The mirage man

Material Information

The mirage man
Series Title:
Firelight stories
Jenness, Theodora Robinson, 1846-
D. Lothrop & Company ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
D. Lothrop and Company
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : ill. ; 18 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1882 ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1882 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1882
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Publisher's advertisements follow text.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Theodora R. Jenness ; and other stories by famous authors ; illustrated.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026825620 ( ALEPH )
ALH2548 ( NOTIS )
21419907 ( OCLC )

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:I c ni

* The Bi\ '
ad m LFlbriay


ae "

~R~c3-< ^.***11"



YOU would never guess how to tell which was Pet
and which was Pearl; for they were twins, ex-
actly of a size, and both blue-eyed and golden-haired,
-in fact, so near alike that mamma Lovejoy herself
was sometimes quite bewildered by the pretty
Yet there was a difference. Hidden away in one
of Pearl's teeth, as white and dainty as the jewel
from which she had derived her name, was a tiny
lump of gold.
I'm Pearl, and you can tell me by my toof-ache,"
was the way the little creature sometimes introduced
The twins were Boston children. Papa Lovejoy
had brought them to the prairie with their sweet pale
mother, who had left the crowded city in search of


the bloom of health that had vanished from her
cheek. And that was how Pet and Pearl saw the
Mirage Man.
He was such a wonderful, wonderful creature!
The Mirage Man could shape himself from anybody
riding out against the clear sunlit horizon on a sum-
mer's day. Even Smut Patch, the black herdsboy,
mounted on his tiny mustang, seemed a giant horse-
man to the blue eyes of the two small gazers in the
cabin door.
Mr. Lovejoy had often explained to them the mirage
of the prairie which caused the wonderful illusion; and
seizing the fancy with their strong imaginations Pet
and Pearl had named the mystery, the Mirage Man."
Such magical things as they believed this being
capable of doing! The prairie over which he rode
grew green beneath his horse's feet, and all springs
from which he stooped to drink would sparkle cool
and deep always after. It was even whispered
between Pet and Pearl that the Mirage Man
could turn whole fields of parsnips into lumps of gold.
"The drouth grows worse and worse," said Mr.
Lovejoy one midsummer morning. "The crops are


fairly gasping for a drop of moisture, and the springs
are almost dry."
Mrs. Lovejoy looked troubled, and.Pet and Pearl,
sitting in the shadow of the little vine-wreathed porch,
listened and felt seriously concerned. Down upon
the prairie the sun seemed pouring liquid fire. In
the fields the crisp brown corn-blades clashed like two-
edged swords.
"Oh dear dear sighed Pet; "I'm afraid we've
done something awful wicked, like the Egyptians,
and so the drouth-plague has come."
"Pet," said Pearl, leaning near, and speaking in a
low mysterious voice, "there's the Mirage Man, you
"To be sure," returned Pet, brightening. "I
reckon he would help us if we could find him."
"Yes," said Pearl, "I know he'd come and drink
the dregs of our spring, and turn it back into a nice
cool fountain. Wouldn't it be beautiful to lead
mamma down there when she was so thirsty, with her
eyes shut tight, and let her open them to find the
rock-bowl running over with water cold as ice and
"clear as moonlight!"


It was indeed a refreshing vision. The children
dwelt upon it until not the shadow of a doubt re-
mained that, if they could find him, the Mirage Man
would transform their homestead into an oasis on the
drouthy prairie.
Away across the sun-scorched lowland was a ridge
that seemed to reach to heaven, crowned with dark-
green foliage, which always looked as if a shower had
lately fallen over it. Pet pointed to it now:
"Do you remember the deep ravine we found over
there when we went wonder-hunting with papa last
spring? I think the Mirage Man probably lives
down there, for he always rides right over that ridge
and out of sight. Do you believe it would be
naughty if we should walk over and hunt him up,
without telling mamma a word about it to spoil the
nice surprise?"
"No-o," answered Pearl a little doubtfully.
At last, assured by each other, Pet and Pearl
decided to slip away in search of the Mirage
Early the next morning, after their papa had gone
out into the corn-field, and mamma was busy in the


summer kitchen adjoining the cabin, they put on
their sun-bonnets and took their little twin umbrellas,
and started on their pilgrimage.
It was a long and toilsome walk; but they tramped
bravely on until they reached the ridge. Climbing to
the summit they were not long in finding the ravine.
In the little narrow valley everything looked fresh
and lovely. Wild flowers were growing there, and
underneath the bending grasses at the bottom could
be heard the sound of trickling water. Overhanging
trees filled the ravine with long cool shadows.
The children scrambled down the bank and found
a spring, which to their delight was welling deep,
clear, and deliciously cold. They quenched their
thirst and dipped their tiny feet into the brook that
gurgled from the rock basin, and then peered through
every bush, and even peeped beneath the grass; but
the Mirage Man was invisible.
"Perhaps," said Pet, with a slight shade of. disap-
pointment on her sunny face, he's gone off on a little
journey and will be back soon. Here's a bed of
something that smells so nice and sweet. Let's rest
on it awhile, and watch for him."


Sitting down in the midst of the fragrant herbs, they
waited patiently. At length the sound of footsteps
was distinctly heard.
Pet and Pearl peered forward eagerly; but instead
of the grand strong form and kindly face they had ex-
pected, they saw a weird figure wrapped in a scarlet
blanket, and a painted face too disagreeable for de-

Now it was none other than the old Indian doctor,
Wo-ho, out searching for the herbs with which he
worked his cures. And it chanced that Pet and Pearl
had ensconced themselves directly in the middle of
the wild-sage bed from which Doctor Wo-ho had
plucked his "medicine bush" for unnumbered
Half-way down the bank the doctor's glance fell
upon the wee pale-faces looking up at him with wide,
frightened eyes. He stopped suddenly, uttering a
deep guttural which sounded like this:
"Ugh / Wajatotaquahaya, ugh I"
He then strode nearer, and with a strong swoop
lifted them quite out of the wild-sage bed, landing
them some distance up the bank.


"Please, sir, are you the Mirage Man?" Pet at
length found voice to say.
Umr! chekaquetatokoo, ugh!"
I don't say that this is just what Doctor Wo-ho an-
swered, but that this is how it sounded to -the chil-
dren's frightened ears.
Doctor Wo-ho filled a curious bag to overflowing
with the potent herb. Flinging this across his
shoulder, he next snatched up Pet and Pearl, and
bore his various burdens off to a mustang pony that
stood champing his bits with savage restlessness.
Placing the little girls before him on the pony's back,
Doctor Wo-ho rode away toward the cabin in the
timber where he lived with Mistress Wa-hoo and her
Mistress Wa-hoo was making Indian podge in an
old black pot perched upon some crutches near the
cabin, and the pappooses were watching her with the
greediness of starving cayotes.
Doctor Wo-ho lifted the little girls to the ground,
and pointing to them, said something, to which the
squaw responded:
"Ugh! White pappoose-ee lost. Heap bad."


With this, she began dishing up the podge in the
queerest of wooden bowls, offering one to Pet and
Pearl. They did not dare refuse it, although nothing
could now tempt the hungry little wanderers. Doctor
Wo-ho and the pappooses ate with a keen relish, after
which the Indian mother devoured the remainder of
the feast.
Dinner over, Doctor Wo-ho stretched himself to
sleep, while his wife started into the timber in search
of fire-wood, leaving the little pale-faced guests in
charge of the pappooses.
After playing and quarrelling awhile, the pappooses
scampered off into the woods, leaving Pet and Pearl
alone before the cabin door.
"Oh these frightful, frightful creatures! Do you
suppose they're really mirages?" Pet whispered.
"No," said Pearl. "I think they're the Indians
we heard about when we first came from Boston. I
don't believe they mean to hurt us, but," glancing at
the doctor who was snoring loudly, "if we should run
as fast as ever we could, maybe we could get away
before the rest of them came back."
Linking hands, they scudded away as fast as their


feet could carry them. Once out upon the prairie,
they ran until they had passed over a little ridge
which hid them from the cabin. Here they stopped
a moment to take breath and look about for the di-
rection home.
We'll never find it in the midst of this great burn-
ing wilderness. We shall wander about and die, and
the prairie chickens will cover us with grass and
rosin-flowers," wailed Pet, with pathetic remem-
brance of the fate of the immortal Babes in the
"I'm more afraid of that Indian man catching us
again," said Pearl; "but look, oh, look!" her tone
changing to quick excitement, "'that's him, that's
"The Indian ?" gasped Pet, clutching Pearl's arm in
an agony of fear.
"No, the Mirage Man-see, see!"
In the distance appeared what seemed to be a giant
horseman riding directly toward the children.
In spite of the awe which filled them at the actual
prospect of meeting the true Mirage Man, they ran
forward, waving their umbrellas wildly in the air. To


their surprise the rider and his horse dwindled upon
near approach until they assumed the size of ordinary
"Why, it's papa on old Katy!" Pet cried with
joyful astonishment.
It was indeed papa Lovejoy searching almost
frantically for his lost babies.
That night Pet and Pearl awoke to hear the patter
of real rain-drops on the cabin roof..
"What wicked twins we were," whispered Pearl
remorsefully, "to trust the Mirage Man that isn't
anybody, when God has got whole floods of rain that
he can pour down on us any minute!"


