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SOMETHING LIKE A HOLIDAY!
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For the Young
H. W. DULCKEN, PH.D.
WITH THIRTY FULL-PAGE PICTURES BY A. B. HOUGITON
ENGRAVED BY THE BROTHERS DALZIEL
FONDON AND PEW YOPK
SOME few seasons ago, Mr. HOUGHTON undertook the
task of illustrating, in a series of pictures of Child-
Life, the children's little world of cloud and sunshine; and
the pictures thus produced were accompanied by short poems
from the honoured hands of the AUTHOR OF JOHN HALIFAX,"
JEAN INGELOW, DORA GREENWELL, the HON. MRS. NORTON,
and others. The favourable appreciation accorded by the
Public to these Home Thoughts and Home Scenes has
induced the Publishers to re-issue the pictures, as illustrating
a collection of stories for children; and it is hoped that they
will prove no less welcome in this their second than they proved
at their first appearance.
The HAPPY-DAY STORIES" are designed chiefly for young
children; and, accordingly, care has been taken, in the choice
of subjects, to select such incidents as would interest little
people if read to them on a half-holiday, or at any of those
happy hours when in the family circle the youngsters are
privileged to demand "a story" of their elders by a sort of
hereditary and prescriptive right. This is intended neither
for a girl's book nor a boy's book, but emphatically it claims
to be a child's book; and all judges of literary merit, being
under ten years of age, are called upon to endorse that claim.
The works of well-known writers have to a certain extent
been laid under contribution; but the incidents have been so
related as to be within the comprehension of young children.
i. A Bit of Advice. Aunt 7ane's Story I
ii. Founders and Conquerors 5
IIIn. Spoilt Tottie 9
iv. Our Towzer. Told by Little Alice 13
v. Don't Hurry your Work 17
vI. Grandpapa's Present 21
vii. Our Day in the Woods 25
viii. Brave Sir Humphrey 29
ix. Thoughtless Fred 33
x. The Scramble for the Sugarlums 37
xi. A Fortnight by the Sea 41
xii. The Pear Tree 44
xlu. Nanny Darrell; or, A Friend in Need 45
xiv. More Ways than One: A Potato Story 50
xv. Meddling Monday 5 54
xvi. Mr. Kan-nit-verstan ; or, Truth out of Error 57
xvii. Ghosts in the Nursery 61
xvinI. The Beginning of wrong 65
xix. Master Cockerell's Day Out 69
xx. "There's a Difference" 73
xxi. The Story Book 77
xxII. A Story of a Brave Man .81
xxIIr. Honesty is Best 85
xxiv. A Story about a Bear 89
xxv. "It's quite True" 93
xxvi. Little Cry-Baby 96
xxvII. Little Helpful 10
xxviII. Sunshine and Rain 105
xxix. "I didn't like to Tell" 109
xxx. The Loaf 114
xxxi. Snapdragon 18
A Bit of Advice. Aunt Janze's Story.
IT was once in the Christmas holidays, when we children were
all sitting round the cheerful fire in the evening after tea, that
we asked Aunt Jane to tell us a story. And this is the story
Aunt Jane told us:
There once lived in a large town a certain famous lawyer. He
was a very clever man, and knew a great many things. So when
people were in a difficulty they used often to come to consult him,
that is, to ask his advice about what they should do, so that he
was always very busy. One evening, when he was hard at work at
his desk in his quiet study, there came a tap at his door. It was
quite late, and he wondered who could want him at that hour. But
he cried, "Come in !" and then the door was thrown open, and in
walked a bluff, honest-looking farmer.
"Well, sir," said the farmer, "they always speak of you down
our way as a monstrous clever man; so, as I had to come to town
to-day, I thought I'd call and ask you for a bit of advice. It's a
fine thing sometimes to get a bit of advice. Of course I intend to
pay you for it."
Then, perhaps, you've a bit of land that you want to sell or
buy, or there's some property to divide, and you want my advice
But it turned out on inquiry that the farmer had no intention of
buying or selling anything, and the lawyer was sorely puzzled, and
could not for the life of him make out what had made the farmer
come to ask his advice. He resolved, however, to satisfy his visitor
in one way or another, and therefore sat down gravely at his desk,
and prod ced pen, ink, and paper.
"Well, my friend," he said, you say you want a bit of advice,
'and I will give you one. But first you must tell me your name,
age, and occupation."
A BIT OF ADVICE. AUNT JANE'S STORY.
My name's Joseph Giles," said the visitor, who seemed quite
rejoiced that he had got the lawyer to understand him at last, my
age is about forty, my occupation farming."
"Very good, Mr. Joseph Giles; then here's the bit of advice I
have to give you." And the lawyer wrote something on a sheet of
paper, which he folded neatly, and directed, as if it had been a
letter, to Mr. Joseph Giles. This paper he handed to his client, who
received it with much satisfaction, and inquired what he had to
pay. He was told five shillings, and paid them.
Next morning the honest farmer started for home. It was past
midday when he arrived at his own gate, and he felt inclined to
spend a lazy afternoon in a walk round his farm, to see how things
were going on. As he turned in at the gate he was met by his wife
and by his nephew Tom, who worked on the farm and looked after
"Well, Tom, lad," he said, "and what's the news with you?"
The news is, uncle, that I don't quite know what to do. The
hay that was cut some days ago in the home field has been lying
there ever since, and it's as dry as it can be now. So I thought
I 'd just get the people together, and have it carried at once, and
then it would be out of harm's way, you know. But aunt wants
me to put it off till to-morrow; for she wants to have old grey Ball
put in the gig, to take her over to Cowslip Farm, because her
cousin's there, and she should like to see him. And then Robin
will have to go too, to drive."
Well," said the farmer, I don't quite see why the hay shouldn't
wait for once. The weather seems settled enough, for anything I
can make out; and the hay can bide where it is for to-day, if your
aunt's so set upon going to Cowslip Farm."
And so I say !" cried a voice behind him; and the farmer's wife,
who had come up unperceived, now joined in the conversation.
She said that if they began to carry the hay now, they would have
to work far into the night to get the job done at all, whereas, if
they waited till to-morrow, they could begin the first thing in the
morning, and have it all finished early in the evening. On the
other hand, her nephew urged that the evenings were very long, and
AUNT JANE AND HER AUDIENCE,
A BIT OF ADVICE. AUNT JANE'S STORY.
the nights not dark just then; and thus good Farmer Giles stood
looking doubtfully from one of the disputants to the other.
Stop a bit," said he; I've something here that I must show
you." And he told how it had occurred to him, on passing the
lawyer's house, to look in, and get a bit of advice. Both wife and
nephew felt a curiosity to know what the paper might contain. So
the farmer produced it, and handed it to his wife. She opened it
quickly, and read these words, written in a large clear hand:
"Joseph Giles, never put off till to-morrow what you can do
"That lawyer must be a conjuror!" cried the honest farmer.
" However, it seems tp me that this settles the matter, for it's surely
no good having a bit of advice from a lawyer, and paying five
shillings for it, if you don't act upon it afterwards. So I think we
may as well have the waggon out at once."
Accordingly, every one who could be was pressed into the service,
and the work of carrying the hay began. It was a hard matter to
get it finished that day, and indeed it was close upon midnight
before all was done; and several times the farmer's wife could not
help thinking regretfully of her cousin, whom she had wanted to
go and see.
But the next morning, when she opened the window and looked
out, she felt very differently. All the sky was black with clouds,
and every sign seemed to forebode rain -not merely a passing
shower or two, but that steady rain that sometimes continues for
days, and even for weeks, together. The signs were soon verified:
before ten o'clock a strong, steady downpour began, and when the
farmer came in at noon from a ride round his fields he was wet
Well," said he, as he sat down to his dinner, after changing his
wet clothes, "I don't remember that I ever laid out a crown to
better advantage than at that lawyer's the other evening. It's a
fine thing surely to get a bit of advice from a clever man. There 'd
have been no carrying of hay for us to-day, old woman, and perhaps
not for weeks, to judge by the look of things just now. Oh, it's a
fine thing to have a bit of good advice."
FOUNDERS AND CONQUERORS.
And from that time Joseph Giles steadily kept in view the maxim
'Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day," by fol-
lowing which he prospered exceedingly. And, therefore, to all my
readers I offer the same bit of advice, and don't even ask them five
shillings for it.
Founders and Conquerors.
IT was in the evening, and it was winter. The lamps had been
lit in the pleasant study, and the curtains had been closed;
the fire burnt bright, and the merry blaze went leaping up
the chimney, and all things in the room looked cheerful and happy.
For it was papa's birthday, and on this evening all the children
were to have tea with him and their mamma in the study.
So little Willie and tiny Grace were on the carpet, occupied in
building a fine castle with the wooden bricks they had received from
uncle as a Christmas present; and very happy they were, and very
busy, though they were almost as quiet as two little mice, for papa
was writing letters and was not to be disturbed.
Studious George, who was very fond of reading, and who was
looking forward to getting the prize for history at school next June,
was stretched out at the corner of the great sofa, with his heels
higher than his head. He had brought down his new book of
ancient history, and was deep in the story of Alexander the Great.
He read how that great conqueror led his army from one country
to another, across mountains and plains, through fruitful tracts and
desert regions; how he fought battles and deposed kings; and how
he at last died quite young, and all that he had won was lost after
his death. So, you, see, all the three children were well employed.
FOUNDERS AND CONQUERORS.
Suddenly George looked up from his book, and he watched until
he saw that his father had finished a letter, and was sealing it, so
that he might not interrupt him in his writing, and then he said,
" Dear papa, how is it that here in my book some kings are called
founders of empires and others conquerors ? What is the difference
The father said, My dear boy, there is a very great difference
between founding or building up a new thing, and conquering or
taking possession of it after others have had the trouble and the
labour of founding it. The English King Alfred the Great was a
founder. He built ships for his subjects, that they might be able to
fight their enemies on the sea, and that they might sail to other coun-
tries and bring home things that they wanted. He made roads, so
that the English might pass easily from one town to another, and
render help to each other when it was needed. -He is said to have
built a college or school for students at Oxford, so that the young
Englishmen might go there, and learn many things they could not
otherwise have known; and he made many good laws by which
the country might be governed and made happy. Therefore, you
see, he may well be called a founder, and a good man; for all who
set up a good thing are doing right, and deserve praise.
Now, nearly two hundred years ago there was a king named
Charles the Twelfth. He was King of Sweden, which, you know,
is a cold country in the north of Europe. This Charles the Twelfth
was a restless man, and very fond of fighting. First he overcame
the enemies who marched against him. And this was right; for
every king ought to protect the country he governs, and defend it
from all enemies, and all who wish to injure it, just as parents pro-
tect their children from harm. But Charles was not satisfied with
this. When he could have lived peacefully at home among his
people, and might have ruled wisely over them, he preferred to go
forth and lead an army of soldiers into the cold country called
Russia. This country was then ruled by an emperor called Peter
the Great, and Peter showed that he knew how to fight, and Charles
found it no easy task to conquer him and his stubborn soldiers.
At last, Charles was beaten in a great battle, and most of his sol-
~- .,. II
FOUNDERS AND CONQUERORS.
diers were either killed or taken prisoners. Even this did not cure
him of his love of war and fighting. Though he was obliged to
fly, with a few friends, to Turkey, he was always trying to renew
the war, and he wanted the Turks to make him commander of the
army against Russia; and at last they were obliged to turn him out
of the country. Then he went home to Sweden, and after he had
lost everything he had won, and when he had made his country
weak instead of strong by his continual wars, he at last was killed;
and after all, he left his country much worse off than it had been
when he came to the throne. He was a conqueror."
Just at this moment the little people on the carpet, who had been
as quiet as mice, began to make themselves heard. After working
with a great deal of patience and toil, they had succeeded with their
castle of wooden bricks; and Willy looked at the work, and said,
" It's finished now." And Grace clapped her hands and repeated,
" It's finished." But at that very instant, when the little builders
were admiring their work, up came Pussy, who had been harm-
lessly asleep before the fire; and what must that silly Puss do, but
come and rub herself against the fine castle, so that the whole
tumbled down in a heap. Willy cried, "What a shame!" and
looked quite dismal, while Grace said, Oh, you naughty, naughty,
naughty Pussy !"
George and his papa both turned their heads at the clatter of the
falling bricks, and George burst out laughing at Pussy, who was
arching her tail and purring, and looking as if she had done some-
thing quite clever.
Then papa turned to George with a smile, and said, Here, my
son, you have an example of what I have been telling you. Your
brother and sister have built up a work with trouble and care: they
are the founders. Then comes Puss, and violently throws down
what others have built up, leaving it a mass of ruin; so I think we
shall not be wrong if we call Pussy a conqueror."
L ITTLE TOTTIE, as she was called, though her real name
was Amy, was an only daughter, and her papa and mamma
were very rich. Therefore Tottie was indulged very much,
and everything was given her that her little heart could desire. She
had a great many more toys than a little girl could possibly want,
and her dolls and picture-books and playthings were all very splen-
did indeed. She was always waited on by a young nursemaid, who
did everything the little girl wished, as if Tottie had been a little
princess; so that no wonder that, with one thing and another, Tottie
was thoroughly spoilt.
But you must not imagine that Tottie was the happier for all this.
Of course she could not expect that grown-up people would always
devote their time to amusing a little child, however kind they
might be; and Tottie's mamma was afraid to let her darling go
about among other children, for fear they should hurt Miss Tottie
in some way or other; though I cannot see there was any great
As Amy had no brothers or sisters, nor any other children to
play with, she often felt very lonely. Her great amusement was to
stand at the nursery window and look out into the square, where
other children were playing merrily at Puss in the Corner, chasing
one another among the trees, or bowling their hoops round and
round the gravel walks. Once on a windy day in April she had
got her nurse to open the window, and was sitting at it, watching
the children at their play, and wondering why there was nobody to
play with her, when she felt two arms put tenderly round her, and
her mother's voice cried, "Why, Tottie, my child, you will catch
cold if you sit at the open window."
Dear mamma," said Tottie, mayn't I go down and play with
those children in the square? They seem so happy."
No, my child; Little Tottie would catch cold," replied her
"But why don't the other children catch cold?" asked little
Because they are used to it, my dear."
"But shouldn't I be used to it too, if I once began?" asked
What mamma would have said in reply I cannot tell; for at that
moment the door opened, and Tottie's aunt and her Cousin Ida
Little Tottie was quite glad to see a child of her own age, and
she was still more glad when she heard that Ida had come to ask
her to a birthday party for the next Tuesday. It was Ida's birth-
day, and there were to be some children to have tea together, and
play at different games.
