, and at length they could no longer doubt as to
its cause. The great ocean itself was near them, and
this was its mighty voice. And here the cart was
suddenly emptied by the alighting of the eager group.
Back towards Edgartown went the driver, but not
until he had promised to return long before sunset.
The children watched him for a moment as he drove
along the road that crossed the plain like a mere
winding- thread, and then they hastened towards the
It was a grand sight to see the roaring, dashing
:..-ves come rolling towards the shore, lay their
fnaming crests on the sand, and then gracefully re-
tire. There was a charm in watching them, as again
a ,d again they came forward in their terrible might,
and then sunk back as if exhausted with the effort
they had made. As far as the eye could reach the
sparkling waves rose and fell, till at length the sea
and sky joined in a dim, hazy line. A white sail



was dancing along far, far over the water. Who
could tell whither that messenger was bound, and
whether it would return in safety?
It was a beautiful scene, yet no one exclaimed
with delight and wonder. Even the younger chil-
dren could not help feeling that they were looking
upon one of the most wonderful works of the al-
mighty Creator, and they admired in silence. They
had heard of the ocean, but they had had but a faint
idea of the mass of waters which is well called, in the
Scriptures, "the great deep." How strong and un-
governed seemed those rushing waves. How full of
power to work mischief! Yet God ruleth the sea;
he saith to the ocean, Hitherto shalt thou come,
but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be
stayed." The ocean is, in the hand of God, but as a
drop of water in the hand of a child. What an idea
that gives us of the power of the Lord.
The children did not feel as much at their ease
playing on the beach, within sight of the great mass



of waters, as they did on the shores of the quiet har-
bor at Edgartown. The ocean was grand and awful,
but they liked the harbor best.
Near the place where they stopped was a small
house, with door and chimney all complete. The one
room it contained was not particularly clean or at-
tractive, but- the children thought they could make
it sufficiently comfortable for then to cook some din-
ner there, and to retire into it during the heat of the
day. After much sweeping with such brooms as wild
bushes could make, they were satisfied that the floor
was fit to step upon. Then the work of making a
fire commenced. The bits of sticks they could gather
were heaped up with armfuls of dry grass, and then
the whole was set on fire by means of matches the
party had brought with them. But the fire-makers,
even the stoutest of them, were soon driven from
the charming house to which they had taken such a
fancy. The smoke poured in suffocating fumes from
the fireplace. It was of no use to blow and run to the



door, and then blow and run away again. With red
eyes and choking throats the idea of making a good
fire in that chimney was given up.
Against the side of the house bars taken from
the fence were now leaned, and with the quilts and
blankets that had been taken from the wagon thrown
over them, a tent was made that the children con-
sidered equal to any ever used by an Arab.
Two little boys, who had been allowed to join the
party to the south shore, now came running up with
the news that a fresh-water stream, near at hand,
was perfectly white with fish. Wonderful as this
story seemed, it was true. Along a narrow brook
shoals of fish were swimming, all going in the same
direction, all hurrying on as if driven by some strong
motive. The boys put in their hands and caught
them without difficulty, and you may be sure they
were much delighted with this new way of fishing.
They could examine their captives, and then put
them back in the water to swim away as merrily as



before. It was hard for the children to believe that
these white, shining fish were herring, which they
had before only seen brown, stiff, and smoky; yet
so it was. Vei'y trim and slender the herrings look-
ed now, and it was plain this could not be the season
for catching them for market. Perhaps the smoky
chimney, that had given the little party so much
trouble, was contrived on purpose to fill the window-
less house with smoke. Perhaps it was there that
herrings were cured and prepared for market.
How strange it seemed to the children that the
habits of these fish are such, that at certain seasons
they seek the fresh water streams in great "schools"
or shoals; and that then they can be taken by hun-
dreds. In how many curious ways God has con-
trived an abundant supply of food for man. There
are great storehouses where the poor can gather
what the rich are glad to buy. The seas and streams
give their fish, the barren land yields its berries, the
moiutnin-side has its wild game; and these are free



to the poor. How many a humble child has been
clothed with money the berries have bought. How
many a hungry family have fed upon the shining
fish, or tasted meat from the herds that no man owns
on the mountain-side!
We will not dwell on the other pleasures of that
happy dcay at the south shore. Two trusty messen-
gers had brought from a distant farm-house a re-
freshing draught of sweet milk; the rustic luncheon
had been enjoyed in the tent; the book from the
great basket had been read through to the listening
circle ; the collected treasures had been stowed away,
and now across the plain a speck was moving towards
the shore. The speck grew larger and larger: yes,
it surely was the cart, and now it was time to go
home. Children and baskets, shells and blankets,
young ladies and tin buckets, were all stowed in
the cart; then the driver started off for home, and
all bade good-by to the south shore.
Sweet music proceeded from that strange vehicle



as it moved slowly across the plain. After the hap-
py day, the children were singing hymns as they
went-hymns in praise of the great God who made
the wide ocean, and yet takes pleasure in the joy of
a child.
The summer was over, and Mrs. Berry was pre-
paring to set her face homeward. Did she feel repaid
for the trouble she had taken? Who that looked on
the healthy, happy faces of her children, would have
doubted as to her reply? Sunburnt they were, truly;
but not a wrinkle of fretfulness, not a line of suffer-
ing was marked on any of those young countenances.
They had enjoyed the blessing of-health during the
trying summer months. Free, open-air exercise by
day, and sweet sleep by night, had given them new
strength; and the mother's heart was glad. They
had studied no books. Indeed, excepting on rainy
days, they had not read at all, save in that best of
books, without which no life could be happy, no
home worthy of a blessing.



Yet that the children had learned much that was
worth knowing, was plain as soon as they returned
to their school duties. As for geography, they took
hold of it with new interest; you had but to name
an island, a, plain, or a harbor, and their faces bright-
ened as if you had spoken of a familiar friend.
Flowers and shells, birds and fishes, had for them a
new charm. Their libraries were ransacked for
books on natural history, and their eyes and ears
were wide open to catch some new facts with regard
to the wonders of nature.
They had been thrown among a friendly people,
and had become attached to them; and the truth had
been brought home to them, that it is possible to love
our neighbor, though that neighbor may have passed
through life very differently from ourselves. The
effect of this knowledge was a more kindly deport-
ment towards persons of all classes, more true Chris-
tian politeness, which shows itself to the poor as well
as to the rich.



To many beautiful passages of Scripture a ineT
meaning had been given by the knowledge gained of
the ocean and the harbor, the anchor and the tossing
ship, the wild bird and the curiosities brought from
far off countries.
But above all, their love for their Creator had
increased as they studied his power and goodness
in his works. They had been taught to exclaim,
"0 Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom
hast tL. i made them all. The earth is full of thy
riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are
things creeping innumerable, both small and great
beasts. There go the ships; there is that leviathan,
whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait
all upon thee, that thou mayest give them their
meat in due season." And then they were led to
think of God's greater love to man, in giving his
Son to die, "that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life."




I praised the earth, in beauty seen,
With garlands gay of various green;
I praised the sea, whose ample field
Shone glorious as a silver shield:
And earth and ocean seemed to say
" Our beauties are but for a day."

I praised the sun, whose chariot rolls
On wheels of amber and of gold;
I praised the moon, whose softer eye
Gleamed sweetly through the summer sky;
And moon and sun in answer said,
"Our days of light are numbered."

0 God, 0 good beyond compare,
If thus thy meaner works are fair,
If thus thy bounties gild the span
Of ruined earth and sinful man,
How glorious must the mansion be
Where thy redeemed shall dwell with thee.







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