SHEN Rix Hart was nine, his family moved
from Chautauqua Lake to Alabama, where
he was at the time he was sent upon his first errand.
This was -when he was ten. Mr. Dill, happening
overnight at Mr. Hart's, had traded for Selim.
Rix was to go home with Mr. Dill and ride back the
new horse.
His lonely plantation-life made this prospective
trip of thirty-six miles such a joy that he forgot to
be sorry about parting with Selim. Straight after
breakfast he began with an air of importance to get
ready. A "snack" of ham and beaten biscuits was
put in one side the saddlebags, the horse's snack
being in the other.
He said good-by to all the folks as if he had
little hope of ever seeing them again. Then he


lugged the saddlebags out, led Selim alongside the
horse-block, and was mounted when his father and
Mr. Dill came out.
"Look sharp, Rix, so that you can find the way
back," the father cautioned.
Mr. Dill promised to point out the landmarks, and
the travellers started down the lane, Selim briskly
trotting, shaking Rix about in the father's big sad-
dle, the saddlebags flopping like heavy wings. But
Rix didn't mind, he was interested. The road, after
the first few miles, was new to him. It soon became
wild and lonely, leading through miles of forest with
hardly a settlement, over long hills and about
steep ones. Now and then Mr. Dill called attention
to some waymark, and occasionally, at a cross-
road or fork, labelled Rix' way by a broken
bough, or by blazing a sapling with his strong
knife. At noon they stopped to lunch, and decided
to tie up till the fierce heat should begin to abate.
Hungry as Rix was, he did not unbuckle the lunch
side of the saddlebags till he had put an armful of
corn before dear old Selim.
It was three when they restarted and six when


they reached Mr. Dill's. The log-house had two
main rooms, connected with a square open pas-
sage, while a third apartment formed a wing. Rix
washed in. a noggin which stood on a bench in
the passage, beside a piggin of spring-water, on
whose surface floated a gourd dipper. He was put
to bed between the two Mr. Dills, one of whom
occupied the wing, while the other slept in the open
passage on a cot.
You'll not be afraid with a man on each side of
you! said his Mr. Dill jocosely.
Rix said he was not afraid, and he was not while
the candles were burning. But when the house was
dark and quiet, and he heard the croaking of frogs
in the bottom" and the melancholy howling of a
dog down towards the negro quarters, he felt
homesick; and then he remembered to cry because,
in the morning, he was to leave Selim.
He was travel-worn, however, and soon fell asleep
despite a heavy supper, mosquitoes and a warm
room. But he had scary dreams: he was chased by
a lion; he heard its panting breath and heavy growls;
saw it crouched to spring upon him; but before it


leaped and ate him up, he woke. Where was he?
What were those terrible sounds? Were they
indeed the growls of a lion, or of two lions ? for the
sounds came from two directions. What were
they? Strange they were, indescribable, like the
sleepy snarlings of two wild animals. He sat up in
bed, staring into the dark, and shaking as he did
when he had the ague. He listened till he felt sure
that he was between two horrible creatures--that
they were mates answering each other.
Determined to escape from the dreadful unknown,
he gathered up his clothes, climbed out the open win-
dow and ran through the wet grass he knew not
whither- anywhere away from those dreadful
sounds. Down in the corner of the yard he felt his
way into his clothes. Then he stood there and
quaked awhile. Next he went feeling his way along.
the fence; suddenly he stopped with the thought that
he ought not to leave the Dills in peril: the what-
ever-it-was might devour them he ought to go back
and warn them.
But I can't! I can't! I don't dare he thought.
Suddenly a light appeared in a negro cabin in the


next lot. I'll go there and tell," he decided, and
directly began to climb the rail fence.
Rix was afraid of strange negroes; he had been
but one year at the South, and was not used to the
black faces and uncouth features, as are native south-
ern children.
It was a great trial to go to that cabin. It seemed
as if there was a run-away negro there who had
come up from the thicket for something to eat. Per-
haps that was his wife's cabin and perhaps she was
cooking his supper. But dreadful as it was to go to
the cabin, it was more dreadful to go back to the house.
Trembling, he kept on towards the light. He saw a
black woman moving about in the hut-at the chimney-
place where light wood was burning with a high flame.
At the open door Rix stood in shadow against the
cabin, with just his head advanced, and saw her
fumbling with cooking vessels on the^dirt hearth.
What could she be doing at this hour when every-
body else was asleep ? She was either cooking for
some run-away whom she was harboring, he con-
cluded, or she was making some conjuring mixture.
He had heard about negro conjurers putting their


enemies under spell. His mother had told him that
there was no such thing as conjuring or witchcraft,
and in the daytime, he felt sure there was not; but
at night it was hard not to be afraid there was; so he
stood watching the negro's movements in fascinated
terror. But as the blaze fell full upon her face, he
discovered that she was the cook who had brought in
the fresh egg-bread at supper. In the same moment
she saw his white face and wonder-stretched eyes.
They stared at each other a moment, and then she
recognized him.
"Mussy sakes, honey, what's de matter!" she cried.
"What yo' doin' out yere dis time night ? Mus' be
pass midnight, jedgin' by how my light rolls is riz.
What yo' wants anyhow?"
"There's something awful at the house !"
"Law's-a-mussy, honey, what is it? "
"It's a terrible noise. I'm afraid it will eat the
folks up."
How does it go ?"
"Goes like a lion."
"Law, did yo' eber yere a ro'in' lion ?" aunt
Nervy asked in wonder and admiration.


"No," Rix said meekly; and then added," Come
see what 'tis."
Mussy I" said Nervy stoutly, "I don't wishes to
be e't up by nuffin what goes like a ro'in' lion.
Wait, I'll wake up my ole man," she added in a tone
of relief, as if she could provide one who did wish to
be "e't up." Sam's tolerbul haud to wake up: always
haf tow take a gou'd 'er water to 'im; hollerin' an'
shakin' don't do no good."
Sam was waked, and one of the children. Then
Nervy headed the rescue with a flaming pine knot
to shine the creature's eyes, and the pot-hooks to
kill it. Rix had the oven-lid; then came Sam with a
pot of scalding water and Andy with a stool-leg.
They crept along without noise, except for aunt Ner-
vy's frequent orders for silence. They brought up
in the rectangle between the wing and the pas-
sage. There they listened, staring and peering
about by the flaring pine knot. Sure enough there
were loud sounds from the wing and from the
"Don't you hear it ?" Rix said in an eager, scared


"Don't yere nuffin 'cep' Mossa an' Moss Jeems
sno'in'. Is dem what yo' means ?"
"I expect so," said Rix, feeling cheap.
Sam and Andy laughed, not inaudibly, to them-
"Didn't yo' neffer yere no pusson sno'e buffo' ?"
Sam asked.
"I don't expect I did," said Rix in a tone of
"Oughter yere mammy sno'e," said Andy with
another laugh.
"Hush you' mouf, yo' degen'ate mottle," said aunt
Nervy. "I don't neber sno'e. G'long tow dat dar
cabin an go tow sleep. What biznez yo' got up dis
time er night ?" Then she turned to Rix. "Yo' go
lay down, honey : dey's jis sno'in'."
But Rix could not sleep between two muttering
clouds. He tossed and tossed; counted a hundred
backwards; said the multiplication table backwards;
declined penna backwards; put his fingers in his
ears. At length, he again felt his way into his
trousers, and again went into the dewy night; wan
dered vaguely about the still yard; went over to the

i`::.:i~iL~iii0 1Mi

-PF~'~=Fz=~,=----N, OEM;




V -


cabin. Nervy was nodding over the oven where her
light rolls were rising. Rix spoke to her:
"Aunty, I can't sleep where all that snoring is."
Poo' little honey! she said in a voice of com-
passion. "Yo's mighty pestered, airn't yo' ? Looky
yere: I'll make yo' a pallet on my floo'. Den I'll
see dat no pusson doan pester wid sno'in': got tow
sot up wid my light rolls anyhow;" and she started to
the house for pillow and quilt.
Do you sit up with the rolls all night ?" he asked
as she made the pallet.
Law, yes, honey: dey wouldn't wuck light ef dey
wasn't sot up wif. Dey's jis like niggers: won't
wuck 'cep' dey's watched. If I goes tow sleep, light
rolls goes tow sleep. Now yo' pallet's ready." She
settled herself on a low stool as if settled for life, and
went on in a drowsy tone: "Got tow set up wid
light rolls; it's mighty lonesome; heap ruther set up
wid sick folks; den der's cryin' and groanin' tow
muze yo'. Got to set up wid um ef 'tain't muzin';
always knows a sot-up-wid roll. Go tow sleep, honey,
won't let no pusson sno'e; got tow keep 'wake. I
goes tow sleep, light-rolls goes "