Oh, dear mamma," cried Tottie, with sparkling eyes, Ida has
asked me to go and see her on her birthday. I may go, may I
"Are there to be other children there?" asked her mother.
Oh, yes," said Ida. Mamma has allowed me to ask six or
seven friends, and we are going to have such fun."
At first Tottie's mamma seemed half afraid to trust her little
treasure among other children; but as both Ida and auntie begged
for her, it was arranged that Tottie was to go, whereat the little
ones rejoiced greatly.
Tuesday afternoon came in due course, though to Tottie it seemed
very long in coming; and Tottie was dressed out in a very grand
velvet frock, and taken to her aunt's. When she arrived she found
six or seven little people assembled. Several of them came forward
to welcome her, and kind Ida put her arms round the little girl's
neck and kissed her. But Tottie said, Don't crush my new frock,"
at which the others laughed.
There were some nice things, such as cakes and preserves, for
the young people, and tea and chocolate. But it was quite a work
TOTTIE IN THE SULKS.
of time to find out what Tottie was to have. Her mamma would
be afraid if she drank chocolate," she said; and Her mamma
would be afraid that the preserves would be too rich for her;" and
again, Her mamma never let her eat cake, except it was made in
one particular way, or bought at one especial shop." At which
several of the children laughed again, and Tottie turned very red,
and began to feel quite angry.
When this great matter had been at last settled, and tea was
over, the children sat round in a circle to play Post," a merry
game, with a great deal of running about in it. When they had
been at this amusement for about a quarter of an hour, and all the
other children were enjoying it very much indeed, Miss Tottie
suddenly declared that running about made her too hot, and they
must play something else. Now, as Tottie was one of the youngest
of the company, the rest thought she ought to have been content
to do as the others did, and that it was hardly fair she should ask
them to change the whole game for her sake; but as they were
good-natured little people, they gave way, and tried playing at
" Coach" instead. Auntie good-naturedly joined in, and said she
would be the grand lady riding in the coach. But here again Tottie
was not pleased. She wanted to be coachman, and drive; and
when it was pointed out to her that the coachman ought to be a
boy, and not a little girl, she pouted and said she would not play
at all. Good-natured Harry Lane thereupon said she-might take
his place, and drive the coach as far as the next stage. But this
did not suit Miss Tottie. She said she would not play at all unless
they did exactly as she wished; and so she stood, with one little
foot on the other, and the knuckles of one little hand rubbing one
of her eyes, while the others played merrily on.
At last there came a maid into the room to announce that Miss
Tottie was fetched. As for our poor spoilt child, she was very glad
to get away, and afterwards told her mamma she had not enjoyed
herself a bit. Which I think is very likely; for people must give
up to others, if they wish others to be kind and friendly to them.
Our Towzer. (Told by Little Alice.)
HERE is our Towzer,-I beg to introduce him to you, and
hope you will like him; for I assure you we all like him
very much, and consider that there are very few dogs to
be found like him. If you will look at the picture you will see
that he's dancing, and that's why he looks so grave. He always
looks grave when he's dancing: I suppose because he has to mind
his steps. That's me (Alice) dancing with him, and, you see, I 'm
holding his hands, or, I suppose I should say, his paws; and
that's why he can't put his hair out of his eyes; for, you see, it's
hanging all over them.
First I'11 tell you how we came to have Towzer for our dog at
all. It was the winter before last, just after Christmas Day. The
weather was very cold, and the snow was ever so thick upon the
ground, so that it had to be swept up into two great banks, one on
each side, to make a path from the garden gate to the house door.
It was ten o'clock at night, and we were just about going to bed,
when we heard what sounded like a tapping at the front door; and
when grandmother opened it (for Herbert and I live with grand-
mother, because our own dear mother is dead)-when we opened
it, there crept in a poor, starved, shivering dog-such a miserable
dog! all trembling and shaking, and all covered with snow. He
stood there crouched against the wall, with one paw a little raised,
and looked up-oh! so pitifully-into our faces, as if he begged
us to be kind to him and give him something to eat. Dear grand-
mother, who is a bit timid of strange animals, wanted to turn him
out again; but Herbert and I begged so hard, that she at last said
he might stay. So we gave him something to eat; and indeed,
poor dog! he was half starved, and yet so weak that he could
OUR TOWZER. (TOLD BY LITTLE ALICE.)
scarcely eat what we gave him; and then we made him up a bed,
with some straw and an old mat, in a corner; and from the first
he was a clever dog and knew what we meant, for he curled him-
self round upon the mat and went to sleep as quietly as if he had
known us for years, and our chimney-corner had always been his
proper home. Then the next morning, Herbert, who was terribly
afraid lest he should misbehave in any way and offend Granny, set
to work to make him a kennel. Luckily, there was an old tub in
the outhouse, and with a little trouble this made him a famous
kennel. And very soon he began to show us what a clever dog he
We found our Towzer, though he was such a poor forlorn dog
when he came to us, must have had somebody to teach him, and to
teach him well too, once upon a time. Surely there never was such
a good, knowing dog as he was. He first surprised us by sitting
up on his hind legs and begging, a day or two after he came; and
it soon turned out that he could do quite a number of clever things.
He would go into the water and bring out sticks, if you threw them
in ever so far; for he swam like a duck, and could even dive down
and bring up pebbles from the bottom of the pond, though the
water used to get up his nose and make him sneeze immensely.
He could carry a parcel in his mouth, and would never let any one
take it from him. In this way he has even carried Herbert's dinner
to school on a wet day, though this was rather a dangerous thing
to set him to do. For there was a great ugly bull terrier, with an
evil eye, and a black nose that turned up. He lived at the butcher's,
and liked nothing better than to get up a quarrel with our Towzer.
He would watch for him, and come flying out of the butcher's shop,
and tearing along, with his paws in the air and his head up, to bite
our Towzer, who on these occasions took to his heels, for he was no
match for the surly bull terrier, whose temper was spoilt by his
getting too much meat; though, to do Towzer justice, I hardly
ever knew him to drop the parcel he was carrying, to which he
generally held on to the very last.
As for Granny, he quite won her heart by his watchfulness, and
by a good turn he did her. One morning early we heard a great
THE BEST DOG IN ALL THE WORLD.
OUR TOWZER. (TOLD BY LITTLE ALICE.)
sound of barking, mingled with cries of fright and groaning, in the
garden. It was quite early-about four o'clock-and was only just
getting light. Granny jumped out of bed, and ran to the windows,
just in time to see two ragged fellows making the best of their
way over the wall, with Towzer at their heels, barking furiously.
He must have bitten one of them too, for he had a big piece of a
trouser in his mouth when he came running back to us, after pur-
suing them half-way down the lane. They had brought a ladder
with them, to rob our great pear tree. Now, Granny depended on
selling the pears off this tree to buy a good many little things at
Christmas; and we should have had but a poor time of it that
winter, if it had not been for our good old Towzer. The thieves
left two great baskets behind them, which they had intended to
fill with our pears.
But the best thing Towzer did happened a week or so after.
Granny thought it best to lose no time in having the pears gathered,
for fear the thieves might pay us another visit. It was always a
sort of half-holiday at the gathering, and Herbert was allowed to
have two of his schoolfellows to help us, and afterwards to stay to
tea. But this time Herbert got into disgrace for breaking Granny's
spectacles, and was sent to bed early in the evening, and was not
allowed to share in the feast of pears which we had after tea; and
that, you may be sure, was a dreadful punishment to him, although
he was not at all a greedy boy. Poor Herbert! he lay there very
sorry and very angry with himself; and it made it worse for him
that he could hear the merry voices of the party of pear-gatherers
in the garden.
But all on a sudden he heard a pit-pat, pit-pat, coming up the
stairs. Presently the door was pushed open, and in ran Towzer.
He had a fine pear in his mouth; and he jumped up on the bed,
and put the pear in Herbert's hand!
He had missed him from among us, and set his dog's wits to
work to find out how to make Herbert share our feast.
And is not our Towzer a fine, clever dog?
Don't Hurry your Work!
OME along, Maggie!" cried Julia and Katie, as they came
bounding into their little friend's room, one bright day
in June. "Come along, Maggie; come with us! for
we've got leave to go and play in Farmer Wright's hay-field. Half
the school will be there, and the boys are going to make a hay
castle, and storm it: it will be such fun! So put down those old
books of yours, and come with us at once."
Maggie was sitting at a little table, busily at work upon an exer-
cise she had to prepare for her French master at school, for the
next morning. For a moment she looked up brightly, and seemed
inclined to run for her hat. But then she sat down again sorrow-
fully, and shook her head.
I cannot go with you, indeed," she said. I've this lesson to
write out for to-morrow, and I shall get into trouble if it's not
done, and done properly."
But can't you do it to-night when you get home ? asked Katie.
Maggie shook her head. My father won't allow me to sit up
at night," she said.
I '11 tell you what! cried Katie. Sit down and get the stupid
thing done as quick as ever you can, and we will wait for you if
you will promise to hurry."
Now this was exactly what Maggie ought not to have promised;
for her master had told her over and over again not to hurry her
work, but to take proper time, and do it carefully and well; and
her papa had often told her the same thing. But now Maggie
thought only of the hay-field and its pleasures, and down she sat,
and scribbled away at her lesson as fast as she could make the pen
move over the paper; and very scratchy the writing looked, you
DON'T HURRY YOUR WORK!
may be sure; and it was full of mistakes, not to speak of two great
blots, that did not improve the look of it at all.
So in ten minutes the task, which ought to have occupied Maggie
for at least an hour, was blundered through; and the little girl
jumped up with a joyous Now I'm ready!" and flung her books
aside. Then she ran and brought her hat, and went off with her
companions, leaving the exercise open on the table.
Very happy they were in the hay-field, running about among the
new-mown hay, the boys playing King of the Castle, and the girls
weaving garlands and singing songs; but if Maggie had known
of what was passing in her father's house, she would not have been
quite so gleeful.
A few minutes after she had run' off with Katie and Julia, her
papa had come home from his office, earlier than his usual time.
As he came into the room, Maggie's copy-book, lying open on the
table, had caught his eye; and he took it up, and began to look at
the exercise, to see what progress his little girl was making. You
may be sure he was not greatly pleased with the look of the exercise;
and what displeased him most was the hasty, slovenly way in which
it had been done. He put the book in his pocket, and went to the
school where his little girl used to go every morning.
In the meantime Maggie enjoyed herself greatly in the hay-field.
In the evening she came home, quite tired out with singing, and
laughter, and play; and she was rather startled when her papa said
to her gravely, Did you finish your task for to-morrow, before
you went out, Maggie ?"
"Yes, dear papa," answered Maggie, "before I went out."
"Then you must have devoted very little time to it," said her
father. I only hope it has been well done."
"Oh, quite well," said Maggie, with a yawn, "And I'm so tired
now," she continued, that I can hardly keep my eyes open."
But to her surprise her father returned to the subject once more.
If you will take my advice," he said, "you will look your work
through carefully to-night before you go to bed ; and if it is badly
done, you had better do it over again, than perhaps get into trouble
about it to-morrow."
STORMING THE HAY CASTLE.
DON'T HURRY YOUR WORK!
For a minute or two Maggie felt inclined to attend to her father's
words. But then she felt very tired; and so, a little while after,
she went off to bed, and thought no more of the matter.
The next morning, just as she was going off to school, her father
called her, and said, "As soon as school is over, Maggie, come home
as fast as you can; for I am going to drive over to the Grange this
afternoon, and you can come with me, and see your Cousin Mary,
as you have long wished to do. But I warn you not to stand talk-
ing or wasting your time, but to come at once after school; for I
have much to do to-day, and cannot wait for any one."
Maggie ran off in high glee; though every now and then an un-
easy feeling would come over her, when she thought of the slovenly
exercise, and wondered how the French master might receive it.
The first and second hour of the school morning passed away with-
out mishap; but then came the moment when the exercise was to
be given up.
Monsieur Germain, the French master, read the blotted scrawl
through with a very dissatisfied look. I see," he said, it is as
usual. You have hurried through your work anyhow, and have
not taken the least pains to do it well. But those who won't do
their duty at first, must be made to do it at last; and therefore you
will be kept in for an hour after the other pupils have gone home
this morning; and you must write your exercise once through
again from beginning to end."
Here was a calamity! Poor Maggie burst into tears, and begged
her master to let her off "only that once," and made all kinds of
promises for the future. But Monsieur Germain, generally the
most good-natured of men, would not alter his decision on this
occasion; and poor Maggie had to sit down, when her schoolfellows
went home, and to write the offending exercise over again to the
very last word. And as it was to be carefully done, as it should
have been at first, almost an hour had elapsed before it was
When she was at length released, Maggie hastened away, and
got home, only to hear, as indeed she expected, that her father had
driven away quite half an hour before. The worst part of her
punishment was that when her father came home late in the even-
ing, he naturally asked why she had not been home in time; and
Maggie had to confess all her carelessness and its results. She
was brave enough to tell the whole truth, and resolved that in
future she would remember the maxim that had often been im-
pressed on her, Don't hurry your work."
Grand dpyaa's Present.
I" SAY, you there!" cried Ernest, as he came bursting into
the room where his two brothers were at work preparing
their school tasks for the next day; "I say, you there
Who do you think has arrived?"
"Why, you've arrived, I'm sorry to say," said his brother
Charles, looking up peevishly from his slate, over which he had
been bending; "and you've put me out in my sum, and I shall
have to go all over this column again. I wish you wouldn't make
such a row when you come into a room."
"Oh, never mind him," said Johnny, the younger brother; "he's
always grumbling about his sums, and I think he dreams of them
all night, from the way he mutters and tosses himself about; but
just leave off dancing about the room, if you can, and tell us who
"Why, our grandfather's arrived, that's all; our Grandfather
Arnold, from Jamaica. I just peeped into the parlour, and saw
mother showing the little ones to him; and she seemed so
delighted! And he seemed pleased too, though he's rather a sour-
looking old gentleman, with quite white hair, and black eyes that
seemed to look through you. I wonder whether I shall like him?"
"Oh, we shall like him well enough, I'm sure," cried Johnny,
"after all that mother has told us about him: what a brave fellow
he was when he was young, when he was master of that fine ship
that used to sail to India, before he settled down on shore. I
wonder how any one who has a ship to command can settle down
on shore. I only know I wouldn't."
At this moment there came a message to the boys from their
mother, to say that they were to come down into the parlour;
with an especial injunction that they were to make themselves tidy
first; an injunction which was very requisite in the case of Master
Johnny, whose hands, his mother often declared, looked like some-
thing between those of a dyer and a sweep.