The voice ceased. All in the cabin were sleep-
ing but one wretched boy. It seemed to him that
all the world had gone off into happy slumber and
left him to wide-awake misery. What would tidy
grandma in Chautauqua do if she could know of
him in that stifling little negro cabin! It would keep
her from sleeping.
"But what is that?" cried Rix's uneasy heart, as
a deep sound came from the fireplace. "What
is it ?" Mercy and pity! Nervy was snoring "HONG-
Oh for his cot bed in the shed-room at home!
He had complained of it, away from the other
sleepers; now it seemed a sweet refuge. He rose
up and sat on the pallet with a hunted feeling. Then
he went out-doors and roamed slowly about. He sat
a while on a stump, and another while on the smoke-
house sill. Then the moon came up: he discovered
a gate; he swung on it, creaking, creaking, till it
broke down. Then there was a return to the cabin.
Nervy was zealously snoring by the oven. Gathering
the quilt and pillow, he climbed the rail fence with
them, and returned to the house: the snoring,


there was indescribable. He sat on the doorstep,
nursing the quilt and pillow, and meditated, Wonder
if I've got to sit up all night. How long is it to day-
break? I believe I'll try the barn."
The pillow was tucked under one arm, the other
trailed the quilt through the garden to the stable.
Here he recognized brown Selim, who seemed like
a friend in a strange land. He petted the horse and
hugged it, and said piteously, "Are you a snorer,
Selim? Will you wake me if I lie here in the
fodder ?"
It was a warm place, and fleas found him out.
With quilt and pillow he soon returned to the house.
The snorers were snoring as if they never meant to
stop. Helpless, bewildered, he wandered out to the
front gate and coiled himself on the horse-block.
But the cramped position soon proved intolerable.
So he again took up his bed and tramped, tramped.
He came to the kitchen, an open shed sixty feet
from the house. Here there was a long smooth
slab of oak on four legs, table fashion. It was of
perilous height for a bed, but there the quilt was
spread and the dizzy head laid,


A hand on his shoulder waked him in the gray
"Sakes, honey," aunt Nervy was saying. "What
yo' doing' up yere on my biscuit-block ?"
He had actually made his bed on the slab-table
where, morning and night, aunt Nervy, with the roll-
ing-pin, was used to beating her biscuit light. He
hastened to vacate the biscuit-block.
What made yo' run 'way arter I dun made yo' a
fust-rate pallet on my cabin floo'?" Nervy paused
for a reply.
Rix hesitated to explain; but, at length, said,
Somebody in the cabin snored so I couldn't sleep."
"'Twas dat dar Sam: kep' me wake too. Neber
slep' a solitary wink las' night."
Rix did not dispute this statement, which aunt
Nervy herself doubtless considered truthful.

Before Rix had made a half-mile of his return trip,
he began to feel lonely, for the road had entered deep
woods. He had heard that there were wolves in the
wilds; he knew there were Indians somewhere in the
region; while run-away negroes were always about.


In less than an hour he began to fear that he was
lost, and before noon he had five times retraced por-
tions of his way, seeking to re-assure himself. In the
middle of the afternoon his vague fear became alarm:
he was sure he had not crossed such a creek as he
had then come to, at least not at that point.
The horse plunged in for a drink. When he lifted
his nostrils and snorted his satisfaction, he was
reined about: the way was retraced to the nearest
fork. Here the other turn was taken. As it led
through woods, it did not seem unfamiliar, so Rix
went briskly forward, hoping that he was on the right
Milhs o., as it seemed, he came to another fork.
There was not a mark to influence his choice. He
took the right-hand road. It did not look familiar;
it did not look unfamiliar. He rode for another
weary stretch, his heart heavy with misgiving. Then
he came upon a rude bridge of logs over a ravine.
His heart seemed to stop. He knew he was astray.
Back, back, back, he went to the last fork, and took
the left road. He tried to persuade himself that it
looked familiar, and yet it was leading on into forest


denser than any he had remembered to have trav-
ersed with Mr. Dill. But perhaps it seemed denser
because the shadows were lengthening and it was
cooler. The sun was sinking, the birds were begin-
ing to stir from the heat-shelters. Rix ought to be
near his home, but he discerned vaguely that he was
not. He whipped the horse into a trot, and tried to
hope that he was not astray.
But when, after another long ride, he came into a
noticeable piece of rocky, down-grade road, he knew
that he had lost his way, and that far back beyond
the nearest fork, beyond the second, beyond the'
third. He remembered now that he had not felt cer-
tain of his way since passing the spot where he and
Mr. Dill had lunched. He was lost, and the sun was
low behind the trees. It would be dark long before
he could possibly recover his way, even if he could at
all in the night. He knew there was no house on the
back road for a long distance where he could stay
over night. He would probably sooner overtake a
settlement by going ahead. He accordingly went for-
ward, keeping his senses on the qui vive to any hint
of human life. But there he found only a rough road


piercing thick woods, to show that any human
being had ever been on the ground before. Only
this till the way began leading under a. line of
Then he heard the next thing to a human sound.
With a sudden whoa! he halted the horse, listening.
It came from above, frbm the top of the cliffs, and
back. It was the bark of a dog. Was there a settle-
ment up there ? He looked up the steep: it was
wall-like. Perhaps the road might lead gradually
around and up the elevation to a clearing, where
he might find shelter for the night. With this hope
Rix urged the horse forward.
But as he rode the sound of the barking grew
fainter and fainter. The road began to bear away
from the cliff-line. With an instinct to keep near this
probable human habitation, he turned back to the
spot where he had heard the dog baying. Again he
heard the bark of dogs. There must be a human
habitation on the heights. How was it to be reached ?
In both directions the road led from it. If he could
only find a spot where he could climb up I He rode
back and forth, seeking for such a spot. Then he tied


the horse and tramped about, looking for such, and
he found something. A tree which had stood some
twenty-five feet from the base of the cliff had fallen
against the cliff. The boughs had been trimmed off,
and there was the clipped trunk at an angle of forty
degrees perhaps, one end against the stump, the other
against the cliff- a ready-made ladder, the crotches
where the branches had been, making the stepping
places. He began the climb, which was one of dan-
ger; for it was now dusk, and he had to feel his way
from crotch to crotch. More than once his head
swam at thought of his dizzy height. He wondered
if the ladder's top was securely lodged, and if it would
land him clear up on the table.
But all his' questions were soon answered, for in
due time his head was above the crest, and he was
looking eagerly over the landscape. He saw many
lights pale, for it was less dark up there than at
the ladder's foot. He discerned what looked like
houses. He heard horses, and saw. them. He saw'
people moving about. He decided that he had come
upon a plantation negro quarter. He was greatly
excited between hope and fear as he went toward the

lights. On nearer view he perceived that what he
had taken for houses were bush tents, and that the
people he had seen were not negroes, neither were
they whites. He had never seen an Indian, but he
knew beyond all doubt that he had come upon an
Indian village. The instant he realized this, he
turned and ran like a deer to the ladder, wondering
that he had not recognized it at the start as an Indian
ladder. He had heard that it was common for these
children of the forest, in crossing a broken country, to
improvise such ladders instead of going around cliffs
and steeps.
Rix hastened down the crotches, going backward,
and watching the crest, half expecting to see it sud-
denly alive with a crowd of braves. Quickly climb-
ing into the saddle, he gave the reins to the horse.
The trusted animal started off with a firm assured
step, as if to say, "Now this is sensible. I know what I
am about, however befuddled you maybe, Master Rix."
It was soon utterly dark. Rix, strain his eyes as
he would, could not see an inch; but the horse held
on with confident pace. Rix kept a lookout for any
light which might indicate a settlement,


"I'll let him go as long as I can keep awake," he
decided, "and then I'll tie up and lie down in the
woods till morning." On and on went the horse
through the pitchy darkness, but whether toward
Chautauqua Lake or Mobile Bay, whether towards
the Rocky Mountains or the Alleghanies, Rix had no
idea. Thus passed hours, or what seemed such to
the weary, lonely boy. He thought it must be mid-
night, yet he had not seen a light. Every-
body is in bed and the candles out," he thought. He
was beginning to nod in the saddle, being jostled
back to consciousness by the occasional plunge of the
horse into some unevenness. Once he found himself
tilted almost out of the saddle as the horse climbed
a sharp steep.
The moon had come up during his nap, but it gave
little light, for the sky was full of clouds. But they
were floating clouds; they sometimes parted, showing
a boat-shaped moon that seemed sailing :on weird
waters to some port of mystery. Rix was almost
decided to tie up till morning, lest he might be
spilled out and hurt. Soon after, a rift in the clouds
showed that the road was running alongside a fence.


He was at some settlement! He took heart at this
and tried to get wide awake. In a few moments
the horse came to a stand, and uttered a long, loud
whinny as if calling upon sleepers to get up and
help two tired hungry creatures. He waited as if
listening for a reply. Rix, too, listened, and he heard
something, for the air was moist and all nature
seemed silent. It was a faint sound because of the
distance, but it was unmistakable- a snoring exactly
like that which he had heard the previous night. He
felt satisfied that he was back at Mr. Dill's. Of
course he was. There was nothing more natural than
for the horse, given his will, to return to his old
Rix looked over to the right where aunt Nervy's
cabin should be if he was at the front gate, as he
conjectured. Yes, there it was, showing by a faint
light as from a low fire. He swung from the saddle.
The horse uttered another call as he was tied to the
hitching-rack. Rix hastened over to the cabin and
looked in at the open door. Sure enough it was
aunt Nervy's domicile; and there, snoring beside her
light rolls, was aunt Nervy herself.