Grandfather Arnold was a fine old gentleman. He had led an
active and a useful life; and though he had grown old and his hair
was white, his heart was as young as ever. He soon grew to be
very fond of his grandsons, and passed many an hour with them;
and they were never tired of hearing stories of his adventures in
far countries, and of storms and shipwrecks, and the other perils
of the deep sea. Ernest was his especial favourite; and one day
grandfather greatly surprised and pleased that young gentleman,
by sending him a large box, directed to Ernest in full. "with his
grandpapa's love." On being opened, the box proved to contain a
large magic lantern, with a handsome set of slides representing a
voyage round the world and the various places visited in the course
of the expedition.
Great was the glee of the youngster on receiving this present.
The different slides, so brightly painted and varnished, were held
up against the light one by one, and duly admired: the boys were
not at a loss to invent a story or a description for each picture; and
never had a gift been more successful in giving pleasure to the
receiver than this same magic lantern.
So soon as the boys' father came home that evening there was a
rush towards him with the news; and as the boys talked all at once,
and each was very eager to be heard above the rest, it was not an
easy matter to make out what they were saying. But at last papa
was made to understand all about this wonderful magic lantern;
I .I~ I
GRAND>FATHERR ARNOLD VlSITS TrHE NURSERY.
1111 111111-11 II 1 I r tjllll I I
and he rejoiced heartily in his boys' glee, and was as much obliged
to the kind giver as any of them. But now came the grand peti-
tion. The youngsters declared, with one voice, that it would be a
capital thing if they might have a few of their friends to whom
they might show this wonderful lantern. So they begged that they
might bring home some of their schoolfellows next day; "and
then, you know, we could have a regular performance," they said.
I fear it would be an irregular performance," said papa. No,
no, my boys. I don't mind you having your schoolfellows, at least
some of them, to see your new prize; but it must be next week,
and after we have tried a performance first among ourselves, to
see how the lantern is managed, and to find out whether we under-
stand it rightly, or we shall fare like the monkey in the fable."
"And how was that, papa?" asked the boys all together.
"Don't you know the fable of the monkey and the magic lantern?
Well, then, I will tell it you. There was once upon a time, when
magic lanterns were much rarer than they are now, a man who
used to show one at fairs and on holidays. This man had a
monkey, Master Jacko, who was a very clever monkey indeed.
He could dance on the tight rope, and do his exercise like a soldier,
and do a number of amusing tricks. One day when his master
was out, Jacko thought he would like to show the magic lantern,
as he had often seen his master do. So away he went, and col-
lected all the animals he could find in the neighbourhood of the
village,-turkeys, and cats and dogs, and a stray pig or two, and so
When they were all seated in the darkened room, Jacko took
up some slides and began passing them through the magic lantern,
as his master had done many a time; and as he did so, he kept
crying, 'Here, my good friends, you see the sun and the moon,
and the planets in all their glory; look how beautiful they are!
And now you see the history of Adam and Eve. And this is a
picture of all the animals in the Garden of Eden.' But in the
meantime the audience were sitting in the dark, straining their
eyes, unable to see anything; and at last one or two of them
began to grumble, and declared that for all Master Jacko's fine
OUR DAY IN THE WOODS.
talking, they might just as well have stayed at home, for anything
they could make out of all the wonders he was prating about.
The fact was, Master Jacko had just forgotten one very essential
point. He had put no light in his lantern; and," said papa with
a smile, "if we show our lantern without trying it first among
ourselves, we may make just such a mistake as Jacko did."
Ozul Day in the Woods.
N OW I'll tell you about our day in the woods, for it's a day
we shall all of us remember for a long time to come, you
may be sure.
Bob Simmons,-that's my name,-and I live in Green Arbour
Court with my father and mother, and five brothers and sisters,
besides aunt. There are nine of us altogether, and we've got four
rooms, and one of them is a kitchen by day and a bed-room by
night; so, you see, we haven't any room to spare. But some of
the folks in our court are much worse off than we, and so we
Father works at a big wharf near London Bridge, where they
have to unload ships. It's mostly oranges that the ships seem to
bring, that father has to do with; and many a year poor father had
to carry great chests of oranges on his head, up a steep street,
quite a hill; and mother says he used to come home in the even-
ing so tired, that he couldn't even eat the supper she had got ready
for him. But now father's a foreman, with men under him, and
hasn't to do that kind of work any more. Mother takes in plain
work, and stitches away all day long, except when she's attending
to the little ones; but sister Jane's eight years old now; and so,
OUR DAY IN THE WOODS.
you see, she's like a nurse to the little ones, since Mary, who was
ten last January, went out to service. I'm thirteen next birthday;
and then I 'm to go out to work for myself, for father's got the
promise of a place in a van for me, to help deliver goods; for I can
read all the addresses, and write them down in a book too; and
I'm to have seven shillings a week. I wish I was already turned
But this is not telling you about our day in the woods. This is
how it came about. They got up a Sunday school in a big empty
room near our court, about a year ago; and our clergyman took a
deal of pains to get some of the Church people to take classes and
teach the children. There was a night school, too, in the week,
and many of our people went to that; and right they were, for
they'd got some people there who knew how to teach, I can tell
you; and so it was arranged that all those who had been regular
at the Sunday school or the night school for nine months, were to
have a holiday; and there were vans to take them out into the
country, for a regular day in the woods; and they got plenty of
people to give money towards it, some more and some less; and
as four of us had been at the school from the beginning, we were
to go too.
We watched the sky for days before, I can tell you, for fear it
might rain. There was old Johnny Styles the omnibus driver:
he used always to wink at the conductor, and tell us the glass
was falling," when he saw any of our boys looking in that way;
and he seemed to think it a joke, for he always laughed to himself
when he said it, though I couldn't make out were the joke was;
but Jem Brown said he meant that it would rain on the day of the
But it didn't rain, though, for it was as fine a morning as you
would wish to see. What a lot of children-ay, and grown-up
people too-there were gathered to see us get into the vans, and go
off! Many of the children wished they'd been to school more
regular, I warrant, and some who had stayed away were sorry
enough they'd played truant when they saw what a treat they'd
shut themselves out of. But they all gave us a cheer as we drove
A HAPPY DAY IN EPPING FOREST.
OUR DAY IN THE WOODS.
off; and if they come to school, why, they'll be allowed to go with
us next year, you see I
It was a splendid drive we had, out to Epping Forest; and
when the little ones began to fidget about at having to sit still so
long (and they were a little bit crowded together, to be sure) the
teachers set them singing a song about the woods and the flowers,
and that made them all right. At last we got to a place where
there was an old inn; and here they took the horses out of the vans
and put them in the stable; and Jem' Brown, who's a pupil teacher,
and getting on finely, I can tell you-though I say to him he
mustn't be conceited, for his father's under mine at the wharf-
Jem he came to me, and said, Come here, Bob, and I'11 show you
something." And he took me to a kind of very long shed at the
back of the house, with a roof over it, you know, but no walls, but
resting on poles; and in this shed there were long rows of tables,
all laid out ready for the dinner, which was to be at two o'clock.
In the meantime we youngsters dispersed through the woods
for a regular ramble. But they took care to have some older
people with each party; and that was a good thing, I must tell
you, for never was such a place as that forest for losing your way
in. Why, there seemed to be miles upon miles of great trees, all
looking as much alike as they could; and though there were foot-
paths here and there, nobody knows where they led to, so there
was not much use in that. As it was, one party lost their way,
and came back, looking all hot and tired as they could be, just as
we had finished dinner. And there was a great laugh; for you
must know that the teacher who went with that party had said he
knew every inch of the ground, and that he had been in Epping
Forest a hundred times before. But there was plenty of dinner
for them all, and that was one comfort.
There was a jolly game of hide and seek" after dinner, and
some of the boys played "hare and hounds "; but I noticed that
what the little ones liked best was gathering flowers. I do believe
there were some who never left off pulling buttercups and daisies
all day long; and when they had got a handful, they gave them
away, and set to gathering a fresh lot. Coming home in the vans,
BRA VE SIR HUMPHRE Y.
half of them were asleep, but they still clutched their flowers tight
Well, it just was a day to be remembered-I shall never forget
Epping Forest! And I have heard father say that there are some
folks-and rich folks too-who want to divide it in bits among
themselves, and shut the people out of it, and not let the people
go there at all; but I can't believe that!
Brave Sir Humkr/zey.
IT was at Ramsgate. We children had been staying there for
a fortnight,-three sets of cousins, numbering nineteen in
all, and all lodging in the same house, and not a large house
either. But what a time we had of it! How we used to rejoice in
running down on the sands, and playing at games which I dare
say we should have thought baby's play at home; but everything
seemed jolly and welcome down at Ramsgate. How little we cared
for the weather! it might be scorching hot, or it might be squally,
or it might be an east wind that made the poor invalids shiver,
and caused the cross old gentleman who paraded up and down in
front of the sea for four hours every day, and scowled so at the
children's perambulators, to draw up his collar round his ears, and
scowl more than ever. It was all the same to us. We had come
down to Ramsgate to enjoy ourselves, and enjoy ourselves we
would; and there were no lessons to learn, and there was plenty of
fun going on; and so we went in for fun, you may be sure.
One afternoon I remember we actually sat down quietly for an
hour; and it is the only time, I verily believe, that we did so,
during all our stay at Ramsgate. We had been romping more
BRA VE SIR HUMPHREY.
than ever that day; and had found out a new game, which con-
sisted in burying our dog Dash in the sand, all but his head, and
then making him jump up at the word of command, and move it
all off with a shake. It was very hot too; and we were very glad
to sit down quietly, and listen to a story that Cousin George said
he would tell us, about a brave English sailor; and this is Cousin
Three hundred years ago, Queen Elizabeth, or as we usually call
her, Queen Bess, reigned in England. It was a glorious time for
England, the reign of Queen Bess, and many great men lived in
those days. Then, too, it was that the great Spanish Armada, a
great fleet of ships, was sent over by Philip, King of Spain, to
conquer England. But the English sea-captains, and all the
sailors, and the soldiers too, turned out to fight for their Queen
and country. And the Invincible Armada, as it was called, because
Philip thought it could not be conquered, was beaten thoroughly,
and many of the ships were wrecked. And the good Queen went
publicly to St. Paul's to give thanks to God for delivering her and
her people from this great danger.
Now, among the brave gentlemen of Queen Bess's time, who
sailed on the sea, and loved the great ocean all the better for the
perils they encountered on it, was a knight named Sir Humphrey
Gilbert. This brave Sir Humphrey wanted to sail away, far away
over the sea, and to find out new countries and islands that nobody
else had yet seen. For he wished his name to be remembered
among men, as having done some great and useful thing. And
this is a good wish, and you see that Sir Humphrey's name
has been remembered, or I should not be telling you his story
So at his own expense Sir Humphrey prepared five ships, and
sailed away over the wide ocean. You would be surprised if you
could have seen what very little ships they were; not at all like the
great vessels that sail away now, every day, to India and China,
and other lands far away. But gallant hearts will never be deterred
by danger when good service is to be done; and therefore brave
Sir Humphrey and his companions started on their voyage well
DASH MAKING BELIEVE TO BE DEAD.
BRAVE SIR HUMPHREY.
knowing that God would protect them, and that whatever happened
to those who trust Him would be for the best.
The voyagers carried with them all kinds of toys and trinkets, to
give away to the savages whom they expected to find in the new
lands they set out to discover. They took plenty of beads and
little ornaments, and also some small knives and large nails, which
the savages were always very glad to have, as they had no iron or
steel of their own. And so they sailed away, and came to that part
of America which is now called St. John's, near the country called
Newfoundland, where a great many cod-fish are caught.
Here the companions of Sir Humphrey Gilbert built a town of
wooden houses, and here many of them said they would stay, and
make this new country their dwelling-place. So Sir Humphrey
divided the land among them, that each one might have his own
farm, and that there might be no quarrels; and he himself with
three of his ships sailed away to the southward, to discover new
lands, and spread the power and glory of England.
But in this voyage brave Sir Humphrey met with many mis-
fortunes. He had, as I told you, three ships. They were called the
Squirrel, the Delight, and the Golden Hinde. And the best of
these three ships, the Delight, was driven on shore in a storm, and
broke to pieces, and nearly all the men on board perished. Sir
Humphrey had now not many men left; for a large number had
stayed at St. John's, and more than a hundred had been drowned
when the Delight was wrecked. So he determined to return to
But now a difficulty arose. The little Squirrel, the ship in which
Sir Humphrey then was, had been so knocked about by the winds
and waves, that she seemed unfit for the long voyage home, and
it was very doubtful whether those on board of her would ever see
old England again. So the men entreated Sir Humphrey to quit
the Squirrel, and go home in the Golden Hinde, which was a larger
and a stronger ship.
But brave Sir Humphrey knew that some of the men must
remain in the Squirrel, as there was not room for all on board the
other ship, and he would not have his men face any danger that
he did not share himself, nor did he wish to be any better off
than they. So he replied, I will not forsake my little company
going homeward, with whom I have passed so many storms and
perils." Then there came a great storm; and during the storm
Sir Humphrey was seen by those in the Hinde, sitting on board
his own ship with a cheerful face; and he was heard to say,
" Courage, my lads! we are as near heaven by sea as by land."
And it pleased God to take brave Sir Humphrey and his com-
panions to Himself; for that same night the little Squirrel, and
all on board her, sank beneath the waves.
And that is the story of brave Sir Gilbert.
ThoughA less Fred.
M" Y dear Fred," said Mr. Hanson to his young son, "what
a pity it is that you are so very thoughtless! You are
always getting into some scrape or other, through
your thoughtlessness, and no sooner do you seem to be out of one
trouble than you are in another. How do you ever expect to get
through the world if you are not a little more careful ? "
Fred had been for some days occupied, in every spare moment
he could find, in completing a map of Europe, that was to be shown
at the school examination next day: he had succeeded in finishing
it, even to putting in the last town and tracing the course of the
last river; and he had hoped that it would go far towards getting
a prize for him. And now, in mere thoughtlessness, he had thrown
a ball across the table on which the map lay, to startle Ernest,
who was leaning with both elbows on the said table, absorbed in
a book; and the ball had bounced into the inkstand, and splashed
sundry great blots of ink all over the map. So the neat map was
utterly spoilt, and Europe was marked in a manner never con-
tetnplated by the young draughtsman, who stood looking on the
effect of his own carelessness with a face of utter dismay.
/ Next morning Fred set out with an anxious heart, and yet not
Without some good hope of success, when the time came to go to
school. He had worked well throughout the year, and knew, there-
fore, that he must have earned a large number of good marks, and
that he must stand well on the school list. Indeed, he had reason
to believe that he had more than any boy in his class, except two,
n amy ob Grainger and JemS-nmith. About these two he was
-"'ot at all sure. For Bob Grainger had-been-vry regular indeed
at school, and had, in fact, not been absent a single dayT-ffr -the.
whole year; while Jem Smith, though not a clever, was a very
Careful boy, who almost always obtained some extra marks for the
neatness with which his work was done, and whose faults in his
exercise were never faults of carelessness.
On his way he met Jem and Bob coming along, arm in arm;
and to Fred's great chagrin he saw that each of the boys carried a
roll of paper in his hand.
"Hullo !" cried Grainger, as our friend came up, "here's Fred
Hanson. Well, Fred, are you going to get the prize to-day?
You 've a good chance for it, you know, and every one expects
you '11 carry it off."
"I'm afraid you and Jem have been trying too hard against
me," answered Fred, and that you've left me a long way behind.
I've been hoping all along that you'd stay away for a few days,
--and-give-me3archance, but you wouldn't."
The boys were very good friends, though they were trying
against each other for the prize; and this is as it ought to be, for
rivalry can be carried on without producing enmity.
S" But where's your map, Fred?" asked Jem; "we've both of us
brought ours here; and Bob's a tremendous fellow at drawing
maps,-I can tell you, and has finished his to the very last dot;
though you're a good hand at that work too, and I expect you '11
get more marks for yours than we shall for ours."
WAITING FOR FRED WITH THE MEDICINE.
Great was the surprise of both the boys when they heard that
Fred had no map at all to produce; and though they seemed to
make light of it, and said that he would doubtless get on very well
without his map, Fred could see that they thought his chance of
the prize was very much less than it would have been but for that
unlucky splash of ink.
And as it turned out, they were quite right. When they came
to the school, those who had brought their maps gave them up;
and the master inspected the maps, and gave a certain number of
marks for each, according as it was done. Poor Fred thought,
with a sigh, how foolish he had been to spoil his map on the pre-
vious evening, and went into the school-room where the matter
was to be decided with a heavy heart.
When the prizes came to be awarded, the one which Fred had
hoped to receive was given to Bob Grainger. Bob had earned
forty marks less than Fred during the year; but then he had
received fifty for his map, and so he had just ten more than poor
Fred, who turned away to hide a tear when he heard the decision,
and once more deplored his own thoughtlessness and folly of the
It might be expected that this would prove a lesson to him, and
cure him of his thoughtlessness; and indeed for some time there
seemed to be a change in Fred. But a harder lesson still was
needed, and this lesson he got, in the following way:
One evening, quite early, after the children had gone to bed,
there was a great stir and alarm at Fred's home. The nurse came
knocking at the door of her master's study, in great alarm, to say
that Baby was very ill. This was Fred's little brother Horace-a
dear, merry little fellow, about a year and a half old, who was the
pet and plaything of the whole house. Papa went up to the nur-
sery, and found that his little son was indeed very ill, in a high
fever; and a servant was at once sent off for the doctor.
Doctor Brown, on looking at the little fellow and feeling his
pulse, looked rather grave. But according to his custom he said
little, except that there was no time to be lost. He at once called
for pen, ink, and paper, and wrote down directions for some medi-
THE SCRAMBLE FOR THE SUGARPLUMS.
cine the chemist was to make up; and Fred was told to run into
the town at once to the chemist, and have the medicine made up.
Fred started off at a good speed to fulfil his commission; but
when he had just got to the town, he was surprised to see many
people all running in one direction, and others looking up at the
sky, in which there was a red glare. A fire had broken out at a
factory in a narrow street, and presently two fire-engines came
dashing along, and all was hurry and bustle. In another moment
thoughtless Fred had forgotten all about his errand and his little
sick brother, and was rushing along with the rest to see the fire.
When once he got into the dense crowd, he was hurried along by
it; and when after a short time he thought, with a start, how he
was neglecting his duty, he found it impossible to make his way
out of the throng. For more than an hour he had to struggle, till
at last he got clear; and when he felt in his pocket for the prescrip-
tion, it was gone! It had been stolen from him in the crowd.
You may imagine what his feelings were when he had to go
home and confess this, thinking all the time that his little brother
might be dead for want of the medicine. Fortunately, they had
sent a second messenger, after wit itingv some time for Fred, so that
the poor little child did not wait long. Horace got well, and Fred
never forgot the lesson of that day.
The Scrazble for the SzigarhZlus.
IT was in the evening, and the time of the year was May. The
candles had not yet been lighted, for it was only getting
dusk; and Harry and Ned, and Katie and Polly, and their
tall Cousin Anne, who was on a visit to them, all came into the
THE SCRAMBLE FOR THE SUGARPLUMS.
dining-room, as usual, to say good evening, and have some dessert,
-which latter, as Harry said, was much more important.
The children were standing round the table, when a maid came
into the room, to ask if she should bring candles; whereupon
Harry and Ned cried out together, Oh, no, don't let us have the
lights yet, papa;" and Cousin Anne, who hardly ever said any-
thing at all, except in the nursery, echoed the petition, begging
that no lights might come yet.
"Why, what's the meaning of this?" asked papa, with a laugh.
"What makes you young 'people so mightily interested in the
question of candles, all at once? I think I must differ from you
for once; for I have a letter in my pocket that I want to read, and
I can't get through it very well by this light; so, Jane," continued
papa, turning to the maid, I think we will have the candles."
When the candles came in, it soon became clear why the young
people had objected to their arrival. Master Harry appeared with
a black eye, and Ned had an unusual redness at the end of his
nose, while quiet Cousin Anne had a piece of black ribbon very
neatly and tightly bound round her wrist, in a way highly sugges-
tive of a sprain.
"Upon my word, young people!" cried papa, laughing, "one
would think there had been a battle fought here to-day, and that
you belong to the wounded."
The youngsters burst out into a merry laugh. "It was not
quite a fight, papa," said Harry, it was only a scramble. Uncle
Arthur passed the school-room to-day, and threw down two great
handfuls of sugarplums on the floor, and called out 'Scramble!'
We were doing our lessons for to-morrow, and Anne was at her
piano practice with Miss Smith; and I don't know how it was, but
in a minute we were all on the floor, picking up the sweets as fast
as we could; and Ned fell over Anne, and Polly came down upon
two of them; and presently we were eating the sugarplums and
counting up the damages all together."
"Ah! I see," said papa: "you were a little too keen after the
sugarplums, and so came in for a few knocks. That's what often
happens in the world."
A REGULAR SCRAMBLE.
~-i ~''-----; J~
THE SCRAMBLE FOR THE SUGARPLUMS.
But I 'd rather take the sugarplums and knocks together than
have neither of them," said Harry.
Perhaps so; but if we are too eager for them, we shall be like
the camel-driver in the fable, or rather the parable of the camel."
"The parable of the camel! cried the other children, oh, tell
us about it."
"Then listen, and I will: here is the parable. A man was tra-
velling in the hot country of Syria, leading a camel by the halter.
All at once the animal began to get restive; and it snorted, and
looked so vicious, that the camel-driver grew frightened, and let
go the halter, and ran away; whereupon the camel immediately
ran after him. As he ran, the driver saw a well by the way before
him, and he clambered down into this well. He did not fall to the
bottom, for the brickwork of the well was burst at the side, and a
bramble-bush had grown out of the hole into the well; so the man
clung to this bramble, just half-way down the well. As he swung
thus, he looked up and saw the camel looking over the brink of
the well, waiting for him if he should venture up. Then he looked
down, and at the bottom he saw a great dragon, and this dragon
had its jaws wide open, and was ready to devour him if he fell.
And when the poor man looked at the place where the root of
the bramble projected from the wall, he saw two mice, a black and
a white one; and they were taking it in turns to gnaw at the root,
and to scratch away the earth from it; and as the earth ran down,
the dragon looked up, to see how soon the bramble with the man
clinging to it would fall and become his prey. As the poor man
was looking round in vain for some way of escape from the camel,
the dragon, and the mice, he suddenly noticed some ripe berries on
the bramble, and in a moment he began to reach out one hand to
-grasp some of them, while he held tight with the other. They
were very sweet; and in the eagerness of grasping at these berries
he quite forgot his danger and his fear."
What a strange story said one of the children. It seems
to have no end to it, and I can't make it out."
You must wait to hear the second part," said papa, "for every
fable has an interpretation, without which it cannot be understood.
A FORTNIGHT BY THE SEA.
The meaning is this: The bramble-bush to which the camel-driver
clung means Life, to which we all cling as long as we can. The
camel represents the cares and troubles of life, which threaten all
of us. The camel-driver represents mankind, clinging to the
branch of life, while the dragon Death waits for his prey. The
black and the white mice are Day and Night, for they are gnawing
at the root of life, and each one brings the man somewhat nearer
to death: the white one, Day, gnaws from morning till evening;
and the black one, Night, from evening till morning. And while
this is going on, and life is passing away, mankind strive for the
prizes that are represented by the berries, and forget everything
else in endeavouring to secure as many sweet berries as they can.
In fact, in some respects the grown-up people are just as eager, and
expose themselves to just as many hard knocks, in striving for the
prizes of wealth, honour, and station, as the smaller people some-
times do in their scramble for sugarplums."
A Fortnight by the Sea.
T E thought what a long time it would be, and how many
things we should be able to do! It's a long time ago
now, and I know it really passed very quickly; but that
was our first idea about it when we heard we were to go-we all
thought what a long time it would be, and how many things we
should be able to do in the time! And when it came, it was come
and gone we hardly knew how; and when it was over, we wondered
how our fortnight could have gone so fast, and how many things
we had intended to do, and had not done!
When I say we," I mean my schoolfellows, Jem Bryant, Gus
A FORTNIGHT BY THE SEA.
Grantley, Tom Bowen, and myself-my name's Charley Brown.
We four used to be called the Friends at school, and we always
held together well, and helped each other in all the scrapes we got
into. And we got into plenty. We are all scattered far enough
apart now: Jem is somewhere in India, on an indigo plantation;
and Gus is in a merchant's office in New York. Tom, when we
heard of him last, which is a year and a half ago, was riding about
among the cattle, at an Australian farmer's, hundreds of miles
away in the bush: he was always very fond of riding, was Tom
Bowen, even if it was only on the end of a form, which we used
to tip up, to send him off, or on to another boy's back, at school;
and I am here, among the account-books and papers in our office.
after all the other clerks have left, all alone by myself, thinking of
our famous fortnight by the sea.
One great thing about it was that it came out of the school-time,
and not out of the holidays. We poor fellows had had the measles
at school. Tom caught them first, and then we three other fellows
had them. I don't know how we managed to get them, and old
Brackitt, our master, said he couldn't make out either, no more
could Mrs. Brackitt; though I think our getting out of the win-
dow at night, and going across the yard to the room they called
the hospital, where poor old Tom was, to see how he was getting
on, may have had something to.do with it; but we didn't mention
this to old Brackitt. Well, when we got all right again, though
there never was much the matter with us, it was proposed that we
four boys should be sent to the sea-side for a fortnight before we
went among the others again; and we had no objection to the
arrangement, you may be sure.
What a jolly place Hastings was! We had none of us ever
been there before, and in fact two of us had never been to the sea-
side, so that everything was new to us. There had been some
kind of idea that we were to do some lessons every day; but young
Brackitt, who was sent with us to take care of us, and who was
always a good-natured sort of a fellow, got us off from that. He
knew how much work he should get out of us, with the sun
shining, and a view over the sea from our windows; and so the
A FORTNIGHT BY THE SEA.
parcel of school-books we had brought down was not even un-
packed, and might just as well have been left at home, except that,
as Gus said, it got a little change of air.
It was grand fun on the beach in the morning: there were such
a lot of people there, and they all seemed so jolly! I never saw so
many bullseyes and buns eaten in my life, as those youngsters
devoured while they were making big said pies with the sand;
which they called castles. We boys made a very different kind of
castle, I can tell you, with some stones and shingle; and we four
used to challenge five other fellows-for there was a very jolly
party of fellows staying two doors from us-and used to attack
our castle, and we defended it. And it was only once or twice that
they got the victory, I can tell you; for we generally managed to
hold the castle until it struck one, and we had to go home to
dinner; then the garrison would march out with all the honours
of war, the captain (and that was me) going in front, waving a big
bit of seaweed for a flag.
The bathing was very jolly; only young Brackitt would insist
upon going down with us to bathe, and used to call us out of the
water just as we were beginning to enjoy ourselves; for he declared
that ten minutes in the water was quite long enough, especially
" for young gentlemen who had been so alarmingly ill;" and then
he used to grin, and ask Gus if he thought his appetite was
coming back, and whether he could be tempted to eat some dinner.
He wasn't half a bad fellow, young Brackitt; and as for his being
the schoolmaster's son, why, you see, he couldn't help that. Per-
haps he was right about the bathing too; for one day when Gus,
who was determined to have a good turn at the bathing machine
for once, gave us the slip, and went out earlier than the rest of us,
and stayed in the water for a good half-hour, he came back with
such a headache that he couldn't stir out all the afternoon, but had
to lie on the sofa; which was a pity, as we were to go to the castle
that afternoon, and young Brackitt would not let us put it off till
next day, that Gus might go too. He said it served Gus just right
for always thinking himself wiser than everybody else, and that
those who wouldn't hear must feel. Now, I think he needn't have
THE PEAR TREE.
said that, as Gus's head was bad; and besides, it was copying his
father. One of the best things to do, was to go down to the old
part of the town, where the fishermen live; for you must know that
while one part of Hastings has fine new streets, the other is quite
old, and I dare say looks much the same as it did ages ago. Well,
we used to go down to the beach in the old town, and see the fisher-
men come in in their boats, and it was splendid on a rough day.
One day we went to Fairlight Glen and the Lover's Seat; and
that was the best day of all. There was a poor little chap staying
at a house near us, who was ill and a cripple, and who looked as
if a strong wind could have blown him away. He was all alone
with a cross old nurse; and every day he used to be wheeled down
to the beach in a kind of little hand-carriage, in which he used to
lie back, watching us boys as we stormed the castle. He was a
very good little fellow, and took quite a liking to us. So we got
Brackitt to ask if he might go with us to Fairlight, and we took it
in turns to wheel his carriage ; and as there were four of us, and
he was light enough, poor little chap! it wasn't hard work. And
when we saw how glad he was to go, and how pleased he was with
everything, we were very glad indeed that he had gone with us.