He went in and gently waked her. She was start-
led, but she responded with ready sympathy when
she had heard the boy's story.
She waked Sam, and ordered him to g'long an'
tote dat dar hause tow de bawn."
"Yo' come 'long tow de house, honey; I'll make
a pallet in de passage," she said to Rix.
He suggested that the snorers would keep him
"I'll tell yo', honey : when yo' lay down, shet you
eyes, den imaginee you's getherin' pussimmouses, an'
doan think uv possums, an' de fuss thing yo' knows
yo's fass-er sleep, shu's yo' bawn."
Rix was very tired, though he could not separate
persimmons from 'possoms in his thought, and though
the snorers snored with zeal, he did get to sleep, and
slept till breakfast. Then Mr. Dill restarted him
homeward, this time with a negro guide.
But before a quarter of the way had been travelled,
Rix met his father, who had started before daylight
to seek the missing boy.



"M ATT had made up his mind to run away.
It was the third afternoon that he had been
kept in after school that week, and there was to be a
match game of base-ball between his club, the Excel-
siors, and the Plumtown club, and he did want to
have his side beat. Who would take his place as
first base, he wondered; and the centre-fielder also
would be away.
There sat the miserable centre-fielder at the other
end of the bench, his book before him, and a fearful
frown upon his brow.
Matt returned to his definitions, and wrote fiercely:

"Baker One who bakes.
Artist One who arts.
Spinster One who spins."


"Don't care," muttered Matt. I won't look a
word out. Fingers just stiff, writing so long; and
'sides, it's so mean to keep a feller in and make him
lose a match game "
Thump came something upon the book. A piece
of paper wound up tightly, evidently thrown by the
centre-fielder. Matt unrolled it promptly, and read:

DEAR MATT : I think it's awful mean; and besides, this morn-
ing I had to get up and kill potato-bugs. Let's run away.

Oblivious of stiff fingers, Matt grasped his pen, and
wrote with characteristic brevity:

DEAR BOB: As soon as we get out.
Yours, MATT.

"Time's up," said the master, with a look at his
watch, in his compassion making the delinquents a
present of five minutes.
Bob and Matt found a delegation of boys in the
yard, waiting for them.
"The Plumtown fellers have just got here," said


Marcus Clark. Hurry up, and you'll be in time for
the next inning."
The first base and the centre-fielder looked at each
"Let's have the game first," signalled play-loving
Matt; and Bob nodded a prompt assent.
Now Matt was the only son of his mother, and she
a widow. The neighbors said the good woman had
but a single fault, and that was a foolish indulgence
of her son Matt; and yet they never suspected how
far she went in pampering that boy -how she ran
up-stairs and down-stairs at his beck and call, and
brushed his clothes and blacked his boots; how she
got up and gave him the most comfortable chair when
he came into the room; how she allowed him to rule
over the man-servant and the maid-servant, and even
the stranger within her gates. It was a wonder that
Matt was not a disagreeable despot, instead of a jolly,
play-loving, good-tempered urchin, with but now and
then occasional moods of imperiousness and self-will.
It was only upon one point that Matt could not
have his own way. That her boy should go regularly
to school, his mother insisted with unflinching firm-


ness. Matt's tears in this case had no effect. Even
shutting himself in his room and refusing his meals
was in vain, although it worked well in other cases.
Every morning saw Matt, with good lessons or bad,
on his way to school. He felt himself abused, and
fully justified in running away from such systematic
cruelty. His forehead ached with study, and his
fingers were lame with holding the pen.
As for Bob, his life was made up of unpleasant-
nesses : of chopping wood, of weeding, and hoeing,
and study. All was a sombre, dark monotony of
duties; and no base-ball to speak of crept into the
desolation of his days. His back ached with work,
and his legs were ready to drop-at least, that was
Bob's story; and he was determined to live no longer
on the farm. Once in the city, he could enter some
big mercantile house, like the smart boys he was so
fond of reading about, and soon become junior part-
ner and marry no, he wouldn't marry the old fel-
low's daughter! he hated girls, anyhow, and he would
leave that part out.
When the boys reached the base-ball ground, they
found the Excelsiors in a fair way to defeat. They


had had but one inning, and already the Plumtown
boys scored six to their nothing.
Matt slipped into the game with the determination
to win the victory or perish in the fray. Oh, how that
boy worked! You would never have suspected that
his head was aching and his fingers lame. To watch
his stout young legs scud from base to base, who
would have supposed that they had been too weary to
bear him to farmer Brown's that morning for the
It was the last inning, and the score of both clubs
was the same. Matt stood, bat in hand, watching for
the ball. His eyes were bright with determination,
and he was sure he would not miss it. Already it
was hurled through the air; and seeing it come
towards him he swung his bat- and then a faintness
came over him, and the crowd around the fence
seemed multiplied to thousands. The ball had
struck him right above the bright blue eyes, leaving a
huge white swelling in its place. Poor, fond mother!
It was a mercy that she was not among the crowd
that saw the boyish figure drop to the ground.
Both clubs flew at once to his side.


"Bob, help me raise him," said Marcus, leaning
over Matt's prostrate form. How could I have let
that ball slip! It's so hard it may have killed him,
for all I know "
Some of the spectators had now made their way tot
the frightened group.
It's the widow Dunn's lad," said one. He has
fainted,, boys fetch some water I wonder these
base-ball players have a-whole head among 'em !"
A hatful of water brought poor Matt back to
consciousness. It takes a great deal of base-ball to
kill a boy, and many a broken finger will the widow
Duwan. yet bind up for her son.. But Matt felt very
"lianp and lame just then.
"Bob," he whispered, as he sat up and looked at
his friend, "I guess we can't run away to-day. I
want to go home. What was it about, Bobby- I've
clean forgotten why we were going."
-" Why, it was because we have to work so hard,"
replied that injured youth, feeling rather foolish, yet
with a comical twist of his upper lip; "at least, that
was why I was going. I got mad 'cause I had to ki1,
potato-bugs this morning. I don't know why you

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were going, but I believe it was 'cause it makes your
head ache to study, and your mother won't let you
Matt put a hand to his throbbing temples. I tell
you what, my head aches a lot more now than I ever
made it ache studying. It seems sort of foolish to
run away for that. I believe I won't go."
"No more shall I, then!" said Bob emphatically.
Father says that I should think I was killed if he
.made me work half as hard as I do over base-ball;
and I guess he is right."
The boys had been walking towards home, and
they now reached the fork in the road where their
ways separated.
Good-night, old fellow," said Matt, limping cheer-
fully on towards the farm, where, among its other
homely comforts, were soothing ointments and tender



AS the teacher wanted us all to write an exer-
cise about the Mastodon that was dug up in our
county last week, I guess I will. The county, is Iro-
quois County, Illinois. I never saw a Mastodon before.
Rob Clark, and I, and a lot more boys, when we
heard there was one dug up, we took my father's
horse and buggy and rode out to where it was.
The men had put the bones in a corn-crib, and
when I stepped in, I had to pay ten cents for the
show, and I jumped right straight up, for there were
his jaws that looked like they could eat a whale.
The men measured the jaws. They were three feet
long and two and a half feet wide. The Mastodon
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was dead. He had been dead a good many thousand
years. If he had been alive, I wouldn't gone into
that corn-crib. I guess they never hurt folks, though.
There were no folks when they were alive. The
Mastodon's teeth were as big as our baby's head, and
one of them weighed six pounds. They were very
white, only the old fellow had got a chunk of mud in
one ridge. He had two little tusks sticking out of
his chin. His big tusks had scaled off. If I saw a
Texas steer coming at me with horns as big as his
tusks, I would get on top of the house. They were
nine feet long, and curved like the new moon. He
wore them when he was alive like elephants always
wear their tusks. But they were not fast to his jaws.
The Mastodon was a great big elephant. I found
a picture of one in the Cyclopaedia. The man said
this Mastodon must have been thirteen or fourteen
feet high. It must have looked like a house taking
a walk. I never saw but one house take a walk,
and that was McCracken's. They put it on rollers,
and when they went to cross the railroad track, it
stuck, and the cars came along. The cars had to,


There were bushels and bushels of the Mastodon's
bones, some of them so big I could hardly lift then.
The vertebrae of the spinal column were about as
large as my head. There were two doctors in the
corn-crib, writing down the size of everything, and I
had a pencil and a piece of paper, so I wrote them
down too. More folks kept coming all the time.
Some of the bones were dark like soaked wood, but
when you scratched them with your knife you would
find how hard they were. Rob Clark and me got
out of the corn-crib when it was crowded so we got
pushed against the sides, and we went down in the
field to see the hole, for they had not taken out all
his bones yet. The men who found the Mastodon,
did not know there was any there. They were going
to put in drain tiles to drain a slew, and they dug up
most of him about three feet from the top of the
ground. I got a piece of bone to show. And my
cousin when he came to visit us said, "Behold, when
this lump moved about with life, Adam was not yet
dreamed of! Races and empires have passed away
since this old fellow laid his body in the swamp,
and the earth's post-glacial crust formed over


him." He said a lot more that I can't remember.
The slew they found the Mastodon in was what
you call a peat slew, and it keeps things a long time.
Some State Society is going to buy it, but they won't
get the little chunk of bone I picked up, or the
chunks I saw some other men carrying out of the
field. I don't care much about it myself, but. my
cousin he makes a fuss over it. When I go to col-
lege, maybe I will think a good deal of bones; but
just now I think more of muscle. The muscle on
my arm measures half an inch more than Rob
Clark's, and I can throw him down three times out
of five at a good square rastle. [Yes, I can, tool I'll
show you after school.]
Well, I can't think of anything more about the
Mastodon. They sent to the State University for
a man to lecture about it. They are going to fix it
so it will stand up. I went once with my father
around the Lakes, and at one place I saw a ship that
was not done yet. Its ribs all showed. I thought it
looked hungry. And I think that Mastodon will look
pretty hungry and hollow when they get its bones
set up. So no more.