But, oh dear, how fast the time went! We all said to each other
that we seemed to have been at Hastings only a week when our
fortnight was over I
The Pear Tree.
LD Rupert sat in the shade of a great pear tree, in front of
his house. His grandchildren were sitting round him,
enjoying some of the ripe pears he had given them, and
all were loud in praise of the fine fruit. Then the Grandfather said,
" I will tell you how this tree came to be here.
More than fifty years ago, I stood one day on this spot, when
NANNY DARRELL; OR, A FRIEND IN NEED.
there was an empty space then, but where this tree stands now;
and I was complaining to one of my neighbours, who was a rich
man, and telling him how poor I was. 'Ah,' I said, 'I should be
content if I could only say I was worth a hundred dollars!' My
neighbour, who was a clever man, said, 'You can easily have that
if you only know how to set about it. Here, on the spot where we
are now standing, more than a hundred dollars are hidden in the
earth. All you have to do is to get them out.'
I was at that time still an inexperienced young man, and did
not understand his true meaning. So the next night I dug a great
hole in the earth, but did not find a single dollar.
When my neighbour saw the hole the next morning, he laughed
and said, 'Oh, you foolish fellow! that was not what I meant. But
I will give you a young pear tree. Do you put that in the hole you
have dug, and in a few years you will see the dollars appearing.'
So I planted the young tree in the ground; and felt somewhat
ashamed of my own stupidity, that I had not understood at once
what my neighbour meant;-but we must all of us live and learn.
The tree grew and became the great splendid tree that you see here
now. The glorious fruit that it bears has brought me more than a
hundred dollars, years and years ago; and still, as each new year
comes round, the profits I derive from it increase. And that has not
been all. I have found that there are many thousands of dollars
hidden in the land-that is to say, wherever there is a field, there is
a means of earning a living; and the industrious man is the real
Nanny Darrell; or, a Friend in Need.
IT was a hot day, and the sun shone bright out of doors; and
in the village school there was a droning sound, like the
humming of many bees, as the children conned their lessons
to themselves, before the classes were called up in turn.
NANNY DARRELL; OR, A FRIEND IN NEED.
"Oh, this tiresome sum! cried Susie Watts, as she bent over
her slate, that was blurred with smudges of slate-pencil and tears.
"I shall never get it done-and then there are three more, and
worse ones, to do after that. And if I don't get it done, I shall
have to stay after the rest, and shall lose all my marks for the
day." And the little girl burst into tears afresh, as she bent over
Why, what's the matter? asked Nanny Darrell, another child
about the same age as Susie Watts; and she came and sat down
by the side of the puzzled scholar. Look here: show me your
slate, and we'll do the sum together."
Oh, no, that wouldn't do," cried Susie: teacher says we must
do our sums alone; and she'll ask if any one helped me, and if I
say yes, she'll rub out the sum, and make me do it all over again."
Well, then, look here. I '11 show you the rule they work those
sums by; it's only long division, you know; and then you can
work it yourself, without any one's help."
And the good-natured little girl sat down by her schoolfellow's
side, and explained, and showed her the rule over and over again,
to the best of her small ability, until little Susie quite brightened
up, and threw her arms round Nanny's neck, and thanked her over
and over again for her good-nature.
But presently Nanny Darrell was called away to her own lessons;
and with the three other sums-the three "worse ones "-poor
Susie's woes recommended. She had not a good head for figures.
When she tried very hard, she was apt to get confused, and then
of course the sum came out wrong; and to-day she was especially
afraid of losing her marks and being kept in; for old Uncle John,
as he was always called in her family, though he was in reality no
relation, but only a very dear friend of Susie's father,-old Uncle
John was to come to tea, and there would be sure to be a pleasant
walk afterwards, or perhaps a ride in Uncle John's chaise cart if
he had to call on any of his customers; or else there would be a
story to listen to-and no one could tell stories like Uncle John;
and all this poor Susie would lose if she did not get home in time:
besides, she thought, What a disgrace it will be when Uncle John
r, /+ i ...n -
SUSIE CAN2VOT DO HER SUM!
NANNY DARRELL; OR, A FRIEND IN NEED.
asks, as he's sure to do, Where's my little girl ?' and he's told
that I'm kept in for not doing my lessons! and perhaps they'll
tell him I'm idle-though I'm sure I'm not! and poor Susie's
tears fell afresh.
Now, it would have been better, if, instead of thinking so much
of Uncle John and the woes that might happen, Susie had kept
her mind steadily fixed on the work she had to do, and had thought
of nothing but her sums; but, you see, she was only a little girl
of nine years old, and therefore we must not expect too much from
In due time she was called up to show her slate to the teacher.
The first sum, the one she had done when fresh from Nanny
Darrell's instructions, was quite right. The second had two figures
wrong in the answer. The third was wrong altogether, and the
fourth was not even begun.
'You have been wasting your time again, Susan Watts," said
the teacher; "your work is not done, and you will have to stay
after the rest to finish it. School will be over in ten minutes, for
it will be twelve o'clock directly. I am going into the town to
give a lesson, and shall be back soon after one. I shall then look
at your work, and if it is done properly, you may go home. If
not, there will be no half-holiday for you to day; for you will have
to stay in the school-room till four, and one of your schoolfellows
shall call at your father's, as she goes home, to say why you are
kept in. So I advise you to make the best use of your time
while I am away." And a few minutes afterwards the school broke
Poor Susie! She knew that Uncle John, if he came, would
arrive at a little after two, and that therefore, if she did not get let
out of school by one o'clock, he must hear of her disgrace. The
thought of the pleasure she should lose, also troubled her; and
when between her lamentations she tried to think of her work,
she found it more difficult than ever. Meanwhile the hands of the
school-room clock went slowly but surely round. First the quarter
was past, and then the half-hour; and now there were only five
and twenty minutes to go by before it would strike one.
NANNY DARRELL; OR, A FRIEND IN NEED.
As Susie glanced sorrowfully round the room, her eye suddenly
fell upon a square volume bound in red leather, and in shape like
a large thick copy-book. It lay on a desk near the end of the
room; and Susie knew well what it was. This book belonged to
Miss Smith the pupil teacher, and contained all the sums out of
the arithmetic-book, properly worked out, and with the answer
under each. And now a terrible temptation came upon the little
girl. Why should she not find out the three sums in this book,
as all were worked in their regular order? And then she could
copy the working and the answer, and her sums would be ready
when the teacher came back at one o'clock, and Uncle John would
not have to be told that she was in disgrace, and she would not
lose her half-holiday and the chance of the ride.
Little children, it is not in vain that we pray not to be led into
temptation. There are temptations everywhere, and they beset the
high and the low, the young and the old ; but we are told in the
Bible that we should not be overcome of evil, but we should over-
come evil with good. And on this occasion, I am glad to say, the
better spirit triumphed in little Susie. She already had the red
book in her hand, but instead of opening it, she put it down again
upon the desk, and said resolutely to herself, I will not."
And then once more she sat down to try and master the grand
difficulty. The feeling that she had resisted temptation seemed to
do her good, and it also had somewhat taken her thoughts off
Uncle John and his visit. She had already found out where the
two faults were in the second sum, and corrected them, when the
door of the school-room suddenly opened, and in ran Nanny
"Nanny! Why, what have you come back for?"
"Why, to help you, to be sure-to show you the rule over again,
you silly thing. I ran home first to tell them where I was going."
"Oh, Nanny! how good of you-and you live nearly a mile off."
And the little maidens sat down, very close together, to the
"division of money" sums; and by exactly three minutes before
one the sums were finished, and Susie could go home. And from
that day Nanny Darrell and Susie Watts were fast friends.
More Ways than One: a Potalo Story.
HE children had been playing at railway trains all the after-
noon. They had a big arm-chair for a first-class carriage,
because it was all stuffed with leather, and the seat was so
comfortable. There was a cane-bottomed chair for second class,
because it was made of mahogany; and a kitchen chair for the
third class, because it was quite plain, and the seat was very hard.
The old horsehair sofa was the engine; and baby's chair was put
on at the back of the train, for the guard's van. So, you see, it was
At last the little people got tired of their game of sitting in this
wonderful train, and pretending to alight at different stations, or
to get in, and travel from one town to another. And as children
sometimes do, when they begin to be tired of a game, each one
declared that the others did not play properly; and at last there
was something very like a wrangle, and Freddy, the youngest boy,
began to cry, and declared that he would not play any more.
Thereupon tall Cousin Alice, who was sitting by the fire reading
a book, looked round and asked what was the matter. Then the
children began talking all together, as fast as ever they could, each
endeavouring to show that the others were in fault.
"The fact is," said Alice, "that you are tired of your play, and
so you begin to be tired of each other. Remember there are more
ways than one of amusing yourselves, as there are more ways than
one of making things useful and of doing one's work; and if you
will -leave off wrangling-and if you, Freddy, will wipe your eyes,
and leave off pouting out your under lip, and looking like a little
boy who is unhappy without cause, except that he is out of temper
-why, then you may come and sit round the fire here, and I will
tell you a story-a potato story."
II' iIIiII~~~4~ :1 I lIIIIi~II
A REAL RAILWAY.
MORE WAYS THAN ONE: A POTATO STORY.
"A potato story!" cried several of the children together; and
they all ran and gathered in a group round Cousin Alice; for
Cousin Alice's stories stood in high repute among them. "What
do you mean by a potato story ?"
Why, a story about potatoes, to be sure. Sit down and listen
and I will tell it you. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth there was
a famous Englishman named Sir Francis Drake. He was a brave
sea-captain, and commanded a ship, in which he fought against all
enemies who wished to do England any harm. When Philip,
King of Spain, sent a great many ships against England, to try
and conquer the country, Sir Francis Drake was one of the captains
who fought against this fleet, or Armada, as it was called, and
helped to keep England free. And besides this, he sailed quite
round the world in his ship, and brought many curious things
home with him, and gave an account of the wonderful lands and
the new islands he had seen; and Queen Elizabeth was so pleased
with the brave captain, that she paid him a visit on board his ship,
which was a great honour for him.
"Among other useful things Sir Francis found in his travels
and brought to England, were the first potatoes that had ever been
seen here. Before his time the English people had very few
vegetables to eat, and lived chiefly upon bread and meat. And
when Drake sent some potato plants from America to a friend of
his, with directions that they should be planted in England, a very
strange mistake was made. It happened in this way:
Sir Francis Drake sent the plants to his friend, as I have
said, and wrote that this plant was a very good one to cultivate in
England, for that its fruit, when boiled or baked, was very good
food to eat, and very wholesome. Now, as Sir Francis wrote about
the "fruit" of the plant, the friend who read his letter naturally
thought Drake meant the little green balls, like small round plums,
that grow on the plant, and that are its real fruit. So he took
great care of the plants, and when they grew tall and strong, and
the round green balls appeared on them, he was very glad. He
invited some great gentlemen to come and dine with him; and at
the dinner there was a large covered dish in the middle of the
MORE WAYS THANONE: A POTATO STORY.
table. When the dinner was nearly over, the host stood up and
informed his guests that he had a surprise for them, in the shape
of a dish they had never tasted yet. It was a new fruit that had
been sent to him by his friend the great captain, Sir Francis Drake.
"Then the great dish was uncovered. It was filled with the
green balls of the potato plant, which had been boiled with sugar
and cinnamon; and the guests were invited to try them. The
balls, however, tasted very nasty indeed, and all the guests de-
clared they were quite uneatable, and that it was a pity so much
good sugar and spice had been wasted in preparing a dish that
might be good in America, but that would certainly never be eaten
by Englishmen. As for the host, he was much mortified at the
failure of the new dish, and thought that Sir Francis Drake must
have been mistaken, or perhaps the wrong plant had been sent.
He ordered his gardener to tear up all the new plants, and throw
Not very long after this, this same gentleman was walking one
morning in his garden, and perhaps wondering what Drake could
possibly have meant by sending him those strange plants, whose
fruit had such a nasty taste. It was in autumn; and the gardener
had made a fire of a heap of weeds that he wished to burn; and
among these were many of the plants that Drake had sent, and
that the gentleman had ordered the gardener to tear up and throw
away, thinking them quite useless. Suddenly he noticed in this
weed-fire some dark substances, that looked like lumps of earth.
He kicked one of them out of the fire with his foot, for he was
curious to see what it might be. As it rolled away from the fire,
it broke in two, and he saw that the inside was of a yellowish-white,
and noticed that it had a very agreeable smell. Thereupon he
asked the gardener where these brown things came from, and was
told that they were found growing on the roots of the plants he
had been ordered to pull up. Now, all at once the friend began to
understand what Sir Francis Drake had meant by saying that this
plant would furnish a new and excellent food. It was evidently
not the green fruit-balls, but the tubers or lumps attached to the
root, that had been meant; and when the gentleman broke off a
piece of the one that he held in his hand, he felt quite sure about
it, for it tasted very good indeed,-as good, in fact, as what it was,
namely, a roast potato.
So now Sir Francis Drake's friend was able to invite the great
gentlemen once more to dinner, and to present them with a new
dish, at which they did not turn up their noses, you may be sure.
And thus, you see, the use of the potato was found out, by trying
more ways than onze."
"HAT'S the meaning of Meddling Monday? I fancy I
can hear you ask, when you read this.
Why, Meddling Monday was the Fourteenth of last
July; and if you read this story you will be able to judge if we
were not right in giving it the name.
The Fourteenth of July is my brother Charles's birthday: he's
twelve years old now, and goes to a big school where there are
two hundred boys. I 'm ten and a half, and I 'm going there after
next holidays; and I 'n very glad of that, for it must be jolly to
be in a school where the first and second masters wear caps and
gowns; and when a boy's ten years old, he doesn't care to be in
a school where the little ones say their lessons to a governess.
Well, my sister Beatrice's birthday comes on the Twelfth of July;
Beaty's just seven, and a very good little girl she is, if you don't
interfere with her dolls, or break up the furniture of her doll's
house, for that she can't stand. As the two birthdays come so
close together, they're kept on the same day, and we always have
had a half-holiday on the Fourteenth of July. But this year Charles
I' ~rk ~~b
E N:'. s r~ ,
NOTHING BUT MISCHIEF.
MEDDLING MONDA Y.
said he didn't want one, as it was near the examination-time, and
if he was away from school for an afternoon it might interfere with
his chance of the prize; for they say Charles is very clever, and
that if he doesn't get the first prize in his class, he will have the
second; and that's another reason why it's better to go to a school
where you're taught by men.
It had been arranged that we were to go for a walk in the after-
noon, and to have tea at a farm-house by the river, where there's
a capital garden with plenty of fruit. There were cherries of all
kinds, and currants, black, white, and red; and as things were
rather late that year, the strawberries were not quite over yet.
The children are very fond of fruit, and so used I to be; but now
that I 'm going to a big school, I don't seem to care so much for
it. But as the day turned out very wet, the walk to the farm-house
had to be given up, which was a great disappointment to the
children. I ought to have said that the young Harrises had been
invited to go with the children and me to the farm-house; and as
that plan had to be given up, because of the rain, they came over
to spend the afternoon at our house instead.
Of course there had been some birthday presents both for
Charles and for Beaty. The best thing Beaty had got was a new
doll with a wax head and long curls; and as most of Beaty's dolls
had only wooden faces with a dab of red paint on their cheeks, and
the tops of their heads painted black, for hair, she was very proud
of this one; and all the morning she had been playing with it in
a corner, quite happily. For as I said, Beaty was not a bad child
at all if you didn't interfere with her. But in the afternoon every-
thing was spoilt; and it was all the fault of those Harrises.
I'm sure there never were such tiresome children. They never
seemed to be happy unless they were either breaking something
up, or beating each other. On that afternoon, if they had one
fight, they had six; and they didn't even fight fair, but pinched
and scratched each other, like girls.
Well, as long as old Nurse was in the room they behaved pretty
well. For Nurse had been in the family before our mother was
married; and as we were always made to show her proper respect,
MEDDLING MONDA Y.
the young Harrises didn't like to try on their tricks with her.
But Nurse was called away for a little while, to see her daughter,
who had just come up from Devonshire. Charlie happened to
come in from school a few minutes afterwards. He heard a great
hubbub and quarrelling upstairs, which made him run into the
nursery; and this is what he saw:
On the floor, but quite empty, with not a nail or a screw left in
it, was the new tool-chest he had received that morning as a
present. Those meddling children had found it out, and this is
what they were doing: Master Jemmy Harris had got the saw,
and was sawing off the head of Beaty's new doll; while Beaty
was crying and trying to prevent him. Another had taken the
plane, and had planed off great shavings from the nursery table.
Little Polly Harris, who's as mischievous as her brother, had been
trying to draw the poor cat's teeth with the pincers, and had got
scratched for her pains, and so she was roaring; and her sister
Annie had been stuffing two screws into our Cissy's mouth, under
the pretence that they were sweetstuff, and was now trying to get
them out again! They had knocked pieces off the furniture, and
had hammered nails into the floor and the cupboards. In fact, I
can't tell you all the mischief these tiresome children had done
within ten minutes on that Meddling Monday.
Mr. Kan-nit-verstan; or, Truth out of Error.
L AST Christmas we had our sailor-uncle Tom staying with
us for a fortnight, while some repairs were being done on
board his ship, in which he was going to sail away to
China. We all of us loved Uncle Tom, for he was very good-
MR. KAN-NIT-VERSTAN; OR, TRUTH OUT OP ERROR.
natured and kind; and though he was such a big strong sunburnt
man, with a great beard, all the little ones took to him at once, and
when he walked out in the garden he generally had three or four of
them trooping after him. In the evening, too, there used to be
quite a debate as to which of them should sit on his knee; and I
remember that one evening Alice was quite cross, and went and
hid herself behind an arm-chair, where she was heard whimpering
half an hour afterwards, because Uncle Tom had taken little Mary
on his knee, whereas Alice vowed--and declared it was her turn.
As for Uncle Tom, on such occasions he used to burst out into
a laugh, and tell us that he had never been in such request among
the ladies before.
He knew all kinds of funny stories too, did Uncle Tom, and a
few mournful ones besides. I don't remember any Christmas
holidays when we had so many stories told us round the winter
fire. And this is one of Uncle Tom's tales:
It sometimes happens-so he began-that truth comes out of
error, and that people may learn something by the mistakes they
make. This is what happened to Jack Hawkins, a brother sailor
of mine, who went more than one voyage in the same ship with me.
I have heard him tell it more than once. When he was quite a
youngster, it happened that Jack's ship had to carry a cargo from
Yarmouth to Amsterdam. Jack had till then never been away
from England, for the ship to which he belonged generally made
short voyages along the coast, from one port to another.
When they had been lying in harbour for a few days, Jack got
leave for a day, to have a walk through Amsterdam, and look
about him. He was much surprised at the fine large houses he
saw in many of the streets; for Jack, like many English boys, had
a kind of idea that England was the only country where splendid
buildings were to be found. One house especially made him stop
and gaze in wonder. It was very lofty, and built of stone, and
there were figures carved on the front, and it had splendid large
windows, in front of which stood long boxes filled with the
brightest flowers. At last Jack asked a boy who was going past
UNCLE TOM TELLS THE STORY OF MR. KAN-NIT-VERSTAN.
MR. KAN-NIT-VERSTAN; OR, TRUTH OUT OF ERROR.
to whom this fine house belonged. But as Jack spoke in English,
the lad could not make out what he meant; and so he answered,
"Kan-nit-verstan"-which is a Dutch word, or rather three Dutch
words, meaning "I can't understand"-and hurried on. But
Jack thought that Kan-nit-verstan was the name of the owner
of the house; and he said to himself, Mr. Kan-nit-verstan must
be a happy man, to have such a beautiful house as that." And
then he continued his walk.
Presently he heard a great shouting; and on hastening to see
what it was, he found a number of men waving their hats, and
welcoming the crew of a large and splendid ship that was just
being brought into the harbour, and had evidently come home
from a long voyage. The ship was gaily decked out with flags
and streamers, and a band of music on the wharf played merry
tunes to welcome the returning wanderers. The ship was quite
deep in the water, she was so full of all kinds of costly things
from the distant Indies. At last he asked an old sailor, who, like
himself, was looking on, who the owner of this great ship might
be. The man looked at him fixedly, and said, Kan-nit-verstan."
" Oh thought Jack, no wonder that Mr. Kan-nit-'erstan lives
in such a fine house, if he has ships like this to bring him home
the riches of distant lands."
And this set him thinking about himself; and, like a foolish
fellow, he began to compare his own condition with that of this
unknown and wealthy Mr. Kan-nit-verstan. Here am I," he
thought, "obliged to work hard aboard ship or in harbour, and
can hardly get a holiday once in three months; and for all my
work I haven't five pounds belonging to me in the world, and own
nothing but a few clothes that just fill a small sea-chest. Why
should one man be so rich and another so poor?" For, you see,
Jack thought himself quite a man, though he was only seventeen
years old at that time. And at last he worked himself up quite
into a passion when he thought of his own poverty and of Mr.
But presently he saw a very different sight. A mournful pro-
cession came round the corner. First there was a black hearse
GHOSTS IN THE NURSERY.
drawn by four horses, with black feathers on their heads, and
black velvet trappings; then came a long array of black coaches,
with people inside, all wearing black cloaks, and hats with long
streamers of crape. The procession wound its way slowly along
the street, and the people took off their hats as it passed; for that
is the custom in many countries. Jack took off his hat too, and
held it in his hand until the last coach had passed by. Then he
thought, "That mustbe some great man, whom they are carrying
to his grave, or he would not have such a grand funeral, and so
many friends to follow." So again he turned, and asked an old
woman who the dead person was, and once more the answer he
received sounded like Kan-nit-verstan." Then Jack thought
within himself, "What! is Mr. Kan-nit-verstan dead? Then he
has had to leave all his wealth, and his fine house, and his fine
ship; and of what use is all his wealth to him now? He might as
well have been as poor as I am."
And long after he knew the real meaning of Kan-nit-verstan,"
Jack remembered the lesson he learnt that day through his error;
and this truth was, that the rich and poor are all equal at last.
G/osts in the ziNrsery.
WHEN I was a little child, about seven years old, we had a
nurse, who seemed to take pleasure in frightening us
children as much as ever she could. She had quite a
number of stories that she could tel-about ghosts, and goblins,
and fairies, and fiery dragons, and all kinds of wonderful things;
and she knew stories about robbers, too, who came to rob people's
houses by night, and hid themselves under beds and behind cur-
GHOSTS IN THE NURSERY.
tains until the people of the house were gone to bed. Now, we
were all very fond of these stories, and we used to ask Nurse to tell
us new ones; and the more terrible the stories were, and the more
they made us shudder, the better we seemed to like them. Nurse
seemed to be rather pleased when she saw us children draw closer
together round the fire, and look at each other with frightened eyes,
and then glance over our shoulders towards the dark corners of the
room. And she always tried to finish up with a story that was more
terrible than all the rest, and that we liked all the better for its being
There was one among us, however, who would not believe in the
ghost stories at all, but made a point of laughing at them, and at
Nurse too, which made Nurse very angry; and one day she told
Will that he was only a chit of a boy, and that he did not know
what he was talking about. To which Will replied that he thought
those people did not who talked about ghosts and frightened chil-
dren with old women's tales. And after that Nurse would not speak
to him again the whole evening.
But a few evenings after, Will came up into the nursery with a
grave face, and sat down with quite a frightened look. For a whole
quarter of an hour he said nothing at all., which was quite against
his usual custom. At last Nurse asked him what was the matter,
and why he was so silent and depressed.
Nurse," said Will, I told you the other evening I didn't be-
lieve in ghost stories. I must now confess that I have heard one
that I believe to be true-in fact, I know it must be true-for we
were reading about it at school, and the master told us it was a
true story-something that really happened "
"Something that really happened !' cried Nurse. "There, now,
you see, Master William, that I was right, and that you young
gentlemen should not think yourselves so much wiser than your
elders. If your schoolmaster told it you, you may be sure it's
By this time we children had all gathered round, and we were
asking Will to tell us the ghost story. He seemed willing enough;
and this is what he told us:
A TERRIBLE FRIGHT.
GHOSTS IN THE NURSERY.
Once on a time, some years ago," began Will, "a poor old
woman was returning from market late at night. I can tell you
where it was: it was at Fakenham in Norfolk; and to get home
she had to go by a very lonely footpath that led through a large
park. The night was very dark, and as the old woman hurried
along, she remembered how she had heard of the ghost of a wicked
man who had committed a murder, and whose spirit wandered to
and fro in the park on-dark nights, such as this one.
Now, the old woman had got half-way through the park, and
was beginning to take heart as she drew towards the end of her
journey, when suddenly she heard the sound of a footstep come
pit-a-pat! pit-a-pat !-behind her. She looked back in a great
fright, and could just make out that something shadowy was fol-
lowing her. In her terror she began to run as fast as her old legs
would carry her; but the more speed she made, the faster did the
pit-a-pat! pit-a-pat! of the ghost's step follow behind. Once or twice
she turned her head for a moment, and still she could just discern
the shadowy figure. At last she got clear of the park, and at length
saw the white gate of her cottage garden in front of her. She gave
it a great push, and rushed through; but the gate swung to and
fro two or three times on its hinges, and she heard that the ghost
had passed through it behind her, and was coming pit-a-pat! pit-a-
pat up the garden-path. She had just strength to lift the latch of
her cottage door, and to stagger in; and then she fell exhausted on
the floor, and was found by a neighbour, who heard her fall, lying
insensible-and the ghost was standing beside her!"
Here Will paused, and we all cried out, Oh, how dreadful! "
Well, not so very dreadful after all!" cried Will, with a laugh
and a roguish look at Nurse; for the ghost turned out to be an
ass's foal that had lost its mother in the park, and had followed
the old lady home with some idea that she belonged to his family.
-And that's the true story of the 'Fakenham Ghost.'"
This story of Will's had a good effect on us foolish children.
But what quite cured us was something that happened to me.
It was winter-time, and the mornings were very dark. One
morning I woke up quite early, before any one was up; and, as I
THE BEGINNING OF WRONG.
wanted to look at a new picture-book that had been given me the
evening before, I lighted a candle, and felt under my pillow for it.
It was not there, and I remembered I had left it in the parlour. I
was coward enough to get little Jemmy, who was only four years
old, to go down with me to get it, and walked down the dark stairs
not without fear and trembling. As I went through the passage,
something caught hold of my skirt and held me fast! In my fright,
I knocked the candle against the banisters, and it went out. But
I could dimly discern two dark forms looking down at me I did
not dare to cry out, and I could not get my dress free. So, there
Jem and I stood till it became light; and I found that the terrible
hand that had clutched my skirt was a gegfrom the hat-stand!
After that we didn't seem to care about ghosts; but I did not
think it worth while to tell Will.
The Beginning of Wrong.
HAVE you ever seen a river near its source-that is to say,
the place where it first begins to flow? It appears as
quite a thin streak of water, as if you might almost step
across it from one side to the other. But as it goes on it gathers
strength and becomes larger. Some distance on it has grown into
a wide stream, and you can hardly understand how it has grown
so much wider; and then it gets larger and larger, until at last
great ships can sail upon it.
Now, it is much the same thing with the habits and ways of
children. A good habit or a bad habit is small at first, and weak,
and seems of little consequence. But in time it becomes great and
strong; and what children learn to do when they are little, they
continue to do when they grow up.
THE BEGINNING OF WRONG.
I remember a thing that happened when I was quite a little
child; and I will tell you about it, for it will make you understand
how a little thing may be important, and how, as we read in the
Bible, Even a child is known by his doings, whether his way be
pure, and whether it be right."
We children had been left alone in the dining-room one day, and
it happened that the doors of the sideboard cupboard stood partly
open. So, first one of us peeped in, and then another; and inside
the cupboard we saw a most tempting row of jars; and we knew
that those jars contained jam and preserves of different kinds.
Presently we had taken the jars out of the cupboard, and peeped
in; and soon, from peeping we got to tasting, and from tasting
to feasting on the sweet contents of the jars.
We were in the midst of our stolen enjoyment-the only excuse
for which was that we really were all very little children-when
suddenly we saw Grandmamma's face reflected in the glass at the
back of the sideboard. Never were offenders more completely
caught in the act We were all sticky with jam and syrup; and
very much ashamed we looked when Grandmamma, after reading
us a lecture which we well deserved, packed us all off to bed, though
it was barely three o'clock in the afternoon.
The next day we all begged Grandmamma's pardon, and were
forgiven. And then Grandmamma told us to beware of the be-
ginnings of sin, for that if we once started on the wrong path,
it was very difficult to turn back. And she told us the following
In the last cottage in a village where I passed many years of
my life, lived a poor widow with her two daughters, Louisa and
Sophy. When I first knew them, Louisa was about eleven years
old, and Sophy six years younger. Both of them were quick, clever
children, and Louisa already was useful to her mother in various
ways. But the widow did not look after her children so carefully
as a mother ought to have done. They were allowed to wander
about in gardens and orchards where they had no business to go ;
and often in summer and autumn they were seen with fruit and
vegetables to which they had no right, and which had been stolen
'. i '
. i' ,
SOMETHING GOOD !