I SUPPOSE the boys on the hilly farms of western
Pennsylvania are not the only ones who have
been for a long time, and still are, subject to occa-
sional spells of mysterious sickness. To be sure,
they all have their turn of the measles, and take their
saffron tea "to make them come out;" the mumps,
and make horrible faces when they taste anything
sour; the whooping-cough also, and double themselves
up in the most ridiculous shapes in their paroxysms
of coughing. But in none of these diseases do they
seem anxious to conceal what is wrong. It would be
perfectly useless to try to conceal it, and, indeed, why
should they want to? Are they not all necessary
complaints which come to each of us sooner or later?
But the boys on the hilly farms have actually been
known to have spells of the most mysterious illness,

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spells which baffled the medical skill of the whole
family. I once knew Sam Thompson to wake up in
the morning very sick, quite too sick, apparently, to go
to school. It happened, strangely enough, to be on
the morning of the day when the men were to wash
the sheep. I don't suppose I need describe how
they do this piece of work on the hilly farms. They
do it the same way everywhere, so that a boy who
has learned it properly in one State can easily put his
knowledge into practice in any other.
Well, I said Sam waked up sick. He lay in bed
late, and couldn't eat any breakfast; but he begged
off from taking medicine, and drooped around like a
confirmed invalid till the rest of the children had
gone to school. Of course, if he had been well he
would have gone too, for it is just on such occasions
as these that the fathers on the hilly farms seem ob-
stinately bent on making scholars out of their boys.
They scarcely leave a point to hang an excuse upon
for staying out of school.
I don't mean to say that Sam was dangerously sick.
By no means. If he had been, he would not have
been able to go to the creek to see the fun of the


sheep-washing. He was merely too sick to go to
school. In fact, I don't know anything that requires
nicer judgment than it does to contrive just how to be
too sick to go to school and yet not so sick as to un-
fit one for enjoying the sport of washing sheep.
Sam could not be of any practical use at the sheep-
washing, for his legs were too short to go into the
deep water. A last year's lamb, frightened at being
plunged into the stream, might have scrambled on
him and drowned him. He was too small to catch
sheep in the pen and hand them down to the washers.
Indeed, no one without longer legs and stouter body
could be very useful on that occasion; but Sam could
look on as industriously and enjoy the fun as much
as anybody you ever saw.
But you said Sam was sick. Certainly I did; but
didn't I say he was not dangerously sick? People
who are dangerously sick seldom get well; and it
was but a short time after the children had gone to
school when he began to get better. He improved
so rapidly that, long before noon, he went down to
the creek--the very same creek at which he had
watered Nell on a certain Sunday the winter before


-to see how the sheep-washing came along. In a
surprisingly short time he was shouting and hallooing
with glee, and had entirely forgotten how ill he was
in the morning. I should be safe in 'saying that he
quite overdid the matter, for he got so well that
when dinner was over, his father had made up his
mind that it was altogether too bad for a boy who
seemed so hearty to lose a whole day from school,
and so sent him off for the afternoon session.
I think I see him now, trudging along sorrowfully
to school, looking wistfully toward the theep pens on
the bank of the creek, and wondering, in 'a boyish
way, why things in this world cannot be differently
But Sam's mysterious spells of sickness were not
all of this nature, though I recall no less than four
other separate and painful attacks which he suffered.
On two of these occasions his mother was heard to
say that she had known boys to die who didn't seem
a bit sicker than Sam was; and yet he was able to be
up again in a remarkably short time. One of these
spells came upon him in this way:
It was in the spring of the year. For several


reasons I think I may be quite positive about that.
Yet I feel sure it was not the "spring fever that
ailed him, because boys seldom in fact never get
really sick with that disease, and, what is wonderful
about it, they may take it or it may take them
rather- at any season of the year, though most fre-
quently when the sun is hot, and, so far as I know,
never in the midst of their slumbers at night. These
are some of my reasons for saying that I know it was
not spring fever."
Sam had an uncle Henry and aunt Jane Welton
who lived away over on Slippery Elm bottom, where
they had a famous sugar-camp. One spring, after
they had finished sugar-making, they loaded up the
wagon with great buckets filled with sugar--they
didn't make it into cakes and drove up through.
the hilly country to sell it. They stopped over night
at Mr. Thompson's, where aunt Jane remained to
visit a few days. But when uncle Henry started the
next morning he left a bucket well filled with sugar,
and it was set in the pantry.
This was a nice thing to do, and I have not the
slightest fault to find with anybody except that the


Thompsons were not so generous with their sugar as
they might have been. Nobody offered Sam a taste
of it. This made him feel that he was treated with
very little consideration. He bore it as best he
could, and late in the evening his mother called to
him from the sitting-room.
Sam, my son," said she, "what are you doing?"
"Oh, nothing' much," said Sam from the pantry.
"But it's time to go and feed the calves," said his
"Well, can't I get a string to make a whip-cracker ?"
said Sam.
"Certainly you can," said his mother; "but you'd
better hurry, or you'll not get the wood in till after
Sam was usually quick about his work; but this
evening he spent an unreasonable length of time feed-
ing the calves, and it was quite late before he had
finished carrying in the wood for the night.
Before twelve o'clock that night the whole house
was aroused. Sam was sick, very sick. Aunt
Jane was a perfect library of medical prescriptions.
She could prescribe when she didn't know what the


trouble was, almost as successfully as when she did
Dear, industrious soul! With her the chief secret of
healing the sick was to be constantly making them
swallow something. Under her directions Sam was
dosed heroically, and in an hour, or a little more, he
was so much improved that they all went to bed and
slept the rest of the night soundly.
In the morning they wouldn't let Sam get up to
breakfast, but fed him in bed on water-toast and
thyme tea. When he had eaten, his mother said,
"Now, Sam, lie down ,again and take a nap; and
when you wake up, if you feel well enough you can
dress and come down-stairs."
He felt well enough to get up then, but he didn't
want to be in too great a hurry. He knew the re-
sults of getting well too soon. But he did want to
examine his pantaloons. At last he crawled quietly
out of bed, and holding them up in his left hand, he
thrust his right into one of the pockets and drew out
a piece of paper. He undid it and found it con-
tained a little maple sugar.
"Hello !" said he. "I didn't think I had left so
much. But ain't I glad they didn't look in there !"


But a much worse spell overtook Sam on a Sunday
evening once in the latter part of June. On Sunday
mornings in the summer, when Sam was a boy, the
people on the hilly farms in western Pennsylvania
hitched up their teams, took in the whole family and
drove off two or three miles to church. There they
listened to a long sermon, which was followed by a
recess, and that by another sermon, and then they
drove home, arriving there about three o'clock,
almost famished--for something to eat of course.
Nobody was left at home except for a special reason,
as, for example, to watch the bees if they were
threatening to swarm; and it was for this reason ex-
actly that Sam was left at home on the Sunday now
referred to.
He acted that day under special orders from his
mother. They were delivered from the top of the
"uppin'-block when she was on the point of step-
ping into the wagon to start; for you must know that
people on the hilly farms often went to church in the
farm wagon.
"Now, Sam," she said, "you must attend to your
business, and don't forget it's the Sabbath day. Take


your question book, and sit out under the shade-
tree where you can see the bees. I should think a
boy of your age ought to know the catechism. Goin'
on twelve, and only just through the commandments!
If they swarm -meaning the bees, not the cate-
chism; Sam wouldn't have cared to live to a great
age if he had thought the catechism was about to
begin throwing off swarms-- "if they swarm," said
she, "you must watch them till they settle, and then
run over to Mr. Campbell's-- he's watching their
bees to-day- and stay there in his place while he
comes over and hives ours. Don't neglect your busi-
ness now, and get some milk out of the crock next
the spring when you want a luncheon."
With the delivery of these orders the whole load
moved away toward the church. They had scarcely
got out of sight down the hill when Sam began to
feel hungry. Any other boy would have done the
same. Boys always do get hungry when left alone in
charge of the house. He knew it was wicked to get
hungry so soon on Sunday, and he fixed his attention
on the catechism for fully two minutes and a half.
This long period of quiet seemed to him to magnify