THE BEGINNING OF WRONG.
from neighboring gardens. Several times strangers had reproved
Louisa very seriously for these dishonest tricks, and had told her
to remember the commandment-' Thou shalt not steal.' But
Louisa used to think to herself, 'Oh, those people are rich, and
won't even miss a few apples or a turnip or two; and we are so
poor that we want all we can get.' And instead of punishing her,
and pointing out how wrong such reasoning was, the foolish mother
let her have her own way.
So the time came when Louisa was fifteen years old. She had
grown to be a tall, strong girl; and Sophy was old enough to help
her mother at home now. So it was decided that Louisa should
go to service. A relation of her dead father's, who lived in a neigh-
bouring town, promised to look out for a situation for Louisa, who
indeed looked as if she would make a good servant; and in the
course of a few weeks a situation as nurse-girl was found in a lady's
family. She was fortunate in being treated with very great kind-
ness. Her mistress did not expect the young country-girl to know
all her duties at once, and took the trouble to teach her-waiting
patiently, and trying over and over again, until Louisa had learnt
her various duties. Moreover, her mistress frequently made her
little presents, and she was better dressed, lodged, and fed, than
she had ever been before in her life.
Louisa felt exceedingly comfortable in her new position, and
wrote home glowing accounts of her good fortune to her mother
and sister, who were made very happy by her letters. But, alas !
the old temptation to which she had often given way now came
upon her in a stronger form. There were many things lying about
which were easily taken, and would not be readily missed; and
Louisa was soon at her old work again. Presently, things began
to disappear in the house in an unaccountable way: at one time a
ribbon or a handkerchief was missing; at another, a child's toy.
But, as there were many persons in the house, no one thought of
suspecting Louisa in particular; and at last she became so bold,
that she sent many a stolen article to her mother or her little sister,
saying they had been given to her.
But at length the day of reckoning came. So many things were
MASTER -COCKERELL'S DAY OUT.
missed, that, one day, the servants were all suddenly ordered to
open their boxes; and to the surprise of all, quite a heap of stolen
things appeared in Louisa's box!
The same day she was sent home in disgrace to her village;
and it was long before she could get another start in life. And
now, when it was too late, Louisa's mother lamented her own folly.
in not checking the beginning of wrong."
Master Cockerell's Day Out.
M ASTER COCKERELL was one of a brood of chicks that
were hatched very early in the season. Whether that
was the reason why he was such a forward young fowl,
I don't know; but certain it is that he gave his mother no end of
trouble, and used to be always straying away and getting out of
the poultry-yard into the field, where he -had no business to be.
Though his mother often gave him a peck with her beak to reprove
him, he did not take warning, but became worse and worse in his
ways. Among other bad things, he was always fighting with his
brothers, and got so many feathers pecked out of him in consequence
of his quarrelsome ways, that he was quite a disgrace to look at. If
there was a disturbance in the poultry-yard and a great clatter and
noise among the chickens (and there was nothing but clatter and
noise ever since he had been old enough to make himself heard) he
was sure to have something to do with it. So that, at last, his
mother, the old hen, was ready to wring her hands over her bad
son, only that she had not any hands to wring; and therefore she
drooped her wings in a despondent manner instead, and predicted
that Master Cockerell would come to no good, but would be a
disgrace to his parents' grey feathers.
MASTER COCKERELL'S DA Y OUT.
Very greedy he was, too-always wanting to be helped out of
his turn, and twice over, while the others were kept waiting; and
though his mother treated all the chicks alike, and gave them the
food in turn that she scratched and pecked up for them, Master
Cockerell always declared that she favoured the others, and that he
did not get his fair share; and when the family were old enough
to be fed by the maid who attended to the poultry, it was far worse,
for he fought and struggled so, and pushed forward so rudely, that
it was difficult for any one else to get anything at all.
At last Master Cockerell made up his mind to go out and seek
his fortune for himself. Like many young chicks who know very
little, he had a great opinion of his own wisdom, and fancied he
knew everything. So, one morning very early, he crept down from
the roost before the other chickens were awake, and ran off to the
gate. After a good deal of trouble he managed to squeeze himself
under it, and got out into the high road, though not without the
loss of a few feathers. However, he had lost so many before in his
different fights that he was well used to this, and said a few feathers
more or less made no great difference.
Master Cockerell now came out upon a wide heath, where there
was plenty of furze and some gravel-pits, and a wide view over the
country around. Master Cockerell perched himself on the top of a
furze bush, and took a view of the state of things.
Upon my word," he said to himself, I did not think the world
was so large. But I wish I had something to eat and drink, for it
must be past breakfast-time, and I am very hungry."
But breakfast-time does not always bring breakfast, and this
Master Cockerell found to his cost. He travelled on and on, and
the weather seemed to become hotter and hotter; but nothing
could he find to eat, and not even so much as a drop of water to
drink. He very much wished himself at home, and would have
turned back, but that his pride forbade him; for even young chicks
can be proud.
It's too early in the day yet to turn back," said young Cockerell,
"and I shall meet with better fortune presently."
Just as he said this, he heard a great shout; and a voice cried,
GLAD ENOUGH TO GET HOME.
MASTER COCKERELL'S DAY OUT.
" Look here; here's fun A company of boys were out for a holi-
day, each one carrying a linen bag, in which was his dinner; and
one of them had spied our young chick marching demurely along.
They at once began to give chase, running to and fro after the un-
happy young bird, and pelting him with stones when he tried to
take refuge under the furze bushes. A stone had already struck
him on the leg, and made him limp terribly; and a few minutes
more of this sport to the boys would probably have been death to
the bird, had not a threatening figure appeared, in the shape of the
schoolmaster, who, in his broad-brimmed straw hat and with his
cane in his hand, was taking a walk for the sake of his health-at
sight of whom all the boys fled at once, leaving young Cockerell
in a very pitiable condition, with a lame leg and half dead with
exhaustion and fright.
By this time all his pride had gone, and he would have been
only too glad to return home to the farmyard, and to the old hen
his mother; but he had to run so far to escape from the boys, that
he had quite lost his way, and knew not where to turn. The fright
had taken his hunger away; but he felt terribly thirsty, and said
to himself, Oh, dear, if I only had some water !"
Water he was presently to have, and that in plenty; for, with a
sharp yelping bark, an ugly brown cur dog came scampering up;
and he made a rush at young Master Cockerell. Away fluttered
the unhappy bird, half limping, half flying, and too much fright-
ened to see in the least where he was going; and souse he came
at last into a horse-pond, half covered with duckweed, by the road-
side. Here he floundered about, while the cur dog ran to and fro
on the bank, barking and jumping, to prevent him getting out.
He was a cur dog, you see, so he would not go into the water him-
self; and presently he ran away. Poor Cockerell now scrambled
out of the water all covered with duckweed, and crouched for a
time under a garden wall, to recover himself and smooth his
feathers, and try and get rid of some of the weed from the pond.
Presently he heard voices on the other side of the wall; and this
made him so glad, that, lame and beaten as he was, he jumped up
on the wall, and flapped his wings, and crowed aloud I
" THERE'S A DIFFERENCE."
For he knew the voices! They were those of the children of the
house to which he belonged. He had in his fright run home by a
round-about way; and the garden into which he came fluttering
down was that of his own farm.
And so ended Master Cockerell's day out.
There's a Diference."
(AFTER HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.)
OME here, children," said Aunt Hannah, "and I'll tell
you a story that was written by a very clever man."
And this is the story Aunt Hannah told her children,
as she sat working with her busy needle:
It was in the month of May, and the wind was still blowing
cold; but the bushes and trees, the fields and the meadows, all told
that the Spring had come. The hedges were covered with flowers,
and the Spring announced his arrival by means of a little apple
tree. For on that little apple tree there was a single branch, fresh
and blooming, covered with beautiful pink blossoms, which were
just ready to open. And this apple tree knew very well how pretty
he was; and therefore he was not at all surprised when a grand
carriage stopped in front of him, and the young Countess, who sat
inside, said that anl apple-branch was the loveliest thing one could
see, for it was Spring in its most beautiful aspect. And so the
branch was broken off, and she held it in her delicate hand, and
shaded it with her silk parasol; and then they drove off to the
castle, where there were lofty halls and splendid rooms; fair white
" THERE'S A DIFFERENCE."
curtains waved before the open windows, and glorious flowers
stood in beautiful white vases; and in one of them, that looked as
if it had been cut out of new-fallen snow, the Apple-branch was put
among some fresh leaves of the beech tree; and he was beautiful
Then the Branch became proud-and that is quite natural.
There came people of different kinds through the room; and
according to their rank they were allowed to express their admira-
tion. Some said nothing at all, and some, on the other hand, said
too much; and the Apple-branch understood that there was a
difference between people as there was between plants.
"Some are there to be looked at, and some are there for work,"
said the Apple-branch, "and there are some we could do without
And as he happened to be placed just by the open window, from
whence he could look out into the garden and across the fields, he
had plants and flowers enough to look at and to make his reflec-
tions upon. There they stood, rich ones and poor ones; and some
of them were very poor ones indeed.
"Poor forsaken plants !" said the Apple-branch. "There's a
difference, certainly. And how unhappy they must feel, if those
sort of plants can feel, as I and my equals do! Of course, there
must be a difference, and that difference must be observed, or else
we should be all alike."
And the Apple-branch looked down with a sort of pity, especially
on a kind of flower of which a number could be seen in the fields
and in the ditches. Nobody bound them up in a wreath, for they
were so common: they could even be found among the paving-
stones; they grew up like the commonest weeds: they were dande-
lions, or, as they are called in some countries, dog-flowers."
Poor despised flower! said the Apple-branch. It's not your
fault that you are what you are, that you are so common, and have
such an ugly name. But it's with plants as with people-there
must be a difference."
"A difference I" said the Sunbeam; and he kissed the blooming
Apple-branch, and then he kissed the dandelions out in the fields
AUNT HANNAH TELLS SUCH BEAUTIFUL STORIES
I (I ;
" THERE'S A DIFFERENCE."
likewise; and all the brothers of the Sunbeam kissed the flowers-
the poor ones as well as the rich ones.
The Sunbeam, the ray of light, knew better.
You don't see far; you don't see clear," said he. What is the
flower that you are pitying ?"
The dog-flower," said the Apple-branch. "It's never made up
in a nosegay, and it's trodden underfoot. There are too many of
them, and when they run to seed, the seeds fly like little bits of
wool across the fields, and stick to people's clothes. It's a weed;
but that's what it's intended to be. I am really thankful that I
am not one of those flowers !"
Then there came across the field a whole crowd of children : the
youngest was so small that it was carried by one of the others;
and when it was set down in the grass among the yellow flowers,
it laughed aloud for joy-kicked up its small legs, rolled about
among the yellow flowers, and plucked them and kissed them in
its glee. The older children made chains of the dandelions, and
hung them round their shoulders or fastened them on their heads.
And the largest of all carefully plucked the puffy heads of the
dandelions, and blew at them, to try if they could blow off all the
feathery seeds at one trial. If they could do that, their grand-
mother said, they would have new clothes that year.
Do you see," said the Sunbeam-" do you see its power and
its beauty ?"
"Yes, for children," replied the Apple-branch.
And now an old woman came into the field, and with a blunt
broken knife she dug about the root of the flower, and pulled it
up: some of the roots she intended to keep to make dandelion-tea
for herself, and others she was going to sell to the chemist for
Beauty is a grand thing! said the Apple-branch. Only the
chosen ones are admitted into the region of the beautiful. There's
a difference among plants, as there is a difference among men."
And the Sunbeam spoke of the infinite goodness of GOD that
manifests itself in all created things, and how things are distributed
with wisdom and equality for time and eternity.
THE STORY BOOK.
And people came into the room, and the young Countess ap-
peared-she who had put the Apple-branch so carefully into the
white vase, upon which the sunlight beamed. She brought a
flower, or something of the kind, for the object was hidden by three
or four large leaves arranged round it in the manner of a covering,
so that no draught or puff of wind could hurt it; and it was carried
just as. carefully as the Apple-branch had been. Then the large
leaves were carefully removed, and there appeared the fine round
puff-ball of the dandelion. This it was that the lady had gathered,
and that she carried so carefully, so that not one of the feathery
arrows, which make up its cloudy round and sit so loosely, should
be blown away.
Look how wonderfully beautiful GOD has made it! she said.
"I will paint it together with the Apple-branch. All admire the
Apple-blossom, but this poor flower has received just as much in
another way; and, different as they are, they are both equally
And the Sunbeam kissed the humble flower, and it kissed the
Apple-branch also; and the blossoms of the Apple-branch seemed
The Story Book.
" 7ATE Kate Wherever are you, Kate ?" cried Johnny
SEvans, as he ran to and fro in the garden. Oh, here
you are, Kate! he continued, as his sister, came out
from a shady corner the children used to call their arbour.-
" Now, Kate, you must sit down, and put up your pinafore before
your face; and no peeping will be allowed; and you are to guess
what I have had given me for both of us "
THE STORY BOOK.
And the little man knelt down before the obedient Kate, who,
with her pinafore before her face, sat on the bank, puzzling her
brains to find out what this new present could possibly be. She
guessed everything she could think of; but each time the answer
was "Guess again !" and Johnny kept both his hands behind him
in such a persevering way, that there was no such thing as getting
the slightest peep at what he held. But, at last, when poor Kate
was quite tired of guessing, she cried out joyfully,
I know what it is! I know what it is!"
"And what is it, pray?" asked Johnny.
It's the new story book that was promised you last month; so
now you may just as well bring your hands forward from behind
you, and show it me."
And Kate put down her pinafore from before her face, and looked
at Johnny, and laughed.
It was the new story book-there was no doubt about that. It
was a capital book-full of pictures, and with plenty of stories
about people, and places, and animals. As Kate had taken so much
trouble to guess what this present was, she said that Johnny ought
to read her a story out of the new book; for Johnny was two years
older than Kate: he was eight years old, and she was only just
six; and therefore, of course, he could read much better than she
could, for she had only just gone into words of two syllables. So
the two children settled themselves comfortably in their arbour;
and Johnny took the book, and said,
"Well, what is the story to be about?"
"Oh, look!-let us read this one," said Kate-" this one with
the picture at the top: the picture of all the animals sitting round
as if they were talking together."
So Johnny took the book, and read the story, which we will read
too. It was called-
THE COUNCIL OF THE ANIMALS.
ONCE upon a time, there was a dispute amongst the animals
about their different ranks. The question to be settled was, who
was to be the first among them, and in what order the rest were to
"NO PEEPING !"
THE STORY BOOK.
follow? So they met in council to talk the matter over; and the
Let us ask Man to settle the question. He is not one of us,
and so he will have no interest in the matter, and will judge all
the more fairly."
But has he sense enough ? asked a pert little Mole. There's
a good deal of sense required to find out the hidden talents of some
of us-especially those who live underground."
That was very wisely spoken cried the Marmot; for he, like
the Mole, was in the habit of shutting himself up and hiding his
gifts, such as they were, from the public eye.
And then the Hedgehog put in his word, and said,
Yes, I think, too, that Man is not clever enough."
Be silent, you there! said the Horse. We know very well
that those who have the least right to be considered are always the
first to complain of the ignorance of the judge."
So a Man was chosen as judge. But before he began to hear the
cause, the majestic Lion had a word to say.
"According to what rule, Man," he asked, "are you going to
judge of the rank of us animals ?"
"According to what rule?" replied the Man. "Why, according
to the greater or less degree in which you are useful to me, of
"A fine rule, indeed! said the offended Lion. "According to
that, I should stand far below the Ass. You cannot be our judge,
Man. Leave the council, and go away! "
Accordingly the Man went away from the council of the animals.
There, now! said the fault-finding Mole (and the Marmot and
the Hedgehog agreed with him again), "did I not tell you how it
would be ? The Lion, too, thinks that Man cannot be our judge:
the Lion thinks just as we do."
Yes, but from better reasons than you can give," said the Lion,
and he cast a contemptuous glance upon them.
And then the Mole ran away into his hole, and hid his gifts
underground as he had done before; and the Hedgehog rolled him-
self up into a ball, as if he had been afraid that the Lion would
A STORY OF A BRAVE MAN.
think it worth while to hurt such a little bit of a creature as he;
and the Marmot slunk away too, and went to look after the store
of grain he had hoarded up selfishly, as was his custom, all for
himself to eat in secret; and so these three were seen no more in
the assembly of the animals.
Then the Lion spoke again:
Now that I come to think of it," said he, the dispute about
rank is a foolish and a very useless dispute. You may consider me
the first and highest, or the last and lowest, of the animals, if you
like-what does it matter to me? I know very well what I am-
and a Lion is a Lion, whatever the Moles and the Hedgehogs and
the Asses may say about him!" And so the Lion rose up, and
weht away from the assembly.
Presently there was a great stir, and many of the animals got up
and followed him: the wise Elephant and the bold Tiger, the grave
sturdy Bear and the cunning Fox, and the noble Horse-in short,
all went away who felt that they were something, and therefore
did not need to care what the world thought about them.
But some of the animals remained behind, and were very angry
that the council of the animals should be thus broken up, and the
important question remain unsettled. And those who remained
the longest, and were loudest in their complaints that their merits
should be thus overlooked by the rest, were the Ape and the
A Story of a Brave Man.
HE story I am going to tell you is a true one: it is a story
of a brave and noble deed done by a brave man-a man
who was a true hero though he was only a poor labourer;
and it shows that a peasant may be a hero, and do as grand and
good a thing as any King could do.
A STORY OF A BRAVE MAN.
It was at the end of a long cold winter. The warm blustering
wind that brings the thaw had come at last; and the snow melted
on the mountains, and ran down into the valleys, and from thence
it found its way to the rivers. Now the rivers were covered with
ice; and soon the ice began to heave and split, and to break up
into huge blocks, that were carried along with the stream, melting
as they rolled down in the current, and here and there they were
piled up in great heaps; and as the weight of the water carried
them along, they tore down everything that stood in their way, for
nothing could stand long against the weight of these tremendous
blocks of ice.
Now, there was a bridge with many stone arches across the
stream, and in the midst of the bridge, just over the centre arch,
there stood a house, or rather cottage. This was the toll-house, at
which all who passed across the bridge had to pay their toll; and
in this house lived the toll-man, who took the money from those
who walked or rode or drove over the bridge. And with him there
dwelt his old mother and his wife and six children.
One evening, when the old grandmother sat dozing before the
fire, while several of the children played about the room by the
firelight, the toll-man came in with an anxious face. And he had
cause to be anxious; for the great blocks of ice were rolling down
the river, which had been swollen by the great quantity of melted
snow that had rolled down into it from the hills. Some of the
blocks were so broad and thick, that they could not get through
the arches of the bridge; and, strong as the bridge was, it began
to groan and tremble under the tremendous blows of the blocks of
ice as they came driving against it.
The toll-man was thinking that he had better take all his family
out of the house, and get to the bank of the river, when suddenly
there was a great crash! The arches nearest the shore on one side
had given way, and fell into the river, so that there was no getting
away on that side ; and a few minutes after a similar crash told
that the arches on the other side had given way also ; so that only
the middle part of the bridge remained standing; and there was
no escape for the toll-man and his family to the bank on either
ON THE EDGE OF THE STORM.
A STORY OF A BRA VE MAN.
side. There they were, with the raging current running on each
side between them and the shore; and how to get to land they
Then the toll-man climbed to the roof of his house, and looked
out in despair at the wild tumult of winds and waves. He called
as loud as he could for some one to come and save him and his
family. And the cries he uttered were heard by the people on each
side of the river, for he shouted as only a man in mortal fear can
shout. And presently a great crowd had assembled on each side
of the broken bridge, and there was a great running to and fro,
and crying for a boat to go and bring the poor toll-man and his
family ashore. But no one dared put out in a boat among those
terrible blocks of ice and amid that fearful storm; and while they
thus stood debating what was best to be done, new blocks of ice
came rolling down with the stream, and one arch of the bridge after
another gave way and crumbled down into the river, until only
three of four of the arches in the middle remained standing with
the toll-man's house upon them.
Presently a great nobleman, a Count who lived not far off, came
riding up on his black horse. He thought the people might be in-
duced by some great reward to put off a boat to the rescue of the
poor family; therefore he held on high a purse full of gold, so that
every one might see it; and he cried out, in a voice that was heard
above the howling of the wind, declaring that the two hundred
pieces of gold in this purse should be given to any one who suc-
ceeded in saving the toll-keeper and his family from the terrible
peril they were in.
For a time there was no reply to the offer of the generous Count.
The danger seemed too great, and was becoming greater every
moment; for already the few arches that remained began to groan
and totter, and it became plain to all that they and the frail house
they supported would soon fall into the river.
But presently there was a movement in the crowd, and forth
stepped a labouring man, tall and strong to look upon, and clad in
a plain blue smock frock. He saw the extremity of the peril, and
bravely resolved to risk his life to save the lives of that poor family.
HONESTY IS BEST.
With strong steady courage he pushed off a boat into the raging
river. In spite of all the perils of the ice-blocks, the waves and the
wind, he reached the centre arch, and called to the poor family to
come down into his boat and be saved. But the boat was far too
small and frail to carry all the family at once. The brave peasant
had to make three several journeys, and to take a few off each time;
and every time the danger became greater, for the house itself was
now falling, and great fragments of brick and masonry came crash-
ing down into the river, threatening to sink the frail bark to the
bottom. But still the brave man persevered.
At last he had taken all the sufferers off the tottering arch; and
just as he landed them on the bank, amid a tremendous cheer from
the crowd, while a hundred arms were held forth to seize the boat
and assist the occupants to come ashore-just as the last had landed
the centre arch gave way, and the last fragments fell down and
disappeared beneath the raging waters !
Here, my brave friend," said the Count, "here is your money:
take it, for you have earned it nobly."
But the peasant replied, in simplicity and honesty,
I do not sell my life for gold. Though I am a poor man, my
labour is enough to support me. Give your gold to the poor toll-
keeper, who has lost his home and all his property this fearful day."
And so saying, he waved his hand as a farewell, and went away.
And that is the true story of the brave man."
Honesty is Best.
DO you know where Holstein is ? If not, I will tell you, and
you will know another time. Holstein is a part of Ger-
many, and lies in the north of that country by the North
Sea or German Ocean, and the other side is near the Baltic Sea.
HONESTY IS BEST.
The chief town in Holstein is called Kiel. It is not far from the
sea, and many ships go there.
Now, at Kiel many years ago there lived the family of a ship-
captain, whose name was Jan Steffens. Jan had four children, and
had the misfortune to lose his wife when the youngest was only a
year old. So his old mother, Dame Christina, lived with him in
his comfortable house at Kiel, and took care of the children; for
Jan was away most of his time sailing to Russia, or returning from
thence in his ship, in which he used to carry cargoes of deal planks
and many other things. Dame Christina was very fond of the
children, and the little people clung to her as if she had been their
real mother, and she was seldom seen without all the four round
But a great misfortune came upon the family. One dark night,
as Jan Steffens was sailing homeward in his ship, thinking, no
doubt, of his children and of his old mother, and of the joy they
would feel at seeing him again, his ship suddenly ran upon a rock,
and soon broke to pieces ; and poor Jan Steffens and nearly all his
crew were drowned. Only three sailors escaped in a boat, and they
brought the sad news of the death of the captain and the loss of
his ship to Kiel.
Poor Dame Christina had a hard task before her now, for she
was the only friend the poor orphans had to look up to. The house
in which they lived fortunately was the captain's own; so she
stayed there with the children, and turned it into a kind of lodging-
house or inn, where sea-captains used to stop for a few days when
they came to Kiel, or sometimes they only came for an hour or
two, to dine or sup with their friends.
One evening several strangers, whom she knew by their talk to
be Dutch sea-captains, came and took supper at her house, and the
next morning she found a sealed packet under the table at which
they had sat. She was surprised at this, and saw that one of the
company must have forgotten this packet; but, as she had heard
them say that they intended to sail away with the next tide, it was
of no use going out in search of them. So the good woman put
the packet in her cupboard, intending to keep it there till it was
OLD DAME CHRISTINA AND HER GRANDCHILDREN.
HONESTY IS BEST.
asked for. But year after year went by, and no inquiry was made.
She could tell by the weight and shape of the packet that it was
full of money; and many times during the next few years she felt
sorely tempted to open it; for it was a hard task to bring up the
four young children, and often she hardly knew where to turn to
get them food and clothing.
But she managed to bring them up honestly for all that; and so
no less than seventeen years had rolled by, when one evening a
party of four strangers came to her house. Three of them were
Englishmen, and the fourth was a Dutchman. As they sat talking
over their wine, she heard one of the Englishmen ask the Dutch-
man if he had ever been at Kiel before.
Certainly I have," he answered: I know the place only too
well. I was here once before, and it cost me seven hundred dollars."
How was that?" asked his companion.
Why, I went to supper at some place or other, and left a parcel
with just that sum in it behind me; and I never got it again."
Was the packet sealed?" asked old Christina, who had been
sitting in a corner of the room, listening, as may be supposed, to
Yes, indeed it was, and with this very seal on my watch-chain
The old dame looked at the seal, and knew it in a moment.
Well," she said, with the help of this seal, I think you '11 get
back what you have lost."
Get it back, mother! No, I 'm too old to expect that. There's
not so much honesty in the world."
While the four men were thus talking the matter over, Christina
had gone out, and now she came in again with the packet in her
See there she said, as she laid it on the table. "Perhaps
honesty is not so rare in the world as you think."
The astonishment of the guests was very great, as the reader
may suppose. As for the Dutchman, he seized the packet, broke
it open, took one dollar out, and laid it down on the table, with his
best thanks to his hostess.
A STORY ABOUT A BEAR.
But, then, one of the Englishmen, who looked more surprised than
'ever, struck the table with his fist, and declared that this would
You shall pay the old lady a hundred dollars for her honesty! "
he cried, "or else you don't take that packet away."
The Dutchman at first refused, and after a long debate, consented
to give fifty dollars, at the same time he declared they were treat-
ing him very unhandsomely in forcing him to do any such thing.
"No, indeed," cried the English captain, who had just made
the proposal. It's true the money does not belong to us; but
an Englishman doesn't like to see an unjust action, and this old
lady has been more than honest in the matter. Here with the
packet! I '11 settle the matter."
So said, so done. Before the Dutchman, who was quite bewil-
dered at this summary process, had time to say a word, one hundred
dollars were counted out on the table, and these the Englishman
desired old Christina to accept; and the Dutchman assented,
,though with not the best grace in the world.
A Story about a Bear.
HE children had been playing with their Noah's Ark until
they were tired. They had ranged the animals in two
rows, to make a procession into the ark, with Shem, Ham,
and Japheth going first, and Noah and his wife following; and one
of them had the bear in his hand, and was wondering at the square
heavy look of the animal, when Uncle Brown, as they called him,
came into the room. This Uncle Brown had been a great traveller,
and had lived for some years very far away in the backwoods of
A STORY ABOUT A BEAR.
"Aha! little people," he said, "you are looking at the bear. I
know a story about a real bear, and I will tell it you."
All the children came crowding around him; and this was Uncle
I had been wandering in the American forest all day; and at
evening I came to a small wooden house, that stood quite by itself
far away from any other. As I knew the people in these parts are
always glad to see a stranger, I lifted the latch, and stepped into
The first thing that I noticed, on entering, was a bear-skin of
great size, that seemed to be quite fresh and damp. In the kitchen
I noticed several women busy salting meat and laying it in a tub.
A merry brisk boy of seven years old was helping them. Fishing-
nets and guns were hung all round the walls, and a stuffed eagle
hung from the ceiling. The boy opened the door of a parlour,
where his father, who was sitting in an arm-chair, welcomed me
kindly. He asked pardon for not rising, but said he had met with
The boy placed an arm-chair for me on the other side of the
fire-place. Presently a girl brought us tea and toast. We soon
began to talk, and my host told me about his accident. He said:
Last week I went out with my gun, to shoot ducks. On my way
home, when the sun was already setting, I saw a bear of unusual
size (you must have noticed his skin outside) trotting along quite
comfortably in front of me. I had some small shot in my gun,
and fired at him. He fell down; but got up again directly, and
ran to a rocky glen, where I supposed he lived. It was too late
to follow him up, and I had no more powder and lead with me.
But I thought, 'If I can't catch him to-day, I will to-morrow.'
"A bear is well worth having. His skin is very useful, and his
fat is good for various things-and smoked bear ham is a capital
dish. All night long I thought of my bear, and next morning
early I went out in search of him. It was no use taking the gun,
for I had not a grain of powder in the house, and would have to
send far to get any. So I armed myself with a hay-fork and an
GETTING TIRED OF NOAH'S ARK.
*-, f i