the silence, and made him think the bees were creat-
Sing an unusual noise, and then he turned his atten-
tion to them; but they were about their ordinary
occupation. All this he repeated several times, and
heroically endured the pangs of hunger for half an
hour- possibly it was more. It was a long time, at
any rate -long enough to make it pretty certain that
the folks were not likely to turn round on the way
and come back home before he had finished his
Then he went to the pantry and got a piece of
bread, covered it slightly-as a boy will--with
butter, and, with a spoon and a tin cup in his hand,
went down into the cellar to see "the crock next
the spring." But the milk in it looked thin and blue.
He used but a little of that, and then tried another.
This was better. He used a little of it, and then tried
a third. That was much better. It was rich cream.
By this time the slice of bread was nearly done;
and, looking about intelligently, his eyes fell on a jar
on a shelf. He hadn't noticed such a thing there be-
fore, and it was perfectly natural, therefore, that he
should want to examine it. It contained peach pre-


serves. He took off the cover, looked in, then
stopped a moment--probably listening to hear how
the bees were behaving-and then he thrust in his
spoon (being very creamy he licked it first) and took
a good mouthful. Then he experienced one of the
most delightful sensations of his life. Why had he
never before got both preserves and cream into his
mouth at once ? He had often tasted them separately,
but never together before. He was perfectly grati-
fied with the result of the mixture. His whole atten-
tion was occupied with the experiment, and so he cast
the catechism and the bees out of his mind and filled
the cup nearly half full of preserves. Then he
dipped up the thick cream with the spoon till the cup
was nearly full, and stirred it all up together. It
looked too good to eat; but he thought he would risk
it, and he did.

The day wore away, and the bees didn't swarm.
Finally the family returned, and, dinner being soon
prepared, they all ate heartily except Sam. He kept
up the appearance of eating, though, and actually
devoted a little time to the catechism afterward.


But he felt heavy and dull and in no mood for
study. He experienced an uncomfortable feeling not
unlike sadness, as if he had lost a friend or met with a
disappointment. But he didn't think he had. He
surely enjoyed his luncheon. He never had eaten
one that disappointed him less. Perhaps it was be-
cause the bees hadn't swarmed! He had often ex-
pected them to swarm and they didn't, but it gave
him no such feelings as these. Could it be because
he hadn't got on well with the catechism? That
was the most probable thing, for he had a notion that
no boy could reasonably expect to be comfortable, at
any stage of existence, who didn't know his "ques-
tions." He thought therefore he might be suffering
the pangs of conscience, and he fixed his attention on
the book to see if that would relieve him. For the
hundredth time he read over the answer to the ques-
tion he was trying to learn, and then he looked off
the book to see if he could repeat it.
Yes, he looked off the book, placed one hand on his
stomach while the other held the book, and gazed
thoughtfully into the distance; and as he did so, he
found he was sick. He knew that one of the first


questions usually asked a sick boy is, "What have
you been eating? But he knew he hadn't eaten any-
thing that tasted as if it would harm him. Still, as
he reflected about it, his mind persisted in coming
round in a sort of circle to preserves and cream, and
he was almost startled to find he hadn't the slightest
appetite for them that is, for them stirred up to-
gether with a spoon. He could hardly bear the
thought of eating them. As his mind dwelt upon
them, the situation grew worse rapidly, till finally, as
the safest and best thing to do, he slipped off up-
stairs and went to bed.
When he had got snugly in bed it was beginning to
grow dark. About an hour later his mother heard
him tossing and moaning. She came immediately to
his assistance and found him sick indeed. She
called Mr. Thompson, and soon the whole family was
alarmed. Should they send for the doctor? It was
three miles to town, and he was too sick to wait so
long. Consequently they were obliged to take the
case in hand themselves; and when they took a case
in hand on the hilly farms, when Sam was a boy, it
meant something. It meant that either the disease


or the patient was bound to yield; and it would be in-
teresting to know in just what proportion of such
cases it was the patient who yielded.
But they had undertaken the case. They began
the course of treatment with camphor and water, and
a warm foot-bath, and followed these with catnip tea,
mustard poultices and Indian liniment. Still Sam
tossed and moaned, and the whole list was gone over
Then his mother, who was almost as fertile in med-
ical resources as aunt Jane Welton, thought of
"Number Six." The thought had hardly more than
struck her when she called down-stairs:
Phoebe, look on the upper shelf in the pantry and
bring up the hot-drops, and be quick now."
Phoebe obeyed the command instantly, and ran up
the stairs in such haste as to stumble and spill a cup-
ful of water which she carried in one hand.
The hot-drops was hastily prepared, but Sam
shrank. He had tasted some of it before, and it
was terribly hot stuff.
"Take it at once, Sam," said his mother in the
most encouraging tones she could command; "and


here's a spoonful of peach preserves for you, to take
the taste out of. your mouth."
With a heroic struggle he swallowed the draught,
and then, snatching up a handful of the bed-clothes to
cover his mouth, he said, "Oh, no, no; I don't want
any preserves."
He soon afterward began to get better, and again
he improved rapidly. If he was liable to sudden at-
tacks, we are bound to say for him that usually he
was not long sick, and therefore convalesced quickly.
In fact the whole Thompson family, even after having
suffered a serious fright, was able to retire in good
order at ii o'clock that night.
Sam slept soundly till morning and waked in good
health. But he had to take a mild breakfast in bed
and stay there till the middle of the forenoon. When
he got up and dressed he looked so sound and hearty
that his mother exclaimed, "Well, Sam, hot-drops is a
wonderful medicine! I've heard your aunt Jane say
it was good for anything from a bunion to the
All that is to be said further about it is, that Sam
never told just what ailed him; and the reason is, that


they never asked him. If they had, he was quite too
good a piece of stuff to make a bad matter worse by
telling a crooked story; and so the cause of that
mysterious but brief spell of sickness was never more
fully explained than it is here. But after he was
grown to manhood he sometimes smiled at his moth-
er's faith in hot-drops; in fact, he often thinks
with tearful eyes of her earnest solicitude for his
health and comfort when he was a thoughtless boy
and unable to provide for either; and to this day he
doesn't believe there ever was a woman who could
beat her making peach preserves.


ONCE upon a time all on a summer's day "-
a small white bundle might have been seen
half lying on a grassy bank, in a certain garden in
the northern part of Germany. We all know that
"appearances is deceitful ;" but this small white bun-
dle certainly looked nothing more nor less than a
baby's pillow a good deal trimmed with lace and em-
broidery, on which was tied with two or three straps of
scarlet ribbon, German fashion, something that looked
very like a baby. It looked very like a baby, and it
cried very like a baby. I suppose you would have
called it a baby.
It was a pretty little thing, whatever you would
have called it. The small pink face shone forth from
a daintily embroidered cap. It had two great eyes
as blue as pimpernels, a pair of the sweetest dimples


in the world, and a perfect little rosebud of a mouth,
that could open into a full-blown rose at the shortest
notice, as you will see before this story is
It was all alone in the garden. I do not know
whether the baby knew she was all alone in the gar-
den or not, but she seemed very happy and contented.
She sat perfectly still, much engaged, apparently, in
watching some long willow-branches that went sway-
ing back and forth in the lazy breeze.
Caw caw! caw I" screamed a hoarse black
crow overhead. There was a "whir-r-r" in the air,
and down swooped the crow, lighting -now where
do you think? Right on top of that baby.
I shall always maintain that she behaved very well
under the circumstances. She did not so much as
open her lips till the bold creature began pecking at
the scarlet ribbons. You can hardly blame her for
giving such a scream then that the unwelcome visi-
tor flew off in a hurry.
A stork that happened to be passing heard the com-
motion, and felt obliged to stop and see what was the
matter. So she flew down to the garden, and it was


not long before she too spied the little white bundle
sitting there under the trees.
The baby had stopped crying by this time, and, all
being quiet, Mrs. Stork stepped cautiously forward,
every minute stepping nearer and nearer, till at last
she could look straight down into the pair of blue eyes.
Gravely the stork surveyed the baby, and gravely
the baby surveyed the stork. Neither seemed to know
quite what to make of the situation, although soon it
began to dawn upon Madame Longlegs that maybe
she had the best of it, and giving her head a toss, her
wings a gentle flap, and opening wide her bill, she
said softly to herself-
"Hurray! this is a lucky day for you, Mother
Stork 1"
Casting another glance at the baby, who still did
not offer to resent all this familiarity on the part of
a stranger, Mrs. Stork, like Master Crow, next con-
cluded to try a taste of those gay red ribbons.
The pimpernels shut up in a twinkling. The rose-
bud kept opening wider and wider. And alas! the
harder the baby cried this time, the more delighted
the visitor seemed to grow.

0.!! :._ (-



"Ahem; it's a real baby and no mistake," whis-
pered the stork, dancing on one leg in high glee and
making noise enough with her wings to have been
a dozen of her sisters and brothers; Hurray!
hurray !"
The sound of voices could now be heard in the dis-
tance. If the children only needn't have dawdled for
once If the butterflies hadn't led them such a chase
through the flower-beds If if if But then
there would have been no story to tell.
And as usual the children did dawdle. They ran
from one rosebush to another in pursuit of a yellow
butterfly; they held buttercups under their chins to
see whether they liked butter or not; they stopped
for a peep of their silly little faces in the clear waters
of the fountain, and meanwhile Mrs. Stork had been
making up her mind to great things. She had
snatched up the little white bundle, and serenely
sailed off through the bright summer sky.
"My baby! my baby! why, that wicked, wicked
creature's got my baby !" was the agonized cry that
rose from the garden.
If Mother Stork heard, she did not heed. On she


flew with her burden, never resting once till she came
to her own home-nest on top of a high barn in a vil-
lage ever so many miles away.
As for the three young storks, they were very much
fluttered indeed at the sight of such an unexpected
guest. The first thing they did was to hop out of the
nest as fast as they could; and having arranged
themselves gracefully on one leg in a semi-circle,
they gazed solemnly down at their mamma's big
prize, while that delighted lady, wishing to show off
all its beauties and accomplishments, began pecking
again at the scarlet ribbons.
For the third time that day the baby cried. She
cried with such a will that the village-sextoin forgot
to play his usual hymn a thing he had not done in
the course of sixty years.
Now you must know that they were all very good
pious people who lived in that village. And ever
since the church had been built, as regularly as two
o'clock came round, come rain, come shine, the
sexton had climbed the tower-stairs, and there on the
little balustrade had played a hymn in God's praise.
And on this particular afternoon the sexton was just


in the act of raising the old brass trumpet to his
lips when for the third time that day the baby cried.
The sexton was old, and he was rather deaf, but
he heard her; he was old, and he was rather blind,
but he saw her the little white bundle, crying away
among the storks. His precious trumpet dropped
from his fingers. He seized the rope of the alarm
bell behind him, and pulled with all his might.
The baby told the sexton.
And the sexton tolled the bell.
Well, the people came running out of their houses
in terror. The cry of fire was spreading up and
down the quiet street. Men hurried out of the barns
with ladders and pails of water. Some of the women
appeared armed with brooms, though what they were
going to do with them I'm sure I don't know. Not
seeing any fire, they looked bewildered.
Where's the fire, sexton ? they shouted wildly.
It's worse than a fire," was the answer from the
top of the tower. "The storks have got a child
in the nest over yonder. Quick, quick, or they'll be
be off with it again !"
Ladders were hastily bound together to make them


longer. Two or three men were softly creeping up
to the barn-roof, when Mrs. Stork, getting a hint
of what was going on, picked up the baby, and away
she went over all their heads. The fire-engine had
arrived on the scene. Some men seized the hose and
sent a heavy. stream of water full against the ex-
tended wings of the mischievous bird. But what
was a little sprinkling, more or less, to Madame Stork ?
On she sailed, rather slowly at first, enjoying
the fun of bringing the peasants out into the fields
and woods in pursuit, then faster till she looked
a small black speck in the sky to the excited people
watching below, and at last she was out of sight.
By and by she began to near a city. There were a
great many houses and spires and chimneys. Out-
side of the town, in an open meadow, a large number
of people were collected together. In their midst
was a big colored mass of something the stork
didn't know what, and the baby didn't know what;
but I will mention to you that it was a balloon.
Presently the balloon was loosed from its moorings,
and with a bound ascended grandly into the air. A
thousand pairs of eyes were watching it, and a thou-


sand mouths were praising its graceful motion, when
the thousand pairs of eyes fell upon the stork and
the balloon was forgotten. The people were wild
with excitement. Cries of horror and lamenting were
heard on every side. A huntsman fired a few shots,
though without much effect.
"Keep close to the balloon, Mother Stork. Keep
close to the balloon and you'll be all safe," whispered
the wise bird to herself.
Attached to the balloon there was a boat, in which
were seated a man and a woman.
"A child! a child!" exclaimed the woman, dis-
cerning the baby as the stork drew near. Oh, you
dear little thing !" she cried, talking first to the baby,
and then to her husband. "Oh, do let us try to
save it!"
The wind was driving the balloon along at a rapid
rate; so rapid that the stork had hard work to keep
up, for she had travelled many a mile already, and
was growing short of breath. Still there was the
sound of those disagreeable leaden balls haunting
"her ears, and she pressed on as long as she could.
Baby grew somewhat uneasy, however. The pin-


cers that had been pinching her up so tightly, cer-
tainly were loosening their hold.
Baby felt herself going going -
"Ah!" said the woman in the balloon, giving a
deep sigh of relief; "I thought we should have to
lose her after all. I call myself a pretty lucky
woman now, to find a baby in the clouds! "
"Wife," said the man, passing his fingers over
the little white bundle; "the fog is so thick I can't
see very well, but by the feeling of so much fine lace
and ribbon I should say it was the child of rich
parents. If so, our fortune is made. We have only
to advertise it in the paper."
"Right was the answer. "They'll pay any sum
for the sake of getting it back. I shouldn't wonder
if we got enough to build a new house and live in
ease all the rest of our days. That is, if it's -"
she stopped in dismay as a new thought struck
her -" living. It don't move. It's so still I'm
afraid it's dead. They'll never give us anything for
a dead baby. Do you suppose the poor thing can
have died of fright ?"
"Oh. toss it a little! suggested the man.


So the baby was tossed and rocked back and
forth in the woman's arms, and being hugged very
hard, it gave a faint cry.
"It's crying! it's crying!" was the joyful exclama-
tion; and the happy pair, feeling sure now that their
fortune was made, were ready to get back to the
earth as soon as might be.
The gas was allowed to escape. The air became
gradually purer. Little by little, tiny black points
began to be visible through the thick clouds, and
little by little, these tiny black points turned into
substantial mountains and churches and trees and
houses. There was a river, too, unpleasantly near.
Is it a law of nature that all balloons shall come
down in the middle of a river? It would seem so
almost, and this one was no exception to the general
rule. There was a tremendous "splash!" and the
man and woman, in such gay spirits only ten minutes
before, were floundering about in the water, clinging
to the overturned boat.
But the baby was very comfortable, floating down
stream on her pillow, as if it had been an Indian
canoe. It was very amusing. There were various


pleasant sights at hand: some lambkins as white as
snow playing together; an old gray-bearded goat teas-
ing a frisky young one; long patches of forget-me-
nots along the bank, and a whole troop of silver-
backed fishes constantly darting up out of the water.
On she floated serenely among the pleasant sights,
until, suddenly, a strong arm drew the little white
bundle very carefully out of the river.
"Bless my stars /" said a great coarse man's voice,
slowly: "bless my stars/ It's no more a baby than
I am / It's only some little girl's big crying-doll "


L ITTLE Johnny Eataway's playmates called him
Johnny Pig;" and I don't wonder that they
did, for he was one of the greediest boys that ever
Almost every day when dinner was over, and he
had-eaten so much he could not eat any more, he
would beg his mamma with a dreadful whine not to
give what was left of the pudding or pie which
wasn't much, I can assure you- to any one else, but
to put it away in the closet so that he might "eat it
by and by."
And often he would stand for an hour at a time
before the windows of the bakery or candy-store,
with the tears running down his cheeks, in the deep-
est grief because he could not eat everything he saw


And he would follow men who were selling fruit

from street to street, just as other boys follow the

"... ,,--


,, ] -_- 7;, --.1 -- i, ,,


soldiers, or a monkey on a hand-organ, in hopes that

at last, to get rid of him, they would give him an

apple, or an orange, or a banana.


Well, late one very cloudy afternoon, Johnny Pig
was coming from the .druggist's vith a small bottle
of paregoric for the baby, who had a pain (paregoric
was the only thing that could be swallowed that he
could be trusted with), when he saw a man in front
of him carrying a basket half-full of pretty, pink
paper packages. Johnny got as near as he could to
this man and sniffed at the basket.
It smelled delicious! Just like his mamma's
kitchen on cake-baking days.
The man ran up every stoop, and rang every door-
bell, and gave one of the packages to whoever came
to the door.
At last, Johnny Pig, who was by this time a mile
from home and it was fast getting dark, asked the
man what they were.
Cakes," said the man.
"Gimme one," begged Johnny.
"No," said the man, "I don't give them to boys.
But Johnny kept following and teasing and teasing
until the man-- it was quite dark now -said, "Well,
as I have only a few left and I want to go to my sup-
per, you may have one."


Johnny snatched it without, even a thank-you
(greedy boys are never polite), sat down on the near-
est door-step, laid the bottle of paregoric by his side,
tore off the pretty pink paper, and took a bite -a
big bite.
And then he jumped up, knocking over the bottle
and breaking it into flinders, and stamped, and
choked, and sputtered, and wiped his mouth again and
again on the sleeve of his new jacket.
It was a cake of soab



HIS name was Frank Thompson; he was fifteen
years old, and he lived in a large city in the
State of Ohio, where he was a pupil in one of the
public schools. He was a slender lad with quiet
gray eyes, gentle ways, and with nothing of the
"brag" about him. Some of the boys called him
a coward because he never would fight; and when-
ever a rough fellow would shake his fists in Frank's
face with "You don't dare to fight," Frank would
quietly say, "I dare not to fight; which was a much
braver thing to do.
But there came a day after which no one doubted
Frank's bravery. It was in mid-winter, and the fires
in the school-building were fed with bushels of coal
in order that the rooms might be kept warm for the
hundreds of boys and girls in the school-rooms in that
very cold winter weather.


Suddenly the teacher in the division where Frank
Thompson studied discovered from a cloud of smoke
that burst into the room that the school-building was
on fire, and there were five hundred children in it;
and in less than one moment half the children in her
room knew, as did she, of the danger, and were pre-
paring to rush out of doors. The teacher, Miss
Olney, said not a word, but springing to the door, she
lifted her hand and with a commanding gesture mo-
tioned the pupils back into their seats, and they dared
not disobey. She then hurried from the room to warn
the other teachers of the danger and to give the alarm
of fire.
Quick as a flash, a slender boy with flashing eyes
had taken the teacher's place at the door, for every
pupil in the room had risen to his feet to escape as
quickly as possible. The boy at the door was Frank
"Stand back I he cried; not one of you can pass
through this door/ Disobey orders, and you will be
crushed on the stairs "
And do you think a boy moved? Not one. The
pale-faced, flashing-eyed lad at the door with uplifted


hand was equal to an army with banners. Every
one felt that the boy who dared not to fight, dared to
hold his post, and guard it too. And so he stood
until the teacher returned, when he slipped into a
passage-way, and fairly flew to one of the lower
rooms, where he knew there was a tiny little fellow,
weak and lame, who might be overlooked and lost in
the danger. Hunting him out of the crowd of little
ones, Frank lifted him in his arms and never lost hold
of his burden until he had put him safely down at his
mother's door, two or three squares away. Then he
returned to the school-building from which the chil-
dren had all safely escaped by leaving it in quiet order,
and the fire engines were rapidly putting out the fire.
You may be sure there were no boys to call Frank
Thompson a coward after that. The story of his
bravery, his quick, determined action, got into the
newspapers, and several gentlemen had a gold medal
made, and on it were these words:

DEC. 21, i880.


Which was the date of the fire. And the medal was
hung about Frank's neck in the presence of all his
school-fellows, while one of the gentlemen made a
little speech, in which he told the pupils that it was
always a brave lad who dared to do right, and always
a coward who dared to do wrong.
And now that the story is told, let us give three
cheers for brave Frank Thompson and all the other
boys like him.


T WO babes went out to walk.
Paul was five years old. He was old enough
to mind his pap and mam, and so he didn't al-
ways. Lots of little children think they know best;
and Paul had this disease harder than he ever did
the measles.
The other baby was three years old. He hadn't
any real name, such as mothers write down in the
big family Bibles. He was very small, a sort of
cricket on the hearth; and even smaller when Paul
first saw him. That was when Paul was making
much of a great home-made doll, conjured up by his
big sister; and his first observation over his infant
brother was, "Mamma dot a dolly too." And that
name got out of the crib with the child, and followed


him long at play, as well as through croups, coughs
and castor-oils.
As I said, Paul and Dolly went out to walk. It
was a bright morning in May; but all the night be-
fore, the heaviest kind of a spring rain had been
tumbling down to please growing things, including
small boys and girls; and it left puddles on the
prairie lawn about the home of these babies.
At once Paul and Dolly felt the instinct to wade in
puddles strong upon them. Standing on the door-
steps, with his eye on the nearest grass-bottomed
little pond, Paul called to somebody above him:
" Mamma, can't we take off shoes an' stocks ? Dolly
wants to, real bad."
"No, my boys; keep on your shoes and stockings
and your rubbers. Keep out of the water, too; it's
over your rubbers."
"How does mamma know ?" wondered the disap-
pointed Paul; "she hasn't tried it. I can wade in
the edge, anyhow, with rubbers on."
The small boy delights in the Scripture command,
"Prove all things Off Paul ran, and planted his
toes in the edge of the pond, looking down to see the


water come up as he pressed on an inch at a time.
He would just see how far he could go and not get
in over the tops of his rubbers.
Pat, at, behind him came a pair of wee rubbers.
Everywhere that Paul went Doll was sure to go; and
when once a start was made, he was always ambitious
to be ahead. So, while Mr. Policy Paul was slowly
getting to sea in a rubber shoe, Mr. Dashing Doll
went plashing by him to the centre of the puddle.
He kee-keed as he ran, made the water fly, and put
his two little chubby knees to soak.
Paul, who felt himself the guardian of his baby
brother, was shocked, and hastened in to bring back
the boy who didn't mind his mother. They reached
the further shore together two pairs of thoroughly
wet legs.
Paul, the guardian, called out his mother to see
what a naughty boy Dolly had been, and explained
that Dolly had run right into the middle of the pud-
dle, and he, poor fellow! had had to go in to get him
Then there was a drying time: dry stockings on
babies confined to carpeted rooms, and little shoes


and overshoes put to slow bake about the kitchen
After dinner the soaked shoes were pronounced
"done through," were put on and buttoned up, and
that blessed pair of babies in blue frocks went out
again with perfect purity of motive and the promise
to be mamma's real good boys, and keep out of the
During the week before the great rain, their father
had devoted some spare hours to spading and plant-
ing a portion of the prairie garden-patch. The sur-
face was flat, the soil deep and black, and water
stood in every sag the hoe had left. In fact, it was a
vast mud puddle, with corn, potatoes and tomatoes
sprouting at the bottom.
Hence the pet travellers, out for an after-dinner
walk, were specially charged not to go into the gar-
den, or they wouldn't ever get out again.
"No; we won't go there, mamma," answered Paul,
as he resumed guard over his little brother and
helped him to roll down the steps.
He picked Dolly up and kissed him, and in a mo-
ment the twain were out of sight and "all right."


Their mother sat down with a feeling of security for
an hour's sewing.
Barely five minutes later, a chorus of great cries,
plainly from small boys, came into the house from
the garden. It was pitiful indeed. It touched the
mother's heart. She knew it couldn't come from her
boys who had just gone out clean and pledged to
pretty ways. But she would go and see whose boys
had gone into the garden.
How that mother's patience was tried on getting a
full view of the floating garden! For, afloat with the
other plants, were her own cherished house-plants!
They were thirty feet from shore, too. They had
worked through the unspaded portion, and concluded
that the garden was safer than mamma had supposed
it was. But, reaching the mellow portion, they melted.
They disappeared fast; they sunk above their knees
in the black mush.
Their mother couldn't rescue them, but she called
for help.
The father of the babies thrust his head from his
side study window above. As he looked through the
tree-tops he thought he saw sailing in the mud, just


above the collar-bands of two blue-check frocks, two
familiar straw hats with two familiar heads in them.
He heard an articulate wail also, "Can't get out!"


Down the kitchen stairs he hastened; and as he
stood on the back steps and took in the scene, he
laughed, though his pets dolefully cried, Come, papa
dear." He wished he were an artist; he'd put that
garden view on canvas as a comic caution to all small
boys who don't mind their mammas..


He called for a pair of old boots. He thought his
babies wouldn't sink out of sight for a few moments,
though Dolly was shaking furiously- at least all
there was of him above ground and going deeper
at every shake.
Then that father set out for those two garden vege-
tables with straw hats. He gave them a new bring-
ing-up. And when he had transplanted them from
mushy mud to green grass, he took a chip and
scraped away till he found their feet and legs. The
shoes went under the hydrant, then were dried and
oiled again. Other soiled garments found a wash-
tub. The boys were dried, and they dried their tears
and spent the rest of the day in-doors with some as
serious talking to as they could understand.
But when the older children returned from school
and the pother of the "muss was over, the laugh
went round, and the light-hearted babies laughed too,
as they promised never to do so again.
And up to date of writing-two days after the.
"flood "- they have not again lost their legs in the


WE Brownlee children were delighted to find
the days drawing in, and the leisure of the
long autumn evenings which came each year with a
sense of novelty, once more upon us. Instead of
going to bed at nine with the sun just fairly out
of sight, as in summer, now when work and supper
were over, and the moon rising over the hill, there
was a whole long evening before us. We felt as if
we must celebrate this luxurious leisure, and fixed
on going to our next neighbor over the south hill,
nearly a quarter of a mile away.
The quiet of a late October night was around us,
with clear skies and the full moon shining splendid
above the autumn haze, and the frost-mist glimmer-
ing in the air. The sweetest scents of ripening
grasses and resinous plants which hangs long in the


air, were blended with a breath of red leaves and
ripening frost-grapes in the ravine at Pine Hollow
two miles away. It was the complete charm of a
northwestern evening, a night for children to go wild
with joy in the very splendor and temper of the air.
People were always ready and glad to see each
other in those early days when neighbors counted
for something. It made no matter that Mr. Forrest
was tricing King Philip corn for seed, or that Kate
and Ruth were slicing pumpkin for next day's pies.
Work was our life in those hardy Wisconsin days,
and we had not learned to pity ourselves for it.
Work was turned off with quips and jokes, and we
had more fun over a busy day than girls nowa-
days find when they lounge about with pockets full
of caramels, and give their minds to doing nothing.
I can see Ruth cutting up one of those great Wis-
consin pumpkins, in her neat brown print dress,
fresh as paint, a glossy orange pumpkin held be-
tween arm and breast, with the sharp knife turning
off thin crescents to be paired and cut up by the
others. A good knife goes through a firm, fine-
fleshed pumpkin with something of the same feeling